Category Archives: Beauty

Hello, Sephora

Sephora Thanksgiving purchasesDoes anyone else remember when we had Sephora in the UK? It was a long time ago but I distinctly remember the black and white shopfronts and wondering why anyone would want to visit a shop that only sold make-up (I would have been around nine or ten at this time, so I was still more interested in my Sega Mega Drive than lip stains and mascara).

Anywho, fast-forward a few years and although Sephora now deliver select products to the UK, an IRL visit is strictly reserved for holidays to Europe or the States. I always hear such great things about the brands stocked at Sephora, and even more great things about their own make-up range, so when I knew we were moving to San Francisco I made a mental note to track down my nearest one as soon as possible.

Needless to say that when I spotted one last week I made a beeline for the doors and left a trail of dust in my wake. Full reviews to follow, but here’s what I treated myself to…

Tarte Sweet Dreams make-up setTarte Sweet Dreams Set

The impulse purchase of the bunch and one of Sephora’s $10 Black Friday offers, this set of miniatures includes Tarte’s Light, Camera, Lashes mascara, a LipSurgence lip gloss and their infamous Amazonian clay blush. The blush, which comes in the shade ‘magic’ swung it for me, as I’ve wanted to try this product for ages.

Sephora Cream Lip Stain 01 Always RedSephora Cream Lip Stain in 01 ‘Always Red’

A bold lip colour is my go-to make-up look (that’s about to become very apparent when you see the final item I bought) and this lip stain has been on my wishlist for yonks. Endorsements from the likes of of Carrie and Lily help, but it doesn’t take much to convince me when it comes to long-lasting vintage-esque reds. I’ve only worn this a couple of times since I purchased it but I’m already loving its staying power.

Sephora Favourites Give Me More Lip setSephora Give Me More Lip Ultimate Lip Sampler

I’d like to say this was a spur of the moment thing, but this purchase was premeditated, ever since I saw a review of it on my Bloglovin feed a few months ago. I managed to bag the last set in the shop and I can’t wait to get stuck in to trying out all these mini lip products from brands including Bite, Laura Mercier and Buxom.

As introductions go, I’m pretty happy with this first Sephora encounter! Have you tried any of these products before?

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Beauty Empties #2

Skincare beauty emptiesMoving to another another country certainly spurred me on to use up ALL THE THINGS, in the last couple of months – with so many clothes to pack I couldn’t afford to save space for products that were almost empty!

So here’s a rundown of some of my autumn/winter empties*…

Orange Flower Facial Oil by Neal’s Yard Remedies 

Facial oil is perfect for my dry, parched skin so I was eager to try this Orange Flower one from Neal’s Yard Remedies. It’s quite a thick product but sinks in easily, which makes it ideal for using before bed. Although I love the iconic blue bottle (which helps to protect Neal’s Yard Remedies products from sun exposure) I think I prefer my current day oil – Pai’s BioRegenerate Rosehip Oil – which feels a little more nourishing.

Let the Good Times Roll by Lush

I received this popcorn-based exfoliator at a Bristol blog meet and it smells absolutely delicious. It’s one of the first Lush products I tried and the sweet scent made it a dream to use of a morning in the shower.

VitaZing Energy-Boosting Moisturiser by Origins

This travel size moisturiser is a greyish white in the tube but when applied to the skin is ever-so-slightly tinted. This, combined with it having SPF15, made it perfect for days I wanted to add a little bit of life to dull skin. The good thing about this product, compared to other tinted moisturisers, is that it actually felt like it was quenching my skin, not just sitting on top of it.

Eight Hour Hand Cream by Elizabeth Arden

I know lots of people are on the fence about the original Eight Hour Cream but I love it, and I received this accompanying hand cream when I bought a gift set at the airport last year. It didn’t smell like the original balm (which is definitely a plus) and it was very rich, which had earned it a place on my bedside table.

Clean Energy Cleansing Oil by Origins

This nourishing cleansing oil lasted me just over a year as I only used it in the evenings. I wrote a full review here but in a nutshell, you work the oil into dry skin (it removes make-up, too) and when you rinse it off it turns to a milky consistency. My skin never felt  dry or tight after using this so once I’ve used up some of my cleansing balms I’ll definitely look to use an oil-based cleanser again.

Have you tried any of these products? What beauty bits and bobs have you been loving recently?

*the photo for which was taken on my phone, as my camera had already been packed away, so excuse the poor quality!

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Dry Skin Saviours for Winter

Dry skin products for winterIt’s no secret that dry skin and winter are not the best of friends. If you’ve read some of my previous beauty posts, you’ll know that I’ve been blessed with very dry skin all year-round, which is a pain in the neck, especially at this time of year when the cold weather makes it even worse.

Fortunately I have built up an arsenal of dry skin saviours over the years, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite products for those of you who are looking for a dose of hydration this winter.

The Shampoo: Roots by Lush

Newsflash! If you suffer from dry skin on your face, chances are your scalp can get a little dry too. I used to be very self-conscious about the dry skin around my hairline but this gloopy pot of joy (technically known as a scalp treatment) has turned my haircare routine on it’s head, no pun intended… I think it’s designed to boost fine hair but used once a fortnight in rotation with my normal shampoo, the combination of peppermint, nettle and honey leaves my hair squeaky clean, super-soft and free of pesky dryness.

The Cleanser: Melting Cleansing Balm c/o Merumaya

Using the wrong cleanser can dry out skin and leave it feeling tight and uncomfortable, regardless of your skin type. That’s why I prefer using cleansing oils and balms, like this one from Merumaya. I hate to state the obvious, but this balm really does do what it says on the tin, or in this case, tube. It melts into the skin and, combined with a trusty muslin cloth and some hot water, it feels luxurious and not at all drying.

The Mask: Drink Up Intensive overnight mask by Origins

The fruity smell of this face mask is almost reason enough to buy it, beyond how great it feels on the skin. Unlike regular face masks, this one is designed to stay on the skin overnight, making it incredibly rich. I’ve had a few Origins mini facials and this product always makes an appearance thanks to its thirst-quenching properties. It feels so nourishing and now I have my own tube, I like to use it once every couple of weeks.

The Moisturiser: Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil by Pai

Ok, so technically this is a face oil as opposed to a cream-based moisturiser, but us dry skinned folks need all the help we can get and an oil is a great alternative or addition to a moisturising routine. I purchased this particular product after spotting a review by Gh0stparties earlier this year and I’m so pleased I did as a couple of drops of this in the morning soothes and hydrates my skin.

The All-Rounder: Eight Hour Cream by Elizabeth Arden

A cult beauty product, this balm is fantastic for dry-skin niggles, from chapped lips to dry patches on elbows and hands. Yes, the smell and bright apricot colour are a little odd (as is the fact that this was originally designed for use on Elizabeth Arden’s thoroughbred horses) but the benefits far outweigh this. If you suffer from dry skin but also like to exercise outdoors in winter then a smidgen of balm on your cheeks and lips can also protect them from the elements – ideal if you’re like me and partake in an (occasional) early morning run.

What skincare products do you swear by at this time of year?

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Five Great Uses for Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm

NYR Limited Edition Wild Rose Beauty BalmA couple of weeks ago I popped along to a Neal’s Yard Remedies event in Bristol, to celebrate Organic Beauty Week. I’m a big NYR fan already so I was keen to hear more about their involvement with Organic Beauty Week and NYR Organic, the home-selling arm of the brand. Essentially a pamper party where you can enjoy testing out NYR’s products in your own home, for organic beauty fans this sounds like pretty much the perfect night in!

After the event we were very kindly given a 10th anniversary limited edition pot of the brand’s infamous Wild Rose Beauty Balm to take home. The balm is the brand’s number one selling product and it’s one I’ve been meaning to try for positively yonks.

The reason Wild Rose Beauty Balm appeals to me is that it is incredibly multipurpose. In the same way that coconut oil is getting a lot of press at the moment for its numerous beauty properties, this balm also acts as several beauty products in one beautifully designed pot.

NYR Organic Bristol event
Above: Roses and scented candles enhance the pampering atmosphere, Lily gets treated to a mini facial, lots of Neal’s Yard Remedies goodies

Here are my favourite uses for Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm…

A decadent moisturiser 

Ideal for dry-skinned girls like myself, a pea sized amount of balm makes for a rich moisturiser for the face, neck and décolletage. When rubbed between fingertips the balm changes from a solid to an almost oily consistency making it perfect for soothing dry skin.

A gentle exfoliator 

Each pot of balm comes with a muslin cloth, and when used together with a little warm water, the combination makes a great substitute for bead-based exfoliators, especially if you use the muslin cloth to massage the balm off in small, circular motions.

An overnight mask

A 20p piece size of balm massaged into the face and neck makes for a simple overnight face mask. The scent of roses and high volume of organic oils (including rosehip, geranium and patchouli) are very relaxing and I’ve found that I sleep better when I apply this mask an hour before bed.

An organic make-up remover

If I’ve worn a lot of eye make up I’ll take that off first using a micellar water, but the Wild Rose Beauty Balm makes a great alternative to harsh cleansers and make up removers, dissolving foundation and leaving skin feeling clean and soft – not stripped and dry.

A lip buffer

A teeny tiny amount of balm worked into the lips using a soft toothbrush makes for a lip scrub and lip balm in one. Do this once a week to keep lips soft and free of dry skin.

Have you tried Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Balm? If so, do you have any other uses for it?

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Beauty Bits: The Somerset Toiletry Co.

Somerset Toiletry CoIt’s always lovely discovering a local independent company, designer or shop, and it’s what makes living in Bristol so brilliant. In the West Country we have the quaint and quirky cafes and restaurants of Bath, the longest independent high street in the country in Bristol and in Somerset there is The Somerset Toiletry Co.

Established at the turn of the millennium, The Somerset Toiletry Co. have been turning out perfumes, potions and creams for the likes of Laura Ashley, Anthropologie and Zandra Rhodes for the last 15 years. As well as this, the company also produce their own products, with the aim of using the finest ingredients at a non-eye bulging cost to the consumer.

To celebrate the launch of their new website, the team kindly sent me some goodies to try and I’ve picked out a couple of my favourites to share with you.

Laura Ashley pepermint lip balmLaura Ashley Garden Peppermint Oil Lip Balm

Mint is a scent that I’m getting into more as I get older. I used to hate mint flavoured anything growing up, but I’ve recently been enjoying several minty beauty products, including this lip balm. I’m a sucker for pretty looking beauty products (who isn’t?) so this little pot will blend in nicely on my dressing table chest of drawers. A little goes a long way but the oils in this balm feel nourishing and refreshing.

Naturally European Verbena Hand Cream

I always seem to race through hand cream and keep one on my desk at work, in my handbag and on my beside table at home. This one is made in England and free from parabens which makes it a winner for me. The shea butter makes it feel rich and like it’s actually doing something (unlike the Soap & Glory Hand Food that’s currently sitting on my desk) and it soaks in like a dream – there’s nothing worse than a product that just sits on your skin, is there? The size of the tube is huge (£6.95 for 75ml) but this does mean that this cream isn’t travel-friendly so it’s going to brighten up my desk at work.

The Somerset Toiletry Company, Kins Lane, Clutton Hill Farm Estate, Clutton, BS39 5QQ.

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