Skin Solutions: Step 2 – A beginner’s guide to acid toning

As I’m getting a bit older (and frankly I don’t think it’s age, its lack of sleep courtesy of child number two!) I’m definitely noticing the signs of aging in my skin. Alongside my problematic breakouts that have dogged me throughout my adult years, it’s sparked a new interest for me, in trying to make the best of what I’ve got. I’m not into cosmetic surgery, or the explosion of fillers and botox that is being widely embraced (yet!) but I am more than ready to dip my toe into the world of more powerful skin care and with that I’ll hand you over to Penny, who has been guiding my way down the skincare rabbit hole. Today, she’s talking acid…


Acid exfoliants are everywhere these days and come in many forms, types and strengths – from gentle lotions to more full-on home peel kits. Today I want to talk about toning with glycolic acid – it is widely available, suitable for most skin types and tends to give results quickly. A glycolic acid-based toner (used post-cleansing and pre-serums/moisturisers) will gently remove dead skin cells, leaving fresh-looking, radiant skin beneath. Those with acne, uneven skin tone and visible pores can hope to see clearer,
more even-toned skin; those with dry skin will benefit too as the acid creates an easily penetrable base for your lovely serums and moisturisers to do their thing. Basically, it’s good news for everyone.

However – it pays to ease in gently. I am guilty of getting excited and over-aciding to start with (my skin type is dehydrated/sensitive so I should have known better) and ending up like a scrubbed ham – not a good look. Don’t be a plum like me – ease in to a regime
that includes glycolic acid, or any active ingredient, by using a gentle product and/or using every other evening to begin with. On first application you can expect a tingle – but it shouldn’t feel any worse than that.

After toning, proceed with the rest of your normal routine. I have learned it’s best for me to follow with a hydrating toner (more of that next time!) and/or hyaluronic serum to pack the moisture back into my dehydrated skin before moisturising. Then always, always apply sunscreen – AHAs increase photosensitivity so this bit is non-negotiable!

A brief side-note: very sensitive types looking for something gentler than glycolic might like to investigate mandelic and lactic acid products. If you have very badly congested skin and glycolic isn’t cutting it – salicylic acid might work better.

Happy aciding!

Glycolic acid toners – Pennys’ top picks

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Toner, £5.95
I managed to get this half price, which it often is. It doesn’t feel quite as nourishing as the Pixi version (see below), but if you’re using other hydrating products then who cares. Absolutely brilliant for the price.

Bravura London Calendula Toner, £12.40
This gorgeous toner combines glycolic and lactic acids and healing calendula

Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix Cleansing Pads, £12.95
You can always find these discounted somewhere – scour TK Maxx, Superdrug and major supermarkets. The pre-soaked pads are particularly handy to pack for travel. For those on a super tight budget – Aldi Lacuna do a decent dupe of these for mere pennies if you can track them down!

Pixi Glow Tonic, £18
Pixi’s fabulous best-seller and my personal desert-island beauty product. Love it.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold, £33
A cult product with a deserved reputation, Liquid Gold is not an everyday toner, but an intensive overnight treatment (product suggests using 2-3 times per week but I tend to use once a week). Excellent for resurfacing, smoothing lines, evening skin tone and brightening up dull skin.

Penny // @BrazFace

I don’t mind admitting, I’ve been using the Pixi Glow Tomic on Pennys’ recommendation for about 4 months now and its definitely made a difference to the frequency of my breakouts and just general skin brightness. I’ve also added in the liquid Gold (courtesy of the M&S Beauty advent calendar 2 years ago!) as a bit of a trial before shelling out on a full size bottle. I’d love to hear your experiences and tips if you’ve got any! – Rebecca x

Skin Solutions: Step 1 – Cleanse

Good Morning everyone! I wanted to introduce to you today a new series of posts we will be doing here at Florence Finds, from a not so new face! Some of you might remember Penny from her music series when FF was a little more active (In fact I’ve known her since the Rock My Wedding Days!) and she recently started a skincare Instagram. I didnt know about her personal skincare mission but she has been dedicating some serious time to sorting her own skin out and in doing so has become quite the guru. I’ve already switched up some of my routine on her advice (clueless newbie over here!) and the good news is she going to be sharing it with you guys on a semi-regular basis here! In between you can catch her on Insta @BrazFace

A post shared by Penny (@brazface) on

Step one: Cleanse

I have always thought my skin type was oily/spot-prone, so it came as a bit of a Scooby-Doo head-tilt moment when a beautician told me that my skin was, in fact, enormously dehydrated. It had become sensitised thanks to the procession of harsh, spot-fighting (some of them GP prescribed) face washes and treatments I had been putting on my hormonal-acne-addled skin. These products occasionally gave me short-term results, but long-term they had been making my problems worse.

I started investigating gentle, more balancing cleansers, triggering a skincare obsession that’s still going strong. My first cleansing oil (from Sanctuary, details below) had such an immediate impact on my poor, neglected skin that I was hooked. My under the skin, cystic spots reduced hugely, and my complexion started to look smoother and more even.

The discovery of double cleansing came next; two cleanses in the evening, first to remove makeup and second to wash the skin beneath. The concept has been around for a long while now and I came late to the party – entirely because I am lazy and the thought of so much as hot cloth cleansing every night sounded like a massive hassle. These days however, I am converted. This more involved routine has yielded such good results that I weirdly enjoy doing it. It’s virtually meditative – plus a good excuse to lock the bathroom door for a bit of peace.

These days I am constantly switching my favourite cleansers in and out of my ever-changing routine and I’m always on the lookout for new things to try. Here are just some of my personal picks (particularly for problem skin like mine), I would love to hear about yours in the comments…

Sanctuary Ultimate Cleansing Oil, £12.
Beautifully easy to use, feels luxuriously hydrating but still gentle enough for sensitive skin.

Superfacialist Vitamin C Skin Renew Cleansing Oil, £10.99.
Cheerfully brightening and invigorating with a seriously citrusy fragrance. A good starter cleansing oil.

Coconut oil, £5 – £8, from any large supermarket or health food shop.
This one may seem unorthodox, but bear with me…I whipped a jar of coconut oil out of the kitchen cupboard and started using it as a pre-cleanse when I ran out of cleanser one time. My skin was being particularly bothersome and reacting to everything. You know what? It calmed my skin down a treat and made my face smell like a Bounty bar. Full marks!

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, £10.
TBS always have some killer deal or other on, so you can often get this for less than a tenner – which is astounding given how good it is. The balm melts on contact with your face, which is very pleasing, and it cleanses thoroughly without stripping.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, £15.
The famous hot cloth cleanser – a classic for all the right reasons. Manages to simultaneously cleanse, soothe and hydrate, all whilst smelling all nice and natural which always makes me feel virtuous!

Elemis Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser, £23.50.
I bought this when my skin was in a particularly stroppy period – so stroppy that I was willing to throw twice as much money at it than usual. I’m happy to say it did the job. It’s a cream cleanser (and I like so few of them so this is high praise!) brilliant for balancing tricky, combination skin.

Penny // @BrazFace

We would love to hear about your cleansing routine – do you double cleanse? And if you have any questions, lets hear them!

Recommended: Cheeky Wipes

One of the things I am focusing on for January Joy and 2018 is reducing our waste so today I thought I’d share one of my favourite changes we made last year – we switched to Cheeky Wipes. I’d heard of Cheeky Wipes when Bea was still in nappies but didn’t give them a lot of thought and as I became more interested she was nearing toilet training and it didn’t seem the right time to invest. We have never branched into reusable nappies, but although I was pretty economical with the wipes when changing a nappy, it horrified me to see Pete going through multiple wipes each time or the amount that got used cleaning up after a meal for example. So I decided to take the plunge once I was thinking of moving on from cottonwool and water for Cora’s bum.

I should add here that Cora suffered with quite a sore bum when she was little and we found the best way to manage it apart from making sure her nappy was changed promptly was using cotton wool and water to clean her as even water wipes did irritate her skin, which was another factor that attracted me to cheeky wipes. If you haven’t already heard of them, cheeky wipes are essentially reusable (i.e. you wash them,) wipes, not just for bums but you can use them for faces after meals too. The ‘wipes’ are little squares of cotton, bamboo or microfibre – like flannels and you can get them in kits which come with clean and mucky boxes. Essentially you soak them in water and a little essential oil, wring them out and leave in the ‘clean’ box to use as required. Then you have a ‘dirty box’ and a mesh bag hooked inside, pre-filled with water and some oil again for freshness, where you put the used wipes to soak. When you’re ready to wash them you simply lift the bag out and throw it into the machine. They wash as normal at 30 degrees with the rest of your washing and work their way out of the bag during the cycle, ready to be soaked and scented in the clean box again – no drying required.

So here’s the nitty gritty. Do they really work? The answer is yes and I absolutely love them. We bought natural bamboo velour which have a softer smoother side and a more textured flannel side but with the softness of bamboo. Because they are textured the grip for cleaning is fantastic and even sticky or thick poo’s (Sorry, TMI!) can be easily removed with just a couple of swipes. I rarely need more than one wipe to be honest and I feel like Cora almost gets a proper wash every time she has her nappy changed which is a real bonus as she doesn’t get bathed daily because of her dry skin. In terms of cost, a full kit (with the two boxes, 25 wipes, and the oils,) comes in at about £40 but they currently have £10 off the kits and you can save any time using this link: (which as a previous customer I got sent to share with friends) Get 15% off any order over £40. We weren’t particularly heavy wipe users but it still doesn’t take long to have a cost benefit over disposables and I feel good every time I use them that I’m not adding to landfill or putting damaging waste into the water system and ultimately our waterways and sea’s.

We also invested in the hands and faces kit as we were about to embark on weaning. I love having the rainbow microfibre cloths to hand (you keep them damp in a box in just the same way and instead of having a dirty box just throw them in the washing machine ready for the next wash) especially as we do baby led weaning which is more than a little messy! They are super soft and pick up all the bits of food in every little chubby finger crease, even weetabix which gets everywhere and dries like cement! They are even still in regular use at Bea’s age so I can see them being incredible value.

You might be wondering what happens when you go out. Of course you could still use disposable wipes for convenience but we decided that if we were making the change for environmental reasons we needed to commit to it. The kits come with 2 bags to take out and about with you. You simply pop a couple of damp wipes in the fresh bag and when they’re used put them in the dirty bag which is lined with a mesh bag like the dirty box, that zips out and throws in the machine too. So it’s really not difficult to eliminate disposable wipes completely. And if you want to extend your environmental efforts Cheeky wipes now also do Cloth Sanitary Pad kits, Reusable Make-up remover kits and even toilet paper alternatives.

I’d love to know if you use Cheeky Wipes or something similar, or if you feel inspired to make the switch! I’ll happily answer any questions you’ve got too!

Rebecca x

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Found: Your Super Model Smile

I don’t often write about make up because in all honesty, I don’t mess with mine much. I’m seriously loyal when I find something I like, and don’t get the time I would like to play with my look or get dressed up so much these days. Quelle Surprise.

However, what I do like, is beauty that works hard for me. I’m lazy and leave the same item in my bag for the school run, lunch with a friend and (once in a blue moon,) date night. And if it’s not too much to ask I want that product to function as a lip balm too, because despite owning about 500 Burts bees lip balms, I can’t ever quite manage to keep one to hand. So the good news is I have found a serious wonder product that I want to share with you all, because I think it suits EVERYONE.

It’s actually a product that came in the (2016) M&S Beauty Advent Calendar, the Rosie for Autograph Lip Glossy. There are a few colours but the one to go for is Supermodel Smile. It’s an amazing glossy nude that looks incredibly natural. (I should add it’s nowhere near as pink as it looks here.) The colour seems to work just as well slicked on when I’m casting about in my bag for something to moisturise on a cold sprint to nursery first thing in the morning, as it does with a smokey eye for an evening out. It’s a gorgeous moisturising formula and a really soft smooth texture. Yet it doesn’t just slip off and disappear instantly.

It’s £12.50 and you need one in your life. You can thank me later. ;) And if you’d like to see more I’ll do a little video on stories of me applying and wearing it. Follow me on Instagram here!

Have a great weekend!
Rebecca

Mama Body

I’m often thinking about motherhood issues I’d like to share here and rarely get time to sit and tap something coherent out but I’d love to encourage some honest discussion, so here’s the first in a series… more to follow.

Let’s cut to the chase today, how do you *really* feel about your body now you have had a baby?

I’ve thought about writing this for months… putting it off mainly because I wanted to reach the fabled ‘other side’ that I’d read so many other super mums accounts of. The holy grail of your pre-pregnancy weight, feeling like you’ve ‘got your body back‘ and regaining your pre-motherhood confidence. Turns out at 19 months post partum, I don’t think for me at least, that perfect triad actually exists. My body has gone through many stages – post partum ‘bump’ (that lasted weeks longer than I expected,) then months where I was heavy but truly didn’t care as I was so wrapped up in my beautiful baby. The first realisations that I wanted to try and get my weight down only started to creep into my mind around 10-12 months after having Bea and co-incidentally, perhaps with a slightly conscious moderation of my cake heavy diet, I started to very slowly move towards my pre-pregnancy weight. For a while I was happy with the slimmer silhouette I saw in the mirror then I started to look at the finer detail. And it’s fair to say I don’t love what I see.


Image of Amanda, via the 4th Trimester Bodies Project on Instagram

I’ve gone to write this so many times and hesitated. In part I suppose I hoped I’d miraculously lose weight/clean up my eating habits/suddenly find the desire or time to start exercising regularly and the whole issue would go away. In part because it’s like there’s some kind of shame in admitting that under your clothes (because in reality most of what I dislike isn’t really visible,) isn’t as attractive as the media tells us it should be. And whilst I know there are truly genetically lucky women (some amongst my friends,) who have lost weight quickly, through feeding or otherwise, and still look great, the media and just your average blogger posting about how they got their weight down/body back by cutting out sugar/rediscovering their love of pilates/breast feeding, really doesn’t help.

So the truth about my body is that it still doesn’t feel like my own. I’m still feeding Bea morning and evening. This week she has been particularly clingy and my body rarely feels like my own unless she’s asleep in her cot and then, ironically I miss her. My boobs haven’t done too badly for feeding her and don’t look a whole lot different, although I’m currently missing the fullness pregnancy and feeding imparted. I’m sure everybody feels differently about the parts of their body that are different after a baby, but for me it’s my middle that bothers me the most. My waist seems to be just… absent. And my stomach muscles, whilst still present, (I know – I regularly try to tense them to check they are still there!) are hidden under a layer of blubber and seem intent on just sagging out of shape when I am relaxed… so all the time. But the thing I hate the most is the skin. I got stretch marks under my bump in about my 35th week of pregnancy. I expected it because I suffered with stretch marks in my teens but they are so faded now I hoped they would disappear to the barely visible silvery lines the earlier ones left. Whilst they are less visible now and pale, they’ve totally altered the texture of my skin. Stood upright you’d never notice but any bending forwards reveals the crepe-like texture and loose skin I loathe.

Loathe is a strong word and not how I feel about my ‘self’ I hasten to add. Fortunately I have never based my self worth on my external appearance but even though I consider myself to be unusually self confident, there have to be things and times when you don’t feel perfect. Even as I write this I feel almost defeated in admitting it. I’m mentally straining for a positive comment or course of action to round off this blog post with, to say what I’m going to do about it, or how I’m going to change myself. But I think what I really want to say is it’s ok to feel like this. That maybe acceptance is the way forwards and the way to ultimate happiness about your body after having babies. Perhaps the cliched end is that I’d go through it all again and worse for Bea. Being a mother is so much better than having a perfect (if it ever was) body and I’d much rather spend time with her than time pursuing it. In my case, most of the time motherhood is distracting enough to prevent me dwelling on the reality of my ‘new’ body. But it’s a part of motherhood nonetheless.

Now it’s time to hand over to you. How do you really feel about your body? Have your feelings changed? Perhaps you feel differently to me? I’d love to hear your thoughts readers :)

Rebecca x

Beauty Box: Diorshow Mascara

For quite some time now I have been a devotee of Bobbi Browns Extreme Party mascara but I have been steadily getting more irritated that it really doesn’t last. The tubes always seem to run out (or dry out – I’m not sure which) in less than 6 months, and whilst I know it’s recommended to change your mascara regularly for hygiene reasons, well, I ahem, don’t.

I happened across a free sample of the Diorshow Mascara recently however and have become a convert. Perhaps I should say I resurrected my devotion to it as I’m sure I have in years past used this particular mascara, along with YSL. I am a bit fussy when it comes to mascara. I like a super fat brush and a formula that doesn’t put big blobs of mascara on the lashes, particularly at the corners. Strong fragrances also put me off (take note Lancome,) and I want it all when it comes to effect – lengthening AND volumising, plus a bit of curling please. I don’t want spidery lashes, but super fat lashes that look like they will cause a draft when you bat them. I don’t ask for much clearly but Diorshow has got it covered. If you fancy treating yourself I’d highly recommend it. Available in all good department stores and Boots, it’s about £25.

Happy Friday readers!

Love, Rebecca xo

September Shape Up.

It’s not the usual time of year for it, but because of the promise of a new season, new clothes and a bit of serendipity too, I’m ready to make some effort finally to get into shape.

I’ve got more to wrote about post natal fitness and losing weight but for now as it’s the first and we have a month before our holiday and I am dying to buy new clothes but have promised myself I won’t before I lose the last bit of weight I want to, I’m setting myself some challenges. I’m keeping it simple and making it achievable and because it’s only a month, hopefully it can be measured by the end of the month before Ive forgotten about it.

I wondered if any of you would like to join me? It doesn’t have to be a fitness goal. Maybe you need to shape up your filing cabinet, wardrobe, garden shed, living room, your CV or diet. Write it down int he comments and give yourself 30 days to accomplish it. Maybe you need a treat as a reward too ;)

My goal is to…

~ Do some aerobic exercise 3 times a week
~ Do some floor stomach exercises every other day

What’s your goal this month?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS, I’ve been saving loads of Pinterest workout plans and ideas in anticipation of this – take a look here!

The post baby body…

Now Bea is 12 months old I finally feel in a position to comment on my body. And honestly, it’s still changing, but I feel I can write this from a position of reasonable experience and with a realistic outlook. Before I start, please don’t anyone take any of this as a reflection or judgement on their body or decisions regarding it. This is purely my own personal experience and not meant to make anyone else scrutinise themselves, mother or not.

When I became pregnant, I was 10 and a half stone. To put that into context I’m about 5ft 7inches. It was the heaviest I have ever been and ironically I feel I got there because I was planning to get pregnant. My state of mind about starting a family was so messed up on reflection that I was constantly refusing to deny myself anything… if I had a pound for all the times I ordered something less than healthy or thought ‘to hell with it, I’ll have another drink…‘ because I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat/drink it during pregnancy, I’d be treating myself to something very fancy. I’d say my ‘happy weight’ i.e. the place where I feel good in my clothes but don’t have to really do much to maintain my weight is around 10 stone or just under, so I was at least half a stone heavier than I should be.

I weighed myself obsessively in pregnancy – not out of any concern for what I gained – I always assumed I’d get it off afterwards, but because I was fascinated by how much my body was changing. I won’t say I wasn’t keeping an eye on things, but I was eating everything in sight and so I made a mental note that if my weight ballooned I’d have to start being a bit more healthy. However, normal and healthy weight gain in pregnancy is 1 and a half to 2 and a half stone and watching my weight creep slowly up I never felt the need to cut back. In the end I gained exactly 2 stone, weighing in at 12 and a half stone the morning of my C-section. And I felt like a Goddess – I honestly can’t stress that enough. I LOVED my pregnant body.

You know how everyone tells stories about how they lost ‘a stone in the 24 hours after delivery,‘? Well, I had high hopes. I had a 6 and a half pound bundle, and had shed a placenta, a load of amniotic fluid and a bit of blood… I couldn’t wait to get on those scales with morbid fascination! Imagine my surprise when I had lost a measly 6 pounds! My flipping baby was heavier than that!


Of course, I didn’t care. My ‘baby bump’ took at least 3 weeks to subside and I accepted that it can take a bit longer post c-section. And in fact for many weeks or months afterwards my tummy was round and quite solid. It slowly started to settle but it was at a snails pace. I was (and still am,) breastfeeding but to say that breastfeeding makes you lose weight is the biggest myth in town… I’m sure it does, but if you’re eating for England, nothing can help you! – I took my milk production very seriously and after an astonishing conversation with a midwife early on who clearly thought I was trying to get my figure back at 10 days in when Bea was weighed and hadn’t gained anything, I was told to eat 3 square meals a day with pudding and snacks and to take food to bed too for the night feeds! And I did. Granted I didn’t gain any weight, but I think the breastfeeding mother typically loses weight because of being pinned under a constantly feeding baby and neglecting her own needs – I’m grateful to say that wasn’t me, I was well looked after by Pete – far too well! ;)

As the months went on my weight plateaued then would drop a fraction, then plateau again. Sometimes it bothered me, but on the whole I really didn’t care. I wasn’t desperately concerned with staring in the mirror before I had Bea, and afterward, well, I spent all my time just staring at her instead. When it did bother me I set myself targets, saying ‘I’ll start exercising at 6 months,‘ which became 9 months and ‘next month’. In truth, looking back, I just didn’t want to at all. My head wasn’t in a space that prioritised me or my needs and wants and rather than resenting or regretting that, I just didn’t even think about it. I’m not going to lie though, it was tough walking round in a bikini on holiday before she was even 4 months old.

Reading this back, I just realised I’ve talked almost exclusively about my weight, rather than my shape. That’s partly because its only recently as my weight has gone down a little bit more again that I’ve started to dislike what I see more. I’m still breastfeeding, so my boobs aren’t what they were, but they aren’t totally deflated yet either. ;) Honestly, I don’t really care about them. It did take a whole new perspective when I finally went bra shopping as the shapes and styles I’d normally reach for weren’t working for me at all, but I can’t complain.

I think the part of me that has changed the most is my stomach. It’s the area I have always gained weight in but this is different, I really feel that no matter what I do now, the skin isn’t going to recover its elasticity and go smooth again. A lot of people complain about C-section scars causing a ‘pouch’ of skin, but I don’t think it’s anything to do with that, the skin just stretched so much it can’t recover. I hope I find I’m wrong but I guess it’s just reality that skin that was so stretched won’t be the same afterwards. That said, everybody is different! One positive is that I did get stretch marks when I was pregnant… quite a lot of them and early on – I remember being quite devastated when one appeared at 35 weeks and I still thought I had 7 weeks to go! They were all under my bump but I’m pleased to report that like the ones I got in my teens they are all invisible now unless you scrutinise my skin. So that’s a plus! What bugs me is when you can see that skin and roll of fat through my clothes. Not pretty and really motivating me now to work on getting my shape back.

As I write, with Bea approaching 13 months I’m 5lbs heavier than I was at conception, having done absolutely nothing to shift any weight. I’ve finally had a change of mindset and feel ready to make a concerted effort to get back into shape and work on my waistline, but I’ll save that for another post.

Right now I’d love to hear your thoughts on your body post baby – what has changed and how do you feel about it?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS
What I thought about post-baby bodies before I had a baby…

Vichy Purete Thermale: Cleanser and Waterproof eye makeup remover

A couple of weeks back I was sent the Purete Thermale Beautifying cleansing micellar oil and the Purete Thermale Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover for sensitive eyes by Vichy to test out. I’ve been intrigued by all the micellar oil hype recently and you all know I’m an oil based cleanser devotee (having previously used Eve Lom and currently, Lush Ultrabland,) so I was happy to give this a whirl. You can see from the picture that this wasn’t a one off test – I liked it enough to take on holiday with me for the week instead of my usual cleanser. :)

 
Let’s start with the basics – You can pick up the Purete Thermale range from Vichy at your local Boots store and it’s priced around the £10-12 mark, which seems like a reasonable price for a better range than your average high street brand. It certainly looks lovely on the bathroom shelf and the fragrance is light and refreshing, whilst feeling luxurious.

The micellar oil cleanser is ridiculously easy to use and swift, so I was a fan instantly, being a bit of a lazy skincare addict! You simply use it as a makeup remover too – applying a pump of the light oil to your fingers and massaging it into your skin at the end of the day, straight onto your makeup. Once the face is covered you simply wet your hands and massage again and the oil becomes milky, then splash it off. Done! My skin tends to feel tight after wash off cleansers which it didn’t after this one, and it was a nice deviation from my usual routine in the warmer weather – it always feels cleaner to wash with water doesn’t it?

I must confess, I don’t use waterproof mascara, but the waterproof eye makeup remover was very good too, making light work of a few coats of mascara after a night out. I have previously used Lancome’s Bi-Facil eye makeup remover, and compare all to this as it’s the best I’ve ever used, but the Vichy version is equally good – minimal greasy residue on your skin, absolutely no irritation or redness from rubbing and the mascara just slid off. It’s also meant to have lash strengthening properties.

If you are looking for something new for your cleansing routine or need a new eye makeup remover, I’d definitely recommend these two and I’d try the rest of the range if I was in the market for something – in fact I’ll probably buy the toner when mine runs out very soon. Thanks for the samples Vichy!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

What to Buy: February

Happy February Readers!

Although I do hate to wish time away, as I feel it speeds along so fast at the best of times, I’m glad we are now firmly in to 2015, and thoughts can be turned to Spring, and all the new-ness that comes with it.

The January sales seemed to last forever, and it’s really nice to see the new season stock coming in, especially when the trends for SS15 are not only beautiful, but really quite wearable too.

It’s a tradition of mine since I was at school to buy a copy of Vogue for my Mum twice a year for their Catwalk Report, and this still continues 20 years later! When I was living at home, I used to earmark the pages for Mum who would then make me something from the season (she’s a Bio-Chemist but loves to dress-make in her spare time), and she still uses the pages for her inspiration now.

This issue didn’t disappoint, and here is a round up of my favourite trends of the season.

Denim with a Difference

ASOS Dress / H&M Girlfriend Jeans

This take on the Denim trend takes me back a little to my late teens, when I LIVED in a Denim pinafore dress that Mum had actually made me. There’s an M&S Full Skirt that I’m waiting to come into store which looks perfect, but in the meantime, I love the easy look of this ASOS White dress and the patchwork pattern really lives up to the “with a difference” tag. H&M are also on fire with their jeans selection at the moment. If you haven’t tried their “girlfriend” fit I urge you too. Skinner than Boyfriend, but a slightly higher cut (something I prefer now I must admit!) and not too tight on the leg, the silhouette they give is great with flats or heels. This distressed pair would look great with a sweatshirt now, or strappy cami come the warmer weather.

It’s all about the Stripes

Next Skirt / Boden Top / M&S Shoes / TopShop Dress

I really never do tire of a stripe, and they are set to be big this season on everything from clothing to accessories. Bold colours, monochrome or the classic Bretton, anything goes really. This is good news for me, as a LOT of my wardrobe is already stripes, but I am drawn to these M&S shoes (sold out in my size, BOO!) and also this Boden top is very like the Karen Millen dress I’ve been living in this winter. I also love the way that some stores have styled stripes with other prints in this summer – Next, I’m looking at you :) There’s lots of choice out there so just go for a colourway and size that you know suits you.

Fancy Florals

Next Shirt / H&M Trousers / Boden Trainers / TopShop Trousers

As the Vogue supplement suggests, flowers are big news in SS15 and what I really love is that it’s not just one particular print. From big and bold cartoony type prints, to the more chintzy Liberty-esque styles, again, there is something to suit everyone. I personally think the bolder the better, but I think I’m in the same camp as Rebecca here – having grown up with Rainbow Bright as a style icon ;) I love this Next shirt, especially teamed up with the stripe pencil skirt, and these Topshop trousers, although not strictly floral, really drew my eye in the iciness that was NYC last week. I may just have to get these and store them in my post-baby box to wear come the late Spring.

On the Fringe

J.Crew Top / H&M Bag / Zara Boots / ASOS Bag

Fringing was around last season, but it’s not going anywhere fast, and you can now find it not only adorning accessories, but clothing too. Although I’m not what you’d class as a hippy chick, there are ways to nod to this trend. These Zara boots are a nice way in, as is this J.Crew top, which when worn with slim trousers or jeans, gives just enough movement to satisfy that swish. For something a little easier to wear, the blogger-favourite H&M bag is now back in stock, and although I know this isn’t actually fringing per se, the ASOS clutch has a gorgeous tactile look to it.

Jump to it

H&M / Zara / Mango

It’s so much more commonplace now to see a Jumpsuit in your favourite shop. Actually really easy to wear (although granted, NOT that easy when nature calls) they can be dressed up or down depending on the look you are going for. These three jumpsuits really stood out for me, mostly down to the print on the first two, and the shape of the third. Personally, I prefer a jumpsuit that looks less like a boiler suit, but that’s because I’ve not found a “boiler-suit” one that suits me. I’d be interested to know if any of you guys have.

Now, this is a fashion column I know, but I wanted to just touch a minute on a couple of beauty buys I’ve found and wanted to share, hope you don’t mind. I’m not saying they are must buys, but I’ve certainly found them revolutionary. First up with Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I bought this on a flight back from the US towards the end of last year, and have used it nightly, give or take a few misses, ever since. It smells wonderful, and really moisturises my skin. I’ve found with about three months use, texture is better and I do actually look less tired and worn out without make it – a big achievement!

The other is the lip products by Bite Beauty. Now Rebecca mentioned these a while ago on this blog and I bought a couple then (when Cocosa was selling them) and ever since, I’ve picked one up in the US (they are sold in Sephora) when I’ve been there. You can pick them up on eBay, and Sephora now ship to the UK, but my favourites are the High Pigment Pencils (Zinfandel is my go-to) and the Matt Creme Lip Crayons. The colours are mostly bold (which I love) but it’s the fact they are made with natural ingredients, and don’t make my lips feel dry at all that I like the most.

So that’s my tips for February readers. I’d love to see if you bought something from here, or from one of the trends above. Do share if you do, by using #ffWTBFeb on Insta or Twitter.

Until the end of the month… :)

Erin xxx

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