Review: Bellamianta Instant Tan

Since having Annie I am so disorganised when it comes to getting sorted for a night out. I don’t know whether it is the lack of time or the exhaustion but I never seem to be organised. For this reason instant tan has become my best friend and I needed it even more last week when I headed to Carlingford for our trip away (you can read all about our trip here).

I had been using a small sized bottle of the Bellamianta Instant Tan I got in a gift set until a few weeks ago when I drained it and realised I needed to invest in a bottle.

At £14.99 it is a little pricey compared to other instant tans but here is while I love it.

1. The colour is buildable so I can have a natural looking tan (see below) or a darker shade for any (very rare) nights out. 2. It doesn’t transfer. In the past I have used cheaper instant tans and they have transfered onto my clothes. I hate tan staining my clothes.

3. It gives me a glow and lets be honest. As a busy mum, the only thing I am normally glowing with is baby spew so this is a win win!

4. No smell. There is nothing worse than getting ready for a night out and Carl telling me I smell like a curry. A few spritz of my favourite perfumes and I am good to go!

5. It is called the “Skin Perfecing Instant Tan” for a reason. You can see from the photos above it smooths out my skin and gives a flawless coverage.

6. It is hydrating. My skin has been very dry since having Annie but the Instant Tan doesn’t dry it out. Bellamianta say that this is due to the coconut oil in it which is “intensely hydrating and an excellent moisturiser”

Life definitely does change as a mum but my beauty regime has changed a lot more. Now I am all about the quick and instant results when I have little to no time and Bellamianta helps me achieve this.

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Trying out the B Bold tan

Everyone that knows me knows that I am a bit of a beauty magpie. Give me fake tan, lip sticks and new foundation any day! I love trying out new products and having tried so many brands, I’ve come to build up very high expectations so I am pleasantly surprised when I find I like the product!

This week I ran out of my favourite tan… nightmare! Mum life just caught up on me and since my event was the following day I knew I had no time for a spray tan! Thankfully, I have built up a stock of false tans over the past year so I had a new bottle of B Bold in my tanning box.

So what did I think?

I love a good, dark tan and this definitely did not disappoint. I applied two layers and found it to be a lovely creamy consistency. The consistency made it easy to apply as it just glided onto my skin. The guide colour of the tan was also a beautiful colour which made it easier to apply and less of a guessing game when calculating how many layers I needed. I always think of first time tanners when I look at the guide colour and this one would help even first time self tanners apply their tan correctly.

The tan took around 30-60 minutes to dry but I didn’t mind as Annie was tucked up in bed so I stuck on my PJ’s and chilled on the sofa with a sneaky gin before bed – every cloud has a silver lining eh?

The following morning when I washed the tan off I was over the moon with the colour pay off. It appeared flawless on my skin with no dry patches or streaks.

I got around 4 or 5 days out of my B Bold tan before it started to fade. I was pleasantly surprised at how it faded, it really just gradually disappeared from my skin with some of the drier areas of my skin appearing a little more patchy – totally normal for my post baby skin.

Overall, I am totally impressed with my B Bold tan. I love finding a new beauty product & this is one I think I will keep stocking up on.

2017 Christmas Gift Guide: Presents perfect for a twenty something female

It is officially December, so for all the bah-humbugs who will not utter the word “Christmas” until December 1st, you now have no choice but to think about the big man in the red suit. I can now finally breath a sigh of relief and mumble away about presents without fear of being told it’s too early! I am one of those weirdos who starts their Christmas shopping early. Yes, really early, no I won’t dare mention what month I start. I just love the Christmas vibe, but even more I love buying presents for other people! I think every year the retail vibe is totally different. One year I struggle to find presents for my husband, the next year I can’t find anything for mum but this year I found it so easy to buy for friends! So here is my 2017 Christmas Gift Guide for that young, 20 something who has it all already!

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Yeah I lift… my lashes

Last night was my work Christmas dinner and I don’t know whether I was more excited for a cocktail or to finally try out my Nouveau Lashes!

Early in the week I had shared with you the three lash styles I had been sent now I am a fully fledged member of Nouveau’s #LashGang (eek!). I finally decided on lash style 4 so I couldn’t wait to get down to Amanda Wilson’s salon for her to do my make up & try out the lashes!

The first thing I noticed was they were as light as air! I hate when you apply lashes and they feel like they are poking you in the eye all night (cue watery eye syndrome!) but thankfully I never felt the lashes on. They added a crazy amount of dramatics to my smokey brown eye which I was over the moon with.

One thing I hate about lashes is when you try to reuse them, they can be badly damaged (twisted, out of shape, glue badly stuck to them etc) but when I took the lashes off before bed they looked like new so I know I will get a good few uses from each style – win win!

Something I’ve been looking more and more into recently is brands who test on animals. I am not vegan/vegetarian but I am finding more and more that I am drawn to brands who do not test on animals. Nouveau are completely transparent about their products and how they are trialled created. The majority of their products and treatments are vegan friendly and all are cruelty free.

I love finding a new beauty product that becomes a permanent product in your make up bag and I think my Nouveau lashes may be one!

A huge thank you to The Beauty School Ireland for introducing me to Nouveau!

What is microneedling really like?

I was over the moon when Victoria aka Victoria Briggs Beauty and Brow Specialist invited me down for a microneedling treatment.

I have been going to Victoria for some time now for my Lash Lift (you can read about it here) so I knew I was in safe hands for the treatment. Victoria has thrown herself into skincare & treatments and it feels like everytime I see her she is talking about another treatment she has trialed or is training in. I love that she is continually retraining and learning as skincare is such a massive sector – and it is always growing in N.I.

What is Microneedling?

Microneedling is a skin treatment in which a small device with tiny needles is rolled over your face and neck to create small punctures to the skin. This forces the skin into repair mode in which it produces more collagen. It sounds ominous but the microneedle length ranges from 0.5mm to 1.5mm – very small in comparision to normal needles.

(before)

(after)

What are the benefits to Microneedling?

The small needles make puncture wounds onto the skins surface which triggers the skins healing mechanism. This healing mechanism involves the bodys natural production of collagen and elastin meaning you can expect to see plumper, brighter skin, the reduction in fine lines, wrinkles, acne scarring, scar and stretch mark appearance. The effect of micro needling  causes skin cell turnover to be more effective leading to product absorption being up to 90% better in comparison to only 5-10% before the treatment (something we all want – why buy all these fancy products if our skin isn’t taking the most of them in?!)

What is involved in the Microneedling process?

Initially Victoria carried out a consultation with me prior to commencing. She then double cleansed my skin followed by an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) exfoliation. Again, AHA sounds scary but it is a fruit derivative chemical exfoliator which is used to soften the skin. Following the skin exfoliation the actual micro needling treatment is carried out with a Hyaluronic Acid Serum. This serum is hydrating and with it being applied during the micro needling it is sure to be pumped into the skin than just being applied traditionally to the skin. Finally, after the micro needling process a calming mask is applied.

Are their any contraindications for Microneedling?

The process shouldn’t be completed if there are any active skin infections e.g. active or inflamed acne or rosacea.

What isn the downtime involved with Microneedling?

Thankfully there is very minimal downtime after microneedling. The redness died down after around an hour. You shouldn’t apply make up or tan for up to 24hours afterwards – I did get some redness after applying my moisturiser the following morning. You should ensure you were an SPF also for the next week or so.

You should avoid the gym, direct sunlight, tanning, jacuzzis, saunas, salt water, pools and direct spray from the shower for the next 24 hours. You also shouldn’t splash water directly onto your face.

Victoria provides full aftercare guidance along with the treatment which was very helpful!

How long did the Microneedling take?

The whole process took around an hour.

Overall views

I loved the treatment! This wasn’t a relaxing “traditional” facial however the following day I could instantly say I felt my skin looked brighter. I did have redness for around 24 hours but in keeping my make up off I was back to normal the following day – totally worth 24 hour downtime. They say around 6 treatments are required to see noticeable changes so I can’ wait to see the difference after more!

Can a clear liquid really give you a tan?

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that the lovely girls from Bellamianta sent me their new Crystal Clear tan recently. 

(before picture)

Like Bellamianta’s other tanning products it is odour neutralising, non toxic, dries in 60 seconds, has an even wear of & is easy to apply BUT this time it is a clear solution!

The first of its kind, the clear and clean tan means that it is transfer resistant – so no marks on your white bed sheets. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to apply with no guide colour since I have always been used to using a tans guide colour to apply my lotion or mousse for even coverage.

(after picture)

I love a dark tan so I popped this on before bed & woke up the following morning tanned with no wrecked bedsheets – win! Carl also didn’t even smell my tan so no jokes about my “pasty white mum skin” – win win! 

(after picture)

This clear tanning solution is also perfect for me being on the go with a new baby. The first time applying the tan I applied it in the morning for an event I had that evening and as my tan developed it didn’t transfer onto mine or Annie’s clothes, something other tans have done before. I didn’t have to worry about marking her beautiful littlw outfits or puke wrecking my tan.

All round, this is another tan saviour for me from Bellamianta. Can these girls ever do anything wrong? If you have tried the tan please let me know your thoughts!

My BIOEFFECT Journey

How is September almost over? This month really has flown in for me and it is scary to think that I am now half way through my maternity leave! Anyway, it has been two weeks since the Galgorm Resort and Spa event featuring BIOEFFECT and I have loved using the products!

We were all gifted the BIOEFFECT Discovery Kit at the event which includes their EGF Day Serum, EGF Serum and Daytime Moisturiser. The pack was a perfect opportunity to try a few products in the BIOEFFECT range and I was ecstatic to see instant results.

After having Annie, I had developed really bad skin and although my skin has never been great, the few days before the Galgorm event my skin had been substantially worse. Only 2 days after using the products and I noticied a difference. The congestion was lifting and my skib appeared brighter.

Two weeks into my BIOEFFECT journey and I haven’t looked back. Family and friends are commenting on my skin, I can notice a big difference and even my make up is easier to apply and appears more flawless.

The range is only stocked in Galgorm Resort and Spa in Northern Ireland and as well as the products they also have BIOEFFECT treatments unique to Galgorm so I can’t wait to get up and try one of the facials.

Thank you again to all in Galgorm Resort and Spa and the BIOEFFECT team for my products. Galgorm have kindly given all of our followers a complimentary glass of Prosecco and a spa gift to take home when you book any 90 minute signature treatment (valid Mon-Thur in Oct and Nov).

Spa-ing around in the Galgorm

What do you say when you get invited to a spa event in Irelands Luxury Spa Village 2017 as voted by the World Luxury Spa Awards? Yes please!

I was over the moon to have been invited back to Galgorm Resort and Spa for their Spa September event to reveal their new Elements Cafe and the new Bioeffect range. 

In 2015, Galgorm had an £11 million refurbishment introducing a new Thermal Spa to Northern Ireland and this year they have extended this further by creating the new Elements Cafe and thermal garden. The Elements Cafe is a crazy shaped dome and is one of only five in the world making it the perfect location for a chilled spa day meal. As well as selling food the cafe also sells alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks –  try the strawberry daiquiri & gin daisy!

The Bioeffect range is an Icelandic range new to Northern Ireland and Ireland with Galgorm Resort and Spa being the only stockist in Ireland. Galgorm were kind enough to demonstrate a facial for us and the results were instant with the skin appearing more hydrated and glowing straight away. Galgorm are now providing Bioeffect treatments that you will find no where else in the world and some of the products they use in the treatment are up to 50% stronger than retail products! I am very excited to get back to Galgorm to try out one of the Bioeffect treatments and will do a review of the sample products we were gifted very soon!

If you fancy heading up to the spa, Galgorm have kindly gifted my followers a complimentary glass of Prosecco and a spa gift to take home when they book any 90 minute signature treatment Mon-Thurs in Oct and Nov. To avail you just have to email Louise from the team at lnicholl@galgorm.com.

Lifting those lashes

Everyone has their favourite beauty treatments and a lash lift is definitely at the top of my list. This time last year was my first ever lash lift treatment and a year on I am still obsessed.

The lash lift treatnent curls your natural lash in order to help them appear fuller and incorporates a lash tint which always helps to brighten my eyes.

I find this treatment much more manageable than lash extentions. There is no need to apply mascara and no risk of lashes getting stuck together or falling out as I have had with lash extentions!

Seriously… how wow are these results!

Your hair is 90% of your selfie

12-18 months before your wedding you start your fitness regime right? And around the same time you look into your skin care regime too.. right? So what about your hair?

You spend (quite a bit of) money on your hair colour, wedding trial and then again on the morning of your wedding having yours, your bridesmaids and your mum’s hair done so why not have your hair in the best condition it can be in? You wouldn’t have a spray tan without exfoliating beforehand would you? Or go to a personal trainer and then not carry on your good work at home with diet and exercise? Then why do it with your hair.

Nioxin is a fantastic range of products for those with thinning hair (both men and women) but it is massively helpful for all hair types! The in-salon treatment gently exfoliates the scalp – think facial but for your scalp. This helps remove any build up around your hair follicles allowing your hair to grow through naturally as nothing is blocking the follicle therefore helping your hair to look fuller.

“Why stop washing your face at your hair line? You need to treat the skin on your head in just the same way.”

My consultation started with Robert from the Peter Mark, Arthur Square salon using a consultation tool on my scalp. This magnifies your scalp and the hair follicle so that they can work out which Nioxin system is best for you. Nioxin have a range of systems for different hair types and needs. Using the tool and chatting about my hair Robert found that system number 4 would work best for me.

The process started by applying a Dermabrasion Treatment directly to my scalp when my hair was dry. This is an anti-aging treatment which helps regenerate and revitalise the scalp by exfoliating it. This was massaged on for one minute and then left to work for nine minutes – queue ample amounts of tea, biscuits and magazines, much more relaxing than the gym!

Afterwards my hair was washed as normal using the Nioxin system 4 shampoo and conditioner. These act like a cleanser and toner for the scalp after your exfoliating treatment. I also had the Deep Repair Masque applied to my mid lengths and ends to help condition and smooth my hair.

Who doesn’t love a good blow dry? Robert paired me up with John who gave me the best natural wave to my hair! As someone who has the straightest hair known to man, I know how hard it is to keep even a wave in my hair but I couldn’t believe how easily he got it to wave! Peter Mark are known for their hair care and not using products which will damage the hair so the fact that curlers/straighteners weren’t used to give me that wave amazes me. John has created bridal hair all over the country – he knew about wedding venues I had never even heard of so if you are needing your wedding day hair ladies he may be your man!

To keep the benefits of the treatment you need to continue your hair care routine at home, just like your skincare and fitness regimes, and the guys in Peter Mark will be able to direct you to which products you should be using at home. I was pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive they are!

I love going to the Peter Mark salon and meeting with the stylists because everytime I leave I come away knowing more about my own hair and hair in general! The training they receive is world-renowned and it’s evident. The Nioxin products can be used as little as 30 days before your wedding day but of course the longer before the wedding you start it the better results you will see! Whether its for your wedding day, looking after your hair while you are pregnant or maybe you just want your hair to be at its best potential then I would highly recommend this treatment and the Belfast Peter Mark store! I’m even booked in for a few weeks time!

Getting Skin Ready with Clare McKinney

Today was my first consultation with the lovely Clare McKinney. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to someone so knowledgable about skin & I’m gutted I didn’t know her before my wedding!
  Clare went over my current skin regime & what products I used, we talked about how I found my skin and then she took a good poke & prod at it. Here’s what she found:

🌸 My skin is dehydrated so I need to be drinking 2-3 litres of water daily

🌸 No more wipes – these removes all the skins natural oils as well as taken of make up so they are really bad!

🌸 Clearasil is really strong for the skin & can also remove the natural oils.

Clare kindly gave me samples of the products she has recommended for me to use;

🌺 Yonka Cleansing Milk

🌺 Image Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum

🌺 Image Prevention + Daily Tined Moisturizer

  I love that she gave me these samples rather than me having to commit to spending a fortune on products that I may have to change. The samples should last around one week and if I find that they are working I’ll be calling in next Saturday to purchase them. 

    
 In conjunction with the products I will also be seeing Clare every 4-6 weeks for a facial. The first one we have planned is the Yonka Le Grande Classique. It is a personalised facial which is deep cleansing & massaging on the skin. 4 weeks later I will be moving onto the Image Signature Facial. I have heard loads about the Image Signature facial & loads of celebs rave about it!

As well as having the treatments and using the products with Clare I will be eating a healthy, balanced diet & making sure I drink 2-3 litres of water a day (3+ on gym days as the skin is more dehydrated on those days with sweating 😅). 

If you are thinking of putting in place a skin care regime before your wedding I can’t recommend Clare enough. She was extremely knowledgeable about both the Image & Yonka products as well as skin in general so I know I’m in safe hands!👏

Did you count skin preparation into your Wedding budget?

Did you count skin preparation into your wedding budget? Just because something isn’t physically present on your big day doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t incorporate it into your plan and budget your finances towards it.

In preparation for my wedding I had regular facials to ensure my skin was top notch on the day. Although we can spend a great deal of time and money on make up artist trails, it’s important to realise that your skin needs to be healthy to show of that fantastic make up. It also means you will have beautiful skin on your honeymoon if you are going to fly off shortly after the big day.

So, here our my top tips for happy, healthy skin on your wedding day.

HYDRATE

Drinking plenty of water is key to healthy skin. Drinking 2+ litres of water per day will ensure your skin is hydrated and glowing.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS

Choosing the wrong products for your skin will mean that you aren’t targeting any problems that you may have. Have your skin checked by a beautician who can identify your skins condition and what products you should be using – Skin Medi Spa is a fabulous salon based in Belfast who would be perfect for this.

REGULAR TREATMENTS

Following up your new skin care regime with visits to your local beautician will help to intensify treated and hydrating your skin. Clinic or beauticians products can often be more intense and they may even use products you cannot buy on the highstreet. This also gives the professional a chance to monitor any improvements and monitor changes in the skin.

ACTION

Treating your skin once or twice a week isn’t enough. This is a longer process which needs continuity therefore you need to be spending time looking after your skin. I always focus on my cleanser, toner and day moisturiser in the AM and cleanser, toner, face mask (every other day or every three) and night moisturiser in the PM.

£££

Beauty products don’t need to cost a fortune so if you are on a budget don’t stress. We have some fantastic high street brands and most beauty counters will encourage you to try a sample at home before spending money on a huge bottle.

PICTURES 

Monitor your progress with before and after pictures. It can often become a little repetitive doing the same thing day in and out and you can think it’s all pointless and see no change so keep a before and after pic so you can keep up-to-date.

MAKE UP 

Take your make up off every night. No excuses. So Sue Me recommended leaving face wipes by your bed so that at least if you are feeling too lazy to cleanse, tone and moisturise then you can strip of the make up. 

  Face mask time is the perfect selfie time 🙈
MASKS

A weekly or twice weekly mask is super for your skin. I alternate between a few of my favourites depending on how my skin is. If I feel I need a little hydration I go for the Lancôme Hydra Intense otherwise it could be a highstreet brand or the Estée Lauder Revitalising Supreme.

I have posted a picture of the products below which I have just began using. I haven’t tried Lancôme before but I am loving their Hydra Intense mask. What are your favourite products?