Thursday, 26 January 2017

My Little Box - January

Hey guys,

If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (@aminaali_mua) you will know I'm subscribed to My Little Box (£14.95 per month). It's a fab subscription box with a Parisian theme. The products you get range from beauty to jewellery, and even sometimes clothing. Before I chose a subscription box I took my time picking the right one and what I like about this was the variety of products you get.  Brands like Kerastase, Laura Mercier and Too Faced are partnered with the box and I remember the first box I got included a By Terry liner worth £24 on its own!

The box this month had a 'Fresh Start' theme, being the first of the year and actually wasn't a box at all, but more of a bag with an inspiring paragraph on the front. I was really excited to see what was inside.

The first thing that caught my eye was the snood. I am obsessed with scarves and wear them all the time. I kind of feel naked without one and it's something that also keeps me warm in these cold months, so I was delighted to see it. The colour and pattern were really pretty.

Within the bag was also a sweet hand cream and a revitalising body cream both by My Little Beauty, which is My Little Box's own brand. These smell lovely and are a great little addition to my collection of creams. However these were probably the items I was least excited about in the bag, as I currently have about three hand creams and more than enough body lotions. Saying that, they are very moisturising. 

Next up is the Merci Handy Holy Mint tooth paste. What is interesting about this toothpaste is that it has 98% natural ingredients. I'm so used to using Colgate I never try any other toothpastes and have never really thought about the ingredients. But it does what any other toothpaste does really and leaves your breath fresh and minty. The packaging is also really cute and not clinical at all, unlike most toothpaste brands.

Next up was what I at first thought was some kind of spread for my toast, but to my delight turned out to actually be a Garnier Ultimate Blends Honey Treasures Strength Restorer Intensive Mask. That was a mouthful! It contains propolis, royal jelly and honey and promises to leave your hair hydrated and shiny. Just what my hair needs!

Usually within the box you get a little magazine that features and talks about all the products, however My Little Box left a note to say they would no longer be including this, but instead will have more products. So in place of it this month were a set of five note cards put together by psychologists. At first I was like huh? But once I read them they actually really inspired me. They include, Find Your Purpose, Create Your 2017 vision board, Time For A New Job? - Four ways to tell, Unleash Your Inner Genius and Train Yourself To be Happy. All with helpful tips on how to achieve these.

I've saved the best till last and it's the Timeless Planner. This is what first looks like a normal diary which I would have been happy with as I needed one, but actually it's so much more than that. It's a diary that intends to change your year not by organising it but 'helping you live it'. It is full to the brim with positive quotes and thought provoking questions. Each double page is based on a week and always starts with a question e.g When was the last time you laughed till your belly hurt? What's one talent that comes easy to you? An unhappy experience that made you stronger? It also has space for notes or a to do list. It already has me feeling motivated! 

I think the diary and the snood totally made this month's box worth it and I can't wait to use all the products. What do you think of the box? Are you subscribed to any other boxes? Let me know in the comments below.

Amina xx


Thursday, 19 January 2017

Winter Warmers

Hi Everyone!

So I'm writing this post all snuggled up in my blanket. Now we are smack bang in the middle of winter, I thought I would write a post with practical ways you can actually stay warm, as well as  keep your heart and mind warm as January blues are probably in full swing. So hopefully after reading this it will give you a bit of inspiration!

Cosy night gown or jumper

My husband bought me the cutest little Polar Bear night gown to wear from Debenhams (now only £15 in the sale), because I am always complaining how cold it is. It's so nice, thick and soft and keeps me so warm, I have actually stopped moaning. If you follow me on Snapchat (aminaali_mua) you probably see me wrapped up in it most the time. As soon as I get in from work I literally throw this on top of me straight away. It gives me a nice comforting feeling and it's something I literally cannot live without.

Snapchat selfie

Gown from Debenhams

Woolly hat

I have always been a woolly hat type of girl.  I remember a time at uni where I literally lived in the same hat for two years straight. No joke! Again, it was a comfort thing. It kept me warm but also hid my frizzy baby hairs! Picking one can be hard. I've got quite a big head and thick hair so don't like them too tight. I love this Jack Wills one my brother-in-law got me for Christmas though. It's cosy but cool at the same time.

Fluffy socks

Literally every year I get bought a pair of socks or leg warmers for Christmas! I'm not complaining though. I love wearing these and  they are a staple in my winter attire. I particularly love the ones that have little grippers on the bottom so they act as slippers too! 


Having a hot bath has got to be one of my most favourite winter warming treats. I've been trying the *Rosemary, Sage & Burdock Shower and Bath Gel (£5.94, 250ml) by AA skincare and I've honestly been loving it. It is full of Rosemary essential oils and its leaves you feeling like you've just had a massage, not only because of the relaxing smell but I guess the essential oils get absorbed by the skin. My skin feels hydrated and smooth. What's also great is if you don't have time for a bath you can use it as a shower gel instead with the exact same result. It's suitable for all skin types and is vegan friendly too. I can definitely see myself purchasing more from their range.

Hot water bottle

Err hello! no winter would be complete without the trusted old hot water bottle. I've had mine for ages so it probably looks a bit worn but it is all about comfort. I love snuggling up on the sofa with one after a bath and just before bed. Sometimes on those really cold nights I take it to bed with me too!


I love eating hearty food during the winter months. I tend to put on weight over winter, like a hibernating animal! I love eating soups and pies, and one of my favourites is a cottage pie! It's thick, stodgy and exactly what I need to keep me going.  


From moisturising my hands to moisturising my lips, if I am not well moisturised during the winter I am not a happy bunny. I love using L'Occitane Pivione Flora hand cream, it leaves my skin feeling smooth and smelling of roses!


Ok, I just had to include this. Getting warm hugs from a loved one is one of my favourite things and guys it's free! This can be done all year round obviously, but in winter it's got the added bonus of warmth! My husband probably wonders why he only gets hugs in the winter (ha ha!).

I hope this post has warmed you up and if not then why not try out some of my ideas and let me know if you have any tips for keeping warm over the winter months!

Amina xx

*product was gifted for review. All opinions are my own.


Thursday, 12 January 2017

My Current Skincare Routine

Hi Guys,

I remember doing one of these posts last year (link here), and when I read it back I thought, wow my skincare routine has evolved! I'm quite lucky in the fact that I have never had problematic skin. I would describe my skin as combination i.e. I can get an oily T-zone but nothing worth worrying about, other than that it is pretty normal. For some reason recently, my biggest concern has really been the fact that it has started to age. Probably due to the fact I have two kids under four, however also because once you hit your 20s, the production of elastin and collagen starts to reduce, and by your mid 20s you start to notice the affects of this. Well I did anyway. So here is my regime.


1. Cleanse

I never used to cleanse, apart from splashing water across my face. However I have tried various cleansers over the last year. Currently I am using Dermalogica and it's going well. I quite like changing and using different cleansers just to see what's out there. One of my faves was Heaven skincare's Hydro cleansing Milk (click here for my review), however as long as it's keeping your skin clean it's good. I think next I would really like to try an oil based cleanser, like the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil, as they are said to get the dirt out of oily areas too, as water just slides over oil.

When I wear make-up, I remove this using Garnier Simply Essentials eye make-up remover and then cleanse on top.

2. Tone

This is a step in my routine that I have played around with. It's always been one of those things I only did when I could be bothered. Again I was using Garnier Simply Essentials Cleansing Lotion. However since Christmas I have been using the cult favourite Pixi Glow Tonic. It has been almost three weeks and I have noticed a change in my skin. It does have a certain glow to it and is looking more even. I don't know if this is specifically down to the glow tonic or the fact I've been taking my skincare more seriously. Either way I'm liking it. I don't like the smell though! Think ginseng, green tea.

3. Facial Serums

Dr Botanicals Advanced Light Essence Serum is my go to (see my review here). Well, that is until my two year old emptied half the bottle on the bedroom floor! *crying face*.  It doesn't leave your skin feeling drenched but just gives it this burst of freshness. Sometimes I apply this and then moisturise on top. However sometimes when I need my skin to breathe I apply this on its own. 

I occasionally apply the Balm Balm Rose Geranium Face Balm all over my face, just before bed. I received this in my My Little Box subscription. It feels grainy when you squeeze it out of the tube but when you warm it in your palms this melts into a beautiful oil. I tend to apply this last thing before bed as it gives the skin a chance to absorb all the oil. It's not something I would apply in the day as it is very greasy in texture, but perfect for those days when you skin is feeling dry.

4. Moisturise

My moisture all comes from the Lacura range at Aldi. I use their Expert Double Effect Eye Gel and their Expert Special Care Wrinkle Smoother around the eyes, as well as their Q-10 Anti-wrinkle Day Cream over the face. I would say these have made the biggest difference in my skin. I have literally noticed the crows feet around my eyes disappear over time. And the value for money in these products is just amazing. The fact that they are award winning says it all. I love the fact the day cream also has SPF 20 in it, as exposure to sun is one of the most damaging things for skin.


1. Face Masks

I love to do a face mask once a fortnight and particularly love Tony Moly ones which I pick up from TKMaxx whenever I get a chance. I also love these B Beauty Ltd ones which are just as good and a great price (see my full review here). 

2. Exfoliation

I exfoliate twice a week and just use St Ives Fresh Skin Invigorating Apricot Scrub. It might not be anything fancy but it works for me and I have used it since I was a teenager. It's important to not over-exfoliate as it can be too excessive for the skin.

Monthly or longer

1. Face treatment

By this I mean a facial professional, or even giving yourself one at home. If I'm at home I may steam my face, do some extractions, massage and apply a face mask. However I recently also had a machine based facial at Beyond Beauty Birmingham, which takes facials to the next level. Read about it here.

So this is my full skincare routine. Now I look at it, it is quite comprehensive and maybe a bit indulgent, but you only live once! If you have any advice or would like any advice please feel free to comment below.

Amina xx
Diary of an imperfect mum

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Paul Mitchell Ultimate Colour Repair Review

Hi Guys,

This week I am reviewing the Paul Mitchell Ultimate Color Repair Three Step System. This consists of the shampoo (£17.50, 250ml), conditioner (£17.95, 250ml) and Triple Rescue spray (£17.95, 150ml). You can buy all three from for £40. I got these products from a blogging event and have had them for a while, but because my hair wasn't coloured I didn't use them. However, a couple of months ago I went for a hair cut and decided to get a subtle balyage done.

Because my hair is so dark in colour, if I want any colour put onto it, it has to be lightened first. This damages the hair slightly, but the things we do for beauty hey. Due to this, my hair isn't always left in the best condition. As the colour starts to fade I also get left with a horrible brassy undertone and straw like feel. Sometimes the colour washes out so quickly that I wonder if it's even worth colouring it.

On to the products! Paul Mitchell have been around for over 35 years and were the first hair care brand to pledge against animal testing. They specialise in professional hair care and the products are used by hairdressers all around the world. Paul Mitchell also have schools in 100 locations across the world so when it comes to hair care they really know what they are talking about.  I was really excited to try the products and see if they lived up to the claims of:

- Up to nine weeks of vibrant colour
- 88% less breakage
- Preventing thermal damage by 86%
- 59% more shine

All I am going to say is, I am very impressed by the results. After using the products for six weeks my colour hasn't faded. Ok, of course it has faded a little, but not to the extent it has faded in the past. The colour is definitely still there and hasn't turned that horrible brassy colour. It actually looks healthier and shiny. 

My hair is incredibly curly, dry and coarse and I straighten it often. I have been applying the Triple Rescue spray before straightening and it is working wonders because my hair isn't left looking dry,  but healthy and bouncy. I have also noticed less broken hairs. In addition to this, I have had at least five people comment on my hair and two have actually gone and asked their hairdressers for the same look.  I don't put that just down to the cut and colour by my fabulous hairdresser, but the way my hair is actually looking thanks to the Ultimate Colour Repair system. I would really advise using all three together and I don't think the results would be so visible if I hadn't. The only downside is the scent. It's not for me. It's hard to describe it, but doesn't really give my hair that fresh smell. However I can deal with it when my hair is left looking so good!

Here are a few pics I took a couple of weeks ago. My hair is still looking brown and there is no fade whatsoever. You may also recognise the pics from a previous make-up look post; click here for the make-up details.

Just incase you need any more incentive to use Paul Mitchell, the bran are very well known for giving back and they are currently donating $1 to one of their  favourite charities on our behalf! All you have to do is either post on Twitter or Instagram about how you like to give back with the hashtag #GivingIsMyStyle. To see the list of charities and for more information click here.

Have you ever tried Paul Mitchell products? What do you use for heat protection and to prevent fading colour?

Amina xx

*PR sample. All opinions are my own.
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