Saturday, 15 August 2015

#253. A review of three Sk:n products

A few weeks ago I was excited to have been sent some Sk:n products to try and then review. I am a creature of habit and tend to use the same products over and over when I like them, so trying something new is always a novelty. Sk:n is the UK's number one skin clinic which I had heard of before as there is a branch in Edinburgh but although I have walked past it a few times I have never ventured in and wasn't aware they had their own product range.

From a list of all the products in each range, I choose the facial exfoliating cleanser, the vitamin rich cleanser for normal or combination skin and the age delaying cream for younger skin, as thought they would be a good match and work together well. All three products are lightly scented and cream based. The scent is fresh and clean which I like, as heavily scented products can be a bit overwhelming. 

The facial exfoliating cleanser was my favourite of the three products. It contains glycolic acid and glycerine, so lots of good for the skin goodies and is quite thick and creamy. Sk:n recommends using in the evening. This was the first exfoliating product I have ever had that wasn't gritty - usually they are the kind that I go for as I like the feel the exfoliation happening. Even though the product is really gentle and smoothed easily on, after use my skin felt so soft and supple and more radiant.

The cleanser was thick and is applied with a cotton wool pad and then washed off with water, without leaving any residue like other cream cleansers I have tried in the past. It smoothed on easily and my skin felt soft and clean afterwards. It's also suitable for taking off eye makeup which is great, as I don't like to use a lot of products and it even removes my beloved Benefit They're Real. I enjoyed using this product although I do prefer using a more foam based cleanser.

For my final product I thought I would try an anti ageing moisturizer. Ageing is something I have been thinking about a lot lately as I have started to see little fine lines around my eyes and the laughter lines at my mouth are starting to stay even when I'm not laughing. On the whole I have good skin though, but I'm keen to find a product that will help with the slight concerns I have. The moisturizer was light but spread thinner than expected and it was not as thick as I thought it would have been. I like a thick moisturizer as find my skin can tend to get quite dry around my cheeks - the perils of combination skin! I found I had to use this product during the day and use a more intensive moisturizer at night time, so I probably did not get the full benefits of the anti aging ingredients, which was a shame. I was also surprised that it did not contain as SPF as standard.

Overall I enjoyed trying the products from Sk:n. I would definately use the exfoliator again as really enjoyed how my skin felt afterwards but felt that the cleanser and mosturizer, although lovely products were not as good a match for me and my skin type and preferences, as they may be for others. I think I would enjoy a trip to a Sk:n clinic to find out more about what my skin needs.

You can find out more about the Sk:n clinics and products here.

Have you ever been to a Sk:n clinic before or tried any of their products?

**Disclaimer - I was sent some Sk:n products in return for a review. Whilst the products were  complimentary was under no obligation to write a positive review and the post above reflects my true and honest opinion of my experiences of the products.

Monday, 20 July 2015

#252. Homewares from Etsy. Roundup 2

Oh Etsy, you really are determined to make me spend all my hard earned pennies on all of your beautiful homeware things aren't you? 

Major swoons! 

Over the past two weeks I've been working away like a trojon trying to get our study looking gorgeous and glam and less studenty. It was really starting to annoy me with its cool but tatty posters and piles of stuff, so one evening I just started painting the desk, with vague visions of Pinterest upcycling projects and it all went from there - a little creative kick up the bum. It's coming together nicely now and I'm so happy with how it's working out - Changing Rooms eat your heart out! 

With this overhaul in mind, I have been spending even more time that normal scrolling through the pages and pages of amazing homewares on Etsy - there are some very talented people out there making jaw droppingly beautiful things - and pinning like a fiend. (Have a look at wishlist 1 here).

Here are some of things that I hope will be making an appearance in the flat soon. Puuurty, Puuuurty.

Top row
Rustic wooden apple crates - great for stacking and storage 
Deer head decor - will make every room seem like a vintage hunting lodge
Edison lamp - these bulbs are amazing

Middle row
Inspirational print - simple and cute. What a great quote too
Copper plant hanger - I really like copper and the idea of a hanging plant
Old Books soy candle - What smells more amazing than old books? Nothing!

Bottom row
Wine bottle wall vases - great idea for flowers

What do you think of my Etsy picks? Will any of them be making their way to your wishlists too?

Monday, 6 July 2015

#251. Honeymoon part 2 - Zanzibar

The past few weeks have sped by and honeymoon already feels like a ridiculously long time away. After the business and exciting times of the wedding and safari in Kenya on honeymoon part 1 (read more about that here), Robin and I were ready for some major chillax time in Zanzibar. 

Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania, east Africa and we were staying at a rather plush hotel called The Residence. We were lucky enough to have a lovely little villa all to ourselves with a personal pool, canopy bed and the biggest bathroom I have ever seen, seriously, you could have had a party in there. Everything was so green and we could see the sea from our room which was amazing, all turquoise and gorgeous. We spent so much time just chilling, swimming in the pool, eating and drinking our way through the cocktail menu and just taking it really easy. The whole place is just beautiful and we had the best time. The weather wasn't great, it rained a lot, a hell of a lot, like monsoon for our first few days (very rare for that time of year in Zanzibar...everyone we spoke to was very confused as to what was happening) but it just made us appreciate the gorgeous sunsets and sunny days even more when they did appear. Que majorly excited happy dance!

Where we stayed - our villa from the back.

The main pool. I do love an infinity pool.

Little weaver birds making their nests.

As it was low season everything was pretty quiet. I can't remember the last time I was the only one on a beach.

Sandy feet.

Prosecco to take back to our villa to drink by the pool - BEST IDEA EVER!

Some of the yummy cocktails from the huge menu. We slowly but surely worked our way through the list during our stay.

So beautiful!

The rain didn't bother us, we're Scottish! And at least it was warm.

Happy honeymoon selfie.

Cloudy sunset...still gorgeous.

The most incredible sunset I have ever seen in my life...ever! Haven't edited this photo at all - how gorgeous is it? The whole sky was lit up and it looked like the sky was on fire. I sat watching the sunset for a good half an hour, just taking it all in and appreciating it which was so lovely.

Silhouette Li at sunset. Robin was having a nap so there was a bit of too-ing and fro-ing to get this all set up.

This is monsoon heavy rain! That is not a jacuzzi haha. Even we were put off by this and stayed inside with a movie (and a bottle of prosecco obvs).

Our dolphin watching boat after we picked up 12 fishermen. Our boat was so low and skirting the surface of the water and one fisherman was scooping out water with a bucket the whole way back to the shore. The fisherman were out swimming in the sea, diving under the water to repair the fishing nets and keep them maintained.

We managed to swim with wild dolphins, which was one of the most incredible things I have ever done. The rain was bouncing off the sea and the waves were big, but it was so worth it. The sea was like a bath, it was lovely, so it was warmer in the water than on the boat.

Another dolphin pic. So glad we bought our little Nikon camera that can do some underwater shots.

We visited this restaurant called The Rock for lunch which was so lovely and had the best mojitos I have ever had. So tasty! We were the only people in the restaurant, again low season, so we got the best seats in the house. Result. We had to get a boat to the restaurant on the way over, but the tide was out on the way back so was shallow enough to walk.

My overly excited happy dance at the sun finally coming to visit! (There was also singing involved and screams of "Blue sky, Robin, look! Blue sky!)

Sunset canapes and prosecco on the jetty.

Another beautiful sunset. Unfortunately my camera could only focus on us or the sunset, so we went with the prettier of the two, the sunset!

Watching the sunset, glass in hand #bliss

The sunset really did look like a watercolour painting - so lush!

We were lucky enough to have dinner on the beach one night, beside a roaring fire.

Monkeys on our roof! They were so naughty and you could hear them running from rooftop to rooftop.

We had such a lovely time in Zanzibar, it is such a beautiful place with such friendly people and I couldn't recommend it enough as somewhere good and slightly different to go on honeymoon. We were looked after so well by the staff at The Residence, although it was strange everything being so quiet because of low season - it is worth checking that out when you are looking at options. It was the perfect relaxing honeymoon and exactly what we needed after the busyness of the previous few weeks. It all went by in such a whirlwind though and we were back on home turf before we knew it, so as always, I would have really enjoyed an extra few days away, but I say that after every trip! I would love to go back to Zanzibar someday, so it will be staying on the bucket list for a while yet.

Have you been to Zanzibar before? Is it somewhere you would consider going? Have you booked somewhere fun for your honeymoon?

Friday, 3 July 2015

#250. Friday Fitness: My top 5 favourite health and fitness apps

I've been using apps more and more on my phone, particularly in relation to my fitness goals. I find it so helpful having reminders on my phone to exercise, to remember to eat well or to motivate me with little fitness challenges. I have my phone on me all the time, who doesn't these days, so it makes sense for little prompts to be coming in throughout the day to get me off my Netflix binge (I know what I would rather be doing). Some apps are even pretty good for a full workout in the house when I know I need to get moving but the idea of going to the gym just seems a little bit too much of a know that feeling. Lazy? Um, yeah, my old nemesis.

I have a lot of health and fitness related apps - most of which I don't use but they are there like a little comfort blanket, making me feel like I am doing something - so I thought I would share the apps I actually have been using regularly to help towards my fitness goals.

1. My Fitness Pal (Free). An oldie but a goodie. This is one of the very first apps I downloaded when I got a smart phone, so we go back a long way and on the whole have had a pretty consistent friendship. My Fitness Pal really helps me keep a track of what I have been eating and the levels of exercise I have been doing which makes me stay accountable. You can see everything straight away which really does work wonders for my motivation and helps me make healthier choices. I like adding my data in daily and seeing my progress and the daily food diary makes it easy to stay on track. Links: Itunes. Android.

2. Tone it Up (£0.79). Now I love these ladies, they are just awesome and really keep me going towards my fitness goals. I like this app a lot as I can check the weekly workout schedule they have created quickly and can access workouts, blog spots and stay in touch with the amazing Tone It Up community too. It's so good being able to access workouts on the go - it helps get rid of any excuses not to do at least a short follow along video. Links: Itunes. 

3. Nike Running (Free). I've went through various running apps but I've recently started using Nike Running after a recommendation from my pal Kim, and it's definately my favourite. Like a lot of running apps it uses gps to track your run, totals the number of miles and runs you have done, your achievements, the weather on those runs and you can even cheer on your pals as well if they have the app. I think the best feature though is that it stops tracking when you pause at a set of traffic lights, so it doesn't affect your time - brilliant! It's such a simple thing but one that makes everything so much easier and more efficient and you get a better indication of your actual time spent running too. The only downside is that it uses NikeFuel rather than calories, so it is hard to know how hard you have been working. Links: Itunes. Android.

4. 30 Day Fitness challenges (£2.29). I quite like setting little challenges for myself and am such a creature of habit, so this app has been great in encouraging me to do a little something everyday, even if I am busy and running around all over the place without the chance to exercise. Even doing a challenge a day makes me feel like I have done something. There are so many challenges, split into 4 areas - legs, arms, core and strength - each 30 days long, so you can really focus on specific areas of your body and maybe choose a few different challenges to do at a time. Some of the challenges are really simple so you can do them anywhere, with one simple move, others you have a series of moves to do. I have been working on my plank and my pushups and have really been enjoying trying to build the length/number up everyday. I play the Rocky theme tune a lot to keep me going. Links: Itunes. Android.

5. Daily Yoga (Free). Yoga is something I have always fancied to help me relax and increase my flexibility. I have been having some issues with my leg lately as unfortunately my muscles' natural state are to be really tight when they 'think' they are relaxed, meaning when I run things get pulled more than they should, so I am more prone to injury sadly. I have been trying to do a little bit of yoga every so often to help with this and enjoy using this app. It is easy and straightforward to follow the videos and each move is fully explained. There are videos for all levels too, from beginners to more advanced and there are a good number of videos that come free before you have to pay for more content. This will definately be an app that I will be using more and more over the coming months, trying to release my inner yogi. Links: Itunes. Android.

How are your health and fitness goals coming along? Do you use any of the apps above? Do you use and really like any apps that I haven't mentioned? Hit me up.

Stay cool,