Category Archives: Beauty

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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Beauty Empties #1

Beauty empties postIt’s rare for me to completely use up beauty products so I’m not sure why I numbered this post, but I seem to have finished using several products at once, so I figured an ‘empties post’ was in order.

I enjoy reading about what my favourite bloggers have used up because it feels like a strong endorsement to say that you’ve used up every last drop of a product. That’s definitely the case with the items on this list, two of which have already been repurchased.

Lip Butter in Candy Apple by Revlon

So good that I’ve already bought another one, this lip product was a surprise hit with me. I let my feelings about the packaging get in the way of trying this for such a long time, despite Lip Butters being such big news in the beauty blogging world when they first came out. I used this till it was impossible to apply from the bullet anymore, and I love the sheer wash of colour it offers. Check out my full review of it here.

Roots hair treatment by Lush

Would you believe I only tried Lush products for the first time this year? I was introduced to the brand at a Bristol blog meet in January and not long afterwards I picked up Roots. I have incredibly dry skin which includes my scalp, and normal shampoos often have ingredients that aggravate my scalp and hairline, so I wanted to try something soothing and cleansing. This mask has three different types of mint in it and, for want of a better word, is very zingy when applied to my scalp, but it cleans my hair like a dream. It’s seriously amazing and I’m already on to my second tub…

Beauty empties summer 2014They’re Real mascara by Benefit

Given that you’re supposed to use up mascaras within six months, I think I must have had this one for at least a year. I first picked a tube up in London not long after its launch and although I was previously a BadGal fan, this quickly became my new favourite. I think it’s down the shape of the brush and the way it applied, though it’s not as lengthening as the Rimmel one I’m currently using.

GinZing eye cream by Origins

I got this pot of eye cream for free last year when I bought a couple of Origins products. It came in a little travel set and while I was too forgetful to apply it religiously day and night, the slight shimmer to it did brighten my eyes and take the heat off my increasingly prominent dark circles. I picked up a pot of Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado at the airport on the way to Uganda, so I’ll have to see how the two compare.

Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Day Cream by Dr Organic

I received this moisturiser in a goodie bag last year but only started using it a few months ago. I think I waited because I was unfamiliar with Dr Organic, but I was pleasantly surprised as it didn’t upset my ordinarily temperamental (dry and sensitive) skin. Given I only used it in the mornings, I’m surprised at how quickly I raced through it – I can make a moisturiser last a looong time. While I didn’t notice any of the firming and toning claims, I did like that the ingredients were all natural and organic, including plenty of oils such as lemon peel, macadamia seed and rosewood.

Have you tried any of these products before?

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Fool-proof Festival Hair Ideas

Festival hairstyle tutorialWhat to do with your mane at a festival seems to be an age-old dilemma that rolls around every summer. For me, french plaits used to the the way forward – I used to sleep in them and everything – but after several years of attending festivals my style has evolved somewhat.

If you’re heading to a festival this summer, here are four easy ways to wear your hair that will hide grease and look stylish at the same time…

Festival hair essentials:

Hair grips
Hairbands (plural – bring one and you’ll inevitably loose it in your tent or lend it to another festival goer)
Dry shampoo
Square headscarf
Exciting headpiece

Festival hair tutorial floral crownDay One: The floral crown

Wash your hair (and enjoy that final shower for a few days) the morning you set off, and blow-dry in your usual style. Make the most of it while it’s clean by wearing it loose with a floral crown or headpiece. Want to make your own? Check out my floral crown DIY here.

Festival hair idea side ponytailDay Two: The side pony

Your hair has survived its first day of festival fun-times and one night of sleeping on a makeshift travel pillow, so now is the time to sweep it into a side ponytail. Spritz your roots with some dry shampoo, massage in and brush out, bringing your hair to one side and fastening with a hairband. Use a couple of hair grips to keep hair in place.

Festival hair tutorial heidi braidsDay Three: The Heidi braids

My favourite festival style – this one is practical and pretty in equal measure. The plaits will disguise greasy roots and this style also keeps hair off your neck, which is ideal in hot weather or sweaty dance tents. Part your hair down the middle, plait each side and wrap across the crown of your head, using hair grips to pin in place.

It doesn’t matter if the plaits are a little messy – this just adds to the carefree look. If the sun is shining while you’re wearing this style, don’t forget to apply sun protection along your parting – sunburn is the last thing you want while sleeping in a ridiculously hot tent for four days!

Festival hair idea vintage headscarfDay Four: The vintage headscarf

I tend to wear headscarfs in this style when my hair just doesn’t want to behave, or when I really should have washed it the night before but got distracted watching Game of Thrones… Chances are your hair will be in a similar state by day four, so consider a square vintage headscarf your new best friend. Unless you have a fringe, you won’t even need dry shampoo.

Simply brush your hair into a low ponytail, double back on itself and secure against the back of your head with hair grips before adding the scarf. Fold it into a triangle with the longest edge at the base of your neck and tie at the top of your head, tucking the fabric under the knot so your whole head is covered.

What’s your festival hairstyle of choice?

Check out my festival beauty essentials post for a list of practical essentials to get you through Glastonbury/Bestival/Download.

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Tory Burch Beauty: Eau de Parfum and Lip & Cheek Tint

Tory Burch Beauty collectionWhen I think of Tory Burch, I think of leather handbags, Gossip Girl, pretty pumps and that instantly recognisable gold ‘T’ logo. At the end of last year Tory added another string to her bow with the Tory Burch Beauty collection, and recently I was lucky enough to sample some of the range.

Tory Burch Eau de ParfumTory Burch Eau de Parfum

Tory was apparently inspired by childhood memories of the perfume bottles and atomisers on her mother’s dressing table, and that comes across in the opulent packaging and rather 70s orange and gold colour palette that feeds through the rest of the collection.

Much fresher and lighter than the packaging would have you believe, the scent is citrusy with hints of jasmine and sandalwood. There is very little in the way of sweet or heavy floral notes, a good thing in my book, resulting in an almost androgynous scent, which really appeals to me. The only downside is that the staying power isn’t particularly lengthy, but I prefer to spritz a mist of perfume and walk through it (does anyone else do that?), rather than apply it directly to my skin, which is probably why it didn’t last all day on me.

Tory Burch Beauty capsule collectionTory Burch Lip & Cheek Tint in Cat’s Meow

Tory has kept her accompanying make-up line very small, with just one lipstick, cheek compact and make-up brush, and this Lip & Cheek Tint in Cat’s Meow. This little gold pot is my favourite of the collection and a thing of sheer (excuse the pun) beauty.

I almost sprung for the Josie Moran Coconut Watercolour Cheek Geelee in Sephora when we visited San Francisco a couple of months ago, and I suspect that this product is very similar. The capsule collection comes with the tagline ‘natural, polished, super chic’ and this tint embodies that to a Tory-shaped ‘T’. It smells liked powdered sugar and offers a rosy, dewy finish on the cheeks, or a sheer, glossy finish on the lips. I don’t really wear that much of a base so I don’t know how this would perform on top of foundation, but it’s perfect for giving a slight flush when you only have five minutes to get ready in the morning.

Tory Burch Lip and Cheek TintAt £27.50 this tint doesn’t come cheap, but it is dual-purpose and worth it for how pretty it makes even the, eh-hm, messiest of dressing tables look. It’s currently out of stock on the Tory Burch website but is available from Harrods, which you can find here.

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