Sunday, 19 March 2023

YSL Black Opium Le Parfum

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YSL Black Opium is a hugely popular fragrance but despite wanting to love it, I've never been very keen on it. There's something in it that makes me feel a little nauseas - I think it's because the coffee note is quite prominent and a bit much for my nose? Whatever it is, something has stopped me wanting a bottle. I was excited by the release of Black Opium Illicit Green last year (the fig note really appealed to me) but on sniffing it, the juice was just too similar to the original. The latest flanker for Black Opium however, Black Opium Le Parfum, is one of the most gorgeous things I've had my nose on recently and I'm lucky enough to have the 90ml bottle.

Black Opium Le Parfum takes the heavy vanilla from the original and really elevates it and I think it's absolutely gorgeous! 
This fragrance is an elegant mixture of fruity, floral and vanilla notes but the vanilla really dominates.
The top notes are sustainably sourced Green Mandarin from Italy, Pear and Cinnamon.
Middle notes are Solar Jasmine Sambac and Orange Blossom.
Base notes are Coffee (specifically espresso accord), Indonesian Patchouli, Ambrox and a 'vanilla quartet' that includes Madagascan Vanilla Planifolia Absolute and Vanilla Pod Absolute, Vanilla Bourbon Infusion and Tahitian Vanilla.
Everyone smells things a little differently and to me Black Opium Le Parfum is a total vanilla bomb, with a subtle hint of coffee and bright white flowers very much in the background. Vanilla is absolutely the star in this, with a hefty sprinkle of brown sugar on top. I'd describe it as like sitting in a cafe, eating a big slice of vanilla cake with buttercream icing, with a beautiful vase of flowers on the table before you. The vanilla cake is the main character, while there are wafts of freshly ground coffee floating about in the air and a touch of floral elegance somewhere at the back.

It's been compared to Kayali Vanilla 28 and I have to say that the sugared-vanilla aspect of Le Parfum is very similar but there is no spice or woodyness in this like there is in Vanilla 28.
That said, if you like Vanilla 28, Billie Eilish's Eilish fragrance, Victoria's Secret Bare Vanilla and any bourbon vanilla type scents, chances are you'll really like Black Opium Le Parfum.
In terms of longevity, it lasts and projects on my skin for a couple of hours before drying down into a cosy skin scent but lasts for ages on clothing. For example, I sprayed this on my coat collar yesterday and it's still very much there!
The le Parfum bottle is smooth black, whereas the other Black Opium iterations are textured, and is quite sleek and elegant, but also shows up every smudge and fingerprint (as demonstrated below!).

 You can find YSL Black Opium Le Parfum at quite a few places where it retails for £75 for 30ml, £102 for 50ml and £135 for 90ml. Right now, Boots are having a fragrance promo where it's a little cheaper - I've linked to the 30ml for £63.75 here.

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Nails.INC x Squishmallows

 My son is a huge fan of Squishmallows (quite fond of them myself actually) so when I saw that there was a new collaboration with Nails.INC I knew I wanted to share!
The Nails.INC x Squishmallows duo is a super cute kit with two nail polishes and a set of Squishmallow stickers. There are actually 110 nail stickers included, so plenty to choose from to create your perfect Squishmallow mani.

The two shades included in the set are Mallow Dreams, a lilac-blue pearl shift shade, and Squad Goals which is a gorgeous baby pink colour. The shades both feature the Nails.INC signature long wear formula and wide hugging brush for easy application.

The idea is to paint your nails and let dry, apply the stickers, then add topcoat to seal. Sounds easy enough, though I am notoriously inelegant when it comes to doing my own nails so I'll be quietly impressed with myself if I manage a decent application.
The Nails.INC x Squishmallows Collectible Nail Polish Duo and Sticker Set is available now for £16 at Nails.INC. Cute!

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Mother's Day Beauty Boxes 2023

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 Year on year there seems to be more and more seasonal special editions, collections and beauty boxes on offer and 2023 is certainly continuing the trend. Beauty boxes are a fail-safe gift idea and perfect if you're not sure what to get the mum or mother-figure in your life. There are quite a few kicking about this year but here I've gathered a few of my favourites to share. 

This box is my pick of the bunch in terms of value - it contains some great bits including:
Ghost- Ghost Orb of Night Eau de Parfum - 10ml
Carolina Herrera Good Girl Eau de Parfum - 7ml
Jean Paul Gaultier La Belle Eau De Parfum - 6ml
Laura Mercier Rouge Essentiel - Nu Préféré 1.4g
Liz Earle Cleanse & Glow Transforming Gel Cleanser - 10ml
NARS Laguna Bronzing Powder - 1.2g

This box also includes a £20 bounce back voucher that can be redeemed on Fragrance 100ml or above.

I've seen this box in store and it's quite gorgeous! Marks and Spencer have a great selection of beauty brands these days (some lovely affordable fragrances too- I recommend visiting a larger store and having a good sniff) and this special edition beauty box showcases some excellent ones. This box includes: 

Clinique all about eyes cream - 15ml 
Eve Lom rescue mask - 15ml
Lumene ajaton night cream - 15ml
Ren rosa centifolia cleansing gel - 150ml
Nails inc. porchester square - 14ml
Neom perfect night’s sleep candle - 75g

This is a particularly excellent option because it includes a £55 voucher (delivered via email) to spend on the full size of one of the fragrances in the box. This box includes:
Armani My Way Eau de Parfum - 7ml
Lancôme La Vie Est Belle Iris Absolu (NEW) - 4ml
YSL Libre Eau de Parfum – 7.5ml
Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum - 7ml
Prada Paradoxe Eau de Parfum- 7ml
Lancôme Advanced Genifique Serum- 7ml
Armani Lip Power (Shade 104) - 1.4g
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Omega-Rich Cloud Cream - 14ml

This bumper collection is (unsurprisingly) sold out online so you'll have to visit your local store to grab one. The contents include:
Elemis Skin Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF30 - Travel Size
They’re Real Magnet mascara - Travel Size 
Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base Primer - 7ml
ICONIC London Sheer Blush - Rose Riot - full size
Vita Liberata Beauty Blur Face With Tan - Medium - 30ml
Liz Earle Rose & Lavender Instant Boost Skin Tonic - 200ml
Strivectin TL Advanced Neck Cream - 30ml
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream - 5ml
Sol de Janeiro Beija Flor Elasti Body Cream - 75ml
THIS WORKS Transit Camera Close Up - 20ml
Anastasia Beverly Hills Deluxe Crystal Lip Gloss - 3.1ml
bareMinerals Ageless AHA Facial Mask - 10ml 
ARKIVE The Future Youth hair treatment mask - 60ml 
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum - 7ml
Inkey List Retinol Eye Cream - 15ml
Drunk Elephant Protini Moisturiser - 5ml
PHILIP KINGSLEY Elasticizer - 40ml  
Erborian Skin Hero - 5ml

Next do some truly amazing beauty boxes of outstanding value and this one is no exception. The contents include: 

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm - 15ml
ELEMIS, Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF30 - 15ml 
Sanctuary Spa, Ruby Oud Natural Oils Melting Pearl Body Butter - 75ml
Beauty Pro Retinol Under Eye Patches (single eye mask)
Aromatherapy Associates, De-Stress Mind Bath & Shower Oil - 9ml
Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Florale - 10ml
This Works In Transit Camera Close Up - 20ml
Pixi Glow Tonic - 40ml

Those are just a few of the ready-made beauty boxes available right now. If any are out of stock online it's always worth checking back the following day to see if it's been re-stocked. These are such great value collections that I wouldn't blame you if you picked one or two up for yourself for no particular reason too ;).

Monday, 13 February 2023

NEW Nourish London Ultra Rich Vegan Body Creams


 Nourish London has just released two new body creams perfect for some post-shower pampering. I for one am terrible when it comes to neglecting the skin on my body and just focusing on my face, so I very much welcomed the chance to try one of the new creams. I have the Geranium and Jasmine Contouring Body Cream but there is also a Bergamot and Cardamom Smoothing Body Cream available. Both retail for £17 and come in fully recyclable glass jars with aluminium lids.

When I opened the jar of the Geranium and JasmineContouring Body Cream the first thing I noticed was the unmistakeable fragrance of real Jasmine. Delicate, familiar and instantly calming, the Jasmine pairs beautifully with fragrant Bergamot extract to create a natural scent that should soothe the senses of most people.

The cream is super thick and rich and feels quite luxurious. The base is made up of a variety of nourishing butters and oils including Cocoa Butter, Shea and Sunflower and contains antioxidant Prickly Pear extract and hydrating Trehalose as well as Hyaluronic Acid. Trehalose is a type of plant-derived sugar that's known for its ability to lock in moisture and mimic the skin's natural moisture factor. In other words, it's an ingredient you'd definitely want in a body cream.

The 'contouring' action of the Body Cream comes from the addition of antioxidant Brown Algae extract, which is renowned in the skin care world for its firming properties. Brown Algae works to prevent the degradation of skin elasticity, so it’s  a great ingredient for keeping things supple.

The Bergamot & Cardamom smoothing variation of the body cream contains cooling and soothing Cucumber extract, calming Aloe and Borage and uplifting Bergamot and Geranium essential oils. I feel like the Geranium & Jasmine cream is ideal for winding down at the end of the day/ at night, while the Bergamot & Cardamom body cream would be perfect for kickstarting the senses in the morning.

This cream is so thick and luxurious that you need to use a lot less than you might think - if you scoop out too much it's going to take a while to rub it in as well. It leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated, with the delicate, soothing scent of Jasmine and Geranium.
The perfect treat for after a wash and before bed. Speaking of washing, there is a matching Geranium & Jasmine Shower Gel too, so you could use that first for a really pampering spa-like experience.

Nourish London Geranium & Jasmine Contouring Body Cream (100ml) and Bergamot & Cardamom Smoothing Body Cream (100ml) are £17 at Nourish London. As a side note I've noticed you can also buy some Nourish products at Sephora.

Monday, 30 January 2023

Ultra Violette SPF 50 Daydream Screen

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 Ultra Violette came to the UK market a couple of years ago now and if you’re an avid reader of beauty blogs in general, you’re probably already familiar with the Australian brand. They’ve trademarked the term ‘Skinscreen’, which is a combination of skincare and sunscreen and a concept I am very much here for.

Ultra Violette have plenty of SPF and related products available but as I’m about to finish my Chanel tinted moisturiser and wanted a tinted high protection SPF, my first experience with the brand comes in the form of this: The Daydream Screen Tinted Veil.

I went for a colour match in Space NK and was matched to V2, which seems to suit my complexion pretty well though I have a feeling it’s going to look a little pale come summer. The colour spectrum for this product is actually quite good – it’s good to see the darkest shade is designed to blend into actual dark skin, not white-person-with-a-tan-dark.

The formula is lightweight, almost serum-like, but buildable, so you can customise how much coverage you would like. On application, Daydream blends in nicely and, although it feels slightly tacky and ‘sunscreeny’ at first, it does end up feeling pretty weightless once it settles. The fragrance free formula contains plant-derived Pentivitin (Saccharide Isomerate), a hydrating extract that boosts skin’s hydration levels and protects against environmental damage. The SPF is also free from Silicone, Oils and Alcohol.

This product makes my skin look healthy and even with a little bit of a glow and I would certainly wear it after the sun goes down too as my make up base. There's no pilling or rolling and I didn't notice any obvious separation, though I confess I didn't scrutinise it with a magnifying mirror or anything like that.

Even though it offers broad spectrum SPF50 UVA and UVB protection, Ultra Violette recommend to not rely on Daydream alone for your sun protection. In fact, it’s designed as a secondary sunscreen/makeup hybrid to apply after your daily sunscreen. I wish I had researched a little more before I purchased because I was after an SPF with a bit of a tint, not a skin tint with SPF, if you know what I mean. Applying a ¼ teaspoon of Daydream to your face would not result in a barely-there-glowing look and would probably even feel a little uncomfortable on the skin so it does make sense when you look at it that way. It’s worth mentioning that I really like the bottle – it’s nice and soft, easy to squeeze, with a narrow nozzle that delivers a custom amount of product.

As a side note, the box of the SPF says SPF 50+ Daydream Screen Tinted Veil while the bottle says SPF 50 Dream Screen Tinted Veil. I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy there, it’s just something I noticed!

I bought my bottle of Ultra Violette SPF 50 Dream Screen Tinted Veil from Space NK for £38 for 50ml.

Why Reading Blog Posts Can Be Massively Beneficial

 (collaborative post)

As an internet user, there are a number of benefits of reading online blog posts, whether that's via beauty blogs like this one, or whatever other topic you are interested in. The internet is a big place, and we're sure that you will be able to find the advice or information that you are looking for in those blog posts that you either see advertised on your social media, or that you come across by accident sometimes. There will be times where you have searched for a specific query, and there will be others in which you just stumble upon the information, but each read is going to be beneficial in some way. Keep reading if you would like to find out more!

Boosts Your General Knowledge

The first reason that reading online blog posts can be massively beneficial to you is because it will help to boost your general knowledge. While you might not think that this can come in handy at any point, it might surprise you how much general knowledge can help you in everyday life. For example, let’s say something at work happens and you know how to handle it because you read an interesting article about it. Or, let’s say you come across an article related to health and how to boost yours in an interesting way that you didn’t know about before, this can be a real help to you.

It’s also really good to keep your brain as active as possible. Learning more general knowledge is a great way to do this, as it keeps you thinking.

Provides Advice On Specific Topics

There are more general blog posts out there, and then there are the ones that provide advice on a more specific topic. So, if you want to know the answer to a query that you have got, you can type in the full query or some keywords to get you started. For example, if you need to know how to fix a problem with your dishwasher, you can look up the problem online and see if it’s something that you are going to be able to sort on your own. Or, the article might suggest that you call someone to come and take a look at the appliance. Either way, you know what you are doing.

You might also be looking up advice on things like how to prevent spoofing so that you do not fall victim to the attacks that some cyberattackers launch. The internet is full of knowledge that you can benefit from, even information that you didn’t know that you needed to know.

Can Change Your Entire Perspective

When you are reading blog posts online, it’s important to check the source of the post before you take everything that you read as truth. Of course, you can try out the advice that you are given to see if it works, and you might find yourself with a regular blog that you check when you need a good read. If you find a blog trustworthy, then eventually some of their articles might change your entire perspective on certain views. There are going to be times where the posts teach you something new that you didn’t know before, or explain things in a different way so that you understand better. 

Keeps You Up To Date On Changes

The last thing that we’re going to say is that reading blog posts online will help you to keep up with what is going on in the world at any given time. You might be interested in keeping up with pop culture changes, political changes, or learning more about the state of the world, or business, or really anything. We guarantee that you are always going to be able to find an interesting post that you can read that has some kind of relevant new information.

As such, the more that you read, the more up to date you are going to be. This isn’t us saying that you shouldn’t read other sources of information as well, but online blogs are a fantastic place to start at the very least.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see some of the reasons why reading online blog posts can be massively beneficial to you. If you are someone who scrolls the internet regularly, then you will get all of these benefits and more from reading the posts that you sometimes skip across. Or, if you are searching for something specific, remember that the higher up in the SERPs it is, the more likely that it is to contain the information that you are looking for.

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Simple Self-Care Ideas

(collaborative post) 

Self-care is one of the most important things we can do to support our wellbeing., When we think of self-care most of us think of pampering activities like skincare or massage, but self-care doesn’t have to be confined to spa days or visits to a beauty salon; it can take many forms.

Below, you will find some slightly less common self-care ideas that can work when skincare routines and meditation aren’t quite hitting the spot:

Re-read a favourite book

One of the best ways to really rest, relax and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, is to sink down into the couch with a hot cup of tea and one of your favourite novels. Spend some time getting to know the characters in Pride and Prejudice again or floating off to Narnia and you will feel all of the stresses and strains of modern life floating away as you get lost in a great story.

Play with a pet

If you do not have a pet, borrow one and spend some time petting it, walking it, and simply snuggling up to it. Why? Because studies have shown that pets can lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, help to improve mental health issues like depression and anxiety, and even lower tout risk of heart attack. Dogs are particularly good when it comes to self-care but any animal you love and enjoy spending time with will help you to feel better.

Learn a new skill

If you want to feel good physically and mentally, you could try to learn a new skill that you have never tried before, or that you have always wanted to try, but haven’t had the time for. For example, you could try to learn how to sew or knit so that you can create new outfits that make you feel great, while also giving you something mindful to do. You could also learn how to cook new dishes from around the world that are healthy and delicious or you could even take a professional management course to help you build a better career which will boost your self-esteem and help you to feel better about yourself going forward.

Change your bed sheets

Changing your bedsheets might not sound like a brilliant act of self-care, in fact, most of us hate changing our sheets, but think about the feeling you get when you slip into fresh sheets after a hot shower? Blissful isn’t it? That’s why simply changing your sheets more often can be a great act of self-care.

Wash your feet

If you’re looking for a short and sweet form of self-care, wash your feet. It will ae you feel cleaner, more relaxed and ready to take on the next challenge and it only takes a few minutes.

Do something that scares you

This might seem like the opposite of self-care, but doing something that scares you can really make you feel alive. If you think of something that gives you butterflies in the stomach, like skydiving or public speaking, and you simply go out there and give it your best shot, not only will you feel a rush of adrenaline that really makes you feel alive, but you will feel a sense of accomplishment that you have done what you thought you never would. This will help you to feel more happiness, joy, and accomplishment in your life, so do the thing that scares you.

Make lists

If you are someone who has a very busy mind that is always going over what you have to do today or tomorrow and worrying about how you will fit it all in, then becoming a list writer could be one of the best acts of self-care that you ever give yourself. Why? Because when you put the thoughts in your head on paper, you let them go to some extent. You know you have got them covered, so you don’t have to keep thinking about them and this means you will stress less and get a better night’s sleep if you simply take the time to write a daily to-do list.

As you can see, self-care doesn’t have to be a struggle and it doesn’t have to feel like work. It can be simple, relaxing, and enjoyable when you find the right activities to incorporate into your daily routine. You can do it in any way that feels right, as long as it allows you to relax, de-stress and recharge. So, what are you waiting for?