Wednesday, 16 August 2017

2017 || JULY FAVOURITES


I know this post is now long overdue, however, I found it quite hard to balance out blogging while on holiday as I stupidly didn't schedule any posts before setting off! Thus, not only is this post a bit late but I also included the UD Naked Heat palette in my July's favourites as I had a couple of weeks longer to play with it rather than judging it by its first use, even though it's bloody amazing.


The Matrix Style Link Gloss Booster is a new addition to my overgrown hair care collection, but it's one that is definitely worth getting for all hair types, even if you've got oily hair. I find that it works best when I apply it before blow drying my hair as it leaves it very smooth and silky without that horrible oily feeling. I'm not the biggest fan of hair oils, I do prefer to use a balm as I find them more suitable for my thin hair, but this little guy works wonders!


I don't think there has been as much fuss about a mascara since Benefit brought out their Roller Lash, but L'oreal are currently killing it with all the new products. The Paradise Extatic Mascara has been on market for a few weeks now and I was super excited to try it out for myself as I have heard that it's a dupe for the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. I really love the wand of this and feel like it coats all my lashes well, as well as staying on all day long. I did have one little issue with it but I'll include it in a full review soon.

Decleor was one of my most recent additions to my skincare routine, and what's a better moisturiser to use in the summer if not the light version of my current favourite? The Decleor Hydra Floral 24h Hydrating Light Cream is slightly on the expensive side of skincare, but it is SO worth it! I love the Hydra Floral range enough as it is because of the scent, but this moisturiser is honestly my new Holy Grail as it makes my skin feel healthy and glowing just after one use, plus it absorbs into my skin very quickly making it easier for me to apply my makeup quickly.


This is and probably will be my favourite palette by Urban Decay of all time, no joke. You might have read my post about the original 3 palettes, but this one has got to be my number 1. I love the shades in it - they are very wearable and suitable to all due to the incredible pigment.  The shadows feel very soft and easy to blend, I also found that I didn't need to dip in much to get a good colour payoff as it showed up very opaque on my eyelids. My favourite shades are Scorched, Cayenne, and Ashes - but like I said before, all these shades are VERY pigmented and you could even create an eye-look using just one shadow (particularly Ashes).


As you already know, I have been on holiday to Rome back in July and had an amazing time - but sadly that's not the point! Unfortunately, we don't have a Sephora in the UK and I will forever be sad about this, however, I managed to pick up a few bits and bobs while being abroad including the Sephora Pomegranate Sleeping Mask which is anti-fatigue and energising. It's quite sticky to apply, almost like a peel off mask, but the best thing about it is that you apply a thin layer on in the evening and leave it on overnight! Say goodbye to long chores of washing off face masks, and hello to the new overnight masks! This is great for those who are very busy but still want to take good care of their skin - hence why I bought the anti-fatigue one, haha.

The Milk_Shake Silver Shine Whipped Cream Conditioner is a bleach blonde's dream. I'm a natural light blonde, but because I dye my hair grey from time to time I find that I need to use a toner more regularly to maintain a nice shade of blonde and this does take its toll out on my hair. So when I came across this mousse leave-in conditioner at a blogging event, I had to buy it to try it out for myself. It makes my hair very soft, yet still, neautralises all brassy and unwanted yellow tones which is a definite 10/10 for me!


I was kindly gifted this little jar of Elemis Skin Bliss Capsules at an event, and I cannot stress enough about them. You can open the jar and not even have to use up the product straight away because it will still be in date, how about that? This little jar comes in both, day & night capsules so it's perfect for travelling or to give as a gift etc. I really like the nighttime capsules as the oil doesn't feel too thick and soaks into the skin nicely, leaving me feeling fresh and moisturised in the morning.

What did you enjoy using in July? Have you tried any of the products mentioned above?

Lots of love,
Maya xo

Monday, 14 August 2017

HOW TO RESTORE SEVERELY DAMAGED SHORT HAIR - MY STORY OF LOW SELF-ESTEEM DUE TO HAIR LOSS AND OVERUSING HEAT



Oh dear, my hair journey... ha! Where to begin? Let's start from the first time I dyed my hair - I was a very self-conscious 13-year-old who felt the need to do everything to not look like 'me'.
I was in a very bad place at the time because of bullying and trying to settle in my new school, but now I wish I never touched my hair.

I had beautiful golden blonde hair which was long and healthy, it wasn't very thick but it was definitely thicker than it is now. I begged my mum for months to let me dye my hair and she finally did which made me very happy. I kept bleaching my hair until the age of 15 when I decided I wanted to have brown hair?! - If you're thinking about dying your hair brown but you're a natural blonde, make sure you speak to a professional beforehand, because me going brunette was the worst decision ever. After a couple of weeks, I got bored of my dark hair and wanted my blonde hair back. Oh, boy was it hard to go back to blonde then! I bleached and bleached and bleached my hair until it went a horrible bright orangey-yellow colour and very bad condition.

For my prom, I wanted to have long and curly hair but did I f**k... The hairdresser I went to BURNT MY HAIR OFF!!! She burnt my hair off the DAY of my prom.... The condition of it was so bad that all was left for me to do is have it cut really short and re-grow it. When I say short I don't mean Pixie-cut short, I mean above shoulder-bob-length which I hated. Thinking back now, I should have sued the woman! She was so rude as well, not helpful when it came to me picking out a hairstyle at all... and the fact that she did not dry my hair properly and using styling irons which weren't suitable for wet hair on me made me so angry. But, you live and you learn...

After 5 years of trying to grow my hair out and dye it less, I can say that I'm finally happy with the condition of it due to this routine and these products:



My current hair care routine consists of scrubbing my scalp every time I wash my hair - 2-3 times a week, depending on my plans. Once I've scrubbed my scalp and got rid of all the dry skin, excess product etc. I then move onto shampooing and conditioning my hair as normal, I have recently been using the whole Lee Stafford Hair Growth range and I've noticed a massive difference in the quality and length of my hair already. Once a week I will use a hair mask to nourish my hair, I love this one from Lush and any of the Lee Stafford ones.

I used to wash and straighten my hair every day for at least a year, so I have cut down a lot on using heated tools. When I was regrowing my hair properly I refused to use any heated tools and just let my hair dry naturally and put it up using scrunchies or invisibobbles.
Now, I blow dry my hair every time I wash it because now that I'm older I take care of my appearances more than I used to, and from time to time I'll either curl or straighten my hair too. I have been really enjoying using Lee Staffords' Coco Loco Heat Protecting Mist as it smells bloody amazing, and works wonders for my hair too! Jeez, this sounds like a sponsored post but it really isn't! I paid for all these products with my own money and I only buy hair care products when they're on offer anyway.
Another issue which bugs me is that my hair falls out so much every time I brush it... I know it's normal to have up to 100 strands of hair to fall out but my hair is thin enough as it is!! Would you recommend any hair products or how to reduce hair fall out?

Have you ever been through something similar? What are your holy grail hair products?

Lots of love,
Maya xo

Friday, 11 August 2017

TRAVEL || WHAT TO DO IN ROME + TIPS ON WHERE TO EAT, HOW TO SAVE ON TRANSPORT, AND WHERE TO GO


Those of you who follow me on social media will already know that I have been on holiday to Rome back in July. I did plenty of research before my trip and have also learnt a lot of helpful tips while on holiday. Obviously, this post will include the Colosseum etc. but I will also mention how I saved a lot of money and made the most out of my trip.




1. Visit the Colosseum (obvs)
The Colosseum is honestly breathtaking. We went to see it on the first day of the holiday, but we kind of didn't have a choice as we stopped on the metro directly outside the building haha?? It was VERY busy. I believe we got there for around 12pm, so it was a very busy time and full of people either trying to sell you something or bumping around into each other because of how confusing everything was. We decided to go with a tour agency and booked a tour of the Colosseum with a tour of the Palatine Hill for only €30 which took around 3 hours altogether (there was a break in-between the two tours). One thing that we were annoyed with was that we were lied to about entry prices without a tour. We've been told that it cost €13 to get in with a two-hour queue, however, when we were waiting for our tour to begin, the prices were announced via a speaker as €5 per adult and €3 per child... So if you don't fancy spending a lot more money but don't mind waiting in the queue then I suggest just doing that. Also, prices online for a tour are a lot higher than what you could haggle to in person, so try to avoid buying tickets for events/tours online!

Tip #1: Purchase a weekly metro ticket
This was probably one of the most money-saving decisions I made. One of my good friends, Rebekah, has been to Rome last year and she advised me to get a weekly ticket as they work out cheaper than having to buy a return one every day. I believe that a 24h return ticket cost €7, but the weekly ticket only cost €24, so as long as you went out 4 days out of 7, then it was worth it. I and Kieran went out into the city or around the city every day so we definitely got our money's worth.




2. Make a wish in the Trevi Fountain
My mum was most excited for my trip to Rome due to her fond memories of the Trevi fountain from when she was young. We actually got lost twice in a row when we tried to find the building but came across many more beautiful places so we're not complaining, ha ha! The fountain was very beautiful (and packed), it was a very hot day so a lot of people were trying to dip their hands in it. There will be people trying to sell you selfie sticks for around €10 so just tell them you already have one or say 'no grazie' and it should get them off your back! The main attraction about the Trevi fountain is that you throw a coin in and make a wish. I made mine, would you make yours?

Tip #2: Bring a water bottle with you everywhere
The best thing about travelling to Rome is that there are plenty of drinkable water fountains which you can use to fill your water bottle with. I think the government introduced these because of the high rates of homelessness, which is a fantastic idea as it keeps everyone hydrated + it's free.









3. Visit the Vatican Museum, St. Peters Basilica, and Sistine Chapel
This little tour was probably the highlight of our holiday as we headed off to visit one place and ended up exploring half the city. The museum itself was absolutely gorgeous and full of exciting stories to be told - we booked a tour of the Vatican as we wanted to find out the history behind it.
I really enjoyed the beautiful paintings on the ceilings and the tapestry as we headed towards the Sistine Chapel which Kieran was looking forward to the most. We paid €40 each, which included a guided tour of the museum and chapel, as well as entry to the basilica - it was worth it, however if you're not into guided tours and prefer to take your time observing all statues etc. then a normal entry ticket costs €8 and the best time to go would be around 3-4pm as that's when it's most quiet.

Tip #3: Cover up when you go to Vatican City
Because the Vatican is a religious place, you're required to cover up your knees and shoulders out of respect. It's better to be prepared than be rejected at the door and forced to buy a pashmina to cover up - this concerns both men and women. I originally wore a red dress and then got changed into a midi skirt and long sleeved top.


4. Take a picture from the Palatine Hill
In our little Colosseum tour guide package, we also got tickets for a guided tour of the Palatine Hill which is just a 4-minute walk from the Colosseum. Once the tour was over, we headed off to the very top of the hill to take some pictures (and fill up our water bottles!). The views were beautiful, you could see the whole of Rome from there!

Tip #4: If you get hungry and fancy something quick and easy then I suggest going to a local pizzeria or a takeaway and share a pizza as they do come quite big!





5. Plan your trip thoroughly before getting there
Prior to our trip, we both did some research to see what places we'd like to visit the most and where to eat etc. I had a list of things to do saved on my phone so every night we would plan out the next day and what to do. This helped us come across many beautiful places and we will treasure the memories made for the rest of our lives.

Tip #5: Buy a map of the city
Getting a map was probably the best idea we had as it saved us so much time trying to navigate ourselves by either asking people for directions or trying to find a decent wifi connection... I know that a lot of companies provide free roaming abroad, but mine for some reason wasn't working at all.


Overall, I had an amazing experience when visiting Rome and because I did everything I wanted to (and much more) that I feel like I won't have to return for a while just because of how fantastic my trip was. Have you been to Rome or are planning on going?

Lots of love,
Maya xo

Friday, 4 August 2017

REVIEW || ARE THE URBAN DECAY NAKED PALETTES WORTH YOUR MONEY?


The Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palettes have been a big hit since the first one came out in 2010, but now with so many amazing and more affordable palettes out there, are they really worth their price tag? I can finally say that I own the first 3 naked palettes and have put them to the test. After lusting over them (especially the first one due to the packaging) for years now, my wishes came true and the makeup fairy gifted me with these three beauties - in this case, my mum turned out to be the fairy.


The packaging:
Like I've mentioned above, I love the packaging of the first palette. It's very unique and you can actually open it all the way around so it's great for travelling. The only thing that annoys me about this one is the size of the mirror  - it's pathetic. I'm the type of girl who uses her palette mirror on-the-go, but using this one I can only touch up my lipstick if I hold it close enough to my mouth! 
On the other hand, the Naked 2 & 3 palettes come in a metal packaging which I really dislike. It reminds me of a very cheap palette that you could buy in like corner shops or something, but they do come with a large mirror and the metal case protects the palette from breaking while you're travelling.


Naked:
I feel like the shades in this palette are great for people of all skin tones and ages. It has a variety of subtle matte shades as well as pigmented shimmers. My favourite shades from this palette are 'Buck' and 'Toasted', which you can use to create a full eye-makeup look using just these two shades. Even though this palette was the first one to come out, it's one of my favourites and was actually my latest addition.


Naked 2:
The Naked 2 palette is a cool-toned shadow lovers' dream. The shade 'Tease' was literally created for me... it's a beautiful transition shade for all skin tones and looks lovely on its own too. I enjoy using this palette but I don't reach for it as much as I'd like to, so I would definitely suggest that you try the colours out in store before deciding on which one to buy.

Naked 3:
Now, I feel like this palette is very girly and versatile. It's great for every-day use, and the shades compliment each other very well. It has a lot of pinks in it, so if you're not a big fan of pink shadows then stay clear from this one as you might not like it. I think the shades 'Blackheart' and 'Trick' are my favourite as they're very pigmented.

If you're interested in more affordable dupes for these then I suggest the W7 palettes or the 'eBay' alternative 1 and 2.


^swatches from the Naked palette.


^swatches from the Naked 2 palette.


^swatches from the Naked 3 palette.


Overall, I found it hard to decide which palette I liked and used the most out the three, but I chose the first original Naked palette. I chose this one because I thought it suited me the most as there are 10 nude shades and 2 silver shades which make smokey eyes a lot easier to create. However, the price tag of £39.50 is way too high for what these palettes have to offer, but I will probably buy the Heat palette as I've heard lots of great reviews of it.

Do you own any of the Urban Decay Naked palettes? If so, what do you think of them?

Lots of love,
Maya xo

Friday, 21 July 2017

CHEAP AND HEALTHY SNACKS THAT WILL STOP YOUR CRAVINGS


So, you've clicked on this post and now you're wondering what snacks can be 1. yummy, 2. healthy, and 3. cheap all at the same time? Well sit back and relax hun, because you're in for a treat (no pun intended)! I usually do my food shopping in Tesco as it's close to my workplace and house, but since I'm moving to a new place in September my closest shop will be Aldi (I'm very happy about this). As you can see, these things were all bought at Aldi on my recent trip for some vegetables but as you can see the trip took a different turn and I ended up buying some goodies - #NoRegrets.


Ever since trying Popchips for the first time in my life this year (and loving them obviously), and hearing from many influencers that Aldi does a cheaper version I had to try some out. They come in two flavours - BBQ and Sour Cream & Chive - the BBQ are my and Kieran's favourite, and at only £1.29 they're a bargain! Aldi's Pop Outs are made with a lot less fat and are actually a healthy alternative to regular crisps so you can still enjoy yourself and indulge in some heavenly crisp sandwiches.


Talking about a crisp heaven, I came across these sweet chili gluten free rice cakes which are AMAZING. I've always been a big fan of rice cakes and usually tend to go for slightly salted rice cakes or plain with a bit of peanut butter to taste but these are great on their own as either a lunchtime or late-night snack. As I mentioned above, these are also gluten free so anyone can enjoy them! - they also come in a few different flavours but this one sounded the most appetising to me, and at only 79p per packet you cannot go wrong!

I used to be obsessed with peanut butter but since literally over-dosing on it a couple of years ago I stopped buying it and would only have it on special occasions. When I came across this wonderful jar of Wholenut Smooth Peanut Butter which has no added sugar, I had to buy it. It's great on toast, mixed in a smoothie or protein shake, with porridge - the combinations are endless! It tastes very nutty which I personally love and know that even Kieran will eat it if it's mixed in with his food! I believe this only cost me £1.29 on offer with the usual price being around £1.50 which s still very affordable.


Cacao powder was on my shopping list for a while but I wasn't going to buy any until we had settled in our new flat but seeing it in Aldi for only £1.99 I had to buy it - come on now! It only has 37 calories per 10 grams which is pretty good, especially if you like to add it to unflavoured protein or porridge. I bought it to make a healthier version of brownies or granola bars that taste good so my little brother and sister can enjoy them as well as the adults.


I feel like I've saved the best 'til last! These are honestly the best brownie bars I have ever tried and believe me when I say I've tried a LOT 😳 They are gluten free, soya free, vegetarian, and it says milk free so I guess they're also vegan? But make sure you check the ingredients list before you buy them as they may contain some traces of animal produce. It's like they're a cheaper version of the Nakd bars which are pricey but oh-so-delicious! I believe these only cost £1.49 for 3 bars so it comes up to 50p per bar which for a healthy snack is fantastic - my university sells a piece of fruit for 80p so I'd much rather stock up on these and carry a packet around in my handbag to snack on inbetween lectures for an instant energy boost.

Have you tried any of the snacks I mentioned above? Did any of them tickle your fancy? I know for a fact that I'll be getting some more of these during our weekly food shop as you can't go wrong with tasty, healthy AND cheap snacks like these.

Lots of love,
Maya xo
© VOGUE BY MAYA. Design by Fearne.