Monday, 6 July 2015

Review: Natural Spa Factory Amber Candle

Natural Spa Factory candle c/o Bath & Unwind here

Last Tuesday, I headed up to the gorgeous Clifton offices of beauty company Bath & Unwind to  enjoy a #blogclub meet up. #blogclub is run by two wonderful blogging friends of mine, Sophie from Saints on a Plane and Hayley from Bonjour, Blogger! They often arrange meet ups at varying locations around Bristol, usually hosted by local businesses as an opportunity for bloggers to meet and discuss varying topics in an informal setting, and also to learn more about brands and businesses in the local area.

The topic of this month's #blogclub was paid links and disclosures, and Sophie had put together some really useful tips around these topics. It's so refreshing to be able to discuss aspects of blogging such as this, frankly with a group of like minded individuals; shared knowledge and input means that you'll always come away learning more. As bloggers, and influencers, we have a duty to notify our readers about anything they might potentially decide to buy, and we discussed the importance of disclaimers and transparency. I have a disclaimer in my 'about me' section (here), and I will always mark any PR gifts as 'c/o' before the blog post.

I'd heard about several of the points that we discussed prior to the meeting but it was eyeopening to hear about the minutiae of the information; for example, declaring paid links on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #sponsored ( #sp doesn't cut it!) and as for spam comments on blog posts, they have gone from being a mere annoyance to a potential hazard to the credibility of your site, and therefore should be deleted immediately, as they may contain dangerous links hidden within them.

As bloggers have significant and often extensive clout within the advertising world, the Advertising Standards Agency has recommended guidelines which they have set out on their website, here. For many individuals, blogging is fast becoming a way to make a living, and as an online 'magazine' in many cases, it's inevitable that brands and companies will want to see their products featured on those pages.  It's a testament to the creativity and hard work of many successful bloggers that are being taken seriously as editors of their web spaces that have allowed this development and whilst there are no set rules, a level playing field makes for a fairer and more equal environment for all.

The particular Tuesday evening we met was an absolute swelterer but luckily, the Bath & Unwind team had prepped for this eventuality with their wonderfully cool office aircon, and chilled cans of san pellegrino on hand on arrival. We were also treated to some delicious cakes and had a lovely time swooning at the bar and coffee machines in their state of the art workspace! The company is an online beauty store, stocking premium brands from across the globe. The website is relaxed and easy to navigate, and contains an eclectic mix of established brands and independent names. I was lucky enough to be gifted this beautiful Natural Spa Factory candle at the end of the evening, and I couldn't wait to try it out!

The Natural Spa Factory is based in Bath, and the company is driven by a desire to bring the wonderful tranquillity and luxury of spa treatments to the home. Ergo, you will find a carefully edited range of fantastic products from facial skincare to bath and body, to well being gifts such as this gorgeous amber candle. Free from nasty chemicals, never tested on animals, and busting with botanical goodness, this brand is definitely one to watch.  The candle that I was given has an amber scent, and it's delicious! Not too heady or strong, the dark glass holder is sleek and elegant and the scent emanates from the jar as the candle is burnt. It burns smoothly and without sooting, and the fragrance fills the room pleasantly.

The Natural Spa Factory isn't found on the high street, as it's stock exclusively through independent retailers and online. You can buy this candle and check out the full range of products on the Bath & Unwind website, here.

XO Amie

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Sale shopping with White Stuff

Wearing: tee (here) trousers (here) bag (here) shoes (here) all c/o White Stuff

I posted some White Stuff sale picks earlier on in the year, and you can read the post here although I did choose more winter appropriate products back then as it was freezing. The weather has definitely improved, so when White Stuff kindly invited me to style some pieces from their summer sale, I was keen to pick more seasonally-appropriate items!

I'd already blogged and professed my adoration for this Fusion tee in aztec print (here) so I chose the linen version in a mustardy stripe but essentially still the same cut. These tees are so useful for the summer; I love a slouchy, oversized tee which looks great worn loose over skinnies or tucked into trousers or skirts. I'd say the linen version came up slightly more generously than the jersey style and was also a little longer, but I still think it looks fab and I know this will be such a staple for the warmer weather; it would also be super handy to chuck on over a bikini at the beach.

My enjoyment of a good trouser is well known, and though I was sorely tempted to pick up another pair of the Southern Ocean crops (I've worn my ecru pair relentlessly, recently seen here) I decided to go for these lightweight linen crops instead. Rolled at the ankle, they are super cool and a lovely fit, perfect for those breezy summer days. I also loved the pale grey shade which provides a great base colour to build upon.

I am also loving this Patricia leather bag, which might just be a festival essential; perfectly sized for all the necessities with secure fastenings and an adjustable shoulder strap. The colour is a mushroomy-taupe tone, an ideal investment as you'll find this colour goes with everything, even black! I always think leather bags are such a good sale buy; they have longevity and if you buy into quality and simple styling, such as represented by this one, you'll find it will last for seasons and not date.

Of course, sunshine calls for sandals, and this block heeled pair are perfect for day to day. They are comfortable without being boring and the heel height is ideal; I can wear them all day (and I did, stomping around the chazzas!) and they didn't rub or make my feet hurt! You can't ask for much more in a summer shoe! If a heel isn't your thing, there are plenty of beautiful sandal options, from sporty, sleek styles to more feminine, embellished designs.

The White Stuff sale is on now in store and online with up to 30% off. Check out the full range on the website here.

XO Amie

Friday, 3 July 2015

Style Essentials: Sunnies

Clubmaster sunglasses similar here

It seems as though I have a lot of sunglasses, but of course there are pairs that I wear more often than others and this clubmaster style is one of them. I actually forgot I had these and then found them in amongst some others, and I've been wearing them a lot this summer. Adrian has even had a try of them too! 

I'm not even sure where I got these sunnies from, but I think they were fairly inexpensive, as most of my sunglasses tend to be! I always find they are too easily lost, dropped, sat on or damaged, especially if you attend gigs and festivals in the summertime, and as such I prefer to have pairs that I won't be overly devastated to lose! I have bought sunglasses from Primark in the past, which can be a great place to find cheaper ones, but the ones I've bought this year haven't been very comfortable! I'm not adverse to buying high street sunnies, though; Boots often have a really good range as do the usual suspects like Toppers and ASOS, which are still really affordable.

The only thing to bear in mind when buying any kind of sunglasses is that they comply with safety standards and offer a categorised UV protection offering. The rule of thumb is that the darker the lens, the higher the category level, but always check the label to make sure as it's important to look after your eyes especially in the summer.

What is your favoured summer sunglasses style?

XO Amie

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Short shorts

Wearing: Dungaree shorts c/o Blue Inc Vintage jumper Chanel ballet flats 

It's not often that I wear shorts, but I mentioned in this post that I had received some items from Blue Inc and they kindly sent me these amazing dungarees! Of course my immediate reaction was to style them a la The Chung and so I wanted to pair them with my ballet flats as I love that very Parisian look of a shorter hem with a simple, flat shoe. Granted, my legs are nowhere near as good as Alexa's but it's rare for me to get my legs out anyway and with the weather being so nice too it was a good opportunity!

I picked up this super cute collared jumper in the charity shop back in Devon, and I was quite unsure how I'd wear it; I always think short sleeved jumpers are such an oddity, they are surely for keeping warm, yet without a sleeve they could be more summer suitable, but potentially still too thick for the hotter days! It worked really well under the dungarees though and I really like the contrast of colour and texture.

The dungarees are such a nice fit, they aren't too tight which I like, but a more vintage and authentic style which skims rather than clings especially around the legs. The legs themselves aren't too short, which again is important because I don't think super short shorts are very wearable, to me at least, I definitely don't go in for the bum cheeks hanging out look! I actually rolled these up so I was able to make them just the right length to suit me. The denim is quite rigid and doesn't have too much stretch, which adds to the vintage look and the thickness of the fabric means it feels great quality. For the price, a very affordable £16.99, these dungarees feel a lot more expensive and I think look it, too!

You can shop the dungarees on Blue Inc here and don't forget to check out their full range of denim here.

XO Amie

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Products I've used up #15

Empties: Vaseline Spray & Go body moisturiser // Botanics Ultra Calm cleanser // Biorganics Hair Therapy shampoo // Nivea Smooth Nourishing hand cream // The Green People Age Defy skin exfoliator // Soap & Glory Hand Food hand cream // Charles Worthington Salon at Home conditioner // W7 The Honey Queen blusher

I thought it would be quite good to start off July with a roundup of the products that I have used throughout June. I went on holiday at the end of May/beginning of June and so I had a few travel sized products to finish off, I thought it would be worth reviewing them as they were all pretty good!

I took the Biorganics shampoo and Charles Worthington conditioner on holiday and they were really exceptional; the shampoo was very gentle whilst still making my hair feel super clean (important after a day at the beach/festival) and the conditioner went a way to sorting out my sun-bleached split ends! It was a volumising conditioner too and I didn't notice an immediate volumising effect but it was still a great product, making my hair feel super smoothed and nourished.

Speaking of smoothing, the Spray & Go body moisturiser by Vaseline has been part of my day to day kit for ages now, and I've used it up so I thought I'd take the opportunity to rave about it. I was sceptical about the idea of a spray moisturiser, but this one applies really lightly and you can blend it into the skin without it feeling greasy as the spray deposits just the right amount of product on the skin. This one is a cocoa butter formula which smells great, and it is super quick absorbing so you can put your clothes straight on without having to wait for it to dry!

I've got through a couple of hand creams this month, I always seem to have one or two on the go and this month I've been loving a repurchase of the Soap & Glory Hand Food and also a handbag sized Nivea Smooth Nourishing hand cream which has been lovely. I bought it as I'd run out of the Hand Food which was out of stock at my local Boots so I picked this one up instead and I'd definitely re-buy; it was a quick absorbing, lightweight cream which was ideal for daily use.

I don't often have cosmetics to talk about, but this W7 blusher (first seen here) has been a really lovely shade for everyday. I'm using my cream blush now that summer is here as it is a little lighter, but this one was great for spring and contains bronzer too for a healthy flush. I hit pan on this ages ago and have been using it since but have finally used it up, but for the price I would highly recommend it.

Finally, facial skincare. I've got quite into exfoliant products recently, especially since I got back from holiday, and this Age Defy exfoliator from The Green People contains 92% organic product. The exfoliator grains in it are very finely milled so it isn't abrasive on sensitive skins, and I've been using it twice a week or so as recommended. I've always raved about Boots Botanics range, and this Ultra Calm cleanser is something I'll definitely pick up again; with calming marshmallow it helps to remove makeup and I've been using it on a facial brush to work the product in before rinsing. A definite re-purchase!

XO Amie

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Instagram Roundup: June 2105

Natalie Prass // ASOS look // macarons // fave jeans // #charmgang // fave jeans #2 // sky // monochrome // accessory picks

June's Instagram was actually quite hard to put together; I thought I'd taken loads of snaps and I had but I'd already allocated most of them to my Primavera Sound roundup (here) so here are a few more that I hadn't included.

I've done a lot of outfit posts this month, and worked with some great brands such as ASOS and Blue Inc. I've also been talkin' about my fave accessory of the moment, this charm bracelet by My Flash Trash, you can read the post in full here.

I went down to Rise record shop in Bristol on Friday to watch an instore performance by Natalie Prass. She's been one of my favourite artists since I reviewed her album for my Record of the Week feature (which I need to pick up again!) You should definitely check her music out, she has a beautiful voice and is absolutely gorgeous to boot.

So now June is at an end and summer is allegedly in full swing. I can't believe that the Solstice has already come and gone, marking the longest day and nights drawing back in again. Still, the weather is so pleasant at the minute I can't even begin to think about autumn or winter, why would you want to when the sun is shining!

XO Amie

Monday, 29 June 2015

The flare issue

Topshop Dree shop here

I've been fairly vocal about the fact that I don't 'do' flares. I feel they don't suit my short stature and having spent my formative years in extremely wide legged trousers, of the sort that soaked up, sponge like, any sort of rainwater from the pavement leaving tidemarks up the length of the leg, my dalliance with flares was only ever a short one. That said, apparently this year the 70's are back, and to get the bona-fide 70's look, you have to be rocking a flare.

Now, something I never thought I'd advocate would be a cropped flare. This sounds the absolute antithesis to everything I would ever wear; think ABBA wearing those cropped, horrible tight satin short flared jumpsuits (and that was just the boys) and you'll remember how totally unflattering they were; how to create hips and saddlebags where none exist, how to shorten even already short legs incredibly....basically, they were an absolute no no.

Until Toppers, of course, cut them out of super soft denim in just the right shade and gave them a suitably cool moniker: Dree, the narrow cropped flare. They found themselves in my wardrobe by way of a web order (£20 in the sale and now further reduced!) and whilst I did question the reason they have gone into the sale (they're vile?) I thought it would be fun to try them on, at least. And I really like them! They aren't a flare, really, more like a cropped, straight leg jean, but the fit is lovely and they are such soft and lovely denim. I'll be wearing them on the blog soon so hopefully you can see what I mean, but I think the tide might have turned on my dislike of flares. Or perhaps not, but these are definitely a viable option.

XO Amie