Midweek pamper - the essentials

These days it's hard to find the time for a proper pamper session, instead I tend to opt for everyday essentials with that extra touch of luxury. Last night I had some extra free time and rather than procrastinate with my usual TV shows I thought it would be nice to treat myself to a few extra products:

Midweek pamper, Origins, Prismologie, Crabtree & Evely, Paul Mitchell, Essie, Review, Beauty
Midweek pamper - the essentials

Crabtree & Evelyn Wisteria,  Essie Watermelon, Nail polish
Crabtree & Evelyn Wisteria
Essie Watermelon

What I really like about Origins original skin retexturising mask is that it contains jojoba beads so doubles up as a manual exfoliator too. The rose clay based mask draws out impurities and helps to restore clarity, leaving me with brighter more even looking skin. The mask also helps to absorb excess oils. A big plus for me as I struggle with combination skin and afterwards I always find that it feels more balanced and I don't need to powder nearly as much. 

I'm not usually one for the bath instead I much prefer to use luxury shower products instead. Prismologie are specifically designed to inspire and boost your mood making them perfect for a mid week pamper session. Of the entire range, I was most drawn to yellow day as the combination of bergamot and citrine smells so fresh and uplifting. Combine the shower gel with an exfoliating mitt and I'm left with super soft skin. Indigo interlude is a smokier more intense scent which I find really relaxing. To set the mood I light the massage candle at the start of my pamper session and once the room has been fragranced and the wax melted, it doubles up nicely as a body oil too.

With my split ends in dire need of a haircut it's been feeling rather dry and knotty recently. A thick mask usually helps but in between washes I've been giving it some extra TLC with a leave in conditioner too. A little bit goes a long way with Paul Mitchell the conditioner but it makes the ends of my hair so much easier to brush through and manage.

Finally I took the time to give myself a proper manicure and pedicure. I don't usually like blue nail varnish but I couldn't help but be drawn to Crabtree & Evelyn Wisteria. It's a gorgeous lilacy blue with hints of shimmer, opaque in 2 coats and with a smooth glossy finish. Essie Watermelon is an old favourite and the perfect shade for adding a some colour to the toes. Pamper complete, I relaxed with a few episodes of Nashville, before reading in bed and drifting off to a blissful night's sleep.

Do you also struggle to find the time to pamper yourself? What are your favourite luxury treats?

Kensington roof gardens and a birthday outfit of the day

It's been a while since my last outfit of the day, but with the beautiful Kensington roof gardens as a backdrop, the boyfriend on hand to act as a photographer and my new camera lens to play with I just had to take a couple of photos for the blog:

Kensington roof gardens, H&M sunglasses, Fossil watch, H&M dress, Bailey & Quinn handbag, Birthday, Outfit of the day
  Kensington roof gardens - birthday outfit of the day

Kensington roof gardens, H&M sunglasses, Fossil watch, H&M dress
 Kensington roof gardens - birthday outfit of the day

Kensington roof gardens, Bailey & Quinn handbag, Fossil watch

I was lucky that it was such a warm sunny day on my birthday and with the weather being so unpredictable this summer I wanted to take full advantage. I've always loved navy stripes and I thought this H&M dress was the perfect balance between comfort and style. The Bailey & Quinn bag was a recent present to myself and without even realising I managed to go for my favourite colour combination of navy and pink.

Kensington roof gardens
 Kensington roof gardens 

Kensington roof gardens
 Kensington roof gardens

Kensington roof gardens
 Kensington roof gardens

As for Kensington roof gardens, it was just absolutely beautiful and the perfect haven away from the hustle and bustle of Central London. With so many colourful flowers, water features and a Moroccan inspired den to relax in, it wasn't hard to imagine that we were on holiday somewhere far more exotic. Safe to say it's now a new favourite and I'll definitely be back for more cocktails this summer! 

For more photos and my review of the Babylon restaurant click here.

Have you been to Kensington roof gardens? What are your favourite cocktail bars/rooftop locations?

Make Up For Ever - my top 3 picks

Gone are the days when us Brits would have to wait until going on holiday to stock up on our beauty favourites. These days more and more brands are available in the UK and perhaps the most exciting news this year is that Make Up For Ever (MUFE) is now available exclusively instore and online at Debenhams.com. For the last few months I've been putting a few of the bestsellers to the test and today I wanted to share my top 3 picks: 
First thing to say is that MUFE HD powder is definitely not a travel friendly product - I used this at a friend's wedding recently and on opening the tub on my return there was powder everywhere! Messiness aside, MUFE HD powder is one of the best setting powders I've come across. It's very finely milled and completely translucent on the skin. I'm forever struggling with shine (especially in the summer) and this does an amazing job of mattifying without looking cakey or taking away any radiance. Plus it leaves my skin feeling silky smooth which is always a bonus. Mine now sits firmly on my dressing table but luckily for us travelers, there's also a compact version (as well as a foundation) which I really need to stock up on. 

With it being summer I've been on the lookout for a new bronzer to warm up my skin and so far I'm really liking MUFE pro bronze fusion. I've got the shade 20M which gives a naturally tanned look to the skin without any hint of ashiness or orange. I like that it's not shimmery and the gel-powder formula certainly gives it an interesting texture. It comes with a small kabuki brush which works well for an all over application and lasting power is around 6-8 hours depending on the heat and what I'm up to that day. 

Finally a MUFE classic and the item that I was most excited to try - MUFE smokey extravagant mascara which has been declared a favourite by many a beauty blogger. Well I have to say it doesn't disappoint. The tapered brush works really well with the thinner end coating every lash (even the fine corner ones) and the thicker end great for boosting volume. It takes a second coat to add lengths but the brush separates really well so there's no need to brush out any clumps and I'm left with darker more defined and voluminous lashes.

Have you tried anything from Make Up For Ever? What are your top 3 picks?

Lunch at Babylon, Kensington roof gardens

Last week was my 27th birthday and it's safe to say that I was thoroughly spoilt. I've been wanting to go to Kensington roof gardens for quite some time now and as a surprise the boyfriend booked us in for lunch and cocktails at Babylon rooftop restaurant: 

Kensington roof gardens, Balcony view, Review
The view from Babylon rooftop balcony

Kensington roof gardens, Review, Babylon restaurant, Cocktails, Mint to be, Jamaican heat
 Mint to be and Jamaican heat cocktails

Kensington roof gardens, Review, Babylon restaurant,

After a short walk across Hyde Park (where we worked up quite the appetite) we were greeted and led to our table. The whole place was modern and bright with a smart casual vibe. There were a mix of diners, from large birthday parties to cosy dates and friend just catching up for lunch. Naturally we had to start with some cocktails and I really liked how ours came presented. The flavours were bang on, very light and refreshing with just the right amount of sweetness. Ideal for the hot sunny day. 

Kensington roof gardens, Review, Babylon restaurant, Crispy fried dingley dell pork belly
Crispy fried dingley dell pork belly

Kensington roof gardens, Review, Babylon restaurant, Creedy carver duck and cointreau salami
Creedy carver duck and cointreau salami

We both decided to go for the set menu and I have to say my dishes were absolutely delicious. The pork belly was crispy on the outside, melt in your mouth inside and the pineapple salsa great for cutting through the richness. R went for the duck and cointreau salami which was served warm and again a delicious burst of flavour without being too greasy or heavy.

Kensington roof gardens, Review, Babylon restaurant, Pan fried hake fillet
Pan fried hake fillet with cucumber and fennel salad on a bed of tartar style sauce

Kensington roof gardens, Review, Babylon restaurant, Triple cooked chunky chips
  Triple cooked chunky chips 

Kensington roof gardens, Review, Babylon restaurant, Slow roasted pork collar
  Slow roasted pork collar with English asparagus, 
potatoes and beans on a warm chicken and tarragon broth

Being such a hot day I wanted something light and was instantly drawn to the hake salad as my main course. I'm forever complaining that restaurant dishes aren't served with enough sauce so the fact that it came swimming in buttery tartar style sauce was perfect for me. The fish was cooked just right and the cucumber salad added crunch and texture as well as some freshness to the dish. Combined with the golden chunky chips it was the perfect balance between rich and indulgent and fresh and healthy and I would thoroughly recommend if you ever get the chance to visit. R went for the pork and beans and although I wasn't such a fan you couldn't fault the cooking and he really enjoyed it. 

Kensington roof gardens, Review, Babylon restaurant, Balcony seating area

Kensington roof gardens, Review, Babylon restaurant,
Outdoor balcony and views over Kensington roof gardens

By this point we were both too full for dessert so opted to have cocktails in the sunshine instead. Being on the 7th floor I wasn't sure what sort of view to expect and although we were sat inside for the meal they had an outdoor balcony area which not only had a very laid back holiday feel, it also had the most amazing views of Central and East London. How many famous landmarks can you spot in the first picture? 

Overall I really enjoyed the meal and drinks at Babylon and would definitely recommend for a special occasion. You can wander around the roof gardens afterwards too which were just beautiful and felt like a little haven away from the hustle and bustle of Central London. I was testing out my new camera lens that day so look out for more photos and an outfit of the day in another blog post very soon!

Have you been to Kensington roof gardens? What are your favourite restaurants for a special occasion? 

Three: summer moisturisers

As I get older my skin seems to be more temperamental and as the weather changes I always find myself needing to switch up my routine. This summer I've been using these 3 moisturisers to help keep my skin feeling hydrated and looking radiant:

Filorga skin-absolute day cream, Origins GinZing energy boosting moisturizer, The Body Shop vitamin C glow boosting moisturiser, Skincare, Review
Three: summer moisturisers 

Filorga skin-absolute day cream, Origins GinZing energy boosting moisturizer, The Body Shop vitamin C glow boosting moisturiser, Skincare, Review

Since discovering it a few years back, Origins GinZing has become my go to summer moisturiser. I love the cooling gel creme texture as it's so lightweight and quick absorbing, especially on a hot sunny day when the last thing I want to be doing is slathering on something rich and heavy. With continued use I've noticed that my skin looks brighter (probably because of the energising coffee beans extracts) and I also like that it has grapefruit and lemon peel oil which gives it the most amazing citrus fresh scent. 

The next one's a bit of a sneak preview as it doesn't actually launch until September 15. Although I love lightweight moisturisers, sometimes my skin needs more which is where Filorga skin-absolute day cream comes in. It's more of a nourishing creme formula and contains marine enzymes and plant extracts to help repair DNA damage, protect against ageing/pollution and improve skin tone. Surprisingly the moisturiser is still very quick absorbing and although it leaves more of a glow there's no greasy after feel and it sits perfectly under make up. 

Finally a new launch from The Body Shop which is a great dupe for Origins GinZing. Vitamin C glow boosting moisturiser has the same light weight gel creme texture, absorbing instantly into the skin and uses Amazonian camu camu berries to help boost glow, energise and hydrate. I've used this after a big night out and it really does help to refresh and awake the skin. It doesn't smell quite as nice as Origins GinZing but at £16 it's a great alternative and definitely one that I would recommend if you've been burning the candle at both ends. 

Have you tried any of these 3 moisturisers? What are your skincare staples this summer?

Summer beauty giveaway

The sun's finally out in the UK and seeing as it's been a while since my last giveaway I thought it would be nice to put together a little summer inspired care parcel to celebrate and to say thank you for all the support this year:

Summer beauty giveaway, featuring L'oreal Paris, The Body Shop, 
Liz Earle, Impress nails, Ciate, Vo5 and Fake Bake (click to enlarge)

For me summer beauty is all about laid back hair, bronzed skin, fun make up and gorgeous scents, something which I've tried to recreate with the products chosen. There's a mixture of haircare, fake tan, skincare, nail varnish and make up. For your chance to win simply leave a comment below telling me what beauty products you are loving this summer. Don't forget to be a Bloglovin and GFC follower of Peonies and lilies and to leave an email address or Twitter handle so I can get in touch if you are the lucky winner. This giveaway will be open internationally (subject to shipping restrictions) and will close at 11pm on Sunday 16th August. 

Good luck and I hope you all have an amazing summer!

Emma Hardie moringa cleansing balm - bargain alert

Since discovering Emma Hardie skincare back in 2011 no matter what new products I try, I always find myself gravitating back to the moringa cleansing balm. It really is one of the best cleansers out there! This weekend whilst out shopping I came across a rather fab offer which I thought would be worth sharing in case anyone else wanted to stock up: 
I had no idea Emma Hardie did mini sets of the moringa cleansing balm but considering it comes with 3x50ml for the same price as the usual 100ml tub this set is seriously good value. Plus the smaller size will come in so handy for travel. Even better there's currently a 20% off code for Marks and Spencer (link here) making the entire set just £30.40. You'll have to hurry though as the discount code expires tonight. 

At the time of writing it's currently sold out online but if you're also a fan of the Emma Hardie moringa cleansing balm then I would definitely recommend popping into a larger store today and picking one up! 

ETA: It's now back in stock online, link here.

PS. Not a sponsored post, I just though was a really good offer and wanted to share 
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