Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Upbeat Protein Drink || Chocolate & Orange.

Upbeat Protein Drink in Chocolate and Orange Flavour
Upbeat Dairy Protein Drink in Chocolate & Orange.

 I was recently asked by Upbeat to review some of their protein drinks. Protein drinks are not something I usually go in for (not considering myself hardcore enough for such things) and they kind of have a bad rep for not tasting great. I have had a tried a few in my time but have never been able to stomach more than a taste. So when I was asked by Upbeat to try some out, I was curious but a little hesitant.

 Upbeat comes in four flavours, Strawberry, Blueberry & Raspberry, Mango & Passionfruit and Chocolate & Orange. I have a massive sweet tooth so I chose the Chocolate & Orange flavour. I was a little surprised at the taste at first. I was expecting it to be more chocolately but it is actually a lot heavier on the zesty, orange flavour. This actually made it very refreshing and also quite light, which I find unusual for dairy based drinks. Although very orangey the chocolate does come through and it really reminded me a little of Terry's Chocolate Orange! Obviously it is still a health drink, so if you are going in thinking of this, it might not be what you are expecting!

 The protein comes from whey protein and does have a slightly bitter flavour, but I think the combination of the chocolate and orange did very well to offset this. Saying that, it is still delicious and it satisfied all of my chocolate cravings. It also stopped me from snacking throughout the day, which is a rarity for me!  After drinking it I really understood the 'its like a bit of extra willpower in a bottle' as I had noticed that I had glided over my usual 3 o'clock slump! One of my worst eating habits is not knowing when I am actually hungry and not eating out of boredom or sadness etc! I found that Upbeat kind of neutralised my kind of instant food cravings and allowed my body a chance to take a minute and really figure out what I was needing.

Upbeat is available in selected Tesco's, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Boots, Holland & Barrett, The Co-operative Food, WHS Smith and more! You can also connect with Upbeat on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter or website.

Are you a protein drink fan?

Let me know!


Sunday, 21 June 2015

John Gosnell's Original Vitamin E Cream.

John Gosnell's The Original Vitamin E Cream.
A good vitamin e cream seems to be somewhat of a staple product and is always something I love to have around. I tend to change my moisturiser fairly often but I always have a vitamin e cream in the mix somewhere. So when John Gosnell's & Co. were kind enough to send me some of theirs a few weeks back I was very happy to try it out. Based in Lewis, East Sussex, John Gosnell's is actually the UK's oldest cosmetics manufacturer and can trace the companies routes back to 1677! Their history is also really interesting and available on their website, if you are a history buff like me you will want to know more!

I have been using the cream for a few weeks now and I am really impressed! It is moisturising and nourishing, whilst still managing not to be too heavy. I have used other vitamin e creams in the past but have found that they begin to get a little too much. I notice my skin becoming oily, acne prone and very unbalanced. I have combination skin so this is always a bit of an issue but I found that The John Gosnell's Vitamin E Cream did a much better job than most, at controlling the oil fluctuations on my skin. It also seems to sink into my skin further and faster than other moisturisers I have tried. I think this is what helps maintain balance as it is not left sitting on the top layer of my skin, causing oiliness. It still manages to be really nourishing though making my skin feel really soft and it really does just drink the stuff up!

I have also been getting a few small patches of dry skin recently and I found that when I used The John Gosnell's Vitamin E Cream, it disappeared overnight and I have been able to use it a number of times since, when it flairs up. John Gosnell's uses natural ingredients for its sources of Vitamin E, including Shea Butter, Wheatgerm oil and Olive oil all of which are great dry skin. It also has that wonderful, classic kind of smell that I find oddly comforting. Perhaps because it reminds me that it has been well and truly tested by time!

You can connect with John Gosnell's via their website Twitter or Facebook page.

Are you a Vitamin E Cream Fan?

Let me know!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Come Outside!

I had such a lovely day in the park yesterday! Sometimes, when everything has gotten on top of me a little, getting outside can do the world of good. I tend to be someone who hides away when I am stressed, which can very quickly become a slippery slope. Sometimes I will struggle to leave the house for days on end and the longer I leave it the more daunting re-joining society becomes. Staying in my house is very much a coping mechanism for me and whilst, sometimes necessary, I am not great at pulling myself out of it. So I have decided to take some steps to try and conquer this!

Not only is hiding myself away often very unhelpful, it can have a very large effect on my day to day life and can be claustrophobic and is very isolating. I used to think that the only way to do this was to go and spend time with people and try to address my fears head on but found this far too daunting. Recently I have decided that the most helpful thing can literally just be a change of surroundings and just getting outside. It may sound a little cliche but fresh air can be so soothing. 

 I also find being outdoors offers me a little more perspective and lets me think a bit more clearly, especially when feeling anxious. Studies have shown that being outside can also have a great effect on concentration as it can help ease everyday overstimulation, giving our brains a rest. I think this is especially something that people who suffer from anxiety can relate to. When I am anxious I tend to feel very heavy, overloaded and crowded. Getting outside and not being confined by four walls and a ceiling may only sound like a little thing but can instantly make me feel like I have room to breath a little.

Another thing that I don't usually notice when I am hiding away is how static I am. Being stuck inside and not moving around very much can darken anyone's mood and have a very real effect on anyone who suffers from anxiety/depression. Even just walking for around 30 minutes can be enough exercise to release some endorphins and can actually have a large impact on mood.

When my mood is feeling rather grey, even just adding some extra colour is a good thing and a change of surroundings even only for half an hour can really lift my mood. A study from the University of Glasgow showed that people who walked, biked or ran in nature had a lower risk of poor mental health than those who worked indoors. This is something I really relate to and even though I would not consider myself an outdoors kind of person, I find there is a correlation between the amount of time I spend inside and the amount of time I am struggling with MH issues.

I don't speak much about my anxiety and mental health challenges as I don't really feel very capable of discussing them, let alone giving advice. I just wanted to share a quick and accessible thing I do that helps me. Even when things are looking bleak, just changing your surroundings can give you a little bit of space, clarity and breathing room. So, even if you have just read this post and it has given you a little wanderlust for outside, then I consider that a job well done!

Do you have any anxiety/depression beating strategies? 

Let me know!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Beauty || The 'I'm Sad' Haul.

Superdrug Precision Face Wax, Maybelline Brow Drama in Medium Brown, Maybelline Instant Eraser Eye, Maybelline Master Sculpt Contour & Highlight, Makeup Revolution Mono Eyeshadow in Finally... Mandanol Hypromellose Eye Drops, Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Frambourjois.
Left to Right: Superdrug Precision Face Wax, Maybelline Brow Drama in Medium Brown, Maybelline Instant Eraser Eye, Maybelline Master Sculpt Contour & Highlight, Makeup Revolution Mono Eyeshadow in Finally... Mandanol Hypromellose Eye Drops, Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Frambourjois.

*Please take this post in the good jest it was intended for, I am fine!*
You know when you are just having one of those days (or weeks)? Nothing is quite going right and you have kind of slipped into a little bit of a needlessly self indulgent state? So naturally you go makeup shopping. It was one of those, super sad, drifting through the isles kind of shop. One where you have clearly been in there too long and the staff are beginning to stare. Although very much shopping with my emotions rather than my brain, I managed to come out with some great products! It shouldn't have worked but it is clearly this is a sign I should always shop when sad....

The entire, lets call it 'rampage' begun upon catching sight of myself in the mirror. My self esteem (as most peoples is) is very much linked to my mood. Thus began the deep longing to cover the entire my face as not to upset innocent bystanders. For this, I went for the Maybelline Instant Eye Erase. I have been hearing about this for the longest time now and everyone basically says its the bomb, but it is always sold out. Naturally, this makes me believe it even more and I have to restrain from all but kicking the shelf everytime they have run out. Regardless, I now have it and it is my new favourite. It is such a good match for my skin, has great coverage, is long lasting and blends amazingly. I highly recommend it!

After the 'crawl into a hole' stage was dealt with accordingly, I then entered the 'desperately seeking control' stage of my melancholy. I think I felt like if I were more in control of my brows, my life may follow suit. So I picked up the Maybelline Brow Drama. Plus it was a 3 for 2 on Maybelline products.  Great for really low maintenance, natural looking brows. What used to take me ten minutes now takes me under one. Those extra 9 minutes mean I might now actually catch my bus in the mornings! Sadly this still did not satisfy my need for control but this was soon eased by the Maybelline Face Master Sculpt. It had its own little promotional display and the large printing words of 'Master' and 'Sculpt'. Which really identified with me in my current state. And you know what? Considering my ridiculous rational for the purchase, its a great contour kit. What I love about it is that it is so light and soft, with a separation between the highlight and contour. It makes for a really natural looking contour that I often struggle with. It also contains a mirror and a small brush (both of which I only noticed when I got home).

I assume that this was the stage of being in a bad mood when you rebel against the bad mood and buy something bright and colourful in an attempt to shake it. When has this ever worked? Naturally I tried it out later at home and decided it looked terrible, I could never pull it off and that I was stupid for buying it. After some time, slightly more rational me appeared and obviously loves it. The Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets are one of my favourite lip products ever, they are great quality, a lovely shade range and always pretty. I picked up the shade 'Frambourjois' which is a really bright pinky red and as an added bonus is pretty great for bringing out green eyes.

All good things must come to an end and eventually I began to level out a little and reason began to appear, telling me I was probably spending too much. It wasn't quite shouting loud enough though so rather than stop shopping I headed to Makeup Revolution, every broke girls dream. Always good products, amazing prices. This time I bought the Mono Eyeshadow in the shade 'Finally'. It was actually quite a sensible little purchase. Great colour, kind of a peachy, nude that I can force being endlessly useful.

About 40 minutes later I finally bought the waxing strips and eye drops, which is what I originally went in for and only went in for.

Do you also use shopping as a coping mechanism?

Let me know!


Sunday, 7 June 2015

BakerDays Letterbox Cake!

BakerDays Letterbox Gift Cake in Birthday Flowers, Vanilla Sponge.
BakerDays got in touch with me and asked if I would like to try out one of their Letterbox Cakes! I am possibly the worlds biggest cake fan (big claim, I know) so naturally this was the most exciting thing that has every happened to me, ever. BakerDays is a cake delivery service. They create a selection of different cakes (including Cupcakes), flavours, sizes etc and then offer them for delivery. They also do what are called 'Letterbox Cakes'. A cake small enough to fit through your letterbox, making it a perfect gift and a great idea! My birthday is coming up in a few weeks time so I thought it would be a great time to try out one of their Letterbox Birthday Cakes.

There is a selection of flavours available and BakerDays also offer cakes for a specific dietary requirements, for instance gluten free and dairy free cakes.

BakerDays Letterbox Gift Cake in Birthday Flowers, Vanilla Sponge.

The cake itself was really tasty. The sponge was soft with a great vanilla flavour and sweet but not overpowering. The buttercream icing creamy and thick and the royal icing covering the cake was also soft but still gave a bit more texture to the cake. It also tasted very fresh and I would never have known that it was not homemade. It was much better than I expected a cake sent through the post could be! It also smelt amazing and an added bonus was that after opening to box my house smelt like cake for about two days and I have been craving it like crazy, ever since.

I was very impressed with the printing on the icing. I think it looked so professional and made the cake look really, really special. I chose the Birthday Flowers pattern as it is just so pretty but there is such a large range of prints to choose from for all different occasions. You can also have an image of your choosing put onto the cake which I think it great and it is at no extra charge. You can also choose your own text on the cake, making it much more personal.

BakerDays Letterbox Gift Cake 
The cake arrived really well packaged in the tin pictured with a lovely card. I was very surprised that the cake arrived in such good condition. There wasn't even a scratch on it. The cake itself was wrapped in bubblewrap and contained in the tin, all of which were packaged in a cardboard box. In the package there was also some birthday candles, balloons and noise maker which I thought was a really nice touch.

The Letterbox cake also stays fresh for around 2 weeks which I think is amazing! So there are no worries with it arriving and still tasting fresh. Obviously, I couldn't test this out myself as I have no self control. Seriously, I didn't even share it, not one bite. Pacing myself, it lasted a few hours max. #sorrynotsorry

BakerDays Letterbox Gift Cake in Birthday Flowers, Vanilla Sponge.

The only downside for me in the price. It is expensive for cake. Measuring only 12 x 2.5cm across its not exactly a lot of cake for the price. Now obviously it can't be huge, otherwise it wouldn't fit through the letterbox but I see no reason why it couldn't be the size of a Graze Box for example, which would add a fair amount of cake. Obviously, its a luxury service and not something you would do everyday, so for a loved one, it's not something I would resent spending money. But I do wish they would improve the size a little! The greedy side in me tends to take over on these occasions.

Saying this, if I was sent one for my birthday, a special occasion or even just out of the goodness of their own heart, I would be so happy. I couldn't get out of my mind that if someone had sent me this when I was away at uni, when I was feeling a little blue and lonely I actually think I would have cried. Even though I was sent this by BakerDays and not a loved one it did make me feel a little emotional. That's a little sad isn't it? Oh well, it's cake, who cares? Although expensive, I guess its kind of similar to a flower delivery service in which you would always pay more than normal for the luxury of the delivery. I love flowers, but personally, would rather have cake any day!

Would you try BakerDays Letterbox Cake?

Let me know!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Hair || Mixed Chicks

This is a picture of the Mixed Chicks Spring Bands and the Mixed Chicks Trial and Travel Pack contents.
Left to Right: Mixed Chicks Spring Bands, Mixed Chicks Trial & Travel Pack Contents.
Mixed Chicks recently got in contact with me and asked if I would be interested in trying out some of their products. They are a brand I have wanted to try for a very long time, having always loved the look of, so obviously I jumped at the chance! Mixed Chicks was founded by Wendi Levy and Kim Etheridge who, according to their website, created their products because 'for years, multi-cultural people with hard to manage hair traveled from store to store, trying to blend products in a hopeless attempt to tame their locks. Although these are the foundations of the brand Mixed Chicks really does aim to cater to 'all curly hair types, white, black, asian, european etc and not limited to one specific mix of ethnicities'. They have a really diverse range of products, suitable for everyone!

Although they are an American brand they do have plenty of stockists in the UK, which you can find here. You can order online through their website and shipping is international. Their products are also available through The British Curlies shop.

This is a picture of the contents of the Mixed Chicks Trial & Travel Pack.
Mixed Chicks Trial and Travel Pack Contents. Left to Right: Mixed Chicks Shampoo, Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioner & Mixed Chicks Leave in Conditioner.
The first product I tried is their Trial & Travel Pack. It contains three travel sized products, a shampoo, conditioner and leave in conditioner. Maybe its odd but I love miniatures of products, there is just something strangely satisfying about them! With summer just around the corner I tend to do a lot more travelling and this pack is great to just throw in your suitcase. So much easier than lugging around large bottles which is what I always end up doing. I always struggle finding miniatures of curl specific products so its great to find a brand that does! I can see them being so useful you for weekends away or short breaks when you only want to take hand luggage and can't take any large bottles. They would even be great for festival and camping season.

 As for the products themselves I thought they were great and so perfect for curls. The Shampoo was super lathery and I only needed around half of the miniature maybe even less. It cleaned my hair really well without being too drying. It also worked really well with the Deep Conditioner leaving my hair feeling cleansed but nourished and all over well balanced.

Soft yet springy, defined curls.
 The Leave in Conditioner was probably my favourite. Leave in conditioners are one of my favourites anyway but when I used this one my hair was incredibly soft. I think I just spent all day stroking it and understandably got some strange looks! It also helped to add a little weight to my curls, defining them as well as keeping them moisturised. Sadly non of these products are silicone or sulfate free so if you follow the CG method or avoid these ingredients they are not suitable. But Mixed Chicks do have a Sulfate Free Shampoo with 'avacado, sweet almond and aloe' that looks amazing and it is definitely on my list!

This is a picture of the Mixed Chicks Spring Bands.
Mixed Chicks Spring Bands.

The second product was the Mixed Chicks Spring Bands. I am so grateful that these exist in my life. I think most people with curls know the struggle of hair bands. The knots, the pain, the breakage, the endless snapping etc. These conquer all of this and are hands down the best thing I know of for tieing back my hair. They don't leave any kind of kink in my hair and really do help stop my curls loosing their shape. They are much more comfortable than regular hair bands whilst still holding my hair as well. I do also own a similar spring bands from another brand but the Mixed Chicks ones are much better made and stronger. They also hold their shape really well, whereas I have found my other ones have lost their springiness, the Mixed Chicks Spring Bands have been much stronger. They also only cost $3 or £3 from the British Curlies Shop which I think is a great price and cheaper than similar products from other brands!

For more information on mixed chicks you can visit there website or contact them on Twitter: @ukmixedchicks, Facebook or Instagram @mixedchicksuk

Are you a Mixed Chicks fan?

Let me know!
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