My Top 5 'New In' Skincare Products

Anyone else go through those phases of buying certain types of products each month? One month it’s clothes, the next it’s shoes, the next it’s makeup? Well this month I feel like I’ve been a little less interested in clothes and a little more interested in beauty/skincare. I’ve peeled myself away from buying my usual ‘safe’ skincare products and dipped my freshly moisturised hands into some newbies. Newbies of which I’ve completely fallen for and need to shout about!

Pixi Glow Tonic
This product had been on my ‘wish list’ for a number of months but I couldn’t bring myself to spending £18 on something that I wasn’t sure would be ‘right’ for me. However after venturing into M&S beauty section and finding a smaller 100ml bottle for around half the price, I figured it’d be worth a try and I wasn’t disappointed! The tonic itself is an alcohol free, oil free exfoliating facial tonic that gently removed dead skills cells to reveal healthier, more toned skin. I use this product on a daily basis and it is incredibly gentle on my skin, helping to remove any dry matches around my t-zone and aid in keeping blemishes at bay. Since I started using this product my skin has felt incredibly soft, I’ve had very little breakouts (except when I stopped using it!) and my skin has more of a glow.

Transformulas Lip Volume
There are so many products on the market that contain spices and chemicals that basically irritate the lips into swelling, causing that semi-permanent increase in lip size and giving them the ‘lip plumping’ name. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not one to get ‘spendy’ on lip plumper’s as I believe only surgery can give you a permanent plumped pout. However this product is a little more than just your average lip plumper. The product itself has a peppermint scent that leaves a cooling sensation on the lips. It doesn’t burn nor sting, in fact it barely even tingles; instead it leaves my lips feeling incredibly moisturised and hydrated whilst smoothing over any visible lines which all in all lead to a more plump, softer appearance. Since using the product for just over a week now I have noticed that my lips are more smooth and fuller without increasing in size. If anything I simply buy this product as a hydrating lip treatment as it’s incredible but it won’t give you anything that surgery could.

Huygens Face Scrub
I discovered this product when it landed in my Birch Box and it’s been a great edition to my skincare regime. The scrub itself has a thick paste like consistency that contains rice powder particles which provide an intense yet gentle exfoliation. The product also contains the added ingredients of sesame oil and green tea which help to hydrate and moisturise the skin as it removes dead skin cells. The scent reminds me a little of toothpaste and to be honest the texture is pretty similar except it isn’t sticky. I like to use this product 2 or 3 times a week to deeply exfoliate my skin and I’m pretty impressed how a small 5p sized amount goes a long, long way.

Ren Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Gel
Ren has always been a favourite skincare brand of mine except I very rarely purchase their products as the price tag is a little too high for something you literally wash down the sink. However at the same time that I was browsing through the M&S beauty section I also found this Ren 100ml mini which for £6 I couldn’t quibble. The scent reminds me of Turkish delight (which will be the rose) so it was an instant hit! The texture is a strange gloopy, medium consistency which once applied to dry skin spreads evenly across, providing a light foam which increases once water is added. I love how quick and easy this product is and it makes a great morning ‘wake me up’ cleanser.

Transformulas Hydration Gold Hydration Cream
I was pretty intrigued when this product first landed in my PO Box. First of all it contains 23 carat gold powder and hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid) so I was instantly sold on trying it out. I was also incredibly surprised as to how versatile this small little bottle of ‘gold’ was. The product itself has a (pretty obvious) gold radiance which when applied to this skin creates a natural, holiday like glow. It doesn’t feel too hydrating but it does soften the skin and also creates a flawless makeup free healthy appearance. But as well as an anti-aging moisturiser that claims to tone, firm, and nourish it also works incredibly well as a base to your foundation if you’re after a more natural glow. You can either add it into your foundation or apply it as a primer base. As well as an addition to your foundation this little pot of gold also works incredibly well (if you haven’t already guessed) as a highlighter! I’ve used it a number of times to highlight my cheek bones and cupids bow which has led to a number of strangers asking what highlighter I’ve used!
Beki Xo

(*) As part of this blog post I was gifted the Transformulas products in exchange for a review however all opinions are my own and it was my personal preference to feature them in this blog post.

My Top 3 Avocado Brunch Spots In Manchester 

Anyone that knows me will know how obsessed I am with an avocado and poached egg brunch. It’s just one of those breakfast dishes that I crave and will consume at any time of the day and luckily for me, more and more places in Manchester are doing breakfast all day!

To be completely honest there's pretty much a new breakfast place open every few months, it’s actually getting hard to catch up but for those many that I have tried (and there's plenty more that I’ve got to tick off my list) here are my 3 favourites that I go back to time and time again...

A photo posted by Beki (@smocktofrock) on

Ezra & Gil
*Makes Mmm noise*
Ezra & Gil has a Scandinavian industrial interior with rustic vibes and an open kitchen. It has to be one of my favourite places for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The ‘Smashed Avocado with Feta and Red Chillis’ is just incredible. It comes with 2 chunky pieces of sourdough bread with a mountain of avocado, a runny poached egg, fresh red chillies and chunky sprinkles of feta. The portion you get is pretty generous compared to most of places which of course instantly puts Ezra & Gil on the top of my list! The only struggle about Ezra & Gil is the seating as there are few smaller tables so the larger tables quickly become filled with individuals leaving that awkward 1 empty seat rule however if there aren’t a lot of you or you get there are just the right time, it’s totally worth it!

A photo posted by Beki (@smocktofrock) on

Pen and Pencil
Pen and Pencil has a more of a Mad Men style New York feel with a bar/ lunch area and restaurant around the back. There are also two smashed avocado options on the brunch menu (which again is served all day). There’s the ‘Avocado and Feta’ which to be honest tastes pretty identical to Ezra & Gil (which is pretty impressive) except for few small changes in the ingredients and 2 poached eggs instead of 2 pieces of bread however I’m not complaining as that mountain of avocado is what it’s all about and if you really wanted two pieces you could order extra. Then there’s the ‘Guilt Free Breakfast’ which is a lighter option of two small pieces of rye, smashed avocado and a couple slices of pancetta. I have to say I’m always torn between which I prefer so I tend to rotate them each time I go!

A photo posted by Beki (@smocktofrock) on

Evelyn’s Café Bar
Evelyn's has such a relaxed vibe with an industrial roof garden feel. The breakfast menu has ‘me’ written all over it (as my boyfriend would say). It’s always a struggle to come to a decision on what I want as clearly asking for all of it isn’t a sensible option. But one of my favourite options is the ‘Avocado, Poached Egg Sour Dough’, except I usually swap out the sour dough for potato hash and it is so bloody tasty! My only qualm would be that the portions aren’t that large and I could easily chow down on another plate full but the quality is impressive and it's a great place for vegetarians.

A list of places in Manchester on my 'need to visit for avocado brunches'...
Federal Cafe Bar
Home Sweet Home NQ

Beki Xo
 My Ash Blonde Hair Care Routine
It’s funny; when my hair was dark brown I wasn’t too bothered about a ‘hair care routine’. Maybe because darker hair was easier to maintain, maybe because split ends and colour fade where less visible or maybe because I simply just wasn’t that bothered. 

But since going blonde I’ve taken more interest in the products I put in my hair to keep it toned, nourished and looking as healthy as possible. It’s taking me a few months to go from dark cherry brown to ash blonde and I believe the products I’ve been using have benefitted towards keeping my hair healthy and bright. 

So here’s 'My Ash Blonde Hair Care Routine'...

Step 1: I like to make sure my hair is tangle free before I head into the shower and apply products, so with this I use the infamous Tangle Teezer to quickly removed any knots and tangles.

Step 2: Before I use the violet shampoo I prefer to cleanse my hair of any product. Usually I opt for a ‘cleansing shampoo’ however I’ve found that the Aussie Colour Mate Shampoo works just as well. It not only cleanses the build-up of product out of my hair it also helps to keep the colour from fading.  

Step 3: I cannot rave enough about this product; even my hairdresser was impressed at the lift of colour I was able to gain through my brown to blonde stages. This 
Fudge Clean Blonde Violet shampoo helps to tone my hair and keep it a cool ash blonde shade. It’s advised to leave it on for no more than 10 minutes as the violet tone is highly pigmented and can leave a purple tint to your hair however I actually like this look so I leave it in for approx. 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. 

Step 4: On a ‘normal hair wash day’ I use the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner which I’ve used for years as it smells incredible and leaves my hair feeling super soft.  However once a week (or whenever my hair needs some serious attention) I opt for the Toni & Guy Nourish Reconstruction Hair Mask and leave this on for approx. 5-10 minutes, to give the formula enough time to penetrate deep into the hair follicles. 

Step 5: After washing out the hair mask thoroughly, I wring my hair through to rid any excess moisture and wrap it in a towel whilst I potter around for 5-10 minutes. I try not to keep my wrapped in a towel for too long as this can dry the hair out as the towel soaks up moisture from the open follicles. When removing the towel, if my hair is still too damp I wrap it back up and squeeze the towel around the hair. Never rub your hair dry as this creates split ends and damages the hair which is delicate when damp.  

Step 6: Before I brush my hair I apply the Fudge Urban Miracle Ends which helps to seal split ends and de-frizz dry hair (this product smells incredible and reminds me of nostalgic holidays). I then brush my hair using the tangle teaser to ensure the product is coated evenly throughout the hair.  

Step 7: To protect my hair from any heat damage I use the 
Nicky Clarke 220 Degree Heat Barrier Spray, taking time to make sure all my hair is protected. I then part dry my hair and leave the other half to 'air try'. This is so it isn’t too damp when I'm whilst I continue to get ready and to make sure I’m not using heat on my hair for too long as this can be incredibly damaging. Of course If I’m in a rush I’ll need to dry my hair fully but whenever I can I always try to part air dry. 

Step 8: My hair is very thick so I prefer to straighten the ends with my trust GHD’s (which I’ve had since I was 15 and they’re still going strong) to flatten the hair follicles, leaving the root which helps to create volume and running John Frieda Polishing Serum through the ends to banish any pesky flyaways and leave my hair looking healthy and shiny. 

I've been using this hair care routine for a good few months now and although my cleansing shampoo changes from time to time, I believe the best products that have been made the biggest impact are; the Fudge Violet Shampoo for toning my hair, the Toni & Guy Hair Mask for keeping it strong (especially the ends), the Fudge Miracle Ends for keeping those pesky split ends sealed and hydrated and the Nicky Clarke Barrier Spray for preventing heat damage!

Products I used in this post:

Aussie Colour Mate Shampoo 
Fudge Clean Blonde Violet Shampoo 
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Conditioner
Toni & Guy Nourish Reconstruction Hair Mask 
Tangle Teaser
Fudge Urban Iced Tropical Cocktail Miracle Ends 
Nicky Clarke 220 Degree Heat Barrier Spray 
John Frieda Frizz Ease Polishing Serum 
GHD Styler

Beki Xo

(*) This post was not sponsored and no products were gifted.

12 Things That Go Through My Mind When I’m Washing Makeup Brushes

Let’s face it, no one likes washing their makeup brushes. Those 15 minutes feel longer than 1 minute of planking, then there’s the foundation splash marks left around the sink and quite frankly it all just feels like too much effort. But there’s just something about freshly washed makeup brushes that make it all worth it… when you can actually be bothered.

For those times when I finally psyche myself up to cleaning my makeup brushes, this is what goes through my mind…

1. When did I even last wash these?
2. Maybe I’ll just wash my foundation brush and leave the rest.
3. I swear there’s a better way to clean them than this.
4. This is too much effort; I might revert back to using my fingers.
5. I really hope my foundation isn’t as orange as this water.
6. S**t, I’ve got foundation water on my white t-shirt.
7. How am I going to explain the state of the sink to my boyfriend?
8. I wish someone would invent a ‘dish washer’ for makeup brushes
9. Oh FFS, I don’t even want to tackle the beauty blender.
10. This sponge thing never looks clean I don’t know why I bother.
11. I swear 1 beauty blender could soak up a whole swimming pool of water
12. May be I shouldn't be so honest when I write this blog post, I sound so moany.


Beki Xo

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