You may have noticed that I’m pretty big into my face oils and serums. In fact, my husband says I have an unhealthily obsession but that’s just his way of telling me I have too many little bottles of potions on my dressing table. It’s true, I especially love oils and serums, I love how my skin drinks up the goodness and I really love how my skin feels afterwards. I recently raved about the new Clarins Double Serum and now I’m about sing the praises of another new and equally brilliant skin elixir; the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Oil.  At £65 for a 15ml bottle, it may be on the luxury side of the market but it is seriously good.

Okay, let me tell you more about this little bottle of skin goodness. The Pro-Collagen Marine Oil is a replenishing facial oil made from a trio of skin renewing seaweeds (Padina Pavonica, Golden Seaweed and Roaring Water Kelp) that deliver maximum skin hydration, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Another big ingredient in this beauty elixir is White Poppy seed oil, which is used to plump up the skin’s moisture levels, leaving your complexion looking super fresh, youthful and radiant.

How To Use

Simply warm up 3-4 drops in your hands and massage the oil over your face and neck every morning and evening, under your usual day or night cream.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Oil

My Opinion

Yes this is a big luxury, there’s no denying it but if you’re after a real skin treat, this is it! The gorgeous blue and green glass bottle holds an elixir so precious, you almost want to keep it on the dressing table and admire it forever. However, this is an oil you need to use and an oil your skin will thank you for, it’s literally superfood for your skin.

I’ve been using this day and night for the past few weeks and love the way my complexion now looks and feels. Each morning my skin feels super soft and fresh which is an amazing transformation from a few months ago.

So yes, in my opinion it is worth the money. Go on, pop it on your Christmas list as a special skincare treat.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Oil

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Oil is available from the Elemis website, Look Fantastic, Debenhams as well as many other online retailers and department stores.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me in exchange for an honest review with no expectations.

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Making healthy meals for the family is not as straightforward as it sounds, meal planning and food shopping are only the beginning. To make things a little easier over the past year I’ve been using HelloFresh (on and off), which has changed the way I think about meals and food in general. For those who’ve never heard of HelloFresh (where have you been?), it’s a flexible food subscription, meal kit that’s delivered directly to your house. Each box is packed with food for delicious meals, along with detailed recipe cards. The ingredients have all been measured out for you, so all you need to do is follow the instructions and create exciting, tasty meals.

Here are ten reasons why we love the Hello Fresh Family Boxes

Here are ten reasons why we love the HelloFresh Family Boxes…

  1. You don’t have to worry about food shopping or meal planning; it’s all done for you.
  1. Each home cooked meal is healthy, delicious and well balanced.
  1. They’re perfect for cooks of any level and ideal for older children who want to start helping in the kitchen.
  1. As everything is measured out precisely, there’s no (or very little) food waste.
  1. They’re a brilliant way of learning new recipes and adding some variety to your family favourites.
  1. The children get to try new flavours, and it’s a great way for them to learn about different foods from around the world.

Here are ten reasons why we love the Hello Fresh Family Boxes

  1. You can pick 3 or 4 meals from a choice of six each week, and you can stop or pause the subscription at any time.
  1. The meals cost at, as little as £3.99 per meal – which is cheaper than eating out or getting a takeaway.
  1. Hello Fresh meals have encouraged us to eat more at the table as a family. Making mealtimes, family time.
  1. Every recipe is packed with flavours your kids will love – as children rigorously test each recipe before it’s given the green light. Each recipe also has a little flavour twist for us adults who have a more adventurous taste.

 

This is just one example of the delicious meals we’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks…

CREAMY CHICKEN CURRY with Green Beans and Fluffy Rice

Ingredients

1 Onion

200g Green Beans

30g Tomato Purée

1 tin Diced Tomatoes

15g Garlic Purée

4 Chicken Breast

300g Basmati Rice

600ml Water for rice

1.5 tsp Sri Lankan Curry Powder

1 Chicken Stock Pot

1 small pot of Double Cream

100ml Water for curry

Instructions

  1. Peel and thinly slice the onion into half moons. Trim the tops from the green beans and then chop each one into four pieces. Thinly slice the chicken breast widthways into 1⁄2cm wide strips.

 

  1. Pour the water (amount specified in the ingredient list) into a large saucepan with a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil on high heat and then add the basmati rice. Stir and then cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, 10mins. Once the 10mins is up, remove from the heat and leave for another 10mins (or until the curry is ready). TIP: Don’t take the lid off as the rice will finish cooking in its own steam.

 

  1. Heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir and cook until browned, about 5mins.

 

  1. Add the onion to your frying pan, stir together and cook until the onion is soft, 5-6mins. Add the garlic purée, tomato purée and Sri Lankan curry powder. Stir together and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the diced tomatoes, chicken stockpot and 100ml water . Stir to dissolve the stockpot and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the curry has thickened slightly, 10mins.

 

  1. Once the curry has cooked for 10mins, add the double cream and simmer for 5mins, then add the green beans, cover with a lid (or some foil) and simmer until the beans are cooked, 5 more minutes.

 

  1. Fluff up the rice with a fork and spoon into bowls. Divide the curry between your bowls.

This mild, creamy curry was a big winner in our house. Even Iris (who’s 18months) loved it. This one is now firmly on our favourites list along with Cheesy Tomato Orzo, Pizza Burgers, Mild Sausage Chilli and Gnocchi Bolognaise.

Here are ten reasons why we love the Hello Fresh Family Boxes

Disclaimer: We were gifted a one month subscription in exchange for this review but I have also paid for some boxes as I really do use this service.

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Yes, I’m raving about Pixi Beauty, again! Seriously, this brand can do no wrong in my book. They really know what they’re doing and their recnt(ish) collaborations with major online beauty influencers, is not only genius from a PR point of view but also clever from a product creation perspective too. After all, these influencers talk/write about beauty products on a daily basis, so if they get a product idea, you know it’s going to be pretty good. I mean, they know exactly what’s missing from the market and what their readers/viewers want. Brilliant!

So lets’s get started with Glow-y Powder from Pixi + Aspynovard. Aspyn is a huge lifestyle blogger, who loves all things travel and beauty. With the help of Pixi she’s come up with a collection of three powders to enhance your complexion. Each powder has been named after a different travel location, which obviously combines her love of travel and beauty.

I was sent ‘Rome Rose’, a gorgeous coral blush that gives a pretty, fresh faced, rosy finish. This beautifully light mineral powder sits delicatly on the skin, giving a soft glow and a gentle sheen. All in all this is a really good, everyday blusher that brightens your complexion and leaves you looking like you’ve been for a long country walk.

Next we have the Pixi + Maryam Maquillage Strobe & Bronze palette. Maryam is a renowned beauty blogger with a very individual style. Her beauty tutorials and brilliant make-up tips are watched throughout the world.

Now I love a good palette so I got really excited by this Glow & Bronze palette. It contains three illuminating highlighters and three bronzers, designed to be used together to create a strobing and sculpting effect. The bronzing powders are a mix of matte and shimmery so you can use them to contour or just add a beautiful sun-kissed glow. The highlighters are strong and illuminating – be warned, a little goes a long way! As far as a brozing palette goes, this one is up there for me, it literally has everything I need in one place. Actually no, there is one thing missing, a mirror – but it’s such a good palette I can forgive that.

Lastly, we have the Pixi + ItsJudyTime, Get The Look Eyeshadow Palette. Judy is a huge beauty vlogger who shares her love of beauty products and her life as a mum of three. She’s basically me… with a million or so more followers… ooh and a collaboration with Pixi beauty. Hey ho…. I can dream.

So what can I tell you about this gorgeous ItsEyeTime eyeshadow palette? First of all, the texture of all 12 shades is incredibly fine and creamy, almost buttery, with a good amount of pigmentation (again, a little goes a long way). Within the palette, seven are matte and five are shimmery shades, giving you the ability to mix and match your perfect combination of colours and finishes.

The colours in this eye palette are right up my street! I have brown eyes and a medium complexion, so these neutral, golden hues are ideal for me. Let’s see, we’ve got…

Snowflake – a shimmery champagne

Bubbly – a vibrant, shimmery gold

Its Mommys Life – a warm bronze/brown (matte)

Good Morning – a warm, light brown (matte)

Brick – a deep red/brown (matte)

Honey Bear – a deep, milk chocolate brown (matte)

Tu Tu – a warm plum/brown (matte)

Getaway – a vibrant, shimmery golden plum

Ping – a shimmery dark brown

Dark Chocolate – a dark brown (matte)

Aww Snap – a dark brown with a red undertone (matte)

Night Night – black with tiny flecks of silver

These twelve shades will see me through many a day and night look,  from easy everyday mattes to the vibrant shimmery night out shades.

I love all three of these products but if I could only keep one it would have to be the eye palette. For me this is the one I know I’ll be using again and again. Having said that, I have been reaching for the Strobe & Bronze palette a lot this week too!

Pixi Beauty products are available from the Pixi website as well as Marks and Spencer, Look Fantastic and other online retailers.

Disclaimer: These items were sent to me in exchange for an honest review with no expectations.

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Now this is an interesting one, Balance-n-Brighten Baked Colour Correcting Foundation is a compact foundation made up of different liquid pigments baked into a pressed powder formula. The packaging tells me that the colour correcting swirls will balance and brighten my complexion in one quick, easy application. Sounds great.

I already know that this innovative foundation by Laura Geller is a best-seller on QVC and recently won a QVC beauty award for it’s amazing results. So I was quite interested to find out if it really lived up to the hype. It certainly looks and sounds impressive but how does it look and feel on the skin?

Each marbled powder is baked on terracotta tiles for 24 hours, and then hand-finished by ‘Italian artisans’ (does this make anyone else think of an Italian baker? Or is that just me?), who creates a creamy, smooth powder that’s both hydrating and illuminating.

The Balance-n-Brighten Foundations are available in five shades, which apparently complements most skin tones…

Porcelain – For very fair skin with pink undertones.

Fair – For fair skin with neutral undertones.

Medium – For medium skin tones with cool undertones. (This is the shade I’m testing)

Tan – For Mediterranean skin tones; olive to tanned skin with yellow undertones. (I also have this shade, pictured below)

Deep – For darker skin tones with yellow undertones.

So what else can I tell you? The powder is free from any Mineral Oil and Parabens and is suitable for all skin types. It also says that it can be ‘built up’ to your desired coverage level, used alone, with a primer or on top of a liquid foundation.

How to apply:

Simply buff the powder all over clean (moisturised) skin with a powder brush, focusing on areas which need extra coverage, or dust lightly on top of your favourite liquid foundation for a long-lasting airbrushed finish. It’s as quick and easy as that, you can even apply this little beauty one handed, which is brilliant for us multi-tasking mums!

My Verdict:

Yes, I like it! It really does do what it says on the box. It’s quick and easy to apply, with no fuss, and evens out my skin tone in literally seconds.

The beautiful swirls of illuminating and colour-correcting pigments blur any imperfections, fine lines or open pores and give a creamy, radiant finish. I’d say on it’s own this foundation offers a light to medium coverage and although you can ‘build up’ the colour, you don’t want to overdo it.

If you’re looking for a good foundation that’ll give you a beautiful, flawless complexion in seconds, without looking overly done or ‘cakey’, I really recommend this one. Okay, it doesn’t give you a fresh, dewy finish but you’re never going to get that from a pressed powder foundation. However, it will soak up any excess oil, and as I’ve already mentioned the finish is flawless and very natural looking.

This would be a brilliant foundation for anyone who’s not used to wearing much make-up and wants something that’s not too heavy and easy to use. I’d go so far as to say that this foundation is foolproof.

Baked Bronze-n-Brighten – A Beautiful Bronzer With No Glitter! 

This beautiful baked bronzer looks just as beautiful, and marries up perfectly with the Balance-n-Brighten Baked Colour Correcting Foundations. Again, subtly marbled, this gorgeous bronzer gives a naturally healthy, golden finish. No orange tints here, just an authentic sun-kissed glow that’s perfect all year long. I especially love the fact that the highlighting tones are illuminating without any trace of glitter!

Laura Geller Balance-n-Brighten Baked Colour Correcting Foundation (£26) and Baked Bronze-n-Brighten (£26) are both available from QVC and Look Fantastic as well as other online retailers.

Disclaimer: These items were sent to me in exchange for an honest review with no expectations. 

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It’s not that I dislike Autumn, it’s just that I LOVE summer! So I find Autumn a little depressing, and suffer a slight low in my mood. Nothing compared to the January blues but you get what I mean. The dark nights and dark mornings, rainy days and school days are all reminders that summer is well and truly over.

It’s not all bad though, it means that Halloween and Christmas (yes I said the C world and no I’m not going to apologise for it) is around the corner and I need to enjoy all the great things about Autumn.

This is what’s making me happy this Autumn…

1. Fist of all is my fab new glasses by Nicole Fari from Specsavers. Autumn is definitely a time of year to rethink your makeup, clothes and style. And as I wear glasses every day, it seemed the perfect way to update my everyday look. I’m a massive fan of Specsavers, where else can you can pick up a pair of quality,  prescription glasses for as little as £25? And they have so many amazing designer collaborations. Nicole Farhi is the latest collaboration launch and I chose these grey Nicole Farhi pair for a lighter, softer look. These cost £125 and were included in their buy one, get one free offer – which of course made me very happy!

2. Cosy nights on the sofa with a soft blanket and burning candles is always a big winner for me. This is probably the best thing about this time of the year, along with all the fantastic new TV programs. I love Neom, The White Company and This Works candles, they really fill the house with their uplifting and relaxing aromas. I’ve got a candle burning next to me here as I type away and it’s definitely helping to lift my mood.

3. I know, I’ve already mentioned the box but let’s face it Autumn really is one of the best time of year for watching TV! I’m currently hooked to Liar (ITV), Doctor Foster (BBC), Ray Donovan (Sky Atlantic, through NOW TV), Anne With An E (Netflix) and of course The Great British Bake-off (C4). I’m also so excited about the return of Stranger Things (Netflix) next month. If you haven’t seen season one yet, subscribe to Netflix and catch up! It’s truly amazing and a real nod to the eighties sci-fi genre made famous by Steven Spielberg.

4. When all else fails there’s really only one thing I turn to and that’s my stash of Green & Blacks in the fridge. I’ve always got a couple of bars hidden away on the top shelf (so that the little people can’t see them), so I know they’re there as and when I need a little chocolate pick-me-up. One of my favourite guilty pleasures is eating a bar of chocolate while flicking  through a beautiful cookery book. That really is my idea of the perfect night in, when Dom’s out, the kids are asleep and I have some time to myself. Obviously, it’s back to blanket, TV and candles when Dom’s home. I’m so rock and roll!!

5. One last mention has to go to TeaPigs!! I don’t normally drink tea (or coffee for that matter) but I do love a nice hot cup of Rhubarb & Ginger tea by TeaPigs at night, while snuggling under a blanket. This is a new discovery for me, usually I stick to hot Ribeana but this year it’s all about Rhubarb & Ginger tea.

So that’s it, a few things that have kept me upbeat and happy this month. New specs, gorgeous candles, great tv, chocolate (always chocolate), beautiful cookbooks and tasty tea. I think that’s all the senses covered in that little list of happiness – and no mention of Autumn leaves or conkers.

Happy Autumn xx

 

 

 

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