When it comes to summer skincare I like to keep things as light and simple as possible - especially in the mornings! Something I don't like to skimp on though, is making sure my skin is prepped and ready to face the day. 

For me, this means being hydrated and protected, and lately I have been absolutely loving these three products used after a quick cleanse in the morning and underneath make up to ensure smooth application and preservation all day long.

I think we can all agree, that when it comes to sun protection (especially for the face), what we are after is something that sinks in quickly, is non-greasy and isn't overly fragranced. It may sound like a simple ask, but no matter what I've tried in the past, it has either managed to break me out, or has, despite initial high hopes eventually left me looking like a caked, shiny oil slick. This stuff though is truly magical.

It sinks in like no other SPF I have ever tried - the texture is more liquid like as opposed to cream and it applies like a serum. There is a very slight scent to it (though this isn't noticeable once it is on the skin), it is moisturising, and yet when you go to apply your base on top, it is completely undetectable! It doesn't make me oily throughout the day (any more than usual anyway), in fact I think it may even help to keep me mattified - is there anything more you could ask for?

Crucially, it contains UVA (PA ++++) and UVB (SPF 50) protection, which means not only will you be protected from short term damage but from longer term damage more likely to accelerate the process of your skin ageing as well. I have been using this every day without fail over the last month or so and am already thinking about picking up another tube as I am starting to run low. It is without doubt, one of my favourite discoveries of the year so far and has already earned a permanent place in my hall of fame. 

Recently I had an unfortunate accident with my beloved Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Serum which involved a broken bottle and some severe spillage. Luckily, I had this little guy lying around as a back up, and so instead of repurchasing I thought I would give it a go (in truth, not really expecting to love it as much). I've been very pleasantly surprised though, in that it has given me exactly what I look for in an eye cream - no bold claims promising to banish lines and prevent me ever ageing, just a good bout of hydration that sinks in quickly and leaves the area around my eyes feeling soothed and refreshed.

It contains beautiful ingredients that help it achieve this, including cooling cucumber, soothing rosemary and energising ginseng, along with green tea extract. And, the pies de resistance - it works wonderfully under make up. 

I've lost count of the number of lip balms I own. I certainly have a few faves, but I seem to be constantly switching them up without being loyal to anything in particular. I will normally use a balm as and when I deem it necessary but when it comes to this one, I've only had it a couple of weeks yet I've found myself reaching for it multiple times daily and have already made quite a large indentation! It's not a thick balm, but it is very hydrating and is perfect for day to day use. 

I like to pop a little bit on in the morning, allowing it to sink in whilst doing the rest of my make up before applying my lip colour of choice (sometimes I'll just wear it on it's own). It has the most divine peachy scent, gives your lips a natural pink tint by reacting with their pH and also adds a little shine to help plump and smooth. Even better, as it is in stick form, no fingers are required, and so it is the perfect product to sling in your handbag (especially with the super pretty packaging) and you can slather it on throughout the day whenever you wish to without any fuss.

What are your favourite tips and tricks when it comes to low maintenance summer skincare?

Sarah x

The Balm is one of those brands that I have heard whisperings about for a while, but have never really felt myself drawn towards. I think this might have something to do with the quirky packaging that, although fun, doesn’t have me feeling enamoured the way some high/medium end equivalents do. It was really only when a counter popped up in my local Debenhams a month or so ago that I became intrigued, and since then my love for the brand has done nothing but grow. I’ve got my hands on a couple of their ‘cult classics’ and have also made a few new discoveries along the way, and so I thought it I would share these with you today so that if you’re umming and ahhing like I was about whether or not to give them a try, you will at least know where it might be best to start. 

Starting off with what is likely the most famous product in the range – this beautiful honey-gold highlight really packs a punch and will suit almost any skin tone. The formula is buttery and buildable so that if you are a fan of taking the ‘lit from within’ look to the extreme then this is entirely possible. At the same time though, the product is blendable and very finely milled (no glitter chunks here) and so if it’s just a subtle shimmer that you’re after, this is easily achievable too. I have a lot of love (like most people right now) for the Becca highlighters, however, this definitely rivals the ones that I have tried, and in comparison to some of the peachier shades, gives a much more ‘natural’ finish. If it’s an everyday option that you’re after, this might well be it. 

Speaking of every day – this is one of those shades that can be worn without needing to think too much about whether it will clash or compliment the rest of your make up look. It is non-offensive yet incredibly pretty at the same time with its peachy-pink hues, which I find particularly suit my paler skin tone. The fact that it is matte makes a nice change and means it has become a firm favourite for me when it comes to office make-up wear. Not to mention the fact that the cardboard packaging makes it light and slim to transport around if I feel in need of a top up throughout the day. 

Now that I can claim to have mastered the art of the liquid eyeliner, I find weeding out the wheat from the chaff a much easier task than I had done previously. The biggest plus to this is that the finish it gives is super matte – a big tick in my book. The sponge nip is also relatively flexible and not too firm so as to inhibit your ability to create the perfect feline flick, plus I never get any transfer onto my slightly hooded lids. I’m intrigued to try the new Lancôme Grandiose liquid eyeliner as a comparison (the one with the twisty handle that seems incredibly gimmicky!), but for now this is sitting at the top of my list. 

In general, I don’t really find that you can go too wrong with a matte liquid lip. So long as pigmentation is good and application even, you know what you’re getting. The Meet Matte Hughes Liquid Lipsticks tick both of these boxes and at the same time, last well and aren’t at all drying on the lips. Of course, as with any matte lip product, they aren’t moisturising either, but there is certainly no danger of flaking or caking whilst you’re wearing these. The shade range is limited but lovely comprising plenty of peachy nudes and rosy mauves (my favourites), along with a couple of darker shades. I can’t comment on the application of the latter, as I picked up the colours ‘Honest’ and ‘Committed’ – the former a slightly brighter corally-peach and the latter a more muted pinky version. I love how when applied they have a light minty scent that lingers on your lips and this combined with their overall impressive performance undoubtedly means I will be picking up some more shades in the weeks to come. 

What products from The Balm have you tried? Is there anything I’ve overlooked and am missing out on? 

Sarah x
If you haven't already heard about Jo Malone's 'Community Gardens' initiative then I would like to take a minute to talk about it, as it is something that helps benefit a cause very close to my heart. 

Essentially, there are a number of gardens across the UK now, all of which are funded by Jo Malone - the most local to me being The Kirkdale Country Community Garden, Liverpool - where people who are suffering from mental health issues or who are on the road to recovery can go to hone their horticultural skills, relax and help pave the way as part of the process of rehabilitation. The gardens are filled with therapeutic scents and are intended to provide serene safe havens for the people that spend their time in them.

I know myself that when I am having a particularly anxious spell, that spending time outdoors does me the world of good and so I think this is a fantastic way to encourage people to reconnect with themselves as well as providing a beautiful place that will help benefit the wider community. The scheme even provides volunteers with the opportunity of being able to complete new qualifications that, if their passion for gardening has really been ignited, could mean their being able to gain full time employment in the field.

75% of the RRP from sales of the Peony & Moss Charity Candle will go towards funding the ongoing work that Jo Malone London is doing to ensure people suffering from mental health issues get the support they need in working towards a full recovery. All of the gardens will benefit, but in particular, their newest project - a charity garden with St Mungo's set in London.

The candle itself has a beautiful delicate floral scent with hints (as I'm sure you can imagine), of their much loved 'Peony and Blush Suede' fragrance. However, with the addition of the moss, the sweet edge of the fragrance is replaced with an altogether earthier tone. Personally, I think it's the perfect all-year-round home fragrance as it's fresh, natural and as you can see - comes in the most beautiful packaging imaginable. And, if you're a Jo Malone regular you will already know that the scent pay off and the burning time of their candles is near unbeatable.

If you want to learn more about the 'Community Gardens' project, then you can do so here. In the meantime though, if you want to help support a very worthy cause then you can pick up the Charity Candle online here or nip into store and have a sniff first. It would really mean a lot to see some of you getting involved <3 

Sarah x