Thursday, 29 December 2011

Avene Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water


When I was asked to review the Avene Eau Thermale Thermal Spring Water I was intrigued as to what the benefits of it would be.  I must admit, I didn't have high hopes for something that I perceived to be just water in a spray can but since I adore many other products from sensitive skin brand Avene, I thought I'd give this a go and after using it, I've realised it is far from what I had first percieved it to be.  After reading more about this product, I discovered that it is a favourite of makeup artists, after it was photographed backstage at Burberry last year and it is a firm favourite of celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens and Gwyneth Paltrow. The water has a low mineral content and an almost neutral pH balance which means that it will not sting, burn or dry out your skin and the Avene Thermal Spring Water is said to have softening and protective properties which aim to calm your skin.  It's great for toning and refreshing skin as well as setting make up too.

After using this for the first time, my reservations about this product instantly went away.  It works, it really works and that's the best thing about it.  So often have I tried skincare products that claim to work wonders and for once, I've found a product that simply does what it claims to do; calms, soothes and softens sensitive skin.

To use the Thermal Spring Water, you simply remove the lid and spray.  A cool, fine mist of water comes out which is so refreshing.  It can be used all over the body and is perfect for all skin types.  Today, I will be sharing my experiences with you and the ways in which I've used it.

After hair removal
I spray Eau Thermale on the skin of my legs and under arms both after shaving and after using Veet hair removal cream for instant cooling and soothing of my skin (obviously not shaving and Veet-ing at the same time!).  My skin seems to be very sensitive to Veet and whilst it works wonders, I hate using it as I feel as though it burns and since getting a rash from using it, I have now thrown it out.  The Avene Eau Thermale however really eased the burning sensation when my skin reacted to it by cooling the area right down and calming my skin.

On Psoriasis
Eau Thermale is fantastic for sensitive skin and for those who suffer from skin disorders.  I have psoriasis which can be very painful and irritating, particularly when it flares up and cracks.  A quick spray of Eau Thermale really does calm down the irritation and soothes my skin.  Having psoriasis is the bane of my life, it's horrible having something that is constantly irritating and sore so having something to relief that for a little while is very welcome.

After Make Up Removal
Eau Thermale is now a part of my everyday make up routine.  I give my face and neck a quick spritz in the morning and evening after I've removed all of my make up with cleansing and toning.  It really helps to soothe my skin, particularly if I've had to rub to get stubborn makeup off-- MAC Pigments and Estee Lauder Double Wear I'm talking about you.

During and After Sun Tanning
This is a perfect poolside treat to cool down the body while you're sun bathing and its also great to use after tanning to soothe sun exposed skin and to rehydrate it.

This is just how I use Eau Thermale; there are actually many more uses for this product, check out the Avene website for more information.  The spray bottles are available in two sizes 150ml (£6.50) and 50ml (£3.15) from Boots and lots of other leading pharmacies in the UK and beyond.  On a recent trip to Bruges, I was pleased to see pharmacies stocked full to the brim of Avene products... so you can expect more Avene product reviews from me!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Corn Silk Original Satin Loose Face Powder

Happy Boxing Day Everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas with lots of food, mulled wine and gifts from Mr Claus himself!  Today I thought I'd share with you my thoughts on a product I was recently asked to review: Corn Silk Original Satin Loose Face Powder.  Corn Silk powders are a vintage beauty secret; its a well known range of products that have been loved by women of all ages for years!
Rather than using the little powder puff that comes with it, I tend to use a large fluffy brush like this one from TiGi Bed Head to apply it all over my face after Ive applied the rest of my make up.  Although the loose powder looks as though its a beige colour in the pot, it applies translucent to the skin so it is ideal for most skin tones.  Being translucent is also great because it doesn't alter the colour of your foundation and other make up underneath the powder.  I use this to finish off my make up application to make my skin appear flawless.  It has a satin finish and doesn't look cakey at all.  Although I haven't used it in this way, the Corn Silk Loose Face Powder can also be used underneath foundation as a make up base. I have used it on its own though without any other make up on top and it did keep my face shine free while I was out and about too. It lasts a good 7-8 hours while I'm at work before it needs to be reapplied.  It helps to keep my make up in place and reduce shine on my oily skin.  The powder itself is very finely milled and doesn't cling to blemishes or any uneven or dry parts of my face.  For that reason, I think this would be fine for all skin types.
Scent wise, the powder is reminiscent of something my paternal grandmother would wear, but that is by no means a bad thing, I find it quite endearing.  Although it smells perfumed it doesn't irritate my skin at all and once applied, I cannot smell it on my skin.
The only thing that I dislike is the packaging.  I love the black and gold colour scheme and I understand how it is a vintage revival look, but the materials used feel cheap and it hasn't been designed very well... the powder gets everywhere if you're not careful.  I'm much more of a fan of pressed powders because of this so I would quite like to try the Corn Silk pressed powder as the powder itself is great but it would be much more convenient for my handbag if it were in pressed form!

It is available from Boots and other pharmacies for £7.40, although I think you can find it slightly cheaper online.
Have you tried any Corn Silk products? Do you prefer pressed or loose powders? Tell me your favourites!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Traditions

Merry Christmas from our home to yours
Our Christmas Tree 2011
Since its Christmas, I thought I'd share with you a little bit about some of our family Christmas traditions and ways of doing things... hopefully you may find some tips on how to create a stress free Christmas in here too!

Saving, Buying, Wrapping
I save throughout the year and in the months leading up to Christmas I'm always uber prepared, by buying and wrapping gifts and writing out cards well in advance; I'm certainly not a Christmas Eve shopper!  I've got into the habit of wrapping as I buy... that way when I have children, at least if they find their gift before Christmas, they wont know what it is!  I buy a lot of presents online, like DVDs Play.com, and I tend to order these in October, thus avoiding our lovely friends Royal Mail from failing to deliver before Christmas (yes, I am doing my bit for the postie!).  With regards to the food and alcohol over Christmas, I don't go over board.  Of course, I buy the indulgences that we enjoy but realistically the shops are only closed for one day and I often look at those dashing around Asda with two trolleys and think really? Is that necessary?  I buy all of my frozen and picky food, as well as any non perishable items and alcohol a few weeks in advance and store it so that I only have meat, fish, vegetables and perishables to buy in the week leading up to Christmas.  I either order our turkey and other meats from the likes of M&S or go to a local butcher and we get our vegetables from the local greengrocer... this means that when I go to Asda a few days before Christmas while everyone is running around like headless chickens, I stroll in with a basket.

Panto
I like Christmas to be stress free and to me, its more about enjoying myself with friends and family than the presents. We always make a point of catching up with loved ones and having parties.  Every year we go to see a pantomime at some point over the festive period.  I love going to the Customs House in South Shields.  Its a little bit of a drive from where I live now but it truly is the best place to see a panto.  I think there are more jokes in it for the adults than the kids!

THE Tree
We tend to put our tree up during the first week of Christmas and yes its fake, with spray on snow!  Although I know that a real tree is, well, real I think an artificial tree looks more real if that makes any sense.  They're just more full and prettier I think... plus its much less hassle than having to go get a real one.  I just couldn't be chewed on with that!

Favourite Films
Mr WhatLauraLoves and I love watching films around Christmas time.  Our genre of choice is thriller and horror but of course, we enjoy Christmas films during the festive period.  Our faves are Jack Frost, The Grinch, Elf and The Holiday.

Home Is Where The Heart Is
I like to be at home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I've tried going out for meals and even on holiday for Christmas but it just isn't the same as being at home.  Don't get me wrong, waking up on an island in the Maldives was beautiful but it just wasn't the same.  I'm a creature of habit and I don't like change.
Christmas Day in the Maldives
Traditions
In the days leading up to Christmas, me and Mr WhatLauraLoves always go to Lush and choose a bath ballistic for ourselves and my dad and then on Christmas Eve we all open our stockings with our Christmas bath bomb, new PJs, slippers and chocolates in.  This year my dad had Abominable and Mr WhatLauraLoves and I had Golden Wonder.
Golden Wonder and Abominable
We often go to the Christingle at the church I was baptised in and then we come home, have dinner with picky foods and then we each have a bath with our treat from Lush and put our Christmas jarmies on.  Whilst I am well aware that Santa *shudders* isn't real, I always make sure I'm in bed before midnight otherwise, I tell myself, he wont come!
On Christmas morning, I always run downstairs asking if HE's been and then we all sit around the Christmas tree opening presents.  I don't tend to do much on Christmas day.  I like to stay in the house in my jarmies all day.  We used to have salmon as a starter and then our turkey dinner mid afternoon but it was just too much.  Now we have salmon with salad at noon and then our Christmas roast dinner at around 6pm followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream, not particularly festive but we aren't fans of Christmas pudding!
 
 
So that's about it, our Christmas traditions and what we get up to leading up to Christmas.  Do let me know your Christmas traditions or tips for a stress free Christmas in the comments box.  I love reading about how other people do things and getting tips from them and perhaps some new traditions to start!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Bee Botox? Manuka Doctor Apiclear and Apinourish Review

Morning All
I'm so excited to share these products with you I could burst!  Have you ever tried something and totally couldn't understand how they work, they just do? And REALLY well?  Well for me, that's the Apiclear Skin Treatment Serum and the Apinourish Rejuvenating Face Mask from Manuka Doctor.

Manuka Doctor use purified bee venom in their products as a secret anti ageing ingredient.  Products using bee venom are loved by the Royals like Kate and Camilla and celebs from Kylie Minogue to Victoria Beckham... (don't believe me, read the Mirror article I found here) So whilst I was slightly concerned about putting bee venom on my face, I thought, well if its good enough for Posh, its good enough for me!  I'm so pleased I tried these products, dubbed Bee Botox as they work wonders... here's my thoughts:

Oh perhaps a foreword about my skin type should be noted:  I have mostly oily skin that can get dry in patches, on occasion, but on the whole it is very oily.  Quite clear, although of late I have had some blemishes which I am ashamed to say were probably brought about by enjoying one too many late champagne nights and not having the energy to take my makeup off before bed.  Terrible I know, *slaps wrist*.  I also have a few small scars and marks on my face.
Apiclear: Skin Treatment Serum
Manuka Doctor Apiclear Skin Treatment Serum, Balanced for Troubled Skin £18.99 from Holland and Barrett
The serum itself is really light weight and the consistency is not too thick and not too watery- perfect.  It is also oil-free which is something that I look for in my skincare given that my skin is so oily to begin with.  Ive been using it morning and night, after I've cleansed and toned.  It comes in simple, no fuss packaging with a pump to dispense the serum, making it really easy to apply.  Ive found that when I put it on my skin, if i leave it for a few minutes and then touch my skin, it feels smooth, silky and as though I have no blemishes.  My spots and blemishes cleared up really quickly since I started using this and havent returned!  It really hydrates the skin and makes it feel really healthy.  I do have some fine lines starting on my face and this appears to plump my skin to smooth out these too.  I don't know how it works but it does, i was simply amazed!
Apart from product samples, Ive never actually bought or tried a full sized skin serum.  I was so impressed with this Apiclear Skin Treatment Serum that I will definitely repurchase it when I runs out.  I estimate that this 30ml bottle will last me about 2 months of using it morning and night.
Apinourish: Rejuvenating Face Mask
Manuka Doctor Apinourish Rejuvenating Face Mask with UMF 18+ MANUKA, £49.99 from Holland and Barrett
When I first got this I wasn't too sure what to do with it.  Obviously its a face mask but the consistency is unlike anything I've tried before.  Its smooth and soft, more like a cream than a mask.  I apply quite thinly over my face and neck, and leave it on for 20 minutes before rubbing off with a damp cloth (which therefore exfoliates my skin gently too). The mask has a slight tightening effect but not in a dramatic way like other masks Ive used. While this is on my face I can almost feel it hydrating and nourishing my skin.  This is the best face mask I've used.  It feels luxurious and smells amazing.  From the moment I dried my face, I could see a noticeable difference in my skin- it was beginning to look flawless.  Again, this is another product where I am baffled as to how it works but it really, really does.  Apart from a great formulation, it has to be the bee venom technology.  I am completely convinced it works and keen to try more from the magical Manuka Doctor.
Although both products can be used alone, I do feel like they are an aid to one another. The serum and the mask both work brilliantly on their own, but used together is where you see the best results.
The only place you can buy Manuka Doctor Products from is Holland and Barrett both online and in stores.  There are lots of other products to try in the range too; my partner suffers terribly from cracked lips so I'm planning on getting him the Lip Ease Balm as a stocking filler for Christmas when I nip into town today.  I will definitely repurchase both of these when they run out.  I'm also looking to try their cleanser and toner after the new year too as Ive been using the same two products for years now and I'm in need of a change!
I hope you're all well and looking forward to Santa coming.  Do let me know if you try any of these Manuka Doctor products or if you can recommend anything else from the range to me, I'm keen to try more products!

Afterthought: as a word of warning, these products arent suitable for you if you are allergic to bee stings... I probably should have mentioned that.  As long as you arent, hydrate and nourish away!

Also, I have chosen the winner of my Barefoot SOS giveaway... Mhairi (Lilybobombslovelylumps). Congratulations honey!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Foxy Locks Extensions Storage Case

In today's post, I thought I would show you all how I store my hair extensions both for home use and when I am travelling.  The extensions I wear are the Foxy Locks deluxe clip in extensions in #60 Light Ash Blonde that I ordered back in August.  They are the best clip in hair extensions I have ever worn as they look so natural and do a great job of lengthening and thickening my otherwise thin and lifeless hair.  They instantly make me feel glamorous and when I'm going out, my Foxy Locks hair extensions play just as big a part of my outfit as anything in my wardrobe.
Wearing Foxy Locks Extensions
To protect my extensions from damage when I'm not wearing them and to prolong their life, I keep them in the Foxy Locks Extensions Storage Case.  I had originally just kept them in the plastic packaging that they came in which did protect them to some extent but i felt that the style of the storage cases was much more appropriate to keep my extensions safe, the packaging after all, is just packaging!
Foxy Locks Extensions Packaging and the Storage Case
There are two storage cases available, both the same style but in different designs; black and zebra print which are both equally feminine and stylish.  I chose the zebra print as I thought it was the most eye catching design.
Foxy Locks Extensions Storage Case in Zebra
The outside is zebra print and the front has two pink ties to keep everything together securely while the back carries the Foxy Locks logo.  The inside lining is a light pink and made of the same soft material, it feels almost like satin.
Foxy Locks Extensions Zebra Storage Case
As well as the soft ties, it also has a Velcro fastening inside, again to keep the extensions secure. It has a hook which can be used to hang your extensions up for storage and easy access. I like to hook mine on the back of the bathroom door when I travel. You can also tie your extensions in at the top, hang them up and then curl or style them that way which can be easier to do.  The whole storage case folds up pretty small too if you don't have much room in your bag.

Pockets inside the storage case
The storage case has two pockets; one large that I keep a comb in and occasionally a small can of hair spray and one small pocket that's perfect for hair grips and bobbles.

There are three soft ties to secure your extensions in and soft flaps to protect them.

It retails at only £20 from www.foxylocksextensions.com and is such a small price to pay to protect your extensions.  I absolutely love mine.

Have you tried Foxy Locks Extensions? How do you store your hair extensions?

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Klorane Camomile Shampoo and Conditioner Review

Over the last month, I have been raving about this shampoo and conditioner on Twitter.  Its the Shampoo with Camomile and the Brightening Cream Conditioner with Camomile from the Blonde Highlights range by Klorane.  Both of these have quickly become another favourite of mine from Klorane.  Today I thought I'd tell you my thoughts on them.

First up, I thought I'd let you know my hair type; my hair is naturally a light golden blonde and I get highlights and/or low lights depending on how the mood takes me; at the moment, I have a full head of light blonde highlights.  My hair gets greasy VERY quickly and although I have a lot of hair, the hair I do have is particularly thin, fine and limp.

This shampoo and conditioner ticks ALL the right boxes for me.  The shampoo cleans my hair thoroughly first time and gets rid of any product that I've been using, even stubborn products like Batiste's XXL Volume that really leave a coating on your hair.  As for the brightening cream conditioner, it is honestly the first conditioner I have used that I have been able to take right up to my root without it making my hair greasy.  To use it, I first wash my hair using the Klorane camomile shampoo and then I squeeze out the excess water, section my hair in half and apply the conditioner, I run my fingers through my hair so that it is evenly distributed and then wait around 5 minutes before washing it out.  It leaves my hair soft, smooth and detangled.  A true winner!
They both clean and condition hair without leaving any buildup which is great for blonde hair like mine as I find that some products make it look brassy and dull.  Both of these products include camomile extract which is known to have lightening properties.  I have noticed that my blonde hair has kept its lightness and not become dull in between highlights since I have been using this.  I have noticed some sections of my hair subtly becoming lighter too.
Both the shampoo and conditioner have a distinct camomile scent, its pure and unmanufactured and I haven't found that it lasts on my hair after washing.  It just leaves my hair smelling clean until I next wash it.  I much prefer this to the artificial fruity plastic scents that you get with some hair products.
The packaging is great too, simple design and I have had no problems getting the product out which is all you can ask for really.  The sizing of the bottles is spot on too as the shampoo is 200ml but the conditioner is 150ml which I think is great because I tend to use less conditioner than shampoo so by the time I completely finish the shampoo, I should have ran out of conditioner too.  I hate being left with a few washes worth of conditioner after I've used all of the shampoo- does anyone else hate that too?

Klorane products are available from selected pharmacies, John Lewis and various online sites.  They retail for around £6 per product depending on where you get them from. 

Its important to note that these work for my hair type, if your hair is significantly different to mine, id recommend checking out Klorane's website here as they have lots of other hair care ranges for different hair types, there's literally something for everyone.  If you've used the range for fine or thinning hair then please let me know as I would love to know what they're like.  I'm definitely going to buy the range for fine hair next and then decide which I prefer between the blonde and the fine!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Frankie's Fave: Barefoot SOS Giveaway

www.barefoot-botanicals.com
If you have dry or sensitive skin or if your skin has taken a beating from the elements this winter then you would really benefit from the Barefoot SOS skin rescue range of products.  They have an advanced natural therapeutic formula which is designed to care for your skin from head to foot.  Packed full of natural goodness, Barefoot SOS products are great at protecting your skin and nourishing it.

You can visit the Barefoot SOS Facebook page here.
Frankie from The Saturdays is a huge fan of Barefoot SOS products as they calm down her sensitive skin and to celebrate the Saturdays tour kicking off this week, I am doing a giveaway to win a skincare set including the Soothing Face and Body Wash and the Daily Rich Body Lotion.

To enter, all you need to do is Follow and Comment:
AND
  • COMMENT on this post telling me your top tip for keeping your skin in great condition during the winter months.  Also leave me your email address so that I can get in touch with you.

The giveaway will end on Friday 16th December at 11pm.


These have been gifted to me to giveaway on WhatLauraLoves so once I announce the winner, I will email you directly to let you know that you have won and for you to send me your address which I will pass on to Barefoot and they will send your prize out to you.

Im going on holiday until next Thursday and all comments on my page need to be approved so dont worry if your comment doesnt show straight away.
Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

WhatLauraWore: River Island Cape... or is it a Poncho?

Evening All
If you follow me on Twitter you'll know I've regularly been tweeting about my love for my new bear hat.  Well I've recently discovered its a panda.  Anyway, I digress...
Michael and I regularly like to have a little date night.  When you live together its easy to fall into the habit of staying in every night in front of the TV, so this is our way of keeping things alive in our relationship and never getting bored.  This week he took me out for dinner and drinks and to see the Christmas lights in the park that's in our city centre.  It was fantastic, there was reindeer and little stalls and the whole park was lit up with Christmas lights in the trees and there was a big Santa, a sleigh and reindeer, penguins and polar bears, all lit up.

This is the outfit I wore:

WhatLauraWore:
Cream Polo Neck Cape from River Island  (i think this is more of a poncho!)
Batwing Top in Black from Yours Clothing
Black and Stone Spot Plazzo Pants from Yours Clothing
Black ballet pumps from Shoe Zone
Grey FOCCO style bag from Ebay (see my post here)
Beige Panda Grey Eyes Beanie Hat from River Island
Rose gold watch by DKNY
Bracelets by Tresor Paris and Nomination
Pearl heart and diamante earrings from New Look

I'm absolutely loving River Islands seasonal offerings once again.  They're a store that always get it right in my opinion, when it comes to accessories, footwear, knits and jewellery.  Ive bought some gorgeous faux fur bags and lots of hats, scarves, gloves etc from there recently which I'm sure ill show you all in posts to come.

Hope you're all well.  This outfit post is a nice little break from all the new products I've been trying out recently!

Do you and your partner have 'date nights'?  What Christmas displays are on in your town?  Are you looking forward to St. Nic coming?

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

New Look Jewellery

I'm really impressed with New Looks jewellery selection this year.  In my mid teens I always used to buy jewellery from there but they went dramatically down hill with their selection, I felt, during my college years.  However over the last couple of years they have really upped their game.  I love how they have introduced other concessions into their jewellery selection too.  There's something for every style, taste and budget.

I picked up three pairs of earrings from the Jewellery By Design concession and a necklace from the regular Wear With* New Look line.  All quite statement pieces, very pretty and sparkly.  They were all priced between £5 and £10 and are great quality for the price.  That's all I want from high street costume jewellery- something low cost that will last a few nights out without breaking or tarnishing.




I cant wait to wear these pieces, they're prefect for lots of different outfits and occasions.  The pink pair ill be keeping for next summer as they will look gorgeous with summer dresses and the diamante and gold pair will be perfect for those chic winter outfits worn on evenings out with friends at our local pub or for a meal.

What are your favourite pieces of jewellery? Where do you like to shop?