Giveaway: Nourish argan beauty collection

Happy boxing day everyone, hope you've all had an amazing day yesterday! Sadly Christmas may be over for another year, but in keeping with the holiday season, I've got a rather festively themed skincare set to give away today:

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh are 3 ingredients that will forever be associated with Christmas, but as it turns out, they can be incorporated into skincare too. Inside this beautifully presented Nourish argan beauty collection you'll find a Golden glow illuminating face shimmer, Argan skin renew moisturiser and Argan skin rescue treatment oil.

Golden glow illuminating face shimmer - A skin perfecting highlighter with illuminating frankincense, myrrh and tonka bean plus hydrating tri-peptides and hyaluronic acid for both cosmetic and skincare benefits. Ideal as a pre party pick me up.

Argan skin renew - A light easily absorbed anti-ageing moisturiser which contains bioactive peptides, frankincense and rose of Jericho to help skin adapt to it's environment, improve skin tone and restore hydration.

Argan skin rescue - A combination of argan, Abyssinian kale, orange and neroli oil which promises to provide instant hydration and brighten the skin. Perfect for stressed out skin in need of an extra boost.

For your chance to win, simply be a Bloglovin follower of Peonies and lilies, then leave a comment below telling me what was your favourite present this year. Please also leave an email address or Twitter handle so I can get touch if you are the lucky winner. This giveaway will be open internationally (postage allowing) and will close at 11pm on Friday 3rd January 2014.

Good luck!

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas everyone! 

Hope you're all having an amazing day at home, get truly spoilt 
with presents and enjoy lots of festive food and drinks x

Last minute stocking fillers/pampering treats

A couple of last minute gift ideas, or if like myself you're in need of a pampering treat (or two!) to get over the stress of Christmas shopping:

 Aromatherapy associates little bell*

For something that's as decorative as it is indulgent, then look no further than Aromatherapy associates little bell. Not only will this make a cute little addition to the Christmas tree, it also contains a generous 7.5ml bottle of Revive morning bath and shower oil. With extracts of grapefruit, rosemary and juniper it smells absolutely amazing and would be perfect as a little pick me up over the Christmas holidays.

Revlon make up*

For serious brownie points, what about a little hand picked collection of make up goodies? Revlon products have always been popular, and you can't go wrong with a festive red nail varnish and lip gloss this time of year. Plus every girl needs some shimmery neutral eyeshadows in her life. Pictured above are Red nail enamel, Fatal apple lipgloss and Metropolitan eyeshadow palette.

Mandara spa tropical blooms nourishing beauty oil*
Organic Surge spiced lily foaming bath*
Di Palomo wild fig and grape enriching hand and nail cream*

For stressed out mums and girlfriends what about a little selection of pampering bath and body treats? Starting with Organic surge spiced lily foaming bath, which contains extracts of patchouli, cloves and orange oil for a festively themed bath. For something more exotic, I'd go for Mandara spa tropical blooms nourishing beauty oil. It can be used both in the bath or as a body moisturiser, and with extracts of ylang ylang, jasmine and coconut, it's hard not to be reminded of sunnier days. Finally everyone loves a good hand cream. Di Palomo enriching hand and nail cream is rich and moisturising without being too heavy or greasy. And thanks to the combination of wild fig and grape nice and sweet smelling too.

Have you tried any of the products above? What are you hoping to find in your stocking this year?

Christmas gift guide: Tech ideas

Every year I promise myself I'll be organised and buy everything early, and every year come the last weekend before Christmas I'm desperately searching for that perfect gift for someone special. If like myself you've left it to the last minute, then what about one of these tech gift ideas:

Nude audio speakers

For something that's both cool and practical, how about a Nude audio speaker? They come in a range of colours, 3 different sizes and can be used both wired or wireless through bluetooth technology. Sound quality is clear with minimal distortion, even when turned up loud or played at a distance. For the more girly amongst us, it's got a nice retro vibe and compared to some to the other speakers on the market is nice and easy to set up too. 

Portable iphone charger

Whilst smart phones are great for keeping in touch with social media on the go, they're not so great for battery life. So if you know someone that's an online addict, then what about one of these portable iPhone chargers? It's portable, compact and perfect if you're going to be out and about all day. This particular one was a present from a friend, but they come in all sorts of designs are are easily available online and in stores.

Nikon D5200 dslr camera

If you really want to treat someone this Christmas then what about a DSLR camera? I finally took the plunge and brought myself one this week and I have to say it was such a good decision. Compared to a small compact, you have so many more photo options, night time photography is easier and just generally the quality is so much better. The ultimate gift for keen bloggers and photography enthusiasts.

Are you a last minute shopper too? What would be your top tech gadgets?

Sponsored video - Simply be

The other day a rather lovely video landed in my inbox. For their new campaign clothing brand Simply be are encouraging women to be themselves, valuing what makes them unique and appreciating all the good times as well as the bad. The video is in the form of a woman giving advice to her younger self and it got me thinking about the last few years and what advice I'd give to myself if I could just rewind back the years:

I'm not sure whether it's because my life has changed quite a bit in the last few months or just that we're coming to the end of another year, but I seem to be reminiscing about the past on a regular basis these days (just call me old!). Purely by coincidence I met up with an old friend the other day, and naturally we started chatting about our uni days and pondering on how life has changed since then. I know I certainly feel more confident and happier in myself, and hopefully wiser too. So if I could go back here's what I'd tell my younger self:

1. Stop worrying about pleasing everyone. Your true friends will appreciate you for who you are and those who don't won't stay in your life for long anyway.

2. Try to see the bigger picture and don't get so stressed out about the little things.

3. Remember that everything will always works out for the best and even though it may feel like the end of the world at the time, one day you'll look back and realise it was a good thing.

4. Make the most of every opportunity, one day you'll look back and treasure those memories. 

5. Finally take the opportunity to travel whenever you can. In a few years you'll visit Australia and kick yourself for not exploring more during the summer holidays.

Did you enjoy the video? What advice would you give to your younger self?

*Post sponsored by Simply be

Love me beauty and Glossybox - December 2013

As long term subscribers will know December beauty boxes are usually one of the best, and seeing as Love me beauty and Glossybox have both done well recently, I was really looking forward to seeing what they had in store for us this Christmas:

Love me beauty December 2013
Love me beauty - December 2013*

Love me beauty december 2013
Love me beauty - December 2013

Starting with Love me beauty, who have focused on make up and skincare this month. Although it may not look like it, there are actually 3 full sized products inside - a nude Lord and berry lipstick, a pinky lilac lip liner and a taupe coloured Headline nail varnish. I thought the lip liner and nail varnish were lovely, but sadly the Glazed pink lipstick was too pale for my skintone.

The 3 make up items were the same in all boxes, however it was nice to be able to choose my skincare. I went for S5 vitality mask and Rodial 5 minute facial, both of which helps to reduce pore size, clear imperfections and improve radiance, something that my skin could definitely do with this time of year.

There's also a discount coupon inside which you could pass onto a friend, giving them 2 extra products in their first Love me beauty box.

Glossybox december 2013
Glossybox - December 2013*

Glossybox december 2013
Glossybox - December 2013

In keeping with the season, Glossybox have for a red box this month and I have to say I'm really liking the Christmas tree design. Product wise, I thought there was a good mix of skincare, make up and body care. Of the 5, I'm probably least keen on the white Seche nail varnish and Yin Yang rich skin food sachets, however I'm sure both could be passed onto a more loving home.

The Beautiful movements lipgloss and Maybelline colossal mascara will come in really useful though and what with the party season coming up, I'm looking forward to putting Wilkson intuition razor to the test. The other thing I like about Glossybox is that they do a mini magazine, and this month I particularly enjoyed the Christmas gift guide and behind the scenes interviews.

Overall, it seems both companies have gone for products to help us get party ready. It would have been nice if the boxes were a bit more festive themed (I would have loved a glitter polish or sparkly eyeshadow for that extra wow factor). That said, both boxes will still come in handy over the festive period, and with 3 full sized products in each they're good value too.

Are you a beauty box subscriber? What did you think about this month's boxes?

Christmas gift guide - bath and body sets

I love all the gift sets at Christmas - not only do they take the hassle out of present buying, they're also great for stocking up on all your favourite products. And with such a wide range available, there's something to suit everyone. Here are some of my top picks:

 Bliss happy 'aloe' days gift set
 Bliss happy 'aloe' days gift set*

For me Bliss have always struck the perfect balance between quirky and fun and grown up and practical. This year they launched a new grapefruit and aloe fragrance which is fruity, sweet and uplifting, perfect for anyone who struggles to get up in the morning.  Inside the gift set you'll find a giant bottle of body wash, a matching shower puff and a deliciously scented body lotion. Ideal for older teens and early twenties, especially if they like a touch of luxury in their everyday routine.

Neom organic bath and shower indulgence set
Neom organic bath and shower indulgence set*

I've spoken many a time about my love for Neom, but if you're new to the brand or want to treat someone who is, then this would be a lovely little gift set. Inside you'll find 6 mini vials, each enough to fill a bath or shower with one of their best selling scents. Of the 3 (there are 2 of each) real luxury is probably my favourite but the good thing about this is the lucky recipient can try them all before deciding for herself. I always think pampering treats make the best presents and at £19, this is nice and affordable too.

Sanctuary spa weekend get away collection
Sanctuary weekend get away collection*

Whether it's for work or for pleasure, these days we seem to be away from home a lot more. Whilst hotel toiletries do the job, they're not always the nicest. So if you know someone that travels a lot, then why not treat her this Sanctuary spa weekend collection. It contains a nice mix of every day essentials, as well as 2 bath time treats so she can pamper herself away from home. As with all Sanctuay gift sets this is part of the Boots 3 for 2 offer.

Roger and gallet hand and nail cream trio

Roger and gallet hand and nail cream trio*

Finally it wouldn't be a Christmas gift guide without some hand cream. Knowing a lot of friends who are medics I can personally vouch for the fact that nourishing hand cream will always go down a treat. These particular ones are enriched with shea butter yet still light and quick absorbing. Roger and Gallet are best known for their fragrances, so it's nice that you get 3 different ones to try. They're all handbag sized too so ideal for moisturising on the go.

How are you getting on with your Christmas shopping? What are you hoping to receive this year?

Yardley polaire gift set review and giveaway

Thanks to a crazy month at work I seem to have completely lost track of time and it suddenly hit me this weekend that there are now just 10 days left till Christmas! Needless to say I've yet to make a start on my Christmas shopping, but luckily for us last minute shoppers there are some great gift sets in store this year. Yardley have always brought out budget friendly perfumes, and this year I think the Polaire gift set is their best one yet:

Yardley polaire gift set

Whereas in the past they've focused on more mature single note scents, Polaire is a rather glamorous mix of pear, freesia, rose, ginger, pink pepper, amber and patchouli. The whole concept was inspired by the art deco era of the 1920s and I like that they've branched out from their usual rectangular perfume bottles. This design just feels a bit more modern and the faux crystal lid helps to add some decadence. 

Perfume wise it's sweet and floral with just a touch of powder and spice, perfect for mums and older sisters or for those days when you want something a bit more grown up and sophisticated. There's a rather nice quick absorbing body lotion too.

Now onto the best bit - Yardley have kindly offered to give away 2 Polaire gift sets. I'm going to be hosting this giveaway on Twitter, but for more information and to enter, click here.

Have you tried any Yardley perfumes? How are you getting on with your Christmas shopping?

Oral B presents: Life opens up - sponsored video

As some of you may know, I did a two months trip to Australia back in 2011 and since then it's always held a special place in my heart. So when Oral B emailed about about their new life opens up video (set in Bondi beach), I was instantly intrugued:

Oral B presents: Life opens up

In a rather cool experiment, Oral B set up a random phone booth on Bondi beach and waited to see what happened when it rang. Well it seem Australian's are far more likely to answer than us Brits, because belive it or not they had over 100 responses in just 2 days.

People were asked about their best decisions they've ever made and there are some lovely stories. Some were big such as adopting children, others less of a change, but still very important for that particular person.

Not surprisingly it got me thinking about my life and the decisions I've made too. In many ways, I still feel 18 inside, but looking back over the last 7 years, there have been some major changes in my life. I've graduated from university, made some lifelong friends, started a new job and moved to a different city.

The decision that lead to all those changes? Giving up my first choice after I got a better offer from a different university. Over the years, there have been many other decisions along the way too, some big, some small, but all have played a huge part in getting me to where I am now.

And the best decision that I ever made? Probably moving down to London for university. Either that or deciding to start Peonies and lilies back in 2009!

For more stories or to share your own, you can use the hastag #lifeopensup on Twitter.

What was the best decision you've ever made?

*Post sponsored by Oral B

The Body Shop Christmas 2013

Over the years, I've come to rely on The Body Shop for their body butters and hemp hand cream, but come Chistmas it's all about their cute little gift sets. In their own words, The Body Shop have always been about 'beauty with heart' and this year they've got some lovely gift sets, all of which will help to benefit local communities from around the world:

The Body Shop joyful gingerbread house

Starting with this Joyful gingerbread house, which has to be one of the cutest gift sets I've seen this year. Not going to lie the festive packaging was my reason for including this, but inside you'll find a cranbury shower gel and body butter, gingerbread shower gel and body butter, and a mini shower puff, all for the barginous price of just £17. There's a lovely message with this too. This year with the profit from their Christmas sales, The Body Shop are going to donate £200,000 to build 5 new schools. A really nice gesture and for me an extra incentive to do my Christmas shopping at The Body Shop.

The Body Shop 4 colour eye palette

Back in 2011 I blogged about The Body Shop eyeshadow palette and this year they've brought out something very similar. There are a choice of 2 colours, but naturally I went for the more neutral toned Smokey brown palette. Once again there are 4 cream/brown eyeshadows inside, the only difference being that there are now 2 make up brushes instead of a brush and eyeliner duo.

The Body Shop expert brush collection

Finally for someone who's just getting into make up this Expert brush collection would be perfect as a little starter kit. Inside you'll find 5 synthetic brushes, all of which are super soft and durable. The face and body brush is a particular favourite of mine and perfect for applying a light dusting of powder to set any foundation/BB cream. At £45 it's one of their more expensive Christmas gift sets, but in my opinion well worth the investment, especially when you consider that the brushes would retail for £85 if sold individually.

Keep an eye out for any festive codes too, as The Body Shop regulary do 50% off sales or gift with purchases this time of year.

Will you be buying any of these gift sets? What's your favourite Body Shop product?

November favourites

Time for another monthly favourites and in November it was all about super hydrating skincare, comforting home scents and the odd make up item or two to help disguise all those late nights and insomina:

Hydraluron, Bourjois healthy mix concealer, Yankee candle red apple wreath
November favourites

Starting with Hydraluron, which has now become almost a cult favourite. It's one of those products that initially doesn't feel like it's doing much, but with the cold weather in November, I started to notice a difference after just a few days of use. The gel serum contains a concentrated dose of hyluronic acid, which can absorb 1000x it's own weight in water and basically encourages the skin to hold onto any moisture it comes into contact with. The end result? Skin that's left feeling more hydrated, plumped up and just generally healthier looking. 

In November I really struggled with insomnia which is why I've found myself reaching for Bourjois healthy mix concealer on a near daily basis. It's got a yellow base to it which works well with my skintone and the formula is creamy, so ideal for use around the delicate eye area. Coverage wise I'd say its about that of a medium foundation and generally it lasts well throughout the day. I do wish it comes in a slightly different packing though. Although the squeezy tube is very hygienic it can be difficult to control, and on a couple of occasions at the start I've been left with more concealer than I actually need.

Soap and glory kick ass instant retouch pressed powder
Soap and glory kick ass instant retouch pressed powder

Another favourite is the new Soap and glory kick ass instant retouch pressed powder. Although it looks quite yellow in the pan, it actually goes on completely translucent. The powder is very finely milled and feels almost silicony on swatching. It gives a nice smooth semi-matte finish to the skin though and I like the fact that it comes in a small plastic compact with it's own mirror. Perfect for throwing into my handbag and touching up during the day. 

Conscious skincare sweet orange and frangipani body butter
 Conscious skincare sweet orange and frangipani body butter

During the summer I'm all about light quick absorbing body lotions, but come winter time I need something a bit richer. And my go to one at the moment is Conscious skincare sweet orange and frangipani body butter, simply because it smells absolutely amazing. Think of orange creams and lemon sherbet, yummy! In the pot it's very thick, but on contact with body heat it almost melts into a oil. It takes quite a while to fully sink in, so I tend to use it at night, but the results are worth it though as it always leaves my skin feeling super soft and smooth.

Finally I've been loving my Yankee Candle in red apple wreath. It's my first glass jar and I have to say I much prefer it to the small samplers, the scent just seems to be stronger and more intense. With notes of apples, cinnamon, walnuts and maple, it's sweet, spicy and just perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit.

Have you tried any of these products before? What were your November favourites?

Organic surge bloggers favourites and 60% off sale

I've been holding off for a little while, but now that it's December I feel like we can finally start talking all things Christmas! This time of year there are always amazing gift sets and beauty bargains, starting today with this rather lovely Organic Surge bloggers favourites bundle:

Organic surge bloggers favourites bundle

It's always nice to see brands supporting bloggers and for Christmas 2013, Organic Surge have actually put together a little collection of all our favourites. Inside the bundle you'll find a citrus mint shower gel, 2 minite moisture mask, lavendar meadow hand and nail cream and a blissful daily moisturiser.

Having tried all 4 products, I can confirm that they are indeed firm favourites. The shower gel is particularly good if you have dry/sensitive skin and the lavendar hand cream great for topping up during the day. You can read my review of the hair mask and blissful daily moisturiser here and here too.

Whilst on the subject of Organic Surge I wanted to quickly mention their 60% off sale. It seems the tradition of Black Friday has finally made it across the pond, and till the end of today Organic Surge are offering various savings on their everyday essentials. Ideal if you've just started your Chistmas shopping or want to stock up on some favourites.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? What are your Organic surge favourites?
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