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Smashbox Studio Skin 15 Hour Wear Hydrating Foundation

Smashbox is quickly becoming one of my favourite makeup brands. I bought this foundation at the start of January after being at my wits end with my dry skin. I spent ages in Boots looking at different 'dry skin foundations' but Smashbox came up trumps. I was able to find a foundation that was going to stay put, not argue with my dehydrated skin and match my colour pretty darn well.

This is a medium to full coverage foundation and the staying power is second to none. I would agree that with the right primer and skincare staying flawless for 15 hours is nothing short of achievable. It's an oil free formula which helps control oil but also contributes to it being water, sweat, humidity and transfer free. I've not put them all to the test but I agree with the sweat one. Leaving this on throughout a workout had no negative effects and still left me looking put together. The best bit of this foundation for me is without a doubt the fact that it doesn't stick to dry patches and highlight them all. I wouldn't say it's actually a hydrating foundation (it doesn't' dry out my skin though) but it does work well on dry or dehydrated skin. Just don't think you can go skipping on your skincare... it's not a miracle worker!

Yes it's quite expensive, and foundation doesn't always mean you get what you pay for but in this case, for me, it's definitely been that way. I'd recommend getting colour matched in store if you can. There's about 20 different shades to choose from but buying online without seeing them first is always risky! I was helped out by a lovely MUA in Belfast and as expected I was the lightest shade.

As nearly 2 months have passed I've used this lightly for day to day wear, medium coverage for weekends or catch ups and then full coverage for nights out. I've even impressed myself with how easy it is to adapt and apply differently for different occasions. As you can see from the photo my Real Techniques Bold Metals Tapered Blush Brush has been a favourite for applying this. The pump means I don't waste any foundation and it seems the bottle is going to last a long time. 

Lumie Bodyclock Review

I'm generally a morning person but back in November and December when the sun didn't rise until pushing 9am I was finding it so hard to get up for work. Living far North is great in the summer when the sun barely sets but it's so easy to start feeling symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder when winter starts to kick in and daylight is a distant memory. I'd had enough by my birthday and asked for a Lumie Bodyclock which is known as a dawn simulator. I've been putting it to the test for a couple of months and I'm happy to say winter mornings aren't the struggle they used to be.

Instead of a loud alarm shocking me awake each morning the Lumie Bodyclock uses an increasing natural light to ease me awake gently. The science behind it involves melatonin (sleep hormones) being slowly stopped and cortisol being increased (the get up and so hormones). Wake-up lights help your body adjust to waking up, keep your sleep cycle on track and in turn boost mood, energy and productivity levels. No more walking around half asleep, yawning my head off while trying to get organised for work. 

I've got my alarm set and the light begins to gradually turn on 20minutes before hand, reaching full sunrise and then staying on for an extra 30 minutes (though you can turn it off when you wake up). There's lots of different options ranging from 15 to 90 minute sunrises. There's a few sound options too to match up with the sunrise alarm. You can choose a standard alarm beep, a dawn chorus, rooster calls or FM radio with digital tuning. You can also use the snooze function but I rather getting up and going instead of prolonging the agony.  Alarm clocks using electricity always panic me a little through winter in case there's a power cut but the Lumie Bodyclock has power failure back up to put your mind at ease.

Some of the features that I've not really used much (mostly because I head off to sleep with no problems) is a 15-90 minute sunset to wind down for bed, white noise setting to mask sounds that keep you awake and wave sounds to lull you to sleep. These might be good for children or if you're having some sleep problems. There's also a nightlight feature, but for me I like complete darkness. You can also use the Bodyclock as a bedside light and boy can it go bright! And lastly, a feature that's quite good for people worried about safety and security you've got the option for the light to turn on randomly while you're away. That just makes me think of Home Alone!

Reaching nearly £100 for an alarm clock at first seemed mad but since using it and feeling the positive effects I would say it's worth the investment. You can remove the need to have a bedside table, while gaining a refreshing way to wake up each morning. This is also great for sports training - anyone thinking of heading to the gym before work? Replacement bulbs are only £5 so there's no maintenance costs to be worried about. Healthy sleep through light therapy is definitely worth looking into!

Superdrug Haul & First Impressions

This was a bit of an impulse buy because it was on offer. I was searching for an exfoliator and this gylcolic scrub was actually a bit better suited to my skin needs. I've used it once in the shower, so far, and it wasn't too rough and left my skin feeling really good. Let's see how this helps my dry skin.

I was in the need of a new liquid eyeliner and super slim sounded like the right one for me. I've been experimenting with eyelash extensions at home and I've put this to the test filling in little gaps. It was so easy to use, really black and stayed put during the first trial run. I'm looking forward to trying it for a night out.

The night that I did the order was cold and wet which left me wishing for Summer, sunshine and a healthy glow. I've used Palmer's Cocoa Butter for years and this was quite a good price. I tried it out the other night thinking it was pretty much a gradual tanner. I was a bit slap dash and didn't wash my hands very well - BIG MISTAKE. I'm looking a lovely colour, except for the bright orange between my fingers.

This teeth whitening product was the reason I was on the Superdrug website. Some of my friends had been speaking about this at dinner a few weekends ago and it reminded me of seeing it on Youtube. I'd checked for the different charcoal polish options and this was affordable... but out of stock. Finally it was back in and I snapped it up. It's really messy to use, I'll only be doing it on days when I've got time to be cleaning the bathroom!! It didn't taste of anything, it was a little gritty but it didn't bother me. I've noticed a slight difference after just one use.

This miniature was a freebie when you bought 2 skincare products. I'd never smelt this fragrance before and a little 5ml bottle is both a good chance to try it out but also a handy size for in a handbag or whilst travelling. 

Phil Smith Be Gorgeous Hair Care Range

Who doesn't want gorgeous hair? Phil Smith Be Gorgeous is a haircare range from the celebrity hairdresser with over 10 different collections. There's something to suit different types of hair, colours and problems areas. All of the collections have a distinctive colour scheme making them easy to identify and also bright and attractive sitting in the shower.  My favourite is the Cocolicious range with a sleek white bottle and amazing copper writing. I've got long, blonde, mega processed hair and I was looking forward to trying out a product from 3 different ranges - Hello Moisture SOS Rescue and Cocolicious*.

Argan Oil is well known for it's nourishing properties, it's been a buzz word in the beauty industry for years. This conditioner felt quite light and creamy in my hand before feeling a similar way in my hair. A heavy conditioner can make my hair feel greasy and lifeless but this one was the complete opposite both in the shower and once I'd finished my blow dry. It takes a while to notice actual signs of repair but my hair did feel stronger and healthier, ready to be styled.

The part I was excited about was the scent and it didn't disappoint. It smelt amazing and definitely earned it's Cocolicious name. Unfortunately this didn't leave my hair feeling as silky in the shower as I was expecting, which is a shame. I'm not sure how hydrating this actually is but maybe paired with the rest of the range it would be a favourite.

I love an intensive conditioning treatment. It's part of being a blondie who's partial to straightening and curling. I quite often use a conditioning treatment in place of a normal conditioner just to keep my hair in really good condition. This one with shea butter didn't disappoint. My hair felt smooth and hydrated in the shower after leaving it in for 5 minutes (I've also tried 15 minutes for a proper pamper night too). After washing it out, drying my hair and styling it my hair felt smooth and a little less tangled than usual. 

Phil Smith haircare is available from Sainsbury's at only £3.50 each which is a really fair, and affordable price. There's no need to spend a fortune when you can get gorgeous hair at high street prices. Unforftunately I don't have a Sainsbury's anywhere near me so I'll be stocking up at any chance I can. I wonder if Phil Smith uses his products on celebrities too?

Matalan Homeware Top Picks

I love Matalan homeware. We bought loads there when we first moved into our house about a year and a half ago (how has it gone that quickly!?). It's also the first place I go when Christmas starts creeping in because their decorations are also gorgeous and great value. So with that, it's been a few months since I've checked out their latest arrivals. It didn't take long for me to be longing for a basket full! Here's my top picks from their new homeware...

This style of photo frame is one of my favourite. They're easier to change but also look cute and quirky in any room. We have so many photos together it would be easy to fill this up.

I hate to admit it but the oven gloves in our kitchen are still our Christmas ones! We need something new and because our kitchen is grey and blue these mint coloured ones would be perfect. The hearts aren't too over the top girly so I'd definitely get away with it.

Since starting Slimming World at the start of the year I've been loving cooking so much more. We have 2 plastic chopping boards but there are times when the recipe has me chopping loads of different things I could do with an extra. Also, what's peoples' opinions on wood vs. plastic chopping boards? I feel like a wooden one might be more hygienic?

How Emma Bridgewater is this mug? Also, how heart themed is this post? This mug looks simple, gorgeous and is no where near the price tag of the designer version. It would be easy to make a little set of these as a gift for Mum for Mother's Day or a housewarming present.

If you don't know we've got a Lionhead rabbit so rabbit themed things tend to be a winner in our house. This bunny mug is obviously part of their Easter collection but I can so imagine my fiancĂ© drinking his coffee out of this every morning. 

Speaking of my fiancĂ©, I would win huge brownie points if I bought this sleek beer barrel for him. Can you imagine this packed full of ice and stocked up with beer for a BBQ in the summer? As long as he'd let me sneak a couple of prosecco bottles in there I'd quite happily oblige.

This is an ultimate Slimming World tea towel... got to get that speed food in! I love the cute cartoon veggies. Do I need more of an excuse to buy this?

Matalan has loads of fairy lights in at the moment but these mason jar ones caught my eye. I'm not sure where I'd put them but I instantly thought of cocktail nights or BBQs when I saw them. The colours are beaut too!

Start Living an Organic Lifestyle

When you hear the term organic, you might just think of food and buying organic food from the supermarket. That is certainly something that you can do. It is often the most obvious thing if you are looking for somewhere to start and aren’t too sure. While buying organic food is part of it, there are plenty of other things that you can do if you are looking to lead a more organic lifestyle. I think that the definition of an organic lifestyle is doing as much as you can to lead a healthy lifestyle, as well as caring for the environment. So what are some of the other things that you can do, to improve your health, as well as the environment?

Buy locally

When you buy local produce, you are not only helping a local business, but you are having a much more positive impact on the environment. Imagine if we all ate locally sourced food. There would be no need for planes or boats to fly all across the world, just full of food that is being brought to different areas of the world. That would help to reduce pollution and carbon footprint a lot. So look for local food markets that you can buy from, as well as smaller shops and greengrocers, for example. Food that hasn’t had to travel around the world will also be fresher, which can be better for you. Eating food when picked in its prime state is best. There might be farms in your area that you can buy eggs from or get your meat from. Buying locally is a winning situation in many ways.

Source organic clothing

We can often forget just about how many things that we can source that are organic. Clothing is one of them! Man made materials are best to be avoided, as they aren’t natural. So when they are just sent to landfill, they will be much harder to get rid of. Look for clothing made from materials like organic cotton. Not only will this make them better for the environment, but it will also make them much better for your health. As anything that we put on our skin will affect our health and could irritate our skin.

Use natural cleaning products

If you look on a lot of the bottles in your home that you use for cleaning, there are lots of warnings and symbols on them. They can be so bad for our health when we use them in our home, despite them being used to make things ‘cleaner.’ They can also be horrific for the environment. When we clean our sink or toilets with bleach, it all gets washed down the drain. This goes into the water around us and can damage animal and aquatic life that live in the water. So choosing a natural option, like essential oils, for instance, can be a helpful way to still make your home really clean, but be much better for you and for the environment.

Accessorize Love Lily Fragrance Review

I have to start this review off by mentioning the design! The floral box is gorgeous, the hexagonal clear bottle is simple and then you see the lid. The big, fuchsia lily inside the glass lid makes this a dressing table beauty. It's not often you'd associate Accessorize with fragrances but after trying out the Monsoon Rose Gold perfume last year I was really excited to try the High Street Love Lily Eau De Toilette. A quick look at the notes and I was looking forward to a sweet day time scent.
Top notes
Bergamot, raspberry and orange.
Middle notes
Jasmine and lily-of-the-valley
Base notes
vanilla and musk

It's a lovely sweet fragrance and the vanilla was one of my favourite parts. The musky side comes through slightly helping this move away from a sickly sweet, teen fragrance to one that would suit young women as well as those getting into the beauty scene. Although it's not very strong or overpowering I found that unfortunately the fragrance doesn't last long. I'll be keeping this for a day time fragrance as it doesn't make a big enough impact to be a night out, special occasion scent.

At less than £20 for a really big (and beautiful) bottle it would make an excellent gift. It's easy to find in store at Accessorize or from The Fragrance Shop online. Makes for a good fragrance to keep handy at your office, in your car or pride of place on your dressing table.

The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book - Natasha Itzcovitz

If you've got a fashionista in your life who's needing a bit of mindfulness in their life then look no further than Natasha Itzcovitz's debut colouring book. With stunning illustrations the book is full of crazy, cute, and on trend outfits. Quite often these adult colouring in books have far too many little areas making colouring in more stressful than stress relieving but this fashion collection has got the mix on point. Released at the end of January it's a must have for fashion lovers. 

Each page is completely unique and gives you a chance to run wild with creativity. Whether it's a contemporary outfit to suit your style or a wacky, over the top design that would take guts to wear. There's 100 illustrations leaving you with lots of variety and choice. The pages are high quality meaning I can use my favourite Crayola pens and not worry about the colour spoiling the drawings on the back. It's the little details!

I think I'll take this into work to share with the 11 and 12 year old girls in my class at Golden Time. They'd love it, just so long as they let me have a shot too! It's a winner with a range of ages. It's not too late to drop hints for Valentine's Day. A cold and wintery night in, in front of the TV sorted!

Slimming World - Month 1

This month, like lots of people starting their New Years Resolutions, I started my weight loss mission. I'll be searching for my wedding dress this year and I want to feel and look good. This has been the perfect kick up the bum. I've started Slimming World but am going it alone. I've done hours of research, I've searched loads of hashtags on Instagram, I've browsed lots of websites. I've taught myself and have decided to put the money towards treats (like my latest pyjama purchase) instead of paying at a group. I've been writing everything I've eaten down, trying new recipes and googling syns left, right and centre. During my first 4 weight ins I've lost a total of 10lbs. I'm absolutely loving it and want to share some photos of my meals and snacks. As I get to know the plan more I'm hoping to share more losses and maybe start to share my favourite recipes.

Salt and Chilli Chicken with chips
Sweet and sour chicken with brown rice
Beef Chow Mein
Pitta pizza with BBQ style sauce

Pimped mac and cheese
Chicken Kiev with oxo roast potatoes
Burrito Bowl
Beef Stroganoff and rice

More dinners
Hunters Chicken with roast potatoes and veg
KFC style chicken
Meatballs and pasta
Chicken with garlic sauce and rice

Muller light
Hifi Bar and fruit
Hartley's 10cal jelly and strawberries
Apple, grape and jelly.

Do you have any Slimming World low syn snack recommendations or recipes I must try?

Primark Haul - February 2017

As I said in my Primark Wishlist it's been a while since I've done any shopping in Primark and I had a giftcard burning a hole in my purse so my recent visit was fairly successful. I bought a weight loss treats, some replacements for basics that were getting old and some lovely work clothes in a size down!
My new years resolution was to start shredding for my wedding so that I feel happy and confident when it comes to choosing a dress in the Summer. I've lost over half a stone and my reward was a lovely new pair of pyjamas. These silky ones feel so luxurious and look like Ted Baker, beaut!

A-line skirts with a long sleeve tshirt or blouse are a great work outfit and this khaki suede style one was such a bargain. Size down than my usual too!!

I love a pair of black, high waisted jeans and a ripped pair were necessary to add to my casual wardrobe. These are a good length for my short legs and aren't too ripped and destroyed.

This style of sleeve is really trendy at the moment and this lace top made me instantly feel ready for Spring. I think I'll wear this with some jeans, boots and leather jacket for a kind of casual night out while it's still Winter.

Speaking of Spring, how lovely is this blouse? Such nice colours and a staple for work. I'm not too keen on the collar but I won't wear it completely buttoned up and it'll look a little nicer.

Another workwear item and this was also in a size down. It's so flattering and the ditsy flower print isn't too big or too much. I'll be wearing this throughout the whole year I think! 

Missguided had loads of these cross strap tshirts but I missed out on the nicest ones that weren't too low cut or over the top. Finally Primark has caught up and it cost me the same price as a coffee from Starbucks!

January is quite a good time to update with workout wardrobe but I'm not needing too many new things and settled for a simple, quick dry tshirt. It's really flattering and a good fit.

How amazing are these trainers?! I've had my eye on a pair of blush pink or beige Adidas Gazelles for ages but can't quite justify the price at the moment. These are my in-between pair to see how many outfits I can style with this colour. 

I bought a medium size P.S Pro blending brush a few months ago in Primark and I love it for concealer. I'm going to give the big one a go for foundation.

My towel head wrap should have been put in the bin about 3 years ago but I couldn't find a replacement that didn't have elastic and was big enough. My last one had a hole in it, had purple marks from shampoo and yellow marks from bleach. Finally it's been replaced!