PRIMARK PS… Workout Make Up

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When I ‘accidentally fell’ into Primark in January they, like most shops at that time of year, had all the workout gear right at the front of the store. Amongst it, the PS Work Out No Sweat make up range caught me eye. I don’t necessarily put on a full face of make up for the gym, but I like a little bit of coverage to keep the redness at bay, and am always on the look out for a decent waterproof mascara anyway. I have already filmed a first impressions on the products and you can find this on my YouTube channel (here), but here are some more detailed thoughts now that I have given all the products a decent trial.

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As I mentioned in the video, this was my first dalliance with a foundation stick. It works best worked in with your fingers to warm up the product and get a good blend. One layer will give you a very light coverage and doesn’t conceal much (if any) of my redness. It is buildable but starts to feel a bit thick and pore clogging (if that is a phrase) after the second layer. However, there is enough coverage in the powder that I can get away with one layer of the foundation. As you can see, the shade is yellow toned ivory and pretty much in line with other ivory offerings from various drug store/high street brands. The sweat proof claim really holds up and this is what has impressed me most about the product. But despite this, it is no more difficult to remove at the end of the day which gives it more bonus points. On the down side it doesn’t have longevity in the coverage. That sounds contradictory with the sweat proof claims, but I find if I have put the foundation on at the beginning of the day has already faded quite a bit by the time I leave work and head to the gym. There also seems to be a very limited shade selection (I’ve seen three). All in all though, a bargain at £2.50.

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The powder, also at only £2.50, has been the stand out product of the three for me. It even made it into my February Favourites video. It provides just enough coverage to wear alone for a gym session and is incredible for keeping me matte and surviving the sweat! I’ve also found it suitable for dry skin which is a plus for any powder product. My habit lately has been to wear my regular work make up and then pat this on my face just before an evening gym session to keep the beetroot face and shine at bay! Down side? Same as the foundation stick – there seems to be limited shades (again, I have only seen three).

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The mascara has been the most disappointing of the three. Price wise it is in line with the rest of the range at only £2. Unfortunately that is where the praise ends for me! The formula is really dry and difficult to work with. This made it quite messy to apply and I usually had transfer to my upper lid when wearing this, despite the dry formula. Once on, it does seem to stay in place throughout a workout but it is an absolute nightmare to remove at the end of the day. In short, there are better waterproof mascaras out there that are worth paying more than double the price tag of this for, so this has been left rattling around in my make up drawers and not really touched after a week of use.

 

 

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The Quest for my Perfect Smile

There any many things I wish I had been better at in my 20’s. Taking my make up off every night (no matter how many cocktails had been consumed!), saving money, even considering my career more carefully. Perhaps those subjects can be addressed in future blog posts. But another area I probably neglected was dental care. It’s hardly the most glamorous side of beauty but OMG is it important. To state the obvious, you only get one set of (adult) teeth. Not only are there massive health implications of not caring for your mouth but cosmetic and financial too (even NHS charges for dental work can be astronomical!) So when Sensodyne contacted me offering to make me part of their Pronamel campaign it inspired me to share the steps I take in my quest to keep my smile healthy (and mine is far from perfect, so it is a work in progress still!)

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Brush, floss and use mouthwash daily.

Hardly revolutionary I know. But the choice of products is really important to me now. Gone are the days when I simply buy the cheapest option available and now I pay attention to the ingredients and benefits of the product just as I would with skincare. I reviewed a toothbrush a while back (here) and am still using this now (having replaced it 3 monthly of course!) The Pronamel products sent to me by Sensodyne have also been added to my list of favourites and I have repurchased them multiple times. The mouthwash is the first one I’ve used that doesn’t make my gums feel like they are on fire while still feeling effective and tasting minty fresh. As for the toothpaste, it is the first one I’ve used for sensitive teeth that actually tastes decent and doesn’t feel like you are brushing your teeth with powder. The enamel protecting formula clearly works too as at a recent trip to the dentist I was complimented on my enamel!

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6 monthly dentist appointments.

Yawn right?! But if you want your teeth to look good when you do yawn, that is how often you need to go! My dental practice now allows you to book appointments six months in advance meaning I can make my next appointment each time I visit, and pop it in my iPhone diary so that I don’t forget to turn up!

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Use straws!

Even supposedly healthy drinks can damage your enamel and so many have the tendency to stain. Now, I have not researched to see if using a straw to drink from definitely helps but it seems logical right? I’ve even been known to sip coffee through a straw (be careful with this one though!) but generally I use this method for drinking fruit juices and smoothies.

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Look after your lips.

Because your smile is not just about your teeth. I’ve spoken about my favourite lip care products countless times on my YouTube channel and here on the blog but here’s a quick reminder. The ELF lip exfoliator is the best I have found for the price and smells amazing. When it comes to lip balm and treatments I recommend a lanolin based formula, especially for those with dry and sensitive skin. My favourite are Dr Lipp and Lanolips.

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Flattering make up products.

It’s well known in the beauty world that a blue toned red lip colour does wonders for making your teeth look whiter.  Favourites in my collection include Mac Ruby Woo (a classic) and Elizabeth Arden Red Door Red (also a classic).

Gym Wear Wish List 2017

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With all the retailers jumping on the January bandwagon for fitness, it has been a great time to shop (or window shop!) for gym fans. So today I am sharing my top picks from the workout wear that has caught my eye this month…

Ivy Park Logo Crew Neck Sweatshirt – £28

Cover ups are just as important as what is underneath! And I don’t just mean in terms of style, I need something warm to cover up with when leaving the gym and getting hit by the cold winter air. I love the quality of Ivy Park gear since first trying the brand when it launched (first impressions can be found on my YouTube channel here) and this dark grey colour will go with (almost) everything in my work out wardrobe.

Victoria’s Secret Incredible Sport Front Close Bra – £33.18

I own a couple of Sports bras from the brand already, and the high impact ones are excellent for keeping everything in place while remaining comfortable! Even better, this front closing option means you don’t have to be a contortionist to get in and out of it. Surprisingly great size range too (32A – 40DDD). Worth every penny.

Red Herring Teal Racer Back Vest – £16

I love a slogan on my gym tops to keep me motivated and this teal colour has me longing for spring. The unusual racer back also gives it an added edge making it great value for money.

Nike Metcon 3iD Customisable Trainers – £135

Yep, you read that right these trainers are customisable. There are countless options to make them personal to you and I spent ages on the website choosing this pair! You can chose the colour, patterns, laces and even add logos and initials. Nike are by far the most comfortable trainers I can find (I have three pairs already!) so all things considered the price is totally justified.

Sweaty Betty Navasana Mesh Crop Leggings – £65

Mesh flooded the work out wear market last year and it looks set to stay. I can see why, as the mesh not only adds to the style but is functional too – allowing for more breathing space during a sweaty session. The geometric pattern on this Sweaty Betty pair are also bound to be super flattering.

 

 

17 in 2017 – setting achievable goals

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New Year’s resolutions are so passé. Goals (or #goals) are the way forward! Last year I teamed up with a group of bloggers/vloggers and we set ourselves 10 achievable tasks for 2016. I actually loved the experience. I didn’t achieve them all, but reflecting on why has given me new focus, and being able to tick so many off the list has definitely given me a boost. Leah XL is leading the way with this year’s version ’17 in 2017′ (because we like to aim high!) Some of us will be writing posts, and some making videos. They will all be linked at the end of this post, so make sure to go and give them some love (and tell them I sent you!)

1. Go to New York

I thought why not start big?! I have wanted to visit the big apple for as long as I can remember, and my husband and me have been planning a theoretical trip there for more than three years! I want this year will be the year we finally get there.

2. Keep going with the fitness

No specific goal. No specific aim for weight/muscle mass/exercise frequency. Just to keep up my motivation and work out often enough to make me feel good.

3. Speak to my sister every week

My ‘baby’ sister is moving to Australia in 6 days time *sobs*. I know how easy it is for time to pass before realising you haven’t been in touch with someone for a while, so I want to make sure I am in touch with her on a regular basis. As with my goals last year, WhatsApp will be my best friend!

4. Eat vegetables with every meal

I got inspiration for this one from my sister in law, Rachel (her blog is linked here). When she signed up to the gym I go to, the personal trainer set her a challenge to eat vegetables with every meal. I eat A LOT of vegetables but rarely with breakfast, especially during the week when I am working. Now is the time to change that!

5. Save for Christmas

Every year I make the same mistake. I get to November and realise I don’t have enough money to buy everybody’s Christmas presents. Cue a mad rush every December payday! I always tell myself that due to all my bills, there is no other way of doing things. But in truth I just need to be more organised. I have opened a new savings account dedicated to Christmas so no more excuses.

6. Reach 1000 subscribers on YouTube

Engagement is what is more important to me so I would rather have more views, lots of comments and a community feel on my channel, but subscriber numbers is the easiest measurement to monitor. I am sitting at 858 as I write this so hope I can get to 1000 by the end of 2017.

7. Read 3 books

Leah set herself this task last year. I thought it was a great one, so I am stealing it! I love reading, but just don’t do it enough. I used to commute on the London Underground for 90 minutes a day, giving me the perfect opportunity to get lost in a book. I drive to work now, but I want to find time to get back into reading so something else will have to give!

8. Invest in a new camera

I film all my videos and take most of my blog photos on an almost 3 year old basic Sony compact camera. It has served it’s purpose but I am now seriously lagging behind the times. I feel I could really improve my content with better quality pictures so 2017 needs to be the year I invest in a new camera. Look out for better quality photos and videos around March time, when I hope to have saved enough money for one!

9. Buy less coffee!

I love coffee. I also work next door (almost) to a Costa. I dread to think how much I spend in there in a year! I cut down for a while, after I bought a Dolce Gusto machine and was taking coffee with me. I got out of this habit, so need to get back into it again. I got an amazing Friends themed travel mug for Christmas, so now is the perfect opportunity.

10. Keep my capsule wardrobe going

It has been over a year since I decided to give the capsule wardrobe a go (and I blogged about it along the way). I have found a way to make the concept work for me which, in a nutshell, is seasonal rotations and a ‘one in, one out’ policy. I want to keep this up.

11. Go to an official blogger/vlogger event

I could pretend I have been invited to countless events but I haven’t! I have been invited to some, but have never been able to attend as they have been during my working hours. I would love to get more involved with the whole blogging scene, network more and see what really goes on at an event!

12. Visit more UK cities

Following on from last year and my successful trip to Bath, I want to explore more UK cities. York is on my list, and I would love to see Edinburgh again. Any other recommendations in the comments please!

13. Donate more

I think most of us could do more when it comes to charity. I regularly donate to charity shops and there are certain things I always do (such as donate to the poppy appeal), but I want to make donating to charity a more regular thing. Even if it means putting a little change in the charity boxes every time I walk past them. It all counts.

14. Complete another ‘fun run’

I loved doing the Pretty Muddy 5K by Race for Life last year, and I would love to do something even more challenging next time.

15. Finish watching Peaky Blinders

We almost got to the end of series one, and absolutely loved it. Then randomly, we just stopped watching. I have no idea why. If you are yet to see it and a 1920’s gangster drama sounds like your thing – watch it! It is worth it just for Cillian Murphy to be honest!

16. Finally sort out contact lenses

I have worn glasses for years and I am not particularly a fan of how I look in them. I keep meaning to sort out contact lenses but never seem to get around to it (because – boring!). I must get them sorted this year.

17. This one is a secret!

It is personal and just for me but something I have been thinking about for ages, and have decided that 2017 will be the year I take the plunge. If I do, I promise to blog about it!

 

The others…

Leah XL

Leahs’ video

The Clare Necessities

Clare’s post

 

 

10 Achievable Tasks for 2016 – Final Update!

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Happy New Year everyone! I have been a bit absent from the blog for a while, mainly because all my efforts were put into Vlogmas over on my YouTube channel for the last part of the year. What better way to kick off January than by reflecting on the 10 achievable tasks I set myself at the beginning of 2016? I got together with a group of vlogger/bloggers for this challenge (here) and gave you an update in August (here) and I was doing OK! We plan to set ourselves some new challenges for 2017 (all to be revealed very soon!) but for now I am rounding up my progress from 2016.

1. Contact friends and family every day – ACHIEVED!

I was happy in August when I posted an update that I had achieved this, and I am pleased that I have kept it up. I would like to have more old fashioned long phone conversations in 2017 but WhatsApp is definitely a godsend for busy people!

2. Reach 200 followers on Bloglovin – so close!

For me, growth on Bloglovin has been extremely slow and despite setting what I thought was an achievable target, I am still a few followers off 200. But, that’s OK! Like I said in August, this is simply a hobby and I only write when I have both the time and inspiration, so I am not expecting to hit the big numbers. On the plus side, I have seen increase in traffic to my blog month on month. Those numbers may still be minuscule to some, but as long as I am writing content that someone wants to read, I am happy 🙂

3. Start a weekly make up rotation – Still going strong!

I have kept this up all year! It has been a great way to get good use out of my make up, use up some products and re-discover lost gems. I highly recommend it for anyone who has a large make up collection.

4. Renovate our bedroom – NOPE!

We are terrible at spending time and money on our home and despite having lived here for almost nine years we still haven’t renovated our bedroom (as we had planned to when we first moved in!) However, we have bought new furniture, had our plug sockets relocated (thank you Father-in-Law!) and got quotes for plastering so, you know, progress!

5. Make time for Headspace – still a fail!

I explained in August that this was a fail from the start as I haven’t used the app at all this year. I wanted to use it regularly to help me relax, unwind and sleep better. In August I was colouring regularly instead but to be honest I haven’t really kept that up since. Maybe 2017 will be the year I finally learn to relax!

6. Visit a different UK city – ACHIEVED!

I had already achieved this in August, having visited Bath the month before. I fell in love and will definitely be going back. I would love to explore more of the UK in 2017 too.

7. Restart social media free nights – kind of?!

Going ‘unplugged’ for one night a week was my original goal. It hasn’t really been a routine I have gotten into BUT we do make an effort in our house to say “right that’s it, no more screen time tonight” at a certain time to make sure we actually talk to each other. I spend a lot of time on social media, partly due to this blog and my YouTube channel so I find it important to disconnect from it all now and then.

8. Listen to 5 albums – ACHIEVED!

I wanted to do this to rekindle my love for music and it worked! I have actually listened to more than 5 albums in 2016. I have been bought a few by my music-mad friend, and signed up to Spotify which has helped. My favourite of the year is still We Come From the Same Place by Allo Darlin’ (who have since announced they are no longer making music – boo!)

9. Eat less takeaways – ACHIEVED!

I haven’t cut them out completely but am often only having them once a month now, which is a huge improvement from 2015! My diet has had a bit of an overhaul in general and I have seen the benefits. I am no angel – I still love my coffee, chocolate and desserts in most formats, but on the whole am making much better food choices and feel so much better for it.

10. Try a new gym class – ACHIEVED!

By August last year I had tried Boogiebounce and Anti-gravity yoga, and I still go to these every week. I have since tried a couple of new classes at the gym including Bodypump (ouch!) and definitely get the most intense burn when working out in a group.

Check back in on 8th January to see what goals I am setting for 2017…

 

 

NEW Corsodyl Daily Toothbrush

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Gum health. Not quite as glamorous as beauty blogging or some other areas of health blogging I know. Yet, we only get one set of adult teeth so I reckon we ought to pay as  much attention to our dental routine as we do to our other beauty routines. If you follow my blog and YouTube channel you will be familiar with (aka bored of) the fact that I have sensitive skin. Well guess what, my gums are sensitive too! I’ve found I haven’t got on very well with electric toothbrushes in the past, and I find it difficult to find a manual toothbrush that is both effective and gentle enough for my delicate gums!

So, when I was offered the chance to try the new Corsodyl Daily Toothbrush I was willing to give it a go but wasn’t expecting anything special. I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised. Correction. Very impressed! So much so that I went out and bought another so that my husband could have one too!

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Corsodyl recommends selecting a toothbrush with a small head, and easy grip handle. The Daily Toothbrush has both of these perks. I thought the bulky looking handle might not be for me but it actually makes it easy to keep a hold of when brushing your teeth. They also claim the added perk of this toothbrush is the dual length bristles. This is the main selling point for me. It’s one of those ‘you will see what I mean when you try it’ situations but the longer outer bristles are soft and therefore gentle, but ensure the tooth is cleaned right up to the gum line, adapting to different tooth shapes. The shorter outer bristles seem slightly less soft to me and therefore do the harder work. I don’t think I have ever thought about teeth cleaning in so much detail before! The upshot is, this toothbrush does not irritate my gums but leaves my teeth feeling really clean. I’ve never been loyal to a particular toothbrush before but see myself repurchasing this one (after 3 months if I am to follow my dentist’s advice!).

The Corsodyl Daily Toothbrush retails for £3.49. I managed to get my husband’s one on offer in Asda for only £2.

 

 

 

 

This content is not sponsored. I received the initial Corsodyl Daily Toothbrush as a PR sample.

PS Love to Glow Face Mask

I’ve got my daily skincare routine down. I am also (unapologetic boast coming up) really good at sticking to it every day without fail, even when extra tired or under the influence of a few gins (find my evening skin care routine video here). I am not very good, however, at regularly applying face masks. I love the Lush fresh face masks but am guilty of forgetting to use them before they expire. Then when you factor in my sensitive skin and preference not to spend a fortune on face masks, I haven’t actually tried that many. SO you can imagine my delight when I discovered the PS Love to Glow face mask, at only £3, was a hit!

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First things first, I have it on reliable authority that this is not a dupe for the famous Glam Glow masks. There was a fair bit of hype when the Primark skincare range launched including speculation that the mask could be a dupe. I haven’t tried Glam Glow myself, but I have read enough comparison reviews to be able to say with confidence that they are not very similar. That doesn’t mean this PS Love product isn’t a great one though.

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The packaging is pretty classy. The glass tub has some weight to it, giving it more of a luxury feel than the £3 price tag suggests. I would describe the scent as a little clinical and a little on the strong side for my preference, but not a deal breaker. The texture is clay-like without being too sticky and I find it easy to apply with an old make up brush.

I love how it immediately provides a cooling sensation on the skin, without being tingly or uncomfortable. After 10 minutes (the recommended time to leave in place) the colour definitely darkens and the product feels tighter on the face, but again without being at all uncomfortable.

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As it is removed, the mask has an exfoliating effect and leaves my skin feeling soft and looking brighter. I am really pleased with the effect this has had on my skin and I am yet to react to it despite there being some potentially inflammatory ingredients such as fragrance, but it seems to be far enough down the ingredients list for it not to be a problem for me. The ingredients that seem to ‘do it’ for me in this are Kaolin (clay), Shea butter and Argan oil. Now all I need to do it remember to use it!