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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Sephora + US Drugstore Haul

Whenever I go to the US, I make it top of my priority list to visit Sephora and their multitude of drugstores at least once. There are so many products there that aren't available in the UK, so to miss out on picking up something you can't get over here is a no brainer.

This particular trip I didn't acutally end up buying up as much as I'd initially imagined. I made the rule to only get brands that I can't get over here (or can't get easily) so generally stuck to my favourite products as well as a few new bits smattered alongside.

From Sephora I picked up two perfume roller balls - Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black (which I've reviewed here) and a new addition to my collection, NEST - Indigo. Indigo is a gorgeous fresh and fruity scent with hints of wild fig and bergamot mixed with Moroccan tea and Kashmir wood making for a beautiful scent that transitions perfectly from day to evening.

I also picked up my ever faithful Make Up Forever HD Foundation (which I forgot to photograph) and a Tarte Amazonian Blush in Doll Face. Doll Face is a very easy-to-wear soft pink shade that I would imagine compliments most skin tones.

From the drug store I just picked up two products for myself - a Milani Rose Powder Blush in Tea Rose and my favourite lip product of all time - the Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Pink Blossom. This is a super soft, buttery lip balm in a gorgeous deep pink shade that isn't too dissimilar to my natural lip colour. I couldn't be without it!

On the whole I think I was pretty restrained, which may have been as I'll be near Sephora again in June. I just wish that Sephora would extend to the UK so some of my favourite make up products were more readily available!

What's on your Sephora wish list? 

Check out my Queen of Hearts advertiser - With Love From Lou

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Monica Vinader Riva Diamond Hoop Ring

Monica Vinader has been one of my favourite jewellers for a while, and it seems I'm in good company as the likes of Olivia Palermo, Emma Watson and Suki Waterhouse are all firm fans too. If you saw my birthday wish list post last month, you'll know this ring was top of the list, and luckily enough I received it from my boyfriend during our New York trip earlier this month.

The Riva Diamond Hoop Ring is my dream ring. It makes the transition between a statement piece yet one that's still elegant and dainty perfectly - making it ideal for every day wear. It features a 14 carat rose gold plated sterling silver band, with pave set diamonds surrounding the hoop. It's such a contemporary ring that looks effortless on it's own, or equally beautiful styled with a selection of skinny rings. 

I have received countless compliments on my ring since I first wore it and know that I'll continue to love it for years to come! The ring is available in rose gold, gold or silver and costs £160 which I think is actually incredibly reasonable for what is a beautiful investment piece. If you've not heard of Monica Vinader before, I'd urge you to check out her site - you'll be making wish lists as long as your arm! 

What do you think of my ring?

Check out my Queen of Hearts advertiser - With Love From Lou

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Kiehls Festival Survival Kit

I'm not a seasoned festival goer by any means - I like the idea of them, but never really get around to buying tickets. I did however attend the Isle of Wight festival a couple of years ago with work and had an amazing time. It's just the right size of festival for beginners - not too overwhelmingly large, but still has a great line up of artists.

Despite being there to work, I still spent 5 days in a small tent with my friend, with no shower. As you can imagine, not washing for that period of time is pretty grim so it was essential for me to have the right skincare, haircare and body products to get me through. Whilst I'm skipping festival season this year, I thought I'd share my top tips for coping with life sans shower.

1) Keeping Clean
Going to the toilet at a festival is not the nicest experience. Portaloos tend to get worse and worse as the festival runs and whilst there are more civilised options out there for a fee, it can be horrendous at times. Toilet paper can be few and far between, so it's important to have plenty of tissues with you so that you can pop some in your bag and be prepared whenever nature calls. I'm a germaphobe at the best of times, but I was in overdrive with my hand sanitiser at the festival, so make sure you take some with you to keep your hands free of germs.

2) Hair
I wash my hair every 2 days, so when I first went to a festival I was convinced my hair would be a wreck by the end, however I was actually surprised how I managed to keep it looking pretty acceptable in the end. Dry shampoo will be your best friend - a spritz in the morning will help to absorb any grease that's building up and give your hair a bit of volume so it's not so flat. I also ended up taking a hat with me so on the last few days I popped it on so my roots were concealed.

3) Suncream
Although it's not uncommon for the UK festivals to be hit by torrential rain, there is every chance that your festival will be basked in sunshine (particularly if you go abroad). I'm a big believer in wearing SPF on my face no matter the weather, but it's particularly important to protect your face and body when you're potentially going to be out in the sun all day. Take a good suncream with you and apply it throughout the day - nobody wants to be the one that got burnt...

4) Body
Most festival do have shower facilities, but the queues are out of control. If you'd rather spend the time seeing your favourite band perform then I'd recommend you take a pack of wipes with you so that you can give yourself a bit of a clean. I also took plenty of deodrant and body spray with me so that I could spray myself and ensure I didn't smell.

5) Skincare
Just because you're at a festival, it doesn't mean you should forget about your skincare routine. You'll (hopefully) be out in the sun a lot, and probably wearing some fun makeup - meaning your skin will suffer if you don't take good care of it. Kiehl's have cottoned on to this and colloborated with DJ, model (and seasoned festival goer) Zara Martin to create a Festival Survival Kit* - a selection of travel sized products sure to help keep your skin in check whilst you're partying the days away. The kit contains...

  • Ultra Facial Cleanser - a gentle, yet effective gel formula that dissolves excess oil, dirt and debris without drying out the skin .
  • Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 - a lightweight formula that combines a unique blend of sunscreen filters to offer full spectrum sun protection against both UVA and UVB rays. 
  • Skin Rescuer - a unique facial solution formulated with efficient ingredients to help protect the skin against external stresses. 
  • Micro Blur Skin Perfector - a lightweight formula that provides an immediate blurring effect to visibly transform the look of skin in seconds. 
  • Midnight Recovery Concentrate - a powerhouse blend of active botanical and essential oils that work with skin overnight for a fresher and more radiant appearance by morning. I swear by this stuff. 
  • Creme de Corps - an all-over body moisturiser enriched with the finest ingredients known to Kiehl's, resulting in hydrated and soothed skin.
The kit comes in a handy zip bag (ideal for using on flights) and costs £94, which is on the expensive side however you are paying for high end products so you know your skin is in safe hands. Best of all, even if you're not heading to a festival this summer, this kit would be perfect for any travelling as the products fall under the 100ml limit. I'll definitely be taking my kit with me on my holiday later this year! 

Are you off to a festival this year? What are your top tips?

Check out my Queen of Hearts advertiser - With Love From Lou

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Date Night In with Jacamo

Date nights are incredibly important in a relationship as it's easy to slip into the mundane and not take time to really appreciate one another. Luckily I am blessed with a boyfriend that is always doing lovely things for me, but we still like to put aside time to do something nice together, be that going out for dinner, a walk around the park or chilling indoors with a film and a takeaway.

Men's fashion store Jacamo recently ran a survey that revealed the first thing women are drawn to visually on a man are his shoes. As a result, they came up with 'Let Your Shoes Do The Talking' - a campaign dedicated to helping men get off on the right foot in both the shoe and dating department. They kindly sent me a date night hamper* which I had to hand over to my boyfriend and let him organise the evening.

Inside the hamper was a collection of 'date night essentials' including chocolates, massage oil, champagne, a DVD, candle and book for my boyfriend to provide me with a relaxing and romantic evening. He ran me a candle lit bubble bath, gave me a massage and then cooked me a delicious steak (my favourite). I'm not currently drinking at the moment so we bypassed the champagne and instead settled down on the sofa to watch Friends With Benefits and indulge on our box of chocolates. The book Sweet Nothings & Pillow Talk was one of the best and worst things I've ever come across - perfect to laugh over, but not one to take seriously!

It was a lovely night (one that I'm lucky to have fairly regularly) - but a great idea from Jacamo to give some of the slightly less naturally romantic men out there (and there are many) a helping hand to give their partner the perfect date night.

What is your perfect date night? 

Check out my Queen of Hearts advertiser - With Love From Lou

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Mr Candle Review + Giveaway

We all know I love candles, so when I was contacted by a company who have come up with a cute and quirky way to make their candles stand out, I was intrigued. Mr Candle are a British based company creating eco-friendly, delicious smelling candles. What makes them different though, is that hidden inside each candle is a ring worth between £10 - £500 - which is revealed as you burn the candle down.

From a candle perspective, these are really lovely. Mr Candle uses only high quality fragrance oils in their candles, which results in candles that have scents that fill the room, and last. All the candles come in charming glass jars with screw top lids, and cost £20 for the large candles, and £14.99 for the smaller size (Jnr) candles. I tried the Champagne Strawberry Fizz Jnr* candle which is a fruity and refreshing scent perfect for the summer.

The ring I received is so much nicer than I expected. It's not the kind of ring I would wear on an everyday basis, but it is incredibly pretty and sterling silver. The rings worth over £100 come wrapped in gold foil, so you're sure to know you've found some real treasure!

There is no denying that this is a great little concept, making the pleasure of burning a candle, that bit more exciting. I would particularly recommend these candles to younger girls, or those looking to buy a gift (they would literally be ideal for Secret Santa!). They're reasonably priced, and lovely quality so I'd encourage any candle addicts to check them out.

Mr Candle has also very kindly given me an extra Jnr candle to giveaway to one of you! If you'd like to be in with the chance of winning this Fresh Linen scented candle (and hopefully finding something pretty inside) then enter in the rafflecopter below. The giveaway will run for 2 weeks and is only open to those within the UK.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out my Queen of Hearts advertiser - With Love From Lou

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Kate Spade Mint Mojito Purse

If you've been reading any of my New York travel posts (day 1 here) then you may have noticed that day 4 was missing - the reason being that we prioritised the day to hit the shops!

I've wanted a new purse for a little while - and although I have a lot of love for the vintage Mulberry purse my mum passed down to me a few years ago, it's looking more and more battered each day. I wanted to add something a little smarter to my handbag, and as I've been drawn to Kate Spade purses for a while now I decided to take the plunge. Kate Spade purses are gorgeous - they have classic designs in beautiful feminine colours and best of all their prices are reasonable (when compared to the likes of Mulberry). I went to nearly all the stores in Manhattan before settling on this beautiful mint green shade which I think is quite possibly the prettiest thing I've ever seen.

The purse is part of the Cedar Street Lacey collection, and features a crosshatched leather trim with 14 carat light gold plated hardware. The inside features space for everything I could possibly need including 12 card slots, a change pocket, and space for all my notes - it also features a gorgeous custom woven dot print lining.

I'm so pleased I picked this up on my trip, particularly as I got it for a little cheaper than I would have in the UK. It's a beautiful purse and I'm sure it will make spending my money on things I don't need, all the more enjoyable.

What do you think of my new purse?

Check out my Queen of Hearts advertiser - With Love From Lou

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

New York Day 5 + The Apartment

Our last day in New York was bitter sweet - we'd had the most amazing week, but it felt so sad that it was over and time to come home. We decided on our last day to get the metro over to Brooklyn so that we could make the walk back over Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. It was something I did when I went with my family a few years ago, although starkly different this time around as the weather was freezing cold - making for a pretty blustery walk. 

The bridge is a beautiful thing - one of the oldest suspension bridges in the US making it a must visit on any trips to the city. It gives stunning views out across Manhattan and Brooklyn, of the Statue of Liberty, the Freedom Tower and afar. 

Once we'd marched across the bridge, we headed back onto Broadway and 5th Avenue to take one final look in the shops, where my boyfriend took the opportunity to play with the displays in Anthropologie...

I couldn't finish my New York series without giving you a little peek into the stunning loft apartment we stayed in. The apartment was centrally located with views of Madison Square Park and the Flat Iron Building, and a stones throw from the Empire State. It was everything I wished my own apartment could be - hardwood floors, high ceilings and large windows. It was utterly enormous, and utterly perfect. 

My dreams couldn't have conjured up a more amazing birthday present, so an enormous thank you to my boyfriend who organised the whole thing and kept it secret from me for months. It was an incredibly special trip and one I'll remember forever. I hope you've enjoyed reading my posts from my week in the city!

Check out my Queen of Hearts advertiser - With Love From Lou

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