Friday, 20 October 2017

The Body Shop Intu Metrocentre Autumn Blogger Event With The G Edit*

Although I had every intention of breaking up my blog and press event posts with some different content some how life seems to have got in the way again, and in the last week I've only managed to upload a couple of unboxing videos to my You Tube channel. Still content is content, and I'm back today on the blog to talk about another blog event and some new and exciting product releases from one of my favourite high street stores, The Body Shop.

Like so many girls that grew up in the 90's The Body Shop has been one of my go to shops for almost my entire life and it's a store that I'll forever associate with growing up, and it's one of the places where my beauty obsession really started. I'm going to talk more about my own history with the brand in a future post but it's safe to say that The Body Shop holds a special place in my heart.

I'm lucky enough to have been to a couple of events in various branches of The Body Shop over the years, and I've always found them to be both fun and educational, and this one was no different.

The previous events I've been to took place when the stores were open, but a couple of Sunday's ago, myself and a number of North East bloggers and influencers were invited down to the Intu Metrocentre store after hours to spend a few hours learning about some products, and rediscovering some old favourites.

We were greeted with glasses of fizz, name stickers and nibbles, and we basically given free run of the store, and given ample opportunity to experience everything that The Body Shop has to offer. There were lots of helpful staff members to answer our questions, and to demonstrate products, and they'd even set up a selfie station with props and bunny ears for us to help promote their Ban Animal Testing petition ( you can sign it instore or online here), and a whiteboard where we could leave our Instagram and Twtter handles and share our favourite products with our fellow bloggers.

If you look really carefully at the whiteboard, you can probably see my social media handle, and the products that I love (I'm @LouLou699 just in case you didn't know ;). For me two things really stand, their Christmas ranges and of course their body butters. I've lost count of the number that I've owned and tried over the years, and they really are an ever present in the my bathroom cabinet. Yes they're thick and they can take a while to absorb, but when my skin is at it's driest in the winter, and after and during a hot holiday, they really are a must have.

I love them and it turns out that a lot of other people do as well, and their body butters, in their various different fragrances and different guises have been one of their most popular products for the last 25 years. It's hard to believe but this year The Body Shop Body Butter is celebrating it's 25th birthday, and in order to celebrate, the majority of stores are giving you the opportunity to print out a free sticker and personalise your own full size tub of body butter. Personalisation is everywhere at the moment and I think that this is a great gift idea, and something just that little bit different.

As a special gift on the night, The Body Shop allowed us to choose a free full size, fruity fragranced body butter, and get our own personalised label printed off. I love anything fruity so it wasn't that easy to choose which one I wanted, but I ended up going for Early Harvest Raspberry. This was a new one to me, and I've spent every minute since kicking myself as to why I hadn't tried it before. It has a lovely true to life, punnet of fresh raspberries type scent, that smells good enough to eat without smelling too sweet or sickly,

Talking of smelling good enough to eat, this year The Body Shop has debuted their first ever range of Halloween themed products with a yummy, Vanilla Pumpkin fragrance. If you're not a fan of the traditional cult pumpkin spice type fragrance, filled with nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon, then this fragrance might be more up your street. It contains real Madagascan vanilla, and with added hint of fruity pumpkin, your left with a sweet and creamy fragrance with just a hint of warmth and fruitiness. Sounds good? well it is, but it is a limited edition range so get your skates if you like the sound of it. It has been introduced especially for Autumn and Halloween but it should be around until Christmas so you should a month or so to get your hands on it.

On the night the lovely people from The Body Shop offered us a special discount on any purchases that we made, so it would have been wrong not to indulge in a bit of pumpkin love. I'm not sure if the same offer is still on but there was an offer in store where you could buy 3 selected bath and body products for £20, so I picked up a few Vanilla Pumpkin items and took advantage. I got the full, 192g size Vanilla Pumpkin Softening Body Butter which normally retails at £15, and I got two, 250ml bottles, of the Vanilla Pumpkin Shower Gel that normally retail for £5 each so I really ended up getting one for free. I didn't see it on the night but you also get a hand cream in the Vanilla Pumpkin scent.

As well the new Vanilla Pumpkin range, we also had the chance to find out more about some of stores other new releases, including their new world ingredients, inspired face masks, including the  Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask, the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, and the British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask, and we also introduced to their new Liquid Peel exfoliants.

If you like skincare that looks and feels as though as it's working and you want to see results in minutes then The Body Shops new range of Liquid Peels are something that you definitely need to try. They come in three different variations depending on your skin type and the results that you want to see, you can get the Liquid Peels Drops Of Youth Youth Liquid Peel, the Vitamin C Revealing Liquid Peel, and the Drops Of Light Pure Resurfacing Liquid Peel which retail at around £18 each. Basically these peels are exfoliators but instead of being grainy the gel like texture contains ingredients that help to lift up the dead skin and leave you skin soft and glowing. One of the members of staff tried the Drops Of Youth peel on my hand and the amount of gunk that it took off my supposedly clean had was fascinating, in a slightly sick and horrifying way :) I've used something similar in the past and I'm definitely going to pick one of these up the future.

On the night we were given the opportunity to try several of the different treatments and demonstrations that available in store including a facial and a make up lesson, but given time constraints and the amount of bloggers that were in attendance, it wasn't really possible to do everything but I did manage to snap this picture of the lovely Laura from Look At My Clothes having her skincare consultation and facial,

and I did have a few minutes to play by myself with some of The Body Shop's latest make up releases and all I can say it wow! The obsession with the lips is strong at the moment thanks to a certain Ms Jenner and if that's the look you want or like than The Body Shop have got you covered with their new Matte Lip Liquids, and their new Shine Lip Liquids, and their new and very convertible Metal Lip Liquids that are perfect for the party season and have found a place on my current, and overflowing beauty wishlist

One treatment though that I've had from The Body Shop though in the past and loved was their fabulous hand and arm massage (read about my previous experience here), so when I was offered another one I jumped at the chance.

Unlike my previous experience which just involved a bowl of warm water, the Intu Metrocentre branch is now full fitted out with sinks and running water, which just added to the whole spa like feel of the treatment. Unlike last time when it was all about the Christmas collections, the lovely member of staff Hina, let me choose exactly what products that I wanted to use for my treatment. There are so many beautifully scrubs, creams and butters to choose from that it was a hard decision but in the end I decided to try out some products from their Spa Of The World Relaxing Ritual range.

Hina started off by massaging my hand and forearm with the beautiful African Ximenia Scrub, which is sugar based scrub that contains Namibian Ximenia Fruit Seed. This is quite a gentle scrub, which given my love of gritty scrubs, wouldn't be quite gritty enough for me in the shower but it was perfect for a hand treatment. She then dried my hand and followed with a liberal application of the Japanese Camellia Velvet Moisture Body Cream, before ending the massage with an application of the French Lavender Massage Oil.

Afterwards the difference between my two hands was clear to see, the hand that had been treat looked brighter and fresher, and it felt silky soft, and smooth. I can only imagine what the rest of my body would feel like after using these products. The Spa Of The World range isn't the cheapest range that The Body Shop do but if you want real luxury or you feel like you need some serious feel good products then I can't recommend it enough.

I loved the feel of all of the products that I used but I particularly fell in love with the fragrance of the French Lavender Massage Oil and both the scent and the feel of the Japanese Camellia Velvet Moisture Body Cream, which I ended up buying in the small 50ml size. I love white flower, powdery type scents and as well as feeling amazing on the skin, the subtle scent really is beautiful

Since we has such a good opportunity to explore the store, I couldn't resist picking up a few things for Christmas presents. I know some people still think it's a bit early for Christmas but I love it, and I'm a big believer in getting prepared nice and early. The full range of Christmas products isn't in store just yet but it won't be long I'm sure and no doubt I'll be back for another shopping trip when it launches. In the meantime though we did have an opportunity to have a little look and The Body Shop's range of advent calendars for 2017. I really couldn't justify buying one (I already have two advent calendars already!) but I love them, and I particularly love the fact that they have calendars available at 3 different price points in order to suit a wider range of budgets

So feeling pampered, shopped out and with another wishlist as long as my arm, I headed for home with my purchases, my personalised body butter and a little bag of treats from The Body Shop including some skincare samples which included the Drop Of Youth Liquid Peel which I can't wait to try, a 30ml Mango Hand Cream and a 5ml jar of the Oils Of Life Sleeping Cream which again I can't wait to use.

I'm not good at the vlogging thing but I did make a little, super short taster video on my phone so you see what some of your favourite North East bloggers, You Tubers and infuencers got up to on the night x You can also view it via this link x

Again I had a lovely evening spending time with some of my fellow bloggers, and learning and trying lots and lots of new things. Huge thanks to The G Edit, The Body Shop, and particular all of the staff in the Intu Metrocentre branch for their advice, and for sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with us, I'll definitely be back and soon x If you have any questions if you've tried any of the items I've mentioned I'd love to hear from you so leave a comment below x

*Blog Event - This Post Contains Gifted Items, And Items That Were Purchased With A Discount

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Exploring John Lewis, Newcastle -- The Beauty Retreat And The Beauty Hall*

I don't know if this applies to other bloggers, but in my world at least, blogger and press events are like buses, you don't attend anything or get any invites for what seems like forever and then in the space of a couple of days 4 invitations appear in your inbox!

It's been a busy couple of weeks in LouLouLand heading to events and what not and now I'm just trying to get my photos edited, and get my thoughts together, so that in my next few posts I can tell exactly what I've been up to. I know posts about events aren't for everyone but I promise you they aren't just about bloggers and journalists showing off and drinking fizz, when you attend an event yes probably will have a bit of fun, but at the same you're experiencing new products and new things and you're learning things that you can pass onto your readers In essence I guess we do reconnaissance work and suss things out so you don't have to.

Last Wednesday I was one of a number of North East bloggers that were lucky enough to be invited along to John Lewis, in Intu Eldon Square in Newcastle city centre, to attend what was to be their very first official blog event. John Lewis is one of the big 3 department stores in Newcastle city centre, and it's another store that has it's roots firmly planted right herein the North East. Formerly known as Bainbridge's, the store originally started trading on a small scale in Newcastle in around 1838 and ultimately became one of the first true department stores in the world, it changed hands and locations several times over the years before eventually be taken over by the John Lewis Partnership in 1952. The store traded successfully as Bainbridge's for many years before the Partners voted in 2002 to somewhat controversially change the name to John Lewis (at least in my mums eyes - it will always be Bainbridge's to her ;)

The purpose of last weeks event was to give us an opportunity to see just exactly what John Lewis has to offer the beauty lover, from the numerous cosmetic counters in the beauty haul, to the self selection stands and of course the Beauty Retreat.

Heading into the Beauty Retreat area of the store we greeted with glasses of bubbly, event programmes, and goodie bags, and we given the opportunity to have a chat, to try some canapes, and to enjoy the live music provided by a very talented local singer and musician, David. We then a had a talk from the Beauty Retreat Manager, Clare Meadows, about the Beauty Retreat and the night ahead. There were quite a lot of us in attendance so we were split into two groups to make sure we had an opportunity to try everything that was on offer to us. Whilst one group explored the beauty hall and the beauty counters, the other group had the opportunity to try out some of the brands that the beauty retreat has to offer, and try out some of their 10 minute taster treatments

In it's simplest terms the John Lewis, Newcastle Beauty Retreat is a spa within a store, with subdued lighting, and calming colours, the first room that you enter is a combined reception area and a treatment area where you can get brow and hair removal treatments from Blink and Jessica manicures and hand treatments, both of which we had the opportunity to try on the night.

Go upstairs in the Beauty Retreat and you're greeted with a Clarins Spa offering everything from facials to massages and self tanning. Clarins were offering pressure point massage tasters on the night but I'd already made my mind up what I wanted to try and that was downstairs.

As well as the reception and treatment areas, the Beauty Retreat also features 4 individually decorated, and furnished treatment rooms that are devoted to some of the biggest spa and skincare brands on the UK scene, ESPA, Liz Earle, Elemis and Decleor. As tempting as it was try everything that was on offer, time was really was of the essence, there were still a lot of bloggers who wanted treatments, and we only had an hour before the two groups swapped over so we had to be selective over what treatments we tried

On reflection I probably played it safe, and top of my list were two brands that I loved and I've used on and off for years, Liz Earle and Elemis. Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish is a cult product and rightfully so, it does exactly what it says it does, but the team from Liz Earle were giving us the opportunity to try out some of the newer versions of the classic C+P. Whilst keeping the base the same Liz Earle have started to experiment a little bit, and have introduced several versions with different essential oil blends. I tried a couple but the stand out for me was definitely the Rose and Lavender, I sometimes find the eucalyptus in the original too stimulating but this one felt more calming on the skin and I think it's something that would be lovely to use at night.

Another skincare brand that I love has to be Elemis, Pro Collagen Marine Cream is probably the best moisturiser I have ever used, and I can honestly say that I've loved nearly everything from them that I've tried. Again the treatment room was perfectly suited to the brand with the subdued lighting and beautiful aromas emanating from all sides, and what Elemis were offering us on the night was a taste of their Deep Drainage Facial. This wasn't about make up removal, so the make up stayed put, this massage was all about the feeling and the sensation. I was only lying on the massage bed for a few minutes but I could easily have stayed there all night. My therapist gave a gentle facial massage with just enough pressure and positioning to relieve all of the tension in my head, my sinuses and in all my facial bones and muscles. When she'd finished my head literally felt lighter, and despite the bubbly, and the warmth of the room I felt very clear headed and refreshed.

Speaking of refreshing, something that I love and that I always find relaxes me is a head and neck massages, hell any massage come to think of it, and when I saw that French, aromatherapy brand Decleor were offering a relaxing neck and shoulder massage, I knew I had to give it a try. If you've ever tried anything from Decleor you'll know that it's not only about results, it's also about the power of the scent. Like all of the spa rooms, they were lightly fragranced, with products (including the new advent calendar) on display and the lighting was both calming and subtle. Although I was wearing a dress, sitting down my therapist still had enough access to both my neck and my shoulders to undo some serious knots. Even though this was just a massage taster the therapist was really professional and enquired about the strength of pressure and how the massage felt throughout. After only a few minutes my neck felt less achy and I noticed a definite improvement in my all be it common muscle pain and tightness. She finished the massage with an application of their Circulagel, which is crammed full of menthol and camphor and gives the skin that fabulous hot, cold feeling. Although it's specifically designed for tired and aching legs, this product is great for relaxing sore and achy muscles all over the body and it's definitely something that spoonies like me need in out lives

By this time it was time to swap over and it was time for my group to attack the beauty hall and see exactly what John Lewis has to offer. The Newcastle store has most of the big beauty brands that you would expect and a few more besides, showcased in a spacious and light, and airy environment. It goes without saying that anyone can go up to a counter and ask for advice but on the night, a lot of the counters were offering some special demonstrations and makeovers just for us. We could try everything from the new Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer, to crimping and hair styling with GHD, to focus makeovers from Bobbi Brown, Chanel, and Benefit.

Again I wanted to try everything that was on offer, but that just wasn't realistic, so I settled for heading to just two counters, Bare Minerals and NARS. On the night Bare Minerals were offering a statement lip tutorial but being the beauty junkie that I am I wanted to find out a little bit more about their new foundation release Bare Pro. The lovely MUA, Sophie colour matched me and then applied a little bit of the product so I could see how it felt it on the skin, the colour match was perfect and since it's supposed to be great for concealing large pores, I've added it to my ever expanding beauty wishlist.

One of the most popular counters in John Lewis, Newcastle has to be NARS. Although it's a department store staple in many southern stores, we only have two department stores in the North East that stock it and John Lewis s one of them.

I was greeted warmly by their make up artist, Jane, who as well as being super friendly, was also very knowledgeable about the brand and it's history. I asked her a few what could be seen as difficult questions about the brands ownership, and their decision to sell in China, and she was more than happy to answer them and clarify a few issues with me, not only did she do that but she also gave me one of the best on counter makeovers that I've ever had.

The NARS demonstration that we were offered on the night was entitled, "Make Up Your Mind" and the focus was NARS' signature smokey eye look, which Jane created by using their Velvet Shadow Sticks, as well as just making up my eyes though, Jane went on a gave me a full face make over featuring everything from the new Orgasm Liquid Blush, to the Orgasm Lipstick, and the Sun Wash Bronzing Powder. I also found out that I've been using the wrong shade of NARS foundation so Jane matched me perfectly to Mont Blanc and gave me a full list of accompanying products in the correct shades.

The result was a relatively fresh, neutral face look, which was counterbalanced by the most amazing, cover girl, catwalk, rock chick smokey eye look. I really did look runway ready as I snapped several selfies of my new glam look whilst in the make up chair, sods law though when I took the pictures off my camera and phone, they were are awful, blurred and unusable, to say I was devastated was an understatement. All that hard work and nothing to show for out. I was gutted but I was so impressed with the makeover that I wouldn't hesitate to return to NARS in John Lewis in the future, for another make up masterclass.

By the time my rock chick transformation was finished though, the night was just about drawing to a close, so we headed back into the Beauty Retreat to finish the remaining canapes and cross our fingers that our lucky numbers might come up in the raffle. Alas I wasn't a winner but three lovely ladies walked away with goodies from Molton Brown, Trilogy and Charlotte Tilbury. Then after a lot of thank you's and chatter, a group of North East bloggers and their plus ones felt pampered and glamorous as hell and they headed off into the night clutching their goodie bags full of beauty samples and Charbonnel and Walker Champagne Truffles

It really was an amazing night, as well as getting to spend some time with some of my fellow bloggers both old and new, I learnt an awful from all of the brands that I spoke to and I left with a product wishlist as long as my arm, and if anyone is listening I would love a series of Elemis facials and Decleor massages in my Christmas stocking! I can live in hope I guess haha. I just want to thank everyone at John Lewis, Newcastle and of course all of the counters, therapists, brands and make up artists who looked after us last Wednesday night, and of course David for the fabulous musical accompaniments. You can find out more about John Lewis Newcastle and exactly what services they have to offer on the official John Lewis website.

*Blogger Event

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Lush Gateshead Re-Opening Party And Some New Holiday Releases*

Now I'm not the most social of creatures by any means, but last week I went to a party! Alas there was no jelly and ice cream or pass the parcel, but there was enough glitter to shake a stick it and that certainly makes it a party in my eyes.

Myself, and a small group of my fellow North East bloggers were invited along to celebrate the re-opening of the Lush Gateshead store in Intu Metrocentre, alongside the Lush staff and their families.

Since I became bathless, I've got to be honest and say that I don't go into Lush as often as I used to, the pain that I can't buy bath ballistics anymore is real! When I go into store though, the Metrocentre store is my local, and although the staff have changed over the years, I can never praise the staff enough they are always super friendly and helpful and they always have a smile on their face.

The Intu Metrocentre store staff though, now have even more reason to be happy than most, why? well they have a shiny new and renovated store to work in. Still located in Upper Red Mall, the store has undergone a real transformation, the layout has completely changed, and it seems more spacious than it used but of course you can still buy all of your old favourites including haircare, skincare, fragrance, make up and of course bath and body products.

One new addition that is bound to make life easier for both the customers and the staff, is the introduction of new demonstration stations, which are fully equipped with sinks and hot and cold running water. Instead of having to grab a bowl of water, staff can now demonstrate how products work in a real setting, so you can try ballistics, and rinse off cleansers, body conditioners and shower foams until your heart is content, and your senses are tingling.

To celebrate the re-opening Lush, have made Lush Gateshead one of the first stores in the UK to launch their new Christmas and Halloween products, and we were given a sneaky peek as to what is on offer.

With every year that passes, Halloween in the UK gets bigger and bigger, When I was wee, Halloween involved a carved turnip, a black bin liner, and a witches hat but now there are decorations, costumes, cakes, sweets and even Lush goodies. You can buy pumpkin gift sets, black cat knot wraps, and a wide variety of soaps, bubble bars, bath ballistics, and even lip products (more on that later) to help you celebrate the witching hour. The bath envy is real with this one and if I had one I would definitely have picked a black cat shaped, Bewitched Bubble Bar.

At the risk of offending half of the population, I'm actually not that fussed about Halloween, it means one thing to me and that is Christmas is getting nearer, and you can't argue that the one thing that Lush do incredibly well is Christmas.

Think of Lush and Christmas and I can guarantee that one product will spring to mind and that is Snow Fairy, and the good news is that it is back for Christmas 2017. The original sweet, and fruity shower gel makes a reappearance this year but it isn't the only way to get your Snow Fairy fix. This year there are more Snow Fairy fragranced products than ever before, you can try out the new Jelly Bombs or you could pick up a Cold Pressed Soap, or even a versatile bar of Fun for the bath or shower. If body moisturising is more your thing, or if you want to layer all of that Snow Fairy sweetness, then you can try the new Snow Fairy Sparkle Jar, which is a combination of body shimmer, and a moisturising massage bar or you can try the Snow Fairy Body Conditioner which comes in both in a pot and as a naked product, which you can either use in the shower for a super moisturising treat or you can use a small amount as a body moisturiser.

Lush have always been one of the most innovative brands on the high street, and it goes without saying that they operate under a strong ethical standpoint. More of their products than ever before are suitable for vegans and a lot of their products are becoming more and more eco friendly in fact you can now buy a lot of products in their naked form. It sounds strange but cutting down on unnecessary packaging has always been the Lush way, and following on from the success of their solid shampoos, now they've introduced a wide range of products without packaging. You can now buy solid lip tints, solid lip scrubs, solid body lotions, solid shower gels and solid body conditioners, so say you want to buy some Snow Fairy Shower Gel, you can now buy it as you always did in a plastic bottle or you can buy the Naked version, which is a solid block that lathers up in the shower.

If Snow Fairy isn't for you (if it isn't, what is wrong with you?) then Lush have plenty of other festive products to tickle your fancy including Shower Gels and Jelly's, Soaps, Body Conditioners, and Body Creams, Bubble Bars and Bath Ballistics, and even lip products, with some new Lip Scrubs and Lip Tints, and the new Glittery Lip Block which is perfect for the party season.

I've already made myself a list of the shower things that I want and I'm definitely going to pick up my favourite Santa's Belly Shower Jelly, some Bubbly Shower Gel, the Bucks Fizz Body Conditioner and of course some more Snow Fairy but I couldn't resist buying a few thing on the night

I'll be talking about all of these products in a future but on the night I ended up buying a couple of lip things I got the Sugar Plum Fairy Lip Scrub which retails at £5.95 and I also ended up getting the Black Rose Lipstick / Lip Tint from the Halloween range which retails at £6.50. I also picked up one of the new(ish) Jelly Face Masks in Just To Clarify which was £6.95 and it wouldn't be a seasonal  Lush haul without Snow Fairy so I picked up the Snow Fairy Body Conditioner which retails at £8.50 for the 100g size.

The people at Lush Gateshead were also kind enough to gift us a few of the Christmas products to try, and our goodies came beautifully packaged in one of Lush's signature, eco friendly Knot Wraps. I am a bit in love with knot wraps and they make any product look gift worthy in minutes. This is one of the many Christmas designs that they have on offer, but each store also has a wide variety of different designs to choose from and sometimes they even have vintage scarves which they can use as well.

My knot wrap contained two bath products, which I'm passing on to my bestie, a Christmas Sweater Bath Ballistic which contains a warming blend of mustard, clove, ginger, coriander, and Sicilian Lemon, and retails at £4.50, and a My Two Front Teeth Bubble Bar which contains lavender, vanilla, tonka bean and neroli and retails at £3.95.

It also contained a Berry Berry Christmas Naked Shower Gel which retails at £11.75 and contains a combination of cranberry, blueberry, bergamot, sweet wild orange oil, and olive leaf absolute and a piece of Shooting Stars Soap, which contains a fresh citrus mix of lemon, lime and bergamot and retails at £4.95. Make sure your following me on all of my social media channel to find out what I think about these two products.

I filmed a little video on the night, to showcase some of new releases and of course the re-opening party and the newly refurbished Gateshead store that you can see below or via this link.

If you are from the North East I can't recommend heading down to the new Gateshead store enough, the staff are really helpful and there are loads of new things to look at, and try. If you aren't lucky enough to live up North then the Halloween and Christmas ranges will be in all stores soon and of course you can have a look online x There really is something for everyone at Lush, there are loads of individual products for every skin type and every need, and there are plenty of gift sets to choose from for both Halloween and Christmas. Are you a fan of Lush's Christmas products? Let me know in the comments

*Press / Blogger Event 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Reflections and Trimming My Stash - September 2017 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews

So any lingering hopes of an Indian summer are long gone, now we're in October there is no denying that Autumn is here. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, the leaves are falling from the trees and you can now go into any supermarket in the UK and buy a pumpkin!

In the last couple of days I've been reminded of a song that we used to sing at this time of year in school assemblies and at Sunday school. The song is called Autumn Days and it's about been thankful for the harvest and those little things in life, and I think it's something that we can all live by. It's very hard at times to find any positives in life but they are always there even if sometimes they take a little bit of finding.

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that I'm currently doing the #365DaysOfHappiness project, it hasn't been easy it times but sometimes even the smallest and most innocuous things can lift your spirits, from a nice cup of coffee, to a fragranced candle, and knowing that it's only 82 days until Christmas.

I know, I know I've already started my Christmas shopping and I'm preparing to fill the shower with all of my festive toiletries, I love Christmas and it always makes me happy but in order to start using all of those cranberry, apple, and gingerbread smellies, I need to make space and get some bits used up. My October aim is to clear my shower of fruits and florals but in the meantime lets see what beauty products I finished last month.

Scrub Love Invigorating Coffee Body Scrub - Coconut Affair - 50g
Beauty Bible Cleansing Milk - 300ml
Superdrug Nourishing Nail Polish Remover Acetone Free - 250ml
Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Super Volume Mascara -10ml
Collection 2000 Colour Match Foundation - Ivory 1 - 30ml

Total - 5 Items 

Okay, so five items isn't that amazing but I'm still really happy because of the type of items that I managed to finish. Make up items are always pretty thin on the ground for me, probably because I have so much of it that I never really use anything consistently but in September I managed to finish 2 make up products and some body and skincare bits, and as the slogan goes "every little helps"

1. Scrub Love Invigorating Coffee Body Scrub - Coconut Affair - 50g

These scrubs are absolutely everywhere at the moment, and I've managed to accumulate quite a few of them thanks to the various beauty boxes that I'm subscribed to. Billed as more eco friendly, these scrubs are basically just coffee grounds, with a few added ingredients (coconut in this case). I always assumed that these scrubs would have some sort of cream, oil or gel base but they don't, or at least this one didn't. It's basically looks and smells just like coffee grounds, with just a hint of coconut. I tried just taking a handful and rubbing it on my legs but I think I managed to lose more in the shower than I managed to use! I found the best way to use this was to tip a small amount into my hand and then I added a bit of shower gel to achieve a more spreadable consistency. When it comes to body scrubs I know what I like, and the number one thing that I look for is grittiness, this scrub is definitely gritty but it is just so, so messy! The floor of my shower room was literally covered in coffee grounds, and brown yucky looking splodges, I managed to get more of the scrub on the floor, on the shower screen and on the wall then I did on my thighs, and the shower trap, clogged up in an instant! This scrub would be amazing first thing in the morning, with the invigorating feel and the coffee aroma but for me I just can't deal with the mess and neither can Mummy Lou. I'll use the remaining sachets that I have but I definitely won't repurchase :( If you want to try this scrub for yourself then you can buy if from various retailers including Beauty Bay, Fragrance Direct, and Very.

2. Beauty Bible Cleansing Milk - 300ml

I think I've mentioned this in a previous post but I recently tested a batch of products for one of the most comprehensive beauty books on the market, Beauty Bible. If you're confused by all of the beauty products on the market then this is the book that you need. Basically it's a beauty review book, and for every edition the team behind the Beauty Bible recruit hundreds and hundreds of volunteers to try out every beauty product under the sun. I've done it a few times now and I've really enjoyed trying out a wide variety of new products. The only thing is that you're not allowed to talk about the product that you tried on social media :( which in this case is a bit of a bummer because this was one of my favourite products. So in brief it's a sensibly priced, cleansing milk and I loved it, and I would definitely consider spending my hand earned cash on it in the future x 

3. Superdrug Nourishing Nail Polish Remover Acetone Free - 250ml

I don't know if you've noticed but I'm starting to get into painting my nails again, after around 6 months of rubbishness, my nails are getting longer, stronger and they're looking pretty decent, so I'm taking advantage and painting and photographing them while I still can. I know it isn't the most exciting of tasks, but if you paint your nails, at some point you're going to need to take that polish off. 

I'm using two different polish removers at the moment, the Primark PS Love Your Nails Nail Polish Twist Pot, which I use to correct mistakes and to just remove one or two nails, and for everyday use and removing a full manicure I swear by this one from Superdrug. I've used this remover for years and the price has remained the same for the longest time. This acetone free polish is one of my holy grail products, it works, it doesn't smell too awful, and it's only £1.39 for 250ml. I love it so much that I even wrote a blog post devoted to it, that you can read here

4. Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Super Volume Mascara -10ml

I'm not having the best of luck with mascaras at the moment - During a recent optician visit I was diagnosed with dry corneas, due to a combination of both my facial nerve paralysis, and one of my current medications. My eyes can be a bit sensitive at the best of times but at the moment, they're particularly bad. I've tried and binned 3 mascaras in the past fortnight due to sensitivity and whilst I couldn't really class those as empties, I can class this one as an empty.

I haven't tried a lot of make up from Soap & Glory but other the past few years I've managed to acquire a few of their mascaras thanks to the Boots Star Gifts, and a few months ago now I decided to give this one a try and I have to say I was impressed. This mascara which retails at around £10 promises thicker fuller lashes and on me it delivered. It didn't dry my lashes out and it didn't feel heavy or clumpy, and whilst it didn't look as though I was wearing false lashes, my lashes definitely looked fuller, and thicker, and it didn't make my eyes run or sting. It wasn't the longest wearing mascara that I've ever used but I'll happily use the ones that I have and I would definitely consider repurchasing this one in it's own right.

5. Collection 2000 Colour Match Foundation - Ivory 1 - 30ml

Now before you I say anything I know that this is an old, old bottle of foundation. I'm fully aware of that, and I know that you should really throw make up and especially liquids and creams out after so long. This still smelled okay and the texture hadn't changed so I kept as it and tried to eek it out for as long as possible. The reason why is that I loved this foundation, the colour match was perfect, the texture was perfect for my skin type, and it wore well on my oil prone skin. In this format this foundation has long gone. Collection, as they are now called does have a Colour Match Foundation in it's current collection (haha) but it's now in plastic, squeezy tube, and the shade names have altered slightly. At only £3.99 for 30ml it's well worth a try though, so I've picked up the shade Ivory and I'm hoping upon hope that it is just as good as this one was. If it isn't I'll be begging Collection to bring the original one back!

So they were my September empties, as I say I'm really pleased to have finished a few make up items, but in October I'll definitely be focusing on the bathroom, and trying to make room for both my festive shower bits, and my winter themed body creams. Which reminds me, if you are a bit obsessed with Christmas bath and body bits then check out tomorrow's post to see some of Lush's festive offerings x If you have any questions on any of the items that I've mentioned then please leave me a comment below x 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Creating An Autumnal Capsule Wardrobe With ESPRIT*

As much as I love the heat and the warmth of summer, I do love Autumn, I love the colours of the falling leaves, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and of course I love Autumn fashion.

When you're feeling a bit less than confident about your body, Autumn and Winter fashions give you the perfect opportunity to cover up those bits you're not so keen on. Throw on a few layers and in an instant you'll feel more confident and ready to enjoy all of those occasions and events that Fall has to offer.

I think that what I like most about Autumn fashion though is the colour palette, pop into any store, or take a look online, and you'll be greeted by clothing in all sorts of warm autumnal tones ranging from rusts, to mustard's, tans, browns and reds.

I love colour but if you're a bit scared of it and you're not quite sure how to work some of those fall shades into your wardrobe, then take my advice and start off with a simple piece like this long sleeved striped t-shirt from ESPRIT.

Think of a striped top, and you'd probably automatically think about the classic blue and white, Breton stripe that we're all so familiar with. Nothing looks fresher in the Spring and Summer months then those classic stripes teamed up with either blue, or white, jeans or shorts - the nautical look is a real fashion classic and with good reason, but sometimes as the season changes you need to try something new and mix it up a bit.

This 100% cotton t-shirt, comes in 3 very different but coordinating colour ways, and every option is perfect for adding a little bit of Autumn into your wardrobe. Just team one of these t-shirts with with clothing and accessories that already own such as a pair of blue jeans, and some brown and tan accessories, or even with a pair of white trainers, and with the addition of the mustard, red and brown tones of these shirts, you're all set for the season ahead.

Whilst t-shirts like these can help you update even your oldest clothing and accessory pieces for the new season, you can also use simple pieces like these as a basis for your own Autumn capsule wardrobe, adding carefully chosen pieces to create several different outfits.

You could easily team any of these t-shirts with some plain blue or black jeans but where would the fun be in that. If like me you're a bit braver when it comes to colour then why not pick out some of the colours that you can find in each individual top, and get some coordinating or even contrasting pieces in some of these fall tones to create your own capsule wardrobe. I think that any of these separates, also from ESPRIT, would work perfectly with any of these striped t-shirts. The inclusion of the reds, and the rust tones obviously goes without saying, but don't be frightened to try pieces in almost a clashing colour like these bottle green trousers, or even a piece with a clashing print like the subtle check on this pencil skirt, to create your own individual look.

And of course don't forget about your outerwear, you shoes, your accessories and your layering pieces. Again by picking out some of the colours from the tops, you can create your own stylish grab, run, and go outfits without too much effort or thought. I'm particularly loving the Brass Yellow Cotton Blazer Coat and the Garnet Red Melange Knit Cardigan, to add just a hint of warmth and of course colour to your outfit on those drearier Autumn days.

A lot of people think that creating a capsule wardrobe or changing your wardrobe every season is difficult, but I've hopefully shown you here that putting outfits and different items of clothing together doesn't have to be hard. Start of with a basic piece like a striped t-shirt and then either use items that you already have or buy a few more select pieces either in a coordinating or contrasting colour palette, and have fun creating new outfits. A lot of people are scared of colour and of trying new things, but fashion should be fun, and it should be a way of expressing yourself, and creating your own signature style, so play with colour and with new pieces and you might be surprised at just how easy it is to climb out of your comfort zone.

All of the items in this post are currently available from the ESPRIT website and in selected stores and online. Are you a fan of Autumn colours and fashions? Let me know in the comments.

*Sponsored Post