Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Country Candle Company | Wild Honeysuckle and Jasmine



With autumn on it's way and cosy evenings ahead, I'm building up my candle arsenal already. There's something about a gorgeous smelling candle that really helps me relax. This year I'm going to try out some new scents and candles rather than stay in my Fig and Mimosa comfort zone.
 
I'm currently burning this really cute Wild Honeysuckle & Jasmine* candle from the Country Candle Company. It's from their Polka Dot collection, and, as the name suggests, it comes in a polka dot tin that's really pretty. There's lots of other fragrances and different coloured tins in the range that would look so lovely dotted (sorry!), around the house. The Country Candle Company are proud of their English roots and hand-blend and pour their candles in their own factory in Wiltshire, so you know they're made with love and not mass produced.
 
I love the smell of this candle, its a beautiful heady, floral fragrance that is somewhat addictive due to the Jasmine notes. It's quite a warm smell as well and it creates such a cosy atmosphere to the room. At £8.50 a candle, this doesn't break the bank and provides around 30 hours burn time. It burns nice and evenly which is what you want in a good candle, and the fragrance really fills the room without being overbearing. I love tin candles as when you're not using them they still look really nice and they don't collect dust which then smells horrid when you burn the candle.
 
They also sell alphabet votive candles and I'm thinking that they would look so good at our wedding reception in October, spelling out our names, and maybe the date. What do you think?
 
Laura
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Friday, 29 August 2014

Don't put the SPF away just yet


So this week the coat and scarf came out and as much as I am looking forward to autumn as I discussed recently, I won't be parting with SPF anytime yet.We all know to wear SPF in the sun, but it's not just for summer.
 
I've never been the best at protecting my skin, but hid behind 'pale girl problems' as I'm not a sun-seeker and burn quite easily so have always kept in the shade. However, since hitting the big 3-0 last year I should try and act like a grown up and protect my skin more. I also introduced AHA's to my routine which I wrote about in this feature, so I've been making sure that if my base doesn't contain SPF that I put some on just in case. 
 
I've been wearing lighter coverage bases for most of the last couple of months and here's a few that I reach for almost daily and rely on to keep those harmful rays at bay.
 
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser, AKA the mac-daddy of tinted moisturiser, has to get a mention. I tend to reach for this when I have a few flaws that need hiding but don't want full on foundation. I can normally get away with this without concealer as well. Not only does it make your skin look flawless without feeling like it's there, it offers SPF 30/PA++, which is the highest that I think I've ever seen in a makeup product. What more can you ask for?
 
For a little less coverage I veer towards the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. Giving out a nice dose of dewy goodness, this little beauty contains SPF 15. I find this sinks so well into my skin and it feels incredibly light and not really there. I never thought that this would suit my skin as I always opted for heavier coverage, but now I much prefer a light-medium coverage foundation with concealer where I need it.
 
The newest base launch from Chanel is the Les Beige All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid which also offers SPF 15. This is the lightest coverage of them all, reserved for the best skin days or if I want I really light dewy glow. It contains a hyaluronic acid derivative to help keep things moisturised and gives such a beautiful soft focus appearance to the skin. I've also got the powder from the same range which adds to the coverage if you need a little bit more.
 
If all else fails and either I can't be bothered with base or if my skin needs extra coverage I've been using the Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defence SPF 50 PA+++. This offers super levels of protection and isn't thick or tacky. It sinks straight in and doesn't leave a white cast on the skin. If I wear foundation over the top it glides on and I don't need a primer. Sorted.
 
I'm going to try my hardest to keep up the good work and protect my skin from now on. Do you wear SPF all year round or is it just a summer fling?
 
Laura
 
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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Oils I couldn't be without


Oils are such an integral part of my skincare routine now, I honestly don't know what I'd do without them. So much so that I hardly ever use a night cream these days. For so long I applied so many layers of serums, oils, treatments, you name it, that nothing really worked as my skin was so swamped in product!
 
Now I've found a routine that really works for me and I've scaled it right back to basics and my skin is a lot happier. Now I'm not layering it all up so much, the products I have on rotation can sink in and do their thing.
 
My go-to-fixer that I use probably 4-5 nights a week is the Pai Rosehip Bio-Regenerate Oil. I wrote about this in-depth back in June but it never fails to amaze. It sinks straight in and has rescued my skin so many times. I'm almost out of it now but applied on a regular basis I've seen my blemish scars heal significantly. This is my holy grail oil if there's such a thing.
 
A recent-ish discovery of mine is the more budget friendly Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil which is also much easier to get your hands on. This serum-oil hybrid is designed to be 8 hours beauty sleep for your skin and I can't argue with that. It's more watery than the Pai offering but sinks straight into my skin, leaving it really soft and plump come morning. On the odd night that I do reach for a moisturiser, I go for the cream from this range which is lovely and hydrating too.
 
When I'm feeling indulgent and want a really lovely pamper I use the Elemis Cellular Recovery Bliss Capsules. The capsules contain Moringa oil which helps renew the elasticity of the skin, whilst anti-oxidants remove pollution from the cells and help combat ageing. These are quite pricey at £63 for a month's worth. Pictured here is a limited edition supersize tubs from QVC (thank god for Easy Pay!). You're supposed to massage in a pink rose capsule after cleansing in the morning, and a relaxing green lavender capsule come evening as a course for either a week up to a month. I tend to do a couple of weeks at a time like this but as I said earlier I use them when I'm having a good pamper session on a Sunday as well. There's something so addictive about these, especially the evening capsules. They smell amazing and you're supposed to inhale the aroma as you massage them in to unwind. True bliss!
 
On that pampering theme, lastly I always have a couple of bottles of the Elemis Frangipani Monoi Oil to hand. This is actually hard in the bottle and you pop the bottle in warm water to melt it before applying it to the skin. I tend to put the bottle in the bath as I'm getting out and once I'm dry its warm and melted. I also use this as a hair treatment. If I'm just around the house on a Sunday I'll often massage it into my hair and pop it in a bun for a couple of hours. It smells wonderful, a truly dreamy product, and one of my favourite smells of all time. Frangipani is quite a marmite scent I think. I don't normally like sweet smells but this is utterly divine. Elemis have a full Frangipani body range so if you like that kind of thing I highly recommend it!

Do you have a favourite oil you can't be without?

Laura
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Saturday, 23 August 2014

To the moon and back | Bloody Mary Metal Jewellery

I have such a thing for pretty jewellery at the moment. And moons it would seem. So when I saw that Bloody Mary Metal were launching a new collection called Luna Tribe, I had to make a cheeky purchase or two.

Bloody Mary Metal is a Cornish-based company that makes beautiful and original jewellery in a range of metals, but Silver will forever be my favourite. Luna Tribe is their fifth collection, and was inspired by the history of Cornwall, tarot and the trinkets sought by pirates around its coast. I love how dreamy the stories behind their collections are. The brand was created by the lovely Lucy Wilson, who has recently set up their first shop in Cornwall. I'd love to go there and look at all the jewels, shame its so far away!

I recently had my ears pierced so I've been waiting for them to heal so I can get something pretty put in them and when I saw theses Moon earrings I had to have them. It might sound odd that I've just had them done now but its actually the second time as I had my ears stretched for years. When I got bored of them I had them reconstructed and them re-pierced when they were healed. Bit gruesome sounding but its not as bad as it sounds...promise.

Anyone who knows me will know my love of rings, and my collection does consist of mainly BBM, but I didn't have any thumb rings.  So it goes without saying that I couldn't leave this Moon Wrap ring behind. I love the wrap design. Its really strong so no need to worry about it warping or anything as you wear it. I've had these both on ever since they came in the post.

I get lots of compliments on by BMM rings so maybe I should do a full post on them all? If you'd like to see this let me know :)

Laura
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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Reasons to look forward to autumn


The weather in the UK has been pretty weird recently with warm sunny days splattered with out of the blue heavy showers and then back to glorious sun again. Whilst most are starting to mourn the summer as it comes to an end, I'm actually quite looking forward to autumn for the following reasons:
Knitwear
I love layering up with jumpers in autumn. They go with everything, from leggings to jeans and on top of pretty dresses. I especially can't wait to wear my favourite ASOS chunky jumper again. 
Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise
Now its getting colder, its time to crack out the hats and scarves and to accessorise your heart away. I've decided that this autumn I'm going to wear more hats and I think this one will look great paired with my Mulberry scarf.
Wine coloured lips and rosy pink cheeks
I love pairing dark wine coloured lips with a 'I've just been out in the cold' flushed cheek. This autumn I'm going to be plumping for the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Grand Cru, Bourjois Color Boost Lip Crayon in Plum Russian and NARS Deep Throat.
Goodbye humidity
Finally you won't need to worry about the humidity ruining your do and ending up a frizzy mess. I think a nice sleek blow dry tucked into a scarf is really pretty this time of the year. That or a lazy bun for off duty model vibes.
Hello sleep
I love my bed and will be relieved to not be hot and unable to sleep anymore. There's nothing like snuggling up in your duvet as the rain lashes against the window.
Cosy evenings
I live in lounge clothes and PJ's at home and I can't wait to put my thick soft socks on and cuddle up under my slanket with the cats. I know, I'm painting such an attractive picture of myself right now!
Lazy beauty routines
I'm sure its not just me but I'm rubbish at giving myself pedicures so it will be nice not to worry about making my feet sandle perfect any more. I'm not saying let yourself go, but you can relax a bit!
Bring out the boots
In all fairness I wear boots a lot, but at least with colder weather on the way I'll be getting less weird looks! I'm particularly fond of my Vagabond Dioon Boots and ASOS Chelsea boots.
Wedding time
Of course, I can't not mention that after 7 and a half years together, Leon and I are tieing the knot this October! Eek, can't wait!
Candles
I love burning candles in autumn. Diptyque make the best candles and I think Figuier, Vetyver and Ambre will be my go-to scents.
What do you love about autumn?
Laura
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Sunday, 17 August 2014

Charlotte Tilbury Makeup

 
I can't think of a makeup launch more exciting than a range designed by a make-up artist. Charlotte Tilbury's makeup line was the launch of 2013 and naturally I picked up a few bits straight away. I'm surprised I haven't talked that much about the range on my blog (read: too much make-up, not enough time), so thought I'd give you the full low down.
 
The standout of the range in my opinion is the eyeshadow quads. I read so many reviews and swatched every single one of them in Selfridges before walking away with Luxury Palette Colour-Coded Eyeshadows in The Golden Goddess. This is the most beautiful neutral palette I think I've ever seen and the slightly shimmery shades are super pigmented. What I love about all of Charlotte's palettes is that each one contains four shades that are designed to complement each other and you can create three looks out of them. Each palette contains a Prime, Enhance, Smoke and Pop shade, so it's easy to get the best out of each one.
 
You can't create a Charlotte Tilbury look without her signature cat eyes so I had to have both the Rock 'n' Kohl Iconic Liquid Liner in Bedroom Black and The Feline Flick Quick Fine Line Shodō Pen in Panther. Rock 'n' Kohl is a waterproof liquid liner / kohl hybrid that applies so beautifully and doesn't budge. Normally nothing stays in place when applied along my waterline but this doesn't disappoint. I have my sights on the midnight blue and brown pencils as well. I love a good liquid liner and was really excited to try The Feline Flick. Its super easy to use and has a lovely fine nib that does the work for you. I'm still rubbish at the 'flick' itself but practise makes perfect!
 
I picked up two of the K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipsticks as I couldn't choose just one. I have a beautiful nude pink called Bitch Perfect which literally goes with anything and looks especially pretty with the Golden Goddess eye palette, and Coachella Coral, a lovely pinky coral that really brightens my skin. I love wearing this with quite minimal make-up, and healthy lashings of mascara. The lipsticks apparently contain a secret ingredient called the Lipstick Tree, an anti-oxidant that protects your lips from UV damage and keeps them moisturised and plump. It's love.
 
Still on the subject of lips I have the Lip Cheat Pencil in Pink Venus. This goes with both lipsticks and is also lovely on its own. Waterproof and paraben-free, this pencil lasts for ages and I love that it creates lovely plump lips when used to slightly over line your lips a la Kylie Jenner.
 
For the cheeks I have the Cheek to Chic Swish & Pop Blusher in Love Glow.  This is also beautiful and contains two colours. The outer colour is to be used on the cheek bone and the circle in the middle is the 'pop of colour' for the apples. This colour is so flattering on my pale skin and has a lovely little sheen to it which injects some much needed life into my round face!
 
No pictured here but well worth a mention is the Colour Chameleon Colour Morphing Eye Shadow Pencil for Brown Eyes in Dark Pearl. This pencil is great for applying when in a rush (or on a train in my case) as it glides on and smudges really well with a pencil brush, but you have to be quick as once its in place it will not budge! As the name suggests there are two for each eye colour, one for day like this shade, and one for night. Dark Pearl is a gorgeous metallic brown which really enhances my super dark brown eyes. I really want to pick up the night time pencil, Amber Haze which is a more golden brown so maybe this is one for my Christmas list!
 
Have you tried anything from Charlottes range yet, and if so what did you think?
 
Laura
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Thursday, 14 August 2014

Favourite fragrances


Scent is so important to me. I love that it triggers memories and moments and thought I'd share with you some of my favourites.
 
I've been wearing Chanel No.5  for a few years now and would say its my signature scent and the one I always return to. I'm awful at describing scents so do bare with me... A known favourite of Marilyn Monroe (its all she wore to bed apparently), there is no doubt why this is so iconic. Its a slightly musky perfume, but not at all overpowering or old ladyish which is what I normally associate with musky scents. It has both a citrus and floral side as the top notes include Bergamot and Lemon, along with Rose, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Ylang Ylang and Neroli. Its actually quite difficult to pin point any one ingredient but its just delicious. The base notes include Vanilla which is an absolute love of mine, along with the lovely masculine Vetiver, Bergamot, Musk, Sandalwood and Amber to name a few. I find this all in all a very comforting and complicated fragrance that I can't get enough of. I'm especially drawn to this in the colder months and use the body products as well to layer and deepen the scent. I'm obsessed!
 
Last year I discovered Dipytque and as well as loving their candles (Mimosa, Baies and Figuier to be precise), I picked up Diptyque L'eau du Trente Quatre. This is a newish fragrance and is an interpretation of their original 34 Boulevard St Germain perfume (named after their first boutique). I find that this lasts so well on me and I particularly like wearing it in the spring and summer as its quite a green scent that has a soapy side to it. I love that it also has that Diptyque spicy edge that they are so loved for. It includes lemon, verbena and bitter orange, along with cinnamon and nutmeg, patchouli and musk.
 
This spring I bought another Diptyque fragrance, Eau Duelle. This is my favourite of the two and I find it really addictive. I am always spritzing it on when I see it so its going down quite quickly! This is a grown up woody and spicy Vanilla fragrance with a soft edge to it. It also includes pink pepper, bergamot, saffron, juniper, black tea and musk which give it that gorgeous oriental spice. I think its quite a feminine fragrance without being overpowering and it has a slightly sweet side to it but is in no way sickly. I wish I'd bought this sooner actually and I think it will be really nice to wear in Autumn and Winter as well.
 
I also picked up Stella by Stella McCartney recently so I am quite spoilt for choice at the moment. Have you tried any of these and what's your favourite fragrance?

Laura


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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Embracing exfoliating toners

  
Exfoliating is such an important skincare step in my opinion and I'm always shocked when people tell me they never exfoliate and then go on to say that their skin is dry or their make up doesn't apply very well...
 
I embraced exfoliating at a young age as my skin was just so damn dry and it really helps it sort itself out and take in treatments and masks better. Like most people, I use manual facial scrubs but I've also been embracing acid based toners for a while now and they've made a huge difference to my spot laden skin. They might sound a little scary, but they are really gently on the skin and effective. So today I thought I'd talk you through some of my favourite exfoliating toners.
 
Cane & Austin Acne Treatment Pads (£48)
These pads totally converted me to acid exfoliants. I starting using these a while ago now and am on my second tub. Each tub contains 60 pads and the directions state to use them twice a day, but I think that's a bit much and started using them just in the evening. I did find that these tingled a bit for the first few times that I used them, but this does go away and isn't anything to be concerned about. The pads contain both glycolic acid (5%) and salicylic acid (2%) and my skin loves this combination.
 
Glycolic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) which exfoliates the dead skin off the surface of your skin, making way for lovely new skin. It also helps reduce discolouration, and in my case, blemish scarring. The only thing to be mindful of when using AHA's is that they increase photosensitivity, so always use a sunscreen. The second active ingredient is salicylic acid which is a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). This is a bit more complex as it penetrates deep into pores to clear them out (nice), and in doing so helps reduce breakouts. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which again is a bonus for clearing up blemishes. After two weeks of using these pads I saw a massive improvement in my skin and they are a staple for me now.
 
Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Pads* (£12.95)
As much as I love the C+A pads, they are pricey and I've been on the hunt to find something a bit more purse friendly to maintain my skin. These are much better priced and also with 60 to a tub these are a nice alternative. They contain 2.8% glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin, as well as hyaluronic acid to give you a moisture boost and blue daisy to soothe and calm the skin. I don't find these as effective as the Cane & Austin pads, but they are really nice none the less and have helped my skin through its recent tantrum. I think they are perfect for anyone just venturing into acid exfoliants and wanting something effective, yet gentle. The pads are part of the Glycolic Fix range which also includes a face scrub, serum and body scrub. Once I run out of face scrub I will be giving this one a go!
 
REN Clarifying Toning Lotion (£12)
I bought this bottle ages ago but it got a bit lost in my stash so I've only recently started using it. REN have since renamed this range to the Clarimatte range (why?), but have not changed any of the formulations to my knowledge. This contains a whole host of AHA's including glycolic acid, citric acid, lactic acid and tartaric acid, along with salicilin (willow bark extract that can be made into salicylic acid). It also contains Flavonoids from Mayblossom extract which is anti-bacterial and tones the skin while also reducing sebum production and pores. I find it feels quite refreshing on my skin and I'm really enjoying using it.
 
Have you tried any of these exfoliating products and if so what did you think?

Laura

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Sunday, 3 August 2014

July Favourites


Another month down and whilst I do like the warm sunny days and long evenings, I'm an autumn girl at heart and I'm looking forward to cracking out my cosy jumpers! Before I get totally side tracked with an ode to autumn I'll get onto what I have been loving this past month.
 
I was really quite surprised (and impressed) that I didn't rush out an buy the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette when it first came out. I think the sheer amount of hype and 20,000 reviews kicking around put me off. My parents went on holiday recently and this is one of the lovely presents they brought back for me. I love neutrals and my collection of almost identical palettes supports that, but I am really enjoying the more pinky tones in this offering. The darker colours on the right are more me and have been getting the most love, but I am venturing into the left as well - how  brave! You really cannot fault UD as far as quality goes, their shadows are so pigmented and long-wearing.
 
I've declared my love for the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets many a time and have pretty much picked up the entire range (just one more to go!), but the love is still strong. The only complaint I had when they first launched was that I found the shades a bit too bright for everyday wear but since then I picked up Frambourjoise a few weeks back and I've really been digging this blue based pinky-red lipstick. Its still pretty striking but definitely work friendly (well  no one's said anything yet!). They've now released a nude shade (nude-ist) which I've also been loving and there's another one due to be launched soon.
 
With my skin now under control I've been doing everything I can to maintain it and I've been trying to wear less base and give it a breather. In my quest for perfect skin I've been reaching for the Kiehls Ultra Light Daily UV Defence to protect my skin from the sun, with a little bit of concealer on top to conceal scarring. Considering this really packs a punch at SPF 50, it's super light and not at all gloopy. It doesn't leave a white cast either, instead it provides a great base for makeup. If you are looking for a facial SPF, this is really worth checking out as it provides both UVA and UVB protection which many others do not.
 
To cleanse in the evening and remove all signs of the aforementioned items, I have been loving using the Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. I wrote about it in more detail here but I love how soft and clean it leaves my skin. Its pretty purse friendly as well, compared to a lot of other cleansing balms I've tried.
 
I use acid toners to exfoliate but twice a week when I apply a face mask I have been enjoying using the La Roche Posey Physiological Ultra-Fine Scrub to remove dead skin and iron out any lumps and bumps. Its super gentle with small particles that won't damage your skin, while being incredibly effective. My skin feels so smooth afterwards and it really helps face masks penetrate the skin and do their bit.
 
What have you been loving in July?
 
Laura
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