Bioderma Hydrabio H2O*

Over the past few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to spend a couple of nights away truly relaxing. There are reviews all lined up of course, but heading from hotel to hotel without carting a bunch of luggage meant I had to scale down my everyday products to something approaching manageable. It was pretty easy to throw in one foundation, one mascara etc, but where is got a little more complicated was when I got to skincare. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have an intensive cleansing regime. I need a foaming cleanser, an eye makeup remover, micellar water and cleanser, so obviously, carting all those bottles around would be more than tedious. So, when I found out Bioderma had a travel-sized bottle of their famous Hydrabio H2O, I had to get my hands on it!

Bioderma’s Hydrabio H2O is one of the original micellar waters, and it’s definitely among the best. You can use it on a cotton pad to take off all your makeup (even mascara and liners) without pulling or tugging on skin, and it never leaves my skin feeling weirdly greasy or oily. Instead, it just seems to erase makeup completely. I tend to rely on it in the evenings to make sure I’m not going to bed with any of the day’s gunk left on my face. It’s gentle enough that it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin, or dry it out either. It’s just a really fabulous cleanser!

Bioderma Hydrabio H2O is priced from £5.10 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Too Faced Sweet Peach Creamy Peach Lip Oils – the brights*

Ok, so I’ve spoken about how Too Faced’s Sweet Peach Creamy Peach Lips Oils have gained a permanent place both in my heart, and in may makeup bag here. They’re the perfect gloss-balm hybrid, and deliver stunning colours in a comfortable formula which feels rich and nourishing rather than annoyingly sticky. Have I also mentioned that they smell incredible? Because they do.

As if the colours, the gloss and the scent weren’t great enough – all the Creamy Peach Lip Oils come adorned with your own Peachy friend to keep you company!

Peach Please  is described as an Coral Peach, but honestly, it looks closer to a candy pink on me. Subtle blue tones in the colour make teeth look super white. I usually reach for this a couple of times a week, when I want a subtle touch of colour in my makeup look. It’s super pretty without feeling too try-hard, and it feels perfect to wear during the day!

Peach Tease is described as an electric peach, and honestly, it’s a show-stopper. Almost neon in the tube, this is a formula which can be adjusted to suit your mood. Patting a little of the Creamy Peach Lip Oil on results in a pretty coral stain which is perfect for day. Applied with the doe foot applicator, the formula is brighter with great colour payoff – it’s a fabulous pink-toned coral which feels perfect for the warmer weather!

Last up, but certainly not least is Poppin’ Peach, the most vibrant of all the shades I’ve tried. A true orange, this is a gloss destined to be worn somewhere warm, exotic, and with a tan. I’ve not even attempted wearing this out the house yet, because honestly, I’m just too pale right now, but I have this bookmarked for summer evenings!

Too Faced Sweet Peach Creamy Peach Lip Oils are £16 each and they are available here (UK) and here (US)

Balenciaga City Tote – Neon Pink*

I think Balenciaga’s City Tote was one of the first truly designer bags I fell in love with, back in the early 00’s. They were sported by all the power players of the time – you know, Hilary Duff, Lauren Conrad … all the cool kids. So, even though I have moved firmly on from the the hip belts, the skinny brows and the shiny, shiny lips of the period, I’ve harboured a bit of a soft spot for the City Tote. I don’t know if it’s the fringing, the buckles or the mirror, but there’s just something irresistible about the tote.

When I was in Harvey Nichols a couple of weeks back, I stumbled on this neon number, and honestly, couldn’t resist. The bright (and I mean neon) pink is perfect for the summer. And honestly, it fulfils every Barbie-inspired daydream I think I’ve ever had. It’s seriously bright. Like day-glow. But that’s what I love most about it.

It’s not a bag that everyone is is going to love, but it’s definitely one which will turn heads. I love how easy it is to wear too – you can throw it in your elbow, or you can use the shoulder strap if you want something a little more casual. It’s great size for day too – my wallet, makeup bag and phone all fit in with room to spare.

Will you be wearing neon this summer?

The Balenciaga City Tote is priced at £1135 and is available from Harvey Nichols

Lunch at Ondine Edinburgh*

When it comes to dining out in Edinburgh, few restaurants have a reputation which could challenge Ondine. It’s one of those places you’ll be recommended to visit if you’re celebrating a birthday, or are after a rather special evening out. So, when an invitation popped appeared in my inbox, inviting me to check out their new Spring lunch menu, I RSVP’d sharpish.

The restaurant is perched on the first floor on the George IV Bridge, it’s a haven of tranquility within the buzzy, slightly touristy Old Town. With a stylish, geometric interior, and a fresh seafood bar which has to be seen to be believed, this is a restaurant which would be as at home in the centre of London or New York as it is in Edinburgh.

It was a lovely mix of Edinburgh bloggers and journalists, and as we perused the menu, we were treated to a selection of gougeres, and for the gluten-free amongst us, there was smoked salmon, capers and aoli. The cheese puffs were an absolute delight – airy, buttery with a distinct cheesy tang, they were dangerously more-ish!

Then, once the introductions were well underway, we were presented with a platter of oysters each. With the choice of fresh and breaded, I went for the raw one first. Bought in fresh from the shores of Morecambe, they were a plump blast of seaside-freshness. I know people can be a bit funny when it comes to raw seafood, but it slid down easily.

The breaded option was an absolute revelation. The cooking turned the oyster into a rich, buttery morsel which paired well with the accompanying mayonnaise.

When it comes to dining, I’m a big believer in keeping things as simple as possible. It allows the quality and the flavours of your ingredients to shine through, and our starter couldn’t have been simpler – a single Skye Langoustine served with wild garlic mayonnaise.

The langoustine was an absolute joy. Sweet and mild in flavour, it was an absolute joy of a dish. The vivid accompaniment was a wild garlic mayonnaise which was at once sweet and garlicky. It was the perfect summer starter – light enough to enjoy without worrying about the next courses, but absolutely incredible in flavour. Throughout the lunch, we were also treated to a specially selected wine flight, and Muscadet de Sevre which was first up was an absolute revelation. As not much a wine drinker, this one, from the Loire Valley was light and citrusy. I loved it so much, I’ve already bought a couple of bottles for the fridge.

I had heard a lot about the Wye Valley Asparagus, which was the star of the show when served alongside crispy quails egg and hollandaise. The asparagus had been slightly charred, which cut through the richness of the quails egg and hollandaise. It was such a light, fresh course to enjoy, and again, the apparent simplicity really let the balance and quality of the ingredients shine through.

The main course was next, and it was an absolute gem; Roast North Sea Cod, served with Crispy Asparagus and Romanesco. Honestly, I’m not usually a cod-orderer when it comes to restaurants, but this was absolutely divine. The fish itself was unsurprisingly the star of the show – cooked to pearlescent and flaky perfection, it was tender and delicately flavoured, crowned with swathe of crisp skin.

The vivid pool of Romanesco provided a flavourful foil to the delicate fish – rich, and punchy with a subtle heat, it was incredible. What really finished the meal of though, was the crispy asparagus. Blanketed in the lightest of batter, they gave the dish a bit of bite.

The meal was rounded off with the most divine Lemon Meringue Mille Feuille, which I can been dreaming about, pretty much ever since. Crisp layers of flaky pastry sandwiched a rich lemon cream, and this was topped with a blizzard of soft meringue.

The mix of cream and pastry was absolutely divine, and it was such an indulgent way to end an absolutely incredible lunch. The dessert had been paired with a Monbazillac Jour de Fruit, a slightly syrupy, lemony wine which was incredibly ‘sip-able’.

The meal was finally concluded with a double espresso and some delicious little morsels. We also had the chance to meet the chef proprietor Roy Brett, which was really lovely, and the enthusiasm he has for the best ingredients was just unreal!

Thank you to Ondine for the fabulous lunch!

 

 

 

 

Skinfix Brightening Eye Cream*

When it comes to skin creams, I think I’m pickiest about what I put on around my eyes. Not only do I have sensitive skin all over, but my eyes can get irritated pretty easily. They get puffy easily, and they feel hot when I’m tired, or if I’ve been looking at a screen for too long, so finding a cream which keeps them feeling fresh and looking their best can be a little tricky.

Made nearly entirely with natural ingredients, Skinfix’s Brightening Eye Cream has become my go-to morning formula. After applying my serum and moisturiser, I tap a small amount of the eye cream all around the orbital bone and under eye area. It sinks in almost immediately, leaving the skin feeling fresh and hydrated. It does all the things you want (and need) an eye cream to do!

Puffiness, dark circles, and dryness are all eradicated with a couple of dabs of the eye cream. The formula is chock-full of Skinfix’s own Healthy Skin Lipid Complex which maintains glowing, plump, skin whilst Alfalfa Seed Extract helps reduce puffiness and dark under eye shadows. There is an  infusion of betacarotenes and essential vitamins leaves skin glowing, vibrant and smooth. The result? Skin around the eyes appears brighter, firmer and healthier.

The one thing better than the results might just be the price! Skinfix’s Brightening Eye Cream is priced at £12.99 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

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