Friday, 30 May 2014

Birchbox - May

I finally received May's Birchbox on Wednesday, felt like I had been waiting forever!! What makes it worse is the fact I knew this month's was a collaboration with Bazaar and so I was literally desperate to get mine! But here it is, and it did not disappoint. Even the box looks great:

This month's products are Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanse and Polish, Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath and Shower Oil, Beauty Protector Protect and Shampoo & Protect and Condition, Benefit They're Real Mascara and Soigne Nail Polish in shade Persimmon.

This oil actually smells delicious. The sample size is pretty small, which is a bit disappointing, but I think if I use it before showering it will last. I am really looking forward to trying this as I have heard brilliant things about Aromatherapy Associates.

These shampoo and conditioner bottles are really handy for taking to the gym as they fit nicely in my wash bag and have dispensing lids which are always good on  the go. I was kind of hoping that the samples would be a bit bigger as they are a Birchbox own brand and so they could have been a bit more generous. They are literally tiny bottles, 2 washes at the very maximum. Being that the full sized product is around £16 though, I am hoping I will be impressed.

What an amazingly packaged nail polish! It was in this very chic box, surrounded by a foam packaging to stop it getting damaged, very nice! I love the shade, even though I have so many polishes in roughly this shade but never mind. I couldn't test it yet as I have just painted my nails but I will do soon. It does look a very nice, high end product. And it's a full sized sample!

I have heard so many brilliant reviews about this Benefit mascara and so I was really excited to get my hands on it. I was slightly put off by the applicator as I prefer the brush fiber ones to the plastic like ones like this, as I think they just do a much better job of separating the lashes and making them appear longer. After trying it though I was very happy with it. It beautifully separates and lengthens my lashes with no clumps in sight. What I like about the wand is that it is shaped to catch even the little lashes in the corners, which really gives a great wide eye effect. Love.

This Liz Earle cleanser has got to be my favourite item from this month's box and the product I was most looking forward to. I think it's hard to miss the amazing reviews and awards this has been receiving and I wanted to try it out to see if it lives up to it's reputation on my oily skin. It really did and then some! I use this at night before bed and the improvement in my skin by the following morning is already noticeable. Truly a wonder product. I have already ordered myself a full-sized bottle and more muslin cloths as I know it will be a product I really miss when it runs out!

So that was my box! I may have had to wait ages for it but it was definitely worth the wait. If you're a subscriber to Birchbox, what products did you receive this month? Were you impressed with your box?

Thursday, 29 May 2014

*LAQA & Co*

I was very lucky to be sent 2 items from the new spring launches from LAQA & Co last week. The first thing that caught my eye about them was the gorgeous packaging (it really is attractive) and I couldn't wait to try them out! The items I received were a nail polish in shade Nemesis - a warm coral shade perfect for summer, and the Gold Fleck Manicure in shade Lacey.

So, a bit about LAQA & Co; they describe themselves as a 'bold line of beauty products in strong colours. Done with attitude. Something that not only inspired, but gave back' and from first impressions they are just that. Their products range from Nail Polish pens (so you can do your nails on the go!), nail polishes, Mani Pens and Lip Lube pencils in all manner of beautiful, bright colours. What I really love about them though, is that each items packaging is covered in 'unique artwork by young artists looking to get their work seen...' and they really are eye-catching. Imagine that, just the box it came in is a little bit of artwork. I think this is a brilliant idea and really supports new talent, helping them get their work noticed, I like that idea a lot.

I guess I should really talk about the product itself now. I found the applicators were a bit thinner than I would usually like, I prefer a brush that applies polish to the entire nail in one swipe as it just makes application soo much easier. Regardless of this though, the product was incredibly easy to apply as it had a really good consistency - thin enough to apply easily but thick enough to not leave streaks. I could have applied just one coat and it would have been enough but in the pictures they are all 2 coats. They dried quite quickly, but not anything noticeably fast.

 I applied Nemesis to my toes and was impressed at how, one week later, they are still perfect and unchipped! Sadly, the Gold Fleck Mani didn't last so long on my finger nails and was chipping after just a day or two. I think this is largely down to the size and thickness of the gold flecks as they don't bend brilliantly around the nail and do begin to peel off quite easily. Which is a shame because I really did like the look when they were first done.

In conclusion, LAQA & Co seem a really good brand with some clever little quirks that really makes their products stand out (that packaging, again I'm obsessed!). Their Gold Fleck Mani's I'm not completely sold on but their polishes are good and I really want to get my hands on some of the Nail Polish Pens to see how they work and the Lip Lube Pencil, being a massive Lip product addict. They've recently had some new launches as well which, from the product listing, look quite worth looking at.

All products from LAQA & Co are available at and here for anyone in America (they are a New York based company).

This post contains a PR sample

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

My Weight Loss Challenge - update #2

Start weight = 10stone 5lbs
Target weight = 9stone
Current weight = 9stone 13lbs

I had a bad week...a really bad week! I think the achievement of doing so well the previous week meant I was a bit slack this week and I am actually really surprised that I still lost a pound rather than put on a couple. I shall try to get properly back in to it this week and have a slightly better loss by next Monday.

So Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty good. I ate well and went to the gym every day and so was really on target with it but then Thursday I had to miss the gym as I was going to pick up my new car (which is gorgeous by the way!). I went to spinning Friday morning before work as usual but I forgot to pack myself a lunch and by the time it got to lunch time I was so hungry and feeling grumpy about the crappy weather that I gave in to my stomach and had a bacon and cheese pasty and wedges from the Cornish Pasty Shop...very very bad indeed. Of course it taste amazing but I did find that for a few hours I felt really sluggish and bloated and I really don't think it was worth it. Silly me!

Then Saturday morning my boyfriend wanted to go for a fried breakfast and so I went with all intentions of just having scrambled egg on toast, but the smell of bacon tempted me in and I ended up having a fry up too! It did leave me really full for most of the rest of the day though so I was pretty good after that but it wasn't the best way to start the day. We did spend a good few hours gutting out the old upstairs bathroom though and so that must have counted as some form of exercise? I'm going to say yes... And then I had a glass of wine in the evening, it was just sat 2/3's empty in the fridge and I was worried about it going off :/ (yes, I am aware it doesn't but that was the excuse in my head at the time).

Sunday I tried really hard to not be tempted in by anything unhealthy. We went to Blackbushe market to have a look around and I wasn't tempted in by any of the greasy burger vans that they have in there, even when Ryan went and got a massive portion of chips. I even got some fruit from the fruit stall in there so that we could have fruit salad later on. But then Ryan's family did a MASSIVE roast dinner (their dinners are the best) and it would have been rude for me to have said no to it...and vienetta icecream. I'm rubbish when food is there available to me! If I'm sorting my own food out I'm fine because I'll stick to what I've restricted myself to but if someone else has cooked for me I can't help but eat it all! But I did play a couple of games of badminton in the garden because the weather was so nice so I guess I worked at least some of it off!

And with all that, I'm very surprised that I had any weight loss at all last week! So this week I am getting properly back in to it, no excuses. I'll keep you informed of how well I do next week, hopefully it will be a vast improvement!

As always, your comments are very welcome :)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Jimmy Choo Exotic - Limited Edition Eau de Toilette

I recently went in to The Perfume Shop to see if there were any new perfumes being launched for the summer and found this little beauty! If you are a fan of the original Jimmy Choo perfume then you are going to love this as it is very similar except it has a very fruity edge to it which is really lush. It is limited edition for the summer though so I would grab a couple of bottles to keep you going as it won't be around forever (ok well it will still be around for a few weeks as it has only recently come out, but buy a few anyway!).

In The Perfume Shop they are selling this perfume for £43.50 for 60ml but I found it on Allbeauty here for £39.75 for 100ml, which I think you will agree is a massive saving. And an excuse to buy a bigger bottle...

It is the same style bottle that we all know and love for Jimmy Choo but in a really nice raspberry shade and the box is very familiar but with flashes of bright red. This really is perfect for the summer and also looks gorgeous in  your collection.

Have you already purchased this limited edition perfume from Jimmy Choo? What are your thoughts on it, do you love it as much as I do? All comments are always welcome!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Monthly Subscription box - Glossybox May

This month's Glossybox really was a good one, definitely worth every penny. As with most monthly subscription boxes, they can be a bit hit and miss from month to month but May's box is a hit with me. Glossybox teamed up with Superdrug for this month's box as a celebration of Superdrug's 50th birthday, and with it came some brilliant products.

Firstly then, this BB cream from Garnier. It is described on the box as a '5-in-1 Miracle Skin Perfector' and I really hope it lives up to it's claims as it really does sound like the perfect BB cream if so. I was slightly worried at first to see that I had been sent the medium shade as I may not exactly be pale, I am not usually medium either! I would definitely have chosen the light shade if I was buying it in the shops myself, but actually when I swatched it on my hand the shade wasn't too dark for me (the second picture is it blended in). I'd say it is slightly darker than my actual skin colour but may just about be passable enough to at least trial it for a few days if blended enough, fingers crossed! I do really like all of the Garnier products that I have had though so hopefully this is another great product from them.

I love this B. Sheer Conditioning Lipstick in shade Coral 33. It really does have a hydrating feel on your lips and leaves them looking really glossy without being at all sticky like with a gloss. It doesn't quite have the colour pigmentation I would have liked, but saying that it does leave a nice subtle colour to the lips so would be good for if you were trying to have a subtle lip look. I would definitely buy more colours in this product though as they really are nice on the lip, and as they are down to £3.49 plus being 3 for 2 at the moment I think I will be buying a few really soon!

I was slightly disappointed with this when I first received this Maybelline Color Show Crystallize Polish in shade 236 Nearly Black, we are coming in to Spring now and with that I was hoping for gorgeous, bright spring colours and so this black shade (albeit it contains glitter) just seemed a bit dull and depressing. It does look nice on the nail after 2 coats, and it is really easy to apply evenly so I do really like it, I just would have preferred a colour more appropriate for this season! Oh well, I'll put it away in my nail polish draw as I'm sure I'll be getting a lot of wear out of it in the colder months.

I am going through a bit of a hair oil/serum phase at the moment so I was really excited to receive this Frizz Ease product from John Freida. I've seen the adverts and it really seemed like it would be a great product (it seems I'm a sucker for advertising). I wasn't disappointed either. I don't particularly have frizzy hair as mine is naturally dead straight, but I do get a few fly-aways here and there and serums are always good for making your hair look really glossy so I will always use them regardless of how frizzy my hair is. I found that it was really easy to apply to the hair and didn't leave your hair feeling greasy or weighed down and kept it looking really smooth and shiny. I would be interested in knowing if people with actual frizzy hair were impressed with the results of this product as much as me.

I recently did a review on my favourite foot cream from Sanctuary Spa here so I was quite happy to find one in my Glossybox this month for comparison. I find Scholl a really good brand for all things feet and have bought many products from them before so I had high expectations for this product. I have only used it once so far and, although small, I have noticed a difference in the condition of my feet already. My feet were in a relatively good condition anyway as I do take care of them, applying foot balms and using a pumice stone at least once or twice a week, but this just seems to give them a deep, intensive moisturising that you could really feel the next morning. Very soft and with it being non-scented I liked it that little bit more. It may just be me but I find a lot of foot creams/ balms have a funny smell to them? One that you would definitely not pick up if it was in a body lotion or hand cream. But this was nice and I'm looking forward to using it again. Oh, and it isn't messy at all. I was thinking that going to bed with cream all over my feet would leave oily marks all over my sheets where it has rubbed off but it really hasn't.

This was a pretty small sample so was difficult to really get a good trial of it as after 1.5 uses it was all gone! Slightly disappointing... But this Oil-Infused Nourishing Lotion from Garnier does seem to be a really good product and one I would like to buy to try more of. I have quite dry skin on my legs and arms and this really did feel nourishing on my skin. There seemed to be a slight improvement to my skin but it would have been nice to see how it benefited from being able to use it over a longer time period. Did smell delicious though. Will be picking up a full size bottle soon!

My friend had made me try this Ghost Eclipse perfume when we were at The Perfume Shop the other weekend and so it was a nice surprise to receive a sample bottle in my box! It is quite a sweet scent that I love and will be keeping in my bag to spritz on during the day. I wouldn't say it was one of my favourite perfumes but I would happily wear it. I also found the scent wore off after a couple of hours so doesn't have a great longevity.

So that's my opinion on this month's Glossybox. Did any other subscribers get the same products as me? What were your opinions?

Garnier BB Cream available here for £7.99
B. Sheer Conditioning Lipstick available here for £3.49
Maybelline Color Show Crystallize Polish available here for £3.99

Frizz Ease Original available here for £3.99
Scholl Velvet Smooth Night Mask available here for £5.99
Garnier Oil-Infused Nourishing Lotion available here for £6.99 for 400ml
Ghost Eclipse Eau de Toilette available here for £33 for 50ml

Monday, 19 May 2014

My weight loss challenge - update #1

Start weight = 10stone 5lbs
Target weight = 9stone
Current weight = 10stone

What a beautiful weekend we have just had! I hope you were all able to make the most of the sunshine, I live quite near the beach and the traffic was pretty much at a stand still where everyone drives down to the beach to soak up the sun, thank god for my bike!

So, back to the current topic. I weighed myself this morning and was shocked to see that I seem to have lost 5 whole pounds in one week! I use the same scales whenever I weigh myself so I know it's not just the difference between different scales, but I was really shocked to see I had lost 5lbs so quickly. I was expecting to struggle to lose 2lbs a week. At this rate I'll reach target within 3 weeks! Fingers crossed for that.

I found this week pretty easy to stick to from Monday to Friday but then really struggled over the weekend. Where I was taking a packed lunch to work with me it meant that I didn't give myself any opportunities to eat 'bad' food and so it was really easy to stick to my healthy eating plan. Also on Friday's I go for lunch at a local deli with my friend and instead of ordering my usual pulled pork and heaps of coleslaw bap (LOVE) I managed to stick to having a crayfish and mixed salad baguette. I enjoyed it actually, nowhere near as much as the pulled pork alternative but it was really nice all  the same.

I made sure I went to the gym 4 times last week as well, doing 2 spin classes and 2 body pump classes. I think this is what really made me lose the weight as I did really push myself in classes last week. I believe weight loss comes from a combination of the two, exercise and diet, so I made sure I dragged myself there even on the days when I really didn't want to!

But then the weekend came, and with it far too much temptation! I was pretty good most of Saturday as I got up early to go buy myself a new car (an absolutely gorgeous one!) with my mum and so took her to lunch at Slug and Lettuce to say thank you. I had Italian Chicken which is quite good in the sense that it is just chicken breast, roasted vegetables and potato wedges but the small amount of sauce probably wasn't very healthy. But I had been on my feet all day and really good during the week plus I wasn't  planning on having a big dinner.... Then I remembered it was my friends husband's little birthday get together Saturday evening... I made sure that I was the one driving so I had an excuse not to drink but I did have a couple of slices of pizza....I can't resist pizza!

Then Sunday I was doing well up until my boyfriend suggested shake-aways... We were sitting in the park, relaxing soaking up the sun when he said that he was really craving one, so then I couldn't get it out of my head! So I just bit the bullet and got myself a lovely brownie, boost and flake milkshake! But I did have a healthy chicken pasta dinner so I guess it evened it out slightly.

So there you go, that's week 1 for you. I did a lot better than I expected and it has made me think that maybe the odd treat here and there actually won't do you any harm, so long as it is only a small treat once or twice a week, don't let yourself slip up too much!

Now on to the next week, hopefully I will be able to have another really good week but I think I'd be very lucky to lose more than 2-3lbs again. Here goes!

All comments are always welcome :)

Friday, 16 May 2014

Fitness Outdoors - Why I Love Where I Live

I always find getting exercise in to your daily routine is so much easier when you can be outside in the fresh air, especially now the weather seems to be picking up! I know a lot of people hate being stuck in a gym, which is understandable really. It's not exactly the most attractive of places with all the equipment everywhere and being at what is possibly your most unattractive (if you're like me sweaty and glowing red!) whilst stuck in a room full of strangers doesn't exactly sound appealing. So take your exercise outside whilst you have the gorgeous sunny weather as a back drop!

What is so great about where I live is that at the end of my garden is a canal which takes you straight to the centre of town one way or the local marina the other. This is great for me cycling in to work in town as it is just a quick 20 minute cycle each way but is a great little burst of exercise twice a day. Also you can rent boats (or we tend to take our kayak) to take along the canal which is great fun in the summer, with the added bonus of you get a great tan from the sun reflecting of the water! There are always joggers along the canal as well as it is so much safer than running on the road and is so much more attractive visually.

So if you are losing motivation to exercise because the thought of being stuck in a gym when the weather is so lush then take your exercise outdoors! There is always plenty of things you could do depending on where you are. Maybe you have already been doing this and have suggestions of other activities? Please comment and share what you have been up to!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Getting in shape - my new challenge!

You may have seen my post last week about Secret Calorie Consumption (here), and since then I've been trying to get myself in gear ready for the summer. So I've set myself a challenge to lose a stone (at least) by my birthday which is now 11 weeks away. A healthy weight for my height is said to be between 9 and 11 stone and currently I am roughly 10.5 stone so I am near the top end of that scale so my aim is to get down to between 9-9.5 stone by the time I turn 24!

The main big changes I am making is to my diet. I've now sworn off cake, chocolate (and all sweets!), crisps and alcohol until I've reached my goal. My main issue is that I'll quite happily have a glass of wine or 3 on a Friday evening after work to relax and not think anything of it, but wine is so bad calorie-wise! I did a bit of research and found that a glass of wine is equivalent in calories to drinking a glass of cream, eurgh! So sadly that will have to be put on hold until my birthday celebrations. The other things I don't particularly eat a great deal of anyway but I will have them every other day or so and so could probably do without them. I'm hoping my boyfriend will be supportive of this as he LOVES Doritos and is always sat eating them and they tempt me in from time to time!!

I'll keep a diary tracking my progress, so any low points (I'm sure there will be times when I'll really want some chocolate!) and high points and more importantly how the weight loss is going. I'll make sure to include what I have been eating and exercise I have been doing and do a blog post once a week to keep you all updated! Fingers crossed I'll reach my target :)

So here goes! I started on Monday at 10.5 stone so next Monday I shall weigh myself again and let you know how I got on this week.

Are any of you doing similar things to get your body beach fit for the summer? All comments are very welcome!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Beauty UK - Baked Blush blushers

I spent the past weekend in London for a friends birthday (we went to see The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre - what an amazing play!!! A definite must see) and you can't go to London without having a browse around the shops. As well as the ridiculous amount of clothes now added to my wardrobe (my credit card has taken a serious hit) I picked up these two blushers from Beauty UK

The first shade I picked up was the gorgeous pink shade no.2 Rose Rouge. It is a very warm, subtle pink that gives a really nice blush to the apples of your cheeks. I have been looking for a pink/red blush for a while that I could get along with, as I find most have next to no pigmentation or are at the other end of the scale making you look like a doll with the tiniest amount applied. I find this one applies really well to the face and has just the right colour pay off. It is also the perfect colour for my skin tone.

The other I picked up was no.3 Halo. This is the PERFECT powder highlighter, giving the most flattering shimmer to your brow arches and along the top of your cheek bones. I wore this to go out Saturday night just to highlight my brow arch and I'd happily say it looked better than when I use Benefit's High Beam. That's not easy for me to say because I love High Beam, but it really was good and credit where credit is due.

These come in good quantity compacts, complete with little mirrors. They remind me slightly of the Bourjois blushers as they are similar in colour and composition what with the dome shape, but come in a lot larger amount for a cheaper price. I would definitely recommend these!!

Have you tried any of the Beauty UK blushers? I'm loving more of their products every time I go to their stall in Superdrug! And for the amazingly cheap prices I think they are just brilliant. Ok, I probably wouldn't buy their eye shadow palettes as I think they look a bit cheap and tacky, but that's a void that the new Make-up Revolution eye palettes easily fill.

Beauty UK Baked Blush blushers are available here for £3.99, currently also on 3 for 2