Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Floral Republic Most Read 2014

Happy New Year's Eve all! I can't believe 2014 is coming to a close, I know it's a cliche but it really has flown by. Unfortunately I haven't spent as much time on my blog as I'd hoped this year, but I'm hoping to be more committed to it next year! I thought now would be a good time to do a bit if reflection and look back at some of my most popular blog posts this year - it was interesting to see what everyone had been reading most!...

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My Favourite Blogs of 2014.

Img src: Sincerely Damaris

As 2014 is drawing to a close I thought I would do something a bit different a share the love and talk about some of the blogs I enjoyed reading most throughout the year. I follow a lot of blogs through Bloglovin and will generally scroll through my feed regularly and click on the posts that appeal to me, but every now and then I will actually search for a specific blog and catch up on their posts. Some I have had the pleasure of meeting at blogger events, others I have just followed for a long time! So in no particular order...

Pretty, Posh, Oh My Gosh!
The Sunday Girl
British Beauty Blogger
Tattooed Tealady
Couture Girl
Kimberley's Beauty Blog
Autumn Leaves
My Pale Skin
Frock Me I'm Famous
Tales of a Pale Face
Thumbellina Lillie
Lil Miss Chickas
Carly Rowena

Plus for all things SEO/analytics related I always rely on help from XOMISSE and Makeup Pixi3

Hope you enjoy reading them too!

Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot Box o' Blushes

So I'm guessing that pretty much every beauty blogger on the planet has got their hands on this palette by now and is well aware of what is in it, but I am a little late to the game as I was given it as a gift for Christmas so just wanted to share my excitement at finally having one!

I have been a huge fan of Benefit blushes for years and have tried out most of them so I was thrilled when I saw they were bringing out a palette with all of the blushes in for Christmas. The Cheeky Sweet Spot kit contains all six of their world famous Box O'Powders along with a mini Watt's Up highlighter and brush for an incredible £29.50.

It comes in a metal tin which is designed to look like a sweet shop. I do think the tin is a little bit clunky but that's the only negative I have about it!

Inside the set contains Dandelion (4g), Bella Bamba (5g), Sugar Bomb (6g), Hoola (5g), Coralista (5g) and Rockateur (5g) plus Watts Up (1.5g). The individual Box O'Powders on their own cost around £23.50 each and contain between 5-8g of powder so already you can see what amazing value this is, The little plastic container of Watt's Up highlighter is removable so you can pop it in your make-up bag, and the set also comes with a little applicator brush which isn't the best size as it's quite small (I prefer to use my own blusher brush) but will do if you're in a rush and don't have a brush to hand.

I love the different pinky blush shades and have been trying these out daily as well as using the Hoola bronzer as a contour powder. I don't know if the set is still available as it sold out pretty much everywhere within a few weeks but I recently saw some on Feel Unique so that might be the best place to check if you haven't got one yet! I won't need to stock up on any other blushers for a while...

Monday, 29 December 2014

Palmer's Cocoa Butter moisture spray body lotions.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter spray

I just wanted to do a quick post today to tell you about these spray-on body moisturisers which I am in love with! They are the Palmer's Rapid Moisture spray lotion and Natural Bronze gradual tanning moisturiser spray.

For anyone that has used the well-loved Palmer's Cocoa Butter, this is very similar but in a lighter spray-on formula which takes just seconds to apply and rub in! Saving you valuable getting ready time.

Vaseline brought out their Spray and Go moisturising sprays not too long ago but I much prefer the Palmer's sprays as it has a continuous spray motion rather than a spritz and the formula is so fine it's more like spraying a mist onto your skin - so you can't actually see the moisturiser and takes a lot less time to rub in.

These provide intensive moisture in an instant, which lasts all day. It isn't greasy or sticky at all and is absorbed in seconds. I love to spray them on in the morning after a shower because I'm very lazy when it comes to moisturiser and usually can't be bothered to stand around rubbing body butters into my skin - especially if I'm running late!

Palmer's have also brought out a gradual tanning moisturiser in the same spray formula so you can build up a natural glow daily. I love using this to add a little bit of colour to my skin in the winter months when I'm looking a bit pasty! The colour is very light and natural so just adds a hint of colour - perfect for people that don't want to look OTT. If I want to look more tanned I prefer to just use fake tan as gradual tanner doesn't always do the job. Plus the great thing about this spray is it doesn't have a fake tan smell, it just smells and feels exactly like the original cocoa butter lotion.

These sprays cost around £3-£3.50 and are available from Boots, Superdrug and Feel Unique. Have you tried them before? What are your favourite body moisturisers?

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Sanctuary Long Lasting Moisture Range.

I am extremely lazy when it comes to using body moisturiser, particularly in the Winter when it's freezing cold and the last thing I want to do is stand around rubbing cold lotions into my skin - after a shower I want to put my clothes on and warm up as soon as possible!! So I couldn't resist when I saw this new range of products from Sanctuary in Boots.

The Long Lasting moisture range is a collection of shower oil, body oil, body scrub and hand products that keep your skin softer for longer - meaning you don't have to worry if you forget to moisturise one day, hooray! 

I picked up the 5 Day Moisture Creamy Body Oil (£7) and 4 Day Moisture Oil Scrub (£10) along with a gift for my Mum as they were on 3 for 2. After just one use my skin is in great condition for days. Although the body lotion is labelled as a body oil it is in fact a body cream. It has a lovely nourishing texture but rubs in so easily and feels very light when you wear it. I've been using it throughout the last couple of weeks and my body looks so much healthier and glowing already.

Have you tried anything from this Sanctuary range before?

Saturday, 27 December 2014

What I Got For Christmas 2014.

Merry Christmas all! Christmas for me was split in between my house and my boyfriend's and I had a lovely time. I was too busy to take any pictures so I don't have many photos to share but I love being nosy and seeing what gifts everyone got so I thought I'd share with you some of the lovely presents I have received. If you've done a similar blog post please leave the link below so I can have a read....

Hurrah! I got the much-loved Benefit Cheeky Sweet spot palette. This has been on my wish list since it was released and I was tempted to buy it for myself but put it on my Christmas list instead. I started to panic when it sold out online but luckily my boyfriend was on the case and had already sneakily bought it for me but wouldn't let on!

I also got this lovely Pandora stacking ring to wear with the birthstone ring I already have.

My sister got me this lovely bag and leather gloves from Accessorize.

This Soap & Glory gift set has two mini shower gels, a body butter and hand cream so it will be perfect for travelling. I love the Models Own set as it has gel polishes in and I can't wait to try them out. I pretty much always get fake tan for Christmas or birthday presents as my family always make jokes about me wearing it (not entirely sure why...) so it wouldn't be Christmas without a fake tan gift set! I am a fan of St Moriz so it will come in useful.

I am not a huge fan of the original White Musk scent at The Body Shop but this new Smoky Rose collection smells wonderful! It's very similar to Calvin Klein Euphoria but a lot lighter (and cheaper!)

I also got these lovely heeled Chelsea Boots from River Island. I have been wearing the same pair of black ankle boots religiously for the last two years and the heels are starting to wear away so I'm glad I can finally hang them up and wear a new pair!

My boyfriend's parents bought me this top for running in (I used to do a weekly 5k but I haven't been to the gym in nearly two months so need to get back on it so I can put it to use!) and this scarf from Accessorize.

Finally my beloved Bare Minerals foundation had run out so I asked for another, which caused my Mum some confusion but she managed to get one in the end! If you've never tried Bare Minerals before I'd recommend giving it a go. I usually use it when my skin is playing up as it is really light on the skin and the minerals in it are good for your skin too!

I was really pleased with everything I got this year and enjoyed seeing my family open all the gifts I bought for them too. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a great New Year!!

Here we all are enjoying our Christmas Day!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Clinique Nutcracker Collection

Clinique's latest festive collection is inspired by the Christmas ballet, Nutcracker, focusing on its snowflake and sugar plum tones.

The collection - The Nutcracker Suite - consists of two palettes; The Nutcracker Act I and The Nutcracker Act II (both £35). Each contain an eyeshadow quad with a coordinating blush.  The palette featured here is The Nutcracker Act I, which is based of soft pink and sultry tones. The other palette is very similar but with more plum shades.

One of the other products in the collection is this blended face powder in the shade Snowflake Dreams. It is a sheer, shimmery pink loose powder that has been created to dust on shoulders, neck or chest. It can also be used as a highlighter and applied to temples, inner corners of eyes, cupid's bow and collar bone to add a pop of soft shimmer.

As you can see it is very sheer and perfect for the festive season. The powder costs £23 and is by far my favourite product from the collection.

As I have very fair skin and light hair I always go for pink tones so this collection is perfect for me! Plus I love a bit of sparkle at Christmas.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Trouble sleeping? These might help...

I'll start of by saying that this sums me up pretty much perfectly:

So you know you should have an idea of what it is like when I am trying to get to sleep sometimes....

It probably sounds very obvious but I have recently found that exercise is the best thing for helping me sleep. A full day of work followed by an hour at the gym is enough to knock anyone out and if I go to a gym class around three times a week I get a regular sleep routine.

But for when I am very busy (or lazy) and don't have as much time to go to the gym (which has probably been all Winter..) I turn to a few products and home remedies.

A nice warm bath is the perfect way to relax before bed and I also like to spend some time reading in bed to help me drift off. I add a few drops of Botanics Lavender Oil to my bath to help me relax and soothe my muscles. Before I get into bed I also spray Lavender Spray in my bedroom and onto my pillows. Boots do a cheap one and you can also get it from Holland & Barrett.

Finally I love Anatomicals Cruisin' for a Snoozin' Sleep Balm. It is a soothing balm enriched with beeswax, lavender oil and lemon oils. You massage a little into your forehead and temples and the fragrance helps to calm thoughts. As it's a balm there's no mess and all the ingredients are completely natural.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Soap & Glory The Next Big Thing set amazing offer at Boots!

This Friday (December 12), this amazing gift set from Soap & Glory will be better than half price! The Next Big Thing by Hattie Stewart will drop from £60 to £29 for one week only.

The set is packed with then full-sized Soap & Glory products and is available in two limited edition cases designed by Hattie Stewart.

The set contains:

How amazing is this offer?! It will make the perfect Christmas present for someone but I think I will have to snap one up for myself too!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Kiehl's Winter Essentials Giveaway!

In celebration of my blog's 2nd birthday I am running this super exciting giveaway to win some of Kiehl's best-selling skincare essentials, along with an added gift from the new limited edition Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura collection.

One lucky winner will receive:
  • Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate (worth £36)
  • Kiehl's Creme de Corps body lotion (worth £27)
  • Shupette Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura eyelash curlers (worth £20)
  • Kiehl's Powerful Strength line-reducing concentrate (worth £49)
I have used all of these products before and love all of them! The Midnight Recovery Concentrate has been in my night-time skincare routine for years and the Creme de Corps is loved by bloggers and celebs everywhere. The Line-reducing concentrate is a powerful day serum and the Shupette curlers are absolutely gorgeous! All in all these products total up to £132 so these are some very exciting goodies!

The giveaway will run from 23rd November to 20th December and entry is via rafflecopter below.

You must be following The Floral Republic on Bloglovin and Twitter to enter (I will be checking all entries). Additional entries can be gained by following me on GFC, Pinterest and Instagram, by tweeting about the giveaway and by commenting on any of my blog posts! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 24 November 2014

Mini Mani Manor: Ciaté's nail polish advent calendar

As we get nearer to December the battle of the beauty advent calendars is hotting up. For the nail polish addicts among us, Ciate's offering is the Mini Mani Manor - a colourful countdown to Christmas.

Why have a calendar when you can have a whole mansion full of mini nail polishes?! The 'calendar' comes with 24 days' worth of festive manicure goodies, including 17 of Ciate's most popular shades - such as Mistress, Amazing Grace and Cupcake Queen - five textured nail polishes, one exclusive full size Paint Pot and one set of festive nail transfers.

At £49 this beauty advent calendar is not cheap. but is certainly one of the most extravagant on the market at the moment!

It is available from most department stores and online retailers including Selfridges, John Lewis and ASOS. It'd be worth getting it from ASOS if you have student discount or a larger Boots store you can get some advantage card points!

Will you be purchasing any beauty advent calendars this year?

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Blogger business cards from MOO

I recently had these business cards made from MOO and was super pleased with them so thought I would share them with you all! I had some cards made on MOO a while ago but when I had my blog layout changed I thought it would be best to get some new cards too.

Although my blog isn't my full time job and I don't have as much time to spend on it as I would like, I occasionally get time to go to blog meet-ups or events and business cards are so handy for networking.

My business card design was very plain and simple but I think it works well and matches my blog design. MOO is a great site for getting business cards made as there are so many options but the site is really easy and quick to use.

They come delivered in this handy box which has dividers for your own, and other people's cards.

If anyone is thinking of getting business cards made I'd recommend using MOO have a search for discount codes on the internet beforehand as there are usually offers going for first-time users which makes it a lot cheaper!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Dinner at the Macdonald Frimley Hall Hotel

I recently visited the Linden Restaurant within the Macdonald Frimley Hall Hotel, in Surrey. Although the hotel is tucked away in a very quiet and peaceful location it is in prime position for guests as it is easily accessible from the M3 and M25.

The hotel is set in private gardens, perfect for a quiet weekend or romantic getaway. We ate at the hotel's restaurant, which has 2 AA rosettes, for dinner and were very impressed.

Before dinner we had a drink the bar area before heading to the restaurant, which was decorated very simply and was candlelit in the evening, providing a warm and cosy atmosphere. The dinner was a set menu of either two or three courses (we went for three, of course!) I had ham hock terrine, steak and warm chocolate mousse while my boyfriend had smoked salmon, guinea fowl and chocolate fudge cake.

The main courses were very meat heavy - with dishes such as lemon sole, pork, duck and venison available - but there were also plenty of vegetarian options too. The menus are changed regularly with the seasons so we tried the Autumn/Winter menu. Everything was delicious and beautifully presented. Although the dishes looked quite small and simple they were so fulling.

The hotel also has beautiful bedrooms and lovely spa and gym facilities so it would be worth making a day or a weekend of it and going to visit. While the restaurant is mainly for guests at the hotel it is also available to non-guests too and welcomes visitors for meals, however, it is best to book a table beforehand as the restaurant can get booked up quickly.

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at the Macdonald Frimley Hall Hotel and I hope to go back soon to book a day at the hotel's spa! Further details about the hotel and restaurant are available on the website.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Beautiful Swimwear From Coco Bay

Seafolly, Coco Bay

I know it's hardly swimwear weather at the moment but a while back I got this beautiful tankini from Coco Bay and I thought it was about time I shared it on the blog!

Coco Bay is a swimwear and beachwear website, selling collections from bikini and beachwear brands Seafolly, Moontide, Baku and Ginja.

A while back in September I went for a weekend away to the Village Hotel in Farnborough, Hampshire, and bought myself a tankini to wear in the pool and jacuzzi.

I went for the Seafolly Goddess Kiara Singlet. Although it's a tankini it looks like a one piece which I liked. I own hundreds of bikinis but when I'm not on holiday sunbathing I think it's nicer to go for a swimsuit as it is more practical. The box pleating around the bust of this top is a nice detail and it has boning around the cups to give shape and support. There is also pleating round the hips to give a flattering shape around the tummy area and gripper tape round the back to keep everything in place.

While the top is very flattering and supportive and designed to suck everything in, it was a little tight and difficult to get on and off so I'd recommend going a size up in this! I'm a little disappointed I stuck to normal top size as I could have done with a slightly larger size but once it was on it was very comfortable.

The singlet doesn't come as a set so I got the matching Seafolly Twist Band Hipster Pant. The sizing of this was perfect and it was also super comfy to wear. It has a twsit band at the front which is very flattering on the stomach.

What do you think of this set? Have you ever shopped at Coco Bay before?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Products I'm Loving this week

Montana Tan 1 Hour Tanning Mousse - Just when you thought you'd tried every fake tan going, another one comes along! I'm not usually a fan of mousse formulas for fake tan as they can dry my skin out but this is super silky and moisturising. It has a natural light brown colour, perfect for people wanting a lighter tan in Winter.

GHD Total Volume Foam - I was lucky enough to get this in a goodie bag at a Bloggers Love event in September. My hair is very flat and boring but this adds extra life into it and isn't sticky at all.

L'Oreal Wild Stylers Next Day Hair - I love using this spray the day after curling my hair when I want to refresh my style.It adds a tousled, dishevelled effect without weighing the hair down.

Dermaoil - For anyone that has tried Bio Oil this is very similar. It is a specialist skincare product for anti-ageing, scars and stretch marks. I use it on my stomach and thighs and when my skin gets especially dry in the Winter I add a few drops to my bath for added moisture!

Bouffe Volumising & Texturizing spray - I actually thought this was dry shampoo when I first used it as it is labelled as a 'dry spray'. I flicked my head upside down and sprayed it into my fringe and had a major 'There's Something About Mary' moment as my hair had stuck up! ANYWAY! After actually reading the bottle I've now discovered it's actually a texturising spray. I spray a little through the mid sections of my hair after curling it to liven it up a bit.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Daily Skincare Favourites

Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser -  I picked up this mini sample-size cleanser at the Bloggers Love Gifting Lounge event in September. Despite using it on and off for nearly three months it has lasted a long time! I have heard a lot about Elemis products but had never actually tried any until now (bad Blogger!) This left my skin really soft and moisturised and has a lovely lavender scent.

Paul & Joe Refreshing Skin Toner - I adore Paul & Joe skincare. The packaging is beautiful and looks lovely in the bathroom or on a nightstand, and all of the products smell divine! This toner as a fresh, orange scent and is gentle on my skin while helping to lock in moisture.

Nivea Light Moisturising Day Cream - Whenever my skin starts to play up, Nivea is my go-to brand. I find all of the products in the Nivea range are so comforting and soothing when my skin is irritated. As well as the day cream I recently purchased the Nivea night cream and primer which I am looking forward to using.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Christmas Gift Guide from Paul Mitchell

I always see Paul Mitchell sets for sale in my local salons and hairdressers and they look like the perfect gifts for someone. Paul Mitchell has some amazing Christmas sets out at the moment and I have already snapped up a couple to give as gifts. If you are struggling for what to buy someone I think you can't go wrong with them!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Philips Lumea Precision Plus IPL Hair Removal System - unboxing and first impressions

I have to admit I am extremely lazy when it comes to hair removal. There are so many different options when it comes down to it - shaving, waxing, epilating, threading, laser treatments - but for some, the task of hair removal can be a chore. If it's not time-consuming, messy or fiddly then it's expensive or very painful.

As a teen, before I started shaving, I tried Veet hair removal cream on my legs. It was very messy, didn't work well, and I got told off for stinking out the bathroom with the horrible smell of fumes that comes with it. I didn't dare try it on any other part of my body for fear of going a second over the recommended time and burning my skin off. Since then, I have always stuck to the good old-fashioned razor (when I can be bothered).

Recently laser hair removal treatments are becoming increasingly popular and I am hearing more about them. I always see local salons offering courses of treatments but I've never looked into it because it seemed too time consuming. Then I discovered an at home treatment - the Philips Lumea Precision Plus.

The people at Philips claim this device will reduce unwanted hairs by up to 80% in as little as eight weeks (using four fortnightly treatments). IPL stands for Intense Pulsed Light - which uses high intensity focused light to force hair to stop growing by naturally shedding and reducing regrowth.

This decive can be used on the face, legs, arms, bikini area and underarms. It has five intensity settings, so can be adapted to suit skin tones and hair colours, and it comes with two different sized application windows for large or targeted areas.

The device is very neatly packaged. It comes in a handy carry case, with a charger and head attachment, and also has a cleaning cloth, quick start guide and full instruction manual.

The device is very light and the instructions are clear and simple to understand. The quick start guide makes it very simple to work out how to use it.

There is a chart which recommends which light intensity you need to use, based on your hair colour and skin tone. Before using the Lumea Precision Plus it is recommended you shave the area you are going to treat, then you place the appliance on a 90 degree angle to the skin and press the flash button to release a flash of light. You can then either keep the button pressed down while you slide the appliance to the next area of skin (if you are using a large area like legs), or you can let go of the button, place the appliance on the next area of skin and press down again (suitable for more precise areas like the lip or knees).

The guide also comes with a chart you can fill in to monitor when you have used the Lumea Precision Plus and the date of the next treatment. Plus it has a handy table which sets out the average treatment times for each area:
- Upper lip/chin/sideburns: 1 minute
- Underarms: 1 minute per underarm
- Bikini line: 1 minute
- Entire bikini area: 4 minutes
- One lower leg: 8 minutes
- One full leg: 14 minutes

The Lumea Precision Plus IPL system is pretty expensive - it is recommended as £450 on Philips' website however you can get it for around £290 at Boots, Amazon or Argos - but it is cheaper than getting a course of laser hair removal treatments done professionally, and it is meant to save money in the long run as it prevents the regrowth of hair.

I will soon be putting this to the test and will be doing a full review to see if it is worth the money!

Have you ever tried laser hair removal before? Let me know what your experiences were!

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