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Gift Guide and Stocking Fillers For Her

I absolutely love the festive season, I look forward to all the family and my friends coming together, enjoying each other’s company with a glass of mulled wine and a large tub of Quality Street. I look forward to making the house look festive with Christmas decorations and enough fairy lights to beat Blackpool illuminations. The Christmas tunes will have been on repeat from the start of November and I’ll most probably be singing them in my sleep by mid December.

Having said that, it can often feel like one of the most stressful times of the year. The shops are extra busy and you have no idea what gifts to get your nearest and dearest. I thought I’d put together a last minute gift and stocking filler guide for the ladies in your life, especially those who are ultra girly and love all things pink.

Sanctuary Exquisite Bath Salts Boots / Midnight Plum & Wild Blackberry Luxury 2 Wick Candle Baylis & Harding / Luna 3 Sonic Cleansing Brush Foreo / Laura Mercier Paint with Light Radiant Face Illuminator Trio John Lewis / Baylis & Harding Midnight Plum & Wild Blackberry Mini Stack Gift Set Temptation Gifts

Zipped Jewellery Case Ted Baker / Ted Baker A5 folio ASOS / rose gold wireless earbuds with charging case Skinnydip / House of Marley Head Phones in rose gold ASOS / Glitter Water Bottle Skinnydip / Swarovski Crystal Heart Stud Earrings and Huggy Gift Set ASOS

Cashmere Bed Socks The White Company / Piped Silk Pyjamas The White Company / Satin and Lace Kimono (colour Vintage Pink) H&M / Fluffy Cross Over Slippers Boux Avenue / Christmas Cookie House Party Gift Set Too Faced / Hooded Pink Robe Boux Avenue

Jo Malone Rose & Magnolia Cologne John Lewis / GHD Platinum+ Straighteners Limited Edition Gift Set in Rose Gold John Lewis / GHD Platinum+ Air Limited Edition Deluxe Set NEXT / Vanity Case Ted Baker

monogram beanie hat / studded cliptop purse / rose gold colour diamante chain watch / diamante bow scrunchie / faux suede cross body bag – All from River Island

Burberry Check Cashmere Scarf Harvey Nichols / Blush Pink Jewellery Box Stackers / Rose Gold Earrings Monica Vinader / Rose Gold Mini Nugget Cluster Bracelet Monica Vinader

Paris: Through A Fashion Eye and The Dress: 100 Iconic Moments In Fashion Both by Megan Hess on Amazon / Tea and Cake Bath Slab Duo Miss Patisserie / Phone Case CaseApp / Wax Melts Glam Wax / Bath and Shower Gel Kathleen / Body and Massage Oil Kathleen / Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum John Lewis / Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Collection – Eyeshadow Pallette / Blusher / Lipstick / Lip Liner

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The Serums You Need To Know About From Freshly Cosmetics

Around this time of year my skin needs something a little richer over night and I’ll usually add a facial oil into my evening skincare routine. I don’t know about you but I always find massaging an oil into my skin at the end of the day incredibly relaxing as well as keeping my skin hydrated. Going from a warm, centrally heated house to the cold air outside can play havoc with my skin and make it feel drier than normal.

I featured My 3 Winter Beauty Essentials from Freshly Cosmetics last year on my blog, so I was over the moon when they contacted me again to ask if I’d like to try out some more products. Freshly Cosmetics is a much sought after beauty brand who make skin, body and hair care which is 100% natural, suitable for vegans and gentle enough for sensitive skin. As well as making sure your skin looks healthy, the people at Freshly Cosmetics also care about the environment by using sustainable packaging which is all recyclable.

I chose two products from their best selling range and here’s how I got on after trying them both for a few weeks.

Red Velvet Oil Serum

I love the rich velvety texture of this facial serum, it feels incredibly luxurious. It’s both an oil and a serum and it gets deep into your skin to really soften and hydrate. It contains a blend of natural oils and active ingredients including Evening Primrose, Rosehip, Chia, Virgin Marula and Meadowfoam Oils, all having excellent skincare benefits.

I’ve been using it as the final step in my skincare routine for about two weeks now and I must say I’m pretty impressed. The applicator makes it simple to use and a little goes a long way, I apply a couple of drops to my palms and gently pat it all over my face. It has a warm fruity fragrance which doesn’t linger around too long and even though it’s a rich luxurious oil, it absorbs quickly without sitting too heavy on your skin.

The following morning my skin looked glowing and radiant, the oil had helped reduce any redness that usually appears on the tops of my cheeks. The photo below was taken after I’d been using the Red Velvet Oil after a week, I’m not wearing any makeup and I’ve not used a filter. My skin just looks so healthy, I’m literally obsessed with this oil.

It’s perfect for this time of year when my skin needs a little more nourishment and hydration. The wonderful blend of natural ingredients help to reduce signs of aging, inflammation, redness, spots and scars, and leaves your skin with a soft, velvety texture. Adding this into my skincare feels like a real pampering moment, it leaves my skin looking radiant all day just as if I’d had a facial that morning. It has all the benefits from the oils which truly nourish your skin, yet it has the feeling of a lightweight serum. This is definitely a beauty product that needs to be in my collection from now on.

Hyper-Concentrate Eye Contour Serum

The Eye Contour Serum comes in a tiny bottle, again with a dropper for easy application. I use the eye serum at the start of my skincare routine and gently dab one drop under and around each eye using my ring finger. It has a very thin consistency but feels silky on the skin and dries really quickly. I love the cooling sensation which helped reduce the slight puffiness under my eyes caused by a few late nights. I was amazed at how my dark circles had disappeared after only a week of using the eye contour serum. The delicate skin around my eyes also feels extremely soft and thoroughly hydrated, I love how bright my eye area looks. I find that makeup goes on much easier and I only need the slightest amount.

This eye contour serum includes 9 natural technologies to help fight the signs of aging around the eyes and natural active ingredients to treat dark circles, help to firm eyelids and minimise expression lines. It also fights the loss of elasticity, puffiness, uneven pigmentation and dark spots.

I absolutely love the eye serum, especially during my morning skincare routine as it makes me look as though I’ve actually had a full 8 hours sleep. This may only be a small bottle but it will last a while as you only need one drop each time. I shall definitely make sure I’m topped up with another one for when this bottle runs out.

Overall, I’m super impressed with both these serums and the differences they’ve made to my skin’s appearance. I’m so glad I discovered Freshly Cosmetics and have loved all the products I’ve used so far. I’m heading over to their website to see what other skin, hair and body treats they have and I recommend you do too.

Have you tried anything from Freshly Cosmetics before? Do you use an oil or serum during your evening skincare routine?

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Faking Winter Bronze Skin With Norvell Tanning

We may have had a few days with glorious sunshine but it’s hardly the kind where you’d go rushing down to the beach to top up a tan. We are in the middle of November, after all, and it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be jetting off abroad any time soon. So when I was asked to try out the Boost Color Building Tan Extender from Norvell Tanning, I jumped at the chance. I’ve used their products before and have been extremely happy with the results.

I know this is technically the time of year when I’m hidden under a zillion layers of clothing but with the party season coming up I still wanted bronzed skin when wearing my sparkly dresses. The Boost Color Building Tan Extender seemed the perfect option as it not only tans but it has the wonderful skincare benefits of a CC cream to help dry, dull winter skin. If you’ve had a spray tan, this multi-tasking lotion also helps to make the colour last longer. The Boost Color Building Tan Extender is infused with natural oils and vitamins which help to brighten, moisturize and firm your skin.

I loved the sound of an anti aging, skin softening CC Cream that gradually bronzed your body as well. So here’s how I got on.

Firstly, I have to mention the smell. It’s said to be a vanilla fragrance, but it actually reminded me of a sweet chocolate scented candle. It wasn’t unpleasant or over powering and faded after a while.

On the first night I carefully squeezed a small amount onto a tanning mitt just as I would with any tanning product. I then dotted the lotion along a section of my body at a time, massaging it in using circular motions with the mitt. I find this is the best way to get my tan looking even and avoiding my palms getting brown.

It takes around 2 to 3 hours for it to develop so I applied it during the evening and waited to see the results. After around 3 hours my skin had a hint of colour, which is what I’d expect from a gradual tanner. On the second evening I left it to develop over night while I slept. The next day my skin looked slightly more golden and I wasn’t left with any streaks. I’ve been repeating the same process every evening before bed and I’m extremely happy with the beautiful, bronzed tan I now have. It didn’t dry out my skin like other tanning products have done. I’ve also noticed that the stretch marks at the top of my thighs are less visible thanks to the skincare benefits of the vitamins and natural oils. Over all, this a fabulous gradual tanning lotion which I can’t recommend enough.

The Boost Colour Building Tan Extender is a moisturizing tanning lotion and is designed for every day use. I find it easier to apply just before bed and luckily it didn’t transfer all over the sheets. It costs £29.99 for a 250ml bottle, so you’ll have plenty to keep you looking bronzed throughout the winter months.

*This item has kindly been gifted in return for a review.

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Kathleen Collagen Mask

Kathleen has been a favourite skincare brand of mine for a couple of years and I already use a number of their products. I got rather excited when I heard they were launching a range of face masks and couldn’t wait to try one for myself. The range includes a Collagen Mask, Bright Mask, Dead Sea Mud Clay Mask and Deep Pore Treatment Mask, all having different benefits depending on your skin type.

I’ve recently got into the habit of popping on a sheet mask in the morning. I’d much rather be relaxing with a gorgeous smelling face mask working it’s magic while indulging in a luxurious bath. With the stresses of daily life I’m making a conscious effort to look after myself better and Kathleen’s Collagen Mask is the perfect addition to my pamper routine.

Kathleen is a premium natural skincare brand and based in the UK. Their products aren’t tested on animals and completely natural and free from Parabens, Alcohol and other nasty toxins.

I had no doubts as to which of the four new delicious face masks I would try and opted for the Collagen Mask* because, you know, being a 30 plus blogger I need all the help I can get. It’s suitable for sensitive skin with large pores and signs of aging, so at first glance, it ticked all the boxes. Before I’d put the mask anywhere near my face I noticed the most amazing smell coming from the jar thanks to the mix of Bergamot, Frankincense, and Geranium Essential Oils. They not only have wonderful skincare benefits but the aromatherapy oils also help calm and relax your mood.

About The Mask

  • It’s infused with Retinol, which helps to stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of existing fine lines and wrinkles
  • Protects against future signs of aging as Retinol tells your skin cells to behave like healthy, younger cells
  • Deeply nourishing, plant-based collagen treatment is formulated with essential oils, antioxidants, and vitamins to restore hydration and suppleness while reducing visible signs of aging.
  • Vitamin E, Calendula and Blueberries create an antioxidant cocktail that treats skin damage, leaving you with beautiful, healthy-looking skin.
  • Purifies skin and firms skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines
  • Also contains Shea Butter, Rose Water and Sunflower Oil

How To Use

First I cleansed my skin and applied a thin layer of the Collagen Mask. The instructions say to leave it on for between 10 and 15 minutes, which I think is a good length of time to relax with a face mask. Inhaling the dreamy aromatherapy fragrance was a wonderful experience while I lay soaking in the bath. After 15 minutes I gently removed the mask using a damp muslin cloth and rinsed my face thoroughly to ensure their wasn’t any residue left on my skin.

My Thoughts

I really LOVE this face mask from Kathleen. The texture is lightweight and feels soothing on my skin, you do only need a light layer as little goes a long way. I’ve applied it twice since it arrived about a week ago, I have sensitive skin and I’m pleased to say there wasn’t any irritation after I’d used it. The mask definitely leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth and my complexion looking brighter. During the colder months my skin can look a bit dull but this mask certainly gave it a boost. The fine lines around my chin and around eyes were less visible, which I’m so happy about. Some masks have left my skin feeling tight after use but with this one my skin felt nourished and hydrated.

Would I purchase the Kathleen Collagen Face Mask in the future? Yes absolutely, without a doubt, possibly trying the Bright Mask. I love that I really noticed a difference straight away in my skins appearance compared to other face masks I’ve used. It costs £28 for a 60ml jar, you only need a tiny amount so it will last quite a while. I wasn’t only left with healthy, firmer looking skin, I felt totally relaxed thanks to the divine fragrance of essential oils.

If you would like to find out which of the four new face masks from Kathleen is best for your skin type, head over to their website for more information.

You may also be interested in my review of Kathleen Tranquil Fields Body Care Duo*, which I also use as part of my self care routine.

*Products have been kindly sent by Kathleen in return for a review.

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Halloween Graveyard Bride Makeup and Fancy Dress

Over the weekend I went to a Halloween party for the third year in a row. A friend of mine invited us along and insisted it was fancy dress. I was so excited that I began experimenting with different looks and deciding on what costume to wear. I finally settled on a Graveyard Bride and I’m extremely happy with how it turned out.

I had quite a few people ask me where my costume was from so I thought I’d share a very quick blog post to give you all the information. The Graveyard Bride outfit is from a company called Fancy Dress Ball and although it may be too late for this Halloween they have a large selection of outfits in case you’re invited along to any parties over Christmas and New Year. I’m sure I’ll be able to wear the wig for a different look but for now the outfit is going in my dressing up box.

For the makeup I used mainly products I already had in my drawer so there was little extra cost. I am by far no expert but what I love about this look is the makeup doesn’t need to be perfect, the smudgier the better.

For the base I used a damp make up sponge and applied a white face paint which I bought for £2 from Wilkos, blending it in along the jawline and down the neck. I set this in place with some loose translucent powder.

On the cheeks I’ve simply mixed a dark plum eyeshadow with a brown one and applied it under my cheekbones and along the jaw line, blending it with a fluffy brush. I’ve used a dark grey eyeshadow along the edges of my nose, right up around my eye sockets to where my eye brows meet. I’ve then used whatever was left on my brush to gently sweep around the inner corners of my cheeks, down and along my chin to give a slightly bruised look.

For the eyes I’ve used the Urban Decay Smoky eyeshadow palette. The shades I chose were Smolder (a dark grey), Black Market ( a dark black), Dagger (a medium grey) and Slanted (a silvery grey). I made sure to blend the dark grey downwards to emphasise dark circles. I also added a touch of silvery white eyeshadow along the bow bone. I’ve lined my upper lash line using a jet black liquid liner and used a black eyeshadow on the outer corners of my lid and along my lower lash line. Inside the water line I’ve used a black gel liner. On my eye bows I used a small brush and applied a black eyeshadow, then a few strokes of black gel liner, smudging it upwards.

For the lips, I covered them completely with white face paint using a damp makeup sponge and went over the top with a pearly nude lip gloss. Using my finger, I smudged in a dark red lipstick, mainly sticking to the inner section of my lips. Finally I used an small makeup brush to dab black eyeshadow onto the very centre of my lips and white powder on the outer section where my lips touch together.

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