Bio-Oil - Not Just for Stretchmarks!

Bio-Oil (PR sample) is a product which I'm sure many people will be familiar with, but I have never thought to try it out as in all honesty, I've always associated it with pregnancy and stretch marks, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to have done this. However, Bio-Oil has a whole host of handy uses, including helping to improve the appearance of scars, improving uneven skin tone, smoothing and toning ageing skin, improving dehydrated skin and also for using as part of your daily skincare routine as a cleanser.
Bio-Oil contains PurCellin Oil, a synthetic reproduction of the oil that ducks produce in order to preen their feathers.  It also contains vitamins A and E, as well as some more commonly known ingredients such as calendula, lavender, rosemary and chamomile. 

Fortunately, I have been blessed (mostly) with straight-forward, trouble-free skin. I don’t tend to get dry skin, I’ve never had stretchmarks, and my skin tone is even. So I tend to use Bio-Oil on my eczema-ridden legs when they're really suffering, and it's also a fab product to take on holiday for an all-over moisturise after a day of sun and chlorine.
Bio-Oil is so easy to apply, due to the opening of the bottle only letting a small amount of oil out at a time. Application could not be quicker or easier, as I simply dab it straight from the bottle onto the skin where I need it, and it rubs in within seconds. It does leave the feeling of a slight greasy residue, but this very quickly sinks in. It is advisable to use this twice a day for stretch marks, but I simply applied this as and when I fancied it, usually straight after the shower and when I noticed my legs were particularly dry.  I am very impressed with Bio-Oil, as it is such a hassle-free way to add moisture back into the skin, handy for a girl (me) who never leaves enough time to get ready in the mornings! And just to point out the many uses of this wonder product, you can use Bio-Oil to:

Fade acne scars
Prevent peeling from sunburn, whilst soothing skin at the same time
Reduce the appearance of scars
Rub onto cracked heels
Nourish your cuticles
Replace your usual nighttime face oil
Smooth hair, using it as a hair serum
Soften your lips
Clean makeup brushes
Soothe skin post-eyebrow plucking

 So there you have it, a pretty handy multi-purpose beauty product. What do you use Bio-Oil for?

Little Things - Tackling Eczema, Eating for Beauty, and FitBit Fun

QV Skincare for Dry Skin Conditions (PR samples)
A few weeks I was sent this set of creams from QV Skincare, a range specifically for those suffering from dry skin conditions. I suffer from eczema on my legs and so was very grateful for the opportunity to try out some new creams which would potentially soothe some of the itching and not irritate my skin in the way other products do. Eczema affects around 54% of the population, and the QV Skincare range aims to relieve discomfort and manage flare-ups by the way of 'total emollient therapy'. In short, this means adopting a two-step routine of cleansing and moisturising, to help repair and rehydrate skin. The website offers a grading system for the products, allowing you to work out which products will suit you best based on your skin complaints.

The QV Gentle Wash is a mild, foaming cleanser which is very gentle on the skin whilst being effective at removing makeup. Although my face is thankfully eczema free, this has been great recently as my skin seems to breaking out a lot at the moment. QV Skin Lotion is an all-over body lotion which can be applied as often as you like. Amazingly, it can also be used to remove makeup. With eczema on my legs, shaving causes me a whole load of irritation and is something I avoid as much as I can. Normal body lotions do not help as they are often perfumed or have too many ingredients which disagree with me, but thankfully QV's Skin Lotion is lightweight and my skin loves it. Finally, the QV Cream is a cream for targeting areas which need an extra boost of hydration, and so I tend to use this on areas where the skin is almost broken or is extra sore from too much scratching. I keep the tube handy in my bag and over the last few weeks it has been an absolute God-send. It also comes available in a massive 1,050g tub, so it looks like I may be investing in that! You can shop the range here.
Beauty Sweeties (PR samples)
A few months back I was sent a selection of items from Superdrug, and these two packets of Beauty Sweeties were included. Beauty Sweeties are soft fruit on a yoghurt foam, enriched with Q10, aloe vera, and collagen. Beauty Sweeties have a very high fruit percentage, at around 80%, so are much better for you than your standard packet of sweets, and have the added bonus of Q10 (slows the effects of ageing), aloe vera (has a whole host of positive effects, depending on what you read) and collagen (increaes the skin's elasticity). These sweets were absolutely delicious, particularly the Fruit Jelly Bears, and allowed me to mindlessly munch away with a little less guilt than usual.
Loving Lately
When I find a beauty product I like, I stick with it for months on end, usually only replaced when I have a big clear-out and find some other products which have been severely neglected. At the moment, two items I am particularly enamoured with are the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette and my Glossybox Blusher. The Naked Basics palette houses all of my favourite daytime eyeshadows in one place, particularly Naked 2 all over the lid, with Faint in the crease. I am so obsessed with Urban Decay at the moment that I have chucked away almost every eyeshadow that isn't from them! As for the Glossybox blusher, it is such a subtle shade of pink which I absolutely adore, and is the ideal shade for the transition into Autumn and Winter when I'm much more pale and pasty!

FitBit Challenges and 10k Steps a Day
Six weeks ago I bought myself a FitBit Charge HR, and it has made the biggest difference to my daily routine. It tracks steps far more accurately than my previous fitness tracker, and also monitors sleep patterns. I have set myself a goal to reach every day (10,000 steps, 4.5miles, and 30 active minutes, and 7 hours of sleep), and meeting those goals has become my personal challenge every SINGLE DAY. If it gets to 10pm and I'm 2,000 steps short, I potter around the house to get my steps up or go for a quick jog on the treadmill. In the last month I've lost 9lbs, from a combination of being more active and logging what I'm eating. I am almost certain that using my FitBit has a big part to play in that. The other thing I love about it, is the challenges. You can set up challenges with FitBit friends, such as the workweek challenge whereby the winner is the person who racks up the most steps between Monday and Friday. I find myself getting so competitive, and I'm pretty sure the other ladies I compete with are the same! It couldn't be a better motivator though, so if you also have FitBit and fancy joining some challenges, let me know your e-mail address and I'll add you!
Paco Rabanne Olympéa Eau de Parfum (PR sample)
I picked up this sample of Paco Rabanne's Olympéa at the Bloggers Festival, and I really like it, but I'm not sure if it's completely 'me'. The last perfume I had which I wore day in, day out, was a Benefit item which has since been discontinued. When I discovered that this had happened, I actually wanted to cry - it had taken me years to find a scent which was really 'me', and then Benefit went and stopped it. Damn them. I've tried out a lot of different perfumes since, in the hope that I can find something that suits me as much as I'd like. Nothing has come close yet, but Paco Rabanne's latest fragrance has come closest so far. I love that I got to try a decent sized sample as well, as those tiny glass vials you usually get given don't give you nearly enough to be able to work out whether you like something. I know this sounds a little cray cray, but someone recommended Britney Spears' perfume to me, and it actually didn't smell that bad! If anyone has any recommendations of perfumes to try (I like sweet, vanilla, and fruity), please let me know!


Wishlist: Getting Ready for Autumn

As much as I hate to admit it, Autumn is on its way. I much prefer Summer for so many reasons: I'll always prefer sandals and flip flips to boots, the sun makes me feel so much happier and much more carefree than the dark, dreary days of Autumn, and I'd much rather be too hot than too cold. Negatives aside, of course there are also some positives to Autumn, namely an excuse to snuggle up on the sofa and indulge in half day Netflix sessions, getting ready for Christmas, and an excuse to sort out a new wardrobe. I had a quick browse of Rakuten's website at their fashion pages, which got me thinking about what to put into my online basket ready for Autumn payday treats.
Autumn calls for an abundance of warm, cosy clothes, and this grey jumper fits the bill for me firstly because it's a little bit on the cute side, and secondly because it's grey. Grey just seems to go with everything, it's such a versatile but neutral colour which has the added of bonus of not making me look super pale, which black often does.

Having said that, sometimes you can't go wrong with a bit of black, and this simple roll neck top will go great with some of the patterened mini skirts I've picked up recently.

As much as I do like a nice, fitted, formal coat, my style is very casual and thus I feel far more comfortable in a big old coat like this. Something warm and snug, with a head, to keep out the elements. I usually get my coats from Topshop as I really can't fault them on the quality of their outerwear.

Everyone needs a scarf to snuggle up into once the cold weather hits, and I am really into this kind of pattern at the moment. I particularly like thick, woolly scarves which are functional as well as fashionable. Silk scarves do nothing for me in the colder months, so out comes the heavy duty stuff!

I am pretty good at buying black ankle boots that go with everything and anything, but I think it's about time I try something a little bit different. I love the look of these burgundy ankle boots, which I think would look great teamed with a pair of skinny jeans.

I feel much more comfortable in skirts and tights than I do jeans, so I've been stocking up on patterned minis, and I think this one needs to join my collection. This would look fab with a pair of black woolly tights and boots, and the black roll neck jumper from Dorothy Perkins.

Another grey item to add to my wardrobe! I like baggy T-shirts like this, as I think they go well with skinny jeans, and are great for days when I feel like being completely casual and almost slob-like. Plain tops like these can also be made much more exciting with the addition of a chunky, colourful necklace.

Autumn is the time when you need to start keeping a compact umbrella at the bottom of your bag, because the last thing you want is to be caught out in the rain, risking frizzy hair and blotchy makeup.

Something else I always like to have in my bag or coat pocket, is a pair of gloves. My hands tend to get very cold in Autumn and Winter, so I have a pair shoved into the pocket of each of the coats I use. These are cheap and cheerful and I really like the Fair Isle design.

This gorgeous mint green jumper by French Connection would go well with a pair of skinny black jeans, either dressed up for evening or played down for daytime wear. I can't get enough of cosy jumpers - give me this one in every colour!

What are your Autumn essentials?
* Post written in collaboration with Rakuten