Monday, 17 April 2017

A Great Big National Tea Day GIVEAWAY!


Although many of us rely on a morning coffee to get us through the day, I know very few people who would turn down a cup of tea when offered. There's just something about this drink that seems familiar, comforting and satisfying - after all, we brew a staggering 165 million cups of tea daily in the UK. Perhaps we love tea because of Britain's longstanding involvement in the tea industry, or maybe it's the little kick of caffeine that keeps us awake through the rest of the afternoon - or maybe it's the narcissistic pleasure of having a cuppa brewed to your exact specifications. Whatever the reason, the cup of tea is a Great British tradition, and it feels only right to celebrate it on National Tea Day.

Taking place on 21st April 2017, National Tea Day gives us the chance to recognise why this drink is loved by so many. Whether you'll be drinking your trusty favourite breakfast tea or trying out some new flavours, this nationally recognised event is the perfect chance to make the most of your brew. You could do this by:

1. Treating yourself to a tea-friendly treat


If you're popping by the shops, spend a few extra pennies and treat yourself to your favourite indulgence to pair with the perfect cup of tea. For me, this would definitely be a cinnamon bun (I'm salivating just thinking about it), but for you it might be a luxury pack of biscuits or a slice of cake from the bakery.


2. Booking an afternoon tea


I always seem to enjoy tea more when it's brewing away in a vintage teapot, in the comfort of a relaxed setting, with a plateful of pretty treats. Visit afternoontea.co.uk for a comprehensive list of afternoon teas available around the country.

3. Taking part in a tea tasting session


The best way to get to know the different flavours of tea is to try them for yourself! If you're open to trying new brews, book yourself a tea tasting class and learn all about the library of tea that awaits you. There are various tea tasting and brewing classes held across the country, but If you want to go all out, Claridge's hosts the ultimate afternoon tea masterclass for £250.

4. Entering the English Tea Shop's giveaway


Speciality organic tea company EnglishTea Shop is joining the National Tea Day festivities by giving away Luxury Organic Gift Tins to 50 lucky tea fans on their social media channels. The Luxury Organic Collection contains 72 individually wrapped pyramid tea bags and features a diverse range of classics to more unusual herbal varieties. The range includes:

Organic and Fairtrade English Breakfast: A pure Ceylon black tea sure to quench any thirst for a proper English brew
Organic and Fairtrade Earl Grey: A quintessentially British tea delicately flavoured with bergamot
Organic and Fairtrade Green Tea: A delicate and refreshing blend of 100% organic and Fairtrade green tea
Organic and Fairtrade Peppermint: A revitalising and delicious tea packed full of antioxidants
Organic Chocolate, Rooibos & Vanilla: Caffeine free, naturally sweet and antioxidant rich rooibos deliciously blended with vanilla and chocolate notes
Organic Black Tea Chai: Organic black tea entwined with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and orange peel
Organic Lemongrass, Ginger and Citrus: An understated classic packing a citrus punch! Notes of Lemongrass and citrus infused with a tingle of ginger will refresh any palate
Organic Green Tea Tropical: Made with the finest organic green tea combined with mouth-watering tropical herbs and fruit flavours
Organic Super Berries: A delightful blend of classical herbs and aromatic berries - tastes as delicious as its aroma

All English Tea Shop teas are created using time honoured healthy ingredients. The range includes nature’s most revitalising herbs, spices, fruits and flowers for the most beneficial infusions and naturally cleansing teas. Steeped in tradition by using the finest quality tea leaves and using age-old practises English Tea Shop works with the finest organic and Fairtrade farmers.

The Luxury Organic Gift Tin is available to win on the English Tea Shop Facebook and Twitter channels, all you need to do is comment, re-tweet and follow to be in with a chance to win!



*Sponsored post
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Sunday, 9 April 2017

What happened when I did a coffee flavour challenge

London Coffee Festival by Jen Lou Meredith www.jenloumeredith.com

'I am a coffee fanatic. Once you go to proper coffee, you can't go back. You cannot go back' - Hugh Laurie

When I was growing up, I lived in a house where the smell of coffee lingered throughout, all day, every day. My dad was involved in the coffee industry, and often brought back packets of wholebean and ground coffee from London, and samples from his week long trips to Brazil. Our garage was crammed full of boxes, bags and tubs of coffee, and for a child who was only interested in riding her bike (which was, consequently, always trapped behind the mountains of coffee), this was a bit of a hindrance for me.

Whilst some kids in a similar situation grew up to become baristas or, at least, coffee lovers, I despised the stuff. I couldn't understand how adults could drink this hot, brown, bitter liquid, and even more how some adults relied on the stuff. I remember asking my dad about it and he said, 'your tastebuds change over time. Someday, you probably won't like cakes or hot chocolates because they're too sickly sweet, and instead you'll enjoy a nice cup of coffee'. I screwed up my face and disregarded this explanation, telling my dad that I wouldn't ever dislike cakes or hot chocolate. 

Ten or so years later, and I still like my sweet stuff, but I do appreciate coffee a lot more. The smell alone makes me nostalgic, and I really do enjoy my lattes, and the occasional espresso when I go to continental Europe. However, I've always bought my coffee from major brands such as Starbucks and Costa - I never thought to engage myself in the world of the independent barista. I'm sure there are many people like me; we stick to the big brands because it's what we know. What if we tried something from an independent cafe that we didn't like? It might put us off. So we go to our local Bucks and order our daily flat whites because it delivers that same, comforting feeling every single time.

I wanted to remove myself from this routine, and try something that was out of my comfort zone, for once. I was given tickets to this year's London Coffee Festival in Shoreditch, so I decided to go along and expand my knowledge. 

London Coffee Festival by Jen Lou Meredith www.jenloumeredith.com

Walking into The Old Truman Brewery, I'll admit I was a little intimidated. Here was a huge group of people who know pretty much everything there is to know about coffee, and drink it like it's water. I walked around the entire place once, speeding up a bit when someone looked like they were about to talk to me (hey, I didn't want them to think I was stupid or wonder why I was there), before sitting down at the bar with an espresso martini.

Whilst I was drinking, I thought that everyone here, at some point in their lives, knew nothing about coffee. We all have to start somewhere, whether that's with a cup of Nescafe Original Instant or plunging right into the deep end. 

I finished my drink and, with a little bit more confidence (mostly from the vodka), I walked around the venue again - this time, taking in all that I could. 

I stopped at the Union Hand-Roasted stand. This was a large area where people seemed to be congregating around one bar. I made my way to the front to see what was going on, and was asked if I wanted to take part in a flavour challenge. I was given four cups of black coffee, and asked to match them to four different flavours: Chocolate & Caramel, Fruit, Nuts & Spices, and Citrus & Floral. I don't have a great sense of smell, so unfortunately that part of the challenge was wasted on me - but the tasting part was where the fun really began. I must have changed my mind so many times, rearranging the cups around between tastes to establish the right order, but I just couldn't put my finger on the flavours. I guess I didn't have an experienced palette, so I couldn't quite pick out the details, and I ended up getting just one right - the distinct Citrus & Floral.

My name didn't make it onto the winners chart that hung on the wall, but I did come away having learnt a whole lot about how the location and processing affects the way that coffee tastes.

London Coffee Festival by Jen Lou Meredith www.jenloumeredith.com

After that minor defeat, I couldn't help but stop by the Latte Art stand. I wanted to visit the stand earlier in the day, but there was a huge crowd blocking my view. That afternoon, there was still a huge crowd (people now seem to have a huge fascination with coffee art thanks to Instagram) but I managed to glimpse the work of an Autralian barista who was demonstrating the well known rosetta design, as well as more challenging techniques.

A volunteer was asked to come behind the bar and try the art for herself, but the milk pretty much blended with the coffee and you couldn't make out the design. Turns out that the baristas make this skill look so much easier than it is, when in reality it requires much more practice than people give credit for.

London Coffee Festival by Jen Lou Meredith www.jenloumeredith.com

Following this session, I decided that it was time to head to the Hotel Chocolat stand, where I could get my sugar fix. They were handing out 100% cocoa hot chocolates, as well as a brand new white chocolate and vanilla drink - both of which were to die for. No word on the release date for the latter as yet, but as soon as it arrives on shelves I'm going to have to bag myself some! 

In the middle of the room stood a huge statue made from real chocolate: stacks of huge pieces, possibly the size of the average laptop. People were invited to scrape off a bit for themselves to pair with their hot chocolates. I politely declined. Me, being the hygiene freak I am, thought about how long that chocolate had been sitting there and just how many people had touched it. Everybody looked like they were enjoying it, though.

London Coffee Festival by Jen Lou Meredith www.jenloumeredith.com

Finally, after a good look around the festival, I decided it was time to go home. I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of info I picked up, but I was intrigued at the very least. In a goody bag, I was kindly given a packet of wholebean coffee - which I've now got to find a way to grind and brew! Any suggestions on reasonably priced grinders and coffee makers would be much appreciated!
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Sunday, 2 April 2017

Healthy Tea? Count Me In!


Now that spring's finally here, and we've fully emerged from winter hibernation, now's the time to start reintroducing fresher and more invigorating flavours to your food and drink to really wake your tastebuds up for the new season. If builder's tea has kept you going throughout the dull weather, your body will thank you for moving away from the heavy stuff and onto lighter herbal and fruit teas instead.

Since November last year, I've been picking up the nearest thing I could find to eat for breakfast - mostly croissants, pan au chocolats, bagels - whatever I could find that I could eat in five minutes on the way to work. However, now that spring's here and the mornings are lighter, I've starting getting up twenty minutes earlier, having prepped some nutritious overnight oats, and using the extra time to indulge in a cup of Heath & Heather tea. 

If you haven't heard of Heath & Heather before, they're stocked in Holland & Barret and they have been producing herbal and infused teas since 1920. I'm currently addicted to their newly released Organic Super Teas range, which comprises five different teas:


  • Organic Energising Morning Time Tea
  • Organic Relaxing Night Time Tea
  • Organic Supportive Root Remedy Tea
  • Organic Detoxing Slim Tea
  • Organic Digestive Super Seeds Tea

What I love about these is that they all have a different purpose, for example, the Energising Morning Time Tea is perfect for waking you up when you're feeling groggy, while the Relaxing Night Time Tea is ideal for times when you need a little help settling down before bed.

I get bored drinking the same tea all the time - one day it'll be English Breakfast, the next day, Rooibus, and the next, Earl Grey - so I'm really loving this selection of teas for its variety. There's literally a tea for every working day of the week!

However, I have developed a liking for the Detoxing Slim Tea. As the name suggests, this metabolism boosting tea is ideal for assisting natural weight loss by aiding bowel movements with fibre, detoxing the gut and curbing food cravings. It tastes like a nutty green tea thanks to its infusion of green yerba mate, guarana seeds and rooibus - so if you like the sound of these ingredients, I recommend giving this tea a go!
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Friday, 10 March 2017

Spring Beauty Round-up: What to buy this season

Spring Beauty by Jen Lou Meredith


“I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.” ― Virginia WoolfJacob's Room

Although I agree with most of what Virginia Woolf has written, I have to say that I haven't yet reached the age at which spring becomes more enjoyable than autumn. Perhaps it's because I was born in autumn, but there's just something about the reddening leaves, the cooling temperatures and the hazy sunshine that brings me so much nostalgia and contentment.

Spring, however, is a beautiful time of year, and I'm getting excited just thinking about it. The weather's getting warmer (it's 13 degrees outside!), the evenings are getting lighter and the spring stock is beginning to appear in stores. I'm loving SS17, fashion-wise, for its lighter take on florals, lazy bell sleeves, casual bottoms, mules and, of course, pastels.

But we're talking about beauty here - and there are some intriguing products that are catching my eye, including some brand new launches set for the next couple of months, and some revamped favourites!

Ciaté, known primarily for its nail polishes, have just this week released a new product called 'Dewy Stix'. Described by the brand as a 'luminous glow highlighting balm', this is the perfect product to recreate the no-makeup makeup look that featured heavily on the runways.

Estée Lauder's Double Wear Cushion BB All day Wear Liquid Compact SPF 50, £35

Set to launch in May 2017, this Estée Lauder liquid compact is hailed by the brand as a multi-tasking miracle product: it primes, moisturises, adds luminosity, controls oil and protects the skin from the sun, all the while providing natural-looking coverage.


Luxury vegan and organic skincare brand Dahliana has just released its Berry Beauty Collagen Booster, which harnesses the power of natural berries to regenerate skin cells and rebuild collagen. At £75, this is steep, but Dahliana's products are highly rated and therefore this could be an excellent skin care investment.

So this isn't a beauty buy, but candles make you feel good, which in turn releases endorphins which make you appear happier and healthier (I know, it's a tenuous link, but I love candles so hey ho)! At a steep £80, this is definitely a luxury buy; however, the price is justified by the scent story behind the candle. Inspired by Jo Malone's love of the South of France, the scent takes you on a journey through the streets of Grasse and Mougins with fragrances of neroli blossom, lime cologne and petitgrain. It's spring in a cup!


Urban Decay's new skincare collection, Rehab Makeup Prep, from £11

Due for release on 13th April, Urban Decay's foray into skincare is set to be a big hit with fans of their makeup - after all, wouldn't it be great to be able to buy everything from one place? The collection will consist of Pretty Gritty Skin Polish, £22; Pore Refining Peel, £24; Oxygentated Bubble Mask, £22; Moisture Layer Eye Roller, £20; Hot Springs Hydrating Gel, £22 and moisturising balm Lip Love, £11.

Cover FX Illuminating Setting Spray, £22

Launching this month (March 2017), Cover FX's Illuminating Setting Spray sets makeup to keep it in place all day whilst providing a healthy sheen across the face. It's non-sticky, long-wearing and alcohol free, as well as 100% vegan. Watch out for this one.


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Thursday, 9 March 2017

International Women's Day: Words aren't enough


If you hopped on social media yesterday, you may have seen the words 'International Women's Day' pop up on your screen here and there, often accompanied by an inspirational quote or image. March 8th is, if you hadn't already guessed, a day dedicated to women; it commemorates the women's rights movement, recognises our past and present struggles with inequality, and instills hope in women across the globe that those struggles will one day come to an end. It brings us together, letting every female know that the stigma they face as a woman is shared by many, and that they are not alone. It encourages us to express our right to freedom - of speech, of thought, of how we want to use our bodies - so it's no wonder why International Women's Day is on everyone's lips.

This day isn't anything new (however, thanks to third wave feminism and social media, IWD has become more widely recognised than ever before), having been first observed in the early 1900s during a time of rapid expansion in industry, a growing population and a rise in radical and rebellious ideologies. In 1908, 1500 women marched through New York City campaigning for shorter hours, better pay and the right to vote. This lead the way for women across the world, particularly in the UK, Russia and Europe, to campaign for and obtain equal rights.

It was these women that showed courage, initiative and perseverance when fighting for equality - something that should have been theirs by right as human beings in the first place. They put their reputations, their jobs, their relationships and even their lives on the line to obtain rights that we, today, might take for granted. Great women such as Emily Davison and Emmeline Pankhurst (and many, many more) died devoted to the cause, with some never living to see the fruits of their labour. They knew that the world needed to change, and they acted upon this knowledge despite the adversity they faced.

Would you say that you would do the same? When faced with sexism or misogyny, would you risk as much as these women in order to fight for your cause? This International Women's Day, I've seen so many women join in the conversation on social media, with hundreds posting encouraging status updates, taking photos with their female friends captioned with the hashtag #GirlBoss, and sharing blogs and articles promoting awareness. This is great and, of course, we should be utilising social media (especially if we have a large following) to spread the word - but is that enough?

Simply stating you're feminist won't end inequality. After all, actions speak louder than words, and although it's important to use your voice, you must also practice what you preach. Don't just jump on the hashtag because you think you'll look good in front of your friends and followers. If you truly want to end inequality, stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about women as a whole. We're all in this together.

If you're sitting there thinking, 'I don't have time to attend a march, or help out at a women's shelter, or start a petition', then that's okay. We invest our time into what we can. But the one way that we all should be able to contribute to this movement is to lend a helping hand to women in need in everyday situations. Instead of sniggering at the girl who has walked out of the toilet with her skirt tucked into her pants, shield her while she fixes it. Instead of walking on by while the mum with a buggy and a toddler is struggling with her shopping, offer to help carry her bags to her car. Instead of shaking your head at the woman who slipped over whilst wearing heels on an icy day, help her up and ask her if she's okay. You'll improve a fellow woman's day by a million percent if you just show some solidarity. It's really not hard, and it's something we should all be doing.

Although these actions might not instantly win the fight against inequality, they will help us to become a unit. We are stronger as a whole, and if we can prove that to each other, then this fight will be a lot easier to win.

*

As an added extra, I want to mention a few women who inspire me, who deserve more recognition and who rock the term 'feminism' with a capital F:

Keeks Reid - a great friend and a talented journalist, Keeks has a way with words which resonates with career girls that are obsessed with reality TV, comfort food and their girl squad. Subscribe to her newsletter, FlavouredLatte, for free here.

Kayleigh-Michelle - literally the nicest and most positive person you will ever meet, Kayleigh promotes the true meaning of a healthy lifestyle on her blog, Living Healthy & Beating Cancer.

Becca - I met Becca at my first full-time job, and we've stayed friends ever since. She's instantly likeable, and cares so much about her friends - plus, she knows so much about beauty! Read her blog, Becca Writes, here.

Sara Meess - A beautiful person inside and out, Sara is more than happy to help her friends and fellow bloggers out, and blows me away with her confidence. Read her blog, Diary of Fashion, here.

Zoe Dubs - A beauty writer and blogger, Zoe is so easy to get on with, and has amazing style. I met her at a photo shoot and she was always smiling and so happy to chat. Read her blog, Face Value Beauty Blog, here.

Capture the Moments - this Insta-blogger is the queen of pretty food flatlays on her personal page, @capturedthemoments_, and promotes the foodie creations of people all over the world on her second page, @whatimmakingfordinner_. A genuinely nice person, she never hesitates to give a compliment when she sees something she likes.

Carms - this girl is so incredibly beautiful and down to earth at the same time! I've only met her a couple of times, but she was so happy to chat and give advice on blogging to help a girl out. Read her stunning fashion and lifestyle blog, Carms London, and prepare to be inspired by her style.

Fashion For Lunch - Despite her thousands of followers, this incredibly creative woman was happy to take time out to chat to me about her world (read our interview here). Her Instagram profile is one of my favourites to look at, as it's so colourful and unique.

Carly Cristman - I love Carly's YouTube channel because she keeps it real, giving out super helpful career, blogging and fashion advice while showing you the 'behind the scenes' of her life (i.e. what you DON'T see on Instagram).


Who are your favourite females that you think deserve more recognition?
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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Fashion Blogger of the Year



For bloggers, getting recognised for our work is a big thing. We put in hundreds - thousands, even - of hours of work behind the scenes, and whenever we get a little bit of a well done, it's the best feeling in the world. Sure, we love what we do, and most of us would happily give up our full time jobs to blog (if rent and mortgages didn't exist!), but a little thank you goes a VERY very long way!

I have been blogging for around four years now. I started this beautiful hobby as a way of writing what I wanted to write whilst at uni. My first blog, Art Style Love, began as an art blog and merged into a fashion blog. Then, in 2016, I decided to put my name to it, and thus Jen Lou Meredith was born.

I'm a full time worker, but writing for my blog is an enormous passion. It's my little spot on the internet where I can talk about matters than mean a lot to me, whether that's DIY hacks for affordable furniture or the sometimes tense relationship between journalists and bloggers

But, primarily, this is a fashion blog. Fashion and I have been in a whirlwind love affair since I was in primary school, where I used to rummage through my mum's sewing box to create (albeit laughably amateurish) copies of the designer dresses I saw on Hollywood's leading ladies. Now, having discovered very early on that I had zero talent for needlework, I have decided to stand back and appreciate the vast talent that occupies the world of fashion. On Jen Lou Meredith, you'll see everything from my take on avant-garde collections to rare boutique finds and the latest high street hero pieces. My aim is to connect you with my little world of fashion loves, and in the process I'll (hopefully) help you discover pieces that you'll fall in love with too.


T H E   B L O G O S P H E R E   M A G A Z I N E   A W A R D S


If you do like reading my blog, and think I'm worthy of a nomination for Fashion Blogger of the Year in the Blogosphere Magazine Awards, then please click on this link by April 8th 2017: http://www.blogospheremagazine.com/blogosphere-blog-awards-2017/
Every vote would mean so much to me, and by voting you're letting me know that the work I'm doing here has some meaning!

Thank you so much for reading and/or voting, and I hope you have a beautiful day!
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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Lunch with Johnny Loves Rosie


“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis


This week, jewellery and accessories brand Johnny Loves Rosie invited me for an afternoon tea at York & Albany, a Gordon Ramsay restaurant in Camden. Myself and seven other bloggers were given a preview of the new SS17 collection, which included pretty pastel-coloured gems (obligatory spring wear!) and faux fur pom poms.

One of my favourite pieces is this headband (below), which immediately brought to mind Dolce Gabbana's Spring runway collection. Its gold hardware and black band, combined with blue and red gems and pearlesque beads, definitely appears to be a nod to decadent, sophisticated Italian style.

We each received a monogrammed clutch bag in a beautiful mink shade - which, coincidentally, I had previously been eyeing up on their website. Each bag comes with a double set of foil lettering, which you can apply to the bag at home, spelling out your initials, name, or a phrase. The bag itself can easily fit an iPad, phone, diary and card holder inside without compromising the structure, and it comes with a slinky gold shoulder strap. Tip: add one of Johnny Loves Rosie's keyrings to the bag for extra personalisation!

I was also given a floral corsage, which can be worn on the wrist, upper arm or even as a choker, and a necklace with my initial on a gold-coloured chain.



As always, one of the best parts of any event is meeting new people. Lucy and Charlotte from the Johnny Loves Rosie team were super friendly and happy to introduce all of us to each other. As I mentioned earlier, there were seven other amazing bloggers in attendance, who were all so lovely to talk to over afternoon tea - here are their links:



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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Korean skincare has arrived at Boots


Rejoice! The long-awaited arrival of Korean skincare products on the UK high street is finally here! Boots is now stocking South Korean beauty brands Oh K!, Skinfood and Caolion - major players in the Asian beauty market that have taken the entire world by storm.

If you're not familiar with Korean beauty products, where have you been? The face (excuse the pun) of skincare, in particular, has changed completely, and these products are fast becoming one of Korea's biggest exports. According to The Cut, the total export value of Korean beauty products to the U.S. in 2015 was $52 million, a 60 percent increase from the previous year. That's a staggering rise in demand. And it's more than just a phase. The Korean beauty market is now so huge that new products are emerging just as fast as Western brands can churn them out - and they're so innovative that many have gone viral. You must have seen those Instagram shots of transparent lipsticks with flowers centered in the 'stick', or Kim Kardashian looking like Leatherface with a sheet mask over her skin? Yup, all Korean.

So here's a run down on the three Korean brands that have just launched in Boots, what they offer, and why they're so in-demand:

Image via Boots Beauty Finds

Oh K! (£2.50 to £15)

Inspired by the buzzing metropolis of Seoul, Oh K! makes a range of super cute sheet masks, beauty sponges and other skin and haircare accessories. Each product is characterised by an adorable animal such as pandas and bunny rabbits, with different Korean-inspired fragrances - and they state that they are cruelty-free.


Image via Boots Beauty Finds

Caolion (£4 to £30)

A little more 'grown up', Caolian focuses on one particular area of skincare that many of us consider a major concern - pores. Its series of duo pots work together to open the pores, cleanse impurities, then close and tighten the pores, leaving you with clean and smooth skin. Its Pore Blackhead O2 Sparkling Soap is completely natural and water soluble, featuring charcoal, sparkling water and essential oils to help cleanse and nourish your skin.


Image via Boots Beauty Finds

Skinfood (£13 to £25)

This brand places heavy emphasis on natural skincare, promoting its powerful plant-based formulas designed to beautify the skin. Each product under the brand name showcases a 'hero' ingredient; Boots are retailing the Black Sugar range, a three-part routine which features a cleansing cream, scrub and a wash-off mask.


I'm so excited to get my hands on these products, and I'm so glad that Korean beauty is finally making its mark on the UK high street. If you've tried any of these products, let me know what you think in the comment box below.


http://convertalinktest.affiliatewindow.com
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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

A Fashionista's Guide to Becoming Vegetarian


I've been a vegetarian for nearly a year now, and making that commitment has been one of the things I'm most proud of doing. However, it's not just food that I've had to give up on. A lot of people ask me whether I still wear things like leather, suede or other animal skins. As I became a vegetarian because of my compassion towards animals, the answer to that question is 'no'. I do not buy or promote any slaughter by-product, which includes animal skins.

Because of this, shopping for clothing and accessories seemed slightly limiting at first. As we all know, a leather bag or shoes will last a lot longer than its synthetic counterpart, which is a downside; however, synthetic products are usually far cheaper (although this may cost the same or more in the long run due to the lifespan of the product). If you are committed to eliminating animal skins from your wardrobe, then a little research is all you need to look fabulous! And I've done the work for you, covering low, mid AND high end budgets for UK-based fashionistas.

GUIDE TO FABRICS


Common non-vegetarian fabrics:

  • Fur
  • Leather
  • Sheepskin/lambskin
  • Mohair
  • Ponyskin/horsehair
  • Shagreen
  • Suede
  • Snakeskin
  • Crocodile skin

Vegetarian fabric alternatives:

  • Acrylic
  • Aertex
  • Canvas
  • Cotton
  • Denim
  • Elastic
  • Flanelette
  • Fleece
  • Leatherette/Pleather
  • Linen
  • Muslin
  • Nylon
  • Polyester
  • Rayon
  • Sateen
  • Spandex
  • Velour

JEN'S GUIDE TO VEGGIE FASHION

KEY: JEN'S TOP PICK

LOW BUDGET VEGETARIAN FASHION


Black Score - Men's and women's t-shirts
Chiaralascura (Italy based) - Men's and women's t-shirts and accessories
Uncaptive - Men's, women's and children's t-shirts

MID-RANGE VEGETARIAN FASHION


Thought Clothing - Men's and women's clothing
Skunkfunk - Women's clothing
People Tree - Men's and women's clothing
Bourgeois Boheme - Footwear for men and women
Matt & Nat - Handbags and footwear
Free People (Vegan Section) - Women's clothing, shoes and accessories
The Third Estate - Men's and women's clothing, shoes and accessories
Wilby - Women's accessories (handbag heaven!)
Will's Vegan Shoes - Men's and women's shoes
Luva Huva - Women's lingerie
Beyond Skin - Men's and women's shoes
Nancy Dee - Women's clothing
Tragwert - Women's accessories

HIGH END VEGETARIAN FASHION


Stella McCartney - Men's, women's and children's clothing, shoes and accessories
Shrimps - Women's clothing and accessories
Vaute Couture (USA based) - Men's and women's clothing and accessories
Dr Martens (Vegan Section) - Men's and women's shoes
Noah (Italy based) - Men's and women's shoes and accessories
Helen Moore - Men's, women's and childrens clothing, shoes and accessories (AND HOMEWARE!!)
L&E London - Women's accessories


If you know of any more vegetarian, vegan and cruelty-free brands to add to this list, please let me know in the comments section!


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Saturday, 11 February 2017

5 of the Best Lipsticks for Valentine's Day



I wanted to call this list '5 of the Best Red Lipsticks for Valentine's Day', but I know that red lipstick isn't for everyone. I hardly wear red lipstick, myself, as I find that it makes me look older, it's too easy for me to get the shade wrong, and not to mention embarrassing red-stained teeth - so I've included just two of my favourite red lipsticks on this list. The rest are for those of you (of which I'm sure there are many) who prefer a pink or nude/brown lip!

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:

theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick in Adoring, £15

The first red shade on this list, theBalm's Meet Matt(e) Hughes liquid lipstick is the perfect red wine tone - perfect for a vampy look. The minty vanilla flavour leaves a little bit of a tingling sensation when applied on the lips, and the texture doesn't dry out the skin. Although this is described as a 'long lasting' lipstick, I wouldn't say it's kiss-proof; so if you're planning on doing a lot of lip-locking this Valentine's Day, maybe give this one a miss.

bareMinerals GEN NUDE Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Smooch, £17

This delicate light pink shade is emphasised with a chalky matte texture which stays on throughout the day, and comes off with an oil-based makeup remover. You'll need to apply this twice for full opacity, but thanks to its lightweight formula it doesn't feel all cakey on your lips. This lipstick has a really subtle vanilla scent, and a non-tacky texture!

Lime Crime Matte Velvetine in Buffy, £15.98

Inspired by rose petals, the vegan and cruelty-free Velvetine lipsticks feature a matte, velvety texture. This is a little heavier than the bareMinerals lipstick, but you only need one application as the opacity is already very high. Buffy is a toffee brown shade, for those who love a mid-brown lip - it's not too dark, and it's warm enough to avoid making you look 'dead'.

Lord & Berry Timess Liquid Lipstick in Bazaar, £15

Another matte liquid lipstick, this nourishes lips rather than drying them out, with three different oils keeping lips nice and moist. I found that this is super easy to apply, as it has an angled tip, and the colour is super intense. Bazaar is an absolutely beautiful deep pink shade - combined with the chalky matte texture of this lipstick, this has to be one of my all time favourites.

Buxom Big & Sexy Bold Gel Lipstick in Wildfire, $22

The second red shade on this list, Buxom's Big & Sexy Lipstick is nothing short of amazing. Although it has a flat top, and thus needs a lipliner to trace the outline of the lips prior to application, the extra fuss is definitely worth it. I only needed one layer to get the full richness of this formula - and the colour, described as an orange red on the website (although compared to my other orange reds this came out as more of a true red on me), this shade is truly showstopping. Expect some head-turns when you're wearing this!
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Monday, 6 February 2017

What Happened When I Went for a Dermalogica Face Mapping



Everybody has their own issues when it comes to their skin: perhaps it's too oily, or prone to breakouts, or dull or uneven in tone. My issue has always been that my skin is super dry.

It started when I was in high school; my skin would be so dry and flaky that other kids would tease me, saying it looked like I had salt on my face. I know, kids can be cruel, and when you're that age all you care about is how you look - so it's hard feeling less than perfect. As I got older, the condition improved slightly thanks to my hormones re-balancing. But it's still a nuisance at the best of times, and embarrassing at the worst.


I have dry skin all over my body, but my face is the one part of me that is seen all the time, so I decided to start there. I was offered by Preen.me the opportunity to go for a Dermalogica Face Mapping skin analysis, something I'd heard of before but never experienced myself. It's a service which allows a Dermalogica professional to analyse your skin, before providing you with a prescription advising you on which Dermalogica products to use where, in order to achieve optimum skin health.

I went to my local Dermalogica salon, where I received a Face Mapping service, along with a relaxing facial so that I could get the full benefit of the products. First off, I was given a detailed questionnaire to fill out, which asked me about my skincare concerns, whether I had any recent microdermabrasion or IPL treatments, and whether I was on or due for my period, etc. After that, I was taken to a cosy, warm room and laid down on a massage table under some covers, just as I would with any regular spa facial treatment.

The treatment began with a cleanse to remove any traces of makeup or other residue on the skin; this was followed by a skin moisture analysis carried out with a handheld device which, when pressed lightly on my skin, revealed the level of hydration. We discovered that my forehead was far drier than any other area of my face, with my cheeks next and my neck last.

My therapist then moved onto the Face Mapping segment of the treatment, which she carried out with a magnifying glass and lamp, as well as using touch to determine the texture of my skin. She told me that the face is sectioned into 14 different areas: 1 and 3 comprise the forehead, 2 is the space between the eyes, 4 and 5 are the right ear and cheek, and so on. Each section can be completely different from the last. For example, I had blocked pores in section 7 (my nose) but clear skin in sections 5 and 9 (cheeks).

Overall, my skin was in quite good condition - no signs of wrinkles here! - but I was in need of some brightening skincare to help my acne scarring and also some hydrating products to inject some moisture. My therapist also recommended some eye treatments as a preventative measure, as you can never start the anti-ageing process too early!



I would recommend to anyone receiving a Face Mapping service to also book a facial afterwards, as your therapist will tell you how and where to apply your recommended Dermalogica products. Plus, facials are always the perfect way to de-stress. 

After my facial, I was given my Dermalogica prescription, which told me what products were best suited to my skin, which sections to apply the products to, and when to do so (AM or PM). This was super useful, and I still refer to it now when I'm going through my skincare routine.




Following my experience, Dermalogic sent me four products from my prescription to try out:


precleanse 150ml, £34.45 - a pre-cleansing treatment containing olive, apricot and kukui nut oils
skin smoothing cream 50ml, £33.90 - a mid-weight moisturiser containing lecithin, aloe gel, mallow, cucumber, arnica and grape seed extract
gentle cream exfoliant 75ml, £39.20 - a non-abrasive formula containing lactic acid and hydroxy acid
intensive eye repair 15ml, £38.90 - an eye cream containing wild yam extract and grape seed extract


I've been using these products for around a week now, and I can see that they've made a visible difference even in this short amount of time. I use the skin smoothing cream and intensive eye repair in the morning, then all four products at night - and when I wake up in the morning, my skin feels smooth, hydrated, cleaner and brighter. I'm more confident when it comes to going out without makeup, and I love the ritual of applying products that I know are getting to work as soon as they touch my skin.


One of the best things about these products is that they smell amazing. Not that sickly, perfumed smell that you get with some other products, but a natural, gentle scent that wakes you up in the morning and soothes you in the evening.

Also, Dermalogica are cruelty-free! All of their products are made in Southern California without the use of animal testing, and are not sold in China (where animal testing is compulsory for cosmetics). This was a very important requirement for me, as a vegetarian - so I'm pleased to say that my skin care routine is completely cruelty-free!


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