Tuesday 30 June 2015

Le Couvent Des Minimes Eau Des Minimes Cologne Review

Summer heat makes your fragrance becomes all the more intense which is why I like to sometimes wear something lighter and fresher for day. I was recently sent Eau Des Minimes Cologne to try from Le Couvent Des Minimes and I have to say this fits the bill nicely.

Le Couvent De Minimes say 

A fresh and easy to wear fragrance with a sparkling citrus scent. Gives a true feeling of freshness and well-being. This generous botanical fragrance will refresh your senses, boost your mood and energise your skin.
A refreshing twist on the classic cologne, suitable for men and women.

Legend has it that in the 14th Century, an old queen regained her health and beauty after using "Eau Miraculeuse" (Miraculous Water). Its recipe combined Citrus fruit, Rosemary and Eau de Vie. It was prepared in Convents, who alone knew their secret and it soon became an indispensable part of the daily morning ritual. From that point on, "Eau Miraculeuse" spread all across Europe and soon became known as "Cologne".

The Botanical Cologne of the Minims is the heir to this tradition.

Thanks to its Original Recipe combining 3 refreshing Citrus Fruits with 7 Plants selected for their beneficial properties, this universal and sparkling scented Cologne will delight fans of Botanical Colognes and Citrusy fragrances.

Original Recipe

• Grapefruit, Blood Orange, Lemon: Refreshing
• Rosemary: Revitalising
• Wild Pansy, Lemon Balm: Moisturising
• Burdock: Fortifying
• Mallow: Soothing
• Neroli, Benzoin: Sources of well-being

My thoughts 

Eau Des Minimes cologne is zesty and summery with the delicious citrus fruit notes in abundance which makes it a great choice as a holiday companion.  Although they remain, soon it becomes something a little more special, the calmness and feeling of wellness is lighter and almost creamier in tone. This is the ideal everyday scent. A light, uplighting fragrance but quite distinctive. I shall be wearing this throughout the Summer. 

Tip - Spray on after showering. 

Le Couvent Des Minimes Eau Des Minimes Cologne costs £19 for 100ml Spray and is available from boots.com 

*PR Sample

Max Factor Colour Intensifying Balm Review

These Colour Intensifying Lip Balms from Max Factor have been my Spring to Summer go to lip choice as they are so easy to wear, providing the right amount of colour and sheen to the lips without any stickiness (ideal for those super windy says we have been having recently)

Max Factor say 

This lip Colour Balm really earns its place in your make-up bag as it’s just so flexible. The lightweight buildable formula lets you dial up and dial down your lip look -

  • Build colour and intensity in smooth, defined layers.
  • Helps moisturise and protect your lips from dryness.
  • Lightweight formula that doesn’t feel heavy.
  • Smooth, even finish that’s free from stickiness.
My thoughts 

Max Factor Colour Intensifying Balm Swatches
From Bottom to top, one application and then 3 - Shades Refined Rose, Luscious Red & Classy Cherry

I love the sleek, slim bullet that the lip balm is cased in and the matching case to the shade (and see -through lid) makes it easy to identify quickly the shade you want to use.

The lip balm provides a simple wash of colour but this is buildable if you want more colour intensity, hence its product name. There is no stickiness or dryness to contend with, just lovely colours and a beautiful glossy sheen. The result is that the Max Factor Colour Intensifying Balms are a winner with me.

Wearing my fave shade  - Classy Cherry 

Wearing Classy Cherry

Max Factor Colour Intensifying Balms come in 9 shades and cost £8.99

*PR Samples

Monday 29 June 2015

Caudalie Vinoperfect Complexion Correcting Radiance Serum Review

I have just reviewed the new Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Tinted Moisturizer which was created to work in combination with the older Caudalie Vinoperfect Complexion Correcting Radiance Serum which is what I am about to review now.

Unfortunately I have reached the age where I have noted a few dark spots on my face and so imagine my delight when I found a product that has been created to address this problem - the Caudalie Serum!

It is too early yet to say I have noticed a difference in the particular dark spot that I am targeting but I will say how I am finding this skincare product as a whole, and watch this space as I shall report back!

Caudalie say 

N°1 anti-dark spot product* and Caudalie cult product:This lightweight milky serum corrects and prevents dark spots, evens skin tone and boosts skin's radiance. Highly concentrated with patented Viniferine to counter sunspots, acne marks, scars, and damage, for a brighter, more beautiful complexion.
Ideal for all skin types. Oil-free formula. Non-photosensitising, Non-comedogenic.
Apply morning and evening, to the face, neck and décolleté, before your usual moisturiser. May also be used under your sunscreen for a flawless tan.

My thoughts 

As you can see from the swatch below the serum is opaque white and almost creamy in texture, however it is super light on the skin and absorbs fast. The serum leaves skin feeling beautifully soft and smooth looking and instantly awakens the skin. As mentioned above I have only used it for 2 weeks now and the product claims effectiveness on dark spot intensity in week 4. 

I use it twice a day and adore the fresh scent which makes it a pleasure to use. Of course the glass bottle and dropper just add to its appeal.

Note - I have normal/combination skin and what is great about this serum is that there is no oiliness from it on the dreaded t-zone, great for the Summer months.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Complexion Correcting Radiance Serum swatch on the left

Caudalie Vinoperfect Complexion Correcting Radiance Serum 30ml costs £45

*PR Sample

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 Review

Caudalie's new Vinoperfect Radiance Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 is the latest release from the skincare brand,  this tinted moisturizer is an all-in-one treatment and complexion enhancer.

Created to be used alongside the Vinoperfect Complexion Correcting Radiance Serum (review following), it works in combination with the serum promising to provide a powerful anti-dark spot approach with amazing results. 

The tinted moisturizer is available in two shades, I am using 01 light. 

Caudalie say 

Complexion correcting: This oil-free, hydrating SPF20 tinted moisturiser is an all in one skincare treatment and complexion enhancer. Its mineral pigments blend with the skin to cover skin imperfections, dark spots, redness, acne scars and blemishes, giving you a smooth, even radiant complexion. Apply in the morning to face and neck. Avoid the eye contour area. Non-comedogenic. Oil-free. Dermatologist tested. 

My thoughts 

This tinted moisturizer has a lovely texture and blends nicely on the skin. The scent is a gorgeous sweet citrus scent, similar to the Caudalie Polphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Protect Cream. Shade 'light' is perfect for my skin tone. The one thing I did notice was that I should not use a moisturiser with this tinted moisturiser, if you do the product peels and rolls off the skin, not a good look. When I followed the instructions to use it just with the serum it was fine, lesson learned. 

The tinted moisturizer gives a really natural effect so if that is what you are looking for then this is ideal. It evens out the skin, redness is calmed down and skin looks really nice and even, pores are minimized and dark spots, although not hidden are reduced in appearance. I love the fact that it is working as a treatment whilst you use it and not just a makeup product.

This gives about 6 hours of coverage which I think is pretty decent but I would personally choose to wear this on a no makeup kind of day or as a quick fix when time is short on the school run! The SPF20 is reassuring and decent protection for the UK. 

If I was going out for the day or an evening out I would wear a heavier foundation.

Swatches of Caudalie Vinoperfect Serum & Tinted Moisturized

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 blended

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 costs £27 for 40ml 

*PR Sample

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Pukka Vanilla Chai Tea Review

My appetite for Chai Teas hasn't abated so last week I was perusing the tea aisle and came across Vanilla Chai from Pukka Organic Teas which promptly found its way into my shopping basket.

Pukka say 

A caffeine-free cup of fairly-traded sweet organic vanilla tingling with cinnamon and ginger – climb on her back, she’s ready to lift you up: a fairly-traded magic carpet of sweet organic vanilla tingling with cinnamon and ginger – and tender with cardamom, fennel and licorice.

There’s no caffeine here, just six herbs bristling with energy. So heat some water and off you go - an aromatic sensation in a cup.

My thoughts 

I liked the fact that that was caffeine free and I was looking forward to trying it out. I am pleased to report that this tea lives up to expectations. It has the perfect mix of sweet and spice, there is a real kick in its spice and it is heavy on the cinnamon flavour which I really like. I think it is a great tea to drink anytime of day as it is caffeine free. I have to be honest and say that I don't really detect the vanilla in the cup but no matter this doesn't ruin the enjoying of the tea in any way.

I have tried it with just hot water as per the instructions but have also tried it with milk for a traditional style chai latte and it works both ways. For simplicity it is fine with just hot water and packed with flavour. This isn't one of your wishy washy herbal teas, this is a full impact tea.

Does anyone remember Dentyne Chewing Gum? I haven't had it for years but Vanilla Chai is like drinking liquid Dentyne. So nice!

Pukka Vanilla Chai comes in a box of 20 individually wrapped bags 

Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer Review

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Flawless Wear Concealer SPF10 is one of my favourite concealers as it has multiple uses. It works a treat at concealing blemishes and scars. It can also be used around the eye area on dark circles and on the eyes as a base for evening out skintone before applying eyeshadow.

I use shade Light/Medium which is perfect for me although the concealer range comes in an impressive eight shades so you should be able to find a suitable shade.

Estee Lauder say 

Looks flawless. Lasts 15-hours. Feels comfortable, never dry. Stays seamless, without creasing.

Its lightweight creme formula creates the perfected look of flawless skin all day. Transfer-resistant, colour-true, with medium buildable coverage that won't slip, slide or melt away. Luminous finish.

Infused with minerals and emollients to condition skin and make blending easy. Oil-free. Water, perspiration and humidity-resistant.
To start, choose a concealer shade that matches your foundation or is one shade lighter.

For best results, we recommend applying concealer after applying your foundation.
Use Double Wear Concealer with Concealer Brush 5. Swipe concealer to back of hand, then with brush smooth on over desired area. Blend well.
Targeted concealing techniques: For darkness around eyes, go with a slightly lighter shade than your foundation. For puffiness, slightly darker. For uneven skintone, wear the same exact shade as your foundation.

Swatch of Double Wear Concealer in shade Light/Medium 

Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer blended 

My thoughts 

This concealer is not cheap but it lives up to its claims and therefore I would repurchase again and again. I love that it completely conceals blemishes for a flawless base and it really lasts. Some concealers don't blend well or have a dulling effect on the skin, Double Wear doesn't do this and is barely traceable.

Fabulous product.

Top tip - If you find the product too thick for your eye area why not mix it with some of your eye cream/lotion for a brightening effect that is super lightweight and long lasting.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Flawless Wear Concealer SPF10 costs £21.50 

Friday 19 June 2015

Burberry Kisses Lipstick in Military Red

A little while ago Burberry ran a twitter campaign where you could send a Burberry Kiss to someone and that person would get the chance to pick a sample shade of the new Burberry Kisses Lipstick to be sent to them. I was lucky enough to get nominated and I chose a vibrant and classic red shade - 109 Military Red.

Just look how cute the sample packaging is, it comes complete with the iconic Burberry print and this includes on the actual lipstick too!

Burberry say 

Discover Burberry Kisses, the effortlessly buildable lip colour, designed to give multiple lip looks with just one shade. 

The weightless formula delivers a customisable make-up result – a single kiss of colour gives understated luminosity, two or three kisses give intense depth and vibrancy.
A rich blend of satin-finish pigments and shiny polymers gives luminous colour brilliance
Enriched with our signature blend of tea, lavender and rosehip, the whisper-light texture glides on with supreme comfort and gives six hours of continuous hydration. 

Burberry Kisses shade No.109 Military Red, actual colour 

My thoughts 

It is well documented on BeautySwot.com that I adore the Burberry Makeup range, especially the various lipstick formulas and Burberry Kisses doesn't disappoint.

The product feels light on the lips and hydrating. I love that the application can be built up from pretty sheer on first application to full on coverage, as a red this makes it far less scary for me to wear. As a result this is a rare red that I would personally consider wearable for day and of course it will take you right into the evening. It is indeed luminous and bright, lifting the complexion and putting a sparkle in the eyes

Military Red Burberry Kisses is a beautiful true red that I adore.

Take a look at how it looks on me below

Wearing Military Red Burberry Kisses

Burberry Kisses Lipstick cost £25

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Mobile Photography Masterclass with Three UK

I had the pleasure of attending a brilliant and informative masterclass in mobile photography using the iPhone 6 with Three UK last Saturday afternoon.  I couldn't resist taking part as I am on the verge of upgrading my phone and also contemplating buying a separate camera for blog photos use.. would this help me make up my mind?

The class started off with some great photography tips given by Photographer Jodie Humphries (you can follow her on twitter @PhotoJodie) she also told us of a couple of apps to use to make your photos even better!

We were then let loose on some props and taking the knowledge we had learnt from the class, took photos inside and played with the apps. Once we had a good feel of the phone & apps we were let loose on London!

As the offices were in an excellent location we had Theatreland, Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square on our doorstep. The weather was kind too, the complete grey cloud coverage eased to allow the hot sun to shine through.

Once we had plenty of shots we returned back to the office for some delightful and utterly delicious afternoon tea, chatter and editing of our pics.

Top photography tips for standout blog and Instagram shots -

 1. Clean the lens (you will be surprised at how many people don't do this).

 2. Don't rely on the zoom function, get as close as physically possible to your subject.

3. Look for natural light when creating your shot, if necessary move your subject.

4. Be ready for that shot, use the shortcut button on the phone and use burst mode to capture many shots, edit later.

5. Get familiar with your camera and practice tweaking - exposure, contrast and sharpening your images.

6. Be bold with your crop - I like this tip, you don't always have to feature everything in your final image or indeed have the subject centred. Far more effective to focus on the exciting bit!

7. Remember what caught your eye, was it the vibrancy? Edit to bring out those colours or textures.


Use white card, curved as a background for objects (check out my pineapple shot - That was taken indoors with a white background and a light shining on it) and look for as much light as possible, it can be natural or artificial. Experiment to see what gives the best effect

Apps to add to your phone - 

Snapseed - 

Drama filter - adds erm.. drama

Tune Image - boosts colour

Use the sharpen, tone & contrast tools.

Pic Tap Go

Lights On - this is brilliant for brightening and whitening a shot.

There are many other filter options too

The results of the day are below - hope you enjoy!

My stand out pics from the day are the close up shots and the dramatic scene in Trafalgar Square but you know I am really happy about what I learnt on the day and already think my shots have improved immensely... I just hope Jodie agrees ;-)

A photo posted by Bettina@beautyswot (@beautyswot) on

A photo posted by Bettina@beautyswot (@beautyswot) on

A photo posted by Bettina@beautyswot (@beautyswot) on

A photo posted by Bettina@beautyswot (@beautyswot) on

A photo posted by Bettina@beautyswot (@beautyswot) on

A photo posted by Bettina@beautyswot (@beautyswot) on

A photo posted by Bettina@beautyswot (@beautyswot) on

And finally a pure, unadulterated photo taken by the iPhone 6 - I absolutely love the brightness of this pic

So there you have it, the results of my mobile photography masterclass with all the shots taken by the brilliant iPhone6. I am totally sold on this phone and this will be my next upgrade without a shadow of a doubt. It is light, slim and sleek, even though it is bigger than what I am currently using I didn't find it cumbersome or indeed notice the size difference. Just that I got a better idea from the large screen of what my photo was going to look like.

If you are interested in the iPhone6 visit the Three Mobile site to find out more - http://www.three.co.uk/iPhone and remember that you can use your phone on Three with no extra roaming charges when holidaying abroad.. sounds good to me! #HolidaySpam

Friday 12 June 2015

A Poem Of Happiness - The Friday Column

A Poem Of Happiness 

A smile from a stranger 
A compliment from a friend
A day full of blue skies and sunshine
I wish Summer would never end 

It's the little things that make me happy
They don't have to cost a lot
In fact most don't cost anything at all 
Cheap or expensive it matters not a jot

A picture to evoke memories
A mix tape or two 
A hark back to the good old days
They stop me from feeling blue 

Uninterrupted sleep, a breath of fresh air
Pressing the snooze button on the alarm
Just five more minutes, I swear
A full body massage, I feel the calm 

A bouquet of flowers hand delivered
The shrill of child's laughter, pure bliss
Completing the crossword, a lover's caress
Silence is golden but noise I would miss

These things make me happy 
But I can find plenty more
Sometimes time out and reflection
Will allow you to open that door  

An original work of fiction - all rights reserved

Roberto Cavalli Paradiso EDP - Review

When the original Roberto Cavalli EDP was released back in 2012 (how has it been 3 years!) I declared it the Scent Of Summer and an unmistakably sexy fragrance. It evoked  such wonderful feelings in me and I still love it just as much. You can read my original review here. This birthday I was given the latest fragrance release.

The new fragrance from Roberto Cavalli is Paradiso 

Notes - 

Top notes - Bergamot & Mandarin
Heart note - Wild Jasmine
Base notes - Cypress, Parasol Pine & Pink Laurel

The fragrance is described as a Woody Floral.

“Paradiso is about a moment of happiness. I wanted to give a feeling of that instant when you feel totally at ease,” Roberto Cavalli. 

My thoughts

Where the original EDP was a sexy and noticeable fragrance, that was all things Summer, I think this is a more sensual, subtle fragrance that is ideal for everyday wear being not at all obtrusive. At first it is a sparkling citrus fragrance that may appear to be a little heavy but this soon dries down to the warm floral heart and then the woody base notes push through. Personally I think this is an all year round fragrance. Feminine. 

The bottle 

I love the multi faceted flacon. This oozes bathroom shelf appeal.

Roberto Cavalli Paradiso EDP costs £37 for 30ml

Kiko Modern Tribes Collection - Review

Yet another gorgeous range from Kiko Cosmetics to show you today, in my eyes they can do no wrong - Kiko Modern Tribes Collection - This collection is sun kissed, glowy with a pretty pop of colour...

What I adore about the bits that I was sent was just how wearable and Summer lovely they are. Wooden cases with gold decoration reaffirming its tribal foundations. This is Urban Modern Tribal at its finest.

I was sent -

Tri-Bal Baked Blush in Mysterious Earth £14.90

A perfect all-in-one product to bronze, blush and highlight with, this is definitely one of my top picks from the collection.

Graphic Ritual Kajal Eyeliner £5.90

These eyeliners are soft and creamy to apply and are suitable for the inner and outer eye, making them perfect for tightlining if that is your thing. 

I was sent two shades - Talisman Gold which a stunning gold and a deep and rich earthy dark blue in the shade of Masai Blue

Once applied these do not budge. 

Finally another multi use product - Free Spirit Lips & Cheeks £8.90 

As the name suggests these creamy chunky pencils are suitable for use on your lips and cheeks. They are described as giving a radiant matte finish. I was sent Hearty Peach which I love, love, love! and a pretty in pink Unique Camellia. Both items are fully pigmented so you only need to apply once to get the full punch of colour. Personally I prefer the pink just on my lips as it is a bit too deeply pink as a blush on my skin. Hearty Peach gives a subtle peachy glow to the cheeks which I like but personally I think I would keep both matte shades for my lips only...

The price also includes a sharpener for your chunky pencil.

Swatches of the Kiko Modern Tribes Collection 

*PR Samples

Thursday 11 June 2015

Vichy Purete Thermale Cleansing Collection - Review

I have been testing out a couple of products from the new Vichy Purete Thermale Cleansing range and what a pure pleasure that has been. Both the Gel and the Micellar Oil have proven to be fantastic cleansers and really it just boils down to which cleansing format you prefer... See below for more details. 

Vichy Purete Thermale Beautifying Cleansing Micellar Oil 125ml £13.75

Vichy say 

Remove even the toughest make-up with the Vichy Purete Thermale Beautifying Cleansing Micellar Oil, suitable for all skin types.

Lightweight, effective and non-greasy, this luxurious oil ensures pleasurable make-up removal. Both oily and dry skin types will benefit from its clarifying care as it won’t overload the skin, instead transforming from an oil to a milk on contact with water..

At the heart of the formula are micelles, which gently remove waterproof make-up, impurities, sebum excess and dead cells with no need for rubbing. Added Camelia Oil moisturises and smoothes skin, while Vitamin E provides antioxidant protection.

Massage onto skin to loosen makeup, and rinse away with water.

Paraben-free, suitable for sensitive skin. Tested under dermatological and ophthalmological control.

My thoughts 

I am a big fan of oil cleansing and am smitten by this one from Vichy, it smells insanely lovely and fresh. I am completely hooked on its scent and how effective it is at removing makeup, including heavy eye makeup. It leaves my skin feeling luxuriously soft and I honestly cannot find a single fault with it. Gorgeous and gentle cleansing at its finest.

Vichy Purete Thermale Fresh Cleansing Gel 200ml £12

Vichy say

Remove every trace of the day with the Vichy Purete Thermale Fresh Cleansing Gel, an optimised formula for all skin types.

The perfect partner for city living, this lightweight gel cleanses deeply and protects cells against pollutants. The foam feels so fresh on the skin, leaving it pampered, clarified and extremely soft.

At the heart of the formula is the expert anti-pollution complex Purisoft, which is composed of Amilite Technology to soften the effect of hard water, Glycerin to moisturise, and Moringa to cleanse dust, excess sebum and pollution from the skin.

Apply to damp skin and work in circular motions to produce lather. Rinse away thoroughly.

Paraben-free, suitable for sensitive skin.

My thoughts 

The Gel has the same delicious scent as the oil which makes me exceedingly happy. The gel comes out clear and is quite thick. One thing to note about the gel is that it promises to reduce the discomfort caused by hard water. Now I live in a hard water area and so am perfectly placed to test this out. I am not a fan of gel cleansers in general as I find them drying, but this was different. The first thing I noticed instantly was that the product mimics the results as if it has been used in a soft water area..

Those in hard water areas may notice how your usual Cleanser/Shampoo product foams up more when on holiday/abroad (this is the result of soft water). I used just one pump of this gel and I had the most ridiculous amount of foam, definitely a nod to its amilite technology! After cleansing my skin was super, super soft and didn't feel dry or tight. A complete win win situation.

I have no hesitation in recommending either of this brilliant cleansers from Vichy.

They are available to buy from Escentual.com and I believe right now they have up to a 1/3 off which makes them even better value.

*Samples provided for review purposes

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Cheryl StormFlower Eau de Parfum Review

StormFlower is Cheryl's debut fragrance and available in EDT and EDP versions. The sample I have is the EDP version and I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised by this celebrity fragrance.

Launched in 2014 this perfume has been created to capture the many facets of Cheryl's personality  - the result is a luminous, hypnotic and uplifting perfume.


Top notes - Mandarine, Nectarine
Heart notes - Freesia, Peach Blossom
Base notes - Vanilla, White Musk & Sandalwood

My thoughts

This scent is a fresh citrus and fruity floral that does indeed make me smile when I wear it, bursting with fun and just enough sweetness to lift it to delicious levels but not overly so to make it cloying. The dry down is lovely too, fading to a warmth that is appealing, I really like this celebrity release and admit to finding it a little bit addictive. A gorgeous floral scent that will appeal to all ages. Oh and the bottle with its flower lid is gorgeous to boot. Honestly though, I wouldn't expect anything less from the divine Cheryl.

Cheryl StormFlower 30ml costs £23.95

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Burt's Bees Lip Crayons - Review & Swatches

I do love the lip crayon format and these ones from Burt's Bees are a good choice if you like your products 100% natural - They are scent free and moisturising on the lips.

Burt's Bees says 

Introducing six creamy, full-coverage shades of matte lip colour in a modern crayon for truly beautiful lip colour. Lightweight moisture for a comfortable, everyday wear formula infused with Shea Butter, Kendi Oil, and Jojoba Oil. It's colour that truly cares for your lips!
• Creamy matte colour and moisture-rich wear
• For everyday wear either alone or layered under a Lip Gloss or Lip Shine
• Precise application in a playful form without the hassle and mess of sharpening
• No added flavour or fragrance
• Hydrates and moisturises lips, leaving them feeling soft and smooth

My thoughts 

These lip crayons are lovely to apply and just glide onto the skin, feeling nice on the lips. The colours are matte and can be built up in intensity. My favourites are Hawaiian Smolder - an utterly gorgeous matte bright pink for a pop of fun colour and Niagara Overlook - a fantastic everyday pinky/coral shade that is Summer ready.

Swatches of the Burt's Bees Lip Crayons

From L-R - Hawaiian Smolder ,Niagara Overlook, Redwood Forest & Napa Vineyard

Burt's Bees Lip Crayons come in 6 super shades and cost £8.99 each.

*PR Samples

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Darwin At Sky Garden - Brunch In London

Brunch in the sky? Darwin At Sky Garden promised to take brunch to new heights.

A brunch in London set high above in the clouds is a hugely tempting premise so I didn't need much persuading I have to tell you.  A couple of Sunday's ago the tall one and I headed up the Walkie Talkie building to experience this for ourselves.

Outside the Darwin Brasserie - Level 36

There was a queue to visit the Sky Garden but restaurant goers bypass the queues and go through airport style security before being whisked up the lift.

The Darwin Brasserie, fresh and modern interior

We were shown to our seats - a fabulous window seat with incredible views over the River Thames and the city.

Having been given menus and decided on our main meal we were shown to the bar area to where the (bottomless) Bloody Mary's were, there were four variations to choose from and items to tailor it to taste. Also on the menu were unlimited milkshakes from the Milkshake Bar - I absolutely loved the sweet Vanilla Bean one and the Fresh Berry one but you can also enjoy other flavours like Banana which was really popular on the day. Kale smoothie is also an option but on this occasion I passed.


The buffer starters were a fabulous savoury mix of salads, cheese board and meats. Top choices for me and the tall one included the potato and chorizo salad, smoked salmon, the bloody mary prawn cocktail and the asparagus dressed in a truffle vinaigrette. I suspect I could have filled up solely on the starters but sensibly I paced myself for what was to come.

For my hot main I was rather tempted by the pancake stack with bacon and maple syrup but opted for a savoury hot and chose a traditional brunch favourite of Eggs Florentine which was cooked to perfection. The tall one chose Beef Brisket for his main but he was considering a traditional roast which was also on offer.

Dessert Buffet 

Well when I caught sight of the dessert buffet my eyes were dancing and my belly ignited, so many treats on offer. I have to be honest after the two previous courses and upteen milkshakes I was pretty full but I always make sure I am never so full as I cannot manage something sweet...

I balanced my sweet treats with some healthy berry fruits and it was a great and refreshing combination. I opted for a slice of chocolate and walnut salted caramel tarte which was rich and indulgent but a real highlight. The waffles were tasty and teamed with maple syrup and fresh fruit sublime. I also had the blueberry cheesecake which was truly delightful with a perfectly crunchy base but a light and silky mousse topping. Also on offer were 3 differently filled doughnuts, creme brulee, Eton Mess and lots, lots more.

Having taken brunch to the limits we made our way outside and soaked in the views and admired the Sky Garden

In conclusion this is quite simply a wonderful way to spend a lazy Sunday,  an epic brunch that will tantalize the tastebuds and breathtaking views of London. I am already planning a return visit.

Brunch at Darwin Brasserie is served on Sundays from 11.30am to 4.30pm and costs £38 per person

*We were guests of Darwin Brasserie

Monday 1 June 2015

Magic Minerals by Jerome Alexander Review

I am a liquid foundation kind of girl no doubt about it but I was suitably impressed by the mineral foundation - Magic Minerals by Jerome Alexander 

The compact is sturdy, it comes complete with a stubby brush to apply the powder with and a blending sponge and there is a mirror inside the compact too.

Any concerns I had about the powder being too dark for me were allayed as soon as I tried the product. It is a great universal shade. It promises to be a foundation, corrector and concealer in one.

It also contains some random spots of colour which actually have a purpose as opposed to just being fun to look at.

Pink - brightens and gives a healthy glow
Mint - reduces redness and covers breakouts
Yellow - conceals dark circles and uneven skin-tone
Lavender - corrects sallow complexions.

Magic Minerals say 

Magic Minerals covers, conceals and corrects all at once for a flawless look. This ultra-fine micronized mineral powder is so smooth and light it naturally diminishes the appearance of age spots, dark circles and uneven skin-tone without caking or getting caught in wrinkles.


Natural SPF
No Irritants
Fragrance free
Lasts up to 12 hours

My thoughts 

As I said above, I was suitably impressed by this mineral powder. It went on smoothly and blended nicely for an (almost!) flawless look. I had one particular stubborn blemish that refused to be hidden...

However, my redness on the inner cheeks was covered, skin-tone was evened out and there was not a trace of powderiness which I was pleased about. It also left my skin looking bright and it lasted. If you like mineral powders I highly recommend it.

Magic Minerals costs £9.99 

*PR Sample


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