Hempz Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Bath & Body Oil*

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We might still be bang slap in the middle of winter … I mean, I’ve been battling through snow for the past week! But spring and summer are getting surprisingly close. I didn’t really realise quite how close, but then I was booking a spring break, and realised I’ve got under 8 weeks to go! So, in an effort to feel like spring is round the corner, I’ve been loving the addition of Hempz Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Bath & Body Oil.

The oil itself just smells like summer – all sweet and fruity. So if you’re in the mood to ditch the deep and moody fragrances of winter, this is the one for you! Not only is the scent dreamy though, it’s also an absolute life saver for winter-ravaged skin. It’s supremely hydrating thanks to it being 100% Natural Hemp Seed Oil, so if your elbows and knees are feeling more than a little neglected, this is a quick fix.

For all of it’s hydration, it’s surprisingly lightweight, and doesn’t leave skin feeling sticky or greasy. Instead it sinks in almost immediately, so it’s a great option if you need to slap some on in the mornings.

Hempz Sweet Pineapple & Honey Melon Bath & Body Oil is priced at £19.96 and is available here

Celebrate Veganuary with Harvey Nichols Edinburgh*

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One of the most popular resolutions which people proclaim each year, has to be the ‘I’ll be healthier.’ It can encompass most things, whether it’s a new gym membership, new classes to attend, or even a healthier diet, but recently the rise of ‘Veganuary’ has been hard to ignore. Certainly, the appeal of nixing all animal products from your diet sounds appealing, but it also sounds tough. No meat means no quick ham sandwich for lunch, no juicy steak to enjoy at the end of a long week – not to mention no skimmed latte to start each morning off!

So, to make life easy, Harvey Nichols has introduced a new, completely Vegan menu which will be running all January. It’s a delicious affair offering a choice of salads, soups and main courses, perfect for treating yourself to (with absolutely no guilt!). We stopped in on a very cold, snowy night after work, desperate for some hearty dishes. I’m glad to say, we were far from disappointed. Still shaking off snowflakes, we were shown to a table with the best view in Edinburgh – St. Andrew Square below us, and the castle illuminated from afar, where we were able to choose our starters (Hummus, black olive and sun blush tomato salad with pita bread £7 and Chunky winter vegetable soup £6.50) and mull over the day’s events. I’m not sure if it was the cold, or simply how ravenous we were, but I completely forgot to take any photographs of the starter!

My enthusiasm for getting stuck in meant we were a good 3/4 of the way through when we noticed my camera sitting there on the table untouched … oops!

Despite my lack of evidence, both dishes were divine. The Hummus was light, and flavoured wth lemon, whilst the pitas were soft and warm, and the whole thing was just delicious. I had chosen the Chunky Soup, and it was exactly the sort of thing I was in the mood for – piping hot, and absolutely chock-full of tomatoes, courgettes and all other sorts of vegetables, it was served with freshly baked bread, and was a perfect antidote to the freezing temperatures outside.

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After forgetting to photograph the starters, I hovered over the mains until they were suitably documented! Vegetable and Chickpea Chilli was served with Guacamole and homemade Tortilla Chips (£11) and was another delicious choice in cold weather.

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The mix of tomatoes, chickpeas, peppers and sweetcorn was delicious, and suitably spiced, whilst the homemade tortilla chips and guacamole were a delicious accompaniment. It’s a dish I’d never even imagine could be vegan (my own guacamole is usually about 1/2 sour cream) but I didn’t miss any of the animal products, so it’s definitely something I’ll be recreating at home!

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Since I’m going through a bit of a curry-kick at the moment, I wasn’t able to resistive Lentil and Spinach Curry served with a Garlin Pitta Bread (£11). This was another absolutely knockout dish! For anyone who thinks vegetarian/vegan cook is boring, then they need a bowl of this to prove them wrong.

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The curry was made up of creamed chickpeas, which had a delicious mint and coriander dressing, as well as fresh spinach mixed through. The different textures and flavours in the curry made it such a joy of a dish, and it’s another one I’m planning to recreate at home!

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Served alongside the yummiest hot, fluffy garlic pita you can imagine, this was exactly what I needed after a long day at work. I absolutely wolfed it down, and it was perfect served alongside a glass of vegan wine. Yes – the menu even has completely vegan wines to choose from which you can order by the glass or by the bottle. Whether you prefer white, red, rose or even sparkling, there’s a choice in there for you! We enjoyed a glass of the Primitivo (£9) a rich, fruity red and Garnacha Blanco (£7.50) a light, sweet white. I’m admittedly not a big wine drinker, but the Garnacha Blanco was a complete revelation – it was sweet and incredibly drinkable (which was dangerous considering it was a school night!).

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Even though we were absolutely stuffed from supper, when spied a vegan Banana Split (£6.50) neither of us could resist! What arrived was the cutest, and most delicious dessert you could imagine! The vegan sorbets were absolute perfection – the raspberry was incredibly bright and fruity, whilst the chocolate was so rich and moreish! The coconut cream was wonderfully light and airy, and there was even a cherry hidden in the middle in there!

It was such a delicious meal, and it’s really changed the way I’ve thought about introducing vegan dishes into my everyday routine! I’m already planning a return trip!

Information about Harvey Nichols Forth Floor can be found here.

Kiko Milano Candy Split Nail Art Stickers*

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Kiko Milano’s Candy Split Collection has to be the brand’s cutest yet. Filed with stripes and seriously adorable products (including macaron-shaped sponges) it’s one of the most eye-catching collections from a brand that I’ve seen in a while.

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Even though I’m knee deep in dark manicures at the moment (is there anything better in winter?) the Nail Art Stickers make me want to paint everything pink! Available in two choices, mine are filled with cake and ice cream decals. They’re going to be perfect for summer!

Kiko Milano Candy Split Nail Art Decals are on offer for £1.40 and are available here

Simply Scrub Coffee Body Scrub*

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With the long overdue banning of microbeads in beauty products, it’s time to starting thinking about more natural alternatives for exfoliation, and one type I’ve been falling increasingly in love with is the coffee bean scrub. A by-product of roasting, natural and compostable, it feels like there isn’t a downside to these products, especially organic ones like Simply Scrub’s Coffee Body Scrub.

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I’ve tried the brand before, and been so impressed by them, so I couldn’t wait to give the simple coffee version a go! Perfect for the dark and cold mornings, this feels like a jolt of caffeine before I’ve even left the house! Ingredients include organic coffee beans, organic coconut oil, Dead Sea mineral salt, organic tea tree oil, organic brown sugar, organic jojoba oil, organic grape seed oil, vitamin E oil, organic shea butter,  organic honeycomb, and organic vitamin E, so it’s incredibly skin friendly, and leaves skin looking and feeling incredible.

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Its doesn’t leave a residue, so once I’m out of the shower, I make sure to moisturise well to keep my skin as hydrated as possible. It’s such a gorgeous product to use, I tend to reach for it two to three times a week.

Simply Scrub Coffee Scrub is priced at $14 and is available here.

Blaq Teeth Whitening Wand*

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One of the brands which I really fell in love with last year was Blaq. Originally hailing from Australia, their mix of effective products and chic packaging has been seriously hard to resist (they did make a meteor dust body scrub after all!). My latest acquisition is their teeth whitening wand.

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Like all of Blaq’s products, the tooth whitening wand uses activated charcoal rather than harsh chemicals to draw stains out of tooth enamel. Using the pen couldn’t be easier – after brushing my teeth, I click the pen a couple of times, and paint my teeth with it, making sure it’s got time to dry (about a minute). I wouldn’t apply the gel in front of anyone, as it is a fetching grey colour (thanks to the charcoal), then after about twenty minutes I rinse my mouth.

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It’s such an easy little addition to my night time regime, and I like the fresh minty flavour it has. The inclusion of both coconut oil and charcoal feel like they’re doing teeth and gums good, as well as combatting staining, and I love how portable the pen is!

Blaq Tooth Whitening Wand is priced at £14.95 and is available here.

 

Models Own Pro-Foundation Sticks*

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When it comes to picking bases, I’m not going to lie, I can be hard to please. I want a product which leaves skin looking perfected, luminous and most importantly looking like skin. I’m always on the hunt for a new favourite, so when I saw Models Own release a whole line of new foundation sticks, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them! The lineup has 15 shades to choose from, which span from a literally white foundation with nude primer core, to a deep chocolatey brown, so most skin tones should be able to find their match. The foundations are so well priced that even if you can’t find an exact match, a mix of two should hit a sweet spot.

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The Pro-Foundation Sticks are far creamier than other stick foundations I’ve tried in the past, and for someone with dry skin like mine, it’s an absolute godsend! Each of the sticks have a primer-filled core which is enriched with Vitamin E, so they don’t only give great colour payoff, but they feel nourishing too! Depending on how you apply the foundation, it can be quite high coverage, but what I like to do is swipe the sticks over my cheekbones and forehead, then blend with a dampened beauty blender. The effect is of a natural, glowy finish, which is perfect topped off with a little bronzer.

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05 is my shade of choice – a neutral shade which is perfect for lighter tones. It blends easily, and gives skin a naturally perfected look.

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15 is two shades up from 05, and I think it will be just perfect for the summer. Again, neutral in tone, it gives skin a healthy glow and can even be used if I’ve been fake tanning.

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30 is one of the mid-tones available in the shade range. Perfect for those with naturally tan skin, it’s a quite warm toned option, it’s the deepest shade of my selection.

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20 is another mid, warm-toned option for those looking for a new foundation. The inner primer is a light pink, so it’s perfect for those wanting a little winter pick-me -up!

Models Own Pro-Foundation Sticks are priced at £9.99 each and are available here (UK) and here (US)

 

Nejma Voile de Satin Body Lotion*

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When it comes to perfumes, I tend to stick to the same kind of scents – if it’s a white flower or citrus, I’m almost guaranteed to like it. But in the winter, I sometimes feel the need for a fragrance which feels a little deeper and more substantial. I don’t want anything that will knock people over the head, but I’ve been craving something different.

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So it felt like perfect timing when Nejma sent over their Voille de Satin Body Lotion. Not only was I in desperate need of a body moisturiser, but the scent is absolutely glorious. It’s far deeper and muskier than the perfumes I normally reach for, but the fact that it’s applied as a body lotion, means it feels less intense. Once it dries down, there are notes of vanilla and powder, which feels perfect for wearing with sweaters and cosy knits!

I can’t seem to find the body lotion for sale in the UK, but it’s on sale for $25 here.

Starskin Anti-Aging Lift Away Mud Face Sheet Mask*

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If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll probably know I’m a big fan of sheet masks. Personally, there’s nothing not to love when it comes to them – they’re portable, you can choose a product which fits your skins needs each and every time, the products are fresh every time you open them, and they’re incredibly travel friendly. Up until now, the sheet masks I’d used had been squarely for moisture, but when Starskin released these Lift Away Mud versions, I couldn’t resist! There are a few mud masks to choose from in the range, and the first one I opted for was the Green Tea Clay version. Promising to purify, smooth, tighten and brighten skin, this sounded like just the thing for a weekend pick me up!

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Even though it comes in the form of a sheet mask, Starskin have managed to include a whole host of great-for-skin ingredients. Kaolin clay, Green Tea Powder, and Hydrolyzed Collagen are all in there to work their magic. To use, I first wash and cleanse my face, and give it a bit of a gentle exfoliation. Then I popped on the mask. Unlike most, this one is divided into 2 parts, and it really adheres to skin easily, and it smells lovely and fresh. I just leave it on for about 20 minutes, although you can leave it on for up to 40. Like a regular mud mask, Starskin’s tightens, and since you have to peel it back off, I’d recommend that you don’t let it touch your hairline or eyebrows. Once I peeled it off, I gave my skin another quick rinse, then followed up with a moisturising serum and night cream. It leaves skin noticeably brighter and tighter feeling. It also feels wonderfully cleansing – it’s a perfect choice for my Sunday mask tradition!

Starskin Anti-Aging Lift Away Mud Face Sheet Mask is priced at £8.50 and is available here.

An Evening at Boston & Hawthorne, Edinburgh*

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A couple of weeks before Christmas, a new face opened in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge – Boston & Hawthorne. Billed as the capital’s only curiosity bar, it’s a cosy little spot, tucked off the main street, with killer cocktails and a menu perfect for sharing.

When I popped in, it was for a special opening event. With candles flickering, we were given time to explore the cabinets and mingle, before sitting down to sharing banquet. The food for the evening had a Roman-theme, which was entirely unexpected – so as we were seated we were plied with mead as we got to know everyone at the table.

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The first course was a pizza bread, absolutely covered in cooked peppers. As with the rest of the meal, we were encouraged to use our hands and dig in!

With a perfectly crisp base, this was such a delicious way to start our meal. The peppers had been cooked until soft and sweet , and the pizza dough had a delicious, sourdough flavour.

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Once we had all munched our way through the pizza, it was time for the main event. Possibly Edinburgh’s most generous sharing board was heaved to the table – much to all of our delight! It was a truly Bacchanalian affair, bedecked in meats and vegetable, which we all spent at least five minutes taking pictures of.

Once we had all taken enough pictures, it was time to dig in. There was so much to choose from – there were exotic options like the wild boar sausages, and squid arancini, as well as breaded aubergines, duck, new potatoes and a huge hunk of venison. While imposing, the spread was perfect for diving in and out of.

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The concept of a Roman banquet was something I’ve never experienced before, but is was such a lovely way to be introduced not only to Boston & Hawthorne, but also to some more Edinburgh-based bloggers! I’m always on the lookout for new sites to read and explore!

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To round the evening off, we had to try some of the bar’s rather delicious sounding cocktails. They’re all priced at £6 each, and I have to say – they’re a real bargain!

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Somehow we all managed to order a different one each – the most eye-catching of which had to be the Parmatini, which came draped with a slice of ham! It was declared delicious, and I enjoyed my Fluid Whisky Apple Pie. Served hot in a vintage cup and saucer set, complete with a finger of shortbread, it was a toasty way to end the evening.

Thank you so much to Boston & Hawthorne for having us!

Batiste Dry Shampoo*

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When it comes to haircare, I’m probably every hairdresser’s worst nightmare. All those things they tell you not to do? I do it. I tend to wash my hair every morning, I then blow dry it, straighten it, and then fiddle with it while I work. Did I mention it’s also coloured?!

In an effort to get my ends back to full health, I’ve been trying not to wash my hair every morning, so on days when I don’t need to see clients, I’ve been turning to Batiste and their Original formula and ponytails to keep my hair in check.

Using the dry shampoo couldn’t be easier – I section off my hair, and blast my roots with the dry shampoo. The Batiste has a beautifully fresh scent, so it tackles any sort of bed head with ease, and it mops up any trace of greasy roots and gives a much needed volume boost too!

Batiste Original Dry Shampoo is priced at £2.99 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

SportFX Time Out Face Mist & Fix*

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If you’re anything like me, you barely have to look at the gym, and your makeup just slides right off. I long to be one of those girls who leave the gym looking no different than when they entered, but I’m cursed with hair that fuzzes up and skin which turns pink within seconds of warming up. So, in an attempt to look a little more put together whilst working out, I’ve been trying SportFX’s Timeout Face Mist & Fix Spray.

It’s a dinky little 2-in-1 products which gives skin a  dose of hydration and glow, whilst fixing makeup into place. The spray itself is a dinky 30ml, which easily fits into my gym bag, and I’ve been using it both pre and post work out.

Before heading into a class, I’ve been giving myself a quick spritz of the spray. I don’t tend to wear makeup to work out (if I do I can break out) so this gives a much needed does of moisture, whilst also giving skin a pretty sheen. Once I’m out and showered, I use it again prior to applying makeup. The Time Out Spray has a gorgeous minty scent thanks to menthol in the ingredients, so it cools and calms skin too, as well as providing a base for any makeup I want to apply.

It’s a genius little spray, and I’ve been absolutely loving using it!

SportFX Time Out Face Mist and Fix is priced at £5.99 and is available here.