Saturday, 27 June 2015

Magdalene May Ball 2015

Last week the hubby and I attended the Magdalene College White Tie May Ball in Cambridge. If you have been reading my blog for a while you will see these posts pop up every two years. I love sharing these experiences with you all, especially when there is an opportunity to dress up! It’s funny to think that this year will be 10 years since we matriculated and here we are back again still feeling (and behaving) like teenagers.
Rather than going for a traditional ball gown (I wore a pretty big MaxMara number to the last one) I decided to switch it up with something a little more sleek and form fitting.
The India dress from Forever Unique was on sale in two different colours (purple version from ASOS here). However, as I wore a purple one shouldered gown (from Coast) four years ago I decided to try the emerald green. I absolutely loved the heavy embellishment on the sleeve of this dress and its overall shape.
Of course the material of these types of dresses is always quite thin so you can see every contour, making a tactical choice of underwear a must!

For makeup I did a very simple smokey eye using the Naked 3 palette from Urban Decay. I made sure that the look lasted all night by using a really long lasting foundation (Mac Studio Fix) and setting it all carefully with powder (I used a combination of MAC MSF natural and ELF Mineral Glow powder). I finished the look off with false lashes from Eyelure (Cheryl Girls Night style).
For hair I used the Babyliss wide barrel tong (Glamour Waves) to create large curls. I then clipped the bottom sections while getting ready to ensure they had more texture and gently curled the top section at the end so it looked smooth and sleek.
It was a wonderful night of champagne, street food, music and dancing with the Fratellis performing.
We bumped into so many alumni from our university days and it was really fun catching up with them all!

I made it from sunset to sunrise! Hopefully we will be back in 2017!!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Review: Hair is Fabric HIF Cleansing Conditioners

As my hair has been long and coloured for many years I am always on the lookout for gentler ways of washing it to ensure it doesn’t become dry and frizzy. I am a big fan of cleansing conditioners as they don’t strip your hair of natural oils, so when I was offered the new HIF (Hair is Fabric) range to review I jumped at the opportunity.

Hair really is like fabric. It’s made up of dead cells that can’t be repaired. The most effective way of achieving healthy hair is simply by preventing it’s fibre from being damaged in the first place. HIF is designed to be akin to dry cleaning for hair….only with water!
The HIF range of 15 Cleansing Conditioners has been formulated to fully cleanse using Fractionated Cleansing Particles that do not strip the natural oils from the hair and scalp. The unique particles bind only to dirt and leave the hair fabric alone. This allows for all impurities to be fully removed and rinsed away without stripping or damaging the hair.
A first-ever Fabric Depositing Technology has also been included to deliver next-generation active ingredients effectively to the deepest parts of the hair. This technology is used in the textile world to deposit dyes into fabrics and stop them from being rinsed away through consistent washing. Most haircare products target only the cuticle, leaving a superficial healthy look, but no long-term benefits. HIF’s delivery technology allows actives to remain anchored to the cuticle, even through washing, thus facilitating the penetration of ingredients into the deepest parts of the hair. Thanks to nourishing and conditioning ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, Exotic Oils and Precious Rock extracts hair will become stronger, shinier and smoother with each and every wash.
Unlike most cleansing conditioners, which do not foam, HIF offers an exaggerated foaming feeling by creating a unique fake foam (in seven of its formulations).
The collection includes:
·         Hydration Support
·         Intensive Detox
·         Colour Support
·         Volume Support
·         Straight HairSupport
·         Curly Hair Support
·         Anti-Frizz Support
·         Growth Support
·         Anti-Aging Support
·         Black Hue Support
·         Red Hue Support
·         Brunette Hue Support
·         Blonde Hue Support
·         Silver Hue Support
·         Anti-Brass Support
I love that the range has so many different formulations so you can really target your hair’s needs. I chose the Red Hue Support (as red is the most tricky colour to maintain) and Anti-Frizz Support to try to keep my hair under control during these humid Summer days. These cleansing conditioners do not foam, but feel very rich and creamy. Personally, I don’t mind the lack of foam as I simply wet my hair, massage the conditioner through and leave it for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

The Red Hue Support was very red when it came out of the tube. As my hair is long I felt like I had to use a lot to saturate the hair on my first wash, but this may be a testament to how dehydrated my hair was as it seemed to suck up all the product. It did take a while to rinse out the conditioner as it is very pigmented and I did feel that some deposits were left on my hair so it felt a little heavier than usual, but the colour looked visibly better. The next time I used it I applied less to the root area and this prevented my hair from being weighed down, but still gave the benefits of hydration and kept my colour vibrant.

The Anti-Frizz Support is a slightly lighter formulation, while still being moisturising and caring for the hair. Once again I concentrated it on my mid lengths and ends and it rinsed out well leaving my hair soft and smooth with a really long-lasting scent.
The HIF range is available through the Deciem webiste here and on  priced at £20-50. You can get 15% OFF using my discount code NORTHAMERICA15. Enjoy! x

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Health: Friendly Bacteria and ProVen Probiotic Review

Having a doctor as a husband and being interested in science and health myself new research is always a welcome topic in my household!
After years of tummy pains (all my friends will confirm how much fun I can be to travel with) I was tested for allergies and intolerances and subsequently have tried to reduce certain foods in my diet that I have been deemed intolerant to (mainly dairy and gluten/grains). I have written before about my success with the Paleo lifestyle, but honestly it’s not something that I can keep up 100% of the time. If I was able to work from home and prepare all my own meals I think it would be much easier, but alas with work, travel and inevitably socialising it becomes very difficult to be restrictive. Most of the time I just hate being a pain or sounding rude so will eat things I know I really shouldn’t as I don’t want to offend… though other times it is just because I’m in a bad mood and want ice cream!

Recently I have seen a lot of articles popping up about gut health and ‘friendly bacteria’ in the mainstream press. There’s a lot of differing evidence (which my husband would be very happy for me to cite, but I know most people would skip over), but ultimately imbalances in gut flora have been linked to all manner of complications from serious illness following prolonged antibiotic use to acne (see this month’s issue of Women’s Health), weight gain and even shyness!
Being a stickler for rigorous trials my husband is more sceptical about probiotics. However, I personally believe as I have been reducing some foods in my diet due to limiting my dairy intake (eg. yoghurt) it is worth trying to restore balance and aid my poor tummy in any way I can. Along with increasing my consumption of fermented foods such as kefir (I have been trying a coconut milk based one sold in Whole Foods) and Kombucha (fermented tea) I have also started taking ProVen Probiotics.
ProVen Adult Acidophilus and Bifidus 25 Billion* contains Lab4, the most comprehensively studied group of friendly bacteria of any product in the U.K. These studies conducted in Cambridge, Sheffield, Swansea, Southampton and Cardiff suggest that ProVen Adult Acidophilus and Bifidus 25 Billion provides real benefits in supporting digestive and immune health. As well as 12.5 billion viable cells per capsule they also contain Vitamin D3, C, Calcium, Zinc and Selenium.
So far they have been really easy to take (some vitamins make me feel a bit queasy). I have been taking one or two capsules after my breakfast each morning and even if it is just a placebo effect feel like my tummy is happier already! Either way I am very happy to undertake this experiment on myself and see if I feel a difference!
Have you ever tried taking Probiotics? What are your thoughts on them?

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

OOTD: Country Wedding

A few weeks ago the hubby and I attended a lovely country wedding to celebrate the union of our university friends! The wedding was very sweet with lots of homemade aspects and family members arranging flowers and baking cakes to make the newlyweds' special day unique and very personal.
Dress from Reiss (Marte in blue), bag from Chanel, fascinator from TK Maxx, shoes from Melissa.

I wouldn't normally choose jelly shoes for a wedding, but as there was a mile walk from the church to the reception in a marquee with a high likelihood of rain I decided to be very sensible (and waterproof)! They were also super comfy so I could dance into the early hours... and we did!

Being May the evening was very cold so I definitely brought lots of layers - cardigans, scarf and this pretty (also waterproof) laser cut cream trench coat from Warehouse.

Such a lovely day!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Review: Liz Earle Superskin Body Cream

With summer now in full swing I have been trying to spend a little more time on my body skincare routine. I am usually pretty lazy in the winter as I hide behind layers, but despite the fact I reverted to black tights over the last few days as the weather in London has been far from sunny, I want to make sure that my skin is well prepped for all those little shorts, summer dresses and bikinis! As I am not likely to get much sun this summer I will also be fake tanning and want to ensure my skin is in great condition so I can get the most from my tan.
In the last 2 weeks I have been absolutely loving Liz Earle’s Superskin Body Cream*. I tried it a few years ago and am so happy I have rediscovered it as it is absolutely amazing for hydrating your skin. The rich cream glides on smoothly and despite being super moisturising doesn’t feel too thick or sticky. Formulated with 25% plant oils it does tend to leave behind an oily layer on the skin, but it doesn’t feel too heavy and ensures my legs are super smooth even 12 hours after application. I love applying it at night, especially after my shower, as my skin feels amazing in the morning and using it a few nights before I fake tan also guarantees a smoother application and no patchiness!

With East African shea butter, organic rosehip oil, antioxidant cranberry seed oil and pomegranate extract, natural source vitamin E, plus the scent of neroli, this luxurious cream is designed to help more mature or very dry skin look and feel visibly plump and smooth. Personally, I think it is suitable for anyone looking for that extra infusion of moisture and would highly recommend it for all skin types.

Before I write any of my posts I always check reviews on websites to get a general idea of what others purchasing the product thought and to highlight anything I may not have considered. The reviews for the Liz Earle Superskin Body Cream are great, though some people were not enamoured by the scent. I wouldn’t say this is a moisturiser that I would buy for the smell alone, but it is not too strong or overpowering. The results on the skin are well worth it and I always see a scent as a bonus to a good product. Many people love the neroli smell and I am fan!

The Liz Earle Superskin Body Cream retails for £33 for 200ml here.


Sunday, 7 June 2015

OOTD: Chelsea Ivy Garden

This weekend the hubby and I visited the Chelsea Ivy Garden for a spot of afternoon tea! In keeping with the garden theme I thought this would be the perfect time to dress up in my new floral number. The sunshine in London was glorious, but it did make photos a little bit of a challenge so I apologise in advance for my squinting.
 Dress: Chi Chi London Shauna (mine was from Asos)
Shoes: Roberto Cavalli
Bag: Chanel
Sunglasses: Tom Ford Celia

This dress is so much fun to wear. The off the shoulder cut of the top gives it a really vintage feel while the high low hem makes it fun and a little more modern. This kind of bandeau/ bardot neckline is so popular right now and while I think it looks lovely it is a little restrictive (especially if you have been working hard in the gym getting your arms toned). The fabric is quite stiff so it keeps its shape well and gives a lot of volume to the skirt!
We had a lovely champagne afternoon tea at the Chelsea Ivy Garden. The service wasn't the best, but the food was good and it's definitely a fun place for celeb spotting. The location is special for us as it's very close to the church we got married in so I am sure we will return for a Sunday post service brunch soon! :)

Friday, 5 June 2015

Review: Nuxe Reve de Miel Creme Visage Ultra-Reconfortante Ultra Comfortable Face Cream

After falling sick three times last month my skin was definitely showing its displeasure. It had become super sensitive, dry in patches and my nose actually started peeling, which was a sure sign of how dehydrated and unhappy my body was. I therefore stepped away from my usual skin care routine to give my skin some intense TLC and purchased Nuxe’s Reve de Miel Creme Visage Ultra-Reconfortante Ultra Comfortable Face Cream.

This Nuxe day cream is super soothing as it has a balm like texture that works hard to hydrate, calm and repair sensitive skin. It doesn’t sink in quickly, but plumps the skin leaving behind a protective barrier. Though I normally prefer a lighter moisturiser this has been working really well in the mornings for me and is a great base for makeup. Foundation applies really quickly and smoothly over it, though I have found that it doesn’t last quite as long as usual. However, if I have an event in the evening or want my makeup to last for a special occasion I often use the Urban Decay setting spray that works really well!
The Nuxe Reve de Miel range would also be wonderful for use in the winter as it really hydrates and protects the skin. It replenishes lipids with Sunflower Oil Derivative, Safflower Ceramides and Precious Plant Oils, soothes with Barley, Argan Oil and Shea Butter, repairs with Honey and protects against external aggression with Vitamin E and Sunflower Derivative.

If your skin is feeling aggravated or you just want to give it some extra pampering I would definitely recommend Nuxe Reve De Miel - Ultra Comfortable Face Cream For Dry And Sensitive Skin! My skin feels so much smoother, more hydrated and much less sensitive since I started using it a few weeks ago! I purchased mine from lookfantastic for £24.
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