Monday, 18 February 2019

Using Retinol Toner & Glycolic Acid Together

Using Retinol Toner and Glycolic Acid Together ItsHollieAnn
Almost a year ago, I wrote a post talking about how I had finally got around to trying Pixi glycolic acid and why it was working wonders for my skin. Since then, aside from a few trial and error products, my skincare routine hasn't changed. That is until recently when I introduced a retinol toner. 

I'd heard lots about retinoil in cream, serum and toner form but after doing some reading, I started to wonder if they would be safe to use alongside my glycolic acid preferably without having my face melt away. After a lengthy internet search I finally found some useful information and so I thought I'd share in case you were wondering the same thing.

WHAT IS RETINOL?

Retinol is an over-the-counter form of Vitamin A. It's said to be a multi-tasker that can increase firmness and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing cell production. Bonus, it can also help tackle uneven skin-tone - Hallelujah. It should be applied at night and you should always consider using a suncream to protect your skin. Like most products, it shouldn't be used on broken or sensitive skin as it can cause eczema, dryness and flaking. Think of retinol as helping what's underneath the skins surface.

WHAT IS GLYCOLIC ACID?

Glycolic acid is a fruit acid exfoliator. It's said to unclog pores and remove the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal fresh and glowing skin. Bonus, it can also help with discolouration, scarring and, like retinol, it can also assist with fine lines and wrinkles. I experienced some minor irritation when I first started using the product but after a week of incorporating it into my nightly skincare routine, it soon went away. Unlike retinol, glycolic acid helps the skins surface as oppose to what's underneath. 

CAN THEY BE USED TOGETHER?

Honestly, it depends who you ask. Every skincare expert has a different opinion on whether they should or shouldn't be combined. In my opinion, do your research and take note of the facts. Depending on your skin type is going to depend on whether it will cause excessive dryness so it's all about listening to your skin and stepping up your moisturiser if it's a problem. 

HOW DO I LIKE TO USE THEM?

Because of factors like increased dryness, I rotate them within my routine. I use my glycolic acid each night and now that my skin is used to it, I've started to introduce the retinol one night, in place of it. I do notice increased dryness the night of and day after I use retinol but I just ensure I keep on top of moisturiser and sometimes add a hyaluronic acid for extra hydration if  necessary. I absolutely love incorporating both of these products into my skincare routine because they benefit my skin in different ways - I wouldn't be without either of them. It's all about listening to what your skin is telling you and adjusting your products accordingly.
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Do you use either of these products? If so, what are your thoughts? If not, what products in your skincare routine could you absolutely not live without?

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Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Wedding Chat: Questions To Ask When Marrying Abroad

6 Questions To Ask When Deciding To Get Married Abroad
When the time came to start planning our wedding, we already knew that we wanted to get married abroad. Despite being engaged for a little under two months, we've always talked about planning a destination wedding and knew exactly where we we'd have it. As much as planning a destination wedding has been fun, I wanted to run you through 6 questions it's good to ask yourself when planning our own wedding abroad.

HOW WILL YOU SELECT THE RIGHT DESTINATION?

First and foremost, as a couple, you need to ask yourself where you want to get married. Do you want a destination that you both know and love, or somewhere new and unknown? If you're inviting guests, it is a destination that can cater for their needs ie. Older relatives or those with children? And, most importantly, what is the cost and are you able to plan from where you live?

We've had our hearts set on getting married in our chosen destination for quite some time so when it came a time to start planning, all that was left to do was choose the right venue. I searched Instagram and Pinterest looking for the perfect place and it was only after I came across our photographer that we found the perfect spot.

CAN YOU VISIT THE VENUE BEFOREHAND?

It isn't always best practice to book a wedding venue without seeing it but when planning a wedding abroad, visiting the place you want to get married isn't always an option. For us, it isn't really necessary to visit our venue beforehand but with regards to hotels, certainly if you've never visited before, it would be an absolute bonus to see it first, to check everything is as you'd like it.

CAN YOUR GUESTS MAKE IT TO THE CEREMONY?

It goes without saying that when choosing to get married abroad, you have to be prepared for people that can't make it. The majority of the time it may be down to financial or work commitments and so there may be a few people that can't attend. If you're intending to invite lots of friends and family, I'd suggest setting a date far enough in advance so that your nearest and dearest can plan ahead. 

With regards to our wedding, having guests at our ceremony isn’t something we ever considered. We always knew that we wanted to get married alone and celebrate with friends and family when we return home.

WILL YOU NEED A WEDDING PLANNER?

It's worth asking yourself if it's worth your time and money to hire a wedding planner to assist you. It's not for everyone but in our experience, with being in a different time zone, it's been an absolute godsend to have a wedding planner as part of our team. She's coordinating everything from officiants to transport, flowers and logistics - Things that would likely have me tearing my hair out, trying to organise from thousands of miles away. 

HOW WILL YOU FIND THE RIGHT VENDORS?

This can be tricky but trust me, it's worth doing your research. I was lucky enough to find our photographer on Instagram who then put us in touch with a wedding planner but it's worth considering if you'll need to source vendors yourself, or whether this is something your chosen venue or wedding planner can help with. Think flowers, caterers, photographers, officiants, DJs. Everything. 

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS?

Last but by absolutely no means least, it's important to gather information on the legal requirements of getting married in your chosen country. A quick search on Gov.uk will bring up everything you need to marry  in different countries around the world and it's always worth checking local government websites too just in case there's anything else they suggest. The majority of countries will look for a passport with six months remaining, a birth certificate or other form of ID, local licences and sometimes, complete days spent in the country or resort before marrying. 
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Are you thinking or marrying abroad or have you done it in the past? I'd love to hear your thpughts and any tips you can recommend.

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Monday, 4 February 2019

Things I Consider When Booking Flights & Accommodation

Things I Consider When Booking Flights & Accommodation | ItsHollieAnn
Booking a trip generally goes one of two ways; Everything is plain sailing and quick or it's a long and stressful process with what seems like no solution. The majority of the time, I sit right in the middle. 

In my house, I do all of the planning and booking. My fiance and I will of course choose a destination together but then I step in to select hotels, flights, dates and visas, insurance and transport - You name it, I do it. In all honestly, it's something I've come to love. I tend to know what to research, where to find it and how to plan. Sometimes, I manage to lean to the 'plain sailing' end of the scale. 

Since we have our wedding trip coming up and because I've just finished planning our honeymoons, I wanted to touch upon the things I consider when booking flights and accommodation, no matter where the destination. 

FLIGHTS

Weather A big factor that comes into play, before even booking flights and accommodation, is the weather. I don't tend to hope for any weather in particular but I like to be prepared. I like to know whether it will be hot or cold, in season or out because that will also depend on whether the destination will busy or not - Think Santorini in high season vs out. 

Time of Day When booking flights, I generally try to arrive at my destination earlier and leave later. If I'm travelling short haul, I start by searching for flights that will get me to my destination before midday local time - This way, I can still have the afternoon and evening to explore. Similarly, I'll look for flights home taking off in the early evening so I can make the most of the morning and afternoon. If I'm travelling long haul, I like to arrive at my destination in mid-afternoon local time so that I can shower, grab a bite to eat and then head to bed - This helps me to adjust to the timezone a little easier. When selecting flights home, I opt for a flight that will get me back to the UK early in the morning so I can treat my flight home like my night sleep, waking up fresh on GMT. 

Connections Something I consider, especially when travelling long haul, is whether making a connection is beneficial. Sometimes, it can bring the cost of a plane ticket down dramatically but on the other hand, it can also increase travel time and add extra stress to your journey. If I do choose to make a connection, I always check how long that connection takes. The average time from terminal 3 to 5 in Heathrow is an hour and a half - Something to consider when booking an onward flight. On top of this, I consider whether I have to wait at passport control before making a connection, something I spent almost two hours doing in Philadelphia last year. 

Airline Think of this what you will but I always research a new airline before flying with them. It goes without saying that the likes of British Airways and Virgin are well known but I recently looked into a Spanish airline that had over 10 incidents in 2018. It's not about 'accident factor' and you might be surprised to learn that I don't have a fear of flying. Aviation is just something that interests me greatly so its something I tend to take a look at, just out of my own interest. 

ACCOMMODATION 

Location First and foremost I consider where I want to stay. Depending on the destination, I like to pick accommodation relatively close to things I want to see and do but also somewhere that's well connected so we have the flexibility to explore further afield with ease. I consider things like public transport links, whether Uber/Lyft is available and also the cost of using these options to go where we want to without incurring significantly extra costs if we're not able to travel on foot.

Reviews To be honest, I rarely read reviews. I look at the overall star rating but I tend to skip the individual reviews because people don't tend to leave good ones - It's a bad review or nothing at all. 

Amenities I don't base my choice on the amenities available but it's always handy to know whether there is a pool, tea and coffee in your room and whether there is an additional resort charge for these. I also like to find out when I can check in depending on the flights I've chosen  and if I can't check in when I arrive, I always check whether you can store luggage which, for the most part, is standard. 
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Booking trips isn't for everyone and of course, going to a Travel Agent can make the whole process a hell of a lot easier. These days, I prefer to do most of the work myself so I hope this helped if you're looking to do the same. I'd love to know what things you consider when booking flights, accommodation, trips, transport - Anything. Let me know!

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