Beauty Favourites for Spring

At this time of year with the weather changing everyday, my skin starts craving a change in skincare routine. With this in mind I’ve been testing a range of lovely products to bring you a curated selection of Springtime favourites that will leave your skin glowing and feeling great.

Beauty

Plenaire – I’ve loved discovering the Plenaire range. The polka dot packaging will look super chic on your bathroom shelf, and the products will ensure your skin feels fresh all day. I struggle to find nice make-up removers but the Rose Jelly from Plenaire is gentle and conditioning, it soothes and cools the skin. I also found the Violet Paste blemish solution worked wonders for me, the solution is inspired by a 70 year-old French recipe and draws out excess oil overnight calming redness and inflammation.

Beauty

Ultra Violette – The most stylish sun protection around. It’s taken a while but finally there is a facial SPF on the market which actually feels nice to wear! Ultra Violette is an Australian brand founded by SPF experts Ava Matthews and Bec Jefferd. I love the Clean Screen SPF30 for everyday wear, while the Queen Screen SPF50+ is super lightweight, protects our skin, all while adding a dewy glow to your complexion.

Beauty

Drunk Elephant – I adore the Drunk Elephant skincare. Easy to incorporate into a daily routine, the range is great for all skin types. The B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum is a lovely gentle product to use first thing in the morning to prep your skin for the day ahead. I also find the C-Tango Multi-Vitamin eye cream is great at this time of year to add a little sparkle to your eyes.

Beauty

ilapothecary – I can’t fault the products from this powerful natural brand. The new Warming anti-breakout face mask is a treat for trans-seasonal skin, a black mud mask which is full of minerals and natural extracts to reduce spots and add nourishment. Pair this with the remedial Fresh Faced mud cleanser which will rejuvenate your face thanks to the vitamin-rich formula.

Beauty

r.e.m. beauty – This was my first experience of this beauty brand which offers skincare and makeup. In warmer Spring days the Mist Thing is lovely, a refreshing spray which calms the face thanks to the soothing lavender in the ingredients. I loved using it after a sweaty tube journey. I can also recommend the Full Night’s Sleep, an undereye balm that blurs imperfections and soothes tired skin.

Beauty

Diptyque – I love the Diptyque scented candles so was delighted to try one of their scents. Do Son eau de toilette has top notes of Tuberose, orange blossom, jasmine, amber wood, a sensual but delicate perfume that suits the season of Spring. I found that this perfume despite being light stayed on the skin for most of the day.

Beauty

Codex Beauty Labs – “Codex Beauty Labs is a bioscience beauty company that is setting a new standard in seriously sustainable, clinically proven, vegan skincare.” I really enjoyed the results of the whole range but particularly recommend the Exfoliating Wash and Facial Oil. These two work well together to refresh the skin without stripping away any moisture. The facial oil can be used daily to boost hydration, it has a lovely silky texture and made my face beam.

Beauty

QMS Medicosmetics – This results driven brand has been developed by medical and beauty experts. The products feel luxurious and healthy for the skin. The range works wonders together but just one QMS product will revolutionise your skincare routine. I found the 3-step collagen system routine set a bit of a revelation… combining exfoliation and advanced collagen serums to dramatically improve the overall appearance of skin, helping with dehydration, wrinkles and redness. Pair with the Deep Gentle Cleanser and Day and Night Cream for the ultimate skincare treat.

Beauty

Biotherm – Biotherm is a French skincare brand which originated from mineral water, it is gentle and kind on the skin. The Live Plankton Elixir is a 100% natural-origin probiotic fraction boosted by a unique blue biotech process, at its highest concentration for faster repair and stronger skin barrier. Each day I used it I found my skin looking stronger. The Cera Repair Barrier Cream is a great Spring option as it protects all skin types whilst acting as a barrier to protect against signs of aging.

Beauty

Argentum – The packaging of the Argentum products is enough to make you want to invest in this indulgent line of skincare. The Balancing Silver Clay Mask is the ultimate Sunday night skin treat, it enhances your skin’s natural beauty while helping to balance the skin’s microbiome and moderate sebum production. My skin felt purified and pampered for days after using it. Follow the mask with Hydrating Restorative Day & Night Cream, ideal for all skin types with powerful ingredients to protect and nourish your face and neck.

Beauty

Vichy – You should wear SPF all year round, but especially now the sun is (occasionally) coming out. The Eau de Protection Solaire SPF 30 will protect your skin from sun damage while also adding a natural glow. It is very easy to apply too. I am also a fan of the Vichy Lift activ B3 Serum which will even out skin tone and correct dark spots.

Beauty

Aman – I love the Aman spas so it was bliss to bring a little bit of that experience into my home. The Amethyst scrub and soak can be massaged onto damp skin before you soak in a bath. It will relieve tension and ease fatigue… which I always need!

Beauty

Jones Road – Jones Road was founded by iconic makeup artist Bobbi Brown and has grown quickly with a cult following. Lots of friends have recommended the products so I was delighted to finally try a few key pieces in the range. I really like the no fuss packaging and easy to use, clean products. The Miracle Balm in Bronze offers a natural all over glow to help ease your skin into the warmer seasons. The Shimmer Face Oils are lovely for day and night wear, available in a range of colours they are versatile and nourishing while offering a lovely radiance.

Beauty

Jurlique – Jurlique has been a leader in the natural skincare world since 1985, an Australian brand that uses a range of botanicals in their products. I have found every product I’ve used from the range makes me feel as good as my skin looks. The Rosewater Balancing Mist is perhaps my favourite – a bestseller for good reason, it hydrates and refreshes the skin, restoring radiance on the go while offering the most perfect floral scent. After using the mist follow with Signature Eye Cream and for Summer months the lighter Balancing Day Care Cream, made with antioxidant rich oils and botanical extracts.

Beauty

Jo Loves – The Jo Loves fragrance paintbrushes are a cult product… the ideal compact size to tuck in your handbag and brush on your wrist at any time of day, anywhere. This herby citrus scent is a lovely Springtime perfume, fresh but warming.

Beauty

Elemental Herbology – At this time of year the skin on my arms and knees gets suddenly dry and this Elemental Herbology body cream is the perfect solution. The light moisturiser is silky smooth on the skin with a lovely scent of revitalising lemongrass and nutmeg. I’ve also found the Vital Eyes product from this brand great, an easy-to-use roll on eye serum that I can keep on my bedside table to de-puff and hydrate the delicate skin around my eyes.

Beauty

R+Co – It has been so much fun discovering the R + Co haircare brand. Their products are formulated without parabens, sulfates (SLS or SLES), mineral oil and petrolatum. They are all vegetarian, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and are colour-safe. I’m still making my way through the range of styling products, but as an introduction to the brand recommend trying the Dallas Biotin Thickening shampoo and conditioner – ideal for adding bounce and shine to fine hair. For beachy Spring hair give the Zig Zag Root Teasing + Texture Spray a try – adding texture and volume to fine, lifeless tresses while smelling delicious (the brand’s signature ‘Stars Align’ fragrance – a blend of White Cedar, smoky Tobacco Leaf and fresh Pine).

Beauty

Acqua di Parma – Nothing says sunny weekend away like the scents from the Italian coastlines. I am loving these 75ml bottles of Acqua di Parma perfumes, the perfect size for packing in your hand luggage for a mini-break with evocative scents that will get you in the mood for a holiday. Fico di Amalfi has notes of lemon, bergamot and grapefruit while the Mandorlo di Sicilia has hints of orange, star anise and green almonds – flavours that remind me of this special Italian island.

Beauty

Typology – I’ve told so many friends about Typology, an affordable brand which has a wide range of products to suit every skin need. Recently I’ve been trying the Brightening Face Scrub with rosehip oil, which is a great, easy product to use in the shower a few times a week to add radiance without agitating sensitive skin. I’ve been intrigued to try some of the Typology make-up products, and enjoyed trying out the lip oils – tinted oils which add colour and shine to lips without unwanted stickiness – I particularly loved the Coral orange with a bare face of make-up for a carefree Spring look.

Beauty

La Roche-Posay – This French brand is reliable and effective… which is exactly what you want when it comes to protecting your skin from the sun. Try the Pure Vitamin C10 Serum and 50+ Invisable fluid to prep and prepare your skin for sun exposure. The serum can be used day and night to add radiance and improve skin texture while this innovative invisible sun cream will provide the ultimate protection, while being extra water and sweat resistant… so you can enjoy the rays without having to worry about your skin.

A Foodie Escape to Fife Arms

The Fife Arms in Braemar is a very special hotel, and I am lucky enough to say I’ve now visited twice. Three years ago, before the anxieties of the pandemic I took a one night trip up to the Highlands to experience this artistic hotel (from Hauser & Wirth founders) when it had just opened. Last month I took the journey up North again, this time with my partner and toddler in tow, and once again it surpassed all my expectations.

Fife Arms

As my previous post details all the magnificent features of the hotel I thought I’d use this blog update to tell you about why this hotel (and it’s surroundings) should be on any food obsessed travellers radar…

Fife Arms

The hotel itself has exemplary food and drink options, from the elegant Clunie Dining Room to laidback pub The Flying Stag, Elsa’s pretty-in-pink cocktail bar and the brand new whisky emporium, Bertie’s Bar.

At Elsa’s bar art deco design reigns supreme, velvet stools and accents of pink to mark Elsa Schiaparelli’s signature style and love of shocking pink. Meanwhile the dark and cosy Bertie’s Bar offers whisky fans a unique experience… Named in honour of Queen Victoria’s eldest son, King Edward VII, also known as ‘Bertie’, the bar showcases 365 whiskies, one for each day of the year, unusually arranged by flavour profile: Fragrant, Fruity, Rich and Smoky. Book in to do an educational (and delicious) tasting.

Fife Arms

An elaborate breakfast is served downstairs, or can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own room. Highlights of the morning meal for me were the fat fluffy Scotch pancake with creme fraiche and marmalade and the moreish Broccoli and spring onion fritters with bacon, poached egg and sriracha yoghurt. All served with fresh fruit juice and strong coffee.

Fife Arms

The restaurants at The Fife Arms are now overseen by chef Adam Johnson (who previously worked for Raymond Blanc), and he is beginning to make his changes to The Clunie Dining Room menu, while still highlighting the best produce of the region (don’t miss the local venison on the dinner menu).

This trip I was particularly impressed by The Flying Stag, the atmospheric pub at The Fife Arms. The menu has comforting classics like steaks, salads and burgers. The fish and chips we enjoyed here was one of the best I’ve tried for a long time, perfectly cooked chips and beautifully light and crispy battered fish. Pair your meal with pint of The Flying Stag ale.

Fife Arms

When you feel like venturing out of the hotel there are some real foodie gems in the area to discover. I loved the cakes from Hazelnut Patisserie (the lemon meringue pie pictured here was sublime), and chocolates from Braemar Chocolate Shop – though be warned they are only open at the weekend.

For a tasty lunch nearby Tàrmachan Cafe is just 15 minutes drive from the hotel… don’t miss their perfectly poured coffees and the irresistible Venison sausage rolls, I could have eaten several!

Then if you driving up to The Fife Arms from Edinburgh, Aran Bakery (opened by ex-Bake Off contestant Flora Shedden) for immaculate viennoisserie, focaccia bread and other treats.

Fife Arms

Thank you for another special stay Fife Arms. Such a charming place for the whole family, welcoming babies and dogs with open arms is rare for such a prestigious hotel, and Fife really do it in style.

More information and book a stay at The Fife Arms here.

(Organised press stay).

Mango & Lime Salad with Abrafrutas Brazilian Fruit

As the weather warms up I like to make and eat more salads, both savoury and sweet. With salads the quality of the ingredients is vitally important, and Brazilian fruit is truly unbeatable for flavour, sweetness and quality.

Last month I was invited to London Produce Show to learn more about the Abrafrutas Association, who are working hard to bring Brazil’s finest fruit to the UK. The variety of Brazilian fruit is incredible, from recognisable grapes and melons to lesser known unique fruits like cashew fruit and jabuticaba.

After receiving a box of fruit from Brazil I created a recipe that shows off the produce. Here’s my super easy but exciting Mango and Lime fruit salad-

Brazilian fruit

What you’ll need

1 Brazilian Mango

2 Brazilian Limes

A Small Handful of shelled pistachios

10 Mint Leaves

2 teaspoons of chopped stem ginger (in syrup)

Brazilian fruit

Method

Chop the Mango and remove the skin. Place in a bowl and squeeze over the juice from one lime. If you like your fruit salad extra citrusy you can also put the zest from the lime in.

Toast the pistachio nuts, either in the oven for a few minutes or in a frying pan.

Finely chop the ginger, mint and nuts and sprinkle over the mango. Serve immediately.

The perfect, easy but exotic dessert to add a touch of Brazilian sunshine to any dinner party.

Brazilian fruit

If you spot some Brazilian fruit in the supermarket I highly recommend picking it up, you won’t be disappointed with the quality and flavour. And though you can use the Brazilian fruit in any recipe, it’s best to use it uncooked so the flavours can really sing!

Brazilian fruit

Visit chef Luciana Berry’s new restaurant, Mano, to sample the best of Brazilian fruit.

More information about Brazilian Fruit here.

This post is in partnership with Abrafrutas.