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


Blog Design by Bonjour Belle Designs