Winter Home and Beauty Favourites Liz Earle PerfumeI always have a kind of inner struggle as to whether to write posts on my favourite purchases or brand discoveries, simply because I don’t want to constantly encourage you all to spend money! However, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t get excited by new shiny pretty things and the simple pleasures that they can bring, so here are a few of the different products this month that I really got to know and love.

…because if you ARE going to spend money, let me help you make sure it’s on something that will make you feel good and pop a smile on your face!

February Feel Good Home and Beauty Favourites

Etta French Jewellery Candle

Winter Home and Beauty Favourites Liz Earle PerfumeMy sister lives hundreds of miles away and we can go for long periods of time without more than a little chat on Whatsapp, so it never fails to amaze me that she still always picks out the perfect present for me.

The latest was this beautifully packaged, incredible smelling candle from a company called Etta French. The rich spicy fusion of nutmeg and cinnamon and warm flickering glow has been helping to keep my home snug and cosy on the coldest February days and nights.

Winter Home and Beauty Favourites Liz Earle Perfume

…but that isn’t even the best bit, because there’s a hidden surprise inside too!

As it melts you start to see a little packet emerge and eventually you can pull it free with a pair of tweezers. Folded up inside is a beautiful necklace, but you won’t know which one until you open it!

Winter Home and Beauty Favourites Liz Earle Perfume

I wasn’t really sure what to expect quality wise but the necklace is really beautiful and I’ve not taken it off since. I’ve even had several friends ask me where it’s from. I think this is a really lovely feel good present idea – maybe one to consider for Mother’s Day!

Rosie for Autograph Lip Glossy – Shade Super Model Smile

Winter Home and Beauty Favourites Liz Earle PerfumeThis lip gloss was one of the items featured in the Marks and Spencers Beauty Advent Calendar last Christmas. I’m so glad it was in there because I’d never really consider M&S for my makeup, but now that I’ve tried it it’s become a real favourite and I use it most days now!

Winter Home and Beauty Favourites Liz Earle Perfume

It hasn’t got that horrible sticky feel that I usually associate with glosses, instead the formula is buttery smooth. It’s a beautifully flattering dusky nude pink shade too which enhances rather than covers my natural lip colour.

Liz Earle Perfume – Botanical Essence No.9*

Oh my word the Liz Earle perfume bottles and packaging are just so pretty! SO. PRETTY. Yes I know that I should be starting this by talking about the scent but I mean come on, look at how gorgeous it is!

Winter Home and Beauty Favourites Liz Earle Perfume

Ahem. I’d better actually talk about the scent hadn’t I?!

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I like my fragrances bold and seductive and tend to go for the ones that are described as evening fragrances or ‘intense’ versions. Spicy, woody and fruity notes are my favourites.

Winter Home and Beauty Favourites Feel Good Liz Earle Perfume

Botanical Essence No.9, however, suits my signature scent style down to the ground. It mixes fruity top notes of Blackcurrant Bud, Bergamot and Red Ginger with a heart of exotic Damask Rose and Osmanthus and then a woody base of Oakmoss and Haitian Vevetier to form a rich spicy, evocative scent.

Although I do sometimes wear night time fragrances during the day I think this one is much better kept for evening wear. It’s perfect for date night as it will basically make you feel 100% more delicious!

Thank you to the Liz Earle team in John Lewis, Queensgate Shopping Centre, Peterborough for helping me find my perfect match!

Alexi London Moon Cluster Ring*

Winter Home and Beauty Feel Good Favourites Liz Earle Perfume

Okay firstly, apologies for the weird ‘half on my finger picture’ – I don’t actually wear it like that but it was the only way I could get my camera to focus on it as it’s such a dainty piece! Anyhoo…

I fell in love with this moon cluster ring as soon as I saw it in the Alexi London collection. It’s a mere whisper of a sterling silver band that feels smooth and weightless on with a crescent cluster which glints as it catches the light. Sometimes I wear it on it’s own but more often than not I pair it with rings of other shapes and sizes for an eclectic look and really like how it works with them all.

Winter Home and Beauty Feel Good Favourites Liz Earle Perfume

I often buy costume jewellery bits from Primark or H&M but they do tend to leave my finger a bit green/grey after a few wears. I’ve had no such trouble with this piece so the extra bit of investment (this one is a still reasonable £25) means that I can keep on wearing it again and again!

Alexi London have also very kindly given me my own discount code to share with you all for an extra way to feel good about your purchases! If you want to treat yourself to a gorgeous bit of new jewellery just pop LOVED10 in the box for a 10% discount!

…I am now debating whether to treat myself to the matching earrings… what do you think guys should I go for it? What are your feel good favourites at the moment?

LovedByLaura

*Disclaimer: Items marked with an asterisk are PR samples, however I only share things that I truly love and want you all to know about!

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M∙A∙C Cosmetics Makeover _ #QBloggers

Last month I was thrilled to receive an invitation from M∙A∙C to visit their newly opened Peterborough store in Queensgate Shopping Centre and experience their 60 minute Full Makeup Application service. I mean, what better way to experiment with a new look and learn some new techniques than to place yourself in the hands of an expert M∙A∙C artist?

It ended up being an incredibly fun and inspirational experience which I have to thank the incredible M∙A∙C artist Kelly for. We sat down at one of the makeup stations to discuss my current makeup routine, skin type and what I wanted to take from the experience. She was at once professional but also an absolute hoot and we ended up chatting and giggling our way through the appointment like a pair of friends on a sleepover!

M∙A∙C Cosmetics Makeover _ #QBloggers

I asked for a ‘date night glam’ look since I’m newly single and we decided to have a bit of fun by adding glitter into the eye shadow because it’s something that I’ve always want to try but would never have dared attempt at home on my own.

For the next hour she worked her way around my face creating a tailored look that was perfect for me whilst explaining the application techniques she was using and which brushes would work best for each task. I learned so so much!

M∙A∙C Cosmetics Makeover _ #QBloggers

A great tip that she gave me was to start off by applying eye makeup first and then to follow this up with the base and concealer. This is especially good for strong eye looks as you will often get some makeup powder fallout under your eyes which can then be easily cleaned away without having to worry about ruining your foundation. This can then be used with concealer to tidy up areas where any mishaps occurred with the end result being a flawless look.

M∙A∙C Cosmetics Makeover _ #QBloggers

I watched her expertly blend creamy and chocolatey shades on my eyes, accentuate my mouth with a gorgeous lip pencil in Dervish and a lipstick from the recently launched Viva Glam range (which is a special edition from which the full R.R.P less V.A.T goes towards helping those living with and affected by HIV/Aids).

M∙A∙C Cosmetics Makeover _ #QBloggers

Finally she added dreamy highlighting and contouring.

M∙A∙C Cosmetics Makeover _ #QBloggers

I was so pleased with the finished look that I couldn’t stop smiling and have to admit to being rather gutted when I had to take it off that night! However although I might not have a makeup artist at my disposal every day, I learned so much during those 60 minutes that I felt infinitely more confident about recreating the look at home and incorporating the techniques used into my everyday makeup application.

M∙A∙C Cosmetics Makeover _ #QBloggers M∙A∙C Cosmetics Makeover _ #QBloggers

The makeup experience was also a great way to try out new makeup and get an on hand demonstration of how to use each properly. Whilst the 60 minute service costs £40 any products that you purchase at the end are fully redeemable against it, so this meant I got to take away some of my absolute ‘must buy’ products.

M∙A∙C Cosmetics Makeover _ #QBloggers

In addition I was given some free samples and a face chart so that I wouldn’t forget anything that had been used.

M∙A∙C Cosmetics Makeover _ #QBloggers

If you’re stuck in a rut with your makeup look, want to pick up some tips or even just get your make up done by a professional for a special occasion, I can thoroughly recommend M∙A∙C’s Makeup Services.

LovedByLaura

*Disclaimer: The makeup experience and products used in this post were complimentary in return for my honest review of the experience.

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Restore Healthy Hair

I’ve always been blessed with naturally shiny, healthy hair but last summer I managed to almost completely ruin it! I’m still not sure whether it was using straighteners without enough heat protection or a new experimental Balyage technique that I got talked into at a salon but something left it as dry as straw, frizzy and breaking off in some sections.

Since then I’ve tried a lot of different products in my quest to return my hair to it’s former glory without having to resort to a drastic chop so I thought I’d share my favourite picks for healthy hair.

Kérastase ELIXIR ULTIME Beautifying Oil Cream

My Winter Favourites For Healthy Hair - Kerastase Ultime Elixir Beautifying Oil Cream

The Beautifying Oil Cream contains ingredients that are intensely nourishing and I’m not exaggerating when I say that this has transformed my hair. It’s not able to repair damage already done, but smooths out and tames them in a way that no other product I’ve tried has been able to do. The healthy bits of my hair are left extra smooth and the damaged sections are made manageable and look healthy again.

I apply a couple of pea sized blobs to my hair whilst it’s still damp, concentrating most of it on the mid lengths and ends, then style my hair as normal using my hairdryer and straighteners.

Just to mention that Kérastase hair products are really flipping expensive – this stuff goes for between £29 and £39 a bottle depending on where you shop. In my opinion though it’s worth the premium price tag and I’ll happily sacrifice a few other purchases as a result!

Kérastase Elixir Ultime Original

I use this to add extra glossy shine to my hair and keep flyaway strands at bay. I use two pumps of the oil and mix it together with the Beautifying Oil Cream in the palm of my hands, then run it through my hair as described above.

I can tell the difference in quality between this and cheaper oils that I’ve used in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I still rate the Natural World Oil (review here) but found that it wasn’t too good at coping with the really frazzled bits of my hair. The Kérastase version however, does an awesome job. It’s virtually weightless and I can’t tell it’s even in my hair once I’ve blowdried it.

Overnight To Gorgeous Hair Masque | Grow Gorgeous

My Winter Favourites For Healthy Hair -Grow Gorgeous Overnight To Gorgeous Hair Masque

I started using this after my hairdresser recommended that I should add a nourishing hair treatment to my weekly hair care routine to help hydrate and strengthen my hair. You slather it on at night, put a towel on your pillow and then sleep with it in so that it has all night to work it’s magic.

My Winter Favourites For Healthy Hair -Grow Gorgeous Overnight To Gorgeous Hair Masque

The condition of my hair always feels much better after an application of this but I do find that it takes a really thorough rinse and shampoo to get it out again since it’s such an intensive treatment.

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Range*

My Winter Favourites For Healthy Hair - John Frieda Luxurious Volume

Nothing says healthy hair like a bit of bounce but my hair is fine and so can go a bit limp after blow drying and straightening. I started using the Luxurious Volume range back in November and although it’s not made with dry/damaged hair in mind I’ve found that using these in combination with my more nourishing hair treatments give my hair the best of both worlds – moisture and a volume boost.

The shampoo and conditioner are enriched with a caffeine complex and are really nice and light with a gorgeous scent, but my favourite picks from the range are the 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment and Blow Dry Lotion.

My Winter Favourites For Healthy Hair - John Frieda Luxurious Volume

The 7 Day Volume In-Shower Treatment is pretty much as the name suggests! You apply it to damp hair after shampoo and conditioner, leave it in for about 5 minutes and then rinse it out. It adds a bit of texture to your hair supposedly, although I don’t notice that so much, just that my hair really does feel thicker and boosted at the roots. I use it once a week which is just right for me, as extra volume gradually fades until gone on day 6.

My Winter Favourites For Healthy Hair - John Frieda Luxurious Volume

If I want to give my hair an extra bit of oomph I use the Blow Dry Lotion. Sprayed directly onto the roots, I’ve found it to be great at creating extra lift at the roots and it helps to lock in the volume for the day.

Have you suffered from dry/damaged hair? How did you get your healthy hair back?

LovedByLaura

Disclaimer: Items marked with an * are PR samples but all views expressed are honest and my own.

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The White Company Advanced Skincare Collection Launch

Okay my beauty junkies stop what you’re doing right now, I have BIG news: The White Company have just launched their very first skincare collection and it’s all rather dreamy!

The White Company Advanced Skincare Collection

Developed in partnership with Deciem, (the umbrella company behind brands such as NIOD and Grow Gorgeous) The White Company Advanced Skincare Collection was kept under wraps for over a year whilst they tested and tweaked the formulations to perfection.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on the collection to preview a few weeks early so I thought I’d share my initial thoughts here. Let me tell you, it’s a bit special!

The White Company Advanced Skincare Collection Launch

The advanced skincare capsule range* is designed to cater for your skin from morning to night and consists of the following:

  • Super Balm – Gentle Daily Deep Cleanser | £25
  • Face Cloth – Set of 3 – White | £15
  • Super Serum – Advanced Multi-depth Concentrate | £40
  • Advanced Hydration – Skin-Perfecting Moisturiser | £30
  • Night Oil – Overnight Renewal Treatment | £30
  • Eye Revive – Daily Brightening Eye Serum | £20

A special mention goes to the packaging which is every bit as pleasing to the eye as you’d expect from The White Company, with a clean minimalist colour palette of white, silver and black. These now have pride of place on my bathroom shelf!

Super Balm Gentle Daily Deep Cleanser

The White Company Advanced Skincare Collection Launch

This cleanser starts out as a creamy balm which you apply to dry skin, but as you massage it in it melts to more of an oil consistency, gently but thoroughly dissolving all traces of makeup. I found it to be incredibly gentle but effective and it removed my eye makeup including mascara with ease. The formula is also lightly scented with lemon and petitgrain essential oils and I love the combination; it reminds me of sherbet dip!

I’ve been using a hot/cold cloth method. First I soak a cloth in hot water, wring it out and then gently wipe away the cleanser. Then I rinse the cloth in cold water and give my face a further pat down. Afterwards my skin feels amazingly soft, smooth and supple.

Super Serum

The White Company Advanced Skincare Collection Launch

Formulated with advanced ingredients such as amino acids to help plump the skin and encourage skin cell renewal, marine extracts to lock in moisture and green tea to soothe skin and reduce circles, this is another winner. In fact it’s the one that The White Company’s founder Chrissie Rucker recommends if you only buy one product from the range because it’s such a powerhouse. What’s more, it’s got anti ageing properties too and offers protection against UV damage.

The consistency of the serum is really light, almost watery and is dispensed using a pipette. I’ve found that it fully absorbs after just one or two minutes which is great as it means I don’t have to skip this step if I’m in a rush and need to get my makeup on fast! So far so good with this one. I can’t say that I look 10 years younger (yet!) but I feel better for applying this each day.

Daily Moisturiser

The White Company Advanced Skincare Collection Launch

Okay so this says ‘daily’, whereas I probably use it 3 or 4 times a week because I’m quite happy with just using the serum most mornings. However when I do take the time to apply it my skin has reaped the benefits. Much like the cleanser, it starts off creamy but as you rub it in and allow it to absorb you find that it’s a lovely light consistency and isn’t overly buttery. Give it 5 minutes to fully absorb and I’ve found that it acts like a primer, giving me a smooth base to apply my makeup on top of.

Night Oil – Overnight Renewal Treatment

The White Company Advanced Skincare Collection Launch

Again this one comes beautifully packaged with a useful pipette applicator, allowing you to apply just the right amount of the oil to each area of the face. The smell of this one is subtle but gorgeous with poppy flower extract and a blend of Amazonian oils and anti-oxidants.

When you first put this on your face will feel a bit oily which may lead to worries that you will stain your pillow!  However I have found that after about 10 minutes of reading in bed the oil has begun working it’s magic, sinking into my skin and leaving it feeling suitably nourished and enriched.

Eye Revive

The White Company Advanced Skincare Collection Launch

I do love a good eye treatment and this one has shot straight into my top 3 (alongside Liz Earle and Charlotte Tilbury’s eye creams).  The Eye Revive is a transparent, ultra light formula which is more of a gel or serum than a cream. My eyes are often tired and puffy in the morning and I’ve found that a couple of tiny drops of this patted in helps to soothe them and reduce the water retention. I have been using it at night too to give my eyes an extra bit of TLC and to help them wake up refreshed.

The White Company Advanced Skincare Collection Launch

I can’t say I’ve noticed any dramatic difference to the dark circles or fine lines that I have, but then again I’ve been a terrible sleeper recently as well as slacking on my water intake so maybe I’m not the best person to review this element of the range! All I can really tell you is that it makes me feel better when I pop some on.

So there you have it – my first impressions after two weeks using the brand new The White Company Advanced Skincare range. I was going to pick a favourite, I’d say that you have to try the Super Balm Cleanser – I really do love the way it makes my skin feel and the gorgeous scent that elevates the experience to a whole new level of pampering!

What do you think of The White Company Advanced Skincare collection? Is there anything here that you can’t wait to get your hands on?

LovedByLaura

*Disclaimer: This post contains PR samples, however all views expressed are my honest opinions and experiences.
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A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

You might have noticed that I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. That’s because my full time job has been as busy as I’ve ever known it and my spare time has been eaten up with boring but necessary things things to do with the house, leaving my brain completely frazzled. But now I’m back and raring to go, thanks to a date with a white fluffy toweling robe and a matching pair of slippers at the Y Spa in Bedfordshire!

The Y Spa is on the Wyboston Lakes estate, mid way between Cambridge and Milton Keynes. I jumped into the car on Saturday morning and zipped up the A1 from Peterborough to meet my friends. Our first order of business was (of course!) a spot of brunch.

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

Some of the spa packages include a two course hot and cold buffet in the Spa Cafe, so the chefs treated us to an indulgent taster session. All of the choices are nutritious but absolutely delicious: parma ham and grilled melon on toast with poached eggs, made to order omelettes, freshly made sundried tomato bread, chicken liver pate pots, toast topped with smoked salmon…

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes* A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

…and a huge platter of colourful fresh fruit.

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

The big surprise for me was the melon on toast. It’s a combination that I’d never have thought to try myself but it worked exceptionally well and I’m going to have to give it a go at home now.

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

To accompany our meal those of us not partaking in a dry January indulged in Bloody Marys and Blackberry Bellini cocktails too. As it happened this turned out to be all of us, including those who HAD been partaking in dry January until they saw the cocktails being prepared and swiftly decided that half of January was a good enough effort!

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

I tried out some non alcoholic alternatives too though, with my favourite being the kale, apple and kiwi smoothie which was super refreshing and not at all ‘leafy’ tasting.

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

As we all proclaimed how full we were feeling and that we couldn’t eat another mouthful, the chefs reappeared with a tray of panna cotta desserts. We all hastily decided that we might be able to fit in a few mouthfuls.

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

I’ve been harbouring a food baby since Christmas (I ate ALL the cheese) and the idea of putting on my swimming costume had been giving me the jitters. However the good thing about visiting a luxury spa is that once you’ve checked in you’ll be given a plush bathrobe and slippers which are yours to live in for the day. Thus whilst you do need to brave wearing a bathing suit, the only time you need to take off your robe is when you head into the treatment rooms; hanging them on hooks by the entrance and retrieving them at the end. Most of the treatment rooms are softly lit and full of steam anyway so self consciousness soon gives way.

Even the cafe restaurant is located centrally in the spa so you can wander through for a spot of lunch without having to worry about getting changed – it’s all very relaxed.

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

Saturday was freezing cold but we decided that we had to try out the outdoor Hydrotherapy pool. It runs at a much hotter temperature than a normal pool and is like getting into an Olympic sized jacuzzi – utter luxury!

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes* Y Spa Bloggers Brunch Wyboston Lakes

 

The only problem is that when you get out you suddenly realise how mother flipping cold it actually is. It was 2 degrees whilst we were there!

You can either wrap yourself in blankets and curl up by the log fire in the outdoor seating area…

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes* A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

…or for true warmth head to the ‘Some Like It Hot’ kelo wood sauna. The lower seating is warm enough, but dare to go up to the top row and you’ll soon get a healthy sweat on, with temperatures exceeding 85 degrees! (There’s a ‘Softy’ sauna for those who prefer things a little more sedate).

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

Although I like saunas, I love steam rooms even more. The difference is that a sauna is a really dry heat, whereas a steam room has a much higher humidity. The Y Spa has a traditional steam room but my favourite was the ‘Salty’ room which left me feeling wonderfully refreshed and invigorated. It can get really hot in there and a couple of my friends only lasted a few minutes before retreating to the sauna, but I could have stayed in there for ages!

With all this pampering, I was feeling so relaxed that I could have happily gone for a nap. I found a couple of different relaxation areas in the Y Spa, including a softly lit room with waterbeds warmed to body temperature. You just walk in, get under the covers and can either read under the lamp or more likely, drift off into a peace slumber. Does anything sound more idyllic?

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

Even better though, are the reading pods! It’s not until you get into one that you realise how soundproof it is – perfect for a no distraction reading sesh or just enjoying a few quiet minutes to yourself.

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes* A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

Here’s  a friendly warning though: They do rotate and if your friends have been on the Prosecco you might end up being spun around so fast that you feel like you’re on the Waltzers.

We totally didn’t try this. Okay yes we did. Sorry Y Spa.

Before I left there was one final bit of pampering in store for me – an energising, detoxifying Elemis Superfood Pro-Radiance facial. I lay back under blankets listening to soothing music as my skin was cleansed, toned, massaged and moisturised using a variety of aromatic Elemis products and hot and cold cloths. The time flew by and I was almost drifting off to sleep when it finished. My skin felt completely pampered and has been glowing all weekend.

Sadly with that my day at the spa came to an end, but I slept like a baby that night and woke up on Sunday feeling ready to take on 2017 and own it.

A Blissful Spa Day | Y Spa Wyboston Lakes*

Thanks Y Spa – you were just what the doctor ordered!

LovedByLaura

*My stay at the Y Spa was complimentary, however all thoughts and opinions on my experience are honest and my own. I truly couldn’t fault the day – take me back someone please!

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