Tuesday, 25 August 2015

An Instagram Filter for Your Face? Meet Magic Minerals...

I've only recently signed up for Instagram - and I've got to say, I love how decent it can make my complexion look after even the biggest nights out. Hello, Juno filter (my fave)!

So when I heard word of a new beauty product that promises similar results - beautifully glowing skin in an instant - my interest was piqued. 

And here it is: Magic Minerals by Jerome Alexander

Now this product has got TV shopping channel written all over it; packaging-wise, it just looks like something you'd see on those adverts, each one touting the next big 'wonder' product you think you need, but actually don't.

But does this live up to its hype? That being a blemish, age spot, fine line and uneven skin cover up?

Mmmm, not quite. But hold on one cotton-picking, Instagram filter-ering minute...

It's still well worth a look.

Basic black packaging and wiry application brush aside, this is a pretty-looking product. And we all love something that looks as great on our dressing table as it does on our skin, don't we.

What does it do for your skin, though?

For me, it acted as quite a nice skin booster. I'm prone to redness (that'll be the damn adult acne) but a good sweep or two of this really calmed down my angry-looking skin tone. It also brightened the skin a bit.

I wouldn't say it's a miracle product (few beauty products actually are), but it's well worth a look if you're looking for a subtle glow. Perfect after those nights out, Juno Instagram filter aside.

Available for £9.99 www.highstreettv.com over here, this could become a go-to product when your skin's in need of brightening up. Plus, it looks lovely. Like a unicorn has just sprayed its glittery loveliness all over it. Or something.

Have you tried this product? What did you think?

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

Monday, 24 August 2015

My Little Frenchie Box: What's Inside?

Okay, so I'm more than a little late putting this post live...but inspired by more than a few friends' recent Instagram updates (everyone and their dog seems to be jetting off to Paris at the mo!) I'm finally posting this review. 

It's a little account of the My Little Frenchie Box (could it get any cuter) from the France-based beauty subscription service, My Little Box.

If you haven't yet signed up to this gem of a monthly subscription service, what are you waiting for? Unlike other boxes of its kind, this one doesn't contain only beauty items; with a real mixed bag of items inside, it's anyone's guess what you'll receive from one month to the next.

Each box is themed, too...and this one was just gorgeous. I mean, look at it...

So, what was inside?

I'll start by saying this was my favourite box of the lot; with just the right balance of beauty products and other cool knick knacks, it really was a treat.

Inside, then:

A beautiful facial primer - seen here in the pink tube - has been my go-to pre-foundation product for some time. Coming out pink in colour, it glides onto the skin and has a smooth, soft texture. Once rubbed in, it offers a really lovely glow which looks perfect with almost any foundation. I pair mine with a mousse-like foundation from No7 and the two products blend together like a dream.

Also inside the box was a gorgeous brow definer, a By Terry eye pencil (featuring a subtle speck or two of glitter), some cute blotting papers and a canvas phone case.

The best bit? A mini jar (pictured above, right) featuring little scraps of rolled up paper, each one a mini thought of the day. They're all fairly cute and quirky; a recommendation to always wear a little black dress, and to take your make-up off at night. But still lovely.

Did you subscribe to My Little Box in time to get hold of its Frenchie box? What did you think?

For me, it's the brand's best box yet in terms of value. There's got to be well over £30 worth of beauty products in it, alone - and when you consider that the box costs little over £15, you really are getting a good deal.

Until next time...

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

Going Back to Basics with Sukin Facial Cleanser

For some time now, I've been looking to pare down my beauty routine. It's out with a cabinet-load of products and in with a simple skincare regime made up of only a handful of really decent products.

I've been using a whole host of natural products, too, in my quest to enjoy a simpler routine - and so far, so good. I noticed a real improvement in my skin (usually oily - and despite being in my 30s - still blemish-prone) after just a few weeks.

Meet one of my latest favourites: Sukin's foaming facial cleanser...

In a generous 125ml bottle, this lightly foaming cleanser is both sulphate and paraben-free = excellent news for your skin.

But what I loved about this product (aside from its light, natural scent and gel-based consistency) was how gentle it is. It did a great job of removing make-up and left my face feeling fully cleansed, minus that uncomfortable tightness you get with a lot of cleansers.

Combining chamomile, aloe vera, witch hazel and green tea with macademia and evening primrose oil, this purifying face wash is choc full of good skin-loving ingredients.

It's suitable for oily and combination, skin too; if like me you suffer from the odd blemish, you'll love how fresh and clean this leaves your skin.

To apply, simply pump a small amount into moist hands, lather with water and gently massage into the skin. Rinse thoroughly with water and use once or twice a day.

If you're thinking of getting a new cleanser, it's your lucky day; Feel Unique have this one with a few quid off over on the site - enjoy!

What's your current favourite skincare product? Any recommendations?

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

Friday, 10 July 2015

Lost Your Blogging Mojo?

Don't panic; we've all been there.

In fact, anyone who's a regular reader of this here blog might have noticed posts have been few and far between of late. The weeks just whizz by, don't they? And before you know it a couple of months have passed and still no post.

True, we all have reasons why our blogs suffer neglect; mine's a result of setting up a new sideline: The Occasional Reporter.  But I'm slowly getting the old blogging mojo back - and do you know what, it feels great.

The good news is there's a host of ways you can breathe life into your blog - but here's a really easy one: buy a planner or diary* and make sure you use it.

The one I've been using lately has been helping me twofold; it's been encouraging me to jot down some ideas for upcoming blogs, as well as schedule all the little 'admin' jobs that tend to fall by the wayside.

If you haven't yet checked out TOAD Diaries pop on over to the site; you'll love it. It's a West Yorkshire-based company that's helping make all our lives a whole lot easier via really lovely personalised diaries.

The really great thing about the diaries, though, is you can order one to start from any month of the year. There's no need to wait until January to buy your diary anymore; you can even purchase an 18-month or 5-year diary, if you're that organised.

The clue's in the name, really. TOAD stands for Today or Any Day - perfect if you're someone like me; someone who loves 'To Do' lists and paper-based planners.

I chose to have my diary start in June; I launched my small business around that time and thought it'd give me the kick I needed to get going and start scheduling some social media posts and what not. It's been an absolute gem on that front, folks. If you're worried about letting your usual weekly blogging regime slip, this could well be the answer for you.

I mean, just look how lovely the diary is. There's even a fun 'Make a TOAD' page, where you can create your own paper toad - it doesn't get much better than that. Oh and there's a handy plastic wallet in the back of my diary too, helping me to keep important bits and bobs (like business cards and what not) safe.

I found the ordering process really easy, too. There's even a handy video on the TOAD site which explains how it all works when you come to purchase your personalised diary. 

Take a look at the site and order yours today; mine arrived within just days of me hitting 'purchase' - and I'm so thrilled with it. I was able to personalise the front cover with The Occasional Reporter and there's so many cute designs to choose from you'll be browsing the site for ages.

How do you maintain your blogging mojo? Have you got some cool tips I don't know about? Ping 'em my way.

Until next time...

*This product was sent for review consideration

Thursday, 14 May 2015

An Afternoon at Huddersfield's Alexandra House

It wasn't too long ago I was thinking it was high time I had a facial. Not just for its skin-soothing benefits; my ridiculously-hormonal face (yep, I'm in my 30s and still suffer blemishes - sob!) but for the sheer relaxation only a half-hour treatment in a spa can bring.

Well, let it be said that the lovely team at Faith PR, alongside the therapists at Alexandra House - a spa I've been visiting for regular facials for some years now - can clearly now also read minds. As lo and behold an invite to sample the Huddersfield-based holistic spa popped into my inbox. And oh how welcome it was!

Since going freelance full-time at the back end of last year, I've not only been coming to terms with managing my own time and 'being my own boss' ("Another cup of tea, Lauren? Yeah, go on then Lauren!") but working from home has been sending me stir crazy.

An afternoon of zoning out was just the pick-me-up I needed - and would you just look at the beautiful surroundings of Alecandra House's newly renovated spa....

In bloom: the beautifully idyllic surroundings of Huddersfield's Alexandra House
There's a reason Alexandra House's slogan is 'A spa with a heart'; the staff can't do enough for you when you visit and there's a lovely holistic approach to each and every treatment. But it doesn't end there. Everything is geared up to ensure you leave the spa not only looking great (as far as glowing skin goes) but feeling as light as a feather, too.

My visit to Alexandra House followed a busy morning at a networking event with my friend and fellow spa lover, Ellie (pictured below). The afternoon was just what we needed after a few hours on our feet and we were pleased to be greeted by friendly spa owner, Maxine and her equally lovely team of therapists.

In no time at all, we were given comfy slippers and robes and shown into the retail therapy room before our treatments - a chance to relax while taking a look at the many holistic-themed products on offer.
Top left: My spa-ing partner, Ellie. Top right, Eve Taylor products, on display in the Retail Therapy room. Bottom left: One of the treatment rooms. Bottom right; Enjoying a foot soak and a smoothie

Choosing a deliciously healthy pear and banana smoothie from the extensive drinks menu, we were first treated to biscuits and a gorgeous hot foot soak, complete with a mountain of bubbles - absolute bliss.

After a morning pounding the halls of a huge exhibition venue, we were more than ready to take the weight off our poor feet. 
Left: the Retail Therapy room. Top right: Alexandra House's therapists working their magic. Bottom right: the relaxation room

It was then time for a relaxing foot massage from the lovely ladies you see above, before we were led into our individual treatment rooms. Ellie opted for a soothing Indian head massage, while I went for my favourite - a 30-minute Eve Taylor facial. 
The beautifully-decorated treatment room
The therapists at Alexandra House have been using Eve Taylor for almost as long as I've been attending the spa (some four years or more) and they're some of the best products I've been lucky enough to try during my time writing this here blog. When my skin's been at its worst, I know Eve's products - thanks to their soothingly gentle formulas - will give my complexion the boost it needs. I've used the brand's cleanser regularly in the past, and the products' aromatherapy scents are relaxing without being overpowering. 

It's interesting, also, that Eve - a big advocate for holistic therapies - won't allow her team to blend the aromatherapy oils during a full moon, or when they're in a bad mood. Apparently, it affects the energy of the product and therefore the effectiveness of its ingredients. Mmmm. I'm not sure I'm 100% with Eve on that one, but that said I've always come away from the spa feeling as if I'm walking on air - and good or bad energy aside, that'll do in my book.

The treatment itself was just what the doctor ordered (actually, can that be a thing now? Facials on the NHS!); a mix of gentle music, aromatic scents and one of the best facial massages I've had in a long time. Hats off to the lovely lady who managed to put me in something of a spa-induced coma for 30 minutes.
Recommended Eve Taylor homecare products
But the fun wasn't over just yet. Making our way into the relaxation room, we enjoyed a little more time with our feet up before we had to head out into the real world and endure Huddersfield traffic at rush hour. Just what I needed to pull me out of that coma. NOT.

If you're looking for a West Yorkshire-based spa that delivers great treatments in beautiful surroundings, head here. You won't be disappointed.

A huge thank you to Alexandra House and its team for a lovely, much-needed afternoon - I'm sure I'll not leave it quite so long until my next visit!

Disclaimer: I was offered an afternoon's pampering at Alexandra House 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.

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