That peeling face mask…

Oh face masks… is there anything that screams being pampered more than a lush face mask accompanied by a fluffy dressing gown?

BLAQ mask (£14) is a peel-off facial mask with activated charcoal to target toxins and draw out impurities.

I must admit I’ve been a bit scared of peel-off black face masks as so many people seem to have had some asphalt mix that set on their faces, was damn hard to peel and took a layer of their epidermis off when finally pulled out, leaving them with that newborn panda look.

But when I got my hands on this, I could not resist and I am glad I didn’t.

After cleansing and using a warm cloth to open pores, I applied an even layer of the mask avoiding hairline, eyebrows, lips and eye area.

I waited around 15 minutes and I went off to peel the shiny layer of face mask that was set like plastic on my face.

Laugh away:

I found a little spot to grab on to and started. It did come off quite easily, and although I could feel the pull, it wasn’t aggressive on the skin, but there was a little bit of redness.

After a few minutes, my skin felt super soft, clearer, calmer; blackheads were pulled out.

Together with the face mask, I also got the BLAQ Hydrogel Eye Masks (£22), which I have to say, I’ve been very excited about.

The slug like patches come in a solution and are extremely soothing and cooling upon application.

After 15 minutes they easily come off and the area felt de-puffed and had a glow, brighter and tighter. Sounds a load of rubbish, but I did noticed a visible change.

It contains glycerin, witch hazel extract, bamboo charcoal, Irish moss powder (0.1%), konjac fibre, algin and citric acid.

Finally, the BLAQ Meteor Shower scrub (£19.95). I mean, just to start with: pretty. It fells lovely on the skin, and really exfoliates, leaving it soft, shimmery and glowy. It is perfect to prep for tanning!

I find it quite sweet that you can “track” the origin of the meteorites used on your scrub. Each pack has a number, here’s mine:

It contains sea salt flakes, meteorite powder, mica, activated charcoal, soybean oil, sugar and olive fruit oil. The meteorite powder as found in the scrub is 100% biodegradable; the scrub has no preservatives or additives, and BLAQ does not test on animals!

You can get them all at blaq.co.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Urban yoga

My body has now entered rehab mode. My gluteus tendonitis, which is an office injury, means that circus is, for now, off the table.

So I am giving my body time to heal and what better than yoga to help the process? Add all the much needed mind benefits and there I was, with a smile on my face to be invited to the launch of the Karma Sanctum Yoga brunch club.

Taking place monthly at the lovely boutique Karma Sanctum hotel in Soho, London, the experience has a whole hour Vinyasa flow yoga with Katie Silver, coconut water, Lululemon yoga mats, a goodie bag, bottomless healthy brunch at the lovely heated hotel rooftop.

Oh, and did I mention there is a hot tub you can also use after your practice? Of yeah, THAT.

Carol and I headed to the inaugural yoga session, which took place at their cinema room. I found Katie excellent; an instructor who delivered a class for all levels.

Her voice and presence are calming and soothing, her instructions paced and clear, her adjustments fair and focused on you, even on a large class. And the orange oil she used at the end was divine.

Carol also pointed out that Katie was very available (and smiley!) after the practice, talking to some attendees about their technique, how to improve postures, etc.

On the bottomless, al fresco buffet brunch menu devised by James Cathcart, coffee, rolls, pancakes, plenty of fruit, fresh juices, yoghurt, scrambled eggs and avocados (made into a delicious guacamole). Being able to mix and match is really great. The setting is calming and it was great to be outside.

Carol and I were expecting to perhaps see gluten free carbs opposed to white rolls and very healthy smoothies/green juices, but those were not available, although we were satisfied with the fresh and filling fare provided.

Then I got changed and took a dip on the fabulous hot tub, with some super relaxing jets that soothed my muscles post-practice. I left feeling light, relaxed and open. What a delightful way to reset for the new week.

Overall, I believe it is very good value for money!

If you want to snap up one of the 20 monthly spaces, go to sanctumsoho.com and get booking. Yoga sessions start at 10 and finish at 11, with brunch/hot tubbing going until 13:30 on a Sunday. The next one is on the 4th June, then 30th July and it costs £40 per session.

On the goodie bag, great brands such as Skin & Tonic (which I love!), Yogandha Body Oil, Gallinee Hand Cream, Potion London, Orelia and Hype Clothing, probably worth more than the session alone!

To find out more about Katie, visit her website.

Celebrating Real Beauty

This year, Dove is celebrating 60 years. A lot of those have been spent, apart from caring for our skin, supporting a healthy body image: all shapes and sizes hold #RealBeauty.

We all have our curves, edges and sizes that makes us one of a kind, unique, a very limited edition. So Dove gave their classic body wash a little makeover in these six limited edition 250ml bottles, in different shapes and sizes to celebrate diversity.

Needless to say, I was so glad to receive the bottles for what they remind me of: the sometimes very hard task to love myself as I am.

And it seems I am succeeding a bit when I am thanked for being an “inspirational woman (…) helping advance the real beauty debate; using influence to help women embrace their own individuality as a source of confidence”.

I try that, not only through the way I do love my body (most of the times!) and am not scared to show my individuality out there. Of course I do also look up to other women that make me strong in my quest!

I think recently the Instagram post below says a lot about it.

The body wash is creamy and has a gentle formulation containing NutriumMoisture which delivers natural nutrients, nourishes deep and helps maintain the moisture barrier for soft, comfortable and clean skin.

The Dove Deeply Nourishing Body Wash is widely available (RRP £2.55) and I personally love the smell of the classic!

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

More shower time bliss

Oh, shower products. 2017 is seeing a fab influx of great shower products: inventive formulations, better skincare and different textures. I love it.

Nivea, another brand very close to my heart, has some amazing brand new products to elevate the shower bliss: the Nivea Care Shower Milk Mousse (RRP £2.99) and the Nivea Shower Creme & Oil Pearls (RRP £2.39).

The Shower Silk Mousse contains silk extract, essential oils plus almond oil and is amazingly foamy. The soft lather applies heavenly on the skin, cleansing and leaving it extra soft.

It comes in three gorgeous fragrances: Creme Care, Creme Soft and Creme Smooth, and I love it has a scratch and sniff sticker on the lid, so you know what it smells without needing to open it.

The Shower Creme & Oil Pearls is a rich cream with Argan oil and vitamin E enriched oil golden pearls, providing intensive skincare and moisturisation.

Comes in Cherry Blossom, Ylan Ylang and Lotus, fragrances to relax you mind while looking after you body, for a luxurious showering experience at home.

It does lather very little as it is a créme. It does, however, feel amazing, during and after use.

You can also see the golden pearls that burst their goodness as soon as you massage into the skin. The fragrances really provide a bit of oomph.

Both the Nivea Shower Creme & Oil Pearls and the Shower Silk Mousse and their lovely variations are available from retailers nationwide.

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Beauty treasure trove

I must start this post with the admission that I fell out of love with beauty boxes a while ago but the March Glossybox really made me see the excitement with these monthly beauty delights.
The March edition came brimming with some of my favourite brands and two full size products I truly love (and *may* even have graced the blog before!).
I have said before that their hand cream are second to none, so it is only fair that I start with the superb Crabtree & Evelyn Somerset Meadow Hand Therapy Cream.
Of course, the formula is the amazing one we know and the Somerset Meadow fragrance is light and fresh: a sunny summer morning in green fields in a tube. And in its 25g, it is the right size for your handbag.
Then, comes the Sleek Eye & Cheek palette which I raved about before. It has everything for the flawless transition from day to night in a compact form for the makeup bag. I got probably the more party-like of the lot, slightly more tricky to use (but with a killer gold shadow and blushers).
The other three versions are much more neutral and I have the Midsummer’s Dream one and I am seeing the pan on most shades.  Amazing pigmentation and price. What’s not to love?
Now, I am a huge fan of this works. I don’t think there is a single product they do that doesn’t work for me (because, well, this works!) and I do have the full size of the versatile in transit camera close-up primer, moisturiser and mask.
It is reportedly a must have on Mrs Beckham’s travel bag so if it is good for her, well, I am in. That aside, it is a great product; a fantastic moisturising base for makeup which I use quite often, so glad to have a travel size.
Another brand I like a lot, Schwarzkopf is present in the form of the BC Bonacure Oil Miracle Brazilnut Oil Pulp Treatment, a rich hair mask to restore shine and nourishment.
To be used twice a week for 5-10 minutes for manageable, shiny hair.
Finally, a brand that is new to me (shock, horror): Oolution. The eye love is 100% natural and 65% organic.
It contains antioxidants and it is very hydrating to help banish puffiness and dark circles, morning or night! Behaves well under makeup and you just need a little bit.
Glossybox is available through monthly subscription for £10/month (+ P&P). Always five products, at least a full size one and they always bring special editions that sell out pretty fast!
You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Pear-fect care and protection

When you are 100% sure you found your hands down favourite Dove deodorant scent, they bring out something completely different to confuse you. Meet the Dove GoFresh Pear and Aloe Vera antiperspirant deodorant.

I’m not usually one for fresh scents but this one hooked me in, so once again, the collaboration with Givaudan pays off for Dove.

The pear and aloe vera fragrance is fresh, but very feminine. The sweetness of the pear totally does it for me, if I am honest.

On top of that, Dove is always improving the formula on their products and of course you can count on the 1/4 moisturising cream, which is now, in fact, is using the same ingredients as luxury face creams, to care for your underarms’ skin, keeping it soft, as well as protect against sweat for 48 hours.

Worth remembering that when we shave our underarms, 36% is actually skin! No wonder that often neglected part of the body can feel dry and irritated.

The range contains the fabulous anti-perspirant in spray, roll-on and stick, body wash and the brand new shower foam, which I will have to talk about in a separate post as it is divine!

You can get the fabulous Dove GoFresh Pear and Aloe Vera range from retailers nationwide and products are priced from £2.65.

For more information on all amazing products from Dove, including the 2017 launches and their Self-esteem Project, visit the Dove UK website.

P.S.: Sorry about the cheesy headline. Obviously I could not resist!

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

A sweet shower

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-2What excites me more than cake? You guessed right: beauty products!

Patisserie de Bain has the most gorgeous smelling products around, with real delicious desserts smelling bath, shower and bdy products to indulge and relax.

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-3If like me, you are rather partial to a sweet scent, feast on their Strawberry Cupcake range, which combines the smell of strawberries and cream.

The shower créme (£3.99/200ml) is rich, gentle and lathers amazingly; skin feels clean and moisturised.

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-4The body lotion (£4.99/200ml) is silky and glides on skin, absorbs well, leaving skin soft and with the most amazing subtle scent.

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-5Who doesn’t love a bath bomb (£4.99)? Well, this one gives you a sweet explosion to tingle all your senses! It fizzles out for total relaxation!

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-6Finally, this little hand cream (£3.99/50ml), a delight to carry around in the handbag or keep by the bedside. Absorbs well and leaves hands moisturised and soft, and of course, with that fab sweet smell.

The Strawberry Cupcake range also has a cupcake soap and fancy, mini bath bombs on a delightful vintage glass  jar, hand cream pot and a soap cake slice.

patisserie-de-bain-strawberry-cupcake-review-1And they have all sorts of delights: cherry pie, lemon bon bon, sugared violet, cranberries and cream and orange crush, on top of some fab limited editions, such as the lovely créme patissiêre range I reviewed not long ago. All made in the UK to make you feel and smell divine, with a great value for money!

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You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains a mix of products I have bought myself and PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Party transformation: from desk to dance floor

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-1We’ve all been there: great party straight out of a stressful day in the office. And now with the end of year parties in full swing, it is likely you are finding yourself in that situation more often than not.

So you can shine from desk to dance floor, I put a few tips and saviour products together that at this time of the year are dead certain to give you that helping hand, especially when you keep it going a few nights in a row.

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-2For skin that has been in the office (and in party mode) the Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster is a god-send.

I love applying it lightly on my skin throughout the day to retain and maximise moisture; it is also great dabbed on top of make up for an extra glow and to take that powdery finish away from the skin.

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-12To refresh your makeup, invest in a little multi-tasking palette which doesn’t take much space and will go a long way.

This Sleek Eye and Cheek palette fits the bill and even has a sparkly shade to build on top of the neutrals after hours and turn up the party vibe!

I also decant my foundation into small pots to carry on the go, and use small makeup brushes to apply.

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-11For you lips, my newest obsession, liquid lipsticks are just perfect as they are quick to apply. At the moment, Kat Von D Vampira is my autumn go-to shade and scream edgy party look.

Taking about that, the Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray is great to fix your makeup in place and keep it going all night long!

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-4A small deodorant goes a long way – I love the little Dove Invisible Dry that ensures your black or colourful attires are free from marks. very important in a hurry!

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-8Sore feet? Carnation has a fabulous range to maximise your heel-wearing span and I love this Anti-Blister Stick, which minimises the party-busting shoe rubbing.

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-5Make sure you always carry flats; I love these Sinderella foldable pumps as they are super comfy to walk on. Perfect for moving in-between parties if your Uber budget is getting close to exhausted!

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-3For extra hair oomph use a good dry shampoo. I love the Swell Ultimate Volume Dry Shampoo as it has no nasties and refreshes hair as well as giving some volume!

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-6I always carry a good brush with me, and this mini Wet Brush is brilliant!

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-7Has barely made it home for a shower? This tiny Gillette Venus razor is perfect for shaving on the go. Showers in the office or the gym? Done! Just make sure you rinse the floor well :)!

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-8And talking about those pins, at this time of the year nothing beats a little bit of fake tan. Garnier Ambre Solaire No Streaks Bronzer is a fine dry mist that is easy to apply and you don;t need to rub in! It’s available for face too!

desk-to-dancefloor-beauty-9Finally, to smell good, nothing better than a roller ball fragrance. The Gucci Guilty is my festive one of choice at the moment – and perfect for the handbag! Many fragrances now have a roll on version available and I just love it!

Do you have any office to party hacks? Do share. And happy celebrations!

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You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains a mix of products I have bought myself and PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

M&S does it again: THE beauty advent calendar to have

mands-beauty-advent-calendar-review-1Who remembers last year’s furore about the M&S Beauty Advent Calendar? At a very affordable £35, when you spend £35 on non-food items, the 2015 calendar delivered great value.

Now it’s back and if you think last year’s was good, wait until you see this: the 2016 M&S Beauty Advent Calendar comes with 25 amazing surprises; a mix of well know brands classics and plenty to discover.

mands-beauty-advent-calendar-review-4And the “Christmas tree of love” (ok, I made it up) shape? How amazing will that look in your home in the run up to Christmas?

mands-beauty-advent-calendar-review-1-1Now, the deal is the same. You get over £250 worth of beauty products, covering skincare, makeup, hair, body and nails for £35 when you spend £35 in non-food items.

mands-beauty-advent-calendar-review-2-1What my favourites are, you ask? Well… I have to say it is hard to pick… My top three are (drumroll)..

mands-beauty-advent-calendar-review-3-1Eyeko Skinny liner – a fabulous pen eyeliner that changed my life and ignited my love of pen eyeliner. It’s super black, precise and durable. Enough said.

mands-beauty-advent-calendar-review-3-1Alpha H Liquid Gold – a resurfacing “all-in-one” product dubbed the overnight facial is a quick fix for skin. I love Alpha H, so was very happy to see this in the calendar. The miracle product for the party season (I may have put it back on the calendar on day 1, maybe).

mands-beauty-advent-calendar-review-2-1Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse – a multi-use oil for face, body and hair, it is a blend of six precious oils. Delicious! And fab for winter skin.

mands-beauty-advent-calendar-review-5I can’t leave out the M&S Autograph nail polish in Cranberry, which is super festive and fabulous, exclusive for the calendar.

On the other 21 expect a fantastic selection to help you get through the party season!

Here are the brands waiting for you: Alpha H, Autograph, Eyeko, Nuxe, Leighton Denny, Look Good Feel Better, Percy & Reed, Philip Kingsley, Shay & Blue, Josh Wood, Ultrasun, Pür, Filorga, Burts Bees, Pixi, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Rodial, Nails Inc, Rosie for Autograph, Rituals, Emma Hardie, Ren, Skyn Iceland, Formula Absolute and Studio 10.

The fantastic M&S Beauty Advent Calendar goes on sale on the 11th November; hurry, even thought this year the calendar is bigger and better (and many more are available), it is bound to sell out!

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You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Bath and shower care, almost good enough to eat

patisserie-de-bain-creme-patissiere-review-1Seriously: the Patisserie de Bain products smell so delicious you feel like eating them!

And what’s best, until the 18th October you can get this gorgeous gift set, which comes with a luscious shower gel and body soufflé as well as a soft shower puff. in the new sweet scent Crème Pâtissière, a sweet vanilla cream. Yum indeed!

patisserie-de-bain-creme-patisserie-review-3Costing £10, it’s yours free when you buy any two skincare products at Superdrug (subject to availability).

The shower gel feels amazing on the skin, lathers well leaving a subtle warm vanilla scent behind and a clean soft skin.

The soufflé is luxurious moisturising and soothing; it applies well and sinks quickly, leaving no stickiness behind. It tops up the shower gel scent, without being too overpowering. Skin feels quite velvety after use.

patisserie-de-bain-creme-patissiere-review-2If you don’t know Patisserie de Bain, they are a lovely brand with products made in the UK.

Check out their fab range: everything bath and shower that feels and smells amazing; little luxuries at a really good price, to help you #makelifesweet every day.

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You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.