Thursday, 18 December 2014

Claudia Louch High Definition Liquid Foundation


I've spoken about Claudia Louch and her natural skincare products before (read my thoughts on her mud mask and facial wash) however she has also moved into the cosmetic market and now has a range of premium products. Her High Definition Liquid Foundation* is described as being perfect for anyone who wants flawless, HD coverage with a natural finish. The formula is made with superfine, micronized pigments to create a professionally-applied finish that is claimed to be luxurious, luminous, lightweight and long-wearing.

As with all of her products, this foundation is 94% natural, hypoallergenic and free from fragrances and harsh chemicals.

So what did I think? The shade (N45 - creamy beige) is slightly too dark for my winter skin so I mixed it with a small amount of another foundation (Rimmel True Match) to get a perfect colour match. It provides a medium/full coverage and is easily worked into the skin. The finish is really lovely - it's flawless and dewy and is ideal for me. I've been struggling with foundation recently as my skin has been so dull and dry and all of my foundations (except for my Chanel Aqua Vitalumiere) have just not done the job. The Claudia Louch foundation has provided exactly what it needs and makes my skin look glowy and perfect. 

The main negative for me is the price. At £52.50 it's pretty pricy and substantially more than many high-end foundations. This is a great foundation but for that extra cost I'd expect it to have more of a wow-factor.

You can buy the Claudia Louch HD Liquid Foundation exclusively at www.claudialouch.com.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Le Couvent Des Minimes


I had seen Le Couvent Des Minimes pop up on various blogs but didn't know much about them. The packaging is very similar to L'Occitane so I wasn't surprised to find out that they are owned by the L'Occitane group (who also own Melvita, don't ya know).

Le Couvent Des Minimes is named after a convent located in Mane, in the South of France, and its mission is to keep alive the tradition of simplicity, care and generosity that has been so important to the Convent since it began. They also give back to the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary charity (the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary settled in the Convent) by donating 1% of their annual sales  to the cause.

I was sent their Sparking Love Collection* as an introducing to the skincare brand, and also as a great Christmas present idea. Le Couvent Des Minimes is a brand to really take note of because their products are really quite good and they are so reasonably priced! This collection only costs £20 which is such a bargain. They have some other really beautiful sets which I highly recommend taking a look at here (delivery is free when you buy one too).

The Sparkling Love Collection comes with four of their 'Recipe of Love' products which include an exfoliator, body butter, hand cream and soap. The scent is orange blossom which is a really fruity and comforting smell - perfect for the cold weather at the moment!

Le Counvent Des Minimes is available from Boots and you can find out more about them on their website. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

My Little Box by Fleur De Force


The December edition of My Little Box is a treat. They have teamed up with Fleur De Force, a huge beauty YouTuber and Blogger who has over a million subscribers on her channel. I started watching Fleur's videos back she started them a few years ago and so it's been great to follow her success over the years - her Vlogmas is one of my absolute favourites to watch.

This box is pretty, girly, festive and just generally lovely. I am always so excited to open a My Little Box and would highly recommend buying a subscription as a Christmas gift. 

So what do you get inside? Firstly, you get their My Little World magazine which features an interview with Fleur and some great DIY ideas using the products in the box. There is also a cute little print and details on how to buy a subscription for someone else. 

The lifestyle treats are a cosy ear warmer (either in black, pink or grey), some festive string, gift tags and some colourful masking tape - the three latter items all being perfect for Christmas gift-wrapping. The beauty products included are L'Occitane's Precious Cream, a body lotion from Cowshed and a beautiful red lipstick from the My Little Beauty brand.

I loved this box and seeing the collaboration with Fleur De Force.  To subscribe just go to the My Little Box website - subscriptions are £11 plus £3.95 P&P.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Organic Surge Replenishing Facial Oil


Meet my new favourite product from Organic Surge - their Replenishing Facial Oil*. It has taken two years to develop and forms part of their new premium Extra Care range. 

As expected from the brand, this is a natural and organic oil which claims to instantly hydrate skin to rejuvenate, condition and protect normal, dry, mature or very sensitive skin types whilst also balancing out problem areas of the skin. 

The three key active ingredients in the product are Argan Oil (to nourish skin and increase skin elasticity), Yarrow Oil (to naturally soothe skin and reduce inflammation) and Safflower and sunflower oils to naturally moisturise the skin. 

Organic Surge say that the best way to apply this is with warm fingertips after cleansing and before moisturiser, or alternatively it can be added to face creams or face masks. I was a bit wary of applying it on its own to my face as do get oily on my t-zone, so I decided to mix a couple of drops (it comes with a pipette so is easy to regulate how much you use) with my moisturiser. It has a very strong lavender scent, but it's delightful and a really relaxing fragrance for before bed. 

I was impressed as soon as I started applying my new moisturiser/oil combo. I could feel the moisture hit my skin straightaway and it felt so luxurious to use. I woke up the next morning and my skin felt so soft and hydrated. Tonight I may go crazy and apply it following a cleanse and before moisturiser to see if this is an even more effective way of using it.

The Organic Surge Replenishing Facial Oil is priced at £23.50 for 30ml and can be purchased from www.organicsurge.com or in leading retailers such as John Lewis and Waitrose.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Personalised Gift: The Book of Everyone


I was really excited to receive an email a couple of weeks ago telling me about a great personalised gift idea for Christmas - The Book of Everyone*. This is a real one of a kind gift and is a 50 page book full of stunning artwork, personalised facts and fun statistics. 

I have created one as a gift for Chris' Dad as he loves things like this. It's a great present for people who can be tricky to buy for! All you do is enter the recipient's name and date of birth and in seconds you can preview the book (you can preview the book for free so it's quite fun seeing what your own book would be like!).

Once the content has been generated you can also customise different pages of the books to make it even more personal. It's such a lovely idea and even more lovely is that The Book of Everyone have collaborated with Age UK. They are running a campaign called 'People are amazing' and on top of sharing the campaign profits with the charity, every Book bought on the run up to Christmas will go towards a personalised book celebrating the life of an elderly person. These books will be tailored with stories and pictures from the person's life and will be delivered in person during the Christmas holidays.


The Book of Everyone is available via their website www.thebookofeveryone.com and costs from £7.50 for a digital version to £49.50 for a deluxe version.


Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Christmas Tag

I know, I know...it's not even December but I just couldn't resist bringing a little festive sparkle to the end of November. This tag was started by the lovely Becky.


1. What is/are your favourite Christmas movie(s)?
There so many so this is a tricky one, but I've settled on two. The first is Elf. I just love it. It's funny, festive and just gets me in such a Christmassy mood. The second is Love Actually- I love the mix of characters and story lines and the music is so good. I remember seeing it in the cinema the day we broke up from sixth form for Christmas and everyone was SO happy.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
We open the majority of them on Christmas morning - usually first thing as we just can't wait. We have one present (usually pjs) on Christmas Eve and then we also get a 'book on the end of the bed' to open as soon as wake up - this was a great tactic from my parents to keep us in bed for longer on Christmas morning! Haha.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
It has to be our typical Christmas morning. My brother, sister and I would all pile onto my Mum and Dad's bed with our sacks full of presents. We'd wait for my Mum to get her cup of tea and then get opening our gifts. We'd just be so happy that we'd survived the night (we could never ever get to sleep, much to my parents dismay) and so excited about the whole day of fun ahead of us.

 

4. Favourite festive food?          
Ooh this is a tricky one. Obviously love the copious amounts of chocolate but I am also a big fan of stuffing - chestnut and sage, mmmm. I remember at school being the only one who seemed to like it and everyone would end up giving me their portion - it was amazing.

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
I've had so many lovely presents but the one that stands out is when I was bought a hamster. I was 10 years old and knew that my sister was getting one as had been looking at them with my parents, and had secretly (or maybe not so secretly as think it was quite obvious!) wanted one too. We came down on Christmas morning to find two Rotastak cages with two cute little hamsters inside. I was so genuinely surprised and happy.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
It has to be the smell of a real Christmas tree. You just can't beat it!


7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Usually we go out for an early dinner and then come back home for a cosy night in. I've never ever gone out on Christmas Eve as the thought of being hungover for Christmas Day is not appealing and for me it's all about the family time. We open our Christmas Eve presents which is usually a pair of pjs and get all snuggly in them. I think hot chocolates are usually part of the evening too!

8. What tops your tree?
Chris and I sadly don't have anything for the top of the tree! Need to get that sorted, pronto. My parents have a nice, traditional angel.

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
Like Becky, my brother and I used to have a serious session of going through the Argos catalogue circling one thing from each page that we wanted. So funny that so many people seemed to do this! I don't think I've ever asked for anything crazy but I think every year I had a Mr Frosty on my list and it was never bought for me!

10. What's the best part of Christmas for you?
Without a doubt, the family time. I love all being together and spending time doing lovely festive things. I also really enjoy giving presents now and can never wait for my family to open their gifts from me.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Let's talk about...Florida

I feel like this blog needs a bit of a change and so I'm going to try and start writing a few more wordy posts. I've always loved writing. When I was seven I started filling notebooks with stories and I carried on with them way into my teen years - they never really got anywhere but I loved coming up with ideas and characters. 


L-R clockwise: On Expedition Everest in 2008; our wonderful villa; Hollywood Studios in 2008; Animal Kingdom in 2008.

Today I thought I'd write about one of my favourite topics in the world - Florida. Specifically, Orlando in Florida and why I love it so much. My first trip to this wonderful part of the world was in the April of 1999 when I was a scrawny little 12 year old overcoming chicken pox (we almost had to cancel the holiday, it was horrid) and I had never been so excited about a holiday. The two weeks we spent there were crammed in with the theme parks, shopping, restaurants, early buffet breakfasts and late nights. My parents thought it was going to be our once in a lifetime holiday so wanted to do it all. Little did they know that we would be going back again and again! I still look back at that holiday and can't believe that we would get up at 6am and be at a park till 11pm - I couldn't do that now and I have no idea how my parents did it!

After the first visit we came home, and ended up booking to go back the following year with my cousins. We then went again during my first year of Uni, after I finished Uni and then in 2013 and 2014. 2013 was the first year that my boyfriend Chris joined us and I didn't know what he was going to think - he's never been overly into rides and theme parks and didn't understand why we talked about Orlando all the time. I thought he would enjoy it but didn't know if he'd love it like we did. Oh I was so wrong. I have never seen someone so excited about a holiday! He loved every second and now wants to go back as much as possible.


L-R clockwise: In the villa in 2013; Jess and Chris at Seaworld this year; Pixar Land in Hollywood Studios this year; waiting for our Cheesecake Factory reservation in Mall at Millenia

We have always stayed in offsite villas as think a Disney hotel would be a bit much for us, and we like having our own space to chill out properly. Since 2000 we have always stayed in the same villa so it really is a home away from home, and having our own pool is perfection. We have been to all of the parks but the current favourites seem to be the Universal offerings, and we loved Busch Gardens this year too. A big surprise for us this year was Aquatica - we thought it was an amazing waterpark with so many slides to try. Disney is of course where the real magic happens and although I feel I've done that side of it now, there's always room for a Disney park visit!

After coming back this year, we reluctantly decided to have a break from Orlando and so think that we will planning our next visit for 2016. I am already excited just thinking about it - half of the brilliance of the holiday is the planning and talking about what we'll be doing. 


L-R clockwise: the best kind of balloon in Magic Kingdom 2013; Magic Kingdom fireworks this year; Olly, Mum and Jess trying on the mouse-wear in 2013; Animal Kingdom in 2008

I don't know what it is about the place that makes it just so addictive! It has this impossible lure which makes you just want to go back as soon as you've come home. Usually I am ready to come home from a holiday but with Florida I never get that feeling. I know that lots of other people feel the same about it which makes me want to know exactly what it is that makes it such an incredible holiday! Is it the parks, the weather, the customer service, the atmosphere, the shopping, the indulgent food? I guess it's everything just rolled into one amazing holiday. 

I would love to hear if you are a Florida fanatic like me - and what your favourite thing about Florida is?

You can also read more posts about my 2014 Florida holiday here.

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