Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Nourishing Milk

When I was little I was always told that a glass of milk a day would help you grow big and strong. So what about a drop of milk, on your skin? Well of course I am not talking about real milk but in fact Bobbi Brown's new Extra Repair Nourishing Milk - that hybrid product we have all been waiting for; a mixture between a face oil and a repair treatment.

This svelte little glass bottle with pipette dropper has slipped in nicely into my skincare routine and I am really enjoying the results so far. Formulated for all skin types, the milky (funnily enough!) texture is lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin, despite boasting various oils such as olive, sesame, sweet almond and jojoba. I expected it to feel greasy and heavy and would only really work when applied at night, but in actual fact it is wonderfully light and can be layered with skincare or makeup.

So the Repair Nourishing Milk can be applied on clean skin or as a sandwich filler between your serum and moisturiser, but for me this would be too much product on my skin. I like to use it instead of my serum, before my moisturiser or simply to prep my skin before my foundation. The silky emulsion only needs a few drops to cover your whole face and leaves the surface feeling so smooth and refined once it has sunk in. This product renews and rejuvenates the repair process for a healthier complexion as well as smoothing away fine lines and wrinkles for a firmer, plumper look. It also hydrates thanks to all those lovely oils and the sodium hyaluronate, which helps the skin's surface retain moisture. Finally it corrects skin damage by stimulating natural collagen production and strengthening the skin's protective barrier.

This is one of those skincare products that does exactly what it says on the tin bottle. It truly nourishes your skin and cares for a variety of skin problems you might be suffering with. It feels luxurious to use, a real treat that could just be used once or twice a week, or whenever your skin needs a bit of TLC.
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Thursday, 13 October 2016

Lifestyle: Our Family Photoshoot

Before I got engaged and started planning our wedding, I would have recoiled at the idea of doing a photoshoot. The idea of us awkwardly posing, cheesy grins with hands on hips made me feel quite uneasy and I certainly never thought I would be the type of person contemplating blowing up some prints to mount on our walls at home! I use to find it quite bizarre when I would visit someone's home and every which way you turned, you saw a family portrait smiling back at you! But I guess that's what becoming a wife and mother does to some people - I have turned into a soppy, sentimental soul who is so proud of what we have done, and where we are now, I am happy to hang the occasional family photo about my abode.

The thing is, the few photoshoots we have done with Katherine Ashdown have totally convinced me that there doesn't have to be any cheesiness or forced smiles involved - especially when you have a wiggly baby who keeps you giggling. Katherine was our wedding photographer and was like a soft breeze in the background, busy documenting the day in the most natural of ways - capturing those candid moments and orchestrating some shots with beautiful artistry. As a prelude to that day, we arranged an engagement shoot with Katherine and had the best time ever, messing about on the beach in Wells-Next-The Sea, Norfolk. They are some of my favourite photos of Rob and I and love that we were able to anticipate what it would be like having Katherine there on our wedding day.

Two years later and Florence entered our lives and I felt compelled to have a family photoshoot back at the same location where our engagement shoot took place. To sit on the edge of the same beach hut and walk along the same woodland path, now with our darling daughter, seemed like the sweetest idea (if a little sickeningly sentimental!). We had the best time and I am so pleased we took the plunge, driving over two and a half hours on one of the hottest days of the year with a 7 month old, because the end results are stunning and I couldn't be more thankful to Katherine for capturing this little moment in our lives.

It is cliched but so true - "the days are long but the years are short". I am so scared I am going to blink one day and wonder where my little baby has gone as I trot her through the school gates. So for now I know I will always have these photographs to remind me of this moment in her life - on a sunny September day in 2016, Florence had just turned 7 months and was finding her balance sitting up. She had a gummy smile and the brightest, biggest eyes. She was a girl full of funny expressions and was easily comforted to sleep on my shoulder with a gentle sshing in her ear.
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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

A Fresh Look, A New Start

photography by Katherine Ashdown
Over six and a half years I began blogging. I set up Pearls & Poodles one night, on a whim, back in 2010 and the rest, they say, is history. Back then I was 23 and my life was quite a contrast to what it is now. My priorities, interests and style were completely different and when I open up my blog now, I don't feel the aesthetics and content genuinely reflects me and where I am in my life anymore. So it is time for a makeover.

Firstly you will notice that the name, Pearls & Poodles, is no more...I have decided to ditch the alliteration and have kept it simple by calling it my name, Milly Naomi. I know this isn't a groundbreaking, novel idea but I feel it keeps my blog personal and gives it the ability to grow with me as I transition and develop as a blogger. Next month I am having my website redesigned and rebranded, so there will be a whole new look when you come to visit my page in the future.

So what can you expect from Milly Naomi going forward? I am going to slightly change the direction of my blogging but still promise to deliver you a mixture of content from beauty features, lifestyle, baking and of course, babies! I don't want to abandon my blogging style nor do I want to create an editorial website as this genuinely is not me. I want to keep it relatable, personal and packed full of snippets from my unfiltered life. I simply want to create a more mature, streamline blog that is inviting for you readers to land on and spend some time reading through my posts. I want to seamlessly categorise all my posts so I can accommodate all my readers, rather than alienate them. I know that not everyone is interested in baby-related posts, and I also know I have attracted a lot of new-mum readers, like myself, (did I mention I had a baby?!) who may not want to hear about my latest skincare routine. I want it to be easy to navigate around and laid out to give a pleasing, aesthetic look with larger photos and clear social media links. I also hope to grow my presence online and put some time into my YouTube channel so do let me know what type of videos you would like to see.

I really hope you all stick around during this transition and enjoy what I have planned for my blog going forward. Please do let me know what you like seeing on my blog or what else you would like to see featured. Here's to the next step on my blogging journey and hopefully another six years of writing and sharing my life and loves with you all.
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Friday, 30 September 2016

Shu Uemura Art of Hair Kye Collaboration

The Shu Uemura Art of Hair conditioners have been given a colourful makeover as the brand collaborates with creative talent, Kathleen Kye, who is one of Asia's most talked about designers. Kye is a stylish icon amongst the youth generation who takes her inspiration from street style to create her original unisex look. She could best be described as fun, fresh, innovative, ultra vivid and full of energy.

Kye has teamed up with Shu Uemura to transform the bottles of their iconic Art of Hair conditioners (Ultimate Remedy, Moisture Velvet and Colour Lustre) to really capture her unique style. Kye's crafted design is inspired by today's Korean youth movement, accented with iconic playful graphics to highlight Asian beauty style in the world.

I love these playful, fun bottles and they make a real statement in my bathroom cabinets. The conditioners are pretty incredible too and I have been using them non-stop over the past few weeks and my hair has been feeling super soft and well-loved. The Ultimate Remedy Conditioner provides extreme restoration for ultra-damaged hair. The Moisture Velvet Conditioner is nourishing for dry hair providing suppleness and a velvety touch. Finally, my favourite, is the Colour Lustre which is an illuminating treatment for colour-treated hair. It is nourishing, detangling and leaves hair feeling polished with a gorgeous shine!

These limited edition conditioners (£32) are available online and from selected premium salons nationwide.
*this post contains samples gifted for review purposes
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Monday, 26 September 2016

Angel and Alien Perfumed Candles

The Alien and Angel fragrances have become one of those iconic scents over the years. I remember in school everyone would douse themselves in the unmistakable whiff of Angel or Alien by Thierry Mugler and it is still so recognisable and wearable today.

It is one of those fragrance lines that has amassed quite a loyal following with fans purchasing and repurchasing their favourite one which is why I am excited to say that you can now revel in your favourite Thierry Mugler scent, in your home! Mugler has managed to encapsulate these iconic perfumes within a candle which will weave a whirlwind of emotive notes throughout your living room.

If you haven't spritzed these fragrances before then I will share with you the type of scent you can expect once you've lit the wick and dimmed the lights. Angel is a delicious mixture of vanilla, caramel and chocolate notes, counterbalanced by the woody scent of patchouli.  It feels oriental and decadent. Alien is a mysterious aroma of sambac jasmine, white amber and cashmeran wood. It is warming and sensual - absolutely perfect as we slip into Autumn. In fact I am burning it now as I type and I feel all cosy and ready for crisp walks and mugs of hot chocolate!

The Angel and Alien limited edition perfumed candles are available online now - £39. Which one would be your favourite?
*this post contains samples gifted for review purposes
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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Our Bath Time Routine

When it comes to a baby's routine it is forever changing as they grow and change over time. Nap times, the amount of feeds, the length of feeds, their bedtime, their wake up time. Despite the pattern of my days changing month on month as Florence has grown and developed there is one routine that I have managed to keep fairly consistent since she was a newborn - bath time!

Thankfully Florrie loves her bath. A real water baby (I like to think this is because she was born in water!) and bath time is a real highlight of our day. When Rob isn't working late he races home so he can give Florence a bath which I think is a really lovely bonding experience for them both. We go to town on her baths; bubbles, yellow ducks, plastic watering cans, the whole hog! It always takes place as the last activity of the day as we start to prepare her for bedtime. As for the bath time products we use, it would seem that Florence has a bigger stash of shampoos and body moisturisers than I do and I have loved using a selection of different brands during bath time since she was born. I thought I would share with you a little insight into our bath and bedtime routine and some of her favourite products.

Around 5.30pm I start running the bath for Florence, excited to wash out that bit of banana I found in her hair earlier and to see her splashing about in the water. We use this bath mat and seat from Mothercare which is ideal for your little one once they can sit up unaided and also tells you if the water is too hot. I like to add a good squirt of the Mum & Me Baby Sleep Tight Bath or the Mum & Me Baby Bath Snuffles to create some generous bubbles and fill the room with a lovely aroma. The Sleep Tight Bath is made with lavender so it very comforting and sleep-inducing whilst the Baby Bath Snuffles contains a menthol fragrance to comfort little noses. Both are fab and I think the bubbles and the scent really help her enjoy the experience and prepare her for bed.

Time to wash her hair and body. For this job I have been using a multitude of different products depending on my mood/whichever is closer for me to reach! Florence suffered from a bit of cradle cap when she was newborn and every now and again it still comes back. I love the Mum & Me Baby Shampoo as it is really gentle on her scalp but softens and relieves the dryness, thanks to the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It leaves her hair and head smelling just beautiful...ah that lovely post-bath baby smell! There are also two combination products I have been lathering up for Florence to wash hair and body at the same time; the Petit Pai Apple & Mallow Blossom Hair & Body Wash and the Kiehl's Gentle Hair & Body Wash. I was so excited to see two of my favourite skincare brands branching out and formulating baby skin products and its reassuring to know that your baby's sensitive skin is being cared for. The Petit Pai Hair and Body Wash is gorgeous - obviously it is free of parabens and all those nasties and has a lovely gentle formula that cleanses and nourishes that beautiful delicate skin. The Kiehl's Hair and Body Wash is mild, tear-free and has a lovely light and soothing scent. Suitable for sensitive skin, it foams up nicely and leaves baby clean from top to toe.

After one more pour of the water can and a final wash in-between her toes, Florence is ready to be wrapped up warm in her hooded towel and carried upstairs for some baby lotion, a little massage and book before her final feed and bed. This sounds rather peaceful and dreamy but in reality it consists of Florence rolling around on own bed, kicking off her nappy, trying to put the tube of lotion in her mouth whilst I try to wrestle her into her baby grow! I like to moisture her skin before popping her PJs on and we have been using a few creams recently. The Petit Pai Apple and Mallow Blossom Face and Body Cream is lightweight and nourishing on delicate skin and I like the fact you can use it on the face too as Florrie sometimes gets a sore nose or a little redness under her chin. The Organic Babies Dry Skin Baby Lotion is the perfect cream to use if you want to give your little one a little massage. It contains aloe vera, cocoa and Shea butter and is soothing and scent-free. It can also be used as a nappy cream so is a useful two-in-one product to have at hand if travelling with baby.

Baby lip balm? Who knew?! I was certainly surprised when I received this product from Kiehl's but it is actually quite handy. Florence doesn't suffer from dry lips per se but sometimes can get a little red and irritated around her mouth so this is a lovely option to use...so nice that I might have to borrow it for myself if I am ever short of lip balm!

Finally you can always rely on Neal's Yard Remedies to come up with some fab, skin-loving products for mum and your little one and their baby range is just lovely. They have everything you can imagine from baby powder to shampoo and soap and will leave your bundle of joy smelling divine as you get them ready for sweet dreams. I have been particularly loving the organic baby lotion, rich in lavender and sunflower oil, the baby balm, perfect for face, body or bottom, and the pure baby oil which sinks in easily to baby's skin and makes them even more kissable and scrummy than they were before the bath.

Skin moisturised, baby grow on (finally!), book read and Grobag zipped up. It is now time to snuggle down for one of my favourite times of the day - Florence's final feed before bed. It is a special moment in my day. After a day filled with noisy play, peekaboo games, mushed up banana, umpteen nappy changes, one play date, a bit of sick on my shoulder, one tired-baby-meltdown and several untouched cold cups of tea it is finally just us two in the stillness of the darkened bedroom. I cradle this little person and however many times I have done this now, it still feels so so special. And all I can think about is how excited I am to do it all again tomorrow!
*this post contains samples gifted for review purposes
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Thursday, 22 September 2016

My Current Favourite Foundations

When it comes to foundations and base products, I love to mix it up! I reckon it is the one product I change most frequently in my beauty routine and I love nothing more than sliding open my muji foundation drawer and deciding which liquid, cream or powder to go for that day. I am fortunate that my skin is quite forgiving so I am able to chop and change my base products freely, without any problems with my skin reacting, and without fail I pretty much wear something on my skin everyday even if it is just a simple BB cream and a coating of mascara.

I have had the pleasure of testing out a selection of new base products recently and I'm really excited to share my thoughts on them with you all. We have a BB-type cream from Clarins, a new silky foundation from Clinique, a super-coverage option from Vichy, a concealer and foundation-in-one from Revlon as well as Lancome's new cushion compact foundation.

First up is Clarins' new BB Skin Detox Fluid with SPF25 with bridges that lovely gap between makeup and skincare. It gives you a base whilst giving your skin some love! What more could you want?! It comes in four shades and provides a really nice sheer-medium coverage. It won't conceal those spots and blemishes completely but what it will do is give you an even base and a luminous complexion so is perfect for days when you don't want a heavy coverage but want to feel and look awake and perky? I love the fact it is also packed full of great ingredients that will nourish and care for your skin as you go about your day looking fab. There is aloe vera and hyaluronic acid to aid hydration, meadowsweet extract to help maintain skin's balance and white tea extracts to protect skin from environmental stressors. If you have previously loved Clarins' BB creams and their range of skincare then this is a match made in heaven!

When it comes to a brand that offers high coverage and superbly corrective foundations and concealers, you can't go far wrong with Vichy and their latest foundation is no different. Dermablend 3D Correction Foundation is a corrective foundation that is suppose to smooth the skin to minimise the appearance of 3D imperfections. Despite being quite a high coverage base product, the feeling of this foundation is still quite light and comfortable on the skin and gives a long-lasting matte effect. I personally don't mind using quite high coverage foundation providing the formula is loose enough to apply only a little and buff it lightly all over my face. This foundation does this and gives an absolutely flawless finish to your makeup, concealing redness and blemishes easily. I love it especially as I find I don't then need to go in with a concealer or powder afterwards and can skip straight to the rest of my makeup.

Next up is one of my favourites from this line up, the new Clinique Superbalanced Silk Makeup. I have always enjoyed Clinique's base products and their newest release is just beautiful on the skin. The glass bottle without a pump is a little annoying, as I do like to moderate how much foundation I dispense at one time, but once you start buffing this onto your skin all is forgotten! It is really lightweight with quite a fluid texture that honestly feels like silk to apply. It has SPF 15 and leaves your complexion with a natural, matte base with a medium coverage. It would be great for oily or combination skin I reckon and I just love how it feels and sits on my skin. You don't need to powder much after applying it and it covers any redness or blemishes really well. Just lovely!

Sometimes it can be tricky matching and choosing your concealer to suit you foundation so Revlon have made that dilemma a little bit simpler with their new ColorStay 2-in-1 Compact Makeup & Concealer. It includes a creamy foundation along with a complementary concealer, one shade lighter. The product also includes a mirror and a sponge, making it a super easy compact to sling in your handbag when you are on the go, but find it best applied with a flat foundation brush. I envisaged the foundation and concealer would be quite thick and heavy to apply but it actually is quite lightweight and is easily transferred from the compact onto the brush and onto your face. It blends really well with lots of little strokes of a foundation brush and it gives you a semi-matte finish with a medium to high coverage. The concealer is great and will literally erase any imperfections or dark circles, so you will feel fresh faced and ready to fake a 12 hour sleep!

Finally I have been really enjoying Lancome's new Teint Idole Ultra Cushion Foundation which is a compact that includes a liquid foundation under a mesh layer that is easily transferred by the little cushion. At first I was a bit apprehensive about the cushion application, wondering if it was just a gimmick, but it applies the foundation beautifully. The texture, coverage and feel of this foundation is very similar to the Clinique Superbalanced as they both offer a superbly silky formula with great coverage and matte finish. It really brightens up your skin, giving it a radiance without being shiny or dewy. The finish is pretty flawless, especially if you build it up a bit, and it feels velvety soft on the skin. I love the fact you can also just buy refills once your foundation has run low, which simply click in and out of the golden compact, so you don't need to buy a whole new product each time. A very luxurious foundation but definitely worth the price tag.

So these are my current five favourite foundations, concealers and base products of the minute - something for all occasions I feel. I would love to know if you have tried, and are loving, any of these products and if not, what is your favourite foundation right now?
*this post contains samples gifted for review purposes
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