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Bedtime Beauty

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Whether it's a Sunday evening pamper sesh or mid week way to unwind, a bit of an indulge when it comes to skincare is definitely where it's at for me before bedtime if I want to boost my mood.

Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair is one of those products that has been floating around the blogging world for what seems like forever - receiving rave reviews from those young and old alike. Indeed, it is a firm favourite amongst the more mature ladies in my family who swear by it. Until a month or so ago though, for some unknown reason I had never tried the much talked about serum, that is until I received a free sample from my local Boots store. I only had to use it once or twice to know I would have to pick up the full size. It's light enough to sink in quickly and avoid feeling sticky yet it still feels hydrating and nourishing on the skin. It works well in combatting my slightly oil prone t-zone and also works to reduce the ruddy cheeks I suffer with especially in this colder weather. A firm fixture in my evening skincare routine.

If we're talking hydration, look no further than the Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial - it markets itself as being a serum, oil and moisturiser in one that, if you're not one for the fuss of including several steps in your skincare routine, will take care of most of them in one quick application. Not only is it effectively a bit of a time saver, it is what I would consider to be, the most luxurious product of the bunch. You wake up with skin feeling plumped, glowy and ready to face the day. This is the first product I've tried from the Sarah Chapman range and I am now seriously looking forward to giving some more a go!

And finally, the latest addition to my skincare stash - REN's Wake Wonderful Night-time Facial. With ingredients including glycogen and magnesium, it claims to help achieve a more even, luminous skin tone and at the same time, promises to help hydrate through raising the skin's PH level. All very scientific, but so far so good when it comes to these bold claims as I have been thoroughly impressed. Unlike the Estee Lauder serum, this isn't something that I would suggest you use on a daily basis - one or twice a week in order to mix things up a little seems to work well for me, and if you're already a fan of the Radiance Renewal Mask and the gorgeous zesty scent it has, you won't be disappointed here either as it has the same delicious fragrance.

What are your favourite night time skincare staples?

Sarah x

Brand Focus: By Terry

Saturday, 28 November 2015

By Terry has always been one of those high end brands that, although I hear a lot of good things about - there seems to be so much to choose from that I often get a bit overwhelmed re what to pick up and spend my hard earned pennies on.

When I saw Tanya wearing the Ombre Blackstar in Misty Rock, like so many people I immediately felt I had to have it and I wasn't disappointed. Apart from the really unique shade - it's almost mauve but with a subtle hint of pink, strewn with tiny silver flecks - the staying power is amazing (even with my oily lids) and the blendability brilliant. Its one of those shadows where all you need is a quick swipe and you're done - the 'I've made so much effort without making any effort' look in stick form.

Same goes for the other shade I decided to invest in - Bronze Moon - a shimmery, warm brown that's super wearable and that can be built up to create the perfect smokey eye for the upcoming festive season. So now all that's left to do is to choose what colour to add next to my collection!

The Terribly Densiliss foundation is without a doubt the priciest base I have ever purchased. I'd heard a few good things floating around the blogosphere and was really intrigued by the whole 'foundation but with the benefits of skincare' talk (it claims to actively firm, tone and plump up the skin). However, it was only when I heard Estee talking about it, saying that it was the first foundation she had tried that hadn't worn off and flaked throughout the day that I felt the need to test this for myself. It didn't let me down. 04 - Natural Beige was the perfect match for me and after a full 14 hours wear in the office, it was still going strong. Despite being pretty full coverage, it feels lightweight on the skin and doesn't leave it feeling suffocated - a definite fave.

And finally, the cult product amongst my picks - Baume de Rose. Just a lip balm right? And one with a hefty price tag at that... Well, admittedly, this isn't an essential but if you want a little bit of luxury then this is where it's at. Feels incredible with more of a gel like texture than the balm I was expecting, smells amazing (especially if you're a rose fan), and does a great job at fending off those pesky dry winter lips whilst adding a hint of sheen.

I'd be really interested to know what other By Terry products people have tried and would recommend. What do I need to add to my wishlist?

Sarah x 

Gift Guide - Accessory Enthusiasts

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

With the festive season rapidly approaching, what better gift to give than a little bit of 'bling' to make someone feel a million dollars - whether they're out donning their dancing shoes at the office party, sales shopping with the girls or enjoying a cosy night in with their other half? Whatever the occasion, I've got you covered.

1. Something Shiny

You could go for all out sparkle here and a statement piece to wow, or, alternatively there is the option of classic and personal.  If it's the latter you're after, then this Monica Vinader Alphabet Pendant is beautiful - the charm and chain are available separately and are at the slightly pricier end of the scale when it comes to gift giving but for that special someone or a best friend, I think they would be perfect. 

2. Keeping cosy

Let's face it, this ones a classic - slippers, lounge-wear, pyjamas - you name it, we all can't get enough of it. I came across these cute little bunnies in Forever 21 and just couldn't resist. If there's one time of year that you can get away with novelty footwear it's now, so make the most of it I say.

3. Winter Warmers

Along the same lines, but instead of staying indoors, this lot will ensure you're wrapped up warm on those icy winter mornings. Nothing beats a good bobble hat, and Zara have the best range of giant scarves to drape yourself in (followed closely by ASOS who also have a pretty extensive offering). I saw Kate wearing this one and just knew I had to have it.

4. Luxurious Leather

If you're feeling generous here, you could splash out and get your loved one that Chanel handbag they've been lusting over forever. But if, like most people's, your budget won't stretch that far - perhaps a smart pair of leather gloves or for those who like to be organised - one of these super cute slogan notebooks from Smythson (the latter is at the top of my list to Santa this year). My personal pick though, would be one of these Whistles card holders - I snapped up this burgundy snakeskin number a couple of weeks back and think it makes the perfect little addition inside an evening clutch (as opposed to the usual giant purse filled with approx 147 train tickets/receipts that I usually end up lugging around - leaving little room for any added extras!).

Of course there's the 'Something Sexy' option that you could consider as well - but I have a whole post of it's own to dedicate to that next week, along with a little something for all you make-up mavens out there ;)

Until then though, what's on everyone else's wishlist this year? Mine is currently a little lacking, so I need some inspiration!

Sarah x

Estee Lauder Global Anti-aging Eye Balm

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Since discovering the world of beauty blogging, skincare is something that has really got me hooked. One thing I haven't managed to quite crack though, in amongst what are now many 'holy grail' items, is eye care. I've been a floozy and have flitted and flounced between products in an attempt to find the perfect thing but nothing has ever wowed me enough to want to stick with it. Until now that is - step forward Estee Lauder's Global Anti-aging Eye Balm.

Now normally the 'Anti-aging' element and such a clearly ridiculous name would put me off a little - however, the mention of a 'balm' as opposed to a 'cream' and the fact the Anna had already really bigged this up had me intrigued. I quite often find that my eye area doesn't react too well to anything that is too rich and that it can even have a tendency to increase puffiness as opposed to taking it away! The ever raved about Kiehl's Creamy Avocado Eye Treatment is one of the main offenders. And, although when I use something lighter - one of my other favourites being the Origins Eye Doctor, this just doesn't seem to provide the same benefits as something a more substantial would. Hence I purchased this hoping that it would provide the perfect balance.

In terms of consistency, it wasn't quite what I was expecting, which I must admit, did put me off a little at first. Once applied though, it glided on and sank in beautifully with what I would describe as being slightly more of a gel like texture than a balm. My skin felt silky and hydrated without being sticky, which is exactly what I was hoping for. 

I think eye products are something it is particularly hard to tell a difference with over the short-medium term - especially where any signs of aging are concerned as these are something that only time will tell with in terms of delivering results. However, the slightly dry/flaky inner corners that I suffer with in this colder weather seem to have disappeared and I certainly haven't been experiencing any of the irritation that I would normally with something more nourishing like this. Added to that, I am also a big fan of the fact that it is fragrance free as anything too heavily scented when slathered on such a delicate area, never bodes well in my experience at least. 

All in all I am thoroughly impressed and am also starting to realise that perhaps investing in a few more bits geared towards 'anti-aging' may not be such a bad idea. After all, the big three-zero is not too far away and you can never start too early with this kind of thing - right? Definitely one to add to the Christmas gift/wish list for any skincare addicts/Mums/Aunties/Sisters/Grannies that like to dabble - I mean apart from the product itself, does the glitzy gold packaging alone not just do it for you?

Sarah x

Making Time For

Monday, 23 November 2015

In my last post I mentioned that I had been watching Estee's #ForeverNovember uploads throughout this month, and, in amongst the usual daily vlogs and beauty bits there was one that grabbed my attention  - her 'Making Time For' video really got me thinking...

Something I know I fail royally at on a regular basis, is actually putting plans into action. And so, I thought I would adopt the same approach and make a promise to myself to get stuck in with the following - things I have been aspiring to take part and get involved in for a really long time. No more excuses.

1. Work hard. Play hard

For as long as I can remember (especially post uni days), I have been one of those people who, when 5pm arrives and the working day ends - cannot wait to get home, slip into my slacks and spend the evening doing nothing but chilling on the sofa. Now, there's nothing wrong  with doing that every now and again, but I've decided I need to spend a little less time dreaming about what I plan to do -what events I  'might' attend if I 'have time' - and lot more time actually doing them - getting out there, meeting new people and not sitting back waiting for things to happen. Though the thought of having to make the effort to drag myself out for a few drinks after work often ends up filling me with dread - by the time I've got that third whiskey sour down me I'm having a cracking time and so I need to push past the initial inclination to dodge. Note to self - socialise Sarah, don't limit yourself!

2. Diarise

I'm talking appointments (already given the daily journal thing a go, and as much as I liked the idea, it just wasn't for me). What I think I would be capable of with a little effort though, is recording any upcoming deadlines/meetings/events that I have on the horizon. Also hoping that by writing these down this may help with number one on the list and that I will eventually become one of those women who has their monthly nails/brow/hair appointments penciled in - you know the ones a lot of us secretly aspire to be? Even went so far as to purchase a couple of those super swish metallic gel pens from Paperchase to aid me today so there are no grounds for a cop-out!

3. Yoga

Ok, ok I know - how cliche can you get? But I've heard it's good for a wounded heart and I'm a big fan of wacky patterned leggings, what can I say. Plus, it's not too vigorous and as I'm no gym bunny I'm hoping it will be a gentle way to ease myself into more regular exercise. For the last couple of weeks I've attended a class at my local gym and in between I've been following this little routine in the mornings to try and get a bit of 'healing' on the go.

4. Blogging 

You'll know if you've been a long time follower around these parts, that my posts tend to be a bit sporadic - partly due to work commitments, but also because when any sort of 'big change' takes place in terms of my routine, I tend to get a bit seriously lazy. Each time I start writing again, I realise what a huge outlet it is for me and how much I enjoy putting content out there, interacting with others and getting people's feedback. In truth, this little corner of the web has been quite the saviour for me on a number of occasions and so from now on, even if it is just once a week, I plan on getting something up here.

Fingers crossed that now these little 'resolutions' are out there for all to see, that I can succeed at conquering them and making them part of my routine on a permanent basis! :)

What is it you feel like you'd like to make more time for?

Sarah x

6 Instant Pick Me Ups

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Came across this little 'gif'' when I was surfing through Tumblr the other day and it made me smile. Despite having felt a bit down in the dumps lately, I knew that by following it's advice, everything would seem that little bit better. And so, on my lunch break this week, I gathered the necessary components and looked forward to an evening of 'me' time. If you're after a bit of a pick me up yourself, then I would thoroughly recommend you try these tips;

1. Enjoy a nice beverage - Won't lie, most evenings I've been indulging in a hot chocolate with all the trimmings. In light of my recent pledge to switch things up and try to become a little healthier though (post to come soon), the last few days I've swapped this for a Twining's gingerbread and green tea - still with that sweet hit but without the calories.

2. Read a good book -  Caitlin Moran's 'How to be a Woman' has been on my list for a while now. I read somewhere that if you're a woman it will remind you how awesome you are - how you should stop worrying about silly things like getting married by the time you are X years old, having children, being thin and wearing make up. Hence, with current mood acting as a great enabler, I thought YES! What could be better? Searched high and low in Waterstones until I went to leave and there it was - one stray copy at the front of the store - could it be fate? 

3. Watch some silly videos - First off, shout out to all my friends who are currently bombarding me with hilarious/cute gifs/pics/vids of skateboarding bulldogs/trampolining ponies and the like. They are much appreciated! As well as these, I've also been catching up on blogs/vlogs from some of the ladies I find most inspiring on the interwebz. Estee, Victoria - who's smile I find infectious, and the wonderful Fleur but to name a few.

4. Take a warm bath - No one has ever needed to persuade me to do this. It's my nightly ritual after a 14 hour day as it is. However, throw in the added luxury cliche of a Lush bath bomb and voila! Other optional extras to add into the mix include scented candle/the cosiest pyjamas you can get your mits on.

5. Make something - Yet to accomplish this, though I guess blogging might count if we're just talking getting creative? Either way, my friend Laura has inspired me lately with the confectionery masterpieces that she has been creating and so I've dug out some of my favourite recipe books in the hope that I can hone my domestic goddess skills. We're also hoping to visit the Chatsworth Christmas Market next weekend and so getting crafty will no doubt play a part in the fun and festivities.

6. Hug someone - Though I have a couple of 'someones' I could hug, most of the time I like to stick to cuddling my two Labradors - is there really anything more therapeutic than a fluffy friend? 

P.S. If all else fails and none of the above seem to be the mood enhancer you were hoping for, I can confirm that a good dose of retail therapy along with several boozy beverages and a best mate to rant to, will also work wonders!

Sarah x