20/04/2014

The Sunday post # 16



It's Easter Sunday, yet not one piece of chocolate has passed my lips. I blame that completely on Royal Mail, who failed to deliver my guilt-filled middle of the night Thornton's order on time. Easter for us has been quiet. We had a friend come over for dinner (I cooked a delicious leg of lamb) and we spent most of the afternoon eating and watching old re-runs of The Simpsons. Quiet, simple and yet lovely. How did you spend your Easter?

The past week has been busy, but next week is looking more hectic than I have the energy for. I have just over a week until my final ever University exam, so my days have been filled with Affective Science and Neuropsychology revision. Revision is one thing I've never looked forward to, through any of my education. I am one of those people who does pretty well throughout the academic year, but put an exam paper in front of me and I go completely blank. I'm glad this will be my final exam, but it will be 1.5 hours of nerves and second-guessing myself. It feels really weird knowing that the end of my degree is so close, especially as I have been back in education for six years now, after going back to College to do my A Levels at 20. It's been a long journey, and it's only now I'm nearing the end that I realise what's beyond University is far scarier than being at University. If you've been to University, I'd love to know what you loved most about your experience and what you studied?

Real life aside, a lot of things have changed in my beauty routine over the past week. I've been trying a couple of new drugstore body care products that I recently picked up whilst shopping. One in particular I'm quite the fan of, so you can expect a full review very soon! I've also changed up my skincare routine again with a whole host of new products added in, and already my skin is feeling super soft and happy. A few gorgeous Spring and Summer makeup collections have made there way into my collection this week, so I'm excited to share those with you, as well as a few innovative and unique hair care products. Product testing is one of my favourite parts of blogging. Whether it's volume boosting hair care, skin-loving skincare products, smoothing and softening body care or the latest product promising to give you a radiant, healthy look, I love it. 

With the weekend almost over, it's time for me to do some more revision and get ready for a super hectic 10 days. What do you have planned for the week ahead? 

 I post daily, keep up to date with my newest posts by following me

Be sure to check out my Darjeeling advertiser throughout April, Agent Smytha lovely beauty blog written by two friends.

19/04/2014

Not on the Highstreet haul

A sweet pink tin from Lisa Angel, which reads 'You are beautiful inside and out'

The Green Gables notebook and to-do list pad
Nikki Strange The Daydreamer's Notebook

A set of two Victoria Hooper-Duckham Little Notebooks
One thing I am a sucker for, is pretty stationery and tins. For one, I am a huge hoarder so anything I can use to pop little bits and bobs into, is always handy. I've always had a liking for pretty notebooks, and this means I have quite a few hidden away, everywhere. But I just can't resist buying more, especially when they're as pretty as these! Not on the Highstreet is easily my favourite online destination for none-beauty loves right now, and I have a list as long as my arm of things I want to order. Here's a little haul from four sellers on NOTH, after I placed a cheeky order last weekend - and all sellers offer free delivery, too! 

As soon as I started searching for notepads and notebooks, I spotted a few items from the same seller which just really caught my eye for their lovely design, with stunning photography showcasing her products. Nikki Strange specialises in 'Imaginative and ethereal textile printer accessories for day dreamers and reality escapers", which in description alone is enough to have you interested! With designs inspired by nature, patterns, textures and 'whimsical' design, each of the items Nikki creates are beautiful and captivating. I genuinely love every single design and would have ordered so many more notebooks if my pennies had allowed for it. I ended up picking a Flamingo Party A5 Notebook (NikkiStrange, £4.99) as well as a Freedom Feathers A5 Notebook (NikkiStrange, £4.99) 

I've been looking for a nice little tin to keep on my dressing table, where I can keep hold of bobby pins and hair ties as well as any little hair care samples. I spotted some lovely storage ideas over on the NOTH website, but I couldn't resist the sweet pink 'You Are Beautiful' tin (Lisa Angel, £6) which in full reads 'You are beautiful inside and out'. I just thought it was really sweet and lovely and it goes nicely with my white dressing table. It arrived in the most adorable packaging I've ever seen, which you can spot in this Instagram picture.

Another stationary themed seller which caught my eye, The Green Gables, just kept catching my eye when searching for more notebooks and a new planner. I love how the designs created are all so simple yet so pretty and detailed at the same time. The Green Gables also stands out a little more from others sellers as they donated 10% of their annual profits to charities of different natures, which is just fantastic for any brand but even more so for smaller, independent brands. I picked up a handy To Do List Notepad (TheGreenGables, £3.95) which has a cheerful yet simple design, as does the Kites Illustration Eco Notebook (TheGreenGables, £2.50) that I just couldn't resist. 

The final seller I made an order from, for unsurprisingly two more notebooks (see, I really do have an addiction!), caught my eye when I was searching for a notebook that might be a little more special than others I'd looked at, a design or style I'd be willing to pay a little more for. When I spotted the gorgeous design of the Night Meadow Little Notebooks (VictoriaHooper-Duckham, £6) I originally thought it was just one notebook. When I realised it was in fact a set of two notebooks, I knew I had to snap them up! The floral designs are just too gorgeous, the perfect notebooks for keeping in my handbag. 

Have you picked up anything from Not on the Highstreet recently? If you have any favourite sellers, I'd love for you to share them with me. I'm addicted to browsing the website and love adding new bits to our home! 


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Be sure to check out my Darjeeling advertiser throughout April, Agent Smytha lovely beauty blog written by two friends.

The Body Shop Raspberry love

The Body Shop Raspberry Body Butter and Body Scrub, from the new Raspberry range.
A look at two products from the new Raspberry range at The Body Shop.

You know how sometimes you can smell a product for the first time and you literally want to devour it because it smells so darn delicious? Well, that's how I felt the first time I opened one of the new Raspberry products which have recently joined The Body Shop as an entire new fragrance range. The scent is just scrumptious and smells exactly like fresh, ripe raspberries. I've been lucky to try two products from the new range, both of which I have become completely addicted to and I definitely plan on picking up a lot more products from the range (starting with the shower gel!) Seriously, get yourself to your local The Body Shop store and have a sniff of the range, it really is one of the yummiest scents!

If you're a fan of exfoliators that are easy to use in the shower, yet leave your skin softer and smoother, then you will love the Raspberry Body Scrub (TheBodyShop*, 200ml, £12.50) With an unusual texture for a scrub, much like jam made from real fruit, it's the perfect kind of scrub for a quick and easy exfoliation in the shower. The star ingredient for this gentle yet effective scrub is Raspberry Extract, along with real Raspberry Seeds, which work to leave skin both smoother in texture and soft to the touch. A little goes a long way and the texture is so easy to use if you want something quick that works to remove dead skin cells and smooth the skin, whilst also being really easy to remove, washing off as easy as shower gel. I love that the exfoliating texture is from real Raspberry Seeds, it makes it a little more fun than the usual exfoliator! 

The Raspberry Body Butter (TheBodyShop*, 200ml, £13) is the perfect follow up product with the same luxuriously thick, buttery texture The Body Shop has become famous for. With the same scent as the scrub, and is the perfect way to intensely hydrate and soften my skin. Layering scents means I am left with the delicious Raspberry scent lingering all day. Can you tell I'm a fan?!

Let me know what you think to the new Raspberry collection and if you've tried any of the range. I'm definitely picking up the shower gel next time I'm in store! 


 I post daily, keep up to date with my newest posts by following me

Be sure to check out my Darjeeling advertiser throughout April, Agent Smytha lovely beauty blog written by two friends.

*The post contains a PR sample. All thoughts are my own. For more info, see my disclaimer.

18/04/2014

The long-standing cleansers

A selection of my most-used and long-standing cleansers for morning and night use.

A selection of my most-reached for long-standing cleansers for morning and night use.


When you're a skincare devote, you rack up quite a selection of products. My skin only shows considerable changes as the seasons change, so I know which products to reach for and when. But there's more than a few favourites in my stash I return to time and time again, ticking most if not all of those pesky extra boxes I look for with a cleansing product; organic and natural, high quality and ethically sourced ingredients, beneficial to the skin on a long-term basis as well as short-term and traditional extras which work to keep our skin happy and balanced.

I get through cream cleanser quicker than other varieties, favouring them for morning cleanses, as well as most evenings as my first cleanse. Pai have left me smitten with the Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser (PaiSkincare, 100ml, £25)which is currently on offer for one week only, doubling up to the 200ml bottle for free. It's just absolutely beautiful and leaves my skin feeling soft as silk, smooth and very happy as well as reducing redness, calming and soothing. Hot Cloth specific cleansers are one of my favourite ways to remove makeup and although Liz Earle might be the most famous hot cloth cleanses as well as one I personally love, it's not the only cleanser on the market that can leave your skin feeling happier. My favourite (and yes, that means it's beaten Liz Earle!) is the REN Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser (LookFantastic*, 150ml, £16) Genuinely, I didn't expect to love this cleanser as much as I did and I always thought nothing would beat Liz Earle in hot cloth cleanser terms. But the formula of the REN offering is so much more to my personal preferences with cleansers; it doesn't feel as thick in consistency and as you massage it in, it feels as if natural oils are helping to break-down extra oil, dirt and grime as well as effectively removing makeup. The scent is heavenly, with the Rose Damascena Flower Oil being the top ingredient and pulling through beautifully. My skin looks so healthy after using this cleanser, there's nothing I don't love. A purse-friendly alternative is the Organic Surge Brightening Hot Cloth Cleanser (OrganicSurge*, 150ml, £12.50) which is easily the best value-for-money wise. Best suited to those with normal, dry or mature skin, it's packed with natural active ingredients such as Aloe Vera leaf juice, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Orange Peel Oil, Rose Geranium Essential Oil, Damask Rose Oil and Star Anise Oil. Between them, these powerful ingredients calm and moisturise, purify and tone, promote cell renewal and restores skin balance, whilst reviving a dull complexion with some added extra anti-oxidant and anti-ageing benefits. It smells lovely with the orange, rose and star anise oils pulling through, yet it's subtle enough not to bother those with a dislike for scented products. Formula and consistency wise, I again prefer this to the coveted Liz Earle offering and I think the price is incredible for the quality of ingredients and how effective it is. Definitely pop this one on your to-try list! 

Moving onto balm cleansers and there's two I adore. The Antipodes Certified Organic Grapeseed Butter Cleanser (FeelUnique, 75g, £24.99) is absolutely stunning. A luxuriously thick balm enriched with skin-loving ingredients such as Harekeke, Cocoa Butter and Hibiscus flower, as well as Vinanza Grape extract. Working to sooth, remove impurities, soften, calm all whilst revitalising and gently exfoliating, this feels divine to massage into my skin and works effortlessly to remove makeup. My skin feels incredibly smooth afterwards as well as looking brighter, clearer and far more radiant. An especially perfect choice after a long day. A touch more exfoliating, the Balance Me Cleanse & Smooth Face Balm (LookFantastic, 125ml, £20) is perfect for using before a face mask and prepping the skin, as well as smoothing, revitalising and nourishing. Arctic Cloudberry and polishing Oatmeal leave skin brighter, clean and clear, whilst Roman Chamomile and radiance enhancing Red Mandarin smooth away daily dirt, grime and makeup. Suitable for all but super-sensitive skin types. 

Of course, there's lots of other cleansers I really love using and a few which are favourites even above these, but cleansers which are more treatment-based than the everyday cleansers in my picks today. Let me know if you'd like to see a post on treatment targeted skincare favourites! 


 I post daily, keep up to date with my newest posts by following me

Be sure to check out my Darjeeling advertiser throughout April, Agent Smytha lovely beauty blog written by two friends.

*The post contains a PR sample. All thoughts are my own. For more info, see my disclaimer.

Look Fantastic wishlist

Beauty wishlist

I find it almost impossible to resist a good offer, and as soon as I found out about the fab 20% off offer on Look Fantastic over the Easter weekend, I couldn't resist a little online window-shopping. Always wanting to try new products, as well as a few old favourites I need to repurchase but really rate, these are my top picks to take advantage of this weekend, whilst they're with a great saving of 20% off! The 20% off offer is running across the Look Fantastic website, and all you have to do is enter discount code 'EASTER20' at checkout!

HAIR CARE
As soon as I finished the sample size I knew I'd be repurchasing the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer (50ml) which would usually set me back £23.80, but with the 20% off is a much more reasonable £19.04. Used weekly, I feel it really benefits my hair. Wanting to try more from the brand, I have my eye on the Body Building Duo Shampoo & Conditioner, which is usually £27.75 but is just £22.20 (making them a reasonable £11.10 each) with the offer. I love trying anything that promises to add volume, so I'm intrigued by this duo! As I'm currently changing up my hair colour quite frequently, I've got my eyes on the RedKen Color Extend Magnetic Mask (250ml) RedKen is a brand I really like as they were the brand I trained in, and this mask promises to up-the-ante with hair colour, making it look more vibrant and last longer. Usually £21.25, it's just £17! I'm also lusting after a brand which was used on my during my visit to Zullo & Holland. The Sebastian Professional Thickefy Foam (200ml) is £21.50 and sounds like another perfect product for achieving volume and thickness. This ones not included in the offer, but it's a product I really want to try and just had to include!

SKINCARE
My favourite thing to buy during any offer? Skincare. Offers, discounts and sales are always a fantastic time to stock up on hero products or try something new, at a much more affordable (in skincare terms) price. Another product I've tried before and really want to get straight back into my routine, is the Konjac Sponge Puff with added French Clay, which is aimed at oily and combination skin. It's just a really lovely soothing, gentle product. With a saving of £1.60, it's just £6.39. I've tried GlamGlow Very Gorgeous Super Mud (30ml) before, but only in one-use sachet form which for me, is not enough to see whether it'll benefit my skin in the long-term. I've been tempted to pick up a full size during a few recent offers, but I keep hesitating! If you've tried this and love it, let me know why! Usually £39.99, with the offer it's £31.99! A couple of products I want to try for their rave reviews include the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Intensive Lip Repair Balm, usually £16.80, for the weekend just £13.44, and the Melvita Rose Water (200ml) which is usually actually a very affordable £14, but with the offer is a complete steal at £11.20.

MAKEUP
Who can resist makeup when it's on offer? I have more brushes than I can count, but I'm sucker for a Real Techniques set and I have my eye on the Sam's Picks Brush Set which includes six brushes for the face and eyes, usually £29.99, for the weekend it's a bargain at £23.99! I've tried bareMinerals before and I wasn't wowed, but the product type was more the problem opposed to the brand. I love the look of The First Resort which includes a Light Stroke Fan Brush, Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Party Starter and The Beach is Waiting palette with three shades for bronze, contour and highlight. The RRP is actually really great for a high-end brand at £28.89, but with the offer it's a beauty bargain at £23.12. I'm getting more and more into Too Faced so I'd love to see how their Absolutely Flawless Concealer fairs to my staples. Usually £16.50, with the offer it's £13.20 which is really reasonable for a high-end brand! I've had my eye on Benefit Lemon Aid for a while now, and I might finally snap it up at the offer price of £13.20 instead of the usual £16.50.

BODY CARE
The easiest aspect of beauty to forget, and yet one of the most important. I love adding to my body care stash. I'm a big fan of REN so I'd love to try the REN Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm (330ml) which sounds absolutely delicious and a perfect pot of luxury. A saving of £4 makes this smoothing wonder £16 instead of £20. Another exfoliating product I'm intrigued by and Hydrea London Sisal Natural Exfoliating Sponge which is already a very budget-friendly price of £3.50, is now £2.80. Who can resist? It's been a while since I dabbled in any JASON products, and I've got my eye on the Aloe Vera Roll On Deodorant, just £4 instead of £5 through the offer. Last but not least, another beauty bargain, I love the sound of the Crabtree & Evelyn Pomegranate Body Lotion (50ml) which in travel size is usually £4, on offer just £3.20. The perfect way to try a scent range that sounds delicious, before investing in the full size. 

Now, time to place an order... 



 I post daily, keep up to date with my newest posts by following me

Be sure to check out my Darjeeling advertiser throughout April, Agent Smytha lovely beauty blog written by two friends.