Author: elizabeth

Daytime Skincare, 3 Easy Steps

Since simplifying my nighttime skincare routine, my skin is much healthier and happier. I  embraced a more refined approach my day time regime a year ago, simply to cut down on time spent in the morning.  My skin has benefitted from using just three products, and whether I’m wearing makeup or not, my skin looks and feels good. Step one: Hydrator. My favourite is Hada Labo Guko-Jyun Premium Emulsion. It contains five kinds of hyaluronic acid and is quickly absorbed by the skin. You can also add this as a first step to your nighttime skincare if you feel your skin is extra sensitive or dehydrated. Step two: Serum. I’ve been using Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Serum for years and I’ve never found one I like better. It hydrates and soothes skin while plumping fine lines and giving the skin a youthful glow. If you have dry or dehydrated skin, you’ll love this serum. Step three: Moisturiser. Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre is another product I repurchase again and again. It’s a great moisturiser and makeup primer, and …

Ameliorate Body Lotion

I have dry, itchy, uncomfortable skin which is exacerbated by cold weather. By the end of January, I’m miserable and desperately searching relief. I am not a fan of body lotion – it’s cold, sticky, and delays my getting dressed in the morning, but I’ve always treated it as a necessary-and-somewhat-effective evil. I’ve tried a lot of body lotions, but none have ever kept my skin hydrated and comfortable for more than 12 hours. Until now. Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion does exactly what it says on the tin. It transforms dry, flaky, tight skin into soft, smooth, comfortable skin. I noticed a difference after one application, and though the instructions say to use it twice a day to start, I found once a day to be perfectly adequate. It contains lactic acid which encourages dead, dry skin to quickly exfoliate, revealing the smooth healthy skin underneath. It also helps with KP (Keratosis Pilaris) and ingrown hairs by basically resurfacing the skin. With this accelerated cell turnover, I would recommend using a physical scrub or dry …

Stuff I’ve Stopped Buying

Stage one of decluttering is complete! I was so tired of trying to organise and store things I was holding onto for daft reasons – the silliest being ‘I might use that one day’. If it’s been stored out of sight for more than six months, there is a good chance I’ve forgotten it, and if that’s the case, I certainly don’t need it. I do not want to get into this state again, so I thought about things I really don’t need to buy anymore. I have based this list on some of the things I’ve just removed from my precious space. Books. This is probably a shocker. I do enjoy reading, but I do not enjoy having to find a space for a book once I’ve read it, so I plan to only buy for my kindle in future. My collection of books is down to twelve and I’m almost happy with that. I can probably reduce to ten. Magazines. I actually quit buying these ages ago. I use an app called Zinio …

Easy Online Minimising

The Brexit vote kicked me hard. I’ve been deeply depressed about it since it happened, not only because of the suffering it will cause me and my family, but the awfulness it has unleashed on so many people. It’s horrible in every way, and it threw me into a dark pit. At the beginning of the year, I decided I couldn’t continue being so sad, and I began to take steps to make myself feel better. Living with so much uncertainty is hard, so I had to find a way to deal with the fact that uncertainty is the new normal. I identified that my most immediate need was to reduce the ‘noise’ around me because there was a lot of it, especially online. The first thing I did was unsubscribe from email lists. I was getting a lot of newsletters, advertisements, and updates that I didn’t need or want. Most of the time the ‘unsubscribe’ link worked, but occasionally, I’ve had to contact companies directly to ask them to remove me from their mailing …

Clothing Reduction

It was unpleasant realising my clothing consumption was out of control. My wardrobe was full of things I didn’t wear, and I stood many mornings in my dressing gown thinking that today would be the day I finally went to work naked. How did it come to this? Why did I have have garments with the tags still on hanging unloved and unworn in my closet? After a bit of reflection, I began to figure out where I was going wrong.  It was not a nice process. I was doing dumb things. Sales. Yes, that dress is ok, I guess, but knock 30% off and it becomes more attractive. But does it really? No, it does not. It goes into the wardrobe to hang for a year and it never gets worn because I don’t really like it. I just bought it because it was cheaper. That’s the definition of a false economy. Body Denial. Does this garment fit my shape? I am not slim and I’m quite short, and while the outfit looks fabulous …

3:3:1 – Simplified Skin Care

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been on a mission to simplify. I began by examining parts of my life that I felt were overcomplicated, and skincare was one of these areas. I was spending too much money, effort, and time on my regime – and I was constantly buying things I didn’t finish – always on the lookout for the next miracle product that would be ‘the one’. After a final clear out, I’ve settled on a system which uses a few carefully curated products. I’m not longer layering loads of products on my face and am instead using one product at a time to achieve smooth, clear skin that doesn’t need much makeup (another money/effort/time saver). My system works like this: I alternate three nights of retinol treatment with three nights of alpha hydroxy treatment and then follow up with one night of skin nutrition, hence the 3:3:1. It’s simple, easy, and I don’t need to spend a lot of money to get great results. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, I …

The Minimiser

Today I’m decluttering my office in a ruthless fashion. I’ve been on a bit of a journey since February. I wouldn’t say I’m becoming a minimalist, but I am minimising. Does that make me a minimiser? I’m not sure, but I’ll go with that for now. It’s a frustrating process, probably because I’ve begun with the unseen – my wardrobe, cupboards, and drawers. I’m unable to stand in the middle of the room and survey my progress, so the feeling of accomplishment is fleeting. It’s also an uncomfortable process as it’s forced me to face up to stupid choices I’ve made through the years: loads of nail varnishes I’ll never wear, clothes I bought on sale just because they were cheaper, and handbags. Oh lord, the handbags. How much money have I wasted? And how could that money have been better spent? Or even saved? Just the thought of it is enough to halt my progress. But I can’t let that happen. For years I have tried to fill up the inadequacies I’ve felt with …

Skincare Favorites 2017

A bit late, but as promised, I’ve compiled a list of my most-loved skincare from 2017. It wasn’t a year of discovery for me, as I tend not to vary my skincare too much. There were a few standout products, though, and I’m happy to report, all of these are quite reasonably priced. I recently began using The Face Shop’s Rice Water Cleansing Rich Oil, and I absolutely love it. Its thin, and rather watery consistency makes it easy to spread over the face, and the blend of oils and emulsifiers means it removes makeup – even waterproof mascara – with minimal effort. I use it with a hot cloth and it always removes every speck of makeup in just a few seconds. It doesn’t strip the skin and leaves it soft, supple, and ready to receive additional skincare. Another stellar Korean skincare find was the It’s Skin Fresh Mask Sheet Blueberry. I received one of these as a free sample with an order and decided to try it while I was ill just before …

Suqqu Foundation

I was rummaging around in my desk drawer last weekend and came across an unopened box containing a jar of Suqqu Foundation. I’ve no idea how long it had been in there, but I would reckon at least a year as that’s when I drifted away from wearing it nearly every day. At £62, it isn’t cheap, so I assume this must have been why I decided to try something new. Silly of me, really. I’ve trialled at least a dozen foundations since, and none compare to the brilliant Suqqu. It’s quite a thick, rich foundation, so it works very well on dry or mature skin. The amount of coverage depends on the amount you use. I like to apply it with a brush and then sheer it out, but it’s very buildable, so you can add more to get medium to full coverage. Aside from being a perfect colour match for my skin, there are two things that make Suqqu Foundation special. The first is that it looks like good skin. This takes a little …

NYX Total Control Drop Foundation

For the last few months, everyone’s been trying to get their hands on The Ordinary’s new foundation. After weeks of waiting, I finally got to try it, and I was quite disappointed after all of the hype. On my mature face, it looked cakey and dry, and every fine line, wrinkle and pore was magnified. I don’t think it’s a bad foundation, but it wasn’t right for my skin, which is a pity – I know a lot of people love it and the price is insanely good. Also fairly priced is NYX Total Control Drop Foundation, £14, and it’s good. Very good. And it’s also versatile. Used lightly and buffed into skin with a foundation brush, it mimics the more expensive Perricone No Foundation Foundation – light, natural, and barely detectable on the skin. Add a bit more and you can easily build up to a flawless full coverage look that reminds me of the gorgeous Armani Power Fabric Foundation, again, at a much lower cost. NYX comes in 24 colours, so it’s easy to find a …

2017 Makeup Discoveries

2017 was the year I changed almost every makeup product I use. It was also the year I moved to a less ‘made up’ look, especially for daytime. I tried a lot of products, and I’m sorry to say that quite a few were duds. But there were some amazing standouts. These are the ones I discovered. New to the UK in 2017 is Glossier. They offer a great range of skincare and natural-looking makeup. Three of their products really stood out for me. I love their Cloud Paint – a cute little tube of creamy colour that works amazingly well as a blusher or eyeshadow. I also use it as a lip colour and, very occasionally, as a contour. I’ve tried all of the colours, and my favourite by a long shot is Dusk – a peachy, pinky, versatile shade. Another favourite product from Glossier is their Stretch Concealer. It is, by far, the most natural-looking under-eye concealer I’ve ever tried, but the best bit is that it does not crease! Set with a …

Winning Minds

This won’t be a particularly wordy or thoughtful post, because I’m tired and not full of enthusiasm at the moment. I’m sensing a general fatigue has come over many of us, so I’ll keep this short and pointy. I voted No in 2014 for a couple of reasons – the main one being that I feared Scotland would be out of the EU. Now that we really are on our way out and I can see the damage up close, my eyes are fully open to the possibilities for Scotland taking its place as an independent country within the European Union (or least EFTA). Not only can we become independent, we can become spectacular, and I truly believe we can succeed, which is why I want to see independence in my lifetime. And I believe I will. To help fulfil this wish, I want to share some insight into my experience as a No voter. I hope these points are received in the spirit in which they are given – with a resounding Yes vote …

Tired

I badly need a holiday. I’m tired in way I’ve never experienced – and I do have a bit of experience with being tired. I’ve been newborn-baby tired (twice), grief-stricken-at-the-loss-of-a-loved-one tired, and gutted-at-the-end-of-a-relationship tired. I’ve been tired after being sliced open and having bits of me removed. I’ve been tired after relocating over an ocean (several times). I’ve been tired after leaving a life and completely starting again. I know what tired feels like, but this tired is different. No amount of rest, therapy, or antidepressants helps with this sort of tired. I’m tired of pervasive, wilful ignorance. I’m tired of incompetence. I’m tired of being lied to by charlatans. I’m tired of worrying that my life is about to be irrevocably changed because of racism and xenophobia. I’m tired of going to bed at night knowing I’m one day closer to having everything I’ve worked for snatched away by politicians who have no clue what they’re doing. I’m tired of feeling embarrassed and heartbroken every time I see an EU national in knots because …