31.8.13

Personalised Gifts and Frames at Keepitpersonal.co.uk

I am a sucker for personalised gifts! Give me something with my name or photo on it and I’ll cherish it forever! In particular I’m a sucker for mugs and the one I love the most after my Starbucks one is the one with my blog header on it. It’s my dressing table staple which lovingly houses my favourite makeup brushes.  It’s not self obsession that you may immediately assume (not all of it!) but rather the thought that someone got your name, initials or photo printed on a gift. It’s the sentiment that then becomes personalised instead of when a gift just has a random couple’s photo of holding hands on it that you usually find on the high street.

Did you know the market for personalised gifts is for billions and is rapidly escalating in Britain every year as Brits start relying on online purchases. Who goes to the card shop anymore? I genuinely cannot recall my last visit. Albeit trying to be as organised as we possibly can, a hectic lifestyle in the city can take a toll on priorities in life and most of us are only left with day or two spare to think of a present, purchase it and have it delivered. Hence I quite liked the next day delivery policy of keepitpersonal.co.uk, including Saturdays which means you’ll never be late with your present.



Whether it’s christening gifts, wedding gifts, anniversary presents or Birthday gifts you are looking for, browsing through their range of products has only spoilt me for choice. I quite liked what they have to offer as Anniversary presents. Shopping for this particular event is my pet peeve and I absolutely dread it. First of all, what can you get someone for their Anniversary that symbolises love yet isn’t too personal? Secondly, do you choose to give two separate presents? The latter is what I usually opt for which doesn’t turn out to be wallet friendly consequently. Next time, I’m opting for personalised wine glasses, crystal clock or candles. It looks lush and automatically becomes meaningful with the couples name etched on it. Problem solved!

Because graduation, wedding season and Christmas (believe it or not!) is around the corner, I thought these personalised frames would make superbly thoughtful pressies breaking the same old flowers, chocolates and perhaps a stuffed toy ritual when you don’t know what to get for someone or just want to break the monotonous pattern of typical gift giving. Cheer a newly wedded bride, a fresh graduate or a hardworking host on Christmas with a fun picture of themselves in a frame with personalised borders. I especially love their wooden frames for how cozy and laidback they look compared to the usual silver and black ones. Although, for a Wedding or Graduation, a glossy black one or a sleek silver one would fit the bill perfectly.

So tell me, are you a sucker for personalised gifts? Do you like giving them more or receiving them? Oh and if you're looking for a thoughtful present, the lovely people at Keep It Personal have offered readers of the blog a 10% discount on any purchase. Simply use the code 'ITSASECRET' on checkout. 


*sponsored post

30.8.13

Dermalogica Facials: Customised Facial with Skin Mapping

Have you been to a facial recently or maybe at a point in time where you've come home to see your face breaking out quite errr...not so glamorously? I have! And trust me and it's not an amazing feeling considering it took me weeks to get my skin back to normal. Hence I am a little picky with where I go to for my facials and more importantly, WHAT facial I opt for. 

You really can't just choose one that tickles your fancy and expect your skin to be all hunky dory with it. Because you don't really know what products the salon will be using, how many ingredients they contain and which of those ingredients might just trigger a flare up. Hence my recent favourite, a customised facial! 


We're in 2013 for heaven's sake and this is the least we can do for our skin. Tailor made facials have been there in the industry since years but just not quite popular as they tend to be a tad bit on the pricier side. However I've found of an affordable alternative for you and it's none other than Dermalogica Facials. Who knew the skincare brand did facials too? 

Now there are quite a few reasons as to why I'd trust a facial of this sort. Firstly because it promises to be customised to my skin type which is detected via a mini skin analysis by a consultant by mapping out zones on the face and all that jazz and secondly because it uses all Dermalogica products, which we know are fab as the brand's been a popular and trustworthy one since years. I've actually tried a couple of products from them and have loved them. 

So whether you have dehydrated skin, fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, acne, scarring or what not, there is a Dermalogica Facial made for all of those skin concerns. If your skin type is mental like mine and cannot seem to fit in these pre-set categories, a customised facial will be designed on the spot for you. Me likey!

Have you ever tried a custom made facial before? 

29.8.13

Five Steps to Having Perfect Skin

We all dream of having perfect, flawless skin. But how can we achieve the kind of complexion that we see plastered all over magazines and advertising posters without spending an absolute fortune on beauty products?

Below are five simple steps that we believe will help you on the path to having the most beautiful skin possible.

1.    Follow a simple daily skin care regime. It is vital you follow a basic skin care regime with skincare products including a cleanser, a toner, a daytime moisturizer and a night time moisturizer.

2.    Look after your skin in the sun. Unfortunately for sun lovers the sun’s UV rays can be very harmful to our skin and it is recommended that one of your favorite and most used beauty products is a sunscreen. Sun is extremely ageing for our skin; it can also lead to skin cancer so it is extremely important that you take particular care when the sun rays are at their hottest throughout the summer months.

3.    Do not smoke. Smoking causes premature wrinkling, loss of elasticity and dullness that no beauty product can revert so it is advisable to give up this anti-social habit if you are a smoker. Smoking also reduces the skin’s ability to regenerate itself and slows the flow of blood to the body’s largest organs. Yet more reasons to give up.

4.   Use skin care products with Retinoids. Retinoids or Vitamin A derivatives work wonders on our skin and can help fight acne, help fade unwanted brown spots, reduce fine lines and ageing and improve the skin’s texture. Many of the most common beauty products on sale contain retinoids, but do remember that some can be rather drying and should only be used at night.

5.    Eat and live healthily. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals are good for our skin and can actually help improve the skin’s condition. A particular super food for our skin is pomegranates which are packed with polyphenol antioxidants. Polyphenol fight free radicals and regulate the skin’s blood flow. Peppers are great for fighting wrinkles, and sunflower seeds are full of Vitamin E which naturally protects your skin from the sun. Meanwhile exercise is also great for the skin as it helps with circulation whilst getting enough sleep helps to promote cell turnover and collagen production. It appears that beauty sleep really does exist!

28.8.13

New loves from KIKO

Summer's almost over but I'm still loving reds and oranges, someone help me or I won't be properly 'ready' to face the arrival of Autumn/Winter!

Hasn't Summer lasted for like absolute AGES here in the UK, well at least London? I went to Italy for a holiday and came back expecting London to be gloomy and dull but na-ah, it ain't giving up on sunshine yet.



KIKO's Creamy Lipgloss is a lovely take on the regular lip crayons as it's extremely glossy. It was so glossy that I couldn't take a picture of it as it displayed only shine and no colour. Now this can be a good or a bad thing for you. I know some people hate glossy reds as they feel it can make them look slutty quite easily.

I don't really care for what people think as long as I personally love how it looks one me. I feel it looks quite vintage and is reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour. Think Marilyn Monroe who I'm a huge fan of. If you want those luscious, big, red lips with a hint of orange to it then you've got to try this one. It's superbly pigmented and applies really well. I have to say it's a little sticky on the lips but works fine for longevity.



I don't quite get the trend of duo nail paints to be honest as if I like a nail polish colour, I'll buy that and if I like two, I'll get two so why do brands have to present us with a duo? If you're spoilt for choice however and like to opt for preset colour combinations, KIKO's Multi Effect Nail Lacquer is quite cool. One colour's opaque here and one's a little translucent. Both have such a gorgeous, glossy gel nail type finish to them. I'm so glad KIKO kept it modern and presented complimentary colours. Ombre nails anyone?




Lastly, just a shout out to those looking for serums on a budget. While browsing through their website, I found KIKO do some amazing ones for under £15. £15!!! What?! You don't even get a moisturiser for the price let alone treatment serums. Now I haven't tried any but have my eyes glued to them. Just thought would let you guys know if you don't have tonnes to spend on extravagant Estee Lauder serums.

www.kikocosmetics.co.uk

27.8.13

L'Oreal Super Liners

I've got my hands on the latest releases by L'Oreal when it comes to their eye make-up department and have been loving some pieces more than the rest hence an entire post dedicated to these beauts.

Can I just say it's amazing how often I ignore L'Oreal make-up and completely forget that they do make-up at all. On the other hand, I am obsessed with their hair and bodycare and that's all I ever use so it's funny that I pass by their make-up. Got to make a mental note to stop by their counters more often!




First off, their Super Liner in Blockbuster. It's the fattest eye liner I have and I am sure the fattest any one would ever have. I love felt tip liners but this is humongous. Funnily enough, it takes more effort and care when using this which I believe is not what L'Oreal intended in the first place. Also, it's a little less black compared to your typical carbon black liners. I have used liners since years so can finally manoeuvre this with ease but for beginners, try it out on your hand in the store by making a straight line and see how you find it. If you love yourself a thick, cat eye than opt for this as it's going to create that in a jiffy.


The Super Liner Brow Artist is quite cool. One side has a brown brow pencil to fill in sparse areas and recreate a shape and the other side has wax in a pencil to set unruly brow hair. Quite handy don't you think? Who'd want to carry a brow set in a box on a holiday when you literally have no space at all. This I took with me on the airplane too in case I rubbed off my brows when dozing off and had to fill them in. The pencil is neither too soft not too sturdy which I like. The shade itself is gorgeous for brunettes and those with black hair. It's a little too brown for my black brows but somehow it works well. Get it if you're looking for a decent brow pencil.



Aah, coming to my favourite. The Super Liner in Perfect Slim. Isn't this the longest felt tip nip you've ever seen? It literally spans 3/4th of my eye in one stroke. Now that's what I call convenience baby! All you need is two firm strokes with this and you're done. It's not only great for pro's but also for beginners so don't shy away seeing the 'super slim' claim as it will work in your favour. Even if you have a shaky hand, this is a dream to apply. It's a lovely carbon black shade and although dries to a glossy finish when swatched, I can't notice any shine when it's on my lids. Pure love. Now I'm scared it will run out too soon and I won't be able to trace it.


Super Liner in Gel Matic is a lovely product on it's own but me and pencil liners have never got on quite well. I seriously don't know what to do with them. I mean in theory they sound great and would look great on the runway too. In real life, I don't get their practicality as they smudge and fade and go all over the place. Plus where do you apply them anyway? On the waterline, lower lash line, top lashline....argh! If you put my difficulties with this using pencil liners in general aside, this is a nicely pigmented product that is soft and easy to apply and is very much like gel liners if you don't want to fork out for the MAC ones.




I didn't dislike any of these to be honest. The quality of these was AHMAZING! Have a swatch or two when you're near a counter next time.

26.8.13

The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser & Tea Tree Oil



So we've all been informed by Caroline Hirons that we can't really do that much about pores besides just living with it and I have learnt to abide by that. But once in a while I do like to get distracted by pore minimising product claims and like to give them a whirl. This time around, it's the trusted high street chain The Body Shop's Tea Tree products being tested out and so far so good.

Coming to the Pore Minimiser, I like to use it as a primer before make-up and sometimes at night. Mostly before make-up as it's matte finish helps make-up last longer and stay oil free. At night, I really don't want a matte finish so I believe it's more of a skin prepping product that also helps blemished skin stay clear. It's a nice velvety formula that glides on easily and kind of tries and fills the pores for an even canvas. It tingles a little and smells a little minty but on the whole, lovely primer for combination skin.

The Tea Tree Oil however is my favourite. It has the same anti-blemish properties as the Pore Minimiser but in a concentrated manner. It's got anti-bacterial properties which helps in preventing the breakout from spreading any further. The oil is not drying which is great but somehow it manages to get rid of spots without causing flakiness at all. It's a holiday, beach or festival must-have as I found it acts as a superb remedy for insect bites too. I am seriously in love with this and cannot recommend it enough. It literally disappears spots magically and for £7, it's ingenious! For seriously problematic skin, mix a drop of this with your regular evening serum.

Who knew tea tree was this good! I'm impressed.

Elemental Herbology Watermelon & Cucumber Body Moisturiser



Love love love this Body Lotion. It was my absolute favourite on my holiday to Italy. It's apparently made to prolong a tan so for those of you who want to prolong your sunkissed glow, this is the product for you.

To me it doesn't smell very much of watermelon or cucumber at all. It's a nice, refreshing fragrance but if you wouldn't tell me, I wouldn't be able to guess the main ingredients. I quite like that to be honest. Distinct food scents in body lotions is a no-no for me.

The lotion emphasises more on effectiveness where it contains a good mix of heavy oils containing fatty acids to repair and protect the skin, light oils to soothe and nourish the skin and Aloe Vera and Cucumber to cool the skin in the summer months.

I find this to be great before or after sun exposure as it's ideal for the warmer months. It's decent size ensures it can fit in easily in your luggage without occupying too much space and it's pump dispenser ensures there won't be any leakage.

I find it keeps my skin hydrated quite well but still manages to sink in quickly meaning no sticking to clothes or swimwear. The quality of the product reminds me of the cult favourite Kiehl's body moisturisers. 240ml for £21 is totally worth it. If you're looking for a luxurious body lotion minus the atrocious price tag, check this out.

www.elementalherbology.com

25.8.13

Teeth Whitening by Dr Wyman Chan at Smile Studio London




I was never really obsessed with having white teeth as my teeth were always on the whiter side naturally. Even the Dentist I went to confirmed that and asked me if I had gotten a teeth whitening treatment done before, which I was quite flattered about as I hadn't. Regardless, as a teenager I had braces for quite a few years which obviously led me to being quite conscious about my teeth. You'll hardly see me flaunting a toothy smile unless I can't control my laughter and burst out into a laughing fit. Hence I pounced on the opportunity to get my teeth whitened by Dr Wyman Chan who has been featured in Harper's Bazaar, is a Harley Street Dentist and has a never ending list of celebrity clients including Jessie J and the One-D crew!

Smile Studio is located at Piccadilly Circus in a non-intimidating, relaxing environment. There are only two chairs so I believe only two patients can be treated at a time which is pretty cool considering you get peace of mind of one to one attention of Dr Chan. Close up pictures of each of my front 8 teeth were taken with a cool gadget and flashed on the screen in front of me. Depending on the current state of every tooth as some can be more stubborn or yellow than the rest, a particular setting was decided for the teeth whitening machine. The whitening gel was applied, a machine was fitted on top of it to provide heat and off we went for an hour, whilst I almost dozed off watching Skyfall in my video glasses. Shouldn't all Dentists have these so patients can feel less anxious and get distracted?

I am not going to lie but I did feel scared prior to the treatment thinking it is impossible that this wont hurt. I was mentally prepared for some tingling here and there but believe you me, I couldn't feel a thing. A facial would tingle more but this teeth whitening treatment just did not. After an hour, I was greeted by sparkling white teeth in the mirror! The result wasn't artificially, glossy white but more like a bright, pearly white that wouldn't blind a person but white enough to radiate confidence. I don't feel like hiding my smile any more so I am sure it did work towards my confidence.

For £395, I got an hour worth of teeth whitening treatment with Dr Wyman Chan and a home whitening kit that I had to use for 5 days, twice a day to maintain the smile for a whopping two years. Being the pioneer of painfree teeth whitening, Dr Wyman has been in the business since more than a decade and that too precisely only teeth whitening so you can trust him to give you pearly whites in just a week. Of course you don't need an occasion to treat yourself to the treatment but I'd say this would be on my top five beauty treatment list for a wedding without doubt.

drwymanchan.com