Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Space NK Goodie Bag: Favourite Discoveries



A few of months ago, I made some purchases from Space NK, and was lucky enough to receive one of their summer goodie bags along with my order. Every time I see these promotions on, I'm desperate to get my hands on them, but usually I can't justify spending an unexpected lump sum on beauty items I potentially don't need in order to get them. This time, however, it fell close to my birthday, so I took it as a sign and went ahead.

This particular goodie bag was jam-packed with around twenty iconic products, most of them in luxury sample size, and a few of them have slowly but surely made their way into my daily routine.

The best of the bunch is undoubtedly the ReVive Moisturising Renewal Cream - a rich, hydrating moisturiser, this hasfast become a bedtime staple, ensuring that I wake up with smooth and radiant skin in the morning.  This contains Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), a revolutionary, Nobel Prize-winning ingredient exclusive to ReVive, which gently resurfaces and retexturises the skin as you sleep. I must admit, the effects of this little gem, as with many products, do seem to have diminished somewhat with time - the 'wow' factor  is never quite the same after those initial few uses - but that hasn't stopped me reaching for it on a regular basis. It has a pleasant, almost buttery fragrance, and is rich in consistency to the point that it feels like a real treat for the skin on application.Sadly, at £105.00 a pop for the full-size, this is not one that's going to be making a lasting appearance in my routine, but I've enjoyed experimenting with it, nonetheless.

If you're anything like me, you'll find that your eyes are the first part of the face to give away your age, so I was pleased to try out the Strivectin Eye Concentrate for Wrinkles. This little tube of goodness claims to fade fine lines and wrinkles in just eight weeks, so I am very much looking forward to finding out whether or not it can truly live up to its claims. In the meantime, it's pleasant to  use, sinks in easily and moisturises the under-eye area well. Again, this is a pricey one - £55.00 for the full 30ml. I'd be very reluctant to repurchase at this price, but if it really does the trick then I could more than likely be persuaded.

I've also been using the Caudalie C15 Polyphenol Anti-Wrinkle Serum, usually before my night cream before I go  to bed. You may notice a bit of a theme here - perhaps I'm feeling my  age. Dubbed the 'Anti-Oxidant Youth Shot', this product aims to block free radicals and visibly correct wrinkles. Now, thankfully I don't have many visible lines on my face just yet, so I imagine this might have more of an impact on more mature skin, but I enjoy knowing that there is an extra barrier beneath my moisturiser, protecting my skin from pollutants and other external aggressors.

Last up is my favourite bedtime companion. I'm a worrier by nature, and often find it hard to switch off for a long while after my head hits the pillow. Luckily, the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray is now very much a part of my life, and you'd better believe that it does the trick. A couple of sprays of this delicate, lavender-fragranced miracle-worker and the stresses of   the day begin to melt away - I'm drifting off into a peaceful sleep in no time, and rarely wake again as I used to. It's a definite repurchase from me, even at £16.00 for the full-size.


The Space NK goodie bags are such a fantatsic way of discovering new products. Have you stumbled across anything spectacular from any of the previous selections?

xx

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Summer Holiday: Playa d'en Bossa, Ibiza

At the beginning of August, the other half and I jetted off to Playa d'en Bossa in Ibiza for a week of fun, sun and relaxation. Yes, it is indeed nearly October, but having been struck down with suspected glandular fever  straight after coming back, I've been out of action for some time. Better late than never, eh?

We had decided to go all-inclusive for a change, as we usually find  keeping tabs on our funds to be such a burden when trying to get away from it all and have some chill-out time, Money is, without a doubt, one of our biggest stressors in day to day life, so to be able to leave our wallets behind each day and eat and drink whatever we pleased without the worry of running out of funds half-way through, or coming home with a big bill to pay, was bliss.

The hotel we stayed in was beautiful. A newly refurbished four star, it turned out to be a great deal more impressive than it had appeared in the photos - a huge plus, as often it can be the other way round. There was a huge pool with chilled house music playing throughout the day, and we were more than happy to laze around soaking up the rays and making the occasional trip to the cocktail bar to grab ourselves a couple of Mojitos or Coco Locos. Lunch was served in the main restaurant, with plenty of delicious dishes such as traditional Spanish Paellas and salads on offer - not to mention the to-die-for desserts.

Afternoons were spent reading, then taking a dip in the sea, as we were fortunate enough to have direct access to the beach through a gate at the back of the hotel property. The water was crystal clear and the temperature literally couldn't have been more perfect, so it was the perfect time to cool off a bit before heading along the beach for a drink and a dance at the iconic beach club Bora Bora, or Jet Apartments, which was just next door.

Speaking of beach clubs, our hotel was located just a couple of minutes walk from Ushuaia.- if you've ever been to Ibiza before, or even thought about it, then you'll know all about this place, which puts on some of the biggest and best nights on the island - think David Guetta, Armin Van Burren and Avicii, We popped along ourselves to see Guetta and suffice to say he put on a pretty darn good performance. It was by far the best night out we had while we were away, but drinks prices were beyond ridiculous - worth considering if you're ever thinking of going!

Anyone who heads to Ibiza would be silly not to pay the beautiful Eivissa, or Ibiza Old Town, a visit. There is plenty to see and do, with pretty little streets lined with flower-adorned restaurants and shops and beautiful sea views - not to mention the lovely Spanish architecture.

Most people I know who have been to the island before seem to have stayed in San Antonio, but I'm so glad we chose Playa d'en Bossa. From what I hear, San Antonio is cheaper, but also a lot rougher, whereas where we were had just the right balance - we were close enough to a strip of bars along with famous nightclubs such as Space and Sankeys, but were also able to get some peace and quiet when we wanted it. In fact, writing this is making me ridiculously nostalgic, and I'm really tempted to go ahead and book us in again for next year! Let's skip these dull days and wintery mornings and head straight for next Summer, shall we!?


Have you been to Ibiza? Where did you go on your Summer holiday this year?

XX



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Skincare Essentials



For me, Summer is all about August, and while many people around me now seem to have already resigned themselves to the fact that Winter is supposedly drawing in, I very much beg to differ!

Ok, so things might have cooled down somewhat, but last year we had sunshine right the way through until the end of October, and then some. Call me a wishful thinker if you like, but I think we've still got plenty of sunshine to come, and having only just finished this year's summer shopping I'm not willing to go digging out the Winter boots an coats just yet.

With this in mind, I wanted to share some of the skincare products that have been helping me through the warmer months - and incidentally, those which came away with me on holiday to Ibiza this month. I like to keep my skincare light and fairly basic at this time of year, while still maintaining a functional routine, but there are certainly a few types of products I tend to favour that I'd be unlikely to reach for in the winter. That said, there are also one or two surprises.

Ordinarily, I stick to a cream formula cleanser when the weather is good and I'm wearing less makeup than usual, as I find them to be highly effective at removing what I have got on my skin as well as leaving a fresh, clean canvas with no oily residue. Balms can be a little heavy for Summer, but this year I have kept right on going with the Ren No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm, and haven't looked back. This is one formula that is a pleasure to use, removing every last trace of makeup as well as soothing and moisturising skin after it has been assaulted by the likes of sunshine, salt water and sand. What I love about this one is that it leaves my skin feeling unbelievably soft, smooth and comfortable, all without that undesirable waxy residue that so many of its kind leave behind. It's a real winner, and it serves me equally as well in the Winter.

One thing I simply can't live without in the Summer- or perhaps just refuse to - is a facial spritz, and this year I've been carrying The Body Shop's Vitamin C Energising Facial Spritz around in my handbag. It's been an absolute life-saver during those uncomfortably humid afternoons in the office, and a quick spray over my face and neck has really helped to pep me up. The uplifting citrus scent awakens the senses, and makeup is instantly refreshed - what more could you ask for? It also provides a welcome shot of vitamins and moisture, and I tend to use it to wake myself up a bit first thing in the morning, straight after my cleanse.

Some days, I don't fancy using a moisturiser before bed, and a couple of drops of Raw Gaia Organic Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil* are the perfect alternative. Far from leaving my skin sticky or greasy, it sinks easily in, and packed with beauty-boosting vitamins A and C, along with essential fatty acids Omega 3 and 6, it certainly has the desired effect. As well as rejuvenating and nourishing the skin, I find that, when used a few times a week, my complexion appears more even and altogether brighter. It's also great for reducing unwanted pigmentation, so it's a must if this applies to you.

I'm keeping face masks and treatments to a minimum, as I don't find that my skin is quite as needy as it is in the winter and tends to do OK when left more or less to its own devices, satisfied with a minimal morning and evening routine. That said, I will whip out a secret brightening weapon from time to time, and that weapon, of late, has been the Apivita Pomegranate Face Mask. A light radiance mask, it's lotion-like on texture, and only a thin layer is required. Leave it for ten minutes, and hey presto - you've got your glow back. Granted, this is more of a 'keep your skin happy' mask than a problem fixer, but if you've got that happy medium down to a tee then this is your perfect partner.

Of course, these aren't the only products I have been using, but I've certainly pared down my routine for the timebeing and am quite enjoying the results. I shelve my trusty AHA toners when it's warm, as I deem it to be too much of a risk when the sun is out (you should ideally keep out of the sun for a week after use, so reaching for one on a daily basis is a definite no-go), but I've still been following up my evening cleanse with a generous sweep of Liz Earle Instant Skin Boost Tonic. I've also been trialing a fabulous new bedtime moisturiser, which I will be talking about very soon on the blog, and a rather nice serum, to boot. Again, both are light enough to use in warmer weather - I don't know about you, but I like to go all-out with pampering treatments in the Winter, so it's quite the contrast when I go back to basics.

Does your skincare routine chance in the summer? 
Do you have any essentials?

xx

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review: 3-Day Obsidian Juice Programme


If you follow me on Twitter, you may well have heard me talk recently about my desire to take on a three-day juice cleanse. I had been curious for a while, and with a holiday looming, it was just the push I needed to give my health an extra boost, and potentially drop a few pounds in the process. I had gradually gained a few over the winter and hadn't yet got around to losing them - or, rather, I had been trying to do so since April, to no avail, which was a bit of a strange one for me, having never had problems in the past.

The main deterrent from taking the plunge into the world of juice cleanses was the extortionate prices I seemed to keep finding myself faced with, time and time again. I had purchased a juicer back in January, but it had broken after a couple of uses, and while I did enjoy making my own in the short time that I was able to, I have to admit that it's quite the hassle, and pretty time-consuming, to boot. It's amazing how much fruit and veg you can get through to make a small amount of juice - particularly if you haven't exactly splashed out on the best, as I hadn't.

Enter, the people over at Obsidian, who very kindly sent me over a three day cleanse to put to the test. They actually run a successful retreat in Spain - where you can book yourself in for a cleanse whilst enjoying relaxing activities that focus on the mind, body and soul -  as well as a juice cafe in Loughborough.

At only £55, Obsidian's offering is a fraction of the price you'd pay elsewhere, and while it still isn't exactly cheap as chips, I'd be willing to bet that if you added up all the money spent on pizzas, takeaways and other treats over the course of a month then it would heavily outweigh the cleanse. Something to think about if you're wanting to overhaul your diet.

The Obsidian 3-day juice programme consists of four large juices per day, all of which arrive at your door frozen so that you can allow them to defrost the night before you want to drink them. This is so handy, as the longer juices sit around, the more nutrients they lose. Keeping them frozen until the last minute means that they remain as packed full of goodness as they were when they were originally bottled - just don't forget to take them out of the freezer in time!

The juices I received were:


Detox - A delicious light juice with the zing of lemon and slight heat of ginger.
Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Lemon, Ginger, Beetroot
Calm - A lovely vibrant zesty red juice.
Apple, Lime, Beetroot, Carrot, Mint
Invincible - A simple 3 ingredient juice that's the colour of sunrise and leaves you feeling refreshed and alive.
Apple, Carrot, Ginger
Flush - Another 3 ingredient juice that's sweet and zingy from the addition of fennel.
Fennel, Apple, Lemon
Green Fairy - An easy green juice with cucumber to refresh.
Apple, Cucumber, Spinach
Spa - Deliciously sweet as a treat to your taste buds and body.
Spinach, Pineapple, Apple, Lemon
Mean Green - The king of juices and made famous by it's inventor Joe Cross.
Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Kale, Lemon, Ginger


Now, personally, I love juices, no matter how high the vegetable content, but I do know that some people may not feel the same. Luckily, each juice was utterly delicious, and all of them had a decent level of fruitiness about them for those non-veggie lovers amongst you.

I started my cleanse on a Saturday, and had been looking forward to doing so all week. Ok, so foregoing solids for three whole days was going to be challenging, but I couldn't wait to see how the process would make me feel - and, of course, whether any weight loss would follow. Unfortunately, I woke up that morning feeling quite under the weather, which was a bit of a spanner in the works to begin with, but I soldiered on, starting the day with a Detox juice before heading to the gym. At around 11.30am, I followed up with a Calm juice, and although both were delicious, it was a lot of beetroot to be getting on with! Later on, things started to diversify somewhat, and I sipped on an Invincible at 3pm, rounding off with a Flush at around 7.

On day two,I still wasn't feeling great - nothing to do with the juices, but a bit of an office bug I had picked up, it turned out. It seemed to have been doing the rounds, but luckily only stuck around for a couple of days. Day two was very much about the green juices, and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Green Fairy and Spa, which were my second and fourth juices of the day. To be honest, I think they were probably exactly what I needed, and the extra boost of vitamins and minerals had me feeling much better by the afternoon.

Day three fell on a Monday, and saw me sipping on a Mean Green along with another Green Fairy, Spa and Flush. I have to admit, I did cave in on this day and have a little something to eat in the afternoon as I was feeling a bit weak. Shameful, I know, but I couldn't risk not being able to get through the day.

When I woke up on the Tuesday, I felt fantastic. I was full of energy and had no trouble getting out of bed - and believe me, this is usually a problem! I was pleased to find that I had also lost 2lb, but also a little bit annoyed with myself for having given in to temptation the day before, as perhaps I could have lost slightly more had I not done so. I'm usually pretty good in the willpower department when I really set my mind to something, but the fact that I hadn't been feeling my best when I began had definitely played a part.

I decided to continue on a liquid diet for a few more days after the cleanse had ended, and surprisingly I found myself a lot less sluggish throughout the day. I drank juice for breakfast and lunch, had a third in the afternoon and then a vegetable-based soup for dinner, and as a result I've been able to lose another couple of pounds - score!

I'd really recommend the Obsidian juice cleanse if you're looking to try your first detox and haven't got time for the daily hassle of making your own. It's a really convenient way to try it, and as I said before, a lot cheaper than most. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the juices on the plan - even Flush, which I had been dreading due to my dislike of fennel. Actually, it proved me completely wrong, and was one of the best flavours of the lot. Other favourites of mine included Invincible (great for an afternoon pick-me-up) and Green Fairy, which is possibly the most refreshing combination I have ever tried.

If you fancy giving the programme a go then visit the Obsidian website, or give them a follow on Twitter (@ObsidianJuices).

                                                                                  XX

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Scents: Potters Crouch Scented Candles



Would you look at these beauties?

I'm a sucker for a good scented candle, and the latest to join my summer collection are from a great new brand - or at least new to me - called Potters Crouch.

They were kind enough to send me over a couple of seasonal scents to try out - Lemongrass and Summer Fruits - and ohh was I excited when I ripped open the box to find this pair. Not only do they smell incredible, but they are absolutely beautiful, too. Housed in handy lidded tins, each one burns for around an impressive fifty hours, and I can confirm they smell absolutely divine.

Potters Crouch use only the highest quality natural perfumes and essential oils created just for them in Grasse, France. Add in the highest grades of wax available, and you've got some seriously long-lasting, strong-smelling candles.

When I say strong, I mean gorgeous - these have got excellent throw, and there is nothing heavy or potent about the fragrances. They scent my living room fantastically, and look amazing, too - how many candles do you know that come with a serving of pretty, glittery bits on top?

Priced at £8.50 each, they are much more affordable than some of the other big brands out there, and I'd say they more than measure up.

I'm really pleased to have been introduced to these, and will definitely be stocking up on some more come the winter months when I burn candles the most - I've already had a sneaky peak, and there are some delicious-sounding scents!

What are your favourite summer scents for the home?

xx


Monday, July 7, 2014

The Health Series: Molkosan Fruit


Probiotics have received a lot of press attention in recent years, with the spotlight very much focused on the all-round benefits they offer in the health department. Contrary to popular belief, there's more to them than just their effect on the digestive system, although this, in itself is a great reason to take them.
Not only can they help to support normal function of digestive enzymes, but they also have a whole host of other benefits, from boosting the immune system to improving mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Yep, that's right - it might sound unlikely, but there is a wealth of evidence showing intestinal involvement in a variety of neurological disorders. We have neurons in the gut as well as the brain, which produce neurotransmittors such as serotonin, and if the balance is upset then it could result in some unexpected issues.

Recently, I have added Molkosan Fruit* to my daily routine. Made from 100% natural fermented whey and rich in L+ lactic acid to supports good gut bacteria, a small amount (20ml) is added to a glass of water or juice and taken first thing in the morning. The tonic also contains added calcium, and is 
enriched and naturally sweetened with aronia berry and pomegranate, which are crammed full of natural antioxidants.  Taken regularly, it contributes to the normal function of digestive enzymes, making it a great daily tonic for digestive balance.

Unlike some supplements, this one tastes really pleasant - in fact, it's more or less like having a yoghurt drink as it tastes really fruity and quite creamy.

Now, personally I don't really have a problem in the stomach department, although I do feel a bit bloated on occasion. However, for those of you who do have 'troubles' in that area (and we are talking all sorts), this is a great option for restoring the balance.

I generally take Molkosan Fruit for its overall health benefits - it supports the metabolism, and should it have any effect on mood then I'm certainly not going to complain, as I'm the first to admit that a bit of help in that department wouldn't go amiss at times! I think this is probably the case for most of us, and so if we can prevent as well as aid any such issues then it makes sense to do so.

I've noticed that I am less bloated since starting to take Molkosan - funnily enough, I didn't really realise that this was an issue until it began to subside, so it just goes to show that we can become all too used to some things when actually, they are not necessarily normal - or if they are, we don't always have to tolerate them.

There are also other ways in which we can help our good gut bacteria to flourish. Eating a diet low in refined sugars and yeast and cutting down on wheat, while eating more foods containing inulin (artichokes, onions, chicory, garlic) and boosting your intake of short-grain brown rice can all do the trick, so if you're in need of an overhaul in that department then why not give it a try?

Molkosan Fruit is priced at £6.96 at www.avogel.co.uk


xx

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Summer Sunday Round-Up


Just looking back at these photos reminds me what a fantastic summer I've had so far. The month of June was packed full of great days out, delicious food and the best company, and fingers crossed there's plenty more of that to come over the next couple of months! The weather does seem to have taken an awkward turn this week, but in all honesty, a dreary weekend was fine by me, purely because it has meant I've got stuff done that I've recently been ditching in favour of enjoying the sunshine. Ok, so I'm not talking about the most thrilling tasks in the world, but they had to be done - plus, it's meant that I've had more time available for blogging.

Last week, we took a few days off work and made the most of the sunny weather, and we couldn't have timed it better if we'd tried. Each day was more of a scorcher than the last with azure skies and not a cloud in sight. We headed down to Padstow in Cornwall and did the infamous Camel Trail, a bike trail which starts in Weymouth and continues on to Padstow. It's about a 45 minute cycle, and it's a coastal path all the way, meaning we had stunning views across Cornwall as we made our way along it. As you can see from the photos, the sea was an absolutely amazing colour, and it serves as a reminder of just how beautiful the UK can be in the summer months. It was quite a nostalgic trip, too, as I hadn't done the trail for about fifteen years!

On arrival on Padstow, we chowed down on some of Rick Stein's posh (and overpriced!) fish and chips, which were delicious but cost us a small fortune! We wandered along the seafront before getting the ferry across to the beach, and being able to get my bikini on and lie in the sun to relax was utter bliss. Unfortunately though, we had to skip ice creams, as having overestimated the time for which we had parked back in Weymouth, we suddenly realised we were running late, and the cycle back was fraught to say the least! We made it back in the nick of time, and by then we had definitely earned our 99s!

We spent the rest of our break brunching at our favourite haunts and visiting local parks, castles and other pretty sights with picnics. We definitely had our share of cream teas and pink lemonade, too.

The same week, we were lucky enough to go and see Kasabian live, and it's safe to say they did not diappoint. Unlike some, they really pull it out of the bag when performing live, so it was great to have a dance and sip on a few ciders while we watched. I've seen them in the past at various festivals, but this time was definitely the best.

There are plenty of things coming up over the next few weeks, with more live music, friends visiting and holidays to look forward to, so after these dull couple of days have passed, long may the sunshine continue! I'll be sure to keep snapping away with the camera so that I've got some pretty pictures to share with you as we go along.


How have you been enjoying the summer so far?

XX

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Review: Kosmea Skincare


If you know me at all from reading my posts, you'll know how much I love trying out new skincare brands, and particularly those based around lots of great, natural ingredients. Sometimes they are OK, and sometimes perhaps not so much for me. But sometimes, I find some real gems, and Kosmea Skincare definitely falls into the latter category.

An Australian brand, Kosmea believes very much in 'skincare as nature intended', formulated with
no mineral oils, petrochemicals, artificial colours or fragrances, no sodium lauryl sulphate (often referred to as SLS) and no animal ingredients. None of the products are tested on animals, and the packaging is recyclable, too!

A natural skincare range formulated around organic rosehip oil and the finest herbal, plant and flower extracts from Australia and around the world, Kosmea instantly piqued my interest, and over the past few weeks I have been testing out three of the brand's products: The Clarifying Facial Wash*,  Hydrating Rosewater Mist* and Replenishing Moisture Cream*.

At first glance, I wasn't sold on the concept of the cleanser, mainly because I tend to go for creams and balms due to their intensely moisturising properties. The Clarifying Facial Wash is somewhere between a gel and a cream, milky in appearance and quite liquid in consistency, and actually, I couldn't have been more wrong.

With Australian Lilly Pilly and Quandong extracts to clarify and tone, the cleanser is packed with hydrating rosehip and macadamia oils to leave skin soft, smooth and free to breathe.

To use, I massage a small amount into dry or damp skin for about a minute, and rinse. I have to say, after the first use I really was blown away by how soft and hydrated this left my skin, and couldn't stop touching it! It's rare to find a cleanser which offers such a noticeable and immediate effect alone - and this one smells incredible, too.

The Hydrating Rosewater Mist, unsurprisingly, comes in a handy spray bottle, and I generally mist some over my skin post-cleanse, but it's also great for a quick pick-me-up for a tired and weary complexion during the working day, so I tend to keep it on hand. Gentle, soothing, cooling and hydrating, this is definitely one of my favourite facial spritzes yet, which is no mean feat considering the number I have tried. The gentle rose fragrance is simultaneously uplifting and calming, and it's the perfect follow-up to both my morning and evening cleanse.

The Replenishing Moisture Cream is an impressive conclusion to the three-step routine, and is easily absorbed into the skin. Rosehip oil nurtures and protects the skin with antioxidants and essential fatty acids, while carrot oil provides a natural source of Vitamin A to help improve elasticity. Add to that a shot of horsetail and nettle extract to aid in the rebuilding of collage, and skin is left plumped, smooth, replenished and rehydrated.

I don't often say this, but I really cannot recommend this range highly enough. I feel that it has done my skin the world of good, and having come to the end of my samples I am eager to replace them, integrating them into my skincare routine for the long-term.

If you haven't heard of Kosmea and you're a fan of good, natural skincare with a whole host of benefits then I'd definitely suggest checking them out. And if you're yet to make the move over to natural ingredients and fewer chemical nasties, then give it a try - you'll wish you'd done it sooner!

Are you a fan of natural skincare? What are your favourite products?


xx


There's still time to enter my Jo Malone Giveaway!

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Health Series: Savse Smoothies


I try to drink smoothies as often as I can, as I think they are a great way or cramming extra fruit and vegetables into my diet - especially on day when perhaps I'm a bit too busy to ensure that I get enough portions from my meals. Pre-bottled drinks are just so easy to sling in my bag as I rush out the door to work, and I'll often have one at my desk, but recently I found myself frustrated at the lack of options in my local supermarkets. There are plenty of fruity options, but when you really look, those containing vegetables are few and far between - something which surprises me, considering the popularity of green juices and smoothies in recent years. So, it was a case of making them myself, which although better in the health department is extremely time-consuming, not to mention messy.

I was delighted when Savse got in touch to tell me all about their range of bottled, fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies, and couldn't wait to give them a go. I was sent five delicious flavours to try ( I naughtily managed to drink my favourite one before i was able to photograph it!):

1. Super Green* (broccoli, pear, spinach & kale with kiwi, lemon & banana)
2. Super Antioxidants* ( blueberry, kale,  beetroot, spinach, blackberry & apple)
3. Antioxidant* (beetroot, apple, avocado, lime with mango & lemon)
4. Vitamin C* (strawberry, broccoli, celery, kale, orange & spinach)
5. Super Yellow* (mango, carrot, passion fruit, pineapple & Yoghurt)

The smoothies are cold-pressed, which means no heat is applied as in common preparation methods. This means that the majority of vitamins and minerals are preserved, meaning greater health benefits and more value for money.

I loved Super Green the best - not only did it taste incredible, but there is something about green drinks that makes me feel really positive throughout the day. It makes me happy knowing that I'm getting an extra hit of vitamins and minerals, and you can never have too many green vegetables in your diet. For those of you who aren't keen on veggie juices, worry not - the fruit content means it tastes delicious and is sweet enough to mask any savoury flavours - although personally, I enjoy them either way.

The Super Antioxidant and Antioxidant juices were a close second. I am a huge fan of juices based around beetroot, and the addition of ingredients such as blueberries, avocado (my favourite!), spinach, kale and apple makes for a really enjoyable combination. Again, these are pleasantly sweet - but not overly so, as some smoothies and juices can be at times.

I thoroughly enjoyed sampling all of the juices, and will be looking for ways to stock up - as yet, they aren't available in my area, but check out the Savse website to find out if they are near you.

xx

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Daily Face



Well, it's been a while since I've done a 'Daily Face' post, and I thought it was about time I brought you bang up to date on which products have been making it into my daily routine of late. It's likely that they are quite different from the items I was using the last time I did a round-up, but I'm sure you will have seen a few of these pop up in The Weekly Selection weekly favourites posts or reviews at some point over the past couple of months.

Starting with my base of choice, it's undoubtedly the Laura Mercier Silk Cream foundation. Mine is in Porcelain Ivory, a shade which is sadly that little bit too pale for me at the moment, but I've been mixing it with a little bit of my Rimmel Wake Me Up in a darker shade for the perfect combination. Silk Cream is just fantastic, transforming the skin so that it glows with a natural radiance. I apply it over a base of the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer in 'Luminizing' for the perfect pairing, and it's safe to say that dull skin has become a thing of the past.

Brow-wise. the latest addition to my collection of products is the fabulous Benefit Gimme Brow. This is essentially a tinted brow gel, which is combed through to shape and fill, all in one go. I love this concept, as it saves on having to use too many different products to achieve the same effect. That said, I do still follow up with my MUA Pro Brow Kit, as I find I need to fill in the straggly ends a bit more. Obviously where the hairs are lacking, you can't really add much with Gimme Brow - and if you try, be prepared to get it smudged and smeared on your skin!

The L'oreal Superliner Blackbuster makes lining the eyes so much easier. It's a chunky felt tip type pen as opposed to a flimsy brush. My only gripe with this is that it isn't quite black enough and tends to fade a little too quickly for my liking. Until I find a suitable replacement, however, this is going to be staying in my makeup bag for convenience as much as anything else. It's a shame I am yet to perfect the winged liner look!
O'll generally apply this after a basic  nude or taupe eyeshadow, but I'm chopping and changing so much at the moment that I didn't have a particular one to share.

I finish off my eye makeup with Benefit They're Real mascara. I love this mascara, as it's so incredibly lengthening and gives my lashes oodles of volume.

A slick of Hourglass Rouge Opaque Liquid Lipstick in Riviera is what it's all about lip-wise at the moment. It's such a vibrant shade of orange, and just the sort of shade I go for at this time of year. It has excellent staying power, too, which is excellent if you're lazy at reapplying, like I am!

I finish my look with a light dusting of By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder to blur any imperfections and perfect my look. This stuff doesn't come cheap, so I don't necessarily use it every day - but I do reach for it on a fairly regular basis. You need to be sure to buff it into the skin to avoid it leaving a white caste on the skin, but if I ever get compliments on my skin, it's when I've been using this.

Do you have any every-day makeup essentials?

xx

Friday, June 27, 2014

Makeup Essentials for Glowing Summer Skin




Some products are notoriously difficult to photograph, aren't they!? Kevyn Aucoin's offerings definitely take the biscuit on that score - reflective casing and cameras do not mix!

That aside...

Glowing skin is an absolute must for me in summer, and I am forever hunting down the best beauty products to help me achieve that. Just the right shade of bronzer to give me that sun-kissed look without going overboard, the perfect peach or coral blush, a subtle highlighter that won't make me look like a glitterball in the sun, and something to sculpt my cheeks for that chiselled effect.

This summer, it seems I have found all four.

This particular Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Glow Duo consists of two of his most iconic products - the Sculpting Powder and The Celestial Powder in Candlelight - but in cream formula. When I first ordered this compact, I wasn't sure what to expect, and it's fair to say that the size when it arrived on my doorstep was initially a little bit disappointing - but then again, for the price, and compared to the full-size items, it certainly isn't bad. Thankfully, the products themselves are entirely redeeming. The sculpting powder is just perfect for the purpose, a taupe shade without too many red or orange tones and leaning ever so slightly grey. I dot onto the hollows of my cheeks and then blend using my Real Techniques Stippling Brush for perfectly sculpted cheekbones, and I have to say, although subtle, it somehow makes all the difference, creating that perfectly natural shadow. I tend to keep it for special occasions and evenings out, as while I'd like to use it daily, I like to keep something back, a secret weapon for when I really need it. Plus I'm scared I'll run out!

For a healthy, golden glow all over, I dust some Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Bronzing Veil lightly over my cheekbones, down my nose and across my forehead and chin. Again, it is subtle, but adds so much warmth to my face. I no longer look pale, but nor do I look 'overdone' -  it appears completely natural on the skin, and would suit the majority of tones. I wear Tropical Days, but you can always go for Tropical Nights if you are that bit darker.

As I mentioned before, it's a good blush that I feel makes any look, particularly at this time of year, and for me, Benefit Rockateur* (now available from QVC as well as all the usual haunts) more than ticks all the right boxes. It's a rose gold powder, reminiscent of Nars Orgasm and Sleek Rose Gold, but in my eyes it manages to top both. A light dusting on the apples of the cheeks provides a sheer but buildable wash of colour, once again incredibly natural-looking but with added sheen. Rockateur blends fantastically and has great staying power - not much more I could ask for in a cheek product.

To finish, I sway between Kevyn Aucoin's Candlelight cream and  the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in 01. I find that the perfect combination is a dusting of  the Baked Powder across the tops of my cheekbones, and a smidgen of the Candlelight cream blended down the centre of my nose, beneath the eyebrows and just on top of the cupid's bow.

Between the four of them, they've got all my summer skin makeup needs covered, and I can see myself reaching for them time and again across the coming months (fingers crossed the sunshine lasts!).

Which products do you rely on to give you that summer glow?

xx


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Giveaway: Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Candle


Just a quick reminder for you today that my Jo Malone candle giveaway is still running. I've got a full-size candle up for grabs in the gorgeously fresh, summery scent of Lime Basil & Mandarin, and with thee being worth £40 to buy, it's a great chance to get your hands on one without breaking the bank.

Good luck!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Health Series: Fruitbroo Juicy Iced Teas



Fruitbroo Iced Teas in Lime & Elderflower and Peach, Pear & Honey

I am a huge fan of teas. Green tea, peppermint tea, detox tea, and of course, good old English tea - you name it, I'm probably drinking it. But during summer, hot drinks just aren't my, well, cup of tea - and I often find myself yearning for something altogether more refreshing. Cold drinks are what it's all about when the office is hot and stuffy, so I was more than happy when these two new varieties of 
Fruitbroo Iced Teaarrived on my doorstep.

100% natural, with no caffeine, gluten or dairy, the Fruitbroo teas come as a sort of cordial. Mix two teaspoons with a glass of water, and away you go. I had the chance to try out Elderflower & Lime flavour, as well as Peach, Pear & Honey, and I have to say, they are a really tasty alternative to water, without the calories of your standard soft drink. At just 15 calories per cup, they are great if you're like me and prefer not to drink your calories.

Bith flavours are delicious and really refreshing, although personally I tend to mix even less than advised with my water in order to make it less sweet. I was one of those kids who had really weak orange squash, as I found it far more thirst-quenching, and sure enough, the same applies to these.

Fruitbroo also has a range of hot teas available, some of which I must admit sound absolutely delicious. Liquid 'Skinny' Rhubarb Crumble and Warm Apple Pie sound amazing. 

If refreshing, fruity drinks are your thing then I'd definitely give the iced teas a go - they are great for summer barbecues when you find yourself the unfortunate designated driver!

What are your favourite cool drinks in the summer?

xx

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Giveaway: Win a Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Scented Candle


Hi everyone!  No one likes a Monday, especially when it means going to work on a blazing hot summer's day when you could be on the beach, so today seems like as good a day as any to share a little summer giveaway with you.

Up for grabs, and just because I feel like it, is a full-size Jo Malone scented candle in the fresh and summery fragrance, Lime Basil and Mandarin, worth £40. These don't come cheap, so if you've been looking to get your hands on one for a while but just couldn't justify the price-tag, then now is your chance!

Just pop your details into the Rafflecopter form below and keep your fingers crossed. The giveaway will run until the end of the month, and if you happen to be under 16 then  make sure you have permission from your parents to enter.

I think that's about it - best of luck to you all and have a great week!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

xx

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Summer Series: Review: Label M Texturising Volume Spray


I am constantly on the lookout for products which will help me achieve lasting volume and texture in my hair, and come the summer months, there is nothing I like more than milking the 'undone' look. Hair that is too styled in the warmer weather just doesn't last, as the heat tends to play havoc with any sprays, powders or mousses used, leaving me with a lacklustre and oily-looking mess. It's not oily, of course - the products just seem to melt, and styles flop. I really heavily on dry shampoo for a bit of a boost, never replacing actual hairwashes but using it to soak up any excess oil in between, but I often find it doesn't plump up my hair to the level I'd like, and it certainly doesn't provide much hold.

Enter, Label M Texturising Volume Spray*. This stuff is designed to inject volume and texture into the hair, providing an instant back-combed effect. It's a non-sticky, dry mist spray, boasting the texture of dry shampoo with the hold of a good hairspray.
Sprayed liberally into the roots of the hair and then (for want of a better expression) mussed up with hands to further boost volume, this gives my hair some nice lift. Backcomb it yourself for added and longer-lasting volume, and you've got even bigger hair. Sadly, my hair doesn't ever want to stay put, and often loses its volume before long. While this was still the case, the Label M Texturising Volume Spray certainly out-performs other sprays I've tried, and I have found that it works well in helping me achieve that toussled look on curled or wavy hair.
I'd be careful spraying it through the lengths of your hair, as it can make it difficult to brush through afterwards - if you're wanting to do this then make sure you've styled your hair as you want it beforehand.

In conclusion, I really like this spray, and have often found myself reaching for it to inject some life into second-day hair. Having experimented a fair bit, I don't tend to use much of it on freshly-washed hair - mainly for the sake of convenience, as it does tend to mean I have to wash my hair again the next day. I'm not a fan of the feeling you get when you brush out a hairstyle, as I find my hair does, at that point, begin to feel a bit sticky - not something related to this product in particular, but any and all.

Saying that, I do tend to spray in a minimal amount into just-washed hair on occasion, as I do find that this is when my hair is at its flattest. When it's soft, shiny and slippery it is reluctant to hold a style, so a quick and sparing spritz can definitely help with this. I save going wild for day number two, which is usually when you'll catch me with the biggest bed-head!

I'll definitely be repurchasing as this is a great multi-tasker and a good secret weapon to keep on hand for those lacklustre hair days.

Do you have any favourite sprays or powders for adding interest to boring hair styles?
What do you use to gain that bit of added volume or texture?

xx

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Review: Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil


Facial oils are a key player when it comes to soft, bright and radiant skin, and  I've become accustomed to using them in my evening skincare routine in place of a night cream or other moisturiser. The latest addition to my routine is the Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil*, the first product I've managed to get my hands on from the much-coveted brand, which has only recently become available in the UK via QVC.

Maracuja - or passion fruit - is packed with vitamin C and essential fatty acids, which are vital for healthy skin cells and something which the body cannot produce on its own. Without them, skin can appear dry and age prematurely, so it's really no laughing matter.

Known as "The Pure Miracle", this rare Amazonian fruit is delicately and sustainably harvested, piece by piece. The nutrient-rich, seeded pulp is extracted from each individual fruit, then hand-pressed without heat, in order to preserve the nutritious vitamins and essential fatty acids, ensuring that the maximum possible make it into the end product.

The Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil* is exactly as it says on the tin - 100% pure, with no parabens, sulphates or other chemical nasties to contend with. A potent anti-ageing elixir, this little gem will infuse life back into your skin, however sorry a state it is in.

The oil comes with a user-friendly glass dropper, eliminating any worries about unnecessarily wasting product. A couple of drops on the finger tips will suffice - I usually press the oil into my skin with my fingertips, massaging in any residue.

The oil aims to infuse thirsty and dehydrated skin with a shot of much-needed moisture,  delivering harmony and resulting in firmer, smoother and brighter looking skin. The essential fatty acids recharge and replenish, rejuvenating skin and resulting in a more even-toned appearance.

My skin certainly does feel soft and hydrated the morning after use, and I'm more than satisfied with the radiant glow that comes with it. Unfortunately for me, despite oils being of great benefit to all skin types, I have always found that no matter what kind of oil I'm using, I always come out in a spot or two after a few days' use, and this is no exception. 

I haven't let it put me off, however. 

The answer? I reserve it for bi-weekly use. Applied this way, my skin seems to reap the benefits, and is bright, plump and smooth.

If you're a fan of facial oils, then this one is a must-try. It's definitely up there with the best of them, and has to be my favourite oil to date. 

If you've yet to take the plunge, then I urge you to do so. Don't shy away if your skin is already bordering on oil-slick territory, as the right oils can have a balancing effect. Often, those with oily skin will reach for gels and foaming products, but actually, these can have a detrimental effect, stripping your skin of every last bit of moisture. The result? Over-compensation - or, in other words, over-production of sebum. Nourish and hydrate your skin with the right oils, and this will no longer be such an issue.

Do you use facial oils? What is your favourite?

If not, why not?

xx


Monday, June 2, 2014

Summer Scents: Yankee Candle Fruit-a-licious Collection



I'm a sucker for a scented candle, especially throughout the winter months, but often, when it comes to the warmer I forget all about them, what with spending less and less time indoors, and more and more out in the sunshine.
This time around, however, I've found myself pining for some deliciously summery scents to fragrance my house with - fruity or floral offerings to target the senses and lift the spirits.

Of course, Yankee Candle rarely fail to disappoint on any score, so I was excited to try out these three little treats from the Yankee Candle Fruit-a-licious Collection. I was kindly sent Black Plum Blossom*, 
Orange Splash* and Sweet Apple* to put through their paces, and boy did they hit the spot. My favourite scent  is definitely Black Plum Blossom, but sadly, the one I received arrived without a wick! I must admit, it's quite the tease having it sitting there on my mantlepiece and not being able to light it.
Orange Splash and Sweet Apple are both as deliciously juicy as you might expect, and at times I almost feel as if I'm relaxing in an orchard rather than on the sofa.

What I really love about Yankees is the way that they give off a rich  aroma, without being too overpowering. Where some candles might be that bit too pungent and bring on a headache, or leave you feeling somewhat nauseous, these get it just right, every single time.

Priced at £7.99 each for an impressive 25-40 hours' burn time, the smaller jars are a great way to try out a selection of fragrances in one go, and if you're more of a floral fan then the new Beautiful Blooms collection sounds right up your street.

Do you have a favourite home fragrance for summer? Which candles are you currently burning?

xx

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Health Series: Beauty 'In Beauty Drink


With summer just around the corner, and having put off the usual new year gym and diet regime for as long as possible, over the past few weeks I have finally found the motivation. I've been eating better going to bootcamp, and doing gym classes, and while I've had more than my fair share of weak moments, I'm generally feeling all the better for it.
I'm the sort of person who naturally enjoys healthier options, so it's not something that is a problem for me, but over the winter, I seemed to have developed a bit too much of a soft spot for comforting foods, and along with them, a complete lack of willpower. I'll always choose brown rice or bread over white, and whenever I cook, my plate is guaranteed to be crammed with colourful vegetables. But that doesn't mean that I don't have a major weakness for chocolate, takeaways and the like. So, in order to facilitate my new healthier lifestyle (because let's face it, who was really that eager to go to the gym in the winter?), I've been surrounding myself with a plethora of foods and drinks that will help me along the way.

The first of these is Beauty 'In's Beauty Drink*, a new generation of natural and refreshing beverages which contain nutrients which enhance brain function, lessen the effects of cortisol stressors and increase serotonin production, inducing a feeling of wellbeing - and goodness knows, being the often-stressed type, these are all things I would happily accept into my life.

With various options containing  vitamins A, C, E, B2 and B6, the drinks come in a variety of flavours, and I was very kindly sent both the Acai, Grape and Hibiscus - which also contains skin-plumping hydrolised collagen - and Raspberry, Blueberry and Acai, with folic acid, calcium and collagen.
The drinks come in your standard plastic bottle with a handy pull-up cap, but if you look a little closer, there is a difference. All the vitamins and minerals the drink boasts are in fact contained in a separate section, so after removing the lid, you push down the dosing cap, releasing them into the water. Shake well, and your Beauty Drink is ready to go.

The drinks themselves taste very much like any normal fruit-flavoured still spring water, so are very pleasant to sip on. There are lots of other options to choose from, with eight in total, and as well as the drinks, Beauty In also offer Beauty Bars - organic cereal cubes with added vitamins, collagen and golden linseed - and Beauty Candy, which are sweets, again containing added health benefits.

The drinks are a welcome addition to my routine, and I like to keep one on my desk at work for a mid-afternoon boost. They aren't the sort of things you will drink and see a noticeable difference, but anything that promotes serotonin production and helps combat stress has got to be worth a pop in my book. I'm constantly trying to boost my daily water intake, and these are a great way to do so. Similarly, the Beauty Bars make a great healthy snack, and if over time they can benefit my health in other ways, as well as fortifying skin and nails and aiding hangover recovery, then I'm happy to indulge.

All products are scientifically proven to enhance the appearance of your skin, and are part of a new category of beauty and health products known as 'Alimetics' - a fusion of 'food', 'vitamins' and 'cosmetics'.
If you'd like to give the range a go, then check out Harvey Nicholls,Selfridges, Revital and and Amazon.

Have you tried any other health and beauty-enhancing foods or drinks?
If so then let me know in the comments and I will see if I can track them down.

xx


Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Weekly Roundup


Well, it's been a while since I've done one of these! Not so much  weekly round-up, you might say, as this week's photos cover at least the last month.

Life has been sunnier of late, with the weather brightening up, seeing more of friends and family, getting fit and eating well.
 I've been going to bootcamp a couple of times week with my best friend, which we're both really enjoying doing out in the sunshine, and I've also been making time for things like yoga and Body Balance to keep things that little bit more Zen. I'm  bit of a worrier at heart, so I really have to make time in my life for relaxation and make the effort to stick to it.

We've also managed to have the first of the year's barbecues, with two in a row last weekend. The first was round at my friend's house, and it was great to get everyone together for a catch-up and a cheeky cider or two, The second was put on by my parents, who had just returned from a Caribbean holiday and were wanting to hold onto the last moments before going back to work.

Other than that, it's been very much about working, Sunday carveries and trying out lots of lovely new products. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the recent Space NK goodie bags, so it's going to take me while to work through that little lot! I've already discovered a fair few gems though, so keep an eye out for those.

This week, I got tickets to see both Kasabian and the Pixies over the next few months, so really looking forward to both of those! It's been a while since I last saw some decent live music, and I can't wait to go along and have a dance.

 As for today, we were meant to be going to a music festival, but it's been overcast and raining up until now, so after dropping a certain someone off at work, I treated myself to breakfast before heading home to do a bit of blog photography and prep some posts. As I'm writing this, the sun has begun to pour through my living room window, and the clouds have passed to reveal a beautiful blue sky, so I think it's time to get my wellies on and head on down to the event. It's actually a weekender, but we've only got tickets today, and the good stuff won't be kicking off for another hour or so.

Bit of a short one today, I'm afraid, but watch this space for plenty of posts coming up over the next week. They are all scheduled and ready to go, which is a situation I haven't had time to get myself into for some while - it feels pretty good, I tell thee.

Hope everyone has a lovely bank holiday weekend - fingers crossed this isn't the last we'll see of the sun!

xx

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Weekly Selection


Hi everyone, hope you've all had a fabulous weekend and have been enjoying all this sunshine we've been having. I definitely have, squeezing two barbecues, a boat trip and plenty of sunbathing into the past couple of days, and I'll be posting some photos shortly. For now,  it's that time of the week again, so here are my weekly favourites.

I love a good facial spritz at the best of times, but in the summer months, all the more so, and I find myself readily spraying away at every given opportunity. The Body Shop Vitamin C Face Spritz is my number one wake-me-up weapon at the moment, with a zingy citrus scent to refresh and invigorate. It gives my skin a boost, but it also targets my senses - definitely an added bonus, and an all-round winner.

I love a nice radiance-boosting mask in the springtime, and I really feel that my skin benefits from a bi-weekly boost in the form of the Apivita Face Mask with Pomegranate, which I reviewed earlier this week. It's one of those unexpected winners, where it doesn't seem to be anything special, but on giving it a try it is pleasantly surprising. If you're interested in knowing more, then I'll let you go and read my post on it.

Also on my hit list this week have been two absolute treats from Benefit. If  I remember rightly, the They're Real Mascara featured in my last favourites post - but hey, I'm breaking all the rules, and it's in here again. Personally, I see now problem with repeat appearances in these sorts of things, as it only serves to prove that they really are well loved. I'd rather that than choose something I wasn't all that enthralled with just to fill the space - that wouldn't be honest, and it wouldn't get any of us anywhere.
Anyway, as I would have mentioned previously, this is a mascara I was reluctant to try - or should I say, buy -  as I wasn't willing to believe that any mascara could warrant an £18-odd price tag. However, I was forced to eat my words on receiving this as part of a birthday present, because actually it is pretty wonderful, and I'm keeping a tight hold.

Last up is Benefit Gimme Brow - another item included in my Benefit birthday bundle of goodies. I love brow products, and never go a day without reaching for a gel, powder or wax to give mine some sort of shape. Thanks to the dreaded over-plucking as a teenager (thanks, sis), they are now a bit on the..well, wonky side, so although they are fairly thick and full, they can always do with a bit of extra help.
Gimme Brow is a two in one product, as it serves as a setting gel but is also tinted. I use this to shape and fill my brows all in one go, but I do still reach for a powder to fill in the tails as I find it easier to get a precise finish.

Those are my lot for this week, but already I can feel some more products making their way up in my mental favourites list, so expect lots of enthusiasm over the next few weeks!

What have been your favourite products lately?

xx

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