Four new sunscreens to try this summer

Sunscreens are the one product that I make sure to buy every summer. Not only because they expire, but also because skincare brands are always updating their formulas and bringing out a new better version each year. So today I thought I'd round up four of my favourites for 2016:

Four new sunscreens for 2016, Piz Buin, Soltan, Bioderma, Boots No 7
Summer sunscreens - Piz Buin, Soltan, Bioderma and No 7

Piz Buin has been my go to brand for the last few years. The In sun ultra light sun spray has seen me through many a holiday but this year it's all about the new Piz Buin protect & cool refreshing sun mousse. The air whipped formula is even lighter than before and it feels instantly cooling on the skin. Great for the beach or for hot sunny city breaks and it also comes in SPF30 for higher protection.

Sunscreen and deet spray often go hand in hand which is why I think Boots soltan protect and repel spray is such a good idea. Combining broad spectrum SPF 30 protection and insect repellent it saves the need to carry 2 separate products plus it smells a lot nicer than the traditional insect spray. It's light and non greasy and also contains anti-oxidants to help protect against long term damage.

Bioderma hydrobio eau de soin is probably the most innovative product I've seen all year. An ultra fine facial mist which can be applied over make up to hydrate and protect against the sun. It's completely invisible on the skin, sets any pigment and also contains vitamin E to help protect from oxidative stress. I would still use a traditional sunscreen underneath on holiday but this would be great for topping up during the day or for an impromptu lunchtime picnic. 

OK so technically not a new launch for 2016, but a new discovery for me and I've been loving the No 7 protect and perfect intense day hand cream. Aside from the face, your hands are the first to show signs of ageing so I've been keeping this on my desk and making sure to apply regularly throughout the day. It's rich and nourishing, and contains both UVA and UVB protection plus the famous protect and perfect formula so acts a triple threat against ageing.
Have you tried any of these sunscreens? What are your favourite products to help protect against the sun?

A luxury cruise along the Thames

One of my favourite things to do in the summer is to spend some time along the river. Whether it's a romantic stroll down Embankment or a spin around the London Eye there's just something so calming about being by the water. So when PG tips invited me on a boat party along The Thames, I didn't hesitate to say yes: 

 Tower Bridge 

 It was a beautifully warm and sunny day and arriving on board the luxury boat we were 
greeted with cups of steaming hot green tea. PG tips have just launched some new flavours 
and the strawberry cupcake one is seriously yummy. A sweet blend of fruits and vanilla, 
it tastes just like it's name sake although a much healthier version!

 The Shard, Millenium Bridge and Tate Modern

 Cheese Grater and Walkie Talkie building

 On board the luxury boat

 Lunch was a delicious spread of antipasti, salads, salmon skewers, artisan bread and 
the most delicious mini fruit tarts. Very picnic inspired and perfect for a sunny day out.

 The trip was to celebrate a little surprise that PG tips had planned and coming 
up to Westminster we spotted this cheeky chappy just chillin in the sunshine!

 Made entirely of painted tea leaves, the PG tips monkey spent Monday 
being towed along Central London surprising both locals and tourists.

 Canary Wharf

 St Paul's Cathedral, The Gherkin, Cheese Grater and Walkie Talkie building

It always amazes me how many famous buildings are by the river and cruising down The Thames we spotted no less than 10 landmarks, including Tower Bridge, The Shard, St Paul's Cathedral and Big Ben. I don't think I stopped taking photos the entire time! I've previously only been on boat parties at night and although they're a lot of fun I never realised how good the daytime ones can be. I definitely stepped off the boat more in love with London and I can't wait to explore more of what the city has to offer this summer.

Have you ever been on a boat tour along the Thames? What are your favourite things to do in London?

Mavala Toulouse

As soon as the sun starts shining I find myself gravitating towards brights and pinks so when I had the chance to get a manicure recently I was immediately drawn to the beautiful Mavala Toulouse:

Mavala Toulouse, Monica Vinader ring

Mavala Toulouse, Monica Vinader ring
 Mavala nail colour cream

One of their cream formulas, Mavala Toulouse is a really beautiful coral pink shade which works so well for spring/summer. In the photo above I've kept it plain but it also looks great under a glitter top coat which I added over the weekend. Two coats was enough for a smooth even finish although if you wanted to be truly opaque I'd recommend adding a third layer. 

With a base and top coat it lasts reasonably well and I've only just noticed slight chipping after 5 days of wear. I've now got my eye on the new soft matte nude collection and I love how cute the mini 5ml bottles are!
Have you tried any of Mavala's mini nail colours? What are your favourite nail polishes for spring/summer?

Delhi photo diary - lots of food and exploring

Delhi was the third stop on our Indian adventure and after a busy schedule in Hyderabad and Mumbai we were looking forward to a more relaxed stay:

A visit to the Red Fort. Constructed by the same architect who designed the Taj Mahal, 
this was the residence of the Mughal emperor for nearly 200 years. Inside the imposing
 brick walls are a series of  intricately decorated buildings and elegant flower gardens. 
A beautiful and peaceful haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city outside. 

 After a long flight and no food since breakfast these kebabs tasted so good! Juicy 
tender chunks of chicken and mutton, wrapped in a delicious naan bread and served 
with yogurt and coriander sauce. An unhealthy treat but definitely worth the calories.

 In Delhi we stayed at the LaLait Hotel which although was very modern and in a 
great location was sadly let down by the service and attitude of the staff. They do have 
an amazing swimming pool though and the breakfast buffet was second to none. 

 Comforting Chinese food after a long day of exploring.

To me, Delhi was a city of contrasts, a city where the poor and rich live side by side and a city 
that was both incredibly busy and overwhelming yet so quiet and peaceful just a few streets away.

More Parsi food at SodaBottleOpenerWala, would highly recommend the aubergine and 
Goan sausage, both bursting with flavour and perfect for dipping into with the chewy flatbread. 

 Compared to the searing heat of Mumbai, Delhi on the whole felt cooler, especially as we 
managed to get caught in the rain on several occasions. We spent a lot of time just wandering 
around the city, taking in the culture, sampling the cuisine and reflecting on our trip so far. 

 Next up, a day trip to Agra for the Taj Mahal and a review of one of our favourite restaurants

 Have you ever been to India? What trips are you looking forward to this year?

Get The Gloss - the ultimate guide to makeup brushes & tools

It's no secret that I'm a bit of a beauty geek and love to read all about my favourite products and brands. So I was really intrigued to hear that Get The Gloss have just launched their own 44 page guide all about beauty brushes and tools:

Get The Gloss - the ultimate guide to makeup brushes & tools

I still remember getting my first make up brush, it was a cheap five piece Christmas gift set but I loved playing around with them all and creating different looks. Since then I've built up quite the collection but with so many new launches sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to know exactly what you need and which brush would be best for a certain technique. Which is why I found Get The Gloss the ultimate guide to makeup brushes & tools so interesting.

Written by Get The Gloss's columnist Anna Hunter it covers topics such as the history of brushes and tools, pros and cons of using natural vs synthetic fibers, how to look after and clean your brushes, as well as the latest launches and what the future holds for make up artistry. I particularly enjoyed the section on eye make up brushes as it's the area I struggle with the most and if you're also a fellow beauty geek then the guide is well  worth a read.

Get The Gloss the ultimate guide to makeup brushes & tools, RRP £4.95, available now

Have you read any Get The Gloss guides? What are your favourite beauty brushes and tools?

Aveeno inside & oat challenge - the results

Aveeno recently invited me to take part in their Inside & Oat challenge and after a week of testing out the skincare and making a few healthy diet and lifestyle changes I thought I'd share my results:

 Aveeno inside & oat challenge 

Skincare
I must admit that prior to starting the Aveeno inside & oat challenge I wasn't the best at moisturising daily, especially with the weather being so cold so following Dr Shefali's skincare plan has made a huge difference. I had fewer hot showers, made sure to exfoliate regularly and moisturised daily, concentrating on all the dry areas such as elbows and knee.

The Aveeno shower gel felt very gentle so ideal for more dry sensitive skin and the moisturising creamy oil was so lightweight yet nourishing. Plus it smells lovely with the sweet almond oil. I particularly liked the Aveeno daily moisturising lotion as it was immediately soothing on the skin and it really helped with any dry patches that I had. The hand cream was another favourite as the creme-gel formula was so light yet moisturising, a real handbag essential.

 Aveeno inside & oat challenge 

Diet
This was probably my favourite part of the challenge. I'd say that my diet is about 70% healthy but 2 areas that I struggle with are breakfast and snacks so I was particularly keen to see what Natasha Corrett from Honestly Healthy would recommend. The creamy cashew porridge was delicious and the addition of grated apple and cashew butter really helped to lift the flavour. Avocado butter was another healthy alternative and I really liked the addition of the tahini paste. Spread onto rice cakes it was surprisingly filling and definitely much better than my usual afternoon snacks. I've included a photo of the recipe card above which you can click to enlarge if you'd also like to give them a try.

 Aveeno inside & oat challenge 

Exercise
Not surprisingly this was the hardest part of the Aveeno inside & oat challenge. Recently I've been making sure to run at least once a week so thought I was relatively fit but wow was the HIIT workout tough. A combination of burpees, ski jumps, sit ups, renegade rows and jogging on the spot, it certainly got my heart pumping and my muscles definitely felt it the next day! A great workout though and I'm hoping to keep it up as we go into the summer.

Overall I enjoyed taking part in the Aveeno inside & oat challenge. Moisturising daily made a noticeable difference to the texture and smoothness of my skin and I definitely felt healthier with all the diet and lifestyle changes. I'm going to try my best to keep it up and hopefully will see even more of a difference!

Have you tried any of the Aveeno products? What are your top tips for healthy living? 

*Post sponsored by Aveeno

Perricone MD no make up make up

A new season always calls for some new make up and recently I've been really liking Perricone MD's no make up make up. A small collection of just seven products, everything has been infused with skincare ingredients so you can treat and nourish at the same time as adding some coverage and colour: 

Perricone MD no make up make up, Perricone MD no foundation foundation, Perricone MD no blush blush, Perricone MD no concealer concealer, Perricone MD no lipstick lipstick, Review, Swatches
For the face there's a No foundation foundation serum, a very lightweight liquid which gives a similar coverage to that of a tinted moisturiser. My favourite though has to be the No foundation foundation. An oil and water based formula, it reminds me of MAC face and body both in terms of texture and coverage. It's sheer but buildable and just gives the most natural radiant finish. It's almost impossible to tell I'm wearing make up, instead it just looks like my skin but 10x better! Both foundations also offer broad spectrum SPF 30 to give some protection against the sun. 

Perricone MD No blush blush is one of my favourites from the entire collection. It's a beautiful coral pink shade and so easy to apply. I simply use the doe foot applicator to draw on 3 dots, then quickly blend together for a naturally flushed look. The concealer only comes in one shade, which works well for my NC25 skin tone, but if you're much paler or darker then it might not match. I do really like the brightening creamy formula though and it also contains Vitamin C to help fade dark circles. The No lipstick lipstick is gorgeous too, it's a sheer formula with a sweet vanilla scent so needs regular top ups during the day but I find it so moisturising and the sleek twist on metallic packaging makes it nice and secure to carry in my handbag.

Perricone MD no make up make up, available now from John Lewis

Have you tried any Perricone MD make up? What are your current favourites?

Boots #PetalParty and top tips to help beat hayfever

It looks like hayfever season has just started in the UK and after the fun of the Boots #PetalParty yesterday I thought I'd share a few photos as well as some handy tips on how you can beat the symptoms this year: 

 Boots #PetalParty


Being a relatively new sufferer of hayfever I'm all too aware how miserable the symptoms can be and not only are pollen levels high in the morning, as temperatures drop in the evening they rise again and lead to what Boots have termed 'Insneezia'. Constant sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose can lead to insomnia like symptoms with an knock on effect the next day. I know I've certainly been affected and have struggled at work and cancelled on invites as a result!


To highlight this Boots showered St Christopher's place with over 3 million petals yesterday and with a fun soundtrack from celeb DJ Lauren Pope it was quite the party! My photos don't do it justice but I hope it gives you an idea of the night if you weren't able to come. You can also see the video on their Facebook page here.

So onto the most important bit, what can you do to minimise symptoms? I find a good anti-histamine essential but Boots have also shared these 10 tips and tricks to help you get through the summer: 

Five hacks to help reduce night-time hayfever symptom

1. Keep the windows shut at night and first thing in the morning. Feeling hot? 
Pop your pillow case in the freezer before bedtime for a temporary cooling effect

2. Wear sunglasses after sun down. Not because you’re a wannabe celeb but to 
help protect your eyes from pollen

3. Hang laundry inside - even when the sun is shining - because you don’t 
want pollen-infused bedding

4. Shower before you go to bed to help wash any stray pollen from your hair and 
skin which could aggravate your symptoms overnight

5. Teeth cleaned, face washed and moisturised? Don’t forget a final smear of 
petroleum jelly under your nose which may help trap pollen

Five hacks to help tackle the impact of ‘insneezia’ the next day

1. Shower again! Showering in the morning helps to stimulate the circulatory system and
‘shock’ your body into a more awake state if you’ve lost out on shut-eye overnight

2. Think twice before reaching for a coffee or chocolate based pick-me- up – both 
contain high levels of vasoactive amines, like histamine which can cause some
 sensitive individuals to suffer ‘allergy-like’ symptoms

3. Lose the booze – Alcoholic drinks, such as wine and beer and cider can make it hard 
to sleep well anyway and these also contain histamine and other vasoactive amines.

4. Chill two teaspoons in the fridge overnight then cup them over your eyes for 5 minutes
to help combat any puffiness caused by lack of sleep

5. Stay hydrated – to help replace lost fluids and help you feel more energised

Did you come down to the Boots #PetalParty yesterday? What are your top tips for beating hayfever? 

*Post sponsored by Boots

Taking part in the Aveeno inside & oat challenge

After a fun but unhealthy bank holiday weekend I'm definitely in need of a detox! So this week I'm going to be taking part in the Aveeno Inside & Oat challenge, testing out their skincare and making a few healthy diet and lifestyle changes to see how it affects the way I look and feel:

 Taking part in the Aveeno inside & oat challenge

 Aveeno inside & oat challenge

Over the next 7 days I'll be following a simple six step routine from dermatologist Dr Rajpopat which includes steps such as avoiding long hot shower, exfoliating regularly and getting plenty of sleep in order to allow the skin to regenerate. In addition there's a high intensity workout which I'm going to try every 2-3 days to really get the blood pumping. Aveeno have also kindly send over a hamper of ingredients so I'll be swapping a few of my meals and snacks for alkaline chef Natasha Corrett's healthier alternative too.

Aveeno have always been known for their moisturising lotions and the oat extracts have been clinically proven to increase hydration, soothe, protect and maintain normal skin pH levels. Since getting back from holiday my skin has been particularly dry and dehydrated so I'm really looking forward to seeing if all these changes will make a difference. I'll be documenting my thoughts and meals and will report back with the results in one week's time!

Have you ever tried any Aveeno skincare? Do you have any tips for dry/dehydrated skin?

*Post sponsored by Aveeno
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