Friday 26 December 2014

Bloggers Love Hub: Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle HAUL!

It's been a long time coming since I did this post, I've been yearning to talk about all these treats I got from the exclusive Bloggers Love Hub events which connect brands to bloggers and allow us to discover amazing products from top-notch brands within the industry. I'll admit that I like to take my time with products first before I review them so I can give you the most accurate opinions possible (although I moved house for the first time too and I now realise why it's one of the top stresses within life... ugh). 

Hope everyone had an amazing Christmas! Now's the time to really think about changing up your regular products and routines, especially if you feel the winter has had nasty effects on skin and hair. Hopefully I can help you out a bit with this post! 

So as you can see I was lucky enough to try out some incredible products, some of which I have actually decided to make regular use of in my routine. I'll stop yapping now so we can get started with the reviews! 

I've heard about Slendertone for a long time now because it's such a huge, established brand with a well-developed, loyal following across the world. I received the Slendertone Abs as I am definitely most self-conscious around my tummy area. Although I haven't used it much yet, I plan to make this part of my regular lifestyle as I get into a proper exercise routine again with a healthier diet. People have seen so many good results with this so it's only right to give it a go and to do it properly, several times a week to see some results. I will be posting updates on social media as I follow my journey with Slendertone to let you guys know how I get on. The product itself is perfect as everything is so compact and it comes with easy-to-follow instructions, as well as abdominal exercises which can help alongside, as well as a planner to help you organise your usage and goals. Whether you're going on holiday or simply want something to help tone your abs, this is definitely something to try out. As they say on the site, 'Summer bodies are built in Winter'! 

I absolutely fell in love with the statement necklace I received from Bow Boutique! It is so so so colourful and vibrant with various stones, including hints of aqua, pink, yellow and indigo. It looks gorgeous on and creates such a sophisticated and glamorous look, especially with simple evening dresses such as a black shift dress. Wear it with something simple in black or white to let the colours stand out and do the talking. I'm all about statement necklaces recently because they make life so much easier, especially when you don't want to think about wearing lots of jewellery pieces and embellished this, embellished that. All you have to do is put a necklace like this on and you're good to go. Amazing. 

Umberto Giannini has ruled the hair world for years upon years now, as I'm sure you all know. I tried the Ultimate Curls Nourishing Oil from them and I was really impressed with how it worked for my hair. Firstly, it smells absolutely insane with a rich coconut scent. Coconut oil has worked wonders for hair forever and I used to have it put on my hair all the time as a child so it's no wonder that everyone is reverting back to the natural oils out there as they are the ones which really do the best job in all honesty. This product is great for helping your curls stay in place and to give you some extra oomph. It works for all curl types, small or big so you can use it all the time, no mater what look you're going for. 

This is probably one of the products I was most impressed with: Yours Truly Organics Face Balm. Infused with daisy extract, it smells beautifully and it's very refreshing seeing as the brand prides itself on using organic products only. This works wonders, absolute wonders. It's helped with my oil control and minimised breakouts. I try to use it twice a day to get the best results but usually can only remember to apply once after I cleanse my face. It's very rich and a little goes a long way which I love. The great thing about this is that you can use it as a moisturiser but it also works fantastically as a primer/base for your makeup so you don't have to worry about using lots of different products. I have already been in touch with Yours Truly Organics to tell them how impressed I was as I'm going to be using this regularly and replacing my Clinique 3-step System which I have used for almost two years now. I honestly feel like natural and organic is the way to go, especially for skincare. If you don't believe me, try it out and compare the difference! 

Going with the natural trend, I was also introduced to Zuzka, a natural skincare brand. They gave me the Coconut Cream Cleanser to try out and I have been using this a lot too. Honestly, the difference you see with natural products is well worth it. It has a creamy consistency and yes, this smells incredible too! I apply it all over my face when it's dry and wash it all off in the shower. This also helps with oil control and it has really complimented my sensitive skin well as it is so delicate. I would recommend this if you are looking for something to use regularly everyday and to take travelling with you as the pump is so convenient for easy applications. 

Next, I have been using Sniffy Wiffy's Hand Cream in Japanese Plum. As you can tell, I have already started pumping this on my hands regularly but let me tell you, the smell of this is so gorgeous and sensual that it's almost like perfume... but for your hands! In addition to the scent, the product works well to moisturise hands and keep them soft when they can often become sore and rough during these colder months. What drew me to Sniffy Wiffy the most was their incredible goal to increase awareness about breast cancer. On every label, Sniffy Wiffy puts easy-to-follow instructions on how to check for signs. Now, this is honestly something that is so important to know and to incorporate this into everyday products is such an innovative and intelligent idea. Who says beauty can't be ethical and morally conscious? Everything is handmade too so again, you don't have to worry about what you're putting on your skin. Huge props to Sniffy Wiffy!

You may have already seen me mention this on Instagram but I have fallen in love with In Situ Cosmetics and their exciting new concept. They are one of the most innovative skincare brands I have personally come across because they can personalise and customise products just for you. Literally, you can choose what you want and what purpose. For me, I chose an eye balm to help me relax and to be applied at night. The best thing about it all? They even put your name on the product! These make such good gifts too as people love to get presents that are customised these days so why not apply that to skincare too? 

For makeup, these two lipsticks are from ColourChase who make cosmetics which are brightly coloured. From the swatches, you can tell that they are highly pigmented and the colour payoff is just insane, probably the best I've seen. The blue is definitely very daring and bold but if you want to try something different or have a little fun with colour, you should try it out. Experimenting can be great, you never know what colours work for you. You may surprise yourself! 

Saturday 20 December 2014

Wingz: Perfect Arm Coverage for the Festive Season!

When I first heard about Wingz I was absoultely over the moon as I have recently been so so so self-conscious about everything including my arms.

I'm a UK 14 on average so yes I'm not huge but I am working on going back to a 12. That being said, I'm such a pro-curves girl and I believe everyone has the right to look as they please.

To me, curves are more appealing than being skinny any day but I can understand that sometimes as curvy women, we do have days where we reallllly want to wear a specific outfit that may be sleeveless and it just so happens that we don't exactly feel so happy about baring our arms that day.

Wingz provides an easy solution with their huge range of styles, all you have to do is slip on a pair underneath your outfit and over your bra. Then you can pretty much wear anything on top! It is literally such a convenient product and I urge you to try them out as they can be worn in so many different ways PLUS they're seriously affordable for the quality you get.

As Christmas and New Years rapidly approaches, everyone brings out the cocktail dresses which can be a bit daunting but with the help of Wingz, it's one (really big) problem ticked off the list. I'm wearing the Stretch Lace Full Sleeve Black Wingz which are absolutely gorgeous. Black lace is classic and never goes out of style which I love. They honestly are just so flattering that I could have worn about 10 outfits in this post because they looked good with so many dresses I tried on!

To give you an idea of the versatility they provide, I started by wearing the Wingz with a lace dress. Yes, at first this seems a bit risky but actually the contrast lace colours worked really nicely together. Teamed with a bright blue skater dress, I think the Wingz actually help the colour of my dress pop even more!

For a more subtle look, I also teamed my Wingz with a leather dress and statement necklace too. This equally works well as black and black will naturally always go together but it doesn't mean you can't experiment around with different coloured clothing too.

For my last look, I went with an elegant, satin and mesh dress which looked great but it really over-exaggerated my upper arms so the Wingz came in really handy as they genuinely look part of the dress and you can't tell the difference at all!

It's no wonder Wingz was featured on Dragon's Den as they are truly so innovative and can easily become a wardrobe staple in no time. They cover UK sizes 6-28 so any figured woman can look stunning in no time. We all have body worries but there are solutions out there and they're so fashionable too so you don't have to compromise on style. Perfect!

Saturday 13 December 2014

Harley Street Treatments: Microdermabrasion Review (From a Newbie!)

Disclaimer: Sponsored review

Okay so I've heard a lot about microdermabrasion and I've seen the word used a lot in the blogging sphere but I've never really had a chance to check out what it's all about. I knew it was a beauty treatment and a pretty hyped one at that but as the popularity of it grew, I also grew more interested. 

As I've recently expanded into beauty, I'm definitely a lot more interested in treatments out there, especially those that focus on healthy skin. I'm learning that nothing is more important than having a good base to work on and not taking care of your skin is simply the worst thing you can do. As I have been moving away from the blasé attitude towards makeup removal (i.e. a 5 second scrub with a makeup wipe) and my everyday regime (i.e. some cleanser and a bit of moisturiser slapped on only to use a heap of foundation afterwards), I'm starting to not only take my regime more seriously but I'm also starting to consider all the options out there to help me keep my skin on track. 

For my first ever microdermabrasion treatment I went to Harley Street Treatments who I cannot recommend enough if you're thinking about this or other non-surgical treatments. They are highly established and have staff which are so well-trained and experts in their field. I think with any type of skin treatment, it's better to go for quality and if that's what you're looking for, do check them out. 

Right, so on with the microdermabrasion treatment... Hopefully this post gives you an idea of what to expect and how I found the experience, which I think is especially helpful to beginners as it's always good to get an idea of what you're getting yourself into beforehand. 

As you can see, the clinic itself is beautiful and spotless. As you walk in, the atmosphere is very pleasant and everything looks tidy, professional and comfortable. The staff greet you with smiles and make you feel at ease right away. 

Once you go into the treatment room, the ambience is mellow and calming. Your worries are put to bed as a specialist will guide you through your skincare worries and concerns, explaining to you step by step what the treatment is about and the procedure that will occur. Any questions you have are answered perfectly. I think this is probably the most important stage as the more knowledgeable and relaxed you are about the treatment, the better. 

Microdermabrasion is a big step up from a normal facial. It is a popular resurfacing treatment which literally helps out with almost any skincare problem you have including acne, blackheads, scars, large pores and roughness. By using crystals, infared laser light and suction, the treatment deeply exfoliates the skin and gets right into the layers which cannot be done otherwise. 

Firstly, my face was cleansed with CNC cleanser which is creamy and contains aloe vera and macadamia nut oil, to name a few ingredients which help to replenish the skin. Following this, CNC toner was used to help combat my oily skin and then the crystal vacuum was used all over the face. Initially, this can feel harsh on the skin and a bit painful but the process does not take all that long and it certainly isn't unbearable at all. 

After my face was wiped, the extraction process started. This was the most painful part but honestly when you realise what's happening, you will learn to bear it. I did have quite a few breakouts at the time and all the areas were covered so the more you have, the more extraction will be required. However, I will say that my aesthetician was incredibly good at helping me through the process by keeping up a humorous and light conversation with me. 

She acknowledged the fact that I might experience pain which is good as you want to know it's expected and natural. To get to the surface of each breakout/area of concern will hurt but I think it was probably because it was my first time that I found it pretty painful. I know people who do microdermabrasion regularly so I'm sure it's really not that bad! Once you see the results at the end it is ALL worth it, trust me! 

Following this, Medik8 C-Tetra serum containing Vitamin C was applied to my face and at this point, your face does sting but you won't have to experience it for long as a clay mask is applied right away and after a few minutes, you will feel your skin start to cool down a lot until all the stinging is gone.

After 10 minutes, the mask is removed and Red Alert is applied which helps to combat the initial redness, as well as some moisturiser.

Once it's all done, your skin will naturally be more red than normal but in all honesty, I expected it to be worse than it was and I didn't feel so bad walking out the clinic. Your skin feels renewed because it literally IS renewed! Once you think about the treatment and what's actually happened, you feel so much better about the state of your skin because you know that all the issues have been tackled straight-on.

I saw an immediate difference. My skin was 10x smoother, my breakouts were very minimal, my skin was less oily and I was a lot more confident about my skin overall. It makes a big difference when you're happy with the state of your skin and I believe it really does help to uplift your mood.

I would recommend everyone to try microdermabrasion as it is worth it in the end, especially as Harley Street Treatments make you feel at ease throughout the whole time and they really do a good job at what they do, truthfully.

Harley Street Treatments are based in Bayswater, London.
Follow them on Twitter: @HSTreatments

Tuesday 9 December 2014

BanyanCraft: Stylish + ETHICAL Jewellery! + 20% OFF!

As you may recall, I've been very much into jewellery recently, especially statement pieces which I can wear over simpler outfits. Less stress and less hassle if you ask me.

I definitely think that jewellery is important and it is SO incredibly fun to mix things up and try different styles as there is always something new out there, yet I think we often forget about where our jewellery comes from.

This isn't limited to jewellery at all. It applies to clothing too. However, much jewellery we purchase and wear is usually produced under unethical conditions that brands are often either unaware of or choose to be in denial about, as I recently learnt at an event at the London Ethnic event at the House of Commons.

So why should WE avoid it? Admittedly, it is quite hard to find out the background of all the pieces we consume. Where would you turn, who would you speak to? We can't always be ethical consumers but what we can do is try and support brands who specifically have goals to support workers and the conditions they are under.

This is why I'm so happy to be working with BanyanCraft, a brand based in India who have a deep-rooted cause embedded in their company. They aim to change the way the industry operates by buying and selling directly from artisans who handcraft their beautiful pieces. Often these talented artisans are neglected and aren't paid nearly enough profit for their efforts. I was pleased to know that BanyanCraft takes this into consideration and really aims to combat these issues head-on so that we can feel less guilty about what we wear. 

Their range is huge and they have some very stylish and intricate pieces as well as statement and glam ones to wear for special nights out. Here I am wearing the Ringlets Charms Necklace which is a layered necklace full of character. It really stands out on any outfit but I chose to wear it on a baby blue shift dress with black heels to accentuate its statement power. You can choose how to wear this necklace as the layers can be shifted around. 

As a special treat, you can get the necklace I'm wearing with a huge 20% off! Simply enter the following code at checkout: XC28WFE14CKX

Although it looks heavy, it is far from it! It's very light-weight and easy-to-wear. I would say it would go best with something plain and non-patterened as this really does catch some attention.

I absolutely love the packaging it comes in as this can make a huge difference to the buying experience. As soon as you open your necklace, you get a lovely note reminding you of the importance of your purchase... how thoughtful!

Coming from an Indian background myself, I really do appreciate the concept of BanyanCraft and I would recommend anyone who wants to purchase some lovely jewellery whilst giving back to the world to try them out. They ship internationally too so no excuses!