Monday, 27 April 2015

Oxford

Hey All

I mentioned in last weeks post that I'd been in Oxford so as we loved the hotel I thought I'd share some bits with you.

While my other half was away with work we decided the first free weekend we had when he got back we'd go away for so we could have some chill time together.  After originally deciding on Bath or Bristol but not being able to find the type of hotel we wanted we decided to go back to a bucket list we wrote a while ago and Oxford was decided.

We knew we wanted somewhere with a swimming pool and jacuzzi so we could relax so the hunt began. We also wanted to be central so we could walk into the city in the evening to be able to grab food and explore. Due to wanting all of this we were a bit limited on choice and then we saw Oxford Spires Four Pillars hotel which fit the bill. We also got it a bit cheaper by booking through expedias secret hotels. It's a gamble but you can usually narrow it down to a few options due to area and facilities.

The hotel were great from the beginning. As we'd booked through Expedia secret hotels you can't amend the booking so I contacted the hotel direct to see if we could pay to upgrade our room as we wanted to stay in Eastwkye house due to the roll top bath, clarins toiletries and older features.




When we arrived it all looked like the pictures online and check in was quick and simple. When we got to our room we were glad we'd upgraded. Robes and slippers were on the bed, chocolate, cookies and water on the side and a beautiful bathroom with clarins toiletries. The room was decorated in simple colours and looked clean. The bed was also really comfy.





The bath we then popped our robes on and a short stroll across the carpark and we were relaxing in the pool. It was a small but quiet pool with a mural painted.on the wall to show arches. We loved relaxing in the saunas and steam rooms but did feel the shower and changing facilities seemed a bit outdated and not quite what I'd expect for a four star hotel.



Overall we loved it for a quick weekend break and would definitely go back.

We love eating so went to a few places. Firstly we stopped in the red lion for a snack and shared a pork platter where we tried cheek for the first time. That was some tasty meat. It was like a posh pub meal with prices to match.



For evening meal having not done research before hand we ended up in Jamie's Pizzeria. The food was delicious and fresh and reasonably priced. The lemon sorbet was amazing afterwards.



And of course a trip to Oxford wouldn't be complete without a pitstop in Bicester Village. My other half was very patient as I dragged him round every bag store for two hours while I hunted the perfect bag for a birthday present. In July I'll have my perfect kate spade. I can’t wait.



I love exploring new cities and Oxford was a beautiful one. With amazing buildings and architecture we easily lost hours just wondering. Whilst we were there there was an amazing little market selling crafts which we couldn't help grabbing some pieces from.

Now to find another city for the next adventure. Any recommendations?

Love M

Xxx


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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Polish in Coconut


Morning all!

I have fully been raiding Barry M's shelves recently, I love their range and the Gelly Hi Shine polishes just get better and better!

My latest purchase (1 of 3, naturally I cannot pick up just one) is the Coconut polish.




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This one has already been raved about by many a blogger so I'm just adding in my appreciation to the mix. I really liked Lychee (post here) but sometimes with my super pale skin tone it did look a bit too toffee-ish, so this colour is the perfect option in those times. It's an off white colour on the nails and so obviously a lot lighter than my own skin colour making it appear to be darker than it actually is, kind of like a free tan if you like!


So how does it apply?

Much like the others the brush is thinner than I'd like, its so much easier to cover the nail when the brush is wider - minimal effort necessary! I put two coats on to get the effect in the images below, some look like they might have been better if another coat had been applied but nevertheless this lasted a full week with a top coat on top and only chipped on day 6.

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It definitely looks a little darker in the bottle than on the nails but I still like it. It's definitely a summer one and I'll be using this on toes too to make my tan look a little darker!

What do you think of the Gelly Hi Shine range? Do you have a favourite?

I bought two others from the range that I'll be posting about soon!

L xxx



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Friday, 24 April 2015

Fitness Friday: Current Workout



Hello there!

Fitness recently has been a topic that I just haven't been able to get my head around.

I absolutely love it and still enjoy going to the gym and trying out new exercises, however with my training in work being seemingly endless and the copious amount of paperwork and appointments involved in buying a house it has definitely taken a back seat in reality and in my head.


The last two weeks though I have been getting back into it with all of the muscle ache to go with it!

Here's my latest program:


5 minute warm up on the cross trainer - a lot of people have a bit of an obsession or a loathing of the cross trainer, I have neither. I think it's useful for my 5 minute warm up as it loosens my legs and arms and gets my heart rate going!

Image from Technogym

After this I've been getting on the Wave Machine - it simulates speed skating which means your legs move on pedals in a similar way to a cross trainer, but instead they go out to the sides. You can stand in 4 different positions, leaning on the hand rail or standing freely for the intensity to be in different muscle groups, but essentially it targets your glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back and if you manage to balance and stand up for whole time then you'll target abs as well!
I've been building this up as my lower back has a weakness but 10 minute blocks at a high level of 12 is how I've been doing it. The higher the level the wider the pedals move apart, therefore making it more difficult.

Once my 10 minutes on that are up (and I'm dripping in sweat, it really gets me working hard!) I head to the mats.

Image from Lifehack.org
At this point I've been working on my Bulgarian Split Squats. If you don't know what they are you can view this video on youtube of Erin Stern.
I've been varying my weights whilst I get comfortable with the balance and the motion of squatting essentially on one leg, but I definitely need to work harder and squat lower, I am nowhere near Erin's level of almost hitting the ground with my lower knee where I've dropped so low, I need to work harder!

I've also been twinning this into a superset with tricep dips, and using the bench for those putting my feet as far out in front of me as I can. My shoulders are starting to look better for it but I can't say my triceps look any smaller! The arms always take such a long time to get smaller and show muscle.

Image from Women's Health Mag
After doing two sets of each of the squats and tricep dips I've been using 2 4kg dumbells and doing another super set of 15 x lateral raises followed by 15 x shoulder press. My shoulders need so much work and they burn after doing almost anything, I need to vastly improve on this area too!


Once I've completed this I get back on the Wave machine for another 10 minutes, as long as I've got some decent music plugged in this second set can go faster that the first set!

Needless to say I come off it a bit of a sweaty mess, last night it actually almost ran off my nose, then you know that you're working hard!



Then I get back to the mats. I've been loving doing some glute bridges recently as they were something I'd never tried before, here is a video for you to see. I've been trying to do them with a 5kg or 8kg weight to make it a bit more difficult, but you can feel the burn in these and the bonus is its a lying down exercise too!

Recently I've been getting as much ab and core exercises in as possible, planks are always the best but I can't say I'm good at them.
I actually prefer side planks with dips so I do a couple of them too,

My lower stomach area is definitely my worst feature, so I've been working double hard on doing leg drops but have to be careful with my lower back. I either hold a weight and alternate left leg, right leg and then both together, or I go crazy and do a many together as I can and I'm definitely improving.
I've been trying to push my hips up at the last minute to do a reverse crunch too and it's a killer ab combo!


So this is what I've been doing recently, trying to rev up my metabolism again and get back into fitness with some completely new exercises.

What have you been trying out recently? Have you mastered Bulgarian split squats? Do you have any tips?

Are you a fan of the Wave machine for burning calories and getting you sweaty?

I'm aiming to lose some pounds that I've gained recently, hoping to lose half a stone over the next few weeks by getting back into exercise and reigning in my diet.

What are you fitness goals?


L xxx


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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Review: Lancome Clarifying Cleanser Pearly Foam


Good morning!

When it comes to skincare, I think as long as you have the right cleanser you're on the right track. I occasionally deviate from my usual products and this was one of those deviations. My aunty gifted this cleanser to me the last time she visited, knowing my love of products!

I'd never tried any Lancome skincare before so I was super excited to give it a go!

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The Clarifying Cleanser Pearly Foam is a gel type cleanser. The first thing i noticed about this product was that it was SO DIFFICULT to get out of the tube.

It was probably a decent workout for my hands every morning - in the non weirdest way.
I actually had to wrestle to get this out of the tube and genuinely had to use both hands to get enough cleanser onto my flannel. No jokes.

That aside though, this was so thick that you really didn't need a lot to get it foamed up and into a lather to wash your face with.

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The tube contains 125ml of product and costs £23 from the majority of website I looked at.

I have to say that the packaging of this product doesn't really excite me - it's boring and although the rose design iconic to Lancome is incorporated into it I just feel like they could - and should - have done better.
Their other products such as their infamous mascaras look so much better than this, so on first viewing I was disappointed.

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So far it's not looking promising is it?

I have to admit though that this product surprised me and I actually really liked it. You can use this both morning and evening and a tiny bit will go really far - good job when you have to wrestle it!

This cleanser lathers up pretty well and removes most make up. It doesn't remove the most stubborn product known to womankind - Benefit's They're Real mascara - but it does a good job of the rest.
I found that my ever dehydrated skin really liked this product and it didn't ever feel stripped or tight after use.

I'm surprised in thinking that I would consider purchasing this again, although I would try and wait for a deal in a department store with free gifts or points, £23 for a cleanser is quite steep as my usual one is £18.50 (though I buy it on offer at £14) and that's a treat!

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Another thing I liked about this product was that it was sealed when purchased, this is always good news to me as it means that no one else has tampered with the product, used any and got any additional germs into it!
Shopping in stores with used make up nowadays can be pretty grim, I'd hate for this trend to spread to products like cleansers too, do you agree?


Have you tried Lancome skincare products? Have you tried this cleanser?
What else would you recommend from Lancome?

I do love their mascara, the Christmas sets are the best!


L xxx



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