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.

The No Nonsense Skincare Products*

This week, coinciding with my Fresher’s Week back at University, I have been lucky enough to test out some lovely new skincare products! I am a huge skincare fan and so I was very excited to try out a totally new brand that I hadn’t heard anything about before. If you have read my review of Sweet Cecily’s Lipbalms, then you might know that I am becoming very fond of beauty products that contain natural substances and companies that try to avoid nasty chemicals and animal testing. What is this magical new brand? One word. Arbonne.

Arbonne is a very unique beauty company, both in its set up and the products that it creates.The brand itself is not available in retail shops, but relies on the work of independent consultants like the lovely Emma Tellesey (@ArbonneEmma) who promote the company and its products, cutting out the middle man and thus making sure that you get more for your money. The consultants themselves benefit from commission on the products that their clients buy, and other perks like a large discount on all the products etc.

As previously mentioned, Arbonne products are free from nasty chemicals and animal testing, which is a great bonus as they are much better for your skin and your conscience. Although priced at a premium rate, they are considered to be high-end in their quality, with their unique, patented formulas.

Emma gave me the Arbonne FC5 range to test out, which she said is generally aimed at younger people’s skin.

IMG_4296 Cleansers + Toners IMG_4299 I tested out two cleansers, the Purifying Cleanser + Toner for Oily/Combination Skin and the Hydrating Cleanser + Freshener for Normal/Dry skin. As my skin is pretty fickle, I felt that both were pretty similar.

Generally I am used to using a cotton pad with my cleanser and toner, which involves little more effort than moving to and from my desk, however, with these products I actually had to wash my face, which I found made me feel a lot more awake first thing in the morning. Both cleansers contain natural products like fresh strawberry cells and golden jojoba, and they smell really fresh and clean and soapy, which was really pleasant.

Both cleansers were really nice to use, they were smooth and lightweight on my skin and foamed satisfyingly when rubbed onto my face so I felt like I was getting a really good clean. The end result, after only using a pea-sized amount of product was that my skin looked brighter, cleaner, fresher and more awake. Being a bit of a cleanser girl, I was really impressed with how little I had to use and how healthy and awake it made me look and feel.

Day Lotions  IMG_4304 IMG_4305 The two Day Lotions I tried, were the Oil-Absorbing Day Lotion and the Nurturing Day Lotion, both of which contain SPF 20. They both come in handy pump bottles, so that it’s easy to only use the small amount of product that you need. I was however, put off a bit at first as the white colour and thin consistency made it look a lot like suncream, which gave me the impression I’d be rubbing for ages before it actually sunk into my skin.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find it blended into my skin really quickly with the same fresh, cucumbery, slightly floral scent that the cleansers had, prompting my boyfriend to cuddle me and tell me that I “smelt great” – always a bonus. Although I don’t think of my skin as particularly oily, I much preferred the Oil- Absorbing Day Lotion to the Nurturing one, as I found it left me with a wet, oily finish that I didn’t really like. It did however, make my skin look rather radiant and glowing, so that was pretty nice.

Night Cream

IMG_4302 IMG_4303The Moisturizing Night Cream I think probably got overshadowed by all of the other products that I was trying at the same time, and had I the time to test it out on it’s own, I probably would have got a better idea of what exactly it does. What I did get from it is that it uses ingredients such as fresh mango cells and olive leaf extract and has a much more floral and soothing scent than the other products in the range. Just like the other products, only a small amount is needed to completely cover the face and neck, and after applying my skin looked and felt really soft and healthy.

Primer

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I would argue that I have definitely saved the best until last. This primer is hands down the best one I have ever used (though I have to admit I have not tried a large variety of premium primers). It is absolutely fantastic! Just like the day lotions, again here the pump bottle comes in really handy as it makes sure you don’t waste any product – and one or two pumps is definitely enough which is great.

The primer itself has a gel-like texture, which instantly feels smooth and nourishing on the skin. It immediately reduced the redness on my cheeks and around my chin, and gave me a really healthy dewy glow so that I was happy to wander around the house all morning wearing it just on its own.

The true magic of this product however is revealed when you apply your foundation over the top. Typically I only use high street foundations, but with this primer it looked absolutely amazing. My skin literally looked photo-ready, as if my makeup had been done by a professional, absolutely radiant, mattified and pore less. And one major bonus to add, is that the texture of the gel works to smooth out the under-eye area and so I didn’t experience any of the usual concealer residue lines in the creases under my eyes. I was really, really impressed with this primer and I definitely think it’s one for my wish list, just because I think it can make even a cheap foundation look really expensive and well-applied.

The Round-up

As a whole I was very impressed with the FC5 range from Arbonne and the wonders that it did to my skin. All the effects were very positive: some little dried up spots, which generally would take ages to go away were gone within two days of using these products, and a few horrible little spots that threatened to move in around my chin area shrunk back to little bumps and disappeared. Miracle!

The top two for my wish list are definitely the cleanser and the primer, as I felt I could really see what they were doing – another benefit of Arbonne of course is that you get to trail the products in advanced to see which ones best suit your skin, but also so you can see what you’re paying for.

Although the products themselves are certainly more expensive than I would usually pay, I really do think that you get what you pay for, both in how far the products themselves actually go and in the visible results. My skin has looked disappointingly dull and lifeless ever since.

Have you ever heard of, or tried out any Arbonne products? Which ones did you test? 

Harriette

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

 

Tenerife In iPhone Photos

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I had such a lovely time in Tenerife. I hadn’t been before, but I loved the beaches with the really cool, relaxed bars and our hotel was gorgeous. I love a good beach holiday, it’s so nice to just be able to lie and soak up the sun and read. I read A Long Way Down and The Kite Runner, both of which are good – although I think I preferred The Kite Runner. It was great to just be lazy, sitting in the sun, going for a dip in the pool, taking a stroll down to the beach. And if you want to be active there’s plenty to do as well. One day we just hired bikes from the hotel and rode down to Los Cristianos, the next town along from where we stayed in Costa Adeje. After cycling around Central Park in New York, I’ve always thought it’s a lovely way to really see a place and Tenerife was no exception. We cycled right along by the beach, locking the bikes up to grab a drink and sit on the sand. The other day we left our sun beds, we swapped them for the ones at Siam Park [ a well-know water park in Tenerife]. At first I was a little apprehensive, as having the high expectations governed by the Disney water parks in Florida, I wasn’t sure how a park in Tenerife might measure up. It was however, very impressive. Eloise and I spent the day going on a range of different rides, most of them inflatable ones [ my favourite], whilst Dad had a snooze by “beach” area on his sun bed. Overall, I had an amazing time in Tenerife. The food was great, the hotel was great, the cocktails were great, the landscape was beautiful and the company was of course perfect. One lovely week of relaxing in the sun and enjoying books and music.

Have you ever visited Tenerife? What were your thoughts? Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Harriette