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!

An Italian Outfit of the Day

 A modern twist on a classic Mad Men style skirt...
Here are a few snaps from my recent trip to Rome, after seeing stills from La Dolce Vita and having seen films like The Great Beauty I knew that Rome as a city is damn stylish, so when packing my little suitcase I knew I needed to pack my A game style wise. 

I brought along my Pull and Bear blazer/jacket as it is an incredibly versatile piece of outerwear, it goes with just about anything and is a great way to smarten up a more dressed down look. The pop of colour in this look is a bright yellow vintage skirt that I picked up from Dirty Harry's, I also styled it with a vintage yellow leather bag, this is such a classic statement accessory as is the silk Parisian style scarf from Beyond Retro.To pull the look together I wore a simple fine knit three quarter length jumper from Brandy Melville, this is such a flattering and wearable top, I could live in this! Here is the full low down on this look:

Blazer - Pull and Bear
Jumper - Brandy Melville
Skirt - Dirty Harry's in Brighton
Yellow Bag - Beyond Retro Brighton
Silk Scarf - Beyond Retro Brighton
Gold Necklace - Camden Market
Black Tights - New Look
Shoes - Primark 

Sundays in Brighton

A new favourite shop and an old favourite restaurant... 

Brighton is one of my favourite places to spend a Sunday afternoon, there are so many lovely places shop and eat, another place we stumbled across one our last wonder through the lanes is Workshop, a sweet home wear and lifestyle shop in Prince Albert Street that has a passion for simplistic designs and products that are created out of materials that really stand the test of time, this little gem has also been featured in Decor magazines like Elle Decoration and Homes and Gardens Magazine. Shelves are stacked with Honest Candles that smell Divine and an old sink is used to display handmade vegetable soaps, Enamel and stone wear fills the display stands and wooden utensils fill wire baskets all around the shop.

For dinner we headed to JB's American Diner on the seafront, it was packed so we had a little wait for a table but it was definitely worth it, I went for my favourite which is the Chili Dog, best thing on the menu in my opinion, I would recommend paying the extra for cheese if you are really pushing the boat out, and most definitely wash it down with a milkshake, you can't really go to JB's without ordering one so make sure you do, the 'Milky Way' is my shake of choice.

Here is a few snaps... 

OOTD - Blue Moon

Keeping it classic in Navy... 

Navy is such a wearable colour I often consider it in the same category as monochrome, it is very classic and chic. I sometimes think I could live in this little ASOS number, it is such a flattering a-line shape and the crotchet texture adds a real bohemian vibe. I paired it with my New Look Blazer style coat, a Topshop satchel style bag and black pumps. This look is great for the transition into spring as the dress is super lightweight and has little short sleeves for if the weather is hot enough that you need to remove the jacket, it is also really easy to update this dress for dinner or drinks in the evening.

I kept my jewellery minimal with a gold charm necklace from Camden Market and vintage style coin studs from River Island, I also wore this statement ring that I picked up from Topshop in their most recent sale, the centre stone looks like Jade and is surrounded by pretty green gems.

How would you style this ASOS dress?

Where to go: Brighton - SILO

The pre-industrial food system that generates zero waste, uses products in their rawest form at the same time as creating delicious food. Introducing Brighton's greenest new haunt - SILO...

Wondering the North Laines the other day in search of something chocolaty I was lured into SILO, a new restaurant, bakery and coffee house in Upper Gardner Street with a beckoning display of goods in the front window. Fresh artisan breads, cakes, bakes, slices you name it - they have it, and all with that charming homemade look about them. I went for the hot chocolate, taste wise this place delivers a good hot chocolate, thick, creamy melted chocolate consistency - size wise though I could have definitely polished off at least two.

The menu looked as if it was packed with creative dishes and after a little research I discovered SILO locally sources all the ingredients used in their kitchens, they even mill their own flour, they rely on a network of ethical farmers, growers, tea merchants, the list is endless. All combine to create this very modern take on eating out.

The restaurant vibe is similar to that of places found in Brick Lane, the place is buzzing with tables packed with bearded twenty somethings all with their laptops spread all over the tables. The decor is very Pinterest worthy with chalkboards everywhere, exposed white bricks and the menus projected all over the walls.  We had to go away and do a little shopping before there was even a free table so definitely popular since its opening.

Will you be checking out SILO?

Beauty Chat Live at Space NK

Space NK, Macaroons, Champagne, a mini makeover, oh and meeting Vivianna and Lily, read on for details... 

A few weeks ago Space Nk Brighton played host to two of my favourite bloggers - Anna from Vivianna Does Make Up and Lily from Lily Pebbles, these two lovely ladies are true blogging inspiration - they are my go to for new product launch information and beauty reviews. It was so nice to get the opportunity to meet them both in person to chat all things beauty and shop in the beauty haven that is Space NK.

The evening started with Lily and Anna answering questions from all the people who attended the event and some of the questions from twitter, then we had a relaxed shopping experience in Space NK - the girls working that evening were all so lovely and helpful, it was nice being able to ask Lily and Anna their opinions on products that I wanted to try.

I also got a mini makeover from Becky Fletcher - one of the national Space NK artists from the Pro team and a freelance makeup artist and beauty expert - she used the Kevin Aucoin Bronzing Powder to contour and an hourglass blush in a stunning peachy shade to give me a natural glow, the overall look was so fresh and pretty, definitely something I have tried to recreate since.

Two products I chose to purchase were the Living Proof Texturising Mist which smells divine and adds instant volume and texture to my hair, I also picked up the Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation, this is a product I have seen in so many tutorials, it just gives such a flawless yet natural finish.

We went home goody bags in tow, full of macaroons (and birthday cake), excited to try our new products - all in all it was a great event! Thanks Space NK.

Simple Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so here are two simple easy to rustle up recipes for you to sink your teeth into...

Up first is my favourite of the two - One cup pancakes, a classic Jamie Oliver recipe that requires no measuring, all you need is a mug. Here are the deets -
One cup of self raising flour
One cup of milk - you can use skimmed if you're being health conscious.
One large egg
Whisk the three ingredients well and heat a non stick frying pan, use a ladle to spoon the mixture into the pan, wait until you see little bubbles appearing on the batter and then flip over, cook for the same amount of time on the other side and you are done, this recipe makes a lot, definitely enough for two hungry people at breakfast time. I served mine with sliced banana and agave syrup and it was delicious.

Next is a real basic - scrambled eggs, this is definitely more of a mid week breakfast as it is super healthy and leaves you feeling full until lunchtime, I served mine with crispbread. All you need is -
Two eggs
One tablespoon of ketchup
A sprinkling of black pepper
A small hand full of spinach
Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk together, add the spinach, heat a non stick frying pan and add a little butter, next pour the mixture into the pan leaving it to cook for about thirty seconds, then slowly stir the mixture using a wooden spoon making sure the eggs are all cooked. Take off the heat and serve, easy! Top with your ketchup and sprinkle on the black pepper for added flavour.

What are your favourite recipes for breakfast time?

Caring for Sensitive Skin

Finding a cleanser for sensitive skin that is gentle yet effective can often be tricky, but recently I have been using The Body Shop's Aloe Vera Calming Cleanser for sensitive skin, read on for the full review...

After trying out the Skincare Diagnostic Tool on The Body Shop's website I was recommended the Aloe Cleanser and Toner as my skin shows signs of irritation and sensitivity - i.e dryness, tightness, redness etc. The gentle formula ensures your make up is removed effectively without causing any irritation, the community fair trade Aloe Vera soothes the skin and helps to calm down any redness. This calming cleanser also contains sorbitol an ingredient which helps the skin to retain its moisture making it feel hydrated and supple.

How to use - First I use an eye make up remover like Bioderma just to remove stubborn waterproof mascara, then I gently apply the Aloe cleanser onto dry skin massaging it down my neck and on my face, next I use The Body Shop's super soft facial cleansing brush in round circular motions, the soft bristles buff the skin removing dirt, make up and impurities revealing fresh, soft, cleansed skin.

After cleansing I like to tone my skin, recently my skin has been slightly de-hydrated, probably becuase the central heating is playing havoc with my skins moisture levels, so I have been reaching for The Body Shop's Vitamin E Hydrating Toner, this helps to inject moisture into my skin at the same time as cooling and removing any final traces of dirt and cleanser. Like the rest of the Vitamin E range this is packed with Wheatgerm Oil, an ingreadiant that protects the skin agaisnt pre-mature aging and for all you big city gals out there - pollution.

If like me your skin is sensitive I definitely recommend giving the Aloe Calming Cleanser a try, if you like products like the Avene Tolerance Extreme Cleansing Lotion (£14.50) then you will love this, there is a whole range dedicated to sensitive skin types, the soothing aloe gel is next on my shopping list, have you tried anything from The Body Shop's Aloe Vera range?

Disclaimer - Although I work for The Body Shop, the opinions expressed are all my own and unless stated the products mentioned were purchased with my own money.

The Effortless Topknot

Sometimes less is more and if you have gone for a dramatic look with your make up or your outfit is making a real statement a simple topknot is all that is needed. However this particaular style can sometimes be harder that it looks, and creating the effortless 'I just threw my hair up' kinda style takes a little prep...

First start with second day hair, from personal experiance freshly washed hair likes to slide around alot and is a little less managable. So your hair will need a refresh, for that I use Batiste's XXL Volume Dry Shampoo, this guarentees oil free hair and it gives that much needed volume boost which is essential for creating this look. I spray this into the roots of my hair and leave for a few seconds, then using my fingers I gently rub it in making sure all the powder is absorbed, if your hair is super dark you might want to consider a coloured dry shampoo as this will help you to avoid the 'grey' root look that the original formula can often give.

Once you have freshened up your roots then you can look to add volume to the rest of your hair, I like to use a dry texturising spray like the Bumble and Bumble Dryspun thickening spray but if you are looking for a budget option then the Charles Worthington Dry Texturising Spray also works wonders. Also a backcombing brush can be a great way to  achieve thickness, gently tease and the roots to create more volume and texture.

Once your hair starts to resemble a birds nest with all the backcombing and thickening then you can begin to form the topkot, tip head up side down to secure into a tight high ponytail using a hair tie, don't worry that it looks too pulled back we will fix that later, next begin wrapping the hair around the hair tie and secure with hair grips, try to do this in an organic, messy way, the more 'thrown up' it looks the more effortless it will appear. If it is looking too neat loosen the bun slightly by pulling out strands of hair. Lastly pull out hair to frame the face and give the hair that is pulled back more volume.

Finally spray with a good hairspray to keep the topknot in place and you are good to go! Will you be trying out this simple look?

Coming Soon: Benefit's Roller Lash

Volume? Check. Length? Check. Curl? Check. Does Benefit's new Roller Lash Mascara really do it all?

After trying Benefit's They're Real Mascara a few months back I found the formula just wasn't for me, my natural lashes are long and often reluctant to curl so when I read that Benefit were launching a new mascara called Roller Lash I knew it was one I needed to try. Luckily Elle Magazine collaborated with Benefit and the March issue came with a lovely sample of the new release, I often find that I either love or hate mascaras so being able to get my hands on a sample is a great saving money exercise!

The packaging of this is beyond cute, clearly inspired by 50's hair rollers - the pink textured handle of the full size mascara allows the user to have a good grip on the wand as well as looking chic. Benefit are always on point with the design of their packaging. 

Now lets get down to the formula - It's lightweight, water resistant, and contains pro vitamin B5 and Serin which are known for their lash conditioning benefits, it really lifts the lashes and adds volume and the jet black shade is such a dramatic look. I find that using eyelash curlers before applying this mascara helps to curl to stay in place. The small easy to use 'hook n' roll' brush allows you to grab every lash giving you a wide awake look at the same time as setting a curve and separating the lashes.

The formula promises to keep your lashes curled for twelve hours, a bold statement that I just don't think the mascara itself lives up to but hardly a problem if like me you only need it to last the working day. A great beauty tip I did see was to apply this mascara and leave it to dry and then add a layer of Benefit's Lengthening They're Real Mascara on top to give it that false lash effect - this is perfect if your lashes are naturally short!

Will you be trying this when it launches? 

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