Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Look Fantastic Beauty Advent Calendar

I feel a bit mean publishing this blog post. In the time it took for me to take these photos and type up the below spiel, this sensational beauty advent calendar from Look Fantastic has sold out in double quick time! It is no surprise really - this calendar worth over £250 has a luxurious surprise behind every window, a selection of beauty miniatures from the most coveted of brands and all for the fab price of just £70. Literally heaven evert day in the run up to Christmas for any self-confessed beauty junkie.

Beauty Advent Calendars have really become a thing now and every Christmas you can expect some of the biggest brands to release a grander and more luxury-filled calendar to delight beauty fans whose love for cosmetics far outweighs chocolate! This whopper of a calendar, The Beauty Secret Advent Calendar from Look Fantastic, contains an assortment of makeup, skincare, body care and haircare to make you feel ultra glam this Christmas and New Years. I allowed myself a sneak peek behind a few of the windows to give you an idea of some of the brands and items featured but have kept the rest as a surprise for myself once we enter December. Already we have the likes of Moroccan Oil, Pai, Eylure lashes and MonuSpa with the likes of REN, Eve Lom, Redken and Molton Brown also lurking behind those tempting windows.

If you did manage to get your mitts on this incredible calendar then high-five to you but if you missed out then don't fret too much, you can already pre-order your Beauty Advent Calendar for 2016 right here and Look Fantastic have also released the Keratase Luxury Advent Calendar which is still available and an absolute must for anyone looking to try out a host of gorgeous hair products from this brand.
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My 30 Week Bump Update

"Your baby now measures over 39cm and weighs just over 3lbs. Baby's lungs and digestive tract are almost fully developed and he/she continues to open and shut their eyes. The Lanugo hair that coats your baby is starting to disappear as the developing brain cells and layers of fat help regulate their body temperature. About a litre of amniotic fluid now surrounds your baby but this will begin to decrease in the final few weeks."

How far along: 30 weeks...officially into the big three - O!

Days until due date: 70 days

My bump: Big and round!

Weight changes: Pre-pregnancy = 8stone 4lbs. Today = 9stone 3.6lbs (+13.6lbs).

Stretch marks? Nothing yet - been using the Secret Saviours system which is amazing and makes my bump feel really cosy and secure and is helping keep any stretch marks away!

Cravings: Soreen banana loaf with a generous layer of Nutella. That and peanut butter by the spoonful...out the jar!

Sleep: Still sleeping soundly.

Symptoms: Thankfully since reporting on a few instances of heartburn I haven't suffered since which is good. I think I know what to avoid when it comes to eating and drinking and a glass of cold milk definitely helps. Still feeling very vein-y with lots of obvious spidery blue lines appearing on my tummy, arms and legs.

Best moment this week: Feeling like a hero after completing a tough but fun boot camp sesion in the rain, sleet and wind on Saturday morning.

Worst moment this week: Having to accept defeat and turn our heating on at home! I am such a cold person anyway but getting up on these frosty mornings recently is getting really tough.

Miss anything? Fitting into my clothes. The choice of maternity clothes is rubbish so I am literally living in leggings/maternity jeans and jumpers at the moment. I just hope I can find a suitable Christmas jumper for bump and I to wear on Christmas Day...

Maternity clothes: After having a little breakdown about being cold and having nothing warm to wear that would fit over my bump, Rob kindly took me on a little spree to GAP and H&M and treated me to some non-maternity bits that will hopefully see me through the Winter.

Movement: Still making their presence felt morning and night with the flurry of kicks and rolls.

Gender: Unknown and we aren't going to find out either. I think there are so few genuine surprises left in life I couldn't think of anything better than letting this baby be one of them. I plan for Rob to be the one who reveals to me what we've had (if he can see through the tears!) - a little girl or a little boy.

Belly button in/out: Any day now it is going to pop!

Wedding Rings on/off: On and loose (no swelliing yet!)

Mood: Generally happy and excited that the countdown is really on now...ten weeks to go. Feeling really pleased I am still managing to work out 5-6 times a week as I doubted at the very beginning if I would still be able to run/waddle at 30 weeks pregnant. Go me!

Looking forward to: Finishing work and beginning my maternity leave. Working full time, running my blog, trying to move house, grow a baby and staying fit is taking its toll on me a bit but only 5 more Mondays to go!
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Friday, 13 November 2015

New Fuchsia Lip Colours from Bourjois

Bourjois has gone Fuchsia crazy with the introduction of four new fashion-forward shades to intensify and enhance our lips this season. From bluish reds to rich purples and everything in between, the Bourjois lip collection has just gotten a whole lot more daring with these four new colours added to the ever popular Rouge Edition and Rouge Edition Velvet range - perfect if you are after a matte or bright satin finish.

The Rouge Edition lipstick range (£7.99) is the ideal choice is you are after an intense pigmentation with a melting texture that hydrates and coats the lips with a luscious colour. Two new beautiful rich shades join this collection - 41. Pink Catwalk (top swatch) and 42. Fuchsia Sari (bottom swatch). The formula glides on smoothly and gives you a bold, statement lip that will last for hours without drying or fading.

The Rouge Edition Velvet lipstick range (£8.99) delivers us a bold, matte and long-lasting formula with a unique velvety texture. I love these lipsticks with their doe-foot applicators making it easy to apply the shade neatly and precisely to the lips, layering the colour up if you want an even more intense finish. The two new additions here are 13. Fu(n)chsia (top swatch) and 14. Plum Plum Girl (bottom swatch). I think Plum Plum Girl might be my new favourite lipstick of the season so far - a gorgeous deep, burgundy red that looks stunning with a dark brown smokey eye and maybe a bit of sparkle for the festive parties!

Which new lip colour have you got your eye on?
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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Four Fab Skincare Saviours

My skincare collection seems to be expanding at an alarming rate at the moment and sometimes things can get all a little overwhelming! With a brimming bathroom cabinet and more moisturisers than I dare to count I thought I would try and condense things a little - for my own sanity and for the sake of the shelves heaving under the weight of my beauty arsenal! So here's a quick round up of four fabulous products that I seem to be reaching for time and time again!

The skin smoother...
Claudia Louch Mint Exfoliating Facial Polish (£59) This is one of the newest products to join the cracking Claudia Louch skincare range and is a gentle face exfoliator that polishes and smooths skin for a mild to deep cleanse. Suitable for all skin types, this facial polish is a luxurious mix of plant extracts such as apricot oils, lemon, apple, aloe vera, green tea, seaweed and sugar cane. The formula is quite fluid with very finely-milled particles suspended inside to slough away any dry skin for instantly smoother and more radiant skin. It is best applied alone to dry, cleansed skin or mixed with a cleanser lotion for a gentler, two-in-one exfoliation and cleanse. It is mighty pricey but does do the job very well!

The glow-giver...
Oskia Get Up & Glow Radiance Booster (£64.50) Described as a "radiance, energy and protection booster", this lightweight, fluid serum promises to recharge your beauty batteries with a loving dose of active ingredients and nutrients. It is one of those awesome skincare products that can be used in a few ways - either at night after cleansing and right before you moisturise, in the morning as a glow-giving primer or throughout the day over makeup to brighten and perk up dry skin and patchy areas. It gives skin a revitalised, healthy, smooth appearance as well as protecting it from everyday stressors and free radicals. This is a beautiful product that literally glows through the glass bottle it sits in with a glorious illuminated quality that is definitely reflected in your complexion after a few good uses.

The saviour whilst you sleep...
REN Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial (£32) Fancy waking up with transformed skin that is visibly brighter, more luminous and defined with an even tone? I certainly do! This new overnight treatment facial cream from REN does exactly what it says on the tin tube and works its magic as you sleep to leave you waking up, feeling wonderful. Whilst you are busy snoozing, the night-time facial is busy fulfilling its three phase process - first the exfoliating effect with the acid/enzyme complex to exfoliate and bright. Next the Glycogen and Magnesium kick in revitalise and boost skin cell vitality. Finally Sodium Lactate gradually raises the skin's PH leaving it feeling rejuvenated, plump and moisturised. It is truly amazing!

The moisturising mask...
Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Rapid Radiance Mask (£30) This is the ultimate skin-pick-me-up that can be used a few times a week to give your complexion a boost. This is best for you if your skin is suffering from the dreaded three Ds - dullness, dryness or dehydration. The creamy formula is packed full of Omegas as well as Rosehip to restore skin and Strawberry Leaf extract that has an energising effect that illuminates and refines the skin's texture. Simply slather it on, leave for 8-10 minutes then gently remove with the warm, damp muslin cloth enclosed. My skin feels incredibly soft and dewy after using this and the calming botanicals help soothe any redness or irritation. Just lovely!

I would love to hear what skincare essentials you are loving at the minute...not that I need to add any more to my overflowing collection!
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My 28 Week Bump Update

"Your baby's eyes are now partially open and those tiny eyelids are able to blink. Your baby is able to recognise different levels of light from inside the womb and their little body is getting chubbier as fat is depositing under the wrinkled skin. Baby weighs 2.22lbs and is nearly 15 inches in length - the size of a papaya."

How far along: 28 weeks

Days until due date: 84 days

My bump: The bump is definitely there now and I feel huge already - slightly concerned I still have possibly  12 weeks to go!

Weight changes: Pre-pregnancy = 8stone 4lbs. Today = 9stone 2lbs (+12lbs).

Stretch marks? Nothing yet.

Cravings: Since I've started drinking orange juice again to take with my prescribed iron tablets (vitamin C aids the absorption) I have become quite addicted to my glass of cold, sweet juice every morning and it always seems to get baby wriggling too!

Sleep: Sleeping really well still. I tend to head to bed at 11pm and will sleep soundly until 7am.

Symptoms: I think I am suffering a bit from the dreaded heartburn. Having never experienced it before it took me a while to realise what was going on but after I eat or do exercise, which involves a lot of bending over, I feel this horrible tightness and burning sensation in my chest. It is horrible and makes eating whole meals even harder than it was before. Will be speaking to my midwife next week about the best things to do and take to ease the pain.

Best moment this week: Over the past two weeks since my week 26 update I have really started to feel my baby move. The flutters were always there but could be a few days apart and were barely noticeable. I was a little concerned as everyone was asking if I was feeling the kicks yet but after speaking to my midwife I felt reassured that every pregnancy is different and you can't keep comparing yourself with what you think is the norm. Literally a few days after my 26 week appointment the kicks, rolls, prods and pokes came in thick and fast. It is a wonderful feeling and I feel so connected with my baby now. Even Rob has managed to witness to crazy alien-like movements as my tummy shifts and changes shape which is a lovely thing to share with him.

Worst moment this week: Heartburn and being prescribed iron tablets as I have very low iron levels. I just hope I can boost this up in time for my blood test next week. I have been living off lots of green juices and hearty iron-rich soups recently which hopefully will have had some effect.

Miss anything? Playing hockey. I went to watch my team play a match at the weekend and I was just edging to get on the pitch. I hope to be able to squeeze a few games in at the end of the season after baby has arrives

Maternity clothes: I haven't bought anything new recently - still living in my maternity leggings and jeans from H&M and lots of chunky knits and cardigans as the weather gets chillier.

Movement: I feel really intune now to my baby's sleep pattern and when I can expect the kicks and prods to begin.

Gender: Unknown and we aren't going to find out either. I think there are so few genuine surprises left in life I couldn't think of anything better than letting this baby be one of them. I plan for Rob to be the one who reveals to me what we've had (if he can see through the tears!) - a little girl or a little boy.

Belly button in/out: In but flat - ever so slightly protuding when I tense my stomach muscles. I think it will definitely pop out soon...

Wedding Rings on/off: On and loose (no swelliing yet!)

Mood: Feeling a bit anxious that after such an easy first and second trimester, this third trimester might hit me hard. I am being positive but am already feeling I need to slow down a little which I hate! I am someone who is always on the go and I find it hard to sit still and just relax. I am still running and going to my boot camp classes most nights which I love so much and really hope to continue for as long as possible. I plan to just take each day as it comes.

Looking forward to: Heading out to a fireworks party this Saturday with friends.
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Friday, 6 November 2015

Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils are back!

The essential lip product is back! 
01 Honey and 02 Raspberry (£18 each) | available permanently online and on counters nationwide

Hold the phone, I have some very exciting news! The amazingly-popular yet devastatingly limited edition Clarins Lip Oils are back by popular demand and are here to stay! Selling out in stores and online within a few hours of launching, the Instant Light Lip Comfort Oils have been Clarins' fastest selling lip launch to date and are one of my top lip care products. I raved about this innovative new lip treatment oil back in January when it was launched and was heartbroken at the time that I was too slow to get my hands on the beautifully pink-hued Raspberry shade which gives your lips a berry tint.

Clarins are renowned for their treatment oil heritage for the face and body so it was only a matter of time before they developed another unique, iconic product that simply targets the lips and so the Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil was born. The plant formula is 100% natural and rich in essential oils and active plant ingredients so is a luxurious treat for your lips that melts on without feeling sticky or oily at all. It feels light, nourishing and luscious on the lips and gives them a subtle sheen that looks beautiful worn alone or over your favourite lipstick. All this plus the sweet taste and sleek packaging makes this a must-have product and I am so so happy to see the lip oils make a welcome return to stores everywhere and more importantly, my makeup bag!

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My Mum-to-be Skincare Saviours

Pregnancy is definitely a minefield with a whole host of 'dos' and 'don'ts' - you can spend as long thinking about what you are putting in your body as what you are putting on your body and can leave you in quite a tizz! Not long after I found out I was pregnant, my thoughts turned to finding some new skincare products that were specifically designed for mums-to-be. You skin undergoes such a huge change during pregnancy I wanted to ensure I was using all the right stuff to keep my body and soul as maintained and soothed as possible, as well as being content in the knowledge that the products I was using were safe for me and baby.

I am nearly 28 weeks pregnant now and am fortunate enough to report that I haven't suffered from one stretch mark...yet. Of course, there is still time but even though I think part of it is genetics (my mum never experienced any either), I do like to think that the other half is down to the products I have been religiously slathering on bump and boobs since week 6 or 7 of pregnancy. So here is a little round up of some of the lovely mum-to-be products I have been using over the past few months, perfect for bump, body, baths and beyond.

First up is a trio of gorgeous Neal's Yard Remedies products from their Mothers range. Each are designed to keep stretching skin soft and supple as well as containing relaxing oils to de-stress tired mums and weary mums-to-be! Neal's Yard Remedies Mothers Massage Oil (£19.50) is a fine mix of neroli and mandarin oils as well as soya and almond oils for an intensively nourishing and uplifting treat. You can apply to damp or dry skin on any areas that you feel need a bit of elasticity-boosting or soothing. The beautifully fragrant scent creates a relaxing, aromatherapy-like aroma as you start to massage it in - you just need to find a willing partner to help ease those sore shoulders and back! Neal's Yard Remedies Mothers Bath Oil (£15) is a bath time treat and will scent your bathroom with a beautiful aroma of bergamot, ylang ylang, lavender and cardamom. It contains moisturising oils such as olive, almond and apricot so really work well as relaxing and nourishing your skin as you kick back, soak up the bubbles and enjoy some Netflix in the bath! Neal's Yard Remedies Mothers Balm (£20) is a solid balm that gloriously melts into a rich oil as you work it between your palms and onto your skin. It is intended to help prevent and minimise stretch marks by helping keep skin as elastic and supple as possible as well as soothing irritated skin as your bump continues to grow. It is fragrance-free and contains lots of lovely essential fatty acids such as almond and coconut oils and beeswax. This is definitely best applied at night time or as you step out the bath as it can feel a little greasy on your belly for a while before it all sinks in.

Next up is a range that I hadn't heard of before - Mama Mio which was born in 2005 as a side-line to the popular Mio body care brand. Their mission is to make us pregnant ladies feel as confident and happy as possible in their ever-changing skin and rumour has it that it has even become a Kardashian favourite as well. Mama Mio Gorgeous Glow balancing facial wash (£23) is a light, foaming facial wash that is gentle enough on pregnancy skin that may be sensitive or reactive. Free of any nasties and laden with lovely stuff such as tea tree extracts, lactic acid, organic evening primrose, sweet almond and avocado oils it is a great facial cleanser to moisture, nurture, balance and protect unpredictable skin throughout your pregnancy. This has handled my minor breakouts really well! Mama Mio Megamama super-rich Omega body lotion (£24.50) is a sumptuous all-over body lotion that smells divine and is a wonderful blend of organic Omega oils and powerful antioxidants to strengthen, nourish and pamper dry skin and is completely safe to use throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. Omegas and superfoods are vital to keep you strong from the inside out so this rich lotion is packed full of the good stuff to keep you healthy on the outside as well. Superfood Chia and Pumpkin Seeds nourish and help ease muscles whilst the Omegas plump the skin and help fake that natural pregnancy-glow! Mama Mio Goodbye Stretch Marks visible stretch mark minimiser (£45) certainly doesn't promise that you will be saying goodbye to stretch marks for good but it does offer us a powerful blend of peptides, fruit and algae extracts that helps improve the visible appearance of new and old stretch marks - hooray! With the additional of the swanky-sounding Seppicalm TM plant extract, this cream promises to improve the appearance and texture of stretch marks by lightening the pigmentation of stretch marks at their deepest level. To finish there is sweet almond oil which gives us anti-itch benefits so is perfect if you are starting to feel those dreaded stretch marks forming!

Pai Pomegranate & Pumpkin Seed Stretch Mark System (£45) is a two-step skincare regime offering you a hydrating cream (ideally for the morning) and a replenishing oil (for the evening). Between them they provide a full range of essential fatty acids to keep the skin soft and supple and aid skin cell regeneration to help fade stretch marks. This system is great if you are trying to avoid getting stretch marks during your pregnancy or actively trying to improve the appearance of current marks on your skin. It is wonderfully gentle and pure and free from any nasties that could irritate sensitive or sore skin. Vitamins E and C and plenty of Omegas are all here to help promote elasticity, minimise tearing and provide lasting skin nourishment. Apparently Natalie Portman is a huge fan and credits her lack of stretch marks to her long-term vegetarian diet and a daily slathering of the Pai Stretch Mark System. Well if it's good enough for Ms Portman...

Mum & Me Bump Relax & Unwind Bath Soak (£3.65) is the perfect excuse to make the most of some down time, pamper time in your bath tub before the baby arrives! It is a lovely milky solution that creates gentle, foaming bubbles with a delicate camomile and jasmine scent to help you relax and unwind. The added moisturisers and milk proteins nourish your skin beautifully and I genuinely step out the bath feeling all brand new and revived with silky soft skin!

If you are a mum or a mum-to-be and know of any must-have beauty products I need to try then please do let me know! :)
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