My Bathtime Routine

Winter really is the season of the bath. The nights are drawing in and the cold weather makes the idea of a warm, bubbly bath seem so much more tempting. It is time to break out the candles and face masks.

I am a big fan of the bath. Like lots of people, I find them a great way to relax on an evening and a good opportunity to do a little pampering. Another perhaps more unusual reason why I enjoy baths so much is that I can actually see what I’m doing! I am very, very shortsighted so being able to keep my glasses on is great and makes shaving my legs much easier and less precarious.

I would love to have slightly fancier bath and body stuff but, as PhD student, that isn’t really an option but you don’t need luxury products to get totally relaxed. In this post, I will chat all about my current winter bathtime routine.

bathtime routine products (2)

Ambiance

When it is bathtime, I like to make my bathroom a calm and relaxed place to be. I do a quick tidy up, get my towels all ready, and light a candle. This Oliver Bonas candle is in the Green Tea and Lotus Flower scent, which I love but warning – it can be overpowering in a small room.

Bubble Bath

Every bath needs some bubbles and my current bubble bath of choice is the Imperial Leather pearl rose and forget-me-not. Despite the name, this is not overly floral but the fragrance is pretty and doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin. This bath cream provides the bubbles and the luxurious bath time feeling we all want for only a couple of quid!

Face Mask

I am rubbish at remembering to use face masks so I find baths the perfect time to apply. I have very dry skin so I only use this L’Oréal pure clay detox mask on my T-zone. You don’t need to use much and it helps to keep my skin clear and blemish free.

Body Scrub

Honestly, I don’t really use body scrubs very often but this Scrub Love coffee scrub came in a recent BirchBox so I thought I’d give it a try. You don’t have to use it all at once as the pouch is re-sealable, which is useful. However, I don’t plan on using it again. It was incredibly messy and although it smelt nice (of coffee and orange oil) in the bath, it left my skin smelling like instant coffee all day long. Also, the scrub did not seem to improve the texture of my skin that much. So all in all – it is a pass.

bathtime routine lisabeth westwood

A Good Book

Whilst my face mask is doing its business, I like to relax with a book. I always have one on the go and I’m currently re-reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford Chronicles. Gaskell isn’t for everyone, as her books mainly focus on lower and middle class life in the North of England, but if you like nineteenth-century writers, like Jane Austen or the Brontës, give Gaskell a try.

bathtime routine cranford lisabeth westwood gaskell

After the bath

I won’t bore you with the details of my haircare or shaving routine. After my facemask is off and I’ve caught up with the goings on in Cranford, bathtime is over. My after-bath routine can be described in one word: moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.

I first use the Le Petit Marseillais’ body oil with shea butter, argan and sweet almond oil. This is a French highstreet brand that I love and always get my mum to stock up on when she goes away. I’ve been using their shower gels and handwashes for years! They all have such beautiful fragrances and feel much more expensive than they are. After the body oil, I slather myself in Aveeno shea butter body lotion: this stuff has worked wonders for my eczema and dry skin!

Once all this has sunk in, I’m relaxed and ready to snuggle up in my dressing gown with Netflix. I’m currently re-watching Call the Midwife with tissues at the ready! To me, that is really the perfect winter evening routine.

bathtime routine lisabeth westwood

*links are for information only.*

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November Favourites and Highlights

November isn’t actually over year but I have had such a good month that I wanted to talk about it now! Here’s a run down of my highlights and favourites from this month.

Crisp morning walks

Lisabeth Westwood winter woods chilly

I love this time of year: it is getting chilly but too cold, the mornings are still light, and I can walk to work not completely bundled up in scarves and hats. I live a few miles from my university and I’m loving my morning walks at the moment. I get wrapped up, stick on a podcast (current favourites are Crtl Alt Delete and No Such Thing as a Fish), and set off to work. I love the crisp, fresh air and I often make a slight detour to walk through the park for that extra autumnal feeling.

Bourgois Rouge Velvet Lipstick

Bourgois lipstick

Lipsticks. There are just so many out there and most don’t live up to the hype. However, I have been loving the combination of this Rouge Velvet lipstick (03 Hippink chic) and the BarryM lipliner in Runway. It is really longlasting, i.e. it doesn’t leave you with that horrible lipstick ring round your mouth after one sip of coffee. I love this colour – I’ve really been channeling my inner Alicia Florrick (another November favourite, I watched ALL of the Good Wife recently).

I’m going to New York!

I’m so excited for this one! I have wanted to go to New York for as long as I can remember. As a child of the 90s, Friends and the like made NYC look like the place to be. I was lucky to win an academic prize that will fund a research trip to the Big Apple in March. It won’t be all fun but I’m really looking forward to planning my stay. I have the hotel booked (I’m staying at the AKA Wall Street and it looks so fancy), next is flights!

Teaching

I won’t sugarcoat it, teaching is hard and I only have a few seminar groups a week. I’m so impressed for all those primary and secondary school teachers out there, it is so much work! Despite all that work and marking, I have loved teaching this year. My students are so nice and seem to be engaged with the subject, the latter is really all that I’m interested in. The extra money has definitely come in handy this month too as Christmas is fast approaching.

L’Occitane Shea Handcream

Birchbox handcream Lisabeth Westwood L'Occitane

I mentioned this handcream in my review of the November Birchbox and I have really been enjoying it. I get very dry skin in winter and my skin has been loving this cream – it is so rich and moisturising. It is the perfect size for on the go but I have mine on my desk. I think I even prefer it to the Body Shop hemp handcream and that has been my favourite for years!

 

My First Impressions: BirchBox X Vogue

I recently subscribed to the Birchbox. Each month you get a five beauty bits, makeup, skincare, and haircare to try for £10 per month: most of them are minis – but you get a decent sample size.

I have to be honest, I’m often a bit disappointed by the contents for example, in two of my recent boxes I got coffee scrubs (that I can’t use because of my eczema) and sometimes the makeup is in colours I’d never wear (shimmery dusky pink eyeshadow anyone?). BUT I was very happy when I opened the November box and I’m going to share my first impressions of the products below.

Birchbox Lisabeth Westwood

Seche Vite: Dry Fast Top Coat

Seche Vite Birchbox Lisabeth westwood

I had heard lots of things about this Seche Vite top coat. Lots of bloggers and YouTubers have raved about it so I was very excited when I got a full-size bottle in my Birchbox. I immediately got out my nail varnishes and went to town. Initially, I was impressed: my varnish dried really quickly and my nails looked pretty and shiny. However, less than 24 hours later, the varnish on one of my nails had flaked off entirely and now (3 days into wear), it looks absolutely terrible. Granted I have only tried it with one nail varnish so I will give it another go with a different brand but I was so disappointed.

Rating: 1/5

Benefit: Hoola

Benefit hoola birchbox Lisabeth Westwood

I have used Benefit’s Hoola before so this is less of a first impressions. It is a good-sized mini but the packaging isn’t great quality – the lid doesn’t stay closed – so I wouldn’t want to travel with it. I don’t wear bronzer very often but I love this one. It is matt, a nice neutral colour (no scary orange bronzer here!), and has great wear time. I’m excited to start bronzing up my very pale face again this winter.

Rating: 3/5 (would have been 4/5 but the packaging let it down).

Percy & Reed: Smooth, Sealed & Sensational Hair Oil

Birchbox Percy & Reed hair oil Lisabeth Westwood

I have wavy/curly hair and use a hair oil everytime I shower as otherwise my hair would be frizz-central. I gave this a whirl yesterday and I was very happy with the results. It smells great and left my hair soft, frizz-free, and didn’t make my roots oily.  I’m excited to add this product into my haircare routine and, as you only use a few drops each time, this mini should last me ages. I’d definitely invest in the full-size.

Rating:5/5

Birchbox: Brush Cleaner

Birchbox brush cleaner Lisabeth Westwood

I don’t know about you but cleaning my brushes is a task I absolutely hate. It takes ages and you end up covered in eyeshadow and goop. Therefore, I was keen to give this brush cleaner a go – anything that will make it quicker to clean my brushes so that I can go do something more fun. It worked really well, especially with eyeshadow brushes. You just spray a little brush cleaner on the brush and swirl it around on silicone pad. Easy and clean to use, it has changed my brush cleaning life.

Rating: 5/5

L’Occitane en Provence: Shea Butter Hand Cream

Birchbox handcream Lisabeth Westwood L'Occitane

This handcream is the perfect addition to your handbag. It is small but a little of the cream goes a long way. As it has shea butter in it, it is a very thick, nourishing cream so it is great for winter when your skin gets dry and uncomfortable. As I mentioned earlier, I have eczema but this didn’t irritate my skin and the fragrance is subtle.

Rating: 4/5

 

Unpopular Book Opinions

I just logged back onto my Lisabeth Westwood Twitter account for the first time in a year! I had a few notifications from people who might not have realised that my blog was on a hiatus. Back in January, I was tagged for this post by Lydia Wilkins and actually wanted to do the tag – even if it was 10 months late!!

What is a popular book or series that you didn’t like? 

The Harry Potter series. I’m 27 so was the perfect age for the Harry Potter series when it came out in 1997 and I did read – and enjoy – the first four books. My favourite was the Prisoner of Azkaban. But the fifth one was just so BORING. I got the book for my 13th birthday and couldn’t get past the first 100 pages. I had completely stopped caring about Harry – honestly, I found him pretty irritating. I just didn’t really get the hype.

A book or series that you love but everyone seems to hate?

I wouldn’t say people hate her work but people make fun of me for reading Penny Vincenzi novels. She writes these huge novels following the lives of different women. They are my perfect holiday read – especially Forbidden Places, which is set in World War II and I must have read it over ten times. Such a guilty pleasure.

A love triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did not want them to end up with, or an OTP you didn’t like?

Hmmmmm. The one that came straight to mind was Bella and Edward from the Twilight series. I was talking about this last night actually! Maybe it was just that the character development wasn’t particularly strong but the fascination with Edward never made sense to me.

A popular genre you hardly reach for?

Crime? I did like the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo triology as I though Lisbeth Salander was a really interesting character (great name too!). Other than that, I have zero interest in reading about murders and dectectives.

A popular or beloved character that you did not like?

The Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes.

A popular book trope that you are tired of seeing?

The whole girl meets bad boy and falls in love but gets hurt. Then she realises that her one true love is her sweet, shy best guy friend (who has – of course – been secretly in love with her since they met).

A popular series that you have no interest in reading?

Game of Thrones. I tried and failed to read the first one. I feel the same about the TV series too – there’s too much drama. It also gives out the wrong impression about the Middle Ages: it wasn’t an inherently violent period.

What film did you prefer to the book?

Trainspotting! I read the book when I was seventeen and travelling to a university interview. Irvine Welsh is a great writer and I’ve got a lot of his books but the Danny Boyle film is so so good. Ewen McGregor plays Renton perfectly and the soundtrack is excellent.

My Lazy Saturday and the Three Best Cafés

I like nothing better than spending a lazy Saturday drinking coffee and eating delicious food at coffee shops.

I’m lucky that there are some lovely independent cafés in my local area. Love Rouge Bakery, The Bowery, and Whites are all on the same street and all serve great food and great coffee in a relaxed environment.

Love Rouge Bakery @LoveRougeBakery

51 Otley Rd, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3AB

Lisabeth Westwood Love Rouge cafeAs the name suggests this café bakes wonderful cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and more for your delight. They also make cakes and cupcakes to order for special occasions. I go there a lot for the cake: there are a HUGE range of cupcake flavours and always a layered cake or two. But today I headed there for breakfast and it was oh so good.

I have a sweet tooth (their maple syrup and bacon pancakes are delish) but today I went for savoury waffles, poached eggs, veggie sausage, and a little dressed salad. fullsizerenderI love to go there on a weekday afternoon and settle down in one of their comfy leather sofas with a book, slice of cake, and a flat white. It has a really chilled vibe and the staff are lovely. Their hot chocolates are great to take-away on a cold, winter morning.Lisabeth Westwood love rouge cupcake

The Bowery, @theboweryarts

54 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 2AL

Lisabeth Westwood Bowery cafeThis is such a gem. It houses a gallery, shop, and a coffee shop that does lovely lunches. They even run short courses and workshops on creative writing, sewing, and drawing, amongst others.

It is a quiet and relaxed café with the best coffee in Headingley and some amazing sandwiches. The manchego and chorizo focaccia sandwich is to die for – I wish I had a photo but I always eat it as soon as it arrives.Lisabeth Westwood bowery cafeI love to buy the Sunday paper and spend a long afternoon reading and drinking so much coffee. Their range of cakes isn’t that extensive so if you want a sweet treat, then I’d recommend the Bakery instead.

Whites, @whitescafebar

9 Otley Rd, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 2UJ

Lisabeth Westwood whitesThis coffee shop/restaurant/bar is cool and is always full with such a diverse clientele. They host regular events and gigs in the evenings but their lunches are a great shout.

Their Eggs Benedict is delicious with the perfect poached eggs and their coffee is pretty decent too! I like to come here after work for a beer or a glass of wine to relax after a long day surrounded by lots of people meeting up with friends…or going on dates (they are always fun to watch!).

I’m slowly making my way through all the cafés in Leeds. Let me know if you have any amazing coffee shop recommendations for me to visit!

Perfect Products for Dry Skin

I’m forever searching for an amazing moisturiser. I have eczema so my skin is always so dry and it is difficult to find products that really hydrate.

I went shopping recently and ended up buying some bits from Boots and Superdrug and the products I got were SO GOOD! My skin hasn’t felt this soft or looked this hydrated since I was teenager!

 Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream

neutrogena-hydrating-gel-cream

This product is quite new to the market. I was a bit sceptical at first that Neutrogena would do good moisturiser as I associate the brand with spot treatments. Boy was I wrong! There are two versions of this cream and I got the one for dry skin. The ingredients include hyaluronic acid which helps to hydrate the skin and it does exactly that. My dry and flaky skin is gone with smooth, soft skin in its place. It is definitely more of a gel texture than a cream and I love it. £12.99

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum

bourjois-healthy-mix-serum

This foundation has been recommended by so many beauty bloggers: Ruth Crilly did a great video about budget foundations and I thought that I had to try it.

I used to use Bourgois foundations when I was in my second year of university but I wore the lightest shade which was NOT a good look. It is such a hydrating formula and it stays put so much longer than my MAC Studio Fix (at least 6 hours without touch ups).

It is such a dewy formula but doesn’t make you look super oily. I can’t imagine using anything else!

£9.99

 Botanics Triple Age Renewal Firming Night Cream and Hydrating Eye Cream

I have always enjoyed the Botanics products: they are reasonably priced, have a nice variety of sub-ranges for different skin types, and the moisturisers are always top quality. I went for the anti-ageing option because I’m 26 and my skin is showing signs of ageing (so so sad but you can’t avoid it!).

I have never used a designated night cream before and this is so rich but without clogging your pores. The eye cream is similarly great, it is very moisturising, and it plumps up those fine lines.

Night Cream: £4.49 Eye Cream: £4.99

 Optimum PhytoCellTec Intensive Protecting Serum

phytocelltec-serum

I saw this serum in the clearance section of Superdrug and it was only £1.30.

I wasn’t going to let a bargain like that pass me by and I really like this product. It has a thick consistency but it sinks in to the skin quickly and it provides a good base for make up.

I haven’t used it for long enough to see if it has any anti-ageing properties but I will definitely repurchase.

£1.30

Subscribe to These Podcasts!

Who doesn’t love a good podcast?

I spend a lot of time walking to and from university so I get through a lot of podcasts and radio shows. So I have done the listening for you and here are my top two recommendations for podcasts that you must subscribe to!

These podcasts have been around for a while but this means that they have a good back-catalogue of podcasts for you to listen to.

My Dad Wrote a Porno

 http://www.mydadwroteaporno.com/

my dad wrote a porno podcast
Photo from the Evening Standard: http:/ow.ly/Fg7M303WSjR

Oh my god, this podcast is brilliant and hilarious. Jamie’s dad has written an erotic novel and he reads it out to his friends James Cooper and Alice Levine (a Radio 1 DJ). They read through the chapters and comment on the ridiculousness of the novel. It is the story of Belinda Blumenthal, a sales director who sleeps her way around the business world. It is NOT sexy. It is so so funny. The book doesn’t have a great grasp of the female anatomy and that often has hilarious consequences.

They are now on season 2 of the podcast. It comes out every Monday and they sometimes have an additional episode on a Thursday where they get guests in or chat about different aspects of the book.

Do NOT listen to this in public as you will burst out laughing and it will be embarrassing.

The Guilty Feminist

http://www.guiltyfeminist.com/

the guilty feminist podcast
Photo from http://www.nickfarrel.com

I am a feminist and I really enjoy The Guilty Feminist because it doesn’t pretend that we are all perfect feminists. The hosts Sofie Hagen and Deborah Francis-White share their feminist principles and the things they do that maybe aren’t so feminist after all. Whilst the podcast is always on topic both hosts are stand up comedians so it is funny too!

Episodes usually last around an hour and every week they have a special guest who talks about a particular theme. Past guests include Sarah Millican, Sally Phillips and other well-known actors/comedians as well as more obscure but still fascinating guests.

I don’t always agree with everything that is discussed but that is why I love the podcast. It allows different views and thoughts on feminism to be shared and discussed. Something I think there needs to be more of!

Subscribe and take a listen then let me know what you think!

What are you favourite podcasts?