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I came across Grace your face! Tinted Anti-Blemish Moisturiser in Savers the other day and since it claims to be a tinted moisturiser (everyone goes through tinted moisturiser phases right?) and it promises to tone complexion with its salicylic acid, I gave it a try!   

Grace your face!

The Alchemist Birmingham Review

In one of the most prime locations in Birmingham, in the very same building that first opened in 1879 as The Grand Hotel, you will now find a concoction of magic, chemistry & enchantment. The Alchemist. A new cocktail bar on Colmore Row right on the edge of St Philip's park with a periodic table full of cocktails & mocktails complete with a secret underground lab. 

You might be familiar with The Alchemist (click here for all the locations) from cities like Leeds, Liverpool & Manchester however this is Birmingham's very first encounter with an establishment of this kind. Even from the outside you can tell that this will be a different experience from your average cocktail bar - the black marquees are framed by The Grand's crisp cream facades and the tinted windows allure to something dark & unconventional. Once you enter, you will notice a large bar where all the science happens - you can choose from an actual periodic table of cocktails. My friend Yueni and I tried the Mad Hatter (with nettle infused vodka served in tea cups with a good measure of dry ice fog), the Mini Negroni (low alcoholic cocktail with tonic) and the Strawberry Colada (a fresh summer mocktail). For those more adventurous, you can explore the Lab - an underground bar (which you can also book out for private parties) which has been decorated with the most unconventional, I would say controversial even, ornaments - from a stuffed two headed chicken and a skeleton of a tiny bird to a paw under a bell jar.  

If you don't fancy fog & magic in a cocktail glass then you can have a brunch, lunch or dinner - you can see the full menu here

Have you been to The Alchemist yet?
What's your favourite cocktail from their menu?

The Alchemist Birmingham Review
The Alchemist Birmingham Review
The Alchemist Birmingham Review
The Alchemist Birmingham Review
The Alchemist Birmingham Review
The Alchemist Birmingham Review
The Alchemist Birmingham Review
The Alchemist Birmingham Review
The Alchemist Birmingham Review
The Alchemist Birmingham Review
The Alchemist Birmingham Review
The Alchemist Birmingham Review

Magic of The Alchemist

The White Company AW16
This week I had the pleasure to explore the AW16 collection of The White Company - a brand I'm not even going to pretend I'm familiar with. It's one that's completely new to me, despite having seen it around for almost a year now at Grand Centre, Birmingham. Just walking through the gorgeously decorated shop I can definitely see the appeal - it's simple, it's crisp, it's high quality. Whilst wandering through the aisles of neutrals, fluffiness & cashmere, I jotted down a couple of notes.

They should so be selling those plants!
There's an incredible amount of beautiful money trees & other jade plants in the store. They are some bloody fine specimens they have there. All of them in those on trend paper bag like planters. I'd pay an arm and a leg for one of those!

Cashmere is from bellies of Mongolian goats
Did you know that? The White Company sells a lot of cashmere pieces, from jumpers to cardigans, throws and loungewear. All made from the finest cashmere from Mongolia. If that doesn't make you feel fancy then what will?!

Oh the softness!
Their teddy bears and bunnies are most definitely the softest toys my mitts have ever touched. I even pondered whether buying a toy or two for Cookie & Pippin would be frowned upon. Can one of my friends finally have a baby so I can spoil them please?

This weekend I'll learn to cook Toad in the Hole. 
Who knew that I would find the perfect weekend dinner recipe in one of their shops! I love these little recipe cards you can usually pick up from supermarkets - this one is especially fancy and the recipe looks simple enough for me to fearlessly give it a go!

The ever inspiring neatness.
Everything in the shop is incredibly neat and tidy. Even the individual pieces give you a sense of absolute immaculateness. My favourite pieces are definitely the handbags, pouches & card holders. I can't imagine you'd ever leave a wrapper or a receipt lying around in one of those! 

In fact, just looking back at the pictures I feel like I now have to go & tidy up the house a little bit (a lot!). It's far from the pristine White Company elegance! 

Are you a regular customer of The White Company?
What are your favourite pieces or collections?

The White Company AW16
The White Company AW16
The White Company AW16
The White Company AW16
The White Company AW16
The White Company AW16
The White Company AW16
The White Company AW16

Notes on The White Company

3B Beauty box review

The source of success for Asian beauty industry is word of mouth. It's the real engine behind Korean skincare’s growth abroad. If something's so good you have to tell your friend then you know the product's knocked your socks off!

Today's post links beautifully to Sunday Girl's post on What beauty bloggers really buy from eBay (read here, spoiler alert: it's - amongst others - Asian cosmetics). But, why do our bloggy hearts desire Asian beauty products so much we go out of our way to hunt them down? It's very simple - Asian beauty industry is some 10-15 years ahead of the West in general. This means crazy futuristic products like face masks made of snail slime and cow placenta, foundations which adhere to your skin tone and skincare that prevents rather than treats. Searching for this wizardry on eBay can be incredibly challenging. Especially if you're not well versed in Korean, Japanese and Chinese language. And this is exactly why the 3B beauty box was born!

3B beauty box is essentially your Birchbox of Asian beauty. Which answers all my problems with the original Birchbox - you will always receive something you've already tried, especially when beauty is a field you're at least moderately knowledgable about. There's no chance in hell you've ever tried anything in the 3B beauty box! Finally a foolproof box!

3B beauty box works out about £9.50 ($12) plus free P+P - where are the times when all beauty boxes cost a tenner & came with free postage? You receive a lovely little pouch with 4-5 Asian beauty products samples (sometimes you will also get a full size product) ranging from brands you might be familiar with like Etude House, Skin79 and SkinFood to ones you have never heard of like Sulwhasoo and Heimish. You will also receive a little card with English translation of what the products are and how to use them. From my years (!) of experience of buying Asian beauty products on eBay I can really appreciate the concept of this box - it's clever, it's original, it gives you the opportunity to explore beauty out of your every day reach - it's what you expect a subscription beauty box to be (but they never are).

What's in my box?
💅🏻 Etude House - Honey Cera Eye Serum
💅🏻 Etude House - Honey Cera Cream
💅🏻 Skin79 - Super Plus Triple Function BB Cream (read a full review from 2012 here)
💅🏻 Heimish - All Clean Balm
💅🏻 Welcos Kwailnara Aloe Vera Moisture Real Soothing Gel

Now we've talked the good news, let's hear the not-so-good news. 3B beauty box is currently only available in the US, however the plans for expansion to the UK are on the horizon. Keep an eye on my Twitter (@cityscapebliss) and on the 3B website (here) for updates!

For my US readers - to receive a bonus item in your first 3B beauty box, just enter 'CITYSCAPE' at the checkout and voila! Enjoy!

Do you enjoy trying Asian beauty products?
Where do you normally buy them from?

3B: Beauty Beyond Borders (of Asia)

YAMA Jewellery: Brand introduction
You can't criticise geometry. It's never wrong. (Paul Rand)
How very true - when you think about it, geometry never goes out of fashion. A-line skirts will always be there, so will Breton stripes and even those fancy little pearls your nan gave you. As you know, I'm a fiend for new brands & creative thinkers hiding in the world wide web - so coming across an architect & goldsmith designing her very own geometric jewellery line made my heart skip a little. Maya Shkedy is the face (hands, brains & inspiration) behind YAMA Jewellery - a range of geometry inspired pieces encompassing (see what I did there?) everything from rings and earrings to necklaces and bracelets. What strikes me the most is the precision and attention to detail that has so obviously gone into each and every piece Maya's designed.

I know, I know, I mostly feature brands offering affordable pieces, something everyone and their cat can buy. In the past couple of years I have learnt (the hard way, as I do) that not everything cheap is cheerful. I have consciously made the decision not to buy costume jewellery (goodbye & farewell H&M!) - the only exception are statement necklaces because hell, I don't think I could afford half a kilo worth of silver Roman coins hanging off a Medieval knight's armour (which is exactly what most of my statement necklaces look like, ya know - Bohemian). I'm talking rings, earrings and dainty necklaces. Buying real gold, silver, crystals and gems ensures that your pieces won't lose value (read: that you're not flushing your money down the drain). It's pricey but it's an investment (and your drawers won't be overflowing with cheap tat, plus your fingers won't turn embarrassing green). One of the key things I look for in more expensive (let's call them investment) pieces is timelessness. A little cliche but hey - what is the point of those artsy fartsy cocktail rings that are bigger than your head, cost half of your house and will look like kid's toys next season?

Classic geometric pieces are the goals. I'm particularly obsessed with dainty round medallions depicting various Saints, delicate golden bars (I adore those in Maya's collection - is it too soon to write a letter to Santa) and simple chain bracelets that entwine around my watch.

What are your favourite jewellery pieces at the moment?
Do you go for quality or is your taste too whimsical?

Geometry's always right

Effaclar Duo Unifiant review
One of the very first products review on Cityscape Bliss was the La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I. In my books the most potent spot & blemish treatment of its time (no, I do not care for Mario Badescu spot treatment, nor do I care for the one from Origins, sorry not sorry). It will always be Effaclar A.I. for me. FACT. In fact, you can read my updated review (after 10 years of using it) here. Now the scientists and dermatologists alike come up with new products and skin solutions every year and La Roche-Posay's Effaclar is no exception. Their most recent invention is the Effaclar Duo+ Unifiant.

If there's one thing troubling me about my skin then it's blemishes. Every single time I touch my skin, and when I say touch I mean pick on a blackhead or fatty lump or just a piece of flaky skin, it's the end of it. My face is like a bloody memory foam - every single imprint stays there for a couple of weeks. If it's some kind of spotiness then I slap on a dollop of Effaclar A.I. and it's gone by the morning. It also works great for keeping blemishes to the minimum but there's one thing that ever so slightly annoys me about Effaclar A.I. It crumbles under foundation. And when I say crumbles I mean the most disgusting pieces of skin covered in grey goo kind of crumbles.

I do think it's the salicylic acid that makes the consistency ball up into those strange (and vile) lumps but hey, it ain't cool. Because essentially you can't cover the spot up with anything. Well, this is where the La Roche-Posay lab people made progress. Now I can treat the spot, plus use the Effaclar Duo+ Unifiant (my shade is Light but they also have a darker Medium) all over my face instead of a foundation. The coverage is not as sheer as you'd expect, I would say even bordering on medium in the land of tinted moisturisers. It smoothes out skin really nicely and treats not just blemishes but also enlarged pores which is my other area of concern. 

Overall I'm well pleased with La Roche-Posay products (their Anthelios range is my holy grail sunscreen!), I also appreciate that they do improve their products and listen to their customers' concerns. Viva la Paris et La Roche-Posay!

You can buy Effaclar Duo+ Unifiant in Boots for £16.50 (click here). 

Have you tried any La Roche-Posay products before?
Which one's your favourite?

My Effaclar journey

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