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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Favourite Healthy Books

When I'm trying to be healthy, one of the things most likely to make me slip up is a lack of inspiration on what to make. We all know that chicken salad is bound to help you drop some weight, but being bored by repetitive meals and feeling restricted is likely to be the first thing to make you reach for the chocolate. As a result, I've started collecting healthy recipe books to help keep me inspired and on the right track. 

Deliciously Ella is a book full of plant-based recipes that includes sumptuous desserts, delicious dips and raw treats. Her philosophy is all about embracing the natural foods our bodies love and creating fresh, simple dishes which are easy to make and taste amazing. This book is great at teaching you that we don't need to pack things with sugar in order for them to taste great, and is a really fabulous book for creating wholesome meals that are incredibly good for you. 

Eat Pretty simplifies buzzwords like biotin and omega-3s and pairs 85 everyday foods with their specific beauty-boosting benefit. It offers a full lifestyle makeover which explores hormonal balance, stress management and mindful living as well as nearly 20 recipes to demonstrate the pairings. It's a great book for helping to encourage an overall lifestyle change and one that I like to keep at hand to pick up and read whenever I need a boost. 

Hungry, Healthy, Happy is a lovely cook book that makes clean eating easy. So often, when people buy healthy cookbooks they usually assume they have to give up the foods they love. This book proves that it isn't the case - and that it's all about making healthy changes that aren't restrictive. This is my favourite book of the bunch as it's not eliminating anything specific out of my diet (not meat and sugar free like Deliciously Ella) but is great for making everyday recipes healthier. 

What are your favourite books for healthy recipes? 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Dr. Barbara Sturm Eye Cream

Taking care of the delicate skin underneath my eyes has always been an area I've been less than diligent with. As I've just turned 29 and edge ever closer to the big 30, it became apparent that if I wanted to keep my face free of wrinkles for a little longer that I would need to change my ways and pay more care. 

There to rescue me, was Dr. Barbara Sturm - one of my favourite luxury skincare brands. I've spoken of my love for her beauty products many times on my blog before and have come to rely on them in my daily routine to keep my skin looking it's absolute best. Her products are based on a medical understanding of cells and anti-ageing which makes her an expert in cosmetic medicine. 

The Dr. Barbara Sturm Eye Cream* is an ultra hydrating cream that's been specially developed with Purslane and Skullcap to lift and firm the sensitive area around the eyes, helping to reduce darkness and puffiness. It's infused with active omega fatty acids which help skin retain moisture. As the under-eye area is particularly delicate, the eye cream is free from any synthetic fragrances, parabens and mineral oils making it a very gentle but effective cream. 

I've been using this for the last 3 months and have grown very attached to it. The skin around my eyes appears brighter, smoother and better hydrated and my makeup sits better in that area. As with all Barbara Sturm products, the eye cream is not for the faint hearted as it costs a whopping £105 per pot. As a result, it won't be for everyone but for those that do have a little extra to splash on some premium skincare, or want to recommend something for their mother or friends - it should be this. 

What is your favourite eye cream? 

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Marula Oil Replenishing Shampoo & Conditioner

I've mentioned many times before that I tend to be quite mundane with my hair care choices. As I don't have any real hair concerns (my hair is neither too dry, nor too greasy) it generally means whatever shampoo I pick up in the supermarket works for me. With that being said, I've recently been receiving bi-monthly haircare boxes from Paul Mitchell, which has given me the opportunity to try products I've never heard of before, let alone ever tried. One such hair care pair that really stood out for me was the MarulaOil Replenishing Shampoo* & Conditioner*.

MarulaOil uses Time-Release Technology to nourish and hydrate hair throughout the day. Whereas other oils simply rinse away, MarulaOil spheres bond to hair like a magnet to deliver fresh bursts of oil every time you touch, style or brush your hair. Whilst this may sound like a greasy nightmare, it's not the case at all. Both the shampoo and conditioner are really gentle and packed with powerful antioxidants that provide instant hydration, whilst taming the hair and keep it lovely and soft.

I'm not normally one to mention packaging, but I absolutely love the pumps on this duo. It makes it really easy to use in the shower when things are normally wet and slippery and is a feature that I think should be used on more shampoo & conditioner products.

I've been using this non-stop since I first received it and would highly recommend trying it if you're looking for a pair of products that will keep your hair in tip top shape. I'll definitely be packing this in my suitcase when I go on holiday later this year!

Have you tried any Paul Mitchell hair products? What are your favourites?

Monday, 4 April 2016

Life Update

You may have noticed that I've been absent from my blog the last few weeks and I thought it was high time I wrote a post to let you know what I've been up to. Sometimes no matter how organised you try to be life manages to get in the way so I decided rather than stress myself out trying to keep up with producing posts, to just put my blog to one side until I had more time to really focus. 

The biggest news in my life is that my boyfriend and I are moving in together, and we've just secured a beautiful new flat in Maida Vale. To say that flat hunting was stressful is an under statement, and I'm so relieved to have found the perfect flat for us to rent for the next couple of years. Maida Vale isn't an area I knew that well prior to our hunt, but I spent my birthday this weekend exploring the area and have fallen head over heels for it. 

With that, normal service should resume soon - although it may be slightly staggered what with moving house and getting internet set up. I'll definitely be doing more interior posts to share how I style my new home, as well as more lifestyle posts as I explore my surroundings

Speak soon!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Current Favourites

It feels like an eternity since I last posted about my current favourites, but as we're already a quarter of the way through 2016 I thought it was high time I shared some of the gems I can't get enough of at the moment.

Benefit Watt's Up Highlighter - £24.50
This is without a doubt my favourite highlighter ever. I can't believe I haven't tried it sooner, as it's one of the prettiest, most natural looking highlighters I've ever used. For years I've been using powder highlighters (MAC's Soft & Gentle in particular) which has worked for me, but I never realised what I was missing out on when it comes to using cream highlighters. They look far more natural, last an incredible amount of time and just help the face look more radiant, but in a 'no makeup' kind of way. This is a beautiful champagne shade that blends really easily and one I will continue to use for a very long time.

Milkshake Integrity Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner* - £6.99 each
I've been a fan of Milkshake products for some time, so was delighted to hear they had launched a range of mini sized products for 2016. As I'm a fairly frequent traveller (both with work and in my personal life) I always find it handy to have travel sized products that are big enough to last more than 2 days but small enough not to take up unnecessary amounts of room in my case. Milkshake products always smell amazing, and the Integrity Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner are no different. This is a nourishing duo for all hair types, it has a salt free and sulphate free formula which helps to condition and moisturise the hair, tame frizz and leave hair feeling soft and radiant.

Kikki K Copper Sellotape Dispenser - £20
Considering my love of both copper and stationery, it was no surprise that I fell head over heels for this sellotape dispenser when I was last in Kikki K. It's perfect for adding a touch of style to my desk, and blends into the other copper touches I have in my room beautifully. It costs £20 which is pricey for a tape dispenser, but as it feels weighty, well made and ultimately looks a dream it's something I was willing to justify.

Zoeva Rose Golden Vol. 2 Powder Brush* - £16
I've already written a full post on this Zoeva Powder Brush as I loved it so much but this really has been one of my favourite makeup brushes to use over the last few months. It's so soft and blends product into my skin beautifully. If that wasn't enough it's also a joy to use every day with it's pale pink handle and rose gold accents. If you haven't tried Zoeva brushes before I highly recommend you do.

Bath & Body Work's 'Fresh Sparkling Snow' Hand Cream - $5
Whilst the name of this hand cream doesn't necessarily tally up with March weather (although it's still very cold) I've been loving this hand cream recently. It's got a really rich, creamy texture that blends into the hands well without leaving them sticky. In all honesty it's not really a winter scent, it just smells really gorgeous so I love having this on my desk at home to keep my hands soft and smelling great as I work.

Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Cologne - £85
This is an old favourite of mine, but as I received this cologne from my boyfriend on Valentine's Day it's naturally the one I'm reaching for most at the moment. It's got such a gorgeous, distinct fragrance which is immediately recognisable on anyone who wears it. I love how rich the scent is without being over powering, but most of all how long it lasts on me during the day.

Accessorize Lingerie* - Bra £14, Knickers £7
I'm definitely a bralet girl - I much prefer them to underwired bras, and as I don't have the biggest bust in the world (a B-C cup) I find they support me perfectly well. The lovely ladies at Accessorize recently let me choose a set to wear and I picked this beautiful two tone soft lace bra and knickers. This is such a gorgeous set, unlike any others I own. The set is adorned with scallop-edge trim and has a pretty satin bow on the front. It's incredibly comfortable, and the pale blue shade is so pretty and perfect for spring.

What are your current favourites? 

Monday, 14 March 2016

Health & Fitness Overhaul: Learning to Love Yourself

For some time now I've not felt happy within myself - I don't like the girl that looks back at me in the mirror, and find myself riddled with insecurities. A few months ago I made a commitment to stop being unhappy and to make a change to be the best version of myself and love myself a little more. I know I'm not the only one that feels these insecurities and body image pressures, so I wanted to share the little changes I've made that are working for me.

I've never been a huge fan of exercising - I hate the gym and generally manage to talk myself out of every other sporty option - mostly through fear of not being able to do it. For so long I loved the idea of being someone who enjoyed working out but ultimately didn't do anything about it. With that being said however, over the past month I've been running 3 times a week to an app called Couch to 5K. It's a great app that builds you up to a 5k run over the course of 8 weeks. The beauty of it is that you're not expected to have huge amounts of fitness when you start (it's not called couch to 5k for nothing) which means it very slowly builds you up through a combination of running and walking.

Since starting this app, I've noticed a real increase in my fitness ability but also a huge improvement in my overall wellbeing. I actually look forward to heading out for 30 minutes after work in the fresh air, it gives me time to think and makes me feel amazing when I get home. I feel proud of myself for not making excuses to exercise and getting out there and doing something. 

With my new exercise regime I've also over hauled my diet to eat healthier, cleaner food. One book I've been enjoying is Hungry Healthy Happy* by Dannii Martin which is a lovely cook book that makes clean eating easy. So often, when people buy healthy cookbooks they usually assume that they have to give up the foods they love. Thankfully, Hungry Healthy Happy is a book that proves this isn't the case - it's all about making healthy changes that aren't restrictive, making your favourite food, but in a healthier, lighter way. I've been making meals at the weekend to keep me going throughout the week (being able to heat up my dinner quickly after a run is a real help) and packed lunches at work help keep me on the straight and narrow. I don't feel like I'm being restrictive, or on a diet - I'm just making better choices - but if I want a little chocolate, I'll have it. It's about having a small bar, not an entire share bag.

To document my fitness/exercise journey, I bought this Food & Exercise Journal from Kikki K. This is a great book that allows you to document any of your health goals, as well as log your daily food and exercise notes. I find it really motivating to document my fitness and food routine at the end of each day, I feel pleased with myself for being good which spurs me on for the next day.

If you're on a similar journey, I'd love to hear about what you've been doing to help you get to the place you want to be. As my journey continues I'll be sure to keep you updated if you'd like to hear more!

What is your fitness routine like? 

Friday, 4 March 2016

FaceGym - Front Row Face Workout

Going to the gym, and getting facials are two things I should definitely do more regularly. Working out my face is a totally new concept for me, however one that really makes sense. Many of us are committed to working out our body muscles, so why aren't we working out the 40+ muscles in our face to ensure they stay in tip top condition?

FaceGym is the UK's only gym studio for the face. Thankfully, unlike toning your body, when it comes to the muscles in your face you can pay someone else to do the work for you. What FaceGym offer isn't a facial (it's a workout) and their face trainers (not facialists) perform a range of lifting and sculpting workouts designed to train the muscles in the face.

I chose a Front Row Face* Workout (#FROW) which conveniently is also the 'supermodel favourite', so as you can imagine I was hopeful of the results. This is a non-invasive workout which ensures a deep clean and peel to remove any dead skin cells. This is then followed by a potent cocktail of power serums (I had Vitamin C, Hyaluronic and Collagen) that combine to plump and hydrate the skin. I also had lympathic drainage and a FaceGym "Face Lift" which is an electrical device designed to sculpt your jaw line, cheeks and brow to ensure you leave glowing.

How did I get on? I loved it. I was convinced that the workout wasn't going to be relaxing but I was wrong - my workout was interspersed between delightful massages which meant I was able to chillout and relax for the entire procedure. Best of all, the results were amazing - my skin was absolutely glowing, so much so that I spent the entire day sans makeup (and I was in central London all day) which is really unheard of for me. My advice would be that after this facial, go straight home or bring some dry shampoo as some of the oils seeped into my hair making it look pretty greasy (thankfully I had a hat!).

FaceGym is situated on the ground floor of Selfridges. The #FROW costs £120 for 50 minutes which although pricey is a workout I'd recommend. They do have a range of cheaper options such as The Hangover Cure for £60 for a 40 minute workout.

Is the FaceGym something you'd consider?

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