Tuesday 31 March 2015

A Diet and Exercise Reprogramme

I spent most of February feeling ill, a mixture of anxiety, teamed with low B12 and iron levels, as well as a borderline thyroid condition. The whole experience made me question my diet and lifestyle. I'd been content with stuffing my face for months on end and my body had finally decided it had, had enough.

I'm on a long journey to a healthier me, I have an unhealthy relationship with food. It's a comfort, if I've had a bad day, junk food is the first thing I reach for. For me it's a 'reprogramme', a way of understanding what food I should be eating and what exercise will help.

I do struggle with energy levels, from the B12 and iron deficiency so exercise isn't always easy but with the help of MyProtein I've started this journey on a positive note. They sent me a few goodies to try out: Impact Diet Whey Protein in Vanilla Cookie, with a shaker, Total Nutri-Greens in Tropical flavour, Elle MP Max Virtue Bar in Double Chocolate, Vitamin B Super Complex tablets and Vitamin C Effervescent.

I go to an exercise class after work every Tuesday and Thursday, the personal trainer likes to switch it up but for the most part we do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which requires lots of energy. I'd nearly passed out in one gym session, which was due to the low energy levels and eating the wrong food. The lovely Jenny at MyProtein advised me on what supplements to take and what shakes to go for to give me energy boosts for working out and most importantly quick recovery.

What is a protein shake and why do I need one?
Protein is usually made from whey, egg or soya. Whey is the most common of those, it is found in milk, so those with a lactose allergy should try a lacto-free version. When you exercise your muscles undergo tiny tears, and then the body repairs itself. Protein help increase muscle repair so you can recover quickly and feel less achy. 

Impact Diet Whey Protein in Vanilla Cookie
I worry about extra calories, I'm sorry, I know it's not all about that but I just don't need unnecessary calories. This is why I like this protein powder, it's intended for someone who is looking to loose weight, reduce fat but increase their lean mass. It does take some getting used to but I'm starting to enjoy it. I've started using protein shakes after the gym as I always feel incredibly hungry, as well as a little shakey and I know I'll be aching tomorrow. It's something that can give me a quick boost and also help me recover in the long run.

Total Nutri-Greens in Tropical
I have allergies to certain fruits and vegetables, (kiwi especially, hello swollen face) so I do find it hard to push more fruit and veg into my diet, this is where this powder comes into play. It contains 22 different superfoods, this includes Chlorella, Broccoli, Spinach Leaf, Acerola Berry and Spirulina to boost your vitamin levels. I've seen people add this to smoothies or sprinkled in food.

Elle MP Max Virtue Bar in Double Chocolate
This is a super quick way to boost your protein intake and it's low calorie. Whenever I see chocolate flavours in diet food I'm always sceptical of the taste, but I think this one is tasty. I'll be picking up some more of these!

Vitamin B Super Complex tablets
I'd chatted to Jenny about my low energy levels and deficiency and she kindly gave me some Vitamin B tablets. I've noticed my energy level pick up slightly but I'm also going to be teaming this with energy boosting foods like bananas to ensure I can workout at maximum level.

Vitamin C Effervescent
MyVitamins Vitamin C Effervescent helps to boost your immune system, as well as helping you to absorb iron more efficiently. I think these will be great for hangovers and colds too!

I think a lot of girls are scared of protein, but you need to fuel your body for your workouts. You can still pick the Diet Whey options if you are worried about calories, and you'll still feel the repairing benefits.

I've found the Women's section of the MyProtein site really helpful, you can see which protein shake is best suited to you based on your fitness/weight loss goals. There is so much advice and help available on the website, as well as recipes so if you are finding adding protein intimidating, check it out.

Have you tried protein shakes with your workouts? What flavours would you recommend?

*This post contains PR samples

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Sunday 22 March 2015

Avene Cleanance Range Review - Mattifying Toner, Mattifying Lotion and Soothing Cream

I first dabbled into French skincare with La Roche Posay Effaclar products and they quickly became holy grail items. When Farmaline asked if I wanted to try some more French goodies, I jumped at the chance.

You may have heard me mention before that I have extremely oily skin, which is prone to breakouts. My skin has dramatically improved since my teens, but I still have the odd painful breakout around my time of the month. The oiliness hasn't really improved so I look for products to combat this.

Avene's Cleanance range is intended to help fight breakouts and spots and the build up of oil on your face. I was eager to see how this range compared to La Roche Posay's Effaclar line.

Avene Cleanance Mattifying Lotion*
This lotion is inbetween a toner and a acne lotion. I remember having a topical lotion from the doctors when I was younger and this is very similar. You splash a few drops onto a cotton pad and smooth the lotion over your face, avoiding the eye area. I can instantly feel the lotion drying and tightening, to leave a matte complexion. I love the tightening and mattifying feeling, but do avoid this if your skin is dry. Another side note is the smell, it's not the most pleasant smelling product, but I've fallen in love with it, so I'll put up with it!

Avene Cleanance Mattifying Emulsion*
After the lotion has left my skin feeling a little tight, I love to pat some of this moisturiser into the skin. It's very much like La Roche Posay's Effaclar Mat, which I love. I honestly can't tell much difference between them, both add a touch of moisture to keep the skin balanced and both help create a matte base for make-up.

Avene Cleanance Hydra Soothing Cream*
This stuff is a godsend! I often over to it with acne products, as soon as a spot appears I wage a war against it. I use drying lotions and potions to make the little blighter decrease in size, sometimes this can leave the rest of my skin very dry and dehydrated. This cream just lightly rehydrates tand soothes the sore and irritated skin.

I'm very impressed with the Avene Cleanance range, I love it as much as my beloved La Roche Posay products. Have you tried any products from Avene?

*This post contains PR samples

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Thursday 19 March 2015

My Red Lipstick Collection and Mini Reviews

I feel more confident with a red lip, so I thought I'd share the rouge hues that I have in my collection.

Red lipstick collection MAC, Lime Crime, Revlon

Lime Crime Velvetine in Red Velvet (Old Version)
There has been a hell of a lot of tweets and blog posts on the #boycotlimecrime thread, I've heard parts of the story but have come to a decision not to buy from Lime Crime again and also give this lip stain away. This one is actually the old formula and honestly I never got on with it, I just kept it for it's cult status. I found it dried to an uncomfortable texture and would ball up in the corners of my mouth, not a good look. I would not recommend this product at all!

Revlon Lipstick in Cherries in the Snow
My blog was named after this Revlon creation; a raspberry red that has my heart. I cannot fault this lipstick, although I do believe that they have discontinued it, but I have a back up. It's a really comfortable matte lipstick that lasts hours. I want to try more shades from the range, as I was really impressed by this product.

MAC Lipstick in Russian Red
A new favourite, I have a rather large MAC lipstick collection and couldn't by pass a red lipstick from MAC. It's a classic mid red with a matte finish, perfect for nights out as it has great staying power.

Red lipstick Collection

NV Colour Cosmetics Lipstick in Siren
NV Colour kindly sent me some goodies to review and this red lipstick really caught my eye. You can read my Siren lipstick review here and view swatches.

Rimmel Apocalips in Big Bang
Again, like the Lime Crime red, I found this lip stain so hard to wear. It was just too thick and no matter how little or carefully I would apply it, it wouldn't sit right and would smudge at the smallest touch. Everyone raved about this release but honestly, this shade and formula didn't work for me.

Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic
Unlike the other red shades I've picked out, this has more of a sheer, glossy finish, opposed to a traditional matte. I reach for this shade when I need a small pop of colour on my lips, but don't to go all out with lipstick and lip liner. It's very moisturising but it does wear off after a few hours. I think if you are going for a red lipstick, you would be better with a matte version of this, as it can slide a little too.

What's your favourite red lipstick?

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Friday 13 March 2015

HAIRCARE: KeraStraight Maintain Conditioner, KeraStraight Glossing Texture Creme and KMS California Free Shape Spray Review

My hair is CRAZY, just unmanageable! Anyone with naturally curly hair will feel my pain. I spend hours blow drying and straightening my mane only for it to curl and wave back to it's natural curl. Girls with straight hair, I envy you!

The lovely people at TheHut.com came to my rescue and sent me some hair goodies to try. I told them of my hair woes and how I dreamed of smooth, frizz-free straight hair and here is what they recommended...

KeraStraight Straight Maintain Conditioner*
Recently I've been doing some research on proteins in haircare, they protect and strengthen the hair with continual use. This conditioner, *here comes the science bit*, has a low PH of 3.5, which helps lock the hair shaft and protects against environmental stress. I really enjoyed using this conditioner, I can't fault it, it left my hair feeling silky smooth!

KeraStraight Glossing Texture Creme*
Another product from the KeraStraight range, and when it's used in conjunction with the conditioner, my hair is so much more manageable. I have used a finishing creme like this before from Tigi Bedhead called After Party, which has a light formula, I find this one from KS to be a little heavier. Don't let that put you off, this beauty item tames all my frizzy ends, keeps my locks moisturised, resulting in my straightened style lasting longer.

KMS California Free Shape 2 in 1 Styling and Finishing Spray*
I've never seen any 2 in 1 products like this, you can use it before and after styling. I'll lightly use this spray before I grab my GHD's, it helps to protect the hair against heat damage and then I'll spritz this after to keep the style in place. It works well to keep my hair straight but it's amazing on holding curls. Seriously you need to try this finishing spray.

I would recommend all 3 of these products, I feel my hair is in a better condition and the products really help to keep frizz at bay.

Have you tried any of these products?

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Tuesday 10 March 2015

Lush Spring Haul

Lush's little black pots and paper bags filled with sweet smelling bath bombs have slowly invaded my beauty stash. As a New Years Resolution, I wanted to look after my skin more this year. I've been very reluctant to bathe for long periods of time and moisturise after washing, I was more of a quick shower and get dress kinda girl. I've slowly introduced more Lush products to my beauty cupboard, and find myself craving long baths so I can use up the latest bath bomb I've purchased.

Lush Blueberry Mask

As you may have seen from my previous pots, I was kindly invited to a Lush blogger event to preview the Mother's Day and Easter goodies. While the team demonstrated the latest releases I was making a mental shopping list, the ladies at Chester Lush kindly gave us some bits to try out and I topped up my stocks with some more bath bombs and soaps.

I wanted to get this published as soon as possible to avoid the items selling out, so dash to your local store if you like the sound of anything. Also sorry that I haven't unwrapped the items, I just can't take them out of the packets until I use them, I want to keep them all nice, beauty blogger problem ey?! You can see what they look like on the Lush website, if you use the links provided.

Lush Chester Spring Products

It's Raining Men Shower Gel*
This honey scented shower gel just makes me want to sing 'It's Raining Men' in the shower. Yes I'm an excellent shower singer.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Soap*
The solid round of this, which they cut from, is just a rainbow glittery dream. It's an uplifting scent created by Mandarin Oil and Rose Absolute.

Golden Egg Bath Bomb Melt*
This bath bomb has a fizzy outside and a melting inner core, it looked amazing during the demonstration, it's a show stopper. It also reminds me of the golden egg from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Catastrophe Cosmetic Face Mask*
This is the mask we made in store with fellow bloggers, I can't wait to try it. I know that Lush only use fresh ingredients but you can't get any fresher than making it yourself.

Chester Lush Spring Products and Bath Bombs

Carrot Soap
As soon as I smelt this soap I knew it had to be mine. The scent reminds me of a passion fruit or tropical juice, it's a summery scent.

Blackberry Bath Bomb
Not something I probably would have picked up in store on my own but I was recommended this, it's a fruity but relaxing scent, perfect for before bed.

Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds
A recommendation from the Manager at the event, I struggle to unwind and fall asleep so I ask for something that would help me drift off. Even just smelling it through the paper bag has me relaxed.

Have you seen the latest Mother's Day and Easter releases? Have you bought anything from the collection?

Lush Haul from Chester

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Saturday 7 March 2015

Flint + Flint Skincare Review - Lip Hero, Eye Hero, Moisturiser and Moisturiser 3x

Flint + Flint is a brand that I feel is quite unique, their packaging is so striking and unlike anything I've seen before. They've created a beautiful contrast between the neon '+' symbols and the steel grey card board, it's something that makes them stand out from other brands.

Flint + Flint Product Review

'The Secret of Skin Health' is Flint + Flint's slogan, their products can be used by ANY skin type, gender or ethnicity, which I think is amazing! I was kindly sent a few products to try from the range by Beauty Crowd. I'm always reserved when asked to trial skincare as I have oily, temperamental skin but I was eager to see if these products truly were suitable for everyone.

Flint + Flint Review of Skincare

I'd actually just run out of my Boots Vitamin E eye cream as this arrived, so it was a perfect time to test. The small squeezy tube allows you to pin point a small amount under the eyes, I then use my ring finger lightly to distribute the product. It's smooth to apply and sinks in quickly, it dries quite matte so I wouldn't recommend this to anyone with super dry lids but for every day use, it's great. I can't comment on how this does on wrinkles but it does contain Silk Tree Extract, which regenerates the skin, so could be good for older skin.

A girl can never have too many lip balms! This one has a strong rose scent, so I wouldn't recommend licking your lips. I do love the consistency, it's similar to a jelly. I find myself enjoying smacking my lips together, feeling the texture and really working it in.

I use this at night, as I have matte moisturisers for the daytime to keep shine at bay. It's a simple moisturiser that does what it says on the tin, it doesn't leave you feeling greasy and keeps your skin hydrated. In the long term this moisturiser promises to deliver a hit of hydration, as well as protect and revitalise the skin with it's skin-shielding polysaccharides and lipids.

Flint + Flint Packaging on Skincare

Another moisturiser you say? Well this one has 3 times the moisturising properties, I had very dry skin on my hands and this was a god send! It's along the lines of the Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream but has a more typical moisturiser consistency, it's a repair cream that boosts collagen and elastin production. I'll be keeping this on my desk for chapped skin and dry elbows. 

I recommend having a look at the Flint + Flint website, they have some great facts and tips under the product information section to give you an idea of the best uses of the products. They also have advice on different routines and products to use for your specific skin type, often layering or combining two products to make the most from their select skincare line. 

Have you tried Flint + Flint?

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Wednesday 4 March 2015

Chester Lush Mother's Day and Easter Blogger Event and a GIVEAWAY

Lush is a brand that always has me in awe, I wander around the store, sniffing and oooo-ing and ahhh-ing over the colourful creations and products. I'm always lusting after the latest releases as
Lush does the best holiday themed products and Mother's Day and Easter are no exception.

Lush Chester Mothers Day Range

I was kindly invited to preview some of the latest releases at my local store in Chester last Sunday, there was a small group of bloggers, which made the event feel very intimate.

The event kick started with a demonstration on their famous massage bars, I'd bought a Hottie massage bar previously but wasn't entirely sure how to best use it, so it ended up in my shower unloved.
The lovely Kii showed us the various types of bar, described the different ingredients and scents. We had a fun little ice breaker game, where we got to use the massage bars on a fellow bloggers arm. It was very strange at first, massaging someone I didn't know but soon me and blogger Beth, were laughing away and I felt more comfortable.

I picked up a few tips on the best ways to use the massage bars. The ladies from Lush recommend you warm the bar up in your hands and then rub the bar across the arms in a few swipes. This coats both your hands and your partner's arms. Then you should use slight pressure as you move and massage upwards and use a more gentle touch on the stroke down. You can also massage the fingers and the wrist bones for further relaxation. A light dust from their body powders finished off the skin and left us feeling as soft as a baby's bum.

After this relaxing arm massage, we were ready to see the demonstrations of the new bath bombs and soaps. Large bowls and jugs with warm water were set up and then the fun began.

Mother Superior and Bubblegrub Display Lush

Mother Superior, which looks like Mother Theresa to me, is a little cute bubble bar. All of them after handmade so they are all pulling different strange faces. This bubble bar can be used 3-4 times if you can face cutting her up. The fragrance has notes of Sicilian Lemon Oil, Mimosa, Jasmine and Orange Blossom, the best way to describe the scent is a calming floral.

Lush Chester Display Bath Bombs DemoRose Bubble Bar looks like the Comforter, in that it has the same pink swirls but this number has a touch of shimmer. As the name suggests this bubble bar has a wonderful rose scent, I know most Mother's love rose scents, so this one is a fail safe option. The ingredients alongside Rose are Cocoa Butter and Rose Hip Oil, so it's very soft and moisturising on the skin.

Based on the Hungry Caterpillar, Bubblegrub Bubble Bar is one of the stars of the show. It's tiny little face just makes you go 'awwhhh'. If you don't mind squishing this cutie between your fingers to crumble into the bath, you'll experience aromas of Sandalwood Oil, Vetivert Oil, Tonka and Shea Butter, it's quite an earthy scent and again, this bubble bar very moisturising.

Chester Lush Mothers Day and Easter Bubblegrub

Ultraviolet has to be my favourite of the Mother's Day collection; it's a purple, blue and green rainbow, which can be used for 3-4 baths. Matching their Violet perfume, the ingredients are Violet Leaf, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang Oil and Rosewood Oil, it's quite a hypnotic scent. I just love the vibrant purple water that it creates, as well as the big glossy bubbles.

Utraviolet Bubble Bomb Chester Lush

Fizzing Bath Bombs from Lush Demo
We also had a preview of two of the Easter bath bombs and bubble bars, the Golden Egg and Bunch of Carrots. The Golden Egg has a wonderful gold glitter, this washes away to reveal a fizzy bath bomb and under that is a chunk of cocoa butter, which melts to moisturise your skin.

Did you know that Lush don't use plastic glitter? They use natural materials so that it's more kind on the environment and water table. The egg smelt of Wild Orange, Bergamot and Cocoa Butter and it fizzed away for ages, worth a buy in my eyes!

Lush Chester Golden Egg Easter

The Bunch of Carrots are such a cute novelty item, you just run these under the tap, like you would with the Magic Wand, which came out at Christmas, and these should last you a few baths. They had a wonderful scent of Lemon and Bergamot, very fresh and uplifting.

Lush Bunch of Carrots Chester

We were also shown some of the themed soaps. The Love You Mum, the Carrot Soap and Somewhere Over the Rainbow soaps are beautifully designed. I asked how they created the layers and colours in the large soaps; apparently they fill the moulds with the coloured ascents first, let it set and then pour the backing on a few hours later, just like you would with coloured jelly.

Love You Mum Soap Mother's Day

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Soap Lush

Carrot Soap Lush Easter

Normally, us bloggers don't like to get messy, but we will make the sacrifice for a face mask ;) We donned rubber gloves to create the Catastrophe Cosmetic mask from scratch. Squishing blueberries into the mix was strangely therapeutic. We all got stuck in and the staff allowed us to take a pot of the mask we'd made home to try.

DIY Blogger Lush Face Mask

I'd like to thank the Chester Lush staff, they were amazingly friendly and knew their stuff. I met some lovely bloggers too and I can't wait to see their posts!
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