Neom Christmas Wish home collection

I am nothing if not predictable and as soon as Autumn arrives you'll find me snuggled up at home, drinking hot chocolate and lighting all the candles. Neom have recently brought out their limited edition Christmas scents and although it may be a little early when it came to choosing a new candle I couldn't resist trying their new Christmas Wish home collection:

Neom, Neom Christmas wish, Neom christmas wish home collection, Scented candle, Home mist
Neom Christmas Wish home collection 

First of all lets just take a moment to appreciate the gold polka dot design. I've got a real thing for gold at the moment and the Neom Christmas Wish candle couldn't look more beautiful or stylish sat on my desk. Glass tumblers are always so useful for storing odds and ends and with such a lovely design I'll definitely be reusing this once I've finished with the candle. 

I've always said that Neom do the best home fragrances and Christmas Wish doesn't disappoint. With a blend of mandarin, cinnamon and tonka bean it smells so welcoming and festive that it's hard not to unwind and relax. I usually light mine for an hour or two in the evenings although I have to say that even unlit the scent throw is amazing. All Neom candles are made with 100% natural wax too so there's no need to worry about black soot marks or any potential harmful pollutants. 

The gift set also comes with a matching home mist which is great for subtly scenting a room and makes for a nice alternative when I don't want to have an open flame burning. At £44.95 Neom Christmas Wish home collection is one of the more luxurious gift sets but their fragrances are always a bit more special and thinking ahead if you are starting to plan your Christmas shopping then this would make for a lovely present or even as a little cheeky treat to yourself.
Have you started thinking of Christmas yet? What's your favourite Neom home fragrance?

October empties

I know I say this every month but this year is going by far too quickly! Summer well and truly ended in October and as a result rooftop bars and cocktails have been swapped for cosy nights in and steaming mugs of hot chocolate. I think the weather change is somewhat reflected in my empties too, with 5 moisturisers and a nourishing cleansing balm this month:

Empties, October, Emma Hardie moringa cleansing balm, Clinique superdefense eye cream, Aromatherapy associates enrich body butter
 October empties

Starting with a non beauty empty first - I really liked the fresh floral scent of L'artisan L'ete reed diffuser but over time I found the scent throw to be not as good. Neom still remains my favourite brand for home fragrance and I'm hoping to stock up on a couple of their gift sets this Christmas. 

As always there's a dry shampoo too and Inecto pure coconut dry shampoo did a good job of refreshing my hair in between washes with a nice tropical scent. Emma Hardie moringa cleansing balm remains a firm favourite and I love the relaxing blend of essential oils. The balm is so luxurious and combined with a facial massage it turns make up removal into a real treat. 

Of the moisturisers I didn't get on with Olay total effects as the SPF made my skin break out. Filorga skin absolute day was great for summer but come autumn I found that it wasn't moisturising enough and I've since switched to Olay regenerist which I much prefer. Clinique super defense eye cream was a real favourite though and I loved how it was rich and creamy yet and the same time still light and quick absorbing. A real daily essential and one that I'll no doubt be repurchasing again. 

Other empties include the Armomatherapy Associates enrich body butter which was thick and nourishing and had the most exotic and sensual blend of jasmine, patchouli and tonka bean. FC5 ultra hydrating hand creme was nice enough and did a good job of keeping my hands soft and moisturised but I wasn't so keen on the powdery scent and I've since replaced it with a more fruity hand cream which I love. 

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

Top tips for a more flawless complexion

For the last 2 years I've struggled with my skin - a combination of factors meant that it looked far from best and I was constantly battling dry/dehydrated patches and spots. Recently though I've made a couple of skincare/lifestyle changes and the other day it hit me just how much more balanced and clear my skin has become. So today I thought I'd share my top tips for achieving a more flawless complexion: 

Top tips for a more flawless complexion, Skincare, Tips, Flawless complexion, Hydraluron, Maxfactor, Olay, Emma Hardie, Clean and clear, Water, Exercise, Beauty, Lifestyle,
Top tips for a more flawless complexion - my current skincare routine

1. A good skincare regime
It's taken me a while to achieve this but my top tip would be to sit down, have a good look at your skin and work out what the issues are. For me it was very much dehydration and constant spots. From there I went through my skincare regime, figured out which products were working and what new additions I needed. I still love Emma Hardie amazing face moringa cleansing balm but I've reintroduced Hydraluron back into my skincare routine (review here) and added in a new moisturiser which has made all the difference. Olay 3 point age-defying cream is rich and nourishing without being too heavy or greasy and feels instantly soothing on the skin. It gently exfoliates to renew the skin and I like that it targets the first signs of aging, something which is definitely high on my list of priorities now that I'm in my late twenties. I still get the odd spot from time to time but it's far less frequent now and they don't seem to last nearly as long. A good spot gel always helps though and Clean and Clear does just the trick. 

2 Exercise
Whilst the skincare routine would have no doubt helped, I'm sure that exercise played a big part in helping my skin to look clearer. At the moment I'm doing 30 day shred every 2-3 days with some sit ups and push ups in between. I want to get back into running regularly and I'm hoping to alternate my home workouts with some swimming and exercise classes too. 

3. Staying hydrated 
Water not only flushes out the toxins, it also helps to plump up cells and helps you to stay more mentally alert. I try to aim for 6-8 glasses a day and I find that having a big bottle on my desk really helps as its there to hand, and I'm far more likely to drink if I'm not constantly having to get up to refill my glass. 

4. Make up
Finally don't underestimate the power of makeup. Now I'm not saying you should cover up spots etc with a heavy base but for days when you want to look more flawless a good foundation can make all the difference, evening out the skin and blurring over minor imperfections. I really liked Maxfactor miracle match foundation as it offers a buildable light to medium coverage, has nourishing ingredients and doesn't cling to any dry patches. I'd say it has a semi-matte finish and I find that it lasts well throughout the day with needing any touch ups. 

Now I'm by no means an expert but I hope these tips will help and if you have any suggestions or product recommendations then please do let me know on the comments below. 

Do you also struggle with your skin? What are your top tips for a more flawless complexion? 

Overnight stay at Careys Manor Hotel and SenSpa, New Forest

Spa trips are one of life's little indulgences and for a relaxing break there's nothing better than overnight stay followed by a long treatment. Living in London I'm spoilt for choice with hotels and spas but sometimes it's nice to get away from it all and Careys Manor Hotel and SenSpa in the New Forest was just what I needed: 
It always surprises me how close other places are and Careys Manor Hotel and SenSpa was less than 2 hours away from London Waterloo. With it's wooden decor, long corridors and open fires it reminded me rather of an old stately home and surrounded by large areas of greenery and trees it felt like a world away from the hustle and bustle of London. 

As I've gotten older I've really come appreciate a nice hotel room and I'm pleased to say Careys Manor didn't disappoint. The giant double bed couldn't have been comfier, there's a sofa to relax on and let's just take a moment to appreciate that view! There's even hot chocolate and biscuits hidden away in a draw should you want a little treat. 

Our treatments weren't till the next day so after a quick tour we made our way to the onsite SenSpa for some serious relaxation. I'm a keen swimmer so was really pleased to see a decent length pool and half an hour of gentle exercise really helped me to unwind. There's a whole host of saunas and steam rooms to choose from but my favourite has to be hydrotherapy pool. Powerful jets of bubbles blast around you as you sit and relax and afterwards I was even brave enough to take advantage of the cold experience shower and ice treatment. 

The food was another highlight and there are two restaurants to choose from - Cambium which offers locally sourced fine dining and Zen Gardens which offers Thai. I loved that there was an authentic Thai restaurant on site and with dishes such as beef stirfry, duck curry and pad thai it was a real highlight and something that made Careys Manor/Senspa stand out against all the other spas I've been too. 

Breakfast was a buffet of hot and cold dishes and with such a huge selection of items there really was something for everyone. They even had Tabasco for us hot sauce lovers so a big thumbs up from me! 

Now onto the treatment, I opted for the Sen fusion signature massage which was just 90 minutes of pure bliss. SenSpa treatments are based on traditional Thai techniques and their staff here undergo regular training, which you can tell in quality of the treatment. I asked for a firm massage and after a quick chat my therapist really got to work getting rid of all the knots and tensions in my shoulder. This was then followed by an all over body and head massage which was so relaxing that had it not involved several position changes I would have definitely fallen asleep.

Although I only stayed for one night it's safe to say that after the treatment I left feeling revived and far more relaxed. For me there are two things that made Careys Manor/SenSpa stand out - the quality of the treatment and the fact that you can get Thai food on site. I've since incorporated a few of their products into my daily routine but being so close to London I'll no doubt be back for another stay and if you're looking for a relaxing UK break then I would definitely recommend.

Have you ever been to Careys Manor/Senspa? Where are your favourite places to go for a relaxing break?

The Balm - In theBalm of Your Hand make up palette

I'm loving the fact that so many American make up brands are now launching here in the UK. Thanks to it's fun and quirky packaging The Balm has made quite the name for itself and when I heard that they were launching in Debenhams I was really keen to have a play with the products myself. In theBalm of Your Hand soon caught my eye and with a selection of their bestsellers I thought it would be a great way to try out the brand:

The Balm reminds me somewhat of Benefit cosmetics and the fun and quirkiness carries through to the products with names such as Bahama mama, Mary-Lou manizer and Shady lady. In the palette itself there's a selection of 4 eyeshadows, 3 blushes, a bronzer, highlighter and 2 lip colours. Because it's quite a neutral palette I find all the shades really easy to wear and it's great for any trips away as it pretty much takes care of all my colour needs.

In theBalm of Your Hand eyeshadow, highlighter and blush swatches

In theBalm of Your Hand bronzer and lip swatches

I've swatched a selection of my favourite shades above and you can see there's a good mix of shimmers and mattes. In particular I'm really liking Shady lady insane jane eyeshadow and Mary Lou manizer which also doubles up as a gorgeous golden eyeshadow. Bahama mama works well as both a bronzer and contour shade and Instain a really lovely pink blush which gives a fresh rosy glow to the cheeks. For the lips there's a choice of the more neutral How about them apples caramel cream or The balm girls Mia Moore lipstick which packs a punch but is the most beautiful cherry red. 

Like a lot of palettes these days it's made of thick cardboard with magnets to stop it from falling open. Compared to say a plastic palette it's not the most practical but the slim design does mean that at least it's easy to fit into your makeup bag. I also like that they've got a separate flap for the lip colours as this helps to keep it clean and prevent any fall out from the powders going in. Overall a really gorgeous selection of shades and if like myself you're new to The Balm then this palette a great way to try out their products without having to buy them all individually. 

Have your tried anything from The Balm before? What do you think of the new In theBalm of Your Hand palette?

The £9 Chloe Drew dupe

There's no denying that Chloe Drew is THE handbag of the season and with it's tan leather and gold hardwear it's not hard to see why. Recently I've been wanting to downsize my handbag and after missing out on the Forever 21 dupe I was really pleased to find another lookalike whilst out shopping at the weekend:

Primark, Handbag, Chloe drew, Dupe

This little beauty comes from Primark and retails for just £9! It's one of those designs that just seems to go with everything and I love that it's spacious enough for all my daily essentials yet small enough to stop me from overloading my poor shoulders. At a glace it really is very similar to the Chloe Drew and also comes in black although I think the combination of gold and tan will be perfect for Autumn. Unfortunately you can't buy Primark online but they had plenty of handbags instore and I would definitely recommend taking a look if you're also a fan of the Chloe Drew. 

Are you a fan of designer handbags? What do you think of this design?

Cooking with Neff, Great British Bake Off style

Having watched Great British Bake off all summer and with the final just last night it's safe to say that I'm currently obsessed with all things baking, bunting and of course cake, plenty of cake! So when Neff, the makers of the famous GBBO slide & hide ovens got in touch and asked if I'd like to try it out for myself, I jumped at the chance:

Neff, Pork and boar burgers
Neff, Pork and boar burger recipe
Neff slide & hide oven, Pork and boar burger

Located in Milton Keynes, their showroom is literally a baker's heaven and after a quick intro we were put in charge of making lunch. Me and the lovely Maria cooked pork and boar burgers (definitely the best dish of the day if I say so myself) and they were absolutely delicious. Juicy little bites served on flatbreads with stewed apples and onions all drizzled with a sharp balsamic vinegar glaze. They were surprisingly easy to cook too and the slide & hide doors added to the excitement as we were able to get much closer to the burgers when checking on them during cooking. I've included the recipe above and I'll definitely be recreating them again myself for dinner soon. 

Neff, Salad, Quiches, Lunch

Lunch also included a whole host of other baked goods, including no less than 3 quiches and a healthy but yummy cous cous salad. It turns out the ovens have a cool conduction system which means that flavours don't mingle during cooking so the professional bakers also knocked up a tray of delicious looking scones for our afternoon tea.

Neff slide & hide oven
Neff, Baking masterclass

At this point we were all absolutely stuffed, but the food kept on coming! According to the bakers the pre-made bread mixes are just as good but much more hassle free as you only need to add milk/water. A quick blend in the mixer followed by half an hour in the steam oven and we had a savoury and sweet tear & share bread to eat. To make these you simply sprinkle with the filling of your choice then either roll into a circle or cut into buns and bake together on a metal tray. 

Neff, Tear and share bread, Scones, Afternoon tea
Neff, Strawberries dipped in chocolate, Dessert

A lot of the time I'm discouraged from baking as I think it'll take too long but aside from all the delicious food Neff have taught me that with a little pre-planning (and some cheat packs) that doesn't need to be the case at all. Safe to say that along with the Great British Bake Off it's definitely reignited my love of home cooking and I'm now dreaming of owning one of their slide & hide ovens for my kitchen.

Have you watched Great British Bake Off this year? What did you think of last night's final?

DKNY Be Desired

Allow me to introduce the latest addition to the DKNY family - DKNY Be Desired. Growing up Be Delicious was one of my favourite perfumes and the fresh apple scent will always remind me of my later teenage years. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard that they were bringing out a new permanent edition in the form of DKNY Be Desired:

DKNY, DKNY Be Delicious, DKNY Be Desired, Perfume, Fragrance, New Launch, Review, New York

DKNY Be Desired is housed in the same iconic apple shaped bottle, but the scent is a more floral intense version of the original. There's still that crisp apple fragrance that we know and love, but inspired by the hidden urban gardens of New York, there's now also the addition of orange oil, blackcurrant, grapefruit, violet leaves, jasmine, rose and cedarwood. 

If I had to compare I'd say that DKNY Be Delicious is more youthful and fresh, whereas Be Desired is like the more floral green older sister. It's almost as if the perfume has grown up with the original generation of fans and has been updated to be more sophisicated and edgy. Safe to say if you were a fan of the original then DKNY Be Desired is well worth a try and if you're anything like me then this may just become a new favourite. 
Were you a fan of the original DKNY Be Delicious? What do you think about the new Be Desired perfume?

September empties and favourites

I can't believe that it's the end of September already, especially as it's still so warm and sunny here in the UK. It seems only yesterday I was putting together my August empties and now here we are at the end of another month. Recently I had a clear out and discovered quite a few products that I'd forgotten about. Add in some miniatures from a weekend away along with the usual daily essentials and I've managed to accumulate 17 empties this months:

Empties, Favourites, September, Dove, Batiste, Radical skincare, Clinique, Paul Mitchell, Maxfactor, Rimmer, Herbal Essences
September empties and favourites

I always seem to get through at least one dry shampoo every month and September was no exception. I really liked the fresh scent and fine mist of Herbal Essences clearly naked dry shampoo but had some problems with the can as it seems to have stopped spraying half way through. Both the Batiste dry shampoos were nice enough but I much prefer the brunette version or one of their more fruitier scents. I also really liked the Paul Mitchell clarifying shampoo. It had an invigorating lemon scent and helped to gently get rid of product build up without being harsh or irritating on my scalp. 

Rather annoyingly all my daily essentials seemed to run out at the same time. Radical anti-aging restorative moisture has been a life saver recently and Clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion+ great for using under make up. I also really liked Rimmel stay matte powder for touch ups during the day although sadly the plastic lid proved too fragile for my handbag. Other favourites include Dove beauty blossom nourishing body lotion and Maxfactor clump defy mascara, both of which I'd happily repurchase again. 

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