Monday, 26 September 2022

Victoria's Secret Bare Eau de Parfum

I received a 100ml bottle of Victoria’s Secret Bare Eau de Parfum for my birthday recently. It was on my list to try because the advertising campaign lured me in with the whole 'smells like you but better' thing and the fact it features Australian Sandalwood as a note. It also has mandarin and violet in the mix, as well as a blend of musks.
I expected it to be similar to Glossier You or Juliette Has a Gun's Not a Perfume. To my nose, it's not.
This has been compared to Dior's J'adore but it (unsurprisingly) lacks the same elegance, finesse and freshness. After all, Victoria’s Secret is a lingerie brand, they’re not known as a purveyor of fine fragrance. The first spray makes me want to sneeze - the opening screeches! But give it a while and the dry down lets that beautiful sandalwood come through. And some kind of stone fruit - maybe peaches or apricots with a hint of vanilla. I don't get mandarin and, for complete transparency, I don't actually know what violets smell like, though I have read they are similar to Iris – soft and powdery.

Bare was hotly anticipated among fragrance lovers everywhere, which is unsurprising given the gorgeous imagery and clever wording used in the marketing campaign. There was a strong focus on the beautiful simplicity of skin, nakedness and natural beauty. There was also an emphasis on the fact that it’s the wearer’s own natural skin chemistry mingling with Bare’s notes that make it truly special. This has been done before with Glossier’s iconic You fragrance and as someone who has sniffed and worn both, Glossier’s Ambroxan-heavy scent taps into this notion much more convincingly. Also, if we wanted to get technical, literally every fragrance we spritz on our skin mixes with our own unique body chemistry, which is why fragrances can smell different on different people.

It’s not the greatest thing I’ve smelled but I’m not giving up on Bare just yet. In fact I am looking forward to wearing Bare in really chilly weather, the kind where you need a scarf that can’t help but take on whatever perfume you’re wearing that day. I want the blend of musks it promises to come through and make me feel cosy, to blend in with the woody comfort of sandalwood the way I want it to. A writer on Fragrantica described Bare as an Apricot Pastry and I can’t express enough how much I want to interpret this scent in the same way. One of my indulgences is those (always slightly underbaked) custard and apricot twists you can get from CafĂ© Nero so, for me, to smell like that would be pretty dreamy.

Bare Eau de Parfum by Victoria’s Secret is available in 50ml (£45) and 100ml (£59) sizes and as a 7ml rollerball (£15). You can also find matching body lotions and body mists.

Monday, 19 September 2022

How to Afford to Spend More on Fashion and Beauty

 (Collaborative Post)

  If you're a lover of fashion and beauty, you might yearn to spend more money on your favourite things. Sticking to a budget can be tough when there are so many shiny new things trying to get your attention, but you can find that you're limited by how much money you have in your bank anyway. It's important to balance your spending so you're not spending all your money each month, but you can still find ways to buy the things that you want while sticking to a budget. Try these tips if you want to spend more on fashion and beauty without breaking the bank.

Prioritise the Right Purchases

Fast fashion can put so many tempting things in front of us, making it hard to resist buying things all the time. Or, if you don't have a lot of money, it might just make you sad that you can't own all the things. But the truth is that fast fashion isn't very ethical or sustainable, and it often won't last very long. If you want to make the most of your budget, you should prioritise your purchases and focus on the things that you really want. Look for quality items that are sustainably and ethically made, and you can find your money is better spent.

Find Savings in Your Budget

By looking for savings in your regular budget, you can often identify money that you can spend on other things. Maybe it's time for a new car, and you can use Edmunds to look for one at the right price so that you can save money every month. With the money you save, you can increase the amount that you're able to spend on fashion, beauty, and anything else that brings you joy. There are lots of ways to save money, from spending less on groceries to reducing your bills.

Buy Second-Hand

Buying second-hand or used items is always a good way to make your budget stretch further. Of course, you need to be careful when it comes to beauty products. You don't really want to buy used makeup, as that could result in hygiene issues. However, you can still buy unused items for a range of beauty products. Clothes and other fashion items are also easy to buy second-hand too, and there are various ways to find what you're looking for. You can use apps, websites, thrift stores, and more.

Time Your Purchases

Buying at the right time can also make a big difference if you want to be able to spend more on fashion and beauty items. If you wait until the right moment, you can find you have better access to deals and promotions that help you save money. Waiting to buy something also has other benefits. It will allow you to make sure you really want it instead of buying it on impulse, and it will give you more time to save for it too.

If you want to spend more on fashion and beauty, you can find ways to save money in other areas of your life and think carefully about how you spend your money too.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Housewarming Gift Ideas

(Collaborative Post) 

Purchasing a new property is a big deal. Not only is it a considerable financial investment, but it’s also where people spend most of their time outside of work. For that reason, making it feel homely is essential. 

Unfortunately, many new homeowners are actually quite bad at this. They’d love to live in a cosy property, but they neglect to make it feel like home. It takes them a long time to settle in. 

If you know someone in this position, this post is here to help. In it, we run through some top housewarming gifts that everyone is going crazy for right now. Check them out below: 

Throw Blanket

Unsplash - CC0 License

New living rooms can feel a little sterile at first. They’re just not lived in, so you feel like you’re treading on eggshells. 

To make things feel a little more hygge, try giving a large throw. Once draped over the back of a sofa, these make rooms feel cosier and warmer almost immediately. Plus, when the temperatures drop and your friend can’t afford to pay for their heating, they’re a great way to stay warm. 

Automatic Indoor Garden

Not everyone has a garden. Some people live in apartments. However, most people need at least some greenery in their environment to feel good.

That’s where automatic indoor gardens come in handy. These simple devices keep greens looking fresh, even if they don’t have any access to natural light. 

They’re easy to set up, and LED overhead lights provide all the light they need to grow. Then, once plants are fully grown, your friends or loved ones can just harvest them and use them as garnishes for their meals.


Keepsakes and memorial gifts are a great housewarming gift idea, particularly if the person concerned is going through a major life change. Little trinkets like this can create a sense of continuity. 

Ice Cream Maker

Today’s automatic ice cream makers are considerably better than they were in the past. Before, you had to coax them to produce something that was edible. But, today, it’s a different story. Many have sophisticated equipment that lets them whip up perfect, pillowy ice cream every time. 

If you’re planning on gifting one of these to a friend, give them a demonstration first. Show them how easy it is and the fun that they can have with it. 

Cheese Board Set

While new homeowners usually have the basics, they don’t always have items that only come out once or twice a year, like cheese board sets.

If they are meat lovers, you might also consider a charcuterie set. These usually come with small knives and perhaps even a pull-out tray for storing all the cutlery. 

Stemless Wine Glasses

Regular wine glasses can be a little delicate. But stemless versions are more like tumblers, which makes them more durable and versatile. You can use them for drinks, cocktails, and regular wine. They are much less likely to tip over and spill, and they usually come in sets of six. 

Cleaning Kit

Keeping on top of house chores is challenging, even for the keenest new homeowners. There are just so many tasks that need doing.

That’s where a cleaning kit can come in handy. These give new homeowners a real head start. 

Look for kits that prioritise environmental friendliness. Many now use completely safe chemicals, like white vinegar for cleaning everything from dirty hobs to cloudy bathroom mirrors. 

Spicy Sauce Pack

Some people just love spicy sauce. Eating it is such a thrill. 

Therefore, why not gift a boutique hot sauce set to the new homeowner? It’ll help them get a head start on their kitchen pantry, and they’ll enjoy blowing their heads off at the same time. 

Thanks to entrepreneurship in the food space, there are now hundreds of hot sauce brands out there, all vying for customers’ attention. That means that you can almost always find something new and delicious for them to try. 

Serving Trays

At first, new homeowners use their dining rooms for all their meals, even breakfast. After all, they want to justify spending so much money.. But over time, they slowly move into the living room to have dinner in front of the TV instead. 

Knowing this process is inevitable, consider gifting serving trays. This way, they can easily shift food from the kitchen into the living room, and then back to the kitchen again. 

The sheer range of serving trays on the market today is considerable. What’s more, designers are getting very good at making them look great. Artisans now give trays tall wooden sides, and many feature beautiful images of flowers, maps, or birds. 

An Address Label

Most homes come with an address label beside the front door, but it doesn’t always look great. That’s why getting the new homeowner in your life a better one makes so much sense. It helps to make their home feel complete. And it could significantly upgrade its appearance. 

Custom Welcome Mat

Similarly, a customer welcome mat is a beautiful touch. The most obvious choice is to write the household’s name on it, but you have complete creative freedom. Most vendors give you a choice of sizes, too. If you’re not sure which to pick, try to inconspicuously measure the width of your friend’s front door next time you go round. 

Homeware Store Gift Card

If you’re stuck for ideas or your new homeowner friend has a lot of things to buy for the house, you might consider getting a homeware store gift card for them. This way, if there is something that they need, they can go out and get it. It’s particularly helpful if they are a little short on cash for some reason. 

Silky Smooth Sheets

Unsplash - CC0 License

New homeowners can take a little while to get comfortable with living in a new place. Therefore, anything that makes them feel a little more comfortable can help. 

Explore getting them silky smooth bedding sheets. With these, they can feel great whenever they hit the sack. 


So which of these gift ideas caught your eye? Which will you choose for the new homeowner in your life?

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

D by Diesel Eau de Toilette

post features sample
 I've developed a really keen interest in fragrances over the past year or so and, being particularly interested in 'genderless' scents, the new launch from Diesel got my attention.

D by Diesel is being marketed as not only designed for literally everybody to wear, but also Vegan and environmentally friendly.
The box and bottle are plastic free and made using recycled materials, with the brand lamenting that D is a fragrance for now and for the future. I like this angle myself - anything that promotes environmental awareness is ok by me!
The glass bottle is quite a cool design too, with the idea being that it's crushed and crumbled in your hand, to symbolise 'the mark your actions leave'. With an architectural design, the bottle is also refillable, which is obviously a good thing.

The genderless fragrance features top notes of Ginger and Bergamot, with Denim Cotton Accord and Lavender in the middle and Vanilla and Ambery Woods in the base.
With responsibly sourced Lavender and Vanilla, the scent itself leans quite masculine to me. By masculine I mean I pick up a lot of the typical sort of woodsy/lavender fougere notes that many male-marketed fragrances contain. That said, it's very much a 'clean', just out of the shower and ready to seize the day kind of scent, perfect for warm weather but I'm interested to see how I like it when it cools down significantly. The dry down lets a little bit of sweetness through from the Vanilla, which I appreciate as a gourmand fragrance lover.
I find the Denim Cotton Accord interesting, in that I'm not sure I can actually smell it! Once again I look forward to trying the scent again when the weather turns and I might just be able to pick it out.

This stuff lasts forever on my skin, which is not bad for an Eau de Toilette. In fact it lasts a lot longer than some of my more expensive fragrances. For this reason, I wish I liked the fragrance more than I do. I do enjoy it, I just don't really love it to be honest! But fragrance is subjective and I just happen to like mine a little sweeter.
 D by Diesel retails for £36 for 30ml, £54 for 50ml and £74 for the 100ml bottle. It's been released into all major retailers now but I recommend grabbing a bottle from Escentual where you can currently buy it at 25% off right now here.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

B'KATE Vegan Brow Cosmetics

post features samples

There's been such a strong focus on eyebrows for the past decade or so in the makeup realm hasn't there? With countless brow products to choose from, it's going to take something pretty special to standout from the crowd, which is exactly what Dutch brand B'KATE intends to do.

Founded by International Brow Artist Marlies Gregorius, B'KATE is all about high performance, top quality vegan -friendly brow cosmetics, designed to inspire confidence and authenticity. I have been trying the Brow Oil, Brow Gel and Brow Pencil and can confidently report that all three are lovely products.

First things first, I love the packaging this brand uses. It's sleek and quite sophisticated; it looks like it means business, if you know what I mean! Everything I've tried feels quite sturdy too - there's nothing flimsy about these products at all. Here's a bit more about the three bits I've tried out:

B'KATE Pro Brow Powder Pencil £14

I really like the Pro Brow Powder Pencil. It's a creamy powder formula with a handy spoolie on the other end. I have the shade 'Scott' which is a soft brown but you can also choose from Tatum, a dark brown and Leo, which is blonde. It's really soft, blendable and buildable, which I appreciate in a brow product because I have a habit of being a bit heavy handed and making my brows darker than intended, which results in wiping a lot of product off. I don't seem to have that issue with this pencil and find it really easy to work with. I don't fill in the my brows much because they are quite full anyway (with more and more random, white and wirey ones appearing) but I do add some definition through the length and fill in the inner corners a bit where the hair is a bit sparse. This pencil is the first I've used in quite some time - I usually stick to tinted gels and waxes - but I find it really user friendly and the colour I have blends in with my brows quite naturally.

B'KATE Castor Roll On Brow Oil £6.95

The Castor Roll on Brow Oil is basically what it says on the tin; a rollerball of 100% pure Castor Oil especially for your brows. Castor Oil is renowned for promoting hair growth and this little rollerball is an easy way of applying it to your brows. The soothing oil can be simply rolled on before makeup or applied a little more thickly as an overnight mask. 

B'KATE Brow Gel £14

My favourite product of the three, the B'KATE Brow Gel is a clear gel with added Vitamin B5 to moisturise and add shine. This is a really nice brow grooming product - you only need a little bit to tame the brows, it doesn't feel sticky, doesn't dry stiff and I haven't noticed it flaking. I've used a swipe of this after the Pro Powder Pencil to make the hairs nice and tidy and lock the colour in place.

The products I've mentioned are really just a taster of the B'KATE brand - there are much more products to explore, including brushes, pomades and brow scissors.

 You can shop B'KATE in the UK at Everlasting Atelier

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Nourish London Summer Sun Kit

(post contains sample)

 The Summer Sun Kit from Nourish London is a dinky little skincare trio perfect for travel or just trying out the brand. Presented in a Freeset black organic cotton bag, the skincare set includes the Argan Skin Rescue (5ml), Skin Protecting Daily Moisturiser SPF25 (15ml) and the Probiotic Multi-Mineral Repair Mask (5ml).

The idea is that this kit is ideal for sunny days; prep the skin before you go out in the sun with the Argan Skin Rescue, protect and moisturise with the Skin Protecting Daily Moisturiser (you can read my post about that here) and then soothe skin at the end of the day (or overnight if you fancy it) with the Probiotic Multi-Mineral Repair Mask.

The Argan Skin Rescue is rich in Vitamin C and nourishing oils. It can really be used anytime and does feel really soothing on the skin so is a good option for post-sun treating. The inclusion of Vitamin C makes it perfect to apply in the morning though because Vitamin C is not only great for brightening, but it provides some protection against sun damage too.

I reviewed the Skin Protecting Daily Moisturiser quite recently but to recap, this is a Zinc Oxide based sunscreen with antioxidants including Camellia and Rosehip oils. The consistency is quite thick and I noticed that Nourish have added the following to the product listing on their website in case customers are confused about how best to apply it:

“Please note, the consistency of the product needs to be thicker than normal moisturisers without SPF to ensure that once applied to the skin the level of SPF is at the level stated on pack (in this case 25).  The product can thicken over time, particularly with fluctuations of temperature.  We would recommend applying a serum before hand which will prep and hydrate the skin to help the moisturiser skin into the skin more easily.  Also if you massage the product between your fingers for a few seconds to warm it up it will help loosen the product so that it will then apply more easily.

The Probiotic Mineral Mask is just gorgeous – I’ve actually got it on now as I type! It’s a thick cream mask that feels beautifully soothing and cooling. Exactly what’s needed after a hot Summer day in or out of the sun. With calming Magnesium and infused with Damask Rose and Lavender, the mask is designed to calm inflammation, boost collagen, firm and restore. You can leave the mask on for anything from 5 minutes to overnight and remove it gently with a damp cloth. Strictly speaking, it’s a single use sachet but I think you could squeeze a couple of uses out of it to be honest!

As with all Nourish London products, the serum, moisturiser and mask in this kit are 100% vegan and made with organic ingredients.

If you're interested in trying these three products for yourself, this is a great, affordable opportunity to do so. The Nourish London Summer Sun Kit is £15 at Nourish.

Monday, 6 June 2022

Croma Farewell Dry Skin Face Serum

 (post features sample)

 When I first opened the box containing the Croma FarewellDry Skin face serum, my initial thoughts were all about how exquisite the packaging is. I mean, a frosted glass dropper bottle presented atop its very own little wooden podium with the company name debossed into it is very much next-level skincare product presentation and I am completely here for it! It really is quite gorgeous and makes the product feel even more luxurious.

Croma is an Austrian brand that, quite interestingly, specialises in the industrial production of Hyaluronic Acid Syringes. It seemed like quite a natural progression then for the family owned business to start producing their own skincare ranges.

The Croma Farewell collection is a range of vegan and cruelty free serums designed to target specific skin concerns. Each of the serums contains high and low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid at the core, with other ingredients added to address particular issues/areas. The collection includes Farewell Ageing Skin, Farewell Irritated Skin, Farewell Oily Skin, Farewell Puffy Eyes and Farewell Dry Skin, which is the serum I’ve been trialling.

With Hyaluronic Acid, D-Panthenol, Aloe Vera and Niacinamide, Farewell Dry Skin delivers a hefty dose of hydration and moisture to skin that needs a little extra help. The ingredients also work to strengthen the skin’s barrier and maintain softness and elasticity. The lightweight serum is designed to be used morning and night, with the recommended dosage of 3 drops to be applied after cleansing and before any moisturiser and SPF you might like to use.

I really like the texture of this serum; it’s so light and sort of feels like thick water on the skin. It’s therefore incredibly easy to apply and spread, with my face feeling like it’s had a big drink of water almost instantly. It absorbs well too and doesn’t really leave an obvious sign that I’ve just applied anything to my skin, except that it makes me look a little more awake and healthy, but there’s no sheen or shiny finish. I do however notice an immediate difference in the feel of my skin - there is an instant softness and sort of bounciness, almost like fine lines are being plumped and everything is being rehydrated. It's a very welcome sensation!

The Farewell Dry Skin Serum also plays very well beneath other products – I absolutely detest products that ball up and pill and this is not one of them, so it gets a big tick from me in that department too.

The serum does not have a scent and feels incredibly gentle so unless you are sensitive to Niacinamide it should be suitable for virtually everyone. All in all, a lovely luxury serum that I would suggest to anyone dealing with dry skin.

Croma Farewell Dry Skin target-specific face serum for dry skin is £109 for 30ml at Croma.