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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Things I'd Tell My Younger Self

I always worked hard at school and got good grades, appreciated my family and friends, spent (and saved!) my money wisely, and never got in with a bad crowd (although mum and dad were probably to thank for that). I’ve always had fun, laughed lots and trusted my instincts. Really, there’s nothing I would change about my past. I like to live with no regrets, because I believe that every experience that I have had has made me who I am today. But even so, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if I could, these are the five things I’d tell my younger self:

+ Style isn't just about fashion
If something doesn't feel right, don't wear it. It probably doesn't suit you. I've finally started to understand why some things just don't suit my body shape and some colours don't flatter my skin tone, no matter how gorgeous they look in magazines or on my friends.

+ Wear your retainers
Because as soon as you stop wearing them, your teeth won't be as straight and you'll have to pay lots of money to get a new pair of retainers made later (oops). You should always look after your smile, and smile more.

+ Keep a diary
Not of thoughts and feelings, but just keep a log to keep track of all the fun things you did, the spontaneous trips, the pranks you played, the gigs you went to, the new foods you tried and the people you met.

+ Be yourself
Because the people that mind don't matter, and the people that matter don't mind. Yes I did just quote Dr Seuss.

+ Keep doing what you’re doing

suppose that really, I'm still working on these things to an extent. Would you agree with any of this advice, or have anything to add? Let me know in the comments below. If you fancy writing your own "What would you tell your younger self?" post, get involved with this competition run by Legal and General until 21st April, or if you already have, leave your link so I can check your post out. Keep doing what you're doing, lovelies!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

What's In My Handbag?

Recently I was dying for a black handbag that would be perfect for general day-to-day use and, importantly, able to fit lots of snacks in it for my long days at university, but I struggled to find a design that I liked anywhere. Or at least anywhere within my price range. Unfortunately, the Givenchy Antigona Tote, which you may have seen makes several appearances on my Pinterest style board, does not fall into that category. However, I did manage to find this Topshop handbag, which is a similar style, and snapped it up instantly. It's a shame that it isn't real leather, as I love investment pieces ("cost per wear" is my ultimate motto) but I like it all the same. Now for the tour...

+ Purse
I think this purse is by a brand called Risk. I bought it in John Lewis several years ago now. It's real leather and it has worn incredibly well. It is quite heavy though, even when it's empty so I have a feeling that I may start looking for a replacement soon. Right now, it's stuffed with lots of cards, vouchers and cinema stubs, but unfortunately not a lot of cash!

+ Glasses
I honestly never found a pair of glasses that suited me until I found these, and I absolutely adore them. They are by Design Naturell, a German brand that specialises in handmade, genuine horn (ethically sourced!) frames and are from Clamp Optometrists in Cambridge, who I can't recommend highly enough if you are after beautiful designer eye wear, or even just a great eye check.

+ iPhone
I adore my iPhone, I can't imagine having any other device now. The phone case is from eBay and is totally impractical but I like having such a cute case for spring/Easter.

+ Diary and notebooks
Despite being in love with my iPhone, I do still rely on a paper diary. I can't get to grips with using a calendar app as I love being able to view my whole week, add post it notes, etc. This diary is from WHSmith, my black notebook is from Muji, and my mini cupcake notebook that I use for food shopping lists, is Caroline Gardner from John Lewis.

+ iPad
If I'm going to be travelling, waiting around at appointments, or even if I'm going to university but don't want to be lugging my Mac around with me all day (read: want my hands free to go shopping at lunchtime), my iPad will make a guest appearance so that I can be productive.

+ Juice Cube
This Juice Cube is the best investment that I made last month. It allows me to charge my phone on the go, which is a total life saver, especially when I make trips down to London.

+ Lisa Stickley purse
My little Lisa Stickely London bag is home to all of my non-glamourous essentials such as tissues, blotting papers (the Kleenex ones are fab!), tablets and plasters.

+ Candy Kittens purse
There was recently a Candy Kittens pop-up store in Cambridge and I couldn't resist buying some gourmet candy. While I was in there, I spotted this little purse (I think it's actually supposed to be a pencil case) and as I was desperate for something to pop lipsticks and the like into within my handbag, I bought it on a whim. It's not great quality but I like the colour, and that I can easily see what's inside it. Currently inside is Carmex, Laura Mercier Hydratint lipbalm (I am dying for some more of these), Bourjois Rouge Edition lipstick in Peche Cosy, a pen, a pencil, Extra chewing gum in cool breeze, headphones, Ren hand and body lotion, and Pacifica natural perfume in vanilla.

+ Other essentials
Also in my handbag is a hairbrush and hair tie, a nakd bar, hand sanitiser, business cards in a Muji card holder, compact mirror, and my keys with a tape measure keyring (so handy!) and my mini loyalty cards.

Like everyone it seems, I am curious to know what other people carry in their bags too. So if you've done a similar post, leave a link below. Or if you think I'm missing something essential, please give me a shout! I also featured a What's in my Gym Bag post a long time ago which definitely needs and update, so if you'd like to see one, please let me know beauties.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Go Nutrition Sports Supplements Review

I know that sports supplements can be a little bit of a controversial topic regarding whether they are necessary or not, but they're certainly increasingly in popularity and I have personally experienced the benefits of taking them. Especially since I've increased my weight training, I've been even more interested in learning what different protein products are available, and was really keen to try some of the products offered by Go Nutrition.

I was immediately impressed with the Go Nutrition website as each product's page is incredibly clear and informative. I also love that the site has a wish list feature to help me keep track of key items as I tend to research and compare several products before making a choice, or I will introduce products one at a time. I was also impressed with the range of innovative and relevant products such as Paleo Protein.

However, the first product that I opted to try was Go Whey Protein 80*. This is a fairly standard protein powder containing 80% whey protein concentrate, used to aid recovery and lean muscle gains. GN offer lots of different and unique flavours from blueberry cheesecake to key lime pie. While I'm not a dessert lover, I usually can't resist Black Forest gateau, so that's the flavour I selected. It smells just like black forest gateau (yum!), it tastes quite like black forest gateau (although a little too sweet), but I found it had a horrible 'tang' afterwards. The mixability of the powder is really good and in terms of pricing, I've found GN to be really competitative. Depending on the flavour and bag size you purchase, each serving works out between 23p - 50p each (I love that the website calculates that for you!).

I also tried this product as a one shot bottle*. I tried rhubarb and custard flavour, which I really didn't think I'd like at all but was pleasantly surprised. While I like the option to sample a single flavour (the sachets come as a mixed sample pack of 10 and I know I wouldn't enjoy the majority of the flavours, though I'm intrigued by the Turkish delight one) I personally don't see the benefit of paying up to an extra £1.50 per serving to have the powder ready put into a disposable plastic bottle for you. In fact, I think it's pretty lazy and wasteful. I found it irritating that the bottle didn't have markings (printing ml indicator lines on the label would have been simple) for guidance when adding liquid. But, most crucially, the mixability of the powder in a bottle without a blender is terrible and I had to transfer it to my regular shaker in order to drink it anyway. Essentially, I think the one shot bottle is a good concept in theory but not at all in practice. I'd rather have the option to purchase individual sachets of product.

I was also really excited to try GN's Protein Hot Chocolate* because I'm not a tea or coffee drinker so something chocolatey tends to be my hot drink of choice, particularly before bedtime. GN's hot chocolate is perfect for this time of day especially as the milk protein is slow release. As with the whey protein however, I wasn't a fan of the drink's artificial sweetness, so I'd perhaps consider adding a little more of my own cocoa to compensate but I think it's a great product.

Overall I have been pretty impressed with GN. Unfortunately I didn't love the powdered protein products as much as I wanted to due to the very prominent taste of artificial sweeteners. I know some people don't mind, or even enjoy, that taste, but it's just never been for me, and I do tend to advocate natural alternatives. Luckily for me, GN are one of the few brands that I have discovered offer a natural whey protein product so I have very excitedly placed an order for that and I will keep you updated!

Of course, Go Nutrition offer lots of products other than protein supplements. I've also been finding uses for their Pure Fine Oats*, such as in pancakes. I'd love to know what you use oats for so please, please leave your recipes and ideas in a comment below!

I'd also love to hear your thoughts on the other products I've reviewed in this post, and whether you've heard of Go Nutrition before? 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Be:Fit London Event + Haul

At the end of March I headed down to London to attend Be:Fit along with Cantara who writes the blog Gymbags and Gladrags. Be:Fit, the rebranded Vitality Show, is an annual fitness exhibition that offers fitness classes, health checks, inspiring talks and a shopping experience under one roof. Think 'The Clothes Show' but replace the fashion with sportswear and the makeup with snacks and supplements. Heaven! Having found out that some of my favourite brands were exhibiting, I was on a mission to take advantage of some show discounts and go home with lots of goodies. Mission accomplished...

So the first thing to address is that I'm a bit of a nakd-a-holic. Nakd sell the ultimate raw food, super-tasty snack bars and I couldn't resist their amazing offer (or devouring a tonne of the samples and their stall...) and bought 36 for £16. Plus, I bought 20 packets of their infused raisins for just £4. Needless to say, some of the snacks found their way into my mouth en route to the photo.

For £5 this included a copy of Cosmo body as well as some full-sized products from Urban Veda that I'm looking forward to trying.

I take these probiotics every day (honestly one of the best decisions I've made this year), so when I saw they were buy one get one free, I stocked up and got 6 months supply for £30.

I'm already a huge fan of Linwoods flaxseed, cocoa and berry mix as you may have noticed if you follow my Instagram account, so I thought that buying this set of 7 sachets for £2 would be a great way to sample some of their other best sellers.

Matcha tea differs from regular tea in that the leaves are dried and finely milled to be mixed into drinks as opposed to merely being infused, meaning that the health benefits (especially the antioxidant levels) are far superior. I'm not a tea drinker but this can be blended into any drink from hot chocolate to fruit juice, or even mixed into food. I bought a tin of white tea matcha, 3 bars of matcha chocolate (2 bergamot and 1 rose flavoured which are an absolute dream!) as well as getting my hands on a health shot and some samples of the matcha health mix-in which is a flaxseed blend.

I started snacking on popcorn as a healthy alternative to crisps long before it was on trend and Tesco's Sweet and Salted has long been my favourite, but I couldn't resist trying this sweet coconut and vanilla flavour treat from Propercorn.

I also sampled lots of other goodies including a Quest bar (I'm dying to know what all the fuss is about!), a Little Miracles drink, Coco juice (the water from young coconuts tastes incredible!), some FTN drinks, Wellwoman vitamins, and tasters from brands such as VitaCoco, Purition and Metcalfe's. Yum!

I can't wait until next year's show! Did you head to Be:Fit too? What were your highlights?