Thursday, 31 March 2016

March in Instagram

1. March started with brunch and strawberry tarts in a beautiful patisserie in Southampton where my family and I celebrated my mum's birthday. I've been meaning to go back to Victor Hugo all month for smoked salmon crepes and salad. 

2. I wandered off up to London for the evening to attend the Urban Decay boutique opening in Brent Cross shopping centre. An evening full of make up, naked palettes and chatting blog with some new friends. 

3. March saw Sotonbloggers hold their first event of the year, a lunch at Orange Rooms. Nothing fancy, just a chance to catch up, eat some fab food and drink yummy cocktails. 

4. I went to Gourmet Burger Kitchen with friends to review their new restaurant in Southampton. The burgers were incredible, the chips not so much but the company more than made up for it. 

5. Myself and some of the girls caught the train down to Brighton for the day to attend a bloggers meet up. We walked the lanes, ate at a gorgeous Italian before grabbing cake from Angel Food bakery for the train home. 

6. Sotonbloggers and Mettricks held their first event together, we spent the evening learning everything coffee with a talk of its history and origin followed by a tasting session. 

7. I finally had my wisdom tooth taken out, if you follow me on Twitter and Snapchat you'll know I've been complaining about it since November. Another night of no sleep and excruciating pain saw me rock up at the oral surgery day unit and cry until they removed it. It worked and now I'm gappy but happy ;). 

8. After being holed up in bed for three days after my tooth extraction, I needed to get out. Good Friday was a gloriously sunny day so we spent a couple of hours in Mayflower Park soaking up the sun before napping for the rest of the afternoon. A blissful start to the long weekend. 

9. Golden Eggs, need I say more? I don't want to admit to how many bags I've eaten because it's pretty ridiculous but all good things must come to an end and with Easter being over so my chocolate addiction must follow. So long bae.   


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Spring Beauty Essentials

Now that the weather is gradually starting to get warmer and the days are starting to get brighter, I find my make up habits changing. During the colder months I prefer to use a more high coverage finish, but with sunshine starting to make an appearance I prefer a more glowing finish to my make up. These are my top 5 spring essentials that I am loving at the moment,

The Bourjois happy light foundation is my go to, everyday foundation. The coverage is buildable but I find one layer is enough coverage to even out my skintone and cover any blemishes. The Barry M get up and glow palette is the perfect size to chuck in your handbag and with a bronzer, a highlighter and three blushes you can't really go wrong. The bronzer is very warm toned with a subtle shimmer which I use to add some colour back into my face. The three blushes are a coral orange, a pale pink and bubblegum pink. They are all so pigmented and blend like an absolute dream, plus they last for hours without needing a touch up. 

Finally the highlighter is a champagne shade with a lot of shimmer that comes out very sheer on the skin. I prefer to use my Clinique stick sculpting highlight which is a gorgeous pink shimmer shade which is so easy to apply and blends out like an absolute dream. I pretty much apply this everywhere and it gives my skin an amazing glow. I finish my look with a wash of colour on the lips and I am obsessed with the Kat Von D liquid lipsticks at the moment. They are incredibly pigmented and I find the formula doesn't dry my lips out like many others do. I barely have to touch up throughout the day and the shade I use the most , Lolita is the most gorgeous chestnut rose.

I tend to sway more towards oil cleansers in the warmer months as I find gels slightly too thick and greasy on my skin. The Decleor micellar oil removes all traces of my make up and I only need to use the tiniest amount plus it leaves my skin baby soft and deeply moisturised. I have a sample size bottle which I top up and take with me whenever I travel as I don’t really need anything else. If you're after a new cleanser I would 1000% recommend checking out Decleor. 

What products are in your Spring essentials?


Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Springtime Scents

There’s something about the transition from Winter to Spring that I find really exciting in terms of beauty. As we bid goodbye to those deep berry lipsticks, I like to take the opportunity to switch up my perfume wardrobe too. Perfume has always been something of an obsession for me, and I love the opportunity to try different scents. Today, I’m sharing my three favourite springtime perfumes – I hope you enjoy!

One of my all-time favourite perfumes is Ralph Lauren Romance. It was one of those fragrances that I went and had a sniff of every time I popped into Boots or John Lewis, and last year for my 21st birthday I was lucky enough to get a gift set (yay for January birthdays)! Now, by no means am I saying that I only wear this at certain times of the year, but there’s something about the perfume that screams spring to me. With floral and fruity notes, including Guava and Lotus Flower, and a base of Soft Musk (a favourite of mine), this is a really fresh perfume, perfect for spring days. It’s quite pricey, at £42 for 30ml, but I love it!

Now I’ve always had a bit of a thing for celebrity fragrances. They’re fun and often a little more affordable than the designer prices. A recent addition to my perfume collection is Cheryl’s Storm Flower. I’ve always loved Cheryl, and I’d had my eye on her perfume since it released back in 2014. I’d never really needed it, as I’ve got numerous perfumes on the go, but on a recent trip to Debenhams I saw they had a rollerball of it. Well this I just couldn’t resist. Small and convenient to take on the go with me, and a gorgeous scent – win win! This again is a combination of fruity and floral scents with a musky base (are you spotting the theme yet?). Unfortunately the rollerball is no longer available but the perfume is still available from £27 at Debenhams.

My final recommendation is the newest addition to my collection. My best friend recommended Zara for budget fragrance, and as I was looking for something reasonably priced to take to work and keep in my locker I thought I’d investigate. I was pleasantly surprised with their variety, but I was drawn to the Fruity Eau de Toilette. As the name suggests, this is a fruity scent, described as smelling of Grapefruit, Rose, Tangerine and Vanilla. What better combination for a spring/summer scent? I can already see this getting a lot of wear, both in and out of work. And for £7.99 for 100ml, it’s a bargain!

What perfumes do you like to wear in the springtime? Any that I should try out?

Lexie xo

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Monday, 28 March 2016

My go to spring nail polish

Spring can mean only one thing really, aside from the beautiful spring lipsticks as Alice spoke about last week (which you can find here!) I love the pretty pastel nail polishes! I love getting out all my favourite pastel pinks and baby blues at this time of the year, pretty much right through until Christmas I will be rocking a coral nail varnish. I thought I would share my top 5, go to nail polishes for spring. These are my favourite high-street brands too...
1 - Bourjois so laque glossy in the shade ‘08 peach and love’. Bourjois nail polishes are amazing. They apply like a dream and only need one layer with a good top coat! This colour is such a pretty, girly peach. Perfect for spring sunshine. I find the Bourjois nail polishes last so well too, I can wear this for a week without touching up, which is very good for me!
2 - Maybelline super stay gel nail colour in the shade ‘20 uptown blue’. These Maybelline gel nail colours are honestly some of my favourite nail polishes EVER. They have the best shaped brush which mean one swipe and my whole nail is pretty much covered. They dry so quickly and the finish is really professional. This colour is like a beautiful spring blue sky. I get so many complements when I wear this.
3- Barry M Gelly Hi-shine in the shade ‘prickly pear’. It's one of my favourite spring shades, a beautiful pastel lilac colour. The gel formula is beautiful and leaves such a shiny finish. The Barry M hi-shine range is definitely one of my favourites.
4- Barry M hi-shine in the shade ‘dragon fruit’. This is such a pretty, bubble-gum pink shade. It's very vibrant and just looks so pretty on my nails. It's another one from the Hi-shine gel range, I just find these are perfect for bright spring/summer nails. The gel finish is so shiny and looks beautiful!
5 - Lola Barcelona in the shade 'rambla'. This is an orangey/coral shade. It's one of my all time favourite colours to wear at this time of the year and pretty much all the way through summer too. I had this in one of my Birch boxes ages ago and have been in love with it ever since. It applies really well, and lasts a good amount of time before the need to touch up, they do some really gorgeous shades!
I am wearing the Bourjois 'peach and love' at the moment! What are your favourite polishes for this time of the year?
 Anna x
Find me on Twitter and Instagram

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Beautifully Sunny Easter Treats

Easter is here, four days of chocolate, Easter nest cakes and pretty spring blooms. I love Easter because the sun finally starts to shine and you have the excuse to eat your body weight and more in chocolate. This year I thought I'd add a little something I couldn't eat to my Easter bounty in the form of this beautiful planter by Flowercard. 

The Easter Sunshine Planter* is a beautifully arranged floral trough which you can have personalised. I asked for Happy Easter on mine, it comes on quality printed paper and they make a thoughtful gift for family or friends plus the trough will keep for ages. Flowercard cover a variety of occasions from new babies, age specifics and anniversaries. You can gift your choice of flowers and arrangements as well as tins of biscuits and chocolates, there really is something for everyone. The website is easy to navigate but if you do get stuck, their helpline is available 24 hours. My delivery was quick and my beautiful blooms were well packaged, arriving safe and sound. 

If you're looking for something a little different for someone special be sure to check out Flowercard and if you're quick you can get 15% off your first order using the code FLOWER02.

*PR Samples.

Friday, 25 March 2016

OGX Moisturise & Vitamin B5

I'm your typical dirty girl when it comes to hair, I hate washing mine and I'm not too shy about who knows it, Bastiste dry shampoo is 100% my BFF so it's not often that a shampoo and conditioner set comes along that actually makes me want to wash my hair. I know, I'm shocked too. OGX is all about helping you love your hair even more, from their exotic ingredients to their unique bottles, they're all about the customer and I love that because it's how it should be. Improving your hair to be smoother, curlier or straighter rather than 'fixing' it to be like the majority of celebrity models you see in hair campaigns, OGX are teaching us all to embrace our own beauty. 

My hair has always been thick, dehydrated and in need of some love, I've always used intense masks, coconut oil and hair protectant sprays but my hair still never quite played ball or so it seemed, so I never really bought into the promises made by hair companies. The OGX B5 shampoo, conditioner and oil set* set aims to drench and nourish every strand, making sure I have healthy looking hair. I wasn't holding out much hope, sure the sets smelt incredible but I wanted results and for once I got them. 

After using the B5 shampoo and conditioner, I sprayed the weightless oil mist on the ends of my hair and blow dryed my hair on a low temperature. Once dry I was left with soft, nourished and shiny hair, I kept swishing my locks and I was more impressed than I thought I would be. With each use, my hair is feeling happier, healthier and stronger, I usually flit between different hair products but as I'm using the OGX B5 set consistently, I'm really noticing the benefits. There are 23 different sets available from OGX, as well as mini sizes which are perfect for travelling and body wash and lotions. I can see my bathroom turning into an OGX shrine. The Lemon Highlights set is what I'll be picking up next to help with my subtly highlighted hair before I jet away into the sun. It takes a lot for me to actually look forward to washing my hair and OGX have done exactly that.

Have you used anything from OGX before? What would you like to try first?

*PR Samples.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Serum

I'm still a bit of a newbie when it comes to La Roche-Posay skincare, I've tried the Serozinc toner and a moisturiser in the past but never their serums. I'm a huge fan of serums so the Hydraphase Intense Serum* was one I couldn't wait to try. Aimed for dehydrated and sensitive skin, it has been my skin savior the last month as the weather has still been so cold. Available from Escentual, the moisturising serum contains La Roche-Posay's spring water which is renowned for soothing skin and helping with irritation plus the added hyaluronic acid fragments help boost skin with deep hydration. It's a little tube of skin miracles. 

The serum comes in a gel formula, I've been using a couple of pumps of this morning and night to cover my whole face and neck. The gel soaks into the skin effortlessly without leaving a sticky feeling or any residue which is one of my pet hates with facial products. It's mildly scented but no more than the rest of their products, it just smells clean to me, like cotton sheets but don't let that put you off if you prefer scentless products as the serum is a fab little addition to your skincare. As the serum also helps with skin tightness and dehydration lines, it's been my secret weapon for keeping my skin in great condition until the sun starts showing its face. 

While the Hydraphase Intense Serum is on offer at Escentual, I'll be buying another so I can get my skin in tip top condition for Summer. What are you favourite serums to use? Have you tried this one from La Roche-Posay before?

*PR Sample.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Lush Oxford Street Exclusives Haul

Whenever my lovely friend Jess heads up to London she always drops into Lush Oxford Street to bring back any exclusives for me and with Easter fast approaching, there were a couple of bubble bars I was desperate to try. Jessica always brings me back a Cyanide Pill bath bomb as it's one of my favourites and a couple of the melts as they're just a couple of quid each. 

I've had my eye on Down the Rabbit Hole since I first saw the promo photos. The psychedelic looking bubble bar smells as good as it looks as it shares the same scent as the soap, Layer Cake. Yellow, pink and orange in colour, it has a dusting of silver lustre making it look really special. The brazilian orange oil gives it such a fresh scent and it's the perfect way to start the day. 

Tweet is another bubble bar I came across on Instagram, it's adorable, it reminds me of tweety pie and I had to have it. I'll have a hard time breaking up this little fella. Tweet contains mandarin and tangerine oil making it smell deliciously citrusy. It reminds me a lot of the bubble bar Brightside which is one I regularly purchase. I'm hoping I can get my hands on a couple more as I think it's an Oxford Street exclusive that is sticking around for the meantime, please correct me if I'm wrong and break my heart. 

What have you been buying from Lush? Have you tried any of the products in my haul?


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The Burger Gods Have Arrived

Last month, Gourmet Burger Kitchen* was the latest eatery to open in Southampton's cultural quarter. Myself and some friends heading to GBK one evening to try their scrumptious looking menu full of juicy burgers and calorific milkshakes.

Monday, 21 March 2016

My Everyday Work Makeup

I've been meaning to write this post for such a long time as I pretty much use the same products most mornings for work and as I've just had this gorgeous make up bag arrive, it seemed like the perfect time to do it. The black and metallic gold make up bag is designed by Tillyanna, mine has Alice's Beauty Kit* across the front but there are more designs to choose from on the website. They're such a generous size and they'd make a fabulous gift for a friend too. 

My make up bag is now housing my work face products, foundations concealers and mascaras galore. I've been using the Seventeen Stay Time foundations* for a number of weeks now and for a foundation that costs just £6.49, it's fast becoming a favourite. I cannot vouch for the 25 hour claim as I have no need to wear my foundation for that long but the stay time is incredible and I can go from work to drinks with no touch ups. To help keep it firmly in place, even though it doesn't need it I use the Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer which I reviewed a few weeks back, it's pricy but blurs my skin like a dream. My last base item is the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer, the holy grail of highstreet concealers and one that will never leave my make up bag. 

My go to bronzer is Bahama Mama from The Balm and I've hit pan hard, it's being bought again when I'm down to my last dregs as it's the perfect matte bronze for my skintone and paired with Mary Lou Manizer, also from The Balm, it's the highlight/bronze combo of dreams. I'll also use the Clinique Chubby Highlight on my cupid's bow and eyebrows to catch the light on my face. Benefit's Dandelion is the blush I always dust onto the apples of my cheeks for a pinky glow, it's light, longwearing and smells gorgeous. I've been upping my brow game recently with the Eylure Brow Kit in blonde, it has a coloured wax, powder and subtle highlight with a handy little brush for quick and easy application. 

My eyes at the moment are covered by Urban Decay. My Naked 2 palette has been neglected for quite some time but I've been using the shade Tease for most of this year. I use the Urban Decay Primer Potion* to give it a little extra staying power. My eyes are lined by Collections Intense Colour pencil liner in brown as it makes my blue eyes pop and I've never been any good with liquid. My mascara of choice for work is the Seventeen Falsifeye HD mascara*, it clings to and separates each and every lash with no flakes or smudging for a bargain £6.99. I've been through countless tubes of these. 

For my lips, I keep it simple with Urban Decay's Revolution lipstick in Naked, it's hands down my favourite nude and perfect for day wear. It may seem like a lot of products for some people at 7am but I'm so use to applying all this now that it takes me 15 minutes tops meaning I can have an extra half hour in bed some mornings. 

What are your go to make up pieces? Do we have some of the same faves?

*PR Samples.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Pretty Lips for Spring

(Clinique, YSL, Sleek*, MAC, Urban Decay)

The sun is shining, the temperature gage is starting to hit over ten degrees and the birds are chirping so it can only mean that spring is finally on it's way. Spring for me means blossom on the trees, lounging in the sun drinking coffee with friends and switching over my winter lipsticks to my spring staples so today I'm sharing five favourites that I always have by my side.

I've had a love hate relationship with Clinique over the years but I've really started to appreciate their products more over time. The Clinique Chubby Sticks for lips are one of those products that you can just grab and apply, making them super easy for on the go application. I love Woppin' Watermelon because it's such a light, easy to wear shade and I find the formula really moisturising on the lips. I really want to try some more of their shades. 

I reach for Beige Charnel throughout the year but more so when the sun starts shining as it's such a beautifully pink nude. Its iconic casing is stunning and definitely half of the selling point. The formula is super creamy which is usually a massive no go for me, it doesn't last for hours but it's something I'll happily put up with for the pinky, nude pout. Yes, YSL lipsticks are pricey but they're oh so worth the splurge. 

I reviewed the Sleek Lip VIP range recently and fell hard for Backstage, a creamy matte lip shade similar to MAC Cosmetics Crosswires at a fraction of the price. It's a pinky orange shade that gives a gorgeous pop of colour to the lips. The formula of these lipsticks are incredible and even though they're matte, they leave your lips moisturised. There are six shades to choose from so there's something for everyone. 

MAC Cosmetics - Pink Nouveau
Pink Nouveau has been my ultimate spring shade for a number of years. It's a bright pink shade that comes in a satin finish so the lasting power is pretty fab too. I always pack this when I fly off to a sunny location as the pink looks gorgeous against a tan and I always get asked what I'm wearing when I have this on my lips. 

Urban Decay - Naked
Naked has to be my favourite nude EVER. I bought it just under a year ago and what you can see in the above photo is all I have left, I don't think I've ever used a lipstick so quick. Naked is from UD's Revolution range and has their pigment infusion system which delivers intense colour pay off. The lipstick is intensely creamy, lasts for hours and keeps lips soft while their maxi-lip system plumps lips making them appear fuller. It's an all round fab lipstick and since discovering them I've veered away from MAC which says a lot for Urban Decay's lip offerings. It's love. 

What are you favourite shades for Spring? What should I keep an eye out for?

*Previously gifted sample.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Bath Time with Queen Tea Cosmetics

Bath time is my favourite time of the day so I'm always buying and trying new products to make it even more relaxing. I came across Queen Tea Cosmetics recently and loved the idea behind their products and anything that makes my bath ten times more relaxing has me sold. Their products are inspired by Afternoon Tea and made with fresh and natural skin food. Tea is incredibly beneficial for skin and with a choice of bath teas, tea scrubs and bath milk plus their detox boxes, there is something to suit everyone. 

All of their products are handmade fresh with love, they're 100% natural, ethical and vegan. Their rustic packaging is environmentally friendly, you just have to decide whether to reuse or recycle. I'll definitely find something to pop into my green tea scrub tin. Queen Tea Cosmetics are also doing their bit for the third world as every bath milk sold, they'll donate milk to those suffering with malnutrition. Plus, if you purchase one of the detox boxes, 10% of the profits go to the Trussell Trust who raise awareness for hunger poverty in the UK. 

I've been using the Really Relaxing Detox Box* which contains two tea bags and a pouch of bath milk to give you the ultimate evening of relaxation. The tea bags contain chamomile, lavender and rose, while the bath milk contains oatmilk to help soften the skin. The duo put me in the perfect state for a restful night of sleep and I'm saving the other bag for this evening. The detox boxes would also make such lovely gifts for someone special. 

Have you used Queen Tea Cosmetics before? What do you think of the products I've been trying out?

*PR Samples.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

March Birchbox // Word Up!

A new month, a new Birchbox, with this month's theme being Word Up!, each box comes designed with a beauty related word search so grab a pen and get searching. Be sure to tweet, Instagram or share your box on Facebook to be in with a chance of winning a huge beauty prize worth over £450! Now onto this month's samples...

With face, beauty and hair samples plus a little something to help you sleep, Birchbox have made sure you are their first thought as always. When I opened up the drawstring bag to find a sample of the This Works Pillow Spray, I was pretty happy. I'd wanted to try this spray for so long but was unsure whether it was more a placebo effect than anything. I've been using it the last week but as I've been in agony due to my wisdom tooth, I can't confirm that it is really as good people say it is just yet. The calming Lavender scent does help though and I'm going to give it a good go. 

Birchbox have also introduced their second in-house brand to the boxes this month. The new range from Arrow contains lightweight, longwearing make up and refreshing skincare. Perfect for when you don't have much time in the morning. The Arrow Boost Color Enhancing lip balm is specially formulated to adjust to your unique ph giving you the ultimate your lips but better, natural hue. I tried the Arrow lip balm straight away and I love the pinkiness it leaves my lips. It's set up residence in my bag for on the go application. There are also products from ModelCo, Philip B, Amika and Polaar, all handy sized samples which will be perfect for my holiday to keep my hair, face and brows in check. 

Next month, Birchbox are collaborating with Rifle Paper Co and you have the chance to choose which Birchbox design is sent out to you, decide between two beautifully floral designs. 

What do you think of this month's Birchbox? What is your favourite sample?

*PR Sample.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Merumaya Gentle Exfoliating Toner

Merumaya have been constant in my skincare routine for some time now and when a new product does the rounds, I have to squeeze it into my routine somewhere because more often than not, it makes a huge difference. I don't use a toner, I've tried them in the past but have always seen them as that extra step I don't really need and after reading Sali Hughes Pretty Honest where she said they were a waste of time, I chucked what I did have and vowed never to use one. 

Merumaya have been expanding their range again with the Gentle Exfoliating Toner* which retails at £17.50, available online and at John Lewis. The packaging is simple which I love, carrying the logo in their signature purple shade. The bottle is clear so you can see when you'll run out and comes with a push cap so you can dispense the toner easily onto cotton wool, it also helps control how much you use. The ingredients are as follows, taken from Merumaya's website - 

Natural AHA’s Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are proven to act as exfoliants, loosening and removing the top layer of dead cells by decreasing corneocyte adhesion. This reveals the new skin cells below. Natural AHA Complex provides a superficial peel action resulting in an improved surface appearance for a fresher, smoother look to skin. AHAs help to remove dry skin and can be useful in treating blemished or problem skin, unblocking and cleansing pores.
Hyaluronic Acid is highly prized for excellent hydration which helps provide plumpness and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Natural Betaine is an osmoregulator manages water balance in skin cells. It can hold 1.6 times its own weight in water. It hydrates the surface of skin resulting in a soft and even finish.
I've been using the Gentle Exfoliating Toner for around six weeks now which is a record for me in the toner department. Despite it containing acid, I've found it to be gentle on my skin which was one of the main things I was dubious about and it really has done more good than I originally gave it credit for. As I've hit my mid twenties my skin has completely changed and I now get dry patches but the gentle exfoliating toner has done wonders for me, it's also reduced the appearance of blackheads and makes my skin look brighter. Aimed for all skin types, the toner is a fab treat for skin. I genuinely thought I wouldn't get on with it but as it's improved my skin so much, I won't be using another toner again. I've found my one.  

*PR Sample.

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