Beauty, Fashion, Lifestyle

Spring Handbag Essentials..

Spring.  The flowers are blossoming on the trees, the evenings are longer and it makes my morning run seem so much more appealing, knowing I’ll be stepping out into the crisp morning air, with the sun shining down and the birds chirping away. One of my favourite things about Spring, is that I get to be outside. You can’t beat taking a leisurely walk around the park, sitting in the sun or catching up with friends. So, to be prepared for a change in season, I thought I would share with you my top five spring handbag essentials.

Sunglasses

Well the sun is out, so what other excuse do you need?! I personally feel that sunglasses add the finishing touches to any outfit, as well as the fact that British weather can be so unpredictable, I’ll carry my sunglasses everywhere I go.  I also take massive pride and joy in my sunglasses – they were a birthday present last year, and I had been hankering after them for ages. So any chance I get to wear them, out they come! Seriously though – look at them. Aren’t they beautiful!?

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Diary

As you’ll come to learn, I am extremely organised. I will take my diary everywhere with me, consult it on a regular basis to ensure if I am booking in appointments, socialising with friends or scheduling in some R&R, I’m not going to be accidentally double-booking myself. It is also a great way for me to keep track of my blogging. I use it to jot ideas down  when I’m out and about shopping, or just daydreaming whilst having a wander on my lunch break. This way, I have somewhere to write these ideas downs straight away so I don’t forget, and I can go back to them later.

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Christian Dior – Miss Dior

As well as being my all-time favourite perfume, this also holds the perfect scent of Spring. It has a very fresh yet floral scent,  and Dior packaging  is always so beautiful and lady-like. I just adore the bow detailing on the lid of this bottle, and the fact they make the bottles perfect handbag size, allowing me to take it everywhere I go. I love how just the hint of a scent that you recognise  can bring back so many memories, or remind you of someone. Personally, the smell of Impulse body spray takes me back to my teens where I used to wear blue eye shadow and glitter across my cheeks, but we will leave that embarrassing story for another time….

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Chanel Powder

This powder is an absolute life saver, and again this is the perfect powder for spring. It provides a sheer and light finish, whilst maintaining a matte look. You only need a light dusting to top up your make-up, and it doesn’t leave your skin looking cakey, like so many other powders on the market right now can do. Its light powder puff concealed within the packaging allows for practicality of taking this out and about, so you can top up throughout the day.

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Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream – Intensive Repair Balm.

On the weekend, my go-to beauty product is a classic matte lipstick. I love how they make your lips look so velvety and pristine. The only downside however is that they’re the main culprit for me when it comes to dry and cracked lips.  My lips are very susceptible to it, so during the week, I treat my lips with the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Repair Cream, and apply this three times a day – once in the morning, once halfway through the day, and once before bed. Now I must say, this was one of the best investments I ever made!! It retails at £23, so a bit pricey for a lip cream, however it soothes, moisturises and heals my lips within days – much quicker, and much better than any other standard high street lip cream has ever done.

So there you have it, my top five, extremely necessary (of course) spring handbag essentials.

 

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Health, Lifestyle

Ready Steady Glow- Madeleine Shaw 

I pre-ordered Ready Steady Glow in February, and after Madeleine Shaw’s first book, Get the Glow, I had extremely high hopes. Get the Glow was my food bible, and  I was hoping this book would bring me even more tasty, healthy recipes. One of the things that excited me the most about this book, was that it contained quicker and easier meals to make during the week, and this is exactly what I needed.  Madeleine Shaw is a health coach that I am completely and utterly inspired by. Her entire outlook on life, food, and the way you treat your body is completely inspiring, and I truly believe that wellness and nourishment comes from within. Ever since I started eating clean, my skin has been so much more radiant, hydrated and brighter. I have felt more energised and awake, and most importantly, much more confident and happy. The first recipe which took my fancy, was the Goan Chicken Curry recipe.

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Ingredients

First of all, this is one of the recipes, where, as Madeleine states in the introduction to this recipe, the majority of ingredients will already be sat in your cupboards. I only had to buy a couple of fresh ingredients to make this, so it was relatively inexpensive. One thing that I do come up against quite often when making fresh and clean meals, it can be very expensive! So I was really pleased to find that within this book, there were a lot of recipes whereby most of the ingredients were already sat in the cupboard, and if they weren’t, they were relatively inexpensive, and easy to find at your local supermarket.

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Prep & Cooking Time

The overall prep/cooking  time stated 15 minutes – perfectly manageable after a long day at work!! This was relatively fuss free, and took me about 5-7 minutes to slice the vegetables  and chop the chicken.

Whilst this was all cooking, which took around 7-8 minutes, I prepared and cooked my cauliflower rice. I fried this off in some coconut oil, and put some ground cumin, all spice, cinnamon and a dash of soy sauce in. I let all of this cook for a further 3-4 minutes, and by this point, it was then ready to serve.

And voila! All in all, this took me about 15-20 minutes to prep, cook and serve. One thing that frustrates me so much when you are using a cookbook, is when it gives an ‘approximate cooking time of 30 minutes’, however you end up flustered and chaotic, rushing around the kitchen for an hour and a half! This is what I love about Madeleine’s book- honest, delicious, and her time-scales are accurate!!

 
Tastiness

And what can I say- DELICIOUS!! The coconut milk, spices and array of ingredients create an amazing variety of tastes and textures – a creamy yet flavoursome and oriental taste to the dish, with an added crunch from the sugar-snap peas.

All in all, an absolutely delicious dish, quick prep time and inexpensive. Thank you Madeleine, for another amazing creation!!

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Beauty

Beauty Buy of the Week 

Now this one is a bit of cheat, for two reasons- technically it’s two products, however it came as a set so I feel like I can class it as one…!! The second reason is that I didn’t actually purchase this product – but I will be telling you about it anyway as it was gorgeous and fantastic.

Lancôme has always been one of my favourite beauty brands. I fully believe that the quality of their products is absolutely second to none, and this is reflected in the look and feel of the brand- a very understated, ladylike elegance with a hint of Parisian romance. I am a loyal customer, and the service, new tips and advice I receive from the Lancôme ladies at my local beauty stores is always second to none.
So, as I made my way to the gleaming Lancôme counter last Saturday, to pick up my trusty mascara (another fantastic product) the lovely Lancôme lady hit me with a deal (and who doesn’t love a deal?!) if you buy 2 products from the Lancôme range, you will receive a complimentary gift set, which includes a gorgeous Lancôme cleanser and soothing eye makeup remover. Lancome’s skincare range is something I’ve actually never tried, so I thought this would be a fantastic opportunity for me for sample more of their products, and better yet, for free!? Plus it meant I had an excuse to buy something else of course.

Lancôme Cleanser

So I got it home and my first reaction (as always with Lancôme) was the beautiful packaging. As you can see, it is simple, clean and elegant.

Now to try the product – it’s pump allows for a small twenty pence sized amount to pour onto your hands- the smell reminded me of fresh air and vanilla. The texture of the product felt quite thin, rather than the thick creaminess you can get from other cleansers, so I instantly thought I would need more of the product to ensure it thoroughly cleansed my face- however I was so wrong!! That tiny amount goes such a long way, and as soon as I applied it, it gave a soothing and cooling sensation across my skin, and it really felt like it was working its magic. To remove the product, you just need to use cotton wool pads, and once I’d remove the product, my skin felt silky smooth and fresh, and most important of all, clean and make-up free!!

Lancôme soothing eye makeup remover

Moving onto the eye makeup remover- now I don’t usually get on well with oil based products. Unlike cleansers, I feel like they leave my skin feeing greasy and unclean, so in all honesty I was feeling quite sceptical that this would be a product I liked. Again the packaging, unsurprisingly was elegant and simple.


I dabbed some product onto a cotton wool pad and again, a very small amount actually came out. Now as I swept the product across my eyes, surprisingly it wasn’t as oily as I originally was expecting- there was again, a cooling sensation and it actually felt like fresh water, not the oily warm residue you can be used to with eye makeup removers. Again, a little goes a long way so you only need 2 or 3 dabs onto a cotton wool pad to completely remove your eye makeup. Again I was left feeling fresh faced and bright eyed.

These are definitely two must-have products, so pop yourself down to any Lancôme counter whilst you can, so you can give yourself an excuse to buy two beautiful products from the Lancôme range, and get this great deal to go with it!

 

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Fitness

My next challenge…

So now I’ve finished my diploma, I’ve found myself searching for the next challenge to take on. I felt like I wanted to do something that challenged me mentally, physically and emotionally, but something I also got enjoyment out of, and a sense of personal achievement. So last Wednesday afternoon, I signed up to do a half marathon in my local town.

Fitness and wellbeing is something I’ve always been interested in and passionate about, so this seemed like the perfect challenge for me. I began taking up running last year; this started as a result of the classic ‘I’m going on holiday in 6 weeks and need a beach body’ ritual we all know so well! However, once I started, it became something much more to me than that. It actually became my escape from the anxieties of everyday life, allowed me to be alone with my thoughts, reflecting on my day, my relationships, and the general day to day trivialities that pop into my head. I won’t lie, it is a struggle when the alarm clock goes off at 5:35am, and my body is aching with tiredness. But as soon as I step outside into the crisp morning air, all my worries are left at home and all I need to think about is mapping my route, and beating my previous pace and time. I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful village in the Cotswolds, where if you are out and about before 7am, there are some wonderful sights to see – the light fog, still lingering over the fields, or the wild rabbits and the occasional fox still doing their morning route. One of the best moments however, is crossing the paths of other runners. We all do the same thing – run past each other, with a ‘knowing’ smile, a silent ‘well done for getting up and doing this’ as we could all so easily turn over when the alarm goes off and snooze it for an extra hour.

So this is what has led me to the decision to take part in the half marathon. Running is something that I truly enjoy, and get a lot of motivation and satisfaction out of. I’ve completed week one of my training so far – it’s been tough, and it will only get tougher, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I have set myself the goal of completing it in under 2 hours. Ambitious I know, but it wouldn’t be a challenge otherwise!

Chloe x

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