Lauren Loves Blog

5 Sep 2016

Outfit post: Long Tall Sally Turns 40! #LTSsince76

Happy birthday Long Tall Sally! If you've read my blog or instagram, you'll know being a tall girl, I have a great friend in Long Tall Sally. This month they're celebrating turning 40 years old! To celebrate they're having parties in their stores on Saturday 10th September including fizz so make sure you pop down if you're in town. I'm sure even if you're not tall, they'll let you in. They seem cool like that. 

I thought I'd bring out an outfit post of all LTS - set against a new tree I found walking the dog at the weekend. I look like I'm in a jungle! 

I'm wearing the Long Tall Sally Leaf Print Jumpsuit (£75) from their Autumn/Winter collection. Sadly it starts at a size 10, but as a size 8 it fit fairly well on me. It's got a teal belt with it, and it slim fitting to the waist, and then has pleated waist bottom half. It's long, so if your usual problem is your body is too long for a jumpsuit, this will fit perfectly. I also find that being the long-limbed type, this fits my legs perfectly without me having to pretend it's meant to have cropped legs! 


I paired it with a suedette bomber in khaki (£55) which is light and super soft with little pockets, perfect for carrying with me on a warm day walking. It's lovely and warm, but again starts at size 10 smallest. It would go really well with jeans and a stripy top too!

Finally, I threw on the LTS Hallie Lace Up sneakers in blush (£38) which were perfect for running around IKEA at the weekends! They're really comfortable and light, plus the blush makes a welcome change from all my black trainers. They're not canvas like usual sneakers, and appear more wipe-clean so hopefully I can keep a pair of trainers clean for once! I was lothe to pair trainers with a jumpsuit but thought I'd risk it - I love jumpsuits with heels for evenings out, but it was fun to wear a jumpsuit in the daytime for a change and heels are definitely not daytime wear for me!

Happy birthday LTS! I look forward to finding my Christmas party dress in the upcoming months! (Is it ok to mention the C word yet?)

2 Sep 2016

My top skincare picks: cleansers, masks and treatments

Following on from my daytime and evening skincare routines, I thought I'd show you my favourites from the most important (in my opinion) categories. 




Soap & Glory The Fab Pore - a mask and peel with lots of lovely acids!
Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant - again another exfoliating mask to clear dead cells
Dermalogica Skin Refining Masque - a lovely clay masque to beat breakouts and oily skin
Shhh! Blackhead Peel-Off Mask - one of those amazing black masks which sticks to blackheads and pulls them out! Can hurt to use! This is a cheap but cheerful version
Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment - see my review here for it's blackhead pulling abilities! 
Body Shop Bouncy Sleeping Mask - a moisturising one! See my review here

Skin Treatments

On the left- moisturising and skin perfecting. On the right, spot killing!

Body Shop Drops of Youth Concentrate - review here (they've changed the bottle)
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Nourishing Dry Oil for Hair and Body - a mini one is perfect for holiday - post sun skin saving and split end mending!

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo + - great for calming my spotty skin
Freederm Fast Track Spot Gel - overnight, this kills a big spot! I love it!


30 Aug 2016

Gym makeup - what I wear

Wearing makeup at the gym - yes or no? It seems to be such a huge debate, with people on one side shaming women for wearing makeup to exercise, and the other side where women feel ashamed to leave the house without makeup. It's a minefield. Some arguments say it's bad for your skin, but then so is sweat - wash it all off when you get home! It sometimes feels that the anti-makeup brigade feel if someone wants to wear makeup in the gym, it must mean they don't put effort in or aren't taking exercise seriously. (although to me, exercise is a hobby, and I don't take any hobbies too seriously, they're meant to be fun right?). I also totally sympathise with people who feel they might like to wear a little makeup for a confidence boost. I've had terrible skin, if I felt self-conscious about another spot on my face it would definitely distract me from lifting! Vain and self-conscious, me? Yes. In a world where people get judged for wearing too much makeup and also for not wearing any, is there a right answer?

I am clearly a no makeup to the gym kinda girl when I'm going first thing in the morning - what's the point? I'm only going to wash my face when I've finished! However my favourite gym time is the second I get home from work. I like to throw my laptop and work bag into the house, quickly get into my gym gear and get straight out the door again. I take a nano second to throw my hair up, but I don't bother taking my makeup off! Then I can go run, punch or stretch out the stress of the day and start my evening right. However, this means that for gym days, I have to make sure my makeup will survive the whole day at work plus a workout. Here's what I wear. 

Blusher: a tiny dot of MAC Casual Colour in Keep it Loose

And how I look after exercise (I did a Kayla Itstines arms and abs circuit and weight lifting):

I find the makeup mostly stays in place. Because my foundation is so thin, more of a tinted moisturiser, it tends to melt off over the course of the day so I don't get the foundation sweat moustache look. The eyeliner and mascara stays nicely in place and a gel blusher means it also tends to melt away more easily than a powder blush. I'm most impressed with the eyeliner and mascara - normally I'm a bit panda-eyed by lunchtime with some formulas but these really are sweat proof!


23 Aug 2016

Evening Skincare Routine - a spotty blogger's discoveries

Here's part 2 of my skincare journey. Check out this post for my spotty bloggers daytime skincare routine! As I said before, I'm doing my best to treat my skin really well, using guidance from lots of bloggers and beautiful friends.

My evening routine is a little more complicated than my morning one as I have more time. I like the idea of piling on products and waking up the next morning looking like a different person! This routine is the one I generally use for "maintenance" when my skin is doing ok. I will share my spotty skin routine soon. 

1. Double Cleanse 
When I've had a long day with makeup and SPF on my face, a double cleanse means I can get all grime off and reduce the chances of spots. I like to use Body Shop Camomile Cleansing oil first (£10) to get off the greasy residue. You put this onto your dry skin and massage, then wet hands and massage again to form a bit of soap, then wash off with a CLEAN face cloth. I follow this up with Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter (£10 in the tin). Again you take a tiny bit of this and massage it into your dry face. It will melt into an oil, and then wet and foam, and remove with a face cloth again. These last ages as you only use a tiny bit.

2. Gentle Exfoliate
Again, I don't use physical exfoliators much, but this gentle one from Indeed is quite nice. It's a powder you add a few drops of water to and rub it into your skin gently. This is Indeed Powdered Exfoliator (currently £12.66)

3. Remove makeup
I make sure I have all last traces of makeup off with micellar water. My currently favourite is the Garnier micellar water (£3.33) because it's such great value for money and really gentle on my sensitive eyes. I tried the Garnier oil infused ones and my eyes swelled up enormously! I use a cotton pad to wipe away all my last eye makeup and anything else I've missed when half asleep.

4. Acid tone
The acid in my evening tone is Salycilic acid (an LHA) in this La Roche-Posay Efficlar lotion (£11). It helps unclog pores, perfect skin and reduce oil. Tingly!

5. Retinol
Retinol is a form of vitamin A and is given to people with acne to help soothe away spots and marks caused by scarring. It's also great for wrinkles so perfect for anti-ageing issues. I use Indeed Labs Retinol Reface (currently £13.33). It contains three forms of retinol, because we actually break it down within the cell to create all the lovely retin that we need for smooth skin and smaller pores. I love this product and have noticed a really quick difference in my skin.

6. Serum
I have put three products together in the photo, but I would only use one. A serum helps nourish skin overnight and pump in some moisture which is plumping. My favourite, hard-working serum is Vichy Lift Activ Serum 10 Supreme (currently £22.31). It contains hyaluronic acid and Rhamnose to help speed up skin renewal to keep skin looking young and fresh. Plus the hyaluron is apparently great for moisturising. I also like The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum in oil (£15) which smells yummy and feels like a real treat, although is definitely a night product. My other favourite is Body Shop Bouncy Sleep Mask (£24) which is super-moisturising and feels really novel to sleep in a mask! Read my review here

7. Eye Cream
Night is a good time to use a lovely, thick eye cream. I have been using Perricone MD hypoallergenic eye cream which is very expensive at around £55 but any nice thick lotion would do well. Focus on ageing formulas, but keep an eye on developing small milia which indicate too much moisture!

Hope the post is helpful! I'll post a breakdown of top cleansers, masks and treatments soon!

20 Aug 2016

Daytime Skincare Routine - a spotty blogger's discoveries

Recently I've gotten into skincare in a big way. As an acne-riddled teenager, enjoying skincare would have been ridiculous. It was all creams, smelly lotions and gels which bleached the pillows! Yuck! Thankfully Roaccutaine and the contraceptive pill Yasmin cleared that up and my skin slowly started to recover.

Fast-forward to my late 20s, and a few months ago I came off the pill due to a cervical cancer scare (read Megan's blog Wonderful You for a fantastic account of why you should get a smear test ladies, she had a similar experience to me). Being a scientist, I read lots of journal papers and found there was a link between the contraceptive pill and becoming more susceptible to cervical cancer, so I decided to come off it. The only scary thing was that my pill had been helping me manage my skin for so long, I was terrified my acne would come back.

In an attempt to combat this, I decided to up my skincare game with support from my lovely friend Danni (who even remembers to use a perfect skincare routine when she's drunk - I've seen the evidence) and Queen Caroline Hirons. Through this morning routine, and my evening routine which I will share later this week, I've managed to keep my skin in control and glowing! 

 Me teaching the mother in law how to pout at the weekend! 

Here is my regular skincare routine in the mornings to last me all day

1. Cleanse
In the mornings, I like to use this gentle cleanser from Perricone MD (£36). It's really moisturising and smells a little like olive oil! It's hypoallergenic so I know I won't get any nasty redness before I start my day.

2. Exfoliate
I rarely use an exfoliator anymore as they are a bit rough to the skin. However when I feel my skin needs softening or looks a little dull, I really like this Body Shop Vitamin C microdermabrasion scrub (£17). It has new packaging now. The exfoliating agent is natural (no plastic exfoliants please!) and the vitamin C helps give your face a good glow. I use this only at weekends as it can leave you a little pink for a while if you have sensitive skin like me.

3. Acid Tone
This is a step I wasn't aware of until this year. Acid toners are awesome! This is Pixi Glow Tonic (£18) pick it up next time Marks & Spencer have a beauty discount event. The acid in this is 5% glycolic and I found I had to use it every other morning for a while, then start to use every day. (Titrate it up as my scientist friend Liz says!). Glycolic acid stimulates collagen and helps resurface, whisking away those dulling, dead cells. Read Caroline Hirons' blog for more on acid toners, and remember to use SPF after acid toning.

4. Another tone - if you want
I've been trying out this Rodial Dragon's Blood Hyaluronic Acid Toner mini from M&S. Hyaluronic Acid is said to help lock in moisture to your skin. To be honest I haven't noticed any benefits from this yet, but as it's a refreshing spritz I thought I'd use it all up! It appears to work best for those with dry skin.

5. Vitamin C Serum
This serum is Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Glow Boost Serum and is currently £11.33. Vitamin C helps skin firmness and really makes it glow! Some people may slightly flush as it's a strong ingredient but it will settle down. I've been really struck by the immediate impact of this serum on my skin quality. I've also heard it helps skin pigmentation issues so I'm wondering if that's what's helping my post-spot marks go away so quickly.

6. Eye Cream
I like to use this Boots wrinkle filler one, which to my horror I've just discovered isn't on their website anymore. This one from Cosmetox+ looks good though. I love the plumping ones for giving me a smooth under-eye area before I apply concealer

7. Moisturiser
A good, water-based, SPF moisturiser is the best thing to top off this routine. Water-based means it allows moisture in, and the SPF protects your skin from ageing and cancer. I'm currently using No 7 Beautiful Skin Day Cream for oily skin (£13.50) and find it gentle enough to not cause spots, but hydrating enough to form a smooth base for makeup.

8. Lip Balm
I'm a lip balm addict, so find this a nice way to round off a routine. This Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream Lip is amazing (£9.99). I got the tin version from a duty free, but there's a lipstick version too.

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