A Little (Big) Announcement

I’m launching a brand-new blog!

Yes, that is indeed correct – as of today, Frocks & Flowers will be no more. I wanted you, my band of lovely, loyal readers to be the first to know, and to point you in the direction of my brand-new blog, The Style Stories.

2017 marks ten years of blogging for me. From the hazy days of 2007, where I spent my first summer in Scotland mostly alone and holed up in my bedroom, escaping loneliness that felt like it would never end by reading the daily escapades of people like Susie, Elisabeth and many more – to today, where I blog to make sure that my love for writing has an outlet, and to create something that’s truly mine.

After these ten years, and many different guises,  now’s the time to start afresh and create a new space that reflects who I am now. I started Frocks & Flowers just as I was about to graduate university, and four years later, things are hugely different now and I am too.

My new blog will still be a mix of fashion, beauty, travel and interiors, but with a little more ‘me’ sprinkled on the pages, and a more grown-up (and hopefully more sophisticated) approach to things – I’ll also be sharing food reviews, lifestyle tips and anything else that pops up and takes my fancy. I just hope you’ll join me on the journey!

I want to finish off by saying thank-you to each and every one of you that’s read my words, liked these posts, saved them to come back to later or followed the blog – it’s so surreal knowing that there are literally hundreds of you that have enjoyed what I’ve shared on these pages.

I hope to see you on the other side! Join me at www.thestylestories.co.uk from today x

Advertisements

How To Spend A Weekend In: Glasgow

IMG_2804

Glasgow will always hold a little special spot in my heart; it was our home for just over three years, our university town and where we really did most of our growing up.

We also lived there in a time of huge change for Glasgow; I feel like it’s always had a bit of a rough reputation, the shabby sister of Edinburgh, but in the last few years that’s all changed, and Glasgow has a whole new reputation to be proud of. It’s a music hub with a thriving foodie scene, beautiful architecture and plenty of hidden pockets to explore.

So if you’re planning a weekend in Glasgow sometime soon, here are my top tips for places to go, things to do and where to eat!

friday night

Glasgow airport is out to the south-west of the city, but it’s quick and easy to reach the city centre – taxis are around £15-£20 (pro tip: don’t use one of the black taxis in the rank outside the airport, call a minicab instead!) or you can hop on the Airport Express bus which is around £7. Personally, I’d advise an AirBnb in the leafy west end of town, preferably around the Finnieston or Kelvingrove area, so you can easily check out the city centre as well as the west end.

Dump your bags and head straight to one of Glasgow’s best-loved institutions: Mother India. This is easily my favourite place to get fantastic Indian food, anywhere in the UK – it’s fresh and authentic and incredibly tasty, plus the service is always fantastic.

Post-curry, head around the corner to The Ben Nevis: a cosy, cool little pub with an eye-watering whisky selection, plenty of craft beers and knowledgeable bar staff to advise. It’s the ideal introduction to this vibrant city and a lovely way to ease yourself into the weekend!

saturday morning

Rise and shine! The perfect way to spend a Saturday morning in Glasgow is to explore the trendy West End. If you’re near a subway station, you can jump on for £1.30 each, and ride the sub to Hillhead to land right in the thick of things. Start your day with breakfast at Kember & Jones; this chic little brunch spot offers nutritious breakfasts that are fabulously Instagrammable. I highly recommend the waffles!

And the delicious breakfast in question – waffles, muesli and macarons from Kember & Jones.

A post shared by Laura (@laurajayne_h) on

After breakfast, wander up Byres Road and take in all the cute little boutiques and shops on the way. Make sure you take the turning at the tiny Dowanside lane, to uncover a treasure trove of great vintage and antiques stores, hidden away behind the main street. De Courcy’s arcade, Starry Starry Night and Relics are all great for hunting down unusual finds.

Keep going up the street towards the beautiful Botanic Gardens, and work up an appetite for lunch. The Gardens are filled with stunning flowers, and the Kibble Palace glasshouse is well worth exploring too.

saturday lunchtime

You can’t go wrong with lunch at Stravaigin! Another one of those Glasgow institutions, this stylish restaurant/bar is casual enough to pop in for a bite, but sparkly enough to feel like you’ve landed somewhere special. They have a great sharing menu that’s perfect for lunch, so order a few dishes and get stuck in!

saturday afternoon

Once you leave Stravaigin, you’re basically right at the entry point to Kelvingrove Park. Spend your afternoon wandering through this stunning city park; the landscape is breathtaking, and you can go and see the beautiful Glasgow University building too, which is the stuff of my Hogwarts dreams.

I love living here!

A post shared by Laura (@laurajayne_h) on

Don’t leave the park without heading to the world-famous Kelvingrove Art Gallery; the perfect way to while away the hours and see some fantastic installations. It’s a beautiful building and full of interesting, varied exhibitions that are sure to spark your interest.

If all of that art and intellect hasn’t worked up your appetite again, you’re doing it wrong. By now you’ll have earned yourself a slice of cake, so get out the Google Maps and uncover the Hidden Lane tearoom; this tiny (and definitely very hidden!) tearoom serves delicious homemade cakes and treats that you can’t miss out on.

saturday evening

aint we pretty? thanks @clarasstudenteats!

A post shared by Hillhead Bookclub (@hhbookclub) on

The West End is my favourite place to spend a Saturday night! Get all dressed up and head to the Hillhead Bookclub for pre-dinner cocktails; this quirky bar is a great place to start your evening in style. Make sure you book a table though, this place can get very busy.

Another spot you must try (and must book!) is The Ubiquitous Chip on Ashton Lane. The West End’s loveliest restaurant by a mile; it’s got a beautiful interior, delicious food and a fabulous atmosphere too. A must-do for dinner!

After dinner, head up to the Grosvenor on Ashton Lane – this glamorous warehouse-style bar is upstairs and not immediately obvious, but well worth a visit. Order an Emily Emily and get on your dancing shoes!

If your evening really does go off with a bang, it’s super quick and cheap to get a taxi back into town to hit up one of Glasgow’s myriad clubs. I particularly love The Buff Club on Bath Lane, which plays the best retro hip-hop, soul and R&B – the perfect spot for a dance! Or if you’re more into your live music, King Tut’s Wah-Wah Hut is world famous and a great place to spot your new favourite band in the making – be sure to check out tickets in advance as it’s a small space and is guaranteed to be busy, whoever’s on stage.

sunday morning

If you’re feeling a little delicate from Saturday night’s antics, there’s only one place you need to go to replenish stock and get your head in the right place for another day of exploring: Tribeca in Partick.

Be warned; this place is extremely popular and you can’t book on weekends, so you’ll need to queue – but it is well worth it. Stacks of pancakes taller than most small children are the only food you’ll need to set up for the day ahead.

After your food, it’s time to head into town to explore the city centre: jump on the subway at Kelvinhall and ride it to Buchanan Street to land right in the middle of things. Glasgow is renowned for its shopping (it’s referred to as ‘The Style Mile’, but you’ll never hear an actual Glaswegian call it that), so you can spend the morning exploring the flagship stores on Buchanan Street and stocking up on treats.

If you’re suffering, make sure you head to either Riverhill or Gordon Street Coffee for a quick pick-me-up – you won’t regret it.

sunday lunchtime

I think a light lunch is always best when you’re hitting the shops, and after a night of indulgence, something healthy might well be your best option. I always recommend Martha’s on St Vincent Street, for a healthy, tasty lunch – I particularly love their chipotle chicken with brown rice. It’s incredibly spicy but so delicious, and means you can have a slice of cake later on without feeling too naughty!

sunday afternoon

Take yourself off to explore the East End of the city; walk through the Merchant City and up along High Street to arrive at Glasgow Cathedral and the famous Necropolis. The Cathedral is unbelievably beautiful and so worth a visit, and while it may seem an odd place to visit, the Necropolis is such an interesting way to spend the afternoon. It’s quite a hike up the hill, but it’s so quiet and peaceful, and the views out across the city are really magnificent.

When you’ve made the trip up and you’re back down on steady ground, you’re worth making the twenty-minute walk down to WEST – this brewery and pub, housed in the iconic Templeton Building, is a gorgeous spot for afternoon drinks and a quick snack if you’re so inclined. I have it on good authority that the St Mungo beer is a must-order!

sunday evening

Your time in Glasgow is almost up, but there’s still time to enjoy one last meal in this bright,, buzzy metropolis. Get yourself over to Pizza Punks to indulge in fresh, delicious artisan pizza that will keep you feeling happy and satisfied long after your plane lands. Plus, you can jump on the bus back to the airport right outside – it’s a win-win.

And there is your itinerary for a dreamy weekend in Glasgow! I’d love to know if you use any of these tips or check out any of the places I’ve recommended – be sure to let me know on Instagram if you do…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wardrobe Wishlist: April

Daily Planner (2)

GINGHAM DRESS | FLORAL DRESS | LEOPARD FLATS

SLOGAN TEE | GINGHAM BLOUSE | BARDOT BLOUSE | GREY BAG

Another month, another list of things as long as my arm that I’m lusting after!

I’m finding that this season, my tastes are moving away from colourful items and leaning more towards classic monochrome or muted tones; spring dialled down, if you will. I have just had the most enormous wardrobe clear-out, and most of the things that I’ve gotten rid of were just too bright or fussy, so what I want to do now is fill my closet with pieces that will work season after season.

I am making some allowances for colour, of course, but in a much simpler way – take this ruffled blue gingham smock dress, for instance. Gingham is such a basic block pattern that I feel more comfortable with a brighter blue, and the baggy smock shape makes the ruffles seem a lot more laidback too. I also love this beautiful floral summer dress; the print is super gorgeous, but the thing I like most is how pared-back the colours are. It’s as if somebody put a filter on the fabric, I love it!

Sticking to the classics, I’m lusting after a pair of leopard-print flats for Spring, and these lace-up pointed-toe Boden beauties would be perfect. They’d look great with basically everything in my wardrobe, and are the type of shoes I could wear to work, to a bar, on a night out or a picnic – the ultimate multi-taskers.

Something I’m always lacking in is great tops – ones that can work for basically any occasion. Before work in the morning, before a night out; the story is always the same, I’m raking through my wardrobe trying to find the right top for the outfit. I think I’m really missing a great t-shirt, and I’m so tempted by this embroidered Whistles number. A great basic tee would be perfect with jeans for work or the weekends, or with a leather skirt and cute flats for going out in the evenings. It’s £45, which I think is pretty steep for a t-shirt but as I say, I am tempted… I’m imagining it with those leopard flats and this elegant grey shoulder bag, the ideal easy outfit.

The other two blouses on my radar are both a littler fancier; I’ve been thinking about this M&S gingham blouse for a few weeks now, as I love the detailing on the sleeves and the ruffle peplum around the bottom. I can definitely see this one winging its way to my wardrobe! For something a bit different, this monochrome Bardot blouse from Uterque is so sophisticated and one of those timeless pieces that could slot into my wardrobe for seasons to come.

What’s on your wishlist this month?

New In: L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Charcoal Mask

Tres Bien Edinburgh beauty blog l'oreal pure clay detox mask review l'oreal charcoal mask review

Charcoal face masks have been storming the internet recently; I’m almost certain you’ll have come across one of those actually-quite-gross videos where someone peels off their charcoal mask to show off the detached pores and gunk that comes along with it. Yeuch.

I prefer to be a little gentler with my skin these days, and anything that promises to literally pull every ounce of anything out of my skin sounds a little scary to me. However, I’ve heard so much about the benefits of charcoal that I still really wanted to try a face mask with it included, but something a little kinder to my skin. Step forward, the new Pure Clay Detox Face Mask from L’Oreal.

L’Oreal have just released three versions of this mask in their new Pure Clay range: Detox, Purity and Glow. My skin at the moment is just coming out of a congested phase so I thought that the Detox mask, packed with charcoal and kaolin clay, would be the best option for my face at this stage. They’re usually priced at £7.99 each, but as they’re new, Boots or Superdrug usually has them on offer for around £5.

Starting with the packaging, I actually think the Pure Clay Face Masks look really luxurious. Housed in an elegant green box, the actual product is in a really heavy square glass jar. They look sleek and chic, perfect for popping on the bathroom shelf. The jar is quite a lot smaller than the box would have you believe, but there’s enough product for ten applications – so you’re looking at a cost per use of 79p if you buy full-price. Not bad at all, considering that some on the market are upwards of £30.

Now, the product itself. There’s something really intriguing about black face products; something about them just makes me feel like my skin is going to be super-clean afterwards. The formula is gorgeously thick and heavy, but it doesn’t feel too much on the skin; it actually feels really quite cooling and light once applied. I applied a decent, thick layer to the skin and it takes around ten minutes to set fully so you can wash off. As it dries, you get the disgusting-but-satisfying added bonus of seeing those pesky dark pores and blackheads turn white and loosen themselves from the skin.

The Pure Clay Detox Face Mask is made up of three pure clays, combined with charcoal; the aim is for the product to act like a magnet, drawing out impurities and leaving behind deeply cleansed, clarified skin that remains hydrated and nourished. Those three clays are kaolin clay, which absorbs excess sebum, montmorillonite, which works to eliminate imperfections, and ghassoul, which is renowned for clarifying the complexion.

The mask promises instant results – which I’m always pretty dubious of. Skin should be ‘immediately smoother and clearer’ after one use, and after a week of use, skin will ‘feel fresher and look more luminous’.

Anything that promises visible transformation is setting the bar high indeed. My skin is actually in a pretty good place at the moment, with just a couple of hormonal blemishes lurking in the usual spots, but the texture is much improved to what it was earlier in the year – so I wasn’t really expecting to see anything noticeably improved – much less a ‘visible transformation’.

However, after removing this mask (using warm water and a fluffy flannel), I actually really did notice a difference in the look and feel of my skin; it looked much clearer and less congested, especially on my nose (my problem area for blackheads) and the surface of the skin looked really fresh and bright. As I say, I don’t really have too many blemishes to be dealt with at the moment so I haven’t really seen any changes there, but overall my skin looked calmer and brighter, with redness being dialled down too.

For the price, I’m really surprised at the effectiveness of the mask; I’m sure there are probably more effective ones on the market if you have a higher budget, but for a quick fix and a purse-friendly way to treat yourself, I really don’t think you can wrong with this. I’m definitely intrigued to try the other two face masks in the range, but for the time being I’ll definitely be adding the Pure Clay Detox mask into my weekly skincare regime!

Have you tried any of the L’Oreal Pure Clay face masks?

Spring Cleaning My Wardrobe

IMG_4012

Now that it’s April, and the evenings are light and – dare I say it – the weather is getting a little warmer, it properly feels like Spring is here. I’d been thinking for a few weeks now about setting aside an afternoon to rearrange my wardrobe ready for the new season, so when Satsuma got in touch to ask me to be a part of their Spring Cleaning campaign, it felt like perfect timing.

I’m quite lucky that, in the apartment we’re currently renting, we have a spare bedroom with a double wardrobe. In this wardrobe lives my ‘surplus’ of clothing – that is, all the pieces that would be entirely inappropriate for the season. So at the moment, the wardrobe is filled with summer clothing – floaty dresses, strappy tops and cropped trousers galore, with a few pairs of sandals thrown in for good measure. And in my ‘main’ wardrobe, the rails are stuffed with jumpers and the floors are covered in my boots. So it’s definitely time for a swap around, and while making the transition, it’s a perfect time to reassess what’s in my wardrobe – what can stay and what really needs to leave (preferably via eBay!).

Now don’t worry, I’m not about to start preaching about creating a capsule wardrobe – I’m far too much of a maximalist for that. But life is so much simpler when you can just dip into the wardrobe with ease each morning, knowing that everything in there looks good, feels good and works well with other pieces in there. It’s just about clearing out the clutter to find those little gems that you might have forgotten all about.

wardrobe clearout, how to clear out your wardrobe, how to spring clean your wardrobe, wardrobe decluttering tips, edinburgh fashion blog, scottish fashion blog

So here are my top tips on spring cleaning your wardrobe in time for the season ahead…

1. Clear out from the past season
Take a look in your wardrobe, and remove anything that won’t work for the season ahead. In my case, this will be chunky jumpers, bulky cardigans and anything particularly dark or wintry. This includes winter boots, coats, hats and scarves that will also be cluttering up your closet! Assess each item carefully: what do you want to keep for next season, what’s past its best. Pack away the items you want to keep; I’ll be folding bulky jumpers and keeping them in the drawers under my bed, and tidying away coats, boots and accessories into the surplus cupboard. Anything else needs to go into a ‘throw’ or ‘donate’ pile.

2. Bring back pieces from last spring/summer
If you have a surplus wardrobe, like me, it’s time to reorganise that too. Go through the items with care again and think about what you will want to wear in the months ahead. Does an item you loved last summer still excite you? I like to look at pieces and think “if I saw you in the shops today, would I still buy you?”. If the answer is yes, it goes in the closet! If not, get those items in one of those two piles you’re already building up.

3. Take EVERYTHING out of your wardrobe
Now that the surplus seasonal stuff is dealt with, it’s time to start working on your main, everyday items. The best way to handle this is to take literally every item out of your wardrobe, and I mean everything; no backing out on shoes, coats, bags and other accessories. If there’s anything seasonal kept in drawers or elsewhere, bring that too – this is a purge, after all. Dumping it all on the bed means you have to get it finished too, otherwise no bedtime for you!

4. Start sorting into five key piles
I find that the easiest way to look at organising clothing is by sorting it into five key piles: keep, maybe, bin, donate, sell. This should make deciding what to do with your clothes much easier.

The ‘keep’ pile is obvious – this should consist of pieces that fit well, that you feel good in and that you know you will wear frequently in the season ahead.

The ‘maybe’ pile is a slightly trickier one – usually this will be pieces that haven’t been worn yet, pieces that you want to keep but aren’t sure why, or pieces that you just don’t know how to style. These pieces are the ones that should be tried on and considered carefully – if, once you try them on, you’re still not sure, then they should go into the ‘donate’ or ‘sell’ piles. If you’re not sure now, it’s pretty likely you won’t ever wear it.

‘Bin’ is simple – pieces that are overworn, damaged or just generally worn out should be repurposed or thrown away. Everything has a life span and this applies to clothes too. Check for stains, holes, threadbare sections or just if something looks tired and done.

The ‘donate’ and ‘sell’ piles might be interchangeable, but my general rule of thumb is this: if it’s been worn a few times, is in fairly good condition and could be worn again, and didn’t cost too much in the first place, donate it. If something is unworn (especially with tags still on!), or still in fantastic condition and cost a fair amount to begin with, sell it. You can make good sales on eBay on pieces from high street stores as well as designer – if the quality is good, why not sell on, make a few pounds and put it towards funding new pieces for your closet?

5. Organise those piles!
Bag up the ‘bin’ pile and put it in the bin. Done. Bag up the ‘donate’ pile and leave it near your front door, so you’ll remember to take it with you next time you leave the house, and drop it off at your nearest charity shop. Put the ‘sell’ pile on your computer desk, so you’ll remember to photograph it and get it listed online ASAP – remember to snap them in good daylight, and scribble down all the details of each item so you can write a detailed description that will help the pieces sell.

I find that putting the piles somewhere that has the potential to irritate me (i.e. in front of the door, on my bed or on the desk chair) will push me to do what I need to do with them quicker, to get them out of the way.

Try on the ‘maybe’ pile and consider each piece with care. Do you like it, does it feel good? Does it fit, or are you squeezing yourself into something because you love it on the hanger? We’re all guilty of this! Be kind to yourself – if something doesn’t make you feel good now, it probably never will. Put it on the ‘sell’ pile and use the money to buy something that makes you feel fabulous. This applies to shoes too – how many pairs of shoes do you own because they’re pretty, but never wear because they’re painful?!

If something looks good but you’re just not sure if it goes with your wardrobe, put it into the ‘keep’ pile and move on to the next stage.

6. Assess what’s left.
Take a good look at what should now be one big ‘keep’ pile. How does it look? Do the pieces work together? Lay out the pieces and try and create at least three outfits for each key piece – obviously you can’t do these with statement pieces, but with more ‘everyday’ tops, skirts, jumpers, trousers and shoes, it’s good to make sure that pieces are versatile and that you can wear them in different ways.

If there’s a piece you love but you have nothing to go with it – don’t fret. This is what your ‘sell’ pile will help to fund – new pieces that do work! Make a list of anything you need to buy to fill the gaps.

7. Put it all away!
You’re almost there – and now it’s time to tidy it all away. Start putting things back in your closet, drawers, wherever you keep your clothes, but make sure you organise them in a way that makes sense. Jeans, basic tees and lightweight jumpers can be folded and put away into drawers or stacked on shelves – anything bulky needs to go in a different closet (if possible) or in a designated ‘winter wardrobe’ area.

For everything else, make sure it’s all hung up nicely, and then put it away in a way that makes sense to you. For instance, I organise my wardrobe in the same way I was taught to organise the rails during my time at H&M – by category, and then by sleeve length. So for instance, my rail is organised like this currently:

  • Strappy tops
  • Short sleeved tops
  • Long sleeved tops
  • Shirts
  • Cardigans
  • Jumpers
  • Strappy dresses
  • Short sleeved dresses
  • Long sleeved dresses
  • Short skirts
  • Longer skirts
  • Cropped trousers
  • Longer trousers

Sounds a bit mad, but it makes everything really easy to see and find. And if everything is easy to see and find, you’re more likely to wear it and get the maximum use out of everything in your wardrobe, all season long.

So there we have it – my top tips on spring cleaning your wardrobe! Hopefully you find my advice helpful in cleaning out your closet – and now I’m off to start on tidying up mine…

This post was in collaboration with Satsuma Loans. 

Skincare Saviours

PSX_20170412_185444

I’ve been toying with whether to write this post or not, as I don’t want to jinx my current good fortune in the complexion department. But then I thought that was stupid, and nothing I write here will actually impact my actual face, so here we are… I wanted to write a frank and detailed post on these products, as when I was desperately scouring Google for hope that something would solve my skincare woes, nothing I found really made me feel like something would truly work. So I hope that this helps at least one of you!

I’ve never been a spotty person; in fact, my complexion was much closer to dry/normal than anything ever resembling oily skin. If I ever did get a spot they were small and slightly inconvenient, but nothing to really worry about. But then a couple of years ago, I switched my Pill and all hell broke loose – on my face. I didn’t put two and two together for months, and walked around with a very sore, very sad, very bumpy face. Once I eventually twigged, I switched my Pill again and almost overnight, the spots disappeared. I was living a happy, blemish-free life again, until my Pill was discontinued and I was put onto one that “is basically exactly the same”, according to every doctor and pharmacist I asked. Let me tell you, it is not exactly the same.

For the last year or so, I’ve been struggling for the first time in my life with cystic acne; that is, large, painful spots that sit under the skin. They never come to a head, so they can’t be squeezed (trust me, I’ve tried and I have the scars to prove it) – they just sit there, as hard lumps that ache and are sore and tender to the touch. It is no fun. Nothing seemed to be clearing them; I swapped out dairy for a while, tried every kind of mask and cleansing regime… nothing worked. Yes, I know I could change my Pill (again), but this one really works for me – aside from the face situation.

With my brother’s wedding and a million and one photographs of my face looming, I decided I really needed to find a cure. So I decided to try the much-famed Effaclar Duo+, from French skincare brand La Roche-Posay.

Here’s where things get interesting. There is literally NO INFO on the La Roche-Posay website (or any of their stockists) beyond the basics with this product. Is it a moisturiser? A topical treatment? God only knows. In blog reviews, the info is blurry and the outcomes wildly differ – from miracle cure to total nightmare. It just goes to show that skincare really isn’t one-size-fits-all.

So I’m going to try and be really clear about how I use Effaclar Duo+, seeing as I found next to no helpful info about it at all. I decided to take drastic action and use it morning and evening, as a moisturiser. It’s a fresh, gel-cream texture that lends itself really well to a quick skincare routine; I apply a small amount in the morning (avoiding the eye area) and massage in, apply my eye cream, and then leave five minutes before applying primer and my makeup – if you apply anything directly on top straight away, it tends to ball up. In the evening, I swing between applying a facial oil or a new moisturiser (more on that later) on top of the Effaclar, but quite often I just use that and an eye serum.

I started using Effaclar Duo+ on a Friday night at the very end of February. I had two very hard cystic spots on my chin and a few others brewing along my jawline – the cystic ones had probably been there for two or three weeks already. I applied it, and in the morning, I was presented with – sorry if this is super gross – two large spots on my chin that were ready to be dealt with, where the cystic ones once stood. So I dealt with them, and it was almost shamefully satisfying.

Effaclar Duo+ promises that you’ll see results in 24 hours, then more dramatic ones in eight days, but it should take around four weeks for “unclogged” skin. I’ve been using it for just over six weeks now, and I think it takes around this amount of time to really see results. My skin did almost instantly look better, but it has taken weeks for the spots to stop appearing. Apparently this is due to spots being created really deep down in the skin, so it takes a few weeks to “unclog” them and bring them to the surface. I will say that I haven’t had a single new cystic spot since starting to use this, which is incredible – I have definitely had quite a few large spots (more than I would have liked, and enough to induce pure panic that it wasn’t working for me!) but all of them were resolvable.

I’ve really stripped back my entire skincare routine too; face washes and oils are all out, it’s back to basics for me. One session with a cleansing oil brought on a fair few blemishes the next day, so they’re off the shelf for me currently. Instead, I use the super-gentle Garnier Micellar Water to cleanse, then a warm flannel to make sure everything is off and my face is squeaky clean. I use the Boots Botanics Triple Age Renewal Hydrating Serum under my eyes in the morning, and in the evening Pure Spa Eye Serum, and if I do choose to apply a facial oil in the evening, it’s always my trusty Vitamin E Overnight Serum In Oil. Three times a week, I’ll use a Nip+Fab Extreme Glycolic Fix pad to decongest and exfoliate the skin ‘s surface too.

I’m now six weeks deep into this routine, and for the first time ever, I have been confident enough to forgo foundation – in fact, I have done so five times in the last week! Concealer and a touch of powder is enough at the moment, and that feels amazing. My skin looks clear and glowing, and while there’s still one or two (admittedly tiny) spots that pop up and scars that need to fade, I don’t know if my skin has ever looked better.

To deal with the last few spots that have been cropping up, I decided to up the ante and purchase a few more La Roche-Posay products – namely, the Effaclar AI and the Cicaplast Baume B5 SPF50. The Effaclar AI is a topical gel cream that you apply directly to brewing spots, to calm them and stop them in their tracks, and so far, it’s pretty damn good. It sits really well under makeup too, so you can use it before you get ready in the morning with no fear of it peeling away.

The Cicaplast Baume isn’t strictly a facial moisturiser (actually, who knows if it is, the website says it’s everything and nothing all at the same time!) but can be used all over the body. I’d heard that this was a bit of a wonder product, so I decided to give it a go to make sure I wasn’t drying my face out with all of these acids. I’ve used it a few times as a night cream over the Effaclar Duo+, and it’s really something else; light and absorbent, but incredibly nourishing and hydrating to the skin, without being greasy.

So there we have it – the products that have literally saved my skin! If you’re struggling with something similar, my advice is this: PERSEVERE*. One night last week I was convinced that Effaclar Duo+ wasn’t working for me and that I’d always be red and spotty; I read a million blog posts where people were saying it didn’t work for them and being super vague about why. And then just like that – a few days later I woke up and I could finally be totally sure that I knew what all the fuss was about.

The only (minor) downside to all of this is that I am now too worried about introducing anything else new into my skincare routine – that isn’t La Roche-Posay, apparently they will have my money for life! So for the time being at least, I’m keeping things super simple and stripped back – if it works, there’s no need to change it, and I’m certainly not looking to go back to those painful red spots anytime soon!

I really hope you find this helpful – problem skin is such a downer and really can affect your confidence, so I hope at least some of my experience is useful or gives you a little bit of hope that something will work for you.

*Unless you have some kind of bad reaction – in which case, for the love of God do not persevere.

Weekend Wishlist

Daily Planner (1).png

JUMPSUIT | CANDLE | CLEANSE BALM | BOOK

CLUTCH | FACIAL SPRITZ | JUMPER

This weekend’s wishlist doesn’t feel especially spring-like; in fact, it feels a bit like a wishlist I’d make in September. It screams of the new but also of the classic – routines done differently, a twist on the timeless. New candles, new stationery, new books and new clothes, in a classic shade of navy (of course).

After a few months of saving and daydreaming about things to come, this wishlist has a bit of a ‘treat yo’self’ vibe about it – and while I probably won’t act on it, it feels quite cathartic to shop online and play the ‘if money was no object’ game with a virtual basket.

First up, two luxury goodies I’d love to add to my Sunday night routine. Diptyque’s Rosa Mundi candle sounds exactly right for me: heady rose, sweet and sensual and sophisticated. Add to that the (travel-size) Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm and there’s a seriously indulgent evening to be had. I loved this cleansing balm during my last Elemis facial but it’s pricey – seeing that ASOS does this travel-sized version has made me think about treating myself and my skin to something a little bit special.

Also on a beauty note, I’m loving Aster & Bay’s Rosewater Mist. Disclaimer: I handle their PR, but on a serious note, this stuff is heavenly. It smells beautiful – rose and honeysuckle, with a crisp sea salt finish to stop it being too heavy or sweet. It’s a really light spritz that just refreshes the skin in an instant, ideal over makeup for a quick hydration boost. I’ve been reading how great rosewater is for hard-to-please skin, so I’m thinking about treating myself to a full-size bottle of this to see how we get along.

Now, along those new-season vibes… two new additions to the wishlist wardrobe, both in classic navy and arguably very sensible. I don’t own any jumpsuits (can never find the right length), but this culotte style from ASOS looks just right – cool, casual and perfect for spring/summer evenings paired with Stan Smiths or lace-up flats. It’s not the cheapest so I’ll be looking around for alternatives, but I really like this and can see it fitting well into my spring wardrobe. On the more realistic side of things, Edinburgh isn’t exactly warm most of the time, so a new jumper never goes amiss, no matter what the season is. I came across Ille De Cocos on Instagram and loved their Parisian-style sweaters and knits. This slouchy navy number with subtle pointelle detailing would be super cute with pleated skirts or jeans on chillier days.

It wouldn’t be a wishlist without books and stationery now, would it? You’ve probably seen The Curated Closet scattered in many an Instagram flatlay by now, (I know I have) and by all accounts it’s a great read and helpful for those of us with racks of clothes but only around five or six outfits in rotation. I’ll definitely be picking up a copy soon to help me tackle my mammoth wardrobe into submission! And to finish – did you know And Other Stories has started selling stationery?! If you didn’t, I suggest you head over to their website ASAP, as their stock is gorgeous. Think embossed notebooks, pastel leather cases and covers, gold metal hardware and seriously swoon-worthy colour schemes. I adore this chic little leather envelope clutch, perfect for keeping notes and receipts and doubling up as a cute little clutch!