Meet Your New Transitional Hero Piece: The Linen Blazer

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My love for blazers goes back years. I'm the type of person who feels the cold easily, so cover ups of every kind have always found a loving home in my wardrobe, but blazers are a particular favourite, mostly due to their magical ability to transform the most basic of outfits into something polished and put together.

When I saw this slimline linen number from Zara, I instantly knew it was going to be the perfect transitional piece. At £69.99 it was something of a splurge, but well worth every penny. For one thing, it's beautiful quality, with a silky lining and a very flattering cut, relaxed and yet tailored at the same time. The linen fabric is light enough to feel appropriate for the end of the summer, but substantial enough to provide some protection on chillier evenings. As for the neutral beige colour, it fits perfectly into my wardrobe.

I can see myself taking this away with me on a late summer holiday, to pull on over gauzy dresses when the sun has gone down and the air gets a little cooler. It also works perfectly at home as day to day wear, taking my habitual uniform of jeans and t-shirts from scruffy to stylish in one simple step.

Outfit with linen blazer from Zara

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Are blazers a staple in your wardrobe?

Kate x
Ark Skincare: The Brand Promoting Beautiful Skin At Any Age

This post contains gifted products and affiliate links, which are marked "AD". Read my full disclaimer here.

Way back in 2014, when my blog was just a few months old, I was invited to my very first blogging event. Part of London fashion week, with complimentary manicures, superfood smoothies and canap├ęs, the whole thing felt very exciting. I was lucky enough to meet a friendly group of fellow bloggers there too, which made the evening even more special, and I still look back on that event as one of the best I have been to since I started this whole online adventure of mine.

Why this little trip down memory lane, I hear you ask? Well, one of the organisers of that event was a brand called Ark Skincare. I can remember taking home a goodie bag with some of their products to try, and I can also remember how much I enjoyed those products. Beauty blogging being what it is, countless other brands have graced my bathroom cabinet since then, and I never did get around to trying anything else from Ark, even though I fully intended to at the time. So when they got in touch  a few weeks ago to offer me new products to try, I didn't hesitate. I couldn't wait to see if I still liked the brand as much as I did the first time around.

Ark Skincare: The Brand Promoting Beautiful Skin At Any Age, Vegan And Cruelty Free

Vegan friendly and cruelty free, one of the most interesting things about Ark Skincare is that they base their different ranges on age rather than skin type. Age Protect is designed for those in their teens and twenties, Age Defend for the thirties and forties and Age Defy for the over fifties. Each range offers cleansers and moisturisers with the optimum combination of vitamins, minerals, lipids and anti-oxidants for your age group, providing you with a solid base from which to build your skincare routine.

Once you have the core products most suited to your age, you can then add to them to create your own bespoke regime. Individual skin concerns, such as pigmentation and dull skin, blemishes and excess oil, sensitivity and redness, etc can be addressed by shopping Ark's Skin Perfecters range, while Skin Essentials like Pre-Cleanse and Makeup Remover, Reverse Gravity Eye Cream and Hydrating Beauty Mist provide all the finishing touches you could want.

Ark Skincare sent me the Pre-Cleanse and Makeup Remover from their Skin Essentials range, as well as the Conditioning Cleanser and Replenishing Moisturiser from their Age Defend line designed for my age group.

Pre-Cleanse And Makeup Remover (AD)

Ark Skincare Skin Essentials Pre-Cleanse And Makeup Remover

I've really been enjoying using this as a change from my usual micellar water, and have been finding it just as effective at removing makeup. Formulated from a multi-fruit lipid blend with Omegas 3, 6 and 9 and containing Grape Seed, Avocado and Kiwi Oil, the product nourishes while dissolving grime and feels like a very light oil on the skin. I've mentioned before that my skin doesn't always appreciate oil based cleansing on a long term basis, so I've not been using this every day of the week. As a result, my complexion is reaping the nourishing benefits of this gentle cleanser without my oily t-zone having the chance to become irritated. In addition to the main ingredients, Margosa Leaf Extract helps to curb the spread of bacteria while Zi Cao (an Ayurvedic herb) soothes sensitivity.

Conditioning Cleanser (AD)

Ark Skincare Age Defend Conditioning Cleanser

Ark Skincare Age Defend Conditioning Cleanser

This is probably my favourite of the three products as it's such a pleasure to use. The gel-type consistency that my skin always seems to favour, it also has the loveliest light and natural fragrance to it. The ingredients include Moringa Oil, rich in Vitamins A and C, as well as Kiwi and Passionfruit Lipids which provide moisture boosting Omega 3 fatty acids. Powerful antioxidant Blue Lotus assists with skin firmness and elasticity, while the combination as a whole helps to calm redness and soothe sensitive skin. I've been using this morning and night for a while now, and it always leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped, and beautifully balanced.

Replenishing Moisturiser (AD)

Ark Skincare Age Defend Replenishing Moisturiser

Ark Skincare Age Defend Replenishing Moisturiser

Top marks to Ark for the use of the airless jar packaging! I always like it when brands use these for cream based products as it gives me more confidence that the product will remain fresh until I've finished using it. Just like the cleanser, I've been using the Replenishing Moisturiser twice a day and my skin has been loving it. It's creamy enough to make my complexion feel like it's getting the hydration it needs, yet light enough to absorb easily and let me press on with makeup application. It contains Co-enzyme Q10 as well as Shea Butter and Olive Oil to provide plenty of moisture, and wrinkle plumping peptides including Matrixyl to help soften the appearance of fine lines. It's a fantastic moisturiser for anyone in their thirties or forties to have in their collection as a daily staple. My skin feels soft and looks smooth, and I love that I can just reach for this on a regular basis and know that it's working for my skin without having to think too much about it.

So, five years and hundreds of brands later, do I still rate Ark Skincare as much as I did before? No... I rate it more! I love the concept of age-based skincare, especially as you can still address additional skincare issues within the scope of their product range. The products themselves have been working very well for me and just as before, I'm keen to try more. I just have to make sure I actually get around to it this time!

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Have you tried Ark Skincare? What are your thoughts on skincare designed for specific age ranges?

Kate x
Peasant blouse from H&M

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I'd like to introduce you to my latest obsession - the peasant blouse. A piece of clothing with which you can make a real style statement, yet appear totally relaxed at the same time. I ask you, what's not to love about that?! Tuck it into mom jeans and add flat sandals for everyday chic, or pair with an A-line skirt and sky high wedges for a smart-casual night out look. Going on holiday? The peasant blouse also makes a beautiful beach cover up. Throw it on over your bikini and add distressed denim shorts when it's time to head back into town.

My blouse is from H&M and currently on sale, but just in case you feel like browsing a few others, I've listed some of my favourites below. Enjoy!

 White Peasant Blouses

White peasant blouses from the high street
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 Patterned Peasant Blouses

Patterned peasant blouses from the high street

Is there a peasant blouse in your wardrobe? If so, I'd love to know your favourite way to style it!

Kate x
The Prettiest Summer Nail Varnish Colours from Kure Bazaar

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Kure Bazaar is a brand I've featured on the blog before. I was introduced to it back in spring 2018 and quickly fell in love with its beautiful shade range and caring, kind-to-nails formula. Containing Bamboo and Vitamin E to help strengthen and repair nails, the varnishes are also vegan and free from nasties such as formaldehyde and parabens, meaning that you can wear them on repeat without worrying about damaging your nails. This is great news, especially as the new summer shades are totally irresistible! I was very kindly sent three of them to test out, and I can honestly say they are some of the prettiest colours I've ever had in my collection.

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The Prettiest Summer Nail Varnish Colours from Kure Bazaar - French Rose Glow

French Rose is one of Kure Bazaar's best sellers and reportedly a favourite of Meghan Markle. The new Glow version is the same shade, only more intensely pigmented and with an ultra shiny gloss to it. A perfect soft pink, you can layer one to two thin coats of this for a beautiful sheer finish, or build up several more to achieve something more opaque - if you are careful enough and have the patience, that is! This is ideal to wear as an every day summer colour, or all year round. Your nails, but better.

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The Prettiest Summer Nail Varnish Colours from Kure Bazaar - Sereno

I'm not drawn to blue shades of nail varnish that often, but when they're as pretty as this, I will happily make an exception! Easier to build to an opaque finish than the others, this stunning cornflower colour will make a lovely change from the pinks and corals I usually wear through the summer months. Blue never looked so feminine!

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The Prettiest Summer Nail Varnish Colours from Kure Bazaar - Rose Milk Glow

The Prettiest Summer Nail Varnish Colours from Kure Bazaar - Rose Milk Glow

My favourite of the three, Rose Milk Glow is very similar to French Rose Glow, only slightly brighter and possibly a little more flattering on my fair-to-medium skin tone. This one looks really beautiful with a tan! Again, it's a more pigmented and shinier version of Rose Milk, another bestseller for Kure Bazaar and another favourite of Meghan Markle. I've gone for a semi-opaque finish here, but just like with French Rose Glow, you can veer either side of this depending on how many coats you apply.

You can shop the post below if any of these varnishes take your fancy. After all, if they're good enough for the Duchess of Sussex...!

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What nail varnish shades are your favourites in the summer?

Kate x
001 Skincare Alpha Paradise Cleansing Dew

This post contains gifted items, which are marked "AD". Read my full disclaimer here.

Thanks to some truly lovely PR packages, which were waiting for me when I got home from an extended stay with family recently, my skin has been enjoying some delightful summer treats over the past few weeks. Two are from Dr Botanicals, a tried and tested (and much loved) brand, while one is from a brand I hadn't heard of before - 001 Skincare, an unexpected but very welcome surprise. All three have proved such a joy to use that it would have been rude of me not to share, so here are the details!

001 Skincare Alpha Paradise Cleansing Dew (AD)

Oil based cleansers and my skin aren't always the best of friends, so I was somewhat wary of trying this product and have only been using it two to three days a week, relying on my trusty micellar water to remove makeup the rest of the time. So far it hasn't had any adverse effects, and I'm thrilled about that because it is such a wonderful product to use - this cleanser is worthy of a place in the fanciest of spas! First of all, it smells like a dream, due to its combination of jasmine, neroli and yang ylang oils. I can't resist a beautifully scented product and anything with jasmine in it is going to get my attention! It also feels nourishing, soothing and softening on the skin. Anyone who dislikes a stripping effect from their cleanser will love this, as it honestly feels like you're moisturising your skin rather than cleansing it. Yet it's also very effective at removing makeup. I tend to use a separate eye makeup remover, but other than that this will do the job very nicely, while caring for your skin at the same time. Cleansing your face never felt so luxurious.

Dr Botanicals Cocoa & Coconut Superfood Reviving Hydrating Mask and Lemon Superfood all-in-one Rescue Butter

Dr Botanicals Cocoa & Coconut Superfood Reviving Hydrating Mask (AD)

I love a cream mask that's super hydrating. Used two to three times a week as a sleeping mask, I always find I wake up the next morning with plumped, baby soft skin. This rich offering from Dr Botanicals is a perfect example and a very welcome addition to my collection. Containing cocoa and coconut, it has a very faint fragrance to it that is reminiscent of both those ingredients - good enough to eat! Feels deeply nourishing on application yet sinks into the skin surprisingly quickly, leaving you looking perfectly rested the next morning. 

Dr Botanicals Lemon Superfood all-in-one Rescue Butter (AD)

There couldn't be a nicer product to use in summer than this one. I've been using it as a hand cream but it's also a handy little multi-tasker, perfect to use on cuticles, elbows or just anywhere you might have dry skin. Like the cocoa mask, it manages to be both super rich and fast to absorb, and doesn't leave the slightest residue on the skin. As for the fresh lemon scent, it's divine and so perfect for warm summer days. I'm absolutely loving this one and think I will feel quite bereft once I've finished it!

Don't forget, if you fancy checking out the Dr Botanicals products or indeed anything from the Dr Botanicals website, you can enter the code KATELOUISE for a 20% discount at checkout.

What beauty products have you been loving this summer?

Kate x
Find Your Sparkle With Abelini Jewellery

This post contains gifted items, which are marked "AD".  Read my full disclaimer here.

What's the most precious piece of jewellery you own? For me, it's probably my wedding ring. Engraved with my husband's initials and the date of our marriage, it's unique to me and very special. For others it might be a 21st birthday gift from their parents, or a family heirloom passed down from a beloved relative.

Diamond stud earrings from Abelini Jewellery Hatton Garden

I've been thinking about jewellery and the special role it can play in the most important moments of our lives ever since Abelini reached out to work with me a couple of weeks ago. I hadn't heard of the brand, but after a little research I could see I was going to be a fan, and I could quite easily lose hours  of my time drooling over the beautiful trinkets on their Instagram page. UK based with a showroom in London's famous Hatton Garden, they pride themselves on using modern crafting techniques to create unique, high quality designs from ethically sourced materials, as well as meticulous attention to detail and outstanding customer service. Their aim is to be a go-to name when it comes to choosing jewellery to mark life's most special occasions, and they even offer a special bespoke service where you can work one-on-one with a designer to create a piece of jewellery that is entirely your own - a wonderful idea for engagement rings, for example.

Diamond engagement ring from Abelini Jewellery Hatton Garden London

Heart Shaped Diamond Ring From Abelini Jewellery Hatton Garden London

While not everyone can have the opportunity to visit their London store, Abelini also has a comprehensive website, where you can not only browse a wide range of ready to wear designs but also select your preferred cut, setting, metal and price range to find the perfect ring, necklace or earrings for you or your loved one. There is also the possibility to have up to three samples made (in high quality silver and artificial diamonds) so that you can really be sure you're making the right choice. Selecting a special piece of jewellery is a big decision, so I love the idea of being able to see a mock up of the real thing.

Classic diamond stud earrings

Speaking of samples, Abelini very kindly sent a couple out to me so that I could get a feel for their pieces. The stud earrings are absolute classics, the kind of everyday luxury so many of us aspire to own, while the heart shaped ring is a real stunner and would make a fabulous cocktail ring or statement engagement ring. It's safe to say I'm hooked, and would definitely have Abelini high up on my list should I be in the market for diamond jewellery in the future!

I'd love to know about the most special piece of jewellery in your collection. Tell me a story in the comments!

Kate x
Antipodes Healthy Lipsticks Review

This post contains gifted products, which are marked "AD". Read my full disclaimer here.

Having fallen in love with Antipodes skincare last year, I was thrilled to receive an email from their PR team recently offering to send me a few products, and intrigued to discover that those products were lipsticks. I had no idea that Antipodes made lipsticks! Would I like them as much as I liked the skincare? I had very high hopes.

Antipodes Healthy Lipsticks Review Forest Berry Red

Antipodes Healthy Lipsticks Review Piha Beach Tangerine

Antipodes Healthy Lipsticks Review South Pacific Coral

Antipodes Healthy Lipsticks Review Swatches

From left: Forest Berry Red (AD), Piha Beach Tangerine (AD) and South Pacific Coral (AD)

In due course, three super pretty, summery shades arrived and I set about putting them to the test. I filmed my review, and you can watch it over on YouTube or right here if you prefer.

If you'd like to check out the full range of lipsticks (there are so many stunning shades!) you can do so via the Antipodes website here. Have you tried these yourself?

Kate x
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