Friday, 27 October 2017

Black Jeans - An A/W Staple | Ad

When I was a teenager, my wardrobe consisted of about 90 percent black clothing. Black tops, black jeans, little black dresses, black coats, even black socks- when it came to my clothing, the darker the garment, the more likely I was to wear it. Fast forward a decade or two and these days, while I no longer fear colour, my black clothing items still remain my staple pieces that I reach for more often than not. I'm particularly fond of black jeans and skirts because they can easily be dressed up or down and complement virtually anything I fancy wearing up top. I pretty much live in black jeans in Autumn/ Winter as not only do they keep my legs toasty, they make me feel confident and comfortable and instantly 'put together'.
My only bugbear with my beloved black jeans (and tops for that matter) is that they do need to be washed and therefore over time lose that dark richness that makes them so appealing in the first place. I want my black clothes to stay black but I also obviously want to be able to wash them regularly without fearing the dreaded fade.
Surf Perfect Black Liquid
Jeans: *Topshop, Belt: H&M, Cardigan: ASOS

This is where Surf Perfect Black Detergent comes in. Specially designed to keep your dark clothes looking newer for longer, Surf Perfect Black is aptly named as it's the perfect laundry detergent for lovers of black and darker coloured clothing. Suitable for all dark clothes, Surf Perfect Black helps to prevent that fading we've all come to expect after washing our fave dark gladrags more than a few times. It's always a bit disheartening when I pull out one of my most comfortable black vests to wear only to notice that it lacks the vibrancy it used to have and looks frankly too dull and well loved to ever see the light of day again! So a product designed to keep my treasured dark items looking fresh and new for longer is definitely something I can get on board with.
Call me fickle but the scent of my laundry products is pretty important to me (Rich and I often have a sneaky sniff in the supermarket before choosing our detergents and fabric softener) and I can definitely put my hand up and say that Surf Perfect Black smells pretty superb with its exotic midnight orchid lily scent. Scent-appeal aside, the big question is does Surf Perfect Black come through with the goods and do what it says it does? Can it really keep my dark clothes looking new for longer? 
In the image below you can see the results of Surf Perfect Black in action. The jeans are all the same pair of black jeans I’m wearing in the photo above - the pair at the top is brand new, the pair in the middle has been washed twenty times with Surf Perfect Black liquid and the bottom pair has been washed twenty times with a powder detergent. 
Surf Perfect Black Liquid Jeans Test

I think we can all agree there's a pretty clear difference - the pair that has been washed with the powder detergent are significantly more faded and have lost those indigo dyes that are often first to go when washing black clothes leaving it looking a bit grey/brownish. As an avid wearer of black and dark clothing, I'm pretty excited by the revelation that is Surf Perfect Black. I know that's a little dramatic because we're talking about laundry detergent here, but it's the little pleasures in life that make all the difference, right?
Surf Perfect Black Liquid

If you like your darks dark and want to keep your own black jeans looking new for longer, keep an eye out for Surf Perfect Black next time you're in your local supermarket. Surf Perfect Black is available in selected Tesco, ASDA and Sainsbury's and is also available to purchase online here.

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Surf Perfect Black

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Aequill Juniper Berry and Cedarwood Candle

The first thing you should know about this candle is that it smells likes a double gin and tonic. I could even go as far as saying that the Juniper and Cedarwood Candle smells like enjoying a gin and tonic by the fireplace. That probably sounds a bit contrived but if you could smell this, you'd totally understand!
Gin is made from Juniper berries so it makes sense that the fragrance is going to somewhat resemble the cocktail while the addition of Cedarwood creates that toasty Autumnal feel.

Aequill Juniper Berry and Cedarwood Candle

Perfect for candle lovers who enjoy rich, woody fragrances, the candle also features notes of Bergamot and Vetiver to complete the scent beautifully.
The Juniper Berry and Cedarwood Candle is part of Aequill's 'Mum's Aromatherapy Shop' range which founder Jintana Khieochuam created after being inspired by helping her mum blend essential oils in her beauty shop.
Other candles in the range include Grapefruit and Vetiver, Lavender and Marjoram, Lemon and Rose Geranium and Orange and Ylang Ylang. The candles are paraffin wax based for optimum scent throw.

I think the backstory of Aequill as a brand is quite nice- Jintana was born in Thailand and moved to London with her mother who owned a beauty therapy clinic. Growing up, Jintana was surrounded by essential oils and was intrigued by their therapeutic properties. Her interest in essential oils coupled with an obsession with candles gave way to the inception of Aequill, which is based on the idea that old and new worlds need to collide for a sustainable balance. Like the rest of the range, the Juniper Berry and Cedarwood Candle is presented in a 100% recycled glass jar and is hand poured. The traditional apothecary feel of the packaging is inspired by Jintana's first job in a chemist.
To finish, each box is hand-stamped with a wax seal. Gorgeous. Aequill 'Mum's Aromatherapy Shop' candles are available in regular (approx 200g) for £24 and travel size (approx 100g) for £14. Interestingly, Aequill also offer an eco-refill service which I think is a very cool touch.
You can read more about Aequill and find stockists here.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Halloween Offerings at The Bentall Centre

Call me predictable but Autumn is definitely my favourite time of year. There's something so undeniably special about crisp, cool days and evenings spent snuggled up and cosy. On top of the beautiful weather, we have Halloween to look forward to and now that I'm a mum I've got a feeling I'll be getting into the spirit a little more from now on- whether I like it or not! I recently visited The Bentall Centre in Kingston to check out how the centre's various stores are marking this October 31st. Claire's is one shop that always comes through with the goods when it comes to playing dress up and their offerings this Halloween are no exception. They have many different options for kids and grownups alike; from wigs and gory or glamorous makeup to unicorn headbands, Claire's have got you covered. For a subtle touch of spook, Aussie brand Kikki K have a pair of very cute ceramic ghost ornaments available in two sizes as well as a kitsch ghostly tote bag and Halloween bunting.
Halloween Bunting from Kikki K £6.00. Image from
Ghost ornaments £4.75 each and Ghost Tote £9. Images from

If Halloween treats you can drink are more your thing, pop into Whittard of Chelsea and check out their spooky seasonal delights - the Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate is SO GOOD and the Toffee Apple Fruit Infusion Tea is guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning sweet tooth.
Whittard Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate and Toffee Apple Tea. £7 each. I knew that owl wearing a witches hat would come in handy one day...

During my visit to The Bentall Centre, I inevitably ended up in the Bentall's beauty hall which is probably my favourite haunt when I'm in Kingston (see what I did there?). I spent some time with the team at NARS to find out how to get a subtly spooky, perfectly wearable Halloween look. The MUA, Vanessa, used an assortment of brown and red toned shadows on my eyes for something less predictable and softer than a classic black smoky eye. As my eyes are quite hooded, Vanessa showed me some tips to open them up (matte shades are the way to go) and I had a little bit of subtle contouring, my brows were filled and given more definition before the look was finished with a nude lip achieved with NARS' new Powermatte Lip Pigment. The formula of this felt impressively light on the lips and had enough staying power to remain intact after I scoffed a large burrito from the recently opened lunch hotspot Tortilla!

If you're after something creepy, kooky and all-together spooky, chances are you'll find it at The Bentall Centre in Kingston this Halloween. You can visit The Bentall Centre at Wood Street, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 1TP.

I received a gift card and makeup application. Views my own.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Juliette Armand Skincare

I really enjoy discovering skincare brands that were previously unfamiliar to me so when I received an email about Greek brand Juliette Armand, my interest was certainly piqued. Juliette Armand is not a new brand, in fact it was established in 1992 and has enjoyed success in the rest of Europe and South America and remained virtually unknown in the UK market - but that's about to change. The brand was created by Michalis Papaefstratiou and Loulia Armagou, two chemists who wanted to enter the beauty industry and develop new formulas while applying personal values to their laboratory work. The entire skincare range is based on quality ingredients and effective formulas and includes lines specific to conditions such as acne and sensitivity and features products focused on a range of areas such as anti-aging and oil control.
I've had three products to try from the Juliette Armand Elements range including a cleanser, hyaluronic acid serum and moisturiser so I've really been able to get stuck in and gain some good understanding of the brand's products in general.
juliette armand hydra cleansing milk

Juliette Armand Hyaluronic Serumjuliette armand moisturiser

First up, the Hydra Cleansing Milk. I've used this as a 'first cleanse'  on a few occasions to remove makeup and general griminess and found it to be perfectly effective and also impressively gentle. Recommended for combination, dry, 'normal' and sensitive skin, the mild milk contains chamomile extract and green aloe to moisturise the skin while the trademarked cleansing complex ingredient removes dirt and makeup. What exactly constitutes this mysterious trademarked cleansing component? I actually cannot for the life of me find out what it is so I think it must be a closely guarded secret! Rest assured though that this brand does not include anything that the green beauty movement might refer to as nasties (parabens, mineral oil, propylene glycol). It's worth mentioning that the Hydra Cleansing Milk effectively removed eye makeup too.
I love me a Hyaluronic Acid Serum and this one from Juliette Armand rivals some of the more expensive versions I've tried in terms of texture and how it feels on the skin. We know by now that hyaluronic acid is incredibly hydrating and is a brilliant addition to skincare regimes, especially for those with dry and dehydrated skins. The acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water and is slow release so it's a brilliant option for all day or night hydration.
The serum is beautifully lightweight, non-greasy and fast absorbing, perfectly prepping the skin for moisturiser. 
The Juliette Armand Extra Moisturising 24h Cream is designed to provide intense hydration for normal, dry and dehydrated skins. The cream features hyaluronic acid, collagen exclusively of marine origin and an ingredient called Moist 24. Moist 24  is extracted from a plant that grows in Asia and Oceania called Imperata Cylindrical. This plant grows and thrives in extremely dry weather conditions due to its ability to retain water. I for one am glad that the collagen in this is marine collagen because I really do get a bit squeamish over 'pig collagen' products! Designed to plump out fine lines and restore the skin's moisture balance, the moisturising cream is a pleasure to use as it's quite rich and creamy yet absorbs well.

After using the Juliette Armand regime, my skin feels soft and plump, which is exactly the effect I'm after really. I like how simple the products seem at face value, even though a tremendous amount of research and formulation has gone into each one. When I first started writing about these products, the word that kept coming to mind is 'inoffensive' so I'm just going to go ahead and use that word I guess! The products I tried are virtually scent free and gentle, so I imagine they'd appeal to most people. The Juliette Armand brand has a pretty extensive range of different products including a cacao peeling cream, scrub mask and colour control cream to name just a few.
You can find out more about Juliette Armand and purchase products in the UK at Naturastudios.