The Reign of Rock

So this is Christmas? Again... 

I'm not complaining though, I love the festive season and the opportunities it brings to connect with old friends, new friends and the fact it provides an excuse for just about everything.

Want to wear sparkly eyeshadow - why not? It's Christmas.
Chocolate for breakfast - why not, It's Christmas! 

This is why I've thrown myself back in to experimenting with make up and trying out more adventurous shades and looks, because ITS CHRISTMASSS.

I've particularly loved the Elemental and Artistry palettes from Illamasqua's 10 Year Anniversary Collection, The Reign of Rock. 

I've always stuck to brown and black eyeshadows, with a sprinkle of gold here and there, but after using the Experimental Palette I've realised how much bold shades such as green and blue add a new dimension to my face, and add to a simple outfit. 

The Reign of Rock Collection, plus all Illamasqua products are up to 50% over Cyber Weekend, so if there's ever a time to take a leap into wearing bold shades, now is the time to start!


Updated Wash & Go Routine 2018

I've finally reached a stage in my natural hair journey where I occasionally feel comfortable wearing it all out. Just rocking it. Previously, my only obstacle was the bits of straight hair and heat damage that would mean I didn't have a nice shape, or some bits would look lifeless (yes I tend to chop them off and hope for the best) But since Jan 18' I've worn my hair straight probably three times, for no longer than two weeks, and it's made all the difference!

I get so many questions about what I use, so thought I would share those here in steps!

Stage 1 
Clarify - I'm usually super busy in the week, or get home late from work, so I don't have time to wash it mid week. It's not the washing that takes so long, it's allowing it to dry properly so that it doesn't turn into a frizzy mess that's most important. 

To get rid of the build up of product I've started using The Creme of Nature Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse. It's amazing, just make sure you close your eyes!

This will help to completely rid your hair of any product which makes anything you put on your hair afterwards, work to the best of its ability. It's cheap too! You can of course just buy ACV (apple cider vinegar) and dilute it, but this is super handy. 

Once a week, I also use a mask. I would recommend the Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque.

Stage 2
I then used a bit of shampoo, mostly because of the vinegar-y smell and to bring some shine back. I wouldn't recommend using too much shampoo after a ACV rinse as this can strip its natural oils.

I'm obsessed with the Twisted Sista Shampoo. It makes my hair so defined and it's half the price of Shea Moisture.

I also love the Shea Moisture Curl and Shine Shampoo, which you can get from Boots. 

Stage 3
I then rinse again, and this is where I add an essential oil to lock in the moisture. I've been using almond oil. Olive oil, Argon oil and Almond oil work really well for me as they're quite heavy. 

Stage 4 
Next up, I rinse again and then use the Twisted Sista Curl Jelly. This is amazing and so affordable! To get a defined look that is also sits well, you can also use Eco Styler Gel. I just rake it through my fingers.

I then air dry and then finish off by diffusing on a cool setting. 

As you can see it takes a lot of products to perfect my hair routine, and no doubt if you're natural you feel the same!

Boots offers a volunteer panel, which allows you to test the safety and performance of Boots skin care, cosmetics, sun care and toiletries products including No7, Soltan, Soap & Glory, Botanics and Champneys.

As you are already aware Boots stocks a number of products specifically for Asian and black skin types and they are keen to attract more black and Asian women over 18 to the volunteer panel to get their feedback on these products!

Check out the website here


2018 Hair Update - Tips for growing natural hair

Now - Just washed - no product 

Why is it that at every point in a natural hair journey, we think our hair is at it's absolute best? Looking back at old pictures when I thought my hair was at it's ultimate health, I'm now convinced that I was blind. Maybe I'll look back at these pictures in a few months and think the same thing, but to appreciate the journey, it's great to look back at old pictures!

2016 - Freshly washed, damaged

You know what? I was trying (LOL) and it shows that to get somewhere, no matter what it is, you just have to start. At this point I realised how important it was to feed your hair with water, and I'm so glad I took these pictures so I have something to compare to. However, I was washing my hair with shampoo waaaayy too often, which made it dry and brittle.

NOW. My hair now is so thick, to the point where I'm starting to struggle with it a little, but I can't complain because it's so versatile and quite healthy. It's also getting quite long, which means that styles hang a little better and I can pile it all on top of my head, which is my go-to. 

So here are my five top tips for growing your hair not just longer, but thicker too, because who wants long, thin hair? 

  1. Patience - this is probably the key to LIFE never mind hair but let's not get too deep, right now I'm applying it to hair. I say patience because it's taken nearly two years to get the thick curly hair I wanted. You also need the patience to try out new hair products, which I still do constantly, and go through a lot of trial and error when it comes to styling. Patience is really important when it comes to styling, as I've only recently realised how important it is to let your hair dry thoroughly for a great look. 
  2. Invest - invest in good hair products, because unfortunately the better ones do cost more for a reason. Instead of spending loads of money on weaves and wigs, why not invest in your own hair that you'll have to live with for the rest of your life? It's cheaper too. 
  3. Stress less - The less you mess with your hair, the more it'll love you, protective styles are good for this, but just wearing your hair up for a week or wearing a hat outside in the cold will relieve your hair. 
  4. Trim it - cutting it in order for it to grow might seem counter productive, trimming dead ends and avoiding split ends helps to maintain and encourages hair growth 
  5. Love your bad hair days - and don't let those days put you off taking care of your hair, because everyone has them 

September 2016 - Thin Hair straightened 

December 2017 - Thicker, longer hair


New York - Five Top Tips!

I've always wanted to visit New York, so when we decided to go, I knew I didn't want to do anything by halves. We used Travel Counsellors as they do everything for you and make your experience completely bespoke, they'll ensure you get good flight times and that your hotel is located near to the attractions or areas you'd like to visit. They also organise your transfers.

It probably isn't the cheapest option but I don't know when I'll be able to visit again, so I didn't mind possibly paying a little more to have a stress free trip!

A few people have asked me questions about visiting New York so I thought I would collate these tips on the tips I picked up when I went! I hope they are helpful if you've never visited America, just like I hadn't.
  • When you arrive, you may have to pay a hotel tax on top of the cost of the hotel. We had to pay an extra around $11 for each night and that was for the gym facility (which we did not use!) and I think that's also the WiFi use and little things like that. You pay that when you leave so don't get too carried away in Macy's! 

  • Most items in stores don't include the tax on the price tag, this might be a well known fact but I forgot every time! Although it might seem like just a couple of dollars, it all adds up - so consider this when you're budgeting for your holiday money. 
  • You will do a lot of walking, so definitely wear comfortable shoes. Even my most comfortable shoes became uncomfortable eventually so I'd consider getting some soft insoles in future.

  • Public transport is super cheap! A Metrocard for the week was around $25 and allowed us to get to all of the landmarks, from the 9/11 Memorial site, to the staten island ferry with ease. I mean, getting in a yellow taxi is the dream, but they are so pricey. They look better from the outside anyway right? 
  • Customer service is amazing in the US, so make sure you tip! It's very taboo not to tip, so again, consider this when you are thinking about travel money as you need to tip between 8-12%. 

  • As with most warm countries, all of the public buildings are air conditioned, so I always carry a small moisturiser and lip balm with me as it dries out my skin, I also take antihistamines each day as it plays havoc with my allergies. I'd also suggest taking a light jacket as there's nothing worse than sitting in a beautiful restaurant shivering! 

I hope these tips were useful if you're a New York novice like me! 
Comment below if you have any more tips :) 


Dreamy Brunch at Menagerie

One way I try to experience new restaurants is by going for breakfast or brunch instead of dinner. This is because the brunch menu is often a lot more affordable, and you don't have to decide well in advance as it's less likely you'll need to book a table!

Top Tip - You also don't need to worry about being bloated in your fancy evening outfit, as you can wear just about anything to go for breakfast! 

Last weekend, a few of my friends came to visit me in Manchester for the weekend. Although I moved here in summer 2016, the months fly by so fast, so we don't always get to have a day out as we're now spread across the country. Of course this gives us every excuse to go out to eat. 

I took the opportunity to try some new restaurants and host a movie night at my flat. One of the highlights of the weekend was visiting Menagerie in Salford. If you're looking for an Instagram worthy restaurant - you're in the right place. 

Brunch isn't served until 12, which seems a little late to me, but it was great as we had the choice of the lunch menu too! The brunch menu didn't have a lot of choice, but as it was quiet they were really flexible when it came to tailoring what we wanted to eat and drink. 

I had a mocktail that didn't have a name, I just said I wanted something sweet, and in no time at all the bartender had whipped up something magical. To eat, I had the buttermilk pancakes with a side of eggs. 

I loved the restaurant so much and I can't wait to go back. From the service to the marble top tables and the Photo Booth, it made for a great lunch setting, not to mention the huge portions. 

I'm so excited to go back to Menagerie, as it allows you to feel like it's a really special occasion but without the 'special' price tag.

Just another reason why I love living in Manchester! 

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