Friday, 31 October 2014

Skin Care Stars: Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner

I’ve just recently gotten into a good skincare routine. I’m still in the process of perfecting whats right for my skin (isn’t every girl?) I thought I might start a little mini-series on my blog where I pick an item from my skincare routine and do a little review for you!

here's a secret for you: I love nothing more than lazing about in my PJ’s and having a lovely relaxing bath and I make sure I do this as often as humanly possible! 
This toner is a recent addition to my pamper routine, I picked it up from a spa trip I recently went on with my friend after they used this on me during the facial.

It’s specifically designed for Combination skin and I do find that it is good in helping control the oily parts of my skin especially around the t-zone area whilst not overly drying out my cheeks.
It comes in a clear bottle with an atomizer dispenser, you can either spray onto a cotton pad and then sweep over the face or you can directly spray on the skin to use as a facial spray to refresh the skin.

I love herbal, relaxing scents and I adore the smell of Lavender so I knew this would be right up my street. This toner is designed to rebalance the PH level in your skin without stripping the skin of it’s own natural oils. I hate it when you apply a product and it makes the skin feel tight and uncomfortable. I am happy to report that I don’t get any of this with this toner, it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and soft.

It contains extracts of Lavender, Quillaja Wood and Sweet Betty flower. To me I can only notice the Lavender and I apply about 5 sprays to a cotton pad and use after cleansing my skin with my Garnier Micellar Water. It rids my skin of the final traces of makeup that may still be clinging on for dear life and makes me feel relaxed and calm.

If you are not a fan of Lavender then you will not like this toner as it is really strong smelling. If you, like me love all things Lavender then I’d really recommend it. It leaves my skin feeling clean, soft and lifted without making it feel tight and uncomfortable. 

The only downside for me is the price. It’s RRP is £22.00, unfortunately for my purse, it was love at first spritz & I couldn’t imagine not having this little beauty in my skincare arsenal!

Available from Feel Unique here.

Do you use a toner? What’s your current favourite? 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Bare Minerals Lash Domination Mascara

Just like my holy grail lip balm I am always on the look out for the ultimate mascara. For me, the best mascara I’ve ever used is YSL’s Shocking Faux Clis but being a wee bit fickle I tend to flit between different brands to see if any can top my favourite.

I picked up this mascara recently after reading good things online. Priced at £17.00 it is one of the cheaper high end mascaras. It promised to give me larger than life eyelashes with a 10-in-one volumizing formula. So did it live up to it’s claims? Read on to find out…

I initially didn’t like the packaging, it’s in a silver plastic tube with a spiral top lid. I find it shows up grubby finger marks really easy and I think it looks a little cheap for the £17.00 price tag. Maybe I’m a make-up snob but I feel that if I’m shelling out £17 for a high end mascara it should at least look like it!

The wand itself is where it gets interesting, it’s a helix shaped plastic bristled wand. It’s designed to allow the wand to distributed the product from all angles and then create a more even coat to the lashes. I don’t have a preference when it comes to bristle vs plastic wands but I found the wand does what It’s meant to. It applied evenly with no horrible clumps and it managed to get nearly all my lashes.

In terms of wear it lasted well however I did notice some smudging towards the end of the day, something that my beloved YSL does not do. It did keep my lashes in a lovely condition, and they didn’t look spidery or clumpy. The volume this mascara gave was nice, it just wasn’t as amazing as I wanted it to be. It left my lashes looking naturally volumised, it didn’t do much in terms of length but this isn’t something it claims to do.  Getting it off at the end of the day was easy, but it’s not very splash proof!  When I got caught out in the rain I looked like I’d been doing a panda impression! (oops).

Left Eye: Natural Eyelashes, Right Eye: With the Mascara

I will use this mascara up as it gives a lovely naturally volumised look which is perfect for when I am at work, but it doesn’t offer the wow factor needed when you’ve got a night out or special occasion. For me the search continues, I think I’m gunna have to go back to my old faithful soon!

 If you fancy trying out this mascara it is available to purchase here

Monday, 27 October 2014

Restaurant Review: The Hand and Flowers Marlow

 Last August my boyfriend said to me, “I fancy trying out a fancy pants restaurant, The hand and flowers looks good – shall we go?”

Whilst I thought this was a lovely idea we hadn't counted on the fact that in order for us to get in on a Saturday night we would have to wait a year for this privilege. Due to me living about 60 miles away from him and weekends being the only time we could go we went ahead and booked it for the end of August 2014 to coincide with his Birthday! It was a fantastic experience although I’m not too sure I’d wait that long again for the experience!

If you don’t know the hand and flowers was the UK’s first pub to receive two Michelin stars, It’s owned by the amazingly talented Tom Kerridge and his wife Beth and is in the pretty Buckinghamshire town of Marlow.

We arrived for our dinner reservation a little early and we were given a seat in the bar area (lots of comfy seats and exposed beams make the bar immediately welcoming). I am not really a drinker but because it was a special occasion is opted for a glass of Prosecco.

We were then shown though to our table, where the waiter bought out complimentary whitebait and bread in cute newspaper cones. This was the perfect thing to nibble on whilst perusing the menu (There were so many choices it took me a good fifteen minutes to decide!).

I decided that because it was a special occasion I would go all out and order something I wouldn’t usually go for so for my starter I chose the Sausage and Whole Truffle Demi “En Croute” with port sauce.

When it arrived I tucked happily in, to be honest it was gone in about two mouthfuls, having never has truffle before I was pleasantly surprised at the earthy taste and how well it all came together especially once I added the port sauce!

For My main I chose the signature dish on the menu, possibly the one Tom Kerridge is most known for which is his Slow cooked Duck breast with Savoy Cabbage, Duck fat chips and Gravy. This is the dish he created for the great British menu in 2010.

It was so flavourful and tasty but it was just a bit too rich for me. I was really struggling to finish even though the portion sizes aren’t huge. I’m not sure if I would have this again as it was just that little bit too rich for me.

My boyfriend opted for the Fillet of Stokes Marsh Farm Beef with Hand and Flowers Chips and BĂ©arnaise Sauce, which he said was one of the best fillet steaks he’d ever had.

By the time dessert rolled around neither of us could eat another thing!

Overall we really enjoyed our meal however I think the fact that we had to wait a year just to experience this pub meant that we may have hyped up how good it was going to be before we got there and when it didn’t quite live up to that we both left feeling a little disappointed (and in my case a little too stuffed!).

Please don’t get me wrong, it was probably one of the nicest meals I’ve ever had, I just don’t know if it quite lived up to its reputation (or the price!).

If you fancy trying it out for yourself here is a link to the hand and flowers website

Sunday, 26 October 2014

My Handbag Essentials

I love a good nose at what's in my bag style posts and I thought you might like to see the essential items I couldn't be without! 

My handbag is from Cath Kidston, it's cloth material with leather accents. It's the perfect day time size. I have a habit of lugging everything but the kitchen sink with me and this has lead to a very sore back in the past so I thought carrying around a smaller sized bag may encourage me to carry only the essentials (I did still try to squeeze my filo fax in the other day though! oops!).

I got my bag from the factory outlet shop for the bargain price of £25.00 reduced from £56.00 so I'm sorry but I don't have a link! There are similar ones here.

On to My Essentials:

Iphone: I couldn't be without my phone, I have the 5s model an I have a pretty bird case on it at the moment as I'm ridiculously clumsy and I've already dropped it about three times! (Case is from Tesco)

Koala Purse: I saw this little guy in Primark and for £3.00 I couldn't resist. He is the prefect place to hold my pennies for me. 

Leather Purse: I like to have a big purse as I carry a lot of loyalty cards around with me, I loved the vintage style of this purse, I picked it up from my local Age UK charity shop for a bargain for £4.99

Ipod Shuffle: Getting on the fitness wagon has been a big thing for me and I like to carry my shuffle around with me. It's the perfect size for on the go and I can easily move this around between my day bag and my gym bag. Available from Apple

Rescue Remedy Pastilles & 4head: The 4head is an absolute essential for when a pesky headache strikes. I much prefer this to taking tablets (just have to remember not to get it near my eyes!) I also have a tin of rescue remedy pastilles as they are great for when those moments of panic creep up. 

Hello Mouth Spray: A good idea if I've had a 'fragrant' lunch ha! Tastes nice and the packaging is really cute. I got mine from Boots.

Friday, 24 October 2014

What A Hoot!

Although I wouldn't describe myself as a massive animal lover, there is one animal that holds a special place in my heart....

I adore everything about Owls, from the way they look to the fact that they are completely silent when they fly - I think they are fascinating!

For my Birthday (way back in April) my friend bought me a wowcher for a half day Owl experience at the English School of Falconry. I decided to take my mum with me and last Saturday we set off in the car to go to and make some new friends!! 

We got there late, which in itself is a complete nightmare for me as I absolutely hate being late for anything! My car boot decided to fly open mid journey (we had to turn around and drive half way home and get in the other car). But once we had finally arrived our guide was already talking to the others in the group about three of the owls, so I hope we didn't miss too much! 

To start with, we got to meet three different owls - a barn owl called Raquel

A great grey owl called Muppet 

And an Asian Wood Owl Called Ollie. 

We got to hold the owls between the group (there was around ten of us) and get really close to them. Our guide was telling us facts about the birds we were holding. Our guide was really knowledgeable and clearly had a passion for the animals he was caring for. It was really great to see someone so interested in their job and it certainly made the experience much more exciting. 

We also got to view a flying display at the centre, in which they were flying falcons which was a nice bonus. 

The Final part of our day was the best bit. We got to fly the Owls, watching them fly so close and so silently to the ground was incredible and it was an excellent chance to get to see the different kinds of owls flying. One of the Owls didn't really fancy it as you can see from the picture below:

I think he just wanted to go back home! 

If you like owls or just fancy a different day out I'd totally recommend this experience. You can view the English School Of Falconary's website here

They have lost of different packages to choose from, however if this is a little steep keep your eye out on sites such as Wowcher or Groupon as they also run deals through these sites. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Benefit LolliBalm

My desert island beauty product would be a good lip balm. 

Because of this I am always on the hunt for my holy grail lip balm. I am a big fan of Benefit and when I saw this balm in my local boots I decided to give it a go! 

What drew me to this balm initially was the colour, it's a lovely lavender/pink that gives a natural wash of colour without looking too over the top. 

It's one of four shades,Lolli Balm (Lavender),Posie Balm (Baby pink), Cha Cha Balm (Coral) & Benebalm (Deep Red) 

It's priced at £14.50 which is pretty expensive for a lip balm but it does look so pretty in my handbag and it leaves my lips feeling soft and moisturised.

The colour pay off isn't amazing, it gives a really natural finish - an almost my lips but better colour. 

The only thing I'm not keen on is the taste of this balm, because the scent is very floral it then translates onto the lips which for me is not a pleasant experience. 

I usually apply this just as I'm dashing out the door to work, it's good for on the go application - because of the sheer colour I don't need a mirror to apply. 

Available to purchase from the benefit website here

A Little Introduction

If you are currently reading this post then welcome to my little corner of the internet! 

I hope you will be happy here! 

My name is Rachel and I am a country girl at heart. I love all things beauty, fitness and food! 

If you have any ideas of posts you'd like to see please leave me a comment!! 

Lots of Love Rach x