Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash [PRODUCT REVIEW]


It feels kinda silly sitting down to write this review seeing as I'm guessing it's about a year since I used this product, but I was quite impressed with it so I didn't want to miss out on the chance to recommend something good! The Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash pictured above is actually a sample size I received as a gift with a magazine. I bought it pre-Arbonne so I was super excited to use it.

As with most products, the first thing I noticed about this product is the packaging. I love how simple it is, yet pretty and feminine without being in-your-face girly. I also like that it's a squeezy tube - very easy to use and you get to use all the product as you can cut the tube open once it starts getting difficult to squeeze out.

Next of all, I was impressed with the ingredients. Naturally (oops, no pun intended) I'm drawn to products that make claims about being natural and I was intrigued by Balance Me's use of a percentage to describe how natural the product is. I'm no expert on ingredients so can't back their claims up, however, there's no mineral oil or parabens in this which are ingredients I try to avoid so gold star there!

But how does the product actually perform? It smells gorgeous, a very, very subtle rose scent I believe. It's a nice gel like cleanser that isn't too thick and isn't too runny. You only need a small amount to cover your face and it works great for removing facial makeup. It was very gentle and while I was using it, my skin remained as clear as it ever gets.

While I spend all my time praising Arbonne and will definitely be using their products for the forseeable future, if suddenly Arbonne became illegal, this is one of the cleansers I would immediately turn to. I wholeheartedly recommend it to oily-skinned ladies wanting to keep greasiness at bay, but don't want anything too harsh.

Have you tried anything by Balance Me?


The Vixen Thinks: Women, Earning Money and Blogging



Making money via blogging seems to be a hot topic in the blogosphere right now - indeed, for the past few years, I think it has always been a hot topic.

I have actually written about sponsored posts in the past and the conclusion I drew was that I couldn't care less if you are making money from blogging. In fact, I encourage people to earn money when they can and if your sponsored posts are about a topic I'm not interested in, rather than bitching about it in Twitter chats, I'll just click "Mark as Read" and move onto the next one!

I'd like to say I don't know why people are so resistant to the idea of making money from hobbies or non-traditional jobs - but I do know why. So many of us are so desperate to uphold the status quo. If the only way to make enough money to survive is to go to work everyday until you're 65, it makes people feel better about remaining in jobs they hate. People can justify having jobs that are less than thrilling if everybody is stuck in a job that they could like a lot more.

So, when people come along and they're earning money via blogging, via network marketing, or something that doesn't involve sitting in an office Mon-Fri 9-5, people suddenly get very, very resistant. The human race just doesn't like change, despite change being the only constant. We want other people to justify our actions, follow the norm, it's not nice when people decide to be different!

I recently read this post on decor8 about the hate Holly was receiving for trying to sell her products on her blog. This in itself is absolutely ridiculous - I can't believe people would genuinely complain about a blogger trying to market her products. No one bats an eyelid at giant Coca Cola advertising campaigns, so why should a blogger be shamed for trying to sell her books? I just don't get it.

However, there was one particular part of Holly's post that really stood out to me. Her husband had jumped to her aid in the comments section of her blog and one thing in particular he said really stood out to me:
"[Bloggers] are expected to publish content for free. They are expected to do it out of the goodness of their hearts. They are expected to be magical creatures apparently living off rainbows and hugs. Dare I say this holds true mostly for female bloggers."
The emphasis is mine. The husband went on to speak about prominent male bloggers such as Darren Rowse of Problogger and how no one complains if he posts about his latest product. And suddenly, things clicked for me.

Despite considering myself a feminist and being quite interested in gender equality issues, it had never really occurred to me before that I so rarely see (have I ever seen?!) male bloggers being criticised for making money via blogging or less traditional means.

In fact, I mainly see "hate" being directed towards female bloggers, mainly of the beauty blogging persuasion, and it's usually other females delivering the crticism.

I think part of this stems from the fact that "girls hate girls." From a very young age, I believe girls are taught that we are each others' competitors and we get jealous when another girl succeeds, rather than celebrating each other's successes.

On the other hand, I think it's representative of living in a patriarchal society as a whole. It isn't a woman's "place" to put her entrepreneurial head and build her own business - we're meant to be mothers, or work in traditionally female professions such as nursing or domestic work.

As a community, I think we female bloggers have a lot of work to do. In my own personal experience, most people who read blogs and take time out of their day to comment on other blogs and the girls behind them are bloggers themselves. That means, when we see nasty comments about the way women bloggers are making their money, it's coming from other bloggers.

I see it as my responsibility to promote other bloggers and congratulate them on their successes. I think it's time to start calling people out when they complain about people who make their money via less traditional means. It's time to start building each other up, instead of trying to tear everyone down.

How can we women expect respect from men when we don't even respect each other? How can blogging ever get taken seriously, either as a hobby or a viable source of income, if we berate each other for doing sponsored posts or promoting our products? Deep down, I think a lot of things stem from jealousy - a lot of girls choose to crticise women making money from their blogs because they themselves haven't yet managed it. I wonder if it has ever occurred to them that if they were more supportive and admitted they wish they had that for themselves, people would be more open to helping them get where they want to be.

It's no secret that I want to own my own business and create a secondary income to support myself. I believe at some point, my blog will be a central part of this. For this reason, I try to support other people who are living my dream.

Whereabouts do you stand on this issue?


WIWIW: 2 Dream Outfits Ft. River Island

Historically, River Island isn't exactly a shop I've been interested in. During my early teenage years I remember it being full of horrendously tacky items and as I got older, while the stuff in there vastly improved, it just wasn't to my personal taste. High street wise, I much preferred Topshop. However, while I was back in Wakefield, I went last minute outfit shopping with some friends and River Island was one of our first stops. I was pleasantly (my purse doesn't agree) surprised by how much I like in there!

For today's post, I thought I'd put together a little wishlist of items I'm wanting from the shop, with examples of exactly how I would style them if I could get my hands on them!
 
jacket/shirt//
Although I already own a leather jacket, I've had it for around five years now and it's finally starting to look a little worn out. I've broken a few zips on there and I personally think I've outgrown the particular style it's in. When I saw this mid-length, fur embellished number from River Island, I knew I'd found the one I wanted to upgrade to. I am slightly wary of it not being real leather, but it's pretty enough for me to overlook that.

Prior to spying the leather jacket, I'd spotted this green shirt. I used to be obsessed with checked shirts and had quite the collection but a few years ago I got bored of them and donated them all. However, this green beauty has sparked my interest in shirts again. I'd wear it oversized with a pair of wet look leggings and some Chelsea boots. With the leather jacket on top, I've got a nice new autumn outfit that's effortless yet super stylish.

shirt/skirt//
Of the two outfits I'm writing about today, I think this is definitely the most "me" but at the same time, because I'd accessorise with brown boots and brown tights, it's a little different from usual. I have actually been trying to add more brown to my wardrobe for a while now - I have a gorgeous pair of brown jeans, a brown fox jumper and a brown fox top but I rarely ever wear them as I lack footwear and warm outerwear to go with them all. I spotted these boots and tights ages ago on eBay, but I think if I get my hands on this shirt, I will finally get round to making them mine.

In the shop, both shirt and skirt were on the same rack and I knew it was a match made in heaven. I most definitely need a pink leather look miniskirt in my life and while pink and floral is hardly an original choice for me, the colour scheme of this shirt would give my wardrobe a much needed refresh.

Are you a River Island fan?

* This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclaimer policy.


Arbonne Lip Moisturiser With Sunscreen [Product Review]


At the time of writing this post, I was an Arbonne Independent Consultant. To learn more about what this means, please click here.

When I first started beauty blogging, I never imagined myself spending more than a few pounds on a lip balm and I certainly never saw a lip balm becoming one of my absolutely must have products. In the past I've used brands like Vaseline, Chapstick etc. They never really worked for me so it's a product that I've never been interested in.

However, back when I was first starting out as an Arbonne Independent Consultant, I was ordering an RSVP (Right Start Value Pack) and I had £8 to make up before the offer was complete. Lo and behold, the Lip Moisturiser with Sunscreen, was the perfect price, so in my basket it went.

To me, £8 is a lot to pay for a simple lip balm and while it's no secret I've been majorly impressed with every Arbonne product I've tried so far, I just could not see how wonderful a lip balm could actually be.

The thing is, this lip balm has transformed my lips. I use it everyday, sometimes even a few times a day if I'm so inclined and ever since then, my lips have always been super soft and they don't get chapped or cracked anymore. Because this balm has left my lips in such good condition, it means every lipstick I use now looks so much better than it did before I started using this product.

Since my first tube, which is still going strong, I have bought a backup tube because I know I'll need it one day - I don't want to be caught without it! Admittedly the discount I get as a consultant makes the price a little easier to swallow, but to be honest, I like this product that much I probably would pay full price for it.

The one thing I will say about this is the Arbonne Lip Moisturiser does have a slightly strange taste. It sometimes tingles ever so slightly and it's not exactly a product I rush to lick off my lips like I would do with a cherry Chapstick. If you prefer totally flavourless lip products, this might be one to avoid.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who has been converted to ignoring cheaper lip balms?!


Scenes From My Summer

Butterflies at Tropical World
Ollie the Octopus
Anaconda
Flower?
A Crocodile Makes An Unexpected Friend 
Stormy Beaumaris 
A Sad Scene
Rock Pools
A Fish Happy To Pose For Photographs 
Following on from yesterday's life catch up in the form of my most recent Instavixen post, I thought I'd post some pictures I took over the Summer period (in Britain, it seems to be coming to an end already). Unfortunately I don't take nearly as many photographs as I used to take, so these are actually only from my trip to Tropical World and my time on Anglesey.

I actually enjoyed having a camera on hand at all times while I was in Wales and it was hard picking my favourites to share in this blog post. Photography has never really been a serious hobby for me and my camera is just a fancier point and shoot but I think it is something I'd like to explore in more depth.

For me, this is certainly a post where I like the photographs to do the talking rather than waffling on for numerous paragraphs as I normally do. I've left a caption underneath each one so they're not completely random, but that's all I feel the need to say right now.

Have you got any summer or holiday snaps to share?


Instavixen #14

Homemade Goat's Cheese and Smoked Salmon Cannelloni with Homemade Watercress Pesto, dressing in a highly unprofessional manner for work, new Wednesday 13 CDs to listen to, fresh bedding, new makeup, new cute work shirt, wearing new makeup and showing off a haircut, bit of self love in the form of a Coke bottle, facing my fears, my favourite roller derby game yet, getting my nails done, Ladies Night, crabbing, adorable tea room, favourite childhood treat, crossing a biggie of the 25 before 25 list
On Friday night I did a rather depressing post about my struggles with my demons and how exhausted it was leaving me. Thing is, despite my exhaustion and battles with depression, I've actually been having a pretty damn good time since my last Instavixen post.

Mood swings aside, life is pretty good for me at the moment. While I'm hardly out living a life that could be a movie, I've finally settled down into a routine that works for me, I'm starting to use my time more and more wisely, I'm eating delicious meals on a regular basis, exploring the area I now live in and spending time with people outside of work.

Some things you can read about in yesterday's post, such as my trip to Bounce Below or getting my nails done professionally for the first time. Others, such as purchasing new makeup, will be getting a blog post all of their own in due time. Meanwhile, I regret not taking better pictures of the most recent roller derby bout I attended because it was one of the best days so far this year and would've made a killer blog post!

On Sunday 10th August, I travelled to Swindon for an event I've been looking forward to for months: Blocktor Who. This was the fifth bout day in the Heartlands Series South West, a UK roller derby tournament. The team I am resuming training with next week, Wiltshire Roller Derby, were the hosts of this Doctor Who themed game.

Some of you may know I have a genuine fear of daleks, so encountering life sized, walking, talking daleks admittedly had me very, very nervous,  but luckily, the excellence of the games taking place really made me feel better. I actually wrote the bout report for the matches taking place on the day, so once that's online, I'll Tweet a link. Until then, there's a blog post on the WRD website with lots of pics and details!

After the roller derby game, the two weeks I had booked off work finally arrived and I travelled to Wakefield to spend some downtime with my family. The first week was mainly spent coming to terms with the fact that I needed rest and had to stop forcing myself to be a productivity queen.

I did however manage to meet up with my best friend from school and college and take a visit to one of my favourite Leeds tourist attractions, Tropical World. I also went to a Ladies Night with two friends. I'm pretty sure I enjoyed myself and have vague memories of HOT men in thongs serving my champagne, but I got trashed and don't remember too much!

The second week of my leave was spent in Anglesey at my grandparents house. Turns out the sea air of Wales and seeing family was exactly what my soul needed. Besides Bounce Below we visited my favourite beach Aberrfraw and the Sea Zoo.

I've been back at my mum's since Friday evening and I'm heading back home to Hampshire tomorrow evening. I'm looking forward to what next week holds for me.

What about you?


25 Before 25: Catch Up #1


So it's now more than a month since I wrote my 25 Before 25 post so I thought I'd give an update on where I'm at. Considering I wrote it in July, nearly two months after I had my 23rd birthday, I worked out I needed to complete my goals at the rate of one or two a month to get where I need to be. Therefore, I'm happy to report I've pretty much completed three items on my list already!


Visit Bounce Below
Just yesterday I was able to tick off one my goals that I was most looking forward to and that was to visit Bounce Below at Llechwedd Slate Caverns in Snowdonia. I'm unsure how exactly I discovered the existence of three giant trampoline cages suspended above each other in an abandoned mine, but when I did find out about it, something in me said I just had to do it.

Imagine my excitement then, when shortly before I went on holiday to Wales, one of my sisters accidentally let slip that we'd be visiting on the final day of our trip! I was over the moon.

Now that I've actually done it, I can say I am in no way disappointed. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a wimp and when I first stepped onto the trampolines and realised I could see down, down, down into the pit below, I was terrified.

However, I soon got into the swing of things and had an absolute blast. It was unexpectedly extremely physically demanding, particularly going up the tunnels and going down the chutes to get to different levels was a whole other experience.

It's one of the most surreal things I've ever experienced and I seriously do recommend a trip.


Get My Nails Done Professionally
It wasn't until afterwards I realised this was actually an item on my list. I knew it was on my private 100 Things To Do In 2014 list, but was pleasantly surprised to get home and see it on my 25 Before 25 list too. I was in town one Friday before a night out later that evening and spur of the moment decided to get my nails done for the big night as my own were looking a bit (lot) stubby.

I decided to go for American Nails which is in the bottom of The Ridings Shopping Centre in Wakefield. For some reason, I had it stuck in my head that my sister got her nails for prom done there but I was actually wrong.

To be honest, I'm not all that impressed with the actual nails themselves and customer service in there was awful but I'm quite happy with the idea of getting my nails done again to a higher standard as from a distance it's quite pleasing to see my nails at the length they currently are.

image via Isabel Bloedwater 
Quit Smoking 
So I've very tentative to call this goal "complete." Quitting smoking is a tricky one for me, as I've done it "many" times. When I was about 15, I managed to quit for an entire year, and then again when I was 21. The cravings never really entirely stop and when I'm in certain situations or certain emotional states I tend to cave in.

As it stands I've gone a few weeks without smoking and I'm feel pretty confident about it. I've been horrendously drunk in that time and still haven't cracked which is always a good sign and right now the thought of parting with that amount of money for just 20 cigarettes disgusts me. I also don't miss how sick it would make me feel at certain times of day and walking to/from work doesn't leave me breathless anymore.

So far, I'm pretty pleased with how I'm going along, particularly as two of the ones I've ticked off are pretty big ones!

Got any similar posts? I'd love to read!


Sometimes, I Don't Feel Like Blogging


Sometimes, I don't feel like blogging. Sometimes, I don't feel like doing much at all. For nearly two weeks now, I've been off work, taking some much needed holiday time in Wakefield and Anglesey. I was full of ambition for my time off. I was going to blog on a daily basis, promote the posts I was writing, interact with other bloggers, join in numerous Twitter chats, start work on a new project I've been "planning for ages." And yet, I stepped off that train in Wakefield, broken suitcase in one hand, broken handle in the other, juggling my daily handbag and laptop bag as well and it seems everything hit me at once.

I'd be lying if I said that 2014 hasn't been an emotional rollercoaster for me. I won't go into detail because I already have a few times on this blog now, but wow. Sometimes it amazes me I'm still standing. In July, I made the decision to go back on anti-depressants. Although I feel I've been managing my depression and anxiety much better this year, it got to the point where I decided I needed a little bit of extra help again.

Thankfully, citalopram seems to be helping. My biggest fear when it comes to medicating my depression is side effects. In the past I've had extreme insomnia, extreme hypersomnia and one made me so much worse I felt I was genuinely a danger to myself for a short while. For the first week or so on citalopram I felt quite sick and I found it difficult to sleep, but that has worn off now and my moods are a lot more stable.

Unfortunately, while my new anti-depressants seem to be working on the mental side of my depression as I am a lot happier these days, it seems to have emphasised some of the more physical symptoms of my illness. I am beyond exhausted. I can barely stay awake during the day at the moment and while I was in Anglesey with my family, I would often go back to my grandparents house in the afternoon to have a nap because I just couldn't keep up with everything we had planned.

When you feel as fatigued as I do at the moment, even things you genuinely love doing - like blogging - get so difficult. This time round I'm having to admit defeat and tell myself my body is letting my know it's time to stop and it's time to rest. As I said, 2014 so far has been insane and I've not really had any time off to think about everything, have a rest and come to terms with everything that has changed.

I'm still feeling very bleh as I write this, but while I was in Wales and I didn't have my laptop around, I realised how much I genuinely do miss blogging and want to do it, rather than feeling like I should so I'm going to ease myself back into it. I had other writing commitments this week and when I sent my final copy off, I decided I'd give The Glitter Vixen a little bit of my time as well.

I'm not exactly sure what the point of this post is, it's a little personal and I'm guessing serves no value to anyone besides myself but I wanted to gather my thoughts and "explain" myself I guess.

I hope you're all well xoxo


Arbonne Bronzer [Product Review]


At the time of writing this post, I was an Arbonne Independent Consultant. To learn more about what this means, please click here.

I've never really been a bronzer girl. Being quite pale, it has always scared me a bit. Throughout university, I did use a Rimmel bronzer on nights out, but I always applied so little of it that there was absolutely no point. Eventually I donated this to my sister and stuck to blush there onwards.

Enter Arbonne (you getting bored of this yet?). Somehow, despite never wearing bronzer, I let Nicola talk me into buying it with one of my business orders.When it arrived, I was very concerned because in the pan, it looks very, very dark - far too dark for my fair tones!

However, the pretty, simple black packaging with the silver Arbonne logo drew me in. It feels very sturdy and I have no worries about popping it in my bag. It fastens nice and securely.

I decided the best method would be to use my E.L.F stippling brush to apply this - something I used to reserve for cream products. Very cautiously, I dab it in the deep brown powder with an ever-so-subtle shimmer to it and then "stipple" it onto my cheeks.

Needless to say, I'm in love. This super soft powder lasts all day long on my skin and it can either be applied super lightly for skin tones like mine or can be totally built up for those who are a bit darker. I like how little you need to use as well, this pan will last forever!

Paired with the Arbonne highlighter, this is one of my favourite cheek products ever. I wear it on a regular basis and adore the lovely healthy glow it gives me. I'm no long scared of bronzer!

What's your favourite bronzer?


A Home Wishlist

1/2/3/4


5/6/7/8
So, as I'm sure you're all sick of hearing now, I recently moved into a new flat, house, whatever you want to call it! I believe the technical term is "maisonette" - it's a little too small to call a house, but it's on two floors so flat doesn't seem quite right. My bedroom is actually on a balcony type thing, it's pretty cool and the more I live here, the more I fall in love.

Of course, in typical female shopping addict fashion, now I have my very own little place, I want to fill it to the brim with pretty, but unneccessary, items. I thought I'd put together a little wishlist of "finishing touches" for my living space and hopefully provide some interior design inspiration for you all.

First of all, makeup storage! Although the size of my bedroom means I've had to place my French dressing table dreams on hold, I do have a set of drawers which is host to my mirror and makeup supplies. Currently, my makeup is haphazardly scattered all over the top of these drawers, some of it in a grubby makeup bag, the rest all over the place. I've been beauty blogging long enough now to know that is is essential I get my hands on some acrylic storage and when I saw this particular set, I knew it was perfect for my needs. I've recently dramatically downsized my makeup collection and am hoping it would all fit in a little unit like this now - minus palettes of course.

The second item on my wishlist is this beautiful makeup brush holder. Florals and of course, butterflies are some of my favourite embellishments and I stumbled across this pink butterfly holder on eBay while searching for acrylic storage. It's so cute and would look perfectly at home in my room.

As a typical blogger, I have suddenly developed a huge obsession with my house smelling gorgeous. Not content with a huge peony scented candle from Sainsbury's and two Yankee Candle votives, I'm now after a beautiful oil burner that could potentially house Yankee Candle wax melts as well. Lilyroseco is one of my favourite stores to browse at the moment, so I knew it wasn't going to let me down in this department. The pink and white heart design on this particular burner has me sold.

So, while I don't think I've mentioned it all that much on this blog, I am actually a huge fan of Paris. I first went with high school in my first year of sixth form, before going again a few years later with my then boyfriend. I've since fallen in love with the city - so when I saw this Eiffel Tower jewellery dish on my cute, quirky jewellery storage solutions hunt, I knew I had to look no further.

I am also a huge fan of flowers - what girl isn't?! Sadly I'm lacking in the green finger department and maintaining fresh flowers can often get costly. These fake rose bouquets I stumbled across on eBay look so perfect, a great alternative for when fresh isn't an option and would brighten up my living space perfectly. 

No home is complete without artwork in my opinion and with a blog name like The Glitter Vixen, it was obvious I'd have to go for some fox related artwork. A quick search later and I stumbled on this absolutely adorable fox painting. It's so cute, how could I not want this in my house?!

As comfy and lovely as my new cream futon is, I think it really needs some nice cushions to finish it off. I'm not sure exactly what aesthetic I'm going for, but when I saw these floral and polka cushions on Etsy, I knew they were exactly what I was after.

Finally, I've started having guests more and more often now that I've got a sofa sorted and my house looks more like a home than a storage facility but I've noticed something - they never have anywhere to put their drinks. Naturally part of it is due to having no tables in my living room yet, but part of it is I have no coasters either. I spotted these coasters on Gift & Pieces while searching for a nice vase and they look so similar to the cushions I've got my eye, I knew these were the coasters for me.

What's on your home wishlist? 

This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my full Disclaimer policy.


Instavixen #13: #RadicalSelfLoveJuly Roundup


Silly selfie/your idol/positive graffiti/your reflection/a self love date/your best feature/favourite book/draw yourself/RSL meal/#TBT/RSL bible/in your bag/no makeup selfie/get physical/your happy place/favourite quote/your city/inspiring friend/great outdoors/RSL totem/morning mantra/magic/on your wall/gratitude/bedhead/i wish i was/pampering/blow bubbles/mirror wisdom/i love/super selfie!
Hello vixens. I've been a little absent recently, I admit. I didn't really have the best week last week so I decided to take a step away from the blog and recuperate. This week, I've been catching up on all the tasks I failed to do the previous week and getting my life back in order. I'm feeling much better now and although I spent most of the challenge playing catch-up, I thought I'd share the entire set of #radicalselflovejuly photos with you!

Currently...
READING: Game of Thrones, still! Although I don't read every day like I used to, when I do pick this book up intending on one chapter, it ends up being five! I'm so in love with the way this book is written and it's doing a good job of filling the hole the TV show left in my life.

WATCHING: Charmed and Buffy, of course, but I've also started on season two of Hemlock Grove at last! When it came out, I was still watching From Dusk Til Dawn and I don't like having too many TV shows on the go, so I finished that before starting HG - although I was SO excited for it to come out. Really good so far.

LISTENING: Wayyyy back in January I preordered the new Wednesday 13 Undead Unplugged album and his Dead Meat compilation set full of rarities. I'd totally forgotten about it until it popped through my letterbox on Tuesday. Needless to say I was delighted and these are what I've been listening to!

WANTING: Furniture! Although my little house is looking a lot better these days, I could still do with a few extra pieces of furniture, such as a TV, a stand to put it on and a bit more storage. 

LOVING: The power of the Universe and Manifestation! Ask and you shall receive. This week has proved this to me in one of the best ways imaginable. I'll be going more into the topic of life design soon, I imagine...

How has your week been lovelies? xo