Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Temple Spa Repose - Aromatherapy Resting Cream

Temple Spa Repose Aromatherapy Resting Cream* link 
When a product claims it's a 'good nights sleep in jar' you'll see me jumping at as I'm renowned for my bad sleeping habits, whether it's struggling to drift off or staying asleep for the required number of hours. Temple Spa's Repose Aromatherapy Resting Cream* is a luxurious night cream that claims to calm your skin and your soul - well doesn't that sound rather grand.

REPOSE is to be used as your nightly moisturiser and/or when your skin is in need of a rest, a duvet for the skin as they say. The ingredients are calming, soothing, deepen breathing, bring a sense of calm, have a sedative effect not to mention anti-ageing and reduce damage caused by UVA, quite a list and all rather positive. It even says it can combat snoring but sadly Bradley Cooper hasn't stopped over to verify those claims so I'll have to keep you posted.

I've been using this cream for a number of weeks now and really enjoy it and find that my skin looks and feels brighter by morning. The scent is enjoyable, light and really does put your mind in a place of relaxation which has been needed to fight jet lag since my return from the States. It's a rare product that steals the top spot away from my favourite Kiehls Midnight Recovery but I think this might have done it.

Temple Spa Repose does say it's suitable for all skin types but I'd guess the aromatherapy additions would make that unlikely for some more sensitive but if not I'd definitely give it a try. It's not a cheap product but it's definitely worth the money from what I've experienced and the sophisticated black packaging make it a pleasant addition if you like your skincare decorating your dressing table.

Does this sound like something you need for bedtime?

*PR Sample
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Buckingham Palace | Royal Childhood

The State Rooms Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace The State Rooms link
When my mum mentioned that she was visiting Buckingham Palace's State Rooms to see the Royal Childhood exhibit I decided to tag along and have a nose for myself and of course share some details with you.

We travelled to Green Park and took a leisurely stroll through Hyde Park arriving outside a very busy and bustling Buckingham Palace. As you would imagine tourists were in their hundreds waiting patiently at the gates for the changing of the guard and maybe a glimpse of the queen herself who was in residence.

Once we had deciphered where to go through the crowds to collect our tickets we then waited to be allowed to queue again for entry. Not that you will not be allowed into the entryway more than 15 minutes before your tickets start time. That said everything moved swiftly and the airport style security measures were significantly quicker than those you'll experience prior to your holidays.

Free audio guides then take over as you make your way through the various State Rooms. Unfortunately photography was not allowed hence a lack of photographs in this post but that does mean that you can fully appreciate walking through each room without being behind a camera.

As one would expect each room exudes opulence and it appeared everything was trimmed with gold. There was so much to take in and it was enjoyable to walk through rooms and recognise them from familiar images that have been in the press of Royal Weddings and Christenings. I particularly enjoyed the picture gallery and seeing works of art from Rembrandt to the typical royal portraits, one favourite being of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children.

This year's exhibit was the Royal Childhood and various articles were encased along the route from early years leading up to Prince George's birth announcement. The Palace Ballroom exhibits clothing and toys from over the years and could be a struggle at times to fight to the front but luckily there wasn't an overwhelming number of items that you missed something once you got your place. Continuing through into another area filled with the most impressive tiny replica of the DB5 used by James Bond in the films Goldfinger and Thunderball which was presented by Aston Martin to Prince Andrew when he was six. Alongside the displays images are flashed onto the screens and home movies are playing on a loop for you to sit, watch and enjoy.

If I'm honest I enjoy tourist activities in bite size chunks and the timing for this tour was perfect. The audio guide last for one hour and spot on we found ourselves outside the palace gardens. If you had time on your hands you could enjoy the gardens and/or garden cafe but I'm sure there are no surprises that we dived into the giftshop so I could purchase the standard magnet and Christmas tree decoration for my collection.

The website does warn you that there is a half-mile walk through the gardens to the exit and then depending on where you're picking up your train even more of a walk to contend with. Mum and her friend were heading back to Green Park (again no surprises she was paying Fortnum and Mason a visit) which they both complained was further than they thought and I was shooting off to meet a friend so picked the closer Hyde Park Corner station but still managed to get myself lost in the maze of subways - so do, as they suggest, where your comfy shoes and plan your route carefully.

Buckingham Palace State Rooms are now closed for the Winter so if this is of interest it's something to plan for next Summer unfortunately and even better for us we were able to validate our tickets so they become a yearly pass so fingers crossed for another good exhibit next year for us to visit.

Are you a fan of these types of tourist attractions or maybe you've been to Buckingham Palace before?

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Jelly Belly Lip Balms Review

Jelly Belly Tutti Fruitti Lip Balm* 
If I am completely honest with you lip balms are just one of those products I have never got excited about. I've been using them with some diligence over the past year or so - well we have to with all the matte lip colours around - and I've had good results from the likes of Maybelline Baby Lips. Even a recent skincare analysis commented on how hydrated my lip area was but they were always just a bit blah… until that is Jelly Belly Tutti Fruitti lip balm* entered my life.

This may seem somewhat dramatic but I genuinely love this little product and again full disclosure, I'm not a even that much of a fan of Jelly Belly's themselves. From the scent to the taste of this product it's actually a fun pleasure to use and it's frequently reached for in it's home on my desk at work whether a slick of moisture is needed or not.

Sometimes you might worry that a 'gimmicky' product such as this is going to be all style not substance but not the case here. My lips felt moisturised when they're used and the taste and scent are enjoyable rather than artificial.

Apologies for mentioning Christmas in two posts in a row but I'm halfway through my shopping and can't be the only one and these are the perfect stocking filler or secret santa gift. Tutti Fruitti isn't the only flavour you'll be able to find with the likes of coconut and cherry also available and you can find them in Primark stores or online along with scented nail polishes here.

Do these sound like something you'd enjoy?

*PR Sample

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Museum Selection Afternoon Tea

Elephant Afternoon Tea Caddy* link
When the Museum Selection read about my love of tea in the British Tag they kindly contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying their Elephant Afternoon Tea Caddy*. I gladly accepted their kind offer as one can never have enough teabags and after a week of drinking coffee in America I was missing a decent cuppa.

Museum Selection is an online retailer that works with various museums and galleries to offer all manner of trinkets such as the aforementioned tea, homewares and stationary. It is somewhat reminiscent to me of Past Times a shop that sadly closed it's doors some years ago - does anyone else remember? It's the sort of website that can offer the perfect gift for that difficult to buy for friend or relative who might want something a little different than what is found on the high street?

So how did this amateur tea connoisseur find her afternoon tea? I must admit to being somewhat apprehensive to trying the teabags on their arrival. I take my tea very seriously and what if my last cup of the day as I retired for bed wasn't up to scratch? I eventually realised I was taking things far too seriously, took a teabag from the pretty tin which had been sitting ornamental in my kitchen for too long and made a brew. I'm pleased to say that any fears were unfounded and I have happily used these teabags over others for a number of days now and as expected made a sizeable dent in my stash. Mum was an unknowing guinea pig on one occasion and didn't notice any change to the usual tea I offered.

These are fine quality teabags made by Williamson made from tea grown in the Kenyan highlands using sustainable farming methods so if I dare mention Christmas if you have someone who is keen to support such interests and has a love of tea wouldn't this be the perfect gift they can enjoy time again, even once the tea has long gone due to the attractive tin they're housed in.

As I mentioned these wonderful tea caddies are just one of many gifts that can be found on their website here so why not take a peak, maybe you'll even find something to add to your Christmas list.

*PR Sample

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Did Caesar Live Here?

I think its safe to say that most people are well aware that I have recently been on a trip to Las Vegas, I may have mentioned it once or twice, and it would be wrong to talk about my trip without dedicating my first post to our chosen accommodation, Caesars Palace.

When anyone hears you are off to Las Vegas one of the first questions, after dealing with the appropriate levels of jealously or disinterest because said person is 'not a gambler', is 'where are you staying'? For my mum's first trip last year I chose Caesars Palace for us. I hadn't stayed there myself but I've visited a few years previously (staying at the Planet Hollywood resort) and Caesars felt quite opulent but with enough of the kitsch theme mum would enjoy. Obviously she enjoyed it so much that despite a fondness for the Bellagio and an offer to pick anywhere on the strip on this visit, she wanted to return to Caesars.

Of course there is an associated trepidation with returning to a hotel that holds fond memories because what if it isn't as good as you remember? Thankfully there was nothing to worry about and one might say this year exceeded last due to the rather fabulous pool view we had and the feeling of familiarity.

Casino's in Las Vegas are huge with room numbers going into the thousands (ours was 2020) often situated in towers which differ on price and quality. Last year I'd researched heavily and saw that the basic room option when booking through Virgin Holidays would be in the more dilapidated Roman Tower so I paid an upgrade of approx £50-60 to secure one of the better Towers. Of course you can leave things to chance, ask for a cheeky upgrade at check in or try the $20 sandwich but I wasn't that brave. We once again found ourselves in the Palace Tower although this year rooms had the aforementioned pool view (and as expected the Palace Tower is closest to the pool area) and was only four doors down from the elevators therefore reducing the commute from room to casino floor - which I know every moans about but I actually don't find it the onerous walk everyone says it is but maybe I've been lucky. I could nip down to Starbucks to grab my morning bagel and be back in the room within 15 minutes which I don't think is too bad.

The two negatives or niggles shall we say are the associated costs with staying at Caesars Palace. Firstly wifi is not free. It's a rather costly $24 per day, per device which is rather frustrating when you can walk into another casino property and log on to theirs for free. The second is drinks - and I don't mean cocktails. The mini bar will charge you $4 for a bottle of fizzy drink you can buy from the vending machine a few doors down for $3 - in a larger size. Your initial joy at seeing a coffee machine in your room will dampen when you note it'll cost you $12 for two coffee pods to use in it. Mum and I cheated and brought a box of 18 coffee pods for about $10 from Target which lasted us the whole week and saved us some money to be better spent on cocktails.

Back to the more positive aspects of staying at Caesars Palace and namely the location. Caesars is smack bang in the middle of the strip and whilst it will take you longer to walk somewhere than you think it's still in comfortable distance of most of the neighbouring casinos. It is also opposite the newly opened LINQ which is buzzing with nightlife and home to Sprinkles cupcakes.

It is quite feasible that you would if you chose never have to leave Caesars Palace with it's numerous dining options and gorgeous Forum Shops which houses some swoon worthy labels but of most interest to me The Cheesecake Factory, Sephora and Bath and Bodyworks! 

I would urge anyone to visit Las Vegas if they have an opportunity, it doesn't matter whether you're a gambler, shopper, foodie, hen or stage I can guarantee you'll have a great time and there really is something for everyone. The atmosphere is always electric and there's nothing like walking onto the casino floor at any time of day or night and hearing music, the ringing of slot machines and general buzz of activity. Whilst I of course wouldn't advocate smoking, as a smoker I can't deny there's nothing better than being able to sit at a bar, inside no less with a cigarette in one hand and vodka in the other and enjoying people watching. It's my favourite Vegas activity and there's such a positive feeling of anything goes but everyone just wants to enjoy their trip.

Have you been to Vegas where do you stay, are you a gambler? Share your stories as I share mine over the coming weeks.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Blogger Love

Lorac Pro Palette 2 link / Tarte Rainforest After Dark Palette  link
As a blogger since 2007 I've seen many changes in the whole blogger world and community, some good some bad. I started blogging in a place where blogs were in the most part corners of the internet where you would post from a more personal place about what you had done at the weekend or share recent purchases and crafty makes. Of course some where always better than others but it was less about Pinterest styling than saying hey here's a fantastic carrot cake recipe.

Of course it's fantastic that blogging has now become a career choice and that so many people choose to start a blog and they have become professional platforms. I too have benefitted from working with brands and PRs, getting invited to some fabulous events and received payment for posts but there is some sadness for the days when blog buttons where shared rather than sold as advertising space and things seemed less competitive and comments were left not to say 'follow for follow' but to converse with the writer in some way.

Today I wanted to show some gratitude to one blogging friend, Grace from Pink in the City. We have been 'internet friends' for a long time. Sharing comments on blog posts and likes on instagram. A few weeks ago I posted a picture of the Tarte Rainforest After Dark Eyes palette on instagram venting my frustration at having finally decided to place a Sephora order was told that this item couldn't be shipped to the UK (it's limited edition). Next an email came from Grace to ask me my address and days later a box arrived containing not only the Tarte Palette but the famous Lorac Pro Palette 2 - both gorgeously wrapped I might add.

To say I was over the moon would be an understatement and I will admit that both those palettes were swooned over most of that evening. The accompanying letter contained the fantastic news that hopefully Grace would be in London next year and we would finally be able to meet. When I asked Grace if there was anything I could send by way of thanks she just asked that I enjoyed them.

In a blogging world where much is done to score page views and followers it was fantastic to be reminded of the real enjoyment that came from earlier blogging days where it was about the interaction with bloggers and making friends even if just over the world wide web. Gifts, giveaways and swaps were sent just because rather than to hit monthly stats or targets. I'm lucky enough to have met many blogging friends over the years such as Josie-Mary and those who I have yet to meet still speak with regularly such as Candypop or Mrs M to the more recent friends made with beauty lovers like Alice and Carissa to attend events so I consider myself lucky.

This post is in no way a critisim to anyone as we all must roll with the times and adapt to changes of which I too benefit and I applaud anyone that is making a success of their blog in whatever way works for them. That said this blog is my hobby and as such should be something fun. I want to remember that and not feel guilty if I spend Sunday watching tv and decide to have a day off from blogging because the reasons why I started and why I continue to blog are that I enjoy writing and the pleasure of interacting with people from all round the world. I know that the true readers of Florence and Mary will  forgive me for being too hungover to schedule a post one day or encourage me to take the week off so I can spend the weekend with friends and family and still be there when the next post goes live. 

So thank you to Grace for the amazing gifts and more importantly the timely reminder of why I started this blog. Thank you to anyone who reads and comments on my little place on the internet, it is always appreciated.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

It's Not You It's Me

Nars Laguna Bronzer / Orgasm Blush Duo link
Laura Geller Eyeshadow link
No one likes to hear those five words 'It's not you, it's me' but unfortunately they are the most appropriate for the products I'm going to talk about today, and I'm sure in the case of the Nars' duo that will be surprising to some.

I picked up the Nars Blush and Bronze Duo from Sephora last year as both had been on my list to try due to numerous posts from fellow bloggers of the holy grail status of Laguna Bronzer and Orgasm Blusher. This nifty duo was the perfect way to give them a try. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise that I wasn't a fan of the Orgasm Blush as I didn't have much love for the drugstore dupe, Sleek Rose Gold either. I'm not a fan of blushes that are too shimmery as they quite frankly do little for my older skin or appearance of my pores. Nars Orgasm was slightly better than it's drugstore equivalent and it didn't look dreadful on me but it was just never something I would reach for out of choice. 

Likewise with Nars Laguna I just didn't find it the amazing product that is so highly spoke of. Yes it was ok but it wasn't something I'd choose over my other offerings. Combine the two products being of blah status to me it was often left languishing in the back of my make up drawers. This past week I've brought it to the forefront in an effort to use on a daily basis and there's just no enjoyment for me and as I mentioned in yesterday's empties post it's time to pair back the stash and use the products I do use (of which there are still too many).  Not to fear it has gone to a friend who is a fan of these two Nars products and that's good enough for me.

I revisited my Laura Geller make up collection in this post and two particular old favourites were Pink Icing and Devils Food eyeshadows. Pink Icing was used in it's entirety from the duo and I'd subsequently repurchased a full size but as the make up collection grew they were forgotten. I tend to lean more towards palettes these days rather than singular eyeshadows, especially as I put my make up on during my train journey to work. For this reason I'm less likely to gather together multiple eyeshadows for the look I want and instead reach for the palette that has everything I need in one place so it's time for these to go on to a new home.

Are there any products you have in your collection that you feel like this about?

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August Empties

Beauty Review

It's that time again when I dive into my empties bag and share with you the products I've used up this month. Some products I will have mentioned before so I will link up to the previous post to keep things short. Let's dive in.

Radox Passion Splash Shower Gel* link
Despite Mango Madness being my favourite scent last month it's Passion Splash that I finished first! There are multiple posts on Radox throughout this here blog so you'll know I'm a fan. I love their shower gels and find they work just as well for leg shaving duties whilst I abandon the L'Occitane Almond Oil due to fake tanning.

OSMO Deep Moisturising Shampoo* link
You can find the full review for this shampoo here but in short I'm a fan. The only downside is not being able to pick up this product in local stores and I'm not really one for ordering beauty online.

Clinque 7 Day Scrub link
If you read my review here you'll know whilst I had use for the 7 Day Scrub it wasn't something I'd rush to repurchase. That said my evening skincare regime has been shocking recently and I really feel a good scrub is in order.

Soap & Glory Calm One link
Sad to say that I wasn't a fan of this bubble bath from Soap & Glory. I didn't find there was any scent to speak of which is important to me when I'm having a soak in the bath and surprising for a Soap & Glory product.

Sure Maximum Protection link
Another product I've mentioned on numerous occasions and reviewed in full here. Safe to say this will be perpetually emptied and repurchased.

Clinque High Impact Lipstick in Rosette link
I received this lipstick as part of a bonus time gift and really enjoyed using and the colour and thanks to it's petite size is the first lipstick I've used up in some time. I used the lipgloss (in Kissyfit) sporadically with and without the lipstick but if it came to repurchasing it would be Rosette I would choose.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer -  link
Unfortunately it looks, or rather smells like the use by date of this product is up. This has been a concealer I've enjoyed using for my under eye area but last week I noticed there was a unpleasant smell so it was time to add it to the empties pile. Not having used this product in it's entirety due to a small number of other concealers in rotation has further cemented my view that it's time to pair back the make up stash to ensure minimal wastage.

Barry M Cor Balmy Tinted Lip Balm link
I'm on the fence about this product even more so as I threw this into the empties photography having brought home from work as I wasn't enjoying using it but applying as I type this paragraph I'm reluctant to get rid. It is certainly moisturising and the shade Jam Jar is rather pigmented for a lip balm, even a tinted one. For work it was ideal to bridge the gap between lipstick reapplication but I found it a little messy and wasn't reaching for it enough. I think I'll keep it on my coffee table for another week or two yet and see how it fairs.

Sleek Brow Stylist Pencil in Medium link
There was instant panic when I wound up this eyebrow pencil to realise that I had finished it as it was completely unexpected despite it being on of my favourites over the month. I'm having something of a brow moment lately and found this eyebrow pencil from Sleek a great product for those not too lazy days when I use something like BROWdrama from Maybelline but ones that I haven't got the time or inclination to pay complete attention with the thinner Brow Wiz from Anastasia (which I'm also having a reignited love affair with). I have since repurchased as you will see in a forthcoming post and comforted to have it back in my make up bag.

Murad Skin Perfecting Primer link
I mentioned this primer from Murad in my round of those in my collection here and took to using this on a regular basis as such a small bottle I thought I would get through it quite quickly. As I mentioned in the previous post this was a nice product to provide a base for any foundations and the like but with a very light coverage to even things out.

Nina Ricci La Tentation de Nina Eau de Toilette
Mum brought my this perfume created with Laduree for my birthday earlier in the year and whilst I was swept up in the cute bottle (apparently based on the tale of a girl who has bitten an apple and succumbed to the ultimate temptation, doesn't that sound familiar!) and loveliness of macaron's. Unfortunately if I'm honest whilst I didn't dislike the smell it was a little too sweet for my usual tastes  and not something I would repurchase. In an effort to use it throughout the Summer I think I bored myself of it even more although my niece and friends were fans of this fragrance so don't let my more heavier taste put you off.

Palmers Eventone Dark Spot Corrector* link
I don't have much issue with dark spots that I need correcting but those I have definitely saw improvement from using the Eventone Dark Spot Corrector from Palmers. The packaging of this product is great in that it has a pump which dispenses just enough of the light gel like fluid for us on the skin. The only downside to this product is the heavily artificial fragrance which I didn't enjoy at all and was the only reason I'd not repurchase. If only their skincare had that lovely cocoa butter scent.

L'Oreal Age Perfect Refreshing Toner link
I'm as equally in love with this toner - which you would have first seen in my Morning Skincare Regime post here - as I am Liz Earle's Skin Tonic and have since repurchased both so I can split between my morning and evening regimes. Definitely one to try even though it pains me it's for 'mature skin'!

Well it doesn't look like I kept that as short and sweet as I'd initially intended but you will have had plenty to read about a varied selection of products. Don't forget to link me up to your empties post, I'd love to read them.

*PR Sample

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lush Brightside Bubble Bar Review

Lush Brightside link
I should have learnt after the gorgeous bath in Caesars Palace on my trip to Las Vegas last year that a bubble bath is a worthy addition to the toiletries I take on holiday with me but alas it was overlooked when I visited Hawaii and with the gorgeous Halekulani Hotel's bathroom it was time to head to Lush and rectify that.

Lush Bubble Bars are perfect for holidays rather than a bottle as you will have just enough for two or three baths during your stay and as you can see from the picture above just a third of the Brightside bubble bar created an abundance of bubbles for me to soak in whilst enjoying a glass of champagne.

Brightside bubble bar is a citrus burst of sicilian mandarin, bergamot and tangerine which make for the perfect holiday accompaniment and where better to lay back and relax than on holiday in a luxurious bathroom. 

As my mum and I head once again to Caesars Palace it's time to seek out the nearest branch of Lush so I can stock up for another soak in the tub.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Roughing it at MeatMission

A few weeks ago my friend and I met for a catch up and some cocktails at Steam & Rye. When the late night munchies got the better of us and without a table available there we jumped into a cab over to Hoxton and went to church, namely MeatMission.

Housed in an old church the rather dark and rustic venue is definitely more about roughing it and getting down and dirty with your hands despite the rather gorgeous stained class roof and biblical menus.

Before we get down to the business of the food there's a few important things to note. Whilst there are booths available our booking for two saw us sitting in amongst it on benches opposite one another and crammed between other couples. Not too much of a problem although we were sitting right in the middle and wearing a dress caused a challenge for getting in and off of the bench - dress appropriately! 

MeatMission is a place you get your hands dirty. You are thrown a fork but the real business is down with your hands. Food is served on trays and you dive straight in. We both went for 'simple' cheeseburger and an abundance of onions. The burgers were delicious (still no match for Patty & Bun though!) and you can choose your accompanying sauces from the table and there is a real need for kitchen roll, no dainty napkins here.

There was a lively atmosphere in MeatMission due to the USA World Cup game playing so it's certainly not the place to chat but definitely one for when you want a casual burger somewhere different. To be critical the service wasn't great. We ordered drinks when our food was delivered and didn't see them before we left which was a shame but otherwise it's somewhere I'd happily return.

My next burger stop will be Umami Burger in Las Vegas, I can't wait to see how that compares.

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