Blossom with Lookfantastic this April

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April’s box from Lookfantastic is giving me major spring vibes with its floral blossom theme, I know florals for spring …. groundbreaking! In all seriousness I love the pink blossom theme it’s perfect for this time of year when things are starting to bloom and feels so appropriate as we move toward a new start and things beginning to open up following the most recent lockdowns.

There are 6 products in this months box and 5 of them are full size. First up we have this gorgeous pale pink cherry blossom coloured nail polish from Nails Inc. Nails Inc is always a winner for me as it’s hands down my go to polish as it’s easy to apply and long lasting . I find the brush in their polish is really good it seems to apply a full coat in one swipe. I love the colour too and this is definitely one I would’ve picked.

Nails Inc. Polish in the shade Mayfair Lane (full size) £15

Next we have an unusual product and one I’ve not used before. It’s a Scrubex and it’s like a mini exfoliating wash cloth for your lips. I’ve used lip scrubs before but I’ve not seen anything like this before , it’s cute, definitely works and I think it was a little more gentle than a normal lip scrub.

Glov Scrubex £11.90

Then we have what is a staple of beauty boxes, the sheet mask. This one is from Beauty Pro and it’s a rose infused mask to help with inflammation as well as oily skin and minimising redness. I’ve had a few blemishes lately so this has come at a good time for me. I really enjoy getting different sheet masks and this was no exception. Rose isn’t my favourite scent, but this wasn’t really overpowering so I didn’t mind it. My skin felt lovely afterward too!

Beauty Pro Rose infused sheet mask full size £4.95

Also in this months box is a REN daily moisturiser this has a really nice texture it’s not too heavy for a day cream and it absorbs really well into the skin. It’s designed to help with dehydrated skin which is great for me!

Ren Evercalm Global Protection Cream 15ml sample size

Next is our sneak peek from last month the Avant Pink Orchid Overnight serum. This is a really lovely serum and you only need a tiny bit to apply after you’ve cleansed and toned your face. I am always happy to get Avant products in my beauty boxes as I know the quality is going to be great.

Avant Pink Orchid Restoring Overnight Serum full size £92

Lastly we have a set of lashes from Eyelure. These are the 3/4 length lashes and are really lightweight. I’m excited to try these as I usually always end up trimming false eyelashes and I’m not the best at doing it! I’ve not worn lashes in so long I think I actually might need a practice to apply them!

Eyelure London 3/4 length lashes £5.95

And that’s everything in this months box ! What did you think?

The sneak peek for next month is an ESPA eye moisturiser, I love getting eye creams to try as thats an area I really focus on and ESPA is a gorgeous brand, their products always smell amazing.

Lookfantastic have a range of subscriptions available here

I’m currently subscribed on a monthly basis and pay £15 inc postage and packaging for my box. The total value of this months box came to

What I’ve learnt in the last year

This isn’t a post about me learning a language in lockdown, baking a tonne of banana bread or undergoing a major body transformation. On the contrary it’s about the struggle I think we’ve all felt during the last year since lockdown was announced in 2020.

To be honest 2020 started well for me. We’d just moved into our new home in December 2019 and it was in my plans to spend time getting the house exactly as we wanted it, little did I know we would be spending more time at home than usual!

Getting the keys to our house on the 20th December 2019

The first time I remember any mention of a virus was around the end of January and to be honest it sounded like things were so far away from us in the UK it wasn’t going to be a problem here.

How wrong can you be?

I’m incredibly blessed to be healthy and have a home and a family I love. But it doesn’t mean I’ve had an easy ride during this time. Much of the social media posts I read implore us to be kind to one another but often times it seems we forget that each person’s situation is unique. I’m not blind to the fact that many people, including those in my personal circle, have been made redundant, actually had COVID and been suffering with ill health and not been able to get the treatment they needed. And of course not forgetting the lives that have been lost both here in the UK and around the world due to this virus.

Like everybody our family has been through one of the strangest times we have ever and probably will ever experience in our lifetime. So as I mentioned earlier I’m not going to wax lyrical and say I’ve baked banana bread, tie dyed my clothes or had some kind of amazing body transformation. I’ve done nothing of the sort! It’s been bloody hard. Working a full time job and homeschooling a six year old is not something I’ve enjoyed. Splitting my time has never been more demanding and difficult as well as both physically and mentally draining.

Found objects collage became a thing as we’d pick things up on our walks!

Don’t get me wrong Homeschool was incredibly rewarding when we had those ‘a-ha!’ moments with Daniel and he just ‘got it’. But equally frustrating for us both when I had to split myself in two and try to set him off with a task while I got some work done. I know it was difficult for him to understand and it’s the hardest thing about the pandemic for me the guilt I’ve felt at being at not being able to give enough attention during those times. I have always had the greatest admiration for teachers and am so grateful to our school for their support.

The hardest part of it all for me was when I realised I was experiencing burnout. After going through first the lockdown, then a bereavement, caring for our family, a redundancy consultation, psoriasis flare up and homeschool by the time September came around and things started to look a bit brighter I was just exhausted. Keeping all the plates spinning is hard at the best of times but to be honest I just couldn’t wind down. Again I know I am incredibly lucky as I didn’t end up being made redundant and I wasn’t furloughed as many others in my sector were.

So what did I learn during this time? Well, the biggest thing for me was that it’s ok to say NO! It’s ok to ask for help. And it’s ok to feel the way I did. I was trying to push through getting irritable, not sleeping well and never feeling like I’d accomplished anything. But as soon as I started to realise how it was affecting everything around me I knew I had to get some support.

So I did a short counselling workshop over the phone after being referred by my GP. I had reservations- what was this stranger on the phone going to think of me? Would they think I was ungrateful for my blessings , they must have clients with much bigger problems. I shouldn’t waste their time.

The first session I had is one I will never forget. They asked me why I was seeking help and what I wanted to achieve. I blurted out a lot of the things I just mentioned above, apologised as I am sure you’ve got clients much more important than me and said I just wanted to be happier.

The first words I heard were, “you’re going through an awful lot there in one go. It’s not surprising that you are finding things hard right now.”

Just hearing this stranger tell me that it was ok to be overwhelmed and ok to be there getting support was a weight lifted. Over the weeks I worked on various things and put different techniques into practice, something I am still doing, in order to make sure I am happy. Not just for myself but for my family who were the best support system I could’ve asked for. The best advice my counsellor gave me about worrying was this.

Will it matter tomorrow?

I was constantly worrying about every little thing but not focusing in the present. Now I take a step back when that thinking comes forward and give myself some breathing space because most of the time it doesn’t matter. You need to allow yourself to make mistakes, pick yourself back up and carry on.

Ultimately I’m so proud of the way we as a family have handled things. When the going got tough we pulled together and made the best of it. And as we head toward the future and lockdown is lifting slowly I know that if we can get through this we can get through anything.

Lockdown Partying with my boys !

If you are struggling with any of the issues I mentioned please consider seeking support from a healthcare professional you trust like your GP. You can also call the Samaritans who were recommended to me by my counsellor if I ever felt I needed to talk. Call 116 123 for free or visit their website for more information on services they can provide.

Glossybox February 2021

Sing dance love repeat! Or so goes the theme of the February Glossybox with the cutest cassette design to the box, very retro and giving me major flashbacks to buying cassette singles in Our Price… showing my age there !

There are 5 products in this months box which, as it’s February, are aimed at giving you everything you need to be prepped and reading for Valentine’s Day.

First is our sneak peek from last month and it’s an Avant Velvet Perfecting Rose Sugar Lip Scrub. Of course this is to perfect your pout for Valentine’s kisses. Rose is not my favourite scent for skincare but this seems ok and as it’s a scrub I don’t think it will bother me as much. This is a full size and costs £58 to purchase. It’s meant to get rid of any dead skin cells so your lips are prepped and kissable for Valentine’s Day.

Continuing the lip theme is a Steve Laurant total repair lip mask which is £5. This is to give your lips a burst of hydration so perfect for getting over the cold winter weather.

Next we have a product we were meant to get last month but which was delayed due to COVID and the issues at ports. It’s a Rose Gua Sha. This is a skin tool which helps reduce inflammation and promote better circulation. It’s not something I’ve tried before but I will definitely give it a go to see if it works! This is £10 to purchase.

What would a Valentine box be without a nice lip pencil? I’ve had one of these Nudestix lip and cheek pencils before and I loved it. The formula is so creamy and blends brilliantly. This one is more of a balm than the previous one I had which is nice and I love the red shade for Valentine’s Day. This is a full size and costs £20 and I like that it’s multi use as well being for lips and cheeks.

Bubble T Peach Bellini hand cream is our next product and it smells amazing! All of the cold winter weather really takes it’s toll on my skin so this is perfect for sitting next to me in the office so I can keep applying throughout the day. I go through a lot of hand cream and this is a really nice formula. This costs £4.99 and is a full size item.

So in total this months box is worth £97.99 making it great value for money once again!

I have a yearly subscription to Glossybox which costs 11.75 per month including postage and packaging. There are loads of different options if you wanted to sign up from a monthly rolling subscription to 3, 6 and 12 month plans like the one I do. I do have a referral code if you click here which will get you 20% off your first box.

Stepping forward for Crisis

Throughout March I will be taking part in the Step Forward campaign for Crisis, and I’ll be aiming to take 270,800 steps.

I’m going to be walking everyday throughout March – with my trusty sidekick Chip, and I’m sure Daniel and Phil will be with me too!

My dream team !

I’m aiming to smash my target of 270,800 steps–to represent the number of families and individuals who will experience the worst forms of homelessness in England by 2041. This truly saddens me and is something I want to try and change with support from my family and friends.

The funds raised from donations to my sponsorship page will help people like Jana.

After her mother died, Jana was constantly moving around and was eventually sofa surfing. Her health declined and she couldn’t work and got into debt. The local council helped Jana and placed her into a hostel, but unfortunately she had to leave her beloved dogs behind. Crisis helped when she was in the hostel and Jana took part in a number of courses including arts and crafts and a Renting Ready course which helped prepare her when moving into her own place. It was during the first lockdown in 2020 when Jana got the keys to her own flat and Crisis provided support with furniture and money management.

Stories like these are the inspiration for me to make sure I keep myself on track with my target. Everyone deserves a safe and secure home and the pandemic has made me feel even more aware of that fact.

If you’d like to find out more about the Crisis Step Forward for Homelessness campaign please click here

If you’d like to donate to my fundraising page please visit my fundraising page.

Lookfantastic December 2020

This months theme is of course, Christmas ! With a range of products to give you a lovely glow and bit of glitz this December. I love the gold and black box design it looks so elegant and chic!

First is a Percy and Reed hairspray which has anti-humidity properties but will also keep your hair in place all day. I love Percy and Reed they are fab products and their Wonderbalm is amazing if you have thick dry hair like mine. This is a 50ml size and costs £6.

Percy & Reed Hairspray £6 for 50ml

Next is a Brushwork’s Double ended eyeshadow brush. One end is a shader and the other is an eyeliner brush. This will be perfect for whenever we are allowed to begin travelling again! It feels really nice quality and as always I do like getting brushes in my subscription boxes to build up my collection. This is £3.99 to purchase.

Brushworks double ended eyeshadow brush £3.99

I really love this next product from Jecca Blac , this is their Champagne Glow Drops which is a highlighting primer. I got a different shade of this in a Glossybox and really liked it. This one is perfect for winter time with a subtle gold shimmer. I either wear underneath my foundation or you can also dab on top of your base with a beauty blender for a more noticeable glow. This is £16 if you were to purchase it.

Jecca Blac Glow Drops in the shade Champagne £16

Also in this months box is this cute little The Balm Petal to the Metal cream eyeshadow single. Mine is a really nice bronze shade which is a lovely creamy formula so I think this will blend nicely. I was never a fan of liquid or cream shadows as I wasn’t sure how to use them! Now I’ve had a few and played around with them I really like using them to add some different texture and dimension to my eyeshadow.

Ren is not a brand I have tried before and this product is an Atlantic Kelp body lotion made with sustainably sourced ingredients. It smells amazing and fresh, a nice size to get a decent trial of it too.

Lastly is our sneak peek from last month Avant Pro Radiance Brightening Eye Final Touch. This is a really lovely eye cream , Avant is always a fab one to get in these boxes. I’m really being vigilant in using eye creams now that I’m getting older and trying to keep my skin as good as possible so this is great for me , especially as it says it tries to tackle dark circles.

If you got this box what did you think?

Lookfantastic have a range of subscriptions available here . I’m currently subscribed on a monthly basis and pay £15 inc postage and packaging for my box.

ASOS August Beauty Box collab with Ouai

The ASOS x Ouai collab box £12

As we enter August during these pandemic time’s one thing remains…. and that’s a monthly beauty box update from ASOS! There was much talk that the boxes were going to be taking a break last month but it seems like that’s not the case and they remain one of my fave purchases each month.

This month the box is a collaborative one with the hair, body and fragrance brand Ouai. Ouai is founded by celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, who clients include Khloe Kardashian, Katy Perry and Jessica Alba. There are six items in the box and they are a good mix of all the different items the brand has. This box cost £12 and as I have Premier Delivery with ASOS I don’t pay for shipping.

Scalp and body scrub £32 for 250g , this is the sample size which makes it £3.84 in value

First up is the scalp and body scrub, this is one I’ve tried before and absolutely love. As many of you know I suffer with psoriasis and one of the places this affects me is my scalp. I don’t profess to know what wonder this does but this helps my scalp massively in improving the feel and making it less itchy. It’s a sugar based scrub and it has probiotics to help boost skins natural defence. It’s a little weird using a scrub on your scalp at first but it has definite benefits for me so I really like it. You can also use this on the body and it’s a fab exfoliator.

Ouai Body Creme £32 for 212g this is sample size and is worth £4.52

To rehydrate your skin they’ve included their body Creme which has ingredients like coconut oil, cupuacu butter and squalene. It’s a lightly scented creme and a very light texture which soaks into your skin. The full size of this is £32 which is quite a lot for a body creme but if you wanted something indulgent I would recommend.

Deluxe mini size Wave Spray £10 for 50ml

The wave spray is one I’ve had in a beauty box before and something that I really like. It’s perfect for giving a beachy wave to your hair but doesn’t make it feel crunchy like other sprays for waves do. This has rice protein to give the hold.

My hair using the wave spray
Texturising Hairspray Mini £10 for 40g

The texturizing hair spray is designed to add volume and absorb oil to refresh your hair without that flatness that dry shampoo sometimes gives. I really like this and have used it mainly on my roots and mid length just to make my hair feel less flat.

The final two items are samples of their perfumes North Bondi and Melrose Place, I love the names! My favourite of these is North Bondi which is a really light and more floral fragrance. North Bondi, as stated in the description card, has notes of blackberry, amber, patchouli and lily. Melrose Place is a little heavier and would be nice for an evening perfume as it’s more musk based with bergamot and cedar-wood. This is not the type of perfume I usually go for so it’s not for me.

In total the value of the box is £31.12. One of the things I love about collaboration boxes is being able to try a few things from the same range and knowing how much I enjoyed the wave spray and scalp scrub I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed! Everything in this box is a mini size, no full size ones this time but it’s a good chance to try everything out and still great value with the hair care products alone being more than worth the cost of the box at just £12.

Would love to know your thoughts and whether you’ve tried anything from the Ouai range ! Please do check out my Instagram page if you haven’t already by searching for @vanessakay84 for regular content and day to day going’s on!

Love the skin you’re in

It’s ok to love your body just the way it is.

Sounds simple right? But it’s something I’ve struggled with pretty much since being a teenager. Over the last few years I’ve been on a mission to accept myself flaws and all, not always an easy thing especially when you are dealing with psoriasis and all of the perils of autoimmune disease. After all Psoriasis is so much more than just what you see.

I’ve become braver in speaking out about my psoriasis, something I was so ashamed of and never liked to draw attention to. But slowly I’ve become a little more confident, and unashamed to wear a T-shirt and bear my flared skin or wear a skirt without also thinking I have to wear thick tights to cover up. I’ve seen days in the height of summer when I’d wear a cardigan just so people wouldn’t see my skin.

Seems crazy when I think about it now but it took a long time for me to accept that I was never going to be “cured” and this was a condition I’d just learn to manage.

There’s no miracle cream that’s going to make it go away. There’s no tablet or injection that makes the fatigue and joint pain disappear, you just get good at managing with a combination of all of the above treatments. And a lot of family support. 💜

The difference within months can be dramatic at times

I am delighted to be part of the @_restingitchface #FlawedButBeautiful project encouraging people with long term conditions to know their worth and accept themselves. Because we all deserve to be happy.

There’s some amazing stories and people over on Instagram as part of the project so please do check them out. Psoriasis Association has lots of resources for anyone needing support.

I rarely discuss my specific treatment as I believe it’s important to work with a dermatologist but I do share moisturising creams and alternative therapies which have worked for me.

If you’re struggling with diagnosis or just want some perspective from someone who’s been through most of the treatments available via the NHS do get in touch.

Asos Hydration Station Beauty Box

A little later than normal as I’ve been juggling lots with trying to homeschool as are a lot of people! If you’ve not had an ASOS Face + Beauty Box they are released at the beginning of each month, no subscription, just £12 per box. The boxes have a general theme each month, for April, it was all about hydration and refreshing your skin for Spring!

With a great range of products from serums, cleanser, eye masks and moisturiser I’m looking forward to trying the products and seeing what they can do for my skin.

First we have the STYLPRO Hydrating Jelly Cleanser, a vegan product, to remove makeup and keep your skin moisturised. This even came with a fab washcloth. I really like this and the washcloth is so soft, works brilliantly and my skin feels great. This is £9.95 to purchase.

Elemis is a fantastic skincare brand but not one I often buy as it can be quite expensive so it felt quite luxe to get this eye mask set. Perfect for a pamper night these were really lovely, I get really dry skin around my eyes and I could really feel the difference with these. These are £52 (!) for a pack of 6. So that makes this pair roughly £17!

Indeed Hydration Booster is £16 from most beauty websites online and is a serum type product for skin that is really dehydrated. You can use this as a stand alone or you can pop a few drops into your usual moisturiser for an extra boost! This is a really lovely product and full size making the box really great value based on this product alone. I preferred using it as a serum at night as that seems to work better for me but it’s really improved the texture of my skin for sure.

Inkey hyaluronic acid Serum is £5.99 and this is designed to be used AM and PM as your first serum following your cleansing routine. The hyaluronic acid acts as an aid to support your other moisturisers to make sure you get maximum benefit from your routine. Another really nice product that I’ve definitely felt the benefit from. My skin has changed quite a bit as I’ve gotten older and because of my psoriasis. So finding a good skincare routine has always been important to me.

The final product in the box was Caudalies Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet, in a mini size, 15ml which is worth about £8. This is intended to soothe and calm irritated skin with a gel formula and lots of skin soothers like chamomile. I’ve not tried this one yet apart from a quick test patch but it does feel really nice on the skin. It’s intended to be used like a serum.

All in all the April ASOS box was definitely a really great mix of products for anyone looking for a hydration boost. My standout picks from the box would be the cleanser and cloth, Indeed booster and the Inkey serum which I think have made the most difference to my skin.

The box cost £12 and in total the products were worth £56.94 ! Definitely a box worth grabbing and probably the reason it sold out so quickly!

Let me know if you’ve tried any of the products and your views on them

Holiday essentials

Bring on the good times!

As summer has come to a close and we start into the autumn, it felt like a great time to share some of my summer faves. I actually got away abroad this year for the first time in 3 years so it was great fun thinking of cute outfits and things to take away.

My versatile little bag from River Island

This cute little bag from River Island has served me well over the summer. The perfect size to fit the essentials and casual enough for day but dressy enough for evening. I love the hot pink colour which seemed to be a theme for me this summer!

Loved these earrings that I picked up on sale in Boots for £3!

I love a statement earring and a hoop, so this summer I made the best of both! A pop of neon colour made these the perfect go to for a relaxed look. Plus they were on sale in Boots, not somewhere I usually shop for earrings.

Hask Hair masks have been my saviour!

My hair always gets really dry and frizzy in the summer so it’s so important to me to keep it well conditioned. I love these Hask hair masks, I took 3 away on holiday to counteract the sun and chlorine and they kept my hair feeling soft and my hair colour shiny.

Loving the peachy coral tones this summer
I love peach and orange tones for summer, especially when you have a tan! NYX butter gloss is great for hot days when you need some moisture but also want a good coverage lip colour. Of course my summer essentials wouldn’t be complete without a good bronzer and TooFaced Sweetie Pie is still my number one. It’s a perfect mix of colour and shimmer without an excess of glitter like some bronzers do.

Staying peachy with TooFaced

Finally a good primer is one of my essentials to make sure my face stays in place! I am currently using Obsession Makeup’s mattifying primer which is a silicone based primer. I find these work well for my skin type and it gives a wonderfully matte finish for your foundation to work on.

Primer to keep my face in place

Do you have any great summer essentials to share?

A new addition, meet Chip!

Chip at 8 weeks old!

So it’s been a busy time in our house. The end of the school holidays, an adventure to Crete and now a new addition to the house, Chip the cockapoo!

We fell in love with him way back in July and it seems like it’s been ages to wait for him to be ready to come home!

He’s a chocolate brown cockapoo and growing all the time, chewing everything in sight and generally being cute!

He came home with us a week ago now and honestly it’s like he has always been here, settled in brilliantly and starting to master toilet training like a pro!

Chip at 12 weeks

Now he’s settling nicely we can’t wait to start walking him properly once he has his last set of vaccinations. We got him lots of chew toys and different softer toys too but I think he really is ready for a few walks now.

So I’m after any puppy or dog tips you might have, please leave a comment or email if you have any special things you did with your pet!