It Smells Like Raspberries and Caramel!

Every time I visit my lovely hairdresser (Louise at Jamilla Paul Hairdressing – if you’re ever in the north of Manchester, I really recommend a visit!) I seem to leave with a new product that is a game changer for my hair. My last encounter was no exception as I was dazzled by the smell Wella SP Luxe Oil gave my hair after she applied it to my newly chopped locks and it literally made me smile from ear to ear!

Enriched with Argan, Jojoba and Almond oils, Wella’s ‘reconstructive elixir’ has a super lightweight texture that doesn’t weigh my hair down as other serums I have tried in the past have done and it makes it feel softer than ever before.

The product provides 3 times more Keratin protection that smoothes the shaft when used on wet hair and makes it super easy to detangle and on dry hair to give it shine and definition. It can also be used as a pre-shampoo treatment when massaged onto the scalp for 10 minutes (or overnight) and washed off to reveal silky smooth locks!

For my hair length, I only need 2 pumps when it’s damp and just 1 when it’s dry so I think the 30 mil bottle I purchased for £10 from Louise will last me for quite a long time. I’ve found some equally good bargains on amazon too, should you wish to try it out, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. My hair smells like raspberries and caramel for days after I’ve used it and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me! I’ll be using it on Ariana’s hair if it’s ever as unruly as her too!

A holy grail highlighter

If a better quality highlighter exists in the world than I have yet to find it! I remember searching for this shade of Skinfinish last year after reading some ‘glowing’ reviews but couldn’t get my hands on it anywhere! Sellers on eBay were profiteering from it at the time and my ‘Watch’ list contained a couple at around £60 per product! Anyway, I’m glad I stuck with whatever I was using at the time, because now Soft and Gentle is back in stock and only £23 for the 10g, dome shaped compact.

The new window compact comes in 5 shades – Lightscapade, Gold Deposit, Cheeky Bronze, Global Glow and Soft and Gentle (which I opted for). Mac describes it as:

A luxurious velvet-soft powder with high-frost metallic finish. Smoothes on: adding buffed-up highlights to cheeks and brows, or an overall ultra-deluxe polish to the face.

The compact has a magnetic close and although it lacks a mirror, I think it feels both sturdy and luxurious to use. The colour looks marbelized and on application to the cheekbones, tip of the nose and a little swirl on the forehead, it shimmers to perfection creating a healthy glow that can be used day or night to contour the face.

IMG_8213I love a healthy glow and some nights are so disturbed around here, I would look poorly if I didn’t reach for my makeup in a morning! Today, I’m wearing it with Estee Lauder Double Wear in Tawny, Mac Skinfinish in Medium Dark, Sleek Brow Kit in Dark (full review here), Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara and Collection 2000 eyeliner pen, Mac blusher in Early Morning with All Fired Up lipstick, again by Mac (full review here).

I purchased mine from Mac at Selfridges, Manchester, but it’s also available on Amazon. Hope you’re enjoying your day!

Love from Leyla

Hair repair

In the past, I’ve always enjoyed a full head of thick hair but I took it so forgranted over the years (as I’ve mentioned in a previous post). I think having 3 children within 3 years has really taken it’s toll and seeing handfuls of it fall out every time I washed it for a year after the twins were born, really upset me.

I’ve tried desperately to encourage the regrowth and discourage the thinning and besides taking certain vitamins (that I’ll detail in another post) more regularly than ever these days, I’ve been using coconut oil for the past 6 months too and I can finally see some positive results so I want to recommend it to you. 

The particular oil I’ve been using is by Vatika. I purchased it for a tiny £2.49 from Tesco and it contains the goodness of coconut, castor and henna oils.

I apply it once a week, massaging it into my scalp and through to the ends of my hair the night before I’m due to wash it. I’m not really keen on the scent and I have to give my hair a really good wash with shampoo twice the next morning to get it all out, but I don’t find a greasy residue on my pillow and it doesn’t feel uncomfortable overnight.

For the first month or so, I didn’t really see any difference and felt a little disheartened by the product but for the past few months, I’ve noticed hair gradually regrowing at my crown and my ends are far less dry between visits to my hairdresser.

I can honestly say that my hair definitely feels thicker, softer and shinier. I really benefit from this overnight treatment and at under £3 for a few months worth of applications, it’s well worth the investment. Let me know if you give it a go!

Love from Leyla

Best books – The Fault in Our Stars

fault-in-our-stars-movie-release-dateSome books are so thought provoking that they demand to be discussed and I can’t think of a better publication to recommend on my blog than the superb novel by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars.

Described as a ‘publishing phenomenon’, the tale of tragic teenage heartbreak rocketed to the top of the British bestsellers list when it was published in 2012 and sold 11 million copies worldwide.

The story made me laugh and cry and I can’t think of any another book ever affecting me in the same way before. The basic synopsis is that of a teenage girl who is battling with cancer, who meets a boy with the same condition who she falls in love with and Green brings the characters to life through beautifully written quotes that made me stop and think about more than just the plot over and over again.

Green tackles such a dark and depressing disease and yet through using the voices of teenagers in love, he manages to make the story funny, philosophical and educational. I don’t want to spoil any of it for you if you’re going to read it too, but here are some of my favourite quotes to set the scene. Maybe without the context, they aren’t as powerful as they are on the page but they really moved me:

As a mum, I found some of the story touching too raw a nerve at times so I have to prepare you for that, but Green manages to take you on the same emotional roller coaster as the characters through their courage and humour and I promise it will have you hooked from the very beginning.

I have yet to watch the film starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (apparently) but I’m in no rush. The disappointment of the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will haunt me for the rest of my life – HUGE thumbs down but it’s a HUGE thumbs up for this book. I bought mine from here. I promise you’ll love it!

There’s more on our favourite books here.

Love from Leyla

High and dry – a dry shampoo with ‘recharge technology’ 

As you you know, for the past few weeks I’ve been recovering from an operation that’s left me feeling pretty frumpy so yesterday I treated myself to some pampering at my favourite salon with my favourite hairdresser, (the lovely Louise at Jamilla Paul) and she introduced me to a fantastic hair product that I want to share with you.

Sebastian Drynamic is a dry shampoo that not only absorbs excess oil (which means less time blow drying, more time coffee supping in a morning) but it also features ‘recharge technology’, which makes styling so much easier throughout the day. Apparently it’s all in the formula – whereas all other dry shampoos have square particles, the ones in Drynamic are spherical allowing them to sit together better and hair can be reworked continuously…so the experts say!

It goes on like a fine mist, and smells amazing! Anyone who’s familiar with the fragrance Beach by Bobbi Brown will be able to relate to the smell that conjures up very happy memories of sun drenched Summer holidays for me!

Louise sprayed mine yesterday morning and I can still massage my scalp and watch the volume return today as I sit typing this. Drynamic retails at around £10 and is available Here

I am obsessed!

Love from Leyla

Hair – getting it straight

If there’s anything I won’t compromise spending money on, it’s my hair! After decades of destroying it with bleaching, back-combing and blasting with heat I came to realise that I really should value the only thing that I wear every day. Since having my first baby 4 years ago, I feel like I’m down to about
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Big brows are back!

photo 3I knew I had become a fully fledged grown-up when I realised a few things – always rinse your cereal bowl when you’ve finished eating or you’ll spend the rest of the morning scrubbing at the kitchen sink, coffee can be reheated three times and still taste OK (forget it on the fourth, you really need to sort your life out by then) and your parents were absolutely right to complain when you plucked your eyebrows to within an inch of their lives as a teenager and looked absolutely ridiculous.

In my defence, I grew up at a time when Pamela Anderson was gracing the screens with her blonde bombshell beauty and there were two things a lot of girls wanted to be like hers at the time (besides the obvious) her eyebrows! Now our style icons have changed and I for one am glad it’s celebrities like Kim Kardashian that is setting standards now, not only for us curvy girls but for brunettes with big brows too! Good eyebrows frame the face and balance the features, I also think thicker brows can make a face appear more youthful (yes dad I’ll finally admit it – you were right!) and it’s pretty easy to change your own, if you want to!

I use Tweezerman tweezers, they are the best! If you flip them upside down, you can position them straight up from the tip of your nose to see where your eyebrows should start to grow from, or this can be done with an eyeliner/lipliner pen too so that it’s easy to see where to remove hair from between the two eyebrows. And again, move the tweezers out to the far corner of the eye in a straight line again to see where they should end, always keeping the end at the tip of the nose.

You can then use an eyeliner/lipliner pen to draw an arch from the inner corner of the eyebrow along to the end and simply pluck the hair that grows below the line, using the outer rim of the iris as a guide for where the highest point of the brow arch should be.

My favourite products for defining my eyebrows are:

photo 2I think just taking some time to grow eyebrows back for a while and then assessing the situation in natural daylight with a magnifying mirror in one hand a good set of tweezers in the other can work wonders. I read something somewhere that eyebrows aren’t twins, they’re sisters so no need to get them absolutely perfectly identical, just as long as they are similar, bigger brows can make a face look more rested, more attractive and take years off the appearance so go on – give it a grow!

Love from Leyla

Fast fresh face

I never have long to get ready in the morning and most days I don’t wear any makeup at all but when I have something I’d like to look good for during the day, I like to make a bit of an effort so I’ve narrowed down the products I need to get my skin looking good really quickly.

Everybody wants flawless skin. I wouldn’t say mine is, but I drink a lot of lemon water and I think that’s helped prevent any problems with blemishes over the years and I love that I have an olive skin tone so I remind myself to be grateful for the assets I do have when I look in the mirror and try not to focus on the flaws. I know I’m starting to get lines around my eyes and my eye sockets aren’t as defined as they used to be but with the right products, I know I can accentuate the positive and hide the rest!

Before I start my makeup, I always moisturise. I use a spray toner (Botanics), day cream with SPF (Lacura mixed with Dermalogica Solar Defence Booster) and eye cream (Boots Vitamin E). I always tie my hair back and start my makeup with my eyes. I make a mess so I’d rather get the shadow on before foundation so I can wipe away any colour that’s flecked onto my cheekbones before I start my base, which is sometimes with a primer by Smashbox if I want longevity!

Highlight and contour is so popular now. I think anyone can do it if they take some time to learn the features of their face with a mirror in natural daylight. It’s a good thing to learn the lines where the cheekbones start and finish, the shape of the nose and if (like me) you’d like it to be narrower and so on. It takes time to get it right so it’s a good idea to practice before a big night out but I can do it really quickly now so it’s part of my regular routine.

makeup 4My favourite makeup products for a flawless base are:

  • Estee Lauder Double Wear in Tawny
  • Cover FX Foundation compact in M60
  • Mac Prep and Prime concealer in Bright Forecast
  • Maybelline Fit Me concealer in 25
  • Mac bronzer in Give Me Sun
  • Mac Mineralize face powder in Medium Dark
  • Sleek contour kit in Medium
  • Mac blusher in Early Morning
  • Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Bronze

After my eyes are done, I pour a little Double Wear onto the back of my hand and using a stipple brush by Mac (187) I dab it onto my cheeks, forehead and chin then in circular motions blend it all together, over my nose and into my hair line. I then use a damp Beauty Blender sponge to add Cover FX foundation to the areas I want to even out, so for me that’s around my nose and chin and I still have a little discolouration from pregnancy on my cheekbones and I find this hides it really well.

When my foundation is done, I use Mac’s Prep and Prime on the under eye area, creating a V shape down each side of my nose and across to my cheekbones, blending it in with the Beauty Blender again. I then use a combination of bronzer and face powder by Mac to create a glow on my face. The powder sets the foundation and the bronzer gives me a tan. I mix them together on a brush again by Mac (134) all over, then add bronzer just in my hair line and a little extra along my jaw line.

Then onto contour! I love my kit by Sleek. It was so affordable (under £10) from Amazon and the shades are perfect for my skin tone. I use a piece of card with a straight edge to frame my cheekbone then using Smashbox blender brush (4)  I can draw a line where I want more definition with the dark shade in the pallet. I also use this to draw a line down either side of my nose and underneath the tip to give it a narrower appearance,

When that’s all done, my favourite part is blush! I love to see my face come to life with a rosy glow and Mac’s Early Morning does the trick really nicely for an every day look for me. I apply it to the apples of my cheeks. A great rule of thumb is to never apply blusher any further into the nose than central to your pupil. It really should stop there then work it upwards and outwards to the ear, along side the contour of the cheekbone.

I then use the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick with a small stipple brush by Mac (188) to swirl the lighter shades from the compact over my cheekbones and across the tip of my nose to accentuate the upturn and swirl it into the darker shades and apply it to my forehead and down my nose for a tanned effect that really catches camera flash light.

I always blend, blend, blend with a Kabuki brush when that’s all done and sometimes add a little more concealer under my eyes just to brighten the area. If it’s just a day time look, I use Maybelline Fit Me and take it with me everywhere I go. For this look I finished with Mac lipstick in To The Future along with their Subculture lipliner and that was it! A fresh face that took me about 20 minutes (including my eyes).

Please leave your comments below, I’d love to know your thoughts!

Love from Leyla

The great Mac makeup exchange


Not that I need an excuse to use more makeup, but Mac have kindly offered one to me anyway. Their Back to MAC programme accepts returns of used packaging in return for a new lipstick of your choice and who doesn’t love a freebie right? Their guidlines are simple:

Because we share your commitment to the environment, M·A·C accepts returns of its primary packaging through the Back to M·A·C Program. By returning six [6] M·A·C primary packaging containers to a M·A·C counter or M·A·C Cosmetics online, you’ll receive a free M·A·C lipstick of your choice as our thanks to you. Please note, Lipsticks provided at no charge cannot be returned or exchanged.

Other than their commitment to the environment, Mac have also donated 100% of their Viva Glam lipstick range profits to their own Mac Aids Fund and have raised $295,000,000  since its inception in 1994.

blusher 2I love makeup, I had drawers full of the stuff. I love the feeling I get when I’ve had the chance to take my time to get ready and Mac has always been my favourite – their variety of colours, the shades that perfectly match my skin and the staying power of all of their products compared to most other brands. Their counter at Selfridges in Manchester is always the first place I call to on a trip into the city centre and I justify the splurge with the knowledge that I am atually doing something for the environment by participlating in this recycling scheme. So that’s my excuse to stock up on my favourites again this weekend!

Love from Leyla