Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Buzz About Manuka Doctor

When it comes to skincare, hair and make up, I'm the girl who loves to discover and experiment with the latest trends.  One such beauty trend is the inclusion of purified bee venom within skincare.  Nature's very own bee botox has been forecast as the top beauty trend of 2013 so if you're passionate about natural skincare and obsessed with products that give visible results then this is one beauty trend band wagon that you need to get on.


Manuka Doctor is the industry's leading brand of skincare featuring the wonder ingredient of bee venom.  They are pioneers in Apitherapy, the beneficial consumption and/or use of bee products, and are the only skincare range to combine the potency of Purified Bee Venom with the healing benefits that UMF 18+ Manuka Honey can bring.  Flawless Faced Millie Mackintosh is the ambassador of the Manuka Doctor brand having used the ApiClear range on her once troubled skin.

Today I'm going to share with you five of the key hero products from Manuka Doctor and show you how I use them together in my skincare routine.  I have the Foaming Cleanser and the Skin Treatment Serum from the ApiClear line, which is designed predominately for problem skin and the Age-Defying Serum, the Restoring Night Cream and the Rejuvenating Face Mask which are from the ApiNourish line, aimed at anti ageing.



Foreword
When reading any skincare review, I think it is important to consider the persons skin type who is reviewing the product as all opinions are ultimately subjective.  I have combination skin.  It is predominately oily but I do have some patches of dryness and I do get the odd blemish.  I can suffer from clogged and blocked pores so when I'm looking for skincare, I always opt for something that helps problem skin.  I'm coming up to 25 and whilst my skin is still young, I am very aware of the signs of premature ageing and believe that anti ageing products are key in defying the ageing process of the skin.  This is something else that I look out for when using skincare products.  My skin is pretty resilient and generally responds very well to good quality products.

So lets take a look at the products...


Manuka Doctor ApiClear Foaming Cleanser

ApiClear Foaming Cleanser, £16.99 for 150ml
If you're looking to start your day with fresh and clean skin regardless of whether you have problem skin, then I'd really recommend trying out the ApiClear Foaming Cleanser which is a deep cleaning, anti-bacterial approach to cleansing.  When used daily, it eliminates impurities to diminish the appearance of blemishes which in turn, leaves the skin looking clearer, calmer and overall, more radiant.  It uses bee venom, Manuka Honey and Propolis to remove the dirt and impurities from the skin that are responsible for clogging pores, causing blemishes and creating problem skin.


I use the ApiClear Foaming Cleanser in two different ways but ultimately, they both start with squeezing a little product into my palms and rubbing them together with a little warm water to make a foam before massaging it onto my face and neck.  Following this, I either splash my face with warm water and then use a warm face cloth to remove the rest of the cleanser or I use my Riosonicleanse.  Both methods work particularly well on my skin, the method I use is simply determined by the level of deep cleaning that I need.  I found this cleanser to be great at removing make up and excess oil from my skin without stripping it of its natural oils.  My skin is left clean and balanced without feeling tight and squeaky.  I use this cleanser first thing on a morning to wash my face and I use it at night to remove the make up and dirt from the day.  If I have been wearing a particularly heavy cast of make up then I will use a cotton pad and eye make up remover to remove my eye make up and I will take the bulk of my face make up off using a cleansing wipe before deeply cleaning with the ApiClear Foaming Cleanser.  Ordinarily, I wouldn't recommend cleansing wipes to remove make up as I don't believe that they are an effective way of removing make up and dirt from the skin, in fact I find that they push the impurities into the pores.  With that being said, I would only recommend them to take the thick of your make up off, if you've been wearing a heavy foundation and layers of powder for example and then I would recommend using the ApiClear Foaming Cleanser to deeply and thoroughly clean the pores to remove the rest of the make up and to clean the face.


Manuka Doctor ApiClear Skin Treatment Serum

ApiClear Skin Treatment Serum, £18.99 for 30ml
The ApiClear Skin Treatment Serum is a Manuka Doctor product that has featured in my skincare routine for a couple of years now.  It was one of the first Manuka Doctor products that I had ever tried upon first discovering the bee venom beauty trend and the most effective serum I have found, to date.  It contains Purified Bee Venom which has been found to have anti-bacterial properties so whilst it is suitable for all skin types, it works particularly effectively on blemish prone, problem skin as it refines the texture of the skin, leaving it looking calm and clear.  Its oil free formula makes it a great choice for skin like mine as it doesn't add to my already oily skin and it doesn't clog my pores.  The serum is light weight and almost gel like, with a slightly more water based consistency.  It comes in a simple and easy to use pump action bottle giving great control over the amount of product that is dispensed.  This means that a little bit of this serum goes a long way, only two pumps of the product is required for my full face and down onto my neck.

Using the ApiClear Skin Treatment Serum
To use, I simply dispense a couple of pumps of the ApiClear Skin Treatment Serum into my hand and rub it between my palms before sweeping it over my face and up my neck.  It smells fresh, clean and awakening which is also aided by the cooling sensation that it gives my skin.  I use this every morning after cleansing with the ApiClear Foaming Cleanser and find that, in the short term, it provides a silky smooth surface on my skin, without leaving a greasy residue on the surface of my skin, making it a great base for make up and therefore a great choice to use in the mornings.  I don't apply a moisturiser after using the serum as I don't feel that I need to- my skin looks and feels great after using this serum alone.  Any uneven areas of my skin, dryness and blemishes feel smooth and look diminished.  I find that the serum leaves my skin feeling hydrated, healthy and full of life, thanks to the UMF 18+ Manuka Honey and Propolis that feature within its ingredients.  With regular, daily use of this serum, any spots and blemishes that I had cleared up very quickly and most importantly, stayed away, giving my skin a longer term clearer appearance.  This serum really helps to blur the appearance of fine lines and facial scarring through helping to renew and regenerate the skin cells, so it has anti ageing properties too.


Manuka Doctor ApiNourish Age-Defying Serum

ApiNourish Age-Defying Serum, £24.99 for 30ml
The ApiNourish Age-Defying Serum from Manuka Doctor takes the properties of Purified Bee Venom and combines it with UMF 18+ Manuka Honey and Royal Jelly to encourage and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin within the skin to keep it looking and feeling youthful.  An increase in the production of elastin within the skin helps it to become firmer which smooths out the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and prevents future wrinkles and skin sagging from occurring.  This serum also contains Propolis, Rosehip and Blackcurrant Oil which are full of antioxidants that help to protect the skin against the destructive effects that free radicals have on skin cells.  Prevention is better than cure and it is very difficult to fully reverse the effects of ageing once they appear on the skin.  With that in mind, I think that it is very important to start using anti ageing products from a young age in order to defy the ageing process.  Especially with the pollution in the air that our skin faces on a daily basis as well as the harsh sunlight, young skin ages quicker than ever before so, where possible, I always opt for skincare products that will help to defy the ageing process and the ApiNourish Age-Defying Serum is one such product.

Using the ApiNourish Age-Defying Serum
My evening skin ritual involves taking care of the ageing process of my skin, using nourishing products that will aid my skin to repair itself over night while I get my beauty sleep.  I first cleanse away the day using the ApiClear Foaming Cleanser before applying a few pumps of the silky smooth ApiNourish Age-Defying Serum to my face.  Like with the ApiClear Skin Treatment Serum, this product comes in an easy to use, pump action bottle.  The texture of this serum however is a little different to the one I use in the mornings.  It still has the gel like consistency that I love but it is more milky and a little thicker, making it a luxurious treat to use at bedtime.  I find this one to be a little more nourishing than the Skin Treatment Serum as it sits on the surface of the skin a little longer and it feels as though it is moisturising my skin more deeply.  It has a gorgeous slightly floral scent and is incredibly hydrating thanks to the UMF 18+ Manuka Honey and Hyaluronic Acid that it contains and it does a great job at plumping my skin to smooth out my fine lines, particularly around my eye area.  It is so important to take this serum down onto the neck to help prevent sagging as I find that the skin on the neck is such a tell tale sign of ageing.


Manuka Doctor ApiNourish Restoring Night Cream

ApiNourish Restoring Night Cream, £24.99 for 50ml
The ApiNourish Restoring Night Cream is a rich and creamy anti ageing moisturiser that is designed to re-invigorate skin that is exhausted throughout the night.  Many psychological theories of sleep indicate that the purpose of sleeping is to give us vital time to restore our body and to repair our cells for healthy living.  Using this cream at night, means that it is helping the skin to repair itself while you're sleeping.  Like the other products in the Manuka Doctor line, it contains Purified Bee Venom, UMF 18+ Manuka Honey and Royal Jelly to have a hydrating, anti ageing effect on the skin.  Like with the Age-Defying Serum, it stimulates the production of collagen and elastin within the skin to soften it, making it appear plumper and young.  It is also rich in antioxidants such as Propolis, Rosehip, Blackcurrant Oil and Vitamin E which combine to protect the skin against free radical damage, pollution and premature skin ageing.

Using the ApiNourish Restoring Night Cream
The final step in my evening skincare routine is to apply the ApiNourish Restoring Night Cream.  This is a rich, indulgent, thick night cream that needs to be massaged into the skin until fully absorbed.  I use this all over my face and neck, massaging in upwards motions to promote youthful skin by encouraging the skin not to sag.  This cream doesn't leave my skin feeling greasy at all and it doesn't clog my pores.  I can feel it on my skin after applying it and it works to deeply moisturise my skin throughout the night.  I wake up with incredibly soft skin that looks and feels healthy, plumped up, youthful and full of life.


Manuka Doctor ApiNourish Rejuvenating Face Mask

ApiNourish Rejuvenating Face Mask, £49.99 for 50ml
The ApiNourish Rejuvenating Face Mask is perhaps my favourite product to come out of the bee venom beauty trend.  It is a deeply penetrating skin renewal treatment mask and like the other two products from the ApiNourish range that I have discussed here, this mask is packed full of antioxidants combined with bee venom to provide an intensely nourishing treat for the skin whilst preventing the signs of premature skin ageing.  It is designed to stimulate the growth of collagen within the skin whilst renewing damaged skin cells and helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  In a nut shell, this is an anti ageing wonder in a pot.

Using the ApiNourish Rejuvenating Face Mask
The smooth, velvet texture of this product lends itself more to a cream than a mask.  It is a dream to apply- so soft and silky it smooths onto the skin easily and evenly without dragging the skin.  As a weekly treat, I pop on a hair band and apply a thin layer over my face and down onto my neck before leaving the mask to get to work whilst I soak in the bath.  The face mask has a tingling effect on my skin when first applied and throughout its wear, I can feel it tightening my skin.  As a creamier mask, it provides hydration and intense nourishment to the skin whilst plumping and tightening the skin to make it look younger and to reduce the signs of ageing.  After half an hour, I remove the mask by polishing it off using a warm, damp face cloth.  By using this in upward motions, it helps to gently exfoliate my skin too.  After drying my face, I can see a noticeable difference in my skin- it really looks flawless.  I first used this mask in December 2011 and have repurchased it ever since as it is the best mask of its kind.  The tightening effect is just incredible and it lasts- it literally feels like I've had bee botox!

This mask would be great for travelling long haul too.  The air conditioning on aeroplanes can really play havoc with the skin and cause it to dry out while on the flight.  I often decant a little bit of a face mask to take with me to use on the plane and a mask like this is perfect as it can be spread very thinly over the face and it doesn't have much colour to it when this is done so no one would know you had a face mask on... all the while your skin is being moisturised and hydrated!

Whilst all of these products can be used effectively alone, I do think that Manuka Doctor products in general are an aid to one another which is where the best results can be seen- flawless skin.



Manuka Doctor on WhatLauraLoves
I've been really looking forward to sharing these products with you all, as you know I'm passionate about skincare that's natural, intelligent and high performing and of course, I'm obsessed with trying the latest beauty trends.  Long standing readers of WhatLauraLoves will know that Manuka Doctor products have been loved and reviewed by me on my blog since 2011.  The act of repurchasing products and the faith to try new products from a skincare line really shows the trust that someone has in a brand.  Feel free to search for some of my other reviews by typing 'Manuka Doctor' in the search box at the top right of this page.


Where to buy
Of course I could rave about these products all day but if you really want to discover the true buzz about bee venom then you'll need to try the products for yourself.  The Manuka Doctor range of skincare products is available to buy direct from Superdrug.com.  They are also available from selected Lloyds Pharmacies, Tesco beauty concept stores, independent pharmacies and both online and in store at Holland and Barrett.

What are your favourite Manuka Doctor products?  What ones would you love to try?
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Saturday, 30 March 2013

Empties #11


Two empties posts in one week?! What is WhatLauraLoves coming to?!  Well, like I said earlier in the week, I have A LOT of empty products in my stash right now that are ready to go the journey.  So here I am with another Empties review.



Good Things Fresh Start Creamy Cleanser- Available from Boots, Sainsburys and Superdrug
Good Things are one of my favourite high street brands.  They create gentle products that are easy to use and effective.  I've been using their Fresh Start Creamy Cleanser with my Riosonicleanse and I have seen some great results with it.  My skin is feeling super fresh, clean, clear and healthy.  I'd really recommend it.  For a full review, check out this post here.

Dirty Works Sole Sister Foot Scrub- Available from Sainsburys
Dirty Works are another of my favourite high street skincare brands that I've been using for the last year.  Sole Sister is a minty fresh foot scrub that is really gritty and perfect for keeping your feet flip flop ready.  I have reviewed it fully here but would definitely repurchase it.  If you have really hard skin on your feet like I do, then you would need to use this alongside a foot file but it is a great accompaniment to a good pedicure routine.

Manuka Doctor Api Nourish Foot & Heel Cream- Available from Holland and Barrett
After exfoliating my feet, I always like to apply a thick foot cream.  This one from the Manuka Doctor Api Nourish range is super indulgent, smells very minty and is very moisturising due to the avocado oil and shea butter that it contains.  For a full review, check out my post here.

Clarins Water Purify One Step Cleanser- Available from Clarins and Boots
This is one of my favourite cleansers.  It is simple, no fuss and rinse free.  I enjoy using this particularly when I am tired or travelling as it removes all of my make up with ease, including stubborn waterproof eye liner and eyelash glue, it is so easy to use.  The only thing I don't like about it is that it isn't very economical.  I go through bottles of this like it is going out of fashion!

Clearasil Blackhead Clearing Pads- Available from Home Bargains
I have used these Blackhead Clearing Pads from Clearasil for years.  They're great at clearing my skin and keep it dirt free so they really do work.  I've done a full review here and I would definitely repurchase them.

Mudd Sea Mask- Available from Boots
Another product which is great at removing dirt and impurities is this hydrating sea clay mask from Mudd.  My skin looks lovely and clear after using this and the packaging is great as it is very travel friendly and resealable.  I've done a full review here and would definitely repurchase it.

Ojon Volumising 2 minu Hair Mask- Available from Boots
I first reviewed this hair mask in my Hair Mask Showdown post.  If you read the post, you'll know that I certainly wont be repurchasing this over priced product.  Whilst it is ok at nourishing the hair, it does very little by way of providing volume.  There are far better masks out there to nourish my hair so this will be the first and last time I purchase this I'm afraid!

MAC Bronzing Powder in Matte Bronze- Available from Debenhams and House of Fraser
I've been buying this matte bronzer to use as my contour powder for the last year now and I love using it.  It is a great colour, not too muddy and not too orange and it is completely shimmer free.  I do find that I hit pan on this incredibly quickly so for the time being, I am switching back to my Hoola by Benefit to see if that lasts any longer, if not, I'll be repurchasing this MAC one then.  A full review is on this post.

Impulse Body Spray Mini- Available from Boots and Superdrug
The Impulse minis are great for keeping in my clutch bag for a quick freshen up on an evening out.  Romantic Spark is a gorgeous floral scent that I have really enjoyed wearing.  It is long lasting too which is always a good thing!

Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula- Available from Boots and Superdrug
Palmers Cocoa Butter has to be one of the most amazing body creams ever.  It smells and feels luxurious and indulgent when being applied and it is super moisturising yet it is very inexpensive and easy to get a hold of, what is not to love?!

Nivea After Sun Tan Prolonger- Available from Boots
I'm not sure if this is even on the shelves any more as I've had it for that long.  It is a great after sun with a hint of false tan that is cooling on the skin whilst providing a shot of colour.  I only had a little bit of this product left so I used it when I went away for a week of winter sun.  There are lots of products like this available now and I'll definitely be trying some out when I next go away.  I've heard the Clarins one is great but if any of you have tried any others that you can recommend to me (or warn me away from) then do let me know!

Now leave me to wallow in the satisfaction of using up some of my stash...!

What products have you used up recently?
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Friday, 29 March 2013

Clarins Instant Smooth Self Tanning









To keep my skin looking bronzed this past winter, I have been using a great product from Clarins. the Instant Smooth Self Tanning.  I may be wrong but I think that this is a fairly new offering from Clarins.  I'd heard loads about it and really wanted to try it as I love the original Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch that I reviewed last year, so I picked one up on the plane on my way home from Tenerife in December.

My first comment about this product would be that it is nothing like the original Instant Smooth which is much more of a line filling, skin perfecting primer extraordinaire.  What struck me initially was how different it feels compared to the original- it is a much greasier texture yet some how, it doesn't react badly with my already oily skin.  I apply this on a morning, after my usual skincare routine and find that it adds an immediate tint to my skin that develops over the day and with regular use, it does leave my skin with a natural looking tan. It is very luminizing and gives a great sun kissed glow to the skin.  I find that it provides a good base for make up although I tend to just fill in my eyebrows and pop some mascara on this when I'm off to work.  The only thing I don't really like about it is that it still has a faint fake tan scent that I can smell as it develops on my skin.

I've just repurchased this from Escentual where it is on special off for £14.40 which is a great deal, considering it is £18 on the Debenhams website.

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Thursday, 28 March 2013

WhatLauraWore: My Favourite Dress

I have been SO excited to share this outfit with you all as this literally is my favourite dress in my whole wardrobe at the moment.  The 3D Flower Prom Dress from Simply Be is perfect for every occasion this summer, whether you're off to a party, the races, a christening or to a wedding- you could even use it as a bridesmaids dress.  I absolutely LOVE the shape of the dress as I think that it would flatter the majority of women.  It is sleeveless and has a scoop neckline with 3D flowers attached to it, moving down to a pleated front giving the dress volume, shape and detail.  It has an elasticated back making the dress really easy and comfortable to wear and giving the dress a great shape as it pulls the wearer in under the bust which you should all know by now, is my favourite shape!  The skirt of the dress has a sheer mesh overlay with more 3D flowers attached to the bottom of the dress which looks lovely as I walk and gives it lots of movement.  On my 5ft 5" frame, the dress is knee length and I'd say that the fit is true to size.


What I love the most about the dress is the way that it makes me feel- glamorous, gorgeous and girlie, what a confidence boost!


WhatLauraWore:
3D Flower Prom Dress from Simply Be
Silver jewelled heels from Nelly
Heart bracelet from Primark
Earrings from Primark
Necklace from River Island
Diamante watch by D&G from Goldsmiths
Clutch bag from Glam by Caprice at Very

What is your favourite dress in your wardrobe right now?

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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Equestrian Styling

When the weather starts to warm up during springtime, I get all outdoorsy and love going to country shows, watching polo and going to ladies day at the horse racing.  I love the equestrian style and whilst I haven't been horse riding since my private lessons as a child, I find that the style can be easily recreated without having to step up into a saddle.

I thought it would be fun to have a look online and piece together an equestrian style outfit to give those looking to recreate this outdoors look some outfit inspiration.

All photos credited to the respective websites below
I first found this gorgeous Southwold Wool Hacking Jacket in a brown/green tweed by Caldene via Equestrian Clearance.  Tweed epitomises horse and country style for me and this jacket is gorgeous.  Tailored and made of pure wool, this classic jacket became the foundation of my search for the perfect equestrian style outfit.  Aside from tweed, a crisp white shirt is an absolute staple in any riders wardrobe.  Taking this as some style inspiration, I would definitely opt for the gorgeous AnnMarie Stud Collar Blouse in white from Missguided tucked into these gorgeous Lauren by Ralph Lauren trousers from House of Fraser.  They're the Edith Skinny Jodhpur Trousers and I absolutely love the shade of tan that they are in with the dark brown patches on the inside leg.  I'd wear these with the Tarquin Knee Riding Boots from Bertie via ASOS as the tan distressed leather would look awesome with them.  To carry all of my essentials, I would definitely opt for the Marcie small saddle bag by Chloe from Selfridges in the colour nut.  These type of bags are so deceiving as they fit loads more inside than one would first think, plus it comes in the most gorgeous pebbled leather, it is absolutely to die for!  I'd keep accessories to a minimum with this outfit and just stick with my usual watch and rings.  I think this would make them most gorgeous outfit for a day at the polo, race meeting or for a walk around a countryside village.

So that's me all inspired out for one day!

What style most inspires you the most this season?

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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

My Summer Footwear Update

When it comes to the summer, I can mostly be found wearing flip flops and sandals with a great pedicure.  Every year, as soon as my two favourite shops for footwear on the high street, Primark and New Look, put their sandals on sale, I go mad and buy up my favourite designs.  Today I'm going to share with you my new sandals from Primark.

This is my summer (and I use the term loosely...) footwear update...

Primark Footwear Haul
I'll get the less summery pairs out of the way first, starting with these metallic rose gold and black flats.  These were reduced to £4 in the sale and I picked them up as I loved the quilted design and they are a great way to jazz up a plain work outfit.  I adore the colour of rose gold and I am really looking for accessories to match my DKNY rose gold watch, so these will go really well!

Rose Gold ballet flats, £4
Now I'm just putting this out there as I know many girls will have experienced this but sometimes when I wear shoes like those above, they end up smelling badly and dropping to pieces after a month or so.  I've been wearing these footies with my ballet flats recently and they have really stopped this from happening- my shoes are in great condition.  Anyway, moving on...!

Plain footies £1.30, cushioned footies £1.50
Another pair of metallic shoes I treated myself to were these gold glitter trainers........ now before you all think I've gone mad, I honestly think these Converse style shoes would look great with some skinny jeans to add a little sparkle to an otherwise plain outfit.  These were in the sale also and an absolute steal at £3.

Gold glitter trainers, £3
So now moving on to the hot topic in this not so hot weather we're having- sandals.

If you're a regular reader of my blog then you'll probably know by now that coral is one of my favourite colours.  I wore it constantly last summer and my website featured many WhatLauraWore outfit posts wearing some gorgeous coral clothes.  My latest shopping trip was my opportunity to spring into March with the purchase of a new pair of coral sandals.  These are a faux suede coral cross over sandal with a gorgeous rose gold band that sits behind the toes.  These were the most expensive sandals that I bought but at only £8 they were still a bargain.

Coral and gold sandals, £8
Studs are everywhere once again this season and I found some gorgeous ones in Primark.  The first pair I picked up were these rose gold studded sandals with a rose gold bow on them.  The faux leather is a pinky cream colour which would look incredible with a tan.  I can't wait to wear these this summer.

Rose gold studded sandals, £6
Another studded pair I got were these tan faux leather sandals with gold spiked studs.  Tan and gold are just amazing colours to wear during the summer.  These aren't as good quality as the other shoes that I bought but they're still lovely enough for the summer and will look great with maxi dresses and shorts.  I have seen some very similar to these in Topshop and they were far more expensive than the £6 that these cost me.

Tan and gold spike stud sandals, £6
For the last two years, I have literally been obsessed with Primarks fabric flower sandals and this year is no exception.  I picked these up in each colour- coral to wear with my summer dresses, white as they will go with any outfit and black as they will be perfect for work.  They have a large fabric flower on them with a diamante flower in the middle.  At £6 a piece, I'll

Coral flower diamante sandals, £6
White flower diamante sandals, £6
Black flower diamante sandals, £6
The last pair of sandals that I got were these gorgeous nude and silver diamante flip flops from the Sole Desire range.  They are slightly wider than the other sandals that they sell, making them a great option for girls with wide feet and they have a cushioned insole making them super comfortable to wear.  At only £6 these are such great quality.


So that's all of the shoes I've bought recently, I haven't had a chance to look in New Look yet but the shoes in Primark are to die for at the moment!  I'd always recommend buying the ones you like as soon as you see them, if that's possible for you, as going off past experience, they get bought up quickly.  I've been disappointed in the past when I've seen some sandals I've liked and gone back to get them a couple of weeks later only to find they had sold out in my size!

Where is your favourite place to shop for sandals?

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Monday, 25 March 2013

WhatLauraWore: Easy Work Wear

When it comes to dressing for work, I haven't always got time on a morning to think my outfit through.  I'm one of those people who would rather have five more minutes in bed and spend five less minutes getting ready than getting up super early to get dressed (surely I can't be the only one?!).  With that in mind, I always make sure I have some easy work wear options in my wardrobe so that I can get ready and look pulled together in a short amount of time.  This is one such outfit.

Here I am wearing my animal print jacket from Bonmarche which adds a great edge to an otherwise plain black outfit.  Black is a staple work wear colour for me and many other people as it is so easy to wear but it is nice to add a grey colour alongside it.  I'm wearing this blazer so frequently now as the weather can't make its mind up and the ponte material used here makes it the perfect in between the seasons jacket.  It has an open front and mock pockets.  Whilst I'm wearing it here with my Evans trousers and Primark lace top, it looks equally as good when worn with jeans.  It's very comfortable to wear and it looks stylish, I love it!



WhatLauraWore:

Animal Print Ponte Jacket from Bonmarche
Lace tshirt from Primark
Black wide leg trousers from Evans
Jewelled flats from Primark
Necklace from New Look
Bag from Radley



What are your quick and easy work wear essentials?

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Sunday, 24 March 2013

Empties #10

I have a huge bag full of empty products that I have been keeping to one side to review on my blog for the last couple of months and now it is over flowing so I thought that now would be the perfect time to get around to reviewing them.  There's a good mix here, some products I like, some I love and some I wouldn't buy again- either way, I've got an opinion on them.


Good Things Ultra Rich Body Butter- Available from Sainsburys, Boots and Superdrug
First up is the Good Things Ultra Rich Body Butter which is the most moisturising and indulgent body butter I've ever used.  It is absolutely amazing as it not only does a great job at keeping my skin soft and supple but it smells incredible too which will be down to the superfruit extracts of papaya and mango, mmm.  I've raved all about it in this post.  I haven't repurchased it yet as I'm trying my best to use up the million and one body moisturisers that I already have but when I've finished them, I will absolutely 100 percent be repurchasing this one.  It is my absolute favourite!

Sanctuary Spa Body Scrub- Available from Boots
After raving about the Good Things body butter, I wish I could speak so highly of the Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden Body Scrub.  The only things going for this scrub is the smell which is the signature Sanctuary Spa scent that many know and love.  As a body scrub this is absolutely useless.  It contains natural pumice, rejuvenating patchouli and soothing orange oil which sounds great but in actual fact it is a gel with some not so exfoliating particles in.  I like my scrubs to be abrasive and unfortunately, this product is a very half hearted attempt at a scrub.  It gets a thumbs down from me!

Dr Organic Virgin Olive Oil Hand & Nail Cream- Available from Holland and Barrett
I first received this product in a gift set with two other hand and nail creams from Dr Organic which I reviewed here.  At the time, I loved the set so much I repurchased a few of them and this is the last hand cream that I have.  I've thoroughly enjoyed using it.  I suffer with dry, cracked skin on my hands and wrists and this really helps to keep my skin moisturised and soft which stops my skin from cracking and becoming very painful.  I'd really recommend this little tubes as they're great for popping in your hand bag.  I've got a few hand creams left to use up but I would definitely look to buy a hand cream from Dr Organic in the future.

Dr Organic Aloe Vera Wet Wipes- Available from Holland and Barrett
These are great if you're going camping or doing outdoorsy things as they really freshen you up.  I'd definitely repurchase them if I was something similar in future.  For a full review, see my post here.

Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel for Hair and Body- Available from Lush
Snow Fairy is a really cult shower product from Lush.  It smells absolutely amazing, so sweet and sugary, just like candy floss.  I've finished two of them this winter and I can't wait for next Christmas to come along for me to repurchase some more bottles.  I think I'll go for the large ones next time as I enjoy using it so much.

Avene Gentle Gel Cleanser- Available from Boots and Escentual
I first reviewed this cleanser here last summer and it has literally taken me an  age to use it up.  This is the cleanser that just keeps on giving!  I kept it next to my bath to take my make up off when I get in the tub.  I'm not usually a fan of rinse-off cleansers (well, until I got my Riosonicleanse earlier this year) but I must say that this did do a good job at taking my make up off, even stubborn mascara and eyelash glue.  I wouldn't repurchase it as I'm really happy with some of the other cleansers I've been trying out since I got this but I do think that it is a lovely product, particularly for those who prefer a rinse off formula cleanser.

Wen by Chaz Dean Cucumber Aloe Re Moist Intensive Hair Treatment- Available from Wen
I reviewed this hair treatment along with a few others from the Cucumber Aloe range here and I stand by my original statement- I wouldn't repurchase this.  Whilst yes, it did smooth the ends of my hair, it just feels so oily and greasy that it isn't worth bothering with, there are much better hair masks out there in my opinion!  Like what I hear you say, well this one here for starters...

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Miraculous Recovery Intensive Masque- Available from Boots and Asda
I first featured this product in my Hair Mask Showdown post so I'd recommend heading on over there for a full on review but in a nutshell, this mask is amazing.  It doesn't add to my oily roots, it smoothes all of hair and deeply nourishes the brittle ends.  It works equally as well on my thin, brittle hair and on my friends thick, dry hair.  I cannot recommend this hair mask enough and have already repurchased 3 when they were on offer in Asda!

No7 Beautiful Skin- Available from Boots
Beautiful Skin is No7's answer to the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish and it's damn good.  It is a hot cloth cleanser and before I got my Riosonicleanse, I swore by it... I still do, I'm just addicted to using my Riosonicleanse and the Beautiful Skin cleanser works really well with that too.  So to use this as a hot cloth cleanser, I apply it to dampened skin, massage it in, run the muslin under a warm tap, ring it out and hold it over my face before polishing the cleanser off.  This gives instant results and leave my skin looking super smooth and clear.  I absolutely LOVE it and have already repurchased 3 as they were on offer in Boots.

Manuka Doctor Api Nourish Rejuvenating Face Mask- Available from Holland and Barrett
Moving on from hair masks to a face mask that I absolutely love.  The Rejuvenating Face Mask from Manuka Doctor was first featured on my blog a couple of years ago and I've been repurchasing it regularly ever since.  It contains bee venom and you can really feel it working and tightening the skin from the first application, I love it!

What did you think of these products?  Have you used up many products lately?

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Saturday, 23 March 2013

WhatLauraWore: Dannii Minogue Eat Your Heart Out!

Project/D London is a fashion range by Dannii Minogue and London based fashion designer, Tabitha Somerset-Webb.  They have recently launched their first fashion collection for Simply Be, available exclusively in sizes 14-32.  I was lucky enough to get a sneek peek at the collection back in November last year on a visit to the Simply Be head office when I met with some of the Simply Be team to design my dress which will be going on sale in late May/early June.

The designs are elegant, timeless and sophisticated.  Here I am, wearing my favourite piece from the current collection, the Lincoln Print Maxi Dress.



The Lincoln is a gorgeous printed maxi dress and, for me, the stand out piece from the collection.  It has an empire line, meaning that the main body of the dress falls from under the bust, pulling the wearer in where most are smallest and skimming over a larger tummy and hips, making this a great option for all, but most specifically for pear and apple shapes.  I found the dress itself to be comfortable to wear and I felt very glamorous in it.  This is a different dress for me to wear as I often prefer shorter numbers but this is something that is great for a wedding or a christening, an occasion where it wouldn't always be suitable to get the legs out!  The chiffon style fabric floats over all of my lumps and bumps, giving me confidence when wearing the dress and the elasticated back ensures a held together, comfortable fit.  I love the cut out detailing in the back- very subtle yet sexy.

It is available in two lengths, 54in and 58in.  For reference, I have the 54in and I'm 5ft 5".  I love that it is long on me, without touching the floor, making it very easy to walk in as I don't need to worry about tripping over it.  If you're my height or shorter, I'd recommend getting this length, any taller and I'd suggest the 58 inch dress.  Size wise, I ordered my usual dress size and found that it was a little big on my around the bust which would probably be a great fit on the majority of people as I'm quite small chested for my size and I found it to be quite a snug fit around my middle which was due to the gorgeous satin lining of the dress, I am much larger around my middle than anywhere else on my body and I found the lining to be quite tight and with it being satin, there isn't any stretch in it, it is still perfectly wearable but smaller than the lining usually is on dresses that I buy my normal size in.  I think that's something to consider when purchasing this gorgeous dress as you may want to consider going up a size if you're shaped like me, similarly if you have a larger bust but smaller tummy you would probably be fine with your usual size.  Personally, I couldn't go any larger as it would be far too big on my bust.  Your best bet is to try a couple on and opt for the one you feel the most comfortable in.

I found the dress to be cool toned and so I paired it with silver accessories- a clutch, large silver bangle, watch and some jewelled flip flops, the stockists of which are listed below.  The dress has some turquoise flecks in it and so to bring out this colour, I opted for another bangle and some earrings in a similar shade.  I find that turquoise is a great shade on any hair colour but especially on blondes.  I can't wait to wear this stunning dress again, perhaps for a few cocktails one Sunday afternoon with the girls, I think it'd look great dressed down a little with my leather jacket.

WhatLauraWore:
Lincoln Print Maxi Dress from Project D London at Simply Be
Jewelled sandals from Dune
Clutch bag from Next
Turquoise bangle from Primark
Silver bangle from Red Herring at Debenhams
Turquoise earrings from New Look
Watch from D&G at Goldsmiths


What is your favourite piece from the collection?

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