Leathery nails

There was a time in my life I was all about the nail art. Not elaborate drawings, but details and ombrés were my favourites.

Fast forward and I am now all about the plain colours and when they come with a differential, I’m all for it.

Meet the essie leathers collection, created by their colour designer Rebecca Minkoff, and inspired by her best selling leather handbag colours.

There are six amazing shades and they come in two sets of minis: one with very autumnal, deep colours and one with winter bright pastels, all reworked.

The finish is not glossy, but not totally matte, with a discreet metallic sheen. Some shades even have a slight texture that can barely be seen.

My favourite has to be the super pale grey lilac Push The Envelope. It’s super versatile, so close to white with a silver glimmer but not harsh. And easy to apply. Love.

The greens are divine – be it minty turquoise Bucket List or viridian Back in the Saddle.

Then there is the lavender shining mauve Cross-Body Heat, blood red Tote-ally In Love and indigo blue In Hot Purse-uit.

I used them without a topcoat (not to spoil the finish) and durability was way better than I expected – a week, no chips.

You will all know how much I love essie nail polishes: the formula, the fabulous brush, the great colours, limited edition collections and even the quirky names, so no surprise I have used each polish for a whole week!

They are available only until the 24th October at Boots for £12.99 a set (3x5ml), so hurry if you fancy a bit of leathery love on your talons!

written by Dani

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

You actually scrub up well…

You know when your skin feels a bit congested, and no amount of a good cleanser seems to actually make it feel clean?

Enter facial scrubs. I am a huge fan since my skin, with all its issues, seem to demand that, from time to time, a use something less gentle to keep it under control.

And because I like variety and rotate skin products, I decided to share the scrubs that have been keeping my skin in check:

The Alpha H Micro Cleanse Super Scrub (£35.95 for 100ml) has been a favourite for ages. Alpha H has some lovely products all with my dear glycolic acid, which here is at 12%. The formula also contains eco-friendly jojoba beads, caffeine and peppermint, for renewed and refreshed skin.

It’s a fine but tough scrub; it does have at-home microdermabrasion properties and I leave on my face for a few minutes so the glycolic acid can work on the skin.

The Botanics Radiant Youth Microdermabrasion Polish (£9.99 for 125ml) is one of the finest I’ve ever encountered and I love it! So effective yet gentle, it is infused with extracts from the leaves of the Gingko plant and polishes away dead skin to reveal smoother radiance.

In fact, Botanics, which you can get from Boots UK, was one of my biggest budget skincare discoveries this year and I will be soon talking about more products, the company, their love of natural ingredients and how they work with Kew Gardens to deliver the best plant power to our skin!

The gorgeous dermalogica daily microfoliant (£48 for 75g) that has been with me forever! I love this dry rice powder product that releases papain, salicylic acid and rice enzymes when wet.

Can be mixed with water but my best tip is to mix with your favourite foamy face wash. Works a treat for gentle exfoliation and can be used more frequently so super soft skin.

And talking about powders in a tub, meet the Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub (around £7.99 for 125g), which is Bioré‘s answer to the bad boys microbeads.

Activated by mixing with water, it fizzes up for cleansing and gentle exfoliating – and you can make is thicker or thinner, depending on how much exfoliation is required. The fact is completely dissolves helps avoid over-scrubbing.

Of course, scrubbing should be done lightly, in upwards circular movements to also help boost circulation on the skin. Never over-scrub as this can hurt the skin and in case of spots, make them worse!

It is also very important to pick a scrub for your skin type. Sensitive skins will not like it very much and maybe you should opt for a gentle chemical exfoliator instead.

Still, I find the act of using a facial scrub extremely satisfying! Am I alone on that?

written by Dani

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

A facial hero

I first came across Voya last year, at Organic Beauty Week. In the goodie bag, came a body oil I used to the very last drop, but somehow failed to post about.

Fast forward a year and there they are at Organic Beauty and Wellness Week 2017 and in the bag, the gorgeous My Little Hero Facial Serum.

This organic seaweed face serum is made of a blend of organic oils to boost and protect skin.

Full of antioxidants, it nourishes and improves radiance. I cannot stress enough that oils are suitable to most skins, even the more troublesome ones, like mine.

Oils from sunflower, camelina, coriander, grape, pumpkin, pomegranate and jojoba seed, wheatgerm, geranium, lavender, ylang ylang, palmarosa,  rosehip, vetivert root, bergamot, clove, almond, and avocado are joined by seaweed, green algae, vanilla extracts to form this extremely rich 98% organic oil that sinks deep and very well into the skin.

Because it’s so rich, my skin can only take it at night, and sometimes it’s all it needs. Skin wakes up plump and happy.

Admittedly, it is on the expensive side at £53 for 30ml but we are talking high quality organic skincare that goes a long way.

On the fabulous Angelicus Serratus Nourishing Body Oil (£34 for 100ml) which I used up a while ago, only great notes: very rich but quickly absorbed, perfect for after the shower, leaving skin soft and nourished for ages.

It contains a very pleasant and distinctive smell with citrus and the seaweeds focus and angelicus serratus, which work on elasticity, suppleness and cleansing.

A real delight to apply all over the body, it is full of antioxidant rosehip, sunflower and evening primrose oils, vitamin E, revitalizing lime and rejuvenating mandarin. I was really sad to see the empty bottle, I tell you!

You can get the My Little Hero Facial Serum and the Angelicus Serratus Nourishing Body Oil from the Voya website. Products and treatments can be found at 37 luxury locations, including hotels, worldwide like the Mandarin Oriental in London and the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah in Dubai, for example. 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.

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.

Growing the Chanel love

chanel-number-five-review-1Some say you mature into liking things you may not have liked when you were younger and with Chanel N°5 Eau de Parfum, I can confidently say this was the case.

I first tried the iconic fragrance many years ago, and found its floral aldehyde bouquet of May rose and jasmine, bright citrus top and smooth touch of my favourite vanilla notes rather overpowering and far removed from becoming my scent.

Fast forward a few years and I fell in love with it. And its story: back in 1921, Mlle. Chanel asked for “a woman’s perfume with a woman’s scent”, rare and powerful to be created.

For the first time, aldehydes were use in a perfume and when picking the final product, Gabrielle chose the fifth sample of the fragrance, hence the simple name, N°5.

chanel-number-five-review-2The new fragrance was trapped inside a minimalist bottle, a revolutionary design at the time, with a clean white label and topped with a beautiful faceted cabochon.

The current fuller version of N°5 eau de parfum is inspired by the original fragrance, re-interpreted by Jacques Polge in 1986.

Obviously the perfume remains true to the brand and is a timeless classic. And now part of my scent signature.

chanel-number-five-review-3I still feel it is an evening fragrance and I love catching a whiff of it on my body from time to time throughout the night when wearing it.

N°5 has been reworked many times, and it is now a family of fragrance, including the newest addition, L’Eau.

Chanel N°5 Eau de Parfum spray costs £52 for 35ml, £74 for 50ml and £105 for 100ml. You can also get N°5 body lotion, deodorant and body cream, as well as a handy purse spray, which I’m telling you, is an imminent addition to my life!

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Hands, oh so smooth

crabtree-evelyn-hand-therapy-review-2Pretty sure I raved about how amazing the Crabtree & Evelyn hand therapy creams are (), but it’s never too much in my view.

The Pomegranate, Argan and Grapeseed Hand Therapy is, as the other hand therapy fragrances, a bliss to use.

This hand cream is conditioning and softening, containing shea butter, macadamia, pomegranate, grapeseed and argan oils for deep moisturising and soothing and myrrh to help condition cuticles. The fragrance is tart, with some subtle citrus.

crabtree-evelyn-hand-therapy-review-1The cream applies well, absorbing in seconds – no sticky hands. Because it sinks deep, its long lasting and your hands feel moisturised and protected for a long time.

I am a huge fan and pomegranate has just joined rose and avocado as one my favourite fragrances of this absolutely indispensable classic.

crabtree-evelyn-hand-therapy-review-3The Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Therapy hand cream is available in various sizes, from the travel-friendly 25g (£6), a handbag size 50g (£10) and the bedside table essential 100g (£16) and many fabulous fragrances, including Pomegranate and some very special seasonal ones.

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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.

All night long!

urban-decay-all-nighter-foundation-review-1Pretty much everything Urban Decay does is quite amazing. Proof is that not a days goes by without at least one UD item on my everyday makeup.

I am a huge fan of their All Nighter makeup setting spray so when I heard they were bringing out an All Nighter liquid foundation, I knew I had to try.

Being a night person, nothing makes me happier than a foundation that stays up with me, all night long!

Date got (nicely) out of control and you’re getting that Uber of shame? When they say it’s fit for scandalous activities, they weren’t lying. It does stay (fact) and the ride won’t be that shameful (who am I kidding? I am shameless).

The coverage is full. You need a small amount for the whole face and the finish is matte.

Admittedly, it can show over dry patches (I am on skin medication at the moment so my skin is dry and flaky).

I make sure you super moisturise underneath and have a handy mist to top up during the day, whenever I can. I found that adding a drop of dermalogica phyto replenish oil to the foundation does help in that front.

urban-decay-all-nighter-foundation-review-3

It does not sink on skin imperfections and the .0 shades with a yellow base have no hint of orange, which seems to be the case with some yellow based foundations.

I am using 4.0 which I find is probably a little bit lighter than the Naked Skin foundation 4.0, but still a good match for my skin, especially in the winter.

The formula is waterproof, paraben-free and it indeed blurs the complexion by diffusing light; it is also mattifying and oil-absorbing, thus reducing shine.

urban-decay-all-nighter-foundation-review-2And let’s talk about the packaging? I freaking love it. The steel-look cracked effect is NOT how your skin will look – or your mirror in terror of your reflection, for that matter.

This one came from the fabulous world of Fabled by Marie Claire, bought over Fabled.com and the delivery is free within the 1-hour nominated slot by our friends at Ocado when you spend over £15!

Of course, you can also get it at the Urban Decay website and their flagships stores and concession. The All Nighter liquid foundation costs £27 for 30ml and comes in 24 shades.

You can read more about Fabled – the shop, the online experience, the lot – on a previous post. And you are still on time for my 15% discount code VOU039323938, valid until the 26th October!

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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.

 

Nails dipped in gold

nails-in-paint-can-good-as-gold-review - 6Golden nails. I’ve always had a penchant for them. Finding the right shade is a bit tricky, as I don’t like it glittery, but the new Nails Inc Paint Can in Good as Gold comes as close to golden perfection as possible.

Perfect for a quick fix, the spray on nail polish from Nails Inc was a pioneer and I was dead excited when I tried the also precious silver Shoreditch Lane when it launched with only two colours and amongst a media frenzy.

nails-in-paint-can-good-as-gold-review - 4Feelings towards the product remain the same as when I did my original review: love the novelty, the colour is great, pigmentation on the gold seem a bit more scatty then the silver (I went over twice) and the durability is good.

This time, I used the Nails Inc 2-in-1 base and top coat, which makes a very decent job of both, a rarity for 2-in-1 product. Golden thumbs up!

nails-in-paint-can-good-as-gold-review - 7*Maybe* I over sprayed onto my fingers on purpose. There’s no denying I wish I could se the pre-tidying up version and sport fingers dipped in gold, but that wouldn’t go well in the office, I am sure. But, oh, it’s so tempting!

In terms of time saving, I don’t think it is actually much less than normal painting, as I fell tidying up is always needed.

nails-in-paint-can-good-as-gold-review - 2Advantages include the fun (seriously!), the act you can quickly apply on top of any nail polish you’re wearing for a quick change, and of course, I made a meal out of it, but you can be much more targeted with the application to make clean up easier.

nails-in-paint-can-good-as-gold-review - 5Nails Inc Paint Can now comes in eight shades with Good as Gold by Lottie Tomlinson being the newest. Each can costs £10 and the recommended 2-in-1 base and top coat costs £8.

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This post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

 

 

Love for your body and mind: find your Inner Strength

aromatherapy-associates-inner-strength-review - 2In modern society we many times concentrate on the physical and end up forgetting about our minds.

Aromatherapy Associates is here to help us to take some time to look after our skin as well as our minds, and maybe indulge a little bit on their fabulous products.

Inner Strength is an all over mind and body range that counts with the usual fabulous bath and shower oils, but also skincare to help rebuild our natural strength and protect our skin from the effects of environmental and emotional stress, designed for sensitive skin.

It contains camomile essential oil, calming for the mind and soothing of the skin, plant-based probiotics to rebuild and protect skin’s natural defence, cotton thistle flower, which restores skin layers and helps the regenerative process and arnica flower, a great anti inflammatory.

aromatherapy-associates-inner-strength-review - 1The Inner Strength Skin Recovery Moisturiser is a protective moisturiser that calms an soothes, helps build the skin protective barrier and helps restore the skin healthy aspect.

The moisturiser is light, applies and absorbs well and behaves under makeup. The scent is pleasant and reassuring.

It is perfect combined with the Soothing Facial Oil, which feels very luscious and replenishing on the skin, at night.

The Inner Strength Soothing Repair Mask is a bliss to use. I’m a big facial mask fan and this feels like a thicker cream.

The scent is reassuring, slightly more intense than the moisturiser; I like rubbing the Inner Strength Bath and Shower oil on my hands, then on my chest to inhale, while using the mask before the shower.

aromatherapy-associates-inner-strength-review - 3Skin, as well as the mind, feels revitalised. It’s moisturising, plumping, strengthening and soothing.

This mask contains, sodium hyaluronate from soy, camomile as plant based probiotics.

The full range, already available to buy contains, apart from the Skin Recovery Moisturiser and the Soothing Repair Mask, the Soothing Cleansing Balm, Soothing Serum and Soothing Facial Oil, which joined the already existent Inner Strength Body Oil, Bath & Shower Oil and Candle, which you can buy here.

And to see how much I love these guys, you can read my Aromatherapy Associates Clear Mind Bath and Shower Oil.

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This post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

 

Mastering the flick

lancome-grandiose-eyeliner-review - 1I shall not be seen without my flick! True story. Eyeliners are a huge love of mine, up there with lipstick and Lancôme just did it pretty!

Not only pretty, but the Lancôme Grandiôse liner is also pretty awesome.

The packaging is gorgeous, a little gem with the beautiful brand flower encased at the top of the wand.

lancome-grandiose-eyeliner-review - 1 (1)The formula is good, although maybe slightly dry so needs picking up several times from the bottle for a flick.

The shade Noir Mirifique is super black matte, quick-drying with a fabulous staying power. I mean, hardcore.

lancome-grandiose-eyeliner-review - 3Now, let’s talk about the bendable wand. I think the brush is lovely and extremely precise. The fact it bends can help; it is more ergonomic and intuitive when bent; you can get the brush closer to the roots and corners.

Personally, as I am used to lining with straight brushes so it feels pretty much the same for me.

However, it is the prettiest thing and a fabulous liner that lasts all day. Cannot really ask for more!

The Lancôme Grandiôse Liner costs £23 and is available from the Lancôme website and retailers nationwide.

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This post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.