The Write Up - Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque

Another Masque added to my skincare arsenal...

I like treating my skin to a deep cleansing mask at least once a week, and the newest one added to my collection has fast become a firm favourite, enter the Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque, this is packed with skin loving ingredients like Amazonian White Clay, hydrating oatmeal, and soothing aloe vera which is proven to calm sensitive skin.  This intense treatment gets deep down into the pores to remove excess oil and bacteria, it also helps to eliminate surface impurities and toxins from the skin as well as minimising large pores.

I do my usual cleanse and tone and then as directed I apply a thin layer of this onto my face avoiding the eye area, it has an initial tingle when first applied but after a minute or so it goes away, because such a thin layer is used it always feels comfortable on the skin, I leave it on for ten minutes and then rinse it off, it comes off very easily and no harsh scrubbing is required.

After using my skin feels deeply cleansed, refreshed, my complexion looks refined and my pores are visibly smaller. This would be perfect for oily/combination skin as it completely clears up excess oils whilst still being hydrating.

Have you tried this cult product yet?

Night Out Essentials

Big night out on the town planned? Add the following to your shopping list...

Heels... not really my forte if I am honest, I am pretty useless when it comes to high heels and nine times out of ten I opt for a more comfortable option, but on that odd special occasion I do love a good ASOS pair, the fit is always perfect and the range of styles available means you can find the ideal pair to go with any outfit, my current favourite pair are the ASOS Positive pointed black high heels, this style is incredibly classic and the curve design really elongates the legs. I will be truthful though, these are most definitely style over comfort, that burn you get after wearing heels for too long? Yep, these sure deliver on that -these babies will kill your feet.

If I am getting all dolled up for an evening out I always like to have big, bouncy hair with lots of volume, to achieve that I use the Living Proof Instant Texture Mist, this can be used to prep the hair pre blow dry or as a finishing spray. This plus a backcombing brush equals big hair, I like to keep everything in place with a truly classic styling product - the L'oreal Elnet Hairspray, available in a variety of hold levels means there is something for everyone. If I am working with freshly washed hair then I like to use a couple of Velcro rollers through my parting for added oomph.

Last of all on my list but certainly not least is a big, dramatic pair of false lashes. Currently I am loving the Eylure 212's, these are bold, black and very full. To secure in place I use the Duo Lash Glue in clear/white, a steady hand and a pair of tweezers. I find I always have to trim my lashes slightly to fit the shape of my eye so have a pair of scissors handy too. Youtube is great for tutorials on putting on falsies if you are a newbie.

So in summary I like big hair, big lashes and high heels, what are your must haves for a night out? Comment below.

Bedtime Beauty Essentials

The low down on the products I apply to my skin just before I get my beauty sleep...

Whilst researching natural remedies for anti ageing an ingredient that kept popping up website after website was Rosehip Oil, the hype around this ingredient is pretty big with claims that this is the holy grail for slowing down the ageing process. There are lots of facial oils on the beauty market which contain Rosehip Oil so knowing which one to go for can be a little tricky, I decided on Rio Rosa Mosqueta Pure Chilean Rosehip Seed Oil after it was recommended to me by a friend. I love that this is 100% natural and suitable for all skin types. This oil is recommended for dry skin, sun damage, scars, stretch marks, crows feet, fine lines etc.. the list goes on, you can see why it is such a popular ingredient at the moment!

I use this as directed every evening, a little oil goes a long way so one pump is normally enough for my face and then I use any excess oil for my neck. I spend two to three minutes massaging this into my skin making sure the product is evenly covering my skin, next I use my Body Shop facial massager, I gently roll this over my face and down my neck. This helps to even out skin tone and improves the skins ability to absorb moisture. I have been doing this routine nightly for a month now and I am really starting to see results, my skin tone is looking a lot more even and the fine lines around my eye area are harder to see, I think that Rosehip Oil is definitely something that will be sticking around in my evening routine!

To follow up my facial oil I like to use a super hydrating night cream, recently I have been using the Vitamin E Nourishing Night Cream from The Body Shop, this is enriched with Wheatgerm Oil which is great for protecting the skin against pre-mature ageing as well as things like pollution and the environment, like the Rosehip Oil this is suitable for all skin types. The rich cream also contains Community Fair Trade Shea Butter which gives the night cream its thick texture. Again I follow this up with my facial massager to improve the skins circulation.

My skin in the morning looks plump, youthful and hydrated thanks to this darling duo! Have you tried either of these two yet? I'd love to know your current bedtime routine, feel free to leave me a comment below.

Disclaimer - Although I work for The Body Shop this in no way effects my opinion.

Handbag Must Haves

The busy girls guide to on the go product necessities...

Preparation is key to always looking flawless, you never know where the day might take you and you have to be prepared for all eventualities, by that I mean rain or last minute drinks with the girls after work, I'm not talking survival kit here - just the beauty basics.

No product delivers a hair refresh quite like the Living Proof Instant Texture Mist, if your hair is anything like mine then after an eight hour stint at work it certainly is not looking quite its best, I say embrace the boho vibe - spritz in a little of this magic spray and work it in with your fingers, I promise this will bring your hair back to life, think volume, texture, that little something something that makes the boys heads turn. This feels super lightweight on the hair and delivers a perfect balance of bounce, definition and separation. It is also worth noting that this formula is free from silicones, parabens and sulphates. Next time you pop into your local Space NK treat your hair to a spritz of this.

Another product I cannot stop spritzing is The Body Shop's Fuji Green Tea Eau de Cologne, this fresh sexy summer scent is a recent launch so as you can imagine I have been dowsing myself in this daily for work, It is a classic sophisticated citrus fresh fragrance that is wearable for both day and night with notes of green tea, bergamot, lemon, mandarin and jasmine. The rest of the range is equally as exciting with body sorbets, scrubs and even bath tea - definitely worth checking out.

If I had to choose one product to carry with me at all times I would have to opt for a pressed translucent powder - it is hardly an exciting product choice but believe me it is an essential, my skin type is oily so in a bid to control excess oil I purchased the Rimmel stay matte powder, the formula is fine and very natural looking on the skin, I just stipple this onto my T zone to banish shine, I like to keep my cheeks powder free to keep that glowy radiant healthy looking sheen.

If you emptied the contents of my handbag out I can assure you that you would discover about ten different lip products, from balms, to scrubs to liners my bag is full of them, for the purposes of this post however I will only discuss my very bare essentials so I have whittled it down to three lip laquers and two lip liners. Without a doubt the best lip liners on the high street are the Rimmel Exaggerate Liners, these retractable creamy liners are perfect for creating a full dramatic look. My two favourite shades are East End Snob - a cool toned matte light pink and Addiction - a more neutral tones nude. Both shades are very wearable and compliment my skin tone nicely. If I want more of a colour pop I normally opt for a Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet Lip- these are very pigmented and have the finish of a satin liquid lipstick with incredible staying power. My all time favourite shade is Frambourjois - a rich deep raspberry hue with warm undertones, this is so flattering and works well with classic cat eye liner and lashings of mascara. Another Velvet Lip hue I have recently been loving is Peach Club - a warm apricot shade, this looks great with a dramatic smoky eye. For more of a day time look I like to use the Bourjois Aqua Laque in the shade Appechissant - a glossy neutral pink with an intense high shine. All three have a lovely easy to use applicator that is always loaded with product.

So there you have it - my beauty basics for busy girls on the go. Have you tired any of these must haves yet?

Disclaimer - Although I work for The Body Shop this in no way effects my opinion.

The New Glow Boosting Moisturiser

Dull, Tired or Grumpy Skin? The Body Shop's got it covered...

Recently my skin has been looking a little lack lustre, my current day cream was not quite delivering the glow I was after so I decided to try out this new launch from The Body Shop, unlike my current day cream which has a thick rich texture this one is of gel like consistency which is easily absorbed into the skin making it perfect for applying before putting on make up. Although lightweight this moisturiser really packs a punch in the hydration stakes, after applying this my skin feels refreshed and plump for the whole day.

The gel like moisturiser is infused with Vitamin C from the Camu Camu Berry which contains 60 times more Vitamin C than oranges, it helps skin cell renewal and regeneration revealing skin that looks healthy, younger and glowing, Vitamin C is also a very powerful antioxident which helps to fight free radicals. Other skin loving ingredients in this product are Aloe Vera - which is perfect for calming angry/sensitive skin down with its gentle soothing effect, and sesame oil which helps to hydrate the skin.

After a week of using this daily I can say I have already started to notice a difference in the apperance of my skin, it looks so much healthier and radiant. I would really recommend this for normal to oily skin types but for dry skin this might not be quite as hydrating as a creamy textured moisturiser.  Launched alongside this new beauty is the Vitamin C Glow Enhancer - a rosey tinted hydrating primer, cannot wait to try that out!

Disclaimer - Although I work for The Body Shop this in no way effects my opinion.

Coffee and Walnut Cake - The Recipe


A classic coffee and walnut cake recipe with a buttery yet light sponge and a rich coffee flavoured icing...

I am not usually one to indulge in a coffee cake, I would rather have a chocolate fudge cake any day but whilst looking for something to bake yesterday I laid my eyes on this wonderful recipe in the Great British Bake Off cookery book. It just looked so damn tasty! And if I am honest it was one of the few recipes I actually had the ingredients for, lazy I know, anyway I wanted to share this with you as it is easy to follow and really quick to make.

For the sponge you will need -
175g unsalted soft butter
175g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
75g chopped walnuts
175g self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of instant coffee dissolved into 1 tablespoon of hot water

For the filling and topping you will need -
125g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
3 tablespoons of instant coffee dissolved into 2 tablespoons of hot water
4 tablespoons of double cream
25g chopped walnuts for decoration

First start by pre-heating the oven to 180 C and line two eight inch cakes tins. Put the softened butter and sugar into a bowl and beat until light and creamy, gradually add in the eggs one at a time beating well after each one is added. Add the nuts, sifted flour and baking powder followed by the disolved coffee, carefully fold all ingrediants together until thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture between the two tins and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25mins until golden and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed. Once out of the oven run a round bladed knife around the egde of the cake to loosen and then turn out onto a wire cooling rack, leave cakes to cool completely.

To make the filling and topping heat the butter in a small non stick metal pan until it starts to bubble, sift the icing sugar into a large heatproof bowl and pour over the butter followed by the disolved coffee and cream, beat well using a large wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth, leave until thick enough to spead. You may need to chill the mixture in the fridge for ten minutes or so. Once almost set spread onto the bottom layer of the cake and then place the second sponge layer on top, put the rest of the mixture onto the top of the cake and spread using a spatula, run a knife around the top to create a swirled pattern and then decorate with the chopped walnuts.

The recipe says the cake should last four days so it is a  great one to prepare one or two days before having guests round, although it didn't even last a day in my house! Let me know if you try this!

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Design:Maira Gall.