IS LUSH’S PRODUCT ‘COALFACE’ WORTH THE HYPE?

Coalface might not be the most visually appealing facial soap, but its become a product I can’t be without. It’s a charcoal based soap which is designed for oily-combination skin types. At first I found the concept of rubbing charcoal on my face very unusual, but after the lovely lady in Lush reassured me that as an ingredient charcoal is extremely effective, I thought I’d give it a go. Surely nothing can be worse than rubbing the earthy, organic smell of Herbalism onto my face which I reviewed here. I’ve read so many good things about Coalface so I was really excited to try it out and see if it’s worth the hype.

What is Coalface?

As I mentioned above, Coalface is a facial soap which is mainly designed for oily-combination skin types. The powdered charcoal included in this product works to absorb any excess sebum, which is usually the reason for any breakouts. So, if you’re like me and suffer with troubled skin, this product is perfect for tackling problem areas. It also contains rosewood and sandalwood which helps keep the skin balanced and reduces any redness.

I don’t know why, but there’s something quite scary about cleansing your face with black soap. I think the colour makes you feel as if it’s permanent or it might stain, but trust me there’s absolutely nothing to worry about – it definitely washes off.

How do you use Coalface?

The shape of Coalface makes it difficult to reach certain contours of my face so instead of applying it directly to my skin, I lather the soap in my hands. Firstly, you wet your face with warm water and apply the lather by massaging it into the skin using circular motions. I tend to do this for about two minutes until I feel like the soap has completely absorbed into my skin. After you wash it off with cold water, you’ll hopefully notice improvements straightaway.

“Lush in general do incredible skincare but I think Coalface is definitely a winner.”

When I first tried Coalface my skin felt so smooth and instantly balanced it out. It didn’t miraculously cure any spots, but it definitely made a huge difference to any redness and evened out my skin. If you use Coalface too often (daily) it will leave your face feeling very dry and rough which makes applying foundation difficult. Once or twice a week is definitely enough to see improvements without noticeably affecting your skin.

So, is it worth the hype?

I bought 100g worth of Coalface which cost me £6.45 but it’s literally worth every penny and definitely worth the hype. The best thing about this facial soap is that it makes your skin feel super clean afterwards. However it did take a couple of weeks until I noticed a difference, but what’s a couple of weeks in the grand scheme of things?!

Its really helped clear up any blemishes/imperfections, and now I alternate between Coalface and Herbalism each week which I find very effective. Lush in general do incredible skincare but I think Coalface is definitely a winner. If you suffer with acne-prone oily skin give Coalface a try, add it to your skincare routine and watch your skin glow!

I’d love to know what you think, have you ever tried Coalface or want to give it a go? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @sophiejourno. Also don’t just take my word for it, have a look at this one minute video which explains how effective Coalface really is.

HOW I FELL IN LOVE WITH ICELAND IN 4 DAYS

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Wow what an incredible country. Reykjavik is honestly one of my favourite places I’ve ever visited which is a big statement to make as if you know me well, you’d know that I absolutely love anywhere that’s hot, has a beach and I can soak up the sun. But Iceland, you’ve completely stolen my heart despite your unpredictable ever-changing weather.

From the surreal landscapes and breathtaking views to the exploding geysirs, gushing waterfalls and volcanic mountains at every stop. Iceland is truly mesmerising and nothing you see, hear or read will prepare you for what this beautiful country has to offer. As someone who’s been lucky enough to travel to some exotic places, I’m still in awe at what I’ve experienced and seen on this adventure, and that’s something which I’ve never experienced after returning from a holiday.

“It was the most magical setting ever; the bright blue waters and beautiful lava cliffs that surrounded the hot springs were simply breathtaking.”

There’s so much to take in, see and do both inside and outside of Reykjavik. I’d jump at the chance to visit this city again as 4 days definitely wasn’t enough. However, the 4 days my boyfriend and I did spend in Reykjavik had a perfect mix of relaxing and exploring. We stayed at the wonderful Fosshotel and if you’re thinking about visiting Reykjavik anytime soon, I’d highly recommend this place; quiet, great location, spacious rooms and friendly staff – what more could you want? So here’s my guide to visiting the magical land of fire and ice:

3 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING REYKJAVIK

  • It’s VERY expensive:

When I say very expensive, I mean it costs about £40 (5,550 ISK) for a coffee and cake for two. Needless to say, eating and drinking out in this city certainly comes at a cost so if you’re hoping to visit Iceland on a budget, you might want to stock up on food and drink beforehand; it’ll save you a fortune. Similarly, the tours and activities such as The Blue Lagoon, Northern Lights Tour and the Golden Circle can quickly rack up a bill. So, just a quick tip, hire a car and explore yourself as it gave us the freedom to do the things we want to do, and it was so much fun driving around Iceland on our own.

  • Reykjavik is probably the quietest city you’ll ever visit:

The first thing my boyfriend said to me when we walked through the city was “Where is everyone?” It felt quite quite eery at first as it genuinely seemed like it was just us but, lo and behold, it wasn’t and we managed to find some other people. However Reykjavik is such a small city, home to only 120,000 people compared to London with a population of 8.5 million to put it into perspective. I loved this about Reykjavik though, I felt safe and comfortable and it was so easy to explore by foot (aka for free); it really was the perfect size, but if you prefer the hustle and bustle of city life then you might be a bit disappointed.

  • Prepare yourself for some exotic foods in Reykjavik’s restaurants:

So I like to think of myself as someone who’s quite open to trying new things, especially when I’m visiting a different country. My boyfriend’s the same as when we visited Barcelona, we embraced the sangria (despite hating red wine), tapas and sea food and we loved it! However, even for us, some of Reykjavik’s choice of food was different to say the least. I’m talking shark, whale meat, puffin and a number of exotic fish dishes. Iceland’s certainly home to some unusual food so we both opted to stick to the burgers, hot dogs and pasta dishes – there’s always next time…

3 THINGS TO DO IN ICELAND  

There’s SO much to do in Iceland and that’s no exaggeration, our days were packed full of doing things, seeing things and planning even more things! It’s been so hard to whittle it down to just three but if I had to pick, it would be these things:

  • The Blue Lagoon:

I think it’s safe to say visiting the Blue Lagoon is on just about everyone’s bucket list. We wanted to experience the best of both world’s so booked the Blue Lagoon at 4pm to see it in the day, and then stayed long enough to see it under the stars. It was the most magical setting ever; the bright blue waters and beautiful lava cliffs that surrounded the hot springs were simply breathtaking. We had so much fun just relaxing and enjoying being on holiday together; it certainly was the highlight of our trip.

Just a few more steps 🙌 #BlueLagoonIceland #Iceland

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To make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience we opted to book the Premium Package which included entrance to the blue lagoon, face masks, a reservation at the Lava restaurant and cocktails. As the sunset over the blue lagoon we headed out of the water and into the Lava restaurant. Wow it was simply stunning. The lava rock walls and huge windows overlooking the lagoon made for an unforgettable dining experience. Everything was just perfect; the food, decor, views and service. It was the best ending to the most amazing day.

  • The Golden Circle:

Driving Iceland’s Golden Circle is another incredible experience, especially as traffic is pretty much non-existent outside of Reykjavik so it’s a relatively stress free journey! As Jonny offered to drive, my eyes were pretty much glued out the window the whole time. It was snowing, we got lost and Jonny must’ve taken a little detour off the beaten path about 5 times, but that’s how we discovered some of Iceland’s hidden gems. We even found some Icelandic horses!

Look at those colours ❤🇮🇸

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The lakes, waterfalls, geysirs, natural formations, volcanoes and historic buildings were all mesmerising. Apparently the Golden Circle can be enjoyed in about 3 hours, but because we were so fascinated and made about a million stops to enjoy every site (and got lost), it took us just over 7 hours. The highlight of the day was definitely snorkelling between two continental plates at the Silfra Fissure – it’s the only place in the world where you can do it!

  • Northern Lights:

So when Jonny surprised me with a holiday to Iceland, the one thing I couldn’t wait to experience was seeing the northern lights. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to see. On our last evening in Iceland, it seemed like the weather was finally on our side as the sky was clear and WE SAW THEM! They finally made an appearance. They were so bright and active, it was literally in-cred-ible.

How to see northern lights in Iceland: http://bit.ly/2lQWVla #northernlightsiceland #northernlights #iceland

A post shared by Iceland Northern Lights HQ (@icelandnorthernlights) on

If you’re ever in Iceland and want the best opportunity to see the northern lights, I’d recommend going to a place called Borgarnes which is a quaint little town just outside of Reykjavik. Seeing the northern lights was such a surreal experience, even when I think about it now I’m still overwhelmed by it all

So there you have it, my guide to the perfect Iceland holiday. Unfortunately it all just feels like a dream now as I’m currently sat at home with a mountain of uni work to get through. I’ve made a short video of our time in Iceland which I’d love you to watch, and let me know what you think either in the comments below or tweet @sophiejourno. Also, make sure you click on settings first and put the quality to ‘720p HD’.

3 WAYS BLOGGING HAS ENHANCED MY LIFE

It’s my blogs birthday! six months ago today I started my blogging journey which has been a challenging but hugely rewarding experience. There’s so much time, research and thought that goes into blogging which is the main reason I’ve labelled my journey as challenging. It’s a commitment and means you have to be determined to keep a regular writing schedule, even when you think no one’s watching. But, saying that, I’ve enjoyed every step of the way – as cliche as that sounds.

I’ve learnt things about myself that perhaps I would’ve never discovered if it wasn’t for this journey. Mainly about my personal development, strengths and weaknesses; its introduced me to the blogging industry and made me part of the community. 

Often bloggers (including me) get caught up with stats, approval and growth, and lose sight of all the other brilliant things blogging can bring. So, in what way has blogging enhanced my life, and how could it enhance yours too?

1. I’ve developed my own non-academic writing voice:

It’s taken some time, but I think I’ve finally developed my own blogging voice. Writing this blog is so different to any other writing techniques I’ve ever learnt/practiced. I’m so used to writing academically with certain rules and structures to follow, but with my blog I have the freedom to just be me. This blog is my own little corner of the internet and I’m free to write as formally or informally as I like.

2. Blogging has increased my confidence:

I think if anyone reading this knows me well, they’d know how much of a worrier/over-thinker I really am. I used to spend countless hours creating blog posts that no-one reads, but if this happened now it really wouldn’t phase me. I’ve learnt to develop a thicker skin and be more confident in myself. Even if no one reads my posts I’m doing it for me, to challenge myself and create new possibilities. Actually saying that, there’s always guaranteed a couple of people who read my blog: my mum, sister and Hannah – thanks guys!

3. I’ve become a better writer: 

Maintaing a blog has forced me to organise a writing schedule and stick to it. Each time I write a post, I read and then reread it in order to check my spelling, punctuation and sentence structure to make sure it’s the best of my ability. I’m writing so much more than I ever did before, and I care what my readers think so I try to make sure everything makes sense and serves a distinct purpose in my post.

Additionally, blogging has enhanced my CV as when I (eventually) apply for jobs employers will know that having a blog means you’ve practiced SEO, web editing, content writing and HTML; it means you’re ahead of the game and shows commitment to your career goals.

So those are some of the ways blogging has enhanced my life! I’d love to hear your experiences with blogging – has it helped you become a better person in any way? Vote in my poll to have your say.

DIGITAL MAGAZINES: A TREND OR A CHALLENGE?

As another magazine ended its printed edition last month and added to the ever-growing list of magazines shifting from print to online, can we assume that all content will only be available in digital format? Or will the printed magazine survive?

“Printed magazines are the dinosaurs of the digital revolution”

Women’s health magazine ‘Self’ have cut their print publication and converted to a digital-only format. The magazine’s final printed edition was published last month, as Self’s circulation figures dropped by over 1 million in two years. I think the publication has been in the line of fire for a while now because of the competition from fitness gurus, bloggers, dieticians and YouTubers. They’re constantly keeping us informed about how to live a healthy life, so by the time Self was printed it was old news.

Innovations in communications have presented new challenges to print, which means more magazines are falling off our shelves. We’re living in a digital age where we want access to everything immediately and for free – something which printed magazines can’t provide us with.

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I’ve been reading a lot of articles about this subject online, many of which argue that printed magazines are the dinosaurs of the digital revolution and eventually they’ll become extinct. Even sales of celebrity gossip magazines such as Heat, Hello! and Closer have plummeted. We don’t need to rely on magazines to provide us with wedding photos of our favourite celebrities anymore, isn’t that what Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter are for?

Also, print advertising is drying up as advertisers recognise that print marketing is no longer the most effective way to reach a target audience. There’s no denying it, the Internet holds a huge amount of opportunities for advertisers to learn about their target audience. Subsequently, this allows them to specifically tailor their advertising strategies and special offers accordingly.

I can’t remember the last time I read a magazine or newspaper (other than the 48 newspapers I’ve had to buy for my dissertation, but that’s not out of choice) which is a sad truth. It’s only a matter of time before print dies completely; it’s outdated, old-fashioned and expensive. There’s so many more advantages of a digital magazine, not only for the publisher but for the audience too.

Firstly, in a world where time is money, the time efficiency that digital magazines offer is key. Additionally, in a social media driven world, digital magazines have the biggest advantage as it can reach an enormous audience – something which wouldn’t have been possible on the same level before social media. Sharing, liking and commenting; the constant flow of interaction and activity allows readers to become heavily involved in the magazine.

The digital publishing era has definitely begun, and I think we can expect more magazines to follow this trend because lets face it, a printed edition isn’t enough anymore. The modern age reader wants access to their favourite magazine when it suits them. It might be when they’re waiting for the bus, at the gym, in a boring class or during a meeting. Audiences’ read on the go and have quickly moved online, and as a result publications should follow if they want to continue their success.

So, what do you think? Vote in my poll and have your say, or tweet me @sophiejourno because I’d love to know your thoughts.

SPRING WARDROBE WISHLIST

Finally, the weather is getting warmer and the days are getting brighter! I can’t wait to ditch the knitwear and big coats in favour of pretty skirts and floral tops, and I’ve complied a Spring wishlist in anticipation. I’m determined to add more colour and patterns to my wardrobe this season as 90% of my wardrobe consists of three colours: black, white and grey which is fine for the winter but not quite for the Spring.

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1. Topshop Skirt – This skirt has quite a 60s vibe to it with the floral pattern, A-line style and cream base which is right up my street. It’s a classic versatile piece to add to your wardrobe this Spring, as you can either dress it up with heels and a body or dress it down with a cropped jumper. I also love how thick the material is as lets face it, Spring in England can be very temperamental so you might need that extra fabric to keep you warm.

2. Striped Blouse – Stripes are everywhere this season and this floaty blouse is a subtle take on the trend. I think the front buttons, layers and long sleeves make the perfect combination, and I’ll definitely be injecting a fresh look to my wardrobe with these statement stripes. Also, I’d style it exactly how missguided did, with a pair of ripped shorts and cute ankle boots.

1. Topshop Pinafore Dress – This embroidered pinafore dress is a Spring staple as the options for styling it are endless. Whether you wear it on its own, under a sweater or with a long sleeve top, it’ll look great and perfectly on trend. I love the high neckline and the cute embroidered flowers which adds a touch of Spring to your outfit. This pinafore dress is a wardrobe essential as it was very much on trend last Spring, and still is now!

4. Ruffled Top – There’s no denying it, ruffles have certainly taken centre stage this season and this fitted white top is perfect for the warmer of days. I’ll admit it, I already have a top which is similar to this one, but I’m someone who likes to buy the same thing in different colours so I’m sure I’ll end up buying this too! I love the subtleness of the ruffles and the ribbed material; it’s a flattering girly piece.

5. Bohemian Earrings –  These bohemian beauties will dress up any outfit! I am a massive fan of bohemian jewellery; I just can’t get enough of it all year round. Dixi is where these supersize earring are from, and it’s where I usually shop for all my jewellery as it has a good affordable selection. Go have a browse!

So that’s my Spring wishlist, lets hope I stick to my word and inject some colour into my wardrobe. What items are you looking to add to your wardrobe this Spring?

INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY: 3 WOMEN WHO INSPIRE ME

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Source: Pixabay.com

March is a significant month in the calendar year for women across the globe as it’s the month which calls for gender equality whilst celebrating women’s achievements as part of International Women’s Day (IDW). Here are a few of the women I’d like to give a special mention to as they’ve encouraged strength, empowerment, unity and celebration amongst all of us women:

  • BEYONCE – I’m a huge fan of Beyonce but let’s face it, who isn’t nowadays?! Beyonce is an inspirational role model to the young, middle-aged and old. She promotes female unity and empowerment through her music as well as her stardom. Beyonce is Queen and it’s hard to find anyone who will disagree with that!
  • MICHELLE OBAMA – Michelle Obama continues to inspire young women to be the best version of them and encourages us to feel special and worthy. She certainly turned the role of First Lady upside down and is sorely missed by so many.
  • MEGHAN MARKLE – Meghan Markle champions women’s rights. She’s talented and has an immense passion for helping others, which motivates even more people to get involved, be inspired and make changes. Meghan’s done so much in her time and I love visiting her website, The Tig, as it has lots of positive vibes, love and motivation.

So there’s a brief overview of three women who inspire, drive and motivate me each day. Who inspires you and how are you celebrating International Women’s Day this year? I’d love to hear from you either in the comments below or tweet me @sophiejourno

WHY THIS LUSH CLEANSER IS THE WORST BUT BEST PRODUCT

If you’ve read my blog before you’d know that I’m an avid Lush fan. I love finding and trying out their facial cleansers but most importantly I love finding their cleansers that work, which is where Herbalism comes into play. Its completely stolen the top spot in my skincare routine as it’s my holy grail facial cleanser, but there’s just a couple of things I don’t like about it.

Herbalism was the first ever Lush product that I purchased and now two years later, I’m still purchasing it. It’s priced at £6.25 but if you’re like me and have a range of Lush products, make sure you keep your empty pots as you can exchange five containers for a free cleanser at your local Lush store. If you’re a fellow student you’ll understand my excitement when I heard about this as there’s nothing better than free gifts!

What is Herbalism?

So Herbalism is a face and body cleanser that’s specifically designed to soothe, soften and brighten up the skin as well as treating oily, acne-prone areas. I’ve had a really good experience with Herbalism so far, as not only has it helped clear my complexion but its also evened out my skin and reduced any redness.

I think the biggest advantage of this product is that it really does get to work almost instantly; something which I experienced with Mask of Magnanimity too which I reviewed here. I’m quite an impatient person who wants to see improvements right from the beginning, and that’s the great thing about this Lush product; it really does tick those boxes.

“At first, I really struggled to keep the product on my skin.”

Herbalism is also really gentle on the skin which was definitely one of its main selling points for me as I suffer with super sensitive skin. The china clay works to cleanse away excess oil, and the ground almonds and rice bran act as a gentle exfoliator. Another ingredient of Herbalism is chlorophyll which is packed full of amazing vitamins to help fight breakouts and, as you’ve probably guessed, it’s the reason for the bright green colour.

Bad points?

So why have I labelled Herbalism the “worst but best product?” The short answer to this: the smell as well as the awkwardness to apply the product. It’s the best product because it works extremely well and does exactly what it says, but the smell and application process is definitely enough to put people off. I think the best way to describe the scent is earthy and organic; it’s definitely not a pleasant smell but I’ve grown to get used to it.

At first I really struggled to keep the product on my skin as let’s face it nobody likes to apply cleansers that smell so potent and unpleasant. However, if you want to see results just stick with it because soon the smell becomes so familiar you forget how bad it is.

How do you use Herbalism?

Similarly, the messiness of this product is another important aspect to point out. As you can see below, I’ve mixed a pea size amount of the cleanser with water to create a thin paste. This might sound easy but trust me when you apply the thin paste to your face, if you’re not careful, it really does go everywhere. So, just a quick tip: apply Herbalism over the sink to avoid any stained carpets. Have a watch of my tutorial below to see how Herbalism should be applied.

Well there you have it, that’s my review of the wonderful Herbalism. A messy but extremely effective facial cleanser for anyone who suffers with oily, acne-prone skin. Also, it’s worth mentioning that this product is great to exfoliate the entire body not just the face, which makes it a great investment! Have you ever tried this product? Vote in my poll and let me know what you think, or tweet me your thoughts @sophiejourno – I’d love to hear from you