Edinburgh’s West End – Odyssey Boutique

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Spending most of my time in Edinburgh, it can be easy to fall into routines. There are my regular coffee shops, delis and where I pop in when I fancy a treat, so when I was invited to see the best of what the West End has to offer, I jumped at the chance.

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Edinburgh’s West End is perfect if you’re looking for a day of strolling round. It’s gorgeous – full of Georgian architecture (my favorite) and independent boutiques and restaurants. It’s also a whole lot quieter – so taking an afternoon to potter around is an absolutely heavenly way to spend a day.

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One of my first ports of call was the Odyssey Boutique – an award winning collection of the most glorious lingerie and swimwear you can imagine!

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With every piece in the store picked personally by owner Sarah, it’s a wonderfully curated selection.

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There are bras which are perfect for everyday wear, as well as those which are definitely reserved for more special occasions.  The price points for the underwear will also suit most – the pieces reserved for regular wear hover around the £60 mark, whilst those looking for the more intricate designs will be able to indulge for significantly more.

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The store itself is an absolute jewel box – the walls are peppered with the most divine lingerie and swimwear you can imagine, and Sarah is on hand to advise and recommend pieces you might not have seen.

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In addition to the most glorious underwear and swimwear, Sarah also stocks a neat selection of must-have beauty bits. Think the best fake tanks, body oils and sunscreens which are going to have you feeling like a goddess!

Odyssey Boutique is one of Edinburgh West End‘s gems. You can find out more about the boutique here.

Urban Decay Melt Down Makeup Remover*

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When Urban Decay released their brand new line of skincare products, my hopes were pretty high. I’m uniformly impressed with their makeup (I mean, they’re the brand who brought in the nude eye palettes to the stashes of us all) so it’s fair to say my standards were high. Happily, I’ve been more than impressed with what I’ve tried.

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The Melt Down Makeup Remover is something of a must-have. Packaged in a squeezy tube, with fun watercolour designs, using the Melt Down Makeup Remover couldn’t be easier. I’ve been using it (unsurprisingly) at night, when I’ve had a full face on.

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The Melt Down Makeup Remover has a lighter, milkier consistency than I was expecting. I dampen my face first, then massage a small amount into my face. It has the nicest, slightly coconut-y scent which feels perfect for summer. It’s also magic. It completely erases all traces of makeup (including my sturdiest mascaras and eye liners) without stripping skin or stinging eyes. It completely eradicates all makeup – no matter how much foundation or liner I’m wearing, and it’s so pleasant to use!

Urban Decay Melt Down Makeup Remover is priced at £18 and is available here (UK)

Lano Rose Hand Cream Everyday*

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Since it’s summer (and the UK has been enjoying surprising amounts of sunshine and decent temperatures) I’ve been far more adventurous with my manicures of late. I’ve abandoned my usual choices of pinks and nudes and gone right into the neon. Case in point? I’m currently sporting a neon coral/orange fade, and I’m more than a little obsessed with it!

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So, since my fingers are far brighter and more attention-grabbing than usual, I’ve been upping my hand care, so they look as good as possible. My current favourite is Lano’s Rose Hand Cream Everyday. From the pretty pink packaging, to the gentle rose fragrance, the cream is an absolute joy to use. The floral element is quite soft (it doesn’t hit you over the head with roses like others I’ve tried) and it smells divine. It’s also super nourishing, without leaving hands feeling sticky or greasy. Instead, your hands just feel silky soft and smooth. The cream has also made such a difference in preventing rage cuticles and hang nails, and it’s the perfect post-shellac treatment, so my nails stay as strong as possible.

Lano Rose Hand Cream Intense is priced at £10.20 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Rodial Bee Venom Micro Sting Patches*

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So last week marked my entry into my ‘late twenties,’ it’s had me feeling more than a little old. So, in the spirit of anti-ageing I cracked out my box of Rodial’s brand new Bee Venom Micro Sting Patches. They’re a new release from the brand, and they deliver seriously high doses of hyaluronic acid and bee venom to skin, leaving it looking plumper and fresher.

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Using the patches couldn’t be easier. After cleansing, you just pop the patches on your areas of concern and leave it for about half an hour. The patches work by plumping the skin, much like what happens with filler injections (only these are more temporary, and they’re also pain free!). They are such a great little tool to keep on hand for special occasions, and those days when you know you’re going to get photographed.

Rodial Bee Venom Micro-Sting Patches are priced at £90 and are available here (UK)

Oribe Swept Up Volume Powder Spray*

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Is there anything worse than limp, floppy hair when it’s hot out? I have to admit that I do love having super soft hair, which, in the right conditions, does feel lovely, but it means that my strands can go a bit funny if I try to actually do anything with my hair. So, when I found out Oribe were releasing their new Swept Up Volume Spray, I may have done something of a happy dance.

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Packaged, in true Oribe fashion, in an understated beige tube, Swept Up is like nothing else in my hair care drawer. Using the powder couldn’t be easier! After washing, blow drying then straightening my hair, I section my hair off, then spray a little of the volume powder into my roots, gently tapping it in with my fingers.

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The power gently puffs out every time you spray, which means you’re not left with weird white patches in your hair. Instead, the powder disappears into hair, leaving it looking naturally thick and voluminous. It leaves hair shiny, and the volume lasts all day. It’s perfect if you’re after a super glam look –  it works amazingly well if you’re looking for big, bouncy curls too. This makes my hair also keep a curl much longer too – it’s such an easy way to inject glamour into my everyday routine!

Oribe Swept Up Volume Powder Spray is priced at £39 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Too Faced Prismatic Highlighter – Ray of Light*

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When it comes to summer beauty, I’m not sure about you, but I’m all about glowy, sheeny goodness. When I caught sight of Too Faced’s brand new Prismatic highlighters, I’m not going to lie, I squealed a little. But can you blame me? Three brand new shades, packaged to look like both hearts and diamonds? Perfection if you ask me!

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There are three shades of the Prismatic Highlighter – a rose gold (Ray of Light), a true gold (You Light Up My Life) and a cool champagne (Light Love Light), so all skin colours should be able to find their perfect shimmery shade. I tested out Ray of Light first – it’s a cool-toned rose which adds a stunning sheen to cheek and brow bones.

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So as well as looking absolutely divine in the pan (seriously, have you ever seen a cuter compact?) this is a real everyday must have. I love a light dusting of Ray of Light on the tops of my cheekbones, on the bridge of my nose after I’ve put on my regular bronzer. Using my fan shaped brush (this one), I get a seriously believable glow (like I’ve been on the green juice for a few weeks). If I’m going out a night, the sheen is easily buildable – you can get some serious stoping going on with a few coats of the stuff.

Too Faced Prismatic Highlighter in Ray of Light is priced at £25 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Lanolips – The Original 101 Ointment*

When it comes to beauty products, the more uses for it – the better as far as I’m concerned. Even though I love beauty products, I don’t exactly relish lugging them around with me, and on a day-to-day basis I try to keep it as minimal as possible. My on-the-go makeup bag currently contains a concealer, bronzer and brush as well as a lip balm. It’s a far cry from when I would positively rattle with lip glosses, so a product which promises 101 uses sounded right up my street!

The Lanolips 101 Ointment promises exactly that – with only 1 ingredient in the superbalm – medical grade lanolin, it’s a product which feels like it can be used for just about anything!

Of course, the thing it does best is moisturize and nourish skin. I love to wear it as a rich balm – it’s fragrance free, yet feels richly luxurious on the lips. It also works fabulously as a super moisturiser – applied at night, I pat on a little on my driest areas, and wake up with skin which feels brand new! On a more superficial level – if I want a natural, but still groomed brow, the ointment brushed through with a spoolie, gives brows a sleek sheen, and the tiniest amount patted onto cheekbones gives a healthy, believable glow.

Have you ever used a multipurpose balm?

Lanolips 101 Ointment is priced at £10.99 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

 

Sleek Makeup – Holographic Vibes*

When it comes to affordable makeup brands, Sleek Makeup is one of my favorites. With a collection which is constantly updated, and products which look, feel and perform far better than their affordable prices might suggest, if I’m in need of a bit of a pick-me-up, this is the brand for me!

The Holographic Vibes collection feels perfect for summer. Full of sheeny-shiny products, I can just see the makeup being perfect for wearing to music festivals all season long! The stand-out star of the collection has to be the distorted dreams highlighter palette.

Packaged in a super sleek shiny silver compact, the palette is made up of five highlighters – three cream formulas and two powders. The colours range from a milky opal, to brave shades of green and blue. The beauty of the product is in the buildability of the formulas. A subtle sheen, care of the opal shade is perfect for day-to-day wear, whilst a little of the blue and green formulas give skin an otherworldly glow.

It’s a great option if you’re looking to push your boundaries a little – the shades are pretty enough to release your inner unicorn, but the soft, blendable formulas sink into skin leaving it looking divine.

The range also includes three new shade of the rather popular Matte Me Lipsticks. Only this time, all three shades are metallic. Encompassing a rich rose-red to a warm orange-y copper, these liquid lipsticks are an upgrade from my usual balm. All three also smell absolutely glorious – all vanilla sweetness which is fun rather than feeling overpowering.

Matte Me Rusted Rose is perhaps the most wearable shade of the trio. A warm, rich pinky-red, Rusted Rose applies evenly and opaques straight from the tube, and the wear time is seriously impressive. I got a good 4 hours of wear before I felt the need for a touch up.

Perhaps the most interesting shade in the line up is Volcanic – a copper-rose duo-chrome, the formula feels like it should come from MAC or Nars rather than a drugstore! Slightly sheerer than the other two in terms of finish, two coats leaves lips looking perfect. The wear time is slightly shorter than the other two, but it’s easily topped up, and I just love the effect!

The last in the lineup is Roman Copper, a warm orange-toned copper which is just begging to be worn with a tan. Deeper, richer skintones, I think, would look absolutely incredible in this shade. Since I’m ghost-white at the moment, I’ve not braved the shade, but I’m just waiting until I’ve got a golden tan to crack this beauty out!

Sleep Distorted Dreams Highlighter palette is priced at £10.99 and the Matte Me Metallic Lipsticks are £4.99 and are available here.

Urban Decay Pore-Refining Peel*

When Urban Decay released their much-anticipated, I think the most talked about product was probably the Pore-Refining Peel. It might have something to do with the popularity of those black peel off masks which are all over Instagram at the moment, but considering I’ve liked these kind of masks for a few years now, I was more than a little intrigued to give this one a spin.

Packaged in a large squeezy tube, the first instructions you’ll see, is that this mask is not for use over your entire face. Instead, this is for targeting areas with a little congestion – I like it for my nose, around my mouth, and on my forehead and chin.

The mask has a thick, almost glue-y consistency,with no scent or colour. I just smooth it on dry, freshly washed skin (usually my nose) and then let it get to work. Unlike a lot of masks, there is no tingling sensation when applied. Instead, it just dries down to be completely clear, and then you’re good to remove.

I prefer to apply quite a thick layer of the mask, as I find it easier to remove once everything has dried down. Then, once it’s dried, you can find an edge and slowly pull the mask off. As long as you do it carefully, it’s not sore, instead you can see how congested your skin really was. It leaves skin feeling super fresh – and it’s the perfect pre-makeup treatment for truly flawless finish.

Urban Decay Pore Refining Peel is priced at £24 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

111SKIN Daily Orbit Energising Essence NAC Y2*

When it comes to skincare, I’m not sure you can get more exciting than products designed for space. So, when I got my hands on a few of 111Skin’s products, I was understandably excited. The product line is the brainchild of Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, a Harley Street dermatologist, who has conducted unbelievable amounts of research into preventing the anti-ageing process.

The first of the products I cracked open was the Daily Orbit Energising Essence NAC Y2. I’ve used an Essence pretty consistently for a year or two, and I was actually running low on my usual order, so receiving the bottle felt a  bit like kismet. Packaged, as most Essences are, in a frosted glass bottle, 111Skin’s offering is a gentle scentless fluid which is applied directly to skin after cleansing. I know that many brands recommend saturating a cotton pad, then sweeping over the face in an upwards direction, but honestly I find the cotton drinks up product, so I prefer to apply a few drops to the skin using clean fingers.

Since there are no scents or colorants, the Essence is great for us with sensitized skin. It disappears into skin almost instantly, leaving it feeling plump, hydrated and ready for moisturizer. Rather handily, it contains the brand’s  NAC Y² formula, which has become known as the ‘Dramatic Healing Serum.’ It gives skin a serious dose of hydration, and it’s also infused with Antioxidants to fight free radicals that cause ageing. It even has been proven to neutralize the effects of pollution, whilst sealing moisture into the skin. It’s such an easy product to add into your regime, and you can see the positive effects almost instantly (and you can definitely feel them right away!).

111SKIN Daily Orbit Energising Essence NAC Y2 is priced at £60 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Urban Decay Rehab Makeup Prep Lip Love*

Is it just me, or does anyone else think it’s bizarre that Urban Decay is only just releasing a skincare line? It seems like such an obvious move for the brand, I’m just surprised it’s taken this long. Perhaps they’ve been working on formulas? Anyway, no matter about why it’s taken so long, the skincare is seriously impressive, and the first of the products I tried was Lip Love, a Shea Butter Coconut Oil Lip Balm.

Packaged in an easy-squeezy tube, Lip Love is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a new summer lip balm. It’s got a fun, coconut scent and flavour, which feels very seasonal. It’s got a light, glossy feel on the lips, and it is the perfect base if you’re going to start applying a matte lip as it’s so hydrating.

I’ve been keeping my tube by my computer for keeping my lips soft and hydrated throughout the day. It’s such a comforting texture to wear, and once I’ve applied it, I can feel the balm on my lips for a good hour or two. I also love the summery scent – it’s such a nice distraction from working away at my desk!

Urban Decay Lip Love is priced at £11 and is available here (UK) and here (US)