Thursday, 17 December 2015

Review: The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer Highlighter and NUDE'tude Nude eyeshadow palette

One of the best things about moving house is having the opportunity to reorganise! I took full advantage of this, especially in de-cluttering my makeup. It has been so much fun being able to try new things from my stash!
One of the products I have really enjoyed recently is the Mory-Lou Manizer from The Balm. I have no idea how long it was hiding in the hack of a drawer, as it is by no means a new product, but I thought I would give it a chance when I cleared out some of my older highlighters.
This highlighting powder comes in a round mirrored compact. It is super soft and smooth and applies absolutely effortlessly. I would describe it as a warm champagne colour that is very reflective, but with no glitter or sparkles, just a satin sheen.
A little definitely goes a long way as the pigmentation is very good.
I use it as a highlight on my cheekbones, with a thin fan brush and a very light touch. It's also great as an eyeshadow - either an all over base lid colour, a brow or inner corner highlight.

It just adds the most amazing glow to the face and goes with most blush colours I have tried as it is neither too warm/ gold toned or silver/ cool toned. Sometimes highlighters can look a little off on very light skin like mine, but I find this one to add the perfect amount of radiance, without adding too much colour.
The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer is available from Superdrug here for £17.49.

I am also currently trying out The Balm NUDE'tude Nude eyeshadow palette (£29.99), which has a great selection of neutral, wearable eyeshadows. The texture is super smooth and they have great pigmentation. My favourite eye shadow is stand-offish - a nude, pinky toned shimmery colour that is perfect as an effortless all over lid colour!
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Friday, 11 December 2015

Making a House a Home: Bedroom

One of the reasons we fell in love with our new (old) house was that it had a spacious master bedroom that felt airy and light. As much as I still love my old flat, living on the lower ground floor did mean that our bedroom wasn't the brightest. So we decided to keep the spacious feeling and make the bedroom very simple - white walls, white furniture and a statement kingsize bed with matching ottoman.

I had always wanted a canopy bed, or at least one with a really high headboard that felt super cosy and enveloping. After weeks of researching a number of styles the most sensible and budget friendly was from MADE, especially with the added storage under the bed.
 

I was pretty set on the Bergerac, but as we were buying various pieces from MADE I was yet to place my full order when I came across a gorgeous fully upholstered customisable winged bed in Barker and Stonehouse.

 
This was not the sensible option both in terms of price and the lack of storage. However, I loved the button detail, their wide selection of fabrics, the matching storage ottoman and the fact it was on sale just sealed the deal! The only negative was the 10 weeks waiting time (though I begged and in the end it was just less than 8 weeks).


 
Having splurged on the bed, and being very aware of our multiple back issues (mine from birth and the hubby's numerous rugby injuries), I was very surprised by the cost of a king size mattress. I had never had to purchase one before and was shocked that some cost more than our bed! When Leesa contacted me to see if I would like to review one of their mattresses I decided to be open minded, though my natural scepticism was still there. Having seen the hundreds of glowing reviews on their website it sounded a little too good to be true that one mattress could be comfortable for everyone. Especially given the hubby and I couldn't decide on one between us as every mattress we tried was a bit like Goldilocks and the three bears' porridge... not quite right.


The Leesa mattress arrived (less than a week after I ordered it) packaged in a narrow cardboard box. This was exceptionally useful as it took up very little space and could be safely stored in our loft while the renovation works were being done. As Leesa has no springs and is made entirely of foam (top layer of cooling avena foam, middle layer of contouring memory foam and base layer of dense core support foam) it is not as heavy as a traditional mattress and therefore much easier to manoeuvre.

It took just seconds to unpack it, as it is coiled in plastic that can be cut away, and after leaving it overnight it had decompressed evenly.


The Leesa mattress is soft enough to feel comfortable, yet supportive enough that you don't feel like you are sinking into it. One of the main things I love about it, especially compared to my old mattress, is the lack of springs making it quiet and also ensuring there is no transfer of movement. So when the hubby is getting into bed (often long after I have fallen asleep) I don't get woken up by squawky springs or bounced out of bed as he sits down.

 The Leesa mattress fit perfectly into our kingsize Wiltshire bed in pewter velvet.
 
I wanted to wait a little while before writing my review and now that it has been a few weeks of sleeping on the Leesa mattress, both on the floor and our luxurious new bed, I think we are ready to join all those excellent testimonials on the Leesa website! Our experience was great - easy to order, quick delivery in a convenient box, simple unpacking and above all else it has given us a great night of sleep! So much so that my bed time has slowly been shifting earlier and earlier!
 
Bed: Barker and Stonehouse, Bedsidetables: Dunelm, Lamps: Wayfair
 
If you are looking for a new mattress I would highly recommend Leesa - and you can now get £50 off using the code SLEEP50. Prices start from £390 for a single and shipping is free. Sweet dreams!






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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Making a House a Home: Our New (Old) House

Those of you who follow me on Insta and Twitter would have already seen a deluge of posts about my husband and I moving house.
(The day we got our keys)
 
After two and a half years of looking for our future family home and feeling pretty disillusioned we finally had an offer accepted on a house in a completely different area in July. We felt that it was a sign and decided to take the plunge and move south of the river for the first time!

(Our entrance now)
 
The following months were pretty stressful with mortgage brokers, banks, solicitors and contractors being exceptionally difficult and ignoring all deadlines. Unfortunately, blogging had to be put on hold (along with the rest of our social life) while I redesigned the house, packed, chased builders and furniture deliveries.

 
However, I am very happy to say that we finally moved into our new (old) house at the end of November!
 

Now that most of the boxes are unpacked I am really excited to share with you some of my interior design ideas, as well as tips and things I learned from taking on and managing a refurbishment project. Please let me know if you have any particular requests, but as the house slowly comes together I am looking forward to sharing it with you and getting more inspiration on the final touches!

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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Fashion: New Freddy Purchases

My Freddy obsession seems to be continuing as I recently took full advantage of their mid season sale and purchased two more pairs of super comfy and flattering trousers.

The first was an eco leather high waist legging with a metal zip closure. I'm not really the kind of girl who wears leather trousers, but these are so easy to wear! I love the high waist as it makes them super comfortable and flattering.  The eco leather is also really stretchy so it moulds  to your shape, without feeling restrictive. If you are not a fan of the high waist style they also have a low waist version or a fun patterned style.

The second pair was from Wr.Up Sport. These are technically made for working out, but they definitely fit within the realm of sports luxe activewear as they are structured enough to wear outside the gym. Although they feel just as comfortable as leggings the proper seams, pockets and zip closure ensure that they can be worn alone. The white stripe down the side is also a fun little detail that helps to elongate the legs.

I love the innovative Freddy designs and their use of super stretchy fabrics, which makes them extraordinarily comfortable. As I have become more interested in fitness over the last few years I have found myself becoming somewhat of a lazy cliché wearing workout clothes most evenings and weekends (even when not working out). However, I do find Freddy to be a good compromise as their activewear is structured and a little smarter so it can take me from running errands and seeing friends to Pilates comfortably and looking like I have made more of an effort (and actually got dressed rather than putting on yoga pants again)!

Have you tried any Freddy Wr.Up styles? Which would you recommend?
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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Fitness: Exerceo EMS Review

Apologies for the lack of posts in the last few weeks! After 2.5 years of looking for our forever home we are finally moving this weekend! Very exciting, but it has also been very stressful with builders  (not) working and putting holes in the wrong wall, missing furniture deliveries, packing... and still working full time. I am forever grateful to be lucky enough to have a house in London, but just a little frazzled!

Keeping in mind how time starved our generation is with long working hours and never ceasing FOMO I thought it would be useful to speak about time saving ways of keeping fit. With so many moving parts and evenings filled with transporting boxes (kinda exercise right?), chasing builders and trips to Homebase I have found it really difficult to keep up with my usual fitness routine. Instead I have been squeezing in lunchtime EMS training sessions at
Exerceo
The studio near Liverpool Street. With the EMS machine ready to go.

EMS stands for ‘Electro Muscle Stimulation’. From a technical point of view, it’s a full body training exercise using impulse current. During traditional exercise, the brain sends signals to the muscles to bring about contractions. EMS mimics the action of the central nervous system, activating muscles in the same way, but using external impulses delivered via electrodes onto the skin directly above the muscles. The impulses reach deep muscle layers which are hard to activate through conventional training. Your muscles will not tell the difference, but work out much more effectively.
 
I had heard about EMS training before (think Slendertone), but never in combnation with actual exercise, so I was excited to be given the opportunity of experiencing it for myself! It's not nearly as complicated or technical as it sounds. Each session starts with you putting on the black t-shirt and leggings provided (fantastic if you are in a rush as you don't need to bring anything for the sessions!). You are then strapped into a vest and cycling shorts style suit with electrodes. When the suit is turned on you can feel the electric pulses contracting your muscles. This is not at all painful, but can feel a little strange and quite intense until you get used to it. The best way I can describe it is like a light internal vibrating or prickling sensation. The strength of the pulses is adjusted to your comfort/ tolerance for different muscles. Somehow my abs and legs were always at max, but my arms were barely on! During the session you work with some very basic exercises eg. squats, lunges, shoulder press for about 20 seconds at a time with a rest of 8 seconds. The weights are very light (2-6kg). Though, trust me, while it sounds super easy holding a plank while your body is pulsing can be quite the challenge, even for just 20 seconds!
Trying to take a photo of the activewear provided at each session, while being photo bombed by Head Trainer Nooroa (who is very camera shy).

The best thing about EMS at Exerceo for me was the time and convenience. No gym bag to drag around and knowing that a 25 minute session was enough to get my muscles really firing and challenge myself. It's amazing that I could work out, shower and eat lunch within the hour and be back at my desk!
 
The trainers are great in customising the workouts for you so it really depends on your goals, whether that's generally toning and losing fat or improving speed, strength, endurance, mobility, balance or posture. Mine was to strengthen and stabilise my back as I have multiple spine issues and using simple exercises and light weights I could really work deeply and effectively without overloading my back. EMS also works amazingly for rehabilitation as you only need very light resistance so you do not put strain on your joints or tendons. It's also great for those suffering from other problems such as osteoporosis or even for ladies who have recently given birth as the pulses target deep muscles that help to rebuild pelvic floor strength.
 
Even though I try to work out 4/5 times per week after each short Exerceo EMS training session I could definitely feel the DOMS the next day. After my first session concentrating on lower body my quads and hamstrings were more sore than they are after a 150kg leg press or 100kg deadlift, and I think the max weight used was 6kg! As much as I love my weight training for building lean muscle and strength the EMS method is truly effective for strengthening, endurance, core work and really rounding off your training. It's great for any fitness level or age so whether you are a beginner or a seasoned gym bunny it can be customised to your needs.
 
Have you heard of EMS training before? I would love to hear your thoughts! If you are interested do check out Exerceo. The first trial session is FREE so there's nothing to lose!
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