Monday, 30 January 2017

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Shampoo, Masque and Weightless Moisture Dry Micro Mist

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Shampoo, Masque and Weightless Moisture Dry Micro Mist Review Image

Over the last couple of years, I've been really focusing on nourishing my natural hair and trying to get it in the best condition to enable it to grow long and healthy.  I really feel as though I'm getting somewhere with it and at my last trip to my hair dressers, Frances Marshall in Sunderland, I caught a glimpse of my hair from the back and couldn't believe how much it had grown.

I've made lots of changes to help my hair to grow, from washing it less but focusing on really nourishing products and blowdrying on a low heat to using heat styling tools less often and even having my Great Lengths hair extensions put back in (they've been out now since October) to give my hair a break from styling.  All of which have combined to really help my hair grow and be super healthy.  I'm over the moon with it.

Some of the most nourishing products that I use are from Macadamia Professional.  I have been using products from the original Macadamia line for YEARS and then started using the pro line last year.

You might remember my review of their Healing Treatment Oil which is my all time favourite hair oil and I always repurchase it without fail!  It was that oil that restored my faith in nourishing products as I'd always thought that they would be far too heavy for my mega oily roots but they've actually helped my hair a lot.

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Shampoo, Masque and Weightless Moisture Dry Micro Mist Review Image

The Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Shampoo is the product that I use to wash my hair if it is feeling particularly dry; usually after a holiday in the sun or after I've had my hair pinned up with lots of hair spray to set it in place.

Only a small amount is needed as a little goes a long way, which makes the bottle great value for money as it lasts FOREVER, and it is very rich.  I smooth it through wet hair and really spend time massaging it into my scalp to cleanse it but also to nourish my hair as I find that when I use this shampoo, I can actually skip the conditioner step of my haircare routine.  This shampoo effectively cleanses my hair while hydrating it, leaving it nourished, soft and smooth right through to the ends.

The formula contains the Macadamia Professional Pro Oil Complex of Macadamia and Argan Oils which are designed for lightweight moisture, strength and damage repair, as well as Avocado Oils and Hazelnut Oils which are great for repair and Vitamins A, C and E which help to hydrate, restore and rebalance the hair.  The effect is noticeable from the first wash and I really notice a significant difference, especially if my hair has been feeling really frazzled before washing!

This shampoo is colour safe and when I had my root stretch, it didn't strip the colour which is very important to me as my hair is so porous and washes up quickly.  It is also free from sulphates, gluten and parabens so it is kind to the hair, plus it is cruelty free so it is kind to animals too!

The shampoo isn't one that I would use every time that I wash my hair as I think that it would overload my hair as it is designed for dry, corse hair but used occasionally, it works really well on my thin hair with my oily roots and drier ends.  The shampoo and conditioner that I use more frequently on my hair is the L'Oreal Professionnel Série Expert Nutrifier range that I reviewed here.

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Shampoo, Masque and Weightless Moisture Dry Micro Mist Review Image

When my hair is really in need of a deep hit of nourishment then I turn to the Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Masque.

I've used a hair mask from Macadamia in the past from their standard range but this one is far better because it is incredibly deeply nourishing but it doesn't weight the hair down or overload it at all.

The masque itself is thick and almost iridescent to the eye.  I smooth this through the mid lengths and ends of my hair after shampooing (usually after I've used a more clarifying shampoo so that I can replace the lost moisture) and leave it on to really infuse and work its magic while I get to work on my hair removal, face mask, exfoliation and all that good stuff.

It contains Macadamia and Argan Oils which are packed full of Omega fatty acids to deeply nourish and care for the hair.  Like with the shampoo, the mask is sulphate, gluten and paraben free and cruelty free.

Unlike other thicker, hydrating masques that I've used in the past, it washes out without ease, leaving my hair feeling so incredible.   it is  effect is instant after the first wash.  My hair feels and looks silky soft and smooth from root to tip, it is far more manageable and it doesn't get as knotty which is great for when I'm trying to comb it through.

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Shampoo, Masque and Weightless Moisture Dry Micro Mist Review Image

My favourite product out of all that I've tried from the Macadamia Professional line has to be the Weightless Moisture Dry Oil Micro Mist.  This is like a cross between the most lightweight yet nourishing oil and a shine spray.  Except this one isn't heavy at all, it doesn't make my hair greasy or oily and it really nourishes my hair rather than coating it, giving it a plastic look.

This spray is packed full of hydrating and moisturising oils; Macadamia, Argan, Walnut, Grape Seed, Olive Fruit, Avocado, Jojoba Seed, Passionfruit Seed, and Sunflower Seed Oil.  I'd be here all day if I listed all of their benefits but essentially they all work together to moisturise and strengthen the hair and to protect and promote a healthy scalp and hair.

A light misting is all thats needed, sprayed on from a distance.  I tend to use it on my hair when it is dry, as a finishing touch once I've created whatever style I'm going for that day.

It absorbs quickly into the hair and doesn't sit on it or need working in.  The results are instant; it makes my hair look healthy, perfected and with a gorgeous sheen to it.  The great thing about this spray is that even though I have oily, fine hair, it doesn't make my hair become greasy any quicker than usual.

The spray can also be used on towel dried hair before blowdrying to have a strengthening and smoothing effect which is particularly handy if you tend to get frizzy ends if you leave your hair to dry naturally or if you don't round brush it when blowdrying.  I have tried the spray in this way and it works very well but I don't tend to use it like this too much as I use the actual Macadamia Healing Treatment Oil (or a similar product if I'm trying out something new) in my hair when it is wet.

Macadamia Professional Nourishing Moisture Shampoo, Masque and Weightless Moisture Dry Micro Mist Review Image

With the cold weather firmly in place and the spring summer months set to follow, now is the time to focus on nourishing and hydrating your hair.  I'm sure so many of us girls use lots more drying hair spray and backcombing techniques over the festive period, plus we're subject to central heating, which can really frazzle the hair so getting the hair in as good condition as possible before the summer where it could dry out even more is really important!

These products have really helped to nourish the dry ends of my hair and give my hair a well groomed, perfected appearance overall and I'd recommend each one highly.  Especially that amazing mist!

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What are your favourite nourishing hair products?  Have you tried anything from Macadamia Professional before?
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Sunday, 29 January 2017

Trapped In A Blogging Box

Plus size Chunky Knit Bardot Jumper Dress from River Island with Thigh High Boots from ASOS

A topic that I've wanted to touch on for a while now has been money but there's always been something that's held me back. Same with many other topics that deviate from skincare and pretty dresses.

I guess you could say, I've been trapped in a blogging box!

SHOP Lulu Guinness Black Lips Clutch
My blog focuses on female life and style but as a blogger it's far easier to write about more materialistic topics such as fashion and beauty because it's more pop culture; people either like it or they don't and generally speaking, it is less easy to offend with a pair of ballet pumps than it is with thoughts on money, health, life choices and politics. I made the transition from calling my space on the internet a Fashion and Beauty Blog to a Life and Style Blog at the beginning of last year with the intention of opening up the range of topics that I could openly discuss, rather than pigeon holing myself into just fashion and beauty.

However I didn't really commit to this fully. I wasn't expecting to totally overhaul my content anyway as the topics that I've been writing about for years are really what give me serious heart eyed emojis but I did want to broaden my horizons a little.

Plus size Chunky Knit Bardot Jumper Dress from River Island with Thigh High Boots from ASOS

When discussing life topics or the things that really matter to me, I feel as though I'm opening a huge can of worms as everyone's life and circumstances are different, what is affordable to one may not be to another and what someone places importance on may be the last thing on someone else's mind. However the time has come for me to lift the lid and let the wriggly worms out to play.

This year, I have lots of content planned and hopefully it'll float a few boats out there and if it doesn't float yours, that's ok, check back in a couple of days time when there'll be something new.

Incidentally, if you did come here to find out where I got these incredible thigh high boots (I don't blame you!), you can find them on sale here.  I have really chunky calves and have always struggled with long boots let alone over the knee ones but these are definitely plus size friendly.

ANYWAY...

Plus size friendly thigh high boots from asos
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Reading is NOT compulsory.

The great thing is that you have the choice whether to read or not and there's a World Wide Web of choice out there.

At 28, I've learned a lot but I acknowledge that I still have far more to learn. I've discovered that for me, the best way to develop, aside from trying something out for myself, is through the experience of others; learning about the mistakes that they have made and how they have achieved the successes they have enjoyed.

Life experience will always vary from person to person; no two lives are ever the same. Perhaps you're reading this blog as someone far younger than I am and can learn from the mistakes I've made, maybe you're a similar age to me or at a similar point in your life and can take inspiration from the things that I'm doing to create the life that I want or maybe you've been there and done it and can offer me and other readers some words of advice from your own experience. It's all worthwhile, valid and valued around here!

Plus size Chunky Knit Bardot Jumper Dress from River Island with Thigh High Boots from ASOS

It's so easy to have the written word taken the wrong way or out of context and I've often been so worried about offending anyone that I've held back on talking about things that are important to me when really, they could be important to others reading or they may share a similar view point.

Aside from pointless haters, those who don't share the same view often either refrain from commenting or leave constructive feedback, which I love; it's important to remember that not all negative comments are hate. Maybe that's something that as a blogger, I haven't given others enough credit for all of the time as I've been so afraid of upsetting the apple cart or the pack mentality bullying that I've seen some bloggers receive online, sometimes even from other bloggers (Now come on, where’s the team spirit?!). Part of the worry is that if I feel attacked, as a person I either get upset and withdraw or I can't keep my mouth shut!

Plus size Chunky Knit Bardot Jumper Dress from River Island with Thigh High Boots from ASOS

Realistically, I think we're all grown up enough to be able to appreciate that this blog is just my opinion on my life;influenced bymy circumstancesand it's there for you to take or leave. I'd never hit publish without carefully considering what I had typed first and I think that is a mutual respect and expectation for the comments section too.

It's the same with swearing I guess as some take offence and others don't. There's been many a time that I've wanted to add the oddfuckinto a post but I've held back for fear of a brand not wanting to work with me or offending a person reading my posts.

While swearing isn't necessary and my vocabulary extends far beyond it, if you know me in real life, then you'll know that this extremely PC way of conversing just isn't real for me and that when I'm particularly passionate about something, I do let the odd potty word pop into my lingo.

Does that make me any less intelligent? No of course it doesn't. As a modern woman, I am perfectly capable of exercising my right to swear while being eloquent, fucking professional and writing about important things that I've learned in my life.

WhatLauraLoves Being A Blogger

I'm breaking out of the blogging box, so be prepared; shit is about to get real*!

Just call me Little Miss Sassy Pants!

When was the last time you felt like you had keep your mouth shut and not say what you really thought?

Do you think bloggers should be able to write about what they really think without fear of being shot down?

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*FYI when I say real, what I really mean is I'm just going to chuck the odd post in about saving money, paying off debt, getting healthy and letting go of the past.  I'm not about to turn into the next Prime Minister, don't worry.
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Friday, 27 January 2017

Paul & Joe Pearl Foundation Primer in Sweet Bon Bon Review

Paul & Joe Pearl Foundation Primer in Sweet Bon Bon Review

Next month, Paul & Joe are releasing their Spring 2017 Collection and I couldn't be more excited about it.  Japan have enjoyed an early January release but internationally, Paul & Joe fans have been eagerly awaiting the new launch and the images that have been floating around online have only added to the anticipation!

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the collection, Les Petits Noms d'Amour which celebrates the 15th Anniversary of Paul & Joe Beaute and pick out my favourites.  I wanted to share this one with you in particular before its release as if it takes your fancy, you're going to have to have your bank card at the ready;  the Paul & Joe Pearl Foundation Primer is sure to be a sell out!

The Pearl Foundation Primer is one of my favourite pieces from the new collection because it makes my skin look dewy, healthy and radiant, making it the perfect canvas for making up, without encouraging my oily skin to show its true colours any sooner than it usually does!

Paul & Joe fans may remember a similar looking primer that they released many years ago in the shade (001) Bon Bon which was such a massive hit that they've brought it back but this time, as (002) Sweet Bon Bon.

This style of primer is unlike anything that I've tried before.  It is formulated with water-soluble polymers and lightweight powder particles that burst and merge together with Paul & Joe's Signature when dispensed.  When I first tried out the primer, I unscrewed the pump and tried to squash the pearls; they're actually tougher than you'd think.  Very cool, a unique concept and not a gimmick as the primer works really well.
Paul & Joe Pearl Foundation Primer in Sweet Bon Bon Review

The original Pearl Foundation Primer had pastel shades of lilac, blue, pink and yellow in it which, when combined together, looked milky, a little golden and gave the skin a glow whereas the new Sweet Bon Bon primer is made up of four varying shades of pink pearls which have a beautifully radiant effect on the skin.

Blended with Paul & Joe's Secret D'Or formula, this primer also contains skin loving ingredients such as Orange Flower Water, White Lily Extract, Jojoba Oil and Apricot Extract.

The Sweet Bon-Bon shade is designed to flatter all skin tones which I do think is possible as it doesn't colour the skin so to speak, rather it imparts a radiant glow that leaves the skin looking hydrated, dewy and healthy.

As you'd expect from Paul & Joe, the packaging is stunning, very pretty and oh so feminine; a dressing table perfect glass bottle that enables the pink pearls to be seen, with a vintage inspired pink lid.  There's a touch of Artdeco about it.  A pump dispenses the primer and as it does so, the little pearls are smashed and merge with the clear solution.


Paul & Joe Pearl Foundation Primer in Sweet Bon Bon Review
SHOP Plus Size Camo Shacket
I apply it once I have completed my skincare routine and have applied my SPF for the day; 1 to 2 pumps is all that is required to cover my full face.  The primer feels so lightweight, smooths effortlessly onto my skin and dries down within a minute.

I have oily skin and tend to wear particularly mattifying foundations such as the Clarins Ever Matte Foundation (review here) which often doesn't sit very well on top of a primer.  However it blends really well and sits nicely on top of this one, which is something that I've also found when I've tried it out with my other foundations (Dior, Too Faced and Chanel).   While my skin is oily, it is also dehydrated so this primer is perfect for combatting that.

It has been particularly helpful since I have returned from my Maldives holiday as my skin does feel drier across my forehead, presumably because of the sun.  This is a rarity for me as my skin is generally so oily and I'm so pleased that I had the Pearl Foundation Primer on hand as it has been giving my skin a real boost of hydration, helping my foundation to appear much more even and not cling to the dry patches.

I don't find that the primer prolongs the wear time of my foundation (I rely on choosing a mattifying foundation and setting powder for that) but it doesn't make my skin become shiny or oily any faster than it usually would.  This may sound like a strange thing to mention given that this is a primer and it is intended to be that sandwich layer between the skin and the makeup to create a great base for application and encourage longevity but in the past when I have used hydrating primers on my skin or ones that have left my skin looking dewy, my foundation hasn't lasted as long as usual whereas with the Paul & Joe primer, my makeup lasts as long as it usually does without it.  Of course with the added benefit that my skin looks visibly more hydrated and radiant which stops my base from looking flat. 


Paul & Joe Pearl Foundation Primer in Sweet Bon Bon Review

When the collection launches at the beginning of February, the Paul & Joe Pearl Foundation Primer will be available online at Beauty Bay.

It is a LIMITED EDITION release and it is guaranteed to be a sell out so if you love the sound of it, make sure you keep your eyes peeled when it goes on sale next month.

Paul & Joe products are also stocked on ASOS and Selfridges as well as being available in plenty of other stores; you can check out stockist information here.

The countdown to February 1st is on... will you be the cat who gets the cream?

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Do you think that this primer is so pretty too?  What base products do you like to use?  Can you recommend any Paul & Joe products to me?
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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Limited Edition Elie Saab Le Parfum Eclat D'Or Perfume Review

Limited Edition Elie Saab Le Parfum Eclat D'Or Perfume Review Image

The fragrance that will forever remind me of Christmas 2016 has to be the Elie Saab Le Parfum Eclat D'Or fragrance.

Over the festive period, I didn't stop talking about this beauty on social media as well as in my Luxury Gifts for Women post.  It was a collectors limited edition fragrance which made it highly covetable but frustratingly hard to get a hold of at the same time!

Limited Edition Elie Saab Le Parfum Eclat D'Or Perfume Review Image

If you're a fan of the original Elie Saab Le Parfum fragrance then I'm sure you'd love this one as Eclat D'Or is along the same lines as the original fragrance but it has been given a little sprinkle of Christmas magic.

Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian who came up with the concept of the original Le Parfum scent has teamed up with Elie Saab to reimagine it; adding sweet Christmas notes to it.  Le Parfum Eclat D'Or has the scent of Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Rose Honey, Nectar and Patchouli which combine together to make a truly special fragrance.

Not only that, but the signature bottle shaped has been upgraded with gold facets to make it even more stunning.  I like to keep a perfume bottle out on a side table in my bedroom and this has been the one that I have displayed there over the last couple of months.  Its such an easy to wear fragrance that is perfect for all occasions which makes it a great choice for spritzing on before I head out the door.

This is the ideal daytime scent for me as I do prefer something sexier and stronger to wear on an evening but I'd think that for most people, this would be a perfect all round perfume regardless of the time of day or event.  The overall effect is very elegant, classic and feminine and it is relatively long lasting too.

Limited Edition Elie Saab Le Parfum Eclat D'Or Perfume Review Image

Just like the colour of the bottle would suggest, this perfume sold like gold dust!  The only place that I have ever been able to find it listed for sale online is John Lewis but it has been out of stock now for ages.

I wanted to pop this post together because over the last week a couple of you have messaged me to say that you were going to buy it when I originally put the gift guide post up, waited and now can't find it.  I've looked around online for you and if you google the name of the perfume, there are a couple of sites that come up that have limited numbers in stock; they look like international pharmacy/beauty style websites so I can't be certain of how reliable they are so can't recommend them I'm afraid.  There is currently two bottles on sale on the UK Ebay though so I'd recommend heading there if you weren't able to buy a bottle originally.  I hope that helps!

So the question is, were you one of the lucky ones who were able to snap up one of these gorgeous bottles of perfume?

Do you love Elie Saab fragrances?  Which is your favourite?
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Friday, 20 January 2017

My Top 10 Dubai Pool Bag Essentials

My Top 10 Dubai Pool Bag Essentials Image

This winter, I jetted off to Dubai to celebrate my friends 30th birthday.  It was a bit of a whirlwind trip as we had lots planned while we were there but I did get a couple of days to chill out around the pool at the Habtoor Grand Hotel.

I'm a bit of a seasoned pro when it comes to packing my pool bag these days but its out of a need to be organised rather than a want to carry everything but the kitchen sink.

Today I thought I'd share with you my top 10 items to take with you to the pool on your next holiday!

1. Beach Bag
Well it might seem like a bit of an obvious one but you're going to be needing a beach bag.  My recommendation would be a tote as they're multipurpose and can be used for shopping and days out while you're away as well as when you're at the pool/beach.  Generally they're really roomy and quite unstructured on the inside so you can throw all of your essentials inside without feeling like you're playing a game of Tetris.  Opt for a neutral shade that'll match go with all of your beachwear and cover ups, then you're not feeling the need to take more than one with you!

I bought this white laser cut one from River Island in May, just before I went on holiday to Turkey.  I love the gold detailing on it; white and gold is the ultimate luxe looking summer combo for me.  What I like about this bag is that it is really roomy, the straps are long so it fits comfortable over my shoulder and there's a separate zip up bag inside that you can use to keep your valuables in.  It detaches so if you're leaving your things next to your sun lounger when you pop to the restaurant for lunch, that's fine because you can take the smaller bag inside with you.  The bag also has pull in sides which is great for changing the shape of the bag if I take it out shopping with me.

Taking a tote bag away with you as a beach bag is also great for if you overstuff your suitcase with souvenirs as you can use the tote as a large hand luggage bag and transfer some of your things into it to reduce the weight in the suitcase (as I'm sure you can tell, I hate paying excess baggage charges!).

2. Sunglasses
I couldn't be without my sunglasses when I'm around the pool.  Aside from protecting my eyes, I don't like the idea of squinting and encouraging wrinkles to form on my face prematurely!  I took two pairs with me on this trip, a Fiorelli pair and the Polaroid sunnies that I reviewed in this post.  They're both oversized, chic and great at hiding a late night.

3. Mobile Phone
Listing a mobile phone here actually goes against my wishes as I actually love to go on holiday and not have the bloody thing anywhere near me.  In fact, I'm going away again soon and I'm not even taking it with me at all; it'll remain on my bedside table until I return home!

However for this trip, I did need my iPhone as I had to do a little bit of work while I was away.  December is a pretty bad time for me to go on holiday as work is so busy but I couldn't miss celebrating my friends birthday.

If you don't mind not having a tech free vacation, then an iphone is a great item to keep in your pool bag.  I have lots of apps on mine so was able to enjoy some time listening to music on iTunes and to my latest book on Audible, My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry.  I've been subscribed to them since the summer and I am hooked but I'll save more on that for another post.

4. Kindle
I bought my Kindle YEARS ago now and purposely got the bottom of the range style one, not that £49 is cheap but it is a lot cheaper than the other Kindles that are out there.  I chose it because I didn't want one with the ability to watch movies or play games on it as I knew that if I had those options on the Kindle then I'd select those rather than reading.

I read so much more and so much faster with my Kindle.  I save the names of books that I fancy reading into a book wishlist on my phone and then before I travel, I look over it and load up my Kindle with a selection of books from my list before I go.  I also check Amazon regularly to see if any of the books that are on my wishlist appear in their sale as they often have some fantastic titles for only 99p.

5. Camera
My fourth pool essential would have to be my camera.  I love taking photos and documenting my trip to look back on in years to come and for my blog of course.  I have a Canon S120 that I bought a couple of years ago and it is ideal for taking snaps on the go.


6. Zippy coin purse
Don't let money and cards float around in your bag.  Get yourself a zippy coin purse like mine from Rebecca Minkoff and you'll be able to keep all of your notes, change and cards in one place.  This is the Betty Pouch and it comes in lots of different styles; I think they change them every season.  There's a key ring inside  too so you can keep your keys securely fastened on it and zipped inside so you'll not be fishing about in your bag trying to find them!

I particularly like the Jetsetter style in grey and the Peace, Love & Happiness style in black.

7. Water
Staying hydrated is important regardless of where you are but even more so if you're lying out, baking in the sun.  Make sure you're carrying a big bottle with you and sip it regularly.

8. Hair Clip
If you're anything like me, then you'll hate having your hair down when you're sunbathing, swimming in the pool or enjoying lunch in the sun at the pool bar.  Get it up and out of your way using one of the big jaw clips that you can pick up really cheaply in most shops that sell hair products.

9. Travel Pillow
Many hotels will supply beach towels but not many supply a pillow to rest your head on.  If, like me, you require a pillow to support your head and neck when you're relaxing on a lounger, then I'd highly suggest picking up a Go Travel Pillow Duo.  They're available online but I got mine in the airport, as did my husband on a previous trip.  Whats great about this travel pillow is that it is filled with little beans and it is convertible.  You can have it as a traditional travel pillow, horseshoe shape which is ideal for on the place and you can also unzip it, shake it around and zip it up again and it converts into a rectangular shaped pillow.

Both variations are very comfortable but the rectangular shape is ideal for taking down to the pool with you.  Pop it under your towel at the top of your sun lounger and you'll have a comfy pillow to rest your head and neck on.

My Top 10 Dubai Pool Bag Essentials Image

10. Wipe Clean Zip Up Bag
My final pool bag essential is a zip up bag that you can fill with your SPF products.  Often tanning oils and creams can leak which can ruin other things that are in your bag so to keep everything separate, store your suntan lotions in a separate, zip up bag (preferably one thats waterproof or at the least, wipe clean).

I have this pink one from Accessorize which I was given as a gift from Nair, my favourite hair removal cream brand, ages ago and I've used it ever since.  I think it was actually supposed to be a clutch bag but it serves this purpose really well.  I keep all of my lotions and potions zipped inside and take this bag out with me around the pool; that way, everything is one place, I'm not hunting around in the bottom of my bag for a bottle and I'm not getting my main bag dirty with oily hands.

Of course its whats inside this bag that really matters as protecting your skin with SPF is so important to ensure that you don't burn.  Find out which sun protection products I took with me to Dubai in this post all about how to protect your skin on a winter holiday.  I'll be writing lots more travel related beauty posts this year as holidays and exploring other countries are some of my favourite things to do in life!

What are your pool bag essentials? Let me know in the comments!
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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

How To Protect Your Skin On A Winter Sun Holiday

How To Protect Your Skin On A Winter Sun Holiday with La Roche Posay, Caribbean Breeze, Kerastase, Soltan, Clarins and Garnier Ambre Solaire Image

For years, I have been an avid reader of beauty blogs, not being content with just writing one myself.  One thing that is always a common theme with blogs is the influx of travel and sun care related posts during the summer months but there's a serious lack of them during the UK winter time and especially over Christmas.  

But why is that?  Granted there are the most holiday makers during our summer but there are so many people who jet away for a little winter sun too and on WhatLauraLoves, I want to remember those lucky people!  It makes sense really, to go away while its freezing here, not to mention those who opt for a skiing holiday where the sun can be really bright and powerful.

I know that so many of you have been away this winter as you've tweeted me while I've been freezing my socks off, sat in the cold over the new year!  Mr WLL and I have been to many destinations during the wintertime over the years from Bruges to Amsterdam, Kenya to the Mauritius and the Maldives and from Egypt to Tenerife, so we're quite used to packing now.

The one area of my suitcase that I don't compromise on is my suncare.  Protecting your skin in the sun is of the upmost importance and while it has always been important to me, as I am getting older, I am finding that it is something that I'm becoming more and more focused on when I'm packing for my holidays.

Having a tan for vanity reasons is not worth sacrificing your skin health for, in terms of both the risks of skin cancer and premature skin ageing.  I LOVE to look tanned and I do love sun bathing but nowadays I wear a far higher factor than I ever have because I really don't want to burn my skin and i'm a lot more careful of what I'm doing when I'm in the sun too; making sure I apply enough sunscreen and often enough, moving into the shade or wearing a top in the pool when the sun is too hot and bright, etc.

I've tried out so many different brands of SPF over the years and I definitely know what my favourite types of products and formulas are.  In the photo above, you can see which products I took away to Dubai with me on my most recent winter sun holiday.


How To Protect Your Skin On A Winter Sun Holiday Image

First of all, I always pack a bottle of the Soltan Head & Hair SPF 30 which is an invisible sun protection spray that is specifically designed to protect your hair and scalp.  I spray this all over my hair, along my hairline and right into my roots to ensure that my scalp is well protected from the sun.  With being so blonde and having such fine hair, its really important that I protect my head with SPF
and a hat as it does have a tendency to burn which is so painful and then peel which looks unsightly!

The Soltan Head & Hair is also designed to prevent hair damage and colour fade but I use it more for its SPF 30 properties.  To protect my hair against damage, I have been using the Kérastase Soleil CC Crème on holiday for the last year.  At first, I didn't like it as I thought that it made my hair feel dry and crispy and I was just using it up but when I was in Dubai, I used less and brushed it through my hair and it did feel better than it had done before.  It is a multi purpose cream that protects and repairs the hair while adding shine and radiance, which I definitely think that it does.  Its antioxidant UV filters protect the hair from sun damage.

Next up is sun protection for the face and I'd always recommend using an SPF thats specifically designed for the skin on your face and a separate one for the body.  While in Dubai, I did sunbathe but I also went out and about during the day and sat outside at brunch so I opted for the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Tinted Dry Touch Gel Cream in SPF50.  This is a very high SPF within a tinted formula that is similar to a lightweight foundation.

It is a gel cream formula that smooths onto the skin and once applied, it feels as though it really sticks to the skin which makes it perfect for both oily and dry skin types.  It is also very water resistant which is great if you're a sunbather who likes to be in and out of the pool or if you tend to sweat somewhat while you're in the heat.

It has a dry touch, non greasy texture and it is actually great at improving the appearance of the skin, if you're someone who is a bit self conscious when not wearing makeup.  Personally, I'm fine with going makeup free but the coverage is lovely for days where you're in the sun and at a party such as the brunches in Dubai, etc.

Regardless of whether you're looking for something with a tint to it or not, SPF50 is fantastic at preventing you from burning and protecting your skin in the sun.  Whenever I go away, I always take at least an SPF 30 or 50 with me.

Another essential to protect your skin on a winter sun holiday is an SPF lip balm.  I always opt for the highest one that I can find and at the moment, I'm using the Caribbean Breeze SPF50 lip balm.  I've used lip balms from so many different brands in the past; as long as it has a high factor, I'll try it out! I love the Ultrasun Lipbalm the most.

For protecting the skin on my body, I tend to opt for spray oil formulas.  I don't really like a white cream because I find it a bit of a faff on, although worth it!  I tend to take a dry oil spray like the Garnier Ambre Solaire Dry Mist with me in an SPF 50 for days where I'm actually going out and about, perhaps on a trip, because it doesn't leave any residue on the skin and doesn't stain or mark my clothes.

When sunbathing, I like to use an oil, again with a high SPF.  I'm only really interested in SPF 30 and 50 these days.  If I go to a destination that isn't too hot then I might drop down to a 20 but that's it really.  Remember, the high factor doesn't stop you from tanning, it just stops you from burning!

The SPF oil that I took to Dubai with me was the Clarins Sun Care Oil Spray in SPF 30 with UVA/UVB protection.  This is absolutely gorgeous because it feels like a luxurious, nourishing treat for the skin all the while it is protecting it from burning.

It has a none greasy formula that spritzes effortlessly onto the skin.  It contains Vitamin E, Aloe Vera and Nyamplung Oil to soothe and nourish the skin.  It leaves my skin feeling hydrated and very well protected.  I love that its clear because it means that I can just spritz a load on to ensure my body is covered but I don't have to spend too much time rubbing it in (great for if you're spritzing your own back too!).  I absolutely adore Clarins sun care and have used many of their products in the past.  I'll be picking up another couple of bottles soon ready for my next trip away and a tube of the face SPF too.

I much prefer using oil formulas compared to lotions.  I know that they're all great at protecting the skin but I like using an SPF oil formula because I never burn with an oil.  I find that I get a deeper tan without burning or noticeably damaging my skin.  I think its because my skin still feels moist with the none-greasy oil on it.  I'd highly recommend giving one a try on your next holiday.

Regardless of your preferred formula, make sure your skin is adequately protected if you're going on holiday this winter, or summer for that matter!  Opt for the higher factors available in your preferred SPF and make sure that they offer both UVA and UVB protection.  Reapply more often than you think and always after you've been in water.

I'd suggest taking a big t shirt or cover up with you too for the pool should the sun be particularly hot.  You'll always be more susceptible to burning more in water because of the glare and reflection off the water so while a t shirt might not look glamorous, it will save you from burning to a crisp.  I've experienced this over the years and it really is ridiculous.  Don't do it!

Be sure to take a wide brimmed hat with you and sunglasses to protect your head, face, eyes and shoulders and make sure to take some shade when the sun is at its highest and hottest during the day.

You can achieve a beautiful bronzed glow without burning your skin and causing premature skin ageing and risking skin cancer.

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Clarins Ever Matte Foundation in 103 Ivory for Oily Skin Review

Clarins Ever Matte Foundation in 103 Ivory for Oily Skin Review Image

Having oily skin certainly makes choosing foundation tricky.  Aside from my lippy, I'm not one for touch ups on the go so when I apply my makeup, I like it to last all day long.  This is particularly important for me when I'm heading down to London for work as I'll often be out from 8am until 3am the next morning so wearing a foundation that slides off within a few hours really doesn't cut the mustard for me.

Over the years, I've tried so many different foundations.  The best I have found for oily skin are the Estee Lauder Double Wear (review here) which was great for when I went on a lot of nights out as it is full coverage as well as long lasting, Estee Lauder Double Wear Light (review here) which is my favourite of the two as it is lighter in formula but still long lasting and the Makeup Atelier Paris Waterproof Foundation which was awesome but difficult to get hold of.

Last spring, I had been using a few different foundations from Chanel, Dior and Too Faced but by the time the summer came along, I really needed something that was going to be a lot more mattifying in order to keep my skin shine free through the warmer months.

Clarins Ever Matte Foundation in 103 Ivory for Oily Skin Review Image


It was during a Skin Analysis with Nikita on the counter at Clarins, that I first discovered the Ever Matte Foundation.  I'd asked for suggestions on long lasting, mattifying foundations and as an oily girl herself, she suggested this one and gave me a sample pot.  I was matched to shade 103 Ivory which is absolutely PERFECT for me, I don't think I've ever had a foundation matched to me that has suited my skin tone so well.

I took it on holiday with me to Icmeler in Turkey and was instantly impressed by how amazing my skin looked when wearing it and how well it lasted in the heat.  I bought a bottle of it as soon as I got home and have been using it ever since!

I have taken it on a further two holidays too because with the packaging being nude plastic with a gold screw off lid it is very travel friendly.  A pump isn't needed as the foundation is dispensed through squeezing the tube which is really handy but I have found that as you get towards the last quarter of the bottle, it is a little harder to get out of the bottle than I'd like.  While the packaging doesn't feel particularly luxe, the foundation inside is absolutely gorgeous.


Clarins Ever Matte Foundation in 103 Ivory for Oily Skin Review Image

The Clarins Ever Matte Foundation is their oil-free skin balancing foundation for combination/oily skin types.  It comes in 9 different shades which isn't the widest selection out there but they do have a lot of bases covered and the shade that I have is absolutely spot on.

I apply it using a buffing brush and find that it blends seamlessly into my skin.  Usually, I wear a primer underneath my foundation but I don't when I'm wearing this one; firstly because it doesn't need a primer at all but also because I find that it doesn't sit very well on top of any of the primers that I have.  When used alone, the result is absolutely gorgeous; smooth and flawless skin.

Clarins Ever Matte Foundation is lightweight in texture yet very mattifying.  It doesn't make my skin feel dried out or tight when I first apply or wear it but my skin is noticeably mattified and it takes away the shine from my skin which is exactly what I am looking for in a foundation for oily skin.  I do think that it would definitely be too drying for dry skin types though which is understandable!

This is the perfect formula for me because I don't like feeling of wearing a very heavy foundation but I do want something thats really going to mattify my skin.  I love that it makes my skin look perfected and flawless and it doesn't emphasise the larger pores on my cheeks like some foundations do.

The formula has Clarins plant-based Skin Detox complex which helps aims to tighten pores and regulate sebum production.  It contains Tanka powder which helps to keep the skin matte, softened and purified as well as mattifying and soothing Carthusian Pink Extract.  It has a light scent that reminds me of cucumber although it isn't apparent on the skin.


Clarins Ever Matte Foundation in 103 Ivory for Oily Skin Review Image


Once applied, the Clarins Ever Matte Foundation has a very natural finish on the skin with a light to medium coverage depending on how much you apply as it is buildable.  It is really long lasting and keeps me looking matte for far longer than other foundations I've used.  If I had to liken it to any other mattifying foundation then I would compare it to the Estee Lauder Double Wear Light so if you like that one then I'm certain that you would like this one too.  I'd say that the Clarins Ever Matte is better because it is even more mattifying.

It doesn't feel heavy on my skin or oxidise throughout the day.  My other makeup products sit very well on top of it and look even more perfected thanks to the smooth, even coverage that the Clarins foundation has created on my skin.

If you have combination or oily skin and are looking for a foundation that will give you a flawless, natural finish that'll last all day then I'd highly recommend the Clarins Ever Matte Foundation.

If you're in the North East, then pop in to see Nikita and the other girls on the counter at Clarins in Fenwick, Newcastle.  She's my go-to girl for all things Clarins because she REALLY knows the products inside out.

There's plenty of free counter services that you can book in for on 0191 230 5033 so you'll be able to find out exactly which skincare and makeup products are going to be best for your skin and lifestyle and you'll be able to try them out before buying them too!

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