Friday, March 28, 2014

24 Hours in Berlin

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch of Braun's 'Breakfree' campaign with their new Global Beauty Ambassador, Jessica Alba in Berlin. I'd never been to Berlin before, so was super excited to see the city for the first time and honoured to be asked to attend alongside some of the world's leading beauty journalists.
The event saw Jessica announce her involvement with Braun and support of the Breakfree campaign, which aims to improve women's self-belief, confidence and self-esteem by encouraging other women to share positive messages via social media...

The campaign was particularly appealing to me because, working in social media, I see first hand how negative a space it can be at times. There's no denying the internet is an incredible platform for creativity and expressing yourself, but there is also a lot of negativity floating around and it's great to see an A List star collaborate with a huge global beauty brand to shine a light on this downside, and make the effort to make a change.

Whether it's making a concerted effort to compliment the women in your life in person, or tweeting a supportive message to someone who inspires you at a time when they are feeling low and insecure, the Breakfree movement is all about encouraging women to support and strengthen each other to feel confident in their day-to-day life. An undeniably positive message.

I also got the chance to have a quick chat to Jessica in person about her experience on social media (the good and the bad) She is breathtakingly beautiful in real life. If you think it's the magic of cinema making her look that good... it's not. She has incredible skin, beautiful hair and a fabulous figure to boot, but what was really refreshing about meeting her was the fact that she is actually really nice, and resoundingly 'normal'.


She spoke about her concerns being perceived as stupid, and not being taken seriously due to her perception as a sex symbol in her twenties, and how setting up her lifestyle company, The Honest Company, has helped her to combat these stereotypes.

She admitted that while she does get negative comments on her social platforms (she is surprisingly open on Twitter and Instagram, showing charming snippets of her family life) she finds it easy to ignore the negativity, and lets the positive sentiments shine through.

She comes across as being very humble. She values her family and credibility as an actress highly, but doesn't place too much value on perfecting her appearance, saying it 'could all be taken away in a split second, so it's what's on the inside that counts'. A very positive message.

I didn't get the chance to really explore Berlin, as we were only there for 24 hours, but what I did see was beautiful, and I'd definitely love to go back in the future!

Get involved with Braun's Breakfree campaign by tweeting someone a positive message using #breakfree on Twitter or Instagram. You can also follow them on Instagram for updates on the Breakfree Campaign.


This post is sponsored by Braun. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Life in Miniature

Is anyone else slightly obsessed with travel sized beauty products? Maybe I'm alone here, but I often get more excited about the minis than I do the 'real' thing. When I go away, it's almost like a challenge to see how much I can fit in to my clear plastic carry-on-approved baggie. I love miniaturising my beauty regime, something about it is strangely satisfying.

I'm currently in Berlin for 24 hours (you'll hear more about that on the blog tomorrow, but it's exciting so keep an eye out!) and thought I'd share with you which products managed to secure a spot in my suitcase...



Skin
I'm currently road testing a couple of products from Su-Man, the east-meets-west skincare offering from celebrity facialist of the same name. I got a discovery kit from CultBeauty.com and the texture of both the cleanser and serum are wonderful. I'm especially loving the serum, it's unique texture sits beautifully under makeup. I also brought along my Boots Botanics eye cream. My current favourite budget skincare find, along with the Palmer's Cocoa Butter lip balm (the original and the best!) which tastes like chocolate, has SPF 15 and makes your lips feel lovely.

Hair
Hair care minis are probably my most favourite thing, so it's always a struggle to decide which ones to take away with me. As you can tell by the state of my mini Moroccan Oil bottle, that always secures a spot. I'm also loving my Oribe Dry Texturising Spray, and a new discovery, the Charles Worthington dry shampoo too (which I use more for volume and styling rather than dry shampoo - Charles Worthington is on fire at the moment, so many great products!)

Makeup
When travelling I always try and bring as many powder products as I possibly can to save having to check a bag in. I brought my new Benefit 'Big Easy' base with me, which I'm loving. It's not quite foundation, not quite BB cream, with a subtle matte finish that lasts. I also packed my (new-ish) Kevyn Aucoin candlelight highlighter, both because it's brilliant and because it works wonderfully on the eyes as well as the cheeks. My new Hourglass Ambient Blush in Mood Exposure was my blush of choice for the trip. I really like this but I'm still reserving judgement on whether or not it fully deserves the hype it's currently getting online. I am utterly obsessed with my Sephora oil-slick brushes, so of course they came with me. They were limited edition at Christmas time, but I'm hoping they make them an annual thing because I can't. stop. staring. at them!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Romantic Weekend Adventure!

Last weekend, Mike & I went on a little road trip to some of my favourite places. Days like these remind me how nice (and important) it is to take time out to spend together. We had such a lovely day, here's what we got up to...

I drove for once, which I think Mike was a little awkward about - he literally drives everywhere and is quite the backseat driver, so it was quite amusing to have the tables turned for once!
Our first stop was Woodstock, honestly one of the prettiest, and laid back places to visit. This is the third time I've been there, and whilst it's small, it doesn't get old. It's simply stunning.
Our wheels for the day! 
Citroën kindly lent us one of their new DS3 DStyle models, which have been designed in collaboration with Benefit. I was particularly excited by this as the grey body and orange roof & wing mirrors match the 'They're Real' mascara. A car inspired by makeup!? Dream come true! Haha. 
We stopped for lunch at a fancy hotel called The Feathers, in Woodstock. While it was quite old fashioned and I have to say the atmosphere was a little stuffy... the food was amazing! Mike had their 'Ham & Eggs' to start and I went for the scallops. Both were delicious but I have to admit I got a bit of food envy! (Check out my pintrest board from the day to see our mains, I didn't want to overload this post with pictures!!)
After lunch we went for a walk around the parkland surrounding Blenheim Palace. Another reason that Woodstock is such a wonderful place to visit is that it sits right next to Blenheim. While the palace itself can be a little bit of a tourist trap at the weekends, it's well worth visiting just to walk around the beautiful gardens. The Palace itself is simply breathtaking and it's a great way to walk off a big lunch too!






After an hours walk at Blenheim, we jumped back in the car and headed over to Bicester Village. If you haven't been to Bicester before, it's well worth a visit. We used to live much closer, and therefore went every few months or so, but I haven't been in ages and it's changed quite a lot since my last trip - There's even a Chloe store there now, so I spent a good few minutes oogling at the beautiful bags in there!
We didn't actually end up buying anything, but we had a nice time window shopping and treated ourselves to some delicious Italian Gelato before heading home. I think the trio of Woodstock, Blenheim and Bicester makes such a lovely day out as they are all so close together. If you're looking for a fun day out in the Oxfordshire area, I'd definitely recommend combining them!
On our way home there was the most beautiful sunset. I honestly think it's the best sunset I've ever seen in the UK, so we had to stop and take some pictures. Did any of you experience this last weekend? It was amazing!
All in all we had a lovely day out in the little DS3 DStyle. I was rather taken with the benefit 'lady' stickers throughout and it even comes with makeup in the glove box when you buy one (which, sadly, they had taken out before dropping it off with us... maybe they thought I wouldn't be able to resist trying it out?! haha)

We also made a little vlog from the day, which you can check out below!
You can find out more about Citroën's collaboration with Benefit, and book a test drive, via the ASOS website here.

Brand Message:
Citroën DS3 by Benefit is a seriously feminine car choice for modern women - bold yet playful. Immerse yourself in the new Citroën DS3 by Benefit and the new season's look inspired by it here: www.asos.com/citroen

Disclaimer: 
This is a sponsored post. Compensation was provided by Citroën via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Citroën.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Guide!

With (UK) Mother's Day just around the corner, lots of you have been requesting gift ideas on Twitter, so I thought I'd put together a little compilation of my top gifts for the best mummys out there...


For the beauty-loving mum...

The new dual-purpose Baby Doll Kiss & Blush cremes from YSL don't hit counters till the end of April, but you can buy them online already. I recently showed some of these to my mum and her friends and they went mad for them! They are creme stain products that can be used on both the lips and cheeks. Nothing new? Think again! What's special about them is that they work equally as well for both. They are long-lasting on the cheeks and non-drying on the lips: the perfect handbag secret weapon! The 'safest' shade if buying-without-trying online is No.9 - a perfect natural tone. £27 each and available online here.

For the skincare obsessed mum...

This set is a tried and tested treat that my mum was lucky enough to have road tested this month. She's been singing it's praises from the rooftops (and considering my mum is a self-confessed skincare junkie, that means it must be good!) It's the Elemis Pro-Collagen Super System: a 30 day regime that combats fine lines and wrinkles, containing their new super serum, cult pro-collagen marine cream, quartz lift mask and oxygenating night cream. It's pricey at £155 but the perfect choice for any skincare obsessed mums out there. You can get it online here.

For the house-proud mum...

I recently discovered this little gem in a local boutique and have been obsessed with it ever since. It's the Black Lily candle from True Grace and is simply divine. The fragrance is very similar to Tom Ford's 'Black Orchid' and it gives off just the right amount of fragrance: not overpowering, but still strong enough to fill the room. It's £25 and you can buy it online here.

Another little gem that's coming out on the 24th March (so just in time for any last minute Mother's Day shopping trips!) is the Michael Angove collection for Jo Malone. I'm a huge fan of Jo Malone for gifting purposes anyway, but this new collaboration with fine artist Michael Angove is simply perfect for Mother's Day (and springtime in general.) My favourite pick from the line-up is the Orange Blossom fragrance diffuser, £56. (It's also rumoured to be the Duchess of Cambridge's favourite scent, don't you know!)

For the 'foodie' mum...

For mums who are not much of a beauty queen and more into their baking, why not think about treating them to a master icing course run buy biscuit magicians Biscuiteers in London? (£78 per person)
Or if you fancy treating them to someone else's cooking for a change, you could pop for my favourite fashion-meets-food afternoon 'Pret-a-Portea' at The Berkeley (£39 per person)

I also adore the home collection from Anthropologie, and think these gorgeous painted measuring cups would go down a treat with any mums who love to cook. You can order them online here, £32 for the set.

For the organised mum...

In my experience, anything from Smythson goes down a treat with most mums (and in-laws, well... let's face it, anyone!) and I think their handbag-sized Panama notebooks make beautiful gifts. I particularly like this 'Live. Love. Laugh' one. If you're willing to spend a bit more, they can also emboss one with a message or name of your choice for an extra fee (they do this in-house in their London store, so it only takes a day or two!) From £45

For the mum who is young at heart...

One of the best gifts that ever landed in our household one Christmas was a retro, adult-sized space hopper. My parents loved it! A great gift for mums who were teens in the 70's, they are an affordable option too - you can pick one up for £10 on Amazon!

For the mum who has everything...
If your mum is 'one of those' mums who has everything, doesn't 'want' anything and doesn't want you spending your money on her (but you still want to get her a little something anyway!) then I love this 'Mummy Deer' mug. It's only £7.99 and is guaranteed to put a little smile on her face when she's making her morning cup of tea!