Beauty, Fashion, Lifestyle

Autumn Essentials…

Autumn; the sun begins to cast a golden glow on the crisp frost creeping over the fields, the vibrant colour of the leaves on the trees begin to turn a fiery red – it’s the beginning of a chilly (and rainy!!) yet magical season, and a real favourite of mine. Shops start stocking up ready for Halloween, fairy lights begin to appear, casting an exciting sparkle as the evenings get darker, spicy wintery drinks start to appear in coffee shops… What’s not to love?! To celebrate the first weekend of Autumn, I thought I would share with you my Autumn favourites, from food, through to beauty products, through to general day-to-day Autumn delights.

Food 

To me, Autumn sparks the end of summery salads and invites the start of warm, hearty lunches and dinners. I thought I would share with you one of my favourite go-to autumnal dishes. As you will have seen from last week’s blog post, I’m trying to minimise the amount of meat and dairy in my diet, and I’ve been making lots of delicious meals from Lucy Watson’s ‘Feed Me Vegan’ cookbook. I’ve also been searching around for some other vegan recipes, which fill that hearty-dish-shaped-hole in my stomach, especially for during the week when I’m at work.

Vegan chilli

This one is super easy to make, and the best thing about it – make it in bulk, and freeze it! That way, you are always prepared for weekday lunches. I stumbled across this  One Hour Vegan Chilli. I absolutely love chilli – for me, this is the perfect autumnal meal, as it warms the soul and makes you feel good inside, whilst staying on the healthy bandwagon. It’s super easy to make, with loads of veggies, low price ingredients, and you essentially just throw everything in the pan and let it simmer for 40 minutes.

Vegan One hour chilli

Herbal teas

The only thing I can critique about this wonderful season, is it’s usually when all the bugs come out, the dreaded flu epidemic takes over the country, and I come down with some sort of terrible cold/sore throat. One of things I find keeps those colds at bay are herbal teas – full of natural sources of goodness, and generally tasty. The season always triggers the delicious autumnal flavours to come out of the woodwork, which make you feel all warm inside and excited for the season ahead. My current favourites are the Pukka and Twinings herbal teas, as they come in such a huge variety of flavours. A current favourite is the Pukka Apple and Cinnamon flavour – Cinnamon always makes me think of Autumn and the lead up to Christmas, so this is one I certainly get excited about!! The sweet tang of the apple also balances the spicy taste of the cinnamon. Another favourite is the Twinings Ginger Bread Green Tea – the sweet scent and taste actually makes you believe you’re eating gingerbread, so allows you to stave off those sugar cravings!! Last, but never least, is the Pukka Green Tea flavoured with Sweet Vanilla – I find that Green Tea on its own can sometimes leave quite a bitter taste, so the addition of the vanilla completely masks this, and makes for a lovely after-dinner cuppa.

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Beauty & Fashion

For those who know me, I’m not the most colourful and vibrant when it comes to my wardrobe. The furthest I stretch to in summer are light pastel colours (which are as close to cream and grey as they can be!!), and in the autumnal months, my favourite go-to colours are camel and burgundy (which is actually quite ‘out there’ for me!). They both really reflect the colours of autumn – the leaves turning to a deep red as they fall off the trees, and the golden sun in the mornings reflecting off the sparkling frost.

Jumpers & Slippers

Again, another reason I love Autumn – it’s the beginning of snuggly clothes season!! I picked up this gorgeous knitted jumper from New Look recently – it’s light enough to be able to wear a coat over the top, yet still warm enough to feel snuggled up and autumnal. The wide turtleneck allows you to snuggle deeply into the jumper, whilst allowing room for the fresh air at the same time if it’s a particularly sunny day. The perfect Autumn combination.

And of course, nothing makes you feel more snuggled and warm at home, than a great pair of slippers. These Emu Australia slippers are the perfect autumn/winter slippers – the woolly interior keeps your feet toasty and are hugely comforting for moseying around the house in.

Jumper and slippers

Skincare

As the frosty air and chill hits, it can be really hard on our skin and for me certainly, it can really dry it out. So it’s important to make sure you’re looking after your skin, keeping it fully moisturised to protect against the autumnal chill. I’ve pictured below my current favourite skincare products – for my morning routine, I’ve been using the Ren Evercalm Cleansing Milk which wakes up my skin, followed by the Garnier Micellar Water and The Body Shop Aloe Vera Soothing Day Cream. At night, I use the Lancome Bi-Facil Gentle Eye Make Up Remover, followed by the Lancome Gel Eclat cleanser and Tonique Confort to remove my base makeup. Just before bed, I apply two pumps of the Ren Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil, following by the V-Cense Revitalising Nightcream. This really leaves my skin feeling moisturised and healthy, and gives it that ‘glowy’ look throughout the day.

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Autumn Nails

To complement the colours of Autumn, it has to be a burgundy nail!! My favourite at the moment is Chanel Rouge Noir. I find their nail polishes are extremely light, perfume-free and easy to apply, along with being long-lasting.

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So there you have it – my Autumn favourites, I’d love to hear what you love, and your go-to favourites for this magical yet chilly season!

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Beauty

Taking Care of My Skin… My Daily Skincare Routine

Since I was young, I’ve always been incredibly lucky to be blessed with good skin (thanks, Mum and Dad). As I grew up, and even going through university, I found that I didn’t tend to need to do a lot to it to keep it in such good condition. I never used to pay huge attention to the quality of the skincare products that I used, how well I took my makeup off (especially after a night out – who wants to bother spending 10 minutes scrubbing your face, when you could crawl into bed and worry about that in the morning…?) and also the quality of the makeup products I used. However in recent years, I have noticed my skin hasn’t been as blemish free, and bright as it usually is. One factor that I do believe has made a huge impact, is my diet. I enjoy living a clean, healthy lifestyle, so when I’m eating natural and clean foods, along with keeping myself well hydrated my skin looks bright and glowing with a generally even skintone. The moment my diet starts to slip, and I eat overly processed or sugary foods, I notice myself waking up in the morning with relatively tired skin, that looks slightly dull and overly puffy, along with the odd spot or two which I’m naturally not used to.

Now I don’t think this is completely down to my diet – I do think this is also down to the years of using just a makeup wipe to take my makeup off (or not really taking it off at all!), with no proper cleansing routine, and not paying attention to what is actually going into my skin. So I decided now was the time I really needed to take proper care of what was going into my body in terms of my diet, but also the products I was using. One brand I have always heard great things about is Ren Skincare. It’s what I’d call ‘premium high street’ – more expensive than the likes of Nivea and Simple, but not too much that it would break the bank. Now that I have tried and tested these products, I truly believe that it is a worthwhile investment to buy great skin care products – a friend once said to me, you wouldn’t think twice about spending money on an expensive handbag which you may use for one season, and then it goes into your wardrobe and doesn’t come back out – however, your skin is something that stays with you, and you’ve got forever no matter what, no matter what state it’s in – so why wouldn’t you invest in it? This has really stuck with me, so it’s something that I truly believe you should prepare to invest in and do your best to take care of.

I have listed below my whole skincare routine, the products I have been using, how they’ve felt on my skin and the results I have had since using them.

Mornings:
First of all, I splash my face with cold water to wake myself up followed by scrubbing my whole face with a flannel, using just lukewarm water. I then take one pump of the Ren Evercalm Cleansing gel, and spend about 2-3 minutes, massaging this into my face with my hands. To wash this off, I scrub my face again with a flannel and use luke warm water until this is all off.

To follow, I apply my Micellar cleansing water with cotton pads- I absolutely love the freshness of my skin after I have used this, and I am currently using the Garnier Micellar water. Once applied, I then take half a pump of the Ren Skincare Evercalm Gentle Face Cream. This is quite a thick cream, which is why you will only need half a pump as it does go a long way. I then apply this with just my hands. Once this has been done, I then proceed to apply my daily makeup.

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Evenings:
I have finally ditched the makeup wipes (hurrah!) after realising how many different chemicals are used in them, and coming to the conclusion these simply cannot be good for my skin. I also noticed that however hard I scrubbed, in the mornings I would always have makeup residue left on my face, so clearly they did not do a great job at cleansing my face properly.

Now I begin my evening routine with the Estee Lauder oil-based eye makeup remover. I dab around 3 drops onto a cotton wool pad, and place it gently on my eye, leaving it for 30 seconds to let the makeup dissolve. I then carefully rub the makeup away from each eye. Following this, I take three pumps of my Estee Lauder cleanser onto a warm damp flannel and scrub my face. When all of my makeup is off, I then cleanse my face again, using the Ren Evercalm Cleansing gel. Once this has been done, I place a few drops of the Ren Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil onto my hands and massage this all over my face, followed by half a pump of the Ren Skincare V-Cense night cream.

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After just a week’s application, I noticed how much clearer and brighter my skin was, from waking up right through to going to bed. It felt so much more hydrated and clear, and I finally felt I was on the road back to having happy and healthy skin. Now I know this sounds quite tiresome, but I promise you, as soon as you have started doing this, you will notice the amazing difference in your skin even after just a week.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and I’d love to hear about your routine and which brands work for you.

 

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Beauty

Beauty Buy of the Week – Guerlain Eyeliner 

I’ve always been a bit makeup lover. That’s not to say I’m actually any good at doing makeup, so I will never protest that I am!! One of my favourite things to do is watch YouTube videos online, including product reviews and tutorials to get some inspiration, and generally to try and improve my makeup skills. Contouring genuinely baffles me, and I have just made peace with the fact I will never be able to do it! I do think it comes down to the fact that I was never good at art – I know that sounds silly, but to me, makeup is truly an art.
As a teenager in the noughties, my go-to makeup was Miss Sporty foundation, Collection 2000 eyeliner and some blue eyeshadow, and over the years thank god the quality of my makeup has got a lot better! I’ve used a huge variety of brands for foundation, including high street brands such as Bourjouis and Rimmel, and the more premium high street brands – my current favourite is Estée Lauder double wear, which is truly gorgeous on my skin, and I never need to reapply this throughout the day.


Now one thing that I’ve always struggled to find, is a good eyeliner. In all honesty, I haven’t varied much from Collection 2000, and that genuinely was one that I always found stayed on my eyes the longest. I tried the likes of Mac, Rimmel and Bourjois but they all rubbed off on my lids within minutes of me applying, so always went back to my trusty Collection 2000. However recently, to my utmost horror, something changed with their eyeliners- I don’t know if they changed an ingredient or the consistency, but it just didn’t have the same amount of stay time- it would crack and crumble off my lids and by the end of the day I hated how I looked, so messy. So I knew it was time for a change. I took myself onto YouTube, and I noticed quite a few of the bloggers I follow and youtubers were raving about this new Guerlain eyeliner. One of the things it was championed for was stay time, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.


Sickeningly more expensive than what I’m used to (£28 rrp) but I’d already spend the equivalent on four wasted eyeliners so I thought why the hell not?! First of all, look at the packaging. This alone is absolutely stunning, so when it arrived on my desk at work I was slightly worried that this is where my money was going. I just love the beautiful gold gilted lid, and it’s such a gorgeously elegant bottle, with a matte glass. Now for application- I’m used to pen eyeliners, and this one was a brush so I was fairly worried about this; however, application was so so easy- it glided across my eyelid leaving a beautiful, satiny yet matte finish. The brush was fantastic as it allows me to get the cat-like flick, which is part of my signature makeup look. It allows you to touch up any bits you may have missed really easily without messing it up.


Now for the real test- stay time. And I am SO impressed. From the beginning of the day at application, right through to make up removal before bed, it stays the entire day, with no signs of wearing. It is definitely a worthwhile investment, and one I will 100% be carrying on with. If you’ve tried this product, I’d love to hear your views, or if you’d like to try it I’ve popped a link below.

Guerlain Eyeliner http://m.guerlain.com/uk/en-uk/makeup/eyes/pencils-and-eyeliners/eyeliner-impeccable-line-precision-calligraphy

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Beauty, Lifestyle

Destressing after a busy week…. Time to hit the Twilight Spa

If I have a busy and stressful week, whether that’s to do with work, studying or anything else that may have cropped up, I hate entering my weekend with that stress still weighing heavily upon my shoulders. I like to thoroughly enjoy my weekends, making them as stress-free and care-free as possible. The weekend is my ‘me time’… To truly relax and rejuvenate, so when Sunday night comes around, I feel recharged and ready to take on whatever the week ahead has in store for me.

Now for most of us, when 5pm hits on Friday, we have that exhilarating feeling that now, we are free, and the weekend has begun. We can leave work with a spring in our step and start to celebrate this next two days of bliss. For me, I used to destress by going to the pub after work, enjoying a few drinks with my work colleagues which inevitably led to dinner, more drinks and then stumbling into bed at around 12am. Now whilst at the time, I thought I was letting my hair down and destressing, in the morning it was an entirely different story. I wake up feeling groggy, a bit heavy-headed and with absolutely no energy. I’d waste the best part of my Saturday in bed, watching trash tv and sipping on a cup of coffee. The stresses of that previous week are still playing on my mind, and I don’t feel like I’m truly relaxed and ready to go. Now don’t get me wrong, to some this would be the ideal way to spend a Saturday. But for me, as quite a generally anxious and stressed person, This isn’t the best way for me to leave the week behind. This is something I only discovered recently, when I started to truly try to take care of myself , so I started to try to make some changes to the way I destress after a busy week, so that I could really enjoy my weekends. This week, I found myself lucky enough to be heading to a spa evening with one of my best friends, and to me this was absolutely the perfect way to spend my Friday night.

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As we entered the spa, we were greeted by a friendly therapist who sat us both down in the dining area, with a glorious cup of tea and handed us our complimentary robes and towels, with a list of treatments for us to enjoy. We had both pre-booked a relaxing body scrub, and I was SO looking forward to it!! We had an hour until our treatments, so we chose to relax for half an hour in the outdoor jacuzzi. I couldn’t help but feel the sense of glee that this is how I was spending my evening.

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We then took a slow walk up to the treatment area, where I was greeted by my lovely therapist for evening, and the indulged in a 30 minute glorious body scrub. This is the moment where I could truly let my mind switch off, focus on my breathing and surroundings, and truly begin to relax.

I then made my way to the relaxation room, where I was offered some refreshing cucumber and mint water, reclined on the most comfortable seats, and treated myself to a catch up on the latest edition of Elle magazine. I relaxed here for about half an hour until my friend came out from her treatment, and we then made our way to the main dining area, where we sat with yet more refreshing cucumber water and relaxed even further.

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We were then invited to dinner at the spa’s restaurant, so we got ready and made our way across the courtyard. As we walked in, we were greeted by the smell and heat of a roaring fire, candlelit tables and a warm, comforting yet buzzing atmosphere – straight away falling into the comfort of the dining chairs, we sat down and ordered a delicious dinner. We treated ourselves to some delicious haddock fish cakes (pictured below!!) with sautéed spinach and poached egg, followed by some mango and passion fruit sorbet decorated with rich berries. We devoured our delicious dinner, then relaxed for half an hour, soaking up our surroundings and truly enjoying our evening.

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I arrived home at 10pm, feeling completely relaxed, fell into bed in a blissful 8 hour sleep, and woke up this morning completely refreshed, relaxed and ready to start my weekend.

That’s my way to destress after a busy week, and for me this is sheer bliss. I’d love to hear how all of you end your working week, and enter your weekends stress-free.

 

 

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Beauty, Fashion, Lifestyle

Spring Handbag Essentials..

Spring.  The flowers are blossoming on the trees, the evenings are longer and it makes my morning run seem so much more appealing, knowing I’ll be stepping out into the crisp morning air, with the sun shining down and the birds chirping away. One of my favourite things about Spring, is that I get to be outside. You can’t beat taking a leisurely walk around the park, sitting in the sun or catching up with friends. So, to be prepared for a change in season, I thought I would share with you my top five spring handbag essentials.

Sunglasses

Well the sun is out, so what other excuse do you need?! I personally feel that sunglasses add the finishing touches to any outfit, as well as the fact that British weather can be so unpredictable, I’ll carry my sunglasses everywhere I go.  I also take massive pride and joy in my sunglasses – they were a birthday present last year, and I had been hankering after them for ages. So any chance I get to wear them, out they come! Seriously though – look at them. Aren’t they beautiful!?

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Diary

As you’ll come to learn, I am extremely organised. I will take my diary everywhere with me, consult it on a regular basis to ensure if I am booking in appointments, socialising with friends or scheduling in some R&R, I’m not going to be accidentally double-booking myself. It is also a great way for me to keep track of my blogging. I use it to jot ideas down  when I’m out and about shopping, or just daydreaming whilst having a wander on my lunch break. This way, I have somewhere to write these ideas downs straight away so I don’t forget, and I can go back to them later.

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Christian Dior – Miss Dior

As well as being my all-time favourite perfume, this also holds the perfect scent of Spring. It has a very fresh yet floral scent,  and Dior packaging  is always so beautiful and lady-like. I just adore the bow detailing on the lid of this bottle, and the fact they make the bottles perfect handbag size, allowing me to take it everywhere I go. I love how just the hint of a scent that you recognise  can bring back so many memories, or remind you of someone. Personally, the smell of Impulse body spray takes me back to my teens where I used to wear blue eye shadow and glitter across my cheeks, but we will leave that embarrassing story for another time….

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Chanel Powder

This powder is an absolute life saver, and again this is the perfect powder for spring. It provides a sheer and light finish, whilst maintaining a matte look. You only need a light dusting to top up your make-up, and it doesn’t leave your skin looking cakey, like so many other powders on the market right now can do. Its light powder puff concealed within the packaging allows for practicality of taking this out and about, so you can top up throughout the day.

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Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream – Intensive Repair Balm.

On the weekend, my go-to beauty product is a classic matte lipstick. I love how they make your lips look so velvety and pristine. The only downside however is that they’re the main culprit for me when it comes to dry and cracked lips.  My lips are very susceptible to it, so during the week, I treat my lips with the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Repair Cream, and apply this three times a day – once in the morning, once halfway through the day, and once before bed. Now I must say, this was one of the best investments I ever made!! It retails at £23, so a bit pricey for a lip cream, however it soothes, moisturises and heals my lips within days – much quicker, and much better than any other standard high street lip cream has ever done.

So there you have it, my top five, extremely necessary (of course) spring handbag essentials.

 

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Beauty

Beauty Buy of the Week 

Now this one is a bit of cheat, for two reasons- technically it’s two products, however it came as a set so I feel like I can class it as one…!! The second reason is that I didn’t actually purchase this product – but I will be telling you about it anyway as it was gorgeous and fantastic.

Lancôme has always been one of my favourite beauty brands. I fully believe that the quality of their products is absolutely second to none, and this is reflected in the look and feel of the brand- a very understated, ladylike elegance with a hint of Parisian romance. I am a loyal customer, and the service, new tips and advice I receive from the Lancôme ladies at my local beauty stores is always second to none.
So, as I made my way to the gleaming Lancôme counter last Saturday, to pick up my trusty mascara (another fantastic product) the lovely Lancôme lady hit me with a deal (and who doesn’t love a deal?!) if you buy 2 products from the Lancôme range, you will receive a complimentary gift set, which includes a gorgeous Lancôme cleanser and soothing eye makeup remover. Lancome’s skincare range is something I’ve actually never tried, so I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity for me for sample more of their products, and better yet, for free!? Plus it meant I had an excuse to buy something else of course.

Lancôme Cleanser

So I got it home and my first reaction (as always with Lancôme) was the beautiful packaging. As you can see, it is simple, clean and elegant.

Now to try the product – it’s pump allows for a small twenty pence sized amount to pour onto your hands- the smell reminded me of fresh air and vanilla. The texture of the product felt quite thin, rather than the thick creaminess you can get from other cleansers, so I instantly thought I would need more of the product to ensure it thoroughly cleansed my face- however I was so wrong!! That tiny amount goes such a long way, and as soon as I applied it, it gave a soothing and cooling sensation across my skin, and it really felt like it was working its magic. To remove the product, you just need to use cotton wool pads, and once I’d remove the product, my skin felt silky smooth and fresh, and most important of all, clean and make-up free!!

Lancôme soothing eye makeup remover

Moving onto the eye makeup remover- now I don’t usually get on well with oil based products. Unlike cleansers, I feel like they leave my skin feeing greasy and unclean, so in all honesty I was feeling quite sceptical that this would be a product I liked. Again the packaging, unsurprisingly was elegant and simple.


I dabbed some product onto a cotton wool pad and again, a very small amount actually came out. Now as I swept the product across my eyes, surprisingly it wasn’t as oily as I originally was expecting- there was again, a cooling sensation and it actually felt like fresh water, not the oily warm residue you can be used to with eye makeup removers. Again, a little goes a long way so you only need 2 or 3 dabs onto a cotton wool pad to completely remove your eye makeup. Again I was left feeling fresh faced and bright eyed.

These are definitely two must-have products, so pop yourself down to any Lancôme counter whilst you can, so you can give yourself an excuse to buy two beautiful products from the Lancôme range, and get this great deal to go with it!

 

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