At home facials with D’Alchemy Natural Micro-Dermabrasion Peel*

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When it comes to keeping my skin looking its best, regular exfoliation is one of my top treatments. I usually head for a Diamondtome facial every three or so weeks, but obviously, at the moment that’s nowhere near possible, so I’ve been trying to copy the treatment at home. I’ve got sensitive skin, but like an effective scrub, so I’m always after products which get the balance right, like my new favourite D’Alchemy’s Natural Micro-Dermabrasion Peel.

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Like all the products from the D’Alchemy line, the Micro Dermabrasion Peel is an effective product composed of mostly natural, organic ingredients, picked for their efficiency. My skin had been feeling a bit icky in the week or so before the scrub arrived, so it felt like a perfect opportunity to enjoy a bit of a spa evening with the scrub, and after cleansing, I massaged a generous dose of the scrub onto my face and neck. It’s got a pleasingly gritty formula, smells beautiful, and the white clay even absorbs impurities, so your skin looks and feels incredible after use. The grit in the scrub comes from rice powder – so it’s gentle yet effective on skin, and importantly, won’t cause any damage once it’s been washed down the sink.

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After washing it off, my skin felt so much better than before – brighter and clearer, and so much softer to the touch. I followed it up with a hydrating sheet mask, then headed to bed. In the morning, it still looked great – which meant I could get away with minimal makeup, which always feels like a win! The formula is suitable for all types, except skin prone to inflamed acne, and even though the brand markets towards more mature skin, this shouldn’t put you off – it’s such a treat to use, I can’t imagine anyone not loving it.

D’Alchemy Natural Micro Dermabrasion Peel is priced at £29 and is available here.

The Instagram Guide to Scotland – Part 2*

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Yesterday I shared some of northern Scotland’s most instagrammable places to stay, and I’m back with even more! With hotels from Aberdeenshire right down to the Borders, you’re guaranteed a good time – and there’s never been a better time to book either. Many hotels and inns currently have incredible offers on, so whether you’re looking to enjoy a night, a week, or even longer, have a look through the options, and remember to always book direct!

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If a family reunion is on the cards, or if you’re just after a little extra privacy, a self-catering option might be best for you. Perfect Manors at Achnagairn is a seriously glamorous option. US ‘reality’ show The Bachelor even chose the property for it’s Scottish episodes! With the option to enjoy one of their gorgeous ‘mini manors’ or simply enjoy a guest room, you can lord it up for the whole of your stay! Bookings can be made here.

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The Old Manse of Blair is a must-stay if you’re adventuring in The Highlands. Situated in the heart of the Cairngorms, it’s close to Blair Castle and the House of Bruar – ideal if you’re looking to stock up on some country casuals! With incredible dining options, as well as uber chic rooms – you can even take some delicious souvenirs home with you from their own farm shop! Bookings can be made direct here.

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Right before winter fully kicked in, I was lucky enough to enjoy a stay at the stunning Luxury Hideaways in Perthshire. Two cabins tucked away in a quiet field, this is the spot to head for if you’re looking for a little luxury isolation. Enjoy a private hot tub, opulent picnic (which comes in your cabin) as well as the comfiest of beds in your own private pod. Divine! Bookings can be made directly here.

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If you’re in the mood for a bit of traditional luxury – you can’t fail with Edinburgh’s iconic Balmoral Hotel. With an address like 1 Princes Street – you can tell it’s a hotel at the heart of the city, and you can literally stroll straight off a train and into your room. We were lucky enough to enjoy an evening in one of their stunning Castle View Suites a few weeks before lockdown hit, and it was heavenly. Don’t miss an opulent breakfast in bed with views across to the castle! You can make your booking here.

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Lockdown has been a long few months – so if you’re planning an adults-only weekend, House of Gods should be your first port of call. Located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Cow Gate, the hotel has a slick, Gucci wallpaper clad bar, and rooms inspired by the Orient Express. Incredibly glamorous, and filled with luxe accents, this is a hotel unlike any other. You can create your own rockstar-rider, or simply enjoy some in-room cocktails. Bliss! Bookings can be made here.

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If you’re based near Edinburgh, and looking to get some sea air – Dunbar is a fabulous choice. Close to some fabulous golfing and foodie spots, The Royal Mackintosh Hotel is right in the heart of town. With traditional, cosy interiors and bedrooms with stunning sea views, it’s the ideal spot to enjoy this summer. You can book direct here.

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I’m always surprised at how convenient it is to drive from Edinburgh to Peebles. About an hour, with roads running through the hills, you feel like you’re a million miles away, and you can’t find a more centrally-located hotel that The Tontine at the very heart of Peebles. Family run, with a history which dates back to the 1800s, The Tontine is a fabulous base to explore the stunning Scottish Borders, and their cosy rooms are adorable! You can book direct here.

 

The Luxe Guide to Scottish Staycations – Part 1 – The Instagram Guide to the Scottish Highlands*

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After nearly 100 days in lockdown, and countless cancelled plans, we’re finally seeing the light at the end of the channel. As of July 15th, Scottish hotels and restaurants are being allowed to welcome guests again, so the biggest question now, is where to go?

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We’re a bit spoiled here, with some absolutely incredible spots to enjoy, so I thought I would share some of my top picks for enjoying a little luxury after a rather stressful few months. I’ve made sure to pick a few options dotted around the country, with options which will suit all sorts of trips, from romantic to family, with everything in between!

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Starting at the top, you can find one of Scotland’s most luxurious hotels – Links House Dornoch. Overlooking the green at Royal Dornoch, this 15-room hotel is heaven for golf fans, but even if you’d rather spend the day relaxing, it’s still the place to go. The hotel are currently offering the ultimate Highland Staycation for those wanting to enjoy the very best that the country has to offer with their 48 Hours in the Highland package. Their new fine dining concept Mara looks absolutely dreamy too, with incredible seasonal produce sourced locally to the restaurant. You can book direct with the hotel here.

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One of my biggest to-dos in Scotland has to be exploring the NC500 as well as experiencing the country’s stunning West Coast beaches. With crystal clear waters and white sands, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d washed up somewhere exotic. The West Highland Hotel, perched in the quaint fishing village of Mallaig is perfect to base to enjoy the best of the West. With an absolutely stunning dining room, The Terrace, which enjoys views stretching across the water to Skye, The West Highland Hotel even has the option to book family rooms – perfect for that long overdue reunion. You can book direct here.

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If you’re looking for a hotel experience you’re not going to forget – The Garrison Hotel in Fort William is a must visit. Built on the site of the town’s former jail, cells have been transformed into snug rooms (some even have bunks), whilst if you’d prefer to enjoy a bit more space – guest rooms are a seriously stylish choice. Situated in the heart of town, this insta-friendly spot even has a stylish restaurant to enjoy. The Garrison Hotel is available to book direct here.

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Just before the madness of Christmas descended, we were treated to a dreamy stay at the Airds Hotel in Appin. A member of the Relais et Chateaux group, the hotel is beautifully cosy, and a perfect spot to escape to this summer. Driving to Appin from Edinburgh was glorious, and we meandered through mountains and passed by castles, we felt miles away from the every day. The meal we enjoyed in their restaurant was a real highlight of the winter, and above everything, the service we enjoyed here was incredible. You can book direct here.

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Fun fact: I was planning to spend my birthday weekend down in the heart of the Cotswolds, but lockdown got in the way – so you can imagine how happy I was to find out about The Taynuilt Inn – a Cotswolds inspired hotel nestled deep in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. I’m more than slightly obsessed with the quirky interiors, with antiques and art dotted around, and the in-house restaurant and bar has a menu filled with comforting classics. Rooms can be booked directly here.

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If you’re heading up to Aberdeenshire this summer, you’d do well to stop in to enjoy a stay at the historic Maryculter House. With links dating back to the Knights Templar, the hotel has beautiful, newly renovated bedrooms, dreamy en-suites and a menu of once-in-a-lifetime experiences to enjoy (seriously, they’re unbelievable), so it’s worth booking an extra night or two, to make sure you don’t miss out. Rooms are available to book directly here.

I’m working on Part 2 now – so stay tuned, as there are some incredible spots, you’re not going to want to miss!

Zippo Rose Gold Lighter*

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Over the past few months, I’ve been going through a bit of a life laundry. Cupboards have been emptied, drawers have been Kondo’d, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of bits which have been earmarked for charity (once they’re accepting donations, I’m there). As a result of the clear out, I’ve thinking about being even more conscious with my ‘stuff’. A few years back I decided to only keep belongings which I love, so finding a handy tool like this Zippo couldn’t have been better timed.

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Obviously Zippo lighters are pretty iconic, so this rose gold edition is absolutely divine. Much chicer than my regular box of maxes, this has been tucked in my newly tidied kitchen drawer for very stylish candle lighting around the house.

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When you order your Zippo, you just soak the interior in lighter fuel, and you’re good to go. I’m absolutely obsessed with the classic styling of the lighters. They’re so stylish, so whether you’re popping them in your pocket, or tucking them away somewhere, they just feel a little bit special.

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Zippo Rose Gold Lighter is priced at £30 and is available here

Slow Ageing Essential Facial Essence*

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This weekend’s weather has been a washout – literally. We’ve had thunder, lightening, as well as non-stop torrential rain, so anything other than admin tasks seems like a no-go, so, to make the most of things, I spent today enjoying a bit of an at-home spa day. Face masks which promise to cleanse, tone and moisturise have been slapped on, and the number of lotions and potions we’ve powered through has been impressive. The stand-out product though has been Slow Ageing’s Essential Facial Essence, a seriously indulgent facial oil which promises to turbocharge your skincare regime, which nourishing skin.

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Despite its dinky packaging, it’s a product which packs a punch – filled with antioxidants, circulatory stimulants and nutrients. Designed to increase skin’s glow, it’s perfect for prepping skin for summer beauty. After cleansing, a couple of drops patted into the skin leaves skin looking heavenly. In the evenings, a few more drops leaves skin feeling soothed and hydrated – it’s perfect for using alongside my gua sha too. As if the benefits of the oil wasn’t enough, it smells absolutely divine too! The formula is cruelty free, and the packaging has a plastic-free supply chain, which is perfect if you’re watching your environmental impact too!

Slow Ageing Essential Facial Essence is priced from £22 and is available here

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