Banish The Chocolate: Best Of 2015 Beauty Advent Calendars

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Let me just throw this out there; I’m a HUGE Christmas geek! While many will drone on about Christmas being thrown in our faces literally the day after Halloween, I bask in the glory of festivity.

So now that we are officially less than a month away from (in my opinion) the best day of the year, I must warn you now that this blog will be like Christmas on crack. Every week a new blog post will be up to mark my favourite time of the year. Over-kill? Possibly. Bothered? Not really! So with that said, crimbo-phobic people please revert your eyes, because we’re about to get seriously festive!

This year I have decided against a chocolate advent calendar. Mostly because I could do without the extra calories, but also because I’ve found something even better to wet my appetite with. It’s no surprise at all that I’m a beauty product lover. When I came across my first beauty calendar, I knew that this year Thorntons will have to take a back seat, because it’s all about the beauty advent calendar!

With the same concept as traditional advent calendars, behind each door is a little treat for you to enjoy. Certainly more long lasting than a tiny bit of chocolate! Some calendars even offer full sized products; which really make up the value. Whether you’re a beauty enthusiast like myself or you’re looking to treat someone special, beauty advent calendars are a perfect way to discover brands and products you wouldn’t normally try out.

2015 seems to be a popular year with an endless list of brands now offering their take on the beauty advent calendar. From Benefit to Body Shop, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect calendar to help you countdown to Christmas.

Here’s my list of the best Beauty Calendars of 2015 :-

Selfridges (£95.00) available here

This one is for the true beauty fan who dreams of the sights and smells of Selfridges’ famous beauty halls. Containing a mixture of 24 skincare and makeup products, the brands include Kiehl’s, Lancome, YSL and many more. Not the cheapest of options, but the price is justifiable considering how many luxury brands are included.

Ciate Mini Mani Month (£49.00) available here

This is perfect for any nail lovers out there who want to keep their talons in top shape for the party season. The adorable packaging contains mini paint pots, treatments, glitter toppers and a nail file. Incredible value considering how many products you actually get.

The Body Shop 24 Happy Days (£60) available here

One of the very first beauty calendars released; this calendar is the most Christmas-sy by far. Body Shop devotees will love the array of mini soaps, body creams and sparkling fragrances in their iconic scents. Let’s be honest, you can never go wrong with a bit of Body Shop!

You Beauty (£59.95) available here

The contents are worth a staggering £330.00, so in terms of value, you definitely get your money’s worth here. If you love discovering new products then this calendar is perfect for you.

Benefit Party Poppers (£34.50) available here

This hugely popular advent calendar has already sold out in the UK, but if you’re able to source one from the States then you can certainly get your hands on it. Worth £70.00, this calendar is loud and proud (typical of Benefit). Although you only get 12 products; which is somewhat of a disappointment, Benefit fans will certainly go crazy for this amazing calendar.

Clarins (£60) available here

A new contender for 2015. The simple, yet elegant design mimics the concept of Clarins products. Iconic makeup, skincare, and pampering treats are all included and offer incredible value. This is perfect for the mature lady in your life.

Kerastase (£79.99) available here

Considering the price of Kerastaste products, the 24 deluxe sample you get within this calendar offers incredibly value. If you haven’t tried Kerastaste before, this is perfect to try out their iconic products. If you’re looking to get serious enviable hair, Kerastaste is the brand for you.

Charlotte Tilbury Book of Makeup Magic (£150) available here

This calendar is absolute perfection. Granted it’s not the cheapest, but you get a few full sized products along with travel sized ones; which justifies the price (in my eyes). Although you only get 12 boxes, much like the Benefit calendar, you get a good mix of Charlotte Tilbury’s most iconic beauty secrets.

Lush 12 Days of Christmas (£49.95) available here

Lush-a-holics look no further! If you’ve been eyeing up Lush’s Christmas range, much like myself, and have been debating on which product to try out then this calendar is a life saver. 12 of their most popular Christmas themed bombs, bars and lotions, this calendar will have you smelling a treat.

Jo Malone (£260) available here

Exclusive to Harrods, the Jo Malone advent calendar is the ultimate in luxury. Offering 12 drawers in a beautifully packaged box, you can find classic scents from Jo Malone including Lime Basil & Mandarin and my favourite Dark Amber & Ginger Lilly. The price is just as indulgent as the packaging, but if you’re a fan of Jo Malone’s scents you’ll know that these miniature perfumes will last you well up until next Christmas.

Makeup Revolution (Previously £50, now £20) available here

This is by far the most affordable beauty advent calendar available. Featuring 25 full sized products, this calendar is for the makeup enthusiast looking to feed their addiction throughout the Christmas period.

Boots NO 7 25 Days Of Beauty Wonder (£38.00) available here

The contents alone are worth a whopping £148.00! Much like the Clarins calendar, this is perfect for the slightly more mature lady in your life. I’ve got my eyes on this for my Mum as she loves NO 7 products. Bursting with skincare, makeup and body care products, this calendar will last you well up until next Christmas.

Have you managed to get your hands on any of these calendars? Let me know your thoughts on them!

Painless Depilation

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Back in October I had the pleasure of attending the Olympia Beauty Show in London. Being surrounded by amazing brands and like minded beauty enthusiasts was an incredibly fun experience.

Granted that this is a slightly obvious statement to make considering that I’m a beauty blogger, but I love experimenting in new and unknown products. You can almost guarantee that if it’s beauty related, I’ve tried it!

During the course of the show, I found myself being dragged into several stalls by overzealous sales representatives. Not that I expected any different, but seriously, how many times can one hear the words ‘wonder product’ in a day?!

One stall, in particular, stood out to me straight away. Not particularly for the aesthetics or the perfect product placement, but for the two simple words written across a huge banner stand – HAIR REMOVAL.

Now when it comes to hair removal, I’ve tried every method available. I must admit, and I’m sure I’ll get a few eye rolls after reading this, but I’m not particularly hairy. Being of Indian descent you would think otherwise, but in all honesty, I simply don’t have that problem (God has not been so kind to me in other departments). With that said, I still look to hair removal methods to rid myself of the hair that I do have.

I’m not much of an advocate of shaving as I find it irritates my dry skin. I’ve attempted creams, sugaring, laser hair removal and waxing for longer lasting results, but besides the pain factor, I find these methods very time consuming.

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Melody Claire is a company which promotes the Elegant Depilation System. Depilation (aka Epilation) has always been thought of as a painful and slow process of hair removal; which removes hair directly from the root promising longer lasting results. Now call me crazy, but I’m not up for dying a slow and painful death whilst trying to remove my bikini line!

The Elegant Depilation System works slightly different to traditional systems. Rather than using a plucking method to rip the hair from the roots, small micro-crystal pads are used to gently buff them away. The system promises long lasting results much like waxing, but is completely mess-free and travel friendly.

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How to use it

Each kit contains:

1 Large Backing Pad
1 Small Backing Pad
4 Large Micro-Crystal replacement pads
4 Small Micro-Crystal replacement pads
1 Travel Case

The micro-crystal pads are used to stick onto the pink rubber applicators. Using small circular motions, rub the pad onto the skin in clockwise then anti-clockwise movements. This motion painlessly removes hair follicles leaving you with smooth and silky skin. The removed hairs simply dissolve away once removed and avoids any messy clean ups.

The larger pads are used for the body and the smaller pads are used for the face and harder to reach areas i.e. fingers and toes.

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Does it work?

The system certainly lives up to its claims of painless hair removal. Before purchasing, the lady at the Melody Claire stand tested the micro-crystal pad on my very reluctant husband. She demonstrated how easily the pad removed the long hairs on his arm revealing incredibly smooth and soft skin. After confirming her claims of pain-free removal with my husband, I quickly asked her to put one in a bag for me.

So here is my biggest gripe with this system. Despite its claims that results are similar to that of waxing, I would strongly disagree. It’s hard to see how hair is being pulled from the roots without feeling the slightest pinch. This could be down to the fact that the hair is, in fact, not being pulled from the roots, but rather cut at the surface of the skin much like shaving. Low and behold, within a week my hair grew back.

I must admit that when using the pad, you literally don’t feel a thing. However, there’s a strong possibility of going overboard. If you rub a little too hard in one area, the aftermath is painful; much like taking sandpaper to your skin! This is not so likely if you are using it in larger areas such as legs. However, I would be extra vigilant in sensitive areas like your face, underarms and bikini.

Unlike waxing, hair does not need to reach a certain length for this to work. The micro-crystal pads are very effective at getting rid of the shortest of hairs.

Verdict?

If you like shaving or are looking for a quick fix, then this is perfect. Even if you are doing laser hair removal and you’ve been advised to shave or use hair removal cream in between each treatment, this could be a great alternative. I would certainly not use this system hoping to get the same results as waxing or traditional depilation methods.

The travel-friendly aspect is quite appealing. I always find that when I’m on holiday, despite getting my legs waxed beforehand, I get a small amount of stubble peeping through. This system is perfect for popping into your holdall to ‘top up’ your legs when needed. It’s also quite handy in emergency situations where you simply have no time or the facilities to shave or wax.

Overall, the claims made by Melody Claire were unfortunately too good to be true in my case. The ease of use and painless aspects were fantastic, but it simply does not give you long-lasting results. If used correctly, it can give you beautifully soft skin. Along with hair, it also takes the very top layer of your skin leaving it smooth and supple.

I would continue to use this product as a backup hair removal method for times when shaving, waxing or any other hair removal method is not an option.

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How much does it cost and where can I get it from?

You can purchase the Elegant Depilation System and additional replacement pads from the Melody Claire website here. They are currently offering the entire system for a bargin price of £19.99.

Have you tried the Elegant Depilation System before? What’s your verdict or favourite hair removal method? Comment below!

Diwali In Style | Stella & Dot

Happy Diwali my beauties!

For those of you who aren’t in the know, Diwali is the Hindu festival of light. Celebrated by many religious groups in India, the focus of this festivity is bright colours, sparkling fireworks, good food and great company. I’m sure that many of you, like myself, will have many parties and events to attend over the next few days to mark this colourful event.

When thinking about my outfit choices for Diwali, I remembered my good friend Rina Jain Naha at Stella & Dot. Rina was kind enough to show me the new autumn/winter collection recently and I knew that she was the person to go to for fabulous accessories to pair with my outfits.

flatlay stella and dot

Stella & Dot is the brain child of founder Jessica Herrin. Being a mother of two, she had the vision to create a company that would offer a great career alternative to today’s busy woman. Jessica made it her mission to resolve the modern woman’s dilemma of achieving success in the work place whilst maintaining other responsibilities. Jessica’s vision called for an entirely new concept of ‘work’ guaranteeing flexibility, rewards, style, profit and fun. The San Francisco based company has been praised by The New York Times and Wall Street Journal as one of the 500 Fastest Growing Companies for their innovative social shopping concept; which brings together the best of commerce,social media, personal service and passion to create the ultimate home-based business for many women.

Offering boutique style jewellery and accessories, the products are sold through ‘trunk shows’ held by independent stylists as well as their online shop. Luckily for me, Rina had reserved some fabulous pieces for me to try just in time for Diwali. Their statement jewels and colourful accessories are perfect for snazzing up any Indian outfit. Seeing as we’re in celebration mode, it’s only fair that I treated myself!

Here are my top Diwali picks from the collection:-

veda split ring

1. Veda Split Ring (£35) – Double detailed cocktail ring with a vintage gold fan and jade green stones. One size fits all.

soho flap wallet

2. Soho Flap Wallet in Citroen (£40) – Made of of vegan leather, perfect for adding a pop of colour to any outfit. Shiny gold and silver hardware details; which matches any Indian outfit. Contains a card holder for up to 7 cards, 3 open pockets and a zip closure coin pocket.

natalie necklace

3. Natalie Necklace (£85) – A multi-wear reversible necklace. Wear one side with it’s neutral mixed metal detailing or flip it around to add a beautiful pop of colbalt blue to your outfit. The genuine leather collar has a hint of pave sparkle for extra dimension.

westwood scarf

4. Westwood Scarf in Metallic Trellis (£45) – A beautiful wrap; which can be used for a casual daytime outfit or to accompany a glamorous evening outfit.

starlet pearl necklace

5. Starlet Pearl Necklace (£115) – A stunning statement necklace that can also be worn in multiple ways. A mix of hand-strung glass pearls with chic sparkly strands. Wear all together or try one of the 5 variations for an elegant and timeless look.

stella and dot

Stella & Dot offer you, as the consumer, the opportunity to become a part of the family as an independent stylist. Surround yourself with their irresistible pieces by hosting your own ‘trunk show’ to family and friends. Not only do you get to hold a fabulous girl’s night in, but you also get the opportunity to receive free items.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the items above or would like to discuss your options on becoming a stylist, contact Rina through her website or email rinajain@hotmail.com.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year. Eat, drink and sparkle! xxx

Organic Tranquility | Neom Organics

‘Remember, remember, the 5th of November’…really who can forget?! The constant barrage of rockets and Catherine wheels being let off are a reminder that Bonfire Night has indeed arrived.

The smell of gun powder in the air, the crackling wood and the toasted marshmallows all play a part in this colourful, yet nostalgic event. Being the big kid that I am, I still get a kick out of air writing my name with a sparkler. However, I do find it irritating that when the fireworks are done and I’m ready to get some shut eye, my neighbours unfortunately do not feel the same way.

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Neom Organics are a luxury company which promote natural fragrances and oils to aid sleep deprivation and stress relief. Their ethos is based around ‘harnessing the efficacy and optimising the aroma therapeutic qualities of pure essential oils’ producing naturally scented products which feed your mind, body and soul. Unlike many other organic brands out there who believe in encasing their products in unattractive, somewhat child-like packaging, Neom believe that going green should be nothing short of indulgent. Their glass containers and expensive looking branding give your home a touch of elegance.

neom candle

Neom Organics Tranquility Standard Scented Candle £30 available here

Being a self-confessed candle hoarder, there’s nothing that I love more than winding down with the aroma of a beautifully scented candle. This therapeutic scent contains a blend of 19 essential oils; which help you achieve a perfect night’s sleep. The ingredients include sweet basil, jasmine and english lavender; which has been proven to naturally calm your senses. The result is a heavenly blend; which is guaranteed to help you drift into dream land.

The candle uses vegetable wax rather than synthetic ingredients to burn without the release of harmful pollutants, toxins and soot. Burning this candle for a minimum of 10 minutes fills your entire room with a delicious scent that lasts long after the candle is blown out. Considering the cost, you actually get up to 50 hours of burn time which, in my eyes, justifies the price tag.

Putting the smell aside, the candle looks pretty glam on my beside table. Like Kate Middleton, who is also a devotee of Neom, these candles are a firm fixture in my home.

neom sleep kit

Neom Essential Sleep Kit £20 available here

Honestly speaking, my husband gets more use out of this kit than I do. Being a sleep talker, he’s always looking for a way to block out my blabbering and get a good night’s sleep. Don’t judge me…I have a lot to say!

The kit includes dinky 5ml sized versions of Intense Night Repair Body Oil, Intensive Deep Sleep Treatment and Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist.

The products are created with the same principle as the candles. 100% natural with no artificial ingredients and enriched with the same blend of 19 essential oils. A three step process, the box includes instructions on how to use the products to get the most out of your experience.

The first step is the Intense Night Repair Body Oil; which you slather onto your skin after a warm bath. Personally in my eyes, 5ml is not enough. Two applications of this oil will empty out the bottle in no time. However, it’s the perfect size to try out the oil without committing to a full sized version. The oil is non greasy and absorbs easily into the skin, however, the smell is overpowering. If you have a sensitive nose, I would skip this step. If you do fall in love with this oil I would suggest a repurchase of the full size.

The second step is the Intensive Deep Sleep Treatment. Now I’ve always been a fan of roller ball essential oils. Whenever life gets a bit much, or I need an energy boost whilst at work, I always whip out a little roller ball essential oil to rub onto my pulse points. Slightly hedonistic I know, but without sounding like a complete junkie, I’m addicted! Neom recommend that once applied you breathe in through your nose for 7 seconds and out through your mouth slowly for 11 seconds. Repeat this 3 times to induce a deep and peaceful night’s sleep.

The last step is the Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist. Pillow mists are by far the most popular product of choice when looking for sleep aids. Being a huge fan of ThisWorks Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (£16) I was skeptical to try this out in fear that it would not live up to my expectations. How wrong could I have been?! I absolutely love this spray (quite possibly more than my previous choice). It doesn’t stain your sheets; which some may find a concern and the smell is not as overpowering as the body oil. The mist provides a beautiful halo of peacefulness as you lay your head down for the night.

Are you an insomniac like me? Comment below with your tricks on how to get a good night’s sleep (comments about sheep will not be appriciated).

I would like to dedicate this blog post to my beautiful Grandmother who left us so suddenly 7 years ago today. You are my firework in the sky. I love you Biji x

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