Let's Talk - Why Body Confidence Has Nothing To Do With Size

body confidence and self love - photo taken at Dreamland, Margate
A few weeks ago I attended a very lovely blogger dinner to celebrate the launch of a new makeup range. We all sat down, took a look at the menu and as I was trying to decide between some the salad I should probably be eating and the red meat my stomach was rumbling over, I overheard a couple of beautiful young women chatting next to me. They were discussing what they thought they could order in order to allow them to lose as much weight as possible over the next week as they were heading away on holiday very soon. At that point, I stepped away from the bread basket and took a long hard look at myself. These stunning girls were around a size 8 and yet had all the same worries I do about my body. And it hit me - feeling confident in yourself has nothing to do with your body size and everything to do with how you feel on the inside.

I'm currently sat at almost 2.5 stones heavier than when I was the lightest weight I'd ever been in my adult life. Back then I was hitting the gym for 5 hours a week, limiting my portions, avoiding all sugary food, oh and smoking like a chimney (something I quit around 7 years ago). But even at that point I still felt that I was fat, and hated what I saw in the mirror.

I was a size 8 and I will never forget the day my dad plucked up the courage to ask me if I was making myself sick after meals as I had lost so much weight. To my wonderful, loving parents I wasn't looking healthy and they were worried I have developed an eating disorder. To me, I felt I could lose at least another half a stone and look 'better'. No matter what I did, I never felt confident in my appearance and still to this day find it hard to list the things I like about my body.

Our social media fuelled world means we’re confronted with images of perfect bodies day in and day out. But one woman's idea of perfect can be miles away from another's. I know of friends who are desperate for some booty gains, when I would happily trade half my ass in for some perkier boobs and a flatter stomach. Recent surveys suggest that over 70% of us are unhappy with our bodies, with over 60% feeling depressed about their weight on a regular basis (the majority of people surveyed were also deemed as having a healthy/’normal’ weight).

While our bodies might change from day to day and month to month, it's important to remind ourselves that what we think we see isn't necessarily how other people view us. That dimple you've always hated might be the thing that your boyfriend loves, or the tiny waist on a pear shaped girl is something others can only dream of.

I've been a size 8 and I've been a size 16 and I wasn't ever happy with myself at either. Don't tell yourself you'll do certain things or wear certain outfits when you hit a specific size, instead concentrate on building your confidence from within and own it now. I've wasted years not wearing outfits I love for fear that my gut will poke out. And let me tell you, life is too short for that shit  - you'll never get today back, so make the most of it while it's here.

Practise telling yourself that you're beautiful, remind yourself of all the qualities you have that are positive. Because you need to love yourself on the inside before you realise that the outside is just a really good shell to hold it all in. Life is about so much more than a physical appearance, but it’s how we feel about ourselves that can have a huge impact on the things we do and the things we enjoy. Don’t wait until you’re ‘back in your skinny jeans’ or have lost half a stone to get out there any enjoy life. I promise you you’ll look back in 10 years and won’t remember your tummy poking out on the beach – you’ll be remembering the icy cold cocktails, the warm sand and the happy memories instead.


Kat Von D Holiday Palette Sneak Peek - Debenhams Exclusive

Kat von D Christmas 2016 Holiday palette
I've literally just got back from the Debenhams Christmas press show and couldn't resist giving you a sneak peek at something very exciting! As you may know, Debenhams are launching Kat Von D makeup this autumn (October-ish) which is VERY exciting. Like, almost do a mini wee exciting.

On top of all the regular lines, we will also be getting some amazing Christmas/Holiday gift sets, not least this ginormous eyeshadow palette which looks AMAZING. Now, I wasn't able to swatch any of these shadows as this was only the preview copy, but if it's anything like the rest of her products, I think we are onto a winner.

There's a mix of matte and shimmer shadows - most of which match up nicely together. The palette itself is huge, easily twice the size of a normal Kat Von D palette or Naked palette, so it won't be a portable one, but definitely one to add to your Christmas list.

Exact launch dates and prices are still to be confirmed, but expect to see it drop around end of October/early November. I heard it may be an online exclusive, so fingers crossed they have ordered lots of them to keep up with the demand!

Are you excited for the Kat Von D UK launch? What do you think of this palette?


New in: bath and shower treats

bath and shower treats from Soap & Glory and Rituals
bath and shower treats from Soap & Glory and Rituals
I have to hold my hands up right now and confess that I'm not really a bath kinda gal. Give me a decent shower any day of the week and I'll be happy. Especially if I've got one of these little beauties to lather up with (and no, I'm not talking Johnny Depp here, although that would be more than fine, ha ha).

Soap & Glory's new Clean On Me Shower Jellies are a fruity, fun alternative to a traditional shower gel. They have a slightly more jelly like texture and come in a lime-scented 'Sugar Crush' version or a rose and bergamot infused 'Original Pink'. When mixed with water they change texture, melting into a moisturising foam wash. You only need a little bit per use, although it's far too tempting to use more as they smell so good!.

They're very refreshing and have been a much-loved treat in the shower during the recent heat wave in the UK. Being pale and ginger means I'm not a natural summer person (understatement of the year), so I've very much enjoyed using these to keep cool and refreshed in the mornings/evenings (and yes I have been showering twice a day because London Underground + 30 degree heat = bad times). They're £5.50 each, and available now at Boots.

I always think of Rituals as a brand to go to when I want a little spa style treat at home. They've managed to master the art of reasonably affordable, luxurious-feeling products that really do mimic some of their spa treatments. The Ritual of Karma range is part of their limited edition summer line up, so go stock up if you fall in love with it as it won't be around for too long. #enabler.

The Ritual of Karma focuses around the principle of good karma and the fact that if you do good, then good things will come your way. I'm not quite sure how a shower oil can help with this, but maybe the delicious scent of white lotus and bergamot will put you in such a good mood that your positive vibes will be flung out to everyone you meet that day. It certainly left me feeling much less grumpy and ready to face the world! The oil turns into a soft foam when mixed with water and once rinsed away, leaves your skin feeling lovely and soft.

They also have matching body scrubs, body creams and shower foams in the Karma range, with prices starting at £8.50 for the shower oil and shower foam.

What are your current favourite bath and shower treats?

*contains PR samples 



ASOS Exclusive: Benefit Contouring Kit

asos exclusive Benefit sculpting kit review
asos exclusive Benefit sculpting kit review
asos exclusive Benefit sculpting kit review
Ah ASOS, you and my bank balance have an *interesting* relationship at times. You make it all too easy to indulge in one too many hauls! If you're an ASOS addict like me, or simply just love a bit of Benefit, then you need this little exclusive in your life.

Benefit have teamed up with ASOS to pull together a contouring set, featuring some of their most iconic products that all are aimed at giving you the cheekbones you've always wanted.

Inside the kit is a full-size Hoola bronzer, a full-sized Dandelion Shy Beam, mini sizes of the Boi-ing concealer in shades 1 and 2 and also a travel-sized version of POREfessional. In total the kit is worth £78, however ASOS have the bundle on special offer for just £43.

I've been using the products over the past couple of weeks and have to say I am LOVING the Dandelion Shy Beam. I used to be a total High Beam addict back in the day, and Dandelion Shy Beam is a little more subtle, with a very slight pink tinge to it. It's very flattering on anyone with a light to medium skin tone and will be a regular in my makeup bag from now on.

Hoola is one of those iconic products I suspect we've all tried at one time or another. It's a great matte bronzer for contouring or an all over wash of warmth. It can be a little too warm for very porcelain skins, but I tend to make it work by using it before my highlighter and then softening the warmth down with a very light touch of translucent powder over the top.

Boi-ing is a multipurpose concealer and I love the fact that they've include both the 1 and 2 shades in the kit as you can mix and match for different areas of your skin. I tend to use shade 1 as my skin is pretty pale, but for light-medium tones the 2 would work well across the nose/cheeks or anywhere that needs a little more coverage and 1 would be great for around the eye area.

You can find this kit exclusively at ASOS. Will you be adding one to your next order?

*contains PR samples


Selfridges Summer Beauty Box

Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2016
Heads up peeps, Selfridges have got a new beauty box and it’s looking seriously good. I’m a big fan of their beauty boxes as they tend to be amazing value for money and show off some of the best brands from their beauty halls.

The Summer Beauty Box will set you back £35 and is worth a massive £159 if you add up the cost of all the products inside. They all come packaged up in an exclusive Alphabet Bags pouch with ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ slogan on, which alone normally retails for around £20.
Selfridges Summer Beauty Box 2016
Inside you’ll find:

Aesop Rind Body Balm 50ml
Tangle Teezer Original
Zoeva Luxe Crease Brush
Beauty Blender Micro Mini and Liquid Cleanser
Eyeko Alexa eye liner
Illamasqua Sketch Stick (shades will vary)
Maskeraide’s Weather Warrior sheet mask
First Aid Beauty Vitamin Hydrating Mist 59ml
Clarins Eau des Jardins Smoothing Body Cream
Philip Kingsley Swimcap
Stila Lip Glaze (in Sugar or Ruby Grapefruit)
Dermalogica Protection 50 Sport SPF50

At least half of these are full-size items, with everything else coming in really decent travel-sizes. It’s great to see some new launches in there like the Illamasqua Sketch Sticks, as well as favourites such as Tangle Teezer and Clarins. Philip Kingsley’s Swimcap is an unusual addition that you don’t often see in beauty boxes, but it’s great for anyone with summer holidays planned or that loves to go swimming as it really helps to protect your hair from the drying effects of salt water and swimming pools.

I love the fact you know exactly what you’re getting before you order the box (aside from a couple of shade possibilities for Stila and Illamasqua) so it allows you to make an informed decision on whether you’d use the contents or not. For me, there’s nothing in there that I won’t end up using – some of these are already favourites of mine so it will be good to have backups (I’m looking at you Zoeva Crease Brush, you lovely little thing).

The Summer Beauty Box is available now online via the Selfridges website. I’m trying to find out if it will also be available in store, so will update you as soon as I can. These boxes tend to sell out quite quickly, so do grab one asap if you like what you see.

*contains PR samples


Blogging Tips: How To Create The Perfect Flat Lay Photo

Creating the perfect flat lay photo - tips
Creating the perfect flat lay photo - tips
 Photography is such a big part of blogging and a decent flat lay can help to transform an average product shot into something visually stunning and that little bit different.

Back when I first started blogging, I used my iPhone camera, zero editing apps/skills and had no idea about how to throw a decent shot together. Over the past 4 years I’ve taught myself a few tricks to help improve that, along with tips from sites like Wonder Forest and very lovely people like Zoe (who once spent an entire train journey once with me asking questions about ISOs, focus points and all sorts of other stuff).

Personally, I love a good flat lay. I find them really therapeutic to set up and have a giant box of bits and pieces that I use to ‘set the scene’ so to speak. A few of you have left me comments or sent emails asking about photography tips, and while I’m no means an expert (every positive comment about my photos always gives me a MASSIVE smile) I thought I’d share a few things I’ve picked up for creating pretty product flat lays.

The Flat Lay 
In its simplest form, it’s literally a photo that is taken from above. If you can stand several feet above the things your shooting, you’ll get a much better perspective.

I usually set my backgrounds up on the floor under the big windows in my bedroom – it lets in lots of natural light and allows me to stand up normally and shoot directly over the top of the products. You could also pop them on your bed/table/dressing table and stand on a chair or something, but please, please find something stable! You don’t want to slip off and break something (yourself or your prized new Charlotte Tilbury sculpting palette).

The Background
Most bloggers don’t have lovely wooden floors or marble work surfaces – instead it’s a handy library of wallpaper samples, floor tiles and sticky-back plastics that grace the photos on their blogs. I’ve got several different wallpapers that I tend to use; I pop a stiff backing board underneath them to give an even surface and just lay the paper on over the top.

Wall/floor tile samples are also a good option as you can buy them in big DIY shops for £1-£2 each – just buy a few more than you think you might need to allow you to spread out a little for certain shots if you like. White furniture can also work well if it has decent light thrown at it. I occasionally use a large chest of drawers that’s white, but more often than not, I save this up for more upright shots where I can add some flowers or one of my collection of pineapple things for contrast.

Creating the perfect flat lay photo - kiko makeup
Creating the perfect flat lay photo - Zoella Beauty products
The Props
I find that props really help bring flat lay shots to life. They’re a great way of making your photos stand out from everyone else’s, and allow you to develop your own look and style that people recognise with your shots. I collect all kinds of things to use for mine – ribbons from my monthly Glossybox/subscription boxes; random little bits in product mail outs (the cardboard lips are a good example of this); feathers, glitter, the list can go on. You might not think you need it at the time, but shove it in the box and I reckon you’ll be pleased to have it at some point in the future!

Stores like Tiger, Wilko or H&M home are good for little trinket trays or affordable candles to help bring your photos to life. I also have a couple of cacti/succulents that I like to throw in from time to time and occasionally some fresh flowers if I’ve been food shopping and found a bargain (gotta love that Tesco reduced flower section).

Your jewellery drawer also works well – rings can be scattered around to add depth, broaches/pins add a bit of a statement and necklaces/earrings all help to make everything look pretty. Stationery is another cheap way of refreshing your flat lays –Sainsbury’s do some great Kate Spade-esque styles and Paperchase have a really good range of slogan postcards for about 60p each.

Avoid glitter/confetti if you can’t face the thought of spending 20 minutes picking it up. It looks absolutely stunning in photos but goes EVERYWHERE (trust me) and you’ll still find it stuck to makeup products 3 weeks later. And your carpet. And your face.

It’s entirely up to you how crowded/sparse you want to make your flat lays – I love Hayley’s style of lots of things all in one shot, whereas I tend to go for something a little more spread out. I think this is one of those things that really helps to define your own style. Play around with different ways and see what you prefer – it’s well worth investing some time upfront to develop a ‘look’.

And don’t forget the BlueTac. It’s basically the saving grace of every flat lay I’ve ever done. It took me about 18 months of swearing at round lipsticks for not staying in place until I bought a packet and made life about 100000 times easier, ha ha.

Creating the perfect flat lay photo - tips
Themes and colours
Generally speaking, the ‘best’ (and I use that word very lightly) shots are the ones that either use similar shades or one with those that contrast well together. For example, I occasionally use a blue toned wood-effect background to showcase lots of pink items. The pinks all hold together as one cohesive element but when put on a background with a heavy contrast it really makes them stand out. You could also play around with using a variety of different shades on a white background – the same principle should apply, with the colours of the products providing a contrast against a plainer background.

Colour Wheel theory can definitely help to get the mix of colours right – this link gives a good explanation and resource if you want to delve a bit deeper. If you set up your photo and something doesn’t feel quite right, it might be that a different background colour would work better or that one of the product shades just isn’t working well when shown with everything else.

Again, these are all just recommendations rather than hard and fast rules. Experiment what works for you and how you prefer things.

I’d love to hear your top tips for creating the perfect flat lay. And if there’s anything else you’d like me to cover in these sorts of posts, please let me know!


VIDEO: Disappointing products

Disappointing products video

There's a new video over on my YouTube channel! This time I'm talking about a few products that have disappointed me lately, including brands like Too Faced, Bath & Body Works and Revlon.

A huge thank you to everyone who has already subscribed to my channel, I really appreciate it. And if you've not subscribed yet but would like to, you can find me here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b80XxfkR929jao-BRQVtg


Illamasqua Vanitas collection - rose gold palette review

Illamasqua Vanitas collection eye shadow palette review swatches
Illamasqua Vanitas collection eye shadow palette review swatches
Illamasqua Vanitas collection eye shadow palette review swatches
Illamasqua’s new Vanitas collection has just hit stores and is already proving to be an Instagrammer’s dream with its rose gold packaging and luxe-looking tones.

Probably like virtually every other blogger in the world, I did an exited little dance when I saw the new palette – the rich, warm tones looked soooo wearable but weren’t your usual compilation of browns and taupes.

Vanitas has all been inspired by the ‘dark romance of 17th century still-life paintings’. The palette definitely seems to capture this feel, mixing up everything from champagne shadows right through to rich aubergines. They’ve included a mix of finishes inside the palette, with a good variety of matte, shimmer and satin effects. The top row definitely lends itself to more daytime looks than the bottom, but all are equally wearable and give the ability to create hundreds of different looks. Well, unless you’re me and aren’t that creative with your eye shadow. Ahem.

Other than Obsidian (the deep black swatch) which I found a bit chalky, the shadows are all great in terms of pigmentation and blendability. Some seemed to work better on my eye lids than they did in a standard skin swatch (Bronx, the copper shade, for example), so don’t be put off if a couple of these don’t seem quite as strong as you’d hoped.

I really love the concept of this palette and the shadows themselves, but there’s something that’s really bothered me about the packaging. Yes it’s cardboard, which won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s not my problem. What I’m not loving is the fact that the shadows seem to have been glued in very loosely, at  odd angles and don’t feel very secure. At £44, I expect a flawless finish in all aspects and I feel that this has made the whole thing seem a tiny bit cheap. Based on the shadows alone I’d definitely recommend it, but it’s something to consider when making that sort of investment.

As part of the Vanitas range there are also five matte lipsticks in  arrange of nude, rose and plum shades. I’ve not tried these so far, but I do love an Illamasqua lippie so I’ll be heading down to their Beak Street store for a swatching session very soon.

You’ll be able to find the Vanitas collection online and in store across all Illamasqua stockists. It’s exclusive to Selfridges until 21st July when it will hit counters nationwide.

What do you think of the new collection?

*contains PR samples


Christmas in July 2016 - part 1

Before you all take a massive sigh and tell me to sod off for talking about the ‘C’ word this early in the year (Christmas you naughty-minded people) I wanted to throw in a little disclaimer here and say that it’s NEVER too early to think about Christmas. Especially when the English summer has been total crap so far and you’re actually wearing a jumper in July.

Last year I did a quick roundup of the Christmas in July events that I went to and you all seemed to love it, so I thought I’d do something similar this year. I’m splitting it into 2 parts this time, purely because there have been a LOT of Christmas events and my mind can only take so many glittery deer in one go.

So today I’m showing a few sneaky peeks from the likes of Paperchase, The Body Shop, Wilko and Sainsbury’s. There’s more to come from Selfridges, Debenhams, Liz Earle and a few more surprises next week, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

I’ve pulled out my favourites so far – prices/full on gift guides to come a bit closer to the time. Think of this as your Christmas amuse bouche rather than the full on roast dinner. I’ll stop with the god awful puns now and just crack(er) on with all the Christmas goodness. Sorry. Couldn’t resist one more.
The Body Shop are going advent calendar crazy this year, with three different ones available for different budgets. They’re also launching personalised body butters, which will be available in store and will make a lovely gift for all ages. There’s a heavy animal theme to tie in with their charity project – every gift sold will help protect an area of rainforest.

I got a tiny bit distracted by ALL THE FOOD at the Sainsbury’s event, not least the cute little Westie-shaped chocolate shortbread that was shoved under my nose. Their home department will be all about the copper come autumn, so I fully expect to see bloggers lining up at the doors to get their hands on some of the new bits coming in.
Copper kitchenware was also a big theme at Wilko, where they’ve got everything from copper saucepans, right through to copper cutlery. The Christmas ranges were really lovely – my top pick is the faux fur throw which looks hella Zara Home but is in fact £30. Oh yes. Beauty-wise they have a makeup advent calendar for just £5 – non-branded of course, but a great treat for teens. There’s also a copper beauty range (do you sense a theme here?) with an illuminated mirror, trinket boxes and some very soft bristled makeup brushes.

I nearly wet myself with excitement when I walked into Paperchase’s event and saw a giant pineapple cake and if I’m honest, I didn’t get any calmer until sometime after I left the event! For personal reasons (AKA my pineapple obsession), I will be buying ALL of their Tropical/Mexicana themed decorations, however there are also some super lovely collections with less bold themes. The Sprouts/Gingerbread men/Christmas Dogs are ridiculously cute and I suspect will be big sellers. I have my eyes on a few large glittery bambi and a pink flamingo, but the giant hot pink pineapple may prove too much to resist.

Christmas in July part 2 to come shortly…


The ultimate guide to waxing your lady garden

The ultimate guide to lady waxing
The ultimate guide to lady waxing
This is a bit of a weird fact, but it’s time to let you know that I am REALLY passionate about good bikini waxing. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve ended up talking Bikini/Brazilian/Hollywood waxing with my girlfriends over a few drinks and I’ve been horrified with some of the stories they’ve come out with. Last weekend was one, quite large, example of this – we were at a friend’s birthday party and the topic came around to summer holidays and fuzzy pubes and why bikini waxing was the devil.

Many of them have been permanently scared off of a lady wax due to uneven waxes with a distinctly wonky landing strip, horrific in-growing hairs post-wax and god forbid, actual bruises on their vagina. Now, as someone who is a regular lady wax customer, I’ve seen a few of these myself in years gone by and it’s virtually always down to bad waxing techniques and dodgy aftercare.

So after a looooong discussion with my friends this weekend, I thought it was high time to write up my top tips for picking a decent waxer, after care tips and why you should never, ever put wax strips near your lips (and no, not the ones on your face).

Bikini/Brazilian/Hollywood - how much hair do you want them to take? Have a think before you book your appointment as different waxes require different amounts of time and usually cost different amounts. A Bikini wax will just tidy up around the edges of your knicker line, a Brazilian goes much further, leaving just a landing strip down the centre and a Hollywood is an all-over balding (including your bum hole if there are any strays!). Can't believe I just said bum-hole on my blog. That's definitely a first. Anyway...you can also expect the waxer to pull the tweezers out to catch any leftover hairs after they do the main waxing.

Do some research - you wouldn't just rock up at a random hairdresser's and hope that they can work their magic on your hair, so it makes sense to do the same sort of research on a good waxer. Find one that you trust and stick to them like glue (or wax, ha ha). You want a salon that is clean, up on good techniques and that makes you feel comfortable. Ask your friends who they would recommend, look for blog reviews or check out the trusty Trip Advisor or Google ratings. If you're based in London, Ministry of Waxing will ALWAYS be my first pick as they are super clean, efficient and even give you a little stress ball to squeeze while they wax you to take your mind off of any pain.

Try not to be self-conscious - it can be a really weird experience baring your lady bits to a total stranger, but trust me, they see dozens of different ones every single day. If you're having anything other than the traditional bikini wax (which just tidies up the edges) you'll need to be naked on your bottom half for the best finish. Paper pants can give some sense of modesty, but to be honest, they usually just get in the way. Wear a longer top instead so you feel a bit more covered up and just try not to stress about it.

Hygiene, Technique and Hot Wax - a good salon/waxer will always always always use a fresh wooden stick every time they dip into the wax and throw it away afterwards. I'd also recommend avoiding the traditional wax and cotton strip approach for lady waxing. Instead, ask if the salon uses hot wax, which doesn't need any strips - it's normally less painful and produces less redness. Hot Wax is much thicker and is spread directly on to the skin, where it's left to cool. It then gets picked off, pulling the hairs out with it. It doesn't grip your skin, so normally hurts a lot less and is great for any delicate areas. You also want to ensure you keep the skin taught in the areas you're having waxed to reduce the risk of potential bruising/more redness. The waxer should guide you through where to put your hands (if needed), but most of the time they are able to do this themselves.

Aftercare - looking after yourself post-wax is really important to help stop ingrowing hairs or any prolonged redness. Don't have your Brazilian wax the day before you go on holiday - try to give it at least 48 hours to calm down. The salon will normally smooth on some sort of cooling balm straight after you have a wax, if you can grab an extra sachet or two to take home, even better. Australian Bodycare do a great post-wax range with tea tree oil in - it soothes the skin but also helps avoid ingrowing hairs. Don't wear really tight knickers for a few days after you wax and once you start getting to the 1-2 week mark, a VERY gentle exfoliation in that area can help to prevent those nasty ingrowing hairs.

So those are all my top tips for a successful lady wax. It's really not as scary as it can seem - I find my eyebrow threading appointments are more painful than a Brazilian!

Are you a fan of waxing? What would your top tips be?


I started a YouTube channel!

 I wasn't sure I would ever publish this blog post after years of avoiding being in front of the camera, but I finally went and did it! I started my own YouTube channel!

Thank you to all the lovely people who have encouraged me to do this over the past few months. It's definitely not my area of confidence and I'm already finding the editing process to be a pain in the arse, but it's given me a massive kick up the bum in terms of creativity. I suddenly feel like I did when I started this blog 4 years ago - everything is exciting, a little bit strange and I'm not quite sure how to do it, ha ha.

I'll be aiming to upload a new video each week, with a mix of beauty, lifestyle and vlog content. If there's anything you'd love to see in a video, please let me know and I'll do my best to film it.

I'd love it if you could give my first video a watch and subscribe to my channel if you like what you see - I'm sending my 10 subscribers so far massive virtual hugs. <3

Thank you for watching...Normal blog posts to resume shortly...


Oribe Cote d'Azur Hair and Body Oil review

Oribe Cote d'Azur Hair and Body Oil review
Oribe Cote d'Azur Hair and Body Oil review
It’s not often I feature high end hair care on the blog as skincare is usually seen as a better investment for you £££, however I couldn’t resist featuring the new Cote d'Azur oil from Oribe.  At a somewhat eye-watering £62 a bottle, it’s definitely at the top end of the market, but the first words out of my mouth when I first tried this was ‘holy sh*t this smells AMAZING’ and it just got better from there.

Although they tend to be pricey, Oribe products are incredibly high quality and pack in huge amounts of hair-loving ingredients to each bottle. The Cote d'Azur Oil is no different - unlike so many hair 'oils', it's actually made up of oil rather than loads of silicone-based fillers, so deeply nourishes the hair when you use it.

Inside the bottle you'll find a mix of grapeseed, almond and argan oils, along with bergamot, jasmine and sandalwood scents. It has a very tropical feel to it - you can almost visualise yourself sitting on a beach sipping a mojito.

Thankfully it's not too oily, so won't weight down fine hair, but I'd recommend starting with one pump initially, before adding more. I tend to use one pump to smooth down my medium length, reasonably fine hair, but you can obviously tailor this to hair type and length. It also works really well as a hair treatment - apply a generous amount to dry hair, wrap up in a towel and leave it on for a few hours (or overnight) before washing off.

Oribe also recommend using the Cote d'Azur oil all over the body, but I have to admit I think it's a bit pricey to be slapping it on all over the place! That said, it'd make a lovely post-shower treat before a night out - it absorbs into the skin pretty quickly and leaves it soft and hydrated without any greasy residue.

You'll be able to find the oil from Space NK and Oribe stockists later this month. It's £62 for a 100ml bottle.

Do you like the sound of this new oil from Oribe?

*contains PR samples


How to: get sandal-ready feet

Summer ready feet - at home pedicure
Summer ready feet - at home pedicure
The original title for this blog post was ‘how to get your feet ready for summer sandals so they don’t scare people’, but that seemed a bit too long and potentially insulting. I mean, as far as things go, feet have to be pretty low down on my list of things that are sexy, but it’s hitting the time of year where we all want to show off our new sandals and folks, that means it’s time to get those tootsies out.

Salon pedicures are absolutely lovely, but after hiding my feet away in socks and boots for 6 months they just aren’t going to cut it. Hell no. One of the best souvenirs I got from a holiday in Turkey was a scalpel-like foot scraper. It’s a bit like an extreme ped egg, but it removes so much dead skin you’ll probably go down a shoe size (grim, I’m sorry). Amazon stock something similar and I think they are well worth a few ££ but if you like something gentler, then the standard ped egg or a MicroPedi will also do the trick nicely.

Once all the dead skin is off, give your feet a scrub with a pumice stone to remove any last traces and prepare them for a lovely bit of moisturiser to follow up with. It’s entirely up to you if you want to go the whole hog and persuade someone to give you a foot rub – I personally can’t think of anything worse, but that might just be me! I tend to slap a crap load of body butter on my feet before bed and then wrap them up in some Kiko Moisturizing Foot Socks. And then let them work its magic while I sleep. Much easier and no-one has to come near my feet.

I had a chat with some girlfriends over afternoon tea a few weeks ago about hair removal and it seems that some are up for more removal than others – ranging from simple bikini waxes right through to what sounded like an entire top to toe wax. If you do get a few fuzzy bits on your toes, then the ready-made wax strips for eye brows are a quick way to remove them – they’re nice and small so good for targeting little areas.

Stylfile's are a great shape for filing down toenails - the handy S shape makes life a LOT easier. Just remember to keep a straight line across the nail to avoid the potential for ingrowing nails. Tweezerman's cuticle pusher is also good for pushing back any excess skin around the cuticle area. Try to do this while the skin is nice and soft (after a soak in the bath is best) to ensure it's quick and easy and won't end up splitting the skin.

Bright toenails are always a must for me in the summer, so pick your favourite shade and finish off with a couple of coats and a nice glossy top coat. For some reason polish on my toes always lasts for at least three times as long as it does on my finger nails so I never bother with gels, but if you find it chips easily, then a gel pedicure is a great option!

What are your top tips for prepping your feet for summer?

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YOSO Pro review and giveaway

YOSO Pro review and giveaway
YOSO Pro review and giveaway
I’m very partial to a good cleansing device – they’re great for adding an extra layer to your skincare regime and can have amazing benefits for your skin. The YOSO Pro is a little different from the traditional brush headed devices as it uses Ionic technology instead of a physical brush

It comes with three different functions – one for cleansing, one for moisturising and another for boosting. There are also three different levels (low, medium and high) so you can create a really customised experience depending on what your skin needs.

The ‘Cleanse’ function uses ions to draw out impurities from the skin. You simply attach a cotton pad to the YOSO Pro head using one of the plastic rings supplied, add a little cream or milk cleanser and massage gently across your face. The ions in the device work with those in your skin and pull out any dirt and impurities onto the cotton pad. It’s surprising how effective this method is – if you’re used to the more traditional cleansing brushes it might not feel like it’s actually doing much, but I suspect you’ll change your mind after you see the cotton pad! I normally give my skin a good rinse afterwards to remove any last traces of cleanser, but that’s entirely down to personal preference.

If your skin is in need of some extra moisture, then the ‘’Moisturise’ function is for you. Again, you can use this with a cotton pad, but I usually just use the device head as it comes. The YOSO Pro uses the ions and gentle vibrations to push to moisturiser deeper into the skin, leaving you with super soft, plump looking skin. If you suffer from dry patches or have sensitive skin, then I think you will love this function – it’s super gentle, but so effective!

Finally, for a weekly treatment, give the ‘Boost’ function a try. It’s designed to give added radiance to the skin and I find it works really well when combined with face masks or sheet masks for a really impressive effect.

The device itself is really light and easy to hold, and it’s very simple to switch in between the different functions on offer. As it doesn’t have a traditional brush head, it’s much more suitable for sensitive skins as you’re very unlikely to irritate your skin when you use it. I normally only use brush-type devices every 2-3 days, however I’ve been able to use my YOSO Pro daily with no negative effects and my skin has been left glowing.

At £150, these aren’t the cheapest devices on the market, but I’ve been really impressed with mine and can see it becoming a firm favourite in my skincare regime.

Win a YOSO Pro worth £150! 

I’ve also got one YOSO Pro device to giveaway to one lucky reader. All you need to do to enter is complete your chosen entry methods via the Rafflecopter widget below.

The giveaway is open internationally and will close on Sunday 17 July at 11.59pm. One winner will be picked at random shortly after the competition closes and contacted directly to claim their prize.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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The camping-proof beauty regime

The camping proof beauty regime
The camping proof beauty regime
The camping proof beauty regime
Apparently you have to compromise a lot when you’re in a relationship, which is why I’m spending the next few days in a tent in Devon, instead of a spa hotel somewhere fancy. My boyfriend loves camping, whereas I’m more of a ‘ok I’ll do it so long as we take air mattresses and duvets and real, actual pillows’ kinda girl.

The lure of a shit load of Devonshire cream teas and mountains of clotted cream also hasn’t gone amiss, but it does mean I’ll have to scale down my beauty regime a bit (a lot) as if you’ve ever camped, you know how much of a faff double cleansing is when you’ve got a 5 minute walk to a shared bathroom. Fun times.

It’s one of the few times in the year when I actually end up using makeup wipes *ignores death stares* - I normally pack some from Bioderma, YesTo or Ole Henricksen as they tend to be the best of the ones I’ve tried. A bottle of Micellar water is also really useful for a quick morning cleanse or a bit of makeup removal when you really can’t handle a full on face washing session. I love the Garnier and B. versions as they do a really good removal job without stripping the skin.

Travel-sized products come in SUPER handy if you’re camping. Not only does it mean you don’t need a trolley to wheel your skincare down to the shower block, but you can also throw bits away as and when you finish them. The same goes for multi-purpose items – the less stuff you have to take, the better.

I’ll be getting a lot of use out of NUXE’s Huile Prodigeuse as you can slap it on virtually anywhere. It’s great for treating dried out hair, as an all over body oil or even to hydrate tired feet. This cute little kit from KMS has got my shampoo, conditioner and styling product all sorted, with enough product to last about a week with daily use. A bottle of Fudge Urban dry shampoo is also a must-have as tents seem to have a really sexy way of making the cleanest of hair seem limp and flat. I spritz this onto my roots every morning to give them a bit of a lift and help refresh my blow dry.

I try to double up on cleansing/moisturising products to avoid a giant washbag, so avoid taking different ones for night and day. Fresh’s Soy Face Cleanser is a firm favourite as it’s refreshing in the mornings, but also does a great job at taking the dirt of the day away at night. Similarly Weleda’s Almond Moisturiser is great for sensitive skins and provides plenty of hydration morning and night without being too heavy or greasy.

Camping usually means plenty of time outdoors, so I’ll be taking several SPFs. Even if the sun isn’t particularly strong, it’s still far too easy to get burnt without realising it! Dermalogica’s Oil Free Matte SPF30 is my favourite to wear underneath makeup as it gives great protection that doesn’t interfere with my foundation on top. I also tend to pack a slightly tinted version from La Roche Posay to use for days at the beach when I don’t want a full face of makeup, but do need a slight hint of colour to even my skin out a little. Aesop’s Protective Body Lotion is perfect for all over the body – it’s SPF50 but non-greasy and doesn’t leave me feeling horribly sticky after application. The bottle is also nice and compact, so you can shove it in your beach bag without it weighing you down.

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The last part of my camping survival kit comes in the form of the new Carmen by Samantha mini cordless straighteners. I know that camping is meant to be low maintenance, but a girl has to have some luxuries! These are around half the size of a normal pair of straighteners and can be charged up in advance and used cordlessly for around 25 minutes. Although they’re better for touch ups than for a full on straightening session, it’s more than enough for a quick once over in the tent first thing in the morning! They also come with their own little heat proof bag, so are perfect for popping back in your travel bag once you’ve used them.

Are you a fan of camping? What are your must-have beauty essentials?

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