Friday, 15 June 2018

Feather & Down Breathe Well

If you shop in Boots you've probably heard of Feather and Down and if you're already a fan you might be pleased to know they've just launched two new products. Just like the existing Sweet Dreams range, the new Breathe Well Pillow Spray and Breathe Well Bath Essence are designed to help encourage a restful night’s sleep.
The difference between these and the brand's already popular products? As well as Lavender and Chamomile, these contain Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Tea Tree essentials oils that are well known for their soothing and cooling properties, not to mention their ability to 'open the airways' a little.
With summer heating things up, Feather and Down have chosen the perfect time to launch the Breathe Well products. The Bath Essence creates just the right amount of pillowy bubbles and leaves the skin feeling sufficiently cooled and soothed. This is an ideal product for a pre-bed bath or shower before slipping between the sheets on a hot and humid night. I'll freely admit that I have been using the bath essence as a shower gel more often than not because I actually rarely find the time to soak away the day in a bath, but I assure you it's just as lovely when used in the shower!

The Pillow Spray is probably one of my new favourite things. I am a huge fan of room fragrances and pillow sprays with essential oils so it was almost a given I'd like this one. Like the bath essence, the spray features the classically comforting scent of lavender and chamomile spiked with refreshing eucalyptus, peppermint and tea tree. It really does make for a beautiful twist on your traditional sleep sprays and the addition of the three cooling 'breathe well' oils seem to lighten up the air when it feels a bit thick and humid.
An added bonus of these products is that I imagine they'd be a welcome addition to your bedtime ritual if you're feeling a bit sniffly and bunged up, whether that's down to catching a summer cold or suffering from hayfever. As it stands, I'm enjoying both products and so is my little family.

You can find Feather and Down Breathe Well Pillow Spray and Bath Essence at Boots in store and online where both products are very reasonably priced at £7 each.


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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Sister & Co True Cleanse

There's something quite special about an oil cleanse and this offering from cult brand Sister & Co Skin Food is no exception. Sister & Co are well known for their 100% natural line of skin, body, hair and oral health products and are hugely popular with green beauty fans in particular. They first grabbed my attention with the release of their Raw Coconut & Activated Charcoal Tooth Whitening Polish and since then I've kept one beady eye on the brand to see what they come up with next. Their newest release is True Cleanse Oil, which, you guessed it, is a rather beautiful cleansing oil. Suitable for all skin types, True Cleanse is a decadent blend of cold pressed organic Jojoba, Apricot and Grapeseed oils and is infused with Rose Otto and Frankincense. The oil has a very delicate scent and is designed to be massaged onto a dry face and then removed with the supplied organic muslin cloth. By cleansing the skin this way, make up and general muck is removed and you get a nice physical exfoliation as well, so it's a two-for-one job really.

I don't generally wear a lot of makeup day to day but I recently went out to celebrate my sister's birthday so I did have a full face of slap to remove at the end of the evening. This was a great opportunity to try True Cleanse's make up removing abilities and it did not disappoint. Unlike a lot of cleansing balms and oils, True Cleanse does not emulsify when water is added, so you really do need to use the supplied muslin or a flannel if you prefer, to properly remove the oil. I love oil cleansers and enjoy using ones that rinse away easily just as much as oils like this one, where you need to put a bit of effort in with a damp muslin. I did this using True Cleanse with my full face of makeup and felt a smug sort of satisfaction to see all the remnants of foundation, eyeshadow and highlighter on the muslin cloth. I had been wearing a smudge-proof Bobbi Brown mascara that day and that took a little bit of patience but True Cleanse did remove it, which was pretty great because I don't like faffing with my eye area for too long. And let's be real; a separate eye makeup remover just feels like too much effort sometimes! Swiping over my face with a cotton pad with toner is always a good indicator of how well I've cleaned my face-the less muck on the cotton pad, the better job the cleanser has done. True Cleanse had all but obliterated every bit of makeup as the cotton pad was virtually filth-free. I did go in with a second pump but this oil really did do a brilliant job with just the one go.
It's worth noting that the oil comes with a screw cap and is supplied with a pump as well as the aforementioned muslin cloth.

Sister and Co only use exceptionally high quality oils and at £30 the price point reflects this. If you like your skincare 'clean' and appreciate natural and organic ingredients, then True Cleanse would be a great addition to your stash. You can find True Cleanse and other Sister & Co products online at Sister & Co,  ASOS, Liberty, Fenwick, Selfridges and Anthropologie.

True Cleanse Ingredients:
Ingredients: Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Vitis vinifera (Grapeseed) Seed Oil*, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Boswellia carterii (Frankincense) Oil, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosa damascena (Rose) flower extract, Limonene**, Linalool ** *certified organic ingredient **natural constituent of essential oil.


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Thursday, 24 May 2018

Diptyque Philosykos Perfume Oil Roll-On

Ever since I had the pleasure of owning the (heartbreakingly) limited edition L'Occitane Figuier & Osmanthus fragrance three summer's ago, I've been hooked on fig scents. In fact, I was so disappointed when I learned that it was limited edition and sold out, that I emailed L'Occitane HQ in the vain hope that they had a few bottles stashed away somewhere that I could secretly purchase (they didn't).
You know how scent has that amazing ability to take you back and remind you of certain places, events and people? For me, that figgy fragrance from L'Occitane will forever remind me of the week I spent in Alghero with my boyfriend for my 30th. Partly because I sprayed it liberally over the duration of our stay (before I realised the precious juice was limited edition!) and partly because the outdoor eating area where we enjoyed breakfast everyday was lined with fig trees with huge, ripe fruit hanging from the branches. Sigh.
Anyway, believe it or not, this post isn't about that scent, but my latest fragrance purchased recently in an effort to curb my olfactory appetite for all things fig.
Diptyque Philosykos is pretty much a cult perfume, and for very good reason. It's rich and woody with the tiniest hint of fruitiness and basically smells exactly like those fig trees in Alghero. According to Diptyque, the scent of Philosokos is: woody raw materials: fig leaves, fig tree sap, fig tree wood and black pepper which is a pretty spot on description really. It's not a gourmand by any stretch but to me it still manages to have precisely the right amount of fruity sweetness. I have the roll on oil version of the fragrance for three reasons - it's very travel friendly, it's easiest on the purse strings and because it's oil based it's perfect for clear summer days when alcohol based fragrances might irritate the skin a little when the sun hits it.
In terms of longevity and heaviness, i find it to be surprisingly light for such a woody-based scent and though it does linger on the skin, I think of it as a fragrance i wear for myself to enjoy rather than for others to catch a whiff of, if that makes any sense at all? The size of a chunky pen, the heavy glass 7.5ml perfume roll on comes complete with a suedette pouch emblazoned with Diptyque for an extra special touch. I'll be wearing this all summer while imagining I'm lounging in the sun somewhere in the Mediterranean when in reality I'll probably be nursing a teething baby.
You can find it online at Diptyque and stockists including Space NK for £35.


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Thursday, 10 May 2018

Sol de Janeiro Ipanema Sunset Glow Oil

I'm currently writing this post in 28 degree heat in my backyard in Greater London (during the hottest early May bank holiday on record I might add) but honestly the scent currently radiating from my skin is making me feel like I'm somewhere much more exotic!
I'm sitting here slathered in a mixture of 50 + suncream and Sol de Janeiro's latest UK release, Ipanema Sunset Glow Oil and I am, in fact, glowing. And sort of shimmering quite a bit too.

The skin-softening dry oil is the newest release from the creators of the iconic Bum Bum Cream and is one of two oils designed to quite literally highlight your best bits as the days get longer and shorts get shorter. Designed for use on the body as well as on the face, both oils are a mixture of skin-beautifying ingredients spiked with shimmer and finished off with beautiful scents. The other oil, Copacabana Bronze features a gentle bronze tint with gold shimmer and is infused with the brand's signature Cheirosa '62 fragrance (the same as the Bum Bum Cream) with notes of salted caramel and pistachio. I went with Ipanema Sunset mainly because I was interested to try the new, more tropical scent, Cheirosa '77. At first sniff I actually couldn't really tell the difference but as I actually applied the oil to my skin, the notes of fig, citrusy pomelo and gardenia crept through, making it a less sugary and more floral scent than the famous Bum Bum Cream's fragrance. Featuring a translucent champagne shimmer, in the bottle Ipanema Sunset looks a little like shimmering molten caramel and is even ever so slightly intimidating when first poured on the skin. But once it's rubbed in and blended it gives a slight wash of colour shot through with a pretty shimmer.

The oil features Sol de Janeiro's signature Brazilian Beauty Blend which is a fusion of skin softening and nourishing ingredients including Cupaçu Butter, Coconut Oil and Acai Oil.
Now, glittering body oils are obviously not a new invention and at £35 there are more affordable options out there but I think what makes Ipanema Sunset truly special is the unique scent. I really hope they release more products with the Cheirosa '77 fragrance because I find it to be a little less sweet and a touch more exotic then Cheirosa '66. I feel like a non-shimmering version would be good too because not everyone is a fan of glitter and shimmer. That said, beautifully perfumed dry body oils make summer holidays abroad and British backyard blogging sessions just that little bit more special, whether they're shimmery or not. You can find Ipanema Sunset Glow Oil and the rest of the Sol de Janeiro range at Cult Beauty.


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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

5 Ways I'm Reclaiming my Mojo after having a baby

Mojo, groove, sparkle - whatever you want to call it. Like many new mum's, I've felt like mine has been missing for a while now. I don't know if it's the weather (slowly) warming up or I've just subconsciously decided it's 'time' but recently I've found myself in the mood to dust off the cobwebs and rediscover myself as an individual, as well as my baby's mum. It's a bit like a personal spring cleaning mission I suppose and with it I think I'm starting to regain a bit of self confidence that had gone slightly AWOL in the past year or so. I love being a new parent (even though it can be both scary and bewildering at times) but as I've mentioned before in this post self care is so important. Personally I am trying to be a bit kinder to myself and I feel like it's paying off so I thought I'd share a few ways I'm getting my 'sparkle' back nearly one year on after having my baby.
lingerie and makeup

Cleaning out my closet 
 A couple of weeks ago I'd suddenly had enough of my wardrobe. Everything was grey or black and I was still living in river island vests that I'd bought about 6 years ago when I lived in Hammersmith. Most of my tops and cardigans were pilled and faded and a lot of clothes just didn't flatter me. I was even still wearing maternity tops - you know the ones with ruched sides to account for big baby bumps- and feeling distinctly un-sexy and generally frumpy in them. I decided that something had to give and I no longer needed nor wanted the majority of tat that had accumulated in my chest of draws. So I had a clear out and ended up with two sacks for charity shops and one sack of straight up rubbish. It felt good and weirdly liberating to be so brutal with my belongings but really, what's the sense of hanging onto a pair of disco pants with a broken zipper and hole in the crotch and what purpose does a bra that's now two cup sizes too big and never properly fitted me in the first place actually serve?

Indulging in beautiful lingerie 
...Or at least matching bra and knickers. Lately I've found myself revisiting that self confidence hack I used to be quite fond of. That is, wearing matching bra and knickers underneath any clothing to instantly make you feel more put-together and weirdly more in control. I don't know why but it really is an instant confidence boost! The good old matching bra and undies hack is even more special when they're in a super cute design like this one by Promise from UK Lingerie. Just add red lipstick for a little extra boost of self belief!
Pretty Lingerie

Rediscovering my love of skincare
Ah, skincare. My love of skincare is pretty much what drove me to start this blog in the first place back in 2011 and I've learned so much about ingredients and formulas along the way. I used to be genuinely fascinated by the science behind cleansers and serums and loved researching ingredients I'd not heard of before and I can feel myself becoming interested again. Skincare will always trump makeup for me and with so many innovative new launches happening lately I'm loving feeling inspired again.

Mastering the art of the 5 minute face
While I've never really been one for spending hours getting ready before I leave the house, now that I've got a tiny human constantly trying to scale the furniture/ me, I've had to step things up a notch to look semi-presentable at super speed. This is where multi tasking products and easy peasy makeup bits come in very handy. To get myself looking like a better version of me, I've all but ditched the foundation and opted for a touch of concealer and Charlotte Tilbury's latest innovation - Hollywood Flawless Filter. If you've not tried this incredible product yet, you really should because it's bloody marvelous. Once I've got my face looking glowy and dewy, it's time to groom and fill my brows with Glossier Boy Brow (I use shade Brown), pat on some Lord and Berry Sculpt and Glow Cream Bronzer and curl and lengthen my lashes in one fell swoop with a swipe of Benefit Rollerlash.
Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter

Ditching the Mummy Guilt
I'm not quite there yet with this one but I've found myself starting to get better at accepting help with the baby. Sometimes I even ask for it, which is a bit shocking for me! But there have been times in the past few months that I've fancied having my hair done or just wanted a few hours on my own to do blog-related duties, and I've done it. Whenever I'm away from my little one I'm always thinking about him but it's so good to just hang out with Hannah every now and then.

So there you have it - those are five ways I'm slowly reclaiming my mojo. I'd love to know how you helped yourself feel more like...yourself after having a baby or experiencing another life changing event. Let me know in the comments!


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Monday, 19 March 2018

Green People Aloe + Citrus Toothpaste

Tomorrow is World Oral Health Day so it's perfect timing for me to share a new toothpaste I've been trying out. You might be wondering why I'm reviewing a toothpaste on what is predominantly a beauty blog, but you know, brushing your teeth is important (here's a secret- I sort of hate doing mine), good dental hygiene obviously keeps your teeth in check and looking their best and this one from Certified Organic brand Green People is actually delicious. Yes, you read that right. This is a tasty toothpaste. I've been using Green People's Citrus and Aloe Vera Toothpaste in place of my usual minty one and it's basically made me want to only brush with citrus flavours from now on. The fluoride-free and SLS-free toothpaste is made with organic essential oils and is perfect for people like me who have sensitive teeth and gums.
Green People Aloe and Citrus Toothpaste
It doesn't sting or irritate like a strong mint toothpaste can and It's also a great option if, also like me, you don't like strong minty flavours. Made with ingredients including Vitamin C, dental grade chalk and Myrhh, the mint-free paste contains aloe vera leaf juice powder and essential oils of lemon, grapefruit and orange. Even though the toothpaste doesn't contain foaming agents, it still foams up naturally through the action of brushing and the paste mixing with the saliva in your mouth. Other toothpaste flavours in the range include Minty Cool, Fennel and Propolis and Mint. If you're a green beauty fan or you're just trying to live a little 'cleaner', this toothpaste would be a great addition to your bathroom cabinet.
Green People Aloe and Citrus Toothpaste

Baby Tom has also been trying out Green People's baby toothpaste which is mandarin and orange flavoured (also available in a spearmint and aloe vera variation) and contains no artificial colours or flavours. It's worth noting that the toothpaste is perfectly safe to swallow which is obviously an important factor since babies don't know they're supposed to spit toothpaste out.

I've also got a new Velvet Matte Lipstick from Green People to try out which is in a suit-everyone nude-ish pink shade called Damask Rose and the Enrich and Enhance Lip Primer which I want to try out really thoroughly before I review it.
In the meantime, you can find the organic toothpaste range online at Green People.


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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

The Latest in Beauty Women's Health Beauty Box

Beauty box fans rejoice - this one is an absolute cracker! Featuring just under £140 worth of wellness goodies, the Women's Health Beauty Box is really high quality - no fillers here. The box has been curated by Editor of Women's Health magazine, Claire Sanderson, and features 18 of her favourite products from the past year (and a 50% off voucher for Bobble water bottles).
Women's Health Latest in Beauty Box
Women's Health latest in beauty box
Satisfyingly heavy, the box is £40 for some very decent products and has a really good mix of skincare, makeup and wellbeing bits. I'd say it's well worth a look if you're wanting to discover a mixture of well known and niche brands.
Inside the box you'll find:

  • TULA Exfoliating Treatment Mask
  • MURAD Youth Renewal Retinol Eye Serum
  • THIS WORKS Stress Check Roll-on
  • SPORTFX Sport Stamina Mascara
  • 58 LIFESTYLE Balancing Ecosoy Candle
  • ORIGINS GinZing Energy-Boosting Gel Moisturiser
  • BUXOM Plumping Lip Liner
  • WET BRUSH L'il Detangler in Punchy Pink
  • SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian Bum Bum Cream
  • DR ORGANIC Lavender Deodorant
  • FREE SOUL Hero Protein Blend (Chocolate or Vanilla)
  • COLAB Dry Shampoo Tropical
  • DR PAWPAW Original Clear Balm
  • PUKKA Wonder Berry Green
  • PHILOSOPHY The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash
  • NIBBLE PROTEIN Nibble Protein Bites Lemon with Coconut
  • DANDI Dandi Patch
  • NARCISO RODRIGUEZ Fleur Musc for Her
  • BOBBLE 50% OFF Voucher
Women's Health latest in beauty box
Women's Health latest in beauty box

As you can see, this really is a great line up - I'm most excited about the 58 Lifestyle Candle (It smells AMAZING), the Buxom liner and of course the skincare bits like the Philosophy Microdelivery wash, Origins moisturiser and the Tula mask. If you've not tried Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum cream, now is your chance to 'try before you buy' the full size but if you're anything like me, you're gonna want the full size!
You can buy the Latest in Beauty Women's Health Beauty Box for £40 online at Latest in Beauty.


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Sunday, 18 February 2018

Bilou Creamy Shower Foams

If you're into cute packaging and enjoy smelling like a dessert, I'm pretty confident you'll want to try these shower foams.
close up image of Bilou shower foams

image of Bilou shower foams

The foams are by German brand Bilou (which, incidentally, was founded by a Youtuber), and are already making an impression here in the UK thanks to their instagram-worthy packaging and saccharine scents. Speaking of Instagram, Bilou's (@mybilou) is actually Germany's most popular Instagram page, with nearly 1.4 million followers!
Designed to be 'extra creamy', the kitsch shower foams are available in five different fragrances - Cotton Candy, Tasty Donut, Coco Cocktail, Pink Melon and Fizzy Berry.
I have to hand the Cotton Candy and Tasty Donut scents, which are both as decadently sweet as expected. The vegan shower foams are super, super creamy and create satisfyingly pillowy clouds of fluffy foam when dispensed. The foams contain aloe vera as well as sweet almond and avocado oils.
Cotton Candy is described as smelling like fluffy cotton candy, caramelly & sweet - just heavenly! Sweet, fluffy fragrance- rainbow cotton candy, vanilla, sugary sweet.
image of Bilou cotton candy shower foams

Tasty Donut smells like freshly baked donuts and fruity strawberry icing- absolutely delicious! Sweet aromas of bakery items, strawberries, sugar frosting, sugar sprinkles and freshly baked donuts.

image of Bilou tasty donut shower foams

Of the two, Cotton Candy is my favourite as it has an almost coco-nutty vibe to it. While Tasty Donut  does smell quite like a strawberry glazed sugar donut, I find the scent just a tad too artificial for me. Scent is of course a very subjective thing though, so I'm sure plenty of people would prefer the donut scent over the cotton candy one!

I'm quite fond of shower foams in general and they just seem that little bit more fun when they smell like freshly baked donuts or candyfloss at a seaside fair. There are also matching moisturising foams and body sprays available if you fancy layering up the sweetness.
Bilou products retail for £3.99 in the UK online and in store at Superdrug.


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Monday, 29 January 2018

Design.ME Hair Puff.ME

The haircare market is pretty saturated with styling sprays and texturising powders and potions, but this one is a little different. Puff.ME is billed as the first ever volumising powder in a pump, which might sound a bit odd but is actually pretty innovative! Packaged in a pretty hot pink bottle, Puff.ME creates instant volume, texture and general oomph with just one pump. I realise what I just wrote probably reads like a strap-line but it's absolutely true. 
Puff.ME hair powder by Design.ME Hair
When the bottle arrived the other day, I neglected to read the label properly, so without knowing what it actually was, I gave it a shake and then promptly sprayed two pumps into the front of my hair. Not my smartest move but I wasn't to know that this stuff packs some serious punch. I actually had to wash my hair pretty soon afterwards because I was literally walking around with the front of my hair in some kind of textured bouffant thing! I've tried my fair share of volumising and texturising products in recent years but I'm pretty confident that Puff.ME could just be a new front runner.
Puff.ME hair powder by Design.ME Hair
Designed for use on dry hair, I would liken it to an industrial strength hair powder- just in much more convenient packaging -and rather than shaking it on your head until the desired amount of powder falls on your roots, you just pump it on much like you would with, say, a seasalt spray. For volume, part your hair where you want to add oomph, hold the bottle 2 to 4 inches away and spray the pump at the roots. I'd definitely start with just one pump and add more if you feel you need because as mentioned, this stuff is potent! If you prefer, you can just spray some into the palm of your hands and work it in that way. For creating texture, just spray where needed and get styling. If my hair was long I would totally use this to add interest to braided styles and pony tails, but as I've currently got a 'lob' going on, I'll use it to add volume and messiness.
Even though the powder itself is white, I didn't notice any visible residue, though I would imagine this would be inevitable if you used a lot at once. It's also worth mentioning that it is fragrance-free (literally smells of nothing) so won't clash with your perfume. I personally quite like my hair products to smell nice but making it fragrance free makes it more universally appealing. Puff.ME is for normal to thick hair and there is a 'light' version of Puff.ME designed for fine/medium hair. It retails for £9.95 and as well as the aforementioned Puff.ME Light, the brand also has a blow-dry spray (PowerDRY.ME) and an amazing-sounding treatment (Fab.ME). The collection is cruelty free, sulphate free, paraben free and vegan. You can find Puff.ME at Sally's Beauty or Design.ME where it ships from the US.


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Saturday, 20 January 2018

8 Beauty Buys for New Mums (And Dads)

We know by now that self care is important, but when you have a tiny, brand new human relying on you, looking after yourself reaches importance on a whole new scale. Throughout my pregnancy and during those precious and terrifying first weeks, I was consistently reminded to take care of myself, because;
(a). You need to be as OK as possible to look after the baby to the best of your abilities.
and
(b). When you become a mum (or dad) you're still an individual, as well as a parent.
Obviously, caring for an infant on virtually no sleep whilst simultaneously being in a perpetual state of confusion and worry is just part of the deal. I know firsthand how strange and amazing and overwhelming it can be but as a beauty and grooming enthusiast I found a few products that helped me feel a bit more human and a bit more me during the wonderful weirdness. Here I'm sharing a few bits that saw me through those very surreal first days, weeks and months of being someone's mum.

EYE ROLL ON
Once you've pulled your first all-nighter with the new arrival, you will understand why I've included this on the list. I had an unplanned caesarian with my baby so for the first few days we stayed in hospital and were sort of cocooned in this warm and comfortable pod where we had support from a brilliant team of midwives. Fast forward to our very first night at home and it was a whole different ball game! Rich and I did not sleep at all the first night and then slept in shifts for the week that followed. There was nothing wrong- we were both just terrified to be asleep at the same time and felt like we needed at least one pair of eyes on our tiny human at all times! There's nothing fun about sleep deprivation and I had the driest, droopiest eyes that I really struggled to keep open. Those first few nights at home I'd so wished I had something cooling and refreshing to relieve the horrible, shriveled up feeling my eyes had become accustomed to. This is where the eye roll on comes in. Believe me, paired with an eye spray or drops, it makes a world of difference and at least keeps you awake long enough to feed the baby at 2am (and 3am and 4am and 5am). Any 'cooling' or 'refreshing' eye product will do, but I say go for the rollerball because it's the easiest to wrangle in the dark/ when restricted to using one hand. I used Simple Kind To Eyes Revitalising Eye Roll-On but there are loads of other options inlcuding Botanics All Bright Refreshing Eye Roll-On and DHC Beauty Lift Eye Care Roll On.

HAND CREAM
For many of us, hand cream is already an everyday essential to keep hands hydrated and looking their best but when you've got a new baby, hand cream becomes a necessity. Dealing with nappies, sick and sterilisers means hands are washed really, really often which can in turn make the skin super dry. So much washing with antibacterial soap can make the skin crack and split but you can save yourself from this fate by smothering on the hand cream throughout the day (and night). I keep some in the baby bag too for hydrating my hands when I'm out and about. I'm a total Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream fangirl but I went through so much of the stuff that it's perhaps not the most economically viable option! Any cream will do but non-greasy is always the best option so I used My Trusty Sunflower Hand Cream (gorgeous) and Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream. I found that Palmer's Cocoa Butter and Avene Baby Moisturiser also did the trick nicely.

REFRESHING SHOWER GEL
The first few weeks with a new baby involves a weird mix of trying to get some decent, rejuvenating sleep and a sort of involuntary will to stay awake and alert. There's obviously nothing quite like a shower to perk you up and slathering yourself in a lovely shower gel designed to refresh body and mind really can make a world of difference. My mother in law gave me a big pump bottle of Australian Bodycare Skinwash just after I had my baby, because it has antiseptic properties so was perfect for sore nipples and healing ceasarian scars. It was a bonus then that the 2% tea tree oil formula left me smelling and feeling all zingy, perked up and fresh. Citrus scents also work brilliantly - I enjoyed using Soaper Duper Zesty Lemon Body Wash and Simple Refreshing Shower Gel. Superdrug Lime and Ginger Shower Gel is a good thrifty option and if you've got a bit of a budget to play with, This Works Energy Bank Shower Gel is the business. Anything minty is good for waking up the senses too, but I will say to go easy on the mint products (and anything with the potential to sting really!) while you're still healing, whether your baby was delivered naturally or via c section.

DRY SHAMPOO
When people tell you that when you have a newborn washing your hair is a luxury, they're actually telling the truth. It's a horrifying truth and I didn't want to believe it either but it really is just one of the million new-mum clichés that turned out to be true. While there really is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment that comes with freshly washed, soft and sweet smelling hair, when you've got a baby latched onto your bosom or bottle for 23 out of 24 hours, dry shampoo simply must do. If you're a person who only needs to wash their hair once a week anyway, this probably doesn't apply (and I hate you a tiny bit), but I personally can't go more than two days between washing before I start looking and feeling downright offensive. In the early days I turned to Lee Stafford Original Dry Shampoo (smells quite a lot like Thierry Mugler Angel), Show Beauty Premiere Dry Shampoo (Smells AMAZING but bought the mini because the full size is ridiculously expensive) and Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam which has had mixed reviews but I personally very much rate it.

UNSCENTED or NATURAL BODY LOTION/ BUTTER
After having the baby, in most cases you can feel free to use up whatever lotions and creams you stocked up on to try and ward off stretchmarks throughout pregnancy. I was very aware that I had a rather tiny person in very close proximity to my body (if not attached to it) for 24 hours a day so I put away my lovely perfumed creams and brought out the silky, natural butters and lotions. Not only was I worried that perfumed body moisturisers might irritate my son's delicate skin, but I didn't want to overload his developing senses and worried that he might not 'like' the smell. I know. Neurotic. Anyway, I was so dehydrated for the first few weeks and I could feel that my skin was uncomfortable and tight so I needed to use something. I ended up relying heavily on coconut oil and Unscented Palmer's Cocoa Butter as well as Nom Nom Camelia and Vanilla Stretch Butter which I used religiously in my third trimester.  If you're looking for something really high-end, I was recently introduced to Previse MommyBalm Stretch Mark Cream which was specially formulated to be safe for breastfeeding mums.

A REALLY DECENT FACIAL MOISTURISER
Whether you're into budget brands or prefer to spend big on your skincare, now is the time to stock up on a lovely face cream. Chances are, your skin is going to be pretty confused by the weird hormones coursing through your post-partum body and is going to need a little more help than usual. Obviously everyone's skin reacts differently (if at all) after birth, but personally mine became dehydrated and really, really dry, even though I was literally drinking litres of water and coconut water every day. I used Dafna's Nutrition Night Treatment (you can read my review here) and treated myself to Chanel Hydra Beauty Nutrition. I also really like Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre as it's really rich and comforting. Basically, just treat yourself to your favourite moisturiser or try one you've always had your eye on. You bloody deserve it. Just be aware that it's not recommended to use creams containing retinol if you're breastfeeding.

A GOOD CONCEALER
I wasn't sure about adding this one to the list. When you're a new parent, you're supposed to be tired and you're supposed to look it - there's zero shame in that! However, if you want to fake a decent night's sleep, a quality concealer can make all the difference when popped under the eyes. In fact, for the first few months, mascara and concealer was all I bothered with if we were venturing out somewhere. I like Glossier Stretch Concealer but have heard great things about Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer and the new Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer.

FACIAL SPRITZ OR MIST
When I was pregnant, I was obsessed with reading 'What's in my hospital bag?' type blog posts and articles and almost every single one mentioned some kind of facial spritz for labour. I do remember using a little can of La Roche Posay Mist before the contractions really set in, but it was after I'd had the baby that I really made use of it. I've always loved facial sprays and spritzes as part of my skincare routine (generally after acid toning) but during those early weeks found them to be a quick and convenient way to get a little extra moisture into my skin whilst simultaneously waking myself up a bit! As well as the La Roche Posay, I also used up my beloved May Lindstrom The Jasmine Garden Facial Spray and often reached for Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray. If you're mainly after the 'wake up' effect of a facial spritz, you can obviously make your own - just pick up an empty spray bottle and fill it up with cool water!


In the early days I also found myself using products I'd actually bought for the baby! There were a few occasions when I'd wash my body and hair with Burt's Bees Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash or the Johnson's Bedtime Baby Bath. I remember doing this because I was utterly terrified of irritating my newborn's precious, delicate skin so figured products made especially for babies would do no harm and would also be more gentle on my healing scar. While I've luckily not had any problems with my c section scar, a ceasarian is still a major operation and the area for the weeks following the op is obviously going to be pretty delicate to some degree. The same can be said for the after effects of a natural birth- you'd have to be pretty darn lucky to escape that ordeal completely unscathed- but the point is, no matter how your baby came into the world, you're going to be feeling pretty delicate from the belly button down, so you're not going to want to use any highly fragranced or 'harsh' shower and bath products.
So those are the beauty and grooming bits and pieces that helped me feel more me during those delicate first months as a new mum. If you'd like to share any tips or products that helped you as a new parent, please let me know in the comments!


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Monday, 15 January 2018

New from Embryolisse

The coveted French beauty brand, Embryolisse, has really grown in popularity in the UK in recent years. Not so long ago, the only way to get your hands on a tube of the brand's cult product, Lait-Crème Concentre was to hop on the Eurostar and embark on a pilgrimage to one of the many parapharmacies scattered throughout the City of Love. These days, you only need to jump online or pop into Boots to browse the range of ever-popular and trusted Embryolisse goodies. There are three new products that have just been released- to hand I have the moisturising repair cream and limited edition Lait-Crème Concentre, but there is also a new intense product.


Limited Edition Paris Edition of Lait-Crème Concentre, 50ml, £15
The kitsch limited edition packaging of the cult skincare staple is a cute tribute to the city where Embryolisse began. The rich cream is a multi-tasking handbag essential and can be used as a moisturiser, primer, mask, after shave lotion, make up remover and baby cream. Rich in essential fatty acids, Lait-Crème Concentre is one of those reliable beauty products that virtually everyone can make use of and indulge in which is probably why one tube of Lait-Crème Concentre sells every 20 seconds.


Embryolisse Rich Moisturizing Repair Cream, £29.99 
Before now, the only Embryolisse product I'd tried was Lait-crème Concentre so I was interested to try the repair cream. Though it has the same fresh and comforting scent as Lait-crème, this cream features ingredients dedicated to intensely moisturising and protecting the skin on the face. The moisturiser is rich in hyaluronic acid and natural wheat proteins and features sweet almond oil and beeswax to replenish the natural protective barrier of the skin. The cream also contains vitamins A, E and F to encourage cell renewal. Over time, the cream is said to decrease fine lines and personally just today I noticed a slight improvement in the appearance of the skin around my cheekbones and the darkness beneath my eyes seems less prominent. This could well be a happy coincidence but could equally be down to the fact I've been smoothing the cream on once or twice a day as both a moisturising and protective measure before venturing outside. Texturally, the repair cream is thicker than Lait-crème Concentre, which I for one love - in colder months, the thicker the cream the better I say!
Also new to Embryolisse, is the Intense Smooth Radiant Complexion 50ml. Designed to erase signs of tiredness and perk up the complexion, this comforting cream includes hyaluronic acid, Vitamin E, Omega 9 and natural sugars to plump and smooth skin. The cream is enriched with alfalfa and lupine extracts to stimulate collagen and reduce puffiness and dark circles and is complete with a firming film to instantly lift the face, diminish fine lines and relax features. This one is £39.
You can find Embryolisse products at Boots.


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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

New to the UK: Previse DermApothecary Skincare

I always find new beauty brands so much more appealing when the people behind the brand are friendly and Previse is a fine example of this - the founder, Sean, is an incredibly charming guy! Already a big deal in its native US, the brand has launched its ZeroFragrance line exclusively to Harvey Nichols in the UK. The general premise of Previse Skincare is to provide effective products powered by nature, in other words, clean beauty that doesn't compromise on how well it works. Clean beauty is already a big deal and it's definitely a growing market with plenty of clean and/or green brands showing up on the scene recently but I found there's one very distinct difference with this line from Previse. That is, the product range is unscented and free from both artificial fragrances and essential oils.

There are six plant-based skincare products in the line, formulated with Dermatologists to cater to a growing interest in the clean beauty market. To me, Previse are filling a gap in the clean beauty niche by creating natural products that don't necessarily smell natural! Not only are many people sensitive to essential oils and fragrance, some simply prefer their skincare to not smell of much at all, so Previse is providing what very well could be the perfect compromise- clean skincare without the telltale scent that so often comes with it. As mentioned there are six products in the line including Marine Granules Skin Brightening Botanical Scrub, MommyBalm Stretch Mark Cream, BodyMist vitamin E Body Oil, HydroFoam Rejuvenating Hyaluronic Moisturizer (amazing), Purify Hydrating Marine Cleanser and the SOS SkinRescue Healing Salve. Launching later this month is the Ozone Defence Nutrify Serum. 
I have two of the products to hand - the Marine Granules Scrub and yet-to-be-launched Ozone Defense Serum. Both products are entirely new concepts to me as one is a scrub designed to be mixed in with your existing cleanser and the other is powered by artichoke extract. Who'd have thought? First up, the Marine Granules Skin Brightening Botanical Scrub.
Previse Skincare Scrub
Now, I am an acid exfoliation enthusiast but I still love using a physical scrub a few times a week- there's just something really satisfying about massaging some grainy goodness into damp skin. The Previse Marine Granules Scrub is used as an additive to your cleanser and the amount you use depends on how strong you'd like the exfoliating action to be. I've tried it with a cream cleanser and a jelly/milky cleanser and found it equally as effective with both formulas. The brightening exfoliator blends fossilised algae with jojoba and botanicals to gently buff away dead skin cells and stimulate cell renewal. The scrub is gentle enough for sensitive skin. Previse Marine Granules Skin Brightening Botanical Scrub is £43.
The Ozone Defense Nutrify Serum has a consistency like 'thick water' which absorbs effortlessly.
Previse Skincare Serum
Infused with hyaluronic acid and enriched with vitamins B5, B3 and C, the serum not only hydrates but also helps shield the skin from air pollution. The serum features a green tea and artichoke elixir, which I think is the  most interesting component as I've not seen the humble artichoke mentioned in the world of skincare before now. It so happens that artichokes contain something called Cynaropicrin, which is a naturally occurring phytochemical that studies show aids in preventing the damaging effects of UV exposure and pollution. The Ozone Defense Nutrify Serum also helps fight oxidisation, helps elasticity, tightens pores and  moisturises. The serum is £49.
The Previse Skincare ZeroFragrance range is available in the UK exclusively at Harvey Nichols


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