Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Bex's current skincare routine (for dehydrated/dry skin)



I wouldn't say that I went on holiday just to go shopping but I won't lie and say that it wasn't a deciding factor when choosing my destination. I was on a rescue mission when it came to my skin so I didn't hold back. Here is what I bought, where I bought it and what has quickly become (along with a few old faves) my daily skin care routine. 

I've long lusted after Sephora, famed for its mix of affordable and premium brands. It's kind of like the really posh Boots beauty halls but on a super sized scale. From their home brand (which is mostly what I stocked up on) to super premium ranges like La Mer (ha! I'll never be able to afford them) and everything in between. My favourite part was where they had dozens of Urban Decay Naked palettes stacked as if they weren't precious treasure to be kept locked away in a secure location as they are over here. They also had three Benefit Cosmetics counters. Three! 

As for the pharmacy brands I've been using La Roche Posay and other French skincare brands for a few years and really wanted to stock up on a few items that are not available in NI yet, as well as a few that are. I don't know if it's the thermal spring water they use or just the decades of expertise but my skin loves it and so I tend to keep a large amount stock piled. 



Every time I've tried to buy GlamGlow Thirsty mud at home it has been totally sold out so I was super happy to see it in stock along with these travel size miniatures of the Powermud and Youthmud.



My pharmacy haul. Bioderma is crazy difficult to get in Northern Ireland so it was top of my list. I only know of one place that stocks it and that is a small pharmacy in south Belfast. It's only my to do list to head down and see just what they stock so I don't have to go such extremes to restock!
Also, I've mentioned this before, but despite their supposed mask qualities I use both the Hydraphase and the Hydreane masks from La Roche-Posay as normal moisturisers. They're light enough that they can be used without overloading your skin.

Sephora masks. These masks come in at €2 - €3 a pop and are so good. I focused on stocking up on the moisturising masks but there is every type you can think of and part of me wishes I had bought more. They even have glove masks for your hands!!


Sheet eye masks are usually crazy expensive. These are so not. 



These little jelly type overnight masks can get two uses if you're clever with your application. Thrifty tip!


It's banana hand cream! I love this hand milk from TonyMoly, it leaves my hands so soft. Fun banana fact: the common banana scent and taste used in products is actually from an extinct species of banana. So if you wonder why bananas don't taste or smell like banana flavoured things it's because it doesn't exist anymore!


A menthol stick for your eyes in the shape of a panda. Nuff Said. 

Those of you with a keen eye for Korean cosmetic trend will notice that TonyMoly is more famed for their sheet masks available on amazon. I'll make sure to leave links below.


And finally we have two lovely peach/coral blushes from the Sephora own brand. I should probably be ashamed that these are the only two pieces of actual make up I bought... But I'm not. I was in full skin care mode!
Also here's proof that these gorge blushes are definitely different shades.

Totally different colours! 


As well as these new products I am also continuing to use my old favourites. La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL, Cicaplast and Lipikaur ranges are pure lifesavers and I have been using the iconic Embryolisse for almost exactly four years since first purchasing it at IMATs London  If you want read about my first experience with La Roche-Posay skincare products and see just how long I've been using them then click here

All products available in the UK online listed below:

Glamglow Glam Glow Youth Mud Mask
La Roche-Posay Anthelio XL Comfort Cream
Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Balm
La Roche Posay Hydreane Extra Rich Moisturizing Cream
La Roche Posay Hydraphase Mask
Bioderma Hydrabio H2O Cleansing Micelle Solution
Bioderma Atoderm Cream
Bioderma Hydrabio Eau De Soin Spf30
Embryolisse Concentrated Milk Cream
Tony Moly Panda´s Dream So Cool Eye Stick
Tony Moly Magic Food Banana Hand Milk
TONYMOLY I'm real mask sheet

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

5 ways to make the most of Paris (and any other city break destination)


I am now and for the foreseeable future a city break person. I never thought it would happen but here we are. My recent trip to Paris has given me a renewed sense of "ffs sake Bex you're 30 you need to see the world!" City breaks are great and thanks to apps like AirBnb and Citymapper they are cheap and easy to navigate.

 Still, the world of city breaks are new to me and there are a few things I noted during my trip that I'd like to share with you all. My 5 tips to making the most of Paris (and any other city break destination)

Watching the Euro 2016 on the streets of Montmarte.
Allez les bleus!


Watch your step. 


I'm an architecture fan and love walking around with my head in the air taking in my surroundings but unfortunately Paris is not a city fond of level surfaces. I lost count of the number of times I tripped on an unlevel pavement slab. It was tremendous graceful. So do me a favour look down. 

You may or may not see tricolor chickens. 


Look up!




That being said you really do need to pay attention to your surroundings. Paris isn't what you would call a tall city but it is a beautiful one. Even when I was sitting in my flat I'd head out to the balcony and just take it all in. I don't know how they've done it but they have managed to keep the olde world quaintness in a bustling modern city. 

Stay above ground


They say Paris is a city to discover on foot and whether you walk or get the bus my recommendation is definitely to stay above ground. The metro may be tremendous fun (it really is fun and ridiculously easy to navigate) but you'll never see the whole city if you spend 80% of your trip travelling underground. The bus routes are amazing also, I was able to get from my flat in Montmarte straight to the Champs-Elysée in one trip and by buying a stack of 10 tickets (Carnet de 10 tickets can be used on all city based public transport) for just over 10€, it's mega cheap too. 



Eat cake every day


It's sounds like pure gluttony but, when you think about the sheer amount of walking you will do around the city, you are completely justified in your decision to grab that Croissant aux beurre for breakfast. Paris has not escaped the "artisan" trend so you'll see Artisan Boulangerie's on every street. 

You'll see both Croissants and Croissant aux beurre on offer. Trust me, pay the extra 10 cents and get the buttery version. Heaven. 

Don't queue!! 




Can you think of anything worse than standing for two hours in a queue to see an attraction? I love museums and I love landmarks but there are always better ways to spend your time than queuing. When I tipped up to Versailles early on Tuesday morning there was no less than two thousand people (I'm not even exaggerating) waiting to get in to the main house. I strolled around the back and entered the gardens about 30 seconds later. 3 hours after that, having done most of the gardens and all the surrounding terrasse/houses, I strolled straight into the house. No queue. 

My biggest regret was not buying one of the electric golf carts to tour the gardens. My calves hated me as did the Andy Powell in me. 






Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Faeriwood Travels: My pre Paris plans





The last and only time I've been to Paris was in 2009 and I was visiting my best friend Gayle. She was studying abroad at the time and we got to live in the French student life in the suberbs for a few days, a privilege that seems in danger in the midst of the UK's current political drama. 

Whilst we were there we did all the usual touristy things. We spent a lot of time on the metro going between landmarks. We visited the Eiffel Tower and Notredame, we quickly jumped off the metro in the middle of the Champs Elysee in order to take dodgy distant pictures of the Arc De Triomphe and the Obélisque de Luxor (just to say we had been there), we dined in Montmarte and pretended we were dancers at the Moulin Rouge. We had an amazing time. 

This time I'm going on my own and I have different needs and priorities for a short city break. I have arranged a flat through Airbnb which even comes with a cat to make me feel at home and I'm going to be focussing on relaxation as my main priority. Yes, there will be cake, yes there will be sightseeing and shopping but if all goes to plan I will be living La Vie Parisienne rather the life of a tourist. 

So what will I be doing?




Sightseeing
Originally I planned a full day in Disney and a full day at Versailles. Versailles is still happening but Disney has been postponed to another time, one not smack bang at the start of summer season. I've been to some of the major landmarks already but there are so many more and to be honest I'm leaving it pretty open as to which ones I visit. One thing you have to bear in mind with Paris is that most museums and attractions close on either Monday or a Tuesday. Where I go depends on what day I feel like exploring. 


Eating out
Now with a boulangerie and a sushi bar at the bottom of my street I probably never need to go more than a 100 yards from the apartment to eat but this is me we're talking about and food is a major part of my plans. 
Unfortunately because I'm only going for a few days I won't get to do my favourite thing when visiting a different country: raid the hypermarkets! Instead I will of course be hitting up any pâtisseries and cafés I come across during my wandering and I'm hoping to search out some cool restaurants/street food around Montmarte.  

Suggestions welcome!


Shopping
I have only two wishes when it comes to shopping while I'm away. The first is to raid every French pharmacy I can find as their pharmacy brands are amazing and have such a huge range. My second and main wish is Sephora. Ok, so some might say it's just an over priced Boots but the call of Sephora is one of a spoiled child. I can't have it here therefore I want it all. I have few things in mind that I want to get but mostly I foresee lots of initial cooing over the exotic makeup brands, a bit of self doubt and over thinking and then probably walking away with a fully swatches hand, not very much in my bag and a credit card sighing a breath of relief. A standard day out shopping for Bex then...

If you have any Sephora or French cosmetics recommendations then id love to hear about them!


Enjoying my own company
I feel it's important to talk about why I'm going away on my own. I'm a very social person by nature. As much as I love quiet time I would much rather have company and go out with friends. So when it came to travel plans I was always looking for a partner. Someone to share the experience with and give a bit a safety in numbers. It's probably the biggest draw back of being eternally single is that you don't have that automatic person. I realised a while back that adult life doesn't allow much of this. My time off work maybe isn't the same as theirs. Budget differences, destination preferences, responsibilities. It all got in the way. I came to realise that I was going to wait on other people I was going to die waiting.

So I'm going it alone. I'm a bit nervous if I'm honest but it's a personal challenge that I need to overcome. My mum is freaking out. Solo travel for a female still has a massive stigma attached to it and I'm constantly being told to stay safe... As if I plan to be wreckless... Have they met me? 


And there you have my priorities for Paris (and pretty much all of life to be perfectly honest). I'm hoping to travel more often and hopefully that won't always be solo travel but I'm excited to take this step. To take a glimpse into my last trip to Paris I've linked the video I made during my huge phase of music video photo collages. 



Friday, 1 July 2016

My month in film: June



Euro 2016
Even I couldn't escape the football hype for this years Euro's. Northern Ireland and Ireland had a beautiful campaign and we all celebrated hard when they both got through to the knockouts. Sadly they didn't make it to any of the finals and my interest quickly waned but it was a good few weeks while it lasted. 

12 Years A Slave
I don't know why it took me so long to watch 12 Years A Slave but I am glad I finally got round to it. I really don't need to say any more than that.

Colombiana
I was sold at Zoe Saldana and she's pretty much the only reason to watch it was originally conceived as a sequel to Leon with Natalie Portman becoming an assassin but her schedule wouldn't allow it and so it was re-jigged. I could easily see a fun drinking game being made out of all the continuity errors and historical inaccuracies. You'd be trashed. 

Game of thrones
Series 6 has finished and I am distraught. I lost a beloved character this season (weirdly just the one) and I'm not ok, it's going to be a long 10 months until series 7 is released but thankfully living in Northern Ireland has the benefit of every man and their hound working for the show and rumours/spoilers keep us going during filming. 

 
Independence Day: Resurgence 
They used every cliché and trope in the book and they used them multiple times. You would need to bring nachos to this film because it full of hot steamy beautiful cheese... Classic Jeff Goldblum. If you embrace all of this then Independence Day Resurrgence is quite enjoyable. I had low expectations and came away surprisingly entertained. I feel like I say that far too often about major blockbusters. 
(Also... bring back Mae Whitman!) 

Saturday, 18 June 2016

DIY Facemasks with Vitacoco Coconut Oil



It's become an accepted part of life that you cannot move these days without hitting a tub of coconut oil. It's everywhere; in your food, your beauty products, even your dental care! Coconut oil properties are almost endless with anti-oxidant, anti-ageing, anti-fungal, ketogenic, sun-protecting and moisturising being just a few of them! Yes despite being high in calories and saturated fats (which we are demonising less these days) this wonderful beast can do everything!

There's a reason it's a meme. 

For a while now I've been using coconut oil in my hair, my cooking, and as a cleanser but the lovely folk at Vita Coco Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil  challenged myself and few others to create our own DIY Coconut Oil Facemasks.

Challenge accepted.



Now the recipe they sent to some was a lovely lime jobby. It would have left a zingy refreshing touch to your skin but I've have a hard slog over the past few days/weeks/months and my skin needed something a bit more... Healing. 

I opted initially for tumeric. A scary thought as I had visions of dyeing my face yellow and having to go into work the next day looking quite odd. Thankfully my heavy research told me that you only needed a tiny amount of tumeric to make use of its anti-inflammatory purposes (which in this face mask will help with redness and discolouration to even out my skin tone). 

During the mixing I decided I wanted some added "oompf" so I squeezed in a bit of raw honey, sadly not pictured but the brand I use is called Rowse and all of their honeys are raw. Mine had slightly crystallised which was great because as well as the antibacterial properties I was gaining an exfoliant! Double whammy ingredients for the win!

Practically speaking I would definitely recommend doing this one in the bath. Be naked. The coconut melts as soon as it comes in contact with your skin (Vita Coco itself is softer than other coconut oils I have used in the past and will melt quicker) so you need to be prepared for drippage, and with the tumeric you need to protect from staining... Nakedness in a large body of water is key. Football as your viewing choice while snapchatting your progress from the bath is optional (I'm weirdly drawn in to this years Euros).



And there you have it. My skin was in heaven after this and I'm definitely going to experiment with more DIY masks in the future. 

Ingredients
1 tbsp Vita Coco Coconut Oil
1 tbsp Raw honey 
1 pinch Tumeric

Method
Mix together and apply to face using a flat face/foundation brush. Do not add heat, the coconut oil will soften naturally as you work with it.