Friday, August 24, 2018

New In | Nivea Sun Face Range

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

I am the first to admit that whilst going about my business I don't tend to apply a separate SPF, instead relying on those within my skincare and make up comfortable that I spend most of day inside. Recent months I've been less inclined to follow that rule thanks to the glorious sunshine we were experiencing in the UK and acknowledging I needed to add more protection for those lunches in local beer gardens or weekends spent sitting in my parents garden.

As if hearing my internal monologue the postman answered my prayers and I received products from the new Nivea Sun V Face range. The Nivea 'New UV Face innovation' has been specifically formulated for the face and has a '0% white residue'.

My favourite from Nivea Sun Q10 Anti-Age and Anti-Pigment Face Cream and Sun Moisture Mousse is the former. The Face cream is lightweight as they suggest and if I don't become too carried away and find the right amount to apply it sinks in nicely and the white cast is momentary.

I'm always concerned with SPF Face Creams and experiencing breakouts but even with my sporadic double cleansing and attention to an evening skincare regime there were none to speak of. It felt light to apply but

The Nivea Sun Moisture Mousse had just a little too much stickiness on application for my liking and I've popped aside to share with my male holiday friends in Dubai next month, the Face Cream will be part of my skincare regime and I will definitely be happy to repurchase when I need a new one.

Another summer sun saviour from Nivea is their updated deodorant range. Who new deodorant cans needed ergonomic designs but they do indeed have one. A new feature I didn't expect to love or need so much is the 'twist to lock' feature. Nothing so new there you'd think but I can't tell you the number of products I spend more time twisting and untwisting trying to work out whether it has indeed locked whereas in this case it actually clicks into place so there is no uncertainty.

I usually favour a stick deodorant but in they can leave you feeling a little wet and throw in the recent humidity a spray was more effective and I was pleased to have Nivea Dry Fresh Deodorant to hand. Again I expected to be battling sweat thanks to humidity and the inferno that is the central line but I was rather impressed, and I'm not suggesting it was foolproof because again, that humidity but Nivea Dry Fresh did hold it's own.

Thank you Nivea for helping me battle the recent heatwave

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

New Fragrance Launch | LK Bennett Signature

LK Bennett Perfume Review

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

The similarities between Kate Middleton and myself begin and end with both being a fan of LK Bennett footwear - but perhaps we can now add the fact we've been wearing the same perfume as each other to that list?

Earlier this year LK Bennett launched their first ever fragrance, simply named Signature retailing for £35 and available to buy in their store celebrating their 'timeless heritage'. The fragranced is housed in typical classic LK Bennett style and I was impressed just by the weight of the lid - often used to what looks luxury what crack simply from over zealous pulling off of the stopper.

The scent of Signature is interesting and not something I would typically be drawn to, nor if I'm honest is it one I favour with top notes of citrus, pepper and rhubarb, heart notes of rose, jasmine and ylang yland and base notes of warm woods, dry amber, musk and vetiver that create something of a heady scent which I can't easily pinpoint to sweet or floral.

My sister-in-law was visiting when this arrived and she immediately loved it and once I had taken the necessary photos I allowed her to be tester for me and give her thoughts and she is still a fan and enjoyed wearing over the Summer. She commented on how impressed she was particularly that as the day went on she could always pick up the scent and it hadn't dissipated as they often do.

I believe the fragrance should be available to buy on the LK Bennett site but I've been unable to find it and I'm quite taken by the 'exclusivity' they're giving it that you can only find it for sale in their stores but I'll be interested to see if that changes to reach a wider audience.

Are you an LK Bennett fan?

Monday, August 20, 2018

Current Skincare Picks

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

It's taken me so long to actually write today's post that all three products I'm talking about today that they are almost ready for the empties pile, with one ready to be repurchased come payday.

Micellar Lotion's were a completely unknown product to me before they started being talked about across blogs. I never quite got into the Bioderma hype taking the view, that even with my sometimes lax skincare routine that I would either cleanse 'properly' or not at all. As time has moved on I have seen the value of a micellar water even if I still can't talk about them as the most exciting product in my routine. I use them to remove eye make up before going in with my cleansing balms, oils and/or creams as a little helping hand and to avoid smearing mascara across my flannel and therefore face.

I'm comfortable with a high street micellar water but I recently had the opportunity to try from from the french pharmacy brand, Embryolisse. I enjoy Embryolisse as a brand and have recently finished using the Lait-Creme Concentrate so I was keen to see whether a £15.99 Micellar Water could excite me more than others I've tried.

Whilst we're all becoming more knowledgeable and sophisticated about products we put on our skin I'm not fully convinced we're too worried about our micellar waters but I did notice a difference between Embryolisse Micellar Lotion and my more affordable options. Usually I would remove my eye make up and head straight into cleansing and applying my serums and moisturisers but during my 'testing phase' I would use to remove all my make up and try waiting around to see how my skin felt after using and it was certainly less drying and felt 'kinder' to my skin than cheaper brands I'd used.

If money were no object, my skin were more sensitive or I used micellar lotion in my routine as a more a cleanser then I would certainly repurchase Embryolisse Micellar Lotion but as I am simply using to remove eye make up or as part of a wider skincare regime I am happy to keep using the lower end products.

On a similar theme of budget versus high end products the time came for a new facial spritz or toner in my routine. I have always opted for Liz Earle Skin Tonic Spritz but again, it's a little more than I would like to spend on a product that feels more of a pampered step of my routine rather than providing significant help. I saw Mikhila feature the Botanics Organic Rosewater Toning Spritz and for between £5 and £8 depending on what offers Boots are running it was worth giving a try and I was so glad I did.

I was worried I would hate it's scent because I'm not a fan of 'rose' but this is anything but. The rose water smells to me spa like and I get a familiar feeling of luxury like I would from using Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I am currently eeking out the final couple of sprays before I repurchase. I've seen some criticism on the brand that the once affordable price point has been creeping up but I'm comfortable with their pricing and interested to explore more, perhaps next their cleansing balm - has anyone tried it?

Finally is a product I'm a big fan of and would never had known about but for a PR reaching out to me. I first tried the What Skin Needs Hydrating Facial Serum about a year ago and find its great for my skin when its suffering dryness from the elements - whether they are self inflicted hangovers or a change in temperatures.

This is a serum you're aware you're applying, its oil like in texture and will slowly sink into skin but it is just the trick to make my skin look plump and refreshed when I'm otherwise. At £12.99 it's got a great price point and I would imagine those with extremely dry skins, or dare I suggest as we start to look forward to the Autumn and Winter seasons this is a product worth having in your arsenal.

What skin products have you been using recently?

Monday, June 18, 2018

High Street Hot Cloth Cleansers

Aldi Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser

*this post contains affiliate links

Liz Earle's Hot Cloth Cleanser is one of those products that has a sense of nostalgia for me as being the first product I really acknowledge using as part of a 'proper' skincare regime. It wasn't the cheapest but it felt affordable and simple. Many share my feelings as it's one of the products, and indeed brands that it seems everyone, whether a skincare junkie or not has at least tried once and wh it is up there as a cult beauty product.

Of course make a revered product and the imitations will follow and Aldi has earned a reputation of late as being the Make Up Revolution of, well just about anything these days, including their Liz Earle 'inspired' Hot Cloth Cleanser.

As an Aldi fan and in addition with this blog I had to pick up a tube last year to try for myself and was amazed at how alike both products are. In fact at the time I said if you blinded tested me I wouldn't be able to differentiate between the two. Today's post though is not to speak of the Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser and it's comparison to Liz Earle but part empty and welcome to Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser.

As fellow Aldi shoppers will know you can't simply walking into store a pick up their hot cloth cleanser when the need arises as it's only available at various points throughout the years as a Special Buy and then you're part of the hoards fighting to pick up on release day and consider whether to stockpile. Whilst I do enjoy the Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser I'm trying to avoid stockpiling products and when you write a blog and there are many versions on the high street to try out and use as content then it's rather unnecessary to join the bunfight.

When the time came for a new hot cloth cleanser to enter my regime I decided to try out Superdrug's Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser. This is one that's both affordable and highly spoke of by many, not least Sali Hughes and Nadine Baggott so it was a worthy contender.

It's slightly more expensive than the Lacura's £3.99 cleanser at £4.99 but it's often available at either a reduced price or currently buy one get one half price (for the stockpilers!) and the biggest draw for myself that I can simply walk into a store and purchase rather than waiting for it's next release.

I use a hot cloth cleanser for either my morning regime or as a second cleanse of an evening and it performs as I would expect. In comparison to Lacura I prefer it's consistency. It feels thicker and creamier and there's a more luxurious aspect to it's use although I do like the Lacura scent for it's familiarity.

Both products perform in the same fashion, my skin feels clean, but not dry and when I use for make up removal all traces disappear. The main differences which will aid your choice are that Lacura has a strong scent and is slightly thinner in consistency to Superdrug's thicker with a more 'clean' scent.

Now if Liz Earle could re-release the Grapefruit & Patchouli hot cloth cleanser I'll be first in the queue to purchase.

Are you a hot cloth cleanser fan?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Bronze Goddess - A High Street Dupe

Next Bronze Goddess Dupe

*this post contains affiliate links

As soon as the sun starts to show it's face I reach for Estee Lauders Bronze Goddess as my 'summer scent'.  Yes it's cliched and I tried to resist jumping on the bandwagon but when I finally gave in two years ago and tried it for myself I was sold and now it makes smile whenever I wear it and reminds me and my friends of fabulous holidays over the years.

Being a Summer scent it's lighter than what I usually reach for but that doesn't make the scent any less powerful and I find even as a smoker it doesn't get lost. Only the other day someone commented on how nice I smelt and it was Bronze Goddess I was wearing.

I've mentioned Bronze Goddess on my blog many times and my usual gripe is that despite over the years them expanding the Bronze Goddess range to feature many products with the familiar scent (currently I have my eye on the Cooling Body Gelee when I head to Dubai in September) they do not have a travel version. It baffles me. A Summer scent that doesn't come in a bottle that will slide easily into even on of those crappy plastic bags you can pick up at the airport before going through security. I even purchase my favoured Chanel Mademoiselle in it's travel version as whilst not as pretty on the dressing table for travel or simply throwing into my handbag it's the practical choice.

It was Zoe who alerted me to the Next dupe, Summer Sun, available and whilst I'm reluctant to buy things simply to blog about or indeed felt the need to purchase a fragrance dupe, especially when I've just opened a brand new bottle, my interest was peaked when I saw they had a travel version for £4 - worth a try surely?

I popped into my local branch of Next and was amazed and how alike it's 'inspiration' it was and did indeed purchase the travel version. This now sits in my handbag and allows me to top up my higher end scent should I wish - even better it's not a rollerball but a spray which I prefer.

There is a whole Summer Sun range of this Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess dupe and I'm even keen to dabble in the gift sets featuring body lotion, hand cream and most tempting the body oil and mist. Whilst I can appreciate the luxury and long lasting scent from Estee Lauder for the aforementioned products I could buy them all for less than their higher end counterparts.

Whatever your feeling on dupes sometimes a more affordable version of the accompanying items can be welcome to layer your fragrance without breaking the bank. In fact it was Next Summer Sun I showed a friend only yesterday and she's subsequently gone out and purchased Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess and like me, Next Summer in it's travel size for her handbag.

Do you have a favourite scent you reach for in the Summer?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Hairdryer With Your Name On It

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

When I was offered the opportunity to test out on of LanaiBlo's hairdryer's I'd love to tell you that I read about all their fantastic features and couldn't wait to try them out for myself but I admit it was the fact that my name would appear on it that peaked my initial interest.

Once the momentary love of personalisation passed and now that I have been using the LanaiBlo hairdryer since the beginning of the year I'm now able to provide more of my thoughs for you on how the hairdryer performs beyond the aesthetics.

To look at the LanaiBlo hairdryer it doesn't appear unlike any other you'd find on a quick search of google and their first claim of being 'powerful 2400 watt' can be found in more affordable versions for a fraction of the price although I can speak to them comparatively beyond what I've seen. I can say that the hairdryer I had been using for nearly 7 years prior was a more expensive 'professional' version purchased through a hairdresser friend so it says something about spending a little more.  The benefits of a more powerful hairdryer are that you will quite simply dry your hair quicker; which if you're someone with hair extensions or a long thick head of hair can be a bonus, especially during these warmer months.

My hair dries very quickly, even with one of those ridiculous hotel hairdryers and because my styling is limited - in short tip head upside down and wave hairdryer around till dry - I don't feel a slave to the hairdryer and like I'm spending too long blasting it. That said I do find that with the LanaiBlo the time spent has been reduced even further and I can gain an extra couple of of minutes in bed before work - always a bonus.

If you are used to spending hours in front of the mirror with a hairdryer the fact that LanaiBlo is lightweight and ergonomically designed will be of interest. I can't say I've ever needed to 'minimise fatigue' due to blowdrying my hair but I imagine those with disabilities struggle with what I consider a simple task and they will look at this with intrigue. Is it really lightweight? Honestly I would say no. Is it lighter than the hairdryer I was using though? Most definitely. As mentioned I hadn't even looked at the LanaiBlo claims until recently as I was putting together my thoughts for this post and it was only after I suddenly realised how different it was. No it isn't light as a feather but it definitely feels more streamlined and not as cumbersome.

If static hairs are a problem for you, and we've all been there with pesky flyaway hairs ruining what we intended to be a smooth and shiny finish to our blow you'll find the LanaiBlo has Ionic Technology and for added assistance a Cold Shot feature which helps for those who doing a little more styling than I do. And you'll have no frizz due to the Ceramic Tourmaline. All these features certainly leave me with a more polished look than it's predecessor which for an amateur I would've just presumed it was my styling technique rather than something I could change so I can see the value in the LanaiBlo Hairdryer.

The LanaiBlo hairdryer does not come cheap at £99 but you are paying a salon standard professional hairdryer which does, in my amateur experience and simple hair needs perform better than others I've used and certainly more affordable options - and its a third compared to the Dyson which despite a desire for I don't think I could ever spend that much money on.

Returning to the aesthetics I like that its available in a choice of colours and as you can see I picked a white or there is a bright pink if you're feeling a bit more colourful. And that personalisation I was so excited about? Well that's an extra £15 and a nice touch but not entirely exciting as I hoped. It almost looks a little out of place, for the added expense I would like to see the font available in a choice of colours or sizes so it became a design feature of substance. That aside I think it would make for an ideal gift for someone living in shared accommodation or perhaps someone off to university who will be unable to fit in costly blow drys at the hairdresser and avoid the hairdryer being misplaced in halls.

A shampoo and conditioner duo I have been using regularly has been from the Lee Stafford Bleach Blondes range. Both the shampoo and conditioner are to 'lightly tone, refresh and restore' - in short to knock out those brassy tones us bleach blondes are familiar with.

I've really noticed a different to my balayaged hair since using this Lee Stafford duo and fit it into my hair washing regime at least once a week. The purple toning shampoo knocks out the brassy tones and then the conditioner smooths and hydrates - a winning combination as my hair, certainly at the bleached roots leans more dry these days.

I haven't yet decided how I feel about the Lee Stafford Bleach Blondes Tone Correcting Conditioning Spray as its the product I've used least preferring the familar routine of shampoo and condition in the shower . That said I've been reaching for it more recently when I use a regular shampoo and find that my hair is continuing to look less brassy when I do so.

Of course if unlike me you do not wash your hair daily this might be an ideal alternative to the aforementioned duo as you simply spray into towel dried hair and continue as normal. I am continuing to use and do find in the Summer I reach more for leave in conditioners as I let hair air dry on my commute to work.

What hair products having you been reaching for recently?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Beauty Products Elle Woods Would Love

*this post contains press sample and affiliate links

I'm first to admit that photography isn't my strongest skill as a blogger but sometimes an array of products arrive through the door that lend themselves well to the perfect image and I'm quite pleased with the result as I think Legally Blonde's Elle Woods would love seeing so much pink.

Starting with my favourite product of the bunch Embryolisse Complexion Correcting Skincare CC Cream.  Embryolisse call this a 'universal complexion perfector' with SPF 20 which will 'preserve a radiant youthfulness' and 'correct imperfections' and when they're being particularly confident with their claims it's a 'complete skincare treatment'.

To tackle a gripe first of course this is once again not a universal product, especially if like me you're using as a light base even with it's 'self-adjusting pigments'. In fact I'd be cautious if you were using otherwise as on my first uses I was concerned it was a little too orange (it wasn't my blending skills were lacking!).

Since I have been using thoroughly and as a base product I've fallen in love with it's silky and velvety finish and how radiant it leaves my skin (paired with Milani Prime Protect Face Primer it's a winning combination) and you can offer your opinion from the photo of me below. It's perfect for the Summer season.

Hyaluronic Acid helps to plump the skin aiding the blurring of my wrinkles it's a thicker consistency than I expected whilst offering ingredients which protect against ageing. Of course as a base it evens the skin tone and really does give the 'your skin but better' appearance and in fact, when not wearing I do find an improvement in my skins appearance so it is working in both areas of my daily regime.

It's pricey and matches the cost of some high end foundations at £29.99 but if you're looking for multi-use products and need to save costs on moisturisers and make up then it might be somewhere for you to look; especially as it's available 3 for 2 on skincare at Boots currently.

Benefit The Porefessional is my favourite primer and one I've repurchased many times and the bar I set all others to so I was excited when a new version was released Benefit The POREfessional Pearl Primer. Sadly I have been disappointed and thankful I picked up the small travel size to test out. Benefit claim to provide a 'lit-from-within' look on my skin I find it just a little bit subtle for me and as for my pores yes they're smoothed but I don't feel as much as the original. Of course it could be familiarity but it will be perfect for casual make up looks or indeed when I need a little help the morning after the night before.

I was worried I am so late talking about the L'Occitane and Rifle Paper Collection that I'd have to add the disclaimer of here they are but they're sold out. The good news is that's not the case and thankfully it's only limited edition packaging rather then products themselves.

I've long been a fan of L'Occitane hand creams so to see such a beautiful collaboration with Rifle Papers delightful artwork it was a match made in heaven. I was lucky enough to receive two versions of the hand cream, both with shea butter the orignal and the rose scent.

That pictured above is the Rose Shea Butter Hand Cream and whilst aesthetically pleasing with I really do not like a rose scent and found this very overpowering. Of course if you want to smell like you literally have a bouquet of flowers in your hands this is perfect for you and indeed the friend I was able to pass it onto.

The Original Shea Butter Hand Cream on the other hand is bliss. This tube sits aside my sofa at home and whilst it's not necessary to keep reapplying because it keeps hands so soft for such a length of time its a pleasure to repeat the process.

The original shea butter hand cream is not a light cream but nor is it too heavy. Thick enough for even the current climate as we switch between trying to turn our heating off but still finding a chill in the air of an evening.

Hands are not left feeling greasy after use and there is barely a scent so it doesn't interfere with other fragrance I might be wearing.

Hand cream and lip balms are the product I use most often as even when I can't be bothered to apply make up or even a skincare regime I can't bear dry hands or lips. Lypsyl kindly sent me a couple of lip balms from their range of newly reformulated products and such is my regular usage they've ended up in the empties pile already albeit unfortunately because they both suffered from the warm weather and snapped before I'd reached the bottom.

Each stick contains ingredients to hydrate and smooth lips and you can pick your choice from flavours such as Mint or Cucumber or my favourite Cherry.

Another product that's made it's way into the empties pile is Hempz Pomegranate Body Wash thanks in part to coming along on my recent trip to Las Vegas. Hempz is a US brand easily found on the shelves at Ulta. It's a little more difficult for us in the UK to track down but they have now launched online in the UK.

This is not your cheapest body wash at £16.99 for 250ml and it's neither the most luxurious but I cannot deny the scent is something amazing and all ingredients are vegan friendly including, with a nod to their name, 100% hemp seed oil.

Hemp seed oil is rich in numerous vitamins, all essential in maintaining healthy and (cough) younger looking skin and hair. I can't say whether my body wash is aiding youthful skin and I'm afraid my grey's still need regular touch ups but skin is certainly not striped and is left feeling nourished which is something necessary for someone like me who is lax with applying body lotions.

As for the scent I'm calling this my Summer version of Jo Malone's Pomegranate Noir. It's not as dark and more fruity but I love it. And a look through the Hempz website will show you an array of products in the scent ranges. And as I experienced with the Hempz body lotion their products feel like they last a lifetime as a little goes a long way.

How do you feel about pink packaging? Is it cliched or do you want to see more of it?

Monday, May 14, 2018

High Street Beauty | B. Make Up Review

B. Make Up Review

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

B. is a vegan make up brand which if you're a regular in the aisles of Superdrug, where it is available exclusively, will no doubt be familiar with and one I've had an opportunity to explore over the past year.

It's brands such as B. why many moons ago I started covering more beauty posts as I wanted to explore and learn more about beauty brands on the high street. Whilst it's wonderful to visit a high end beauty counter and treat oneself to a Chanel lipstick or Dior blush sometimes you're stomping along your local high street in need of a pick me up and want to treat yourself to a little something and B. is a brand worth looking at.

B. Make Up Review Cruelty Free

Having been sent some products from the extensive and affordable range I've discovered some favourites, one you may remember from Part 1 of my 2017 Favourites, the B. Pro Contour Stick in Universal Shade. I used this often last Summer under my Bare Minerals Powder Foundation but it works on top of liquid foundations just as well. Cream stick products can run from too greasy or stiff but the B. Pro Contour Stick sits nicely in the middle to work wonders without fear of slipping off your face.

Its size works wonders for any attempts at contouring the nose and is sufficient for my amateur contouring to accentuate my cheekbones. The Universal shade name is obviously a misnomer as it clearly will not be suitable for all but it works well for my skintone.

I don't really bother with the highlight shade, if I'm free with time I will have a swipe but it's the contour shade I favour and suspect once that has run out I'll move onto a new one rather than wait to finish the lighter shade.

Vegan make up

My much talked about declutter is happening now to all my lipsticks as I face facts and that is 99% of the time I am wearing a red lip. I have my favourites so why other lesser products or indeed shades sit in my make up collection is anyones guess and unfortunately the shades of the B. lip products I received are those I would not wear. I had a little swatch and play of them hoping that the B. Matte Lipstick in the shade Snatched might sway me or be my 'perfect nude' but atlas it was far too pale for me. Likewise the B. Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick in the shade Ravenous is a dark shade which I'd like to think I would dabble with in cooler months or should the occasion arise but I know I would just reach for the safer option of Milani Plum Rose.

B. Make Up at Superdrugs

Next up is the B.Duo Liner and B. Lip and Cheek Tint in the shade Crimson Caress, products which were both success but not for me. I've long given up on attempting winged eyeliner, between hooded eyes and a desire for the extra 5 mins in bed that it's a wonder I get any make up on my face before I walk out the door I passed this over to my sister-in-law who is a fan of that look and she loved the product so much she has subsequently replaced it since the one I gave her dried out.

The lip and cheek tint is a lovely product and definitely one for those who want a multi-use product so ideal for anyone travelling on a budget airline this Summer. The shade Crimson Caress is not as scary as it looks on the pain and whilst a little stiff in formula it blends out quickly and easily. This now hides in my locker at work as a quick fix if I have an impromptu night out and need some colour in my cheeks. As a lip product it is indeed only a tint and as already mentioned I'm a fan of the red lip but this gives a nice little something to the lips and I especially enjoyed it when I had used an oil or balm on my lips.

Have you got any favourites from the brand or recommendations for me as B. is currently available at Superdrug Buy 1 Get 2nd 1/2 price on selected products until 22nd May so it's a good time to buy.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

All Natural Bath Time with Isla Apothecary

Isla Apothecary All Natural Bath

*this post contains press samples. all views are my own

When I was contacted by Isla Apothecary I was immediately fascinated to hear that the whole range is handmade by it's founder Kate Protopapas in her London studio. At a time when as much as the consumer is more keen to learn and buy more plant-based and natural products I welcomed an opportunity to test for myself a product that isn't just using a clever choice of words in their marketing campaigns but indeed stands by their commitment to use 'natural, ethically-sourced, and where possible organic ingredients'.

Their philosophy begins with their product packaging which to my mind balance a vintage apothecary vibe versus the modern day love of rose gold and makes them perfectly instagramable. Beyond aesthetics products are housed in jars and bottles which can be reused and recycled and there are is no excessive packaging such as a box in a box.

The products I received were the Himalayan Salt Soak and Blood Orange and Vanilla Scrub products that clearly draw on Isla Apothecary's desire to deliver an aromatherapy experience as soon as you open the jars and smell the scent.

Starting with the Himalayan Salt Soak which does come in at a somewhat pricey £21 designed to create an 'aromatic bathing ritual' and 'coax radiance from the outside and cleanse from within'. It seems everyone is sharing stories of late about epsom salts and their restorative properties.

Isla Apothecary Himalayan Salt Soak contains Patchouli Oil which as well encouraging cell grown is well suited to 'mature skin' which sounded fantastic (read wanting to believe I'd step out of the body of a Victoria Secrets model). Unfortunately Patchouli is a scent I do not enjoy and and Isla Apothecary haven't convinced me otherwise. Not have the benefits of 'improved circulation, balanced body pH' as such convinced me that I enjoy bath salts of any kind. For me I found that the salts sat at the bottom of the bath and whilst not enough to be too unpleasant I would be aware they were there so this product was a thumbs down only due to my personal preferences.

The Blood Orange and Vanilla Sugar Scrub I loved and referring back to my earlier comments this is 100% Natural and 99% Organic. Without stating the obvious the blood orange scent is strongly evident and as a big fan of citrus scents it was a major tick from me.

Organic raw cane sugar is used to create this product and it feels luxuriously homemade in comparison to the body scrub I am familiar with. At bath time I scoop a handful and buff at my skin and despite it's raw qualities the additions of Shea butter and oils such as Coconut, Peach and Vitamin E condition skin whilst providing a barrier against water loss and avoid the exfoliation process feeling unpleasant.

It is a gloriously luxurious product and one I've certainly enjoyed using but at £13 I'm not certain I would hit 'buy now' to replace but were I to come across it in person I would definitely consider picking it up again.

If you're looking for products which really do tick the 'all natural' box and indeed are a fan of a luxury bathing experience Isla Apothecary is certainly a brand to look into. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


*this post contains affiliate links and/or press samples

If we can all just overlook my New Year 'announcements' about my posting schedule and indeed the lack of any posts since that very announcement and instead dive into Part 2 of my yearly favourites. Yes it may be woefully overdue but it is (April!) favourites time.

Once again my review of 2017 favourites features items that were very much staples throughout the year. Everyone approaches their yearly favourites different whether only speaking of new releases from that year or items that featured in monthly favourites. For my review I like to reference the products that were picked up repeatedly, not just over one or two months but over the course of that year.

All that said my first two favourites were a 2017 release, They're Real Double The Lip from Benefit*. A quirky innovative product that features a teardrop shaped bullet in two complimenting shades. The darker tip provides your liner and the fuller end fills in your lip. Admittedly I haven't paid much attention to the application process and it's been the shades Revved Up Red and Nude Scandal that I've enjoyed. Revved Up Red is the perfect everyday red shade, not too bright but enough pigment to have my favoured red lip in evidence. The 'USP' of this release was it's method of tilting the lip bullet to apply your lip liner and then using the fuller part to fill the lip. For me I tend to just apply in one go and find it works well enough although as wear has applied the teardrop shaped has rounded so even if I were to use the application method (and indeed my application is reason enough for the shape to change) it wouldn't quite work. And more sadly as I reached for Revved Up Red last week the bullet, which is thinner than your regular lipstick actually snapped leaving me devastated. Now I'm slightly torn with whether to replace or rely on the other 3973729576 red lipsticks I own!

Another favourite which is reached for when the Autumn season arrives but is still being reached for as recently as last week is Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Plum Rose. This Milani lipstick feels oddly nostalgic in so much as it feels like the traditional lipsticks I knew and loved in my younger years. The packaging isn't anything special and the lipstick formula is rich and creamy. Not matte, not a liquid lipstick just a good old lipstick. The shade Plum Rose is described as a rich mauve but on the pink end of the scale. You're wearing lipstick but its an obvious subtle shade which I find more wearable than a nude.

When I did want a nude it was Burts Bees Lip Shimmer in Peony I'd reach for. I think I saw this on Alessandra Steinherr and was instantly taken with it as if I'm wearing a nude lip I like a pink tone. On that note Mac Syrup has been another and longterm favourite and recently repurchased. Both shades are easy wearable Pinks. The cliched 'your lips but better'  and really I'm inclined to abandon any other nude shades and stick with these. Burts Bees as the name suggests has a shimmer whereas Mac Syrup whilst a lustre is more subtle. Both these shades compliment the rare occasions I wear a heavier eye look or more likely the days I wanted to wear lipstick but didn't want the full impact of a red or similar.

Milani Plum Rose Lipstick Review UK

The final in the lip pick for 2017 is a strange one because its a favourite on one hand and troublesome on the other. To explain the Clarins Lip Comfort Oil hit the beauty scene and everyone was in raptures and I was somewhat bemused at 'how good could it really be'. I then received a sample and first couple of uses I felt that it was nice but still didn't join the bandwagon. As I'm in the continued state of wanting to use what I have before I'm able to purchase others I had this sitting atop my dressing table and would apply as part of my morning and evening skincare regimes and watched my lips transform from a dry mess that I finally saw what everyone was raving about.

So impressed was I that I decided to purchase in it's full size, picking Red Berry to add a tint to my lips and I once again swayed from loving and hating the product in equal measure. I certainly found Red Berry stickier than the one I'd previously used and in part due to my lip colour found it didn't so much as add any colour apart from some pooling around my lip line. I also wasn't a fan of the large sized applicator, prefer a more traditional size, the larger seeming to make far too much mess and cause wastage. I still found the quality of the product itself and the benefits to my lips outweighed any of my gripes and I would buy again, just perhaps in the traditional 'shade'.

Perhaps my stand out product of 2017 and even into 2018 has been Milani's Luminiso Blush. A cult blogger favourite that I've myself mentioned many times on these pages it's a fail safe blush which accompanies any make up look. On appearance it's a peach shade but leans enough to the pink to make it a colour I enjoy to wear. There is a shimmer but not sparkle that suit my mature skin and it's pigmented enough to make a statement without being overbearing. On my trip to the US last year I picked up a replacement as unfortunately the product outlasted the packaging and it was making transporting it cumbersome and I didn't want to find myself in a situation where it became damaged and I was left without.

Milani Luminoso Blush Review

Finally it's my mascara favourite, all from L'Oreal who have become, if not always been my go to brand for mascara and last years picks were; Volume Million So Couture, False Lash Sculpt and Lash Paradise. Volume Million and False Lash Sculpt were a duo I enjoyed together, the former a fave alone for simple looks. The favourite for long volumised lashes was Lash Paradise and I agree with all the rave reviews but for the fact on me it does have some fall out but there are few mascaras that I don't suffer that fate with.

Sorry this post took so long for me to hit publish on and indeed I do hope I can pick up with some more regularly blogging in coming weeks - I've missed it.

Friday, January 5, 2018

2017 Fragrance Favourites

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

If you were to ask my holy grail fragrance it would be Chanel Coco Mademoiselle but two favourites this year that always make me smile and bring about a waft of memories are those that I reach for as the seasons change.

As the leaves turn orange and a chill in the air beings I bring out Jo Malone Ginger Biscuit and I am instantly ready for the fun that Autumn brings and indeed the festive season. Original released in 2013 as part of the Sugar and Spice Collection it was an instant hit but alas Limited Edition. Thankfully my prayers were answered when it was added to the line up of returning fragrances available only in London's Regent Street store.

I defy anyone to not find themselves licking their lips at the description of Ginger Biscuit from Jo Malone website 'Just-baked biscuit. Spiced with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon, melting into caramel. Butter crumbly with roasted hazelnuts. Warmed by tonka bean and vanilla. Irresistible.' literally good enough to eat.

This scent certainly has a sweetness but with an spiciness that makes it mature and warm and just perfect for this time of year. It's strong without being too overpowering and lasts well into the evening after it's first spritz. I am slowly coming to the end of this bottle so I will look forward to marking the arrival of Autumn this year with a trip to purchase a new bottle.

Summer still seems so far away but when it does indeed arrive I will be jumping straight back onto the Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess bandwagon. I first picked up a bottle two Summers ago and have finished off one bottle already but I'm lucky enough to have a new bottle lined up ready to go but will once again make a plea that they offer a travel sized version.

It's everything cliched about scent for the Summer months yet with an anything but cliched finish. Again like Ginger Biscuit it's different from the fragrances I'd usually wear but it just works so perfectly for the warmer months and reminds me now of so many holidays I have been on.

What scents have you loved in 2017 or indeed are you looking forward to trying in 2018?

*this post contains affiliate links

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018


The Ordinary Coverage Foundation Review

Today's review of favourite make up products from 2017 is quite interesting as 2017 was very different for my due to spending half of the year not working and the other half finding my feet in my job and getting back into waking to an alarm and getting myself into the office on time.

For those reasons the type of make up products I was using varied more than they would usually depending on what I might be doing beyond the routine of 'office make up' and also the fact I spent much of the time putting myself on a spending ban of sorts and committing myself to using the products that I actually owned or decluttering them.

I also looked back on my 2016 Favourites (Part 1 and Part 2) and there were one or two duplicates so rather than repeat them here I'll be doing a 'Where Are They Now' post next week so please look out for that.

I tried one or two new primers in 2017 including GOSH Primer Plus and Lottie London Insta Filter Power Eraser Stick but it's Benefit Porefessional I've returned to for the most part of the year. Whilst I know many aren't a fan due to it's silicone texture it's one I find that works best for me and smooths out the appearance of my pores before applying foundation. In the latter months I've been using this combined with a small sample of Wet n Wild Focus Photo Primer which despite being the Matte Version feels hydrating to my skin and gives the boost of moisture I need as my skin leads to dry at this time of year. I'm still keeping to my 'spending ban' in 2018, certainly until I visit the US again in April, but Benefits new release, Porefessional Pearl Primer may be the product to break it.

As I mentioned above my make up choices changed whilst I wasn't working and none more so than with the products I'd reach for as my base. When working full time of a weekend I will happily pop to the supermarket without a stitch on but whilst I was 'unemployed' I found my errand running and the fact I had some time on my hands did call for a little more coverage but certainly not one that would be too heavy and unnecessary. As part of my decluttering I decided to return to ByTerry Light Expert Click Brush* which if you refer to my initial review will possibly shudder at how old.

I had actually purchased this product in its original version and was then invited to it's relaunch event but due to the products light coverage it wasn't a product I would reach for day to day when working and again as I've said at a weekend I tend to be make up free but that meant it was the perfect product for those days when I wanted 'that help'. Interestingly the more I've used it on those days of 'unemployment' I've reached for it even on days in the office when I just wasn't interested in bothering with make up but didn't want to scare anyone! It really does give a velvety look and feel to the skin and if you want to fool people into think you're fresh faced this is the product to look at.

I'm torn between suggesting it's overpriced at £48 and then looking at the product I have left to use (just under half) and acknowledging it's had some very regular usage over the past year (in fact it was my base of choice for this past weekend celebrating New Year with friends at an AirBnb) and last such a long time when you consider it made an appear in March 2017's favourites post.

Last month I hit publish on a blog post featuring some new favourites under £6, one of which was The Ordinary Coverage Foundation, and if I had indeed published a December Favourites this would have been in it. Since I purchased it has been my go to foundation for daily use and looks natural with a medium coverage. It doesn't particularly last long after a day in the office so for those evenings I'm heading out, or indeed when I was running around London all day on job interviews or more recently when I knew I'm heading out for Christmas drinks I'll apply Chanel Le Teint Ultra Tenue Ultrawear Flawless Foundation, one of Chanels fuller coverage and long lasting foundations. For this reason it's not something I want to wear every day nor take the time to apply it as easily as I can the two previous products I've mentioned (those work well just using fingers) but it's my go to since they reformulated Make Up Forevers HD Foundation which was my original holy grail.

Finally are two products that I didn't instinctively think to include because I've allocated them in my own filters as 'Summer products' and certainly two that work as a duo, Bare Minerals Foundation in shade Medium Beige and B. Pro Contour Stick* in Universal Shade.

Bare Minerals Foundation is an old favourite with the B. Contour Stick being a new introduction this year. I favour the contour shade rather than the highlight and like that it is thinner than other contour sticks I've used in the past so ideal especially for contouring the nose. Applied first I then blend with the mineral foundation and it creates the perfect coverage and base for warmer days - it's just unfortunate I find it cumbersome of travelling with.

That brings part one to a close, what favourite products featured in your 2017 round up?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year | 2018

Year 2018

Happy New Year - is there anything more satisfying than it beginning on a Monday?

I'm not typically one for reflective nor goal setting posts for my blog and I have sat in front of the laptop trying to put something of it's sort together and it does not appear to be happening. Yes I could offer some platitudes about my intentions for these pages but quite simply my only goal is to return to the more frequent blogging of previous years.

The good news for me is that whilst I've not found myself actually writing and hitting publish on posts I have still been working in background taking photos with the intention of sharing them so some of the hard work has been done.

For the next month I hope to publish on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as I think that will work well with my lifestyle - time will tell and before I fail on the aforementioned schedule and the final hours of the first day of the new year slip away I shall hit publish and wish you all the best for 2018 - lets see where it takes us.

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