A Taste of Spa

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Any product that helps me relax is good stuff in my book, and the new Body Shop Spa of The World collection aims to do exactly that. For the last few weeks I've been putting a few things from the collection through it's paces and the verdict? If you're after luxury, look no further. 

Let's start with the product that intrigued me the most, the Himalayan Charcoal Body Clay. Charcoal has been used in skin care treatments for hundreds of years, particularly within Asian cultures. It's usually used to draw out impurities from the skin, as well as having de-stressing and calming properties. Now, I'll be real with you here, this is messy stuff, best applied and removed in a hose-downable setting, and it's a bit weird too. Just like a charcoal mask for your face, this stuff sets before you wash it off. But once you get past the weirdness, it's an awesome product, it's calming to use, like being in a spa for a treatment, and it really helps to keep your skin looking tip top. 

I've never owned a massage oil before, but I've been trying out the French Lavender Massage Oil and oh my what was I missing. Lavender has been used as a sleep aid for centuries (even by royalty, with Kin Charles VI demanding pillows stuffed with fresh lavendar), and is there anything more relaxing than a massage? Whilst in an ideal world, I'd have my boyfriend give me a fantastic back massage with this to send me off to sleep each night, it's just as effective when I give myself a mini pre-snooze foot massage. It's hydrating and luxurious, and the smell sets me up for a night of deep sleep.

And lastly, the Japanese Camellia Cream Body Cream, which might just be my favourite. I'm really not good with body moisturisers, in essence because I just can't be bothered to go to the effort of slathering my whole body in product (I'm 5"10 so it takes a while), and then sitting still to let it sink in. This stuff however, may have just changed my mind. It's thick and almost slightly whipped in texture, and it sinks into the skin beautifully fast. Camillia Oil is renowned for it's hydrating properties, it's been used by Japanese women for over a thousand years to soften and moisturise the skin, and you can really feel those benefits in this product. I defy anyone to dislike the smell too, it's so delicious. It's the most luxurious product I own!

This line gets a big thumbs up from me! 

What are your favourite at home spa products?

Putting On The Spritz

Friday, 28 August 2015

I have yet to find a Soap and Glory product that I don't like, and so it's taken up residence as one of my favourite brands, and one of my most recommended. They just seem to hit the mark every time, with their pocket-friendly prices, beautiful formulas and oh-so-delicious scents!

The latest Soap and Glory product to drop into my mailbox was the body spray range, five iconic Soap and Glory scents, bottled up into handbag-friendly packaging, ready to take on the go.

If you're a Soap and Glory fan already you'll be familiar with the scent line up already, but here's the line up!

My personal favourite from the range is Orangeasm, a fresh and fruity mix of Green Mandarin, fresh Lemon, Mint & Bergamot. It's so super fresh, the perfect scent for when you get hot and sweaty out and about!

Mist You Madly is one for any floral lovers out there, undertones of Mandarin and Bergamot, mixed with Cardamom, Magnolia, Sandalwood, Freesia and sweet sweet Vanilla. It's warm and floral, and the perfect autumn scent.

Original Pink is as it would suggest, Soap and Glory's signature scent. A Rosey scent with hints of Strawberry, Jasmine and Bergamot, I can't imagine anyone disliking this scent.

Sugar Crush is one for the sweet scent lovers, Vanilla musk mixed with sweet Lime and Ginger, a delicious fragrance, but definitely not for the faint hearted. 

And last but not least, Fruitigo, another one that I can't see anyone not liking. A yummy mix of Wild Fig, Yuzu and Pomelo Essence, it's a very ladylike scent!

As far as I'm concerned, they're all winners in this collection, and at £4 a bottle, you can afford to splash out on a few!

What's your favourite Soap and Glory scent?

What's In My Bag - The All Day Edition

Thursday, 27 August 2015

When I headed up to London for the day on Saturday, I wanted to have all the essentials with me, but I also didn't want to be lugging a giant bag around all day. I was out of the house for over 17 hours, so I needed a fair few things, but I managed to condense it all into one bag.

The bag in question is this simple black bucket bag that came from Primark of all places. I'd been on the hunt for a bucket bag for ages when I spotted this, I was struggling to find one that wasn't covered in weird chains or fringing. It was a mere £9 and I can fit so much in it.

So, the contents!

My iPhone 6: an obvious essential.
Card wallet: an Accessorize purchase that's perfect for space saving, just big enough for a few essential cards, and a little cash.
Camera: the Canon 550d with a 40mm lens. 
iPad Mini: for reading and writing on the train.
Portable phone charger & wall plug: because I'm on social media so much I'm guaranteed to run out of battery.
Spare camera battery: just in case.
iPod & Beats Heartbeats 2 Headphones: to drown out crying babies and shouty football fans on the train.
Rifle Paper Co Notebook & Pen: for making notes and planning blog posts.
The Happy Reader Magazine: in case I get bored of reading books.
Antibac Wipes: because you just never know.
Lip Balm: because I have the dryest lips ever, I love the Avene Cold Cream for Lips.
Bath and Bodyworks Hand Sanitizer: because London is dirty.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer: for touch ups, this applies nicely over powder for undereyes and blemishes.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir: for refreshing the skin, this came in handy in the 31 degree heat.
Bourjois Healthy Balance Powder: to combat shine.
Sephora Monoi Flower Mini Perfume: to stay fresh.
Nurofen Tablets: in case of headaches.
Compeed Blister Plasters: because shoes rub when you spend 17 hours walking around London.
Hair Pins: in case my hair all falls down.
Frosties Cereal Bar: for hunger purposes.
Naked Green Machine Smoothie: for breakfast!

What are your all day bag essentials?

What's On My Face: The Bloggers Market

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

After my 5.30am start on Saturday morning, I knew I was going to need some heavy duty products to see my through til my 11pm home time.The aim of the makeup game was long lasting makeup, that wouldn't require touch ups, and would photograph well. Not too much to ask, hey?

The obvious base option was the MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation, a product that needs no primer, offers medium to full coverage and lasts all day, no matter what. This stuff excelled itself, still looking good despite 31 degree heat, lots of running around on the underground and a 17 hour day. I used the Maybelline Eraser Concealer to help it out under the eyes, and set my t-zone with a tiny bit of the Makeup Forever Ultra HD Setting Powder. I didn't have to touch up my base at all all day, I call that a result!

For the eyes I pulled out an old favourite, my NARSissist Palette, and opted to take the shade Ashes To Ashes all over the lids. It's a beautiful smokey taupe shade that requires no help to look super pretty on the lid. I used my Kat Von D Tattoo Liner for a simple winged liner look, and added a coat of my Makeup Forever Smoky Lash Extravagant Mascara. I then went in with the Eylure x Fleur de Force 'Simply Fleur' Lashes, a simple day lash that just added a bit of subtle definition. I filled in the sparse bits of my brows with the Soap and Glory DIY Archery Brow Bar just to make them all even!

Cheeks were a simple affair, I wanted something that looked natural, but was still visible at the end of the day. I went with the Tarte 12 Hour Amazonian Clay Blush in Fearless, to add a pretty pink flush, and a touch of The Balm's Mary Lou Manizer Highlight on the tops of the cheekbones.

And for lips, I just went for my Fresh Sugar Petal Lip Treatment, simple and pretty, and easy to touch up on the go.

What makeup look have you been going for recently?

The No Maintenance Hair Product

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

I love having swishy just-got-back-from-the-salon-esque hair as much as the next girl, but sometimes I just don't have the time, and my natural hair lives in a state of untamable curls, waves and frizz, and leaves a lot to be desired. 

I'm always on the hunt for the perfect hair product, particularly one that requires minimum effort on my part (show me someone who enjoys styling their hair every morning and I'll eat my hair tie collection). Most recently, the Bumble and Bumble Don't Blow It (H)air Styler came to my attention, and I've been putting it through the ringer.

It took me a while to figure out how much of this stuff to use, but I find an amount about the size of a 20p coin is perfect. I distribute it through the midlengths of my damp hair, after towel drying it a little, and use my fingers to really comb it through evenly. Leave my hair to dry naturally either down, or in a bun or braid, and that really is it. It stops my hair from being frizzy, and just gives my natural curl a bit of a calm down.

No, this isn't going to give you freshly blow dryed hair without the effort, but nothing will. What it will do, is make your hair's natural state a little tamer, and I can definitely get on board with that.

What's your favourite no effort haircare product?

A Moisturiser I Love and One I Don't

Sunday, 23 August 2015

About six weeks ago I shook up my skincare routine, and switched my moisturisers out. It was a long time coming since I'd gotten into a bit of a skincare rut, and my skin really needed a change.

In the mornings, I've been using the Ole Henrikson Sheer Transformation Moisturiser, a lightweight moisturiser marketed for all skin types. The formula is incredibly light, and it feels super silky on the skin. It absorbs into the skin quickly, making it a perfect pre-makeup step. Despite being lightweight it still gives a good boost of moisture to the skin. The longer I use this stuff, the more I like it, it's helped brighten my skin and reduce the appearance of the little bit of hyper-pigmentation around my cheeks.

The story doesn't go so well for the Hydraluron Moisture Jelly though. I picked this up when I ran out of my evening moisturiser after hearing lots of good things, but I can't see why so many people like it. It's supposed to be formulated to give skin maximum moisture absorption, but this just sits on top of my skin and sets, it doesn't sink in at all. I can apply this and run my hand across my cheek an hour later and it'll roll off, kind of like when you were younger and you put PVA glue on your hands. Disappointing.

Have you tried any of these products?

5 Easy Ways to Add Volume To Your Hair

Saturday, 22 August 2015

  1. Do your prep work. There's no use expecting volume if you're using a shampoo and conditioner combo that's not up to the task. Anything with 'hydrating' or 'moisturising' in the title, or something with a ton of silicones in will weigh the hair down and make it much flatter. There are a ton of products on the market for volume, but my personal favourite is the John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7 Day Volume line. The shampoo is light and cleansing, whilst the conditioner hydrates and gives the hair a healthy sheen, without weighing it down.
  2. Don't overload your hair with product, pick one to do the job. A lot of the time we are so desperate to create volume, we pack our hair with product, and only succeed in making hair stiff and crunchy. Pick a product that doesn't need any help giving lift and texture. I like the Bumble and Bumble Thickening Creme, but more recently I've been using the John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7 Day In Shower Treatment. You apply this like a mask whilst you're still in the shower, and rinse it out before blow drying as normal, and it just gives your hair that slightly thicker, grittier texture with a bit more hold.
  3. Blow dry those roots. There's a lot to be said for flipping your head when you're done with blow drying, and concentrating the heat on the roots for a minute or two. You'll look a bit nuts when you're right-side-up again, but those extra two minutes will give you a lot of lift and volume at the root.
  4. Backcomb, backcomb, backcomb. Get in at the roots and tease your hair. You don't have to knot it to hell, just get a little body going at the top.
  5. Don't forget to set. When you've spent all that time creating thick and bouncy hair, don't ruin it all by skimping on the hairspray. If you can, pick a hairspray that says 'weather proof' or 'anti-humidity' to make sure that the elements don't ruin your hard work.
How do you add volume to your hair?
© Bed In The Kitchen Maira Gall.