Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Friday 30 May 2014

Skin Peel at Sk:n Clinic

Recently I had my skin scanned and I wasn't super happy at the results. Dehydration around my eyes and forehead and sun damage on my nose and cheeks being the two headlines. I've been trying to prevent further damage by using products with high SPF content and upping my water consumption.
I've also been considering a skin peel at a specialist clinic such as Sk:n. This is where chemicals are applied to the surface of the skin to remove the top layer of cells. This then encourages new cells to be produced and boost collagen production - the protein in your skin which gives it firmness and elasticity. The new cells and extra collagen help to reduce the appearance wrinkles and lines, acne scars, hyper-pigmentation (which I've also started to notice on my cheeks), and my nemesis - sun damage.

So what is putting me off? Well, although the treatment is pain free, in fact the chemicals used are so mild they can be used close to the eye and lip areas without irritation, it can result in localised swelling and peeling of the skin a few days after the treatment, so not ideal if you want to keep it a secret. However, the benefits are immediate after one treatment, with patients experiencing softer skin with their specific skin issues subtly improved. Sk:n does recommend a total of 4 treatments (depending on the type of peel you choose) for maximum results, with the cost per treatment starting at £80.  

Sk:n Sponsored Post


SmashBox Santi Gold Collection

For Summer 2014, Smashbox have launched the limited edition SantiGolden Age collection with Santi Gold. The vivid and vibrant range includes Lipglosses, eye pencils, eye shadow pallets and an amazing lipstick ring. Although the name Santi Gold didn't ring a bell, like me, you will properly recognise some of her songs if you heard them!

I've been lucky enough to try out a few goodies from the range, the Hot Lava  - Be Legendary Lip Gloss (£15) is a bright tomatoe red which has a glass shine finish, which would look fabulous with sunkissed skin. I'm also really enjoying the highly pigmented Eye Shadow Collage (£25) in Earth As We Know it. The plumb-brown shade (Rasin with Rosegold Pearl) looks great with green eyes and the soft sparkling cream looks pretty in the tear duct area as a highlighter. Although the blue looks peacock bright, it is more of a navy shade on the skin, which is a more wearable and works well for a lower impact smoky eye.


Thursday 29 May 2014

Macadamia Masque and Dry Shampoo

I'm forever looking for hair products to help boost the shine and moisture content of my hair without it going limp. I personally blame Kate Middleton with her beyond amazing locks. So it will come as zero surprise that I'm a fan of products containing argan oil - as they condition the hair and don't weigh it down. Although I've left 'normal' conditioners in my hair for hours, I've never actually used a proper hair mask, so I when I was given this Macadamia Deep Repair Masque (250ml/£26.95) from QVC. It contains the magic argan oil I love combined with macadamia nut oil and is infused with tea tree oil, chamomile oil, aloe and algae extracts. A super thick,  pretty shimmery pink-bronze cream needs to be popped on your locks for about 8 minutes before rinsing off. Loving my shower time, I didn't think that would be too long but after shampooing first the minutes did seem to linger, so next time, I will finish my shower and then rinse my hair after dressing etc. After using my hair did feel super soft, tangle free and didn't affect the volume - in fact one of my girl friends commented how thick my hair was looking - result!

 As I love my voluminous hair looks, I am a dry-shampoo addict, which usually cause dullness, however, the Macadamia Volumising Dry Shampoo (£150ml/£19.95) sprays clear, so you don't get the powdery residue that sucks away the shine. It isn't quite as voluminous as Batiste - my go to dry shampoo, but the pay-off is the shine you keep, but it is nearly 10x the price, so one for special occasions and I'll keep Batiste for everyday use.


Tuesday 27 May 2014

Outfit of the day: Devon Trip

For the bank holiday weekend I headed to the seaside town of Exmouth in Devon to spend time with my husbands' side of the family. Beach runs and walks and plenty of eating is how we spent our days and on Sunday afternoon when the sun was out, my little bro-in-law acted photographer for my outfit as we strolled down the promenade. 

We were heading out for Sunday Lunch at The Royal Becon Hotel so I wanted a smart-casual look. I have just bought this animal print jumper from Coast which I couldn't wait to wear - it is thick enough to keep you warm but not over heat in the sunshine. I paired it with my suer dark skinny River Island Amelie Jeans and tan ankle boots for New Look. 

As I opted for my SUPER bright pink Accessorize necklace I kept the rest of my accessories toned down, with my fav Biba over the sholder bag and Reiss leather bracelet. 

Shop the look
New Look Boots - last season, but these Tan Stud Zip Side Ankle Boots reduced from £24.99 to £11 are similar
Biba Jasmine Central Emboss Xbody Bag £89 - but currently on sale to £53.40


Monday 26 May 2014

Mani Monday: No7 Orange Spice

Sorry for the iPhone photos today, but I'm in Devon for the bank holiday and although I brought my camera to snap my mani Monday nails, I didn't think through how I was going to get them online - oops! Technology aside I couldn't wait to share Orange Spice, a muted coral orange which is a new shade in No7's gel look nail colour in their summer collection - more to follow on that front! It is a fun colour for spring/summer and isn't too bright (unlike last weeks out there orange) and the pink tone calms it down too. I do really like gel-effect polishes and No7's offering doesn't disappoint. It is quick drying and nice and shiny, especially after a top coat. I was particularly impressed at how smooth the polish went on, noting that I applied this whilst being driven down the A303 on Friday evening! This polish is £7 - but hopefully boots will have given you a little voucher last time you were in there for a few pounds off No7 makeup...


Friday 23 May 2014

My picks from the Cutagen Skincare range

I do like discovering a new affordable skin care brand, and recently I was sent a range of samples from Cutagen try out. The British company has its research labs based in Cambridge and Lancashire where they combine the expertise from medical, microbiolgical, molecular and cosmetic professionals.
The brand is divided into different ranges depending on your skin type; dry, combination  or oily/blemished and includes a range of body cleansers, hand washes, moisturisers and hand and body creams.
I've tried a range of sachets of the different products and the packshot images above are of my favorites.

The Gentlecare creme wash (£8.99/200ml) is a thick and creamy body wash which contains a mild cleanser so can be used on dry and sensitive skin types. It has no distinct fragrance, but smells of luxurious clean, if that makes sense! It leaves the skin well moisturized, so if your in a rush, you could manage without a body cream if your skin isn't too dry.

I also like the GentleCare intensive hand and body moisturiser (£5.99/200ml) which despite its' name, isn't too thick, so is good to use when the weather is hot and muggy. Being fragrance and colour free, it doesn't irritate sensitive skin and contains natural ingredients to protect the skin from water loss, calm and soften dry skin and add a dose of antioxidants. 

My final fav is the GentleCare 24hr hydrating moisturiser (£4.99/75ml) which is suitable for all skin types, also being fragrance and colour free. It is really light and sinks quickly into the skin.

If you fancy trying Cutagen for yourself, use the code BMB10PC on the Cutagen website and you will receive a 10% discount off the products.

Tuesday 20 May 2014

John Freida Luxurious Volume and Oil Elixir

Whenever I'm looking for a new hair product, I always look for old missing properties as I hate having flat  locks. So when John Frieda offered for me to try their luxurious volume shampoo and condition (£5.99 each) I was super keen. Containing a volumising polymer, the shampoo helps to create space between the hair strands, giving extra swoosh. The conditioner contains a light weight wax which helps to detain gel without weighing down the volume you've created.

The cleanser in the shampoo is really mild, so doesn't strip the hair of its moisture, and I have felt my locks have been nice and full after blow drying with a large roller brush. However, after sleeping on my hair, any extra volume created has been flattened out. 


I've also been trying Jonh Frieda's Frizz Ease Nourising Oil Elixir (£9.99) which I similar to the other hair oils on the market. Enriched with argan oil, It smells really lovley and totally detangles my hair, however, if you want to get volume in your roots, I'd recommend only using in your mid-lengths and ends, as it weighs the roots down too much. It's great for when you want a polished, straight style, but dips you're after adding waves or curling, the oil does cause them to droop prematurely!


Melvita: Plumping Rose and Bio-Excellence Naturalift

I am having a bit of a rose skincare moment, and the Plumping Rose collection from Melvita due to launch next month is on my current skincare regime.The Bee Farm founded french brand uses organic products to create their skincare products, in conjunction with supporting ecological issues and safeguarding the future of their favorite buzzy friends.

The collection is designed to combat the first signs of aging using the moisutrising properties of rose petals combined with extracts from rose hip (the vitamin rich fruit). This is meant to plump the skin, pushing out wrinkles and aiding luminosity. It works by promoting the production of tiny blood vessels in your skin, which mean your skin cells get extra oxygen and nutrients which keen them happy and healthy.

The range consists of three products, the Radiance Duo (£25/50ml) Serum (£34/30ml) and Cream - not pictured (£30/40ml). The big shout is about the Radiance due, which is a combination of Damask Rose water and oil (which you shake before use to mix. I really like it as I'm not a massive facial oil fan as I find it too greasy, but this due is so light disappears into the skin instantly. It is very delicately fragranced, which is a positive for me as I'm not a huge rose fan scent-wise. The pretty pink serum which I've then applied over the radiance due (not sure if this is the correct way round, but hey...) has another rose boost.

I haven't tried the Plumping Radiance Cream, however, I've been enjoying a sneak preview try of the Bio-Excellence Youthful Day Cream (£36/40ml) which doesn't launch until September which helps to firm the skin. Well, I'd probably overdosed on rose by then anyway! The dispenser is really nifty, with a pump and squeezy tube, so you can make sure none gets left in the bottom of the bottle - result.

As pleased as I have been with the products themselves, the packaging doesn't really scream premium skincare, for what is a reasonably pricey range.


Monday 19 May 2014

Mani Monday: Pixi Oh So Orange

How amazing has the weather been this weekend?! To celebrate the sunshine I decided to go for my newest nail polish in the brightest orange I have ever seen. It is literally like I have used a highlighter pen on my nails. Incredible. This was my first ever use of Pixi beauty products, but I've been impressed so far. The polish is really opaque for such a brightie needing only two coats for full coverage. Aptly named Oh So Orange, it is the funnest 'hottest day of the year-so-far' shade I have seen. I also really like the slim and tall bottles. My only slight issue was I found the brush tricky to get accurate application with, although I was ling down when painting my nails, not the most helpful position, granted. Oh So Orange is one of four new polishes brought out for SS14 priced at £8 each. I've also got a shimmery turquoise that is in my que of polishes to test out and show you....


Friday 16 May 2014

Dove Derma Series

Sorry for the late-ish post today, I was super tired after popping into town after work to attend a few press events and by the time I got home my brain was only functioning enough to sort out the images for this post. I really enjoyed shooting the photography for the Dove DermaSeries range as the stylish white packaging looks fabulously contrasting against my slate tiling in my bathroom.

So on to the products... I am a Dove girl, as I find their product are really good value and have loads of great scientific research behind them, so I was really interested to hear about their new Premium skincare range that has been years in the research that launched this month exclusively in Selfridges as part of the Beauty Project.

The DermaSeries range is designed for women with extremely dry skin and associated conditions such as eczema, who usually rely on pharmaceutical products for their daily cleansing and moisturising, which aren't always the nicest textures, fragrances and packaging. Designed by dermatologists, the products help to relive the symptoms of dry and irritated skin and help with skin barrier repair.

Although I occasionally suffer from mild eczema when I'm stressed or when its hot and humid, I wouldn't really put myself in this category, however, the products being ultra mild and non irritating are great for dry-normal skin types too. I've been using the Ultra Caring Gentle Body Cleanser (£16), the Ultra Caring Gentle Cream Face Cleanser (£14) and the Intense Repairing Body Cream (£16) the last week and I've really been enjoying using them. Although super mild and gentle, the face cleanser removes all my makeup with no difficulty, although I do miss the squeeky-clean feeling from the recent foaming-cleanser that I was using, but this feeling is due to stripping all of the oils from your skin, which is not good for sensitive skin.

The products are thicker, creamier and more luxurious than Dove's normal body washes and moisturisers, which I really like, and the packaging is much more stylish. The dispenser of the body cleanser is particularly good, as being a bit lazy, I love that I don't have to remove the lid in the shower!

The range also includes an  Ultra Caring Gentle Cleansing Bar (£8 - pictured), Intense Repairing Rough Patch Treatment (£14) which is a bit like Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream and Intense Repairing Skin Relief Cream (£14).

This Sunday (18th May 2014) Dove are offering one-to-one consultations with their skin experts regarding either dryness or skin tone at the trestle tables at Selfridges.  20 minutue appointments are available from 1.05 pm until 4.00pm and will last 20 minutes. To book, please contact the Beauty Workshop on 0207 318 3647.


Thursday 15 May 2014

Max Factor Colour Corrector Sticks

The trick to flawless looking skin, isn't just an amazing foundation, but also specialist concealers to suppress imperfections. Max Factor has recently launched a range of Colour Correct crayons to deal with the range of issues that scupper our attempts at a perfect complexion. The intelligence behind the  CC crayons is that the colours balance the skin tones we don't want, to neutralise to our normal skin colour. 

The pink crayon is amazing at vanishing dark spots, which sadly I have a few of on my face, due to too much sun worshiping in the past, I dot the product on to the sun spot and blend in with my finger tips. The green crayon works on redness, I don't think it is great on blemishes, but if you have any rosasia areas, it works quite well. I've been using it on the reddish patch I have between my eyebrows to tone it done a notch. The yellow under eye crayon works nicely on dark under eye circles, if you go up with the product into your tear duct area by the side of your nose it really helps.
I'm not that taken with the highlighter, it is so subtle that I don't think it makes a massive difference, and I'm not entirely sure where to use the blue dullness corrector, if you have any suggestions, please let me know! All exept the highlighter are designed to be worn under your foundation and are priced at £9.99 each, and are currently on a 3 for 2 offer at Boots.

New Colour Corrector sticks from Max Factor use the way colours balance and neutralise each other to correct and perfect any tonal imperfections in your skin such as dark under eye circles, blemishes or redness. £9.99


Tuesday 13 May 2014

New from Smashbox

Smashbox is famous for their amazing primers, so when I popped to their offices a couple of weeks ago I was interested to hear about the new products that have just been released. 

Be Legedary Lipglosses (£15) have been inspired by the photographic filters in smashbox studios an are super shiny, but not at all sticky. This cute bubble gum pink shade called Coquette is one of the 16 shades in the collection and is really cute for spring.

I'm not a massive fan of Waterproof mascara as I hate removing them, but if you're a waterproof girl, you might like to try the Full Exposure Waterproof (£18) out, as it is does have the volumising and lengthening powers of a regular mascara, and I really liked it, up to taking it off...

My fav of the newbies has to be the camera ready CC cream (£29). I have been a bit over the BB CC cream hype, but this one does seem to have got the level of coverage spot on, covering imperfections but still giving a light and fresh faced look. I also love the fact that it has SPF 30, so as the sun is getting stronger, your fully protected from the nasty UVs. One of the Smashbox makeup artist helped pick out my shade out of the five available of Light/Medium, which really is a great match for my spring complexion and has become my everyday go-to foundation.

I'm also enjoying the BB cream for eyes (£19), which is an eye cream and under eye concealer combo. It has really helps with the dark circles under my eyes whilst working on firmness and fine lines. The shade that suited me best was 'light' - but it is also available in the same shades as the CC cream.


Monday 12 May 2014

Mani Monday RMK Clear Grey-Blue and Nail Art Bows

It was my great-aunty's 80th birthday party yesterday and all the family gathered to celebrate with a yummy Sunday lunch. I decided I needed to add a nod to the celebrations in my mani, so popped a cute bow nail sticker from Nail Art on each of my thumb nails. To make the mani a little more sophisticated, I opted for this grey-blue shade from RMK's spring collection (£14) which although I love the colour, it is very dilute (the hint was in the 'Clear' part of the name, I didn't really take notice...) so I actually popped on about 5 coats to get the opaque look I was after. I will have to do another post when I just put on the two coats recommended to show you. I finished off my applying a top coat, which as well as keeps the varnish looking smarter for longer, also helps seal the nail sticker. Do be careful with the nail stickers, as I tried to move them as I wasn't quite happy with where I had put them to start with and tried moving them, which wasn't as successful as I had anticipated, as some of the design was left behind on the nail, but I didn't think I did too badly, and I'm sure Great Aunty Pam appreciated the extra effort!


Friday 9 May 2014

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Body Oil

I am currently obsessing over dry oils and this golden shimmery body oil from Nuxe (£34) is a little bit special. It smells like holidays so make me feel super summery even if the weather hasn't got the message. The  aroma is so gorgeous that Nuxe have also released a perfume in the same fragrance. The other reason I really like it is the gold shimmery particles,within the oil, they are really small, so don't look glittery, just giving a sunkissed sheen to the skin. When the weather has been warm enough to get my limbs out, I have been dousing them in with the oil, and I think it will look even better with a bit of a tan.

The spray applicator means it is easy to get an even disoribution of the product, but can mean that you room decor also get a shimmer added, so do be careful! Also, the shimmery particles do settle to the bottom, so you need to shake well before applying.

The oil also contains vitamin E which nourishes and softens the skin. Although the product is recommended for the face and hair along with the body, I don't think the shimmer works as well, but if you find that too, the oil is also available from Nuxe without the shimmer added.

The photo shows the oil having been applied in a thin layer to the leg on the left (of the photo!) and without on the right where I was enjoying the afternoon sunshine at the weekend.

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