Summer City Style Feat. MarcB Staten Croc Bag (*)
Shirt-Newlook, Tshirt-H&M, Skirt-VeroModa, Necklace-NewLook, Hat-Topshop, Sunglasses-Folli&Follie, Watch-Newlook, Bag-MarcB

Although it’s spring over the last week or so the weather has really given us a taste of summer and the brighter mornings and warm afternoons mean I can leave my trusty leather jacket hanging at home and not regret doing so.

The pre seasonal sun also gives me (and I’m sure many others) the biggest excuse to pick up some key wardrobe pieces and start prepping my style for those summer months. For me, this means I’ll be introducing tan shades, boyfriend shirts, sandals, slip dresses and more practical handbags.

So when I was contacted by MarcB and asked if I’d like to collaborate again with something from their new SS16 collection, (which is launching on the 23rd of May) of course I said yes! Their handbags are incredibly well made, affordable and diverse which for me ticks all the boxes in what I look for in a handbag.

For me, In Spring and Summer I prefer to opt for a smaller handbag where and when I can because who wants to be carrying around the ‘kitchen sink’ in humid weather? However that doesn’t mean that I want to sacrifice room for my essentials and that’s precisely what the MarcB Staten Black Croc doesn’t do.

I’m not one to splash out on handbags but I really like the look of an evening style designer handbag teamed with a casual day time style. There’s just something about adding an expensive accessory to a pair of pumps or a plain white tee that I think looks great. It’s so simple yet instantly changes an outfit from being overly relaxed to almost like you made the effort to look so casual.

The MarcB Staten Black Croc is the perfect designer-esque style handbag with a patent croc material, silver hardware; chain strap with croc shoulder detail and twist lock closure. The structured style of the handbag teamed with the details make the bag itself looks incredibly expensive *whispers* even though it’s from the high street.

It’s of course the perfect style handbag to team with a classic LBD and a pair of heels but it’s also the perfect size to fit your essentials and team it with a more day time look. Just like every MarcB bag, it is fully lined with a leopard print material and includes an inside zip pocket for your valuables. The outer croc material (although I’d be worried it’d get scratched very easily) is incredibly hard wearing and feels well made.

The SS16 MarcB collection (including the Staten Black Croc bag) will be launched on the 24th May 2016, so keep your eyes peeled!

Beki Xo
A Food Lovers Online Paradise - Caprera (*)

I’m more of an online shopper than one of those who ventures into a store and hopes to come out with everything I wanted because as we all know that rarely happens. But I also love the experience of shopping in my local butchers, fish mongers and/or cheesery so what if you could combine those two?

An online marketplace named ‘Caprera’ has done exactly that by introducing a food lover’s online paradise with the experience of a local indie shop. Their online store offers a wide range of food from independent artisan producers who individually specialise and focus on one type of product, so you’re basically getting the best of the best from what you choose.

From oils and seasoning, meat and cheeses, snacks and cereal, jams, honeys and preserves, confectionary to beverages, each range of product is linked to an individual whose passion is finding and sourcing the perfect ingredients to create their speciality product.

I was kindly sent a few items to get a taste of what Caprera has to offer and those items where far from your average bulk produced supermarket brand. The chutney was like nothing I've ever tasted before, a chunky texture and sharp taste of whiskey that would go hand in hand with a nutty, creamy cheese! The crackers are perfectly flavorsome with a soft yet crunchy texture and the fudge melted in the mouth with a smooth vanilla taste.

What I love most about the Caprera website is that you can ‘meet the maker’ of each product you purchase and find out more about them. This is clearly listed within each individual product which I think is the perfect personal touch, I mean how many places can you actually see whose put passion and effort into creating the product you’re about to consume? It's almost like walking into your local farm shop or weekend market and getting to know the owner without having to move from your couch.

Something else I love about Caprera is they offer gift cards and hampers for the all those foodie loving friends or family of yours who will appreciate something a little extra special. But If I’m perfectly honest I’d probably by one for myself! Even the general delivery packaging of individually chosen products is perfectly presented with shredded cardboard which as you can see even Hokey (my pet pygmy hedgehog) appreciates!

Beki Xo
My 5 Step Skincare Routine 

I think this is probably the first time I've gone bare faced on the internet I'm going to show you my skincare regime then it would be silly not to, right?

Personally for me, skincare is far more important than makeup, I prefer to spend my money on products that are going to sink into my skin rather than sit on top of it. After all it doesn’t matter how much you spend on makeup products, if your skin isn’t at its best then your cosmetics won’t be either.

My skin care regime changes from time to time depending on its condition and what products I’ve recently discovered. At the moment we’re heading into summer so my skin always becomes slightly dry around the T-zone and I am prone to the odd breakout or two.

The 3 main things I want from my skincare regime is that the products remove all traces of makeup, hydrate my skin and keep breakouts at bay.

1. Simple Makeup Remover Wipes

I use these to remove my eye makeup only. They have enough moisture in them to easily remove even waterproof mascara without stinging the eyes. They also don’t contain any harsh ingredients so they’re perfect for sensitive skin and great for convenience.

2. Absolution Micellar Water

After using a makeup wipe I usually opt for a miscellar water to quickly and effortlessly remove the rest of my makeup. This is a sample from Birch Box which I have been trying out for the last couple weeks and will 100% be purchasing the full sized product! Not only does it smell incredible (almost like a spa) but it contains natural and organic ingredients which make it incredibly green!

3. This Works Cleanse & Glow
I forgot how much I love gel melt cleansers until I hit bottom on my usual foam cleanser and opted for this balm. The balm itself is applied onto dry skin and massaged in; you can either leave it on for a couple minutes for a deep cleanse or add warm water and wipe away with a muslin cloth after you have covered all areas of the face to remove makeup. This product removes all excess makeup and also leaves my skin feeling fresh and soft.

4. La Roche-Posay Serozinc Spray

Could it get any easier than a spray on toner? This toner is aimed towards those with blemish and oily skin to leave it spot free and matt. The great thing about this toner is that it doesn’t dry the skin out so it works perfectly on my combination skin targeting those pesky areas.  After cleansing I spray the product over my face and leave to dry before applying my chosen moisturiser.

5. This Works Light Time Skin Plumper

At the moment I’m switching between two moisturisers depending on what my skin needs. The This Works Light Time Skin Plumper is a morning and evening moisturiser that contains Persian Silk Tree extract and hyaluronic acid to smooth and plump up the skin. It leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth and my makeup sits perfectly on top.

Origins Ginzing
If I’ve been out the night before or my skin is in need of a little energy with some brightening effects then I usually opt for the Origins Ginzing moisturiser.  It contains Panax Ginseng and Coffee Bean to jump start the skin into drinking up the moisture. The product itself is incredibly light weight and smells like fresh grapefruit!

Origins High Potency Night-a-mins

If my skin is feeling a little dry and I need an overnight miracle then I always opt for the Origins Night-a-mins. As a mineral enriched renewal cream it contains a handful of vitamins to aid in resurfacing the skin and replenishing any lost moisture. The scent is incredibly relaxing (almost like a spa) which aid in feeling relaxed and waking up with brighter, softer skin.  

Beki Xo
The Battle Of The Purple Shampoos
(Photo above is Fudge Clean Violet Toning Shampoo)

There are a serious amount of purple/violet shampoos on the market, some with better results than others and some with not any results at all. But after scouring the internet to find the best, these are the 3 products that consistently popped up.

Pro:Voke Touch Of Silver Brightening Shampoo

KEY INFO: This is probably one of the most popular, well known products on the purple shampoo shelf. The formula itself is sheer lilac with a medium gel like consistency. The purple tones of this shampoo are more diluted than the ‘twice a week treatment’ as it is for daily use and colour care. However the product can aid in maintaining blonde hair in between deep toning treatments.

TREATMENT: The shampoo foams up nicely upon application however I do find that it strips the moisture from my hair and after rinsing it out my hair feels coarse and dehydrated. After slathering on a conditioner and rinses it out my hair feels back to its silky smooth self. I just wonder what damage the shampoo could be causing by drying my hair out beforehand.

RESULTS: The effects of this shampoo are evident after blow drying as it looks to of neutralised some brassy tones. However, for me my hair doesn’t appear any brighter or more toned but that could be because the daily shampoo is more diluted.

VERDICT: This product did dry my hair out after application however it did recover and regain hydration after I slathered on the conditioner. The effects of the purple shampoo were noticeable after blow dry however it didn’t have a great impact on the tone and brightness of my hair even though it did aid in ridding some orange tones. For a budget purple shampoo under £4 I’d definitely recommend the brand Pro:Voke however I’d opt for their normal shampoo/ conditioner and not the colour care range.  

REVIEW: Not the best purple shampoo from the Pro:Voke range, would recommend their normal brightening shampoo and not the colour care as it is quite drying.

Charles Worthington Colour Enhancer Violet Shampoo

KEY INFO: This product is aimed towards cool blonde tones that need extra care to stay vibrant. Before I picked up this shampoo I read mixed reviews on the result but thought I’d give it a go. The formula itself is quite weak with a very pastel lilac shade (for those who don’t know the darker the purple pigment the greater the neutralising results) but I couldn’t see this until I’d purchased the product which retails at £5.99.

TREATMENT: The shampoo foams up nicely and contains guarana (seed of South African tree containing caffeine) which helped to hydrate my hair and make it feel incredibly soft. So much so it felt as though I could have easily skipped the conditioning stage but being an inbuilt routine I didn’t!

FINISH: Of course as the purple/ violet tones in the shampoo were quite weak the formula didn’t really make a great impact on my brassy tones. It did slightly help to cool them down but wasn’t able to brighten, tone or completely rid any warm tones.

VERDICT: This product may not be the best for those who are in desperate need to tone their hair and instantly remove brassiness. However due to its hydrating properties and milky violet tones it would make a great daily shampoo to use in between deep toning treatments such as the Fudge Clean Violet Shampoo below!

REVIEW: Formula is too milky for a strong purple/ violet shampoo, doesn’t tone or really remove any brassiness however would be perfect for daily use in between deep purple shampoo treatments as formula leaves hair incredibly soft.

Fudge Clean Blonde Violet Toning Shampoo

KEY INFO: This is one of my favourite purple/violet toning shampoos. It is a little more expensive than your high street brands at £10-£13 however the deep purple pigment and the strength of this toning shampoo means a little goes a long way and you only need to use it every other to every third wash. So you’re basically paying extra for the strength and concentrate of the product.

TREATMENT: You only need small amount of this product and be careful not to flick it all over your bathroom wall as you massage it in as the purple can sometimes stain. But the thick, deep purple shampoo foams up nicely and once massaged in you can leave this on for around 10 minutes (as advised). However I have previously left it on for longer to get a brighter more white tone too my hair, but if your hair is already a very light blonde be careful not to leave it on too long as it could take in too much product and have a purple hue (which personally I think looks great!).

FINISH: After using this treatment alongside a regular colour care conditioner my hair feels really soft and it is evident even when damp that the pigment has removed any brassy tones and left a brighter, cooler blonde. The only negative I found with the Fudge shampoo is as it’s quite concentrated the shampoo took to my darker roots and did lighten them so I now only use it from the mid-section down.

VERDICT: This shampoo is basically a fully loaded salon quality toner. It removes all traces of brassiness from the hair, leaves a cooler more ash tone and works its magic in just under 10 minutes. If you’re looking for some serious results and want a deep treatment to give you that then definitely opt for the Fudge Clean Blonde Violet Toning Shampoo.

REVIEW: The perfect toning shampoo to remove any/all brassy tones leaving a silky smooth, cool blonde salon quality finish. A little goes a long way so this shampoo will last you a while as only required in between washes to every third wash.

Beki Xo
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