Sunday, 30 November 2014

Wild About Beauty AW Lips and Nails

Hello everyone! Long time no speak/ write. Don't really know what my excuse is this time, I've just been a combination of extremely busy and feeling a little uninspired and didn't want to blog for the sake of blogging. However, I'm back with a vengeance and here to review some gorgeous beauty products...

A few weeks back I received a wonderful treat through my letterbox in the form of some products from the Autumn/Winter Wild About Beauty collection. I've blogged about the brand before (see this post) and really like the simplicity, quality and value of the range (not to mention that it is the brainchild of Louise Redknapp)! Today I thought I'd give a quick overview of some of my favourite lip and nail cosmetics in the collection, which make perfect stocking fillers for any beauty junkies who like trying out lesser-known brands...

Wild About Beauty Nutrilips Colour SPF 15

Wild About Beauty Nutrilips Colour SPF 15 in Bobbie (R.R.P £15)


This is a lightweight lipstick that will "leave your lips with a wash of sheer colour and soft shine finish." I absolutely adore the nude shade 'Bobbie', which is perfect for everyday both inside and outside the workplace. It reminds me of a MAC lipstick in that it smells great and it also contains ingredients to nourish your lips as well as give them a pop of colour. I wouldn't say it's a replacement for a more intensive lip balm, but it certainly does relieve dry lips, making it the perfect lipstick for cold winter days. 

Nail Colours 

Wild About Beauty Nail Colours in Michael and Jake (R.R.P £9 each)

I am a massive fan of Wild About Beauty nail polishes - they are easily and smoothly applied, don't chip easily, and come in some beautiful seasonal colours. Two of which are Michael and Jake. Michael is a jet black while Jake is a very dark, shimmering purple. I had actually never worn black nail polish before receiving this one from WAB so was hesitant to commit to a full set of nails. Therefore, harking back to my early teenage years, I used a mixture of both colours, creating inverse looks on each hand.

Left hand - Michael with one Jake accent nail (spot the annoying air bubble...)

Right hand - Jake with one Michael accent nail

The difference is barely noticeable but I definitely prefer the left hand and have to admit that I am a massive convert to black nail polish! It takes patience to apply as any mistakes are glaringly obvious, but can look super sleek and sophisticated. I also like the dark purple accent nail as it subtly breaks up the block, bold colour. This is definitely a look I shall be wearing a lot more over the winter months.

Have you tried any Wild About Beauty products? Or are there any other lesser-known beauty brands that you think have a great seasonal collection this year? Do let me know!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Why the phrase "man up!" makes my blood boil

Image from timeshighereducation.co.uk

Recently I got reminded of something that irritates me so much that I couldn't help but take to the Internet to have a good old rant. The subject of my disdain? The phrase, "man up!"

This all started when I was watching X Factor the other week. One of the contestants had been poorly the week before and took to the stage to sing. When he was done and Dermot turned to the judges for their feedback, one of them kindly reminded the contestant that we all get ill but he just has to get through it and "be a man".

I've deliberately not named names because I don't want the focus of this blog post to be an attack on the individual that uttered the phrase. Instead, I want to highlight how, in this day and age, people still find it acceptable to invalidate another person's experience based on their gender and this happens both ways.

Men cry, men get scared, men sometimes lack in confidence. As does everyone. However, phrases like "man up!" belittle these normal human experiences as being almost shameful because they do not adhere to "manly" gender stereotypes. Just as men wolf whistling at women on the street reinforces stereotypes of women as objects, using the phrase "man up" reinforces stereotypes of men as tough and bolshy, which they cannot be all the time.

I would call myself a feminist because I strongly believe that, as a woman, I should be offered exactly the same opportunities in work, in the home, indeed in life as my male counterparts.  I think most women and men I know would agree with this principle, even if they do not actively define themselves as "feminists" or have their own take on what the word "feminism" means. However, there is still a lot of work to be done, no matter what anyone says, in the name of feminism. As this shocking article reports, according to a UK study, women earn 15% less on average than men, which is totally unacceptable. However, as I hope I have shown, women are not the only ones suffering from restrictive gender stereotypes. While women often feel like they have to choose between their career and their family, men often feel like the don't have the choice, as their paternity leave is limited and they are expected to play the role of a strong, tough-skinned "manly" man, who provides for his wife and family.

To stamp out sexism once and for all and to offer everyone equal opportunities, we need to eliminate traditional gender stereotypes which hold back women in the workplace and put unfair pressure on men to be relentlessly bolshy, self-confident and tough-skinned. And a good place to start would be by abandoning ridiculous phrases such as "man up". 

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Your eyebrows look FABulous!


I recently read a post by a blogger called Hannah Gale called 36 things all women in their twenties are obsessed with. Top of the list is:

1. Eyebrows. Eyebrow products. Eyebrow colours. Eyebrow shapes. Cara Delevingne’s eyebrows. EVERYTHING ABOUT EYEBROWS.

As much as I hate how lame it is, the above statement is painfully accurate in my case. I think eyebrows can absolutely transform your face shape and I prioritise well-groomed eyebrows over most beauty routines if I'm in a rush to get out of the door in the morning. I also don't understand how Cara Delevigne's eyebrows are so amazing. Jealous? Very much so.

I have been having my eyebrows threaded for about a year and a half now, after looking in the mirror one day and realising I had been over-plucking them and they were completely mismatched. During my most recent threading appointment, my beauty therapist recommended Fab Brows as the perfect way to fill in and define your eyebrows at home. She tried it on me and I was so pleased with the result that I couldn't resist buying a kit myself. I can't find an official website but you can buy the kit in a range of different colours from eBay for £19.95.

The kit contains:
  • eyebrow colour
  • brush
  • three stencils to help you create the perfect shape
  • mirror
  • instruction leaflet
The kit comes in a handy box which can be popped into your handbag
Peekaboo! This is the inside of my kit in 'Chocolate' - the ideal colour for those with dark hair
Stencils (from top to bottom) in Slender, Pure and Exotic. Excuse my messy nail polish - you can't have everything

My favourite stencil is the 'Pure' one as I like to keep my eyebrows a bit thicker, but there is something to suit every preference and face shape. It makes it super easy as someone who is amateur at beauty to achieve a shape that looks like you have walked straight out of a salon. 

Fab Brows also claims to be smudge-proof and waterproof and (for the most part) it is. However, it is worth running a little hairspray over your finished eyebrows with your fingers if you want them to stay sleek and defined from morning until night.

I would thoroughly recommend Fab Brows to anyone who, like me, likes to give their eyebrows a whole lotta love.

Have you tried Fab Brows? Or do you know of any other eyebrow grooming products that are worth a try? Please do let me know!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Just so WILD about Beauty!

Hello all!

No real excuse for the lack of post in the last month - just been super busy and lacking inspiration. But hey, I'm back again and going to review Wild about Beauty's Nutrilips lip balm.

I'm going to admit that when I heard about the brand, I wasn't that excited. The name 'Wild about Beauty' drew up images of cheap make up sets that older relatives used to buy me when I was just starting to get into make up as a teenager. However, after doing a bit more research around the brand and reading other reviews, I changed my mind. The company was founded by Louise Redknapp (whose cover of 'Stuck in the Middle with You' still gets me) and make-up artist Kim Jacob - all cosmetics are paraben-free and focus on everyday essentials with skin-friendly ingredients and beautiful neutral colours. It is actually a very grown up brand which the founders have really put some love and attention into.


Wild about Beauty Nutrilips lip balm (£14)

The nutrilips balm I've been using is in the shade Carmelia and is a gorgeous nude colour. It's a pinky-orangey-nude mix which appears a little bit darker than in the photo below. It's a perfect shade for everyday and gives lips a glossy, kissable finish. It also leaves lips feeling really nourished and, unlike cheaper lip balms, lasts for a good few hours before rubbing off completely. I have also been applying this balm before bed to allow it to work its magic overnight. This stuff really works and I would highly recommend it if you don't mind splashing out a little bit more money on lip balm once in a while!



Have you tried any new lip balms recently which you think deserve some recognition? Or have you tried any other products in the Wild about Beauty range? Do let me know in the comments!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Review: W7 Paint the Line liquid eyeliner



Hello and happy Saturday!

I'm a huge liquid eyeliner fan. It's a product I pretty much wear everyday - I don't have time on a day-to-day basis to do anything intricate with eyeshadow (I would obviously rather sleep for an extra ten minutes) so I tend to just stick to a clean liquid eyeliner line and mascara. Therefore, a good quality liquid eyeliner is one of my make-up bag staples.

I've been meaning to try out Body Shop's Smoky 2 in 1 Gel Liner Eyes and Brows but found myself the day before a wedding without any liquid eyeliner, so popped into the nearest Boots and picked up Rimmel's Scandaleyes Thick and Thin eyeliner. Literally the worst make up product I have ever bought. My boyfriend leaned over to me during the wedding reception and whispered, "you have make up all over your face..." I thought he was winding me up but when I looked in the mirror he was not exaggerating. It had smudged all over my top eyelids and somehow made its way onto my forehead?! I gave it a second chance the following day and the exact same thing happened. It's safe to say I threw the product away that night. Make sure you avoid it!

It's then that I found W7's Paint the Line liquid eyeliner in my make up drawer. I had no idea where it had come from and had never heard of the brand before. I must have got it as a sample in a magazine or something. Anyway, it's fantastic. It has a 'precision tip' which allows you to easily create a clean, sharp line and it also stays put all day without smudging. I was even more pleasantly surprised when I found that it's only £4.95 on the W7 website (or £2.93 on Amazon!). For the price, this really is a great product and I shall definitely be buying this again and finding out more about the W7 range.


Have you tried any products from lesser-known make-up brands that you have been impressed by? Do let me know!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Monday, 4 August 2014

I Spy with my Freshly Cleansed Eye...

Good afternoon everyone!

First of all, a quick reminder that you can still enter my giveaway to win over £50 worth of spa goodies! Just skip to the end of this blog post to enter.

Back to the here and now, I'm on annual leave for the week which is incredibly exciting. I'm not going on holiday unfortunately but luckily the weather is still beaut and I also have a wedding to look forward to on Wednesday so I'm more than happy.

Just a quick post today to share my new-found love of L'Oreal Paris's Gentle Eye Make Up Remover, or as they call it "L'Oreal Paris Gentle Make Up Remover Eye".


I picked this up last week in Tesco because it was half price (probably the main reason I try any new product apart from reading other people's blog recommendations). One thing I always look for in an eye cleansing product is something non-oily as I really can't stand the feeling of having greasy eyelids, no matter how effective the product. However, this particular cleanser feels really refreshing against tired eyes, just like fresh water, and removes waterproof make-up very well. I will definitely be buying this product again in the future, maybe even at full price next time!

Have you tried any new cleansers recently which you have been pleasantly surprised by? Do let me know!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Moddershall Oaks Spa Escape and My First Blog Giveaway!

Hello all! So this is going to be a long but very exciting post with the chance to win some amazing Moddershall Oaks spa and Elemis products! Keep reading for your chance to win :)

The first time I went to Moddershall Oaks was the summer between my second and third year of uni. It had been an action-packed year with lots of changes both in my academic and personal life and my mum and I felt like we needed a couple of days to be selfishly indulgent and escape from daily life. After having a quick Google on short breaks in the UK we came across Moddershall Oaks - a country spa retreat in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside. And the rest is history. I've been twice with my mum as well as recommended it to my friends who have also visited for a girly weekend. This time, however, I took the boyf along for the ride.

We were recommended the Spa Escape package which Moddershall Oaks describes as follows:
Arrive at 3pm for a tour of the spa facilities and check into your suite, enjoy a two course evening meal served in our lakeside restaurant, stay overnight in a 5* suite with cooked breakfast, relax with a 25 minute back, neck & shoulder massage or 25 minute Elemis Customised facial and take full advantage of our spa facilities with complimentary use of robes & towels as long as you can.

From the moment we arrived, the staff were extremely friendly and attentive, making sure that our stay went as smoothly as possible. On arrival we were shown to our room, given a tour of the facilities and handed our itineraries which told us what time our table was booked in the restaurant and what time our massages were booked in for the following day. It was great to know that that was all we had to think about for the next 24 hours.

The first afternoon we spent in the indoor spa which includes a swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, reflexology pool, experience shower and steam room. As well as all these wonderfully relaxing water features, we were particularly fond of the stone heated loungers on the poolside and definitely fell asleep a couple of times.




Next was dinner. I opted for the Catch of the Day (which was hake) and the 'Oops I dropped the Strawberry Sunday' which included macerated and fresh strawberry jelly, strawberry mousse, crushed meringue, lemon cheesecake quenelle and Madagascan vanilla ice cream. Needless to say, it was pretty damn good.



 After a good night's sleep and a hearty cooked breakfast, we had a walk around the grounds. MO owns a large area of land around the spa site which boasts a beautiful lake and a short woodland walk. While my mother would've insisted on the walk, we spent more time looking at the fish by the lake.


While waiting eagerly for our massages, we tried out the outdoor spa. This only opened in mid-June so it was my first experience of it too. The setting was absolutely gorgeous; a wooden cabin complete with jet pool and sauna overlooking endless green fields. It was at this point that we decided we didn't want to leave but were all too aware that the working world was approaching the next day *shudder*.


(We weren't actually there at dusk but I felt a bit uncomfortable about taking pictures of other people trying to relax so MO kindly provided the photo for me!)

After our massages (which used Elemis oils and were amazingly relaxing), we spent our last few hours chilling out and reading in the dedicated relaxation room. You can stay in your robes and slippers and cuddle up in the huge sofas and have drinks and deli food brought to you. It truly was the perfect end to the most blissful 24 hours. We felt refreshed, happy and ready for anything (which was a good job because it turned out that I'd booked us on the wrong train journey back so we had to re-buy our tickets - may bad).


AND NOW IT'S COMPETITION TIME!

As a massive fan of Moddershall Oaks having been three times, I was super excited when they agreed to help me set up a giveaway to give my readers the chance to win some spa goodies.

It's a lovely selection of gifts including an Elemis spa gift set, a Moddershall Oaks teddy and rose massage candle and a SpaRitual nail polish (worth approx £55 altogether). All you need to do to enter is follow myself and MO on Twitter and tweet a ready-made message about the giveaway. And that's it I promise! 

Please also note that this giveaway is open to UK RESIDENTS ONLY


The giveaway opens on 27 June 2014 at 12am and closes on 10 August 2014 at 12am. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Moddershall Oaks did give me a media rate for my latest visit. However, I have been a full-paying guest twice previously for a spa break so please have absolute confidence that this review is 100% truthful and I would recommend this spa to anyone!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Feeling dressy

Hello and Happy Friday!

Just thought I'd share with you a couple of dresses I've bought recently for very little money. This is one of the many things I love about summer - while in winter you end up splashing out hundreds on warm coats and boots, in summer you can put an outfit together for under £30 reasonably easily.


The first dress I bought is this little orange number from Florence & Fred at Tesco. My housemates and I were at a huge store buying homeware for our new flat when I came across this. I thought at £18 it would be rude not to. F&F is a funny one - I wouldn't go into Tesco just to buy clothes as some of the range is quite tacky. However, often when you're not looking, you come across a great find. I absolutely love the colour of this dress and the material is so light and cool. The one downside is, as with most dresses that button all the way down at the front, if you sit it any sort of slouching position, you end up flashing a cheeky bit of tummy as the material between the buttons is pulled tighter. This encourages good posture I guess?!

The second dress I've bought recently is this one from H&M which I'm super pleased with at £5 in the sale. I've had so many compliments on it and it's really versatile - it can be worn for a day in the park or dressed up with a blazer and pumps for a smart-casual office feel. However this dress also has a downside (although this one is avoidable). It is a little bit see through and therefore nude underwear is a must. But hey, at £5, there had to be something a tiny bit inconvenient, didn't there?

Have you picked up any summer bargains recently or can you recommend any other stores where you can pick up a dress for under £20? Do let me know in the comments.

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm

Hello all!

I have internet - wahey! As I mentioned in my last post, I've just moved house in London and have been waiting patiently for the lovely guys at Sky to set up our broadband. I'm using this opportunity at my mum's house to upload a short blog post and hope that, by the time I get back to the big smoke, we will be connected to the worldwide web.

Anyway, internet rant aside, I thought I'd share with you a hair product that I am absolutely loving at the moment - Percy & Reed's Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm.


I actually got this sample free with a magazine a couple of months ago (maybe Cosmo or Company?) and, although a tube is pricey at £18, I would definitely consider buying one when this sample runs out. You only need the tiniest bit on towel-dried hair and it saves me so much time when styling my hair after washing. I have quite straight hair if I rough dry it but I in the past I have always turned to straighteners to tame my hair and make it extra sleek. However, this almost does same job meaning I can often get away with just rough drying my hair after applying the Wonder Balm and it is silky smooth and good to go.

And below is a lovely selfie of me after having done just that - no straighteners needed, my hair has just been rough dried in this picture and made super silky and smooth thanks to this product.


Have you tried any hair products which have dramatically saved you time? Please do let me know - I am a fan of anything that allows me to enjoy 10 minutes extra in bed in the morning!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Review: Mattifying/ Oil-Free Moisturisers

Hello all!

Firstly, apologies for my lack of blogging of late. I've been extremely busy - since I last posted I've found a new place to live and found someone to take my current room. Now getting super excited about the move!

But all that aside, today's blog post is a review of three purse-friendly mattifying/ oil-free moisturisers. As a teen I had quite oily skin (super sexy) and, although my skin is much better now, I would still describe it as combination. Therefore, I tend to opt for light moisturisers that absorb quickly and banish shine as well as nourish my skin.


First up is Boots Skin Clear Oil-Free Mattifying Lotion (£2.99). I bought this one month when I was budgeting on everything. It definitely works on the mattifying side - apply this in the morning before make up and it banishes shine all day. However, it is not particularly moisturising, meaning I often found my skin still felt quite dry and tight after applying. Also, if you apply make up straight away and the moisturiser has not properly absorbed, it starts flaking in your hands. This is probably the best option if you have super oily skin but is not nourishing enough for those (like myself) who have combination skin. 2/5

Second is Garnier's Moisture Match Mattifying Fresh Cream (£5.99 in Boots). I really like this product - I bought it when it was half price in Sainsbury's and was very happy with it. It smells fresh, is extremely light and absorbs quickly. 4/5

Third is Neutrogena's Visibly Clear Oil-Free Moisturiser (£4.99 in Boots). This is my favourite moisturiser of the moment and makes up part of my everyday skincare routine (which definitely sounds more complicated than it is). I think it smells great and my friends have also said this when they've stayed over and raided my things. It's really moisturising but also super light and you only need the tiniest bit for your whole face, meaning it lasts longer than the Garnier one. I would 100% recommend this to anyone with combination skin. 5/5

Have you tried any affordable moisturisers recently that really compliment your skin type? Do let me know in the comments!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Light Summer Make Up

Hello!

The weather has been hotting up this week (finally!) so I thought I'd share a light summer make up look with you. This look is perfect for summer days as it looks really fresh and natural. I'm going to let the pictures do the talking this time because I feel like if I wrote out a full tutorial for this look, it would get pretty dull. However, I've listed all the products I've used and tried to include little hints in brackets though in case you want to try this out for yourself.

Enjoy and please excuse this really awkward selfie!


Face 


From left to right:
Boots bronzing brush (I use this to apply bronzer below the cheekbones)
MAC 187SH Duo Fibre brush (I use this to apply blusher to the apples of my cheeks)
MAC 116 Blush brush (I use this to set my make up with Rimmel Stay Matte)
Benefit High Beam highlighter
Rimmel Natural Bronzer in 022 Sun Bronze
Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder in 001 Transparent
Benefit Dallas blusher
No 7 Stay Perfect foundation in Warm Beige

Eyes


From left to right:
Benefit Fake Up concealer in Medium
Rimmel Rocking Curves mascara by Kate in 004 Jet Black (I picked this up for £1 in the Boots clearance sale and wouldn't recommend it. It smudges and clumps really easily. Unfortunately I'm trying to save money so am stuck with it for another month)
Body Shop Shimmer Cubes Palette 06 (I applied this on my eyelids, blending the colours from light to dark from the nose outwards. I also applied the darkest shade underneath my eyes)
Body Shop eyeshadow brush (I used this to blend all four colours across my eyelid)
Body Shop slanted eyeshadow brush (I used this to get greater precision when applying eyeshadow underneath my eye)
Maxfactor eyebrow pencil in 001 Ebony (My favourite eyebrow pencil!)

Lips


From left to right:
No 7 Moisture Drench lipstick in 55 Pink Crush
MAC Cremesheen lipstick in Creme Cup (as this shade is a tiny bit too light for me, I blend with the No 7 lipstick for the perfect pastel shade)

Let me know if you have tried any of these products or if you have any top tips for summer make up!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

MAC Dark Angel Nail Lacquer



Hello!

Just a short post today to show you my current favourite nail polish. My lovely boyfriend bought me MAC Nail Lacquer in Dark Angel and the colour is absolutely beautiful. The purple is dark yet vibrant and I have had so many compliments when I've been wearing it. Although it's not your typical summer shade, it's so eye-catching that it can be pulled off all year round.

I thought I'd also share with you one of my staple nail products - the Barbara Daly Goodbye Yellow polish (which you can buy at Tesco). When I bought this, I originally thought it was a base coat designed to prevent dark nail polish from staining your nails. Turns out it's actually a clear coat with a very faint purple hue that is designed to correct nails that are already yellow. Either way, it's awesome. I use it as a base coat and a top coat with MAC Dark Angel as it gives an extra shiny finish. I've had this bottle for two years and it still applies really smoothly without 'glooping' which, for £6 a bottle, is pretty darn good.

Which nail colours are you loving at the moment? Do let me know!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Body Shop Blue Corn Face Mask

Last bank holiday weekend I went to a wedding. It was an absolutely beautiful ceremony as well as an incredible weekend with plenty of cheer and late nights. As a result of all this fun, by the time I went back to work on Tuesday, my skin was not particularly glowing. One of my friends, Kayleigh, is squatting at my house until her contract on her new house begins so I demanded that she try out my new face mask with me and pose for lots of pictures. She didn't take much persuading.

The face mask we used is one that I got for my birthday (one of many gifts that you can check out in this blog post). It's the Body Shop Blue Corn 3-In-1 Deep Cleansing Mask which claims to "cleanse, exfoliate and purify with Community Trade Blue Corn powder", and looks like this:


As you can see, it's a fairly thick mud mask that has exfoliating particles in it. You apply it on to damp skin and it goes on super easily and smoothly.

Cue face mask selfie:


It did "tingle" (verging on stinging) for the first five minutes but then settled down and we felt more comfortable. We kept it on for the maximum 15 minutes as recommended.

It was fairly difficult to take off (exfoliating as we washed), but manageable despite some contact lens drama from Kayleigh. When we had removed the last traces, however, our skin felt AMAZING. We both kept stroking our faces and telling each other how smooth it felt!

And here we are post face-mask. If I say so myself, our skin is positively glowing. I would 100% recommend this face mask as a good all-rounder for anyone who is looking to perk up and purify their skin with some quick-fix pampering.



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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Birthday Gifts

Hello! I realise I have not blogged for a few weeks (slap on the wrist) but life has been a bit of a whirlwind recently. An exciting part of that whirlwind was my birthday last Sunday. My boyfriend and I share the same birthday so you can always guarantee that our birthday weekend is action-packed. I was also lucky enough to receive some absolutely fabulous presents. I didn't ask for anything in particular this year but my family and friends were so thoughtful and I couldn't have picked better gifts if I'd tried. After plenty of flowers and champagne (what's not to love?), here's what else I received. Hopefully these give you some inspiration if you've got any birthdays coming up and you're stuck for ideas.





Gorillapod Hybrid Tripod - my dad got this for me after saying he'd read my blog and kept seeing my arm in pics of me when I was showing how i'd done my hair or make up. I do despise taking selfies so anything that makes them a little less cringey gets a big thumbs up from me. It's also a good excuse to get more creative with photography and I'm up for the challenge!

Body Shop Blue Corn 3-in-1 Deep Cleansing Mask - as I wrote in this review of GlamGlow Tinglexfoliate mud, I'm on a bit of a mission to try out new face masks. I'm looking forward to using this 3 in 1 mask, which claims to cleanse, exfoliate and purify all in one. I'm sure I'll be blogging a review of this very soon!

White company flowers candle - this is quite possibly the greatest scented candle I have ever smelt. And I haven't even lit it yet! As soon as you open the box, you are hit with a delightful mix of jasmine, rose, neroli, lavender & geranium. This is the perfect present for those looking for something a little special.

Body Shop slanted eyeshadow brush - I've never actually had one of these before but have heard they're super handy when filling in your eyebrows/ you need more precision than a normal eyeshadow brush. I can't wait to experiment with it.

The Boy With The Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne - my mum gets me a book without fail for every birthday and Christmas. I can't wait to read this one.

MAC Frost lipstick in Angel - a gorgeous nude shade and the perfect make up bag staple. Once again, keep your eyes on my Instagram.


MAC nail polish in Dark Angel - this shade is beautiful and this picture doesn't do it justice! Keep your eyes on my Instagram as I will be posting a pic of this polish in all it's glory in the coming days.

MAC Frost lipstick in Angel - a gorgeous nude shade and the perfect make up bag staple. Once again, keep your eyes on my Instagram.

Bracelet from Pia - If you've never checked out Pia Jewellery before, do it now. They are really reasonably priced and make pretty, delicate jewellery which make perfect gifts. This bracelet was a present from my dad and he bought me some earrings from there for Christmas too. Both are firm favourites!

Body Shop Moringa body mist - I'm not usually one for using body spray, tending to opt for an eau de parfum. However, this stuff smells fantastic and is super fresh and light so can be reapplied throughout the day. Perfect for the summer months.

You Look Lovely Today make up bag - I have never been a morning person. Despite 9 months now in the working world, I still often struggle to tear myself away from my bed. This complimentary wash bag should make it that little bit easier.

For obvious reasons I've not included prices but I'm sure you can google any of these items pretty easily if they take your fancy. Hope this has given you some present ideas for any birthdays you have coming up. 

Ciao for now!

Want more? Follow me on twitter @jobancroft or on facebook.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Split and Twist Braid


Good evening!

Today I thought I'd teach you how to do this incredibly easy, yet very pretty hairstyle. I've seen Cheryl Cole wear her hair in a similar way and loved Nicole Guerriero's video tutorial on how to do this braid (which she called a bubble braid) last summer, but thought I would do my own spin on it by pinning up the front of the hair in a sort of quiff if you will. I had no idea what to call this hairstyle so settled on the 'Split and Twist Braid' as it takes plenty of splitting off sections of hair and twisting them from start to finish (very lazy naming, I admit). You may recognise some of this tutorial from a previous hair blog post I wrote on how to do a Springtime Messy Bun. The twisting technique used in both these blog posts is clearly fast becoming one of my favourite ways to style my hair.

For this look, you will need: a comb, hairspray, several hair grips, a normal hair bobble and thin snag-free hair elastics. These are different from the trusty hair bobble in that they are a lot thinner and the elastic is not covered in material. These are important for this look as you want them to look as discreet as possible. You can pick up a pack from Boots for £1.99 and they look like this:


So without further ado, here's how you do it:

1. This style works best on hair that has not been freshly washed to help it stay in place. Grab your comb and style your hair into a side parting.


2. Using the same technique to pin our hair back as we did for the spring time messy bun, pin the front section of your hair (about the same amount as you would use for a side fringe) back, twisting once before fixing with a hair grip. Unlike last time though, back brush and hairspray this section of hair before pinning to give it more lift and make a more voluminous quiff.


3. Take a section of hair from the side of your face and underneath the section you just pinned up and twist and pin in the same way.


4. Repeat step 3 again if you want more twists.

5. Be sure to backcomb and pin back your hair on the other side of the side parting. This doesn't have to be anything fancy, I just find it looks better if the whole head of hair has a bit of added volume before you make your ponytail.



5. Tie your hair into a side ponytail using a normal hair bobble. The ponytail should start at the nape of your neck (I don't know why I'm pouting so furiously in this photo, I can only apologise).



6. Tie one of the hair elastics round the ponytail about two - three inches from the top.

7. Poke your thumb and index finger through the section of hair between the hair bobble and the hair elastic from the back.



8. Grab the bottom of the ponytail and pull it through the gap created by your fingers. This will create a twist effect.

8. Tie another hair elastic about two - three inches below the first one. Once again, poke your thumb and index finger through this new section and pull the rest of the ponytail through the gap.



9. Repeat step 8 as many times as the length of your hair will let you.

10. Tug a little at each section of the braid to make it look a little less neat and hairspray the whole thing in place.

11. (Optional) Once you are happy with your braid, carefully remove the normal hair bobble at the top. I think this looks better as it makes the whole thing look a bit more relaxed and messy. You may have to pin up a few loose strands that fall out of place.

12. Pull a few strands of hair free from around your face and voila! You're all good to go. Unfortunately I only took one picture of the completed look so here's my cheesy smiling face one more time for your viewing pleasure.


I hope you like this hairstyle and it inspires you to get creative with splitting and twisting (no euphemism intended, seriously). Please leave any blog posts or videos with quick and easy hairstyles in the comments that you have seen recently and enjoyed - I am really loving experimenting with my hair at the moment!

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