Powered by Blogger.

MY ACNE JOURNEY: THE BEGINNING

My Acne Journey, erythrocin lotion

Suffering with acne was never something I really wanted to discuss on the blog (although it was mostly responsible for my makeup and skincare addiction). But at 25 years old, I feel like the end of my acne journey is definitely overdue. After speaking with so many of you on Twitter recently about effective acne treatments, including Accutane, it really settled some of the grief within me that I have carried around for over 10 years now. Just to share my story and read about other's who also experienced adult acne was encouraging + when I suggested an 'acne journey' series, a few of you even pleaded with me to share. So, here is my first instalment. I wanted to give a background idea of when + how my acne developed first, + I have plans to update you regularly on any treatments + medication I undergo, my skincare routines, and any other acne resources + informative bits + bobs that may be helpful. So, here goes...

My acne story started at just 11 years old, when I was graced with my first period. I remember a few sore bumps on my chin just days before, but my skin seemed to decline on a down-hill ski slope ever since. Within 2 years, my skin had suffered what I can only describe as some metaphorical volcanic explosion, + by the age of 13, my face had been possessed by the most horrendous cystic acne. It was no longer my own face.

I spent years desperately trying to conceal it with heavy-duty drugstore makeup. Only cheap + harsh chemical-based skincare products were available to me; Obviously I didn't have a lot of money to spend at 13, but all of my pocket money was invested in trying to find something within my price range that could treat my cystic breakouts - or cover them. Clearasil and Clean n Clear was the typical teenage skincare range that a lot of my friends would use, but for me, I just found them harsh and counter-productive. I had no idea about the way skin worked, so I mostly cycled in patterns of trying out methods that I thought would help my skin, to only find they worsened it, ie using astringent skincare products that would strip my skin of its natural oils, resulting in a further over-production of oil which led to blocked pores + - you guessed it - even more acne.

My Mom was adiment that it was 'just a phase' + so refused to spend any real bucks on treating my acne - or take me to see a GP; Going on the pill was out of the question as I was "too young".  I know a lot of teenage girls at that age would do anything to prove their parents wrong, but my mom saying I would grow out of my acne was one argument I didn't want to win!

I don't think my parents really saw the the harsh reality that I was living from one day to the next. School was a nightmare as my bumpy, swollen face made me feel ashamed, worsened by bitchy teenage comments which made me dread waking up in the morning. I took so long to put on my makeup that I was late every single day + lunch times were spent caking on even more. I wasn't the greatest at picking a foundation shade either, so most of my teenage years were spent with a face a good few shades darker - and brighter! - than my body. Oh, the shame.

I remember our head mistress imposing a minimal makeup rule as part of our uniform requirements. Teenage girls were plucked from the floods of pupils storming the hallways in the morning + at lunch time, + forced to remove their makeup with wet wipes. The thought of being collared by the headteacher + being made to wipe away my foundation in front of so many people definitely frightened me, + I remember always keeping my head down and trying my hardest not to attract attention to myself.

Around this time, I also remember being picked for a group session at school hosted by a makeup artist who showed us how to apply makeup, + also the importance of skincare, especially during our teenage years where hormones played havoc with our skin. We were even sent home with a goodie bag of full sized No7 skincare products. I remember, at the time, just thinking the staff must have felt sorry for me + my ridiculous face, which is why I was picked.

It wasn't until 16, when I had my first source of income, that I really became quite the skincare obsessive. My skin only seemed to worsen at this time, but I think I was around 18 that I really finally started to see improvements! I was becoming more educated in the skin, the way it works, skincare ingredients + also feeding + healing my skin from the inside out.

At the age of almost 25, my acne has improved tremendously but still I go through phases of being completely acne-free, to suddenly my face exploding into enormous zits left, right + center.

I saw my GP regarding my acne for the FIRST TIME some weeks ago, who prescribed Erythrocin lotion - a topical antibiotic which is applied to the skin both morning + night. While I don't feel this is a long term solution, I have been seeing some positive results (let me know in the comments below if you would like me to discuss more about my experience with using Erythrocin in my next Acne Journey update). He told me that there are a number of options we need to exhaust before thinking about Roaccutane, which I feel is something I would like to explore if all else fails.

I hope to be updating my acne journey once a month, so please follow below using Bloglovin' if you'd like to stay updating!

Some of the products featured in this post may have been sent to me for review. Please see my disclaimer.
 

STAYING ORGANISED AS A BLOGGER.

Staying organised as a blogger, blogger organisation, being organised as a blogger,
Staying organised has ever been something I've sucked at. In fact, I was constantly scrutinised for my lack of organisational skills throughout school and college.  Since becoming a mom, a full time employee, blogger, freelancer and even a university student, I have come to realise the importance of staying organised, and what a huge positive effect good organisation can have on your life - and your success! Over the years, I have developed my own little systems for staying organised as a blogger in particular, and I thought I would offer a few pointers to those of you who may struggle to juggle real life with the virtual.
Always carry a notebook and pen - The amount of times I have been caught short during a light bulb moment is crazy. Something as simple as a notebook and pen ensures that all of your ideas are being recorded. I've even been known to write full blog posts using pen and paper, just because sometimes I enjoy the novelty of writing things down. And, of course, what better excuse to splurge on pretty stationary? ;)

Use Evernote to organise plans and ideas - Every area of my blog - including post ideas, to-do lists, blog photo's, etc - are recorded using Evernote, as that way all of my ideas and plans are easily accessible. If I write things down on paper, once weekly I will take all of my handwritten notes and transfer them to my Evernote account. All of your work can be organised into notes and notebooks, with tickboxes on hand to keep track of tasks that need completing, with a huge mound of other helpful features too. I have the app downloaded to my iPhone, laptop, iMac and iPad, all of which sync with my online account, therefore everything is accessible whenever and where ever I need them. I also find this so much more efficient and reliable than using the Blogger app, which in my outspoken opinion is total pants! I'll usually copy and paste text and images from each Evernote note into new blog posts on the Blogger website from my laptop.

Lists, lists, lists - Pretty self explanatory, but lists are your friend! I make lists about everything - blog posts ideas, the products I'm mentioning in blog posts, photo's I need to get done, emails I need to reply to, other tasks I need to complete. You get the jist. They just help you keep track of exactly what needs to be done, and for when.

Set yourself reminders - If, like me, you find it difficult to retain information any longer than a few minutes, learn to take advantage of your phones reminder app. I use it to remind myself of upcoming Twitter chats too, which I always find fun and a beneficial way of promoting my blog, and finding new reads.

Use a calendar or diary to stay up to date with events, holidays and trends - It's often so easy to overlook certain times of the year that may seriously benefit your blog greatly by posting about them. Don't forget to make a note of Mother's Day, prom season, Halloween and other holidays. Related gift guides, roundups and makeup looks are in high demand and could send heaps of search traffic to your blog. Admittedly, I haven't been great at doing this but it's one thing I've pledged to keep up with more.

Bulk take and edit photographs - I've just recently started doing this for Instagram, as it makes it so much easier to ensure my posts are consistent and that the images I use fit in with the theme and feel of my feed. If you have a spare moment and some great lighting, snap lots of pictures of products you've been loving lately, new purchases, outfits and selfies - especially surroundings of some nice places you've visited - ready to edit and whack onto Instagram over the upcoming days. I find this SO much easier than struggling to find something to snap in the moment, purely for the sake of ensuring my Insta is kept updated.

In terms of blogging, again, if you have some decent lighting and an hour or two to kill, make a list of the blog posts you're due to write up and take the photo's for each one in advance. It's often so difficult to find time when the lighting is playing ball every single time you need to snap photo's for a new post. 

Schedule social media - This is a huge one for someone such as myself that leads a busy daily lifestyle. Especially as a huge chunk of my life is spent working within an environment where being stuck to my phone is a big no-no. I like to schedule social media such as Twitter and Instagram in advance as it gives me a chance to stay active, market my blog posts at the most beneficial times, while allowing me to just go on living life around it. (Pssst... sometimes I'll have a blog post published at 7am, along with Twitter posts promoting said post throughout the morning, when I haven't even gotten out of bed yet.)
I really recommend you research the best times to post on each social media platform as there is definitely a nack to it. For example, 6/7am is often a popular time as people tend to scroll through social media before getting up for work. Currently, I'm a huge fan of the Everypost app and Hootsuite. Facebook also has a built-in scheduling option, which I have promised myself to take note of more often.

Keeping your products organised - Maybe not so applicable if you're a lifestyle or other type of blogger, but I know as a beauty blogger, offering your opions on, and photographing, lots of different skincare and makeup products on a regular basis is often a pain in the a$$. I purchased some cute little wire baskets from Wilko's not so long back that I use to keep my products organised, depending on what I'll be doing with them. For example, I may use one basket for products I'll be including in a specific post or feature, new products I'm yet to try out, PR samples I need to blog about, ones I need to get photographed, etc. Having a dedicated area or system for storing your beauty products is also a great help as they are always on hand when needed and easy to find.

A lot of these may be tips you have heard of already, but I just wanted to give my two cents as it is something that has affected me greatly recently, and everyone has their methods of staying organised as a blogger. Feel free to comment below if this has been helpful or if you have any other tips!


Some of the products featured in this post may have been sent to me for review. Please see my disclaimer.

MAKEUP SHAKEUP: CURRENT EVERYDAY SPRING MAKEUP

Everyday work makeup, makeup for work, Nivea BB Cream, Benefit Dandelion blusher
I thought a 'Makeup Shakeup' feature would be a great way of regularly letting you in on what's in my makeup bag and the bits I've been reaching for - and loving - just lately. Right now, I'm all for a quick and easy daily combo that is convenient for work, and something a little more light-weight and dewey for a nice Spring-appropriate makeup look. 
I purchased the Nivea Daily Essentials BB Cream in Tesco last week for an introductory price of £2.99, and it's been on my face everyday since. I never quite got the jist of the whole BB/ CC trend, so this is one of few I have tried out. Without fear of sounding shallow, the low price meant I didn't have my hopes too high, but I've actually really grown to like it! Rather than providing high coverage for blemishes, it concentrates on correcting and brightening the complexion, and does wonders at sorting out my redness, that often means using slightly higher coverage foundation makes my skin appear pink (I have a yellow undertone.) It looks like a foundation with a hint of colour, but melts into the skin like a moisturiser so requires little to no blending and is super quick and convenient to apply - even with your fingers. You can build and build this baby onto your face and it won't cake at all - more so infuses your skin with more moisture. While it is non-greasy and matte to the touch, it achieves a dewey and radiant look that lasts for hours. Did I mention it also contains an SPF 10? Probably not the best for those upcoming hot Summer afternoons sipping ice cold lemonade in the scorching sunshine (pffft... in my dreams!), but definitely perfect for a milder Spring day.

Sadly, the Nivea BB cream does nothing for those perky undereye circles, so I've still been reaching for my trusty L'oreal Lumi-Magique Concealer, which I've had in my rotation for maybe a couple of years now. (In fact, I'm obsessed with the whole Lumi-Magique range.) It is super brightening with decent coverage, so wipes out any hyper-pigmentation and reflects light to make you really look fresh and awake. If you're regularly going without enough of the ol' beauty sleep and really suffer with dark undereyes, I also find a few spots of the Soap and Glory Trick or Treatment, over, or mixed in with, my everyday concealer is a real winner. This stuff is so brightening and pigmented.

I then go in with the By Terry Hydrapowder: A hydrating, translucent loose powder infused with hyaluronic acid for a non-cakey, super smooth finish. I use this under my eyes to set concealer and around my oilier areas, such as the sides of my nose and T-zone to keep shine at bay throughout the day. This little pot of goodness even skims over open pores and an uneven surface texture, leaving it looking flawless and feeling like velvet.

The New Anastasia Beverly Hills Angled Brow Definer

Next up is contour and highlight - steps I'm far from religious with, but if I have a spare few moments, I'll definitely have a go at getting those cheekbones looking chiselled. The Maybelline Mastersculp contour powder has been my favourite ever since it was first released some months ago, and I have no intentions of straying. The softness and blendability is a little lack-lustre but its ashiness stole the show for me. Most 'contours' these days, it seems, are bronzers in disguise - far too warm to really achieve a nice shadow, rather than a muddy orange streak. Maybelline Mastersculpt is the perfect cool tone to really carve out those cheekbones though.

For highlight, I've been reaching for the new Sleek Solstice highlighting palette, particularly a combination of Equinox and Subsolar (the bottom two), but this is due to be switched up soon as I'm really not a fan. While the packaging is absolutely gorgeous, and the shades are stunning and so pigmented, I find them super difficult to blend out - and too glittery! I wanted so badly to fall in love with it, but I'm afraid it's a big thumbs down from me 👎

I then go in with the classic Benefit Dandelion blush to add a lovely natural flush of pink to my cheeks. This is so, so subtle and adds a barely there rosy glow, perfect for any skin tone. (Why, oh why, have I not made its acquaintance sooner?!)

Base? Check. It's time to move onto the eyes, and I start off by blending the Bella Pierre Makeup Base all over my lids and up to the brow bone to prime and cover any discolouration. I think I prefer this to my Mac Paintpot in Soft Ochre as it's just so much more blendable. I have also been loving the Maybelline Colour Tattoo eyeshadow in On and On Bronze over the last few months or so, and it's become my everyday go-to. It's a lovely shade of bronze with a touch of shimmer; so easy to blend on the lid and through the crease for a subtle wash of colour, and stays put all day!

Charlotte Tilbury Between the Sheets lipstick and Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer

For mascara, I've been toying with the new Revlon Volume + Length mascara. I'm in two minds at the moment as to what I think; it's a very dry formula in my opinon, that feels as if you're scraping the bottom of the barrel (or mascara tube) because it takes so many applications before I'm satisfied there's enough product on my lashes. On the other hand, I've found it looks amazing on photo's and really gives my lashes that oomph I want from them (much like a decent push up bra, hehe!).

Next up, it's all about the newest cult brow product on the market: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer (in Dark Brown). To be honest, I must prefer the accuracy of Dipbrow Pomade. Using a brush allows for more detailed and precise application and the silky smooth consistency applies so easily. The Brow Definer pencil has a similar finish and lasts just as long but I find the sharp edge wears down after a while, and not such a sculpted look can be achieved. However, it's much more convenient and fab for quick, everyday use!

Aaand, finally, the star of the show is definitely the new Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in Between the Sheets. I've written a whole in-depth review about this which you can read by clicking right here, but to summarise, it's a beautiful matte, 'your lips but better' with that added pink pop.

What does your daily makeup routine consist of right now? Make sure you let me know in the comments below if you have any recommendations!


Some of the products featured in this post may have been sent to me for review. Please see my disclaimer.



GWEN STEFANI X URBAN DECAY EYESHADOW PALETTE GIVEAWAY.

Gwen Stefani X Urban Decay palette giveaway

Gwen Stefani X Urban Decay eyeshadow palette giveaway
On the 13th February, my little home on the web turned 2 years old! I've been blogging since aged 15 or so, ghost-writing and hosting numerous different little projects here and there, but never actually stuck to the same blog for more than a few months. It makes me so proud to know that my little labour of love has gone from strength to strength as of late, and I have numerous big plans to renovate and up my blogging game, starting with becoming self hosted this month, so keep your eyes peeled for some exciting changes occurring around these parts!
Sadly, I've been so sick for the last few weeks that blogging has been completely out of the question, and while I promised a Gwen Stefani X Urban Decay palette giveaway weeks ago, I had to push it back until I was back on my feet again. I'm now all recovered (thank you so much to those that wished me well!) and ecstatic to finally be able to bring you the opportunity to win such a great prize!

For your chance to win this stunning Gwen Stefani X Urban Decay eyeshadow palette, simply use the Rafflecopter widget below to complete tasks that allow you to earn entries. Each task completed gives you a certain amount of entries. Complete as many tasks as you can to gain the most entries, meaning more chances to win!

Terms and Conditions:
  • The giveaway will run for 30 days, starting on the 6th March and ending on the 6th April 2016.
  • The giveaway winner will be announced within 7 days of the giveaway ending.
  • I will contact you via email to let you know that you have won and your prize will be sent  via recorded delivery within 7 days of announcing the winner.
  • The giveaway entries you use must be valid at the time of drawing the winner in order for you to win. For example, if you followed on Twitter or Instagram, you must still be following at the time of drawing the winner, otherwise your entry will be void if you are selected as the winner and a new winner selected.
  • You must follow me on Twitter to enter.
  • If you are under 16, you must gain permission from a parent or guardian.
  • This giveaway is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Some of the products featured in this post may have been sent to me for review. Please see my disclaimer.