MARCH ROUNDUP

This month I...
  • Watched Indian Summers & The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 
  • Stuck to a 30 day squat and ab challenge
  • Read I Am Pilgrim, the Hunger Games Trilogy and The Long Goodbye
  • Ate at Teacup, SoLita and Handmade Burger Co. 
  • Swapped tea for matcha green tea
What have you been up to this month?

THE SUNDAY POST #13

001. It feels like only five minutes since I penned my last Sunday Post, probably because nothing interesting has happened at all over the past few days. I've been home for the past week and whilst it's quiet and a little boring in my village, I've enjoyed being able to drive my car again! I don't need it in Manchester as I live so close to uni and the city centre, but it is so nice to just drive around, especially on sunny days. 

002. I thought I'd share a few of my favourite Instagram accounts with you. If you love white backgrounds, clean style and well composed photos then here are five to follow: thepaperbunnywhistleandawhimacupofchicjosieldn & julia.linnea

003. This week I reread the Hunger Games trilogy. I got through it at a ridiculous pace, and I literally couldn't put the books down. I enjoyed reading them much more than the first time, but that was probably only because I was procrastinating from doing my essays. 

004. I forgot to mention this before, but a few weeks back I went to see Sam Smith and he was amazing. Not only does he have a beautiful voice but he is a beautiful person, inside and out. Gosh could this point be any more cheesy. Seriously though, Sam has lost two stone recently, and he looks great, and he genuinely seemed surprised that all these people were there to hear him sing. He introduced all his backing singers, talked about his personal life and smiled the whole way through. What a cutie!

005. The weirdest thing happened on Instagram; I found out that I was following around fifty accounts that I have never followed. I don't know how it happened, but it's really weird to think that it even could happen. Has this ever happened to you?

INIKA FACE IN A BOX STARTER KIT*

The Inika Face in a Box Starter Kit* is great if you want to dip your toes into the world of mineral cosmetics and test out a few different products. It contains five mineral products and two vegan brushes, and comes in four different shade ranges. My box is called 'Patience, which is formulated for medium - dark skintones.

Inika pride themselves on being a luxury natural cosmetics brand, with certified organic and pure mineral makeup. This year has seen me try more natural skincare brands, such as Arbonne and Trilogy and so it makes sense to move towards more natural makeup too. The products are all vegan, certified halal and certified cruelty free, and all come in recyclable packaging. The products are also free from parabens, mineral oils and fragrances, so great for sensitive skin. The kit contains:

Organic mineral powder foundation in 'Patience'. Having only ever used liquid foundations before, application of the powder foundation took me a while to master. I dip the kabuki brush into the product, ensuring it's evenly coated, and then tap the brush handle on my dressing table to embed them into the bristles. You only need a tiny bit of product for a light to medium coverage, but can buff the brush over your face in a circular motion for fuller coverage. I've never used foundation that isn't an exact shade match before, but this shade matches my skin tone well. If I'm heavy handed with the product it can highlight dry patches, but the Inika primer helps with this.  

Mineral bronzer in 'Sunloving'. This bronzer applies like a dream, you only need a little bit as it's very pigmented and it blends easily. It is orange toned, so it can make my face look muddy, but it'll be perfect for my darker skintone in summer. It also contains a lot of shimmer, so not the best for every day wear but beautiful for nights out and for dusting along the collarbone.

Two brushes: the vegan kabuki brush and the vegan contouring brush. The brushes are my favourite part of the kit; both of them are good quality, with solid handles and beautifully soft synthetic bristles. Both pick up just the right amount of product, and make application very smooth and quick. The kabuki brush is dense, and specifically designed to work with mineral products. The contour brush is far too small for me to contour with, but blends in the concealer really well. 

Certified Organic Liquid Mineral Foundation in 'Honey' (Trial Size) This foundation applies well, again you only need a tiny amount of product for a heavy finish. However, the shade is far too dark and orange toned for my skin, and I would prefer it if the brand had a few more shade options. 

Natural Perfection Certified Organic Concealer in Medium (Trial Size) This liquid concealer is much more suited to my skin tone. A dab of products covers blemishes and dark circles very well, yet doesn't look cakey on the skin. 

Certified Organic Pure Primer (Trial Size) The primer is nothing like the traditional 'silicone' primers I use a lot; instead it feels nourishing, and sinks in like a moisturiser. It contains Shea butter and avocado oil for hydration. The powder foundation applies a lot more evenly on my skin with this primer underneath, and my skin looks radiant and natural. 

You can purchase the kit from Beauty Expert for £47.45. I'll definitely be purchasing full sizes of the powder foundation, concealer and primer. What are your thoughts on natural makeup? Will you be trying Inika mineral products?

THE SUNDAY POST #12

001. On Thursday I went to a Trilogy skincare event, where we got to make our own moisturisers! You may have heard of the brand; their cult product is the rosehip oil. I was really impressed with the brand ethos, and with the products themselves, especially the vital moisturising cream. I've incorporated a few products into my routine so watch this space for a review. 

002. My deliciously Ella cookbook arrived, and I've already bookmarked all the recipes I want to try. I can't wait to make the sweet potato brownies and the almond butter fudge. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth? It's currently on Amazon for £7.99 so go snap it up!

003. I've discovered some great new blogs to read, including LJLV and What Sass Says. Lucy has great personal style, very cool and laid back, and Sarah (who is lovely btw) writes about a mix of subjects. I love her restaurant reviews and recipes. For more outfit inspiration, check out Laura from Fashion, Eats & Treats. Another lovely lady who helped me shoot some outfit pictures this week. I can't wait to share them with you! 

004. We ate at SoLita this week; everyone recommends the burgers but I went for the sticky lime chicken wings and sweet potato fries, which were both delicious. I loved the cocktails too; they have loads of minty, sour drinks with rum and gin, which is perfect as I hate fruity, vodka drinks.

005. A huge congratulations to Anoushka Urban, a fellow Manchester blogger who has won my 500 follower giveaway. I can't wait to see what shades she picks. Thank you again to everyone who entered, and thank you to people who take the time to read and comment on my blog. I wouldn't have been able to host this giveaway without you! 

AFTERNOON TEA AT TEACUP

 Last weekend we were feeling a little decadent, and decided to treat ourselves to Afternoon Tea at Teacup in the Northern Quarter. With afternoon tea in the city booking up weeks in advance we decided to head somewhere that doesn't take bookings and just wait. We were told that it would be an hours wait, but were seated in about 45 minutes, which is great considering there were five of us.

I haven't been to Teacup in a while, and I was sad to see the staff had lost their cake innuendo t-shirts, but other than that the restaurant and staff are as welcoming as ever. I chose the Sunshine Grey tea, which was infused with bergamot and sweet pink grapefruit, but also really liked the Rosey Grey, which was wonderfully floral and light. These little glasses made a nice change from a traditional tea cup, and now I've discovered a whole new world of glassware. Check out this beautiful triangle set.

The afternoon tea was brought out to us, and how delicious does it all look? The savoury plate contained a cheese and poppy seed twist, a spinach and feta parcel and some chunks of ham. We also got a mini cheese and pickle sandwich each, but agreed that we would have liked some more sandwiches. The heart shaped scone was delicious, a perfect sweet, crumbly scone, but it could have done with a little bit more clotted cream.

On to the cakes and pastries: a sticky white chocolate and raspberry *fudge* had everyone arguing about what it actually was. We all agreed that whatever it was, it was delicious. A rich chocolate tart, was my favourite, but I'm a chocolate fiend and others found it a little too rich. There was a crumbly coffee cheesecake with a buttery walnut base, a red velvet cupcake and an almond and chocolate macaroon which were all very yummy. The mini strawberry smoothie was a cute touch, and very refreshing after all that chocolate.

I believe that the afternoon tea changes depending on what day you go, but we loved everything we tried, and I'll definitely be going back again. For £16 or £20 with a glass of Prosecco it's fantastic value compared to other places in the city. You can read my review of their breakfasts here. Have you been to Teacup before? Where is your favourite place for Afternoon Tea?

#LLRACENIGHT

Last week I headed down to Revolution on Deansgate Locks for the #LLRaceNight; an event hosted by Ladbrokes to celebrate the start of the annual Cheltenham races. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet and spend the evening with some lovely local ladies, including Alex, Laura, Ranita, Emma, Beth, Sarah, Dei and Katie. The venue was really lovely, we had our own private attic section with views over the rest of the club.

The drinks were fantastic, everyone loved a mystery yellow cocktail, which was super fruity. We were also treated to endless wine, cider and vodka shots. Next time you head to Revs make sure to try the salted caramel popcorn shot which was absolutely delicious. I decided not to eat before the event, and luckily Revs provided some amazing food - I loved the chicken skewers and sweet potato wedges with salsa. 
The main part of the night involved playing some racing games, including a rapper or race horse quiz.. which we never actually found out the answers to! What do you think of our guesses? We were then whisked away to another private room to watch the races, and bet on our horses using tokens. We were filmed gogglebox style, which should be up on the Ladbrokes site soon. I can't wait to see everyone's reactions when watching their horses lose. The lucky winners were treated to shopping vouchers and for one very lucky winner, tickets to the races! Unfortunately I didn't win anything, but I did leave with a bottle of wine, a yummy cupcake from Cupcake Crumbs and an adorable horseshoe bracelet. 
A huge thank you to Ladbrokes and Carrie, Laura and Sophie from Branded 3 for having us! 

THE SUNDAY POST #11

001. How fantastic does this afternoon tea at Teacup look? It was delicious, and really cheap compared to most places. Teacup always has a great variety of teas, and I enjoyed the Sunshine Grey which was infused with bergamot and sweet pink grapefruit. The food was yummy too; the heart shaped scones and tiny red velvet cupcake tasted just as good as they looked!

002. Happy Mother's Day to my mum, grandma, aunt and a few other lovely ladies who are all like a mum to me. I'm still up in Manchester, but I'm really looking forward to seeing my family next weekend. This morning a boy who I spent a lot of my childhood with passed away, so my thoughts are with his mum, grandma and everyone else who may be struggling to get through today. This sad news has made my appreciate my mum and family even more this year.

003. On Tuesday I celebrated the start of the Cheltenham races with Ladbrokes and a whole bunch of lovely bloggers. I've mentioned some of these lovely ladies before but do have a read of their blogs: Laura, Alex, Sarah, Emma, Dei, Beth and Katie.

004. This week I've been really focused on decluttering.. Old magazines, receipts & makeup have gone in the bin, with clothes and unused makeup being sold on my depop. Every day I have this sense that I'm drowning in stuff, but by cutting down on my possessions my house and my mind feels calmer and cleaner.

005. There are three days left to enter my huge MAC lipstick & lipliner giveaway. If you haven't already entered.. go go go!

AVEENO DAILY MOISTURISING LOTION REVIEW*

One of my biggest problems in winter is dry skin, and recently I've been loving this Aveeno Daily Moisturising Lotion*. For me, this is the perfect everyday product; it sinks in quickly and leaves my skin feeling smooth and hydrated. I've been using this everyday for two weeks, and it's really made a difference to my skin, especially on my lower legs, knees and elbows. The product is formulated with finely-milled colloidal oatmeal and contains emollients. It's great for use after shaving, as it helps to lock water in.

It's unfragranced, so great for sensitive skin, but also comes in a lavender scent if you do want your lotion to smell a bit nicer. I personally love the unscented version, as it doesn't interfere with the scent of my perfume, as I find lots of body lotions can do. The lotion comes in a handy 300ml bottle with a pump, which also has a click lock, so great for throwing in your suitcase when you travel. 

I'm definitely going to be picking up some of the other products in the range, such as the Lavender scented lotion and this bath oil. What do you think of Aveeno?
 

GIRLY LEATHER & TOUGH LACES | OUTFIT POST

Please excuse my awkward posing and windswept hair.. I haven't done any outfit pictures for almost a year now, but I did promise to show a few more ootd's on HIW. I wore this cream and black combination a few weeks back, for the M&S Show. I wanted to be a little bit dressy as we were headed to the evening show and out for dinner afterwards. 
I ordered this River Island leather jacket 'just to try it on'. It was way out of my price range and I told myself I'd send it back but the the moment I tried it on I knew it was a keeper. It just lightens up an all black outfit, and adds a girlier touch. I'm now lusting after this similar leather and canvas version. I'm also wearing ripped Joni jeans from Topshop, this faux leather peplum top from H&Mand boots from Tesco (similar here). My scarf is vintage and my clutch is an old one, again from Topshop. I love the girly pink shade and snakeskin pattern. I'm also wearing pretty blush earrings from Primark, which are so detailed but were only £1.. Bargain!

Let me know what you think? Would you like to see more ootd's on HIW?

THE SUNDAY POST #10

001. Happy International Women's day everybody! Year on year greater improvements are made towards gender equality, and in the last few years especially, IWD has been more of a celebration of the positives than a reminder of the negatives. This past year has been significant in terms of raising awareness for women's rights, we've had the #HeForShe movement, as well as #ChangeTheRatio, #banbossy, #WeAreSilent#YesAllWomen and countless others. This years theme is 'Make it Happen', which calls for more than awareness, it calls for action. Have a look on the IWD website to see what you can do to make the future brighter for our children, and their children.
Here's to strong women. 
May we know them. 
May we be them. 
May we raise them.
002. This week has been a good clean eating week; I've had minimal carbs, filling up on protein and veg instead and drinking lots of green tea. I've been to the gym three times this week, as well as doing yoga at home. I did end up eating out twice though, and whilst I went for healthy-ish options (such as a bunless burger with extra salad) I want to try and avoid eating out this week.
003. Today has been a bit of a pamper day; think face masks, a hot bath and moisturising with this Aveeno daily moisturising lotion. I was also super excited to receive this Inika face in a box kit, which I'll be testing from tomorrow. Keep your eyes peeled for reviews soon! 
004. One of my dearest friends lent me this book, The Long Goodbye, which I'm looking forward to starting tonight. My other best friend is Romanian, and they have a tradition of giving Martisor (a red and white ribbon to be worn around the wrist and a little trinket) to celebrate the arrival of spring. How cute is this little ladybird brooch?
005. I'm watching Gossip Girl again (maybe for the fourth or fifth time?) and I'm pretty sure it's been the downfall of my university work this week. What has everyone else been watching recently?

ON THE FROW WITH M&S

Last week I found myself sitting on the frow with M&S. In honour of  M&S being this season's sponsors of London Fashion Week, they held the only official LFW event outside of the capital. Part of the bottom floor of the Market Street store was transformed to hold a live catwalk show, to showcase the M&S Spring collections. Most of the pieces featured will be in-store 26th March, although some are already available. The outfits were showcased in six different collections:

Best of British was a classic collection made in the UK, using mainly British made fabrics. The colour palette was a beautiful mix of white, primrose, grey and navy, and featured timeless pieces such as linen suits, shirts and stripes.

Summer of Love was a fusion of relaxed tailoring and subtle florals, mixed in with plenty of textured pieces: suede and chiffon featured heavily, and the retro look was completed with platform sandals.

Into the Blue concentrated on shades of blue; everything from dramatic navy to pretty cornflower shades. Double denim was shown, and tailored striped pieces were paired with laid back denim, and retro flares.

Uniformity was a sleek collection, and probably my favourite. The focus was on clean lines and monochrome details, yet outfits featured a utilitarian edge, such as a heavy buckle or a green parka. The collection was full of smart shoes, jumpsuits and sleek pencil skirts.

The Orient showed pretty oriental and floral prints, and focused on separates that could be mixed and matched to create different looks. Wide leg trousers and sleeveless jackets were key.

Modern Romance featured lace and sheer fabric, mixed to create a really feminine collection. Sexy black dresses and leather trousers were shown alongside blush toned and cream lace pieces to form a dramatic and flirtatious end to the show.

As well as the show we also saw a short film with all the highlights from LFW and a talk from the M&S Style Director, Belinda Earl. M&S treated me to a lovely black and white geometric clutch from their Limited Collection, as well as some Autograph makeup and of course some Percy Pigs. Thank you to M&S for having me!

BRANDED LAB SS15 SHOWCASE


Last week I was invited to the Branded Lab SS15 showcase; an opportunity to see the new collections from a number of brands and catch up with lots of other bloggers over cocktails and canapés. The event was held at the adorable Rosylee Tearooms in NQ. The menu looks delicious, I'll definitely be returning for afternoon tea. 
Naa Naa ClothingMadam Rage and Ko Ko Couture had some fantastic pieces on display, think vintage prints mixed in with luxe sportswear, co-ords and lots of florals. I particularly loved the retro feel of Damned Delux and casual denim range from Jailbird Jeans. Harriet Sanders showcased some beautiful leather backpacks and clutches, and Ruby Prom had a beautiful range of evening dresses.
How adorable is this pic n mix cart? (Image credit to the lovely Amy Lyons) I'm just going to throw it out there and say I don't like sweets, however, I did take a large bag home for my housemate. We were also treated to a lovely good bag, featuring some great brands such as ELF, Soap & Glory and Anatomicals. I was also happy to see some Vita Coco and some Popchips in there too. 
A huge thank you to Branded Lab for having us!

THE SUNDAY POST #9

001. I haven't been to any blog events in over a month, and this week I was lucky enough to be invited to four! On Wednesday I was at the Branded Lab SS15 Showcase, Thursday saw me sitting on the frow at an M&S show. Yesterday I had a great time at a blogger meet up, and tonight I'm off to The Body Shop's detox & pamper event. It's been an amazing week, but I am completely exhausted.. When will I learn to say no?
002. Through all these events I've been lucky enough to meet lots of new bloggers, and catch up with some old favourites. All of these ladies write amazing blogs, so go give them a follow: Alex, CaitlinLaura, Gail, Holly, Emma, Ellie, AmyJasmine, Magdalena & Jasmin (who hosted the meetup!)
003. This week I haven't kept up with the DW 40 days of fitness challenge, but I'll be getting back into it from tomorrow, as well as heading to the gym. Follow me on twitter to keep up with my progress. 
004. I bought two of the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipsticks, and from first impressions I love them. I wore the bright shade, Peach Club, on a night out last night and it didn't budge, which is huge for me as I'm always having to re-apply other lipsticks. Nude-ist is a pretty pinky nude shade, perfect for everyday, low-maintenance wear. I may just pop back into boots and purchase every single shade.
005. The past few weeks have gone so quickly, and this weekend hasn't felt like a weekend at all. Sometimes I feel like I'm rushing my life away trying to fit everything in. This week I really need to take a break from doing things, and just focus on my university work and the gym. Lots of reading, yoga and sleeping will also be on my relaxation plan. Does anyone else ever feel the same?