Friday, 30 June 2017

My Holiday Beauty Essentials | Travel Edit 2017

Holiday season is well and truly here – hurrah! I really hope you all have some really exciting trips planned this summer and that you’re all taking a well-deserved break! If like me you have a holiday in the works, you may be wondering what to pack and what to leave behind. So I’ve pulled together some of my ultimate summer holiday essentials, with the full low down on why they are so important to me!

Packing made simple...

Let’s kick things off with how I pack and the gorgeous Flower Stripe Large Hanging Wash Bag* from Orla Kiely (£36 here). If you’ve followed me for a while, you might know all about my obsession with hanging wash bags and this is one of the best I’ve found! What I love about it is that the bag unzips to have four key sections. You have three smaller sections at the top, two of which are waterproof, one which is mesh. Then you have a huge space at the bottom for your large products. The bag folds up into a compact rectangle shape, but when you get to your destination, you simply unzip and hang it somewhere so your products are all easy to grab. Genius! 

As well as my larger bag, I also take a smaller beach friendly bag which I can use for all my seaside essentials. This year I’m obsessed with these Hit The Beach Pouches* from Superdrug (£4.99 here). Not only are these bags available in neon pink, neon orange or neon yellow, but they are also a really good size. Which means you can really cram them with a lot of products, plus they are waterproof, so they won’t get damaged! 

My Poolside Essentials...

When I’m at the beach there are several things I like to have by my side. The first is an array of SPF options – I always kick things off with the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra Light SPF (£16.50 here). This is a fabulous facial sunscreen, which is available in an ultra-lightweight formula for normal to combination skin. It’s great for anyone who is prone to sensitivity, sun-intolerance or prickly-heat, but still offers UVA/UVB protection in a SPF 50+ formulation.  This year I’m also obsessed with mist SPFs, so they are so handy for topping up on-the-go. The Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Multi-Protecting Hydrating Mist SPF30* (£9.99 here) is a fabulous option – you just take the mist and spray it on your face and you’re protected! You don’t even have to rub this beauty in, which means you can top up your SPF without disturbing your makeup! 

If the worst does happen and you manage to get burnt by the sun, it’s important to have a good after sun on hand! I’m currently loving the Vichy Ideal Soleil In Shower After Sun* (£13 here), which can actually be used in the shower, or on dry skin – which just makes it amazingly multipurpose! 

Other poolside essentials include products for the hair, this year Schwarzkopf have a great trio kit which offers the hair UV- defence, free radical defence and colour fade prevention. The new Schwarzkopf BC Sun Protect Travel Set* (£20.95 here) contains mini travel sizes of the BC Sun Protect Shampoo, Spray Conditioner and Shimmer Oil. The products are really lovely and help to keep your hair beautifully groomed and well-protected during your holidays. Another important hair essential is a good detangling brush. I’m currently obsessed with the Pink Rebel Original Tangle Teezer* (£11 here) which is part of their limited edition Neon Brights collection. It’s perfect for banishing tangles and knots without tugging or pulling at the hair. It has two different sized teeth; the longer teeth gently detangle the hair, whilst the shorter teeth smooth healthier, glossier hair. 

Other haircare essentials include the John Frieda Dream Curls Shampoo, Conditioner and Hairspray* (£1.99 - £2.50 each here). I’ve been a long time user of John Frieda products, first their brunette range and now that I have a perm, I always use the Dream Curl range. I love that they are available in miniature form for travel and they leave your hair in the best condition – with no frizz in sight! The other thing I rely on is Philip Kingsley Swim Cap (£15 here) – you just comb this through wet hair and shampoo it out. It helps protects against dryness and damage caused by chlorine and salt, preventing discolouration and colour fade by filtering out harmful rays of the sun. 

The other thing I like to have on my side at the beach is a Merci Handy Hand Cleansing Gel* (£3 each here). Merci Handy have a whole range of hand cleansing gels, which are formulated created with vitamin E and Cleansing Pearls, which help leave your hands feeling both clean and soft.  You never know what you’ll be faced with on holiday, but this allows you to have clean hands whether you’re on the beach or the plane! The gels are available in seven beautiful scents - Coco Rico, Flower Power, Chérie Cherry, New Wave, Black Vanilla, Oh My Lemon and Lollipop. 

Let’s talk makeup...

One way I keep my packing streamlined, is to pick cosmetics that are streamlined and small – it’s a good way to use up all your minis! I recently travelled with the Nip + Fab Foundation in #10* (£12.95 here). I’m a really big fan of the formulation, as it’s been designed to recreate “photoshopped skin” – create for holiday selfies! However, what swayed me to take it is the packaging! Not only is the packaging really compact, it’s also made from plastic, which makes it lightweight and it’s got going to get smashed in your suitcase! Another favourite base of mine is the ESPA Naturally Radiant Tinted Moisturiser* (£32 here). This is my option for when I need something lighter, as this product literally changed my life! You do have to spend a while blending it into your skin, but afterwards it gives you a completely even skintone. It’s buildable, so you can keep adding extra coverage and then I just add a little concealer over blemishes. The best thing is that really leaves your skin GLOWING, it’s beautiful.

If you don’t have any makeup minis to hand, you could pick up something like  The Benefit First Class Faves Set* (£21.50 here) which is a perfect airport buy! Inside the box you’ll find 6 first-class faves, including Chachatint, POREfessional PRO balm, Dandelion radiance liquid, Dandelion powder blush, Roller Lash and the Total moisture facial cream. You can reserve the product before you fly, pick it up before you leave and you have some amazing products to use whilst you’re away. My favourite item is the Benefit Dandelion Powder, a sheer pink blusher which just gives you a lovely radiant glow. 

My last two makeup favourites are the Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara (£10-£18 here) and the Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows (£23 each here). Waterproof mascara is an essential holiday companion, as it keeps your mascara from being destroyed by water or sweat! The Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara is fairly new to my collection, but it’s the best waterproof mascara I’ve tried. It offers you an intense curl, volume and length – plus it does not budge! Frequent Hope, Freedom, Love fans will not be surprised that I’ve added the Stila Eyeshadows into the mix! These eyeshadows are a highly-pigmented glitter, which you paint on to the eyelids and they do not move. It’s a perfect holiday eyeshadow – who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle in the sun?

Let’s take a look at some of the other skincare that I pack into my suitcase. First up a good Micellar Water is an absolute must – after a day of SPF it’s really important to double cleanse the skin and the Sensibio H20 Bioderma Micellar Water* (£5.10 here) is a perfect companion. The BIODERMA micellar water contains “micelles” and it’s made to suit all types of skin. Simply soak a cotton pad with Sensibio H2O and then use it all over the face and eyes, to cleanse or remove makeup. The great thing about this is that it’s available in three different sizes, so you grab a handy mini for your trip. The Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser* (£24 here) is available in single-use sachets, which means you can pack exactly the amount you need and they take up no room at all! The powder cleanser is formulated with Pure Vitamin C and you activate the ultra-fine powder with water. You simply pour the powder into a wet hand and then add the water, working the powder into lather. After rinse the product from your face, you’re left with skin that feels healthier, younger-looking skin. It’s a non-stripping formula, which means you can use it for your whole holiday.

Lastly lets talk scent! I love taking perfumes on holiday as I believe scent is the best way to trigger memories. However, I prefer to take away scents which will be safe in my suitcase and won’t get broken. The Layering Lab Body Sprays* (£2.99 each here) let you experiment with your fragrance on a budget! The range of six fabulous scents allow you to take a bespoke approach to switching up your summer scent, plus they arrive in plastic bottles, so they won’t smash. The amazing thing is that these beauties only cost £2.99 each! The Ted Baker Polly Mixtures* (£15 for 10ml) is a sweet, potent scent, but it is easy to chuck in a travel bag. Polly Mixtures is beautiful – the top notes include mandarin, red berries and peach (hurrah for the peach), the middle is white jasmine, honeysuckle and peony. The end of the scent is a mixture of amber and vanilla topped off with white musk. 

And breathe! If you’ve made it this far you deserve a medal, as you’ve made it all the way to the end of my Travel Essentials post! I’d love to know in the comments if you’ve found something new, or if I’ve missed out one of your own favourites! What products are essentials in your travel bag?

Thursday, 29 June 2017

KIKO MILANO Mini Divas | Giveaway | 20th Anniversary Capsule Collection

This year, KIKO MILANO is celebrating their 20th anniversary. To celebrate their anniversary they have joined forces with seven international brands, which have been created by young and up-and-coming designers. The forth capsule collection is called ‘Mini Divas’ and the limited edition capsule collection is designed by Benedetta Bruzziches. Benedetta Bruzziches is a young handbag designer and her pocket-sized collection, is all about practicality and style. As an ode to her background, the products are perfect for all scenarios – especially for our handbags when we’re on-the-go! Let’s take a closer look at the collection..

Now I have to say that with all the capsule collections so far, the packaging for this collection is just gorgeous. The mini boxes feature pink boxes, which are finished with gold detailing, designed to look like lace. It just sets the whole box and brings the whole collection to life effortlessly. When you open the boxes you reveal the pretty mini products that are hiding inside. The collection includes bronzers, blushers, eyeshadow, mascara, a clutch bag, a manicure set and much more! 

Mini Divas Baked Bronzer* (£8.90)
The Mini Divas Baked Bronzer arrives in the pink and gold box, inside you will find the bronzer, which is housed in a black compact with a clear lid. The bronzer itself is a lovely silky texture, which is really easy to use and blend on the skin. There are two different shades (01 Portable Honey and 02 Essential Biscuit) which both offer a radiant finish for the complexion.

Mini Divas Baked Blush* (£7.90)
I’m a huge fan of the KIKO MILANO blushers, so I was really excited to see the Mini Divas Baked Blush. Again it arrives in the pink and gold box, which a clear-lidded compact that lets the colour of the blusher shine through. Much like the bronzer, it has very light texture, which is easy to blend on the skin. It’s not super pigmented, so you’re able to get a pretty tint with a delicate touch of colour. Again we have two shades of the blusher (01 Outstanding Cherry Power and 02 Embellished Coral) both are dermatologically tested and non-comedogenic. 

Mini Divas Baked Eyeshadow* (£4.90)
KIKO MILANO eyeshadows are well known for their pigmentation surpassing more expensive alternatives. Their Mini Divas Baked Eyeshadow can be used both wet and dry, so it’s up to you how much pigmentation you want to play with! All four colours in the Mini Divas collection (01 Balanced Champagne, 02 Radiant Copper, 03 Ritual Golden Brown and 04 Gleaming Gold) and a pearled and metallic finish, which create a beautiful wash of colour!  

Mini Divas Mascara & Eye Pencil* (£10.90)
The packaging of the Mini Divas Mascara & Eye Pencil set is a little different, as the products are finished in gold packaging - which just feels so sophisticated and fancy! Inside the box you get the mini mascara and eye pencil, which together give you the perfect travel companions for providing a mesmerising eye look. Use the mascara to coat your lashes and the soft-touch eye pencil to finish the look! The set is just available in black and is opthalmologically tested. 

Mini Divas Lipstick* (£6.90)
Saving the cutest to last, we have the Mini Divas Lipstick which arrives in gold packaging, finished with a black KIKO MILANO logo. There are three different shades in the Mini Divas collection (01 Practical Rose,
02 Wieldy Geranium and 03 Handy Orchid), each which have a creamy texture, which coats the lips with a subtle veil of colour. 

If this collection is anything like previous capsule collections, the Mini Divas range will sell out FAST! The fantastic news is that I have a giveaway from the KIKO team, where you can win some pretty products from the range! The lucky winner will win everything pictured in this post, so you'll be able to pick your own favourites! To win, please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below – you must be following both me and KIKO MILANO on Twitter for an eligible entry! Full T&Cs are below, good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions! The giveaway prize consists of at least 3 products from the Mini Divas collection. The giveaway will be running until 29th July at midnight and you can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. To be eligible to win you must be following my blog (@hopefreedomlove) and KIKO MILANO on Twitter . There are additional entries if you follow visit us on Facebook, follow on Instagram, or tweet about the competition. Entry is limited to UK residents.The prize was gifted to me by the wonderful Wizard PR team and I am passing this on to my readers in a giveaway. 

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Three tips to protect your hair this summer with Schwarzkopf

Whilst everyone (I hope) knows about the importance of protecting your skin from the sun (check out my sun care edit here) – many of us neglect our hair. We all love the sunshine and the burst of energy we get from the vitamin D. If we’re not careful though, the sunlight can really damage our hair, leaving it dry and brittle. The UVB can penetrate the hair cuticle fading colour and weakening the hair, whilst exposure to UVA can damage our natural vibrancy! Don’t despair though! The good news is that it’s actually really easy to protect your hair from the sun, with these easy tips and products from Schwarzkopf.

Tip #1 – Wash Your Hair
It’s really easy to get lost in the moment on holiday and leave your hair dirty after a quick dip in the pool. However, it’s really important to wash and shampoo your hair after swimming in the pool. This allows you to get rid of the chemicals that will be building up on your hair. If you leave products like chlorine in your locks, you can find that your hair turns green or breaks easier. 

Tip #2 – Top Up Your Sun Protection
Every time you top up your suncream, you should be considering topping up your hair protection too! A product like the Schwarzkopf BC Sun Protect Shimmer Oil* protects your protects sun-stressed hair and scalp against damaging UV radiation, free radicals and colour fading. It’s waterproof and you can apply it before and during sun-bathing – it even contains shine particles and makes the hair look shiny. 

Tip #3 – Treat Your Hair
If you’re anything like me, the first thing you do when you get home from the beach is dench your body in after sun and you should do the same for your hair! Take the time to treat your towel-dried hair to a conditioning treatment, as a little bit of post-sun indulgence. Apply a hair mask for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it out, leaving your hair shiny and soft! 

If you’re looking for a handy set that will keep your hair looking great this summer, Schwarzkopf have a handy travel set. Each of Schwarzkopf sun protect products provide protection against: UVA & UVB rays, free radicals and colour fade. Which means you can be sure that your hair leaves your exotic destination looking as good as when you arrived. Each of the products includes Monoï Oil de Tahiti (which nourishes and soothes sun damaged hair), Vitamin E (an antioxidant to fight against aging free radicals), Colour Fade Protection from UV filters (to keep vibrancy of colour treated hair) and Amino Cell Rebuild Technology (which penetrates deeply into the hair and repairs the inner structure).

The Schwarzkopf BC Sun Protect Travel Set* (£20.95 here) features three 100ml protects all rolled into a handy bag, which makes it the perfect summer kit! Inside the bag (which you can reuse for your bikini) you will find the BC Sun Protect Shampoo, the Spray Conditioner and the Shimmer Oil. The Schwarzkopf BC Sun Protect Shampoo is perfect for daily hair washing, both before and after sunbathing. The sun protect shampoo clarifies the hair of salt, sand and chlorine residues. The Schwarzkopf BC Sun Protect Shimmer Oil is the beautiful oil I mentioned earlier in the post and the Schwarzkopf BC Sun Protect Spray Conditioner gently detangles and moisturises sun-stressed hair. 
I’m loving the Schwarzkopf BC Sun Protect Travel Set and it’s all ready for my sabbatical later this month! You can pick it up for £20.95 here from Escentual. If you have any other tips for keeping your hair in good condition this summer, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below! 

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Sleep Is Golden | This Works

Recently I’ve been really struggling to get a decent nights sleep. The combination of heat, jet lag and stress, has left me tossing and turning all night long. You soon quick miss a good nights sleep and there is truly no better feeling than waking up in the morning fully rested. Sleep is a really important process as it allows your mind and body, to regenerate and recover from the onslaught of the day. When you lose sleep, not only do you feel pretty rubbish, but you also struggle to concentrate and often fail to keep a positive mindset. On a more scientific level, you also hamper the skins ability to reproduce and replace aged cells with new cells. After weeks of struggling, it was time to bring out the big guns…

This Works are a fabulous brand for ensuring that we all get a good nights sleep – all thanks to their aromatherapeutic products that help you unwind. They have a full range which can be used from the minute you leave your desk, right through bath time and all the way to the bedroom. Their latest range is aptly named ‘sleep is golden’ – offering you a limited edition sleep collection helps you to enjoy a golden night’s sleep, every night. The range is really vast and broad, but the most exciting thing for me is the new deep sleep pillow spray supersize, which is a whopping 250ml. Since This Works launched the deep sleep pillow spray back in 2011, it has gone from strength to strength – in fact I think you’d be hard pushed to find a blogger who hasn’t tried and raved about it! The deep sleep pillow spray is a blend of Lavender, Vetivert and Camomile, which you spritz onto your pillow before sleeping. Together the superblend of scents will calm both mind and body, soothing you to sleep.

The popularity of the product encouraged This Works to create a supersized bottle, which is a whopping three times bigger than the regular bottle. It means that you can share it around the whole family and allow you all to get a better nights sleep! To celebrate the limited edition size, it has also been given a big of a makeover, featuring elegantly designed packaging finished with gold lettering. This Works have found that 99% of people who use the spray sleep better than normal and 89% of people fell asleep faster – so it’s well worth giving this a go! Of course, if you don’t fancy the huge bottle, you can still grab the deep sleep pillow spray, in the regular 75ml size, which has also has the limited edition packaging.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Distorted Dreams Highlighting Palette | Sleek Summer 2017

When Sleek Makeup launch a new palette, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the beauty community sits up and takes notice. They recently announced their Distorted Dreams collection, which is all about achieving skin that ‘looks totally LIT’. There are two halves to the release – the Sleek Matte Me Metallic Lip Creams (which I featured here) and this beautifully new palette, which I just know people are going to love! Let’s take a little look…

So the Distorted Dreams Highlighting Palette* arrives in the classic Sleek Makeup box, which is matte black and shows a little preview of what to expect inside. The palette itself arrives in a silver palette, which is decorated with a matte white Sleek Makeup logo. When you flip the lid you’re greeted by a full sized mirror and the five pretty highlighters. The Distorted Dreams Highlighting Palette features five stunning luminescent shades, which happily join the popular range of highlighters from Sleek Makeup.

The five shades are a combination of cream and powder, which means no matter what look you’re creating, there is bound to be a shade in the formula you need. Two of the shades are velvety powders and three luxurious cream formulas. Each of the colours are really pigmented, with each of the shades offering reflective and holographic pigments (which makes for an impressive swatch which is almost impossible to capture on camera). The best bit is that the colours can be used all over the face: use the colours to illuminate your eyelids, cheeks and lips, for an unrivalled glow! 

The new Distorted Dreams Highlighting Palette is available now and it’s just perfect for this season! It’s going to look great at festivals but isn’t so out there, that you can’t use it every day. Grab it now from Boots or Superdrug, priced at £10.99. 


Friday, 23 June 2017

2017 Highlights | Part One

Can you believe that we’re already approaching the end of June? I know it’s such a cliché thing to say but I can’t believe how quickly the years are passing me by! When we started 2017 I had a lot of things to look forward to and the first half of the year hasn’t disappointed! I thought this June I’d share some of highlights of year so far, just as a little reminder that sometimes you never know what the best moments will be. 

Turning 25 In Edinburgh 
This birthday my fella surprised me with a flying trip to Edinburgh. Edinburgh has been on the top of must-see list for a long time, so it was amazing to finally tick it off! We walked about 1000 miles, learnt a lot about whisky, climbed to the top of Edinburgh castle and ate lots of yummy food! All-in-all it was the most amazing trip and we would definitely go again!

Falling In Love With Flowers
I’ve always been a bit of a flower fan, but this year I’ve really enjoyed filling my house with pretty petals. You may remember back in January I discovered Blossoming Gifts (check out my blog post here) and I’m super excited to have another bunch of flowers to admire. This time I’ve got the Pink Peony Bouquet and as you can see in these pictures they are utterly beautiful. Filling my home with flowers just makes me feel so happy, it does wonders for the soul! 

A Trip Up The i360 Tower 
For our anniversary this year we took a trip to Brighton for a trip along the beach! Whilst we were there we ate cupcakes on the beach, took lots of photographs and shot up into the sky on the British Airways i360 tower. We picked up a handy voucher from Buy A Gift, which gave us dinner and two i360 tickets at a bargain price. The i360 is really good fun and it’s fantastic if you’re a fan of an impressive view. 

Manicures With Mane ‘n’ Tail
I’m really lucky to be invited to lots of exciting events but one of best this year, has to be the trip to Dry By with Mane ‘n Tail. It was fantastic to spend some 1:1 time with the Dowal Walker team and I felt utterly spoiled from start to finish! I really enjoyed learning about Mane ‘n Tail (check out my blog post here) and I my sparkly purple nails were so pretty!

A Spa Day With Comfort Zone At Aqua Sana
When one of your favourite brands invites you for a spa day, I think it’s only natural that you pinch yourself! Aqua Sana Woburn is one of my favourite places on earth, so to be able to visit there for a day of pampering was just dreamy. If you want to know more about Comfort Zone and their amazing treatments, you should check out my blog post here

Toasting Marshmallows & Top Golf 
I really love the unexpected family days when you just get to spend some quality time with your loved ones. In April my in-laws had a spontaneous bonfire in their garden and we all stood around toasting marshmallows – it’s harder than it looks! In May we celebrated Chris’ birthday at Top Golf with my sister and brother-in-law. We’ve been meaning to go to Top Golf for ages and it was such a laugh! 

Exploring Marlow With Macdonald Hotels
It’s not every day that you get to head to a luxury hotel, to be wine and dined for a full weekend. Our trip to Marlow to check out the Macdonald Compleat Angler Hotel was just second to none. We drove down the River Thames in a little boat, dined in an award winning hotel, treated ourselves to Afternoon Tea and I picked up a new Kate Spade handbag. Read all about our Marlow trip in my blog post here.

Dune Buggying & Meeting Elephants In Fuerteventura 
At the end of May we headed for a week break in Fuerteventura with my sister and brother-in-law. I was excited to get away but I hadn’t prepared myself for falling in love with Fuerteventura. It’s the most beautiful island and we had so much fun! Some of the highlights have to be Dune Buggying across the island and falling in love with some really clever Elephants. Read all about my Fuerteventura trip in my blog post here.

The Capital Summertime Ball
My last highlight has to be hitting up the Capital Summertime Ball with Stephanie (Merry Musing). I’ve always wanted to go to the Capital Summertime Ball, but I’ve never managed to get tickets – so when Stephanie managed to get tickets I couldn’t turn them down. We spent seven full hours dancing to Bruno Mars, Stormzy, Little Mix, Clean Bandit, Sean Paul and over 20 other artists. It was such a great experience!  

I’d love to hear about some of your 2017 highlights, no matter how big or small they were! Leave me a comment below… 


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Catch The Sun | The Bourjois Bronzer Family

The summer seems to be back in full swing and hopefully it’s here to stick around for good this time! Now that the sun is making a more frequent appearance, it’s time for me to embrace bronzer in all its glory! There is something special about creating that gorgeous glow with bronzer when the sun is out shining! 

For me the best thing about bronzer, is that you don’t have to be as precise as when you contour. It’s all a little more haphazard and I think it’s actually pretty difficult to get wrong! This year Bourjois have brought back their famous bronzer collection, which means whatever look you’re craving, they have a product for you. No matter what product you’re using, it’s very easy to get that gorgeous holiday glow. Simply take the bronzer on a big fluffy brush and apply it everywhere the sun naturally hits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the products in the Bourjois lineup…

The Mat Illusion Bronzing Powder* (£7.99 here) 
The Mat Illusion Bronzing Powder arrives in a brown compact, which has a clear lid. The lid is decorated with red and blue stripes, which gives it a fun, nautical, holiday feel! When you pop open the bronzer, you find a matte bronzer which is perfect for creating a matte sunkissed look. The bronzer is a very soft and fine formulation, which has been designed to give you a streak-free application. The bronzer has been created to refine the appearance of pores and also smoothes fine lines and wrinkles – it even has SPF10 built into the product! The Mat Illusion Bronzing Powder is available in two shades, shade 21 and shade 22, which is slightly darker. 

The Contour Illusion Bronzer & Highlighter* (£7.99 here) 
My favourite product in this collection is the Contour Illusion Bronzer & Highlighter. I can never resist a contour palette and this one is no different. It arrives in the same packaging as the Mat Illusion Bronzing Powder, but when you pop this palette open, it’s split into two halves. On one side you have a bronzer to sculpt and on the other side there is a highlighter to illuminate the skin. I love the embossing detailing on the powder and I love that you can use the shades separately, or blend the two shades to create a sunny tanned look. 

The Maxi Delight Bronzer* (£8.99 here)
Finally we have the Maxi Delight Bronzer, which I know has a lot of fans in the bloggersphere. This is a huge bronzer, which also arrives in a brown compact, but this time the lid is decorated with gold and blue detailing. The powder is a light shade which is designed to give you a healthy, natural glow on the skin. The powder imitates the look of a tan, thanks to a mix of luminous pearls and beta-carotene. Just like the other powders in the collection, the texture glides onto skin giving a smooth, sheer, even finish.

Which of these bronzers is your favourite? Do you use bronzer in the summertime?

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Busting The Suncare Myths | Sun Cream Edit 2017

When I look back to when I was in my late teens, I was really naive with suncare! It really took me so long to realise how much damage I’ve been doing to my skin. Whilst I'm still no SPF expert, I try my best to read about suncare and educate as many people as I can! I’ve been writing a yearly suncare post for a good few years now and I’m back again for the 2017 edit! So in today's blog post I'm sharing some answers to the most frequent SPF FAQ's and suggesting some of the best products on the market. SPF has come a long way, they are no longer greasy horrible creams and really there's no excuse not to wear it!

What is SPF?
SPF stands for 'sun protection factor' and is a measure of how effective a product is at protecting you from the sun. The rating of SPF can go from as little as 2 and go as high as 70 and it's important you wear the right level of protection. SPF is a calculation of how much time you can be in the sun before you burn. For example, if you burn after being in the sun for 5 minutes, SPF15 will give you 15 times the time before you burn; 75 minutes. The higher the SPF the higher the protection, personally I need to slather myself with factor 50. 

Why is SPF so important?
Wearing SPF is important all year round, the sad thing is that most people only take notice when they are going on holiday. What we're trying to do is stop the ultraviolet rays UVA and UVB from damaging our skin. UBV is the ray that is responsible for sunburn, whilst UBA is the ray that causes long-term damage. Long-term damage can include ageing and skin cancer, which happens to be the second most common type of cancer for women in their twenties. UVA and UVB rays are present all year round and they are just as harmful in the winter as they are in the summer. You don't just have to be outside to get damaged skin, UV rays can come through windows and even through light clothing, so it pays to be protected. It's important to reapply your SPF every 2-4 hours to maintain full protection from the sun.

Will I still get a tan?
Absolutely! SPF is designed to stop your skin from burning and to stop the harmful rays penetrating your skin. No part of SPF formulation is designed to stop you getting a tan. In fact, I can slather myself in SPF50 and still come home darker. If you want to try and aid the tanning process, you can special sun creams that aim to help the natural tanning process. One of Chris' favourites is NIVEA’s Protect & Bronze range, it contains plant extract to encourage your own melanin production. If you've tried an SPF and you still don't get a tan, please don't stop putting it on! It's better to fake your tan than take the risk!

I have sensitive skin, SPF always gives me spots?!
Surprisingly, a lot of people do not realise that there are specific SPFs for your face and body. Obviously it's important to use the right formula in the right place, but sensitive skin is completely and utterly catered for in the SPF market. La Roche-Posay in particular are experts at creating SPF's for every type of skin - sensitive skin included. They have the 'Anthelios Comfort' range for dry skin, the 'Anthelios Ultra-Light*' range for normal/combination skin (my personal favourite) and the 'Anthelios Anti-Shine' range for oily skin. It's worth shopping around and finding the perfect SPF for you. Like with body sun creams, face creams come in all shapes and formulas. You could try the NIVEA Protect & Bronze Face Cream to help aid the natural tanning process. You could also opt for the Garnier Sensitive Advanced Protecting and Hydrating Face Mist*. As the name suggests, it’s a fine mist which you don’t even have to rub into the skin, which is perfect for ultra sensitive skin. 

I don't want to cover myself in a horrible greasy cream?!
The good news is that you don't have to - SPF has come a long way and you can now pick up a whole range of formulas, in fact a lot of my favourite SPFs are not creams at all! Let’s start with the handy spray category – this allows you to dispense a cream formulation, but without pouring it onto the dedicated area. Simply grab something like the Solait Moisturising Sun Spray SPF50* and spray it wherever you need it. Another more high end alternative is the La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Spray SPF50+*, which I used very recently and really loved. If you like the spray formula, but don’t like creams, you could try the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Comfort Oil. This one is an oil formula which is lightweight and nourishing for all skincare types. 

Now most of the time, I’m actually more of a mist person – as I like that they feel dry on the skin and you don’t feel wet. I have two favourites which are actually very similar, I just opt for whatever I have in my stash at the time. The Garnier Ambre Solaire Dry Mist and the NIVEA Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Mist are both ultra-light mists which is completely dry to the touch.

However, I would like to point out that actually, a lot of the creams on the market are not actually greasy in the slightest. Some of the best ones include the Mary Kay SPF30 Suncream*, the NIVEA Protect & Moisture Moisturising Sun Lotion* (which is a family favourite for us) or the budget friendly Solait SPF50+ Sensitive Moisturising Sun Lotion*.

I want to wear makeup on holiday - surely SPF and makeup don't mix? 
Actually they do! The key here is to find an SPF that is made for your face - you should do this anyway as the skin on your face is different to your body. Many SPF's are made to wear under makeup, just give them ample time to soak in. Some of my favourites I’ve already spoken about in this blog post, but to recap, I highly recommend the Garnier Sensitive Advanced Hydrating Face Mist and the Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid. 

It’s also worth mentioning that you can also purchase lots of makeup and skincare products that have SPF built in. Unfortunately a lot of these have very low SPFs, so I always layer them with something more substantial. The ESPA Naturally Radiant Tinted Moisturiser* is a firm favourite in my travel makeup bag, as it has SPF15 and offers a lovely glow on the skin. The ESPA Optimal Skin ProDefence SPF15* is a lovely moisturiser, which you can actually use on a daily basis, not just for holidays!

Does my hair need protecting too? 
Absolutely! Many of us have experienced our hair getting lighter after a summer holiday, but the damage does not end there! Right now I'm obsessed with Rituals Sun Protection Hair Spray*, which is a sun-protective hairspray with a fresh summer scent. It's made using Vitamin E, Ginkgo Biloba, and White Tea, which all help protect the hair against the harmful effects of UV radiation. You spritz this in your hair before and after sun exposure, to achieve long-lasting shine and protection from hair discolouration!

Is it true that you can burn your lips?
Absolutely! Your lips are just as prone to burning as every other area of your face. It’s worth investing in a lip balm that contains some SPF, in fact you might find that your favourite already has SPF in the ingredients. If not, you can pick up something like the Solait SPF30 Lip Protection Balm* for a few pounds and reapply regularly. 

What should I do if I get burnt?
Sadly even with the best will in the world, sometimes you still get burnt – it happens to the best of us! As soon as you notice you’re burnt, it’s important to remove yourself from the sun. Preferably, you should give yourself a break from the sun indoors, but if that’s not possible find some shade. You should keep yourself as hydrated as possible, by drinking plenty of water.

The next important step is to treat the skin with something soothing. Still don’t forget that your face and body need to be treated separately, with specific products. I actually find that moisturising serums like Vichy Ideal Life Serum work wonders, or you can try something like the Solait Moisturising After Sun Face Lotion*. I’m a huge fan of in-shower after suns, as you can get the cooling relief from the shower, but also treat the skin in one quick step. The Vichy Ideal Soleil In-Shower After Sun* is a beautiful high-end option for this, I particularly like this one as you can use it in the shower, or you can actually use it on dry skin. Another family favourite is the NIVEA In-Shower After Sun Refresh*, which is a fantastic budget option which I use all the time – not just on holiday! 

Investing in sun cream is too expensive! 
Whilst I do agree that sun cream can be quite pricey, it doesn’t have to be! Look out for deals and offers, these will happen away from peak holiday periods and will give you a chance to stock up. In the weeks and months running up to your holiday, keep an eye on Boots and Superdrug for the likes of Garnier and NIVEA. Places like Escentual are fantastic at offering 25% off the likes of Vichy and La Roche-Posay. For real bargains, look to own brands such as Superdrug’s Solait – these products are fairly cheap but still work wonders!

So there you have it, there is really no excuse for skipping your SPF! Please don't do it, it's really not worth the risk! 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Touche Éclat Glow Shots from YSL

Many beauty fans will not need an introduction to YSL’s Touche Éclat – the famous concealer/highlighter hybrid, which has had pride of place on dressing tables for longer than I can remember.  Over the last couple of years the Touche Éclat range has grown to encompass lots of new products and I’m here to show you one today. YSL have taken inspiration from the light-giving powers of Touche Éclat to create the Touche Éclat Glow Shots*.

The Touche Éclat Glow Shots is YSL’s first liquid light concentrate, which they describe to be the ultimate in highlighting power. It’s an incredibly advanced highlighter, which features a workable, buildable formula. It brings an undeniable dewy radiance to the face, offering expert strobing at your fingertips. YSL describe the highlighter as having a ‘tri-active formula’ thanks to the hydrating texture, anti-fatigue complex and ultra-fine micro pearls. When you apply the Touche Éclat Glow Shots to the skin, they work to plump the skin with moisture, which helps to enhance the light reflection. They also work to banish dullness and hide shades that are present on tired skin. The blend of ultra fine micro pearls boost the glow to the limit, giving a burst of iridescence to the skin. 

YSL suggest three different ways to use the Glow Shots, which they describe as: Naked Shot, Mixed Shot and Top Shot. Naked Shot is applying the highlighter all over the face with your fingers or a brush, for a burst of radiance all over the skin. Mixed Shot is the notion of mixing the highlighter with your foundation or moisturiser. Top Shot is more traditional method of applying after foundation – blend it into your cheekbone, brow bone, cupids bow and the bridge of the nose.

The Touche Éclat Glow Shots are available in three shades, which have been designed to perfectly match different skintones. ‘Daylight’ is the shade I have here which is just perfect for skin like mine, which is light and fair. They also have ‘Sunrise’ for light-medium skintones and ‘Sunset’ for medium-dark skintones. You can see by my swatch of Daylight, that is just the perfect wash of light, it’s perfect for giving the skin a more awake feel and looks beautiful on the skin. The Touche Éclat Glow Shots are quite pricey, retailing at £22.50 each – however what I can say is that a little bit goes a long way, so I think they are totally worth it!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Discovering Philosophy Skincare

I remember when I first started blogging Philosophy was all over the bloggersphere, it was one of those US brands that everyone was desperate to get their hands on. Since then Philosophy has expanded quite significantly in the UK, which means you no longer have to pay extortionate values to add it to your collection. Whilst I’ve always loved the Philosophy range of bath and body products, I’ve never had a chance to play with their skincare offering. So when I was offered the chance to try some of the products, I couldn’t wait to see what the hype was all about.

One thing I love about the Philosophy brand is the packaging – everything has a clean and sophisticated feel. I love that the white packaging is decorated with some simply typography and I love the little quips on the front of each product. I’ve been playing with three products from the skincare line, let’s take a closer look…

take a deep breath*
take a deep breath is an eye cream which has been designed to delivery oxygen onto the skin, which is an important way to keep the eye looking vibrant and youthful. It uses an array of ingredients to help the skin breathe freely and protect the skin from damage caused by the lack of sleep, environmental pollution and daily stress. The use of glycerin helps to moisturise the skin, helping to improve the skins natural hydration levels. The eye cream also uses a patented antioxidant complex to stimulates the natural skin cell detoxification and biotechnological agent stimulates natural skin cell detoxification. 

renewed hope in a jar*
The hope in a jar line from philosophy is an iconic range that I’m sure a lot of you know a lot about. The first hope in a jar product was created way back in 1996 and this Is the evolution of philosophy’s beloved product. The original hope in a jar product revolutionised the moisturiser category and I’m happy to say that this new renewed product doesn’t disappoint. What I love about the renewed hope in a jar, is that it “grants three wishes for the skin”.

Firstly, it works to refine the texture of the skin, working to minimise pores and fine lines. It does this by using a blend of alpha hydroxy acids to gently exfoliate the skin – the blend features different molecular weights, which allows for different rates of penetration into the skin. The second thing it does is offer the skin a burst of moisture, by using an hyaluronic acid-blend (for immediate hydration) and blue agave extract (which stimulates the skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid). The final thing it does is offer the skin a healthy colour and glow by using asian fruit extract, prickly pear flower and micro-optics. Together these three ingredients offer increased micro-circulation (which brings natural healthy colour to skin), enhanced natural luminosity and creates soft-focus effect on the skin. 

time in a bottle*
The aptly named time in a bottle is an age-defying serum which you can use on a daily basis. It’s a serum that works to reduce both visible signs of aging and the damage which is not yet actually visible on the surface. The product arrives in two bottles, which ensures you get the freshest formulation possible. You pour the smaller bottle into the bigger bottle, which creates the serum. The serum works by supporting the skin’s healthy DNA function by using Philosophy’s exclusive DNA renewal complex. The serum also includes a potent form of vitamin c and ethyl ascorbic acid, which work to give your skin significant protection from free radicals. I’m actually only 25, so I’m very lucky that I don’t need to fight visible signs of ageing just yet – however the serum definitely helps the skin to appear more radiant, and smooth.

I’d love to know what you think about Philosophy in the comments below. Have you tried any of their products? 

Friday, 16 June 2017

Eau So Cute | The new scent from Mary Kay

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have spotted me get really excited about the new fragrance from Mary Kay. I give Mary Kay a lot of airtime here on Hope, Freedom, Love and I am increasingly impressed with their products. I’ve tried a lot of their makeup products and the quality, formulation and packaging are just beautiful. So, it’s safe to say that I’ve come to expect good things from the brand, but the new Eau So Cute Eau de Toilette* tipped me over the edge!

The eau de toilette arrives in a gorgeous mint green box, which is covered in polka dots. I mean seriously, people who know me well, would say this is just made for me! I was already blinded by the mint green light, when the bow shaped bottle fell out and stole my heart! Yes, the bottle is actually bow shaped! Both ends of the bow are bright pink and the middle is white with more polka dots. You pop off one of the ends to reveal the spray inside, I’ve never seen anything quite like it!

As the packaging is so sickly and cute, I was half expecting a scent to match! However, I was quite pleasantly surprised, yes it’s sweet but it’s also quite fresh, which makes it really easy to easy to wear! The scent opens with a sweet floral scent (with notes of icy pear, sweet almond blossom, Italian bergamot and neroli), the middle is more floral (with notes of freesia, pink peony, daisy and cyclamen) and the base is creamy (thanks to notes marshmallow musk, cedarwood and sandalwood).

All-in-all it’s a really nice scent, it would be perfect to any lady that you need to find a gift for this summer. Mary Kay say that it’s created for the chic and spontaneous woman, who is energetic, playful and enjoy making memories! How lovely! If you want to get your hands on it, it’s very reasonably priced at just £25 for 30ml – it is however limited edition, so if you want it move quickly to the Mary Kay website
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