IMG_0756Now, those who know me know I’ve gone on a total fitness kick recently. Listen – can you hear that sound? It’s the moans of all my friends and family who’re sick of hearing about my carb limit and why I’ve had to strap my knee this week. And quinoa. They’re sick of quinoa.

But obviously, I need to track this mass of activity somewhere, otherwise how will I reach my goals? Did I tell you I’d entered the ballot for the marathon!? Sorry, I do digress…

The Withings Activité Pop is a new, stylish activity tracker – a cuter, more fun addition to its standard calf-skin family. It claims to be able to track when you’re walking, running, swimming or sleeping. The watch pairs with an Withings app via a Bluetooth connection on your smartphone and records your activity across the day and night.

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How’d ya like it?

At first, I was a little unsure about the watch. It doesn’t have any buttons at all and I wasn’t quite sure how to set it up. It has the look of a normal watch, with an added 0-100 activity gauge set in. You activate the watch with a little tool which vibrates the watch. You then sync with the app on your phone and away you go! It took me a couple of goes to set it all up, due to the app not being able to find the watch. Once set up, I started seeing results immediately. The watch is really sensitive and it’s fascinating to see your activity levels rise.

In fact, I’m absolutely obsessed. I will not rest until that tiny tracker reaches 100%. I suppose that’s good in the sense that I’m doing extra work outs to make it, but it’s bad in the sense that I’ve turned into a TOTAL bore and keep exclaiming things like “I’m only at 45%! I NEED to drum up some more activity here!” – and off I jog into the distance.

If you happen to go over 100%, the tracker starts at 0 again and continues tracking, just like below.

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You can win badges based on your activity level that day, so for example ‘Great Day!’ when you’ve gone over 100%, or ‘Quiet Day’ when you’ve been a lazy fucker and haven’t got off the sofa (but trust me, you’ll want to reach 100%).

The watch also – and I have NO idea how it does this – tracks your sleep. It recommends eight hours a night, with eight hours being 100%. It’s awesome. It’s SUPER accurate and it’s so satisfying to check in the morning. It tracks how long it takes you to fall asleep, your light sleeping period and deep sleeping periods. It also tracks if you’ve woken up in the middle of the night. I love it.

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At the end of the week, you get a weekly report with all of your activity – nice touch.

Can’t be all good news, surely?

Well, almost. There’s only a couple of things I would nitpick (but it is nitpicking), the pros TOTALLY outweigh the cons. The app doesn’t work in the background with the watch, meaning you have to turn on the app and sync it manually. Not the end of the world, this saves battery but takes a few extra seconds. You also can’t set your own goals. The goal is to reach 10,000 steps which is what healthcare professionals recommend, I get it. But it’d be nice to be able to input your own goal (especially if you really weren’t capable of reaching 10,000 steps!). One more thing – I really don’t know how I feel about the alarm. You can set the alarm and it will wake you with a gentle vibration. I didn’t like the vibration. It actually frightened me. I mean, it woke me up, but…

Also no snooze. And I’m the snooze master, sooooo.

Pros

  • Accurate
  • SO cute
  • Not too difficult to make it work, it turns out
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • No background syncing
  • Can’t set your own goals
  • Not sure about the alarm

Verdict

It’s a yes from me. I’ll be using it non-stop until the battery runs out. And then I’ll replace the battery. And use it some more. Withings, you’ve got a lifelong fan.

The Withings Activité Pop is available from John Lewis and is priced at £119.95

Medikas PR event and commercail images with Amy WilliamsI have always had extremely sensitive skin. I had eczema as a child and then as I entered my teens began to use the cheap cosmetics (and cosmetics remover) I could afford, just like my friends. Big mistake. I used to have awful allergic reactions from things going on my skin and would be left embarrassed at school with a nasty rash – usually on my face too, not good for a young teen!

As I’ve got older, I’ve managed to get my skin under control and have managed to hone my routine using products I know will not give me a reaction whatsoever. Because of my reactions in the past, I’m quite adverse to trying anything new for my skin, especially on my face, just in case.

However, I’ve heard about the benefits of mineral cosmetics in the past, tried some out over the years and have been happy with the results. I’ve recently been given the chance to try out some MK Minerals Cosmetics – and I’m really impressed.

MK Minerals Cosmetics offer a complete line of exclusive handcrafted mineral make-up to compliment different ethnicities, lifestyles and age groups. They use top grade raw ingredients for formulating and creating a beautiful range of high quality make-up that is 100% pure and natural – the entire range is Vegan, Halal, Gluten Free and certified according to EU Compliance Regulations…and proudly made in Somerset, UK.

Here’s what I thought.

Mineral Foundation
With natural SPF 15, it offers protection from the harmful UV rays, wind, and free radicals, thus reduces the occurrence or symptoms of ageing skin. It is 100 % non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic, chemical-free, and hypoallergenic. It also offers anti-inflammatory properties, which is perfect for skin disorders such as acne, breakouts, rosacea and eczema.

I have slightly red skin and a few scars dotted about. This is the effect of the foundation after using a small amount on a Body Shop Mineral Foundation Brush on bare skin. This could DEFINITELY rival Bare Minerals! It looked even nicer on my face.

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Mineral Bronzer
I love a sharp bronzed line, me – and this one didn’t disappoint! Claiming to be “an invitation for achieving a seductive and show-stopping look”, the bronzer went on smoothly on top of the foundation for a nice, healthy glow.

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Natural Lipgloss
Not really a fan of this one.  It is described as a ” lightweight formula glides on lips smoothly adding gorgeous glossy colour”. It’s true it is lightweight and does glide on nicely. However I’d say it’s not very long-lasting and didn’t have the nicest taste either. I’m not really one for lip make-up anyway, so I’m not too worried about this. I’ve now given it to a friend who loves it, so it didn’t go to waste!

Mineral Eyeshadow
These were lovely. They were extremely pigmented with a lovely sheen. I’d recommend doing your face afterwards – they have a bit of fallout but that’s expected! They can be worn wet or dry, together or alone.

Everything is available from MKminerals.co.uk – go and take a look!

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 14.41.18We were treated with a lovely mild Christmas and an easy start to the year. However, over the last few weeks, the temperatures have plummeted, leaving my fingers numb and my thoughts on the far away summer holidays I have planned.

To keep in good spirits, I’ve been wandering around with braids in my hair and bright nails, trying to not let the cold weather get on top of me. I know this season is lovely to many – but I love the summer the most and I hate being cold (my house is a constant, balmy 28 degrees…!). I’ve also been sporting something else usually only likely to be seen in the summer months…a tan.

I’ve been lucky enough to be sent some new products from Madame LA LA and have been testing them over the last few weeks. I have tried the Madame LA LA Tan in Light (£30) and also the Madame LA LA West Coast Face Tan (£25). The range is a “’dynamic do-all’ face and body tan, infused with a Hollywood must have Coco Water”.

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About the brand

Madame LA LA is an exclusive self-tanning skincare brand and celebrity favourite inspired by LA, Malibu beach, the Hollywood lifestyle, wellbeing, slimming and of course, the anti-ageing rule! A combination of Coco Water and hydrating skincare benefits Aloe, Green Tea and Vitamin E infused into a beachy coconut fragrance work to tan, detox, smooth and slim whilst emulating a quintessential ‘LA tan’ with style.”

I’ve got to say, I’m super impressed!

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The body tan comes in a mousse form, which goes on smoothly and is easily blended in (after the necessary exfoliation beforehand). There is no stickiness and I was able to get dressed fairly quickly afterwards. The tan developed overnight (or over 10 hours) and I woke up with a nicely bronzed body (which I had to cover up with jeans and a jumper due to, you know, the UK in general, but at least I know I was tan!).

I was a little frightened by the face tan. It comes out of the bottle in a more liquid / lotion form and it was HELLA DARK. I put it on bit by bit and found I had nothing to worry about. The lotion blended nicely and the colour dissipated into a nice natural glow.

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I’ve used it around three times since receiving the products and have only had to reapply once a week to keep that level of colour constant. It stays put and doesn’t come off in streaks – rather fading gently, which is a massive plus.

My boyfriend knows when I’m wearing fake tan. Not from how I look, but he’ll look at me quizzically and say: “You smell like biscuits”. Not so with Madame LA LA! It’s a subtle, pleasant smell and not biscuity at all (thank god!).

The only thing I’d mention is that the bottle states you ‘can’ use a mitt.

ABSOLUTELY USE A MITT.

I didn’t on my first go and walked about with brown palms for days (proof of the staying power, though!). Rookie error on my part, but perhaps this should be expressively stated on the package!

I’ll be happily using this over the next few months, leading up to summer. That is, if we have one. However, if the British skies let us down (again), at least no one will know I’ve not been away.

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Giveaway

Want to get your hands on this collection? Simply like or leave a short comment on this post. For an extra chance to win, follow me on Twitter (make sure you message me to let me know that’s why you’ve followed!). I thought this would be a great way to get to know some of you better too.

The winner will be announced on Friday 18th March and the products will be sent straight to you!

 

Aloe Vera has been the ‘in’ health thing for a while.

The use of Aloe Vera dates back to ancient Egypt, when people drank it for its powerful healing benefits. It contains over 200 active components, including Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E, as well as calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, folic acid and niacin – pretty bloody healthy!

In the past, my mum spent a lot of money on an aloe-based drink you take in shots. No wonder you have to neck it like that – it was absolutely heinous. Since then, I’ve stayed well clear.

However, I got the chance to try some drinks from Simplee Aloe this week and I was pleasantly surprised!

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Simplee Aloe is a delicious new drink that’s packed with all the goodness of Aloe (but doesn’t taste gross!)

It is never from concentrate, contains no artificial flavours or preservatives and only uses naturally occurring ingredients.

I drank the Mango and Apple one in the morning. It was a really pleasant taste! However, I preferred the Grape and Lemon one – that was a lovely refresher in the afternoon at my desk.

Designed for busy, active people wanting to be healthy, the grab-and-go bottles are easy to drink on the move, at home  or at the office! Simplee Aloe is the perfect summer drink for anyone wanting to stay fresh and hydrated.

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I also asked my other half how he liked it. He went: “Oh. Urghh. It’s not exactly very thick is it?”.

No, I said, but it’s supposed to be refreshing, not thick like a smoothie. “Oh then,” he said, “I do like it after all. Very refreshing. Can I have the other one?”.

Pick a bottle up at your supermarket to try it, or follow them on Twitter here –  you won’t regret it!

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 09.57.23“Hello. We’re a microperfumery. We like to create perfume that reminds people of happy times and interesting places.  We handmake our fragrances in London, in batches of 50-200 bottles, using methods that were popular from the 1880s to the 1970s. If our scents remind you of your long lost favourites, that’s probably why.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 10.11.13That’s how Perfumers 4160 Tuesdays introduce themselves and it’s perfect. Founded by Acton-based Perfumer Sarah McCartney, 4160 Tuesdays is a British-born, indie and intriguing brand.

I’ve never known anything like it. With names like ‘Sunshine and Pancakes’, ‘Tart’s Knicker Drawer’ and ‘London 1969’, the bottles evoke imagery and sweet memories  even before actually smelling them. And sure enough, they smell divine.

I was so pleased to be able to try so many of Sarah’s different fragrances. The scents were samples from sets such as’The Best of British’, ‘The City Collection’ and ‘Love and Life Stories’.

I cannot possibly pick a favourite, so here are my top three:

  • What I Did On My Holidays4160_tuesdays_what_i_did_on_my_holidays_eau_de_parfum_spray_50ml_1
    • “The scent of the seashore, suntan lotion, exploring small rock pools, sticks of mint rock, candy floss and ice cream – our childhood beach holidays.”
  • Sex Goddess
    • “Gorgeous – bursting with flowers, fruit, musk and sweet softens with a touch of oak moss.”
  • Pillow Talk
    • “The scent of shared secrets. Perfume for when you decide to tell each other everything (almost). It has fresh enthusiastic top notes of yuzu fruit and orange blossom, with woods, white flowers and spices later on.”

I want to share them with family and friends, whilst at the same time selfishly keeping them all to myself because they are all so delightful.

If you’re worried about animal testing, check out their ways and means. You can buy the scents online here, and in specialist fragrance shops in the UK, Europe and America.

Sarah McCartney by Julian Love

Sarah McCartney by Julian Love