Monday, 19 October 2020

Dealing with maskne

Now that our new normal involves wearing masks or face coverings in shops, bars, restaurants, pubs, on public transport and in schools/other educational institutions, some people are finding that they're suffering with breakouts. As someone who's had acne since I was about 12, I feel like I'm in a pretty good position to offer some recommendation for products to help you deal with maskne, as people are calling it. So here some products I can wholeheartedly recommend for keeping blemishes at bay!

Products marked with a * are press samples; please see my disclaimer for more info.

Tropic Pure Lagoon Serum*

I've had this in my collection for a while and I love it - it's a ride or die for me, and one I'll always repurchase. Use it after cleansing and before moisturiser - it can be quite drying but you want to use it sparingly anyway, just directly onto your more spotty areas. It really works to reduce the size and redness of blemishes! Buy Tropic Pure Lagoon here.

Pixi Glow Tonic*

The original and the best - this glycolic acid toner is amazing for exfoliating the skin without using a physical exfoliant which will only spread bacteria. Pop this on a reusable cotton pad and swipe it over your affected areas, and you're good to go. It smells nice, doesn't dry the skin out or leave a weird film, and works well to reduce redness. Superdrug do a dupe of this which is, in my opinion, a little bit more harsh on the skin - but definitely more affordable. Buy the Pixi Glow Tonic here.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clay Mask*

I love the Effaclar range from La Roche-Posay, and this mask is no exception - I use it twice a week and I've definitely noticed a reduction in the amount of oil my skin produces, which leads to less blemishes. A little goes a long way and you can quite often find this on offer if you look hard enough. Buy the Effaclar Clay Mask here.

L'Oreal Pure Clay Blemish Rescue Mask

Another clay mask that really works, this is one of my favourites and I've repurchased it many a time. It's bright blue so it's fun to use and again, really works in terms of keeping oil at bay and leave your skin feeling nourished and clean at the same time. Buy the L'Oreal Blemish Rescue mask here.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

I haven't used this one for a while but did use it when my skin was a lot worse - it simply dries out your spots, which is great if you're getting big red ones caused by wearing your face mask. It is quite expensive but you only need a tiny bit per spot and this is something everybody raves about in the skincare community! Buy the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion here.

More thoughts on dealing with maskne

Some other ranges I would recommend trying include the Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions range and the Vichy Normaderm products; I've tried a few of these over the years and got on well with them. If you are needing help for dealing with maskne, I hope this post has given you a few ideas for products you can try to solve it! Sudocrem works if you're on a budget, and tea tree oil is great for spots too - both of these can be harsh and drying though, so be careful to use a good moisturiser alongside them. 

Try to stay away from scented creams and anything too thick & buttery that might clog your pores. If you're wearing make up, be sure to take it off completely and do a second cleanse. I love the Pixi x Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse as it has a balm cleanser and a cream cleanser in the same pot, meaning you'll be sure to finish the day off with completely fresh and clean skin. Don't shy away from oil cleansers either, which are great at breaking down make up - if you use oil on your skin, the less oil your skin will need to produce and therefore (in theory) the less spots you'll get!

Stay hydrated and take some vitamin D supplements, which you can buy over the counter, as I found vit D to really help my acne - and they're worth having in your life anyway, especially as we head into the colder and darker months.

There's some advice for dealing with maskne; I'm not a professional, but I've had acne for over 10 years and have tried so many products in that time. These are some of the best, and I wouldn't recommend anything I don't think works. But remember everyone's skin is different! If there's anything you've found to really help when dealing with maskne, please put it in the comments below and share the love.

Monday, 12 October 2020

When Life Gives You Mangoes | Kereen Getten

When I saw this book was coming out, I was dying to read it - and luckily I got my hands on a proof PDF which, frankly, I devoured. Now I just can't wait to get my hands on the physical thing! Anyway, here's my thoughts on the gorgeous When Life Gives You Mangoes, by Kereen Getten.

Set in a small island village, the novel follows 12 year old Clara - an ordinary girl who likes eating mangoes and hanging out with her family and her best friend. She also happens to not remember anything about the previous summer - though at first, we don't know why. The island setting of the book is one that I just adored; in a year where we can't really travel, it was nice to experience a different place through the power of Kereen Getten's beautiful writing; the smells and sounds were pretty easy to imagine, which is no mean feat.

When a new girl arrives on the island, things start to change and adventure starts to bloom. This is ultimately a book about friendship and growing up, but also about memory loss and the toll that can take on someone. While Clara's mother fills in the blanks for her sometimes, the other kids (and her best friend Gaynah) tease her about not being able to remember anything, including why she now can't go near water when surfing was once one of her favourite hobbies. Nobody will tell her everything and as a reader, you can sense the impact this is having on Clara.

I loved the way Kereen wrote the story from Clara's perspective - you really step inside her mind and see things through her eyes, which isn't always easy. The character narration here is spot on and truly, this is such a lovely read. All of the main characters are Black, so if you are looking for books with Black representation (for yourself, your kid or your school library) then I would highly recommend this gorgeous read. And if you're not specifically looking for books with Black representation, read it anyway because it's fantastic.

There's a twist you won't see coming, and plenty of fun along the way. There's sadness and beauty and plenty of strange moments, and overall this is a book you won't regret reading for second.

You can buy 'When Life Gives You Mangos' on Amazon here or Waterstones here.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Five recent reads | October 20

I have been in such a reading slump since July; with going back to work and a bunch of other stuff, I just haven't really had the time or inclination to read. That said, I have managed these 5 books since my birthday - which was over 2 months ago now. A far cry from the 15 books I read in April, eh? Anyway, here are my five most recent reads!
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera was a birthday present from my best friend, Holly. Obviously the title suggests that it's going to be a sad story but I wasn't prepared for the gut-wrenching sobs that left my body when I reached the end of this book! It follows two teenage boys who both know they're living their last day, who find each other and form a friendship that blossoms and changes shape throughout the time they spend together. It is one of the best books (YA or otherwise) I've read in a long time and I would SO recommend it, but make sure you have some tissues with you! BUY IT HERE.

My next read was The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave - Hollie from Hollie in Wanderlust sent me her copy after seeing it on my book wishlist. It's not my usual kind of book, as fantasy just isn't a genre I tend to enjoy for the most part. But I adored the cover of this and I'm really glad it caught my eye because this is a beautiful story of bravery, friendship and the power of belief. It follows Isabella, the daughter of a cartographer, as she joins in the search for her best friend and tries to save her beloved island from things to come. Gorgeous, gorgeous plot - another recommendation from me. BUY IT HERE.

My mum bought me When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk off my Amazon wishlist for my birthday, and although it took me ages to read because I've been so busy - I loved it. It's a YA story about losing friends and finding new ones, about getting through a tough year and dealing with grief, love and everything in between. The protagonist is a Black girl called Cleo, and there's amazing representation in terms of POC and LGBTQ+ characters. It's a lovely book, and not your typical resolution - a happy ending, sure, just not the one you might expect. BUY IT HERE.

I read Cover Your Tracks* next, a thriller set in Scotland that I have reviewed properly here. Written by Claire Askew, I found it to be a really interesting and twisty tale that I could never have guessed the end of! Would definitely recommend. BUY IT HERE.

Finally, my fifth recent read was To Keep You Safe by Kate Bradley. It follows a teacher who is desperately trying to save one of her students - but is this student *really* in danger? There are themes of sex trafficking and drug abuse throughout, as well as mentions of mental illness, so this is something to be aware of. I loved the plot of this book and there were so many bits that I just didn't see coming at all! BUY IT HERE.

Friday, 25 September 2020

Guest post: Age Less Glow Anti-Ageing Tinted Serum | review

It's been a while since I actually published a blog post, AND this isn't even technically me publishing a blog post. The gorgeous Cortney from Food Baby Blogs is jumping on here to do a spot of beauty writing today - she's boss and her kid is cute AND she's having another one, so you should go and follow her on Instagram too. Without further ado...

I met Nikki on the local pop up shop circuit when she was still mixing up this serum in her kitchen. Post pregnancy, my hormones were everywhere and the skin on my face was screaming out for help. I'd previously had mildly oily skin, which I'd learnt how to manage well and what products worked for me. But, towards the end of pregnancy and then even more so just after, my skin was so dry. 

I spent months trying so many products on my face but nothing gave improvement. After a demo of Nikki's Age Less Glow Anti-Ageing Tinted Serum I was convinced enough to part with my cash and buy a travel sized, 15ml bottle to take home. This is the smallest size and costs £15 but holds enough product to last about six weeks. 

The ingredients are all natural and the combination aims to promote cell regeneration and collagen production and even the pigmentation of your skin. After using it for a few weeks I was convinced something in the scent of this magic formula was helping with my anxiety too! 

I applied a few drops each morning to damp skin and found it really soaked into my skin leaving it feeling noticeably better hydrated from the first use. The liquid has an orange colouring and this leaves your skin with a gorgeous glow. Some days I'd even ditch the foundation in favour of the slight sun kissed look the Age Less Glow Serum leaves. For days when makeup was essential I found that after a couple of minutes the serum has left me with the perfect base for applying. 

Speaking to Nikki, her passion for skincare is obvious. Every ingredient in this serum has been well researched and carefully selected before it makes the list. This serum feels and smells amazing. I am now a loyal fan and have stocked up on the bigger sizes. I now notice the difference in my skin if I skip the serum for a few days. This is a skincare product I would genuinely recommend spending on. 

Huge thanks to Cortney for sharing this review over here, definitely make sure you give her a follow and check out her blog. I'll be back soon with some posts of my own, I promise...

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Huge book haul: Summer 2020

I just love books, and I love buying books - a bit ridiculous because I never really have time to read, but hey. Lockdown was great for my reading habits but now I'm back at my part-time job AND have a lot of regular freelance work coming in, I don't have as much time to pick up a book as I'd like. Naturally, I've bought a load of books recently anyway and I got some for my birthday too, as well as being sent some from publishers. Without further ado, here's all the books I've accumulated over the past month or so!

Books from The Works

I honestly think The Works is fantastic for books - 3 paperbacks for £5? Amazing. You have to trawl through a bit, but it's worth it. I've done two orders over the past two months and here's the books I got from The Works:

To Keep You Safe by Kate Bradley
The Roommates by Rachel Sargeant
The Other Mrs by Mary Kubica
The Guilty Dead by P J Tracey
Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas
Hysteria by L J Ross
Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce
The Catch by T M Logan
The Reunion by Guillaume Musso
The Puppet Boy of Warsaw by Eva Weaver (which I actually bought from Tesco, but I didn't want to make an entirely new section for one book so here we are)

Birthday books

It was my birthday in July (hey 25) and I got a few books from my loved ones - books make the best gifts, don't they? These are the ones I received:

Queenie by Candice Carty Williams
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Can Everyone Please Calm Down? by Mae Martin
A Chip Shop in PoznaƄ: My Unlikely Year in Poland by Ben Aitken
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk

ARCs from publishers

As I review books on my blog, I get sent pre-release copies of books from time to time which is joyous. Here's some I've been sent recently as well as one I've got access to on Netgalley!

Cracked by Louise McCreesh*
Cover Your Tracks by Claire Askew*
Hermit by S R White*
The Diver and The Lover by Jeremy Vine*
When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten

So there's all the books I've added to my shelves over the past month or so - I'm sure I've missed some, which is ridiculous, but I should be all set for reading for the rest of 2020 at least.