Keeping my nails strong and healthy

As a teenager, I used to spend half an hour massaging olive oils into my nails every weekend. These days, there's just not enough time, but in a bid to keep my nails strong and healthy, I've started using a couple of beauty products instead:

Organic surge lavender meadow hand & nail cream, No7 nourishing nail & cuticle care, Dr Lewinn's renunail nail strengthener, Dr Lewinn's renunail nourishing oil
Organic surge lavender meadow hand & nail cream
No7 nourishing nail & cuticle care
Dr Lewinn's renunail nail strengthener
Dr Lewinn's renunail nourishing oil

Starting with a good quality hand cream. At the moment, I'm really liking Organic surge lavender meadow hand and nail cream. I type and write a lot during the day, so need something light and quick absorbing, yet still rich and moisturising, and this fits the bill perfectly. As always with Organic surge, it's free from chemical nasties, and for someone who didn't use to like lavender, I find the scent to be surprisingly comforting.

As bizarre as it sounds, my nails have been looking rather dry recently. So on weekends when I'm not wearing nail varnish, I like to massage in a small amount of No 7 nourishing nail & cuticle care. It contains extracts of sunflower, grape, honey and cocoa butter, all of which help to nourish and strengthen the nails. It's also a cream, which means that once applied, there's no need to hang about waiting for it to sink in.

Finally, there's Dr Lewinn's renunail nail strengthener and nourishing oil. The nail strengthener has quite specific instructions (every day for 5 days, remove on day 7 before starting the process again). I must admit, I just apply a coat every few weeks, then remove after about a week once it's started chipping. Prior to using this, my nails were weak and peeling, but after about 2 cycles, you could really notice the difference. Now they're much stronger and I've not had any problems with peeling since. The duo pack also comes with a nourishing oil, which I don't always use, but on days when I do have some spare time, it's a nice nourishing treat for the cuticles.

How do you keep your nails strong and healthy? What's your favourite hand cream?

Chiswick house and gardens - photodiary and OOTD

This year, I'm determined to make the most of living in London, and seeing as the weather was so nice earlier this month, we decided to go for a wonder around the beautiful Chiswick house and gardens in West London:

 Beautiful flowers by the greenhouse

 Amazing spot to have a picnic

 Love the design of this mini bridge

 Chiswick house

Bracelet - Lovelinks

When I was little, we used to live next to a park, and since then I've always enjoyed wondering around and taking photos. These days I'm lucky enough to live near Hyde Park, but on a hot summer's day, it soon gets very busy and sometimes it's nice to leave the hustle and bustle of Central London. 

With it's combination of neo-Palladian buildings, hidden pathways and colourful flower beds, Chiswick house and gardens was so much fun to explore and on a warm sunny day the perfect place to enjoy a picnic too. If you ever get the chance to, then it's well worth the hour long trip to West London.

In fact, did you know Chiswick house was the birthplace of the English landscape movement, and it's since gone on to inspire countless gardens, including the world famous Central Park in New York!

Have you ever been to Chiswick house? What are your favourite places to explore in London?

Summer ready bronzed skin

I must admit I've been rather lazy this year, but with highs of 26 degrees this week, I figured it was finally time to ditch the jeans and start fake tanning instead:

Elemis frangipani monoi salt glow, Caudalie divine legs, L'oreal sublime bronze express pro self tanning dry mist, L'oreal sublime bronze self tanning fresh feel gel
Elemis frangipani monoi salt glow
Caudalie divine legs
L'oreal sublime bronze express pro self tanning dry mist
L'oreal sublime bronze self tanning fresh feel gel

To start off with, I like to use Elemis frangipani monoi salt glow body scrub. With extracts of hibiscus, coconut oil, frangipani flowers and mineral salts it gently polishes the skin, seals in moisture and leaves behind a light floral scent. Unlike some of the exfoliators I've tried in the past, it's not harsh or scratchy but it's still effective enough to remove any dry patches, leaving my skin soft, smooth and ready for fake tan.

For unexpected sunny days, it's good to have an instant bronzer on hand. And with Caudalie divine legs it really is a fuss free easy application. It's a combined body lotion and bronzer, so there's no need to moisturise before hand, and once blended in, you're left with very natural looking instant tan. I've yet to experience any streaking or colour transference, although I would avoid wearing anything too light just in case.

Finally there's the newly reformulated L'oreal sublime bronze range. It takes a bit more time and preparation, but because it lasts up to a week, it's perfect as a pre holiday boost. For a spray tan novice like myself, the express pro self tanning dry mist was surprisingly easy to use and thanks to the wide nozzle, great for those hard to reach areas too. I'm also loving the new self tanning fresh feel gel. It's not tinted so a tanning mitt is essential, but once applied, it's quick drying, non sticky and develops into a natural looking golden tan in just 4 hours.

Are you a regular fake tanner? What are your top tips for a streak free even tan?

Battle of the beauty boxes - June 2013

This month I thought I'd try something a little different. Instead of my usual beauty box reviews, I thought it might be fun to do a bit of a comparision post instead:

BeauteCo june 2013
BeauteCo June 2013*

Starting with the June BeauteCo box and as I've mentioned previously, there are a choice of 3 boxes each month. I went for menu 2, which includes an impressive 3 full sized products. In particular I'm really looking forward to trying the Balance me wonder eye cream. These days, I'm very much a balm cleanser type of girl, but the Organic surge cleansing lotion is surprisingly nice, and I've actually been putting it to good use on days when I've not been wearing very much make up. The only product I'm not keen on is the Headline nail polish (gold isn't really my colour), however with the pre set menu I knew exactly what I'd be getting, and the other 4 products more than makes up for this.

Glossybox June 2013
Glossybox June 2013*

Whilst the June BeauteCo box is very skincare heavy, Glossybox have gone for more of a diverse approach. Burgandy is one of my favourite nail colours, so the Mememe nail varnish couldn't have been more perfect. The Fig & rouge lip balm is lovely too, and having heard a lot of good things, I'm really looking forward to giving Sarah Chapman skincare a try. It was also nice to try the new Hugo Boss perfume ahead of it's official UK launch date. The only downside is that bar the Mememe nail varnish, there are no other full sized samples this month.

Overall, there are things that I like and dislike about both boxes. If you'd like to see what you're getting beforehand and prefer more natural brands, then BeauteCo would be the best box for you. On the other hand, if you'd like to try a more diverse selection of products (including some of the more niche brands) and don't mind the smaller samples sizes, then Glossybox would be your best bet.

Are you a beauty box subscriber? Of the two, which one would you prefer?

Neom scent with love bodycare gift set

Neom may be best known for their scented candles, but in recent months I've discovered they also make some rather lovely toiletries too. And after a long week at work, their scent with love body care gift set was just what I needed to relax and unwind for the weekend:

Neom scent with love bodycare gift set

 Neom scent with love bodycare gift set. Neom tranquillity bath and shower oil, Neom sensuous body wash, Neom sensuous body lotion, Neom complete bliss organic hand cream

As always with Neom, the gift set comes beautifully presented, and inside you'll find 4 of their best sellling products. The Tranquillity bath and shower oil smells exactly like my favourite spa treatment and fragranced with lavender, basil and jasmine, it really does set the mood for the rest of the evening.

With notes of ylang ylang, frankincense and patchouli, the Sensuous body wash and lotion are a bit more seductive and spicy, but still very relaxing and a compete joy to use. In fact come winter time, I'd almost be tempted to pick up a full sized body lotion.

Finally to complete the set, there's a mini Complete bliss moroccan rose hand cream. I must admit I'm not the biggest fan of pure rose scent but with hints of black pepper and lime, it's more refreshing than old lady like. And because it's so moisturising yet light on the skin, it's now my go to hand cream when I'm out and about during the day.

Overall, a well thought out and beautifully presented gift set. Definitely one to consider if you're new to the brand or if you're out present shopping for a friend.

Neom scent with love gift set, RRP £35, available online here.

Are you a fan of Neom products? What's your favourite relaxing treat?

Dressing for the Royal Ascot festival

Today sees the start of Royal Ascot, and seeing as its as much about the fashion as it is about the racing, I thought I'd put together my own little outfit:


Starting with the all important dress, and after a quick look on Asos, I couldn't help but fall in love with this one. With it's lace detailing, built in belt and chiffon skirt, it really couldn't be more perfect.

Hats are a major feature at Royal Ascot and seeing as I've gone for a cream dress, I thought I'd continue the theme with this pretty lace and floral statement piece.

Because the dress is so pretty, for jewellery, I thought I'd keep it simple with a classic silver necklace and bracelet.

In recent months I've been lusting after a pair of LK Bennett heels, and I think the nude sledge pumps would go with this outfit perfectly.

Finally, I'd bring along a cute little clutch for all my girly essentials. And because I've kept the rest of the outfit quite simple, I thought this pink messenger bag would be perfect for a pop of colour to finish off the outfit.

Have you ever been to the Royal Ascot racecourse? What would be your tip fashion picks?

*Collaborative post

Life lately...

 It's been a while since I've done one of these, but seeing as life has been quite busy recently and I've not had the chance to blog much, I thought now would be the perfect time for a catch up post:

 Tea and cakes with an old uni friend/ Admiring the new Sleek make up palettes/ Visiting Prague 

 Traditional Czech food/ Trying out some local beer/ Inspirational quotes from the John Lennon peace wall

 Nice and sunny back in the UK/ Pretty flowers at a local park/ Lamb koftas and cocktails for dinner

Millennium hotel, Mayfair, Cocktails, Mojito
 Cocktail making at the Millennium hotel

Millennium hotel mayfair
 Millennium hotel Mayfair

Last time I attended a cocktail making class, I had so much fun that when the opportunity came up again, I jumped at the chance. This time, the class took place at Millennium hotel, a 336 bed luxury hotel just behind the American embassy in Mayfair.

After a quick tour of the hotel's 4* suites and impressive views, we got to work making cocktails and sampling the barmen's own creations. In recent months, Mojito's have become of one of my favourite drinks, and it was so much fun learning how to make it myself. If you ever get the chance to, then I'd definitely recommend signing up for a cocktail making class or popping in and sampling one of their many delicious cocktails.

Detox kitchen deli, Harvey nichols
Detox kitchen deli

Despite what my Instagram photos might suggest, I really do try and be healthy 80% off the time. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Lily Simpson, founder of Harvey Nichol's newest food counter - Detox kitchen deli. As the name would suggest, everything is freshly prepared on the day and packed full of nutritious vegetables. Considering I usually go for a lunchtime BLT, the food was surprisngly tasty (they have a small selection of lean meats) and I'm now addicted to their guilt free beetrot brownies!

Prague
Prague

Finally, towards the end of May, we had the chance to spend a week in Prague. Rather annoyingly, it rained pretty much the whole time we were there, but Prague really is a beautiful city, and being 2 keen photographers, we had so much fun exploring and clicking away with our cameras. Look out for a photo diary very soon :)


What have you been up to recently? Have you ever been to Prague?

Guerlain gloss d'enfer maxi shine lipgloss review and swatches

As much as I like to experiment with different lip products, deep down, I'll always be a lipgloss girl at heart. And recently I've been loving the new Guerlain maxi shines:

Guerlain maxi shine lipgloss, Guerlain maxi shine lipgloss review, Guerlain gloss d'enfer

Enriched with oils, I found the Maxi shines to be surprisingly light, non sticky and moisturising on the lips. With 20 shades to choose from, the colours are quite varied in terms of their pigmentation and coverage, although they all have the same classic rose petal scent.

Guerlain maxi shine lipgloss, Guerlain gloss d'enfer, Guerlain maxi shine candy strip, Guerlain maxi shine rouge shebam, Guerlain maxi shine prune zip, Guerlain maxi shine swatches
 Guerlain maxi shine in Candy strip, Rouge shebam and Prune zip

The three shades that I have are 468 Candy strip, 420 Rouge shebam and 471 Prune zip. Of the three, Candy strip was the most pigmented, and with it's pinky coral tones, perfect as an everyday lipgloss. In fact it's been my go to lip colour these last few weeks.

Rouge shebam (a classic red) and Prune zip (a hot bubblegum pink) on the other hand give more of a subtle tint, although both can be layered up for a more intense look.

Longevity wise, the Maxi shines lasted for around 4 hours before wearing off. What really impressed me though, was just how moisturising they all were. In fact, they could up have easily doubled up as a lip balm too. Definitely one to check out if you want something that's light and non sticky, yet still super moisturising and long lasting on the lips.

Guerlain maxi shine lipgloss, RRP £22, available instores and online at Selfridges.com

Have you tried any of the new Guerlain maxi shines? What are your favourite lip colours?

May empties/Project bathroom update

It's always the way isn't it, after not finishing a single product in April, I seem to have worked through most of my daily essentials in May:

Soap & glory whipped clean shower butter
Herbal essences fruit fusions uplifting volume shampoo
Tresemme platinum strength instant rescue shot
Aveeno positively radiant eye-brightening cream
No7 beautiful skin BB cream 
Batiste cherry dry shampoo
Origins make a difference plus rejuvenating treatment
17 miracle matte pressed powder
The body shop hemp hand protector
Nude perfect cleansing oil
Liz Earle botanical shine shampoo

For the first time in ages, I've actually liked every single product listed above. Special mentions go to the Soap and glory shower gel, which smells exactly like cupcakes, and the 17 pressed powder which has been my go to mattifier for the last few months.

As you know The Body Shop hemp hand protector and Batiste dry shampoos are absolute must haves for me, and I've already started using my back ups for both products. No7 BB cream has been a real favourite too, and thanks to it's broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, an definite repurchase for the summer months (although I'll be going for the oily/combination skin version this time).

Although I enjoyed using it at the time, I probably wouldn't repuchase the Aveeno eye cream again. In recent months I've started noticing fine lines around the eye area, and now that I'm approaching my mid twenties, I'd quite like something with more anti-ageing and brightening properties. Let me know if you have any recommendations :)

How did you get on this month? What are your absolute must haves?

May favourites

It's been a while since my last monthly favourites, but seeing as I've been trying out lots of new products during May, I thought now would be the perfect time to show you my top 5 picks:

Ren hydra calm global protection day cream, Organic surge citrus mint shower gel, Nivea in shower body moisturiser skin conditioner, Guerlain maxi shine lipgloss, Revlon nearly naked foundation, May favourites, Favourites

Ren hydra calm global protection day cream, Organic surge citrus mint shower gel, Nivea in shower body moisturiser skin conditioner

In my quest to find a new moisturiser, I recently stumbled upon Ren hydra calm global protection day cream. Specifically designed for sensitive skin, hydra calm doesn't contain any SPF (my biggest cause of break outs) or anti-ageing ingredients. It does however feel very calming on application, and despite being quite a thick cream, absorbs quickly, and keeps my skin well hydrated without making it too oily during the day.

As you may know, I love anything that's citrus scented, and this new Organic surge citrus mint shower gel is perfect for waking me in the mornings. With extracts of mint, lemon and orange, this smells absolutely amazing. Currently on offer at £3.26, I think this is a real bargain and because it's SLS free, it's refreshing without being too drying on the skin. 

On days when I've needed a bit more hydration, I've been using the new Nivea in shower body moisturiser skin conditioner. Manly packaging aside, this really is an innovative new product. You simply apply it as you would a normal shower gel, rinse away, and it leaves your skin feeling lightly moisturised, soft and smooth. As I'm always in a rush in the mornings and never have time for body lotion, this is a real must have. 
 
Revlon nearly naked foundation, Guerlain maxi shine lipgloss 468 candy strip

As much as I love experimenting with lipsticks and crayons, I'll always be a lipgloss girl at heart. Recently I've been loving the new Guerlain maxi shine in 468 candy strip. Candy strip is the most gorgeous coral pink shade, and because the formula is enriched with oils, it's non sticky, long lasting, and mostly importantly, super nourishing on the lips. Look out for a full review and swatches of some of the other shades later this week.

And last but not least, I've finally ditched my beloved BB creams in favour of Revlon nearly naked foundation. 130 shell is the perfect match for my NC25 skintone, and it gives just the right amount of light-medium coverage without being too cakey or oily. I usually apply with my fingertips, and I find the finish to be very natural, almost like a second skin. The only downside? It comes in a pour out glass bottle and I would love it if they changed it to a pump instead.

Have you tried any of these products? What have you been loving this month?
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