rose gold makeup brushes by Iconic London

Random Recommendations: five things I’ve loved lately

You have Terry to thank for this post: or to complain to, rather, if you absolutely hate it. Ahem.

So, a few weeks ago,  we were out having dinner, and I was gushing on and on about this bottled water I was drinking with my meal:

Belvoir Cucumber and Min Presse

Seriously, it was SO good: and I say this as someone who rarely ever drinks water on its own, and who really struggles to stay hydrated all day, because it turns out that coffee and wine alone just aren’t enough. I mean, WHO KNEW? I also say this as someone who totally understands how stupid it sounds to say you don’t like WATER, FFS. Who doesn’t like WATER? Like, it doesn’t even taste like anything? Which is the whole problem, really, isn’t it? Unless you’re dying of thirst, a drink that doesn’t actually taste of anything isn’t particularly appealing, which is why I was so happy to discover this stuff, which is flavoured with cucumber and mint, and is absolutely delicious. Also, when I posted this photo on Instagram Stories, someone messaged me and said I should try it with gin, and I was all, “WHY DID I NOT THINK OF THAT, WHY?!


As I said, I was drinking my water, and surreptitiously photographing it for Instagram, when Terry suggested I write a blog post about it. Now, I was not keen on this suggestion at first, because, honestly, who writes blog posts about WATER? (Er, me, apparently. Yes, I see the irony…) But then he suggested I just make the post a roundup of totally random things I’d tried and liked, and that I call it ‘Random Recommendations’. So I did. This is it. It may or may not become a regular/occasional thing, and if it does, it will consist entirely of  totally random things I recommend. Like, I’ve just recommended some flavoured water, and now I’m going to move on to this:

Zoflora antibacterial disinfectant

Yes, it’s disinfectant. No, this is not a sponsored post, I promise: it just looks like one, because it turns out there’s no easy way to photograph your Zoflora boxes without it looking all advert-y. Sorry about that.

So, the story behind this one is that, a few months ago, my friend Lindsay started an Instagram account dedicated to her house, and, through her, I discovered a whole Insta community filled with people who have beautiful houses, and who clean them constantly. It was a bit like coming home, really, except it also made me feel a bit like I was failing at life, because why does my house not look like all of those amazing houses on Instagram, WHY? Anyway, I started following a bunch of these accounts, and I soon noticed that they were all constantly going on about Zoflora, and how awesome it was. Because I can be a bit of a sheep sometimes, I immediately ordered a bottle of it, and whaddya know? It IS pretty awesome. In a, “It’s disinfectant: how good can it really BE?” kinda way, obviously.

As this is a very concentrated disinfectant, you basically dilute a few drops of it in water, and then use it in the same way you’d use any other disinfectant. The main difference is that is smells amazing – and the scent lasts for DAYS, too. My favourite tip (also gleaned from Instagram) is to fill your sink with hot/boiling water, add some Zoflora, then let it cool down. The scent will waft through the house, and, as I said, will linger long after the Zoflora itself is gone, so, yeah. I’ve just realised I’ve written three paragraphs about disinfectant now, so while we’re on the subject of making you’re house smell nice…

Yankee Candle in Delicious Guava

I’m a Yankee Candle Addict: in fact, just last week, I was telling Terry that I must be the easiest person in the world to shop for, because if anyone ever wants to buy me something for Christmas, or a birthday, or whatever, all they have to do is go to their nearest Yankee Candle retailer, and pick one pretty much at random: I just can’t have too many of them. (As proof of this, both my parents and my mother-in-law recently gave me Yankee Candles as gifts: it’s my dream to one day have a cupboard full of the things, so I’m off to a pretty good start…) Anyway, this candle is from the new ‘Viva Havana’ range, which will be launching on May 1st: I got to try this one in advance, thanks to the kind people at Yankee Candle, and let me tell you, that was one of the most exciting PR emails I’ve ever had. No, seriously.

I picked ‘Delicious Guava’ because it sounded… well, delicious, basically (It contains tropical guava with a hints of sea musk and malted sugar), and I was right: it’s sweet and fruity, and so gorgeously spring-like that it actually inspired me to spring clean my entire house last weekend, just so everything in it – candle included – would feel fresh and springlike. I’ve tried tons of scented candles in the past, but these are the ones I always come back to: they have such a strong scent, and they last forever, so they’re definitely recommended.

Next up:

iconic london makeup brush set

rose gold makeup brushes by Iconic London

rose gold and white makeup brushes by Iconic London
For the past few years couple of decades lifetime, my makeup brushes have been a ragtag collection made up of different brands, colours and sizes. You could call it, “eclectic,” if you were being generous, but you’d be more likely to call it, “What the hell, Amber? Sort out your life, woman!” Honestly, some of those brushes were so old that I didn’t even remember where I got them, and I can actually sense your disapproval from here, so let’s just quickly move on, shall we?

Until recently, I’d been coping just fine with my motley collection of brushes, but one day last month I woke up and realised I just couldn’t go on like that any longer, living a life of threadbare brushes, that I couldn’t even put on Instagram, I mean, FFS. Luckily, the kind people at Iconic London came to my rescue here, with this white and rose gold brush set, which, yes, I absolutely chose because I thought they’d look good on my dressing table. Yes I did. And, I mean, they DO, though, don’t they? As soon as I opened the box they arrived in, and saw the cute little rose gold case that comes with them, I was all, “Where have you been all my life, makeup brushes of my dreams?” Then I placed them reverently on my dressing table, and promised myself I would never, ever use them, because they’re just MUCH too pretty to put actual MAKEUP on, aren’t they? WHO WOULD DO THAT?

OK, OK, I’m kidding: I may have picked them purely for their looks, but it turns out they’re really great brushes, too: the bristles are SO soft, which makes them a joy to use, and, now that I have a “proper” set of brushes, I’ve been inspired to put more effort into my makeup, too – like, I’ve been watching You Tube tutorials and everything. Oh, and because I don’t want my precious brushes to get dirty, I’ve also been inspired to clean them more often (which is something I’ve admitted to being pretty lax about it the past…), so it’s been life-changing all round, really.

Speaking of rose gold:

Thomas Sabo Little Secrets collection

This week I got this little surprise in the mail from Thomas Sabo, who you might remember me partnering with recently. It’s from their new ”Little Secrets” collection which will be launching on April 20th, and the idea is that the bracelets symbolise your wishes, which you get to wear every day and keep close: I really love the idea, and I ALSO love the rose gold, needless to say – I think I feel a new obsession starting…

So, there you go: five random recommendations for you to try – enjoy!

  • I hate the (non) taste of water too. Don’t know why people can’t understand that I just don’t like the stuff! I love the Belvoir pink lemonade but sadly that much sugar probably isn’t good on a regular basis.

    April 14, 2017
    • Myra Boyle


      I love the pink lemonade too

      April 14, 2017
  • Some really cute things on this post! Thanks for sharing

    Lots of Love,
    Alexis Anne xoxo |

    April 14, 2017
  • I stopped drinking diet coke a few years ago and now stick exclusively to flavoured water. It’s great on its own and even better with gin. Mixing my alcohol with water makes me feel like I’m being half way healthy, and that can only be a good thing. I also adore Yankee Candle, although I tend not to buy them in the UK because I’m too tight. I found some fantastic candles in Primark and Lidl recently, which have the prettiest jars. The Lidl ones are all very Jo Malone, but without the price tag. The Lime, Basil & Mandarin is fantastic. Love the post – I love finding new things to try out.

    April 14, 2017
  • Nellie


    These may seem random, but I’m interested in all of them, especially the disinfectant. It makes me want to clean
    my house! Your photos really are lovely, too.

    April 14, 2017
  • Brenda


    Love this post! I’m going to make some cucumber mint flavoured water to mix with gin! Sounds delicious!

    April 14, 2017
  • Barbara W.


    And Zoflora is available through Amazon! So my only remaining question is — is it environmentally friendly? I read the “pet tips” on the Zoflora website and all I could learn was that it doesn’t contain phenols, which is good.

    April 14, 2017
  • lalie


    I can’t believe we have to wait 6 days for “little secrets”, I need one now! Thank you for bringing frustration and desolation to this Easter weekend, rha!

    Zoflora fresh linen is my favourite. We’ve already switched off the heating in the South of England, but highly recommend to wipe some on radiators.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    April 14, 2017
  • The Belvoir drinks are so delicious, that flavour sounds amazing! Lovely post, those brushes are beeeeeautiful.

    Sophie x

    April 15, 2017
  • Liz Tea Bee


    I drink an enormous amount of fruit flavored seltzer water. I love Polar, which you can’t get in the U.K. It’s packaging isn’t nearly as adorable.

    Yankee Candle is local to me and I tend to go to their flag ship store and stock up once a year. Somehow that’s fun but the mall store is overwhelming.

    Next time you’re in the US you should check out the candle line at Bath and Bodyworks. They’re scents are just as good and I think you might prefer the clean lines of their packaging. Of course then you’re traveling with heavy glass jars…

    April 16, 2017
  • Lucy


    I have about ten Yankee Candles in the cupboard of varying scents that I’ve been gifted. The latest is ‘Easter Bunny Cake’. I don’t even remember telling anyone I liked them but it seems to be the go-to gift now! I do like them though so it’s all good! I highly recommend Moroccan Arvan Oil. Love your blog but am a reader not a poster, so am changing that now!

    April 16, 2017
  • Jinx


    I drink their Elderflower pressé with gin – its a marvellous combination 🙂

    April 16, 2017
  • Lori


    Amber, I love posts like this! I want to try all of these things!

    April 17, 2017
  • Amy K


    Oh, gosh, I LOVE reading about what other people recommend because I find so many new favorites that way. I’ve never heard of Zoflora before, but now I have it in my Amazon cart. Cleaning + good smells = victory! And water is so much better with other flavors in it. Have you checked TK Maxx for Yankee Candles? Our TJ Maxx in the US always carries them, and that’s where I discovered how much I like any of their candles with the word “lemon” in the name. If it’s lemony, sign me up. Now I’m going to keep my eyes open for guava.

    I have a few favorites to recommend, mostly in the skincare department. First, if you have dry skin, SCINIC Honey All-In-One Ampoule is so nice. It smells delicious and has an interesting consistency in between actual honey and gel. I’ve been using it as my moisturizer day and night. I paid around $17 for a 250 ml jar that will last at least a year, probably more. My skin is seriously dry, so at night I’ve also been layering it with Stratia Liquid Gold, which is the color of egg yolk and is a little too bright for me to use during the day. Those two products have made a huge difference in my skin’s moisture levels. As far as makeup goes, I’d heard such good things about Chi Chi Cosmetics Super CC Cream that I took a chance and ordered a tube from Australia, and luckily I really like it. The Fair shade is the tiniest bit more neutral than I usually prefer, but the cream glides on so beautifully that I’m overlooking it, plus I think it will be a better match when I achieve my NW13 tan (ha!) of the summer months versus my NW10 winter color. And lastly, I love The Good Home Company’s vacuum beads in a scent called Beach Days. You stick a dozen or so of the beads inside a new vacuum bag, and then every time you vacuum your home smells like suntan lotion.

    April 17, 2017
  • Rachael Dickinson


    Some fab products here – I adore zoflora too!

    Rachael xox

    April 18, 2017
  • I love the very random collection of items! Also I cannot believe I am saying this but I really want that disinfectant. It sounds lovely. I have been seeing the Yankee candles everywhere but have absolutely no idea where to get them except Amazon and such – I need to finally check this out and stop spending money on Diptyque. Also your brush recommendation could not have come at a better time – but are these not really difficult to clean since they have white bristles? It just seems too much maintenance and look dirtier and make me feel even more guilty about not cleaning my brushes often enough? :-/

    April 19, 2017
  • Nicci


    I love reading posts like these and have found some great new things from them! They also tend to make me spend money, though, so that’s not awesome haha.

    April 20, 2017