The Travel Diaries| London August 2017 – Harry Potter, Speed Boats & Gin!

Tom and I have been together for over five years now and to say we I love travelling so much, you’d have thought we’d have at least spent a day together in London during that time! Sadly that wasn’t the case so this time we were determined to cram as much in together as we could! Neither of us have been down to do tourist things in London for years, instead going for work or a specific event, so we wanted to see the sights and treat it as a real holiday.

The sole purpose of the trip was actually to see Harry Potter & The Cursed Child as we’d booked the tickets a year prior to the day of the first show. We took the train down on Thursday morning and our shows were Thursday & Friday Night. I think i’m going to go into more detail about the show in a separate post for those of you who are interested, but it’ll be mentioned a little later on don’t you worry!

If you’ve ever tried finding a hotel in London, you’ll know how flipping expensive they are! I booked ours a while ago through Booking.com (that link will give you £15 off your next trip if you’re interested!) and it was the Shaftesbury Premier London Paddington Hotel. This was located really close to Paddington station which has 4 tube lines running through it I believe so it’s perfect for getting around! I found the hotel to be perfect for what we needed but we did get an upgrade after complaining about our original room so I would err on the side of caution if booking it. The room we ended up with was a club room which was brilliant but the ‘deluxe’ double we should have had was actually in the basement with next to no light and a shower cubicle the size of a postage stamp that also smelt of stagnant water. Be warned.

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Nelsons Column didn’t quite make it into this picture!

On the Thursday we arrived at our hotel at around half 2 and after a quick freshen up, we headed out to Trafalgar Square to see Nelsons column and then on to Covent Garden. It’s safe to say Covent Garden was entirely my choice and was purely to head to Ladurée, Deciem & Charlotte Tilbury! Macaroons eaten, I went to find my shade in The Ordinary foundations as I hadn’t wanted to guess online! I ended up going back to buy some for Lora & Sophie too on the Sunday!

After a bit of shopping, we had to grab an early dinner as the theatre recommends being at the show an hour in advance of the start time (7.30pm). Tom had found a place called Polpo online and it turned out it was directly opposite the theatre! It was a really cute place that served tapas that was delicious! If I was to be picky I’d say that the staff were too attentive and almost bothersome and I got my prosecco served in a IKEA tumbler! Not quite what I was hoping for but we had a delicious meal all the same!IMG_1501.JPG

From here we crossed the road to the palace theatre and queued to see the Cursed Child part 1! Our tickets were in the dress circle which I would say is always my favourite place to sit in the theatre. They do come with a bit of a price tag though as I think they cost us £70 each per show! In my opinion they were totally worth it though and if you’re going to go and see the show, you may as well do it properly and not scrimp! The acting and the special effects of the show were absolutely out of this world and I was on the edge of my seat at times! I’d actually read the book so I knew the story line but I was actually glad about that as I didn’t have to spend ages focussing on the plot and I could just sit back and enjoy it all! Part 1 does end on a bit of a cliffhanger though so I could imagine that if you’re new to the story, waiting 24 hours felt like a lifetime!

IMG_3633.JPGDay two started with a real bang for us as we’d actually arranged to go on one of the Thames Rocket Tours*. As someone that can get a bit sea sick I was a little nervous beforehand but I loved it! The trip runs from the London Eye Pier and lasts around an hour. On arrival we were given warm waterproof coats (very handy!) and life vests! Each boat takes about 12 visitors and has a tour guide and a skipper. Our tour guide was a lovely guy called Bill and our skipper was Andy! For the first 20 minutes of the ride we leisurely rode out towards Tower Bridge, taking in the sights at our leisure. Bill came round to take some pictures for us all and even took a sneaky selfie on Toms phone.

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Hey Bill, betcha didn’t think this picture would make it to the blog!

Once we’d hit Tower Bridge (not literally thankfully), the fun began and we sped off at around 30 knots. I’m not a speed demon but this was amazing and the hilariously dramatic soundtrack in the background was fantastic. Think James Bond, Don’t Stop Me Now and Rocket Man to name but a few! I was so so sad when this part of the journey ended as it was so much fun and unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s safe to say I looked very windswept when we got back on dry land and Tom’s hair had taken on a mind of it’s own!

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Don’t worry, he never smiles!

The final 20 minutes of the journey was at a leisurely pace again but this time, Bill pointed out major sights on route. His favourite things to point out were things that hadn’t perhaps gone to plan and gave Tom and I a tonne of facts to take away with us! My personal favourite is that Waterloo Bridge is also called Ladies Bridge as it’s the only one to be built by women. Its also the only one to come in under budget; get finished on time and it also cleans itself! Girl power at it’s best!

Once we had disembarked the boat, we decided to do a bit of wandering and looking at the sights. We crossed over Westminster bridge to take a look at the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (which is actually the name of the bell, not the tower!) and made our way towards the Shard! We were going to go up the Shard but for around £55 for the pair of us just to go up in the lift we decided to give it a miss! We did have a spot of lunch on the ground floor though at Lang! It’s part of the Shangri-La hotel and offers amazing pastries! We had a toastie each and then it was on to the most fantastic cakes! I had a salted caramel tart and Tom had a raspberry and rose macaroon! They were delicious! One very random thing that was present at Lang was a heated toilet seat! If we had that at home, I honestly don’t think i’d ever see Tom ever again!IMG_3638.JPG

Feeling rather heavy, we decided to walk to Borough Market to take a look at what it had to offer. There is an amazing array of food stalls and all sorts of other goodies there and if I lived in London I would love to get my groceries from some of the stalls! It’s definitely an upmarket place though, selling truffles and caviar and other fantastic, yet very expensive, delicacies on every corner! We got the tube to Buckingham Palace from here as it’s just a must-see place for any London Tourist! We saw the beefeaters and took a good wander around the park and the lake, just enjoying being outside in the reasonably nice weather! We finally took a little gander at 10 Downing Street although since I was last there security has naturally been stepped up and you can barely see a thing. We also ended up walking by New Scotland Yard, where Tom took a little boomerang of the sign for his Insta Story!

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Oh Hey Your Majesty!

After heading back to the hotel for a quick freshen up, it was time to head back out to see part 2 of The Cursed Child. Having never seen a show in London, to see two on consecutive nights felt like a right treat! I found the second part to be very emotive, partly because I knew it was the final of something I’d be looking forward to for so long and also from how the story unfolded. I feel like the actors were incredibly emotive and the casting had been picked exceptionally well. My favourite character was definitely Scorpius but I would say 90% of the characters represented both their paper and film counter parts amazingly! It’s totally worth a visit if you can!

IMG_1599.JPG.jpegDay three was our final full day in London and being people that spend a lot of time on social media, we wanted to take a trip to Camden Market to try and find THOSE Halloumi fries from Oli Baba’s! I had no idea how big Camden was so it took us a while to find them. I may of perhaps tripped into a distillery shop and picked up yet another new bottle of gin, but this one, Half Hitch, is actually made at the market so I couldn’t not get some! We finally found the fries and oh my god they were amazing! Deep fried halloumi with mint yogurt, something that tasted a bit like balsamic glaze and fresh pomegranate seeds. Simply divine! IMG_3658

We wanted to do a spot of shopping from here so we of course went to Liberty’s, Carnaby Street and Harrods and Harvey Nic’s amongst others. I always love Liberty’s and Carnaby street has such a buzz about it. I actually hadn’t realised I’d never been to Harrods before so we whiled away plenty of time in there as it’s HUGE! They sell absolutely everything you could think of and I loved exploring it. It’s a crazy shop full of so many treats that I can’t even begin to list them! After a quick walk down Sloan Street to see if we could spot any super cars for Tom, we headed back home for a quick refresh before dinner.

Oh dinner,  how amazing it was! We went to the infamous Distillery on Portobello Road which specialises in gin, gin and more gin! We ate in one of the two restaurants they have there, Gin Tonica. This was yet another delicious tapas restaurant with a gin list a mile long. Weirdly, Tom dislikes gin so he chose a wine that was absolutely delicious! I thought ‘when in Rome’ and opted for the Portobello Road gin which was amazing! We shared numerous tapas dishes which were mouth watering and a pudding that still has me thinking about it! My only thing was that the gins were VERY pricey, the cheapest ones were around £10 a glass so I felt like I could only really have one for fear of racking up a huge bill! I would 100% go back though next time I was in London and I’d LOVE to stay in the hotel they have there! They also have a fantastic gin experience that I am totally putting on my birthday wishlist!

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The Distillery on Portobello Road

On our final day we had to head back just after lunch time so we decided to have a yummy breakfast instead to finish the holiday off in style! On recommendation from Lora and her husband Chris we joined the queue at The Breakfast Club in Soho and decided to wait in line no matter how long it took. As we were a two it was actually only around 35-40 minutes which I’m lead to believe is pretty good in there! Tom had a full english along with a tea and I had cold pressed orange juice with a veggie breakfast. The juice was some of the nicest i’ve ever tasted and the breakfasts were gigantic! I think next time I would opt for something a bit more specialist so I can try their take on things but the veggie breakfast was amazing! We were both so so full after we’d finished and didn’t need to eat anything again until dinner time!

Sadly that brought our trip to London to an end but we had an absolutely fantastic time full of action packed boat rides, amazing food and wonderful theatre! Let me know what your favourite thing to do in London is!

Much Love

xoxo

*Tickets provided for PR purposes. A huge thank you to the team at Thames Rockets for helping to make our trip so wonderful!

Review: Avril Cosmétiques

Quite a few months ago now, a lady called Marion got in touch with me from a french brand called Avril Cosmétiques asking if I wanted to try out a few of their products. Of course I was only happy to oblige, who doesn’t love trying out new things hey?! I was asked to pick 5 products that I wanted to try from any of their ranges, so I tried to pick something from the skincare, makeup and tools to get a good overview of what I liked!

Lets get the negatives out the way first as nobody likes ending on a bad note! I wasn’t a fan of the makeup products sadly. The volume noir mascara* didn’t really do anything for my lashes at all, it was neither volumising nor dark, and the ‘highlighter’* was more of a matte pressed powder. I’m a full on glow girl who likes full lashes so these fell short for me sadly!

The other three products I picked were the Micellar Water*, the Cleansing Oil* and the Fan Brush* and these were the stars of the show for me! Both the micellar water and cleansing oil were only €7 each and the brush was only €6! These were really really good value for money and things I would definitely repurchase!

Firstly, the cleansing oil! This has a lovely fresh scent and a little goes a really long way. I found it to be very effective at dissolving my makeup, even heavy eye makeup, and it was neither stripping nor greasy. I also was pleased that it didn’t irritate my eyes at all and left my skin feeling nourished without being too much for it! I’ve got this in my shower at the moment and I’m using it nightly to take off my makeup and I’ve been really happy with it!

Next was the Micellar Water and to be honest I don’t normally use these waters as it’s a step I just can’t be bothered to add in. However this one is a huge bottle at 400ml and has a lovely fresh herbal scent rather than a alcoholic scent. I use this in the morning before I do my skincare regime to give my face a quick refresh and I’ve really been enjoying it. This bottle is going to last me a lifetime but again I don’t find this to be stripping in the slightest so its going to get finished…eventually!

The final item was the fan brush and I picked this as I don’t actually own one from any brand but i’ve heard they’re great for highlighter! The bristles are synthetic as the entire brand is organic and natural. For €6 this certainly matches other well known synthetic brush brands on quality! I’ve not had one bristle shed from it and the hairs have been shaped perfectly. I’ve used this nearly every day since I received it with my Becca Highlight and its fab! It allows me to get a more concentrated highlight rather than a wildly spread out array that I normally end up with!

For me, I really liked the concept of the brand overall and they have a wide range of products on their website, all at very reasonable prices. I didn’t try any of their hair or body care but they do carry lines in those categories too. I would say to try the skincare first as that was a real stand out for me and something that I would repurchase. Maybe I was unlucky with the makeup items I picked but the brushes were of a brilliant quality for the price!

Have you tried Avril Cosmétiques? What products do you like the sound of the most?

Much Love

xoxo

*Products sent for review.

Swatch Skin Watches #YourMove!

So a few months ago I was invited to an event held by Swatch in Victoria Centre in Nottingham. Unfortunately, this fell whilst I was away in Norfolk with the boys so I couldn’t attend, although it looked absolutely amazing from the instastories i’ve seen! However, I was very lucky to be allowed to pop into the shop anyway to pick up one of their new range of watches to try and review!

Swatch is a brand of watches that have been going for around 30 years and have become firm favourites with customers across the world. I had personally never had a watch from the brand before, but both Tom and his Dad have and both of them love them for their sheer comfort and practicality. The whole idea behind the event was to showcase the new launch of more ‘Skin’ watches to their range. These are designed to be incredibly lightweight so it almost feels like you don’t have a watch on. The whole event was designed around movement and being able to feel comfortable in your watch whilst being on the go.

I was invited to pick a watch out from the new skin range and of course the one I was instantly drawn to was from the old range. Please tell me it’s not just me that this happens to?! I was with my mum at the time and she pointed to one I hadn’t seen in the top corner and it’s safe to say I fell in love. Now, I have two silver watches and one rose gold/nude watch and that’s it so when I saw the deep Navy SkinSparks* watch I knew that that was the one I wanted as it was so different to anything I already own. DSCF0546_Fotor.jpg

When the lovely sales assistant passed the watch to me I honestly couldn’t believe how light it was! I haven’t weighed it myself, but a quick search online tells me it’s around 18g. 18g! How is that even possible?! The dial is a gorgeous metallic navy with a tiny delicate crystal marking each of the hours. It also has a very comfortable dark navy silicone strap which I initially thought I wouldn’t like but the sheer comfort of it totally won me over! It’s silky soft too yet doesn’t slide around when i’m wearing it which is a real pet hate of mine!DSCF0547_Fotor.jpg

This watch retails for £79.50 which I honestly think is a complete bargain. It’s perfect for wearing day-to-day, is water resistant up to 30 metres and is so light that you forget you’re actually wearing a watch! I’ve been using this the most for the evenings i’m at work as it’s pretty and delicate, yet the face is still 40mm so it’s really easy to read too. As a girl that adores sparkles, the tiny little crystals are the perfect addition to make it that bit more glam! I can see this quickly becoming a staple for me and when I can be bothered to return to the gym, this will come in handy for those days too! My mum actually never wears a watch but has said she’d love to borrow this as the navy seems to go with everything and it’s understated yet feminine! On the website there were 54 watches in the skin range to choose from so you’re guaranteed to find something that suits your style! I’m seriously debating going back for the Rose Gold one I initially fell in love with as they are just so comfortable and easy to wear and that one has a metal strap so would be more suited to work!

What do you think of the Swatch Skin range? Let me know which one you would pick!

Much Love

xoxo

* I was gifted this product for PR purposes but all opinions remain my own.

 

June & July Empties 2017!

I feel like with all the trips I’ve been going on recently, I’ve not been on top of my empties posts! However, when I checked my box at the end of July I did find quite an array of items I’d finished up and thought it was time to fill you all in on them!

Makeup:

  • Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray – I finished up both a full size (118ml) and a tiny travel size (15ml) of this! It is definitely my favourite setting spray and I have since purchased the medium sized bottle (30ml) to keep me going. I’ve also saved the bottles of these as I like the spritz on it and will be decanting my new Rimmel setting spray (review to come) into them as I HATE the bottle that one comes in!
  • Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer – I got this last year when I went to Lily & Anna’s event in Liberty’s. Having heard great things about this primer I was certainly eager to try it! I have to say it feel very silicone based and I didn’t notice a significant difference to my makeup when I used it. To say the full size is £55 and even the travel size is £20, I probably wouldn’t buy it myself.
  • Nude By Nature Translucent Loose Powder – I got this as part of the Feel Unique Sample Service and I really really liked it. It’s such a finely milled powder and bakes concealer like a dream! I’ve noticed a huge difference with my concealer not creasing too! I have bought the full size for quite a substantial sum of £22 but i’ve since tried the MAC one (which I used for my graduation) and I do think I prefer that. Damn it! I will use it up but I do think my heart now lies with the MAC Prep & Prime one.

Skincare: DSCF0541_Fotor.jpg

  • Clinique Take The Day Off Balm (Travel Size 15ml) – I love balm cleansers and this one is such a lovely formula. There is no real scent to it which I like and it feels gentle on the skin. It neither strips the skin, nor does it leave a horrible residue. I have quite a few cleansers to wade my way through before I start buying more but when I do, I’ll be picking up a full sized tub of this. Thankfully I do have one more travel sized tub in my stash to keep me going for now though!
  • Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturiser (Travel Size 30ml) – Is it possible to hate a cult favourite moisturiser? I certainly do with this one! The formula is just horrible in my opinion and leaves such a vile sticky feeling to the skin after it’s dried down. I also find it randomly bobbles off my skin after a while which is just not pleasant. I also don’t feel it really moisturised my skin?! Safe to say, this one won’t be purchased and i’m glad that it’s finished!
  • LUSH Mask Of Magnaminty (Not Pictured) – I finished up the whole tub of this pretty quickly and it’s going to be firmly in rotation through my skincare from now on. I absolutely love it and found that it brought my spots to a head quicker and just generally cleared my skin up. I’ve got a few masks to use up at the moment so i’m banning myself from buying it, however I will be repurchasing in the future!

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  • The Comforter Shower Cream – Why is it, that I find a product that I love and the brand discontinues it?! This is one of the nicest shower products i’ve ever used and bloody LUSH have gone and discontinued it! It’s already off the website and I only got this in May from the LUSH event! Safe to say i’m in a grump about this one!
  • The Body Shop Spiced Apple Foaming Bath – This is another one that’s been discontinued, although I knew this at the time as it’s one of their Christmas scents! I’ve dragged this one out as long as I can and now I’m down to just the shower gels. If they bring it back at Christmas, I’ll definitely be repurchasing as the scent is divine!
  • St Tropez In-Shower Gradual Tan (50ml Travel Size) – This is one of the only tans I actually get on with and the only one that’s never caused disasters! I’ve been through quite a few of these mini samples as they were in magazines and subscription boxes aplenty at one point but now i’m down to one travel size and two full size so I should be stocked up for a while!
  • Chanel Chance Eau Tendre Perfume Refill – I had one of these in my last empties too and i’ve been using this so much as it’s just so handy for travel! The little cartridges are 20ml each and fit in a small handbag friendly dispenser. I love all of the Chance fragrances so I like using this one for every day. I’ve only got one cartridge left now so i’ve switched to a different perfume (my old fave J’adore Dior) for the time being just so I don’t get too used to the scent and I can enjoy the last refill!
  • Deonica Fragrance Free Deodorant – This was very weird as there was no scent to it apart from that subtle alcohol scent. All in all i’ve not been very impressed with any of the Deonica deodorants and i’m pretty happy to be back to my old faithful Dove stick. I think I have one of these left for emergencies at Tom’s house but after that I won’t be picking up any more.
  • Bumble & Bumble Don’t Blow It Hair Styler (15ml Travel Size) – I don’t like using heat on my hair so I did have high hopes for this product but unfortunately, I really don’t think it did anything at all! I’m on the search for a good heat-free frizz prevention product though so if you know of any, let me know!

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  • Tony Moly Pomegranate Sheet Mask – I’ve been pretty disappointed with the Tony Moly masks to be honest and they’ve been threaded through empties for a few months now. This one was one of the most ‘moist’ ones i’ve tried and I did like it for that, but it literally never dried! I found the serum was dripping down my neck for the half an hour I had it on my face and it was still soaking afterwards. This one did fit better which was good but again, I don’t think it really did anything. Shame really as they are such good value!
  • Simple Kind To Skin Wipes (7 Wipe Travel Pack) – Mum always grabs me some of these before I go on holiday and I feel like Simple skincare has seriously improved since I used it when I was younger. These don’t feel at all drying and are wet enough to do a good job at removing makeup! These will be a repeat purchase for holidays as they are just so handy.
  • No7 Beautiful Skin Wipes – I always had a pack of these lying around for lazy nights when I couldn’t be bothered to remove my makeup ‘properly’. However these had been in a drawer at Tom’s way too long and the last 5/6 had dried out completely. It’s a shame as they are bloody expensive at £7 a pack. I always preferred these to Simple’s as they were wetter but now that Simple have upped their game, I think I’ll revert back to those in emergencies!
  • Kiehls Calendula Herbal Extract Toner Sample – I’ve always found Kiehls skincare to be okay but nothing that stood out massively. However, I did really like this toner as it was more of a thicker consistency and hence not at all drying or stripping. Saying that I honestly have about 5 toners to use up so I won’t be purchasing any new ones for a while!
  • L’Oreal Pure Clay Purity Mask Sample – Thanks ASOS for adding this into my order! I’ve been meaning to try these masks for ages and I’m pleased to say I wasn’t disappointed! This one aims to cleanse and mattify and I would say that my skin looked both clearer and more matte after this! My skin isn’t particularly shiny though so I think if I bought the full size it would be of the blue one (the one specifically for spots) as I think i’d get the most benefit out of that! My only gripe with this one is it did dry very stiffly on the face which very quickly became uncomfortable!
  • L’Oreal Mythic Oil Hair Mask Sample – I pretty much use a hair mask every time I wash my hair as it’s quite coarse and doesn’t get greasy that often. I really liked this one and although I forgot to put my regular oil in my hair after this, I found that it still felt nourished and hydrated! I’d definitely consider buying the full size, especially as its only £14 on Look Fantastic!

I feel like i’ve finished off quite a good range of products at the moment and it’s helping towards my declutter! I am still trying to get rid of things at the moment so take a look at my Depop page if you’re feeling nosey! My username is @therosebeautyfiles! What have you finished off this month?

Much Love

xoxo

 

GIVEAWAY With Hunkemöller!

Hi everyone, today I’ve got something really exciting to share with you all… a GIVEAWAY! The lovely team at Hunkemöller have sent over some gorgeous pamper goodies for one of you to win! Hunkemöller are actually a European lingerie brand but they have expanded into some pamper goodies as part of their wellness collection. Think Victoria Secret style pamper products and you’ve hit the nail on the head. These smell absolutely divine and would be such a treat at the end of a long day! They’ve also recently launched in the UK so you can visit their new UK site here.

Included in the prize are three of their favourite products:

  • HKM Spa Body Cream – This lovely light and airy HKM Spa body cream is easy to apply.  The velvet-soft formula nourishes and strengthens your skin intensively.  I love how cute the packaging is on this product as the lovely tin-like lid really gives it a luxury feel!
  • HKM Spa Body Oil – Treat yourself to this soft and nourishing massage oil from the HKM Spa collection. The oil is absorbed quickly by your skin and is suitable for using every day.
  • HKM Spa Body Scrub – Start your day in the right way with this body scrub from the HKM Spa collection containing very small bamboo beads to give your skin a fresh look.

I love how each product has a little saying on the front and the packaging is simple and sleek! These would look amazing in any bathroom and would make an amazing gift to either yourself or a friend! In addition to this, none of these products have been tested on animals. So to enter, follow the instructions on the Raffle Copter link below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/aeb91cb02/?

All that’s left to say then is GOOD LUCK!

Much Love

xoxo

Does Skinny Coffee Club Really Work?!

So you may have seen a multitude of ‘skinny’ drinks hitting the markets recently, claiming that they can help you shift those pounds, reduce bloating and other mega claims to boot. One that seemed to be showing up on my feeds more and more was the Skinny Coffee Club that had huge testimonials about massive weight loss, better skin and just generally making you feel good about yourself. I’d been trying to shift about half a stone for a while at this point with no luck, so decided I had nothing to lose but a few (monetary) pounds so picked up the smallest sized bag to try.

I bought mine from Holland & Barrett on offer for about £12, however the 28 day program normally retails for a huge £24.95! Thats probably not far off the cost of buying 10 coffees from a high street cafe! As I say, my box was half price so, despite being a lot more expensive than other filter coffee, it wasn’t terrible either. The packaging and branding of the products did really appeal to me and looked simple and chic with a slightly girly edge to it through the use of pink.

The things that lured me towards the skinny coffee rather than the teas were a) the fact I much prefer coffee to tea and b) that this actually has green tea in it so surely the benefits are already included. It also has lower caffeine than normal coffee and as someone who was trying to get back into caffeine slightly, this was better than a full, caffeine loaded cup of coffee.

So, was it actually drinkable? Weirdly, yes! The coffee does have a slightly off-putting green tinge to it that took a little getting used to, however the taste was alright. I mixed mine with one sweetener and a dash of almond milk as they had said you could and it was honestly okay. Totally not worth swapping my vanilla latte for it but as coffee goes, it was a reasonably nice tasting cup to start the day off with. For me it was just a bit of a faff. Who actually makes coffee in a cafetière any more?! My mum went mental at me daily as I could not be bothered with the hassle of dismantling the french press and cleaning it daily! If it had been instant, that would have been much more practical in my opinion.

Did it work? Not at all. I followed the instructions of having the coffee 20 minutes before breakfast daily for nearly the full month and I lost absolutely nothing. I wanted to see the effects of the coffee alone so I changed nothing else about my lifestyle and witnessed not one little effect. My skin was no clearer, I didn’t feel any less bloated and most importantly, I had lost absolutely no weight. Not even one pound. I was still walking the dog twice a day and eating my regular meals but this coffee had absolutely no effect whatsoever.

I’m going to address the elephant in the room with these kind of products, does it work through laxative effects? Well a) this doesn’t work at all and b) I’m pleased to say this didn’t make me run to the toilet every half an hour. You do have to be careful with some similar style products though as this is how they work to make you lose weight and over a period of time this could become a little dangerous to your body! You could end up dehydrated and lacking nutrients so be careful!

From personal experiences, I would suggest simply drinking regular green tea if you want to decrease bloating. My mum switched every cup of regular tea to green tea and was definitely less bloated and lost near to half a stone, alongside stepping up her healthy eating and exercise regime. This is the key thing with these products, it’s actually the lifestyle, diet and exercise that are going to impact the weight loss rather than the drink. I’ve switched to regular coffee instead and have weirdly lost the half a stone that I was looking to lose! I’m lighter and i’m back on the lattes, result.

The sad thing with these brands is that they are preying on vulnerable women and girls who feel insecure about their bodies and social media tells them that there’s a quick fix. There isn’t. Yes caffeine and green tea have weight loss properties and spirulina is some kind of superfood, but drinking one cup of this a day will not make you shed half a stone. If you are lucky you may get 1-2 pounds off but that’s it unless you change your diet and exercise regimes too! I think the amount of bloggers that are promoting and sharing this at the moment is wrong. It just enhances the insecurities that women have over their bodies and in turn becomes even more disappointing when the results aren’t as expected.

Save yourself the pounds and just try a more traditional weight loss plan instead if you are really looking to lose some weight. I really hope that more people don’t get sucked into buying these kind of products and just opt to try and lead happier and healthier lives instead! Have you tried any of these products before?

Much Love

xoxo

My Experience of Giving Blood for the First Time!

On Monday the 24th July 2017, I did something I’ve wanted to do for years, give blood! I have quite a rare blood type (only 6.6% of the population have my A- blood type) so I’ve always felt that if I could muster up the courage, I really should give it a go at least once in my life. I had previously made an appointment back in February this year only to be told that due to a medication change, I couldn’t actually donate that day. It’s safe to say I was disappointed as I had totally geared myself up for it on the day. However, never one to be told no, I returned this month to try again.

I have booked my appointments online as I find it’s the easiest way to make and change them without having to involve anyone else. They ask for your mobile number when you sign up and I was surprised to get a few texts the day before and on the day of my donation giving me tips and advice in order to make it go as smoothly as possible. The key thing is to make sure you’ve eaten and drunk enough on the day as that limits the possibility of feeling faint, something I was very worried about.

On arrival, you hand in your completed information form and are told to drink a pint of water or squash, this is to ensure that there is enough fluid in your stomach to avoid your blood pressure dropping. As I was quite nervous, I found that drinking the water kind of calmed me down in a weird way and before I knew it, it was all gone and they were calling my name.

During the next stage of the process, they go through your information for and check there is nothing stopping you donating that day. They are very thorough which is for both your safety and the person who will eventually be receiving your blood. They are strict on things such as when you’ve had piercings, your recent holidays and any medication you are on amongst others. It all seems stupid but if you sit and think about it, they have to make sure it’s entirely safe for everyone involved. The final step at this stage is to do a finger prick test to ensure that your iron is at a safe enough level. I was convinced that this would be the problem for me but nope, I was good to go!

From here you wait for a nurse to call your name and take you to the chair. I found this the most daunting as you were watching other people have theirs taken and it made me feel a bit uneasy. They called my name and they asked whether I was right or left handed. This is so that they take blood from your non-dominant arm to avoid it causing you any problems. They sit you down and take your blood pressure and thoroughly clean the area (for 30 whole seconds in fact!). Then it’s the bit that nobody likes – inserting the needle! It is just a very sharp scratch, not painful but definitely not nice either. Once it’s in, thats the hard part done and it’s a matter of sitting back and waiting for your body to do its thing!

I’m a fidgeter and to be honest, I wanted it to be done as quickly as possible so I asked if I could have something to squeeze in my hand to a) keep the blood flowing and b) to give me something else to think about. I was also a bit worried that they’d end up taking too much blood but it is all controlled by a machine so this is actually impossible! Phew! It took a grand total of 8 minutes and 52 seconds for me to donate my pint of blood and I can honestly say it felt a lot quicker than that! The lucky woman next to me must have had a crazy blood flow as she was under 5 minutes! As I say the machine stops the blood flow automatically and beeps to alert a nurse that you’re done. They remove the needle (literally painless) and ask you to apply pressure to your arm to stem the flow of blood. The speed of this bit depends on how fast your blood clots but mine was done in about 30 seconds. They apply a pressure bandage and gradually start to sit you up.

I think I was slightly preempting the fact I may feel faint so as soon as they started to get me up I felt a bit hot and bothered so they lay me back down and fanned me. I literally felt like such an idiot but they made a huge deal out of it so they definitely don’t take any chances with your safety. I was then moved on to have something to eat and drink but as the woman only had cheese and onion crisps (EWWWW) she let me off with just another pint of water. To be honest I was not at all hungry so I was glad and set off home with Tom who had come to meet me.

I felt a bit tired and drained the next day and unfortunately I was sick that night but we can’t say whether that was to do with the blood donation or not. It may have just been an annoying coincidence as looking back I did feel a bit queasy all day but I’d put it down to pre-donation nerves. I’m writing this two days on and I feel fine. I have a tiny little bruise on my arm but that’s it. Incredibly, my body should have completely recreated the pint of blood I gave within 1-2 weeks and my fluid levels should already be back up to normal. It’s just crazy what you’re body can do! It’s vital that you try and keep eating and drinking as normal afterward though so make sure you’re looking after yourself!

Do I plan to go back and do it again? Absolutely! The sense of pride I got when I left the church after donating was amazing. Who knows where that pint of blood might end up! I’ve already got my next appointment booked in for November and I’m hoping to be able to keep doing it regularly. You are actually allowed to donate every 8 weeks but you’ve got to make sure you’re feeling okay when you do. Yes it’s not going to be for everybody but if you can find the courage to go and do it, it’s an absolutely amazing thing. I’ve been an organ donor for years and years but that won’t actually effect me in my lifetime so I wanted to do something that was physically my choice and required my own will power. Even if you only do it once, it’s such a huge thing and you could literally save somebody’s life!

Please feel free to ask any questions if you are still looking for more information about giving blood or visit the Give Blood website! Have you ever given blood? If not, what’s stopping you? hero.jpg

Much Love

xoxo

 

 

Summer Essentials| Perfect Teeth with Sonic Chic & Sensodyne!

Since having braces when I was younger, I’ve always been pretty chuffed with the appearance of my teeth. However, when I’m travelling I do miss my electric toothbrush and I find that my teeth don’t always feel as clean with a manual brush as they do at home with my electric. This is where Sonic Chic came to my rescue! They are a brand that creates sonic toothbrushes designed to be perfect for travelling whilst still giving you that electric toothbrush feel!

The team over at Sonic Chic kindly sent me over their Urban Loveheart Toothbrush* to try on my travels this summer and I have been LOVING it! Firstly, lets get the pricing out the way, these usually retail for £20 but at the moment they’re half price at Boots so you can snap up a bargain for only £10 here! They have loads of lovely designs too but I’m actually really happy with mine. It’s girly and cute without being cheesy and is bright enough to be easy to locate in my washbag!

Rather than having to be charged up or plugged into the mains, these toothbrushes run off one single AAA battery, meaning that they are perfect for taking abroad as you don’t need a travel adaptor! What’s even better is that you actually get the battery included and just replace it as a when required. You also get one replacement head which is great as I am a bit obsessive when it comes to toothbrushes and always like them to be fresh and new feeling! What seriously impressed me though, is that I took the brush away on holiday with me, which was about two and a half weeks in total, and there was no loss of power and the battery was still enabling the toothbrush to function perfectly. I did worry that, as it was battery powered, it would need replacing stupidly quickly, however I was definitely proved wrong!

What I like about this brush is that rather than the head rotating, it pulses, which means it feels gentler on your gums than a normal electric toothbrush! I found my teeth to feel just as clean though when using it twice daily and the strength of the pulses was really effective! The final feature that I really liked was the fact it has a cap to cover the bristles which also has little holes in the top to stop the toothbrush getting mouldy. I hate having my toothbrush loose in my bag so this helped to keep it hygienic whilst still being slimline! This has honestly been brilliant on my trips and will be something I will 100% repurchase when the time comes, however I feel like this still has many more trips in it yet! The only thing I don’t like so much about this is that some of the design has already started to chip off the brush. Now this doesn’t effect the functionality of it but aesthetically, it’s a bit annoying! Saying that, I would still buy another though so it’s not too bad!

Something I definitely forget with my dental care is protecting my enamel though, so i’ve been using the Sensodyne Pronamel Strong & Bright* to try and put more care into this area. I love how clean and smooth my teeth feel when I use this, which I definitely don’t normally get from other toothpastes. I also really like how it’s not overly sweetened or artificially coloured as I find this often becomes really off putting over time! The packaging lover in me also really appreciates the sleek matte packaging – weird I know! Overtime this toothpaste gently whitens the appearance of teeth too which is something I always always look for as who doesn’t want whiter teeth?!

Between these two products my teeth have been sparkling and clean all summer and have become total summer essentials for me! If you a regular traveller, I highly highly recommend Sonic Chic as they are so practical and portable and the power is as good as a full blown electric brush in my opinion!

Much Love

xoxo

*Items sent for review yet all opinions are my own!

Why I Sold My Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette!

So the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette comes back on sale tomorrow and I know so many of you will be itching to get your hands on it if you didn’t last time. As far as i’m aware, this is the first time Urban Decay have done two sale slots and I definitely fell for the idea of getting something that was going to be limited edition for a while. I was one of the lucky few who managed to grab one of the palettes in the original sale but once it arrived I was slightly underwhelmed. I thought I’d let you know why I sold it to help you make your mind up on whether you really need it tomorrow!

Packaging:

The packaging of this palette cannot be sniffed at, it is simply gorgeous! It’s a robust plastic casing that’s very similar to the Naked Smoky palette and has a lovely fire-like feel to it. The colours are synonymous of the eye shadow shades inside and I just felt they’d completely nailed it with this one. I’ve never had a palette with packaging this bold and it definitely stood out for me compared to the other palettes I own. It comes with a double ended brush like all of the Naked palettes and a huge mirror on the inside too. Although the brush is a nice addition, I always feel like the cut of the bristles is not quite right. One end is more of a pencil brush and the other is meant to be a blending/crease brush. For me the pencil brush end is too big for under the lash line but too small for packing on colour. The blending end has too stiff bristles for use in the crease but I’m not sure what else this shape could do. I’ve found this to be the same with the majority of brushes that come with palettes though so it wasn’t a complete surprise, nor was I overly disappointed.

Shade Range:

This is where the palette fell down for me. I know it’s obviously a completely warm-toned palette and as a lover of those shades, that’s why I bought it. However, a lot of the colours are very very similar. To say there’s 12 shades inside, at least 5 of them could be used interchangeably! They are all a mid-toned orange-brown that do look different in the pan but on the eyes are nearly identical! When spending nearly £40 on a palette I’d quite like there to be unique shades rather than ones that are only very slightly different from each other.  In the pan I feel they look so vibrant and all the shades look so different but when applied on the eye they all kind of blend into one, and not in a good way! The shades Lumbre, He Devil, Dirty Talk, Scorched and Cayenne were the worst offenders for me! But Sauced and Low Blow are also almost identical, as are Ounce and Chaser.DSCF0497_Fotor.jpg

For me, I felt like the shades could all be found very easily in other palettes and if you own the Morphe 35O palette then this doesn’t even get a look in! The 35O in my opinion has bolder pops of colour and the sheer quantity of colours means you can vary your looks up more. In my opinion, the Naked Heat palette has one look and you can’t really deviate from that. I tried to create different looks both times I used this palette and due to the similarity of the colours they ended up looking identical despite using completely different colours.

In the month or so that I owned this palette, I think I only reached for it a grand total of twice. It’s a real shame because I do love warm colours but I feel like these are definitely suited for someone just starting to experiment with warmer tones rather than a long standing fan! For nearly £40, I could not justify keeping a palette that I only reached for once in a blue moon. I didn’t even feel that there was one stand-out shade that made me want to reach for it or even keep it. It was just very lacklustre in the colour department for me!

Pigmentation & Blendability:

I’m going to put it out there, I was disappointed with the pigmentation. I just felt like they were all very muddy and didn’t pack the punch that I was after. I even tried the more glittery shades with fix plus and still found them to be lacking! I tried numerous different brushes to blend them out and apply them but nothing seemed to be working for me. They seemed to be a little patchy rather than the softly blown out effect I was looking for.

Initially, I thought I loved it, but when i’d ‘finished’ the look I was creating, I just felt like I needed to rummage through my dressing table looking for darker matte shades to finish the look off and a better highlight shade. The only real shade you could highlight with is Ounce and this did absolutely nothing for me and almost blended entirely away! This would have been better in a shimmer or glitter format rather than having two very similar light matte shades that you can’t do anything with really.  For me, the palette feels a little bit thrown together and a little bit more consideration regarding colours and finishes would definitely have made this a better palette for me!

I was really disappointed I didn’t love this palette as I adore Urban Decay and I love the Naked Palettes! However, I felt like this had not been as well thought out as other palettes and was missing a few key shades for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad palette, it’s nice and the colours are pretty, however its just not wow! Did you get your hands on the Naked Heat the first time around or are you going to be trying tomorrow?

Much Love

xoxo

 

Graduation Outfit of the Day & How I Found the Day!

So if you saw any of my social media last week, you might know that Friday the 14th July was the day I graduated from Nottingham University. For me it was a day that i’d looked forward to for years and was a day that almost didn’t happen as I was so determined I wasn’t going to go and do a degree! Boy am I glad now that I did. The three years I spent there were brilliant and they have enabled me to land I job that I’m proud of! I thought i’d do an outfit & face of the day post and also a quick roundup of how I found the day!

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See that guy behind me looking smug? That’s Tom and he made my hat wonky before this was taken. I will forever be furious. 
Outfit

I had picked my outfit months ago, having found a pair of shoes I loved and picking a dress to match them! The shoes were very very me and probably not what you’d call ‘usual graduation attire’. They were from Office and were the Hubba Hubba Fluff Ankle Trim Sandals in Grey Velvet. I paid £58 for them but annoyingly they are now in the sale for only £32! Don’t you just hate it when that happens! I have to say that they were honestly some of the most comfortable high heels I’ve worn in ages and I’m going to get so much continued use out of them!9111967531038.jpg

My dress was from Missguided at ASOS and was the Tall Lace Ladder Trim Ruffle Hem Dress in Ice Grey. This was £40 and seeing as I didn’t have a bag, it brought my whole outfit in at a total of £98. I did get student discount on both items so I feel I actually paid around the £85 mark. The dress was actually from the tall section of ASOS (despite me being only 5’4) but fit absolutely perfectly! The lace detailing was gorgeous and although I did have some worries that the tiered skirt would puff out my robe, it worked exactly as I had planned! On ASOS this looks a lot more blue than it is, I would say it’s actually more mint green than anything, but a very very pale shade of it!

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Hair

I did actually have my hair done at the hair dressers (I always go to Sutherland & Barnet in Nottingham City Centre) as I despise doing my own hair! They blow dried it straight and then used the GHD Creative Curl Wand to add beautiful loose waves to it. These curls lasted for days and I am totally going to be buying that wand to use at home #sorrynotsorry. My lovely hairdresser Jessica recommended sleeping in a silk scarf to keep my hair frizz free and the curls in tact. It really worked and I was so chuffed to wake up the next morning with my hair looking FABULOUS! I felt like such a princess with all my hair up in a pure silk scarf but hey, someone’s gotta do it!

Makeup

I had booked for my makeup to be done on the day so I didn’t have to stress but unfortunately a last minute cancellation left me fending for myself. I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t she love makeup right? Well yes, I do, but I HATE doing it under pressure and I knew that if it didn’t go right, I would hate every single picture from the day. A small big cry later and I put on my big girl pants and decided to go and do something about it. I headed to MAC for some inspiration and a foundation as I had just come back from holiday and all my foundations were much too light and didn’t blend with my neck! Thankfully I got a fantastic lady who spent at least half an hour with me sorting me out and for that I will be forever grateful! IMG_3372.JPG

So, drama over, onto the actual makeup and I am really pleased to say it went perfectly first time. Thank God otherwise a meltdown would definitely have followed! I had set aside 90 minutes in which to do it so I could start again if I had to but I think it actually took around an hour!

Base:

I started off with the MAC (there’s going to be a lot of MAC in this post sorry!) Prep + Prime Natural Radiance Primer in Radiant Yellow. This is an AMAZING primer and I feel like my make up just applied so beautifully on top of this! Cue a full sized purchase coming soon! I followed this up with some of the MAC Peachlite Strobe Cream on the high points of my face, focussing mainly on the cheek bones. I much prefer the shade of this one to the original as it was much more of a softer glow.

With my skin prepped, I applied MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC20 (I’m normally NC15) and blended it in with a buffing brush. Over the years I’ve had a real love-hate relationship with this foundation but the match and finish were absolutely spot on and it covered the many spots that had appeared, perfectly. It also stayed on ALL DAY and I am completely back to loving this foundation and wondering how I survived without it! The only thing that annoys me is the lack of pump with this, but at that point I really couldn’t be picky and I also didn’t fancy paying for one!! I followed this with a rediscovery of mine, the MAC Pro Longwear concealer! I’ve had this before and got on with it okay but I think it must just suit my skin better now as this has become a complete and utter staple ever since! I wore the shade NC30 as they come up very very light! This still gave a slight highlighting effect to my face without looking OTT. I set my concealer in place and dusted any areas that were looking shiny, with MAC Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder and that was the base done!

Cheeks:

When in MAC the sales assistant used a beautiful bronzer on me that I was actually going to buy but they’d sadly sold out! I believe it was the Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Dark Golden which is ironic as being so pale, i’ve never had a product with the word ‘dark’ in it before. So on the day I actually used Benefit’s Hoola but have no fear, I’ll be back in MAC for that pronto! For blush, again I fell for the charms of MAC and bought the blush she’d used on me when I visited. It was the infamous Mineralize Blush in Warm Soul and boy is it bloody beautiful! It’s a subtle beige toned blush that just gives you that naturally flushed look. Finally, onto highlight we went for MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft & Gentle, which thankfully I had at home. Well I’d given it to mum but swiftly took it back for the day!! Clearly the Mineralize products just work well for me as they just blended like a dream and didn’t look too heavy at all!

Brows: 

Quick and easy, this is just my usual: Benefit’s Ka Brow! I love this product and use it daily with an angled brush! I did randomly discover on the day that it applies better if the brush is ever so slightly wet. Random but it worked!

Eyes:

This was the bit I was lacking inspiration for as my dress was cool-toned so I couldn’t opt for my usual very warm toned eye look! Before I went into MAC I had messed around with some cooler shades in my collection and cobbled together something, but it wasn’t quite right. I used the Morphe 35O palette (yes there are a couple of cool-toned shades in there!) with some of the ashier browns in the crease and lower lash line and the pinky nude full on glitter in the centre. As I say there was still a little something something missing. Cue Kerrie from MAC again! She said she loved what i’d done (I was still very dubious about it all so her praise definitely helped!) but what about trying a warmer tone through the crease too so it was more of what I was used to?

At this point she could have suggested lime green and I’d have been all for it so I was only too happy to let her show me. She popped MAC’s Soft Brown Matte Shadow over what i’d done and it was literally a hallelujah moment. I don’t know what kind of sorcery is in that little pan of goodness but it just lifted the whole look. But wait, she wasn’t done there! She then popped Folie in the outer corner just to smoke it out a bit. Absolutely perfect! Unfortunately, they didn’t have Folie so I got Swiss Chocolate instead which is almost identical and what she thought she’d actually used anyway! On the day, I took Swiss Chocolate on an angled brush and popped it along as liner too.

For mascara, I took a risk and tried a new one. Thankfully the risk paid off and it stayed put and looked incredible! The mascara I’m now in love with is Tarte’s Light’s Camera Lashes. Oh. My. God. This stuff is incredible! Amazing rich dark colour, separates, lengthens, doesn’t clump. It’s literally mascara heaven. I have two samples but I WILL be buying more!!

Lips: 

I didn’t want too much on my lips as I wanted it to be all about the flawless base and a really good, soft smoky eye. I chose to tie in with the subtle warmth in the shadow and went for MAC’s Satin Lipstick in Mocha. I love the satin finishes and this stayed on all morning!

Setting Spray:

Finally, a quick spritz (or 10) of Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray and I was good to go!

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I forgot to put my lippie on before this picture but thanks to Chanelle who asked what lipstick I was wearing in this picture. I totally appreciated the little ego boost! 
Phew that was a long ramble and I’m sorry this post is so hefty, I just wanted to get every little bit of information in! Finally I just want to say a few things on how I found the day in general. Honestly, I couldn’t have enjoyed it more! It felt very very emotional to walk across that stage and collect my degree and it will be a moment that I will treasure forever! Seeing all my friends and celebrating with my family was so special to me and the pride I felt of my achievement that day almost made me burst. Having panicked the night before about tripping on stage, I was definitely relieved to have made it across without falling! IMG_1144.JPG

If you are graduating then make sure you make the most of the day. Invite the people who mean the most to you and just soak up your achievement. Make sure you take lots of photos and treasure it as it’s likely that that may be the only time you graduate! In the evening we booked a lovely meal at Harts restaurant in Nottingham which was such a treat as it’s definitely more on the pricy side but was so worth it to finish off the day in style!

If you’ve already graduated, I’d love to know what you did on the day! If you are graduating any time soon then good luck, enjoy it and most definitely be proud of yourself! Please feel free to call me by my full title now: Molly Rose Ashton BSc (Hons). Don’t worry, I’m just kidding!

Much Love

xoxo

P.s this post is not sponsored, nor does it contain affiliate links despite featuring a hell of a lot of MAC. I mean, can you imagine if they’d sponsored little old me, I’d feel like I was graduating twice!