What's in my handbag - Bailey & Quinn

It's crazy to think that in my 6 years of blogging I've yet to do a what's in my handbag post, especially considering they're one of my favourites to read! Earlier this year I treated myself to a gorgeous Bailey & Quinn handbag and since I now use it practically everyday I figured it was better late than never for a look inside:

Bailey & Quinn handbag

What's in my handbag
What's in my handbag

I try to make a conscious effort not to carry too much but day to day my absolute essentials are my phone, purse, oyster card, keys, lip balm, hand cream and make up. I like to keep a bottle of water with me to stay hydrated and with it being so sunny recently a pair of sunglasses has become a daily essential too.

More often than not I'll have my camera with me and I'm currently switching between my Nikon compact and DSLR. Whilst I love the convenience of a compact, mine is quite old and doesn't always give the photo quality I want, which why for evening events you'll tend to see me with the more bulky DSLR. I've just upgraded to a iPhone 6s so I'm going to see how the camera is on that, otherwise I'm thinking of investing in the Olympus pen. 

Make up wise I like to carry a few touch up essentials along with one or two lip colours for choice. I find cream blushers so much easier to use and the Real Techniques retractable kabuki brush great for applying powder on the go. Travel mascara is another handbag staple and at the moment I'm really liking Benefit roller lash mascara along with Maybelline baby lips and Mac sweetie lipstick. 

I hope you've enjoyed this peek into my handbag! What are your daily essentials?

Bourjois aqua blush review and swatches

I'm late to the party with these but seeing blusher is one of my daily essentials and I'm always on the lookout for a new formula to try, it was only a matter of time before I got my hands on the new Bourjois 12 hour aqua blush:
Bourjois aqua blush, Review, Swatches, 01 Inge nude, 04 Berry nice

Bourjois aqua blush, Review, Swatches, 01 Inge nude, 04 Berry nice

With a choice of 4 shades and a lovely lightweight water gel formula, Bourjois aqua blush has quickly become a new favourite and it's been my go to product of choice recently. To apply you simply pump a small amount onto your fingertips, then blend into the skin for a fresh natural pop of colour. The formula goes on sheer at first but can be built up for a stronger look if desired. 

I've always been a fan of cream and liquid formulas but these almost seem to stain the skin and have a longer wear time compared to some of the other blushers in my collection. All the aqua blushes have a light floral scent and as someone who often has to apply make up on the go, I love that the blushers are so portable and easy to apply without the need for any extra brushes.

Bourjois seem to have a knack for picking really pretty but super wearable colours and they've not disappointed these new blushers. There's 2 peachy shades for a more natural look and 2 pinks for that gorgeous fresh faced rosy glow. Overall a really lovely new formula and one that I would definitely recommend if you're looking to treat yourself to a new blush (or two).
Have you tried the new Bourjois aqua blushes? What's your favourite shade for Autumn/Winter?

Weekend break in Torquay

Having not had a holiday yet this year, I've really come to appreciate short breaks away in the UK. Last weekend to celebrate a friend's upcoming wedding we packed our bag and made our way to the beautiful seaside town of Torquay:

 Torquay harbour 

 Torquay pier

Living in London I always seem to forget how close other places can be and indeed Torquay was no more than 3 hours away by train. As soon as we stepped off the train though it felt like we were in a different country. Everything was just so picturesque with French inspired architecture everywhere and the seafront just minutes away. Torquay is fondly known as the English Riviera and looking around it wasn't hard to see why.

Las Iguanas for lunch

Astor House

 Balcony view from Astor House

Rather than staying at a hotel we opted for an apartment and I have to say we really lucked out with Astor House, I mean just look at the view from our balcony! I also loved the simple decor and I'm now dreaming of redecorating my flat with light spacious rooms, statement flowers and marbled bathroom tiling. There was even a private shortcut down to the beach which being on the hillside we were very grateful for! On a little side note unless you have a car be prepared to do lots of walking up and down hills so comfy shoes are definitely needed. 

Celebration drinks

 Burridge's Tearoom Torquay

There were loads of restaurants and bars to choose from and during our stay we had everything from Mexican to Thai. My top pick though? It would have to be Burridge's tearoom because no trip to Devon would be complete without some tea and scones. The whole place had a really lovely English countryside feel and although the menu was simple, everything was freshly made and delicious. There's also a sweet shop next door which was rather handy for stocking up on fudge and biscuits to take home as presents.

Torquay seafront

After 2 days of exploring and celebrating our trip concluded with a visit to Aztec spa. Of course I opted for a back massage and for the morning we had access to the pool, sauna and steam room too which we made full use of. Overall it was a really lovely rejuvenating break and it's reminded me that I don't always need to travel out of the country for a holiday. We were lucky that it was sunny (if a little cold) for most of our trip but I would love to return in the heat of summer to explore more and to make the most of the beach and seaside activities. 

Have you ever been to Torquay? Where are your favorite destinations for a weekend break?

New in: Autumn beauty launches

Whilst I'll always be sad about the end of summer, there's no denying that Autumn is an exciting time in the beauty world. Whether it's a new skincare range, make up or perfume there's been lots of new launches recently and today I've picked 5 of my favourites to share:

New in: Autumn beauty launches

 Kiko & By Terry

With the weather getting colder my skin always demands more attention and recently I've been loving the new Body Shop spa of the world range. It's more grown up and premium but wow are there some gorgeous products in there. The dead sea salt scrub smells so nice and the grains really get to work leaving my skin feeling silky smooth. I like to then follow it up with one of the new massage oils. Tahitian orchid is very smokey but I've since tried the Thai lemongrass one which I much prefer.

Another new favourite is Les Couvent des Minimes apple and pear smile lip balm. The balm has a similar texture to Carmex and gives a glossy shine to the lips, but thanks to the blend of shea butter and apricot seed oil I find the formula to be much more moisturising. It feels nice and soothing on the lips and I'm really liking the delicate fruity scent. A new handbag staple and one of my top recommendations for Autumn/Winter. 

In Autumn I tend to favour foundation over a tinted moisturiser/BB cream and this year it's all about the new By Terry light expert click brush. It gives light to medium natural coverage with a dewy finish but what makes it really stand out is the new packaging. There's no need to use an extra brush and whereas previously I'd be worried about hygiene, you can now detach the head and wash as you would a normal foundation brush. The design makes it so convenient to use and if you ever need to top up during the day or like to apply make up on the go then this definitely worth a try. 

Kiko has been on my radar for some time now but it wasn't until the new rebel romantic collection that I fell in love with the brand. Let's just talk about the rose gold packaging - not only does it look super pretty, the whole range feels expensive and I love that the lipsticks close with a satisfying click. Speaking of lipsticks there's a gorgeous rosy mauve and berry red, 2 shades that I think every girl needs in her make up bag. There's also a new bronzer and highlighter pencil which is so on trend and perfect if you want to add some light and definition to the face.

It's been a while since I've had a new perfume so I was really looking forward to trying Shiseido ever bloom. Whereas most fragrance launches now are deep and smokey, this is more floral and light. A feminine blend of jasmine and rose along with orange blossom, gardenia and musk gives it a fresh airy feel. It's one of those perfumes that feels very natural and subtle but still manages to add a certain air of mystery. A really lovely daytime perfume and a great transitional scent as we go into Autumn/Winter.

Have you tried any of the products above? What are your favourite Autumn launches?

Summer beauty giveaway winner

A big thank you to everyone who entered my summer beauty giveaway and sorry for the delay in announcing the winner. I had so much fun reading all your comments and I've definitely added a few items onto my wishlist as a result:

Summer beauty giveaway
After going through all the valid entries, I used random.org to select a winner - and the winner is Milly. Congratulations Milly an email will be on it's way to you shortly. If you could let me know your full name and address I'll arrange for the prizes to be sent out asap.

Thanks again to everyone for entering and keep an eye out 
for future giveaways if you didn't manage to win this time.

Currently loving...

After what feels like months of using the same products day in day out I've started to introduce some exciting new launches into my routine and in the process discovered quite a few favourites too:

Batiste stylist, Too faced better than sex mascara, Radical anti-ageing restorative moisture, Bare minerals pop of passion blush, Bliss grapefruit and aloe body butter
Currently loving...

Bare Minerals pop of passion blush balm in Papaya passion, Too Faced better than sex mascara
 Bare Minerals pop of passion blush balm in Papaya passion 
Too Faced better than sex mascara

Batiste recently extended into styling and although their dry shampoos will always be my favourite, I rather like the new heat and shine spray too. Whenever I straighten or curl my hair I always like to use some product first and this protects up to 230 degrees. The spray distributes the product really evenly and afterwards if I need an extra boost it doubles nicely up as a shine spray too. There's also a new Batiste texturizing and XXL volumising spray which I really want to try as they sounds like a good dupe for the more expensive Oribe version.

Towards the end of August my skin started to get really dry, to the point where it would flake and became really sensitive. Nothing seemed to work until I tried Radical anti-ageing restorative moisture cream. Although it feels light and quick sinking on the skin, it packs in a whole bunch of nourishing ingredients. After just one use my skin immediately felt soothed and looked much more hydrated. The redness soon disappeared and now my skin looks so much better. A must have for dry/dehydrated skin and no doubt I'll be getting a lot more use out of this as we go into Autumn/Winter. 

I mentioned in my last empties post how much I loved Bliss grapefruit and aloe shower gel but I just had to give a shoutout to the matching body butter too. It's got the most amazing sweet citrus scent and feels rich without being greasy on the skin. If I'm feeling lazy I can get away with moisturising every other day and with the weather being so awful recently it's really helped to bring a touch of summer back into my routine. 

Since I started applying blusher on the go cream formulas have been a real staple and recently I've been loving Bare Minerals papaya passion blush balm. It's the most gorgeous coral peach shade and the sheer formula makes application a complete dream, allowing me to build up to my desired colour strength. Being a cream formula it gives a flattering glow to the skin and lasts a good few hours before touch ups are required. 

It may be one of the most provocatively named items in my collection but for dark dramatic lashes you really can't go wrong with Too Faced bettter than sex mascara. Not only is the packaging gorgeous with a weighted lid, the chunky brush makes application so quick and easy. It seems to grip onto every single hair, coating them in dark black pigment, lengthening and adding some much needed volume to my short straight lashes.

Have you tried any of the products above? What are you currently loving?

Life: Summer memories

Summer seems to be coming to an end *sob* but before I start embracing cosy knits, hot chocolate and warm nights in I thought it would be nice to look back on a few summer memories: 

Kew Gardens, Summer
Peonies and lilies
Kew Gardens, Summer

Loving my new Nikon 35mm f1.8 lens. First of all a shoutout to the piece of kit that's allowed me to capture so many memories this summer. I was kindly given this for my birthday and I honestly couldn't have been happier. It's perfect for blurry backgrounds which I like to have for beauty photos but it's also great for portraits and scenic shots. A lot of fun stuff happened in August, including my birthday and a really lovely visit to Kew Gardens and I've now got some great photos which I'll cherish forever. 

Pimms & lemonade, Cocktails, Summer
The lawn, The Tower Hotel, Guoman hotels
Pastries, Desserts, Scones, Tarts, Cakes, Eclairs
Tower Bridge

Eating and drinking al fresco. I'm a bit cliched in that the minute it gets warm I want to be outside enjoying the sunshine. Selfridge's Vintage Salt rooftop bar was a real favourite but for something more unique I'd definitely recommend grabbing a drink and some snacks by Tower Bridge. The Tower Hotel have set up a lawn area literally next to the bridge which makes for some breathtaking views as you sip on cocktails and enjoy a bite or two to eat. The weather's getting a bit cold now but I would love to return to watch the sunset snuggled up with some cosy blankets and a mug of hot chocolate.

Santander bikes
Marble arch, Marble arch observation wheel
London, Hyde Park

Exploring London on Santander bikes. Whilst I love cycling London roads rather terrifies me so when Santander bikes challenged me to explore the city as part of their summer cycling events me and Lily decided on a really picturesque route exploring Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Trafalgar Square. Renting the bike was easy to do and whilst a little challenging at first, we soon got the hang of it and I have to say it was pretty fun cycling around the park. Since doing this I now appreciate all the cycling lanes around London and combined with walking around some of the busier roads its a quick and easy way to get from A to B. Of course we had to treat ourselves to dinner afterwards too and the hearty ragu sausage pappardelle from Jamie's Italian was a real favourite.

Did you have a good summer? What are you most looking forward to this Autumn?

August empties

It's been a while since my last empties post and with a bag of products gathering dust in the corner I thought it was about time I went through them to see which were favourites and which ones I didn't like quite as much: 

Empties, Reviews, Herbal essences, Sachajuan, Dove, Frizz Ease, Neal and wolf, Vo5
   August empties

Bliss, Mandara spa, Emma Hardie, Swell haircare, Origins, Liz Earle, The body shop, Soap and glory, Revlon, Empties, Reviews
 August empties

Recently I seem to be going through products far quicker than normal and I'm forever replacing my daily essentials. Firm favourites include the Bliss grapefruit and aloe body wash and Emma Hardie moringa cleansing balm. The combination of grapefruit and aloe smells so good and I'm currently still using the matching body lotion. They always do great value gift sets for Christmas and I'll definitely be stocking up again this year. 

For hair care I've really enjoyed using Sachajuan volume shampoo. Not only did the scent remind me of professional salons, the shampoo also left my hair feeling clean and extra bouncy. I also really liked the John Frieda frizz ease smooth start and Dove oxygen moisture conditioner. Both left my hair silky smooth and knot free. 

I seemed to have worked my way through quite a few miniatures too with Liz Earle orange flower body wash coming out as the firm favourite, can you tell I have a thing for citrus scents?! As always make up seems to take forever to finish but I'm sad to have gone through my Revlon nearly naked foundation. It gave the just the right amount of coverage for everyday use and the finish was perfect for my dehydrated/combination skin. Origins a perfect world tinted moisturiser had much less coverage but it was good for adding some colour and glow to the skin. 

There weren't any products that I disliked but of the 17 empties I probably won't repurchase Neal and wolf harmony hair treatment/Swell advanced volumizing conditioner or the Liz Earle energising body wash/Mandara bali santi shower gel, simply because they were either too light for my hair or I preferred the fragrance of some of the other products more.

How did you get on this month? What were your favourites?
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