Saturday, 29 June 2013

Loving Lately: Dixi Jewellery

Pretty Kitty Bracelet (Sold Out) | Wishbone Midi Ring (Available in Rose Gold and Gold) | Arizona Crystal Point Necklace (Various Colours Available)

I'm always on the look out for new jewellery, especially when it comes to silver and white gold rings which I wear daily. Today I present you with a lovely small company who describe themselves as "an online treasure trove for vintage and modern jewellery" and I have to say they deliver just that! Every time I visit the website I browse for ages and seriously contemplate popping everything in my virtual shopping basket. Before I made myself commit to every blogger's nightmare (a spending ban until next month's pay day, eek!) I decided to indulge and buy a few little goodies for myself, knowing that they would cheer my up while I was saving my well-earned June/July pennies!

First of all, I fell in love with the adorable gold Pretty Kitty bracelet. When I received this one I was a bit apprehensive to try it on, just because the chain looked absolutely tiny! Luckily enough I have super skinny wrists (and weak ones at that) so it turned out not be an issue, and the bracelet actually sat nicely with the kitty head charm fully on display. Unfortunately the bracelet has sold out online, but there are plenty of other lovely bracelets to check out here! Next I had to buy a midi ring as they've been my latest jewellery obsession! I went for the silver Wishbone midi ring at £8 - probably the last one as I checked back after and they were also sold out - and I ordered it in the smallest size possible which was 14mm. It only seems to sit right on my middle finger (I can also wear it as a regular ring on my ring finger) so that's where it shall stay! Lastly is the Arizona crystal point necklace and I bought this one in Amethyst. I absolutely love the colour of it and what it stands for: meditative and calming qualities - just what a stressed out 20-something needs! The pendant itself is 30mm long and the chain length is 22 inches, and at the moment it's half price at £6 so grab one quick! The necklace is also available in Carnelian, Opalite, Rose Quartz, Black Onyx, Green Onyx, Tiger Eye, and Clear Quartz.

Everything arrived in good time, and came packaged in a cute little drawstring bag so no complaints there either! I can't wait to incorporate this jewellery into some outfit posts soon - yes, I'm biting that fashion bullet and giving it a go finally! 

What do you guys think of my choices? What are your favourite pieces from Dixi?
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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Liebster Blog Award 2013


Hello, my gorgeous little popsicles! I'm pleased to let you know that I have been nominated for a Liebster blog award by the lovely Masha over at Masha's Mumbles AND the equally lovely Andrea from Madness and Musings. I can't tell you how flattered I am, because I don't have a big following so it's lovely to get a little bit of recognition from the amazing followers I do have! I know that I haven't really revealed a lot about myself since I started this blog back in January, so if you want to know more about me then please feel free to read on!

To participate after being nominated you have to complete the following:
  • Share 11 things about yourself
  • Answer 11 questions provided by the nominator
  • Nominate 11 blogs (under 200 followers) that deserve the title and let them know
  • Think of 11 questions to ask the nominees
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog 

Okay, so here are 11 things about myself:
  • I absolutely love where I currently live. Everyone knows each other; it's rare to have a lovely sense of community these days (god, I sound so old!), and I live right next to the beach but still have a quaint village within walking distance where I work. I've lived here all my life and I can't imagine being anywhere else, which is why it's so scary knowing I will have to move out soon!
  • My best friend means everything to me. It sucks so much that she lives way up North and I'm right on the South coast. The time we do have together in person is precious and she's basically my twin. I can't wait for her to come down here on her annual holiday!
  • I have a dog called Tegan. She's a Cairn Terrier crossed with a Jack Russell and she is so bloody cute! We got her about 3 and a half years ago from a local rescue centre, and since then she's managed to become the most spoilt creature ever.
  • I'm a beauty junkie, which I'm sure is pretty obvious. I've been interested in beauty products since I was quite young - I remember having to learn to put eyeliner on with my left hand when I broke my arm aged 11!
  • I'm well aware that I need to curb my spending habits. Blogging can be expensive, and since I've started my blog I've also been learning to drive which in the long run will improve my social life so much more! I spend my money on regular girly things but I'm pretty easy to persuade when it comes to beauty products, and I know that I'm an impulsive buyer. On a spending ban until I next get paid at the end of July!
  • I go to university and I study English and Creative Writing. I'm just about to go into my 3rd and final year after this summer and I'm absolutely terrified as to what I'm going to do after I've graduated!
  • I'm currently learning to drive and now that I've passed my theory test I hope to pass my practical test by September. My instructor is the nicest lady ever and thinks I can pass as early as August - fingers crossed!
  • I love Cath Kidston, and when I get my own place I'm going to completely kit it out. 
  • My dream shoes would be either Charlotte Olympias or Christian Louboutins. I love the black classic Dolly pumps (featured here) and the neon Debonaires from Charlotte Olympia, and the Daffodile (crazy high) and the Pigalle pumps from Christian Louboutin. I also love Louboutin boots! When I'm rich I'll own them all (Euromillions, anyone?)!
  • Photography is a somewhat secret passion of mine. I wish I had taken photography as a subject at A Level, not only for the free professional equipment, but for the added experience and practise. I ended up doing more academic subjects in the end. I now take my camera most places and just snap and hope for the best!
  • When I was six months old I had one of my kidneys taken out. I'm absolutely fine but I just have to drink lots in order to regulate clean blood flow (kidneys clean the blood, if you didn't know). It's left me with a scar on my left-hand side just under my waist and I hate it because it doesn't make my silhouette symmetrical. I also hate it when people tickle me, just in case they touch the scar. Even though I was operated on over 20 years ago I still have a bit of an irrational fear of it popping open!

Questions from Masha:

What is the first thing you do when you get home from work/school? 
Slippers on, hair up, cup of tea like a true Brit!

Drink of choice?
Either milky tea, summer fruit squash or peach bellini for an alcoholic choice

How old were you when you went on your first sleepover?
Must've been quite little - maybe 6?

Do you play any instruments?
I dabbled with the piano but never kept up with it, other than that no

How much time do you spend on your blog?
I check my blog every day and sometimes tend to schedule posts to publish 8am the next day. I try to publish at least 2 new posts a week but it can become tricky when you're busy and/or stumped for good ideas.

Do your friends and family know about your blog?
Family does, because I do go on about it, and internet friends do! Some of my uni friends are aware but not as interested, I don't think!

What is your favourite perfume/scent?
At the moment I wear D&G 3 L'Impératrice but I love Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess as a summer fragrance (featured here)

Do you prefer to wear dresses or pants?
Well, I wear both. I love Topshop jeans, especially my black Joni jeans. My favourite dresses currently are by Motel Rocks and the London designer Coco Fennell. I have my eye on her gorgeous bee dress which will be mine come next pay day!

What's your dream handbag?
My ultimate handbag which I've mentioned before is an Oak Mulberry Bayswater

If you had to eat only one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
Either Domino's pizza or roast beef - something meaty!

How did you come up with your blog's name?
It kind of just came to my mind actually, no grand story!

Questions from Andrea:

What is your favourite mascara of all time?
Hmm, I think it would have to be Bobbi Brown Intensifying mascara

Do you have a specific morning beauty routine? If so then what?
At the moment I use a mixture of Liz Earle and Origins products. The Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish is a must, followed by the toner and moisturiser for dry/sensitive skin. I've also been using Origins Super Spot Remover which is really helping to curb nasty blemishes. It's very similar to my evening routine except I add in an Origins Drink Up 10 minute face mask some nights, or go to bed with the Origins Overnight mask on!

What is one beauty product/any product that you can’t live without?
Has to be either NARS Sheer Glow foundation or my MAC pro palette quad simply due to how much use I get out of it.

What does your everyday makeup bag possess?
Some type of moisturiser is a must for my dry/dehydrated skin; NARS Sheer Glow in Mont Blanc; Bobbi Brown concealer in Warm Ivory; my MAC pro palette quad containing Brun, Era, Omega and Vanilla which I use daily for both eyes and eyebrows; eyelash curlers and a decent waterproof mascara (at the moment it's the Falsies); lip balm or a nude/pinky-nude lipstick. Sometimes I stick on some bronzer (Bobbi Brown's at the moment) and translucent powder if my skin needs it also!

What has been a really influential book or magazine to you/ your life?
I have this tiny book on my bookshelf called "14,000 Things to Be Happy About" and it's such a lovely long list of things that make most of us happy at one time or another. Whenever I feel upset or angry for whatever reason I read a couple of pages of the book and my anxieties seem to melt away!

What is a nail polish colour that you always find yourself wearing and never gets old?
I love Harem by Illamasqua, which is a bright mauve pink but was a recent purchase so not sure if the novelty will wear off soon. I really like reds and coral colours on nails so I often opt for my trusty OPI nail polishes.

What’s in your morning cup? Tea, coffee, or something else? 
It's all about the milky tea for me, or "hot milk with a hint of tea" as my family calls it!

What beauty item do you have the most of?
I own a lot of eyeshadows, particularly MAC and Urban Decay palettes.

What is your favourite thing to do in the summer time?
I just love to relax on the beach in the sunshine, mainly because it rarely comes to England so I have to make the most of it! This summer I'm working a lot to earn money for a car.

What is one food that you just can’t stand?
Onions! I pick them out of everything, yuck!

If you could only wear one colour lipstick for the rest of your life what would it be?
I love nude/nude-pink lipsticks so it would have to be either Creme d'nude or Patisserie by MAC

My nominations are:

My questions for the nominees:
  • Who is your ultimate style icon?
  • If you had to only use one makeup product for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
  • How long have you been running your blog?
  • Who personally inspires you?
  • Which beauty/fashion blogs do you keep up with the most?
  • What was the last book you read?
  • Do you have any magazine subscriptions, if so which ones?
  • What is the most expensive item of clothing you own?
  • Do you have a favourite cosmetic company?
  • Do you prefer tea or coffee?
  • What is your most prized possession?

Once again, thank you so much for the nominations! And thanks for giving this a read, it was a pretty long text post. I'll be back in a few days with more beauty reviews lined up!
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Monday, 24 June 2013

Origins Drink Up™ Masks


Hi guys, as I mentioned at the beginning of June I have bought into the hype that surrounds Origins skincare products. Today I present you with two masks which have really helped to improved my skin's condition over the past month or so.

For someone like me who has dry, dehydrated and somewhat temperamentally sensitive skin I figured that testing out skin products that aim to put back moisture could only bring good things. At first I didn't really see the need to buy both the 10 Minute Mask and Intensive Overnight Mask, just because I was under the impression that they served the same purpose. However, after using them both for just over a month I can safely say that they take pride of place on my bathroom shelf and are now essentials in my skincare routine!

The Drink Up™ range is recommended for dry skin as these masks are both used to quench the skin's thirst. The first thing that really hits you with these products is the smell. I've read mixed reviews about what the products smell like but I personally love the scent - it's a very fruity apricot that isn't too strong but just enough to leave your skin smelling gorgeous. I also found that it left my pillow smelling good once I had rubbed in the Intensive Overnight Mask and woken up the next morning! The consistency is a lovely thick creamy texture (the middle man between a balm and gel, I think) which feels instantly hydrating to the skin once applied. I find that the 10 Minute Mask leaves my face feeling soft, smooth and moisturised having applied to cleansed skin, while the Intensive Overnight Mask adds to the plumpness and pliability of my skin come morning. I tend to use the 10 Minute Mask twice a week, and then the Intensive Overnight Mask once or twice a week depending on how my skin is feeling.

To be fair, there are cheaper alternatives out there but I have found that Origins have got luxury in a tube with these face masks. They smell gorgeous, apply wonderfully, and leave the skin feeling hydrated after a long day. I for one will definitely be repurchasing both products, but I know that won't be for a long while as you don't need tons to make a big difference!

Have you used any of the Drink Up™ range? I would love to hear your experiences!

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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Summer Wishlist #2


001. This limited edition blush palette from NARS caught my attention almost immediately. Collaborated with Pierre Hardy, the palette boasts his infamous avant-garde print in the form a shimmering pressed powder. The usual pretty packaging, I've popped Rotunde on my wishlist which is a gorgeous shimmery natural blush with hints of gold, perfect for the summer months to give an extra glow to the skin.

002. Chanel Soleil de Tan has been on my mental wishlist ever since I can remember but I've always ummed and ahhed at the high price range. At £31 I think I'm required to have a think about committing to the product, after all I don't want to buy and be disappointed. So I went to my Chanel counter in town and gave it a swatch - low and behold, it looks and feels wonderful! I've not come across a gel-cream bronzer before that is so light and velvety on the skin. It's definitely one of the first products I'm buying come payday!

003. I am yet to try any products from La Roche-Posay but after doing a bit of research I would really love to see what the fuss is all about. I have both dry and sensitive skin so I find that I can struggle for decent skincare that helps out my problems. The spring water thermal spray claims to soothe, decongest and help prevent skin-ageing (why not start right now?) and is billed as essential care for sensitive skin. Plus, the price isn't too bad; the spray is £2.33 for 50ml and £4.67 for 150ml, and I also have my eye on the Physiological Micellar Solution which is now £8 on Escentual.com.

004. I've been on an Origins kick recently, and I can't wait to try out more of their GinZing™ range. The energy boosting moisturiser is lightweight, oil-free, and packed full of skin boosters. It claims to instantly hydrate and rev up radiance - something that everyone needs once in a while, no matter what your skin type. At £23 it is a little steep financially, but having tried and tested other Origins products over the past month or so I can safely say that I would buy it nonetheless!

005. I already get so much use out of my burgundy coloured Ox Low Converse - I love them, they're super comfortable and so stylish. The white ones are on my wishlist, simply because they'd go with absolutely any outfit! And they're pretty much a blogger favourite, aren't they?

006. Well we all know that the summer is all about the tan and unfortunately for us, the Brits don't get much sunshine back home anymore. Now I don't know about you but I always feel so much better when I have a bit of colour. I made a vow that I would never go on a sunbed and I'm way too pale to even catch what little sun we have if I'm outside. Sometimes we've just got to fake it! I really like St. Tropez tanning mousse as well but it's a little pricey so I know I can also rely on a trusty alternative. St. Moriz does the exact same job for a smaller price tag (£4.99).

007. Finally, I have what every summer wishlist needs: a cute bikini! I was a bit cheeky and added this coral stripe one from Topshop straight into my virtual shopping basket as soon as I laid eyes on it. It's really hard to find a style that you really like but this one is both affordable and stylish. It's also available in navy stripe. I love it! And it's actually the first bikini I've bought in YEARS - thanks to all the healthy eating and exercise! I can't wait to wear it whenever we get a smidgen of sunshine.
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Monday, 17 June 2013

Father's Day

Hi guys! Hope you all had a lovely weekend, and of course spent some quality time with your dad if you celebrated Father's Day. Yesterday we drove an hour up the A24 to my brother's new house in Horsham so that the pair of us could treat my parents to lunch. I really love the picturesque look of both Horsham and neighbouring Storrington; to me, they look like those little model villages you see in Legoland which I found so appealing. My brother ended up booking a table at a local pub down the road from where he and his girlfriend live, known as The Dog and Bacon.

The pub itself was very small and quaint. Painted a soft green with loads of huge wooden tables outside with logs to perch on, the place provided plenty of room to accommodate dogs if you were coming for a cold beer on a hot day. We were tempted to take our Tegan, but the weather wasn't ideal so everyone decided it was best to leave the dogs at home and eat inside. After grabbing the first of our drinks at the bar we were swiftly seated in a very comfortable environment with plush seating, televisions mounted to the walls above the classic furnishings, and friendly locals to chat to if we so wished. We were also sat right by the kitchen which was actually quite a good thing when it came to ordering the food. The menu had some delicious looking main meals including macaroni and cheese with stilton and mushrooms; ham, egg and chips; and beer-battered scampi and chips with homemade tartare sauce. Classic pub grub. They also gave you a huge choice of side dishes (including onion rings and chilli cheese fries) and a choice of potatoes with every main. I opted for the bacon and brie hamburger with curly fries - yes, I'm no longer a curly fries virgin! As you can see from the photo, the portion size was huge and certainly left me full up with no room for dessert. There was initially a little bit of confusion in the kitchen which caused some of our dishes to be served to us before others (which is a obviously a bit of pain) but we were quite a large table so there was probably room for confusion. They ended up reducing our bill as an apology, but the mistake didn't take away from the delicious food. I think it was almost £70 for 10 of us, so that's pretty good! I wish I had taken away a chocolate brownie from their dessert menu or another order of curly fries for the ride home!

After lunch we went back to my brother's to give my dad his Father's Day gifts. My dad is unnecessarily difficult to buy for - always is, and always has been. He can be a right grumpy guts sometimes and hates spending money and having it spent on him. I kind of threw him off the scent a bit by giving him his card and a bag of Haribo Tangfastics before we left for the day. Little did he know that I had gone to House of Fraser a couple of days prior to buy him his proper present. I ended up needing a second opinion from my mum as to what to get him so she came along too, but she was also there to steer me away from all the makeup counters (particularly Clarins, Chanel and Estée Lauder!) Honestly, if there was a MAC counter in there too I just wouldn't leave... Anyway, the nice advisor in the fragrance department gave us several sample sprays after we told her the kind of scent we were looking for, and my mum decided she liked Diesel Only The Brave the best. I purchased the 200ml bottle (for the same price as the 125ml, oddly), which is absolutely massive and I'm sure will last my dad forever, and I also got a free holdall thrown in as well. We perused the makeup counters whilst the advisor gift-wrapped them, and if I hadn't just spent so much on my student budget I would've been tempted to buy Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess at £40!

So that was basically how my family spent Father's Day this year. Hope you had a good one, what did you do?

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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Ciaté Caviar Mini Set

This past Wednesday I had to travel to dreary Portsmouth in order to take my driving theory test. It may be a nice city in some parts but to me I absolutely hate the place; it holds terrible memories of living there for university (I dropped out after one semester in 2010) and nearly being hit by a car, so when I found out it was the closest place to take my theory I was pretty upset! The weather clearly mirrored my feelings too, as it was the most vile weather we've had in a long time. Anyway, after I passed my test I decided to take a look around Asda while I waited for my dad to pick me up. I went straight to the magazines and couldn't resist buying July's Marie Claire simply for the amazing freebie you get with it.

After reading great things about the Ciaté range, I didn't hesitate in taking the magazine along to the checkout so I could rush home and try this mini set out. The duo consists of a lovely pale coffee shade with a hint of grey called Cookies and Cream, and a bottle of gold, silver, and iridescent rainbow mini pearls called Shooting Star Caviar Pearls. I absolutely love Cookies and Cream; it's the perfect alternative to a peachy nude and would suit all skin tones for a natural manicure. The formula is good, although quite sheer. I found myself having to apply three coats to get the opaque stage you see in the photograph. When it came to applying the pearls, I had a piece of folded paper on my lap so I could catch any stray pearls that didn't stick to the polish when sprinkled on top of the nail. That way it was easy to get the remaining loose pearls back into the bottle! To ensure they really stick it's best to press firmly while the nail polish is still wet. I decided to only apply the pearls to my ring finger to create accent nails - it looks a lot smarter in my opinion, and great for a special occasion! 

The mini set is worth £10, and I bought Marie Claire for the usual £3.80. Bargain!

What do you think of Ciaté nail polish? Which shades do you recommend?
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Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Millie Mackintosh False Eyelashes: Summer Editions


"My lashes are perfect for summer fun! Great for holidays as they are water and heat resistant and fantastic for festivals as they are safe to wear for 2/3 days."

At the beginning of last month I came to you guys with my favourite new discovery in the form of false eyelashes designed by Millie Mackintosh from Made In Chelsea fame (post here). Having had such great experiences with those, I was delighted to find out that she was releasing two limited edition summer lashes and couldn't wait to add them to my own little collection!

The sets to choose from are Ibiza and St Tropez. Each set contains two pairs of corner lashes, one pair of full strip lashes, Nouveau lashes latex-free adhesive, and a pair of mini tweezers. Super handy, let me tell you!

The limited edition summer lashes boast three different looks in each set, thanks to the welcome addition of separate corner lashes. I love these especially, because you can get away with minimal makeup and wear them on their own to complete your look. Perfect for the summer! 

Here's the breakdown:
  • Pool Party - To compliment your sun-kissed face you don't want anything too heavy, so just use the corner lashes.
  • Dinner & Drinks - As the sun goes down use the full strip lashes for extra flutter.
  • Party Time - Let your eyes do the dancing by placing the corner lashes on top of the full strips for lashes that ooze glamour.

The Ibiza full strip lash only

The Ibiza full strip lash with the addition of the corner lash

The St Tropez full strip lash only

The St Tropez full strip lash with the addition of the corner lash

For three looks in one I would say that £12.95 is definite value for money, especially considering that one set of strip lashes from MAC costs around a tenner. These ones last just as long as their alternatives, if not longer. I still use my original Millie Mackintosh lashes and I've had them over a month. As long as you're careful and are prepared to clean the lash strip of any excess adhesive then they'll last you ages!

I can't rave enough about these false eyelashes. They're so comfortable to wear and don't budge once the adhesive is dry. They add a touch of glamour to any look, and I certainly wouldn't be without them on holiday!

What do you think of the limited edition lashes? Will you be buying them?
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Friday, 7 June 2013

Health & Fitness: My Updated Workout Routine


As you may or may not know, I've been trying to lose some weight by eating healthier and working out. It actually started way back in October last year when I decided to completely alter what I was eating, and actually when I was eating because I was a notorious snacker, especially in the evenings! It started off as quite a challenge, I mean, how couldn't it be? Breaking old habits, and retraining yourself mentally into order to really see the physical transformation are the hardest parts of it all. I've found that re-educating myself about food has actually been a lot of fun!

Unfortunately, unless you're prepared to go under the knife there are no quick fixes when you're trying to lose weight and get healthy. I think deep down we are all aware of that fact. However, I tend to stick to a few simple rules, which so far have worked wonders for me. 

  • Eat breakfast - This may be a really obvious tip but it's worth mentioning. I never used to bother with breakfast, especially if I had a busy day ahead which is absolutely terrible in hindsight. Come mid-morning my stomach was rumbling like crazy and I began to crave sweet things. Nowadays I try to eat some fruit, porridge or a slice of wholemeal toast in the mornings. My favourite breakfast at the moment is porridge with blueberries and honey, mmm!
  • Drink lots of water and/or fruit squash - I used to drink pint glasses of Coca Cola every day which makes me feel sick just thinking about it. I think this was the biggest habit I had to break and I literally went cold turkey from October onwards. I had a small glass at Christmas and couldn't stomach it. I couldn't believe the amount of sugar in half a pint. If you are going to drink carbonated drinks then I recommend the diet version, although I tend to just stick with water, summer fruit squash and milky tea.
  • Count calories - I know some of these "experts" tell you not to count calories because you can become obsessed with it but in my experience I've found it to be rather successful. It just makes you so aware of what you're eating, and makes you stop and realise that you don't need that extra slice of whatever to get by. For me it's easy. I eat 1,000-1,200 calories a day, which may not sound like a lot but I can still eat small amounts of what I like. I was much stricter when I first started because I had more weight to lose and didn't know the calories in most foods but now I'm a bit more relaxed. As long as I eat three meals a day and eat healthy snacks then it doesn't matter as much. Plus if I think I have overdone it then I'll just workout in the evening. It's all about substitution and not being greedy.
  • Portion control - I used to have a bit of a problem with portion control but now I'm so used to eating less that my stomach has shrunk and I get fuller quicker. I do this by tricking my brain into thinking it's getting a bigger meal by eating from a tea plate as opposed to a dinner plate, and I also eat my porridge and yogurts with a tea spoon. It sounds a little bit stupid but it's worked for me. Eating your meals slower also helps, as you can almost feel your body telling you when it's full so you don't overeat.
  • Take healthy snacks on the go - I'm a big fan of those little fruit snack bags you can get in Tesco and M&S. I also love Special K cracker crisps and Alpen cereal bars. All low calorie snacks which you can grab before you leave for the busy day ahead.
  • Don't eat after 8pm - This may be one of my most important tips. If you eat after a certain time in the evening then you're not doing the exercise to burn off the calories and it just sits in your stomach and gradually turns to fat. If I get hungry in the evenings I tend to drink a big cup of tea and/or go to bed.
  • Weigh yourself weekly - Don't weigh yourself every day because your weight can fluctuate during the course of a few days. It can demotivate you if you get on the scales and weigh more than you first anticipate. Pick a day of the week to weigh yourself and stick to it.

I don't claim to be an expert or anything, because I'm clearly not, but these were my initial rules up to March this year when I noticed I wasn't losing the weight as easily. That was when I knew I needed to up my game and begin a more strenuous exercise routine alongside the healthy eating. 

For the entire month of March, I tackled a 20-minute workout every single day for 30 days. Some of you may recognise it as the 30 Day Shred by the American personal trainer Jillian Michaels. She devised a 3-2-1 system where you workout strength for 3 minutes, cardio for 2 minutes, and finally abs for 1 minute. This is completed 3 times and is known as circuit training - a system known to blast fat quickly but in a healthy way. There are three workouts at different difficulty levels; you start out at level 1 and progress to levels 2 and 3 when you feel you're ready, but ideally you should work at each level for 10 days. Admittedly, the first couple of days were absolute torture and I found myself swearing breathlessly at my television on more than one occasion. But since completing the month I've grown to love Jillian - she shouts so loud on the DVD it's almost as if she's in the room with you, pushing you to your full potential.

When those 30 days were completed, I managed to lose an extra 10lbs from exercise alone. I also lost 1.5 inches off my upper arms, 2.5 inches off my bust, 2 inches from my waist, 3 inches from my stomach, 3 inches off my hips, an awesome 4.5 inches off my thighs, and an inch off my calves. In total I lost 17.5 inches from my body!

I was absolutely thrilled with the results, and it's only getting better for me. I now workout 5 days a week with 2 rest days, tackling the 45+ minute workouts on the No More Trouble Zones and Banish Fat Boost Metabolism DVDs. It includes a lot more weight training which I've grown to love - I've got really defined arms and shoulders now, and my butt is a lot rounder and perkier due to weighted deadlifts! I much prefer working out at home but once I get some decent money I definitely want to join a gym too.

So overall, since October 2012, I've lost 2 stone 8lbs. I have 13lbs to go before I reach my goal weight but I'm on track and hoping to reach it by the end of the summer. I think I'd like to try out some Blogilates video workouts soon as well! I love a bit of variety to keep it fresh!

Have you been on a health kick recently? What do you do to keep fit?
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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Phil Smith: Total Treat Argan Oil Cream


In April I took the 3 and half hour train ride up to Birmingham, and believe me when I say I get bored easily. So equipped with my iPod, many magazines and some gooey chocolate chip cookies I headed up North to meet my best friend. And not only do I find a little appearance from Milly in my April Cosmopolitan, but I was also pleased to receive a free sample size version of Phil Smith's coveted Argan Oil Cream!

To start off, I absolutely love the packaging of the sample. The bright pink tube really catches your eye and definitely adds a bit of colour to my white dressing table! It also adds a nice touch of girliness to my room.

Now to the product itself. This oil-in-cream treatment claims to miraculously transform the texture of your hair into lustrous silky locks. It helps to lock in moisture to heal dry, damaged hair and restore smoothness. Sounds great, right? Well, with my hair type I need all the help I can get to restore moisture and repair hair which I've bleached to death around four times a year since I was 15. I found that the product really made a difference to the feel of my hair after just a couple of uses. I simply applied a pea-sized amount to damp hair, working my fingers through the length of my hair to capture the ends, following with my usual blow-dry or natural air-dry depending on how I felt (and how hot it was).

The cream is a lovely texture - not too creamy, if you know what I mean, but not too thick either so it's completely workable - and it also smells great. It's a really feminine scent yet isn't strong enough to be too overpowering. I think it definitely adds to the appeal of the product overall.

The full sized product is unfortunately sold out online, but you can shop for the entire Phil Smith range at Sainsbury's as far as I'm aware.

Did you pick up April's Cosmopolitan? What did you think of the Argan Oil Cream?
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Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Origins Hype

My skin routine has been pretty solid for the past six months or so, mainly with the religious use of essential Liz Earle products and assorted face masks but it has come to the point where I fancied a change. I know it's good to find something which works for your skin and stick with it as everyone is different, and while that's true, I wanted to mix it up a little bit and introduce some new products into my morning and evening routines while still using my regulars. Enter Origins!

I'm very well aware that beauty bloggers rave about Origins products so I thought I would buy a couple of things to try (being tempted even more by the free delivery) and see where I went from there. To my surprise (and utter glee!) Origins are fantastic for online offers and free samples. I decided to buy the cult classic Drink Up™ Intensive Overnight Mask after all the hype surrounding it, and also the Drink Up™ 10 Minute Mask while I was at it. Then I figured I would also give the Super Spot Remover a whirl, because I always tend to get a horrible blemish right when I'm busy and have places to be. Off I popped to the checkout page and I was greeted with a selection of free samples to include within my order, including the 30ml Zero Oil™ Deep Pore Cleanser, the 30ml Make A Difference™ Rejuvenating Cleansing Milk, and the 7ml Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Mask. I was especially excited to receive samples of their newest release - the GinZing™ range - and now I can't wait to spend part of my paycheck on a pot of their GinZing™ Energy-boosting moisturiser!

Expect more in-depth reviews soon, but I just wanted to give you guys an idea of what I've been buying recently. Have you tried any Origins products? If so, which are your must-haves?
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