Skincare History and Routine

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


I thought that this little slice of the internet which I've claimed as mine would be the best place to share my current skincare routines, mostly for the fact I can look back on this in a few months and see whats changed and also so you lovely readers can see if your routines are similar or hopefully you can try out some of these products too! Prepare for an extra LONG post today!

Over the past few months I've become literally OBSESSED with Asian Skincare Cosmetics. I found the Sub-Reddit r/AsianBeauty whilst browsing Imgur and Reddit one day (something I do on a daily basis) and fell in love. I didn't realise how much greater Korean Cosmetics are compared to our Western products, we're so used to our 3-Step Skincare Routine but in fact the Asian Routines have everything from 6-20 products! There's everything from Starfish Extract to Bee Venom to Snail Slime in their products (it's not as weird as it sounds I promise) all which have amazing benefits for your skin. If you want to learn more about Asian Beauty Cosmetics click HERE!

Naturally this meant that I had to order a bunch of things from Korea which I had seen had been peoples HG's (Holy Grail Products), I probably ordered around 10 different things that I had researched online and hoped for the best. In the past I have made the rookie mistake of just applying everything to my face at once because I get too excited and can't wait to try everything out at once. THIS IS A BIG NOPE. Please, for the love of burgers, do not do this! I ruined my skin a few times by not learning from this lesson and it's taken a few months to get it back to normal... I will admit right now that I am still in a learning curve and as soon as my Asian Beauty products came through I DID throw them all on my face at once without testing them and well... my skin freaked out because it wasn't used it to it and then I realised my mistake and had to start from the beginning again, introducing products s.l.o.w.l.y

I had naturally clear skin with the occasional blemish when I was in my teens, I had a horrible diet and never drank water but for some reason my skin never let me down, until I grew into my twenties... I was around 21 when I started getting cystic acne spots and let me tell you, cystic acne spots are the WORST. I don't have normal acne thankfully but I do get deep cystic acne spots on my chin and nose sometimes and most of the time they come in clusters. They're deep down in the skin that 90% of the time they never come to a head and they hurt. They usually stick around from 1 week - 3 months... yes, 3 months! They are the perfect good skin ruiner and I've been trying to defeat them for the past 6 months with a new diet and drinking at least 2 litres of water a day. Whilst that has helped, I always had a bad skincare routine which involved cleansing my face with face wipes (something I had done for years until I realised how terrible this was for my skin) followed by a moisturiser.

I went to see a dermatologist for the first time this year and she informed me that I have oily/combination skin with dry cheeks. I always knew I had an oily t-zone but to learn that I had dry cheeks when I thought my skin was normal, was a shocker. She recommended me some products, unfortunately they were all very high end ($60-150 per product) and out of my current budget range. I did however ask her for recommendations from drug stores and asked her about Asian Cosmetics in regards to skincare, she did tell me that Asian Skincare is around 10 years ahead of America and Europe which was comforting to hear from her as I'm always skpetctial about what I hear online. With her advice and my findings online, I began to create my new skincare routines!

Below is my current routine and layout for both AM/PM. I am still currently introducing new products into my routine as I am still searching for the perfect routine for my skin type, one day I will find it!


Tony Moly Nutra-Energy Cleansing Oil
Tony Moly Nutra-Energy Cleansing Oil - $20 - PM ONLY: This is an amazing product to take off make up/sun screen at the end of the day. I never used a cleansing oil before and this is great! After doing my research online I decided to purchase this. There is a Korean Grocery Store by my apartment and they have a beauty section which contains a huge amount of Tony Moly. I'd much rather purchase something in person than online given the choice, so I went for it and grabbed this one! I don't know how I haven't used a product like this before, long gone are the days of using expensive make up removers and facial wipes, this stuff is the real deal and even takes off the toughest make up. Oil Cleansing isn't for everyone, I tried to use pure oils (Grapeseed and Jojoba) but it was too much for my skin and caused me to break out, this product doesn't cause any break outs and leaves me skin feeling soft. I use 2 pumps on dry skin at the end of the day, adding a little bit of water to lather the oil. I usually massage the oil for 1-2 minutes and then rinse by splashing water gently onto my face. I use this as my first step in my cleansing in the evenings.

Repurchase? - Possibly, may try a different oil cleanser from the Tony Moly line once finished, I want to try them all! 
Recommend? - Only to those who are into oil cleansing.
Value - 5/5
Rating - 4/5

Avene Cleanance Gel
Avene Cleanance Gel - $25 - AM/PM - This product was recommended me by a friend who has been using it for 5 years! She would always talk about how amazing it is and gave me a sample to try. I automatically fell in love. I have used so many cleansers and never found one that I have fallen in love with, this product cleared up some of blemishes within 2 days which is one of the fastest turn arounds with a new product I've ever had! This is a HG product for me. I use it every morning and evening, in the morning first thing and in evening after the Tony Moly Cleansing Oil. I use a pea size amount and lather into my skin, you really don't need much of this product as it is a gel and becomes foaming when contacted with your skin. A little goes a long way!

Repurchase? - Yes, HG!
Recommend? - Yes for those with acne prone/blemish prone skin. 
Value - 4/5, I do think the value is great due to it being such a great product but it's only 200ml and if you use a lot of this product it can become empty pretty quickly. 
Rating - 5/5

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner
Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner - $10 - AM/PM - I use this every morning and evening after cleansing. This toner is alcohol which was a big selling point for me. It smells lovely and doesn't irritate my skin, it's a very gentle cleanser which is perfect. Their whole line of toners are meant to be amazing but I would totally recommend this one for anyone who wants a toner that is non-irritating!

Repurchase? - Possibly, may try a different toner next time.
Recommend? - Yes, for those who want a toner that has a light flower scent and doesn't irritate. 
Value - 5/5, it's 355ml for $10! Bargain!
Rating - 5/5

Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence
Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence - $15 - AM/PM - This is one of my HG Asian products! It contains both Snail Extract and Bee Venom which are great for skin, some of the benefits are healing old acne scars and brightening skin tone. Asian Essences are similar to our toners and should be applied after cleansing as they stick to the skin to benefit moisturisers when placed on top. I always like to apply this one after using the Thayers Toner, it has a strange texture, somewhere between gel and water but I like it. I apply 2 pumps to the back of my hand every morning and evening then massage onto my face and neck. 

Repurchase? - Yes, HG!
Recommend? - Yes
Value - 4/5, this will last a long time with only 4 pumps a day!
Rating - 5/5

Avene Clean-AC Cream
Avene Clean-AC Cream - $20 - AM ONLY - I purchased this item when it was on sale for $15 as I was researching on Avene's website for what would be a light moisturiser for day time. I had previously used the Vichy Hydrating Acne Care Moisturiser but my skin didn't take a liking to it, I believe it was too thick for me to use in a morning and it just felt too heavy. This moisturiser is super light and leaves your skin feeling non-sticky. It also claims to be used on skin which is needing extra moisture due to acne treatments. Sometimes I do use spot creams and treatments so having this as my daily moisturiser makes me feel confident if I do need to up the spot treatments at night! The only downside is that this is 40ml for around $20, such small packaging for an expensive product but it's so great I may only have to repurchase when it's on sale!

Repurchase? - Yes, only when on sale!
Recommend? - Yes, great for those with oily/combo skin with occasional blemishes. 
Value - 3/5, due to it only being 40ml.
Rating - 4/5

Missha All-Around Safe Block Mild Essence Sun Milk SPF45
Missha All-Around Safe Block SPF45 - $18 - AM ONLY - I will be the first to admit that I have never really worn SPF on my face unless it's in my foundation or it's summer time... that is terrible I know, but growing up in England and then moving to Vancouver, BC where it's not that sunny all year round I never thought I had to wear it. When I went to see a dermatologist they explained just how important it is to wear sunblock/sunscreen every single day (you may be safe on the days when you're staying inside and/or its dark and rainy out) and considering how pale I am, it's MAJORLY important that I wear sun block. I then realised that I better get on the sunblock wagon immediately and purchased this! This is another Asian Brand and I love it! I always found sun screen very thick and that my skin wouldn't soak it in properly but this one works wonders. As the rest of my products from Asia, I found this one through the Asian Beauty Sub-Reddit and decided to give it a shot. It doesn't feel oily on my skin and it feels weightless which is exactly what I wanted. It also doesn't break me out which is a huge bonus. I sometimes forget to apply it as I'm still not used to wearing Sunscreen but it is a great product (when I do remember to wear it...)

Repurchase? - Yes
Recommend? - Yes, for those who have oily/combination skin 
Value - 3/5, it's a little pricey but worth it for a sun screen that doesn't break me out and doesn't leave me feeling oily. 
Rating - 4/5

Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream
Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream - $15 - AM/PM - Eye Creams have never been my thing but I thought it was better to be late than never to using them, as I am hitting my mid-twenties this year. I picked this one up online due to a million recommendations of how great it is and the rumours are true! It makes my skin around my eyes feel super soft and has actually improved my under eye circles within the past 2 months of using it! It's a great product and if you are new to eye creams I'd highly recommend this one. This is another product by a Korean Brand named Mizon, you can learn check out their website here! I use a small amount of this product dabbing it along my eye area and lids then lightly patting it into my skin, it soaks into my skin within 2-3 minutes. 

Repurchase? - Yes
Recommend? - Yes, especially for newbies with eye creams!
Value - 5/5, a little goes a longgg way with this product meaning it'll last a few months.
Rating - 5/5

OST C20 Vitamin C Serum
OST C20 Vitamin C Serum - $20-25 - PM ONLY - I am very late to jumping onto Vitamin C Serums bandwagon, the only ones I have used were from The Body Shop years ago which I barely used and then threw into the back of my skincare cosmetics never to be seen again, the horror! This is also, once again, from a Korean Brand called OST. I picked this up online due to reading many reviews on the product. It claims to brighten the skin after daily use and to reduce dark spots, which is wonderful as I have some spot scarring on my face and being so pale with red spot scars is not fun! This is one of the products that I have just recently started using within the past few days so my opinion on this product isn't as good as it could be but I have high hopes! I hope to come back and review this in a few months with hopefully results!

Repurchase? - Too early to tell
Recommend? - I would for the recommendations and reviews I've read on this product but check back in a few months to get my latest opinion on this product!
Value - ?/5, too early to tell
Rating - ?/5, too early to tell

Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum 

Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum - $20 - PM ONLY - After my trip to the dermatologist she recommended that I use BHAs and AHAs, obviously I had no clue what she was talking about at the time but AHA stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acids which is used to speed up exfoliating for your skin to get rid of your dead skin cells to reduce blemishes and scarring from old acne and dark spots from sun damage. Pretty fancy huh? I currently use this product every other day in the evening. I usually wait 15-20 minutes after applying before doing the next step of my routine so it has enough time to work into my skin. This product actually comes with a pump in the screw top which is handy, I then dispense the product onto my palm and pat into my skin. This product dries SUPER quickly so you better be fast at getting it onto your skin. It also can have a little stinging sensation when you first apply it, don't be alarmed, apparently this is common and I have had no side effects from this thus far. I'm hoping to see changes in my skin within the next few months of using this product!

Repurchase? - Possibly, may need something stronger for my skin but time shall tell!
Recommend? - Yes, to all those wanting to start with AHAs. More info can be found here!
Value - 5/5, you get what you pay for with this product 
Rating - 3/5, I have high hopes for this product but time will tell if its a HG product for me.

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Cream
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Cream - $30-40 - PM ONLY - This was another product recommended to me from a friend. It's a gel texture and it is a light blue colour. I've always tried multiple night time moisturisers and many have been too heavy for my skin and left it feeling too heavy. Sometimes I even have the horror of the moisturisers balling up on my fingers when applying, if you don't know what I mean, its where you rub in your moisturiser and it starts to ball up and flake off... does that make sense? Gah, it's hard to explain! Anyway, this product doesn't do that and it's amazing. I wake up and my skin feels hydrated. It's a little pricy but you get a lot for your money and in the morning when I go to wash my face it feels so soft and it's all thanks to this!

Repurchase? - Yes, but only when on sale (love a bargain!)
Recommend? - Only for those who don't have very dry skin. This wouldn't work well for those who have very dry skin but is hydrating enough for my oily/combo skin.
Value - 4/5, expensive but worth it!
Rating - 5/5, this is my HG night cream.

Routine Order

AM -
Avene Cleanance Gel
Thayers Toner
Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence
Avene Clean-AC Cream
Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream
Missha All-Around Safe Block

PM -
Tony Moly Cleansing Oil
Avene Cleanance Gel
Thayers Toner
Benton Snail Bee High Content Essence
OST C20 Vitamin C Serum - Wait 10-15 minutes
Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum - Wait 10-15 minutes
Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Cream

Well, that was a long post and took a few hours to type! Do you use any of these products and had any good or bad results? Would you use any of these within your current skincare routine?

Let me know what you think!

- JR

DIY Photo Arrangements

Monday, 27 April 2015

At the start of the year I decided that my apartment, mostly my bedroom, needed vamping up a little and decided to move around my furniture and wall art. I absolutely love changing around my bedroom layout every 6 months or so, I feel like it spices up the feng shui of my bedroom and how I feel when I'm in that room. I spend a lot of time in my bedroom, whether thats sleeping, doing my hair/make up, blogging, watching movies etc my bedroom is the ultimate place that I feel comfortable so its very important to me to decorate it and design it to what makes me feel comfortable and liveable.

Pinterest is my absolute favourite place to go when I have an idea but have no idea how to execute it. I have a little collection of art that I've gathered together over the past few years being in Canada and I decided to create a photo arrangement on my main wall in my bedroom. I don't know what it is about apartments in Vancouver, but most of them are painted pure white and you're not able to paint them or put up wallpaper whilst living there. This for me, is a total nightmare. I love colourful and patterned walls and as mentioned I like to change things around twice a year, so instead of pulling out the paint brushes and rollers, going crazy and painting the walls anyway, I decided on a photo arrangement of my art.

I have 4 main art pieces that I wanted as part of the photo arrangement, I then had 2 photo frames which are of a green/mint colour but I also decided that I'd need something a little more to make it a full wall arrangement.

Final Arrangement Piece (apologies for photo quality as it was dark at the time of taking the photo and the flash just made the frames look terrible)

Final Photo Arrangement
I went to Michaels and purchased 4 plain wooden frames for $10. They were pretty cheap and I guess you can even stick an actual photo behind them but I decided to paint them a bronze colour as it would pop with the white behind them. I also purchased 2 photo frames from the dollar store and painted those the same colour, the pictures I have in the frames are from my trip to New York last Christmas!
Close up of New York Skyline and the painted photo frame
To keep within the black and white theme that I had going (which wasn't on purpose) I also frames a photo of myself and my roommate and had a card framed that my good friend gave me for my birthday last year. The art was all purchased from a little store in Gastown, near Downtown Vancouver. I absolutely love the style of art and these 4 pieces were gifted to me which was lovely!

I played around with the photo arrangements on my floor for about 1-2 hours before deciding on the final arrangement. To help with placement I tracked the sizing of each photo and stuck them to my wall using sticky-tac to see exactly where I wanted to place them before hammering nails into the wall!

This arrangement has been up since early February now and I love it! It really adds character to my bedroom and it doesn't feel as dull as it did before with such a bare wall. Have you got a photo arrangement in your bedroom/apartment? Do you change it up often? Let me know what you think!

- JR

Birthday Celebrations and Lazy Sundays

Sunday, 26 April 2015

I hope you're all having a fabulous weekend (what remains of it) and that you've managed to squeeze in everything you wanted to do in 48 short hours!

One of my very best friends had her birthday this week and decided to celebrate this Saturday night. Her bar of choice was a 1920s themed bar called Prohibition in Vancouver which has recently opened this year, pictures of said bar are below:

It was very swanky and sophisticated with the drinks starting around $13 and up. Most of the crowd were 25 and over I'd say, we managed to secure ourselves a sweet spot near the back and myself and her boyfriend ended up eating the majority of the free table snacks which consisted of chili hazelnuts and amazing bread sticks. I probably ate a total of 30 of those during the evening... It was super lovely to see everyone again who I hadn't really gotten together with for a while and as we're all leading our busy lives studying, working, traveling etc it was nice to have an evening to catch up. I ended my night by heading to Burger King to meet my boyfriend and ordering mozzarella sticks and chicken nuggets, a pretty standard Saturday night out I'd say!

I spent the rest of my weekend eating Pancakes at iHop, purchasing a new Otterbox phone case for my iPhone and speakers for my laptop. All of which have been over due for a very long time!

I finally managed to catch up on the latest season of Game of Thrones with my boyfriend and had a truly lazy Sunday relaxing on the couch and in my PJs which was exactly what I needed after this week!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting or had a relaxing weekend instead?

- JR

Instagram Photos DIY Bedroom Ideas

Thursday, 23 April 2015

I grew up with a Father who was a huge DIY man and renovated/decorated almost every room in our house multiple times. I went from having a Disney Princess bedroom when I was a young girl to having a bright yellow bedroom in my early teens to becoming obsessed with Purple and Pinks when I was sixteen, all the while my Dad was eager to help me paint and redecorate my room.

Since moving to Vancouver in the last 3 years I've always been hesitant to make my bedroom and my apartments "mine" per say. For every year that I have been here, I have moved to another location once my year lease is over, and then on to another apartment, it's just something that I do! I don't like staying in the same place for too long and I'm sure that won't change until I find a location or an apartment that I want to call my own, I welcome change and it welcomes me!

Due to constantly changing houses/apartments I have barely had a chance to decorate my rooms before I'm tearing everything down again and boxing them up to move. Since relocating to Downtown Vancouver in Summer 2014 I decided that enough was enough and it's time I made my bedroom my own and to give it a personal touch.

I've always had some DIY skills running through my veins and decided to hit Pinterest for ideas. I am a lover of Instagram and I take the most ridiculous and pointless photos but each one specifically reminds me of a person or a place and I believe they deserve a place on my wall! London Drugs (very similar to Boots in the UK) prints out photos for super cheap, around $5-10 for 20 and they also can print your images in a polaroid style which I love! I picked out my favourite photos, gathered together my ideas from Pinterest and decided to buy some standard laundry pegs from the dollar store, paint supplies and string all for less than $10 and set out my little DIY task.

I painted the pegs 3 separate colours, mint green, silver and gold (mostly to go with my other wall) and once they were dry I strung up the pictures on my wall. The whole DIY evening took around 2 hours in total and it really makes use of such a blank white space on my wall. The photos have been up there for a few months now and I love that its one of the things that I walk past every day when entering/leaving my bedroom.

Has anyone out there done anything similar to this? If you want to add a personal touch but don't want to spend a lot of money on photo frames, then this idea is great on a budget and isn't a time waster for those with busy lives!

- JR

Becoming a blip on the Internet

Hello lovelies and welcome to my blog!

My name is Jessica-Rachel and as of this moment I am trying to eat 3-day-old pasta that is far too hot from being reheated straight from the microwave, but alas I cannot restrain myself from eating it right now. Why am I sharing this pointless information with you? Because if you are interested in getting to know me, as I am you, then this will be a usual occurrence.

Blogging has always been an interest of mine, back when I was in my mid to late teens I constantly updated my Tumblr with pictures of my favourite TV shows and quotes, not to mention an endless stream of Nina Dobrev and how I wished I could have her sense of style or her flawless hair. 5 years on from that, I ended up giving up on my Tumblr blog and my hair goals of celebrities and moved across the ocean to Vancouver, BC from my hometown in England. I should have probably taken up blogging at that point in my life considering it was a whirlwind of events, but being 21 and being brand new to a city the last thing I wanted to do was to sit down and write about the events that I had done that day. Naturally I ended up doing just that, but watching Netflix instead.

I had been talking to one of my close friends for a while about setting up a YouTube Channel to which she agreed was a great idea. My only downfall was that I am far too lazy to do my hair and make up for work each day, let alone for a camera and making videos on my 4 year old macbook which usually crashes every time I open iMovie. So I thought I'd spare myself the effort of filming as of now and create this blog instead.

I am turning 25 this year, it hurts even typing that because I don't feel a day over 17, it also hurts typing that too because I now sound like my mother when she used to tell me she never felt a day past 30... the fact that I'm turning 30 in 5 years is also another frightening subject that I would like to keep locked in a very dark corner, behind bars until I must accept my fate of no longer being in my twenties. For those of you who are interested in learning a little about myself then here is a summary of the past few years of my life.

I graduated University at the age of 21 and moved back to my hometown, which is a very small town that most people have never heard of in England. I then ultimately became fascinated with TV and Film, which had nothing to do with what I just earned my degree in but I guess that happens to the best of us. I decided a few months later to move to Canada, as my original and first choice was America but unfortunately the visa system wasn't in my favour back then. I ended up moving to Vancouver in Spring 2012 to pursue a career within the Film/TV Industry. I was a young and naive woman but a few months after I ended up landing my first TV gig and the rest is history. As of right now I am currently awaiting my Permanent Residency and it's been so long now since I submitted my application that I am going a little insane... but "be patient" is what they all keep telling me and "good things come to those who wait". A little quote that I'm not a huge fan of as I believe that good things come to those who work very hard for them but when a situation is completely out of your hands and your control, then wait I shall!

I hope you all enjoy this blog as much as I will enjoy writing on it, and as much as this is for myself my ultimate goal is to hopefully get to know some of you too!

- JR