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When it comes to eye-health, I’m not going to lie, I’ve been a little bit lax. The last time I got my eyes tested was back in 2011, and even though I treated myself to a pair of glasses back then, I’m not going to lie, I’ve never ever worn them since.

Nicole Farhi

So, when Specsavers got in touch to see if I’d be interested in getting my eyes tested as part of National Eye Health Week, I jumped at the chance. The Edinburgh Shandwick store was my port of call when I popped in a couple of weeks back.

Kylie Specsavers (2)

The eye test itself was an absolute breeze – I found out I wasn’t as blind as I thought I was. Instead, I have a common sort of astigmatism which causes my shortsightedness and that I need to up my eye drops. It only took about 20 minutes, and it’s really put my mind at ease that I’m not straining my eyes by driving and reading without glasses on. Specsavers conduct eye tests on behalf of the NHS, so they are completely free, as long as you’re a UK citizen.

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After the test came the fun part – picking out my frames! The Edinburgh Shandwick store had hundreds of options to choose from. With designer ranges, including super-glamorous ones from people like Kylie Minogue, Cath Kidston, Boss Hugo Boss and Karen Miller among others. What’s great about Specsavers is that the price covers both the frame, as well as regular lenses, so you’re not hit with a nasty surprise when it comes time to pay. Not only that, but all frames priced at £69 and above are eligible for their buy one get one free offer.

Thank you so much to Specsavers for having me – you can find out more about the store here.

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When it comes to winter skincare, it can be all too easy to concentrate just on keeping moisture levels up, but exfoliation is seriously important too. After all, you can’t expect to have glowing skin without getting rid of  whatever has been clogging your pores. Since I have pretty delicate skin, finding a product which leaves skin looking and feeling clear, rather than dry and scratched up, can be pretty tricky, but Boots Botanics have come to the rescue with their Radiant Youth Refining Microdermabrasion Polish.

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Like all of the products I’ve tried from the brand, the Microdermabrasion Polish feels seriously high end. The formula has an almost sandy-feel, which is perfect for sloughing off the day’s grime. I tend to use a little once or twice a week after cleansing, and my skin feels so soft and clean afterwards. Then, to make sure my skin doesn’t dry out, I follow it with a few drops of Boots Botanics Facial Oil (review here) for naturally glowy skin.

Boots Botanics Radiant Youth Microdermabrasion Polish is priced at £9.99 and is available here.

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When it comes to this time of year, I never truly know if I’m coming or going. When I wake up in the mornings it’s now pitch black, and it can cycle through wind, rain and hail before lunch, so keeping hair as neat and tidy as possible can be something of a magic trick.

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So, when Goldwell sent over their Humidity Barrier Spray, it couldn’t have come at a better time! A seriously lightweight finishing spray, once I’ve washed, blow dried and straightened my hair, I finish ends with serum and then give everything a quick spritz with the Humidity Barrier Spray.

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Ingredients in the spray include Keratin and Liquid Silk which keep hair silky soft and stops hair from fuzzy or curling up thanks to heat and humidity. It’s never made my hair look greasy, and instead gives ends a much-needed dose of shine!

Goldwell Kerasilk Humidity Barrier Spray is priced at £21.95 and is available here

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When it comes to products which feel like you have to have, I’d wager that Nars’ Creamy Concealer is probably got to be number one. I don’t think that there is a beauty blogger, vlogger or instagrammer out there who hasn’t sung the praises of the stuff, and rather predictably, I’m not any different.

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Available in a selection of 16 shades, the Creamy Concealer is as great at hiding dark circles as it is at disguising pimples. On a daily basis, I use literally three dots of the stuff to hide my early start. It blends seamlessly, and has a super flattering matte finish. It never feels too heavy, and it lasts all day long!

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The last time I was in SpaceNK, I couldn’t help myself from picking up this adorable mini version of the Creamy Concealer. When I was in they only had it in Vanilla (which, handily is my shade) but online it’s showing that they also stock it in Custard. It’s a little disappointing that the mini doesn’t come in a wider range of shades, but if you’re pretty fair skinned, it’s a must have. I love it for popping into my makeup bag for on the go touch ups.

Nars Creamy Concealer is priced at £23 and the Mini is priced at £12 both are available here.

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As someone with dry, sensitive skin, the change of the seasons means a change of products that I reach for everyday. I’ve added more layers to my skincare routine in an effort to trap as much moisture in there as possible, and prevent any damage from the (not so delightful) Scottish weather.

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In recent mornings, I’ve been reaching for Boots Botanics’ Hydration Burst Hydrating Day Cream. A surprisingly lightweight formula, this feels more like a gel than a rich cream, but the hydration benefits are impressive.

fullsizeoutput_14a5Clary Sage in the formula soothes and delivers skin a real dose of hydration, and the cream feels so luxurious to apply. It’s a perfect base for applying makeup, as it smoothes skin and leaves it feeling super soft and smooth.

Boots Botanics’ Hydration Burst Hydrating Day Cream is priced at £8.99 and is available here

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Since we’re getting close to half-term, chances are, a lot of us have just begun to plan what to pack for the getaways we have planned. The worst part of packing (apart from deciding which shoes to bring) has to be packing up cosmetics. Apart from worrying about leaks and spills, deciding which creams and lotions to bring is such a pain. So when eSalon sent over their Vibrant and Shiny Color Care Travel Trio, it couldn’t have come at a better time!

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eSalon is an internet brand which provides personalized hair colour as well as some great haircare, and I’ve been seriously impressed with the Travel Trio. The Shampoo and Conditioner are colour-safe, which is perfect for someone with highlighted hair like mine. They were seriously hydrating without weighing down ends, and after blow drying, my hair was super shiny.

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To finish off my blow-dry, I used a couple of drops of the Shining Armour – a Renewing Treatment Oil which smells incredible. A single pump was more than enough to slick over ends, and my hair felt so soft and smooth after using it! The travel kit is a must-have if you’re off anywhere, and I love the fact that the bottles are big enough for a week’s worth of everyday use!

eSalon’s Color Care Travel Trio is priced at £15 and is available here

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Now that autumn is well and truly here, it’s been a great time to take a note of the makeup I’ve been wearing, and adjust it slightly for the chillier temperatures. Over the past few months, I feel like my everyday makeup routine has gotten a lot lighter and fresher than before, and that’s something I want to continue through into the colder weather. But dropping temperatures and more grey days means that the colours I’ve been using have needed a little adjustment.

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With a tan, I’m not sure that there is anything prettier than a great blush. Whilst I had a whisper of colour (I’m naturally pretty pale), I’ve been loving a little of Sisley’s Phyto Blush Twist in 3 Papaya. It’s a bright pop of orange-toned coral which lifts the complexion and adds a real sense of fun to otherwise natural makeup looks. Once I’ve applied my tinted moisturiser as normal, I add a little papaya on the top of the apples of my cheeks, and blend with a beauty blender. Then I finish everything off with a swipe of my normal bronzer and I’m good to go.

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Now that I’m paler than before, I’ve been doing the same thing with 1 Petal, which is the most perfect candy pink colour. It makes such a difference to my face – I also find that using such a fresh pink makes teeth and eyes look super white!

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The texture of Sisley’s Phyto Blush Twists is just perfection – they apply as soft and easily as a cream blush, and can be built up or sheered out depending on how dramatic you’d like to look. Since they’re so easy to work with, I also normally blend a little into my lips for a chic, monochromatic look.

Sisley Phyto Blush Twists are priced at £43 each and are available here (UK) and here (US)

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Now that we’re squarely in autumn, I’ve been on Project White Teeth. I know that most people associate white teeth with tans, and long beach afternoons, but considering that lipsticks get deeper and skin gets lighter, having brighter teeth has never felt more important!

fullsizeoutput_1498So, when I heard about SmileLab, a new brand which keeps teeth looking pearly, I had to get my hands on a box. With a whitening toothpaste, a whitening pen and the choice of 14 and 10 day packs of whitening strips, there is no excuse not to have a seriously white smile!

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Using the strips couldn’t be easier – after brushing my teeth, I open a single sachet and put on the two strips – one on my top teeth, the other on the bottom. Then I try to amuse myself for the next 30 minutes while the strips get to work.

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Since the strips are all pre-soaked with formula, you don’t need to worry about adding gels or formulas together. Instead, I usually just put on a sheet mask and relax for half an hour.  Unlike other bleaching products I’ve tried, SmileLab’s strips don’t leave teeth feeling sensitive – they even combat bacteria, so you have a fresh-feeling mouth too. The 15 pack which I have even has a handy little carry case so you can take them with you whilst you travel. I took mine down to Manchester with me, and since using them I’ve seen a serious difference in the colour of my smile!

SmileLab Advanced Whitening Strips is priced at £38 and is available here.

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I don’t think that anyone could argue that Marvis is the king of chic dental products. I’ve been obsessed with their toothpastes for a while now, but I’ve never been able to get my hands on their mouthwash. So, when I was in Harvey Nichols and caught sight of this beauty I couldn’t resist!

 

Packaged like something you’d find in a swish New York Penthouse, it’s a punchy mint which really wakes you up in the morning. I add a little to a tumbler of iced water every morning to swill out. It’s delicious and keeps breath feeling super fresh all day!

Marvis Strong Mint Mouthwash is priced at £17.50 and is available here

 

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It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since the Waldorf Astoria group took over Edinburgh’s Caledonian Hotel, transforming it into one of the city’s most luxurious spots – so last week I popped through to join in with their celebrations.

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The Waldorf’s afternoon tea, served in the elegant Peacock Alley is something of a city institution. The hotel itself was formerly a train station, and Peacock Alley was the concourse! It’s a stunning space – all high ceilings and rust-coloured brickwork, and it provides the perfect setting for an indulgent afternoon.

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The name for the room comes from the hotel’s history – Edinburgh’s finest would visit the hotel, and would walk up and down the restaurant to show off their most fashionable outfits – their ‘peacocking’ became renowned, and the name stuck!

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As part of the hotel’s birthday celebrations, there was a special take on their famous afternoon tea. Partnering with Edinburgh tailor Walker Slater, we were treated to fashion show between courses of afternoon tea, whilst Edinburgh Gin provided a twist to tea – with a special cocktail and gin-inspired treats.

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Presented by Dougie Vipond, the afternoon was one to remember! The fashion show was presented in two parts and I think it put everyone in the mood for autumn. Sumptuous velvets were paired with smart tweeds, and it was such a lovely introduction to such a fabulous Edinburgh brand, which I (mistakenly) thought mostly catered to gents.

The models sported suitably ‘Edinburgh’ windblown hair, and the outfits have already sent me scurrying around my cupboards, pulling out my tweed blazers with abandon!

It was such a lovely way to spend an afternoon! I haven’t had afternoon tea for eons, so this grown-up version was exactly what I needed to kick-start the weekend! We started with a citrus-y gin cocktail courtesy of Edinburgh Gin. Notes of orange and grapefruit worked together to make it supremely drinkable!

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We were then presented with a tea menu to choose from – the Waldorf Astoria have over 40 teas and herbal infusions to choose from, so it took a while to decide! I opted for the Formosa Oolong Finest hailing from Taiwan. Light and refreshing, it was the perfect accompaniment to the goodies on offer!

We  were presented with the first layers of goodies – sandwiches, rolls, and the most perfect little quiches you can imagine! There was something for everyone – egg mayonnaise was served in buttery brioche rolls, whilst a rich cheddar was served as an open sandwich on rye bread.

 

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There were chicken wraps as well as ham and tomato on soft white bread, and perhaps my favourite was the smoked salmon mouse served on granary bread.

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We enjoyed prosecco with the sandwiches, and after the fashion show we moved onto the sweeter options. This is where the pairing with Edinburgh Gin really got to shine!

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Gin soaked cupcakes, and gin infused strawberry tarted were favourites of the table, but the fresh scones with jam and clotted cream were also devoured. It was the perfect way to begin a weekend, and even though the fashion show was a one-off event, you can still book in to enjoy an Edinburgh Gin afternoon tea (and really, you should!).

Afternoon Tea at Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria is priced from £35pp

 

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As much as matte lips have dominated beauty trends over the past couple of years, I feel like this year might be the year of the gloss. Paul & Joe’s Lipgloss G is a great one if you’re looking to hop back onto the glossy bandwagon.

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Like all the products by Paul & Joe, the packaging of Lipgloss G is absolutely stunning. The tube comes embossed with chrysanthemums and topped off with a fluted lid, this is one of those products you won’t mind bringing out in public.

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There are  10 shades to choose from, ranging from a deep chocolate all the way through to a clear. All the colours I’ve seen are quite sheer – so they’re perfect if you’re after a natural look, or want to use them as a lipstick topper. Mine, 02 Sherbet is a sheer peach shot through with glitter. On the lips it is so pretty – all shimmery gloss. It’s not sticky or goopy, instead it feels more like a balm. You can feel the glitter in the formula, but it’s not rough or annoying. Wear-time is decent too – I get around an hour and a half before I feel the need to reapply.

Paul & Jo Lip Gloss G is priced at £15 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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