Testing Sanctuary Spa!

Hello! Today I’m doing a review of the brand Sanctuary Spa. They are sold in Boots and Superdrug and they sell skin and body care products. I was very excited to try them!

These products were gifted to me by a company called Love Me Beauty in exchange for a review on their website. I am not obligated to write a blog post. Love Me Beauty started as a subscription box but now they sell makeup under the name Phase Zero Beauty. I may write a post on my experiences with this review service and how you can get involved at a later date, but for now, let’s focus on the products.

There are three products I am reviewing today. One is a face mask, and the other two are body washes.

First is the 3 Day Long Lasting Moisture Shower Burst. The shower burst is my personal favourite from the trio. It comes out in a thick mousse, like shaving foam. You only need a tiny amount as it goes a long way. I love the smell of it too! My only complaint is the packaging. I find it hard to control how much comes out, and the lid also leaks a little, making it look a little messy. The product claims that it will keep your skin ‘feeling clean, ultra-soft and moisturised for up to 3 days’. I haven’t noticed a change in this, but I will definitely repurchase it because I like the smell. There are also similar bursts with different scents, so if this one doesn’t appeal then you could easily try another!

Next is the 5 Minute Thermal Charcoal Detox Mask. Since my skin is oily and acne prone, I tend to go with masks that reduce acne. I was excited to try something different! The mask has a very thick consistency, and it warms instantly. I find the smell very off putting: it reminds me of sawdust. Although my skin was definitely softer after using it the first few times, I did not notice a long term difference. I don’t think I will replace this when it is finished.

The final product in the package is the Triple Cleansing Mousse. This one is thinner than the other one, and you need to use more product. It smells very citrusy, which I like. The one problem is it has to be shaken before it is used. It feels like a workout: my arms are practically falling off before I’ve used it! There is a warning on the package that it can increase your exposure to sun damage. This isn’t an issue for me since I’m always wearing sleeves regardless of the weather, but it’s something to take into account if you’re considering buying the product. I’m unsure if I would purchase this. I really like the smell, but the vigorous shaking puts me off!

I hope you enjoyed this review! I am so happy that I had the opportunity to try Sanctuary Spa products and I’m looking forward to trying more in the future! My mum received a Sanctuary Spa gift set for Christmas, so I may ‘borrow’ some of the products from that to use!

What’s your favourite beauty brand?

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‘Elle’s Écrit, Ils Parlent’: Geraldine Talks

Hi everyone! Today I’m chatting with Geraldine from Geraldine Talks. She is so supportive, and I was so excited to interview her!

Ellen: You post a wide variety of content on your blog. What are your favourite posts to write?

Geraldine: That is a tough one. I’d have to say I enjoy writing up the “how to” posts, whether it was about how to make your nails pretty for the season or how to take a break and what to do for self care! I honestly need to write more of those because I enjoy it so much. There’s more to come though!

E: Sounds good! What’s your favourite post that you’ve written?

G: I would have to say my favourite so far is my post about Stretches to Give Yourself a Break! I loved combining research for the post with stretches I do myself that I thought would be helpful to share. Plus, I got to include my own illustrations in it too!

E: What inspired you to write it?

G: I actually wrote it partly as a reminder for myself haha! I wrote it in hopes of getting it through my head that I really need to stop sitting for long periods of time at my desk and stretch. I spend a lot of time sitting, whether it’s for work or when I’m at home and just browsing the net. It’s especially important for my profession because I bend a lot for work and stretching helps your back relieve some stress and get stronger and more resilient. I know many others also sit for most of the day so I thought it would serve as a helpful reminder to others as well. We know that certain things are helpful or important to do but sometimes we need that extra push!

E: That’s so cool! I’m sure it helped lots of people too. I really enjoyed reading your post Prince Edward Island- Week 1. Why did you decide to write that one?

G: Thanks for reading! I really enjoyed writing that one. I wrote it because I figured not many people know about Prince Edward Island. To be honest, I wouldn’t have either had it not been for my boyfriend who lives there! That’s my second reason why I wrote it, because it’s a pretty significant even that happened in my life, where I got to meet my boyfriend and his family for the first time! We met online so this is why I say that. I don’t get to travel often but I would definitely write more travel posts if I could. It was definitely a beautiful place to visit and I definitely recommend it to everyone!

E: That’s great! You also write about your experiences with Dental Hygiene on your blog. Why did you decide to study it?

G: I’m actually quite a bit ashamed of it but I wanted to study it because it only required a short schooling plus it makes decent money (I didn’t read the fine print). It’s not something I ever thought of or wanted to do. I had no interest whatsoever in healthcare- it was always with art! However, I went for this field because of the reasons I mentioned earlier, plus figuring that there would be more job availabilities near me. I actually posted a blog post talking about my current life situation regarding my job and how I’m looking to switch gears.

E: Why did you decide to write about dental hygiene on your blog?

G: At the time I wanted to start a blog, I was going through dental hygiene school. I thought it would be interesting to document how life was whilst being in a hygiene program would be like for those who were looking to become one themselves and wished to know the whole process, as well as for anyone who was just curious. Many of my classmates who had already received a bachelor’s degree had all said that dental hygiene school was a lot tougher than it was to get their four year degree so I wanted all the more to write down my progress. Well turns out that I was too busy to start my blog and chickened out so I only got to start it after graduating! Everyone has teeth and I’m sure some people have questions about oral health so I thought to share some helpful tips or information with everyone, as a newly graduated registered dental hygienist.

E: Sounds good! What kind of feedback have you had on those posts?

G: I unfortunately haven’t released too many posts that are dental hygiene related but in every or at least most of the posts I published, I received good feedback as well as comments in which the reader said that they learned something new from it! When I started my blog, dental hygiene topics were all I wanted to talk about but now it seems like my brain has gone in a different direction! I will still however be posting some dental hygiene related topics here and there!

E: That’s so good! I’m excited to read it! What’s your favourite quote?

G: So I don’t actually have just one favourite quote! There are so many good ones about different aspects of life! I’m going to cheat a bit here and talk about the lyrics ‘I Like’ by One Republic. Ever since I first heard that song, it always struck a chord with me. It tells you to take all your chances and risk doing things, so at the end of the day you can say that you’ve loved and experienced doing things without regrets. I love all of the lyrics from this song but something that particularly stood out to me at this time was “Hope that you spend your days, But they all add up, And when that sun goes down, Hope you raise your cup”. I’m going through a career crisis/ life change so these specific lyrics touch me in that I’m living life to the fullest. That when I’m older, I can look back on life and see that I’ve used my days and years meaningfully.

I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing Geraldine the best of luck with her career. Definitely check her out on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. If you liked this interview, make sure that you read my last one where I spoke to Lauren from Creatively Lauren. And if you want to get involved, you can find the details here!

‘Elle’s Ecrit, Ils Parlent’: Creatively Lauren

Hi everyone! Today’s ‘Elle’s Écrit, Ils Parlent’ is with Lauren from Creatively Lauren. Lauren is a lifestyle blogger from the USA. She is an experienced blogger and has created an ebook and Instagram templates. She chats about the creative process behind these, and shares some useful tips for new bloggers!

Ellen: How do you balance blogging with work and home life?

Lauren: It’s definitely hard. I’m a planner so I try to plan time to sit down and write and work on the blog. Currently, where I am in my career, since it’s frontline customer service, it stays at the airport when I clock out. It’s more my husband’s job that comes home. But we make sure we take time to watch our favourite shows or go to Chick-Fil-A for lunch once a week as a lunch date. It does get hard though when I feel like I’m on a roll with the blog and my mind just keeps going and going.

E: What is your favourite post that you have written?

L: That’s really hard to decide. Ever since the rebrand, I’ve been proud of just about all of my posts. I have a couple that I’m going to share. These are my favourites because they touch on topics that can be tough to talk about. The first one is ‘Creatively Lauren: What Went Wrong’. This is one of my favourites because nobody wants to talk about the bad times, or why they felt like they were failing. But I shared this because I wanted others that may be in that position [to know] that it’s okay. I also wanted to give an explanation for my long break. Another one is ‘Why Bloggers Need to Watch the Shane Dawson x Grav3yardGirl Series’. I shared this post because I love Shane Dawson, but this series talked about something a lot of bloggers face: burnout. I think this series is so important for bloggers to watch.

E: I really enjoyed reading your post ‘Our Wedding Day: 3/11/18’. Why did you decide to write about your wedding?

L: There were so many people from work that were invested in our wedding that couldn’t make it [who] also read my blog, so I wanted to share it there. Plus, I ended up taking a huge break and wedding planning was part of that, so I wanted to share it. I also love sharing pictures, and our Sedona wedding was gorgeous.

E: What do you think about the blogging community?

L: I think it’s great, I love the community. I think you get out what you put into it, which goes for any community. I know many people say the community is too saturated or there’s no room. But that’s not the case. The blogging community has room for bloggers. Many niches have their own communities as well. There’s room for everyone to win and succeed, and we all want to support each other!

E: What advice would you give to new bloggers?

L: Just be yourself! So many new bloggers read up so much on tips to “get rich quick” or “explode your traffic in just a month” and that’s just not it. Blog because you have something to share with the world. Be yourself and unique in your voice because the world does need to hear what you have to say, but it wants to hear from YOU. It doesn’t hurt to take advice from others when it comes to getting your blog off the ground, but don’t try to imitate other bloggers just for success. Don’t push yourself too hard when it comes to content. Quality> quantity, authenticity> conformity.

E: Can you tell me more about your ebook and the process behind it?

L: That was so long ago! ‘How to Blossom in College’ came about because I was going through my college experience and realised how hard it can be to start at a new school in a new state, which was the case with me. I was also pretty shy when I started college. I wanted to show others that it’s okay to be nervous when starting college, and give them tips on how to break out of their shell and start their college career on the right foot.

E: Why did you decide to create Instagram templates?

L: I was, and still am, struggling with my Instagram, trying to figure out a way to generate more content. I knew that inspirational quotes were something that people used to Instagram, and I wanted to create a new type of background to put them on. I was going through a big marble obsession and wanted to create templates that included marble.

E: What are your future plans for your blog?

L: I want to eventually publish a paid e-course, and create some passive income streams. But I really just want to continue to help new bloggers and share my opinions and thoughts on stuff. I love helping others and that’s what I want out of Creatively Lauren.

E: If you weren’t working with an airline, what job do you think you would be doing and why?

L: Honestly, I don’t know. I do know that the airline industry is where I want to stay. I started with an airline as my first job when I was 19, back in 2015. It’s honestly all I know. I guess if I wasn’t at an airline I would probably be doing marketing or something business/economics related because that is what I had in my mind when I went into college. But considering I’m still trying to find my career path in my company, I can’t even imagine what I would be doing without it.

E: What is your favourite quote?

L: I would say my favourite quote is “everyone wants happiness, no one wants pain, but you can’t have a rainbow without any rain.” I love this quote because no one’s life is happy 100% of the time. That’s just not how it works. And going through bad times helps one appreciate the good times. Rainbows are beautiful and positive but are only able to be seen after a storm. That’s how you have to look at life sometimes.

It was great to chat to Lauren, and I can’t wait to see how her blog develops this year! If you enjoyed reading this, make sure you’ve read my previous post where I chat to Syrah from RN Soul. And if you want to be involved, you can sign up here!

You can find Lauren on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

January Favourites!

Hi everyone! Today I thought I’d do a favourites post to mark the end of January. Unpopular opinion though, I don’t feel like this month has been too long. I honestly feel like it’s flown by! Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading my favourites for this month!

Killer Sudoku

This may be the geekiest sentence I will ever put on my blog, but I’ve been obsessed with them. These puzzles are a cross between a Sudoku and a Kakuro. They take a little while to figure out, but once you do, it’s definitely worth it! I use the website I’ve linked above. It’s mobile friendly and it’s a good one for beginners to start with. I use this website. I highly recommend you try them!

My dressing gown

I’m cold about 90% of the time, so obviously a dressing gown is a necessity in January! This was a Christmas present and I’m absolutely in love! I left it at home, and whenever I’m there, putting it on is the first thing I do. My cat Olaf likes it too, and he always comes and sits on my knee when I have it on!

My diary

I bought the most Instagramable diary from Paperchase back in September, so I’m so happy I’ve been able to use it this month! It has lots of room for me to fill in my deadlines and social events, and I love the pastel colours. Each week also has a ‘goal’ (for example, this week’s is to try something new). I really need to get into the habit of using a paper diary, so I’m hoping this will be the perfect motivation!

Buzzfeed Tasty

I’m slightly obsessed with watching these videos on Instagram. I don’t know what it is, but I find them so satisfying and interesting. I never make the recipes either, although some of them do look amazing! I’d love to try some of the dessert recipes!

A Cold Legacy

This has been my favourite book of this month. It’s the final part of the Madman’s Daughter trilogy. It’s inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which is one of my favourite classic novels. I’m planning to do a full review on it, so I won’t say too much!

That’s been my favourites for this month! What have been your favourites this month?

Elle’s Écrit, Ils Parlent: Chloe Chats

Hi everyone, and welcome back to another ‘Elle’s Écrit, Ils Parlent’! Today I’m talking to Chloe from Chloe Chats. She is primarily a mental health blogger although she sometimes posts lifestyle content. Read on to find out her motivations for blogging and what she dislikes about blogging!

Ellen: How did you build your following on your blog?

Chloe: I actually have had my blog for a good while [but] it was only October 2018 that I decided to get on social media- and I’m very glad I did! Twitter has been the best for me for building a following on my blog. I think just being supportive to other bloggers was how I gained followers/subscribers. It’s one of my favourite things though, meeting, chatting and supporting other bloggers.

E: You’ve recently collaborated with a few brands. How did you find these opportunities?

C: I have! It’s been really fun. I actually felt nervous to begin with because it’s a bit terrifying that maybe what you write about isn’t what they were hoping to see. But if it’s a review of something then being honest is what you should do! Everyone I’ve worked with so far has been lovely so I haven’t received any negative experiences…yet!

E: I really enjoyed reading your post ‘Horror films and how they exploit mental health issues’. What was your inspiration behind this post?

C: Thank you so much! I really enjoyed researching that one. It was around Halloween and I wanted to do something related to it and I started to read about horror films and found a few other articles and blogs of where people have spoken about the exploitation of mental health. A few years back I wouldn’t have really thought about it that way, but of course they exploit these issues. You can find it in so many horror movies. Even though I found a few other articles on it, there wasn’t that many, and I felt like it’s an important topic and we should all be a bit more aware. I wasn’t trying to turn people against horror films. I will still watch them, but it’s definitely worth bringing attention to it.

E: What is your favourite blog post you have written?

C: This is a hard question. I’d probably say the one called ‘Living with someone who has anxiety’. I hadn’t really seen anyone write about it before from the perspective of someone- like a loved one- who lives with someone that has anxiety. I know that sometimes my anxiety can be difficult to deal with and sometimes my partner struggles so I wanted to tell everyone my advice and what I have learned from my partner’s perspective. I also enjoyed writing my ‘How blogging has helped my mental health’ just because it’s a personal one to me and it was one of [those posts] that you pour your heart into. It was very therapeutic to write.

E: Is there anything you dislike about blogging?

C: There’s not much I hate about blogging. I’d say perhaps when you get the odd person who isn’t very supportive and brings all the drama in the blogging community. I think as well, I don’t ‘hate’ it, but when you write a blog post and someone comments on it saying ‘great post’ and then puts their URL… you know that they’re just looking for a comment back and it’s understandable that you’d want a comment returned if you comment on someone else’s blog, but at least read the blog post!

E: Do you find it difficult to write about your feelings?

C: I used to find it difficult, but now I find that I just talk about my feelings openly on my blog. I won’t talk about everything, there might be some private things that I’m dealing with at the time and won’t want to talk about it, but anxiety wise, I try to be open about it and talk about it a lot. For one, talking about it really helps me, and also, I have found it can inspire others to speak out too.

E: What message do you want people to receive after reading your blog?

C: Hmm, message wise, just that they feel positive or they feel that they’ve learned something from it. I will sometimes write about some general lifestyle things, but my main posts are usually to do with mental health so if anyone feels it helps them a little that’s a massive plus for me and puts a big smile on my face. A big reason [for] talking about my personal mental health issues is so that I can help others and let them know that they’re not alone.

E: What are your future plans for your blog?

C: I’m not sure really, just carry on going with it! I would love for it to be my full-time job, that would be amazing. I know it’s a lot of work to get it to that point, but perhaps I can get close to it this year.

E: You’ve written about lots of places that you have visited. Where has been your favourite?

C: My favourite place [is] maybe Northern Ireland! I had a really nice time. I got to see my uni friend and her new baby, I got to go on the Game of Thrones tour which was amazing, and just having time with my boyfriend was really nice. At that time as well I know that he needed a break from work so it was lovely.

E: What is your favourite quote?

C: My all-time favourite quote is: “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Winnie the Pooh.

What a lovely quote that perfectly sums up the essence of Chloe’s blog! If you enjoyed reading this post, make sure you read the previous post where I interviewed Abby from MyLifelines. And if you’d like to be involved, you can sign up here!

You can find Chloe on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Elle’s Écrit, Ils Parlent: MyLifelines

Today marks the first post of my new series ‘Elle’s Écrit, Ils Parlent’. We’re starting with a Q&A with the lovely Abby. Abby runs the blog MyLifelines with two of her best friends and together they cover a wide variety of topics from mental health and self care, to woman empowerment. I was so excited to interview Abby, and I hope you enjoy reading!

Ellen: How long have you been blogging for?

Abby: MyLifelines was launched on September 1, 2018! So quite a few months now!

E: Where did the name MyLifelines come from?

A: MyLifelines is run by me and my two best friends, Lauren and Jordan. We have been friends since high school and one day, many years ago, we changed the name of our iPhone group chat to MyLifelines. We’ve been through a lot together and we depend on each other to get through life so it just made sense. And when we started this blog, we wanted to be lifelines to others. If you need us, we are there!

E: How do you find running a blog with your best friends? Are there any challenges?

A: It’s really quite fun to run a blog with your besties. You get to plan and come up with exciting things together and it makes it that much more thrilling. Of course, it has its challenges too. We are all trying to work better on communicating. We have to keep learning our strengths and weaknesses and use them accordingly. It’s a process but it is definitely an amazing one.

E: How long does it take you to write a blog post?

A: This is kind of a hard question for me. It definitely depends on the topic. I sometimes get overwhelmed at the start of a post. I worry I won’t do the topic justice or I get stressed about how I am going to lay it out. After I get past that, I can usually write it up in an hour. But then making it look pretty, adding graphics and editing with fresh eyes adds some time to the overall process for sure.

E: Are your family and friends supportive of your blog?

A: They are! I mean, I know they don’t go reading every single one of my posts but that’s okay. They always ask me about it when I see them. They always want to know if I’ve made it big yet lol! And they read it often enough that I do have to double think on topics before I write. Don’t want to be forthcoming, I suppose! Haha.

E: What inspired your series ‘Women Wednesday’?

A: Ooh, I love this question! But I am not going to lie, it is taking me a hot minute to come up with the best answer! My first thoughts around the series were actually different. I knew I wanted to do something that had a focus, that was a series, instead of just random blog posts, although we do have plenty of those too! I was going to make infographics on famous women and their life timelines. But then I realised I wasn’t all too good at making infographics. My skills have definitely improved over the past couple of months! I then met Annalise Mahanes (Abby’s first ‘Woman Wednesday’ post) and I work for a bosslady who has her own side business (Lela Gerald) and I though ‘why the hell wouldn’t we write about people we know, or go out and meet new people to write about?’ Lauren and Jordan loved the idea, and we’ve been doing it ever since!

E: What’s your favourite blog post you have written?

A: Good lord, I don’t know! My first ‘Women Wednesday’ post was definitely a blast to write. My latest post was on 12 things I learned in 12 months and that felt good to look back on all I’d accomplished. But maybe my favourite so far would be my Female Superhero post. We come up with our blog topics in advance. Not like way in advance, because we aren’t that organised, but a little ahead of time. This post was supposed to be on what feminism is but that week I had read a really good post about it that I didn’t think I could come close to and I was going through a little bout of seasonal depression. I just wasn’t ‘feeling it’. I was at that point where I was going to have to tell Lauren and Jordan I had nothing to post. But then I was watching Marvel movies and the inspiration just kind of hit me. I think the actual process of being hit with inspiration and then knocking the piece out and feeling good about it was better than the actual post. But hopefully people liked it!

E: I enjoyed reading your post ‘Because I am female’. What has been the response to this post?

A: I love that you brought this post up! One of my other ideas for our blog was to have go-to quotes for people because sometimes you just need that perfect quote, right? This post was my first ‘female-focused’ quote pot and I loved it. I love Chimamanda and I love female empowerment. I will say this post actually didn’t get all that much love though, only because it was one of our first and we didn’t exactly have followers back then. But I am so glad you enjoyed it!

E: If money was no object, what would you change about the USA?

A: Oh lawdddd, can I say I’d get a president? Or put Barack Obama back in the presidency? Better yet, we’d take some Michelle Obama if that is an option! That’s kinda the suckiest part about the USA right now.

E: What’s your favourite quote?

A: I ran across this quote the other day and tweeted it because I really love it. Feminism likes to get a bad rap. But this is literally all it means. It just means equality. It means changing the way women are viewed. Because right now, the view is inaccurate.

‘Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.’ G. D. Anderson.

Thanks to Abby for letting me interview her! If you want to see more women empowerment, you can find her on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube!

If you’d like to be involved in my series, please fill out this application form! I’m still working through some interviews, but I’ll get round to them soon!

‘I Heart Revolution Nudes Chocolate Palette’- First Impressions/Review!

Hi everyone! Today’s post is a review of the ‘I Heart Revolution Nudes Chocolate’ palette.

This was a birthday gift, but it can be purchased from Superdrug and Revolution Beauty. It costs £9.

The packaging is really pretty, and it also feels really sturdy. It’s made from plastic, but it does feel quite durable. There is a mirror, which is an obvious bonus for me! The names are also printed underneath the shades rather than on the over-sheet, which is handy for those of us who always lose it! The shadows themselves smell strongly of chocolate. I personally love this, but it may not be suitable for people who suffer with migraines.

I’m a massive fan of the colour scheme. I love using brown and gold tones on my eyes. The only shade I don’t think I’d use is ‘Au Natural’. Although it looks brown, it has purple undertones that I don’t think would work for my skin tone.

Here’s the whole palette swatched.

As you can see, the palette doesn’t swatch that well. The colours don’t seem to be that pigmented, but swatches don’t always determine a palette’s quality. Some of the lighter colours also do not show up on my skin tone.

I didn’t create anything special, but I thought I’d include what steps I took to create this look.

‘Skimpy’ all over the lid and in the crease

‘Secret’ in the crease

‘Undressed’ in the crease

‘In the sheets’ on the outer third

‘Brazen’ on the outer third and a bit into the crease

‘Bodacious’ in centre

‘Pillow talk’ in centre (applied using my finger)

‘In the nude’ on inner corner/third

A combination of ‘Secret’, ‘Undressed’ and ‘Brazen’ under the lash line

I found that most of the shades performed well, with the exception of ‘In the sheets’. It was slightly patchy, and lacked pigmentation. It also had lots of fall out. Overall though, I liked the final look. It’s very similar to the style of makeup I usually do.

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this palette! Despite some of the shades not performing well, I’ll continue using it. I’ve summarised the pros and cons below!