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!

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!


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!


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?

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
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!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Review: YSL Black Opium Eau de Toilette

Last week I was working late in the office when I had an unexpected call from reception asking me to come downstairs to sign for a delivery. I was very happy to see that the mystery package was Yves Saint Laurent's beautiful new eau de toilette Black Opium. It certainly cheered me up!
YSL Beaute describes the new EDT as mysterious, but sensual. Vibrant, yet with a new femininity at its heart. It is designed to be distinctly different to the Black Opium eau de parfum.

Notes of zingy blackcurrant, juicy pear, quirky mandarin peel, fragrant jasmine tea and orange blossom give this initially sweet feminine scent depth and complexity with flavours of green coffee bean, musk and white wood.
 The new diamond dust bottle gives homage to the original, but is a fun twist on a classic.

The Black Opium Eau de Toilette is a beautifully rich, yet sweet and wearable fragrance. There is definitely something very addictive about it!

YSL Black Opium EDT is available here for £39 for 30ml.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

OOTD: Misguided

A fun little outfit from last Saturday. This crop and midi pencil skirt were from Nicole for Misguided, but they still stock many similar versions!
 Similar set from Misguided here and here.

For the hair I used Babyliss Curl Secret. I took small sections to create the curls in alternate directions. I then let them set for about half an hour while I did my makeup. After the curls had thoroughly cooled I brushed through them with my hands and a smoothing brush to loosen them and give them a lot more volume and movement.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Review: Rhythm Cleanse

As many of you know I am a big fan of detoxing and giving your digestive system a break for a few days every couple of months. I have tried numerous juice and food detoxes over the years, so I was intrigued when I was contacted to review a cleanse that combined cold pressed juice with live bacterial cultures to give you all the benefits of juicing with a digestive boost. I have written many times about the importance of a healthy gut and taking probiotics, so I was interested to see how this cleanse would work!
I was sent a 3 day cleanse (3 times the above) and was excited to see that the Rhythm cleanse was completely different to any others I had previously tried. On a normal day I eat a lot! As I work out 4/5 days a week I have increased my metabolic rate over the years and I definitely need to fuel those hard earned muscles. During a typical detox I do usually struggle with hunger and tiredness, but I have found this one a lot easier. The Rhythm cleanse has a really generous volume and the variety of flavours and textures really helps you to feel full and stops you getting bored. The juices are 500ml and are quite thick, while the coconut milk's fat content makes it a really satisfying treat.
1. Start of the day

The day starts with the High Potency Kefir (Life shot 200) loading up with over 200 billion diverse natural multi-strain cultures trailblazing deep in your gut. After consuming this bottle first thing in the morning you are told not to eat or drink anything for 30 minutes.
2. Start of the day to - Lunch time

Drink 4 x 126g bottles of Rhythm Pure Coconut over this period keeping your nutrients intake simplistic and pure whilst the loading of the cultures takes place. I tried to drink them at timed intervals i.e. High Potency taken at 7.00am, Rhythm Pure Coconut 126g at 8.00am, 9.00am, 10.00am and 11.00am. Sip on the 500ml coconut water during this period for rehydration. If you want, add a dash of calamansi lime juice to bring up your Vitamin C.
3. Lunch

Choose either the Coconut & Beetroot 500ml or the Coconut & Greens 500ml. If you feel hungry, have 30% of a Virgin Coconut Milk pouch. This is very filling and contains all good medium chain fatty acids which are good fuel for the body. The saturated fats in the pouch are Virgin Coconut Oil.
4. In between Lunch & Dinner for re-hydration

Sip on 90% of the Pomegranate Juice 500 ml for a boost of antioxidants. Save the other 10% for later.

5. Dinner
Which ever Vegetable Kefir you have left.
6. Dessert

Combine the other 10% of Pomegranate Juice with the remainder of the Virgin Coconut Milk to create a deep fruity tangy pudding that's totally natural.

The Rhythm cleanse even has a tasty dessert! Now, that's my kind of cleanse!

Cleanse packages can be ordered online via

The vegetable kefir drinks and range of Rhythm shots are available singly or in multi-packs in Wholefoods, Holland and Barrett and Planet Organic and many other health food stores.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Review: Look Fantastic 1st Birthday Beauty Box

Look Fantastic are currently running a special 1st Birthday promotion where you can receive a FREE September Beauty Box worth £55 when you spend £55 or more! Usually their boxes are between £11.25 and £15 depending on your chosen subscription.
I was sent one of their Birthday boxes to review and was impressed to see it was packed full of products!
The box I received contained:
I'm really looking forward to trying these out, especially the Phyto conditioner formulated for dry hair as my hair is in deep need of moisture!

Do you subscribe to any beauty boxes? What do you think of Look Fantastic's offering?

OOTD: Baby shower in Chi Chi

I have purchased 2 dresses from Chi Chi this Summer and after the first one I posted was so well received I thought it would be a shame not to show you the second! I wore this Nessa high neck laser cut prom dress to my friend's baby shower (blue for boy) a few weeks ago and got so many lovely compliments on it. It's so girlie and fun and completely effortless to wear!
Dress: currently £65 on Chi Chi London and ASOS
This dress gives you a great shape as it nips in at the waist and flares out in all the right places. The lining is nude, but gives a slight v neck illusion, plus it has built in support so there is no need for a bra.
With the mummy to be!
Have you ever tried Chi Chi London? I can't wait to have an occasion that would give me the perfect excuse to order another one of their dresses

Friday, 11 September 2015

Review: MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion

With the typically rubbish British Summer now over I have really been struggling with the cold and wet weather. Partly, this may be because I had a lovely week in sunny Spain soaking up the heat, which meant returning to London with the subsequent 20C degree change has left me with a nasty cold, congestion and generally feeling miserably shivery. One evening, while feeling particularly horrendous, I decided to treat myself to a hot bath with MOA's Fortifying Green Bath Potion to try and give my confused body a little bit of relief.

Just a few capfuls of this concentrated green potion created a beautiful herbal scent in my bath, like stepping into a minty pine forest on a clear day. This was just what I needed as it helped me to relax, while being very uplifting and giving me more energy. The steam from the bath helped to clear my sinuses and after just a few minutes I felt much more alive! As well as letting me breathe for the first time in a week my skin was left really soft and moisturised as the oils worked hard to nourish my dry skin.

I absolutely love all the natural ingredients featured in this potion including sunflower seed oil, peppermint oil, fennel oil, jojoba seed oil, yarrow extract, fir needle oil, sweet birch oil and chlorophyll. It is 100% natural and contains no parabens, perfumes, alcohol or lanolin and is not tested on animals.

The MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion can be purchased
here for £27.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Review: Clarins Joli Rouge Moisturizing Long-Wearing Lipstick

I have always loved Clarins lipsticks as they have such a smooth texture, never dry out my lips and always smell delicious. I was therefore excited to hear that the Joli Rouge* range has been revamped with a new moisture-enriched formula that comes in a beautiful new spectrum of shades!

It was difficult to choose as the new colours are all super flattering, so I went for some wearable shades of pink, nude and peach.
left to right and top to bottom: 715 candy rose, 745 pink praline, 707 petal pink

I had high expectations and these lipsticks did not disappoint! They are super creamy and smooth to apply giving just enough colour to leave your lips looking plump and glossy without feeling sticky. They have a lovely scent and last a decent amount of time given their hydrating formulation. They are perfect to pop into your handbag and reapply on the go as they are not too intense, but add just the right amount of colour and moisturise to keep your lips looking youthful.

Candy Rose is a blue toned pink with shimmer that adds a wearable pop of colour.

Pink Praline is a wearable pink toned nude that looks perfect when paired with a strong eye look.

Petal Pink is a mid toned, creamy pink that's perfect for every day wear. For me this is a your lips, but better colour!

The Joli Rouse lipsticks can be found here for £19.50.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Review: Michael Kors Gold Fragrance Collection

I first fell in love with Michael Kors fragrances when I tried Very Hollywood, it was such a fun, uplifting, wearable scent that it quickly became my signature for the Summer. I was therefore excited to be given a sample of 3 new perfumes in the Michael Kors Gold Fragrance Collection* to test out!
The three gold fragrances couldn't be more different, though they all have the signature Michael Kors effortless wearability and glamour.
White Luminous Gold  is sparkling and sexy with a heady, intoxicating burst of pear, jasmine and amber. It has a slightly oriental feel that for me evokes romantic evenings.
24K Brilliant Gold is feminine and seductive with orange mandarin, delicate florals and a warm woody base. This is a very easy fragrance to wear that will effortlessly transition from day to night.
Rose Radiant Gold (my personal favourite) is sweet, yet light with sparkling spice textured with a charming femininity of rich florals and soft musks. This feels like a summery fragrance, but it has a little more depth so will make a perfect transition into the colder Autumn months.

The Gold Fragrance Collection can be purchased here and retails from £39 for 30ml.

Debenhams are also hosting a pop up Michael Kors Beauty booth until next Saturday so do check them out!
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