Friday, 15 June 2018

4 Ways To Help Care For Dry Hair


Hair, I love it and hate it, sometimes miss how it used to be, and often get annoyed at its weather beaten state in winter. Now I'm a reluctant 30 something with thick, sometimes dry and frizzy, brown hair. I’m not great at styling it, but have discovered some things that have made a difference when looking after it, so I thought I’d do a post on 4 of them.

1. Upgrading My Hair Dryer

Years ago I used to have a basic, just does the job hair dryer, and got to the point where I needed something better that would really look after my hair. I was given an ionic hair dryer as a present, and instantly noticed the difference. The technology really did help smooth out my hair when drying, but now there’s a new kid on the block I am excited about. Nanoe technology claims to retain around 1,000 times more moisture than regular hairdryers, and products often come with 3 attachments, including a quick dry nozzle which I’d love to try – it emits strong and weak air flows to help look after your hair and leave it healthy and shiny. Hopefully I will have the chance to upgrade my hair dryer soon, I have spotted a rose gold version that is so pretty - a hair dryer can be pretty as well as practical right?



2. Hair Dye With Extras

I dye my hair fairly regularly, and there’s nothing like the feeling of freshly dyed hair. I normally have extra conditioner left over as well which is always a bonus. I normally choose product with added extra nourishment, whether that be extra conditioning ingredients, or natural oils. My new favourite is the Schwarzkopf Colour Expert with OmegaPLEX technology. I've only tried it once, but will definitely be using it again. It was easy to apply, my hair felt nicer even when I was applying the dye and rinsing afterwards, and the condition of my hair stayed nicer for longer afterwards.

The box comes with anti-breakage serum which goes in the developer bottle with the colour crème, an after treatment repair sealer to help seal the colour, and a repair reviver which you use after 3 weeks. I'm really impressed, and they have additional products you can order, so I have a tube of colour sealer treatment rinse off to use as well!

3. New Shampoo

Mum drummed it into me from an early age that it's not good to keep using the same shampoo all the time, and that my hair would build up a tolerance to it, this has been dismissed in hair care circles as a myth, but there is still good reason to change up your brand and try new things. This article looks at reasons to change your hair products, such as diet, and changes in the climate/weather, while another about hair rules you should break points to the reasons why your shampoo isn't performing. There's useful advise about how your shampoo may be drying your hair out or coating it with product - neither of which is ideal.

My recent find is a set a hair care products from the Organic Shop. They are soil association rated as natural and free of SLS, SLES and Parabens. I was lucky enough to be sent a set for review, so will be covering those in a separate post, but so far so good, they are doing what they promised and my hair feels better for it. Look out for the review in a future post.



4. Serum and Heat Protect Spray

These are two must-haves in my box of hair care products, and ones I use quite a lot. The heat protect spray is for when I straighten either just after washing, while the serum helps me keep control of flyaway hairs and smooth strands out between washing and straightening. A straightener does wonderful things, but I try not to over do it, and don't want heat damage, so protection, and a serum helps keep things in check.

According to some fun hair facts that I looked up, the average human sheds 50-150 strands of hair in a day (see, it's not just me that sheds mum!), but it's important to find what works for your hair, and look after all the strands left on your head. So what works for you? if you have any tips or favourite products we may not have heard of? let me know in the comments below.

* This post was written in collaboration with Panasonic.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Daring Cardmakers Tropical Themed Card Challenge

Hello Everyone,

Summer has officially arrived, the weather is pretty consistently good, it's my birthday this week (less said about that the better - reluctant 30 something), and I have a gig to look forward to in July, and am tempted by another in August. Meantime I have a few blogs I'm working on in drafts, but have had a bit of writers block, so instead have uploaded my entry into the Daring Cardmakers Challenge for this week.

I've really enjoyed joining in with the themes when I can, and seeing how other people have portrayed them. This weeks theme is Tropical which is close to my heart, it always reminds me of my favourite tropical holiday to the Polynesian Resort at Disney World; I love that place so much!

Copyright These City Days 2018


To make this card I used elements from a recent Hunkydory members kit, which is possibly one of my favourites they have produced. I absolutely love the colours and the different birds in the toppers, and had a lot of fun creating this flamingo card. I teamed the flamingo topper and a 'let's celebrate' sentiment with some DCWV cardstock and silver holographic card to add a touch of sparkle. It was fun playing around with the layout and choosing stash items to match, and I am really pleased with the end result.

There's some really pretty inspiration from the Daring Cardmakers Blog Design Team over on this post, and you can also follow along with the other challenge entries. If you are keen on card making, then why not keep your eyes open for a new challenge each Friday.

Don't forget you can also follow These City Days on Instagram for more crafty posts, local lifestyle pics, and teasers of forthcoming reviews and posts.

*contains an affiliate link.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Dance Themed Stamped and Stencilled Card

Hi everyone,

Just catching up on some blogging, and I have a brand new card to share today. I've been looking forward to sharing this one, as it's my favourite of the 3 I have made using the music and dance themed stamp set from Creative Stamping Magazine.

The first idea for this card came from a Christmas themed idea in another magazine. I decided to take the layout idea from there, and then do some stamping and stencilling to create the finished card. You can see the original inspiration on my social media, but here's how I put together this card.

Items Used:

Creative Stencils - Stars *
Nuvo Crystal Drops Navy Blue *
Navy Blue Ribbon
White Card
Cosmic Shimmer Colour Cloud Blending Ink ( and applicator sponges/dabber.
Colouring Pencils
Memento Black Ink *
Acrylic Stamping Block
Scissor & Double Sided Tape
Foam Pads
Glitter Card
Music & Dance Themed Stamps (Creative Stamping Magazine).



How It's Made:
  • Stamp the dancing shoes stamp on a piece of white card, then colour the image and cut round the edge of the design.
  • Next, stamp your chosen sentiment (here I used 'Put On Your Dancing Shoes') on another piece of white card. Cut out the sentiment, using a corner punch to round the edges. Finish with some Nuvo Drops and leave to dry.
  • Cut out 4 equal size rectangles that will be placed next to each other on the top half of the card. Mine were roughly 7x3cm.
  • using the star stencil and colour cloud blending ink, decorate each rectangle of card, two in each colour. Decorate two panels as shown with a musical note stamp.
  • Mount the decorated pieces of card on the top half of your piece of glitter card.
  • Just below the stencilled pieces, wrap around the ribbon and securely fix on the back. Add a matching bow on the left hand side.
  • Fix the sentiment on the bottom left hand side with foam pads, then mount the dancing shoes image in the middle of the set of stencilled rectangles.
  • Mount the whole piece on to a white 6x6 card blank to finish.
The finished result is really striking and can easily be adapted to your choice of colours. The sentiment means it could be used as a card for many different occasions, from birthdays to party invites. I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you'd like to check out some of the items I used to make this card, please check out the affiliate links above.

The stars stencil was my first purchase from Craft Stash, and I was very pleased with the price and quality. I've also noticed they do a good range of Tonic Nuvo products, which could be hard to resist after trying some out on a previous design team!!

New Challenge: I got a really cool hand lettering book for Christmas and some pens from a competition win and present, so I am hoping to develop a new skill this year. Will post pictures on my progress when I have any, and if you fancy having a go, check out these really pretty packs of brush pens.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Alexis Gerred - Sweet Angel - Song Review & Crowd Funding Launch


Although Alexis Gerred has 10 years experience in the theatre, appearing in shows such as the Green Day musical American Idiot, and was more recently seen as a semi-finalist in the BBC hit show Let It Shine, he is untested as a singer-songwriter. So untested in fact, that very few people have heard any of his original music, until now.

 Alexis, perhaps in part, fuelled by the response he received after appearing on Let It Shine, has written a 10 track album. It's all ready to be recorded and released, with your help! The album has been launched via a crowd funding campaign on the Indiegogo platform, where you can pre-order a digital or physical copy of the album, along with other perks, to help offset some of the costs of release. But as an unknown in the songwriting sense, Alexis had to make a splash to launch the campaign, and he has done that with launch song 'Sweet Angel'.

I was veering between Iron Sun and Five To Five as ones to watch on Let It Shine, and picked out Alexis' voice, but had no idea what to expect from this debut song. 'Sweet Angel' has an energy to it that I instantly liked, and while I don't talk about it much on here, it would be the kind of music I'd turn to if I was having a bad day with my anxiety. The uptempo beat of the music, especially when the drums kick in, works well with the message in the lyrics, especially these key lines:

"I can see you falling, I see you falling deeper down, I'll show you how to fly with broken wings, sweet angel" (Alexis Gerred, Sweet Angel).

 How can that not make you smile and feel better inside? The vocals suit the track well, and display a different, softer side, to what can be a raw husky rock tone. On first listen I felt like I was waiting for the track to get going (having heard a soaring, upbeat, chorus as a tease), and there was the odd word sung that wasn't immediately clear, but as you can probably tell my critiques are only little things that I picked up on in 'review mode', and probably wouldn't even notice listening for fun.

It's catchy, the message (which you can find out more about on Indiegogo) comes across well, and I can imagine it will go down live, with Alexis up on-stage with band! In short, I really enjoyed this! If you'd like to find out more about the song, and the perks available if you pre-order, then visit this link - Alexis Gerred - Indiegogo Page.





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4 Ways To Help Care For Dry Hair