Saturday, 29 August 2015

Mhoho Jewellery

Whenever I'm a bit bored I love having a look through Etsy for cool new things to buy. There's an endless supply of handmade goods & vintage treasures to be found on there & I can spend hours adding things to my favourites list. I think it's important to support small independent shops plus you can buy stuff that nobody else owns. I often use Etsy for things like stationery, homeware & accessories but the main thing I search for is jewellery. One of my most recent Etsy discoveries is Mhoho Jewellery which is a UK based shop owned by the lovely Jenny. Mhoho means 'by me' so the name acknowledges all the hard work that Jenny puts into her jewellery as she designs & handcrafts everything herself. Her shop is home to a unique collection of quirky & playful jewellery. Many of the pieces are personalised, engraved or hand-stamped. The designs are eclectic & the materials used are all high quality. There are so many stunning pieces to choose from & almost everything fits in with my own personal style. I chose a couple of pieces which came packaged in this adorable little gift box. She even threw in a bag of sweets which is always appreciated! The attention to detail & personal touches like these really make you feel valued as a customer. Whether you're buying a treat for yourself or a present for a someone else, you're bound to fall in love with Mhoho Jewellery.

When I first checked out the shop I immediately found myself drawn to the gold name necklace*. I love anything personalised, especially jewellery. It's such a cute way of making sure that no one will ever forget your name. I used to have a name necklace from Argos that I wore to death & it completely fell to pieces. The chain snapped so I bought a new one & a couple of months later that one broke too! After spending £100 on subpar necklaces I kinda gave up as I couldn't find another gold name necklace in a style I liked. So I was overjoyed when Jenny kindly offered to make me a new one! It's made from 9ct gold & I went for the 16" chain. The actual name part is quite thick & very sturdy so it won't get bent out of shape like my old necklaces. I think it looks utterly beautiful & I love the italic script font. The style is exactly what I was after. It's such a classic piece & goes with absolutely everything. I've been wearing this necklace constantly & have had so many compliments on it. Obviously as this is a custom made piece it'll take a little bit longer to be delivered but it's well worth waiting for!

Mhoho Jewellery also have so many gorgeous looking rings! There's loads of different styles available including some lovely engraved brass rings as well as druzy & large gemstone rings. I currently have a huge obsession with plain midi rings as I love their simple & minimalistic aesthetic. I got both the set of gold midi rings* & the set of silver midi rings*. Whenever I really like a piece of jewellery I often buy it in both gold & silver to match whatever I'm wearing. The thin bands can be easily stacked together or layered with other rings. They can be worn pushed against one another or spaced out like I'm wearing them here. I think that the three gold rings stacked together look totally chic. These are the kind of rings that I like to wear on an everyday basis as they're so comfortable on my fingers & don't get in the way but still add a little something extra to any outfit. I'm so pleased with all the pieces I received from Mhoho Jewellery & Jenny is such a sweetheart. Her shop is must-have on your Etsy favourites list!

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Thursday, 27 August 2015

Vitage 30 Day Skincare Challenge

Skincare is a subject that is very dear to my heart & it's taken a long time to find the right kind of products for my combination skin type. British skincare brand Vitage recently challenged me to ditch my well established skincare routine & try out their products for a whole month instead. Normally I would recommend only introducing one new product at a time in order to minimise the chances of irritation but I decided to throw the rule book out of the window & take a chance on Vitage. Why did I do such a thing? Well Vitage's products combine the power of science & nature. As well as plenty of antioxidants & vitamins they feature some of my favourite actives such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid & retinyl palmitate. I know from past experiences that my skin reacts well to these ingredients & nothing on the ingredient lists stood out to me as 'bad' either. The entire range is very gentle yet incredibly effective & that's exactly what I look for when choosing new products. Vitage sent me a full skincare regime based on my skin type & after some thorough testing I can wholeheartedly say that I love these products!

Now I do have to admit that I added in a couple of extras to finish off my skincare routine. I couldn't possibly give up my Una Brennan Vitamin C Cleansing Oil as I still needed something to remove my makeup. Vitage also don't have any kind of toners in their range so I spritzed on some of my beloved La Roche-Posay Serozinc after cleansing too. Otherwise I completely stuck to using Vitage products & they've had such a positive impact on my skin.

The first step in any skincare routine is cleansing so let's start with the Revitalising Daily Cleanse. I always double cleanse my skin & my preferred method of cleansing is an oil followed by a gel. This is a really gentle cleanser with a unique cream/gel formula. It doesn't contain any SLS so it doesn't become overly foamy, it simply emulsifies on contact with water & washes away daily impurities. I love the way this makes my skin feel, fresh & smooth but not taut. It features Brazilian green tea extract & bitter cherry which replenish the skin whilst calming any redness & irritation. The soothing blend of aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, panthenol & glycerin imparts softness and hydration. I wish more cleansers were like this, rich in potent natural ingredients that really help to nourish the skin. The bottle is huge & comes with a handy pump dispenser. A little goes a long way with this stuff. You only need one pump to clean your whole face so it will last for months & months!

The product that I was most interested in trying is the Correct & Perfect Skin Serum. This serum has a very lightweight silky texture & would be great for anyone with blemish-prone skin. Salicylic acid is the key ingredient here as it helps to unblock pores & reduce sebum production. It also contains glycolic acid, retinyl palmitate & zinc which combined help to increase cell turnover and promote healing. I normally use two pumps on my face, focusing the serum on my most problematic areas. You can use this several times a day but I stuck to just using it at night underneath the moisturiser. I think it really excels at bringing active blemishes to the surface & eliminating them quickly. It wasn't quite as effective on my closed comedones though as my skin is used to a higher concentration of salicylic acid. However for anyone who doesn't use already a lot of actives, this product would be a great addition to your skincare routine.

I think that my favourite Vitage product has to be the Age Defence Power Skin Repair. This is a brilliant anti-ageing moisturiser that can be used both day & night. I normally use a different moisturiser for the day & a dedicated night cream but this product just works so perfectly that it's the only moisturiser I need. Half a pump is about the right amount for me as it is fairly rich. It really helps to refine the texture of your skin making it feel supple & baby soft. The moisturiser is intensely hydrating and offers anti-ageing & anti-inflammatory benefits to all skin types. It contains retinyl palmitate which is a gentler version of retinol so it effectively treats both lines & blemishes at the same time. The potent cocktail of vitamins, plant extracts, hyaluronic acid, blackcurrant seed & rosehip oil really packs a punch. Together these ingredients help to repair the skin making it firmer, smoother, calmer & much better hydrated. Along with the mask I think that this moisturiser has had the most visible effect on my skin. It's definitely a luxury moisturiser but those high-performance ingredients are worth every penny.

My skin can be quite fussy when it comes to sun protection. I hate anything that looks greasy or has that horrible sunscreen smell. They're often the worst offenders for causing breakouts too. Naturally I was a little bit worried about trying the Skin Defence SPF 30 but my fears were soon allayed. It feels extremely lightweight & absorbs very quickly without any greasy residue, smell or white cast. It doesn't pill when layered with other products & generally feels comfortable to wear. Best of all it doesn't break me out whatsoever. I was expecting the worst but I am super impressed with this product! As well as providing SPF 30 with UVA/UVB protection, this sunscreen is packed full of antioxidants to soothe & care for the skin. I'm really glad that Vitage make a separate sunscreen as so many other brands don't bother. It's such an important step especially if you're trying to prevent the signs of ageing. Apparently this is one of their best selling products. The formula is fantastic & you get a massive 100ml tube so I would highly recommend checking this out if you're looking for a good facial sunscreen.

Vitamin C is such an important ingredient in skincare. Anyone with dull skin should definitely be using it somewhere in their skincare routine. The amazing Vitamin C Radiance Mask would be a great product to start with. This is a clay mask with a difference. It instantly brightens the skin giving it a gorgeous radiant glow. Most of the ingredients are very hydrating so it would be perfect for anyone with dry or dehydrated skin. It contains things like glycerin, cocoa seed butter, aloe vera, sweet almond oil & hyaluronic acid so it doesn't crack on the skin like some clay masks do. The clay along with zinc & retinyl palmitate help to clear up blemishes & refine skin texture. I've been using it once or twice a week & my skin is always left feeling super soft afterwards. My pores are minimised & any fine lines get plumped up again. It really helps to improve my complexion & even out the tone of my skin.

Since the initial 30 day trial period I've carried on using every single one of these products. Any skincare products that combine scientifically proven active ingredients with natural botanical extracts just seem to work really well for me & these products from Vitage are no exception. Although it's been quite nice to stick to a simplified skincare regime, I've added in a few more things that I already owned just to tweak it slightly & make things perfect. My skin was really missing the Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid. I'm prone to closed comedones on my forehead & without a dedicated BHA product in my routine, they can get quite bad. The BHA liquid & the Age Defence moisturiser are a match made in heaven and my skin has never felt so smooth before. I'm really glad that I decided to do this skincare challenge as I've found so many new products that I truly love! Vitage products can be purchased from Courthouse Clinics nationwide or online from Effortless Skin.

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Birthday Haul

ZOEVA Rose Golden Complete Eye Set Vol. 2
It seems like everyone in the beauty blogosphere owns the ZOEVA Rose Golden brushes & it's with good reason. The quality is exceptional & they're well worth the investment. I already have the original brush set but I needed some new eye brushes so it was a no-brainer to ask for this set. You get loads of blending brushes in different sizes so you never have to worry about having a clean one to spare. The crease brushes are my favourite as they fit my eye socket perfectly. They come in this pretty rose gold pouch so they're great for travelling with too. I think that the ZOEVA Rose Golden brush sets are excellent value for money & they look gorgeous to boot!

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Red Carpet Red
I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with Charlotte Tilbury's makeup range! Her Matte Revolution lipsticks are a more modern take on the matte lip. The formula doesn't feel drying or look flat & the all of the colours available are totally stunning. My mum kindly bought me the shade Red Carpet Red. It's a true ruby red colour brimming with Hollywood glamour. I really love the packaging too. This kind of colour will suit everyone & no girl should be without a classic red lippie in their collection.

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
As someone who loves her retinoids I was absolutely desperate to try this stuff out! I'd never really felt compelled to try any Sunday Riley products before because they are ridiculously expensive & I'm pretty happy with my skincare routine as it is. Luna really intrigued me though because the idea of an oil-based retinol treatment is pure genius. I use retinol to help clear blemishes but it can be quite harsh on the skin, leading to dryness & irritation. In theory a facial oil should negate all the bad side effects of retinol so I cannot wait to see what Luna can do for my skin!

Daisy London Heart Chakra Chain Bracelet
Daisy London make some truly beautiful pieces of jewellery & this heart chakra bracelet has been on my wishlist for so long. I used to be really into crystals & chakras so when I discovered their chakra collection it was love at first sight. Wearing chakra jewellery is supposed to help balance your energy flow. The heart chakra is associated with love, self-control, forgiveness & the colour green. The bracelet even has a little green gemstone on the chain. I've been struggling to accept myself & others recently so this bracelet really means a lot to me. Much love to Andy for buying me the most perfect birthday present!

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