Tuesday 17 December 2013

Getting into the spirit of Christmas

I always  liked this time of year and for me it has not lost its magic. I have learned to ignore marketing campaigns urging me to start shopping for presents in September and only really start thinking about Christmas in November.

I like the weird, wonderful and occasionally tacky decorations that are on display (honestly it wouldn't be the same without them). I like the hustle and bustle, the atmosphere in the shops. This is not mindless browsing, people are on a mission, it feels like organized chaos.

And of course seasonal food and drinks. All of these things are an embodiment of a Christmas fair.

On the weekend hubby and I decided to take things a little easy and instead of going to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (which is absolutely fantastic but super busy), we went to the Christmas market in Kingston upon Thames.

It is a much smaller affair that we both found a little more relaxing, yet still full of festive cheer. There were a few food and drink stalls (but if you are a vegetarian you would be better off in one of the local cafes), and a selection of crafts and gifts that you could expect from such an event.

You would be forgiven for thinking that it was coffee in my cup, when in fact it was mulled wine (cheekily strong one at that).

Around the corner (literally a minute away) there is a massive tent that is Eden Christmas Craft fair. And here is the true selection of some rather unique things (some are a little strange, but a real testament to peoples skills and creativity).

There is also food here, what particularly stood out was a Mediterranean and Middle eastern food stall. As I was walking by not intending to stop, I was handed an unusual black olive infused with cherry.

Apparently a traditional Persian olive, the guy was so enthusiastic that I didn't catch all of it, but the olives were absolutely scrumptious (so yeah I left with a box, ok good sales people know what they are doing). 

It was a very chilled non stressful day out for the both of us, and to me markets like these are one of the things that makes the run up to Christmas special.

Monday 9 December 2013

Spotlight on: La Bella Figura

I was all set to wait for La Bella Figura to make its way over the pond, but their seems to be some sort of delay, and I have never been known for my patience. So I thought I would treat myself to their Hair Elixir that I had my eye on and a sample of Possitano perfume that had me intrigued.

What a pleasant surprise it was to get an email from the lovely Victoria letting me know that they've included a little something extra in my package (I am not kidding I was grinning like a three year old). So due to the fact that I have received a few lovely samples and the fact that I still haven't posted about some of the products from my mini kit, I though I would do one large post on everything that I have tried from La Bella figura.

Barbary Fig renewal serum.

 I have to start by commenting on how divine this oil smells. It has this vibrant fruity scent that makes me immediately think of pineapples. I have not come across an oil that smelled this good. It is not a heavy oil but nor is it very light, it is somewhere in the middle but it packs a heavy punch in terms of combating dryness. I have been using it for almost two months, and even though I have been using it sparingly (no more than 3 times a week, and frequently less), I am very surprised that my little bottle is still about half full. It is a product that is meant for dryer skin types, so it is only suitable for me in the colder months. It works beautifully. I use it in the evenings on the days I wash my hair (as that is when my skin feels driest) and occasionally in the mornings, when I though that my skin could do with some extra TLC. The effect is pretty instantaneous, nourished looking skin with a healthy glow. There is no oily residue. Just a beautiful product that works and is a pleasure to use.

Travel therapy.

 This oil blend is supposed to have therapeutic effects due to its fragrance, but it cheer me up because of its colour. It is blue! I happen to think that it makes it even more fascinating. I have not had a chance to try this out on a flight. But I have used it the morning after a wedding ( at which I was one of the two bridesmaids), and an hours drive home, after a fairly sleepless night. It really perked me up. I am a believer in aromatherapy and this makes an exciting addition to my small collection of remedies. This has a floral scent that is ever so slightly reminds me of flower teas (when you can smell something floral, but not be able to tell exactly what type of flowers they are).

Skin aficionado.

To put it simply if there was only one body oil that I could ever use it would be this one. I do not have dry skin and I find that my skin is generally fairly soft, for that reason I only make sure to moistures properly during colder months. However when I used this body elixir, not only did it sink in without any undesirable residue, it made my skin feel like velvet. I have never ever experienced such a delightful effect, and was even double checking after couple of hours to make sure that I was not imagining things. And to top it all off, it has the most sensuous fragrance, a little spicy, a little floral, a little fruity and utterly delectable. If ever I was planning a romantic evening this is the product I would want to be using.

Modern radiance concentrate.

This is more of the first impressions account as I only had a small sample that wasn't enough to see any real effects. I think this is a type of product you would need to use a couple of weeks to see real results. As it stands I found it to have a lovely gel like texture, it sinks in very fast and left my skin feeling soothed and comfortable. It has a cooling effect and I have noticed extra silkiness of skin due to its use. Most importantly it has not caused any allergic reactions or sensitivities. Unlike other products from La Bella figura this serum doesn't have a distinctive scent, so it will not be overpowering as it is meant to be layered with a moisturizing product on top (the mild scent that I detect reminds me of vitamin C tablets). The cocktail of ingredients in this is very impressive, I am considering getting a bottle for spring/summer use, but I have not made up my mind yet.


Positano perfume. I will start by saying that I prefer how this perfume smells in the bottle rather than on my skin (it smells good on my skin, but somehow in the bottle it smells better), which is not the case with the other La Bella Figura perfumes. There is something very honest about this scent, it is not trying to seduce you, it is not playing games, you get what you see but at the same time there is nothing proud or haughty about it. It is welcoming you to partake in the simple pleasures in life. It is not a perfume that I would consider to be a typically feminine one, it is more for the outdoorsy sort of person, that is not afraid to get stuck in. I can not detect anything floral about it, reminds me of crisp gin and tonic. If I was pressed I would say it smells like being near a pine and I can detect some sparkling bitterness like that of a grapefruit.

San Miguel perfume. When I first put it on, I have to say I wasn't sure about this fragrance. I did like the scent, but it wasn't something I pictured myself wearing. On first inspection it seemed to have a slight masculine note to it, not so much that it wasn't feminine more that it was just a little solemn, a tad serious. Very business like, while I am more drawn to playful scents. But after half an hour, once it settled on my skin, I started to detect a more flowery vibe. I still consider it to be a very grown up scent, the wearer of it would not be taken to flights of fancy, they are the type of person that considers the consequences of their actions. Perhaps somewhat contrary to my own character at times, yet it has a remarkably grounding effect on  me. Although not on my immediate list of purchases, I do not dismiss a possibility of acquiring it at some point in the future.

Bohemia Verde.

 This hair elixir works in a number of ways as a leave in serum or as hair treatment before shampooing. With my current hair length of just below my shoulder blades ( which is much shorter than what I am used to), I only need to use about 2-3 drops, when used as a serum. I try to distribute it evenly on my wet hair (you can also use it on dry hair, but I don't), from just below my ears and all the way to the ends. I only use it on the roots as a pre shampoo treatment. At the moment I am not using any other conditioners on my hair. It leaves my hair very soft and it smells like jasmine, my all time favourite scent.

To be honest I have yet to try a product from La Bella figura that I did not like. However there are some products that really stood out to me, and those are the ones that I will most definitely repurchase.

I absolutely love the Rainforest Hydrating treatment, which I have previously reviewed. I think that Barbary Fig Renewal serum is a very unique blend of oils, which as well as being great for my skin also lifts my spirits when I use it. From perfumes I absolutely adore Istanbul (reviewed here), and I really regret not getting a full size of Barcelona when it was still available (hopefully they will bring it back at some point). And last but not least Skin Aficionado, I am getting this as soon as I have finished some of my other body oils, for it is very much perfect.

Friday 6 December 2013

Ilia beauty Cosmic Dancer

I have to confess as soon as I saw a limited edition holiday gift set from ilia on net a porter my heart skipped a bit. Yes it is rather shallow of me but I have been looking for a natural gold highlighter for about two years now and nothing quiet measured up. The only thing I already have white rabbit lip gloss so I was hesitating. And it payed off because content started stocking cosmic dancer by itself.
Well you can only imagine how quickly I added it to my shopping basket.

On to the product itself. The colour of Cosmic Dancer is a pale gold rather than a bronzed gold. Which makes it work on a variety of skin tones. It seems to have a slightly dryer texture than other cream highlighters that I have tried. And I really like that, as it doesn't slide of my skin, or make it appear oily. The highlighting effect is a pearl finish with no glitter or obvious shimmer particles. It is actually pretty perfect in terms of looks and texture.

It works great on my cheekbones and eyes. Although I prefer it for daytime use, it is one of those products that lends itself equally well to daytime and evening makeup looks.
Final verdict: I think this will definitely become a staple in my makeup bag, but I would also like a more intense gold version. Now I do wonder if Ilia has one in the works...

I have been using this highlighter for about a week now, so I though I would share two makeup looks that it has been most used in.

Daytime glow:

I used Cosmic Dancer on the whole of the eyelid and cheekbones. Than I used Kjaer Weis eye shadow in Magnetic like an eyeliner, very close to the lash line. One coat of Kjaer Weis mascara only on the top lashes. And on the lips I used Ilia In Paradise.

Evening sparkle:

I used Cosmic Dancer in exactly the same fashion as before, just added a little extra to the brow bone and, whatever was remaining on my finger, down the middle of the nose. I lined my eyes with RMS eye shadow in Karma, and added extra coat of mascara to my top lashes, and one coat for the bottom lashes. For my lips I used Kjaer Weis lip tint in Goddess.

I will be doing reviews for the other makeup items used in the near future

Thursday 5 December 2013

RMS beauty Lunar

I don't know if anyone has noticed but I am a Big fan of RMS beauty. Lately my taste in makeup has been changing slightly, and I have found a new joy in understated subdued tones. Which explains the latest edition of Lunar eye shadow to my RMS collection.

This shade is described as a champagne pearl shimmer. It really is a fairly pale gold colour, almost shy if you compare it Solar.

 Texture is very much like the other RMS eye shadows, creamy and works best whith a sheer application. However I have noticed that when combined with Kjaer Weis eye shadows the results are pretty great, they tend to last longer, don't crease as much and you can get away with a more intense colour.

Back to Lunar, once applied it offers a warm pearly glow, which is a lot easier to wear than a white shade. I really like combination of Lunar with a toned down peach makeup look. Actually it adds a little vavavoom to any nude look. When blended out it could make a pretty great highlighter.

Lunar is a very versatile shade and I do love using it, however if I could only have one Lunar or Solar, I would always choose Solar. It is just so much more vibrant and unique in my opinion.

Personal preference aside I think this colour creases less ( or it might be not as noticeable because it is a lighter shadow). And it livens up your face without being too obvious, perfect for any daytime look and for anyone who finds Living luminizer too white.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Shealife mango butter balm

First of all I can not believe it is already December! And even though winter doesn't officially start until Dec 21, the cold weather is pretty much here. No time like the present to winterproof your beauty routine.

I have often remarked that I don't always have time to use body moisturisers ( and in the summer I am totally ok with that), but in the colder seasons I make time. One of the reasons is that skin becomes more dehydrated under all those layers of clothing. Also I tend to have baths more frequently, and use hotter water in the shower, plus central heating (all of this contributes to drier skin). And I have noticed that applying a body oil or butter actually makes me feel warmer for longer, the initial effect is from massaging a product in, which improves blood flow, and then it feels like the product on your skin acts like an extra layer of insulation (the second part might be all in my head).

Although I generally prefer to use oils, when it is cold, butters are definitely better. And in this case I am a real creature of habit, I have always use mango body butters ( I have been using them since I was 16). They smell delicious, always remind me of summer and are superbly emollient, which makes them great for dry skin.

I have to say that Shealife mango butter ticks all my boxes. It smells divine, almost like real mangoes. And it is so easy to spread. Mango butter can be a little hard sometimes, this product is the softest one that I have been able to find, it has a slightly whipped texture, which does harden slightly when it is really cold (but not to the point that it would be a problem).

You only need a little at a time, which makes it much more economical. The 100g jar is small enough to take on your travels, and you will not have to worry about anything spilling in your luggage. I also find that the price is very reasonable £8.95 (although when I first purchased it was a few pounds cheaper).

I tend to use this balm in the evenings and my skin feels just as soft when I wake up. The scent is not overpowering but it does stay on your skin for some time ( I would say 4-5 hours), however you would have to have your nose pressed to your skin to notice it after the first half our.

You are supposed to use it up within 6 months of opening, and judging by how little I need to use (about 1,5 fingerfulls  for each limb), and the fact that I use it about 3 times a week, that is exactly how long it will last me.

I do absolutely adore this product, and will repurchase, but there is something that bugs me. On the label it says 100% mango butter. Which in my head  equates with the fact that mango butter is the only ingredient, yet that is not the case. I was aware of this prior to purchase, as I always check ingredients, nevertheless I find it somewhat misleading.

The ingredients are:
mango seed butter, hydrogenated vegetable oil, shea butter, tocopherol.