The Body Shop Spa Of The World Launch

I was invited to the launch of the Spa Of The World range at my local The Body Shop on Friday and was really excited to try out their new products.  The Body Shop have seriously upped their game, and as a high-end product lover, I was seriously impressed.  There are three ‘rituals’ which are categories the products fall under; revitalising, relaxing and blissful.  We were taken through each of the rituals, with each product being described to us, in terms of ingredients and uses.

The packaging was the first thing to grab me, before I’d even picked up and tried any of the range.  The bronze and gold packaging looks seriously high-end and something I knew would look gorgeous in my bathroom.  It’s the same as the Honey Bronze Glow Domes I blogged about earlier in the week.

These products smell absolutely incredible, as soon as a Thai Lemongrass Massage Oil was mentioned, I knew I’d be buying it, and oh my, it really does smell amazing.  There are two other massage oils in the range; French Lavender and Tahitian Orchid.  The fourth oil in the range is for body and hair; Polynesian Monoi Radiance Oil.  There are two body creams, Hawaiian Kukui Cream, which is a thick body lotion, then Japanese Camellia Cream, which has a texture like nothing I’ve used before; it isn’t a cream, and it isn’t a butter, it is almost like putty.  A little bit of this goes a long way and also smells incredible, I also bought this!!  There are a couple of scrubs; African Ximenia and Dead Sea Salt, which was definitely my favourite.

There are two Body Clays in the range, something I’ve never used before, which you apply with a brush, which I quite liked the idea of; Himalayan Charcoal and Moroccan Rhassoul which is said to firm your body.

Finally in the range is the Egyptian Mile and Honey bath which is inspired by the tales of Cleopatra, and is a powder to milk bath.  I was tempted to buy this too, but thought I’d sufficiently treated myself with the other two purchases!

Priced from £10-£23, this range is affordable luxury, and allows you to bring the spa experience into your own bathroom.  I’d highly recommend you to head to your local Body Shop and try out all of these products.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.  I will be writing up a couple of in depth posts on the products I’ve bought.

Have any of you tried The Body Shop Spa of the World Range yet?

Lauren xx

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm has been on my wish list for quite some time, probably since I first discovered Caroline Hirons (years ago), who rates this product very highly.  My lovely ex-colleagues bought me a voucher for Debenhams as a leaving gift, so I decided to finally buy it.  The balm is completely solid, making it a lot different from the likes of Eve Lom or Lush Ultrabland.  Mrs Hirons describes it as being similar to lard, and I have to agree.

A small amount of this product goes a long way, so please, if you buy it, do not be tempted to use more than a 10p sized amount (less is probably sufficient).  As soon as the balm makes contact with the skin, it melts into an oil.  I massage my entire face with the balm, including my eyes, then remove with a hot flanel/face cloth.  Every last scrap of makeup is removed, including heavy eye makeup, without leaving behind a greasy residue.

Take The Day Off is extremely gentle, which I guess you’d expect from the likes of Clinique, my skin doesn’t feel tight or dry after use, it just feels thoroughly cleansed.  I’ve been using this almost every day for three weeks now, and I have seen no adverse effects to my skin.  I’ve been using Take The Day Off as my first cleanse in an evening, as the name suggests, then following with a second cleanse with Oskia if I’ve been wearing heavy makeup.

Priced at £22 for 125ml, I think this product is great value.  As you can see from the picture, I’ve hardly made a dent in the pot over three weeks, so this will last me a good while.  If you like fragranced products, this isn’t for you.  There is no fragrance whatsoever, which is good for sensitive types, but it doesn’t give you the ‘luxurious’ feel that you get from other products.  I didn’t think I was big on fragrance, but I immediately smelled the product, to which the counter lady told me there was no scent, and I have to admit, that I do feel like something is missing.

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, has made its way firmly into my current skincare routine, and I know this product will be repurchased time and again.  I recommend this to anyone looking to try a balm cleanser, who wants value for money.

Lauren xx

The Body Shop Honey Bronze

The Body Shop Honey Bronze Glow Domes

I spotted The Body Shop Honey Bronze highlighting domes on Em Sheldon’s blog and immediately knew I had to try them. With strobing apparently taking over from contouring, I knew I had to up my glow game.

There are three shades in the Honey Bronze highlighting domes collection: 01 is a golden shimmer, 02 is a pink blush with golden shimmer and 03 is a bronze. I’m not quite sure why they’re called ‘Honey Bronze’ given that only one product in the collection is actually bronze? I bought 01 and 02 as I prefer a matte bronzer for contouring.  I immediately fell in love with the pink blush due to the gold flecks which looked beautiful when swatched, and I definitely think this is my favourite.

The Body Shop Honey Bronze Glow Domes

To use, you can apply the product directly to your face, or dab a little on using your fingers and blending out. The product just slides on to your skin beautifully. I tried both, and found I preferred applying the gold highlighting dome directly to my face, but to use my fingers to apply the blush. The highlighters are overly pigmented, but definitely buildable. Wearing a mineral foundation, the application was definitely better when I used my fingers and patted it on, otherwise it lifted the powder foundation.
I found I was left with a really natural finish and didn’t look overly ‘done’, which I think can happen when using powder highlighters and blush.

                  The Body Shop Honey Bronze Glow Domes
I also really love the packaging; gold and tan. The packaging looks expensive and summery. The lid screws on and off so perfectly easy access. The highlighting domes are priced at £8 each and I really love them. If you only get one, definitely go for the blush. It’s gorgeous. 
Have you tried The Body Shop highlighting domes yet?  Which is your favourite shade?
Lauren xx

Getting More Organised

I have been making a conscious effort to be more organised in terms of blogging. I start this post by outlining that I am not an expert, nor is my blog the most organised out there. I am simply beginning to get more organised. I’ve picked up some tips from recent blogger chats and I thought I’d share those that I’ve decided to give a try.

Blogging Diary/Planner

Bloggers by stereotype, love their stationary. After seeing so many blogger recommend a specific planner for blogging, I decided to give it a go. I headed to Paperchase and bought a mid year diary with a 2 page per week view. I’ve been using this to plan when I post, when I write and to make a note of any events I’m attending. It’s also useful to note down ideas for posts for the coming weeks and use this as a guide when you’re in a blogging rutt. 

Hootsuite allows you to schedule your tweets. I’d heard of it for so long, but hadn’t actually given it a try. I decided to just give it a go, by scheduling tweets about my new posts at different times of the evening, when I may not actually be able to get onto Twitter. From my first experiment I saw a large increase in the amount of views the post had, compared to previous posts. I decided to download the mobile app and I’ve been using it a lot more regularly. 
Instagram Prep

I’ve started using VSCOcam, Whitagtam and Frametastic to improve my Instagram account. Because I want my images to look similar, in terms of filters etc. I’ve been taking pictures in bulk and editing them at the same time. I’ve then saved them to post another day. I don’t like to post too many images per day, maybe only 1 or 2 unless I’m at an event. I intend to try latergram at some point, but so far this has improved my ability to post regularly. 
Blogger App

I’ve had the blogger app on my iPhone for years, however, I’ve barely used it. I tended to write my posts in Word or e-mail if I had time to draft posts. Drafting posts in the blogger app has saved me a lot of time as I don’t have to mess around copying and pasting my content. When I open my laptop and login to blogger, my post is there waiting for me already. I feel a bit silly for adding in an extra level of admin for so long. I do think however, the fact that I have the giant iPhone 6+ it makes it a lot easier to write a post via mobile. 
So these are the tips I’ve employed over the last couple of weeks. I’d definitely recommend them to all of you if you’re not already using them. Becoming more organised remains one of my blogging goals so if I find any more tips I will be sure to share them with you!
Do any of you have anyorganisation tips I could try out?
Lauren xx 

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel

decided to treat myself to some skincare goodies which I have been lusting over for quite some time, which meant a rather expensive order being placed with Cult Beauty, my first one!  One of the items that has been on my wish list for some time, is the Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel, which is popular with many of the big beauty bloggers;  I first came across it from reading Vivianna Does Makeup a couple of years ago.  I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m investing in my skincare, as opposed to my makeup, as I came to realise that if my skin isn’t healthy and well looked after, my makeup is not going to look good over the top.  From my recent re-organisation of all of my products, I’ve realised that the majority of my stash is skincare related so I’m heading in the right direction.

The Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel comes in a 100ml container with a pump attached, which is a big plus point for me, as it means it is hygienic, as well as dispersing the appropriate amount of product per pump; ensuring both the quality and longevity of the cleanser.  As the name suggests, the product is a gel, which smells of Rose Chamomile and peach in colour.  I don’t usually like rose but I don’t mind the scent from this. 

The cleanser has lots of lovely ingredients to illuminate your skin; pumpkin enzymes to exfoliate, vitamin A to improve skin damage, vitamins C and E to restore and protect skin, starflower oil, magnesium and vitamins B2 and C which is said to promote firmness as well as Oskias key ingredient; MSN which soothes skin and reduces any inflammation. 
To use;
·         Apply the gel to dry skin, including your eye area.  The gel immediately melts into an oil, upon contact with the skin. 
·         Once massaged all over your face, add a splash of water which will emulsify the product ever so slightly.  I initially expected to see a lot of bubbles, but it was barely noticeable. 
·         To remove the product use a hot cloth.
I’ve been using the cleanser either AM & PM or just PM.  I’ve found that this removes all of my makeup, including eye makeup.  My skin feels completely clean, without the tightness or dryness you get from using some cleansers. It’s just a really nice product which feels gentle on my skin. There is no residue left after using the gel, which is another plus point for me. 

The cleanser is priced at £28 for 100ml, which may seem like a lot, but considering the ingredients list, I think you’re getting a lot for your money. You only use a small amount of product too. 

I must admit that I haven’t seen any major changes in my skin as a result of using this, which I thought I would with the hype surrounding it. If anything my skin feels less dry, yet there is no greasy residue which you sometimes get with moisturising products, which I do think is great. 
The Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel is in the Top 10 cleansers from Cult Beauty, have you tried it?

Lauren xx

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Leeds leg of the Moretti Gran Tour on Thursday evening.  I took along five friends, without knowing what to expect, except for the promise of good food and beer.  We arrived pretty early at the City Hall where the event was being hosted, with a couple of vendors setting up outside.  We were given our tokens, redeemable against food, and a VIP band which entitled us to free Moretti all evening, something I hadn’t expected at all!  We then headed inside the City Hall which had been transformed for the event.

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds
Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

There were vendors from all over Italy, each one representing a regional dish.  We were challenged with filling our ‘passport’ for the evening, by getting a stamp from each of the vendors, in order to get our hands on a goody bag.
We signed up for a pasta masterclass which was being run by Cin Cin’s Luke Robinson from Brighton, who was one of Jamie Oliver’s apprentice’s around 10 years ago.  We went for the 8pm class, which gave us enough time to sample the spoils from each of the vendors; we had pizza from ‘The Pizza Fella’ who hales from Naples, in a converted Citroen H Van, incredibly creamy ice cream from Brio Gelati, the most amazing risotto ball’s I’ve ever tasted from the Arancini Bros. from Sicilia, delicious gnocchi from Pasta E Basta, and finally Fusilli with pulled pork from Tigellae.  There were meant to be a couple more, but unfortunately one couldn’t make it, and the other ran out of ingredients!

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Once we were barely able to move from our seats following our food tour of Italy, we headed to the area which had been setup for the pasta masterclass.  We were each given our own Gran Moretti apron, which I’m particularly fond of, and then we began. We were shown how to make fresh egg pasta from scratch, from which we made ricotta filled ravioli, known as ‘Raviolo of Burrata pugliese’.  Working in two’s we were shown how to roll out our pasta, which isn’t as easy as it looks!  We each made four ravioli, which our Chef cooked for us all, taking literally minutes to cook, we were served our ravioli with roast tomato, butter sauce, basil olive oil and pine nuts.  It was delicious!!  I am quite tempted to try it at home, perhaps not quite from scratch though…

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

Moretti Gran Tour Leeds

The Gran Moretti Tour is in Leeds until 2nd August, so if you’re free, get yourself down, you won’t be disappointed!

Lauren xx

IPL Hair Removal – My First Session

IPL Laser Hair Removal

IPL Laser Hair Removal, Lynton Lumina

Waxing, shaving, electrical epilators, hair removal cream & plucking…I’ve tried them all.  For a good few years I have been considering investing in something a little more permanent, or at least longer lasting than the aforementioned options.  I decided to bite the bullet and book in for a patch test at a salon in Leeds, Bellissima Exclusive, who offer regular beauty treatments, as well as a full range of facial aesthetics.

I would love to bin my razor and never have to wax anywhere ever again if I could, but until that day, I’ve opted to start my IPL journey with my bikini line.  I headed to the salon, not knowing what to expect, as the only patch tests I’ve had, have been for tinting.  I was met by Charlotte, one of the managers at the salon who took me to one of the treatment rooms.  Charlotte asked what I knew about IPL, which was only what I had read online.  Charlotte explained that they use a medical grade Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Laser, the Lynton Lumina, and that the pulsed light is better for the skin.

I was then asked a series of questions to determine my suitability for the treatment, both from the salon’s point of view, and my own.  This included questions about sun exposure and medication.  You are not to have laser treatment if you have been exposed to the sun within the last 4 weeks, and you are also not to use fake tan in the area.  I was then asked to sign that the information I had provided was correct, so that we could start my patch test.  I was advised that most people see an 80-85% reduction in hair growth within the area, but this does vary depending on skin and hair.  It it probably worth noting that I have very pale skin and dark brown hair, which is meant to see the best results from IPL.

I was then given glasses to protect my eyes from the light and Charlotte applied ultrasound gel to the area.  Two different strengths were used in order to see how my skin would react to the treatment, and obviously to determine my pain threshold.  In terms of what the IPL felt like, it was like being twanged with an elastic band, which is how it is often described online.  I can’t compare it to a tattoo as many reviews have, as I don’t have any.  There was no immediate reaction from my skin, so I booked in to have my first session at the weekend.  I expected to see some reddening or sensitivity over the next few days, but nothing appeared.

To prepare for the treatment, you have to shave the area, which is recommended that you do a couple of days before in case you have any sensitivity from a shaving rash.  Your skin is to be clean and lotion free.  I was met by the lovely Nicci who would be doing my treatment.  Nicci went back over the consent form, to ensure nothing had changed, prior to starting the treatment.  I was given some very fetching paper knickers, the same ones you get for spray tans and Brazilians.  Nicci applied the ultrasound gel and started.  To begin with, Nicci started on a low setting, which was only a little uncomfortable, so we upped the setting.  This was a little more painful, but by no means unbearable. Within two minutes, the first side was complete.  Nicci advised that the burning smell was a good sign, but to be honest, I couldn’t smell anything.  In total, my whole treatment took five minutes.  I couldn’t believe it.  Having spent a good half hour in the past being waxed within an inch of my life, I couldn’t believe it was over so quickly.  The area treated was ever so slightly pink; it looked as though I had a mild shaving rash, which disappeared within an hour or so.

After the treatment, you are advised not to have a hot bath or shower, as the area can be sensitive, and I did as I was told.  I expected to feel sore and uncomfortable, but I felt nothing.  I’ve actually felt more after a waxing session.  You are also advised that you will need a course of between 6-12 sessions, which varies depending on skin and hair type.  I booked in for a 6 session course, at a cost of £240.  This may sound like a lot of money, but if I were to have 6 waxes at £30 a go, the IPL works out as only £50 more.

I can’t see any change yet, but it is only two days after my first treatment.  I will keep you all updated along my journey, my next session is booked for 5 weeks time, so there will be a little wait between posts!

Have any of you had IPL? Did it work for you?

Lauren xx

Microfibre Hair Turban

I received a Girlfriend Microfibre Hair Turban from The Works in my The City Girls goodie bag, which I posted about last week.  Regular readers will know that I try to limit the amount of heat my hair is exposed to as I have been trying to gain length for the last few years, post hair extensions.  I think I’m pretty good with my hair, I use good quality shampoo and conditioner, only use a comb when my hair is wet etc.  but I knew I had to break the bond with my hair straighteners if I wanted to really improve the condition of my hair, as well as stopping the use of bleach on my hair, I now use tint.

The microfibre hair turban allows you to dry your hair naturally, without exposing it to rubbing with a regular towel or heat.  We all know that heat causes so much damage so anything to limit that is great in my book.  My hair is naturally curly and if I try to leave it to dry overnight I end up with more frizz than curls, so this product immediately caught my attention.  I know you’re meant to tie your hair up for bed, in a plait or a bun, but this isn’t something I’ve taken to.  

I have previously posted about the trend for ‘hair plopping’, where you wrap your hair in a cotton t-shirt and allow your hair to dry within it and found the use of a turban to be exactly the same, just with different material.  I have found the microfibre turban to work better than a cotton t-shirt as recommended with ‘hair plopping’.

After washing your hair, squeeze out the excess water, apply products as usual and comb through. I gave my hair a good ‘scrunch’ with Boots own brand curly mousse before using the turban. Tip your head upside down and place the hair turban on your head. The turban is elasticated around the edge and fastens with a button. I found twisting my hair first, resulted in better curls, as opposed to just turning my head upside down and pushing in any pieces of hair that I’d missed out the turban.  
The next morning my hair wasn’t completely dry; my hair is chest length and whilst not exactly thick, I do have a lot of it! My hair felt much softer than it usually does when I let it dry naturally and my curls were more intact. I’ve also found that my curls are still fine on the second day post wash. 
I can’t recommend the Girlfriend microfibre hair turban enough and think curly girls will definitely benefit from this. They’re only £3 currently on The Works website, so an absolute bargain!  Thanks again to The City Girls for including this in my goodie bag.
Lauren xx