Monday, January 26, 2015

My New Year Smoothie Kick

Lately, I've been really getting into blending my own fresh smoothies. After all of the rubbish I tucked into over Christmas (so much cheese!!), I was keen to detox a bit - and it seemed like a really simple way to inject some more goodness into my daily diet.

I've always been a bit of a fussy eater. As a child, I was such a nightmare my best friends mum only cooked me one meal whenever I went round for tea - as it was all she was certain I would eat. As for my own mother, I think she completely despairing about me - and my very particular palate! 



I've come on leaps and bounds from those days and am now much more experimental with my food choices (I eat sushi now for crying out loud!). But, while I now really get a buzz out of cooking and trying new things, I'm still a bit stuck in my ways when it comes to fruit and veg.



So, come the New Year, I decided it was high time to follow the smoothie trend and get blending! I picked myself up a Blend Active machine from my local Asda for just £20 - which I thought was a bit of a steal.

I was particularly drawn to the Blend Active over other products because it seemed so simple to use. You are provided with two 600ml beakers and you just swap the standard lid for one with blades in the top, and - voila! - ready to whip up a treat!

As a result, the product is super easy to clean. You only have to clear off the blade lid, and then the smoothie beaker when you're done. I'd recommend doing the latter soon after you've finished, to avoid there being any stubborn aromas later.  




My top tips

1. Get experimental with your flavours. When I first started looking at recipes for inspiration, I was astounded at some of the ingredients combinations that were being suggested. I actually found though that some of these ended up being my favourites! Examples being Spinach and Apple - and Cucumber, Pineapple and Apple. 

2. Don't get hung on fruit. There's a world of other flavourful possibilities when you throw in some veg as well. Super fruity smoothies are also full or sugar, so it's good to mix it up. So far, I like a veggie base with a blend of fruit to sweeten the taste - but I'm looking to try some full veggie ones in future. 

3. Don't go and buy a smoothie recipe book. You can get tons of inspiration on the big wide web or from pages on Instagram. I follow @SimpleGreenSmoothies, who post loads of great suggestions for your next blend.

4. Try lots of different bases for your smoothies. Unsweetened almond milk and soya milk are great alternatives to your usual semi-skimmed. I often use water as my liquid as well, which is also a healthier choice.

5. Don't get put off by the colours. If you mix bananas and strawberries together it may not look like the most appealing thing you've ever seem, but drink up! The chances are it'll still taste great - even if it looks like baby sick. My colleagues often glance over in disgust at what I'm gulping (and while, once or twice they might have had good reason), generally they've tasted twice as good as they look. Bonus!

I'm still a bit of a novice, but enjoying getting stuck in nonetheless.

Do you make smoothies? What tips could you give me? 

 
SHARE:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

BOHEMnails Sterling Silver Jewellery!

When it comes to dressing up my nails, I love getting a bit experimental. I'm a bit of a nail varnish fiend and while I have an impressive selection of colours, it doesn't stop there. Think glitters, foils, stamps, studs etc...

However, last week, my postman delivered a little package of nail wonders that even I hadn't tried out before. That's it... Nail jewellery!

The guys over at BOHEMnails sent me a fab little gift box containing sterling silver nail jewellery. If you haven't come across these before, they could best be described as false nails, cast in silver, to wear as accents with the rest of your manicure. Celebs seem to be getting on this trend, and I happen to remember seeing JLo rocking these at the Golden Globes last year. And so, naturally, I couldn't wait to follow like a sheep and add a little start quality to my own talons.

BOHEMnails are based in Birmingham at the Jewellery Quarter, and all of their products are designated and made in the UK. Their aim is create 'contemporary statement products' which are exciting to consumers and of a high quality. All of their products have been hallmarked by the Birmingham Assay Office to indicate that they are real silver or gold. Their products, with the clue being in the name, are slightly bohemian but also modern. Quirky, yet remaining chic.



The pack that I received came with two silver nails, a polishing cloth, nail buffer and some strong adhesive tabs. You are also provided with a handy little instruction manual including pictures, which explain how you can get the best from your BOHEMnails. The adhesive tabs can be applied with tweezers to the back of the nail, to ensure that it sits accurately. You should then leave this to set for a couple of minutes, and use the buffer on your natural nail. Once you have removed the protective sheet from the adhesive tab (they're double sided of course), they can be pressed onto your natural nail and held for a couple of minutes.



I chose to add mine to my purpley manicure, created using Barry M's Berry Cosmo. When creating a statement nail, I usually do this on my ring finger (and the same on the other hand) - so I chose to add my silver nails here too. The BOHEMnails come in different sizes, and you can measure your nails using the guidance on their website.



I'm normally a real clutz when it comes to applying falsies, but I was pleasantly surprised with how easier these were to put on. Just to add, I was also a complete maverick and managed this without instructions - purely, because I found them afterwards! When I first applied the nail, I found it was quite easy to wiggle them around a little until they were in perfect position. After the nails had dried a little, they felt quite secure on my nail. Although I would say the slight bit of added weight from the silver probably made them feel less secure than they actually were!

I was surprised by just how much the silver nails glammed up the rest of my manicure, and struck by how it was so easy to do. I loved the effect and completely underestimated the power of the sticky tabs - those things are strong! That said, I don't think this is a look I would go with day to day. I use the computer a lot at work, and as I'm not used to false nails I think it could just hinder my touch typing abilities. I think I'd treat this as I would that favourite bit of jewellery - and be too concerned about losing them.

On a night out or special occasion, I think these would be really great. There are so many different styles that you can accessorise them with your outfit too. Prices start from around £15 and upwards, but it is important to note that they can be reused. When applying them again, they should be washed in soapy water first just to ensure there is no excess sticky tab from the last use.

Ordinarily, I probably wouldn't pay that much personally every time I was headed out to a special event. However, it is worth noting that with just a couple of pairs of these in your collection, you could still create a number of different looks. Having looked at the website, my top picks are below;



(photos courtesy of BOHEMnails)

You can find the rest of the range over at www.bohem.co.uk. They also have a fab section entitled 'Nails for the Stars', where they have been designing conceptual nails for celebrities - such as Rihanna and Marilyn Manson.

On the whole, I was really glad that I got the opportunity to try these out. I have a hunch that nail jewellery is going to get big this year, and I am more than happy to be ahead of the trend. Stay tuned to see my next nail art pic featuring a more nautical theme with my dolphin nails!



SHARE:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Herbal Essences Clearly Naked Collection

I'm a long standing Herbal Essences fan. I find their products delightfully fruity, and they always seem to leave my hair in great condition. On that basis, when I fell upon this little collection, I was intrigued to see if they lived up to the usual hype.

What is interesting about these, is that they are formulated slightly differently to the other products the brand has on the market. The Clearly Naked collection has been stripped right back to basics, containing no colourant, silicone or paraben. They strive to keep hair hydrated without weighing it down with product.

Shampoo and Conditioner



On first use, I was struck by the scent of these. They are quite a departure from the other combos I've tried in the past, instead containing herbal mint extracts. I found this did put me off a bit, as I found it to be perhaps a little bit of a masculine fragrance - and not what I'd usually go for. Luckily, the conditioner didn't smell quite so strong, so I was pleased that the combination of the two toned it down a little bit!

After blowdrying my hair, I found it was perhaps a little frizzier than normal. The product does claim to give full on lusciousness, so perhaps this was a little side effect! This didn't seem to be such a problem in my subsequent uses, so I'm going to put this down to a blip. That aside, my hair was still super shiny and really quite well nourished. In the cold winter weather, my hair normally takes a real battering, but in using this, I seem to have been able to dispel the usual effects. What is particularly appealing, is that I have managed to do this without completely overloading on a combination of products.

I would definitely use this again, mostly because I can see that the natural formula does work. However, if the scent was slightly different - it would definitely be more appealing!

(Photos courtesy of www.herbalessences.com)




Dry Shampoo

I received the dry shampoo with the shampoo and conditioner, and I was so impressed. I love a dry shampoo; not because I'm a slob when it comes to hair washing (just to add!), but cos' I love the added body a little spritz can give.

When I first tried this, I found that - contrary to the shampoo - I really liked the smell. It's not quite so overpowering, and is almost cooling. I sprayed a little to my roots, smoothed in and brushed out. It did a really great job of absorbing any excess oil in my hair, and didn't leave a unsightly white orb on the top of my head.
(Photos courtesy of www.herbalessences.com)

Honestly, I've always been a bit of a Batiste girl at heart so when I tried this, so I was pretty set on that before I'd even given this one a chance. In light of that, it is perhaps telling that this performed so well. The one thing that might pip this over my favourite brand, is that it does seem to be that little bit better for my locks.

I would definitely pick these products up again. The Shampoo and Conditioner are £2.35 each, and the Dry Shampoo is £2.99 - so it's hardly bank breaking stuff! If you have a vested interest in healthier hair products, I would thoroughly recommend giving this a try.

If you've tried this, let me know what you think!

SHARE:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Glossybox UK - January!

On Monday evening, I arrived back from work to find that my Glossybox had been delivered. I've been a subscriber for about a year now, and I've always enjoyed finishing a long day, and coming back to find there has been an unexpected package for me in the post.

This month all of the products were full size, which is always a nice little treat. Most of the products were from brands I hadn't heard of, which is the same scenario as last month - so I was slightly intrigued.



This month I received the following;

MeMeMe - Eye Line Pencil in Clay 

While I've heard of the MeMeMe brand before, I personally haven't actually tried it. I'm a creature of habit, so when it comes to my eye make up I usually stick to a slick of black liquid eye liner and mascara. I tend to stick to black for the eyes, so I am looking forward to trying something a bit more subtle. This retails at £4.

Nicka K New York - Colorluxe Powder Blush

This is such a cute little product. I love that the blusher comes in a pot complete with mirror, and when you unscrew the lid, there is a little powder puff for application. I'm a sucker for something in a nice package, so immediately I was more keen to give this a try. I wasn't initially sure the colour was right for my skin tone, but I'm going to further experiment and see. This retails at 8.95 Euros for 5g.

Jelly Pong Pong - All Over Glow

Again, this is a brand I have heard of but never actually used before. The Glossybox leaflet explains that it is 'packed with micronized pearlescent pigments that catch the light, highlighting the face for a radiant glow that doesn't look glittery'. This is a great product for me, as I am really into illuminating products at the moment. If I really love it, there is also a little voucher for 20% off my next purchse - great! This retails at £10 for 15g.

Kueshi Natural & Pleasant Cosmetics - Revitalizing Face Toner

I don't have any toner at the moment, so I was glad to receive this one. It contains natural ingredients like calming chamomile, which I definitely consider a pro with skin care. I can be a bit uncommitted when it comes to cleansing and toning regularly, but I am determined to improve - so this will be great. 10.70 Euros for 200ml.

Naked Lips - Organic Lip Balm Superfruits

This is another natural formula, filled with various oils that should keep your pout perfectly moisturised in Winter. If you've been reading my recent posts on social media, you will know that I am always keen to find more protective lip products for the cold weather. I really like the smell of it too, as it actually reminds me of Loveheart sweets! Seems like a great little porduct so far and retails at only 5 Euros.

In this box, I also received a little Green and Blacks Milk Chocolate with Butterscotch - as a little treat for subscribing for a year. 
SHARE:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Body Shop: Vitamin C Skin Reviver

This little product is one I have wanted to share with you for a while. Body Shop describes it on their website as a beauty gem, and I can't help but agree.


I picked this up (among a few other things) at a friend's Body Shop party because, quite frankly, I think it would have been rude to leave empty handed. If you haven't been to a Body Shop party, it simply involves a representative from the company coming to your house and showing you, and some of your best girlfriends, the current range - as well as giving you a heads up about some fab new items coming soon. You get to try before you buy, while also catching up with your pals. And if you're really lucky, like I was, you'll be invited to a party where the host will have made some amazing brownies and other sweet treats to indulge in while we perused the catalogue. Perfect!

Normally I would do a little bit of research to scope out which products I'd like to give a try, but this time, I was totally unprepared - or open minded about what I should buy. The Skin Reviver was actually something which was recommended to be my the Body Shop representative - and after a further look, I was sold.



The Body Shop website explains that is best used on dull skin, as helps to boost natural radiance. It can be used as a base under makeup or, alternatively on its own. Our representative said that she often chose to wear it alone, as she loved the way it gave her skin a little glow without heaviness of foundation. It contains Brazil nut oil,  and while this does add a little bit of moisture, you aren't left with an oily finish.

When I squirted some of this out to try, I first noticed the lovely zesty orange scent. For someone who normally hates that smell, this was a small triumph. Secondly, that the light orange formula, has teeny tiny glittery specks in it. So far so good. I tried to capture it in the picture below.



Upon rubbing it into my skin, I was surprised that it seemed to have some pore minimising qualities. My skin was left with a really smooth finish, providing the perfect base for make up. While I wouldn't describe my skin as dull, it can get a little dry, so this was great to add moisture and perk it up a bit. I would warn though, don't get too overexcited with this. A small amount does go a long way, and its better to under apply and top up - than have too much.

This retails at £15. That may sound a little dear, but I was really pleased with. I think it is a great Winter product, as skin take a bit of a beating in the colder months - so I think adding a bit of this after using your daily moisturiser would provide some extra protection. Also, it is such a lightweight formula, that I think it'd be perfect for Summer too. In hot weather, I hate plastering on foundation, so this could be a perfect alternative on a good skin day.

Have you tried it? What did you think?


   
SHARE:

Friday, January 09, 2015

My New Year Beauty Resolutions!

1. Stop neglecting impressive nail varnish collection. It's fine to give those mits a few days breather, but they have been neglected lately.

2. Cleanse face more. Face wipes are the most convenient thing in the world but if you're not going to give the visage some extra R&R sometimes, don't complain when you're breaking out and there isn't enough makeup in the world to cover that Mount Vesuvius on your forehead. 

3. On Wednesdays, wear pink. Ha! This is actually just a reference to that good old chick flick Mean Girls. But in all seriousness, a little extra colour in the wardrobe never hurt anyone

4. Drink more. Not in the alcoholic sense, as you don't need those hangovers in your life. Remember that water will better your skin and your smile. Screw you sugar! 

5. Use up existing cosmetics before treating yourself to new ones. It may be the new best thing to get that celebrity flow, but you actually only have one face, a space issue to contend with, and enough moisturisers to last half a year. 
SHARE:

Monday, January 05, 2015

Être Belle Liplift Peel

You might have noticed I’ve been a bit lip product heavy with my blog posts lately, but personally my pout takes a battering in the cold weather - so I like to stay informed!



I received this little product with my Glossybox, having never heard of the brand. In fact, I’d never used a peel on my lips at all before, but I was willing to give this a try. 

Warning: When you first apply this, beware that you might start to sliiightly resemble Joey Tribbiani in those Ichiban adverts (see below, courtesy of weheartit.com). When I first used it, I put it on as I would a lipgloss, and it was really white!

(http://weheartit.com/entry/group/14350437)

The directions state that you should then rub into the lip area in circular motions - effectively scrubbing your lips. You should then wipe off the excess.

After the first use, I could definitely feel that my lips were a little bit smoother. Any dry areas had been improved and, while the formula is effectively exfoliating your lips, it isn't remotely harsh. After removing the excess product, I followed it up with a little bit of lip balm to lock in some extra moisture. 

I was impressed with this product, and I think you'd only have to use it a couple of times a week to see results - which is obviously super positive! It retails at 13 euros, which is the equivalent to around £10. If I'm honest, I don't think this is something I would have looked for in the market if I hadn't been arrived in my Glossybox. That said, if you are looking for a solution to dry lips, I would recommend giving it a try.

SHARE:
BLOGGER THEME CREATED BY pipdig