The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer.

When it comes to products that promise to add a little glow factor to the 'ol complexion, I'm all for it. From the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders (check here for my posts) to Benefit's Watt's Up, I have slowly but surely built up quite the collection. Perhaps the crème de la crème of the bunch, however, comes courtesy of The Balm. 

Mary-Lou Manizer (£17.50) is the ultimate highlighter. No doubt. There's a reason this one has gained such an impressionable status, and I for one can fully understand the hype (though admittedly I'm a little, or a lot, slow with adding it to my makeup stash..). 

A honey-hued, golden powder boasting a buttery soft texture, it is a total dream to apply. I've heard quite a few refer to its dramatic, night-time appropriate effects, however if you go in gently and built up to suit your tastes, you can achieve anything from a subtle glow to something the Kardashian's would be proud of. Also, it's worth noting that I'm pretty pale, but I've seen this look amazing on all kinds of skin tones so this shouldn't be a concern.

Essentially, if you're wanting to up the stakes in the highlight department, this is undoubtedly the one for you.

Have you tried The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer? What are your go-to products for a glowy complexion?

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A Weekend in Edinburgh.

Well I guess this is a little embarrassing. 

I should probably make a point of addressing the elephant in the room, no? So, um, yeah, I hold my hands up and admit it's been a while. Well, quite a while in fact. So long that I'm questioning whether I can even justify calling myself a blogger?  Yikes.

Alas, I'm hoping to get back into the rhythm of blogging and keen to spill the deets on my latest getaway to the beautiful City that is Edinburgh.

A personal favourite of mine, I always have a blast whenever I get the chance to visit. Whether you're big on shopping, eating (*cough* me *cough*) or just general exploring, there's something to satisfy everyone. 

Rather than staying in a hotel, we decided to rent an apartment. Super spacious, airy and modern, it was the perfect spot for our two night stay. Located just off of the Royal Mile, the Old Town Chambers Apartments are in a prime location for the City centre, meaning we were able to get pretty much wherever we needed to be in a matter of minutes.

Being a beauty blogger, it'd be wrong for me not address the whole toiletries situation early on in the post. The apartment was fully kitted out with generous Cowshed products which definitely went down a treat. Though Cowshed was a brand I wasn't all that familiar with at the time, since giving them a whirl, I've rushed off to snap up a few of my own (separate post on it's way shortly!). Not only are the actual products amazing, but the packaging is top-notch, too. Plus, the play on words worked into the names of each bottle adds a little fun to your morning shower.

Of course, a big part of going away is to unwind. Naturally, beds play a large part in this, and the ones in our apartment certainly didn't disappoint. But, as comfy as said beds were, we were there to explore and enjoy our surroundings. ...And, did I mention, eat a whole lotta food.

Our first major foodie stop was at Wildfire on Rose Street. Serving the most divine food, it happens to be rated one of the best places to dine in the city. I'm a huge steak fan, and I have to say this was one of the best I've had. Quite the statement, I know.

Dessert obviously had to follow, and this chocolate treat was frankly, bloody amazing.

The next day we were treated to cloudless skies and took the opportunity to have a little stroll around the old town, making the time to fit in a visit to Harvey Nichols.

After a wee browse round the store, we headed up to the fourth floor for lunch at the Chocolate Lounge, which, is essentially what dreams are made of. Or mine, anyway.

As the name suggests, you can snap up a range of chocolate themed dishes and drinks, however if that's not really your thing, you're still guaranteed to find something on the menu that takes your fancy.

Who remembers Matey's? I'm pretty sure this is the sauce equivalent?

Next up, The Dome.
So, we may have just stayed for a cocktail or two, but that provided just about enough time to admire the gorgeous architecture. I would highly recommend a visit if you're nearby - there are some serious Gossip Girl-esque vibes coming from this place.

Being the Mexican food fanatics that we are, the trip needed to involve some form of spicy cuisine. To satisfy our cravings, we ventured out to Mariachi on Victoria Street. Though I can't say it was the best Mexican I've ever had (call me picky), it was still very nice - if you're going for a full meal, definitely opt for the Quesadillas to start.

Here we have the Heart of Midlothian, which has quite the story behind it (you can read up on that, here). It's supposedly good luck to spit within the mosaic, but I'll leave that one up to you!

So, my mini trip to Edinburgh in a nutshell. I can't lie, travel and lifestyle themed posts aren't really in my comfort zone (along with the fact it's been a while with any form of blog post *ahem*), so please excuse if I'm a little rusty - next time I will be back to rambling about beauty-shaped treats.

Are you a fan of Edinburgh? Have you visited any of the above? I'd love to know your recommendations for my next trip to the City!



February Favourites.

So I definitely feel that 'favourites' are more enjoyable when shown through video format, but as I am still yet to join the world of YouTube, I'm just gonna just go right ahead and share everything I'd been loving throughout the month of February, here...

Lifestyle and reading:
I mentioned The Blogger Journal (£15.99) in my recent haul post, and boy oh boy has it transformed the way I organise my wee space on the internet. I'm a huge lover of lists (it's quite excessive, actually) but this snazzy journal means I can have everything blog-related in one place with more than enough space to satisfy my planning and scribbling needs. Big thumbs up from me.

#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso (£9.99) - This.book.rocks. If you're in need of a little inspiration, or frankly, a kick up the ass, then this is the book for you. It essentially tells the tale of Sophia Amoruso and how she successfully transformed her life when founding one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world, Nasty Gal. It's charming, humorous and motivating, and something I struggle to put down.

If you happen to have weak, peeling nails then the Margaret Dabbs Nourishing Nail and Cuticle Serum (£12) will be right up your street. I could never seem to grow mine without them snapping off, but thanks to this little diamond, that's a thing of the past. Ok, so they're still not the longest nails out there, but I genuinely notice a change in the overall condition in a matter of days after using. I like to keep this on my bedside table pre-slumber but it's small size means it's also perfect to just pop in your handbag.

I'm having a bit of a moment with MAC it seems, as there's two products from the brand that I've been reaching for non-stop lately. For starters, I've been totally hooked on the Lip Pencil in Half Red (£12.50). Like all MAC pencils, this lasts all.day.long, which is definitely a bonus when it's such a pretty shade. I'm actually really surprised that it hasn't received more attention online as it's appropriate for both day and night and would compliment most skin tones. I actually wouldn't really agree with its 'half-red' title, I'd say it's more of a muted plum with a slight hint of pink, but it looks great when worn on its own or under lipstick (I like to pair it with MAC's Pink Plaid).

Next up from MAC is another pencil, but this time, for the eyes. I have a few in my collection now, but the Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Stubborn Brown (£14) is all kinds of awesome. A 'deep, rich brown', as described on the website, it boasts a matte finish that can be worn on both the lash and waterline without concern over longevity (I can normally get around six to seven hours wear of this without needing to top up).

The L'Occitane Shea Butter range has been a firm favourite of mine for years now (you can thank my Mum for getting me into it as a teen), so naturally I was pretty enthusiastic when it came to trying out the latest skincare launches from the collection. Whilst both products tick all my boxes (see my review of both here), the standout for me has to be the Shea Face Soothing Fluid* (£32). One word to sum it up? Amazing. If you have skin on the drier, more sensitive side of things, then this will go down an absolute treat. Since using both morning and night, I've found I'm able to use less foundation thanks to a decrease in redness, something I normally struggle with, and with rosehip, calendula and 5% shea butter as key ingredients, as you can imagine, it also smells pretty great to apply. I would highly recommend giving this one a go.

You may remember my post a couple of weeks back discussing my favourite products for dry, winter skin (head here if you fancy a read). Right at the top of the list was the Lanolips 101 Ointment* (£10.99) due to its superpowers (yes, superpowers). I love me a good multi-tasker, and this certainly fits the criteria - think lips, cuticles, dry patches and brows, it does it all, and very well, I may add. I am prone to a dry nose around this time of year and this sorts it out, stat.

I recently rekindled my love for the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (£22),  a.k.a. the best concealer of all time. Have a read of my review here, but to sum it up, it covers blemishes, dark circles and redness without any cakiness in sight. The shade 'Vanilla' is the perfect match for my cool-toned complexion.

So just a couple of fashion favourites to mention, but I kind of think this Zara Leather Details Messenger Bag (£69.99) makes up for it, no? How gorgeous is it? So I've had it a while now and I'm thus (probably) annoying for even mentioning it as it's no longer available on the website, but I've been using it non stop. It was quite pricey but the quality is top notch so I can see it lasting a long time. Also, is anyone else thinking it has a slight Chanel vibe to it? Oh yes.

It's been bloody freezing lately so I've mainly been sporting jumpers, jumpers and more jumpers. Perhaps my favourite of the bunch is this snuggly offering from Mango, which is literally the cosiest thing ever. It's also worth mentioning that they've been having an epic sale recently so I would definitely have a peek online if I was you... *goes and buys all the clothes*

What were your favourite things throughout February? I'd love to know! Have I encouraged you to try out any of the above?



L'Occitane Shea Butter Skincare.

Being a beauty blogger, I naturally try out a lot of different products and brands, however, one that I've been loyal to for many years now, is L'Occitane. I first became familiar with L'Occitane as a young teen when my Mum introduced me to the Shea Butter Hand Cream (£19), which, fast forward quite some time, is still one of my all time favourites.

So, with that said, it'll probably come as no surprise that I'm also rather fond of the rest of the Shea collection. From the One Minute Hand Scrub (£15) to the luxe Foot Cream (£19), the quality is top-notch and regularly receives awards and recognition throughout the media. The brand have just last month launched two new additions to the skincare side of things, so if you want to know my thoughts, keep on readin'...

Shea Face Comforting Oil* (£29)
If you're a regular reader of my blog then you'll already know of my love for facial oils. I must have about five in my collection now, but there's just something so luxurious about applying one on an evening pre-slumber. This particular oil is pretty special for a number of reasons. Boasting a dry finish, it's actually light enough to use after a morning cleanse without any concern over looking excessively shiny. Oils + makeup are a combination normally best avoided, the fine consistency means sliding is avoided and dry skin stays nourished. Enriched with shea (5%) and marula oils, the 100% natural formula is designed to rejuvenate and strengthen the skins barrier, leaving it soft, protected and even.

Dryness and sensitivity are my two main issues with my skin, and since using this twice a day, pretty much every day (when combined with the Shea Face Soothing Fluid* mentioned below) I've noticed a total transformation in both hydration levels and redness. Essentially, it's magic in a bottle.

Shea Face Soothing Fluid* (£32)
You may have seen this mentioned in my 'January Favourites' post on Tuesday, and for a good reason. Though it is indeed a luxury purchase, you're certainly getting your money's worth, as not only is the overall quality of the lotion exceptional, but you need only the smallest amount per use. With its familiar, shea butter fragrance, I find this to be a total pleasure to apply, which is something I feel is an important part of a skincare regime (I can never really seem to fully warm to a product with a scent I'm not keen on). It bares the same qualities as the serum in that it hydrates and soothes thanks to 5% shea, rosehip and calendula, whilst providing the perfect canvas for makeup. The bottle is also worth a mention, too. Obviously, like all L'Occitane products, it's very aesthetically pleasing, but also incredibly practical. Instead of a typical lid, the pump is twist activated meaning you're less likely to have a leak in your travel bag. Awesome. All in all it's a great skincare addition and one I will definitely be purchasing once I run out.

Are you a fan of L'Occitane and the Shea Butter range? Will you be trying out either of the above? I'd also love to know your recommendations from the brand!



Brand Focus: Pixi by Petra.

If you've been reading my blog for a while now then you'll already know about my undying love for Pixi. Head here to read my previous posts (warning: there's quite a few), but if you're instead just looking to find out some of the stand-out products from the brand then you might wanna stick around...

Rose Oil Blend* (£26) - Boy oh boy, is this a good'n. I always like to incorporate an oil into my routine throughout the year, but this offering is without a doubt, one of my favourites of all time. Designed to restore and rejuvenate the skin, the Rose Oil Blend adds a serious (and much needed), boost of hydration. Not only does it smell all kinds of awesome, but it has a thicker consistency than others I've tried so it's a total pleasure to apply. This also definitely gives a helping hand when it comes to reducing redness and blemishes, so I guess you could say it wins all around. Can you tell I'm a fan?

Glowtion Day Dew* (£24) - For a radiance boost come morning, I reach for this. It's quite lightweight in texture, but creates the perfect canvas for makeup, giving an almost 'lit from within' finish - think the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders but in moisturiser form. Definitely one to try if you're in the market for a newbie.

Glow Mud Mask* (£18) - I'm a big mask user and this is definitely one that I'll be repurchasing once I run out. Like a classic mud mask, it works to draw out impurities, leaving the skin brighter, clearer and glowing in just 15 minutes.

Of course the Glow Tonic (£18) is another cult favourite, but I very handily forgot to photograph my bottle in this set of shots - oops. You can read my full review here, but to sum it up, the exfoliating toner is an absolute essential for anyone who may be suffering from a dry, dull or slightly blemish prone complexion. In fact, it's pretty much ideal for all skin types. 9/10 now I reach for this over my (natural) grain scrubs as I feel it gives such a great result following my evening cleanse.

Endless Silky Eye Pencil (£12) - A gal can never have too many eyeliners in her life in my opinion, and these are well worth adding to your stash. The formula kind of reminds me of MAC eye pencils in that they are creamy, blendable, and once they've set, they ain't goin' nowhere. They also happen to come in a great range of colours so there will definitely be one to suit you.

Book of Beauty - Minimal Makeup (£24) - If you're someone that find themselves travelling a fair amount then you will seriously dig this palette. Made up of two highlighters, two cheek shades and four eyeshadows, it's pretty much got everything you need to create a barely-there makeup look. Pixi powders are really high quality (I adore the Limited Edition Natural Contour Kit*) and definitely something worth investing in. Essentially, this palette rocks.

2k Eye Elixir (£22) - Now this, this is total holy grail standard. Early mornings = tired, puffy eyes, but this anti-fatigue peptide serum cools and smooths the delicate area, providing a noticeable difference before you've even finished your A.M. cup of coffee. Frankly, a quick application of the roller-ball is nice to use anytime in the day so I would highly, highly recommend giving this a whirl for yourself.

Are you a fan of Pixi? What are your favourite products from the brand? Are you tempted to try out any of the above?


Neal's Yard Remedies Blog Event, Leeds.

On Tuesday I travelled up to Leeds for the Neal's Yard Remedies blogger event located in the beautiful Victoria Quarter store (think great lighting + elegant interiors = the perfect, Instagram-worthy equation). Held in hour long sessions throughout the day, I went along with my lovely gal pal Jess (or Foxxtailz, if you read her blog) where we met the lovely team and learnt a little more about the brand. I've been a fan of Neal's Yard for a while now (see my various posts here) so I was pretty excited to attend!

Not only were we kindly offered a mini massage in one of the beautiful aromatherapy treatment rooms upon arrival (I went for the hand option where I was able to sample the Bee Lovely range) but there were healthy canapes and drinks to snack on including some pretty delicious smoothies from Filmore & Union.

Yes, these were as delicious as they looked!

My previous experiences with NYR have mainly been with their skincare and body products (which are very good indeed), but since having a good nosey throughout the store I'm keen to try out the rest of their collections. There was a huge display filled with the various aromatherapy fragrances and diffusers on offer, plus the coolest Lumie Bodyclock you've ever seen - not only does the light adjust according to your needs, but it releases two fragrances (of your choice), one for the A.M. to help wake you from your slumber, and another to encourage you to drift off on an evening. Amazing.

So I may have said I already knew a fair bit about the brand, however I was unaware that they also catered to babies and makeup addicts.... is there anything Neal's Yard don't do? I think you could pretty much exclusively buy from the brand and still have everything you need beauty wise.

The Wild Rose Beauty Balm pictured below is without a doubt, my all-time favourite skincare product (I've mentioned it here if you fancy a read). Not only is it a total multi-tasker, but it's suitable for almost all skin types meaning you can rely on it regardless of your particular complexion troubles. Also, the scent, like all Neal's Yard products, is just amazing.

We were also given the chance to try out both Superfoods as they were incorporated into the nibbles and drinks - I definitely need to add both to my kitchen stash as they'll be perfect in homemade smoothies! Designed to detoxify and boost well-being and vitality, they're great to work in to a balanced, healthy diet.

I had a lovely afternoon with the girls, who were not only seriously friendly and welcoming, but totally clued up on the brand and products. It was great to get the chance to pick their brains and find out what items they'd recommend for our individual needs (I snapped up a bottle of the Mahonia Clear Skin Formula so I'm excited to see how it performs - expect a review coming your way in the next couple of months).

We were also very kindly gifted a goody bag of treats including a huge jar of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil* which can literally be used for pretty much everything in life (see my post here) - think cooking, smoothies, skincare, oil pulling, an eye makeup remover and a hair treatment, it does it all, and very well I may add.

*If you fancy learning a little more about the NYR brand, I recently shared a post discussing my go-to products and why they rock, here*.

Are you a fan of Neal's Yard Remedies? What are your favourite products from the brand? I'd love to know any recommendations you may have!

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