The face mask everyone needs in their life

Everyone loves a bit of Lush and I’m no exception. I’ve been so amazed by their products, their charity work and their ethos. Lush stands for human rights, animal rights and environmental projects to name a few. They are also a 100% committed to ending animal testing and their ingredients are all suitable for vegetarians with loads being vegan friendly too!

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I love the fact that this is both a face mask and an exfoliator. You leave it on for the 15 minutes to gain the benefits of the ingredients for softer skin. Then rub the mask in to have the coffee grinds gently exfoliate the skin.    

Now, I have far too many favourite products from Lush, I’ll probably do a post on them soon, but the Cup O’ Coffee face mask is definitely up there in the top 5! It’s an exfoliation mask made with ground coffee, cocoa extract and vanilla to name a few, it has such a lovely coffee smell which I could understand as being too much for some people. The coffee ingredients definitely have a wakening effect just like freshly made coffee! I bought the 150g tub, which costs £6.95, a couple of months ago and with using it once a week, there’s still just under half of the product left. 

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All of the ingredients in this face mask are natural with the exception of perfume which Lush describe as being a gentle perfume.  

My advice would be that if you want to use this mask then I would suggest that you do so on a hair-washing day as it can get pretty messy. It isn’t an easy mask to take of when you try and take it off over the sink, it gets all over the place and in your hair, and it’s not a good sight. Putting the mask on say 15 minutes before your shower to get it settle for a bit and then message it off making sure the coffee grounds exfoliate your skin. I would image the best time to use this would be in the morning before work or school as the coffee will make you feel more awake however I’m too lazy for that carry on in the morning! 

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The consistency is quite thick and you don’t need a lot as it covers really well. As you can see it is full of coffee grinds that help to exfoliate the skin. 

I have oily skin in the T-zone area, normal cheeks and slight dryness in the under eye area so you can image the struggle I have with trying to find a product that works in all areas. Cup O’ Coffee is honestly the best thing I’ve used on my skin, it helps keep the oils at bay, keep my cheeks soft and takes away the dead skin from the under eyes. You don’t need much product at all and I’m still shocked at how much I’ve been using it and how much I have left!  

I would encourage anyone to try this product, as it’s just perfect. It combines the two of my loves – coffee and skincare, no wonder it’s a 5 star rated product! 

love,

Nicole x

The face mask everyone needs in their life

How much do you know about cruelty free cosmetics?

So, I have now finished my third year of university, if I pass my assignments, and I now have more time on my hands to do some more writing! I thought I would do a post about animal testing and my own ignorance to fact that just because animal testing is banned in the European Union it doesn’t mean that all companies don’t test on animals. Some people may not be fully aware of what brands do test on animals as I feel that the majority of them don’t want to answer the question directly, so it can be a bit confusing to understand. Hopefully this post can help you find cruelty free cosmetic brands and develop a better understand on this topic!

I thought that because cosmetic testing on animals is banned in the EU then technically these products have not been tested on animals which is a fair statement to make. However, to be cruelty free you must acknowledge a companies worldwide stance on animal testing if you want to be cruelty free. For example if a company sells their products in China then by law their products must be tested using horrific experiments on mostly rabbits and mice.

The easiest way to discover if a company tests on animals is to read their Frequently Asked Questions as animal testing is such a big issue now that all brands have their stance in their FAQ.

Here we have the stance on animal testing from Estée Lauder and when you start reading the sentence it may appear that they are cruelty free. However the ‘except when required by law’ shows that they sell to countries, like China,  that need to carry out horrific tests before any of their products can be sold. As you can see they state that they want to see an end to testing but they give the impression that they are more concerned about their sales so I can’t see them making progress on this issue.

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Next we have an explanation to why some brands feel there can be an exception. Here MAC tries to explain why they think there can be an exception to put animals through unimaginable pain. I can be said that MAC, along with Estée Lauder, seem to care more about the profits of the Chinese market rather than protecting animals from tests.

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With those examples if you check a companies FAQ and they talk about an exception then they do unfortunately test on animals, if a company is shady with the way they answer and don’t give a genuine answer then it’s highly likely that they test on animals. If you read the FAQ are still not sure then check some cruelty free blogs to see their research, here are my favourites;

I’m thinking of also writing up a post on the issue of parent brands that own cruelty free brands and how this can be seen as not being completely free. Now that I’m finished with uni for a wee while I can post my favourite cruelty free cosmetics, haircare and skincare!

until next time,

Nicole x

*featured image from Ethical Elephant

How much do you know about cruelty free cosmetics?

Gozo, the Maltese Islands

So, this post has came about because of the sad news about the collapse of the Azure Window, also known as the Dwejra Window, fell into the sea on Wednesday morning and is sadly lost forever. I had the opportunity to visit Gozo when I was studying in Malta last semester, it’s such a beautiful island!

Gozo is the second largest inhibited island of the Maltese Islands, behind the island of Malta and in front of the island of Comino. Gozo is just a short ferry ride from the Ċirkewwa ferry port on the north of Malta. The only thing I will say is that if you want to go to Gozo I would get up early and go as there is a lot of things to see and you have to take into account the timing of the buses and ferries as you want to make the most of your day.

The thing that never fails to amaze me about Malta is how an island, which is smaller than the isle of Arran off of the West coast of Scotland, it takes over an hour to travel half of the island which is only around 12 miles! The amount of cars and congestion in Malta is insane and it doesn’t really calm down but I would advise to try and avoid rush hour traffic as it is honestly on a whole different level! I went on the 10th of December last year and it was so warm, it was like 16 degrees and you hardly get that weather for a Scottish summer never mind the winter!

This post will show the places that you can see in Gozo other than the Azure window, I never had the opportunity to visit everything on the island as the the tour bus left to the ferry port at around 3pm which is much earlier than I would have liked but you need to consider the time of travelling back. The ferry was only like €4 return and we managed to get the hop-on-hop-off Gozo tour bus for €10 which I would highly recommend on using.

Recommendations

1.Dwerja Bay – home of the now collapsed Azure window rip x

Even though the the Azure window isn’t there any more doesn’t mean you have to avoid visiting Dwerja Bay, here you can enjoy looking at the beautiful water, even go for a boat trip or enjoy a wee ice cream in the Maltese sun like I did!

2. Cittadella 

Honestly the Cittadella, also known as the Citadel, was without a doubt my favourite place that I seen when I was in Gozo. I have such a huge love for history so to find out that the Cittadella was a mix between a medieval castle and a fortress was so interesting to me! During the medieval time the Cittadella housed over a third of Gozo’s population and the residents were required to spend the night there for safety.

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The view from the Cittadella.
The history of the Cittadella is so interesting and the views from there of the Gozo landscape are unreal!

3.Republic Street

This is the main street in the Gozitan capital of Rabat, the capital can sometimes be referred to as Victoria as in 1887 the British government renamed the capital to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee but as a devoutrepublican I will acknowledge the capital city as Rabat x

Here you have a coffee or food in the many cafes that line the street, visit the shops and just chill out while enjoying the hustle and bustle of the locals.

4. The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary  

The amount of Chapels and Cathedrals that you can find in the Maltese islands are unreal and the architecture and design of them are just outstanding. Unfortunately I never had enough time to go inside this Cathedral but I would advise anyone who has to the opportunity to go! I have seen the pictures of the ceiling and it could rival the views of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican city, so beautiful.

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The outside of the Cathedral.
5. Ggantija Megalithic Temples

Finally, I would recommend anyone who goes to Gozo to visit the temples. I didn’t have enough to visit the temples as we had to make it back to the bus to the ferry port on time. The temples are to believed to be more than 5500 years old making them the second oldest manmade religious structures in the world! Due to this the temples have become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When I visit Malta again I will definitely be returning to Gozo! Despite being a tiny island Gozo has many attractions that compares to the larger island of Malta!

love,

Nicole x

 

Gozo, the Maltese Islands

Scotland’s very unique style of showing international solidarity

With the shock election of Donald Trump as president of the United States there has been a huge amount of protests worldwide to show solidarity with the oppressed in the States. There have been protests against his sexist views with the Woman’s March and the announcement of the ridiculous Muslim travel ban sparked outrage with protests worldwide.

Scotland is not one to shy away from protesting and in the words of SNP MP Mhairi Black us in Scotland ‘like a wee protest’ and so we do. His love for Scotland is definitely not reciprocated by us Scots.  Here a few of my personal favourites x

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Trump is, unfortunately, half Scottish as his mother was born on the Hebridean island of Lewis who moved to America which would make her an immigrant to the US. The people of Glasgow made sure to show how stupid his hatred of immigrants is when his Maw was an immigrant, ya fuckin roaster.  
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David Milne flies the Saltire alongside the Mexican flag from his house which looks down on the 18th hole on Trump’s golf course in Aberdeenshire. He stands in solidarity with the Mexican people as Milne has had issues with his boundaries, Trump built a fence on those boundaries and sent the bill to Milne who is refusing to pay. The same idea is being proposed on a larger scale with Trump promising to build a wall along the Mexican- US border with the Mexican people receiving the bill.
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Glasgow’s simple response to Trumps Muslim travel ban….

However one of my favourite stories of Scottish solidarity was at the time of the South African apartheid regime and Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment. Glasgow had activists that demanded the end of segregation in South Africa from the 1960s onwards. Mandela was recognised as a hero for those on the Left but those on the Right, then Tory Prime Minister Margarent Thatcher, former Tory PM David Cameron and House of Commons speaker John Bercow, all seen him as a terrorist and called for him to be hanged.

The people of Glasgow did not hold these views and the then Lord Provost Michael Kelly gave Nelson Mandela the freedom of the city, making Glasgow the first city in the world to recognise Mandela as a free man in 1981.

In 1986 Glasgow further showed their solidarity to Mandela as they renamed St George’s Place to Nelson Mandela Place. This may not seem like a big thing but that very street was where the South African Consulate General was based who now had to sign their address with the country’s most famous political prisoner! Mandela came to Glasgow in 1993 to thank both the city and Scotland for their solidarity, he stated that;

‘whilst we were physically denied our freedom in the country of our birth, a city, 6000 miles away, and as renowned as Glasgow, refused to accept the legitimacy of the apartheid system and declared us to be free’ (Scotsman, 2013)

The only way I can describe these protests is that of being ‘gallus’, the Scottish word meaning cheeky, bold and daring. I love seeing the humour  on the hundreds of signs at protests but we must remember to not forget the importance of showing international solidarity especially in today’s world.

God Bless,

Nicole x

extra reading:

Nelson Mandela and Glasgow

Glasgow’s Support for Mandela

David Milne and Trump

Michael Forbes, Scotsman of the year

Scotland’s very unique style of showing international solidarity

Lush Haul

img_2599So I promised myself that when my student loan came in this month I wouldn’t spend it on unnecessary stuff yet here we are with a post on all the things I bought from Lush. I told myself that I needed to revamp my skincare routine due to not looking after it as well as I should’ve when I was in Malta, so I suppose the spending was justified! I spent around £53 including postage and packaging. Some of these products I’ve used before and had to get again, some are products that are raved about by YouTubers and I had to try for myself. I apologise for the poor quality of the following pictures x

 

 

 

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Imperialis facial moisturiser (£13.95/45g) – this is a repurchase as I first used this a couple of years ago and I loved it! I have oily /combination skin and was having trouble finding a moisturiser that didn’t make my t-zone even oilier. It is very lightweight which I find to be perfect for oily skin and it is there to balance and brighten your skin. It is suitable for all skin types so I would definitely recommend if you do not know your skin type or new to Lush moisturisers.    
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Tea Tree Water (£4.50/100g) – this is another repurchase and a firm favourite of mine! I either use this sprayed onto a cotton pad to take off my makeup or just sprayed straight onto the face as it feels so refreshing. Tea Tree is antibacterial so it will keep your skin clean and clear. This was probably one of the very first products I bought from Lush like 6 years ago and I’ve not got a bad thing to say about it. I could not recommend this enough to anyone who was oily or spot prone skin.
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Aqua Marina (£7.25/100g) – when I was looking to buy a new cleanser I was aiming to buy Herbalism but unfortunately it was out of stock so I decided to try this. It has seaweed in it which is supposed to absorb any extra oils on the face. There’s also Irish Moss in it which apparently helps to add extra minerals to the skin. The only thing that’s putting me off is the smell, to me it smells a bit like hair dye but I’ll give it a try.
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Cup O’Coffee (£6.75/150g) – I have heard and seen so many amazing things about this mask! I usually buy the wee fresh mask but they need to kept in the fridge and only last around a week. This has a longer shelf life and has coffee beans in it for extra exfoliation. I’m probably most excited to try this!
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Veganese (£9.95/250g) – I’m a bit more harder to please when it comes to the hair products from Lush. I have really thick frizzy hair and I feel my hair needs a lot of conditioner but the prices of the conditioners are a bit on the dear side. I thought I’d give the conditioners a try again as said it would have your transformed into a ‘more manageable mane’ which is what I’m needing in my life. It also claims to make you hair soft and helps to calm and sooth your scalp.
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Jason and the Argan Oil shampoo bar (£5.95/55g) and Square Tin (£2.95) – I love the shampoo bars from Lush! I bought one for going to Malta and it lasted the full 4 months I was abroad, honestly unreal. I do find that the square tins are better as the actual shampoo bar tins are too small for the bar to fit in it. I would recommend buying a tin with it as you’ll get more uses out of it. The shampoo bar claims to give you shinier and softer hair but it smells like rose jam so that’s what sold me! 

Hope this post was a bit helpful as I can totally understand that choosing stuff from Lush can be a wee bit overwhelming due to the choice available.

Until the next post,

Nicole x

 

Lush Haul

Roma, Italia

This has been my first post in ageeeeeees and the reason why I haven’t been here is because I was studying abroad in Malta for four months. Studying abroad was absolutely amazing; it gave me the opportunity to meet some incredible people who I’ll be friends with for a long time and it has made me more independent. Visiting Rome was the only other place in Europe that I visited while I was in Malta. I wish I had more time and the money to see other places but going to Rome was more than enough!img_2142

We stayed in the Yellow Hostel in the city centre and I would a 100% recommend to stay there. The hostel owned the cafe across the road which also doubled as the pub/nightclub in the evening. The atmosphere in the place was so good and it made life easier for us as we didn’t need to find a place to go to and it was just across the road so we didn’t need worry about getting back to the hostel.

The first place we visited in Rome was the Colosseum, while we were on the tour bus we just turned the corner and out of nowhere the Colosseum appeared. It was a bit overwhelming because I knew how unbelievable it was in pictures but to see it in real life was unreal. img_2158However I would advice that if you know that you’re going to the Colosseum the next day that you don’t go out the night before. Being rough and climbing the amount of stairs in the Colosseum is not fun at all. It was just mind-blowing to think that this was built like 2,000 years ago and how much detail had went into the actual building. Such an amazing place to see.

We then walked around the city for a bit and got food. However the only thing I was disappointed about in Rome was the food which is strange because Italian food img_2285is supposed to be unreal. Maybe we didn’t pick the best places, we just went to eat at places that were close to the hostel so it was easier. We then went to Sephora which I was dying for because the weekend we went was Black Friday weekend so the amount of discounts and sales was a bit overwhelming. I was so tempted to buy the Too Faced Christmas in New York gift set but I decided against it and just got a few cloth masks and a mascara.

After that we went a wee walk to find ice cream and the Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain was actually so beautiful and the picture I have doesn’t do it justice. It was near to impossible to get a good picture or get close to the fountain due to the amount of people that were there but I was having those Lizzie img_2269McGuire feels!

The next day we went to the Vatican as we couldn’t have came all the way to Rome without seeing the Pope. It was so strange to think that the Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. Personally, the whole experience of being in the Vatican was a bit overwhelming. When you’re walking through the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel you are constantly looking at the ceiling because of theimg_2240 incredible and intricate paintings. It was without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been too. I got my granny a Christmas bauble and a Pope Francis pendant thing for her birthday and she was so delighted with them mainly for the fact they were from the Vatican.

Rome was such a beautiful and lively city to visit but when we were travelling to the hostel from the airport it did look a bit on the run down side and there was graffiti everywhere you looked. I would definitely come back to Rome for the hostel and the party side of things but now I’ve seen the touristy side of things I wouldn’t feel the need to go on anymore tour buses or go to museums. However, if I ever go back to Italy the places to see would be Milan, Venice and Pompeii.

Hopefully I’ll find the time to post more updates!

love, Nicole x

 

 

 

 

 

Roma, Italia

Review of the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette

So over the past couple of months I’ve been trying to budget my spending as I’m off to study in Malta for four months and the fact that I leave in a week is a bit concerning. However after, what seems like weeks of deciding, I finally got this particular palette.

The Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate bar Palette is something that I’ve been looking at for a long time, I’ve watched countless reviews and tutorials on YouTube to try and justify my need for this palette. Maybe YouTubers were comparing this palette with the original Chocolate Bar palette and were saying they preferred it to the Semi-Sweet one. However, the original one had more purples and pinks and, for me, I just wouldn’t use them as the colours don’t appeal to me.

The Semi-Sweet palette has more warmer neutral colours and matte shades. There are fourteen eyeshadows and the two larger pans, ‘Coconut Crème’ and ‘Butter Pecan’, are to be used as highlighters but I find ‘Coconut Crème’ the perfect colour to use as my base. As you can see there’s a pop of colour with ‘Blueberry Swirl’, the only blue shade in the palette, I used this under the eye and it’s beautiful to add a bit of colour to your look. For now my everyday type look is ‘Coconut Crème’ on the whole of the lid up to the brow bone, ‘Nougat’ on the lid and then a mix between ‘Mousse’ and ‘Truffled’ in the crease to darken the eye.

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The Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette

When I first received the product, after what seemed like the longest four days ever, the first thing I had to do was smell it! As this product is made with 100% natural cocoa powder it smells amazing and I think it smells like mini eggs. I only got it two weeks ago but I am in love with it! The shadows are so pretty, pigmented and are so easy to blend out. I’ll maybe post a tutorial of a look when I use it more and play around with the shadows. There are a lot of mattes in the palette, which I’m a fan of, but these mattes do not look flat on the eye. My only problem is the shadows are a little on the powdery side and the palette can get into a bit of a mess after you use it, I always give it a wipe before I put it away.

So to sum up this review this palette retails at £39 from Debenhams but the reason I bought it was because I had a £10 voucher from my Beauty Card, the loyalty card from Debenhams, so if I didn’t have the voucher I probably wouldn’t have bought due to it being as expensive. As I mentioned before I’m going away to study for four months so I think this could be the only palette I’m taking due to the colours and the fact it’s in a tin case which makes it a good product to travel with. Sometimes I catch myself opening this palette just to smell it as it’s jus so lovely, I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so in love with a makeup product! Overall I’m delighted with the performance and the look of the product and would recommend to anyone wanting to make a high end purchase!

love, Nicole x

 

Review of the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette