Friday, 27 February 2015

Weight Loss Wednesday - Getting Back On Track Weight Loss Wednesday - Getting Back On Track

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! 

So my last weight loss Wednesday post was on 12 November and I only had 13 lbs left to lose. I can't remember what threw me off the wagon mid November but then Christmas came along, then 4 family birthdays in quick succession and suddenly it is the end of February and I have way more than 13lbs to lose.  

I look back on the photo I posted back then and I remember how happy and confident I felt. I still had a tummy but I was looking and feeling fit, and healthy and most of all I felt like me! 

So today I have weighed myself and resolved to stop the rot. I am ashamed to admit that I now have 35 pounds to lose a staggering stone and a half on in the last 10 weeks. I am ashamed but I am determined to turn this tide of compulsive eating and get back on track. If I am honest it is not the best week for me. I have a night out on Thursday and have booked a couple of nights away with my husband this weekend and the devil on my shoulder is whispering to me that I should leave it till Monday, that I deserve a treat.

But do you know what I deserve ? To feel healthy and confident. To enjoy shopping and buying nice clothes. To look in the mirror and like what I see. 

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Monday, 23 February 2015

Mother's Day Gift Guide - The Home Edit Mother's Day Gift Guide - The Home Edit

Mums really are a national treasure. Always there to give advice, a loan or even just a hug, what would we do without them? I am guilty of taking my Mum for granted and don't show her often enough how much I really care, so every year I like to use Mothers Day as an opportunity to fix that, I try to pick a special gift that I know she will love. 

I recently found a lovely website called Country Living which has a fabulous selection of unusual gifts suitable for anyone in your life. The range includes beauty, fashion, homeware and furnishings but here are a couple of pieces I thought my Mum might really enjoy,

Isn't this Votive Holder just stunning? I adore the shabby chic feel of the metal handle in the shape of a heart and the little crystal tea light holders, I keep mine on a Asian influenced side table but next time I have folk over for dinner, I plan to use it as a romantic centre piece - pretty! 

And look as this gorgeous bee inspired gift set. Isn't it adorable?

First up a jar of golden Dorset Honey, full of natural goodness. Yum!!!!

And some Boot Polish made from Beeswax which is perfect for cleaning and protecting shoes, boots, bags , and leather and wood furniture - I love the gleam of a freshly polished dark wood table.

Have you heard of Propolis Salve - it's made from a glue made by bees to make their hives water tight and disease free. It has anti fungal and antibacterial properties and has been used for centuries as s natural treatment for everything from cold sores, burns and every tumours, I swear by it and always have a tub in my bathroom cabinet.

Another product I am never without is a lip balm and this one is really special. Fragranced with Lemon and Ginger it tastes and smells unbelievable and it doesn't just act as a barrier on the lips, it actually nourishes and heals them, leaving them plumped up and super hydrated. Mwoah x

But I saved the best till last. Aren't these honey comb candles ADORABLE??? I can't tell you about burn time or throw or any of that other important stuff cos to be honest - who could burn these???

If you'd like to order any of these gifts or to check out their whole range ( don't miss the pet products), you can find the Country Living website here.

So what do you think about the first two items on my Mother Days Gift Shortlist? Will they make the cut? Keep tuned to find out x

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Things That Make You Go OOOH by Nude Jewellery Things That Make You Go OOOH by Nude Jewellery

Nude Jewellery London

Nude Jewellery London

Handmade Jewellery London

Contemporary Jewellery London

Handmade Jewellery London

Contemporary Jewellery London

I am an accessories girl. Always have been. My earliest memory is BORROWING my sisters long strings of love beads and twisting them round and round my neck until the inevitable happened, the strings snapped and the beads scattered across the floor leaving me scurrying about in a panic trying to retrieve every last one before my sister found out - she is 6 years older than me and lovely but scary when she's mad! Remind me some other time to tell you about the easter egg or the eye crayons - OOPS!!!!

As I have got older my taste in accessories has changed. Where I definitely used to be of the Pile It On, the More the Better school of thought, I have grown to prefer a simpler, more modern look. A company which typify my style is Nude Jewellery a very stylish group based in London who specialise in contemporary handmade jewellery

I was lucky enough to be sent this Glitterball Disc Necklace and I must say it is exactly my taste. Classy and contemporary, the piece is simple enought to be worn with anything but has sufficient detail to really catch the light and to ensure that this piece will never go unnoticed. I love it and have worn it almost constantly since I got it. Priced at £75, I think this is an absolute bargain for a piece handmade, modern jewellery.

Loving this necklace as I do, I couldn't resist having a mooch about the website  - MISTAKE! There were so many pieces I coveted. If I had to choose however I would say my top picks are this Acrylic Glass Effect Necklace - very contemporary, very designer and this handmade and exclusive Gold Ball Ring. It really is no surprise that Nude Jewellery are the proud holder of a number of prestigious awards for design.

I would be reluctant to ever give away a piece of jewellery as beautiful as this but if you were inclined to be more generous than me, then just check out the exquisite packaging. Nude Jewellery arrives in a piece of satin, carefully tied in the shape of a flower. I actually gasped when I first saw it - truth!!!

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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Sienna X - For a Natural Golden Tan Sienna X - For a Natural Golden Tan

Have you noticed that the mornings are getting lighter. I used to get off the train in Edinburgh in the dark every morning but now I get to watch the sun rise somewhere around Falkirk. The other day the sun was streaming in my officer window and when I went out to buy lunch it was actually quite warm - not very warm but certainly not the sharp icy cold that it's been around here recently. I definitely think that Spring is just around the corner, waiting to skip into our lives, bringing with it pastel nails, pretty tea dresses and bare legs.

Aargh bare legs in my case means pasty, white, milk bottles - Spring for me means time to start testing fake tans. 

I'm really not that great with self tanners. I dream of an all over golden glow but I end up with streaky orange tiger stripes. I keep hoping though, for a product that will deliver perfect results, even for cack handed amateur like myself, so when Sienna X sent me a bottle of their Q10 Cleansing Mousse to try, I couldn't wait to get started. 

Sienna X sent me a few sachets of their other top sellers amongst which I found their Polishing Body Scrub so I jumped into the shower and gave myself a good going over with it, paying particular attention to those dry patchy bits that normally show up most orange, like the knees and elbows and the backs of my heels. This product contains lemongrass and ginger, together with the finest pumice grains and it has this amazing zingy fragrance - it's a pleasure to use and left my skin all smooth and ready for my fake tan. 

I did a full post here on how I apply my fake tan so I won't repeat that today. 

I found the Sienna X Q10 Bronzing Mousse really easy to use. The formula is lovely, very creamy with enough slip to make it easy to blend. The ingredients are totally premium; anti-ageing Q10, pomegranate, blackcurrant  and vitamin E which all treat the skin as it colours - with no parabens in sight. Oh and it's fine to use if you're cruelty free - noone wants a guilty conscience with their fake tan for Gawd's sake!!! Smell wise it's a bit odd - at first it reminded me off those chewy Drumstick lollipops but within 20 mins I could detect the faintest whiff of the dreaded Eau de Biscuits, which hung around till I washed off the guide colour the next morning.

And that's where the magic happened. This tan is really, really good. It looks very natural, like I was just back from a break in the sun, with that gorgeous, post holiday glow. I'm sure you could build the tan up if you wanted more of a mahogany hue but the colour was more MIC than Geordie Shore which I loved. I can't say my application was perfect, there was that streaky bit around my mid back that I am not bendy enough to reach and the underside of one of my wrists was pretty dodgy but all in all I was happy to get my legs out - result!!

I did also try both of the other little samples I was sent.

I loved the Radiance Body Balm which contains Almond oil, Shea butter and Vitamin E. It nourishes the skin and prolongs your tan and has subtle gold flecks which are almost invisible but add a beautiful  radiance to your skin.

I was also really taken with the Bronzing Gel, an instant tan for those times when you haven't tanned and want to get your legs out or for those nights out when you know there will be lots of photos taken and want to be darker than dark. It is super easy to apply, blends effortlessly and is genuinely impossible to streak - even for me. Best of all it gives a deep deep tan than will NOT transfer onto your clothes or sheets and washes off in the shower the next morning - perfect! 

The Sienna X tanning range has won all sorts of awards from Pure Beauty, Harper's Bazaar, the Sunday Times and the Beauty Guild amongst others. It's not the cheapest product you will find on the shelf - the Bronzing Mousse is £24.99,( £5 from every bottle goes to the British Skin Foundation), but one bottle would easily contain enough tan to do your whole body half a dozen times or more or if you are like me and only tan those bits that show......, it should last most of the summer.

Do you still use the odd sunbed? Or are you a self tan girl like me ? 
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Pancake Tuesday - Without the Calories !! Pancake Tuesday - Without the Calories !!

Today is Pancake Tuesday, the day we eat delicious pancakes oozing with butter and maple syrup or coated with lemon and sugar - YUMMY!! 
But what about those of us that are watching our diet? Do we have to miss out on all the fun? 
LUSH say NO!!! 
While many of us will be using them to coat our pancakes, lemon and sugar also make great ingredients to coat your body with ... lemon is astringent, cleansing, toning and refreshing while sugar is a fantastic natural exfoliator.

Lemony Flutter cuticle butter (£6.75 for 50g) ... a multi-purpose, intensely rich moisturiser that’s perfect for softening not only cuticles but also hard skin on feet, hands and elbows. Intensely lemon-scented, lemon oil is very softening
and used to treat corns and callouses. Lemon juice, rich in
vitamins, is a very versatile tonic juice. The blend of very rich oils, including flaxseed, castor oil, palm kernel oil, soya oil and organic avocado all nourish and the mucilaginous texture is extremely softening.

Mint Julips lip scrub (£5.50 for 25g) … as soon as you gently rub Mint Julips on your lips, you’ll feel its invigorating peppermint oil tingling away while the sugar crystals buff away any flaky skin. Tagetes oil and jojoba oil join forces to leave your lips luscious, but not greasy, while vanilla and limonene scent sweetens the deal.

Bohemian soap (£3.10 for 100g) ... a simple but powerful blend of lemon oil and glycerine, with a palm-free soap base. Bohemian is gently cleansing, perfect for adding a little lift to your day.

So if you are watching your sugar intake but don't want to miss out on all the fun this Pancake Tuesday, stop off at your local Lush Store and treat yourself - the healthy way! 
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Sunday, 15 February 2015

3 Steps to Great Skin - My Morning Skincare Routine 3 Steps to Great Skin - My Morning Skincare Routine

So as you all know I love my skincare but it has been a while since I shared my routine with you so today I thought I would write about what I am currently using in the morning.

While I definitely love my balms and oils and really enjoy treating my skin to a little bit of a massage in the evening (check out my post about facial massaging here) but for me in the morning it is all about getting the job done quickly and efficiently.

That's what I love most about Bryt - 3 easy steps - bish bash bosh - and you can get on with your day.

So what are the steps - Cleanse, Nourish, Protect.

Cleanse - I love how bright and pretty the packaging of all of these products is and so practical too. As you pump the cleanser onto the palm of your hand, it transforms into a very soft foam which you rub onto your skin then wipe of with the super cute muslin mitt that comes with it. Packed full of essential oils like Mandarin and Sandlewood, this cleanser won't strip your skin at all, but it will leave it super clean and gently exfoliated, ready for the next step. If I am honest, I don't love the smell of this product. It reminds me a lot of the smell of the Origins Drink Up mask which I don't like the smell of either, but it leaves my skin looking and feeling so good that I can put up with the slightly odd fragrance. 

Nourish - The Calm Serum is the second step in my routine and it is definitely my favourite. This product comes highly recommended by Vogue and I can really see why. Rich in natural oils and botanical ingredients this serum has really calmed my sensitive skin. In winter my skin can be really challenging with both dry flakey patches and oily areas which are prone to blemishes. Using the Calm Serum every morning has made a noticeable difference in just a few weeks, with my skin looking smoother and less patchy.

Protect - The last step in my routine is my Day Moisturiser. All I need from my morning moisturiser is that it is light and easily absorbed so that I can quickly move on to applying my foundation. The Bryt Day Moisturiser delivers all that and more. It seals in the serum boosting its effectiveness, it has an SPF of 15, it has a mattifying effect and it smells absolutely delicious - what more could I want?

Well apart from the skin of a twenty year old but I suppose that's asking too much!!!

At just over £50 for the whole system delivered to your door, I think Bryt skincare is really well priced - especially when you consider that the company use only premium ingredients and include none of the usual nasties like Parabens, Petrochemicals, Sulphates, Silicones or GMs. If you want to read more about Bryt Skincare range you will find their website here. 

Do you worry about what's in your skincare? What is your favourite brand?

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Saturday, 14 February 2015

Ciate Glitz Fix - For Perfect Valentine's Lips Ciate Glitz Fix - For Perfect Valentine's Lips

So today is the final part of my Valentine's mini series which has been all about getting your pout primed and primped ready for tonight's marathon snogathon. On day 1 we looked at all the ways you could protect your lips from the ravages of a UK winter. On day 2 I showed you how to plump up your pout without the expense or ouch factor of lip fillers. 
Today all of that hard work is done, hopefully your lips are looking and feeling super shexy so today is all about showing them off and what better way to do that than by following the example of the world's biggest show off - the very fabulous Lady Gaga with her glittertastic lips. 
Now I can't say for sure what La Gaga used to glitter up her pout but if you want a similar effect then Ciate have made it possible with their Glitz FIx KIt ( try saying that after a glass or two of fizz)!

Available from Swphors for 19 euros the kit contains every thing you need to add a bit of sparkle to your pout - a sealant, red glitter and a fan brush. 

First apply a matte red lipstick.
Then add the sealant everywhere you want the glitter to stick. Experiment with this. While it looks amazing when the glitter is applied all over the lips, you can change it up my going for an ombré look with the glitter in the middle, or outline your lips with glitter or even just emphasis your Cupid's bow! 
Next coat the sponge applicator in the glitter and dab everywhere you have applied the sealant.
Wait for about 30 secs then gently sweep away the excess with the fan brush.

I absolutely loved the way Lady Gaga looked with glitter lips but I have to admit that although it looked amazing when I applied it - it was just a little full on for me. I am no Lady Gaga and just felt I wasn't cool enough to carry it off. 

Have you tried this kit? If so will you be sporting a sparkling pout tonight.

Happy Valentine's Day x

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Transformulas Lip Volume - For That Perfect Pout Transformulas Lip Volume - For That Perfect Pout

So today is day 2 of my mini series which is looking at ways to get your lips into shape ready for the snogathon that is Valentine's Day. Yesterday was the first step, how to protect your pout from the ravages of cold, wintery weather, today let's look at a product that will transform it into a perfectly plump and sexily soft kiss magnet. 

Transformulas Lip Volume promises visibly bigger lips and a reduction in lip lines.  They claim to have scientifically proven that used 3 times a day for 30 days this product will  increase the volume of your lips by hydrating, plumping out lip lines and giving lips sexy definition and a soft kissable feel. I want me some of that for Valentines.

In the past I've used lots of volumising lip products - balms, creams, glosses - the formulas have changed but they all had one thing in common, they worked by irritating the lips causing them to swell a bit. Basically they really, really hurt. Frankly if I wanted to go down that route, I could get better results by having someone punch me in the mouth.

Transformulas Lip Volume is something entirely different. It comes in a metal tube which looks a little like a luxe gloss with a doe foot applicator. The formula is like a thin white moisturising lotion which is instantly absorbed into the lips with absolutely no sticky residue. Best of all, although the product has a slightly minty smell, there is no pain, not even a hint of stinging sensation. Phew!!

But does it work? I have only been using this product for the last fortnight so I can't give a definitive answer but I have to be honest and say that as someone who has had lip fillers injected in the past, I do NOT expect to see that kind of result in the next two weeks. What I can say is that my lips are in perfect condition, no dry patches and I really DO see a noticeable improvement in those annoying lip lines which is perfect with Valentine's Day tomorrow.

If you want luscious lips for Valentine's or any other day then give Transformula's Lip Volume a try - it's beauty without cruelty for your pout! 

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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Luscious Lips for Valentines's Day Luscious Lips for Valentines's Day

With Valentine's fast approaching, there's not a moment to lose- it's time to get those neglected winter lips into top condition ready for this annual lip-locking marathon. To help you guys out, I am going to do a Luscious Lips mini series covering everything you need to get your pout into perfect shape.

The first step in the programme is Protection. The cold wintery weather we've been having in Scotland plays havoc with my lips and things are currently looking a little dry, chapped and flaky around here. But not to worry Stan - I have a two step plan.

First step - exfoliate either with one of the yummy Lush Lip Scrubs ( Popcorn flavour anyone?) .
Second Step - copious amounts of a good quality balm.

Like everyone else I always have a balm or ten kicking about the bottom of my hand bag but today I thought I would share a few of my favourites.

One of my all time favourites is the Coconut Lip Treatment from Bomb Cosmetics. Bomb Cosmetics are a British Company specialising in handmade, natural, products which are cruelty free. The Coconut Lip Treatment feels super nourishing yet light and not at all sticky on the lips. It has a totes delish vanilla and coconut Fragrance - exactly like a coconut cake - and at £2.49 these fun colourful little pots are great value for money.

The next balm I recommend is even slightly better value at just $2.50 per tube. Lipsmackers is a really unique U.S. brand which sells only lip balms but they sell them in every conceivable fragrance. Seriously they must have HUNDREDS of different flavours ( because yes, we all lick off our yummiest balms so they have to taste as good as they smell!). From Minty Girl Scout Cookie flavour to Chocolate Orange flavour, this brand have them all. I have a variety of the more traditional varieties - Mango, Tropical Punch and Coconut, and they all smell utterly fantastic, with my particular favourite being Tropical Punch, which reminds me of a Carribbean cocktail - enough said!

The last product on my list of pout protectors is the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector. This is not a balm but it does leave my lips looking soft, shiny and just a little plumper and more kissable. Not a lipstick but with a hint of colour, not a gloss but with a hint of sheen - this really is the ultimate 'my lips but better' product. The Clarins is a little more costly than the other traditional balms - it costs around £16 per tube depending on where you buy it but seriously girls, what price the perfect pout??!!!

Don't forget to pop back tomorrow for part 2 of my Luscious Lips Mini Series!

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Soap and Glory Archery - Brow Tint and Precision Pencil Soap and Glory Archery - Brow Tint and Precision Pencil

It's an eternal quest for me - trying to find the perfect brow product! No matter how happy I am with what I am using, I never stop looking, trying new things - a typical case of fear of missing out (mofo). 
So when I read Lily, Anna and lots of other celebrity bloggers raving about the Archery Brow Tint and Precision Shaping Pencil by Soap and Glory, it only ever was a matter of time.
And in Boots on Saturday was the right time, right place, especially given their three for two on Soap and Glory products.

At £10 Archery is much less expensive than a lot of other products out there and it is even more of a bargain when you consider you are effectively getting two products in one. At one end is a super thin felt tip style brow pen and at the other a thicker crayon type product. I was a bit disappointed to find that it came in only two shades - Love is Blonde which was too light for me and Brownie Points which looked pretty dark -  come on guys, we really need a bit more choice than that.

It took me a few tries before I really got the knack of using this pencil but once I did, I found it really fast and simple. I like to use the crayon to outline and fill in the outer two thirds of my brows then take the thin pen and draw in the individual hairs on the inner third. Despite the poor colour range I found that by using a light hand I could really make Brownie Points work for me and for darker haired beauties, using a heavier hand would probably work equally well. What I loved most about the product was once applied my brows would last all day, no smudging or fading just strong defined brows till I decided to take them off.

Although there is much to love about the Soap and Glory Archery Pencil, I have quite fine brows and found the crayon end too thick and waxy to give me the well defined but natural look I am after. It may work for those more blessed in the brow department but it gave me blocky Scouse brows - not a look I aspire too. I do love the felt tip end though. It is super thin which makes it so easy to draw precise strokes mimicking individual hairs allowing me to fill in sparse areas, define my arch and just give my brows a little extra OOMPH! 

So do I recommend the Soap and Glory Archery Precision Brow Tint and Precision Shaping Pencil? Although I love the pen end, I really don't like the crayon so I probably would suggest you buy it only if you have quite thick brows already! 

My quest for the perfect brow product continues! 

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I Belong to Glasgow, Dear Old Glasgow Town... I Belong to Glasgow, Dear Old Glasgow Town...

Talented Cityscape Canvas tote Bag designed by Julia Gash

Talented Cityscape Canvas tote Bag designed by Julia Gash

Talented Cityscape Canvas tote Bag designed by Julia Gash

Talented Cityscape Bag designed by Julia Gash

Talented Cityscape Bag designed by Julia Gash

As a very proud Glaswegian, I was thrilled to be sent this ridiculously cute Glasgow bag from Talented.
Talented is an ethically made and ecologically printed collection of bags - not just totes but purses, overnight bags and laptop bags too...
Featuring the best of British design and using upcycled or natural fabrics, Talented celebrates the bag as an art form.
Talented bags come in all sorts of interesting and fun designs; mine is from the Cityscape collection which includes not just cities from the UK but cities from all over the world including Paris, Rome and Hong Kong. 
As a daily commuter between my dear green city and the capital, this bag easily holds my kindle, ipad, heels, lunch, blog pad and pen and all those other little essentials that keep me entertained on the train but would NEVER fit into my handbag. Best of all the design lets the Edinburgers know that in my eyes at least, Glasgow's Miles Better......

Talented bags are stocked by Asos, Very, Unineed and Cloggs amongst others but if you want a Glasgow bag, they are on sale at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, the Gallery of Modern Art, The People's Palace and the Riverside Museum all in Glasgow. 

You can check out the full range from Julia Gash and the other Talented designers here.

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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

My Last Supper - from Frankie and Benny's at the Glasgow Fort My Last Supper - from Frankie and Benny's at the Glasgow Fort

My regular readers will know that I am a big fan of the Glasgow Fort, a shopping centre situated just off the M8 about five miles outside the city centre. Full of all of my favourite shops, restaurants and bars with plenty of free parking what is not to love?

One of my absolute favourite places to eat at the Glasgow Fort is Frankie and Benny's Italian Diner. Stepping inside is like stepping into an Italian Restaurant in New York in the 50's. There's a bar area serving fab cocktails (more on that later), booth style seating and framed baseball memorabilia.

The F&B menu is centred round our old favourites Pizza and Pasta but it also offers a good range of  salads, burgers, fish, chicken and steak. I defy anyone not to find something to tickle their tastebuds.

We went in towards the end of the shift last Sunday night but were greeted warmly by a waiter who was friendly and enthusiastic but never imposed - don't you just hate a waiter who makes it all about him?

My husband was driving so he was really pleased to see an alcohol free Becks on the menu, while I treated myself to a Margarita. Now I like to think of myself as a bit of a Margarita connoisseur. I have certainly drank enough of them to know a good one and this was right up there amongst the best. Tangy, full of zest, with a strong Tequilla kick and just enough salt to bring out the flavours, lovely! 

As we enjoyed our drinks we poured over the menu and eventually decided to skip the starter and head straight to the main course. I ordered Chicken and Chorizo Penne which was just as described - penne pasta with sliced chicken breast and generous chunks of spicy chorizo sausage tossed in a spicy tomato and chilli dressing and topped with shavings of fresh Parmesan. It was so good, rich and flavoursome, I loved every mouthful. My husband loves his pizza and this time he ordered a New Yorker Calzone - he raved about it. As he cut into it, I could see it was stuffed with spicy pepperoni , ham, bacon, mushrooms and mozzarella - all topped with a ladle of fresh tomato sauce. Yummy! 

There wasn't much chat during the mains - just the occasional ' Mmmmmm' or ' You HAVE to try this'  but it was a very contented silence. In all honesty I am rarely happier than when I am sharing delicious food with friends and family and luckily my husband feels the same.

After our empty plates were taken away we were given the dessert menus and all I can say is WOW! Waffles, Fudge Cake, Brownies, Apple Pie and some of the most tempting Sundaes I have ever seen. But I resisted. Well almost! I ordered another Margarita and my husband had a Blueberry Eton Mess, an aptly named muddle of vanilla and blueberry ice cream layered with meringue, blueberry sauce and whipped cream. WHICH THEY SERVED WITH TWO SPOONS ( evil laugh)! 

By the time we were done with the dessert we were both totally stuffed and ready for a night on the couch catching up with the week's telly. There may or may not have been more drinks involved, but nothing in the class of those Margaritas! 
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