mens-giftsAdmittedly, this post is a little later than expected but I’m sure I can’t be the only one that hasn’t finished their Christmas shopping so I thought I’d still share! I always struggle when buying men gifts, most of my girl friends I know would love a new MAC lipstick or an Urban Decay Palette but what do you buy the boys?

I’m going to start by pointing out the blog post is pretty beauty heavy, head to the end of this post if the men in your life aren’t too into beauty as I have some more ideas.

One of my favourite brand for men is Neal’s Yard as I find most of their packaging to be very luxe and unisex, I love the navy glass bottles! The Men’s Everyday Essentials Gift Set has a moisturiser, body wash and face wash, all essential items men will actually use.

If you’re on a bit of a budget Next and The Body Shop have some great gifts. My boyfriend loves The Body Shop shaving items and uses them almost daily so they’re always something I pick up for him but there are also other great sets from them. If you’re looking for a skincare and fragrance set then Next have it covered. Although Next fragrances aren’t the most expensive I personally really like them and are often very reminiscent of other fragrances. This signature set comes with a shaving gel, fragrance, post-shaving moisturiser and a really lovely toiletry bag!

If the man you are buying for is quite into skincare, then Clinique have a few different options to choose from. The Clinique Great Skin for Him would probably be my top pick as I love the toiletry bag and it’s very reasonably priced too! If you’re looking to get him a facial brush then I can’t recommend the Clinique one enough, in my opinion, it’s the best value for money and the one I recommend every time someone asks.

I’m going to be doing a whole post on Christmas fragrance but I have picked out Aramis Voyager and Joop! Homme Sport. Aramis Voyager is a great spicy fragrance, it’s not too strong and a quite a safe bet, especially if you don’t know the man’s fragrance taste too well. Joop! Homme Sport is a great scent for a younger man going into spring especially if he’s a fan of the original Joop!

If you’re looking for secret santa or stocking filler ideas then I’d head to Superdrug, not only do they have affordable pamper sets like the Man’s Stuff one which is photographed above but they also have great novelty gifts. I’m going to pick some up myself for my boyfriend as they’re so inexpensive that you can’t go wrong!

If your dad/partner likes beer then I can’t recommend the Brew Barrel enough. My dad rarely gets excited about gifts but I gave him one for fathers day and he really liked it. I ended up helping him make it and he was surprised about just how good the beer was. They’re reasonably priced, you can pick the sort of beer they like and it’s really quick and east to make. I really regret not picking up a few more of these as I know so many men that would have really appreciated it!

If you’re still in need of idea’s I always find Urban Outfitters have a good gift section, I’m buying my Boyfriend a good coat this year (which I am yet to find) but have previously bought watches, scarves, Playstation Games and shoes which have all gone down quite well.

If you have any other ideas leave them down below and be sure to come back tomorrow for another gift guide.

face masks
I was sure I wasn’t going to have any resolutions this year and this isn’t really a resolution as such but just more of something I am going to put a little more effort into.

I’m awful at using masks and last week during my clear out I noticed that they had all really started to build up. I’m not sure I have ever finished a mask in my life which means that either a) I have too many and too much choice or b) I don’t use them enough. Actually I think it’s probably a combination of the two.

I think I am yet to find a mask that really caters to my skin and needs, plus I just don’t like how messy they are or that they have a time limit- I’m pretty much always late too everything, including removing the mask which often leaves me with ridiculously dehydrated skin.

I’ve tried lots of masks, especially cult classic mid-priced masks. Two of the most famous ones I have tried are Glam Glow and Sisley Black Rose mask, both of which were just okay. The Glam Glow Exfoliating Mud Mask is a great one for anyone with oily skin but since I have quite dry skin it was probably a silly option for me however I wanted to see what all the hype was about. Sisley Black Rose Mask is far more catered to my skin type and I like it, it does what I want it to but it doesn’t do anything to warrant the price tag of £95.50.

My current favourites would probably be the Liz Earle masks, they’re reasonably priced and …. but just not quite enough for me to want to spend 10 minutes and getting my hands dirty.

But the quest continues…

Last night I used Argan 5 Lift & Renew Clay mask followed by Neal’s Yard Antioxidant facial mask and have been really impressed with the results. Although my skin is dehydrated it can be quite congested which is why clay masks work great, I just Neal’s Yard Antioxidant facial mask which might become my favourite mask as it really added life back into my skin. I did apply with a foundation brush and I think that would probably help me use them more.

What masks have you tried recently? What would you recommend?

I find that during the colder months is when I need the most sleep, especially in the run up to Christmas when everything gets a little busier and the late nights start to accumulate. I try to get as close to eight hours sleep as possible and allow myself to play a little bit of catch-up by over compensating over the weekend. Theres a handful of tricks I use to really ensure that I get a good nights sleep over just an average one.

Go Tech-free. This is probably the hardest one for me and the thought of two hours, at home, with no phone or laptop almost worries me. Switch it off two hours before bed time and get started with the following.

Fresh Sheets and PJ’s. I feel like this is a strange place to put the actual task of changing your bed but it’s hardly that strenuous and it will give you a chance to adjust to being disconnected from the internet before your bath. Theres something strangely relaxing about clean bed sheets and PJ’s which always seems so much more relaxing. In the last year I upgraded to a goose down duvet and pillow which was life changing, the temperature is always perfect and they’re just that little more comfortable- worth the investment.

A long hot bath. A hot bath is basically like the best hug ever in my opinion, just even more relaxing. I’m not too loyal to bath products but my favourite affordable bath soak is the Radox Soak, which I use almost daily. For something a little more special I am in love with the Neal’s Yard Bath Salts and Aromatherapy Associates Oils but Lush Bath products are also a great affordable option.

Lotions and Potions. After the bath it’s time for more of a pamper, think rich body butters and body oils. Once again it’s Neal’s Yard I’ve been reaching for recently- I love the beauty Concentrate for my face and the L’Occitane Relaxing Massage Body Oil for everywhere else. If you struggle sleeping another great products is the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray which is naturally scented lavender, vetivert and wild camomile which I find really helps relax, de-stress and generally sleep a little better.

After that I am pretty much ready to sleep for a solid eight hours (or ten). I hope this post helps you with a few tips on how to get the best nights sleep.

What do you do to get the perfect nights sleep?

Over the last few weeks, now that it’s a little colder and hasn’t stopped raining for days, I have been indulging in a few more baths. There are few things that make me happier than a hot bath on a cold evening especially if that bath is with beautiful products. 

For a relaxing bath I have been reaching for my Neal’s Yard products as they are cleansing, relaxing and free from mineral oils, synthetic fragrances and parabens. I love the Neal’s Yard packaging as it reminds me of old apothecary bottles and as a lot of it is glass I think it feel very luxurious.  

If my muscles are feeling a little tired I like to start with the Lavendar Bath Salts which I find really help my whole body relax. Depending on my mood and whether I am in the mood for bubbles or not I either use the Rose & Pomegranate Bath Oil or the Seaweed & Arnica Foaming Bath. I also take this time to apply a face mask and have recently been loving the Antioxidant Facial Mask which not only smells of roses but also helps balance my often dehydrated skin. 

What bath products have you been loving recently?

Neal’s Yard is available from Neal’s Yard Stores and John Lewis 

Over the last six weeks there have been two rose cleansers which I have been loyal to; the RMK Cleansing Balm and the Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm which have really helped improve my skin. Both smell of rose as rose oil is one of the main ingredients and are solid balms which are my favourite type of cleansers as they remove make efficiently as well as being great for facial massages.
The RMK Cleaning Balm comes with a little spatular which is really well thought out as it stops you dipping your fingers in. However once you do have it on your hands the product turns almost instantly from a balm to an oil making it really easy to spread all over the skin and to use it to massage the face. Apparently this does have mineral oil which usually breaks me out instantly but I have actually had no problems but you should be a little wary if you are acne prone. 
The Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm is probably my favourite of the two although it is a close call. It doesn’t turn to quite as much of an oil however it has a more natural scent and colour which draws me to it. The packaging is a little more luxurious as it’s a glass jar although I would also have loved a little spatular. This really helps rehydrate my skin and I would even say it helps with congestion, it’s the perfect winter night time cleanser for any skin type.