Monday, 31 August 2015

August Favourites

So this month's been a bit of a funny one, it seems to have flown by for a start, but also because there's nothing 'new' I'm really using or doing. Here a few things I've been loving though:

What I'm Loving...

I love, love, LOVE Guerlain (I wrote a blog ages ago that you can read here) and I've finally picked up a few more bits to add to my collection, there's only the foundation still to get. It's not often I find a brand I rave about, but Guerlain is definitely one. The look of the products, the quality, even the smell is just beautiful. They're not the cheapest by any means, but they're the kind of products you save for and splurge on, and then they last you ages (that's what I'm telling myself anyway!)
I bought the Meteorites Compact Light Revealing Powder and Rouge G L'Extrait Lip Colour (M25 - Colere)  which comes in a lovely silver tube with a mirror attached.

What I'm Using...

I've been using a bit of a mishmash of products this month, all my usual ones and then some newer additions. I found this Decleor Moisturiser hiding among my stash so I've been getting some good use out of it, as well as a few products from last month's Glossybox - Teoxane Perfect Skin Refiner and NoxiDoxi Enhancing Serum Base. On my nails I've mostly been using Fearne's 'Lady Grey'

What I'm Reading...

I've bought a couple of new books lately that have been on my wishlist for a while. I'll do a full post on them soon, but I started off with 'Yes Please' by Amy Poehler, and its such a good read. It's funny and interesting, and I've flown through it.

What do you think of my picks this month? What have you been loving?


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Glossybox / August Review

I absolutely love this month's Glossybox, I think it could be my favourite box to date. Partly because there's 4 full size products included this month - but also because I think all of the products are things I would acually use regularly (often there's one or two things I just think 'nahhh')

If you subscribe and haven't seen your box yet - look away now!

SASS Purifying Cleanser

This is the second SASS product I've had from Glossybox (the other was the Perfect Skin Concentrate) and I'm really getting on board with their products. This cleanser is really nice and smells really good, I also had a look on their website as I fancied seeing what else they do, and everything is really good value. 

Naobay Calming Face Toner

This is also the second Naobay product I've had and it couldn't have come at a better time as I'm just using up the dregs of my current toner, really looking forward to trying this.

MeMeMe 'Playful Peach' Lipglide

Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I've also had something from MeMeMe before too! I'm really into lip products at the moment, and this is a nice subtle colour for day.

Manna Kadar Lash Primer

I've never used a lash primer before, but there's a first time for everything and I often find that my lashes don't look as dark as I'd like with mascara on, so this will hopefully enhance them nicely. Plus its conditioning, and my lashes are thin and a bit sparse looking, so this will help I hope.

Emite Artist Colour Powder Blush

I haven't actually tried this out yet so I'm hoping it'll look ok on me, I don't actually need a blusher at the moment but they always come in handy to have in stock, and it looks a nice neutral colour. Emite is the leading professional brand in Sweden and this has been described as a 'blunzer' (blush/bronzer hybrid) so its great in my book, as it warming apparently, and I'm also out of bronzer!

What do you think of this month's box?


Friday, 28 August 2015

Fitness Post: How I Fuel My Workouts

(Photo Credit: Mountain Heart)

At the risk of sounding like a fitness bore, as I mentioned in my last post I've been trying to embrace a healthier, fitter lifestyle of late.
I'm someone who's always on the go, not only does working long hours take its toll, but also having a hectic personal life with non-stop dates in the diary, so I can quite easily find myself getting run down.

Although I'm definitely NOT super fit, I have noticed that I have more energy and feel better in general since I started taking care of myself better, I also think that making the effort to walk a lot more every day and get some fresh air has made my general mental well-being better too.

ETB Fit* got in touch with me asking me to share my fitness essentials so they could get some insight into how I stay motivated and what fuels my routine through a series of simple questions.
Their company motto of 'life is too short not to prioritise your own personal well-being' spoke volumes to me, as that's what I've been trying to do a lot lately.

What foods do you eat pre-workout?

I've learnt from experience that it's never a good idea to exercise on a full stomach! The days of heading to a Zumba class with a belly full of roast dinner helped me realise that!
Now I tend to go for something light but substantial, like eggs (poached or scrambled) as they fill me up and make me feel energised, but don't sit heavily on my digestive system. Fruit can bloat me, so I try and have just one piece, like a banana, and make sure I drink plenty of water.

What music do you listen to during your workout?

In every day life my taste in music is best described as eclectic, but when I'm doing any exercise I like to listen to music that's fast paced and makes me feel happy as that makes me feel more motivated. I like to listen to Spotify playlists because they give a good mix of dance and rock songs, but I like anything from Calvin Harris, Hot Chip, David Guetta and Muse and System of a Down.

How do you switch up certain routines daily/weekly to stay motivated?

I won't lie, being a naturally unfit person I find exercise can be boring, and I struggle a lot with motivation, but I try and mix what I'm doing so I don't get bored. I usually go to the gym for cardio on a Monday to boost my Monday mood, so I'll do spinning, treadmill, rowing machine and cross trainer. Other times I'll go to a Zumba class for an hour of dancing basically, and then when I'm feeling super-motivated/energetic I go for a run in the lovely country lanes near my house (weather dependant of course, there's nothing like rain clouds to make me retreat back inside!)

What do you eat or do after your workout to make sure you got the most out of it?

Food wise I don't really eat anything specific, I just try and make sure I stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If I've been to the gym I'll usually treat myself to a quick dip in the pool/jacuzzi to relax myself, or if I've been for a run I'll do some simple stretching and then walk slowly to cool down.

Disclaimer: I'm not in any way a sports or fitness expert (the idea is laughable, haha) This is simply what works for me. 
I don't personally use any workout supplements and am in no way knowledgeable enough to write about them, but ETB pride themselves on offering some of the best clean and healthy supplements available.

*Written in collaboration with ETB Fit; a sports nutrition based lifestyle business who believe that a personalised and bespoke approach is the best way to achieve your fitness and wellness goals. 


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Fitness Post: An Unfit Girl Trying To Change Her Ways

I've been on a fitness kick since the New Year, I was basically getting sick of how sedentary I've become (having an office job is terrible for that) so even though I'm fairly active in lots of ways, I wasn't actually doing any proper exercise and had started to gain a bit of weight.

To begin with I started running using the 'Couch to 5K' app but I quickly lost motivation, the cold weather didn't help, and I found it hard to find the time to stick to a regimented exercise pattern.

I had my works medical and basically found that I was heavier than I thought (and ever have been in my whole life!) although it was sneaky weight as I haven't really changed dress size (only slightly) so I hadn't realised quite how bad it had got. He told me my internal body fat was also quite high, which surprised me as I don't eat terribly, so I knew then that I had to work hard to overhaul my lifestyle.

I've joined my local gym as they have a summer membership offer, and the fact they have beautiful spa facilities really helps as it gives me the boost to keep going! I go and use the gym and then reward myself with a dip in the pool followed by the jacuzzi and salt room - I'm going to cry when my membership runs out next month!

I'm using 'My Fitness Pal' to try and keep an eye on my calories, but for me the biggest improvement has come about from using 'Pacer' to try and track my daily steps - sometimes I reach 8500-10000 which is my goal, but I'm happy if I get 6000 as its definitely better than I used to be.

It's still an uphill struggle but I've definitely started to tone up and feel a bit better about myself, which has helped.

As a side note - how nice is the sports range from Aldi?! I've saved a fortune and the clothes are actually lovely and great value for money!

Have you been on any fitness kicks lately? And if so, I'd love to hear any tips?

Monday, 24 August 2015

Urbano32 - Chester

When I was in Chester recently (I'll stop soon) I discovered Urbano32 - an Italian restaurant/bar and I was immediately drawn to it. 
It could have have been the continental-style chairs and tables outside, the fact it looked ridiculously busy, or the industrial style decor that I love so much that attracted me to it. But whatever the reason, I'm so glad we went.

Urbano32 is described as 'a pizza restaurant, bar and social meeting place' and I would definitely love to live nearer so I could come here all the time! It looks cool and interesting, with the exposed brickwork, traditional booths and open kitchen. I just loved the decor. The service was also incredible, and everything on the menu looked so good.

(apologies for the shoddy iPhone photos not doing it any justice)

We decided to try a selection from the Antipasti menu, so we could get a flavour for a few different things. 
We went for the bread board (£4), chicken & chorizo skewers (£7), pork meatballs (£7) and garlic & rosemary roast potatoes (£4) which were all incredibly tasty, as well as amazingly good value for money. To be honest everything looked amazing though, I could have eaten it all. The sourdough pizzas look mouth-wateringly good too, so I'll have to have one next time.

This is probably my new favourite place now, if you're in Chester definitely check them out; you can find them on Bridge Street and they're also on Instagram - I'll be liking everything they post no doubt!


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Portmeirion - Share Your Serenity

Peace of mind is very important to me, and something I struggle to maintain on a regular basis. Our lives now are so busy, I personally feel like I always have SO much to do, I'm always flicking through my diary figuring out when I can pencil in some 'me-time'. Work is permanently stressful, and it's very easy for us to feel like the world is getting on top of us sometimes.

One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to try and find more time for myself, and to stop treating myself as an afterthought. If you read my blog regularly you'll know that over the last few months I've written a number of posts talking about my quest for a calm life. I'm happy to say that for the most part, it's slowly starting to work, and that's mostly down to me recognising the 'triggers' for what stresses me out and makes me feel bad, and counteracting them by doing the things that I love, and that bring me serenity.

Portmeirion are currently running a competition asking bloggers to create a collage of 4 photos that show what wellbeing means for you, whether it be doing something that brings you peace, or just your own state of mind.

The lucky winner will get a nights stay at the Portmeirion hotel including dinner, bed and breakfast. I'm lucky enough to live near to Portmeirion and have visited a few times, it's safe to say it's one of my personal favourite places - it's so unique and full of character, and regardless of whether the sun is shining or its grey and overcast, it's still impossibly pretty and peaceful. 

It was pretty easy for me to think of 4 things that always make me feel like I'm taking care of my own wellbeing:

1. I love nature and nothing calms me more than being outside and getting some fresh air, wandering along surrounded by nature and looking at beautiful landscapes never fails to bring a smile to my face.

2. A nice cup of tea has to be the ultimate quick fix to calm me down. Settling down with a nice hot cup is one of my favourite pastimes (being the total tea addict that I am) and if I can drink it outside in the Autumn with a cosy blanket over my knees then even better.

3. I may have mentioned this a few times (!) but I absolutely adore sunsets; every single night without fail I try and catch a glimpse of the sky, it never fails to amaze me. We're fortunate to have some particularly lovely sunsets where I live so I've been spoilt.

4. Finally, the beach. I'm a complete beach bum and I get withdrawal symptoms if I haven't been for a few days. Nothing soothes me like the sound and smell of the sea does, it immediately makes me feel at peace, as well as giving me a little pick me up.

If you fancy entering the draw and being in with a chance to win this fantastic prize, the competition closes on 4th October. All you have to do is choose 4 photos and share the hashtag.

I nominate the lovely Amanda from Amanda Says because like me, I know she's a big peace lover.

Have you ever been to Portmeirion?

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Lush Haul - Summer Additions

As I whinge about in this blog quite regularly, I don't have a local Lush store. I haven't actually set foot in Lush since APRIL (well I did briefly go in with Ben a few weeks ago but I didn't really feel I could shop to my full potential with him in tow, which does wonders for my bank balance!)

So when I went for my girly break in Chester recently, I just had to go to Lush, and here's what I got my mitts on:

I didn't really need another shower gel as I'm still ploughing through Grass which I bought last time. This is slightly sweeter than the usual scent I go for, but it'll be a nice alternative to Grass which smells very natural. 

Admittedly I don't have a beard (yet!) so I picked this up for Ben as he often says his stubble feels sensitive. He's been using conditioner on it to soften it up for a while, so I thought this might help him, and I'm also an advocate for men taking care of their skin too (not that he does, haha) But it smells lovely so if he doesn't really use it I will, as the reviews say it makes a good cleanser anyway.

I really don't need any bubble bars or bath bombs, but while in Lush, who can resist? I don't really have baths over the summer so I always miss out on the summer bath range, so at least now I can stock up for Autumn/Winter! I have it on good authority that this one is ridiculously bubbly, so here's hoping.

This looks absolutely amazing and to be honest it was the look of it that sold it to me. I can see its going to be messy, and I hope it turns the bath water sparkly purple. This just looks gorgeous, I can see that I'll be putting off using this as it looks so pretty (anyone else still got a Unicorn Horn lurking for that same reason?!)

I think this is going to be my favourite, just look at it!  It smells absolutely gorgeous too, and I can't wait to use it. Its so sparkly and I love the smell of rose. It almost looks good enough to eat. I never thought I'd say it but roll on winter!

What do you think of my haul? Have you tried any of these products?


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Chester Grosvenor Hotel

As anyone who regularly reads my blog will know, I'm a big fan of hotels. I like nothing more than booking a weekend away and exploring somewhere new. I live about an hour away from Chester, and I've always really wanted to stay in The Chester Grosvenor, but sadly finances have never allowed. So when an incredible offer for an overnight stay with breakfast came up, I couldn't resist booking.

The Chester Grosvenor is a 5* hotel in the heart of Chester, and this year celebrates its 150th year. Once it was opened it became one of the most celebrated hotels in the country, deemed fit for a future King (Edward, Prince of Wales visited a few years after opening)

The hotel oozes class and glamour, when you walk up the marble steps into the grand foyer, you're greeted by a doorman in full uniform. A bellboy took our luggage up, and we were taken to our room, which was a Deluxe Twin.

The room had a large comfortable bed and everything else you'd expect, with a door separating the bedroom from a small marble entrance, which housed a double wardrobe and a fully stocked mini-bar and chocolates.

This huge ornate chandelier takes pride of place in the lobby and up the stairs. The hotel also has a spa and a brasserie, as well as another restaurant serving their famous Afternoon Tea. 

We didn't eat in the brasserie (my only regret about the stay - next time!) and instead went out for some food and cocktails for the evening. My cocktail (gin, elderflower and cucumber) was amazing!

In the morning, we went down to the brasserie for breakfast; we had the continental breakfast which consisted of toast, freshly squeezed orange juice, yoghurt and fruit compote, and a selection of pastries. It was so lovely, and the staff were really attentive. The room looks like something out of The Great Gatsby, with a glass ceiling and all the original features.

All in all, I couldn't rate my stay at the Chester Grosvenor enough, it was everything I hoped it would be and more, I feel like I've ticked something off the bucket list!

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