27 August 2014

AWAY WE GO! AUGUST BIRCHBOX REVIEW




Of all the beauty boxes available in the UK, Birchbox is my favourite. Every month I'm treated to a box of products I can't wait to try, and the contents always impresses. If there's one box to invest in, it's Birchbox. 

The August box comes with a perfect theme for all you lucky lovelies heading away to catch the last of the summer rays. Disappearing to places unknown, taking adventures and making magical memories. The theme, Away We Go!, perfectly matches the box of travel friendly products, full sizes and little extras, covering skincare, makeup, body care and hair care, with a perfect lifestyle extra. As always, there's some super pretty postcards tucked inside the box, full of handy tips, must-have products and insider knowledge, as well as handy check-lists for anyone going away this summer, of the essentials you'll be glad Birchbox reminded you to take! Unlike the usual fabric bags, this month Birchbox have popped the August products inside an adorable carry-on travel cosmetics case, which will come in very handy for popping in my handbag with some essentials!

Liaison de Parfum I Dare You Eau de Parfum (100ml, £105)
I love receiving perfume samples in beauty boxes (in spray form only, though!), because it's the perfect way to try before you buy. You know pretty quickly whether you like a scent, and I've picked up many full size perfumes after trying sample sizes. This is a very pricey scent and one I'm not sure I would ever be able to afford myself, but it's lovely to be able to give it a try! A luxe fragrance, I Dare You combines Vetiver, Sandalwood, Leather and Amber. A very deep, warming, musky and masculine scent with the perfect feminine touch, this is one I'll get more use out of in the colder months ahead. Although strong, once it settles the scent really is lovely - strong, but lovely.

Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect (200ml, £20)
I love this, after a week of using it I am absolutely smitten! A leave-in conditioning spray which works to de-tangle, protect against heat and sun damage, nourishing, strengthening and repairing, whilst taming flyaway ends. It's a fab multi-purpose product that does the job of a lot of my hair care usuals, in one. Plus? My hair feels amazingly soft after each use. It's also 100% vegan, gluten-free, sulphate-free and paraben-free! A full size purchase is definitely on the cards.

Supergoop Daily Correct SPF35 CC Cream (47ml, £32) 
Another pretty high-end product, I don't think I've ever paid over £30 for a base product! I was a little sceptical about this one - I love BB creams, I've found I don't get on so well with CC creams. So far though, I've been pleasantly surprised with the Supergoop Daily Correct SPF35 CC Cream. It feels weight-less when on, evens skin-tone easily whilst leaving a flawless finish that's like velvet to the touch. It also works wonders are disguising pores and works well with my oily skin. The SPF35 is a lovely bonus. Have I finally found a CC cream to adore?

Wild About Beauty Powder Eyeshadow Paradise (£13) 
I was so, so thrilled to see Wild About Beauty in the August box! I've tried a few products from Wild About Beauty and each one I have adored, it's a brand I want to explore more and I've had my eye on their palettes, so to receive a full sized shadow was amazing! With a creamy soft powder formula and gorgeous satin finish, Paradise is a beauty shade which would work well with any skin tone. A warm gold with fine shimmer that works lovely worn alone as a wash of colour, but really comes into its own when used with more oomph for a pop of colour. The colour pay-off is really great, easily built up, easily blended, and can we just appreciate how beautiful the embossing is? I love bees.

Miracle Skin Transformer Hydro-Active Microderm (1.oz, £25)
The only product I wasn't keen on in the August box, I recently mentioned this product in my Products Not Worth the Hype #5 post. I'm just not a fan and it's also not a product my skin, at my age (26), needs. It uses mirconised magnesium-oxide crystals to smooth, refine and polish, but for me it's just far too abrasive and I'll be passing this sample size onto someone I think will get more use of it! 

Lifestyle Extra
The Proposal by Tasmina Perry (£7.99)
I was like a kid in a sweet shop when I saw this month's lifestyle extra, a snippet from the new book of one of my favourite chick-lit authors! I am a huge fan of Tasmina Perry, and included inside my August Birchbox was chapter one of the Perry's new book, The Proposal. Can't wait to get stuck into this - and this is one thing I'll definitely be ordering, as I want to read the whole thing! 

Overall, I'm definitely happy with the August box. There's only one product I don't like, and it's rare for me to find a product I really don't get on with in a beauty box, so I'll let Birchbox off. I adore the Wild About Beauty Paradise eyeshadow, the I Dare You scent has truly grown on me and I'm over the moon about The Proposal snippet! I'm so impressed by the Supergood CC creme, and I'm smitten with the Super Comb Prep & Protect. Another month, another great Birchbox! 

Subscribe to Birchbox for £10 per month plus £2.95 p&p

*This post contains a PR sample, for more info please check out my Disclaimer.
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26 August 2014

THE EMPTIES #1

A picture of THE EMPTIES #1

A picture of THE EMPTIES #1
When I first started writing Tattooed Tealady I always used to do monthly empties posts and it's been a good year (or more...) since my last once. I recently bought some storage boxes for the new office and after organising and tidying everything away, I had one of the three boxes left, the smallest. I decided it was the perfect place to start collecting empties again, which I had started saving up again a few weeks earlier. Empties posts are the perfect way to share my final thoughts on products, whether I would repurchase them - and most importantly? To motivate me to use products up again!

SKINCARE
A cult skincare product, the Origins GinZing Eye Cream (15ml, £23) has been a favourite of mine ever since I first reviewed it early last year (see here). One of my favourite eye creams, I love the way it instantly brightens my eye area, whilst still being hydrating, smoothing and helping to reduce any unwanted puffiness. I only ever used the GinZing Eye Cream as a morning eye cream, and find it works well either with makeup or without. It's a wonderful eye cream, and I'd definitely repurchase (I was a little sad to reach the end of my pot!).

I first shared the Melvita Orange Blossom Extraordinary Water (100ml, £17) back in May (see here), after receiving a sample size in a beauty box. I instantly became smitten with how instantaneously it worked to hydrate, calm, soothe and refresh my skin, one of the best toner spritzes I have ever used. I will 100% be repurchasing, along with a few other floral waters available from Melvita, once I've used up a few more toners in my stash. Amazing product, it showed huge benefits to my skin! 

BODY CARE
It's not just limited edition makeup I hoard, but body care too, and I've finally plucked up the courage to finish up my deliciously scented Lush Prince Charming Shower Gel. Unfortunately as a limited edition product, it's no longer available, but if it pops up in the 2015 Valentine's Day collection, I'll definitely be stocking up! With a mix of fresh Pomegranate Juice and Grapefruit Oil, Fair Trade Vanilla Pod, skin-softening Marshmallow Root and Almond Oil, the scent was mouth-watering and I love how long the fragrance lingered throughout the day. Please re-release this Lush!

Another body wash my partner and I jointly used up, is the Korres Fig Shower Gel (250ml, £8) which I actually managed to snap up earlier in the year in a duo set buy-one-get-one-free (so expect to see the other in my next empties!). Anything fig scented gets me hooked, as it always reminds me of Cyprus. The Korres offering is a touch more musky in scent than my other fig favourites, but in a way which makes it really soothing and warming under the hot steam of a shower. Would I repurchase? Probably not; it's a good product, great in fact, but I have cheaper favourites which have a sweeter, fresher scent that I prefer. Sorry Korres

The Gilchrist & Soames English Spa Sea Kelp Extract Mineral Bath (236ml, £11.25) was a product I found inside my July Birchbox (see here), which I actually really enjoyed using. It made lots of lovely bubbles, had an incredibly refreshing scent with herbal and citrus notes, which was perfect for waking me up in the mornings, leaving my skin cleansed and softened. I love the way the scent filled the bathroom and it certainly made bath time more refreshing and invigorating. Would I repurchase? I would! I'd also love to try the accompanying Gilchrist & Soames English Spa Vitamin E Body Lotion (236ml, £11.25).

HAIR CARE
John Frieda is a brand I return to for shampoos and conditioners all the time, a brand I have used for years. I've gone through a couple of bottles of the John Frieda Luxurious Volume Shampoo (250ml, £5.99) now, but I'm a big fan of the entire range (see here). As volumising shampoos go, it isn't my favourite - I much prefer the Ojon Volume Advance Range (see here) - and I find it a touch too drying, but followed with a good conditioner and you're set to go! I'd definitely repurchase in the future, but only if we were on a budget. 

A budget-friendly hair care product I would repurchase even over my high-end favourites, is the Phil Smith Be Gorgeous Wow! Brunette Conditioner (250ml, £3.50) which leaves my hair feeling incredibly soft. In fact, it leaves my hair so soft I rarely need to apply an oil afterwards, and it also adds a lovely natural-looking healthy shine to my hair. Love. 

I've just finished my second pot of Lush Big Shampoo (330g, £11.95), and I'm just as besotted now as I was after my first use. I shared my thoughts on Big almost as soon as I tried it for the first time (see here), a fantastic product which does the job of two of my favourite high-end hair care products. It works to deeply cleanse my hair like the Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo (see here), whilst volumising and added some much needed oomph to my hair just like the Ojon Volume Advance Range. It lasts forever, it smells lovely, it's cruelty free - what's not to love? I'll definitely be picking up another pot next time I'm near a Lush store! 

MAKEUP
I've been a big fan of the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation (30ml, £10.99) ever since it's release, and I've just finished my third bottle. I love this foundation; it applies perfectly, blends easily, leaves a lot natural yet almost dewy finish and works wonderfully with my oily skin. I've even hailed it as one of my top drugstore bases (see here). I will definitely be repurchasing this beauty again, but I've decided it works better with my skin in the colder months, so I'll be waiting until winter to repurchase.

Have you used any products up recently? Let me know! 

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24 August 2014

THE VEGAN KIND AUGUST BOX REVIEW

A picture of The Vegan Kind August Box

A picture of The Vegan Kind August Box
A picture of The Vegan Kind August Box

A picture of The Vegan Kind August Box
A picture of The Vegan Kind August Box
When The Vegan Kind first starting sharing their monthly lifestyle subscription boxes, I never thought I'd get as hooked as I am now! As a non-vegan, I'm not against switching over to more planet and animal friendly brands and I've found through each The Vegan Kind box, that a lot of things I would get as 'treats' from big name brands whose products aren't vegan friendly, taste nowhere near as good as the offerings in each month's The Vegan Kind box which are always the most delicious treats of all! The August box is no different.

Freedom Mallows Strawberry (75g, £2.50)
Freedom Mallows have featured in The Vegan Kind before and they are easily the most scrumptious marshmallows ever. I devoured these pretty quickly! Probably my favourite ever food item featured in The Vegan Kind, they're fat free, dairy free, egg free, nut free, GMO free, gluten free, gelatine free and vegan! These are a must-try for everyone with a sweet tooth.

I've seen these popping up on a few of my favourite Instagram accounts recently, and I was really excited to try them! Wholesome, delicious vegetables re freeze dried without adding any salt, oil, sugar, fat or preservatives. Less than 20 calories per pack, they also count towards 1 of your 5 a day! Unfortunately these weren't to my taste (although I love peppers and mangetout both raw and cooked in meals!), but my partner absolutely loved them and quickly ate up the whole packet!

Living Naturally Soapnut Tabs (265g/20 washes, £6.49)
Soap Nuts have also featured in The Vegan Kind before, but this is a completely new product! The world's first soapnut powder laundry tabs, they're great for whites and resistant colours and are best used at 30'-90' washes. They're made from certified organic ingredients, are certified vegan, free of phosphate, chlorine and GMO, as well as being biodegradable and sustainable! I've been using these over the past week and I have to say, they do just as good of a job as any of our usual supermarket brands, they have left our clothes just as clean and smelling just as fresh - we'd definitely pick these up again!

OK so I may have been a little too excited when I saw this in the box, but Propercorn is my favourite for a popcorn treat and sweet and salty is my favourite flavour! Popcorn is actually a fab low calorie snack and something I always make sure to have in the house, as it's a fab treat and quite low in Weight Watchers ProPoints, too! Propercorn do a whole host of imaginative flavours, so I'm definitely going to start branching out, but let's just say, sweet and salty will always have my top spot!

If you've been reading my The Vegan Kind reviews for a while, you'll know I'm not the biggest fan of protein bars, so this was another one passed on to my other half! Enriched with raw protein, helping to give you sustained energy release and containing a generous helping of chocolate chips (which were huge!) and a healthy handful of almonds, they contain no added sugar, are dairy, GMO and gluten free and contain no trans fats! 

Teen VGN is a social network for young vegetarians and vegans which aims to provide a safe environment for compassionate youngsters to meet like minded people. Members share stories, encouragement, delicious recipes and share and take part in fabulous campaigns. Fuelled by Compassion is one such campaign, which aims to get more people talking about their vegetarian or vegan lifestyle and they they've chosen to go cruelty free. If you're vegan or vegetarian, I'd love to know why you chose to go cruelty free! 

Another month, another fab contents. The Vegan Kind really is the favourite monthly box in the Tattooed Tealady household, and I can't wait to see what the September box holds! The Vegan Kind costs £10 a month plus £2.95 post and packaging. Each month a charity is selected as the Charity of the Month and a 10p donation is made from each The Vegan Kind box. For August, the Charity of the Month is Nut House Hen Rescue! There's also a delicious recipe included in each month's box and for August, it's a scrumptious looking Nectarine Salad, from blogger Coconut and Berries! I can't wait to give it a try! 

*This post contains PR samples, for more info please check out my Disclaimer.
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23 August 2014

Vicky Morgan | Disney Inspired Matryoshka Villains

A picture of Disney Inspired Matryoshka Villains by Vicky Morgan
A picture of Disney Villain Maleficent by Vicky Morgan
A picture of Disney Villain Ursula by Vicky Morgan
A picture of Disney Villain The Evil Queen by Vicky Morgan
I'm not the biggest Disney fan, I'm a bit of an oldie and prefer the classics. Disney movies like The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Disney movies when Disney was still Disney and most things were done by hand, drawing, using pen and paper to bring characters to life. Classic Disney. 

Vicky Morgan is one of the most talented ladies I know, my tattooist for more years than I can remember. I have quite a few prints from Vicky, eagerly awaiting beautiful frames when we're in a house that allows us to hang things up. But I couldn't help adding to my little stash of Vicky's artwork, with the beautiful trio set of three Disney Inspired Matryoshka Villains. Featuring Maleficent, Ursula and Evil Queen, I was smitten as soon as I saw them. I'm a big, big fan of tattoo artwork both on skin and paper, and these are just beautiful! I adore how vivid the colours are, how bold the lines are, yet how totally Disney they are. I picked up the set of three plus postage, for just £20. I can't wait to find the perfect frames for them. Big, chunky ornate frames, they'll look beaut. Do you love them as much as me?!

Unfortunately the Disney Inspired Matryoshka Villains are now all sold out, there's still lots of fab artwork plus jewellery available from Vicky over on her Big Cartel, Vicky Morgan Tattoo. It's also worth following Vicky on Instagram @VickyMorganTattoo where she posts all her latest prints on sale, before anywhere else! 

If you're a big Disney fan, make sure you also check out the Disney Themed Charity Day for Alder Hey Children's Hospital, where Vicky, alongside a whole host of talented tattoo artists, will be raising money by tattooing Disney themed tattoos, as well as selling artwork and more! 

Whose your favourite Disney villain?

*All artwork is copyright of Vicky Morgan, Ghost House, Derby. 
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21 August 2014

HOME SWEET HOME | Makeup Collection Storage

A picture of Ikea Malm Dressing Table

A picture of Gifts & Pieces House Shaped Wooden House

A picture of Muji Acrylic 5 Drawer Storage
A picture of Gifts & Pieces Unicorn Jewellery Dish
I have always dreamed of 'the perfect' makeup storage. For years I made do with whatever I could get my hands on, mostly old beauty boxes, shoved into an old chest of drawers. It was unorganised, it was chaotic, but it worked. When we moved home back in February, I decided enough was enough - I would have space in the new house for proper makeup storage, so it was time to bite the bullet and order the pieces I'd had my eye on for a while.

My dressing table is the Ikea Malm Dressing Table (£95) in white with glass top. It was just what I was looking for. In my younger years I always dreamed of a French shabby chic interior for our bedroom, with a matching dressing table with ornate wood carvings and oh so very pretty. But pretty isn't always practical, and for me the Malm was a much better option. It's a really long dressing table, fairly decent in width too, with a full drawer underneath - what a lot of dressing tables I had looked at, lacked. For me it's perfect for putting the majority of my makeup collection inside, everything is easy to access and most importantly, I can keep things organised. There are a couple of downsides with the Ikea Malm dressing table though. The drawer doesn't have the most sturdy of bottoms, although it's not bent, drooped or given way with my makeup stash in there (yet), and I think that's partly due to me sticking more support in there when building the dressing table, than needed. The drawer also doesn't pull entirely out, which is the biggest negative for me as it means anything towards the back of the drawer is harder to get at. Other than that? I love it. I keep everything neat and tidy, organised away into 10 Muji PP Basket 2 (£1.95) containers.

I also picked up the matching white Ikea Malm Chest of 6 Drawers (£85), not only to match my dressing table, but because I'm not the biggest fan of the look of the blogger-popular Alex drawers. I prefer the handles (or lack of) for the Malm drawers, with no gaps and six drawers with extra storage on top for your jewellery and a handy stand-up mirror. The two drawers at the top are slimmer than the lower four, so you're very limited as to what you can get in them, but the bottom four are huge and fit absolute tons in! Again, the drawers don't have the best support, so I added some extras in when building. I've seen a lot of bloggers say their Malm or Alex drawers have collapsed, but mine have been fine. I think it's all about working out what is best to have in there, depending on weight! Each of my drawers are absolutely crammed, but I keep anything overly heavy out of there, to prevent any caving-in disasters.

Acrylic Muji Storage, you either have them (like every other blogger), want them (like every other blogger) or, you hate them. Personally? Love, love, love! There's something super pretty about being able to see your makeup through crystal clear acrylic. I have two of the Acrylic 5 Drawers (£24.95) and one of the Acrylic 1 Drawer Wide (£7.95). Not everything will fit in the standard size drawers, which is why I have one of the wider drawers for my bases, but most of everything else fits in there with no fuss. 

As well as my main storage, I also have lots of little bits and pieces. I have several jewellery dishes from Gifts & Pieces, ranging in price from £3.50-£8.90 (and a whole load of others available, too!) which I love for pretty much anything but jewellery! I have my balms on my Unicorn dish, and others scattered around my room keep bobby pins and bobbles together, or little sample products I'm trying to use up. A lot of lovely things in my room are also from Gifts & Pieces, like the little Shabby Chic Rustic Style Tray (£4) which houses my everyday most reached for skincare, or the House Shaped Wooden House (£15) which sits on top of my Malm drawers, home to little trinkets, small products and all the little nic-nacs I don't have space for elsewhere. In the past, it's also doubled up as a perfect place for storing nail polishes! 

There's a few bits and pieces below my desk, too, where I store non-makeup things, but I'll be sharing those in an upcoming post where I delve into my makeup collection and share what I have, where I store it and how I use it all! If you have any storage suggestions or ideas, or simply love the way you store your own beauty stash, I'd love to hear!

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19 August 2014

The Mineral Bases

A picture of Inika Mineral Foundation Powder

A picture of Antipodes Mineral Foundation
If I want a truly natural, flawless finish, mineral bases are the way to go. There's something about mineral makeup which just works better than any other formula, leaving my skin looking clear, smooth, healthy and glowing. As someone with oily skin, mineral bases are also an absolute beauty at keeping my oily skin at bay, more than any other liquid, cream or stick base in my stash. I have a lot of love for mineral bases, but there's two which definitely stand out from the crowd.

One of my favourite brands for mineral products, the Inika Mineral Foundation Powder (8g, £27.50) has been my favourite mineral base for a good couple of years now. I'm on to my second pot, and I always stick with the same shade, Patience, a warm beige for medium skin tones. There's 9 shades available in the range, and Inika have made choosing the right shade easy-peasy with their handy complexion guide. Not just any mineral base, the Mineral Foundation Powder has won awards for it's ability to act as a concealer, foundation and powder all in one, with pure ingredients and SPF15. What I adore about this base, is that you can apply in two ways for two different types of coverage. 

For a light-medium coverage, using my Sigma F80 Flat Top Kabuki (£15.95), I apply in light, downward strokes, but for a heavier coverage, buffing in with circular motions works perfectly. I usually opt for the heavier coverage, but both leave my skin looking fabulous (if I do say so myself!), the finish is just perfect making my skin look radiant and healthy, whilst still working well with any products I put on top. I can easily get through almost a full day before needing to powder, and even then just a light dusting is enough as the mineral base works well to keep any unwanted shine and oil at bay.

A new base to join my beauty stash is the Antipodes Mineral Foundation* (6.5g, £27.99, currently on sale for £23.79), a new product from one of my favourite brands, which has far surpassed my expectations. I'll be honest, I never thought another mineral base would beat my long-time Inika favourite, but Antipodes have seriously outdone themselves with this one. Working to provide great coverage with a flawless finish that gives the appearance of soft and dewy second skin, I think I might be obsessed. 

A hydrating, skin-perfect base, the Antipodes Mineral Foundation has a natural SPF15 and features revolutionary antioxidant Vinanza Performance Plus®; helping to reduce facial flushing, with earth minerals that work to balance oil production, whilst rescuing blemished skin. It's lightweight, it has an amazingly natural, second-skin finish and it can easily be built up like the Inika offering, for a light-medium, or slightly heavier coverage. The best thing about this mineral base? I never have to powder. Honestly, not once. I don't finish my makeup off with a powder once everything's applied, I don't sneak some powder on to my t-zone at lunchtime, I don't even reach for powder when it's been on for 12 hours straight. It's amazing! No shine, no oil, no need to add more products to my face, I've never tried anything like it. There's one word to describe the Antipodes Mineral Foundation - extraordinary.

If adding a range of four mineral bases wasn't enough, Antipodes have also created the Antipodes Kabuki Brush* (£16.99, currently on sale for £14.44), created specifically for use with the mineral foundation. Using soft, natural hairs, it's lovely teamed with the mineral base and works effortlessly to create a flawless finish. 

My two mineral base loves, I couldn't recommend either enough. Do you use mineral bases? Do you have any favourite brands you think I should check out? Let me know! 

*This post contains PR samples, for more info please check out my Disclaimer.
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16 August 2014

Daily Summer Skin Routine

A picture of Dr. Ceuticals Beach Perfect Body Firmer, Organic Surge Soothing Sweet Blossom Body Cream and Argan+ 5 Moroccan Rose Nourish & Renew Body Wash.
A picture of Dr. Ceuticals Beach Perfect Body Firmer, Organic Surge Soothing Sweet Blossom Body Cream and Argan+ 5 Moroccan Rose Nourish & Renew Body Wash.
A picture of Organic Surge Soothing Sweet Blossom Body Cream
I've got myself into quite a routine this summer, and it's left my skin very happy to say the least. This is the first summer that I've actively had my legs out more often, instead of opting for tights or leggings all the time, and that's massively down to the weight I've lost so far on Weight Watchers. This also means I'm putting a little bit more effort in to making sure my legs look good. Smooth skin, soft to touch and generally happier with more TLC every single day. Usually, I'd add a touch of self-tan in the summer too (my favourite is the Xen Tan Dark Lotion), but with tattoo appointments coming up, I have to leave my skin tan-free. 

I've pretty much devoured the Argan+ 5 Moroccan Rose Nourish & Renew Body Wash* (200ml, £3.30) over the past few weeks, finding the scent entirely addicted but also loving how soft it makes my skin feel, just from washing. I always apply body lotions or creams after a shower, because my skin can often feel drier afterwards, but the Moroccan Rose Body Wash leaves my skin feeling soft from the moment I use it! Using Moroccan Argan Oil combined with soothing Rose Otto Oil, it works to cleanse, calm and nourish skin. It just smells so amazing! Can't get enough of this one, and I think I may have to bulk-buy.

In the morning's I've been opting for the Organic Surge Soothing Sweet Blossom Body Cream* (150ml, £7.50), which in it's own right has a scent just as addictive. A light-weight cream, it's almost as if it's been whipped and little goes such a long way - I use less of this body cream each application, than I do my usual body butters, which also means it's lasting a lot longer too! With Pure Sweet Orange, She Butter and Cedarwood Essential Oils, it works to moisturise, calm, comfort, nourish and protect. It feels instantly soothing when applied, with added Aloe Vera, and leaves my skin feeling hydrated all day long. I think this is also my very favourite Organic Surge scent, another one I'll be stocking up on!

For evenings I've been going for something with a bit more oomph, a product which claims to help firm, tone and resculpt my skin. The Dr. Ceuticals Beach Perfect Body Firmer* (200ml, £19.99 - currently on offer for £9.99) is my first dabble into Dr. Ceuticals, and a product which has made me want to try more from the brand. With a much thicker consistency than the Sweet Blossom Body Cream, it actually massages in much easier than I expected and leaves my skin feeling ohh-la-la. It's perfect for popping on before bed, because although it's thicker in consistency, it feels weight-less on my skin. With Q10 and Vitamin B3, which work to improve our skins elasticity and firmness, it targets cellulite and fatty deposits, with skin-stimulating caffeine. Providing intense moisturise and hydration, continued use of this beauty in the evenings has left my skin feeling amazing by morning, every single time. OK so I've still got my dreaded cellulite, but it definitely hydrates, soothes and moisturises, with a delicate yet (another) addictive scent of Shea Butter, Coconut Oil and Almond Oil.

What products have been your summer staples? Have you tried any other products from Dr. Ceuticals you think I should give a go? What's your favourite scent for body care products? Let me know! 

*This post contains PR samples, for more info please check out my Disclaimer.
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Pip the Bunny Gourmet E-Liquids

This review contains products for those above the legal age of 18. 
Please only click-through if you are 18+.
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15 August 2014

Teapigs Matcha Super Power Green Tea Drink Review

A picture of Teapigs Matcha Super Power Green Tea Drink Grapefruit, Apple and Elderflower

A picture of Teapigs Matcha Super Power Green Tea Drink Grapefruit

A picture of Teapigs Matcha Super Power Green Tea Drink Elderflower
A picture of Teapigs Matcha Super Power Green Tea Drink Apple
It's no secret I love tea, but one type of tea I have always struggled to get to grips with, is green tea. I've tried dozens of varieties of green tea and I've never found one I like. But, I kept searching because I really do want to incorporate green tea into my diet on a daily basis, as the health benefits are too good to ignore. At a REN event earlier in the year, I was introduced to a kind of green tea I didn't even know existed, and I've finally found a green tea I like; Matcha. Matcha is a super-concentrated green tea powder, which is packed full of good-for-you antioxidants and nutrients. It's almost a cult product, preferred to your standard green tea and definitely one for those who love super-powerful natural goodness.

Matcha contains 70 times the amount of antioxidants than orange juice, and can raise your energy levels for up to 4-6 hours. As Matcha is finely powdered green tea, it gives you more benefits than drinking green tea from a teabag. As Teapigs put it, you wouldn't boil some veg, throw the veg away and just drink the water, so why drink green tea teabags, when you can get the full benefits through Matcha? Teapigs Matcha comes from a renowned region in Japan, Nishio, where tea leaves have been grown under cover to produce as much amino acids and chlorophyll (the stuff which makes green tea, green) as possible. The leaves are dried, slowly ground using granite until they are just a fine powder, before being packed and covered as quickly as possible. I've been trying Matcha powder myself, and have seen some massive benefits in general to my overall energy levels and character, but I have a full review coming on that in another blog post soon. First, I wanted to introduce you to Teapigs Matcha Super Power Green Tea Drinks* (£1.89), which for me have been the easiest way to get Matcha into my diet.

In three delicious flavours, the Teapigs Matcha drinks are a quick and easy way to get the full benefits of Matcha, without the fuss of preparing a drink using the Matcha powder. It's quicker, it's easier, and especially if you're on the go it's a drink you can grab on your way out of the door and not have to worry about missing your usual pot of powdered Matcha. There's three flavours, Elderflower; a light, refreshing and floral blend with one serving of Matcha, Spring Water and Elderflower, Apple; a juicey drink with Apple, Spring Water and one serving of Matcha, and Grapefruit; slightly punchier in taste, a kick of Grapefruit, Spring Water and one serving of Matcha. They are all incredibly low in calories (apple is 23kcal, grapefruit is 21kcal and elderflower is 32kcal), and they're free from added sugar, with all natural ingredients. I loved each of the three flavours - I thought I'd have a disliking for Grapefruit, as it's such a sharp taste, but it was actually so light and subtle that it was perfect. The Apple flavoured one tasted just like apple juice, and the Elderflower flavoured one was my favourite, as I love elderflower! For me, these are a fab way to make sure I get my Matcha fix and they are also fab and refreshing for a hot summers day. I've particularly enjoyed the Elderflower one after a morning workout. 

Is Matcha something you incorporate into your diet? Let me know! If you'd like tot ry the Teapigs Matcha Super Power Green Tea Drinks for yourself, you can use my exclusive 10% discount to grab them at a bargain price! Enjoy, and let me know if you give Teapigs a try! 

*This post contains PR samples, for more info please check out my Disclaimer.
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13 August 2014

Boys Toys: Skincare

Skincare for men


Let's talk about men's skincare. I know, I know, I'm a woman, so why do I want to talk about men's skincare? Well, not only over the time I have been blogging have I noticed how few men actually use skincare as part of their everyday routine, but I also have a partner who I've been trying to get into a routine for nearly 3 years now.

Where my partner is concerned, he's always had a very strong view point that skincare, or any beauty products in general, are very feminine. There's nothing for men and why should he use it anyway? But being male doesn't prevent you from sun damage, ageing, or even some of the more unpleasant skin woes we sometimes encounter, like spots and blemishes, or even a skin reaction. Men have skin just like us girls, that needs looking after just as we look after our skin. 

The most I've managed to get my partner to use, is the Origins Super Spot Remover when he gets the occasional blemish, or a spritz one my current favourite toner. We did come to an agreement that I could give him an at-home facial, with exfoliators and masks, but that's yet to happen. If I look around at other men in my life, it's much the same. I can count on one hand how many men I know who use skincare regularly (and three of those are bloggers!). So what could help in making men realise that looking after their skin, is just as important as looking after ours? 

One thing that puts most men off with skincare, is how feminine it can seem whether that be in it's product claims, the scent or colour of the product or even the packaging. There are a lot of brands out there though who cater to men's skincare and they make sure their products are appealing to men, mainly through packaging and a choice of clever wording. Should men's skincare be treated any differently than women's? Sometimes I think no, but mostly? Yes. I think if you have a real man's man who refuses to do anything that might be seen as girly, then having more masculine products and packaging is a great way to get men interested - it's better to have them using macho-advertised products, than none at all.

One such brand who uses lots of fabulous manly words in their product names and claims, is Kiehl's. Kiehl's have a huge men's skincare range, that actually equals that of their women's skincare range. The first ever brand to create a skincare range for men (and the first to have full ingredients lists on products!), Kiehl's gets men to look after their skin without losing their caveman-cred. Origins is another fantastic brand for men's skincare, with deep, bold packaging and powerful-potent product names.

Looking after our skin as we age is incredibly important. We only have one body, one face - looking after ourselves doesn't take a lot of time, it just takes getting used to and getting into a routine that suits you. If you're a male reader who wants to find out more about skincare, then pop down to your local Kiehl's counter at House of Fraser for a skincare consultation (they'll even give you a few samples to take away!). You could also check out male-beauty bloggers, whose reviews are always in-depth and cover everything from skincare to hair care and body care. My favourites are Andy over at Pampered Prince, Thom over at Manface as well as Boyface (perfect for any male teen readers!), and Ged over at The Ged Lab.

What are your thoughts on men's skincare? Should package and product names be overly masculine, perhaps skincare should be suggested to boys at a younger age, as it is for girls? Does your partner use skincare? Let me know your thoughts and let's get a discussion going!

*This is a collaboration post, for more info please check out my Disclaimer.
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12 August 2014

Garnier Ultimate Beauty Oil Skin Perfector Review

A picture of Garnier Ultimate Beauty Oil Skin Perfector

A picture of Garnier Ultimate Beauty Oil Skin Perfector
I am the worst for buying products on a whim, which is exactly how the Garnier Ultimate Beauty Oil Skin Perfector (150ml, £7.49) made it's way into my stash. I wasn't looking for another body moisturiser, I generally stick to The Body Shop Body Butters or my old favourite lotions, but I do have a thing for dry oils and had never come across one at such a budget-friendly price before, so I decided to give it a go. In general, I don't find dry oils overly beneficial when in spritz form like this, in the past other offerings I've tried have left a greasy residue on my skin more than anything else. Dry oils are a great way to hydrate and lock in moisture, but they can be messy to apply when they're in any other format though, so it'd be great if the Ultimate Beauty Oil turned out to be a fuss-free way to apply, as well as ticking all the right beauty boxes. 

First off, the packaging. I actually really quite like the packaging for this one, as the shape not only stands out from your usual round or square bottle, but it's also fairly slim, so fits into your hand well to get a good grip (always an important factor when applying oils!). The scent? Completely sensuous and enchanting, a mix of Argan, Macadamia, Almond and warming Rose. The scent is easily my favourite thing about the Ultimate Beauty Oil, but what does it do for my skin?

Promising to give you beautiful skin, the Ultimate Beauty Oil is a perfecting oil which is 5 times more concentrated in nutrients than the regular Garnier body lotion. It contains four enriching and skin-loving oils; Argan, Macademia, Almond and Rose, which as well as creating a beautiful scent, work together to leave your skin looking instantly glowing and radiant (particularly lovely with a tan!). Over time, daily use does leave my skin feeling softer, smoother and I love the way my skin looks when using the Ultimate Beauty Oil, but it's not very hydrating and doesn't do much for dry areas such as knees and elbows. 

As a summer product, it's lovely; I apply my usual body butters when I wake, then around midday I'd apply the Ultimate Beauty Oil. It's especially perfect if you have your legs out, as it really works to give a healthy, glowing look. It's easy to hold, apply, and the spritzer makes things a lot less messy than pour-top bottles. It doesn't leave any unwanted residue or greasy feeling on my skin, in fact it sinks in beautiful whilst still making my skin look radiant. Although I liked it, I'm not sure if I'd repurchase, although it seems to be lasting forever! It just doesn't have a wow factor, or do enough to keep my skin soft and hydrated.

Have you tried the Garnier Ultimate Beauty Oil? What do you think to it? And if you have any dry oil recommendations, I'd love to hear them! 

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11 August 2014

Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa

A picture of Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa

A picture of Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa


A picture of Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa

A picture of Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa

A picture of Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa
Last Thursday, I went to heaven. By heaven, I mean I got to spend the day at Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa for a full day of relaxation and pampering. I haven't been to a spa before, but it's something I've wanted to do for so long. Ragdale Hall is really close by to me, just a short drive away, and I have wanted to visit since I was around 16, that's 10 long years! I know most people go abroad during the summer, but for me that's not quite within our budget and so enjoying the British summer whilst it's here is a much better alternative. Spas have always attracted me because I love the idea of escaping, somewhere that feels as if you could be almost anywhere in the world for one day just to relax and wind down. That's exactly what Ragdale Hall felt like; an idyllic countryside setting on a hot summers day, away from day to day worries, jobs and responsibilities. Heaven!

I woke up super early on the day to get ready, getting my bag together and making sure I had my Debenhams Black Bandeau Anchor Swimsuit and my Pink Tropical Flower Beach Towel. I went along with Charlotte (Lilmisschickas), and we arrived not long after 9:30am, on what really was a gorgeous morning; the sun was shining, it was already warm and there was a slight breeze. In such a beautiful setting, it really did make the trip all the more exciting for me! We were welcomed into the garden reception bar and given a complimentary fruit punch and breakfast energy shot, to get us going on our day. We were both booked in on the same package, the Pure Detox Spa Day which included three treatments, a robe for the day as well as a three course lunch - then we had another treatment each booked afterwards, so we had a full day of pampering ahead! 

Whilst we has some time to spare before our treatments, I decided to have a walk around the inside and outside of Ragdale Hall, whilst Charlotte was much better than me and went for a run in the spa gym. I am such a country bumpkin, so for me the setting was just phenomenal and I was in absolute heaven. The grounds are so picturesque, with adorable bench-swing sets, huge ponds and little bridges, an outdoor pool also sits around the front of Ragdale Hall, hidden from view by delicately placed hedges, surrounded by hills and fields that go as far as the eye can see. After taking in the beautiful view, Charlotte and I decided to give the thermal spa a try, which was amazing and sealed the deal that we'd spend the end of our day there (so more on that later!) But first, onto the treatments!

Pure Detox Spa Day
Destress & Detox Mud Wrap
This was the treatment I was most nervous about, as I knew it would be a minimal-clothing treatment, and I have major confidence issues with my body. The treatment started with a full body exfoliation, before warmed black Dead Sea Mud is applied to the skin, everywhere (you wear paper panties, that's it!). You're then wrapped up, whilst you receive a relaxing scalp massage. The lady who carried out my treatment was lovely, and even took the care to ask first if I wanted coconut oil used in my scalp massage, which I of course said yes to as it's a fab treatment for keeping your hair happy and healthy! After my scalp massage, it was time to pop into the shower to wash off all the Dead Sea Mud, before body lotion was applied. Although I was super nervous about this treatment, my therapist put me at ease and I felt comfortable throughout. My skin looked and felt fabulous after, as the Dead Sea Mud works to both deeply cleanse and re-mineralise your skin. 

Fresh Feet
I love having my feet pampered and preened and the Fresh Feet treatment was the perfect way to give my feet some T.L.C. A conditioning treatment which uses O.P.I's specialist care products, your feet are scrubbed before your cuticles are conditioned and hard skin softened, with nails filed. There's no polish with this treatment, as it concentrates on pampering tired and sore feet. I find pedicures so awkward to do on myself, so it was lovely to have my feet pampered for me.

Body Massage
For me, there's very little that beats a massage. I've actually only had three massages before, but each one has made a huge difference to how my body - and mind - feel. The massage included within our package was a Swedish style massage using medium pressure, which works to release tension in the legs, arm and back. I felt amazing afterwards! 

O.P.I Classic Manicure
As my final treatment of the day, and an extra treatment outside of the Pure Detox Spa Day, I opted to have an O.P.I Classic Manicure. I've learnt my lesson where acrylic and gel nails are concerned, so whenever I have my hands pampered it's always a standard manicure. The O.P.I Classic Manicure includes a replenishing treatment, that works to maintain the skin on our hands as well as our cuticles, exfoliating, moisturising and conditioning. Next, your treated to a lovely hand massage before a colour of your choice is popped on your nails. I opted for O.P.I Do You Lilac It, and I'm absolutely smitten! 

Half way through our day and treatments, we also enjoyed a three course buffet style lunch. The food was absolutely delicious and I could have sat there all day eating (I was very full afterwards!) It felt a little odd at first, that everyone in the dining room was pretty much just wearing a dressing gown, but you soon got used to it.

With two hours to spare at the end of the day, Charlotte and I decided to spend some time relaxing in one of the many relaxation rooms scattered around Ragdale Hall, before heading back to the Thermal Spa. 
It was amazing! The Thermal Spa has been exclusively designed for Ragdale Hall, and at times I almost felt as if I was on holiday, it was so luxurious, pampering, yet completely captivating and enchanting at the same time, there was so much to do! 

Thermal Spa
The Thermal Spa comprises of 9 different areas, some of which I tried just the once, others I went back to time and time again. There is the Candle Pool, which is by far one of my favourites, a mosaic cavern with 34Âșc warmed water and flicking candles with a star-lit ceiling, so pretty! Then there's the Indoor/Outdoor Waterfall Pool, which snakes from the inside of the spa outside through to the gardens, with lots of little bays and inlets carved into the pool's structure, massage jets and a beautiful waterfall. This was such a heavenly pool to enjoy! The Thought Pool was another pretty mosaic room, which uses dry heart and a warm, ergonomic setting with ever-changing music, whilst images and colours are projected onto the walls and ceiling, to encourage positive thinking (something I'm always happy to do!). The Rose Sauna was, as you can image, absolutely heavenly with a gorgeous scent of rose in a Scandinavian sauna. This one was the only one I couldn't stay very long in, as for my first experience of a sauna, I just found it far too hot to put my skin against the wood! The Scented Room was another chance for me to relax with beautiful scents, though, a room which uses natural materials, fresh aromatic herbs and a gentle hue of colours to help invigorate and awaken your senses! 

Although at first it took a while for me to get used to breathing in the 100% humid environment of the Volcanic Salt Bath, it was easily one of my favourite aspects of the spa; a velvet darkness of hewn basalt and slate, I constantly felt as if my body was melting, but it actually did wonders for my skin, and my breathing afterwards! To cool down after the Volcanic Salt Bath, I really enjoyed the Colourful Cave, filled with a humid and heady mix of Jasmine and Camomile, with a river of colour flowing to a central crystal mountain for a hedonistic detox. There were several Experience Showers scattered around the spa, which lets you pick between a tropical shower or a cool mist, but I was too taken by the Cave Shower; a cave lit by stars which recreates the sensation of being caught out in the rain. You could choose a tropical shower, cool mist, or a thunder storm! Definitely my choice every time, I loved the crackling, roaring thunder (yes, it had sound effects!), flashes of light and heavy, heavy rainfall. Perfect.

Seriously? I had the most amazing day and I cannot believe it has taken me this long to try out a spa! I will 1000000% be back at Ragdale Hall, after experiencing the spa first hand I can genuinely say I think I am completely addicted and may have just started on a very expensive habit. I'm already making plans to go back at Christmas! I'd totally recommend a visit to Ragdale Hall, if you're nearby or looking for a weekend getaway! There's nothing quite like being absolutely spoiled rotten for the day, and the entire Ragdale Hall team were amazing - all of the girls who did my treatments were so lovely and the treatment waiting room team always had a smile on their faces. It was the perfect visit.

Who says you need to go abroad to enjoy summer?! Let me know what you think to my first spa experience, and if you have any spa experiences of your own to share, I'd love to hear them!  

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*The spa visit, swimming costume & beach towel were kindly provided by Debenhams.
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