Sunday, 30 March 2014

Bohemian Meets Chic

Now Spring is starting to set in, I have been feeling a little Bohemian; pretty blouses, floaty dresses paired with an edgy hat or cute ankle boots. 

This Mother's Day I wore Skinny jeans with a zip detail at the side, floaty blouse and floaty kimono (all H&M) paired with nude heels and a gold clutch and felt ultra chic. 


I can't wait to build my wardrobe a bit more and pick out more bohemian items, listen to Fleetwood Mac drinking a Cider, wear my hair long and care-free....YES!!!

Happy Mumma's Day to all the beautiful mummies!



Saturday, 29 March 2014

Big Hair Change Means New Hair Products

In preparation for travelling to Seattle and California I wanted to go a little blond and also I wanted to change up my ever dark brown hair. Think beach blond or Sun kissed. I haven't been a blond before, dark hair runs deeps in my grandmas Austrian roots. The first stage was the bleaching and spending most of the day sitting at the hair dresser for so long I felt like a local. At least I was getting to know my hairdresser Javier from Argentina - a well travelled fellow who also does make up. 

But after all that bleach and then dye, my poor hair really was crying out for a little TLC. It had never been so dry before. My normal shampoos are tailored for coloured hair but even they weren't helping.
So I did what most girls do on a Sunday evening and browsed through feelunique for a nourishing and colour sensitive shampoo and some hair treatments. I had heard good things about macadamia hair mask so immediately popped that into my basket. I had been using redken colour magnetic but was very disappointed in the way it made my hair feel afterwards and I found the smell a little off putting. I like my shampoo and conditioners to leave my hair silky smooth and smelling as pretty as a daisy.


I hadn't heard of Purology Precious Oil Shampoo before but the review sounded good. What's more its vegan and paraben free too bonus! This shampoo smells divine, think floral. It nourishes my hair and sustains hair colour. Although it is a little costly at £13.90 I think it is well worth it given the results. It gives you that good hair day feeling. 

I then use the Macadamia Deep Repair Hair Masque £10.20 100ml. I was surprised by how quickly this made my hair smooth and silky. You leave it on for 7 mins and there is no need to put hair up in a turban to allow the heat to help the treatments penetrate. I think smells are a big thing when it comes to hair and this hair mask has almost a citrus smell but not too intense. I love love love the results too. I think this really has transformed my once dry locks into silken tresses and agree this is worth the hype.

I switch the Macadamia hair mask with the Redken Extreme Strength Builder around £22 by recommendation of the lovely Javier and use this about once every 2 weeks. This doesn't have the same effect as the Macadamia hair mask, but it still smooths hair and fortifies it. My hair strands now feel strong, healthy and not at all brittle. I'm not sure what it is about Redken products, but they have this odd smell to them, the strength builder hair mask isn't too bad, but the color magnetics collection is something I could only rarely use because of the pong.


After I have shampooed and applied my hair treatment I then use the Kerastase Resistance Ciment Thermique £16 125 ml to tame hair that has been damaged from the bleaching process. This is brill at smoothing out my hair, adding shine and protecting it from heat damage. I find this also smells a little citrus, but I still love the smell of that Pureology way more!

Here are the results!




I think the next step is to cancel out the ginger tones and add some beachy highlights aaaand...BOOM enter beach goddess!

Please share your hair stories below - are you going for a daring colour change too?

                                         

Sunday, 16 March 2014

My New Diet and Blemish Free Skin

During December and January I had the WORST skin I have ever had. Much worse than when I was a teenager. I had lumps under my skin around my jaw line and down my neck and they never went away. They were red and lumpy, sometimes I had spots that turned into white heads, which meant that my immune system was fighting off bacteria inside the spot. But was then left with the scarring. It was a never ending cycle and tried many options.

Was it Skincare?

Good skincare was obviously not enough; I used my Elemis Cleanser, Rosehip oil to diminish the scarring but this was not cutting it. Spot creams didn't help either. I even tried using a crushed Aspirin tablet with a little water to form a paste. This helped to reduce the redness and the bumps a little but they didn't completely go.

Could it be Diet Related?

Let it be said that I have a fairly healthy diet. But when I really looked at my diet, I noticed that I wasn't eating much raw vegetables and fruit. I also decided that I wanted to cut out meat, because meat can contain hormones which may explain those horrible cystic spots I had. I also eat little to no dairy meaning milk based foods, for example I will eat cakes or deserts as dairy can also contain hormones.

Now, I don't eat any meat apart from fish and I eat a big salad with things like tomatoes, olives, cucumber, spinach, grapes, I snack on vegetables or fruit and really make more of an effort to eat more. Over that past 2 weeks my skin is looking SO much better and I really do think it is simply down to eating more fruit and vegetables and cutting out meat.

What I Eat Now 

Breakfast options

Porridge with almond milk, blueberries and manuka honey
Scrambled egg with spinach and mushrooms
Protein pancake with mashed banana, almond milk, 2 eggs and 1-2 tbsp of pea protein powder
Mixed berry smoothie with strawberries, red currants, blackberries, blue berries, raspberries, 2-3 bananas, almond milk and 2 tbsp of pea protein

Snack options

Carrot sticks
Celery sticks
Cucumber sticks
Guacamole dip
Hummus dip
Fruit salad such as kiwi, melon, mango, grapes
Apple
Banana
Nuts such as pecans, sunflower seeds
Dates
Falafel bites
Naked bars - cocoa orange is delicious
Pineapple
Chocolate - sometimes vegan or if there is a normal chocolate biscuit

Lunch options

Soup such as red lentil soup or butternut squash
Big salad with spinach leaves, rocket, corriander, lettuce leaves, tomatoes, olives - you can also add some fruit or blend a mango to make a mango dressing YUM!
Warm pittas with guacamole or hummus

Dinner options

Baked sweet potato with salmon and a side salad
Musakka & red lentils with no cheese and a side salad
Veggie pizza with a sweet potato
Linda Mcartney's mexican bean plaits with a side salad  or baked sweet potato
Vegetable curry with quinoa
Vegetarian pie with side salad
Mixed berry smoothie (if I am going to yoga and need something filling but not too heavy)
Wholemeal pasta with pesto and Mediterranean vegetables

Deserts

Fruit
Chocolate
Banana bread dairy free or an apricot tarte (my parents have tea and cake some weekends)

Drinks

Green tea
Water
Vegetable or fruit based drinks - I like smoothies, melon, pineapple and ginger juice or cucumber, kale, apples, celery juice

So looking at some of the foods that I now regularly eat, there are LOTS more fruit and vegetables, little processed foods and I still do enjoy treats like banana bread. I make sure that I have enough protein - qourn mince, eggs protein powder and nuts and I have little dairy. I noticed that I started to enjoy eating fruit and vegetables more. I no longer think salads are boring - I like to add fruit to my salads, or olives and sundreid tomatoes for a salty taste.

    



My Tips

I encourage you to make a diary of all the things you eat in a week on your current diet, then take a look at how much meat you may be eating, or maybe you could eat more fruit and vegetables. Then plan out some meal ideas and keep a diary of what you ate eat day on the new diet. I found this helped to motivate me by looking at all the healthy foods that I ate in one day.

Yay! Blemish free...almost


I really hope you find this useful and that you get the same results as I have. I found that it took a couple of days to a week for the bumps to disappear and within 2 weeks my spots have faded. I still have some scarring but I am hopeful that they will diminish with time. 




Friday, 14 March 2014

February Beauty Favourite: Clinique Even Better Foundation

I have always been a fan of Clinque’s foundations. Their formulations are beautiful and really do compliment your skin type if you choose the right ones to meet your skins needs. My all –time favourite is the moisture surge tinted moisturizer,  (I still wear a moisturizer underneath) is perfect for summer – it’s not too heavy and gives a light coverage. 

Throughout January and February I have mainly been using Clinique’s Even Better Foundation. It gives a much better coverage than the moisture surge foundation, I would say a medium coverage, perfect to cover up redness from spots I get around my chin. Those pesky spots have been such a pain recently and I have been experimented with foods to find out what is triggering it (will post any updates). One of the reasons I love this foundation is because it conceals redness of those spots and dark under eye circles, but it isn't a matt foundation.  






                                                This is perfect if you want:

                                               - little bit more coverage
                                               - even out skin’s complexion
                                               - healthy luminous ‘’glow’’ (which is pretty evident wearing this)
                                               - conceal redness and under eye circles

                                                 

It lasts well throughout the day, but like most foundations may require a bit of powder or to use some blotting paper throughout the day, especially if you are oily skinned. In terms of skin type, this is a good all rounder. I have oily/combination skin and varies according to the weather and environment; I haven’t noticed that it exacerbates oiliness and doesn’t dry out my skin. What I would say is, as with all make up, it depends how you prepare your skin and set the make up. If you have oily skin, try an oil free foundation and a primer and finish with powder and a setting spray to help make up stay in place throughout the day. If you have slightly dry skin try a good hydrating moisturizer and finish with a setting spray. 




Price

In terms of price range I class this as good value RRP £24.00 for 30 ml. It isn’t too expensive, the bottle has lasted well so far and there are 19 shades to choose from (click here to see the shade selection) all of which look vast and guarantee the perfect match for your skin tone. 


Last Thoughts

It also contains ingredients to help even skin tone and prevent future pigmentation and it's paraben free yipee! I have been using this for about 2 months now and although the foundation itself is brilliant at diminishing redness, including red spots and dark circles I can't comment on whether it has helped prevent future pigmentation because I still do have a few spot remaining, albeit baby ones (but that is probably diet related). And whether his helps improve skin tone without use of foundation itself is something I haven't noticed, but that may be because I don't have localised redness anywhere. I can confidently say however, that the foundation itself does a brilliant job at evening out skin tone, and gives a beautiful radiant glow that makes me feel like an ethereal fairy, and who doesn't want to be a fairy?


How this applies to the skin and the overall result


Let me know what your February fave was, as you may already know I only review one monthly fave that I feel has really stood out. Please take a look at my December Beauty Fave Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara.




Sunday, 9 February 2014

My Eye Cream Collection

Eye creams are something I have only recently started using frequently. I bought my first eye cream about a year ago, the Clarins Eye Contour Balm, but only applied this in the evening about twice a week. Somehow, since then my eye treatment collection seems to have grown and I have found myself using eye creams twice a day.

First let me explain my eye condition, and I don't mean my apparent need for glasses now. I'm not a wrinkly person, I don't have particularly wrinkly eyes. But it's those smile lines that used to bother me. I do have under eye circles which unfortunately is genetic and will never go away no matter what eye treatments I use, but thankfully with enough sleep they fade. I have found that my eye area seems to be feeling a little dry as of late, which I can only put down to the blustery weather, heating and air conditioning at work. By the end of the day my eyes feel what I can only imagine a lizards may feel in a desert; dry and sticky.



The night time eye creams that I normally use are the Clarins Eye Contour Balm, the ESPA 24 hour Replenishing Eye Moisturiser and the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum

Clarins Eye Contour Balm £29 is a great multi-tasker - This is great for fading soft, fine lines. The cream formula is not too heavy which means it can also be used in the morning, it sinks into the skin quickly and still hydrates whilst fading soft lines. Clarins is probably my all time fave brand because you know what you are using  not only feels luxurious and pampering, but also contains natural based ingredients known to target problem areas. The Eye Contour Balm contains Shea butter to fade and soften fine lines, Rose water and Cereal grain softens and moisturises whilst Chicory smooths and revives the eye area. 

ESPA 24 hour Replenishing Eye Moisturiser £35 has quickly become my new favourite. It feels super rich and moisturising, but you only need a teeny amount and when patted into the skin the product sinks in well and doesn't feel too greasy. Although it may be bedtime and going to bed looking like a oily skinned teenager may not necessarily be too much of an issue, I do like to read before bed. I have found that when you use too much of this, the product seeps into my eyes and blurs my vision, so little amounts are key with this cream. 

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Eye Recover Complex Serum  £38 I have found to be the best treatment to noticeably fade any lines or wrinkles in a matter of weeks. I tend not to use it as much any more because I have my new favourites, but this eye cream is worth purchasing if you want to diminish lines around the eye area.  



On to the the morning eye treatments. Another thing I have found with eye creams, is that concealer applies so much better under my eyes. It never cakes, never sinks into lines and aids application providing a nice smooth base.

Caudalie Vinosource SOS Morning Rescue £17.10  is perfect for keeping the eye area hydrated and providing a good base for concealer. It's not sticky, or too oily and sinks into the skin quickly and only requires a small amount. The price and quality is brill and I will definitely re-purchase this.




Dr Organic Dead Sea Mineral Eye Rescue Rollerball £8.99 was in my Christmas calendar and is not something that I would have bought, mainly because I don't have puffy eyes. But it does help to re-fresh  and awaken my eyes in the morning, but can't mention anything on reducing puffiness. One thing it does say,  it that it helps with dark circles. I haven't seen any difference in that aspect, but it did make my eye area feel a little taut which may help fine lines and sagging. 



Let me know if you have tried any of the products or if there is anything you would like to recommend.


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Book Review: The Shining Girls

I haven't done a book review in a while. Last year I made an effort to try out different genres of books as I always seemed to stick to the romance, world wars or Ming Dynasty novels. If you haven't seen my previous book review on Close My Eyes please click here


The Shining GirlsI haven't ever read a book about serial killers before, so this was the first one I have read, but The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes is perhaps not your conventional serial killer story. There are added sub genres; the killer Harper Curtis is a time traveller who moves between 1929 to 1993 and he is tormented by the glowing names of girls who he must kill. Throughout the book I tried hard to grasp just how ''real'' this concept could be. I finally agreed that he is a time travelling serial killer, but couldn't understand how these girls' names could be glowing. I know this is just the fantasy element of the book, and I suppose to ask how would be like asking how cars are going to fly in 2080. But we know why these girls' names glow bright, and fuel Harpers hungry desire to kill. He only killed girls who were ambitious, hard working, making a difference to the world, their names that shone bright with potential. 




When we think of the time travel appliance, one may not consider a house to be that object. But in The Shining Girls, a house does just that. At first it may seem that Harper got the key to the house coincidentally (by killing someone as per serial killer credentials), but it's not until you reach the end of the book when we find out that how he possessed the key wasn't quite so accidental and that perhaps these series of events are in a time loop.

The story is set in Chicago 1929, and era notorious for gangster crime and murderers. Between 1929 and 1993 we are introduced to the Shining Girls who glow with their potential and we want them to live. Who wouldn't want them to live? Throughout the book, I never had an attachment to Harper and with the many girls killed who should we have an attachment to? Meet Kirby. Her name shines bright like the other girls, but what we know from her, she doesn't seem to have the same potential as the others. She doesn't really know what she wants to do with her life, she takes drugs and drops out of college. But, I think she experienced the most brutal attempt of murder. She lived and Harper assumed this kill was successful. Perhaps this is why her name shone so bright? Her ambition was to hunt her killer.

I like knowing why Harper is the way that he is and why he kills. We briefly understand that his upbringing wasn't that bad. He had a brother who seems normal, but from an early age we understand that Harper has this instinct to kill. But the way in which he kills is the same amongst all the girls. Although it isn't strongly emphasised in the book, I believe that the reason is because of the way in which Harpers brother died, which wasn't an accident and was initiated by Harper.  He seems to fit the profile of ''serial killer'' quite nicely.

We don't just get Harpers perspective, we also get Kirby's take on what she is feeling and what she does and also the girls who he kills. We get to know them and understand who they are, what they do. But we always know how it will end for them. I like how this book very cleverly finishes. We find out whether getting the key to the house was an accident, who the actual owner of the house is and whether Kirby manages to find Harper and kill him.

I love this twist on the typical serial killer story and what makes Harper the most successful killer who manages to get away with all these murders by hiding throughout time. It seems he tries to make it easy for the police to find him and leaves objects which trace back to his previous kill. But his previous kills may be in the future or the past.

If you want to try out this book it is £5.59 for paperback in WHSmith or the ebook is £3.99. Also, look out for the film out this June I believe. 

I would love to know if you have tried this book. Or if you recommend a book, please let me know! 


Monday, 20 January 2014

Flawless Skin & Make-up Routine with Video



You know those days when your skin just doesn't want to cooperate; you loose a spot to then gain one, skin has a touch of redness and is looking a bit pasty and patchy in this dreary winter weather? I suppose sweating it out at hot yoga doesn't help my problematic skin (by the way the class is blooming amazing!) but over the past couple of weeks, I have been favouring this flawless, natural skin/make up routine  that adds warmth to my skin tone, conceals redness, blemishes and under eye circles and gives an overall healthy dewy complexion.

Please click on the video to see how I use all of the products but here is a quick bio of them below.

Products marked with an asterix are Green Crunchy Little Leaf Approved meaning they are either paraben free, organic and/or vegan.


Skincare

To start, I cleanse my skin either using my *Elemis Pro-collagen Cleansing balm (which I think  have about raved enough, but if you are a newbie, click here if you would like my review on the product).

If my skin feels in need of a treatment I will apply a mask. I am loving the *Elemis FreshSkin clay mask which I apply to my problem areas and if my skin feels a bit dry I will use Sanctuary Spa Moisture Boost mask or Sisley Black Rose mask.

Miracle worker #1 - I then use my current favourite serum; *ESPA Optimal Pro-Serum is fantastic! I really did notice an immediate difference in my skins complexion the next morning and it smells so good putting it on. It has that calming spa scent that is perfect for settling in for the evening.

To moisturise I use *Trilogy Roseapene Night Cream. I know I raved about Simple Moisture Boost in the past and stated that I needed nothing else in my life because it was such a good all-rounder for a day and night cream. But as you may know, one of my new years resolutions is to start using paraben free, Vegan and organic skin care. Well, Simple had parabens (Boo!). Buuuut then I found Trilogy! This is super moisturising and smells lovely. All these calming smells surely must mean I sleep like a baby, right? I apply this onto my neck and decollete.

Miracle worker #2 - *Clarins Bronzing Face Lotion. Oh my goodness I adore this stuff and have done for a good few years. You need to ensure that you have put your moisturiser on before applying this, otherwise those tell-tale tan lines appear. I first apply this to my face and pat a little onto my eye area including under the eyes, then apply a little more product to my neck and rub this is in to my decollete. The tan is in my opinion is the best face tan I have tried. It will stay on for 3-4 days which means I only need to apply this 1-2 times a week and doesn't smell of that awful fake tan smell, rather it smells a little floral. If you know what most Clarins products smell like, then I would say this is a most accurate description of what this face tan smells like. This helps even out complexion hiding any redness, moisturises and give skin a healthy warmth without looking at all orange.

Make up

*Clinique Anti-Blemish Foundation - I apply to blemishes on my chin and nose and to dark under eye circles.

*Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturiser applied all over the face to even out complexion and keep skin looking healthy and dewy. This will keep skin hydrated all day (a winner in the Winter!).

MAC Studio Finish Concealer applied under eye circles and any additional blemishes. This has a creamy texture and won't dry out spots giving that horrible flakiness and keeps under eyes moisturised.

Bourjois Blusher in Ashes of Roses is a matt blusher and I apply a little more than is needed. I then go in with the Bobbi Brown Shimmer brick blusher in Pink Quartz on top of the Bourjois to tone down the blusher and highlight my cheeks and temples.

Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara is my current fave - to check out my review click here

*Dr Lipp Nipple Balm on lips before applying lipstick helps hydrate chapped lips. I find it has a similar texture to Elizabeth Arden's 8 Hour Cream, but doesn't have that strange smell or taste.

Revlon Lip Butter in Raspberry Pie is my ultimate Winter lip colour - bright pinky/red.

Benefit Life on the A List lip gloss on top of the Revlon lip butter tones down the brightness from the lipstick and makes is more pinky for a more casual look.



Please let me know if you enjoyed the video and if you would like to see me do more!
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