I Put Some New Shoes On and Suddenly Everything's Right...

Sunday, 31 August 2014

When did the buying of shoes stop being an event? While it was some 20 odd years ago now (yes, that many!) I remember the seasonal visit to Clarks shoe shop with my mum like it was, well, not as long as two decades ago. 

I loved that 'foot measuring thingy' they only seemed to get out in Clarks, and while I was rarely allowed what I wanted (impractical and sparkly) on the shoe front, I always loved the ceremony that was trying on shoes, and eventually settling on a pair. My mum and I would head to shoe shops like Clarks with each season, picking up flat Mary Jane-esque black shoes and PE pumps ahead of the first term in September, faux fur-lined boots for tramping around in the snow in winter, and sensible white sandals or jelly shoes in summer.

Organised Shoe Chaos

I'll be honest and say I don't think I've set foot (ahem) in Clarks since my primary school days, but after wandering through its doors last week clutching a credit note kindly sent by the company's PR team, the joy that came with choosing new shoes came flooding back. With summer coming to a close and the new school term nearly here, it was something of an organised shoe chaos in the shop, with kids everywhere; each one happily getting their feet measured in the aforementioned 'foot measuring thingy'.

Picking out a pair of shoes last week was a real event. With the festive season not a million miles away (apparently, it's just 16 Fridays until Christmas), I went for these rather Christmassy-looking green suede shoes - totally impractical (suede + rain, anyone) but oh so pretty, I'm sure you'll agree? My five-year-old self would've been chuffed to bits. 

The Carrick Tumble green suede bow shoe

I was pleased to discover the shoe buying process in Clarks wasn't as 'rushed' as simply entering the shop, selecting a pair of kicks, and getting on my merry way. Within a minute, a friendly lady called Karen made her way over to see if I needed help.

After having a good browse at the Clarks site, I already had an idea I wanted these green suede lovelies, above. I'd pictured wearing them for a friend's winter wedding this December, with a black dress and furry stole, and was pleased to discover the online picture didn't really do them justice, if anything.  

'Everyone will have the black ones...'

Karen was a gem; convincing me to go with the green ones when I later panicked after discovering they also came in black. 'But everyone will have the black ones', Karen helpfully offered. And with that I was sold. She was right, while it's sometimes good to play it safe, I decided today was the day I'd be a maverick. Green shoes it was. Just a shame I'm too old for the shoe measuring thingy.

Did I make a good choice on the shoe front? Have you had a look at Clarks' current range? Seen anything you like?

Disclaimer: A credit note was supplied via Clarks. I have not been paid to write this post; it was the lure of free shoes that got me. All views are my own and 100% honest, as always.

Aeroplane Beauty: On-Flight Pampering Essentials

Monday, 25 August 2014

I remember watching the below Lisa Eldridge YouTube video, in which she explains her on-flight pampering routine, in awe. I mean, who knew an aeroplane actually makes a great spa?! It may be a slightly claustrophobic one on which you need to take your own products, but it offers a pampering opportunity nonetheless.

After all, what else can you really do on a long haul flight?! 

With this in mind, on a recent flight to Las Vegas (a long-awaited 30th birthday treat!) I gathered together sample sizes of some of my favourite (and soon-to-be-favourite) products ahead of boarding the plane, as just for once, my aim was to emerge off the flight looking impossibly fresh and lovely. Let's see how I got on, eh?

For now, I'll let you in on the products which formed my mini 'On-flight pampering essentials' list:

Elemis Pro-Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks

When it comes to skincare, I often neglect the eye area. Very occasionally I'll pop on a little serum, but in general I tend to leave well alone. But then a couple of new products came into my life and I decided to rethink my routine. Meet Elemis' Pro Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks, and the below Bio2You Cream. I used this transparent eye mask from the luxury spa brand Elemis both on the way to Vegas and on the way back, and aside from offering a lovely, cooling sensation on an otherwise dry plane,  they also made my eyes and eye area look brighter and more awake - result!

Bio2You Organic Eye Contour Seabuckthorn Cream

A natural, light-weight product, this Bio2You Organic Eye Contour Cream has fast become my go-to serum. After removing my make up on the plane, I dabbed a little of this on, before later applying the (above) mask - a gorgeous combination I'll definitely be trying out again

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid

A couple of hours before we landed, I cleansed my skin a second time in preparation for applying my make-up. This Skin Perfecting BHA Liquid from Paula's Choice has long been a favourite of mine, and after sweeping it over my face on a cotton pad it really helped smooth out my skin before foundation application.

Glo Minerals SPF 40 Facial Moisturiser

I was well aware that I'd need more than an application of foundation to save my pasty white skin upon getting off the train to Vegas temperatures. So I liberally applied this Glo Minerals SPF. It's fairly thick and shows up white on contact with the skin, before quickly sinking in and leaving a colourless film of protection.

AEOS Optimal Essentials Kit

The AEOS Optimal Essentials Kit (pictured below) was a set of products I was most excited about taking on the flight. To me, this kit (with its 10 mini products) seemed perfect for the plane, when you struggle to get away with most full sized products. 

The fantastic AEOS Optimal Essentials kit

Each one of the products is ideal for sensitive skin, and after using everything from the body moisturiser to the facial mist, I can see a little goes a long way. The products do, however, need to be applied to white skin, so to get round this on the plane I spritzed my face with the mist and/or cleansing oil on a cotton pad, before liberally applying anything else. 

In hindsight, I could have got away with just taking some of these products on the plane (I didn't take all 10, but alongside the other items mentioned above it was bordering on excessive!), as there was everything from cleansing oil to serum.

I'm pretty sure that many of these products alone were responsible for my soft, dewy-looking skin while on the plane and during the holiday; the brand only uses natural ingredients - no harsh, skin-stripping chemicals here! I'd urge you to check out AEOS if you're looking for some organic beauty staples to add to your hand luggage ahead of your next hol. Keep your eyes peeled on here in the coming weeks; I'm sure some of them will end up in a future 'empties' post, too.

Are you yet to go on holiday this year? Will you (or do you already) make the most of the time spent on the plane by enjoying a spot of in-flight pampering? Let me know - and happy holidays!

Until next time, folks...
Disclaimer: These products were sent to me for review consideration. I have not been paid to write this post, neither am I affiliated with any of the brands in any way. All views are my own and 100% honest, as always.

Un-boxing: My Little Sunset Box

Sunday, 24 August 2014

When it comes to beauty subscription boxes, I always thought they were much of a muchness. Not anymore.

Since receiving this little gem a month or so ago from France's take on Glossybox: My Little Box, I was keen to learn more about the new brand. Of course, the website's in French and my language skills don't extend beyond 'Bonjour' and 'Où est la plage', but hey ho.

Offering French beauty treats from brands like L'Occitane, this latest subscription service is surely what we beauty bloggers have been crying out for for some time. After all, brands like La Roche Posay and Caudalie have long been staples of many a bathroom cabinet.

My Little Box's My Little Sunset Box

The latest box - My Little Sunset Box (from what I gather each one so far has a theme) - doesn't disappoint, with everything from colourful postcards, to playing cards and a friendship-style bracelet enclosed within.

But there's also a full-sized lip balm, a facial exfoliator from a brand called Laino, and a mini L'Occitane Precious Cream - which is £45 in its full-size version here. Again, the beauty product 'portion' of the box came packaged in a cute drawstring bag - they've certainly got their cutesy, European branding spot on.

Have you had a look at the site for My Little Box?

Disclaimer: This box was sent to me for review consideration. I have not been paid to write this post, neither am I affiliated with the brand in any way. All opinions are my own and 100% honest, as always.

Cloggs Competition: And the Winner is....

So, did you enter my Cloggs competition for your chance to bag a pair of shoes worth £60? It seemed quite a few of you were keen to get your hands (or feet!) on a new pair of kicks. Let's see who the winner is, then...

Congratulations Rhoda, please get in touch (you'll find my email address via the contact page) and I'll get your prize out to you asp.

Thanks again to everyone who entered. Keep your eyes peeled for more giveaways, and don't forget to hit 'Like' here in the meantime.

Until next time...

Caviar for Your Face?!

Caviar is indeed a luxury, so by that token I reckon there are few things more luxurious than slapping it on your face. Do you agree?

Say hello, then, to a new face mask featuring the ingredient, available exclusively at Skin Shop.

Aiming to give 'summer skin a salon-standard hydration boost', the 'SMask' masks, which quite frankly look like something out of a horror film, are silicone-infused with rejuvenating ingredients formulated to dissolve into the skin.

Apparently, the encapsulation of the skin under the silicone mask ensures the ingredients can penetrate deeply into every crevice. Let's give it a go then...brace yourselves, folks.

Lauren Holden: Showing herself up, since 1984

So, let's just say, I've looked better. And when I emerged out of the bathroom sporting this monstrosity on my chops, I felt I had to warn the other half in advance. After all, I look like something out of a horror film.

That aside though, did the mask - which is said to add instant moisture for plumper, firmer skin - do its job?

I popped it on first thing in the morning (note the snazzy polka dot PJs), after cleansing my skin and before showering. I was due to head for a night out with the girls later that night, so I figured it'd be as good a time as any.

Snip, Snip!

The masks come in these vacuum-style bags, which you simply snip with scissors. The mask is jelly-like in texture, and it takes some doing to get it to adhere to the skin while ensuring you can still see/breathe/speak.

Once on, it felt great - soothing and cooling, probably perfect after a night out, actually.

The idea is that after 20 or so minutes the cold mask will have expressed all its ingredients into the skin, and you can massage any excess moisture into your face with your fingertips.

What did I think?

In all, I was pretty impressed with these masks. I applied the first one and then promptly got in bed with a mag (it's advised you lie down so the mask doesn't slip). Leaving it on for around 25 minutes, I was pleased with how soft and firm my skin felt afterwards. Foundation application was easier following removal of the mask, too - and my skin certainly feels softer.

A bit gimmicky, but definitely worth a go I'd say.

The masks are £14.95 for three, available via Skin Shop. Get yours today and you too can frighten the life out of your fella/housemates/parents.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review consideration. I have not been paid to write this post, neither am I affiliated with the brand in any way. All opinions are my own and 100% honest, as always.
A Lauren to Herself. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.