27 September 2013

TAG: Skincare

When I was tagged to do this by my beautiful friend Hayley it occurred to me that apart from the occasional product review I very rarely share anything skincare related with you all!

I haven't tagged anyone specific to do this but if you do give it a go, please leave your links below so I can read your post and see what you use as I love finding new products!

Source: weheartit

Describe your skincare routine in 5 words
Remove (Makeup - it's not cheating if it's in brackets!), Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise, Protect (SPF!).

I always remove my makeup, I'll either use something like Bioderma to take away the lions share of it or I'll double cleanse, who am I kidding, I nearly always double cleanse, either way the first step for me is always removing my makeup. I then follow that up with the pretty standard cleanse, tone and moisturise before applying an SPF in the daytime. 

What is your skin type?
Combination: oily yet dehydrated - notice dehydrated and not dry? My skin isn't dry but it can get a little bit parched in places, especially during the changing seasons. I get a little oily across my cheeks.

Top blemish zapper?
It used to be the MAC volcanic ash thermal mask, God I loved that stuff with a passion but it was always limited edition and sadly hasn't made a comeback (the exfoliator has though and that too is awesome). Nowadays I use the Origins Super Spot Remover if I have to or a cotton bud dipped in water, one end hot(ish) and one end cold - apply to the blemish using alternate temperatures to take the spot down straight away. If you want to be super hygienic which of course you do, use different cotton buds (you'll only need three maximum, especially if you're using both ends!).

Face wipes - yay or nay?
Definite nay! They do not clean the skin, they just move the dirt and makeup around the surface of your face and I don't buy the "at least I'm attempting to remove it" argument, no, you're not. You are just moving everything around.

Toner - yay or nay?
Yay for me. Some people seem to consider toner to be a bit of a dated product but I love mine! I've been using the Clarins Brightening Toner for over a year now and I saw the difference in my skin when I ran out earlier this year despite substituting it for my Dermalogica Multi-Active toner which I love day to day. The Lush Tea Tree Toning Water is also a great product and the first toner I used!

High end skincare or high end makeup?
This is a tough one! If you don't look after your skin your makeup won't look good, no matter how high end or expensive it is because you cannot photoshop day-to-day life, simple. At the same time, I don't think you need high end skincare if you can find something in Boots that does just as good a job - look at brands like Bioderma, Avene  and Vichy for example. 

What's the most unusual skincare product you've tried?
I'm always very cautious with my skin so I haven't tried anything too unusual if I'm honest. I am tempted by some of the products that contain bee venom though and for me, that's enough of a dip into the unusual pond!

Tell us your top skincare tip
Always take your makeup off at night and wear an SPF during the day. I practice what I preach with those two tips right there. Another one would be try not to eat excessive amounts of sugar but that's definitely a 'do as I say and not as I do' because I really love doughnuts.

Don't forget, leave your link below if you give this a go and make sure you check out Hayley's blog!

Vicky x

25 September 2013

Review: La Durbin Boutique Salon

As I mentioned in my birthday post, I had my hair done at La Durbin Boutique in Fulham before heading on out the Saturday night.

Source: La Durbin Boutique Facebook

I'm always in the mood for a pamper session but with a raging hangover from the night before and hellish traffic on the Fulham Palace Road I wasn't sure I wanted to be preened. That was until I stepped in to the salon which is just utterly charming in both design and in atmosphere. 

Source: La Durbin Boutique Facebook

Owner Latifa has an incredible eye for detail with every inch of the salon carefully planned and immaculately executed, from the tea light lighting fixtures to the comfy sofa and cute cushions, you feel immediately at home upon arrival.

A complimentary glass of champagne (hangover, what hangover?!) and a few magazines later as Latifa finished blowdrying Lucy Watson's (Made in Chelsea - she's a frequent visitor) hair and I was seated at my own little dressing table giving the feel of getting ready at home or at a friends.

I had previously decided to have my hair put up but after a chat with Latifa we decided it may be a bit too dressy for the look I was going for, especially with a floor length dress, so we settled on a curly blow dry instead.

I have thick, heavy hair that doesn't hold a curl well but as we chatted away Latifa wound my hair around brushes and rollers with complete and utter ease. You really feel like you're sitting there with an old friend as Latifa is super friendly and welcoming - the perfect hostess and without a doubt the best advert for her brand.

The finished article!

After the curls had settled...

Covering a whole host of beauty treatments from facials to waxing, massages to tanning and everything in between, La Durbin Boutique really is your one stop shop for all of your beauty treatment needs. Salons can often be a little sterile (and let's all be perfectly honest, hostile - especially in Central London!!) and same-old-same-old but La Durbin really is different, not just the way it looks but the quality of treatments and of service - one of the girls even offered to go and get me a bacon sandwich for my hangover, how many places offer service like that?!

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and I'm already planning my next trip for a Sienna X spray tan, I just need to get rid of my horrid cold first!

Deluxe Blow Dry - £35

You can find La Durbin Boutique Salon on the following social media platforms and I would seriously suggest popping along if you're in London!

Vicky x


17 September 2013

Review: Sensai by Kanebo Silky Purifying Cleansing Oil*

Oil cleansers are probably my favourite type of facial cleanser. Before you all recoil in horror at the thought of using an oil cleanser, particularly if you have oily skin, give them a chance. Oil cleansers work as well on oily skins as they do normal or dry, rather than creating an excess of oil on and in the skin, they balance out the natural oils of the skin. I often find that cleansers targeted towards oily skins tend to be so dry and stripping they end up making skin even oiler due to the fact they strip the natural oils, thus causing the skin to produce even more oil to create a balance.

Now that I've had my skincare rant, let's get on to the product: Sensai by Kanebo Silky Purifying Cleansing Oil *(now that's a mouthful if ever I heard one!). I was very kindly sent this product to review last month and after giving it a proper trial I thought it was high time I posted a review for you all.

Kanebo is a Japanese skincare and cosmetic brand - I love many oil cleansers by Japanese brands such as DHC and Shu Uemura so I couldn't wait to try Sensai by Kanebo, I always have a browse of the counter when I'm in Harrods but I'd yet to take the plunge and try anything.

Let's start with the packaging - firstly it has a pump which makes it easy to dispense just the right amount of product hygienically, the bottle is semi-transparent so you can see how much product you have left and it's tall and slim so it doesn't take up a lot of room in the bathroom unlike the giant Shu Uemura bottles!

As soon as this landed on my desk at work I couldn't wait to incorporate it into my skincare routine so I used it that night: I dispersed two pumps into my hands and worked it into my face and watched as my makeup melted away. The oil is light yet rich and clear in colour, it is fragranced and smells fresh which I really liked. Two pumps was more than enough to emulsify my makeup, I then used a few cotton pads to wipe the excess away and even my stubborn mascara had been removed. 

When I swiped a toner soaked cotton pad over my face moments later I was impressed to see there were no traces of makeup left behind and my skin felt soft and smooth.

I continued using for a few days when I noticed a few breakouts, as this was the only change in my routine I begrudgingly stopped using it, disappointed that my new cleanser didn't love my skin no matter how much I liked it. Determined to test the product fully, I decanted some into a travel bottle and I asked my best friend to continue trialling it for me and she noticed no adverse reactions, in fact quite the opposite - her skin never looked or felt better, it was soft and supple, her skin tone was even and in her own words, her face "felt clean all the time!"

Given that I was so impressed with the cleanser when I did use it, I attempted it one more time. I used my Bioderma first to remove my eye makeup, my Radical Hydrating Cleanser to remove my makeup and then I saturated a few cotton pads in the Sensai cleanser and wiped across my face, following up with my normal toner and moisturiser and so far so good! I haven't had any further break outs and I've noticed my skin looks and feels better than normal. 

There's a full range of Sensai by Kanebo Purifying products on sale and I've got my eye on the Cleansing Cream and Purifying Silk Peel Powder. The high end nature of the products are reflected in the price however from my own experience a little goes a long way so they do work out good value for money.

Have you tried the Sensai by Kanebo range? If not, which product would you like to try?

Vicky x

*PR Sample


15 September 2013

Lifestyle | Turning 23...

Last Sunday I turned 23 and I decided to spend it with some of my favourite people. I'm pretty low-key when it comes to birthdays, I really don't like the attention, so I settled on a weekend of good friends and good food.

As a rule I tend to keep anything personal such as friends and family off of the blog but I thought it would be nice to share with you so this is going to be quite a long post with outfits, makeup and food reviews so settle in and enjoy!

The two dresses I wore - I love them both!

On the Friday I decided to head to Essex with three of my oldest and closest friends. We all went to school together and we just "get" one another. We always have the best time and laugh until it hurts.

I settled on The Brickyard in Essex; a restaurant and bar in Romford. None of us had been before but I'd liked the look of it for quite a while. The restaurant area wasn't what we were expecting - with its fabric chairs, sashed windows and candles it was a lot classier than we had expected! I know that sounds awful but we were all thinking exposed brickwork and a bit rustic, it couldn't have been more different and I was very happy with my choice!

Too true!

In the blue corner: Kala and I in matching hues!

Not only did we manage to colour coordinate our outfits without even realising (Kala and I wore blue, Kate and Jodie, red), we also ended up ordering the same meals with both myself and Kate opting for chicken skewers with hand cut chips and coleslaw and Jodie and Kala having fillet steak with chips, but not before I indulged in my favourite starter!

Parma Ham with Melon and Sorbet.

With three different times of melon, delicious parma ham, sesame seeds, fresh crisp sorbet and peppery cress, this was the perfect starter. 

Chicken Skewers with peppers and red onion, hand cut chips and coleslaw.

The chicken skewers were cooked and seasoned to perfection with the peppers and onion the perfect addition. The chips were perfect, crispy on the outside but light and fluffy inside. The perfect meal to soak up the copious cocktails we consumed!

Kala and I opted for apple pie and ice cream for dessert whilst Jodie and Kate shared chocolate brownies and ice cream. Kala and I had been expecting a slice of pie so when we were presented with our own little pies we were pleasantly surprised. Like the rest of the food, the quality was brilliant and excellent value for money.

There was an offer for 2-for-1 cocktails between 8pm-10pm - something we took full advantage of! Above we have cosmopolitans, lime and lychee martinis, strawberry daiquiris and a variation on a Bellini. 

Given that the food and service were both excellent, I honestly cannot recommend The Brickyard enough for a girlie meal.

Dress: Three Floor Fashion 'Shades of Blue'

I absolutely adore this dress and I'm sure you'll see plenty of it in future! It felt a little bit short at first but I love the detailing so much I didn't let it bother me too much. I struggled to pick a pair of shoes to go with it and opted for a pair of t-bar platforms from New Look with a chunky sequin heel that I picked up years ago.

After we left The Brickyard we jumped on the train back to London to our usual bar. After a few bottles of rose and some birthday shots (tequila, baileys and strawberry liquor - I don't recommend trying this!) we hopped into a cab home.

Hair: Enrapture Heated Rollers

Face is pretty much the same as below but more importantly - BROWS! MUFE HD Aqua Brow I love you.

On the Saturday I woke up with what can only be described as a horrible hangover but I managed to pull myself together to head off to La Durbin Salon in Fulham (review coming next week) for a curly blowdry before heading out that night with a different group of friends.

Dress: Gorgeous Couture Evita Maxi 

On the Saturday I decided I wanted to go to Hakkasan in Mayfair, so accompanied by a wonderful group of friends we booked a table and arrived for our 8pm slot. Hakkasan have strict two hour table slots due to the popularity of the restaurant and also operate a strict no photos policy. Whilst this made me a little sad at not being able to document my evening in the same way, I can understand the need for privacy in such an exclusive location.

Hakkasan isn't cheap but as an occasional treat it is so worth it, the food and cocktails are amazing and the waiting staff are attentive without being over-bearing or pushy.

Lucy, Anna and I all went for the Sweet and Sour Duke of Wellington Pork Belly with a side of plain and fried rice. The portion sizes were more generous than your usual michelin stared restaurants and the quality was unbelievable - hands down the best meal I have ever eaten! I'm not the biggest fan of pork as a rule but I've never enjoyed a meal as much. 

Ionela chose the sweetcorn soup which also contained hearty chunks of lobster, David went for a duck dish whilst Steve opted for wok fried king prawns - when they arrived the table were shocked at the size, I've never seen prawns like it!

Typically, you would order various different dishes and share in the traditional manner however we opted to order our own meals and I think it was a wise decision, the pork was so good I wouldn't have wanted to share!

The cocktails were mixed to perfection with Lucy and I opting for Passion Fruit Bellini's (my new favourite!), Anna a lychee martini, Ionela a Jasmine Frou Frou (don't ask! She was drunk on a sip!) and Steve and David various whiskeys.

Ionela and I managed to sneak in a quick selfie in the toilets (heaviest doors in London FYI!!)

L-to-R: Steve, David, Lucy, Me, Ionela, Anna.

After the meal we headed to a small pub a few streets away for a quick drink or two. Given that my existing hangover had barely subsided and I was on the verge of a food coma, we called it a night pretty early but it was super fun and I thoroughly recommend Hakkasan, it's great for special occasions. I'll definitely be heading back at some point and I have my eye on the dim sum!

Hair: Curly Blowdry at La Durbin Boutique

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (5.5)
MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation (NW30)
Chanel Solei Tan De Chanel Bronzing Base
Illamasqua Cream Blush (Dixie)
Illamasqua Highlighter (Fondle)
Illamasqua Blusher (Sophie)
Illamasqua Blusher (Rumour)
MAC Contour Powder (Sculpt)
MAC Mineralize Skin Finish (Soft and Gentle)
MAC Colour Corrector Concealer (Light Peach)
Ben Nye Banana Powder

Makeup Forever HD Aqua Brow (30)
MAC Paint (Bare Canvas)
Charlotte Tilbury Golden Goddess Palette (lightest shade and glitter)
MAC Eye Shadow (Embark)
Illamasqua Eye Shadow (Obsidian)
Illamsqua Precision Gel Eyeliner
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara
Millie MacIntosh Lashes (Soho)

Tom Ford Lipstick (Spanish Pink)
Tom Ford Lipgloss (Tawny Pink)

All in all I had a lovely birthday weekend with some wonderful people, some incredible food and some gorgeous dresses! I have the feeling 23 is going to be a very good year for me!

Vicky x


2 September 2013

Giveaway: Win a £40 Feel Unique Voucher

As you may know, it's my birthday on Sunday (the big 23 - eeek! Why does that feel so much older than 22?!) and I'd like to share the present love with you all.

The lovely people at AO.com recently contacted me and very kindly offered me a £40 Feel Unique voucher to give away to one lucky blog reader - I'm a regular user of Feel Unique and I'm constantly adding things to my basket!

September is the perfect time to start thinking about changing your hair, skin and makeup routine to suit the changing season and weather and with Feel Unique catering to all three aspects, there will be no shortage of beauty goodies to choose from!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It couldn't be easier to enter, simply complete the RaffleCopter above.

A few things:

- You must be a follower to enter (GFC and/or Bloglovin)
- Leave me a comment below saying what you'd buy if you won
- Leave an email address so I can contact you

Prize will be in GBP so you need to use the UK website, sorry to all of those who can't - I'll make it up to you!

Thanks once again to AO.com for being so generous!

Vicky x
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