Sunday, 24 June 2018

Styling Short Hair with L'Oreal Stylista

Styling Short Hair with L'Oreal Stylista
Believe it or not, I'm a hair care junkie. I've been around the aisles more times than I'd care to count, trying to find the best - and sometimes worst - products to tame my locks. I'd nailed a pretty good combination of shampoos and serums until very recently when I tried something new to me, the blunt bob. 

Whilst I've kept my shampoo, conditioner and dry shampoo staples the same, after the first chop, I ran into a bit of difficulty styling my new do. My hair sways more towards the straight and fine end of the spectrum so creating volume and texture was something I struggled with. The L'Oreal Fibrology Air range that I've used since January gave me a great head start but ultimately my dreams of creating that messy 'I woke up like this' look seemed a little hazy.

I rummaged through my hair drawer pulling everything that claimed it added 'texture', 'grip' and 'volume' but no matter what I tried, every product left my hair feeling pretty rank and like it needed washing the next day which, hello, I'm not a fan of. Naturally, L'Oreal's latest styling range had started cropping in both vlogs and on Instagram so, being the L'Oreal lover I am, I decided to give it a go.

The first product I test drove was The Big Hair Hairspray. I've always been a huge fan of light yet strong hairspray, especially ones with flexible hold, so this sounded right up my street. I'm happy to confirm that not only does it smell delightful but it does a bloody magnificent job of holding my hair while still giving me the chance to run my fingers through it if I need to. Up to now, I've not had any problems restyling the next day and if anything, it adds just enough texture to almost rework what you've done prior - Something I've always found incredibly helpful. After using it for over a month, it's undeniably a product I wouldn't be without, so much so that I actually fancy purchasing 20 cans to last me through the foreseeable future.

Since my #hairgoals mostly consisted of volumised beach waves, the second product I reached for was The Beach Wave Mist. I have to say, this is one of the finest salt sprays I've tried which basically means it doesn't leave your hair feeling gritty and horrid. It does, however, mean that you need to use just that little bit extra to achieve that really tousled beach look but that's a small price to pay so I'm all about it. 

According to the internet - though not always a reliable source - I found that the perfect way to get that 'I just rolled out of bed' look was to use some form of styling clay or putty. Since the one at the back of my hair drawer had well and truly dried up, I opted for The Pixie Cream which is a short hair styling wax. My hair probably isn't the desired length for a product like this but it comes in surprisingly useful for just picking out sections to give that extra 'I didn't brush my hair today' oomph. It's worth noting that I don't use this whilst my hair is straight because frankly it doesn't do an awful lot but with nice waved style, it adds the perfect finishing touch.

The most recent addition to my stash and one that I know I'll use a lot whilst I'm away is The Braid Milk. I was skeptical about this product at first after it claimed to 'Create grip' for none slip braids - I thought that was just a fancy way of saying it was going to make my hair  awfully sticky but, plot twist, that's definitely not the case. I'm not sure how it does it but this deliciously coconut scented cream some how just gives your hair a little.. something. It isn't sticky but smooths any stray hairs whilst still allowing a comb to run through with ease. It's going to be brilliant for my hair over the summer since braiding it is currently near impossible and though I initially thought it could be a little gimmicky, actually seems to work.

A post shared by Hollie Ann (@itshollieann_) on

After initially thinking cutting my hair was a huge mistake despite the lesser hair admin appeal, I'm now so happy that these products have made the whole job that little bit easier. Potentially, if my hair had a natural wave and lift it wouldn't be so challenging but having fine, straight hair really does suck when it comes to wanting that Kardashian like bob. 
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I'd love to know your thoughts on these products if you've tried them and what your favourite hair styling products are!

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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Do I Need A Five Year Plan?

Do I Need A Five Year Plan?
There's no denying the fact that there are trends online. Whether it's a trip to Positano or orange and teal edits guilty, there comes a time when a topic is all the all the rage. Lately, certainly on my online feeds, that topic of conversation is having  a five year plan. 

What is a five year plan said no one ever? Its pretty self explanatory - As the term suggests it consists of rounding up where you hope to be in five years time in terms of career, relationships, financially and other miscellaneous categories. This week, as I've been eagerly skimming through these posts online, I've began to wonder if I need a five year plan?

Truthfully, I'm not really a long term plan kind of gal. I struggle sticking with new years resolutions, haven't yet put my finger on where I want to take my career and the thought of waiting for years to achieve something really isn't for me. I'm impatient, don't judge.

At first after reading a couple of posts, I was quite envious that these girlbosses knew where they wanted to take their lives but gradually, I began to dwell on the fact that I didn't have one of these carefully thought out plans and that my path was very much unknown. I couldn't help but think, whilst there's absolutely nothing wrong with setting yourself goals, should we feel this pressure to try and map our lives out? I don't want to worry at my desk because I don't know what direction I want to take my career in or feel guilty for spending twenty quid on ASOS that could have gone into my savings.

Occasionally, the conversation comes up in real life and again, I find myself questioning 'Do I need a five year plan in order to feel like my life is together?' The answer of course is 'Absolutely not' but do I feel like I'm shunned when people ask me 'Where do you see yourself in five years time?' and I shrug then say 'Ooh I'm not really sure', absolutely yes.

There are of course, many sides to the debate. Some people don't believe in five year plans as we should 'always be striving for success'. V true. Others believe having set goals in mind provide motivation. Also true. No matter which way I look at it, I can see the pros and cons to both and I think we all should be able to do so, no matter which side of the fence we sit on. 

So, in short, I personally don't think I need a five year plan to motivate me for the next couple of years. If you do, brilliant, I'd love to know what direction you're heading in but please, don't turn your nose up at those who are happy with not knowing. 

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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

My Makeup History + Why I'm Changing My Habits

My beauty journey started when I was about 9 years old. I had a monthly subscription to Groovy Chick magazine and as soon as it came in, I begged my mum to let me run down to the newsagents after school only to discard it hours later in favour of playing with the freebies. As much as the blow up chair made me the best-thing-since-sliced-bread in the classroom, what I actually adored was the shimmer stick that came a few issues later. I thought I was the epitome of grown up, sporting that to every school outing and when the shimmer dust came a couple of weeks after, my 9 year old life felt complete. 

Fast forward 5 years and I was going to town with my friends on a Saturday afternoon. Armed with £5 in our pockets, we headed straight to the Beauty Box in our local market to spend every penny on whatever makeup we could find. Whilst my friends were busy buying foundation that didn't match their skin tone, I was falling in love with a chubby green eyeliner. In fact, I loved it so much, I repurchased it a further 4 times until I eventually realised I wasn't quite as cool as I'd hoped. 

By the time I was 16, I started to understand make up a little more. I had the makeup I'd wear to school which consisted of tinted moisturiser with a touch of mascara and the makeup I wore at the weekends which, from what I recall, was a very pale foundation, Collection eyeliner (still my fav) and 17's Hot Chilli lipstick. Bronzer had just come into our lives though nobody, especially the girls at school, knew how to use it effectively. At this point, my pocket money had increased to £10 and when I wasn't spending it on cheap alcopops or bus rides to Chester, I was spending it on makeup.

Gradually I was building up a few different products and as soon as I got my first job, that was it. Working every hour I could in the local bowling alley meant I was earning just under £100 a week throughout the summer which was unbelievable. I had enough money to do cool things with my friends and enough left over to treat myself to 3 for 2 in Boots whenever I was on my way to work. My collection started to grow and I begged my mum to buy me some plastic storage draws to house my new hobby - I divided the bottom one with cardboard and soon the face, eyes and lips sections were born. 

Soon enough, I reached 18 and was starting to frequent clubs with my friends. I often hosted my friends for predrinks - much to my parents dismay - and thrived, telling them  about my latest mascara find or which lashes would see them through tears and a kebab. A few months later, I moved in with my partner, grew up a little and began the attempt to organise my ever-growing  collection in our 2 bed apartment.

Then there's now. I'm 23 years old currently sat in my office come guest bedroom. I have a dressing room next door with an incredibly overcrowded dressing table and a tower of Ikea Alex draws that no doubt still house that Groovy Chick shimmer stick. My love for makeup and sharing my knowledge has continued tenfold but recently I had an epiphany. 

My goal with beauty products isn't to have the biggest collection or to recommend products to everyone under the sun. My goal is to find the products that work best for me and ultimately, the ones that make me feel good. You can follow along with my struggles in my latest beauty posts but as a brief round up I eventually want one of each go-to product and for that be my staple. Of course because of my blog and unhealthy habit of spending money, I'm always going to try new products but going forward, if I don't get on with them or they're not suitable for me I either want to donate them or give them away.

I know this is quite a long post and kudos if you're still with me but I had these thoughts came to mind after purchasing a few bits from Crayola Beauty. Whilst they were a lot of fun and undoubtedly nostalgic, they weren't actually that great. The Fuzzy Wuzzy Cheek & Lip Crayon is lovely but as for Mango Tango and the highlighter, I'm not in love. As I stashed them away in amongst years of expired and unused beauty products, I knew something had to change.
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What's your favourite beauty product from the past? Have you tried any of the Crayola Beauty bits? Would you pick them up or do you think they're just a gimmick?


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Sunday, 3 June 2018

5 Apps For Travelling + Why Social Media Comes In Handy

5 Apps I Use For Travelling + Why Social Media Comes In Handy
I don't often spend time on my phone when I travel. Of course, I'm partial to the odd Instagram story because hello this is 2018 but for the most part I only use my phone when I need to find something. That something could be anything from flight times to dinner spots, a taxi or a place to stay. With that being said, I thought I'd share my five go to apps for when I'm travelling.

Airline App Whenever my partner and I travel abroad, we tend to only keep our passport and phone on hand in the airport. We use the airline app to download our boarding pass so that they're on hand and we find it so helpful to have our flight information to hand. They also tend to include notifications of changes or delays which is a bonus. So far I've used the Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Thomson apps and they've all been great. 

Uber/Lyft Very self explanatory but I would always rather use Uber or Lyft than hail a taxi. They're reasonably priced and you can see a rough cost estimate beforehand. Plus, having all of the drivers information on hand makes me feel safer when I'm away from home and the ability to report issues directly to Uber/Lyft if there are any makes for a great experience. 

Location App Obviously this depends on what's available but most major cities seem to have some form of travel guide on the App Store. Whilst in Vegas, I like to use the Vegas.com app to get a feel for what's on in town but if I'm in London, I'll always download a tube app because no matter how many times I go, I'll never know which line to get on. 

Airbnb I mostly like to scout Airbnb before I travel to see get a feel for where to stay. So far I've only used it in Scotland but I couldn't believe how easy it was. I've got a tonne of saved properties which will come in handy for planning a big trip to the US or a little getaway to Spain. 

Instagram Since there's so much travel content online at the moment, Instagram can also be a great place to find places to eat/drink/take photos and even for inspiration before you book a trip. While in Las Vegas, I've found some incredible places through location tags and hashtags so it's well worth a look.

When looking for recommendations, I always turn to social media first over the likes of TripAdvisor. On my recent trip to Leeds, I asked on Twitter which bars people would recommend - Joe asked me a few quick questions and came back with the best suggestions and it was bloody great to firstly, go somewhere really cool and secondly, find somewhere that wouldn't have necessarily shown up on a quick Google Search. 
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What apps do you like to use when you travel? Are any of these on your list?

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