Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Catch-Up

1. Coffee and magazines on Saturday afternoon, after exhausting myself interval training.
2. Yummy lunch on our little trip away.
3. Detox juice the morning after a few drinks for the hubby's birthday - pineapple, spinach, lemon and ginger.
4. A cheeky bit of shopping at Mac.
5. My outfit for the hubby's birthday dinner and drinks,
6. Cocktails.
7. Homemade chocolate Easter truffles from a friend.
8. A failed attempt at baking birthday cupcakes for the other half (the oven broke halfway through!)

Afternoon lovelies, hope everyone is having a very Happy Easter! Judging by my Instagram feed this morning, most of you have been indulging in some serious chocolate eating! In my neck of the woods, things are slightly different, as I've decided to really cut back on sugar and milk to see if it helps my skin. You've probably heard me bemoaning the fact that, out of nowhere, I've recently started to suffer from breakouts, and having always been lucky with my skin in the past, I haven't quite known what to do. I started by going back to basics on my skincare routine, but having cut out most things 'm now starting to think it might have something to do with the fact that I've been eating quiiite a lot of sweet things of late. I do have a healthy diet and always make sure I eat pretty clean, but lately I just haven't been able to keep my paws of the chocolate in the evenings. So I'm taking a step back - Easter or not - and will let you know if there is any joy.
This week has been a pretty good one, although stressful in parts. On Tuesday, the hubby and I were due to go away for his birthday, but typically, that morning we had some car troubles and couldn't leave. Cue us waiting around all day and finally getting to go in the late afternoon. All was not lost though, as we did a quick bit of shopping (I feel slightly bad saying that I picked up a couple of Mac goodies when t was his birthday, but in my defence he did get some nice pressies of his own!). We then popped for dinner in the Outback Steakhouse, where we shared the Spicey Shrimp Dip and Ribs on the Barbie (how people manage a starter and a main EACH in that place is beyond me), and followed up with a couple of cocktails out in the open air while listening to some live samba music.
The next day, I snuck back to Mac again to pick up a new concealer (review coming soon) and we treated ourselves to falafel, humous, baba ganoush, pitta and tabbouleh for lunch, followed by a huge iced hazelnut latte each and half an Eclair (we shared - but see where I was going with the sugar thing!?).
We had a walk along the beach and sat in the sunshine for  bit before driving home, and had a lazy evening in front of the TV.
Since Friday we've been very much doing a bit of chilling, and with the long weekend it's meant that I've had a pretty relaxed week overall, which is just what I needed after some of the stresses earlier in the week (which I won't bore you with).
Today is all about doing some reading and getting my blog organised - for the last few weeks I've been posting a bit sporadically, for one reason or another, and haven't been able to get back into the swing of things with posting every day. So I'm dedicating my evening to prepping some posts and getting back on track, as I genuinely miss getting content up on a daily basis and feel so much prouder of my blog when I do.

If any of you have been trying to head over to my Youtube channel via the button in my sidebar then you ma have found that the link wasn't working, but that's all fixed now, and you can also find me on Bloglovin' and Instagram via the buttons next to it.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!


Friday, March 29, 2013

What I Wore: OOTN

Monochrome shirt and Coral Sandals, bought in Brazil  -  Faux Leather Shorts, River Island  -  Gold Collar Necklace and Pyramid Stud Bracelet, Ebay  

(Please do excuse my extreme case of red-eye and the rubbish hotel room door backdrop! I was exhausted after a day of travelling and shopping.)

Happy Easter my lovelies, I'm sure you're all as glad as I am to have Friday off this week! Saying that, I'm always off on Fridays, but never mind!
On Tuesday, it was the hubby's birthday, so we went out to Outback for dinner (Spicy Shrimp Dip and Ribs on the Barbie, if you're wondering), followed by a few cocktails at a couple of bars afterwards. We used to be quite the party animals, but haven't really drunk much over the past year or so, meaning it didn't take much! I'll be posting a few pictures of our evening out on Sunday when I round up the week, and you can also keep up with me on Instagram (@melotw - button in the sidebar).
I picked up this monochrome shirt a couple of weeks ago and have been waiting for the opportunity to wear it ever since. I really like the fact that it's quite slouchy and loose, which makes it perfect for a night of eating and drinking! It's also got kind of batwing sleeves which are slit at the shoulder, and doesn't have the standard shirt collar you might expect, which I think makes it quite a unique piece that I can see myself reaching for again and again over the coming months. The good thing about monochrome is that it goes with everything. To finish the outfit, I popped on a pair of coral heeled sandals, a gold collar necklace and a pop of colour on my lips in the form of Mac Impassioned. I went for a muted peachy-nudey-pink (Impala Rosa Candy) shade on my nails, which isn't something I'd usually go for but actually, I've found myself really liking it. It's the perfect low-maintenance shade, as any chips or nicks are almost un-noticeable, and I'm sure I'll be reaching for it on those days where I'm lacking inspiration and just want something smart and understated to get me through the week.

I'm not up to much this weekend - just planning on having a nice relaxing one and catching up on some blogging.
Hope everyone has a lovely Easter.


Thursday, March 28, 2013


Anyone who knows me will know that I absolutely adore skincare. I just love the ritual of removing all my makeup and giving my skin a really good massage and deep cleanse in the evenings, as I find it really relaxing before bed and love knowing that I've done the best I can for my skin.
Originally, this was going to be a post about my favourite cleansers. But since I first began planning it, things have changed a bit, and my skin has become somewhat temperamental. At the moment, anything and everything seems to have the ability to upset it, and as yet I'm unsure whether this is product related or just hormonal. So instead, I'm going to talk you through each of the cleansers in my bathroom cabinet (though admittedly, two of these are now empty) and share my thoughts on each of them.

Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Week in Pictures

1. Sushi for lunch with the hubby at the new shopping mall that opened this week
2. Having a sneaky Friday lunchtime pamper session with the L'oreal Mythic Oil hair mask and Elemis Tri-Enzyme Gel Mask
3. One of the week's healthy breakfasts - homemade orange, carrot, beetroot, spinach, acerola cherry and ginger juice, and greek yoghurt with banana and almonds.
4. Bit of a Saturday selfie - first time I've been able to curl my hair in ages as it's been so dry and damaged.
5. Simple Saturday makeup
6. A naughty McFlurry following the sushi lunch at the mall...not one for McDonalds but these are the very occasional exception.
7. Snuggled up in bed with tea, biscuits and my blog reading list on Friday evening.
8. Relaxing in the garden hammock at sunset.
9. Feeling ill on Monday so catching up with my Bloglovin' feed while the hubby watched sport on TV.

Hope everyone's had a lovely weekend.


Weekend Wishlist

Leather Satchel, Cashmere Coral Lipstick, Concealer Quad Cire Red Blush and Face Contour Cream, all from & Other Stories  -  Radiant Sheen Quad, Beyond Sunset Eyeshadow Quad, Sculpt and Slim Contour Kit, all Daniel Sandler  -  Satchel, ASOS

The weekend has landed, and I don't know about you, but I for one am glad to see it!
This week marked the opening of H&M's new sister store, & Other Stories, and it's already been causing something of a store in the blogging world. Most excitingly for beauty bloggers, & Other Stories has it's own collection of beauty and skincare as well as stocking a select few other brands such as This Works and The Balm. Persnally, I can't wait to get my hands on some of their offerings, particularly the contour cream and concealer quad, as both are something I currently lack in my makeup kit (of course I do have concealers and bronzer for contouring, but I'm intrigued by these formats).
Another discovery I made this week is just how beautiful Daniel Sandler 's makeup collection is. If you weren't already aware, Daniel is a makeup artist who has worked on shoots for high-profile publications such as Vogue and Bazaar, amongst other things, and his high-quality makeup line looks right up my street. My favourite picks were the Beyond Sunset Eyeshadow Quad, Sculpt and Slim Contour Kit and RadiantSheen Quad.
And last but not least, I have absolutely fallen in love with both these beautiful satchels this week. The scallop detailing is just so pretty, and the pastel shades are perfect for the new season and will look amazing with monochrome as a subtle pop of colour.

Have you noticed how I seem to go through stages with my wishlists? It seems that one week I will want all skincare, the next all bags, and so on and so forth. Actually, skincare is a pretty consistent one with me, but I have exhausted the area in previous wishlists so it's time for a break!

I haven't got much planned for this weekend, so I will let you know what I got up to in tomorrow's 'Week in Pictures' post.
Hope you all have a lovely time in spite of the chilly weather!


Friday, March 22, 2013

What I Wore

Crop Top, Topshop  -  Shorts, River Island  -  Bag and Shoes, Brazil  - Sunglasses, H & M

I'm sorry for posting a sunshine outfit. Don't hate me.
 Having seen everyone's photos on Instagram, I gather that Spring has not exactly sprung back home, with lots of you experiencing a complete white-out yet again. It's getting a bit ridiculous, isn't it? Nearly April, and yet still behaving like the middle of Winter. I hope it eases up soon!

I have to admit, this outfit shot was actually taken last week, before I had my hair cut, but I wanted to save it as I usually post my outfits on Fridays.
Today we are going to explore the new shopping mall which has opened here. It's kind of a big thing, as the town where we are currently based is a bit behind the times, to say the least. Not just because this is a developing country though - if you go to a main city such as Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo then you'll find that you've got plenty of options. But here, things are, and have always been, very limited, making it difficult to lay hands on anything from outside. 
So as you can imagine, being the shopping fanatic that I am I'm quite excited to go and see what's occurring, though I'll have to keep my purse firmly closed, as I'm saving up at the moment. Hopefully a sneaky bit of sushi for lunch and then a coffee in the coffee shop will keep me satisfied!
Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Quick Ones: A Look at Shea Butter/Along Came Betty It's a Skin Thing

I'm a sucker for vintage packaging, so when I received the Along Came Betty It's a Skin Thing Gorgeous Ultra Light Body Butter (bit of a mouthful!) as part of a prize from the wonderful My Beautie a while ago, I was instantly won over. The brand takes it's inspiration from '1950s screen stars and timeless beauty icons, still famed for their naturally flawless skin', and on each product you can find cute, beauty-related quotes from them. 

"A woman should never leave the house without spending time on how she looks...if only out of politeness."
                                                                       - Betty Leigh, 1958

Saying that, I'm not sure we agree - we shouldn't feel that we have to spend hours preening ourselves out of politeness at all - if other people have any complaints about the way we look then perhaps they should take a look in the mirror before judging. In my eyes, beauty products are all about the feel-good factor -we have every right to go out without a scrap of makeup on, embracing the natural look, but we are also free to use products to make ourselves feel more beautiful.
Anyway, off on a slight tangent there, but felt the need to get my tuppence-worth in there! 
Back to the product at hand.
It's a Skin Thing comes in a squeezable tube, and while quite thick in texture is much lighter than what I think of as being a body butter (think Body Shop). The product is packed full of Shea butter to leave the skin feeling soft, supple and smooth, and has a pleasantly sweet, vaguely coconut-ty scent, but nothing too over-powering.

A bit about Shea butter:
The fat of the nut taken from the African Shea tree, this lovely ingredient has a whole host of benefits for the skin, including anti-inflammatory and healing properties, so if you suffer from skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, scars or stretch marks then this may well be a bit of a helping hand for you. 
Shea has the fatty acids and plant sterols it contains to thank for its healing qualities. Oleic, stearic, palmitic and linolenic acids are oil-soluble components, and are present in a much greater percentage than in most other oils and nuts, making it one of the most obvious choices when it comes to skin complaints.
Shea also contains several derivatives of cinnamic acid, a compound that can be found in cinammon and balsam trees, and in one study that investigated the effects of four triterpene acids and four triterpine cinnemates (taken from Shea) on swelling mouse skin, the results were impressive. As well as demonstrating anti-inflammatory benefits,  Lupeol cinnemate, one of the compounds tested, was even able to prevent the growth of tumours in a carcinogenesis test (which involves tumours being grown in petri dishes).
Last but not least, Shea is packed with vitamins A and E, catechins and plant anti-oxidants, meaning it's a good choice for protecting your skin from environmental damage.

It's a Skin Thing sinks easily into the skin and doesn't leave any residue, but I must admit that actually, I've tried more moisturising body butters that have left my skin feeling much softer. However, at roughly £3 for 200ml (I can't actually find anywhere online that's got this in stock at the moment, so sorry for the inaccurate pricing - you can usually find this at Tesco) it's hardly going to break the bank, and is a nice product to have hanging around in the bathroom, whether as a daily body butter or as something reserved for when skin is playing up a bit.

Have you tried anything from Along Came Betty?


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ingredients Exposed #1: Chemical Nasties

*This image is purely for illustration purposes, and I'm not suggesting that any/all of the products shown contain any or all of the chemicals below!

Parabens. Sulphates. Mineral Oil. We're constantly being told to avoid all manner of  'nasty' skincare ingredients, and I, for one, have bought right into it, my skincare collection now being almost entirely made up of natural and organic products. However, when it comes to makeup, giving such additions the swerve can pose much more of a challenge, so I thought it was about time we had a closer look at what exactly we are trying to avoid, and why we should (or shouldn't?) be doing so.

This is going to be a two part series, because despite what we are generally led to believe, natural skincare does have its pitfalls too, as I've recently discovered. But today it's all about those chemical critters, so read on for Part 1.

Parabens are a group of compounds used as preservatives, to prevent bacteria, fungus and other delights from taking hold and ruining whatever it is you've spent your hard-earned cash on.
Besides cosmetics, they are also found in pharmaceuticals, and even food products, so even the most vigilant among us would be hard pushed to eliminate them from their lifestyle completely. 
So, what is it that's so terrible about parabens? Well, studies have shown that they are able to mimic the hormone oestrogen, which is already known to have links to female cancers such as ovarian and breast cancer. In fact, tests run on breast tumours have actually confirmed the presence of parabens. While there is no solid evidence that there is a link between the two, it has certainly made me think twice about what I'm putting on my face, and while I often think I'm doing well by leaving it out of my skincare, it scares me a little bit to think that I'm then plastering it on anyway in the form of foundation, blush and all kinds of other cosmetics.

Sulphates, again, are found in countless beauty products, the most common of those being shampoos and foaming cleansers. You know that lovely thick lather you get when you wash your hair? That's all down to Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and so is the foam from gel cleansers, which are often used by the oilier-skinned among us to achieve a squeaky-clean visage. Sulphates help water and oil to mix, enabling them to effectively lift dirt, oil and impurities and wash them away.
There is a common mis-conception that without bubbles, you're not getting the same deep clean. But actually, the addition of sulphates only means that you are stripping your skin of its natural oils and leaving it dry and dehydrated (hence the afore-mentioned squeaky-clean feeling). Now I know that some of you will be thinking that that's exactly what you want, but it's not - your skin does require a certain amount of the natural oils it produces, and if you take them away then it's only going to go into overdrive trying to replenish what it has lost.
The main concern with sulphates is the fact that they are quite strong irritants. If you get them in your eyes then you'll know about it! Those of you with sensitive skin are better off avoiding these where possible, and if you've got oily skin then why not try an oil cleanser if you haven't already? If you haven't already heard, they are extremely effective at removing grime and dirt from your pores, and contrary to the belief that they'll leave your skin even oilier, they are actually more likely to leave it feeling clean, plump and hydrated.

Mineral Oil is an inexpensive carrier oil, used to bulk out a large number of beauty products such as cleansers and serums. A by-product of the distilation of gasoline from crude oil (doesn't that sound appealing!? Mmm, I want to rub it all over my face....), it's clear, has no scent and won't spoil or go off.
Needless to say, it's a penny-pinching option for many of the big beauty brands out there who want to maximise their profits and minimise their costs.
So, what's the problem with mineral oil? Well, the skin has a pretty tough time trying to absorb it, resulting in a film being left over the skin which will then inevitably clog up pores, often resulting in breakouts. And as if that wasn't enough, when it is eventually absorbed, it passes through the liver and intestinal tract, mopping up any fat-soluble vitamins floating in its path and essentially robbing the body of much-needed nutrients. Lovely jubbly.
I don't know about you, but I'd never considered the direct impact of the products I was using on the outside of my body on the inner workings of it until recently, and frankly it's quite scary.

So, those are the three biggest baddies, or so we are told. Personally, I've always loved the idea of using natural ingredients on my skin rather than scary man-made chemicals, and the evidence is certainly enough to provide most of us with a push in the right direction. However, I will say that nowadays, it seems that pretty much everything has been linked to cancer or some other ailment in some form or other, so it's difficult to know where the truth really lies. Short of stopping breathing, it's impossible to completely avoid all the things we are being told to, and all we can do is inform ourselves and make the choices that we feel are right for us as individuals.

Next up, I'll be talking about some of the delicious-sounding natural ingredients often associated with skincare, and how they, too, can have a slightly unpleasant side.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Antipodes Grapeseed Butter Cleanser

As I'm sure you're very well aware by now, I'm quite into my natural and organic skincare, and Antipodes is a brand I'd been keen to try for quite some time. 
As well as being vegetarian approved and  never being tested on animals, Antipodes products are also free from genetically modified organisms and don't contain any animal bi-products other than honey. Not all of their offerings are certified organic, but those which are not come pretty close (there is a strict criteria  for this, and 70-95% of the ingredients must be certified organic for the product to be considered so, with 100% of them being natural).
Antipodes products are packed with lots of delicious natural ingredients, such as avocado oil, manuka honey, macadamia and goji berry to name but a few, and as a whole they just come across as a really wonderful brand with fantastic ethics and delightful-sounding products.
So, a couple of months ago, when I found myself in need of a new cleanser, I decided to bite the bullet and order myself the Grapeseed Butter Cleanser (certified organic), £24.99 from Feel Unique.
Containing nourishing cacao butter and Vinanza grape antioxidant from New Zealand's Sauvignon Blanc grape seeds, this luxurious butter cleanser aims to soften and moisturise the skin as well as helping to repair free-radical damage, while lavender and chamomile soothe and calm.
The product comes in a sturdy jar with a screw top, and you are also provided with a little spatula with which to remove the amount of product you need. The product itself is a coarse yellow balm in texture, which emulsifies and becomes more like an oil when warmed between the hands. 
Antipodes recommend that this is used both morning and evening, and is suitable for all skin types. You need the tiniest amount of this, as a little goes a long way. I massaged this in circular motions over my face and neck, and found that it was great for removing makeup, literally melting it all off. Personally, I would always go in for a second, deeper cleanse afterwards, and spend a good couple of minutes really massaging it in and getting it down into my pores for a really deep down clean.
While it did leave my skin feeling soft and nourished, I also noticed that it left an oily film residue on my skin, which didn't exactly thrill me, and wasn't ideal in the mornings when makeup application follows skincare, so I began using it only in the evenings.
This cleanser was a pleasure to use, with a vaguely menthol aroma, and felt like a really luxurious product, but unfortunately for me, not long after I began using it I began breaking out pretty badly! This is unusual for me, as I have been lucky enough to get this far with pretty normal skin, with just the odd minor hormonal breakout on my chin area. But this time, I had some quite awful blemishes on my chin, as well as a couple scattered over my nose, forehead and (I never get them here) cheeks.
The problem with natural and organic products is that, while it's fantastic that they don't contain any chemical nasties, many natural ingredients and essential oils can be comedogenic, blocking pores and causing breakouts. Different people react differently though, so what gives one person blemishes mightn't cause another any problems at all.
Upon further research, I discovered that as well as containing cacao butter, it also lists coconut oil in the ingredients - both of which are known comedogenics. I'm quite sure that the coconut oil was to blame, in my case, as I once used coconut oil as a body moisturiser and it broke me out terrible on my back and chest.

So unfortunately, while this is a lovely product, this particular cleanser wasn't for me, but it hasn't put me off Antipodes as a brand at all - I just need to be a bit more careful with investigating ingredients before I buy anything in future. In fact, I've already ordered the Aura Manuka Honey Mask, and I really can't wait to try that. I've also got my eye on their Divine Oil, which sounds...well, divine!

Have you tried anything from Antipodes? If so, what did you think?


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Week in Pictures

I didn't intentionally abandon my blog all week. On Monday, my laptop cable finally decided to throw the towel in, closely following the battery, which had already packed in a few weeks before. So, after three days in the computer hospital, I went to pick up my fixed wire, only to be told that they hadn't had the right parts. Needless to say, this annoyed the hell out of me, as if they'd only said so earlier instead of holding onto it for half the week then I could have taken it elsewhere. I promptly did exactly that, and luckily got it back, all sorted, withing a couple of hours. However, upon bringing it home and trying to log on, I was confronted by a very uncooperative internet connection (ie, it was completely dead). So, again I was forced to stay away from my blog until someone came to sort things out today.
I didn't do a 'Week in Pictures' last week, as it made way for Mother's Day gift ideas, so that means you get a double-whammy of my recent Instagram shots today instead. Don't get too excited.
It's been a week of hard work, new products and cat-related tales. If you read my lifestyle blog, Organised Chaos, then you will probably have seen that my cat, fondly known as Mr Whiskers, has been bringing his girlfriend around for tea a fair bit lately. He's actually still a Tom cat, which I know is a bit naughty of us, but he really is the gentlest cat you will ever meet, and if anything, the new lady in his life wears the trousers in that pairing. He's a complete gentleman with her, and lets her eat all his food. Anyway, since that post, 'Mrs Whiskers' seems to have decided to move in permanently, and has now taken up residence on the bean-bag in the living room, where she sleeps all evening. In the mornings, her little head pops around the door the second we open it. We're pretty certain she's got a few buns on the oven, so we keep obliging when she asks for food - will let you know if there are any developments on that score, as and when!
In other news, I read 'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Greene in one sitting last night, what with having no internet to play with, and I must admit, it was very sad. I wasn't expecting much, having frankly found 'Looking for Alaska' (a best-seller by the same author) a bit rubbish, but as a friend from work offered to lend it to me, I thought I'd give it a go. I do find all of his books a bit teenagery, but then I do think that's the age group they are aimed at, but this particularly story was very moving, and a real eye-opener, too. I'll probably be reviewing it properly on my other blog before long, so watch this space.

That's about all of interest I've got to tell you this week, hope everyone is having a lovely weekend as usual!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Wishlist

Crop Tee, Topshop  -  Peach Studded Shorts, Miss Selfridge  - Necklace,  Miss Selfridge  - Aztec Ring, Miss Selfridge  -  T-Zone Balancing Day Fluid, Ren  -  L'oreal Paris Nude Magique CC Cream, Feel Unique  -  ClearCalm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask, Ren  -  No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm, Ren  -   Moisture Surge CC Cream, Cllinique

Wishlists are usually reserved for weekends, but with Mother's Day taking front seat this time around, there just wasn't time, unless I wanted to post twice in one day, which I didn't, as I was sure nobody would be back to read a second post. So instead, once again we are breaking the rules, and I've saved all my goodies for this dreary Monday morning. Now, if I was actually buying these then it would be a great way to start the week, but instead I'm going to have to make do with admiring from afar.
Having gone through a phase of trying out some skincare products that didn't agree with me, my skin has not exactly been looking its best lately, so I want to get settled into a regular regime and not bombard it with too many different ingredients at once. That said, I still stand by not wanting any nasties in my skincare, so I'm going to try and switch my day-to-day routine over to Ren. Of course, I'll still reserve the evening slot for trying out new products, but I'm going to be a lot more careful about checking out the ingredients first and making sure there are no comedogenics (pore cloggers) in there before forging ahead.
I'm intrigued by CC creams at the moment. Having been thoroughly disappointed with BB creams, I'm hoping that this time, there really is something to shout about. Two of the best I've heard about are the L'oreal Paris Nude Magique one (available in three varieties - anto-fatigue, anti-redness and anti-dullness) which rings in at just £9.99, and the Clinique Moisture Surge CC, which I can't actually find for sale anywhere as yet.
Besides that, I'm lusting after some Spring clothing and accessories. and could have included far more here, but I decided to exercise some restraint. These items are my top picks from the lot, and it's torturing me.

Well, that's it for this week's wishlist, I hope you've seen something you like.

Have a great week.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Last Minute Mother's Day Dash!

Ren Moroccan Rose Experience Gift Set, Marks and Spencer  -  Spring Days Bouquet, Marks and Spencer  -  Orange Grove Signature Candle, The White Company  -  Indulgent Spa Day for Two, Marks and Spencer  -  Mini Macaroons, Marks and Spencer  - Home Scenting Gift Set, Neom  -   La Petite Patisserie Quartet in Creme de Pistache, Laura Mercier  -  Full Moon Soak, Soak Yourself

It's Saturday night. You've forgotten it's Mother's Day tomorrow. That, or you've been so busy all week that you just haven't had the chance to pick up something lovely for the special lady in your life. Cue a mad Sunday morning dash to the shops to find something equally special.
If that's you, then fear not, because there are loads of gorgeous gifts out there to please any mother, and here I've put together a selection of my top picks. 
First things first, why not surprise her with this Ren Moroccan Rose Experience Gift Set, which contains a selection of Rose Otto products, including body wash, body cream, bath oil and body oil. I nearly got this one for my own mum, as it's got everything in there to have a nice, luxurious Sunday afternoon pamper session. 
On the subject of baths and pampering, I can't imagine any mother who wouldn't be thrilled to bits to receive the Soak Yourself Full Moon Soak Box, which is packed with goodies such as handmade soap, candles and a relaxing blend of tea. It's quite pricey at £40, but I love the idea and think it would be perfect for unwinding at the end of a stressful week.
There seems to be a bit of a theme here, as next up is the luxurious Neom Home Scenting Gift Set, containing aromas of lavender, jasmine and Brazilian Rosewood. You get a warming candle designed to evoke feelings of peace and tranquility, a gentle pillow spray for refreshing sleep and of course, a diffuser through which to enjoy the wonderful scents provided. I think this is probably my favourite of the lot, and it comes in at £50 - not cheap, but just think how much enjoyment can be had from it.
I have been lusting after the Laura Mercier La Petite Patisserie Creme de Pistache Quartet since Christmas. All the products smell absolutely divine, from the Souffle Body Creme and Creme Body Wash to the hand cream and Eau Gourmande - literally like you have just stepped out of a French bakery. I don't know a mum who deosn't like hand creams, and I think the scent of this little lot is enough to win anyone over.
If you're after something calming and relaxing, but without the hefty price tag, then I love the look of the The White Company Orange Grove Signature Candle, which is a more purse-friendly £20.
And if all else fails, you can always give her an Indulgent Spa Day Experience (£199), some delicious Marks and Spencer Mini Macaroons, or of course the classic bunch of flowers - my favourite this year is the Marks and Spencers Spring Bouquet, £30.

I hope this have given you a few ideas if you were feeling a bit stuck, and if not then perhaps you've seen something you might like to treat yourself to!
What are your plans for Mother's Day?
I hope you have a lovely day.


Friday, March 8, 2013

What I Wore

Cullottes, Miss Selfridge  -  Monochrome colour block top, Primark  -  Bracelet, Ebay  -  Sandals, Brazil

Ok, I'm quite sure you're bored of seeing these sandals by now, but I'm not bored of wearing them yet. They are the comfiest pair of shoes I've ever owned, and they go with absolutely everything!
Today, we have just been for a bit of a wander round the shops in town, and had lunch, which in my case was a big chicken and avocado salad - yum! Sadly, I forgot to take a photo of it, which is a shame as I know how you all like to see pictures of food ;) Me too, actually. This afternoon, we're just going to chill out and do a bit of reading and coffee drinking in a coffee shop nearby, which seems to be a bit of a ritual of ours when we are both off work and there's nothing else to do. There's something so nice about sitting quietly, each engrossed in something different, but still together. 
I'm wearing Mac Vegas Volt today, which is by far my favourite lipstick for the warmer months, and I had been looking forward to cracking it open again this year! Now that I have, you can be certain you'll be seeing it on my lips a fair bit. The formula is lovely and moisturising, and doesn't feel heavy at all, which is a huge bonus for when the temperature heats up.
This evening is very much reserved for pampering and blogging, and catching up on the week's Youtube videos, and I can't wait to get all settled and cosy and lose myself in some of this week's posts on my Bloglovin' feed.
Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Done and Dusted:January/February Empties

I don't often do empties posts, mainly as it seems to take me far longer to get to the bottom of a product than anyone else. I think I'd put it down to being easily bored, as no sooner have I ascertained that a product could be doing more for me, or that it doesn't quite live up to the hype, than I'm on the hunt for something new. The trouble is, finding something that 100% does do what it says on the tin can prove difficult, so at times it can be a fruitless search.
Anyway, more about that later. Let's see what I've 'got to the bottom of' over the past couple of months.

1. Redken All Soft Conditioner
This was one of those products that, for the first few weeks, seemed to be incredibly helpful to my straw-like ends, which were in a bad way back when I first had my hair ombred. Unfortunately, I can confirm that they are in more or less the same condition today -it seemed that after that initial period where it was making the difference that nothing else would, it suddenly ceased to have any effect whatsoever on my locks. My hair no longer began to feel silky upon application in the shower, and looked just as distressed once it had tried. On that basis, I'd have to say that I won't be repurchasing - it's not the cheapest of conditioners, and there are high-street brands that are just the same in terms of what they can do for me.

2. John Frieda Smooth Start Repairing Shampoo
I did quite like using this shampoo, but I think without a really good conditioner and mask, it's hard for any benefits it may be giving to shine through. I can't really say one way or the other what, if anything, it's done for me, but that's often the case with shampoos. They work best as part of a team, so while I might buy this again, I would feel inclined to get some of the other products in the range so that then I could really get a clear picture.

3. Origins Modern Friction
Now this one is something I do love. It's got a refreshing lemony scent, and is fantastic for those days when you've got a bt of flakey skin -which in my case tends to occur on my nose, if at all. Just massage a bit of this over the offending area for about a minute, add some water, rinse and voila - smooth skin. Repurchase? Why yes.

4. Origins Make a Difference Cleansing Milk
I got this for Christmas, as part of the Make a Difference Moisture Makers gift set. It smells absolutely divine (think fresh, juicy oranges), and was an absolute pleasure to use. The only downside is that, being a milk, I didn't find it that effective in removing makeup, so you end up using quite a lot of product as you have to double cleanse. On that basis, I unfortunately probably wouldn't purchase again, but if they made this into a cream/hot cloth cleanser then I'd be all over it.

5. Origins Make a Difference Skin Rejuvenating Serum
I absolutely adored this. Like the cleansing milk, it had that same fantastically fruity fragrance, and it left my skin feeling SO hydrated, soft and plumped. I would love to repurchase this and keep it for either morning or evening, as I feel that I need to be using an anti-ageing one too in my daily routine.

6. Origins Gin Zing Eye Cream
This is one of those products that was really hyped up, and at first I thought it was a complete disappointment. However, as I mentioned recently, I then tried a couple of other eye creams, and it was only  when I came back to Gin Zing that I noticed the difference it made. I wouldn't say it has any long-term benefits, but when you pop some on in the mornings it certainly brightens the under-eye area and improves the appearance of dark circles.. Don't expect it to completely banish them though, and the same goes for puffiness. But then, can you show me an eye cream that truly does? I think I will repurchase this, as it's become a morning time staple, and I'm yet to come across anything I'd replace it with.

Which products have you used up this month?
Hope you're having a lovely week.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

February Favourites

When I posted my February Favourites Video on Saturday, I did promise that, as usual, I would write up a post on my monthly favourites too. So, without further ado, here it is!

Throughout February, I was loving.....

1. Tropic Hot Bamboo Organic Smoothing Cleanser
Cream hot cloth cleansers are my favourite way to remove all the day's grime and debris from my skin, and this one is no exception. In fact, with it being organic, vegan and cruelty free, it's shot straight to the top of my most-used cleansers list.
Review here

2. Elemis Nourishing Milk Bath
I haven't got a bath in my house at present, but as I won this in a competition, I wanted to try and make use of it somehow. Luckily, when scanning the back of the bottle I noticed that it could also be used as an intense body lotion, so I've been applying it straight onto my skin when I get out of the shower. The results have been quite fantastic - full review coming up very soon.

3. Essie Smoothies Coconut & Pineapple Hand &Body Lotion
I'm not hugely fussy when it comes to hand creams, but having now discovered one that smells like Pina Coladas, this little beaut is here to stay. I love slinging it in my handbag and whipping it out when my hands are in need, as it instantly whisks me away on holiday for a second with it's tropical scent.

4. HD Brows Brow Beater Gel
I reviewed this one last week, and if you saw that then you'll know that this has fast become a staple in my daily make-up routine. Groomed brows make all the difference.
Review here

5. MUA Pro Brow Kit
For the same reasons as above, this one is also a must-have of mine, and is a snip at just £3.50. It contains three shades, which can be mixed to find the perfect match for your brows, and the lightest can also be used to highlight under the brow. It does contain a wax too, but I pass that up in favour of Brow Beater.
Review here

6. Topshop Lips in Infrared
An oldie but goodie, I've had this one since last summer, and while I've always loved it, I do remember often wondering back then if it really suited me or not. So, when I stumbled upon it at the beginning of February and quickly whipped some on, I was pleasantly surprised and have been happily sporting it ever since. It's such a bright and zingy shade, perfect for the warmer months.

7. MUA Bronzed Perfection Bronzer
This really warms up my face, and is good for contouring too. Again, it's also a huge bargain, and will last ages because the compact is just huge.
Review here

8. Mac Mineralize Skinfinish in Light Year
Last but not least, this little beaut first joined my make-up collection back in December, but it's only now that I've begun to team it with my MUA bronzer for more of a sun-kissed look that it's really come into its own. It serves as both a peachy blusher and a subtle peachy-gold highlighter at the same time, so a dusting of this on top of my cheeks and a bit of really light contouring with my bronzer and I'm sorted. I'm usually more of a  coral blush kind of girl, so this has been making a welcome change.

I hope you enjoyed having a nose into my favourites this month. What were your favourite February products?


Monday, March 4, 2013

Week in Pictures

A Sunday post on a Monday? Yeah, that's right. Actually, I wasn't feeling at my best over the weekend, so I didn't manage to get much blogging done. I did, however, get to catch up on my Youtube feed, which is always a pleasure at this time in the month, as everyone's favourites videos are up and I always seem to come away with a mental list of new products I want to try. Apart from that, I lay around with a headache all evening yesterday, browsing some online shops and trying to pick out what I'd like for my birthday, as requested by my mother.
Last week was pretty uneventful, but I did seem to manage to document it pretty thoroughly on Instagram nonetheless. I ate healthily, dodged the chocolate eggs in the supermarket, did a teeny tiny bit of shopping and mixed up my daily makeup routine. I've really been getting into Instagram lately, as while I've had it for some time, I was only really following close friends. But now that I'm using it more as a 'blogging account', I'm having lots of fun keeping up with everyone's daily antics, whether it be what they had for lunch (which gives me a constant case of food envy) or what makeup they have been using that day. I've also been taking a lot more photos myself, and I find that it really helps you to pick out the nice parts of an otherwise boring day, which in turn makes me feel more positive. And that can only be a good thing, right?
Today is a bit of a novelty, as I've got most of the day free before working later on this evening, so I'm quite enjoying having my Monday morning free to do a bit of blogging and catch up on some of your posts.

Hope everyone has a lovely week.


Friday, March 1, 2013

What I Wore - Outfit and Nails

Shorts, Zara  -  Shirt, Zara  - Spike Necklace, Ebay  -  Sandals, bought in Brazil   -  Bracelet, Ebay  -  Sunglasses, H&M

Buongiorno, it's a little bit late in the day, but better late than never is what I say, and anyway, who makes the rules? I like living on the edge.
Today's outfit is a bit of a Zara-fest, and is finished off with a pair of sandals that you will probably keep seeing popping up in my OOTDs, as I rather like them.
Nail-wise, I've opted for a spot of glitter, in the form of a Hit Nails polish in 'Rio' (how fitting) over Essie Liquorice (a creamy jet black), which is a current favourite combo of mine. To be honest, I think their are few pairings that look better than glitter against black or white.
I had the day off today, as I don't work Fridays, and neither does the hubby, so we went for lunch together and spent the afternoon chatting over coffee. He's headed off to work this evening, which means I'm left to my own devices, and am going to take full advantage by having a bit of a pampering session. My skin has gone a bit mental lately, and I seem to have constant break-outs on my skin, so I'm trying to do a detox mask a couple of times a week to help it along. Other than that though, I'm trying to keep my skincare pretty basic, as I'm not sure what exactly it was that was responsible for my skin troubles. With this in mind, I'm sticking to a couple of products that I know I can always rely on to keep my skin in check, and yesterday I finally caved and bought the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, which I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing about, but needs must now that my skin is misbehaving. If anyone is interested in my fail-safe 'back to basics' routine, then I'm most probably going to be posting about it next week, so keep an eye out for that.
I haven't got much planned for the weekend, as I'm trying to save my pennies for our big move, but I've decided to go back to my Sunday 'Week in Photos' posts, as although I know they are a bit of a blogging cliche, I enjoy sharing my snaps at the end of the week. I've been getting much more into Instagram lately which means I will have plenty of photos to pop into the post, and I miss having rounding up my week on a Sunday, and having that weekend routine. What I post during the week is very much what I feel like at the time, but it's nice to have something regular for Saturdays and Sundays.

I hope you've all got some lovely things planned. Have a fantastic weekend.

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