Friday, 19 June 2020

Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Magic Lip Oil Crystal Elixir

(Affiliate) Charlotte Tilbury recently launched two Crystal Elixir products; the Magic Serum and a lip oil. While I'm yet to try the serum, I do have the lip oil, and it may just be the most unashamedly luxury product in my stash right now.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Lip Oil

Officially called Charlotte's Magic Lip Oil Crystal Elixir, this little tube is just really enjoyable to use and it's full of ingredients designed to plump, hydrate and smooth. The vanilla-ish scented oil feels light and non-sticky/greasy on the lips, so it's very comfortable to wear and leaves a subtly glossy sheen. It just sort of makes lips look and feel healthy and smooth with a bit of shine. Besides the appealing vanilla scent/ taste of the oil, I think the real selling point is the rollerball application. The delivery system reminds me of the fruity 90s glosses of my childhood. You know, theose glosses that left your lips with that thick, syrupy look and smelling like sweets? I'm pretty sure The Body Shop used to do them. 
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Lip Oil

Described as a lip conditioner by day; lip mask by night, the oil mix is made up of a combination of Sunflower Seed, Camellia, Shea, Evening Primrose and Rosehip oils. It features an array of interesting ingredients including something called Sqisandryl™, a superfruit to make lips look smoother, plumper and more defined, Swertian Leaf extract to reduce the appearance of vertical lip lines, antioxidant Alpine Rose to increase skin's resilience and protect against dehydration and Plant Adaptogen Extracts including First Light Snow Lotus and Resurrection Leaf to help the lips retain moisture. The formula is also infused with Charlotte's Magic 8, a matrix of ingredients also found in the Magic Creamb that includes BioNymph Peptid, Vitamic C, Vitamin E and Organic Aloe Vera. The 'crystal' aspect of the lip oil is down to the addition of Holistic 5 Crystal Complex, which, according to the Charlotte Tilbury site, was inspired by holistic wellbeing and the healing frequency of light and energy for a touch of magic! Whether you're into holistic therapies or not, I think it's a nice touch.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Lip Oil Rollerball Close up

I find that the lip oil doesn't stay on the lips for hours and hours. It sort of disappears, which probably means that my lips are absorbing a lot of the beneficial ingredients. Surely not a bad thing if you ask me. After using this a few times daily for around two weeks now, my lips feel overall better. They're not dry or obviously lined and they might even feel a little more plump.
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Lip Oil

At £28 for 8ml of product, the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Lip Oil Elixir is a treat product for most, and a nice one at that. There are plenty of very affordable lip balms around if you just want comfort and protection but if you've got some Space NK points waiting to be used or just fancy a little luxury beauty purchase, this is a good option.

The lip oil is available anywhere that sells Charlotte Tilbury including Space NK and Charlotte Tilbury

Friday, 5 June 2020

Nourish London Lemon & Black Pepper Hand Wash and Hand Sanitiser Spray

(Gifted Item) For the past few months, hand hygiene has become a pretty big deal. I'm almost certain most of us haven't paid quite this much attention to the simple act of hand washing before! After months of being extra dilligent and taking more time than ever to soap up and rinse off , it's nice to treat my hands to something a little bit luxurious, in the form of Nourish London's new Lemon & Pepper collection.
Nourish's Founder, Dr Pauline Hili (a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry) developed two new products - a hand wash and sanitiser spray - in response to the current need for safe and effective hand hygiene products that are also kind to the skin.

Nourish London Lemon and Black Pepper Hand Sanitiser Spray and Hand Wash

Dr Hili says: At the moment, we are living in very unprecedent times, I have been developing and formulating skincare products for over 30 years and having completed a PhD in the antimicrobial properties of essential oils, I felt some of the knowledge gained in this research could have some application to the specific products - particularly the hand wash and sanitiser. We are a London based manufacturing company and having the ability and knowledge to make things during these times is vital. We want to play our role, however small, in supporting our community and our customers to bring ease wherever we can.

Nourish London Lemon & Black Pepper Hand Wash 300ml £12

This beautiful smelling hand wash is made with 100% natural plant-based cleansers (Potassium Oleate and Potassium Cocoate) and has been lab tested to kill 99.9% of bacteria. Ho Leaf Oil is blended with Lemon Peel Oil and Black Pepper Seed Oil - which are all naturally antibacterial- to create a fresh, invigorating scent that takes hand washing to another level.
You only need a small pump of the gentle handwash to work up a satisfying lather and the lemon and black pepper scent lingers once you've rinsed. We're keeping our bottle at the kitchen sink at the moment because I cook with garlic a lot and find that this handwash is great for counteracting stinky garlic hands.

Nourish London Lemon & Black Pepper Hand Sanitiser Spray 100ml £9.50

We've got a couple of bottles of hand sanitising gels, which do the job just fine but there is something very nice about this spray. It leaves hands subtly scented with the antibacterial, fragrant blend of Ho Leaf, Lemon Peel and Black Pepper Seed Oils and contains 65% Alcohol Denat to sanitise. The pump bottle packaging of this is so convenient - you can also use it to sanitise door knobs, hard surfaces and even your phone (just make sure to spray onto a cloth and then wipe down your phone with it if you do this). The liquid formula dries very quickly, leaving hands clean and refreshed, with none of the initial stickyness you get with hand gels. The sanitiser spray is also really simple to use on my 3 year old - much less wrangling involved and no funny texture for him to get irritated about. I'm pretty sure that I will purchase this spray once my sample starts running out.

If you're in the market for something to make your hand hygiene routines a bit more luxe, I'd really recommend you check out these two new products from Nourish London.

*To help customers stay safe, Nourish are currently including a free face mask with every order.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Beauty Peak Hair

(Gifted Item) Not long after I had my son, I noticed that I was losing a lot more hair than usual. By the time he was six months old, I was practically leaving a trail of hair everywhere I went. Our drains were getting clogged, I was waking up with a lot of hair on my pillow (that was no longer attached to my head) and I developed bald patches over my temples. I know that post partum hair loss is completely normal but that doesn't make it fun. It also doesn't mean you can't try a few things to support hair growth and try to have your hair looking like it's old self again. This is where Beauty Peak Hair comes in.

Beauty Peak Hair Capsules

Founded by Pharmacist Amr Mosa and Emilia Lipinska (an Occupational Therapist with Nutrition qualifications), Beauty Peak capsules are designed to improve hair growth and quality and, while beneficial for everyone, are perfect for women experiencing post partum hair loss. In fact, they were created because Emilia experienced excessive hair loss post-pregnancy, so with her husband Amr, set out to create their own nutritional food supplement to help with the shedding and thinning.
Each capsule contains 26 active ingredients to support the hair and you simply take 2 a day (with food) and that's it.
While the capsule is vegetarian, the product itself is not, as it does contain fish collagen.
Biotin is a vitamin well known for contributing to healthy hair, skin and nails, so it features in the capsules too, along with Selenium and Zinc which also aid in maintaining healthy hair. 

MSM, Hyaluronic Acid, Co Enzyme Q10, Grape Seed Extract and Amino Acids are also in the mix to support growth and hair health, while the addition of Copper contributes to normal hair pigmentation.
It's worth mentioning that Beauty Peak capsules contain Vitamin A, so if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it's advised that you consult your GP before taking them.

Beauty Peak Hair Capsules

So, you should take two capsules every day, for a minimum of three months to see results but Beauty Peak recommend to take the two capsules for six months, then take one a day for a few months thereafter. They suggest that if the hair shedding continues, you should visit your GP to see if there is an underlying issue causing the shedding.

My son recently turned 3 and my bald patches cleared up, for the most part, about a year ago now. So I've mainly been trying the capsules to improve the general health and look of my hair and slow down the rate that my hair sheds. That said, I have noticed some new 'tufts' growing just below my temples, which could well be down to the supplements! I have had a two month supply of Beauty Peak so don't have the full program, but I would say my hair condition overall has improved and there has been less shedding. I'm growing out a pixie cut at the moment and I've got a short bob/lockdown mullet thing going on right now, so wish I'd tried these when my hair was long when the slow down in hair shedding would probably be more obvious. On top of the hair-supporting ingredients, the capsules also contain Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C and Folic Acid, so they're a bit like a multivitamin with extra beauty super powers! 

Beauty Peak already has rave reviews - you can find these on their website- and it seems to have a lot of fans among mum's with young babies and anyone wanting to help out their hair a little. You can read more about the brand and the product at Vitopia.
A one month supply of the capsules is £19.99 or £17.99 per month if you subscribe. There are also bundles available.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

My Simple 3 Step Self Care Skincare Routine

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Obviously things are pretty uncertain and quite anxiety inducing at the moment so I feel like it's extra important to practice a little self-care. Whatever you do to relax or ground yourself, now is the time to do it.
You've probably guessed that I find a lot of comfort in the ritual of caring for my skin and just the simple acts of cleansing, masking and treating rarely fail to make me feel human.
In my opinion, whether you choose to use your hands, a flannel or a facial cleansing brush, quite literally washing the day away can make a world of difference. Follow that with your favourite mask and top things off with a treatment and/or moisturiser and, if you're anything like me, you'll feel at least a little bit like you've got it together.
Here are a few of my current favourite products to cleanse, mask and treat, which is my simple, fuss-free way of practising some self-care in these uncertain times.

I like to have a couple of cleansers on the go at the same time. Of course, you can get by with just one, but hear me out! I usually have a balm cleanser, a milky cleanser and a gel cleanser to switch between, depending on what I think my skin needs at the time. Balms, or oil cleansers are perfect for removing make up but they also offer the best formula to give yourself a bit of a facial massage, because of the ‘slip’, so they’re perfect when you want to take your time and really show your skin some love. I find washing my face incredibly relaxing and therapeutic. Especially when I take my time and use a lovely balm, really working it into my skin, before removing with a warm damp flannel. A few of my favourite balm/ oil cleansers at the moment – REN Perfect Canvas Jelly Cleanser, Elemis Pro Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm and Your Good Skin Comforting Gel Cleanser. For a deep clean and exfoliation in one, I'm quite partial to a facial cleansing brush - Panasonic do a good one.

Masking is an extra step that I usually only do when I'm needing a little extra comfort, or if I have a particular skin concern. I like a clay mask when I'm a bit congested around my chin or sides of my nose (usually due to hormones) but in general, an exfoliator/ exfoliating mask is my go-to followed by a hydrating mask to soothe my skin after the exfoliating or deep cleansing of whatever mask I've used first. There are plenty of cheap and cheerful clay masks about which generally do a fine job but I like the REN Clarimatte Invisible Pores Detox Mask. If I'm going down the exfoliating route, my current fave is the ARK Triple Action Exfoliator. I follow this up with the ARK Hydration Masque and the result is bouncy, happy, glowing skin that feels and looks like it’s just had a big drink of water. I’ve written about both ARK products here.

I use retinol products on and off but when I'm doing the self care three step, I'll skip it that night and opt for something nourishing and pampering. I basically give my skin what I feel it would benefit from, which is usually something rich and luxurious-feeling. I think the most glorious cream I've put on my face lately is the Sisley Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream (just a small sample unfortunately that's now gone) but I love the La Mer Renewal Oil, Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil (the most amazing scent) or May Lindstrom's Blue Cocoon.I realise these are all high end products but I’m just being honest – I like a lot of budget products too but these are my most recent favourites. If my skin is feeling irritated at all, I've been enjoying the Your Good Skin Cica Repair Sleep Paste, which you layer onto the skin and leave it to do its thing while you snooze.

Do you find comfort in taking care of your skin? I think there's a lot to be said for keeping up with routines during strange times - even if that routine happens to be a skincare routine.

*Paid Collaborative Post

Friday, 20 March 2020

Mother's Day Gifts from Nourish London

If you're a frequent reader you'll probably know I've featured Nourish London a few times. A lovely, homegrown beauty brand that creates gorgeous skincare. I've used Nourish products on and off over the past few years and I've enjoyed every single one, so I thought I'd just do a quick post to share a couple of their Mother's Day gifts. Obviously, everything is a bit strange at the moment but I think it's important to try to keep at least a little bit of normality amongst the madness. I'm sure a lot of people out there will still be trying to make Sunday as special as possible for their mum. To my knowledge, the gifts featured below are available for next day delivery, so they're something to think about if you've had other things on your mind this past week and perhaps haven't quite got round to organising a gift.

Nourish London Time For You Trio £44

A pampering set of products to repair, hydrate and relax. This trio includes the PROBIOTIC Multi-Mineral Repair Mask (30ml), RELAX Hydrating Peptide Serum (30ml) and LAVENDER Hand Lotion (50ml). I have to say, this gift set sounds gorgeous and should be particularly appreciated if your mum likes a bit of lavender (the Peptide Serum contains lavender as does, obviously, the Lavender Hand Lotion.

Nourish London Ultimate Skin Hydration Gift Set £60

This is a luxury set of hydrating skincare heroes including the KALE 3D Cleanse (100ml), ARGAN Skin Renew Moisturiser (50ml), ARGAN Anti-Ageing Serum (30ml) and PROBIOTIC Multi-Mineral Repair Mask (30ml). A really pampering routine, perfect for a chilled out Mother's Day at home.

If you think she would appreciate a one-product-that-does-pretty-much-everything sort of gift, Nourish's Antioxidant Multi-Tasking Super Balm is worth considering. You can use it to cleanse, moisturise and mask and it smells beautiful. You can read my review of the balm here.

So just a very quick post to flag up a couple of sets that have caught my eye. If you're not sure what your mum would like but want to shop at Nourish London, you can always opt for a Gift Card.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Saint and Sofia: Ethical, Luxury Fashion with a Twist

(Gifted items/ Affiliate) The Saint and Sofia style is pretty much perfect for me. Timeless, easy-to-wear designs, comfy, quality fabrics and neutral shades, with a lot of black! It’s laid back, rock-chick-chic that doesn’t try too hard. I think it’s effortlessly cool and I love it.
Every Saint and Sofia piece is designed right here in London and manufactured both in-house and in Europe. With fabric sourced from family owned fabric mills located in Turkey, Italy and Portugal.
Natural, sustainable materials are used wherever possible, with fabrics like Merino, Econyl (a type of regenerated nylon), Organic Cotton and Regenerated Cotton featuring heavily. In addition to using sustainable materials, Saint and Sofia also use biodegradable packaging (the protective bags that the items come delivered in are not plastic) and they source raw materials close to where the items are manufactured, therefore reducing environmental impact. They also collaborate with World Wild Fund for Nature and plant trees with Trees for Cities.  I think this gives the brand a certain edge over many others as we all start waking up to the reality that making better choices and caring about the Earth is actually pretty important!
The high-quality designs are right up my street and here I’m showing you a few of my favourites.
All of the pieces I’m wearing in these photos are a size 12, so hopefully that will help you get an idea of what the sizing is like.
The Biker Jacket (£80) Camden Wide Leg Pant (Navy £60)

Saint and Sofia fabric Biker Jacket and Camden wide leg Pant

Saint and Sofia Camden Wide Leg Pant in Navy

The Pimlico Pant in Black (£75)
Saint and Sofia wide leg Pimlico Pant with side tie in Black

Saint and Sofia wide leg Pimlico Pant with side tie in Black

The Biker Jacket I'm wearing in the top photo is unbelievably warm - i was actually quite surprised by how snuggly it is. It's made from heavy organic cotton and feels really soft, especially on the inside. I like the close fit and the fact that the jacket looks good both zipped up and left open.
The Camden Wide Leg Pant is possibly one of the comfiest trousers I've worn. The materials is heavy (not see through in the slightest), with just the right amount of stretch and a lovely relaxed, wide leg fit. The stretchy waistband means the pants just pull-on. They are just as comfortable on as track pants and they have pockets. What's not to like?
I think I'm going to get a lot of wear out of the Pimlico Pant in the coming months. With a wide leg and tie waist, the pull-on trousers have a smart tailored look so they'd be a good option for work with a top tucked in. I'm wearing them with a slightly cropped top in the photos for a more casual look. These trousers are made from Tencel (a fabric crafted from Eucalyptus) and feel soft and silky.

Not only is Saint and Sofia an ethical brand but it’s inclusive too, with sizes ranging from UK 6 through to a UK 22. Most items are available in a choice of colours too, so if you're not keen on black, there are still plenty of options for you.

Saint and Sofia offer free delivery (forever!) when you sign up, which I think is a brilliant incentive to shop with them. You can browse the whole range right now at Saint and Sofia.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Juliette Has a Gun Fragrance Discovery Kit

Like many others, I'm sure, I have a thing about miniature perfumes. I don't know what it is, but there's just something about a tiny vial of fragrance that's always made me a bit happier than it probably should. I guess it's a lot to do with the pocket-friendly size and the fact that I get sick of perfumes pretty fast. Unless it's Glossier You, which I'm not sure I'll ever tire of.

Created by Romano Ricci - the great-grandson of Nina Ricci - Juliette Has a Gun is a brand that's always had my interest, but I've never quite got round to trying anything from them. Until now that is, when I'm actually in the midst of trialling 8 different fragrances, thanks to the brand's Discovery Kit.
Juliette Has a Gun Discovery Kit

There are a few different sample sets to choose from but I've got the least expensive one to show you - the 'Discovery Set Best Seller'.
For 15 Euro, this set includes seven 1.7ml eau de parfum samples and one 4ml vial of the brand's iconic Not a Perfume fragrance.
The seven fragrances in the smaller vials are Vanilla Vibes, Moscow Mule, Sunny Side Up, MMMM..., Lady Vengeance, Another Oud and Anyway.
Juliette Has a Gun Discovery Kit - seven 1.7ml vials and one 4ml vial of fragrance

Vanilla Vibes is my kind of vanilla fragrance. It's not sickly sweet and has sea salt as a top note with natural vanilla and orchid absolute at the heart. Bottom notes include tonka bean, benzoin, sandalwood and brown musk.
Moscow Mule actually does smell quite a lot like a cocktail. This one has notes of ginger, lime and jasmine. It's not too sweet and to me, errs on the side of being quite masculine. I really like it.
Lady Vengeance is very aptly named I think. If you've ever smelled it yourself, you'll hopefully know what I mean. This scent is heavy on the patchouli but dries down to let the rose and vanilla heart shine. It's quite a classic sort of fragrance that's very feminine and floral but I find it a little bit headache-inducing so not one I'd purchase.
MMMM... is a gourmand with top notes of geranium, neroli and raspberry. I can really smell the raspberry in this and, as someone who's not really into fruity fragrances (except fig of course), this was a pleasant surprise. It's quite a fresh, real raspberry scent rather than a sugared one. One for warmer weather I think but I imagine I'll finish this little sample size off before Spring even properly kicks in.
Sunny Side Up is strong on sandalwood with a hint of jasmine and a sort of vanilla/coconut finish. It reminds me quite a lot of Maison Margiela On the Beach but maybe a little creamier. A summer scent for sure but still something I'd spritz on my winter coat.
Another Oud is all about bergamot, oud wood, raspberry, musk and cashmeron (which is a musky, woody, synthetic compound designed to emulate the feeling of cashmere). I find this scent to be pretty woody, as in it smells like actual wood, but as it dries down, that fresh raspberry note comes through to lighten things up a bit. I quite like this one.
Anyway is citrusy and musky with just the right amount of floral. Main notes include green lime, musk and hedione, which is basically a synthetic form of jasmine. It's bright, pleasant and wearable.

Juliette has a gun discovery kit

Not Another Perfume is a bestseller and I totally understand why. It's a single compound scent (if you can even call it a scent?) featuring something called Cetalox which is a synthetic version of ambergris or grey amber. It has an earthy, sort of sweet, sort of musky smell. The ambergris scent is often used as a base for fragrances, but in this case, the base is the fragrance! A fun fact about grey amber? It's a waxy, grey substance produced in the digestive system of sperm whales. Apparently, though it smells pretty disgusting when it's fresh, it dries down to that afformentioned musky, sweet smell. Despite the rather repulsive origins of genuine ambergris, it turns out I'm a fan of the synthetic version, which is probably why I'm so keen on Glossier You as it features heavily in that scent.
You can wear Not a Perfume either alone or spritz it on before one of the other fragrances to add a little extra musky, earthy, your-skin-after-a-nice-shower-but-better scent.

Something I'd mention about all of the perfumes is that they aren't very in your face or punchy. They're all interesting scents but they're not the kind that will suffocate everyone on your train carriage. I guess a more concise way of saying this is that they're not all that strong! In terms of longevity, all of the secnts I tried seem to last quite nicely on my skin, but we all know that everyone is different. Obviously, fragrance is very subjective too, so you may very well detest the ones that I've picked as my favourites (MMMM... and Moscow Mule I think!).

If you choose to order any of the full size fragrances, the 15 Euro charge for the sample set is redeemable, if you order within 2 months of purchase. There are also individual samples for sale as well as travel sizes and a selection of body products. If you're feeling curious, have a browse for yourself at Juliette has a Gun.