Tuesday, 18 June 2013

My Favourite Movie Picks

There comes a time in one's life when they get exhausted of being asked to recommend good movies & not being able to come up with appropriate suggestions right on the spot. So here I have listed some of my top favourites, in accordance with  my top 3 genres of choice. I have not included Fantasy/Sci-Fi as a genre, as the list would be interminable (and I would do a horrible job at trying to stay unbiased)...

1. Thriller/Suspense:
a)Perfume - an appropriate rendition of the novel
b) The Prestige - a Hugh Jackman favourite of mine
c) Shutter Island - Leonardo DiCaprio nails it
d) Possession - contains Drama-esque motifs
e) The Lake House - elements of Drama & Fantasy, but keeps one on their toes
f) The Ghost (also known as 'The Ghost Writer) - Ewan McGregor is simply outstanding

2. Horror/Fantasy (please, keep in mind this is my favourite genre):
a) The Unborn - concentration camps' horror in modern Days
b) Dead Silence - marionettes
c) Pan's Labyrinth - set in the past, foreign
d) Hills Have Eyes - a classic of the early 2000's
e) Lady in the Water - purely Fantasy, but falls into a niche of its own almost
f) Angel-A - Fantasy, French-drama
g) Silence of the Lambs (or any of the Hannibal Lecter ones) - a true classic
h) It - Stephen King, 'nuff said

3. Homoerotic Subtext (keeping it clean, of course):
a) Milk - Sean Penn & James Franco - brilliant
b) Weekend - British, very contemporary
c) The Mulligans 
d) My Own Private Idaho - yet another 'late-bloomer' story, but very well-chosen cast, in my view
e) Shelter - very realistic, I would say
f) Brokeback Mountain - on a light note, even narrow-minded heterosexual men watch & re-watch this one - that has got to mean something, right? 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Airplane Skincare Routine

I am going to the US in the Summer and, staying true to myself, I have already started thinking about my on-board skincare essentials. Since it is going to be a relatively long flight (roughly around 6 hours), I am planning on having a mini facial up in the air. I consider myself a bad flier, as I am generally nervous throughout flights and tend to feel rather dizzy and poorly, so I think taking my mind off the flight and onto a hobby/interest of mine - skincare, would prove to be somewhat relaxing.

First of all, I would like to share some interesting facts about airplanes and skin.
Normally, our skin requires an average of 40% air humidity to stay healthy. When it comes to airplanes, the air inside is being constantly filtered, which dries it down to about 8% humidity.
Also, it very germ-packed, because of the same reasons.
Whenever I fly my skin visibly dries out around my eyes, mouth and cheeks; I get multiple breakouts all around my face, which is untypical of my skin, as if I break out, it would be around the jawline/lower cheek area or around my eyebrows, as I do suffer the occasional ingrown hair.

Long & unnecessary intros aside, here is what I would do on a long-haul flight:

1. I would board the plane with absolutely no makeup on, just my daily moisturiser.
2. I would pack either antibacterial wipes or hand sanitiser, 16 fl Oz or less with respect to the latter, as otherwise, it will be confiscated by airline authorities (always check your airline's requirements & restrictions for on-board fluids/gels before packing!)
3. I would carry with me a bottle of 3.38 fl Oz (100 ml) of facial toner, alcohol-free, as alcohol dries out skin.
4. Along with the toner, I would have packed 5-6 round cotton pads for application/removal of products.
5. Then I would apply a moderate amount of my evening moisturiser, as I would like for my skin to retain as much moisture, as possible.
6. I would normally carry a few hair pins, so I would be able to pin my hair up, so I would be more comfortable whilst flying.
7. If my evening moisturiser is too thick for my lips, I would also pack with me any lip balm of choice.
8. I would carry with me a small plastic container (1.69 fl Oz/50 ml) of my hand cream and a pair of moisture-retaining gloves, so I could avoid having items slipping off my hands.
9. An absolute must-have is deodorant and since pressurised containers, such as typical pulveriser-spray deodorants, would be under heavy restrictions, I would normally opt for a stick deodorant.
10. I would also carry dental floss & breath strips, as they are more convenient than chewing gum and still help me with my dizziness up in the air.
11. Finally, and this is optional, I would take with me my SPF (4 fl Oz/118 ml), provided I would be exposed to direct sun light once I'm off the plane. I could also pack this in my regular luggage, as I can always take it out ad apply it at the airport, once I have landed & claimed my luggage.

I hope this was helpful!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Product Review: Boots Botanics Facial Oil

This is going to be a product review of the Boots Botanics Facial Oil.

For the benefits of this review, keep in mind my skin type is normal-to-dry (normal T-zone, dry cheeks and chin).

Product's Claims
(taken from the company's website - click!):

This aromatic oil melts into lacklustre skin to lock in moisture for 8 hours while softening, conditioning and helping to restore its natural glow.
Use regularly to boost the performance of your daily skincare regime.
Rosehip is nature's nourishing gem. The seeds are a rich source essential Omega oils, which help to improve suppleness and keep all skin types beautifully soft and healthy looking.
Our beauty scientists use active plant extracts approved by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to bring you beautiful skincare that's proven to work.
We've taken steps to reduce our impact on the planet at every stage in this product's journey.
  • Formulated without parabens.
  • People tested.
  • Please recycle where possible.

I've been testing this product for roughly a week and I would say I have built an overall opinion of what it does and how it performs on my skin (which does NOT mean it would have the same effect on anybody else's, of course). I am applying a layer of average thickness onto my face every evening. I have NOT been doing so in the morning, as this product would have to be allowed to sink in, prior to further makeup application. Rough absorption speed: 20-30 minutes.

My Experience:

My skin feels more moisturised, but not significantly softer. However, it has not made my rougher.
It have experienced no break-outs.
It is very affordable: £9.99, but I got it £5 off, as there was/is a discount on the Boots Botanics range.

Cons: It is a glass container, which doesn't make it ideal for travelling.
The dispenser is a pipette , which is not among the most precise pipettes I've encountered and I work with pipettes in my academic facility's laboratory on a weekly basis.
I've experienced minor emphasis on a dry patch of skin on my chin. I would ascribe this to the fact that this product is meant to be used in conjunction with your evening moisturiser and for the purposes of this review, I've been using it on its own, as I wanted to acquire accurate, unbiased and fair results.
It has a very distinctive smell, which resembles rose oil and other herbal scents (I am placing this in the 'cons' category, as some people would not be able to tolerate the smell, regardless of the fact that it dissipates within 20-30 min.)

Overall Opinion:
I am pleased with the results on my normal-to-dry skin. I wouldn't recommend this product to anybody with dry to very dry skin, unless used in conjunction with a heavier evening moisturiser. I would recommend it to people with normal to oily skin (remember: oily skin needs moisture, as well!) As an addition to your skincare routine, it works well. I will continue repurchasing this, once it runs out, but I will be on the look-out for future discounts, as I am not willing to pay £9.99 for this product. I would say it's an appropriate inaugurating step into oils, if you are scared of using oils on your face because of possible break-outs. It claims to be 100% organic, which I can neither test, no vouch for. I would give it 8/10 as an overall grade

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Wishlist: March 2013

This is going to be a very short post about the 3 items I desire currently.

1. Google Nexus 10 Tablet (32GB): I have wanted a tablet for a long time, but I simply can't justify a purchase of this extent, as it is not a necessity. I am not in a position where I can invest in something of this level, I'm afraid. However, having read a lot of Technology-oriented blogs and watched numerous reviews and comparisons between the Nexus 10 and other similar products, I have come to the realisation that I really want it, but will 99.99% not purchase.

2. Spitfire Clubmaster Sunglasses: I bear great appreciation for sunglasses and I do love my Tortoise Shell Wayfarers, but the thick faux wooden frame appeals to me so much!

3. Reclaimed Vintage Round Glasses: Ever since the hype over the 'Ozzy Specs' hit the world, I've wanted to own a pair. Unfortunately, they do not suit my face shape at all. However, this model also offers the rounded motif, but extends the lenses and leaves a smaller gap inbetween.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Questions Tag


1. Do you have any nicknames, given to you by your family? 
Yes, when I was very little, my parents and close relatives kept calling me Chichi, which I wasn't particularly fond of.

2. Do you have any weird habits? 
I bet I do! Quite a few in fact. When I get up in the morning, the very first thing I do is make the bed. And that's saying something, considering all I really want to do is make myself a coffee.
Whenever I go to a grocery store that sells fruit, I spend at least 10 minutes at their fruit aisle.

3. Do you have any weird phobias?
I think my phobias a pretty standard, but still - flying on a plane, heights, elevators, walking on glass/see-through floors if I'm really far away from the floor below... I believe that's all.

4. What's a song you secretly love to blast when alone? 
Nicole Scherzinger feat. TI - Whatever you like.

5. Biggest pet peeves?
Stupidity, rudeness and a messy kitchen/dirty dishes. Oh, and unblended foundation.

6. Which side of the bed do you sleep on?
My partner is always to my right.

7. Did you have any stuffed animals as a child? What were their names? 
I had one yellow lion, but I never played with it or anything. It was hanging from a nail in the wall and it didn't have a name.

8. What's the drink you always order at Starbucks?
A Venti Americano.

9. Which way do you face in the shower?
The shower head is behind my back.

10. Do you have any weird body skills?

11. What's your favourite comfort food? Food that's bad for you, but you would eat it anyway?
I don't find comfort in food at all, to be honest. To me food is something your body needs to carry on with its natural bodily processes, and while taste is enjoyable, if something doesn't have a taste or tastes bad, I would probably still eat it. However, I do have a bad habit when it comes to food - I can easily overeat with fruit - 10 plums, 2 apples, 4 nectarines and 2-3 pears, for example would be an entire meal for me. Now this may sound "healthy", but I end up curled up on the floor, having bad stomach cramps.
12. What are some of your favourite things to eat?
I will try to keep the list as short as possible... Figs, mangoes, blueberries, prawns, mussels, eggs (boiled only), muesli and any extremely spicy dishes.

13.  What are your least favourite things to eat?
I dislike most sweet things, but generally speaking chocolate, sweets, etc. This is a weird one - oil and olive oil as dressings. I am also not a fan of "baked goods", such as doughnuts, croissants, bread in general, cupcakes/muffins (I don't really know what the difference is between the two...). While I enjoy raw nuts, I dislike baked ones. 

14. Favourite non-alcoholic drink?
Peach Barley Squash with water. I think I may be a tiny bit addicted. 

15. Favourite alcoholic drink?
Vodka tonic.

16. What is my dream destination for a trip?
I am a bit weird when it comes to "trips", as I love travelling and seeing new places, but my "dream destinations" are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. My top choices would be New York, Milan, Venice, Rome. Also, I would love to go to some remote places, like a small village in a snowy mountain range or a villa near a lake. 

17. Dream job?
Something in the medicinal research area. 

18. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Being happily married, living in a house with my husband and our cat and dog, being successful at what I do, travelling to different places across the planet. That's exactly where I want to be in 10 years time. 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

My Skincare Routine

My skincare routine is divided in 4 parts - Mornings, Makeup Removal, Evenings, Treatments

Mornings: I wash my face with La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel for Oily Sensitive Skin. Followed by patting my face dry and applying my daily moisturiser Vichy Normaderm. Then I put on my Paula's Choice Sun Care Weightless Finish Sunscreen Spray SPF 30.

Makeup Removal: I massage Vichy Purete Thermale 3 in 1 makeup remover onto my skin for about 5-7 minutes to break down my daily makeup and remove it with a porous facial sponge. I then follow with a gentle exfoliator Garnier Pure 3 in 1.

Evenings: I gently massage my Vichy Aqualia Antiox Serum onto my skin. Once it has soaked in, I reach for my Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich 48-hour Hydration Cream all over my face. For my eye area I employ my Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate, which completes my daily skin care procedures.

Treatments: About once or twice a week I use Mudd peel-off mask for deeper cleansing of my skin. I do get the occasional spot here and there, which is usually around the chin area, so to treat it locally I use Quinoderm 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Gel before I go to bed.

The majority of the products mentioned in this article have been reviewed in more depth in previous posts (CLICK & CLICK).

I hope you found this article helpful!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Monthly Favourites & Why I've been M.I.A. for a Few Months

The first product I'd like to mention is Got2be's 2 Sexy Collagen Mousse. It comes off as a foam, much like shaving foam, and has a pleasant raspberry smell to it. I apply this to towel-dry hair after a shower, followed by drying my hair with a diffusing hairdryer. It gives my hair plenty of volume and body and the fruity smell lingers throughout the entire day. I got mine from Boots, but I believe Superdrug have it, as well.

Next up is Paula's Choice Weightless Finish Sunscreen Spray SPF30. I had heard/read a lot of positive reviews of this product prior to purchasing it. It takes me about 3-5 pumps to cover my entire face. It comes off as a transparent, oily liquid, which dries to a matte finish in about 5 minutes. It doesn't have any effect on the longevity of my makeup staying power (which for future reference is about 7-8 hours without having to blot a shine nose). Sunscreens have always been tricky with my skin, as it is very sensitive and most sunscreens do break me out almost immediately (curse you, Titanium Oxide/Zinc Oxide!) However, I haven't been experiencing any breakouts with this product and I have been using it for about a fortnight now. The drawback to this product is probably the price, especially having in mind that the bottle is just 118ml (4 fl. oz.) I bought it for about 19 pounds from their website and this was PP included.

The next product has a funny story behind it, actually. I am talking about QuinodermI had been using Panoxyl (10% Benzoyl Peroxide) to combat any breakouts and it had been working fantastically. However, at one point Stiefel (the manufacturer of this cream) pulled it off the market and I was freaking out. A few days later when I went to Boots Pharmacy and asked whether they had anything Benzoyl Peroxide-based, they suggested I tried Quinoderm (10% Benzoyl Peroxide, 0.5% Potassium Sulphate) and I was reborn. It works miracles! If I have a whitehead, a subsurface pimple or even a blackhead - it's gone within a few hours (I usually apply it night time, prior to moisturisers & serums).
WARNING: Benzoyl Peroxide BLEACHES. Pillow cases, hair, beard... It will bleach everything on its way, but it's worth it!

As you can probably tell from the picture, I've incorporated a lot of skincare products into my routine, as I found that as Autumn was slowly approaching (and now that it's here), my skin has been experiencing its seasonal dryness here and there - primarily on my chin, corners of my mouth & lower cheeks region. I have been a fan of Vichy's skincare line for years now and I opted for Vichy Aqualia Antiox Serum. It is a serum (d'uh...) which I apply after I cleanse my face before bed. I use 2-3 squirts of the pipette to cover my entire face. It usually takes about 10 minutes for it to sink in and prepare my face for a heavy duty moisturiser, like the next product - Vichy Aqualia Thermal 48-hour Hydration Cream. When they say "48-hour hydration", they MEAN it. I apply this at about 11pm at night and wake up at 5:30am to find a heavy-duty residue left on my face. It is very moisturising, but for those of us who are experiencing dry skin... Let's face it - we need it. I take about a pea-sized amount and cover my entire face, concentrating on any fine lines (which in my case is basically my nostril-cheek lines). Vichy had a promotion going in September (3 for 2), so I also got Vichy Aqualia Thermal Eye Roll-On. I don't suffer from undereye bags, but I do have dark circles. Whether I have witness them diminishing... No, I haven't. But I am willing to give this product the benefit of the doubt and continue using it until I'm out. 

Now onto more beauty-related favourites...

I suppose it comes as no surprise to anybody that the cologne I've been using over the past 2 years is Clinique Happy. I love how fresh and clean it makes me smell. It is very light for a cologne, but it does last all day long. You can find it at any Clinique counter and ask for a sample/tester bottle or a spritz sheet. 

Once again making it into my "Favourites" is Yves Saint Laurent Eyebrow Pencil in #3. Like I've said before - it is the perfect eyebrow colour of ashy blonds & light brunettes like myself. Remember the rule of thumb - always go for either 2 shades lighter (for brunettes) or 2 shades darker (for blondes), when it comes to eyebrow shading. This eyebrow pencil is, like most others, very waxy, which helps it stay put for good 12-14 hours. It has a brush on the other side, which makes it a perfect addition to your "On the Go Beauty Bag". 

This next product is something I never expected to like, as I have never been much of a fan of Rimmel London. However, their pressed powders have utterly impressed me. I have tried their Stay Matte collection, but the product I enjoy using the most is their Clear Complexion Clarifying Powder in Transparent. It sets my makeup, doesn't look cakey even if I blot throughout the day. All in all, it is a very good powder for the price. I got mine from Superdrug for 5 pounds, but I believe you can find it for 4 pounds, as well. 

And the last product is something everybody raves about, everybody loves it and with a reason. This is my 4th bottle of M.A.C. Fix+. I spray about 3-4 pumps of this on my face and it gets rid of the powdery effect I may end up having after setting my foundation. I also use it to freshen up throughout the day if my face is feeling a bit dull or dry. Brilliant product.

With regards to why I was gone for a good few months... I had a bit of a turbulent Summer. I am not going to be getting into details, as they are all personal matters and this is a public blog, so I would appreciate it if you would respect my decision. However, I will be posting more articles soon, some of which would be dedicated to my Non-Beauty Favourites, College/University Topics, Games (Yes, you heard me right - GAMES!) etc.

As always, thank you for reading and I hope you found this article helpful.