Monday, 2 September 2013

two nights in edinburgh

Last week I went on a quick city break to Edinburgh to see my best gal pal who's been living over there this month. Unfortunately I just barely missed the Fringe festival but I had a great time regardless. I was expecting it to be a casual city break with shopping, eating and cocktails but it ended up being one of those amazingly fun drinking holidays! We stayed out late both nights dancing and drinking far too many £1 vodka & cokes! I'm not hugely into sightseeing and shopping was #1 priority for me so naturally I went mad in MAC at duty-free and also rinsed out Topshop as well as the shops we don't have back home like La Senza and Superdrug. I got to eat in Chiquito's too which I was excited about because I loved it when we were in Belfast. Hopefully I'll be able to share my purchases in a later post. I got some nice photos despite just bringing my phone - my other camera is a DSLR which is just too bulky. It isn't hard to get gorgeous pics as Edinburgh is such a beautiful city! Have you ever been in Edinburgh? Did you love it like I did?

Sunday, 25 August 2013

a bit of a change...

For months know I've been eager to make a drastic change to my appearance. I hinted back in July that this was going to come in the form of a change in hairstyle, but I was never fully sure what colour it was going to be. I'd narrowed it down to either blue or lavender, but in the end settled for pink (slightly inspired by the beautiful Georgia) and even had an appointment in a hairdressing academy but after a sour experience with said academy (clearly they don't bother with customer service & basic manners) I was fed up waiting and started to make the change myself.

Obviously to lift my natural colour and the remnants of dye in my ends this process took many hours and a lot of bleach and I wouldn't recommend doing this yourself as I did because my hair is fried. I don't particularly care about my hair and am actually happier to have dry hair than super silky hair so this suits me fine - though I obviously am taking care of it and rehabilitating it as much as I can. The colour is patchy & unfinished, I know; I still need to do another all-over bleach but I'm going to wait as long as I can before doing that! If you want to read about how I did it or get any advice I'm happy to make a post but I am not a hairdresser and have no experience in colouring aside from years of abusing the hair on my own head!

Overall I'm really happy and even though I've had somewhat rude comments, the majority of people in my life have responded really well and been lovely about it. One girl who I work with said I reminded her of her Malibu Barbie doll whose hair she used to colour in with highlighter pens; that's a style I could totally get on board with...

Monday, 19 August 2013

current base favourites

Illamasqua concealer in CC115, Nars Pure Radiant tinted moisturiser in Terre-Neuve, Bobbi Brown under-eye corrector in Porcelain Bisque.

I had been struggling to find a foundation that was compatible with my generally shit skin - combination, with dry patches & dehydrated, meaning I find it hard to find makeup that will really sink into my skin and not just sit, cakey on the top. Nars are one of my favourite brands and Sheer Glow is my favourite base of all time but it's a bit heavy for everyday wear, and the Dublin counter has been out of stock in my shade, Siberia, for months now. In the meantime I got a sample of their much-loved tinted moisturiser and was sold almost immediately. I went out and bought it the day I tried it out, and haven't looked back since. It's enough coverage for an even base, provides just enough radiance so you look glowy - not shiny - it's lightweight on the skin and has an SPF of 30. The shade is a little dark for me but it blends really well so I can still get away with it.

I still need a little extra coverage, however, and I've been turning to my two favourite concealers. Bobbi Brown's corrector fixes any dark spots under my eyes and generally brightens my whole face while doing so. Next, Illamasqua's blemish concealer does the job on spots and scarring. I'm a fan of the Lisa Eldridge 'less foundation, more concealer' philosophy as it keeps my skin looking good without being cakey.

Have you tried out any of these products or do you want to?

Saturday, 17 August 2013


follow me on instagram @serenaelliott

Just a few snaps to show you what I've been up to the past few weeks! Mostly going out (as you can tell by the gratuitous selfies) and shopping, as per.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Nivea 'Skin Conditioner'

Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturiser, approx €3.99

It appears that Nivea have gone ahead and created the lazy girl's essential for fuss free soft skin. Despite high risk of this being the ultimate gimmick, it seems to really work. During winter I have a more vigilant body moisturising routine - lots and lots of Palmers Cocoa Butter - but in summer I couldn't be less interested in attempting to sleep while coated in a sticky layer of body butter. Enter Nivea's new 'Skin Conditioner' which snuck into my basket last week at the supermarket. I didn't have high hopes but at four quid where can you go wrong?

It says to apply a layer after using shower gel and rinse off but I stepped away from the water and counted sixty seconds after slathering on a thick layer. It appears to be fragrance free which is a pity as I find it hard to see the worth in a product unless it has a vanilla/caramel scent. Texture wise, it's exactly like hair conditioner, and makes you (and the bottle itself) slippery as fuck, so be careful if you have a deep bath/shower hybrid you need to scale out of afterwards like me. I also tested this out while in the bath and paired with Lush's Creamy Candy bath melt my skin felt really nourished.

Post-shower results are nothing special really but I know that the product itself has worked. I feel as though I applied body butter a few hours ago - soft but not sticky and ready to get dressed. While what Nivea have created won't be replacing rich body butters in many routines, I know that I'm going to repurchase it for the days where I just don't have time. The major con with this product is how far you can actually get with one bottle. I used mine every time I washed my hair (every 2-3 days) for two weeks and I probably only have another week of usage left. For me this isn't a huge issue as it's such a bargain and it suits my routine so much, but some will have a problem with how much you have to use to get a satisfactory result.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

nails & rings

River Island above knuckle rings, H&M chunky ring, Topshop nail polish in 'Velvet Underground'

A little project I've undertaken recently is to achieve the seemingly naturally unattainable 'stiletto nails' but without the addition of damaging acrylics to my nails.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

face mask essentials

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel, Sanctuary Thermal Detox Mask, Origins Drink Up Intensive

Face masks are probably my favourite part of my skincare routine - I love the almost instant gratification that you get after using a good one and I find it so much easier and more satisfying to use a weekly treatment than to remember to use different daily solutions for months on end. Different products are rotated depending on what my skin needs, but there are three solid categories I consider essential; a radiance boosting exfoliating number, a detoxifying charcoal mask and something for an often necessary moisture boost. Within these categories I have my long time favourites and different ones to chop and change with. One of my favourite things to do once weekly is a pamper evening inspired by Anna's 'Triple Threat Facial' and do one after the other in order to give my skin an often essential kick up the arse.