Friday, 8 December 2017

REVIEW: Energy Hair @ Darts Farm, Topsham

If you're local to Exeter or the surrounding areas, there's no doubt you'll have heard of Darts Farm. It's a beautiful farm shop boasting local produce and so much more. A hidden gem around the back of Darts Farm is its spa & beauty facilities, including the likes of Energy Hair.

I was kindly invited to receive a wash, cut and blow dry with Luke, one of Energy's newest recruits. He finished his training with Sassoon in London earlier this year, and his enthusiasm and talent for hairdressing really showed. He also makes a pretty good cup of tea!


The process began with the hair wash - quite possibly my favourite bit! A relaxing head massage was exactly what I needed after the stressful weekend I'd had at work. The massage chair they provide at the basins definitely helped too! These little touches just go to show how luxurious and relaxing Energy Hair is - it's not just a place to get your seasonal haircut, but somewhere you can unwind and enjoy.



Post-wash, Luke asked how I'd like my hair cut. I wasn't looking for a drastic hair change - just a couple of inches off and some subtle layers cut back in. Luke listened well and did a great job. He cut and blow dried my hair exactly how I like it and I couldn't have been happier with it. It was great to see Nathan, the owner of Energy Hair, checking in on Luke and I during the process. Luke is still learning of course, but it was clear that Nathan had full confidence in Luke's abilities - as did I! The whole staff team seem really friendly and were a joy to be around. 



Overall, I would really recommend Energy Hair at Darts Farm to anyone in the market for a new do or just a touch up. The salon is perfect if you're looking for a luxurious retreat and an hour or so's escape from reality while the team work their magic on your locks. And don't underestimate the talent and abilities of a newly trained hairdresser - Luke did a better job than a lot of more experienced hairdressers I've been to in the past! Definitely worth a visit! For more information, visit http://www.energyhair.com



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Sunday, 27 August 2017

REVIEW: Coffee #1, Princesshay #EatsForTreats

In the heart of Exeter but located in a more secluded area of Princesshay shopping centre, Coffee #1 is the perfect retreat away from the crowds of shoppers on a Saturday afternoon. Princesshay asked me to visit Coffee #1 as part of their summer EATS! campaign, promoting the diverse range of restaurants and eateries situated within the shopping centre. Despite its quiet location, the cafe is still buzzing and clearly a popular hangout. 



After a busy morning of shopping, Tim and I were ready for a mid-afternoon refreshment. I ordered a spice chai latte while Tim opted for a white hot chocolate deluxe. We also both grabbed a maple bacon, eggs benedict and spinach English muffin to keep us going. After ordering, we sat down in the best location (in my opinion!) in the whole cafe - right by the window in the cosiest armchairs. 


The decor is quirky and has a rustic feel, with wooden floors and an impressive exposed brick feature wall. The bookshelf and recycled hessian coffee sack canvases are a nice touch too. The whole atmosphere is very chilled and relaxed, despite it being full of people. It really is perfect for working, reading or just catching up with friends.


As for the taste test, the chai latte was perfectly milky and aromatic, while Tim's white hot chocolate (which I sneaked a sip of) was rich and frothy - perfect if you have a hankering for something sweet. Our English muffins were extremely tasty too and ideal as a late lunch snack. You can't beat bacon really!


I really can't fault our visit to Coffee #1 - it topped off a perfect day of browsing round the shops! If you're interested in finding out more about Princesshay's other eateries, follow this link here. Thank you Princesshay and Coffee #1 for the chance to sample the fab food and drink on offer!
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Monday, 14 August 2017

My Five FAVOURITE EVER Lip Products!

Hi all! Today's post is all about one of my favourite things to talk about - lipsticks! I tend to stick to a select few lip products that I love and best of all, most of these are high street bargains. I'd love your recommendations for your favourite lip products in the comments below - I'm always on the lookout to add to my holy grail products. Let's get onto the faves:


1. MAC - Velvet Teddy


This is a stereotypical blogger favourite, but it's a favourite for a reason! For me, Velvet Teddy is the perfect deep nude and goes with pretty much any outfit and any makeup look. This lipstick is the most expensive of the bunch, coming in at £16.50 from most retailers. However, MAC lipsticks are notorious for their creamy texture and lengthy staying power, making this product a staple in my handbag. I received this as a gift for my birthday last year, and it has fast become one of my favourite colours to wear.



2. Rimmel The Only One Matte in Trendsetter


If you're on the market for a MAC Velvet Teddy dupe, Trendsetter by Rimmel is "the only one" for you (please excuse the god-awful pun). I didn't realise until I took these photos how similar the two are! I picked this lipstick from Rimmel earlier this year when they were released because I'd heard a lot about them amongst the beauty blogging community. They were right to be hyped about because the formula and colour of these are beautiful. In terms of a dupe, I'd say the formula of this Rimmel lipstick is slightly dryer than that of MAC's Velvet Teddy but the colour is pretty bang-on. I would say the Rimmel lipstick has a slightly more rosy tint to it, while Velvet Teddy is more brown in its undertone. I'll leave a swatch photo of the two side by side below so you can see what I mean. This lipstick comes in at only £6.99 - less than half the price of MAC. It has a pretty good staying power too and I usually just top it up once during the day.




3. Topshop Lips in Black Widow (left) & Champion (right)


We've gone from one end of the spectrum to the other with these colours! I rarely go for a bold lip, but if I do I'm likely to reach for one of these. The Topshop formulas are brilliant - long-lasting and really opaque, so perfect if you want a pop of colour. They retail for £8 (and don't forget the 10% student discount!) so they're pretty affordable. I think the packaging is lovely too, and it makes that really satisfying magnetic 'click' noise when you put the top back on!



4. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Rome


NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams are quickly becoming one of my favourite formulas of lip product. The creamy, mousse-like texture makes it comfortable to wear but it actually lasts really well and gives a gorgeous satin finish. I wouldn't say it's completely matte, but in my experiences matte lip products tend to be much more uncomfortable to wear so I'm not mad! This colour is a gorgeous deep pink-toned brown and looks great for a night out.



5. Essence Long Lasting Lip Pencil in A Girl's Dream (left) & Lovely Frappucino (right)


I don't often use lip liners, but these were recommended to me and they're amazing! The twist-up style is so easy to use and the formula is super creamy. It's great for overlining your lips and making them look fuller and plumper. I use Lovely Frappucino with the Rome NYX soft matte lip cream above - it's the perfect combo. AND they retail for just £1.50 at Wilko stores - bargain!


And that's a wrap! I hope these faves might give you a bit of lippy inspiration and maybe my favourites will become your favourites too! If you think I've missed out on any gems, do let me know in the comments below - I'd love to know what you love too!

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Monday, 5 June 2017

AWKWARD STORY TIME! The Father's Day Edition

Father's Day is looming and The Car People are encouraging bloggers to share a memorable car journey they've had with their dad's. I could tell you all about some lovely car journeys I've had with my dad, e.g. when he dropped me off at Uni for the first time, our car journey back from my graduation or our road trip up to Scotland when I was a kid. But one in particular stands out more than others that has a more humorous tone to it, and I definitely think you'll enjoy it more as a reader.


This particular car journey happened just over six years ago when we went to pick up our dog Alfie for the first time. He was a 2-month old puppy at the time and we had all fallen in love as soon as we set our eyes on him. A cross between a collie and a King Charles spaniel, he was bouncy and playful with a little squashed nose and a white stripe running down between his eyes. All four of us made the journey to pick him up - myself, my dad, my mum and my brother - and we were excited to get him home.

We had the car all set up for him, with a large dog cage and blankets in the boot of our people carrier for him to cosy down in and enjoy the ride home. It wasn't long before we realised this was not going to be an enjoyable experience for him at all as he squealed and cried the whole way home. We were only about half an hour away from our house, but the high pitched crying made it seem like a lifetime! Although we were taking him back to our loving home, in Alfie's eyes we were merely taking him away from his mother and brothers and sisters and he was not having any of it. He would stop crying for a split second and we would all sigh in relief, only for him to begin all over again just seconds later. 


Despite the constant whining from the back of the car, we thought "at least he hasn't had a little doggy accident this whole journey" - he was after all only 2 months old and not toilet trained yet. Those were our famous last words. We live in a small cul de sac of about eight houses and as we turned into our little road, Alfie decided this was the perfect time to poop. I guess we should count ourselves lucky that he didn't do it earlier because we would've had to put up with the smell the whole way home, but the timing couldn't have been more comical. Six years on, Alfie now loves car journeys (especially to the beach) and hasn't pooped in the car since. 

So I want to say thanks Dad for this particularly memorable car journey - even if it was memorable for all the wrong reasons! I'd love to hear your funny car journey stories with your Dad in the comments below! You can check out other bloggers' memorable car journeys with their Dad's over at The Car People here!


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Thursday, 18 May 2017

What They Don't Tell You Before You Graduate

Hello! Long time no post! I've been feeling a little demotivated recently with my blog, partly because of what I wanted to talk about today. I graduated with a 2:1 in Psychology from Cardiff University last summer. Having spent four years at Uni, one of which I spent on an unpaid placement in London, I thought finding a job related to Psychology would be easy. How wrong I was! I want to talk to you about what I've learnt since graduating, how I've found searching for a job and post-Uni life in general. I'm currently working in retail which is fine and gets me by but of course it's not related to my degree. I've applied for jobs, had interviews, had rejections, and even never heard back from some applications. It's tough but I guarantee you're not alone!


1. Experience is KEY. Whilst at Uni, I can't stress enough how important and useful gaining any relevant experience can be. I volunteered through my Uni's SU volunteering facilities and I also worked for a relevant student charity during my studies. Everyone who graduates from University will have a degree. Not everyone will have additional work experience. It'll help you to stand out from other graduates and will give employers the impression you're a motivated person. 

2. Living back with your parents is okay! It's not something I particularly wanted to do having lived independently for four years but it's meant that I can save on rent/bill costs (I pay my parents rent but nowhere near as much as I would if I lived elsewhere) and focus on saving up to live comfortably once I move out.


3. Keep an open mind. Don't expect too much too quickly (like I did)! You might find that you'll need experience in less desirable positions before progressing onto what you really want to do. Again, in this case, work experience really is key! Despite having a degree under your belt, the phrase "you have to work your way up" still applies. 

4. Make the most of your Uni's career services. Most (if not all) Universities offer this service and it can be really useful. I used them when I was applying for placements and I honestly don't think I would have got the placement I wanted without them. They helped with my CV, cover letter and interview skills. I think the mock interview was the most valuable thing as it's what I struggle with the most. These kind of services are a lot harder to come by once you've graduated - and you'll struggle to get them for free too!


5. Take into consideration the physical and mental transition from Uni into work. This is something I discovered when I started my work placement. Whilst Uni (for me as a Psychology student) involved fewer hours in lectures and seminars, and more hours in the library doing independent studying which also involved later nights and later starts. Getting into a work routine was difficult for the first few weeks and it can be physically and mentally draining for a while. It's definitely something you get used to though. 

Do you have any thoughts about post-Uni life? I'd love to know what you think and if you've had any different (or similar) experiences to me!



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Tuesday, 21 March 2017

March Empties - What Have I Been Loving Recently?

You know when it just happens that all of your fave products get used up at the same time? Yep that's happened to me this month which means it's been an expensive few weeks replacing everything! However I thought I'd turn it into a positive and give you a review of all the products I've used up recently. These are one of my favourite posts to read as it gives you a great overview of what someone has been loving enough to finish the whole thing and I get a lot of recommendations from these kind of posts and YouTube videos. Being a blogger, I get sent quite a few things and so using up a full product generally means I really love it!


Boots Botanics Micellar Water - RRP £4.49
I always use a micellar water to take my make up off (or if I'm feeling really fancy I'll use it as a second cleanse before I go to bed). I think I picked this one up on a whim as it was on offer and I was actually really impressed. It took off all my make up without any fuss, including eye make up. I didn't realise how good it was until I started using my current one, which is the Garnier Oil-Infused Micellar Water - I thought I'd love it but I don't think it's as good as this one for taking off hard-to-budge eye make up. So yes, Botanics micellar water gets a big thumbs up from me.


L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Clay shampoo and conditioner - RRP £3.50 each
I've spoken about these multiple times on my blog - I've always been a big fan of L'Oreal haircare and these are no exception. I haven't repurchased these as I just fancied a change but I'd definitely recommend them for leaving your hair silky and soft. If you're interested in reading more about them, see my previous post here.


Olay Essentials Multiradiance Moisturising Cream - RRP £9.99
I've had this moisturiser hanging around for a while - although my skin isn't particularly dry, this moisturiser with SPF15 is a lovely day cream. I love the scent of Olay products which is what I think drew me towards it in the first place. I'm not totally sold on its claims of radiance but perhaps that's because it doesn't quite fit my skin type. I've enjoyed using this moisturiser but I probably wouldn't repurchase it in a hurry.


I've bought so many of these toners in the past - I've tried lots of different ones but the Simple toner is by far my favourite and I always come back to it. Unlike many toners, this one doesn't contain alcohol which I think makes a big difference as my skin doesn't feel irritated and dry after using it. When I had acne during my teenage years, the alcohol in toners played a role in helping to diminish any blemishes, but nowadays a gentle toner like this Simple one is much more suited to my skin. I'm currently trying out a toner from The Body Shop but I know for sure I'll be repurchasing this again.


My love, my bae, my one and only. I don't like to think about how many of these I've been through! This is the only concealer I ever really use, except YSL's Touche Eclat occasionally under the eyes - but I'll still use this on top! I stock up on these when I see them in store because 1. the fair shade always tends to be out of stock and 2. I can't see me ever not loving this concealer for the foreseeable future!


This night cream is an absolute bargain and is hands-down the best smelling face moisturiser I've ever come across! The texture is really rich and it leaves my skin feeling super soft in the morning. Even though my skin is normal/oily, it doesn't feel too thick and creamy and sinks in perfectly. I've already repurchased it as it does everything I want a night cream to do!

We've reached the end of my Empties for this post! Have you tried any of these products? I always love hearing your thoughts and opinions on these too!
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Sunday, 26 February 2017

What Has Two Years Of Blogging Taught Me?

This month marks two years since I published my first post on High Street Beauty Junkie. Little did I know then how much I would actually gain from it! I'm not talking about financial gain - I've done a couple of sponsored posts but that was never my blogging goal. I've gained confidence in myself, in my writing, in my photography and so much more. This week I wanted to share a few things that I've learnt through blogging over the last 24 months.


1. Progress is important, but it isn't the be-all and end-all. I feel like I've progressed really well in the last two years - I've gained followers and opportunities that I never really thought I would. It's been slow in comparison to other bloggers who perhaps have more time and determination than me. I love seeing my blog grow but at the end of the day it is a hobby, not a full-time job, which I've managed alongside uni and work. Any progress and growth in my eyes is great, no matter what speed it's achieved at. 


2. When blogging starts to feel like a chore, it's time to take a break - and that's okay! Blogging is a great hobby to have, but it's tough work to keep up all the time. Sometimes I'm just not inspired to write or I have no new content to upload and so I'll take a couple of weeks away from blogging until I get my mojo back. I used to feel guilty when I did this, as if I was neglecting my little space and my followers. Now I know that my wellbeing needs to come first, and if I'm not up to it then that's fine. Plus it means I come back full of new ideas and inspiration!

3. Hard work pays off and has opened up lots of exciting opportunities for me. Despite it only being a hobby on the side, I do put a lot of time and effort into my blog. I work hard to maintain it and try to post every week. From the hard work I've put in, I've been offered many great opportunities. From sponsored posts with clients such as Panasonic and Loccitane, to attending events in London, to reviewing a 4* hotel, it sometimes seems a little unreal that little old me earned these opportunities! I've also been featured in The Guardian, The Tab and in multiple listicles of top student bloggers, all of which have been very exciting and surreal.



4. Blogging has allowed me to meet some amazing people over the last two years. This goes hand in hand with the last point but along with events I've attended, I've also met some incredible people along the way. There are way too many to name all of them but I'll leave some of my favourite photos below! I'd be lost without our little Whatsapp group now and I'm so happy I've met bloggers that I can go to local events with.