Philosophy Skincare

Saturday, April 29, 2017
I am a bit of a skincare hoarder, it doesn't help that I have dry and sensitive skin which means that I am always looking for new products to help alleviate dryness and that are gentle enough for my sensitive eczema prone skin. Thankfully my eczema is currently almost non-existent which means I can try new skincare which for a skincare nerd like me is very exciting!

Philosophy has been one of those brands that has been on my list of brands to try for so long but the only product I've bought were their mini shower gels that they bring out for christmas. I've wanted to try more products from them since and I was lucky enough to be sent four of their beautifully designed skincare products.

*Purity 3 in 1 Cleanser For Face & Eyes (£29.50, 480ml)
This is the product that I've heard the most about, even back in the early days of blogging (almost five years ago now!) I was always hearing so many amazing things about Philosophy skincare - everyone loved it! The cleanser is gigantic but it does come in a range of sizes so you don't have to buy a massive bottle.

It is formulated for all skin types, it works as an eye makeup remover, cleanser and toner all in one as well as claiming to deep clean pores and hydrate as it melts away makeup, those are some impressive claims! Now, onto my one negative about this product and that is the scent, to me it smells like a liquid medicine I had a couple of times as a child which I hated so that wasn't a good start when I first used this product; however it's all positive from here.

The cleanser is has the consistency of a thick, creamy lotion, it feels so gentle on the skin and I did use it over my eyes even though I do have sensitive skin around my eyes and it didn't irritate (although I think if I had a full on eczema flareup going on then it might have). It claims to be an eye makeup remover so I tested on my waterproof mascara, which is very difficult to remove and it usually takes about five cotton pads to remove it and even then there will be some mascara on my lashes that refuses to budge. So you'll imagine my surprise that when I gently massaged the cleanser over closed eyes, my mascara was complete removed from my lashes! I've never used a cleanser, eye makeup remover or micellar water that can remove my stubborn waterproof mascara as effectively and as quickly as this one does!

I find that it removes my makeup so well, even long wearing products and it leaves my skin so squeaky clean, smooth and ready for my serum. I'm genuinely so impressed by this cleanser, it's a phenomenal makeup remover; however if you do get it in your eyes, oh boy! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.
*Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar Dry Moisturizer (£35.50, 60ml)
If there's one thing that my skin needs all of the time, that is moisture, my skin is so dry all of the time and it needs all of the help it can get so moisturising products are always on my list of skincare to try. This moisturiser is one that I have heard a lot about, it is beautifully packaged and presented which is one of the superficial things about the product but to be honest, I always look out for pretty packaging.

The moisturiser is perfect for the spring and upcoming summer months as it's moisturising but it absorbs quickly and feels so lightweight on the skin which is exactly what I need at this time of the year. The moisturiser leaves my skin feeling incredibly smooth, soft and as moisturised as it needs to be. Also it contains SPF25 which is great as we are getting some sun in England, well when I say 'some sun' I mean about two days of sun, let's not get carried away. As with the cleanser, I think that if I had a bad eczema flareup, I think these products might not be fully suitable but in the meantime I'm loving them. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.
*Philosophy Take A Deep Breath Eye Cream (£24, 15ml)
I have tried so many inexpensive eye creams and samples of higher end creams but I never find them that impressive, worth the money or to be honest any different to using my regular face cream around my eyes but this one is actually really nice! It contains a blend of peptides, barley leaf extracts and active caffeine.

The eye cream is lightweight on the skin but moisturising enough for me and my annoyingly dry skin so it creates a fantastic canvas for my concealer and foundation which is something I always struggle with as concealers tend to look dry on my skin but this eye cream has been helping. The only thing I'd change would be to add a metal rollerball applicator to the tube as it would make the cream even more refreshing. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.
*Philosophy Miracle Worker Anti-Ageing Moisturiser (£13, 15ml)
One thing I really like about Philosophy skincare is that they have smaller sizes of so many products which is amazing for people like me who don't want to pay for the full price in case the product irritates the skin. This moisturiser is aimed for individuals who are older than I am, although I'm turning 25 this year so in my mind, I'm ready for my pensioner bus pass.

I haven't used this cream as much as the other products but the packaging is fantastic and the cream feels so refreshing and smoothing on the skin which is probably down to the almost gel like consistency of the moisturiser. I've only used it a couple of times but it does leave my skin very smooth and well moisturised. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.
Overall, for my first experience of Philosophy skincare, I'm impressed with the quality, packaging and products in general. I especially love the cleanser as I've never had a cleanser remove my makeup, including very stubborn waterproof mascara, as easily, quickly or as effectively as this cleanser removes my makeup. I'd definitely recommend these products if you have normal or dry skin but if you have very, very sensitive skin then it might not be for you; however I'm loving the products so far!

What do you think of these products? Have you tried anything from Philosophy? 

Relaxation Essentials: Bloomtown Botanicals

Friday, April 28, 2017
Relaxation Essentials: Bloomtown Botanicals - ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk
If you have been reading my blog even just for a few months then you'll know that I adore pampering, especially if beautiful products and lavender are involved so when these incredibly lovely products from Bloomtown Botanicals arrived, I was very excited to give them a go.

Bloomtown Botanicals is a wonderfully natural and ethical brand that creates beautiful pampering products from soaps, scrubs, bath salts and oils to gifts, skincare and candles. All of the products are made in Cornwall, they are free from any parabens, sulphates, fragrance, colours or animal products and they contain lovely natural ingredients such as Vitamin E, sweet almond oil, chamomile, mango butter and coconut extract.
Relaxation Essentials: Bloomtown Botanicals - ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk
*Bloomtown Botanicals Pink Himalayan Salt Soak - The Meadow (£10, 285g)
I was lucky enough to be able to choose a couple of products from Boomtown Botanicals to try out and obviously I chose a range that contains lavender because I'm clearly obsessed with lavender anything! The packaging for all three products I received is stunningly beautiful, minimal and perfect to give as a gift...or to treat yourself!

The bath soak contains lavender, rose geranium and chamomile as well as mineral rich Himalayan salt. Since receiving this product, I have been taking it out of my 'products to review' drawer and just leaving it open on my desk so I can smell it constantly as it has such a calming, relaxing scent that I want around me all of the time. It has a sweet, floral and earthy scent that instantly makes me feel calmer and more content.

I haven't used bath salts for years, I'm more used to exciting, glittery bath bombs! To use, you just sprinkle however much you want in your bath and swirl the water to dissolve the salt. There isn't the excitement that you get with bath bombs but the bath salts smell lovely although I wish the scent was much stronger as I love it so much!
Relaxation Essentials: Bloomtown Botanicals - ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk
*Bloomtown Botanicals Shea & Coconut Soap - The Meadow
I noticed a little square of adorable soap in my package which is perfect for me as I have eczema on my hands and most liquid soaps can irritate my skin but this one doesn't! I definitely prefer to use natural soaps, especially when they work well and smell as subtly glorious as this one does! If you have dry, sensitive hands *that sounds weird, but you know what I mean!* then you definitely need to check out this soap.
Relaxation Essentials: Bloomtown Botanicals - ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk
*Bloomtown Botanicals Sweet Almond & Shea Sugar Scrub - The Meadow (£5.60, 68g)
Again, another product that smells divine - this range is just perfect for me! When it comes to body exfoliators, I adore sugar scrubs (the solid sugar scrubs from Lush are fantastic) and I knew I'd love this one too. It contains fine British sugar to gently exfoliate as well as lavender, rose geranium and chamomile - all of the good ingredients.

Most of the sugar scrubs I've already tried have been in a solid form or at least very dry but this one is quite a wet grainy mixture that is very thick. I love this body scrub, it's everything that I look for as it's natural, the packaging is gorgeous, it smells lovely and it's very exfoliating without being too harsh - yes, yes, yes! I couldn't recommend these products enough; overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

I was given a discount code to share that means you can get 20% off using the code: HEATHER20

What do you think of these products? What are your favourite relaxing, pampering products? 

Top Sites For Free Makeup Samples

Thursday, April 27, 2017
Image from This Is Glamorous via Pinterest

Who doesn't like free stuff? If you want to try new beauty products as soon as they come out, but you can't spend a fortune on such things, you've come to the right place. We've compiled this guide for you, so that you can get free samples of skincare products, fragrance and makeup.

Sephora 

When you place an order on Sephora's website, you are allowed to add up to three free samples to your cart. There are lots of brands to choose from, so you'd be able to try makeup and skincare  from companies like Clinique and Urban Decay. If you are in the UK, there will be some samples that won't be able to be shipped as I found out when I made an order a Sephora order couple of years ago due to restrictions.

 L'Occitane 

L'Occitane offers you the opportunity of adding two free samples with every order you place on their website. I've made a few orders from their website and I've always googled for a code before I order as they have amazing free gifts with purchases over a certain amount so you can get a lot of free extras when you order directly from their website.

Benefit 

We like Benefit's creative packaging and their addictive makeup formulas. Your online orders will bring you the chance to try a few new products for free. Also if you sign up to their newsletter you can sometimes receive discount codes or codes for free extra samples.

Smashbox 

Checking out at Smashbox will bring you two free samples. We've had the pleasure to test the Photo Finish Foundation Primer, which is a must-have! You could also choose a free mini mascara sample which is always a great mini to have, especially for travelling.

Laura Mercier 

When you shop online, Laura Mercier enables you to choose two free make-up samples with every order. You can also purchase brands including Laura Mercier from Space NK and they have free sample options at the checkout too.

Bobbi Brown 

Shopping online at Bobbi Brown brings you one free sample. Use this opportunity to try out the Extra Eye Repair Cream, as it's pretty awesome.

Chanel 

Free Chanel is something we do like to see. When shopping online, you get two free samples such as fragrance items, skincare and makeup. Also if you go to a Chanel counter you can ask for samples of foundations and you may receive some with your purchase too.

Lacoste 

Lacoste sends out free samples without asking you to make a purchase. All you need to tell them is your name, birthday, gender and email address, and you'll be able to give a try to products such as Eau de Lacoste.

Garnier 

Garnier's free newsletter will let you know about their special promotions, which is great to start with. Even better, signing up qualifies you for free haircare and skincare samples. Additionally, you can purchase Garnier products from Feelunique and they offer free samples on orders over £30.

Have you received any free makeup samples from these brands/websites? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Image from Pinterest 

National Stationery Week + Giveaway

Thursday, April 27, 2017
It's National Stationery Week! I have loved stationery since I was a child in the 90's playing with the my spirograph, blow pens...and scented gel pens. Now I'm much more into minimalistic stationery and I use notebooks and to do lists religiously to keep track of the orders/deliveries I have arriving, for blog ideas and what I need to do.

*Phoenix Trading Jotter Pad - Sausage Dog (£2.75)
The main stationery items I use are pens, notepads and to do lists; I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have list pads everywhere reminding me of the tasks I need to do. I write my to do list every couple of days and it usually includes the blog posts that need to write, what products I need to photograph, household tasks and books reviews I need to write. I'd definitely be lost without them and a new cute list pad or jotter is always needed.
*Phoenix Trading Address Book & Notebook (£10)
I use notebooks constantly to write down blog ideas as I tend to need to write them down everywhere I go *also why I do always think of ideas when I'm trying to sleep?*. I love this set, especially the cute polkadot print and the size of the notebook is perfect for keeping in my bag. I don't tend to use an address book, I think it's a little dated now but it would make a nice set for stationery lovers.
*Phoenix Trading Notecards (£4.50)
I don't use notecards or postcards that much but I definitely need to start as it's always lovely to receive a handwritten note or postcard! I received two lovely sets of notecards along with envelopes; one in a cute wellington boot design and the other has a typewriter design on the front which is definitely my favourite out of the two.
*Phoenix Trading Bookmark (60p)
As you will know if you scroll through my blog, I've been a bit obsessed with reading last year and this year after not reading much at all since secondary school. While I mainly read e-book from Netgalley, I do have a rather large book collection which means I always need bookmarks. I'm one of those people who will use any scrap of paper as a bookmark but it's nice to have a cute bookmark and this one definitely is!

I love the cute print and text that says 'relax with a good book and a nice cup of tea' which I really want to do right now but I have posts to write, photos to edit and the builders are here making so much noise...relaxing isn't on the agenda just yet.

Now onto the exciting bit of the post! I'm hosting a giveaway with Phoenix Trading where you will be able to win all of the items I've show in this post so you will receive the notebook and address book set, bookmark, notecard sets and the cute sausage dog jotter. All you need to do is look out for my tweet, follow myself (@ofbeautyand) and Phoenix Trading on Twitter and RT the giveaway tweet. It's UK only and the winner will be announced on Monday 1st May!

Will you be entering my giveaway? What do you think of this cute stationery? 

What Would You Buy If You Won The Lottery?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Image from Meandering Macaron's Instagram via Pinterest
I think we all dream of winning the lottery or if we suddenly just came into lots of money as money may not buy happiness but it sure would solve a lot of problems! I don't take part in the lottery as I'm always asked for my ID so I've just given up now but I used take part in the Euromillions as did my parents for years; there are other lottery options too such as the Irish Lottery and the Powerball. However I'm one of those people that only purchases one ticket and then I'm disappointed that I didn't win...as I'd have already mentally spent my millions.

That brings me to the question what would you do/buy if you won the lottery? I'm not talking about the occasional £10 note you win but millions and millions. There are always dream ideas such as travelling around the world (which I'd love to do), buying a mansion or home abroad and maybe buying a supercar but mine are a little more practical (boooooo!).

A London Apartment 
As a blogger, I get an email every week or so about a blogger or press event in London and each email is like a stab to the heart of a northern blogger as train tickets are so expensive and I can't get to London that easily; also the events are usually in a week or so which isn't enough time to plan a trip to the capital. There also seem to be so many more internships and freelance options in London so I'd love to move from rainy Manchester to our beautiful capital city!
Image from Candy Pop Style's blog via Pinterest
Vintage Fiat 500
Don't get me wrong, I love our little Renault Clio, it's the car I first started learning to drive in last year and I love it so much...but I really want a vintage Fiat 500 as they are incredibly adorable but with classic cars, I think it will need not just a fair amount of money to purchase but also if something goes wrong with it. An adorable pink one would be perfect or a mint green Fiat 500.
Image from Hearth and Made via Pinterest
Have My Own Business 
Now, this is a bit more of a dream option rather than being practical - I would love to own my own little vegetarian/vegan bakery or cafe, I think that would be amazing! If that didn't work out then I'd also be more than happy with my own pinterest worthy homeware boutique in London obviously with flowers all over the walls or is that too much of a blogger cliche?

What would you do/buy if you won the lottery? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Photos from Pinterest

Nail Polish Minimalism + Current Favourite Shades

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Ever since I was a child, I've always been a little bit obsessed with nail polish! I used to get my mum to buy all of the Sabrina The Teenage Witch magazines as they came with free makeup each month and I had the lot! I also used to raid my aunties and mum's makeup stash to play with makeup and look at the pretty nail polish. However, now I'm sticking to a more minimal, paired down makeup and beauty collection, I'm more selective about the products I own and want to use.

One of the main points that has helped me slim down my beauty collection as a whole, is to really look at the products, shades and finishes I was actually using and loving and getting rid of the shades and products that I wasn't. For example, I had so many hot pink and blue polishes that I used to love but now, they're not for me and I tend to stick to neutrals, nudes, greys and occasionally glittery shades and pinks.
I was very kindly sent two gorgeous shades that are so perfect for my capsule nail polish collection! They are the *Leighton Denny High Performance Nail Colour Polishes (£12, 12ml) which claim an advanced wear time and a glossy finish chip resistant finish, all without those nasty ingredients that are sometimes found in nail polishes such as formaldehyde.

First up, the *Leighton Denny High Performance Nail Colour in Zero Gravity which is a gorgeous cool grey shade that would be perfect as an everyday shade. I adore grey nails all year round, to me they just look so chic, polished and gorgeously understated. The swatch of the shades above are all just one thick coat so you can see how pigmented it is although I always use two coats for the maximum pigmentation. The formula is really smooth and easy to apply and although it can look a little patchy when it's applied, it evens out as it dries to give a consistently even finish.

Now onto the fun polish, the *Leighton Denny High Performance Nail Colour in Twinkle Twinkle which is such a cute name! I love the look of glitter polishes, growing up they were the only shades I wanted to wear but now, they aren't usually worth the hassle of removal. However, I do like to apply a coat of glitter to an accent nail sometimes and this one is so pretty. The various sizes of glitter combined with the iridescent shine, makes it looks almost galaxy like on the nails. Glitter is never going to be as easy as regular nail polish to apply but it looks so damn pretty! Although, having a browse on the Leighton Denny website, I've noticed that they make an easy peel base coat than can be used with glitter so I'll have to look into it as that would solve my glitter polish problems!

Overall, both shades are just perfect for my capsule nail polish collection and I know I'll get so much use out of them, especially the Zero Gravity shade. The formula is smooth and easy to apply, it dries fairly quickly and while the longevity isn't incredible, it lasts for about four days on me (with a base and top coat) before it starts to chipping. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

What do you think of these shades? Have you tried any Leighton Denny polishes?