Wednesday, 23 November 2016

NEW FAVES

Being a blogger means I sometimes get treated to or find out about lesser known beauty brands which are out there on the market. This has both positive and negative effects as sometimes these amazing products come with higher than average price tags...

Starting with the Lipgloss on the left, this is the Jouer Cosmetics Lip Topper in Skinny Dip and it is just stunning. This can be worn over liquid lipstick or alone and I adore the colour and effect in a big way!!

Next up is the Transformulas Hydration Gold - I love this, I'll be honest I am not sure what it does other than makes my skin look nice and glowy, I tend to use this if I am tired to perk my face up a bit!

Now the next one has been enabled by Jini, Director of PR at Space NK and is AMAZING. I am obsessed with The Rodial Stemcell Magic Gel but it costs £49 a jar. Which I realise is a bit of a bank breaker, BUT I have to say I have been blown away by this I really have. It really is magic and my skin loves it. Super hydrating, priming abilities, makes your skin look super plump and a really cool up pump mechanism has made this jar take a special place in my heart. You can use it morning or night and it's fantastic. Potensh holy grail face product right here!!

Another product that Space NK introduced me to is the Oribe Dry Texturising Spray. I have a love hate relationship with this in that I love it, but I hate the price :( You know that bed head nice volume textured effect you strive to achieve with your hair? This is basically that effect, bottled. It smells amazing, it gives an amazing effect and doesn't leave your hair feeling sticky or crisp. I love this alot. But for £19 for the one pictured above and £39 for the large size.. it's an expensive habit to have. I can't find one nearly as good either!!!!

Finally, the wonderful Flossy and Leigh Wedding Makeup Team introduced me and my whole family to the By Terry Rose de Baume and sweet mother of god this stuff is gorgeous. The Original is lovely, but I particularly like the ones with a sheer wash of colour. Gorgeous!

I also had to feature my new Kenzo for H&M Scarf as I bloody love the print!
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Monday, 21 November 2016

JINGLE BELL ROCKIN' JUMPERS


Xmas Jumper
I love me a Christmas Jumper or any kind of fashion festive nod and each year I think the offering gets better and better. Matalan's Christmas Jumpers have really blown me away this year with their lovely designs which are super affordable and range from the subtle sparkle to the COME AT ME CHRISTMAS!

Above are a few of my faves, I have the pom pom Christmas tree one and I cannot wait until it is socially acceptable to put it on! I was hoping to haul ass to the Christmas Markets last week but in typical Manchester style the heavens opened and as much as I loveeeeee the Markets the thought of standing in torrential rain just did nothing for me. I will be sure to take some pics when I wear it out but I had to let you guys know all about them so you can get stocked up for December.

Another thing to mention that makes me sound about 100 years old is that they are such a nice thin knit and look like they will wash well... hello middle age ;-)

Go forth and bulk out your festive fashion supplies!!
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GET YOURSELF A GYM BUDDY

How going to the gym with a friend can help motivate you...

It doesn’t matter how motivated you might be at the beginning of any new health and fitness journey, once the shock – good and bad – of the new wears off, it can be difficult to remain focused and committed to your goals. Additionally, life can get in the way; family commitments, new jobs, and especially new interests can take your mental energy, if not your physical. Before you realise it, an entire month of your gym membership has passed without you showing your face, even to use the sauna and spa... whoops!

Your gym might send you the occasional “we’ve missed you” or “let’s get back on track” email, but if they’re still getting your monthly membership fee, they’re not particularly concerned whether you return or not.

What you need is some healthy competition; and there’s no competition like a good friend. Although finding a healthy weight and improving your overall health and fitness shouldn’t be a race – and should only ever be undertaken at a pace that’s safe for you – there’s nothing like an actual physical angel (or devil!) whispering in your ear to keep you on track in the form of an exercise buddy. If you’re a champion at negative self-sabotage, either by not going to the gym, or not keeping to a healthy eating programme, your friends can keep you on track, even if it’s just commiseration at yet another salad on a cold day – you could always try swapping healthy recipes too.

You don’t even need to have the same goals to be suitable workout companions; all you need is a common commitment to getting, and keeping, fit. Exercising together can keep the boredom at bay. For example, one of you might be looking to increase their pace on the treadmill, the other to add another 5kg to a weight workout in any given month; if you keep each other motivated, even if that means physically dragging each other to the gym, you will achieve that. Especially if there’s an element of perfectly healthy envy at each other’s commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Chatting while you work out will not only make the time, but the distance pass much more quickly!

With a busy lifestyle, it’s hard to keep up with friends, so undertaking a gym regime together is good for your social life as well as your physical health. Before you undertake any new exercise plan, however, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor first, and to see a private orthopaedic specialist in Chelsea if there are physical issues you need to work around, or if you are in danger of overtaxing joints that may already be carrying deterioration due to arthritis or other concerns.

There’s considerable strength in numbers, so let you and your exercise companion help each other reach your goals. If you don’t already have a friend who wants to tag along, see if your gym will let you set up a buddy system to help everyone stay on track.
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Thursday, 17 November 2016

A TOP NOTCH CHRISTMAS PARTY

Last night I head over to Eccles for Top Notch Hair and Beauty's Christmas Party!

It was nice to get into the festive spirit with christmas tunes, fizz and cupcakes along with mini makeovers and a whistlestop tour of all their amazing products.

Thank you as always for a wonderful time and if you want to get yourself booked in (I can highly recommend their hair stylists, spray tans, lashes and nails, call 0161 788 8811 or visit their website on www.topnotchhair.co.uk.
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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

LUXE WISHLIST WITH NETAPORTER

Luxe 1

luxe 2

Luxe3


luxe 4

I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to go virtual window shopping to see all the lovely designer things out there... but, you do end up getting a sizeable 'if I won the lottery' wishlist as a result.

Having had a bit of time off, I've been able to blog to my hearts content and I always enjoy doing a bit of a luxe wishlist in the run up to Christmas. I have perused Netaporter to my hearts content and the above are some of the items that have caught my eye. You will see that there is a recurring Burberry theme but bags and shoes and other delightfully luxurious items are on there too.

Netaporter stocks some of my favourite designers (looking at you in particular Sophia Webster) and I like to work towards purchasing some of the more aspirational items! 

If money was no object what would you rush out to buy?
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BEST FREEBIE SITES: MY TOP 5


There are many freebie sites online but some of these sites have better offers than others. These are my top five freebie sites with the pros and cons you need to know about before signing up.


Everyone loves to save money and get items for free, which is why freebie sites are so popular. Brands often give out free samples and items as a part of their promotional strategy. I took the time to try several freebie sites to put together a list of the five best websites you can use to get free items.


Freecycle.org

Freecycle.org is actually an American site but it quickly became one of the world's largest freebie sites with its 8 million members. You can join a group that corresponds to your borough and see which sellers offer items in your area. You can browse to see the offers or post a wanted ad if you are looking for a specific item.


Pros:

  • Freecycle.org is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to reducing waste. Users are encouraged to offer the items they no longer need for free online instead of throwing them away.
  • There is a huge selection of items to choose from. This site is always growing and you can find appliances, electronics, furniture, toys and many other types of household items. You can also browse through ads posted in other groups if you can't find what you are looking for in your area.
  • You can sign up for free and can either sign up with an email address or with your Facebook account.

Cons:

  • A lot of ads do not have pictures of the items. You might have to drive to go pick up an item and end up being disappointed if the ad didn't accurately describe the item.
  • Freecycle.org is free to use and Yahoo! hosts this site for free. However, Yahoo! makes money by displaying adverts when you browse this site.

ilovefreegle.org 


Ilovefreegle.org has been around since 2009 and even though it is similar to Freecycle.org, there are only two million members. You will find that there are fewer ads and items available, but using ilovefreegle.org is easier. You can see how many people are in your local group and how many new ads were posted since your last visit. You can also easily see which areas are covered by the group you joined.


Pros:

  • This site has won awards for its environmental mission.
  • There is a Twitter page that you can follow to see information about the best offers posted on the site.

Cons:

  • You need a Yahoo or a Google email account to sign up but can also create an account with a Facebook or Twitter account.
  • Some of the groups require you to get approved by a moderator, which means you might not be able to start looking for freebies right away.

Gumtree.com

Gumtree is one of the most popular freebie sites. You will find that Gumtree is somewhat similar to eBay and allows members to list the items they want to sell. You can find houses for sell, toys, clothes, electronics, appliances and even cars. You can also browse this site to find job ads or to adopt a pet.


Pros:

  • You can find a wide range of items on Gumtree. There are usually a good number of items available for free, including furniture, appliances and even some services. You might be surprised by what you find - there are currently ads offering an hour long violin performance at your wedding or a life-size cardboard cut-out of Ryan Gosling. (No judgment here)
  • You can use Gumtree even if you are not a member. All you have to do is browse through the ads and send an email to the seller.

Cons:

  • You have to go pick up the items in person, which might not always be convenient.
  • You will come across a lot of ads and sponsored links, which can make browsing annoying.

Freestuffbaby.co.uk

FreeStuffBaby site offers vouchers, samples and free items from different companies. You can find many different types of items depending on what companies are giving out at the moment.


Pros: 

  • You can sign up for the newsletter to receive updates about the latest promotional offers.
  • You can sometimes find details about giveaways and competitions to get more chances to win free items.
  • Members can leave ratings on the offers, which is a great way to easily find the most interesting promotional offers available at the moment.

Cons:

  • You usually need to log in via your Facebook account to get access to the promotional offers.
  • Some of the offers listed on the site are expired.

Gratisfaction 

This is another free stuff site that lists promotional offers. You can usually find free samples for food items or cosmetics as well as free digital downloads.


Pros:

  • The site is very easy to use and clicking on an offer will automatically redirect you to the company's page so you can complete the offer and get a freebie.

Cons: 
  • I haven't found any cons yet!
 Do you use freebie sites? What's the best haul you have had?
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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

MAC NUTCRACKER SWEET

There are some emails that, as a Blogger, you get giddy over and being offered to go and have a 121 makeover with MAC in Selfridges in The Trafford Centre to play with the new collection sounded like a ruddy good time if you ask me!

I went bright and early to the Trafford Centre last Friday and was introduced to the lovely Sam who would be doing my makeup. I was immediately pleased as I basically wanted her to recreate her makeup on me.. a lil glitter and a flawless base.. and my GOD did she deliver! Go give this girl a follow on Instagram (@samanthahelenmua) as sweet jesus you should see the body makeup she does!!!

I love glitter any time, but even more so over the festive season and I absolutely adore the MAC Nutcracker Sweet collection. There is literally something for everyone in there, nude fans, glitter fans, bold lip fans.. MAC have definitely got you covered. There is also that holy grail highlighter that gets major praise in the makeup lover community in the pearlescent form of Whisper of Gilt. Now, alot has sold out online (insert crying face emoji) BUT, there is still much of the collection to be had in stores so go get your mitts on the kits pronto and you will not regret it! You can peruse the collection here!

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DAILY HEALTH HACKS

It is important to eat healthy foods as it is an important aspect of life. A lot of people strive as much as they possibly can to take the most nutritious foods for their well-being and good health. There are so many foods available out there to choose from daily. There are some special "superfoods" that most nutritionists claim are the best to consume frequently. Below is a list of the top ten healthy foods that you need to eat every day:

Blueberries contain a high amount of antioxidants than any other fruit in North America. Blueberries help in preventing diabetes, cancer and memory lapses caused by age. This is the reason why these berries are referred to as "brain berry".

There are studies that have proved that blueberries are also rich in vitamins C and A as well as fiber. Blueberries also enhance cardiovascular health. You can aim to take a cup of fresh blueberries and a half cup of berries that are dried or frozen. You can also substitute these berries with prunes, strawberries, raisins, Acai berries and purple grapes.

Spinach is a green and leafy vegetable that is rich in nutrients. It is a well-known muscle builder that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are based on plants and folate. These nutrients are great as they help in reducing the risk of contracting stroke, heart disease and osteoporosis.

Folate has an added advantage as it boosts the flow of blood to the nether regions thereby helping to protect you from sexual issues brought about by age advancement. Spinach also contains lutein, which is the compound that helps in fighting macular degeneration. It also helps in improving sex drive. You could aim to take a cup of spinach daily or half cooked cup.

Taking yogurt daily is important due to the various cultures that it offers to your body. Yogurt has some undisputed health benefits in our bodies. The culture helps in spawning millions of the beneficial bacteria present in the body. This helps in boosting your immune system and also offers protection from cancer.

It is important to note that it is not all types of yogurt bear these benefits but rather the ones with "live and active cultures". A cup daily of this rich protein and calcium food will be great for your health.


Flaxseed are an easy way of adding a huge fibre dose into your diet. They are easily available in bulk from grocery stores and can be used to sprinkle over fish, snacks, meals or salads. A tablespoon of ground flaxseeds is enough to add 23 grams of useful fiber in your diet.

They are also rich in vitamin Bl, manganese, and essential fatty acids. This means that flaxseeds are a rich source of antioxidants and omega 3 fats that reduce the risks caused by various diseases like cancer, heart disease and the type II diabetes.

Red tomatoes are packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that is important in the body. A lycopene-rich diet helps in decreasing the risk of lung, bladder, skin, prostate, stomach cancers and reducing chances of contracting coronary artery disease. You should aim to get about 22 mg of lycopene daily or a glassful of tomato juice. You could also double the amount of tomato paste recommended in most diets.
Most vegetables and fruits that have an orange, yellow or red color are mostly rich in carotenoids. These are compounds that are fat-soluble and associated with the reduction of various cancers. They also reduce the severity and risk posed by inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Carrots are the easiest to prepare these vegetables and fruits. They also have a lower caloric density, and a half cup would be sufficient daily. The substitutes are pumpkin, sweet potato, mango, yellow bell pepper and butternut squash.


All types of beans are important for your heart's health, but the black beans are great in boosting your brain power. Black beans are full of antioxidant compounds and anthocyanins, which have been proven to improve brain power. Taking a daily half-cup serving of black beans gives your body 7.5 grams of fibre and 8 grams of protein. Black beans are also free of saturated fats, and it is low in calories.
Walnuts are rich in the heart-healthy omega 3s, a higher amount than salmon. They are also loaded with a higher amount of anti-flammatory polyphenols than the amount in red wine and have muscle building proteins than chicken. Walnuts are better than other nuts since they are able to combine all the three features while others use two.

Having a single ounce or 7 walnuts would be great at any time of the day, but it is more important when taken as a recovery snack during post-workouts.


Amongst the rich healthy foods that are currently emerging, oats have been on the forefront and have already received approval from FDA. Oats are healthy as they consist of soluble fiber that lowers the advent of heart diseases. They also contain carbs, but the sugars it contains are slowed down by fibre.

Oats contain 10 grams protein for every half cup serving and can deliver muscle-friendly and steady energy. Wild rice and quinoa could be great substitutes for oats.
Any nutritionist or health foods website will inform you that broccoli ought to be your number one choice as far as vegetables are concerned. Broccoli contains sulfur compounds that signal the body genes to produce more enzymes as well as detoxifying compounds that have the potential to cause cancer.

This great vegetable can be taken uncooked or can be cooked. It could be used as a side dish by being incorporated into a casserole or salad as the possibilities are endless. The American Cancer Society has found that vegetables with dense green flower bud clusters are great for reducing colorectal cancers and other types of cancers that are dangerous.

All the above are the top ten healthy food that you should endeavor to take on a daily basis to improve your overall wellbeing and health.



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Thursday, 10 November 2016

LOVE ME LOVE MY PIERCINGS


This could be a controversial post as I know some people don't like multiple piercings (looking at you Mum!) but I absolutely love ears adorned with flashes of diamante and gold or silver, little studs and rings!

Before my 30th Birthday I decided to get a third piercing in each of my lower ear lobes on a bit of a whim. In that I woke up one morning and thought yep, gonna go get pierced and later that day off I toddled to Claires Accessories and did it!

The last time I got pierced was a good 15 years ago when I got my second set done so I was surprisingly nervous! I really didn't need to be as it was a piece of cake and I LOVED how they looked. I opted for small gold ball studs and wear a diamante pair in my second and then change up my first set.

In terms of aftercare Claires did give me some solution but I find the Savlon Spray (liquid in a plastic bottle) to do the trick fantastically as it is odourless, easy to apply and get properly into the pierced hole and doesn't sting.

It's weird because I can wear lots of different types of earrings in my first hole but the second and third are slightly more fussy about what goes in them so I tend to just leave the sleepers that they were pierced with in them.

I have only ever been pierced by a piercing gun (for want of a better word - not sure if that is the technical name!) and I like that it is speedy and very little fiddling once the piercing goes in. That said, for some of the more hard to access piercings such as daith or tragus, you have to be pierced with a needle and then have the jewellery put in. I watched Tanya Burr's Piercing Video and this gives a good idea of what it is like to be pierced by a needle.

I love what she opted for and I have been watching the Liberty London / Maria Tash pop up piercing shop with interest over on Instagram. They have done some really beautiful piercings and the jewellery is stunning. Looking at the ear piercing locations below, I would LOVE to get a small ring in the auricle!

What do you think about piercing? Is there anything you want to get pierced??


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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

DOES BLOGGING HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE?


During one of my blogging dry spells, I made myself a list of potential posts I could write and this was one of them. I actually think it's a really interesting topic to discuss as with blogging and bloggers getting their fair and unfair share of celebration and criticism, it's all too easy for bloggers to feel as though they need to conform to a certain mould.

I have always classed my blog as a hobby and I think that's why I find it easier to distance myself from the blogger bandwagon and getting to wound up by certain things but this particular subject bothers me.

Bloggers have earned many fair and unfair names for themselves over the years, some of the worst being professional bragger, freebie hunters, not having any skills or being failed journalists. Now I certainly don't describe myself as any of those things and I should imagine it's very hurtful to have people not take you seriously, label you as being shallow and ridicule the title 'Blogger'.

As YouTubers are becoming modern day celebrities and the past time itself becoming a career aspiration for youngsters, it's easy to see how much pressure there can be to 'fit in', thinking you have to spend a lot of money to succeed and frankly that really isn't the case. I have to add the caveat that I am not criticising my YouTuber peers at all, I very much enjoy watching a wide variety of content, including those haul videos that every parent probably dreads being watched, recreated or the shopping list that is prompted.

If you are a newer blogger and get caught in the competitive cycle of wanting your blog to look a certain way and produce 'haul' type content then all I can say to you is CALM YOURSELF RIGHT DOWN.

I get it. Trust me I do. I've been there and if I can do nothing other than give you some advice from Auntie Sal, it's please do not feel inferior if you are not able to fund things quite at the same level that other bloggers do. That is ok. Honest. Your blog should be individual to you and when you are just starting out it's ok to not have your own domain name or just using the standard blogger template that you customise yourself. What matters is that you are having fun and creating content that makes YOU happy.

When I first started my blog it was called 'All That Glitters' and I will be honest, it really didn't look great. But who cares? As my experience grew with writing and how on earth HTML and plug ins work, I was able to do a lot myself. Granted I do now have a Pipdig Template which I paid for but that was after a good  couple of years building my readership and establishing that my love for blogging wasn't going to die down any day soon. You can pick up some gorgeous themes on Etsy so please don't feel that you need to spend a lot on getting your blog looking how you want it to.

Think you need a DSLR camera? Think again. Yes I can appreciate that they take great pictures but a lot of phone cameras or simple point and shoot cameras can too, so just practice taking those perfect flatlay photos and don't worry yourself that you need to be lugging around a great big camera! Another tip is that if you want generic photos like I have used above Pixabay is your friend. I edit my pictures for free on PicMonkey there's also a phone app which you can edit your phone pics with too.

In terms of #bloginspo, I turn to Pinterest. It's free, it gives you TONS of ideas and often they are tried and tested. I also have to say that some of my most popular posts haven't been where I have talked about something I have bought - so don't feel like that's all people want to read as it's genuinely not!!

If you want a laugh then read this post here about when I have followed the blogging pack...
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Tuesday, 8 November 2016

HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO CLASSIC DISHES


Whether you're trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet is really important. Here are some alternatives to add classic dishes that will help you out. World class healthcare facility, The Christie Clinic have some tips on how to swap one or two ingredients for more healthy substitutes so that you can transform any meal.

Easy way to five a day!
Everyone loves switching their regular chips for sweet potato fries once in awhile but sweet potatoes aren’t just for chips. Slice a sweet potato and bake in olive oil for an alternative to crisps or mash them to top a fish pie. By swapping regular potatoes for the sweet variety and loading up on the veggies, your fish pie can cut down the carbs and it won't be nearly as starchy, yet be just as delicious.

Spiralising is one of the latest health food trends that we are seeing everywhere these days. Any fruit or veg can be twirled up to add to salads, soups or stir fries. Try swapping the heavy pasta by making or buying courgette spirals (courgetti) to add to a rich Bolognese, you’ll be cutting down on carbohydrates and sneaking in another one of your five-a-day.

Have a Meat Free Monday
If you get by on a carnivorous diet, then it can be hard to think of exciting recipes without the meat. Nowadays there are hundreds of tasty alternatives to beef, chicken or pork like Quorn, which is low in saturated fat and high in protein. For a hearty and meat free meal, try making a Quorn cottage pie, for example, a bit like the fish pie, but this time switch the filling rather than the topping.

Surprisingly, vegetables can also be a great substitute for meat. You may notice avocados has surged in popularity recently, and for good reason. Avocados are full of nutrients that you would usually find in a steak like Vitamin B6. You can use them as a replacement for butter in baking, cut them into wedges as a side dish, or crack an egg in the middle and bake for a quick healthy breakfast.

Fake a Takeaway
When you’re doing well and sticking to healthy meals, the craving for a takeaway can hit hard! Instead of picking up your phone ordering in, why not log into Pinterest and browse the hundreds tasty fakeaway recipes.

Whip up a Chinese chow mein cooked in coconut oil and packed with vegetables or an Indian curry with cauliflower rice. It's far less dense than regular rice, so why not try using it as a substitute for the long grain or basmati? You may find it easier to digest than the usual, and because it's healthy, you can have more of it!
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Monday, 7 November 2016

DRINKS TO YOUR DOORSTEP

The festive season has crept up on us and that means it's basically any old excuse for a party... or is that just me?

If you decide to hold an impromptu party and just can't be bothered heading out to the shops to purchase your booze then look no further than 31 Dover. 31 Dover will get your bar stocked and ready to go in a flash, all arranged from the comfort of your own home. From Vodka to Gin, Beer to Barware you can get kitted out and ready for a shindig.

The wonderful people at 31 Dover sent me some of their Skull Vodka to try and wow-wee it was good! Helps that the bottles are also just so cool!

Check them out, big thumbs up from me!
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