REAL BEAUTY: The Antidote For Tired Skin

Aesop skincare beauty products

An effective skincare routine is important regardless of your age but discovering the perfect cleanse, tone and moisturise combo has become my mission in recent months. With a big birthday edging closer and the dehydrating blend of Scottish weather and central heating playing havoc with my sensitive skin I thought it was time to go full force with a prescription of soothing skincare. If you’ve been experiencing skin fatigue in recent weeks (yes it’s a thing!) I’ve found a reviving remedy to cure those winter woes.

Way back in 2014, whilst in Zurich I discovered a lovely little skincare boutique called AESOP. At the time I wasn’t aware that this sleek, minimalistic find was one of many AESOP shops scattered around the world. The brand was first established in Melbourne, Australia (one of my all time favourite places) in 1987 and enticed me with it’s fresh packaging and friendly customer service (nobody wants to buy anything from a grumpy guy, right?!). One Camellia Nut Hydrating Cream later and I was a firm fan. Used morning and night, that little pot lasted for months – AESOP themselves advise to use just half a teaspoon each time.

Aesop skincare

Of course time passed and other skincare brands came into my life, honestly I got distracted and forgot just how effective my AESOP cream was. Until an email popped into my inbox announcing the arrival of an AESOP store in Edinburgh. Happy days! The memory of that once worn moisturiser was revived and I knew it was time to rekindle a past love, especially now that the products were available on my doorstep.

Since then I’ve tried and tested a full range of AESOP products and keep returning to the moisturising cream that won me over all those years ago. Follow my lead and set aside 30 minutes a week to treat your skin (Sunday is usually a good day). After following a cleanse, tone and moisturise routine throughout the week I like to spend an extra 15 minutes applying a mask followed by an intensive moisturising cream or B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel to soothe my skin completely. Try to combine a consistent skincare routine with a healthy diet and plenty of water and I promise you’ll see a difference.

AESOP says “Healthy, glowing skin is the by product of a balanced lifestyle, careful cleansing, and appropriate hydration. Genetic and hormonal factors also play a role in skin’s appearance, as do climate and pollution, which means that choosing the right skin care products requires careful consideration.”

Do you have a favourite skincare routine? Or a product you can’t live without? Tweet me @FrockTrade to share your skincare secrets.  Visit AESOP at 6 North West Circus Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6ST. This post was written in collaboration with AESOP. The opinions shared are entirely mine, thank you for reading them.

Skincare featured in header image includes:

ROW 1 : Purifying Facial Exfoliating Paste | Rosehip Seed Lip Cream

ROW 2: Parsley Seed Antioxidant Eye Cream

ROW 3: Perfect Facial Hydrating Cream | B & Tea Balancing Toner | B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel

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4 Brews To Ease The January Blues

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Here I am, its 2016 and I find myself savouring the simple things in life. The truth is, on a Friday evening, you’re more likely to find me curled up with a cuppa than quaffing champers. Less than four years ago I would have grudgingly accepted the offer of an English Breakfast, infact it took a spell of travelling in 2012 to really make me understand just how satisfying a cuppa can be. And I’m not alone – some of the world’s most famous faces have a taste for tea including Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and 007 himself Daniel Craig (if it’s good enough for Bond…). Some of you may know that I’m currently in the process of researching and writing a book. The authors out there will concur that a humble cup of tea cures many a bout of writers block. Indeed, there doesn’t seem to be much a cuppa can’t fix. Here’s a few of my favourite blends and brands to tickle the tastebuds of my fellow tea drinkers:

Pukka – If you’re a sucker for pretty packaging (like moi!) you’ll love the organic fairtrade teas from Pukka. Founded by Master Herbsmith (yes that’s a real job!) Sebastian Pole, Pukka uses the very best organic herbs to create a perfect blend. Sebastian recommends “Pukka Three Ginger is good for digestion and is my favourite breakfast brew. I’ll probably have a cup of Supreme Matcha Green mid morning to bring me a little lift. I’ll top the day off with a little cup of Night Time for a good night’s sleep”. My personal favourite is Pukka Three Mint that combines chopped spearmint, fieldmint and peppermint. Pick up a pack in your local supermarket.

Pekoe – An Edinburgh based brand, you’ll find Pekoe in their stand alone Tollcross and Stockbridge stores and in cafes across the city. Selling a full range of loose leaf teas from oolong to rooibos, Pekoe pack their tea in clever re-sealable bags to keep the leaves fresh for as long as possible. I’d recommend their fruit and herbal infusions with a blend of Apple and Cinammon infused in boiling water for 10 minutes topping my tea list.

Eteaket – Both a venue and a tea supplier, Eteaket is a popular café based in central Edinburgh that also distributes their tea around the capital. If you’re in town pay them a visit to experience their hugely extensive tea menu. Blooming Marvellous has to be one of my all-time favourites. The name caught my attention, then the description of this delicious flavoured sencha green tea blended with mallow and sunflower petals, rosebuds, vanilla and tangy fruits. The perfect morning pick-me-up!

Teapigs – Championing the pure and simple qualities of a hot brew, whole leaf brand Teapigs has a wonderfully fun and endearing image and founders with a genuine love for tea. I like to follow Teapigs ethos and choose a blend that’s (as they say) ‘an oldie but a goodie’. Chamomile tea is an old favourite known for its relaxing properties and apple scent. If I’m having trouble switching off from work, life or technology a camomile tea clears my head and is a natural way to ensure a good nights sleep. Who can argue with that.

Image: Ivory Pictures

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Sunday Shortlist: 8 Articles To Read Over Croissants And Coffee

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It was the week that Tim Peake took a walk in space, junior doctors went on strike and Jack Frost made a delayed appearance (Brrr!). Meanwhile wardrobes and cupboards around the country were being de-cluttered thanks to Marie Kondo and a whole collective of dogs made us smile. Keep reading for 8 of this weeks highlights….

I Tried The No Email Diet – Man Repeller

Tim Peake Tweets Spacewalk Selfie – BBC

What It’s Really Like To Start Your Own Jewellery Business – I Want You To Know

I’m A Junior Doctor. This Is Why I Had To Go On Strike – The Pool

Marie Kondo: Learn How To Tidy Your Home Forever In One Video – Stylist

The Appeal Of Mens Fashion Week – The Daydreamer

Pay What You Can Afford For This London Mansion – The Telegraph

Photos Of Smiling Dogs. Enough Said – Mashable

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9 Colourful Accessories To Brighten Up Your Desk

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We’re almost half way through January and those carefully considered New Years resolutions might be flagging slightly, particularly at work. Instead of worrying about falling off the best intentions wagon (we’re all human!) keep things fresh with these fun desk accessories guaranteed to brighten up your office. Most of us spend a large part of the week glued to a desk so it makes sense to add a spark of personality to our surroundings. As always there’s a huge and happy handful of colour in my selection all for under £50.

ROW 1: Anthropologie stapler | Paperchase fruit mug | Niki Pilkington print

ROW 2: Bando notebook | Alphabet Bags pouch | Neom Organics candle

ROW 3: Cha Com Letras cushion | Bando phone charger | Kate Spade stationery box

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3 Ultimate 2016 Holiday Escapes

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January might be the month of fitness and frugality (sob!) but it’s also a great time to make travel plans for the year ahead (yay!). Nothing beats the blues better than escaping on a sunny beach holiday. Now that the festive season is over, the cheese board has been demolished and the decorations are packed away there’s lots of space for daydreaming about your next travel adventure.

They say the world is your oyster….and for me that sentiment rings true. Some of my happiest memories were created amongst sand dunes, seaside towns and underneath setting suns. I’ve always been curious about the world – who could ignore the incredible variety of food and culture just a plane journey away?! Plus you can’t beat people watching in a new city. So, having visited over 26 countries I feel relatively qualified to share travel advice with you, my fellow adventurers. If you’ve been searching for 2016 holiday inspiration here’s a few of my ultimate highlights….

Cape Town (South Africa)

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Resting beneath the shadow of Table Mountain this beautiful multicultural city won my heart back in 2014. The flat-topped mountain is imposingly grand and dominates the skyline. This is an outdoor city with lots of greenery for picnics, walking and cycling – try Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Green Point Park. Cape Town is all about colour with bright design at every turn, from the rainbow painted facades of the Bo-Kaap to the striking street art around Woodstock.

View of Table Mountain from Robben Island

Heavenly vineyards are within an hour of the city where you can sip many a chilled glass and explore the charming towns and estates of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. We spent a night at the Asara Wine Estate that was well worth it for the quality wines alone. Don’t forget to book a hire car – a must if you want to experience the estates and towns surrounding the city. And did I mention the penguins at Boulders Beach. Oh and if you’ve got a sweet tooth like me (cake, hello!) head to The Mount Nelson Hotel to sample their famous afternoon tea. The best afternoon tea I’ve ever had (and there’s been quite a few!).

Whitsunday Islands (Australia)

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Touring around the Whitsunday Islands has to be one of the worlds greatest pleasures. Surrounded by calm and inviting waters that are perfect for sailing and with the Great Barrier Reef at your fingertips.

Fans of David Attenborough’s ‘Great Barrier Reef’ series will appreciate how magical it is to have this natural wonder at such close quarters. Of the bumper helping of perfect sandy beaches, Whitehaven is the most striking and offers a remarkable view of the surrounding picture postcard bay. Take an organised tour of the Whitsundays leaving from Airlie Beach or pop over to Whitehaven for a day trip to bask on pure white sand and swim in shimmering waters.

Mahe Island (Seychelles)

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Picture a paradise island. Got it? That sun-kissed vision – it’s the Seychelles. If an island hideaway is on your agenda you’ll struggle to beat this natural beauty.

It did happen to be our honeymoon when we visited but this place isn’t just for newlyweds. We met families, friends and couples during our stay who all raved about the island’s ‘untouched’ feeling and the wonderful landscape of beach life, warm ocean and tropical rainforest.

People who crave super active sightseeing holidays should stay away from the Seychelles. Just saying. This is a place to relax and appreciate a slower pace of life. The odd boat trip, yes. A wander to the town centre, yes. But pounding pavements and ticking off landmarks, no. My phone lived in the hotel safe most of the time and the break from technology was a revelation. For ultimate zen stay at the Constance Ephelia Resort and visit The U Spa for a signature facial treatment. Bliss.

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