March beauty favourites

Another month over and although it's scary how quickly March went by, I'm so glad that Winter is now finally over. The sun makes everything seem so much better and I can't wait for longer days, warmer weather and of course all the exciting new Spring/Summer beauty launches. But for now, a look back at my March favourites: 

March favourites 


I'm so glad that micellar waters are now easily available on the high street. Of the ones I've tried Simple micellar water seems to be the closest dupe for Bioderma. There's absolutely no scent or colour, it removes all traces of eye make up and feels gentle and soothing on the skin. It's designed to leave no residue so I've been using this as a toner too on days when I've been wearing particularly heavy make up. 

Spring may be officially here but my skin is still going through its dry patch. Having tried various lotions and potions, S5 replenish serum seems to be the most effective. It's a light serum oil which you use before moisturiser and it instantly calms and nourishes the skin. I'm not a big fan of the scent, but it soon disappears and the results are worth it for me. In fact on a recent trip I forgot to pack this and even though I was only away for one night my skin was visibly red and sensitive the next day. Well worth a look if you also have dry/dehydrated skin. 

For haircare I've been using Swell advanced volumising shampoo and conditioner. A range specfically designed for fine flat hair without the usual chemicals (eg. SLS and parabens). The shampoo is gentle yet clarifying and the conditioner nourishing without weighing down my hair. I wouldn't say there's a big increase in volume but as a gentle everyday duo I'd definitely recommend. 

I'm still loving my scented candles although with the warmer weather I've been gravitating towards Flamingo candle in raspberry and salted caramel, not to mention the fact that its bright pink! For me the scent is more zesty and sherbet like initially, with the fruitier caramel notes coming through as you burn the candle. It's certainly very refreshing and perfect as a transitional scent going into Spring/Summer. 

Finally as I've been on annual leave last week I've been embracing the new Bourjois so lacque nail enamels. Think high gloss, creamy and pigmented -in fact they look almost gel like on the nails. Chair et tendre is a beautiful pinky nude and Flambant rose an eye catching coral that I've had so many compliments on. 

Have you tried any of the products above? What were your March favourites? 

Lunch at Sky Garden, Walkie Talkie building

It occurred to me the other day that I've been living in London for 8 years. Despite this I don't explore the city enough and with it being ever changing there's always somewhere new to try. The latest addition to London's skyline is 20 Fenchurch street (aka Walkie Talkie) and hidden away at the top is Sky Garden - 2 floors of observational decks, bars and restaurants:

Sky Garden lounge and bar - the 35th floor feels airy and spacious, with an 
observation deck outside and greenhouse 'gardens' either side leading up to the restaurants. 

Celebrating with drinks at the Darwin Brasserie restaurant

 For starters we shared a Goats cheese and onion tart tatin and Pork terrine 
with sourdough and piccalilli. The terrine was rather average but the tart tatin 
was delicious. The combination of sweet onion, salty cheese and sharp vinaigrette
 was so good and I could have easily polished off the whole tart myself.
 
 The restaurant is located even higher on the 36th floor overlooking Sky
 lounge. It has a cosy modern minimalistic feel and although it's very much 
a City crowd during the week the ambiance was relaxed and friendly.

The menu focuses on modern British classic and I enjoyed my Braised ox cheeks 
 with mashed potatoes and root veg whereas R went for Steak and chips. The ox cheeks 
were beautifully tender although a little on the rich side. Luckily my cocktail had grapefruit 
in it and it was the perfect accompaniment for such a dish. The steak was cooked medium 
rare and with a side of crispy chips and salty Bearnaise sauce, you really can't go wrong.

Beautiful views of the Shard, Cheese grater and Gerkin - the sun 
came out just in time for us to capture these photos of the London skyline. 

I've always enjoyed exploring cities from above and the Walkie Talkie building didn't disappoint. It was just warm enough to go outside this week but the combination of airport like security, sunshine and tourists made it feel like we were on holiday. Come summer I can see it bring really popular and seeing as you can book free tickets for Sky Garden I'll definitely be returning for a drink later in the year. It's also made me want to try out other new places and so far I've already got Shard, Sushisamba and Oxo Tower on my list of London buildings to dine in! 

Have you ever been to Sky Garden/Walkie Talkie building? Where are your favourite places to visit? 

Benefit Roller Lash mascara review

It's been a while since I've tried a new mascara, but when Benefit announced the launch of Roller Lash, a mascara designed to help to lift and curl the eyelashes, I was instantly intrigued. Having gotten on well with Benefit They're Real, I was even more pleased to see that they were giving away mini samples with Elle magazine. Needless to say I soon snapped it up and it's been my go to mascara ever since:


Benefit roller lash mascara before and after

As someone with short straight eyelashes it's always been a struggle finding a mascara which can hold a decent curl. Luckily Benefit Roller Lash mascara does just that and on occasions when I've been in a rush I've gone without an eyelash curler all together. Used together though the results are impressive and really helps to open up the eyes. Inspired by the technology behind Velcro hair rollers, the 'hook n roll' brush manages to grab onto even the tiniest of lashes, coating them in mascara and pulling them up to give a naturally lifted effect.

The thin flexible brush is great for working into the roots and it helps to remove any clumps as you go. I like that the mascara is dark and pigmented without weighing down on the eyelashes and although it doesn't offer much in the way of volume it certainly adds a lot of length and definition. I still get the odd smudge, but compared to They're Real the formula seems to be longer lasting and it's a lot easier to remove too. At £19.50 it falls firmly into the high end category, but for me the results are worth it - I've yet to find a mascara which can lift and hold a curl as well as Benefit Roller Lash and I'll definitely be repurchasing once my mini sample runs out.

Benefit Roller Lash mascara, RRP £19.50, available in store and online at Boots.com

Have you tried Benefit Roller Lash mascara? What are your current mascara favourites?

Bourjois Colorband eyeshadow and liner crayons

When it comes to new make up collections, it seems that Bourjois can do no wrong. Normally I'm all about the lips and cheeks but this Spring it was the Colorband eyeshadow and liners which caught my eye. I've been on the lookout for an eyeshadow to keep in my handbag, something which I can use on the go and these coloured little crayons fit the bill perfectly:

Bourjois colorband eyeshadow and liner sticks, Review

Bourjois colorband eyeshadow and liner swatches

Available in 6 shades, the new Bourjois Colorband eyeshadow and liners are so quick and easy to apply. To use I simply draw straight onto the eyelids, blend with my fingers and I'm good to go. There's no need for any make up brushes and the slim crayons perfect for carrying in my handbag. They can be used as eyeliners too, but I'd say that unless you're going for more of a smokey look I'd stick to just using these as cream eyeshadows.

At £5.99 each I think these are seriously good value. Quite a few bloggers have compared them to By Terry ombre blackstars and although I've yet to try the ombre blackstars these are creamy, pigmented, and all surprisingly neutral and wearable too. Like a lot of cream eyeshadows, once dried they're completely waterproof and won't budge till the evening. In fact I had to really scrub with a micellar water to remove the swatches from my arm although thankfully they seem to dissolve quite easily on contact with a balm cleanser.

Overall I think the Bourjois Colorbands are a great new addition, especially if you want something quick and easy to use on the go. Of the 4 shades shown above, my favourite has to be 05 Mauve baroque although looking at some of the swatches online, I think I need 03 Beige minimaliste in my life too!

Bourjois Colorband eyeshadow and liners, RRP £5.99, available in store and online at Boots.com

Have you tried the new Bourjois Colorband eyeshadows? What are your favourite make up items to use on the go?

Last minute gift idea - DIY Mother's Day hamper

I think it's safe to say that organisation is not one of my strong points! Despite my best intentions I seem to have left it till the very last minute to pick up something for Mother's Day. Luckily beauty gifts always seem go down well and if you're in the same situation as me then don't worry because there's still time to put together a last minute DIY gift hamper:

Although there are some lovely gift sets available this year I thought it would be nice to go for a more personalised touch. And if your mum's anything like mine then you can't go wrong with a selection of pampering treats and chocolates. 

Boots have their famous 3 for 2 deal on this weekend and if you're looking for a skincare gift then I'd definitely recommend taking a look. Brands such as L'oreal and No7 always seem to be popular and seeing as Mother's Day is all about spoiling her I thought I'd go for an overnight mask followed by No7 protect and perfect advanced serum so that she can have a mini facial and really pamper herself. You could even treat yourself to something guilt free or if you're feeling particularly generous why not buy her a bottle of her favourite moisturiser too. 

I think it's always nice to include a fragrance, be that as a perfume, candle or scented reed diffuser. In the spirit of relaxation and pampering I particularly liked the look of Cowshed knackered cow scented room diffuser. Made with 30% essential oils its got a good scent throw and with notes of calming lavender and uplifting eucalyptus it'll help to transform any room without the worry of having an open flame (great for busy mums who are always rushing about). Finally a box of her favourite chocolates, a mug of tea and you're all set for Mother's Day! 

Are you also a last minute shopper? Did you get anything nice for Mother's Day this year? 

The Body Shop drops of youth bouncy sleeping mask review

No matter what I do every year as soon as the weather gets cold my skin really starts to suffer. A combination of oils and hydrating face masks usually helps and this year I've been testing out the new Body Shop drops of youth bouncy sleeping mask:

There were 2 things which drew me into this face mask. One being that it's a night time treatment so I don't have to invest any extra time into my skincare routine and the other being the unique bouncy texture that it has. It reminds me somewhat of Illamasqua hydra veil in that its jelly like and after use always magically smoothes itself out. It comes with a little spatula which I'd definitely recommend using. Normally I wouldn't bother but without a spatula it's near impossible to scoop up, not to mention that the fact that it's such a big jar that I'd be worried about contamination if I used my fingers. 

So what does The Body Shop drops of youth bouncy sleeping mask feel like on the skin? The jelly texture melts down on contact with body heat and becomes a light gel creme texture which spreads easily on the skin. It's a little sticky to touch initially but soon sinks into the skin and doesn't leave behind any marks or residues on my pillow. 

I've been using this in place of a night cream and generally it does a good job of keeping my skin nicely hydrated and plump. I need to use an extra face oil for any particularly dry patches but overall I think this is a good face mask/night cream if have normal to combination skin. Drier skins may need something more but as the summer months approaches I can this being really popular thanks to the light quick absorbing texture. 
Have you tried The Body Shop drops of youth bouncy sleeping mask? What are your current skincare favourites?

Fitness: My workout essentials

It seems 2015 is the year to get back into exercise! For the last few years I've done the odd workout or two but on the whole was pretty sedentary and over time you could definitely see the difference. Not only was I less fit, I'd started to gain more weight and by the end it was beginning to affect my confidence. So when the new year came round I said enough was enough, invested in a few basic items and started to incorporate regular exercise into my routine again:


One of the first things I did was to get a new Triaction workout bra. My old bra was getting rather battered and I like that this one is elasticated rather than underwired. It still offers plenty of support though thanks to the bigger cups and thicker straps. The lightweight material means it's nice and breathable and despite numerous washes it seems to be holding up well. An absolute essential for when I do high impact exercise such as running or 30 day shred.

Speaking of running I did my first outdoor run last weekend and my new turquoise arm strap couldn't have been a better purchase. I like to track my runs using GPS and having this means I can attach my phone securely to my arm without worrying about it falling out or jiggling about in my pocket. It was only £2.50 from Primark but looking at some of the ones online it seems to be much more spacious. With 2 compartments I can easily fit a credit card and my house keys too. At the moment I'm using Runkeeper but if you have any fitness app recommendation then please let me know in the comments below.

Skincare wise I've introduced 2 new products into my routine. Before a workout I always use Soap and Glory micellar water to remove any make up or grease. It's gentle but effective with a fresh cucumber scent and I like that it leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped or dry. After exercise the last thing I want to do is use a rich body lotion which is why Hand Chemistry body mist comes in. The spray is so much more refreshing and the scent reminds me of lemon sherbet. It doesn't compromise on hydration either and thanks to the inclusion of hyaluronic acid and red marine algae my skin still feels soft and supple after use.

Finally a bottle of water, some workout clothes and a pair of trainers and I'm good to go. I'm currently trying to update my workout wardrobe and shoes so again if you have recommendations please do let me know!

Are you also trying to exercise more this year? What are your favourite places to shop for workout gear? 
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