Thursday, 15 April 2021

Unlock Your Confidence In Time For Summer

(collaborative post)

Whether you are dealing with a difficult breakup or looking to reclaim your mojo after having a baby, confidence is always key. However, building confidence is a lifelong journey - and requires a lot of introspection and hard work.

This is because, to begin with, you need to learn to be kind to yourself so that you can accept yourself for who you truly are. This means you need to stop spending hours scrolling through (heavily edited) social media images and learn to love the person staring back at you in the mirror - quirks and all. 

With that in mind, here are some tips you can use to unlock your confidence in time for summer! 

  • Put together a simple skincare routine that deals with any specific issues you may face. For example, those with dry skin should focus on using products that are heavily moisturizing, giving you a natural, youthful glow. It's really important that you ensure that you use sunscreen every day, no matter what your skin type and especially if you are trying to figure out how to deal with skin redness. When you start taking better care of your skin, you’ll begin to feel more confident.

  • Take a look through your wardrobe and throw away any outfits that you don’t feel comfortable in. If it's too small - chuck it! You don't need that kind of negativity in your life. Then, treat yourself to a spot of shopping - ensuring that you only buy clothes that make you feel good and won’t be a cause of worry when you are heading out for the day. If you aren’t sure where to look, consider looking for a personal shopper who can help you pick out some outfits that compliment your figure and match your unique style. 

  • Each morning, try to recite three positive things about yourself while looking at your reflection. This behaviour, when repeated, can help subtly change how you think about yourself, forcing negativity to take a back seat. Affirmations can be really effective! These compliments do not necessarily have to relate to your appearance (though it’s perfectly fine if they do!) but can cover a whole range of topics. For example, you might begin with statements such as, ‘I am confident because I am kind to others, I am confident because I always have something interesting to say, I am confident because I am good at my job’. I am not a very naturally confident person so I find affirmations really helpful.

  • Whenever you think negatively about yourself, take a step back from the situation and question what has made you feel that way. For example, if you begin to question your ability to get the job done at work - ask yourself why. Could it be that you are overburdened? Do you need to delegate some tasks to someone else or ask for help? Finding the cause of negative thinking can help you work towards a quicker resolution. 

  • Instead of worrying about what others may think about you - start questioning what you think about them. For example, are you chasing affection from somebody who doesn’t reciprocate your energy and does not deserve the time you are giving them? Throw yourself into relationships where your energy is matched, and you are valued - and this will help your confidence grow leaps and bounds.

I hope you found at least a few of these tips helpful, not just for preparing for Summer/ coming out of lockdown but all year round too.

Common Skincare Complaints and How to Deal With Them

(collaborative post)

If you're anything like me you'll know that skincare should be an essential step in your daily routine. Not only can good skincare help give you a natural glow and help tackle any areas that you perceive to be a problem, but for many (myself included) it's just as much about self care as it is about results. However, it can be hard to know where to start - especially as there are hundreds of products on the market at any given time, each one making different or contradicting promises about which products are truly the best.

With that in mind, here are some of the most common skin complaints - and how you can deal with them! 

Complaint: Dry Skin. 

Solution: There are many reasons why you may be dealing with dry skin. It could be due to environmental factors, such as spending a lot of time outdoors in warm weather or a lack of hydration. Thankfully, there are also various ways in which you can deal with dry skin too. 

  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. This can improve your hydration, giving your complexion some much needed TLC. Even if you don't notice any improvement in your skin, it's still a great way to ensure your body stays hydrated

  • Invest in dry skin products that can help reduce flakiness and dryness.

  • Wear sunscreen every day - even if the sun is hidden behind the clouds (as it so often is in the UK). Pay special attention to your suncare if you use an acid in your routine.

Complaint: Under-eye bags. 

Solution: Under-eye bags are another common skin complaint that many of us have to deal with in our daily lives. The key cause behind them is a lack of proper sleep, though stress and anxiety can also cause them to worsen. To treat under-eye bags, you should: 

  • Purchase products that are specifically designed to combat them, such as eye care creams and serums - and add them to your daily routine. 

  • Try to get a good night's sleep - focusing on developing a strong nighttime routine that helps you fall asleep quickly and get some much-needed shut eye. 

  • Applying a cool compress underneath your eyes, such as a wet cloth or even ice, can reduce the puffiness and appearance of under-eye bags. 

Complaint: My Skin doesn’t look like the models on instagram. 

Solution: As we spend so much time lurking on social media, especially on the pages of models or influencers, it’s easy to compare ourselves to the faces we see on our screens. However, it’s essential to realise that while our skin doesn’t look like theirs appears in the pictures - this is not an accurate depiction of how they look, either. In fact, photos posted on social media are often heavily edited using tools that blur out skin texture altogether. It's really quite deceptive and damaging.

  • Keep an eye out for evidence of filters on photographs, and remind yourself that they aren’t real.

  • Don't be afraid to hit Unfollow! Stop following those who post unrealistic social media content if it makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. Focus on following accounts that promote authenticity - and celebrate their blemishes and quirks. 

  • Though this is easier said than done, try to feel confident in who you are - as this is perhaps the most straightforward ticket to confidence!

Monday, 12 April 2021

Caudalie Vinoperfect Glycolic Peel Mask

(article contains affiliate links)

 Caudalie is such a lovely French beauty brand isn't it? I remember stocking up on a few bits when I visited Paris years ago and the subtle almond smell of the cleansing milk will always remind me of that trip. It was almost certainly available to purchase in the UK at that point but you can't beat some of those French Pharmacy prices! I recently bought the Vinoperfect Glycolic Peel Mask - a 10 minute, gently resurfacing skin treat that I've tried a handful of times so far. I tricked myself into thinking this is a new product but I think it's just been renamed and repackaged, with Vinoperfect added to the title. I can't seem to find any info about a reformulation but I am loving the monochrome packaging and it's a new-to-me product anyway!

With Glycerin, Squalane, Grapeseed Oil and Grapevine Shoot Extract, the quick mask is gently exfoliating, eliminating dead skin cells and refining texture thanks to AHAs and something called Viniferine.

Derived from grapevine sap, Viniferine is Caudalie's patented ingredient which is said to be up to 62 times more effective than Vitamin C in correcting dark spots/ discolouration. The AHAs in the formula are Lactic, Tartaric and Citric acids from a combination of corn, beets, wheat, sugar cane and of course, grapes.

It's a creamy, opaque formula that smoothes on like icing on a cake and has that distinctive, grape-esque Caudalie scent. When left on for the advised 10 minutes, it doesn't leave my skin feeling sensitized in the slightest and once removed with warm water and a washcloth, my face looks refreshed and glowing. I love using the 10 minute mask before a really hydrating serum and rich moisturiser - the results the next morning speak for themselves as I wake up looking a lot fresher than I feel!

It goes without saying that you should wear an SPF every day anyway but, I urge you to be extra diligent with the suncream the day after using the glycolic mask, or any other exfoliating product for that matter.

The Caudalie Vinoperfect Glycolic Peel Mask has an rrp of £22 but at the moment it's cheapest here at Escentual for £20.70.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

3 Fun Things To Do In London In Spring 2021

(collaborative post)

If like many people, you are counting down the days until we can safely venture out after lockdown, then you’ll know that a number of the social distancing and lockdown restrictions are about to ease here in the UK, and more specifically, in London. So, if you’re planning your life away ready for a super fun (and cautiously safe) Spring, then here are three more activities to add to your growing list.

1. Go For A Picnic

Why not go for a picnic with some friends to kickstart your Spring? With social distancing restrictions now allowing you to meet outside with up to five others, this is a great opportunity to catch up with loved ones and see those people who you’ve been missing throughout the pandemic. London boasts a great array of green open spaces despite its reputation as an urban giant. There’s Hyde Park, Regent’s Park - and even Kew Gardens in the South West. However, our favourite spot is at the top of Hamstead Heath where you can overlook the entire city from above. So, pack yourself a picnic, a bottle of bubbly, and head on over to your park of choice. Just remember, don’t forget to wear your sunscreen while you’re out and about this Spring!

2. Book A Spa Day

One of the things that we’ve been longing for over the past twelve months is the chance to go for a spa day. With COVID-19 restrictions meaning some of London’s best health clubs have had to close, it’ll be music to your ears to hear that they can reopen again from April 12th. This is a great way to unwind after a busy week of remote working or simply a great way to find time to catch up with a family member or friend. Equally, if you and your partner fancy doing something a bit different without having to leave the city, then booking a spa day for two can also be really beneficial. Our favourite spa in London has to be The Laboratory Spa & Health Club. If you’re keen to check it out too, then visit It’s incredible - honest!

3. Become A Tourist

So many people come and live in London for years of their lives, only to never really see any of the city’s great tourist attractions. Whilst it can often seem like more fun spending a weekend in the pub or at the park, seeing London like a tourist can help you to view the city with a fresh pair of eyes. We recommend starting by catching an Uber Boat from along the River Thames and making your way up to the Emirates Royal Docks where you can take a cable car that gives you some breathtaking views of the city. At 90 metres high, you can see for miles and truly appreciate London in a completely different way. The London Eye is also a brilliant way to experience London from a bird’s eye view and is a must in our opinion.

Have you got any Spring activities planned?

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Skincity Moisture Glow Pads

Skincity has become one of my first stops when browsing for skincare. The fact that they offer free express delivery, no matter how much you spend, is a huge draw card for me, not to mention the free sample, tote bag and cute Kokeshi doll with every order!

Not only does Skincity stock a variety of respected beauty brands, inlcuding the likes of Paula's Choice, iS Clinical, SkinCeuticals and Oskia, they also sell their very own range and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t keen to try every one of their offerings. I have previously owned the Cooling Moisture Toner Stick, which is great for Summer, but they have a pretty extensive collection of skincare and tools to choose from. I've got an eye on the SPF50 stick (that's currently on offer) but for now I’ve shown restraint and just have the one item – the Skincity Moisture Glow Pads.

Skincity Moisture Glow Pads

I came across these while on the hunt for something quick to wake up my skin in the morning and the little pads tick all the boxes. Made from cellulose, the thin pads are soaked in an exfoliating PHA solution, with antioxidants inlcuded to protect, clarify and hydrate. Extracts of Algae and Purple Ginseng are in the mix to encourage collagen production, while a touch of Spearmint Oil instantly refreshes and cools.

I have been loving swiping a pad on my face and neck every morning - they have a pleasant tingling effect, with a real skin-awakening effect. Even though they are designed for use in the AM, the pads could be used any time that you feel your skin could do with a quick refresh. Just make sure to follow up with an SPF after your usual serums/ moisturisers when using during the day.

The Skincity Moisture Glow Pads are £20 for a tub of 50 - don't forget there's no charge for delivery. You can also choose the sample/bag/Kokeshi option at checkout or opt for minimal packaging with no sample and extras.

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Fresh Kombucha Anti-Pollution Cleansing Treatment

(article contains affiliate links) 

I’ll be honest, when I first saw that Fresh had brought out this no-rinse cleanser, I assumed off the bat that it was just another micellar water. It wasn’t until I read a review of the Kombucha Cleansing Treatment that I realised that it’s actually a lot more than just a quick cleanse.

The Fresh Kombucha Cleansing Treatment is sort of self-explanatory if you go by the name alone, and I should have noticed that Cleansing and Treatment are two words that you don’t often see together. The beauty of Fresh’s latest product is that it sweeps away makeup (including mascara), dirt, sunscreen and general grime but also leaves an undetectable layer of Prebiotic Inulin on the skin.

What is Prebiotic Inulin?

Prebiotic Inulin is a naturally occurring extract derived from the chicory root. In this case, it helps to keep the skin balanced as it ‘feeds’ the skin’s microbiome, which in turn increases the skin’s defences against aggressors such as pollution.

The addition of antioxidant Kombucha also helps to keep the skin clarified and refined while smoothing texture.

The first thing I noticed when using the treatment for the first time is just how inoffensive it is. I know that’s probably a bizarre way of describing a skincare product, but it’s true! It basically looks like water and feels like water on the skin and is so delicately fragranced that any scent is barely delectable. I was expecting the cucumber-esque aroma that many Fresh products have, but this really is virtually scentless. It also doesn’t seem to create a film on the skin of any sort and leaves it feeling soft and comfortable, not stripped in the slightest.

To use, you simply saturate a cotton pad (we know by now that reusable is the most eco-friendly option – have a look at some great ones that I use here) and sweep it gently over the face. Even though it can be used as an end-of-day makeup remover/ cleanser, I wouldn’t use it for this because not only am I very much a cleanse-with-a-flannel type person in the evening, but if I was wearing makeup or SPF I would be washing my face twice. I wouldn’t want to use it as a first cleanse/ makeup remover then rinse away the goodness of the Prebiotic Inulin. With that said, I have been loving using this treatment in the morning to cleanse and refresh my skin. If you are someone who usually makes do with cleansing wipes, micellars and no-rinse cleansers, then this is just as convenient but with the added bonus of the Prebiotic Inulin, so you’re treating the skin as well as cleansing it.

The treatment comes in two sizes - 75ml (£19) and 200ml (£36). The Fresh Kombucha Anti-Pollution Cleansing Treatment is available from Fresh, Cult Beauty and Space NK.

Friday, 5 February 2021

Feel Unique Beauty Kit

 (article contains affiliate links)

There's something extremely appealing about tiny beauty things. Whether it's a miniature lipstick or travel-sized pot of moisturiser, I've almost always preferred the small version of a product.
With my appreciation for little beauty bits in mind, the Beauty Kit service from Feel Unique was always going to give me a bit of a thrill.

Feel Unique Beauty Kit

Launched a few months ago, the Beauty Kit works like this:
You choose 5 items you'd like to try from a selection of around 150 skincare, haircare, bath and body, fragrance and makeup products. Your choices arrive presented in a rather sturdy zip up bag, that I imagine will be handy for travel once that becomes a thing again. The price of the build-your-own-kit is £12.95 plus a £3.95 delivery fee that you can redeem on a future purchase. A good deal, especially if you tend to shop at Feel Unique anyway.
There's a good mix of brands, the majority being high-end/luxury, with products served up in varying sizes and formats like tubes, pots, pods and bottles, with some in sachets.
I've found some brilliant sample sizes on here so far (the products on offer are constantly changing) including the Medik8 Hydr8 B5 serum in an 8ml bottle (£40 for 30ml) and Philip B. Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo (15ml) that retails for a wild £155 for 355ml.
My kit arrived a few days ago and I picked a mixture of bits I've been meaning to try and products I didn't know existed until I started browsing the samples.

Feel Unique Beauty Kit

In my kit:

Kerastase Nutritive Bain Satin 2 Shampoo 80ml

I’ve never owned a Kerastase shampoo or conditioner before and have only experienced the brand at salons before. Knowing that the Nutritive range is popular and that my hair has been feeling a little dry and lacklustre, I figured this was the perfect way to try it at home. A beautiful, salon-smelling shampoo that leaves my hair feeling clean and healthy, with a nice sheen. I’ve been using this without following up with a conditioner.

Korres Greek Yoghurt Foaming Cream Cleanser 20ml

I first tried the body lotion from Korres’ Greek Yoghurt line over a decade ago back in Australia and remember that I loved the smell. This cleanser brought all sorts of memories hurtling back to me when I used it the other day. It literally smells like a bowl of Greek yoghurt with honey and cinnamon. To me, anyway. I would definitely buy the full size of this – it’s more ‘frothy’ than foaming and doesn’t dry out my skin and rinses away beautifully. This one contains both prebiotics and probiotics to help maintain balance.

Origins Drink Up 10 Minute Hydrating Mask with Apricot & Swiss Glacier Water 15ml

I’m a huge fan of the iconic Drink Up Overnight Mask so was keen to give this 10 minute hydrating mask a go. It feels soothing and leaves skin suitably hydrated and soft, I’m just not overly excited by the Apricot scent – by no means a deal breaker but I think I’ll stick to the original.

Wishful Honey Balm Jelly Moisturiser 6.3g

The fact that the Honey Balm sample was a choice for the Beauty Kit is what really convinced me to press buy. I have wanted to try Wishful products for so long and the Honey Balm Moisturiser in particular sounded right up my street. This sample is presented in a ‘pod’ format with just over 6 grams of product inside, which might not sound a lot but I have had five or six doses out of it so far, with still about half left. Even though I absolutely love the thick, honey-like texture of the balm and it feels great on, I had no idea that it had a lavender scent to it, which I don’t love. This is what makes sampling programs like the Beauty Kit great – it’s an excellent opportunity to get a feel for products, get to know what they smell like and establish if you have any sort of reaction etc without forking out for the full size.

Dermalogica Hydra Masque Exfoliant 7ml

To me, Dermalogica is one of those reliable, no-frills sort of brands that just delivers. This mask/exfoliant in one is no exception – it’s a fantastic product! Applied to a cleansed, dry face, you massage the icy blue gel in until you feel the little exfoliating spheres disappear, leave the mask to ‘set’ for a few minutes then rinse away. I was left with smooth, bouncy skin that felt as if it’d just had a big drink of water. I would buy the full size of this.

You can create your own Beauty Kit by visiting Feel Unique or for something on a smaller scale, the Pick & Mix samples are back - you can choose up to five samples and just pay the (redeemable) £3.95 shipping fee.