Monday, 10 March 2014

Exfoliator of the Day, Year and Century- Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser


I discovered this amazing exfoliator through I had never heard of Suki until I started shopping there. Despite rave reviews I didn't want to pay full price until I was absolutely sure I'd love it so I bought a £10 tester. I purchased the full size one last week, it normally retails at £30 but Bathandunwind are selling for £22 right now. Suki is definitely a brand I would like to try more of, it prides itself on effective skincare without harmful chemicals.

 This scrub has very few ingredients and is very effective. Simply scoop with your fingers however much you want to cleanse with. When you add water, it foams. The more water you add the more gentle the scrub. The scrub itself has a lovely zesty fragrance and a great texture. It feels invigorating yet not harsh. It's perfect for when you need to wake up or after the gym. It leaves my skin nicely pink, some say that's a bad thing but I love an exfoliator to make my skin feel squeaky clean and feel polished. It may be too much for you if you're someone that needs a super gentle exfoliator.
The drawback, I personally think the scrub looks nice in the glass jar but it can make using it annoying, it'd be cool to see it available in a tube.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

An Evening of Indulgence- Pampering without food or alchohol

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Ho ho ho. I never meant for this post to be ironic as I had the idea for it a few days ago, however I'm writing this on the sofa horribly stuffed with hot cross buns and pasta. I'm feeling ghastly and today was meant to be a low carb day. I have no idea why I decided to self sabotage because last week I exercised serious self control when doing keto for eight days. I actually do know why: my husband thinks for carb cycling to work properly, we must do 10 solid days of keto and then start carb cycling. Keto starts on Monday again. I know I can do it if I managed 8 but it didn't stop me from having a crazy blow out today. To be honest I regret it- it wasn't even an exercise day, I wasn't even pampering myself but this how I pamper myself when eating a load of junk food just isn't appropriate or when I'm trying to teach myself not to associate food with having a good time.

This particular long and lazy routine works best when you have little to do, an afternoon off or an entire day off.
1. Make sure your bed sheets are fresh on so your newly pampered little self  has somewhere fitting to relax or sleep. You CANNOT be a pampered princess if your bed sheets are stale and smell strongly of your man's sweat- or even your own. Ideally someone else would change them for you but needs must.

2. Light an expensive gorgeously fragranced candle in the bathroom, give it time to let the fragrance permeate the bathroom. Meanwhile go and brew yourself a delicate yet decidedly refreshing tea. It should be a big cup, you'll take this with you to the bathroom.

3. Run the bath, in a ideal world you'll have some Lush products close to hand. Perhaps you may have even had a relaxed wander about the shops to buy suitable products for your pampering session I like Butterball at the moment. The smell is gorgeous and it makes the bathwater oily. While the bath is running apply a face mask- one suited to any dermatological woes you may have. I like Lush Cosmetic Warrior, it's good for when you have a case of the pizza face.

4. Make sure your bathroom radiator is on, put a big fluffy cream coloured towel on it to warm up before you get in the bath. Enjoy your bath. Remember deep dramatic sighs every so often as you fantasize about being a beautiful overworked diva who enjoys needs the finer things in life.

5. After bath, dry off with aforementioned preheated towel. Moisturize with you favourite luxurious moisturizer.

6. Slip into something comfortable, pajamas and your Bambi slippers will suffice but if you really want to feel like a goddess at home, may I suggest a silk nightdress? I love my White Company full length one which my mum bought for my birthday at more than half price off. What a bargain.

7. If nails need a repaint now is the time. Stick a film on or a favourite TV series and give yourself your best at home manicure. OPI's formulas are usually the most reliable and free of the big three- toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. I also like Jessica. Make sure your cuticles are pushed back, your long soak should make them soft enough, and moisturized. I like Lanolips for this, but an oil like coconut or almond also works wonderfully. Did you make yourself another drink before manicure? Pampering can be thirsty work. Once your manicure is complete, watch the rest of the film, try to sit completely still for two hours. After this your nails will be much less vulnerable to chips.

8. If you need to eat something, make sure it's perfectly balanced and light. You don't want digestive issues before bed. Yes it's bedtime or naptime if it's during the day, either way make sure you sleep, pampering does really take it out of you. Read a book or magazine before your slumber so you can really appreciate your fresh sheets.

Happy pampering! Ps did you remember to blow out the candle?!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

La Prairie Advanced Marine Biology Foaming Mousse Cleanser.

I came to test this cleanser out because a lady in John Lewis gave me La Prairie free samples. I've never had a particular urge to use La Prairie, I'd never read any product reviews so I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that it was an eye wateringly expensive Swiss brand.
The Packaging:
I have a small sample size tube but the full size tube is as luxe looking as you'd expect. Rest assured if you want other ladies to know you spend a lot on your skincare, they will. Just leave it out on display in your bathroom.

The Fragrance:
I did like the smell, even if it was synthetically fresh. It kind of smells marine...

The Texture:
Mousse is a bit of a stretch. It looks interesting not sure if I would class it as a mousse. More like a thick pearlescent cream.

Apply to wet skin and rinse off. I can't really say anything bad, it didn't feel horrible on my skin but it didn't feel great. When you're spending £42 on a cleanser, you want it to make your face look and feel glowing. I felt it took a fairly long time to rinse off and my skin felt OK afterwards. As I said it's an OK cleanser. I could pay a tenner for it but £40?! Definitely one for ardent La Prairie fans or those with more money than sense and this is coming from someone who likes to pay a bit more for their beauty products.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Hangover Essentials

While I was pondering about how lucky I was not to wake up with a hangover on Monday, I suddenly thought about what items I would consider my hangover essentials. I have a feeling it's because I saw the Emergen-C on the table and always seem to associate sweet brightly coloured effervescent liquids with hangovers.
Anyway here they are:
The packaging's cool, it fizzes, it's orange, it has B vitamins- you get depleted of these after a night of heavy drinking- and it's a hell of a lot easier to chug down than pure water when you wake up with a mouth like sandpaper. Some experts say you should drink Berocca before you go out too.

It's fizzy too. It also tastes nice. I drink it because I think lots of alcohol depletes you of Vitamin C and brain cells.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It didn't work the day I had unwisely agreed to do my sister a favour which involved a fairly long car journey. Also the packaging is cool.

Herbal Tea
Some people say coffee is their go-to on hungover days, maybe they have to go to work? I, for one, make sure I never get drunk before work. I couldn't face the pain. My point is that even though I love coffee, I absolutely can not drink it on a hangover. It just makes me feel so nauseous and gross. I like herbal tea, preferably ones with names like 'cleanse' or 'detox' so I can pretend I'm undoing all the damage. Some of them are actually really refreshing. I love Pukka Cleanse.

A Super Hydrating Moisturiser
I like to wash my face with a creamy cleanser and then slap on some Dr Hauschka. I mean SLAP it on, it improves the circulation. You may not feel like a rose but your face can smell like one.

Don't normally wear it in the day. Usually I'm rosy enough but if I need to go somewhere- like a shopping centre because you feel hungover and ugly- and don't want to look like I just stepped out of a coffin underneath that harsh harsh lighting, I use a nice pink blusher. I love my Lancome Blush Subtil palette in Rose Flush, it's glamorous enough to make you forget your hangover woes.

A zesty, fresh 'I just showered' kind of fragrance. In case you didn't. I like Jo Malone's English Pear and Freesia for this.

What are your essentials for those days when you wish you never woke up?

Monday, 3 March 2014

A Great Winter Cream- Dr Hauschka Rose Day Cream

I know that we're into March now and while the weather in Scotland has been mild by our standards. I can still feel my face being whipped by the harsh morning air, this is where Dr Hauschka's Rose Day Cream comes in. Pop this on before you go out and you'll definitely feel a positive difference later on in the day. It is a heavenly smelling rich thick and glossy cream. You don't get much- you don't really need much unless your skin is very dry. Anyway, onto the application. I wouldn't say that this is a cream that really sinks in the moment it touches your skin. I feel that I have to work it in quite vigorously. It does leave a slight greasy film, this does go away after maybe five minutes but I would not use it as a base for makeup. However it does leave my skin feeling moisturised all day long. I don't feel the need to reapply it all. I actually bought this cream in the summertime before my wedding, I used it on my honeymoon. I did find it a bit much for the summer even though my skin is quite dry. Although it says it's a day cream, it does work well as a night cream too. The other great thing about Dr Hauschka products is that they are packed full of simple nourishing ingredients. You can really be assured they are safe. I think it's a bad thing when you have to google ingredients. Aside from the slight greasiness, the one other drawback is the price. Gasp. Most places seem to sell it at £28 for 30ml. Although John Lewis are selling it for £25 right now and Amazon are selling it for just under £20!

A Week of Keto

For those of you that found this from your google search, you may have already started a ketogenic diet and wondered if it gets better or you maybe wondering how you might feel after a week on it.
Most people start a keto diet because of the supposed enormous health benefits or because of the promise of fat loss, anyway while I was experiencing mild side effects of the diet I noticed it was difficult to find  detailed accounts of people's experiences while on a ketogenic diet. Here is my experience.

For those that love their carbs and sugar, the keto diet is a restrictive one. I don't see myself as having a crazy sweet tooth but sometimes it is hard to walk by the chocolate in the shop and here's a tip: do not allow yourself to get hungry in town, there will be little you can eat on the go.

My first day was quite easy, I'm not a massive eater of carbs. I had a little cream in my coffee as milk is a no-no and poached eggs before I went to work. However having black coffee at work was hard. For dinner I had roast chicken, gravy and veg.

The next day Tuesday, I felt full of energy. I'd only had a couple of eggs for breakfast and coconut oil in a cup of green tea and yet I was not hungry for a very long. A ketostix test showed I was in deep ketosis I know many people think that ketostix are not reliable but they are fun in a kind of weird way! I needed to pee and drink a lot although this calmed down the further the diet went on. I also had a very salty taste in my mouth for a couple of days which again went away. I made pork loin steaks with salsa verde for dinner and it was very nice. This is the good thing about this diet, you can have some really nice dinners as long as they don't have carb heavy accompaniments. I would definitely be lying if I wasn't thinking about naughty foods though. One thing that has kept me motivated to be good on this diet was Pancake Day! I'm coming off tomorrow and then I'm going low carb until the next carb up.

Each day on the diet got a little better as we found out we could eat things like greek yoghurt and small amounts of blueberries which added some much needed variety. Wednesday, I unfortunately felt a bit lethargic and nauseous but wasn't sure if I could attribute this to keto. Thursday I felt better but still a bit blah for want of a better word. I normally don't eat before a gym session but I felt like I needed something to get me out of the house, so I had a scoop of peanut butter. Nut butters such as peanut and almond are a life saver on keto as long as you do not go crazy. The sticky almost sweet texture in your mouth feels so good. I didn't manage to complete my workout as I felt so low on energy. I decided it was possible that I wasn't getting enough potassium as you can lose a lot of electrolytes on keto. I picked up steak, spinach and avocado and mushrooms as the last three are meant to be high in potassium. I found it difficult to eat the avocado on the side as I only really like it as guacamole. I think it tastes like soap by itself! I felt much better on Friday and read somewhere that a small amount of very dark chocolate is acceptable on a keto diet, so I rushed off to buy Green+ Blacks 85%. I had just two squares as I was scared I might kick myself out of ketosis. By the way once you get used to the taste, you may find you prefer the taste of dark chocolate as it really does give you an intense chocolate hit. Just let it melt on to your tongue!

 I have read some people's accounts of being kicked out of ketosis by greek yogurt or some other innocent food but then I read they were eating it sweetened with sugar free syrups. I think sugar free syrups and drinks kick you out of ketosis because they can produce an insulin response. My advice is to really forgo anything with artificial sweeteners as the whole point of the diet is to eat fresh and wholsesome foods.

On Saturday I felt much more able to complete my workout, although it was tough. After my workout we ate sausages, egg and cabbage with bacon and again a very small amount of dark chocolate.
Yesterday was the most fun day of the diet, as we discovered dry sparkling wine has a very low carb count,
we had a bottle of Prosecco with our roast beef, and maybe overdid it. It was our first drink in a week and we seemed to get very drunk very quickly. In fact we were hammered!

Luckily this morning, I woke up hangover free and pleased that this is the last day to get through as I am missing milk and fruit and other things. Pancake Day cannot come quick enough! I'm pleased that I had the self discipline to stick to this for just over a week, although it can be restrictive I think it's excellent that I've only really put whole fresh foods in my body and consumed little to no sugar. That has to be a good thing.
I would like to continue a low carb diet where I eat under 50g of carbohydrates ( which is higher than the 25g I've eaten this week) most of the week and then carb up on weekends. They say you only live once and I always associate the weekends with indulgence so carb ups are the perfect excuse! A lot of people say they have a really great workout after a carb up

 I don't think I'd like to do the keto diet 365 days a year, but I definitely could stick to 4 or 5 low carb days a week. I think it'd be a lot easier to behave when you know you have designated days to eat what you want.