Friday, 29 August 2014

Tan Talk - St Tropez VS St Moriz

As the summer months draw to a close, I thought it would be fitting to post about one thing we all love and something we won't be seeing a lot of over the next couple of months; the sun. Now I must admit I used to love sitting in the sun and would often fry myself with the lowest factor tanning oil. It's only recently that I have started to take more care when sitting out in the sun. Everybody loves having a tan let's admit it (well if you're British anyway). There is just something about having a golden glow that makes you feel effortlessly sexy and able to conquer the world (or maybe that's just me). 

I haven't actually sat in the sun much this year but I am going away this week to Turkey so I am sure I will make up for it then. I am certainly more careful now when it comes to exposing my skin. This was after a recent scare with one of my moles. I just don't think it is worth the risk nowadays especially with skin cancer being so common. Now if I feel like I am looking a bit pasty, I will resort to every girl's best friend, fake tan. Just a few handfuls of this can make you feel a whole lot better about your appearance. We have all been there, 10 minutes before we are about to leave the house for a night out and the tanning mitt is on attacking those ghostly looking thighs.

However it is not easy to know which tan is going to look the best. There are so many different tanning products to choose from. In this post I am going to be comparing two of my most frequently used tanning products, St Tropez and St Moriz, both completely different in price and effects but a very similar brand name. One of the first tanning products I ever purchased in fact was St Tropez, one of the higher end brands on the market after having a St Tropez spray tan for my prom. Yet this is not a product I would recommend to be honest if you're looking for an effective tanning product. I much prefer the cheaper rip off brand so to speak, St Moriz which has instant lasting effects for a mere fraction of the price.

St Tropez's classic miniatures including their body polish, tan and body moisturiser

They are mini!
Another one of my St Tropez products
VS St Moriz mousse
Which is now award winning and found in all drug stores
The mousse itself
All my products together
So let's compare. As you can see I have built up quite the collection of St Tropez products over the years. They are a huge tanning brand and can justify their expensive price tag therefore unlike St Moriz which is only just gaining recognition in some of the bigger drug stores such as Boots and Superdrug. They may not have as many products to choose from but there is no denying the impact St Moriz has had on the tanning industry. It works, it's affordable and I won't ever be looking elsewhere when I need to top up on my tan that's for sure.

Are you a tan lover? What are your favourite tanning products?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Clinque Anti - Blemish Solutions

My skin has been awful just lately. I don't know if it's due to stress or just pure laziness on my behalf but I have come out in lots of unwanted breakouts and by that I mean SPOTS. That dreaded word nobody wants to be thinking about past the age of 20. I have always had pretty bad skin and suffered from mild acne in my teens. Like any normal teenager, I tried anything and everything to clear my skin. The only thing that really worked for me however was the combined pill as recommended by my doctor.  In my case it was a lot to do with hormone imbalance. However, along the way I have found a few skincare products that are lifesavers when it comes to cleansing your skin and freeing it from acne. One of these being the anti- blemish skincare range by Clinique. 

I first starting purchasing Clinique products when I was around 17. I went to see one of the specialists at Debenhams who sat me down and did a skin test on me. Turns out, I have combination skin which if you didn't know means I can get quite oily on my T zone areas particularly. The specialist recommended I try Clinique's anti - blemish solution foundation and after matching one of their foundations to my skin perfectly I purchased it there and then along with the rest of the products in the collection. Now everyone loves seeing results but I didn't expect my skin to change so rapidly in such a short amount of time.

The skincare regime is so easy and well worth the money. There are three steps in total to this regime. Step 1 requires a quick wash in the morning with the anti - blemish cleansing foam followed by Step 2, a small amount of the clarifying lotion to tone your skin afterwards. The final step of course is to moisturise. Just a tiny amount of the anti - blemish clearing moisturiser and you are finished. Please note, the other products in these pictures are extras I have purchased along the way. These include the spot treatment gel and moisture surge intense skin hydrator.

Step 1 and Step 2 of your cleansing regime
Start by using the cleansing foam
Then move on to the clarifying lotion. Just a small amount on a cotton wool ball will suffice.
Next, just a little bit of the clearing moisturiser will work wonders on your spots.

I tend to follow the exact same routine after taking by make-up off, just before bed as for me leftover make-up on my face causes havoc with my skin. After a couple of weeks you should start to notice a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. Redness should be reduced, pores should be cleansed and most importantly, spots should be starting to clear.

Have you ever tried Clinique products? What products do you swear by for cleaner healthier looking skin?

Friday, 22 August 2014

Running | Free your mind

This summer has been a good one you have to admit it. Weeks of glorious sunshine can only mean one thing, lots of time spent outdoors. Now as you know, I love to keep fit and visit the gym at least 3 times a week now. However, the gym is not a nice place to be when it's hot and sticky. I haven't felt like I have been getting the most out of my workout just lately because of how hot it's been (I blame the air con) but who wants to be working out indoors anyway when it's so sunny outside? I know I don't! I love the classes at the gym don't get me wrong and I have seen a huge difference in my body shape since participating in these regularly, but there is something about being out in the open and running; opening my mind and completely shutting out the outside world. I have always wanted to run a marathon (I take after my dad) and one day I will make this happen but for now it's one or two couple mile runs a week to keep me occupied on a late summer's evening.

I mentioned in my last post about how I have been feeling down just lately and how I have been hoping to turn this around. I haven't had the best of luck but things are starting to look up again. I go on holiday next week and start my new job shortly after. Plus I have been sorting out lots of travelling plans for next year. However, on those days when I was feeling sorry for myself, exercise was at hand to perk me up. I know how easy it is to get yourself stuck in a rut when you feel like nothing is going your way and how easy it is to become unmotivated but nothing motivates me more than working out. I never knew how therapeutic running could be but honestly it has done wonders to my negative mindset. Obviously I am making the most of running outdoors (the treadmill doesn't count) before the bad weather comes but I think even running in the rain has something special about it.

After a long day at work or maybe a lazy one around the house, just a 30 minute 3 mile run does me the world of good. Not only does it allow me to let off some steam and free my over-active mind, it also helps me to sleep easier after suffering from insomnia for over a year now.

Lightweight clothing will make 

Biceps are coming along just nicely
Don't forget your water
A few light weights to finish off my workout
So here's what I usually wear when I go running. My trainers may I add are a godsend. A word of advice - always invest in proper running shoes if you are thinking about taking up running even if it's a subtle jog as opposed to a long distance run. I wear these to the gym too but I can't stress enough how much of a difference this will make to your performance. I am a big lover of running shoes and there are so many amazing ones on the market today - so many colours and varieties which is transforming the once ugly gym look. I dread to think what I used to wear to the gym five years ago!

Do excuse the bloating on these pics. I am feeling a bit body concious at the moment but after a few more weeks of hardcore training, I hope to have my toned physique back once again. 

Do you enjoy running or do you prefer working out at the gym? What do you like to wear?

Monday, 18 August 2014

Baking - Banana Bread

My second attempt at making this delicious treat turned out much better than I had anticipated. I have become quite fond of cooking just lately (baking particularly) after being inspired by so many of you wonderful foodie bloggers. In this post I am going to talk you through the steps required to make this simple yet delicious treat in the comfort of your own home and maybe even getting your banana bread looking as good as mine if you're lucky (just kidding).

So to begin, make sure you have all the ingredients you need - pretty self explanatory. I have missed the milk off this picture but you will need the following:

-285g plain flour (I used wholemeal just to be super healthy)
-1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
-½ tsp salt
-110g butter, plus extra for greasing
-225g caster sugar (I halved the amount of sugar, again to be super super healthy)
-2 free-range eggs
-4 ripe bananas, mashed (Next time I may use more to make up for the lack of sugar)
-85ml buttermilk (or normal milk mixed with 1½ tsp lemon juice or vinegar)
-1 tsp vanilla extract (I didn't use this)

Added Extras
To make my banana bread that extra bit delicious I decided to add pecan nuts to the mixture which are quite pricey but work really well in this dish. I also used a handful of cranberries to give it that extra kick of sweetness. 

You will also need:
-A baking dish for your bread mixture
-2 bowls for your mixtures
-A whisk
-Tissue for greasing
-A spoon for measuring
-Weighing scales

The ingredients required
Start by weighing your flour
And then adding your salt to the mixture
Next step is to weigh your butter
And add your sugar to the butter in a separate bowl. Make sure this mixture is light and fluffy (a process known as creaming).You can use yours hands to do this or a spoon like I did.
Next step is to add your two eggs to your sugar and butter mixture. Note - I have a double yolk here, I didn't use three eggs.
Once you've done that, add the four mashed bananas to this mixture. I mashed mine using a fork. It is important that you use black bananas which you can purchase readily from the supermarkets for a fraction of the price. This adds sweetness and makes it easier to mix too.
Next, measure your milk and add your vinegar or lemon to make the buttermilk 
Then, add this to the mixture
Along with your flour and salt. 
Finally, fold in the flour to the mixture slowly. This will take a while but it's important that you do this gradually.
Add whatever filling you prefer. I used pecan nuts and cranberries on this occasion. The pecans work particularly well with the softness of the bread.
And here it is, your completed mixture all ready to go in the oven at 180 degrees for around 40 minutes - I left mine in for a good 50 minutes to ensure the middle was cooked.
See I told you it wouldn't look that bad!
So there you have it - the finished result and I assure you - it tastes as good as it looks. The perfect mid afternoon snack with a cup of tea without the guilt. I hope you have enjoyed my first baking post. Sure to look out for many more over the upcoming months!

Do you like banana bread? What fillings do you prefer?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Bradgate Park

I love days out with my family. We don't get to do it very often but this weekend was the perfect excuse for a get together - the sun was shining and we were all free so we decided on a trip to Bradgate park in Leicestershire near my eldest brother's new home. I didn't make a concious decision to take any pictures of myself so excuse my hair as it was extremely windy. 

Family get together
The old ruins
The deer

Just chilling 
Feeling rather summery
Rucksack at the ready
The wind definitely caught me in this one
I managed to get some great shots of the family and I in the mist of the countryside. We had such a lovely day out eating our little home-made picnic, watching the deer and letting our two Labradors off their leash. After this it was back to my brothers for a well deserved cup of tea and a slice of cake (this has become a family tradition now when we pay my brother a visit). I was well and truly zonked out by the time we got home from the endless walking but this didn't stop me going out after to see my friends. The country air must have done me some good...

Do you get out much with your family? Where is the last place you visited?

Friday, 8 August 2014


I love these boxes for various reasons. Not only do they make a delicious snack or treat, they are full of goodness too and are perfect if you're on the go like I often am. Each of your four snacks comes in a pre packed sealed box which keeps them tasting as fresh and delicious as ever.

My sealed graze box
Inside my wonderful box
My four delicious treats
A closer look
In this particular box I got to try some of Graze's new products including their rough blend peanut butter with pretzel sticks and cherry fudge sundae, both of which were amazing! One thing I must say about these boxes, they never fail to deliver - they're always so tasty! If you're new to Graze then I recommend you heading over to their website where you can find a full list of all their delicious snacks on offer. If like me you do want to start receiving these boxes regularly, whether this is once a week or once a month, you are able to tailor this online to meet your needs. I particularly love the range of snacks on offer at Graze - there is something for everybody. You are also able to rate the different products online and let Graze know if you want to receive them again or if you're not so keen, never receive them again. This is particularly useful if you don't like a snack which in my case has to be olives. I knew this before I ordered my first Graze box and made sure I noted this on my personal profile. 

The boxes come in at just under £4 and as noted earlier, you can have them delivered weekly, every fortnight or monthly depending on what you prefer. I did used to have one box delivered each month but this isn't something many people keep up. However, the great thing about these boxes is they are always promoted in newspapers and magazines and Graze will often give out free boxes or money off. Once you have signed up with all your details (including your credit card) you can cancel your subscription at any time. Graze have a few different boxes to choose from now including their popular nibble box which I love. I can't wait for my next delivery to see what treats Graze has in store me this time.

What's your favourite Graze box? Are there any snacks you can't live without? 


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