Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Recent Holiday Essentials

I know it should be all talk of pumpkins and perhaps tentatively mentioning the 'C' word (well it is two months today) but today I'm referring back to my recent travels and sharing with you some of the products that have accompanied me on my trips.

It's been rather helpful that I could go from one trip to another (with a week or twos break that is) and know exactly what worked and didn't and could almost repack whilst unpacking. The first handy must have is Arm and Hammer Advanced White Toothpaste*. As a smoker, and one taking advantage of duty free prices a whitening toothpaste is something of a necessity and this does the trick perfectly. Hailing back to the old days and containing baking soda to tackle any staining from smoking and sangria it gives my teeth a fighting chance. Do I like the taste? No, I hate it but for the days I'm on holiday it does the trick and this small 25ml tube has been used by myself and my companions on no less than four trips before finding it's way into the empties pile.

Yes there is the Gillette Snap made for travel and my favoured razor at home is the Gillette Venus & Olay but for ease I grab one or two of the Wilkinson Sword Beauty Razors which perform adequately for the days I am on holiday. I always throw a pack of these razors into my shopping trolley when wandering the aisles of Tesco as they are handy to have in a pinch. It's not the most 'caring' of razors and no way performs as smoothly as the Gillette Venus but nonetheless it is ideal for using and throwing away and I find I need no more than two during a week long trip.

I appear to get the most attention from my travel sized tube of FemFresh Daily Intimate Wash* in the shower than any other and it's not jokes might I add it's my friends asking where I found this. I received this directly from a PR but assumed that these travel sizes were readily available but as googling and my friends comments tell me that is not the case. FemFresh, get on it we want travel sizes readily available. When I first posted about FemFresh it was admittedly tentatively but since then many friends have shared their stories about how they love this product and it's a shame on their travels they either have to pack the full size or forgo for the trip. This seems a shame when, depending on your activities whether it's getting all hot and sweaty on the dancefloor or the beach you might need to give 'down there' a little special attention.

NatraSan First Aid Spray* joined me on my holidays and mum borrowed it for her week in Morocco so it's certainly collected the stamps in its passport. Mum even returned it to me saying her friend had commented on how good it was. There's nothing worse than all sorts of insects having a nibble whilst away and a quick spray from this helped aid any itching from bites so I could get to sleep at night.

I always seem to have a selection of Soap & Glory travel sizes available for travelling thanks to often adding one of their gift sets to my Christmas lists or their three for two offers. Gone are my younger opinions that using an exfoliator would scrub away my tan and I recognise that exfoliating during my trip actually aids tanning. Soap & Glory Scrub of Your Life is a great, especially if you have managed to burn and are peeling a little - even the boys picked this out of the shower too. You can't go wrong with a Soap & Glory shower gel and Foam Call does the job. It doesn't set the world alight and I'm in no rush to replace it but this tubes can just about cover a seven night trip and you can often find them on three for two like now.

A favourite duo I used on my trip was L'Oreal Elvive Colour Protect Shampoo and Conditioner. This duo was in my travel size bag and I grabbed for one of my trips as I'd said goodbye to my favourite Bumble and Bumble Thickening Shampoo. It wasn't a considered purchase at the time, I think perhaps grabbed from a supermarket when heading out for an impromptu sleepover but whilst using on holiday I really liked the results and am keen to repurchase in full size when the need arises. As my hair is now coloured, and bleached at that, it was my first time having to pay more attention with caring for my hair. L'Oreal Elvive Colour Protect Shampoo and Conditioner certainly did that and gave such great results I could simply wash and go without having to worry about heat styling which was perfect.

I'm already a big fan of Colab Dry Shampoos and love their Extreme range and would usually purchase a travel size for my trips abroad but having picked up the newest release Colab Active Dry Shampoo with it's protection against sun damage and city pollution I gave away space in my luggage to the full sized can. Such was my love that space was found for all my trips bar Ibiza due to hand luggage restrictions - please can we have this in a mini size.

Whilst I am now blonder my roots are still brown so the usual issue of worrying about white casts is a factor and again, this does not occur with Colab Active Dry Shampoo. Whilst I might not be the most 'active' on holiday things still get a little sweaty when sitting out in the sun so this is a perfect refresher.

I often wonder if Bumble and Bumble Salt Spray actually does anything and it's not just become a product that I associate with Summer and my holidays. Of course I'm being flippant and it does do the trick. Out of the shower, a spray of this on my hair and leave it to air dry and I'm good to go with a little texture that takes me through the night.

Finally Sure Compressed Deodorant*, a travel friendly 125ml size which will last as long as a regular 250ml. Sure has Motionsense technology to work with you and your body as you move so if you're planning some heavy nights out dancing this could be perfect for you. I don't find Sure Sprays work as well for as Sure Maximum Protection I must confess but they perform perfect adequately for me and my minimal activity that occurs during a holiday.

What products will you not travel without?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Life Update | I'm a Full Time Blogger!

One doesn't have to be a genius to note there has been an impromptu break on Florence and Mary. If you follow me on social media I'm sure you will put it down to my recent holidays. As one friend said I appear to never been in the country and that is part of the reason and why there was an initial break following my return from Menorca. Once home I was unable to get back into the groove before departing to Ibiza and then subsequent events have led to my break in posting being longer than I expected. But all shall be explained...

The big news of the moment is I have recently been made redundant, hence my slightly click-bait inducing title. My redundancy is bittersweet. I was at my company for ten years and had made many friends and lots of fond memories but recent events had changed the course of both my role and environment and as such moving on is a positive step.

'At my age' to be in a position where I can take some time out and think about my next move, what I want to do next and as a blogger enjoy the luxury of 'full time blogging' is exciting. It's also a great time of year to be 'unemployed' with Halloween and Christmas festivities on the cards - I'm off to a Pumpkin Patch on Wednesday so stay tuned for that.

To address the cliched 'full time blogging' aspect of things, what does that mean for you as readers? Please don't worry that I'm going to go all editorial on you, that's not really who I am but you will see a more varied mix of content. I find my beauty reviews very easy to write, and as such are quicker than lifestyle posts with their abundance of photos requiring editing, and they won't disappear but with more time on my hands I hope to be able to catch up on sharing some of my recent trips, perhaps one or two 'chatty' posts and being home in the day means it's time to up my photography game and even starting sharing more images of products in action - although some of these dull days have already hindered me.

Whilst I don't expect my 'full time blogging' to be something I continue with long term, I like the office environment, I do want to see what I can achieve in my time off with Florence and Mary and hope you do too. You may see a new blog layout, there may be one or two more sponsored posts as I look at monetising things (I'll spare you the typical disclaimers about remaining honest and hope you know me well enough) but I intend for any changes to be positive ones for you and me.

Continuing the cliches I'm also thinking about dabbling with YouTube. It's always been in back of my mind for a while now and my niece and nephew are very keen for me to start a channel so with their encouragement how could I not. The editing process has always put me off, but again, with the luxury of time I can concentrate on learning and getting that right without battling to get blog posts up for the week in addition to working full time. If you have any tips, or suggestions for that matter please do send them my way.

Exciting times ahead, I hope you're looking forward to it.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Products I've Used Up | Skincare

I love to see a pile of skincare empties as a reward to myself that I have been regularly following a skincare regime although it is sad to say goodbye to some of these products.

Let's start with cleansers and first Eloquence Beauty Purifying Cleanser*. I was newly introduced to the brand and enjoyed all of the products I was able to test. As a cleanser I preferred this for my morning cleanse and the packaging definitely makes it a product I would think of when looking for a cleanser to travel with as it ticks all boxes and would work well for removing make up.
You can read a full review of Eloquence Beauty here.

Next is an old favourite that I'm sure I've had far longer than I should it's a worry my face didn't drop off. Cleansing Balms are something of a 'thing' in blogger circles and I like to think I was unintentionally ahead of myself when I discovered Rodial Glamtox Cleansing BalmI initially saw this in Space NK, balked at the £50 price tag and then managed to purchase from QVC for half price. The problem is now I would happily pay the higher price because I really loved this cleanser. Whilst I enjoy using cleansing balms in there more traditional solid form found in pots which you 'dig out' and rub in, this is a balm 'liquid' which is dispensed via the pump. Far less faff in my opinion.

A pricey serum which I used as part of the Pycnogenol Challenge was Clarins Double Serum - Complete Age Control Concentrate*. We're told that if we're to spend our money on one particular skincare product it should be our serum and I would happily spend my pounds on this Clarins Serum. As I explained in my original post on the challenge I used this serum alongside supplements and couldn't deny that my skin was in the best condition it had been for a while, I feel that was down to the products I was using, namely the serum.

Transformulas Marine Miracle EyeZone* was the right mix of a light formula whilst packing a punch with its powerful ingredients which you can read about in my full review here. My eye area is the one I have most 'concern' for and I'm always conscious of keeping any fine lines in check and I can report that this product helped to do this.

A more affordable and subtle primer than say Benefit Professional is Nip+Fab Viper Venom Micro Blur* which I enjoyed using. I am using up my collection of primers which is made harder due to finding I've taken a step backward and am skipping the step! You can read a full review here.

I enjoyed the Nip+Fab Kale Make Up Removing Pads* for those nights when all I could manage is falling into bed. That said sometimes my eye make up would be irritating me and I'd reach for these in my bedside cabinet. My only major gripe is that they're quite small and I'd find I'd have to use a few before my face was clean. There's a full review here.

I wasn't particularly excited about F.O.Y Moisturising Day Cream* but nonetheless I used diligently that its made it's way into this post. Initially lacklustre about this day cream on use it did its job well and was a perfect cream for my mature skin whilst still wanting something light enough to combat the heat. You can read my review of the F.O.Y range here.

AEOS is a new to me brand that I've had an opportunity to try via their travel try me kit. I have a mix of the products in my travel minis draw and you will have seen the Hydrating Mist in my holiday skincare regime. Two products I used up swiftly were AEOS Gentle Cleansing Lotion (Blue)* and
AEOS Energising Conditioner*. This is a pricey brand with products around the £50 mark and whilst they have been nice to use I'm not sure if there's anything about them that makes me want to repurchase at that price. The cleansing lotion was akin to the usual wash off formulas and the Energising Condition whilst a nice step, was an extra one I don't think I want nor need.

Finally is the AVENE Micellar Water which I have little to say about other than it's handy size was perfect for nights away. It removed make up easily and I would repurchase but more than likely I'd go for a 'cheaper' option.

What skincare products have you been using up?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Holiday Skincare Regime

A holiday can often be the perfect opportunity to abandon a skincare regime and reach for the face wipes but for me, despite the odd night at home when I forgo an evening routine on holiday I'm never more diligent. I don't know if it's the opportunity to work my way through the extensive stash of minis I have or the minimal luxury bathroom to pamper myself, but whatever the reasons I thought I'd share with you what accompanied me to Italy last month.

Disclaimer, I did take some face wipes with me, the Australian Bodycare Tea Tree Wipes* because despite the diligence sometimes that luxury bathroom is too far away. These tea tree wipes were more for freshening up on days sat round the pool or first thing in the morning. As a face wipe the tea tree is quite overpowering and for make up removal they're not the best.

Moving on to 'proper' cleansing, when travelling I like to use a cream cleanser or facial wash to serve as double duty for morning and evening routines. This trip I was trying out Gatineau Melatogenine Refreshing Cleansing Cream which is a 'triple-action formula' as a cleanser, toner and exfoliator so perfect for travel. Apparently its Gatineau's patented youth molecule, Melatogenine which helps remove make up, impurities and provide anti-ageing benefits and whilst I don't know if I look any younger at the end of the week away I can report that its make up removing capabilities were great. I'd liken this to the older sister to Liz Earles Hot Cloth Cleanser and for those who are looking for some more intensive ingredients.

Whilst Gatineau Cleansing Cream claims to offer toning I still took along AEOS Refreshing Hydrating Mist*. I was sent a travel size kit of the AEOS skincare regime and almost immediately on testing I liked the products and decided that I wanted to have them on hand for my travels due to their petite size.  Perhaps an unneeded step in my skincare regime and more suited for my long haul in flight make up bag I'll need in October but it's a product I've liked to use no doubt due to it refreshing and balancing the skin 'and mind' with its blend of essential oils and other premium ingredients.

The next step, again from Gatineau and the Collagene Expert Ultimate Smoothing Serum. I'm pretty certain a week is not long enough to speak to whether a serums is working it's magic but it did claim to plump up skin and smooth out wrinkles and I did find I was reaching for a primer of an evening less so than normal so I was happy with what was looking back at me in the mirror.

Dermalogica Intensive Eye Repair* is an oldie but a goodie that I reach for whenever I'm travelling. Whether it's to be applied in flight or during the trip due to one too many late nights it tackles my fine lines perfectly. Many nutrients combine to create a hydrating cream that is light to use, doesn't interfere with make up and ensures that my eyes doesn't give away how many late nights I may have had.

For moisturiser I was using Algenist Power Advanced Wrinkle Fighter Moisturiser which had a lovely whipped texture that was neither too light nor thick for the weather. For mature skin, it is designed to diminish fine lines and wrinkles providing a plumper looking skin. Again a week isn't long enough to really give a thorough review and this little pot didn't last the full seven days but the combination of skincare I was using all worked well to ensure my skin was still looking great during my holiday. In fact since my return, being ill, tired and general suffering from post holiday blues my skin has been a mess!

My trip to Italy was in part to attend the christening of my friends son so the morning of I dished out sheet masks from MaskerAide*. I often take a long a hydrating mask when flying long haul but it's not something I think of when short haul but that will change. I chose the MaskerAide Pre Party Prep Hydrating Sheet Mask* to ensure my skin would look hydrated and be in perfect condition for piling on the make up. As sheet masks go these are fun to look at, perfect for a girls night in, and work a treat. I enjoyed the 10 minutes of bliss when I lay on my bed wearing the cooling mask even if Ben said I scared him!

Do you follow a skincare regime when you're on holiday?

*this post contains press sample and affiliate links

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Monthly Beauty Favourites | August 2016

Favourites posts always seem more difficult when I've been on holiday as I try and remember the products I loved before I took flight, or question whether the fact I took something on holiday makes it's a favourite. Here's the products which made the list.

First up is Champneys Citrus Blush Enlivening Shower Mousse* from the 'A Little Pick Me Up' range designed to add some zing to your shower routine and it's been doing just that. It's lemon scent is perfect for the mornings when I need all the help I can get. I'm enjoying using the mousse which feels lighter than a gel and for some unknown reason feels quicker to use!

Such a favourite was Palmer's Cocoa Butter Sunscreen Spray* and one I wanted to share that I carried the empty can home from Italy with me. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Sunscreen Spray is quite simply amazing and changed my life, certainly where holiday's are concerned.

Like many I find applying body lotions a chore, and none more so than when on holiday when it's necessary to apply your sunscreen before a day in the sun. Tacky formulas you have to wait to dry, white casts are a thing of the past as Palmer's have combined the new trend for quick and easy body lotions dispensed as spray with SPF.

A new launch from Palmer's (including your more traditional lotion which also got some use during my trip) and their first ever foray into suncare and I'm sold. I was concerned that perhaps the spray would mean I'd find a patchy tan or worse burnt patches from areas missed with the mist but I can report there were now. A light mist and a little massage of the skin to ensure all areas are covered and I was good to good.

This would be a perfect SPF to accompany on City Breaks as you could easily put on clothes immediately on applying and there was none of the staining you can find with other products. The only downside for some may be the scent which is the familiar one expected from Palmer's Cocoa Butter. As my friend commented after he used 'I smell like chocolate brownies' this is amazing.

The next three make up products were ones I was using leading up to my holiday and ones, the only of their type to take on holiday with me. Make Up Revolution Vivid Baked Highlights in Rose Gold Lights is such an amazing product I'm telling everyone they must buy. At only £3 the quality and finish is amazing and one I've had to consciously 'hide' away so that I can make a start testing and using other products. I love how this looks on my skin, accompanies any make up look and saves the need for highlighter if you're feeling a little lazy.

I've finally tracked down the L'Oreal Paris Color Riche Gold Obsession range on Feel Unique and am very tempted to purchase Pink Gold and Plum Gold for Autumn. It's Rouge Gold I'm feeling the love for right now and was the red I chose to accompany me on my holiday. It's 'wrapped in 23 carat gold pigments' formula creates a look to my red lip that is different to any others I own and makes a change from the matte lips that are dominating lately.

L'Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation was one I wanted but couldn't justify purchasing. Lady luck stepped in in the form of my friend Rose who recently visited from the US last month. I'd asked her to pick up the Glow version which she was unable to track down so picked up this one for me instead. I'm even happier now I've been looking online and see that some people are saying the UK version isn't as good as the US one but I'll have to wait to pass judgement on that but on the tube I have I love. I'm always cautious when trying out a new foundation, especially if its a week day, what looks 'ok' at home could end up looking quite the opposite under the office lights but I'm pleased to say that L'Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation did not let me down.

Coverage is medium and when I take my time to apply it's flawless. As you'd expect if I'm a little slapdash, skip setting powders and have a particular rough day it might not wear as well but generally it's a foundation I can rely on and one I am reaching for often, so much so I committed to taking this on holiday with me. As such I can report it faired well under warmer conditions too.

Paired with this foundation has been the Primark PS Pro Medium Oval Brush which I didn't have very expectations for. These rather odd looking brushes are popping up on the high street following the higher end versions appearing to go down a storm. I have to confess I've thought them quite a gimmick and scoffed at peoples glowing reviews but when I saw this brush for only £4 I thought I'd give it a try. Whilst this was not a fair assessment as one will assume that the quality differs as much as the price I thought I'd at least get to experience it, rule it out and move on. Obviously that hasn't happened. I don't know if it's the brush head itself or design but it works. I do find that make up takes a little longer, and I do only mean by seconds, to apply as I find I'm more attentive when using this brush. It's dense brushes help create a flawless finish and foundation is buffed easily into skin. As you can see from the photo I haven't even had time to clean it before it was able to make its appearance on these pages.

There are more holidays ahead and plenty of products lined up to test before I jet off so stayed tuned for one or two hauls coming up. Let's see what makes September favourites.

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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