Friday, 22 February 2013

Sock Yarn Haul

I have a bad addiction to sock yarn, I promise though, this will be the last batch! 
Well until I go to Florida. And not including the sock club I signed up to, whoops! Anyway...

First up we have the gorgeous self striping yarn, Mind the Gap from the dyer Trailing Clouds, who is a British dyer.

Mind the Gap is a self striping yarn with the stripes being the colours of all the different underground lines, so it has 12 colours in total! Pretty impressive.

As someone who has to catch the tube every day for work, I felt like I was very deserving of this yarn, despite the fact that I hate the tube.

The yarn is 75% British Bluefaced Leicester and 25% Nylon.
This is my first experience with a BFL, and it is definitely different to Merino. It is not as soft, but it feels like it is going to be very strong and durable, perfect for socks.

This yarn will be turned into a pair of vanilla socks to best show off the striping pattern.

Next up we have the very gorgeous Not Drinking Merlot by the lovely Knitty and Color.

I don't think the picture is doing the yarn justice. There is just so many gorgeous shades of deep purple.
The yarn is incredibly soft, its 80% super wash merino and 20% nylon.

This is some very special yarn, its so gorgeous and buttery soft. 
The colours are a lot more sophisticated then what I normally go for, there is no way this yarn can be wasted on a pair of socks that no one is going see, this is going to be turned into a shawl!

The order also came with a sample skein in the colour Crush Crush, which is a sparkle colour way, and the first sparkle yarn I have tried.
Another gorgeous colour and it definitely makes me want to pick up a full skein of sparkle yarn, it's just so pretty and girly, I'm surprised I don't own any yet because I feel like sparkle yarn is very me.

I got the Not Drinking Merlot to take part in the Two Tangled Skeins knit along, which will be my first.
It starts in March and as I have said I will be making a shawl. I am actually going to a wedding at the end of March so I would love to have it done before then, fingers crossed!

So there are my purchases, which will hopefully be my last for a while!
Having said that, my Knitty and Color order came with a discount code which makes another order so tempting...
Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Skin Care Superstar - Aesop Parsley Seed Masque

My second entry into my Skin Care Superstar series is the Aesop Parsley Seed Masque, which has quickly become one of my favourite masks.

This is what Aesop say about it:

A clay-based masque to deeply cleanse and refresh most skin types.
This blend of premium clays and botanicals lifts deep-seated impurities, imparting wholly clarified and refreshed skin. Parsley Seed extracts deliver potent anti-oxidants while other botanical elements cleanse and revive skin.

It is definitely a great cleansing mask and my skin feels very clean and purified after use.

I have tried other clay masks before, and they often leave my skin feeling rather tight and dry afterwards, but I experience none of that discomfort with the Aesop mask so I think this mask would be fine to use even if you have more dry skin.

Even after the first use I noticed that my pores where smaller, and my skin just looked so much clearer and even in tone, and since using it regularly I haven't been getting the odd spot like I used to.

I have been using this at least once a week for the past 3 months and still have a fair bit left in the tube, which is good because it's not the cheapest of masks! 

I think this works really well in conjunction with my Alpha H Liquid Gold at making my pores smaller and having less black heads, something that I think most people like to see from their skin care.

Definitely check this mask out if you are after a good cleansing mask.
Saturday, 16 February 2013

Finished Object - My first Sock!

I finally did it, I knitted my first sock, and I couldn't be prouder of myself!

I knit these on my Chiagoo 2.75mm circular needles using magic loop. 
The Chiagoos where a dream to knit with after using my cheap acrylic set to make my Louie the Lovebot.

I used a combination of Silvers Sock Knitting Class, which is brilliant, however she uses DPN's to knit her socks so I also used Kellys Sock Class to show the best way to arrange the stitches on the needles.

The yarn I used is Knit Picks Felici in the Fizz colour way. Unfortunately I made the rookie mistake of only ordering one ball of yarn so there won't be a second matching sock....

I'm not overly keen with how the ribbing turned out, and I will definitely be using a different cast on next time, but apart from that I'm really happy with how the sock turned out!

It fits well and I have no gaps in the gusset, which I was very impressed with myself for.

The only thing is, I don't know what the heel type is, so if anyone can shed some light on that for me that would be great.

I have the sock knitting bug now and can't wait to make some fancier ones. Cookie A patterns here I come!
Thursday, 14 February 2013

Restaurant Review - Ladurée

Ladurée is a french patisserie mostly known for its macarons, and with good reason because they are gorgeous!
As well as selling their macarons, they actually have a tea room, and me and my friend decided to go treat ourselves to some champagne and afternoon tea. 


We went to the one in Covent Garden, where the tea room is upstairs.
It's pretty small, and even on a Thursday afternoon it was busy, so I can imagine it would be murders to get a seat at the weekend.
It was very pretty and Parisian feeling, it was done up in a shabby chic style and we sat on a long sofa that was shared with two other sets of diners, which would have been fine had the woman next to us not insisted on putting her bags up on the sofa, leaving very little room for anyone else.
The gentleman she was with was also on his phone constantly, not the thing you really want when you are trying to enjoy a nice evening with someone.

Obviously we had to get some macarons! 
We tried salted caramel, vanilla, rose and raspberry.
Salted caramel is like sex on a plate. That is all I can say about it really. 
All of the other macarons where delicious too, and eating a floral flavoured one is always interesting because it tastes just like how it smells.
If you haven't tried macarons I really suggest you try them, they may be expensive but they are very unique and delicious. My boyfriend pooh poohed them for ages, because he is such a cheapskate, however I bought us some for our 5 year anniversary and he is now converted. 

I also got some french toast, which was absolutely delicious. Very light and fluffy, without being too sweet or too heavy on the cinnamon, that I then doused in maple syrup anyway. Just looking at these pictures is making me hungry.
My friend also got the chocolate cake, which looked very elegant and decadent, it was topped with gold leaf!
It also had macaron layers in it, as well as chocolate ganache and a million other layers of chocolate. 
I was assured it was a great dessert for any chocolate lovers.

Whilst the food was delicious (and so was the champagne) it is quite expensive and the occasion was slightly dampened by the rude couple on the table next to us.
I would only recommend going here if you are trying to impress someone on a first date because it is lovely and intimate (as long as the other diners are considerate), or you have never tried macarons before because this is the best place for them. 
It is slightly too touristy to have a nice girly afternoon tea, although I still enjoyed myself. 

For more info about other locations, here is the site Laduree.
Friday, 8 February 2013

Fitness & Wellbeing Haul

As you may know, I have been doing weight watchers in a attempt to loose some weight and clean up my diet.
As well as improving my diet, I also want to improve other aspects of my life, including my fitness and well being. Having nice work out clothes always encourages me to work out even more and being in a good state of mind motivates me to work out too!
Here are the bits I got for my 'healthy mind, healthy body' attempt:

First up we have 3 pairs of shorts and a yoga mat.
One of the pairs of shorts is actually my mums as I've managed to talk her into going to a pole fitness class with me, which should be interesting....
I also picked up a yoga mat (pink of course) because I have wanted one for ages and now I am doing the 30 day shred, the abs section makes my lower back slightly sore because we have hard wood floors and this helps soften the ground, I have definitely noticed I can do the ab exercises better now I have the mat.

I also picked up a couple of sports bras because my current ones have seen better days.
Sports bras are essential if you don't want a saggy chest!
I'm not one to go for black, white or nude, I'm normally a pink girl so I thought green and red would make a nice change, and I'm not going to lie, I do love a bit of Amy Childs!

I got the two sports bras, 3 pairs of shorts, 3 tennis balls (not shown, for my dog Phoebe) and a yoga mat all for £50 from Sports Direct. Quite pleased with that bargain considering sports bras alone are normally £20! Oh, and the yoga mat was only £6!

And now for the well being part of this haul, because as you know, healthy mind healthy body!

I had to repurchase my Diptyque Ambre candle.
It may be £40, but for me it is definitely £40 well spent. 
I had a terrible day at work on Thursday and needed some retail therapy and this fit the bill perfectly. I light this candle, have a shower, then come back to my room which has been filled with this gorgeous scent, then I sit and knit and let the fragrance uplift and relax me. It really is therapeutic and I have not found anything that affects my mood this much.

I also repurchased my Nuxe Reve de Miel.
I was uhmming and ahhing over whether to repurchase this lip balm after finishing my last pot, but after a few days on the blistex my mind was made up and I had to get my Nuxe back.
It just leaves my lips feeling really hydrated and I wake up with nice healthy looking lips, and I don't feel the need to reapply my lip balm as often.

The last item of my haul is The Full Monty.
Bit of a weird one, but there is nothing like a great film to put you in a good mood and help you unwind.
This DVD was actually a surprise from my mum. We have been watching a lot of Once Upon a Time, and we both really like Robert Carlisle in it. I didn't particularly know who he was but my mum mentioned he was most famous for 'that stripper film' by which she meant The Full Monty.
After she learned that I had never actually seen it she made me search Sky Movies and Netflix, but it wasn't on either.
The DVD was a complete surprise and I can't wait to watch it. I am saving it as a reward for after I do my pole fitness class as I can imagine that will kill me!

So there we have it, my fitness and well being haul. 
What would you recommend for a healthy mind and healthy body?
Saturday, 2 February 2013

Urban Decay - Glinda Palette

When I saw that Urban Decay, who I love, had made some palettes for the upcoming Oz film, I knew I had to have one.
It was a tough choice between the Glinda palette and Theodora palette (which should totally have been called Elphaba!) but Glinda stood out to me the most because Theodora has a lot of browns in it, and I don't really need more browns! The Glinda palette also was a bit more romantic and ethereal looking. It also reminded me slightly of Once Upon a Time, which I have been obsessively watching!
So here are a million and one pictures of the palette, what it comes with and some swatches:

Tornado - Lovely buttery deep purple shade. Acts just like all good Urban decay shadows do.

Aura - A duo eyeshadow. Quite light and I was pleasantly surprised by this duo. I expected it to be slightly chalky, but it was another lovely smooth eyeshadow, and the colours are almost duo chrome, they are very pretty!

Magic - Slightly disappointing. It's a lovely pink, and the slight purple tone in it stops eyes from looking sore when worn, however it is slightly chalky and needed a bit of layering for the colour to show up.

Illusion - Once again a lovely smooth shade, very light and fleshy in colour though so doesn't show up too much. Good transitioning colour.

Oz - The second duo eyeshadow. They both turn out gorgeous and look a bit like molten metal, however I found the gold shade has that chunky glitter that Urban Decay is known for, and there was a bit of fallout on some of the chunks, I didn't have this issue as much with the silver shade.

South - Once again another gorgeous good Urban Decay shade. Can't find anything wrong with this one!

Rockstar 24/7 eyeliner - Great purple eyeliner. Nice and smooth and creamy too. Stays put well, it took me a while to scrub it off with make up remover!

Glinda Super Saturated Lip Pencil - Gorgeous shade and very flattering, one of those my lips but better colours. Reminds me a bit of Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Lip Stain in Honey. Looks 
slightly glossy without being too sticky.

And here is my attempt at recreating the look that comes with the palette: 


I'm quite happy with how the look turned out, it's very girly and pretty, although it could be considered slightly evil too if I go too heavy on the purple eyeliner!

The shades in the palette also seem to really make my eyes look bluer, which I love.

Overall I would say this is a great palette, and definitely worth the money.
You get a eyeliner, 6 shadows (technically 8 with the duos) and a super saturated lip colour for £35, which I don't think is bad at all!

The palette is available from Debenhams
Will you be picking either of the Oz palettes up? Glinda or Theodora? And Theodora should be called Elpheba right?!

Friday, 1 February 2013

First month on Weight Watchers

So some of you may or may not know that I have been doing Weight Watchers since the beginning of the year.
At the tail end of last year my weight was gradually increasing, and Christmas just saw it sky rocket.
The doctor told me I was overweight, the scales told me I was overweight, and when I saw my face in pictures from New Years, the double chin told me I was over weight so I decided to do something about it and joined Weight Watchers.

The reason I chose Weight Watchers is because it is so simple to do. You are set  your daily pro points, and this is like your calories allowance. Every food has a different pro point value, and most fruit and veg are 0 points so you can get away with eating as much of them as you like.
Weight Watchers is essentially a low calorie diet, which is my favourite type because I think it mimics normal eating, just on a lower scale, and the points value helps teach you which think twice before consuming something.
Another reason I chose weight watchers is because you also got a weekly points allowance on top of your daily points, which means if you are going out for a night out or fancy a take away, you can use these weekly points to have a treat, bear in mind you would still only get about 2 slices of Dominos pizza with these points!

So my first month is up, before I talk about how I've been finding it, I will share the numbers with you:

Weight Loss - 6.5 pounds
Loss on bust - 3 inches
Loss on waist - 3 inches
Loss on hips - 1 inch
Loss on legs - 1.25 inches
Loss on arms - 0.75 inches
Total inches lost - 11 inches

I think the numbers speak for themselves and show that it is definitely working, and looking at those number makes me feel quite happy. When I look at 11 inches on a measure tape it seems quite a lot!

I have found Weight Watchers incredibly easy to stick to and I think the database is really extensive, it even has a lot of popular restaurant chains menus in there, which makes eating out a doddle.

I think the hardest bit is having the will power to say no when my family has massive portions of something I really like, or a take away curry. The weekly points is a big help though as it means I have still been able to go out for lunch and dinner with my friends.

The only downside with Weight Watchers is I think it would be very easy to put the weight back on afterwards if you are not careful, and I have seen some people do that!

Oh and just to add on, I have been doing it online only, I don't really want the embarrassment of being weighed in front of a bunch of strangers, and I didn't really fancy the meetings either. 
I have however, had a amazing support group on FaceBook. The group is made of of girls I do know, and friends of friends. We are all in the same boat, and I don't think I would have got as far as I have without them!

Exercise wise, I haven't been doing much, just some weights here and there, although after seeing Jodie Marsh's Brawn in the USA programme I definitely want to kick the weights up a notch. I have also been doing a lot of hooping with a weighted hoop. It's lots of fun, great cardio, tones up your abs and is quite gentle on the rest of your joints!

So far I would recommend a diet like Weight Watchers, because it's not a diet as such, it's more about teaching you about a healthy lifestyle. Lets see if I still say that after month two!