Thursday, 2 July 2020


The summer is fully upon us now. What better time than now to get into sunscreen and start preventing ultraviolet (UV) damage?! No matter what skin colour you are, sunscreen is incredibly important.

What are the benefits of sunscreen?

The overriding benefit is that it helps to reduce your risk of skin cancers (mainly malignant melanomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and basal cell carcinomas). Too much UV light can cause damage to the genetic material within your skin cells and this gradual accumulation of damage can lead to your skin cells dividing uncontrollably and abnormally, thus resulting in skin cancer. 

Followed closely by its benefit in slowing down the ageing process and preventing wrinkles. Persistent exposure to UV light is what contributes to wrinkles through damaging the elastin and collagen fibres within the skin. Elastin and collagen fibres are connective tissue found in the deeper layer of the skin. They are vital in maintaining its elasticity and firmness. Gradually from the age of around 25, your body produces less collagen and elastin is not produced after puberty, with the addition of UV rays causing further breakdown and destruction of collagen and elastin, this results in skin sagging and wrinkling. 

There is a well-known case (published in the New England Journal of Medicine) of a patient who had been a truck driver for 28 years presenting with severe wrinkles on the left side of his face. Because of the constant UV exposure that he would experience through the window on only the left side of his face, this side was considerably more wrinkled with thickened skin compared to the right side of his face that was in the shade. 

Another advantage, one that I find most beneficial at the moment, is that it prevents hyperpigmentation, including sunspots and melasma. Melasma occurs due to overstimulation of melanocytes (cells in your skin that produce pigment) thus producing too much melanin (the pigment), resulting in areas of hyperpigmentation. UV light is just one of the factors that cause this overstimulation. Sunspots, also known as solar lentigines or age spots, occur for a similar reason but tend to be smaller areas than melasma - a bit like large freckles. If you are suffering from acne or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, it is especially important to reduce sun exposure as it can worsen the appearance of these areas and lengthen the time taken to revert to its original skin colour.

So you're pretty convinced now of its importance. 
How can you get SPF into your daily routine?

Sunscreen lotion
By far the most effective way of protecting your skin UV exposure
- Tends to have high levels of SPF
- Very easy to apply but depending on the brand, it can sometimes leave a white cast on your face (I currently use the Sunprise sunscreen and find that this is not a problem at all)
- Needs to be as the last step in your skincare routine and wait for 10-15 minutes before applying makeup
-  OR on top of makeup, which is not ideal after spending 20 minutes doing the perfect face
- LOWDOWN: In my opinion, it is the best way to apply sunscreen for maximum evenness and protection

Moisturisers with SPF
- Tend to have a nicer lighter consistency for your face as well as containing other beneficial ingredients for hydration
- Usually have a lower level of SPF, making it better for colder climates or wearing indoors
- LOWDOWN: Great to use in the winter months when higher levels of SPF aren't necessary

Nivea Day Cream for Sensitive with SPF15 | Nivea Day Cream for Normal with SPF 15 | Nivea Q10 Anti-Wrinkle with SPF 15 | Avene Hydrating Cream SPF 30 

Foundation with SPF
Tend to have a lower level of SPF due to the difficulties of getting the sunscreen to remain stable in the foundation and mix well
- For this to be fully effective, you would have to apply a thick layer of foundation, which in reality not many of us would do, especially in the summer!
- A good option for winter when there are lower levels of sunlight or if you are spending the large majority of your day indoors away from windows
- LOWDOWN: Any SPF is better than none, and if this is the only way you can get SPF into your routine then I approve
MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF15 | Revlon Colorstay SPF15 | Rimmel Lasting Finish SPF20

Sunscreen spray
This is something new I've recently added to my collection and have seen the benefit (I use the Garnier Sensitive Advanced Spray with SPF50)
- Tends to be a little greasy compared to normal sunscreen lotion
- Difficult to evenly distribute on your face
- Make sure you either apply the spray to your fingers first before putting on your face or if sprayed directly onto your face then to use your fingers to spread it gently and evenly around
- LOWDOWN: Very useful when you're on the go to top up your sunscreen

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Spray SPF50 | Nivea Sensitive Sun Protect SPF50+ | Garnier Sensitive Advanced SPF50 | Avene Protection Spray SPF50

SPF powder
Tend to be non-comedogenic, containing physical sunscreen rather than chemical
- Can be applied over make up, perfect for a top-up
- Difficult to spread evenly on the skin
- LOWDOWN: Perfect for a light base of makeup with added UV protection

Bare Minerals Original Powder Foundation SPF 15 | Avene Compact Protection Make Up SPF 50

Can you use body sunscreen on your face? Of course you can. However, the problem that many of us run into is that the skin on our face skin is more sensitive than our body skin. So if you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, body sunscreen can be comedogenic and too heavy to apply on the face. The beauty of face-specific sunscreen is that it is usually lightweight, non-comedogenic and formulated to reduce the chance of leaving a white cast on your face after applying.

The cardinal rules of sunscreen are:
1. SPF 30 or higher is generally required for a good level of UV protection in heavy sun exposure
2. When in direct sunlight it should be reapplied every 2 hours of sun exposure for it to maintain efficacy
3. It should be applied at least 30 minutes before heading out into the sun
4. It is a must 365 days of the year, even if you're in the office or car all day or its snowing outside!
5. Don't forget about your lips!

What are some of your favourite brands of sunscreen? Do you wear sunscreen every day?

Tuesday, 3 July 2018


I'm off on a little mother-daughter relaxing holiday to Cyprus soon, and although we're only going for 5 days I am so looking forward to getting back in some sun again. I love going on these mini breaks in Europe as it's the perfect amount of time to get a snippet of a country without it costing an arm and leg, and without having to take too much annual leave! I actually really enjoy packing for a holiday, as it gets me excited for the trip ahead and it means I get to have a good look into my summer wardrobe. I've comprised a list of tips that I think may be helpful:

1. Write a list
I absolutely love writing lists! It's a combination of the fact that I enjoy being organised and the satisfaction of ticking things of a list. When I write lists for holidays, I start with what I'm going to take with me in my hand luggage (necessities that would be diabolical to forget) and then the things I have to remember based on the holiday type (ie. if it's hot then bikinis, if it's a lot of walking then trainers, etc) and then everything else. This is also good because when you're re-packing to go home at the end of the holiday you can check off stuff again so that you don't accidentally leave your favourite top under the hotel bed... Additionally, I always like to take multivitamins with me on holidays because you never know what the food is going to be like and plus nobody likes to eat super healthy on holiday, so at least I know that I'll be getting my recommended daily intake even if my diet isn't the best.
2. Check what you have before going holiday shopping
This might be obvious but I think it's important to avoid duplicate buying. There's no point buying more suncream when you already have two half empty bottles from previous holidays. So I pack before I do any last minute holiday shopping, because 9 out of 10 times I don't actually need to buy anything new. This is especially true when it comes to toiletries, years and years ago I used to actually spend money on mini toiletries which seem to be three times the price of the full size product (don't really see how the maths works there...) But now I use the shampoo that I stole from another hotel, the face moisturiser I decanted into a mini pot, a roll on deodorant that's already mini, perfume samples that I seem to never run out of and toothpaste that's almost empty but will definitely last 5 more days.

3. Pick your outfits beforehand
I really feel like this is a necessity when you're trying to pack light and squeeze everything into a cabin sized bag. There's nothing worse than packing some of your favourite fashion pieces, and then getting to your destination and realising none of them look nice together! Because we're only going for 4 nights, I'm packing 4 day outfits and 4 night outfits. My night outfits consist of just dresses and playsuits because they're nice, small and compact. The type of tops I pack are tops that are versatile, just in case I change my mind about my planned outfits.

From left to right:
 Mustard crotchet bralette - New Look
Grey speckled fine knit vest top - H&M
White lace bodycon mini dress - Heart & Bows
Black floral mini dress - New Look
Stone bodycon midi dress - Prettylittlething
Black culotte jumpsuit - New Look
4. Consider getting a pre-paid card
So previously, I used to get all my foreign currency that I thought I might need for a trip whilst still in England, and just hope and pray that I won't have to pay for anything with card. That was until I found Monzo. Nowadays, you're able to pay with visa/mastercard for most things in most countries so now I just get a small amount of foreign currency before I go and then pay for things with Monzo. Monzo is great because it doesn't charge you to use it when you make transactions abroad; the exchange rate is actually really good; everything is done via the app where you can instantly see how much you've spent and can even freeze the card if you lose it; you can upload money onto it via Apple/Android Pay. The only real downside is that you can only make free ATM withdrawals for the first £200 over 30 days and then after that there's a 3% charge. (This isn't an ad, I just really love Monzo - plus the card is hot pink!)

5. Don't overpack and avoid hold luggage (if you can)
Having only hand luggage is very beneficial for a number of reasons: if you just have hand luggage, you don't have to wait for the baggage claim and can be out of the airport within like 15 minutes; you don't have to pay for hold luggage (if it's not included in your flight ticket price); you don't have the risk of your luggage being lost (which happens a lot more than it should); you don't have the risk of your suitcase being broken (which also happens A LOT more than it should...). The only real downside is that you're limited on liquids, however that's not so much of an issue for this holiday as the hotel we're going to is all-inclusive, so it already has many of the toiletries necessary.

A few other faves I'm taking:
Black bikini top - H&M
Black arizona birkenstocks - Office/Schuh
Blue denim high waist shorts - H&M
White cross strap sliders - New Look
Black scallop high waist bikini bottoms - H&M
Do you have any fun trips planned for the upcoming months?

Monday, 11 June 2018


RIMMEL 60 Seconds Super Shine in 500 Caramel Cupcake || superdrug | amazon

Everyone loves a nude, and for me I love it on my nails. Although, it can be difficult to find the perfect one - some are too pink, some too brown, some too purple, however I think I've found the one (am I talking about a nail polish or the love of my life, it's hard to tell...). Within hours of seeing this on my nails, my mum went out and bought the same one!

On a day to day basis, I'm not actually allowed to have my fingernails painted for hygiene/infection control reasons as I work in a medical environment. However, seeing as I don't have work for 6 weeks I'm going to make sure that I have my nails painted for the entirety of those 44 days.

The polish itself is amazing, the brush is the perfect width for quick and easy application. Once on, it really doesn't chip easily and is long lasting - it lasts on my toes for weeks and weeks.

What's your favourite colour to wear on your nails in summer?