Forgive me for having been absent from the blog for months.
This summer just gone has been a whirlwind and quite frankly my busiest summer since…forever? It was nice though because I am not the type to book a holiday for next year. I do things in the moment or last minute which works well for some people and not so well for others. I am a spontaneous event planner. Somehow I found myself at a project after another and towards the end of my summer, I even went to Edinburgh for 4 days! Of course, these are all experiences accumulated from my new work but it was an unforgettable summer. I have met so many new people and whilst I can see more challenges ahead, it’s a start of something.
Whether I should let it burn, ignite, is another story but I’m continuing the journey anyway.
I haven’t written a life update since my last, so here’s a summary of events that took place this summer for me and what I took away from it:
I helped joint-organise a local talent event for young people. It was an entirely new experience for me but it was so nice to get involved with the community. I strangely learnt more about myself in those few weeks planning than I did anywhere else. I learnt that meeting new people isn’t such a daunting task and that I’m actually pretty good at it. I learnt that there are some really nice people in the community and this made me realise that it is possible to make a difference.
Shortly after that, I was part of another project – this time a 3-week film school for young people. Met with a new experience once again, I got to know more local kids and put myself out there some more. I’m an introvert at heart so I surprised myself with how comfortable I felt, how confident I became in the setting because well…I had to be.
Ever since my birthday in June, I have been getting lots of compliments about everything. I don’t know if it’s an age thing and maybe it’s cliché to say, but I’ve just been blooming. I just feel different. I no longer feel like that stupid, shy kid who found it hard to speak-up and defend herself. I realised that I changed when I helped comfort a crying child on two occasions (of whom no one else noticed) and spoke up against some pesty brats on some other occasions. I’m really not messing about this year. Maybe it’s from all those years of tolerating BS that I can no longer tolerate it anymore. Ha!
On the subject of compliments, one particular comment that stood out was that I’m a people person. It was a really strange but nice comment to receive on more than one occasion. Strange because as a quiet person, I would never consider myself as a people person. Ever. I must have been in shock since I heard myself respond with this in which they responded, ‘you don’t have to be the loudest person in the room to be heard’. It was definitely food for thought.
As aforementioned, I went to Edinburgh for 4-days as part of a work trip. Our sole purpose was to go for Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the world’s biggest showcase of theatre and performance pieces from around the globe (I had no idea!). I had a blast and for sure, would go again in future. Maybe I should put together a travel post of some sort?
I know. Old news. But how was everyone’s summer? I’m very much looking to autumn when it starts feeling more like it so I can start layering it! I’m not complaining about the last bouts of sunshine that we’ve been having though as I’ve been making extra effort to get myself to the park more often after work! Hope you’re all well!
I thought I would be posting this empties instalment much sooner since my last update, but it proved to be a challenge in the end to make it to 10.* Initially I was finishing product after product but then everything else just took its time. Despite this post being put together ‘later than expected’, nothing has actually gone wrong. If anything, it just means I am being efficient with my products and to be honest, there are some days where I’m much more lower maintenance than other days so I just need to acknowledge that. Do you as a blogger (or reader) sometimes feel the need to finish up products quickly? Sometimes I do but then I always get so fascinated by how long the last remaining bits of a product can still last!
I’ve recently moved onto an almost entirely new skincare routine so you’ll be seeing a lot of skincare empties in this piece. Coupled with that, I have a few makeup essentials here and there plus one hair product. Enjoy!
*I say 10 but in this instalment, I have 11 full empties plus 3 samples! (I didn’t see a point in leaving the 1 full empty behind.)
+ Would repurchase – Will not bother again = Neutral/Indifferent
I bought this on the whim at a local Savers store near me, which is essentially a bargain drugstore. I was primarily looking for new shampoo and believe it or not, I’ve actually gone back to incorporating SLS again but with extra care, of course. From past experience, I’ve always quite liked Dove shampoo but have never tried their more expensive line so with it being approximately half-price at this store, I picked it up. I love this shampoo! I find that it really cleans my hair without drying it out or making my scalp itchy. It also really balances my hair overall. A happy discovery.
I featured this product in a favourites post right at the start of the year. This is my second used bottle since November, when I first bought it off Amazon. It’s more or less become my favourite toner of all-time. Prior to that, I didn’t necessarily have a favourite toner, just a few go-tos if anything. This contains aloe water which is probably why it feels so amazing on the skin. To put it directly, this is like vitamin water but for the skin – the ingredients are second to none and I would highly recommend this to all skin types.
Am I a fan? Of course! It’s a bit pricey but a bottle lasts me a good length of time. I normally interchange with cheaper toners to prolong its use too.
I already explained above that I didn’t have a favourite toner per se but I would say the Simple Soothing Toner was the closest product I had to one. I discovered it long before I started blogging and still to this day I buy a few bottles a year. It’s not a life-changing product but it fits the bill and is wallet-friendly. If you are not treating anything in particularly then I’d say this is a good toner to go for/start out with.
Am I a fan? Absolutely! It’s cheap as chips (although I saw some new Simple products and they are getting up there with price as is the rest of the drugstore).
– Suyeonna Whitening Toner
It’s hard to talk about a product if no one knows what you are talking about but since I had mentioned it in my Hong Kong haul last year – I thought I might as well close the door on it. I received a bunch of Suyeonna skincare products via my auntie. I don’t know too much about the ins and outs of this company and there was very little that I could research online. Against all odds though, this toner was a pretty decent product. I don’t think it necessarily brightened my skin but I definitely felt some hydrating properties.
Am I a fan? Actually, this isn’t a bad product and would be more in the maybe pile. However it doesn’t seem to be easily available or perhaps it has ceased to exist?
– Suyeonna Moisture Essence
This is probably my favourite product out of the 3 that I tried from Suyeonna. I am more used to essences being watery so in a sense, I don’t acknowledge this product as being an essence – more like a gel-like serum. Despite so, I enjoyed the product for its simplicity in providing another layer of moisture to my skin pre-moisturiser step. Unfortunately, I do not even know the price points of these products but from trial, they feel more drugstore than anything else. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and probably doesn’t matter at this point due to its availability.
Am I a fan? Would possibly re-purchase if it were available in the market and drugstore pricing.
– Suyeonna Moisture Cream
A water-gel consistency that I was pleasantly surprised with. It’s not my favourite gel-moisturiser product but I thought it did a decent job in hydrating my skin and giving me that K-glow(i.e. chok chok). Speaking of, my mother actually doesn’t like that type of look as she feels the skin doesn’t look real which I thought was an interesting observation! Any thoughts on this?
Am I a fan? Possibly but it doesn’t matter at this point as there’s most likely no way of purchasing this!
I am slowly ticking off products from my to-try list and one of them was more a case of trying setting sprays. It would’ve been crazy to go luxe straight away so I started off with NYX. Actually I have tried and finished the dewy finish version already and both are very similar in my opinion. They definitely help to prolong my makeup more and re-hydrate my look when things are looking not-as-fresh.
Am I a fan? Yes! I would totally re-purchase though I prefer the dewy finish version a tad bit more.
This is another product in which I’ve tried both versions now. I adored its sister, the perfect lash version but this one fails in comparison. It’s not that it didn’t hold the curl in my lashes – I was more grossed out by the fibres that would disintegrate one by one, littering the lid opening. I probably could’ve got a few more uses out of this but I had to call it quits because it was making be feel disgusted as time went on.
The version I used of this has been upgraded recently it seems. I personally like this just a tad more than the pencil version alone as you’re able to get the ‘soft eyebrow’ look when you utilise the powder brush end. The only gripe I have is that the lid on the powder end eventually broke meaning that the product was no longer portable without making a mess.
Am I a fan? I’d be down to try the upgraded version one day but I’m in no rush to purchase since I have lots of brow products at the moment.
I’ve been shopping Amazon beauty for a while and they have some very good deals on there. They feature indie beauty brands so it’s likely that you haven’t heard of a bunch of them yet they seem to sell well. I’ve been shopping serums from Amazon that are cheap and cheerful to see if they really work. This generous 60ml bottle lasts me a long time and is my second bottle overall.
Am I a fan? Yes, it’s cheap and cheerful. I am down to try other serums on the market next though as it’s been a while.
This product was actually featured in my February Monthly Favourites post this year. If you’re looking for a natural cream to treat your psoriasis, I would recommend this one! It’s reasonably priced compared to a lot of the creams on the market, is non-greasy and very portable. My skin has actually been okay without it but I will definitely have this stored for back-up during the winter months.
Am I a fan? Absolutely. I need to buy a new one actually!
This is an excellent choice if you have sensitive skin or if your skin is recovering from a breakout which is the main reason why I used it. Made up of oats, the product is very gentle on the skin. My only problem is that the actual product is quite pricey and not cost-effective in my opinion (I just know I would run through the product).
To be honest, I didn’t really care for this or get any enjoyment whilst using it. I’m not entirely sure how effective it was in removing my makeup either since I went in with my cleansing oil afterwards. 😂It’s a no from me.
That’s all the empties that I have to report for now! I’m on a major no-spend however I’m moving into new territory with my skincare and makeup routines so you’ll still see some new products on the blog soon.
Would you be interested in a Project Pan post? Let me know.My summer has been packed hence the absence. I’m also off to Edinburgh next week or more specifically, Edinburgh Fringe Festival as part of a work trip.
Thank you for the love in my last If We Were Having Coffee session! I might make these a monthly/bi-monthly series to keep it going more consistently throughout the year – what do you think? I love writing them as it keeps me in-tact with my thoughts so it’s definitely an idea.
It still continues to be a busy month but I just saw off the end to a project last week and am starting a new one next week at work with small projects in-between. A part of me just thinks I’m not made for an easy life but sometimes the rewards are sweeter.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you:
I am going through a journey or two right now where I’m facing a lot of my fears and in the process of defeating them. I may have mentioned in a new year goals post that I wanted to make 2019 a year about me, for me. It’s over halfway through the year and I feel that I am making good progress. Maybe it’s an age thing but I’m at that point in my life where I’m blooming, trying out new things, constantly putting myself at the deep end and meeting lots of new people. I think I have somewhat overcome my shyness too. It’s weird and I can’t quite believe it. Did any of you grow up really shy? I would love to know your story.
My birthday just surpassed and it was a very good birthday. I’m not a huge birthday person in the sense that I don’t really do anything extravagant but this year, I felt like I had a lot of activities on my birthday week – not just on the day and honestly, I felt so loved. Thank you for all the birthday messages from some of you too. ☺️
Before my birthday, I was on a beauty no-buy for about two months before I splurged (haul post coming soon). I am back on it again but it’s definitely making me more attentive towards products that I have been neglecting for a long time. Due to the warmer weather, it’s unlikely that I’ll be using up foundations that I’ve neglected; however I’m definitely looking to use up more of the other products.
Whilst we are still on the subject, my friends did really well for my presents this year. I received a Decathlon Yoga Mat which sounds so lame in writing but is something I was super excited about. My friend Sabrina asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year and it took me some time to think but I told her I wanted a new yoga mat since mine was very run-down. Well, she delivered – so thank you Sabrina! My other friend Leigh also surprised me by purchasing my favourite go-to foundation. I guess having a blog has its perks… 😅
I am going ham on the sun protection this year. This includes my arms when they are on show. Last year, I was watching Wimbledon on these public deck chairs and my arms got badly sunburnt. My arms haven’t quite been the same again (I think only I notice this though) so I’m being extra careful this year because it was painful. (Funny story: I didn’t want anyone to know so I used foundation to cover my arms, especially my right, for a few days…) 😂
How is your summer going so far? I’m living for the good weather at the moment. Apparently it’s going to be 29 degrees on Tuesday! It’s been a long time coming but I think we deserve some good weather after such delay in the seasons.
In fact, I’m hoping to write a few more for this summer as I have been on and off product-testing. It’s nice to have an affinity again towards trying new products as my skin hasn’t been at its greatest since I come back from Hong Kong, taking the joy out of using new skincare for a while. I’m back to the norm now though or at the very least, close to my personal best.
For those who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my post regarding my spontaneous visit to LUSH for their spa services! Today, I’ll be feeding back on that experience and whether or not I recommend the treatment.
Now, it’s important to note that not every LUSH has a spa – something you may have figured out already. It’s still a fairly new concept and as far as I’m aware, is available in the larger cities across the country and around the world.
I first started using LUSH about 10 years ago. It was always in this small shop that although had an upstairs, got claustrophobic real quick; so to see it get the upgrade demonstrates what a powerhouse LUSH has become over the years especially as we enter a world that will hopefully focus on being more plastic-free.
LUSH offers several treatments at very luxurious prices. I happened to choose the cheapest treatment at £95 – and the one I wanted to try the most which was the Validation Facial – the only facial treatment that LUSH Spa offers at this moment.
When it comes to spa services, I wouldn’t say that I’m a regular goer but I’ve certainly gone to my fair share and this is the most I’ve ever spent on one. The treatment is 1 hour itself but with consultation, product-picking and a bit of you-time after the treatment, the whole affair easily doubles to a 2 hour event so it’s best to book an afternoon off if you ever consider going.
I booked the treatment 3 days prior sometime in May. Originally I was saving the occasion for my birthday but because I had had such a stressful week, I decided to just take the plunge and have the treatment earlier.
For my 2 o’clock appointment, I arrived 15 minutes early and was warmly greeted by the receptionist who asked me to fill out a form and to take a seat in the corner. A shop assistant then attended to me shortly and asked if I wanted an arm massage whilst I waited. This scored very high on the customer service scale for me immediately as I felt more relaxed; the massage lasting about 10 minutes with a warm chat before my beauty therapist came down the elevator to collect me.
First stop was the ‘kitchen’ area:
The process for the entire LUSH Spa Validation Facial is as follows:
A 15-minute 1-2-1 consultation to discuss your skin type and concerns. Not just that, but they ask how you feel prior the treatment and how you want to feel afterwards. Lemon and lime water available.
Product-picking (there’s about 10 products in total)
1 hour treatment inclusive of a short back, shoulder and arm massage
Some you-time is given after the treatment
Option to use the LUSH shower rooms
My beauty therapist’s name was Megan who was very lovely and calm. The whole time, she made me feel relaxed – there was never any urgency to quickly explain something for the sake of it or to usher me out of the treatment room as soon as treatment finished.
One of the unique areas I found from the consultation was that she asked me how I was feeling prior to the treatment and how I wanted to feel after the treatment. I remember I said that I wanted to feel free and calm. Just acknowledging that really helped settle my mind and give me a goal.
After the consultation, it was time to select the products step-by-step.
Regrettably, I didn’t take a picture of the palette nor did I note down the product names but for each step, the therapist would scoop out some product onto the palette (whilst cleaning the knife between steps onto a clean towel). To be honest, had I written down product names, I doubt I would have remembered which product was what on my face either. Already, I can imagine this being a bit of a problem for some people.
Shortly after, I was taken upstairs (this whole LUSH store comprises of 3 floors, 2 of the upper floors solely for their LUSH Spa services) to the treatment room. This was when I was given some space to get comfortable and underneath the sheets (FYI – top off only to accommodate for the mini back massage later on). Once I was ready, I rang a bell as advised.
The treatment room itself was very ambient and tidy. It was also very cosy but not overly warm. The massage bed itself was comfortable – what I particularly liked was that there was a bit of incline so I wasn’t laying completely flat. Before long, my therapist put on their LUSH playlist and began the treatment.
Now – here comes the tricky part: It’s impossible for me to really rate the LUSH products because there were so many that were used so I can only feedback on the experience. Even trickier is letting you know whether my skin benefited at all.
I think in terms of stress, the treatment definitely reduced that to a minimum. I was particularly spotty that week so I knew I wasn’t going to have a skincare miracle however I do think stressing gives me more spots than is necessary so halting the stress benefited my skin in that way.
My skin didn’t necessarily look better after the treatment but it definitely didn’t look worse either. I am sure that the skin benefits were there but nothing too apparent that I would see a change. If anything, I think it was more in the way I felt – I felt more rejuvenated and relaxed as if a weight had been pulled off my shoulders.
My therapist was attentive. The whole experience was very zen so if you’re particularly into meditative practices, then the LUSH spa services as a whole may appeal to you as it seems to be marketed in that style. There were moments during the treatment where my therapist would ask me to take a deep breath in and out whilst smelling the product that she was about to use on me. This was unique to the treatment itself and I felt that the breathing technique was a great way in helping channel a positive energy especially if your wellbeing has been suffering lately.
Obviously, it’s an expensive treatment but for me, I felt like I bought an experience, not so much a skincare treatment as such. You can say wellbeing is tied to skincare though so it just depends on your perspective.
After the treatment, I was asked to get ready in my own time with an optional choice to use their shower rooms back on floor 2. Once I went down, I was greeted by my therapist again – this time in the ‘living room’ area where she had a fruit-infused drink ready for me. This earned another point from me. It was clear that LUSH had a whole spa journey mapped out in a way where the guest would feel most at home. I certainly felt very at home so I wonder if this is why there’s a kitchen, living room and shower? It’s no coincidence is all I’m saying.
In addition, I received 2 samples that were products used on me during treatment:
Treatment: Validation Facial
Length of Treatment: 1 hour for actual treatment, about 2 hours in total with consultation, product-picking and free-time given before and afterwards
+ A helpful consultation pre-treatment
– May not appeal to sensitive-skin or acne-skin types
+ Chance to try lots of LUSH products in one sitting with 2 free samples at the end
– Impossible to know which product is what
+ No rushing
– Expensive and can be hard to justify
+ The spa music is unique to LUSH’s foundation and is a great USP to the spa itself.
+ A well thought-out treatment that considered both pre- and post- steps with the addition of healthy drinks before and after.
+ The beauty therapist was very attentive to whether I was warm enough, comfortable enough etc.
+ Breathing technique helped to exert positive energy thus improve wellbeing
It was hard to make the full-call on how I felt about this treatment overall. I loved the entire experience but I just think for the utmost part, you’re paying lots of money for something that might not make your skin that much more better. If you want a skin-miracle, I don’t think this is it (you’re better off going for micro-dermabrasion) but if you truly want to treat yourself to an experience then I do recommend this treatment in that regard. Honestly, I felt very good afterwards. I’m just not sure how soon I would go again.
7.5/10 purely for experience rather than a skin treatment. I would say if you’re going to go for this, save for an occasion such as your birthday.
We are closer to July now but I hate missing Favourites so here it is in all its glory. I’m working on my June Monthly Favourites simultaneously too so you’ll probably end up seeing a lot of favourites in a narrow timeframe.
In my last update, I had this idea to make my Favourites post themed from now on and a lot of you really warmed up to the idea which is great!
Last month’s theme (technically not really last month, but we can pretend) was Tranquility.
Note: I will be talking for a bit but feel free to skip to the actual favourites section of this post.
May was a very uncertain month for me where opportunities were coming my way – ones that I did not expect and in one way or another, took me by surprise. There were times when I doubted myself and doubted whether I had made the right choice or not. It was about facing some of my insecurities but the fact was, the year leading up to that moment (and still to this very moment – although a bit easier) was difficult. I knew I had to fight through my insecurities. I knew there was really nothing to lose and that I just had to follow my gut, my intuition otherwise I would always have those inner demons and this strange innate fear of actually nothing.
I once read that the opposite of passion was fear. I fully understand this now so I have been channeling an energy this year to go with my passions. What do I really like doing? What do I want to achieve and where will it take me in the future?
Makeup in part has helped with channeling the positive energy. I didn’t think it would but I noticed what a difference it made to my entire day if I did my makeup than if I didn’t bother at all. I realised that change isn’t about letting yourself go but bringing yourself up to the level that you want to be. So this is where I’m at now.
The first of my favourites this time round is a 2020 diary by Fringe Studio that I purchased from TK Maxx which you may have seen on my Instagram.
This isn’t my first time buying stationary items from TK Maxx actually and it certainly will not be my last. I can be quite fussy with diaries in that paper quality does matter as does layout. Previous diaries I’ve owned have been quite floral or young-looking so I wanted to get one that was a bit more grown-up but not overly serious either. This is perfect for me – the leather is soft and nice to touch. The page layouts are clean and aesthetically pleasing. I can’t wait to start using it soon!
Next, we have the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask from The Body Shop. Some time ago, The Body Shop revamped their whole face mask line and got rid of an old favourite of mine (which I’m still slightly bitter about). I finally took the plunge to buy two of those masks some time last year and haven’t looked back since. I love this charcoal mask. Some charcoal masks can feel really stiff as it dries down but not this one. It’s a joy to put this mask on as it feels cooling to the skin and helps to draw out a lot of impurities which you wouldn’t be able to get rid of from regular washing. Definite recommendation!
If you were to ask me what I thought summer smelt like, I might respond with this option: Davidoff’s Cool Water Eau de Toilette for Her. By no intended exaggeration, I had wanted to get this perfume for years and it finally happened last year. It has juicy top notes such as watermelon, heart notes of florals such as lily-of-the-valley and fresh base notes such as musk. Perfume is superiorly nostalgic to me because it was the first product – before makeup – that made me feel good and energised. This perfume is no exception as it smells warmly of the ocean and is for sure, my scent for the summer!
I had purchased the former at Hong Kong’s International Airport before traveling back to the UK. Whilst I’m a bit of a self-proclaimed blush addict, I didn’t own a lavender blush at all. The Clinique Cheek Pops are amongst my favourite formulation so without hesitation, I grabbed one. It makes such a refreshing change to my usual makeup routine! Pink can sometimes come off looking really young but I would say this is a nice option if you want a refreshing colour – just not pink. It’s surprisingly flattering as the shade leans more on the cool side too.
The latter blush is a much newer addition to my makeup collection and just so happens to be my first dive into Wet ‘n’ Wild products which recently became available at Boots. It’s possible that I use luxury blushes more than drugstore blushes but this one is a solid rival to those at the top of my list. I made a mistake of dipping my blush brush too hard the first time round so just be wary that a little does go a long way. Otherwise, I found it to be a very flattering blush that gave me the glow I needed for the day and despite being cheap as chips, it certainly didn’t compromise on longevity!
Last but not least, we have a lip product! Some of you may know that I don’t tend to follow trends and this includes liquid lipsticks. It took me a long time to even try one because unlike most people, my favourite lipsticks are those that are sheer but buildable, a bit glossy and have a balmy texture. I do however gravitate towards NYX’s offering. I have been wearing NYX’s Lip Lingerie Matte Liquid Lipstick in Exotic in recent months. It’s a very different choice for me but I love the colour pay-off. Normally I would leave a colour like this for autumn but now I’m starting to think I can wear it all year around – what do you think?
Stay tuned for my June Favourites which will be on-time instead!
What are some of your latest favourites? I’m curious to know and am always open to new recommendations so please let me know in the comments below! ❤️⬇️