May Beauty Buys

How we've already come to May's beauty edit I don't know - it feels like I only just finished April's one! This is the month that I really start notching up my skincare regime and investing in some decent products. The minute the sun comes out my skin seems to age without some serious help. It quickly goes dry, yet also really gets oily with the muggy weather. All in all, time to do a proper sort out and make sure I have the right bits...

full product details below, or view the only edit here

This month's post is a little bit different as John Lewis asked me to take a look at their own summer beauty edit, here. They've focussed on products that use natural ingredients, which is a must for me. Whenever I see a website's round up of bits I always expect that half of them will be what I'd go for, but their selection was completely spot on (pun not intended). They have all my hero brands for a thorough detox on my skin (REN skincareCharlotte Tilbury and Origins) as well as new things I was dying to try... I decided to only use things I'd never used before, and was sat like a kid by the fireplace at Christmas waiting for them to all arrive.

I'll try and do this in a sensible order; brand by brand. Starting with Clarins. I'd stumbled upon their trio of "boosters" and was really keen to give one a go. They're created to give you some help when you need it. I selected Repair as it's good for sunburnt or damaged skin, and added it to my usual moisturiser on Wednesday as directed.  It's now Sunday evening and I can already feel a difference on my (ridiculously) sunburnt nose. It also reduced the redness instantaneously... Next from them was their Instant Beauty Shot which is perfect to have in your handbag for those days when you have to wake up and go to work but your face doesn't want to. It really does "tighten and brighten" as suggested... (especially when matched with the Clinique All About Eyes which took my puffy, dark lids and reformed them into their former teenage-selves in one hit....

On that subject; Clinique. I appreciate this may be a little bit nuts to some of you given how long I've been blogging about beauty but I've never tried any of their stuff before. I know. The first one was an excellent benchmark as the idea of spending money on a soap baffled me. However, as someone who really hates the horrid tightness you get after washing your face with standard bar, I was a bit stunned by the difference. Goodbye supermarket-branded cr*p - I'm using this forever and ever, I don't know what's in it but it left my face feeling actually clean. I'd apply the same level of "wow" to the Dramatically Different Moisturiser. My skin turns tight and dusty very quickly, and coming back from my sunny weekend left it tired the fine lines appeared with a vengeance. This stuff sent them packing almost straight away... And lastly I'm yet to try the Overnight Mask but will do this evening so check out my Instagram to see how it goes...

Estee Lauder products make me really happy, nostalgia alone. It's what both my grandmothers used and the smell of them reminds me of sitting patiently on their beds waiting for story time. I'd never tried them myself though, as I'd always thought they were more "generalist" than for specific problems. As heads up for anyone younger; when you turn 30 sh*t gets real, and it all shows on your face. I woke up on my 30th birthday to presents, cards... and load of fine lines. I really have to work at things, and did not think Lauder was the brand to do it with. You can't see, but as you read this I'm eating my hat. The first thing I tested was the Advanced Night Repair, I tried it after a few glasses of wine (which always shows the next day). I woke up and looked like I'd been on a health retreat. Everything was tight and firm, unheard of. BUY IT HERE. The same impact happened with the Firm And Fill Eye Duo; my eyes looked 10 years old. I'm trying out the Resilience Lift this week so will let you know how I get on, but given everything else I'm expecting big things...

Last but not least, REN. I snuck in one of my all time favourites, the 1 Minute Facial cream. I keep mine in my handbag and use it whenever I'm away as a bit of a treat. If I know I have something coming up when I can't risk a break out, this is my failsafe. Just buy it, here. A new product for me was the Evercalm Moisturiser. I was fairly stacked with things to try so I gave this to the boy to test and I can tell you wholeheartedly his skin looked better after a few days use. He commutes on the underground so often gets congestion in his pores (he'll read this and not have a clue what I'm on about) and they looked significantly tighter and cleaner whilst using this morning and night...

I hope this list helps you, this time of year is so tough on skin. For full details on all of the products in the John Lewis edit, click here

Full review list:

Clarins: Instant Beauty Shot / Repair Serum
Clinique: All About Eyes / Soap / Dramatically Different MoisturiserOvernight Mask
Estee Lauder: Advanced Night Repair / Firm And Fill Eye Duo / Resilience Lift
REN: Evercalm Moisturiser1 Minute Facial 

This post was sponsored by John Lewis, all words my own.


Weekend Mornings In Marrakech

outfit details at the base of this post

Those of you who follow any of us on Instagram will already know that last weekend Emma, Lindsey and I went on a 2 night break to Morocco. Just us girls, and it was bliss (find the content here should you wish). We were hosted at the Royal Mansour, which we expected to be a little bit wonderful given that the King himself helped to build it, but I don't think we were quite prepared for quite how incredible our riads (yep, we had one each) were going to be...

outfit details at the base of this post

These snaps were taken on our first morning, from my very own rooftop balcony complete with plunge pool. Privacy is at the heart of the hotel, so the idea is that guests can enjoy all the benefits of a luxury hotel stay whilst remaining in their own "home." One thing I really love to when I'm away is have breakfast outside, so I rallied the girls to mine and got on with ordering breakfast.

The breakfast menu has it's own leather bound cover to give you an idea, and when the food arrived it didn't disappoint. Fresh pastries, smoked salmon and granola = the perfect start to a packed day of sight seeing and shooting - we all have some really super outfits to share with you as part of a collaboration to show you our holiday wardrobe, so stay tuned!

outfit details at the base of this post

My holiday style is very relaxed; I don't like to be wearing anything tight fitting if we're walking around in the heat! I found this top from Iris and Ink a couple of weeks ago and absolutely love it. It's comfortable (softest cotton) and I love the detailing - it looks like it's a lot more expensive than it is, which is always a win...  My shorts are years old from Bloomingdales in New York, I have no idea what brand they are but if you're after similars Urban Outfitters here is always a good start. And, I've had lots of you asking about my espadrilles. They're actually from Havainas (so they have a rubber sole) and are possibly the most genius summer shoe I've ever come across, find them here.

After filling my boots with breakfast and caffeine, I was set for the day (as the below shot shows...). It really was the perfect start to the perfect girls' weekend. I've got plenty more outfit shots and tips of where to go in Marrakech to come in the coming weeks, it really was too good to pop into one solitary outfit post. 

Flights to Marrakesh start from £70 return (ours did!) here. For more information and booking details for the Royal Mansour, visit here.


Bamford Spa at Daylesford

Not sure about you but the weeks seem to be running away with me. The rest of May is so busy, and then we move into our new home the day I get back from Sri Lanka (and the boy conveniently has two stag dos back to back when we move in, so I'm going to do all lots of the sorting). When Bamford asked if Lindsey and I would like to come down for a day of rest and relaxation it couldn't have come at a better time... We replied to their email embarrassingly quickly...

I'd been to Daylesford before for a cooking course and a lunch but had never stepped into Bamford's part of the farm. Having visited their spas elsewhere (they are at Limewood and Claridges, amongst others) I knew I was in for a treat, but the surroundings really are something quite special. A complete haven in comparison to London, and we were super lucky with the weather...

I had a body exfoliation treatment for an hour in one of the treatment rooms, so relaxing I fell asleep! It really woke up my skin after my trip away, I was worried it would rub off my tan but if anything it did the exact opposite - the next day my colour had gone much deeper and looked a lot healthier. I almost floated back to the dining room to join everyone, I was that relaxed...

Lunch was exactly the kind of food you need on a healthy detox day; bone broth, smoked salmon platters and big bowls of green salads. I ate an embarrassing amount, so much so we had to delay our yoga class in order for me to digest it... Oops. And what a yoga class it was, Bamford's in house expert taught us how to unwind and relax - I felt like I was in a perfect state of "worked out" and "relaxed" afterwards...

Before heading back on the train I managed to bribe Linds to take some pictures; I wore my new top from Iris and Ink here. I'd been dying for this for ages so was delighted when it came available, it's so comfortable and good for those days when you don't really know how dress down/up you need to be. stays off the shoulder too, none of that faffing around with your neckline all day like others cause you to do... I paired it with my staple Topshop mom jeans here (seriously, will anyone make any I prefer? I think not) and mint accessories from ASOS. The shoes are super comfortable (here) and I love the little beaded bag (here) - perfect for my travels!

Thank you Bamford Spa and Angel Publicity for hosting us, we have a wonderful time!
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