Travel: Dominican Republic

28 July 2014

Isla Saona (Saona Island), Dominican Republic
Last month I went on holiday to the Dominican Republic and I must say it was an amazing holiday. We stayed at an all inclusive hotel called Now Larimar and I must say the staff there made our stay even more special, their attention to detail was just amazing. We chose the Preferred option which meant that as soon as we got to the hotel to check in we were taken to the lovely preferred lounge away from the normal check in desks and was greeted with champagne glasses and a "butler". We had a sea view room with a jacuzzi on our balcony, free wifi throughout the hotel which wasn't just limited to the lobby, special lounges with top shelf alcohol served at the bar, a quieter pool area for preferred guests and a designated area on the beach for breakfast and lunch. In addition to the normal breakfast, lunch and dinner hall the hotel had 5 specialist restaurants such as Japanese (the best of them all), Italian (also really good), French, American and Mexican. If you ever happen to stay at this hotel I definitely recommend paying the little bit extra for the preferred stay it well worth it and to be honest we didn't even pay that much extra at the time of booking for the preferred option.

Despite how great our hotel was we did manage to leave the premises to explore the Dominican Republic on a few excursions. I am one of those people who cannot spend my whole holiday by the pool or beach, I get bored of it after a few days and I always want to explore. My favourite excursion was the Outback Safarai where we visted local areas on a safari jeep such as a family run coffee and chocolate farm where we got to sample their amazing produce. Saona Island was another top excursion we went on, it is an island away from the mainland which feels like paradise as we pulled up to it on our speedboat. We drank lots of rum and coke (Cuba Libre) on the island and had an amazing local lunch which included freshly caught lobster. After a few hours on the island we then headed back to the mainland on a catamaran dancing the sun away and once again with copious amounts of Rum and coke. We also made a 2 hour coach trip to the capiatal city Santo Domingo to learn about it's history and Christopher Columbus who found the island on his many voyages, I did enjoy the trip but it was so hot and dry and we were walking around the city for hours I literally clocked off and didn't hear much of what our tour guide was saying. I just don't do well in heat!

Anwya I think I have said enough I will let the pictures do the talking now. Please click the link

Holiday Essentials: Sun Care

10 July 2014

I have terrible skin when I am in the sun or in hot climates. I have sun allergies and a very sun intolerant skin meaning that I break out in a rash, sometimes hives and get swollen lip whenever I am in the sun for long periods of time without protecting my skin. Because of this over the years I have had to find products that help limit the extent of my allergic reaction and help my skin recover afterwards. Trust me you don't want to see me when this happens, I am a sight for sore eyes I tell you! (think Will Smith in Hitch type of allergic reaction). Sun care is important for everyone regardless of skin colour and I only took this into consideration when I developed these reactions over 10 years ago. Now I can't leave the house without adequate SPF protection during the Spring/Summer months because I am one of those people that can spend a day in the sun in the UK and get sun burnt (even with SPF 50 on).

After lots of research and a lot of trial and error I have found the best products that work well for my sun sensitive skin have the following ingredients. The La Roche-Posay Anthelios range was created specifically for sun sensitive and intolerant skin. Anthelios provides high sun protection for sensitive skin by offering:
  • high protection against not only UVB rays but also provides protection against UVA rays, which together are responsible for 80% of the signs of premature ageing. 
  • minimalist formulas (fragrance-free, no parabens, non-comedogenic, tested under dermatological supervision). 
  • specially formulated textures to suit all skin types and skin concerns. 
Despite the La Roche-Posay Anthelios products being great my sensitive skin they are also amazing on normal skin too, and I have seen that they are quite popular within the 'blogspehere'.

I recently came back from holiday and wanted to show you guys my sun care essentials I take on every holiday I go on.

My Sun Care Essentials (pictured below):
Somewhere on the beach in Tanzania

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Protective Oil - £17.50 from Boots
This is just heaven in a bottle. I was a bit skeptical about buying it at first because I am not used to using oils as sunscreen and I hate feeling oily whilst in the sun. However, this Protective Oil is not oily and once applied it dries to a moisturising finish that is not oily at all. You have to try it, I know its a hugh  SPF but trust me I use this every time on holiday and still manage to tan, quite a lot actually.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+Extreme Face Fluid - £16.50 from Boots
I bought the pictured Extreme Face Fluid 2 years ago but I think they may have changed it to the Ultra Light Fluid.  This is fluid for the face and it is very light and little goes a long way it. It does look a bit scary at first because of the white look to it, especially on my Afro- Caribbean skin but I find that if I mix it with a very little bit of a light  moisturiser and then apply it to my face it doesn't leave a white cast. I tend to use this more when I am on holiday simply because the sun is a lot more stronger and hotter therefore I need maximum protection to stop my skin from reacting.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Stick (for on lips) - £11 from Escentual
Because this stick has a high SPF in it I find it leaves my lips with a lslight white finish to it however, I usually wear this wear under a lipstick with no problems. If I am not wearing a lipstick I then rub a very small amount of it into my lipsuntil it is clear. I habe to use this because my lips are the most sun intolerant and have the most reaction, so I must say this has been a life saver product for me and my sun allergies.

Simple Lip Protection SPF 20 approx £3-£4 from Superdrug 
This is a lot more moisturising than the La Roche-Posay stick and does not leave a white residue. It is my fave of the two sun protective lip products I use. However, they are so hard to find, one summer they are available then the next they are not, which is why I buy at least 5 when I find them. Simple, please sort this out!

Garneir Ambre Soilare Face Cream Sensitive Advanced Protection Lotion SPF50+ mini size (not pictured) - approx £4 from Boots
Very similar to the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Face Fluid, I think they have similar ingredients in it specifically for sun sensitive skin. I bought this in the mini size which is great for leaving in my bag to use throughout the day to top up. I find that this formula is a lot more moisturisng than the Face Fluid which is why I use this a lot more when at home in the UK, it blends well into my skin without leaving a white cast.

Guerlain Terracotta Moisturising Bronzing Powder

25 June 2014

Guerlain Terracotta Moisturising Bronzing Powder | £34.50 - John Lewis

I am usually not fussed about bronzers especially because it's so hard to find a brand that makes bronzers for darker skin tones or one that doesn't leave your face full of glitter. However, after I heard about the Guerlain Terracotta Moisturising Bronzing Powder I instantly decided I had have it before even seeing it in person. When I eventually made it to a Guerlain counter I knew I had to have it in my life but the only problem was the hefty price tag of £34.50. I decided to not buy it straight away and I held out for a few months before finally making the splurge (so unlike me).

Guerlain states that "Terracotta echoes the soft touch of the first rays of sunlight.Light, translucent and luminous, Terracotta restores a natural healthy glow in a few strokes of a brush. Combining the sensuality of a natural tan with the voluptuousness of light textures and a velvety finish, Terracotta perfectly reproduces the golden and coppery shimmer of sunlight." Now that's a lot of "lovely" words to describe a bronzer but to be honest I can't say they're lying. The bronzer is just amazing! It is so soft and is very finely milled with the smallest particles of shimmer it which doesn't make you look like your face is sparkling with glitter but instead glowing finish. When I apply the bronzer I use the "3" technique (you apply the bronzer in an 3 shape on the left side of your face and a backwards 3 shape on the right side of your face).

I just recently noticed that the bronzer has a slight scent to it which after a couple of sniffs I could only compare it to a floral fragranced talcum powder scent. After further investigation Guerlain I found tout that there is a lot more to the fragrance, Guerlain states that "The top notes reveal a joyful and cheerful accord of bergamot and mandarin. The heart takes over with the sunny, feminine notes of gardenia, jasmine and ylang-ylang, which play off the lightness of honeysuckle. In the dry-down, vanilla, blended with woody notes, gives this legendary scent all of its character and mystery." Once again lots of descriptive words from Guerlain to describe the fragrance of the bronzing powder. However, if you are like me and do not like heavily fragranced products do not worry, it is only noticeable when you smell the compact. I have very sensitive skin so I tend to stay away from fragranced makeup products but this bronzer has caused me no problems and the fragrance has not irritated my skin.
Click picture to enlarge
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Click picture to enlarge (you will see the swatch better)

Guerlain's Terracotta bronzing powder caters to a wide range of skin tones including black skin tones which are usually the hardest to find to a bronzer for. Now if you have black skin and have ever tried looking for a bronzer you will know how hard it is to find one on the market that stands out on our skin. The Guerlain Terracotta bronzer comes in 8 shades (01 to 08), with 08 being the darkest. I bought the bronzer in shade 07 because I found that 08 was slightly too dark for me and it would be better suited as a contour shade than a bronzer shade on my skin tone. 07 is the best match for my MAC NC50 skin tone, it provides a lovely bronzed glow to my skin without leaving any harsh lines. I love the packaging of this product because the compact comes in a tortoise shell like finish which is very sleek and it oozes luxury with the embossed Guerlain logo on the powder.

If you don't own this product I dare you to go to a Guerlain counter and check it out, you will definitely need it in your life after that. It's such as shame that the price is quite expensive but I think it has ended up being a worthwhile spend for me. I bought my bronzer in store at John Lewis in March for £34.50 but I have since seen it being sold for about £5 cheaper online so check it out if you are interested in buying the bronzer.

Purple Smokey Eyes

26 May 2014

A few weekends ago I went out to a party (a Nigerian one to be precise) and after much deliberation whilst I was getting ready I decided on a subtle purple smokey eye with a nude lip. I wasn't too sure about it at first because over the years I somehow have fallen into a comfortable zone where I prefer to go simple on the eyes and then wear a bold lip. However, once I finished my makeup I realised that I actually do like bolder eyes on me and I may even start to wear them more often.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24hr - no.10 (Beige Praline)
MAC Select Cover-Up Concealer - NC45 (used to highlight under eyes)
MAC Blot Powder - Dark
Sleek Face Contour Kit - Dark (for cheeks)
MAC Blush - Pinch Me

MAC Fluidline Gel Eyeliner - Dipdown (for eyebrows)
MAC Studio Finish Concealer - NC50 (used around eyebrows to tidy)
MAC e/s - Sketch (all over lid and lower lash line)
MAC e/s - Carbon (outer corner)
Stila e/s - Batura (outer corner)
Stila e/s - Pigalle (crease)
MAC e/s - Amber Lights (inner corners of eye)
Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner - Black (lower lash)
MAC Fluidline Gel Eyeliner - Blacktrack
Loreal Volume Million Lashes Mascara - Black
Eye Candy Eyelashes - Classic Strip Lashes

MAC Lipliner - Spice
MAC Lipstick - Half n Half

My outfit for the night:
Dress, Heels, Clutch and Necklace -  Zara

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