Monday, 30 May 2016

The Perfect Skin Care Routine for Dry Skin

   I've suffered from hereditary dry skin for all of my adult life which, I admit, can be annoying and a little embarrassing at times. I hate the fact that my makeup won't apply right in certain places, that my skin gets worse in winter and that my skincare routine is twice as long as any of my friends'.

   Luckily, a great product comes out once in a while that really helps me with my skin troubles - and this time, it's Yes To Carrot's Fragrance-Free Exfoliating Cleanser*. This normal-to-dry skin exfoliator is full of beta-carotene, which is great for combating free radicals, thus fighting against wrinkles and imperfections. Its gentle exfoliating beads buff away dry skin whilst cleansing at the same time, leaving your skin feeling clean, fresh and soft.

   I use this after I've taken off my makeup, and it wipes away any dirt that's left after my initial cleanse. I place a small blob onto a damp exfoliating glove and rub in small circles over my skin, before gently wiping away with a clean damp cloth (the product instructions state to rinse skin with warm water, but I find that a warm, damp cloth feels so much nicer!)

   I then follow this up with Yes To Carrot's Moisturising Eye Cream* and either the Daily Facial Moisturiser* or the Intense Hydration Night Cream* from the same range, depending on what time of day I'm cleansing.

   After just a couple of uses, I really felt a difference in the amount of dry skin on my face. Usually, my forehead's the worst area for this kind of skin problem, but I haven't spotted any pesky dry patches or flakes for the past week. My makeup applies smoothly and I find that I'm not anxiously checking my complexion in the mirror as much. With regular use, I'm hoping that my skin will clear up for good - only time will tell!

   For a more in-depth review and a quick demo, watch my YouTube video here.

*Products gifted for review

Friday, 20 May 2016

Just Need Me a Beat and a Bass

HAT - H&M // SUNGLASSES - ZEROUV* // DRESS - MISSGUIDED // BAG - PRIMARK (similar here) // SHOES - PEACOCKS (similar here)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Vegetarian Week | Linda McCartney Foods

   I haven't mentioned this much over my blog and social media, but over the past few weeks I've adopted a 90% vegetarian diet which, as I'm sure you can guess, means that I'm consuming vegetarian food as 90% of my diet, while the other part is white meat. For me, this is a huge step towards becoming a full vegetarian, a goal which I hope to achieve very soon.

   If you want to know why I'm doing this, let me know so that I can write a post on becoming a vegetarian, but otherwise I've uploaded a video below which demonstrates some of my feelings about this way of life. 

   So, let's talk about the fantastic Linda McCartney Foods dishes which I have been asked to review for National Vegetarian Week.

   If you're a vegetarian, a fan of The Beatles or a follower of food and pop culture, then you'll probably have a good idea of who Linda McCartney was. For those who don't, she was a musician, photographer and animal rights activist married to Sir Paul McCartney; together, the two founded Linda McCartney Foods in 1991, seven years before her death from breast cancer. The company produces vegetarian and vegan dishes, including alternative meat-style foods such as burgers and sausages using soya and wheat proteins.

   I tried out these meals for a week to see if undertaking a completely vegetarian lifestyle was doable. In this week I found out that, 1) with a little creativity, being a veggie is easier and funner than you'd think, 2) I didn't feel any different to how I felt when eating meat as part of my regular diet (apart from the lack of guilt), and 3) Linda McCartney Foods know how to make a tasty meal.

    First of all, who doesn't enjoy a good pie now and then? Believe me, when it comes to 'pie week' on the Great British Bake Off, I'm craving a good deep dish pie, filled to the brim with gravy and veg, and topped off with a nice crusty top.

   Sure, this Deep Dish Country Pie (above) is cooked from frozen, so lacks the freshness of a homemade pie, but it sure does fill a hole in my stomach. The pastry is moist, but not soggy, the top has a nice little crisp to it and the filling is rich and plentiful. An ideal winter warmer!

   I served mine with an onion gravy and a hearty serving of peas, but you could mix it up with any of your favourite veg!

   We Brits seem to love our pastries, and this Cheese and Leek Plait is the ideal snack to keep you going until dinner.

   With a soft pastry crust and a deliciously creamy cheese and leek centre (I'm salivating just thinking about it now), I would happily purchase these again!

   If you're a healthy eater, you might not want to consume too many of these, as the fat content is around 27.8g per plait - but it makes a tasty treat now and then.

   I couldn't resist making myself a vegetarian bangers and mash for dinner yesterday. I really liked the sound of the Red Onion and Rosemary flavourings, so I gave these a go.

   These were quicker to cook than meat sausages, and very different in appearance, but they were equally as tasty. Texture-wise, I would say that they lack the firm skin of a meat sausage, and are slightly knobby inside, but they're really quite edible, and go great with gravy or ketchup!

   I'll admit, these Thai Vegetable Cakes don't look the nicest out of the meal options, but they were one of my favourites taste-wise. Heated for around 35 minutes in the oven, these cakes had a hint of Thai-spice (though I must stress that they're not overbearingly spicy), sweet potato and a nutritious range of vegetables.

   Have one if you're peckish and two if you're ravenous! At 9.3g of fat per cakes, these are totally permissible as a re-energising lunchtime meals in my books.

   Contrary to what the rest of this post might infer, I adore Mediterranean foods, so when I saw that there was a Paella option in the Linda McCartney Foods range, I was more than excited to give it a go.

   I like my paellas really creamy, with thick, fluffy rice and a rich taste. For me, this paella needed a little something extra. I'm really not saying it was a bad meal, as it smelled delicious and tasted good, but I would just add a creamy tomato sauce to give it some life!

   The chicken-style pieces had a decent texture, and were moist as well as tasty, whilst the veg was easily cooked to perfection in the microwave. Overall, an easy meal to prepare in under 7 minutes - great for rushed evenings (which I have plenty of!)


   What have you been doing to celebrate National Vegetarian Week? Have you recently turned vegetarian or are thinking about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

* Products gifted for review

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Makeup Bags to SCREAM About

     I'm not one to hoard, but if there's one thing I don't mind collecting, it's makeup bags (probably because I 'collect' so much makeup that I'm running out of places to put it all). I love coordinating my makeup to my makeup bags to make particular products easier to find - for example, red lipsticks cuddle up together in my velvety red bag, mascaras and other cylindrical eye makeup products are nicely grouped in a tube-shaped bag, etc. Basically, everything has it's place and that's how I like to keep things. Can you tell how anal I am?

   When it comes to pastel nail polishes (and, oh, do I have many) I'm going to pop them in Rosha Nutt's Triple Lolly canvas bag (above) or Shuby's Triple Banana canvas bag (below). These pouches are the perfect size for bulky products - and the graphic illustrations are super cute!

   Both are available for £20 from SCREAM London, a virtual gallery formed by Jamie Wood (Ronnie Wood's son) to support up and coming artists with an urban aesthetic in mind. You can also find other creations such as cushions, crockery and clothing, as well as prints and books.


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

GIVEAWAY * Win a Sisley SPF 30 Worth £158 *

   Yes, this sun lotion really is £158. Why?? Because, well, one: it's Sisley, and two: it's not only a sun tan lotion, but also a high end anti-ageing lotion to protect against the effects of UV rays such as brown spots, wrinkles, skin dehydration and loss of firmness.

   All in all, it's everything you need to take on your summer holibobs this year to keep you protected from the sun. After all, we've all had a few bad turns when it comes to sunbathing on holiday, haven't we? (Although, the worst heatstroke I've ever had was achieved in Cambridge. CAMBRIDGE. Of all places...)

    Useful active ingredients in this handy travel-sized product include Soy Peptide extract to promote collagen synthesis, Plant Glycerin for moisturising, and sage and marjoram to stimulate and smooth. For the complete list, visit the Sisley website.

   It comes in a 50ml pump bottle, so it'll pass through security fine in your hand luggage. The formula is also light enough to use on your face - so no more thick, sticky, white lotion fails!

   I'm giving one follower a chance to win this gorgeous product. Just enter via the Rafflecopter widget below for free!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Lighting for the Eternal Minimalist

   From industrial bare bulbs to extravagant chandeliers and three-wick candles, good lighting makes a room. Imagine rolling in from post-work drinks with friends on a lazy Friday evening in summer as the sun slowly sinks behind the horizon, and you put on some comfy clothes, take your shoes off and lean back in your favourite armchair with a good book and a glass of wine, illuminated by a soft glow from a stunning floor lamp to your right - not so bright that it ruins the atmosphere, but not so dim that you stumble over yourself as you walk in the room. Just how perfect is that little picture?

   I'm always on the lookout for good lighting. Recently, I've been loving floor lamps as they can be easily positioned for effect whilst freeing up valuable surfaces (as an alternative to table lamps). However, because I'm very drawn to the minimalist Nordic aesthetic, my range of options is significantly narrowed - I prefer to purchase this style of homeware from genuine Scandinavian brands rather than Scandi-esque retailers.

   For lighting, VITA copenhagen is a go-to brand. Born in the heart of Copenhagen, Denmark, their designs are simple, elegant and effortlessly stylish - and they look far more expensive than they are! What's more, they've just released a new colourway for a design which I'm totally in love with: the EOS in Light Grey. Made from goose feathers, this lamp is already available in a warm white and a pretty light brown, but the grey adds a touch of coolness which completely alters the tone of the light to provide a change in atmosphere.

   At just €99, this is a steal compared to some designer lighting companies - and you definitely get your money's worth when it comes to design. I would style mine in a room filled with soft, textured fabrics, hardwood flooring, and silver, white and matte black accents. How would you style yours?


Sunday, 1 May 2016

April Showers


   Spring is such a hard season to navigate, wardrobe-wise: one minute the sun is shining and, though there's a little bit of a chilly wind, it's really quite pleasant - but then the heavens will open and you can bet that those new suede pumps you decided to put on for a walk around town will be unwearable by the time you've got home.

   Most people know by now that the only answer to this unpredictable season is 'layering'. Light layers are easy to take off and throw in your handbag if you get too hot, and on hand if you get too cold. Bonus points if you can get hold of a pretty waterproof like my polka dot jacket* from Lighthouse.

   I'm not that lucky when it comes to buying waterproof clothing; usually, it's either too bulky, too masculine or only available in a really unflattering colour - and the pieces I DO like are way out of my price range. However, Lighthouse produce a range of clothing ideal for the fashionable adventurer complete with relaxed silhouettes, beautifully made designs and brightly coloured fabrics. 


   This polka dot jacket is a variation of the 'Bluejay Short Waterproof'; it's such a gorgeous design AND it's incredibly functional with breathable waterproof and windproof fabric. It's super lightweight, which means it's not the warmest of garments, but (and this is where the layering comes in) all you need to do is chuck on a cardigan or jumper underneath and you're all set!

   I love wearing this with a simple pair of jeans and some good quality, sturdy boots or trainers when I'm out walking the dog - but it'll also go great with a denim skirt if the weather picks up.

   Browse Lighthouse's collections for women, men and kids here:

*Gifted for review
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