Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Drizzle with oil

I'm having a thing for facial oils at the moment. My skin is going through stage of being both dry and prone to spots, and I'm finding that facial oils are really starting to sort it all out. If this continuing cold weather is taking its toll on your skin, and it's feeling increasingly dry and sensitised, then perhaps trying a facial oil could also help you out.

In the evening, on top of my faithful Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, I layer Caudalie's Purifying Concentrate, if I'm out to tackle a breakout. If I'm targeting dry skin, then I go for Clarins' Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil, £30 John Lewis. It sinks in brilliantly, and gives a radiant, soft finish to my skin. I can use it in the morning and put my foundation over the top after just a couple of minutes, and my makeup looks all the better for it. I first tried this when staying out at Liverpool Lou's after a hen-do, and this oil faded away all those classic hangover tell-tale signs - and I was hooked from then on.

{Caudalie purifying concentrate, £26 HQhair}

{selection of oils}

I had first started out using Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+, £26.50, John Lewis. Whilst I loved the effect on my skin, I found that if I used it before bed, the oil which is very yellowy in colour, stained my pillowcase, and I felt like the pillow was getting more of a benefit than my skin. So I started using it in the morning, and whilst my makeup went on well over the top, it gave it a VERY dewy look, which I wasn't always after. So the only real time I could use it was when I was having a makeup free day. Still, I'd give it a try, especially if your skin is overly dry, or if you're trying to tackle acne scarring - the rosehip really works to resolve it. And the product gets rave review - particularly the original version, without the added antioxidants.

Whilst we're on the subject of oils, I'd been looking for a better value hair oil to use than Morrocan Oil, and tried a sample of Elvive Extraordinary Oil for hair, £9.99 from Boots. I'm sold, and have ordered a bottle - it basically does everything that my Morrocan Oil does, for less than half the price.

The almost finished bottle of oil sneaking in to the left of the picture above is my Neem Nail Oil, £24.95 from Dr Hauschka. This bottle is so old, the label has peeled off, and so that's testament to how long this product will last you, even with regular application. I have got the worst thin, weak nails, and am prone to biting the skin around my nails in the most revolting way. But this oil smooths the skin, strengthens the nail, and softens the cuticle. And lasts almost forever.

If you're interested in getting into the world of facial oils, then Boots have their much lauded Botanics Facial Oil on offer at the moment - a reasonably priced way of trying this type of product, which also includes the all-star Rosehip. And also in the lower price bracket is the Organic Avocado Oil and Rosehip - another much praised oil which targets scarring, but also collagen production, so tackles any anti-ageing concerns you might have at the same time.

{avodaco oil & rosehip, £18.99 Antipodes}

{Botanics 100% organic facial oil, £4.99 Boots}

Friday, 15 March 2013

Last weekend

A little mistake with our online shop meant that we ended up with three bags of parsnips, when I only actually needed three individually. So, my thoughts turned to soup and I found this recipe, which turned out great. Very easy (and I didn't bother peeling the parsnips either - too laborious) and tasty. I left out the ginger, because although I love it in sweet things, I hate it in anything savoury. Now my freezer's full of soup, and if you're planning on coming round for lunch, that's what you'll be getting.

{parsnips in abundance}

{sautéeing}

{done, with some chilli on top}

New Look have had some brilliant jewellery in lately, and I took advantage of their buy one get one free offer to get these two necklaces below, which I'm wearing together, giving the impression of a much more striking and expensive looking statement piece. Since I bought them, they've got some lovely new stuff, and I'm coveting this necklace and this necklace at the mo.

{layered necklaces}

The weather was brilliant, so we went in search of the sea, and talked yet again of getting our names down on the waiting list for a beach hut...decorating one of these would be a nice little project.

{stroll on the beach}

{beach huts}

Mr Kipling's French Fancies have been part of my life as far back as I remember. Fighting with my brothers over who didn't want to be left with the poo-brown cakes is a particular highlight. And then I remember slightly later in life being introduced to the far superior M&S version, with their glossy icing, and creamy fondant, in soft pastel colours, and thinking that I'd never look back. But then, M&S "changed their recipe" and because an exact replica of the more standard Mr Kipling version. I have been meaning to write a letter to M&S about it ever since. Still not quite got round to it. But then I spied these at Heidi's Patisserie last weekend, which are at least a lot further along the road towards the M&S French Fancy holy grail. And I brought out my Spode plate for the occasion, which is perhaps my most favourite shade of green ever. And a good sized cake plate.

{tea and cake}

Next door to Heidi's Patisserie, was a handily positioned charity shop - I popped in and lo and behold, this cake stand was looking right at me. Snapped it up and headed home, to dig out my cake knives and forks to go alongside it.

{tea and cake accessories}

Sunday saw me whizz off to Bath for the day, to meet my mum, go for lunch and do some shopping. Lunch at Same Same But Different was a real treat, with us going for the Butterbean Cassoulet with Slow-cooked Pork Should and the Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Parmesan with White Truffle Oil. Yum. I always make a beeline for the Comptoir des Cotonniers shop in Bath, which still had a good sale selection with some brilliant reductions - you can look at their sale items here on their website.

{lunch}

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Double the discount: H&M and GAP

Finding a discount code for a shop that I'm ogling a particular item from is a triumphant moment for me. H&M and GAP have both provided that experience for me recently, so I thought it only fair to share the wealth.

Enter the code GAPSTYLE at the checkout until March 13th to receive 30% off

Top row, left to right
Utility jacket, £49.95; Sunkissed pullover, £24.95; Stripe-solid boatneck top, £24.95; Reverse terry raglan pullover, £24.95.

Bottom row, left to right
Slim cropped print pants, £34.95; Two-tone canvas tote, £34.95; Broken-in straight khakis, £35.95; Two-tone canvas clutch, £19.95; Leather tote, £89.95; Stripey drawstring flare dress, £39.95.


Sign up for H&M's newsletter and they'll send you a 25% discount code

Top row, left to right
Blouse, £7.99; Necklace, £24.99; Linen top, £12.99; Jacket, £29.95; Blouse, £19.99.

Middle row, left to right
Leather shoulder bag, £34.99; Trousers, £14.99; Blouse, £12.99; Trousers, £14.99.

Bottom row, left to right
Top, £12.99; Leather loafers, £34.99; Necklace, £12.99.

You're welcome.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Stripes

{Poppy Delevingne}

Oh I love a stripe. My wardrobe literally gushes with them, and this shows no signs of letting up. I am now having to split my laundry into a dark load, light load and stripes load. So here are some of my current faves. What attracts me to them is their ease - you can pair them with anything, and for me they instantly make an outfit. For day time, they go with a pair of jeans and slipper shoes. For night, they go with black trousers and pencil skirt and heels. A blazer, red lipstick and statement necklace are your weapons of choice to dress up your outfit according to varying degrees, as Poppy Delevinge demonstrates expertly above.


Top row, left to right
Hotchpotch Breton, £29 Boden; Silk and cotton striped sweater, £35.99 Zara; Contrast cuff knit top, £45 Cos; Breton stripe top, £36 Jigsaw

Middle row, left to right
3/4 length sleeved top, £25 Cos; T-shirt with positional stripes, £32.95 Massimo Dutti; Sweater with striped sleeves, £79.90 Uterque; Jumper, £14.99 H&M

Bottom row, left to right
Cotton t-shirt, £55 Comptoire des Cotonniers; Striped roll-edge sweater, £34.95 GAP; Top, £9.99 H&M; Panta cotton top, £32.51 Selected Femme

Argh! Left one off the collage - and a corker at that - reminds me of a top I wore non-stop in my youth. It's the Stripey Breton, £25 Boden - available in a vast range of colours.