Sunday, 5 November 2017

Getting Cosy with UGG & Amara Living

One of my favourite luxury homeware and lifestyle online stores is Amara Living, and I have been lucky enough to work with them quite a few times previously. When they recently got in touch to see if I would like to choose something from their vast range of oh-so-gorgeous collections, I decided to pick two items which are perfect for this time of year, and they are both from UGG.
UGG has been a constant staple in my Autumn/Winter wardrobe for so many years now, and their products are always super reliable, comfy and cosy. Nothing beats a fresh pair of UGG boots, sliding your feet into their fluffy soles. The first of my two picks is the UGG Glitter Boot Charm (£21.50), which nestles between other fabulous keyrings including pom poms and more. 
It comes beautifully gift boxed, making it the perfect Christmas gift, and a great price point too for such a well-known and loved brand. The keyring itself, has allllll the glitter, lots of gold sparkles, also lovely for this time of year, and it comes attached to a ring style keyring and a claw style keyring so it can be used in a multitude of ways - attached to a handbag, for your keys, hung up in your car… so it really is a versatile and fabulous gift!
Saving the best for last, I opted for the UGG Textured Cuff Hat with Fur Pom Pom in the shade Sterling Heather (£60). I have been searching for a knitted hat for ages, but some of them just feel so cheap yet this one is made from 50% merino wool, 30% nylon and 20% acrylic, so it is super soft and well made, keeping your head warm without being uncomfortable or scratchy.
The Textured Cuff Hat comes in four different shades, and I must say that I did think this looked more grey than lavender online, but as my winter coat is grey, this will still match really well. The pom pom is super high quality and is actually made from sheepskin, in a contrasting neutral tone. I do have to mention that this is a real fur pom pom, which has been artificially dyed and treated, as I know some people prefer faux fur. 
I have quite a small head, and sometimes hats can look too big on me, but because it is cuffed, that means I can alter it to fit my head perfectly. Due to the composition of the knit, it keeps my head warm without having that ‘hot and stuffy’ feel to it, and it is definitely a pretty, yet stylish adornment for these colder months. I think I shall be eyeing up the burgundy next…

You can find these UGG beauties and much more, such as the likes of Ted Baker, Kate Spade online at Amara Living.

All the Loves,
Kathryn xxx

*This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own
Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Best of Beauty: Oil Based Products

Up until this year I must admit I wasn't keen on oil-based products - I expected them to leave my hair/skin/body feeling greasy which I obviously didn't want. However, after my multiple operations in June this year, my skin, hair, nails, pretty much everything was so, so dry, because I couldn't bathe properly, and as a bath lover, my skin is used to bath oils, bubble baths and moisturising shower gels, so along with trying to repair my body from surgery, my skin and hair was a dry mess. I started using oil based products to try and repair my skin and hair, and they worked so effectively, without leaving my skin greasy feeling, and that's when my love affair with oil based beauty products began. Here are some of my favourites...
Starting with the Paul Mitchell Marula Oil collection, we have the Marula Oil Rare Oil Perfecting Hairspray (£22.95), in stunning white packaging, this is a flexible, layering hairspray which replenishes the hair whilst it holds it in place. It's great for locking out frizz and humidity and leaves a natural, touchable finish rather than a sticky, hard mess, making it a great holiday companion.
Next from the Marula Oil collection is the Rare Oil 3-in-1 Styling Cream (£29.95), a multi-tasking styling cream which instantly smoothes, fights frizz and helps to seal in split ends whilst it styles the hair. All you need is just a pea-sized amount applied to damp hair and then blow dry to create a soft hold with beautiful shine and it feels super lightweight even on my fine hair.
So you've heard of foundation primers, well now there's a primer for your hair! This is the Rare Oil Style Extending Primer (£29.95), a primer spray which creates a foundation and extends the life of your style as it conditions and protects the hair. It too has a lightweight feel to it and it also forms a humidity-resistant shield for long-lasting style, so again perfect for warmer climates. As an added bonus it also smoothes and adds shine to the hair to give you a perfect blowdry.
Onto one of my favourite brands at the moment, Palmers with their Olive Oil Formula Dry Oil Mist (£6.99). This is a weightless dry oil which gives a sheer veil of moisture to the hair, creating a protective layer and leaving the hair with a glossy sheen. It contains a blend of Amla, Argan and Grape Seed Oils to help protect the hair from styling tools and also battle frizz, whilst Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Vitamin E instantly restore moisture into the hair. As mentioned I have quite fine hair, and this doesn't make my hair greasy or oily in the slightest.
Crabtree & Evelyn now do their amazing hand creams in a much larger pump bottle and here I have the Pomegranate & Argan Oil Nourishing Hand Therapy (£23). This hand cram has a rich and nourishing Shea Butter and Ceramide formula which is enhanced with the anti-oxidant goodness of Moroccan Argan Oil to nurture and protect, lightly sealing the skin with moisture. The fragrance contains warm Mediterranean notes of Orange, Pomegranate and sweet Fig mingled with the hear of Ginger and Black Pepper to leave the skin beautifully scented and feeling amazing!
My first bath after my operations contained allllllll the oils, including the Burt's Bees Lemon & Vitamin E Bath & Body Oil (£9.99). This is such a delightful and indulgent natural bath oil, made from pure, concentrated plant-based essential oils and vitamins like lemon, sweet almond and vitamin E for super moisturisation and suppleness to give you the most heavenly soft skin, with no greasiness in sight! It smells divine and really is such an amazing bath treat, and at such an excellent price too.
If you have any end-of-year holidays abroad coming up, well firstly, lucky you! Secondly, I would absolutely recommend the Institut Esthederm Sun Care Oil (£42.50). This is the ultimate way to protect and condition both the skin and hair whilst in warmer climates. It is lightweight and water-resistant so there's no need to have to worry when going in the pool, and it leaves no traces of grease or white residue like from many suncare products. This absorbs super quickly and also optimises cells' natural tanning processes to give a gorgeous, golden glow! You only have to apply it 20 minutes before going out into the sun, and once your holiday is over, it can be used all year round as a dry oil to nourish and add a delicate scent to the skin and hair.
Another wonder product is the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream All-Over Miracle Oil (£29). This oil formulation of the cult Eight Hour Cream can be used on the face, body and hair, being a luxurious head-to-toe moisturising and conditioning treatment. It is clinically proven to moisturise for 8-12 hours and is so easy to use with it's pump spray applicator. The Miracle Oil is delicately scented with a light, citrus floral fragrance which helps promote a sense of well-being, and is such a delight to use.
I would never normally think to look to a shaving brand for a body oil, but here we have the Shaveworks Pearl Polish Dual Action Body Oil (£28), a gentle cleanser and luxurious shave oil that reduces irritation whilst providing a long-lasting shaving lather. It is suitable for use all over the body and leaves the face, legs, chest and anywhere else you like to shave super soft and well nourished. A product both men and women can share in the bathroom, unless you want to keep it all for yourself!
A product which I think will make the most perfect Christmas gift is the Ark Skincare Body Beautiful Conditioning Oil (£35). This beauty can be used in three different ways: as a body/massage oil, as a bath oil or as a hair oil, and I love a multi-use product! This is a rich, silky conditioning oil to balance the body and mind, which contains a trio of 100% natural oils for maximum skin benefits and a 100% natural fragrance which contains over 25 essential oils, this really is the best of the best and it also contains a pump for easy use!
My final body oil-based body products ends with one of my favourite high-street brands, Palmers. Here we have the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil Rosehip Fragrance (£5.99). This is a multi-purpose skin product which can be used all over the body and face, and improves the skin penetration and absorption, whilst aiding the appearance of scars, stretch marks, dry, damaged skin, uneven skin tone, ageing skin and fine lines and wrinkles! It doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy whatsoever, and dries super quickly, which I love as I hate standing around waiting for lotions and potions to dry especially when the weather gets colder! Brrrr! This is also available in a spray formula, which makes a great holiday accompaniment. 
I first discovered the DHC Olive Virgin Cotton Swabs (£6.75) at least a couple of years ago now and I have used them every single day since when I have worn makeup, they are absolutely genius! As I have hooded eyelids, I get mascara on my lids every single application, and I used to have to use a cotton bud and an eye makeup remover every single time, which could be messy and time consuming. However, with these, all I need to do is take one out of the wrapper and wipe away any eyeshadow fallout or mascara remains! It is so easy, and the oil nourishes the skin, and I always have backups for when I run out!
Onto the face, and starting with the Sukin Restoring Argan Oil (£14.95). This is a facial oil which has been created using a 100% natural blend of coveted Argan Oil, with Maracuja Oil, Rosehip Oil and Jojoba Oil to replenish and soften the complexion. It is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins, giving you the ultimate facial treat and comes with a pipette dropper applicator ensuring you only use the amount of product you need each time.
I find cleansing oils remove my makeup far better than regular cleansers, just like the nspa Deep Cleansing Facial Oil (£6). This nourishing cleansing oil is super easy to use, I just pop it on with a cotton pad, and it removes makeup so easily! It has a non-greasy texture and melts away even heavy eye makeup, whilst leaving the skin super moisturised and cared for. At just £6, this is definitely one of the best value cleansing oils on the market, and well worth a try! It has a pump applicator, which again makes it super easy to use the right amount without oil going everywhere!
Another beautiful cleansing oil is the Burt's Bees Cleansing Oil with Coconut & Argan Oils (£16.99). It is slightly more expensive, but certainly still extremely reasonable for the quality of the product. This Facial Cleansing Oil is formulated with a blend of natural moisturisers, including coconut and argan oils, which combine to help keep the skin soft, clean and well nourished. Again, it removes makeup so quickly and effortlessly, ensuring you don't have to rub or tug on the skin, keeping it well protected and not at all oily or greasy. 
Moving on, we have the Sukin Nourishing Chia Seed Oil (£14.95). This is a daily face elixir harnessing the omega fatty acid potency of chia seed oil. Rich in the perfect balance of Omega 3 and 6, Chia Seed Oil imparts so much goodness to the skin, including minerals, antioxidants and amino acids to help minimise the appearance of fine lines, and reinforce the skin's moisture barrier. Just like with the Sukin Restoring Argan Oil, this two comes with a pipette dropper applicator, making it so easy to use and include in your skincare routine.
Back to one of my favourite brands, DHC, we have the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (£12.50). Again, this is such great value, for such a quality product which is full of natural ingredients. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil removes all traces of dirt and makeup, even heavy eye makeup, whilst nourishing your complexion with antioxidant-rich olive oil. You can apply it straight onto the face, and then you can add water to turn it into a milky, vitamin-rich emulsion which rinses clean, leaving your skin super soft and well cared for.
My last oil-based beauty I have to share with you is the nspa Nourishing Facial Oil (£7). This has been formulated using age-defying ingredients to help reduce the first signs of ageing for a smoother, firmer complexion. Enriched with Argan Oil, this nourishing, yet quickly absorbed facial oil helps to restore radiance to the skin for a healthy glow. Facial Oils can be used on a daily basis, or if your skin isn't overly dry or damaged, they can just be used as a treat when you feel in need of it. 
Remember, starting with the skin is the most important thing when it comes to beauty and makeup, because without a good base, it's hard to create a masterpiece.

All the Loves,
Kathryn x

*This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own
Sunday, 3 September 2017

End of Summer Beauty

I cannot believe how quick this Summer has gone. I think due to my operation putting me out of action for a good few months, that pretty much took up the joy of Summer months. However, I thought I would do a final Summer-themed post as lots of people still have holidays to go on, and I think we tend to have quite a mild September and October now compared to when I was a little girl. Here are some of my end of Summer beauty favourites...
I am pretty sure by now that everyone knows the power of Philip Kingsley's Elasticizer, and if you don't, well I shall explain. This Summer saw the release of the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Coconut Breeze edition (£33), which captures the vibrant scent of sunshine and pure white sands with warm notes of coconut, jasmine and almond. Elasticizer is an intensive, super conditioning pre-shampoo treatment which adds elasticity, bounce and shine to all hair types and if you suffer from extremely dry or damaged hair, then this baby will revolutionise your hair world. It smells just like Summer...
I have been loving all things oil-based this Summer and especially the Palmer's Olive Oil Conditioning Spray Oil (£4.79) for the hair. This is loaded with Vitamins A, B and E as well as antioxidants to surround each hair strand with protection from damaging free radicals. This spray instantly adds moisture to dry hair, as well as keeping frizz at bay, and helps to soften and condition the hair whilst adding fabulous shine. It is super easy to use as well due to it being a quick spray in product.
Sticking with oil-based products, next up is the What Skin Needs Hydrating Facial Serum (£12.99). This is a perfect blend of vitamins and plant extracts in a light, non-greasy formula which is an easily absorbed oil based facial serum with superior hydrating and skin cell renewal properties. The formula is so concentrated that it penetrates the skins deeper layers and works brilliantly for scarring and pigmentation as well as hydrating and nourishing the skin and promoting skin cell renewal. It comes with a little pipette and so you can control the amount of product you are using and it doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy whatsoever. 
I love products which serve more than one purpose, and the ARK Hydrating Beauty Mist (£25) is one of those gems. It can be used spritzed onto the face as a toner, sprayed after applying powder for a dewy finish, to refresh your makeup, to cool, calm and soothe the skin on hot days or when feeling flushed, and during exercise and refresh. This is an intensively refreshing and soothing beauty mist which has been formulated using bio active ingredients to hydrate and protect the skin and is well worth carrying in your bag on the go.
Hot weather and chlorine from swimming pools are just a couple of reasons our lips need extra care during Summer. The Nugg Exfoliating Lip Smoother (£10) is a luxuriously moisturising 2-in-1 lip scrub and smoother that makes the lips much softer and smoother and gives them a slight, natural shine. It comes in a cute little pink metallic sphere pot and contains jojoba wax and sugar granules to gently exfoliate the lips to remove dead and dry skin cells, while cocoa butter, jojoba seed oil and sunflower seed wax hydrates and conditions the lips.
I love a good body scrub as you can't beat that super clean feeling on the skin, and if you wear fake tan a lot, they are excellent for giving you a super smooth base to work with. I have recently been loving the Odylique Coconut Candy Scrub (£25), a deeply exfoliating and luxurious organic body scrub which has been made using Fair Trade cane sugar which works wonders on even the driest of skins! The scrub contains the fragrance of virgin coconut and cocoa bean butters and it gently stimulates cell renewal whilst polishing the skin to leave it silky smooth.
Even when going on holiday I love a good bubble bath, and the nspa Mango Shower & Bath Gel (£3) is perfect for that, as it works as a shower gel and you can use it as a bubble bath. It smells just like actual delicious, fruity, tropical mangos and contains natural vitamins to help the skin nourish and repair itself. It is a whopping 500ml bottle as well so this is going to last such a long time and for just £3 you really cannot go wrong. Fruity!
Onto a product which I had never come across the likes of before, the Institut Esthederm Micellar After Sun Shower Gel (£18). This gentle cleanses the skin and removes all traces of sunscreen, salt, sand and chlorine whilst moisturising, sublimating and prolonging your tan - pretty nifty right?! It smells divine, and although it you may be thinking it is slightly expensive for a shower gel, it is so much more than that, and definitely more of a treatment product. Also, if you have overdone it in the sun, you don't need to rub this into the skin, you can very gently use it and it will still work effectively due to the micellar molecules which cluster together to lift dirt, sunscreens and silicones.
Moving on to the Janjira Thai Lime and Ginger Body Butter (£26), which is one of my all-time favourite scents as it instantly transports me to a spa on tropical shores. It honestly smells insanely good! This Body Butter is enriched with ginger and citrus extracts to help replenish, moisturise, and give the skin natural nutrients. It feel luxurious without being overly thick, and has a quick absorption rate whilst providing long-lasting hydration. This Body Butter also helps to heal and soothe skin, so if you have been in a hot climate, or similarly in a very cold climate, then this will really help to condition and calm the skin, and you will smell bee-yoo-ti-ful!
I first discovered mini hand gels in Florida years ago at Bath and Body Works, however they are not so easy to get shipped over to the UK, so I was so glad when I discovered Merci Handy Cleansing Gels (£2.90 each). They come in so many different colours and fragrances, including the ones I have here, Cherie Cherry, Hello Sunshine and Oh My Lemon. Hand Gels are just so pardon the pun, handy, for carrying around in your bag, especially if you have children. I always take them to football as sometimes the toilets there aren't so great, and it's a really quick and easy way to ensure your hands are clean as a whistle.
The fragrance I have been obsessed with this Summer is the Vince Camuto Fiori Eau de Parfum (£60). The fragrance is inspired by the blossoming delphiniums in Vince Camuto's personal garden and is a fresh and invigorating Summer scent, very light, smooth and uplifting. Fiori features top notes of luscious pink grapefruit, and ripened white nectarine, the heart is enriched with sheer iris and dewy freesia, with a purifying backdrop of base notes of rich sandalwood and creamy blonde cedarwood. It is an altogether delicious scent, and the bottle itself is so beautiful and elegant.
When it comes to false eyelashes, my go-to lash has always been the Eylure 101, however this Summer I was introduced to the Ardell Wipies Lashes (£16.90 for 4 pairs), and they are so easy to use and so lightweight that you forget you're wearing them which is super important to me when it comes to lashes. Wispies are really natural looking and feeling, however they are still full, fluttery and glamorous, without looking like a drag queen. The strip on the base of the lashes is really fine so that it isn't obvious you have false lashes on and they're so durable that you can get a lot of wears out of them, making them great value for money.
If you are lucky enough to be going to an airport soon, firstly I'm jealous full stop, and secondly make sure you head to duty free to check out the Bobbi Brown Instant Pretty Eye and Cheek Palette (£34.50). The perfect travel companion, this palm-sized palette contains a selection of eyeshadows, an internal mirror, a high-quality brush, and a pull-out blush. Even though the palette is small, you still get a good quantity of each product, and of course with Bobbi Brown, you know you have the best quality. The collection flatters the majority of skin tones, with its pink coral blush in Nectar, and four eyeshadows in the shades, Bone, Beige, Pink Quartz Metallic and Chocolate Caviar, which brunettes could also use as an eyebrow powder.
Another multi-use cosmetics product is the St Tropez 3-in-1 Bronzing Powder Compact (£15). You can sculpt, bronze and highlight the face and body with this 3-in-1 compact, which also contains an internal mirror. It is quite a large compact, so you get a lot of product, however it is also slim so it isn't going to take up too much space in your makeup bag when travelling. The three complimentary tones can be used individually to enhance features, or blend together for an instant bronzed look, whether you prefer a naturally bronzed complexion or an overall holiday glow.
This art-deco style compact is the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Summer Kiss Compact (£30), and contains the luxuriously creamy and moisturising Divine Lips Lipstick in the shade Marilyn, a dusky rose nude shade, and a lightweight bronzing powder. There is also an internal mirror and a mini brush for on-the-go application, making it an excellent travelling companion. I have quite a few of the Divine Lips Lipsticks and they are so hydrating on the lips, and longevity is excellent, and the Bronzing Powder also contains SPF15 which is going to help protect your skin when out and about in the sunshine.
Whilst on the subject of lipsticks, you cannot beat the Burt's Bees Lipsticks (£9.99) for the ultimate in colour and care. They are super moisturising, making your lips look and feel amazing, providing them with moisture for up to eight hours and containing 100% natural ingredients. They have a creamy and lightweight feel, making them great for holidays and everyday makeup looks when you don't want heavy products on the skin. They come in 18 stunning shades, including this one, Sunset Cruise, a lovely pale terracotta.
Ending the Summer with a bit of glimmer and glitz, we have the Glitter Lips (£12.50). These amazing mini kits come complete with everything you need to create the ultimate sparkly lip, which will also be great for the upcoming party season! Inside you will find a coloured glitter, a double ended applicator brush and some adhesive. They are super easy to use, last for up to 8 hours and each kit can give up to 25 applications, so you can glam up whenever you feel like it, and even your friends can take part without ruining your favourite lipstick.
I hope you all had a great Summer!

All the Loves,
Kathryn x

*Please note all products in this post are PR samples, but all views are my own