30 June 2015

Miller Harris Poirier d'un Soir Fragrance | Beauty

This is going to be a bit of a different post today because it's about Fragrance which isn't something I usually cover because I'm a little fussy with scents but you know sometimes when you find something you actually love you have to shout about it. 

To give a bit of back ground, I was actually given this as a gift along with a different range which I'll write about in a separate post, but honestly, it's the sweetest thing any one has ever done for me so I was thrilled when these arrived completely unexpected. 

If you aren't familiar with the brand Miller Harris, they are a niche fragrance house who do a unique range of scents, perfumes, candles, body washes and lotions. They are a luxury brand because of the price points but also because of the quality of the products. They do resell on sites such as John Lewis, Feel Unique and Very Exclusive so that kind of gives you an idea about the brand. 

Poirier d'un Soir is actually part of their new range and is just wonderful. I'm a massive fan of zesty/citrus fragrances and this one has really wonderful hints of that. When you first spray it on you get the citrus scent immediately but then it almost mellows to a sweet soft fragrance. It's described as "Evocative of the warm honeyed blooms that encircle a pear orchard at dusk"  doesn't that just create the most delightful image? 

For those of you that want to know a little more about the specific notes the website highlights them as:- 
  • TOP: bergamot Italy 
  • HEART: rum extract, rose Turkey, papyrus India 
  • BASE: birch tar oil, patchouli oil, white cedarwood
The thing that I like about Miller Harris is that the fragrances really are different, I stopped buying perfumes at places like Boots because every single one was nice but really lacked some of the subtle and simplistic touches like that of Miller Harris. 

For me this is perfect of everyday, it's fresh, light and sweet. 

Have you tried out Miller Harris? What's your favourite fragrance? 
28 June 2015

Posh Pickles Claret, Red Onion and Balsamic Relish | Lifestyle

Looks delicious doesn't it? I literally love all kinds of pickles, chutneys and jams, the list really could go on. I do eat a lot cheese and like a variety of different things to accompany it. I was very lucky to recieve a gorgeous little sample of Posh Pickles, Claret, Red onion and Balsamic Relish*. 

The thing I really love about Posh Pickles and Preserves is that they have really unique flavour combinations. They have quite a lovely range of pickles and have something for everyone. The products are all free from artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives so you know it's a really great, quality product and they're all hand made. Honestly what's not to love? They have a fantastic range of jams as well from Raspberry and Red Currant to Sweet and Sour Lime (which I absolutely must try out). I also like that they have a Cheeky Chilli Relish and a Cheekier Chilli Relish, we all love a bit of cheekiness. 

I just knew I'd love my Claret, Red Onion and Balsamic relish because the ingredients just sound so yummy, it's made of:- Red onion, claret, prunes, honey, balsamic vinegar, light soft brown sugar, olive oil. At first I was a little spoiled for choice, I didn't know what to have with my chutney as I envisioned it would work well with a variety of different dishes. This chutney would be a great addition so sweet potato fries because it is tangy and would work with the sweetness of the potato. I also think it would work with chicken because it's a light meat. However, I just couldn't resist on having it with some crackers and cheese. 

This chutney is by far the tastiest chutney I've had it a very long time, all the flavours  work so well together, you can pick up on the honey and brown sugar but it really is enhanced with the balsamic too. The full size jar retails for about £3.50 online which I actually think its a pretty good price because the quality of the product is definitely worth it. 

Sweet and Sour Lime Marmalade is on my hit list, definitely going to try that one out.

Have you tried Posh Pickles? Are you a lover of chutneys, pickles and jams?

*PR sample, all views my own 
25 June 2015

Stratford Westfield Random Haul | Fashion

Ann Summers Get Carried Away

Westfield Shopping Haul

The other week me and my wonderful friend Vernia went to Westfield in Stratford just for a bit of a wander. I didn't really need anything, but when the chance to see a very dear friend arises you know I'm gonna say yes. 

As you can see in the picture above it's a bit of a random haul so let me take you through my various bits and pieces. When we went, every shop had literally just gone into their Summer Sale and everywhere was chaos. I wanted to treat myself to some new underwear and went into Victoria Secret but oh my god! People were going crazy over this stuff, I mean it was a mess, trying to find your sizes was hard enough without being elbowed out the way and don't even get me started on the queue! So I left that store and though I would try out Ann Summers. I will say I was really impressed with Ann Summers sale, they are a really nice range of bras and underwear in such a fantastic size range. I know that Ann Summers can be seen as a like risque but they also had some nice lace bras that weren't too out there at all and didn't have a crazy amount of padding in them either. I bought so much stuff but I didn't think you all quite needed to see that!

Moving onto a few pieces I picked up from Superdrug. I am loving Sleek make up at the minute so much so I've actually started using the CC Cream as my everyday foundation and I'm loving it, you can read my review on it here. I have also picked up the contour kit, I have hit the entire pan on my Face Form palette and I was going to buy the same palette again however I didn't really use the blush so I saw this an though that would be far more useful than getting the Face Form palette. Recently I have run out of shampoo to wash my make up brushes in so I though I would pick up my Johnsons baby shampoo for those. 

Finally, I have decided to buy a portable charger, oh the utter pain of having an iPhone. My battery always dies which can be so frustrating so I've given in and got this little one. You can get bigger and better ones but I wanted something small that I would just slip in my bag and this should work perfectly. I bought it from Currys for £19.99 which I think is a pretty reasonable price actually. 

It's a random little haul isn't it, but that's the thing I love about Westfield, it kinda has something for everyone clothes, beauty and technology. 

Which shop do you love in Westfield? 
23 June 2015

Garnier Micellar Water | Beauty

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

I thought it was finally time for me to get involved with this Micellar Cleansing Water hype, I mean what does Micellar water even mean? I don't know! I've been looking for a quick an easy way to cleanse my face, I'm probably the most boring person out there when it comes to skincare. I know what works for me and I kinda just stick to it. That being said I have noticed my skin has been looking just a little lifeless recently, so I thought I would try out something new. 

I have read a lot of blogs who bang on about Micellar water and to me it just seems like a nice easy step for my skincare routine so I thought I would try out the Garnier version. Now, there are a lot of different types of Micellar water out there, which one do you choose? I really struggled at first because the Garnier Version was in a massive bottle, which is great if I'm already a fan of this product but in terms of a first time purchase I just didn't want to commit to a big bottle. I then went to Superdrug to see what range they had and saw that Simple have their own and immediately I grabbed a bottle, but it was on offer Buy One, Get One Free, again what if I don't like the stuff? I did however notice that Superdrug were selling the Garnier version in a "Mini Format" so that made my mind up. 

The Garnier Micellar Water works as both a cleanser and a make up remover so it is pretty gentle on the skin and you don't have to rinse it off. I'd say that this isn't the best eye make up remover because it took quite a while to get my mascara off but in all fairness I do wear a lot of eye make up. It's great a removing the rest of my make up and leaving my skin feeling all fresh and clean. I did feel it dried out my skin just a tad at first but after a few uses I was fine.

I'm am loving this addition to my skin care routine and now totally get the hype surrounding Micellar water. 

What are your thoughts on Micellar Water?

21 June 2015

Health - Fitness - Lifestyle Update | Lifestyle

Cherry Blossom Tree

Oh I know it has been a little while since I gave you all an update but now is a good time. I am now in month 6 of my healthy lifestyle change and I really am loving it. I didn't know what picture to use to I thought I'd use the cherry blossom from my tree, just because it's pretty.

I have lost a massive amount of weight which I'm not sure I want to share on here just yet because I know work colleagues could read this and I don't want everyone knowing. I have reached my goal but I have set myself another small goal of an extra 6lbs by the end of the year.

I thought I would share with you 5 things about me that I'm happy with or like now I am lighter and more confident:- 

  • My Collar Bones - this sounds like an odd one but I like my frame and the way my body holds/distributes it's weight. I'm very slim at the top half of my body. 
  • My Waist - I have an hour glass body shape, so now that I weigh less I can actually see this shape much clearer. 
  • Muscles in my legs - whilst these aren't that visible, I still have a layer of fat over them, it's great to feel definition in them again. They are chunky but they are strong
  • Fitness - my fitness levels has increased so dramatically, I love being able to go for a run and not feel as out of breath or as slow as I used to be just 6 months ago
  • My relationship with food - I no longer binge on rubbish, I know that if I want something that might be high in saturated fat or whatever I can have it. I just have to not let it effect my overall routine

Most health and fitness posts include before and after pictures but in all honesty I hated the way looked so much that I didn't really have any before pictures but the people in my life can see how much weight I've lost and have been very nice with their comments. 

Now I'm focusing less on the numbers and more on how my body looks, feels and performs whilst making sure that I do carry on a live my life. I can go out for dinner and drinks with friends but I can't do that every night and I still go to the gym or eat lighter the next day. I'm really starting to understand how to balance everything out. 

What are your healthy living tips?
18 June 2015

Urban Decay Electric Palette | Beauty

Urban Decay Electric Palette

Urban Decay Electric Shades

Close Up Urban Decay Electric

Close Up of Jilted

I recently won Lily Melrose's Instagram competition and the prize was this gorgeous Urban Decay Electric palette. I never win any competitions so I was extremely happy to receive this palette. Anyone who knows me, knows that I never wear shades like this. I always prefer something a little more simplistic or subtle but this is a great chance to try out some different colours and have a play about with them. 

I have only recently started trying more products from Urban Decay, I have the Naked On The Run palette which I adore, so I know the quality of these shadows. My first impression of the Electric palette was that I loved the design, it's like an explosion of colours which gives you just a little taste of what's inside. You receive 10 super bright, super pigmented shades, a nice brush to apply them and a really big mirror in the lid which is great. The thing I really love about this palette is that the shades are incredibly shimmery and these pictures don't really do them justice. Immediately I was drawn to Jilted which is a deep berry red but had blue shimmer particles in it which makes lit look a little purple as well. 

When you swatch these shades you realise what good quality the Urban Decay products are. In the bottom left had corner there is a vibrant blue shade called Chaos which feels like velvet, so beautiful. Each one is very pigmented, when I just lightly swatched them on the back of my hands they really stood out. I found that the top left hand shade called Revolt had the most fall out  and is the hardest to work with but it is a very nice glittery shade. 

Each of the Electric shades have shimmer in them but I found that Savage, the bright pink one on the top row to be the one with the least amount of shimmer in it, it's almost matte. I will just mention that the brush is a nice addition and it's great for putting the colour just on the lid, but you're gonna need another brush to blend etc. 

In all honesty I do think I'm gonna struggle to be brave enough to wear some of these shades such as Thrash the super yellow one but there are some in here I can't wait to experiment with.

What are your thoughts on this Urban Decay Electric palette?
16 June 2015

Dr.PAWPAW Original Balm | Beauty

Dr.PAWPAW Original Balm

Dr.PAWPAW Lip Balm

Could this be the most amazing lip balm yet? In short yes. I was kindly sent this Dr.PAWPAW* product and I was thrilled. I'm always on the hunt for a good lip balm, I am bored with Vaseline, Carmex and Nivea. Don't get me wrong these brands are great brands but I was looking for something new, with some more natural ingredients that would just work. I've found it. 

I wasn't really familiar with the brand Dr.PAWPAW but the products are 100% British made, it even had a tiny Union Jack on the back of the tube. The Original Balm actually has very few ingredients which I really like, it has stuff like Carcia Papaya which is rich in vitamins,
potassium and iron which all aids in skin repair. It also has Olive Oil and we all know the skin benefits of olive oil and Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, which is great for the skin on your face because it helps reduce pores even helps to cleanse and tone the skin. Also, it's good to mention that this product isn't tested on animals

But essentially this is a multi purpose product, if you get the Original Balm which is in the yellow bottle there is a whole host of different things you could use it for such as Lip Balm (of course) Skin Soother, Eye Primer before make up, you can use it on bites and stings and even can be a nappy rash soother. They also have a Dr.PAWPAW in a tinted red shade and a peach tint which is good for lips and cheeks. 

I never wear lip balm during the day because I feel that you always end up using it more often and then become a little reliant on it so I only use it at night which gives it a chance to properly absorb into my skin. From the first time I tried it when I woke up my lips were so smooth and felt really nourished. I do get really dry lips and even using just a small amount of this product fixed them over night. It's nice because it doesn't have any over powering scents, it's colourless, it does the job incredibly well and I am converted. With most lip balms you have to use it a few times to repair dry lips but this one was pretty much instant relief, I'm really impressed. One thing I will say the product was incredibly hard to get out of this tube but I think that's just because it's a sample. 

I've had a look online and a 25ml tube of this balm is around £6.95 which I think is a fantastic price but they also do 3 for 2 offers and you can try out some of the other tinted balms as well. I believe you can only get these products in the UK. I know I'm definitely going to be repurchasing the Dr.PAWPAW original balm once I run out. 

Fantastic little balm. 

Have you tried Dr.PAWPAW?

*PR Sample, however all views my own

14 June 2015

Fitbit Charge Review | Lifestyle

Today I'm going to be speaking about the FitBit Charge, if you don't know what what this is basically it's just something you wear on your wrist that tracks you activity. It'll keep a record of how many steps you've made, how many flights of stairs you've climbed, how many calories you've burned and how well you sleep. 

This was originally my Dad's as he got it for free when he upgraded his phone however he didn't really get along with it, he was kinda skeptical with how it recorded steps so he gave it to me because I really wanted to try it out. I have seen a lot of hype and a lot of people loving this little FitBit and because I'm incredibly active now I thought it'd be good to keep a record of what I'm doing. 

I will be honest with you, the pedometer isn't correct, I cant quite work out how it does the steps, whether it is just based on the movement of my arms or whatever it's not that accurate. For example, on a day where I went once to the gym and only did minimal cardio I walked 12,427 steps but the next day when I went twice to the gym and did way more cardio I managed 15,541 steps which is on an additional 3,114 steps. It doesn't really make sense to me. I also don't really trust the amount of calories burned either cross checked against these two days again I only burned an extra 200 calories. Something just isn't quite right. It doesn't track your steps/movement on the cross trainer correctly and it doesn't track when you are cycling either. To be fair, I know these activities aren't really considered steps but I think it that's where the biggest discrepancy lies. I think they do one that tracks your heart rate as well and I think that would be a great, it would be far more accurate

If I just take this equipment for face value and not look too granular into this it is a great tool, because it keeps a record of everything, it is interesting to see how main flights of stairs you climb or how you slept the previous night. If you aren't already active it's a great incentive to get active and increase your activity, which I'm all for. I just don't quite know whether this device adds any real value to me. On the other hand I love that it tracks my sleep, it'll highlight how "restless" you are or even when you wake up through the night, which is really interesting to me. Some nights I'll be restless over 17 different times and only get lie 5 hours sleep and this is what I really like about the FitBit. Also you do get a sense of accomplishment when you do reach your individual goals so it is great as a motivational tool. 

I like it, but I'm not in love with it but I'm definitely still wearing it. 

Have you tried out the Fitbit?
11 June 2015

Nanokeratin BeFri Hair Brush | Beauty

Nanokeratin BeFri Hair Brush

Nanokeratin Hair Brush

I know what you're thinking, am I really reviewing a hair brush? And basically, yes I am and I'll tell you why. I have been on the hunt for a good brush recently and very nearly bought the tangle teaser however before I bought that brush I was very kindly sent the Nanokeratin System BeFri Hair Brush* to check out. 

As you can see the Nanokertain System BeFri brush does look a little different to other brushes and different to any I've had in the past. This brush has 8 free moving arms, as you can see the bristles aren't just all sticking out of one central pad. They are split into specific sections which actually aids in de-tangling your hair and pulling less on the strands and scalp. Another great point about this brush is that it is vented which means it makes it easier to dry your hair using a blow dryer because the air can get to your roots. 

I haven't really heard of Nanokeratin System before but I really like this brush, it's also super light weight which is nice. The brush is actually designed to keep your hair healthy, soft and smooth. I definitely feel that over time it would keep my hair in a healthier condition because I'm not putting as much strain on my hair but I'm not sure it makes it that much shinier or smoother but it is a lovely brush. 

I actually think this Nanokeratin System BeFri brush would be fantastic for people with thick hair, my issue is that my hair is quite thin so I'm probably not getting the maximum impact from it but I do really like it. It's handy to have in my gym bag because it doesn't weigh it down and it make drying my hair easier and faster which is always really important for me in the morning as I'm trying to get ready for work from the gym. 

What hair brushes would you recommend?

*PR Sample, all views my own
9 June 2015

June Birchbox | Beauty

French Sole Birchbox Floral

Inside June Birchbox

It's June, which can only mean it's time for another Birchbox and this one is stunning! This month's Birchbox is a collaboration with the shoe brand French Sole and they offered 3 different designs and this floral one was by far my favourite. It's just so pretty, I love the water colour look to the box.

I had really high hopes for this box however I must admit, again, I opened it up and wasn't thrilled by everything. In this month's box we have STYL temporary metallic tattoos which I am never going to wear. You can actually add these on top of a manicure but even then, I won't use them. There was also a Penhaligon's sample of Iris Prima which I really didn't like the scent of, it's a little masculine for me and I'm not really a fan of sandalwood either. 

Moving onto some of the other samples, starting with HIP Utlra Shine shampoo, if you have read my previous posts you know I hate it when I get shampoo in my box, I mean how can I get a solid opinion without having a conditioner as well? Next we have the ModelCo mascara which is a fine sample, mascara always comes in handy but I've already got my mascara so I probably won't use this one and give it to my mother instead.  

I was pretty happy to see the Balance Me Body Wash, it's a fantastic size and a fantastic brand. I'm definitely going to use this one, it's already in my gym bag. It's quite a fresh scent but not one I can liken to anything else. Ren Beauty Shot was an interesting one, it's a face cream that is supposed to firm your face instantly. I doubt I'm going to use it a lot but I am excited to try something from this brand as I haven't before. 

Any finally, easily the best thing about this box, was the gorgeous French Sole shoe bag, it's in exactly the same pattern as my box and I am in love. However, I think it's too pretty to put my shoes in it, so I'm actually going to use this to store my make up brushes in when I travel.  

What were your thoughts on the June Birchbox?
7 June 2015

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton | Lifestyle

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

I have been on a hunt for a new book, I haven't read a good book for quite sometime and for some reason every time I walk into a book shop nothing stands out to me until I stumbled across The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. 

The blurb reads:- 

"On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. Though curiously distant, he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations ring eerily true. 

As Nella uncovers the secrets of her new household she realises the escalating dangers they face. The miniaturist seems to hold their fate in her hands - but does she plan to save or destroy them?" 

I like a bit of a mystery, I like to be kept guessing so I was really keen to read this one. So what are my thoughts on this novel? I must admit it's quite a slow start, I mean it's great in the sense it slowly builds up to make sure you have and understanding of the Amsterdam surroundings and the date etc but it was a little too slow for me. You have to read a good half way through the novel before the first secret is revealed. I like the concept of the miniaturist and the dollhouse, it is interesting but I just wanted so much more. 

What this book does really well is the fact it encourages the reader to ask questions, there are lots of little things that don't quite make sense. There are a couple of secrets in the novel that may have not been expected but it's just so slow. I really felt underwhelmed when this book finished, I just wanted it to be a quicker pace and more mystery. The book is set in the 1600s so the secrets that are revealed would have been scandalous back then and it is a sad story but it just wasn't for me. 

Have you read The Miniaturist?
4 June 2015

Molton Brown Samples | Beauty

Molton Brown Samples

Who doesn't love a bit of Molton Brown? When I think of Molton Brown I always think of luxurious hotels, not that I have been in many luxurious hotels. I just mean there is a certain air of luxury with this brand that you just want to be a part of. 

The thing that really stands out for me are the scent combinations, when I picked up these little samples I really thought I would have a stand alone favourite, but in all honesty I don't. Each one just smells completely different than the other but all as equally as delightful. 

I have one body lotion which is Orange and Bergamont and to be honest what's not to love. These are probably my two favourite scents anyway so they work really well together, it's a very light scent. There is also the Coco and Sandalwood body wash, which is another light scent, I can't really get a coco scent from it but there is definitely a sweetness there. Gingerlilly is probably the one that reminds me of a hotel bathroom the most, it's just so fresh and up lifting. Finally, we have Mulberry and Thyme which is probably the sweetest all them all but still just so gorgeous. 

I'm really impressed with these little samples, I may have gone a little crazy and picked up a couple of extras as doubles but they are so worth it. Plus because I'm at the gym all the time these little body washes come in really handy just to chuck in my bag without taking up too much room. 

When I visited the Molton Brown site they just have so many different scent varieties, I kinda want to try them all. For a full sized 300ml bottle it's only around the £18 mark which is actually a pretty great price point. 

What is your favourite lotion or body wash from Molton Brown?
2 June 2015

Wassen Collagen Drink | Beauty

Today's post is something quite new I'm trying out, which is the Wassen Collagen Drink*. I don't usually try out supplements because I find them very expensive and question whether they are actually worth it. However I was recently sent 10 of these little sachets to try out. 

This drink includes Peptan® hydrolysed collagen, 100mg Vitamin C, 15mg Vitamin E and 2mg of Manganese. Peptan ® hydrolysed collagen supports:-
  • Younger-looking skin
  • Moisture levels
  • Smoothness
  • Prevention of deep wrinkle formation
  • Improved suppleness
  • Bone density
  • Joint health
  • Post-exercise recovery
  • Weight control (as satiating macronutrient)
I guess the key areas of interest for me is younger looking skin, smoothness and post-exercise recovery. I used to have horrific acne and it has really taken it's toll on my skin which ages me quite dramatically so I'm quite keen to see whether a product like this could help improve my skins appearance. The packet advises you to take one sachet a day for at least 4 weeks but preferably 8 weeks, however I have a quite generous sample of 10 days which I still thought I would be able to see an improvement in my skin.

The Results

I really wasn't expecting to see much of a change in my skin if I'm honest, I'm always a little skeptical of these types of drinks, however the Wassen Collagen Drink is a game changer for me. Honestly, from day 3 I started noticing a difference in my skin, it just looked a little plumper and a little brighter. I was so impressed and the other thing was that other people started to notice my skins overall appearance was looking better. 

After 10 days but skin looked amazing. I was really surprised how this little collagen drink worked for me. My cheeks looked fuller and my over all skin appearance just looked so much smoother. These drinks just taste of orange, it isn't unpleasant but hardly delicious but they are very easy to add into your morning routine. I simply emptied the entire sachet into a mug of water and had it in the morning at my desk in work. 

I am thrilled with the effcetiveness of the Wassen Collagen drink and it's a bargain price at £19.99, it's definitely worth a purchase. 

Have you tried any Wassen products before? 

*PR Sample, however all views are my own