Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cosy Nights and Festive Scents

Brrr! Winter has been on its way for a while now, and the switch on of the Christmas lights last Thursday and the arrival of the German markets in the city centre can only mean one thing: The festive season is upon us! Now, I've been seeing numerous gift guides and advent calendars popping up on my Bloglovin' feed for a good few weeks now, but only now that we are nearing the end of November has it really begun to feel real. The temperature has  dropped dramatically over the past couple of days, leaving me wanting to do nothing more than snuggle up under a blanket on the sofa, with a glass of mulled wine in hand and some Christmas candles burning. I can always rely on Yankee Candle to get me in the mood (for festivities, that is! How rude.) and with an array of delicious winter scents to choose from at quite reasonable prices compared to other brands, I haven't been able to resist picking up a couple in recent weeks.
Spiced Orange is a deliciously warming scent, reminiscent of juicy oranges, cloves and nutmeg - think the afore-mentioned mulled wine.When I'm in the mood for something a bit less heady and a little more dreamy, I opt for Fireside Treats, which envelops you in a bundle of cosiness, literally like toasting marshmallows on a roaring fire. Love.

What are your favourite Christmas scents? Are you in the festive mood yet?

Don't forget to enter my Christmas Giveaway if you fancy landing yourself some treats from Ren, Bumble & Bumbleand more.


Friday, November 15, 2013

The Weekly Selection

It's been a few weeks since I last did one of these, and suffice to say, there are one or two beauty treats I've been very much looking forward to sharing with to you. Ok, make that four.
I'm often found loitering around the Bumble & Bumble stand in Boots, desperately wanting to grab all they have to offer, throw it into my shopping basket and sprint for the till point. Alas, I usually have to summon the strength to peel myself away, as at pushing thirty pounds a pop, their products are definitely not cheap. Imagine my delight then, when I stumbled upon a little shelf of miniature Bumble & Bumble goodness, tucked sneakily away in the depths of the general haircare oil. For between £7.50 and £10, you can pick up all manner of coveted haircare products, for a fraction of the price of their heftier cousins, in miniature. Genius, I tell you. Needless to say, one or two items definitely did venture till-wards with me, one of those being the lovely Buble & Bumble Shine On Finishing Spray, £10 for 60ml. Granted, it might be still a little bit on the pricey side for the amount of product, but if you're a fan of trying before you buy full-size then this is a great idea. I've been spritzing this onto my dull mop after styling each day, for a bit of extra dazzle, and it's not half bad.
Speaking of lank locks, I couldn't help but pick up the Charles Worthington Salon at Home Moisture Seal Intense Rescue Melting Balm (aaaand breathe....), a novel concept if I may say so. Rather than slathering this onto wet hair as you would expect with a hair masque, this thick balm is rubbed between the palms where it becomes an oil, and slicked generously onto dry hair. Leave for twenty minutes, and hey presto, you're ready for your shampoo and conditioner as normal. Having only used this once, I'll reserve full judgement until later, but I did definitely find my hair to be more manageable after dipping my toe in for the first time.
Another new product welcomed into the fold has been the Ren Resurfacing AHA Concentrate, which has been on my shopping list for an age. I finally cracked last week, after much umming and ahhing over whether or not it was worth it, given that I already have and enjoy the Clarins Brightening Exfoliator Toner. Once again, we aren't yet full acquainted, but after a couple of uses I can report that this smells fruitily fantastic (much like the Glyco mask from the same range) and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth in the mornings.I shall report back soon!
Last but not least is this delightful Indulgent Fig & Orange Oil Moisturising Hand and Nail Cream from M&S. Smells divine and does the job, which is all you can ask, really!
Candle-wise, I've been loving the warming scent of my latest Christmas Yankee in Fireside Treats - sweet and toasty, without being sickly or overpowering. Definite winner.

Which products have been floating your boat this week?
Have you entered my Christmas Giveaway?


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mirror on the Wall: Christmas Giveaway!

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and in my eyes, there couldn't be a better time for a bit of a festive giveaway. Not only that, but for my first ever competition on Mirror on the Wall. 
Yep, that's right, in all the time I've been posting on here, never before have I given you the chance to win a bundle of fantastic treats, and now that I'm settled back in the UK, I just want to say a big thank you to all of you for getting me through my time living abroad. If you're a regular reader then you'll know what a difficult time it was, and finding the blogging world and making friends with some of the lovely people behind my favourite posts played a huge part in helping me push on through the final stretch!
I wanted to share some really great prizes with you, so with that in mind, I have lined up a bundle of goodies that I myself just can't live without.  To be in with the chance of winning:

1) Small Yankee Candle Jar in Christmas Eve
2) Ren Invisible Pore Detox Mask
3) Bumble and Bumble Shine Finishing Spray (small)
4) Indulgent Fig & Orange Oil Moisturising Hand and Nail Cream
5) Seventeen Quicker Slicker Colour in 'Potion'
6) Bourjois Colour Boost in Red Sunrise

All you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter form below. I've made a point of not including a ridiculous amount of different entry options, because frankly I find that quite annoying! However, there are a few things you can do to get yourself into the prize draw, and I wish all of you the best of luck! 

The competition closes at midnight on Christmas Eve, and for anyone who goes getting any funny ideas about cheating, don't do it - I will be checking each entry to make sure there hasn't been any foul play going on, and if it does turn out to be the case then you will, of course, be disqualified. Just saying.

*All prizes will be brand new and unopened.

Good luck!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Balance Me Radiance Oil

Hello my lovelies, now this one has been a long time coming. I was actually very kindly sent the Balance Me Radiance Face Oil to try some while ago, but thanks to my skin embarking on an unexpected year of insanity around about the same time, it's taken until now for me to actually be able to give it a fair trial. Most of you will know that my skin has been breakout central since around January, but has miraculously cleared up since returning to the UK to leave me, much to my delight, (dare I say it!?) spot free.  Beforehand, I was never really sure what it was that was causing all those blemishes, and went down pretty much every route I could think of in a bid to clear them, none of which were fruitful. I would go through phases of trying out new products, only to then become convinced that they were adding fuel to the breakout fire, but in hindsight I can now see that it really was all hormonal, and all the products in the world couldn't have solved the problem. I will be doing an in-depth post on the issue in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that if you are one of the lucky people to be in a similar boat. I'll be talking all about how I finally came to have clear skin, and giving you the facts on what did and didn't help.
Now, as I'm finally in a position to be able to objectively try out skincare again.... onwards and upwards.
I do love a good facial oil, but I do understand the scepticism still surrounding them to some degree, especially in those who are already contending with excess oil production. The theory is though, that by slathering on the right oils, in other words, those which prove really beneficial for the skin, sebum production will in turn be reduced. If you're already giving it what it needs in the form of nourishing, hydrating oils which won't clog the pores, then the skin has no need to keep churning out it's own sticky, problematic version.
The Balance Me Radiance Face Oil is made from 100% natural ingredients, including super-emollient goodies such as jojoba, sweet almond, rosehip and camellia. Roman chamomile, yarrow and benzoin nourish skin, replenishing its natural lustre and, smoothing the skin and revealing a smoother and more radiant complexion.
A couple of drops is all you need, and the oil can be applied in place of your night-time moisturiser or, for an extra boost, mixed in with it - recommended if you do suffer from dry or chapped skin in the winter. Personally, I find anything too rich tends to do my skin more harm than good, so I prefer to use it on its own. You may also pop some on in the morning, but I wouldn't hugely recommend it if you're going to be applying makeup, as it doesn't help your slap to stay put in the least. For me, a night-time treat 2-3 times a week is all my skin needs, and the oil is absorbed easily into the skin without leaving any greasy residue.
One of my favourite things about the oil is the delightfully herbal scent - it might not be for everyone, but personally I adore it.
I find this to be a really hydrating product, and a pleasure to use. Since my breakouts have taken their leave, I've been using this from time to time in the hope that it will help to clear up the pesky scars left behind, and thanks to the healing rosehip oil I am already starting to notice some improvements. If you do have blemishes then I wouldn't recommend using it every day, but certainly a couple of times a week should help to get things on the mend without overloading your skin.
All in all, a fabulous product from Balance Me. I'm ashamed to say that this was my very first, but I'm certainly looking forward to delving a little bit deeper into their range of skincare goodies in the future.

The Radiance Face Oil is available from the Balance Me website, priced at £30.00 for 30ml. 


Friday, November 8, 2013

John Lewis Blogger Secret Santa

Hello my lovelies, hope you've all had a fantastic week. I'm sure it hasn't escaped your notice, but Christmas is now slowly creeping up on us, and with the nights drawing in, the weather getting colder and the shops beginning to fill up with all manner of Christmas goodies, I for one am beginning to get a little bit excited.
So when I was contacted on behalf of John Lewis and invited to join in their Blogger Secret Santa, I absolutely jumped at the chance to get involved - what could be more exciting than surprising another lovely blogger with some gorgeous goodies, and receiving an exciting mystery gift to unwrap in return? I think it's a lovely idea, and a great way to get people into the Christmas spirit early on in the festive season.
So, how does it work? Well, within the next couple of days, I will be finding out which lucky lady (or man) I'm buying for, and will then be given forty-eight hours to select a gift for them from the John Lewis website. Obviously, this will involve much digging and researching on my part, as obviously I want to get it just right and surprise them with something that suits them down to a tee, whether it has been on their wish list for a long while, or is a brand new launch which might just blow them away. Either way, I've already been trawling the John Lewis website, and am going to be spoilt for choice with all the gorgeous options available!
 On the 25th November, the gift will be sent off to be popped down the mystery blogger's chimney, and another will be winging it's way to me!
Christmas has definitely come early, and I can't wait to share the results with you. 

Are you taking part in the John Lewis Blogger Secret Santa, or any other secret gift swap?


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Christmas Lust List

I'm back!!
I know it might have seemed as if I'd abandoned blogland there for a while, but actually it couldn't be further from the truth. It has been a busy (understatement of the year) few weeks for us, getting settled back into the UK, staying with family and finally moving into our own place, and once we did get here we still had to wait another month to get the internet installed! It was finally all sorted this weekend, and I couldn't be happier to be able to resurrect this little slice of the internet and get back into the swing of things!
With Christmas just around the corner, I thought it about time I rounded up all of the little goodies I've had my eye on throughout the year, but just haven't been able to pop into my shopping basket. Christmas is a great opportunity to try out the things you just can't justify buying for yourself - like, for example, expensive candles!! Now, don't get me wrong - it's not that I want other people to spend their money so that I don't have to. It's just that, traditionally I do find that family like to spoil each other at Christmas, and the best gifts are always the ones you've been lusting after for the greatest amount of time!
Diptyque, Hourglass and Jo Malone have long been  brands I have coveted, yet I've never been able to make anything mine - true, I probably could have, but truth be told, there are usually more important things to spend my money on than, say, household fragrances. As much as I'd love to pop a luxury candle on my mantlepiece, or add an expensive face powder to my makeup bag, sometimes I just can't bring myself to part with the cash.

What's on your lust list? Is there anything you've had your eye on all year that you're hoping to finally get your hands on?

It's good to be back!

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