Lifestyle and Parenting blog based in Surrey.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Deep Heat Muscle Rescue

DIY is major exercise, this weekend I was painting some of the newly plastered walls in my house and was exhausted. Stupidly I didn't think about stretching my painting muscles pre or post and woke up the next day with most of my body feeling seriously sore.

That evening I decided to test out Deep Heat Muscle Rescue Bath Soak* (£5.49/200ml) which contains electrolyte minerals to help combat sore aching muscles. The essential oils of Rosemary, Orange and Patchouli give a really nice fragrance, which was i wasn't really expecting and the bubbles were really good too.

I've never used deep heat cream before, but I decided to go all in and got mr blogmebeautiful to administer the Muscle Rescue Neck and Shoulder Cream* (50g/£5.99) to mine (I'm not built for home improvements). The design is really good,  as there is a sponge built into the top,so you can squeeze the cream onto the applicator and use to rub in without getting the cream onto you hands, which can then end up in eyes - where you REALLY don't want deep heat! A few minutes after application the heat and tingles set in, and i decided that deep heat isn't really for me, so an impromptu shower was needed... 

So my final verdict, loved the muscle soak. If you like the sensation of deep heat, the applicator and Rosemary and Vanilla fragrance would make the cream a winner too.

*PR samples

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Max Factor Wild Shadow Pencil

September is approaching and my return to work is looming, so now is the time for me to streamline my makeup routine ready for sharp exits in the morning. When I'm in a rush, I would rather have the extra 5 mins in bed then apply beautiful eye shadow, even though by the time I have properly woken up (around 10am!) I will regret. So a super quick, easy eye shadow pencil can solve my time in bed vs. beautiful eyes dilemma. I am currently loving Max Factors Wild Eye Shadow Pencil*, it is super soft and a sweep across my eye line and I am ready to go.

My current fav shade is Vicious Moss, which, despite its name, isn't very green, a more bronze colour with just enough shimmer to look luxe and 'day wear' without looking sparkly. There are a total of 8 shades (priced at £5.99) and I also like the look of Savage Silver and Caramel Rage which are next on my lkist to try.

* PR samples

Monday 26 August 2013

Mani Monday: Max Factor Red Passion

Bit of a late post today, but it is bank holiday...

This week's mani was inspired by my costume to my USA themed birthday party on saturday. I dressed up as minnie mouse, so needed my nails to complement my outfit. 

I had wanted to get involved with some nail art with bows and red and white polka dots, but totally ran out if time, so opted for my most minnie red I could find, Max Factor Glossfinity in Red Passion* (£5.99) . It was a life saver at it only needed one coat and dried super quick, so I was ready to party in no time!

*PR Sample

Thursday 22 August 2013

Lee Stafford Argan Oil from Morocco infused Electricals

Even though I know using hair straighteners and curling tongs isn't great for my hair, I just can't resist. I love having super smooth locks or Hollywood waves in my hair just too much. So I was very excited to hear all about Lee Stafford's new styling range which has Argon Oil infused into them to help conditions your hair whilst you style. The Argon oil also protects against damage from heat styling and UV damage. Genius.

At the launch event, one of Lee's lead stylist used the Jumbo Tong and Nourish (£29.99) to make glamorous waves in my hair and to big up the volume he popped Matt Fat Powder (£10.50/10g) in the roots, which is a bit like a powder version of dry shampoo, it have some serious body, which was held in place with Firm Hold Barnet Hairspray (£5.49/250ml).

After the event I have tried out the Straighten and Nourish Irons* (£39.99)which do leave my hair feeling smooth and supple, although they don't leave as good a finish as my GHDs, but they are about half the price...

The range also includes a Moroccan ArganOil infused Blow Dry Faster and Nourish hairdryer (£32.99) to help smooth and repair hair whilst you dry it.

Theses products are currently only available from Argos.
*PR sample

Wednesday 21 August 2013

West London Wine School

I really wish I knew a bit more about wines. I know what I enjoy but I don't really know what makes the wines have certain tastes and flavors. However, that was all set to change after school pal Vikki took me to the West London Wine School to check out their class on sparkling and sweet wines.

After a short walk from Imperial Wharf overground station, I was slightly apprehensive on arrival at our venue as the school is situated within a Big Yellow storage depot rather than the cellar of a vineyard, but we stuck with it and descended into the basement. On entering  we were warmly welcomed by our 'wine teacher' Cheryl in a modern room, set out with loads of nibbles and wine glasses.

As the class arrived, there was a real mix of people, but everyone seemed really friendly and chatty and up for a fun evening, so Cheryl started the class. I was expecting that we would just be tasting the wines and talking about the different flavour, but we were taught all about the different processes that go into making the different sparking wines, how actually Champagne and Cava are really similar and how they differ from Prosecco, in terms of regions and production. There were no spittoons in site (phew), and we were given generous amounts of the wines, so you could drink more of the ones you liked and leave the ones we were less keen on. Cheryl also recommended which  food would suit the wines we were tasting, but there were no rules, so we just nibbled away at what we fancied.

We then did the same for the sweet wines, finishing off with the sweetest wine possible, which we poured over ice cream for a boozy sweet sauce. We tried seven different wines, and the nibbles provided us with plenty of food that we didn't have dinner, however I recommend a stomach lining snack before you start - we opted for an en route banana... wise.

Although we attended a one off session (£35), most of the the others were on the last of an eight week course (£110), I'm totally going to do all the others as we had such a fab evening, chatting, sipping lovely wine and I really enjoyed learning about the beautiful wines. We were also given copies of all of the notes Cheryl had used in class to take home and we were encouraged to make notes about the wines as we tasted them in case our memories became a little hazy, which has been s useful to find my favorite wines to buy at home.

If Imperial Wharf isn't the most convenient location for you, there are branches all over the country, just search for you local school here, were you can enjoy educating your pallet!


Tuesday 20 August 2013

Skinny Tan Launch Event and Review

I must admit, I don't watch Dragon's Den religiously, however, I was really excited when I learnt that a fabulous new beauty product was going on the show. If you watched first episode of the new series, you will have seen Kate Cotton and Louise Ferguson in action, gaining offers from all of the dragons for Skinny Tan. So last week I headed to London's Soho House Roof terrace to meet the ladies and hear all about the new product.

Here is my interview with Kate & Louise

I'm really excited about this product because it containing Guarana, which has been proven to reduce cellulite and improve body tone - so you can tan and tone up by one applying one cream. At the launch event I was treated to the products in the range: The Seven Day Tanner (£26.99/150ml) which causes a tan to develop in about 5 hours and lasts for a week, Gradual Tanner (£19.99/150ml) which is a moisturiser with a hint of the tanner to build up gradually, The Application Mitt (£3.45) which is velvety soft and brow - a revelation, so it doesn't look grubby and finally Abs Shader (£26.99/150ml) which is a male version - I will be trying to get a volunteer for this one soon!

The first thing that struck me was the amazing coconut fragrance of the gel, really yummy, next was how thick the gel was, it felt really luxurious and gave me plenty of time to rub it in and ensure I was streak-free , however, this did lead to slightly longer drying time. The gel is dark brown, which is great to help you see where you have applied the product, but does result in transfer on to clothing during development.

In my excitement, I totally forgot to take a before photo, but I was really pleased with the colour of the tan, really natural and no streaks.

*PR samples

Monday 19 August 2013

Mani Monday: Butter London Keks and Nail Art Birds

As I am still rocking my pink bikini shellac, my sister offered her nails up for this week's mani monday, so on Thursday evening I popped round with a bottle of rose and my newest polishes to see what she wanted to try.

Katie picked Keks* from Butter London's Pop Art collection (£12) this creamy blue is the color of a vivid bright blue summer sky, so we decided to pop on a bird nail sticker from Nail Art's latest collection (£5.99)*. We both really loved the result, a fun summer nail, perfect for dress-down Friday at work. Although I had the Nail Art bows applied on my nails previously, this was my first attempt applying the nail tattoos, so it wasn't perfect, but I love the result, so I'm sure they will be featuring heavily in future Mani Mondays to come...

*PR samples

Saturday 17 August 2013

Venus Olay Fashion Challenge with Whitney Port

A few weeks ago I was asked to take part in a fashion challenge for the new Venus Olay Razor, to be judged by their brand ambassador, fashion designer and star of The Hills, Whitney Port.

The challenge was to customize a pair of denim shorts, using the gold accessories that I was provided...

I recently came back from holiday where I left my razor at home, so used disposables which tore my legs to shreds and left my skin really dry, so when I returned and used my new Venus Olay razor* (£10.99), it felt so luxurious and smooth on my skin, due to the spring mounted bladed and added Olay Moisturiser. To reflect this, I wanted to give my shorts a luxe look, so decided to cover one leg with antique gold sequins. I started off trying to glue them, however, they didn't stick too well, so resorted to old-school needles and thread. Although I sewed the sequins on in rough lines, I didn't want them to look to regimented, to give a more natural finish. I was so pleased with the result and and the back looked a bit sad without any sequins, so I cut open one of the back pockets and popped them in their too, with the same design. I really hope Whitney likes them!

* PR sample

Friday 16 August 2013

Boots Perfect Finish Clear Nail Glue

I had a tiny nick in the side of my nail before I got my shellac manicure and the lovely nail technician popped some nail glue under the polish to keep it together. A few days later observer I managed to catch my nail and it split low down half way across my nail. I really didn't now what was the best thing to do, the split was so low down that I cutting it down that low would be really sore Nd it I caught it again it would be really painful. I tried popping some top coat over but it didn't hold the tear for more than a few minutes, so I headed to Boots to see if there was a product to help before I just plastered up the nail. 

Hurrah for Boots as I found Perfect Finish Clear Nail Glue, it's main use is to glue on false nails but it was also for nail repairs. I applied the glue in tiny drops over the crack, allowing to dry before adding more coats. Try to keep the nail still, as it is really runny and I did end up with glue down my thumb, but when it was completely dry I was able to rub off, more difficult to get rid of was the glue that got underneath my nail, but this was less annoying than the broken nail, so I can live with it! I then applied a layer of polish that matched my shellac colour really closely - problem slowed for £2.50.


Thursday 15 August 2013

Nouveau Lashes at Refresh Beauty

This weekend i will be waving goodbye to  the sweaty UK and heading to the French  riviera. One of my top holiday preps is lash extensions. I really hate waterproof mascara, it takes ages to scrub off leaving my eye area sore. The alternative of sticking to my regular mascara results in panda eyes after a dip. Eyelash extensions applied well give the look of the best mascara that doesn't budge.

You may have seen my post on 3D lashes that ive have a few times, but I do love to try all the options so this time have gone for Nouveau Lashes at one of my favourite beauticians, Refresh Beauty in Chobham Surrey. Each lash is applied individually to your existing lashes, so a full set does take about an hour, as you have your eyes closed, i used this asan opportunity to have a pre-hols nap, which was much required after the rushing around id been doing.

I absolutely love the result and it is so nice to wake up and look in the mirror without getting a nasty surprise! The lashes do need a little but of TLC if they are to last the maximum 3-4 weeks. The main way to do this is to touch them as little as possible, don't put any extra mascara on top (why would you want to?) and we super careful wen removing other eye make up. I recommend using a cotton wool bud with some gentle makeup remover.

A full set of nouveau lashes cost around £50-60 dependent on your beautician and you can get infills added to maintain them.

Update: Melissa at Refresh Beauty is currently running a promotion on their facebook page for a full set of lashes for £24 and 10% off infills.
The lashes she used for my extensions are medium thickness and length 11. 

Hairdryer Hero: Toni & Guy TGDR5356UK 2000W Touch Control Tourmaline Salon Hair Dryer

Up until recenlty I really thought a hairdryer was a pretty standard piece of kit, some were bigger which got hotter so dried your hair faster, some smaller, lighter but took longer. How wrong I was!

When my tiny travel hairdyer that I used everytime I washed my hair started to overheated every 10 seconds and cut out and the hinge broke so you had to hold it by the barrel, I was berated by a friend for having the worst hair dryer ever, so I decised the time had come to make an investment.

So on trawling the internet I found the Toni & Guy TGDR5356UK 2000W Touch Control Tourmaline Salon Hair Dryer and it seemed to meet all the requirementsI researched   that a hair dryer should have, that my last lacked. Multi heat and air flow, cool shot, lightweight, slim nozzle, LED screen and ions were all featured.

It is much larger than my mini travel hairdryer I was used to, but the weight is very similar and Ive found angling it around my head very achievable. The highest heat and fan speed is fab for rough drying, where as the cooler heats are better for use with a barrel brush.
The speed I can now tame my mane at is super impressive and the ions defiantly keep my hair tangle free for ages. I cant now believe I struggled along with the dodgy travel one for so long...

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Avon Ultra Colour Lip Crayon

This season I am totally loving a bright statement lip colour, it totally completes a look and makes me feel really glamorous. My obsession started with bright pink but has now moved to every possible stand out shade.
This month Avon are launching their Ultra Colour Lip Crayons*, but I was lucky enough to attend the launch event a month or so ago and have been wearing them ever since. The crayons are highly pigmented and super vibrant, with True Colour Technology, so what you see is what you get.

The lip crayons (£7.50) are available in 6 shades, which are all shown above, except for Notice Me Nude which I have yet to try. My fav shade is Fresh Fusia, what do you like best?

Although the colour is really long lasting and glides on really smoothly, they aren't as moisturizing as some other lip crayons I have tried despite containing vitamin E and shea butter, and I'm not totally convinced about the glitter particles in some of the shades.

* PR samples

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Exeter mini break at The Magdalen Chapter

As much as I love a summer holiday to the distant sunny shores I do still enjoy a city mini break, so last week I headed to my university town with fellow Exeter grad Maddie to make the most of the British summer. However, gone are the days of dingy uni halls and student digs as we saw the city in style staying at The Magdalen Chapter* - a super luxe hotel and spa in the heart of the Devonshire capital.

The former hospital building provides a grand entrance into a thoroughly modern hotel full of contemporary design but retains its heritage with a few well chosen historical touches.
On check in guests are provided with an iPad for their stay which gives a full low-down of all the information you could need about the hotel and surrounding area.  Our room was simple yet beautiful with the most comfortable beds, freestanding bath and wet room (filled with REN goodies), nespresso coffee machine and complementary mini bar (re-stocked daily) to make our stay even more enjoyable.

However, if you can be tempted out of your room there is plenty to explore in the rest of the hotel, ranging from the large lounge to more intimate library. On our first evening we headed to the bar for cocktails which we expertly created by the friendly barman prior to dinner at The Restaurant. We had such an enjoyable evening, having far too much fun using the wine list iPad and the food was gorgeous. My starter of cured ham with peach, pine nuts and mozzarella (£10.50) followed by roast monkfish with Romesco sauce and samphire (£25.00) was amazing (although Maddie's steak wasn't as tender as she had hoped) and our pudding choice of chocolate, salted caramel and vanilla ice cream with peanuts and chocolate sauce (£6.00) was bowl-scraping-ly-good.  However, if you're not feelingly quite so decadent there are 2-course and 3-course set menus (£13.95 and £16.95) to choose from.

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast followed by coffee on the deck chairs that scatter the garden area before chilling out by the (heated) pool in the sunshine. Sadly the REN spa was fully booked during our stay but we jealously watched robe clad guests heading across the lawn.

The Magdalen Chapter is a few minutes walk from the city center so parking is limited to the small driveway, however we were able to park relatively easily but the hotel does offer subsidised parking across the road. Being so close to town, on our second day we it the shops for some serious retail therapy, deciding our student loans were grateful that the huge shopping area hadn't existed when we studied there before heading back to the hotel to glam up before a evening enjoying the local pubs and bars - such as The Fire House and Monkey Suit.

There were a few little niggles, such as the light switch being on the wrong side of the door and limited range of fresh fruit at the breakfast buffet, however the staff really made our stay, they were so friendly, helpful and went out of their way to ensure we had a fantastic time and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending The Magdalen Chapter to anyone visiting this fabulous city.

*Press Trip

Monday 12 August 2013

Mani Monday: Tribal Nails Guest Post

Recently I bought a dress for my gorgeous friends' wedding and after showing it off on twitter, nail art guru Madison from Fundamentally Flawless said she could  use the design on her nails and suggested doing a guest post for Mani Monday. 

Seeing as I love the tribal print on the dress, it is no surprise that I'm obsessed with the pattern Madison has recreated on her nails, but I am always in awe of what a talented lady she is, I find just painting my nails neatly a struggle, but Madison manages to create amazing designs on tiny canvases with her right and left hand, amazing! Do pop over to her blog to see the other nail art she has produced.

Madison has matched the colours perfectly to my dress (due to her massive stash of polishes) for these tribal designs she used Models Own Snow White for the white base on three of the nails and the black base for the remaining two is Models Own Black Magic. For the striping details she used Models Own White Nail Art Pen and Barry M Black Nail Art Pen then for the coloured stripes she used a paint brush with Essie Fear or Desire for the orange section, 17 Go Go for the yellow and Models Own Jade Stone for the green.

 So next time I wear my dress I will be calling on Madison to do my nails...!
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