Thursday 31 March 2016

Trimming My Stash - March 2016 Edition - Empties And Mini Reviews

Hey Guys x Happy Thursday x I hope you've all had a good week so far, but even if you haven't, don't worry, it's nearly the weekend, and tomorrow is the start of a new month, so a new broom sweeps clean, and it's time to start again.

2016 has been a rubbishy year for me so far, and predictably March went the same way, and as per usual it was the health of me and mine that was to blame. As well as numerous family, and pet health issues, I ended up with the hideous gastric flu, come cold virus that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment. I felt like rubbish for nearly two weeks and I'm still feel tired and drained - my eating habits, and my beauty routine went down the pan, and my weight loss journey and my monthly empties price both paid the price.

Superdrug Nourishing Nail Polish Remover Acetone Free - 250ml
RESEED Ginkgo and Sabal Fortifying Shampoo For Women 250ml
Primark PS Love Your Skin Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes For Combination Skin - 25 Wipes
Primark PS Love Your Skin Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes For Combination Skin - 25 Wipes
Total - 4 Items

More on my weight loss journey to come next week, but in the meantime lets talk about my monthly beauty empties on should I say the lack of them. I only managed to finish 4 items in March which to be honest was a pretty rubbish Trimming My Stash attempt. Rubbish but probably not that surprising, my skincare routine for nearly a fortnight was minimal, I barely wore any make up, and if I'm being honest I only showered when I had the energy and when I needed to. The products that I did manage to finish we're products that I either finished at the start and at the end of the month, there was no middle ground in March and that's why this won't be the most exciting set of mini reviews that I've ever posted.

1. Superdrug Nourishing Nail Polish Remover Acetone Free - 250ml

At the top of the list the final product that I managed to finish and March and even then it was an only just. This is without question my favourite nail polish remover liquid. It's just £1.29 for a 250ml bottle, it's acetone free and it doesn't smell too hideous. I've lost count of how many bottles of this I've used over the years but it does exactly what it should and it rightly deserves it holy grail title. You can find out more about why I love it so much here x

2. RESEED Ginkgo and Sabal Fortifying Shampoo For Women 250ml

If you managed to read my pretty epic RESEED post on Monday  (read it here if you haven't already) then you'll already know all about this shampoo. Whilst the whole system made a difference over the 12 weeks or so that I used it, after just one shampoo and condition I could feel the difference in my hair. It felt plumper and fuller and this shampoo felt really gentle and had a lovely fragrance. It's weird to say it but I actually really enjoyed using this shampoo and I'm sad that it's all gone. I included it in my January / February favourites video and whilst it's pricey I would definitely consider repurchasing.

4. Primark PS Love Your Skin Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes For Combination Skin - 25 Wipes

5. Primark PS Love Your Skin Oil Balancing Facial Cleansing Wipes For Combination Skin - 25 Wipes

Yawn, yawn, yawn - you must be sick to death of seeing these - sorry but they really are that good - over the last month I've used them mainly for swatch cleaning and a little bit of lazy cleansing - slaps wrists! I do find them a little bit drying on the face now but there full of tea tree and great for emergencies and for wiping sticky or make up covered hands, at just £1 for two packs of 25, for me they're a beauty must have.

Well that was an exciting post wasn't it lol I tried to make it exciting but when you finish 4 less than interesting products, it isn't easy ;) Fingers crossed that I can manage to finish a few more products and a few more exciting things in April x I'm aiming for some hair and skincare products but I'm not sure whether you'll see any make up items just yet. I think Project 10 Pan will be happening at some point over the next few months so I might hold back a few of my nearly dones till then, sneaky? we'll see x In the meantime if you've either written a recent empties post or you've filmed a you tube video, then link me up x I'm super nosy and I'd love to see what products you've been using x Thanks for reading, if I haven't bored you too much, I'll see you tomorrow with a review post x

Monday 28 March 2016

Hair Loss And Me - The RESEED Complete Hair Loss System*

When I was a little girl my hair really was my crowning glory, it was long, thick, glossy and almost poker straight, and do you know what? I really miss it. Whilst ill advised hair cuts, styling and bad dye jobs have played their part, long term illness and heavy medication means that my poor hair is now a shadow of its former self all be it, a thin, lank, frizzy, wavy version

I can cope with the change in texture by embracing the curl or pulling out the straighteners but I've found the thinning harder to cope with. On average a human being loses around 150 hairs a day, through normal activity such as washing, and brushing but for whatever reason, be it hormones, medication, illness or stress, some people lose an awful lot more and unfortunately I'm one of those people. Whilst hair loss has historically been seen as more of a male problem, women account for 40% of all hair loss sufferers.

You could say I've been lucky, I've never suffered from any bald patches and I still have a lot of hair but when your hair starts to thin it affects your confidence and self esteem, just think about how you feel when you have a bad hair day, it's like that, only every day. Every time I washed my hair, brushed it or even just ran my hands through it, strands and strands, and occasionally chunks of hair came out and either fell down the plug hole, or fell onto the floor and clogged up the hoover. The picture below shows all of the hair that I removed from the shower trap after just one gentle shampoo.

It's frustrating but all you can do is just take care of your hair, and scalp the best way that you can. I think that's probably one of the reasons that I'm so obsessed with trying out new hair products, I'm always on the look out for that miracle product be it a supplement, a serum or conditioner that will restore my poorly tresses back to their former glory,

Way back in November I received in an email that made me think that miracles can happen. It was on behalf of a new brand called RESEED, that specialise in hair thickening products for both men and women. Using the latest innovations and technologies, this range which has taken over 15 years to develop, is environmentally conscious and they only use the purest of ingredients and natural extracts. All of their products are also dermatologically tested, and they aren't tested on animals and they don't use suppliers who partake in animal testing.

The RESEED line is divided into two ranges, one for men and one for women, each range contains a shampoo, a conditioner, a serum, a botanical solution, and some oral supplements. I was given the opportunity to try out the RESEED system for myself, and I was sent all of the women's products bar the supplements to try out and review for you.

All of the products in the range come boxed and come with full instructions which you should really read before your start. The products basically provide you with a 12 weeks system, which advises you which products to use and when. This sounded a bit scary at first but it's really easy to follow, and the products are simple and pleasurable to use.

RESEED Ginkgo and Sabal Fortifying Shampoo For Women 250ml*

The cornerstone for any hair care routine is a shampoo but it's something that's so easy to get wrong. A bad shampoo can strip and damage the hair but a good one can make all of the difference.
The RESEED Ginkgo and Sabal Fortifying Shampoo, aims to improve scalp health and to leave the hair looking and feeling fuller and healthier. It is specially designed to restore and strengthen the hair, and to help prolong the life cycle of each strand of hair.

It contains Ginkgo Biloba to stimulate, and revitalise the scalp and the hair follicles, and Sabal extract which comes from a type of palm plant and has been found to inhibit the scary sounding Dihydrotestosterone or DHT which is a molecule that has been linked to male pattern baldness. It also contains antioxidants and vitamins B5, B6, E, F, and Zinc for general hair health.

Packaged in a matte white bottle with black print, the bottle has a easy to use flip top cap. The shampoo itself has a clear, gel texture, and a pleasant herbal, almost fruity scent

Mix just a small amount with water, and you get a lovely fine, creamy lather. If your in a rush you can rinse it straight out, but RESEED recommend that you leave the lather on the hair for a couple of minutes before giving your hair a good rinse. The lather rinses out easily leaves the hair feeling clean and almost plumped. It isn't the most nourishing shampoo I've ever use but I do really like it, I love the smell, it's easy to use, and rinse out and it leaves, your hair and scalp feeling fresh and healthy. The RESEED Ginkgo and Sabal Fortifying Shampoo For Women comes in a 250ml bottle and retails at around £25.

RESEED Wheat Bran Ultra Volume Conditioner for Women 250 ml*

For years and years I used to just wash my hair and go - Conditioner was more often than not a step that I just didn't have the time for. How wrong was I though if you want healthy hair, and a healthy scalp you need to need to use a conditioner to give your hair that moisture boost and to protect the hair against daily stresses and strains.

The Wheatbran Ultra Volume Conditioner that comes in the RESEED range is designed for all hair types and it's designed to protect the hair from thermal and UV damage, it's also designed to help preserve hair colour and protect the hair from environmental damage, and lifestyle stresses.

The advanced formulation has been specifically created using a variety of herbal ingredients to improve the density of the hair and strengthen the roots. It also contains pomegranate extract and UV filters to help maintain hair colour, and lightweight hydrating and nourishing ingredients to add shine, improve hair manageability and to prevent hair breakage

Like the shampoo it comes in a matte white, plastic bottle, with black lettering and a black flip top cap to help you distinguish it from the shampoo. It's has a creamy lotion texture and it's off white in colour. I'm useless at describing scents but this one just has a gentle, herbal scent, that strangely enough reminds me of hair conditioners from my childhood.

You use it just like you would a regular hair conditioner - just wash your hair with the accompanying shampoo, then gently massage a generous amount of the product into your hair and scalp -since it isn't the thickest of formula's it massages in really easily without any pulling or tugging. Then you can either leave it for a few minutes or for a more intensive treatment you can leave it for around 5-10 minuted before rinsing.

It rinses out really easily which is an essential when your hair is at its weakest and in my experience my hair was again left feeling a little bit fuller, and it was left looking and feeling separated and detangled - exactly what you need when your hair gets as knotty as mine does.

If you like a thick and heavy conditioner, or if you have really dry hair then this conditioner probably wouldn't be enough for you but for me it was perfect. It definitely gave me hair a moisture boost, but most of all the light weight texture meant that it didn't weigh my hair down, instead it left my hair feeling smooth, and detangled.

The RESEED Wheatbran Ulta Volume Conditioner For Women comes in 250ml bottle and retails at around £28.

RESEED R12 Tri Peptide Active  Hair Serum For Women - 30ml*

Shampoo's and conditioners are a staple in most peoples hair care routine but being a treatment regime, RESEED takes take your whole hair care routine to another level.

This serum is probably the most hyped and power packed product in the range. Containing a wide variety of specially chosen plant extracts including ginseng, mulberry and japonica, this serum attacks hair problems head on.

It's designed to help thicken and strengthen the hair, working on the roots, and the follicles to encourage and stimulate hair growth and  volume. With regular use, the high concentrations of ingredients can lead to stronger, healthier hair which is less prone to dryness, damage and breakage. This really is the hero product in the range and with good reason, during clinical trials after just 8 weeks participants found that there was a significant changes in the rate of hair growth.

Packaged in a hard, glass or plastic bottle, this product comes with an ingenious dropper type, twist lid. The serum itself looks a little underwhelming, it actually looks exactly like water, it's a clear, liquid with a water like consistency, and no discernible scent

For the first two weeks of the 3 month RESEED system, you need to apply a few drops to the hair 4 times at week, and from weeks 3-12, you then only apply it once a week, and then if you want to continue the treatment you go back it applying it 4 times a week.

It easy enough to use, after washing and drying your hair you just apply a few drops of serum to your problem areas, gently massaging it into the hair and scalp with your finger tips until it's fully absorbed. Most of the time I massage into into all of my hair and scalp, but on occasions I specifically concentrated on my problems areas focusing on my hair line and my crown.

When you're using a whole system or regime it's hard to say whether or not an individual product has made a difference so at the end of the post I'm going to talk about about the whole regime rather than trying to talk about whether this product alone made a difference

RESEED R8 Botanical Solution for Women 50 ml*

The final product I tried for the RESEED range is another serum, and it's another product designed to help, and make the best of weak and damaged here.

This serum, or liquid is designed again to work on the roots and the follicles of the hair, to produce strong, thick and healthy hair. Crammed full of plant and herbal ingredients including nettle, horsetail, green tea, arnica, rosemary, fennel, thyme and chamomile, this solution is designed to reduce that production of nasty DHT, and stimulate, refresh and protect the hair and scalp.

In the RESEED 12 week system, you starting using this product from weeks 3-12, you use it twice a week on days when you aren't using the RESEED R12 Tri Peptide Active  Hair Serum For Women.

Again packaged in a solid dropper style bottle, again this product has a very liquidy, water like solution, this time though it's brown in colour that reminds me a bit of strong. It has a strong herbal scent which reminds me a little bit of really cheap cola ;)

Unlike the hair serum, you need to apply the Botanical Solution, to washed and towel dried, damp hair. You can either apply a few drops into the hands or you can apply it directly onto the scalp. Then starting at the centre of the scalp gently massage the solution into the hair and scalp for around 5 minutes. Massage is key with this product, as it not only helps the product to absorb but the gentle massage also helps to stimulate the scalp

Again it's hard to review one product in a whole regime but what I will say about this one is that if you have a sensitive, itchy or flaky scalp, then this is definitely something to try. I'm just prone to itches everywhere and sometimes I want to rip the skin both off my body and my scalp, but this product has definitely made a difference since I introduced it into my routine, my scalp is way less itchy, and it doesn't seem anywhere near as dry

The RESEED R8 Botanical Solution for Women comes in a 50ml bottle and retails for around £45

My Results

So what do I think and what results have I seen? Well after the first shampoo and condition I saw an immediate difference, my hair was left not only cleaner but it also seemed smoother and plumper.
When I started to introduce the serums though that's when I started to see a real difference - it wasn't instantaneous and my hair didn't improve overnight but over the past few months I have seen a definite improvement.

I'm still losing hairs here and there but now at least I can run my finger through it, wash it, straighten it or tie it back without losing hamster size chunks, I still lose a few strands but I'm probably closer to the average of 150 hairs a day than I used to be. I'm also noticing less breakage around my hairline and instead of having a few inch long hairs, there now nearly all at least 3 inches long

I've also noticed a significant change in the overall length, thickness and health of my hair. I seem to have more hair than I used to and it's now taking longer to dry. It also seems to have a bit more of a shine, and as I said previously my scalp is less itchy and less dry.

My hair is still no where near as good as it was when I was child, but over the last few months I've seen a noticeable change thanks to using these products. This is only my experience and I can't guarantee that yours would be the same but if your a constantly bad hair day then this range could be something to try.

Personally I'm nearly finished a few of the products now and whilst I would love to keep going with the whole RESEED regime, for some people including me at times I think it has quite a prohibitive price point. The whole women's regime retails at around £154 but personally when I consider the results I've seen and all of quality ingredients and research that's gone into the line, I think it's a price worth paying, for the self confidence that a good hair day brings.

The RESEED range is currently available to buy from Natural Care Inc and John Bell & Croydon. and it should be available in most larger Boots stores later this year. You can also find out more about the RESEED range from their official website x Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer x


Sunday 27 March 2016

Models Own Mini Egg Mani

Hey everyone x I hope you've all had a lovely Sunday, and if you celebrate, I hope the Easter Bunny was good to you. Despite the fact that I'm supposed to be on a diet I still received a large bag full of chocolaty, Easter treats, and when you throw in the chocolate cake sitting on the table in front of me and a Creme Egg Cheesecake in the fridge, you could say that I'm pretty chocolated out. 

I'd initially thought about sharing an Easter chocolate recipe with you (salted caramel truffles anyone?) but I'm starting to think there is such a thing as too much chocolate so I thought I'd be good and share an Easter themed manicure with you instead.

As the name would suggest the Models Own Speckled Egg collection contains polishes which are designed to replicate the look and feel of not only real birds eggs but also those sugar candy, coated chocolate  Mini Eggs that we all love so much.

Okay the colour isn't exactly the same but you definitely have that mini egg like feel. Models Own NP202 Swan is a beautiful lavender, blue shade, with a is crammed full of varying sizes of black, matte glitter, to give that speckled egg look.

I love the effect but I have to say this colour was a real pain to apply. The lavender base was very watery and very sheer, and it took at least 3 coats to achieve this depth of colour, and slightly textured finish. The sheer amount of polish that you had to apply obviously altered the wear time and I saw my first chip after less than 3 hours.

As I say I like the effect but for the time it takes to apply it just isn't worth it. In future I think I'll just use this polish as a top coat over a lilac or lavender block colour to achieve a similar look without the hassle. You win some, you lose some, and whilst this polish wasn't a winner, the mini eggs that I used in the pictures most certainly were - yum yum! Have you tried any polishes from the Models Own Speckled Egg line? Let me know your thoughts x 

Friday 25 March 2016

Foodie Friday - Using Buckwheat As A Grain And A Recipe

As much as I love cooking and eating sometimes it can all get a bit boring. I don't know about you but I tend to eat the same things again and again. Over the last few months though I've made a real effort to try and mix it up a bit and to try something new. I've been trawling through recipe books, magazines and the internet to look for new meals and recipes to try, and of course I've been ordering a few boxes from the Hello Fresh scheme ( read about my Hello Fresh experience here).

I've found quite a few lovely recipes that I'd like to share with you but in today's Foodie Friday post. I'm going to focus on a recipe and an ingredient that came courtesy of a Hello Fresh box - Buckwheat!

As someone with wheat and gluten intolerance's I'm all too familiar with buckwheat. Despite it's name it isn't actually related to wheat, it isn't even strictly a cereal instead it's related to both the sorrel leaf and rhubarb. The grain or seed can be ground into a flour and made into all sorts of things from pancakes, blinis and galettes, to noodles and even chocolate brownies.

I have to say I'm not a fan of buckwheat flour when it's used in sweet things, the flavour for me just dominates and doesn't work but something that I have become a fan of is the buckwheat grain or seed itself

Buckwheat can be used in any way that you would use rice, cous cous or Bulgar wheat. You can use it to make a type of porridge, or you can use it as an accompaniment to stews and vegetable chillis like I have below. The grains have a subtle nutty taste and they take on flavour really well

You can find both buckwheat flour and the grains in most major health food shops and larger supermarkets and the grains in particular are something I would really recommend. A 100g of dry buckwheat grains is just 343 calories, and it is a good source of protein, carbohydrate, fibre, and B vitamins,

Most of the packets that you buy, should have cooking instructions on them but I have to be honest and say after trying a few different methods Hello Fresh's is the one that works for me. I'll talk about it more in the recipe below but it's basically an absorption method that leaves the grain, looking and feeling dry but soft and with a bit of a bite to them.

The recipe below is a very slight adaption of the original Hello Fresh recipe that introduced me to buckwheat as a grain, and I personally think that it's a winner. It sounds a bit strange with the spices and so on but please, please give it a chance and prepare yourself for a taste explosion.

Mexican Bean & Buckwheat Bake With Creme Fraiche

1 x Can Beans - Kidney, Black, or Black Eyed Work Best
1 x Red Pepper
1 x Yellow Pepper
1 x tbsp Olive Oil
2 x Cloves Garlic
1 Medium or 2 Small Red Onions
1 Cup or around 150g Buckwheat Grains
1/2 Vegetable Stock Cube or 1/2 Vegetable Stock Pot
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 ts Cinnamon
2 tbsp Creme Fraiche
Red Chilli or Pickled Jalapenos To Taste (I use about a tablespoon)
100g Cheddar Cheese
1 x tbsp Olive Oil Or A Few Sprays Of Low Fat Cooking Spray
Salt And Pepper To Taste

To Serve

Chopped Chives or Green Parts From A Spring Onion
Creme Fraiche

1. Pre heat your oven to around 220°C - Core and deseed your peppers and chop them into bite size chunks, and put them onto a baking tray. Drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes till they're soft, and just starting to colour.

2. Bring 225ml of water to the boil and add your stock cube or your stock pot

Then add your buckwheat  - bring the pan back to the boil, then cover with a lid and turn the pan down to the lowest heat and leave for about 10 minutes and don't be tempted to take the lid off to have a peek

3. Then peel and finely slice your onion and your garlic and your chilli. I used about half a fresh red chilli here but I like it hot. Add as much or as little as you like - you can also use pickled jalapenos which are a good store cupboard / fridge substitute.

Then  in a large frying pan either heat up either a tablespoon olive oil or if your saving calories a few sprays of Fry Light, and add your onions, chilli and garlic, and cook for around 5 minutes till soft.

4. Then add your spices - the cumin, the paprika and cinnamon - The amounts I've given work but again you can add what you like - my mum isn't that keen on cinnamon so I tend to add a little bit less. Stir in the spices and cook for about a minute.

Then drain and rinse your beans - the original recipe uses black beans but none of the supermarkets near me seem to stock them so I've experimented with a few different types of canned pulses and I think it works best with either a black eyed bean or a kidney beans so I'm using kidney beans here x Add your beans and a touch of salt and pepper to taste. Cook or a minute or two until the beans are warmed through and remove from the heat.

5. By this time your buckwheat should be done so take off the lid and have a look. All of the water should have been absorbed by now and the buckwheat should be softened and dry and appearance. If it's still a bit wet cook it over a low heat for a little bit longer.

Like rice or cous cous, try not stir it, just fluff it up with a fork, then gently stir it into the vegetable and bean mix

Then remove your roasted peppers from the oven but leave the oven switched on x

and then stir your peppers into your bean and buckwheat mix

and then stir in 2 tbsp creme fraiche.

6. Then pour your mixture into a oven proof baking dish, and top with your grated cheese

Then bake  for around 15 - 20 minutes until the cheese is melted, golden and bubbly

Then spoon onto plates, sprinkle with chopped chives or the green parts of a spring onion, and serve with creme fraiche. This would easily serve four people with the addition of a bit of green salad.

This recipe really surprised me apart from the unusual ingredient - the buckwheat grain - this dish really is an explosion of different tastes and textures in your mouth. You get the nuttiness of the grain, the creaminess of the creme fraiche, the sweetness of the vegetables, the heat of the chili, and the depth and exotic tastes of the spices. It sounds odd I know but this is a really quick, tasty and substantial dish that always leaves me wanting more. I'm definitely going to be continuing my experimentation with buckwheat so if you have any recipe suggestions (Slimming World fans in particular) let me know x 

Thursday 24 March 2016

Deep Berry Nails Courtesy Of Nails Inc Piccadilly Circus

Looking out of the window today, it finally appears as though spring has sprung - the sun is shining, and the spring bulbs are just starting to push through! Although the weekend isn't supposed to be too great weather wise, the warmer weather is definitely on it's way, and it's time to dig out all of those pretty pastels and embrace the changing season.

Come on though this is me, Louise, and whilst I appreciate trends, I'm not always the best at following them, most of the time I like to go my own way and at the moment I'm loving deep reds and berry tones.

If you think of a typical autumn,winter nail shade Nails Inc Piccadilly Circus would probably be it - this deep, dark pink based, berry tone, perfectly matches the deep greys and burgundies that we see so often in autumn and winter fashion. For me though I think it's a fabulous smart, and sophisticated shade that you can wear all year round, particularly if you love wearing black or if you have shorter nails.

Although Nails Inc Piccadilly Circus is readily available in their core range, my bottle is just a a little bit special. My polish is from Nails Inc's limited edition Multivitamin line. This polishes in this line are packed full of special vitamins and minerals including B5, C, and E, Zinc and Calcium, and are made especially for QVC in the UK.

The super wide brush makes painting a doddle, (unless you have thin, small nails that is) and the coverage of the polish was superb. I probably didn't need to but I went for two coats to achieve the true, deep, dark, glossy colour.

The wear time was good and in fact it was slightly better than some of the other Nails Inc polishes that I've tried. I had a few compliments on this one and I think it's a polish that deserves them. It's easy to wear, and it makes even the shortest nail look smart, and well groomed. I think it's one of those polishes that would take you from day to night and for me it's a colour that you could wear all year round and it proves that berry nails aren't just for the autumn and winter months x Are you a fan of dark berry tones? Let me know x