Mini Make-Up Haul

makeup-haul

Cool make up that’s reasonably priced AND available in the UK?

Hello to KIKO make up.

I actually first discovered them like 3 years ago when travelling to Madrid and purchased the perfect peachy nude creamy lipstick, and after to a recent trip to their London store I have a few other products to add to my collection!

I have never done a make up haul on Balm & Blyss despite the number of beauty posts that I do! (Check them out under the Balm & Blyss Beauty category)

But my recent visit to KIKO and a quick lil visit to the Nyx counter at Selfridges and I feel that it is totally necessary to share what I bought with you!

makeup-haul-2

makeup-haul-1

Weirdly most of my products from KIKO don’t appear to be named/numbered on their colour, however the eyeshadow is in 203and is this amazingly deep maroon/purple colour.

The nail polishes are surprising one of my faves (a steal at only £1 each!) and have a real nice consistency and seem to wear pretty well.

The gel eye liner is a re-purchase, however I can vouch that is THE best gel eyeliner I have come across. Super pigmented and wears literally all day.

And the NYX liptstick is a matt grey colour in no.34 which I have been after for forever – would you believe how hard it is to source a grey lipstick?!

Let me know what your favourite beauty finds are this month – do you change your makeup to match the seasons?

xx

 

City Break #1 – Copenhagen

city-break-copenhagen

Here’s a little recent background to this post for ya…

I recently was having a conversation with someone at work who had recently got back from a weekend in Stockholm (fyi – I love Stockholm) and she mentioned that she was attempting to do 30 countries before 30.

Long story short, I am hooked on the thought and have so far calculated that I have travelled to 14 different countries – driving through/layovers etc. do not count!

And it made me think about the amazing time I had earlier in the year in Copenhagen, Denmark and starting a travel series (mainly city breaks) on Balm & Blyss!

Basically I decided to surprise my boyfriend for his birthday and head on a 2 night city break to one of the happiest counties in the world – Denmark!

Flights cost less than your average train ticket, and with a greatly priced airbnb apartment we were perfectly set!

Copenhagen is a city that you can instantly fall in love with – I could literally gush about the city and it’s people all day long, but you have probably already heard the good news.

It has a very trustworthy, friendly vibe and has so much to offer for such a small city!

I would recommend getting a local map and just wandering about – it is really walkable in ALL weather.

nyhavn-1

[Nyhavn waterfront, Copenhagen]

nyhavn-3

[Nyhavn panoramic view]

christiansborg-palace

[Christiansborg Palace]

carlsberg-road-1

[The old Carlsberg Street]

round-tower-view

[View from the Round Tower]

apartment-1 apartment-2 apartment-3 apartment-4 apartment-5 apartment-6 apartment-7 apartment-8

[The most amazing airbnb find in Copenhagen]

On the subject of this Danish post, I just want to mention a book I have read called ‘The Year of Living Danishly’ by Helen Russell. Such an amazing book that I actually never wanted to end whilst reading it. It was really interesting and insightful in look at the way of Danish life from a British expat’s perspective – it has even encouraged me to start learning Danish!! Thinking of doing a full book review style post and maybe another on the ‘hygge’ concept which i am already in love with!

Let me know if you have any hygge tips!

xx

p.s….next stop Krakow so please share restaurants/things to do tips!

Why You Need A Wooden Hair Brush

Wood for Good

Who doesn’t want healthy hair? And I bet that most of us want longer hair too right?!

You have the perfect hair oil that I mentioned in my previous post, so why stop there on your journey to the perfect hair?

It’s time to put down that tangle teezer and check out why you need a wooden hair brush in your life.

Here’s why…

☽  So a wooden hairbrush helps to absorb your natural hair oils which means when you brush through your hair it helps to distribute these oils evenly that help to keep it conditioned

☽ Helps to reduce static and breakage

☽ Provides a scalp massage particularly along the acupressure points – promoting good circulation and healthy hair growth

☽ If looked after, a wooden hairbrush will literally last you years & years – a definite worthwhile investment!

Tek Hairbrush 1

[Tek Wooden Hairbrush]

Tek Hairbrush 2

[Tek Wooden Hairbrush – Handmade in Italy]

I bought my wooden hairbrush a couple of years ago and honestly love it. It doesn’t drag like plastic bristle brushes tend to, it somehow doesn’t seem to get that unclean/messy, and it genuinely feels almost therapeutic when using it!

The brand I purchased is Tek which is an Italian brand where they hand-make their brushes. Did I mention that they are also FSC certified which means your hairbrush uses responsibly sourced wood. They are kinda pricey if buying direct through their website, however definitely check out your local TK Maxx as I grabbed mine there for a fraction of the price!

Let me know if you guys prefer plastic/wooden/any other type of hair brushes! Also if you have heard of or had any experience of the hair ‘inversion’ method I would absolutely love to know (blog post coming soon!)

xx

The hair oil you need in your life

 

Hair Oil

This shit is real…milk_shake glistening argan oil is legit the real deal.

Let’s backtrack sayyy 5-6 years when I was at University and first discovered argan oil.

I fell in love.

Hair dried quicker – check.

Smoother hair – check.

Hair feeling generally healthier – check.

So yep – I have pretty much used argan oil on my hair ever since.

I haven’t been particularly brand loyal, I’ve gone from using high street brands to the holy grail Moroccan Oil.

But there’s a new player in town, and if you haven’t heard of milk_shake haircare products already then check them out!

Long story short, my hairdresser recommended milk_shake glistening argan oil and that it’s seriously the best hair oil she has used. (She also used it on my hair and it felt aaamazinggg).

So me being me I kept putting off buying it and wanted to wait until I had used up the argan oil I was currently using. Anyway – cue me researching it online for weeks, checking where had it for the best price etc. until I found it on Beauty Bay.

Basically, they had it at the best price then something INSANE happened. I checked beauty bay on Tuesday and…the hair oil had been reduced to £3. Let’s take that in for a moment – this hair oil retails for £20!!

I ordered 5 bottles (they’re 50ml each) and it’s like the best decision I’ve ever made.

Milkshake hair oil 1 Milkshake hair oil 2 Milkshake hair oil 3

And I’m not sponsored or being paid for this post – I seriously sent an email around friends telling them as I feel that I should share this amazing find!

Let me know if you order any – I’m contemplating ordering more (I seriously have like FOMO in a shopping sense!) or what your favourite hair oil is!

xx

Malta Moments

Malta Balm & Blyss

Everyone loves a snoop at holiday/travel pics – am I right or am I right?!

So recently my boyfriend and I travelled to Malta for 10 nights staying in the St Julians Bay area which fyi is probably the most lively area of Malta, with new buildings/hotels popping up everywhere! (Expect views of cranes in certain areas!)

It was a pretty relaxed holiday – most mornings we got up about 9am and alternated days of sightseeing with days relaxing by the pool or on the hotel’s private beach.

My favourite sightseeing moment was travelling to Comino Island and swimming in the Blue Lagoon – legit the most clear blue amazing sea water I have ever seen or swam in!

The weather was pretty perfect too with most days averaging 30+ degrees which was perfect!

Blue Lagoon 1

[Blue Lagoon, Comino Island]

Blue Lagoon 2

[Panoramic view @ Blue Lagoon, Comino Island]

Gozo 1

[Azure Window, Gozo]

Gozo 2

[Pool @ Azure Window, Gozo]

Gozo 5

[Azure Window view, Gozo]

Blue Grotto 1

[Caves @ Blue Grotto]

Blue Grotto 2

[Blue Grotto Archway]

Blue Grotto 3

[View from inside the Blue Grotto cave]

Blue Grotto 4

[Blue Grotto cave view frame]

Valetta 1

[Upper Barrakka Gardens, Valetta]

Valetta 2

[Fountains @ Upper Barrakka Gardens, Valetta]

So this is my share of my Malta moments!

Food-wise there was some great local restaurants (I would 100% recommend Peperoncino and The Blue Elephant @ The Hilton), and if I had to pick any bones with Malta it would be the lack of vegetarian/vegan options, and the high prices for drinks (even just a regular oj will set you back!)

Anyway aside from that Malta was definitely dreamy and somewhere I would definitely travel back to!

xx

 

 

Recent Things with TheGlowDown

Positive Vibes

Another week is nearly over – seriously still living for the weekends here at TheGlowDown!!

So I thought I would share some recent things/bits/pics from the long weekend which mainly involved food, and a day out with the girls – we decided to go somewhere different for a change and I definitely appreciated it! And I love these kinda lifestyle posts, I find so much inspiration from other lifestyle blogs and definitely want to create that kinda vibe here on TheGlowDown!

Also this week I have really started to feel as though I’m getting more organised, I still want to invest in a really sturdy, good quality diary so if you guys have any recommendations let me know – I love writing things down I’ve never really used my phone as an organizer – only for the odd note or too! I’ve definitely been making lists here there and everywhere (not so organised right…) of my daily to do’s, health food shopping lists and a few lil payday treats!

Anywayssss I hope you have all had a lovely week – I’ve finally started reading The Secret and definitely feel more aware of my thoughts and the kind of vibes I give off on a more subconscious kinda level. I think I’m gonna really love the book, I think it has something that everyone can take from it and apply to their own lifestyle – even if you don’t agree with it all. I think it’s definitely worthy of a blog post when I’m done reading it so keep tuned! xx

Banana Pancakes

[The most beautiful banana pancakes ever. Made by me!]

Girls in Whitby

[Me & my beautiful friends in Whitby]

Me & Jordan

[Me & Jordan]

Georgia & me & Rosie

[Georgia & Me & Rosie]

Bread Loaf 1

[Homemade bread – made by my brother]

Bread Loaf 2

[…because 1 piccie doesn’t do it justice!!]

A lil Weekend Recap

Bank Hol Weekend

Because who doesn’t love the weekends?

Okay I feel yaaa sistaaaass who work in retail ( this was me not so long ago!! ) and now I am totally guilty of living for the weekend. Yep. Come 4.30pm on a Friday I am totally lovin life – although you will probably catch me having an early night anyway!!

So last weekend I had one of the best bank holiday weekends I’ve had in a while! I spent Saturday in Leeds, enjoyed a prosseco cocktail in one of the coolest bars ever ( I felt so SATC ) and Sunday night was spent at my cousin and his fiances engagement do – I have seriously never had SUCH a good time at a family party before!! Ooo I also received my first graze box on Saturday too which I have loved!

I also spent Monday day with my brother and sister and had a lil look round town, and then went for lunch which was really sweet – literally. We shared a cookie pizza for desert which was amazing and the waiter was really nice too – I’m a sucker for  good service it can make such a difference!

 

Prosecco Vivant

[Prosecco Vivant @ Angelica’s, Leeds]

Graze Box

[My first graze box!]

Cookie pizza 1

Cookie pizza 2

[Amazing cookie pizza]

I totally appreciate a bank holiday weekend now I don’t work in retail – a 4 day working week yes please!! And I love reading blog posts on what other people have been up to and what cool places they eat out in. I’m definitely going to try do more posts like this (and probably end up being one of those really annoying people who takes pics of food all the time!!)

Chow for nowwww xx

 

 

Activewear Goals

I am currently feeling dedicated and motivated with my health/fitness and striving towards my goals. Soooo of course I want to feel and look good whilst doing it and have been lusting after some amazing activewear.

Also – is anyone else slightly obsessed with motivational fitness inspired Instagram pages yaaahh?? My three faves at the moment are coincidentally Aussie gals Steph Pacca, Bianca May Cheah of Sporteluxe and Natasha Oakley swimwear designer.

Anyway so there are some pretty good sites out there dedicated to activewear – even if you’re a die-hard Nike fan, there’s some really cool and stylish brands out there that are fast becoming popular amongst gym bunnies. And so you don’t have to trawl through the internet to find some nice pieces to add to your collection!

Activewear Buys

Can you notice a lil bit of a theme going on here…?!

I love the idea of darker tones for workout clothes to help avoid the dreaded sweat stains visible on lighter colours…no shame in working out hard – I always feel as though I’ve had a good workout if I’ve had a good sweat, but sometimes it’s not the most desired look!! Click the links below to have a nosy!

Onzie Mesh Panel Legging // Lorna Jane Sports Bra // Slinkii Athletic Tank Top // Polar FT60 // Sweaty Betty Run Top // Sweaty Betty Luxe Gym Bag

Other websites to definitely check out >>>>>>>>

LuLuLemon // Missguided // Fabletics

So yeah! I have kinda come to realise that workout wear is pretty expensive, but if I would spend £70 on a dress why wouldn’t I invest  in clothes that [[perosnally]] have a positive effect on my workout! I think I have definitely taken some inspiration from my time spent living in Melbourne with this whole gym wear thing (they take it very seriosuly over there, I wrote a post about it here) I even spent the afternoon in my gym gear yesterday (clean ofc) just because…and I swear it boosts my attitude!!

And one last thing – I have a kinda guilty lil confession to make, I have become slightly addicted to the iPhone app MyFitnessPal – so much I had a dream about it!! <<< Issues, I know!! But if any of you haven’t checked it out it’s worthwhile, it definitely has made me more conscious of making food choices.

Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend – first day of my new job today ahhh!!

Why I Have Down-Graded My Skincare

Skincare Update

– ‘Down-graded’ in the sense of trying to get back to basics and simplicity in skincare.

At 24 there is something I have realised – I no longer want to use harsh/unknown/animal-tested products in my life anymore. You would think this would have clicked a lot sooner having being vegetarian/vegan on/off for years, but somehow the whole skincare part slipped my mind. I guess in an ideal world, wouldn’t everyone love to use all natural skincare – so we truly know what we are using?

Okay so I’m not quite there yet – but lately I have definitely been making a more conscious decision to change to products that are at least cruelty free where I can, and not so full of ingredients that I’m unaware of. But it’s also kinda a brand vs quality thing too, I have worked for a skincare/cosmetic brand and throughout that time heavily used higher end products in my routine…butttttt I have since found some great products that are just as good if not better at doing the same job and have not regretted the switch!

Sooooo here are some of the products I have switched to recently

New Skincare Staples

Going in order from L-R…

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Garnier Micellar Water

So I want to say first that I’m pretty sure Garnier does involve animal testing so I feel kinda guilty for using this product but I am looking out for alternatives! Aside from that it does do a pretty good job at cleansing and removing makeup. I have an oily skin type so I hate makeup removers that are oily/greasy on the skin. This literally feels so fresh on my skin and removes all my eye makeup.

Simply Pure Light Moisturiser Sensitive Skin (Superdrug)

Simply Pure Moisturiser

Kinda in love with Superdrug’s own brand products as they aren’t tested on animals/cruelty free! And I wanted a very light moisturiser that sinks in to the skin pronto and this lil one happened to also be on offer! It’s 75ml size too and usually the more high-end moisturisers that I have used before are 30-50ml so it’s definitely a mega bargain!!

Bare Minerals Firming Eye Treatment

Bare minerals eye cream

I have always been a bit of a stickler for eye cream, I have no real concern for the skin around my eyes (yet!) but just the fact that is so much more delicate then the skin on the rest of our face (50% thinner to be exact) makes me want to pay it some tlc. Bare Minerals also states that it does not test on animals – yey! It’s a really nice consistency – not too light or too heavy, and blends in really nicely. Its a 15ml tube and seriously last me f-o-r-everrrr!!

Deep Action Deep Cleansing Lotion (Superdrug)

Deep Action witch hazel

So I use this bad boy as a toner (so after cleansing and before moisturising) and it makes my skin feel uber clean. It has salicylic acid and witch hazel to help clean and tighten pores and eliminate excess shine – phew!! Again its not tested on animals/cruelty free, it’s inexpensive and honestly lasts me forever (I know I’m saying this about every product but I swear it’s true!!)

Okay so this next thing might have you a little bit like WTH but after reading Fashion Lush’s blog post on it I have been kinda hooked on this ever since…

Jade Face Roller

Jade Face Roller

Okay so basically you use this roller to help massage your mositurising products in to your skin – the smaller end for the eye area and around the nose, the larger end for the rest of the face and neck area. It’s freakishly amazing and literally feels as though it has been stored in a fridge – the jade feels super cooling on your skin which really seems to help perk my skin up in the morning. Totally swear by it! Fyi – I googled jade face rollers and bought this one from a website and it cost me about £3 total!!

…Annnddd finally the no.1 most useful, cruelty free skincare product that you NEED to have is…

Coconut Oil!!

I use it on my hair as a deep conditioning mask the night before washing, I use it to oil pull (post coming soon) to whiten my teeth, as a lip balm and on areas of dry skin! You can also use it as a cleanser/makeup remover if you maybe have drier skin or prefer an oily consistency to remove makeup!

So there it is! I did do a skincare routine post back when I was living in Australia which hasn’t changed too much apart from I have substituted or ‘downgraded’ some of the higher end products for the ones you see here. For me it wasn’t an issue with the price of skincare – as I do believe in investing in taking care of your skin, but the fact that there are a lot of similar products with very similar standards of quality and that aren’t tested on animals so it has just been a natural move which I am still continuing to do!

What skincare switches have you made? What are your favourite products? I would love to know!

Happy Hump Day!

21 Gossip Girl Quotes To Live By

GG pic

First things first lets address the elephant in the room and lemme start with a huge-ass apology for going all MIA on you guys and seriously no real excuse here I just seem to have waaayyy lost track of my days and feel like I have been pretty busy! So to fill you in on life in general I start a new job in a week and a half and have been planning on redecorating my room and a ton of other things I can’t think of but yesssssssssy I’m super excited to start my new job!

So the post is pretty straight forward – it’s a way of me showcasing my love  PURE ADORATION for gossip girl. I have been watching it on Netflix and I have felt a real bond to it this time round, I swear I feel as though I’m a part of it and even sported a Blair-esque headband for one day!! And I’m so close to finishing watching it all and so I have kinda postponed watching series 6 (serious issues I know) so I can drag it out a lil longer.

And if you haven’t realised it, gossip girl is literally a hive of life quotes an advice to live by. Really. So I have decided to quote my fave GG words of wisdom and share them right here with you guys…be prepared to re-evaluate your whole existence and live life the only way possible (the GG standard of course)

1. You’d better not be selfish. A woman remembers.

2. Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It’s movement, design and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be.

3. Earn the spotlight on your own merits. You’ll feel better.

4. Here’s my advice: Have a little faith, and if that doesn’t work, have a lot of mimosas.

5. If you go back with an uncertain heart, there will be drama and disaster for all.

6. Doing the right thing takes courage and strength.

7. Sex is meaningful, like art. And you don’t rush art.

8. I’m not a stop along the way, I’m a destination.

9. You don’t give up on the people you love.

10. Nothing lasts forever. And when one door closes, another one always opens. The only question is: Who’s waiting behind it?

11. People don’t tell you who you are. You tell them.

12. Things have a way of working out when you least expect.

13. Even when you’re not sure where you’re headed, it helps to know you’re not going there alone. No one has all the answers. And sometimes the best we can do is just apologize. And let the past be the past. Other times, we need to look to the future. And know that even when we think we’ve seen it all, life can still surprise us. And we can still surprise ourselves.

14. We always need a place to call home. Because without the people you love most you can’t help but feel all alone in the world.

15. No matter how far you run, you can never truly escape, everything catches up to you at the end and when it does, it usually kicks your ass.

16. Sometimes the only thing left to do is wrap your arms around each other one last time and then just let go.

17. There’s a difference between a great love, and the right love

18. If two people are meant to be together, eventually they’ll find their way back.

19. Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and where you want to be. And sometimes you have to venture outside your world in order to find yourself.

20. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but what a difference a day makes.

21. Sometimes you have to allow yourself to be weak in order to grow stronger.

 

 And seeing as though this is a pretty lengthy post I will leave it here with the promise of being back to my regular kinda posting style!

Ps my fave quotes are no. 13 & 19 which ones are yours? Do tell!! ♡

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