Friday, 31 January 2014

Origins Merry Moisturisers Set

Hi all!

One of my favourite presents to myself this year was my huge haul of Origins gift sets.
Not only are all products that I've used from them completely amazing, but the gift sets can be quite a bargain if you're lucky!

This one, Merry Moisturisers, was originally priced around £50 but Boots discounted it for a few weeks before Christmas and so I snapped it up for £28. This was a bargain because the moisturiser in this set costs £34 on its own!



Loved the packaging of these, very simple, Christmassy and the different designs for each set are really cute. The polka dot is also a classic!
As with all other Origins products the ingredients are fully listed on the back of the box.



I've kept these boxes as I like them so much, boxes like these are always useful for storing things and putting presents in. I've got plenty of boxes like these stacked up and storing all my eyeshadows, lipsticks etc in.

Merry Moisturisers gift set contains a number of products from the Make A Difference range which is one of my favourites from Origins. This set contains the Rejuvenating Treatment Lotion, Hand Treatment and Moisturiser as well as a Drink Up Intensive Face Mask.




This moisturiser is one of my all time favourites. I've previously tried the gel version of the treatment which is for oily skin and therefore is lighter. There's actually four different types available for different skin types so I was interested to try another type now that my skin isn't as oily and requires more hydration.

This was as expected; lovely to apply, smells divine and my skin feels like its had a really big treat when I've used it. Love it love it love it, I'll be repurchasing this for a while (as long as I can afford it that is!).



As someone that doesn't really get the whole toner thing, this was a massive revelation to me. I loved the smell, the effects and just everything about it. You can see my original post on it here but needless to say it has completely won me over to the toner argument...though I'm still skeptical of others.



This is again another gorgeous product and the size is perfect for a handbag. It sinks into skin really nicely which is something that is a must have for me as I cannot stand greasy hand creams and having slimy hands that stay like it for ages!



The Drink Up mask is another product I've used before and loved. It was the first hydrating mask I'd ever used and it was amazing even for my oily skin. It didn't overload it and was perfectly hydrating without affecting my skin in a negative way at all. Perfection!


This would have been a gorgeous set for anyone, I'm a hug fan or Origins as I've probably mentioned many times and genuinely love it! There's never been a product I didn't like and all of them have worked beautifully on my skin.

I always look for bargains such as these sets at Christmas time to save me a bit of money and also try out new products that I might not have tried otherwise.
I also take regular trips to Cosmetics Company Outlets (CCO) where items can be discounted greatly, I'm talking £25 instead of £34 and you can save some money there too, as long as the products are available.

Do you like Origins? Did you pick up anything from their Christmas sets?

L xxx



Thursday, 30 January 2014

Bourjois Fan-tastic Volume Mascara

I'm a huge mascara junkie! I have ridiculous amounts and it's the one thing I can't resist getting especially when something looks a bit different. I'd only tried one Bourjois mascara before this one and absolutely loved it so I was hoping it wasn't a fluke.


Today I thought I'd share my thoughts on Bourjois' Fan-Tastic Volume Mascara. I like the purple packaging, it's easy to spot in my make up bag and it's much flatter in shape than most mascaras.


Here is where it gets different. The brush only has bristles on one side. At first I wasn't convinced. I was sure it would be hard to apply and surely I couldn't coat all of my lashes with only half of a brush.



It's also quite a wet formula and a plastic brush which I don't normally prefer. The bristles do have good separation between them though and a fan shape which claims to grab the lashes and provide volume.



Here you can see the before and afters. It really lengthens my lashes and gives good volume through the bas of my lashes. This is after a few coats. I love that it really doesn't clump and gives a good black colour pay off. 



Even though the formula is wet I don't find it transfers to my upper brow or under my eyes which mascaras have been lately. I also find the brush surprisingly easy to use. I was worried it would only give good results on one side as I wasn't sure I'd get the angle right on the other eye but it really is a great everyday mascara.

I find myself reaching for this on a daily basis but for a night out I do prefer a bit more volume.

Have you tried fan-tastic volume?

Love M



Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Tough Training: Healthy Snacks

Morning everyone!

Having written about my fitness plan for the year in a post last week (see here) I thought I'd start sharing some of my meals and snacks that I have in order to give you some ideas and suggestions in case you're lacking in inspiration as sometimes it can be so hard. I'm no expert in this whatsoever but I've lost around 2 stone and got myself to a size 10 and even though I do have my binge moments I don't often put on weight so thought maybe this could help!


First off, my number one tip is to make sure that you always have some food on you. This will mean that you are never tempted to buy anything from a shop like chocolate, crisps, cake etc that are just far too easy to pick up. I've got a range of stuff in my handbag and there's always something there whenever I need it which has stopped me many times from legging it to the corner shop. I also ALWAYS have water on me too, I get my 2L a day ever since buying myself a proper plastic bottle and swigging it when I'm 'hungry', but that's for another day.

Here's a few of my favourite snacks!

I don't think anyone will argue with me when i say fruit can be a perfect snack....its low calorie (around 50 per portion aside from a banana at 100), contains vitamin and mineral goodness and also water to add to your bodies hydration. It can be boring trying to get your 5 a day, but now I regularly get 7/8 a day without even trying as I put fruit on my breakfast, have some as my mid morning snack, a piece at lunch and maybe on the way home if I'm hungry to stop me eating something else before my tea.

I tend to eat a banana mid morning to give me a boost and also give my body the chance to burn off the extra calories, though lets be honest at 100 it's not a big deal!


Sometimes I really want crisps. I'm mostly a fan of savoury foods so sometimes I need the salt and the crunch and fruit just isn't good enough!

Nairns oat cakes are what I turn to when this happens. There are a variety of flavours but I find the plain ones (rough, organic etc) are perfect for me. When I'm in need of a boost pre/post workout and am not near a meal time I eat 3 of these with some nut butter on to keep me going; then I get the crunch and the salty taste guilt free!



You can read the ingredients and calorie values on these pictures, plus the qualities such as high fibre and no hydrogenated fat. I also sometimes eat these with a salad if I'm on a 'hungry' day.
I try not to have carbs with my salad as I have a decent helping at breakfast and try to burn those off throughout the day, but sometimes you just have to eat and these are perfect at 45 calories per oat cake.

(is it anything to do with them being called 'cake' as well? Hmm....)


I found Nakd bars just over a year ago and haven't looked back. At around 100 calories these are one of the few bars that are completely natural (all the contain is 100% fruit, nut, oat or soya crunchies), contains no added sugar, are wheat and dairy free and count as one of your 5 a day.


There are a variety of flavours and types; the apple pie bars are the original type of bars with raw fruit, oat and nuts 'smooshed' together to create a bar and the ingredients are listed on the packaging below. You can buy them individually, in boxes like in the pictures or on their website they have 'taster' boxes where you can buy a selection of bars together to try them all out.


The newer crunch range has soya crunchies added into them so that they contain more protein which is always a good thing. More protein means you are unlikely to lose muscle after burning off calories at the gym and it also fills you up for longer.

The good news is on their website (see here) you can get some great deals, currently you can get 20% off using the code NY14 but this only until the end of the month so hurry! Otherwise there are plenty of deals on their site so look out for them.
The Find Your Favourite box is £7.99 but they also sell boxes in Asda and Waitrose and probably more places too.


Sesame Snaps are my go-to snack when I've had a long day at work and know i have the gym to contend with on the way home. I often eat an apple on the way home to keep me going through my hour long drive home as its easy to get peckish around the 5/6 o clock mark.
I eat these snaps when I'm on the way to the gym so that I've got a bit of a sugar boost to fuel me through my workout. I know that once i'm in the gym I'll do it justice but sometimes it can be hard to make the decision to go!


These are quite simple; sesame seeds, glucose syrup and sugar. Normally I avoid sugar like the plague, unless its in fruit or honey I avoid it but these really do help and for days when I need something extra these 3 little snaps can make all the difference. That and there's THREE in a packet, so I feel like I'm having a big treat!
Plus its 157 calories for the packet and you can get these from Waitrose for 75p for a packet of four.....much cheaper than a chocolate bar! If you're lucky too they also do a coconut version with desiccated coconut and they taste GREAT.


Last but not least is my latest find; Bounce Balls.

I found them on a trip to Waitrose just before Christmas in the 'Free From' aisle. Being filled with protein and containing peanuts i snapped up my first one and haven't looked back since...
There are 5 in the range but I am yet to try the walnut version. The Almond, Peanut and Macadamia are all protein based and contains some whey powder to bind the ball. I find the almond and peanut ones are quite chewy but this takes me longer to eat and therefore I feel fuller quicker.


The coconut and macadamia one tastes more like a sweet that you'd have after a meal so I save this one for when I'm having a sweet tooth moment. The spirulina and ginseng ball was a newbie for me having never tried either and was very surprised to see it as a black/green colour in the package but it tastes AMAZING and I've been back many a time to get these.

My only qualm with these is that they retail for around £1.50/£1.70 which is expensive in comparison to everything else in this post. At the moment Waitrose have a deal on them where you can get 3 for £4 and I will certainly be stocking up as I do like them as an alternative especially as they contain a good dose of protein. They're also higher calories at 150-200 per ball but I'm not too bothered about counting my calories as long they all come from good sources.

So what do you think of my suggestions? Have you tried any of the bars before? Do you have an suggestions of your own?

I'm thinking of doing a Fitness Friday series so I can write about something different each week, whether it be a recipe, training plan, meal suggestions and other handy hints, would you be interested in reading them?

Let me know as I'm completely obsessed with it all and have been for a while but I don't feel like it comes across on here. I spend 5 days a week in the gym/exercising so would love write about it more!

L xxx


Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Seventeen Stay Time Long Wear Primer

I always find on the blog I never share products that are bad or just a bit meh! (great describing word there I know but couldn't think of anything better) I always plan to write them but usually get excited by something and share that instead. This year I am going to try and share more products that I personally didn't get on with.

When I was home at Christmas I had forgotten to take a primer home with me so had to go to boots to buy one. As my stash of all make up back here in Cardiff is rather large I decided to pick up a cheap primer to save wasting money. 

I spent a while swatching them on my hands to test them out and in the end settled on Seventeen Stay Time Long Wear Primer. 

You get 20 ml of primer for £5.49 which seemed pretty reasonable to me. On the hand at first it felt sticky but once it had settled felt smooth and not too heavy.


The packaging is pretty simple. Classic white and black. The different fonts I think attract the younger market that it's aimed at and the squeezy tube works well for the product.


The product itself is nude in colour and very thick so only needs a little. It blends out and feels light when blended but it does feel sticky until it has fully sunk in. The first think I don't like. The sticky feeling is annoying but as it felt smooth on my hand I was willing to look past it.

On my face when I first applied it and left it for a few minutes to sink in I was impressed. It had smoothed out and left a nice matte but light feeling finish.


Product blended out

Then the problems started. I'm yet to find a moisturiser this agrees with. It seems to be one of those that when you apply foundation over the top it starts to rub off. But this only happens on my cheeks. So I decided to persevere and try using it just on my T-Zone where I really need the primer.

Immediately after applying it's ok but after an hour or so any dry patches of skin or spots seem to be patchy and look awful. The primer seems to settle in these areas and start to clump together, not a great look!!

So all in all it's just a bit meh! It only works on my T-zone and it only works when I have clear skin. So if you are oily and not spotty this may work for you but for me I just can't get on with it!

Have you tried this primer? Did you find it better than me?

Love M



Monday, 27 January 2014

Get Ready WIth Me - Night Out

Hey All

Hope you had a good weekend. I've had a really busy week last week and the weekend was rather busy too. I went out on Friday night and thought I'd do a type of get ready with me post. I love watching these on YouTube and love FOTDs that show you the look step by step so it's easily re-creatable. The lighting and photos aren't great as it was night time!


After showing and washing my hair these are my current go to products! I have to use a lip scrub and I couldn't be without my breath of fresh air toner. As I've got a few big spots at the moment I use my Effaclar Duo before my moisturiser. As It was for a night out I used the Label.M volume foam to add some extra volume to my hair.


I was soooo impressed with the volume the label.m foam gave and it didn't make it sticky either or feel caked in product! Hello night out must have!



For a flawless night out for me there are four products I have to use! Benefit Porefessional, Illamasqua Skin Base applied with a beauty blender type sponge and Nars Creamy Concealor. They all just make my skin flawless. Illamasqua skin base was definitely a foundation I fell in love with only after using a beauty blender type sponge. It was all I found worked for me application wise! I then set all my base using my HD brows powder!! I'm really loving this for oil control and setting make up.


At the moment I'm totally in love with the make believe bronzer. It's a perfect matte shade and comes with the softest brush. I contour my cheek bones, nose and around my forehead and temples.


As I was going out it had to be Benefit Dandelion blush. No matter how much I wear other blushes none are as beautiful as this. I love the soft pink. I then used Mac MSF in soft and gentle. It really adds a shimmer to the cheeks.


To primer my eyes I blended constructivist Mac paint pot all over the lids up to the crease using a real techniques crease brush.


I then applied Mac naked lunch (a soft nude shimmer) all over the top of constructivist to set it.


To the crease I blended out a mid brown matte shade. This one is from a Lancome palette I have but is similar to UD tease in the naked 2 palette.



As it's been a while since I wore it I blended Mac Cranberry through the crease and under the eye. To smoke it out and to softer the redness I blended a matte black shade through the outer v and half way across the under eye.


For me it's all about the Eylure 116. They are one of my favourite lashes as they are subtle and just lenghten. I applied these and lashings of Maybelline Colossal Volume.


For my brows I used my Benefit browzings. I use a combination of the wax and powder and set with a Collection clear mascara. I think used my Laura Mercier Secret Concealer to line around my brows to highlight the brow bone and sharpen the brow line.


I then lined the eyes using my Maybelline gel liner in black and a real techniques liner blush. As I didn't want my eyes to be too black I used Rimmel Scandaleyes liner in nude to line my waterline.


For my hair I straightened it and add slight shape to the front by turn the straighteners. I hate it when my hair just sits flat.



For the lips I went with Mac Fanfare. It's such an easy to wear colour and looks soft and subtle on the lips without looking OTT when wearing a bolder eye.


Finally for my outfit I wore nude sparkly shorts bought in the New Look sale last year, New Look black vest with lace detail, New Look blazer, Primark fleece lined tights (I'm getting so old I wear tights on nights out!) and finished the look off with my Primark boots, Ollie and Nic clutch purse and my sphere of life heart necklace!

Hope you all had a great weekend! Do you mind photo heavy posts?

Love M



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