Sometimes, when I write about beauty, I feel a bit of a fraud; my nails are seldom painted, I don’t wash my makeup brushes as much as I should do and I have never had a facial. Well, never until a few weeks ago when I headed to ESPA in Manchester’s Harvey Nichols for what I can only describe as an hour of sheer relaxation with an ESPA Luxury Facial.

If you’re familiar with ESPA, or have ever been within the vicinity of one of their counters you’ll know the incredible smell of their products. As a spa brand, they use oils and aromatherapy strongly within their products and spa treatments and they use smell rather than sight to decide what your skin needs at that time. On this particular Monday, my skin needed to be balanced, so this defined the products used within the facial.

ESPA Facial Review - Candle Image

ESPA Products

The ESPA Facial Experience

To say that my facial was relaxing is an understatement. I spent the hour lying entirely horizontal on a heated bed, covered in a duvet listening to wordless music. My spa therapist, Jade, explained everything at the beginning so that she could keep the speaking to a minimal during the treatment; which, although I would’ve happily chatted away, really added to the relaxation.

Firstly my makeup was removed, which in itself was a treat. Then Jade used a blue light to show up any problem areas on my skin, so she knew where to focus. My face was then massaged, cleansed, lightly exfoliated and moisturised a treat. I was asked if I’d like a head massage using the amazing ESPA pink hair mud but I decided against that and instead opted for a hand and arm massage which was still just as amazing. My facial also included a shoulder and chest massage, so I left after the hour feeling incredibly relaxed and ready to face the busy city centre head-on, my skin glowing.

Book an ESPA Facial

You can browse all of the ESPA facial treatments on their website. If you’re in need of a bit of relaxation, I don’t think there could be anything better.

Mothers day at selfridges

Clinique mothers day selfridges beauty hall

If you’ve ever been to the ground floor of Selfridges at Intu Trafford I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it is a place of dreams; from the designer bags and accessories to the makeup and skincare counters, I often have to tear myself away whenever I head in.

Last week me and my mum headed to the Clinique counter for a consultation as part of Selfridges My Mum Is… Mother’s Day campaign. Besides mascara my mum isn’t a makeup wearer and she isn’t big on skincare either, but really who doesn’t like a bit of a mini pamper?

Our consultant at Clinique was incredibly engaging and knowledgeable. She began by asking my mum questions about her skin concerns, before advising what products she could use to combat this. After that my mum had her skin cleansed and treated with these products before having her makeup done.

As my mum isn’t a big makeup wearer, she wore Cliniques new BIY makeup as a base; an amazing new formulation that can be mixed with moisturiser and built up for higher coverage. It looked so natural, like she wasn’t even wearing anything. After blusher, lipstick, eyebrows and mascara we were set to go for an early Mother’s Day tea and my mum looked fab with a full face of makeup.

Mens outfit post Racing Green from Debenhams

Mens outfit post with Racing Green from Debenhams

Mens outfit post Debenhams Racing Green

Mens Outfit by Racing Green

This is definitely a first on Little Babble; mens fashion. In the form of an outfit post modelled by my wonderful boyfriend, Lee. Lee was lucky enough to have been sent some items from Racing Green; a mens clothing brand sold at Debenhams to feature in an outfit post styled by me.

One of the items Lee received was this incredible coat (see all of the mens coats available at Debenhams here) which I wanted to be the focus of the outfit; we all know I’m a fan of a ‘key piece’ and that’s no exception when it comes to putting together a mans outfit. It’s one of those quintessential coats that are ideal for a walk in the woods or a pre-pub stroll on a Sunday which is what I wanted the outfit to reflect, and I think it works. I’m also usually all about a tucked in shirt, but as we wanted the look to be super casual kept it un-tucked and I think it works well with the chinos, coat and slip-ons.

Products featured: Navy Hooded four Pocket Jacket, Khaki Chino Trousers and Blue Striped shirt

What Lee thought: “I think that Leanne really tried to put me out of my comfort zone with this outfit. I don’t think I dress badly but I do tend to wear the same things over and over again. I’d never consider a shirt a casual item, and I’m usually a black skinny jean wearer so wearing straight-legged khaki chinos and an un-tucked shirt was well out of my comfort zone. Overall, I think the look is great and I’d happily wear this outfit on a casual weekend trip to the pub.

Mens outfit idea racing green

For a while I’ve been considering a hair change. I’ve been a yellowy shade of blonde for around eight years now, so wanted a bit of a drastic change. I think silver hair looks amazing so decided that’s the way I wanted to go. After all, if it looked awful, I could always dye over it. I knew my hair would need some bleaching, toning and then maybe a dye so the next step was where to go to get this done. To be honest, my decision of which hairdresser didn’t take too long – I follow Voodou on social media so always see the amazing transformations they do daily on people’s hair. I’ve also wanted to pop in for a haircut there ever since the Treatwell launch party in their Bold Street Salon last year. When Voodou had a 50% off for new clients deal in January it was the perfect opportunity to book an appointment.

Blonde to grey hair before and after

image credit: Frankie from Voodou

Originally I had booked to go to the Bold Street salon, but on the morning of my appointment got a call to say my hairdresser was sick so had been moved over to Button Street. Panic ensued until I had a quick browse of twitter and found that my new stylist, Frankie, had done this incredible colour a few days before.

When I arrived for my appointment I was greeted with a smile, had my coat hung up and offered a drink. Very swiftly I was sat at my chair and was talking to Frankie about what I wanted. I’d had a strand test done a few days before so we had an idea that the silver/grey would work on my hair, I was just told that I’d be there for a long time.

The process of going from blonde to grey

The transformation of my hair began with bleaching it all. The bleach had to stay on for quite a while until my hair would take it and once it was washed off I looked suspiciously like a Malfoy. Then a toner/dye mix was put on my hair – it was initially on for around 45 minutes and went a darker purple as time went on. After it was washed off, it was quite uneven where my hair had taken the grey colour, so on went some more dye/toner for another thirty minutes or so to even it out. After that my hair was washed, conditioned, cut and I had a curly blow dry before finally leaving the seat I’d spent six (!!!) hours sat at and sashaying my way to Wahaca.

As my hair was still being stubborn and refusing to go grey even after two stints of colour, I went back the week after for another layer of toner which seems to have evened it out a little more. The team at Voodou Button Street were so friendly and easy to talk to and everyone was so passionate and talented. Also, despite how long I was there for I never felt uncomfortable (well maybe besides a slightly numb bum).

Caring for grey/silver hair

I’ll do a full post at some point over how I’ve been caring for my grey hair so far, but I’ve been using a mix of deep-conditioning shampoo/conditioner and a toning shampoo (which is the most beautiful purple colour). Despite my poor hair having to go through so much bleaching, it’s in incredibly good condition thanks to this combo mixed with leave-in conditioners and heat protector.

You can find out more about Voodou on their website where you can book appointments and see what services they offer, or you can book through treatwell.

Today is another guest post from the wonderful Nathalie. I loved her Christmas party guest post so much and I’m really happy to have her guest post on Little Babble again.

I love you letter image

How to keep your other half happy this Valentine’s Day

They celebrate our successes, and stroke our hair when we’re down, they give the best advice when we need it and they rescue us when we’re stuck, boyfriends are amazing. Valentine’s is often touted as a day for treating the ladies but it’s also the perfect opportunity to shower our fellas with love and show them how much we care. If you’re thinking about ways to make your man feel appreciated, then look no further. Here are some tried and tested tips that are guaranteed to get him feeling like a hero, which let’s be honest, he is.

Start with a card or letter

I’ll never live down the year that my husband gave me a beautiful card with a thoughtful message and I’d forgotten to even buy his! Although he acted like it was cool, I could tell that he was a bit hurt that I hadn’t remembered as it seemed like I didn’t care. Ever since then, I’ve always remembered to get him a card and his smile when he reads it is worth a million times the effort it takes to buy or make a card. Though they won’t say it, guys do notice small things like love notes, so make this your first port of call.

Kit him out

Guys love clothes as much as girls, but they just don’t enjoy shopping like we do! So, have a think about what he needs and put your shelf hunting skills into action. As it’s a special occasion, perhaps you could choose him something from a men’s designer clothing range, as he’s less likely to buy something that special for himself. Or if he already has enough clean shirts to last until Christmas, maybe his joggers are looking a little on the raggedy side. When you are choosing it’s best to stay safe and buy from a brand that you know your boyfriend loves and in a colour that he normally wears. Giving him something that he wants and likes will give him that warm fuzzy feeling of knowing that you care.

Get him something fun

Inside almost every guy is a big kid who loves computer games, reading comics (or as they call them ‘graphic novels’), and all the magical things they loved when they were little. As men grow up and have more responsibilities, they have less and less time to indulge in these guilty pleasures. So, when you’re thinking about Valentine’s gifts for him, keep his fun side in mind. You could get him tickets for something high-speed like go-karting or a super car experience and watch his gleeful grin as he whizzes around a track at break-neck speed. Or go for a serious gadget like a quadcopter, don’t ask me why but the guys in my life go WILD for miniature flying contraptions.

Take him to a restaurant he’ll love

It’s usually the girls that find eateries that they simply must go to and the guy goes along for the ride. That’s not to say they don’t enjoy it, (who doesn’t enjoy eating out?), it just means they don’t usually get their first choice. This Valentine’s day, pick somewhere you know he’s going to love. My go to is always steak as I know it’s my husband’s favourite, however this can be anything as long it’s one you know he enjoys. If your boyfriend is a vegan for example, try checking out TripAdvisor reviews of the best vegan restaurants in your area. Guys won’t make a fuss about where you eat, mostly they just want you to decide already, but going to a place you know they’ll enjoy will let them know you appreciate them and everything they do.

Making your guy feel special is all about showing them that you do notice the things they do to make you happy, and that you have taken time to get to know what makes them smile. It may take a little more effort but the brownie points and megawatt smile when you get it right will mean a wonderfully romantic Valentine’s day and a super happy partner!


Thanks again to Nathalie for sharing this guest post.