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Friday, 11 August 2017

Skin Care with Hello Skin


A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a company called Hello Skin* and very kindly asked if I would like to try some of the products that they had to offer. Of course, I said yes as I’m always on the hunt for Holy Grail skin care products. I was given the choice of selecting up to three products, so I tried choosing products that I could encompass in to my everyday skin care regime.

Who are Hello Skin?

In case you're wondering who Hello Skin are, I've written a brief summary of who they which you can read below.

Hello Skin are an online webstore, specialising in researching skin conditions and recommending products specifically suited to those conditions. Prior to their official launch in July 2016, they initially started out by conducting research on the psoriasis skin condition and then test products that were able to target the condition. The reason for this was because they felt that there were a distinct lack of products widely available on the market so therefore decided to source non-prescription products that would genuinely help the condition of psoriasis. Since then, they have expanded on the amount of products that they offer that also target other skin conditions such as dry, acne and eczema.

When you first click on to the website the homepage will ask you which of these conditions you suffer with. I chose acne as my skin tends to be incredibly oily and acne prone although not as bad as it once was, mind you! I then chose three products that specifically related to my facial oily skin condition.


Dermalex Acne Treatment

Out of the three products this was probably my least favourite. I was drawn to it by the description stating that it was suitable for people with mild acne which is probably how I would most likely describe my skin. Now judging that I have quite sensitive skin due to certain products causing my skin to break out, I am always slightly weary of trying new products. Although I wouldn’t describe this as causing my face to significantly break out it did cause some redness and a few blemishes to appear on my skin. I would probably say that that’s more likely due to my skin being sensitive than the actual product so if you’re thinking of trying it, don’t necessarily go off my skin as being a reason not to.

The actual product was a moisturiser cream that you just used in the same was as a moisturiser. It felt quite pleasant on the skin and other than the previously mentioned it didn’t cause any other issues with my skin. My skin also felt less greasy wearing this so if you suffer from oily, blemish prone skin then this might be for you! It costs £16.99 so not entirely budget friendly but if works for your skin then it’s definitely worth the extra cost!



Biore Deep Cleansing Strip Pores 

I had been eyeing up trying these for a while as I had been reading reviews on them that rated these bad boys as being pretty good, so I jumped at the chance of trying them! I’ve previously used various other brands of nose strips but always find myself disappointed with the results they give but I was actually rather impressed with these strips. They work in the exact same was as any other pore strip; you wet your nose and then place the strip down for 10 minutes and then remove. But the difference with these strips when compared to others is that they actually feel like they remove the grime and dirt from your nose.

I also tested one on Greg’s nose as he suffers from much oilier skin than mine and also has incredibly large pores. The amount of dirt that came off of his nose was astounding and also quite disgusting but it showed that it was working its magic! I decided against taking a photo of the results as I didn’t think it would be particularly appealing to post a photo of that on here. It’s making me feel a bit sick at the thought of it.

Not only does it remove the dirt from your pores, it also leaves your nose feeling soft, smooth, freshly cleaned and like it’s just had a detox. These will cost you around £7.99 so although not the cheapest, I strongly believe that these are worth the extra bit of cash to ensure that they do their job properly!



Hollywood Blemish Spot Treatment

I’m going to be completely honest here and say that I had never heard of this brand before but that I was drawn in by their clever use of words within their branding of “Overnight Magic”. I always like to test out products with wording like that to see if it lives up to its branding or whether it is simply a little misleading and a slight play on words.

The product is a clear gel like texture and that you rub a small amount on the affected area of the skin.

Fortunately for me, I did have a few spots at the time when I started using this product so I had an opportunity to put it to the test of working its “overnight magic”. Although it won’t create magical results of acne to clear skin over one night it did reduce my spots after around three to five nights. I have to say that I was quite impressed with its results as it didn’t just reduce the spots they also actually disappeared so it cleared them up completely.

The only negative comment I have to say about this product that it isn’t exactly cheap with its retail price of £24.99. But seeing as it comes in a 60ml tube, you certainly get a decent amount for your money when most spot treatment products will come in a 15 or 30 ml tube.

Have you bought anything from Hello Skin?


*Although the products were given to me for review, all opinions are my own as I like to give honest reviews.

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Monday, 31 July 2017

Life Lately...


I feel like I've started every sporadic post I've written lately with, "Hey, so it's been a while and I've been busy because of XYZ reason, blah blah blah..." Which isn't a lie because I have.

I've come to the conclusion that it's also a bit egotistical to perhaps start a blog post like that as if the World and his wife are waiting for my next amount of word vomit to majestically appear. But, I've decided to write this post for myself as like a "Dear, Diary..." post to get a few things off of my chest and why JB has been oh so neglected over the last few months.

Part of me can't help but feel that I'm not a fan of my blog name anymore either. I chose it when 21 year old me wanted something short and punchy in comparison to my previous blogs and when I wanted to focus purely on fashion and beauty but times have changed since then as I only properly started blogging frequently on here towards the end of 2015. Despite me mentioning this to a few of my friends and family they've all said, "Don't change it! I think it sounds good!" Maybe, Idk... Maybe I'll just keep it for now. Anyway, that's partly one reason why I haven't really blogged much recently.

Other reasons consist whilst working full time and also juggling a part time Master's on the side. It doesn't sound like a lot but believe me it really is! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the Master's but for a part time course it is unbelievably intense!

A side from these things, I've not really felt myself over the last few months. I've not been feeling inspired or motivated and as if my whole creativity and enthusiasm has been zapped out of me like I don't really care about anything. There are a number of things that are making me feel this way and one of them being that I don't really want to live in Winchester anymore. I loved being a student there but it's not the same anymore and part of me wants to now move on as it's given me everything that it has to offer.

Some of this stems from working in a very small office and working on my own a lot of the time. There's nothing wrong with the company or anyone I work with but when you're generally working on your own and with people twice your age it can feel incredibly melancholy. I've always been a bit of a social butterfly within my close nit group of friends and when I don't have that anymore it makes me feel quite lost.

I also miss my family and don't really have that many friends that still live here or that I see on a regular basis which makes me feel quite isolated. I go to work, I come home. I go to work, I come home on repeat five days a week. My friends that do still live here are generally busy doing their own thing so it's not as simple as a let's pop by for a quick cuppa and a catch up.

I know that this is all part of growing up but it is unbelievably hard. Just to clarify, I'm not having any issues with Greg personally but when I try and explain this to him, I think he only understands to an extent as he's never moved away from home as Winchester and Hampshire are home for him. He regularly sees his friends and has hobbies he genuinely enjoys that keeps him occupied. I have plenty of hobbies but not one that involves a regular social and I also moved away from my family and childhood friends for uni.

I hope this doesn't come across as egotistical but I needed to write something down for myself as well. I'm gonna try and start posting more frequent content again but if I'm MIA for a while then this post should given some clarity behind that. I have plenty of half finished posts in my drafts it's just finding the time or feeling in the mood to finish them.

Until next time.


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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Dinner at no. 5 Bridge Street


A couple of weeks ago, I was kindly invited to try a selection of food that was on offer at Winchester's No. 5 Bridge Street restaurant*. I, of course, accepted this offer as I always love trying new food and finding new places to eat. Initially, Greg was going to come with me but decided to run away a Viking that weekend instead so I took my one of my sisters with me instead.




 
Having opened in 2011, No. 5 Bridge Street is located in the centre of Winchester and prides itself on having a variety of some of the best food and wines on offer in the South East.  The restaurant has a rustic and sophisticated feel to its layout. Along with its inside and outdoor courtyard area it creates a fantastic atmosphere for socialising with friends and family for a few drinks or a bite to eat.
 


The menu boasts a selection of high quality local meat and vegetarian dishes. We were given a standard menu as we were seated at the table and there was also a specials board located above the fire place. 


The Food

Upon, looking at the menu, each of the dishes are all reasonably priced. The menu recommends ordering 3-4 dishes per person to so that you can share with others and eat them in a tapas style. Flo and I only ordered 5 dishes between the two of us because a) it was an incredibly hot day and we didn't have much of an appetite and b) because the portion sizes are a decent size that we felt having 3-4 dishes each would be far too much for us! That's not a complaint at all, I'm just trying to express the point that you get a decent amount of food for the price of each dish.

I'm going to list each dish below with both of our thoughts on it in order to give it a fair and descriptive review:


Aromatic Couscous with Crispy Artichokes and Harissa Labneh: The couscous was served with peices of artichoke that had a crisp and tangy taste to them. The sauce it was served in tangy tomato flavour which worked well together. Being a big fan of couscous, I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. 


Scottish Griolles on Toasted Brioche and Tarragon Butter: The shallots had a correct amount of saltiness to them and tasted beautiful when eaten with the bread and butter it was fried in. The only negative comment I would have to say on this is that it was incredibly rich so a dish that is best served between two.


Bericus Tomatoes, Shallot Baby Gem Salad, served with Fresh Basil and Sherry Vinegar Dressing: The Bericus Tomatoes tasted like beef tomatoes cut up in to neat little chucks, served along with shredded lettuce and fresh basil leaves. The dish had a sherry vinegar dressing on it which gave it a mild spicy but tangy taste. Although I personally love salad and find it quite refreshing on a hot summer's day, a lot of people find it boring but the way this dish was prepared would make most people enjoy having salad.



Parsnip Tart Tatin, Cumin Honey and Whipped Feta: The parsnip tart wasn't what you would consider a traditional tart as it wasn't covered in pastry. It was moulded together in a tomato sauce with a cumin honey glazing, topped with whipped feta. The cumin honey gave it an incredibly sweet twang but the parsnips and tomato sauce gave it an equally weighted savoury flavour and the feta complimented it with a creamy flavour. It all worked well together and was incredibly tasty.


The Pudding

Although we were both incredibly full and perfectly satisfied with the dishes that we had just eaten, we both decided to try a pudding. Flo decided to order the Dark Chocolate Mousse, served with banana, peanut butter and milk. The puddings all sounded delicious so I had trouble deciding which one to choose. I eventually decided to go for the Orange and Cinnamon Rice Pudding, served with yoghurt sorbet. 





I'm not really a fan of chocolate flavoured things so only tried a spoonful of Flo's mousse. Flo really enjoyed it though but she likes chocolate flavoured puddings, so if you do too then you will probably enjoy it. The rice pudding, on the other hand, was absolutely delicious. The orange and the cinnamon in it gave it a nice subtle sweet taste which was perfect for someone that isn't a fan overly sweet food like me. 

 
Drinks

Unfortunately as I was driving, I couldn't sample any alcoholic drinks so I decided to check out the mocktail collection that was on offer. I decided to go with a Virgin Mojito as I always have a softspot for Mojitos if I'm drinking alcoholic cocktails. The Mojito was mixed well and tasted exactly like a real Mojito just minus the slight distinct alcoholic taste. 


Flo decided to order an alcoholic cocktail by going for a Cosmopolitan. I only had a couple of sips of Flo's Cosmo but it had a sharp, citrus taste that wasn't overly sweet and had a pretty colour to it. 

Overall

We both really enjoyed our experience of what No. 5 Bridge Street had to offer and I would be more than happy to return another time for a date night with Greg or just for a social catch up with friends. All the staff were friendly and service was quick but the restaurant was reasonably empty so I couldn't comment on this if it was packed. There wasn't any food or drinks that disappointed us in the slightest and even thinking about it making my mouth water slightly as it was so good! 



As I like to give honest reviews, the only bad point I could give is that it was a little confusing which dishes were vegetarian friendly as they didn't have a V marked next to them. Other than that, I can't fault the resturant in any other way.



Have you tried No. 5 Bridge Street?


*Complimentary meal, all opinions my own.


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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Blowing the cobwebs away...


Is certainly something I did a couple of weeks ago or at least tried to anyway. Despite my recent efforts of trying to be more active on the blog and on social media it hasn't really happened. I've just been feeling really stressed and miserable recently over a myriad of reasons and to top it all off, I've been busy writing assignments for my masters degree so basically blogging's just had to take a complete back seat!



Because of this, Greg decided to take me on a spontaneous evening out after work to cheer me up. He decided to drive us down to Milford-on-Sea in the New Forest. It was a beautiful, warm Summer's evening so a perfect opportunity to take photos and to try out my new Olympus camera (Review to follow on this soon...).


As you can see from the photos, you can see the Isle of Wight is a little more than a couple of miles away from the beach. Although it wasn't open at the time, we decided to have a walk down the beach towards Hurst Castle. I'm not sure how far it was but I think it would have taken a lot less time if we weren't both stopping to take photos of our surroundings. We didn't walk all the way down to the Castle as we didn't have enough time left on our parking ticket to risk it but we got close enough to take a few photos of it with the telephoto Nikon dSLR lens.


Another hour later after bimbling the whole way back, taking even more photos of the beach from a different angle and a breathtakingly stunning sunset, we decided to pop in to the beachfront bar seeing as we hadn't actually eaten since lunchtime at that point! We only just managed to arrive in time as they were just calling last orders.


I decided to order a baked mini camembert, stuffed with garlic and served with deliciously warm bread, as well as some sweet potato fries to go with it. Greg decided to order a double cheeseburger and fries as he likes to take advantage of ordering meats when we're out due to not being able to eat them very often at home. Once we had finished our meals, we both decided to order a pudding. I ordered a summer fruits pavlova whilst he ordered an apple crumble. Both tasted absolutely delicious, although I would say that the pavlova was a little sweet for me. However, this was probably due to their very generous portions and when you're not a huge pudding fan it can be an awful lot. Although that's not me complaining as it was very nice all the same.



We both washed our food down with a pint of Amstel and got to watch the last of the sunset which wasn't a bad way to spend an evening at all. The staff were also lovely and friendly and the menu contained a wide variety of different authentic foods. it was also very sophisticated inside so we felt a little underdressed but it didn't seem to bother anyone.


I'm still currently trying to get back in to the mojo of blogging but having an evening out like that most definitely cheered me up and made me feel less stressed!


Do you enjoy spontaneous evening trips out? 



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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

7 pet peeves with blogging / social media

just belle - 7 pet peeves with blogging / social media

You may or may not have noticed that I haven't written any new blog posts for the last few weeks. It's not that I haven't had ideas on what to publish, I just either haven't had the time to sit down and write them up or when I have been free I simply just haven't wanted to write it up.

Over Easter, I had an unintentional week off from social media as I just wanted to enjoy spending time with friends and family. It actually felt quite liberating not constantly being glued to my phone to check up on my social media platforms. It made me realise that there's a lot of stuff people publish that I really don't care about. Now don't get me wrong, that doesn't go for everything! There are people I have met through blogging or other fields of life that I love to keep up to date with on their travels, adventures, what they're loving, etc. but there's also plenty of things I honestly could not give a toss about.

Every so oftenI  feel like I suffer with blogger burnout or I'm not "good enough" or don't fit in with the community and I don't think I'm the only one that feels like this. Recently I have seen a lot of people tweet the same things.

It's been a good thing to be away for a few weeks

#1 Blogger drama

We all love a good gossip and a bitch but some of the disagreements that escalate are just downright nasty and bullying. It also seems like it's a daily occurence specifically on Twitter currently. Now I'm not gonna point fingers or refer to people to "name and shame" them but you quite often see a lot of the same names that get involved with it. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with standing up for what you believe in or defending a friend but when it turns in to "My opinions right and you're wrong!" it just escalates and becomes so petty. If I see something that I think is stupid or wrong, I just scroll passed, unfollow, mute or block. Life is too short to get involved and upset in half of this. It also makes me think, "Would you really want a potential employee to see this?" or "What are you like in real life?"

#2 The constant need to be on social media

Social media is a wonderful thing for keeping in contact with people and making the World feel a lot closer but it is also a terrible thing! I work in a generic admin job, Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 5pm and being sat down all day on the computer makes coming home to sit on the computer again is one of the last things I want to do. I love being active and exercising or sometimes catching up with friends so it's not always possible to constantly have an online presence. I also don't like constantly being glued to my phone as I feel that I will be missing out on what's going on around me. Sometimes I just like to stop and have a look at the World going on around me.

#3 Sometimes brands can be sneaky

There's been some truely wonderful brands and PR companies I've worked with that I feel so grateful that they have contacted me to work with them. However, I've had some that aren't so great to work for. There are some brands that have asked me to "work with them" by writing a post about a launch of their new product by sending me photos of said item. Now I don't know about you but in order to feature an item on my blog I would like to recieve said item in order to give it a fair review. What good is a picture to me? All I'm doing is giving free advertisement to them.

I've even had a brand that contacted to pay me a set amount to feature on Instagram and Twitter but kept changing what they wanted, didn't make it very clear and then cancelled it at the last minute. It was probably a blessing in disguise to be perfectly honest.

#4 Am I good enough?

Do you ever feel like your blogs never good enough? Some days I feel well and truely inspired by reading my favourite blogs and that I just want to write and write while other days, I just feel like my blog is just crap.

#5 That thing called life that gets in the way

When I say life, I'm referring to a number of different factors that encompasses work, exams, social life, me time, spending time with family/Greg, etc, etc. In an ideal World I'd love to work part time so that I had enough income coming in to cover the bills comfortably and then blog the rest of the time. Sadly for me though that's highly unlikely to happen anytime soon. So if I go AWOL every now and then it is probably due to one of these factors.


#6 The constant changes on social media

Twitter changing to hearts from stars. Instagram algorithms and shadow banning. The constant changes on Facebook. Here's an example of the messed up algorithm on Instagram, I constantly see photos captioned with "Thank God it's Friday" or "It's finally the weekend!" on a Monday. Can you imagine how depressing this is on your first day back to work after the weekend? It also confuses the hell out of me and then I realise it's been posted three or four days previously. I get social media moves fast but some of these changes are just God damn annoying!

#7 Everyone thinks that they're an "expert"

This kind of relates to my first point but is more in relation to my Facebook newsfeed currently. Unless you've been living under a rock, you will know that a general election is fast approaching. So to give an example of my point is I see so many photos shared giving facts but if you actually do some research in to these "facts" you find that the majority of these are comepletely misleading and quite far from the truth. This doesn't go for everything but I wish people would read more in to things before sharing something on social media then gobbing off about it.

I'm going to end that hear now as I feel this post has dragged on and on and on. I guess it makes up for the last few weeks, eh?



What are your blogging or social media pet peeves?





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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

A mascara every girl needs...


I was intending to write a post on my thoughts of all the high end brand mascaras I have tried and tested but after using the Joan Collins mascara* for the last few weeks, I thought it deserved its own post. Although keep your eyes peeled for a future high end brand mascara post it will feature in!


The Class Act Mascara is part of the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty collection so the mascara's packaging design is all within keeping of this. The mascara's packaging is of a gold chrome design colour and feels slightly weighted when compared to other brands of mascara, giving it a sophisticated and glamourous feel.


The mascara's outer packaging promises the mascara as "growth boosting & thickening". I'm not going to lie, I was a little sceptical of this promise at first but thought I would go along with it and see how much it lived up to this promise. However, I needed not have any worries when using this mascara.


The wand itself looks like a generic mascara wand but has a very slight curve to it like the Two Faced Better than Sex mascara but just not quite as exaggerated. When coating it on to the lashes it helps define and lift them, giving the illusion that the lashes are much bigger than they actually are. It also coats the lashes individually as opposed to them sticking together and clumping or causing smudges below the lashes. For me, this is great for when I'm in a rush in the mornings and quickly trying to apply my make up in the car whilst on the way to work.


If you wanted a bit more of a heavier mascara look then this mascara is great for giving buildable coverage without clumping up the lashes but giving a false lash illusion. Before trying this, I tend to usually use two different mascaras; one with a very thin defined brush to create the base layer then another with a much thicker brush to give the lashes some real boost and lifting. With this mascara, I don't feel this is necessary.


The only downside to this mascara is if you're on a budget then it might be a little out of your price range as it costs £20. But if you feel you can stretch that little bit further within your budget, I would recommend purchasing this especially if like me, you buy two different mascaras to boost those lashes!


What's your favourite mascara? 


*PR Sample but all thoughts are my own.


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Monday, 3 April 2017

Venturing in to the New Forest


A few weeks ago, Kate and I decided to go for a walk in to the New Forest. Apart from going the week previously to make pancakes in the New Forest for part of a project Kate was doing, I have never actually been to the New Forest before. Considering I've lived in Hampshire for nearly five years and to say I haven't ventured that much outside of Winchester/Southampton/Eastleigh area is quite sad really. It doesn't help that Greg's lived locally all his life so doesn't think of exploring Hampshire that much.


If you read Kate's blog regularly, although I love going for a walk and outside adventures, you will see that Kate is much more of an outdoor, adventure blogger than I am. She's also an Ordanance Survey #GetOutside Champion and seeing as she spends much more of her free time venturing around Hampshire, I left her to decide on the walks and places were going to.


She couldn't have chosen a more perfect day as the Sun was shining so brightly with really clear blue skies, one of the first most really bright sunny days of 2017. We ended up doing a 5 mile walk from Beaulieu to Buckler's Hard. The ground was a little boggy when walking through the trees but that didn't bother us as we came dressed fully prepared for this kind of terrain.


Once we had walked to Buckler's Hard, we stopped to have a tea break, watch the boats and take some photos obviously! As we were having a look at the houses, an old vintage car turned up with a couple that had quite clearly just gotten married. It looked like they were having they had their wedding reception held here which seemed like such a perfect day weather wise and location to have chosen.


After we had finished taking our photos, we headed back to Beaulieu to then go on to Thatchet's Pond. We didn't really do any walking here but got to see some of the New Forest ponies and take some photos of how gorgeous the water and surrounding scenery was looking, along with some selfies of course! 😄


We then went down to Lepe Beach to get some photos of the sun setting over the sea and the Isle of Wight. A couple were sat there and had the idea of throwing chips to the seagulls thus causing a flock of gulls to appear which can only be described as Kate put it, "Something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie". Although I wish to point out that they didn't attack us but it did make a great photo opportunity.



Where have you been out walking recently?



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