Get Fit With American Apparel

Saturday, February 28, 2015
When we see spring and summer fast approaching, everyone seems to be on a exercise/health kick and I am just the same. The new year, new me quote might be cheesy but it is applicable to most of us at this time of the year. I have been slowing getting into excising again after stuffing my face and hibernating over the past couple of months. One motivating factor for me is new workout gear; I was kindly allowed to pick an item from the online store BuyTshirtsOnline and I thought that it would be a great oppertunity to pick a workout item. 

I chose the *American Apparel Sports Bra (£10.78, Nocturnal Black) in a size Medium. I haven't bought anything from this brand before so I didn't know which size to choose from but using the size guides online, I picked a Medium which actually fits me really well (for reference I am a UK 8-10 and a 34B generally). It is a tiny bit too big but on the whole it fits very well. I love the design, it is basic but comfortable and supportive to an extent; I would definitely say it is more of a light/medium workout bra - not for running or strenuous exercise!

The material is not fully stretchy, it is quite thick and durable. It is composed of mostly nylon as well as elastane. I've been wearing it with loose basic t-shirts from Primark and my H&M workout cropped leggings as well as Matalan joggers. I exercise at home (I would never go to a gym) and I mainly use my yoga dvd but I have been following the Gillian Michaels 30 day shred again which is one of the best workout dvds I have tried - I definitely see results! A new one that I am trying out is the Davina 7 Minute DVD which is pretty good so far. 

Overall, I am really happy with this sports bra, even though I wasn't sure of the sizing, I can definitely recommend this American Apparel sports bra. BuyT-shirtsOnline have amazing prices on American Apparel items. I have my eye on their raglan shirts, running shorts and tri-blend shirts, here is my mini wish list:

Have you bought clothing from American Apparel? Have you bought anything from Buy Tshirts Online?

The Moroccan Argan Oil Co

Friday, February 27, 2015
Since late last year I have been a little obsessed with hair, body and skin oils such as my Rodial stemcell facial oil and more recently the My Trusty Sunflower face and body oil; I find them to be so nourishing and hydrating, not only for my hair but my skin too. I was kindly sent a bottle of the *Moroccan Argan Oil Co Argan Oil (£13.99, 50ml). I will also be giving one away in my blogs 3rd birthday giveaway in May. 

The argan oil is cold pressed, 100% pure and it is sourced from south west Morocco where berber women extract the oil using centuries old traditions; also it is eco certified. The oil doesn't contain any fragrance or preservatives. Argan oil can be used in so many ways such as a face mask, hydrating facial moisturiser, serum, toner, hair oil, overnight hair treatment, shine product and nail oil. I have been using it mainly as a hair oil as well as an occasional facial oil. 

I love the packaging, the amber glass bottle keeps the oil fresh and it looks quite fancy! A dropper is used to dispense the oil which I love as it is less messy and it makes dispensing the desired amount so much easier. The oil is a light golden yellow colour and it does have a slightly unusual scent - it smells like rubber or plastic to me which I don't like at all but the scent dissipates when applied and massaged into the hair/skin. I have been experiencing so much dryness around my hair line and I have been using a few drops of this oil almost as a hair oil treatment to hydrate my scalp - it has been working so well! It does leave my hair smooth, shiny and hydrated although as with all hair oils, if you use too much it can look greasy. 

Overall, I have yet to use it as a face mask (mixed with honey and yoghurt) but as a hair, nail and facial oil it is great - apart from the scent. The oil doesn't irritate my skin, it leaves my skin and hair so moisturised and smooth. They also make this oil with a spray dispenser which I think is fantastic (here).

Have you tried this oil from The Moroccan Argan Oil Co? What are your favourite hair/body oils?

February Beauty Favourites 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Another month, another favourites post! This month I have discovered some amazing new products that I have kindly been sent, products I've bought myself and some re-discoveries. My February favourites are a mixture of makeup, tools, skincare, body care and deodorants. 

Makeup: First up, an unusual product, the Smashbox Primer Water which I have been testing for a few weeks. It is the only primer that has ever wowed me! It you have dry, combination or dull skin then you definitely need to give this primer/setting spray a try. Another makeup favourite is my new Kiko Cosmetics Clic Eyeshadow Palette which I made myself and the palette and shadows were all on sale! Kiko eyeshadows are so pigmented, smooth and easy to blend with minimal fall down. I will have a full review of the palette on my blog soon. My final makeup favourite is a re-discovery, the Loreal Brow Artist Pencil which I already have in a lighter/warmer shade but I received the Dark Brunette shade in February's My Little Box and I LOVE it. 

Beauty tools: Now onto beauty tools, two of which are from one of my favourite brow brands, Tweezerman. The Tweezerman Eyelash Curlers are in my opinion, so much better than the Shu Uemura ones that I have. The Tweezerman Curler fits my eye shape so well, reaching all of the lashes from the inner to the outer corner easily without pinching the skin - amazing! I've also been loving the Tweezerman Tweezers which I've been a fan of for years, they are just so effective. The last beauty tool favourite is the Crown Brushes SS021 which is perfect for blending eyeshadow or concealer - I just wish the numbers were printed into the handles!

Body + Skincare: I have two body care product favourites this month, the first is a re-discovery, the Thea Super Nourish Body Butter which is so moisturising but it doesn't irritate my skin at all and it absorbs very quickly - I definitely want to try more of their body products. The second body product is rather expensive, it is the La Vanilla Vanilla Lemon Deodorant which is £10...yes, and I have bought another since! They are all natural, they smell incredible and they don't contain aluminium which is the main reason I wanted to switch to natural deodorants. As they are an American product they are expensive and until now they haven't been available at all in the UK - they are sold on Net-A-Porter. 

Onto skincare, a new product I have been testing out is the Antipodes Hosanna Serum which I have completely fallen in love with; it is so hydrating and plumping! Full review, here. My penultimate favourite is the Elemental Herbology Cell Plumping Hydrator SPF8 which I have had in my skincare drawer for a while but I have only just started using it - it leaves my skin hydrated and so glowing! Last but not least a new mask, the Aromatherapy Associates Hydrating Rose Face Mask which is only a magazine sample but I have managed to get five full uses out of it. It is so hydrating, my skin drinks this mask up so quickly and it doesn't irritate my skin. 

I also have a couple of honourable mentions such as the Yes! Nurse Hand Cream which I am still loving along with the FAME Vanilla and Coffee scrub - I'm using it so much, it is wearing down quite quickly. There are all of my favourites and honourable mentions for February!

What have been your favourite beauty products for February?

My Blogging Experience: Brands/PRs

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Todays post is a another in the 'My Blogging Experience' mini series that I started last month with my 'blogging pet peeves' post (here). As my blog is coming up to it's 3rd birthday (which is in May and I will have a rather exciting international giveaway to celebrate) I thought I would create a few blog posts to share my experience of blogging over the years including what I have learnt, my experience of working with brands/PRs, blog photography and more. 

This post is all about my personal experience and approach to working with brands and PR companies. When I started my blog, I didn't think that I would really work with brands as it was just a creative hobby for me rather than blogging for money or samples and it still isn't. I started my blog mainly as I always bought quite a lot of makeup and I wanted to share my views and I already wrote on two review websites (Dooyoo and Ciao) so my own website was a natural progression for me. It wasn't until almost one year after creating my blog that I was approached by a brand to work with them. The brand was The Skin Regime and I was so excited when I received Dana's email, especially as it is an American company. I remember feeling quite overwhelmed when I received my first product to review as I didn't want to disappoint the sender as they had sent me a product from America and I wanted my blog post to be amazing. Although I feel obliged to be up front and true to my readers and followers, even though I only had 30 or so at the time but every reader should be provided with the necessary information if they want to purchase as well as an honest review of the product. 

Since then I have been very lucky to work with some of my favourite brands that I bought from before I even started my blog such as Debenhams, Yves Rocher, Burts Bees and more; as well as being introduced to brands I never would have tried which is one of my favourite things about working with brands/PRs. The college above shows some of my favourite products that I have received for review recently, one of which I never thought I would own - the Silkn Glide HPL System.

Working with brands/PRs is a controversial topic in the blogging community but my personal view bloggers working with brands/PR companies that is the norm however honesty and transparency are so important. I also think that bloggers approaching brands/PR companies themselves is perfectly acceptable and I do it myself on occasion, it is just the way in which you approach the individual on the other end of the email which is what makes it controversial, in my opinion. For example, when I approach a brand I email something along the lines of: 'Hi, I'm emailing to ask if you work with bloggers' etc so they can say if they do or don't. What I do have an issue with is that some bloggers may think that brands owe them products to review because they are a blogger and have X number of followers. No brand/PR owes any blogger anything and what may need to be taken into consideration is that PRs are real people and they are just doing their job. I have been fortunate enough to have positive experiences with all brands/PRs, some of which are so lovely, especially the team at Media Hubb, Media Works and Total Media who work within digital marketing and media buying as well as blogger outreach - I would love to work in PR/digital marketing! 

On the other hand, I do receive emails from PRs that basically ask me to publish a post about a certain product, campaign or app/website with no benefit to myself or my blog - that's not ok. I didn't work hard for almost three years on my blog to provide brands with free targeted advertising, in my opinion. If I did publish their posts I would feel as though I am providing my readers with information they don't necessarily want and I would be lowering the value of my own blog; I wouldn't want to that as bloggers do work so hard. Some of my family and friends have described my blog and their experience of starting a blog as a 'part time job' and a 'mini business' and I think that sometimes bloggers are undervalued although with the rise of 'big' bloggers in the mainstream media, it is becoming much more valued and important as a new media outlet for consumers, brands and PRs. 

I have put so much time and effort into my blog and one of the perks is working with some fantastic or not so fantastic brands but it shouldn't be the reason anyone starts a blog, you have to have a interest and passion for your chosen topics. I love blogging and after almost three years I cannot imagine stopping! There are controversial topics within blogging, as there are with everything, which can take some of the enjoyment out of it but if you are thinking of starting a blog I would suggest you do it. It is one of my best decisions I have made, not only because of the lovely perks such as events, samples to review and meeting new people but on the whole it is a fantastic, supportive community that I love being part of.

Just a little note, there was a #lbloggers chat last week I think about sponsorship and disclaimers which I was too late to join but I read through some of the chat (definitely look out for the blogger chats on twitter) and I wanted to be completely transparent regarding sponsored posts. For example, this post is sponsored and I personally have no problem with bloggers accepting sponsored post opportunities as long as they are honest, labelled as sponsored and are relevant or helpful to readers and followers which I hope this post is.

*this is a sponsored post*

If you are a blogger, what are your opinions on working with brands/PRs? Also what are your thoughts on sponsored posts? 

Antipodes Hosanna Intensive Serum

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I have wanted to try Antipodes skincare for so long and I finally have my hands on one of their products! I chose this serum as I do have dry/dehydrated skin especially at this time of the year so I couldn't wait to start using this serum however as stated on the box, I did a patch test to check that it didn't irritate my skin. 

The *Antipodes Hosanna H20 Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum (£28.99, 30ml) which is a Harpers Bazaar Beauty Award Winner and it contains so many natural ingredients that are also 100% organic. Some of the ingredients are as follows: Mamaku Black Fern, Lavender, Grapeseed Extract and more! Also Antipodes products are scientifically proven to stimulate collagen in the skin cells by up to 72% which is fantastic for skin plumping and anti-aging as far as I am aware. 

Since the path test didn't irritate my skin, I carried on using it daily. I love the packaging, it looks so luxe and it comes with a pipette which I love as I can control the amount of product I use very easily. The serum is a reddish cloudy colour - to me it looks like strawberry yoghurt! The serum is to be used after cleansing and before your moisturiser, I have been using it instead of my facial oils. It absorbs really quickly, even while I am massaging it into the skin so it feels like it is actually doing something to deeply hydrate my skin rather than just sitting on top of the skin. 

I have been using this serum every evening and sometimes in the morning for about two weeks now and I love this serum! From the first use, I liked it but I wasn't sure if it was as good as it claims but I was wrong. My dry/dehydrated, sensitive skin has NEVER looked and felt as smooth as it has since using this product (I have also been drinking herbal tea and oil pulling which has been helping too) and I cannot get enough of this serum. It deeply hydrates my skin, almost completely banishing dry, flaky patches while also thoroughly smoothing and plumping my skin! 

Overall, I am so impressed with this product and even though it is expensive, I will be buying another bottle when this one runs out. I love it more than my beloved facial oils! I would definitely recommend this serum. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. This product was supplied by the Nutrition Centre.

Here are the Antipodes products on my wish list ft. the Gentle Rich Toner, Vanilla Pod Day Cream, Skin Brightening Finishing Powder and the Grace Gentle Cream Cleanser. 

Have you tried this product or anything from Antipodes? 

E45 Overnight Hand Cream + Lotion

Monday, February 23, 2015
I hosted a giveaway featuring E45 back in January and it went down so well, from the comments most people have tried and love E45 products. I have tried it years and years ago but I was excited to try their products again along with one of their newer releases. 

The product I was most excited to try is the *E45 Repair & Protect Overnight Hand Cream (£3.99, 50ml) which as a sufferer of eczema and very dry hands this product sounds like a dream to me! I started using it during the day and it works so well at reducing the appearance and feel of dryness as well as the tight feeling associated with dryness and eczema. The cream doesn't irritate the eczema I have on my hand and it absorbs fairly quickly. Since finding a faster absorbing hand cream for daytime use, I have been using this product solely overnight with cotton gloves which leaves my hands so smooth and moisturised; it reduces the look of eczema on my hand too. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. 

Next up is one of their original products, the *E45 Moisturising Lotion (£4.70, 200ml). I haven't tried this product before and from the claims it sounds like it is great for dry, sensitive skin types which apart from my face and hands I don't really have. However, it is a lightweight but moisturising lotion that doesn't leave any residue and it absorbs relatively quickly. I would personally want to use a body butter rather than a lotion but if you don't like heavy body butters or if you do have sensitive skin then this would be a fantastic product to try. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5. 

Overall, E45 is such a fantastic, back to basics brand that is perfect for those with dry, sensitive skin, including skin conditions such as eczema. Both products are effective and lovely to use although the overnight hand cream is the one that will be on my shopping list when it runs out! 

Have you tried either of these products or any from E45?


Sunday, February 22, 2015
All images in this post are from Google, Daily Directory and Pinterest
Illamasqua Brow Gel (£18.50)  |  No7 Pop & Glow Duo (Launching 18th March)  |  Balance Active Formula Skin Brightening Cream Wash (Launch 2nd March, £3.99)  |  Weleda Evening Primrose Range (Launching this month)  |  Sewlomax Camouflage Neon Bag (£12.50)  |  Zoeva Rose Gold Vol. 2 Collection (launching tomorrow, 23rd Feb) |  Laura Mercier Spring Collection (Available now)  |  Diptyque Florabellio (Launching in May)  |  The Library of Fragrance Mountain Air Cologne (£15)  | O'Right Recycled Coffee Range (From £17.25) |  Ciate Fragranced Nail Polish Remover Pot (£6)  |  MAC Cosmetics Cinderella Collection (Launching at the beginning of March)

Deborah Lippmann Whisper Collection (£16 each) |  Lush Mothers Day Range (From £2.95)  |  MAC  Giambattista Valli's Collection (Launching summer 2015)  |  REN Moroccan Rose Gold Glow Perfect Dry Oil (Launching in April)  |  Burberry SS15 Nail Polishes (£15)  |  Nars Dual Intensity Blushes (Launching in April)  |  Bobbi Brown Hot Collection (Available now)  |  Too Faced Soul mates Blush Bronzer Duo (£28)  |  Bare Minerals Modern Pop Collection (Available now)  |  Clinique Sculpting Cheek Contouring Palette (£28)  |  RMK Bradley Theodore Street Essence Collection (Launching in March)

The Burberry, Bare Minerals, RMK and the Mac Cinderella collection are the products I'm most excited about! Also the new Bobbi Brown Hot Collection looks amazing; there are so many gorgeous products launching soon. I'm currently testing the new Library of Fragrance Mountain Air Cologne and so far I love it - it's so fresh and clean. 

Which collections/products are you most excited about? 

FAME Vanilla + Coffee Sugar Scrub

Saturday, February 21, 2015
If you are a blogger, you definitely need to sign up to The Blogger Programme! It is an outreach site, were you can apply to campaigns, contact brands directly and generally look at blogger opportunities; you have to be very patient though as there are so many bloggers and the brands can't reply to everyone. One brand that I discovered via The Blogger Programme is For All My Eternity which is a fake tan, skincare and body care brand that uses natural, organic, paraben free ingredients for all of their products. 

I was kindly given the opportunity to pick and test one of their products. I chose the *For All My Eternity Vanilla & Coffee Bean Sugar Scrub (£5.99, 100g) which was packaged so beautifully when it arrived. It contains lots of natural ingredients such as fair-trade cane sugar, arabica coffee beans and cocoa seed butter. When I first opened it, I thought I was sent the wrong product as it looks like a Lush massage bar or a lotion bar but when I used it in the shower, it is composed of little sugar grains. The product gives a fantastic, deep scrub to the skin which I always feel like my skin needs every couple of weeks. It is abrasive and effective but it isn't extremely harsh. However, if you have sensitive skin then it will definitely be too abrasive and exfoliating. 

The product smells amazing, it doesn't smell like coffee as I thought it would (unless you smell the actual coffee beans on the top of the scrub) but it smells like vanilla, milk chocolate, sugar and cocoa - basically together it smells like a milkybar! The scrub leaves my skin so exfoliated and smooth as well as moisturised to an extent. I have been loving using this product! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Have you tried anything from For All My Eternity? Have you tried a sugar scrub? 

Silkn Glide HPL System: Initial Impressions

Silkn Glide HPL System: Initial Impressions

Friday, February 20, 2015
I'm talking about hair removal today, so the squeamish may not want to read ahead! I have shaved my legs/underarms since I was about 12 even though I was told not to by my mum who said it would grow back darker and thicker (she was kind of right!) but I could not bear to wear a skirt during PE/gym with hairy legs (TMI, sorry) especially as we usually saw the boys having their PE session at the same time - embarrassed looks all around on PE days! 

I always get red bumps, itchiness and redness after shaving, no matter what razor or shaving oil/cream I use or how careful I am. I've come to the conclusion that my skin/hair just hates shaving so I did venture into the scary world of waxing a couple of times, with strips and a microwavable tub of wax that should come with a warning label for waxing wimps like me. You never see any woman panicking or in pain in adverts for these waxing products *highly unrealistic exceptions will lead to sweating, pain and disappointment in the end*. Although I wax my eyebrows with no problem what so ever! With shaving causing so much irritation and waxing a definite no-no, I was so excited when the *Silkn Glide HPL (Home Pulsed Light) permanent hair removal system (£160) landed on my doorstep. 

I have tried a system slightly similar to this although it was very rudimentary compared to this device. I tried the Rio Salon Laser Hair Removal (here) at the age of about 17 I think which was quite young to be using laser hair removal but I have always hated shaving and hairiness; also I think it was reduced to just less than £50 in Boots at the time! The device, from what I can remember, was very scary and it only worked on one/two hairs at a time so to treat my legs it would have taken years! I remember burning a few hairs causing a sharp sting and a lovely burnt hair smell which put me off using it again. It's safe to say I wouldn't recommend this one!

However the Silkn Glide HPL System is far safer, the HPL system works by pulsing a very strong beam of light onto the skin/hair and the light causes intense heat in the hair follicle (not on the skin) which leads to damage of the hair follicles so no hair will be able to grow from that follicle again. As hair grows in cycles, it can takes weeks to see effects although from what I have read people have noticed results in 3/4 weeks. The Silkn Glide website has all of the information you need to know about the system and exactly what happens, there is a great video explaining the process, here

I have to admit, I was scared to start using it especially from my previous experience with a relatively similar device. I kept it in my 'to review' drawer for a week before plucking up the courage to use it - anyone would have thought I was preparing to go through some kind of tramumatic event! I read the instructions about eight times and it seemed relatively simple. As I have very fair skin with dark hair, I'm the best combination for this product to work - it doesn't work on very dark skin. 

The instructions state that a test patch should be carried out to make sure the skin/hair doesn't react badly to the light and heat so I did the test which again I was a bit scared about and it took a few seconds of talking myself around until I pressed the 'trigger' and it really doesn't help that the button to start the light is called the 'trigger'. The device makes a whirring noise when switched on which wasn't as scary or loud as I thought it would be. I started with the first energy level, pressed the device onto the skin and pulled the trigger (it makes it sound so dramatic) and I did experience a slight warming sensation in some areas, not all though so I carried on and worked up to level 3 on my test areas. After one hour there was only very mild discomfort which was probably only because of shaving the day before not the device.

A few hours later I did the full treatment on the lower half of my legs although I had to avoid some areas as they were irritated and itchy from shaving and I didn't want to potentially make it worse. I used the 'pulsing' method where you press the device onto the skin, press the trigger button then move onto the next area which was a quick and easy process although in some areas I experienced a slight warm sensation on my skin which lasted for a couple of seconds but it wasn't painful. For a couple of areas on the sides of my legs the device would work/pulse which I think is because I didn't have it pressed fully onto the skin; also it was my first time using the product so I still have to figure out the best way to hold/use it.

Overall, it wasn't nearly as frightening as I thought it would be, I am going to use it once every week for a month or so and hopefully I will notice some positive effects. I'm excited to use it again (and still a little scared) but I'm interested to see how it works on other areas too. If it does work it will be amazing as I wouldn't have to shave again which would be a dream come true for me *no exaggeration* as hair removal is not only painful and uncomfortable but fairly pricy too - I don't want to think about the amount of money I have spend on razors, shaving products and wax that has been thrown in the bin over the years. 

Have you tried this system? If so what did you think of it? 


Yves Rocher Mothers Day Gift Guide + Offers

Thursday, February 19, 2015
Mothers day in the UK is just around the corner and there is nothing nicer than receiving lovely beauty products, in my opinion, although I'm a bit biased being a beauty blogger! My mum loves to received fragrance, body care and makeup as gifts as I do so here is my mothers day gift guide for all things luxe and lovely from Yves Rocher. 

Yves Rocher Repairing Hair Oil (£12.40, 150ml)  |  Yves Rocher So Elixir EDT (£14, 30ml - sale)  |  Yves Rocher Quelques Notes d'Amour Fragrance Gift Set (£29.90 - sale)  |  Yves Rocher Grand Rouge Lipstick (£6.50 - sale)  |  Yves Rocher Nourishing Argan Balm (£24, 150ml)  |  Yves Rocher Comme Une Evidence EDP (£17, 50ml, sale)

Myself and my mum would be so happy to receive any of these gifts and I can definitely recommend Yves Rocher fragrances; I featured two Yves Rocher fragrance in my recent 'current favourite fragrances' post (here). They also have fantastic gift sets so you are sure to find something for yourself and your mum. 

Yves Rocher have an exclusive offer for my readers and subscribers! If you make an order online, you will receive the first item you add to your basket for FREE when you spend over £15! The offer is only valid for four days, from 18th February at midnight to the 23rd February so you have time to get your mothers day gifts and a treat for yourself!

Will you be taking advantage of this offer? Have you tried any products from Yves Rocher? 

My Current Favourite Fragrances

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Perfumes are one of my favourite beauty products to buy and to receive as gifts as well; I think everyone loves to received perfume! I do have quite a large perfume collection although considering my fragrance wish list, my collection could be so much larger! Today's post is all about my three favourite fragrances of the past month or two. 

I have two fragrances from Yves Rocher; Yves Rocher was one of my favourite brands of 2014! I have loved their products, especially fragrance since before I started my blog and now I am so happy to work with them on occasion. First up, the *Yves Rocher Comme Une Evidence L'extract De Parfum (£25.50, sale, RRP £51). Until now, I didn't have a perfume in my collection with a bulb spray on it; I think it makes the bottle look so much more expensive and luxe. The bottle is just gorgeous and I think it would make such a lovely gift, especially for mothers day which is coming up next month. The perfume itself is musky but feminine and very sophisticated. I wouldn't recommend it for teenagers but I think the 25-45 age range would be perfect for this perfume; although my sister has been trying to steal it from me and she's 19 so it all depends on personal preference. 

The second fragrance from Yves Rocher is aimed at a younger audience, it is the *Yves Rocher FlowerParty By Night (£19.25 for 50ml sale, RRP £38.50) which is far less musky and evening appropriate. I love this fragrance as a daytime, casual perfume as it so easy to wear. It smells quite sugary sweet but in a good way rather than cloying or really overpowering. The longevity of both fragrances is about 6 hours on me however this will different on everyone. 

The last winter fragrance favourite is the *Library Of Fragrance Lavender Cologne (£15) which I have mentioned on my blog a couple of times already as I love it so much! I adore anything lavender scented and this is no exception; I have even been using it as a linen spray as the scent of lavender is so relaxing to me. The longevity isn't great at about 3 hours on me so I wish they would make a eau de parfum version of this cologne. It is also lovely mixed with the other fragrances they have, for example, the lavender and dark chocolate fragrances worn together is an unexpected but gorgeous pairing. Click here to check out my full review of The Library Of Fragrance Colognes that I own. 

Overall, I think the Yves Rocher fragrances are just gorgeous and Yves Rocher always seems to have a sale on. Their fragrances are lovely and traditional in terms of the notes and packaging in my opinion. Whereas The Library Of Fragrances colognes are so unique! I would highly recommend all three, I have been wearing them constantly and they would also make great birthday/mothers day gifts too.

Have you tried any of these fragrances? What have been your go to fragrances this winter? 

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Today I have a very exciting product talk about, it is the new *Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water (£20, 116ml) which I have to say sounds a little unusual and gimmicky but from the first use it's the only primer that has ever wowed me! The product claims to prime, restore the skins moisture and provide radiance. It is alcohol free, oil free and silicone free which is fantastic as most primers contain a tonne of silicone in them which I personally don't like as it makes my skin feel greasy and can clog pores.

Firstly, I love the packaging and the spray is relatively fine and even. The primer can be used before makeup and after makeup application as a setting spray so it acts as a protective long lasting barrier. When used before makeup I spray it onto my skin, then lightly pat it in and it doesn't feel heavy or greasy at all on me. Using it before and after applying my makeup, I find it leaves my skin looking so glowing, fresh and youthful which is perfect for this time of the year as my skin can look quite dull and dehydrated but with the Smashbox primer water, my skin looks like I've been drinking two litres of water and getting a full eight hours sleep - which I very rarely do!

When used as a setting spray it does keep my makeup in place and looking just as it did when I applied it up to ten hours previously, which I have to say as someone who doesn't love primers, it is very impressive. Also if I have used a little too much powder or my makeup looks a bit heavy, this primer/setting spray instantly reduces the powdery/heavy look. I haven't experienced any irritation from my eczema when I used this primer/setting spray and it doesn't break me out or clog my pores which is always a plus. There is a little tip on the packaging which suggests to keep this product in the fridge for a ultra-cool mist and I will definitely be using as such during the summer.

Overall, I cannot recommend this multi-tasker enough, especially if you have dry, dull skin that needs some moisture and radiance though  the miserable english winter or if you want a travel friendly three in one product to keep your makeup in place all day! I will definitely be picking up another bottle when this one runs out as it is the only primer that has ever wowed me and I have tried quite a few! Overall rating: ★, 5/5. 

Have you tried this primer? If so what do you think of it?

Cohorted Beauty Box: Feb 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015
Cohorted is a website whereby new products are featured every week and the more people who want the products, the better the discount. They have just launched their new website which is more of an online store, so you can buy a whole range of items from brands such as Dior, Mac and Chanel as well as drugstore brands like Rimmel, Sleek and many more! I love the new website design, the new products and I love the whole idea. So when they announced that they were releasing a beauty box, myself and the beauty community collectively squealed with exciting at the prospect and we didn't have to wait long for the release date. 

However, Cohorted made the rather ridiculous decision of launching the new weekly cohorts, a new website and the highly anticipated beauty box all on the same day...yeah, they really didn't think that through as it caused so much frustration, annoyance and stress all around! With so many people trying to get onto the website to buy the beauty box, it was incredibly slow and the Cohorted's twitter filled with complaints and people venting their frustration about the website. I managed to buy one of the boxes after more than half an hour of refreshing (no exaggeration). The next day, a website released an image of the products inside the box which really ruined the surprise! 

The Cohorted February Beauty Box (£22.49 including tax and shipping) was delivered a few days ago and I have to say, I'm disappointed. Firstly, the price of the box is a lot more than every other beauty box I know of so I was expecting an amazing box especially as only 100 were created. Also five of the boxes were supposed to contain the amazing Hourglass Ambient Lightning Palette - sadly my box didn't include it *cries forever*. The box contained: 

- Dolce & Gabbana Clarifying Lotion (RRP £20, 150ml) which looks so beautiful but as I have sensitive skin I will not be using this as I do not trust fashion brands to make skincare! I will be giving it to my mum as an extra mothers day gift. I don't know why beauty box brands always include so much skincare as in my opinion skincare is so personal, you cannot include one/two products that will work for everyone. Beauty box manufacturers, please stop putting so much skincare in your boxes! 

- Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara Mini (RRP £8, 3ml), now I am happy to receive this mascara as I love to try any new mascaras but it isn't waterproof so I can only wear it on certain days but it looks good so far. 

- Benefit Ultra Plush Lipgloss Bella Bamba (£14.50, 15ml): The inclusion of a Benefit product is great as it is a brand that most people will know. The packaging and product look great but I don't really wear gloss and the shade isn't personally to my taste. I haven't used this product so I will be giving it away on my blog or twitter sometime this year. 

- Korres Quercetin & Oak Eye Primer (£10, 4ml) as I have fairly deep set eyes, everything creases on me so I am always looking for new eye primers and this is the one product I am actually excited about receiving. It is tinted which isn't great as it looks so dark/orange for my pale skin but I am exciting to try it out. 

- Korres Milk Proteins Foaming Cleanser (£15, 50ml), yet another skincare product which as I mentioned...well ranted about, I don't like the inclusion of facial skincare in beauty boxes. The product sounds nice but I probably won't use it. 

Overall, I love the way the box was presented but the box itself seems to be falling apart already. The primer sounds great and I think my mum will be excited to find a little gift from Dolce & Gabbana with her mothers day presents (I really hope it doesn't irritate her skin). On the whole I am disappointed and I think the way the launch of the website and box was handled was quite poor. So many people couldn't access the website and order the box but in all honesty I wish I hadn't been 'lucky' enough to order one. Overall rating: ★★☆☆☆, 2/5. However, I think some people would be fairly happy with this box, it's just personal preference and high expectations.

Don't let my review of this months box put you off the actual Cohorted website as the online store and the weekly cohorts are fantastic. The pre-orders for the march box have already sold out and I think the website will probably crash again with everyone trying to buy the march box when it is released. Sadly I will not be buying another beauty box from Cohorted again. 

Did you manage to buy one, if so what did you think of it? Do you buy from Cohorted?

Redken Color Extend Deep Attraction Mask

Sunday, February 15, 2015
When it comes to haircare, I do love a good drugstore bargain (Loreal have fantastic products, as does John Frieda) but I do like a few high end products in my haircare collection from brands such as Bumble & Bumble, Kerastase and Redken. 

When I treat my hair with a high end, luxe product then it is usually going to be a conditioner, treatment or mask and that is what I'm reviewing today. I have the *Redken Color Extend Magnetics Deep Attraction Color Captivating Treatment (£13.20 on sale, RRP £22, 250ml) which has the longest product name in the history of haircare!

This is the first Redken mask I have tried so I didn't know what to expect but I have loved all of the Redken products I have tried, from shampoo, conditioner and their styling products. The packaging is simple and girly but I would have preferred a pump dispenser or tube as I don't like getting the mask under my nails and if you do use it in the shower/bath then after could get in. The mask has a gorgeous scent, it smells fresh and clean, like a expensive salon. 

The mask is smooth and quick and easy to apply; I always apply hair masks/treatments to my hair when it is dry rather than damp or wet as I find it makes the treatment work so much more effectively and I can leave it on for longer. I keep masks on my hair for at least one hour before washing out which is what I did with this mask and it did leave my hair smooth and manageable; however I don't notice any effects in terms of the colour of my hair with regards to the longevity of my colour or enhancing my colour but it is supposed to be used with the shampoo as a system but I don't have the shampoo. 

Overall, it is a nice mask and it does leave my hair smooth, tamed and manageable but it doesn't really affect my hair colour as far as I can tell but I should be using it with the shampoo and I've only been using it for a couple of weeks. I do love Redken haircare so this slightly disappointing product hasn't put me off trying more products from this brand. 

Have you tried any products from Redken? Have you tried this mask? 

International Valentines Day Giveaway

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The lovely Valerie from the blog Scribbles Of Valerie has kindly provided a wonderful prize for my valentines day giveaway! You can win one of her gorgeous pre-made blogger templates from her Etsy store Dainty Moonbeam (here). There are 17 to choose from and I have the Gold Rush template on my new vegetarian food blog and I LOVE it, you can see it in action, here

This giveaway is open worldwide and you can choose any one of her blogger templates! I personally love the Gold Rush, Glisten and Emma blogger templates which are just beautiful and so professional looking! The Gold Rush template that I have was very easy to install and edit, so if you are looking for a gorgeous new blog design/makeover then fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter: 

Happy Valentines Day & Good Luck!

Osmo Deep Moisturising Haircare

Friday, February 13, 2015
I love to try new haircare, especially brands I haven't really used before and I feel as though my hair/scalp gets used to certain products so I do like to switch up my routine every so often. I was kindly sent a few products from Osmo to try; I have tried this mask before and I tried the Osmo BerBer Oil which I love. 

First up, the *Osmo Deep Moisturising Shampoo (£7.10, 350ml) which was picked for my hair type and I have to say, I love the packaging. The dispenser is a nozzle with a flip cap so water doesn't get in and its quick/easy to use. The product contains ylang ylang and patchouli oil so it smells gorgeous, in my opinion. The shampoo lathers well and it cleanses my hair without stripping it or drying it out which is definitely a plus for my hair as it is dry and needs all of the moisture it can get! It also helps to initially detangle, moisturise and smooth my hair. Overall, its very good shampoo but its not in my top five. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5. 

The *Osmo Deep Moisturising Conditioner (£7.10, 350ml) which has the same lovely, musky scent as the other products in the range. The conditioner is really hydrating and smoothing as well as detangling and it helps to reduce frizz. It's a fantastic product however I do prefer the Moroccan Oil Extra Volume Conditioner but this one is far cheaper. Overall rating: ★, 5/5. 

Last but not least, the *Osmo Intensive Deep Mask (£2.80, 100ml) which I have tried years ago and I hated the scent back then but my scent tastes have definitely changed and I do like it more now, however it is a little different to the other products. The mask itself works so well and for the price it is great! Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5. 

Overall, the products are great, in my opinion and I love the packaging, scent and the price is very reasonable. I have rated the products highly as they are great and I cannot really fault them too much but they just don't wow me. I do however love the Omso BerBer oil and I would recommend it if you don't like hair oils as its quite different. 

Have you tried this range or any products from Osmo?

What is a TeaTox + Does it work?

Thursday, February 12, 2015
I was contacted a few weeks ago about taking part in a teatox, firstly, I don't like tea...I know I'm English so I should love it but I don't. The only tea-like drink that I love are the Teapigs matcha green tea drinks; the Elderflower flavour is amazing. Secondly, I was more than a little sceptical about the effectiveness of drinking herbal tea and loosing weight. That being said, I have finished my two week teatox and I'm kind of loving herbal tea!

A teatox is a detoxifying, cleansing process involving herbal teas, most of which have a mild laxative effective; the daytime tea of mine doesn't but the evening one does state that is is a mild laxative. Herbal teas, especially green tea and white tea, are very good for skin health and they are just generally very good for you. Some help with soothing the stomach and they can provide a good source of vitamins and minerals. 

There are so many brands which make a version of a 'teatox' but I have the *Slimming Solutions Teatox (RRP £29.99, now £19.99) which contains a pack of daytime tea and an evening blend; as you can see it is not loose leaf and each teabag is individually packaged. There are 14 teabags of the daytime blend and 7 of the evening blend because with the evening blend you don't have one every evening but every other. 

The first day I tried both blends, the daytime blend was fairly nice although not something I thought I would love to drink everyday; it is herbal and floral in my opinion. The daytime blend contains ingredients such as Chinese Oolong Tea, Lemongrass, Nettle Leaves and Dandelion Leaf. Both blends are natural and sugar free with no artificial additives. 

The evening blend was a little stronger and I really didn't like the scent or flavour the first couple of times I tried it; also the first two/three times I tried it, it made my stomach feel a little bit odd - not ill or uncomfortable and I didn't experience any laxative like effects but I think my stomach just wasn't used to the tea/ingredients.

I have now finished both packets of tea and I did notice a reduction in bloating and I do feel as though I have more energy even though I have had a cold for the past couple of weeks while I have been using the teas. The main effect that the teatox has had is on my thoughts about herbal tea, I now love it, so much so that I've made an order on Teapigs and spent about £25 on tea which I never thought I would do! 

Overall, after my experience with this teatox I do like the idea and I have noticed a couple of positive effects; also I now adore herbal tea which is great as it has so many health benefits; however I'm not thoroughly convinced that I would do one again but it was interesting to try and I would recommend this teatox but don't expect miracles!

Have you tried a teatox? Do you like herbal teas, if so what are your favourite flavours? 

Also do your research before taking any kind of supplement etc 

Yes! Nurse Partnership with Breast Cancer Care

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
I am a massive fan of hand cream and I have a fairly large stash of hand creams from numerous brands such as L'Occitane, The Body Shop and one of my current favourites is the My Trusty Sunflower Lavender Hand Cream. I recently received another lovely hand cream although this one is a little bit special. 

I have the *Yes! Nurse Hand Cream + Super Sleeve (£8.49, 50ml) which is not only an award winning hand cream but Yes! Nurse has partnered with Breast Cancer Care to raise money for women in need of essential care and support. The special heart sleeve is handmade in the UK and aims to raise awareness of breast cancer care and encourage everyone to donate to such an important cause. It is a very special cause for me particularly as a few of my family members and family friends have suffered with breast cancer. A guaranteed 50p of each sale goes to Breast Cancer Care!

The hand cream itself is just fantastic, it doesn't irritate my eczema at all and it absorbs so quickly (it's one of the fastest absorbing hand creams I have tried) and it is very deeply moisturising too. I also love the packaging and the super cute sleeve is a nice touch. The hand cream is not tested on animals, it contains a lot of natural ingredients such as active manuka honey and omega 3, 6 and 9; and it makes my hands feel so nourished, moisturised and so soft. 

Overall, I not only love the brands partnership with Breast Cancer Care and their cruelty free stance but the product itself is truly fantastic and I cannot recommend it enough. It ticks every box for a very nourishing but very fast absorbing hand cream that doesn't irritate my skin - that's no easy task. I also think it would make a lovely valentines gift as well as proving a much needed donation to a deserving, important charity. I definitely have my eye on the large 300ml bottle!

Have you tried this hand cream?