Friday, 26 December 2014

All Used Up #11

Although I have a huge bag overflowing of empty products, I haven't managed to write one of these posts in months! I've been so good at using things up but maybe at my peril because now I have lots of products to write about. Today's mix includes some of my favourite skin care and hair care products along with bath and body.

001. Lush Twilight Shower Gel: This featured on my blog about a year ago and I have only just got round to using it up! It was a large bottle and I tended to use it for night time baths only due to the relaxing lavender and malt scents that feature in this shower gel. I love the dark purple gel which was flecked with silver glitter but the smell and consistency isn't one of my favourites. The shower gel isn't available any more but you can buy the Twilight bath bomb here. I probably wouldn't repurchase.

002. Origins Out Of Trouble Face Mask: Origins are fantastic for skin care and this mask is one of my holy grail items (as you can tell from me cutting the bottle to get every last drop!) It is a clay formula which dries hard, something that I like as it draws out impurities effectively. I preferred to use this on active break outs as it unclogged and calmed any redness. It is also fantastic at helping to regulate oil production. The Sulphur and Zinc Oxide does mean that this mask has a very powerful smell but it doesn't put me off at all. A definite repurchase.

003. Sanctuary Spa Relax Warming Sugar Polish: This was a random purchase but I ended up loving this body scrub. Sugar scrubs suit me best as they are the most abrasive but due to the blend of essential oils this wasn't too harsh and smelled wonderful as well. I loved the squeezy bottle as it made application in the shower super easy and the scrub was actually hot and stayed warm while you worked it into your skin. I would repurchase this product.

004. Dove Hair Therapy Nourishing Oil Care Conditioner: When thinking of the Dove brand I've always pictured body care or deodorant. However, the shampoo and conditioner from this range is super cheap and I had heard good things. I think for the price the conditioner was really good, it nourished the hair well without weighing it down at all and was a lot better than the normal bog standard conditioners you get in the chemist. I would repurchase this, although I find it hard to stay loyal to a particular brand. I would also love to try the hair mask from this range.

005. The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner: After receiving this in my stocking last year for Christmas I put it in my over flow bin of products and kind of forgot about it. Cue a skin melt down and I dug this out along with the tea tree face wash. I have to say this toner is amazing!! You need to shake it up really well to make sure the active ingredients are all mixed and there is alcohol included however this is great for blemished skin. I can feel it working, which may be superficial but is something that I like and it helps to aid the healing process and keep skin looking clear. I have already repurchased this.

006. Lush Butterbear Bath Bomb: This is one of the cheaper bath bombs Lush offer but one of my new favourites. The cocoa butter melts into the bath leaving skin super soft and nourished without feeling greasy and the smell is sweet yet not over powering. It is just the right size so you don't feel like you are wasting any product either. I think this is only a Christmas edition (you can get the larger and more expensive Butter Ball all year round) so I will definitely be stocking up on this.

Have you tried any of these products? What have you recently repurchased? xxx

P.S. I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and are enjoying your boxing day!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Best Festive Nail Varnishes

L-R: Barry M 'Starlight', Model's Own 'Jack Frost', China Glaze 'Cleopatra', Models Own 'Dancing Queen' and Nails Inc 'Alexa Sequin'
L-R: O.P.I 'Play the Peonies', Essie 'Carry On', Nails Inc 'Tate', Jessica 'Venus Was Her Name' and Nails Inc 'Motcomb Street'
Now the festive season is in full swing, it is a great excuse to crack out the glitter nail varnishes. I've picked 5 of my favourites perfect for Christmas parties and 5 bases that work really well layered with the glitters or by themselves for a glossy plain manicure. These polishes offer a multitude of combinations, a few of which I have suggested below.

'Tate' is a deep red by Nails Inc which is opaque with two coats and works really well with a new offering from Barry M called 'Starlight'. The packing is super cute but the formula is quite gloopy. However, the thicker nature of the polish is packed with glitter and means the particles stick to your nails more easily. I love the stars included in this polish but you need to make sure to seal them well with a top coat otherwise the points can sticks up and catch. I will definitely be sporting this on Christmas Day.

The next combination is different to the traditional dark shades of this time of year but I think is so pretty and reminds me of fresh snow. The base is 'Play the Peonies' by O.P.I which is a pearlescent white with the tiniest hint of a pink undertone. Applying two thin layers of Model's Own 'Jack Frost' on top, the combination gives a subtle iridescent glow. 'Jack Frost' is again packed with glitter but in comparison the particles are much smaller and have a bluey green tinge to them.

In terms of the darker hues 'Venus Was Her Name' by Jessica is a dark yet vibrant purple, Essie's 'Carry On' is similar but a much deeper rich burgundy and finally 'Motcomb Street' by Nails Inc is a wonderful inky blue. My top picks for glitters which look amazing on top of these include 'Cleopatra' by China Glaze - a thin formula filled with a majority of tiny particles of antique gold and a few flecks of iridescent glitter similar to those featured in 'Jack Frost', another varnish from Model's Own which this time is full of chunky, different shaped glitter with a range of green blue and gold hues running through it. And finally a relatively new release from a collaboration between Nails Inc and Alexa Chung packaged in the new bottles is 'Sequin'* polish - a black base filled with bright gold particles.

What are your favourite festive nail varnish picks? xxx

Sunday, 21 December 2014

November Favourites | 2014 |

Ideally this post would have been in video format due to the fact I have so many favourite products this month, but alas there has been no time in between unpacking the new house, preparing for Christmas and having a full time job. There has been a distinct lack of favourites posts on this blog for a while which is a shame as they are one of my favourite things to write about - who doesn't love harping on about their latest beauty obsession? Now I have a nice little list on my phone of what I've been loving, hopefully it will give you some ideas for Christmas presents for others (or yourself!)

001. Maybelline Brow Drama in 'Medium Brown': For someone who doesn't have much in the eyebrow department, I have really been enjoying this product since I bought it a few months ago. It's great for use on it's own on natural make up days or for using on top of pencil/powder when opting for a more polished look. The colour is a little dark and it can go a teeny bit crispy, so be sure to use sparingly. It is such a beauty bargain though and is now a staple in my every day beauty bag.

002. Real Techniques Beauty Blender: Since purchasing this I have used it every day without fail. My favourite use is for blending in my under eye concealer as it stops that area looking cakey or dry as well as minimising creasing. It looks really natural and means I haven't had to set my eye area either. It is a super cheap alternative to the Beauty Blender and is the best compared to the other ones I've tried.

003. Lush Mask of Magnaminty: The fresh face masks have always left me a little disappointed, but this mask in particular has always intrigued me with it's positive reviews. I must say, it is the best mask I have used from Lush and has actually made it into my all time favourite face masks! You get a large pot, which is freshly made but does not go off anywhere near as quick as the fresh masks and it really does work. I find this is great for both drawing out impurities as it dries quite hard but also for treating any active blemishes. In the morning after using this my spots have gone down considerably and my face feels refreshed, smooth and a lot clearer.

004. Rimmel Lip Products: This month I've discovered my love for Rimmel lipsticks. For some reason I never seem to reach for them that often even though they are such a good bargain with great formulas and amazing colour pay off. The deep pink called 'Lily Extase' is one I've had since the beginning of uni and I forgot how pretty the hue is as well as the lasting power. I've also been pairing 'Vintage Pink' which is a deep mauve and 'Black Tulip' lip liner which look so lovely together and make a long lasting but moistursing lip duo. The lip liners and Moisture Renew collection are some of my favourites from Rimmel and I will definitely be investing in some more colours.

005. Revlon Colour Stay Foundation in '110 Ivory' and Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in '1C1 Shell 15' : As I mentioned my skin has been suffering as of late so to cover those imperfections and scarring I've been opting for heavier coverage foundations. I love that both of these last a full working day - considering I put my face on at 7am and it is still pretty much in tact by 7pm in the evening I'd say it has amazing wear time. Mixed with a little bit of liquid highlighter and buffed in well, these give flawless coverage without being cakey and heavy. Out of the two Double Wear is my favourite because the satin finish really does look like skin but Colour Stay is an amazing high street dupe if you are looking for something more affordable.

006. St Ives Invigorating Body Scrub*: When thinking about this brand I've never really considered their body products but this scrub has fast turned into one of my favourites. The pot is generously filled and it has just the right amount of abrasiveness while being cushioned with a soft and creamy formula. It leaves your skin feeling super smooth and soft without feeling raw.

007. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair: This serum is a staple in my nightly skin care routine which I use around 3-4 times a week. It is great at hydrating the skin, correcting pigmentation left from blemishes and  evening skin tone. I am careful not to use it every night as otherwise it can be a bit too heavy for me but used properly and the benefits are fantastic. I'm nearly at the end of this bottle now but it has lasted me ages and I will definitely be purchasing the new version when I have run out.

008. MaxFactor Masterpiece Transform Mascara in 'BLack': When it comes to mascara, MaxFactor just seem to own it! I didn't think my beloved 2000 calorie mascara could be rivaled but after trying the newest release from MaxFactor I must say it has turned into one of my favourites. After a few weeks of use I have found it tends to flake a little towards the end of the day and it doesn't give as much volume as 2000 calorie but it gives wonderfully long, black lashes that don't clump while giving a false lash effect.

009. Soap and Glory Lid Stuff Neutral Eyeshadow Quad: This little quad is such an underrated gem of the drugstore. For £10 you get amazingly pigmented and long lasting eye shadows, it is amazing for travel and you can get a variety of looks out of it. I've been using it for over a year now and have just never got round to doing a review. My favourite shade is 'Pink T', which is perfect for an every day eye and 'Aubersheen' looks amazing as an easy all over the lid smokey eye shade. The highlighter is also non chalky and perfect for day and night.


Tartan scarf from Miss Selfridge: perfect pattern and colour and really large and soft -  so cozy!
Fleur De Force vlogs: In particular I have been loving Fleur's vlogmas. She is so down to earth and I envy how much she can pack into one day!
Ru Paul's Drag Race: Ever since we got Netflix this has been such a guilty pleasure to watch when I'm getting ready in the morning. If you love ANTM then you will love this.
George Ezra: His album is so catchy and mellow, it has been on repeat on my Spotify this month.
Salted Caramel Tea: I'm not a fan of plain green tea but this novelty twist is delicious without being overpowering. If you are into herbal teas then you should give this a go!

What have you been loving recently? xxx

Monday, 24 November 2014

Review: Una Brennan | Vitamin C+ Brighten Dark Circles Eye Cream |

Una Brennan products are one of the unsung heroes of the high street to me. I've seen a few products featured from time to time on other blogs but they have been few and far between. Una has a range for nearly every skin problem with products ranging from face masks to cleansing oils and they are a really good price for how effective they are.

This little tube of eye cream has lasted me absolutely ages considering it is only 15ml. I used to use it morning and night but over the last few months I've been using it as my day cream, letting Estee Lauder's ANR eye do the job for the evening. The packaging is clean and pretty with an easy to use tapered dispenser. I have had trouble in the past with concealer looking cakey and creasing a lot under my eyes, which is why I started to use eye cream. This particular product is hydrating without being heavy or greasy, meaning it sinks in fairly quickly and therefore make up sits really nicely on top. 

Dark circles are one of the big things that makes me insecure about my make up free face. I've tried literally everything from drinking more water to making sure I get enough sleep but nothing really seems to help. The combination of Vitamin C and caffeine is meant to reduce the appearance of dark circles and lines. That is why I was drawn to this product so much, however in terms of brightening up dark eye circles I haven't really seen a difference in the short or long term unfortunately. The formula does not have any light reflecting particles so it is not meant to be an instant fix but over time there hasn't been a dramatic improvement either. I don't have many fine lines but a few creases under my eyes have been smoothed out.

In terms of a budget eye cream this one is really light, hydrating and great for the day time but if you are looking for something heavy duty to battle dark circles then I'm afraid this falls short.

I would still repurchase this product however for its other benefits and there are quite a few things from Una Brennan's range that I would still love to try such as the cleansing oil and the Neroli eye cream. 

Have you tried anything from Una Brennan? What is your favourite eye cream? xxx

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Agadir, Morocco: Sun, Sea & Souks

Almost a month ago now Matt and I went on a long over due summer holiday to Agadir in Morocco. It was absolutely beautiful and we had such an amazing time that I knew I had to blog about it. Over the course of the week I didn't actually end up taking that many pictures, purely because we wanted to relax and immerse ourselves in the holiday rather than trying to capture everything on film (or should I say memory card!) We stayed in the Riu Palace Tikida Hotel which was 5* All Inclusive and one of Thomson's premier hotels so our flights, full board and hotel transfer was all taken care of. It was absolutely beautiful from the rooms, to the pool and the service we really didn't have any complaints at all. It's safe to say the week went way too quickly for our liking but we would absolutely love to visit the country again.

We flew from Gatwick (which has the most amazing duty free by the way) and the flight took us around 3 and a half hours. The transfer was pretty quick too on the coach and we were greeted with cocktails while we checked in. The hotel was huge and beautifully furnished but even though it was large it didn't lose any character. Our room was much bigger than we thought with it's own private balcony and one of the best bonuses was that the mini bar was free!! Luckily it is the same time zone in Morocco as England so we didn't have to worry about being jet lagged at all.

One of our favourite days was when we visited the Souks which was recommended to us before we went away. When you stay in a hotel it can be tempting to stay by the pool every day and not really immerse yourself in any culture but we really wanted to see the local life and considering it was only a short and very cheap taxi ride away it would have been a waste not to go. Unlike my experience in Egypt, the people in the Souks were hardly pushy at all. If anything everyone was very friendly and once they realised you weren't interested they were very gracious. The hardest part was bartering which is a massive thing in Morocco and something us Brits aren't very good at! We managed to get a few lovely bits in the end to take home as momentos which you can see below. The hotel served the most amazing mint tea (yes mint tea can actually be amazing!) so I was really excited to buy the proper herbs to make it at home. We had no idea that 5 different ingredients went into making the tea including dried stevia leaves, rose buds and three different types of tea leaves.

Talking of the hotel, we were lucky enough to be situated right by the beach as well as having the large pool. The hotel also offered so many other things including a spa, activities such as beach volleyball, aqua classes, a gym, an indoor pool, and entertainment every night which was always good fun.

Moving onto the food, we knew it would be a bit of a gamble as all inclusive can tend to go either way. However I am pleased to say the food was absolutely amazing! They had two theme nights in the week but the traditional Morccan food was so delicious featuring melt in your mouth meat and vegetarian tagines with cous cous and chicken pastillas to a pasta bar, loads of different meats and vegetables, and the puddings were incredible too! For breakfast there was a range of fresh fruits, cereals, cooked breakfasts, pancakes, doughnuts, champagne and more. They also had a snack bar open in between meals so it really was 24/7 food. I'm so pleased the quality was fantastic and the chefs knew what they were doing.

The staff were all incredibly friendly too and made us feel at ease in all aspects of our holiday. If you are thinking about visiting Morocco then Agadir is a little bit more touristy than Morocco but I highly recommend it if you are new to the culture. Thomson also offer a variety of trips which we would have loved to do if we were there for longer so you can really engage with the Moroccan lifestyle.

This was a bit of a whistle stop, generalised post of our holiday but honestly I can't say how impressed I was with the hotel and country xxx

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Review: La Roche-Posay | Serozinc |

You might have seen this product do the rounds on French pharmacie posts/videos in the beauty community. Many bloggers including the skincare guru Caroline Hirons have championed this product to be an amazing toner which 'gives something back' by hydrating after an exfoliating toner and supposedly preventing breakouts due to the ingredient zinc sulfate which is a hydrating compound.

I picked up two bottles of Serozinc when I went to Paris earlier in the year (after dragging Matt around nearly every Pharmacie we saw) and couldn't wait to try it. I'm now onto my second bottle so you can tell it lasts a really long time.

I use this both morning and evening after a toner I've used for a specific problem e.g. The Body Shop's tea tree toner for blemishes or an exfoliating toner in the evening. The spray provides a lovely fine mist and it is very refreshing to use. In terms of hydration and blemish prevention I'm not sure how effective it is but I do find that when I have active break outs it helps to soothe and calm my skin and it has helped me to transition into the colder months. While in Morocco I kept this in the fridge in our hotel room to keep it extra cool and refreshing and found it great for soothing any sunburn on my body or face.

The only place you can really get your hands on Serozinc is via Ebay in the UK unfortunately and even then it can be really overpriced. I do enjoy this product as a staple in my routine but considering how hard it is to get hold of and the fact I haven't noticed any dramatic difference in my skin I would say it isn't a necessity. If you are in a country where you can buy it then I would say give it a go but  I think there are many other facial mists that do a similar job and are far easier to get hold of at the moment.

Have you tried Serozinc before? What is your favourite La Roche-Posay product? xxx

UPDATE: Since this post went live I went to an event for La Roche Posay where they revealed that Serozinc is now available in the UK via Feel Unique! Go go go!!
Monday, 27 October 2014

Bake: (Winning) Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Moist, chocolatey, orangey goodness... these cupcakes are rich enough and perfect for any occasion. I like that they look a little special with the orange segment on top but in reality they are quite easy to make.

These cupcakes have been made on 3 occasions recently: our housewarming, for my dad as a belated fathers day present and for a BBQ that we went to recently. They went down really well each time so I thought it was worth putting up a post. I'm quite proud of these actually because I entered them into a competition with Laura Ashley and won! If you want to have a go at these yourself the recipe is as follows (makes 12):

* 150g margarine
* 150g caster sugar
* 3 eggs
* 125g self raising flour
* 25g cocoa powder
* Terry's Chocolate Orange

For the icing
* 100g butter
* 200g icing sugar
* 75g cocoa powder
* The zest and half the juice of one large orange

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (fan) and prepare your muffin tin with paper molds.
2. Cream together the margarine and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time and blend into the mixture with a spoonful of the flour with each addition to prevent curdling.
4. Sieve together the flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl.
5. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder a little at a time until it is evenly incorporated into the mixture.
6. Divide evenly between the cases and pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
7. Once cooked leave the cakes to cool for a few minutes in the tin then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
8. Meanwhile make the icing by blending the butter until it is soft and smooth.
9. Slowly sieve in and blend the icing sugar and cocoa powder until the icing is smooth and there are no bubbles of icing sugar/cocoa powder.
10. Add the zest and juice of the orange - you might need to add more or less depending on how runny you want the icing. I like it quite stiff so it doesn't slip off the cakes but soft enough to spread evenly.
11. Once you have iced your cakes with a palette knife or piping bag, use a segment of chocolate orange to place on top of each cake.

Let me know if you try your hand at these and let me know what you think! xxx

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Book Club: The Silkworm | Robert Galbraith |

Since being in full time work I've had hardly any free time to read for pleasure as there always seems to be something more pressing to do. I've started trying to read a little bit each evening before I go to sleep and have been updating my Goodreads a bit more often which motivates me to try a little harder. The only thing is, reading makes me so sleepy I end up nodding off after a few pages!

A book I've recently finished reading is the second offering from Robert Galbraith AKA the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling. Obviously she is most famous for the Harry Potter series but she has done really well to distance herself from being just a children's author. I really enjoyed the first in the series -'Cuckoo's Calling' - so I was looking forward to delving into this one. I do find that both books seem to have a classic mystery by numbers theme running through them but it doesn't make the story feel easy or childlike and I was kept guessing throughout the duration of the book as to who had committed the crime.

I won't go into massive detail about the story in case you were hoping to read this story, but in short it is based around trying to figure out who has murdered a flamboyant and egotistical writer in the same way which is detailed in his most recent unpublished book. One of the main things I love about the writing is that it is descriptive and detailed just the right amount so you are intrigued but it doesn't bore you to death with pages of unnecessary narrative. I also enjoyed the developing relationship between two of the main characters, Robin and Strike. It was great that the second book carried on from the first but it was a much different story line with different kinds of characters and the second was a little darker too so it wasn't repetitive in the slightest.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next installment in the series. I would recommend it for people wanting to get into crime and also for lovers of J. K. Rowling. 

What have you been reading lately? xxx
Sunday, 19 October 2014

Natural Beauty with St Ives

A few weeks ago I was contacted by St Ives to see if I was interested to take part in their 7 day natural beauty challenge. Needless to say I jumped at the chance to be involved, not only because St Ives is a brand that I've enjoyed using for years but also because the message of the campaign was something that I feel positive about and think you guys could connect to as well.

The hamper we got sent was absolutely amazing and contained something for each day of my natural beauty journey as well as a lovely personalised make up bag which was perfect for my recent trip to Morocco!

Day 1: I started the week by taking care of my skin inside and out. We received a Brita filter water bottle to help with my intake of water which was perfect as I never drink enough throughout the day. To start my skin looking great on the outside I used the Blemish Fighting facial scrub which came at a great time because I was suffering a break out at the time. I love the smell of St Ives scrubs and my skin always feels so clean afterwards but luckily it didn't feel stripped at all. The Blemish scrub is quite abrasive though  so I used it twice a week, switching in the Gentle scrub for sensitive skin on the other days as it had smaller particles and was much more gentle on the skin.

Day 2: I used the Gentle scrub in the morning and then used the Body Shop Deep Sleep spray to help me get my beauty sleep as well as lighting my Neom lavender candle. I find it quite hard to get to sleep because I worry a lot and can stay up thinking about things a bit too much, so using this spray every night has really helped to relax me and drift off a bit easier.

Day 3: Today was time to detox and unwind with some natural herbal tea. I love drinking tea throughout the day and have a whole cupboard full of different types of herbal and black teas so this was the perfect addition!

Day 4: One of the most exciting products for me was the addition of an EOS lipbalm which I've wanted to try for ages! This was great as it is hygienic to use and great to pop in the hand bag for top ups throughout the day.

Day 5: This day I got to taste the delicious and nutritious hero ingredient from St Ives scrubs - apricots! I was going to do something fancy with them but ended up eating them as a snack instead, woops!

Day 6: One of my favourite additions to the box was the little book of Mindfulness. I feel like this came at a really great time for me as we have quite a lot going on in our lives at the moment and it has really helped me to relax and focus my mind. I think a happy mind and positive thoughts does such a lot for leading a beautiful life so is really important.


Day 7: The last day was to embrace our natural beauty from head to toe. I used the walnuts, which is another hero product in their scrub, and made some raw copycat nakd bars. Let me know if you want the recipe as they were delicious and much cheaper to make than what you can buy in the shops! I then used the body scrub which is a very generous tub and was amazing at prepping my skin for tanning in Morocco.

Overall, I think this natural beauty journey was so much fun as was rediscovering some fabulous products from St Ives. I hope it inspires you to give it a go yourself as well. Remember to tweet @StIvesSkinUk and use the hashtag #BrightSkin to document your journey or your suggestions for achieving natural beauty inside and out. xxx

Monday, 22 September 2014

Lipstick Review: MAC | Candy Yum Yum |

Everyone knows I love a good shade of pink. The majority of my lipsticks are made up of this colour but I have to say that this shade has become not only my favourite pink but one of my favourite lip products in my entire make up collection.

'Candy Yum Yum' used to be limited edition but due to its popularity it got its own place within the permanent line up of MAC lipsticks, which is when I got it. It is so different to anything I own and is just so beautiful, although notably difficult to photograph. I would describe the colour as a deep yet almost neon pink that has a definite blue tone running through it which was hard to capture but I urge you to swatch it yourself. It is also long lasting through eating and drinking with wear to only the centre of my mouth but nothing too noticeable. The formula is matte but it is still creamy and non drying. Like all bright colours, especially those that are less hydrating, I would recommend using a good lip scrub before otherwise it will highlight those imperfections. Most people would probably see this as a dramatic evening colour but I enjoy wearing it in the day too to pep up a monochrome outfit with pared down make up on the rest of my face.

I'm not wearing a lip liner in either of this pictures so if you have a recommendation of something that would match it well that would be perfect. Like all MAC prices the lipsticks seem to be rising all the time and they are now priced at £15.50 each. The shade range and quality is fabulous though so I can understand why people are willing to pay the price. You can pick this up at your local MAC store or online.

What's your favourite MAC lipstick? xxx

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Why I'm Totally Not Sorry Summer Is Ending

1. Berry Lips - I'm not one to confine myself to certain colours for each season but there is just something so right about sporting berry vampy lips when it gets colder. I already have quite a few favourites in my stash but I'm sure I'll be adding to the collection with more this year.

2. Hot drinks - tea, chocolate tea, cinamon tea, green tea, hot chocolate, peppermint tea etc.. in other words a hug in a mug!

3. Snuggling up under a blanket while watching a film or a whole series on TV - need I say more.

4. Reading with just the sound of the rain in the background.

5. It's nearly Christmas - it truly is the most wonderful time of year and I LOVE it! From the songs, to the food, to the decorations and just Christmas cheer in general I think the build up is the best bit out about Christmas time. Only 4 months to go! (Don't hate me any grinches out there!)

6. Bubble baths and body butters - During the warmer months I still do both of these but its few and far between. Now it is starting to get colder its somewhat of a ritual to relax in a toasty bath prefrably full of lots of limited edition Lush goodies and then follow up parched skin with a nourishing body butter. Thick body butters and heat = massive fail so I'm looking forward to digging up some goodies in this department.

7. Changing landscapes - crisp air, crunchy orange, yellow and red leaves and frost on the grass are just a few of my favourite changes to nature.

8. Log fires - crackling, roaring, warming goodness, there is no sound more comforting than that of a log fire. Plus you can toast marshmallows and make smores which is even better in my opinion.

9. Comfort food - following on from the smores, Autumn and Winter bring hearty stews, healthy warming soups, stodgy carbs and pies. Maybe not the best food for you but you can switch things up to make certain meals healthier and it doesn't matter too much when you're covered up in jumpers anyway, right?

10. Snuggly jumpers - re number 9. Plus it feels so nice to be warm and comfortable when your face is freezing.

11. Sparkles and glitter - fairy lights, glitter nail polish, sequin dresses... the possibilities are endless. Everyone knows that Autumn/Winter lives for everything glitter.

12. Autumn/Winter candle scents - salted caramel from Yankee Candles is one of my faves and perfect for this time of year plus I still have a few left over from the sale last year.

I know this is all a bit pre-emptive as apparently we are meant to be getting warmer weather again for the next few weeks but this is what I will be looking forward to!

What are your favourite things about Autumn/Winter? Will you miss the summer time? xxx

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Skin Care Series | Part 1 | My Morning Routine


I've finally found the time to film, which I am really excited about because it is one of my favourite hobbies. Filming videos is way more time consuming than I first thought but its great to have another outlet to talk to the beauty community and I think some topics and ideas work better in video format than a long rambled post. 

Today's video is my morning skin care routine from start to finish, so hopefully you will pick up some new product suggestions. There will be two other parts to this series; my evening routine and skin care extras which will have their own separate videos.

I hope you enjoy watching it as I love these kinds of videos! Please subscribe to my channel if you like watching me xxx

Friday, 15 August 2014

Scent of the Summer: Estee Lauder | Bronze Goddess Skinscent |

Normally perfumes don't feature over on my little slice of the internet, purely because I am pretty awful at describing scents. When I picked this baby up though I knew I had to spread the word because it is just amazing and you need it in your life for the summer months!!

You might have seen this mentioned in my May favourites video but I thought Bronze Goddess deserved a post of its own. With a heart of golden amber and notes of coconut milk, vanilla, lemon, sicilian bergamot, jasmine and magnolia petals to name a few, this scent evokes all those dreamy summer memories: sun cream, the seaside, palm trees, cocktails on holidays, a soft summer breeze... I think you get the gist. It also comes in a shimmering version too which looks beaut!

It is actually the first perfume that I have bought myself as I normally receive them as gifts, which says a lot in itself, and although it is expensive I think the amount you get and the design of the bottle is well worth the money. The gold translucent packaging and the fine spray really upholds the luxury of the Lauder name and reflects the fact it is a summer scent. I think the only downside is that it doesn't have the best staying power so you do have to reapply regularly throughout the day. The fact it is a limited edition fragrance which is only available from April until stocks last also makes it a must have for me - is anyone else like that? When I hear limited edition I seem to hand over my bank card a little too easily!

Other products in the Bronze Goddess range that I have my eye on are the large bronzer and the self tanning lotion for the face. The essence of this post is: you need this in your life!

Apologies for the terrible pictures but the nature of the bottle makes it very hard to photograph, plus it has been knocking about in my handbag...!

Have you tried anything from the Bronze Goddess range? Do you have a favourite summer scent? xxx

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Recipe: Homemade Summer Berry Ice Pops

For ages I have stashed away lots of recipes for ice lollies on pinterest, waiting for the moment that we get a tiny bit of sun to not only try out the recipes but also use my Laura Ashley moulds that I got in the sale a year ago! The last couple of weeks have been amazing so I have been making these refreshing and super tasty ice lollies quite regularly. You can find the original recipe here but I have tweaked it a little bit to suit our tastes and also to fit around what we had in our fridge at the time, which of course you are free to do as well. I know ice pops are really easy to make but these take a little more effort and the taste and look of them are definitely worth it.

Ingredients (makes around 8 lollies)
* 1/2 cup of raspberries
* 1/2 cup of blueberries
* 1 cup of sliced strawberries
* 1 cup of frozen summer berries
* 1/3 cup of sugar
* 1/3 cup of water
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint

1. Combine all the fruit in a bowl and mash them up with the back of a wooden spoon to release the juices.

2. Add the lemon juice and mint, then stir will to combine everything.

3. Leave to rest in the fridge for about an hour to let the flavours infuse, I sometimes leave mine for longer.

4. After the fruit has rested for the right amount of time, put your sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat gently until all the sugar is dissolved. Do not allow to boil. It is useful to use a saucepan with a lip so you can pour the sugar solution more easily.

5. Leave the syrup to cool for a few minutes and then pour into the fruit mixture. Combine well with the wooden spoon.

5. Using a jug with a lip or spoon, carefully administer equal parts of fruit and syrup into the moulds, making sure not to fill all the way to the top as it will expand when frozen and you need to fit the sticks on top.

6. Put your sticks into the lolly mixture and leave to freeze for at least 6 hours.

And that is all you need to do for a very simple but delicious recipe which should see you through the summer! 

I hope you enjoy it and please let me know if you try this recipe xxx

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Event: Vichy | Normaderm Launch | Night Detox

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to attend the launch of a brand new product by Vichy. Night Detox is the newest installment to their Normaderm skin care line which is tailored to oily/combination and problem skin. I was so excited about attending, not only because events are such fun and a great opportunity to meet new people but also because this whole line and particularly this product is perfect for me and my skin type.

The venue was the Hamyard Hotel in Picadilly and was just incredible! It was so quirky and different and the perfect space for a blogger event - it even had its own bowling alley which I will definitely have to go back and try out. Upon arrival we were greeted with the most delicious food - mini fish and chips, mini sorbets, mini chocolate pops (everyone knows I love anything mini!) and more as well as complimentary mojitos to enjoy. I got to mingle with some other bloggers and ended up spending the night with Layla from Sprinkles of Style, Hannah from A Day in The Life of a Northern Girl and Zoe from Face Value Beauty who were so lovely and let me join their group haha. We also got to view the new product and test it out before the presentation which would tell us some more details about the product.

The presentation occurred in the in-house cinema and we managed to grab a bag of popcorn before we sat down. We were given a short talk about the product, what skin type it is for, how it works etc and I learnt some really interesting skincare facts, for example, did you know that sebum production peaks at 12am and 12pm?

Although I aim to publish a full review post of Night Detox, the main aim of this product is to stop that dirty feeling in the morning that oily skin gals know all too well by controlling sebum production, tightening pores, and evening your skin texture by both detoxing and purifying your skin at night.

After the talk we were kindly shown the film Grease, one of my fave films, but unfortunately I couldn't stay for this (sob) as I had to get the train home (the con to not living on a tube line anymore!)

I also received the daily moisturiser from the range and a cleanser of my choice, which was the Unclogging Exfoliating Gel. I've already started testing them out and am really enjoying the products with an aim to have a full review up in a few weeks once I have tested them properly.

Thanks again to the team at Vichy for such a fab night! xxx


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