Monday, December 22, 2014

- Matalan His & Hers Party Style...

With Christmas upon us and party season in full swing, there's no better time to get dressed up. Most of us experience the 'I have nothing to wear' panic, especially if we have several occasions to attend, so it's important to find classic and versatile pieces. Cost is an important factor when choosing an outfit, and Matalan have a vast range of party wear that's fashionable yet affordable. In today's post, me and my boyfriend, Rob, wanted to show you that 'party wear' doesn't have to be limited and can also be dressed down for alternative occasions. Film fanatics may recognise the location, Wollaton Hall, as Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises.

DAYTIME
Charcoal Suit Jacket, £40*: here
Charcoal Suit Trousers, £20*: here
Slim Fit Shirt, £8.00*: here

Playsuit, £20*: here
Embellished Fluffy Jumper, £25*: here
Duster Jacket, £22.00*: here

EVENING

Statement Jewellery*: here

Heels, £12.00*: here


What do you think of our outfits? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

- Current Skincare Favourites...

If you were to ask me what type of blog posts are my favourite to read, skincare would be up there as I love having a nosey at the products you all swear by. Admittedly, before this year my routine was lacking, but this year I feel like I've learnt a lot more about my skin type and discovered products that work for me.

There may seem to be quite a lot of products in the image above, but I tend to mix things up a bit. Rather than using the same few products every morning and evening, I reach for alternating ones. I do this because I've found my skin gets used to products, leaving me questioning their effectiveness. My skin is dry & sensitive, so I'm unsure how these products perform on different skin types, but I personally use all of them regularly and absolutely love each and every one. I'll break this post down into sections to make things a bit easier.

CLEANSER

When it comes to cleansing, oils/creams/milks are the best formulas for me as I find gels far too stripping. At the moment, The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter has to be my favourite. You simply scoop a bit out and warm it up in your hands for it to become an oil. It removes make-up with ease and leaves my skin feeling super soft. For a creamier alternative, I think the Boots No7 Hot Cloth Cleanser is great and with the frequent discount vouchers, you can snap it up for around £5! A newbie to my collection is a sample of the Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm which turns into a milk once water is applied and oh my, I definitely need to pick the full-size of this up!

TONER With the constant hype around the Sensibio H2O, I'm sure most of you have heard of Bioderma by now. I actually use the Bioderma Hydrabio H2O as I find this is much better suited for drier skin. I also reach for the Jigott Essence Moisture Toner* a lot too. These both feel really gentle and hydrating. Whilst I usually use these after cleansing, on heavier make-up days, I use either one of these before as they both dissolve make-up effectively.

MOISTURISER

It's no secret that I absolutely love the vitamin E range in The Body Shop and I'm really glad I picked this Illuminating Moisture Cream up. It locks in moisture and contains super-fine light-reflectors, perfect for providing skin with a subtle glow. On days where I want a more matte look, I've been reaching for the Jigott Active Emulsion Cream*. This is a thicker moisturiser, but as my skin is so dry at the moment it's great for daytime.

OVERNIGHT

Another much loved product from that Vitamin E range is the Overnight Serum-In-Oil, which replenishes skin and feels like the ultimate skin treat! Another highly reached for product is the Merumaya Overnight Recharge Night Cream* which smells amazing and is probably the product that's left my skin feeling the softest. Ever. Lastly, is the Ark Regenerating Skin Defence* and although it isn't necessarily aimed for solely night-time use, I love using it at this time as my skin feels so revitalised once I wake up. The price is steep at £70, but this award-winning product works wonders and feels super luxurious and velvety!

EXTRA

You may have seen my recent post on the Nip+Fab Viper Venom Eye where I expressed my love for it. If there's an area where a product should be cooling & refreshing, it's around the eyes and this is just that! You might have noticed my skincare routine is lacking an everyday serum (it's still a work in progress), but after trying the Merumaya Iconic Youth Serum sample, I've decided this is the one! Next is face masks. I always struggle finding a suitable face mask as I find a lot of the thermal ones or charcoal ones are targeted towards oily skin and strip my skin far too much. I received the Dead Sea Spa Magik Delicate Boosting Mask in my Beauty at Tesco advent calender recently and am really impressed with it's performance! It makes skin feel smooth, it's lightweight and at just over £5, it's super affordable! Now, who's heard of Dream Dots*? I can't get over how good these little patches are. I use them on those pesky under skin spots that feel like your entire face is bruised and they work wonders! They help soothe the area, make spots look a lot less angry and rid them at a far faster rate!

BODY

I used to be really lazy with moisturising my skin after showering, but I've been trying to make more of an effort to remember recently. In Winter, it's super important that products absorb quickly and I mean quickly, cos ain't nobody got time to be shivering around like a loon. I should probably get my hands on an in-shower moisturiser, but for now I've been loving the Dove Purely Pampering Body Oils* which I reviewed way back, and the Grapefruit & Orange Body Cream from The Somerset Toiletry Company which smells heavenly! You probably know by now that I'm a big lover of hand cream and as I've said before, this Elizabeth Arden* one is the bee's knees during Winter Time. I received this in a gift set which also included the Nourishing Lip Balm*. This is a heavier, intense lip balm which works a treat on sore, chapped lips. I also find a tiny amount looks lovely worn on it's own as it provides a subtle shine - just avoid on windy days to prevent the hair + lip gloss situation!

So there we have it! All of the skincare goodies I often reach for. I really hope you've enjoyed this post and that some of you find it useful.

Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

- Merry Christmas Degustabox...

It's Degustabox* time again! You may have heard of this service before as I've posted about their monthly boxes for a while now, but incase you haven't, Degustabox contains surprise food & drink treats (many of which are new to the market) for much less than you would pay in store.

For just £12.99 (inc. delivery), you receive 9-14 products at your door and if you type in '1G43T' when registering, you can get £3.00 discount! I honestly think this is the perfect gift if you want to try new things, or with Christmas upon us, for the ultimate foodie!

Let's see what's inside this month's box...

The Chia Co RRP: £1.70

Firstly, are these Chia Shots & Oats+Chia from The Chia Co. I was really pleased to see these as I've been meaning to get my hands on some for a while now. Chia seeds are a superfood and have the highest combined source of Omega 3 ALA, fibre & protein. I'll be adding a tbsp of these into porridge, cereal, yoghurt or on salads.

The Oats+Chia is a great product for those of us who are in a hurry in the mornings and is also suitable for vegans. These sachets contain wholegrain oats & chia which are blended with high quality fruit and coconut oil. Flavours available include Mixed Berry, Blueberry & Lemon, Banana & Mango and Apple Spice. As you can see, I received the Mixed Berry flavour which was delicious and a definite repurchase. All you have to do is add 120ml of hot water to the bowl, stir and you're done! Packed full of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, there's no better way to start your day!

Pukka Herbs RRP: £2.39
Bonne Maman RRP: £2.30

Pukka is one of my top tea companies! I think the packaging of all of their boxes is stunning and they seem to have outstanding ethics. Using only high quality organic herbs, their range of teas taste delicious and I'm a big fan of this green lemon one which promises to 'spring-clean your mind, body and spirit'.

Next is this Bonne Maman coarse orange marmalade. I've only ever had lighter marmalades before, but this tastes amazing! It's fresh & zingy and I love the jar it comes in!

Kent's Kitchen Meal Kit RRP: £2.50
Frylight Infuse Garlic RRP: £2.00

I absolutely loved the 'Bengal' Kent's Kitchen Meal Kit I received in October's Degustabox (here), so when I saw this 'Madras' one I was really pleased! These kits contain only natural ingredients and are a great way to cook up a tasty meal in no more than 20 minutes!

I've seen a lot about these spray cooking oils in the past few months, but am yet to try one. This Frylight contains 1 calorie per spray and is flavoured with garlic so there's no need for any garlic peeling & crushing. I think an oil which adds flavour is a really unique idea and this one is also available in Chilli!

Popchips RRP: £1.79
Bahlsen RRP: £1.79 (each)

Oh Popchips, how pleased I am to see you. I regularly purchase the barbeque flavour of these, but am eager to try these sour cream and onion ones! These crisps are never baked nor fried, they're formed by being popped with heat & pressure. The perfect low calorie, non-greasy snack!

As for these German sweet treats - om, nom, nom! Bahlsen come in Milk Chocolate and Caramel flavours and promise to have more chocolate than biscuit! These are seriously amazing!

Gloworm RRP: £1.50 (each)
Eisburg RRP: £3.49

I had no idea what these Gloworm cans were at first, so I soon learnt that they are premium drink mixers! Each flavour has been created to compliment a specific spirit. For instance, Raspberry & Orris for Vodka, Cucumber & Apple for Gin, Pear, Spice & Lime for Rum and Ginger & Lemongrass for Bourbon. In my opinion £1.50 for a small can of mixer seems expensive, but Christmas is all about indulgence and the flavours do sound splendid!

When I first saw this wine bottle staring at me, I scanned it immediately for the alcohol percentage (don't judge me), to then discover it's actually Alcohol-Free (awkward). Initial disappointment aside, this could actually be a good thing as a break from drinking may be required after party season. Therefore, this Eisburg is a great alternative and you avoid looking like the party pooper sipping on water.

I'm once again impressed with Degustabox. I was expecting perhaps more obvious Christmassy items (mini yule log, Christmas cake, cheese & biscuits - that sort of thing), but overall I am pleased. I find all of their boxes, and this one in particular, caters well for meals, snacks plus drinks. I would have to say in general the breakfast-y items are my favourite. Chia seeds for the win!

What do you think of this box? Don't forget to use the discount code mentioned above to get £3.00 off!