Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair: Should You Believe the Hype?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The media may (sometimes) urge us to embrace our imperfections, but if you're anything like me, when you look in the mirror, you'll immediately hone in on the bits about your body or face you hate. Even on (relatively few and far between) good hair days, or evenings when you've managed to find a frock which doesn't cling to your lumpy bits, but hugs you in all the right places, you still focus on that one small thing you'd rather be without.

For me, that 'thing' is my complexion. If acne was a person, it'd be the pig-headed Mean Girls-esque b**ch of the class. The skin disorder clearly didn't think it'd done me enough damage during my teenage years, forcing me to wear trowel-loads of make-up and feel, well, just a little bit self-conscious when I'd sweated it all off during PE. Instead, as a grim reminder of my younger days, acne has quite helpfully (NOT) left behind more than just a handful of unsightly scars and marks.

Cue Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair, which I've heard can work wonders on everything from acne, acne scarring, to hyper-pigmentation and even milia.

Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair, 30ml

The first thing I'll say about this product - hailed an absolute bathroom cabinet-must have for some years - is it ain't cheap. In fact, brace yourselves: it's £43 for a 30ml bottle, with the larger 50ml bottle coming in at around £60.
While this is way out of my price range for skincare in general, when it comes to products hailed for their acne-busting and scar-repairing abilities I have, and will, shell out a little more.

So, let's have a glance at the product then shall we?

Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair serum
The brand's Advanced Night Repair may well have been rebranded recently (with a slightly different name), but if bloggers' reviews are anything to go by it's still the same great product.
Now named Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, the product has won countless beauty awards and is well-known for its transformative effects on the skin. 
It aims to not only visibly reduce the signs of ageing (with over 75% of women saying their skin looked more youthful after using this), but it offers fresher, more rested skin and a hydration boost for dryer complexions.
How Does it Work?
Apparently, skin renews itself at night, and this product works to maximise this renewal during sleep, thanks to the exclusive ChronoluxCB™ Technology it comprises. In layman's terms, the product offers intense hydration during the night (when your skin best repairs itself), while preventing the appearance of past damage to your complexion during the day.

Application feels extremely luxurious, with an almost clinical-like pipette dropper. I've been applying this after cleansing and just before bed, using four or five drops, rubbing them between my fingers and gently smoothing over my face.

 So, is it Worth the Hype?

I'm not sure if it's just a case of wishful thinking, but I've noticed a huge improvement in the appearance of my skin's marks and scars. I've been using the product for around three weeks and already I've noticed a difference; with marks looking smoother and my skin appearing brighter in general.

Thinking of giving the product a go? I'd say see if you can get hold of a sample first; it's an expensive product to take a punt on, but I'm pretty sure you'll notice some benefits - even if it is just smoother, fresher-looking skin - in a matter of weeks.

Have you tried Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair? What are your thoughts?

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 views are my own and 100% honest, as always.

Unboxing: My Little Box's My Little Parisienne Box

Monday, 13 October 2014

Just when you think My Little Box - the latest in a rather long line of subscription beauty boxes - couldn't get any more quirky, it releases it's cool, Parisienne style offering.

The box, a French take on postal subscription boxes - comes via France, and each month follows a different theme. So far, I've received this My Little Summer Box, and the brand's My Little Sunset Box. And from one month to the next, you really have no idea what you're going to get inside.

For anyone unfamiliar with subscription services like this, basically, you pay a set amount each month and in return receive a 'surprise' package in the mail, containing any number of make-up or non-beauty treats.

Of course, for many people, it's all about the surprise element. And for your £15 or so pounds each month, you tend to get a lot for your money. A bonus if you've had at least one of the items on your wishlist, too.
Top row: My Little Box's tablet/ipad case, Unboxing and the cute little bag each month's products come in

What I really love about this box from My Little Box, though, is, unlike other subscription services like it, it's not all about beauty products,

Contained inside this month's box, for example (alongside a few lovely beauty treats - all packaged in the box's fail-safe mini linen bag, see top right) I received a cute French-inspired notebook, some quirky stickers, and a rather sweet little iPad/tablet case. 

Top row: A peek at this month's gifts, Laura Mercier primer, Nuxe oil and a My Little Box own brand concealer

Perhaps the highlight for me, though? Getting my hands on Laura Mercier's famous foundation primer. I've heard such a lot about the brand, and despite treating myself to one of LM's lipsticks recently, I could never quite justify the prices of the primer or foundation. Thankfully, I could now try the primer in travel-sized form for free - and let me tell you, it's like Polyfiller for the face - a real make-up bag must-have.

Also contained in this month's box is a NUXE hair and body oil in a mini size, and a My Little Box own branded concealer. A great little collection of items, I'm sure you'll agree, and a lovely tribute to the   city in which the box was founded

If you haven't already, head to the My Little Box website and check it out. Here are the prices; not bad when you consider for around £15 per month you'll get three or so beauty products and a couple of surprise extras. Last month's goodies included a box of playing cards and a dainty bracelet.

I'm umming and ahhing about treating my sister to a three-month subscription to this. I hope she isn't reading this blog....

Have you tried this new subscription service? What do you think?

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.


Sunday, 12 October 2014

I don’t recall the year I began buying my g
Grandad a box of wine gums for Christmas. Like charging into my sister’s bedroom shouting ‘he’s been, he’s been!’ at the very first glimpse of Santa’s loot under the tree, in the Holden household, it just went hand in hand with the festive season.

On the afternoon of December 25, we’d all bundle into the car, freezing cold and clutching a sack full of new toys we'd later excitedly show our grandparents. Grandad would greet us both with a big, warm hug, and we’d hand over a huge, beautifully-wrapped box of those deliciously moreish sweets.

His cheeky smile always suggested he knew exactly what lay inside that wrapper; he could tell from the distinctive-shaped box, and it fast became a running joke as he shook and smelled the gift, 'pretending’ to guess what was inside. Sometimes, we’d pop them into his hands with the words: ‘And here’s your wine gums, Grandad!’ They came to be one of those utterly predictable but oh so thoughtful presents; the kind of gift which, in time, almost comes to define a person.

Grandad would joke that on Boxing Day he’d secretly take the wine gums off to the nearby park,  hurriedly opening the box and delving deep inside the plastic wrapper, shoveling the sweets into his mouth, one by one. He’d do this ‘so that Nanna couldn't have any’, he jested. He loved those chewy, gummy sweets so much he just couldn't bear to share them.

This year, I’ll head to the supermarket as ever for the ‘big festive food shop’, popping in the trolley a Chocolate Orange for dad, a packet of special toffee for nanna, and, you guessed it, a huge box of wine gums for Grandad.

But I won’t get to see Grandad’s knowing grin as he sets eyes on that distinctive-shaped box. I won’t watch as he sniffs and shakes the packet, trying to ‘guess’ its contents. And I definitely won’t get to hear his tried and trusted joke about taking said box to the park and scoffing the sweets in one sitting.

Instead, I’ll unwrap that distinctive-shaped box myself, after sniffing and shaking the packet and attempting to ‘guess’ its contents. Then I’ll share the sweets around. 

This year, there’ll be no jokes about sloping off to a park bench to eat them. We’ll each of us enjoy one of those moreish sweets; my Nanna, my parents, my sister, and I. And we’ll no doubt laugh about that old tradition. More importantly, though, we’ll remember Grandad: the newsagent's number one confectionery customer and our number one comedian. 

It's a rare occasion I write anything personal here on A Lauren to Herself, but for me, this little story - my entry for the Transun festive experiences bloggers' competition - best sums up Christmas. If I win, I'll be treating my nephews (along with my sister) to the grand prize - a day trip to Lapland. The look on my nephews' faces is my motivation. Oh, and I'll make sure to take a box (or two) of wine gums on the plane over. 

I hope you liked this post.

Want Shiny, Bouncy Hair? Reach for Neal & Wolf's Ritual Daily Cleansing Shampoo

Monday, 6 October 2014

I moved to Huddersfield just short of two years ago, and I can honestly say I've lost count of the amount of people who've recommended the town's The Vinery hair salon to me.

So it was lovely to meet Emma (who works on the salon's reception and handles the marketing side of the brand) at a recent work event. After catching a quick chat with the lovely Emma, I was even more determined to make it my mission to pop into The Vinery for a hair cut. And it's certainly long overdue a good trim.

In the meantime, Emma's gone some way to helping me achieve a full, bouncy - and very glossy - do with very minimal effort. Introducing the Ritual Daily Cleansing Shampoo by Neal & Wolf.

Bottom left: The Daily Cleansing Ritual Shampoo, bottom right: The rest of the Neal & Wolf collection

I'll be honest and say the brand is completely new to me, but after a quick glance on its site (link above) I'm definitely intrigued to discover more of its hair care and styling products.

At around £10 a tube, this shampoo sits at the high end of the market, but there's plenty of it to ensure more than just a few weeks' use. It's also completely cruelty-free, as well as sulphate-free - a real rarity in the world of shampoos. 

Mild and effective, the shampoo aims to leave hair 'fresh, full of shine and ready for styling every day'. It even contains 'silk and milk proteins', apparently, to help boost the hair and add vital moisture to it from the roots down.

So, what did I reckon?

The first thing I noticed was how lovely the product smelled. It lathered up great, too - just enough to make you feel as though your hair was being treated to a good enough clean, but not too much that it stripped the head of its natural oils.

After cleansing my hair, I followed with my usual Pantene volume conditioner, and left to air dry. The result later on was soft, silky hair which felt really bouncy and full - unusual for me as my hair is naturally quite fine. I'm looking forward to using this product daily; it can only improve my hair with each use, I reckon. And I'll make sure I keep you updated.

Have you tried anything from Neal & Wolf? And have you visited The Vinery hair salon yet? 

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.

Juci Wellbeing Detox Juices: My Thoughts

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Despite losing almost a stone (in preparation for a big holiday to mark my 30th birthday) earlier this year, my health and fitness regime has took something of a nosedive since. You know how it is when you return from a week away; you've piled on a couple of pounds and you quickly slip back into your old habits.

But, having managed to still keep off most of the weight, I figured now - with the countdown to Christmas coming up - was as good a time as any to kick-start a healthier way of living, yet again.

That said, the people at brand new juice detox brand Juci Wellbeing, must be telepathic, with an email dropping in my inbox detailing the company's new three-day cleanse. Did I want to try it, they asked? Did I ever?!

My interest piqued further still, when I heard the brand new detox system had been devised and created alongside a nutritionist (Sarah Garton) from my hometown of Lancaster. My pal Meg was the first to let me know about Juci Wellbeing, and after hearing from the PR company behind the company (which has been set up by Mel Wells of The Green Goddess Life) I was excited to give the juices a go.

Top left: After delivery of my juices, top middle: some of the delicious, fresh ingredients in Juci Wellbeing juices, top right: my favourite of the four juices bottom: the full Juci Wellbeing three-day detox range
Of course, detox packages like this one don't come cheap (the three-day detox has an introductory price tag of £94), on account of the fact they basically provide three days worth of meals, containing all the nutrients you need to achieve a healthy diet. The best bit? The detox helps with much more than cleansing the body. Here's just some of its benefits:

* Huge energy boost
* Easy weight loss
* Glowing complexion
* Flat stomach
* Better concentration and focus
* Reduced cellulite and water retention

So, how did I fare?

You can't always rely on Royal Mail, and a hiccup with delivery meant my juices were fast going out of date before I'd had chance to give them all a go. With haste, I popped some in the freezer and tried out a couple on the day of arrival instead. A full three-day detox, therefore, had to go out of the window, and I promptly popped to see my neighbour, Abby (a lover of all things healthy) to split the package.

Had the detox been done properly, we'd have started a few days earlier, cutting out processed food, alcohol and caffeine, drinking plenty of water and ensuring we got at least our five-a-day. Instead, we decided to give the juices a go and comment on taste and texture alone.

Each of the cold-pressed juices has been devised by Sarah Garton to offer the best possible detox, and so far feedback has been positive, with fellow bloggers trying - and really enjoying - the four juices on offer (two of which are the same flavour) in the three-day pack.

What did we think?

The really great thing about Juci Wellbeing for anyone new to detoxing is how easy the system is t follow.  There are four drinks to take (in place of regular meals) every day, with each of the bottles numbered one to four so you know exactly which one to take and when. Approximate times to knock back your drinks are laid out in a handy leaflet which comes with your box of juices, so there are no problems there, either.

Here's a little rundown of the drinks included:

Juci Boost - for an instant spring clean

Juci Shine - a spicy combination packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants to protect our cells and stimulate liver functioning

Juci Lift - for an instant energy lift, packaged with nutrients to support healthy blood and circulation, and to encourage toxin removal away from the cells. 

When it came to taste testing all four juices, I was pleasantly surprised. While the vegetable-based drinks did have chunkier pieces in them, they were by no means hard to knock back and the flavours were actually pretty refreshing.

I loved the carrot and orange, which featured an added hint of ginger for a sharp but satisfying taste. Juice number three was also delicious; a beetroot base with some other more fruity flavours added in.

Each box of juices also comes with Psyillium husk - a powder to be mixed with water for an added boost. My neighbour, Abby, also found the juices a big hit, saying the flavours were well-balanced and tasty, and she certainly noticed a boost in energy, too.

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to cleanse the body, drop a little weight and feel great ahead of the festive season, why not take a look at the Juci Wellbeing site? And don't forget to check out some other reviews while you're there.

Until next time, folks...

Disclaimer: This juice detox was sent to be for review consideration. I have not been paid to write this post; all opinions are my own and 100% honest.

A Lauren to Herself. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.