The last couple of months have just flown by and I haven’t given this space as much attention as I would have liked. So I decided to bin the excuses today and write!
I recently decided to mix things up a little with my food intake and cut out carbs entirely (or as much as I possibly can) for a while. So yes, I’ve started eating ‘keto’ in an attempt to see if I can indeed make progress whilst still being able to eat cheese (win-win as far as I’m concerned). I’m not sure yet how long it’s going to last but I’ve been on it for about 3 weeks and now that the terrible withdrawals have stopped, I’m quite enjoying this new approach to eating.
That brings me to the point of this post – chia-pudding! I know the whole chia-pudding mania is not new so this is just me trying to share a version I made that tastes like a little pot of heaven.
Raspberry-Mint Chia Pudding
Raspberries – I used about a handful but this is entirely up to you
200ml coconut milk (the kind that comes in a tetrapak, not in a can)
30g chia seeds
A sprig of mint
Blitz the raspberries, coconut milk and a couple of mint leaves in a blender (I used my Nutribullet). Decant the gorgeous pink mixture into a mason jar and then add the chia seeds. Put the lid on, shake it like a polaroid picture and leave to set in the fridge for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
Top with more mint if you like and serve….
P.S. Because the Nutribullet pulverises the seeds of the raspberries as well as the flesh, the pudding does have a slightly ‘green’ taste to it. You can avoid this by using a regular blender and straining out the seeds if you really want to but I promise you will stop noticing it after the first couple of mouthfuls!
Whether you like make-up or not, I’m pretty sure you’ve noticed (or tried not to notice) all the buzz and hype around Rihanna’s new make-up line, Fenty Beauty. Rihanna’s range has been whipping everyone into a frenzy – the media, influencers, consumers – pretty much everyone has something to say and most of it is great.
I first heard about it on Instagram and though it was big news, I didn’t think the brand would land in the UK anytime soon. I wasn’t curious enough to order it all the way from Sephora in the US so I didn’t think much about it until I heard it would be exclusively available at Harvey Nichols! That was a game-changer and now I really, really, really wanted to be a part of all the excitement.
Though I was keen, I waited for the initial launch excitement to die down before I started to check the range out- it’s so disappointing to set your heart on a perfect shade and then see the dreaded ‘out of stock’ sign. This was especially true given that I was most looking forward to trying the Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longer Foundation which is being hailed as one of the most inclusive foundation shade ranges. I’d read some good reviews and also noticed that most women recommended getting colour matched in store.
I was working in London a few weeks ago and decided to go to Harvey Nichols after work to get shade matched. I’m always a little dubious about trusting a store assistant to recommend the right shade because my skin is quite pigmented in certain areas and I don’t necessarily want my foundation to match those bits. I always match to the ‘good’ areas and find that as long as the undertone is correct, I can pinpoint a shade pretty accurately from online or hand swatches. Nevertheless, I made my way to Harvey Nichols – only to be met with a line that started outside the store and went around the side of the building! There was no way I was going to queue for 45 minutes in the rain – sorry Ri-Ri!
So when I got home, I decided to try and find my shade from the swatches on the website. I have to say though, this wasn’t so easy to do with Fenty beauty, because while the shades are quite nicely organised and swatches, the undertones are pretty hard to nail in the studio photos (reds vs. warms especially). After much back and forth and trying to Google swatches on brown skin, I settled on shade 330. There really aren’t enough people swatching the Tan range side by side on brown skin and while I could see one or two beside each other, I wish I could have seen the entire Tan range swatched on brown skin in natural daylight!
I only bought a couple of items from the Fenty Beauty range but I paid for everything with my own money and you’re getting my honest thoughts about each piece.
I had read enough about the foundation to know that everyone thought it was marvellous so I had very high expectations going in. Firstly, I did pick the right shade – the foundation tends to oxidise (or set, depending on what you read) and turn a little darker when it sets so the shade wasn’t an issue for me. I might try a slightly darker shade when this one runs out but a foundation that’s even slightly too dark makes my skin look lifeless.
The first thing I noticed was that the foundation dried quickly – way too quickly! I’m talking while I was still blending it! I like to apply my foundation loosely with a brush and then dab with a Beauty Blender until it’s seamless. With the Pro Filt’r Foundation though, I found that midway though the process I had streaks and patchy bits where the foundation had already started to set and it was extremely hard to blend out.
I did eventually manage to finish blending it and the overall look I achieved was actually pretty good. The foundation looked matte but not caked on, it was medium-full coverage and I only needed one layer to cover up any pigmentation. I also noticed that I didn’t really need concealer – especially under the eyes – so that was definitely a plus. I set it with Kat Von D’s Lock It Setting Powder (one of my favourites, along with Laura Mercier’s Universal setting powder) and I was ready to go.
Through the day I noticed that the foundation got progressively drier on my face and started to gather near the corners of my nose. I was able to fix it relatively easily with a micro Beauty Blender I keep in my purse but still – not ideal in an office environment!
I also picked up the Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter Duo in the shades ‘Girl Next Door’ and ‘Chick Phreak’. Similar to the Pro Filt’r foundation range, the highlighter duos range from light to deep and I think I the duo I bought sits in the ‘Tan’ range.
I have to say, the highlighters are lovely. The pigment is very, very finely milled so it doesn’t stick to the pores on your face and leave you with loads of unwanted texture (why highlighters? why must you be so cruel?). It’s also buildable and blends out very easily, leaving my cheeks with a nice glow rather than shiny racing stripes, making it a great buy for everyday use (especially work). Of course, it’s just as easy to dampen the brush for the wet-look when I’m feeling a little more glamourous.
They also come in a little octagonal white case (shiny – so it’s easy to clean) which is so, so chic and easy to travel with.
I would say that overall, I am a little underwhelmed by the foundation and would not recommend it for drier skins. My skin is fairly normal (sometimes dry depending on my water intake) and I use Farsali’s Rose Gold Elixir as a primer so it’s well hydrated before the foundation goes on but I haven’t been able to make the Pro Filt’r foundation work as well as I would like.
However, I really like the highlighter duo and the soft, gentle highlight each shade leaves on my skin. I especially love the shade ‘Chick Phreak’ which leaves the most gorgeous rose gold effect on the skin. I also definitely want to pick up the shade ‘Trophy Wife’ as the swatches I have seen online are stunning.
Have you bought anything from Fenty beauty and did you like it as much as everyone else? Leave me a comment.
Autumn has to be my favourite time of the year. The trees change colour, I can unpack all my fluffy jumpers and it’s perfectly acceptable not to shave your legs every week. I always pack away my warm clothes each year, so by the time the season rolls around again, I’ve forgotten what I have and it’s almost like having a new wardrobe. I tend to unpack everything around October so I have a chance to wear all those things that are too-warm-for summer and not-warm-enough for winter.
October is also the time most stores go on a mid-season sale so the high street is littered with those brig red signs that are somehow an irresistible lure to go into the store. Most of the time, the stuff in there are rejects from the summer lines but now and then you can find a few things that will work layered up for autumn/winter. As it happens, I did not actually pick up anything from the sales this month but they definitely worked to lure me in store/online and got me spending some cash.
Timberland Slim Nellie Chukka Boots
I put these up first because they were purchased entirely because I went into an Office store to check out the sale. I had spotted the most darling pair of these boots in a light pink which were on sale for around £75 (down from £105 the label said) but when I tried them on, they seemed to dwarf my feet and just looked a bit odd in general. They were called the Kenniston Nellie boots and though I didn’t like that particular style, the seed was sown and I wanted a pair of Timberland boots. So I went on to the Office website and found that Timberland does a slimmer version of the Chukka boot called the ‘Nellie‘ for £120. I wanted a pair in grey but they didn’t have my size in stock so I decided to buy them in black – a safe choice I know but I figured I could always exchange them if they looked too boring. I read through a number of the the reviews before and the only complaint seemed to be that the shoes were a bit narrow so not suitable for wider feet. They arrived around 3 days later – not bad service from Office* as the order was shipped for free.
I tried them on immediately of course and completely fell in love! They are at the same time edgy and chic and look great being dressed down or up. They’re also super flattering in black, especially when worn with black skinny jeans and make my legs look a lot slimmer! I have to agree with the reviews that said they do have a narrow fit though so something to bear in mind if you have wider feet. I don’t regret buying the black but I think I will definitely be buying a couple more pairs – perhaps in the camel/khaki colours.
Image coming soon
*I loved the boots so much, I talked my boyfriend into getting a pair as well. The service in the Kingston Office store was terrible and we ended up walking out having waited 15 minutes for an assistant to bring us the shoes we wanted. We found out that there is an actual Timbaland store in Kingston though so ended up going there and their service was first class!
A collection of things from Primark/Zara
Now I know Primark can be one of those stores that polarises people but personally, I find you can pick up great basics and casual pieces for a reasonable price. I also think they’ve really upped their game recently and have been spot-on in producing stuff that allows people to buy a designer inspired piece without breaking the bank.
I picked up a yellow/blue plaid shirt because you can never have enough plaid shirts and I don’t have one in mustard yellow. These are so easy too style on their own, under a jumper or with a few buttons undone and a pretty, lacy cami peeking through. The khaki shirt is quite straightforward – it’s a plain, long shirt that is easily worn with leggings, tucked into jeans or tied at the waist. The floral top had my eye for a while; I’d seen it on a couple of previous trips to the store and since it always caught my attention, I decided to pick it up this time. Again, it can be worn on it’s own with a nice bralette underneath or over a cami/tank top.
The yellow geometric scarf is from Zara. I fell in love with the pattern instantly so it was definitely an impulse buy. Having worn it once, I’m going to save it for winter as it’s a bit too warm to be worn in autumn.
Hair care from Bumble & Bumble and Phillip Kingsley
I got all the haircare products from www.lookfantastic.com which is my favourite place to shop for items like this. I can take my time to read up and not have the pressure or expectation from a store assistant that I will pick it up right there and then.
Bumble & Bumble is one of my favourite haircare brands and I absolutely swear by their Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer for protecting and keeping my hair manageable. I was looking for a clarifying shampoo when I came across B&B’s Sunday Shampoo (£20) which claims to be a clarifying shampoo containing Ginseng, Rosemary & Sage. Lookfantastic.com says that the shampoo removes buildup and recommends using it once a week.
I was also looking to switch from my current shampoo and conditioner (Alterna Caviar Moisturising shampoo/conditioner) and after a little research on volumising shampoos, I found the Phillip Kingsley Body building range. Lookfantastic has some bundle deals available where you can get the elasticizer as well, but I decided to just purchase the shampoo and conditioner which cost me £15.70 for the shampoo and £18.70 for the conditioner.
I’ve used the Sunday Shampoo twice and it was fabulous – left my hair squeaky clean and full of body afterwards. It also smells a lot like B&B’s Thickening Hairspray which I absolutely love as well! I haven’t used the Phillip Kingsley range enough to say much about whether they’ve worked. Both products seem to do a good enough job but I haven’t yet noticed a huge amount of body from just the shampoo & conditioner.
I also bought a few things to add to my make-up collection – the Morphe x Jaclyn Hill palette and a couple of things from Fenty beauty. There’s a lot to say about them though so I will talk about them in another post.
ghd has long been one of my favourite hair care/styling brands for a while now. I’ve had my ghd Air for several years and it’s been on many, many weekend breaks, staycations and holidays abroad. I would definitely choose to have my hairdryer over carrying an extra outfit or pair of shoes so it’s dear to me indeed!
When I first heard about the new Curve range of styling tools from ghd I was quite excited but it took me some time to talk myself into a purchase. It wasn’t something I’d pick up on impulse and I also don’t really like to heat-style my hair very often. Still, the range was so sleek looking and it seemed functional – but let’s be honest, I’m a magpie and attracted to shiny new stuff. I did do my research – looking at several dozen YouTube videos and blog reviews demonstrating the tool before I finally gave in and decided to cough up the £100-odd I knew this thing would cost.
So, mind made up, I wandered into the John Lewis in Kingston and over to the (tiny) ghd station to pick up a new curling wand. I was quite clear in my head that I wanted a wand rather than a set of tongs – the latter and I never could see eye to eye over all the hair I’ve lost to dodgy clamps. What I didn’t know though was which wand to choose – ghd offers the ‘Classic Wave Wand’ or the ‘Creative Curl Wand’.
According to the ghd website CWW offers “deep, lustrous waves with glamorous movement” while the CCW (I wonder how much thought went into the branding to get those acronyms!) claims to produce “natural looking curls to beautiful, relaxed waves”.
The kind of curl I like definitely fits the ‘loose waves’ description but I also like to think big and voluminous rather than coiled and springy. There isn’t much variation in the colour of my dark brown hair so tighter curls can end up looking one-dimensional and flat.
Having looked at pictures of both the wands, I was a bit suspicious of the way they looked – the Classic Wave had an even barrel but was kind of flattened, while the Creative Curl was similar but with a long, tapered end. Whenever I curl my hair, I find it very hard to get the ends to curl and not just look ‘bendy’ so I was reluctant to pick up the tapered Creative Curl which looked like it might leave my ends looking more like rat tails than tousled waves.
I don’t know about you but the pictures and descriptions left me more confused than ever so I asked the sales lady at John Lewis for her recommendation. When she heard I did not like tight curls, she immediately recommended the ‘Classic Wave’ wand, assuring me that it would give me that loose wave I wanted. Job done.
I walked off with my purchase in hand but being the obsessive YouTube/blog junkie that I am, I looked up reviews of both tools and watched them again and again in-between rifling through the sale racks. There was this niggling sense of doubt that I had made the wrong choice and I just wasn’t convinced that buying a flat-ish even barrelled wand was going to help with the ‘bendy ends’ issue.
And so, just as we were on our way back to the car park, I rushed back into the store with a breathless apology and mumbled explanation of how my sister told me to swap wands because she knows my hair type and what would work. Why didn’t I just tell the lady the truth? Because honestly, making something up seemed a lot more plausible – go figure.
Anyway, back to my purchase and I can tell you I’m quite pleased I made the swap. Though I haven’t personally tried the Classic Wave, the Creative Curl does everything I want – particularly with the ends of my hair.
The wand is quite slim with a tapered barrel as you can see in the picture. It doesn’t have any heat settings and comes with just the on/off switch and some funky tones and tunes that tell you when the appliance is on and ready to use. As far as packaging & finish of the actual product go, it is about what you would expect from ghd – sleek, luxurious and sexy black.
Heats up super, super fast! While this is helpful when you’re in a rush, don’t be tempted to set it down without protecting the surface first
Very light and comes with universal voltage – helpful if you’re always buying cheap appliances to cope when travelling
Built-in automatic shut-off if the appliance isn’t used for more than 30 mins
Comes with a slightly odd looking 3 fingered styling glove – helpful if you’re spatially challenged and burn your fingers all the time! (ahem)
Expensive. The Creative Curl will set you back £120 but it comes with a 2 year warranty and as someone who owns a few other ghd tools, I would say it’s well worth the investment
The wand I bought did not come with a case and I couldn’t see an option to buy a version that had one in the store. This is quite a major con for me as I love the stylish case my ghd flat irons came in which doubled as a heating mat. I have seen other reviews that show a case of some sort so it may be that this was just part of the packs that went out as PR
This may just be me but I found it really hard to decide between the Creative Curl and Classic Wave. The images on the ghd website show the ‘extremes’ of each look and what I wanted was really somewhere in-between
Having used the wand a few times now, I can honestly say that it really does produce curls that last all day and these then drop down into very soft, pretty waves. In fact, I’m currently on day 3 with these waves and they look so naturally tousled that I’ll be sorry to wash them out this evening!
Is the Creative Curl worth your money? Yes – if you’re like me and want maximum results without having to heat style your hair everyday. I’ve had similar results with other curling irons but they usually don’t last this long. I also didn’t use any curl hold spray (though ghd recommends doing so) but I did protect my hair with Bumble & Bumble’s Invisible Oil Primer. There’s a little hairspray holding everything together but that’s pretty much it!
I know that the range isn’t cheap but they’re reasonably priced for a good quality product and from my personal experience with everything ghd that I own – they will last ages.
Have you bought or are thinking of buying anything from the ghd Curve range? I’d love to hear what you think of the Creative Curl or any other tools in the range and whether they worked for you. Leave me a comment below.