Friday, 31 January 2014

#FITuary - Getting fit in February

So you know how we all start those fitness resolutions on January 1st...and by the 31st we're on our second slice of cake in a single day...what can I say, it happens! I've come to the conclusion that setting fitness goals in January is a big waste of time. I don't know about you but I'm still trying to work my way through Christmas left overs, selection boxes, festive tons of goodies and all that wonderful-ness. And the extra long wait for pay day? That keeps us indoors, sedentary and reaching for a little sugary comfort...this can't just happen to me...can it??

Tell me your with me on this?

Ah, I thought so! It's nothing to be embarrassed about. So you didn't make your fitness goals in the first month of 2014 - you and hundreds of others I'm sure, and I'm including myself here!

But tomorrow starts a new month, a shiny new, shorter month, with less selection boxes in the cupboard and not too long to wait till pay day. The nights are starting to get lighter, making that chill in the air a little less painful. Spring is around the corner, and after Spring comes Summer and the bikini diet season *shudder*.

In a bid to start getting off my backside, moving more and feeling great on the inside, I'm throwing myself into a fitter February starting February 1st. The goal is pretty work out a hell of a lot more. Diet wise, I eat pretty well, I love my fruits and veggies and a water/green tea combo is pretty much my elixir of life so on that front, it's not looking to bad. In the spirit of boosting my health I will throw a few extra veggies on my plate and try to make some other small changes...but the biggest change of all is going to be my fitness levels (well, that's the plan!)

I'm going to print myself off a snazzy Blogilates workout calender for the month (sign up, it's free!) ad do my darnedest to push through as many of the scheduled routines as I can. In addition to this, I'll be making a point of attending as many Zumba classes as I can - work permitting, damn day job, Yes, it's going to hurt, yes it's going to get a little sweaty in here, but you know what...I'm pretty sure it's going to be worth it.

I used to (many a moon ago) work out pretty regularly and I felt great for it. My head felt clearer, I slept better, I could take a couple of flights of stairs without needing oxygen half way up. I want to feel that good again and there's no better time than the present to start!

Fancy joining me on this sweaty journey? I'll be using the #FITuary when I want to moan about my fitness related aches, pains and of course, shout out about achievements! I have no weight loss / drop a dress size goals (feel free to set your own though and let me know), just an overall feeling of fitness and wellness. I'll update once a week - probably on a Sunday, and track my progress that way so don't forget to stop by!

Until next time,

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Lancôme Visionnaire vs L’Oreal Youth Code Luminizer

For anyone who’s snagged themselves a Lancôme Visionnaire sample, I’d put money on it that after seeing the not so pocket friendly price of the full sized product, you’ve Googled around for a dupe, something that does the same job for less than half the cost. If you have gone on this Googling expedition, how often did L’Oreal’s Youth Code come up in the search engine? It’s the reason I went out and bought one!

Visionnaire retails for around £82 for a 50ml bottle. I picked up a 50ml tub of Youth Code in my local B&M for…£4.99. That’s a pretty extreme price difference if you ask me. Visionnaire claims that it’s LR2412 is the secret ingredient that works the magic on our skin, but after some digging around, I’ve learnt that Youth Code contains the same thing…the difference? Visionnaire has 4%, Youth Code just 2%. As my skin is pretty wrinkle free right now, I reckoned I could get away with just ½ the LR2412 concentration.

Did you know, Lancôme and L’Oreal are all part of the same company? So, the science that goes into Lancôme products is the exact same science that goes into L’Oreal – only L’Oreal don’t shout about it as much and contain a lower amount of the all star ingredients you’ll find in Lancôme. Does this make much of a difference when it comes to the products? That’s what I wanted to find out!

Visionnaire is a very light weight, thin gel, that has worked so much magic on it’s test subjects that over half of them would consider delaying, or not have any cosmetic procedures to reduce the signs of aging. It evens out skin tone, reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and minimizes pores. It’s been leading the way in wrinkle prevention for some time now and has a pretty big following world wide – but I can’t take my eyes off the price. The smallest you can buy is 30ml for £59, though I have seen it for £30 on eBay – I’m weary of buying higher end products off eBay as there are a lot of fakes out there with harmful ingredients in, so just be cautious! 

Youth Code is a much thicker cream in my opinion that doesn’t seem to absorb into the skin as well as Visionnaire. It claims to have used the science behind genes to unlock the secrets to smoother, younger looking skin. They say 82% of woman agree their skin is smoother, wrinkles and fine lines reduced and their skin looks brighter and rejuvenated. Though I picked mine up for £4.99, it generally retails in the likes of Boots for £10.50, which is pretty pocket friendly compared with other anti-wrinkle creams on the market. 

So how do the two match up? From my experience…they don’t. I instantly fell in love with Visionnaire. It’s consistency, it’s fragrance, it’s results – Youth Code was the complete opposite experience. So many reviews online had boasted about what a good dupe it was, I really did think it would work for me too. But we’re all different so not everyone is going to have the same experience.

The difference in the consistency of the gels are so obvious!

Visionnaire melted into my skin, it didn’t leave my skin looking greasy or my pores feeling clogged. After giving it a few minutes I went ahead and applied my regular day moisturiser (Olay beauty fluid) and everything looked matte and even. I tend to get a lot of redness around my nose and chin areas, especially during the winter, Visionnaire really seemed to calm down and reduce the redness. I can’t comment on it’s wrinkle reducing properties as my skin is pretty wrinkle free right now, but they do say Visionnaire is great for helping to fight off and reduce wrinkles before they start.

Youth Code was a different story. The cream felt thicker and took much longer to absorb into my skin, even when I used the smallest amount. Though both products smell similar, Youth Code has a distinct ‘soapy’ smell to it that’s really over powering and not my cup of tea at all. My skin didn’t feel overly greasy after applying but it did look overly dewy and after applying my moisturiser it was all out glow city – and not in a good way! The cream is very pearlescent and shiny, almost to the point where it looks like finely ground glitter – much too luminescent for oily skinned girls like myself! My skin did look smoother and well moisturised, but I had to go over it with a fair bit of blotting paper and a decent amount of translucent powder to reduce shine. After just 2 days of use I started to rapidly breakout across my chin and nose – something that hasn’t happened in over a month since switching to the Clarisonic cleansing system.

I’m just tip toeing into the world of beauty serums, but I fear after falling head over heels for Visionnaire it’s going to be hard to settle for anything else. I loved how it felt on my skin, and my skin really did look smoother, with a more even complexion. Unfortunately, it is so far out of my price range I will have to hit the high street and try out some other, more budget beauty alternatives. Youth Code has had some rave reviews online, and if you have dull, dry skin then this, I imagine, will work an absolute treat, possible even for normal skin too. Oily skinned lovelies should steer clear though!

Have you tried Lancôme Visionnaire or L’Oreal Youth Code Luminizer?

Until next time,

Monday, 27 January 2014

Lancôme Gel Éclat Clarifying Cleanser Review

I’ve not had much experience with Lancôme products, but when I found the Clarisonic under my Christmas tree I was even more excited to find it came with a full sized Gel Éclat clarifying pearly foam cleanser. I’ve always wanted to try Lancôme but always felt it was a little out of my price range for daily skin care.

The 125ml (4.2fl oz) tube retails between £20 - £25 which is an absolute bargain once you realize how little of the product you actually need. This tube will last an age. I’ve been using it daily for over a month now and it feels just as full as the day I got it.

The cleanser itself, ‘pearly foam’ as Lancôme state, is just that. It comes out the tube as a white, thick gel with a pearly effervescent sheen. To me, it just looks expensive and high quality. It is perfumed, which I usually avoid, but it smells lovely. It has a light, fresh linen scent with rose undertones. It contains white lotus, rose de France and Japanese cedar bud, which explains the floral scent.

This shot doesn't do it justice, but there are pearly flecks running right through the gel.

Targeted at normal to combination skin, I was a little concerned it would be too much for my oily/acne prone skin, but I’m always up for giving new products a go. The gel cleanser turns to foam the instant you lather up – and a little goes more than a long way, about a pea and ½ sized amount is enough to completely cover your face and neck.

I generally use this with my Clarisonic – and they go together perfectly. The Clarisonic loves thick foamy cleansers and Gel Éclat is just that – but it feels so light and fine on the skin, you’d be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t a gel at all! I was really surprised by the texture and consistency. After use, my skin is squeaky clean. It looks fresher, my pores appear smaller and thoroughly cleaned out. It melts make up and removes every last trace of waterproof mascara (though I recommend you use waterproof remover pre cleansing).

This is one of the best cleansers I have used in a long time. Even when using it without the Clarisonic, my skin feels exceptionally clean. It doesn’t dry my skin out and it doesn’t make it greasy. If anything, my skin looks and feels matte for a long while after use. I have definatly noticed an oil reduction in the t-zone, and breakouts on my chin have greatly improved. I really have to avoid getting this in my eyes though as it stings something shocking!

It recommends you use the cleanser twice a day – but I’ve been an evening only cleanser for some time now. I will, however, be introducing this to my morning routine and seeing if that changes anything.

I would highly recommend this for normal, oily and combination skin. Sensitive skinned lovelies might want to pick up a sample at their local Lancôme counter first; the added fragrance might not be too kind to your skin. Dry skin might benefit from this as it’s pretty moisturizing but, as I said, my skin does feel really matte after use so it might not be as moisturizing as you need!

I’ve been really impressed since first use – I’ve used a couple of sample cleansers from my subscription boxes and have found none so far that leave my skin feeling and looking as clean as Lancôme Gel Éclat!

Have you tried Gel Éclat or any other Lancôme cleansers?

Until next time,


Friday, 24 January 2014

How to be happier!

Evening all you lovely people out there! How've you been? Had a good day? No? Oh dear...well let's keep reading and see if we can change that just a little shall we?

I've been thinking a lot lately (dangerous past time, I know) about happiness. It might sound like a strange thing to think about but we all should think about it from time to time. I've been thinking about what makes me happy, how I can make myself even happier. How good do we feel when we're happy? When we're doing something we love, spending time with people we love, taking in the moment with a big ol' grin on our face? 

How much effort do we actually put into making ourselves happier?

I know for sometime I put much effort into making those around me happy – and there’s nothing wrong with that I might add, it feels good to put a smile on another’s face. But when we focus all our time and energy into making others happy, what do we have left for ourselves? We have to be a little selfish sometimes, keep a little something back for ourselves. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be happy yourself – how often do we forget that? I know I do!

I’m on a mission at the minute, to do more of the little things that make me happy and you know what? In making myself happy, those thoughts and feelings are automatically projected onto those around me, in turn making them pretty happy too. After all, who wants to hang around with a sourpuss?  

Inspired by oh sweet remedy who was inspired by thought catalog, I present to you my little list of happiness!

1.      Do something you love

When we’re doing something we truly love doing, be it for work or play, how much happier do we feel during and afterwards? From long baths to gardening, a walk on the beach or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, spend some time every day doing something you love to do. It can be as simple as reading your favourite blog (hint hint) during the commute, if you feel good and it puts a smile on your face – do it! There’s no wrong answer here (unless it’s illegal!), and it doesn’t matter if your happy-tivity is different from your friends! 

2.      Smile

When we smile we reinforce a feeling of joy in the brain, stimulating our brains reward mechanisms. Just by moving those muscles about and breaking into a goofball grin, our brain automatically associates the action with a positive feeling. We all know our brain is a little smarty pants, it can even tell the difference between a real smile and a fake smile – so make sure you’re giving yourself something genuine to smile about! Sit and think about all the things that make you happy, replay a happy event in your mind, watch a video of a Racoon pinching popcorn if it puts a genuine smile on your face. It’s as easy as that. Whatever might be happening, however you might be feeling, you can always find something to smile about.

  1. Spend time in the real world
Quickly, we are becoming an individualistic society – and I don’t mean individual style. We live through computer screens, videos and tweets, we socialise over Facebook chats, or text someone in the same room as us. We might think we are making meaningful connections over super fast broadband – but we’re loosing those important connections faster than we pick up 4G. Nothing beats a hug from an old friend, a chorus of laughter, being out frolicking in the fresh air. Studies have shown that 70+ year olds with meaningful real world relationships are healthier and live longer. So make a date with an old friend, go out to lunch and leave your phone on silent in the bottom of your bag. Instead of watching a vlog of the local beach – go there yourself, and take a buddy with you! Being outside, experiencing places and new people will put the biggest smile on your face!

  1. Live in the moment
Much like the above point, put down the technology, don’t take two dozen pictures of a sunset and spend half an hour trying to get the right filter on it before uploading to Instagram. Don’t spend a meal with friends tweeting every mouthful, and don’t spend the rest of the night behind a camera vlogging every second of it. Capture the moment, as quickly as you can, the perfectly tagged Instagram shot is not worth the memory making you’re missing out on. It’s fun to look back on these pictures, but not if we can’t remember the story, the joke that made everyone laugh, the special occasion we ate out for. Like I said, capture the moment, live in the moment, and plaster your pictures all over social media much later on.

  1. Choose to be HAPPY
Example: your job. You don’t like your job very much, you don’t like how things are run, how your colleagues act etc, your general feeling towards your 40+ hour work week is unhappiness. Don’t get me wrong, we can’t all be happy all of the time, but we can choose to feel a little more positive about our surroundings. Maybe your job isn’t so bad if you choose to think a little differently about it. You work with a couple of nice, friendly people who make up for the not so nice ones, you’re good at what you do – you might not always get the thanks for it, but you know what you’re doing is good work. If we choose to look for and focus on the positives, our mood improves, we feel less downhearted about our work and happier about what were doing. That goes for pretty much any and all situations in life, its all in the approach. If we tackle each day with a more positive outlook, most if not all are going to have a happier ending.

Happiness, to me, is all about thinking, feeling and doing. It’s so easy to think negatively, feel fed up and do nothing, but where does that get us? How does it make us feel? If we could think a little more positively, feel joy and do something we love, wouldn’t we all be that bit happier?

What little things could you do or change daily to make yourself happier?

Until next time,

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Clarisonic Mia 2 - 1 month review!

Clarisonic Mia 2

The Clarisonic has been on my beauty wish list for a very long time but I could never justify spending £100+ on a cleansing brush, it was just never in my beauty budget. I rarely came across a review that said it wasn’t worth the money, so just as I was about to bite the bullet and hand over my credit card, the Christmas elves came forward and popped a Clarisonic Mia 2 under my Christmas tree, 2013.

I’ve been using the system for almost a month now, so,  I figured it was about time I had a little chat with you about it and my impressions after 4 weeks of use!

For those who do not know, the Clarisonic Mia 2 is a sonic cleansing system, claiming to make your skin look smoother, softer and more radiant. Now, sonic might sound a little harsh for our skin, but, the method is actually gentle enough to be used twice a day on all skin types, including rosacea and acne. The brush head oscillates back and forth more than 300x per second cleansing deep down, clearing pores and removing toxins and impurities, as well as all traces of make up. It’s even supposed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. All this is achieved in just 60 seconds a day – everybody has time for that!

The Mia 2 has two speed settings and an inbuilt T-Timer, the system momentarily shuts off when your time is up on a certain section, indicating you should move on to the next section, the Clarisonic automatically boots itself back up. You have 20 seconds on your forehead, 20 seconds on your nose and chin, then 10 seconds on each cheek. After the minute is up the Clarisonic automatically switches off.

When using the Clarisonic, I find it best to remove all make up first with make-up remover; I do not much fancy all that make up residue being oscillated into my pores. I splash warm water over my face, then apply my cleanser. Ones that lather up well work best with the Clarisonic. The bristles feel harsh and drying if I use a cleanser that doesn’t lather up! Once I’m all lathered up, I wet the brush head and use my Clarisonic on the lowest speed setting. 60 seconds later, a quick final rinse and my skin is actually squeaky clean! It really does squeak!

My skin has seriously never felt so clean – no stand alone cleanser has ever left my skin feeling so fresh and smooth before, not even my trusty St Ives Apricot scrub, and I love that stuff! Initially my skin went through a brief ‘purging’ stage, the Clarisonic is cleansing so deeply that there was a lot of well buried grime being brought up to the surface, causing a breakout. I expected this so didn’t worry too much, my skin was in a pretty rough state when I started using the Clarisonic so any extra pimples just made friends with the ones already there. Now, this is where it got pretty mind blowing for me – after a week of continuous use (and I only use it of an evening too!), my breakouts had completely vanished. They quickly shrunk in size, faded in appearance and poof – gone! The pores on my nose already started to look visibly smaller and even my usual ‘time of the month’ breakout was surprisingly kept at bay. This had to be a fluke – the calm before the acne storm. Surely nothing can be this good…can it?

4 weeks further down the line and my skin is in the best condition it’s been in since I hit puberty! My skin is smoother, softer, and visibly clearer. My acne danger zones, predominantly my chin and t-zone are unbelievably clear. Don’t get me wrong, my skin is not perfect it’s still oily and I still get breakouts BUT, they are very few and far between, the odd pimple here and there, not the clusters of breakouts that lasted for weeks I’ve previously been used to. When I do get a pimple, it lasts 2 or 3 days at most now, and it’s kept very small indeed. The pores on my nose are still visible but they have definatly tightened and to me at least, are much less noticeable! My overall complexion seems more even, the redness on my chin I had from old acne scars even seems to have reduced – but Im not sure if the Clarisonic is responsible for that.

In all, I am so impressed it’s ridiculous, I’m telling anyone and everyone I know to go out and invest in one of these beauties, I wish I had years ago! The Mia 2 is the perfect size, small and idea for travel, it takes up little to no space in my drawer, comes with a solid plastic travel case and a magnetic PLink charger. If I hadn’t been gifted with this from my wonderful parents, I would have handed over my own money and still been just as happy. Clarisonic themselves are so confident you will love the system that they offer a very generous 90 day feel and see guarantee. If you’re not 110% satisfied after 90 days they will give you a full refund and an extended 2 year product warranty.  

Prior to purchasing the Clarisonic, I did look into cheaper alternatives, but I’m so glad I went with the real thing – I can’t imagine not using it.

For those who are interested, Clarisonic collaborated with Lancôme and released a limited edition Clarisonic Mia 2 that included 125ml Gel Éclat pearly foam clarifying cleanser, and a 7ml Visionnaire sample. I have been using both of these with the Clarisonic since day 1. I’ve tried and tested a few sample cleansers in between, but the Gel Éclat has been my primary cleanser – reviews on both of these will be coming soon! Clarisonic also included a 30ml Clarisonic gel cleanser that I have yet to try. I got a standard 2 year warranty too.

This is all just after 4 weeks of use, I’m keen to see how my Clarisonic skin journey continues, especially with other cleansers. I’ll update again in a couple of months and let you all know how it’s going!

If you’ve got any questions about the Clarisonic Mia 2, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you!

Have you used a Clarisonic before? Thoughts?

Until next time,


Monday, 20 January 2014

Real Techniques - Sam's Picks brush review!

When it comes to make-up brushes, I’ve stuck by my trusty Bare Minerals brushes for years, I’m a creature of habit it seems. For a while now I’ve felt like I wasn’t getting the best possible coverage so figured it was about time I took a nosey around the market and seen what else was on offer. As much as I would love a full MAC set, my budget does not stretch that far. Real Techniques come in at a much more affordable price and they come in some fantastic sets too, bringing the cost of the collection down even further. Sam’s Picks usually retails for around £30 – a steal if you ask me for 6 high definition brushes. I got my set for just £20 in the Amazon sale!

What’s in the box?

In Sam’s Picks you get 6 duo-fibre brushes; multi-task brush, buffing brush, essential crease brush, setting brush, pointed foundation brush and a fine liner brush. The essential crease brush is a set exclusive too!

Multi-task brush

What I love about Real Techniques brushes is that they are multi-tasking, all of them, and they can be used for a variety of products. The multi-task brush gives flawless application of powder, blush and bronzer. The bristles are super soft and the brush head is quite narrow, giving a more precise application. I always find when working with powders, the more control you have the better the look! I love this brush for blush, bronzer and highlighter.

Buffing brush

Short, soft bristles that are dense and well compacted, perfect for mineral and liquid foundation. Now, I’ve only used this brush with my powder foundation but the difference between this and my Bare Minerals flawless face brush is astounding! It applies powder foundation effortlessly. I never find any excess powder sitting awkwardly on my skin and it blends into the creases around my nose perfectly. My powder foundation has taken on a whole new look. By far my favourite from the collection!

Essential crease brush

A soft, tapered design for effortless contouring – that has quickly replaced my Bare Minerals fluffy blending brush. It fits into the crease perfectly and blends the shadows together seamlessly. It really helps give more shape to my eyes too. Again, another super soft brush, perfect for around the delicate eye area. It also helps to blend shadows under the eye for a smokey eye look. 

Setting brush

Fluffy and perfectly tapered to a rounded point, this brush is designed to finish your look with a controlled dusting of powder or highlighter. I love using this for highlighting the brows and t-zone, or applying setting powder around my eyes and nose. Perfectly controlled and the shape is ideal for getting into those nooks and crannies around my nose.

Pointed foundation brush

For use with liquid foundation, this brush is brought to a well-defined point and is solid and densely packed – perfect for liquid coverage. Let’s face it, we have hair everywhere, even on our faces, there’s no denying it, and the problem with powder foundation sometimes is that it clings to these fine hairs on our face and can clump there in an unsightly manner – liquid foundation can sometimes do exactly the same thing! This brush is so dense that, if used properly, will flatten the hairs on the face as you apply your liquid foundation, giving a smoother, flawless complexion. It does make me feel like I’m painting a canvas – but after all, isn’t that what our face is when it comes to make up? Precision control and custom coverage all in one brush!

Fine liner brush

A very thin brush indeed, this is great for liquid liner or, if you’re applying a powder top coat of liner to set the liquid liner. I used to love using those very fine paintbrushes in school to put in the tiny details to a painting – and this brush reminds me of just that. This would be ideal if you’re getting a little more creative with a winged or cat eye liner look. It’s a little more flexible than I expected but with a slow, steady hand, it’s extremely precise!

I’m loving every brush in this set, it’s made a massive difference to my make-up routine. I have pretty sensitive ‘oh lets have a pimple breakout for no apparent reason’ skin so I’m always a little weary of new brushes – but I’ve had no problems what so ever, no brush related breakouts of any kind. I spot clean them after every use on a cleansing wipe, then deep clean them once a week with Johnson’s baby shampoo – they’re in perfect condition!

Have you used any of the Real Techniques brushes? Thoughts?

Until next time,

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Birchbox UK January 2014

First Birchbox of the year - woohoo! I was really impressed with Birchbox UK last year, pretty much all of my boxes where great, had some fantastic picks in and I actually used most of my samples - shock horror, used beauty samples! It actually happens! When Birchbox announced they'd be throwing a Benefit sample in their January box my hopes soared - they clearly mean to start the year on a high note.

Without further ado, here's what I got in my Birchbox UK for January 2014!

Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Conditioner

'Delivers moisture without weighing hair down, leaving it shiny, smooth, strong and tangle free'

Really cute 20ml sample that smells like something they use in my local hairdressing salon. It has a really light scent and even lighter texture. Specifically for medium textured, wavy or chemically processed fine textured hair, I'm not sure where my half way down the back thick brunette hair fits in here -  but I'm happy to give it a go! It's been an age since I used a wash out conditioner - I moved to leave in conditioner about a year ago (Aussie Miracle Insurance if you're wondering!).

Benefit The POREfessional

'An award-winning primer that magically erases pores and leaves skin velvety'

I almost bought this full sized (£24.50!) just before Christmas and boy, am I glad I didn't! I was super excited to see what Benefit product they sent out in this months Birchbox and I was secretly hoping it would be this - now I'm wishing they had sent out a minuscule pot of Hoola. Maybe I'm using it wrong - I have checked with the YouTube gurus, but it doesn't seem to do anything. It's tinted soI was expecting it to act like a lightweight concealer, nothing, nada, zip. I have pretty big pores on my nose and forehead and this doesn't seem to do much of anything for them. I'm going to keep playing around with it, the 7.5ml sample is pretty generous so maybe I can find a way to make it work for me?

Rodial Glamtox Night

'This super-hydrating formula smoothes the complexion and plumps fine lines'

Full sized, this retails for £75!! So suffice to say, I was expecting something a little special from this 15ml sample. It has a really heavy pot-pourri scent that reminds me of a retirement home! Thankfully the smell doesn't linger! I've used this 3 or 4 times now and my skin looks no different what so ever! Maybe my skin is just too young for this product? I'm pretty wrinkle free right now with a face full of youthful collagen, so I guess there is little for it to work with. I do love receiving the higher end products in these beauty boxes, I just wish they would make the products more specific to the 'beauty profile' they have you fill out when you start your subscription!

Vasanti Detox Nutrient-Rich Purifying Facial Cleanser

'Wash away toxins (not to mention every last trace of foundation) with this fresh cleanser'

Bonus points is that this smells really good - but that's where my praise stops. Used this 3 or 4 times now and I'm really not loving it. It barely lathers up, does not work well at all with my Clarisonic, my face doesn't feel all that clean afterwards - there's no 'squeak', oh and it leaked all over my BirchBox too!Not a brand I've ever heard of before and not one I'm all that keen to look into unfortunately.

Premae Anatomy Nutrients Instant Remewal Body Oil

'Moisturise, tone and detoxify skin with this natural, allergy-tested body oil'        

I heard so many good things about body oils in 2013, I really wanted to look more into them in 2014 - so this was a perfect introduction, thanks Birchbox! I was surprised how thick this oil actually was, but it absorbed easily and quickly into the skin. I used this straight after a shower and my skin did feel a little bit smoother. It was a nice change from the heavier lotions I've been working into my skin over the winter, I think this could be great for the summer months, especially after a post-swim shower, this would really help put a boost back into your skin. It has a very light, black pepper scent which doesn't linger. I also really like how the 20ml sample bottle is solid and very reusable!

Itsu Miso Soup Paste

'A light, healthy - and tasty! - soup packed full of antioxidents and amino acids'

It's soup - in paste form! I do enjoy me some miso so I'm really looking forward to trying this out! The miso I usually has tends to have some seaweed floating about in it, which I doubt this has to that'll be interesting.And did I mention it's a paste? I didn't even know soup could come in paste form! The sachet itself is only 42 calories and you just add hot water to create your miso - I'll be reporting back after this little culinary experiment! I'm really hoping this is delicious because it would be ideal for the work day lunch box!

Well, that's it for this month folks! Another Birchbox has been and gone! A couple of winners in this months box, a nice enough selection, but it being the 1 year anniversary this month I was expecting something a little more special. one big change this month, the sample came wrapped in tissue paper, not the little fabric drawstring bag we're used to! That was a little bit disappointing, I liked those!

What did you get in your Birchbox this month?

Until next time,

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Skincare - the internal guide!

Time for our second prompt from the lovely Gaby as part of the #2014BloggerChallenge. Our prompt this week? Skincare.

We all know how important it is to use the right products, take our make up off etc, but I never seen many posts talking specifically about what we should put into our bodies to improve our skin. Sure, we know to drink 8+ glasses of water a day, eat our veggies and reduce our sugar/salt intakes (we all knew that, right?) but what else can we do to improve our skin from the inside out?

Over the last couple of months I've been trying a few new things, not really modifying my diet, but adding some skin loving goodies to it - and I have really noticed a difference - and others have too. My breakouts are have become pretty infrequent and when they do happen, it's been reduced down to the very odd, small pimple, barely anything to conceal or complain about.

Seven Seas Radiant You Health Oils

These little wonders are brilliant if you ask me. I started taking them about 2 - 3 months ago. These (not so little) pink capsules contain fish oil, biotin and zinc which all help to maintain healthy hair, skin and nails from the inside out. My hair texture has really improved (haven't changed my shampoo/conditioner), it just looks healthier, like that 'just walked out the salon' kind of healthy. I still have an issue with my nails, they're going through a splitting phase right now, so little improvement there. But my skin - well that's been the biggest improvement. I noticed about a week after first taking these that my chin/cheek area looked less red, and by the end of the first box (30 capsules) my skin looked visible clearer and my complexion was much more even. Boots and Superdrug have both had offers on these, generally they retail for £4.99.

Multivitamins With Added Iron

I've had these in the cupboard for ages, taking them every now and again but when I started to continuously be coming down with colds and sore throats at the start of winter I knew I had to do something! I started taking these every morning after breakfast to give my immune system a boost. How are they responsible for healthy glowing skin you ask? Think about it, when you're run down, under the weather, coughing and spluttering, how does your skin look? Pale, tired, bags under your eyes, dry skin around your nose? Any of these sound familiar? Looking after our immune system gives us a chance to fight off these winter bugs! The healthier we are on the inside, the more it shows on the outside!

Slice of Lemon in Green Tea

A slice of lemon in hot water first thing in the morning before you eat breakfast is a great way to give your system a kick start, flushing out toxins and nasties from your system. I've never been a fan of lemon in hot water, it just doesn't taste all the palatable to me - but popping a slice in my first mug of green tea tastes fantastic! Not only am I getting the purifying properties of the lemon, I'm getting an antioxidant boost from the green tea too. I've been doing this daily for 2 months, and although there was a bit of a 'purge' at first (few days of breakouts), that eventually subsided and it's been plain sailing since!

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are full of selenium! Selenium really helps to improve acne by protecting the cells from inflammation and preserving the skins natural elasticity - so they're anti ageing too! Selenium goes hand in hand with vitamins A and E too (both of which you'll get from the multi vitamins and Radiant You capsules). Put it all together for a skin loving cocktail! Aim for 1 - 3 brazil nuts a day.

My skin is looking fresher, clearer and dare I say...a little radiant too? Don't get me wrong, I love my lotions and potions, but I've come to realise that the better I look after my insides, the more it really does show on the outside. Cliché I know, but I really do feel like this has all made a big difference to how I look after and improve my skin. It all works out much cheaper than some of those potions too!

How do you care for you skin on the inside?

Until next time,


Monday, 13 January 2014

Wreck This Journal - Part 1

I'm a diarist, a notebook filler who always colours in the lines. I plan everything, spontaneity has never been my strong point - period. Though I believe rules are very bendy, pliable things in the right situation, you'll usually find me following them to an unfortunate T. That's just how it happens.

Then, this happened.

After much social media stalking of others completed books I started to get this strange tingling in my toes, an itching if you like, to do something with reckless abandon. I'm the kind of girl who never cracks the spine and will feel guilty for days if I tear a page in a book, hell I don't even bend the corners to keep my place unless I have absolutely nothing to use as a bookmark - yes, I once used a sock, I was that desperate!

Warning: During the process of this book you will get dirty. You may find yourself covered in paint, or any other number of foreign substances. You will get wet. You may be asked to do things you question. You may grieve for the perfect state that you found the book in. You may begin to see creative destruction everywhere. You may begin to live more recklessly. 

A book that comes with a warning. A book that encourages creative destruction? My inner perfectionist cringes, hides behind a well fluffed cushion in fear of what could possible happen next.

This is what happened...

OK. It's not exactly a dogs dinner, it's kind of neat and pretty and pink - but I resisted the urge to draw in lines to write on and I didn't plan any of it. I sat down for about 30minutes, puled out some supplies and just went for it. Whatever my first response was to the page, I just went with it, no plans, no tentative pencil drawings (except for the poor attempt at scribing my name in foreign languages) - I picked up the first colour that caught my eye, put it to the page and just let my hands have at it.

And the best part? These pages don't even feel complete. I don't want to tick them off a to-do list *shock shock horror horror*. I want to come back to them, add to them, there's plenty of blank space there just itching to be played with.

This book is designed to give you freedom. Creative freedom, freedom from reality, from rules, from the social norm. Freedom to do what you want to do, freedom to express, freedom to explore.

I've no idea how long this book will take to complete, where it will go, what it will accomplish, but I'm pretty excited to see what happens next.

Have you wrecked this journal?

Until next time,

Friday, 10 January 2014

Food-views - The Living Room, Liverpool

Last week I headed out into Liverpool to celebrate the lovely Ginger Jaxxs birthday! We kicked off the celebrations with a meal at The Living Room. Jaxx has dined here before and has been recommending it to me for as long as I can remember! Not that I ever need persuading when it comes to food, we used her birthday as an excuse to head on in and check out their culinary delights.

Our table was booked for 5pm, being a Friday night we didn't know how busy it would get. We walked in and it was pretty deserted! That being said, empty or not, it still had a wonderful atmosphere. The bar in centre, then dining to the left, bar booths to the right, the place is much bigger than I thought! After being greeted with awesome scouse hospitality, we where shown to our reserved booth over on the dining side. Everything is so chilled and luxe, from the mirrors to the chandeliers and the white baby grand piano they have next to the dining area (later in the evening there is a pianist I'm told).

The a la carte menu is pretty extensive with a whole host of starts, mains, desserts and sides to choose from, as well as a pretty lengthy cocktails menu. They also offer a children's menu, supper club menu, Sunday menu and a lunch time menu - your spoilt for choice whenever you visit! They've even got some fantastic offers on at the minute including 2 for 1 cocktails (selected ones only) and 2 courses for £12 or 3 courses for £15 off a set menu (supper club menu). I really expected it to be much more expensive as the whole place has a really swanky, upper class feel to it.

To begin with, we ordered a delectable basil grande from their 'Cocktails of the New World' menu, this thing is pages long, with pretty much any and every cocktail you can imagine, ranging in price from £7 to £9 per single cocktail, or sharers for £14 - £20 serving 2 - 4 people. If you love all things peppery then this cocktail is for you, it was delicious. The dryness of the pepper is balanced perfectly with the mixture of strawberry and cranberry. Think a less sweet, more grown-up Cosmo.

For starters I had the Thai style fishcakes with marinated cucumber and light chilli syrup (£5.95). Delicious! The fish cakes fell apart and where light yet full of flavour and not dry at all. The chilli syrup gave them a real kick and was just spicy enough to add that final punch to each mouthful. I was a little weary of the marinated cucumber but had no need to be. It was cold and refreshing, the complete other end to the fish cakes and chilli syrup!

For mains I had the Fillet steak and onion sandwich (£11.95) which also came with a side of fries. Oh WOW. I didn't really know what to expect but this, this was unbelievable! The fillet steak strips were cooked medium-rare, and you got so much steak! Onions, onions everywhere too! All served up in a brioche bun. There was no lady like way to eat this, believe me I tried! In the end I ignored decorum and stuck my face right in there. The steak and onions were so juicy and flavour full, it was running everywhere - just how it should in my opinion! The chips were nothing special, straight cut regular fries, but they served them in the cutest little chip frying basket, I need to know where to buy those! After all that steak I barely had room for the fries!

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, so we opted for the Grande Dessert (£8) to share. We couldn't choose just one dessert so this was a great way to have a little of each. Chocolate pave, eaton mess, sticky toffee pudding, salted caramel ice cream and cherry bakewell parfait. Oh, talk about sugary goodness heaven! My favourites had to be the sticky toffee pudding and the salted caramel ice cream but it was great trying a little of everything! There was just enough to share between two and we both felt very satisfied by the end!

I can see why Jaxx recommended this place to highly, as I'm about to do the same! The food was brilliant and they have so many offers on right now, it won't even break the bank! It's the perfect treat after a day of shopping, a catch up with friends or a special celebration. Service was fantastic, everyone was really attentive, smiley and on the ball, and the food came out reasonably quickly (slowed towards dessert as the place started to fill up).

Have you ever eaten here?

Until next time,

Check out the menus or reserve your table @ The Living