Sunday, 19 April 2015

Hair Care For Blondes

It’s known by all that us blondes do in fact have more fun but in order to keep up that reputation, we have to take good care of our hair – and as we aren’t a stranger to the bleach that can be a bit difficult.

After years of playing around with hair dyes that were far too dark for my skin tone, I finally took the plunge and began lightening my hair just before my 18th birthday.  It took a few months to get to the shade I wanted and each session with the bleach would dry my hair out more and more. Three years since coming to the light side, I’ve finally got my hair care routine fine tuned to only the best and most necessary products.

At first I thought the more products I used the better, what could go wrong? But when you’re applying a cocktail of products that promise to hydrate, defrizz, volumise and add shine it all gets a bit too much and things start to go haywire.

I’ve since learnt that less is more and taking care of the condition is the number one priority. Once I got that nailed, everything else seemed to fall into place. The frizz was tamed with hydration, volume can be oomphed by drying your hair upside down and healthy hair shines naturally with no need for anything else.

So, how do we get that healthy hair? It all starts in the shower. I’m not the fussiest person when it comes to shampoo and conditioner – my hairdresser recommended that the cheaper products often work better so I stopped spending ridiculous amounts on shampoo that claimed to do a multitude of things and bought Touch of Silver Daily Maintenance Shampoo and Daily Nourish Conditioner. Perfect for blonde tresses, it protects and brightens the colour as well as correcting any brassy tones and it retails at around £2 a bottle which is an absolute bargain!

I should probably mention that I try leave my hair as long as possible between washes too; the more I wash it, the quicker it gets greasy so I general do it every three or four days. After shampooing and conditioning, I use the L’Oreal Paris Pure Colour Refreshing Mask for around five minutes while I have a shower boogie.

Everything washed off after the shower, I apply one pump of John Frieda Blonde Brightening Oil Elixir to the ends to nourish and prevent any brittle breakages or split ends. Not nice. I love using products with argan oil in, the condition of my hair has done a complete 360 since I introduced it to my routine – VO5 Miracle Concetrate Elixir With Argan Oil is just as good and the bottle lasts forever.

To the roots, I spray John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Spray before giving my hair a rough blow dry. This spray is perfect for those days – or weeks – when you’re roots are beginning to show but you’re not booked in to the salon just yet. Although it doesn’t provide drastic results and a complete root touch up, it lightens them enough to blend the two colours together keeping it natural.

Since I’ve had my hair cut shorter, I use a lot more heat on it than I used to so once it’s dry I spray a light mist of Dove Nourishing Oil Care Leave In Spray which acts as a leave in conditioner, shine-giver and heat protectant all in one. Triple whammy! This two-part concoction needs a good shake before use but is one of those products you can use just after or inbetween washes. With a multitude of uses, this has quickly become a staple when it comes to hair care.

Finally, once styled, we need to battle that frizz. Any hint of humidity and my hair doubles in size. Not pretty.  In New York I picked up Marc Anthony Oil Of Morocco Hairspray – it was the argan oil that sucked me in! It works a treat though, it’s not crispy, it brushes out easily and it keeps my barnet exactly where I left it.

What staple products are in your hair care routine?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

How I Fell Victim To A Recruitment Scam

On Wednesday 8th April I was going about my usual day – procrastinating from doing some uni work when for some reason I felt inspired to go on the job hunt. I’m due to graduate in less than three months after all so it’s about time I started looking.

I sent my CV to some local jobs and within an hour, I had one reply.

‘Great, I must be really employable,’ I thought.

It was from a company in Newcastle for an Event Marketing position. I had no idea what that meant, but I’m a pretty sociable person; I like going to events so what could go wrong?

I gave her a call and it went to voicemail, not wanting to miss out on this amazing opportunity I emailed back asking her to call me instead.

“Our manager has seen your CV and we’re think you’re perfect. We want you to come in for an interview tomorrow.”

Eeek tomorrow? I already had plans so I rearranged for Friday 10th April and felt pretty chuffed with myself.

She sent a follow up email with details of when and where to go – no preparation needed but I did some anyway, I wanted to show them I was keen.

When I attended the interview I was a bit surprised to find it was in a hotel bar. Rowdy with a group of hens on one side and youngish lads on the other, it seemed a bit out of place for a job interview.

He asked me a few questions; what makes me happy, where I want to be in five years and if I were a superhero, what would my special power be. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realised he didn’t actually explain the job to me.

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #1

That night I was eagerly waiting a phone call to hear if I’d be successful and as a matter of fact, I’d been invited back for the second round on Monday 13th April.

The office, situated on a street full of run down shops and greasy takeaways was a little door leading up to the second floor room. There were no company logos anywhere; the office was just a desk and a plant.

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #2

I filled in a form about what I wanted from the job. I blurted out words like confidence and motivation – still unsure of the actual job so just hoping I was writing the appropriate words.

Next to me was another guy going for the same position, I instantly felt rivalry - he was some 30-year-old guy in a suit talking about his Sunday league football and there I was; just a little 21-year-old hoping to get her first big-girl job.

We were taken off to separate rooms to meet our ‘mentors’ and headed off to Blyth until 6.30pm – hold on, I was told this would be a brief meeting that would take no longer than an hour?

When we arrive Mr Mentor takes me to a cafe.

‘This is where he’s going to explain the job to me,’ I thought.


Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #3

He had me writing down ten strengths about myself and why. Okay, fair enough – this is a chance for me to really show off.

After that I had to write down ten of my weaknesses. I wanted to show that I was a strong person, perfect for the role with not too many weaknesses so I rattled off four pages about how I’m a worrier and picky at times.

When I was finished I went to find him – on the streets with an iPad pestering someone about their gas and electricity bills.

‘Uh oh, is this the job? How am I going to tell all my friends that my glamourous event job is just asking people questions on the street?’

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #4

In another cafe he had me writing down positives and negatives about different types of advertising along with where I want to be in five years and ten years time. I drew some pretty awesome pictures to back this up so I’m pleased with that one.

Once that was over, he went through the job with me – finally!

Okay, the job? It’s a set of six stages that you complete in anywhere between 2 weeks and 6 months. The higher you progress, the more you earn.

Wow, money – I’d love £300 a week. I’m interested.

The hours are 8am-6.15pm Monday-Saturday.

Great, still no actual clear explaining and now he’s got me learning the companies mottos off by heart.

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #5

The cafe owner asked what we were up to – spending all day in there along with a notepad, of course he was going to wonder what was going on. Mr Mentor was shady about answering and used words that I didn’t understand so there was no chance Mr Cafe Owner would.

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #6

Now he takes me onto the street and I have to watch him pester a few more people while they hurriedly run in the opposite direction. It’s also freezing cold.

Next task – the cafĂ© has shut so I’ve been left on a bench in a shopping centre jotting down the strengths a manager has. THEN (yes it carries on) I had to pick five out of my 40 and write a meaning and an example me being this.

It’s the end of the day, the shops are shut but there’s one more thing I have to do – I have to write a closing statement about why I’m right for the company and vice versa. Mr Mentor described it as the X Factor but I would describe it as a big fat scam and my finger really hurts because I’ve written over 25 pages.

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #7

When we get back to the office-with-only-a-desk-and-a-plant I’m thrusted another clipboard in my face and have to fill out an exam style questionnaire with their mottos, working habits, and the definition of fancy-pancy words they use to look cool.

Next comes the final interview. I’m sat in a big room with a side door that keeps on bursting open with Beyonce is blasting. It looks like the other workers are having a party – is this trying to show me that this job is full of fun?

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #8

The big boss from the first interview sits me down and I suddenly feel a bit strange – almost patronized but I ignore it – what do I know about interviews, anyway, this is my first one!

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #9

He asks about my day and I lie and say I had fun and got a real insight into the job.

Why am I lying? I can’t seem to think of anything else to say.

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #10

He asks me how I think I’d be at the job. And by job if you mean asking people to fill in my survey – then what’s hard about that?

I didn’t want to be rude and say it was the easiest (but most boring) job in the world so I rattled off a few more keywords about confidence and being approachable etc.

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #11

Mr Mentor comes in, he’s very red faced and embarrassed for some reason. Mr Big Boss says they’ve decided that I need a bit more experience but in a few weeks I’d be the perfect candidate.

Cue a few awkward silences and he proposes a ‘one-off’ deal – he’ll give me a job if I promise to put in all my effort and work as hard as I can.

Also, I start tomorrow. TOMORROW.

But hold on, how does Mr Mentor know I’d need a few weeks to build my confidence. He didn’t see me running around after people in the streets. He just saw me sat at a table with a cup of tea sprawling out my life story for six hours.

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #12

Woohoo! I have a job! I phoned my mum straight away. She didn’t sound over the moon, but I hadn’t told her about the wages and progressing through the ranks yet – she’d get excited then I’m sure.

On the train home, I suddenly get this feeling of worry and I’m on the brink of tears but I have no idea why.

What happened? I was so pleased, I have a job – I should count myself lucky!

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #13

When I get home, I’m beside myself with worry.

How am I going to finish my uni work? This is the most important part and there’s only five weeks left.

How will I find time to wind down from work and see my friends and family? I’ll be out the house from 7am-7pm everyday. Six days a week.

How am I going to tell my friends that I think my job is doing surveys in the street? I’m still not sure though because even though I’m due to start in 12 hours, all my questions about it were diverted.

Alarm-Bell-I-Didn’t-Notice #14

I quit the job before I even started. Because I would have been self-employed I essentially just fired myself.

I was upset, but looking back at it now I’m so relieved. If I’d have bitten the bullet and gone to the training days I’d have had to pay back what I would have earned when I quit. Plus whatever else they would have dwindled out of me.

It’s been an experience, one I’ll carry forward for future interviews for proper jobs. Deep down, I knew this wasn’t for me as I didn’t feel motivated or excited – my smiles were fake and I was constantly checking my watch to see when it was home time.

I know, that when I get a job I actually want I’ll feel excited and scream it from the rooftops but this ‘job’ I didn’t want anyone to know about.

My message to you is trust your instincts. These job scams look so tempting and if they sound too good to be true – they probably are.

A fast track management course that could have me earning £75,000 a year within eight months? No thanks, I’d rather keep on looking.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Perfect Red Lip

Whoever said diamonds were a girl’s best friend clearly didn’t own a red lipstick. One thing that can transform you from day to night, casual to glam and simple to exciting in one swipe is a red lip.

When it comes to a red lip there’s a few things that are an absolute necessity: it needs to be moisturising, it needs to have good lasting power, it mustn’t bleed and more importantly – it must be bold.

It’s a bold statement to make when wearing a red lip and luckily, Bourjois have nailed it to a T.

The Rouge Edition lipstick* is a must have lipstick of every girl’s make up bag and with 18 shades to choose from, there’s something for everyone.

I have shade 13 and the staying power is amazing. They claim it leaves the lips with a glossy finish and feeling smooth and hydrated for up to 10 hours – I can’t vouch for 10 hours but I certainly got a good five or six hours worth of wear before I needed a top up. Personally, I think that’s amazing and I didn’t even need to apply a balm or liner underneath.

The packaging is stylish and sleek and I love the colour is shown in the clear casing at the bottom – I hate those colour dot stickers as they’re not accurate enough when it comes to seeing the colour.

At £8.99 from Boots you can’t go wrong really and I’ll definitely be picking up a few more colours to add to my collection!

What’s your go-to red lip colour?

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Winter Wishlist: Knee High Boots

It's almost time for uni again and we all know what that means: Student Lock-Ins!

Basically, lots of discounts for us students to spend all of our loans on before the term even starts.
With almost 100 days to go until my first New York trip I'm desperate for some boots that will see me through. Heading to New York for Christmas is an absolute dream but for my tootsies, they're going to get quite cold. With temperatures dipping below zero degrees and an expected amount of snow and rain I need a pair of boots that will not only be comfortable and durable for lots of walking but waterproof and cosy too!

Boots, especially a decent pair can start getting quite expensive which is why I've decided to find a good pair around when the student discounts are high in the hope I can snag a bargain!

I usually stick to ankle boots, perhaps with a few studs and buckles to give a toughened up biker-chic look but this year I fancy pushing the boat out and choosing an knee high pair. Perfect whether worn over jeans or with a dress and cosy tights, my legs could do with the extra warmth from having a boot around them I'm sure!

After having a browse online, I've picked out six of my favourites that I'll definitely be trying on! I'm torn between all six but I think the first pair could be the top of my list. Which is your favourite?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Benefit They're Real Trio

I first heard about Benefit's new release on Instagram long before it was announced what it actually was, but I was already excited! With promises to revolutionise the way you do you make up I couldn't wait to find it what it was and how long go before I could get my hands on it.

Released to stores in June, I patiently (not) waited but after begrudging paying almost £20 for an eyeliner I waited to grab a bargain in the beloved duty free.

Last month when I went on holiday, there it was in the stand waiting for me! I'm not sure if this is an airport exclusive as it was labelled as a 'travel set' but for £28.50 you could get both the infamous They're Real Mascara and the hyped They're Real Push Up Liner. Also, for an extra £12 or something there was the They're Real Remover that was dubbed as a 'must' for when it comes to removing to stubborn liner and mascara.

I've been trying this duo out for a good six weeks now and I have to say, unlike every other review you've read, it's not the most positive.

First we'll start with the eyeliner. The eyeliner itself is amazing: it's solid black and it doesn't budge. What more could you want?

When the campaign was announced the Benefit professionals said you could apply this with one hand, on public transport no matter how bumpy it is and I even heard that it could be applied while doing a one-handed push up - I'm definitely not believing that final one.

Perhaps I don't have the knack to it but I've tried countless ways and I can't seem to get the line as perfect as it was hyped up to be. It seems to drag along the lash line and it's quite difficult to get it smooth so I've been using a stamping sort-of technique!

Although I'll continue to use it, I don't think I'll be purchasing another one when it's finished. After the years put into producing the perfect accuflex tip and a liquid-gel formula, I regret to say that I'm not as impressed as everyone else.

That's not to mention that I didn't love the other products though. I've previously used Benefit's Bad Gal Lash Mascara, it's good with a VERY fat brush, perhaps too fat so I was hoping I'd prefer this one and I have to say, I love it. I'm a fully They're Real convert when it comes to mascara now!

I have nothing else to say other than the fact it is absolutely amazing, it grips the lash from root to tip and leaves you with solid black, full lashes. Also, even after a month and a half, the mascara is still very 'wet', do you know what I mean? I have loads of trouble with mascaras drying out after a couple of weeks, but with this one it's all go go go!

Finally of the Benefit trio is the They're Real Remover. Released alongside the Push Up Liner, Benefit realised that their mascara was too good and it just wasn't budging with any ordinary make up remover!

Although I slated the eyeliner, I have to admit that one day at work I was changing a barrel of Fosters (I work on a bar if you hadn't guessed!) and it popped in my face leaving me soaked in beer. My make up was a gonner and my hair was left smelling erm, lovely (questionable!) - apart from my eye make up! Even after a good soaking, the mascara and eyeliner was still fully intact!

I suppose that's one good thing: if you job means you might get a little wet sometimes then I'd recommend They're Real for some staying power when it comes to your make up!

What do you think of the They're Real collection?

Friday, 29 August 2014

Ebay Wish List #2

Here is the second eBay post and it's focussing all on holidays! I've been on a couple of holidays this year and a kimono was definitely at the top of my shopping list. Whether I wore it over a bikini, over a top and shorts during the day or over a dress for the night time it came in handy every day. What's even better is, it double up as a blanket for the airplane, they can always get a bit chilly! What did I ever do without one?

You know the rules for these eBay posts - everything must be under £20 and I've stuck to it! Which one of the three is your favourite? I love those heels and they even come in a selection of colours! You can never have too many shoes, no matter what anybody says!