- BEAUTY - FASHION - LIFESTYLE -

Monday, 29 May 2017

Adding aromatherapy to my life with Decléor's new London boutique

About two weeks ago i was invited to the opening of the new Decléor boutique and day spa in Westbourne grove, somewhere with all the indulgence of a spa break but with some treatments taking as little as 15 minutes. 

Decléor boutique westbourne grove notting hill

Can we talk about how beautiful the exterior is? Honestly i've never seen such a beautiful shop front, you can already tell from the exterior that this is going to be a haven away from the streets of London. So beautiful in fact, i came back a few days after the opening to take this photo, it was raining on the day of the event so i couldn't get a good photo - now that's what i call blog dedication. 

When i think of a spa i usually think of weekend retreats and getaways, which are great but aren't always realistic for a time schedule or on your wallet. Decléor's new day spa is bridging the gap between wanting to indulge in a treatment, without breaking the bank or having to pack a weekend bag. 

Decléor boutique westbourne grove notting hill

The downstairs of the boutique offers an extensive range of face and body spa treatments, it's a one stop shop for your beauty and relaxation needs, whether that's a massage or a necessary leg wax.
If you're pushed for time you can stop by the shop floor Sensorial Spa Bar, where you can experience a treatment from the face shot menu, with treatments costing only £15 and taking 15 minutes, i don't know about you but i've never heard of a spa treatment from a luxury brand costing £15. Also the really cool thing about the face shot menu is that they film the treatment using a digital mirror, so you can be sent the video and recreate the treatment at home, and there's nothing better than being able to recreate professional skincare in your own bathroom. Or you can recharge literally for 30-40 minutes in the recharge hub with the choice of 7 multisensory facials, sit back and the ceiling will change in front of your eyes. 

As this is a Decléor boutique all of the treatments use products from the various Decléor face and body ranges, some of which i've been using for the last two weeks and my skin has been thanking me.  You can also pop into the Decléor boutique to stock up on skincare, these are the products i've been loving lately: 

Decléor boutique westbourne grove notting hill

They were engraving mini Aromessence Oil Serum's at the event which makes my bottle even more special to use, anything personalised has my vote. If you're a regular here you'll know i've been expanding my facial oil collection lately and this has been a welcomed addition to the collection for day time use. This is 100% natural like many of Decléor's products and a true aromatherapy experience, using this at home will leave you with glowing hydrated skin - just like you've finished a treatment in the day spa. 

Decléor boutique westbourne grove notting hill

Cleansing is my favourite beauty ritual and these Decléor additions have been making me enjoy the process even more. 
Micellar water has to be one of my favourite makeup removal methods, the Aroma Cleanse micellar water leaves my skin refreshed and clean without feeling stripped or dry ready for a second cleanse. 
Even though the Aroma Cleanse cleansing milk can remove makeup, i've been using it as my second step or morning cleanser for a really gentle cleanse. I can't believe how soft this leaves my skin, i hate feeling like a cleanser has just sucked the life out of me but this leaves my face feeling perfectly clean while keeping it hydrated. 
Pink is my favourite colour so naturally the Aroma Cleanse Essential Tonifying Lotion was the product i reached for first, out of all of the cleansing products this has to be my favourite, it's so hard to get toner right but this manages it. Toners can be really harsh but this is clarifying yet gentle and has the most amazing smell, my skin can react badly to a lot of toners but this didn't bring out any redness or sensitivity so it's a winner for me. 

Decléor boutique westbourne grove notting hill

Thanks to my incredibly dry hands i like to think of myself as a bit of a hand cream connoisseur, at night i like to use really thick hand creams but i was yet to find one suitable for my handbag that i could apply during the day and actually still use my hands while wearing. (Most left me unable to pick things up with the greasiness.) This Decléor hand cream however has changed the game, it's an incredibly light texture that is deceptively hydrating without leaving my hands slippery, the tiniest amount goes a long way and i can now successfully hydrate during the day and still use my hands bonus.

Decléor boutique westbourne grove notting hill

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Have you tried Decléor before? - Maria x

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Disclaimer: This post contains PR samples.
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Friday, 26 May 2017

I tried false lashes for the first time

Yes i know, i'm late to the party.. i mean what blogger hasn't worn falsies at least once? Me, up until last week.

Trying false fake lashes for the first time kiss lash couture faux mink lashes

I feel like false lashes used to have a really bad rep; they were heavy, thick, "plasticy" and just didn't look that great, i was put off to say the least. In recent years however, falsies have become the finishing point of almost every makeup tutorial and graced the eyes of many a blogger friend, so i decided to give them a go. I marched off to my local superdrug to pick up the infamous Ardell Demi Wispies. 
I ended up picking up two paris of Ardell Lashes, the Demi wispies like i planned and also the Baby wispies - because i was pretty scared that the Demi wispies were going to be too much so i wanted a back up just in case. 

I held my breath, waved each eyelash on the end of a tweezer and with the words of every youtuber i've ever come across going through my mind, i applied my first ever eyelash. To my surprise, i hadn't stuck my eye together and i didn't look like i had just sashayed away from RuPaul. I loved it, i knew from that moment i was a changed woman and you would never see me on an evening out without these bad boys ever again, even my mum looked at me and said she wanted to try them.

Trying false fake lashes for the first time ardell demi wispies review

Like i said earlier i picked up two sets of lashes, the Ardell Demi Wispies and the Ardell Baby wispies. Originally i thought the baby wispies would be the best for me, because i didn't want to look too dramatic but i actually found them incredibly natural; the baby wispies were basically the same as my lashes with mascara on so i have to admit they didn't make much of a difference to my eyes. I feel like these would be great for people with very short eyelashes, who still wanted a natural look without looking like they're wearing lashes at all. 
The Demi wispies are much more noticeable, they give a really fanned out effect and have that signature fluttery look. Although i really like these i feel like they are slightly too long for me, so i'm now searching for a happy medium between the two but i can really see why these are a cult favourite.

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I'm pleasantly surprised my first experience with fake eyelashes went pretty well, I'm a falsies convert, do you wear them? - Maria x

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Disclaimer: The picture at the top contains PR samples but the products i've written about were bought with my own money, i thought i better just put that in anyway because ya know.. also this contains affiliate links. 
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Monday, 22 May 2017

Dewy in a drop

It's here ..kind of ..summer time. The one word printed in magazine articles and in the title of many a summer makeup tutorial is "dewy", matte lips and skin are out and everyones trying to nail the healthy glow ready for the sun to kick in. Forget the multiple highlighters, there's only one product i'm using this summer to get a glow and it's skincare rather than makeup. Get your sunglasses out, we're glowing. 

Glowbiotics probiotic hydraglow cream oil review
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Friday, 19 May 2017

Subscription box beauty: Roccabox

Lately i've been warming to the idea of Subscription boxes, the image i had of over priced sample sachets is long gone, and affordable high value options have placed themselves at the forefront of my mind. Over the last week or so i've been testing out May's Roccabox, to see what this £10 box has to offer. 

Roccabox review may 2017
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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

My makeup pulls an All Nighter

I used to think setting sprays were a bit of a fad, a modern invention that i wouldn't add to my daily routine, that was until i got to try the iconic Urban Decay All Nighter .. I mean if anyone is going to convince me it'll probably be Urban Decay right?

Urban Decay all nighter setting spray review 2017 bloggers blog post best setting spray mariajblogs

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Monday, 15 May 2017

Bloggers IRL, living the stereotype and loving it

Think brunch and a tube ride to Holland Park just for the outfit photos. 

Richmond and finch phone cases blogger photographers mariajblogs mariajcouk

I'm not even sure where i "met" Lauren, in blogging terms we go way back, i looked back on my first ever blog instagram photos the other day and there was Lauren, the only blogger in my 12 likes. Although she's practically my first port of call when i want some blogging help; (she's the only reason i have a domain if I'm honest) unfortunately she lives in Scotland and i live in London. Meaning opportunities to have a bloggers day out are few and far between. That was until Lauren came to London last week and we found ourselves on a photo taking, brunch eating, bloggers bonanza.  

We took loads of photos, mostly of each other and although these will be all over my Instagram, i thought it would be a sin to not include them in some type of blog post. So although i'm a fan of detailed posts that help people in some type of way, here's one from a day where i just wanted to share the photos, because why not. 

We're bloggers, we didn't have lunch we specifically met at 11 so we could make it for a brunch menu, obviously. We brunched at Daylesford in Marylebone, which is like a cross between an organic farm shop and a restaurant - i like it because it makes me feel like everything i'm eating is healthy, regardless as to whether it actually is or not. I had two poached eggs with a side of smoked salmon, probably one of my favourite combinations other than eggs and avocado of course..

Richmond and finch phone cases blogger photographers mariajblogs mariajcouk

At one point the waitress came over to ask how our food was, and she realised we hadn't even started it yet because we were taking too many photos.. bloggers.. 

After brunch we jumped on the tube to Holland Park because there's no better place for some stereotypical outfit shots, also everywhere else in London is always busy, but Holland Park streets are suspiciously quiet which means you get far fewer weird looks. 

Richmond and finch phone cases blogger photographers mariajblogs mariajcouk

Richmond and finch phone cases blogger photographers mariajblogs mariajcouk

Props to Lauren for making me look half decent, and insuring that i'll have some photos for my Instagram that aren't just of lipsticks for the next 3 weeks. I really wanted to get a photo to illustrate how beautiful my new phone case is from Richmond and Finch, they sent me this tropical leaves case and honestly I'm obsessed - you've probably seen it in the background of many an instagram already. This is the highest quality case i've ever owned and the prettiest, also can we talk about how the branding on the bottom is in rose gold to match my phone?

If you want to get your own hands on a Richmond and Finch case you can get 20% off using the code Mariajblogs20. Also i feel like i need to point out i'm not being paid to say that, are disclaimers for things that aren't an ad but sound like one a thing now? Idk man i just really like my phone case.. 

My look:



I also took some photos of Lauren and she looks gorgeous so i couldn't not include them right?? 

Richmond and finch phone cases blogger photographers mariajblogs mariajcouk

Richmond and finch phone cases blogger photographers mariajblogs mariajcouk

I got on the floor for this one, i'll go to all lengths for an instagram even if it isn't my own.. 

Richmond and finch phone cases blogger photographers mariajblogs mariajcouk

Lauren literally looks like a professional model and i'm pretty pleased that i took these photos, it's funny what can come out of "idk look like you're walking" "ooo i don't know this photo is being taken, give me candid, wow". Honestly anyone who walked past must've been so confused but we got some serious #ootd looks, we did it for the gram. 

Lauren's look: 



Richmond and finch phone cases blogger photographers mariajblogs mariajcouk

I'm pretty stuck in my ways when it comes to photos on my blog, iPhone photos don't usually make the cut, but we finished the day with a selfie so i had to include it.

The most stereotypical bloggers day out? Check! I had such a lovely day with Lauren and i always find it the most motivating thing to spend time with other bloggers.
Who needs a professional photographer when you have blogger friends? - Maria x

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Follow Lauren on TWITTER/INSTAGRAM/BLOGLOVIN.

Disclaimer: This post contains PR samples and affiliate links. Like i said earlier this post isn't sponsored either, i know you're checking!
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Friday, 12 May 2017

Why every blogger should read #GIRLBOSS

Even if it is just for reassurance that people don't go to university and still come out alive..

#girlboss Sophia Amoruso review bloggers
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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Beauty bits i've been loving lately

I used to be pretty good with monthly favourites, but in the last few months i found i would try to jot down a few favourites and would realise i hadn't really changed up what i was using. So i put "favourites culture" on hold, until some new products firmly made their way into my daily routine.

April 2017 favourites beauty bits i've been loving sunday riley UFO review no7 airbrush away finishing powder essie fiji kiko less is better collection eyeshadow stick

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Monday, 8 May 2017

Peeking into A/W17 with Boohoo

Even though we are in May, if someone mentions autumn winter I'm all for it. It's my favourite time of the year and that's partly because of the fashion..i mean that's obvious isn't it? ..It certainly isn't because of the drizzle and dark evenings.. 
Boohoo invited me along to their A/W press day to take a peek into the colder months, and see what was going to be on offer from Boohoo for the most fashionable season of the year. 

boohoo press day a/w17 autumn winter 2017 fashion trends

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Friday, 5 May 2017

A UFO flew in and took away my acne

Well ..kinda .. i mean not completely but it is pretty damn good. 

Sunday Riley UFO oil review
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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Subscription box beauty : Dollibox

Usually I'm not one for expensive subscription boxes, but when Dollibox offered to send me their affordable beauty subscription service, i thought it was worth putting a £10 subscription box through it's paces - especially when they boast full size products and some seriously big name brands. 

Dollibox subscription box april review

When the box arrived i was really surprised just how much was inside the little box and that all of the products were a full size; i know usually a lot of boxes can be padded up with sample sizes and sachets, so I'm glad to see you actually get some value with this one. The variation in the box is what also caught my eye, it wasn't just beauty products included - this months box also housed a makeup sponge and a hair band. 

Dollibox subscription box april review

One of the standout products for me was this saturated colour lipstick (RRP £7), i had heard of the brand before so i was really excited to get it out of the packaging and get swatching and i was not disappointed. As the name suggests this lipstick is packed with pigment and lasting power, it actually stained my arm after swatching, but i don't mind because think of how that translates into lasting power! When you look at the RRP of £7 thats nearly the total price of the box, which is especially appealing as someone who has spent £25 on a lipsticks in the past..

Dollibox subscription box april review

Also included was a Schwarzkopf fibre force conditioner, i'm a sucker for an essential so when i see something i know I'm going to use and have a genuine need for I'm all the more enthusiastic. This would've definitely been something that i would've picked up, so it makes the box even more worth it, with an RRP of £9.70. This to me feels like a step up from my usual conditioner, i'm very happy to be adding it to my routine.

We all know I'm a big fan of bath bombs so to get a bath bomb in here as well was a huge bonus, especially when that bath bomb is named pink lemonade no less. Even though i love bath bombs I'm always a little bit worried about their ingredients, so it was good to read that these Skinjam cosmetics bathbombs are all natural and handmade in Yorkshire. RRP £2.50 or 4 for £10, meaning they work out cheaper than most!

Dollibox subscription box april review

i've been really into nails recently so this summery shade really stood out to me, and because i'm newly growing them out anything that helps to strengthen them is seriously appealing. I feel like i've become a bit of a nail polish connoisseur recently so i can actually judge how good a nail polish is .. and this is really good. If you were in a rush you could've gotten away with just one coat but two means complete opaque coverage and great lasting power, usually i wear £7.99 nail polish but this is only £4.50 and the quality is the exact same - if not a little more pigmented. 

Dollibox subscription box april review

When i opened the box and found a Babi bear makeup sponge inside i have to admit initially i didn't know what it was! (i thought it was a nail buffer to be honest) It turns out this makeup sponge can either be used for foundation or powder, at the minute i've been using this for powder because i love really patting powder in, but i might get more adventurous and use it for foundation at some point. It was really nice to get something i had never heard of, i feel like the market is pretty cornered by real techniques and beauty blender so it was interesting to be introduced to a new sponge and a really cute one at that. 

Like i said at the beginning I'm not one for expensive subscription boxes but i think at £10 a month this is great if you want a monthly treat for yourself, it won't break the bank but it'll give you an array of new treats to try out without just receiving a load of sample sizes. I also didn't realise you aren't tied down to a contract so you can decide whether or not you want to get a box month by month. Overall this box works out really great value or money (and we all know I'm about that), the total value of the box is £30.65 so considering you can pay as little as £8.50 a month you're getting a lot for your pounds. 
If you're looking for a subscription service that won't cost as much as your phone bill then look no further. 

What do you think about subscription boxes? - Maria x

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Disclaimer: This post contains PR samples. 

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Monday, 1 May 2017

The affordable skincare starter kit

Skincare is a big deal now, from 10 step Korean beauty routines to the multitude of ways to remove your foundation, it's a lot more complicated than the old "cleanse, tone, moisturise". Like many, i have my fair share of high end skincare; but the bargain hunter inside of me wanted to outline the basics and best brands to reach for when you're on a budget, but still want results. Although it's possible to have a really minimal skincare routine for a few pounds, I'm more angling at those who want a complete routine but are still looking to save the pennies.

affordable cheap skincare cleansing routine makeup removal products oily acne dry skin

Makeup removal:

Most of the time when people are looking to scrimp and save when it comes to skincare they immediately result to makeup wipes, in reality these are pricy, ineffective and my #1 enemy. My favourite method for affordable makeup removal is micellar water, i buy the 700ml bottles of Garnier micellar water when it's on offer and i usually end up paying 80p per 100ml. Although micellar water won't take off long wear formulas perfectly, it will remove the majority or normal foundations before your second cleanse.

Even though many products claim to also remove eye makeup, i still believe in using a separate eye makeup remover to get the job done, again I'm a big fan of Garnier products and usually buy the eye makeup remover when its half price at around £1.60 ish. I don't see much point in skipping eye makeup remover and using micellar water, it won't do as good of a job and you'll just end up using more product.

Also quick tip, if you're looking for cheap cotton pads get them at Primark! The standard size are 50p and the larger ones are 90p, i actually prefer these ones to the more expensive brands.

affordable cheap skincare cleansing routine makeup removal products oily acne dry skin

Double cleanse & tone: 

When it comes to high quality cleansers and toners on a budget i always head to the body shop, i find a lot of drugstore cleansers and toners can be very drying or harsh but these are far from it. Each cleanser or toner is around the £6-£7 mark, they have a range devoted to every skin type or condition so there will be something for everyone and they're alcohol free too.

I'm yet to be disappointed by a body shop skincare product, so they have my vote - especially when most cheaper cleansers and toners can be so drying and have alcohol as a main ingredient. I use the tea tree skin clearing wash and seaweed oil balancing toner but if you do have a different skin type to me they'll have range perfect for you. 

affordable cheap skincare cleansing routine makeup removal products oily acne dry skin

Hydrate:

If you're on a serious budget then it's perfectly plausible to skip face oils and eye creams (not moisturiser of course) but if you're just looking for a complete routine then it's possible to find these extras while sticking to a budget. I've already done a whole post on this Palmer's facial oil but what i will say is that it's the most effective affordable facial oil that i've tried, it's £9.99 but in facial oil terms thats nothing and it contains retinol - bargain.

Eye cream has become a necessity for me and this B. nourished one ticks all the boxes; i really like the formula of this, it's somehow really hydrating without being too thick and it sinks in really quickly. Technically this is marketed towards people in their 50s but hey, i haven't had dry eyes since!

As for moisturiser there are just so many affordable options for me to mention, i think because moisturiser has been around for a such long time the drugstore has had time to really perfect formulas. If i had to pick one i'd choose the Neutrogena visibly clear oil free moisturiser, i used this for about a year and it still remains one of my favourite affordable options, that didn't break me out but still kept me hydrated. 

affordable cheap skincare cleansing routine makeup removal products oily acne dry skin

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What is your favourite affordable skincare product? - Maria x

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and the Palmer's Oil was sent to me as a PR sample. 
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