Sunday, 5 July 2015

OOTD: Workwear

With the heatwave we have been experiencing in London appropriate workwear has been tricky. I commute by tube each day so I am very sympathetic with most Londoners sweltering underground. However, at times like these the temperature in the office is arctic as the aircon desperately tries to overcompensate and ensure that the guys in their 3 piece suits are catered for. I therefore wanted to share some outfits from the last week of how I dress for work and try to remain professional (and not look like I'm off to the beach), but still comfortable.

The first dress I have been loving is a sale purchase from Ted Baker. It's very comfortable and though it has a lining the fabric is pretty stretchy so it never feels tight. The pattern is very Summery, but the demure length still makes it office appropriate.
Dress on sale from Ted Baker here

This outfit is super comfortable and easy to wear. The floaty fabric is cool, but the length of the skirt makes it work appropriate and traditional.
Top and Skirt from French Connection on sale here
The last outfit is a super comfortable dress from Reiss. It's light, but not at all see through. It moulds effortlessly to your shape and the side detail is very flattering skimming the contours of your body. It's not too short or too low for the office, but is not at all restrictive.

Dress on sale from Reiss here
I love Summer and the hot weather so I always try to make the most of it while it lasts... even if it is just in short lunch hour stints while I am stuck in the office, or walking between meetings. :)

Friday, 3 July 2015

Review: St Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan and Gradual Tan Plus Firming 4 in 1

Over the last month I have been slathering myself with lots of different tans in the hope of achieving the perfect glow that I could recommend to you all. Today, with the sun shining in London, I wanted to write about two gradual tan offerings from St Tropez that I have really enjoyed!

First up is the St Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan. I used the light/medium version all over my body to give me a bit of colour. The cream feels very luxurious on application as it is rich and applies easily and smoothly. It doesn't have a strong scent, but there is a tiny bit of the 'fake tan' smell as the tan develops, though it is very subtle. This lotion is super moisturising and I loved applying it all over my body after my shower before bed, just like any other moisturiser. In the morning my skin had a nice tan and felt very soft and smooth. It developed a good colour after applying it two days in a row and afterwards every other day to keep the tan in place. This gradual tanner is so easy and pretty much fool proof as I applied it very quickly without much effort and it still gave me a really even tan!
The St Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Firming 4 in 1 Lotion is designed to tan, tone, firm and moisturise your body. It provides a very similar level of tan to the gradual tan above, but the cream has a much lighter texture. A little definitely goes a long way with this lotion so I have been using it in the morning to add a bit more colour to my limbs. The lotion also has a really pleasant scent that masks any fake tan smell so it's perfect for use any time!
I would highly recommend both of these formulations as they feel luxurious while hydrating the skin and achieve an effortless, gradual glow that requires very little maintenance!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Magdalene May Ball 2015

Last week the hubby and I attended the Magdalene College White Tie May Ball in Cambridge. If you have been reading my blog for a while you will see these posts pop up every two years. I love sharing these experiences with you all, especially when there is an opportunity to dress up! It’s funny to think that this year will be 10 years since we matriculated and here we are back again still feeling (and behaving) like teenagers.
Rather than going for a traditional ball gown (I wore a pretty big MaxMara number to the last one) I decided to switch it up with something a little more sleek and form fitting.
The India dress from Forever Unique was on sale in two different colours (purple version from ASOS here). However, as I wore a purple one shouldered gown (from Coast) four years ago I decided to try the emerald green. I absolutely loved the heavy embellishment on the sleeve of this dress and its overall shape.
Of course the material of these types of dresses is always quite thin so you can see every contour, making a tactical choice of underwear a must!

For makeup I did a very simple smokey eye using the Naked 3 palette from Urban Decay. I made sure that the look lasted all night by using a really long lasting foundation (Mac Studio Fix) and setting it all carefully with powder (I used a combination of MAC MSF natural and ELF Mineral Glow powder). I finished the look off with false lashes from Eyelure (Cheryl Girls Night style).
For hair I used the Babyliss wide barrel tong (Glamour Waves) to create large curls. I then clipped the bottom sections while getting ready to ensure they had more texture and gently curled the top section at the end so it looked smooth and sleek.
It was a wonderful night of champagne, street food, music and dancing with the Fratellis performing.
We bumped into so many alumni from our university days and it was really fun catching up with them all!

I made it from sunset to sunrise! Hopefully we will be back in 2017!!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Review: Hair is Fabric HIF Cleansing Conditioners

As my hair has been long and coloured for many years I am always on the lookout for gentler ways of washing it to ensure it doesn’t become dry and frizzy. I am a big fan of cleansing conditioners as they don’t strip your hair of natural oils, so when I was offered the new HIF (Hair is Fabric) range to review I jumped at the opportunity.

Hair really is like fabric. It’s made up of dead cells that can’t be repaired. The most effective way of achieving healthy hair is simply by preventing it’s fibre from being damaged in the first place. HIF is designed to be akin to dry cleaning for hair….only with water!
The HIF range of 15 Cleansing Conditioners has been formulated to fully cleanse using Fractionated Cleansing Particles that do not strip the natural oils from the hair and scalp. The unique particles bind only to dirt and leave the hair fabric alone. This allows for all impurities to be fully removed and rinsed away without stripping or damaging the hair.
A first-ever Fabric Depositing Technology has also been included to deliver next-generation active ingredients effectively to the deepest parts of the hair. This technology is used in the textile world to deposit dyes into fabrics and stop them from being rinsed away through consistent washing. Most haircare products target only the cuticle, leaving a superficial healthy look, but no long-term benefits. HIF’s delivery technology allows actives to remain anchored to the cuticle, even through washing, thus facilitating the penetration of ingredients into the deepest parts of the hair. Thanks to nourishing and conditioning ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, Exotic Oils and Precious Rock extracts hair will become stronger, shinier and smoother with each and every wash.
Unlike most cleansing conditioners, which do not foam, HIF offers an exaggerated foaming feeling by creating a unique fake foam (in seven of its formulations).
The collection includes:
·         Hydration Support
·         Intensive Detox
·         Colour Support
·         Volume Support
·         Straight HairSupport
·         Curly Hair Support
·         Anti-Frizz Support
·         Growth Support
·         Anti-Aging Support
·         Black Hue Support
·         Red Hue Support
·         Brunette Hue Support
·         Blonde Hue Support
·         Silver Hue Support
·         Anti-Brass Support
I love that the range has so many different formulations so you can really target your hair’s needs. I chose the Red Hue Support (as red is the most tricky colour to maintain) and Anti-Frizz Support to try to keep my hair under control during these humid Summer days. These cleansing conditioners do not foam, but feel very rich and creamy. Personally, I don’t mind the lack of foam as I simply wet my hair, massage the conditioner through and leave it for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

The Red Hue Support was very red when it came out of the tube. As my hair is long I felt like I had to use a lot to saturate the hair on my first wash, but this may be a testament to how dehydrated my hair was as it seemed to suck up all the product. It did take a while to rinse out the conditioner as it is very pigmented and I did feel that some deposits were left on my hair so it felt a little heavier than usual, but the colour looked visibly better. The next time I used it I applied less to the root area and this prevented my hair from being weighed down, but still gave the benefits of hydration and kept my colour vibrant.

The Anti-Frizz Support is a slightly lighter formulation, while still being moisturising and caring for the hair. Once again I concentrated it on my mid lengths and ends and it rinsed out well leaving my hair soft and smooth with a really long-lasting scent.
The HIF range is available through the Deciem webiste here and on  priced at £20-50. You can get 15% OFF using my discount code NORTHAMERICA15. Enjoy! x

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Health: Friendly Bacteria and ProVen Probiotic Review

Having a doctor as a husband and being interested in science and health myself new research is always a welcome topic in my household!
After years of tummy pains (all my friends will confirm how much fun I can be to travel with) I was tested for allergies and intolerances and subsequently have tried to reduce certain foods in my diet that I have been deemed intolerant to (mainly dairy and gluten/grains). I have written before about my success with the Paleo lifestyle, but honestly it’s not something that I can keep up 100% of the time. If I was able to work from home and prepare all my own meals I think it would be much easier, but alas with work, travel and inevitably socialising it becomes very difficult to be restrictive. Most of the time I just hate being a pain or sounding rude so will eat things I know I really shouldn’t as I don’t want to offend… though other times it is just because I’m in a bad mood and want ice cream!

Recently I have seen a lot of articles popping up about gut health and ‘friendly bacteria’ in the mainstream press. There’s a lot of differing evidence (which my husband would be very happy for me to cite, but I know most people would skip over), but ultimately imbalances in gut flora have been linked to all manner of complications from serious illness following prolonged antibiotic use to acne (see this month’s issue of Women’s Health), weight gain and even shyness!
Being a stickler for rigorous trials my husband is more sceptical about probiotics. However, I personally believe as I have been reducing some foods in my diet due to limiting my dairy intake (eg. yoghurt) it is worth trying to restore balance and aid my poor tummy in any way I can. Along with increasing my consumption of fermented foods such as kefir (I have been trying a coconut milk based one sold in Whole Foods) and Kombucha (fermented tea) I have also started taking ProVen Probiotics.
ProVen Adult Acidophilus and Bifidus 25 Billion* contains Lab4, the most comprehensively studied group of friendly bacteria of any product in the U.K. These studies conducted in Cambridge, Sheffield, Swansea, Southampton and Cardiff suggest that ProVen Adult Acidophilus and Bifidus 25 Billion provides real benefits in supporting digestive and immune health. As well as 12.5 billion viable cells per capsule they also contain Vitamin D3, C, Calcium, Zinc and Selenium.
So far they have been really easy to take (some vitamins make me feel a bit queasy). I have been taking one or two capsules after my breakfast each morning and even if it is just a placebo effect feel like my tummy is happier already! Either way I am very happy to undertake this experiment on myself and see if I feel a difference!
Have you ever tried taking Probiotics? What are your thoughts on them?
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