Friday, 27 December 2013

How I Bleach My Hair & Pastel Colour (Guide)

A few weeks ago I asked on Twitter if anyone would be interested in me creating a post about the bleaching process to my hair, and quite a few of you were! I've sort of done a step by step guide on how to change the colour of your hair from dark to blonde/pastel. 

Now I did bleach mine four times within a week period, and yes, it did do quite a substantial amount of damage to my hair, but without using heat, letting it dry naturally and using hair oils and protection conditioner masks it's done really well to recover. 

Now I tried the lightening process before I hit my third trimester and if I'm being brutally honest, it absolutely disheartened me that it didn't work at all. My hair went from auburn to a lighter shade of ginger and I was absolutely devastated. Normally if I use a lightening product/colour remover it takes around 3-4 shades off my hair anyway, but this probably lightened one shade. 

My bleach of choice is Smart Beauty. I've been using their platinum dye for around 5-6 years now and wouldn't go back. I like this dye as it's suitable for Asian hair so you know it will really lift colour. Plus it leaves hair in really good condition and comes with a nourishing toner to reduce the red tones in your hair. 

So my hair was getting long, and it's really not me at all, so I had a dramatic cut and went pixie asymmetric. That left me with a horrid orange coloured barnet that I really didn't want. 

So within a week, I went from the red on the left, through orange shading, to pastel pink. 

I used the Smart Beauty platinum blonde kit, mixed up and left on my hair for an hour. I did this twice one day. Popped on a toner and left this on for around an hour to reduce the orange tones. I used the same process again two days later, bleaching four times within the space of a few days (which I know I shouldn't do but I'm confident with my hair). 

You do get a toner kit with Smart Beauty, but I like to make my own colour rinse from using a pot of Directions white toner mixed with a little lavender colour to add to the neutralising effect. For the last photo, where my hair is pastel pink, I added a small amount of Bleach London's Rose to the mix to give it a pastel shade. 

In between washes I needed to apply a lot of oil as my hair was very crispy. I also used a few of the Hask products and conditioning masks. I didn't use any heat during this time and my hair has recovered within a week or so. 

I normally switch around with the colours every week or so, so sometimes I'll add a bit more lavender to make it more of a silver shade, or add more pink for more of a pale pink pastel shade. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Is A Time For Chocolate ♥

Christmas is a big time for chocolate, well feasting in general, and there is nothing I love more than receiving a box of chocolates. Normally, as I'm extremely greedy, I like to get a big box for my birthday, share my mum's on her birthday, then have another at Christmas. Well, it is the only time of year you can get away with it right?

I couldn't have been more happier when my best blogging chum Kel gave me a box of chocolates to review, none other than a box of Lindt chocolates! YUM! These are actually my favourite, I'm also a bit of a sucker for their bears and reindeer too. 

I always think of Lindt as a luxurious but affordable chocolate, which are definitely fitting with the Christmas theme! My favourites are the truffles, and having experienced the Irish Cream ones in the assorted box I received, I definitely think these are my favourite! 

In this box I received milk chocolate truffle hearts, milk chocolate truffles, white chocolate truffles, dark chocolate truffles, praline truffles and Irish Cream truffles. Yummmmy. 

There are lots of current offers over on the Lindt website here, and you can still get them delivered in time for Christmas. 

Are you stuck finding a gift for your parents or grandparents? Why not buy them a chocolate hamper?
Need something to get for your niece or nephew and the other little ones? Why not treat them to a chocolate Santa or a sharing pack of bears?

So why not celebrate Christmas in style with Lindt?
I know what's on my list for Santa this year...

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Low Carb & Diabetic Almond Pancakes Recipe

Whilst on my hunt for low carb recipes for breakfast all I could seem to find was the idea of having lots of eggs, bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes. This has really put me off as I've been struggling to have a variety of breakfasts in my diet whilst trying to cut out carbs. I was lucky to spot this recipe online after searching for a few hours! 

Almond Pancakes

You will need:
1 cup of ground almonds or almond flour (this is around 150g); 
2 eggs; 
1/4 cup of water (you can use sparkling to make them more puffy); 
1/4 teaspoon of salt; 
and 1 tablespoon of any sweetener. 

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, add your wet ingredients, and give a good mix. I used a general food mixer for this as I'm pretty lazy.

The mixture will look very grainy when done, this is fine, it's the ground almonds in the mix. It should be quite a thick mixture as these pancakes are very similar to American style pancakes. 

Pop them in the frying pan for around 2-3 minutes each side until golden and cooked throughout. You can use oil to fry but I just used FryLight spray. 

And here they are all finished! I had these with maple syrup and bananas, but you could just have them with fresh fruit or cream cheese. They are really filling too, something which I wasn't expecting! This was only a small side plate I ate these from, and I have three very small ones, could only manage the two! 

Friday, 13 December 2013

Low Carb Bolognese Recipe

I made this recipe quite a while ago and totally forgot about it until I was going through the photos on my phone. After finding out I had gestational diabetes, and finding the leaflet the dietician/diabetic nurse gave me pretty useless, I've been having a little look online to see what I could come across. 

I've found for me personally, my blood sugar levels are extremely high when I have high carb meals, so rather than having a lot of pasta with this, I've been having a small portion of child's pasta along with a really big rocket salad. 

You will need:

Onions - I used both red and white; 
Oregano and mixed herbs - you can use fresh but these are just as good; 
A jar/carton of passata sauce (blended tomatoes); 
A tin of chopped tomatoes; 
A carrot (or other veggies if you want to pop in);
Mince meat or Quorn; 
and last but not least, I popped in little pasta! 

I coarsely cut the onions for a bit of bite and fried these in FryLight or any low calorie spray. When sautéed, I added the mince meat and browned off a little more. I then added the carrot and carried on cooking (the carrot and onion still had a little bite). At this point I added the dry herbs, but then added more later just for taste. 

I then popped in the passata and chopped tomatoes and left to simmer, probably for around 8-10 minutes until all looks cooked, it's pretty easy to judge when it's cooked!

And hey presto, a simple low carb and really tasty recipe! 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Etat Pur: Actif Pur Argan

I received this in a goody bag from the recent Leeds meet up, and was quite intrigued about this product as it contains Argan. I know everyone raves for Argan oils, which can be used anywhere really, especially for the hair. I must admit, I haven't tried many products with Argan oil, apart from the hair serum from Primark, but must admit I have warmed towards them myself. 

The Etat Pur website describes this product being used for fine lines and wrinkles, and to increase firmness and plumping in the skin. I wasn't expecting it to be an anti-wrinkle treatment per se but as I am approaching the big 3 0 in a few years, it's time I started to think about my poor skin. 

I was quite confused about the packaging at first. It says to dispense a few drops to rub on your skin. I must have spent around 5 minutes trying to work out how to get the product out, until I realised you press the bottom for it to come out! I find this quite genius actually

I presumed that this would be really oily on my skin so was a little weary of using it in the beginning, but it isn't at all. I find it more serum-like with the consistency of a light cream, which when applied to the skin melts in easily and leaves no residue. It definitely leaves my face feeling hydrated and softer. 

I haven't been using this morning and night when indicated, but using it in replacement of a serum prior to applying my day cream, once a day. I don't have wrinkled skin quite yet so I can't comment on how good it is for that, but I have definitely noticed my skin feeling firmer and plumper since use. 

You can find the product here, retailing at £11.70. 

I also haven't heard much about Etat Pur before, so I wouldn't mind trying out more of their products. I especially like the look of their Salicylic Acid treatments, their prices are quite reasonable too.
What do you think about Argan products?
Have you tried Etat Pur before?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Day Trip To Haworth

A few weeks back I had a little trip with a couple of blogging buddies to Haworth. It's been ages since I've been up there, and as usual, everything changes! There were a lot more tea rooms than I last remember, and the old sweet shop has doubled in size and now stocks American sweets! Much to my delight

After popping into Rose & Co, and probably spending the majority of our time in there smelling all the delish bath bombs and perfumes they had to offer, I did purchase a few bits and pieces! I bought a collection of their shower gels (as I couldn't pick one!) and their parma violet perfume, it's to die for. And what can I say about their window displays!?

After a waddle around on the cobbles and looking in shop windows, we decided to head off to Cobbles and Clay for a spot of lunch with tea and cake! The little bloggers in our companionship had lots of fun painting the offerings the shop had, which need to be picked up in 4-5 days after being baked in the kiln. 

For lunch I had nachos, and there were loads, so many that I had to share them all out! I had the most delicious chai latte milkshake (I even tried to recreate it at home later in the evening!). 

For my second course, haha, I had to have cake, it's the law. Along with the most amazing butternut squash and chocolate chip cake (vegan friendly) that I have ever laid eyes on, I had to have a glass of Fentiman's Mandarin and Seville Orange juice! One of my most favourite drinks ever. 

After these delectable courses, we headed off back up the cobbles to Mrs Beighton's sweet shop where I picked up a bottle of Arizona peach tea, rocky road chocolate and a Reese's Peanut Cup Christmas tree! 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Win A Chic Winter Bundle from JOY

One of my fave stores to shop in has to be JOY. Everything in there is quirky, from their gifts to printed dresses. I couldn't wait to have Dexter so I can get in there and have a new dress haul - might even treat myself to a few new pieces for my birthday and Christmas!

At the moment they are running an online competition to win a bundle worth £184. Just look at the deer jumper and the dress. SO DIVINE. 

Joy Competition

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Satisfying Samples? Arbonne RE9 Advanced Skincare

At the Leeds blogger meet up in August, Nicola gave us samples of Arbonne skincare products to try. I opted to try the RE9 Advanced range, which is for mature skin and contains anti-ageing properties. Not that I have mature skin at the moment, but I'm definitely ageing! 

The sample pack was absolutely amazing and came in it's own little envelope! The sample sizes were 3ml and there was definitely enough product within to use over several days, something which I'm always moaning about with small sample sizes! 

In the pack I received seven samples: Smoothing Facial Cleanser, Regenerating Toner, Advanced Intensive Renewal Serum, Corrective Eye Creme, Extra Moisture Restorative Day Creme, Restorative Day Creme and Night Repair Creme. 

Smoothing Facial Cleanser: Left my skin feeling really hydrated after use, and not dry and tight like most cleansing products I use. 

Regenerating Toner: I really enjoyed using this, it left my skin feeling tighter and refreshed.

Advanced Intensive Renewal Serum: I was really happy with this serum, although it looked quite thick in consistency and I was worried it would be like the creams and leave my face feeling oily, it left my skin feeling really supple and moisturised. I topped this off with my regular oil-free moisturiser after and it felt amazing. 

Corrective Eye Creme: I've never used an eye cream before but it left my eyes feeling refreshed and less puffy, and, not that I have many lines around my eyes at 27, left them feeling a lot more plumped up. I would definitely give an eye cream a go in the future! 

Extra Moisture Restorative Day Creme & Restorative Day Creme: These did leave my skin feeling softer and more hydrated, but were extremely oily and my face felt like an oil slick as soon as I had applied either of these products. I would probably stick with my oil-free moisturiser. 

Night Repair Creme: Similar to the other creams, I applied it at night but after a few minutes my face felt like an oil slick. I did leave it on for the whole night, yet in the morning my face felt moisturised but extremely greasy. It even managed to make it's way into my hair and all over my fringe. Needless to say I wasn't a happy bunny.

Overall I was really happy with these sample products. I would definitely consider buying their cleanser, toner, serum, and eye creme in the future. 

I would give all these products 3/5.
The only thing I was let down with was the face creams themselves but I presumed they would be oil-based from the beginning as anti-ageing creams are. 

Have you tried any of the Arbonne skincare range?
Would you consider trying any of these products?

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Pregnancy Update: HE'S HERE!

Well, a little update on my pregnancy... I've had my baby! A gorgeous little baby boy called Dexter on 24/11/13 weighing in at 4lb 12 oz. 

Some of you guys may have known that for some weeks I've been quite unwell which took a downturn last weekend when my pre-eclampsia started breaking down my kidneys and everything else. I won't lie, it was the scariest thing ever, I never knew your body could shut down in the space of a few hours. Sunday evening I was taken down for an emergency caesarean where baby Dex was born at 34+4. He's tiny but doing well on the special care baby unit for premature babies. I'm still in hospital, actually I've forgotten what day/week/month it is now I've been in here so long! 

So yes, for the next month or so I will definitely be taking a backseat from blogging until I'm feeling a lot better. Let's just say it wasn't a standard caesarean. I'll go into this in more depth in my full delivery post later. 

Hopefully Dex should be fit to come home in a couple of weeks, and me hopefully around the weekend. 


Saturday, 23 November 2013

My Fortnight In Photos!

Yet again I'm doing a 'week/fortnight in photos' post, only because I've really been quite unwell for the past few weeks with my pregnancy, and from now on until Dexter is born my posts will be pretty much scheduled as I'm taking a bit of a backseat from blogging and Tweeting for the time being, and giving myself as much bed rest as little one is demanding. 

I haven't done much of an update really of my pregnancy as I've been far too tired and exhausted, I'm now 34+ weeks and had a bit of a downer the past few weeks, in and out of hospital, with weekly visits and fortnightly scans to make sure Dexter is growing okay and my blood pressure does't get too high. However, it does look like he might come a little earlier than expected, he might be here for Christmas! 

So what have I been up to lately?

Well, on Saturday 9th November we had a little blogger meet up in Leeds at The Arch Cafe. Oh my, the food was absolutely amazing, brie and bacon panini followed with afternoon cream tea made my day, along with the company of Kelly, Yuna and Ally :)

On the way home from our little trip, I had to pop to Caffe Nero for a quick chai latter, obviously a lipstick cup photo had to follow right? I mean, it shows my amazing new Sleek lipstick! // I did also get a lovely Costa Coffee Black Forest Hot Chocolate in one of their Christmas cups as a present from mum and dad to cheer me up a bit!

I've been doing a lot of online shopping recently too, having picked up lots of beauty products that I've forgotten to blog about or Instagram, so here goes! (Yes there is a lot of hair bleach there too - I like to stock up when it's on offer!)

And last, but not least, Aldi being my favourite shop at Christmas, and Ally posting her picture of this gingerbread house on her Instagram, made me rush down to our local store ASAP to buy one. I've done really well in not opening it, yet!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

#FreebieFriday Winner! Click Health & Beauty

I rarely enter RT and follow #FreebieFriday competitions on Twitter, but have started more and more recently (sorry to those who follow me and get annoyed!). I've actually been lucky and won a couple now, before I got married I won some Skinny Sprinkles (which have been hiding away until after pregnancy) and at the beginning of the month I won Click Health & Beauty's giveaway. 

I had totally forgotten that I won their giveaway until a huge package arrived on the sofa when I got back from a quick shop! I had no idea what I'd bought, and as much as I love surprise post, dived into the box straightaway to find all these goodies! 

What an absolute treat to find these! For a new mum to be, everything in this package will come in so handy, as I've yet to invest in any bottles or dummies! 

So thank you Click Health & Beauty, you've crossed lots off my list! 

Friday, 15 November 2013

DIY PINspiration: Low Carb Meals

Over the next few months a lot of my posts will be scheduled, due to the fact that I haven't been in the best health during my pregnancy, and the fact that my baby is due within the next sort of 4-7 weeks has hit me pretty hard! Although I've done lots of bits and pieces in preparation, I still have loads left to do for him. He has been my inspiration and reasoning for a lot of my low-carb diet plans and recipe ideas, which I think I will still continue after he's born to give me a bit of a health kick before I start Weight Watchers again to shed those baby lbs and get down to a good weight. 

As you may have seen, I've been looking at a few low-carb recipes and diabetic cakes etc over on Pintrest. But I've just found some seriously amazing meals that would be great for the coming winter months!

Low-Carb Chicken & Bacon Chowder

This looks absolutely amazing and I can't to try it! I've been avoiding creamy and cheesy sauces as I've been sticking with mainly tomato based foods, but I think once won't harm me, plus I have the added knowledge that with it being low in carbs my blood sugars won't rocket. You can find the recipe here over on My Southern Accent

Low-Carb 2 Minute Pizza

I have been craving a lot of junk food lately, mainly Pizza Hut and McDonalds, but only really for BBQ chicken wings, mozzarella dippers and potato wedges. I'm a funny old thing I know. I came across this 'pizza' which is a great cheat option! All you need to do is whack your filling on a tortilla and pop under the grill, done and dusted. Couldn't be more easier right? You can find the recipe here on Oh So Sweet Baker

And last but by all means certainly not least, as we all know I like a bit of a sweet treat occasionally

Low-Carb Coconut Macarons

I do like me a good macaron, and these are great as they are more meringue based with sweeteners rather than sugars, being the perfect low-carb and diabetic alternative. You can find these, along with lots of other recipes, over on Fit and Fab Living

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Tea Horse: Mint Detox Loose Leaf Tea*

Being pregnant, there is a bit of a lack of what you are able to eat and drink. Especially when it comes to products with a lot of caffeine in. So I've been trying to cut back on the amount of caffeine in my tea, when I contacted Tea Horse to see if there was anything available which was caffeine free. The guys there were so helpful and send me over a sachet of the mint detox tea to see what I thought!

Now I totally forgot it was loose leaf tea, and I've lost my tea strainer... So I improvised and popped it in the coffee pot. All is not lost, hey?

I was pleasantly surprised to see how much tea you could make from the sachet provided! It definitely made me a few cups full, so next time I would probably just use a few teaspoons full and in a teapot. 

Mint detox contains peppermint, aniseed, fennel and liquorice. I'm not the biggest fan of liquorice but it really complimented the taste, and was actually pretty good! I did make the tea rather strong and overpowering, but I quite like my herbal and fruit teas in this way. 
All served up in my favourite Ella Masters mug.  

You can buy mint detox, as well as many other loose leaf teas from Tea Horse here
They also have a really lovely subscription service available with loose leaf teas from around the world. 

Would you ever try a tea subscription service?
They have plenty more teas ready for cake! 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Quinessence: Aromatherapy Massage Oil for Stretch Marks*

Quinessence are a specialist supplier of quality aromatherapy oils, and have been for over 27 years, and have a large online store with lots to choose from! I've always loved essential oils and massage oils, and find these a fantastic way of relaxing. When Quinessence contacted me and asked if I would like to review one of their products I was overjoyed to find a stretch mark oil with lavender. I've had to negate using gorgeous bath oils and bath bombs in the latter stages of my pregnancy. 

The stretch mark oil, which you can buy here, does indicate that you can use in pregnancy after the first three months. I know a lot of oils you can't use during pregnancy but these have been fine. The lavender has also helped me fall asleep pretty quickly after application during an evening, divine. The other two oils are frankincense and neroli, leaving a gorgeous fragrance. 

All three of these oils combined promote skin rejuvenation and help to reduce the redness you may get with stretch marks. I've been using this oil for a few weeks now every two days and I've definitely noticed my tummy feels a lot softer and the marks are reduced. Now I'm hitting week 33 I've noticed especially that my tummy is a lot tighter and this really helps relieve a lot of the pressure in my skin. 

You can pick up their stretch mark oil here for £6.45 which is an absolute bargain as you only need a small amount, so it will last you for months. Quinessence also offer free delivery with orders over £15 too. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Just A Little Update… Pregnancy & Life Overall.

I've been AWOL for a while, and had lots of scheduled posts up. I doubt this will change much over the next few months or so, as between 5-8 weeks I could be giving birth to my little boy! I thought I had so much time left, but after a recent hospital admission this week, my eyes have been opened to the fact that I really don't have that much time left at all!

I'm now just over 32 weeks pregnant, and was taken in hospital at the beginning of the week with suspected pre-eclampsia as I had high blood pressure and a lot of swelling in my hands (I struggled to high heaven getting my engagement and wedding rings off!) but everything is fine and I'm back home on bed rest, again. Although when I went in, there were no beds left on the labour suite and I got popped into the induction ward, lets say that was an experience I will never forget. At least I've seen the true side of labour before it happens to me! I'm not scared about labour now though, although with having gestational diabetes I know I have to have more monitoring etc, but I feel now I'm coming round to the idea that shortly I will have an actual person who will rely on me fully. 

I began my fifth module at the Open University last month, creative writing, so I've been trying to delve into that and get most of it done before little one is born, although saying that I really haven't put a lot of time and effort into it that I could have done. I think being stuck at home 24/7 is slowly starting to send me crazy, apart from my antenatal appointments and seeing a few of you lovely ladies occasionally, I'm driving myself mental. I've decided that to encourage myself to be proactive, I'm going to head off into Costa Coffee one afternoon a week and make sure that is strict 'study time'. Although I'm sure I will end up popping into a few stores whilst I'm at it. 

(Sorry about all the selfies! Also, I'm addicted to this Sleek lipstick!)

Last but not least, I've had a drastic change to my appearance. I think some of you might know that I dyed my hair black before my wedding in March (from bright red) in order that I didn't need to keep dying my hair when I was in China (because the MIL kept telling me it would give me cancer) and have really struggled to get it back to any kind of colour since. When I got back from China I booked myself in the salon in April to have my hair lightened to a really nice orange shade (think Paloma Faith) only this didn't work, at all. I found out that night I was pregnant and that was the reason! Ever since then I've wanted to go back to my pastel hair colour, so over the past 7 months I've been gradually lightening my hair. I went for a drastic chop last week and had all my hair cut off again to my standard asymmetric hair cut, probably what I've had for the past 10 years (most of which you won't have seen!) and began bleaching again. So, one week later, I have gone from this, to this. 

I couldn't be happier! Please ignore the pout, my husband somehow managed to throw a crab claw into my eye when we went for a meal, but… 
I will be doing a proper post on how I achieve pastel hair/platinum hair shortly. 

Erm, thank you all for reading this slight bit of a rant. I'm sure tomorrow you'll be seeing lots of photos of Costa Coffee cups as my mum has said she'll help me into town tomorrow to pick up a few bits and pieces from Boots and Superdrug. I have quite a bad pregnancy waddle now, and do struggle being mobile on my own, it's kinda terrifying really. I hate feeling so vulnerable! 

Dermalogica with Beauty 900*

I've never tried any Dermalogica products before, although I have heard about them from numerous people highly recommending them, I've always felt the cost to be in the way. I was lucky enough to receive these amazing samples from Beauty 900, an authorised stockist of Dermalogica, and soon enough had my mind changed!

I received this cute little zip lock bag with a few samples inside. 

Daily Microfoliant // Dynamic Skin Recovery // Total Eye Care // Skin Refining Masque // Skin Hydrating Masque // Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque

I've now finally used each of these products. I presumed the face creams would leave my skin feeling quite greasy as happens with most hydrating products, but was really surprised that my skin didn't go greasy at all. It really felt hydrated without being sticky or any left over residue. Thumbs high in my book! I was most amazed by the Daily Microfoliant. As I didn't know much about the product itself I just presumed it would be a gel or a foam face wash, yet again I was really happily surprised to have a different form of product, this time in a powder. You wet your hands, sprinkle on some of the powder and rub into your face to create a paste. My skin felt really cleansed after using this, I think once I've run out of my stash of exfoliators I've accumulated over the past few months I will definitely invest in this. 

You can find Dermalogica products over on Beauty 900, and the great thing is the savings! The great thing is as well that they offer a loyalty scheme where you can collect points as well, double the bargains and savings.