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When I visited the Zen Lifestyle Anti-Ageing event a week or so ago (you can read about it here) not only did I get to learn about the multitude of anti-ageing treatments on offer, but I also got to find out a little more about the brands stocked in the salon. As you can imagine, each product has to pull its weight, so when we left laden with goodie bags, I was ecstatic to find a tube of Murad Age Reform AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser in there!

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Murad is a brand I’ve not explored too heavily, but I’ve only heard good things about their products, and honestly, their AHABHA Exfoliating Cleanser has become a bit of an HG product. The tube contains a generous 200ml of product and the formula is gentle enough to use both morning an night. What I love most about it is the mix of chemical and physical exfoliation it gives skin – gently gritty, I use it on damp skin each morning and evening. It’s gentle foaming, so it effectively removes makeup, and once it’s on, I leave it on skin for a minute or two, to let the chemicals get to work. After wiping off with a damp flannel, skin feels super soft, smooth and clean and never too dried out or stressed. I finish off with a good dose of moisture afterwards, and my skin feels like I’ve had a facial. It’s perfect for keeping skin in check all summer long!

Murad Age Reform AHA/BHAExfoliating Cleanser is priced at £35 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

 

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As fun as a bright lipstick can be, on a day to day basis, you’ll find me in clear balms and nude glosses. I’m not someone who has the time, or the patience, to make sure a red lip stays flawless all day. So, as you can imagine, I’m always on the hunt for a fun daily find, and I’m not sure you can do much better than Winky Lux’s Flower Balm!

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Packaged to look like an oversize pill, the bright colds and shiny gold cap means this isn’t something that’s going to get lost at the bottom of your makeup bag! My one issue with the packaging is, if you had multiple balms, it’s going to be nigh on impossible to know which one is which without taking the caps off. Not the biggest deal breaker in the world, but something to bear in mind nonetheless.

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Once you get inside the Flower Balm, you get to notice how very pretty it is. Real chrysanthemum petals in varying colours are arranged at the base of each balm in varying colours. The balm itself feels silky smooth to apply, and the light coconut scent feels perfect for summer.

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Thanks to the magic of pH, on the lips, Winky Lux flower balms a perfect shade of pink. Unlike other products of its type, which can veer too bright or too plummy, Winky Lux’s balm leaves lips with a perfect strawberry pink tint, which lasts for two to three hours per application.

Winky Lux Flower Lip Balms are priced at £13 each and are available here (UK) and here (US)

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When it comes to new makeup, I’m never more excited than when I’ve got a new eyeshadow palette in my hands. It’s not that I ever create the wildest of eye looks, but all those colours sitting unused brings out my artistic side.

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My latest acquisition is the stunning Superhero Palette from It Cosmetics. It’s a brand I’ve not really explored before, but if this product is anything to go by? It’s a winner. The palette is a mix of twelve good sized shadows which range from nude bases through to glitzy bronzes and inky blacks. Laid out in three colour-groups, it makes getting ready an absolute breeze, and you can pick and choose from neutrals through to punchy liners. The shades are designed to work on all skin tones, and they’re easy to build on, so if you’re looking for a day-to-night option, you can pop the palette in your bag, and vamp things up come nightfall.

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As you can see from my photos, my palette was a bit mistreated by the courier, so it’s something to note if you’re planning on packing it to travel – it needs to be carefully handled. Other than that though, it’s a keeper! It’s one of the first instances of ‘eye foundations’ I’ve come across, and three shades can either be used as a base for shadows, or as neutral shades themselves. Thanks to the mix of neutrals and shimmers, they’re wonderfully brightening, and really can hide late nights!

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The Superhero ‘nude’s trio is a mix of three cool toned nudes including a perfect taupe (Limitless) and matte blush (Powerful). The shimmer bronze (Aura) makes a great day-time liner for subtle touch of sheen.

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The middle shades are a touch more dramatic, and work well to warm up smokey eye looks. I’m just obsessed with the warm golden shimmer (Unforgettable) and patted straight on the lid, it gives a great does of glam! I’m also partial to the warm rust shade (Fearless) which adds a flattering does of warmth for summer eye looks.

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The last trio of shadows are the liners, which can be used wet or dry depending on the intensity you’re after. For daytime looks I love the warm brown (Daring) smudged into the lashliene, and for evening, Superhero – a deep black looks suitably dramatic.

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It Cosmetics’ Superhero Palette is perfect if you’re looking for an everyday palette which will see you through day looks to night. The balance of shades and shadows feel well thought out, and the texture of the shadows is buttery soft, so they apply well, and blend like a dream. The colours also stay true all day long, so it’s my choice for mornings when I know it’s going to be a long day!

It Cosmetics Superheroes Palette is priced at £31 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Neil Forbes - Scottish_Burger

When it comes to summer staples, you can’ get any more iconic than a burger. Whether you enjoy yours fresh off the bbq, or you’d rather enjoy something a little more gourmet, M&S has your back.

Edinburgh-based chef and owner of Cafe St Honore, Neil Forbes, was selected by M&S as one of eight finalists in a UK wide burger competition. This summer the retailer has launched its ‘Best Ever Burger’ and, to put it to the test, challenged top chefs across the country to create the ultimate burger topping recipe for their hometown, showcasing the very best regional flavours and produce.

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M&S’s Best Ever Burger features a mouth-watering combination of short rib, chuck steak and bone marrow for ultimate succulence, providing the base for Neil’s creation. Taking inspiration from the best of Scotland’s abundant produce, Neil’s recipe celebrates local flavours and ingredients, including Macsween haggis, Isle of Mull cheddar and Arran mustard.

Neil said: “M&S’s Best Ever Burger is bursting with flavour and it’s been great to add my own twist to create the ultimate Scottish burger. The recipe I’ve crafted perfectly encapsulates some of the most famous flavours of Scotland which I love using in my own cooking. From smoked streaky bacon sourced from Ayrshire, to cheese from the Isle of Mull, this recipe showcases the breadth and depth of local produce across the region.”

Kirsty Adams, M&S’s Beef Product Developer and one of the creators of ‘Our Best Ever Burger’, added: “The burger is having a serious moment and we wanted to celebrate just how diverse and delicious it can be by partnering with some amazing chefs. It took a year to develop Our Best Ever Burger and it’s now our fastest selling summer product, which is a restaurant quality patty that can be enjoyed at home. We were excited to see how the chefs put their regional twist on it and we weren’t disappointed. Neil’s creation really captures a taste of Scotland – it’s definitely one to try at home!”

If you fancy giving it a go yourself, the recipe is below:

Ingredients – makes 2 burgers  Prep time 15 minutes; cooking time 15 to 20 minutes
2 M&S Our Best Ever Burgers
50g Isle of Mull Cheddar *2 slices unsmoked Ayrshire streaky bacon *

2 slices Macsween Haggis or similar

2tbl mayonnaise
1tbl grainy Arran mustard *
2 slices red beef tomato (1cm thick)
1 Baby Gem lettuce (4 leaves)
1 red onion (4 rings)
2 M&S Brioche Buns
1tbl cold-pressed rapeseed oil
Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat a griddle pan until hot but not scorching hot. Rub the burgers with half the rapeseed oil. Season both sides with a little salt and pepper and place burgers onto griddle. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes on each side, or until the centre of the burger is piping hot and the juices run clear.
  2. Place the slices of bacon on the same griddle pan and cook until crispy (5 – 10 minutes).
  3. To cook the haggis, either choose the pre-sliced microwavable variety and cook as per the instructions, or cut 1cm-thick slices from a pudding and pan-fry in the remaining rapeseed oil at a moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until a crisp outer crust is achieved.
  4. Mix 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise with the grainy Arran Mustard and set to one side.
  5. Remove the cooked burger and bacon from the griddle pan and keep somewhere warm for the meat to rest. Leave the griddle pan on a medium heat.
  6. Grate cheddar and top each burger with half. Halve brioche buns and lightly toast on griddle.
  7. Place the cheese-topped burger on bun base, add a slice of bacon, then the slice of crisp haggis. Next, add slices of red onion, then the lettuce and finally a slice of beef tomato. Season with salt and pepper, smear the mustard mayo on the underside of the bun lid top and place on top.

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When it comes to summer beauty, I’m a fan of the multi-use product. If I can use something on both my hair and body, it’s fair to say that it will rocket to the top of my most-loved list. And that’s exactly what’s happened with Ouai Haircare’s Rose Hair and Body Oil.

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As with all products from uber-chic Ouai Haircare, the Rose Hair and Body Oil looks fanstatic – I love the understated bottle, and the formula’s rose gold tint feels like it was made for Instagram. I’ve been using the oil in a couple of ways with my hair – on days when I can’t face the blow drier, I tend to rake a pump of oil through damp ends. It loosens out my natural waves, and leaves them soft and shiny. Alternatively, if my hair is feeling a bit dried out, I saturate the lengths and ends with it and leave it on overnight – when I wash it out in the morning, it feels like the damage I’ve wreaked with the straighteners has been undone. Most recently I’ve been applying a small, half pump of the oil to damp hair prior to styling. It gives hair a beautiful sheen, leaves it feeling manageable and stays smelling great all day too! On the body it’s similarly effective. Sinking in easily, Absinthium, Shea and Rosehip help lock in moisture, leaving skin looking and feeling revived. If you’ve only got space for one product in your suitcase this summer – this should be it!

Ouai Haircare Rose Hair & Body Oil is priced at £26 and is available from Panache Cosmetics here