A Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

5 Tips for going Cruelty Free | Beauty

Cruelty Free Tips


A slightly different post from me today but over the last few weeks I have decided that I wanted to change all beauty/skincare products to Cruelty Free. The reason why I chose to do this was purely because I saw a video inside the L'Oreal testing labs and it was of a monkey and it just broke my heart, since then I just decided that I need to make a change. 

This post is going to be for the people of there who may be considering going cruelty free but don't quite know how to or even where to start, this is just a really simplified way. 

Superdrug, Superdrug, Superdrug...
When I first started buying new products I read some random blogs that were super helpful but some pages had so much information that I was still a little lost. I then read A Cup of Tea Blog on a specific Superdrug skincare range and she mentioned that actually Superdrug own brand is all cruelty free so if you are a little stuck as to what to buy you can be assured that Superdrug own brand is a safe option. Honestly when you go into Superdrug next have a look at their range, for everything, they have so many different products! 

Leaping Bunny...
If you are in a bit of a rush and aren't too sure what to go for, simply look for the Leaping Bunny, this is a recognised organisation that only put that little bunny stamp on items that are cruelty free and onsite the have a whole product directory and you can have a little booklet sent out to you which I think is incredible.

Blogs...
I mentioned one earlier but, there are so many blogs out there and some offer great advice for make up as a lot of make up brands don't have the little bunny so it can be harder to visually spot which items are good but Cruelty Free Kitty has a great post on this and there are a lot of other blogs out there that share this type of information. There is a lot more research than I first thought but it's so important and there is even a 5 brands you should avoid list which makes it a little easier when you are in a shop.

Finish what you have... 
Let's face it, most of us actually can't afford to throw everything away and start again so the best piece of advice I could suggest is replace when you need to. The reality is you have already bought the product the money has already gone to those brands, let's not be wasteful by just throwing it away if it is brand new. I personally found myself throwing things away that were more than half way done because it didn't feel as wasteful. Also, as this is a new decision all of my old beauty blog posts are supporting these types of brands without me thinking so it's actually quite daunting knowing that I have to find things I love as much if not more. 

Little changes...
Here is the part where I know many will think I am being hypocritical because I do eat meat and it could be argued that the way animals are killed for our meat is cruel but I am the biggest believer that small changes make the biggest difference. I think the fact I am trying to move towards a more cruelty free life is better than doing nothing. I have reduced the amount of red meat I eat but I don't want to be a vegan or even a vegetarian right now, in a years time who knows, never say never. But surely the fact I am only buying cruelty free beauty/skincare products is far better than not? 


Have you ever thought about going Cruelty Free with your makeup and skincare?
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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Places to Eat and Drink in Albufeira, Portual | Travel

Albufeira Portugal

I recently spent 6 glorious days in Albufeira, Portugal and I thought today I would just share with you some places to eat and drink in this beautiful town. Some of the places are in the old town and other in the new town, we stayed in the new town which was about a 45 min walk from the old town. For those of you who don't know where Albufeira is it's kinda near the Algarve, so let's get started with a beautiful little place to drink...

Sal Rosa Albufeira

Sal Rosa Albufeira


Sal Rosa 
This had to be a first mention because it was a place we just stumbled across and wasn't expecting it to be as beautiful as it actually was. Sal Rosa is situated in the old town and is right on the beach front, so you can have a little drink over looking the stunning beach from up high. like most places the beer is really cheap especially if you drink something like Super Bock you're looking at 2€ but even if you wanted wine or cocktails this place offers something for everyone.

Donaldo's
We kind of got pulled into Donaldo's because the food looked so good! We tried to stick with places that were a little more traditionally Portuguese, which I must admit was quite hard! Donaldos really did showcase some Portuguese food in a simplifed way. My boyfriend had squid and prawn kebab served on a giant skewer and I had some of the squid and it was incredible, but I am a big fan of calamari anyway. Also they had for starters Sardines which is a typical Portuguese thing and they gave you 3 of the things which is a pretty hearty starter, however personally I prefer the sardine pate...I love a bit of pate! 


Blue Sky Restaurant Albufeira

Blue Sky Restaurant Albufeira


Blue Sky Restaurant
This is another Portuguese retaurant we got lured into and I'm really glad we did. Blue Sky Restaurant is a quiet little restaurant just off the main road and very easy to just walk past, we were welcomed by the very lovely Nuno who had worked in the restaurant since he was like 14, who offered great advice when discussing what to eat and the wine. In the picture above you can see the dish my boyfriend had which was steak, in a rich gravy with sliced potatoes. I went for the tuna steak which was cooked to perfection and severed with a tomato sauce with onions and boiled potatoes. As you can see the portion sizes are great and the price is actually quite low for what you get. 

Stews & More Albufeira

Stews & More
I must admit, I have a whole post coming up next week on this place so expect more info then!  Stews & More is definitely NOT a traditional Portuguese restaurant but more of a fusion on Dutch and Portuguese flavours, as the name states, they serve predominantly stews and some other stuff but anyone go here are going for the yummy stews! This place gets busy REALLY quick so make sure you book in advance!   

Rock Cafe
This one is for the people out there that love cheap cocktail and good live music, whilst we didn't try the food I have heard good things about it so it's a place that ticks all of the boxes. Rock Cafe is located in the lively centre of the old town which is surrounded by lots and lots of different bars and restaurants but we actually went because we saw so many good reviews. When we walked in the girl just looked at me and said "you need a pornstar martini"....I mean....how's a gal to say no to that!! 



Top Tips:- 

*Tuk Tuk - These little things are bloody everywhere and a really quick and easy way to get from the old town to the new town. Have a laugh and take a tuk tuk ride! 
*House Wine - Alcohol is bloody cheap but the wonderful thing about the house wine is that it's actually really delicious and at 2€ for a large glass, can't go wrong.
*The Strip - Stag and Hen weekend paradise! Not quite my scene but down the side streets there are some gems and SOME of the bars have live music so it's not too bad. 
*Couvert - a standard starter in every restaurant but it's basically bread, sardine pate and olives and the prices range from 1.50€ to 3€ - perfect!!
*The People - I bloody LOVE the Portuguese, they are by far the friendliest people but some have a bad opinion on the Brits (I blame the people on the strip) but everyone welcomes you in with open arms

There we have my recommendations on places to eat and drink in Albufeira! Have you ever been to Portugal? 




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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Holiday Skincare Essentials | Beauty

Holiday Skincare Essentials

If you follow me on twitter then you will know I was off on my holiday to Potugal recently but I shall be writing all about it in a different blog post so keep an eye out! Today's post is all about the holiday skin care essentials - but let's face it they're all stuff you already know about. 

Solait Sun Spray


Sun Spray...
For as long as I remember I have always used the transparent version of the sun cream. This year I have opted for the CF Solait sun spray in a lovely high factor 30! The reason why I prefer the clear spray is because it doesn't feel as heavy as the cream versions, it's so easy to apply and rub in but also super lightweight. To be honest I never really get any lower factor than 30 purely because I am a natural blonde, I have fair skin and no matter how hard I try, I will get a little burnt which leads me painfully onto my second point...

Aftersun...
I have to be honest here, I only bought this Solait aftersun because Superdrug had a "Buy One get One Half Price" so it kinda made sense to buy it. I'm not the biggest fan of aftersun because I never really feel like it moisturises my skin and kinda leaves it feeling a bit weird! That said, the one thing you can't deny is that IF you do burn, the cooling properties that aftersun has are amazing.  

Moisturiser and Lip Balm

Moisturiser...
As I just said I don't really love aftersun and that's because I would much rather use a good moisturiser every night after being in the sun, especially if I actually haven't burnt myself. I've recently just started using this Vitamin E creamy oil body lotion and I am lovin' it, it's not a thick heavy cream but it's it's not as oil as I expected and it's super nourishing! After being in the sun for the majority of the day you need something that's going to give your skin a bit of love. So if I'm not needing something to cool my skin down, I'll be using this instead.    

Lip balm...
Ok, don't worry I'm not gonna bang on too much about how much I love the Burt's Bees lip balm, you all know my feelings towards this lip balm. The reason why I have included it though is because lips often get forgotten when you go on holiday, we have all of the lotions and potions for our bodies but what about a lip balm with SPF in? Your lips are just as important as your skin on other parts of your body make sure you use it people! 

Make Up...
Some people love to go au natural when on holiday and I definitely prefer to wear LESS make up, but in the evenings I kinda need something that evens out my skin tone a little. Even if I was going offer exporling I would probably mix a little cc cream in with moisturiser just so I look a little fresh faced. I am obsessed with Sleek Make Up CC Cream for A LOT of reasons actually but one of the many benefits is that this cc cream is SPF 29 which is great, you know that your skin is at least a little more protected if you did want to wear make up! 

So there we have my holiday skincare essentials all pretty standard stuff but actually all really important stuff! 

What are your holiday skincare essentials? 
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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Moroccan Lamb Shepherd's Pie | Food

Moroccan Lamb Shepherd's Pie

Moroccan Lamb Shepherd's Pie


I thought I would share with you guys this utterly delicious Gousto recipe for Moroccan Lamb Shepherd's Pie that I selected for my box the other week. I selected 2 recipes but the shepherd's pie was easily my favourite and one I will definitely be making again! 

There are so many things that make this recipe very different from you standard but I love the fact the topping is sweet potato mash, I am obsessed with the stuff! It probably takes about 40mins to cook but It's totally worth it, a great dinner to have on a Sunday if you are looking for something that isn't a traditional Sunday Dinner!! 

Ingredients:- 

  • 1 Chicken stock cube 
  • 200g lamb mince
  • 3 garlic cloves 
  • 30g saltanas 
  • 1 tbsp baharat
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Mint
  • 1 onion
  • 1tsp sumac
  • 30g pank breadcrumbs (personally I think this is too much, you'd be fine with just 15g) 
  • 300g sweet potato
  • 1tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • Lambs Lettuce 


As you can see I have grouped the ingredients, the meat and gravy kinda stuff, the topping and the side dish! 


Moroccan Lamb Shepherd's Pie


Method:- 
This food should all cook together, once you have chopped up the chunks of sweet potato add them to boiling kettle water and leave them to boil on a medium heat. 

Whilst the sweet potato is doing it's thang, that's when you have to chop up the onion and garlic and start cooking the mince. Get the mince started first before adding the onion and garlic then once they have been cooking together you can add the baharat and crumble in the stock cube. Then after a couple of minutes you need to add the sultanas and 200ml of boiling water and the mint then leave it to thicken up. 

Move back over to the sweet potatoes which should now be a bit soft, you should be able to get a fork through them, when ready you drain the water then get mashing, add a little bit of salt and pepper in. Once that's ready your mince and gravy should have thickened up which means you can add it to a dish, then put the mash on top and spread it out a bit. Now you simply sprinkle some of the breadcrumbs on top with the sumac and it's ready for the over which only takes 15mins! 

For the side dish, just when you have taken the shepherd's pie out of the oven, simply toss the lambs lettuce with the balsamic vinegar and a little oil (to taste) and you are ready to eat it!! 

I loved this Morccan lamb shepherd's pie and will definitely be making it again! 

Are you a fan of shepherd's pie? 
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Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Holiday Clothing Essentials | Fashion

Holiday Essentials

Trying to add a bit of variety on my blog with just a little dash of fashion and as I am going on holiday I thought I would share with you guys my key things for your holiday wardrobe! 

As you are reading this I shall be sunning myself in beautiful Portugal along the coast in Albuferia, we are spending 6 wonderful nights and I cannot wait for a proper holiday. I must admit I have been a little anixous about this because I am heavier/flabbier than I would like to have been but I thought "if I buy some new things that I really love that will help me to feel a little more confident. 

Swimwear


Swimwear...
Let's start with the one that every girl kinda dreads and that is swimwear! Gosh there are so many options and so many different sizes like what's a gal to choose? Personally, I do like bikinis but I like to keep my bottoms black and add a bit of colour with the bra. I'd rather bring the attention away from my wide arse and up to the the boob area. I actually bought the white bikini years ago but it washed so well that it still looks great on! I also bought this Accessorize Swimsuit last year and I actually loved it way more than what I thought I would, I guess I was so used to wearing bikinis I kinda forgot that there ARE some nice swimsuits! 

Shorts...
Ok so shorts, I literally hate shorts, I have big thighs and I don't know if it's just me but denim shorts a like waaaaay smaller in size than what jeans are! I mean I can pick up a pair of shorts in my normal size but can even get them on so I have to size up a few times...how does that work? Anyway, I was looking on Asos and ordered a pair that were so small obviously had to send them back. However when I was browsing in George in my local Asda I found these really cute crochet detail denim shorts and whilst I did have to size up they actually don't look too bad. 

Sunglasses...
I'll be a bit honest with this one, I historically have always been very bad at wearing sunglasses, I always used to lose them or break them or simply just forget them...that was until I moved to Italy and realised they were SO essential. My ones are Dolce & Gabbana,  I obviously bought mine in Italy and can't find them online but here are a similar pair of sunglasses, it's so important to protect our eyes in the sunshine because even when you aren't standing facing the sun, the rest of your surroundings are still so bright. There are a whole tonne of rose gold sunglasses out there but I just think you can't go wrong with classic black ones.  

Dress


Dresses...
Ok so it's really hard to get a flat lay style picture of a dress but you're just gonna have to accept this poor attempt, soz guys! I bought this gorgeous blush slip dress from River Island but it's sold out now. I mean I could go and do the popular thing and buy a whole bunch of Bardot style shirt dresses but I always buy things that will so look good for next year or that I can wear in the UK with tights or whatever. I bought this super lightweight halter swing dress which I am obssessed with but it is actually quite sheer so I have to be wise with my underwear choices! I don't think the style matters as much as the material of the dress, as long as it's light and fits lose then it'll be perfect in the sun!  


Sandals...
I love a bit of bling when it comes to my sandals, the more the merrier in my case because they sun just makes them sparkle all the more and that just makes me smile! Don't get me wrong, I also take some boring plain sandals and flip flops with me on holiday too, but for the evening, it's gotta be the bling ones! I think New Look do a fantastic range of sandals and tend to always buy mine from there, I really think they add a nice touch to your outfit when you are going out for dinner! 

There we have just a few holiday clothing essentials! 

What do you take on holiday?
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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Gousto Box | Food


Gousto Recipes

Gousto Box
*This post is in collaboration with Gousto*

We have a delightfully foodie post on the blog today with Gousto, I have always been interested in this food subscription service because you actually get the recipe cards as well. I never know what to cook so it's quite nice following a recipe and knowing you have the exact ingredients you need. I thought I would show you guys what you get in a Gousto box and the share one of the recipes with you next week. 

What you get in your box
  • 2 recipe cards
  • 2 selection of meats for 2 different meals (there are veggie options if you wish) 
  • 2 onions (one red and one white) 
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 spring onions
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Kidney Beans
  • Coriander 
  • Mint 
  • Chicken stock cube
  • Beef stock sube
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 different spices
  • Rasins
  • Cheese
  • Chipotle paste
  • Tomato paste
  • Lambs Lettuce
  • Panko Breadcrumbs 
  • Rice


Gousto Box

Gousto box


Other nice things you get

  • Compostable Wool blanket - this is used to keep your meat cold but if you have an allotment, whack it on the compost pile and you're sorted
  • Ice Packs - 4 lovely little ice packs you can use again and again! 
  • A little booklet telling you more about Gousto!
  • A wooden spoon - I loved this little touch! 

My thoughts...
There is so much stuff, I mean simply writing down all that I got made me realise that you actually get a lot. All of the food is organic or sourced locally and because they give you just the right amount there is literally zero waste. 

I found the recipes really easy to follow and group all of the steps in a nice clear way. I also loved how the recipes combine flavours that you'd never think to add. For example, we got a pork chilli recipe and one of the spices they told you to add was cinnamon, never would I have thought to add cinnamon to a chilli but it was delicious. My favourite of the two recipes was easily the Moroccan Lamb Shepherd's Pie, oh my god! 

On average the box costs £27.49 which includes all of the ingredients for 2 different recipes, serving 2 people per recipe.It is a subscription service so as soon as you sign up it will deliever a box weekly, but the really great thing I found was that you can pause your subscription or skip weeks so it's super flexible. You can also cancel it real easily too! 

I was discussing it with my boyfriend and we both said it's really good idea as a gift for someone, if they want to learn to cook or something for parents to gift their children if they are students! 

So there we have my thoughts on the Gousto box, have you ever tried out Gousto? 
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Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Cruelty Free Skincare | Beauty

Cruelty Free Skincare


As you guys will now know if you I am going cruelty free with my skincare and beauty products which means, over the last few weeks I have been trying out a lot of new stuff. I wanted to share with you my thought on these lovely products and how I got on with them. 


B. Clean Melting Gel Cleanser


I think I want to start with the Melting Gel Cleanser from the Superdrug range B. This was something very unexpected because it is literally a clear gel, that when you rub over your skins for a minute or two it turns to an oil, that washes off milky white  - like what? At first i struggled with this one but that was because I was using too much of the product, you actually only need a hazelnut sized blob of the stuff any more and it becomes a sticky mess. I would also say that you should massage the gel into your skin until it has completely changed into a oil texture. The first couple of weeks I noticed a couple of spots pop up on my chin but I can't say it was 100% down to this product but the rest of my skin looked really good, very fresh and bright. I have easily fallen in love with the Melting Gel Cleanser and use it about 3 times a week, it is really gentle and can be used to take off eye make up! 


B. Confident Day Cream


Moving onto another B. product which is the B. Confident Day Cream  which is part of the Phase 1 range aimed at skin between the ages of 20-30. Finding a good cream was quite scary for me because I loved my Olay day cream so much but unfortunately this brand is not cruelty free so I have no other option but to find something else. The B.Confident Dy Cream is quite a thick formula which claims to hydrate the skin for up to 12hrs which is a bold statement but I have found that my face does feel better hydrated that it was before. Whilst it is a lot thicker than what I am used to, it actually absorbs quickly into my skin but again I use a very small amount. I have been using this for over a month and can definitely see the difference this product, coupled with the Melting Gel Cleanser, has made to my skin. 


Cherry and Almond Shower Gel


Moving onto another Superdrug gem we have their own brand shower gel and I have it in the Cherry & Almond scent and oh my god! I love the Superdrug shower gels because they are actually quite similar to the Original Source shower gels with wonderful vibrant scents but at a FRACTION of the cost being 99p compared to OS £2.29. The shower gel is just a good and definitely cruelty free as are all of the Superdrug own brand products are. This smells insane, I just wanna eat it...but I can't! I used exfoliating gloves in the shower so i just whack a big squeeze of that in one hand and lather myself up, it's a really nice gel for the price. 

Of course, no skincare post would be complete without discussing lips and you just know I had to mention my beloved Burt's Bees Lip Balm and I really love the original version of this balm because it has peppermint in it and quite frankly I like the tingly feeling. This lip balm was something I didn't even realise was cruelty free until I pulled back the label and saw the little leaping bunny, so bloody happy with that one. 

This post is a first phase in transitioning to cruelty free, there are so many good brands out there and I've kinda gotta try a lot to find my perfect combination but so far I have been so impressed with just these products already, good prices and quality is great why wouldn't you want to go cruelty free? Another thing to note is that the B. range is not only cruelty free but also suitable for Vegans which is always good to know. If you wanted to know which brands to avoid you can find a little blacklist of the big highstreet brands who do still test on animals. 

Have you tried any of the B. products? 
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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Working From Home | Lifestyle


After 4 months of working from home I thought I would share with you 5 things that I have noticed or realised now that I work from home...

You don't get sick days
It was one of the first things I noticed is when I was ill I thought "oh great, I don't have that long ol' commute into work" but the difference is when I worked in an office I would phone in sick then spend the day in bed recovering. Whereas when you are already working from home, like you can still technically work from your bed. I feel really bad about phoning in sick when I could just check my emails. 

You will put on weight 
...if you don't exercise, simple. If you eat more than you move then you will gain weight! Another terrible thing is being in the house where there is a constant supply of food! Fortunately I am getting myself into a better routine and going to the gym in the morning and cutting back on the sheer amount of snacks! But it's a bit of a shock to the system. 

You will get distracted
Whether it's your mother telling you about something that happened when she was walking the dog or that TV show you keep forgetting to watch or that stupid Loose Women show that grinds your gears - whatever they are all distractions. I even found myself doing a little bit of house work to break up the day. You really have to learn when to zone these things out. 

You will struggle to switch off
Technically I work from 9 - 5 but you best believe I don't finish at 5, basically I am accessible at any time via Skype so if my boss wants a report or anything, I'm there! If someone wants to ask a question, I am always there. I find it very hard to ignore messages and because I'm always on my damn phone and how can I just say no!?

You will have a better work/life balance

Aside for the switching off thing, if you work in London you will know the pain of the commute the hour and a bit just getting into London and the same getting out it adds a lot of time to your day, but also whilst you may go out with colleagues after work for drinks they are still colleagues so you are still talking about work. Being at home means that when I finish and when I switch off the evening is completely mine. I can meet with pals, I can do some life admin, I can go for dinner with my geek! 

Could you work from home? 
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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Makeup Revolution Radiance Palette | Beauty

Makeup Revolution Radiance Palette

Makeup Revolution Radiance Palette


Ok, I caved and bought the Radiance Palette from Makeup Revolution! I was really trying very hard not to buy any new palettes but two things, firstly I appeared to be having an allergic reaction to my much adored Blushing Hearts highlight which I think I have just had for too long now so had to throw it anyway! And secondly, I have really been missing my Hourglass Ambient Light powder so I wanted something that would draw light into my face but something where I can add highlight to specific areas! The Radiance Palette was only £8 for 3 shades of highlight so it wasn't much of a risk! 

Radiance Palette Swatch

As you can see each of the 3 shades are quite different. In the pan 1 and 2 look actually very similar but on my finger tips you can see my middle finger and the one to the right hand side are quite different colours and then you have that gorgeous golden bronze shade on my index finger. I literally gave each finger tip a tiny rub and this is how much product I got, you can see that they are quite pigmented. What I like about these highlighters are that they are NOT glittery like most, they're so soft and finely milled that make them incredibly easy to blend. 

The first shade on the left hand side in the Radiance Palette I would say is a pretty good dupe for the Ambient Light in Dim Light but at a mere fraction of the cost. I use this shade like I did with Dim Light and use it lightly all over my face, it gives SUCH a natural highlight because it really draws the light into you face on the more natural contours. The centre shade I will definitely be using on my cheek bones just to give them a bit more oomph! I think the only shade I'm really gonna struggle with is the golden one, I am pale as hell and there is no way I can use this one to contour with as it is just too much like a highlighter. I will be taking the palette on holiday with me when I go away in May so maybe it will be good for a sun kiss summery look. 

I am in love with this little palette and find myself using it all the damn time!! Have you tried the Radiance Palette? 
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