Friday 26 February 2016

Spoil Her: Mother's Day Gifts

Whether it’s breakfast in bed or a fresh bunch of flowers, that handbag she’s always wanted or the skincare she’s been eyeing up, Mother’s Day is soon approaching, (Sunday 6th March) and it’s time to spoil her! Ocean Loans wanted to see how I would treat my mum!

Mother's Day Gifts La Redoute Pyjamas Yankee Candle

A fresh bouquet of flowers will never fail to put a smile on her face. Flowers aren’t something you buy for yourself usually so subtly ask which her favourites are and gift her a bunch.

Cosy or chic, pyjamas are an instant comfort. These dusty pink silky options are from La Redoute, they feel very luxurious.

Whether she lights them while in the bath or wants to fragrance the house, Yankee Candles make a lovely present. They have so many different scents and different sizes to suit your budget. I picked Summer Scoop, Cherry Lemonade and Champaca Blossom, all of which have beautiful light and summery scents.

Mother's Day Gifts La Redoute Pyjamas Yankee Candle

My mum loves Ralph Lauren Romance, it’s very simplistic with notes of Lotus Flower, White Violet and Camomile. Another classic is Chloe’s signature fragrance, I always get compliments when wearing it. It’s soft and non-offensive making it a good choice if you aren’t sure which perfume she likes.

Depending on your budget, No7, Clinique and Elizabeth Arden have amazing products for mature skin. My mum has repurchased No7 for years, the Protect and Perfect range is rated highly and has won several awards. Clinique’s Repairwear Laser Focus has been in my mum’s stash for a while and she’s running low, more expensive skincare can make a lovely treat. If you are looking for a ‘suits all’ style skincare products, I would opt for the Elizabeth Arden’s latest release, 8 Hour Miracle Oil*. It can be used on your skin, hair and body.

Bath Products
Give her some time to unwind with some relaxing products for the bath. I particularly love the Clarins Bath and Shower Concentrate, a little goes a long way and it has a heavenly spa-like scent.

Luxury Lipstick
As I mentioned in my Luxury Lipstick post, there is that small sense of pride when you pull out a luxury lipstick from your handbag. Sleek packaging, embossing and high-quality formula make it a lovely gift to give. My recommendations would be Charlotte Tilbury, Chanel and Tom Ford.

Mother's Day Gifts Skincare

Of course, you don’t need an excuse to say thank you to your mum. These gifts could be given to anyone special in your life… or treat yourself to!

What are you buying your mum?

*This post contains a PR sample

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Create a Spa Treatment at Home

Following my recent treatment at the Clarins Spa in Debenhams Chester, I wanted to use some of the tips and tricks I had learnt to create my own at home facial.

How to create a spa facial treatment at home

Creating a relaxing atmosphere at home can be difficult, set a time where there will be no interruptions. I recommend a Lush bath and lighting a candle, I particularly like the Twig and Dot Uplifting candle. It has zesty lemon, bergamot and ylang ylang notes which make a welcome change from lavender, it’s a scent that puts a smile on your face.

Make sure to apply moisturiser after the bath to really pamper your skin, I’m currently loving the Elemis Frangipani and Monoi Body Cream and the Clarins Body Treatment Oil, they both leave my skin baby soft.

Spa skincare at home

Take time when cleansing your face, use upward strokes and circular massages on the skin to work the product in. I would recommend a balm like Elemis’ Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, the heat from your skin turns the balm into a lovely oil, which melts makeup and grime away.

Make sure you have plenty of hot flannels at the ready to remove the products. While at the spa, the therapist used gentle sweeping motions, never scrubbing at the skin as this can cause trauma to the upper layers of skin.

Once the skin is clean, it’s a blank canvas waiting for your chosen products, I will always use a mask as the next step after cleansing. You can address more than one skin concern at a time with ‘multi-masking’. I picked the Origin Out of Trouble Face Mask and the Caudalie Instant Detox Mask, targeting my blemishes with the Origins formula and the rest of my face with the detox mask. The Out of Trouble really does calm your blemishes when they are having a tantrum, I’d thoroughly recommend it to those suffering from acne. Caudalie’s Detox Mask has a very light formula but it works hard to refresh the skin. If you have chance to lie down while the masks do the work, take time to relax.

Again, using hot flannels, gently wipe the mask away. You can also place a second clean flannel over the skin once it is clean to warm the skin, ready for the next products.

Spa Skincare Treatment at Home Clarins, Elemis, Estee Lauder

The therapist at the Clarins Spa drummed into me how important toner is, it’s something the falls at the wayside in many people’s routines. Your usual toners will balance the skin, La Roche Posay’s Serozinc is particularly good for this, but you can also invest in an acid toner. Pixi’s Glow Tonic contains salicylic acid which breaks down dead skin cells, leaving the skin glowing. I would recommend only using this 2-3 times a week as not to strip the skin or irritate it.  

The purpose of a serum is to help your skin drink up your moisturiser or facial oil and help boost the repairing properties in the products. After you have used a toner, apply a light layer of serum, be delicate when you work the product in. Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair has been a long-term favourite of mine for its scar healing properties.

Using an oil instead of a moisturiser helps create more of a luxurious feel to your routine. I’m currently coveting the Clarins Lotus Oil and the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Miracle Oil*. My treatment at the Clarins Spa was finished with the Lotus Oil, it’s created with oily skins in mind so it doesn’t overload the skin. Don’t use too much oil, use the dropper or spray to distribute the oil into your hands, 2 drops is enough. Warm the oil between your hands and pat on to the face, wash any excess oil left on your hands away, you don’t need to rub this into the face. You should have a very light layer of oil on your skin, not enough to clog pores or cause any blemishes.

The Elizabeth Arden Miracle Oil is a beautiful multi-use product which can be used on the face, hair and body. It's light and skins in almost immediately, it’s a perfect oil for beginners. The therapist recommended mixing a drop of water with your oil to help your skin drink the oil up.

Last but not least is eye cream, I have very dry eyes, so Origins Eye Doctor restores the moisture and helps the delicate skin around my eyes look fresh. Use your ring finger to dab on any eye cream, this is an accurate way to tell how much pressure you are putting on the skin. It’s important not to be rough with the skin around the eyes as it may lead to wrinkles later on in life.

Tips on Creating a Spa Facial Treatment at Home

Hopefully, my tips will help you create your own pamper routine just in time for the Easter break. Provident inspired me to create this post, they will be sharing bloggers content in their Budget Trips and Easter Tips Calendar to help you get the most out of your Easter holidays.

*Post in collabration with Provident

Monday 22 February 2016

The Budget Brand You Need to Try

All this came to less than a tenner! Essence was first brought to my attention by Gemma from OMG Gemma, a cruelty-free blogger who loves their products. She raved about the Lash Princess Mascara, so when I saw that my local Wilkinson's store stocked Essence, it was the first thing I picked up.

I spent some time playing with the testers on the stand, deciding what to try out. I left eyeshadows and foundations as I find they aren't always the best from cheaper brands. A trio of lip products including the Essence Lip Liner in Cute Pink, XXXL Nude Lipgloss in Taste the Sweets and Long Lasting Nude Lipstick in Cool Nude were purchased.

I'm so impressed, the quality is amazing for the price, it's comparable to Revlon and L'Oreal but even cheaper. The Lash Princess has quickly become one of my favourites. It has a traditional bristle brush which is a tapered cone shape, helping it separate the lashes and the thick formula makes that volumised. Usually, cheap mascaras don't hold a curl or flake but this kept my lashes curled and didn't budge.

Essence XXXL Lipgoss, Las Princess Mascara, Long Lasting Lipstick Review

The Lip Liner was only £1, I picked up a mid-tone pink shade named Cute Pink, perfect for layering under my nude pink lipsticks. Making a comparison to my beloved Charlotte Tilbury Lip Liner in Pillow Talk, I would say it is harder in texture so you have to work the product onto the lips. It's not the best lip liner I've ever used but for £1, it's quick and easy to use and doesn't let you down.

Applying the Long Lasting Nude Lipstick in Cool Nude make a perfect every day lip colour. I adore the packaging, each lipstick has a different colour tube, which corresponds to the shade inside. It's quite a creamy matte which doesn't leave the lips feeling dry. The only downside is the cheap lipstick smell.

Essence XXXL Lipgoss, Las Princess Mascara, Long Lasting Lipstick Review Blogger
To finish off, I use the XXXL Nude Lipgloss in Taste the Sweets. Its a pretty pink shade that makes your lips look fuller. The name XXXL suggests that this is a plumping gloss with a tingling sensation but I think it's referring to the gloss effect and how it makes the lips look bigger. It has a slightly angled doe foot applicator which means you can slick the gloss on with ease. It's not too tacky or sticky, I'm not a huge fan of gloss but I like to dab this in the middle of the lips to add a sheen.

Considering the low price points of these items and the whole haul coming to under £10, I'm very impressed. The products would be ideal for those just starting out with makeup but the quality means that they don't fall short in my established collection.

Have you tried Essence products? What should I try next?

Friday 19 February 2016

Clarins Spa Detox and Shine Stopper Facial Treatment

The Chester Debenhams or Browns of Chester as it is sometimes known, has had a little bit of a face lift. Glossy counters, with plenty of space have been added, as well as a revamped Clarins Spa. Full of a cold and hiding battered, dehydrated skin, I stepped into the Clarins Spa, away from the hustle and bustle of the shop floor. Skincare is something I adore, it’s been an obsession since my teenage years brought acne with them, and so a spa facial treatment is a dream for me.
Clarins Spa Detox and Shine Stopper Facial Treatment Browns of Chester
Clarins Spa Detox and Shine Stopper Facial Treatment Chester Debenhams
Clarins Spa Detox and Shine Stopper Facial Treatment Chester
After a consultation with the lovely therapist, We’d discussed my skin concerns, spots, and acne scarring and oil production and from that Jessica suggested which facial treatment would be most useful to my skin. I lay down on the world’s most comfortable massage chair, with a heated blanket may I add, for my Detox and Shine Stopper treatment. The room’s low light and ambient music had me soothed within seconds.
Clarins Spa Detox and Shine Stopper Facial Treatment ReviewClarins Spa Detox and Shine Stopper Facial Treatment Blogger
Clarins Spa Detox and Shine Stopper Facial Treatment

Creating a blank canvas to work upon was therapist's first task, she used the Cleansing Milk and Instant Eye Makeup Remover to clear away any traces of makeup.

I was dying to see what the Pure and Radiant Face Mask was like, I’d never seen it before but the spa therapist raved about it. Radiance boosting products are ideal for weathered winter skin, especially those suffering from acne, as the help to renew the skin and lessen the appearance of scarring. Unlike some of the clay masks and acne clearing masks I’ve tried, this doesn’t dry out and crack, it’s gentler on the skin. It left my skin soothed and matte. I’ll be purchasing this soon, I’m very impressed with the results.

Some of my favourites from Clarins were featured in the Detox and Shine Stopper treatment including, the Gentle Exfoliating Toner, Pore Minimising Serum and Hydra Matte Lotion. All which I recommend those with oily, acne prone skin try out. The Gentle Exfoliator is comparable to the REN Clarimatte Toner or the Pixi Glow Tonic, it contains glycolic, salicylic and tartaric acid, all of which help to break down dead skin cells and renew the skin. My treatment was finished with a little of the Lotus Oil, which I adore, and the de-puffing Eye Contour Gel.

The therapist really gave me lots of TLC, with delicate massages and slow movements, using pressure points to really help me unwind. It was one of the most relaxing hours of my life. I left the spa feeling like I was floating on a cloud, and my skin looked refreshed. I can’t recommend the Clarins Spa in Debenhams enough! 

*The treatment was given complimentary but all of my opinions are 100% honest.

Thursday 11 February 2016

Getting my Glow on with Pixi

Say goodbye to your old traditional manual scrubs and foaming cleansers, acids and balms are here to stay. Pixi is a brand with a strong blogger backing, Caroline Hirons being one of their strongest advocates and whatever she recommends, I'm all over it. Two of Pixi's hero products, the Nourishing Cleansing Balm and their Glow Tonic, have been on my wishlist for ages.

Pixi Nourishing Cleansing Balm and Pixi Glow Tonic Skincare Review
After trying the Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, I knew I had to try more like it. The Pixi version is very similar, it's just a tiny bit harder in the pot. You only have to scoop up a 5p sized amount to cover your whole face, the Pixi Cleansing Balm goes far. I then warm the balm up between my hands and it comes a more fluid, oil consistency, which is easy to apply to the skin. It melts away makeup in seconds, and I remove everything with a damp cloth. It's delicate on the skin, so you can double cleanse without worrying if it will strip your skin of moisture. It's cheaper than the Elemis Pro-Collagen, I think this will easily take its place.

Remember last year when Pixi's Glow Tonic was sold out everywhere? I think it was for a good reason, this stuff is amazing. After lots of research, I found that Glycolic Acid is used to fade acne scarring, as it banishes dead skin cells and promotes cell turnover. I apply this with a cotton pad after cleansing, around 3-4 times a week, it does say it is gentle enough to use day and night but my skin can get a little sensitive if I overuse this. After using it my skin looks brightener and my scars seem to have faded a little. It's a product I'll forever keep in my arsenal.

Have you tried anything from Pixi's skincare line? I've got my eye on the Overnight Glow Serum and the Glow Mud Mask.
*This post contains PR samples

Sunday 7 February 2016

Owning a Luxurious Lipstick

I can’t be the only one who is filled with joy every time I purchase a new piece of makeup, especially something from a luxury brand. There is something so satisfying about finally visiting a counter, after lusting after a product for so long. You’re handed a branded bag, the best being Chanel, and you hurry to unbox the lipstick, the bullet pristine in its condition. It makes me so happy I might as well skip out of the shop.
Chanel La Raffinee Lipstick Review

To me, owning a luxury lipstick is an extension of how I want to be seen. It’s the moments, when you can pull out your designer lipstick in its glossy and chic packaging and show your friends. Or when you are asked at a bar, the colour and brand of your lipstick, and you can casually comment, ‘oh this, it's Chanel…’

Call me vain but I have expensive taste, and well, why wouldn’t you want to strive to own the best of the best? Owning higher end items gives you that self-satisfaction and I know I’m not the only one that feels this.
Chanel La Raffinee Lipstick Review
Makeup geeks like myself will pour over the little touches. This Chanel lipstick has engraved double C’s on the end of the casing, as well as Chanel imprinted on the bullet. Not only that, it has a push click bullet, so you push the gold end in and the black casing pops up.

I choose a very wearable shade named La Raffinee, so I can get a good ‘cost per wear’. It's a rose matte shade, which goes with any makeup look. It's similar to other lipsticks in my collection, which cost a fraction of the price but it’s a little luxurious treat. Something to savour and appreciate.

That was a large paragraph trying to justify my luxurious lipstick treat really, wasn’t it? How do you talk yourself around? What luxury purchase do you adore?


Friday 5 February 2016

Romance Yourself

You don’t have to wait until your man finally gets your hints, why not treat yourself?! Presents from me, to me, are the best kind and Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse right?
Sexy underwear, a designer handbag or a new lipstick, whatever gives you that spring in your step – BUY IT!

Valentine's Day Wishlist Gifts

What's on your wishlist?

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Selfridges Beauty Personal Shopper Experience

The beauty halls in department stores can often be overwhelming. Which brand is right for me? Will they give me a biased opinion? Many people stay clear of the counters for this reason, but fear not there is a new service which is making counter shopping more accessible.
Selfridges Manchester Trafford Beauty Personal Shopper Review
Des Davis, who currently resides at Selfridges in the Trafford Centre, is a make-up artist, a skincare specialist and fragrance expert all rolled into one. He's had 18 years experience in the beauty industry and has worked for some of the best brands on the market. He's the unbiased Beauty Personal Shopper offering a helping hand, which both men and women need when it comes to beauty and grooming.

My afternoon with Des began with an in-depth consultation. He likes to get to know his clients inside and out, I ran through some of my skincare and makeup concerns and detailed what I was looking for in this experience. I'm still yet to find my ideal foundation and primer combination, so I asked for formulas that would suit my oily skin. I also wanted an overview of Selfridges Beauty Hall which would benefit my readers whether they be male or female.

Des was a guide as we weaved in and out of the counters, stopping at each one to review and play with the latest releases. Knowing my need to find the perfect base, we chatted through the Dermalogica HydraBlur primer, Charlotte Tilbury skincare and foundations, Chanel's latest release, Les Beiges foundation and Creme De La Mer's finest offerings. He knew every product and spoke with such passion.

Selfridges Manchester Trafford Beauty Personal Shopper Review
Selfridges Manchester Trafford Beauty Personal Shopper Review
Selfridges Manchester Trafford Beauty Personal Shopper Review
Fragrance seemed to be Des' favourite sections of the beauty hall, as he believes scents evoke memories, which I completely agree with. Whether you need a bespoke layered combination or want to define your personality with a scent, Des has the insider knowledge to make picking a fragrance stress-free.
Selfridges Manchester Trafford Beauty Personal Shopper Review Fragrance
He has amazing stories and features to the products he pointed out, for example, Atkinsons Excelsior Bouquet Aftershave was created to celebrate the first transatlantic flight. It has that hot metal tinge mixed with leather, so unique and it stands out against the generic male's fragrance market.
Selfridges Manchester Trafford Beauty Personal Shopper Review Male Grooming

I have plenty of samples of foundations to try out, from Charlotte Tilbury to Chanel so expect a review on those soon. I've picked out some of the most interesting products from the consultation so you can have a look and shop them yourself.

I honestly can't recommend the Beauty Personal Shopper experience enough. Des helped decode the lotions and potions and gave excellent recommendations. Any age or sex, (let's not forget the ever expanding male grooming industry) can make an appointment and leave feeling confident in their new skincare or makeup routine.

To book a Beauty Personal Shopping appointment at Selfridges Trafford Call 07885 271884 or email
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