Thursday, 28 January 2016

3 Weeks with the Jawbone UP 2 Activity Tracker

up by jawbone

If you have an outstanding memory you may recall that I got this Jawbone Up wristband for Christmas. I'd been looking at an activity tracker for ages and couldn't really decide which one to get so thought now I've had some time to wear it, it would be helpful to share my thoughts on it. 

Week 1
I can't wait to get going with my new fitness tracker. From opening the box, I had to charge it up for around 80 minutes using a little magnetic charging USB stick. The lights flash whilst its charging, but when they turn constant your good to go. The great thing about it is that it only has to be charged once a week too! After downloading the Jawbone app onto my iPhone I quickly got everything sync'ed up and I was ready to roll. 

Since getting my band, the only time I've taken it off is to have a shower or bath and it's so light and discrete I don't even notice that I'm wearing it. The activity tracker seems quite accurate but it doesn't register some activities such as workouts and especially those more sedentary like cycling or weights. Never fear though, these movements can be entered in manually easy enough. I was actually worried it was going to pick up my typing at work, but it looks like everything fine. For the sleep tracker, it works so so. It seems quite accurate, but not great in telling if your in a light sleep or have woken up. On the night I slept the worst and only managed to get an hour or two, it registered that I hadn't woken up at all. Maybe I just don't move when I wake up?!

I've really enjoyed using the app as it's quite visual. You can customise all the settings from a Smart alarm, idle alerts and activity alerts. There's even a handy stopwatch that you can time workouts that wouldn't necessarily be picked up by the system. You can also record you meals on it but I've found the ones on the database are mainly American, which throws everything off slightly if you're this side of the pond. Another plus is that it can also be used alongside other apps so you can link everything up.

Week 2
I had a complete disaster with my bracelet this week. I had it on my wrist in the car on the way to work, but as I was sat at my desk I realised it was gone. Tracing my footsteps, I couldn't find it anywhere.  That's the problem with it being so light and discrete, you don't notice when it slips off your wrist. I thought it was gone for good when I remembered there's a tracking feature on the app similar to the one for your iPhone. 

I quickly tapped away, only to find out that it would only show where my jawbone band was when it was last synced to the app, and not in real time. It wouldn't sync from my office to home because of the distance. Not much help there. Luckily it was at home. Panic over, but now I feel paranoid, checking it's on my wrist constantly in fear that I leave somewhere. 

Week 3
This week I think I've finally realised how I'm going to use my up bracelet. Rather than inputting all my food, I'm just going to focus on the activity tracking side. I'm keeping up with the sleep tracking but taking the results with a pinch of salt. 

I've definitely become more aware about how much I'm moving. I have a desk job, and its only just sunk in how inactive I am during the day. If I needed some extra motivation to get moving in my free time, this up band has provided it.

Overall I'm really happy with the Jawbone UP 2 and would recommend someone to try it out. It's not an all singing all dancing activity tracker like some high end Garmin models, but it does the job and is at quite a reasonable price of around £49. Do I think I'd upgrade? Well I want to get into running in spring/summer so if I manage to get into a routine, I may upgrade to one that tracks route and times better. Until then though, this is perfect fro what I need and great motivation to keep moving.

Do you have an activity tracker? How are you find it?

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Body Shop's Bath Brew

body shop natural bath
I hate Green tea. I can't stand the taste, and no I will not learn to grow to like it if I keep trying. But , rather weirdly, I do love the smell. While you all might prefer to have a cuppa to chill out after a stressful day, I prefer to get my pamper on. I've already talked about the lovely facial goodies from Sephora, but thought it was only fair to let you know about another alternative. My cuppa is bigger than yours. Just saying. 

Rather than the drink, The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea Bath Tea aims to help you relax from the outside in. Sourced from Mount Fuji, Japan, it's made with real green tea leaves to help de-stress both your mind and body. The antioxidants are also supposed to work their magic on your skin, making it both softer and smoother for a  healthier feeling. 

Fun concept, but what's it like in practice? There's actually two ways that you can use this product. You can either pour it into a warm bath and wait 5 minutes for the bath soak to infuse, or you can use the matching Bath Tea infuser, said to give a mess free experience.

First thing to point out about the product is that it's heavily fragranced. If you don't like the smell of Green Tea, avoid this like the plague. Seriously, it's potent. Also, It's a mixture of bath salts and green tea so if you prefer your bath products to completely dissolve, give this one a pass. If this is still your thing, well then you are in for a treat. The product works perfectly and you feel like you've had a spa treatment after using it. Your skin is soft for days and you feel completely relaxed. Wonderful right?

Now this is the bit that has divided me; both ways of using it has flaws. Pretty big ones too. If you opt for the straight pour method, your relaxing experience will only last as long as your bath does. As soon as you get out of the bath, you're going to need to rinse down to get rid of those little green tea leaves.  Once you've cleaned up, you're then going to have to spend a good 10 minutes sorting out your bath. Think of a Lush bath bomb with glitter. Times 10.  

So use the Bath Infuser I hear you cry? Well I would if it fitted round any bath without an exposed water drain. Not a problem I thought, I'd attached it to the tap or somewhere else, but nope, it just slips completely off. OK so I'll attach it to the little wire rack on the wall. The chain isn't long enough. I will point out that this isn't The Body Shop's fault, but I think they should make it a bit clearer that it won't work for every bath. Now, unless I fancy holding the chain for the Infuser, I've let £5 go down the drain. Literally. 

It doesn't help that the price point isn't great. £12.00 a jar seems quite reasonable, until you realise that it takes quite a lot to have any effect. With a big bath like mine, you'd be lucky if you got 3 baths.  You could pay more for Lush, but then Lush wouldn't be so frustrating to use.

So would I buy this again? No. Would I recommend this for someone else? Maybe. If you are more into green tea than me, and have a open bath drain, then this would be a lot more appealing and would make such a cute, novelty gift. for a tea lover. Sadly it's wasted on me, and won't be in my caddy anytime soon.

What do you think? Is this you cup of tea (couldn't resist)?

Sunday, 24 January 2016

5 Books in 5 Words #4

5 books in 5 words book review

I haven't done one of these posts in so long, so I wouldn't blame you on if you had no idea how they worked. Whilst I adore reading, I hate writing books reviews and find myself flashing back to English lessons at school. To save us all from that pain, and from me giving away any spoilers, I figured 5 words was just enough for me to give you my opinion.

And before I begin, yes I know there are only four books up in the picture. 2 books are on my kindle, but alas the kindle can only show one cover at once. Let's just pretend yeah?

Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes
Disappointing history in modern world.

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
Chick Lit genius strikes again

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella
Becky Bloomwood all grown up

An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington by Karl Pilkington
Hilarious travel inspiration must read.

The Further Adventures of An Idiot Abroad by Karl Pilkington (not shown)
Just as funny as first.

Have you read any of these? I'd love to know what you thought?

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Two (for) Lips

bite cosmetics dr lipp lip balm

Coughs and colds seem to be going round the office lately, and now that I've seen the first snow of winter, it's only a matter of time for chapped lips. The problem with being an outdoorsy kind of person is that you get subjected the all the elements. So what do I turn to in my time of need? Beauty products. I turn to beauty products.

First of the duo is my all time love, Bite Beauty's Agave Lip Mask. A little goes a long way with this mask which looks a little like vaseline in a tube. An extremely thick, sticky formula, it's made with organic agave and Vanilla extract to instantly soothes and soften lips. Simply squeeze a rice grain sized amount, and smooth on to your lips. There's no need to remove the mask, just go about you day and let it do the work. It might seem like just a normal lip balm, but I've never used something so intense and powerful. Trust me, it's small but mighty. I'd recommend using this at night to keep your lips in tip top condition and repair them to their former glory.

The second of the due is a product that has cult status within the beauty blogging world; Dr Lipp's Original Nipple Balm for Lips. Another thick consistency product, this is a lip balm with a difference.  Originally formulated to help new breast-feeding mothers, the balm has been hailed as one of the most intensive lip balms around. Ultra-hydrating, this SOS lip balm is what I reach for when my usual isn't cutting it.

What's even better about both these products is that they harness the power of natural ingredients making them perfect for everyone. What are your favourite lip treatments?


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The X Formula

Formula X Massive Nail Varnish Polish Paint
Formula X Massive Nail Varnish Polish Paint
Formula X Massive Nail Varnish Polish Paint Swatch

When I did a HUGE Sephora Haul last year in LA, Formula X was right at the top of my shopping list. Attracting a cult following, it's only available from Sephora, and due to international shipping, it can't be sent over here if you happen to place an order online. Hearing such amazing things about the nail color, I knew I had to try it for myself.

Among a rainbow of shades, this one in particular caught my eye. Massive is said to be a charcoal slate shade, but personally I think there a is a very slight hint of blue or green in the mix, depending on the light. Whatever, your description, it's no denying that this is a beautifully unique, and very season appropriate colour. 

The formula is extremely pigmented and smooth. In the above swatches, the one on the left has one coat, and the one on the right has two. Clearly this is a one coat wonder. I'm possibly the worst person at painting my nails. It's impossible for me not to smudge them, but even I managed to get a decent finish. Oh, and the shine? Theres no topcoat on the above swatches, and I have to be honest, it did make me think twice about applying any.

All high praise right? I wore this shade last week to see how it shaped up in a normal working environment. I'm not sure what my expectations were about the varnish's longevity, but I know I was slightly disappointed when (small) chips starting appearing on Wednesday. After removing it, I also felt like my nails were a little dry(?) and seemed weaker than before. I hate chipped nail polish, but even after this, I think the formula and colour range may still have won me over. So much so, I'll be looking at trying to pick a couple more up in August when I 'm back State side. 

If you happen to be in the States, Massive is currently $10.50.

Have you tried Formula X? What's your verdict?

Sunday, 17 January 2016

How to have an Epic Blog

EPIC BLOG: One-Year Editorial Planner by reginaEPIC BLOG: One-Year Editorial PlannerEPIC BLOG: One-Year Editorial PlannerEPIC BLOG: One-Year Editorial PlannerEPIC BLOG: One-Year Editorial Planner

This year I'm trying to step up my blogging game. I feel like for the last two years I've kind of neglected things and not given my blog the time and attention it deserves. Juggling a full time job which isn't connected to blogging in the slightest can be challenging, but I've recently found this little book to help keep everything together.

You may of heard of By Regina, but if you haven't she's basically an online guru, brimming with tips on how to make your brand better, ace social media and have killer content. With the Epic Blog One Year Content Planner, Regina has created an all signing all dancing blog planner. 

The planner starts out with 24 pages of workbook making you focus on your overall vision. Rather than just focusing on goals, it makes you think about how you will reach them. There's sections on monetization, ideal reader planning, your own blog progress and aesthetics making you really consider every aspect of your blog. This has been so useful for me, as I felt I was just ambling along. Now I have a direction and a strategy. 

The rest of the planner is made up of twelve sections. I will take this moment to highlight that all the sections are undated in both month and year so you can start at any time. Each section starts with a blank content calendar so you can see how your posts slot into the month. Theres then a page where you can list the post titles, order them and think about what photographs or images you need. For those of you really pushing yourself, you can also plan email list content, product ideas and collaborations or sponsored content. The last page in the section is about strategy and maintenance. There's a space to make a list of blog maintenance tasks, blog expenses, blog income and sections to record and reflect on your monthly stats.

There's quite a few planners on the market at the moment, but this one packs a punch, both content and price point. Available from Amazon for £11.80 with free UK Shipping, its one of the cheaper ones I've seen. What I like about this planner more than any other is that it makes you think more about your blog as a whole rather than just getting your content and social media plan organised. 

Do you have a blog? If you do, how do you keep it organised?

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Boxing Day Sales Haul 2015

lush boxing day salelush boxing day sale
boxing day sales ukboxing day sales uk

Boxing day feels like a really really long time ago (well it was last year hehehe, sorry, not funny) but I thought it was only fair that I share what I picked up in the end of year sales. I didn't go as crazy as in previous years, but still managed to get some gems.

I didn't actually make it to the shops this year, so everything is off the internet. Of course I was one of the many many people (not so) patiently waiting for the Lush sale to go online. I picked up a couple of the bigger gift sets because the mark down on them was just ridiculous. I'm dreading having to get rid of the packaging. Lush always manages to have the cutest gift boxes.

On to makeup, and my first portal of call was one of my favourite stores, Space NK. I didn't think the Spake NK sale was as good as last year, and only two things really caught my eye. Both by By Terry, I have a feeling the Cellulose Blush Glace and the Aqua Tint Lip & Cheek will be my favourite products come Spring/Summer. Extremely light and easy to use, they will be perfect for when the temperate rises a little. 

Lastly, I decided to have a little peak at the Illamasqua sale which is never a good idea, for your purse anyway. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get the Powder Blush Duo in Lover and Hussy because I've had my eye on it literally since I started blogging. Apart from trying something new, I decided to stock up on pure pigments. If you've never tried these, you need to get your hands on one pronto. I have quite a few, but picked up Android and Berber. Finally, I got this amazing orange Matte Lip Liquid in Exotic. Once the freckles appear, this will be an essential. 

Did you manage to grab a bargain? 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Caviar Facial

Mon Platin, DSM, Dead Sea Minerals, Black Caviar Ultra Intensive Facial Mask
Sometimes we need a little luxury in our lives, and if there was one month that everyone needs a little pampering, it would be January. I always think January's a horrible month. Everyone's trying to save money and cut back on food and drink, the nights are still dark and there's no festive cheer. A little pamper is the only way I get by!

Step in the DSM Black Caviar Ultra Intensive Face Mask (*). I don't know about you but as soon as you say Caviar, I think luxury. But, putting fish eggs on your face? Well don't knock it until you've tried it. 

The mask is quick a thick texture with black beads. The idea is that the beads melt as the mask is applied to your face, releasing the products super ingredients. I will be the first to admit I'm no Caroline Hirons when it comes to skincare but with a list including black caviar, green tea, nettle, orchid, aloe very, chamomile, Vitamins A, B5 C and E and (finally) peptides, it's safe to say this mask has you covered. Promising to treat, nourish and enrich your skin, it really is a fix-it-all mask.

So does it work? After leaving this on my skin for 15 minutes and removing with a Muslin cloth I was amazed at the instant difference in my skin.  For those of you who like to see instant results, my skin looked like I'd had a weekend long spa trip. My pores were unclogged, blemishes had been calmed, my skin was hydrated and everything just generally looked better. I'd definitely recommend applying this with your fingers rather than a brush to help burst the beads and make the most of the ingredients. This is the first DSM product I've actually used, but after this one, I'd definitely be up for trying some more.

This mask isn't readily available, but Amazon sell it for £17.85 with free UK shipping!

Sunday, 10 January 2016

The Last 5 Years ...

One Line A Day Five Year Diary

One Line A Day Five Year Diary

Time hop is one of my favourite things. I'm naturally a reflective person and I love being able to look back and see what I was doing last year or even a couple of years before. Today I want to share with you something I've been doing before I even started blogging. It takes minimal effort but creates a priceless personal record.

The One Line a Day Diary is a 5-Year Memory Book that, once completed, let's you look back at any day of the year and know exactly what you were doing, thinking or feeling on that date in the last five years. Although the dates are at the top of each page, the years have been left blank, letting you start the Diary anytime you want. It's worth noting that the Diary is conventional in that January is at the Beginning and December is at the end, but you could start at any point in time because of the years being blank. The book itself is a lovely Tiffany blue hardback an, speaking from experience, is tough enough to withstand 5 years of daily use. 

So will you use it? If you get into a routine, yes. Like everything, it's dependant on you actually doing it for you to have the full benefit, but I've managed to do this for the last 5 years, so there's hope for everyone. The best way I've found to use this is to keep it visible on your bedside table and do it every single night before bed. Because I'm a real person with a real life, I will happily admit that there are nights that I haven't done it. But never fear, it's pretty easy to catch up with a couple of days. Word of caution though, I didn't take this on holiday with me once, and really struggled to catch up with two weeks. If your going away, make notes each night and transfer it into the diary when you get back, unless you have a better memory than me.

How do you like to look back on memories?

Thursday, 7 January 2016

What I Got For Christmas 2015

What I got for christmas 2015 haul

What I got for christmas 2015 haul
What I got for christmas 2015 haul

What I got for christmas 2015 haul
Christmas has come and gone, and like every single year, my friends and family spoiled me rotten. I absolutely love reading Christmas and Birthday hauls and actually get some gift ideas from them for the next year. However, I can understand that some people may find them a bit braggy, so I'd just like to take this opportunity to say, that this post isn't meant to come across that way, I'm just creating what I love to read. If your not a fan, feel free to click on another post.

Formalities out of the way, let's get on with the good stuff. As I said, I got very very spoilt this year, and some things weren't even able to be photographed. Like my secret Santa present from work. My amazing desk neighbour Sarah got me a gingerbread house kit and a Bailey's Hot Chocolate set, but these didn't make it to Christmas day. Oops. My parents also paid the deposit for my flights and trip to America in August, as well as enrolling me on another Jewellery making course starting this month. See, spoilt!

For the things that were under my tree on Christmas Day, well they were completely unexpected. My family got me lot's of Bomb Cosmetics and Lush products to last me well into the New Year, and my Dad thought I'd like an electric toothbrush as I want to get my teeth naturally whiter (he was right. I did). My mum sneakily got me an Jawbone Up2 to help motivate me with my fitness whilst showering me with Salted Caramel treats. Bit of a contradiction there.

Finally, I was lucky enough to get lots and lots of Jewellery Making supplies. If you don't know I absolutely love making jewellery and last year it grew from an occasional thing to a full-time hobby. I was treated to bead kits, books and a thread zapper which I've had my eye on forever! I'm hoping to start a Jewellery Making blog and youtube soon, starting with the basics and working up, so all these goodies will definitely come in handy. 

Clearly I was very very good last year and would like to say a massive thank you for all my lovely gifts. Hopefully all of you were also on the nice list. What was your favourite present?


Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Lush The Rough With The Smooth Body Scrub

Lush rough with smooth exfoliating body scrub

New year, new start? I do have to admit that there's something about January that makes me what to have a nice fresh start and somewhere in my head that means exfoliating. I mean I kind of see the logic but err yeah, your guess is as good as mine. 

Bizarre connection aside, one product I have been loving lately is this gem from Lush Cosmetics. Half with little nodules, half smooth, the aptly named Rough with the Smooth is an exfoliating body scrub bar that  really packs a punch. A mix of granulated sugar and murmur butter, after a once over with this bad boy your skin is baby soft from the very first use. As with every Lush product the scent is fabulous. Think of it as vanilla with a kick, all thanks to black pepper and patchouli oil, very reminicent of Lord of Misrule Bath Ballistic.

I do like that it's a bar rather than a pot as it gives you the perfect amount of product without any waste. However, I would recommend an initial rub over with the bar, before following it up with just your hand, otherwise you will end up with excess product and a lot of wastage,  

Does anyone else associate January with a product? Let me know so I don't feel too weird.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Sweet 16

2016 life goals

Hey guys, fancy seeing you here! Long time no blog right?! I spent last month in and out of hospital and was feeling pretty darn stressed about having the juggling Christmas, normal jobs and getting better. Of course I'm no good to anyone if I'm not well, so, after a sit down with the mama, I decided to take an executive decision and having a blogging break until the new year, this year to be precise. 

Well it's the new year and I'm back with gusto. To the shock of me and my fellow bloggers, Cat & Rach I'm looking at you, I've made a list longer than the Harry Potter books (well may just Philosopher's Stone) with content ideas and I'm working through a to do list to pep up my blog and dust the cobwebs off of this corner of the internet. Sometimes a break does you the world of good.

So to kick off 2016, I thought it would be nice to share my 2016 life goals. Unlike a lot of resolutions, I've kept mine quite general. I've already set myself little targets and made small changes so everything is nice and manageable. 

2016 Life Goals
  • Explore. I'm back off to Greece again in May and USA in August but I really want to explore more places closer to home. I'm going to Newcastle at the end of this month but Brighton, Edinburgh and Jersey are all on my wanderlist. 
  • Acceptance. By the end of the year I want to look back and be able to say, I wanted to achieve blah blah blah, so I rolled up my sleeves, gritted my teeth and worked for it. And got it. Whilst I am always going to want to do better and bigger things, I want to be happy, appreciate where I am right now and generally be comfortable in my own skin.
  • Balance. I have a little habit of working my socks off so much I exhaust myself, then have a couple of lazy months before beginning the cycle again. This year I'd like to get more balance in my life whether that be work and life balances or gym and cheat balances. A healthier approach to everything is needed. 
What goals have you made for yourself this year?

Blogger Template Created by pipdig