SUMMER TRAVEL SORTED WITH HOMESENSE

Monday, 3 August 2015



If you thought Homesense was only candles, sofas and little trinkets for your humble abode, then you'd be wrong. Yes, the land I call my second home thanks to amount of candles I keep adding to my basket also houses some fabulous beauty, lifestyle and food treasures which are all also available at a bargain price (and totally save your life when planning your first holiday in a few years!)

At the end of the month I'll be heading off to Paris for a few days which is so exciting, and being the planner I am, I've started picking up some new bits that can make my trip go as smoothly as possible - from beauty to electronics, it's safe to say my needs will be well covered...


Travel toiletry bags are an absolute must and as I'm only going away for a few days, something small is enough to suffice which is why I fell absolutely head over heels for this pink 'Beauty' toiletry bag* - fits in all my minis and a couple of lipsticks too which is all you ever really need on a quick trip across the Channel! One new-must have I'll be taking along with me is Rosehip Oil* and I picked up this graciously sized bottle for a couple of pounds in the Homesense beauty aisle and so far it's been working miracles on my skin - redness, blemishes, scars and uneven skin-tone all reduced in a few days, it really is the miracle people say it is.

A new city means experimenting with a new fragrance and since Michael Kors White Eau de Parfum* made it's way into my beauty drawer it's been a daily staple; the notes of freesia and tuberose compliment one another beautifully for a fresh first spritz that mellows outs into a warm and floral base thanks to addition of white musk, lingering on the skin all day long for a much more day-friendly sexy fragrance.

Even though I'm aiming to switch off a bit on holiday, there's definitely a few essential pieces of kit I'll be popping in my bag, mainly my portable charger which is a life saver if you use your phone for vlogging or editing photos for Instagram as much as I do, plus it holds up to 4 chargers (pending you leave your phone to charge instead of just walking around with it plugged in the whole day, doh). I've only got one pair of headphones which I've used to death so picked up this purple pair* from Homesense and the bass is just insane - even my classical music playlist sounds intense playing it through these, another bargain as well for something so essential. Whilst I'm away, I'm hoping to get some outfit shots or maybe even vlog on my camera during the trip and this Pixi Tripod* that I picked up at a Manfrotto event a few weeks ago has been a life saver - it's easy to attach to any DSLR or camera, it can stand at different heights and is super lightweight so you can use it as a stick for vlogging if you have short arms *ahem* or to pop in the bathroom for a GRWM video - what was my life before this?!

Lastly, to make sure I pack all of these things is a list book and this gorgeous blue number* was a real find in the stationary aisle of Homesense. I'm a real sucker for nice paper and bold yet simple designs and this has all the right margins to create a Pinterest perfect list, so I'll be making sure I add all of these items on including the Raw Cocoa chocolate bar* which caught my attention at the till point when buying all of these items - well, chocolate keeps your energy up and metabolism going right? Essential for all the walking you know...


The lesson here? Don't judge a homeware store before you delve deeper inside it, you could find some absolute skincare godsends and some 100% essential stationary that you obviously need because who doesn't need another notebook right? Right. Homesense to the rescue again!


Are you off on any holidays this year? What is your course of packing action? Have you tried Homesense for your last minute holiday essentials?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more. 

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THE VIDEO: TALKING ABOUT STRESS

Saturday, 1 August 2015



I am someone who can get stressed very easily, and thanks to those good ol'hormones, said stress leads to my skin breaking out, nails going weak and my mind feeling like it's going 1000000mph yet unable to process anything. Yeah, that.

Stress, acne and dealing with issues alone are things I want to talk about and share online. No one should feel alone or ashamed for having a skin issue, a down day or feel like they can't talk to someone about there stress, and whilst my stress is leading to something positive, it still can be overwhelming and impact various areas of your life.

With all that in mind, I wanted to try something different with this weeks video which I hope you like - I've only ever wanted my blog to be a personal reflection of me and I hope that's starting to come through with these videos and new style of editing and shooting I guess, so I hope you can all resonate with it.




In other more positive news, I am super excited to announce I will be talking at Blog Stock Festival on Friday 4th September about Healthy Living! Can't quite believe it yet that I'm going to have to talk about a topic to people IRL, not in front of a screen so here's hoping for success. If you fancy coming along, there's a special 15% discount for those who use the code BLOVES15 at the checkout, so come along, meet some awesome online friends (me) and let's chat healthy stuff!

Don't forget to like the video if you enjoyed it and leave me a comment here and on the video telling me how you are feeling - sending hugs to you all - and also SUBSCRIBE for a new video every Tuesday at 9am.

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more. 

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JULY FAVOURITES

Friday, 31 July 2015



Don't mind me, I'm just in despair over how quick this summer and year is flying by - July favourites time already I hear you say? I feel you, I can't believe we'd arrived here either yet tomorrow is definitely 100% August and I'm trying to grasp those last few sunny days before we head into Autumn (although, the weather has been quite cold and overcast so I think we're more than adequately prepared, my electric blanket has made a reappearing at least three times this week...)

BUT ANYWAY, it's July, it's summer and we have some monthly favourites to get through, so less of the chat Lauren and start sharing...


July has been one crazy whirlwind for my skin, super stressed and breaking out beyond belief which has been a bit torturous so I've been revising some old faithfuls whilst stripping back my routine to the absolute basics. To give my skin some relief, I've been relying on the Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask and it always forget how amazing it is - the lavender and clay work wonders at soothing the skin and reducing redness and irritation, broken skin and even those painful lumps that have been appearing on my face (thanks stress). I have a slither of this left so I'll be cutting it open ASAP before repurchasing, heaven in a bottle.

Two other skin saviours come in the form of Australian Bodycare Tea Tree Oil and MyChelle Remarkable Retinal Serum* which have helped keep inflammation down and repair the skin. Tea Tree Oil is an absolute godsend to keeping oil at bay too and it really wakes me up int morning, plus the Retinal Serum helps keep elasticity and firmness to my skin after it goes through a crazy period - both go hand in hand for repaired and nurtured skin, thank you very much nature.

I go on about my brows enough but the Eyeko Tinted Brow Gel* has really worked wonders at keeping the shape in place and adding definition. A quick slick through on a no makeup day does the trick to make them look presentable, and the colour perfectly matches Anastasia Brown Wiz in Soft Brown so hooray for good brows all day long!

Now that my hair is 95% natural (still got to cut that last bit of bleach out and then freeeedddommmm) it gets greasier a lot quicker and over washing it never helps, so I was more than delighted to discover the Christophe Robin Hair Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt* in a Net-a-Porter box I received recently. A scrub for your scalp may seem odd but it works magic at detoxifying and purifying your hair from the root up, removing any grease, grime, product or oil that is making your look limp and injecting it with some serious cleansed volume. The full sized product is on my wishlist and my hair has never felt cleaner or more refreshed.

Coconut Oil is one of my favourite things especially with cooking, but when I heard about Palmer's new Coconut Oil body range I knew i had to give it a go, and it smells absolutely INCREDIBLE. I am in love with the summery scent, the light nourishment and sweet edge to the whole range which covers Body Oil, Lotion, Butter and Hand Cream - every time I shower now I use each product for different areas on my body, that's moisturiser dedication people!

Finally, you know I love a little bit of Homesense in my life and I've found a few wonderful deals this month, but one that's stood out to me is this woven bowl* from the new collaboration between Homesense and Ugandan communities. Artists and members of the community have created some amazing one-off pieces that are being sold nationwide and all the money gets donated to charity to help improve their livelihood and opportunities, absolutely fantastic don't you think? It also makes a wonderful backdrop to photos so it's a win-win all round - thank you Homesense!


Oh July, why must you have flown by so fast? At this rate I'll be pulling out my jumpers and layers of socks to combat the British weather within weeks, but I've still got hope for you summer - can you grant us a few extended weeks of sunshine and summer, please?


What have you been enjoying this July? Have you tried any of these products? And what's up with the weather?!

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more. 

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WHAT I ATE WEDNESDAY FOR VEGANS

Wednesday, 29 July 2015



I've been blogging nearly 3 years now yet I've never done a What I Ate Wednesday post - the madness, what cliches I am failing to fulfil! Seeing as it is Wednesday and I am a big lover of food, I decided today was the day to share with you what I eat most days, and how varied a vegan/plant based diet can be. Apologies if you drool at the screen, I wish I could eat it all again too...

Breakfast

My breakfast has been the same for the past year - yes, I get very stuck in my days but this breakfast just hits the spot for me. In current rotation is porridge made with Almond Milk and mashed banana, topped with almonds, pumpkin seeds and honey - and I know, honey isn't vegan however as explained in this post, my reasons for being vegan are more health based rather than ethical.

Personally, I think hemp milk is one of the best dairy free alternatives I've tried because it's super creamy yet it contains lots of essential vitamins and nutrients that vegans can miss out on (Vitamin D and Omega 3, great if you never go outside or eat fish) so when you are looking for alternative produce, see which suits you needs best. Almonds are key sources of fatty acids and keep you fuller for longer alongside oats, plus banana contains potassium and fibre which makes you go 'whoosh' to the toilet. Sorry for the TMI, but it does help.

To top it all off I have my morning ritual of Pukka Herbs Three Mint Tea, the best mint tea around in my opinion. It really helps relax the insides, freshens the palate, and wakes you up to start a new day easily - you can get my day started any time if you mention food.



Lunch

Usually I switch between rye bread and quinoa at lunchtime but today was a quinoa bowl kind of day - hooray for quinoa! I like to vary my textures, colours and flavours so I've mixed up some wilted spinach with cooked red and white quinoa, fresh cherry tomatoes, avocado, houmous, beetroot, pumpkin seeds and cucumber in one big bowl of deliciousness.

Cooked spinach allows the nutrients to be absorbed much easier into the digestive system, making the process of digestion easier also, and cucumbers are a fabulous source of hydration and can also prevent bloating throughout the day. Quinoa as you may know is a fabulous source of protein so if you're vegan or vegetarian, quinoa your life up now! Again, houmous and avocado are key sources of fatty acids and good fats that help your muscles and body function correctly, and by varying the colours, flavours and textures of your meals, you'll be able to absorb a wide range of nutrients and vitamins your body needs to work best.

There are some people who say 'breakfast like a king, lunch like a joker, dinner like a pauper' but a meal that fills you up for 5-6 hours, has a wide range of food groups and also makes you say YUUMMM is a good meal to have indeed - have more of those meals!


Dinner

Can we give it up for leftovers? The only saviour when you work too long and need food right here right now. I whipped up a delicious version of my Vegan Bolognese but added in some Encona Korean BBQ Marinade for a bit of heat and depth of flavour, seriously amazing and filling for the tummy!

Sweet Potato and Carrot add a bit of bulk to the dish and contains great sources of beta-carotene and carbohydrates, plus the shredded Mushrooms had the same texture as mince so you'll be none the wiser (and lower in saturated fats, brilliant plus). Again, quinoa for protein as I don't eat pasta and a mixture of textures keeps this dish interesting - crunchy spinach to compliment the hot, stewed sauce is seriously so so good, and if you want an extra acidic kick for flavour then beetroot is also awesome in this dish.

All day, I've been sipping cucumber water to keep my digestion going, clear my skin and keep the bloat at bay and it definitely more delicious (and friendly on the teeth) than lemon water. A cleansing drink and a heavy bowl of comfort food, what's not to love?!


Hopefully you found some inspiration for your next few meals from this post, and you can see that it's super easy to eat a range of meals even on a plant based diet! If you're looking for some budget options, then check out my £15 shop post because you will be amazed at what a small amount of food can bring to your plate. So now that I've done What I Ate Wednesday, what other blogging must have posts should I try....?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more. 

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THE MAKEUP BEAUTY BRIEF #2

Monday, 27 July 2015



It's time for a long overdue Monthly Beauty Brief, and as I currently type this the weather outside does not reflect the light summer inspired base I've been rocking for the past month - rain, grey and clouds are making me layer up in jumpers and dressing gowns, contemplate putting my electric blanket on before bed, and just generally hibernating until it all blows over.

But I digress, as there's still hope for a few more displays of sunshine before I pack away this latest beauty brief look, and even though I'm still having a few stress-induced breakouts (skin and hormones, please) the coverage it gives whilst being super natural in finish is incredible. Edition 2, super glowy and shimmery whilst feeling like second skin, what more do you want?



Base wise, I'm still in love with the Nourish Illuminating Skin Shimmer* which has basically doubled up as my foundation this month and it really does the job - it evens and enhances the skin-tone, amps up the glow and gives subtle coverage that you'll feel totally comfortable popping to the shops in it alone.

For that extra bit of coverage and highlighting, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla has been a great match to the warmer golden tones of Nourish and has been fabulous at covering any blemishes or bumps on the way out - great under the eyes too, especially when you've been having a few too many late nights!

I'm still all about that contouring and have even given strobing a go this month (you spend ages perfecting your cheekbones and boom, it's all about highlighters, typical) - again the Sleek Face Form in Light* has the perfect defining shade for lighter skinned gals like me, with the contour blending in seamlessly with the shimmer and the champagne highlight really giving you that dewy look everyone craves. If you're not into shimmery shimmer, try Benefit Watts Up! for a more glowing 'the sun has bronzed me' vibe that works so well blended into your base.


So not much change base wise then, but the eyes and lips have really reinforced the dewy summer vibe without sticking to traditional bronzey shades; firstly I've been successfully perfecting my brows with Anastasia Brow Wiz in Soft Brown* which is great for evening out colour and shade, but adding in the Eyeko Brow Gel* has been amazing - on low key days, a quick swipe of colour helps make your brows look tamed and in place, whilst with the Brow Wiz they stay in place all day and really oomph and even to the colour. If you're looking to make your brows even more awesome, definitely get a brow gel!

I love easy and shimmer colours on the eyes, so again I've been switching up the Laura Mercier Cavoar Sticks in Moonlight and Rosegold for a 'my lids but better' shade depending on the time of day, and to add a more natural smoke I've fallen back in love with MAC Satin Taupe* which is a lovely mix of silver grey, violet and navy - it works beautifully with Moonlight and looks super subtle on the lid whilst adding depth. Team that with my all-time fave Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara and we've got a winning combo for the eyes!

To keep in with the natural base, I've pared back the lips a little by mixing together Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction with Dr. PAWPAW Tinted Peach Pink Balm* to create a gorgeous nude brown/peach tint to the lips that lasts well on the lips and keeps them nourished throughout the day - winning combo if you want to look even more glowing and bronzed.


Simple glowy low-key makeup, done. Now it's time to crack out the extra blankets and snuggly jumpers to keep myself warm until the sun decides to return - the joys of summer in England ey?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more. 

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