Thursday, 25 September 2014

Cleansing water vs cleansing and toning

Cleansing water appears to be a life saver these days but is it really as good as people make out? I love cleansing my face and know too well how important it is to do so after wearing make-up. I also love Garnier and have been using their cleansing and toning products for a very long time now. It 's no surprise then that I recently jumped on the bandwagon and bought their cleansing water too. 

In terms of cleansing my face and getting rid of any excess make-up I don't think this product is as good as the classic cleansing and toning routine I have adhered to for years. The main reason for this being that the water itself isn't as powerful in terms of removing any excess make-up or dirt from the skin. My skin doesn't feel like it has been cleansed either which is something I look for in a product. After cleansing and toning, my skin looks much cleaner and also feels much tighter and smoother too. Unlike the cleansing water, my cleanser and toner also help to control my spots too.

Even though this cleansing water was brilliant value for money - only £3.99 from Boots for this huge bottle - I don't think I will be repurchasing. Obviously it works to a certain degree but I much prefer the classic cleansing and toning routine that has been around for years. It works much more effectively (for me anyway) and isn't as expensive as some of the cleansing waters on the market at the moment. Obviously this is only one cleansing water which has been tried and tested so by no means does this apply to cleansing waters as a whole.

What experiences do you have using cleansing water?

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Birmingham Bloggermeet Goody bag Haul

Following up on my previous post, in this post I am going to do a quick run through of all the wonderful goodies we received in our blogger goody bags on Sunday. 

To start with we have these AMAZING products from Bee Good. Now I have mentioned this before but I will say it again - I am obsessed with bees.  Weird I know, but my ex and I had this thing where we used to call each other Bee and it kind of stuck. I've even written a book related to bees but that's a whole different story... Burts Bee products are some of my favourites so as you can imagine, I could hardly contain my excitement when I saw that we had some Bee related goodies in our goody bags. I have never used this brand before but the products smell amazing and any natural products get an instant thumbs up from me!  Bee Good were kind enough to send each of us a full sized hand cream and lip balm, perfect as the cold winter mornings approach us.

Next up is this cute little gift from Nanshy. I am not familiar with this brand but I must say I was instantly drawn to the silky packaging. The little brush inside as you can see is perfect for blending and one I can't wait to try.

Lovely Lotions sent us this handmade soap which smells gorgeous.  A natural product with extra cute packaging, I am looking forward to trying this Tea infused goody.

Also in our goody bags we got these tester fragrances from Milton Llyod which smell amazing! Perfect for your handbag on a night out too.

Harlequin Cosmetics, a brand I have heard an awful lot about just lately and one I have been dying to try. They certainly lived up to my expectations too. A Birmingham based company these are certainly one to watch over the next couple of months. The hand cream and soap they sent us both smell delightful. I love the simple yet elegant packaging and design this brand uses, and their products again are very natural too. I also love the fact that they are practically on my doorstep. However, this could be dangerous for my bank balance...

Another sponsor on the list was Lylia Rose, a quirky accessories company who sent us a beautiful necklace each. I got this lovely silver leaf one in my goody bag which  I LOVE. I don't own many silver accessories so it will be nice to add something new to my ever growing collection.

Lush Cosmetics were too good to us. They sent us all this amazing package each - that's a whole lot of lush products and a whole lot of goodness too. I love Lush products as does every blogger so Abbigayle did well to secure such a huge giveaway. First off is this handmade soap.  I haven't actually tried any of Lush's soap as of yet as soap isn't something I use an awful lot of. However, I have been told that it's amazing so I am excited to try this next time I have a soak in the bath. Along with this we got some tea tree water which I am really excited about. Being spot prone I am a big fan of tee tree products so it will be interesting to see if this product lives up to its name. We also have some eyecream, something I should probably be using more of as I get older (you can never start too early). Finally, the beard scrub I will more than likely be giving to a male in my household even though it can be used as a face scrub.

This was possibly one of my favourite gifts from the day. I couldn't have asked for a better message on my poster to be honest. I love anything decorative and this cute little pencil and poster certainly put a big smile on my face so thank you Dottie Rocks.

Finally Abbigayle put together these wonderful little organisers and aspiration jars for us to use after the event to ensure we are getting the most out of our blogging experiences. I think this was a lovely gesture as a few of the girls I spoke to noted how they weren't very organised and maybe this is something they would like to work on. I can't say I am either to be honest with working full time and trying to manage a social life too. This event has certainly motivated me to make more lists, schedule posts and socialise even further.

So there you have it. Lots of amazing goodies as you can see from some amazing brands. It was a perfect end to a perfect day in my eyes.

Are you familiar with any of the brands featured in this post?

Birmingham Blogger Meetup

So as you may be aware I attended my first EVER blogger meetup on Sunday. I made that pretty clear on social media beforehand and during the event too. 'Hi it's my first ever nice' and that everyone was. I couldn't have asked for better company to be honest. To say I got a space on Friday and I went along not knowing quite what to expect; I came out with a satisfied stomach, a lovely goody bag and a whole bunch of new blogger friends. A successful day indeed. It always helps to be in good company especially when you are rocking up to an event solo. I am not phased by meeting new people, not at all, but in the fashion and beauty world you can only expect some girls to be a little judgemental. But all the bloggers were welcoming and this made me feel at ease so thanks girls!

We started off by hitting the shops (it would have been rude not to) and ended the day hitting the shops... Remind me to never wear platform boots to another blogger event again please. Looking 3 inches taller and feeling that little bit sexier did not make up for the agony my feet were in by the end of the day.  

We arrived at the Slug and Lettuce in Brindley place right on time, 12.30pm. This is where we met the rest of the girls and took our seats ready for Abbigayle to announce the schedule for the day. The event began with a whole range of games including my personal favourite, the cupcake messages. Not only was it one delicious cupcake, I thought the idea of writing a personal message to share with the group was such a thoughtful idea. I came up with this (see below) which plays on the idea of my blog. The person with the wittiest message won a prize but unfortunately with my luck I didn't win a thing all day (maybe next time).

We all uploaded our pictures of our cupcakes to Instagram with the #bhmbloggermeetup hashtag which helped us to socialise further and log the day's events as we went along. This was great when creating a buzz around the event as Abbigayle wished for. Along with the wonderful cupcake game, we had some other icebreaker games where we got to introduce ourselves, our blogs and blogging aspirations. Even though I somehow managed to forget everybody's names by half an hour in, it was great to hear from so many different bloggers. As you can see from the photo above, another one of the blogger games involved uploading a selfie with our cute little organisers which I will be going into more detail on in my next blog post (watch this space).

Abbigayle did a great job and managed to secure a lot of worthy sponsors including some of the lovely ladies from The School of Makeup in Birmingham and Motives representative Kirsty who was adorable! I really enjoyed watching some live make-up tutorials and hearing all about the brands that had helped make the event the success it was. 

A trivia quiz and of course the amazing buffet brought the event to a close. It was a really fun day and I can't wait to do it all over again. I met some wonderful girls who I hope to stay in touch with and possibly attend some future events with. Hopefully this event in particular will enable further coverage around bloggers in the Birmingham area and help to secure some more events in the near future.

Have you been to any blogger events recently? 

Friday, 19 September 2014

The last of the summer months | OOTD

What a lovely couple of weeks it has been. In fact, what a lovely summer it has been! I know I have mentioned this a fair few times over the last couple of months but we can't complain really as we reach the middle of September; the sun is still blazing and the summer clothes are still making an appearance. I am certainly not looking forward to the winter months even if it does mean cute knitwear and chunky accessories. Last weekend the family and I decided to have one last BBQ to see the summer off in true style. Another excuse to put together a summery outfit too before officially switching over to my Autumn/Winter wardrobe. 

As there was a breeze in the air, I decided it would be a good idea to cover up as best as I could (unusual for me). These Topshop jeans which I have mentioned previously here are some of my personal favourites. They are a real summer steal and look great with this striped crop shirt, again from Topshop. Along with my white geek shoes (as I call them) which I adore but haven't really got much wear out of this year, I threw on my classic white blazer and off we went to my brother's for some delicious food and favoured family time.

A simple yet sophisticated look, I will be sad to say goodbye to some of the items featured in this post as winter slowly approaches. 

What's on your Autumn/Winter wishlist? Are you finding it difficult to say goodbye to summer?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

My Fitness Pal | You Are What You Eat

I was recently introduced to this fairly addictive app by one of my former colleagues and it is fair to say it has changed the way I look and think about food. As mentioned previously I have always struggled with my weight and finding that balance between eating correctly and exercising. I tend to eat what I want in moderation and have always managed to maintain my weight. However, sometimes I can overdo it when it comes to exercising and this is where this app comes in handy. Obviously this app was designed for those who want to shred the pounds, a calorie counter as it is known. Yet, it is also great for those fitness freaks out there who like myself who want to ensure they are getting the right nutrients to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

What I must say, after logging my food on this app for several weeks is do not rely solely on this app. A lot of the foods on there don't have all the nutritional breakdowns and therefore more than likely you wont get a honest breakdown of all nutrients consumed at the end of the day. I often find that I go over my daily recommended amount of sugar but this is not something I am particularly concerned about as I know a lot of this is natural sugar from the sheer amount of fruit I eat. I love fruit and wont be cutting this out of my diet in a hurry. The daily recommended amount of fruit has gone up to seven portions now and there's no way I consume that much, so in that sense this app is unreliable. It does however break down your fats which is very useful as fat like sugar is something we need to be monitoring when leading a healthy lifestyle. 

The app is useful if the foods you eat are not already listed or if the details are incorrect. It allows you to enter these manually by creating a new food group. However, this I imagine is time consuming. One of the best things about this app is being able to add your foods quickly on the go. It recognises familiar foods which you have eaten which is good if you eat a lot of the same foods like I do. It also allows you to add exercise which is great when monitoring whether you are reaching your net calories for the day. I would say as long as your net calorie is within 100-200 of your daily allowance then this is okay. Prior to using this app I led a fairly low carb diet which was concerning due to how much exercise I have been doing lately. This app has made me realise that food groups like carbs aren't your worst enemy and above all, has enhanced my performance at the gym as a result. I now eat more carbs and feel much more energised as a result.

The phrase everything in moderation has never been so useful. Carbs and fats are essential for a balanced diet, just as much as fruit and vegetables are. It is useful to know that after years of thinking I am lacking Vitamin C, in fact the thing that I am lacking the most is probably iron. I love this app but it can become quite obsessive. Just remember, it is okay to have a day off or go over your recommended amount of calories. See the app as a useful way of logging your food so you can eat more of the good things and less of the bad things.

Have you ever used My Fitness Pal? What are your experiences of using this app?

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Real Techniques Brushes

I have been meaning to write this post for a while now and just never got round to it. I realise a lot of bloggers have probably already posted something very similar to this but I thought it would be nice to give my own  opinion on the brushes every beauty blogger seems to have. 

So like every female out there, I started off by purchasing the core collection of real techniques brushes which includes four key brushes; the foundation brush, buffing brush, detailer and contour brush. Even though each brush is designed to target a specific area, I don't tend to abide by the rules. The only two key brushes I use out of this collection in fact are the detailer brush and buffing brush. I never contour my face so there is no need to use this brush. However, this isn't to say it won't come in handy in the near future as this is something I would like to get better at. 

The detailer brush is brilliant for your concealer and applying liptstick/stains. It works particularly well with my current Benefit Erase Paste concealer which may I add is amazing. I am able to build brilliant coverage wherever needed with this clever little brush. The buffing brush is used to apply my foundation which some may find a bit strange. However, like some bloggers out there, I find the foundation brush to be on the small side when building coverage. I would like to purchase a larger foundation brush soon so keep your eyes peeled for a post feathering this.

My collection of Real Techniques Brushes
The newest addition to my collection
After being impressed by the core collection of brushes and in need of a new blusher and powder brush, I decided to build on my collection. One of my good friends recommended I tried the blusher brush something I must admit I was reluctant to do at first due to its size. As you can see from the images, it is quite large for a blusher brush, however it is perfect for building coverage. It is so light to the skin, ensuring your blush goes on gradually and evenly. However, my favourite brush by far has to be the powder brush. It's so soft and works brilliantly when setting your foundation. I use this alongside my Mac Mineralise Skin Finish powder. It is the perfect size when setting your foundation quickly and evenly.

So there you have it - all my main make-up brushes together. I am sure I will be adding to this collection as time goes on as I am always finding use for a new brush. But for now there's a round up of the brushes you need in your life if you haven't already got them that is!

What is your favourite brush? Do you prefer any other makeup brush brands?

To New Beginnings

I love change. Routine has never been one of my strongest points. Spontaneous days in, spontaneous days out - I am not one for staying in the house and watching the world pass me by. For the last year upon graduating however I feel like my life has become exactly that, a boring monotonous routine. I don't like to sound so negative all the time but I promise you this is another positive post carrying on from one of my previous posts here.

It is only in these last few weeks that I have began to move forward in terms of my career path and becoming a responsible adult so to speak. My car is finally on the road after passing my test about a month ago and I have the freedom to go wherever I please (this is huge especially when you need to let off some steam). This week I started my new job in the communications department for a local mental health trust and so far so good. Not my dream job exactly (working in fashion and beauty comms) but nevertheless great experience for me and I get to do what I enjoy on a daily basis; write. 

Life doesn't always pan out as you wish. I think you realise this once you graduate and are faced with the reality of getting a job and funding your own life essentially. I was hoping to be living in London now after successfully landing myself a graduate job, but lo and behold I am still stuck in West Bromwich dreaming of bigger and better things. However, I am determined as ever to make something of my life and have decided to take a step back for a change. Rather than placing enormous amounts of pressure on myself, I am living for the moment and hoping everything will fall into place.

Besides starting my new job and getting my car on the road (I still can't believe I passed), I am also planning the trip of a lifetime. Next year after finishing my temporary contract as a Communications Assistant I am heading to Australia for life as an au pair. After finishing working as an au pair I am then going to be doing some serious travelling around Australia for a few months with a couple of my best friends. After this I am moving on to Asia and possibly America. I literally can not wait - it is all I have thought about for the last couple of months and is certainly something to keep me focused whilst I am stuck in West Bromwich.

I have to admit, it is difficult living at home after moving out and finding your independence at university. I know I will break away once I return from my travels (that's if I do return) but I think this in itself is enough to drive you to the brink of sanity. My house is always so manic so it will be nice to go off and do my own thing again next year. I am not making any definite decisions as of yet in terms of planning exactly where I will be and at what time of the year as I know too well how quickly things can change. For now it's more reading and counting down the days until I start my new life. For once I can say roll on 2015 without feeling like a complete idiot!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Side - Turkey

So I have just arrived back from Turkey after a lovely weeks break in the glaring sunshine. Back to the cold and back to reality. I really don't enjoy coming back to the UK any more. It's just not the same when you get older - the excitement is no longer there. I suppose it's the realisation of what awaits you at home. A much deserved break nevertheless with the family, Turkey is a place I have been longing to visit for a while. My parents were lucky enough to visit a different part of Turkey earlier this year and loved it and many of my friends have been and given their praises. I must say I was very impressed with what awaited me when I stepped off the plane. Turkey is such an interesting country with a shed load of history which I find truly fascinating. I never knew quite how much history this place had in fact. 

We stayed just outside of Side's town centre in Antayla, a ten minute taxi ride which was ideal when we wanted to explore Turkey further. I fell in love with this Turkish town which was covered in Roman ruins and hundreds of little back street shops selling all the latest fakes and Turkish goods. I am not one for walking around countless shops all selling the same sorts of things which is often the case when you go to a tourist destination. However, I managed to pick up some lovely things in Side and brush up on my bartering skills in the process. They had some wonderful gifts including an array of different styled Turkish lamps and candle holders, along with some gorgeous Moroccan style dishes. I am particularly fond of my handmade Turkish bag which cost me just 4 euros and will be perfect for when I next go on my travels.

Besides the impressive amount of shops, the town boasted a lovely little harbour which looked out to the green Mediterranean sea, lots of wonderful restaurants and bars, and of course the Roman town which you are free to explore at your own leisure. If I were to come back I would definitely stay in the town centre itself as there is so much to see and do there, it really is wonderful. 

Here's me on the plane
So peaceful 
The gorgeous little harbour
I love a good cup of tea wherever I am in the world

Just one of the amazing shops selling an array of dried fruits and spices
Exploring the ruins
Along with exploring Side, we also visited Manavgat market one morning which was an experience to say the least. If you are a lover of fake goods, this ones for you. I had to get out of there as quickly as possible. It was far too busy and the heat was overwhelming. A walk along the green canyon river later in the day was definitely more to my liking. I wish we could have stayed there longer as it was such a pretty little Turkish town but it was definitely too hot to be walking around all day even for the sun lovers out there like me. 

However, my best day out by far was yet to come. A traditional Turkish bath just outside of town made my holiday complete. I have always wanted to experience this traditional cleansing routine and I wasn't leaving Turkey without checking this off my list. I certainly wasn't disappointed either. For just £23 I received a sauna, a scrub and peel, a foaming cleanse and a 20 minute all over  body oil massage. The whole thing lasted for over two hours in total and was extremely enjoyable. I did want to take some photos specifically for my blog but unfortunately we were told to leave all our belongings in the lockers beforehand. Not only does my skin feel amazing, my tan looks even better than usual. Well known to remove any dead skin, I would recommend this to anyone visiting Turkey. It really does work and it's no wonder why the tradition is still going strong today.

Before I ramble on too much, I am just going to mention our resort which was amazing and had everything you could imagine, from tennis and football courts to a luxury spa and indoor pool to four buzzing restaurants, three of which were al a carte. We really were spoilt from the offset after being upgraded to a deluxe suite shortly after check-in. You know you've done well when you get your own matching dressing gown and slippers awaiting your arrival, along with a fridge full of alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages. The hotel grounds were spotless, the staff extremely friendly and the night-time entertainment surprisingly good. Everyone was so enthusiastic about making our stay as enjoyable as possible which I loved. A four plus hotel, it certainly lived up to its name and we are even talking about going back next year!

On our pier
Just one of the pools
The staff were so lovely - we couldn't have asked for better people
Time to say our goodbyes
Waved off in true style
Have you ever visited Turkey? What was your favourite part?


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