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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Muscle Soothing Essential

Doing lots of sport, Anthony and I seem to be very susceptible to various muscle aches and pains and have long been in search of the perfect massage oil remedy. While we are huge fans of coconut oil, it can be a bit messy when you have to scoop it out from a big jar, and other oils that I've tried are simply not up to par, but this Arnica Joint and Muscle Massage Oil by Kneipp* is a serious game changer.

The sunflower, almond and jojoba seed oil base is enriched with soothing arnica (which is often hailed as a remedy for bruising, muscular strains, wounds and swelling, although this doesn't seem to be scientifically proven) and ginger, so as well as being a amazing quality, it also smells great. The first scent that I recognised was a faint hint of rosemary, which is gorgeously refreshing. Possibly what I love the most about this little gem though, is that its moisturising properties are enhanced by the addition of Shea Butter, leaving my skin incredibly soft and smooth. This product is also natural, with no added preservatives (such as parabens), colours, or mineral oils. Finally, the packaging is a glass bottle which is really easy (and not too messy!) to distribute the oil from. Perfect!

I think massage is such a great way to help your muscles recover from exercise, as well as to warm them up to prevent injury. Plus, it aids circulation and flexibility. Mostly, I will use a foam roller to massage immediately before, and sometimes after, exercise (it would be a bit weird for me to whip out a bottle of this in the gym...) but this lovely oil is such a treat to use when I'm aching. Not to mention a bit of a steal at £9.95.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Delights Edition 2

Every year I make some pretty little easter treats to nibble on, usually some form of chocolate nests, and this year they've got healthier! I've substituted milk chocolate for dark chocolate, and chocolate egg toppers for the gorgeous spring green of pistachio nuts.

Here's what you'll need to whip up around 25 nests:
+ 200g dark chocolate
+ 160g shredded wheat (7 large shredded wheat biscuits)
+ Pistachio nuts (I used 2 per nest)
+ Cake cases or baking trays (depending on whether you'd like to serve them in cases or on a plate for a more 'nesty' feel)

Simply break up the chocolate and melt it in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. While this is melting, crumble the shredded wheat in a separate bowl. Once the chocolate is melted, start stirring in the shredded wheat bit by bit. You'll probably get to a point while doing this that you think there isn't enough chocolate to coat all of the shredded wheat, but I promise you, if you keep stirring it in, it'll go further than you think! Then, start filling the cases with approximately one tablespoon per nest, pushing the mixture out towards the edges slightly to create the nest shape. Before the chocolate has completely set, pop a couple of pistachios in the centre. Et voila!

If you're looking for a slightly naughtier version, check out last year's Easter nest recipe. What are your favourite Easter delights?

Happy Easter spring bunnies!

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.