Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Boots Beauty Box | Skincare On A Budget

affordable skincare if you're on a budget

Before you get too excited, I want to start by saying that Boots are not launching a monthly subscription beauty box - but they really really should, don’t cha think?! It would be incredibly popular and from the feedback I got on Twitter, it would press all the right buttons with beauty fans.

What they have done here is curated a box of beauty products which they send to a review panel. From what I can gather, Boots have been sending these boxes out for quite some time, and I have seen them pop up on blogs before. But as it stands, Boots are not entering in to the monthly beauty box subscription business. 

This edition of the #BootsBeautyBox contains skincare from Boots own brand, they equipped me with all I need for daily and weekly cleanse. As regular readers know, I have tried many skincare products so it was interesting to see how Boots own brand compares. They're all very affordable - all under £5 and with many of them currently half price, so if you’re on a budget, check out these following items which are all Boots own brand:

Cleansing Wipes, £1.50
As these were included in the box, I’m going to quickly touch up on it. I used facial wipes in the past - I was a lazy student back then and skincare was the least of my priorities - but I haven’t used them for years because firstly, looking after my skin is really important to me now and secondly, face wipes really strip my skin. I find them really drying and they really don't do much in terms of cleansing. These do say ‘moisturising - for dry skin’ on the front of the package, though. I won’t be using it on my face but I will be keeping them for when I’m wiping swatches from the back of my hand. 

affordable skincare

Botanics Micellar 3-in-1 Cleansing Solution All Bright, £2.99
(shop link)
Micellar water are all the rage these days, every skincare brand is launching their own. I haven’t got on well with Micellar waters, sometimes it leaves a film which makes my skin feel strange and unclean. I won't be replacing Micellar cleansing water with a cream cleanser but it is extremely convenient. This one dissolves make-up, tones and removes impurities. The brightening ingredient is hibiscus which has a natural alpha hydroxyl acid that acts as an exfoliator to leave skin smoother and brighter. 

Tea Tree & Witch Hazel With Active Charcoal Deep Cleansing Facial Scrub, £4.59
(shop link)
Anything with tea tree and witch hazel in is a winner with me because both ingredients help to prevents and reduces spots. This particles in this is quite abrasive and rough so it’s probably not suitable for those with sensitive skin. It felt harsh on my face but I might use this for my arms and legs to prep my skin before applying fake tan, so all is not lost!

3-Minute Clay Mask, £1.50
(shop link)
A cucumber scented clay mask that is suitable for all skin types. It’s quite a small tube so it might be quite handy to take on holiday if you can’t live without a weekly face mask. As it is a clay mask, I expected it to dry and tighten skin but you only leave it on for 3 minutes so it doesn’t give it a chance to sit on your skin long enough for the clay to set. It leaves skin feeling soft but it does contain parabens so I won’t be repurchasing this, but £1.50 for a face mask is an absolute bargain!

skincare on a budget

Simply Sensitive Day Moisturiser with SPF 15, £3.49
If you have sensitive skin, the Simply Sensitive range is worth looking at. It doesn't contain fragrance and it's colour-free. It contains aloe vera which is what the moisturiser smells of. It's such a bonus that it contains SPF 15 too. 

Botanics Hydrating Eye Cream Radiant Youth, usually £8.99 but is currently £4.49
(shop link)
Eye creams are really expensive and I can’t afford to keep buying the same one so while I save up, it would be a good idea to go for an eye cream that doesn’t cost as much. Botanics Hydrating Eye Cream feels cooling on skin so it wakes up the eyes in the morning. Creams can sometimes be too greasy around the eye area but this one isn’t too bad. The active ingredient is Gingko which is packed with antioxidants to protect skin from environmental stresses.

Skin Clear Ultra Rapid Action Spot Gel, £4.99
(shop link)
This is my favourite product out of this lot, I highly recommend it. I always have spot treatments on hand, my all time fave is Burt’s Bees Blemish Stick, but Skin Clear Ultra Rapid Action Spot Gel is a fraction of the price. It’s a fast acting gel that promises to work immediately, reducing the size of spots within 2 hours. 


Monday, 29 June 2015

A Foolproof Recipe For The Lightest Chocolate Cake

In the past, I’ve not been very successful in baking chocolate cake. Not even from those pre-mixed packets where all you do is add eggs and water. What could possibly go wrong? I know, right?! But I distinctly remember the last time I baked a chocolate cake, the middle sank and the whole thing ended up as heavy as a brick. You could have killed someone with it. If not by consumption, then be lobbing it right at their head. It was truly inedible. 

Not to be disheartened, I decided to try again. I was recommended a recipe for chocolate cake that seemed easy and foolproof (two words I like to hear when it comes to baking!). Kitchenware e-tailer, Silver Mushroom, sent me the dry mixture in a Kilner Jar and all I had to do was add milk, oil and eggs. It can be quite a nice idea to store the dry mixture in Kilner Jars so that if you have a sudden urge to bake, the prep time is reduced! It only took me 5 minutes to prepare and 35 minutes to bake this cake! Of course, if you wish, you can measure everything out as you go along (ingredients listed below). And I can confirm that this time, the chocolate cake went very well! I ended up with a lovely, fluffy, chocolate flavoured sponge! 

If you want a quick and easy recipe for a light chocolate cake, here’s one for you to bookmark!

175g self-raising flour
2tsp cocoa powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
150ml sunflower oil
150ml semi-skimmed milk
2tsp golden syrup
60g white chocolate (for topping)

1. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and add sugar to a bowl

2. In a microwave, warm the golden syrup for 10-20 seconds on low heat

3. Add the eggs, milk, sunflower oil and warmed golden syrup to the bowl

4. Fold the mixture, then beat with large spoon until smooth

5. Pour the mixture in to a cake tin that has been lined with greaseproof paper and bake in the oven for 35 minutes at 180 degrees. Alternatively, you can place the mixture into cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees.

6. The cake should rise in the oven and it might crack on the top. After 35 minutes, remove cake from oven and wait for the cake to cool. Carefully remove from cake tin. 

7. Chocolate Topping (optional): Melt 60g of white chocolate and use a small fork or butter knife to drizzle it over the top of the cake. As you can see from how mine turned out, it doesn't have to look neat!

There we go! That's it! The world's easiest recipe for chocolate cake! I got 16 square out of this but it is of course entirely up to you what you do, it's such a versatile recipe! You can bake it in a round tin and make a pretty decorated cake out of it, or you could go for the cupcake option. Or perhaps slice it in bigger squares and eat it with custard! 
chocolate cake recipe

Would you like to see anymore baking content on my blog? I think I might be baking gooey brownies and chewy cookies soon, if anyone would be interested in seeing how that goes!

Recipe courtesy of Damian Trejo, the current resident chef at Manhattan Grill at Canary Wharf, London. 


Sunday, 28 June 2015

OUTFIT: More To Barbour Than Waxed Jackets

Wearing barbour shirt

Barbour is famous worldwide for their waxed jackets but did you know that they also offer a wider range of clothing? The navy blue slim fit shirt I’m wearing here is from Barbour and I’ve been wearing this outfit a lot ever since I got the shirt! You can rely on Barbour for the highest quality manufacturing. The shirt is, of course, extremely well made and incredibly comfortable. There aren’t any loose stitching, faults or anything protruding from the cloth that makes it itchy or scratchy on skin.

wearing navy blue and black together

For some reason, I always thought that it was a fashion faux-pas to wear navy and black together but I think it looks alright. What do you guys think? I think I read it somewhere ages ago that you mustn’t pair navy with black. Well, that “fashion rule” is absolute tosh. Apart from black jeans, black skirt, or a pair of black shorts, I don’t know how else to style this dark blue shirt. 

wearing black and blue together

I’ll be taking more notice of the clothes at Barbour from now on. I’ve always had a soft spot for their jackets (even our Bonnie has a little Barbour jacket!) and maybe one day, I will save up and invest in one.

navy blue barbour shirt
barbour shirt

I actually applied for a job at Barbour for the Social Media Co-ordinator role at a few weeks ago but have had no leads. Barbour is one of the very few fashion brands whose headquarters are based in the North East so I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for job opportunities. I’m not sure if I want to stay in the area but if there’s one thing going for the north east, it is the cheaper rent! Or at least getting more value for money! 

asos heart shaped bag
black rayban wayfarers

If anyone is interested in checking out Barbour or investing in some quality pieces to add to your wardrobe, they are having a Summer sale at the moment so have a look and see what tickles your pickle! The blue shirt is now £42.00 (down from £69.95).

personal style fashion blogger uk

What I Wore:

Shirt* Barbour // Jeans Topshop // Shoes Freed Of London // Bag ASOS // Sunglasses RayBans


Friday, 26 June 2015

High End Sun Care: Is It Worth It?

jurlique sun care

Sun protection is something that’s really high on my list. I’m constantly telling my family to use sun screen, especially my parents, as they spend A LOT time outdoors playing golf. Protect yourself from sun exposure to prevent sun burn, prickly heat, premature ageing of the skin and the risk of developing skin cancer.

There are so many sun care products out there that suits everyones needs, skin type and budget - so there really isn’t any excuse! But if you are as fussy with how lotions feel on skin, it might be worth turning to the high end beauty brands and spend a bit extra on something that gives you peace of mind but also something that you’re happy to use on a regular basis. And if comfort is up there on the list of criteria, look no further than Jurlique.

Jurlique is a brand that I’ve really enjoyed using for the past 6 months. Their beautiful products are potent and effective, but gentle and soothing. Jurlique recently launched their three products in their Sun Specialist range this Summer and I’ve been trying all three out!

good quality sun care from jurlique

Jurlique Sun Specialist SPF 40 High Protection Cream PA+++
£27.00 (shop link)

When it comes to the sun screen, I’m often quite wary about using a product that states it’s suitable for both face and body, but with Jurlique, I know that I can trust them to formulate something that really is suitable for both face and body. The dermatologically tested formula conditions your skin without the risk of it messing your skin up.

This offers a high protection of SPF 40 with UVA and UVB filters. It is enriched with powerful Superberry Complex and Inca Inchi Oil to protect and hydrate skin, while defending against environmental aggressors. They have also used shea butter in this suncream to help moisturise, nourish and smooth. 

It really does sink in to skin within 5-10 minutes of applying and you can’t even feel that you’ve got sun cream on so it’s absolutely perfect for using on your face, it doesn’t interfere with your make-up. The scent is extremely subtle too, there are hints of coconut, pineapple and shea butter. 

Jurlique Sun Specialist After-Sun Replenishing Moisturising Lotion
£24.00 (currently £16.80 at Feel Unique)

Using an After-Sun will help replenish your skin and prolong an even, lasting tan. I usually prefer a gel based formula when it comes to After Sun but the Jurlique After Sun Replenishing Moisturising Lotion is so light, that it feels quite similar to a gel. It is cooling upon skin, absorbs immediately, and is soothing. It’s actually better than a gel because the lotion is much more moisturising. 

Again, this contains the Superberry Complex, which is a fruit extract blend that has essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids to condition and protect your skin. The other key active ingredients are Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Shea, Mango and Capuacu butters.

jurlique sunless tanner

Jurlique Sun Specialist Sunless Tanner
£24.00 (currently £14.40 at Feel Unique)

Sunless tanners are something that I haven't had the patience for in the past but recently, I’ve been increasingly intrigued by them! I need to persevere with sunless tanners perhaps, and be realistic when my expectations. When I apply it, I'm constantly looking at my skin to see if the ‘tan’ has deepened. But y’know, as the saying goes… a watched kettle never boils. Well, a watched skin won’t tan. Or whatever. 

If you’re looking for a product that’s going to give you a subtle, natural looking, streak-free tan, then check out sunless tanners. I probably should start using these anyway, as it’s just like a body lotion with an added bonus of a tan! And I was never that good at instant tans anyway, it always ends up streaky and I always miss spots.

Jurlique’s Sunless Tanner is a gel-lotion, very lightweight and hydrating. It smells like sweet oranges which is nice! On the back of the packaging that with gradual use, it promises a non-streaky golden tan with the colour developing within 2-4 hours - and the good news is, you can indeed see a noticeable difference after 2-4 hours! You can re-apply daily to maintain or to deepen the colour. But don't forget, you still need to go through the whole tanning process with sunless tanners to ensure an even tan, so prep your skin by exfoliating and allow to the sunless tan lotion to dry before dressing or sitting down. 

As well as the discounts at Feel Unique, they are also offering a free gift when you spend £30 or over on Jurlique products. The free gift is Jurlique Moisturing Replenishing Day Cream worth £54!

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