Amy Antoinette - A Motherhood & Lifestyle Blog: February 2013

21 February 2013

Aussie Miracle Shine Shampoo & Conditioner

For the past four weeks, I've been trialling Aussie's Miracle Shine hair care range. Marketed as a dose of sunshine in a bottle, it promised to leave locks gorgeously glossy and radiant with its pearl powder and Australian Ginseng extract formula. My hair was beginning to look a little dull as a result of hair dye, backcombing and heat, so I was needing something to boost the shine. After using Aussie's Miracle Shine hair care range for the past month, I have noticed a subtle difference in its vibrancy. Using all three products in the range leaves my hair incredibly soft and smelling amazing (I've always been a fan of Aussie simply for the scent!) without being weighed down. I still like to add a drop of oil to my ends from time to time for an extra boost of glossy shine, and this range probably won't work miracles if your hair is particularly frazzled and damaged (I suggest the Miracle Moist range if that's your hair type), but for a quick pick-me-up for normal hair, it's well worth trying.

Aussie Miracle Shine is available to buy from Boots

What do you use to achieve shiny hair? 

20 February 2013

Toffee Apple & Cinnamon Cookies

One of my New Year Hopes and Wishes was to bake more, so I started with something simple - toffee apple and cinnamon cookies. I was inspired to make some after I tried the flavour from Dominos last year, and I've been wanting to recreate them ever since.

You Will Need:
Betty Crocker Cookie Mix
Dried Apple

I had originally wanted to use Betty Crocker Maple Syrup Cookie Mix, but at the last minute of my online order, I was told it was no longer in stock - and it hasn't been since. I think it's one of those elusive flavours which I will forever fantasise about but never get to try. So I settled for the Chocolate Chip mix instead and just put the mixture through a sieve to take out the chips.

I mixed the cookie batter with a little water as instructed, then added some chopped dried apple chunks and toffee which I'd cut into small pieces (I advise popping them in the microwave for a few seconds first so they're soft). A sprinkle of cinnamon to the mix and I was done! I rolled the mixture into balls, placed them on a baking tray, popped the cookies in the oven, left them for 15 minutes, and the result was a batch of gooey, delicious toffee apple cookies.

These cookies are such a quick and easy treat to make - perfect if you're having guests round at short notice or if you just fancy something sweet yourself!

18 February 2013

The Art of Relaxation

Every so often, it's nice to take a little break from the stresses and strains of life and indulge in a little relaxation. My favourite way to unwind is to spoil myself with a spa treatment. I remember the first time I experienced the delights of a back, neck and shoulder massage when Matt treated me to a spa break for my birthday a few years ago. All tension and worry simply melted away. Since then, I've also experimented with a body polish and dry flotation, and I always like to follow up a treatment with a manicure. The ultimate way to feel pampered and relaxed!

For an at-home spa experience, I love to run a hot bath and add some luxurious oils. My current favourites are Neom Organic Oil and Espa Bath Elixir for providing a soothing and tranquil experience. I then follow this up by lighting a candle, snuggling under a cosy blanket and reading a good book. Most recently, I've been re-reading some childhood classics and delving into the enchanting worlds of The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. Letting your imagination run away with you whilst surrounding yourself with a lovely scent and you can't help but forget your troubles!

What are your favourite ways to relax?

17 February 2013

Miu Miu Vitello Lux Bow Bag

I'd been coveting the beautiful Miu Miu Vitello Bow Bag for years, so one day, I decided to save for it. I reached my goal more quickly than I thought, but rather than buying the bag of my dreams, something was holding me back. I went to visit the Miu Miu store in London to see and touch the bags in real life, but I wasn't overly keen on any of the colours and I didn't want to spend a large amount of money on something I didn't adore. So I went home empty handed. As pretty as the pink version is, for something which is so costly, I wanted a neutral colour that I could wear with anything, in all seasons. I'd also recently purchased a pink leather bag which had satisfied my need for an unashamedly girly accessory.

Then one day, I was browsing Miu Miu's online store and came across a colour I hadn't seen available before - light grey. For me, the ideal colour, so I decided I was going to dip into my savings and buy it. I went to add it to my virtual basket and my heart dropped. It had sold out. I wasn't going to give up on my dream handbag, so when I remembered I had a PR contact for Miu Miu, I got in touch and they kindly checked the stock for me and sourced the bag I wanted in a Glasgow store. A phone call to them later (when much to my relief they confirmed they do deliver) and I had bought my dream bag! 

After years of yearning, it felt good to finally own this bag. The leather is supple and unstructured - a refreshing change from the other bags I own - and has a slight glazed sheen to it. I love the design of this bag. Everything from the fold-over flap which reveals a peek of the gold Miu Miu logo, to the handle size and the girly bows which adorn the sides - it's well crafted and beautiful to look at. The interior features a chocolate brown lining, with a zipped side compartment and a small pocket for carrying keys or a phone. I absolutely adore this bag, it brings me joy whenever I use it (and even when I just spot it in the corner of my room!) and I'm so glad I finally took the plunge and bought it! 

The Miu Miu Vitello Lux is available to buy from the Miu Miu E-store 

What's your dream handbag?

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14 February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine's Day, whether you're spending it with your partner, or your friends. I thought I would mark the day by including a reading we had at our wedding...

"I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you, for the part of me that you bring out. I love you, for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart, and passing over all the foolish, weak things you can't help dimly seeing there, and for drawing out, into the light, all the beautiful belongings that no one else had looked quite far enough to find. 

I love you, because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life, not a tavern, but a temple. Out of the works of my every day, not a reproach, but a song. I love you, because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good, and more than fate could have done to make me happy. You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign. You have done it by being yourself. Perhaps that is what being a friend means, after all."

- by Roy Croft -

Do you have plans for Valentine's Day?

13 February 2013

Philips VisaPure Facial Cleansing Brush

The VisaPure Facial Cleansing Brush is the latest beauty gadget to be released by Philips. The rotating brush claims to cleanse 10 times more effectively than manual cleansing, whilst remaining just as gentle and helping improve skin tone and texture. Using this daily should lead to an improvement in the absorption of skin care products and dead skin cells are removed by exfoliation. I love the design of Philips VisaPure. The nude colour looks feminine yet unobtrusive, and the glossy, high shine finish gives it a touch of luxe. A very sleek and stylish gadget to keep in the bathroom!

I'm guilty of being very lazy when it comes to my skincare routine. Although I own a multitude of skin care products - some luxury, some budget - I seem to keep reverting back to the very basic regime of massaging Simple Purifying Cleansing Lotion into my skin and then removing it with a baby wipe. As much as I love the results of the Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser, I just find it to be too time consuming and messy, so this one minute gadget appealed to me.

The VisaPure gives the same exfoliation and baby soft skin a hot cloth achieves without the fuss. I love how quick and easy using this is. I don't get water running down my arms, I don't need to run the tap to reach just the right temperature for repeated rinsing and cleansing - I simply apply cleanser to my face, wet the brush head and switch it on. There are two speed settings - one for normal cleansing, and a faster speed for deep cleansing. It features a one minute timer, pausing shortly every 20 seconds to indicate the need to move the brush to a new skin zone. When one minute has passed, the device automatically switches off to prevent over treatment. 
It's also waterproof, so it can be used in the shower - even better for time saving. 

Two brush heads are included with the VisaPure - one for normal skin, and one specifically designed for sensitive skins. They also offer an exfoliation brush which can be purchased separately, for when you need to target any problem areas. The VisaPure charges fully in 6 hours, giving 30 minutes of cordless use, so depending on how often you use it, it only needs to be charged one to two times per month. 

As a newly released facial cleansing brush, it's bound to draw comparisons with the Clarisonic. I haven't tried the Clarisonic myself, so I can't say if they give the same results, but in terms of price, Philips VisaPure is competitive. Both devices have a similar price point, but the VisaPure replacement brush heads cost £7 compared to Clarisonic's £21. Aesthetically, I prefer the VisaPure. It looks sleek and sophisticated whereas the Clarisonic looks a little clunky in comparison. I imagine the VisaPure would also be better for travelling as it would take up less space in a wash bag. 

I love this new addition to my skincare routine. My nose and chin in particular were problem areas for me, and could feel quite rough and 'bobbly' at times. Using the VisaPure daily leaves me with soft, smooth skin - so much better for applying makeup for a flawless finish. In terms of time, it's even quicker to use than my old cleansing routine. I'm a big fan!

Philips VisaPure Facial Cleansing Brush is priced at £150 and is available to buy from Boots

Have you tried a facial cleansing brush?

PR Sample

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12 February 2013

Life Lately

Roses around the home always make me happy, even if they are made of foam like these ones!
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My little collection of Bath & Body Works Hand Sanitisers. I can't choose a favourite - it's between Warm Vanilla Sugar and Fresh Market Apple, both delicious scents!
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My current favourite lipsticks - both by YSL, I love their luxe packaging.
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Taking the time to make your bed means it looks so much more inviting, (and you can never have too many cushions!)
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With the persistent cold weather, I've been enjoying hot chocolate in pretty vintage teacups.
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My candle collection continues to grow - the latest addition is this 3-wick White Fig & Patchouli candle from Sainsbury's.
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I'm loving my new Stella & Dot Renegade Cluster bracelet, especially paired with my Michael Kors watch. I now have my eye on the lovely rose gold Rhea bangles.
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I can't resist a pretty blanket, so when I saw this beautiful pink herringbone throw from Bronte, I had to have it. It's made from pure wool so it keeps me nice and toasty!
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I'm guilty of letting my dressing table get in a terrible mess, so after a good tidy I'm going to try and keep it looking pretty!

11 February 2013

Valentine's Rose Bouquet

Flowers are always a welcome gift in my eyes - they brighten up any room and bring a sense of cheer into the air. They also remain the most traditional Valentine's Day present, so I'm delighted to feature these beautiful Interflora flowers I was sent. The hand-tied bouquet showcases red and pink roses, interspersed with white waxflower and salal. What really struck me as I prepared the flowers was the sweet fragrance of the roses - it never fails to amaze me just how incredible their scent is. Ever so romantic and pretty, these dazzling Valentine's flowers would be a thoughtful gift for anyone - whether it's a your partner, a friend or your mum. What's your favourite gift to give on Valentine's Day?

10 February 2013

Q & A - 5 Year Journal

This year I've been enjoying exploring different kinds of journals. The most recent addition to my collection is the 'Q & A a Day - 5 Year Journal.' This hand-sized Potter Style journal is the perfect compact size for keeping on your bedside table, in your handbag, or taking away with you. Featuring 365 questions to fill in over the time frame of 5 years, the questions range from silly to thought provoking and philosophical - each one unique and showing a different side of your personality. They are always a pleasure to answer and it's something I've come to look forward to each day. The space given to write in is just the right amount - enough for a day's thought rather than a lengthy answer, so not at all daunting! 

The quality is impressive - thick pages with delicate gold edging and a robust hardcover, it certainly looks like a special journal! This is a great little book to document your life over 5 years, and it will be fascinating to return to the dates I've filled in and compare how my answers have changed over the years.

'Q & A a Day - 5 Year Journal' is priced at £7.42 and is available to buy from Amazon

Have you been writing in a journal this year?

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If you like journals and diaries as much as I do, take a peek at the others' I've featured...

The Book of Us - A Journal of your Love Story

Alice Weekly Schedule Diary