Sunday, 29 June 2014

The First Day of Twenty Two

It was my birthday last week and I thought that I would share a few pics of what I got up to. I used to do posts like this all the time on my old blog as I'd take my camera everywhere with me, but somehow it feels a little weird doing it on here...  I've clearly got out of touch with it. In the name of my birthday though I decided to lug my big camera around with me and here was what I snapped.

 Like any other day, my morning started early around 6.30 which is the time that the pugs wake up and for breakfast I had toast and this super summery smoothie made from raspberries, banana and almond milk! I'm so into my smoothies at the moment!

After breakfast I opened my presents: food takes priotity over everything for me clearly. My most exciting present was easily my Nike training shoes - I mean look at them! I'm not sure of the exact name but I'll leave a link to them here. I did pick these out a few weeks ago so I knew I was getting these however it was a tough choice between these ones and an orange/turquoise pair in the same style. I haven't actually purchased proper training shoes for about four years so these were well overdue considering how often I'm down the gym. Not only are these super fun and gorgeous to look at but they're comfy and lightweight, in love.

My mum took the day off for my birthday so mid morning we headed to Whitstable harbour for a coffee and nose around. We stopped off at the cutest cafe called the Harbour Garden cafe which I'm pretty sure I've also talked about before on my old blog. I haven't actually been to this cafe for a few years now but I remember liking it a lot from everything down to the cute red and white table cloths to the open layout meaning you can have your drink and sort of watch the world go by.

Mum and I both had a bit of a chocolate craving instead of coffee so ended up ordering hot chocolate which came in the most unusual way. We were presented with these huge round cups of steaming hot milk and what looked like a square chocolate lolly which you swirled in the milk to create the hot chocolate. I'd never had hot chocolate like that before, and once I got over the initial surprise at dunking a chocolate stick into milk it was quite a fun idea. It also made for a really tasty chocolatey drink.

The fish market along from the cafe seemed to be quite busy with people milling around and so we wondered in to take a look. Sorry if pictures of seafood grosses you out but I happen to love it, and years ago when we went to Whitstable regularly we would always be buying nibbles from the fish market to try so it felt like old times going back in and picking something out. We got a little pot of anchovies to take home and then to some crab claws to try, and these were delicious - very delicate they didn't have that overpowering seafood taste like some things tend to have.

The rest of my day was taken up at home, I saw my family as some of them popped over to wish me happy birthday. We sat in the garden from late afternoon to early evening eating birthday cake made by my grandma (lemon drizzle) which is my usual birthday request, and drinking cups of tea. 

It was a pretty low key relaxed day but it was probably one of the nicest birthdays I've had for a few years now. I still got to dress up and put a nice new outfit on last night as I went out for a meal then to celebrate :) and if you're wondering where the beauty related birthday items may be... well I'm taking my birthday money up to London this week where I intend on picking up one or two (or something like that) things....
Grace x

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

21 Things About 21

1.  Making new friends and discovering people in your life in unexpected places.

2. Driving my convertible with the roof down at every opportunity I had.

3. Getting a new piercing. (Tragus in both ears.)

4. Becoming obsessed with Taylor Swift.

5. Feeling like I was floating a couple of inches above the ground from the constant flurry of butterflies in my stomach during that summer.

6.  Visiting The Isle of Wight on holiday with my family.

7. Screaming my guts out at Alton Towers / Losing my theme park virginity.

 8. Purchasing my first MAC lipstick. And now look where I am... F.Y.I it was Snob if anyone was interested.

 9. Getting a new car. In October I made the bitter sweet decision to sell my convertible for a normal Mini as I knew I would need a more sensible replacement for my job this year.

 10. Moving house. Another very bitter sweet moment for me was moving house for the first time last autumn. I still find myself ocassionally thinking how strange it is that we don't live in that same robust house that will always have a place in my soppy old heart.

11. Realising that butterflies are deceiving and that they can bring you back down to the ground again.

12. Learning that being single for the first time in years, isn't as bad as you imagined it would be.

13. Going to see Taylor Swift. Best. Thing. Ever.

14. Gaining weight. Losing it again. Story of my life? But more importantly becoming stronger and fitter. Although this is something that I still work to improve on continually.

15. Quiting my part time job of over five years.

16. Qualifying as a foot health practitioner. Definitely a defining moment and something I'm so proud that I managed to achieve and I did it beside my mum too.

17. Starting my own buisness.

18. Blogging (again!) This blog was born in February and I've loved having it as a hobby once more.

19. Stumbling across the world of YouTube - I was instantly hooked.

20. Feeling excited and impatient about my future all at once.

21. Savouring saying 'I'm 21' because let's face it, you only ever get to be 21 once. And it really wasn't all that shabby.

Its time for me to say goodbye to being 21. I wonder what the next year of my life has in store for me....

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Staying In Shape On Your Summer Break

Summer holidays seem to be a very apt subject of late, with everyone in the process of either booking them or jetting off somewhere exciting. I booked a girls holiday with my friend just this weekend for September which I can't wait for! So when contacted me last week about sharing a post on my blog about keeping in shape while travelling I was all up for it! Here are some of the things that I keep in mind to help me stay in shape while on a summer break.

Incorporate Sight-Seeing with Staying Active.
I don't know about you but when I'm on holiday my priority is always to see as much local culture and as many scenic sights as possible. To incorporate that with keeping active this for me will often involve seeing as much as I can on foot: discovering picturesque towns or villages, taking a walk along a sandy strip of beach or an evening stroll to burn off that pudding (and to maybe stumble across the nearest cocktail bar...) Your travel companies will do their best to tell you where to do your sight seeing, and if you're lucky enough to go somewhere particularly fancy like Las Vegas the Aria Hotel actually offers a hotel hike for those eager fit-travellers out there!

Keep It Moderate.
One thing that I always bear in mind when I go on holiday is that I am technically on a break so whatever activities I do to stay in shape are always moderate, especially if I am in another country with a considerable climate difference to what I'm used to in chilly old England! I don't feel bad for going easy on myself on my holiday - I think its good to allow yourself a week off especially if you do work out 5/6 days a week like I do. This doesn't mean to say that moderate exercise isn't beneficial, particularly walking as I mentioned above is still a great way to get your heart rate up while working a number of different muscles to squeeze in your aerobic activity for the day.

Go Swimming.
I love to take advantage of the pool or sea at my doorstep when I'm on holiday. Even though my gym has a swimming pool I rarely get round to using it these days but I do really like swimming especially when I'm on holiday. Swimming is another great way of keeping your body moving while you're on your summer break. Nothing sets the scene of a perfect holiday chill out than doing a few lengths in the pool to cool off from the sunshine.

Create A Gym-less Workout.
If I'm really feeling motivated to keep in shape I'll set myself quater of an hour aside to do a gym-less workout and by that I mean a quick workout that you could do pretty much anywhere. This could involve anything from holding a plank, doing tricep diops, sit ups or push ups. This would be a short burst to feel the burn but wouldn't get in the way of the rest of my day so I would still be free to relax or explore.

How would you stay in shape on your summer break? Share your tips with the hashtag #TravelFit2014

Monday, 23 June 2014

Fragrance Focus: See By Chloé

I'm back with another Fragrance Focus post, but I'm putting this one down to #theessiebuttoneffect though... You may have caught my last review about a month or so ago on the original Chloé perfume which I will link here if you fancy a read but lets just say I wasn't disappointed. And so obviously when innocently browsing Essie Button this pretty little bottle caught my attention rather quickly. I made a mental note to have a whiff next time I was passing my local Boots.

Well lets just say that you know that you're going to love a perfume when the first time you smell it it makes you 'oooh' out loud, well I can guarantee that See By Chloé will make you 'oooh'. As a quick side note I actually decided to order this online from All Beauty which if you haven't heard of is an amazing website that offers some great savings on loads of fragrances (makeup too incase you wondered!) and I saved over £8 which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

Anyway back to the perfume! See By Chloé is literally ideal for these current summer months, I'm going to be really lame at describing but I'm sat here sniffing my arm where the perfume was sprayed hours earlier and the best word that keeps popping up is simply: delicious. I would say its slightly sweet with a sort of fruity and florally scent but what I love is about this is that it still remains very classy. Most sweet, fruity perfumes can seem a bit .. for want of a better word 'girly' but this is just so lovely. Its one of those fragrances that is definitely fun and flirty.

 Just give this a whiff next time you're at a perfume counter and you can thank Essie Button yet again for this beaut of a recommendation.
Have you tried See By Chloe? What is your go to summer fragrance?

Thursday, 12 June 2014

MAC The Osbournes : Summer 2014 Collection

The minute I saw the promotional pictures to the Osbourne collection with the exciting packaging I knew that I would want an item for my collection which up till yesterday sat with no limited edition packaging. I did my research and settled on two items that had caught my eye the most, which happened to be one from Kelly's range and one from Sharon's. From Sharon's collection I went for the powder blush in Peaches & Cream and from Kelly's I picked up Kelly Yum-Yum. Obviously I only picked these bad boys up yesterday so this is going to be a first impressions type of post but I just had to share because I'm already so impressed with both of these items.

Annoyingly in typical Mac online style most of the products in the collection sold out pretty much straight away. I was quite miffed Tuesday evening as I thought I had lost my chance to get my hands on some of the collection but luckily I managed to grab these at my local counter yesterday, so if you still want to get some of the limited edition items I would recommend heading to your nearest store/counter.

The collection described by Mac as "The most fabulous mother-daughter duo of Sharon and Kelly Osbourne come to M·A·C with a two-part collection of statement-making hues for eyes, lips, face and nails" [Link] is definitely one of the year's more appealing ones to me. Although I thought that the packaging to the recent Alluring Aquatics collection was stunning, I was totally uninspired by the lipsticks and other bits from it so I decided to save my pennies for this collection. And boy I'm glad I did! So first things first, Sharon's blush in Peaches & Cream.

As you can see this blush boasts a vibrant red case as apposed to the standard black casing, with Sharon's signature embellished on the top next to Mac. The packaging sort of reminds me of the Riri Holiday collection that saw Riri etched across the products. I am absolutely crazy about this blush, its beautiful! I would say that the blush itself is very understated in the pan but thanks to the satin finish it transforms beautifully on to the cheeks. Its a very unusual pinky peachy colour (and you know I love my pinky peaches) that gives such a lovely radiant glow to your face. I know this is going to end up as my go-to blush throughout summer now.

The only downside I could find about this is that the price tag is a little steep. A standard Mac powder blush costs £18 whereas this one was £23, an extra £5 for just some red casing seems a bit extravagant... however I do love this blush and the limited edition packaging so I won't grumble too much.

My other piece from the Osbourne collection is the stunning Kelly Yum-Yum. Can we just take a moment here please? That lavendar packaging. Ah. I just love the transformed lilac lipstick bullet with Kelly's signature its so pretty!

As you probably know Kelly Yum-Yum is a slight variation to Mac's popular Candy Yum-Yum lipstick. Candy Yum-Yum was already on my summer Mac wishlist, and I've seen comparison swatches (link here) and honestly there really isn't much in it. KYY and its lilac bullet definitely won me over, sorry CYY. Plus I prefer Mac's satin formula (some of my favourite Mac lipsticks are satins) to matte, which was another reason why KYY was so appealing to me.

When I got home and showed my mum this lipstick her reaction was 'wow' and that is coming from a lady who also loves her bright lipsticks! I must admit this is rather a bold lipstick in the bullet that certainly isn't for the faint hearted! However this is suprisingly wearable. The application of this is stunning, its so opaque and glides on with ease which is amazing given that satin lipsticks are semi-matte.  This isn't at all drying, it sits comfortably on the lips and the lasting power is incredible.

I've included a couple of swatches below.

MAC Osbournes Collection - Kelly Yum-Yum
Mac Osbournes Collection - Peaches & Cream

All in all, I can see myself becominge obsessed with both these products over the next few months and I'm so happy I managed to get both the two items I wanted!

Did you get any of the Mac Osbourne's Summer Collection?

Monday, 9 June 2014

Tropical Flower Summer Dress

Tropical Flower Dress | Apricot | £32 | Link (similar)
There are definitely shops that I veer towards more at different times of the year, and by that I mean that I always seem to be attracted to the pretty summer dresses in Apricot. I think that Apricot have a really good selection of super cute and affordable items around about now. When shopping the other day I was immediately drawn to this bright tropical dress that is simply singing with colour. The pictures don't really show just how vivid and eye catching this dress is in reality, but there is such a lot going on in this dress from mint green, to pink to yellow - a floral dress lover's dream.
As for the dress itself I would probably call it a midi dress or at least it is on me where I'm on the short side. The dress comes up to about my knees, and I actually really like that about it, it feels super feminine while still being fun and youthful. It has quite a long zip down the back and a bow that adds to the pretty feminine feel of it.

And as for what shoes I'm going to be pairing with this, well the minute I tried the dress on I knew just the ones. I'm really excited to wear this outfit, and I may have just the ocassion later this month...

What do you think of this outfit? Do you like floral prints?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Body Shop Raspberry Body Butter

I will expect that if you're anything like me that you've been through your Body Shop 'Body Butter phase' at some point in your life... you know the one I'm on about. The phase where you stalk the colourful shelves each time you so much as pass The Body Shop, sniffing and 'mmming' at all the fruity selections on offer and hoard as many tubs of them that you can get your greedy little hands on. For me that happened to be as many of the mini tubs I could afford as a jobless teenager, I certainly remember accumulating my fair share of Body Shop body butters over the years. I've since grown out of this and moved on to hoarding lipstick, however there is still a little place in my heart for The Body Shop's body butters.
On saying that I haven't owned a body butter from The Body Shop for quite some years now simply as I wanted to try different things for a while. However last night I had a table at a pamper event for my own business, and just across the room from me was a Body Shop stall. At the end of the evening I naturally headed over the the stall to have a look. The lady was like one of those independent sales consultants for The Body Shop I believe and all the full size body butters were going for £5 instead of the retail price of £13! I've seen this raspberry range floating around the beauty scene quite a lot recently, and raspberries are literally one of my most favourite fruits so I'm very surprised I hadn't had a sniff of the products before last night.
When I opened the lid for the first time this genuinely made my mouth water when I smelled it - it smells bloody delicious, sort of like how you would imagine a thick creamy raspberry jam to smell like. The consistency is exactly what you would expect from a Body Shop body butter, very smooth and so, so moisturising - this is going to be the most perfect summer body butter. Trust me, if you like raspberries you are going to love this. Isn't it even sweeter when you manage to something for such a bargain too with over 50% off the retail price tag?
I'm not entirely sure but I believe that this may be one of their limited edition releases so if you like raspberries and you haven't tried it yet I would highly recommend doing so quickly! Perfect summer body butter!
Have you tried this body butter?

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

How To Commit To Fitness

 I've only really briefly mentioned on my blog before that I'm pretty into my exercise and fitness. Chosing to lead a healthier, fitter lifestyle is a commitment though and its often why so many find it a challenge. We all lead busy lives and its very easy to simply brush the thought of exercise off unless you know how to incorporate it into your life in a way that benefits you. Going to the gym has become a part of my life that I genuinely enjoy so it barely even seems like a commitment to me anymore. That doesn't mean to say that I don't have phases where I'm not so motivated, although for the last four years I've stuck to it and haven't given up with it.
However I wasn't always like this, infact before 2010 I would have gone out my way to avoid exercise in any shape or form. But then one day something just clicked and I concsiously took steps towards committing myself to a healthier, fitter lifestyle and I haven't looked back once since. So I thought I would share with you some tips on how to commit to fitness.

* Before I start I want to make a very quick disclaimer this is by no means professional advice, its just things that helped and worked for me *
Do it for yourself:
The first, and possibly most important factor of all when it comes to fitness is that you've got to do it for yourself. Not because someone hinted that your shirt was looking a bit tight. Not because your best friend just started doing it. You have to concsiously make the choice to start a healthier lifestyle for you. Make this decision based upon you. At the end of the day being healthier and getting fitter are things that directly effect your body and your life, so why do it for anyone else but yourself? To be successful in committing to fitness you should do it because you want to do it. I think that once you learn to do it for yourself everything else falls naturally into place, but that doesn't mean to say that you don't have to work for it.
Find something you enjoy:
The next, equally important thing that will help you to commit to fitness is to find something you really enjoy. If you like doing it then you're more likely to keep up with it. For beginners, finding something you enjoy can be a bit trial and error for a while until you discover what is best for you. I also believe that its important to continually mix things up, and try new things all the time whether you're a beginner or not because with fitness there is always something else to have a go at. Plus if you mix things up slightly you've got less chance of becoming bored - keep your mind and body guessing from time to time. I personally love classes as there is so much to chose from and you always work hard in a class. But whether its running, going to the gym, taking classes, swimming - once you find your thing you will eventually fall into a routine. And this leads me onto the next point.
Get into a routine:
Try and think about when is the best time for you to exercise and make it a routine. Are you naturally an early riser? Go in the mornings. Maybe you work during the day? Get an evening gym membership. Make things easy for yourself and plan it around your life in a way that you know you will get round to doing it. Perhaps if you prefer exercising in the morning, set your clothes aside the night before or similarly if you work during the day make sure you pack your gym bag so that you've got no excuse not to exercise once you're finished. By doing this and making fitness a part of your daily routine it will just become second nature and something you barely have to think about.
Find inspiration:
Another universally important thing when it comes to fitness is to get inspired. If you're a beginner or if you've been exercising for years its never a bad idea to be inspired. Finding inspiration to exercise or become fitter is super motivating and its easier than you would think - hit up YouTube, read some healthy lifestyle blogs, find fitness communities through Instargram hashtags. Other ways that you can get inspired is by downloading new playlists if you workout to your own music - add songs that are going to get you pumped and motivated. I also feel quite inspired if I buy new gym clothes to get down to the gym and work a sweat up.

Set yourself regular goals:
To keep yourself fully commited to fitness its good to set yourself regular goals. Goals and targets are a great way of having something to work towards and aim for. However I think that its important to keep them realistic - don't set yourself up to fail. These goals don't have to be earth shatteringly challenging, even if its to give yourself a goal of exercising 'x' amount of times that week, so long as you're working towards something. Plus to help you achieve your goals you can track your progress: jot down how many times you worked out that week, or if you did a new personal best in something and maybe if you're brave enough take pictures of an area your body that you want to tone up and then look back on them in 6 weeks time. You'll be surprised at what you can achieve when you really set your mind to it.

Keep a positive attitude:
Lastly, I think that a positive attitude goes a long way when it comes to fitness in general. If you're a beginner, go easy on yourself and don't be frustrated if you don't get the results you wanted straight away. Its also important to keep a positive attitude even when you're not a beginner, in time you will learn your own limits, you will also learn how far you can push those limits and gradually become better. Don't give up if you have a crappy workout, pat yourself on the back for giving it a go and come back stronger and more determined next time. A little belief in yourself goes a long way.
How do you stay commited to living a healthier lifestyle?

Bourjois 8 in 1 BB Bronzing Cream

I'm not really one for bronzing products, Nars Laguna is about as far as it goes to adding a little warmth to my face and even then I do so sparingly. The word 'bronze' alone is enough to give me a physical shudder and have me grimacing over images of orange umpa-lumpas. Needless to say I generally keep my distance from anything that has that word in the description. However with it now being June I can't deny that I don't crave a slightly more sun-kissed look but given that this is England I won't hold my breath. So when watching a video by Vivianna Does Makeup I was intrigued  by the sound of this product from Bourjois that received a mention.

 I did a further bit of research, read through review after review and even though the overall consensus of this product from reviews would be don't buy it, I went ahead and got it anyway. I'm not crazy though, as I think that a lot of people reviewing it were not necessarily using it in the most effective way, as I will explain below.
So first things first this only comes in one shade, meaning that its a universal product. Now I  wouldn't normally ever reach for a bottle this dark and I'm not going to lie it does also come out the pump looking rather daunting too (see following image). Even at my most tanned I doubt that this would ever be a match for my natural skintone, as you can see it is very dark and dare I say it orange looking.

 The key trick that I picked up from watching that video was to use this in addition to your normal foundation, sort of like a tint or built in bronzer. Given that my current everyday foundation was the one I purchased back in the winter from Rimmel, it is a very light shade which is beginning to notice with my slightly more freckled complexion. I was just going to buy the next shade up until I discovered this bronzing cream from Borjois and decided to give it a go. For comparisons sake I have included some swatches below.

Swatches taken in natural daylight.
 At the top is my original everyday foundation gently blended in, which as you can see is on the verge of being too light for my skin tone. Then we have the Borjois BB Cream blended in which is still obviously far too dark. However when taking my Rimmel foundation and a rather small amount of the Borjois BB cream together and blending it you can see that it makes a noticable difference and creates a shade that is actually wearable. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the effect of these two products together.

The Borjois BB cream really does enhance the colour of my otherwise pale Rimmel foundation and creates a lovely healthy glow when blended out evenly across my face. It is quite surprising how natural the two combined appear given how dark and scary the BB cream looks alone. I feel like it makes my foundation more radiant while still managing to keep it from being too 'bronze'. I'm definitely glad that I gave this a try and would recommend this to those in the same situation as me where me your foundation is maybe getting a bit pale and you want to achieve a more sunkissed face without over doing things. One for your makeup bag this summer I think!

What bronzing products do you use on your face? 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Montly Favourites | May 2014

Hello June! I can't believe how fast this year has gone already! Its time to check out a fresh bunch of monthly favourites, here's what I've been loving lately:

Chloe Eau De Parfum.
 My newly discovered signature scent is the beautifully chic Chloe Eau De Parfum. I wore this non stop throughout the month of May and definitely think that this has already earned holy grail status. Its just a perfect scent and looks wonderful on my dressing table too. I wrote a more in depth review on Chloe here if you're interested to learn more.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Face Mist.
So far there hasn't been an item I've tried from The Body Shop Vitamin E range that I'm not smitten with. But I can tell that this face mist from The Body Shop is going to be especially handy over the warmer, summer months as it aims to 'instantly refresh and moisutrise.' I've been using this loads in a variety of ways over the last month: simply as a lovely light spritz of moisture (plus it smells incredible) I do this with either a face of makeup to set it or just on my naked face, this was also amazing sprayed on my face after a few hours in the sun, it has that 'after sun' effect and was just so soothing, plus you may have seen this stippling brush trick that is achieved with this face mist. I would highly recommend this!

MAC Naked Lunch Eyeshadow.
My eyeshadow choice for May was Naked Lunch from Mac. I bloody love this eyeshadow so much. I was trying to describe it but was struggling to (I've attached a swatch below for a visual reference.) Its quite shimmery, I don't know what type it is as I'm not quite as knowledgable on my Mac eyeshadows compared to my lipsticks. You know how people describe nude lipsticks as a 'my lips but better' well on me this eyeshadow kind of has a similar 'my eyelids but better' kind of impact - although it looks like you're wearing eyeshadow its very understated and neutral. Bit of a failed description there but you get the picture haha.

MAC Springsheen and Nars Orgasm.
 My two blush choices in May were very similar and these were from Mac and Nars, I was obviously in a very pinky/peachy blush mood. Both blushes give your cheeks a really pretty flush of colour - I have no idea where the inspiration for the name Orgasm came from... Yes we're looking at you Nars! As you can see from the swatches below, Springsheen from Mac leans more peachy whereas Orgasm leans ever so slightly pinky but there isn't really a lot in it to be honest. They are pretty good dupes for each other as they are not disimilar in colour or finish, both are shimmery so you don't want to go mad with a highlighter when you wear these or it could look a bit much. But I've pretty much alternated these two blushes all month, opting for Springsheen for a more peachy look and Orgasm for that pinker finish.
Above swatches taken in natural daylight

Burts Bee's Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegrante Oil.
Burts Bee's have to be one of my favourites for lip balms. Annoyingly I misplaced my beloved mango one so I recently replaced it and decided to try the replenishing balm with pomegrante, and although its not a patch on the mango one scent wise it still does the same excellent job at nourishing my lips when they are on the dry side. It sort of reminds me of the smell of original Chapstick but a little fruiter.

BarryM Gelly Paint in Passion Fruit.
I have been obsessed with painting my nails (and toenails too) with this from BarryM. I love the gelly paint range from BarryM and own way too many colours already and Passion Fruit is like a perfect red/pink that looks so glossy and vibrant. Plus you get a good few days wear before chipping starts to occur which is always a bonus! I hate it when some polishes chip after mere hours...

What did you love in May?