Wednesday, 21 March 2018

THREE OF MY FAVOURITE FACE MASKS




Don’t you just love it when you find a wonderful face mask? I’ve certainly found 3 that I keep going back to time and time again, so I thought i’d take this opportunity to share them with you all. 


Origins is one of my all time favourite brands, and it is certainly no secret that their skincare is excellent quality and just wonderful on the skin, so its hardly surprising that two out of three of these masks are from Origins (totally not sponsored) 

The first that I have loved for YEARS has to be the Origins overnight drink-up intensive mask, wow this product is amazing. 
First of all it smells incredible, and secondly, my skin feels so hydrated when I wake up in the morning after using this. As we seem to be having nothing but cold weather and snow recently I find it is even more essential my skin needs a really good intensive moisturise. This isn't thick and heavy, it sinks so nicely into my skin, and I definitely feel as though it is absorbed well. I usually use this mask twice a week, although when I was in Slovenia as it was so cold, I used it every night and it didn't have any adverse affect to my skin for doing that, which was wonderful to know. 

Next up is the Origins out of trouble 10 minute mask, is another long time favourite, it is aimed for oily skin, to soak up that wonderful shine (which btw it does fantastically) and evens out rough textures of skin, and helps reduce breakouts. Now I have been getting awful breakouts recently, its like I've been harvesting a couple hundred volcanos on my jawline, so I find using this mask at least once or twice a week just helps to reduce a couple of the volcanos, and to just really cleanse any dirt and oil away from my skin. I definitely notice how clean and even my skin feels after using this product. I find a little goes a long way, although I do lay it heavier on my more problem areas, when needed. 

Finally another favourite is the Body Shop warming mineral mask, this always feels so nice to apply, the more you work it on to your skin with your fingers the warmer it feels, now don't worry it doesn’t get really hot, it just has a nice temperature to it, which in this cold weather is helpful. Applying a cold mask when already cold is never fun. Again this mask is aimed for reducing oily skin, which it definitely does the job on that, I definitely notice the appearance of my skin looks a lot more matte after using. The only downside I have noticed is that as the product is so thick, like clay. It is so hard to squeeze out of the tube, especially when its a few months old. I actually thought the top had dried up and blocked the hole, but it just seems to become so thick so it is a bit of a pain to get out and onto your face, but so worth it. My boyfriend even loves this one, he always asks me to pamper him and apply this face mask, so it’s a winner all round in this household.

Do you use any of these face masks? Do you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

GLOSSIER PRODUCTS I AM CURRENTLY LOVING


It seems like a long time ago the glossier hype started, when they announced shipping in the UK.I umm’ed and ahh’ed over purchasing a few items for a while, but I did the typical thing and bought into the hype. 


I decided to hang off writing this post, because I wanted to truly see if I enjoyed the products I purchased or whether or not I would disregard them. The answer a few months on is I LOVE THEM. 

If finances weren’t a thing and I wasn’t saving to buy a house then I can whole heartedly say ladies and gentleman that I would have gone back for more, but alas I am being good with my money. 


The first item I am loving is the Glossier priming moisturiser, I use this every morning before applying any make-up, it is lightweight on my skin, and sinks in quickly (which is a total dream when ya girls in a rush 24/7) I feel as though this gives my skin a more even finish, even before makeup is applied. It definitely gives the appearance of smaller pores and I actually feel more confident with my skin when using this, I look dewy and glowy with it, which is ultimately my all time look. 


Next up is boy brow. Boy oh boy is this thing good. I’ve used gimme brow for a long time prior to discovering glossier, but this my friend is just amazing. A few strokes of this on my eyebrows gives me the illusion they are thicker and bushier than they actually are. I never thought a product could so quickly make it look as though I have spent time filling in my brows, whilst making them look natural. This is by far a product I will 150% be repurchasing. For reference I got the brown shade, and its the perfect colour for me.



Lets move on to cloud paint, I picked up the shade puff, I love it but sometimes I find the tone too pink for me and I feel as though it makes me look a little flushed. However, I can assure you a little goes a long way. Although saying that, every time I consciously make the effort to squeeze the smallest amount out, its like half the product comes flying out the tube. Maybe its just me, being heavy handed. 

I love that the product is build-able, and its pretty dewy too, which is perfect for me, I love lightweight products that make me feel  as though I don't have anything on my skin. I definitely want to try out some of the other shades. 



Finally, lets move onto Glossier - You. This isn’t something I purchased when they first started shipping to the UK, I bought the rest of my order and they kindly popped in a sample spray of this perfume, and I became obsessed. Even my boyfriend kept commenting on how nice I smelt. ( hopefully he didn't think I smelt bad before hand). 

I am absolutely 100% terrible at describing perfume scents, but I love the branding that “you are the first ingredient” I think it is very clever. 
I ended up getting this perfume as a Christmas present, I want to wear it every day because I genuinely love it so much, although I do hold off sometimes as it is quite expensive for a small bottle. 


I am currently wanting to purchase more products, I especially want to try the lidstar. 

Which Glossier products do you love? 

Monday, 26 February 2018

REACHING AN INSTAGRAM MILESTONE


This is by far my biggest milestone and achievement on this social networking site. I must say for me it has been a slow process, I see others fly past my achievements and often I think what am I doing wrong. 

I guess its not wrong, because its only social media, and its something I enjoy. Some days I don’t post because work is so busy, or other days I’m having a creative block, yet through all of these moments I have made it to this huge achievement and I have met (virtually) some of the nicest bloggers, who I support and they support me, and my heart feels overwhelmed by that. 




I look at my own feed and I am proud of how far it has come, I looked back at my first Instagram posts the other day, and I couldn’t believe how much my style, my life and everything had changed; it is a change for the better. 


Whilst I continue to grow, I am nurturing my account and I do this because I genuinely enjoy posting on Instagram, along with the interaction I have with the rest of the community it is wonderful and I feel a sense of joy belonging somewhere in there. 

To me hitting 1k was huge, and will always be huge, its up and down, I have bot accounts who follow and unfollow and that takes me back under 1k, but for the most part it is staying where it should be and I am excited for the continued progression of my wonderful little account. 


Thank you to each and every one of you who follows my Instagram account, I have found some wonderful people through Instagram and I hope to continue this in the future. 

If you aren't following me, and would like to my username is @jessicalaarr 


Monday, 19 February 2018

A WEEKEND IN THE LAKE DISTRICT

I’d never visited the Lakes before, I had high hopes for some great photography, however, that didn't necessarily go as planned, and you will find out why. 

I wasn’t quite prepared for the rapid weather changes that can occur in the Lake district. 
We drove down on Friday, it was a beautiful clear day, blue skies, and we began to see snow topped mountains as we were driving along the motorway, I honestly felt as though I was in another country, it was spectacular. 

It took us around 2 hours to get to the Lake District. Once we arrived, we stopped off in a cute town called Keswick to meet up with our “friends’ we would be spending the weekend with. I use friends in this terms as its my partners friend and his girlfriend, i’d never met either of them before, however they were fabulous.

We stopped at The Royal Oak to get some very late lunch / early dinner, before heading off to our lodge for the weekend. 

The lodge we stayed in was not far from Keswick, it came equipped with a hot tub, which was AMAZING! We made plenty of use out of this luxury, until we all looked like shrivelled prunes, at which point we got out and played some board games. 




Along came Saturday and that was about to be known as Hike day, well if we could actually make it to the mountain. 


Remember when I said Friday was lovely weather, but it changes rapidly, yes well that is exactly what it did. We woke up and it seemed to have been raining ALL NIGHT, whilst it was still looking a bit grim, we all put our wet weather gear on and prepared to face the mountains. 

The mountain we wanted to climb was Scafell Pike, it was around an hour drive from our accommodation, which of course was going to be absolutely fine! 

Fine you say, Jess. Wrong! 

Our Sat nav tried its hardest to get us there, but each time we hit a dead end, either because the road was randomly closed, or because the road was so flooded my car would have been going for a swim rather than a drive. 
A lovely local directed us back onto more main roads, and near enough over 2 hours later we finally made it to Scafell pike. 


We at least I guessed we were there, the viability was so poor I couldn't actually see the mountain, or the Lake which surrounds it, sounds pleasant right!?



We were advised not to climb up, the viability was poor, wind up to 60mph at the top, ALOT of snow and ice, but boys being boys were adamant it would be fine, and so our journey up the mountain began. 

It was steep, and technical, I mean not that I have anything to compare to, I haven’t actually climbed a mountain before, and I'm convinced the weather was not the right time for the first ever one. 


But never fear, everything was okay because we had lots of sweets and Maryland cookies, although I swear those cookies have reduced in size since I was a kid!



We slowly made our way up icy rocks, through fast flowing streams, and began hiking through snow that, at times was so deep it came past my knees. We continued, following a sludgy path where other people had walked, which we presumed was the way, because all we could see was snow, everything looked the exact same. 



BUT can you believe it, we MADE IT TO THE TOP! It took us a whopping 3 hours, and I was SHATTERED. 


The only problem with making it to the top was having to make it back down again and it looked quite terrifying. I fell over one too many times, and also ended up in a stream so I had to walk the last leg of my journey with a squelching noise in my boots. Oh SO glamorous. 


It took us just over an hour to get down Scafell pike, to be honest I think we skidded most of the way, but we all made it down very safely and made the long drive back to our lodge to have some well earn drinks in the hot tub. It was absolute bliss. 


Sunday was mostly spent packing up and leaving the lodge we stayed in, however, I had a wonderful weekend, and it felt like such an achievement climbing a mountain. 




I definitely want to plan another trip to the Lake district, so if you have any recommendations do let me know. 

Monday, 12 February 2018

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF CARE



I am a huge advocate for self care, in both my online life and in my professional life. It’s something I aim to address for myself and others, who may be suffering from a mental health difficulty in particular, however, regardless practicing self care is equally as important even if your mental health is okay. 
When I talk about self care or self soothing  I don’t mean *making sure you took a wash* of course that is important, and if you are not doing that, it should be addressed. What I really mean though is taking time for yourself. 


We live in a society where everything is such a fast paced environment, we have the pressure of just trying to live our life along with the pressures of social media endorsements, it can leave us feeling utterly exhausted. I know I often feel drained by trying to have a relationship, friendships, keep a house going, working full time, keeping up with social media. Even writing that list makes me feel overwhelmed, so chances are people aren’t taking time for themselves, because they feel they have so much to do. 



Do you find yourself saying “I just don’t have time” , “ I had to work late” , “i’ve not done anything to deserve a treat” ?



Well take a step back for a moment, and lets put things into perspective a little bit here. We as humans have this wonderful nature of caring for others, telling others they are doing well, but do we ever pat ourselves on the back, or take a 5 minute break? Probably not, I see it and hear it all the time in my professional life, which is why I feel so passionate about encouraging people to self soothe, because it can work wonders for your mental health. 


Doing something to self soothe does not need to involve money, going to spas or weekend trips away, no honey I’m talking little daily changes. Everyone is individual and what you enjoy, may not be an enjoyment for others, but I have come up with a small list which you can take some inspiration from.

SELF CARE IDEAS 

go for a walk 
take a bath 
paint your nails 
draw 
write in a journal 
light a candle
take some time (it could be 1 hour) office away from social media 
read that book you’ve been meaning to read 
buy a bunch of flowers for yourself 
meditate / do some yoga - you don’t have to be good
put on your favourite music album 
call a friend or family member 
laugh - force it out - trust me if you are having a bad day do this, it really works



Its not an extensive list, but it’s a start and hopefully it has got you thinking on some things you can easily do to be kind to yourself. 

Life is busy, unfortunately that is the way society is, but we can care for ourselves and find time to do these little things, the small things can make such a difference to our mental health and wellbeing. We often take ourselves for granted and don’t allow ourselves time to be kind, yet we all deserve it, no matter who you are in the world you deserve to be kind to yourself and allow yourself to self soothe. 



I challenge you to try at least one self soothing thing per day, and see if you notice a difference. 

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

FINDING A LOVE FOR INTERIORS

Well, here I am taking Interiors. 


A little fact for all you wonderful people: when I was little I always wanted to buy houses and do them up, like grand designs. I also was obsessed with watching 60 minute makeovers and still love that sort of thing now. 

So as you can tell, I have very much always been into interiors, however, its a hard thing to love, when your money is limited and you are wanting to save for bigger things i.e. buying a house. 

I’m trying to limit the homeware I buy, because lets face it, I would much rather hold out until we do have a house, however, for now I am still living in a wonderful rented apartment, and I am trying my best to style it well and affordably. 


There are some really affordable places that do prints and stylish homeware selections of bookshelf ornaments, or if you are like me you can try and draw your own art work. 




I have recently discovered Maison Du Monde where I caved in and bought a beautiful chair for my desk.

Well, I actually sat on my old one and broke it *read into that how you please* 

It is the small features, such as this beautiful vintage looking chair that adapt and change the aesthetics of the room, not to mention the plants I am still managing to keep alive. In comparison to some of the other companies out there, this chair was super affordable and stylish all in one. 


Erm HELLO what more could a girl ask for!




Due to the fact that we must save, and saving in your 20’s when you don't live at home is bloody hard, it means that I don’t have the interiors set up I would like or have set out in my mind, but it doesn’t matter because i’m building it up slowly and appreciating every thing I am able to purchase. 





I’m definitely on the hunt for more affordable interior brands, so if you are familiar with any then hit me up.

Are you into interior shopping?

Friday, 2 February 2018

A REVIEW OF JANUARY


Well, January was an exceptionally long month, wasn’t it!? I don't think I was the only one to be a little bit sick to death of January, which I feel bad for saying. I try to remind myself not to wish the days away, however, post Christmas and a very long stretch until pay day, January just felt a little much. 

I've decided to do a little bit of a look back over January, I might try and do this for more months. Whilst I was planning this post, I realised how easily things happen, yet I completely forget about them, so in a way it is nice to have small achievements documented. 


First up, my mental health. 2017 was a bit up and down with my mental health, although may I point out, the downs were never as severe as historic downs I have experienced. Nonetheless, I came off my anti depressants which felt like a bad idea at the start, considering I also came off the contraceptive pill at the same time. Roll on to January of 2018 and I have had a really great month with my mental health, for once in my life my brain has felt mostly levelled, I haven’t cried at the drop of a hat, and I’ve taken things in my stride. I am so proud of this, I know its only been a month, but I am feeling positive to continue this journey, it’s early days but I’m hoping the things I am doing will continue to make my mental health continue in a positive direction. 

Which leads me nicely into my next achievement, I strongly believe this accounts for the large majority of my good mental health days in January. 
I have been exercising again, in 2017 I completely lost my motivation, albeit going to the gym here and there. It got to January and I gave myself a good talking to, In my mind I always know the gym and exercise makes me feel good, so I decided to make a real effort to make it there. 
Now don’t get me wrong, this has been difficult, with a stressful job, coming home and going to the gym is not something I wish to do (i’d rather lay on the sofa in my comfy clothes) but I am so proud of myself, I have been going to the gym 4-5 times a week, i’ve been doing around 45 minutes to 1 hour on those days, with a mixture of cardio and weights. I feel fantastic for doing this, and I am 90% sure this is the reason my mental health has been so good in January. 


I’ve also pushed myself out of my comfort zone and socialised, I was invited to a dinner and drinks night with some of the girls from work, the majority of these colleagues I do not know particularly well, I was nervous, I felt sick and my anxiety was through the roof on the evening. But my gosh am I proud, usually if my anxiety was so bad I would have a tendency to make an excuse like sorry i’m sick. I didn’t do that, I got ready and I went, I chatted, I drank and I had a fantastic night. I felt such a strong sense of achievement that may seem so insignificant to others, but for me this was a big deal, especially as I didn’t know these people very well and normally I find comfort with someone I know well who usually understands how I may feel, but they had no idea. We now have another dinner night booked, and I am going to that as well. 


Finally, this achievement sounds a little bigger than the rest, In January I got the email to say I graduated from my post graduate. I am absolutely over the moon, and looking back it makes me realise I can do anything I put my mind to (sadly I have a tendency to be negative towards myself) but I did it, I worked so hard on my post graduate, whilst working a full time job, and I feel so much pride. I look back to my younger years and never thought I would make it through school or college but here I am, graduating with a post graduate, and helping others in the best way I possibly can, and that makes me so proud. 

All in all, it seems that January has in fact been a great month for me. I have some trips coming up in the next few months which I am so excited for, so stay tuned for those, and hopefully for me to continue working on these small achievements (well for now I am nursing a cold and cough). 

What are your achievements in January?