Saturday, 28 February 2015

Lifestyle | Kicking the bad lifestyle habits

Over the past couple of months I've been on a complete lifestyle overhaul. I've started to make changes to my eating habits and have gotten my arse into gear a bit more when it comes to heading to the gym or doing some kind of exercise. A lot of people at work have asked me why I'm on a diet, the simple truth is that I'm not on a diet. I've made a conscious decision to make changes to my overall lifestyle and not limit myself completely. Instead of banning myself from chocolate and bad fatty foods such as crisps I'm just deciding that I don't want to eat them, they're allowed in moderation if I do want them, but I'm not full on banning them from my diet. I think that a lot of people have the misconception that because I'm trying to be good and not eat the bad things that people offer me in the office, that I have a misconstrued image of myself. This really isn't the case. I've often been told that I don't need to be on a diet and that I'm fine as I am, but for me this lifestyle change isn't about thinking I'm too fat or that I need to lose weight, this is about me wanting to become healthier overall and tone up. Yes, I'm a girl in her early twenties and I do see myself as having 'problem' areas like most people my age, but I also think that I'm already a healthy weight. My end goal is not to lose weight, but gain muscle and tone. As my niece likes to put it, I want to be 'fit not skinny'.

My new Gym kit! I feel better working out in these beauties!

I first decided that I wanted to change my lifestyle just before Christmas; I had just met my current boyfriend in October and he was trying to introduce me to so many new foods. Being the fussy little madam that I am, I turned my nose up and didn't want to try anything new and healthy. I was content munching on sweets and chocolate as snacks and eating almost nothing but spaghetti bolognese and other pasta dishes as my evening meals. My lunches consisted of Tesco Meal Deals or ready meals and I rarely got much nutrients at all. My massive 'eureka' moment to get into shape and become healthier was a couple of weeks after my Twentieth birthday; I'd gotten out of the shower and looked in the mirror and just started crying. In the first month of being comfortable in my new relationship with Jordan, I'd put on a bit of weight. Not a lot in terms of numbers, but when I looked at myself, I really was not happy. Although I've been good with the gym and with going to bi-weekly winter bootcamp sessions, it clearly was not enough. I began to realise that to tone my body up and get it back to looking how I wanted it to be, I would have to change my diet. 


The first thing to change was skipping breakfast. For as long as I can remember I haven't eaten the most important meal of the day. Blaming it on not having enough time in the morning I've always just waited until lunch time rolled around. I now have granola and Full fat natural yoghurt as soon as I get into work at 8am, not too much (only two tablespoons of each) but enough to kick start my metabolism and get my day started. I also have a smoothie everyday, I've found some great recipe's in both Fleur De Force's 'Glam Guide' and Lucy Mecklenburgh's 'Be Body Beautiful' and these have really helped me divert away from my sugar based fruit only smoothies that I was making before. I've found that ready these books have helped me understand why other people have made this life decision too. 'Be Body Beautiful' is full of great exercises and meal plans for you to follow with all the nutritional information behind it! 

The two new books motivating me!

For lunch I now have Peri-Peri chicken along with a chopped pepper and some iceberg lettuce, to some this may not seem a lot at all, but it's enough for me for a light lunch. I usually eat in the evening and as I absolutely love to cook, I have a hearty meal then instead of at lunch. Jordan and I like to plan our meals in advance for the week. This is mostly to ensure that we only buy what we need when we go food shopping, but also so that we know that we won't be just chucking any old unhealthy thing into the oven if we can't be bothered. Some of our typical evening meals (including some completely new dishes to me) are: Beef Stir Fry, Enchiladas, Homemade Chicken Kievs with Sweet Potato Fries, Burgers without buns, with salad and Sweet Potato fries, and a small amount of Pasta with a Homemade Sauce. I'm absolutely loving having different meals of an evening and not sticking to the same thing every night. I feel so much healthier due to the different ingredients and don't feel so sluggish anymore either. 

New gym shoes (to make me want to go) haha

As for my exercise, I've decided to pick it up a bit with my training. I now not only do boot camp once a week (twice if there is space on a Saturday morning class), I also follow that with at least a 500m swim and sauna and then also try to get out for another 1000m swim and a run once a week also. I can sometimes massively lack motivation for getting out on my own and so I also have Personal Training sessions once a fortnight - I find that these really help me pick up the pace and feel more energized with a new wave of determination after it - even though she pretty much kills me every session! I'm loving my new routine and lifestyle change and I'm so ready to embrace the rest that it brings at me. I feel so much more energetic, so much less lethargic and overall I feel healthier in myself. 

What changes have you made this new year to make you feel healthier?

You can keep up to date with my fitness progress by following me on Instagram


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Fashion | The Essential Jane Bag

For me a handbag is an investment. I'm not the kind of girl to have a million handbags; once I have a bag, I use it until the poor thing has no life left in it. I may spend a bit more on them, but I like that I'll know they'll last me a while before I have to buy a new one. For me my handbag is often my biggest accessory. For a fashion blogger, I'm not normally one for jewellery or 'statement' pieces and so my main feature in a look is usually my bag. I have a love for beautifully classic bags and on my way to striving for a classic Louis Vuitton or Mulberry, I've come across this beauty from Baginc. This is the 'Essential' Jane bag* in a lovely Leather Brown - definitely not too dissimilar from the Hermes Birkin Bag. As copy-cats go, this is a pretty decent bag. I absolutely love the style and find it a really lovely style for every-day use as well as for when travelling. 

The Baginc 'Jane' Bag is really pretty and well made, however I believe that it has one flaw. Although it looks gorgeous, it is very difficult to get into. All of the clasps and straps make the design sleek and very safe (for the security conscious) but as for practicality, that's where this bag falls short. I've been using this bag for a couple of days now and even within the first 15 minutes of using it when out food shopping i found it really difficult to work with. The simple task of retrieving my purse or car keys became a massive struggle (as you can see in the middle picture above) and in the end I eventually gave up and began to just leave the bag un-fastened. To constantly manoeuvre the bag's opening flap through the handles and then fasten the straps through the metal detailing and then finally around the clasp, was a massive hassle and one that I became very frustrated with very fast. I absolutely adore this bag, but I think that a better design would have been to attach a magnetised clasp under the flap and against the main part of the bag, keeping the beautiful detailing and character of the bag, but eliminating the need for swear words every time you want to open or close it - If only I didn't have to worry about opening it every five seconds to access my spare change! 

Apart from my slightly negative comments towards the fastening of this bag, I actually really liked it. When I used it and didn't close it as often, it was a really decent bag, with a lot of room within. The bag itself has a large main pocket and after the straps that hold it closed retract the bag widens and becomes fully opened (think drawstring effect). The main body is really spacious and even after chucking in my daily essentials (purse, makeup bag, keys, phone, work pass) there was still a lot of room to fill. Even when I did have the patience to close it properly, I still didn't struggle with it being too full, which is an issue that I usually have with smaller bags. Aside from the main pocket, there are also two separate pockets on the insides of the bag; one is open and ready for anything like a phone or your favourite lipstick to slip into and one is zipped shut (perfect for those lady products to be hidden discretely in). 

I really really like this bag, it's just a massive shame that it's not too easy to work with. I'm hoping that when the leather softens up a bit, it becomes easier to use, but for now I have to say that this seems like it could be the perfect bag to take on a trip. Aeroplane, coach, train, anywhere you don't need to access your stuff quickly, you know this bag will keep your belongings secure and although I'd love to have it as an everyday bag and use it properly, at the moment I think the only way that I'd be able to use it, is with not fastening it up properly every time. 

Have you had struggles like this with bags before?
You can buy the 'Essential' Jane bag here for $159.



Saturday, 21 February 2015

Fashion | Holiday Fever with South Beach

It's February and I am already wishing away the months until I can be laid on a beach in some sunny sunny country far far away from where I am right now. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my life and my job and living in England, but right now I'm extremely ready for a holiday. I'm guessing that a lot of you reading this are wishing that as well - come on, who wouldn't realistically want to be on a beach right now? Preparing for said currently non-existent holiday, the lovely people at South Beach  have sent me this gorgeous Boutique Navy Stripe Frill Bikini* to get me in the mood even more (like that was needed!). I'm a massive fan of halter neck bikini's and this one has not disappointed! It is such a cute design and will look perfect when I'm finally laid on that beach or beside that pool. The tie-up feature of the briefs and top is brilliant and one that I really love as it means that the fit can be just right. It's a gorgeous bikini and I love how it feels on, sometimes Bikini's can be a bit uncomfortable but I can honestly say that this is really lovely to wear. I can't wait to wear this and get some proper use out of it and also try some more pieces from their range!

The halter neck bra of the bikini is slightly padded, which I'm not usually a fan of, but this one is well shaped and fits me nicely. I also really like that the shape of the bra isn't the conventional tiny triangle, which also suits me well. Even though I have slightly bigger boobs for my shape, this bikini is a size 8 and covers them nicely with a wider based triangle. They don't even look like the usual DD that I am, which even though some of you may not understand, I quite like when wearing a bikini or swimming costume. Overall this South Beach Navy Stripe Frill Bikini is the perfect Bikini for my body and style and I absolutely love it! 

Have you tried any items from South Beach? Let me know what you think!



Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Lifestyle | How To Treat Acne

Image  Source

No matter how much we hate it, Acne is something that most of us have to deal with on a daily basis. It can come in many forms and unfortunately can cause quite a few other problems for sufferers as well. Lack of confidence is a massive thing among people who have acne; I only suffered from mild acne when I was a little younger, but even for me, it dropped my self-confidence dramatically and I used to sit before school trying to cover my spots as much as I could just to feel like people couldn't see them as much. Even now, I only rarely get a couple of spots but I always feel the need to cover them as much as I can. I guess there's a kind of stigma around spots that you're dirty if you have them and especially if you have a lot. It's really not the case, most people suffer with acne, whether it's mild or very severe and it's not just teens either, as stereo-typically portrayed. Acne is one of the most wide spread and persistent skin conditions with up to 80% of 11-30 year old  people affected.

As I mentioned above, I suffered with mild acne when I first hit puberty (never thought I'd be writing that word on my blog) and when it came to 'that' time of the month, my skin always got that little bit worse. I used to just apply a bit of Savlon to the problem areas, but being a teenager and wanting her spots gone, I also used to squeeze until there was nothing left. It got to the point where there would be no in between and my acne would just continue month round. I was quite lucky in the fact that I only had a mild case of acne, but as a young girl I still struggled. As I got older, I began trying every lotion and potion I could to try and get rid of them, but nothing was a permanent fix. I started with face masks, black head removers, cleansing bead scrubs and night creams, but nothing really kept them away for long and a lot of them could cause other side effects such as redness and dryness.

Sk:n is a leading Skin Clinic offering non-surgical treatments across the UK widely known for their acne treatments. After a first consultation, the specialists at Sk:n recommend the best treatments for your skin type to help prevent acne in the future. They offer a range of Skin Peels from light, to medium, to deep for varying levels of prevention. The light skin peels start by exfoliating the top layer of skin and getting rid of unwanted dead skin cells.They're best for acne, blackheads, clogged pores and most varieties of skin types, including sensitive skin. Moving up to the Medium peels, these peels 'penetrate' the upper and middle layers of skin and can help acne (including acne scarring), clogged pores, blackheads, white heads and even over oily skin and lastly there is the Deep Peels which penetrate the upper and lower layers of skin; they focus on rejuvenating the skin and are mainly for acne scarring and signs of ageing. Peels like these are for more of a 'permanent' fix, even though there is no cure. The peels are a method of prevention and even though as a one-off they do cost, it may well be worth it for you if you have a more severe case of acne.
(Information on their Skin Peels can be found here: link)

Image Source

Although they are non-surgical, Skin Peels still wouldn't really be the one for me when I had mild acne. I don't think for the acne that I had, it would have been the first option for me and I'm guessing that for many people my age or below, skin peels won't be their first option either. Luckily, Sk:n clinic also have a range of their own cleansing and preventing products that could help. Their Anti-Blemish and Cleansing skincare range has a starting price of £10.50 and have products that compliment each other to clear your skin. Their main aim with these products is to exfoliate the skin and remove any bacteria and dead skin cells, unclogging the pores and reducing the production of acne. Personally, I'd have loved to have tried some of these products when I suffered more with acne as they are specialised for sensitive skin and not damaging the skin as they work.
(You can find their products for sale, here)

Luckily my acne cleared up on its own (after many years of battle) but I know that for some people, it's just not as easy. Have any of you heard of Sk:n or tried any of their treatments or products before?
Let me know in the comments, I'd love to know what's helped you best with treating your acne.


This is a sponsored post*

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Beauty | His and Hers Fragrances with Hugo Boss

There's definitely no doubt about it: I am a girl that loves perfume. I shamefully have to admit that I probably own around 15-17 perfumes and fragrances. I'm absolutely obsessed with smelling good (who isn't?) and it clearly shows in my collection. The latest edition to my stash is the new Hugo Woman fragrance by Hugo Boss. I've always been intrigued by their fragrances, but as I've never been too 'into' their brand as a whole, they've never been the fragrances that I'm drawn to trying. The packaging is another contributor to this; as most of my regular readers will know, I'm not a fan of boring and basic packing. I'm one of those people that really do judge products by their appearances (something I'm not proud of) and whether it's a well-known brand or a newby to the market, I get easily put off by packaging that is dull and monotone and get really intrigued and fascinated about products that look pretty. 

The new Hugo Woman* fragrance is something I would have never picked up by looking at the packaging, however once I'd smelt it, it would've been straight into my collection. I was very generously sent this fragrance along with Hugo Boss for men and my god, they are gorgeous! Hugo Woman is a beautiful fruity scent with sandalwood base tones and floral middle tones. The dark plum scents come through very strong with a boyish musk entwined; it all pieces together really nicely to create the perfect girly scent. Within the period of just a few short days this perfume has become one of my favourites and I've really been proven wrong when it comes to judging a book by its cover! The bottle itself is gorgeously circular in transparent glass with a discrete yet feminine red ring running around the edges within a groove. It's pretty in a really understated and simple way and is perfectly suited to sit upon my dresser.

As a complete Hugo Boss obsessive, my boyfriend Jordan had always wanted to own a Hugo Boss fragrance, but due to the price has always thought that it's best received as a gift. Hugo* is the male scent by Hugo Boss, a brilliantly manly scent perfect for the evening, full of musk and fruity tones. Noticeable yet not over-powering, Jordan loves this scent saying that he really likes the clean and fresh feel to it. Not normally a lover of fruity scents Jordan mentioned that it smells 'charismatic' to him. Although he may sound a little stupid saying it, he told me that it made him feel like a professional man; a man with a bit of power. Amazing how something as little as an aftershave could make him feel like that - but I guess that's what guys are like! I personally love the scent on him. I've always been a fan of  a real musky scent on a man and this is just the perfect balance of masculinity and gorgeously scented apple. The bottle is a manly design, kind of like a glass hip-flask with a sturdy lid - perfect for when travelling as you know there won't be any wasted! 

Hugo Boss is a scent that I never thought to try but after sampling both the his and hers fragrances with my boyfriend, we've both come to the conclusion that they most definitely live up to the Hugo Boss name. What are your favourite scents? Have you tried either of the latest Hugo Boss fragrances?



Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Beauty | Valentine's Day Makeup

Valentine's day is that one day a year that I've always hated. For me, Valentine's day is usually comfy pyjamas on, Chocolate in hand, P.S I Love You on the Tv and it's normally spent with Mr Ben and Mr Jerry. I've never found Valentine's day depressing as such, but when you're single, what else is there to do but sit at home and feel a tiny bit sorry for yourself? Not this year though, this year, I'm all loved up and am actually looking forward to February 14th for once. Falling on a Saturday this year, it's so much easier to get up and go out for the evening. For that reason, myself and my boyfriend are actually going to be spending the evening in cooking for each other; for our first Valentine's day together, we don't want to have the stress of going out when it'll no doubt be extremely busy. This doesn't mean though, that I don't want to get dressed up. As a beauty blogger I'm all about looking good and I thought I'd show you one of my ideas for a Valentine's date makeup look.

The lovely people at Fragrance Direct have sent me a few products to get in the mood for the big day and to help me create the perfect makeup look. After starting with my original base of my Bare Minerals powder foundation, I began by fill in in my eyebrows with the Colorsport Smokey Eyes & Perfect Brows Kit*. As I have quite dark hair, I opted for the 'brown powder' with the angled brush that comes with the kit - I really loved that you can use this powder dry or wet, perfect for keeping those brows in place and filling them with colour! For my bronze, I used the Famous Rhianna Shimmer Brick* and used the bottom 4 shades mixed together on my Real Techniques Powder brush and for a highlight I used the top shade along my cheek bones and intermittently along the length of my nose. For a discounted price of £2.99 on Fragrance Direct, this is a gorgeous product that I really would recommend! Bobbi Brown added a flush of colour to my cheeks with their Blush in 28 Nude Peach I really love Bobbi Brown's products and this blush is definitely the perfect shade for a Valentine's date. 

I definitely think that my eyes are my best facial feature and so I often decide on a smokey, dramatic eye. Using the Colorsport Smokey Eyes & Perfect Brows Kit* I first started with the Blonde Powder for the inner corner of my eyes and then added my Clarins Ombre Matte shadow in 03 Taupe. For a deeper and more smokey look, I then added the Ebony Black Powder from the Colorsport palette onto the very outer corner of my eyes as a feature. My MeMeMe Eye Pencil in brown lines my water line and I've then added a lick of Benefit's new Roller Lash over my lashes! Of course, for Valentine's day, it's all about a bright lip and Fragrance Direct has made this gorgeous bright lip look for me with Calvin Klein's Delicious Luxury Creme Lipstick in Eros*. I absolutely love this colour as it's a perfect balance of pink and red for my Valentine's makeup look. It's also perfect to match with Essie's Fifth Avenue* Nail Lacquer as they beautifully compliment each other.  

I love this simple romantic look and will definitely be wearing this face on Saturday. Although Jordan and I are staying in for a night of cooking together, I'm still looking forward to dressing up and making an effort for our first February 14th together. 

What look will you be going for this Saturday?


Saturday, 7 February 2015

Fashion | London Retro Sunglasses with Glasses Direct*

Even though it's bloody freezing outside and England is a miserable place at the best of times, there is most definitely always the need for a gorgeous pair of sunglasses. I've never quite managed to find that perfect pair and even though Primark do some great throw-always, I've always lusted after that high-quality, high-end pair but have never had the heart to splurge the cash on them. Especially when I have quite a big melon head and struggle to find glasses that fit me properly whilst also looking good. This is where Glasses Direct comes in. Glasses Direct have set up a new Free Home Trial feature on their website where you can now order 4 frames, free of charge for a quick home trial. The basic idea of this is to make sure that you are 100% happy with the glasses you're going to purchase. For me, this was the perfect solution for my big head, small framed glasses dilemma as I got to try out Four different frames that I liked the look of and literally try them for size.

For my four frames I chose four classic looks to try from London Retro. The Piccadilly glasses in Black, Highgate in Black / Crystal, Jubilee in Black / Crystal and Mason in Shiny Black / Blue. After trying them all and deciding that two were definitely not for me and my big head, I finally settled on the Highgate glasses as a pair of designer sunglasses. The home trial was so easy to complete and even though you're only given 7 days from date of dispatch to return them, it's really not all that Bad as as I managed to try on my frames and choose my desired pair with only ten minutes of opening the package. Sending them back was also just as easy with a simple returns label included to stick back on and simply tape the box back up. Once you've finally decided on a pair of glasses and have sent your home trial back, it's easy to just pop online and order the glasses you'd like, whether that's ordinary sunglasses,  prescription sunglasses or regular prescription glasses.

The Highgate Sunglasses* are a gorgeous square frame with a black main frame and and a clear crystal  detailing around the bridge and arms. They fit my face really well and even with my wide head, they didn't look too out of place and I'm actually really happy with them! I love how stylish they look and how easy it is to style an outfit with them or even pair them with an outfit. As you can tell, fashion for a blogger like me is very important and these sunglasses fit very well into my  wardrobe! For £95 they're not the cheapest of all sunglasses, but for a pair of designer glasses they're very good quality for the price, which can sometimes be hard to find. I'm absolutely in love with them and can't wait for the summer to arrive and for the sun to put his hat on so that these babies can be used properly with my summer fashion! 

What do you think of London Retro Sunglasses?


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Beauty | Giorgio Armani Beauty Event Bristol

At the weekend I was lucky enough to attend a bloggers launch event at the new Giorgio Armani counter in House of Fraser Bristol and I have to say that when I was first invited, I was very excited. And I was right to be as I had such a great afternoon meeting new bloggers and learning all about the Armani products. Being the first and only Giorgio Armani counter in Bristol, the lovely ladies introducing us to the brand made sure that they gave us all of the information they could whilst still giving us a great time. I've never thought of using Armani beauty products before, stereotypically thinking that they would be extortionately priced, but I was surprisingly wrong and now have a couple of products set ready on my wish list. 

Greeted with a lovely glass of Raspberry champers and some Ferrero Rocher, the afternoon got off to a brilliant start as we all introduced ourselves and settled round to watch a product demonstration. The gorgeous Ellie was our model for the hour (can we please just appreciate the fact that this girl's face is absolutely stunning?!)  and through the application of her makeup we learnt little facts about each product. I loved the eye-brow technique, using the Eye & Brow Maestro  and the angled Eye Maestro Brush  (which also has an eyebrow brush on the other end) - using little strokes, they managed to replicate the look of natural brow hairs. I was amazed that they looked so natural and really want to get a hold of this myself and give it a go! I also really loved the look of the Sun Fabric bronzer, which at £50 does seem quite steep at first but it really does give a gorgeous shadowed contour effect instead of just looking brown or too golden. Both of these products are now on my wish list and I can't wait to get my hands on them! 

After the demonstration and introduction to Giorgio Armani makeup, we were all matched to our perfect shade of Luminous Silk Foundation  and given a sample to try at home. Unfortunately, my shade wasn't available at the time due to samples having not arrived in time, but my lovely friend Abbee actually bought the foundation in the same shade as me and has pumped me out a bit to try (the little gem that she is). We then all chatted and mingled a bit more, asking questions and photographing to our hearts content until it was time to head off home (or in mine and Abbee's case, head off shopping). We were given a generous goodie-bag each and had our time to make any purchases that  we wanted to. I had some money left over on a gift card from Christmas and so bought myself the Fluid Master Primer at £35. I ran out of all of my other primers and so thought this would be the perfect time to give it a try. As you can see below, we were very spoiled with our lovely gifts! A beautiful Giorgio Armani Parfums wristlet makeup bag and also a full size Rouge D'Armani Lipstick in the most delicious deep plum colour. Further reviews will come for these products. 

Gifts: Giorgio Armani Parfums makeup bag wristlet and Giorgio Armani Rouge D'Armani Lipstick in 611 Plum. 

Fluid Master Primer
A massive thank you to the lovely ladies at the Giorgio Armani counter in House of Fraser Bristol for hosting the event, I had such a great time and am loving the products so far!

Have you ever tried any Giorgrio Armani Products? 
Let me know your recommendations in the comments. 


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