Monday, 23 November 2015

Nails Inc - Tate - NOTD And A Giveaway (UK Only)

Although I'm a firm believer that you should be able to where whatever nail colour you like, when you like, I'm probably the first to admit that nothing screams Autumn, Winter and the festive season more than red and berry toned nails.

One of the best tradition shades for this time of year has to be the Nails Inc classic, Tate. Tate is the ultimate deep red colour that everybody, and I mean everybody needs in their nail polish wardrobe.

Like most, Nails Inc polishes, this one is glossy, easy to apply, and quick drying. This is quite a full coverage polish so with careful application one coat would be enough, and would produce a brighter red. 

Add another coat or two though and you get a deeper, more berry red that goes perfectly with that little black dress for the party season.

I think that Tate is the perfect classic red no matter what the occasion of no matter what your nails look like. On long nails I think it gives quite a vampy finish, where as on short nails like mine, I think it looks very smart and sophisticated and of course it goes without saying that Tate looks amazing on the toe nails, peeking out of a pair of sparkly or black sandals.

I've had this bottle for quite a while now and it's still as good as new, I dig it out pretty much every Christmas and it's a real standby shade. Over the last few months I've managed to acquire another two bottles of the shade via a certain beauty box and as much as I love it, 3 bottles is a tad excessive, so this is where you guys come in. I have two, 10ml bottles of Nails Inc Tate to giveaway, to two of my lucky readers. The bottles features the new style logo and branding but they are in the original, cylindrical bottles. Unfortunately because of postal restrictions this giveaway is open to UK readers and followers only but if you're in the UK and you'd like to win, full in the Rafflecopter form below before the 8th December 2015 and if you're one of my lucky winners you'll have your polish in time for the majority of the party season x

Thanks for reading and good luck, and don't worry if you can't enter this time round, my big worldwide, festive giveaway is coming soon xx 

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Sample Saturday - Philip Kingsley Body And Shine Try Me Kit*

My name is Louise and my hair is driving me mad :( Thanks to illness and a great deal of medication I've been having problems on and off with my hair for a few years now, and at the moment I just so happen to be having a bad spell. I wouldn't say it was particularly dry but it's definitely lacking in life and volume, and it seems to thin and break at the drop of the hat, particularly around my hair line.

I'm forever trying new hair products and trying different things to try and boost my lowly locks, and over the past couple of weeks I've been trying out a few products that I was sent from Philip Kingsley. Philip Kingsley is a top salon brand, but he isn't a hairdresser, he's actually a trichologist, with over 50 years of experience in dealing with serious hair and scalp problems. As well as having his own well respected trichology clinics both here and in the USA, he also produces a range of products that are designed to deal with some of the most common hair and scalp problems.

I've been using the Body and Shine Try Me Kit for the last couple of weeks now. This kit contains 3, mini 20ml, products that are specifically designed for fine, limp and flyaway hair with heat or chemical processing.

Philip Kingsley Body Building Shampoo - 20ml

The first product in the kit is a 20ml shampoo, and this one is the Philip Kingsley Body Building Shampoo. Specifically designed for fine, limp and flyaway hair, this gentle, frequent use shampoo contains both natural cellulose and keratin proteins which help to improve the hair texture and to strengthen the hair and add shine

This shampoo has a clear gel formulation and a pleasant almost floral, parma violet like aroma. It's quite a thick gel and you only need a small amount to produce a  creamy, soft foam. Ir rinses away easily, and the hair almost instantly seems smoother and fuller. It isn't the most moisturising shampoo that I've ever used, so if you have dry hair you'll definitely need to follow it with a conditioner, but my hair definitely looked a felt more silky when I used it and it didn't look quite as frizzy.

Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Conditioner - 20ml

The next product in the kit is a hair conditioner. I did try the shampoo on it own a couple of times to review it in it's own right but more often than not I followed it with a blob of this conditioner. This is the Philip Kingsley Moisture Balancing Conditioner. Designed for medium, textured wavy hair or fine processed hair, this conditioner is specifically designed to deliver moisture at the end and the mid lengths without adding an extra weight.It contains both elastin, which is designed to leave the hair shinier, smoother, and tangle free, and wheat proteins which have natural anti-static properties.

The conditioner is off white in colour, and has a milky, lotion type texture -  it wasn't quite as thick as I was expecting but it still felt quite creamy. It spread through the hair quite easily, and it rinsed away quickly, leaving the hair with a clean, but subtle, almost musky, herbal, aromatherapy type scent. The hair felt smoother and less tangled almost instantly, this isn't the most intense conditioner that I've used but it definitely gave my hair a god moisture hit, and tamed my frizz and fly aways without leaving my hair, heavy, weighed down or overloaded. If your hair is really dry, this might not be enough for some people, but it's perfect for frequent use, and people with finer hair.

Philip Kinglesy - Elasticizer - 20ml

The final product in this kit is probably the product that Philip Kingsley is most famous for Elasticizer! Originally created by Philip Kingsley in the 1970's Elasticizer was created for one of Philip's most famous clients, actress and all round icon, Audrey Hepburn. Elasticizer was the world's first pre-shampoo conditioning treatment and it's designed to improve hair manageability, bounce, strength, shine and elasticity, without coating or weighing down the hair.

I'm going to be honest and say that this I've used this product on and off for a few years now, and it's one of two intensive hair treatments that I swear by. Its easy to use and I genuinely think that it makes a difference in just one use.

It's unscented, white in colour and has a lovely thick creamy texture, that spreads easily through the hair. This is a pre-shampoo conditioner, so all you do is apply it to wet hair. You don't need to have a shower or shampoo your hair, you just need to wet your hair down before you apply it. Then just leave it for at least 20 minutes to give it a chance to work - You can leave it for as long as you like though, I've even left it on overnight, and if you're using a sauna or you're on holiday then you can use it to both protect and condition your hair.

As it soaks in to your hair, your hair can start to feel a little bit sticky, but don't worry about it, it's just doing it's thing. It takes a little bit of rinsing, but just rinse it out with warm water,  and work it through your hair, then shampoo and condition as normal.

Even after just one use Elasticizer, which contains castor and olive oils, elastin and glycerine, makes a difference to my hair. Every time I use it my hair feels smoother, and stronger, I seem to lose less hair and it seems to give my hair a huge boost. This particular product has an almost iconic status in the beauty industry and for me it thoroughly deserves it.

I've only managed about 4 uses out of each tube but it's easy to see why both Philip Kingsley and his products are held in such high regard. I've only used them a few times but they definitely seem to do what they promise. My hair looks smoother, and I've definitely noticed an improvement in  the manageability and the texture of my hair

Although you only get a small amount of product, a little goes a long way,  and kits like this give you a good opportunity to try out a more expensive product before shelling out for the full size items. This Philip Kingley Body And Shine Try Me Kit retails at £6 and it comes in various versions depending on your hair type or concern. I think that these kits would make an ideal small gift or a stocking filler for anyone who is new to the brand or for anyone that spends a lot of time travelling and uses a lot of minis. If you're already a Philip Kingsley devotee though, there are lots of other Philip Kingsley gift sets available this Christmas containing an assortment of his most popular products.

You can buy Philip Kingsley products directly from the Philip Kingsley website and various other retailers including Feel Unique, John Lewis, QVC and Look Fantastic.

Even though my hair product game is already strong I have my eye on quite  a few of the Philip Kingsley products and I would especially love to receive some of the new Geranium and Neroli Elasticizer in my stocking, so if your listening  Santa you know where I am ;) Have you get any Philip Kingsley products on your festive wishlist this year? Let me know x


Friday, 20 November 2015

Foodie Friday - Upping My Protein Intake With Veganicity Pea Protein*

I've been a vegetarian for nearly 19 years now and during that time I've heard it all and pretty much seen it all. Thankfully people are a lot more accepting of special diets now but there are still those who make judgements and assumptions because of what you to choose to eat or not to eat. I've lost count of the amount of people who've suggested that my diet must be lacking in something because I don't eat meat or fish. Yes, vegetarians, and vegans can sometimes lack certain vitamins and minerals such as iron, protein and vitamin B12 but if you eat a balanced diet and a wide variety of different foods then you should be fine.

I'm a firm believer that you should be able to get all the vitamins, and minerals that you need from the food you eat but sometimes you just need a bit of a boost, particularly if you're lacking in energy or if you're stressed, unwell or if you've been eating badly,

It's funny how things become trendy or popular but at the moment you can't go on Facebook or instagram without somebody talking about protein powder. Although I follow a lot of fitness and wellbeing accounts where people are using protein powder to increase muscle mass and stamina and to aid weight loss, protein is something that we all need to help tissue regeneration and to provide the body with essential fuel.

Whilst I don't think my diet is too bad and I do still eat a lot of protein based foods such as soya, grains, and beans, I'm going through a bad patch health wise, so as a vegetarian, who wants a bit more energy and is trying to lose some weight, an extra boost of protein powder sounded like it would be perfect by me.

The problem is though where do you start - research protein powders and it really is a minefield, what is made from? what does it taste like? what do I do with it? So many questions so many options and answers and I have to admit I was a bit stuck. Thankfully though the lovely people from Veganicity came to my rescue.

Veganicity produce a huge range of vitamins, minerals and nutritional supplements, all of which are 100% vegan and animal friendly, and are approved by the Vegan Society. Their products are also suitable for coeliacs and diabetics and anyone who wants to avoid unnecessary or artificial ingredients in their supplements. One of the supplements that they offer is Pea Protein, and I was kindly sent a bag to try out.

Okay, I know in this world of sweet flavoured protein powders, that pea protein probably doesn't sound too appetising but appearances and words can be deceptive. The humble pea is crammed full of vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre and protein.

The 250g bag contains nothing but pure pea powder, it contains no artificial fillers, preservatives or binders and 80& of the contents is pure pea proteins. When I opened the packet I assumed that it would be green but it's actually a very finely ground, cream coloured powder. It reminds me a bit of flour in both texture and in taste. It's classed as unflavoured but it actually tastes a little bit like raw flour. It certainly isn't overpowering and it definitely won't alter the taste of anything that you put it in.

Veganicity recommend that you take around 1 to 3 servings a day, a serving is about a heaped dessertspoon. You get around 25 servings in each bag and each serving contains around 39 calories.

There is no one way to use this, you can mix it into cold drinks, hot drinks, stews, soups, smoothies and milkshakes, and you can even use it to make pancakes. The pancake recipe is on the packet and it's both egg and dairy free, I gave it ago but instead of soya milk, I used normal semi skimmed and I used gluten free flour.

It wasn't the most successful recipe that I've ever made (thanks to the gluten free flour) but the pancakes, were really good, especially when I served them with some stewed blackberries and apple and some squirty cream. I know the cream wasn't the most healthy addition but I felt so virtuous with all the extra protein, I felt as though I deserved a treat.

Because of my poorly wisdom tooth, I'm eating a lot of soup at the moment and I've been putting spoonful or two of the pea protein  into my homemade soups and stews. It dissolves really well into hot liquids but it needs a bit of extra work when you add it to cold drinks. If you're going to add it to a milkshake or say a smoothie I would definitely recommend that you use a blender or a specialist shaker to make sure the pea protein is full dissolved because you don't want any lumps.

Here I've just made a quick milkshake with a spoonful of powder, some milk, some frozen raspberries and some frozen banana (just a tip peel your bananas before you freeze them to stop them going brown)

and here I've made a quick frozen smoothie, with some fresh orange juice, and some frozen banana and some frozen pineapple, and a spoonful of pea protein.

Whether or not all of this extra protein is doing me any good, I really can't tell but I do know that I can't be doing me any harm, and I certainly feel a little bit better for it. Although nothing can replace a healthy diet, supplements definitely can play a part when we need that little bit of something extra. If you are feeling a bit under the weather though, or if your not sure whether or not you should be taking supplements or vitamins, it's worth having a chat with your GP or another health care professional. Veganicity From Health Plus Pea Protein retails at around £8.45 for a 250g bag and is available from the Veganicity website, Amazon and from various other health food stores x


Thursday, 19 November 2015

NARS NARSissist Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette

Some people love high end make up and some people love budget beauty personally though I'm somewhere in the middle.Nowadays I don't believe that you have to spend a fortune to get a good quality product but sometimes it's nice to treat yourself and buy something a little bit more expensive.

If you're not a regular high end purchaser, Christmas and birthdays may give you the perfect opportunity to splash out and either treat yourself, or let somebody treat you to a designer beauty product or two. Way back in May I celebrated a 30 something (cough) birthday, and I was lucky enough to receive a little bit of money, most of which I spent on beauty and make up. One of the things that I bought from SpaceNK was this gorgeous limited edition NARS palette.

The NARS NARSissist Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette is packaged in a beautiful, but hard to photograph, chunky, silver, mirrored palette.

It contains a full sized mirror, and 8 x 1g eye shadows in the Dual Intensity formulation. This is one of NARS newest formulations and the multi dimensional effect shadows can be used wet or dry. The shadows can either be used dry to create a sheer wash of colour or they can be built up or used wet to create, a solid block colour, which is crease free and can supposedly last for up to 8 hours.

One of the key difference between high hand and more budget palettes is usually the applicators that they contain. More often than not cheaper palettes contain sponge end applicators I don't know about you but personally I don't know why they bother including them, they're  okay if you're desperate but I tend to put them in my craft stash or just throw them away. This NARS palette though is just quality personified  and includes an all be it scaled down, but excellent quality travel sized fluffy eye shadow brush, which can be used both wet and dry. This brush is a valuable inclusion and one I will actually use.

The palette contains a variety of shades ranging from shimmering neutrals, that are ideal for a paired down everyday look, to rich dark, smokey shades that are perfect for the party season. Although this palette can be used both wet and dry, I've just swatched it dry to give you an idea of the depth and multi dimensional qualities of the shadows

On the top row from left to right - Europa which is a beautiful, pale, iridescent pink peach, Himalia which us a shimmering topaz colour, Ursa Major which is a yummy glazed chocolate colour and Subra, which is a black orchid, almost burgundy, rouge noir shade.

and on the bottom row from left to right - Andromeda - a pale, alabaster shade, Lysithea, which is probably my favourite colour and is described as a silvery, shark grey, Giove which is a deep navy blue, and Sycorax which is a midnight black shade.

Good pigmentation and embossed eye shadows are words that don't often go hand in hand, but as you can see from these pictures, these shadows are extremely pigmented, and buildable, and they have a smooth almost creamy texture. If they look like this dry then you can imagine how amazing they look when they're wet.

This palette retails at around £45 and whilst it isn't cheap I think it's definitely worth the money - it's not only aesthetically pleasing but everything about from the shadows to the brush just screams quality. Unfortunately it was a limited edition so it's not that easy to get a hold of now but I have managed to track a few down on Sephora if you're in the US, and on ASOS and Harvey Nichols if you're in the UK.

If you can't manage to get your hands on this palette or if you only like certain shades, all of the colours apart from Ursa Major are available individually,in a 14g full size, for £21. The beautiful black orchid, burgundy shade Subra is also available along with 3 other Dual Intensity shades in the new NARS Steven Klein Dual Intensity Eyeshadow Palette Dead Of Summer for around £35.

Are you a NARS fan ? I'd love to hear your thoughts and your recommendations x

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A Huge Collective Home And Lifestyle Haul And A Giveaway

As much as I love buying clothes and beauty products at the moment I'm really enjoying buying and choosing things for the home and more specifically things for my bedroom. Because of my ME and Fibromyalgia even the simplest task like reorganising and tidying my room seems to take a lifetime, At last though I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and although I still have a few things to do before I move onto my craft room / office, it's time to start buying pretties.

My bedroom really is my sanctuary - I want it to be cosy, and comfortable and I want it to smell nice, hence my obsession with candles, and room fragrance.

I love Yankee Candles but in my room I want quick, and easy fragrance and whilst I still burn candles, I really love wax melts for speed and for intensity. The last time I was in the Metro Centres I went to one of my favourite Yankee retailers Collectables and bought a few melts / tarts. I got one of my all time favourite Lemon Lavender, and a few more seasonal fragrances, Christmas Memories and my current my have fragrance Pain Au Raisin.

I'm a huge fan of Christmas fragrance and whilst Yankee always do some amazing spicy and foodie fragrances, my favourite Christmas fragrance is actually Next's Festive Spice. It's the perfect mix of spices, orange and red fruits, and I always stock up while I can.

This time round I got one of the Festive Spice Fragranced Candle Jars which £6 and one of the Next 70ml Festive Spice Fragranced Diffusers which was £6.50.

As much as I love proper candles, you can't leave lit candles unattended, and sometimes with pets they just aren't suitable. Although I haven't really started on my office / craft room yet I though that this Set of 3 Festive Spice Flameless Candles would be ideal for my festive windowsill.

For just £16 you get three substantial wax candles, which are fragranced with the Festive Spice scent. They are battery operated and they come with a remote control, with 2 different timer settings and you can also alter the appearance of the flame.  We have flameless candles all over the house and they're are safer, and cleaner way of enjoying candle light, but unlike the rest of them, these ones have a bit of fragrance.

I'm all about mood lighting at the moment, I love candles, tea lights and fairy lights and for a while now I've been trying to embrace the LED star light trend but I haven't had much look. I never managed to get my hands on the Primark one and the only other ones I could find with around £60. that was until I saw this one from Studio for just £14.99.

I wasn't expecting much for the price but this is actually really nice for the price. It's battery operated and made out of a sturdy cream, coated metal, and it features 10 warm LED lights. I was going to hang it on the wall but I've tried it in a few places and I like it best on top of my Muji make up storage.

As well as my star light, several strands of fairy lights, a lava lamp, and some lanterns I also have a set of twig lights, that I originally bought in Primark, which have been quite happily living in a tall lilac vase from Asda. Louise is a clumsy person though and a couple of months ago I broke this vase - sad times :( Since then though I've been looking for a replacement without much look - they were either too small or the necks weren't wide enough for the battery packs. Eventually though I found what I was looking for in this gorgeous silver, mercury glass vase that I got from B&M Bargains.

I'm not sure how much this was but I think it was around £6.99 - £7.99 which isn't the cheap for B&M, but it's definitely worth the money and it's something that you would probably pay way more for elsewhere. The picture below isn't the best but it looks so pretty with the lights reflecting through it.

I love my bargains and I got another lighting piece from another bargain tastic store, Home Bargains.

I'd wanted a one of these for the longest time, but when I first saw them they weren't that cheap. This one was only a couple of pounds and it came with batteries.

I only picked up another one of Mason Drinking Jars, which was on special at just £1. I already have a Kilner one but it didn't comes with a lid so I was happy to add this one to my collection :) I would really love the shot glass versions of these so if you know where I can get some please leave me a comment and let me know x

Ever since I was a tiny tot I've loved stationery and over the last month or so I've become obsessed with it all over again, and I can't seem to stop buying pretty notebooks and office bits. The first stationery item that I got was this notebook from Home Bargains.

I love the black and gold combination and what's not to love about polka dots. Again this one was just a few pounds and I believe they also sell one in a black and gold chevron design. I love my polka dots so I also got this pocket sized brown, craft style notebook, with tiny gold polka dots from BHS. This should have been £5 but I got 20% off.

In the picture you can also see a lovely Orla Kiely Stem Print notebook that I got from TK Maxx. It was £6.99 was is pretty pricey for a plain notebook, but it should about £14 so I still want bargain hunting credit ;)

One of the highlights of going back to school or university after the Christmas or summer holidays was getting a new pencil case, I must of owned dozens over the years, but although I don't have as much use for them as a once did I had to get this one from ASOS.

Eat Sleep Blog Repeat really needs to be my mantra but sometimes real life gets in the way ;) This comes from a brand called James & Friends which I'm lead to believe is Jim Chapman's range. I think I might use it in my newly sorted office but it is big enough to be used as a make up bag so we'll see.

Poundland is one of those shops where you go in for one thing and come out with about a dozen. If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen this cute stationery set.

Yes I know I'm an adult but come on Hello Kitty as Elvis what is not to love. For just a pound you got 2 pens, 3 pencils, 3 erasers, a pencil sharpener, a ruler and a metal pencil tin :) You all seemed to love it on my Instagram and a few of you couldn't find it so I went back and bought another one to giveaway :) All you need to do is be a follow of my blog and fill in the Raflecopter form below before the 1st December 2015. This giveaway is open worldwide so if you're a Hello Kitty or an Elvis Presley fan get entering x

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As well as my Hello Kitty bargain, I also managed to pick up an adult colouring book. I love the idea of these to promote mindfulness and relaxation but I really can't justify some of the prices. This Natural Wonders Colour Art For Everyone book contains a variety of beautiful and intricate floral patterns and for just a £1 I'm looking forward to trying to giving it a go.

The minute that Halloween is over, out comes the Christmas things, and Poundland as per usual have a pretty substantial festive selection. This item though doesn't scream Christmas.

There seem to be a lot of these inspirational type signs mixed in with Poundland's Chritmas offerings this year, in both wood and ceramic. These three ceramic hearts come suspensed on a red ribbon, and feature the words " Live Laugh Love" in a red type. I don't think these have to be for Christmas so I'll be displaying them all year round.

Speaking of love, I am the typical crazy cat lady, I don't mind the stereotype at all and there is nothing in life that can't be improved by putting a picture of a cat on it.

This luck black cat from the H&M Divided line is in fact a sticky tape dispenser. Sticky tape annoys the hell out of my but dispensing if from this little guy will hopeful make my Christmas wrapping less of a chore.

Cats seem to a pretty popular motif at the moment and I also got this mug from H&M, which is covered in a montage of cat pictures and features the phrase "You've Cat To Be Kitten Me Right Meow". Slightly cheesy but the perfect pressie for a cat lover.

The final thing that I'm going to show you in this rather large haul, is another item that I was inspired to purchase after looking at instagram pictures, reading blogs. and reading tweets.

Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward is probably the perfect cookery book for me, it's full of healthy vegan, gluten and sugar free recipes, that sound and look amazing. I'm still trying to eat healthily at the moment but I'm taking a break from the diet thing for a little while x I'll explain why in a post on Monday but as soon as I can I'm going to be working my way through all the recipes in this book, and I already have the sequel on my Amazon wishlist x 

I know there was quite a few items in this haul for you to contemplate, so I've an accompanying You Tube video so you can have a better look at your leisure. You can find the video below or via my You Tube channel here

If you have any questions on anything that I've bought please leave me a comment and of course don't forget to enter my Hello Kitty giveaway x