Monday, 17 August 2015

The Travel Edit | Hand Luggage & Arrival: My Top Ten Travel Tips

We're still in the midst of summer holiday season which means many of us are taking trips, so I thought I'd share some of my tried and tested top travel tips, focusing on hand luggage essentials and arriving at your destination. If you need help with packing your main check in bags - I covered this in a previous post here.

When it comes to hand or cabin baggage, it's all about having an organised and accessible cabin bag that contains everything you need at a moment's notice. Plus when you arrive at your destination, you want to arrive excited, calm and raring to go on an adventure! Hopefully these tips will help you on your way to a pleasant and relaxing journey!

1. Pouches are your best friend! Whether you're taking a cabin trolley bag, a large handbag or both as your cabin baggage, keep all your items separately organised in pouches of varying sizes. I like to pack small items such as headphones and my Kindle cable in a small pouch, tying them with hair ties so they don't get tangled. You can use another pouch to hold your travel documents and passport. Accessorize, Forever 21 and & Other Stories have some chic and practical pouches.

2. Size down! | You may only be taking hand luggage on your trip or perhaps you want to use the time to pamper yourself on the flight, in any case if you're carrying toiletries and skincare, remember the nothing over 100ml rule (it seems obvious but I always forget and at least one thing has to be thrown away at security - most recently some sunscreen in my daughter's nappy bag!). Decant your favourite skincare, makeup and haircare essentials into smaller bottles and jars (try Boots, Muji and Primark) or grab minis from Boots, Space NK and Sephora and grab your samples from beauty subscription boxes such as Birchbox and MyLittleBox.

3. A Clear Case! | Pack your toiletries and liquid-y beauty bits into this Muji clear case - it beats those grubby little plastic bags hands down! Alternatively, grab this one from Ren that's filled with travel sized essentials and is excellent value for money, and then you can use the pouch on your next trip. If you're on a long haul flight you might want to use the time to pamper yourself. Check out my last post for my inflight five minute regime for keeping your skin plumped and moisturised!

4. Important items stay with you! | Pack your most valuable, important and sentimental items such as jewellery, camera equipment and electronics into your cabin baggage - don't ever check it in! That way if your luggage is lost or damaged - you will have all the items you hold most dear to yourself on your person!

5. Cushion your jewels! | Pack jewellery in a dedicated jewellery pouch or case to ensure it stays protected and doesn't break en route to your destination.  I love the Anya Hindmarch, Aspinal and Smythson jewellery cases - a worthy investment for your precious jewels!

6. Keep electricals together! | Pack all your electronics - laptop, iPad, Kindle, chargers and cables, etc together for easy access in one sturdy case with plenty of compartments. Putting all your cables in there will mean they will stay protected too from the rest of your bag contents. I'm currently loving this case.

7. Outfit change | Pack a chic, versatile complete outfit (with underwear and footwear) in your cabin bag, just in case your main luggage gets lost - that way you can go straight out for lunch or dinner and feel and look fresh (and on point!).

8. Oversize your scarf | Pack an oversized scarf that can double up as a blanket, pillow, sheet, beach blanket... These have been so handy in the past during chilly flights then a touch of home comfort in hotel rooms and hostels! I love the selection at Zara and ASOS.

9. Go Hands Free | For your chosen destination, take a multipocketed crossbody bag for your day bag, and fill it with a mini bottle of water, mints, lip balm, cash and coins and your sunnies. This style from Forever 21 is super chic and useful!
If you're constantly losing or breaking your sunglasses then avoid taking your favourite designer pair and take a few chic, inexpensive pairs. I love the selections at & Other Stories, H&M and ASOS.

10. Smell chic | Hotel rooms can smell impersonal, take a favourite mini candle to create a sense of calm and to create a homely feeling oasis. My absolute favourite is the Diptyque mini candle in Baies.

 Minimalist Folio Case, $48 (Approx £30), Poketo
Checked Soft Scarf, £17.99, Zara
Diptyque Baies Mini Candle, £20, John Lewis
Metal Bridge Acetate Sunglasses, £45, & Other Stories
Beach Please Pouch, £6 (on sale), New Look
Ren Grab & Go Travel Kit, £20, Cult Beauty
Tres Jolie Pouch, £3.50, Forever 21
Laser-cut Pouch, £8, Forever 21

 Hope some of these travel tips were helpful! Happy Travels! What are some of your travel tips?

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Travel | Long Haul In Flight 5 Minute Hydration Regime

When travelling on a long haul flight, I've learnt that your number one beauty matra should be to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! In a bid to avoid my skin and self getting dehydrated by that nasty dry cabin air, hydration was definitely the name of the game for the duration of my flight, but as I was travelling with my husband and baby daughter for the first time, I didn't have time for anything too fussy or fiddly.

First things first, shoo away all offers of champagne on arrival and stick to good old H20! If you can, stick to drinking water throughout the flight. Avoid the microwaved, overprocessed meals and perhaps just pick at the fruit or yogurt, and if you've taken your own food and snacks even better.

Once the meal was over, lights were dimmed and baby was sleeping it was time to talk beauty.

For the quick beauty regime, I deployed:
1). Cleanse | First of all whether you're wearing make-up or not clean your face. As mine was a night flight I decided not to wear any, but a cleanse instantly refreshed me. I used La Roche Posay Physiological Micellar Solution decanted into a 100ml bottle (part of set from Primark), sweeping a couple of soaked cotton oval pads over my face and eyes.
2). Refresh | Next, I refreshed my face with a spritz of Avene Eau Thermale spring water, which was instantly soothing and cooling.
3). Boost | Then it was time for a moisture boost in the form of Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly - you only need a pea-sized amount of this hydration boosting cocktail which is suspended in a hyaluronic acid matrix, and is also designed to lock in moisture - so ideal for that long haul cabin air. It also feels so light and cooling yet sinks right in and retains its moisturising properties!
4) Serum | I topped off the moisture jelly with Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial - one of my favourite night serum-oils. It feels so silky on the skin, smells divine and contains a cocktail of skin plumping and regenerating essential oils, peptides, vitamins and antioxidants, so again perfect for an overnight flight. Though I often ignore the overnight bit and just use it whenever my skin needs some extra TLC!
5). Lips | Lastly, slick on some ultra hydrating lip balm with a slight gloss. I went for The Organic Pharmacy's Antioxidant Lip Balm, which is infused with Shea Butter, Pomegranate, Rose Hip and Vitamin E to keep lips super soft!

That's it, the whole routine took about five minutes flat! You can then repeat the whole thing a few times depending on the length of your flight, and then repeat again in the morning and add a light base if you like...

What are your favourite in flight beauty essentials?

Friday, 19 June 2015

Holiday | Beach bag chic

We're in the throes of holiday season and every time I look on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat, someone I know has posted a selfie of themselves on some beach, cocktail in hand... So phone in one hand, I'm rolling my eyes whilst maneuvering a buggy and a basket around Sainsbury's (oh the glamour!) when I spot a gorgeous beach bag. Love a good beach bag, it immediately conjures up beach and pool life images in my mind's eye and for a moment I'm off, sipping cocktails on my sun lounger. FOCUS! Ok, make that mocktails! No! Back to the bag... It's got everything you could want in a beach bag - kinda monochromatic with a touch of embellishment and colour, pom poms, zip top, foldable and big enough for your 'stuff' so that it can double as a carry on tote/holiday tote and can even work as a weekend or daily bag in the warmer months. I'm calling it my 'easy cheap chic no brainer supermarket sweep' beach bag (hereby known as ECCNBSS) and at only £16, you'll still get change from a twenty!

ECCNBSS beach bag, £16, Tu at Sainsbury's (in-store only)
If my ECCNBSS beach bag isn't your cup of tea (or mojito!) then I've rounded up some of my other favourite beach bag options...

B E S T  O F  T H E  R E S T

C L O C K W I S E  F R O M  T O P  L E F T :
1. REVERSIBLE BEACH BAG, £28, River Island | Love this silver metallic reversible beach bag - which works really well as a throw-everything-in-it tote, transforming from silver to black in one second flat. It also comes with a super handy matching pouch for storing valuables whether on the beach or in the city!
2. ECCNBSS BEACH BAG, £16, Tu at Sainsbury's (in-store only) | As above
3. CANVAS BEACH BAG, £22.99, Zara (summer sale) | I'm a huge fan of huge tote like beach bags that double up as bags to throw the kitchen sink into (I don't do small bags...much!) and this one is a nautical gem - love the typography and the blue/white colour combo. It also comes with a detachable inner pouch.
4. STRIPE CANVAS BEACH BAG, £9.99, Mango (summer sale) | Can't get more beachy than this stripey white/navy number, which also comes in grey. A great basic beach all rounder that you can throw your sunscreen, Kindle, water and snacks into whilst on vacay then whip out again at the farmers market when you're back home.
5. ANCHOR BEACH BAG, £22.99, Zara (summer sale) | Even more nautical than its' beachy cousin above (see no.3) again comes with an detachable inner pouch for your jewellery and phone. Perfect for the plane too and love this dusky pink hue!
6. COPA CABANA TOTE BAG, £24, Accessorize (summer sale) | This beach bag screams holiday! The perfect accompaniment to your strawberry daquiri (hunky waiter optional), comes complete with holiday pom poms and is ready to board its flight to Ibiza (please fill with snacks, books, magazines and duty free buys!)
7. FINDS EN SHALLA FRINGED RAFFIA & LEATHER TOTE, £85, Net-a-porter (summer sale) | The luxe fringed basket option. Love this playful yet sophisticated coastal companion. It features a cheery floral lining and its sizeable interior means you can chuck in spare clothes, tablet, spare shoes, snacks, drinks, heck whatever you want! Love the cobalt blue hit of colour against the cream raffia and the fringing detail - shimmy shimmy!

W H I C H  O N E  I S  Y O U R  F A V O U R I T E ?
W H E R E  A R E  Y O U  V A C A T I O N I N G  T H I S  S U M M E R ?

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Beauty | In the Nude...

...My Seven Favourite Nude Lipsticks

I know, I know! Why seven? Such a random number! I mean where do I even have to go these days where I can wear these seven nude lipsticks?! I guess I just went through my make-up bag(s) and handbag(s) and these are the seven nude lipsticks I like to slick on the most! You may think they all pretty much look the same, but believe me they are all different and I love them all! Swatches and deets below...

From the top:
1. MAC Patisserie, £15.50 | The ultimate my-lips-but-better (MLBB) nude - love the name and the fact that it's a bit pink, with a touch of brown with a really nourishing texture on the lips. I find it looks different on everyone!
2. Rimmel Moisture Renew in Notting Hill Nude, £6.49 | Love the really moisture drenched formula, as well as the name (hate lipsticks that just have numbers - boring)! This is more on the brown side of nude, but it's still the perfect everyday nude to slick on and make you look polished, plus it's budget friendly!
3. Chanel Rouge Coco in Adrienne, £26 | Probably my favourite of the lot! It's currently in my handbag makeup bag, and it's the one I'm reaching for the most right now. It's a peachy-pink, creamy, dreamy nude and it's the perfect marriage of lip balm and colour, whilst still being a lipstick. These were recently all reformulated and I'm loving the texture of them - so comfortable to wear!
4. L'Oreal Colour Riche in Eva's Nude, £6.99 | Another budget friendly drugstore option that's part of the Exclusive Nudes Collection. Eva's shade is 'Barely Golden' and features a hint of golden sheen. It's another contender for perfect MLBB nude, wrapped up in a moisturising, long-lasting formula. I think the pink to brown ratio is spot on!
5. Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Bitch Perfect, £23 | The rose gold packaging, the name, the formula - arghhhh! The rosier side of MLBB nude, in a super pigmented, luxurious and creamy formula, perfect paired with a smoky eye. Works equally well in the daytime as it does in the evening.
6. Rouge Dior Baume in Escapade, £23.40 | This is more of a lip balm with a serious amount of tint and I love this shade, which almost borders on nude with berry. It really does the job as a lip balm but at the same time it packs a punch with the colour. Another star of my makeup bag, it's so easy to slick this on and look chic and polished.
7. Tom Ford Lip Colour in Indian Rose, £37 | I swear I didn't just buy this because of the name! The most expensive of the bunch (duh - it's Tom Ford!) but also the pinkest. It's the perfect nudey pink - enough nude, enough pinkiness. It's especially lovely as a spring/summer nude and I love the rich, moisturising formula, plus who can resist that packaging (and that very satisfying click!). This is my special occasion nude...

What are your favourite nude lipstick shades?

Friday, 12 June 2015

Travel | (Free) Bite-sized Beauty

It's that time of the year again, summer feels like it's finally here and that means jetting off for a summer holiday. Whether you're going short haul, long haul or on a staycation, an essential part of packing will be putting together your beauty kit.

Now, no-one wants to be lugging around huge bottles of toiletries (wouldn't you want to save that suitcase space for local mementos and souvenirs?!) so this is where travel sized beauty comes into its own. These days, you can find a huge selection of travel minis of just about anything at the likes of Boots, Superdrug, Space NK and heck, even Primark. But before you start filling up your basket, I have another source for those ever-so-cute travel minis - July's magazines. Yep that's right, some of this month's magazine titles (all UK) are offering a treasure trove of beauty delights for free as cover mount gifts - what's not to love about that? I've rounded up what you get below.

Selection of free beauty travel minis, with July magazines
Pictured above:
Malin + Goetz Travel Minis Set (lip conditioner, face cleanser and face moisturiser) - free with Elle July issue
Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel - free with Marie Claire July issue (it's a choice between this and the Pro-radiance Illuminating Flash Balm)
Lanolips Ointment - free with Conde Nast Traveller July issue
This Works In Transit Camera Close Up (mask, primer and moisturiser in one) - free with Harper's Bazaar July issue
Ren Vita Mineral Lip Balm - free with Red July issue
Classic Aviator Sunglasses - free with Cosmopolitan July issue (two other styles also available)

Also available:
Nails Inc nail varnish in four different shades - free with Instyle July issue
Models Inc make up products - a choice between blue eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss or black eyeliner - free with Glamour July issue
Designer Sunglasses in five different styles - free with Tatler July issue

Some pretty fab beauty mini freebies! Perfect if you use some of these already, or if you don't and want to try some of these brands. The Cosmo sunglasses are pretty flattering and are perfect if you're the kind of person who's always losing/breaking sunglasses! Not only will you be ready set go with travel minis, you'll have plenty of holiday reading material too - perfect for the plane/train/car/boat journeys.

A selection of gift with purchase, free sample and beauty box minis

On a side note - if you're a subscriber to Birchbox, Glossybox, My Little Box or any other beauty box subscription service, or have purchased one-off beauty boxes (such as the recent Space NK one or Look Fantastic ones), now's the time to dig out your beauty stash - go through what you need, and see what fits the bill in the mini department from some of these boxes. The same goes for gift with purchases and samples. Short breaks and holidays are the ideal time to sample new skincare, haircare and make-up products - and in mini size there's minimal commitment! That way, if you really loved something you could pick it up in duty free on your way back!

If you spend £50 or more at, you get four free luxury sized samples, if you have a treatment or buy any full sized products from Aromatherapy Associates you usually always get free samples and if you buy a fragrance or candle from Jo Malone you usually get a free fragrance sample.

Jet, Set, Go! What are your favourite beauty minis?


Saturday, 30 May 2015

Interiors | Crushing on Marble

Marble is all the rage! It has reinvented itself to be a major interiors trend for 2015, shedding its once classic and traditional image to now be the clean, fresh, chic and modern star of any interior setting.  Once confined to just kitchens and bathrooms, marble is now appearing all over the home as a feature, or via small accessories as an accent.

MARBLE MOODBOARD (images from Pinterest)
You may have noticed marble popping up increasingly on your instagram feed, starring as a background to flat lay shots (a favourite with the blogging community!), in head to toe fashion in the hottest new hotels (check out the bathroom suites of the rooms at The Rosewood Hotel London) or even just through cute accessories such as trays, plates, cups and mobile phone or laptop skins! It seems everyone's gone ga-ga for marble - myself included! I favour the chic simplicity of the monochrome Carrera variety, and wholeheartedly agree that it photographs really well!

Image credits - Clockwise from top left:
(all images from Instagram)

Marble comes in all sorts of finishes and colour ways, and in large quantities it can be very expensive, but small touches can be surprisingly affordable. I recently added a couple of marble shelves to my bathroom. These were basically picked up as offcuts which I then had cut to my dimensions, and cost me under £100. If you're London based, then check out the many suppliers in and around Standard Road, Park Royal, NW10 for your fix of marble!

There are plenty of ways to get the marble look via smaller touches for your space, I've rounded up my favourite pieces to get the look below.

 Top Row:
L: Marble Deco Self-Adhesive Film, £4, Wilko | Get the marble look by applying this sticky back plastic to any surface! Cheap as chips yet chic way to give your existing furniture, trays or placemats a new lease of life, check out Pinterest for tutorials.
R: Ceramic Marble Porcelain Plate, £6.99, H&M Home | Another marble bargain - this plate also comes in other marble colours and is great for displaying small trinkets such as jewellery or make-up - also photographs really well (as you can see from my insta shot above!)
Middle Row:
L: Marble Laptop Table, £85, French Connection | The perfect chic perch for your laptop or tablet, slot it around your seat for a super speedy mini office wherever you are. Also doubles as a surface to photograph against!
R: Hex Side Table, £149, West Elm | The perfect marble topped hexagonal sidekick to your sofa. If you're feeling particularly spendy you can get a few and group them together in a coffee table arrangement, and yep you guessed it - perfect as a backdrop to photos!
Bottom Row:
L: Axis Round Marble Coffee Table, £385, French Connection | What a chic way to take your coffee! Another great backdrop piece, this is is the perfect statement coffee table to add a touch of luxury to your living room, perfect atop some eclectic rugs in the centre of the space.
R: Ceramic Marble Chopping Board, £9.99, H&M Home | A chic way to add a touch of marble to the kitchen or anywhere in the home. You can either use it as intended to chop your veggies or even just as a backdrop to take your instagram shots against - comes in two other colourways.


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

National Stationery Week | Calling all stationery addicts...

I always seem to have National Stationery Week earmarked in my diary - shows how much of a stationery addict I am! I love writing in my diary, writing letters and writing in an actual notebook - that also provides me with plenty of reasons* (*excuses) to stock up on pretty stationery!

National Stationery Week: In the diary!
National Stationery Week rolls around once a year, and runs from 27 April until 3 May, with the aim of celebrating the written word and all things stationery. The organisers say, 'writing by hand and being able to write by hand is as important as ever. It matters, and is one of the cornerstones of how we communicate with one another.' Further, their mantra is 'you can never have too much stationery!' and I couldn't agree more! On a serious note though, 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta - celebrating and reminding us how handwriting has stood the test of time, remaining as important now as it was then. Wednesday 29th April is World Stationery Day - what better way to mark this occasion then by putting pen to paper and writing a letter or card to the special people in your life, if only for one day instead of the usual email, text or whatsapp. Through celebrating stationery, the week hopes to get more people writing, more often - especially children - whether it's a little notecard, letter or postcard, or even just writing a diary or journal (all of the above for me!).

What better reason/excuse to celebrate National Stationery Week then to stock up on some new stationery? My edit of current stationery favorites is below.

 Anya Hindmarch Sticker Notebook, £18, Exclusive to Selfridges
Vintage Floral & Butterfly Notecards, box of 8, £5, Paperchase
Kraft Thank You Cards, pack of 10, £4, Paperchase
Teal & Gold Foil Tile Notecards, pack of 8, £4, Paperchase
Bon Voyage Journal, £14.95, Rifle Paper Co, Selfridges
Bang Boom Pow Notecard Set, set of 6, £6.50, Meri Meri at Quill London
XOXO Notecard Set, set of 6, £12.50, In Haus Press at Quill London
Portobello Rose Writing Set, £6, Paperchase

Don't just buy in vain though - make sure you write that card or letter and remember to pop it in the post!

Whilst we're on the subject of writing, a special shout out goes to TK Maxx for the fabulous notebooks available there - it's always worth popping in to have a look at the selection they have on offer at brilliant prices!

Love this 'dream' notebook from TK Maxx!
To celebrate National Stationery Week, Aspinal of London is offering complimentary personalisation on a variety of their collection until Sunday 3 May - the perfect opportunity to get a really special gift for someone!

How will you be celebrating National Stationery Week? For more information about National Stationery Week visit

Monday, 20 April 2015

Accessories | Sunnies Delight

Whether the sun is out or not, I've steadily been building up a little sunglasses collection (or should that be obsession?!) over the last few months. I'm the type of person that always likes to have a pair of sunnies in my bag and in the car. A good pair of sunglasses can (aside from the obvious sun protection element) make or break an outfit plus they are ideal for covering up eye bags telling tales from the night before (whether you've been on a wild night out or been up with your baby!) as well as being handy to throw on if the sun decides to make an appearance. I love wearing sunglasses whether it's sunny or not - often when I haven't quite woken up and I'm not quite ready to make eye contact on the tube in the mornings!

There are some great sunglasses on the market at the moment, and you'll be happy to know you won't have to spend a fortune on them. On the high street check out & Other Stories - my absolute favourite place to shop for sunglasses - they have a great selection of different shapes, sizes and styles, some trend led, some classic at purse friendly prices. I also love ASOS, Topshop, Monki and New Look. Other reasonably priced brands that offer stylish sunnies include Le Specs, Jeepers Peepers, Cheap Monday, Spitfire and Whistles.

Favourite sunglasses trends to try this spring/summer: Round (classically chic), coloured or mirrored coloured lenses (hippy festival vibes), cat eye (glamorous chic), aviators (sporty, traditional yet modern, updated this season with mirror lenses) and semi rimless (half framed sunnies as seen at Miu Miu and Opening Ceremony are fresh and youthful).

My latest sunglasses purchases!

L-R: & Other Stories, Whistles, ASOS

Latest sunglasses to my collection:
Black with metal nose rim - & Other Stories
Red cat eye with metal nose rim - & Other Stories
Navy - Suki Square Catseye - £75, Whistles
Marble effect - Handmade Oversized Retro - £35, ASOS

I also just picked up a couple of pairs of round sunglasses - to trial the trend and style shape for my face - from New Look at a bargainous £5.99 each (black and tortoise) I love them - the hubby not so much! Says I look like Harry Potter! 

What shape are your favourite sunglasses from?

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Interiors | Gallery Wall Dreams

I've been obsessing over gallery walls for the longest time, whiling away many hours on Pinterest and interiors blogs in order to gather inspiration for creating my own. The beauty of them is that you can quite literally frame anything and cluster a few frames together to achieve the effect. Whether it's prints, your childrens' lovingly created artwork, postcards, wallpaper samples or napkin scrawls - anything goes!

J Crew is as well known for its gallery wall installations within its boutiques as it is for its merchandise. Here's a snap from the newly opened Paris store and another from its revamped New York Fifth Avenue boutique. Read about how the Fifth Avenue boutique gallery wall was created here.  I love the eclectic mix of art, prints and posters in frames of different colours!

J Crew Paris*
J Crew Fifth Avenue*
Here are some of my favourite gallery wall inspiration snaps from Instagram and Pinterest...

Monochrome gallery wall*
Love this washi tape print gallery wall!*
Love this mix! Spotted on Instagram, think it's from Kate Spade*
Love the borders, frames and neatness, framed by the dramatic lighting*

Love this entire wall - such a lovely mix!*

Simplicity - black & white - gorgeous!*
In preparation for my own gallery wall, I've been collecting postcards, greeting cards, wallpaper, prints - anything and everything really! One of walls will be New York themed, an ode to our favourite city after London - I picked up some lovely NY greetings cards when I was last there and managed to frame them last week:

New York Greeting Cards in IKEA RIBBA Frames
I've also gathered together all my Fuji Instax Wide prints and tacked them up on the wall for now, I may decide to put some of the photos in frames and intersperse them with prints, but for now I love this grid formation:

Fuji Instax Wide Shots Wall

I'll keep you posted on how my gallery wall(s) preparation is going and of course post pictures when they are up!

Are you a fan of gallery walls?

*All photos from Pinterest or Instagram

Thursday, 26 March 2015

New In My Beauty Cabinet | Spring Drugstore Beauty Haul

So...a little shopping trip happened! I can never resist buying new make up when Boots do their mega 3 for 2 offer! As I needed some other bits from the drugstore I popped in yesterday to fill up my basket! Keep reading for a drugstore haul and to see what made it home with me...

My Boots Haul
What did I Buy?

Real Techniques - Bold Metals Collection // 200 Oval Shadow Brush // £15.00
Love the look of these luxe new brushes from Real Techniques. I'm a huge fan of the original line (especially love the Buffing and Expert Face Brushes), so I'm curious to see what the brushes from this more professional and luxurious collection are like. I've heard good things about this blending brush from other beauty bloggers and YouTubers, so thought I'd give this one a whirl first!

Eco Tools - Complexion Collection // Skin Perfecting Brush // £7.99
This is a small buffing style brush, and is recommended for use with BB and CC creams. I saw Lily Pebbles and Fleur de Force recently apply base using small similar brushes in their videos, with beautiful results, so I thought I'd try this brush out, as it looks lovely and soft and would enable me to get into all the nooks and crannies of my face. It even looks like it could be good for buffing in concealer under the eyes.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water // Combination & Sensitive Skin // £3.33 (normally £4.99)
I already use and love the normal skin version (pink bottle) of this micellar water, and think it's a total dupe for Bioderma (and more readily available), so I thought I'd give this combination and sensitive skin version a go. It's great for removing all kinds of make up and gently cleansing your skin.

Collection // Eyes Uncovered // Nude Bronze Eye Palette // £3.99
I picked up the 'Nude Bronze' version of this little eye palette, it also comes in Nude Grey and Nude, and at £3.99 I think it's a right bargain! You get six shades in a handy, portable palette, and at first swatch, the colours seem extremely pigmented. Saw these being raved about by Amelia Liana, Fleur de Force and Essie Button, and fancied giving them a whirl myself! With the current Boots 3 for 2 promotion, you can buy two of the palettes and get the third free! #Bargain

Maybelline // Dream Flawless Nude Foundation // £8.99
I'd previously picked this foundation up in the shade 'Sun Beige', which ended up being too dark for me, so this time I picked up one shade lighter, 'Fawn', in the hope I can mix up the two shades to get a customised shade for my skin tone - fingers crossed! I like the pipette style applicator, and it seems like a nice lightweight, spring foundation too. One to report back on!

Maybelline // Forever Strong Super Stay // Gel Nail Colour // £4.49 each 
Another product that Amelia of Amelia Liana has been raving about, apparently as the name would suggest, it's a super long wear formula! I picked up two spring ready shades - Mint for Life - a zingy mint green and Rose Poudre - a gorgeous nudey pink. Gonna slick these onto toes and fingers respectively this weekend!

L'Oreal Paris // Color Riche Exclusive Nudes // Barely Greige by JLo // £6.99
I'm addicted to nude lipsticks! I just can't seem to resist them at the moment - they are the perfect your lips but better sumthin sumthin for anytime wear! I already have (and love) the shade 'Barely Golden' by Eva Longoria, which is a pinky nude, and I always hover over buying this shade by JLo, which is a more muted nude, so this time I went for it. I love the creamy, pigmented formulation! They do smell a bit like the Parma Violets sweets, but I don't mind that!

Burt's Bees // Hydrating Lip Balm With Pear and Coconut // Revitalising Lip Balm With Blueberry and Dark Chocolate // £3.69 each
You can never have too many lip balms (or maybe you can if you're an addict like me!). I love having a variety of scents and flavours to reach for, and really love these Burt's Bees' lip balms. I'm currently enjoying the nourishing Mango variety. I have previously used up the Pear and Coconut version (it's one of my faves) but I haven't tried the Blueberry and Dark Chocolate flavour - so I'm excited to try it! I love the texture and formulation of these - they're really moisturising without being greasy, and chap stick application means you don't have to stick your finger in a pot.

L'Oreal Paris // Lumi Magique Foundation // £10.99
Coming out of winter into Spring, I've still had quite dry skin, so I thought this hydrating, glow giving foundation might be just the ticket! It's meant to give a 'lit from within' type glow, so I'll let you know the verdict once I've tried it out!

La Roche-Posay // Toleriane Ultra Soothing Care for Face and Eyes // £12.75 (normally £17.00)
La Roche-Posay's Hydraphase UV Light is my usual and ideal moisturiser, but as I've just run out (and so had Boots!) I opted to try a different moisturiser from the range. I went for the Toleriane Ultra Soothing Care for Face and Eyes. I haven't tried it yet but it claims to be an ultra soothing fluid which combines La Roche-Posay thermal spring water with Neurosensine, a strong soothing agent that targets the signs of skin irritation. Looking forward to giving my dry, sensitive and thirsty skin a big old drink with this!

There we have it! Excited to try everything!

What have you bought from the drugstore recently?

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

DIY Five Second Personalisation | Anya Hindmarch x Chaos Fashion 'Sticker Shop'

I'm the biggest fan of monograms and personalisation. There's nothing chicer or more fun than personalising your items with your initials or motifs, to make them truly personal to you. Historically, monogramming was used to identify personal belongings or to sign your work, and I guess I love it for the same reasons, as well as the fact that it's a further creative expression of your personality.  Monogramming and personalisation also has strong connections with travel and exploration and I love to travel! The dream is a stack of personalised Louis Vuitton luggage - one day!

Louis Vuitton Monogrammed Luggage...The Dream!
It's relatively easy to personalise or emboss items such as handbags, wallets, passport covers, notebooks, phone cases and more these days. Companies such as Smythson, Aspinal of London, Louis Vuitton and Anya Hindmarch (and probably many more), all offer this service on their items.

Travel companion | Love my personalised Smythson travel wallet!
Embossing, monogramming and personalising can all sometimes take hours, days or weeks to complete, and when you want instant gratification, the waiting game isn't fun! That's why I love the Anya Hindmarch x Chaos Fashion view on personalisation, entitled simply 'Sticker Shop'.  Taking inspiration from Anya's own schoolgirl version of personalising via stickers, the two brands have collaborated to launch 'Sticker Shop', handcrafting a variety of stickers in leather, thus enabling you to 'sticker up' your bag, notebook, phone or anything with stickers. There's the full alphabet as well as fun expressions and callouts, all in bright coloured leather. I remember these launching just before Christmas and I remember making a mental note to look into them. I then promptly forgot until I spied them on The Frugality during fashion week, and Alex 'inspired' me to take the plunge! I chose to play it safe and go for my initials. The stickers arrived today, and I thought why wait! I took the understated route and stickered up my classic black leather tote bah from H&M. See the results below. I love it! As Alex advised me, 'Choose wisely and be brave!' as these stickers are designed to adhere permanently to wherever you choose to stick them! I love the fact that you can transform an old or forgotten piece into something truly personal in five secomds flat!

Anya Hindmarch x Chaos Fashion Sticker Shop Stickers, £35 each

Trying on the sickers for size on my black leather tote bag from H&M, similar here

The finished result - I love it!
Check out the Anya Hindmarch x Chaos Fashion Sticker Shop here. My design was inspired by The Frugality's designs below!

The Frugality's awesome Gap clutch

Love this!
What will you choose from the Sticker Shop?

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sunday Evening Pamper Time | Liquid Yoga Restorative Bath

Sunday night pamper time calls for a long candlelit soak in the bath... Don't mean to sound like an old lady but since having a baby I've had quite a few aches and pains, for which there is nothing more repairing and relaxing than to have a long soak. I've been looking for the appropriate bathing product for a long time and think I have found the one! Ladies and gentlemen...I give you Mio Liquid Yoga Restorative Bath Soak.

Liquid Yoga Restorative Bath Soak
I'd seen it mentioned in quite a few YouTube videos and on other blog posts before I got it, and was honestly quite skeptical about its healing powers, but from that first soak, I was converted!  It definitely does what it says on the tin. Not only does it make your entire bathroom feel like a steam room (and smell like one!), a little goes a long way. With a heady eucalyptus-y scent, it's a milky blend of essential oils, mineral salts and therapeutic herbs - which all magically combine to pack a serious bathing punch to ease aching bodies and tight muscles.  A good glug of this will help you to ease tension and unwind your mind, body and soul, for a better feeling you! Plus, the potent essential oils leave your skin feeling moisturised not dry and stripped of oils.  Every time I've had a soak with Liquid Yoga, I emerge feeling a thousand times better!

At £26 a bottle, its a little on the pricey side for something that will ultimately disappear down the plughole, however I've yet to find a cheaper dupe that does the job quite so well! (I'm testing out the Space NK version at the moment, so will let you know what the verdict is on that.) You can make each bottle last a while, as you don't need much to really feel its effects!

What are your favourite restorative bathing products for a Sunday evening pamper session?


Thursday, 19 February 2015

New In... My Shoedrobe | New Balance 410s

There was a time when I would only wear trainers to go to the gym, but for almost a year now trainers have really become the flat shoe of choice to either dress down outfits or simply for the comfort factor. Last year, the statement trainer trend (check out my post on the subject) elevated sneakers to high fashion status, and I was tempted in by a pair of burgundy New Balance 410s. The trend has become the norm now but it seems palette wise, trainers have moved on from last season's muted hues (white Adidas Stan Smiths; burgundy NB 410s) and taken a dive head first into bright colours and prints.

Case in point: my new NB 410s in black leopard, pink and green, with piped green laces (buy them here). I self gifted these bad boys to myself just before Christmas and broke them out in dreary January! They sound scary but they are actually pretty neutral with a pop of colour, and rather easy to wear, not to mention perfect for my current new mummy-on-the-go status!

Neon hues and eye-catching printed sneakers are also the order of the day in New Balance's current and very covetable collaboration with Kate Spade Saturday.

New Balance x Kate Spade Saturday Collection

Some of my favourite ways to wear bright hued statement trainers from Pinterest:

Are you rocking updated statement trainers?
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