Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Review: Clarins Beauty Flash Balm


Good morning!

This month is just flying past, is it really the 29th already?? Crazy!

Today's review is of a well renowned product in the beauty world that has been around for a while.
Clarins Beauty Flash Balm is a so called wonder product, it's an instant radiance booster that helps to minimise signs of fatigue. It not only acts as a primer but also a moisturiser and mask in one. Is this much of a wonder product even possible??

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Allegedly you can use this in place of your normal moisturiser for when you need a bit more of a radiance boost, and as a mask for those reeeeeally long weeks where you just need something to SAVE your skin!

It contains four active ingredients with very specific jobs:


  • Witch Hazel and Olive tree extracts tighten and promote radiance
  • Algae extract revitalises
  • Bisabolol soothes and softens
  • Rice Starch purifies the epidermis
I've heard plenty about witch hazel over the years but the others I've not heard of so much. Clarins are generally pretty good at using different natural ingredients in their products though so this doesn't bother me too much.


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The packaging is pretty standard for Clarins, their very iconic red and white packaging is simple but distinctive.
This balm comes in 50ml tubes and can be purchased from many department stores, online and if you're lucky in duty free too - always looking for a bargain!

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So what did I think? Well I used this mainly as a primer. I did apply it as a moisturiser too on top of my normal moisturiser and I'm pleased to say my skin did look more 'awake' and slightly brighter after use.
As a primer I thought it also worked well, my make up stayed on my face just as well as any other primer I have used. It didn't feel like it was covering my skin as it sunk in like a moisturiser, I'd say this one works as a primer because it creates the perfect base with your own skin, rather than covering it and creating a base for your make up to 'stick' to.......if that makes sense?!

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The product itself is a pale apricot kind of colour, and I find this helps it to blend in seamlessly. It really does just disappear!

I haven't used this as a mask, my skin needs a lot more hydration than this could give me and so it is unlikely I would use it as one. I pretty much use hydration masks daily at the moment as it's the only way!

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That said, this product has been a fun buy. I've always wanted to try it and I'm glad that after all this time I've had the chance to try such a cult product.

One of my favourite things about it is the fact that even though it is brightening and radiance boosting....it's not glittery at all! Not in the slightest, not even the tiniest hint of a shimmery particle that I could see.


You can snap this up from Escentual for £25.50 at the moment, instead of the full price of £29.

Have you tried the Beauty Flash Balm? What did you think?

Do you like trying cult beauty products? What's next on your list?


L xxx




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Monday, 27 April 2015

Oxford

Hey All

I mentioned in last weeks post that I'd been in Oxford so as we loved the hotel I thought I'd share some bits with you.

While my other half was away with work we decided the first free weekend we had when he got back we'd go away for so we could have some chill time together.  After originally deciding on Bath or Bristol but not being able to find the type of hotel we wanted we decided to go back to a bucket list we wrote a while ago and Oxford was decided.

We knew we wanted somewhere with a swimming pool and jacuzzi so we could relax so the hunt began. We also wanted to be central so we could walk into the city in the evening to be able to grab food and explore. Due to wanting all of this we were a bit limited on choice and then we saw Oxford Spires Four Pillars hotel which fit the bill. We also got it a bit cheaper by booking through expedias secret hotels. It's a gamble but you can usually narrow it down to a few options due to area and facilities.

The hotel were great from the beginning. As we'd booked through Expedia secret hotels you can't amend the booking so I contacted the hotel direct to see if we could pay to upgrade our room as we wanted to stay in Eastwkye house due to the roll top bath, clarins toiletries and older features.




When we arrived it all looked like the pictures online and check in was quick and simple. When we got to our room we were glad we'd upgraded. Robes and slippers were on the bed, chocolate, cookies and water on the side and a beautiful bathroom with clarins toiletries. The room was decorated in simple colours and looked clean. The bed was also really comfy.





The bath we then popped our robes on and a short stroll across the carpark and we were relaxing in the pool. It was a small but quiet pool with a mural painted.on the wall to show arches. We loved relaxing in the saunas and steam rooms but did feel the shower and changing facilities seemed a bit outdated and not quite what I'd expect for a four star hotel.



Overall we loved it for a quick weekend break and would definitely go back.

We love eating so went to a few places. Firstly we stopped in the red lion for a snack and shared a pork platter where we tried cheek for the first time. That was some tasty meat. It was like a posh pub meal with prices to match.



For evening meal having not done research before hand we ended up in Jamie's Pizzeria. The food was delicious and fresh and reasonably priced. The lemon sorbet was amazing afterwards.



And of course a trip to Oxford wouldn't be complete without a pitstop in Bicester Village. My other half was very patient as I dragged him round every bag store for two hours while I hunted the perfect bag for a birthday present. In July I'll have my perfect kate spade. I can’t wait.



I love exploring new cities and Oxford was a beautiful one. With amazing buildings and architecture we easily lost hours just wondering. Whilst we were there there was an amazing little market selling crafts which we couldn't help grabbing some pieces from.

Now to find another city for the next adventure. Any recommendations?

Love M

Xxx


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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Polish in Coconut


Morning all!

I have fully been raiding Barry M's shelves recently, I love their range and the Gelly Hi Shine polishes just get better and better!

My latest purchase (1 of 3, naturally I cannot pick up just one) is the Coconut polish.




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This one has already been raved about by many a blogger so I'm just adding in my appreciation to the mix. I really liked Lychee (post here) but sometimes with my super pale skin tone it did look a bit too toffee-ish, so this colour is the perfect option in those times. It's an off white colour on the nails and so obviously a lot lighter than my own skin colour making it appear to be darker than it actually is, kind of like a free tan if you like!


So how does it apply?

Much like the others the brush is thinner than I'd like, its so much easier to cover the nail when the brush is wider - minimal effort necessary! I put two coats on to get the effect in the images below, some look like they might have been better if another coat had been applied but nevertheless this lasted a full week with a top coat on top and only chipped on day 6.

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It definitely looks a little darker in the bottle than on the nails but I still like it. It's definitely a summer one and I'll be using this on toes too to make my tan look a little darker!

What do you think of the Gelly Hi Shine range? Do you have a favourite?

I bought two others from the range that I'll be posting about soon!

L xxx



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Friday, 24 April 2015

Fitness Friday: Current Workout



Hello there!

Fitness recently has been a topic that I just haven't been able to get my head around.

I absolutely love it and still enjoy going to the gym and trying out new exercises, however with my training in work being seemingly endless and the copious amount of paperwork and appointments involved in buying a house it has definitely taken a back seat in reality and in my head.


The last two weeks though I have been getting back into it with all of the muscle ache to go with it!

Here's my latest program:


5 minute warm up on the cross trainer - a lot of people have a bit of an obsession or a loathing of the cross trainer, I have neither. I think it's useful for my 5 minute warm up as it loosens my legs and arms and gets my heart rate going!

Image from Technogym

After this I've been getting on the Wave Machine - it simulates speed skating which means your legs move on pedals in a similar way to a cross trainer, but instead they go out to the sides. You can stand in 4 different positions, leaning on the hand rail or standing freely for the intensity to be in different muscle groups, but essentially it targets your glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back and if you manage to balance and stand up for whole time then you'll target abs as well!
I've been building this up as my lower back has a weakness but 10 minute blocks at a high level of 12 is how I've been doing it. The higher the level the wider the pedals move apart, therefore making it more difficult.

Once my 10 minutes on that are up (and I'm dripping in sweat, it really gets me working hard!) I head to the mats.

Image from Lifehack.org
At this point I've been working on my Bulgarian Split Squats. If you don't know what they are you can view this video on youtube of Erin Stern.
I've been varying my weights whilst I get comfortable with the balance and the motion of squatting essentially on one leg, but I definitely need to work harder and squat lower, I am nowhere near Erin's level of almost hitting the ground with my lower knee where I've dropped so low, I need to work harder!

I've also been twinning this into a superset with tricep dips, and using the bench for those putting my feet as far out in front of me as I can. My shoulders are starting to look better for it but I can't say my triceps look any smaller! The arms always take such a long time to get smaller and show muscle.

Image from Women's Health Mag
After doing two sets of each of the squats and tricep dips I've been using 2 4kg dumbells and doing another super set of 15 x lateral raises followed by 15 x shoulder press. My shoulders need so much work and they burn after doing almost anything, I need to vastly improve on this area too!


Once I've completed this I get back on the Wave machine for another 10 minutes, as long as I've got some decent music plugged in this second set can go faster that the first set!

Needless to say I come off it a bit of a sweaty mess, last night it actually almost ran off my nose, then you know that you're working hard!



Then I get back to the mats. I've been loving doing some glute bridges recently as they were something I'd never tried before, here is a video for you to see. I've been trying to do them with a 5kg or 8kg weight to make it a bit more difficult, but you can feel the burn in these and the bonus is its a lying down exercise too!

Recently I've been getting as much ab and core exercises in as possible, planks are always the best but I can't say I'm good at them.
I actually prefer side planks with dips so I do a couple of them too,

My lower stomach area is definitely my worst feature, so I've been working double hard on doing leg drops but have to be careful with my lower back. I either hold a weight and alternate left leg, right leg and then both together, or I go crazy and do a many together as I can and I'm definitely improving.
I've been trying to push my hips up at the last minute to do a reverse crunch too and it's a killer ab combo!


So this is what I've been doing recently, trying to rev up my metabolism again and get back into fitness with some completely new exercises.

What have you been trying out recently? Have you mastered Bulgarian split squats? Do you have any tips?

Are you a fan of the Wave machine for burning calories and getting you sweaty?

I'm aiming to lose some pounds that I've gained recently, hoping to lose half a stone over the next few weeks by getting back into exercise and reigning in my diet.

What are you fitness goals?


L xxx


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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Review: Lancome Clarifying Cleanser Pearly Foam


Good morning!

When it comes to skincare, I think as long as you have the right cleanser you're on the right track. I occasionally deviate from my usual products and this was one of those deviations. My aunty gifted this cleanser to me the last time she visited, knowing my love of products!

I'd never tried any Lancome skincare before so I was super excited to give it a go!

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The Clarifying Cleanser Pearly Foam is a gel type cleanser. The first thing i noticed about this product was that it was SO DIFFICULT to get out of the tube.

It was probably a decent workout for my hands every morning - in the non weirdest way.
I actually had to wrestle to get this out of the tube and genuinely had to use both hands to get enough cleanser onto my flannel. No jokes.

That aside though, this was so thick that you really didn't need a lot to get it foamed up and into a lather to wash your face with.

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The tube contains 125ml of product and costs £23 from the majority of website I looked at.

I have to say that the packaging of this product doesn't really excite me - it's boring and although the rose design iconic to Lancome is incorporated into it I just feel like they could - and should - have done better.
Their other products such as their infamous mascaras look so much better than this, so on first viewing I was disappointed.

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So far it's not looking promising is it?

I have to admit though that this product surprised me and I actually really liked it. You can use this both morning and evening and a tiny bit will go really far - good job when you have to wrestle it!

This cleanser lathers up pretty well and removes most make up. It doesn't remove the most stubborn product known to womankind - Benefit's They're Real mascara - but it does a good job of the rest.
I found that my ever dehydrated skin really liked this product and it didn't ever feel stripped or tight after use.

I'm surprised in thinking that I would consider purchasing this again, although I would try and wait for a deal in a department store with free gifts or points, £23 for a cleanser is quite steep as my usual one is £18.50 (though I buy it on offer at £14) and that's a treat!

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Another thing I liked about this product was that it was sealed when purchased, this is always good news to me as it means that no one else has tampered with the product, used any and got any additional germs into it!
Shopping in stores with used make up nowadays can be pretty grim, I'd hate for this trend to spread to products like cleansers too, do you agree?


Have you tried Lancome skincare products? Have you tried this cleanser?
What else would you recommend from Lancome?

I do love their mascara, the Christmas sets are the best!


L xxx



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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Benefit Stay Don't Stray

Hey All

L and I have realised we've got a lot of products we both love to share with you so expect some double posts coming up! Today's post is about Benefit's Stay Don't Stray, a concealer type primer to help eyeshadow stay on your eyelid for longer.

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Stay don't stray is Benefit's eyeshadow primer. It comes in two shades light/medium and medium/deep as we are both really pale we went for light/medium. It can be used on the eyelid and under the eyes to help eyeshadows last longer, be more vibrant and not crease. Under the eyes it helps concealer to stay put and is brightening enough it can be worn just under the eyes for day's you don't want to wear make up, it'll neutralise discolouration and even skin tone without looking life you are wearing make up.  It also contains vitamins to help with aging and sodium hyaluronate to hydrate.

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As for packaging it comes in a screw top lid with a doe foot applicator which makes applying it too the eyes easy. The packaging does feel a bit bulky so it makes me think it's one of those that is fat to make you think you are getting loads of product, though saying that I have used it a lot and it shows no signs of running out.

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The idea is that you add 3 dots on your undereye and blend, and 3 dots on your eyelid and blend. Give it a minute or so to dry completely and then apply your concealer and eyeshadow as normal.

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You can see how it easily blends into the skin and barely leaves a covering at all, your skin isn't left with a layer of visible make up like with foundation and concealer. You can see where M has used eyeshadows on her hand with and without the primer:

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Here you can really see how it improves eyeshadow intensity. It's still easy to blend eyeshadows out when this on on the lid.

Stray don't stray has a soft, light texture so easily blends onto the eyes without them feeling heavy with product. I find it does intensify colour but not as much as Urban Decay primer potion in Eden, I do think Stay Don't Stray blends out easier though.

I've been leaning towards using this for everyday wear and so far I really love it. It lasts all day, eyeshadows don't crease and it's easy to apply to the eyes. For £20.50 you do get a great product.

Love L and M

xxx



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Monday, 20 April 2015

Lush Baths

Hey all.

Hope you've had great weekends. Mine was spent in Oxford which was a great break away. I'm a massive fan of lush products and have been in there a lot lately so thought I'd share a few of my new discoveries with you. I'm a huge lush fan and love a good soak in the bath.


The first product I purchased was You've been mangoed. I bought this when L and I went to a spring event. I've not tried any of the bath melts before as I'm a bit of a sucker for pretty things and these just don't draw my eye. My skin has been so dry lately (probably not helped by my laziness at moisturising!) that I thought I'd give a bath melt a go. Plus the mango smelt amazing.


As I hadn't used one before I was a bit dubious at how it would melt in the bath and whether it would leave me and the bath feeling greasy and like I'd want a shower after. I dropped it in the bath and it slowly melted into the water. The bath smelt amazing. The colour remained as normal and my worries of a slimey bath were wrong. You could definitely feel the cocoa,al avocado and mango butters had been to work after getting out. My skin felt amazing and soft and not greasy. The lemon and lime oils helped balance out the mango so it smelt sweet and fresh but not sickly. 



I'll definitely be back for more of these. I may try using half next time and combining it with a bath bomb? Have you tried doing this? Any combination recommendations? 

The next lush product I treated myself too was the honey bee bath bomb. After a hen weekend I was exhausted and wanted something to relax with. I love honey scented things and for a long time honey I washed the kods was always in my shower.  I love the yellow and browns of the bath bomb. It's got a lovely sweet honey scent and also contains sweet orange oil. The bath bonb itself has rhassoul mud in to help cleanse the body (I probably needed something detoxifying after my weekend but cleansing was good enough!).


In the bath it fizzed away to leave a yellow water. Which you'd expect from a honey scented bath bomb but there is just something about yellow water that I don't find appealing. It left the bath smelling lovely and was relaxing.



The last bath bomb I picked up was big blue. I tend to go for more sweet frangrances but fancied a different one. Big Blue contains arame seaweed which is rich in vitamins and minerals and also contains sea salt, lemon and lavender oil.
 The lavender oil isn't over powering and the bath bomb has a lovely fresh scent.


I love the colour this bath bomb turns the bath. It's an amazing lush blue and leaves me dreaming of a beach and water that colour. It releases the seaweed into the bath which is in slightly big pieces for my liking as it made for a messy clean up and they were hard to get down the plug hole. This bath was also amazing as it was in a hotel and a roll top bath!




All these bath products were £3.35. I love trying new lush bath bombs. What's your recommendation? 

Love M

Xxx


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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Smashbox Brow Tech in Dark Brown


Hello there!

If you're a regular reader you will know that a few weeks ago we went to a Smashbox, Bumble and bumble, and Ojon event, at which I obviously spent a little cash...
A substantial dent was made in my bank account and I've been using them ever since.

This is the first of three products, the Brow Tech, in Dark Brown.

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The Brow Tech contains three products, two powders in a lighter and darker shade followed by a wax.
They recommend the Angle Brow brush to apply them but I use the detailer brush from Real Techniques and find it gets in the gaps of my brows very well.

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The powders in this shade are perfect for me. My brows are almost black in colour naturally, but who on earth wants to fill in their brows with black powder?? I'm also super pale so if I did fill them in with black I'd look quite ridiculous.

Although I say all this, I've struggled to find browns sometimes that are the right shade. I need it to be dark brown and not a grey shade or a redder shade, sometimes they make my brows look gingery and that's even worse!

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This powder however is absolutely perfect. I use the lighter shade to fill in my brows, especially the gaps that i have. I know most people have some gaps but I have some that matches my mums! It's definitely a hereditary thing!

That being said, I then use the darker powder to help define the beginning of the brows and underneath to create a clean line:

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It can be difficult in the morning before work to create a brow that's defined and filled in properly. I use Rimmel's Brow This Way to brush my brows through and then I use the powders and wax as quickly as I possible can and hope not to make a mess!




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I mostly manage to keep them even though sometimes it does smudge. The colour is pretty perfect for me and the brow wax works really well at keeping brows in place all day, even through a stressful day at work.

The Brow Tech trio costs £17.50. I'd say it was a really good price for three separate products in one pot and that means it's great for me for travelling as I only need to take this tiny thing!

Have you tried the Brow Tech from Smashbox? What did you think?
What is your favourite Smashbox product?

I bought two other products at the same time as this so will be reviewing them soon!


L xxx



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Friday, 17 April 2015

Fitness Friday: Instagram Inspiration 2


Happy Friday!

So two weeks ago I wrote a post on my favourite fitness related Instagram accounts, you can read that here. I follow a whole lot more than those so here are a few more!



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This one is pretty self explanatory - beautiful female six packs.

I must admit sometimes it feels a little weird scrolling through my Instagram feed and seeing lots of half naked women on there, but it does also stop me from chomping my way through whatever I'm snacking on at the time - there's motivation all over this page!


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Fitness Page For All  - this is a general fit body page, there are beautiful men to drool over, fit women to motivate you and also some funny quotes to give you a kick up the bum when you need it!

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Female Physique - very similar to Female6pack, lots of beautiful bodies and more quotes to keep you motivated, even some from the wonderful Liam Neeson and strange Spongebob.




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Healthy Food Advice - a great account showing all sorts of healthy recipes and drool worthy food, there are LOTS of food alternatives on this page, think healthy versions of cinnamon rolls and peanut butter cookies, along side copious meals with vegetables and lean meats. I really want to try out the two below, along with eggs baked in portobello mushrooms and zucchini parmesan crisps!

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FastEasyRecipes is another very similar account to the one above, so many pancake recipes and amazing dishes like the wedges one below. They even have sushi recipes and I definitely cannot wait to scroll through them all and make a list of new things to try out!
Everything looks so colourful and enticing, it's hard to not want to eat healthy when you have dishes like this in front of you!

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Lastly another girl crush, the Balanced Blonde. Not strictly always a fitness or healthy recipe poster, but she does eat a lot of beautiful food, as seen above with the fruit platter and her own homemade super food salad below looks gorgeous!
She seems to just always be having fun and living life, with a cold pressed juice in hand!

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What fitness and healthy food accounts do you follow? Have you got any more suggestions for me as I am always looking for additional motivation!

Do you like the look of the recipes above? Do you follow any of the accounts already?

Let me know!


L xxx



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