Nyasa Metamorphosis Revitalising Beauty Oil*

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When it comes to skincare, one of my most used products has to be a great facial oil. I have dry skin, so like to apply a few drops at night to keep everything hydrated, and each morning I add a drop to liquid foundation formulas to get a glowier, sheerer finish. So, as you can probably imagine, I can be super picky about the oils I use.

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My newest favourite has to be the Nyasa Metamorphosis Revitalising Beauty Oil. The brand is a new one – it only launched back in January, but it feels like it’s far more established. With their skincare, Nyasa try to bring together seriously advanced skincare using natural ingredients. The result is a lineup of gloriously luxurious beauty treats which leave skin looking and feeling incredible. The Metamorphosis Revitalising Beauty Oil is the first product from the lineup that I’ve tried, and I have to say, I’ve fallen in love – hard!

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The oil is an absolute dream to use – packaged in a beautifully understated brushed glass bottle, complete with dropper, after cleansing I apply a few drops of the oil and then pat in. The oil itself smells divine thanks to the mix of essential oils –  Frankincense, Jasmine, Neroli, Ylang Ylang, Palmarosa, Linden, Lavender, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Benzoin, Chamomile, and Rose Geranium are all in there. It also feels incredibly nourishing to apply. It hydrates skin without overloading it, and when I’ve applied it I wake up with my face feeling plump and nourished.

Nyasa Metamorphosis Revitalising Beauty Oil is priced at £95 and is available here

Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Cushion Foundation

When I saw that YSL had released a cushion foundation, it’s fair to say I was more than a little excited. I’ve been a big fab of the brand’s foundations since they released the original Touche Eclat formula back in 2011/12, and considering my love affair with cushion formulas – well, I couldn’t resist!

This one might just be the slickest packaging on a foundation yet. A study in black and gold, it’s seriously glam. Inside contains a sizable mirror which is perfect for touch-ups, as well as a branded puff. Honestly, I never even bother with the sponges included with cushion foundations. The formulas are so light, they feel unnecessary, and I prefer to apply foundation with my fingers anyway.

There are 12 shades in the line up to choose from – I went for B10, which is the lightest, so if your skin skews super light or dark, you might have a little trouble in finding a match. It’s described as a medium, buildable formula, and it’s not as luminous as some of the cushion foundations I’ve tried before. After applying a generous slick of moisturizer, I pat on the foundation using my fingers. It’s wonderfully lightweight, and it disappears into skin, leaving it looking perfected and mattified. It lasts throughout the day well, and doesn’t oxidize at all. Instead it just leaves skin looking naturally perfected – and isn’t that what we’re all after?

YSL Fusion Ink Cushion Foundation is priced at £38.50 and is available here (UK)

Givenchy Nano Pink Leather Backpack from Harvey Nichols*

It’s pretty impossible to miss the whole 90’s resurgence which is going on at the moment. I’m still in my twenties, but seeing the return of staples of my childhood has me feeling old. Case in point –  the backpack. I’ve been a staunch ‘purse’ girl for years, but seeing all the cute little backpacks has made me all nostalgic, and the best one I’ve come across has to be the squishy little marshmallow which is Givenchy’s Nano Pink offering.

Small enough to not feel like my old schoolbag, the Nano fits my phone, makeup bag and essentials with room to spare. The front pocket means that my must-haves are easily accessible, and I just adore the pared back design.

The leather is buttery soft, the the candy pink could not be cuter! It’s perfect for Spring and Summer outfits, and it adds a perfect pop of colour to my regularly neutral outfits!

Givenchy Nano Pink Leather Backpack is priced at £790 and is available from Harvey Nichols here

 

Dr. Barbara Sturm Calming Serum*

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Do you know when you find a product which feels like it was made just for you? It’s tailored to your skin’s every need and is just a joy to use? Well, consider Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Calming Serum my Holy Grail. When I met with Dr. Sturm a few weeks back, we were discussing my skin concerns (redness, sensitivity, dryness) when she paused, then drew out a bottle, of what I can only describe as magic.

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Like all Dr. Barbara Sturm products, the packaging of the Calming Serum is stunning. A minimalist mix of frosted glass and black lettering, it’s as chic as it gets. Unlike a whole host of luxury skincare brands, Sturm’s products contain no scents or essential oils. They’re all about nourishing, soothing, calming and repairing the skin. The formula of the serum had been tweaked to microscopic perfection.

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Like all of Sturm’s skincare, the Calming Serum is packed full of her signature Purslane extract – rich in antioxidants which protects sensitive cell membranes against attacks by free radicals, whilst Cardiospermum extract, is known as a wonder plant for soothing inflamed skin. The serum includes Echium oil which contains the perfect balance of omegas 3, 6 and 9, and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) and Stearidonic Acid (SA) hydrate, calm, and prevent eczema flare-ups, so it’s perfect if your skin is in real need of some TLC, whilst Sunflower extract protects the skin from external environmental influences, and Sweet almond oil and vitamin E nourish and protect.

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Despite being packed-full of all that goodness, the Calming Serum couldn’t be lighter. I’ve been using it morning and night, straight after cleansing. I apply a few drops, then pat it in. It feels super cooling and calming, and is disappears into skin, soothing redness immediately and sorting that ‘tight’ feeling which sometimes comes from cleansing. Sturm herself swears by this for treating skin post-flights, and it’s going to be a must have for summer skin!

Dr. Barbara Sturm Calming Serum is priced at £173 and is available from SpaceNK here, and here (US)

Model Co Tan Remover Exfoliating Scrub*

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Ok, so we’re in May, which means we’re basically in summer, and that means we need to tan. Naturally I’m ghost-pale, so I need a bit of a shove in the right direction, and considering I live in Edinburgh, I’d never be able to get even a hint of colour naturally. So, I have to take the fake route, and of course, that means maintenance.

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Thankfully though, Model Co have made prepping your skin super easy thanks to their Tan Remover scrub. A thick, gritty, very pink scrub which is everything I look for in an exfoliator. The light grapefruit scent feels fresh, and the texture is super satisfying to use. It leaves skin feeling seriously silky – and even though it’s called a Tan Remover, I use it before fake tanning to ensure it looks as natural as possible.

Model Co Tan Remover is priced at £12.49 and is available here

A Night at The Blythswood Square Hotel*

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The Blythswood Square Hotel is one of those places I’d been dying  to visit for years. Anyone I know who had visited only had only glowing things to report back, so it was the perfect excuse to stay over, when I popped in to review their rather fabulous Guilty Pleasures package (review here) a couple of weeks ago.

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Checking in an hour or so later than planned (thanks M8 traffic), the first thing we noticed was how warm and welcoming all the staff were. Parking was a breeze thanks to on-street spaces available directly outside the hotel (download the ringo app so you can just top up your meter without having to sniff out change) and we were well taken care of at check-in.

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Whisked from the reception desk, we were given a potted history of the hotel which had previously been the RAC headquarters for Scotland. With all of the original features remaining, The Blythswood Square Hotel is a seriously glamorous spot situated right in the heart of Glasgow – and I just adored all the attention to detail – just look at the chandelier!

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But what was an even better surprise than the stunning interiors was the Blythswood Suite we were ushered into. Spanning the front of the hotel, we were treated to sweeping views of the Blysthwood park opposite, as well as a dining room, super comfy seated area, huge bedroom and the most fabulous black marble bathroom!

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We ooh’d and ahh’d over the room whilst we freshened up – remarking on all the space, the light, and how comfortable it all was. Then, it was time to hop across to The Salon to enjoy our Guilty Pleasures package. Thankfully it was quite literally a few steps back to the room – after half a bottle of champagne each, we were both a little tipsy, and we very much appreciated the comfy sofas and wide screen tv to enjoy the rest of the evening.

Staying the the Blythswood Suite meant we also got to enjoy what has to be Glasgow’s slickest bathroom. Swathed in black marble, this is a bathroom straight out of a movie. There was a shower which could easily fit about four people, a his’n’hers sink and the most wonderful bath I’ve seen in a very long time.

I spent quite a few hours in the tub. It was huge, and it meant that I really got to enjoy the indulgent Elemis products which the bathroom was stocked with.

The main attraction for the room was of course, the oversized bed. Covered in a cloud of duvet and pillows, the bed frame was a pool table in a former life, and it was beyond comfy and cosy. I just adored the tweedy headboard, and it was such a treat to laze around for an evening and just enjoy the luxury.

Since we were lucky enough to have a full dining table to make use of, we thought we’d make use of room service and have it all delivered straight to the room. So, we ferreted out the breakfast request form, ticked away to our heart’s desire, then jumped back into bed to enjoy the comfort some more.

Once it gets dark, you’ll notice that all the windows in the hotel have red lamps in them – it’s not just to look cosy. Apparently … way back when, Blythswood Square was known as something of Glasgow’s red light district, and as a rather cheeky nod to the past, it’s a fun little touch.

We were woken up with a soft knock at the door, and the most fabulous breakfast feast was set up on the dining room table for us.

Yoghurts, pastries, salmon and toast were all unpacked, and we had the most indulgent morning, enjoying breakfast with views out onto the gardens below.

I wish every morning could be as luxurious!

Thank you so much to The Blythswood Square Hotel for having us. A night in the Blythswood Suite costs from £378 per night

Ciate Precious Metal Eyeshadow – Lincoln Road*

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When it comes to eyeshadow, I’m usually quite conservative. A shimmery taupe does me for day-to-day use. If I’m honest, it’s easier to blend a buttery brown in my lash line, slick on a bit of mascara, then I’m good to go. But, when heading out in the evening, I like to go for something a little more special.

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That’s where Ciate’s Precious Metal Eyeshadow in Lincoln Road comes in. Handily packaged in a chic black tub complete with dinky travel-sized eye brush, it’s a surprisingly easy way to create a show-stopping eye look. And the best part is, it even comes with it’s own primer, so you can even chuck it in your makeup bag to amp up your look, even if you’re own the go.

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Using the Precious Metals shadow couldn’t be easier. First of all, I pat the primer all over the lid using my ring finger. It’s got a satiny soft texture which melts into skin, and it evens out skin tone as well as act as a glue to the pigment.

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The shadow itself is absolutely incredible. Lincoln Road is warm, pinky-toned taupe which feels like a glitzier, more glamorous version on my everyday shadow. You can apply it using your fingers – or, if you’re after something more precise, you can use the included brush. It packs on the shadow, giving lids a metallic sheen which is just perfect for summer – paired with tanned skin it looks super chic, and it lasts all night! Thanks to the handy primer, the shadow does.not.move once it’s on – it just sits looking beautiful until you’re ready to take it off!

Ciate Precious Metals Eye Shadow is priced at £18 and is available here

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!