Beauty, Face, Skincare

Tried & Tested – Luxury Face Serums

May 16, 2015

If you are looking to invest some money into skincare, I would highly recommend that the product you do this on would be a serum. I admittedly never even used to use a serum in my skincare routine and now I couldn’t think of not using one. I’d even swap it out for a moisturiser if I had to make the choice. I think they really benefit my skin and have noticed vast improvements from them, examples include Nip & Fab Glycolic Serum or the Herbalife Serum also.

That said it doesn’t mean you have to spend the earth on one, but if you were looking to spend a little more, I’ve put four of the top luxury serums to the test to see how they faired.

La Prairie Rapid Response Boosting Serum review

La Prairie Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster 50ml

Let’s just put it out there, this is the most expensive serum I have probably ever used/tried in my life. At £195 a bottle it’s definitely in the luxury end of the scale. The serum comes in a shiny silver bottle, with a really easy to use pump. La Prairie say that the serum is their ‘most accelerated wrinkle interceptor yet’ and claim that within two weeks you will notice a visible difference in lines and wrinkles and also a brighter complexion. It does this by delivering anti-wrinkle peptides where needed to reduce wrinkle depth, helps hydration of the skin and also exfoliates to minimise pores. Application is twice daily AM/PM after cleansing and toning so it’s really easy to fit into your skincare routine.

La Prairie Rapid Response Boosting Serum

For me I have a few light wrinkles on my forehead so it’s hard to gauge the difference, but I guess this is why you should start using anti-aging now for prevention rather than cure. It has a slight orange tint to it, but goes on the face clear. I wasn’t too keen on the smell of it to be honest, pretty floral and a bit ‘granny’. The application was easy however and felt quite hydrating on the skin, not sticky and dried in quickly. I put this to the test for two weeks and I was hoping for some miraculous results, but I haven’t really noticed any. Any fine lines are still there and the radiance, nothing to write home about. Maybe you would need to use this over a long period of time as I did think two weeks was a bit of a big claim, but for me I wouldn’t be adding it to my repurchase list. La Prairie Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster is £195 available from John lewis.

Rodial Dragons Blood & Super Acids Serum review

Rodial Dragon’s Blood XXL Advanced Sculpting Serum & Super Acids Daily Azelaic Acid Serum 30ml

Rodial have added two serums to the popular Dragon’s Blood and Super Acid ranges. The Dragon’s Blood XXL £125 is a sculpting serum, you may have seen me use it in my how to contour video. This is great for hydrating the face as it is pumped full of hyaluronic acid, I basically just look for any product with this ingredient for my skin type. The idea behind this one is to sculpt the face, picture a Kim Kardashian vampire facelift, without the needles or the pain. It has a combination of ingredients including wheat proteins for firmer skin, red snow algae to improve skin’s resistance against external stress factors and hema’Tite™ optimizes skin’s youthful appearance for a more ‘plumped up’ look. I am a big fan of Rodial’s Dragon Blood range and this is another great addition that I could definitely see myself adding into my daily routine, it felt lovely on and I noticed an improvement in the hydration side of things.

Rodial Super Serum Review

Alongside the Dragon’s Blood serum, Rodial have also just added the Super Acids Daily Azelaic Serum £78. This one is designed to refine pores, even skin tone and purify skin. The liquorice extract helps even skin tone and brighten complexion, probiotics help strengthen and protect skin from external aggressions and also boost hydration, whilst azelaic acid refines pores. This one is more white in colour as the Dragon’s Blood has an orange formula. They both go on clear however and sink into the skin straight away. You can apply the serums one after the other too, to get the benefits of both, so no need to just decide on one. I really enjoyed using both of these and the layering technique worked well, plus I definitely saw my skin looking less dull after these. Both serums are available from Space NK.

Beauty Lab Black Diamond Serum Review

Beauty Lab Black Diamond Energizing Serum 30ml

When I said earlier I could swap out a moisturiser for a serum, I would probably be choosing this one. The texture of Beauty Lab’s Black Diamond serum actually feels more on the moisturiser side of things. It felt absolutely lovely on and straight away from just putting it on my skin, I noticed it had a slight glow, a bit like using a moisturiser designed for under make-up. I’m not sure if it’s even meant to do this but I was pretty excited. Long term benefits, this serum is to reduce lines and wrinkles and again bring back radiance to the skin. This little bottle is packed with black diamond, hexapeptide, copper peptide and sea algae which is great for skin and helps to hydrate and soften. I really loved using Beauty Lab’s skin perfecting moisturise cream and this was no exception a truly fantastic serum. Beauty Lab Black Diamond serum is £90 available from Harvey Nichols.

Lifestyle

My Happy Place – London Zoo

May 13, 2015

Working freelance means that I don’t always get a weekend off, in fact most weekends I can be found working away. This does however mean that I can take days off when I want to and that’s exactly what I did on Monday. I definitely needed to take a break away from the laptop and emails, sometimes it’s just so hard to switch off.  Therefore I definitely needed a trip to my happy place.

London Zoo penguin

I absolutely love London Zoo, probably because I just love animals so much and the fact I don’t have a pet, this lets me get close to them and I don’t think I have ever got over the fact I am standing in front of a gorilla. It was a gorgeous sunny day on Monday too, so Danny came with me and we had a fantastic day out at the Zoo. I especially loved the new ‘In With The Lemurs’ where you can get up and close next to them, weirdly we got greeted by all of them calling for about 3 minutes, which was spectacularly weird. There are plenty new baby animals too, it was amazing to see the young gorilla clinging to its mum and also to see how big Jeff the sloth had got, it was his first birthday on Monday too. I also visited the butterfly tent which I hadn’t before, they really take centre stage in the photos.

I hope you enjoy the photo diary and my happy place, as much as I do.

Lemur | In With The Lemurs | London Zoo | The LDN Diaries

Lemur | In With The Lemurs | London Zoo | The LDN Diaries

Lemur | In With The Lemurs | The LDN Diaries at London Zoo

Lemur | In With The Lemurs | London Zoo | The LDN Diaries

Sloths at London Zoo | The LDN Diaries

Gorilla at London Zoo | The LDN Diaries

Camel At London Zoo | The LDN Diaries

Llama at London Zoo | The LDN Diaries

Llama at London Zoo

Butterfly

Butterfly

Butterfly at London Zoo

Butterflies

Clear winged butterfly

Butterfly with black and white wings

Meerkats

Giraffes at London Zoo

Tiger at London Zoo

Penguins sunbathing

penguin swimming

Penguin swimming

Fashion

My Summer Wish Lyst

May 13, 2015

When it comes to making wish lists, I don’t need to be asked twice. I love shopping online and I love when sites have wishlist options, there is something quite satisfying about making a list of things you want to buy. Plus I always tend to decide from that a few days/weeks later what I really need rather that going on impulse. So when it came round to using Lyst, which is based around that exact thing, making lists, I thought I’d put together some pieces I am lusting after this summer.

Lyst Summer Wish List

View my Summer Wish List

There are so many lovely pieces around for SS15 from luxury to high-street. On Lyst you can search for items via the category menus or type in the search bar what you are looking for. You can also select by price, colour and designer. Lyst also creates a ‘New For You‘ section which when you sign up it asks you what designers you like and based on that it then compiles a ‘New In’ section just for you, how cool is that!?

From my ‘New For You‘ section I picked out a few of the above items including the Mara Hoffman bikini, how beautiful and the Anya Hindmarch beach bag. These are of course both ridiculously expensive, so as much as I can dream of having these holiday pieces, what I will be waiting for is for Lyst to tell me they are on sale. Once added to your own lists on Lyst, it will notify you via email when the item goes on sale, so you don’t miss out. I do like to buy things straight away but when it comes to summer clothing I do like to wait as I just know it will end up in the sale a couple of weeks later.

Gucci Shoes on Lyst

View my Gucci shoes list

I also discovered jewellery brand Venessa Arizaga, I hadn’t heard of the brand before but came across it when searching bracelets and just fell in love with the cute designs. The Gucci espadrilles are so lovely for a beach holiday and if you have your eyes on some Gucci shoes for summer, then why not make a Lyst? You’ll be notified they go on sale and watch the envy amongst your friends once you are sporting a pair!

It’s so easy to sign up to Lyst and start making your own lists. You can follow me on Lyst here and sign up to start making your own at www.lyst.co.uk.

Beauty, Nails

Summer Nails w/ Mavala & Stylfile

May 12, 2015

I have been so converted to doing gel nails at home that I had sort of forgotten the annoyance of painting my nails more than every two weeks.  However when I got sent a few new nail goodies to try I decided today to put away the gel kit and have a bit of a play!

First up we have the Stylfile, which was created by The Apprentice winner Tom Pellereau and he has added two new products to the best-selling line. These are the Stylfile Infuse £12.99 and the Mani Pro £8.99.

Stylfile Review

The Stylfile is a curved nail file but this time it has been combined with almond cuticle oil located at the top of the handle. In theory this file should be fantastic and it is, but then also sadly it’s not. I really liked the curved file, which is just in genius in itself and the biggest help when doing your nails and I do like the cuticle oil and how handy it is with the nail file.

Stylfile Infuse with cuticle oil review

However I found when using it that the oil seemed to always spill out a little and result in it all over my fingers, it also wouldn’t be one I would want to chuck in my handbag for fear of this happening. I did make sure the cap was on properly but for me it just kept happening. The plus side though is it does come with two extra heads.

The Mani Pro however I really loved. Again it has the S shape, but instead of a file it has the four main buffering parts, all numbered and really easy to use. Tucked away inside the Mani pro, is a cuticle pusher and cuticle neatener, which I just thought was so handy and great to carry around on a day-to-day basis and for travelling too. I found the curved buffer worked really well with the nail and made them lovely and shiny and a smooth surface for applying nail polish.

Stylfile Mani Pro

Stylfile Mani Pro

I have also been trying out the new Spring/Summer collection from Mavala entitled the Garden Party collection. There are six shades in the new collection and they are all beautiful pastel and bright colours. These shades I would say are very ‘me’, I tried out Hortensia, a bright light pink, Jasmin, a beautiful light pastel and subtle pink and also Iris a light pastel purple.

Mavala Garden Party Nail Polish

Mavala Garden Party Nails

Inspired by florals, the colours are just perfect for summer and go on lovely and smooth with a high shine finish.I really love the dinky brush as it’s just so much easier for applying.

Mavala Garden Party

Mavala Garden Party Hortensia

I really enjoyed using these shades that I might have to give up the gel for a little while anyway. Mavala Garden party nail polishes are priced at £4.75 each from Boots.

Beauty, Make-Up, Videos

Make-Up Tutorial – Jennifer Lopez Met Ball 2015

May 10, 2015

For today’s video I have put together a make-up tutorial inspired by Jennifer Lopez’s beauty look from last weeks Met Ball Gala. I liked her red/orange eyes and how she had slightly made them more dramatic, she had a gorgeous J-Lo glow, a light lip and the overall look I think worked really well.

Watch the video to see how to recreate the look, enjoy!

Shop The Video

Dinner, Food

The Refinery Regent’s Place

May 8, 2015

The Refinery at Regent’s Place is Drake & Morgan’s latest addition to its restaurant collective. The popular restaurants have been popping up all over London and I have been mighty impressed by what I have tried so far. The Refinery takes a Scandinavian style across its slightly smaller than its sister venues, one-floor eating and drinking area.  With wooden flooring and a chunky oak bar, the seating is laid out in comfort with relaxing laid-back chairs and whilst we visited, blankets and even hot water bottles if you fancy braving the outdoor seating later in the evening. Even though the space isn’t the biggest and the bar can get pretty full, we still felt separate enough from the bar to eat.

Refinery Regents Place Review | The LDN Diaries

When we visited they were just about to turn into their summer menu the next day, so we still got some of the winter favourites as well as a few specials to tempt us into the summer menu.

The Refinery Regents Place | The LDN Diaries

We started with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and two starters, I chose the crispy wquid with firecracker sauce and ginger, I am not one for spice but the sauce was really easy on the palette and not spicy in the slightest which was a big relief from me. The squid was crispy and tasted just spot on. Danny ordered the meatballs which came with goats cheese and pine nuts in a bowl, not quite what I was expecting when he ordered them, but he liked them all the same.

Wine glasses

Wine Bottle in Cooler

Fried Squid, ginger and firecracker sauce | The Refinery |  theldndiaries.com

Meatballs with pine nuts and goats cheese | The Refinery | theldndiaries.com

For mains I went with fish and chips, a rather large piece of haddock and a large portion of chunky chips with tartare sauce. The fish was absolutely perfect, so tasty and a very big portion. Danny had the chicken thai red curry with basmati rice, it came in the cutest pots to help yourself from and had just the right spice level and with large pieces of chicken.

Haddock and chips | The Refinery | The LDN Diaries Lifestyle Blog

Indian curry tins

Red Thai Curry | The Refinery | The LDN Diaries

Red Thai Curry | The Refinery | The LDN Diaries

As they were giving a peek at some of the new items on the summer menu, I was able to order eton mess for dessert, this was full of meringue, cream and strawberries, really fantastically put together and again perfect for summer. Danny had the baked alaska which looked pretty impressive when it was brought out.

Eton Mess | The Refinery | The LDN Diaries

Baked Alaska | The Refinery | The LDN Diaries

It was good to get a sample of the one of the new desserts and I’d definitely go back to try some of the dishes on the new menu. The service was to a high standard and of course the food complimented this. Another thumbs up from us Drake & Morgan.

To book or browse the menu, visit The Refinery Regent’s Place online. If you like the look of this restaurant then check out my other Drake & Morgan reviews: The Folly, The Fable, The Drift and The Happenstance.