30 November 2013

November Top 5

Sugarpill Cold Chemistry

Is anyone else incredibly excited about the fact that tomorrow is December 1st? The official start of Christmas. I can't wait to have an excuse to watch Christmas movies for an entire month, eat Christmas food and nibbles at any opportunity I get and for all the Christmas festivities! This is the last month of 2013 where I will be sharing my usual Top 5 of the month with you - I have some special posts in store for December focusing on my favourite products and releases of 2013! So let's find out which products I have really been adoring this month!

Non-beauty favourite
Allure Magazine (Newsstand, £5.95) - I wanted to include a non-beauty favourite this month because November has been so hectic for me, and dipping into the beauty filled pages of Allure has given me a chance for breaks in between hectic schedules. Allure magazine is an American publication focused on beauty and fashion. A must-read for any beauty adorer.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF15 'Cherry'* (Sephora, $22.50 & the Fresh store, London*) - This is a bit of a cheeky one to add in, because it is only available in UK at the stand alone store in London, although you American lovelies will find Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments pretty easy to find. This is my first dabble into Fresh products and the Sugar Lip Treatments are formulated to be a hydrating, nourishing and protecting lip treatment which also works to plump the lines. With an in-built SPF15, the beautiful Cherry lip treatment contains a blend of reparative oils and waxes along with real sugar, which is a natural humectant (which attracts and retains water) There's sweet and tart blackcurrant oil in there too, which is known for it's plumping properties and essential fatty acids, antioxidant grapeseed polyphenols and vitamins A, C and E, all which work to protect the lips, preventing damage from free radicals. There's a very slight menthol tingle to the lips when you apply, but I love it and the colour of cherry has great colour pay off that although fairly sheer, applies a gorgeous colour to the lips. If you can hunt this down, get it.
Read my Winter Lip Saviours post to find out how I keep my lips soft and smooth.

Fresh Sugar Cherry

Sugarpill Cold Chemistry Collection Eyeshadow in 'Diamond Eyes' (Love Make Up, £8.50) - November seems to be the month I went a little bit obsessive over brilliant highlight shades and inner-corner eye brighteners. My favourite for the inner corner right now is Diamond Eyes, a brilliant icy white with fine shimmer and a velvet soft powder, Diamond Eyes has been my perfect bright-eyes wonder. The whole collection is stunning but right now, this is my favourite of the four shades and an everyday essential for my eye makeup! 
Read my full review of the Sugarpill Cold Chemistry Collection: 'Sugarpill Cold Chemistry Full Collection'

Lancome Hynose Drama Instant Full Body Mascara (Boots, £22) - I have had this little sample of Lancomes infamous Hynose Drama mascara for months now, as it seems to be the mascara that never stops! I know you're only meant to keep mascaras for three months but I prefer to use a mascara until it no longer works for me. I've never suffered any problems with my eyes nor do I allow friends or family to use eye products or lip products, so for me, using something whilst it's still usable is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I am besotted with the Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara and since the beginning of this year I have hailed Extreme Party as my holy grail mascara. But the more I use this never-ending sample mascara from Lancome, the more I want the full size. It's just incredible. It adds volume and length to my lashes and has a beautiful yet subtle scent of rose. Addictive and absolutely amazing - I need the full size.

KMS California Hair Play Makeover Spray

KMS California Hair Play Makeover Spray (Birchbox, 125ml, £15) - This is one of the products I received in the October Birchbox and it's during November that it has really come into play and been an almost every day reached for product. A dry cleansing spray which provides texture and a fresher feeling to your hair, I am simply besotted with this. The size I received is a generous 75ml which is great for my handbag and on the go touch ups. I definitely plan on buying the full size when mine runs out! 

MAC Mineralise Skin Finish in Stereo Rose (MAC) - I always feel cheeky when I include a limited edition makeup product in my monthly Top 5 posts, but there was no way I couldn't include this particular limited edition beauty this month. I've completely fallen back in love with MAC Stereo Rose and I am besotted with this used with more intensity for a blush and a lighter hand for subtle handle. Just truly stunning and well worth all the hype it gets. Keep an eye on upcoming MAC collections as this has been released in a couple of collections now, so may resurface again!
Read my full review of MAC Stereo Rose: 'Dear Stereo Rose...

So that's my November Top 5! Be sure to share your Top 5 products with me in the comments below and remember to keep an eye out throughout December for my favourites of 2013! 

MAC Stereo Rose


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*This post contains PR samples - All opinions are my own and genuine.
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The Primark Bag

The Primark Bag

I really wish I wasn't, but I am a sucker for a pretty bag. I am a complete bag addict, from everything to Primark and New Look to Topshop and Zara. I love a good bag! One day I dream of owning a Vivienne Westwood bag... but with the high price tag to match the high quality and renowned designer such as Vivienne, it'll be a million years before that dream comes true. So instead I opt for purse-friendly bags; bags which look the part but don't cost and arm and a leg. Last weekend whilst having a little browse of Primark, I spotted this gorgeous bag and I knew I had to have it. A classic almost vintage design with rose gold hardware and a detachable shoulder strap, I was smitten as soon as I saw it. For Primark quality (which I think is better than most people like to admit!), this bag is fantastic. The material is sturdy, it doesn't feel cheap or tacky as you can often find with purse-friendly bags and it looks a lot more than it costs. But how much does it cost? Just £8! How fantastic is that? The bag itself is pretty big and inside there are no separate compartments, just an extra zipped pocket inside. In size it's not massively smaller than my LYDC The Paddington Bag, but with just one compartment it's a little less easy to keep tidy and organised. This is a bag I am reserving for days when I don't need to carry a lot with me and just a few select things are needed. It's chic, it's sleek and I am smitten. Will you be hunting this £8 bag of beauty down in your local Primark?



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29 November 2013

The holy grail: Eye cream

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye


I think a true holy grail product is really hard to find, having to try product after product, switching between brands trying to find that one product that makes you swoon. When you do find something that lives up to all of your expectations, and more, when you've finally found that one product you can't live without, it's a rare but special occassion. I love a lot of products, whether skincare, makeup, hair care or body care. I'm a product junkie and I've put hundreds of products to the test in my time. I've also put a hell of a lot of eye creams to the test over the past twelve or so years, but there's one in particular which I am now on my second tube of. An actual repurchase. Or third purchase, if you count the one I have as back up! I've discussed the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye (Kiehl's, 15ml, £24.50) on the blog before, but always in posts alongside other fab skincare or favourite products, so considering it's something I really would never want to live without, it's time I dedicated a whole post to this stunning blue tube of skincare magic.

Eye cream is often a part of our skincare routines which a lot of people will opt out of including. Some people think an eye cream is a completely unnecessary step, other's say they don't have the time to apply extra products and some people just don't want to apply eye cream. That's fine, but for me personally, I need something which is going to nourish, protect and hydrate the delicate under eye skin. The skin around our eyes is much thinner and far more delicate than the rest of our face or body, it's one of the places we can expect to get those pesky fine lines and for me, whenever I am tired or run down, it's my eyes that show it straight away. Big, dark, saggy bags under my eyes, it just won't do!

Midnight Recovery Eye has some incredibly soothing ingredients, as well as ingredients picked to nourish the delicate skin, hydrate, freshen and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It's paraben, fragrance and mineral free and contains four main key ingredients; Butcher's Broom, Squalane, Evening Primrose and Lavender. I apply half a pea sized amount to each eye, taking time to gently massage the luxurious cream in. Within seconds my eyes feel instantly refreshed and soothed, opposed to the tired and heavy feel I usually have at the end of the day. By morning I awake with fresher looking, youthfully plump eyes which are bright rather than dark and dull. If I ever miss this particular PM eye cream out of my routine, just one none-use shows the affects and I'm straight back to it the next night. Even better? My first tube lasted me a whole nine months, amazing value for money! It's a wonderful product which I could never live without, my holy grail eye cream. There's just nothing else like it, really.


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28 November 2013

Smitten over NARS Guy Bourdin Promiscuous Lip Coffret

Smitten over NARS Guy Bourdin Promiscuous Lip Coffret

I hold my hands up and admit that I am a sucker for a limited edition set or collection. The recent NARS Guy Bourdin collection has some truly stunning pieces and sets and when I spotted the Promiscuous Lip Coffret (Space NK, £30), I simply couldn't resist. I am a full on lip product junkie and the chance to snap up five NARS lip pencils in one go was too tempting to resist. I have a couple of NARS lip pencils in my stash already and they are some of the best quality lip pencils I have ever tried. I adore the different finishes they do and my favourites are the Velvet Matte Lip Pencils and the Satin Lip Pencils. Within the set is four Velvet Matte Lip Pencils and one Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil. Each is of an adorable mini size which as you can see from my 5 Mini NARS Reviews post, is very generously sized. I would happily buy a lip pencil of this size at a full price in store, although it seems they are only available at a mini size in gift sets, collections and as samples to try. The full sized pencils are 2.4g each for the Velvet Matte range and 2.8g for the Velvet Gloss range. The pencils in the set are 1.8g for the matte pencils and 2.5g for the velvet gloss, which to me is practically a full sized product. The set captures the cinematic realm of 'lust, glamour, and innuendo' throughout the late Guy Boudin's photography. Presented in a stunning gift box, the set comes with a glorious satin and patent lip-embellished makeup bag with a theme of vivid electric blue and back.

1. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella - This was easily one of the shades I was most excited to try, as it seems to be a very popular shade among NARS adorers and beauty bloggers. I expected Cruella to be a bright, true red but it is much deeper and darker than a true red and has a beautiful warm cranberry look to it. NARS describe Cruella as a passionate scarlet red, but I think it's definitely more on the warm, cranberry side of red shades. The Velvet Matte Lip Pencils have a beautiful finish which feels moisturising on the lips in comparison to more popular matte lipsticks. Although I am a complete MAC lipstick junkie and my favourite finish is matte, I prefer the finish of the NARS matte pencils, which is more gentle on the lips.
(Full size 2.4g Cruella Velvet Matte Lip Pencil available at Selfridges, £17.50
View my MAC lipstick collection here including my favourite matte shades. 

Smitten over NARS Guy Bourdin Promiscuous Lip Coffret

2. NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in New Lover - This is a shade I already own in mini form, and I've reviewed it in full in my 5 Mini NARS Reviews post. For a gloss finish the NARS Velvet Gloss pencils have a luxuriously creamy formula that feels nourishing on the lips and leaves a beautiful hi-gloss finish without any problems with a sticky finish. The finish is smooth, with great pigmentation and needs reapplying rarely; after food and drink you may need to touch up. NARS describe this shade as 'raspberry sorbet' but personally, this doesn't have the shade of a raspberry for me. I would describe the shade as a peachy nude! As I already own this shade I've actually popped it into my 'Huge Milestone Christmas Giveaway' so be sure to enter to be in with a chance of winning this beautiful velvet gloss pencil. 
(Full size 2.8g New Lover Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil available at Selfridges, £17.50

3. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Sex Machine - Infamous for their promiscuous shade names, NARS have added in a beautiful matte nude shade called Sex Machine. Described as an innocent pink mauve and this is spot on, with a beautiful warm toned, yet subtle nude. Sex Machine reminds me of MAC Velvet Teddy and is a favourite recently for more natural-looking makeup days.
(Full size 2.4g Sex Machine Velvet Matte Lip Pencil available at Selfridges, £17.50

4. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita - A stunning dusty rose, Dolce Vita is another shade I have been eager to get my hands on so I was thrilled to see it included within the set. A shade that would work well with most skin tones, this shade works particularly well with a smokey eye to finish off a look.
(Full Size 2.4g Dolce Vita Velvet Matte Lip Pencil Available at Selfridges, £17.50)   

5. NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Never Say Never - Perfect for those who love a pink lip but want to opt for a more subtle, warming and every-day wearable shade, Never Say Never is a favourite of mine in the set, a beautiful lilac pink that will compliment all skin tones. 
(Full Size 2.4g Never Say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil available at NARS.co.uk, £17.50

Overall I am besotted with the set and think it is fantastic value for money. If each of these lip pencils was bought separately, it would cost you £87.50, whereas the set lets you try each shade in a very generous size with a fab makeup bag to go with it. If the full set isn't for you then you can buy the pencils individually and I've linked above the best places to order them. If you decide to make a Selfridges purchase, they also have a fantastic offer on at the moment of 10% off of all beauty with the code SELF2013. The set is currently out of stock on the Space NK website but be sure to check your local Space NK stores to see if they have it in stock. Alternatively it's still available direct from the NARS UK website. Will you be treating yourself or a friend this Christmas to the Promiscuous Lip Coffret?

Smitten over NARS Guy Bourdin Promiscuous Lip Coffret


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27 November 2013

Liz Earle Gift Guide: Under £20 + REVIEWS

Liz Earle Daily Radiance Gift

Christmas is drawing near and with so many people to buy Christmas presents for, it can be a little overwhelming trying to navigate between brands, offers and Christmas gift sets trying to find the perfect present for your loved ones. I recently shared a high-end gift guide, my Space NK Gift Guide: For Her, but I thought it'd be great to show you some gorgeous Christmas gift ideas from Liz Earle, all of which are under the £20 mark and a few of which I've treated my friends and family to this Christmas, too. Let's start with one for the skincare adorers.

Liz Earle Daily Radiance Gift* (Liz Earle*, £16.50) - For anyone from those just starting out with skincare or the hardcore skincare fanatic like me, this little gift is the perfect way to explore the infamous Liz Earle skincare range. Featuring four of my favourite and often staple skincare products, the gift set is incredibly purse friendly and features four of Liz Earle's most popular skincare hero's. The gift features a Liz Earle Muslin Cloth, a personal favourite muslin cloth of mine and a popular feature in #MyLittleSkincareProject. These are wonderful for removing both cleansers and masks and works to very gently, but expertly, polish your skin. I always notice how softer my skin feels and how much brighter my complexion is when I use the Liz Earle Muslin Cloths opposed to normal flannels. Next up we have the infamous Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (30ml tube) in a perfect travel friendly size. Liz Earle's multi-award-winning cult cleanser works to cleanse your skin, removing daily grime, makeup and dirt to leave your skin beautifully clear, soft and radiant. A firm favourite of mine! There's also the wonderful Instant Boost Skin Tonic (50ml bottle), which is by far one of my favourite every-day, fulfill all needs toner. Gentle, alcohol free and suitable for even the most sensitive of skins - as is almost all of the Liz Earle range, skin tonic is a floral toner which works to revitalise, soothe and brighten. The final little radiance hero product in the gift is the Skin Repair Moisturiser (15ml tube), easily one of the most versatile day moisturisers I have used because it works with my skin, no matter what my skin is doing at the time! A fantastic little Christmas gift set that's handy for girls on the go, girls of all ages getting into skincare and perfect little backups if you want to treat an already avid Liz Earle skincare fan. The Radiance gifts are available with different skin needs and types in mind, available for normal/combination, dry/sensitive, light - combination/oily. 

Liz Earle Christmas Star with Strengthening Nail Colour in Ebb Tide

Liz Earle Christmas Star with Strengthening Nail Colour in Ebb Tide* (Liz Earle*, £7.50) - Onto the nail lovers and we have a beautiful Christmas tree ornament in the form of an evergreen metallic Christmas star. With a matching silk ribbon, this can be popped on the Christmas tree or simply given as a normal gift. Housed inside is a beautiful nail polish which I have become besotted with; Ebb Tide. The Liz Earle Strengthening Nail Colour range is a recent addition to the Liz Earle family and I've treated myself to quite a few, loving the even application and long-lasting, chip-free colour. 

There's a whole host of gifts available this Christmas from Liz Earle, lots of which are under £20, with higher-priced gift sets and product gifts available too. Here are a few more of my favourite gifts available from Liz Earle this Christmas. You can find the full under £20 range here 

Liz Earle Christmas Gifts for Under £20



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*This post contains a PR samples. All opinions are my own and genuine. 
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E.l.f. Baked Blush in Passion Pink

E.l.f. Baked Blush in Passion Pink

Considering I adore the longevity and formula of baked blushes, it's surprising that this is only the second baked blush in my collection. My first ever baked blush is from the equally budget-friendly American brand Milani. Luminoso was the first blush I felt truly confident wearing and ever since I've had a little list that's quickly getting longer, of baked blushes I want to try. During the recent 50% off sale over on the E.l.f. website I decided to try one of their baked blushes, which is far more budget friendly, before opting for the high-end baked blushes I've been lusting after. There's four shades in the E.l.f. baked blush range; Peachy Cheeky, Pinktastic, Passion Pink and Rich Rose. I opted for Passion Pink as the swatches I found online looked similar to my favourite MAC Mineralise Skin Finish in Lust. The blushes themselves come in little round plastic packaging with a black base and clear lip with the E.l.f. logo and product name. With a very lightweight packaging I was worried that the blush itself may not be entirely secure but it seems to be nicely tucked into the pan, not budging a single mm. 

E.l.f. advertise their baked blushes as soft and shimmering colour that works to create a natural, healthy glow. Baked blushes are renowned for their impressive pigmentation and long-lasting formulas and I was excited to see how E.l.f's faired against Milani. When swatched, this blush isn't impressive. Hardly any product transfers to skin when I try and swatch this blush, and just a pale lilac-pink can be seen as any trace of having swatched the product at all. Applied with a blush brush and it's a different matter entirely. I find this works best with my EcoTools Blush Brush and I apply a moderate amount onto the brush to compensate for the lack of swatching-power, and find it actually applies the perfect amount of colour to my cheeks. The colour is subtle, very pretty and unlike other shades in my blush collection. The formula of the blush itself is OK, but not the best I've tried. It feels very coarse in the pan and I have a feeling this is both a blush which would wear down quickly with regular use, as well as possibly crumbling and cracking the closer I get to pan. That said I think it's a bargain product that is worth giving a go. The E.l.f. baked blushes retail for £3.75 which is a small price to pay for a lovely pop of colour on your cheeks. Not my favourite... but a blush I look forward to using more. Who knows, I may even try the other three shades in the range, they're so purse-friendly, it would be rude not to! (E.l.f., £3.75


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26 November 2013

SIGMA: My everyday essential brushes

Sigma Synthetic Kabuki Kit

There's quite a few brands in my makeup brushes stash, but Sigma is by far my favourite. The quality of Sigma brushes is for me, unbeatable, and I love the simplistic yet professional design of their brushes. Sigma is an extremely coveted brand in America, available in the UK on www.beautychamber.co.uk and a brand I hope will soon properly branch out to the UK. There's a few Sigma brushes I could not live without, such as the Angled Brow E75 Brush which is my go-to brush for applying my HD Brows or Benefit Browzings as well as the Large Angled Contour F40 Brush which is perfect for applying contour products effortlessly. The Synthetic Kabuki Kit* (Beauty Chamber*, £64.95) contains five face brushes, each designed to provide effortless makeup application and flawless finishes. Sigmax fibres, which feature in all of the brushes in the kit, are exclusive to Sigma and have been uniquely designed to work with powder, cream and liquid products, making these incredibly versatile and easy to use brushes. The brushes themselves are pretty chunky, but fit perfectly between your fingers for easy application. The bristles are dense, but with enough movement and room to apply makeup with ease, and bristles soft so as not to irritate your skin. Being synthetic brushes with Sigmax fibres, these brushes are also cruelty free!

Sigma Synthetic Kabuki Kit

Each of the five brushes in this kit have become daily staples in my makeup routine and three in particular are brushes I couldn't bare to be without now! The kit actually contains one brush which I already own, the Angled Kabuki F84 Brush which is a personal favourite of mine, and a brush always mentioned over on YouTube as 'the best of the best'. I find this perfect for applying powder contour and bronzer, as it covers the right amount of area and blends effortlessly, without leaving any harsh lines or looking unnatural. My next favourite in the set is the Tapered Kabuki F86 Brush, oh it's such a wonderful brush. I think I am actually obsessed with it! Designed to apply cream and liquid foundations onto the harder to reach contours of the face, I personally find this the most fantastic brush for applying under eye concealer. The tapered bristles make it perfect for flawlessly blending my under eye correctors and concealers and is incredibly soft, meaning the delicate under eye area goes unharmed! Favourite, favourite, favourite! Next up, the Flat Kabuki F80 Brush which is an absolute dream to apply mineral foundations with, I have literally never teamed mineral foundation with such a perfect brush. It's amazing. It's dense, it's compact, but it picks up the perfect amount of product and evenly applies and blends. I think this brush is actually the sole reason I've fallen back in love with mineral foundation lately! Which is surprising as Sigma actually suggest this is best for liquid or cream products, but for me, it's the perfect partner in crime for mineral, powder foundations. The Round Kabuki F82 Brush is lovely to use with cream blushes or cream contour products, and I find it perfect for teaming with my MAC Pro-Sculpting Creams. It has just the perfect shade, density and width to work cream products into the skin without leaving any tell-tale signs. The finish this gives on cream blushes is more natural than I could ever hope to achieve with the brush I was using for cream blush, the Real Techniques Contour Brush. Coincidentally, this is the brush Sigma suggest for mineral products but personally, I find the round shade of the bristles makes it a bit difficult to use with powder, causing unnecessary fall out (onto me!) Finally we have the Flat Angled Kabuki F88 Brush, designed to blend foundation easily, even in hard to reach areas such as the contours of your nose. This one I think Sigma have advertised perfectly, because it really does do wonders for liquid foundations, and doesn't do too badly with my beloved MaxFactor Whipped Mousse Foundation.

Overall I think this kit is stunning. I haven't turned to my other bases brushes, or beauty blenders, since trying this kit out and each is just so beautifully made! The quality far out-does any of my other brushes and it's safe to say my previous base brushes haven't had any luck since this kit came into my life, not even my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush which I've hailed time and time again as the best base brush ever. Worth popping on your Christmas wish list, worth the splurge to treat yourself, just lovely. 

Sigma Synthetic Kabuki Kit

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Lusting after Laura Mercier

Lusting after Laura Mercier

As Christmas draws near and all the gift sets are sparkling with temptation, it’s hard to resist spying some gift sets for yourself. Laura Mercier is a brand I have never personally tried before, but there are a few gift sets this Christmas that have really caught my eye and boy am I lusting!

1.Laura Mercier Shimmer Effects Mini Caviar Stick Collection: This particular set has caught my eye time and time again. I love my eye products, from everything to eye shadows to shadow sticks, paint pots and bases, pigments, the lot. This just looks like a beautiful set with some gorgeous shades, and pretty purse friendly, too! (UrbanRetreat Beautique, £28)

2.Laura Mercier Bare Nude Mini Lip Glaze Collection: I’m no stranger to a bold lip but one thing I always turn back to when I need a break from bright, deep or vibrant shades, is nudes. This has got to be the most adorable nude lip set I have ever seen and I am so, so tempted to order this… Nude lip glazes in a beautiful selection of shades, yes please! (Urban Retreat Beautique, £31)

3.Laura Mercier Hand Crème Sampler Collection: I love hand creams. I have far too many, but I’m always buying more. This set contains four 1oz hand crèmes and as Laura Mercier is always raved about for her body care range; this seems like the perfect starting point to give some a go for myself! (Urban Retreat Beautique, £20)

Have you tried any Laura Mercier products? What are your thoughts on them? Let me know!



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*This is a fab and fun collaboration post. All opinions are my own and genuine. 
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25 November 2013

The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience

The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience

Having visited the Aromatherapy Associates Boutique in Knightsbridge for the Birchbox Autumn Evening of Discovery back in October, I was really excited to be invited again for my first ever massage. A massage is always something I've wanted to try, and I know how beneficial they can be for people from my time working in salons. But I was always worried that 'being a big girl' meant massages were off limits for me. How very wrong I was! The Aromatherapy Associates Boutique is like an Aladdin's cave for beauty lovers, filled with beautiful products covering every aspect of body care, skincare and hair care, not forgetting the dedicated section for male Aromatherapy Associates fans and home treatments and gifts. The beautiful boutique is decorated with walls of glass, clever lighting, golds, white and rich creams. It's a stunning boutique and a calm, serene world away from the hustle and bustle of Harrod's and Harvey Nichol's which are just a minute walk away. 

Aromatherapy Associates is one of my favourite brands, and with so many wonderful reasons why. A cruelty free brand who has never tested any of it's ingredients nor finished products on animals, Aromatherapy Associates can also proudly say their products do not contain mineral or sulphonated oils, GM ingredients, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), petrolatum, propylene glycol, parabens, animal derivatives (except for silk and beeswax which are animal by-products) or synthetic colours or fragrances. Aromatherapy Associates use the purest natural ingredients to create their products, actively sourcing every essential oil and plant extract needed for their stunning products, with some of the raw materials which go into their blends coming from some of the wildest and most remote places in the world. They also work direct with the farmers who produce some of these native, raw materials to ensure the Aromatherapy Associates ingredients are always of the highest quality, purity and ethical standards. Only the finest of the finest makes it into Aromatherapy Associates products, which shows with the amazing quality of their products. Aromatherapy Associates also support fair trade, organic and traditional agriculture, do not agree with chemicals being added to plants and believe that creating the best ingredients possible, will be more beneficial to the body, skin and mind. A brand whose passion for quality and astounding ingredients is clear for all to see. 

The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience

You can be pampered to your hearts content with a stunning variety of treatments available at the boutique and you can find a full list of treatments on the Aromatherapy Associates Spa Treatments page. I was kindly treated to the wonderful 60 minute body massage, aptly named The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience* (Aromatherapy Associates*, £90) and still now, two weeks on, I cannot get over how utterly relaxing, pampering and calming the massage was; an experience. Aromatherapy Associates very own hero treatment, The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience is the perfect way to experience a treatment at the boutique. A treatment which works to release tension from every part of your body, using carefully applied pressure to stimulate the nervous system, Swedish and neuromuscular techniques which work wonderfully to relieve muscular tension and lymphatic drainage which works to promote healthy circulation. 

Every treatment begins with a consultation and for my treatment, I was led down to the treatment rooms and offered a choice of tea whilst I filled out my consultation form. The consultation form is like no other consultation form I have completed and works on the basis that Aromatherapy Associates carry out their treatments. All treatments are based on how you feel at that specific moment on that specific day. Believing that it is more beneficial for the body, mind and skin to target your current needs, oils are selected to suit your needs at that time, opposed to oils being used at random. On the day I was exceptionally tired; being a Uni day I have been up since 3am to travel to London for lectures and after my massage I had plans all over central London. My aromatherapy experience was tailored to both calm and relax me, whilst giving me a boost to get through the rest of the day. Once I had completed my consultation form my lovely Aromatherapy Associates therapist talked me through the massage step by step. As it was my first ever massage, I found this such a lovely step and it really put me at ease. No longer was I worried about 'What if she sees my tummy?' or 'What if I'm too big for a massage?' and instead, I was excited for my treatment, eager to get started.

The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience

The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience is one of the most beautiful treatments I have ever experienced. Beginning whilst lay on my front on the heated treatment bed and wrapped in a luxuriously thick 'duvet', I instantly felt myself relaxing as I closed my eyes and let the experience take over my senses. Relax Light, the main oil used in my treatment, was a beautiful scent to have around me as I had every ache and pain from my body expertly massaged away. Beginning with my neck and working down to my shoulders, back, arms and legs, even my feet were treated to a full aromatherapy experience. I felt like my whole body was more relaxed than it had ever been before, feeling completely at ease with someone massaging my body and pampering me with beautiful oils. Every movement was gentle enough not to hurt, but firm enough to work my pressure points, dissolve any aches and pains and get rid of any pesky knots. With the same areas covered on my front as well as my back, it's any wonder I didn't fall asleep there and then. The massage finished with a facial massage before I was left to awake properly, get dressed and relax - with more tea, crystal clear water and nuts and berries awaiting me when I left the treatment room. 

After experiencing such a wonderful aromatherapy treatment, I don't know how I have gone so long without experiencing a massage before and it certainly won't be long until I book myself in again. I felt incredible afterwards, almost as though I had a new body! A treatment I would wholeheartedly recommend to family and friends, a treatment which would make a perfect birthday or Christmas present, I just cannot begin to explain how much better I felt, mind, body and soul, after my treatment. 

The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience

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*I was kindly invited along to the Aromatherapy Associates Boutique for this treatment. All opinions are my own and genuine.
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24 November 2013

What's in my bag: Autumn Edit

The Paddington Bag by LYDC in Purple

I've never been one for shoving things in my pockets and I've always loved the excitement of a new bag, even if it is similar to every other bag you own. Small bags, medium bags, big bags, it doesn't matter what size they are, I will ensure that every last space is filled with all the unnecessary things I don't need for a quick trip into town. That's what bags are for, right? Us ladies in particularl are often mocked for 'carrying our lives around' in our handbags, 'everything but the kitchen sink'. It's actually something I always kick myself in the foot for when I am tired and my neck, back and shoulder hurt from carrying around a ridiculously heavy bag all day, just on the off-chance that I might 'need' something. There is a lot in my bag, and today I'm going to give you a tour of what is wonderfully organised chaos. Welcome to What's in My Bag: Autumn Edit.

The Paddington Bag by LYDC in Purple

THE BAG: The Paddington Bag by LYDC in Purple* (LYDC*, £35) has been my go-to bag over the past few weeks and it's steadily edging itself up the leader boards as my favourite bag, ever. Considering how many bags I have hidden away, that's quite a statement! A classic satchel bag with a stunning colour theme of black, purple and a pale peachy cream adorned with faux-gold hardware, it's pretty darn gorgeous. I've never owned a satchel bag before and the colour theme for this one just caught my eye straight away, so I'm really happy it lived up to my expectations in person. It's absolutely massive (H27 x W35 x D11.5 cm for those who want specific dimensions!) and I probably could fit everything in it but the kitchen sink, if I tried. There's a couple of features of the satchel I really love, such as the classic envelope front flap, which has two buckle fasteners cleverly fitted with magnetic fasteners. This makes it much easier for me to get in and out of my bag on the go. Inside the main compartment is huge, separated with a zip. The main compartment also has a zipped interior pocket as well as a two slip pockets on the opposite side of the interior. This is a very budget-friendly satchel when you compare it to the infamous Cambridge Satchel whose prices are almost four times more than the LYDC satchel, sometimes even more. The quality of the bag has far surpassed my expectations for the price, made with high quality PU leather, the exterior shoulder strap (which is optional and can be popped on and off as you please) is brilliant and sturdy, meaning it can carry big weights easily and the handle attached to the top of the satchel is of the same sturdy material. The whole design both inside and out is lovely and you can tell how much attention to detail has gone into designing and making this satchel. It fulfills all of my needs and looks beautiful. Besotted!

The Paddington Bag by LYDC in Purple

FRONT COMPARTMENT: Although my bags always contain far more than I need, I'm pretty good at organising what goes in and where. Everything has it's place, or as I like to refer to it - It's organised chaos! Because the satchel has a front compartment of a decent size as well as the main, much larger compartment, interior zip pocket and slip pockets, it means everything can have it's own spot and I know where everything is if I need to reach for it quickly. The front compartment houses a little Sustain Owl Notebook A5 (Wilkinson's, £2.50) and a pen for noting down anything from my lectures, little reminders, dates or contact details. It's like an all-round job-sorter for my hand bag. I also always make sure to have my Weight Watchers Eating Out Guide (Weight Watchers, £4.95) with me in case I need to eat whilst out, ensuring I stick on plan and to my daily and weekly pro-points allowances. My little box of business cards also usually go in the front compartment where they fit in snugly, but nicely in the corner. I use uk.moo.com to get my business cards and opt for the gloss rounded business cards (Moo, from £16.19) Moo is my website of choice because it's super easy to use, you can upload your own designs, create your own from scratch or go with a Moo design, and there's different finishes, shapes, sizes, all sorts of different ways you can make your business cards! It's handy having them easy to reach in the front compartment, for when I need one quickly when meeting new people or at an event.

The Paddington Bag by LYDC in Purple

MAIN COMPARTMENT: I know I've already said it, but the main compartment inside the satchel is absolutely massive. Obviously when people do 'What's in My Bag' type posts or videos, they go through their bags first and make sure there's nothing embarrassing or personal in there that you don't want people to see. Of course, I organised my bag for these photos... but everything you see in the photos is genuinely in my bag on any given day. It was hard not to put even more in, there is always room for more in this bag and I nearly went into Uni day bag organising mode and crammed it. Instead I decided the main essentials would be better, and yet these main essentials total up to a whole lotta stuff! In the main compartment there's a few things you'll always find. I always like to carry my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0* (Amazon*, £249) around with me because it's like my phone, my computer and my kindle all in one. I can read blogs on my BlogLovin' app, I can tweet or chat on Facebook, I can write blog posts, or even read a book or watch a film. I love it and I love this case I found for it, the Folding Folio Flip Stand Case in Purple (eBay, £7.95), colour cordinating my tech with A/W colours! More technology, when I'm not at home and I'm on the go, I always have to have my phone with me - and usually a few spare batteries, too! I couldn't be without my Samsung Galaxy Nexus. As well as the notepad in the front compartment, I have another little jotter which a lovely design and jewel finish, which has a magnetic flap. I use this for jotting down any products I spot when out shopping, that I want to look into! My student and University ID is always in my bag when I'm not at Uni, where it's usually around my neck on my Ghost House Collective Lanyard (GHC, £2.99) Of course I couldn't leave the house without my purse, something I used to change regularly when I used to obsessively buy cheap Primark/New Look purses, but for the past year it has been my lovely Vivienne Westwood purse, which is a gorgeous navy blue with a lovely design and gold Vivienne Westwood logo. I wish I could remember the name of the design, but it's no longer available anyway - I bought it in the New Year in the sales, £80 instead of £160! Vivienne Westwood does some stunning purses though, ranging from £100-£155 on the Vivienne Westwood website. Another high-end accessory, I have my leather Quilted Micheal Kors Gloves in Navy which I snapped up in TKMaxx for just £24.99 rather than their $98 RRP (£60.47) Any 'on the go' makeup or touch up heros are kept in my gorgeous Bobbi Brown Rose Gold Cosmetic Bag, which came free with a recent order I made which I shared in my A Touch of Old Hollywood post. It's just the right shape and size for all my on the go essential makeup products and tools! 

Finally onto the last few bits and bobs I carry around with me, who knew rambling about the contents of my bag would end up taking so long. If you've made it this far, well done - they'll be a hot cup of tea and some cake waiting for you at the end. I always make sure to carry a hand cream around with me and my favourite in this cold autumn weather is the Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream (Balance Me, 30ml, £7.50) which I team up with my O.P.I Cuticle Revitalizer Pen. This colder weather also means my Lanolips 101 Ointment (Boots, £11.22) is my permanent lip product of choice when out, keeping my lips soft and smooth and any dry lips at bay! I also like to carry around a Travelo Classic Excel in Silver* (Feel Unique*, 5ml, £11.99) which I carry one of my favourite scents in, Kim Kardashian (Debenhams, 100ml, £40) I also always have to have my diary on me, of which I prefer the page-to-day A5 academic year diaries and of course, who can travel around London without an Oyster card? Which I like to keep kept away in my Paperchase Travelcard Holder (Paperchase, £8) And that's it! What's always in your bag?

If you would like your very own LYDC The Paddington Bag, then pop on over to the LYDC website where you can get 20% off of all colour varities of The Paddington Bag with the promo code 'TTLPROMO' Valid until Monday December 2nd, 11:59pm. They have free standard delivery on all orders, enjoy!

The Paddington Bag by LYDC in Purple

I post daily, keep up to date with my newest posts by following me
*This post contains PR samples. All opinions are my own and genuine.
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