I’ve been wearing make up for years. I was addicted to it as soon as I swept a tiny, sharpened-down Kohl eyeliner that was being passed between about five of us (yuck!) around my entire eye. Since then, it’s been a fun game of trial and error as I try to find the perfect products to suit me.

I’ve had some disasters in the past – bright green eyeshadow and heavy kohl, greasy, cheap foundation, bright pink blusher…! You can also see some products I regret buying here.

Luckily though, I’ve settled down and have honed my core products down to those that work for me.

I often get compliments on my make up, which is lovely. I’d like to share what I wear on a daily basis for those who are interested. Of course, these may not work for you, and they may not work for me forever. Who cares, it’s an excuse for another shopping trip!

Dior ‘Diorskin Forever’ foundation, shade 10, £35

I’ve tried hundreds of foundations. From drugstore to high-end, I’ve never been able to find the one that fits me best. This is the perfect foundation for me. Full coverage, but not cakey. Glides on lovely with a Beauty Blender and lasts all day. They’ve released a ‘Star’ foundation which I believe includes an illuminator. I’m going to get a sample and do a comparison blog of the two – stay tuned.

Max Factor Creme Puff power – Tempting Touch – £6.99

Love this stuff, it sets your foundation really well. Don’t go mad with it though, the shade I use still has some coverage in it so you don’t want to end up looking cakey. Use the translucent one if you don’t need any more coverage.

I also use the Max Factor Bronzing Power in shade Golden 2, £6.99. It’s a similar consistency to the pressed powder – creamy and goes on smoothly. It’s not too dark so you can start off lightly and build the colour up if needs be.

MUA Undress YourSkin highlighting powder in Iridescent Gold, £3.00

Ugh! Amazing! Everyone should use this. This cheap product beats all of the high end highlighters I’ve ever used. Sometimes I go a bit mad and it looks like I’ve got headlights on my face, but we’re all going for that look anyway, right? GET ONE.

Makeup Revolution New-trals vs Neutrals eyeshadow palette, £6.99

Another absolute winner from the high street. This eyeshadow palette is EVERYTHING. Just look at those colours. After years of wearing brown shimmer with a darker colour in the crease, this palette has made me way more adventurous. 10/10 would recommend to anyone.

L’Oreal Paris Super Liner Eyeliner Ultra Precision – black – £6.49

Incredible. I’ve used eyeliner on my top lashline since I was about 14 and have used countless eyeliners over the years. This is one of the best. The sponge-tip gives you a good amount of control, it’s super black – and most importantly, lasts all day. Winner.

Benefit Bad Gal Lash mascara – £18.50

This is a great mascara. The brush is massive and deposits just the right amount of product on your lashes without making them clumpy, which often happens with big brushes. It seems to last for ages too. I tried the Benefit ‘They’re Real’ mascara previously, which was okay – I didn’t rate the brush at ALL though. Too plasticky and I poked myself in the eye about 6,000 times. This one’s a stayer for now though.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre in Blondie – £16.50

I’m literally the WORST with lip products. Some of my friends are so bold and wear lovely bright lipsticks which suit them so much and I’m a bit jel. Unlike the rest of my make up, I’m not sure how to do lipstick well. I’ve also got rather thin lips (this may be subject to change though…stay tuned), and am paranoid I’ll get lipstick on my teeth or smear it about my face. I’m trying to be a bit more confident with it though. Until then, I’m a fan of a simple lip balm. For big nights, I’ll use this lovely lip gloss from Charlotte Tilbury. It’s not sticky or tacky, and it’s not too bright, but is noticeable – perfect for my nights out.

And that’s it! I love hearing about new products and would love to hear about your go-to pieces. Let me know!

As a little girl Dawn seemed to have a charmed life, but she was hiding a dark secret: that her older brother, John, was abusing her. Then, aged fourteen, she was groomed by the father of a schoolfriend, a local businessman who seemed to love her. She ran away from home to be with him. Pregnant at sixteen, rejected by her parents, she ended up marrying him. She had no idea that he was a notorious criminal.For years, Dawn suffered horrific abuse from her husband and was frequently hospitalised. She was also forced to work all hours in the bars he owned and realized she was good at business – better than him. As her confidence grew, she found the strength to tell the police about her brother. Gradually, Dawn realised she was more than a battered wife – she was a survivor. When she fell in love with a genuinely good man, she hatched a dangerous plan to free herself from her abusive husband and take the thing he cared about most – his money.

I warn you now, this book will be uncomfortable read, involving child sexual abuse, grooming, domestic abuse and controlling coercive behaviour, but it is uncomfortable in the right way.

I found this book refreshingly written, as too many shy away from some details when tackling the theme of child abuse as if they are ashamed or too scared they will shock and horrify, or they try to be overly clinical – but this Dawn gives enough detail  to help readers understand the reality of what happened to her, and tackles the topics in an open way that gives a very real insight into the world of a victim turned survivor. You will feel both disgusted for yet also inspired by this young girl as she grows into the strong woman she becomes.

I found this book unputdownable. I started it and quite simply could not put it down until it was finished. A very gripping and compelling autobiography. The book very clearly illustrates early sexual abuse and coercive control and how such experiences affect the victim’s sense of their own self-worth and what is normal behaviour in a relationship.

Dawn said in an interview:  ‘Today, my freedom and independence mean the world to me. I believe that everybody has the right to be where they want, with whomever they chose. Now I want to inspire others to find the confidence to search for that freedom too.”

If you need help, call the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247. Trained counsellors are there to listen and provide practical information and emotional support, every hour of the day.

I Own You is out now, at £3.80 for a Kindle Edition, or £4.00 for a paperback.

I’ve got to say, I absolutely abhor protein shakes. Absolutely gross! No matter how tasty the first sip is, I also find swallowing it gross and gag-worthy, no idea why. I’d rather just smash a boiled egg after a workout than mixing grim powders with milk or water.

However, I got the chance to try Savsé protein smoothies – a brand created by Guka Tavberidze.

A lot of smoothie-type drinks use heat pasteurisation to make the product last longer and kill bacteria. The ingredients are boiled at 78 degrees, which strips out the goodness. Savsé smoothies are different as they’re cold pressed.

They use a method called high pressure processing (HPP) to make their smoothies. The fruit and veg ingredients are packaged in plastic containers and put in a high-pressure chamber filled with water. When the chamber is switched on it reaches pressures of 87,000 psi. Everything is completely fresh and the process gets rid of bacteria and gives the product a longer shelf life

You can look at the range here, but I tried Protein Blast, Protein Smash and Protein Punch – perfect when you’ve just had a work out and nicely refreshing too.

My favourite was definitely Protein Punch. Here’s the description:

“We took the classic Piña Colada and stirred it up, Savsé style, to make drinking protein a whole lot tastier. What’s more, this is the UK’s first cold-pressed protein drink preserved using HPP. This smoothie is a great way to pack protein into your diet and help repair tired muscles.”

Ah, modelled after an alcoholic drink. Probably why it’s my favourite. Go me. I’ve popped the nutritionals below – I’m a big calorie-watcher so 70cals was nice to see:

Honestly, take a look at the range – I’m a big fan now and will continue to be. The range can be found in Boots, ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and more.

I was also sent some other goodies to try out to help me on my way to fitness, and I have been really enjoying the water infuser from Bobble. Priced at £10.49, Bobble is a stylish, reusable bottle that filters water as you drink, using an ingenious replaceable carbon filter. when water passes through the filter, the carbon removes chlorine. bobble is intended for municipal tap water making water better, with every sip.

I’ve been drinking so much more water!

In addition, these Happy Plugs earphones have come in handy, both when working out and when listening to playlists during work hours. They come with different sized ear buds, such a good idea for those with little ears!

 

images courtesy of savse.com, water bobble.uk

If you didn’t know already, I’m heading to Thailand in April and I’ve been trying to get this ass in shape. Problem is, I’m really lazy with my food at the moment, especially seeing as I’m still living in a studio flat (until 25th March!) and cooking / creating anything is a full blown operation.

Enter Lizi’s Granola. I’ve always avoided granola as I find it difficult to find some without loads of sugar or without mountains of dried fruit (gross).

Lizi’s Granola looked really interesting with plenty of varieties in the range; I’ve been trying out both the low sugar and high protein products which are suitable for vegetarians, vegans and are GL tested (the science-y thing that works out how to make us fuller for longer).

I mixed mine with Greek yoghurt, but often just had it plain with semi-skimmed milk and either chopped up banana or a few raspberries chucked in.

I’ve got a really weird thing about soft cereal as well so if it’s been sat on a shelf for a while I’ll just throw it away (I know, I know) – but these have a resealable top so there is no issue here!

The granola kept me full until lunch as well, something really important if you don’t want to be reaching for the biscuit tin at 11am! In short, I’m a big fan of this stuff – I hope you will be too. Enjoy!

images courtesy of lizis.co.uk and http://www.freshmarketing.eu

We were invited to Phở’s soft launch at its new restaurant in Kingston this week, and it’s fair to say that we were Phở-king loving it (sorry).

Stephen and Juliette Wall opened Pho, London’s first Vietnamese street food restaurant, in Clerkenwell in June 2005 after they travelled to Vietnam and fell in love with the food. They made the decision to start a restaurant serving pho while sat on high stools, slurping pho bo, around the shopfront of Pho Quynh in Ho Chi Minh City (323 Ð Pham Ngu Lao, if you’re heading there soon). Eleven years later, Pho is still a family-run business serving great value, authentically prepared Vietnamese street food, with restaurants in London, Brighton, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge and Bristol.

Importantly, the food is made FRESH and in-branch everyday.

Phở [pronounced fuh] is the Vietnamese national dish; an aromatic, nutritious^ and delicious rice noodle soup served with a side plate of fresh herbs to add as you please. The addition of these herbs and table condiments is an essential part of eating phở and adds another dimension to the dish – our chilli paste for a kick, fish sauce for extra saltiness, garlic vinegar for sourness.

Here’s what we had:

Muc chien giòn – tender friend baby squid with a salt, pepper and lime dip
Chå giò – crispy pork spring rolls
Pho chin – tender beef brisket slow cooked in broth
Pho tái chin – steak and brisket slow cooked in broth

The meat was amazing and there was absolutely loads there. It sounds gross, but I could have actually just drunk the broth, it tasted increds. 10/10 would recommend for a lunch break or dinner.

Head down to Kingston’s new restaurant now to experience proper Vietnamese food, or visit the website for more details – http://www.phocafe.co.uk/