Saturday, 20 July 2013

Tanning | Garnier Summer Body Light

I don't tan very often but I realise that everyone looks better with a tan, even if it's just a bit of a bronzed 
look on your legs when you get them out so when I saw this on the shelf at a couple of quid I couldn't resist as I've seen it on quite a few blogs lately and they've been loving it so I thought why not give it a go?!


I've been using the Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan which I'll be showing you very soon (when I get a good photo of my tanned arm) and it's great for maintaining and moisturising a tanned look, the one I got is 'light' which I didn't realise when I bought it; had I realised I would have probably gone for dark. I'll be honest, on it's own its not the best, it does take a hell of a long time to build up any noticeable tan (which is why I haven't taken before and afters as it's not that easy to see on its own).

It doesn't smell at all when you first apply it and the scent of apricot is really dominant rather than the odd cheesy/biscuity smell I find a lot of gradual tanners have but it does develop the signature tan scent about 4 hours after you've put it on which isn't a problem for me because I actually don't mind the smell of fake tan. To be totally honest I genuinely don't think anyone will ever totally get rid of that 'whiff', even if a product smells good when in the tube it's probably the developing agent or whatever that actually makes it smell.

The moisurising aspect of this is what I love the most about it, because I tend not to use moisturiser on my body because I'm lazy but if it's going to prolong my tan then I'm willing to take a bit more time over it. If you were going to use this as a gradual tanner alone then I suggest you get the dark shade as I doubt you'll tell much of a difference on any skin tone other than porcelain! Obviously even when you use moisturisers/gradual tanners on top of regular fake tan you do still need to exfoliate properly regularly and do a bit of a tan detox every now and again otherwise you'll get a nasty tan build up, which isn't pretty! 

I think gradual tanners are pretty good for most people especially if you're fair skinned and you're worried about looking like the tango man with full on fake tan. I like to think of it as tanning without the commitment, you can see within the first day if it's not the right shade for you and you simple don't apply it anymore and it doesn't take ages to fade. 

Do you use gradual tanners or do you stick to the hardcore stuff?
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Friday, 19 July 2013

Spas and Breaks Away | Spa Etiquette

I've always wondered how many bloggers and other people I speak to, have been on Spa Days, I've been on a few but not nearly as many as I'd like to and I know that it was quite nerve racking the first time I went because I didn't know the 'drill' when it came to how you behave in a spa. Obviously we all know that you don't get blind drunk, shout, scream, bomb in the pool etc.. but I thought I'd let you know some of the unwritten rules of going to a spa.
 
SpaBreaks.com have created this video* which will explain all, what to wear and how to deal with any complaints you may have during treatments are just two of the many questions answered.


Have you ever been to a Spa before? Ever come across any bad Etiquette?



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Friday, 12 July 2013

Skincare | Toner - The Forgotten Step

As you've probably noticed I've got back into a proper skincare routine just lately and my skin seems to be really thanking me for it, I've just had a bit of a breakout on one side of my face which is the side I usually sleep on so I've just been replacing my pillowcase more often to reduce the risk of a build up of bacteria causing spots. 

Anyway, the point of this post is to introduce 'toning' as part of a skincare routine. There will be lots of people reading this thinking 'errr...well I always use a toner, why does she feel the need to introduce it?' well the simple reason is that I feel it is a largely ignored part of a skincare routine because I don't think people fully understand why it is important. Before I bought the Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner I didn't think it was necessary; I just used Alpha H Liquid Gold twice/three times a week and just cleansed and moisurised the rest of the time. But I can honestly say I wouldn't be without a toner now.



This Clarins number is a toner and a gentle exfoliator in one, containing tamarind and white nettle it helps to smooth and soften the skin whilst strengthening the skins resistance to wrinkles, prevents a build up of dead skin cells and promotes the growth of new ones. It contains AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) which is the acid used in many facial peels but at a lot lower concentration level so it still helps to reduce the signs of ageing but isn't so harsh on your skin which is why it's fine for most people to use this gentle exfoliating toner as part of their every day routine. It also contains Glycolic and Salicylic acid which are both well known for the effective treatment of skin complaints such as acne (I see these ingredients and I'm all over these products like a rash!).

I personally love the toning step of my skincare routine, once I've cleansed properly it just seems natural to cool my skin down with something before I apply any moisturiser. In my opinion the Clarins toner does not smell chemically in any way at all, it has that 'signature' Clarins scent which I think lots of their products smell like. I use this on the days that I don't use Alpha H and I do believe a proper routine is making a difference to how my skin looks, my makeup seems to sit better for longer and I'm getting less bouts of acne. I've had the odd (painful) spot and a little break out just recently but as I say, I think that's due to my pillowcase as it's only one side of my face. The only issue I'm still having is oil breakthrough during the day, if you have any recommendations for how I can reduce this I'd love you to let me know in a comment. 

The Clarins Exfoliating Toner isn't cheap at £20 a pop but if you like using Alpha H Liquid Gold I'd definitely recommend that you try this too, the only thing I would change about it is I'd put it in a pump bottle, I just find it difficult to get the right amount onto a cotton pad with bottles like this, Pixi have got it right with their 'Glow Tonic' as that is a pump bottle.

Do you use a toner?
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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Bath & Body | Rituals Laughing Buddha Shower Gel and Happy Mist

With a name like 'Happy Buddha' and it's bright orange packaging how can anyone not be drawn to this new offering from Rituals? I was first introduced to the brand in the very early days of blogging when I got a shower gel in a Glossybox, ever since then I've yet to find a shower gel which foams and smells as good as Rituals. If you like citrus fruity bath and body products you'll love these!

Inspired by good fortune, optimism and happiness, the 'Happy Buddha' collection has a citrus kick of a scent, the sweet orange being a really key note in this fragrance to kick start you and make you feel good. It makes the foaming shower gel perfect for using in your morning shower or if you're feeling a little bit sleepy before you go on a night out. It comes out as a gel and within seconds of coming in contact with wet skin it begins to foam; a little goes a very long way with this product, you literally need a penny sized amount to do most of what you want to do in a shower/bath.

The 'Happy Mist' light bed and body perfume is absolutely gorgeous for spraying on any bed linen or indeed most household materials to give them a quick freshen up if you've got guests coming round, and there's nothing better than making your bed cloths smell fresh before you get in for the night. I'm not overly keen on this as a body spray however I have been using it during the day instead of perfume sometimes but I do think it's more suited to bed linen etc. but that may be down to the kind of body perfumes I usually go for... what I spray on my body isn't what I'd want to spray on my bed because it's usually way too musky but Happy Mist smells beautiful on pillows/quilts and I would definitely buy this if they did it in candle form!

There's actually 7 products in the Rituals Laughing Buddha collection; 'Fortune' shower oil, 'Good Luck' scrub, 'Touch of Happiness' body cream, 'Fortune' shower cream scrub and 'Mandarin Bliss' anti-antiperspirant spray and stick. Obviously I have only tried the Happy Mist and foaming shower gel but I would have absolutely no doubt that the other products would be as nice! I can't wait to go back to York to have a look in the Rituals shop again!

Have you tried Rituals? What are your favourite products?






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Sunday, 7 July 2013

Beautiful Britain | Falling Foss Tea Garden

On the rare days off that me and my husband get together, we try to actually do something with our day (as much as I would LOVE to sleep all day, he won't let me) and Jason's favourite place is the East Coast so we'll generally head that way, call at the caravan in Filey, have a fish and chip and come home but one of the most beautiful and undiscovered places on the East Coast is a place called Falling Foss in between Scarborough and Whitby. You'd probably drive straight past the signs without a second look if you didn't know what it was but honestly it's the cutest little place ever, especially if it's a nice day!

If you're into tea, cakes, nature or beautiful places then read on...!




Falling Foss tea garden is set in the grounds of Midge Hall which was originally built in 1780 and was used as the game keepers cottage until the early 1900's when it became a tea garden, unfortunately in the 1960's it was abandoned and became derelict until 2008 when the building and grounds were renovated to restore the tea garden to its former glory. 

 The path leading to the gardens from the car park as unless you are disabled or less able, you cannot take your vehicle past a certain point which is clearly signposted at the top, the walk down is all part of the visit though because it's so beautiful and tranquil. 

 Falling Foss is like Alton Towers for dogs, Jasper absolutely loves playing in the water under the bridge, it's deep enough so he can swim but safe enough so we don't worry about him getting stuck. Every time we've been we have seen other dogs at the stream playing with sticks and balls, it's an absolute pleasure to watch. There's also a boat which has a sign on it saying 'this belongs to the children of Midge Hall' so I'm guessing the children have some really fun times in the summer in their boat!

 Natural beauty at it's best.




The tea garden itself if very spacious with plenty of places to sit and relax while you enjoy your cup of tea, scone, cold drink... whatever it is that takes your fancy. All cakes etc. are hand made where possible and I highly recommend the scones with jam and cream; they're gorgeous! There's also a wooden play area for children and public toilets. Everything is very simple, yet so beautiful. There's no pretense or snobbery in this tea garden, it attracts so many different people from walkers and families to couples young and old. You can even have your wedding here which I imagine would be so magical!

I can't tell you how much I enjoy Falling Foss, it's open from April to October 10.30am - 5pm (subject to change in bad weather) and it's situated 5 minutes away from Whitby, 15 minutes from Scarborough in Sneaton Forest. Falling Foss Directions.

I thought it'd be a really good idea to add some 'Beautiful Britain' posts to my blog as I think it's one of the most understated countries in the world in terms of beauty and lovely places to visit. There are so many hidden gems and I'm going to try and share any that I find when I'm on my travels!

Is Falling Foss somewhere you'd like to visit? Please let me know if you already have!
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Friday, 5 July 2013

Skincare | Alpha-H Liquid Gold Review

Today I bring you another beauty of a product introduced to me by the wonderful Caroline Hirons. If you don't know who Caroline Hirons is, and you value your skin, I suggest you Google her now. Alpha-H is one of her recommended products to help with acne breakouts and a whole load of other skin complaints so I snapped it up and I feel like I can review it properly now as I've almost finished it.


Alpha H Liquid Gold £31.50 (the packaging has changed since I bought it)

Liquid Gold isn't as glamorous as it sounds, it's not actually liquid gold, in simple terms it's a chemical exfoliant which helps to reduce the appearance of minor skin complaints such as acne, scarring, fine lines and hyper-pigmentation. 

It can be used one of two ways, you can either use it under moisturiser or without moisturiser for a more intensive treatment but Caroline Hirons recommends that you only use this up to 3 times a week because it is quite an intensive treatment and any more would be too much for most skins tolerance levels. It increases skins ability to retain moisture (this and Hydraluron and your moisturiser are a FAB combination) and helps to minimise break outs. 

Basically what I've been doing with this is using it without moisturiser 2 out of the 3 nights I've used it and I noticed a massive difference in the surface of my skin in the fact that I have real trouble with black heads on my nose (they're so unsightly, I hate them) and using this has really helped to reduce them, it has made my skin so much smoother and easier to apply make-up on. Before using this my nose would cake so easily with foundation and quite frankly it looked disgusting. 

I actually stopped using Alpha H for about 2 weeks just to see what happened to my skin, to really confirm that it had made a difference, and low and behold the roughness returned to my nose and my make-up became noticeably harder to apply in that area. I can't say it reduced my acne a LOT because it didn't work miracles but I do need to keep this in my routine because it is helping, it also might help with the scarring in the long term which would be absolutely great because as I tweeted the other day, my face is looking more and more pitted due to the scars!

I know it's a bit steep in terms of price at just over £30 but like I've heard Caroline say many, many times... if you'd spend that on a bag or a pair of shoes why not on your face which is on display every single day whether you like it or not!

Have you considered Alpha-H Liquid Gold or have you found something similar?


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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Make Up | Vichy Idéalia BB Creme

Summer is supposedly here and it's the time when lots of people are going on holiday so a lighter foundation/base option is what many are looking for. Lots of brands have brought out a BB cream but none of them have ever stuck in my make-up bag. Vichy are a fully fledged skincare brand which does give me slightly more confidence in their BB Cream, because I do often think that brands name something a 'BB cream' when it has very little to offer in terms of skincare. Idealia is SPF25, is hypoallergenic, non-comodegenic and contains thermal spring water meaning that it is suitable for sensitive skin (like most Vichy products). 


 Vichy Idéalia BB Creme £14.00 (1/3 off RRP) Escentual*


Vichy Idealia only comes in 2 shades; light and medium, which means that dark skinned ladies can't use this as there isn't a dark shade. I received both shades and I found that I will probably use both because the light will be good for when I'm my 'normal' skin colour and the medium would suit my skin when I have a tan or when I've applied fake tan. The formula is really smooth and quite thick so it offers surprisingly good coverage suitable for day time which I love! 

 Before

After

As you can see it doesn't cover every single imperfection but it just gives my skin a more even tone and coves the majority of redness which is sometimes all I need for every day use during the summer. It does give quite a dewy finish which isn't great for me as I have oily skin but I just powder my t-zone and it's good to go for around 4 hours then I have to reapply a little in places. 

What I like about this BB cream is that it's light so it doesn't leave me wanting to scratch my face off by 5pm which is how I sometimes feel with the heavier foundations I use. Don't get me wrong I wouldn't use it for a night out but I would definitely use it all day/night on holiday (due to its SPF properties and lightweight feel) and I use it most days for work at the moment because it's quick and easy to apply and doesn't take long to blend. 

Vichy Idealia BB Creme is available now in Boots and also online at Escentual (with 30% off).

What are your favourite Vichy products?



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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Current Hair Care | Neal and Wolf Cleansing Shampoo and Intensive Care Conditioner

My hair is about ready for a cut, but I can't get in for another week or so with the stylist I'd like so I've broken out the big guns with regard to shampoo and conditioner because I have bleached hair and my split ends are almost out of control. Usually I can get away with missing out conditioner every other wash but at the moment my hair really is like straw if I don't put some conditioner on the ends; it's hard to brush and almost too unmanageable to style. But the Neal and Wolf Cleanse and Treat Duo has made washing my hair a little more bearable. 


I've not really dabbled in high end shampoo and conditioner because my opinion used to be that it was just washing the dirt out of my hair, how can brands differ so much? I realise now that I've experienced high end, that is does make a difference what you use on your hair in terms of how good it feels when washed and conditioned. 

Containing silk and milk proteins the Ritual Daily Cleansing Shampoo cleans and boosts moisture to help tame fly-away hair (which is often a problem with fine hair but equally so when any hair type is damaged). And of course it is suitable for daily use which is ideal for me because no matter what shampoo I use I struggle to go more than 24 hours without washing my hair. 

I'm not sure whether the Harmony Intensive Care Treatment is meant for daily use but I've been loving using this every day, it's given my hair the injection of moisture it needs because it's so in need of a cut. I have actually noticed a massive difference between this conditioner and high street brands; this seems to penetrate my hair rather than just sit on top of my hair feeling silky for the couple of minutes that it's actually on my hair. Once it's washed out, towel dried and even blow dried I can still feel a massive difference which I can't say I've ever had with a high street brand; they usually condition enough for me to get a brush through my hair while wet but as soon as I start drying it gets harder and harder.

The scent of these Neal and Wolf products is like a soft perfume, they smell expensive (I'm sorry if you don't know what I mean, I have a very rubbish way of describing smells) but anyway it's how I would expect a high end shampoo/conditioner to smell... I always loved using my Nana's Paul Mitchell shampoo years ago because it had a gorgeous signature salon scent, Neal and Wolf is much like this but more on the glam side I think. The packaging also looks lovely in your bathroom, minimalist but screaming luxury!

What is your favourite high end hair care brand?
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