Tuesday, December 30

HARRISON LOVES: iCandy Emilia Changing Bag

For someone that has always been into their handbags like myself, choosing a baby changing bag was a pretty difficult task. Who knew babies needed so much stuff? 

Gone are the days where I could pop my phone, my purse and my overflowing make up bag into my Mulberry and be gone, I now have to think about bottles, nappies, changing mats, baby food, spare clothes and bum creams- and it doesn't even stop there. Something practical is completely necessary when it comes to packing up your baby essentials, but I struggled to find something on the market that met the needs of both a mum and a baby, whilst still being "me" and not too "mumsy". That was of course, until I was introduced to the iCandy Emilia Changing Bag*.

Inspired by the actress Emilia Fox, The Emilia is a stunning bag that on a daily basis receives compliments, from both parents who have up until now had to settle for the standard mumsy changing bag and non-parents who genuinely just like style of the bag.

Its Black soft touch Leather is a dream and paired with the chunky Silver zips, hooks and tags, it is very reminiscent of the style I would have picked out before becoming a mum, and certainly like something I had hoped I would find when I first found started my mummy journey.

When it comes to changing bags, there's no getting away from the fact that size really does matter, as even on the shortest of trips out, it's incredible how much stuff you have to take with you to cover every eventuality, poo explosion or quite simply, a feed. Thankfully, the iCandy Emilia has a lot of storage that honestly made me swoon when I first unzipped her. 

With the front magnet fastened pouch, the front zipped pocket and the two main zipped compartments which between them are home to six side pockets and two clear zipped clip envelope bags which are great to save taking the whole bag to the loo when baby needs a change- this bag has plenty of organised space and holds both the bottle bag and changing mat that come with the bag, as well as a spare change of clothes, a milk dispenser, a couple of spare bottles, all of the necessary lotions, potions and dummies, a toy or two and my bare essentials which now include a couple of bits of make up, money, phone, charger and a vlogging camera or two, perfectly. 

It has a wide adjustable strap shoulder strap, which normally finds itself hanging from my Stokke Scoot, that I find pretty comfortable when carrying, but what I really love is that the bag is so well made and so it both feels and looks super sturdy and luxurious, which is something the changing bag market is seriously lacking.

Designed by ex Mulberry designer Janet Collin, the iCandy Emilia Changing Bag does come with a slightly higher price of £250, but available in three colours; Ivory Patent and Leather, Black Leather and Royal Patent, The Emilia is a very wearable bag and as a parent, you will use it every day.

If you fancy using The Emilia as your chosen changing bag, you can pick one up directly at all iCandy retailers including Mothercare and John Lewis.

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Thursday, December 18

Bobbi Brown Ready, Set, Give!

Today I was asked by a male friend, what luxury beauty products are out there that his girlfriend would be sure to love finding underneath the tree, and immediately, the Bobbi Brown 'Ready, Set, Give' Collection came to mind.

With only a week left until Christmas, I thought it was about time that I gave you the low down on what once again, has been an incredibly popular collection.

With the perfect variety of glam, flattering and beautifully put together palettes and sets, whatever it is you're into when it comes to make up, I'm pretty sure there will be something for you.

The standout product for me is probably the Deluxe Lip & Eye Palette (£59.00), it's an absolute dream and is a double decker delight of eight Eye Shadows and eight Creamy Lip Colours. Ivory Eye, Sandy Rose, Metallic, Chiffon Sparkle, Antique Rose, Malted, Bronzed Pink Metallic, Cream Metallic and Black Chocolate are the shades on the eyeshadow front, and come in the perfect variety of finishes. 
Pink Sequin, Pale Mauve, Blue Raspberry, Black Cherry, Pale Beige, Coral Pink, Pink Blossom and Rose Garden are the Creamy Lip Colours and I've recently been loving wearing them- surprisingly the darker tones. There's something about applying a lip stick with a brush, and so the two little brushes that come with the Deluxe Lip & Eye Palette are a little bit wonderful.

For those of you that want something similar, but in a smaller quantity, the Mini Lip & Eye Palette (£25.00) is a handbag sized treat. Homing two Lip Colours in Brown and Natural, as well as a High Shimmer Lip Gloss in Bare Sparkle- if you're on the hunt for some natural tones, this could well be for you. It also has three Eye Shadows in the shades Ivory, Cement and Black Chocolate, which in my opinion, together make for the perfect fuss free smokey eye.

If it is smokey eyes that you are into, then you'll be pleased to hear that there are three more eye palettes available, as well as a trio of miniature Long Wear Cream Shadow Sticks, which I am completely OBSESSED with. 

The two very popular six shadow Eye Shadow Palettes (£37.50 each) are available in two varieties- Cool and Warm. 
Cool consists of Ivory, Pink Quartz, Marble Metallic, Stormy Grey, Almond and Smoked, whilst the Warm palette consists of Bone, Champagne Quartz Metallic, Malted, Gold Sparkle, Sable and Espresso. Warm is without a doubt my favourite- you know I'm a sucker for those warm Browns, but I guess it's dependant on skin tone and Cool is equally as pretty.

 The Mini Eye Palette (£26.00) (which since taking these photos, I've realised opens up into eight shades- whoops!), consists of eight shadows that again are in a mixture of matte, sparkly and metallic finishes. Bone Shimmer Wash, Cool Ivory, Saddle, Dark Grey Brown, Gold Sparkle, Sugar Plum Metallic, Pink Rose Sparkle and Opal Sparkle are the eight shades that are placed over two levels and I find it the perfect sized palette for popping into your clutch over the party season. 

I mentioned that I am obsessed, and really I am- The Long Wear Cream Shadow Sticks are one of my favourite Bobbi Brown products ever and this trio excites me a lot. Easy to use, quick to apply and long wearing, these can be used all over the lid, below the lower lash line, smoked out as well as used to define and highlight the eyes and they are all incredible. This mini trio (£29.50) consists of Pink Sparkle, Smokey Topaz and Espresso Bean and with Smokey Topaz being one of my all time favourites, I can't recommend picking this up enough.

Following on from eyes, is the Lip Gloss Trio (£29.00) which was always going to happen. Pink Sunset, Pink Pop and Midnight Violet make up the set and although Midnight Violet isn't a very me shade, I really do love Pink Sunset and Pink Pop.

What would a Bobbi collection be without a Shimmer Brick in some form? This time around is a Shimmer Brick in the shade Copper Diamond (£35.00), which although I sadly haven't had the opportunity to try, it is on my Christmas list and looks like a Golden dream, that I can only imagine would be simply stunning brushed over the cheekbones.

Last and certainly by no means least, is the two brush sets that have been launched in the beautiful faux croc design cases. 
The Mini Brush Set (£56.00) is a palm sized set that includes a Face Blender Brush, Concealer Blending Brush, Eye Shadow Brush and a Dual Ended Eye liner and Ultra Fine Eye Liner Brush, whilst the Travel Brush Set (£89.00) consists of a Face Blender Brush, Sheer Powder Brush, Dual Ended Concealer Blending/Eye Blender Brush, an Eye Shadow Brush, an Eye Liner Brush, an Ultra Fine Eye Liner and Brow Brush and honestly, if you're in need of some new make up brushes, I can't recommend these highly enough.

 Not only do they look great and apply make up beautifully, they will outlive the majority of your other brushes and wash up as new each and every time. Yes, individually the price of these brushes can add up to quite a sum, but these sets are great value and if I opened these up on Christmas day, I would be a very happy girl.

Available online and at Bobbi Brown counters in the likes of Selfridges and Harrods, the remaining products won't be around for long, so if you do want them, I really would recommend that you do sooner rather than later!

What do you think of this Christmas collection? Do you have any of these products on your wish list or will you be treating yourself?


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Sunday, December 14

Herbal Essences #GetNaked Twitter Party with Ben Cooke

The festive period is here and that means it's time to get out your party dresses, put on your highest shoes and pamper yourself into perfection for your chosen Christmas parties. 

I personally love the buzz that surrounds the party season- the excitement in the air, all of the fabulous Red lipsticks pouted around town and getting glammed up thrills me to no end.

 The moments pre-party, spent in front of the mirror with a few chilled bubbles are moments of Christmas joy for me, however, on some occasions, I can't help but wish I'd asked a few questions or not left it until that very moment to figure out how to style my Christmas hairdo. 

This year however, I'll be taking the opportunity to ask celebrity hairdresser Ben Cooke, Herbal Essences Ambassador, my hair queries and last minute styling panics during his Twitter Chat on 17th December.

 Between the hours of 2-3pm on the 17th December, @_HerbalEssences and Ben Cooke will be on hand to answer all of your hair questions- be it how to get the perfect shine throughout your loose waves, how to maximise the volume in your bouffant or if you're thinking ahead of the game like I know I am, how to detox your hair ready for the new year. Simply tweet your hair related queries and questions to Ben with the hashtag #GetNaked to be involved and follow me to see what I'm asking (@lauraleighblogs).

This year, Herbal Essences launched the Clearly Naked range and I've been thoroughly enjoying using them thus far, due to their kind to hair approach. With no parabens, silicones or dyes and designed to simply cleanse and condition, delivering soft and luscious locks without compromising your hairs health, the range is the perfect option if you're looking for a new healthy hair routine for the new year and I know I'll certainly be taking the Volume, Shine and Moisture products into 2015 with me. 

Have you tried any of the Herbal Essences Clearly Naked range and will you be joining me on the 17th to ask Ben Cooke and @_HerbalEssences your hair questions?

*This is a sponsored post

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HARRISON LOVES: Stokke Sleepi Mini + Sleepi Extension Pack

Those of you that know me personally or have read my blog for a while, will know that I love simplicity in decor, and the simpler and cleaner, the better.

From before Harrison was even expected to arrive into our lives, I followed a range of Scandinavian decor blogs/Instagram accounts and dreamt of having this Stokke Sleepi for my baby one day, each and every time I set my broody eyes on it.

 The unique shape that differs from most cots on the market along with the fairytale like canopy appeals to me greatly, and with its clean lines and simplistic design, it wows me to no end. Honestly, I really do adore this Stokke Sleepi so much- so much so that if they had one in kingsize, I'd probably have my own.

The Stokke Sleepi is a unique cot system that grows with your baby in four steps and fortunately, I've had the opportunity to have it for Harrison from its very first step. 

The Sleepi Mini is just the cutest serene looking cot I have ever seen, and from way before little Harrison had even taken his first breath, I was desperate to get it out of it box and assemble it. Oval in shape, the Sleepi Mini has been designed for babies 0-6 months in age, which is ideal if you want a cot as opposed to a Moses Basket or a co-sleeper. 

Designed to be cosy and nest like, it's so lovely for a small baby and with lockable wheels, it's able to be moved around the nursery with ease, if necessary. The hypoallergenic mattress beats any mattress I've ever tried- seriously. Made of durable polyurethane foam in a shape which aids ventilation, it's so soft and has the perfect amount of pressure and support. 

If that isn't enough- it comes with its very own canopy rod, which homes the most beautiful canopy and my DIY Aeroplane Mobile.

Harrison very sadly grew out of the Sleepi Mini at around four months, not to the point where his feet were out of the end (they're still not), but I wanted him to have space to move and roll. The extension kit which turns the Mini into the Sleepi Bed has meant that I've been able to keep my (Harrison's) serene beautiful cot and Harrison has the joy of the comfortable mattress up to around the age of three.

Its adjustable mattress height means that again, it adjusts with your childs size and I'm just as in love with it as I was the Mini (maybe even more!).

 Harrison sleeps so comfortably throughout the whole night and through until the day where he's old enough to hop in and out of bed himself and I have to remove a panel, I'll adore watching over him in his beautiful Sleepi (the Sleepi does increase to a fourth step for 3-10 year olds, but that's too far away for me to even consider right now and completely scares me).

Available to buy in White, Natural and Walnut, the Stokke Sleepi costs from £429 and is available to buy online and in here in Mothercare.

Are you thinking of getting a Stokke Sleepi for your little one? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Sunday, December 7

Acne, Skincare Stories, Myths and Advice? I want to hear yours

Blogging about all things that surround "beauty" for almost five years now, has meant that I've spent a fair amount of time researching the in's and outs of skincare. I'm not a pro by any means, but after trying a vast amount of products and reading into what works for others, I've picked up a fair bit of information and tips- be it advice from the industry professionals, or from like minded individuals, all with a skincare story. 

No matter how much we try to get away from it, our skin does play a huge part in our self esteem and ultimately, our confidence. I'm often contacted by girls who are struggling with their skin, those who want to know how to cover it up and women who are going through hormonal changes due to pregnancy and want to know how to keep their skin at bay. Frequently, I'm approached with some pretty shoddy skincare myths and I feel it's about time they were put to bed. Some that spring to mind:

"Chocolate and greasy food causes acne"- Myth
Completely unproven myth. Yes, some people have certain intolerances which could I guess mean reactions, but it's not yet proven that the chocolate bar and burger you indulged in at the weekend were the reason for your breakout. Sugar on the other hand...

"Acne is caused by poor hygiene"- Myth
A few causes of Acne are hormones, stress and bacteria. Dirt doesn't actually cause acne or spots. However clogged up pores do.

"Getting a tan dries up acne"- Myth 
It might reduce the look of your acnes Redness (temporarily), but being in the direct sunlight tanning could actually cause you further damage due to the extra oil production your skin will quickly get to work at making. Acne doesn't dry out. Skin isn't meant to dry out. Instead, wear a facial SPF suitable to your skin type and enjoy the sun safely.

"Toothpaste makes my spots disappear"- Myth
I did this once at school, and it didn't work. I actually remember waking up to an even more Red slightly burnt feeling spot. I'm pretty sure that goes for Sudacrem too *zips the nappy bag up*. 

"Make up causes spots/acne"- Myth
A few causes of acne and spots are hormones, stress and bacteria- not make up. However, make up can clog pores up and bacteria can be spread via make up brushes/fingers. That bacteria = potential problems.

"Oily skin doesn't need moisturising"- Myth
So many times I've heard of people not using oily/moisturising products on their oily skin because "it would make it more oily"-all skin needs moisture- even skin suffering with acne/spots/oily zones!

  I've personally never suffered with severe Acne or any major skin problems, but unfortunately for them, I have friends and family that have suffered with various skin conditions and Acne on quite a severe scale. Since back when we was at school to the present day, I have seen first hand how much it has affected some of my closest friends. I see how down they can be when they have big break outs, and I see their mood brighten when their skin begins to clear up due to either prescription medicine or their regular skincare routines and that's the way it's been for years.
 As I'm pretty involved in make up, skincare and the surrounding fabulous things, it's something we discuss on a regular basis and I would really love to further that conversation with you guys.

The internet and friends are my first call for any advice and I would absolutely love to hear all of your skincare tips, advice, myths and stories in the comments below and hopefully, they can in turn, help others too.

So please, get sharing and hopefully we can have a #spotlessxmas

*This post is sponsored
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Thursday, December 4

Bobbi Brown Scotch On The Rocks

Bobbi Brown's Scotch On The Rocks has been sat on my dressing table, since its release date last month, and I've been absolutely itching to find a moment to let you in on my thoughts.

Inspired by the sultry American actress, Lauren Bacall, the collection is a combination of strong and confident products that as individual pieces or the collection combined, create the perfect party ready look. 

At a glance, the stand out products have to be the Warm Glow Eye Palette and the Highlight Powders. Containing nine very Bobbi Nude, Gold and Brown shades- the Warm Glow Eye Palette (£59.00) features a range of different finishes in the shades Flesh, Beige, Golden Pink, Bonfire, Rose Metallic, Gold Sparkle, Velvet Bronze, Golden Bronze and Rich Caviar. I personally love warm tones such as these, and homed in this beautiful faux croc Brown palette, it's practically irresistible. 

The Highlight Powders (£34.00) are just as spectacular as they appear; available in Bronze and Pink Glow which I've reached for so many times, they each provide a very soft glow to the skin in lightweight complimentary natural shades. Both limited edition, there's something really quite retro looking about these compacts and I'm completely obsessed.

What is a Bobbi Brown collection without an addition of lip colours and glosses? This time around they have launched four limited edition Lipsticks (£22.00) in the classic full coverage Lip Colour formula- Bordeaux, Malt Shimmer, Beige Gold Shimmer and Sultry Red. I would normally immediately opt for the Red in a collection at this time of year, but actually, Malt Shimmer with a gloss on top really appealed to me.

In terms of Lip Glosses (£18.50), Bobbi has introduced three new limited edition shades. A High Shimmer Lip Gloss in the pretty shade Bellini, a Glitter Lip Gloss in the shade Gold and a standard High Shine Gloss in the sultry shade Scarlet. Applied all over the lips or just in the centre, these add the perfect finish for a party look, great for the imminent festive parties.

One of my all time favourite Bobbi Brown products that carries incredible cult status is the Long-Wear Gel Eyeliners (£18.00) and I'm so pleased to see the introduction of another new shade. Limited edition, it's certainly one that's worth a frantic rush to the counter for. Black Scotch is a rich Golden Brown and as a huge fan of Chocolate Brown for day to day, I'm desperate to get my hands on this for a day to night switch up.

Finally, is the launch of three new limited edition Nail Polishes (£11.00) in two finishes. Bordeaux and Cherry Tomato are two tones of Red that are all kinds of perfect for this time of year. Scotch makes for the perfect Gold Shimmer shade which is fab for layering on top of both Bordeaux and Cherry Tomato or even for a seasonal fun and festive accent nail, which again, is perfect for parties at this time of year.

As always, I'm a huge fan of this Bobbi Brown Collection, and already on counters in the likes of Selfridges and House of Fraser, thankfully there's no need to wait to get your hands on it.


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