Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Summer Make-Up Haul

Yesterday was payday, and my make-up bag was looking incredibly sorry for itself. I had three mascaras that were pretty much empty but I was trying to eke the last little bit out, my concealer was completely empty and I was sick of having four Supercat eyeliners in my make-up bag without knowing which one was 'the good one' without testing them all, so it was time for a big clearout!!!

I decided to head out and restock on some of my favourite items, and pick up a few new bits I'd heard good things about and wanted to try when I got paid. So here is what I picked up!

Some of these are old faithfuls that I couldn't be without, but some of them are definitely new products that I've been lusting after! My boyfriend did treat me to some of these so I wouldn't complain about being bored whilst looking in men shops later..

First up is MAC Omega. Everyone and their granny has heard about this if not tried it, so I figured it was about time I gave it a whirl. I actually wanted this to use when filling in my eyebrows, so many bloggers have raved about it being the perfect eyebrow shade and I'm not feeling the love for eyebrow pencils at the moment, so I'll let you know how I get on with it.

My next purchase was entirely down to the L'Oreal salesgirl, I was already there to buy a foundation but I mentioned I wasn't loving the Smashbox PhotoFinish primer I'd been using so she recommended this. All L'Oreal products were on two for £15 so I didn't mind adding this on. It looks amazing, like strawberry ice cream, so obviously I'm optimistic for great performance!

This is what I actually went to the L'Oreal stand for, as it's had so many comparisons to the Giorgio Armani foundation that I just had to try it out for myself. The colour range is really impressive for a drugstore foundation, I was colour matched to Ivory, as the Rose Ivory was a little too pink-toned for my skin. This matched perfectly and blended like a dream, so I can't wait to try it out properly.

This will be my third tube of the Miss Sporty Clear Mascara, I use it as a brow gel to hold them in place and I adore it. It's such a steal for £2.99 and it doesn't leave my eyebrows feeling crispy or anything, it just smooths them, holds them in place and seals in the powder/pencil. I will keep repurchasing this for the foreseeable future as it does exactly what I want it do and it's so inexpensive. 

Another repurchase is the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer in Fair. Again, this will be repurchased for the foreseeable future as it's just SO DARN GOOD. I do kind of want to try the NARS Creamy Concealer but it's pretty steep for a concealer, and I'm too afraid to buy it in case I fall in love with it. 

I'd been wanting a matte top coat for a few weeks as I've become obsessed with matte white nails, I've found the perfect white nail polish (more on that soon!) and all I needed was a way to make it matte. I've never had an Orly polish before but I know they are supposed to be pretty good, as this was a bargain from TK MAXX at £2.99 so I snapped it up. I've just tried it on top of Essie's Tour De Finance which is what I had on my nails anyway and it works really well, I don't think I like the Essie polish in matte as the colour looks odd but come tomorrow, matte white nails will be mine!

Another angled brush because who doesn't need a new angled brush? This was just a cheap one from Superdrug as my beloved MAC one died a few weeks ago when I trapped it in the boot of my car, so for now, until I can be trusted with pretty brushes I'll just have to deal with this one! I hope it's not a shedder, I hate brushes that shed, especially when you are using them around your eyes. Not cool

Now this is what I've been super excited about. I didn't even know they were doing this pack until I was wandering around Boots and spotted it, so I had to have it! I've used the They're Real! Mascara before and liked it, it's so good at holding a curl but I hate trying to get it off my eyelashes, but this comes with a mini sample of the remover they brought out especially for the eyeliner and mascara and that works a treat! I was uhmming and ahhing over whether to test out the Push Up liner so I was pretty excited to try it out. I've actually had this for a day already and wore the liner today, I'm really impressed with the wear time and lasting power, but I think it is a bit gimmicky and it's definitely not something an eyeliner newbie would be able to pick up and use without a bit (lot) of practice. To be honest I think a normal gel liner and an angled brush would be much better and probably last a lot longer, but I'll give it a fair trial first!

Lucie x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Favourite Fitness And Health Apps

I rely on my phone a lot to keep me up to date with what I'm doing, and recently I've found some really good health and fitness apps to keep me motivated and challenge me! If you have any recommendations please let me know, I love discovering new ones, and if you want to add me on MyFitnessPal my username is lucieplant872.

I've already talked about this first one so many times that you are bound to know what it is. MyFitnessPal. I use this every single day without fail. It took some time to get used to logging everything I ate every day, but I think I'd really struggle to keep track without it as it's so quick and easy, you can add friends and send little messages when they lose weight or hit a target, and you can log exercise too so you know what your rough net intake is. It also tracks your progress so you can see how far you've come, I've found it so helpful.

Get Running C25K is the running app I've been using to build up my fitness levels, we've got a treadmill at home and I've been following the app and found it so useful. It's hard enough to be challenging, but whenever you hit a new running time it's such a great feeling, and you can use the app to see how long it'll take until you'll be running 5K. I do tend to do more than it recommends as I only have one rest day between runs, but at the moment I've had a week off to rest my old lady knee and I'm really missing it! This is one of the few apps that lets you play your own music at the same time without interrupting you every ten seconds, although you can allow it to let you know how long you've got left in each section at different intervals.

30 Day Challenge apps are something that's quite new to me, I've downloaded the 30 Day Abs, Squat and Push Up challenge apps and am on day 8 with them. At first I wasn't overly convinced they were going to do anything but I'm persevering with it and I'm already noticing a difference, my stomach is getting flatter and stays flatter, I can actually feel my stomach muscles aching throughout the day as each day gets harder so it's always a challenge. The squat one is insane, but as I spend most of my day sitting down on the phone I thought I'd better do something to combat it! After a few days you'll do 50/75 squats without having to pause to console yourself halfway through, so I always like to think of that as an achievement. Push ups are not my friends, though. It starts of with 2-3 push ups, but they aren't the girly ones and I really cannot do push ups to save my life. It's ridiculous. Surely I should be able to do them? I've been doubling the amount it says to do and just doing girly ones instead, I'm hoping one day I'll be able to tackle proper ones!

Do you have any other health/fitness app recommendations?

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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Disappointing Products That Don't Deserve The Hype

I hate it when I buy something that's been hyped up or recommended as a great product and it just doesn't work for me at all, sometimes some products work best for other people but I always feel so disheartened by it. I gathered up a few products from my dressing table that have been shoved to the back after failing to do anything at all worthwhile for me. Remember, just because they don't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for other people, these are just items I wouldn't recommend or repurchase!
I'll start with the Bioderma concentrated restructuring mask. I picked this up in France last year to try to salvage my hair from the chlorine and sea damage as it was really suffering. I used it and left in on for ten minutes, washed it off, and honestly my hair actually felt worse than before. It felt so heavy and lank, like it was still covered in product even after I shampooed it out again and it took ages to feel normal again. I've tried it again since then and it feels the same and leaves my hair even drier than before, so it's not even too moisturising, it's just not moisturising or hydrating enough and still managed to leave so much residue and build up that it's impossible to like this product.
The other day I was running a bit late, sleep obviously took precedent over beauty and I had to dash to the shop to grab a can of dry shampoo. I'd heard good things about the new Garnier Ultimate Blends range so sniffed the dry shampoos, picked the one with the least offensive scent and gave my hair a good spritz. After paying, obviously. Unfortunately this didn't do anything to my hair. It didn't turn it white like Batiste, but it didn't make it look or feel clean. The only thing it did do was make it smell funky for a few hours. Not cool, Garnier. The hunt for a good dry shampoo continues.
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer. Everyone and their dog raves about this, but I've just come to terms with the fact we don't have anything special together. It's nice, but nice doesn't justify the hefty price tag when my new favourite hair mask from Lidl does the job a hell of a lot better and leaves my hair smelling like Dolly Mix. I just don't feel like it does that much for my hair.
Korres Lip Butters smell amazing. They do. That's about all they have going for them, since they are about as hydrating as rubbing toast on your lips. I love this one as it smells like cookies, but when it runs out I won't be repurchasing it as it just doesn't do anything. I'm still a Blistex or Nuxe Reve De Miel girl.
Illamasqua Gel Liner. I'm actually pretty disappointed with this as it was so great at first, but after a few weeks it was just too dry and difficult to use. I made sure the lid was on tight but I couldn't keep the thing creamy no matter how hard I tried. I really want to love it though, so I'll probably pick up another one and see if the first one was just being awkward.
I feel like I'm committing a sin by admitting I don't like the Maybelline Color Tattoos as everyone seems to love them, but they just dry out so fast and always crease after 6/7 hours even when I use primer. If a product claims to last for 24 hours, I want at least 8 so I can leave the house without feeling like my eyelids are covered in something gluey! Love the bronze shade but it just doesn't do it for me.
Last one is the Rimmel Apocalips. These were supposed to be long lasting apparently, but I've never had anything smudge, smear and just end up all over like these do. Some of the colours are stunning but there's just no staying power at all, and I can't be checking my face every ten seconds to make sure I've not got red liquid lipstick running down my chin. Now the balm stains, I love, so Rimmel are still winning for me.
Did you feel let down by any of these products?

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Monday, 21 July 2014

Favourite Fragrances

I'm quite loyal to my perfumes, I tend to stick to my favourites rather than try new ones, I'm not that kind of girl who buys a lot of perfumes as I just don't see the point in keeping them if I'm not going to use them. At the moment I have four that I've had for quite a while and I've been using nearly every day (not all on the same day!) and although one of them had so much blogger hype around it when it first came out, I'm still loving it now and probably wear that one the most. I've actually just been given a back up of it as a gift so my family know how much I love it too!
My first favourite perfume has to be Marc Jacobs Honey. Just look at that bottle. This is the one that everyone was raving about last year when it first came out, and I resisted until November time when I tested it out in Boots. I got my first bottle for Christmas and then rationed myself with it so I would only use it a few times a week, but I just received another bottle as a gift last week so I'll be using this pretty much everyday throughout the rest of summer! It's not too sweet, it's like a fresh, airy take on a honey scent and it last for so long on me. I get so many compliments on it too so I do love it.
Ah, Ralph Lauren Cool. I got my first bottle of this about ten years ago, it was the first perfume I ever had and it's still one of my favourites even now. It's a very laid back, not ultra girly scent, it's refreshing and clean and to be honest, it reminds me a bit of a more unisex scent as it's got a rougher, dark edge to it. This is the one I wear if I'm just hanging out, it's chilled out and easy to wear and it's just so unusual. It's almost impossible to get hold of now as it's been out of production for quite a while, I have three bottles left but whenever I see another one for sale I always try to snap it up. If you do get the chance you have to smell this, it really is one of the most unique scents I've ever come across.
This is the Avril Lavigne Black Star fragrance, I'm not usually a fan of celebrity fragrances but this is one that I actually like and do wear. The bottle is beautiful and it's one I don't mind leaving out on my dressing table. It's sweet and floral but again it's got a deeper, slightly masculine edge to it that makes it not girly or sickly, it's actually quite a 'grown up' sweet style fragrance and although a lot of people would just dismiss it as another standard celebrity fragrance, this is actually the best one I've used and even for an EDT the lasting power is pretty impressive.
The last one is my ultimate evening fragrance. Miss Dior, formerly known as Miss Dior Cherie, is luxury in a bottle. Again, it's a floral, sweet fragrance but it's not sickly sweet, it's quite fresh too and the lasting power on this is unbeatable. The bottle is beautiful, this one is always out on display and it gets the most compliments out of any of my other perfumes. I do try to keep it for special occasions as it's pretty expensive but this is my second bottle, I keep going through phases of wearing it everyday because it's just divine.
I love the Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume but I just think so many people wear it that I'm not sure if I want to get it, or maybe I'm just trying to convince myself to save money for once...

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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Diet Survival Guide

Diet. Pretty much everyone you know will have tried at least one, usually several and each one started and failed several times.
When I decided a couple of months ago to lose weight and change how I looked, the first thing I decided was to ignore any stupid fad diet or anything that was floating around as the next big thing and just go simple. If it's natural, great. Raw, even better. And cut down on how much of it is on my plate.
It's still a pretty huge change as I was completely and utterly besotted with tubs of Salted Caramel Haagen Dazs
  • Don't do a diet. This might be a diet survival guide, but the only way you're going to survive it and come out the other side looking slender and still with a smile on your face is if you actually change your entire lifestyle, eat less, eat more of the good natural stuff, kick processed crap to the kerb and move. Diets are great to lose a lot of weight quickly, but as soon as you try to eat sensibly again it will all pile straight back on. Wouldn't you rather lose it steadily and not worry about it all coming back.
  • Don't say no. If someone says hey, fancy going for a Chinese? You can say yes. And you should. Maybe don't have three servings of deep fried ice cream or whatever, but go, eat a bit of whatever you like and enjoy it. So long as you eat well the rest of the time, it's not going to make any difference to your body, but it will make you a hell of a lot happier not depriving yourself.
  • Eat a lot. Of veggies, salad, fruit, whatever you can get your paws on that's low in fat, filling and will leave you feeling energised and full without needing an after lunch nap. Protein is your best friend, it's filling and is pretty much essential if you're working out.
  • Take before photos. And store them somewhere nobody will ever find them. Once a month, take a new photo of yourself and compare it, it's seriously good motivation and you will be amazed at the difference. When you feel like quitting and ordering a huge greasy pizza and ice cream because the scales haven't changed for the second time in a week, use your photos to see how far you've come. This is mine, the second one was about two weeks ago so I'm due another once soon! It helped me do much to see a visible difference.
  • Use an app to log your food so you know exactly what you're eating . I use MyFitnessPal, it keeps me on track and makes me think twice about the choices I'm making. Plus, you can add friends so you can all keep each other motivated!
  • Try to do exercise every day. It doesn't have to be anything exotic, I'm currently nursing my knee back to health so I'm skipping out on the running for a week or two and focusing on yoga, the 30 day shred (with a few knee friendly modifications for now, sorry Jillian...) and power walking. Yes, you might look stupid power walking. But once you start seeing those results you really won't care.

  • Reward yourself. Not with a cake. Maybe buy something pretty now you've lost another dress size, or a new pair of trainers (I'm lusting after a pair of yellow Nike Free 5.0's) to inspire you to work out more.
  • Measure yourself. If you're working out, remember muscle is denser than fat so weighs more but takes up less room, so if the scales aren't shifting make sure you keep track of your measurements so you know your body is changing shape and becoming fitter.
  • Enjoy it. It's a lifestyle change, look forward to creating a healthy new favourite meal (courgetti and meatballs? Love!) or trying a new veggie filled smoothie, don't think of it as a diet and you'll stick to it because you'll be excited to try and make new things.

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Monday, 14 July 2014

The Best Green Smoothie Ever

Bold statement, I know. But seriously, this stuff tastes amazing and is super good for you, even if it looks a little bit dubious. I've been having these once a day if I can, sometimes every other day depending on how busy I am but they are really filling and it's a great way to get some more fruit and veggies into your diet without munching carrot sticks all day long.

Things you'll need! This makes enough for one good sized smoothie or two smaller ones.
  • A blender. I used a jug blender by Breville that's been in the kitchen unloved for quite a while, but there are some really pretty pastel coloured ones that I've seen and have my eye on... This one crushes ice though so it's really refreshing.
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup curly kale
  • 1/2 cup mango
  • 3/4 cup pineapple
  • Handful of blueberries (fresh or frozen!)
  • 3 large strawberries, just cut the green bit off.
  • One cup of water
  • Ice!

On to the fun bit...

Wash the baby spinach leaves and the kale, and throw into the blender with the water

Mmm... Check out that kale...
Blend like crazy until it's all smooth and you can't see any stringy bits, this is really important or the texture will be a little less appealing.

Roughly chop the banana and throw that in along with your blueberries and strawberries, and blend again. I didn't photograph this bit because I forgot.
Chop the mango,I find it easier to peel it first with a veg peeler and then chop chunks off around the stone in the middle. I tried it without peeling first the other day and nearly lost my fingertip trying to cut the skin off, so peeling first is always good!

Once you've chopped it up throw it in the blender and whizz it around again.
Next bit, pineapple! Infinitely easier to prepare than mangos. Cut off the skin, chop up and throw in. Easy. And slippery.

It smells so good, I always have to save a bit to nibble..
One more blend with a half cup of crushed ice, and you're good to go. If you want to go all out tropical, add a cocktail umbrella. Done.

Excuse the plaster. I told you chopping mangos was hard.

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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Changing Direction

A few months ago I felt that I was starting to lose my passion for make-up. I still had piles of the stuff, and could usually be found swatching lipsticks all the way up my arm (who knew I had so many in the exact same shade of red...), but somehow it just didn't feel as exciting anymore.

I wasn't feeling confident about myself or how I looked, so after years of fad diets that lasted three days, tops, and starting C25K more times that I can bear to think of, I decided to do it properly. 30 days ago I cut out as much processed food and excess sugar from my diet as possible, and filled the fridge and cupboards with fresh fruit and veggies and started to run and do yoga every day, with the occasional rest day from running twice a week. 30 days in and I'm hooked. I never thought I'd just have one small scoop of ice cream and then immediately get a headache and feel lousy from all the sugar, and instead push the bowl away for a dish of blueberries and mango. I've been using MyFitnessPal to log all my food and exercise and track my weight-loss, and that's worked really well for me.

I've even started drinking ominous green smoothies that look like they'd be much more at home in Shrek's kitchen than in mine, but they actually taste pretty good, like a tropical cocktail, or maybe that's just the little umbrella tricking my tastebuds.

Whatever it is, trying to eat as healthily and clean as possible has really worked for me. I've got so much more energy, hormonal breakouts are non-existent and my body is changing shape so quickly, but in a good way. I've recently started doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred alongside my usual workouts, and even in the past week that I've been doing it I've seen the inches disappear and the scales are seeming much more friendly.

I was just sitting in the garden enjoying my Shrek-tastic smoothie when I felt a rush of inspiration to write this post, something I haven't had for months now. My head is full of new post ideas, so just like I've overhauled my diet and fitness, I think it's about time I gave my blog a good old overhaul too. Nobody wants to read half-arsed posts lacking in passion, so I'm going to write about things that are motivating and inspiring me. First post I'm thinking is sharing the secret to the perfect sludge-green smoothie. Don't knock it til you've tried it, trust me.

Oh, and I think I'm more proud of the fact that finally, after 22 years, I've stopped biting my fingernails. Two whole months of no biting. Still get the odd urge to shred them, but so far, so good. Plus, I swear all this fruit and veg is making my hair grow faster!


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