Sunday, 22 April 2018

Smile Lab teeth whitening strips

We all like to get prepared for big events so we can feel/look our best.
I've got my brothers wedding coming up and I am STILL on the lookout to find a dress to wear and to figure out what I'm doing with my hair and make up, the weather won't decide what it's doing so I have no clue if I'll have a natural tan or if I'll need to book in a spray tan but one bit of prep I have underway is my teeth thanks to Smile Lab.

Smile-Lab-Advanced-Teeth-Whitening-Strips-review

I was given the opportunity to review these teeth whitening strips at just the right time, I'd just decided to cut down on my coffee and fizzy drinks to try and help with teeth stains (and just because I drank far too much and it wasn't good for me!). I'd bought a whitening toothpaste that Zoella uses because say what you like about that girl but her teeth are great!

Smile-Lab-Advanced-Teeth-Whitening-Strips-review
 You can use these as part of a 2 week program or just when your teeth aren't looking their best. This was my first try of any kind of teeth whitening strip so I was interested to see how they worked. 

Firstly they come in lovely packaging, a sleek pink and white box which lays everything out nicely for you.  I'm all about aesthetic so I love the attractive pink and white design, it definitely doesn't look like your usual 'dental care'. 

Inside the box there's 15 pouches for your upper and lower teeth which are individually wrapped and also a little carry case (that doubles as a car holder) to keep them in. I love that little touch and it's great for travelling and keeping them all together. I have enough things flying about in my makeup bag so that's one less thing to worry about at least!

These are enamel safe, peroxide free and so easy to use.  They've kept it very simple. The two strips come attached to the same backing plastic so it's easy to see what goes where. Apply one to the top row of teeth and one to the bottom. You might need to smooth them out and wiggle them about a bit to get them in the correct place but once they're where you want them to be the rest is simple. You leave them on 
for 30mins then rinse your mouth or brush your teeth to remove any residue. 

Smile-Lab-Teeth-Whitening-Strip-review

I wasn't actually expecting to notice a difference straight away, I thought I would need to use them for a few days but I was pleasantly surprised to see instant results - my teeth definitely looked brighter. Considering there's no peroxide in these that's impressive! 

I'm planning to use these  every day in the week leading up to the wedding day so my smile is as good as it can be for the photos. 

Smile-Lab-Advanced-Teeth-Whitening-Strips-review

You can pick up the Smile Lab Advanced Teeth Whitening Strips at Boots for £38 (At the moment Boots have 25% off Smile lab at the moment so this is just £28.50) and 10% profits go to the pink ribbon foundation too.

They work out at about £2.50 a go so that's less than a lot of face masks. They're a great addition to a pamper routine. If you're after a little boost for your teeth these are definitely what I'd recommend.





*I was kindly gifted this but all thoughts are my own




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Friday, 20 April 2018

Confession - I love a Freebie!

We all like a freebie right? I've certainly been one to buy something just because there was a great gift with purchase. And if there is a 3 for 2 offer on make-up - you know I'm there with my 2 items I actually need in hand, while walking up and down the isle of Boots trying to find a third item to make it all worth it.

freebie-site-gratisfaction


I'm by no means silly with money, I'll spend where I need to and save elsewhere but I like to try and be fairly sensible from time to time. Holidays to somewhere where I'm not shivering everyday don't pay for themselves! A lot of our money is spent eating out -food is the centre of our social life. When we want to save money we cut down on a few meals out which really helps - even if it is really boring. Saving money isn't particularly fun, that's why I've never done the 'spending ban' thing - it would make me miserable! I get simple pleasures out of a new nail polish (I found Models Own in Poundland the other day - was well chuffed!) a bath bomb is essential for calming the mind and picking out 7 pairs of pants in Victoria Secret is basically cardio. 

"Underwear is a basic human right" 

To ensure we can treat ourselves from time to time we need to save where we can.  There is a way to make money saving a little more fun. You can keep those pennies firmly in your purse and get those perks in the form of some freebies -which are everywhere if you know where to find them. Gratisfaction is a place to find all the great UK Freebies

If like me you scroll through Twitter and enter a giveaway or two in the chance of getting an unexpected little gift you'll love this kind of thing.  Find the freebie you're after and you can click directly onto the link that takes you to the giveaway. Sometimes this will be  a company that's offering  a free gift for signing up to a website or liking their Facebook page. They could be letting you know when a makeup brand are sending out samples of their latest product. There could be a voucher to pick up some free dishwasher tablets if cleaning products are your thing  - I got a new Zoflora scent the other day which excited me more than it should have!

So while you're saving your pennies by not picking up a new lip balm or a cappuccino you are still able to treat yourself without spending  a thing. I have the O2 priority app on my phone which gives me a free drink at Coffee Nero each week which means I spend less on coffee than my insta account would have you believe. This is the kind of thing Gratisfication will alert you to. Some brands featured are  Thorntons, Benefit, Lancome, Pizza Express and Smashbox. 

Some deals have a limited amount of freebies so it's worth keeping an eye on the site to make sure you grab something great but there are new products being added constantly so it's definitely worth a look. Even if it's something little, it's a great way to possibly try something you wouldn't normally consider or just have a little materialistic pick-me-up - because we're all human! 






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When Good Relationships Go Bad


I’ve been in some bad relationships over the years. Some worse than others, some fizzled out because we become like brother and sister, others we just grew apart and a couple were bad news. 

I look back to a particularly bad relationship and wonder what I was doing. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I guess I’ve learnt and become a stronger person from these experiences; but I think it’s important to raise some awareness about when a relationship is a little more than ‘he’s just a useless boyfriend'. 

A lot of his behaviour I deemed ‘normal’. He was always pretty possessive, he’d  get jealous if I was out with friends. He’d make me cancel plans or pretend there was some sort of emergency so I left and came back. He’d style it out like he missed me. 

I’d be ridiculed for my choices, if I said I’d like to work somewhere or do a particular thing he’d mock me and convince me any ambition I had was silly. I eventually didn’t do anything I wanted to.

 He’d check my phone constantly, the sound of my message tone used send chills through me as it would always result in loads of questions and some kind of argument. Once he’d checked my phone when I was asleep and shook me awake to ask my a guy from work asked what shift I was doing the next day. One time he actually smashed up my phone. He did eventually buy me a new one which he turned into a ‘fun day out’ and he made out he was being extremely generous and treating me. 

If we got into an argument he’d shout and smash things, with the occasional shove or grab. He always said 'I've  never hit you' -which was true. He would ‘play’ but it would be too rough. Things like random 'dead legs’, or hard flicks with a tea towel and burns with a hot tea spoon/lighter -playful stuff that felt a bit spiteful at times. He never seem bothered if he hurt me. 

He'd try to focus on the good times to try and make sure I forgot the bad and bought me flowers/gifts constantly.

bad-relationships-domestic-abuse

Along with my phone he hated me talking to anyone on MSN and would stand behind me watching whenever I had a chat with someone. One day I came home from work to find he had disconnected my internet. He’d called up the company and had it cut off. I can only assume this had been planned weeks in advance as these things don’t happen overnight. His ways of controlling me had become ridiculous. 

Luckily I didn’t need the internet for work like I did now, it would have caused all sorts of problems and caused me to lose out on money. I know of people that have had their door glued shut or their car tampered with by partners. If you’re going through anything like this the CICA government scheme  specialise in claiming compensation on behalf of victims of crime throughout the UK. 


It was a year after I left him that I realised it was abuse. I was watching tv and realised the story line about domestic abuse was basically what I went through. The guy abusing his wife kept her indoors, wouldn’t let her see her friends, made her feel worthless and when he said ‘I’ve never hit you’ it was a lightening bolt. Abuse doesn’t have to be physical. 

What I’m trying to stress is that if a person isn’t making you feel good for any reason, you need to leave. It is abuse and it’s not healthy.











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Monday, 16 April 2018

Organic Shop Hair Care

I've been giving my hair a break lately. I had a lot chopped off at the beginning of the year,  I left the hair salon thinking it was too short- standard. But it needed more than a trim after my ridiculous urge to dye my blonde hair dark with the help of a £5 box dye (A decision I very much regret!). Also I used to leave my hair in velcro rollers to air dry which was basically killing the ends of my very fine hair. It's all a learning curve I guess.

organic-shop-raspberry-shampoo-conditioner-mask

Needless to say my hair was in for some real TLC and ever since I have been making sure I take care of it. I barely use heat on it and those velcro rollers are gone! I've made sure I've stuck to products that don't contain any harmful chemicals that could damage it further.

So when I was offered the chance to try some products from the new haircare range by 
Organic Shop I knew that these were  going to be products with a whole lot of goodness in them. With the tagline 'Naturally Beautiful Haircare' I knew this was just what my hair needed right now. 

organic-shop-raspberry-acai-volume-haircare
 Their products are  100% cruelty free and come in recyclable packaging. They aim to be three things - Simple, Pure and Natural. With Simple combinations of ingredients, formulas, and packaging.  (I'm a big fan of the pump dispenser, it's very handy in the shower!). Pure ingredients with no parabens, SLS, mineral oils or polyethylene. And Natural formulas using certified organic extracts and oils where possible. 

My hair is fine and very flat if left to its own devices so the Vibrant Raspberry and Acai volumising range was best suited to me. Not only does it smell amazing it doesn't weigh the hair down, giving it a volumising boost. 

Raspberries have a high vitamin C content so they help to leave your hair shiny and manageable. Organic Acai strengthens with the help of vitamins A, E and B while removing all traces of oil and dirt so they are the perfect pairing.

organic-shop-raspberry-acai-shampoo-conditioner-mask




Along with the 280ml Shampoo and 280ml Conditioner there is a 250ml Hair Mask to match. It's a gorgeous thick mask that actually looks good enough to eat! You simple apply it to damp hair and leave it on for 2-3 minutes. This is great for when I don't have time for a proper pamper but I want to make sure my hair is getting a bit of a boost. It's a really great mask to use in the shower as it doesn't need to be left on for long to get to work. 
If you're after something different the other ranges available are Coconut and Shea to moisturise, Argan and Amla for strengthening, Honey and Avocado to restore shine and Pomegranate and Patchouli for a real hydration boost. I don't know about you but I fancy a smoothie now! 

The best part is how affordable these all are, they're just £2.50 each! You can pick them up at Tesco and organic shop.co.uk  where you will also find details on their fab competition to win a holiday for two in the Caribbean! 






*this range was kindly gifted to me but all thoughts are my own 




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Thursday, 8 March 2018

L'Oreal Infallible Shaping Kit

Don't you love it when you have wanted to try something for ages and then it's on offer?
 I am constantly adding clothes to wish lists and checking them to see if they go in the sale. Just a saving of a couple of quid and I'm checking out quicker than a Kylie-Jenner-and-her-baby pic goes viral.


l'oreal-strobing-kit-superdrug-review

I went in for a browse in Superdrug and had a play with the make-up while Sam and Mason went off to buy toothpaste or something more typically 'essential'. With my hand covers in swatches I decided it was time to head for a coffee, but just before the exit I noticed a L'Oreal display with a very attractive kit. I stopped in my tracks and Sam let out a little sigh. 

I had just been looking at the L'Oreal stick foundation and the new range of primers caught my eye too. I've been on the hunt for a good primer that stops me looking shiny by midday. This range has confused me because all websites call it 'Infallible' but the packaging definitely says 'Infaillible' - but for the purpose of this review I'm going with what everyone else is saying... even though it doesn't make sense. 


l'oreal-strobing-kit-superdrug-infallible-stick-mattifying-primer-review

Anyway there were four of these L'Oreal Shaping kits which contain an Infallible Longer Shaping Stick Highlighter, a blender and an Infallible Primer. You then pick your shade of the Infallible Longer Shaping Stick Foundation to add to the pack so it's pretty much tailored to you (or... me!). This was all for £19.99.


l'oreal-strobing-infallible-stick-sand-160-503-slay-in-rose-review-flatlay

As far as I could see all packs had the same shade of highlighter (503 Slay in Rose) and you pick the kit based on your preferred primer. There's a choice of 4 primers so you can have -

The Neutraliser Base which has a green tint to neutralise redness and blemishes;
The Luminiser Base with pearl pigments that brighten and give you a bit of a glow;
The Pore-Refiner Base which claims to give you an airbrushed finish, by blurring pores and uneven areas and the Mattifier Base which absorbs excess oil.

Due to my oily t-zone I went for the Mattifier in the hope of sorting out the dreaded shine problem. And I picked up shade 160 Sand in the foundation which is ever so slightly warmer than my skin tone but I'm going to be all about the fake tan over the coming months so I'll make it work. 


l'oreal-strobing-kit-superdrug-infallible-stick-mattifying-primer-review

I've been wearing this combination for a couple of days now and I'm pretty happy with these guys. They work very well together and the Infallible Mattifying Primer does a great job of controlling my oily areas. I purposely only applied this on my nose, cheeks and chin but left out between my brows and forehead to see how they compared. I definitely noticed my forehead was looking a lot more oily than the rest of my face by the end of the day so the primer was doing its job. It didn't make me look 'matte' -as the foundation isn't a matte finish but it definitely reduces shine. The Foundation is a medium coverage but really buildable and it blends out beautifully with the help of the blender included in the kit. 


l'oreal-strobing-infallible-stick-sand-160-503-slay-in-rose-review-swatch

 I have to admit I'm not usually a fan of cream highlighters, I find they can kind of sweep the foundation away and be a bit heavy but I am really happy with this one. I can actually apply it straight from the tube to my cheekbones and lightly blend it in and I'm good to go. It's a gorgeous little colour too, I really like the pink tone, it's great for spring!


Now, I do have some slight reservations when it comes to  hygiene, applying straight on the face feels a bit icky - if anybody knows how I should be sanitising these please share. However I find these perfect for travelling and keeping in my bag should I need a quick touch up. 


l'oreal-strobing-infallible-stick-sand-160-503-slay-in-rose-review

Overall I think this is a fantastic little kit and with each product being £8.99 when bought individually it's a total bargain! 

Let's be honest, L'Oreal is almost always on 3 for 2 so you can definitely pick and choose a couple of these bits and try some others too (I like the look of their tattoo eyebrow pen) but if you want to try all of these then picking this up is a no brainer!







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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Dresses for Spring


We've made it through January, now we're in the stage between Winter and Spring. (Spwinter...?) The mornings are chilly but a lot more of the grey skies have been replaced with blue ones. At the weekend I even ventured outside without a coat! March is nearly here and I am so excited about getting my Spring wardrobe together. I find shopping for Spring outfits  much more exciting than Winter clothes. I like my clothes to be lightweight and minimal effort and the warmer weather helps with that. 


I love to pop on a dress and throw a long cardigan over the top. The kind of shoes can change the dress and make it work for day shopping or a meal in the evening. Just changing from heels, to flat boots or pumps changes a look completely. It's effortless chic and versatile too.
Zaful have a  great selection to help you find that perfect spring dressThey ship from the US so it can take over a week to arrive but we've got time for that! That's a perk of me getting excited for warmer weather a little early. If you're willing to wait a bit you can grab yourself a right little bargain as their prices are really reasonable. 




I browsed through the site for pages and pages! There is so much choice, from off the shoulder dresses, skater style, A-line, floral patterns, tartan and moreRecently I am really loving a wrap dress, I've found a couple on the high street are lovely but are far too low cut for me to wear comfortably day to day. The long floral red dress (bottom, middle) is a perfect Spring colour and casual enough to wear for the school run or out to lunch. Red is such a great colour for this time of year, we've just left the Christmassy feel behind and are adding polka dots and flowers to take it into the warmer weather. Take a look at some other red dresses here.

If you're not quite in the Spring mindset yet a zaful shirt dress is perfect for the interim. A pair of tights and some boots teamed with a leather jacket and you can step away from the jeans and sweatshirt life we've all been living in. 

You can easily find something perfect for less than £15 so it won't cost a fortune to start putting your Spring wardrobe together. Be sure to check out my recent post on some of the gorgeous swim wear from Zaful too. 






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Monday, 19 February 2018

How I try to Wind down

If you know me you know I have a lot of unpopular opinions... and I know I'm in the minority here but

 I just don't like sleeping. 
there, I said it

I'm like a toddler, I really am but if we didn't need to do it I wouldn't. I just see it as a bit of a waste of life - there's other things I could be doing with my time! That's the problem though, I do need sleep, I'm only human. I have always been guilty of overdoing it or 'burning the candle at both ends' as my Mum puts it. And I am really suffering lately.

Now don't get me wrong, the dark, icy mornings don't make me want to jump out of my warm bed but I am much more of a morning person that most, I just want to get up. The trouble is, I know I could enjoy sleeping, or at least giving my body that rest that it badly needs. 

Last week I didn't have to worry about early wake- up calls as it was half-term. We don't plan things before 10am and I'm fortunate that M sleeps in til gone 8 most mornings. Now I don't have as much time to get in more sleep so I have made a plan to try and wind down more and make the most of the rest I can get. 

Now, I know the rules about having time away from our phones before bed, it's even recommended to have the thing out of the room as the blue light wakes us up on some level or something... but I just can't do that. 
 What if someone needs me in the night?
 What if I need a torch to guide me to the bathroom?
 What if I need to note something important down?
 What if I want to check my Insta feed at 1am...?! 
 and it's my alarm. 
 I admit I'm not off to the best start. 

spacemask-sleepy-lush-feather-and-down-amara-this-works-sleep-flatlay
But I do have my winding down plan sorted and that my friends, is a step in the right direction, or as the french say 'Un pas dans la bonne direction' -it's not a french phrase, just things sound more fancy in french.

Lush have a load of products which help with sleep. The Twilight bath bomb is one of my favourites, Ylang Ylang and Lavender are key ingredients and oh my! -it smells sooo good you guys. Pop this in a hot bath and you're on the way to relaxville (or something).

 While in the bath it's time to chill. it's not a time for maintenance - shaving my legs is effort in itself. This is a time to just 'be'.  I love the Jasmine infused Spacemask* which you can pop over your eyes and lay back. You buy a pack of 5 of these for £15 and they are a lovely treat. With my eyes covered I'm not tempted to pick up my phone and catch up with Instagram. I might take one quick Insta story though cos if you don't Insta Story your bath- did you really have a bath?

lush-twlilight-bathbomb-good-night-sleep-amara


Scents play a huge part in this routine. A good candle* sets the scene and adds some good lighting. 

Lush's Sleepy body lotion has a great reputation, it's meant to be a similar scent to Twilight, which I love. I don't find the scent makes a huge difference to my sleep personally but it does smell good and the act of applying a nice moisturiser after a bath is definitely calming. 

Another option for adding a calming scent is the This Works Deep Sleep Aromatherapy Roller. This is a little  roll-on for your wrists which encourages clear breathing for a deeper sleep and a less frazzled mind, thanks to a blend of Eucalyptus, Frankincense and Lavender. 

If you don't want to add a scent directly to your body why not add some to your surroundings?! I bought my bestie pretty much everything from the Feather and Down range but the only thing I've tried for myself is the Sweet Dreams Pillow Spray. The scent is different from most 'bedtime' products I've tried, it's a bit sweeter and contains chamomile. I spray this on my pillow and also my son's when he's in need of a deep sleep. 

lush-twlilight-bathbomb-good-night-sleep



Skincare wise I make sure my make-up is all off properly and then I use the  Inner-Soul Healing Night Balm*. It's been designed to use all over the face and support skin healing as you sleep- and the Patchouli and Lavender scent is so soothing too.  It's best to use upward and outward sweeps to help with circulation. Press onto areas of imbalance using the fingertips and it leaves your skin feeling fabulous.

I pop on a lamp, grab a hot water bottle (cos I'm old now) and although there is the temptation to scroll through my phone I get a book out to read. There's loads of books on my Amazon wish list and I plan to get through them this year so swapping my phone for a proper good read before bed will help. 

After half hour or so my eyes are tired enough to rest. Now it's getting a bit lighter in the morning I slip on my A by Amara silk eye mask* so I get an extra half hour in the morning when that pesky sun peeks through my curtains (I love you sun please stay!) and I drift off surrounded by some gorgeous scents and a calm mind. 

I can only hope I keep this up, realistically I won't be able to do this every night (who can afford a Lush bath bomb for every night of the week?!) but I will definitely make the effort to fit in a winding down routine a few times a week. 





*these products were gifted to me but I was not obliged to feature them in any posts



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Monday, 12 February 2018

Essie Valentine's Nails


Looking around the shops at the moment, it's hard not to notice that Valentine's Day is coming up. All those reds and pinks in the windows reminding us to spread a bit of love. There's a bit of a debate about the day - I personally love it. It's nice seeing people with their bunches of flowers heading out on dates to spend a bit of quality time together. Yes, it can seem a little forced but if you just look at it as a reminder to make some time for someone special - well, that can't really be negative, can it? 


I'll probably be wearing  a red lip (any excuse!) and I've dressed my nails for the occasion... 

Using all Essie shades I've put together a little Valentine's Nails look. 

essie-valentine's-nails-design

On my index finger I have Lapis of Luxury followed by In My Orbit 
from the galaxy metals collection  with a little pink heart carefully painted (with my right hand -I'm left handed so that is trickier than it sounds!) using a nail art pen. 
On my ring finger is Baguette Me Not which is one of my favourites at the moment and I'll no doubt be wearing a lot more in the Spring. Muchi, Muchi is on my little finger and did need a good 3 coats but I like it's subtlety, it's a really nice pale pink for every day.

I added the polka dots with the end of a hair pin, it's a little hack of mine -dots with minimal effort!

I actually find painting my nails very therapeutic. I might have to find time to get a little more creative more often.





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Saturday, 10 February 2018

Dreaming of Summer - Zaful Bikinis

I first heard of Zaful when I watched Laura Blair's You Tube channel. She was always trying on such gorgeous outfits and the thing that really surprised me was the price - everything was a total bargain. Of course I ended up taking a closer look at the site myself. They ship from the US so it can take over a week to arrive but it does mean you can get yourself a little bargain if you're willing to wait a bit.

Now the same thing happens to me every year, I get through January and my mind wanders to Spring and Summer, we're on the home straight now, warmer times are coming! I'm ignoring the fact that it has been known to snow in April in the past, I'm mentally planning holidays, weekend breaks and summer picnics with friends. 
I buy a new bikini for every holiday so this was  the first part of the site I explored. Most are £10-15 for a full set so I will no doubt be ordering a couple. With some tops being £30 and bottoms at £15 it's easy to end up spending nearly £50 on a set on the high street. 

I was really pleased to see such a large selection, there was so much to choose from that covered all bases, high waisted, thong briefs, tankinis, even some matching shorts and cover ups.

zaful-bikini-wish-list



I love the ease of being on holiday, I'm pretty lazy when it comes to picking outfits so throwing on a bikini makes things much easier for me. I love that there are some statement pieces which are definitely more for show. The blue velvet one is gorgeous! Underwire swimwear  gives you the support you need and also the confidence that you're not going to be falling out anywhere. How amazingly cute is the shell bikini top?! Total mermaid vibes!

For those days where you've indulged at the buffet and I don't want to walk around in a bikini I like the option of  rocking a high waited shorts with a bandeau swim top  it feels a little more like real clothes and you can take a wander to the shops without feeling the need to get changed. Bandeau tops look less bra-like so work well throughout the day.


Take a little browse through the site and think about the summer days! Be sure to check out the zaful blog for fashion inspiration too.  




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