Beauty

5 Ways to improve your morning routine

  1. Bye Bye Broken Sleep 

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This may be unpopular among those of you that love a good lie in, and I do admit I am rather partial, but many health experts suggest that as soon as you wake up in the morning you should actually get up rather than turning over for another snooze. You telling your body to go back to sleep after you’ve woken up in the morning, is no different to waking up in the middle of the night. That broken sleep pattern will only make you feel overtired during the day, so as soon as you wake up give yourself a little time in bed, but then get up – go watch some TV or check your emails and see how much more wide awake you’ll feel.

2. Get Your Lemon On 

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Forget grabbing sugary fruit juice or a coffee on your way out the door – water with lemon is the way to go. Hollistic websites suggest that it can improve your mood, boost your immune system, help clear your skin and can aid in weight loss. Plus – if you don’t leave the lemon in for too long – it tastes pretty nice too. Millie Mackitosh has been quoted saying that she drinks this every morning, so why not give it a go?

3. Pick Yourself a nice 8 Tracks Playlist

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I am an 8 tracks obsessive, ever since my flatmate introduced it to me last year I have probably played over 50 playlists. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically the Tumblr of music websites, instead of sharing photos members share playlists with hash tags. So you could search: #folk #indie #nightout #gettingready – whatever you wanted really. My favourite is #morning because it’s full of playlists with exactly the right songs to get me out of bed and in a good mood for the rest of the day. My favourite morning tunes are: On My Way – Rusted Root; Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson; Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds; Put Your Record On – Corrine Bailey Rae; Home – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Sunday Morning – Maroon 5 – among many others!

4. Shovel down a half decent breakfast 

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As I believe I have said before in this post. I LOVE breakfast. It’s easily my favourite meal: toast, cereal, eggs, pancakes, teacakes, yoghurt, porridge – the opportunities are endless and I honestly love nothing more than a long weekend breakfast. Sorry for the cliche, but I’m a big believer that it is indeed “the most important meal of the day”. If I don’t have a good breakfast in the morning, I’m basically a zombie before I have anything to eat that day, and then I crave coffee and bad food. Start your day with egg, they’re a great source of protein and will help keep your energy levels high throughout the day.

5. Splash your face 

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Since I bought my beloved Arbonne Cleanser I have been washing my face a lot more in the mornings, I find there’s nothing like a splash of cold water in the face to really wake me up for a 9am lecture. Washing your face with cold water in the morning helps to reduce any swelling under your eyes from the night before, and it naturally brightens your face by increasing blood circulation. Pick cold water over warm if you can bare the shock in the morning, it might be just what you need to start the day on the right foot.

Thanks for reading. Do you have any tips for getting out of bed, particularly on these chilly mornings? 

Harriette

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Lazy Sunday | Things I’m Loving At the Moment

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and as such I have decided to write a Things I’m Loving post. Here’s a list of the little things I am obsessing over at the moment….

ACCESSORIES | Olivia Burton Winter Garden Leather Watch

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I have been absolutely head over heels in love with Olivia Burton watches ever since I wrote my Top High Street Watches post, back in god knows when. Her designs are simple and delicate, and I always planned one day to invest in a really beautiful watch. I’ve had some really horrible news this week, which I’ve really been struggling with, and my mum and my boyfriend have been really amazing supports on the phone in reassuring me that things are actually ‘going to be ok’. Anyway, I came home on Friday to a parcel from John Lewis and my wonderful mum had sent me this lovely surprise with the note “Just a little something to cheer you up, Love Mum”. I nearly started crying right there, because it was so sweet and thoughtful and the watch itself is so chic and elegant. I am absolutely in love, I can’t stop looking at it. I would definitely recommend having a look at her collection on John Lewis or ASOS, as she does a really great range of watches, some at pretty reasonable prices.

EATS | Hot-Cross Buns

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It’s that time of year again where there are hot cross buns all over the supermarkets, and although I have never liked them before, I am becoming a bit obsessed. Get me a hot cross bun, a cup of tea and a book at the weekend and I will be happy. They’re so yummy and so cheap to buy! I’m very excited to do a little Waitrose shop soon and see if I can pick up a few different flavours – cinnamon and raisin here I come!

FACE:  No7 Makeup Goodies

IMG_0127I’ve had a pretty hectic couple of weeks, with lots of Uni work to do, and as a result my makeup situation has gotten pretty dire. I ran out of foundation completely on the day I planned to go into town to restock my makeup bag, and ended up covering my face in the last smidgen of concealer I could find – not a good look. It was rather embarrassing, when the lady at the makeup counter asked me what base I had used that morning: “Ermm…”.  On the search for both foundation and concealer, I was hoping there might be a good deal in Boots. It was the Buy One Get One Half Price deal at No7, which caught my attention, and of course the added luxury of finding a lady to help me find my perfect shade without too much effort, was too good to pass up.  I ended up walking away with the Beautifully Matte Foundation and the Instant Radiance Under Eye Concealer, both of which match together beautifully. And it only came to £20, a little bit more than I might usually spend, but so far I’m really happy with both products so that’s good news, and of course having proper makeup doing its actual job is always nice.

HAIR: Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Crystal Shine Shampoo and Conditioner

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On this journey to get myself back to some kind of normality (just trying to make myself feel more like myself really) I have also had my hair done – as the roots of my blonde highlighted hair where almost covering the whole top of my head, making it look more like I’d just dip-dyed the ends blonde, as opposed not having enough time/money to sort my barnet out. I did, however, read a comforting snippet in Fabulous Magazine, which was talking about how roots are in, so that was nice for a week or so. But I am happily blonde again, the split ends have been trimmed away and my mother (again the wonder that she is) has found me the best shampoo and conditioner set. I’ve actually had this set since Christmas, but I sadly forgot to take it back with me to Uni and as a result we have only just been reunited. It’s the Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Crystal Shine Shampoo and Conditioner developed with Claudia Schiffer and it is absolutely divine. The scent is a bit hard to put my finger on, it smells quite like coconut and vanilla, and completely like you’ve just had your hair professionally washed in the salon. And it feels like that too, really sleek and soft and light – I am completely in love. The shampoo and conditioner set themselves, do come in at about £10 together, fully priced (fingers crossed for some deals soon), which is expensive when I consider that I usually try and stick to more around the £3-£5 mark, but for a little treat or if you’re got a bit of cash to spare I was totally recommend these products – they literally make me feel like Claudia Schiffer after I’ve blow dried my hair, hair swishing adverts here I come!

WEAR: BDG Mom Jeans 

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I’ve been on the search for a pair of light denim Mom Jeans for a while now, so with Urban Outfitter’s tempting me with £10 off offer, I had to try a pair on. Then of course I had to buy them, just to see if they would potentially go with any of my tops at home – I can always take them back after all…. Although not quite as soft as my faithful black Topshop pair, these jeans are super comfy, and not too tough around the tummy area, which is nice. They’re a great colour for spring and are currently making me feel summery already, even if they do still have the labels in…

That’s my list of things I’m loving at the moment, what are you loving right now? 

Harriette

Lazy Sundays | University Instagram Snaps

I’ve been at back at Exeter for about 7 weeks now, and away from blogging for about 4. So I thought this was a nice, little, easy update on how things have been going recently.

Working from the top down, I’m so happy to be back in Exeter as it has all of this beautiful countryside! The image featured above is of my walk to University, which is really lovely when the weather is nice and pretty horrible when it’s not. | I was lucky enough to review some amazing Arbonne products during Fresher’s week – you can read my blog post about them here. Since trying them out I have HAD to buy both the primer and the cleanser and absolutely love both, my skin has never looked so good! | Ofcourse, I had to get my hair sorted when I got back to Uni, as I’d just sort of let it grow out over the summer. Getting it cut and coloured was just what I needed – even if it did come with a horribly big price tag….

I went home briefly for an orthodontist appointment about 3 weeks ago, and picked up these lovely bits from Sainsbury’s – the TU clothing section is definitely not to be underrated | Here I am with my two lovely housemates Giulia and Anna, out for Giulia’s birthday at a really great cocktail place called Urban Underground, I was about two cocktails down at this point and wearing my new Topshop leather dress from the summer sale | The next two are a few of my cooking innovations, inspired by the wonderful Londoner – if you’ve not checked out her blog yet, the food stuff in particular is amazing! Here I have made her Dip n Share Eggs, and her Tommy Tart.

Next up is the typical “mug of tea” photo. I was procrastinating heavily whilst reading for my course and made myself a cup of Peppermint Green Tea to help fend off my cold. I got this mug for my birthday and I absolutely love it, it’s by Sophie Allport who makes a range of mugs with different patterns on, and different phrases printed on the inside.| Lewis came to visit me for a week, during his reading week and we had a really wonderful time. The first image is from St Nicholas Market in Bristol [ which is a must-see and reminds me a lot of Camden] and the second of course is from Halloween. I went dressed as a creepy doll and Lewis went as a zombie, with his very own homemade blood stained T-shirt . | The final picture is from my favourite restaurant Bill’s, where we had an amazing brunch [just looking at that image again is making me hungry] and I drank so much tea because that teapot filled about 8 cups – bliss.

I hope you enjoyed this little post, it’s something a bit different. From now on I will be posting on here every Sunday and Tuesday, so if you liked this post make sure you look out for more! 

Harriette

 

Brightening up your Uni Room| Blaze On Chelsea Rose Fairy Lights*

So yes, I have returned to University, Year Two is well and truly on it’s way #scarythought #wheredidallthetimego #universitygoesquicklykids. But with starting again has of course come a lot of changes, I have moved into a lovely new house with some of my lovely girl friends and so far we are very pleased. The house is a lot more homey than a typical student house I would say, although not much warmer! As a result we – a bunch of 19/20 year olds – have all turned into a group of 80 year old ladies, shuffling around in slippers with our dressing gowns on, clutching cups of tea in our hands. We collectively drink more tea than any household I have ever know, and at the moment get through about 4 pints of milk a week. Skipping on a little bit, I have both loved and loathed the process of doing up my wonderful new bedroom, which is a lot more spacious than last year and so less disastrous when a certain 6ft 5″ boyfriend comes to stay. Of course it’s been nice to make it feel homey, adding all my little bits that I’ve collected over the years, but at the same time I have felt the pressure (among the other lovely girls rooms in the house) to make mine different. I came across Blaze On on a search for fairy lights. They make the most delicate and beautiful fairy lights in all different designs: stars, lanterns, hearts, roses, animals etc. so I was instantly intrigued. I really love putting up fairy lights in my room because they look nice, and can help a room feel warm and cosy. Every so often I just have those days were I really need to relax, and switching on some fairy lights, putting my candles on and sitting down in bed with a good book or a Netflix series just makes me feel very calm and satisfied. Blaze On themselves are a really great ethical brand. All of their products are handmade in Thailand with over 20 home-run businesses, who are paid for their skills so they have enough money to support their families and educate their children. They “purchase FairTrade and ethically sourced products wherever possible and practical,” and “prioritise suppliers whose environmental practices take into consideration the well-being of both the planet and the community“. All of the boxes that the products come in are recycled, and customers may look at a full guide of all of their resources online, if they want to know exactly what goes into making that product. Sounds good right? IMG_4363 IMG_4365 IMG_4366 I personally find post very exciting, and as this was actually the first piece of post delivered to my new house that wasn’t books for my course, I was literally skipping to the front door when my flatmate said there was a parcel for me. I feel like Blaze On take the parcel thing pretty seriously too, as my fairy lights were beautifully wrapped in orange tissue paper with a little handwritten note saying they hoped I would enjoy them and a complimentary daisy tea light (yes!). Blaze On sent me these beautiful Chelsea Rose Lover’s Bouquet fairy lights [there are a range of different colour combinations so it’s worth checking them out] and I was really excited to put them up on the beam above my bed. Unfortunately, student problems prevailed and so I had to wait a couple of days and buy some damage-free clear plastic hooks that I could stick onto the wall in order not to upset our landlord. Previously, I have tended to use either cellotape (classy, I know) or drawing pins to fix up fairy lights, but I bought the Command Decorating Clips with Clear Strips and I have been totally converted. Admittedly, it was slightly more than I wanted to spend on little hooks and they are a bit tedious to actually apply, but the way they just hold the fairy lights exactly in place and don’t randomly fall down in the middle of the night is great. IMG_4409 IMG_4418 IMG_4390 The roses themselves are really intricate, made from hand-screened mulberry paper with individual leaf-stemmed petals, and as they are mounted on a wire, they can be displayed in an open or closed position like real roses. Basically, they are just pretty fancy, they look absolutely wonderful even when they aren’t on as the colours are so pretty. And if you’re a student like me, you needn’t worry about it affecting your electricity bill as the warm white LED bulbs make them extremely energy efficient. So you don’t have to feel so guilty about accidentally leaving them on.  The only major criticism I would make is I wish they had a little on/off switch on the wire, as it’s a little easier than having to plug them in every time you want to put them on. IMG_4400 IMG_4408 IMG_4397 Overall, I absolutely love these fairy lights, Blaze On is a really cool brand, with a great ethos and the fairy lights are incredibly well made and look really beautiful. They have certainly brightened up my new bedroom and I’m sure they’d look great in any Uni room. Harriette Disclaimer:This product was provided to me free of charge from the company in order to review it. However the opinions expressed in this review are independent and my own. For a full disclaimer please see my PR/ Disclaimer page.

Bath + Shower Favourites

Ever since going to University, I have been a little bit obsessed with fancy toiletry goodies. Anything that’s a little bit luxury and smells nice is a little bit special when you’re at Uni to be honest and so I sort of starting collecting toiletries. I celebrated my birthday the summer before going to Uni and so I had a lot of nice birthday gifts to take with me including a Ted Baker bath and shower set, a Baylis and Harding bath and shower set, and some Lush goodies. As if this wasn’t enough, I also attended two bloggers meets, one in January and another in June where I received even more lovely shower products. So here it is a list of a few of my favourites that always cheered me up (wow, that’s a little sad) after a crappy day because there’s nothing like feeling clean and warm and relaxed and smelling good.  

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Lush “Whoosh” Shower Jelly

I’ve been picking this up for just over a year now and I really like it. I first became aware of this product when I received it as a birthday gift from my boyfriend’s nan a couple of weeks before I started my A levels, as it claims to give “renewed focus with tired jet lagged or revising for exams”. For my birthday this year I actually received two tubs of this, the smaller tub from Lewis and this larger tub from my mum. Made with lemon, lime, grapefruit and rosemary, I like it because it smells quite a bit like Jelly Babies. I think the renewed focus is more the result a placebo effect than the actual product itself, although you do have to concentrate pretty hard with this slippery substance in the shower so maybe that’s where the focus comes in. 

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Lee Stafford “Get’s Rid of Frizz” Treatment

This is, and has been for a while, my absolute favourite shower product. I got this in my goodie bag at the Bristol Bloggers Meet, and didn’t actually touch it for about 4 months. Then one day I came across it, and decided to put it in my en suite and use it the next time I had a shower. This stuff is absolutely uh-mazing! To start with, it smells incredible, sort of floral and coconutty, giving you that ‘just stepped out of the salon’ whiff. This product is designed to be used between you’re shampoo and conditioner as a hair mask. You take an egg-sized scoop of product and put it all over your hair, leaving it for a set amount of time so that it sinks in properly. I’ve been using this product for a pretty long time now, and I still have a little bit left, so it does last a long time. This treatment is fantastic for nourishing dry hair, detangling and just making sure you get a smooth, sleek, shiny blow-dry. Perfect! Generally it says to use a conditioner afterwards, but you’ll probably find that you don’t need one. This product particularly came to my rescue when I used to go swimming in the mornings at Uni, as a small amount of treatment would easily detangle those stubborn chlorine-induced knots. 

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Boots “Build Up Removal Expert” Shampoo 

I bought this after reading a couple of good reviews on a few different blogs about how it can really declog all of that product build up out of your hair. I have to admit I was surprised at the hefty price tag of just under £4.00 but I decided that for a product that I was only going to use one in a while to detoxify and remove all the impurities from my hair, it wasn’t too bad. For me this product is perfect for when I feel like i’ve been using a lot of products in my hair. Shampoo, Conditioner, Heat Protection Spray, Sea Salt Spray, Dry Shampoo – it can all make my hair feel heavy and thick, so using this shampoo to wash that all away leaves me feeling much lighter and cleaner. 

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Soap and Glory ” The Scrub Of Your Life” Body Scrub and “Glad Hair Day” Shampoo

I hadn’t actually tried out a Soap and Glory product until last Christmas, I’d just gotten the blogging bug and so I was on the look out for brands that all the beauty bloggers were using. I’d always seen Soap and Glory products and loved the puny names and retro design, but the cost did put me off trying any. In recent years however, I have made the momentous discovery that is Boots on Boxing Day and I have to say I would recommend everyone go. Long story short, I used to head straight for Topshop for the Boxing Day sales until I realised that Boots sell all of their fancy gift sets half price. Needless to say I was extremely happy when I picked up a Soap and Glory Bubble Barrel complete with 6 miniature products for only £6.00! I love all of them individually but “The Scrub of Your Life” and “Glad Hair Day” smell particularly good and are so handy for shoving in my bag for a weekend in London with Lewis or for a holiday, or just for when I feel like smelling amazing.

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Elemis “Skin Buff” Face Scrub

Elemis are a really terrific skincare brand and I really love their scented cleansers and toners. I got this “Skin Buff” in my Elemis Skin Brilliance Hydrating Skincare set [which I had reviewed here] and initially I wasn’t really a big fan. Face scrubs aren’t really my favourites as I have pretty sensitive skin and my cheeks tend to go all red and a bit sore if I use a face scrub, so I tend to just stick to cleansers. When I first gave this a go I found it to be a bit rough and sandpapery. However, after going a while without using it, I reread the instructions on the back and had another go. This time I was a lot more gentle, and i found it a lot more comfortable. The “Skin Buff” for me works better than other face scrubs as it has really tiny grains, rather than larger beads and so it’s a lot softer. It leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth and looking brighter. I’m not really sure that I would buy this product on it’s own, but as part of a set I’m happy to use it when my skin is looking a little dull. 

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Ted Baker “Body Scrub”

From face scrub and onto body scrub, as you might be able to tell I’ve gotten into the whole exfoliating thing at the moment, mainly because I’ve been slapping on the fake tan in this summer weather. This body scrub from Ted Baker looks pretty much just like salt, and rubs gently onto the skin to give a lovely soft finish. I love putting it on my legs after I shave them, to leave them feeling soft and silky smooth all day.

IMG_5352 IMG_5353Yves Rocher Organic Raspberry “Exfoliating Shower Gel”

Ok, so maybe not actually one of my favourites, as the actually exfoliating parts are a bit rough and annoying and end up all over the shower. But I do appreciate the fact that some of the exfoliating beads look like, or are, strawberry seeds. The only reason I’ve mentioned this product really is because it smells like jam, which is a bit of a novelty.

IMG_5347 IMG_5349Betty Jackson “Fresh Lavender” Bath Oil 

Of course one of the great things about being at home and not in halls is that I can have lovely long baths and watch Netflix on my laptop. Ah bliss. I found this cute little Betty Jackson Black set in our spare room, complete with lavender candle, this bath oil and a lavender body butter. Lavender in itself is great for a long relaxing bath as it’s a naturally soothing smell and the oily texture of the product actually makes your skin feel really smooth and lovely. Even on getting out of the bath, my skin was still all oily and moisturise, which might not be for everyone but I didn’t mind it. I fell asleep very quickly that evening, and have saved the rest of the bottle for the day I get home from Reading Festival – although I think i’ll have a little shower first! 

I hope you enjoyed this post of my bath and shower favourites. What are some of your favourite products to use in the shower or the bath?

Harriette

Strong Not Skinny

The word “role model” is often banded together with the idea of fame or celebrity in modern media, as the majority of big bloggers might be only too aware. Writing a blog that becomes very popular, or appearing in a reality TV programme can mean that an individual comes to be regarded as a role model, and that of course comes with the heavy burden of responsibility. A role model’s lifestyle, dress code and eating habits can easily be picked up by an eager fan, and this is where debates about good and bad role models arise.

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Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh was criticised at the beginning of last month after sharing a photo of herself on Instagram and Twitter at a photoshoot. The uncaptioned photograph, showed Millie wearing a silver bikini, highlighting her slim, muscular frame. This Instagram picture quickly sparked outrage as Mackintosh’s husband, Professor Green retweeted the photo onto his own Twitter account, adding “#thinspiration”. Experts (according to The Daily Mail) criticised the couple for encouraging young girls to starve themselves. Despite Mackintosh’s prompt reply to her husband’s joke, highlighting that her message was actually one of “fitspiration”, the media soon caught hold, with the uploading of the photo and Millie’s “role model” status even being debated on popular ITV programme Loose Women.

As a young (just about still teenage) girl, who has followed Millie’s Twitter for a good year now, I would have to respectfully disagree that she is in anyway a bad influence to young girls. There are a plethora of horrendous and harmful images available to young people on the internet with the label “thinspiration” – often used by pro-anorexia groups – but this isn’t one of them. Mackintosh’s “strongnotskinny” message, which she promotes heavily both on her Twitter and Instagram pages, encourage healthy, clean, eating and plenty of exercise. Despite her slim frame, it is her strong body which she is promoting, a body far away from the skin and bones look incorporated in most “thinspiration” images.

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It is a sad and indisputable fact that the majority of women and increasingly, younger and younger girls, will at some point, or maybe several points in their lives think about losing weight. However, adding tone to you body, can give the illusion of lost weight without getting to an unhealthy stage. By acting as a role model for young girls, celebrities like Millie Mackintosh – who children should be made aware, are generally slim as part of their job description – are at least sending out a message that strong is the way to be, not skinny, whilst at the same time promoting the empowering idea of improving your body for yourself.

I have never been a girl who’s been desperate to lose weight. Of course I’ve had my moments of “Oh my God, my jeans don’t fit!”, but generally I’m quite lucky that I’m mostly happy with myself. Recently however, I have felt inspired to exercise at least 3/4 times a week, trying to add a bit of tone to my tummy, but also, in the hope it might have other health benefits, such as giving me more energy. Since going to Uni and being able to pick my own food, I’ve always tried to eat well. I’d rather make all of my meals at home from scratch and go for the occasional meal out than eat a ready meal [mostly because they taste vile]. If I can swap a potato for a sweet potato, I will and if I can have slightly more veg and meat on my plate than carbs I will.

Personally I don’t believe in dieting, as I really don’t think it’s sustainable. But making little lifestyle choices, like cutting out bad food and trying to eat more eggs and apples and low-fat yoghurts makes me feel like I’m doing my body a favour. And ofcourse, I’m not good all of the time. I absolutely LOVE bad food. Yesterday I had lunch out, came home and ate 6 profiteroles…. I’m not denying my body food in the slightest, I’m just trying to think more and more about what I’m putting into it.

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In the way of exercise, I am working on strengthening my body through cardio and strength exercises. I’ve been enjoying using Davina McCall’s Body Buff Workout Video, which provides a range of warm ups, workouts and strength exercises allowing you to focus on key parts of the body, as I’m going on holiday soon I’ve been focusing on my “abs”.

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We also at the moment have in our house a spinning bike, which my Dad borrowed from my Uncle in order to train for a cycling race. I was slightly reluctant to give it a go, as  I had previously read a tweet from a female comedian (I’ve forgotten who) that spinning is very much like being punched in the v***** – nice. I have to say the seat is not incredibly comfortable on our old model, but I’ve found once I’ve got all my gear on and found a great workout/pop/r&b playlist on 8tracks I’m pretty good to go AND it helps me mix up my workout if I need a change from Davina.

Personally, I think I’ve been really inspired by Millie’s #strongnotskinny mantra. To me it’s a really important and empowering message to send out to young girls, that if for what ever reason you want to slim down [although I do not believe in doing so if it’s unnecessary] then at least go about it in the right way, with a healthy diet and exercise, to strengthen your body rather than weaken it. Celebrities like this, should be encouraged to spread such a positive message about looking after your body. Hopefully when girls who watch Millie strutting her stuff in her Louis Vitton, look up to her as a role model, and admire her body they will be inspired by the her happy, healthy, balanced lifestyle.

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I hope you liked this post, to read Millie’s reaction to the media attention surrounding her Instagram photo click here.

Harriette

Sweet Cecily’s Cocktail Flavoured Lipbalms *

I really love finding new beauty brands, and Sweet Cecily’s is certainly one of my favourites so far. I stumbled across the brand at the beginning of the year, when I recieved their Mojito Lipbalm in a goodie bag at the Bristol Bloggers Meet. I was instantly intrigued by the small metal tin, with it’s quirky, vintage-style label and by the company itself.

As a student, I love a good cocktail and so the idea of a cocktail flavoured lip balm is definitely my kind of thing. I was very excited, when I saw that Cecily had tweeted to ask if any bloggers would be interested in trying their new “mystery flavour’. However, as well as just receiving the brand new Espresso Martini Flavour, I was lucky enough to find out I’d been sent another Mojitio Flavour Lipbalm and a Pina Colada Flavour Lipbalm alongside it.

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Sweet Cecily’s products are unique, they are all 100% natural – with no Parabens, Petrochemicals, harmful preservatives or SLS. None of the products, nor any of  the ingredients are tested on animals, and they are all made by hand in the North Yorkshire Moors. Sounds dreamy right?

One of my favourite things about Sweet Cecily’s lip balms, except the bold flavours and natural goodness, is the packaging. Each small, handy-sized lip balm tin [ which is no bigger than a 50p piece – cute!]  comes in it’s own coloured cardboard sleeve. The labels are also really sweet, with their circus style “C” logo on the front, and the intricate details, such as the lime and mint leaves on the Mojito Lipbalm and the pineapples on the Pina Colada version.

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The lip balms themselves are made from great natural products such as Shea Butter, Beewax, Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter and Sunflower Oil. The product itself inside the tin is hard like wax, rather than creamy like some other lip balms, but when rubbed with a finger the balm melts giving you a thin layer of oil, giving a light but nourishing application. As mentioned previously in a post, I much prefer this lip balm texture to some of the thicker,wetter ones, as they tend to leave me feeling all sticky. On the other hand, if you prefer those cream lip balms that are a bit more like a gloss, this might not be for you.

Now on the the flavours…

Mojito Flavour Lipbalm

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I’ve owned this Mojito Flavour Lipbalm for about 6 months now and I absolutely love it. The smell and taste is absolutely spot on, a kind of minty, lime, which reminds me every time of drinking homemade Mojito’s at my friend’s birthday party. Yum!

Pina Colada Flavour Lipbalm

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I’ve never actually had a Pina Colada, so I can’t really say how accurate the flavour of this one is. But I do really like it, it’s got a really sweet, fruity scent, with a hint of coconut.

Espresso Martini Flavour

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Here it is – the brand new Espresso Martini Flavour! The packaging for this lip balm is still being created Cecily informed us via Twitter. However, for now the little label with it’s white background and typewriter font got me all excited as it felt like I was sampling a top secret product.

I’m not a big coffee fan, but I really do love the smell of coffee and for me this lip balm is spot on at capturing that. It smells quite a lot like a coffee truffle, which is really nice. I even caught Lewis trying some as he loves coffee, and he really liked it!

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Overall, I think that the Mojito Lip balm is still my favourite in the Sweet Cecily’s collection, as I really like the minty, citrus taste. But I am looking forward to using these other flavours as well, and maybe trying a new ones. As well as these ones, other Sweet Cecily’s Lip balm Flavours include: Strawberries and Cream, Banoffee, Chocolate, Lime and Mango and Earl Grey Tea. At only £2.95 they’re pretty reasonably priced.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more Sweet Cecily’s products, I’m really excited to see what else they’ll come up with. With these great flavoured lip balms, I’ve got my fingers crossed for some candles. You can check out the Sweet Cecily’s range here at www.sweetcecilys.com.


If you’d like to find out a bit more about Sweet Cecily’s and about the lovely lady behind it all, you can read my interview with Cecily about starting up the company here.

Harriette

Holiday Beauty Essentials

We’ve all been there, you leave the holiday packing until the last possible minute (clever you). Then the minute that you start getting things in some kind of order, the bulging mass that is your toiletry bag threatens  to take up half of your precious suitcase space. My own, sweet, little Cath Kidston cosmetics bag is only marginally bigger than a good-sized pencil case and yet, with just a few extra products it easily swells to football-sized proportions.

As a result of this – and because I hate to fuss at the airport with tiny plastic bags and whether or not cream foundation counts as a liquid or not – I tend to restrict myself to packing pretty lightly on the beauty front when I’m off on holiday. If we’re being honest with ourselves there’s really only so much makeup that you need for a beach holiday, and it’s nice every once in a while to give your skin a bit of a break from all the powders and creams. So here it is, a peak into my recent holiday beauty bag and some of my top essential items for taking with you on your break away….

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  1. OK, so maybe I didn’t start with the most ‘essential’ item. But seriously, packing a little eyeshadow palette can be a great way to quickly go from a  casual by-the-pool look to dinner and drinks, just from simply dabbing a few different colours on your eyes. I received the Urban Decay Naked Palette the morning that I went to Tenerife (also my birthday), so of course I was desperate to take it on holiday so I could try it out. The different shades are so feminine and pretty, and instantly make me look and feel, nice and ready to go out.

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2. I think it might take me a while to find my ultimate product that I go to when I start to get a bit of tan, but this isn’t a bad start. I’m generally quite pale so my regular foundation is a no-go when I’ve got a bit of colour. In a panic, a few days before holiday I picked up this Olay Essentials BB Cream in Light and so far I’ve been reasonably impressed. It feels really light on my skin, smells wonderful, and just gives me a nice bit of coverage without making me feel gross in the hot sun. It’s also quite a bit darker than my usual ivory shades, so it gives my tan a bit of a boost without making me look weird. For now it’s doing the job well, I’ve definitely got a bit more exploring to do as far as changing my usual makeup routine for holiday goes, but for now, this little BB cream ticks all the boxes and it even has SPF 15.

 

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3. I’m sure I don’t know enough about what the sun does to your lips, and whether it can really damage them, I could probably do with getting myself some SPF lip balm… but at the moment this lovely little product is my favourite thing to stop my lips drying out in the sun. I’ve been meaning to write this lip balm its own blog post and maybe I will at some point, it’s the Sweet Cecily’s Mojito Flavoured Lipbalm and I absolutely love it. As you can see from the packaging it’s very well loved and has been banging about in my makeup bag for a long time now. The product itself is a lot more solid than most lip balms, which makes it slightly more preferable to take to a hot place. I can apply it quickly to my lips without getting that sticky, wet feeling AND it tastes like Mojito – what more does a girl want?

 

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4. Once you get a Tangle Teezer, you’ll never go back. They are absolutely amazing, especially for anyone like me who resents sitting and carefully brushing their hair through for any significant amount of time – I’ve got things to do! Obviously perfect for any holiday makeup bag, although it’s a weird shape it doesn’t take up too much space [or you can just bung it in your hand luggage] and will quickly and easily tackle those chlorine induced knots.

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5. Bit of a random one here you might think? I’ve only actually discovered Cocoa Butter recently when I went to Exemouth with a bunch of friends after exams and was silly enough to burn the tops of my feet. If you’ve ever done this it’s very awkward and painful, and after watching me hobble around for a bit my sympathetic housemate gave me her Cocoa Butter. I am (most annoyingly) allergic to Aloe Vera – a plant, the extract of which is [ironically] supposed to have soothing qualities and is often put into beauty products, particularly those such as aftersun. Although there are some after suns that don’t include Aloe Vera, it often either takes a lot of label searching or is expensive to track one down. Cocoa Butter, my lovely friend told me, helps in a similar way to most after suns to soothe the skin and re-hydrate it.

Her Cocoa Butter was a Derma V10 version, which she actually gave me the last of to take on holiday with me. I put it on every night and most mornings, just on burnt bits and it worked wonders – in fact I was the only one in my family who wasn’t peeling by the end of the holiday (result!). When I got home I tried to find the Derma 10 version, but through fear of peeling I bought this Palmer’s one, which I have to say isn’t my favourite as it smells a bit too much like chocolate for me and makes me feel a bit sick. The results however, are still the same and I would recommend to anyone who is allergic to products in after suns, or who has sensitive skin, to try Cocoa Butter instead, it is truly a holiday essential for me.

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6. My sister and I are both big preachers for the Toni & Guy Casual Sea Salt Texturising Spray and in fact we both took this little product away with us. The perfect size for travelling, and yet a product that seems to last and last, this sea salt spray is great for giving your hair just a little bit of oomph. In hot, humid weather my hair tends to either go frizzy or just a bit flat and shiny and so it’s nice after a good blow-dry, or just before going out to add a couple of sprays of this to your hair to just give it a bit more life and volume.

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6. Ok so this one is more of a pre-holiday essential I would argue, although you could also take it with you if you wanted. My sister laughed so hard when she found me a few days before holiday putting my Cocoa Brown fake tan on. Ofcourse, the point of a beach holiday, other than relaxing, is to get a lovely natural tan. However, that doesn’t stop the first day of looking a bit out-of-place, and pale in a bikini, whilst you wait for your skin to bronze naturally. I learnt this after I went to New York, where everybody was beautiful and bronzed and me and mum were the pale tourists. Similarly on a package holiday you can always tell who’s just arrived…. So I faked it up and waited for my natural tan to arrive  – perfect. This St Tropez Wash Off Bronzing Mousse, I think is particularly good, for if you just want to give yourself a bit of a ‘starter tan’. You can simply put it on in the morning and wash it off that evening.

I hope you might have found this list useful if you’re packing for a holiday yourself, what are your holiday essentials? How does your makeup routine change over the summer? 

Harriette

 

The Birthday Wishlist.

So it’s my birthday on Thursday (the 20th of June) and I can hardly believe it’s come around so fast. Although, looking back my little cakes and wine party with all my best friends, and going out in a borrowed gold dress from my sister and a cardboard tiara made by a friend’s boyfriend, does seem like a pretty long time ago. This year probably has been one of the most dramatic of my life so far (duh duh DUUUHH), but first year at Uni has come and gone so quickly I can hardly believe I’m at the other side of it, celebrating a new birthday. 19.

Present-wise of course, my friends and family have had a slightly more difficult time this year as I haven’t been at home to drag them around various shops endlessly hinting that THAT looks very nice. I have however, spent what I think is probably a considerable amount of time, going into shops a ‘browsing’ unable to make my student budget stretch to THAT dress or THOSE really nice shoes.

So to help them out, and to hopefully acquire some of the many, many products I have been coveting I wrote a Birthday Wishlist. Some of things you will see below are actually on the list, a few our other things that caught my eye whilst I was sourcing photos. The original Birthday list, comes with the explanation that these presents are ‘ideas’ and that I certainly don’t expect everything on there, it’s really just a guide if they have no idea.

Birthday Wishlist 1

Clothing 

From top left:

Pins & Needles Floral Playsuit 

I spotted this playsuit in Urban Outfitters, next to the underwear and was a little confused as to weather it was some weird kind of nightie/ sleep suit. I did however resolve that I would wear it as a day playsuit regardless, as it’s so little and pretty. I can definitely see myself wearing this and a pair of wellies at Reading later in the year. I have recently seen a sunflower version of this playsuit, which is really pretty too.

Topshop Stripe Organza Trim Crop Tee

I loved this top when I first saw it in the shop, as I am rather partial to a striped tee in the summer – they’re just so easy to pull on over a pair of denim shorts and make a really cosy, casual summer outfit. This top is particularly nice because it’s cropped, and it has a really pretty lace trim on both the arms and the hem giving it a girly touch. I’ve seen quite a few people wearing this since my local Topshop starting stocking it and it looks great paired with a number of different outfits.

White Chunky Cleated Sole Gladiator Sandals 

My favourite type of shopping is when I can actually completely justify ‘needing’ an item. I’ve recently had a few problems with achey feet and my doctor has told me that wearing flat sandals and esprdrills in the summer is definitely not helping. She suggested that if I could find some shoes with a bit more support on the bottom, then both my feet and back would be relieved from the horrors of wearing flat shoes all summer. I stumbled across this pair of sandals in New Look the other day whilst I was searching for clothes. They come in both black and white, although I thought I might be daring and try the white as it’s lovely and summery and all of my other shoes are black. These shoes weren’t on my original birthday list, however, they might be a bit of an essential if I am fortunate enough to get any spending money.

White No 1 New York Boutique Paris T-Shirt

I saw this T-shirt a pretty long time ago now in River Island, and I am both surprised and thrilled that they currently still have it in stock. I was really, really lucky last year and got to go to New York as part of a joint birthday celebration with my mum and ever since, for no particular reason I’ve really wanted some kind of t-shirt that says “New York” on it. This one for me is ideal, it’s crisp  and simple with the black and white writing and like the striped Topshop tee I can see it working nicely with a pair of denim shorts, or with jeans or skirts in the winter.

Petite Paint Floral Flippy Skirt 

Like probably a lot of people, come the summer time my wardrobe is usually in need of a bit of a colour injection. Black is certainly my winter staple and I love it, but I do like to try and mix it up a bit every now and then. I thought this skirt was a really pretty colour and could be matched with different tops for day/ night outfits.

Pink Floral High Waisted Bikini

After investing in an high-waisted bikini from Urban Outfitters, I have very much fallen in love. I just think the shape it gives me is much more flattering, and it seems to make my legs look a bit longer, which certainly is never a bad thing. Usually I wouldn’t go for a swimsuit quite as bright as this, however I really love this pattern from Topshop, I think it’s so pretty. Just have to watch out for those ‘unfashionable naked scenarios’ as Alexa Chung calls them.

Glamorous Tall Paisley Print Playsuit 

Although I certainly don’t fall into the category of “tall”, I really love the shape and pattern of this playsuit. It’s very summery and pretty and could be easily dressed up or down, for day or night.

 

Birthday Wishlist 2

 

Beauty 

From top left:

Elemis Total Glow Gradual Tan Bronzing Body Lotion

I’ve seen a couple of good reviews for this, and I am both a big fan of Elemis and of tanning products so I want to give this a try. Gradual tanners historically are not my favourite to use, as I find they are typically slightly more streaky to apply, however I thought this might be a good product for topping up my (hopefully natural) tan from my holiday. I’ll be sure to review this if I am lucky enough to receive it.

Benefit Dandelion Blusher

This is definitely one on the duty-free list if I get a few extra pennies. The Benefit lady used this on my face when I had my makeup done at the counter, and it really works for my paler skin. The colour is so light and pretty it’s perfect for summer as well.

Fairy Dust Scented Candle by Lily Flame

Lily Flame make some gorgeous smelling candles and Fairy Dust is by far my favourite. I used all of mine up at Uni, so I’d love to get a replacement so that I can get my room smelling like melted marshmallows again. You can read my post about this candle here.

Real Techniques Finish Perfected Blush Brush

I started out with the Real Techniques Starter Kit of brushes just before Christmas and I’ve really got on with them so well, I’d love to add the Blush Brush to my little collection as it’s just a bit of a better size for blusher that the Buffing Brush.

Benefit They’re Real Push-Up Liner

After seeing Anna’s review of this new product on Vianna Does Makeup I really wanted to give this a try. I too am a bit hopeless at eyeliner and tend to rely heavily on eye makeup remover to fix my wobbly mistakes and to make it look vaguely like a smooth line. Maybe with this product from Benefit my skills will improve!

St Tropez Face and Body Self  Tanning Kit

I have become rather fake tan obsessed ever since I recieved the Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Tan Mousse in a goodie bag at the Bristol Bloggers meet. And of course, I am curious to try the ‘real deal’ and to compare it to my first love of fake tan.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

There’s a lot of hype around the Urban Decay Naked Palettes and I’ve always taken the opportunity to dabble in other peoples when I’ve had the chance. My friend Rachel is some what more of a makeup expert than me, so when I was having a little eyeshadow crisis she grabbed her Naked Palette, smudged a few shades onto her fingers and one, two, three I had a smoky eye in no time. The variety of shades and how easy they are to use certainly makes this product tempting.

MAC lipstick

Hands up, I’ve never owed a MAC lipstick and I think it’s about time I got my hands on one. At the moment I can’t decide whether I’d rather go for a lighter, nudey pink shade like this one for day use, or whether I want to go for a deep dark red for big nights out. Any recommendations on favourite shades will be much appreciated as the range is so vast!

Birthday Wishlist 3

 

Mugs and Books 

Of course, as an English Degree student there are a few books on my birthday list. The promise of having most of the summer to read whatever I like is certainly a nice thought, so I put a few on my list: God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy; Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck; A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby [making myself read this before I watch the film] and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

I have also been in the search for a really cute little mug to fill up with tea and get me through long days of essay writing next year – I really love these sweet designs from Paperchase, Emma Bridgewater and Indigo [sadly I don’t think this one is available for purchase in the UK].

So there you go, that’s a idea of some of the things I’ve got my eye on for my birthday. I’ll have to do an update on what I do get, my friends and family always have amazing surprises for me, so I’m sure I’ll be over the moon with whatever I receive.

Do you ever write birthday lists for your birthday? Or do you prefer surprises? Would your family be clueless if you didn’t give them a bit of help? Let me know.

Harriette

How to Make Your Uni Room Feel Like Home [Part 2]

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I thought it was about time that I followed up my original post on How to Make Your Uni Room Feel Like Home [ you can read part 1 here], especially as in a couple of weeks or so I’m going to be packing up my little en-suite room and leaving my flat, never to return. Dah dah duuuh. If there’s one thing about Uni it’s certainly that it’s always changing, I’ve been in my room less than a year and I’m already moving out. However, I can certainly say that I’ve been really lucky with my room, it’s been nice to add little things here and there and just make it exactly as I wanted. I tend to spend quite a bit of time in my room, working or catching up on TV and so it was really important to me to really make it my own. So here are a few more random ideas that I’ve used to make my room feel a bit nicer:

5. Collect Glass Bottles/ Jars. I randomly took an empty Moet bottle [ birthday/ results day gift from my Uncle who got it from a friend one birthday, which was just as well because I wasn’t blown away by the taste – obviously too posh for this Essex girl] and an Absolute Bottle of Vodka to Uni, just to decorate my room I suppose. I put them on my windowsill, as on the various Open Days at different Uni’s I had established that this was the thing to do. As the first term went on I finished a bottle of Smirnoff (no surprises there) and collect various other bottles for posh lemonade and elderflower drinks – usually presents. Once I had developed a bit of a collection on my windowsill, with these bottles all in a row I thought I’d buy some flowers to put in them. Weirdly one of the most annoying things about Uni is that I never took a vase for flowers. I was never really majorly into flowers at home, but at Uni they just add a nice little touch to my room, and it’s always nice to have something new for the week. As you can see below I’ve had various different types of flowers in my room. Tulips are my probably favourites – even if they are the slightly more expensive, because if you buy them when they’re still in the bud they last a really long time. I bought them twice last term when I momentarily banned myself from chocolate, and so had some extra cash left over to treat myself.

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I suppose it was inevitable then, that I would start collecting jars, like some crazy old woman. Although, a lot I do just recycle because some smells you just can’t seem to get rid of. The first little jars that I collected were these two little GU pudding jars ( Moet, GU, Elderflower – really sounding like a student here), which I thought my be handy for holding pins or hair grips or something, but actually ended up with the wax for my brace and various lip glosses inside.

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The other two jars where actually originally for honey, and I use one for my makeup brushes – very useful- and one for my coloured pens. I’d like to get at least one more at some point to go in my bathroom  for my toothbrush, as I think it’s much nicer than just leaving it on the side of the sink.

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Walking into homeware shops, particularly my favourite T K Maxx [which has an excellent homeward section], I found that little jars and bottles like that can sell for quite a lot. So simply collecting ones that I use is a much cheaper alternative, and I always get complements on how cool my flowers look in there little bottles on the windowsill.

6. Invest in a Rug. This might seem like a pretty simply idea, but admittedly I didn’t really think about it until I visited my friend’s room and stood on her lovely little white fluffy rug. I picked up a little green and white zigzag one in the sale at Urban Outfitters, to go with my blue carpet and I really love it. It just adds a nice little detail to my room, and I know I’ll use it again next year. Also an added bonus is that you can use it to cover up the messiest part of your carpet when you haven’t had time to hoover – always handy.

7. Sort out your Storage. More of a practical point than helping your feel more at home, but although some University rooms provide plenty of space for storage, others don’t. However, there a plenty of weird and wonderful contraptions you can buy just to give you a little extra room. For instance you can buy a variety of different metal constructions that will hang over the back off a door, either with hooks for coats or towels for your bathroom, these can be handy to hang over your door if you have an en-suite room – especially if you’ve got a smaller wardrobe. Another strange storage thing that my dad came across the weekend that I went to Uni, was an under basin storage shelving system [i’ll put a picture of one below], which fits around the pedestal of the basin and can be used for storing shampoos, cleaning products, razors etc.

I hope you found these little ideas helpful, what have you done to make your room feel personal to you?

 

Harriette