Bespoke Vegan Skincare From Bio-Extracts

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Bespoke Vegan Skincare From Bio-Extracts - 1

I've always said that discovering new brands is one of my favourite things about blogging. When those brands turn out to offer beautiful quality products in an exciting way I've not experienced before, so much the better. And I want to share one such brand with you today.

Back in May, I was invited to dinner along with a group of other Thirty Plus bloggers to the uber hip and popular Farmacy, a vegan restaurant in Notting Hill. The choice of a vegan restaurant was very deliberate, as the dinner was being hosted by Bio-Extracts, a vegan skincare brand. Not only did we enjoy a healthy, delicious feast, a few drinks and a good old natter, we also got to hear all about the concept behind Bio-Extracts from the founder, Marina Shcherbinina.

Bespoke Vegan Skincare From Bio-Extracts - 2

I was really intrigued by the range, as it wasn't like anything I've seen before. Essentially, you can tailor make your own skincare prescription, depending on your own particular needs, and you can alter that prescription to suit the changes your skin goes through as often as you like. You can do this by selecting from a skincare menu of nine different boosters, or concentrated serums, including Clean to Clear, Redness Relief, Anti-Wrinkle, Lifting, Firming, Hydro, Glow, Anti-Oxidant and Pore Minimising. Each one is presented in the form of a syringe, allowing you to add just one or two concentrated drops to your moisturising cream. Bio-Extracts also produces different moisturisers - Light, Normal, Rich and Delicate - and the one you pick will be dependent on the combination of boosters you go for. The beauty of the system is that you can hand pick the care you give to your skin on a daily basis. After all, we all know that sometimes our complexions crave more hydration, at other times more clarifying, etc.

Bespoke Vegan Skincare From Bio-Extracts - 3

Bespoke Vegan Skincare From Bio-Extracts - 4

Bespoke Vegan Skincare From Bio-Extracts - 5

The creams use a Multi-Lamellar System which mimics the natural layered structure of skin, acting like a patch to lock in moisture and protect against external irritants. This system is also really effective at distributing active ingredients evenly. The boosters, meanwhile, feature a phospholipids-based delivery system - based on the parts of cellular membranes that regulate cell life - to ensure that the active ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin's layers. All the products have been developed with Bio-Technology to ensure that only the purest active plant extracts are used, while the airless packaging helps to preserve the integrity of the product as well as to dispense exactly the amount you need with no mess or wastage.

Bespoke Vegan Skincare From Bio-Extracts - 6

Bespoke Vegan Skincare From Bio-Extracts - 7

My personal prescription, handed to me at the dinner, included the Rich Moisturising Cream* and the Hydro*Glow* and Anti-Oxidant* boosters. So far, I've mostly been using the Hydro booster at night and the Glow booster in the morning and my skin has been loving the results. The Hydro booster in particular is so impressive and I really feel that it's been plumping up my fine lines and giving me a fresh looking complexion. There is a lovely, very faint and very natural, fragrance to the products which I can't imagine anyone not liking, even those who aren't keen on any scent in their skincare. The moisturising cream feels rich and nourishing to use without being heavy or greasy in the least, while the little shots of booster serums mix in effortlessly. I love the packaging too - it's based on the concept of your own home skincare lab, and the different coloured syringes make it easy to pick out exactly which boosters you want to use that day. All in all, I'm loving both the quality of the products and the freedom to adjust my prescription to suit my skin's changing needs. It's such a clever idea and my complexion is definitely grateful!

Bespoke Vegan Skincare From Bio-Extracts - 8

What do you think of Bio-Extracts and their custom skincare range? Is it something you'd be interested in trying?

Kate x

*Gifted products. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Smart Casual

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OOTD featuring Shein, H&M and Topshop

Do you ever feel like you don't own anything "smart casual"? Like your wardrobe consists of jeans and t-shirts or fancy dresses and nothing in between? This is a situation I often find myself in - particularly with shoes. I have plimsolls or I have party shoes. Well, perhaps that is a slight exaggeration, but what I am trying to say is this - when I saw these studded sandals in Topshop the other day, I knew that they were going to fill a gaping hole in my life.

OOTD featuring Shein, H&M and Topshop

They are the perfect in between shoe. Dressier than loafers (and definitely dressier than plimsolls), they're a lot more laid back than a skyscraper heel, not to mention infinitely more walkable. Which is good, because a girl doesn't always get chauffeur driven to every event, now does she? They're cute, comfortable and flattering, and the stud detailing, in my opinion, makes them look a lot more expensive than their £32 price tag. I can see them being useful on so many different occasions and I'm sure they'll be worn to death in no time at all. If you're not crazy about the black, they're also available in a soft grey colour.

OOTD featuring Shein, H&M and Topshop

OOTD featuring Shein, H&M and Topshop

As for the rest of my outfit, I went for this pleated white midi skirt from H&M which I've had for a while. You can see it styled up quite differently in this post. Pretty, feminine and easy to wear, it's a great option for a smart casual look. I've paired it with this light pink neck tie top from Shein. Simply cut and in a flattering, silky feel fabric, it's a great little multi tasking piece that will tuck into anything from shorts or jeans to culottes and any kind of skirt you can imagine. You can create a pussy bow with the neck tie or you can just leave it knotted like I've done here, offering you even more options.

OOTD featuring Shein, H&M and Topshop

Top* - Shein, Skirt (similar) - H&M, Shoes (grey version), Bag - Topshop

Finally, I've added my trusty little cross body bag from Topshop to balance out the shoes and pull the whole look together.

OOTD featuring Shein, H&M and Topshop

What's your favourite way to do smart casual?

Kate x

*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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The Two Types Of Eye Mask You Need In Your Life

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Starskin Smoothing Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Eye Masks And Spacemasks Aromatherapy Eye Mask

I've got two products to tell you about in today's post. Although their uses are quite different, they can both be described as eye masks, and they have one other thing in common too - they're both amazing!

First up, these Starskin Smoothing Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Eye Masks. I've long been a fan of sheet masks, but until recently had never tried the kind that are designed for the under eye area. Like most people, I have some fine lines there, so I was curious to see whether these masks were effective at reducing their appearance.

There are lots of brands that make these, but many of them can be quite pricey for what is, after all, a single use product. I decided to go for the Starskin ones as at £8.50 for a set of two they seemed better value than many on the market. I ordered mine from Look Fantastic.

Starskin Smoothing Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Eye Masks And Spacemasks Aromatherapy Eye Mask

The masks promise to intensely hydrate the under eye area, smooth wrinkles, reduce puffiness, relieve fatigue and brighten dark circles. They are packed full of natural ingredients including firming acai berry, regenerating snail mucus, nourishing olive oil and soothing chamomile.

The bright red packaging is attractive, and I like the fact that the masks come in handy, travel friendly sachets. As soon as you open one of them up, you can see just how much serum the masks have been soaked with - there is loads of the stuff. You need to peel away the protective top and bottom layers before sticking the mask down beneath your eye, which is really the only fiddly part of the process. Once it's there, it stays put, and I found I was able to move around and do other things for the ten to fifteen minutes I was wearing the masks.

Starskin Smoothing Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Eye Masks And Spacemasks Aromatherapy Eye Mask

Starskin Smoothing Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Eye Masks And Spacemasks Aromatherapy Eye Mask

You're advised to keep them in the fridge for ten minutes before use to really make the most of the de-puffing effects. I didn't do this, as I don't really suffer from puffiness under my eyes. However, they still felt cooling and refreshing on my skin. In fact, wearing them made me feel as though I was actually becoming more awake, rather than just doing something to help me look that way.

Not only are these a pleasure to use, they're really effective too. I looked so fresh-faced after using these that I felt like they'd knocked a few years off. Plus, they plumped up my fine lines in a way that no eye cream has ever been able to do. Yes, the effects may be temporary, but even so, I was really impressed. I am definitely going to repurchase, as I want to have some in my stash ready for a big event or any time I've not been able to sleep and need to look like I have!

Starskin Smoothing Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Eye Masks And Spacemasks Aromatherapy Eye Mask

The second product I want to tell you about is something that was sent to me - It's called a spacemask*. It's the type of mask you place over your eyes when you want something to help you sleep, but this one is a little bit special. First of all, it starts to heat up as soon as you release it from the sachet, meaning that it feels wonderfully warm and comforting when you place it over your eyes. Secondly, it's scented with jasmine - one of my favourite fragrances - so you get a beautiful aromatherapy hit that helps you to relax even more.

As soon as I put this on, I felt myself letting go and I was honestly ready to sleep within a matter of a few minutes. I will definitely be getting more of these too. You can pick them up here at £15 for a box of five.

Have you tried either of these types of eye mask?

Kate x

*Gifted product. All opinions, as always, are my own.

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My Summer Skincare Wishlist

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With the summer months well and truly upon us, I've been changing up my skincare a little bit. I think most of us find our skin changes with the seasons, and I know mine certainly does, especially when you throw traveling into the mix, which I tend to do more in the warmer months than in the winter. I've put together a little wish list, incorporating some of my current favourite products with a few that I would love to try. Everything I've selected is well suited to keeping skin looking its best throughout the summer. Enjoy!

My Summer Skincare Wishlist, Featuring L'Occitane, Clarins, Bobbi Brown, Jurlique and More

1. L'Occitane Shea Light Comforting Face Cream - L'Occitane is one of my favourite brands, so I'm not quite sure why I've never tried their skincare before. Pretty much every face cream L'Occitane has featured on their moisturisers page looks like something I'd be interested in trying, but for my summer wish list, I've picked the Shea Light Comforting Face Cream. Combining a light, silky texture with hydrating properties, it sounds ideal for the warmer months or indeed any time when you want to moisturise your skin without using anything too rich or heavy.

2.   Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel -  I've recently rediscovered this cleanser and I love it! It's a gel formula that transforms to an oil as it melts into the skin and feels very gentle to use. I use it as a second cleanse after removing my makeup with a micellar water and feel that it does a great job of cleansing without upsetting the balance of my combination skin.

3. Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Hydrating Shield - This is expensive, but it's something I would love to try. It offers fantastic sun protection as well as shielding skin from harmful pollutants - brilliant if you spend a lot of your time in cities. Apparently, it's also light enough to wear under makeup. Bonus!

4. Bobbi Brown SPF 50 Protective Face Base - This is similar to the Elizabeth Arden product, but is designed more as a makeup primer that has broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection built in. This would be a brilliant one to take on holiday as it's essentially two products in one slim and portable tube.

5. Urban Decay Chill Setting Spray - From the first step of your makeup routine to the last! Setting sprays aren't something I used to bother with, but I'm getting into them more these days, especially when I want to give my makeup a helping hand to last a little longer. I'm a big fan of Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray, but this new one - Chill - sounds absolutely perfect for summer. It features time release temperature control technology, which keeps your makeup from becoming too warm and sliding off your face. How genius is that?!

6. Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist - I am using this at the moment. I really am a sucker for anything with roses in it and this is just so lovely. Delicately fragranced with rose, it hydrates, refreshes and soothes with just one quick spritz. You cannot help but feel like a princess when using this.

7. Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Masks - One of my favourite sheet masks. I like that they come in a box of four, and they are pretty impressive on the hydrating and plumping front. These are perfect for getting the moisture back into your skin if it's been feeling dehydrated, for example, after a long day relaxing on a sunny beach!

8. Clarins Blue Orchid Oil - I don't currently have one of these in my stash, but it is a product I love and have used on and off for years. Another gem for restoring moisture and radiance to dehydrated skin, it's a beautiful facial oil to use and has a wonderful, relaxing fragrance to it. Note to self - repurchase ASAP!

Have you tried any of these products? What are your summer skincare favourites?

Kate x

*This post was in collaboration with L'Occitane. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Get Summer Ready With Alchemy Super Blends

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Get Summer Ready With Alchemy Super Blends Natural Supplements

How often have you seen #eatclean beneath one of my Instagram posts? That's right, never. As much as I like healthy food (I enjoy my avocado on toast as much as the next blogger), I'm definitely no super clean eating, dairy free, sugar free, gluten free vegan goddess. I like my red meat too much. And, for that matter, a nice, crusty white baguette. And chocolate. And the occasional glass of wine. And chocolate.

It's probably also worth noting that I have a naturally skinny body type, and it's hard to feel motivated to cut a lot of things out of your diet when you know you'll end up looking like a walking skeleton as a result.

Get Summer Ready With Alchemy Super Blends Natural Supplements

Get Summer Ready With Alchemy Super Blends Natural Supplements 
That said, I'm always careful to keep things as healthy as realistically possible, and when it comes to adding the stuff that's good for me, I'm a lot more likely to make the effort. Particularly - and I'm not sure if I should admit this - when that good stuff is likely to improve my looks as well as my health. Yep, I'm vain and shallow, what can I say?!

Get Summer Ready With Alchemy Super Blends Natural Supplements

Get Summer Ready With Alchemy Super Blends Natural Supplements

When I heard about Beauty Elixir*, a supplement powder created by Alchemy Super Blends, it sounded right up my street. I don't usually take supplements, except for multivitamins occasionally if I've been feeling a bit run down, but the nice thing about this one is that it's completely organic and made from superfoods. There is nothing more annoying than taking something that is supposed to be good for you and wondering if some of the ingredients are actually bad for you! With Alchemy Super Blends, you are literally getting powdered berries and plants, and nothing else. The Beauty Elixir contains baobab, acai, goji berries, camu camu, pea protein and wheatgrass - in other words, the perfect cocktail of anti-oxidants, Vitamins C and E, beta carotene and iron to promote collagen production, protect skin and encourage healthy hair and nail growth. The Alchemy team was also kind enough to send me sample packs of their other Elixirs - Morning*, Sport* and Energy* - which all contain slightly different blends.

Get Summer Ready With Alchemy Super Blends Natural Supplements

Get Summer Ready With Alchemy Super Blends Natural Supplements

Another thing I really appreciated was the little cards included in the package which offered suggestions of recipes to add the powders to. I've had the morning shot a few times, and while I can't say it's the most delicious thing I've ever tasted, it's certainly drinkable, and it's great to know I'm giving my body a nice dose of goodness to start the day on! The Alchemy website is also a good source of other healthy recipes for smoothies, juices, porridge, energy balls etc, all of which enable you to integrate the powders into your daily diet.

The Alchemy Super Blends Elixirs are a great way to supplement your diet in a natural way and I will definitely be using the Beauty one to make sure I'm looking my best this summer! Have you tried any natural supplements?

Kate x

*Gifted product. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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The Dreamiest Off The Shoulder Top

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OOTD featuring Shein off the shoulder top, H&M denim skirt and Gucci dupe bag and New Look wedges

I've become a bit of a Shein fan since they started sending me pieces to feature on my blog. And I've always been very honest about their clothing - it tends to be bang on trend, cheap as chips, but not necessarily the best quality. However, not only is this white off the shoulder top absolutely gorgeous, it's also very nicely made. In fact, this is probably one of my favourite things they've ever sent me.

OOTD featuring Shein off the shoulder top, H&M denim skirt and Gucci dupe bag and New Look wedges

Top* - Shein, Bag, Skirt - H&M, Shoes (similar) - New Look

I adore off the shoulder styles, and this one sits beautifully without me feeling the need to keep yanking it up every five minutes, which is a definite bonus! The billowing sleeves, bow details and soft fabric are incredibly flattering and it's a joy to wear. I've paired it with this brilliant denim skirt from H&M - a fantastic fit and such a multi-tasker - a dirt cheap Gucci dupe bag and my ancient red wedges which were a bargain from New Look years ago and I think the subject of one of my very first blog posts! I like the little pop of red against the muted palette of the rest of the outfit.

OOTD featuring Shein off the shoulder top, H&M denim skirt and Gucci dupe bag and New Look wedges

OOTD featuring Shein off the shoulder top, H&M denim skirt and Gucci dupe bag and New Look wedges

How else could you wear this top? Well, I love the idea of it with jeans and jewelled flat sandals for a more laid back approach, or you could go full on girly and pair it with a pretty skirt in a pastel hue.

OOTD featuring Shein off the shoulder top, H&M denim skirt and Gucci dupe bag and New Look wedges

As I mentioned, this H&M skirt is incredibly versatile. It works with anything from a ribbed vest top and plimsolls to a fancy blouse and sky high heels. I've even worn it with thick tights and boots when the weather was cooler - I do love a multi-tasking piece!

OOTD featuring Shein off the shoulder top, H&M denim skirt and Gucci dupe bag and New Look wedges

OOTD featuring Shein off the shoulder top, H&M denim skirt and Gucci dupe bag and New Look wedges

And while we're on the subject of H&M, how cool is this little bag? It's a great size, kinda looks like Gucci and was less than £30.00. What's not to love?!

OOTD featuring Shein off the shoulder top, H&M denim skirt and Gucci dupe bag and New Look wedges

What's your favourite piece from this look?

Kate x

*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Super Facialist Retinol+ Anti-Ageing Skincare Range

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Super Facialist Retinol+ Anti-Ageing Skincare Range - 1

Retinol is one of the most sought-after ingredients when it comes to anti-ageing skincare, and with good reason. A form of Vitamin A, it speeds up skin's cell turnover, encouraging fresh new cells to grow and leaving the complexion firmer and smoother, with fine lines reduced. Some might say it's as close as we've yet come to an elixir of youth! I've certainly always known it to be high up on the list of ingredients to look for when choosing anti-ageing skincare.

Needless to say, I was intrigued when Super Facialist got in touch to ask if I would like to try their Retinol+ range. I said yes right away, and they sent me the day cream*, night cream* and serum*, all housed in this very attractive purple and silver packaging.

Super Facialist Retinol+ Anti-Ageing Skincare Range - 2

Super Facialist was created in collaboration with top facialist Una Brennan and features several skincare ranges, all of which combine potent plant extracts with essential oils, proven active ingredients and beautiful fragrances designed to recreate the spa experience in your own home. Although I can't quite put my finger on what the scent is, the Retinol+ range definitely does smell amazing. I personally love this, but it's something to bear in mind if you're not keen on fragrance in your skincare.

On that note, it's important to mention that Retinol is an ingredient you need to be a little bit careful with, and I was pleased to see the Super Facialist website talking about the best way to use it here. Essentially, because Retinol encourages a faster rate of cell turnover, skin can become more sensitive after a while because the cells at the surface are younger and less robust. For this reason, it's a good idea to use the range for just a few weeks at a time, before giving your skin a break. Super Facialist recommend using it for 6 to 8 weeks a couple of times a year. Retinol can also make your skin more sensitive to sun, so remembering your SPF is more important than ever while using these products. Another recommendation is to build up your usage slowly if you have naturally sensitive skin. Mine can be a little sensitive, so that's what I did, and apart from a little bit of redness on the first couple of days, I've had no problems.

Super Facialist Retinol+ Anti-Ageing Skincare Range - 3

I love the fact that the serum features this handy pump dispenser. You only need to use the smallest amount, and this makes sure there's no waste. The day and night cream come in clear plastic jars and a little of these goes a long way too. The night cream is a lot richer and thicker than the day cream, but they are both pleasant to use and neither lingers too long before being absorbed.

Super Facialist Retinol+ Anti-Ageing Skincare Range - 4

The main thing I have noticed after having used these products for several weeks is how smooth my skin is. They have been fantastic for refining the texture of my complexion and I'd definitely recommend them for that purpose. I'd also say that they have done a great job in terms of firming my skin. As for my fine lines, well, they're still there, but they certainly haven't got any worse! All in all, I really like this range and wouldn't hesitate to repurchase next time I feel like giving my skin a course of Retinol.

Super Facialist Retinol+ Anti-Ageing Skincare Range - 5

Have you tried any Retinol based skincare, and if so, what did you think of it?

Kate x

*Gifted product. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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