May Favourites.

There are quite a few new things I have been testing out this month and I finally feel like I have a pretty good everyday makeup routine so most of the new products I have introduced into my makeup collection will be appearing in this post. Let’s get to it…

IMG_0839First up is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit (Surreal Light) – the latest palette from the company. I have never tried anything from Hourglass before as their products are expensive but when I began to update my make up bag, I decided this might be worth the splurge after reading lots of rave reviews. And it has not disappointed me at all! I love that I have my face powder, blusher (x2!), bronzer and highlight all in one place and when I break the price down it works out at £14 per product which I think is reasonable for such good quality. My face looks glowy and luminous and being from the same brand, each powder blends beautifully into the next.

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IMG_0845Next is Bourjois’s Healthy Mix Foundation. Not a new foundation on the market, but a new discovery for me. I hadn’t been bothered to try it until recently and I wish it hadn’t  taken me so long! I love it’s medium coverage and serum-like texture. It’s mix of vitamins help achieve a glowy finish and it lasts well throughout the day.

IMG_0844I’ve been using the NYX Micro Brow Pencil throughout this month and after a shaky start, I’ve really begun to enjoy using it. Lot’s of bloggers compare it to the Anastasia brow pencil and I bought it on that promise of an excellent product. In the past, I have always used a powder to fill my brows so it took me a while to get to grips with using the pencil; but now I have, I can’t see myself going back. I also really like that it has a brush on the end – I’m always a fan of anything that saves space and time!

IMG_0842I couldn’t do this favourites post without mentioning the limited edition MAC lipstick by Fleur de Force. I was lucky enough to get my hands on it before it sold out and I’m so glad I did -it’s the perfect nude for me. I’m gutted they are now out of stock and I’ll be hunting for a dupe soon because I know this shade is going to be a firm favourite for years to come.

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IMG_0840In terms of applying foundation, I’ve discovered an old favourite  – the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. It just works really well to blend my base and I use it to apply my foundation, concealer and contour. I was using a beauty blender, which I liked, but the brush is quicker, easier and gives me an almost identical finish.
The last make-up related item (I know its’s been make-up heavy, but as I said earlier – I’ve re-vamped my everyday routine!) is Collection 2000’s Contour Stick in light. Again, this was another product which I had to become used to, but once I did, I realised just how great (and affordable!) this little pencil it. I think the formula get’s better after a few uses (I’m not sure if it needs to warm up and melt a bit),  but the shade is really cool toned and gives a nice, subtle contour.

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There aren’t any other beauty related items I want to talk about this month; my skincare routine is working at the moment but I want to do a separate post to show the products I’m using, so I’ll save that for another day. In terms of music, I have been listening to Harry Style’s new album non-stop and also the new release from Zac Brown Band. I haven’t had time to read any books (having a new puppy keeps me busy!) but I have been reading a novel with my class in school called The Nowhere Emporium (by Ross MacKenzie), if you have children aged 9 +, I’d really recommend it!

That’s all for my May favourites! Hopefully, my recommendations have been good ones and if you have written a similar post, please link it below so I can have a read and add to my own wishlist!

Until next time,

Laura x

What I’ve learnt in my first week of ‘being healthy’.

Before I begin, I’ll update you on a couple of  life changes since my last post. The most exciting thing I want to mention is that I bought my wedding dress! I’m going to do a separate post on the whole experience soon; explaining how I found ‘the one’ and giving some tips on searching for your own dress, but the main reason I’ve finally got started in this journey back to a healthy lifestyle is because I now have a very physical motivation hanging in my parent’s spare bedroom!

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Another massive change in our life is that we have a new puppy! Our gorgeous Cocker Spaniel is called Ringo (yep- after Ringo Star) and he is almost 15 weeks old. Obviously, he’s been keeping us busy (lot’s of people warned us having a puppy is like having a baby and they were not wrong!) and we’ve had our hands full getting him settled!

So. That’s the big news out of the way and now I can get to today’s topic: What I have learnt during my first week of ‘being healthy’. I’ve been looking to make some positive changes to my lifestyle and diet for a while and to be honest, it’s been a hard slog to get started. Over the past year, motivation has been hard to find and my willpower has been at 0%. But one day last week, something just clicked. I can’t say exactly what it was, maybe the warmer weather meant I wanted to eat less, or being up early with Ringo meant I had more time to prep meals, but I had two really good, healthy days. And then I found my wedding dress. Since then, I’ve been determined to stay on track and my first week has been a huge success. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far…

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1. Variety is the key to feeling full. It’s enevitable that you end up eating quite a bit of salad when eating healthily; they are quick, easy and a sure-fire way to make sure you are getting the good stuff. I’ve made sure that each salad has been packed with as many different foods as I can; peppers, cucumber, tomato, onion, two types of lettuce or greens, a meat and sprinkling of cheese is usually the starting point. That way, each bite is different. I find I feel like I’m eating more when there are lots of different foods on my plate. That transfers to any meal, I’ve been cooking up lots of veggies for dinner and have even been having two small breakfasts (scrambled egg and tomato followed by yoghurt, honey and granola) to give the illusion of bigger meals, when actually I’ve been having more smaller portions instead.

2. It only takes a few days to feel the difference. After the first day, I felt proud that I’d made good choices. After 3 days, my stomach felt flatter and I was much less bloated. After 5 days, the scales showed a loss. After 7 days, Guy noticed I looked a bit slimmer. I’m not talking about massive changes; it has only been a week, but they are noticeable to me. I feel generally healthier and that gives me confidence.

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3. A full fridge is not a temptation. In the past, I’ve always tried to keep as little food in the house as possible, following the idea that if I don’t have it, I can’t eat it. All that has led to is late night trips to Tesco to buy one quick snack, which inevitably becomes a basketful of treats which are on offer. And then I think “I’ll start again tomorrow”  so eat everything I have just purchased in one sitting. This time around I’ve packed my fridge full of healthy goodies and so if ever I feel peckish, I have something to graze on which isn’t made entirely of chocolate or comes in a large, blue tube (Pringles are my life!). This also helps with point one- filling my plate with lots of different things!

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4. Everything in moderation. I’ve heard this advice so many times but never followed it. Until this week. Nothing is off limits. At lunch yesterday, my fiancé had crisps with his salad sandwich. I wanted some too so I had four on the side of my plate. I didn’t feel like I was missing out and I really savoured that little treat. I’d already swapped my sandwich for just a salad to avoid the bread; so there was my compromise. This afternoon, we found ourselves out over lunchtime and ended up at Nando’s. Again, rather than denying myself, I chose a healthy option from the menu and really enjoyed it. I still ended up under my calorie count for the day – winner! By not actually banning any foods, I feel less restricted and crave unhealthy snacks much less.

And those are my four lessons learnt from this week. Hopefully, they will give you inspiration to get going if you have been stuck in an unhealthy rut; or some food-for-thought (I know- terrible pun!) if you are already on a healthy journey!

Ciao for now, 

Laura

Budgetting Hack.

It’s payday! The day I run to the Trafford Centre and immediately start spending all of my disposable income on treats that I have convinced myself I need in my life. Well, NOT ANYMORE!!  I have a terrible relationship with money. It burns a hole in my pocket and no matter how hard I try to save, I always end up spending way more than I should. But now it’s time to stop.

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I have a wedding to pay for, a house to look after for and savings to grow!

I’ve realised that part of my problem is that I never spend physical cash; I always use my card and so I never actually see the money leaving my purse. This removal from my earnings means I’m not as responsible as I should be so this month I’m challenging myself to only spend cash. Not just that, but I’m pre- budgeting my spending for the month and I’m using the envelope method to keep track of what I buy.

What is the envelope method?

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It’s really simple. Basically, I’ve labelled some envelopes with different categories: nails and beauty, eating out, food shopping, petrol and wedding fund. I’m filling each envelope with the money I will need for the month and I can only spend the cash in the envelopes. I’m not allowed to use my card and I’m not allowed to spend more than is inside each pocket!

This should mean I’m more careful with what I buy and will try to save as much as I can throughout the month – the fear of running out of money should put an end to my impulse purchases! It also guarantees that the cash I leave in my bank as savings actually stays there – unless there is some sort of emergency, there is no need to touch that money. (That last sentence was more of a note to self than guidance for you readers!) Payday is now going to become much more productive . Not an excuse to go on a shopping spree, but a reason to sit down (probably with a nice coffee) and look over my financial situation; monitor my expenses and feel proud (fingers crossed!) of what I have managed to save in the past months.

As I always promise; I will update you as time goes on: I’m aware I have a lot of  positive changes I’m trying to implement in my life and this blog is a way for me to keep track and reflect on my progress! If you have any tips on how to best look after my money and expand my savings, I’d love to hear your ideas!

Much love,

Laura x

 

Kiehl’s Haul!

Hello! 

If you are a new reader – thanks for visiting; if you are a frequent visitor, welcome back! Today I have a haul to share with you as and you probably saw in the title – i’ve been to Kiehl’s!

A bit of background info: Confession time. I’ve never really taken my skincare routine seriously. I’ve always bought products and had them on my bathroom window sill where they have sat looking pretty but gathering dust. Occasionally, I would grab a face wash when getting in the shower or use a moisturiser on those days when my skin has felt particularly dry, but in terms of a ‘routine’; I’ve never really stuck to one.

For the past few weeks I’ve noticed my skin has been feeling particularly horrible – dry in places but greasy in others. My make up has been moving around/ fading away throughout the day and my face just looks dull, tired and unloved! So, I did some research on blogs and youtube and the Kiehl’s company leapt out to me. I love their background (they began as an apothecary) and their natural products and so I went to check them out. I went to the Trafford Centre store (in Selfridges) after work because I knew it would be a quiet period where the assistants would have the time to help me find the products for me without being rushed or bothered by other customers. The lady who served me was absolutely lovely and she started by testing my face with two paper dots to measure how oily my skin was. She then used a machine to test how hydrated my skin is (only 30% eeeek!) and after a quick chat about my concerns (blocked pores and dullness) she designed a routine for me. What I really loved was that she wasn’t pushy, she didn’t try to sell everything to me and she was honest about what would be practical for me to keep up with on a day- to- day basis. I will do a full skincare routine post once I’ve had chance to get used to the products, but for now, here is what I bought…

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All of the products were chosen because of my particular problem areas; but I was happy to see some of the products that had jumped out to me during my research into the company and from other people’s recommendations. I still want to buy their SPF lotion (I can’t remember the exact name) but they don’t have any in stock in store or online!

When I got to the till, the lady was really kind and filled my bag with some great samples for me to try, one of which is a toner she recommend but I had decided not to purchase this time (my purse was feeling pretty empty after my consultation!) so this small bottle should last until payday!

I’m going to spend the next few weeks getting to grips with my new routine and hopefully noticing a big difference in the appearance and feel of my skin!  *Disclamer* (I hate having to write these things but, you know, better to be safe than sorry!) I was in no way sponsored by Keihl’s to write this post. I spent my own money on the products and when the time comes to review them for you lovely lot, I’ll give my honest opinions!!

Thanks for reading

Laura x

My Week in Pictures.

16th-23rd April 2017.

I’m currently writing this post from the lay on the grass in my newly decorated garden (do you even decorate a garden?!) enjoying the rare British sunshine and trying to make the most of the little time left of this weekend. I’m feeling the more happy and relaxed  than I have in a long time – fingers crossed my good mood lasts through next week!

I’ve really been looking forward to doing this series and can’t wait to share with you what I get up to each week!

I’m actually going to work a bit out of order this week because I’m most excited to show you some pictures of our garden! This is the first major DIY project that we have embarked on together and it’s taken us a few days of hard work but we finally managed to finish the project yesterday and I’m so pleased with the results! We started off with a very unloved pile of dirt and some concrete slabs and we have ended up with a lawn (of artificial grass), flower bed, newly painted garden furniture and a space we can actually use and enjoy. Hurray!

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I started the week with the goal of being really healthy and I have to admit I’d failed by Wednesday! We took my sister to Nando’s one evening to distract her from revision and exams for a little while (she’s currently preparing for her GCSE’s). I didn’t feel too bad because I chose a salad but we then caved the next evening and ordered a pizza  (ooops!).

Monday’s tea (grilled pork, sweet potato wedges and lots of veggies!):

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I teach in a mainly Islamic community and this week the girls in my class learned I had never had Mendi. They were really shocked and the next day brought some Henna into school! We spent the lunchtime creating a pattern on my arm and I was happy to let them practise their skills on me! I now have this (pretty wobbly!) pattern on my arm for the next few weeks!

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And now we can talk about yesterday. The first week of term completely wiped both Guy and I out, so we had a lie in on Saturday morning and caught up on some much needed shut eye! We then indulged in some brunch at Frankie and Benny’s. Guy went for a full english and I had a cheese and tomato omelette with a vanilla latte and orange juice. Yum!

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I spent the afternoon in the salon having my nails done. I get them done every two weeks  and this week I went for  ombre pastel blue and pink with an iridescent glitter and they remind me very much of unicorns  – perfect for this gorgeous spring weather!

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And those are the highlights of me week! Not bad considering I’ve been back at work! And now I plan to enjoy the sun for a while longer before getting myself ready for the new week – I’m thinking face mask, bath and a little TV before an early night!

I hope you have all had a great week and enjoyed the sunshine as much as possible! Please leave me links to your wonderful blogs and recent posts!

Love,

Laura x

Upload Schedule!

I’m getting organised and have decided on an upload schedule so that you lovely lot know when to expect new posts! I’m not promising to strictly keep to this pattern all of the time – I want to remain flexible and if inspiration strikes, then I’ll be creating posts as often as possible! Likewise, busy times at work might disrupt regular posting but I’ll try to pre-emp those periods and make sure I have content backed up for you! Basically, I’m asking your forgiveness in advance if things go a little askew!

Anyway…

You can expect a new post every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday!

I’m not going to give the weekday posts a theme, but the Sunday blog is going to be a ‘My Week in Pictures’ series where I look back on the previous week; sometimes with a theme. (For example, this week I’m working on a ‘What I’ve eaten this Week’ where I’ll be looking back over my meals for the past week, sharing recipes and looking for those moments I could have been a bit healthier!) If you have any suggestions for other themes – I’m open to requests!

Any other content will be related to my goals for Life. Growth. Love. – feel free to visit my About page to see what I’m currently working towards! You can also expect some monthly favourites, wedding planning, vlog I film with my lovely fiancé and any other lifestyle- type posts that take my fancy!

Thanks for reading and joining me on this journey!

Much love,

Laura x

Changes. Two steps towards my goals.

 

If you have read my About page then you will know the reason this little blog of mine was born ( and if you haven’t read it, you might want to check it out before reading this one!) I’ve spent some time thinking about what changes I need to make to help me achieve the things I want to and how I can go about achieving my goals.

The first item on my agenda is my health (and consequently, my weight oooops!), which needs to be a priority. I’ve spent the last year being lazy and eating all the wrong foods and it’s time to put my foot down and get my bottom in gear! I’m not counting calories or following a fad diet (although I am planning to use some diet products for reasons I’ll explain in a future post) and instead I’ll be counting colours, fruit/ veg portions and will be following the “everything in moderation” rule. I know if I completely ban chocolate or restrict myself to a 750 cal juice diet, I’m bound to fail. And after all, I’m making lifestyle changes – adjustments that are sustainable and lasting.

imagesStep One – Saturday’s are going to become my trying-new-recipes days. This marvellous idea of mine is going to kill two birds with one stone (I hope!). You see, I often find it quite difficult to switch off and relax and it’s not too often that I cook for pleasure. Usually, I throw something in the oven after work with the only goal being to get it to cook in the quickest time possible because I’m hungry starving after a busy day. On the rare occasions that I do spend time in the kitchen creating a nice meal, I’ve found I’ve enjoyed myself . By giving myself a dedicated time to experiment and try new recipes, I’m hoping I will relax a bit more and discover some fresh, healthy meals to add into the mix.

Goal number two is about budgeting. One of my biggest expenses each month is clothing. Not that I buy expensive clothes, but I just buy a lot of them. A lot. Primark, New Look and H&M are all my go-to places and I’m always hunting for the newest things in stock. I purchase items and wear them once or twice before they end up ruined in the wash or discarded for something more exciting. Obviously, my weight gain hasn’t helped with this, but the amount of items I give to charity or donate to my younger sisters is getting ridiculous and it’s a habit that needs to end. .Now.

So onto Step Two… developing a capsule wardrobe. I first heard about these wonders from Anna over on her youtube channel. (I’m talking like I know her personally, like we had a chat over coffee or something, I can assure you we do not – I just love watching her videos!) Basically, a capsule wardrobe is all about finding your style, and then only buying seasonal clothing that fit in with this specific style; building several different outfits from fewer pieces of clothing which are a bit more expensive, but that last and fit well. The idea is that you change some items with each season and only ever shop a few weeks before a new season with a specific list of things you need, ensuring that what you buy will be well worn and worth the money.

So, those are my first two steps, which will,(fingers-crossed!) help me to achieve my goals. I’ll keep you updated with how I get on.

Lots of love & thanks for reading!

Laura x