Monday, 23 April 2012

La Roche Posay and skincare update!

I haven't done a skincare post in a while as to be honest, I've kept it simple and stuck to a routine very similar to the one I posted last November. However, one of my product changes has made such a difference and I need to tell you about it (hence the post) but more about that in a moment!

First to the routine . . .

I'm still using the No 7 Hot Cloth cleanser as it continues to cleanse my skin well and leave it feeling a little polished. It is also of great value. I swap between the Tea Tree water and products from the Botanics range (I tend to use the Skin brightening or Rosewater ones) to tone merely because sometimes I find it difficult to get to a Lush and Botanics, as a Boots brand is often more accessible and on some kind of offer.

As for moisturiser,I was using Oilatum back in November. At the time, I felt that Oilatum was a great product. It seemed to moisturise my skin gently without breaking me out and compared to many moisturisers out there was great value. It is of no surprise that I actually repurchased Oilatum a few times and considered remaining loyal to it.

Talk about tempting fate!

I should have known better, around Christmas I started to notice my skin feeling dry and no matter how much Oilatum, I whacked on (honestly, I was whizzing through the tubes), my skin continued to feel a bit parched in places.

It was at this point that I turned to moisturisers from La Roche Posay. I had used the Mattifying one before and really rated it so thought that more La Roche Posay action might be just what was required.

And yes, thank goodness, that seemed to be the right call!

I've used a few of the blue La Roche Posay products lately, Hydraphase Rich; Effaclar Duo;Mattifying Moisturiser; Effaclar Clarifying Lotion and I can tell you, I really like the brand!

Some of you early followers may remember the horrible trouble I had with my skin a couple of years ago and I think, that my skin only really started to get better after I'd exhausted all the high tech/big name regimes and slimmed my skincare routine down to more gentle basics. I've heard that the La Roche Posay products use the smallest number of ingredients possible. I can only think this is good. The less ingredients there are in a product, the less chance there is of encountering something that irritates your skin.

The Hydreane Riche Moisturising Cream . . .

The La Roche Posay product that has really, really impressed me recently is the Hydreane Riche Moisturising Cream For Sensitive Skin, a moisturiser I've repurchased three times in a row. Given my fickle nature, those stats leave no doubt that I am totally sold on this gem!

The Hydreane Riche is a rich moisturiser designed to moisturise sensitive skin without irritation.

As with all La Roche Posay products, La Roche Posay spa water is one of the main ingredients in the product. La Roche Posay is a spa resort in France which specialises in skincare and apparently is renowned for its success in helping so many skin conditions. The thermal spa water used is rich in the anti-oxidant, Selenium. The Hydreane Riche contains Hydrolipids which carries this magic water and the Selenium deeper in to the skin.

Now, all of this could just be clever marketing.  I'm a bit skeptical as to a 'magical' water being the only ingredient needed to make a skincare product work but what can I say?!

My current skin condition suggests that maybe this time there really is a little more to all the scientific babble then just words. La Roche Posay products and particularly the Hydreane Riche moisturiser seem to work fantastically for me

As far as the Hydreane Riche goes, from day one, I would say my skin 'instantly' looked a little more radiant and not long after that, it also carried a more polished and refined air. It now constantly feels well moisturised and is 'easy to wear'. What I mean by that is that it does not feel tight, parched or itchy. Also, it is pretty much blemish-free (yay!!!) and soo smooothhh. Honestly, the lack of little bumps when I use my fingers to apply products is probably the skin change that has struck me the most and I can't help but wonder if there really is a link between my new smooth skin and the La Roche Posay water, aptly nicknamed by many as the 'velvet' water.

The Hydreane Riche currently costs £14.30 in Boots and I use it both day and night. I am as happy to use this as a night cream as I am to use the Mega Mushroom from Origins or Embryollisse. In fact, I would say this is probably a little gentlier then the Mega Mushroom and a little more moisturising then the Embryollisse. Personally, I prefer it to the Clinique or No 7 moisturisers I have used in the past.

The only thing I would say is that I tend to mix the Hydreane Riche in with my foundation for day application (or on lazy make up free days, I use a very small amount) as it doesn't seem to sink in to my skin that quickly and can leave me with shiny patches for half an hour or so. Used twice a day in this way five days a week(ish!), I would say one tube is lasting me just under a month.

A word of warning though, this is a product I love and am happy to remain loyal to but when I have swapped it up for a day or two, my skin quickly seems to feel parched again (unless I use a damn good subsitutue such as the Skin Brightening Moisture Boosting mask from The Sanctuary) which makes me wonder how much the Hydreane Riche is actually doing for my skin in the long term. It seems my skin is only as good as long as I'm using it. The Hydreane does not seem to be doing anything to help my skin develop in a way to become less dependant on good quality skincare but then again, I don't see myself giving up on this moisturiser any time soon so I'm not going to stress too much about the consequences of discontinuing it.

Off I go, tempting fate again . . !

As much as I rate it, given the heightened nature of the Hydrane Riche, I am reluctant to recommend it to all of you especially if you have oily skin. Skin is very individual and we all have different needs. However, I do believe in the La Roche Posay brand and reckon that most of the products (especially the blue less fragranced, more sensitive line) do exactly what they say they are going to do, to the skins they say they can help so all you need to do is check out all the amazing products that the brand offers, find the one for you and give it a go. Don't forget to tell me how you get on!

Have any of you used La Roche Posay? What beauty brands do you have complete faith in?


Saturday, 21 April 2012

Finally, MY Miu Miu Vitello Lux Bow Bag!

Well people, this is a post that I've wanted to write for a long time, an ode to my very own Bow Bag and now, I finally get to write it. :))))

I can't help but think that it was fate, that just days after posting a thought piece comparing the Miu Miu Bow with the Balenciaga City, that Sarah put her beautiful Bow bag up for sale on Twitter. I actually dreamt about her, after seeing the pictures. Meant to be and here she is!

I was actually quite nervous when I opened the box. You see, I've cavorted the Bow Bag from afar for so long, all the Tumblr and Google images I've swooned over meant my Bow Bag had a lot to step up to but oh my, stepped up she has. Isn't she beautiful?

She really works the cuteness of the bow bag structure but with some sass. The solid gold hardware is substantial enough to be eye catching but remains on the right side of light to remain feminine.I really like the contrast between this hardware and the black slouchy leather, a classic classy combo.

Yes indeed, I now know exactly what people mean when they describe the Miu Miu as slouchy. She is so incredibly soft and light. This gives her some real character. Honestly, she is almost human and seems to find her own shape. When I first got her out of the box and dustbag, it was almost as if she slowly woke herself up. Ok, enough of my hallucinations but she is just so endearing yet her elegance remains.

The many sides to her personality are expressed further in the number of ways, I can wear her. There is the long, long strap across the body satchel style; the long long strap on the shoulder; the long long strap doubled over on the shoulder (my preference, the shoulder strap is very long and I'm so short); on the wrist or the crook of the arms with the smaller straps. There is a way to wear her for any occasion and being black, she is going to work any outfit and situation as well as put up a good fight against pollution and all those nasties which could taint her colour.

She actually looks a little smaller then I imagined yet I think, this is a clever illusion as I can fit everything that I used to carry around in my Focco, in to my magical new accessory friend (best, bestest friend!).

The scent of the leather is very strong and I LOVE it, it just reminds me that she is now in my life and I'm so glad that she is. As you might be able to tell, I'm about as far as you can get from regretting this purchase. In fact, I'm feeling that it might just be a nice idea to build a little bag family. . !

I just want to end this post with a little shoutout for Sarah. She was an exemplary seller, my bag was delivered very quickly and packaged very securely. She also included a lovely little card with some very sweet words and she took her time to type me a little list of tips on looking after my amazing new Miu Miu. I'm sure you're already subscribed to her fantastic blog, I Heart Cosmetics, but just in case, you should go and check it out. Her posts are regular, unique and very informative. No wonder, she was one of the first bloggers I ever followed.

I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend. What bag are you currently using or cavorting?


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

A little shampoo love!

It is very unusual that I am completely satisfied with my hair routine and the products that it includes.

More often then not, the hair routine I have is simply ok.

Sometimes there are even one or two products that actually wow me (The Body Shop Banana Shampoo+Conditioner, the Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment and Moroccan Oil. This is probably the only other hair routine I've indulged in that brings my locks ever so slightly closer to Goddess standard though Phyto often delivers.) but I'm usually left still seeking that allusive something else to throw in to the mix, an additional product just to give my barnet that little bit more.

However, my current routine has got me wondering, realistically, is this as good as it gets?!

And you know what . . , if the answer is yes then ok, I will never have the beautiful locks of Angelina Jolie or Rachel Bilson but given the tragic hair history of my poor barnet and all, I've put it through, the future is looking brightish!

So, let me introduce you to my current hair saviours.

*The Redken Extreme Shampoo
*The Kerastase Ciment Anti-Usure Vita-Ciment Topseal
*The Kerastase Masque Force Architecte
*Moroccan Oil
*The Lee Stafford Heat Protector

I'm really enjoying all of these products, the Keratase conditioners seem very moisturising and little is needed. While the Lee Stafford Heat Protector is my favourite heat protector ever. Sometimes it is difficult to know if a heat protector is working but at the very least, this one does not leave my hair feeling greasy and weighed down like every other heat protector I remember trying. As for the Moroccan Oil, well, most of you will already know that I love the stuff and have written about it before here and here. I've recently used the Redken alternative, the Argan 6 which is ok but it is the Moroccan Oil that I repurchase again and again.

Anyways to the point of this post, shampoo . . .

To be honest, I've always thought shampoo is maybe the least important part of a hair routine. I've always thought that as long as you indulge in decent treatments and always protect your hair from heat then any old shampoo would suffice.


The Redken Extreme shampoo is the newest addition to my routine and has wowed me. It has made such a difference to my locks .

Before the Redken, I was using the Keratase Bain De Force, a shampoo from the Anti-Ciment range (designed to stregthen weakened, damaged or fine hair) which was quite expensive. I have no doubt that the Keratase is a great shampoo but I think, compared to the Redken, it was a little too much for my locks. I found that the Keratase did not lather easily and I needed two or three shampoos before my hair felt clean. It almost felt as if I needed to shampoo again and again to shampoo the shampoo itself out ( if that makes any sense! :0 ). When I placed the shampoo on my hair and tried to conjure a lather, everything would come to a standstill. It was like the shampoo stuck where it had been placed, creating a film over my barnet. 

Despite this, the end result (after two or three generous shampoos! It goes without saying I went through the bottle quite quickly) was very clean, soft, big and fluffy hair which rough dried quickly before swelling again overnight and becoming a little bit too puffy and flyaway for my liking. The Bain De Force also seemed to strip my hair of its dark colour, not great when I'm in the aftermath of the ombre tragedy. All in all, the Keratase is quite possibly a fabulous shampoo, almost too much so and I think, next time I would use it as a clarfier and less frequently maybe once a week or so.

Anyhow since I swapped the Keratase with the Redken Extreme, my hair standard has cranked up a notch or two. The Redken is cheaper and designed for distressed locks (look this phrase up and you'll probably see a pic of my natural locks!) and I love it!

The Extreme lathers very easily.Two shampoos and my hair feels clean and it remains so for about three or four days. Normally, I'm feeling ready to wash again every other day. I think, the extended good hair mojo results as this shampoo is so good at controlling my hair, few products required! Given, it does seem to take longer to rough dry but looks much sleeker and is easier to style once dry. My hair really is much more manageable.There is no swelling overnight and very few flyaways to tame the next morning meaning less product clogging up the hair. Also, my barnet looks healthier, shineier and more voluminous probably due to the fact that the lengths and ends are not swelling and puffing which sometimes can make my roots look flat and my extensions difficult to blend.

Oh and one more point, the Extreme smells friggin' delicious. A bit chocolatey and Easter-like actually! So if it actually also makes my hair four times stronger as Redken claims it could, well, bonus!!!

Have you used the Extreme? Do you think shampoo is important? What hair products are you loving?


Monday, 9 April 2012

Miu miu v Balenciaga!

Yes, the Miu Miu Bow has always been my designer bag crush.
Image from Google Search
So cute!

It is  so pretty but with just enough hardware to keep it classy and of course, Mum, look at the size, it is practical too . . .
Is it any wonder, I was a tad green as I read the exciting Miu Miu posts from Laura and Amelia a while back?!

However, I've got to say that recently the Balenciaga City has been catching my eye almost as much as the gorgeous Miu Miu. Obviously, the avid blog reader  I am, I have always appreciated just how photogenic the Balanciaga is and how it can work with (rather then over or against) any look.

The rectangular shape of the bag is quite discreet which is fine with me because as much as I love fashion, I'm not one to do 'in yer face' which is why I really, really quite like the Balenciaga. The tassel detail and hardware lend some real contrast to the inconspicuous shape of the bag and seem to lend it some 'cool'. I guess, in that way, it reminds me of my beloved Focco and it's studs so maybe a not so ickle 'investment' in a Balenciaga could be deemed as the natural step up the bag ladder . . !

In which case, I would now need to choose a colour. At the moment, my top three options are . . .
Image from Balenciaga

Black, classic!
And just how cool did she look hanging on the shoulder in Claire's Vlog?!

Image from Balenciaga

Bleu Cobalt, haven't I said blue is the new black?!
Image from Balenciaga

And Rose Bruyere, gorgeous and new!!

Which bag do you prefer, the Bow or the City? Do you stick to certain colours when buying bags?
What bag do you cherish or covert? What bag is your ultimate?

I hope you all had a fabulous Easter.


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

An obsession or two!

Yes, I like shopping. In fact, I like shopping quite a lot (!) but the three things, I like indulging in the most are pretty tops, perfumes and books.

Pretty tops!

Good old H&M can always be relied on to deliver a pretty top!

This gold vest is gorgeous and could be worn in a number of ways and all year round.Yay, gold will always catch the eye and probably makes me look slightly classier then I am. Oh and er, this one was just £7.99.

I already have a couple of sequined vests in different colours from last year and I always believe if you like something, buy it in every colour you can, so ta dah! I picked a couple up in black and white too.

Black Orchid

I've always had a bit of a love-hate thing going on with Tom Fords legendary scent. I have said before that when I first sprayed, it was all a bit too deep and woody. I felt the perfume sat on my skin and was somewhat artificial before finally sinking in and enveloping me a couple of hours later in the most beautiful scent. Yes, this was the perfume that I said suddenly exploded and  blossomed in the most beautiful way but then I also used to find a few hours later, that it started to smell greasy and off. I've always thought that this scent could be diffcult and temperamental to wear so it has spent a lot of time banished to my dark perfume pot. You can read my earlier thoughts here in my perfume post.

Well, I'm doing a bit of a 360 (again!). I dug this perfume out again about a month ago and it has been in my handbag (hence the missing lid) ever since. I bloody adore it and have worn it every day for weeks. The scent is so, soo pretty in fact, beautiful is a much more appropriate adjective and indeed, Black Orchid gleams many a compliment. It is definitely a floral with just enough spice to take the edge off and make the perfume that much more contemporary and in the words of Sephora, show-stopping! I really can't think of any scent similar.

I don't really notice any artificial starts or the ylang notes when I first spray now and I certainly don't smell the going off factor. It may be that I'm more used to the perfume now or maybe it is because I'm spraying little and often rather then constantly dowsing myself in the stuff. Whatever the case, I absolutely love this perfume (the one that has been described as Sex In A Bottle!) and can't believe that I left it sitting unloved in my collection for so long! I'm pretty sure I will be trying the new Tom Ford perfume, Violet Blonde very soon.

Me Before You

I've seen this book in stores for ages but have always overlooked it. You see, the cover is so simplistic and hides all the things that this book is about. I thought it was just another comedy romance and as much as I love them. I already have so many and never considered adding this one to my already extensive collection. However, then I started to hear rumblings that there was just this little bit more to 'Me Before You' by Jojo Moyes and well, in short I got it, read it in days and yep, there is a whole lot more to this book.
It is one of the best books I've ever read  and was a bit of a page turner. Lou's family are hilarious but when you strip the book back to its core issue, it is absolutely heartbreaking and like everybody else, a few tears were shedded while indulging in this one. It really got me thinking about life and the duty we have to make the most of ours while we can etc etc! Anyways before I go and get all deep . . .

Since pretty tops, scents and books are my true obsessions then I can never resist a good conversation about any of them. So what tops, scents and books rock your world right now?



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