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.

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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.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Glossier Future Dew

Yes, there are already half a million reviews of Glossier Future Dew on the internet, but what's the harm in another, hey?
When Glossier first debuted, I'll admit I totally bought into the hype. I loved Boy Brow for its effortless application, Cloud Paint (in Dusk) for its blendability and naturally flushed finish, and Glossier You because, well, it's just an excellent clean-skin-but-better scent. I don't mind a bit of Balm Dotcom either (currently use Coconut but keen to try Birthday).
I got these products soon after Glossier became available in the UK but truth be told I hadn't really had much of a browse since. A lot of the new launches didn't appeal to me enough to part with my money, I suppose.
But then Future Dew appeared and all that changed. When I first read about the skincare/makeup hybrid I was instantly interested. Yes, we have tinted moisturisers, illuminating primers and highlighters but we didn't quite have something like this. That is, an oil/serum with a host of beneficial ingredients and reflective minerals that gives your skin the most gorgeous, dewy glow.

You know how your face looks for the ten minutes or so after you've done your routine? That sort of lit-from-within look when you've just applied a beautiful cream or oil and it's yet to fully asborb? Glossier have managed to recreate that glow with Future Dew. And the best part is, it lasts. All. Day.
Designed to be applied as your very last skincare step, Future Dew is made up of four different oils, as well as Evodia Rutaecarpa Extract, which is a fruit extract that increases brightness, hydrating Squalane derived from Sugarcane (not olives, nor Whales) and the aforementioned light reflecting minerals. In case you're wondering, the light reflecting minerals in this are Mica and Tin Oxide, which work to give Future Dew that sort of lustrous finish.
The oils in the formula are Jojoba, Grape Seed, Evening Primrose and Rosehip, which are included not only for their silky texture, but to hydrate.

I wear Future Dew on its own if I can't be bothered with foundation, just to give my skin a little lift, and have also tried it with bases including my Chantecaille Just Skin tinted moisturiser. In these pictures I'm wearing it underneath Estée Lauder Double Wear Light (which is incidentally a matte finish foundation) and as you can see, the glow of Future Dew definitely comes through. It's worth mentioning that it doesn't pill at all beneath foundations, which I know will be a huge plus point for pretty much anyone.

Overall, I was doing just fine without Future Dew in my life but I have a feeling it's going to become one of those products I won't want to be without from now on.
You can find it in the UK online at Glossier for £23 for 30ml