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The London Girl

13 August 2017
As part of my new job we often find ourselves taking business trips to London, and it was on one of these trips that I learnt about the London girl. Now not to stereotype or generalise anyone but one thing that I noticed about the women I encountered was that they were unlike anyone I had ever met before. 


London girls are a different breed, they're gorgeous and effortless yet insanely driven and confident. They know what they want and they know how to get it. Their passion is infectious and inspiring, and those that hate only do so out of jealousy. While she may have been born in a small country village, the cut throat city life has made her a force to be reckoned with and the ultimate millennial women. 


Living on her diet of black coffee and vegan salads, she is healthy but her penchant cocktails means she's never boring. Of course her life isn't always as perfect as it seems but she never lets it show in her daily Instagram picture that she sends out to her adoring followers. And while it may be wrong to idolise something that isn't real and she may have had a bit of luck along the way, you cannot deny how impressive her hard work and passion is. Despite the long nights and countless rejections, her eyes still light up when she talks about what she does.



Whether she be wearing Manolo Blahniks or Gucci loafers her style never falters as she travels round the city from photo shoot to coffee shop to meeting to the office while the rest of us try to balance comfort and style, being careful not to wear anything too nice in case it is ruined in the rush hour tube crush. But it is not just her style to be admired but her spirit.


While geographically I am miles away from being a London girl, I hope that one day I will possess the confidence and power that makes these women so successful, for now though I will keep on being influenced by their versatile, smart/casual style.


What I'm Wearing |M&S Coat, New Look Jumper, Topshop Dungarees, Office Boots and Coach Bag

Eleanor xx

How Blogging Has Changed The Way I Shop

19 June 2017
While I have always enjoyed the process of physically going into town to look around the shops, the busier I have become the more I find myself shopping online. So after months of locking myself inside to revise, when my exams had finally finished I decided to take a well earned trip into town to look around the shops but as I walked around the shops I just felt so.... uninspired. Despite not having looked around my usual high street shops in months nothing had really changed. While there was new stock the styles were safe, nothing jumped out to me as new and exciting, while the displays all blurred into one. It then occurred to me that while the shops had not changed perhaps I had.

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The truth is that Blogs, Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest bring clothes to life for me. They give me ideas of how I could style a piece or how it may fit into my wardrobe. They act as a personalised filter, shifting through the clutter and showing me the best items a brand has to offer while also introducing me to new brands that I would have never even considered buying from before. Take for example this top from Missy Empire. I saw Holly from the blog Statement Undertones style a striped bardot ruffle top from Quiz but unfortunately it sold out before I had the chance to buy it. But then I saw a similar top on Missy Empire, a brand that I discovered through Instagram, which I instantly bought along with a couple of other social media inspired purchases.



Seeing how clothes fit, how they are styled and what they look like on different body shapes is just something you don't get in stores. Yes there are a couple of mannequins but 99% of the time they are unrealistically thin and clothed in questionable outfits that do not fit my personal style. 



What I'm Wearing |Missy Empire Bardot Top, Topshop Jeans, Converse, Ray Ban Sunglasses, Topshop Backpack, H&M Earrings, Pull & Bear Belt

Online shopping opens up a wealth of new options that are not only competitively priced in comparison to the high street but often cheaper. But all this being said the high street still holds a special place in my heart. I still love going shopping, I just think the high street need to up their game and by that I don't just mean improving their website. We need a reason to put down own phones and computers and head out to the shops, otherwise they face being left behind.

Eleanor xx 

Where To Start Investing In Luxury Fashion

14 June 2017
While many of us have always dreamt of a luxury wardrobe the size of Carrie Bradshaw's, with every 'it girl' and blogger flaunting their Chloé bags and Gucci belts left, right and centre, many of us can't help but crave a slice of that luxury life. But what these Instagram pictures fail to mention is that, like Rome, these designer collections were not built in one day. These cultivated wardrobes often involved years of hard work, saving and careful planning, but they all had to start somewhere. So when every penny counts, how do you make the correct decision when it comes to investing in luxury fashion? 

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Start Small
It's not often that someone starts off their designer collection with a Chanel handbag so when first dipping your toes into the luxury market you may want to start small. Not only do small items like accessories cost less and therefore pose less risk, you are also more likely to get more cost per wear from an accessory than a dress. For example you can wear the same sunglasses hundreds of times without anyone batting an eyelid but if you wore the same dress a hundred times you face being called out Lizzie McGuire style for being an outfit repeater. 

SLG
Small leather goods (or SLG's as they are more commonly known) are items such as purses and card holders. Not only are they practical but they are also a more affordable way of accessing the top end of the luxury market. While I may not be able to afford a YSL handbag, I can afford a YSL card holder allowing me to taste what it's like to own something from Saint Laurent.

Take Your Time
When you are spending a lot of money it is important to take your time when making your decision. Give yourself a couple of months to decide if possible and then use this time to figure out how your new piece would fit into your wardrobe. Try to plan at least 20 different outfits that you could wear the item with before considering making the ultimate commitment of purchase.

Avoid Trend Pieces 
While that Chloé bag with the massive circular handle is hot right now, will you love it just as much next season when the next 'it bag' has come along? Try to avoid trend pieces as they not only lose their value quicker than classic bags, but it is also more likely that you will go off your purchase when the trends change. When building your collection start off by investing in classic styles (items that are part of the permanent collection) and colours (such as nude, tan or black).

Investigate Re-Sale Value
Even if you don't plan on selling your goods on, it is always good to know that your purchase will hold its value, just in case you change your mind. So do a bit of research on sites like Vestiaire Collective to see how well your purchase will hold it's value, because even though you love it know there may come a time when you want/need to sell it.

So there you have my main tips on what to consider when purchasing luxury goods, don't worry though if you know what you want to buy but need some tips on how to save for it as I have a couple of different budgeting posts that you may find handy. For example save money by never paying full price for anything ever again or take a look at my budgeting beginners post, where I explain how I monitor my spending to make the most out of my finances. With hard work and some careful decision making you will be one step closer to a wardrobe that would make even Barbie jealous.

Eleanor xx

Is The Ordinary Just Plain Ordinary?

20 May 2017
If I had to pick the most popular beauty brand of 2017 so far it would without a doubt be The Ordinary. With a waiting list of 25,000 people for their latest product, what is so special about a brand that claims to be so ordinary? Well I tried their High Adherence Silicone Primer to find out.

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I first heard about The Ordinary's High Adherence Silicone Primer when Wayne Goss mentioned it in a video. I love Wayne and his videos so when he was raving about these primers that were under £6, I had to try them! I'd also heard other bloggers mention The Ordinary's skincare which intrigued me but seeing as I was out of a primer I decided to try that first. 

As previously mentioned The Ordinary currently sell two primers with one being aimed at oily skin (The High Adherence Silicone Primer) and the other for dry skin (The High Spreadability Fluid Primer). I would describe my skin as combination leaving me to choose between the two, but seeing as my pores appear quite visible at times and with my skin getting oiler as the weather warms up I decided upon the High Adherence Silicone Primer costing me only £4 from ASOS.

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The High Adherence Silicone Primer is described as a "matte, hydrating and blurring primer, for make-up that looks higher in definition and lasts for longer. It can also be used alone as a non-greasy hydrator that reduces the looks of pores and imperfections". Unlike other brands, there are no wild claims saying that it will make me look 10 years younger or like a photoshopped version of myself, and this is key to the Ordinary as a brand. While their names may sound like the product has come straight out of the lab and it takes a bit of research to understand what some of the products do, they cut back on excessive branding to offer low cost simple products. 

Yet despite their understated claims my expectations were still high, admittedly this is not the brands fault and merely a side effect of the excessive hype surrounding their products, but unfortunately this led to my disappointment. In terms of living up to it's claims I'd say it did minimise the appearance of my pores but not noticeably, as for the appearance of my makeup I'd say it wasn't really improved, if anything my makeup looked a bit patchy around slightly drier and acne prone areas of my face. Therefore if like myself you have combination skin I would recommend only applying the primer to the very oiliest areas of your face or alternatively opting for their other primer. 

If you have incredibly oily skin and struggle to get makeup to stay in place then this primer will probably work well for you but if you have even the slightest bit of dryness this product probably isn't the one for you. 
It is important to remember that just as the name of the brand suggests, this is a simple product with simple claims and will not revolutionise your makeup routine. At the end of the day, it is a silicone based primer and not all that different to other silicone based products such as the Nivea Men's After Shave Balm. I think this is definitely something I will bear in mind when trying more products from The Ordinary in the future.

Have you tried any products from The Ordinary? What should I try next?

Eleanor xx

The Practicalities Of Fashion

4 May 2017
Why is it that all of the trends I like and want to wear are always so unpractical? Whether it be the flared sleeves that make the simplest of everyday tasks impossible or backless and strappy tops that make it impossible to wear a bra but going braless is impractical in itself especially if you often find yourself running for the bus *guilty*

But the fact that women's fashion is notoriously uncomfortable and impractical is nothing new, if you look back through the history of fashion you will notice that there are no jogging bottoms or comfortable clothes in sight. Instead we women have been putting ourselves through the pain of fashion in the form of corsets and dresses so big that you need help fitting through a door frame since the 1800's. 

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What I'm Wearing | Boohoo Bodysuit, New Look Trousers (Similar), Adidas Stan Smith Trainers (Similar)

But comfort and practicality isn't what fashion is about otherwise we'd all go round wearing leggings and waterproof coats. Fashion is a form of art, a way of showing the world the person you are and the person you want to be. When I wear a backless bodysuit I feel sexy without showing too much skin or when I wear a bell sleeve off bardot top I feel fun and flirty. So while I may have difficulty knowing which bra to wear or doing up the poppers of a bodysuit, when I'm in my clothes I feel good and that's what really matters.

Eleanor xx

Have Courage And Be Kind

25 April 2017
Now if you follow even just one blogger on Twitter I'm sure you will have heard about all of the drama within the community recently. With some announcing that they were going to 'out' those, or those who they suspected, had been using bots and buying followers to grow their accounts, Twitter turned into a virtual version of Mean Girls with Social Blade as their virtual burn book. Now I'm not going to go into the rights and wrongs of all of this drama (for my personal opinion on fake Instagram followings you can read this post that I wrote a few weeks back) but people got hurt. I saw new sides to girls that I thought were all sweetness and light. Friends were exposed as frenemies.

With challenges like this facing us, I still like to believe that there is still some heart left within the community and that the support and kindness that I first felt when I started blogging, never in fact left. But more importantly I want to do everything I can to make sure it stays.

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It's a pretty well known fact that we brits are awful when it comes to taking and receiving compliments. We've nailed queuing, apologising and small talk about the weather but there is something about compliments that just gets us all in a fluster. It is this awkwardness around receiving compliments that I think also holds us back from giving them, not to mention we want to avoid coming across too keen. 

But the funny thing is, if I ever receive a compliment, I don't often think that the person giving the compliment is weird or a bit keen. In fact when someone goes out of their way to compliment me, especially in relation to my blog, it means so much more to me than I could ever describe. 

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What I'm Wearing | New Look Hat, Boohoo Dress, Coach Bag, Office Boots

Sometimes finding the motivation to blog can be hard and occasionally I find myself questioning why I do it. But every time I find myself questioning why I continue blogging, someone comes along and gives me that boost that I need. For example only a few weeks ago I was invited to a job interview and despite declining to attend, the recruiter for the company still messaged me saying that they thought my blog was excellent and they wished me all the best. Or even less than a week ago when a fellow blogger regrammed one of my Instagram posts saying that I inspired her and many others also commented similarly lovely things. 

These things and other acts of kindness I have received over the years may seem like small gestures but they mean the world to me. They make me feel proud, inspired and honestly a bit emotional in so many different ways. They remind me of the powerful impact that a simple act of kindness can have upon a person. So if I can make someone feel like that by giving them a compliment or by providing support, kindness and friendship, then I will strive to do so in anyway that I can. It may feel awkward at first but hopefully the more kindness we spread the more it will become a natural part of our generations culture.

Eleanor xx

Last Minute Mother's Day Gift Guide

24 March 2017
As you may know on Sunday the 26th of March (this Sunday) it is Mother's Day! If you didn't know or completely forgot, and are now panicking about what to get your lovely Mum this weekend there is no need to worry. I've got four fail safe gift ideas that are not only easy to get your hands on but your mum is bound to love. What to know more? Then keep reading...

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Liz Earle, The, Power, of, three, gift, set, spring, cleanse, and, polish, hot, cloth, cleanser, mothers, day, guide, beauty, blogger, uk

Beauty Gift Set
Now I'd always recommend a beauty gift set for any lady in your life who loves to be pampered but one brand that has perfected the art of gifting this Mother's Day is Liz Earle. Luxury beauty brand Liz Earle is probably best known for their award winning Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, a product that forms the foundation of all three of their Spring gift sets: The Power of 3, The Glow Getter and The Wake Up Wonder Kit. Ranging in price from £19 - £45, they are great value (considering the Hot Cloth Cleanser on it's own costs £15.50), elegantly packaged and readily available from Boots and John Lewis.

Printed Photographs
With most photographs being taken on smart phones these days, it's easy to forget about the joy of receiving printed photographs as a present, so why not print out some of your mum's favourite photographs for her present this year. Whether it be of her, her friends, family, children or grandchildren she is sure to get emotional while flicking through these memories. This is something my boyfriend has done for his mum the past few years and the Mother's Day Box from Cheerz is always a winner (for a more in depth review of Cheerz check out this post). Alternatively most large supermarkets can print photographs at very affordable prices.

Spa Treatment
Now I don't know about your mum but mine is a very busy women. My mum is constantly on her feet, rushing about and often doesn't get the time to relax, so when it comes to presents we often pay for her to go and have a massage. A spa or beauty treatment gives your mum time to herself to properly relax, and while it may not be something that she thought she wanted, afterwards she will soon realise that it was something she needed. One place my mum enjoyed going for a massage was Neal's Yard, which before her friend recommended it, I didn't even realise did treatments. Check out their website or pop into your local store to see what treatments they offer near you.

Flowers
Now of course it wouldn't be a Mother's Day Gift Guide without the suggesting flowers as a present. Flowers is a great present for any budget as you can spend anything from £2 to £50 for some flowers, for example the bunch of roses in the photo above were just over £2 from Lidl but still look beautiful once they've been put in a vase. If you're looking to spend a little bit more or are unlucky and are not able to see your mum on Mother's Day like myself, then flower delivery service Bloom & Wild may be the perfect solution. Ordered online and posted through your letter box, Bloom & Wild deliver beautiful bouquets that are a lot more modern, on trend and convenient than other flower delivery services, making this present a little bit different to your usual bunch of flowers.

Whatever you get your mum this mothers day whether it be flowers or photos, remember to tell her how much you love and appreciate her, because as cheesy as it is, hearing that will mean just as much, if not more, than anything you could ever buy her.

Eleanor xx

Living With Eczema

8 March 2017
Dermatitis or as it's more commonly known as Eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin that affects 1 in 12 adults in the UK*, including myself. 
While my mother had mentioned that I suffered from Eczema as a baby I didn't really think much of it until last September when I started suffering from the condition again for the first time in 18 years. Now before I go on, I must make it clear that I'm not trying to be dramatic. Eczema is not particularly life threatening and mine is a lot less severe in comparison with others also suffering from the condition but that does not mean that it hasn't had a significant impact on my confidence and life in general.

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I first started to notice the change in my skin when I found the skin on my right ring finger becoming increasingly red compared to the rest of the skin on my hand. Thinking I'd had an allergic reaction to something, I went about my day thinking that in its own time the redness would disappear but as time went on my skin only got worse. The skin on my finger became redder, dryer and itchier and no matter how much I moisturised my hands, the skin on that one finger was always flakey. The longer I left it, the more the eczema started to affect other parts of my body; the skin on my chest and around my eyes (including my eyelids). 

With the itchiness becoming unbearable and the dry skin around my eyes making my makeup hard to apply, I took a trip to the doctors where I was prescribed some 1% Hydrocortisone Cream and told to apply it in the morning and evening for up to a week, moisturising heavily in between. "Finally!" I thought "my eczema will disappear" and while it did get a lot better, it returned less than 2 weeks later. Hydrocortisone Cream is great if used for a short period of time but if it's used for long periods it can thin the skin or cause acne and rosacea among other issues. With the skin around your eyes being thin and very sensitive (and this being one of the areas I needed to use it) I was very cautious to not over use the cream or use it for long periods of time, but if my eczema does flare up really bad I will occasionally use it.



A few weeks after my failed trip to the doctors, my eczema spread even further to patches on my shoulders and in the crooks of my arms. The more it spread the more noticeable it became. I felt self conscious wearing tops that showed my arms and chest as if my skin wasn't bright red, my fake tan has stuck to the dry skin and gone patchy. I found myself covering up more but there were still patches that I couldn't hide. People would ask "what's wrong with your finger?" gesturing to my inflamed red ring finger, to which I'd have to explain my eczema and brush it off like it was nothing when in reality I'd wake up in the night itching.

As for triggers my main suspicion is that my eczema is caused by mould and damp in our university house. My eczema started when we moved in and if I go away for the weekend, my eczema significantly improves while I'm away from the house, which I don't think is a coincidence. Unfortunately despite all of our best efforts to get rid of the mould we still have mould growing in the living room. The cause of the mould is being investigated by our housing company but until we can get rid of the mould there is not much else I can do.



Through the use of lots of Oilatum moisturiser, antihistamines and occasionally hydrocortisone cream I can manage my eczema but still some days are worse than others. I sometimes still feel self conscious when my eczema is at it's worst but with gorgeous and courageous women like Winnie Harlow raising awareness of skin conditions, I feel less alone knowing that it's okay for your skin to not be conventionally 'perfect'.

While my story does not have a completely perfect ending yet, I wanted to share my story so far, to let people going through the same thing know that you are not alone. Eventually it will get better even if you cannot completely get rid of your eczema, you will find ways to live with it. I'd love to hear your stories and if you have any product recommendations then leave them down below in the comments!

Eleanor xx

The Frustration of Fakeness

1 March 2017
If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that back in April of last year I faced the decision of whether to start a new instagram account, specifically dedicated to my blog. After a twitter poll and a list of positives and negatives, I started my new account but this meant starting from scratch. I had zero followers and wanted to grow quickly to catch up with similar bloggers whose accounts were 3 or 4 years old but at no point did it cross my mind to buy fake followers.

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Now nearly 10 months down the line and with 1370 loyal followers to my name, I am starting to realise that many others have chosen not to genuinely grow their account like myself, and I'm not the only one who has started to notice it. Most days I will see fellow bloggers complaining on Twitter about the frustration with high profile instagramers with large numbers of fake followers and low engagement. This is not out of jealously of their 'large' following but out of despair that PR's are sending working their way. 

Blogger Laurzrah shared on twitter her findings after she investigated how easy it really is to buy fake followers. According to her tweets, it costs about £10 for 1000 followers, to which another user responded with a screen shot of a website stating how safe and easy it was to buy followers with no repercussions. With figures like these it is no wonder many are tempted to buy the amount of followers that it's taken me nearly a year to build up, in just a matter of minutes. But just because it is tempting does not mean that it is right.




Now it is quite easy to spot an account with a large proportion of fake followers. Often I will see people with 10 times the number of 'followers' that I have but receiving similar amounts of engagement, with photos averaging around 350 likes. Yet because they have a lot of 'followers', they have brands left, right and centre wanting to work with them. Now this post is not about wanting more brands to work with me, as I understand that my account is very much in its infancy stages but instead my confusion as to why brands will work with bloggers often knowing that the majority of their following is fake?

Perhaps it's down to the fact that social media is still a relatively new concept in terms of marketing. A lot of people working higher up in marketing at brands may be of a slightly older generation and are hence may be still getting to grips with social media while to us millennials it comes naturally. Perhaps many do not realise that likes and comments are just as important as followers and instead ask their PR's to find bloggers who meet certain criteria in terms of followers but not engagement. With PR's being under huge amounts of pressure they may not have the time to check accounts for fake followers or perhaps simply do not care. 


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But at the end of the day, businesses are the one's who are losing out on their investment. They're paying and sending products to bloggers with a 20k following, hoping to get that following to engage with their brand. But when only 2000 of those 20,000 people are real, then only a third of those people are engaging with the account and even less than that will go on to engage with the brand, brands are not getting a very good return on investment.

Not to mention it seriously damages bloggers motivation. What's the point of me working hard to build a genuine following when Sally over there is buying followers and getting praise for doing nothing?



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What I Am Wearing | Missguided Jumper, Boohoo Shirt, Topshop Jacket (Similar), Topshop Jeans, Coach Nolita Bag, Adidas Superstars

All I hope is that Instagram does another big clear out of all of these fake accounts and these people are put back to square one. I also hope that PR's start to realise that fake followers do nothing for their business and start to work with bloggers based on levels of engagement. Until then I shall keep struggling on and being honest, knowing that I have never cheated my way to success.

Eleanor xx

My Fake Tanning Routine

8 February 2017
When I mention to people that I regularly fake tan I normally hear some comments along the line of "Why don't you just go out in the sun and get a natural tan?" or "But doesn't it make you really orange like the people in TOWIE?" When you have naturally pale skin like me, getting a real tan just never happens, instead I just get freckles or burnt. While this can be annoying I don't hate my naturally pale skin. In fact I think that pale skin can look beautiful. But I just think I look a little bit ill and washed out when I'm pale, and I find myself saying "this outfit will look so much better when I'm tanned". In general, I just feel more myself and more confident with a bit of fake tan on. 

So to maintain a glow I will typically tan every 5-7 days, letting my fake tan gradually fade but topping up it up sooner if I have an event to go to. Tanning this often I would say I have got my routine down to a T, so I thought that I would share it with you today.


Now I try not to over complicate my routine, as tanning on its own can be enough of a chore without hundreds of other steps. So there are only a few products I use over a few key steps. Depending on how much time I have, I start off by having either a shower or a bath. Personally I prefer having a bath as I find it not only relaxing but also easier to shave, exfoliate and moisturise. 
Even if I don't have any old tan left of my skin I will always start off by exfoliating my skin using a pair of exfoliating gloves. I have tried lots of different exfoliating products and while many are great at making my skin feel smooth, nothing gets rid of my old patchy tan like giving my skin a good scrub with my £1 Primark exfoliating gloves. 

The next step in my routine is to shave, now of course you can skip this step if you don't shave or use a different hair removal method instead, but not only do I find shaving the easiest hair removal method but it's also great for getting off any last stubborn patches of tan.

Now that my skin is all smooth and even I like to add moisture back into my skin using Ro's Argan Body Conditioner from Lush. While I know this is one of Lush's more expensive products at £16.50, it has honestly revolutionised my tanning routine. Basically you use it as you would a hair conditioner but instead on your body, by massaging it into wet skin and then simply rinsing it off. 
It leaves my skin feeling just as moisturised, if not more than a normal body lotion but without that awkward sticky period where you have to wait around for it to sink in before you can get on with your day. As Ro's Argan Body Conditioner doesn't leave any sort of tacky residue on your skin it makes it perfect to use on the day that you plan to fake tan because your fake tan isn't going to cling to any patches. Instead your skin will feel soft and smooth and your fake tan will just glide on like a dream.


As for what fake tan I actually use, my favourite brand at the moment has to be Bondi Sands. Bondi Sands is a mid range tanning brand priced around the £10-£15 mark but I regularly find it on offer for even cheaper. It is easily available in Boots and Superdrug and they have a good range of products from in various shades. The tan I always use is their Self Tanning Foam in Dark (though it now comes in ultra dark which I am really excited to try) as I find it easy to apply, it doesn't go streaky and fades evenly. The only issue I have with it is that it stains before you wash it off and takes a while to develop but this is typical with most fake tans. Usually I sleep with it on and wear either a onesie or change my bed to black sheets to counteract these minor issues. 


The rest of my routine is pretty self explanatory, I apply the tan all over my body using a tanning mitt, go to sleep and then quickly wash it off in the shower in the morning and then moisturise using a regular body lotion once I'm out of the shower, before repeating the whole process again in about a weeks time. As for tips one thing I suggest is to always brush your teeth and go to the toilet before you put on the tan and then go straight to bed, otherwise you risk water splashing on you and ruining your tan or staining the white toilet seat, though if you want more I've written a whole post about it.

Do you have any holy grail products or tips that make your tanning routine a lot easier?

Eleanor xx