You don’t always need to spend the big bucks when it comes to skincare. There are plenty of options out there that won’t make you wince when you hand over your credit card. Personally I love trying out new skincare, I’m a self confessed skincare addict so I was really excited to try out the Nivea Q10 plus C range.

I’ve tried Nivea creams lots of times over the years, I remember being a little girl and seeing the iconic blue Nivea tub on my mums dressing table.

The main thing that tempted me to buy these was not only the price, but the fact it advertised for ‘tired skin’. I’ll give anything a go that says it can fix my tired skin. I picked these two up in Boots when they were on offer for 2 for £14 a couple of months ago, so considering they are usually £12.99 each I thought that was a pretty good deal.

NIVEA Q10 plus Vitamin C Anti-Wrinkle + Energy Face Cream SPF 15

This day cream promotes to visibly reduce signs of fatigue by alleviating first wrinkles and fine lines, and to give fresh and energised looking skin. Now I’m probably well past the ‘first signs of fine lines’ stage in my life so I didn’t expect miracles with that side of things, but it certainly is a nice cream to apply. My make up went on well and it has a pleasant smell to it, which I think is important within a product. It also has an SPF15 which is adequate for me this time of year, I’ve mentioned this before but I tend not to use a face cream if there isn’t any SPF in it.

NIVEA Q10 plus Vitamin C Sleep Face Cream, Anti-Wrinkle + Energy

I loved the packaging on this one, I know it shouldn’t matter but I’m a sucker to a product when I like how it looks! This one promised to awaken the skin, and boy do I need that (thanks kids!). I also like that it has Vitamin C in which is a great antioxidant for boosting Collagen and brightening skin.

Overall both nice smelling products, didn’t mess with my skin or cause breakouts, plus with both products under £15 in Boots you can’t really go wrong.

 

 

Nivea Q10 Plus C Eye CreamNivea Q10 Plus C Sleep CreamNivea Q10 plus C Day Cream

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock these past few years you will probably have heard the hype around Pixi’s amazing Glow Tonic. It retails at £18 for 250ml, (you can pick up a smaller 100ml travel size bottle for £10) and has won numerous awards earning it cult status in the beauty world.

I first picked this up around 2 years ago to add into my skincare routine instead of my usual toner. Now I had previously used other exfoliating toner products, so my skin was used to a bit of glycolic acid but I needn’t have worried as this really is a gentle product, suitable for most skin types. I love the fact that this is alcohol free too.

Glow tonic has a 5% acid formula which helps to exfoliate and purify the skin, meaning healthy new skin cells can come to the forefront. The ginseng improves circulation within the skin and then Aloe Vera to help soothe any irritation and hydrate.

I’ve been using this for a long time now, both morning and evening after cleansing. It’s such an easy way of performing an affordable at home treatment for skin resurfacing, gentle enough to use everyday. Simply apply on a cotton pad and sweep across your face area and down onto your décolletage, avoiding the eye area.

A glycolic acid really does make a difference to your skincare routine, I notice it more so when I’m not using it. My skin just doesn’t feel as ‘clean’ or ‘new’. Something I have been really keen on trying alongside this is Pixi’s new Retinol Tonic. It retails at the same price as the Glow Tonic and contains a unique time release Retinol. I have only used this for a few weeks in my evening routine so it’s still early days, but already I can tell I love it.

As with the glow tonic, it’s a really gentle formula but still packing a punch with powerful ingredients to help rejuvenate the skin and smooth the complexion, this time with jasmine flower to help heal and balance.

I’ve always been a fan of Pixi and my skin reacts well to any products I tend to try from them, I’m a big fan of the double cleanse and I think next on the list to try will be masks. What’s your favourite Pixi product? Let me know in the comments.

 

Pixi & Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse
Pixi Retinol Tonic 100ml
Pixi Retinol Tonic
Pixi Glow Tonic 100ml
Pixi Glow Tonic
Pixi & Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse
Pixi Retinol Tonic 100ml
Pixi Retinol Tonic
Pixi Glow Tonic 100ml
Pixi Glow Tonic
Pixi & Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse
Pixi Retinol Tonic 100ml
Pixi Retinol Tonic
Pixi Glow Tonic 100ml
Pixi Glow Tonic

Since we seem to be having the most beautiful summer I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about my favourite SPF products. I can’t believe the younger (late teens) me would lay in the sun with barely above a factor 8 to protect my skin. The thought makes me shudder now, it wasn’t until I got into my 20’s that I realised just how important it is to take care of your skin with a suitable sun care product.

My main issue with sun care products is finding one that doesn’t resemble a thick oily lotion that just sits on top of my skin. Your usual suntan lotions which you pick up in the local supermarket often leave my skin feeling oily and spotty and clogging up my pores.

I love finding products which don’t make my skin resemble a greasy mess, a product that is nice and light and will let my make up sit well when applied on top. Here’s my top 5 favourites I’ve found myself reaching for recently.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Sun Cream Fluid SPF 50

I love this stuff! It’s always been a firm favourite in my bathroom cabinet, of all the different face products I try I always revert back to this one. Probably best for normal/oily skin types, it’s super light and is pretty invisible after application. The high SPF 50 is great for protecting your face against sun damage, I don’t personally drop below SPF 50 if I need something for a particularly sunny day. My skin is also quite prone to spots and can be a little intolerant of the sun so this has been perfect.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Sun Defense for Face SPF 50

I’ve always been a fan of the Eight Hour Range from Elizabeth Arden so when I spied the sun care in the airport one holiday I couldn’t wait to try it. Its slightly thicker than others I’ve tried but is still described as a lightweight formula, however I don’t find I have any issues with clogging or greasiness when using. It also helps shield your skin from UVA/UVB rays that can cause skin cell damage and signs of ageing.

Avene Hydrance Optimale UV Light SPF 20

This has been my choice of everyday face sun care throughout the colder months or rainy days (yes I really do wear an SPF all year round!) SPF 20 wouldn’t be enough for me if wearing during a particularly sunny or hot day, but this a perfect choice for an everyday SPF. I tend to lean towards French skincare brands for a lot of my products so I think this echoes in my choices of sun care also. The Hydrance Optimale is a lovely light formula, quite magnifying and perfect for most skin types. It sits really well under make up and absorbs easily.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sun Cream SPF 30

This is a perfect high SPF sun cream for the body, and great for the whole family. We tend to use the SPF 30 when we’re in England and switch the the SPF 50 version if travelling abroad. For a family that’s all pretty sun-intolerant this is a great product to protect a sensitive skin. Its hypo-allergenic, no parabans, no colourants or lanolin and contains SPF/UVA/UVB protection, pretty much everything you could need in a sun care product. The consistency is very light and sinks in easily to the skin, we all know theres nothing worse than dressing a child with thick oily sun tan lotion all over them.

Vichy Ideal Soleil Hydrating Sun Protection Water SPF 30

This is a new addition to the collection for me. I’ve used Vichy Sun care products before but it was the addition of hyaluronic acid that got me excited about this one. It starts off as a clear oil/water which you then have to shake to turn into a milky colour before applying. When I first used this it felt a little oily so I thought it might not suit my skin, but it soon sinks in and even make up sits pretty well on top of it. It’s suitable for sensitive skin types and keeps the skin hydrated (due to the hyaluronic acid) at the same time as protecting it. What I like about it is that it’s so easy to apply and comes out in a fine mist (I’m a bit of a sucker for a mist), perfect for topping up your sun care during the day.

So that’s a little round up of my favourites for this year, let me know if there’s any others I could try, especially if this sunny weather is here to stay!

 

SPF Favourites

VICHY IDEAL SOLEIL HYDRATING SUN PROTECTION WATER SPF 30
LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS SUN CREAM SPF 30
AVENE HYDRANCE OPTIMALE UV LIGHT SPF 20
ELIZABETH ARDEN EIGHT HOUR SUN DEFENSE FOR FACE SPF 50
LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS ULTRA-LIGHT SUN CREAM FLUID SPF 50
VICHY IDEAL SOLEIL HYDRATING SUN PROTECTION WATER SPF 30
LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS SUN CREAM SPF 30
AVENE HYDRANCE OPTIMALE UV LIGHT SPF 20
ELIZABETH ARDEN EIGHT HOUR SUN DEFENSE FOR FACE SPF 50
LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS ULTRA-LIGHT SUN CREAM FLUID SPF 50
VICHY IDEAL SOLEIL HYDRATING SUN PROTECTION WATER SPF 30
LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS SUN CREAM SPF 30
AVENE HYDRANCE OPTIMALE UV LIGHT SPF 20
ELIZABETH ARDEN EIGHT HOUR SUN DEFENSE FOR FACE SPF 50
LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS ULTRA-LIGHT SUN CREAM FLUID SPF 50

I’ve always loved skincare for as long as I can remember, I am a self-confessed skincare addict. My bathroom cabinet is full of little pots and potions all promising to give me younger more radiant looking skin.

I’ve dabbled on and off with La Mer products, probably for the last 10 years or so. When looking after my skin and signs of ageing became a real focus, I was very kindly treated to some La Mer Moisturising Cream one birthday. I cannot tell you how excited I was to open that little green box and see the pot of cream and little silver spatula. I used it sparingly in the evenings but found the cream formula was just a little too rich for my skin to use during the daytime. After chatting with a lovely La Mer lady, she recommended a different formula, The Moisturising Soft Cream which was more of a suit to my skin type but still the same Miracle Broth. Now I don’t know about you, but my budget certainly doesn’t stretch to purchasing La Mer products very often, but they do normally end up on a birthday or Christmas list.

La Mer The Cleansing Foam

This cleansing foam is gentle on the skin and creates a very luxurious lather. I use this in the mornings for a quick refresh, as I tend to have a lengthier cleansing routine in the evening to remove make up etc. You only need a tiny amount so a little goes a long way.

La Mer The Eye Concentrate

I’ve switched between The Eye Concentrate and The Eye Balm a few times and I can’t decide which one I prefer. The Eye Concentrate helps to reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness, lines and wrinkles, which pretty much describes everything I need in a product.

The formula isn’t too rich and sinks into the skin beautifully. I only need the tiniest amount of product and use the small silver tool to apply which feels instantly refreshing. I have quite sensitive eyes and have suffered in the past with eye creams, but so far so good with this one.

La Mer The Radiant Serum

La Mer describes this as a lightweight serum to illuminate the appearance of skin as it smooths, plumps and refines the look of skin tone. There’s no denying it has a hefty price tag so I didn’t use it everyday, but after using it for a month or so, I’m certain my skin did feel a little brighter.

La Mer – The Moisturising Soft Cream

This is such a beautiful moisturiser, the formula is just perfect for my skin (which is combination if you’re interested). It contains a concentration of La Mer’s Miracle Broth which promises to deliver youthful radiance. It certainly does feel luxurious when using it and this will definitely continue to be amongst my favourite moisturisers. When using my skin feels comforted and hydrated all day, and my make-up seems to sit better when applying after using this.

Have you tried La Mer? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Any other must have products I should try from them?

La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream

£220
La Mer Eye Balm Intense

£155
La Mer Regenerating Serum

£260
La Mer The Eye Concentrate

£155
La Mer The Cleansing Foam

£70
La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream

£220
La Mer Eye Balm Intense

£155
La Mer Regenerating Serum

£260
La Mer The Eye Concentrate

£155
La Mer The Cleansing Foam

£70
La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream

£220
La Mer Eye Balm Intense

£155
La Mer Regenerating Serum

£260
La Mer The Eye Concentrate

£155
La Mer The Cleansing Foam

£70

Aqua Sana Longleat Forest

For me a spa day is the perfect way to have a little bit of ‘me’ time, a period of time to revitalise my body and mind. I don’t often get the chance of a day to myself, but if the planets align and I manage to sort out childcare then a spa day is certainly is where you’ll find me.

Last week I visited the Aqua Sana Spa at Longleat Forest, I’ve been here a few times before and it really is the best way to make you feel like you’ve had a little holiday even though I’m only 45 minutes from home.

I didn’t take a great deal of photos as there is a perfect reminder when you walk in to leave your mobile behind, after all you are there to relax and get away from the world for a few hours.

Aqua Sana is set within Center Parcs, in a beautiful forest location in Wiltshire. With more than 16 different spa experiences from around the globe including a Turkish Hammam, Balinese Multi Steam Bath and my favourite, the Indian Blossom Steam Room.

I chose a Top to Toe Relax day which included refreshments on arrival, Lunch in the Mediterranean Cafe/Bar and a whole 2 hours of Elemis treatments. At £175 (£199 if you visit at the weekend) it is a little more on the expensive side, but I was far too easily swayed by the promise of 2 hours treatment time!

I started the day in the cafe, as every day should, enjoying a coffee and a pastry followed by a relaxing hour or so sampling what the spa had to offer. I wandered around the different experience rooms, letting the different aromas transform me to a faraway place.

My particular favourites were the steam rooms and the meditation room in which you lie down on a heated lounger, taking in the warmth and sounds, perfect for preparing your muscles for a massage. Mid morning is when I got to enjoy my treatments.

Elemis Facial Treatment

First off, I have to say my therapist was lovely, and so knowledgeable. My treatments included a deep tissue massage, which involved a fairly deep massage, kneading and pressure points. My back was desperately in need of this. This was followed with a luxury Elemis facial, specialising in any skin problems I had chatted through with the therapist beforehand.

Afterwards I was shown through to a relaxation area where I could enjoy a little lie down whilst enjoying the beautiful view of the towering Redwood trees, I could have stayed there for hours.

Then came lunchtime. The spa like zen feel certainly continues throughout the experience and into the Vitale Cafe Bar. I chose to enjoy a fragrant chargrilled halloumi and fire roasted tomato dish, alongside a chargrilled broccoli and cauliflower salad.

If I hadn’t have been driving I would have certainly enjoyed a glass or two of something sparkling, but on this occasion I opted for the apple and mint smash.

Vitale Cafe Bar Aqua Sana

After lunch I returned to the spa to relax and read my book and enjoy more of the experiences on offer, I might’ve fallen asleep for far too long while on a water bed (the sign of a very relaxing day!).

I am planning to return sometime with the girls to try out The Hideaway, a private spa suite situated within the spa, the ultimate chill out area perfect for a birthday celebration or a special occasion.

I hope this post has given you a little insight to the Aqua Sana Spa if you haven’t yet visited, let me know if you have a favourite spa I should try.