Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Activated Charcoal: The New Teeth Whitening Phenomenon

Good evening strangers.  I hope advent is treating you all splendidly!  I feel like a right failure at the moment - I've been lapping up all the Blogmas and Vlogmas contributions of so many other bloggers and doing... well, one post short of nothing myself.  You guessed it - deadlines are approaching (oh, the cruelty).  

Anyway, I thought I'd drag myself away from my essays for a little while tonight to offer you my two cents on the new teeth whitening craze that appears to be taking the world by storm: activated charcoal.  Little pots of the stuff seem to be popping up left, right and centre wherever I look, but the one I chose was this one from Amazon, by Pro Teeth Whitening Co. (currently out of stock :( ), and came in at a tidy £12.99, certainly representing one of the cheaper options for teeth whitening!

This particular one is 100% natural and made with finely ground food grade activated charcoal, unlike many other whiteners I've been guilty of trying in the past which use peroxide or other chemicals.  Unlike with using Crest Strips for example, I have no teeth sensitivity whatsoever using this which is a Godsend.  Although I got great results using Crest Strips, the sensitivity really was a bitch, to the point that if I breathed in too quickly through my mouth I would get shooting pains in my teeth - nice.  

 Also, perhaps contrary to my initial expectation, this particular one has quite a pleasant, natural and mild flavour which can only really be described as a considerably weak cocktail of mint and ginger beer.  I dampen my toothbrush and dip it straight in to pick up a light coating, then brush my teeth immediately for around a minute.  I do this after brushing my teeth with normal toothpaste first.  The texture is predictably quite gritty at first, but it does lather up slightly to more of a paste consistency as you brush.  

In terms of how it works, I'll leave it to the professionals to explain: 

'Activated charcoal is used today and has been used throughout the centuries to treat people who have accidentally ingested poison - with its porous surface, it attaches to toxins and impurities in the body to draw them out. It works in just the same way on plaque, tannins and stains on teeth - safely and efficiently lifting these off.'


 For my particular brand it recommends using twice a day, which I have been doing fairly routinely for around two weeks now.  And I must say, I feel like slowly but surely, my teeth are looking cleaner and whiter, and I've noticed small surface stains gradually fading.  I did take some fairly atrocious before and after gnasher-shots I was going to share with you all, but having put them side by side I realised the lighting is so horribly inconsistent that it would be better to not share them with anyone, ever, and leave things to the imagination instead.  Has anyone else tried or is thinking of trying a similar product?

Ruby x


Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Dad Jumper

First things first - congratulations, we made it to December, advent is here and it's only 22 days until the big C!!!  Christmas is undoubtedly one of my favourite times of year.  I love any kind of celebration, but especially Christmas as its the perfect excuse to wear ridiculous jumpers, glittery shoes (I've already bought the perfect pair for this year) and eat 14 sausage rolls in a row with little to no judgement (only if you like)... 

This kind of outfit is a bit of a go-to for me in Winter.  I seem to live in oversized jumpers and boots from mid October to March, and shirts - well, I'm not me without a shirt, whatever time of the year.  This jumper is actually my Pa's, hence the title of this blog post, and is one of those I always end up borrowing when I'm back in my hometown for a weekend.  Does anyone else find it's usually men's jumpers that are the comfiest?  

As for this beautiful bag, I'm going to apologise right now as this was a charity shop find... and it only set me back £4.99.  I know.  For me, it's the perfect size and colour, excellent quality, adjustable - it's the bag of dreams and I don't think it'll be leaving my shoulder any time soon.  

This jacket is one I also picked up in a charity shop nearby where I live in Brighton, also for just a fiver (despite being 100% silk and by All Saints).  I've been wearing it far more than I originally thought I would, especially with the weather getting colder, but it's surprisingly warm and conveniently lightweight so can fit into the smallest of handbags in case shopping trips (etc.) get a bit heated.  

Shirt - TK Maxx (Moss Copenhagen) /  Jumper - Dad's wardrobe / Bag & Jacket - Charity Shop 
Jeans - New Look / Boots - TK Maxx / Lipstick - Shroom by LimeCrime

For now, it's over and out from me - let the Christmas feasting begin! 

Ruby x


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Budget Brow Saviour: Maybelline Brow Drama

 I don't know if anyone else has been suffering in the wake of Storm Angus with sudden and vicious gusts of wind threatening dignity and composure all in the same breath..?  Brighton has been particularly windy in the past week, which has had me reaching for everything I can to preserve my makeup.  And while there is very little that can prevent my watery eyes, I've rekindled my love for Maybelline's Brow Drama Sculpting Mascara as a fail-safe way to keep those caterpillars in place all day long.    

My first steps involve giving my brows a little brush through using a spoolie brush, then using Mac's 253 to apply my well-loved ABH Dipbrow Pomade, to give them some initial shape and colour (admittedly they could've done with a pluck too - apologies, the approaching uni deadline stress is real)...

And once that's done, it's time for Brow Drama.  

Having tried a few slightly more expensive brow gels by the likes of MAC and Laura Mercier, I have to say, this is equally as good, if not better - I really don't think there could ever be a huge difference between high street and high end brands with regards to this type of product.  It's the perfect brow finisher - sets them in place, adds a tiny tint of colour, and keeps them put all day.  Marvellous!

Ruby x


Thursday, 17 November 2016

Coveting the Cape

Every time I wear this cape I have this hilarious mental image of an even more miniature Edna Mode from The Incredibles shouting 'no capes!!!' frantically at me.  But for me, a cape is just about the best thing since hot tea and carrot cake in terms of seeing me through Autumn.  Wearing one is a little bit like wearing a big woolly picnic blanket over your shoulders, except you feel ten times classier and look far less ridiculous.

Cape - TK Maxx / Top - Zara / Pinafore - New Look / Boots - TK Maxx 
Bag - Urban Outfitters (similar)

I've found this one to be so versatile, too.  It's the perfect accompaniment to jeans, skirts and pinafores alike, trousers or leggings and looks equally good with smarter boots or an old pair of favourite trainers.  Capes are great for layering in colder weather, particularly over things like denim or leather jackets for that extra layer of comfort and warmth.  

For a great selection of capes, I cannot recommend TK Maxx enough.  I got mine last year for around £20 and have managed to get so much wear out of it already.  As long as you're determined, that place can be a goldmine!

Ruby x  


Sunday, 13 November 2016

Lips of the Month: Morange

There's nothing quite like the feeling of getting a new lipstick, and last month my parents (although I suspect it was my mother doing the buying) gave me this gorgeous new shade 'Morange' as part of my birthday gifts.  

 The shade is a beautiful orangey-red, and gives an 'amplified' finish - it's a buttery, subtly glossy formula with a hint of moisture.  Before applying I prep my lips with my long time favourite lip balm brand, EOS.  There are a few things I specifically love about EOS: one HAS to be the packaging, which looks like a dinky, brightly coloured dinosaur egg.  The second has to be the formula which provides instant hydration and smells amazing, and the third has to be they taste great on your lips - it's like having a spoonful of dessert every time you apply it. 

 Once the balm has had a few minutes to sink in I'll dab off any excess then apply the lipstick...

Ta-dah!  I love a bright, fiery red and this one's playful enough to wear during the day as well as the night.  Especially as we're coming into Winter, I think this will be the perfect colour to brighten up all the inevitable greyscale outfits that will shortly follow...

Can anyone recommend some other bright shades?

Ruby x


Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate - Review

Recently I've been branching out from my usual choice of moisturiser (La Roche Posay's Effaclar Duo), and trying some different types of product and brands on my skin.  I find particularly between seasons that my skin can become a bit of a challenge to manage - I'll be dry in the afternoon, oily in the evening, and suffering breakouts the rest of the time.  For a long time I would shy away from using moisturisers, thinking it would exacerbate my oily areas, but I now really enjoy using either a lightweight moisturiser or a serum like this one to keep my skin hydrated without clogging my pores or looking overly shiny.    

This is not the kind of product I would ever have decided to try of my own accord as it is completely out of my price range at a whopping £59 for 30ml.  I came across it totally by chance - I lie, it was through some clever PR work - as it came as part of a 'free gift' with the purchase of two other Lancome products (or some similarly tempting proposal).  My original 'free gift' bottle was a sample sized 5ml, which I took on holiday with me to Greece and could not get enough of.  Upon returning, I trawled Depop for a couple of days until I saw someone was selling a bottle of the stuff for a fraction of the price as it was an unwanted gift.  Needless to say, I snapped it up - parting with just £20 in the end. 

The serum is a lightweight, silky texture and comes in a luxurious glass bottle with a pipette dispenser.  Despite actually being marketed on account of its of anti-ageing properties, the main reason I love this product is because it makes my skin look and feel so hydrated and healthy, like I've been drinking matcha smoothies and doing yoga daily for the last 5 years.  It makes the perfect base for days where I do want to wear makeup, and for days when I don't, gives me a little bit of extra confidence.  

For me, this is my new favourite luxury to see me through Autumn.  

Ruby x


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Pizza date @ Franco Manca Brighton

October, where did you go?! Apologies for my lack of... well, anything.  To be frank, third year is actually quite hard, and blogging has had to take a little bit of a back seat.  But I'm hoping now I'm settled back into the routine I can manage to keep up with at least a couple of posts a month.  You might just have to be a little patient with me.

I turned 21 on the weekend, and to kick things off my wonderful mother came to visit me in Brighton for the day on Friday.  We had tickets to the TEDx Brighton conference (if you haven't heard of the TED talks go and have a little search on YouTube, they're great) which was, in a nutshell, amazing.  However it was a considerably long day - we met at the train station at 7.30am before grabbing a coffee and heading into the Dome for the day to begin.  By the lunch break at midday we were both starving, and headed out on the hunt for something cheesy and delicious.

And Franco Manca was where we ended up!  I had wanted to go here for ages, having heard from everyone that it was one of the best places in Brighton for pizza.  Italian wouldn't usually be my first choice, however, anything with sourdough in the name and I'm there.  All of the pizzas at Franco Manca are made on a stonebaked sourdough base.  There are 7 to choose from, and every day there are two specials (one meat, one veggie) as well as special additional toppings, starters and a dessert.  The service was efficient and the staff chirpy, the food speedy, delicious and really reasonably priced - you're looking at around £6/£7 for a generously proportioned wheel of goodness.   

 The restaurant itself is light, airy and filled with beautiful smells of cooking carbohydrates.  

...(hence my happy face)...

If you're ever in Brighton and craving pizza, I can't recommend Franco Manca more.  Bellissimo!  

Ruby x


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Review: Maybelline Lash Sensational Luscious Mascara

Wow, what a title for a bloody mascara!  

I purchased this a little while ago and, to be honest, it's taken me a little while to gather my thoughts as to what I think of it.  If you can't tell by now, I'm a serial mascara buyer and tryer.  Maybelline isn't usually a brand I would go for but something about the idea of an 'oil blend' mascara sounded far too inviting to pass up... it had me thinking healthy, shiny, natural looking lashes with more luscious-ness than you can shake a stick at. 

And I guess, that wasn't too far from the truth.  The formula is very black, and quite liquidy, making for quick and easy application.  The wand itself is contoured slightly, with short plastic bristles.  I find for my eye shape, the wand is a little cumbersome - I can't really get into the corners of my eyes without also accidentally getting my eyelids - but I guess this a case-by-case problem depending on your own eye shape!

In terms of results, I think this mascara is great for a slightly more dramatic look, and for me, is perfect for wear in the evenings.  It gives plenty of length and volume, has good staying power and is easy to remove. 

 It is also quite buildable, besides being a little prone to clumping - but that's nothing a spoolie (a brow/lash comb - who'd have known there was a word for that?!) can't fix.  

All in all, for £7.99 a pop, this isn't half bad at all.  Has anyone else tried Maybelline mascaras?  Or been sucked in by some clever branding eg. 'oil blend', haha!


Ruby x


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Review: YSL Touche Éclat le Teint Foundation

Over the years, I've tried out my fair share of foundations.  I first started wearing foundation when I was in my early teens (as a way of combating those inevitable smatterings of pubescent spots), and although I couldn't put my finger on exactly which brands I started off using, I have a sneaking suspicion it would've been in the price range of Boots' 'Natural Collection' - so, no more than around £1.99.  Flash forward almost 10 years and I have no shame in confessing to purchasing my most 'high-end' foundation yet - YSL's Touche Éclat le Teint Foundation, which came in at £32.50 from Boots. 

Everything about YSL has a luxurious feel to it: from the gold lettering to the cool, round bottle, to the formula of the foundation itself, the entire experience breathes an effortless sophistication.  The bottle features a small pump at the top, and I find one to one and a half pumps is plenty to cover my entire face in a light layer.  The formula is water based and silky, giving a luminous, hydrated finish, even without using primer.  

As you may already know, my favourite types of foundations are lightweight, buildable, luminous formulas, that feel weightless on the skin, giving a 'soft filter' effect.  For me, this foundation ticks all those boxes.


After: (one light layer applied with a damp beauty blender)

As you can see from these pictures, one layer provides a light, soft coverage that gives a lovely subtle luminosity to the skin, and feels almost as though you're wearing nothing at all.  It blends in wonderfully; especially using a damp beauty blender, and I have also found it is very effective when layered for heavier coverage looks.  I can't fault the staying power of this foundation either.  Even if I apply it at 8am and don't get home until midnight, YSL has me covered - literally.  My skin stays hydrated all day, the formula doesn't shift.  All round, £32.50 well spent.  


Has anyone else tried any high-end foundations?  Were they worth it?

Ruby x