Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Aroma Diffuser - Dinosaur Egg

If you have a child or if YOU are an adult sized child (like me), then show them this...

Well it's shaped like a dinosaur egg but it's actually an aroma diffuser! You may have seen a previous blog where I reviewed another diffuser. That one is a lot smaller and doesn't well...stick out as much as this one does. But hey, that isn't a bad thing.

The Aroma Diffuser (Dinosaur Egg) is from a company called Cool Breeze who manufacture these big beauties and they are sold here via Amazon for £25.99. Pretty awesome price for such a beefy product!

Assembling the egg itself is pretty comes already assembled. There are easy to follow instructions on how to get the diffuser running. The egg is powered by an adaptor which plugs into the bottom, under a curve of the design which means it keeps the diffuser level and won't easily fall out.

Water is used and filled up in the base of the egg with a measure level on the side. However, this is extremely difficult to see to the naked eye and I would have suggested it could have been written on the inside in black. Once you've filled up the water, you simply add the recommended dose of oils which is 2-3 drops per 100ml so I added into it a little over 6. I think this was too much as the smell was quite overpowering. Although, it's a good sign that the diffuser works well. I used an essential oil from Muji which was Citronella and I believe this is 100% natural. If there's any experts out there, please do let me know if I'm wrong as Cool Breeze mentions on their website that using fully natural oils are best for the functionality of the diffuser.
The buttons at the bottom of the egg are simple to use and look stylish. Clicking the ON/OFF button once turns the machine on and immediately starts releasing mist. You can then click the button once, twice or three times to choose between the time settings. This enables you to choose how long you'd like it on for and after the time is up, the machine shuts off. The mist button has three settings for how strong you'd like the scent and the light button switches the multi-colour changing lights on and off. You then simply have to hold down the ON/OFF button to turn it off. Easy peasy!

This would be perfect for a kid's bedroom but doesn't scream 'I HAVE A CHILD PRODUCT IN MY ROOM', if you're an adult. The egg is modern and stylish, it doesn't look tacky and looks quite nice on my bedside table. The price is good for diffusers and the small amount of oil that you use in the water, means that oil will last for a while.  I would have thought this would be great if you have an electrical socket within your bathroom as it would be a suitable alternative to a candle whilst you're soaking yourself in the bathtub!

Disclaimer - I was gifted this product in return for my own honest opinion.

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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Nanshy Brushes - Tools for Beauty

So beauty is fast becoming a prominent subject within my blog and I'm loving the fact that I can try new things that I didn't think of using before. My first beauty tool purchase were my Real Technique brushes (which I really need to replace because they're a few years old) and I love them! I used to use my fingers when applying foundation and eyeshadow which to an extent is ok but it's a lot more hygienic to use clean brushes.

With over 100,000 followers collectively on their social media, Nanshy is a brand I've never heard of,  yet they have a dedicated following.
They sent me their fan brush to review and I've recently been using highlighter so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to test it out. Nanshy's products are all cruelty-free and vegan approved by PETA. I love the style of the brush, it looks luxurious and a lot like the other professional brushes you can find in most high street stores. The prices are pretty reasonable with this brush in particular being just £8.95. They are a British based brand but I believe they ship over to the US too.
The fan brush is an easy to use applicator and I found applying my highlighter gave a much more even finish than using my fingers.  I did struggle slightly to get definition on the cupid's bow and nose which is also where I put highlighter, so I just used my fingers for this. The bristles are made with synthetic Taklon which doesn't absorb the product so it's perfect for powder based products and other liquid foundation/concealers.
Nanshy's beauty tools have featured across plenty of social media including OK! Beauty and Cosmopolitan so be sure to check out this brand, especially if you are a keen supporter of using cruelty-free products.

Disclaimer - I was gifted this product in return for my own honest opinion.

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Monday, 29 August 2016

The Other Kingdom

Nickelodeon is bringing together a world of mythical creatures, magical beings and high school teens with the premiere of The Other Kingdom. The live series broadcasted on Monday 8th August at 6.30pm. It follows the journey of Fairy Princess Astral, who has chosen between being a fairy princess or becoming human, as she is set to inherit the crown of her royal kingdom of Anthenia. The Other Kingdom airs weekdays at 6.30pm.

Nickelodeon sent me the most beautiful box of goodies to unbox and just look at the packaging it came in.
Like how cute is this?!

When I un-opened the box, I did squeal a little bit with delight as it contained the materials to 'attempt' to turn me into a Princess Fairy myself. All I needed to finish the outfit were some fairy wings!

Now normally, I'm pretty average outfit. I know, I totally believe in myself.
This photo opportunity that I gave myself was x10 harder because my phone's camera is currently being used, as my Olympus has been sent off to be fixed (boohoo), so I'm pretty happy with the quality of how they came out. I used the one of the two big pieces of fluorescent material to make a bralette and wrapped the ribbon around my bra straps to cover up the black as much as possible. I applied what should have been the face art to the right side of my chest (because hey, face art ain't just for your face). I applied some pink sequins to the right eye, just underneath to give it some SPARKLE!

For the lower part, I wore shorts and wrapped the material around. At this point, I was giving up trying to make it work. I loved the Amethyst pendant that was also sent alongside the accessories, it totally made me feel like I had magic powers. #agirlcandream

Either way I think I've done a pretty good job with what I was given and I'm just waiting for Nickelodeon to ring me up and ask me to be part of the cast because I'm slaying this look. NOT :)

Make sure you check out The Other Kingdom on Nickelodeon, weekdays at 6.30pm!

Disclaimer - I was gifted these products in exchange for promotion of the show.

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Sunday, 28 August 2016

A Weekend In Stiffkey

At this point if Sam's reading, he's probably giggling like a school boy at the name. However, the beautiful village of Stiffkey was just what we needed. An escape from the madness of London. We were celebrating Mike's (Sam's dad) 60th birthday and we had quite an adventurous weekend.
We made our way to Sheringham from London Liverpool Street after work on the Friday. Sam had booked us onto 1st class so we enjoyed a comfortable ride towards Norwich. I'd not finished my McDonald's (classy) so had brought it on the train with me. The woman sat opposite us was clearly not impressed that our seats were booked next to her...

We finally arrived in Sheringham, after slumming it in the second part of our journey on another train, just after 10pm. Sam's family were staying in a stunning house surrounded by beautiful flowers and shrubbery. It was right next to a main road that was surprisingly busy for the countryside, however this didn't stop us from enjoying the glorious weather in the front garden.

On our first and only full day in Stiffkey, we headed on over to the Stiffkey marshes where the land stretched far and wide, with the sea well off into the distance. We headed into the marsh with our flip flops but pretty soon into it, all the girls took off the shoes and gave in to the natural earth known commonly as...mud! We only managed to get as far as the first wooden bridge (after slipping and sliding all over the place) but decided enough was enough and headed back home for some lunch. We stopped off at the little shop/cafe/post office, to grab a few essentials.
That afternoon we headed into Wells-next-the-Sea for a walk along it's sandy beach, seeing the gorgeous beach huts that stretched far beyond and explored (meaning, me and Sam got lost) the forest behind the beach. That night we headed out for a meal at the Red Lion, but enjoyed a glass of fizz which we toasted to Mike first. 
On Sunday, we gave Mike his birthday presents then headed to Blakeney where the National Trust had a seal watching opportunity. I stupidly drank too much water and needed a pee after only just reaching the seals. This meant I nearly wet myself in front of a boat full of people. I mean, when you're surrounded by water, it's hard to not think of needing the toilet!
Grey Seal in the middle: I think that girl needs a pee...

When it was time to eventually head home, disaster struck when our train from Sheringham had been cancelled and we had no way of getting back to Norwich. Thankfully, Hannah (Sam's sister) drove us back to Norwich in time to catch an 8pm train. Talk about typical British transport!

We had a lovely weekend and if you're every in the Norwich area, then go and explore these gorgeous seaside treasures.

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Saturday, 27 August 2016

NYX Suede Lipsticks

OHMYGOD. I can't quite believe that NYX has finally graced the Boots stores of the UK. What has for so long been a US of A beauty brand, the UK finally gets to see what all the fuss is about. Ok, so I could have ordered it and shipped it over but girl that's well pricey!
Introducing my three new babies to my make-up collection. Now my lipstick/lipgloss collection is becoming quiet an obsession. I'm literally in love with the Liquid Suede Cream Lipsticks and I can certainly see myself buying more of them (sorry bank balance).

I brought three of these and was gutted to find that they didn't have the Sandstorm shade in stock, as this was the shade that I had lusted over. I first saw it being worn on Instagram by one of my friends, Alice (see below) who's lip game is always on point.
Alice wearing the shade Sandstorm
Now unfortunately they don't stock NYX in all Boots stores but hopefully this is something that will change in the future. There's only a couple in London and I went into the Piccadilly Circus branch and was pretty impressed by the scope of NYX products they had on offer. The prices of the lipsticks are pretty reasonable at £6.99. However if you live over in the US they are only $7, meaning they are slightly more expensive here but I'm guessing that's due to costs of shipping the products over from the US. 

I wanted to buy ALL the shades but I thought, better start off with a couple, calm down Natalie.
From left to right: Subversive Socialite, Cherry Skies and Soft Spoken

The first one and probably my least favourite of the three is Subversive Socialite. My only bug with this one is that it isn't as pigmented as the other two. You can see above that it's a lot thinner when applied and I could see my lip colour coming through. I also find it difficult when applying a darker lip as it tends to just go everywhere. If this had been more pigmented, it would have been a lot more easier to apply.

Soft Spoken is by fair my favourite. I love nude colours on my lip as I feel it's the perfect casual shade to wear both in the day and evening. I this one has a more pink colour to it but it's like my natural lip colour, but more enhanced. I love how fast these lipsticks dry but they also keep them moisturised, meaning they won't cause chapped lips!
Cherry Skies is another beautiful shade. I love a sexy, deep red colour on the lips and it goes great with a smokey brown eyeshadow. The doe foot shaped wand makes application very easy and this colour is perfectly pigmented to leave a rich, dark red on the lip. I also think this has well suited my tan from Spain! I mean, look at my teeth. Those are some pearly whites...
Do let me know if you've purchased some NYX lipsticks yourself and tell me what your favourite shade is!

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Friday, 26 August 2016

The Flight of The Phoenix - Sean Derbyshire

Directed by Robert Aldrich (The Dirty Dozen, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane) and released in 1965, ‘The Flight of the Phoenix’ is a forgotten gem from the golden age of cinema. It tells the tale of a group of men, crash landed and stranded in the Sahara, whom overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to survive. It is a truly uplifting story, based on the Novel by Trevor Dudley Smith, and gloriously realised through intense physical filmmaking in an era before digital effects and elaborate technological advances saturated the industry. The film is, in a word, magnificent.
Aldrich’s direction, together with the screenplay by Lukas Heller (The Dirty Dozen, What Ever Happened To Baby Jane) tells of a gruelling struggle between man and the elements. The themes of this film delve deep into the human instinct to survive, while also touching on the concepts of bigotry and xenophobia in a very intimate and personal way, as hope becomes as scarce as water in the desert. Aldrich manages to maintain tension, while still delivering varying scales of conflict and even very organic moments of comedy that keep the audience invested until the very end.

Heller’s script is brilliant, creating complex characters and exploring their struggle against their environment and each other, with cutting dialogue that never ceases to grip the audience in every interaction on screen. Every character has a unique development arc, as very different men are forced to work together on a seemingly impossible task in order to escape their predicament. The film evokes a huge range of emotions that is rarely accomplished so well by movies.

As with many films of the mid 20th Century, the audience’s mood and tension is almost entirely dictated and cleverly controlled by the musical score, composed by Frank De Vol (Kiss Me Deadly, The Dirty Dozen). The usual musical tropes, such as the harsh discords to shock and frighten, the gentle harps to create feelings of dreaming, hallucinations and madness and the triumphant booming orchestral flairs to instil a sense of victory grip the heart of the viewer and manipulate how fast it beats for every single scene.
The cinematography (or photography as it once was referred to) is used very strategically throughout, particularly when the plane flies, as the camera gives us an idea of movement and angles, as well as the sense of panic as it rapidly descends. The film uses a great deal of well cut close-up shots, allowing us to see very closely the emotional strain exerted on these characters by their situation and each other; the wide shots of the desert lend scope to the scenario, demonstrating just how lost and alone these men are.

The performances in this film are outstanding; it is impossible not to become invested in each and every character as they each face their own struggles. James Stewart (Vertigo, It’s a Wonderful Life) gives a fantastic performance as the stoic pilot ‘Frank Towns’, as he tries to do what he can to help everyone escape, while inwardly dealing with his feelings of responsibility for their predicament. Hardy Krüger (Barry Lindon, Hatari) is equally captivating as the German engineer ‘Heinrich Dorfmann’, whom in spite of the others’ mistrust and discrimination still uses his ingenuity to devise a plan for their rescue. Smaller, less integral parts, are still lent equal gravity through brilliant performances, such as Ernest Borgnine’s simple but kind-hearted ‘Trucker Cobb’, or Ian Bannen’s bigoted, wise-cracking ‘Crow.’ The stand out performance, however, is given by late Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park, The Great Escape) as the navigator ‘Lew Moran.’ Attenborough creates a truly vulnerable and yet courageous character, whose fierce loyalty and belief in his captain endears us to him throughout the whole film.

To summarise, this is not a film about heroes. This is a film about humans struggling to survive, and realising that the only way to do that is working together. The film is a marvellous representation of man’s conflict with himself and his environment and its triumphant climax will leave you smiling from ear to ear; a great film!
Reviewed by Sean Derbyshire
Be sure to click here, if you like his work!

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Bom Dia! Brazillian Fitness Party!

A free fitness event courtesy of Be:Fit London? How could I say no?! Reebok and Very had very kindly invited me to this event and I was ready to get sweaty.
The event was called Bom Dia! Brazilian Fitness Party. Bom Dia meaning morning, meant that I got up on a Sunday (with a right ol' hangover) to make it for the 11am start. The event would last two hours. That's no big deal right? A little bit of fitness would allow me to sweat out that hangover...


I mean my back was like Niagara Falls.
There were around 20-25 attendees and it was made up of mainly women of various ages including two brave men (who even twerked during the twerking section!).

The class was led by the vibrant Chardét who was brimming with confidence and pushed us all the way through the class, even when we were hitting those inevitable fitness walls. #thestruggle 

The class involved various workouts and mainly focused on the legs. The class was intense and there were very few breaks if any, during the workout. I loved the salsa movements that we kept returning back to and it remained as a base dance move throughout. All those involved got stuck in and by the end of it, we were gasping for fresh air and a bite to eat. We picked betwee n three badges before the workout that best described us as an individual. I chose 'Fierce' because hey...I am. 

And here's the sweaty photos you've been waiting for...
Mid swinging of the legs here...
A general sweaty picture.
And at this point, I'm definitely struggling at life.
However, it's certainly true that exercise is a good way of getting rid of a hangover. The jumping moves certainly tested my stomach control, but I got through it like the BRAVA I am!

We were then treated to a selection of food and drink, including some yummy and super healthy fruit/veg smoothies from Savse and a taste of crunchy granola from Grain and Bowl. It's a new company that provides delicious granola that's naturally sweetened and is gluten and dairy free. I loved it so much that I brought a Cardamom Spiced pack home with me! Their website should be launching soon so make sure you look out for this company in the future.
Finally we were given a performance from the Danca Da Liberdade who teach Brazilian Martial Arts. They're performance, involving live music, was captivating and the kids were fantastic. We also saw Michela Di Felice who is a professional samba instructor and she strutted her stuff and even taught us some moves after.
I'd love to thank all those who were there at the event and made it super fun. Also thanks for Be:Fit London for organising it. Why not buy yourself some fitness wear and get your salsa on! Click here for fitness apparel galore.

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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Getting That Golden Tan - Sorbet Salons

So after coming off a relaxing holiday, I've come back feeling refreshed and have a glowing tan to prove it. However, you may have not had the opportunity to go on your holidays yet. Maybe instead, you want a summer tan all year round? Well Sorbet Salon got in touch with me and wanted me to share the 'glow down' on prolonging that summer tan.
International Brand Manager and the face of Sorbet Salons, Courtney Fuhr has provided below, some advice and essential tips on creating a glowing tan and avoiding the orange fake bakers among us. 

'A golden tan can wipe years off your complexion and trim inches from your waistline. But, as many of us find, maintaining that tan in the rainy climates of the UK proves to be more than tricky. It’s impossible! Fortunately, if you want to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun, such as wrinkles, dark spots and signs of premature ageing, with all the confidence of that fresh off a holiday feeling, the only safe glow is one that comes from a bottle!

Experienced and well-versed in all things beauty, Courtney Fuhr, who jets between her home in South Africa and Sorbet stores in London, shares her wealth of experience on just how to keep a glowing tan long into the autumn months with the help of award winning self-tanning line, Fake Bake.' - Courtney Fuhr, Brand Manager of Sorbet Salons
Available in South Africa’s best loved beauty chain, Sorbet Salons are located in North London’s Crouch End, Muswell Hill, and later this year, East Finchley bringing heart and soul to the high streets of London! With the philosophy of empowering women with a feeling of confidence and self-worth, Sorbet Salons deliver top notch treatments with quality results, leaving customers feeling nothing short of a million dollars!

Here, Courtney explains all…

Bronzed and body beautiful...
“Select a shade that’s right for you.” 

“The secret to extending your tan is to choose a product which accentuates the base you already have. My favourite is Fake Bake’s Original Self Tan Lotion, formulated to take you only one or two shades darker than your natural colour - the subtle shade perfectly enhances skin tone without making you appear overdone.”  

Pre-tan Prep!

“Smooth, supple skin is the basis to achieving a bronzed glow that really lasts. Invest in a sugar or salt based exfoliator, spending time to gently buff the body at least a week prior helping remove dead skin cells and free congested pores. Double check that your scrub doesn't contain oil, as this can leave a greasy residue, acting as a barrier between your skin and the self-tanner. The result? Unsightly streaks! Following gentle exfoliation, remember to moisturise all over, taking care to cover those extra dry areas - elbows, knees, ankles and everything in between. - Courtney Fuhr, Brand Manager of Sorbet Salons

Courtney’s Top Tanning Tips for the Body

1. Always wear latex or vinyl gloves to protect your hands – much easier than scrubbing around your nails to remove excess tan and stains!

2. Apply small amounts quickly rather than large amounts slowly as the tan can dry up!

3. Start at the ankles and work your way up – don’t forget the feet! Try not to wear tight shoes for 2-3 days after as this can leave lines.

4. Apply in circular motions, this helps for even distribution

5. Add additional tan to the areas you want to highlight – between the thighs, underneath the collarbones and of course your outer torso for those sculpted abs!

6. When doing the hands, always apply right up to the wrists then take one glove off, put on the one hand, then swap gloves and apply to the other, that way you’ll ensure your hands aren’t a different colour.

Sun-kissed complexion …

“Your face is the first thing people notice and nothing looks better than a sun-kissed complexion but after time in the sun, this tends to fade faster than the rest of your body. Fake Bake's Flawless Coconut Tanning Serum is a magical elixir packed full of skin loving ingredients from silk amino acids to anti-ageing coconut oil itself. It’s therefore perfect not only for enhancing your tan but also for feeding your skin with essential nutrients. My top tip would be to apply a little barrier cream to the eye brows and around the hair line to stop the build-up of excess tan in these areas.”

Courtney’s Top Tanning Tips for the Complexion

1. Mix the self-tan with a small amount of your everyday moisturiser – this softens the product and reduces the chance of any skin breakouts and uneven patches
2.  Start from the neck and gently work your way up using circular motions for even application
3. With the excess product, apply to the ears
4. Gently smooth fingers over any lines on the face to ensure
product hasn’t settled into these areas
5. After application, remember to wipe your hands, nails and brows to
avoid those tell-tale signs of fake tan!

Unfortunately a natural tan doesn't last forever and I can personally say that I always feel fitter and look healthier when I have a tan. I'm keen to try out this fake bake in the future so make sure you look out for it on my blog soon!

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