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When it comes to phone covers, makeup bags, and anything else I can get away with adding a little bit of whimsy, I usually end up at Skinny Dip. The brand have some of the cutest, kitschiest, glitteriest bits imaginable, and to be honest, who doesn’t love a sparkly phone?

So, when I saw that they had teamed up with cult favourite Carmex, I knew I had to get my hands on a tub! There are two designs to choose from; the original formula is swatted in ice lollies, whilst mine, the cherry flavour, has cherries all over the lid. There is no change to what’s inside – it’s still the balm that we all know and love. Now it’s just in an even cuter packaging!

Carmex X Skinny Dip balms are priced at £3 each and are available here.

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When it comes to entertaining, I’m not going to lie, I get really into it. I think it started back at uni, when there so few places to go in town, that we had to create our own entertainment. Through the years I’ve had a lot of practice – from formulating menus, cooking the food and inviting the right mix of people, I just think it’s so much fun!

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No matter whether it’s a casual lunch with a few close friends, or if it’s something which is a little larger scale, I like to keep my eye on the details. Pretty china, beautiful glasses and some flowers make the whole event feel special. I tend to keep it as simple as possible – a couple of colours, and a delicious menu. I also like to figure out numbers as soon as possible.

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When I’m planning a bit of a do, I like to think out my guest list first – a good mix of friends old and new, and give them as much warning as possible. To do this, I’ve been absolutely loving using Paperless Post. It’s all the fun of stationery shopping, but with none of the bother of the Post Office.

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On the site, there are literally hundred of invitation options. Whether you want to send an old-school invitation, or you’d rather just opt for a correspondence card, Paperless Post have your back. They have pieces from some of my favourite brands including Crane & Co and Kate Spade. Everything is completely customisable too – so you can send invites which match with the whole theme of your evening.

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Sending your invites couldn’t be easier – after customising your cards, you simply add in your friends’ emails and click send. Then you can trace when people open your invite, and see when they confirm that they’re coming. It’s one less thing to worry about when you’re planning a gathering (and the cards are so much fun to receive!) and they can even let your guests know who else will be there!

Paperless Post isn’t just for events though – I’ve been sending a variety of their cards rather than just regular emails – and everyone has been loving them! They look so much nicer than a regular email, and they are so much fun to create too!

You can see the whole range of invites, cards and announcements at Paperless Post

*This post was published in cooperation with Paperless Post, but all thoughts are my own*

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I’ve always been a bit of a lipgloss queen. At school I collected them in the top pocket of my blazer, and I’ve always got one or two on my at any time (even if I do tend to favour a lip balm on a daily basis). So, I was intrigued when Too Faced released a whole new line of glosses.

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Bucking the whole matte lip trend, the Melted Latex glosses are all about the shine. It’s not a subtle sheen either, it’s a full-on slick which you can really build up having a glass-like shine. It’s a fun concept, and one which I’m kind of in love with!

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Since they’re marketed as being super shiny, I thought that the Melted Latex glosses would be seriously sticky. Thankfully though, they’re nothing of the sort. Too Faced have worked some sort of magic to make these feel more balmy to apply. There is no discernible scent (surprising from the brand), but the gloss is smooth and even to apply – with the colour staying opaque, even from a single coat.

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The first shade I tried was Hopeless Romantic. It’s a warm-toned browny neutral which looks sleek and pulled together. There are 16 shades to choose from, which run the gamut from subtle nudes to the most stunning vampy reds and purples. There is even a take on the iconic Unicorn Tears (a stunning shimmery blue) if you’re feeling adventurous enough!

Too Faced Melted Latex Lipgloss is priced at £19 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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I’m not sure about you, but when it comes to buy indulgent bathroom treats, I tend to focus on bath products. Bubbles, soaks and bombs, I’m all over them, but products for the shower? Somewhat less. Despite the fact I hop in every morning and most nights, I usually keep my most boring products in there. So, when Jo Malone sent over their new Exfoliating Shower Gel, in one of my favourite scents, Lime Basil & Mandarin, it felt meant to be!

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Packaged in the brand’s signature sleek tubes, the Exfoliating Shower Gel is absolutely everything you’d hope it to be. A rich foaming gel, which smells incredible – it’s just the thing to wake me up on early mornings. There are a choice of three of the brand’s most popular fragrances: Pomegranate Noir if you’re feeling dramatic, Geranium & Walnut, or my favourite Lime Basil & Mandarin. The exfoliating particles leave skin feeling soft and smooth without being too harsh, and, if you’re feeling particularly ritzy, you can even follow up with a slick of the matching body creme!

Jo Malone Exfoliating Shower Gel is priced at £30 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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When you think about the stresses on your skin from everyday life, it’s mostly environmental pollutants which come to mind. I mean, I know car exhausts aren’t the greatest for your general health, but a thorough cleanse every night should pretty much have you covered. If you’re going into space however, skincare gets slightly more complicated. That’s the situation that  Dr. Alexandrides (the brains behind 111Skin) faced when he was tasked with creating products which would benefit astronauts when they were in space.

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The Y Theorem Repair Serum was one of the first products for 111Skincare, and it’s a good one. A rich, nourishing serum – this isn’t one of those watery serums, but instead it feels more akin to a light moisturiser. It’s completely scentless and colourless, so it’s perfect for sensitised skin (especially if you’ve spent a little too long in the sun).

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Used morning and night, my skin feels much smoother and dewier than normal. After cleansing, I smooth a pump or two into my face and neck, then follow up with my regular moisturiser. I also like to apply it after I’ve done a bit of dermal rolling – the teeny holes let it sink even deeper into skin, making it even more effective!

111Skin Y Theorem Repair Serum is priced at £190 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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When it comes to packing for your holiday, there is no greater trial than deciding which beauty products you’re going to need. As someone who rotates through no less than three shampoos and two conditioners per week, a 40lbs luggage allowance seems paltry in comparison. Then throw in a few moisturisers, a couple of perfumes and a body scrub, and well, that’s the suitcase filled already.

So, when I happened across this dinky little trio from hair-whisperer Michael Van Clarke, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Three hand-luggage friendly tubes of his most beloved products – the Pre-Wash Treatment, his original shampoo and nifty conditioner. They even come in a rather swish transparent pouch which you can squeeze a few lip glosses into.

I’ve been a fan of the brand for a while – the Pre Wash Treatment is a must for sun-stressed tresses, and the shampoo and conditioner will leave hair sleek, bouncy and most importantly nourished.

3 More Inches Travel Tubes are priced at £24.50 and are available here (UK)

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If I’m completely honest, my neck is the area I probably neglect the most. I know I shouldn’t, and I do try to smooth any moisturiser I’ve got on down there and on to my décolletage, but sometimes it just feels like I use so much extra product, that I just kind of forget about it, which is probably exactly what I shouldn’t be doing.

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So, when Omorovicza released their new Firming Neck Cream, it felt like I product I very much needed. After all, the brand believe that caring for your neck and décolletage should be a daily ritual, and I am a complete convert! Their cream is an absolute dream to use. Rich yet silky smooth, you only need the tiniest amount and is disappears effortlessly into skin.

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Using the cream also feels like such a treat. Every morning, after cleansing, I warm a little of the cream between my fingers, then spread over my neck, working it into my jawline. I stretch my neck back and to each side for a few seconds to get my circulation going, then pat whatever is left into my chest. It smells absolutely incredible, and it’s a glorious couple of minutes of self care before the madness of the day sets in.

Omorovicza Firming Neck Cream is priced at £95 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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If I had to choose only one makeup product to use, I think it would have to be bronzer. A quick slick of the stuff makes me feel human as well as disguising my paler-than-pale complexion. I’m also a staunch believer of not putting my face in the sun (tanning means wrinkles later on) so I’m always on the hunt for a believable bronzer.

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Since Bobbi Brown is the queen of natural makeup, I thought I’d give their Bronzing Powder a go. Packaged in a slick black compact, it’s a good size – being enough for the fluffiest of face brushes to swirl around, and I love the fact that it comes in seven shades, so you can really find a dupe for your natural tan. I opted for Natural – a warm toned tan shade which gives skin a natural looking flush.

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The powder gives a beautifully lightweight look. Even though there are small glitter particles in the formula, you’re not left looking like a disco ball. Instead, skin is left looking all naturally glowy and dewy. It applies evenly, and can be built up depending how deep you’d like your tan to look.

Bobbi Brown Bronzing Powder is priced at £30 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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When it comes to keeping skin healthy, the easiest thing you can do is to exfoliate and moisturise regularly. It doesn’t matter if it’s your face, body or feet – a good scrub never goes amiss! So, when Magnitone sent over their Full Monty 3-in-1 Face & Body Brush, it was the push I needed to up my exfoliation game!

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Available in two colours (grey or teal), the Full Monty is everything you need from a Skincare Brush. No matter whether you need to have a seriously deep cleanse, or you want to give yourself an at-home pedi, Magnitone have you covered. You just pop on the corresponding brush head and go. There are (unsurprisingly) 3 brushes included with the Full Monty – a facial brush (small and soft) a body brush (larger and denser) as well as a buffing head (hard and rough) all designed to deal with your exfoliation needs.

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To go alongside the three brushes, the brush itself also has three settings to match. This means it’s super easy to use, and, if you’re jetting off on holiday, it means you only need to take one tool away with you! It feels great to hold, and it’s nicely weighted without being heavy. I also love the shade of the brush – it’s a nice splash of colour in my otherwise quite monochrome bathroom.

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When it comes to using the brush, I tend to work from the top down. I apply a little foaming cleanser to the brush, and work into my face for a minute or two. It creates the best foam, and my skin feels so clean afterwards without feeling stripped. Then I switch out the brushes for the body brush, and add a little body wash. It foams up beautifully, and it’s great for sloughing elbows and knees. It’s a good alternative to dry brushing, and it leaves skin feeling seriously silky. Then, once I’m out of the shower, I see to my heels with the pedi head. The brush leaves skin feeling super soft and smooth, and once I follow up with moisturiser, I feel like I’ve stepped out of the spa!

Magnitone The Full Monty 3-in-1 is priced at £130 and is available here.

 

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The last time I was in York, I was twelve years old and was on a school trip. We spent four nights in the city; our days spent trailing around various attractions and our nights squeezed four to a room in bunkbeds. It was as far from luxurious as you can imagine. So, when I had the chance to revisit the city, this time staying at the brand new Principal York, I absolutely jumped at the chance!

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Situated right by York Railway Station, the Principal occupies one of the city’s most beautiful buildings. A golden-brick Victorian hotel, it’s a pretty breathtaking building to drive up to, and the neatly manicured gardens to the front of the hotel add to the sense of old-school luxury.

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We had driven down from Edinburgh (and had managed to detour quite heavily through the Yorkshire Dales) so by the time we reached the hotel, we were ready to kick back and enjoy a little r&r. Our room, a Superior Double, was wonderfully spacious. With views out to the front gardens, it was the perfect spot to unwind from the rather long car journey.

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As in all Principal hotel rooms, there was a generous tuck box of goodies for us to nibble at, as well as the cutest little York-themed picnic basket! With chocolates, relish, wine and even a tea towel covered in Yorkshire sayings!

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The room was an absolute dream, with a huge puffy bed and separate little desk and seating area where I could set up my laptop and get a little work done. We had planned to head downstairs and grab dinner in the stunning Refectory, but since the room was so glorious, we opted to go for the naughtier option and order room service.

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We both went for the Principal Burger (£16.95) which was insanely good. It was exactly what we were after – it was the perfect comfort food supper.

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After dinner, there was only one thing I was ready for – a bubble bath in the room’s claw footed tub. With Elemis toiletries, it was absolutely heavenly to kick back in a bubble bath and enjoy a good book.

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The bathroom itself was absolute perfection. All marble tiles and grey panelling – I’m fully intending to copy it in my own house!

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After such a heavenly bath, there was no chance of us going out to explore. Instead, we made good use of the cosy room. We spent the evening in bed, reading and watching movies.

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The room was so comfy we managed to sleep through breakfast (but Principal breakfasts are among my absolute favourites, so you really should go). But the morning meant we got to give this shower a go. With the best water pressure you can imagine, it was the perfect way to prepare for a day of sightseeing!

Thank you so much to the Principal York for having us! Rooms start from £150 per night.

 

 

 

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When it comes to everyday makeup, I’ve all but abandoned heavy concealers in a bid to look naturally radiant during the day. I don’t like the way they can crease during the day, so I prefer to go without. Annoyingly though, my under eye puffs up at the slightest thing, so I’m always looking for products which make me look all bright eyed.

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Amazing Cosmetics sent over their AmazingConcealer Illuminate which is billed as a medium coverage concealer which delivers a hefty dose of radiance too. It’s the perfect mix which covers up signs of fatigue without looking heavy or cakey.

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Available in 10 shades, most skin tones should be able to find a colour to suit. Application couldn’t be easier; after applying my regular foundation or tinted moisturiser, I dot on a little of the concealer then blend in using my ring finger. It disappears into skin, disguising dark circles and minimising puffiness. It’s a must-have for effortless summer beauty.

Amazing Cosmetics AmazingConcealer Illuminate is priced at £25.99 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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