Holy Grail Haircare.

Haircare essentials blogger

Experimenting with my locks is something that brings me a whole lotta happiness. Whether we're talkin' length, or colour, it's a seriously great way to express yourself without major commitment. 

More recently, I've had purple, pastel pink, purple highlights (yeah, don't ask; it was a bad, hat-wearing period), and currently I'm dabbling in silver/grey. Of course, it's not all about that side of things, though; maintenance is a biggie, too.

Over the past few years, I've really managed to hone-in the brands and products that work for me. So, while I'm here chatting all things hair, I may as well spill the beans on said favourites, no?

Haircare essentials blogger

Let's start with shampoo. L'Oreal sure know how to kill it when it comes to haircare. Actually, let me rephrase; L'Oreal sure know how to kill it when it comes to everythang. Anyhow, the past 10 months or so, the L'Oreal Série Expert Silver Shampoo is pretty much the only shampoo I've reached for. 

It successfully keeps those dreaded brassy tones at bay, cleanses the hair without stripping, and adds a splash of colour into your haircare routine (and who doesn't want that, really?) thanks to its rather dashing purple shade. Oh, and FYI, you only need the smallest amount, so a bottle will last you yonks.

Next up, we've got more L'Oreal...

The L'Oreal Expert Professionnel Smartbond Conditioner is said to be the brand's own version of Olaplex, which, if you're well-versed in Olaplex, you'll know is designed to strengthen and protect the hair. This is essentially step-3 of the process. An at-home conditioner to be used once a week, it keeps your hair feeling soft and healthy. In all honesty, I'm not too fussy when it comes to conditioner, but as my hair can be on the drier side of things, this is something I've really enjoyed reaching for. I leave it on for 3 minutes and my hair is left silky without feeling flat (which we all know, isn't exactly the dream post-hair wash).

For the times I fancy feeling a little extra, the Redken Extreme Megamask is where it's at. As the name suggests, this is MEGA. Not only does it work like a treat, but it smells ah-mazing. It offers noticeable results (restoring hair for up to three washes), thanks to its dual chamber packaging which combines two magical formulas in one tube. Definitely one to pick up if you're looking for intense conditioning.

Alternatively, the ESPA Pink Hair and Scalp Mud* is another winner. I wrote about this way back, and it's still something I love to use. It promises to soothe, nourish and stimulate the hair and scalp, which it indeed does do, very well in fact. But the pink, delicious-smelling mud fun needn't end with you hair... you can also use this on your body (pretty cool if you ask me). Pick one up for yourself and thank me later.

Haircare essentials blogger

So the L'Oreal Elnett Satin Strong Hold Glam Waves Crème Mousse is not only a mouthful and a half to say, but a real gem. If your hair has the tendency to fall on the flat side (I feel ya), this will be your BFF. Presented in the distinctive L'Oreal Elnett bottle, the product disperses fuss-free and just one pump is enough to sort bob-length hair. I 100% notice if I forget to use this in my routine. L'Oreal also produce several other variations of the product which are definitely worth checking out!

Another hair hero I've been continuously hooked on comes in the form of the Bumble & Bumble Texture (un)dressing Creme. Much like all Bumble & Bumble products, you only need the smallest amount, meaning a 60ml tube will last you months. For realz. This is a good'n if your hair feels a little too soft for your liking. If you're on the hunt for something that's going to give you perfect lookin' locks, this isn't it. Instead, a pea-sized amount of the gel will leave you with a shine-free, undone-yet-done head of hair. 

For lazy days, I can't be without the Colab Original Dry Shampoo. A release from one of my fave YouTubers, Ruth Crilly, the Colab range is about as good as dry shampoo is gonna get. Scented with bergamot, rose, musk and magnolia, the spray works without leaving a white residue in your hair (a major biggie). It also doesn't give that irritating dry texture which is why I always make sure I have a can of this is my drawer.

When using a hair oil, the obvious choice would of course have to be Moroccan Oil. This is something I've used on-and-off for years, and one I will no doubt always go back to. I picked up my most-recent (25ml) bottle in a Latest in Beauty box (a.k.a. as mentioned in this post, the BEST beauty box going). I adore the way this makes my hair feel and the fact it significantly improves its condition. Oh, and I'm seriously playing it cool here when I say the scent is bloody amazing.

What are your haircare staples? Are you a fan of any of the above? I'd love to hear your recommendations!



Four Places To Brunch in Manchester.

Hollering at all you foodies out there. If you're headed to Manchester anytime soon (or maybe you're even lucky enough to call the amazing City home), this here post consists of some serious *Northwest based* grub-related chatter.

The past 8 months or so I've found myself in Manchester on quite a few occassions, and have encountered some absolute gems when it comes to that little thing called brunch. 

Here's a round up of my favourite four...

~ Home Sweet Home ~

I mean, did you see that milkshake up top? Home Sweet Home are absolute BABES when it comes to sweet treats. Even better, there's not one, but two branches to choose from. One in the Northern Quarter, the other just a stone's throw from the Albert Hall. Both have very different vibes, but are equally as delightful.

The staff are oh-so nice, the cake offerings are to die for, and the menu's got choices a'plenty whether you're in the mood for a late-night dinner, an afternoon tea, are a meat eater or are vegan. Basically, there's something for everyone.

The two photos above are in H.S.H's Northern Quarter branch (throwback to Summer) which is a little quieter and out of the way.

If I was gonna hit you up with a recommendation, I'd suggest you give the falafel halloumi wrap a whirl, with one of their epic milkshakes to finish things off nicely (obvs). If you're feeling particularly peckish, you definitely can't go wrong with their loaded fries. Matt definitely isn't as fond on these as I am (we opt for them without the bacon being pescatarians) but I think they are amaaazing.

Finally, one for the road, perhaps, get yo'self a slice of cake. We did this on one of our visits and consumed back in our hotel room - excellent decision.

Ezra & Gil ~

My second favourite brunch spot would have to be Ezra & Gil. Another Northern Quarter treat, this is the epitome of chill. Admittedly their website doesn't exactly go overboard with details/photos, but head over to their Instagram so you can really pick up on their awesomeness.

The menu is essentially made up of every single brunch option you could dream of... and then some. From avocado and poached egg on sourdough (see said delish meal above) and chia bowls, to home baked granola and a pretty extensive range of salads, E&G have got it goin' on.

Oh and ahoy to all Fruit and veg lovers; you can also pick up provisions here, alongside a selection of magazines to delve in to whilst sipping your drink of choice.

One you simply must, must try!

Foundation ~

Ok, so this is number one for me, no doubt about it. This is one place me and Matt find ourselves sitting in for hours on end (which says it all if y'ask me).

Unlike a lot of coffee shops, in Foundation, you have plenty of space. You can do your own thing without feeling as though you're in ear's reach of someone else's conversation, which is (obviously) a major plus. 

They also offer pretty much all of the caffeine/warm related drinks in existence, and sell a good  selection home-made gluten free cakes, sandwiches and salads. Just the clarify, the coffee is outta this world good.

Another important factor is the staff. Foundation as a brand are obviously pretty picky when it comes to the 'ol hiring process. Everyone that works there is oh-so welcoming and they always make a conscious effort to talk to you.

The coffee house also attracts a really lovely kind of customer; there ain't no rowdiness going on in this joint, uh uh.

If you've enjoyed your visit that much, you can even take some of the fun home with you by stocking up on some Foundation-shaped merch. I'm talkin' tshirts, mugs, bags, pens, and who'd have thought it... coffee.

10 out of 10 would recommend.

Federal ~

Last, but by no means least, we have Federal. Federal is located near the Arndale Shopping Centre, which is pretty damn handy if you're in the mood to spend some dollar. 

I'd seen this one on Instagram prior to our first visit, so I knew we were gonna be in for a treat. 

The menu isn't too dissimilar from that of Ezra & Gill, but is equally delicious. The staff are again, SO friendly, and make sure you have everything you need for that perfect brunch.

It can get pretty busy throughout the day, so don't be too disheartened if you can't get a table the second you walk through the door - I promise it's worth the small wait.

It's very cosy, and definitely not as spaced-out as the likes of Foundation, but they've made it work and I love it nonetheless. Everyone is having a blast listening to banging tunes and stuffing their faces with edible delights, so there's definitely no uncomfortable vibes to be had. And, just look at the decor; ridiculously cool.

 So there we have it; my top 4 places to brunch in the City that is Manchester! Have you been to any of the above? I would love to hear your favourite places!

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Why you need to try Pixi.

Pixi Beauty Blogger

I know I'm definitely not alone in the fact I enjoy sampling a good amount of beauty brands to discover new favourites. Whether we're talkin' skincare or makeup, I've never really been one to just stick to numero uno for all.

But, if I was to do just that, Pixi would be where it's at. If you've been reading my blog for a while now, you'll know I've been a big old fan of the brand for a LONG time (check out my previous posts mentioning some absolute staples). You may know them as the creating the crème de la crème of acid toners in the form of Glow Tonic*, or maybe even from their cult Double Cleanse* collab with skincare guru, Caroline Hirons. Either way, they sure do know their sh*t when it comes to b-e-a-uty.

Pixi Beauty Blogger

I think my first experience with the brand may well have been with their Glow Tonic (I mean, can you blame a gal, the stuff is raved about far and wide), but I quickly became hooked and my collection expanded with everything from mascaras to eyeshadow palettes. I don't say this a lot, but I genuinely haven't come across a product I dislike in their ever-expanding range.

Pixi Beauty

Established over 10 years ago, the brand prides itself on creating beautiful products that give users a natural, radiant glow, and its ethos is designed in mind of those who want to both feel and look their best without requiring a big chunk of their time.

Of course, alongside the neutral palettes, one-swipe toners and speedy spritz, their are a few beauty treats that require a little more effort spent on them. Whether it's a bold lip, a 15 minute mask or a bright pop of colour on the eyes, essentially, Pixi have you and your makeup dreams covered.

Pixi Beauty Blogger
Pixi Beauty Blogger

It'd be pretty bloody hard to narrow down all of my recommendations from the brand, so to keep the length of this post manageable, I'm gonna go ahead and give you my top 10...

1. Face Mists*: Without a doubt, these are a forever staple for moi. I always carry at least one around with me so I can top-up and keep cool throughout the day. From energising and SPF, to glow-giving and makeup-setting, there's definitely at least one you need in your routine. Me? Yes, I have them all because they're so damn good!

2. Endless Silky Eye Pen*: Whether you're looking to experiment with your eyeliner or looking for a new classic tone, the Endless Silky Eye Pen is a good'n. The gel formula comes in a whopping 22 shades, and glides on perfectly upon application without the need for frequent touchups. Absolute winner.

3. Lower Lash Mascara*: Who knew a bottom lash mascara was such a makeup essential? Pixi, apparently. If you constantly look in the mirror and find yourself being greeted with panda smudges under your eyes, you need this. It retails for £11, but if you fancy treatin' yo'self then I'd recommend snapping up the Eye Accent Kit which ft. this and the rather handy clear Brow Tamer (which retails on its own for £12), for just £16.

4. Lengthy Fiber Mascara*: Keeping up with the whole eye area theme, we have the Lengthy Fiber Mascara. I don't have the longest lashes in the land, however with this, I can pretend that I do. As the name suggests, the fibers in the mascara (temporarily) attach to the lashes to give an elongated effect. And who doesn't want that, right? Even better, vitamin E, panthenol, and chamomile extract all do their thing to keep things strengthened and protected. The only slight let down for me is the fact it doesn't hold a curl all day, but with my poker straight set, that's a rarity anyway.

5. Glow Mud Mask*: I love me a good face mask, and boy, is this good. I definitely need to snap up another tube of this as I used it in a flash! After just 15 minutes my skin looks brighter and feels smoother (which is great news for lil Miss Dry Skin over here). Another thing I love is how easy this is to remove. Which may make me sound ridiculously lazy, but how frustrating is it having to quite literally scrub at your face in an attempt to rinse off a mask? With this, just a few swipes with a flannel, and you're sorted.

6. 24k Eye Elixir*: Oh god this is just SO good. I'd never tried this kind of thing prior to Pixi, but my life (especially on those early AF mornings) has been changed forever. Pixi describe this as "an anti-fatigue peptide serum that that massages away puffiness as it smooths and refreshes the eye area." They hit the nail on the head, really. Puffy, sleepy eyes, are fixed in a flash. A* product.

7. Double Cleanse*: I mean, let's be real here; obviously I was going to mention this. If you're new to the world of double-cleansing, or maybe you're not all that keen on having cleansers clog up space in your bathroom, then this is quite literally the dream. This Caroline Hirons collab is a 2-in-1 cleanser which comprises of both a solid cleansing oil and a luxe cleansing cream. Maybe not so much for A.M. use, but this is a real gem when it comes to an eve. Filled to the brim with lots of lovely ingredients, it removes makeup, provides a deep clean for the skin, and then some. Free from Parabens and fragrance, this is one a lot of people will get along with.

8. Rose Oil Blend*: This is such a rich and hydrating face oil. Oh, and fyi, it smells all kinds of amazing, too. Although it's designed to be used morning and night, I personally find this really shines in the morn'. I like to mix 1-2 drops with moisturiser to help up the glow factor, and it makes the final finish to my base of choice look a whole lot smoother and less, er, dry-looking (ew).

9. Flawless Beauty Primer*: If you're wanting to hold on to your base longer than 5 minutes (who isn't?), a primer is of course a must-have feature in your makeup bag. If you long for that, 'lit from within' look, with added hydration and longevity, you really can't go wrong with this. It has a slight pink undertone, but don't fear, this blends away and you're left with a radiant looking complexion. Better still, it boasts anti-aging and skin fortifying benefits, so you don't need to fret over layering up the makeup.

10. Pixi Pretties*: If you read my #PixiPretties post last year, you'll already be familiar with the amazing collaborations Pixi announced. I (naturally) loved everything that was released, but the palettes may have been the standout for me, however this wasn't much of a shocker as Pixi palettes are always top-notch. If you're in the market for eyeshadow, the 'ItsEyeTime palette*' by ItsJudyTime is an a definite go-to. Twelve, very 'now' shades that boast serious pigment and zero fallout. Yet another thumbs up from me.

Pixi Beauty Brand

So, just in case the above didn't give it away, Pixi is 100% a brand you need to try for yourself (if you haven't already, of course).  Whatever your skin type, whatever your beauty tastes, they'll have something for you. Pixi also do not test on animals which is of course, excellent.

Are you a fan of Pixi? I'd love to know if you've tried any of the above or any product recommendations you may have!

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