Not all of us have been graced with the legs of Gisele or Mirander Kerr, but that doesn't mean we have to hide them away under thick tights, leggings and jeans. Although the UK's weather is temperamental, with the slightly warmer months comes the shorter and more floaty fashions that inevtiably have us showing a bit of leg. Whether that's a slip of an ankle, a calf or full-on mini skirt length exposure, it's really easy to make the most of your pins and feel utterly fabulous. I've never liked my legs and believe they're possibly my worst feature, my ballerina calf muscles and chubby knees being the buck of many jokes growing up; even though they're my biggest insecurity I've learned to make the most of what I've got and step out with confidence. Here are some of my top tips for pampering your legs and getting a summer glow, with a little help from Dove's new Purely Pampering Nourishing Body Oil - a leg lover's must-have.
I love brands that offer something a little different, have a great story and include amazing ingredients - Melvita embodies all those three things and more. Their skincare products are well-known for being effective and full of goodness, becoming almost cult-like following their under-the-radar status for nearly thirty years, so it's no surprise they've continued to capitalise on their expertise by launching their first Universal Cream. The super cute pot contains a lightweight and delicately scented cream that includes the scent of meadowsweet, elderflower and beeswax. Naturally rich in sugars, meadowsweet helps to strengthen the skin's barrier function, while beeswax helps to lock in moisture and provide a protective coating against environmental damage. Elderberry also helps to soften and soothe the skin, instantly providing a feeling of comfort, making the cream suitable for all the family.
In my house, Tuesday nights are bath nights. It's the one time I get every week when the house is empty and quiet, so I turn off my computer, put the phone to one side and slip into a warm sweet-smelling tub of water. Having that hour to myself to disconnect from all the technology and craziness that fills my life really makes a huge difference - I definitely feel it if I don't get my weekly bath session over the coming days. There are so many ways you can benefit from a soak, both physically and emotionally, and here are some of my favourites.
Makeup collections are rarely innovative or push the boundaries; we're so used to seeing the same old coral and bronze combo for summer, followed a few months later with a sultry smokey eye for Christmas. Very rarely am I instantly wowed by a concept or idea that simply hasn't been done before, but that's what happened when I opened the newest offering from Kiko Cosmetics. Their 'Daring Game' collection put a massive smile on my face and left me feeling like booking a trip to Vegas; it's fun, clever, innovative and quite simply like something I've never seen. It may include some super cute palettes, nail polish shades, eyeliners, lipstick and chunky crayons, but it's the details and sheer quality that makes it worth rushing out to by.
In a world where we're constantly attached to our smartphones, tablets and laptops, it's no surprise that our hands can often become a little overlooked. Dry skin, overgrown cuticles and flaking nails can be the result of too much abuse and not enough love when it comes to hand care. Although I love treating myself to a manicure and in-salon pamper once in a while, if I don't look after my digits at home they soon look and feel neglected. With a few pieces of affordable equipment and an hour in front of the telly, you can easily give yourself a pampering experience that will have your hands looking tip top in no time. Using the key ingredient of Dove's NEW Purely Pampering Nourishing Oil, here's my step-by-step guide to a luxurious manicure that will leave your hands feeling pampered and loved.
Although I'm sitting here with the heating on, a warm cup of coffee on the go and the rain petering down outside my window, we're still (believe it or not) in the middle of summer. It may not seem like August in the UK right now, but many of you may still be lucky enough to have a summer holiday to look forward to and need essential sun protection. It's even more important for us Brits to be prepared when it comes to sun exposure, as we see so little of it throughout the year and get overexcited when it does grace us with its presence. Although there are thousands of sunscreens and SPFs available on the high street, Lush have (in their usual quirky way) their own take on staying protected with 'The Sunblock' - a solid sunscreen wash that can be applied in the shower.
We all try to live life to the full, squeezing in multiple commitments and hobbies alongside spending time with loved ones. Add to that the demands of a full time job, looking after a home and even children, and it's no surprise we're all feeling the strains of modern life. Although we often prioritise the wellbeing of others, it's not uncommon for us to collectively neglect our own. When was the last time you took a moment just for yourself and really enjoyed it? With Dove's new Purely Pampering Nourishing Body Oils you can start having a few indulgent minutes every day, thanks to the luxurious scents and hydrating properties that the oils bring. Available in Pistachio & Magnolia and Shea Butter & Warm Vanilla variants, the body oils contain ingredients which have high levels of Linoleic Acid, Omega 6 and Vitamin E. These natural fatty acids help to maintain the quality of the skins lipid bi-layer so skin is left healthy and nourished, while looking fabulous too.
As my hair grows out from a bobbed cut and annoyingly hits my shoulders, I find myself reaching more and more for hair ties just to hold strands away from my face. In the heat I scrape my locks off my shoulders and into a bun, even if they've started the day loose around my shoulders with the hope of looking bouncy and fabulous. However, nasty black bobbles and stringy old ties just don't cut it, especially when worn around the wrist; they can totally ruin the look of an outfit when all other elements are polished to perfection. Kitsch hair ties are my new hair best friend not only because they come in a multitude of colours and textures, but because they don't snag the hair at all. They leave no nasty hair bumps when you take out a ponytail, nor do they cause any wincing.
There's definitely a trend for chunky crayons right now, with every product possible being re-imagined into a stick format that can be applied in one swoop. Although Clinique are undoubtedly the king of sticks and crayons, there are many more affordable alternatives popping up on the high street. GOSH have launched their very own version of the cheek tints that caused quite the stir a while ago, which come in at a very affordable £6.99 each. They're a lot chunkier than the Clinique versions, offering a serious amount of colour and a thicker bullet; the colour is a lot stronger and the result really quite dewy, compared to the matte finish of the Cheek Colour Balms. The texture provides a radiant finish that's great for applying over a BB Cream or lightweight foundation, but if you're a fan of matte looks or understated colour then you may want to apply with caution.
Nail varnish remover used to be one of the dullest items in beauty. Functional, stinky and messy, nobody ever took pleasure in removing their nails - until handy and cute nail varnish remover pots cropped up and made the process quicker, simpler and cleaner. Although the original pots used to be relatively affordable, albeit double or triple the price of a standard bottle of remover, in the past year a huge amount of copycat products have been launched that cover all budgets. I've been putting three to the test over the last few months to see if spending more money really buys you a better product. Here are the results...
I spent most summers in my twenties bumbling from one festival to the next, with only a day or two to clean up and re-pack the beer. Although I loved slumming it, wearing festival fashion and embracing the atmosphere, the biggest concern was always what I was going to do with my hair. There's a very famous picture amongst my friendship group which was taken on day three of Reading Festival some years back - after a few days of rain, applying product and attempting to hide everything under a hat, I woke up looking like a complete mess. My hair was knotted and literally standing up like a mohawk, so it's no suprise it took days of intensive masques and a lot of love to get it back to its former glory. A few weeks ago I went down to a Toni & Guy salon in London to find out how their 'Fashion Fix' styles could be taken from day one of a festival, right the way to day three while still looking fabulous. If you start with an ace style, then you can build on it and work with the foundations every day so you're still looking awesome. Considering these styles take only 30 minutes and cost only £25.00, it's a wise investment if you're planning a trip to any festivals this August. Have a look at the video I filmed and find out how you too could keep your style looking amazing all weekend long.
The Fashion Fixes are available at all Toni & Guy salons, priced £25.00.
You've probably seen the press, heard the buzz and spotted the Instagram shots: YSL's newest product launch is causing quite the stir. It helps that Cara Delevingne is the 'face' and the formula was developed using NASA inspired technology (yep, the space dudes) but YSL's Fusion Ink Foundation claims to deliver flawless coverage that lasts up to 24 hours, while still feeling ultra-light on your skin. They claim the staying power of the formula prevents the need for touch-ups, blotting or even powder to set it in place - but does it really live up to the hype? Are the 12,000 women apparently on a waiting list set to be pleased as punch or overly disappointed?
I used to love everything about Pixi makeup, but in recent years they've fallen off my radar in favour of other brands that seem to launch something new every five minutes and scream to the heavens about it. However, after recently getting to grips with the products down at their store on Carnaby Street, I've fallen head over heels for these Fairy Dust illuminating powder pigments. Available in six different nude and understated shades, each pot contains a concentration of shimmer and a little rounded applicator to buff it into the lid. Although they can get a little messy and get you covered in shimmer if you're not careful (make sure you keep them stored upright and tap the base before opening) they're definitely a great product for creating effortlessly chic looks.
I love a pretty pack and an indulgent designer lipstick as much as the next girl, but I also love finding a makeup bargain that performs. Although there's a lot of rubbish filling the beauty shelves of our High Street stores, there are also some incredible gems that cost only a few pounds and outshine some of their more expansive counterparts. After sifting through some of my current staples, here are five beauty products that cost less than a coffee-cake combo in Starbucks and are a much wiser investment - plus they're calorie free.
I've made no secret of the fact that I suffer with all kinds of allergies and digestive problems, like millions of other people in the UK. I suffer from cows milk and gluten intolerances (read about why I made the switch to soya here,) as well as IBS and an under-active liver. Basically, my eating habits could be the best on earth and I'd still struggle with my digestive system. I discovered BooTea during one of my cleansing phases, where I'd consume anything and everything that claimed to cleanse and detox my body. The premise is simple: a daytime tea in the morning before breakfast and a nighttime tea before bed. I love the fact that it's so simple, easy to integrate into your existing routine and there's no faffing around - all you have to do is boil the kettle. I started off with a 28 day teatox, drinking the morning and evening teas consistently for a couple of weeks, and noticed a real difference. The teas seemed to help my body get rid of all the unnecessary toxins, build-up and gas to leave me feeling much lighter and my tummy a lot less temperamental. However, after around two weeks I found my body stagnating and not really benefiting from the teas as much as it was initially; the result was that I gradually stopped drinking the teas daily.
There are millions of blogs out there, all offering up a tidbit of someone's life or experiences, but sometimes it's hard to see the wood for the trees when there are so many. I read a lot of blogs that cover many different genres, but they all inspire me and meet a little desire for something knowledgeable, powerful, beautiful or different. I truly believe that anyone can write a blog, but a great blog has to offer something a little unique. These are some of the blogs I'm currently crazy for, because all five of them inspire me in some way or another. I hope you love them too...
Known for taking the mineral makeup market by storm, securing a cult following and encouraging women to undertake a 'makeover', Bare Minerals are definitely champions of beauty. They're all about enhancing beauty, rather than covering it up and creating something generic - which is why their mineral powder foundations are so popular. Providing a super lightweight, almost undetectable finish, their mineral products have been copied by pretty much every brand going and have seen a revolution in makeup. Surprisingly, until the launch of 'Bare Skin' last week, Bare Minerals had never dipped their toes into the world of liquid foundation. However, they're making heavy and thick foundations a thing of the past by launching a liquid that brings the benefit of a lightweight mineral veil in the form of a serum-foundation with serious punch.
With all the innovations that hit the beauty industry and scientific advances creating what was previously only dreamed of, one of the few items remaining humble and simplistic is the hair brush... Until now. Because a straightforward wooden handle with bristles isn't quite enough, Braun have invented an electric brush that emits active ions directly onto the hair's surface. The Satin-Hair 7 brush includes an ion jet, which releases millions of active ions every time you use it, creating an invisible 'power halo' around your hair. Braun claim that active ions work 'very much like a conditioner' to tame frizz and provide smoothness that's incomparable to regular brushes. Active ions are atoms that carry a negative electric charge and actively envelop the hair strands to help fight static, transport moisture back inside the hair shaft and restore shine. The result, theoretically, is boosted shine and easier hairstyling - so how did this fancy pants brush hold up?