I do love a new product and am a self-confessed impulse buyer! Adverts know what they’re doing, and all it takes is a quick stroll around Boots or Superdrug for me to come out with a whole hoard of bits and pieces (how did this happen, I only went in to buy one thing etc etc). I’m generally pretty happy with my purchases and am continually buying those cute little storage boxes from IKEA to keep them all in. However, there’s a few that don’t live up to the hype. All that excitement of a new product for something which doesn’t work for me.

When finding a product like this, I try my best to give them away to friends and family to ensure they don’t go to waste – I’m not saying they won’t work for everyone!

Here are the top five products I regret buying.

Max Factor Masterpiece Eyeliner

This one really annoyed me! I tried it on my hand in Boots and out came this wonderful jet-black liquid which dried exactly the way I like it. The nib was also really interesting and I thought it’d really help the construction of my cat-liner. No such luck. As soon as I did practically one swipe on my lids, the nib dried up and I ended up dragging it across dry, which really hurt! It seems to not work on top of eyeshadow which is rubbish. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt by pressing the nib on paper to ensure it was damp with liner before going in on my lid. This took ages though and I ended up using my usual liner over the top. Banished to the storage box, my friend!

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Rimmel Instaflawless Primer

No. Just no. I think I got distracted by the pretty packaging. I was excited about this one, because who doesn’t want to be bloody flawless? The slightly orange liquid slid around my skin and would barely absorb – it didn’t feel like a primer AT ALL. I tried different applications on different days – brush, fingers, beauty blender – and none of them seemed to work. Even worse, when trying to apply my expensive Dior foundation on top of this ‘primer’ it just smeared even worse – and I had to take it off! I’m sticking to my All-in-One BB Cream from BodyShop.

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Real Techniques Sculpting Brush

Ooh, controversial. I LOVE Real Techniques brushes, don’t know where I’d be without them. But this one…meh! It just doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried different products, techniques and areas of my face to use it on and just can’t seem to find a way to use it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely and the bristles are nice and dense – I’m just not a fan. One of my friends LOVES this one, though.

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Mane ‘n’ Tail Shampoo

Often described as having a ‘cult following’, this shampoo was originally made for horses before someone decided it worked quite well on their own hair too. Oh no. Not for me. It practically made my hair feel like straw, no matter how much conditioner I used afterwards! However, another of my friends swears by it!

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Scünci Perfect Pony

Who doesn’t like an extra bit of volume for their hair without unecessary backbrushing? But unfortunately…this thing just does not work. It comes with a piece of plastic to kind of push up your hair when it’s in it’s pony tail. I’ll stick to my trusty backcombing brush!

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Are there any products you regret spending the money on?

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.19.28Further to my fitness posts about the Withings Activité watch and Stacey Jackson’s fitness range, I was offered another brilliant opportunity to help me along with my fitness journey.

Get Fit with Davina is a complete health, fitness and weight-loss programme. It’s 100% customised for you to do at any time. It features personalised daily workout videos and a complete nutrition plan designed to help you get fit, lose weight and keep it off. Not only are the programmes totally customised to you, but they also keep track of how you’re doing and adapt to help you stay on track.

I’ve loved Davina for a really long time, and have always been stunned by how fit she looks and how motivated she seems – so if I could have even a little bit of that, I’m taking the opportunity!

I’ve tried a few celebrity workout before and  I am always tempted but often sceptical of new ones that come out. However, it’s obvious that a lot of thought and research has gone into creating Get Fit With Davina. The site creates a personalised plan for your fitness levels and goals. All of the exercises (and there are many) are tailored to you and can be done from the comfort of your living room. But trust me – there will be no couch potatos with Davina.

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The fitness programme was created by Davina’s fitness expert Ed Lumsden. The programme is designed to create the most effective session possible for people of any ability – rather than doing boring, repetitive exercises that just don’t get results. This means high intensity, varied, targeted workouts with taught techniques.  The programme keeps track of exactly what the you are doing and what you have done and can adapt to help you stay on track at a level that is right for you.

There is also a nutrition plan created with Davina’s nutritional Guru Max Tomlinson, which follows Davina’s philosophy of eating well and cutting out things like processed foods and sugar. I must admit, I didn’t use this feature as I am currently on a diet that suits me. However, it looked really interesting and easy to follow.

The workouts ranged in terms of type of exercise and intensity. Things like Box Fit were really cool – I’d never done that before and I threw myself into it. I ended the workout feeling like I’d not done much and wondered whether that was a decent exercise. Oh. Oh it was. My arms, back and waist told me so the next day. You should complete three workouts a day (at seven minutes each), more if you fancy. The time flies by, and Davina really helps you through with motivation and cracking jokes as the workout unfolds.

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I REALLY enjoyed the five weeks I spent working out with Davina. Not only that…it worked. I lost 5lb and there is certainly some more definition going on in places of my body I hadn’t seen for a while. This, combined with my running, will hopefully help me to reach my fitness goal.

Get Fit With Davina is free for the first four weeks and costs £9.99 every four weeks with no registration or cancellation fees. There is no minimum subscription purchase obligation, and users may cancel at any time.

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I’ve been lucky enough to try out some StaeFit gym kit from Stacey Jackson over the last couple of months.

For those who don’t know, Stacey is a is a Canadian-American singer, Executive Producer at 3B1G Records and founder of StaeFit workout apparel. A proper doer. She’s also really hot too. Seriously. Have a look!

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For years, I’ve worked out in old t-shirts and Primark shorts, the only ‘must-have’ in my kit being a decent sports bra so I don’t bonk myself in the face. I didn’t really care what I wore. Until StaeFit. Here’s what the brand says:

“StaeFit is a stylish solution to an embarrassing complaint suffered by women all over the world, coined by Stacey as BRASH: an irritating and persistent breast rash often felt by women who wear sports bras. Jackson’s StaeFit range of tops and gym pants uses ultra – absorbent materials, designed to draw away trapped moisture from the body post gym-workouts (hence less sweat is trapped near the skin). The unique Silver antibacterial treatment, which absorbs odour, is ideal for those who keep their gym kit on post workout. The supportive built-in bra in the tops are the only front fastening active wear tops on the market, making sweaty encounters, wrestling sports bras over your head a thing of the past.”

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So does it work?
It absolutely does. When I first set eyes on the kit, I was slightly dubious because the pieces were just so damn fashionable. The high-waisted leggings are a dream to slide on. Not as unforgiving as pure Lycra but tight enough to show off your shape and make you look toned. I also love the fun stars on the side panels (which also use compression tech to pull you in). The pink-piped zip-up top cinches you in at the waist, showing off an hour-glass figure, whilst the black mesh at the back shows a demure bit of skin. The whole outfit left me feeling, dare I say it…sexy.

 Sexy whilst working out? UNHEARD OF
I know, right? But I swear it’s true. I even put a little bit of powder and waterproof mascara on AND fishtail-plaited my hair for a 5K as I felt my face didn’t match my body. I felt a world away from a bare face, messy bun and Primark shorts. The kit keeps you warm but not too warm. Of course there is sweat, but the kit doesn’t leave you feeling uncomfortable or sticky at all. It’s a YES from me, StaeFit.

What about support?
I’m SO paranoid that my ta-tas will go saggy whilst I’m running and bouncing around, hence why a good sports bra is an absolute must. I’ve been blessed with some on-the-larger-side jugs so, when using Stacey’s gym top, I was a bit loathe to use it without a bra – how could this top keep all my bits and pieces in one place? But using the front clasp immediately winches everything into place – and trust me, I need some winching in that area. You end up feeling all tucked in whilst also feeling the bomb. Win-win.

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The ‘Pink Piping’ and ‘Star Crazy’ kit I tried is available here.

As an extra bonus, Stacey has released an absolutely pumping workout track ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ for when you’re concentrating on not dying during your workout. Have a listen – it works!

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!