Hello!

Hope you're well, I wanted to share the products I took with me on holiday. Our family of four managed to squeeze all our clothes, shoes and big bottles of shampoo, and sunscreen into one little suitcase meaning that anything extra had to go in our hand luggage. These are the toiletries I took with me and I found that it suited my needs perfectly. It was just a little family holiday so makeup was minimal but the hot, muggy climate meant that my skin needed some loving that week or it would punish me horribly. So this is what I bought: 



Ren Rose Cleansing Gel: This face wash is lovely! I'd love to buy the full size... maybe when my student loan comes in heheh. It's a pretty normal cleansing gel but it works wonderfully, smells great and leaves my skin feeling super clean without that horrible tight feeling I can sometimes get.

Elemis Illuminating Flashbalm: This was my moisturiser for the week. As I was using separate spf I didn't want anything too thick and greasy added to my skin. It also worked as a bit of a primer while brightening my skin like a charm.

Dermatologica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque: I know it's not standard practice to take a masque on holiday, but since I had this travel sized one I thought I might as well take it and see how it worked. I used it three times during the evenings and it was such a treat for my skin, leaving it brighter and nourished. 




Eyelash Curlers: Just a bog standard pair of lash curlers. When wearing minimal makeup I feel like long full lashes are a key part of still looking 'done up' so these were a must have. 

No7 Exceptional Dimension Mascara: I have a lot of travel sized mascaras but I plumped for this one. It's a lovely mascara that gives me longer, fuller lashes without looking like I'm wearing heavy mascara.

MAC Pro-Longwear Concealer: Just because makeup is minimal doesn't mean there's room for imperfections! This is my favourite summer concealer as it's light enough for under the eyes but can be built up to cover blemishes and doesn't slide off in the hot weather.

Lancome Hydra Zen Teinte: Translation - tinted moisturiser! I'd love the full sized version is this, it's very smooth and creamy, goes on like a dream and, combined with my concealer, covers everything I want it to. I only wore this in the evenings so I can't speak to it's staying power but I still really enjoyed using it. 





Thisworks Sleep Balm: My name is Bella and I am a terrible sleeper. Particularly in unfamiliar places but this little pot of calming lavender balm is great to rub on my temples and behind my ears to help me drift off a little easier. A must for those of us who are bad at sleeping in unusual beds.

Rose & Co Sweet Vanilla Salve: I practically grabbed this walking out the door having remembered that I hadn't packed any lip balm! It performed admirably though Burt's Bees will always have my heart. It did keep my lips soft and smelled absolutely amazing though! 

Marc Jacobs Daisy Rollerball Perfume: One of my favourite summer fragrances in a handy travel sized rollerball format! This light, sweet floral was perfect to swipe on for summer evenings and i'm considering buying more of my favourite perfumes in smaller sizes! 


Thankyou for reading! I hope you enjoyed, let me know your favourite travel products too!

Holiday Faves | Minimalist Beauty and Skincare

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You may have seen a post I did a few weeks back on Nakd Bars, I really enjoyed finding a yummy alternative to sugary, fattening treats! So I was delighted when the lovely people behind Frank Bars got in touch and asked if I would like to try out their products. Never one to turn down free food I said yes please!

Frank bars are 100% natural and free from gluten, nuts and dairy. Most healthy bars including Nakd bars contain nuts so this would be ideal for anyone who is allergic and can't have them! They are also vegan friendly, high in protein and pretty low in fat and they all clock up at around 120 calories which is really good! So full of goodness then, and at the moment a case of 20 is available online for just a tenner and shipping is free. That's considerably less than a lot of similar products so that's absolutely brilliant, particularly as they're pretty sizeable bars! But on to the really important thing: How did they taste?

 I received four of the five flavours, you can see what I got above, the only one I didn't get being a strawberry and chocolate bar. I'll get this out of that way first, I didn't really enjoy the blueberry one, but that's ok, I'm not a blueberry fan in general so I can't say I was surprised. Aside from that I was very happy with the others. The bars are dense and a little chewy, to me the consistency was reminiscent of a brownie topped with a thin chocolate-y layer. The flavour was very rich and probably the most convincing chocolate taste I've ever gotten from a dairy free product. The richness and denseness meant that the bars are very satisfying and make a fab cheeky mid-afternoon snack to beat any cravings.

I don't think these have completely replace Nakd Bars, but I'm definitely going to purchase a mixed case (Little Brother can have the blueberry ones) and have both to choose from. I really recommend giving these a try. Unfortunately you can't buy them individually, only in cases but they really are very yummy and great for anyone trying to wean themselves off unhealthy treats.

Let me know your healthy alternatives, would you be interested in trying these? 








Health Kick | Frank Bars

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Hey hey! I've been home for a few days after a lovely relaxing week in Menorca and feeling very well rested thankyou very much! I did nothing but lounge by our pool at the front of our villa and occasionally donning a swimsuit and dunking my brother. Because of all my free time I got through 5 books in a week! I'm only reviewing 4 as one was a sequel and can wait for the next Recent Reads. 



When God Was a Rabbit - Sarah Winman

There wasn't much information on the back of this book except that it was about love, and a brother and sister. I really enjoy books that are about non-romantic love so I geared myself up to love this book.It follows a girl from childhood to young woman-hood through snapshots of her life, just a few days worth of narrative at a time. Mostly it focuses on her relationship with her brother and the people who come in and out of their lives and in again. I felt this book tried very hard to be a literary masterpiece but didn't manage to get much further than doggy paddling with it's head above the commercial fiction it was marketed as. Winman's writing was beautiful and her characters and narrative charming, but I felt that the plot and overall meaning of the book was somewhat lacking. It's like Winman had some deep thoughts about life and love but couldn't quite put them into words and so her attempts at deep thought provoking stuff sometimes came off a bit... 'twee'. I still liked this book, and Winman's still new to the writing game so I imagine all she needs is a little experience. I'll be looking out for future publications by her. 



Veronika Decides to Die - Paul Coelho

Confession time: I wasn't that taken with The Alchemist *ducks behind table*. I liked it, I just didn't understand the colossal hype behind it. It was supposed to convey a life changing meaning but I just came away with the same fuzzy 'follow your dreams' deal that you get from nine out of ten Disney movies. This on the other hand blew me away. It's about a woman who attempts to commit suicide, and fails. Upon waking up she is told that her overdosing has left her with a heart condition that will see her dead within the week.
I expected it to be a bit like the film The Bucket List (great film if you haven't seen it) but instead of the character running off and doing all these crazy things, it was almost like an internal, spiritual bucket list. There's a great emphasis on the contrast between suviving: going through the motions doing what you think you should, and really living: Taking each day, each breath as the utter miracle that it is, opening your eyes to your own soul and staying vigilant to the privilege that simply being alive is. Very profound and actually, I think, a very important book. One that should be read by as many people as possible. 



Quiet - Susan Cain
This book is in such a state, not because I found it in a charity shop, oh no it was nearly new then, but because I gave it to my mother to read first. So it's been abused and left in sticky handbags and dusty drawers and... something wet I don't know what. Ugh.
Regardless this is a non fiction book highlighting the difference between extroverts and introverts and detailing why, although extrovertism (put very simply, being vocal, good with people and feel most energetic around others) is more prized in our society at the moment, introverts (again simply: More quiet, enjoys alone time and needs to rest after being with people a lot and can sometimes seem quite awkward) can fit in and, in fact, thrive. I loved that Cain explains the science, and brain makeup behind introverts. When people think we're shying away from social events because we're nervous or awkward, it's actually because our brains are working hard, taking in more information, making us want to be alone to rest! It's a great book for anyone who's ever felt socially awkward or like their friends or business associates are too loud or overpowering (even when they're not saying or doing anything useful!) I found it a bit of a stodgy read going from cover to cover but as a dip-in book it would be a lot easier. I wish this stuff was more common knowledge, and that our society valued all personality types as having something to offer! I'm tempted to talk a bit more on introvert/extrovertism at some point, as it's something I feel very strongly about. 



The Emperor's Edge - Lindsay Buroker
I really enjoyed this, I had my doubts, as it was free on Kindle, often a synonym for 'a bit shite' but I was pleasantly surprised! It's set in a vaguely steam-punk-esque universe in which Amaranthe Lokdon a young enforcer (police officer) discovers a plot to assassinate the Emperor! The plot and narrative aren't the most sophisticated but it's a lot of fun and the characters just stole my heart. They're hilarious and witty and I feel like there's so much that could be done with them as the series progresses. Amaranthe is also a great female protagonist. Determined, tough and respectable but also vulnerable and a little out of her depth, giving her character a lot of room to develop and grow. I've also read the sequel and have just bought the third installment which I plan to read in September (I need to pace myself! I don't want to run out of them like I have with the ASOIAF books!) It wasn't a deep thought provoking book but sometimes you can't be bothered to ponder the meaning of life and you just want to read a good story. I'd definitely recommend this one!

Hope you enjoyed! Let me know if you've read any of these books and any recommendations you have for me! 
Recent Reads | One Week's Holiday!

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A very new discovery for me, I only found her blog yesterday but I already love it! It's a mostly beauty focused blog with a sprinkling of book, fashion and personal posts. Her writing is earnest and adorable and anyone who lists their main goal in life as "to be happy" is someone I want to know.



Holly's blog is like the scrapbook of some dreamy yet articulate poet and I feel like she has such a deep beautiful soul. She has a such a dreamy writing style with which she shares exquisite snapshots of her thoughts and ideas about life accompanied by beautifully taken pictures and stunning collages she creates.



This Argentinian fashion blogger and musician has a style that I just adore. Think deep luxurious vampy fabrics paired with creamy lace and  tough leather. Every outfit is a beautiful ensemble and although I'm not brave enough to imitate her more daring outfits she definitely inspires me to think about textures and structure of an outfit.



A good friend of mine and the creator of the Bloggers Library, (currently on hiatus) Kirsty's blog is one of my favourites for beauty. Her reviews are so in depth and informative but always interesting and fun to read. She does a lot of varied and interesting posts and I'm always curious to see what she'll do next!



I've been reading Olivia's blog for quite a while but this feature isn't just for new discoveries, it's also for old favourites! Olivia is utterly adorable and her fashion and beauty blog is one of my favourite reads when I'm sat on my bed with a cuppa. Her writing is very readable and the whole blog is pink and cozy and sweet.

 I hope you have a look at some of these blogs, they're all by girls I feel I would love to know in real life. Their blogs are full of personality and they seem so sweet and clever and witty!

Let me know your favourite blogs, I'm always looking to add to my blogroll.

Five Blogs to Follow Vol. II

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About a year ago an Oxfam Books & Music store opened on my local high street and I took pretty much no notice of it. My experience with charity book shopping is fusty old 80's chick lit and big unread books with titles like 'Best of the Churches of North Wales' and other generally crap stuff that noone wants to read. However my Grandma came to stay a few weeks ago and, while I was taking her shopping and lunching in town, she spotted said Oxfam shop and dragged me inside, claiming that the one that's opened near her is absolutely fantastic. Eyebrows raised and skepticism on full I wandered in after her.

How wrong I was! So many wonderful books! Including ones I'd had on my 'want to read' list on Goodreads for ages and ages. I'm an English student and a book lover and a very fast reader so I go through books really quickly and always want more and can't be doing with shelling out £6.99 a time! The general price I saw scribbled in pencil on the inside cover was £2.99 and all the books were in pretty good nick. Though there was an adorable little section called "Distressed but still desirable" which featured slightly more... loved books, a few of which I do have my eye on.

The books I picked up in that one trip were:

Paul Coehlo - Veronika Decides to Die - £2.49
Susan Cain - Quiet - £2.49
Caitlin Moran - How To Be a Woman - £2.99
Jonathan Safran Foer - Everything is Illuminated - £2.99
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov - £9.99

Total Spent: £20.95

The last one, The Brothers Karamazov seems pricey but this particular one is an amazing edition created by the Folio Society and I fell in love with the beautiful cover. Although I couldn't find an exact price for this book other Folio editions go for upwards of £20, some for £40 and over! So whatever the price of this was it was a steal! I'm going to estimate the value at £30, which is the price I saw for books of a similar size and age.

I actually went on Amazon.co.uk and saw how much it would be to purchase all of these books brand new from there. The four smaller books came to £21.44, I paid £10.96 for them. Adding the price of the Folio book takes the brand new retail price to over £51.44 and as you can see above I paid just over twenty pounds! What a steal!

I'll definitely review these at some point. I've already ready the top two while I was away on holiday (on top of my summer reads from this post) so I have quite a bit of catching up to do in regards to book reviews!

Let me know if you've read any of these and what you thought of them! 



Charity Shop Books | Indulging a Reading Habit on a budget

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I am painfully pale. I'm that girl for whom NC15 in MAC is on the dark side and generally I don't bother about a tan. The amount of melanin in my skin isn't something I feel I should link to my own self worth and i would rather use SPF and protect against aging and damage than risk the old leather look or worse skin cancer when I'm older. However I enjoy trying out new things and for me getting a nice natural tan without exposing my skin to damage has been something of self-set challenge this summer. I think, think, I've found a way to achieve a nice natural non-orange glow on my skin and I think this is something that would be useful to share!

01. Prep.
We all know that exfoliating before tanning is essential. That goes doubly for paler skin tones. For the most effective tanning you want the solution to reach brand new baby fresh skin cells that will take react well and last on your skin. Older cells don't always tan evenly and worse, when they die and fall off the colour falls off with it leaving patches. Lovely right? I like to shower just before and use a standard exfoliating scrub like Ritual's Rice Scrub all over and then break out the buffing brush to tackle rougher areas like elbows and knees.
I would suggest using a nice moisturising body wash and shaving any necessary areas that you want to tan. This means your skin is soft and smooth and helps to stop the solution clinging to dry patches. After showering and drying yourself rub a body lotion onto dryer areas such as elbows, knees, wrists and ankles but not anywhere else. It acts as a barrier to, again, stop the solution clinging to these areas. Applying it anywhere else can mean that the tanner will slide around and result in an uneven finish.

02. Start Slow
If you are pale and/or inexperienced with tanning I would suggest purchasing a gradual self tanning body lotion first and using that for a few weeks, just to get an idea of depth of tan you want and also to find out if there are any areas of your body that are more resistant to tanning that others. for example the fronts of my legs (no idea why) have real trouble getting any sort of colour, so for an even finish I have to apply more to that area. With these gradual tanners don't be afraid to go for a medium colour rather than fair unless you really are the colour of a sheet of A4. You will see results quicker and with this type of tanner it's hard to go overboard.

03. Getting Serious
Having used gradual tanners if you decide you want to get a bit braver and try an actual fake tan I would recommend a mist. Garnier Ambre Solaire is my favourite so far, I bought the medium one but I think fair would be adequate for most pale girls, I'm just impatient. It's easy to use and, provided you prep properly and use it carefully, gives a really nice even tan. Because I know from my gradual tanning that the front of my legs is harder to colour I do my whole body with one coat and then go back in and do a another light layer on the front of my legs. The extra solution means my skin is less resistant to the reaction that creates the tan and with a little practice I can get it the same as the rest of my body.

Below is a picture of my forearm before any tanning occured and the results after using it three times, once every other day. You can see there is a difference, but I don't look like anyone off of TOWIE, always a good thing! I've used it for a little longer now and am a little deeper than that now, but I find that's just enough for me. I still like pale and don't see why people get so worked up over having a tan but it's nice to know that if I want this sort of look I can achieve it!

Thankyou for reading, I really hope this was helpful, feel free to leave your own tanning tips below!



Tanning Tips for the Scarily Pale

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I've recently started to try and get serious with my bid to eat healthier... it's something that happens every few months when I pull on a pair of shorts and feel like they're slightly tighter that they used to be... It rarely goes very well but I think I've found something that's really going to help me stay on track and avoid unhealthy treats.

I knew Nakd bars existed but I wasn't really convinced by them. The ingredients are essentially dates and raisins, various nuts and natural flavourings like cinnamon and cocoa all blended together and then just pressed in to bars and left to set. Realistically I think you could probably make your own if you had a food processor. I don't so for now I'll stick to buying them.

They come in a wide variety of flavours. The two I'm showing are probably my two favourites, Banana Bread and Chocolate Orange. While the texture is very different to a standard chocolate or snack bar the taste of both is pretty much spot on. I love the Banana Bread ones as an on-the-go breakfast before work as the blend of dates, nuts, bananas and oats means it contains a whole lot of good, natural, slow releasing energy to keep you going through the morning. The Chocolate Orange ones are more of a guilt free treat maybe mid afternoon or as a dessert after dinner. It's hard to believe that the rich gooey treat isn't some sort of indulgent calorie and additive riddled delight. 


Of course these can't completely replace a big slab of carrot cake or a tub of Ben &Jerry's but they don't have to. I find that with these the aforementioned indulgences can be enjoyed once a month or so, and these can be eaten on a more regular basis, to keep me eating healthy without feeling like I'm missing out on what I enjoy. They're not dirt cheap but at £2.29 for a pack of four or around £0.75 for individual bars in most supermarkets they are affordable, particularly if you use the money that would normally get spent on chocolate and other treats.

Other flavours I've tried are Chocolate Mint, Cashew Cookie, Pecan Pie and Cocoa Delight. All were nice, there were none I really didn't like but the two featured here are definitely my favourites.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated to stay healthy? Share your own tips below!



Clean Eating | Nakd Bars

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