Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Luxe Life Book by Fleur de Force

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With its rose gold spine, glamorous front cover and striking photography this book oozes every ounce of Fleur's chic, effortless yet personable style. The Luxe Life is the second literary instalment from YouTuber Fleur de Force and is a gorgeous addition to your coffee table.

This new release seems to have taken a more mature stance than the original and first release, The Glam Guide, and is packed full of brilliant features and mouth-watering recipes to help idle away a lazy Saturday afternoon. Fleur covers a multitude of topics in this book, targeted at those luxury lovers, from lifestyle, beauty and food. Helpful hints and nifty tricks come thick and fast such as getting the most out of your luxury candle, hosting the most sumptuous afternoon tea and finding that perfect dinner date outfit. I wont give too much away but it is a lovely read and it is like listening to a good friend as Fleur takes us through her beauty loves and special ideas to create a cosy, movie night in.

The Luxe Life is a lifestyle bible for anyone looking to make every day special. I think Fleur's DIY gift ideas and thrifty interior posts are my favourite and just prove that you can make every day that little bit more luxurious, regardless of budget or time restraints.

The Luxe Life from Fleur de Force is available online and from most book stores.
*this post contains samples gifted for review purposes
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Sunday, 7 August 2016

Florence: My 6 Month Baby Update

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(photo credit: Dale Zimmerman Photography)
Wow! I have a six month old baby and as ridiculously cliched as it sounds...where has that time gone?! On 7th February 2016 I was giving birth to our darling daughter and was overwhelmed with how delicate and fragile she seemed and now we have the most content, bouncy, bubbly baby we could ever wish for and I just want time to slow down for a little while.

So this is the first update as such I have done on Florence since she was born. In a ideal world I would have loved to have documented her developed and milestones, month by month, on my blog but unfortunately the new whirlwind that is motherhood didn't allow that luxury. Plus whenever I did have time to sit down and write on my blog, I thought you guys would prefer a post on blusher over babies anyway!
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So where to begin. Lets start with the facts and figures. Florence Joy Wilson weighs 13lbs and is just cruising above the 9th percentile line. She has always been dinky but is progressing well (even more now she is on solid foods) and I personally love the fact that she is still very 'baby-like' and so light to carry everywhere. She is just fitting into 3-6 month clothing but can also still squeeze into some newborn bits we bought her before she was even born. I don't know how high she is measuring but everyone comments on how long and lean she is so maybe she will be a tall one like her daddy.

It is true when everyone says that it takes about three months to really settle into a routine with your new baby and by six months you will be a dab hand. Of course, things will always change - teething will happen, naps will be dropped, meals will increase but at the moment I feel like my girl and I have a lovely routine going on. I really threw myself into baby classes after the first few months so Florence and I would get out the house and I could drone on about babies over coffee with other mums who were more than happy to hear how she can nearly sit up and might be teething! Which is true - Florence has mastered rolling over front to back, and back to front, and now nearly can sit up unaided. As for teeth, I can see signs of some little white pegs peeping through and there is a lot of dribble. But as always, Florence is very happy in herself and it doesn't seem to be affecting her yet.

Sleep. Oh gosh, how little did I realise what a big topic this would be in my baby's life! Whenever I seem to meet a new mum, the first question always seems to be "Soooo how is she sleeping?!" It's bizarre. In the early days Florence was just a typical newborn and slept well after lots of assistance for us - rocking and swaddling was her favourite. In hindsight she slept pretty good actually and would go 4-5 hour chunks before waking and feeding. Then by 12 weeks she could, and occasionally would, sleep through. We were lulled into a false sense of security and then the dreaded 4 month sleep regression hit (I am fully aware there are many more of these regressions to come!) and everything we had learnt that settled our baby was out the window! For about 3 weeks we just stumbled through broken nights of sleep with lots of rocking, lots of sleeping on us and using the SnuzPod co-sleeper crib to lie close to her and sing her to sleep with umpteen renditions of twinkle twinkle little star. My bedtime routine that I had worked so hard to create was all over the show. Florence would often take a power nap at 7pm, unaware this was her actual bedtime, and then come downstairs and be wide awake with us until 10.30pm!

And then, like I had been reassured so many times by my 'mum friends', the phase just past. She was back to sleeping well and I established a new routine for her. (Can't help but think of Ross and Monica's routine in Friends whenever I mention this!). So as of five months Florence has been a real star and has been going down between 5.45pm - 6.15pm and sleeping until 5am-6am in the morning. She then has a quick feed and 9 times out of 10 will go back down for another hour to an hour and a half. At 5 months we also moved her into her own room and worked on some gentle sleep training with her to get her confident falling asleep, and resettling herself, alone. But before you hate me, let me tell you that Florence and her daytime napping is still an ongoing battle...but we are getting there. Thankfully most days I am out the house heading to baby sensory or swimming so she can sleep in the car, baby carrier or buggy but the past couple of weeks we have managed some daytime naps in her cot.

Day to day. So currently our day usually begins around 6.30-7am where we feed and cuddle in bed and wave Rob off to work at 7.30am. Then I attempt to get ready, shower, make the bed, dry my hair, apply some makeup whilst entertaining, holding, tickling, jiggling a wiggly Florence. By 8am we are both up and dressed and head downstairs to play. I usually plonk Florence in her jumperoo (she loves this) whilst I make a large cup of tea and reply to some emails, watch a bit of YouTube and edit some photos. Anytime around 9.30-10.30ish Florence will show signs of getting sleepy and I will attempt to put her down. Her naps don't tend to last more than 45minutes at the moment but I will take anything during the day and I take the opportunity to grab some breakfast, do some washing, hoover the house (gosh, my life sounds riveting!). Oh and she's up again after her power nap and we will head out to baby sensory, swimming or to meet a friend for coffee. The afternoon comes and around 1.30-2pm I look to be out walking or putting Florence down for her second nap. I will make sure I am home and she has finished napping by 3.30pm so she is ready for her bedtime by 6pm. We play some more, cuddle and splash in the bath (her not me!) at 5pm. We head upstairs and do some baby massage before closing her blinds, popping her in her pyjamas and feeding her before bed. By 6pm I can usually creep downstairs, realise I haven't eaten since breakfast and enjoy a moment of peace and quiet with some food before beginning my evening.

Milestones. Like I said before, Florence can roll over both ways and is very close to sitting up by herself. Last week we started weaning her and I am currently doing a combination of purees and baby-led weaning. She seems to be enjoying the experience so far and certainly hasn't turned down any food yet but she does still feed little often from me throughout the day and at night before bed. She is very good at watching and copying us when we do a specific hand movement or say a certain sound over and over again. Rob was delighted to hear lots of dadadadadada noises today! She has started weaning and has 'swam' underwater.

Mum update. As for me, I feel great. I feel this past month has been really positive for me following a tricky few weeks of very little sleep. Now I know Florrie will be asleep by 6pm-ish I can allocate some time to the things I enjoy but have missed out on doing whilst being up and down with her. Most nights when Rob is home I go running in the evening sun and then settle down to a spot of blogging and watching some series on Netflix. I'm even going out for dinner with some work friends next week which will be a real novelty. Body-wise, I was pretty much back to normal (weight and size) a few weeks after giving birth but recently I feel like I have got some tone back as well with my increased level of exercise. Breastfeeding is still going brilliantly well and feel absolutely delighted to have reached 6 months exclusively breastfeeding. Here's to the next six! :)

Florence loves: Baths, Sophie the Giraffe, raspberries being blown on my tummy, over-the-shoulder cuddles, pulling Rob's beard, being carried in the sling, swimming, her jumperoo.

Florence hates: The sound of babies crying, being on her back for too long, hot walks in the pushchair, trying to feed when overtired.

These last six months have been the most rewarding, yet definitely the most challenging, months of my life. I still pinch myself everyday that this little girl is our daughter. She brings me so much joy. She is so happy and content and wants nothing more than to be held and cuddled and kissed on her cheek. She is an inquisitive little soul and loves to be out and about with us in the sling, looking around, studying new people's faces and clinging tightly onto us with her teeny tiny hands. She has recently been wrapping her arms around my neck and giving me the biggest hug which melts my heart. Florence is a character. She makes me laugh every day with her quirky ways and I just adore everything about her. She is my little shadow and I cannot wait to see what the next six months have in store for us.
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Thursday, 4 August 2016

L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation

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Cushion compacts, housing a foundation or a blush, have burst onto the beauty scene over the past year or so thanks to their much adorned status in Asia. This latest beauty innovation has slowly made its way into the beauty aisles over here and has been promoted from the next beauty hype to a must have item everyone needs in their makeup bag. There are loads of benefits of these cute, cushion compacts - practical, no need to carry additional sponges and brushes with you, great for touch-ups during the day, delivers professional looking makeup with a light or buildable finish and can be used all over or just on areas that need a little more coverage.

L'Oreal's Nude Magique Cushion Foundation (£14.99) is one of the latest products to adopt this innovative new design. The compact opens up to reveal the sponge on the top compartment with the foundation housed underneath and with a handy mirror in the lid, for touch ups on the go. Described as a weightless foundation that gives your skin a healthy glow whilst keeping it smooth, soft and hydrated, the idea is that you simply tap the sponge into the foundation and then "tap tap" it over your skin.

This foundation delivers a light to medium coverage, totally adaptable to your personal preference by applying/tapping more product on the desired areas. What I really like about this foundation in particular is the natural finish it gives - a little bit dewy, a little bit glow-giving with a sheer luminosity. I think due to the way you apply it, it leaves you complexion feeling and looking fresh and not cakey at all. It prevents you applying too much product at once so you are left with a base that is light yet covers any redness quite well. Definitely one to check out if you like a dewy-looking foundation and love the idea of ditching your foundation brushes and love to convenience of touching up your makeup on the go!
*this post contains samples gifted for review purposes
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Thursday, 28 July 2016

YSL Mascara Vinyl Couture

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Love them or loathe them, coloured mascaras are a thing and a trend that is definitely sticking around this Summer. Whether you just opt for a subtle coating on your bottom lashes, wear it alone, layer over your normal mascara or simply highlight the tips of your lashes, coloured mascara is a fun, frivolous addition to your regular makeup routine and definitely worth a try.

Perfectly timed for the festival season, Yves Saint Laurent Beaute has released nine fiery new mascara shades, including two mesmerisingly sparkly top coats, to shake up the eye makeup conventions. The new formula of the Vinyl Couture dresses your lashes with a unique shiny, lacquer-like texture. The brush provides a curvaceous, lengthening effect with sleek volume, and whether you want something vivid or a little less obvious, there will definitely be a shade to suit your inner wild child this Summer. YSL mascaras have always been some of my favourite and these latest releases continue to give some seriously impressive volume, curl and intensity. The vinyl formula means the finish isn't chalky or flat on your lashes but smooth and shiny. They are lovely to apply and give you a shock of colour in a blink of an eye.

The nine adventurous shades invite you to match them or clash them! You can have lots of fun with the different shades but if you aren't too keen on the idea of hot pink lashes then there are some nice darker variations such as a wicked aubergine shade and a deep, dark hazel. Or if you fancied just adding a touch of sparkle to your existing black mascara then the gold and silver shimmering top coats will do the job perfectly!

The YSL Beaute Mascara Vinyl Coutures (£25) are out now online and on counters nationwide.
*this post contains samples gifted for review purposes
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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Bobbi Brown The New Classics Luxe Lip Colors

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"A modern take on the original classics." - Bobbi Brown

Back in 1991 one, lesser known, freelance makeup artist was on a mission to give women of all ethnicities a collection of wearable, flattering lipsticks. Bobbi Brown had struggled herself to find that perfect lip colour to wear so took matters into her own creative hands and created an edited range of ten lipsticks to complement the natural colour of lips to suit all skin tones; salmon, beige, raisin, brown, rose, pink, orange, blackberry, burnt red and red. They all featured a unique brown base with a semi-matte finish and swiftly became instant bestsellers. And so the brand, Bobbi Brown, was born!

To celebrate 25 years of 'Be Who You Are', Bobbi Brown has reimagined those ten iconic shades and given them a reinvention in her most sumptuous formula yet - the Luxe Lip Color. Expect vibrant, full coverage colour with a creamy, slightly glossy finish and a comfortable, moisturising feel on the lips. Beautifully luxurious with a shade to suit everyone! Above I have featured Bahama Brown (a pinky brown) and Flame (a bright, coral-red).

The New Classics Luxe Lip Colors (£25), along with the original line up of ten shades (£21), are available online now and from all Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Studios.
*this post contains samples gifted for review purposes
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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Stella McCartney POP fragrance

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Bright, modern, unique and irreverent. A celebration of individuality and adventure. This pretty much sums up the new Summer 2016 fragrance launch from Stella McCartney, from its metallic, playful bottle to its multi-faceted scent.

Stella's philosophy is that fragrances and cosmetics should enhance each woman's unique, inner beauty, not distract or overpower it. POP is a liberation from a one-size-fits-all mould and offers us a unique and bold scent for the Summer. What I really like about this new Eau de Parfum is that it is a step away from those clich├ęd, super-sweet, fruity Summer perfumes. It does have the vibrancy of floral tuberose but is layered with sandalwood to create a woody undertone. The bright, crisp tuberose still shines through but the fact you then get a hit of the unexpected sandalwood makes this scent unique and a more mature statement to wear.

The bottle itself is a combination of bold yet balanced attitudes with the arrangement of minimalist shapes and the explosive metallic pink cap. The whole appearance is chic yet a little bit frivolous at the same time and is a beautiful Summertime scent if you are looking for something a little bit different.

The new Stella McCartney POP fragrance is available online now (from £42 - £74).
*this post contains samples gifted for review purposes
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Monday, 25 July 2016

Lola James Harper Fragrance Stories

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The Lola James Harper story is rather a lovely one. A group of friends, artists and family have all joined together to share their love of the creative world through a variety of eclectic outlets. They write and play music together, take photos, print tee shirts, make films and document their trips and travels through a range of fragrances and candles. These scents have been inspired by places they have visited and people they have met around the globe. In their own words, " This is all about places and people we love, about fragrances and pics we cherish...about what makes us feel good..."

Many of the photos and influences come from Paris (where Rami Mekdach, the brand's founder is from) and West-Coast America. Their photography from these places conjure up a laid-back image of wanderlust; travelling free along the open road. Hands in the air. Crystal blue sparkling pools. Sunsets and leafy palms. I adore the idea of each fragrance being inspired by a place, experience or person they've met such as The Vinyl Store Rue des Dames, The Red Garden at Tata & Jeddo, The Guitare Shop on Denmark Street or The First Morning of Spring. It creates a romanticised image of travelling around the world, enjoying coffee, listening to old vinyls, walking in the rain and generally, being inspired.

This stylish brand not only delivers some stunning fragrances, to spritz or ignite, but wraps it all up in some gorgeous looking packaging. I love the fact that the scents and the packaging remains quite unisex and is simple in colour and design, nothing detracting away from the inspiration behind the fragrance. I have recently been spritzing No.2 The Music Studio on Trufo Street which is a music recording studio in Paris where they all worked on their albums. It is filled with oak beams and oriental percussion instruments, giving us a blend of cashmere, rose and musk.

The candle, No. 7 The Rainy Days in the Lake District has been inspired by this evergreen land with its menacing grey sky and huge open fields. It is the ideal place to nest away for a few days, watch the rain lash down outside whilst you cosy up and write a novel, or song lyrics in their case. This candle is a fresh, comforting combination of Myrrh, Labdanum and Ylang. It is the perfect candle to light on a cold, miserable English afternoon in Autumn!

The complete Lola James Harper fragrance and candle range is available from Selfridges, starting at £34.
*this post contains samples gifted for review purposes
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