Skincare: probiotic power as seasons change

Probiotics are part of my daily life, but I had never used on my skin. Don’t you just love when you try skincare with an ingredient you never used before for the very first time? This is how I felt since I started using the Liz Earle Pro-Biotic Balancing range (aff link).

Extremely gentle to the skin and fragrance-free, the Balancing Milk Cleanser, Day and Night Cream are perfect for sensitive, reactive and dry skins.

The range contains pre, pro and post-biotic natural ingredients to hydrate as well as boost and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier. What does this means? Even the most sensitive of skins looks and feels more balanced, clearer, healthier and comfortable.

I found this range is perfect for this time of the year, when weather changes often bring chaos to most skin types, especially sensitive. In my case, the cold, wind and central heating combined to my acne medication mean I can have flaky and sore skin and this range has really helped me.

The main ingredients across the range are chicory, a pre-biotic with skin soothing properties, jojoba oil, a non-clogging, glow promoting oil, one of the most compatible with skin, lunaria oil, nourishing and hydrating, super rich in fatty oils and fermented oats, which create a unique strain of lactobacillus. This particular oat is also super rich in a fibre known to support soothing and improvements on skin appearance.

Biggest surprise? The Pro-Biotic Balancing Milk Cleanser. If you have followed me for a while, you’ll know I love a foamy cleanser and shy away from the milky ones.

Admiteldy, I was ready not to like this one but for my surprise, I love it. It gently cleans the skin without stripping its natural oils and defense barrier and leaves it feeling so soft and comfortable, it has become a morning ritual for me. My boyfriend, who has really sensitive skin tried it and loves it too!

The Pro-Biotic Balancing Day Cream has a firm but fluid consistency. Applies and absorbs extremely well, protecting and re-balacing skin throughout the day, boosting its moisture and maintaining comfort.

The Pro-Biotic Balancing Night Cream is a delightful, richer consistency cream that also applies and absorbs very well. Overnight, it really feels like it soothes, nourishes replenishes skin, which wakes up to soft and supple.

Overall, a winning trio – a brilliant and caring range from Liz Earle, which is no surprise, given how lovely all their products are.

They are also dermatologically tested, suitable for vegans, tubes are 55% recycled, products are made with sustainably sourced naturally active ingredients with Gold level traceability and they are cruelty free (leading bunny certified and all).

The Milk Cleanser (100ml) costs £18 and the Day and Night Creams (50ml), £32 each. At the moment they have 25% off the individual products in the range. And you can get the trio for £57.40, a saving of £24.60 (30%).

With free delivery on orders over £30 (UK) what are you waiting for? You can get the the Liz Earle Pro-Biotic Balancing products on their website (aff link).

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains AFFILLIATE LINKS, as stated by links. It also contains GIFTED samples, as all products were sent to me free of charge, with no obligation to post. Opinions are honest and my own, based on using the products continuously for at 2 weeks.

Skincare: always seeking more glow

My skincare journey has been largely documented across the blog. I moved away from the very aggressive acne treatments to seek radiance, glow and suppleness.

In my quest, I have come across Germaine de Capuccini, first at a hotel I stayed in Ibiza, then trying their amazing Timexpert Radiance C+ range, which contains one of my favourite ingredients, vitamin C.

The treatment box contains their Pure C10 concentrate serum, the Illuminating Antioxidant Face Cream and the Illuminating Antioxidant Eye Contour Cream which contain antioxidant, luminosity boosting and dark spot correction properties.

This came at the right time: shifting my skincare regime from the warmer to the colder months is always a challenge, especially when you have problematic skin. The wind is brutal and it is very important extra nourishment and restoration is given.

The Pure C10 serum is a little gem: you get three fancy “ampoules” to mix the powder with medium, and is recommended that you use as often as you feel your skin needs – I’ve been applying 4-5 drops to my face before any other products once a day as it is season change, but intend to move to twice a week, providing my stress levels don’t increase. It’s quite fluid and absorbs quickly.

It has a beautiful mix of ingredients that support radiance, firmness and even tone: vitamin C (10%), E (1%), ferulic acid (0.5%) which really boost skin glow and energy. Their patented HLG polymer act as a multiplier of the ingredients’ properties, helping ensure maximum absorption and effectiveness.

As I age, I am learning how to really appreciate a luscious face cream, and that’s exactly what the Illuminating Antioxidant Face Cream is. Its texture is divine, it applies and absorbs really well and after 3+ weeks using it daily, I feel my skin in brighter and suppler in its hydration. I’ve been using it at night, before bed, on face and neck.

It contains vitamins C and E plus HLG polymer, to support ageing prevention – think fighting dullness, evening skin tone properties. It also comes as Emulsion for oilier skin types.

Finally you all know how much I love a good eye cream, this one does not disappoint. Medium in texture, it is ophtalmologist-tested and applies very well. And with the same ingredients as the face cream, it also harnesses their revitalising good: more even tone, reduced sign of fatigue and smoothing of fine lines.

Germaine de Capuccini is the number one brand among skincare professionals in Spain and is present in over 80 countries, including the UK. It has one of the most advance R+D+I labs in Europe, working innovative raw materials to create prestigious, efficient and innovative formulas on their products.

Its founder Carmen Vidal created the brand, which would become a cosmetics empire, in 1964. Today, the company, which has at its core the values of professionalism, innovation and social commitment, have a team with over 80% women.

In the UK, you can get their face and body treatments in luxurious spas, such as The Landmark, London. And you can get their products, which are grouped in 18 (!!!) ranges, to continue that spa treatment at home.

The Germaine de Capuccini Timexpert Radiance C+ (affiliate) box comes with 3 Pure C10 concentrates (10ml each), the Illuminating Antioxidant Face Cream (50ml) and the Illuminating Antioxidant Eye Contour Cream (15ml) and costs £135.75, a huge saving from buying them separately (£193.85).

Of course you can get them separately on the site, as well as the browse their full range, for face and body and of course, look up their amazing spa treatments.

And this is a great time to go take a look on the site, as I hear they’ll have a great Black Friday offer running this week!

I could not agree with Carmen more when she says “Beauty is strength, it is charm; most of all, it is a personal attitude, a spiritual quality.”

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples as products were sent to me free of charge, with no obligation to post Opinions are honest and my own, based on using the products continuously for 4 weeks.

Sparkling Harlot: but what really is in a name?

By the name itself, I was intrigued. When I read the “Refuse to conform”, I was sold. Plus it is sparkling wine so surely Harlot could not go much wrong in my books.

Not many sentences, or set of (add to the non-conforming one “unapologetically different”) could make this English sparkling closer to my heart, even though they did cause quite a lot of controversy in the English wine industry: the name, the method, the brand…

However, I am a drink, not a wine expert, so as no one asked, here are my views and some facts – because you know I love the facts..

Harlot comes in two versions: Harlot Brut NV Charmat of England and Harlot Rosé Brut NV Charmat of England. I was lucky enough to try both at their launch even in London.

The Brut is in taste, what I’d place between prosecco and champagne – less sweet that prosecco, but closer to it then it is to the drier champagne, which is my first drink of choice (my pocket often disagrees). It has elderflower, pears and apricots aromas and flavours.

The Rosé Brut is a solid sparkling rosé, fruity, but not overly sweet. The contact with the Pinot Noir skin makes it pink. Cute.

Grapes on both are Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chadornnay and they have gentle, playful and plentiful bubbles, are 12.5% abv and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

They also market themselves as “bubbles that want to have fun” and go great with cocktails. The proof was in the pudding drink at the event where I tried it all Unapologetically different (cognac based, fruity), Harlotini (gin and strawberry) and Some bubbles just want to have fun (a sparkling fruit punch) cocktails and they were delicious. Versatility box: tick! Recipes can be found on their website.

I quite like the brand’s irreverence. It has a riskè name (go on, look it up) but it is not scared of that. It sells a playful, out of the mould image and I am here for it. I have been called names in the past and embracing it (and maybe sticking a big finger up) was the best thing I could do.

In my natural habitat: drowning in bubbles. Yum.

It does help that their loud packaging is just there in your face and I don’t have a problem with it. Of course, IT’S WINE, sparkles, tastes good, so I am in!

Harlot is a charmat, which refers to its method of carbonation (bubbling, for you and me): a sparkling winemaking process that traps bubbles in wine via carbonation in large steel tanks. They are looking to revolutionise the English wine industry with the ambition of being the biggest national producer by 2025, from their Kent vineyards.

MDCV UK’s expertise, however, has a longer tradition, both in the UK and France, with known names such as Chateau de Berne, Ultimate Provence and Sussex-based Kingscote. They are also passionate about the quality of their product and sustainability, managing their vineyards organically always seeking to use methods that minimise environmental impact.

Currently mainly available to trade, Harlot is making its way into restaurants as an alternative to prosecco. Has bottomless brunch written all over it.

It can also be purchased from The Wine Caverns for £16 a bottle (affiliate link) (750ml) with cases of 6 or 12 with a 15% discount.

Would you be open to an alternative to prosecco? Let me know your thoughts!

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: I was invited to an even to sample the product for free, with no obligation to post. Opinions (and taste buds) are honest and my own.

The one skincare step that reduced my melasma

Ok, sounds like a clickbait headline, but it is true: there is one consistent action that pretty much vanished melasma from my face.

For the record, mine was never that bad. Low level, it was always there, on the edges of my eyebrows, patches on forehead and around the bottom of the eyes.

During the warmer months or a nice holiday, the pigmentation would become very visible, and harder to hide with usual make up.

They’d fade in the colder months but always be there. For my already acne scarred face, that was yet another reminder of my terrible skin and I wasn’t quite sure why.

If my make up had SPF and I was wearing 30+ on holidays, with frequent application, why was it still there???

Once I read that the light from laptops and electronic devices also cause ageing and all made sense.

I started wearing “real” SPF 30+ and not make up or skincare with added SPF, which usually are low 10-15, even on the days I wasn’t leaving the house, my hormonal pigmentation vanished, and never returned.

It became a fixed step in my morning routine, regardless of the exposure I was expecting for that day, or time of the year.

While I appreciate some cases are more severe than mine, this was life changing in my skincare routine.

I’m constantly trialling different ones as sunscreen can cause even more havoc to my acneic, sensitive skin.

So far I’ve been very impressed with Skinceauticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense SPF50, Bioderma Photoderm Max SPF50 (also available with a light tint), Image Skincare Prevention+ SPF32+, (surprisingly) Nivea Cellular Luminous anti dark spot day fluid SPF50, Sunsense daily face invisible tint finish SPF 50+, Garnier Ambre Solaire Over makeup Super UV SPF50, La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL tinted fluid SPF50+, Piz Buin Mountain Suncream SPF50+ (great for the winter) and a few more gems I encountered since I adopted the new habit.

Next on my list to try? SOS Serum SPF 30 and 50 and the Bioderma Photoderm Anti Melasma tinted SPF50+ both great value for money at under £20. What’s not to love?

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains some mentions to PR samples as products were sent to me free of charge, with no obligation to post, but the majority were purchased with my own money. Opinions are honest and my own.

The beauty of boreal algae (AD/PR)

Polåar Polar Night Revitalizing Elixir and Body Milk

Ok, let me start explaining the title: for a few weeks now I have been using the gorgeous Polaar Polar Night Revitalizing Elixir and indeed it is a beaut. It’s main ingredient? Boreal algae.

Polåar Polar Night Revitalizing Elixir dripping from pipette

The oil is very light and applies really well to the skin, sinking in in seconds and leaving no greasy feeling. It smells divine (I mean, DIVINE) and after using for 3-4 weeks my skin has felt consistently hydrated and plump in the morning. A real gem.

Polåar Polar Night Revitalizing Elixir back of bottle

It’s main ingredient is boreal algae (Rhodhiménia Boréalia) which is rich in nocturnal cell regeneration booster phyto-melatonin. This enzyme is similar to melatonin, a hormone secreted at night by the brain, which activates all the biological mechanisms that cause cell regeneration at night.

It also contains another regeneration supporting ingredient, organic criste marine bio which contains minerals that also help feed the skin, and organic red micro-algae which’s beta carotene and fatty acids help protect skin moisture and restore suppleness. The ingredients are 99% natural.

All that in a mostly recyclable, simple but lovely packaging – glass and paper box.

Polåar Polar Night Moisturizing Body Milk

I have also been using the Polaar Night Moisturizing Body Milk and what a delight it is. It feels so silky on the skin and body feels amazing upon application and in the morning, with lasting hydration. It is 98% natural.

Polåar Polar Night Moisturizing Body Milk back of package

Polaar is a lovely brand with a beautiful Arctic exploration story to boot, so well worth checking them out. Their passion for pure, exclusive ingredients and protecting the environment those come from is really second to none.

They have a fabulous range of products covering many skin needs and concerns. I really like their Lapland cream range with Arctic berries – it is so beautiful on the skin, a light and supple thirst quencher suitable for sensitive skin. Currently in a great value Polaar Lapaland set Christmas cofret, hurry, it’s £45 but you get £66 worth of products!

It is not my first time trying Polaar: I am a MASSIVE fan of their best-selling Icy Magic range. The eye cream and patches are truly amazing!

Dermatologically tested, all natural ingredients, with no parabens, alcohol, phenoxyethanol or mineral oil, vegan, cruelty free and made in France, it’s available in the UK via Look Fantastic with free delivery over £25: the Revitalizing Elixir costs £39 (30ml) and the Body Milk £32 for 200ml.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples as products were sent to me free of charge, with no obligation to post. Opinions are honest and my own.

On sleep and relaxation

Pukka Night Time tea
AD/PR post

I am a hyper person. If you do know me, that is not a revelation. I find quite hard to relax, to stop, to breathe. Anxiety, my old friend, feeds off it, and vice versa.

Sleep however, was never a problem for me. I never needed loads of it, and rarely struggled to sleep.

Recently though, with the new waves of worry brought by COVID-19 and lockdown I found myself struggling to fall asleep, waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to sleep again and/or just having terrible quality, disturbed sleep. And feeling exhausted.

Pukka Night Time Tea

I then reached for a few aids to help me sleep better and Pukka teas, a variety of which are regular in my cupboard, came in very handy.

I had been a fan of Night Time for quite a while so it was no effort to say yes to a couple more boxes sent in. Night Time contains oat flower, licorice root, chamomile flower, lavender flower, lime flower, valerian root, tulsi leaf to help you unwind, settle and enjoy a moment of calm before bed.

Its taste is quite delicate, with the liquorice, a flavour that is definitely not my favourite, being quite subdued. I usually drink it half an hour before bed as part of my settling down routine.

And they have a really nice 7-day Sleep with Ease programme to help us create a sleep space, pattern and routine naturally, with a digital diary to document the journey to better sleep.

Pukka Love tea

The programme touches on usual suspects like avoiding distractions blue light from electronic devices before bed (which was and is my main struggle!), avoid caffeine (THE biggest struggle), meditation and relaxation techniques applied during the day to steps we may take for granted: create a relaxing sleeping environment and surroundings, a sleep schedule and a post sleep routine – especially when we are have our usual work routines disrupted by the pandemic. For me, that was really important.

And of course, introduce relaxing natural ingredients like the ones in Night Time: valerian acts like a natural sedative, with lavender, oat, chamomile and lime flowers acting as soothing, calming and grounding ingredients.

Pukka teas, a relaxing selection

I must admit that after a little while my sleep pattern was almost back to its optimum.

If you want to follow the tips, go to the Pukka website to access all the free Sleep with Ease resources they made available to help you get better sleep.

Pukka teas are widely available at the best supermarkets and retailers, RRP £2.80 for 20 bags of Night Time.

And they have a fantastic selection of high quality organic blends for all tastes and needs – look how pretty and delicious – trust me – they are! A delight!

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples as products were sent to me free of charge, with no obligation to post. Opinions are honest and my own.

My first CBD face moisturiser

Dermavive CBD moisturiser

In the last year or so, CBD skincare has been all the rage. Initially only from small boutique brands, we now see mainstream giants launching CBD based lines.

Dermavive Ultra Cream from Nutrivive was the very first one I tried, and I have to say I won’t be looking back.

I am already a big fan of CBD balm and muscle rubs as they give my sore and tired muscles and joints great natural pain relief and inflammation reduction, especially for my lower back and thumbs, which are plagued by ongoing niggles.

After using the Dermavive Ultra cream as my only night cream for over 3 weeks, my skin feels calm, pre-menstrual breakouts seems less angry and overall texture and tone is great.

Moisturiser texture is firm and quite rich but it absorbs well and quickly upon application. It smells rather nice – a mix of deep herbal and sweet jasmine which is prominent but not intrusive.

On top of the great concentration of 1000mg cannabidiol (CBD) it contains the goodness of well known ingredients like unrefined avocado oil, sunflower, olive oil, apricot kernel oil, shea butter, tea plant and oat extract and meadowfoam seed oil, lemon peel oil, jasmine, sandalwood oil.

It is manufactured in the UK and they disclose the origin of their ingredients.

Dermavive CBD moisturiser

Cannabidiol is not psychoactive, non-toxic and it has many properties such as helping pain relief, anti-inflammatory, aiding reduce anxiety and depression and it is known to help alleviate cancer-related symptoms.

Nutivive is working to be a carbon neutral business by 2022 and is part of the One Tree Initiative meaning that for every product sold, one tree is planted.

The moisturiser is cruelty free, 100% organic and suitable for vegans. The Dermavive Ultra CBD cream costs £39.99 for 50ml; a little goes a long way here! You can get it from the Nutrivive website, where you can also get various concentrations CBD pure oil and blends.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples as products were sent to me free of charge, with no obligation to post. Opinions are honest and my own.

Enchanting potions

AD/PR

Frangrances… Many a times I have written about how my memory has smells: I always associate fragrances to a time of my life, a place I used to go, a person I loved, a song, and so many others. My memory seems to have a fantastic sense of smell.

When the Potion Paris box arrived, I was intrigued: seven exclusive fragrances to try, all new to me and with the notes on every single one really tickling my fancy.

Overall, the fragrances have a good staying power and a great story: they all develop well and the top, heart and base are distinct and complementary.

I probably like Addiction the most; it has peony and nutmeg. It does contain quite a few other floral notes but bourbon vanilla, tonka, patchouli make it deep as well as slightly spicy.

Then for me comes Seduction – of course it does. Amber, praline and wood are quite the combination. The sweetness of the praline breaks the harshness of the wood and a warm aroma lingers.

Looking for a delicate, enveloping day fragrance? I’d pick Creation. This surprised me as it is not usually my “type” on the the top, but most of its heart (hi toffee) and base of vanilla, musk and praline really do it for me.

Then to Sensation as oud is one of my favourite scents. This fragrance has deep notes and it develops into a strong scent with a cedarwood, patchouli, vetiver and musk base.

Rose, peony and wood make Temptation also quite delicate and somewhat fresh, but the wood and musk deliver a bit of the strength I like in my perfumes.

Deception is just borderline ok for me, as I am mesmerised with jasmine (reminds me of my childhood), together with rose and patchouli. It feels fresh, but I prefer a punchier scent. It does get better as it develops.

Devotion brings white flower and patchouli scents, but its grapefruit is a bit too much for me!

Potion Paris is a sustainable refillable boutique perfume brand that offers traditional, rare high quality ingredients with a refill and re-use programme. They are cruelty, paraben, ptalates and sulfate free.

With the collection boxes, you get a beautiful luxurious vial and case plus the chosen fragrance to fill the vial – can be the full collection (7 x 10ml fragrances for £130), your choice of 2 or 3 fragrances, mixed or the same (for £120 and £100 respectively).

You can also get the vial separately (£30) and refills cost £35 for 2x 10ml. If you send 10 empty glass refills back to them they will get sanitised and re-used, and you get 2 of your chosen fragrance back!

Potion Paris also has soy wax candles on the same fragrances – £35 for 540g (45h burn time), currently at £29.99 for Black Friday.

There are some Black Friday sales across the site at the moment and the collection boxes also have some good discounts.

I got the Potion Paris Discovery Sample set, which costs £24.99 and comes with a £20 voucher redeemable against your 40 or 60ml choice (2 months expiry) – perfect to explore all the fragrances and pick your favourite before committing!

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples as products were sent to me free of charge, with no obligation to post. Opinions are honest and my own.

Living up my princess dreams

Ok. Confession: “princess” my dresses were never really my thing, so I was surprised by how drawn to this beautiful ombré shoulder wing maxi dress I was. 

So I am living up the princess dreams I didn’t even know I had!

From the three I got, this was probably my “least” favourite and as such the one which surprised me the most. 

As soon as I received it, I had to try it on and I knew immediately I’d shoot it because it is magical. 

The blush and navy ombré reminds me of when the fairies in Sleeping Beauty are fighting over the colour of her dress – pink and blue. The glittery tulle with some added sparkly stars really looks like magic was cast over it.

The dress flows and shines beautifully. The apt princess neckline together with the drop sleeves just make it even more wonderful.

Goddiva dresses sizes start at an 8 and it’s a tad big for me on the chest and waist – nothing a belt and a strapless bra didn’t solve!

I also accessorised with my beloved Christian Louboutin pailette caresse all turned to silver. Id probably throw in a lips clutch in silver mirror to wear for an occasion. 

I decided to shoot it at the stunning St Dunstan on the east former church with was bombed in the II world war abs is now a beautiful garden open to the public. 

I highly recommend you pay a visit if in London, it’s a haven of tranquility and peace, on top of its beauty and history. 

I am usually a fan of sequin dresses, a bit more skin tight, but this dreamy dress has definitely got my heart!

Only regret? I should’ve worn a tiara.

Goddiva has a great selection and I hear their new season dresses section is growing considerably for the party months, even if it is to party from your sitting room.

written by Dani

This post contains PR products and was created in collaboration with Goddiva with no obligation to post. Words are all my own, opinions and images too!

The joys of brunching

One the joys that (kinda) remained during the pandemic is brunch. I am a massive fan of brunch, but to be honest, it is not the hype around brunch itself.

For me, what is better than having a lazy, late delicious breakfast/lunch with friends, to chat away your week and indulge in (always) bottomless day drinking?

One of my favourite spots is Sea Containers. Around London’s South Bank, in this lovely restaurant on the bottom floor of the equally lovely namesake hotel, you’ll find great food and fab service.

Favourite order: the mac and cheese. Trust me. around £40pp will get you well fed and on the bottomless prosecco for 1.5h.

Pre COVID-19, I spent a whole day in there: went for brunch, then to the cinema and finally closed the day at the cocktail bar. How not to love the place?

Don’t think it is technically a brunch, but as the name does not matter, for me it falls within the category: the feast at The Ned.

What a glorious place The Ned is, and the feast follows it through. No longer a buffet due to the pandemic, rest assured you still get plenty of food and the same variety, all conveniently brought to your table.

The live music adds to the ambience and the indulgent choice to add bottomless champagne for 2 hours to your bottomless eating is dear, but worth it at £130pp.

There are many other places I like to go for “brunch”, impossible to list all.

I love the D&D restaurants for example, Skylon providing a great brunch also on South Bank with music and a lovely Thames view.

Another one worth keeping on the radar, as I’m REALLY hoping they will re-open post-lockdown – they haven’t yet, although I noticed bookings are open for November so fingers crossed – as their brunch is probably the best value for money EVER is Nobu in Shoreditch.

As much as you can eat sushi, a main course and a buffet of desserts, with the Nobu quality and expertise, plus bottomless drinks option is dreamy. My bum will be on a chair as soon as they open their doors.

Admittedly, now London is in Tier 2 brunch indoors will only take place with my boyfriend, but alas, I cannot wait to get back to it with the ladies!

I am always looking for new places and always have a few on my hit list, waiting to be tried. What is your favourite brunch spot?

written by Dani