Thursday, 30 April 2015

(Evening) Skincare Routine!

Ok, this is going to make me sound like the world's worst beauty blogger but I have a confession to make, and it's going to be met with a choir of "are you serious?" but it's something that I need to get off my chest with the promise of rectifying here and now...

I have NEVER had a skincare routine!

*Runs away and hides*

Apart from taking off my make up with make up wipes and the odd going over with the Garnier Micellar Water, I've never touched a skincare product, I've never even thought about it. Half the time it's because I'm too lazy at night to do anything after taking my make up off, or in the morning I don't have time to do anything before putting it on, but mainly because I have oily skin, I've always thought it would make it worse and as it's quite sensitive and tea tree (which I'm allergic too) pops up in everything, I've never bothered. I've never had particularly bad skin so I've never really thought anything of it until I've seen all the recent new launches from No7 at work and been desperate to learn more and try new things.

I'll put it out there now, most of the items I use are No7 purely as I work for Boots so can get tips from the girls, and we also get to test them and bag samples when they're launched to see what we like best but there's a few bits and pieces in there. Plus with the great No7 Vouchers, it's hard not to treat yourself!

Day to day, I normally go to the gym after work so this is where I take my make up off with make up wipes - generally Johnson and Johnsons or No7 depending on whats on offer. As I go to the gym in the event, 9 times out of 10 I have a shower at night rather than in the morning so in the shower I break out the No7 Beautiful Skin Purifying Exfoliator which is a lovely scrub. After I've got out the shower and got dressed and done my hair, this is normally when I'm ready to chill out so I take my little skincare stash into the front room and huddle under a blanket infront of the TV with some candles lit. I start with the Garnier Micellar water which I just put on some plain Boots cotton wool pads and use all over my face, particularly around my eyes, nose and chin where I sometimes find make up hasn't come off properly if I was in a rush getting to the gym.

Next up is the new No7 Youthful Replenishing Oil which I wasn't convinced about at first considering my skin is already oily but after being told the more I use it the less oil my skin will produce, I brought it and have been giving it ago the last couple of weeks. I love the feel of it and it's lovely to massage into the skin and a lot goes along way so despite it being £23 (which, tbh, is quite cheap I found for skincare), it'll last for a long time. To finish up in the evenings, I've been using the new No7 Early Defence cream - I've actually been using the Day cream as I picked up the wrong one on accident but I can't see that it matters that much when I use it. The cream smells heavenly with the cucumber scent and is easily absorbed and leaves my skin feeling so soft and looking hydrated!

(Won't go into details about my Morning skincare routine as that's not up and running yet other than a bit of the No7 cream on before I start my Make up!)

I must say, between these 2 and using less powder in my make up routine (see more about this on my Smashbox Bloggers Event post) my skin just looks and feels so different, so dewy and just generally healthier. The girls have noticed a difference and even when I saw my Mum last week she noticed a difference and said how well I looked.

So I admit, I was silly and wrong to have never started a skincare routine but at the age of 23, I think I've probably got in there just in the nick of time and it's definitely something I'm going to keep going!

Would love to read other posts about your skincare routines for tips and ideas so please Tweet them over to me! xox

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Date Night OOTD & FOTD

So last week my Mum came for a visit and me, her and Nick went out for a lovely dinner and a few cocktails. I don't often get the chance of late to dress up and slap some fake tan on so I jumped at the chance to put the effort it...

I knew I was going out on Friday and with the Sun shining so brightly last week I went on a bit of a mission to find a new dress that was bit more Summery based around a pair of shoes I've been eyeing up for a couple of weeks ;)

I bagged this gorgeous Chiffon cream dress for a fiver, yes, FIVE POUNDS from Primark and gave in and purchased the shoes from New Look for £25. Jazzed it a little with a Stella & Dot Chevron Pave Ring and Christina Link Bracelet!

 (Nail polish is Barry M in Kiwi)
My face was purely based around the Smashbox Pore Minimising Photo Finish primer which I tried at the Smashbox Beauty Bloggers Event (read about it here) and ended up buying it when the sample ran out! I stuck with my regular Beautiful Matte foundation by No7 and even though it's matte anyway, it looked even more matte with the primer and for the first time - possibly ever - I went out without face powder caked on my oily skin! I was nervous don't get me wrong, but I think it looked so much better with no powder and just contoring with Seventeen's Contouring Kit (which I also used as a bronzer on forehead and jawbones) and Make Up Revolution's blush. Smashbox did it again for the Smokey eye using their Full Exposure pallett finished with the Collection Extreme Eyeliner felt pen and Bourjois holiday mascara! Lips-wise, just a little of the Rimmel 107 dabbed onto them.

 (Chucked on just my black blazer with leather sleeves over the top)
Didn't do anything to fancy with my hair, just back combed it a little at the top with a Lee Stafford back coming comb (which I spray hair spray onto first) and put some hair oil on the ends to make them a bit softer and shinier!

Pretty simple but as I was having a good make up and outfit night, I had to take a few sneaky selfies!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

How I'm Wearing: Stella & Dot

A few weeks ago I made a little announcement that I have joined the Stella & Dot Team as an Independent stylist. I've been like a little kid in a candy shop with all my gorgeous samples and new pieces and have loved sharing them on Facebook and Instagram etc so I thought I'd share with you how I've been wearing my statements and hopefully to give you some ideas for your Spring Wardrobe! 
The gorgeous Mixed Metal Sutton Necklace (which is also available in different colours/metals and wearable in 6 different ways) is quickly and unexpectedly becoming possibly my favourite piece I own so far. I didn't think I'd like it as much as I do as it's quite a statement piece and very full on but I'm surprised by how much I've worn it.

(I've also fallen in love with the Black Shift bag which is perfect for work, shopping trips or holidays! It also has a detachable clutch on the front so it's great if you're away for the weekend or on holiday and don't want to take the big bag around with you at night.)
It's perfect with a grey high neck jumper dress, or a plain black jumper with a Peter Pan collar, or to jazz up a black and white simple top for a night out.
Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge rose gold girl and was on the bandwagon before it became cool and a hype. I have a rose gold watch so on the other wrist I've been wearing the Inspire bangle and Inspiration bracelet. Both are different styles and give off different vibes, one being casual with the leather strap and the other being sophisticated and classy. It goes perfectly with the bracelet that Nick got me for Christmas.
Sticking with bracelets, as I just said I'm very Rose Gold based but after seing the Glided Arrow bangle on someone recently, the dented-style bangle made it more retro and a little bit more boho. It's a great addition to go with my Pandora charm bracelet as it's Silver so this is definitely one for the summer!
A little something for Summer from the new collection is the Voyager Anchor bangle... Great for just a simple summer day or for going for cocktails! 

The other necklaces I've been styling with just plain black jumpers are the Lila (below) and Soleil (bottom - again can be worn long or short). Both stand out against the black and are an almost simple something to jazz up an outfit.

Moving away from necklaces, I'm in love with the Pave Chevron ring & Christina link bracelet.. I don't own any gold jewellery so thought I'd better up my game! This ring is just... Life changer!

If you're a Stella & Dot fan, tweet me photos of how you style your pieces. In the mean time, if you're in the Shropshire/Cheshire or Nottingham area and would like to bag some of these pieces either discounted or FREE, you can book a party with my FREE of charge in the comfort of your own home with your ladies! I'll even bring the Champagne and Strawberries to kick off Spring in style.

Just drop me a message - xox

Monday, 13 April 2015

Spring Wishlist!

There's soooo much I want at the moment - everytime I walk passed a shop window I see something that takes my fancy and I won't lie, I've already been mooching around online for holiday clothes and stuff (3 months in advance but hey ho!) and I've felt quite imspired by some of the things I'm seeing. Plus with the sun out, it's making me think I can't live in jumpers for the rest of my life anymore so after a hunt around, I've come up with my favourite items for Spring and made myself a wishlist...

New Look has always been a favourite of mine for clothes as they do a great Tall range so I've picked out a lovely strapless Maxi dress for those really hot, catching some rays days along with a maxi skirt and a pair of hareen pants! To finish the outfit just some tan, wicker-style slip on shoes and a hat! Not really a hat person as I can never get one to fit my big head but I like the feathers around this one.

Boots.. AH! Where to start.. I just want all the Spring nail polishes going but I've picked a couple of my favourites along with a pink lipstick as I feel red seems to be a bit Christmassy and Wintery so when I've been on the sun bed a few more times (or slapped on the fake tan), a pink lippie will look more Summery! I'm loving the Jimmy Choo Exotic summer fragrance and every time I walk passed it on the way to the office I have a spritz.. not keen on the bottle though. Before Summer comes though I need to get my body ready so I need to invest in something for the feet and for the first time I think I'm gonna prep with some hair/skin/nail vitamins afte reading from a few others that they were great last year! Finally - I hate driving into town for drinks or cocktails while sat in the pub gardens but that means I have to get a bus and I'm not gonna lie, I don't travel well on buses. It took me years to get from one side of Nottingham to the other (5 miles) on a bus without being sick so my trusty travel sickness pills are a must to get me into town. These are great as you can drink with them unlike a lot of them and they don't make you drowsey either!

Always hit MissGuided in the Spring/Summer and this year I'm loving the cute little dresses and their range of kimonos, particularly the longer ones for when you're out all day. I'll do a V Festival wishlist before I go in August but this headband was just right as it's not to over the top but it's enough to stand out for girly days out by the river sipping on Pimms!

Only a couple of things have arrived in the new range in our Topshop and that's the sleevless blazer. I love it in Navy and Grey but they're quite pricey so will just go for 1. Plus I need some new sunnies so have added these to the list.

I've not ventured into Primark yet to have a look at their range however they now have a few images of items online and I've definitely found a few things that I'll be looking for - yes, including a bum bag. I've not had one for years, since I was a kid. But I now find it pointless taking a bag with me as I don't have house keys (the pub we live in is all number codes on doors) so all I take is bank card, phone and a lippie and that's about it so this would be great. Plus it would look ace on a Maxi dress with a kimono over the top!

I shall definitely be buying my favourite Your Tea, the Tiny Tea a month before we go on holiday to have a good "teatox" to give my body one extra push before I leave!

I've never thought about how to make a home more Summery, particularly as we have red carpets and dark red or brown walls in every room (we didn't choose this, fyi!) so it's not very light and airy. However thought these prints were cute for kitchen or bathroom which are cream and blue.

Finally, as you know I love my Stella & Dot pieces so when their new Summer range launched this week I was ready with my order book to bag my favourite pieces. These are just a few of the ones which caught my eye!

Anyway, I've rambled on for more than I intended - Tweet my links to your Spring Wishlists so I can get some inspiration and generally just be nosey! ;)

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Smashbox Bloggers Event

I'm a bit late with this post but better late than never, hey? Last week I went to the Smashbox Bloggers evening at Boots in Shrewsbury - it was a great opportunity to learn about the brand that I use but didn't know much about, and also to meet the other bloggers of Shropshire/Shrewsbury! 

The event was held by the gorgeous Charlotte and Kate - be sure to go and check them out if you're ever shopping in Shrewsbury. They gave great tips and advise and the best way to use the products to your advantage and to make the most of your skin type and were generally fantastic in selling the range and really confident and passionate when talking about their favourite items.

I've used Smashbox Mascara previously and I also have their Full Exposure pallet but other than that, I've never ventured into range as there seemed so much it was all a little confusing so the event was perfect for asking questions and getting the low down on each product and what it was for etc. I knew the primers were HUGE but again, there were so many of them I'd never looked into it to see what they were all for. The girls went through each one and explained what skin type they were for and what's best for different people. I took away a sample of the Pore Minimising Photo Finish as I have really oily skin and it only gets worse going into Summer... I used it Friday night for the first time getting ready for a night out and I can honestly say it's a life changer. I went out for the first time EVER without poweder all over my face and it was amazing. (I'll blog more about it later!) 

It was also great to test the variety of BB/CC creams ready for Spring along with the different types of lip liners and eye products.

The event made for a great evening and a chance to relax with other bloggers and learn more about the famous brand. It's safe to say I made a couple of cheeky purchases on when I got home so I'm sure I'll blog about those later! ;)

Monday, 6 April 2015

#GIRLspiration Tag

I recently did a #GIRLspiration post for Barker Podcasts and after having felt very inspired by one particular girly after an incredible weekend, there was really no one else that I could choose to be my #GIRLspiration... 

Here are my answers and I tag all the girls out there to spread the love and #GIRLspiration! 

1. Who is your #GIRLspiration and Why? How does she inspire you?
My #GIRLspiration, despite having only met her enough times to count on one hand, is the gorgeous Annie, aka Happy Boho! When I moved to Shrewsbury last year, I put on Twitter that I was new to the area and needed tips on where to go/what to see and she was the first person to respond and since then, Twitter wouldn't be the same without her. I don't know a huge amount about Annie but I'm sure that'll resolve itself over the Summer while we're sat outside sipping cocktails but what I do know, I love. When I first met Annie (after 9 months of Tweeting!!), I'd been going through a bit of a homesick patch and I felt like I'd still not settled and I still called Nottingham and my Mum's House home.. but I saw Annie 2 or 3 times in the space of a fortnight and she even introduced us to others and I found myself saying to my Mum that actually, I don't want to leave anymore. I finally felt like this was my home... with my one and only friend haha! One of the first things I learnt about her is that Annie also lost a sibling, she lost her brother in 2012 and her positivity is enough to give me my "get up and go" and remind them that I can carry on with my life after losing my sister. I picked Annie in particular after attending The Big Busk event in Shrewsbury this weekend. Her and her sister Karen organised a full weekend of busking, music and fantastic atmosphere in Shrewsbury town centre with thousands attending over the 2 days. The atmosphere was electric and it made me think, if Annie and Karen can do this for their brother, I can do something big for my sister (I'm already doing the 3000 mile challenge and organising the black tie ball but I now want to do something bigger!) and they've inspired me to start thinking. Despite how tough this weekend must have been not only to organise, but emotionally, the ever-beaming and beautiful smile on Annie's face throughout it and when I saw her towards the end, it makes you realise that no matter what you go through, anything is possible and happiness is the key! 

2. You and your #GIRLspiration are stuck in a lift together. What do you ask her? How do you act? how would you react in this situation?
We'd probably end up organising where to go for food and a drink after we escape. 

3. What is your #GIRLspiration's style? Do you try and copy it? Summarize her style in a few words.
Annie is just pure beauty and her casual-yet-boho style always stands out.. I love those people who have that one "thing" about them that makes them stand out.. A few weeks ago I walked through town and and saw someone about 20 metres away but knew it was Annie from behind purely by her staple beanie hat. In fact I think only once have I ever seen her without it on! I can imagine in the summer her style just gets even better and I'm sure I'll be inspired by some of her summery outfits! 

4. Your #GIRLspiration comes to you crying and drunk after her split from a certain person! What advice and words of consolment would you give her?
Baring I mind I don't know Annie as well as my other friends and have only met her lovely hubby, Mark 2 or 3 times, I'd say that they were a match for each other which you can see in the bond when you're with them and that if she can get through other things life throws at her, she can get through this... if not I live in a pub so she can move in if she wants! 

5. You get a Film role opposite Your #GIRLspiration! What is the film about and what is your role?
It would have to have something to do with losing a sibling and a friendship bond made on this! Maybe we could open a cocktail bar in it too? ;)

6. Finally. How does your #GIRLspiration make you feel better about yourself?
Annie reminds me that it's ok to live my life, and to be happy doing so and do what makes me happy. Even her cute/positive inspiration Tweets and Instagram posts are enough to put a smile on my face and remind me I'm not alone in having going through life changing things and that no matter what happens, I know that everything is OK and if I'm going through a rough patch, there's always light, and I'm sure a cocktail, around the corner! - Plus, now my Mum knows I have made a friend (you'd think I was a kid - I think her exact words were "I love that you can walk through town after less than a year and bump into someone you know"!), she feels happier with me away from home and this makes me happier too.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Fitness Update!

I've been naughty and not updated this month about my health and fitness journey and how I'm getting on and after being inspired by a few other bloggers, and now I'm in single digits until my holiday (92 days... not that I'm counting or anything!) I thought I'd get my fat arse into gear and get myself motivated so I'm not on holiday trying to cover myself up!

So I think I left the last update with a couple of targets...

Tone up the Bingo Wings
(Getting there, slowly but surely - definitely been doing more weights at the gym and can see a slight difference - not enough to wear a short sleeve anything yet though)!
Learn of more healthy desert options
OBSESSED with fruit at the moment! I've been having greek yoghurt with chocolate gluten free granola and some kinda fruit.. normally raspberries or strawberries.
Drink Tiny/Anti C Tea regularly
I've been really good at drinking the tea over the last couple of months and have sadly ran out just a couple of days ago. In a bid to try and save some money I'm not going to reorder but see if I can 'go it alone!' (Blog on the Anti Cellulite tea coming soon!)
Drink less alcohol - if I do drink, avoid wine/fizzy drinks
Can't remember when I last had a drink - definitely not in March other than maybe 1 drink every couple of weeks but definitely not been out for a heavy one since mid-February.
Keep at the interval training and try to get to 8 or 9 minutes running without stopping
Hmm, have not done it as much lately, been on the cross trainer a bit more than normal but did get to 6 minutes rather than the normal 4 (at as push)

So I've not done too bad the last couple of weeks and I was shocked when I put my jeans on and they've gone from being a bit too snug to that annoying stage where they fall down slightly around your waist and go baggy around the knees after a few hours so the flab is definitely on it's way out! There's definitely few big changes that I've made that I think have helped...
I NEVER have breakfast. I can't remember the last time I did but lately I've been having smoothies for breakfast or the yoghurt/granola/fruit combo as mentioned earlier and now I can't remember the last time I missed breakfast. I always have a smoothie just before I go to work and have a tea when I get in!
Preparing for holiday
I think doing bits and bobs for holiday lately, like buying our euros and sorting out luggage etc with the airlines has made me super excited and that bit more motivated as I know it's coming up.
Gym routine
I slipped bigstyle a few weeks ago and went about 5 days without going and it took so much effort to get back into the habit - 2 weeks later I go almost every day but I've also found it helpful that I've changed my routine a bit and instead of just going on 1 machine, or the same machine day after day and then going home, I've changed machines most visits, maybe do 2 or 3 in one go as well as doing some weights every time I go. Even if it's just a couple of sets of 20/30 reps of weights.
Definitely, after a bad couple of weeks I've hopped back on the eating good bandwagon - even at work! I've been making salads and having more salmon and tuna rather than just meat all the time! I've been eating root veg or fruit crisps rather than normal fatty ones! I've acutally enjoyed food shopping as I always have a look over the fruit and veg and come up with some ideas on what I can cook with them (see my last blog post about our 'super' omelette!)
  I've still got a long way to go but the fact I can see the shape of my body changing the feel the clothes that I wear fit me differently, better but I definitely feel more motivated and with the Spring here and the Sun out, it's making my mood better (not that it's been particularly bad) so I'm going to keep at it and keep losing those lbs and fit in to those bikinis from last year that I currently wouldn't be seen dead in!

Next targets:
Drink more Water (Skin has been going through breakout phases a lot lately!)
Build some core muscles/strength (Going to aim to go to Yoga/Pilates more!)
Throw out the old clothes that don't fit!
Get outside more - whether it's running or cycling, or just going for a walk.
I would love to read other posts from your health and fitness journey to get tips and ideas and also help keep me motivated so please Tweet me your links :)