Thursday, 31 December 2015

Lifestyle: Festive Party Essentials

I hope you all have had a very Merry Christmas! I sure did - spending the day with loved ones, eating all the turkey, drinking a few cheeky glasses of Prosecco and receiving such wonderful gifts. It was definitely a Christmas to remember. Check out my festive life through my camera roll post, to see what I got up to.
With Christmas all done and dusted, it's almost time to ring in a brand new year - hello 2016! 
I love the festive party season as it's a great chance to get all dressed up, have a few tipples, dance the night away and see in the new year with your favourite people!
With that in mind I thought I would share with you some of my festive party essentials, from outfits to comfy insoles.
Bold lip
I love to rock a bold lip over the festive season, a bright red is my go to as I think it's such a pretty shade for the festive season, and really brightens up your look.
My favourite red lipstick is Elizabeth Arden in 'Red door red', it's such a gorgeous shade and very long lasting. Perfect for all those midnight mistletoe kisses. 

Golden eyes
The festive season calls for a va va voom make up look - I love pairing my bright red lip with a pretty, statement golden eye look. My go to palette has to be the classic Naked 2, I love the shade 'half baked' it's a gorgeous shimmery golden bronze which looks perfect smoked out, finished with a few coats of thick black mascara.

Cute cross body bag
My favourite bag of all time. I've had this bag for so long and I am still obsessed with the quirky style. It's gold, it's glittery and I love that it's a cross body style as it leaves your hands free for throwing some shapes on the dance floor. 

A glitzy outfit
A definite essential! Tis' the season to sparkle of course. 
I picked up this glitzy number in my local Primark, I love the sparkle and style of the dress, I will be pairing it with a pair of cosy black tights for the festive season.

I'm not much a high heel wearer, simply because my feet just can't handle hours of dancing (or walking for that matter) in four inch heels. This year I am opting for my favourite heeled boots, as they are super comfortable, especially paired with these amazing insoles from Nine to Five*. You simply slip them in to your heels, and you're good to go. Hello comfy feet! They really do make killer shoes, heavenly to wear and you can also reuse them in different pairs of shoes. I have linked their website above if you would like some more information, or to purchase a pair for your poor feet!
I have included a Nine to Five image below to show you how the insoles work to support your feet for maximum comfort. 
Bubbles
Nothing says 'happy new year' like a bottle of fizz, I love a good ol' glass of Prosecco it's the perfect way to ring in the new year.

Cosy Pyjamas
Pyjamas are an essential for me all year round, but there's nothing like getting home from a night out on the tiles, wiping your face clean of your heavy party make up and slipping in to a cosy pair of pyjamas. Bliss.

I hope you enjoyed this 'Festive Party Essentials' post. What are your festive night out essentials? Will you be getting all dressed up for New year or curling up in your pyjamas?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below. 

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx

*Nine to Five heels kindly sent me some insoles to test out, and share my thoughts. As always all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

Monday, 28 December 2015

Lifestyle: Life Through My Camera Roll #4 Festive Edition

The sales are on, your skinny jeans are feeling rather snug and there's only a few quality street left lurking at the bottom of the tub - which can only mean that Christmas is all over for another year. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, full of laughs, family time, all the food and that you received everything you wished for. I had such a lovely day, so I thought I would share some snippets of my Christmas with you lovely lot.
*Obligatory blogger disclaimer: I would never want to be perceived as 'bragging' about the presents I received, I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family in my life who were kind enough to buy me a lovely present. I am so grateful for everything I received! I personally love reading these sorts of posts, as it's great to have a little nosy at how everyone else spends their Christmas.*
I actually have to work all day on Christmas day until about 3.00pm as I work in a hotel, and we have guests staying over the festive period on a Christmas break. Me and my boyfriend opened our Santa sacks together in the morning in our festive pyjamas, and then I went off to work and he went to his mum's house for dinner. We always have a bit of a laugh despite having to work - I may have had a cheeky glass of Buck's Fizz to celebrate the season! I love this picture of me and my dad looking all festive in our Santa hats, we always take a snap every year!
How adorable are these biscuits? My lovely friend at work surprised me on Christmas morning with a batch of her homemade treats, I enjoyed a couple with my usual morning cup of tea - they were delicious!
After finishing work I changed out of my uniform and headed to my boyfriend's mum's house to wish her a Merry Christmas, and open some presents. She bought me the most beautiful bangle, along with a lovely picture frame filled with some photographs of me and Ian. Such wonderful, thoughtful presents.
We then headed to my dad's for a Christmas dinner, pigs in blankets are just heaven aren't they! We drank a few glasses of Prosecco and opened more presents.
My dad always gets me the loveliest gifts, he was one of my biggest supporters when I was losing weight last year and he was clearly listening when I have been banging on about the healthy snacks I love. He got me lots of tasty, healthy treats along with some cheeky mini green and blacks chocolate, my favourite!
After dinner with my dad we headed back to our little flat to open up the presents we had bought for each other. My boyfriend Ian is such a sweetheart, he always gets it just right and this year was no exception! He bought me the Lucy Bee cookbook, which I have been wanting for so long, along with a cute Happy Jackson lunch box and this adorable notebook!
My main present this year was something I have been wanting for over a year now and I was thrilled to unwrap the Misfit Shine activity tracker. It looks so stylish and I am hoping it will help me to be more active on daily basis, as I mentioned I work in a hotel on the reception desk so I am sitting down for long periods of the day, hopefully having my lovely little Misfit on my wrist will encourage me to get up and move more!
He also bought me the matching necklace, which you can wear instead of the watch - it's so pretty!
My beautiful best friend Katie spoilt me rotten with a new perfume, the Sprinkle of Glitter 2016 diary, along with lots of other lovely treats.

So that's it, my Christmas in a nutshell! I had an amazing Christmas, full of good food, lots of chocolate, wonderful friends and family and the most thoughtful presents.
I am feeling a little sad that Christmas is all over for another year, but I am also so excited for whatever 2016 has to bring!

I hope you enjoyed this 'Festive life through my camera roll' post. How did you spend your Christmas? What lovely presents did you receive? What is your favourite thing about the festive season? 

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below. 

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx

Monday, 21 December 2015

Lifestyle: Life Through My Camera Roll #3

Well hello there...

The festive season is in full swing - the trees are up and shining brightly, the Christmas tunes are blaring out, the post office queue is ridiculously long and everyone is stocking up on tins of Roses and Quality street. It is of course the most wonderful time of the year!
I have been snapping away on my iPhone as per usual, and I thought it was a great time of year to update you on what I've been up to, and share my favourites from my camera roll with you lovely lot!
 1. How adorable are my new pyjamas! I spotted them in my local Primark and had to have them.
 I think that they are so pretty, and they look and feel far more expensive than the £8.00 price tag. So cosy!
2. The Christmas tree is officially up and twinkling away. It's my first Christmas in my own flat with my boyfriend, we had so much fun picking out a little tree and I got in to the festive spirit decorating it while blasting out the Christmas tunes. Santa baby is my jam...
3. I treated myself to copy of Millie Mackintosh's d├ębut book 'Made' in the Black Friday sales, I've only read a couple of chapters so far as I've been quite busy. but I love that it's a mix of fashion, beauty, fitness and food. A must have for any Millie fan, or if you are like me and love anything health and fitness related.
4. I've been spending most of my evenings lately wrapping up Christmas presents, I love pretty wrapping paper and making my gifts look super festive. Sending Christmas cards to my loved ones is one of my favourite parts of Christmas time. 
1. I have been upping my fitness game over the past couple of months, by switching up my workout routine and challenging myself. I have been loving strength training using my own bodyweight and fat burning exercises. I have noticed a difference in my figure, my arms, legs and stomach are all looking more toned, and I am feeling confident in myself more and more.
2. The cutest little deli has recently opened up in my little town - they sell everything from healthy teas, dark chocolate, healthy treats and freshly baked bread. It's safe to say I have been popping in on a very regular basis (forever food obsessed) and picking up a fresh loaf. Rye sourdough is fast becoming my favourite.
3. As I mentioned above my local deli sells some lovely sweet treats. I am obsessed with the carob and walnut brownie, it is absolutely delicious - I have been enjoying these squidgy brownies with a good old cup of tea. The perfect pairing.
4. Speaking of healthy treats, I found this beauty in a lovely little cafe called Cafecino in Barnstaple (my nearest town). It's an oat bar packed full of healthy, nourishing ingredients (chia, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, cranberries, blueberries, nuts, agave syrup and coconut oil) they are tasty and so good for you. I will definitely be picking up another next time I am in town.

I hope you enjoyed this 'Life through my camera roll' post. What have you been loving lately? What is your favourite thing about the festive season? 

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below. 

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Lifestyle: Six Tips On Staying Mindful Over The Festive Season

Ah Christmas - love it or loathe it, it still comes around every year so you may as well embrace it. But what also comes around with the festive season is 'overeating', I'm talking boxes of chocolates, tins of quality street/roses/celebrations, biscuits, shortbread, not to mention Christmas parties full of mince pies, sausage rolls and pastries (phew) then there are roast dinners, Christmas pudding, cakes, Boxing day buffets and leftover turkey and stuffing sandwiches to name but a few. It is definitely the season to stuff your face, and of course we all relish it as it's the time of year to kick back, relax and celebrate the season with your loved ones. But as a person who loves to eat healthy, nutritious foods it's also the time of year where I tend to go a bit overboard on the festive treats and end up feeling sluggish and rather bloated. So I thought I would share with you some of my tips for staying healthy-ish over the festive period, and of course indulging in whatever you fancy, but in moderation.
It's all about that healthy balance!

*Quick disclaimer: I'm not a nutritionist, dietitian, personal trainer or healthy eating expert, I am simply sharing tips that have worked for me personally, with you lovelies.*

1. Pick your poison
I'm not a big drinker, I usually have a couple of cocktails and I'm feeling merry - but of course as Christmas and New Year are coming up the drinks will most certainly be flowing.
My advice is to stick to clear spirits such as vodka and mix with soda water and a splash of lime, or enjoy a glass or two of Prosecco. Try not to mix your drinks as it'll make for a sore head in the morning. If you are teetotal there are so many tasty mocktails around, cranberry juice, soda water and lime is a winner, or try whipping up a delicious fruit smoothie.

2. Stay hydrated 
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one - it is so important to stay hydrated, especially if you are drinking alcohol as it dehydrates you. I drink at least four litres of water every day, try and aim for a minimum of two litres per day. Remember tea, coffee and even fruits and vegetables such as melon, cucumber and celery all count towards your daily water intake.
Drink up!

3. Get up and go
Being active is important for your general health and wellbeing, but even more so in the winter months and over the festive season. It's hard to get motivated when it's cold/wet/windy/miserable outside (well if you live in the UK anyway) as all you really want to do is curl up on the sofa with a big mug of tea, a cosy blanket and watch Christmas films - the last thing on your mind is going for a run. (me in a nutshell, bring on the hot chocolates)
But exercise is an important part of living a healthy, happy and balanced lifestyle, so try to incorporate at least twenty minutes of exercise around four days a week.
This could be going for a swim, run or walk, going to the gym or if you are like me and love to workout at home, then pop a YouTube workout video on and get your twenty minutes in.
You can of course work out more or less than I have suggested, but I find that staying active for twenty minutes, four days per week is an attainable goal to stick to over the festive period. It's also the perfect time of year to go out for country walks, as the air is crisp and fresh and you can even take your camera along and get some pretty scenery shots.

4. Indulge wisely
I love to indulge from time to time, I mean who doesn't? But there is a big difference between 'indulging' and a 'free for all'. For example if I am going out for a date night dinner with my boyfriend I always skip the starter, ditch the bread basket and order a reasonably healthy main course, such as chicken or fish with vegetables or a salad dish. I save my indulgence for dessert as I have a major sweet tooth; I love anything with chocolate, especially dark chocolate. I usually go for my favourite chocolate fondant, an ooey gooey brownie or a winter warming fruit crumble with ice cream. So if you are off out with friends for a big meal, then opting for a lighter main course means you can really indulge with your favourite dessert, or vice versa if you have savoury tooth then bring on the cheeseboard. It's all about finding a healthy balance that works for you.

5. Take your time
When I have a treat or tuck in to a dessert, I always take my time to savour every last mouthful. If you just chomp it down in four bites, you'll only be left feeling hungry and unsatisfied afterwards as it takes our brains around twenty minutes after eating a meal to register that we are full.
Slow down, savour your food and chew slowly, you will appreciate that slice of cake so much more I promise.

6. Don't worry!
My most important tip is not to worry so much. If you have overindulged on the mince pies or skipped a workout as you just weren't feeling it - don't feel guilty or beat yourself up about it. We are all human, from time to time we all feel unmotivated or we just fancy a cup of tea and a big slice of cake (me everyday... I jest) Just tell yourself this: It's already happened, I can't change it, I enjoyed myself, that cake was delicious, I had such a lovely time with my friends because I skipped that workout, draw a line under it and move on! Tomorrow is a new day, and perhaps I won't have a slice of cake today and I will go out for a little walk or do twenty minutes of yoga. It's the festive season after all, a time for friends, family and loved ones to get together. have fun and enjoy good food. I for one will be eating whatever I fancy on Christmas day, that may be a chocolate affair or a fruits and vegetables kinda day, I just listen to my body and eat whatever it's craving.

I hope you enjoyed this 'Six Tips On Staying Mindful' post, and that my suggestions were of help to you. Are you a bit of an 'overindulger' at this time of year like me? What is your favourite treat to indulge in? Do you have any tips on staying healthy over Christmas?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Recipe: Winter Warming Chicken Casserole

The weather in England has taken a blustery turn for the worse. It's cold, windy, wet and generally rather miserable - which in my opinion calls for all the comfort food, something hearty to warm your cockles. Every winter my dad used to whip up a big batch of his famous chicken casserole for me and him to enjoy, along with a nice thick chunk of crusty white bread and butter for dunking. There's nothing better than a steaming hot bowl of belly warming casserole on a cold December evening. With that in mind I have taken my dad's delicious recipe and given it a slight tweak to make it a bit of a healthier dish. 
So I thought I would share my winter warming creation with you.
If you recreate any of my recipes, please snap a picture and share it on social media, I'm @clumsybaby on Twitter and Instagram, I'd love to see them!

My recipe serves 1 - 2 people as I usually just make enough for myself, but you can adjust the recipe to feed three or more by adding a chicken breast per person and bulking out the vegetables.
 You will need:
1 medium to large sweet potato
1 skinless chicken breast
1 large leek
1 large carrot
1 onion
2 stalks of celery
1 - 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 chicken stock cube
1 vegetable stock cube
1 - 2 teaspoons of coconut oil, Lucy bee is my gal.

Method:
1. Cut the chicken breast, sweet potato and carrot in to chunks, then slice the leek and dice the celery and onion. The onion should be diced quite finely.
2. Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion for four to five minutes on a medium heat, until it begins to soften.
3. Add the chicken to the pan and seal on all sides.
4. Then add the carrot and celery and fry for a few minutes.
5. Boil the kettle and mix 500ml of boiling water with both of the stock cubes, and the Worcestershire sauce.
6. Pour the stock mix in to the saucepan along with the sweet potato and cover with a lid. Leave the pan to simmer on a low heat for thirty minutes.
7. After thirty minutes have passed add the diced leeks to the pan, and simmer again for about five more minutes.
8. Check the sweet potato with the point of a knife, if they are nice and soft then your casserole is good to go.
9. Serve with a slice of wholemeal bread for dunking and enjoy!

If you make a large batch of the chicken casserole, let it cool completely before transferring to an air tight container and pop it in to the fridge. It should keep for about three days.
I hope you enjoyed this 'Winter warming chicken casserole' recipe post. Will you be recreating my recipe? What's your favourite winter comfort food? Perhaps your family have a signature dish too?
I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Beauty: Help: Clear Skin Review*

I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Works with Water, who asked me if I would like to review their 'Help: Clear Skin'* products. I of course jumped at the chance, as I have been suffering with quite bad acne for the past couple of months. I'm not sure what has caused my (previously quite clear) skin to breakout with spots, but I think a combination of stress, being switched from 3 different contraceptive pills and hormones, has definitely taken it's toll on my skin. 
This has made me very self concious of my appearance, I've been gently cleansing, moisturising and dabbing on lotions and potions trying to find one that will make a difference to my acne, but nothing has worked. (If you suffer from acne, you will know that the more you stress out and worry about your skin, the more spots bloody appear... it's a vicious cycle really!) So I had high hopes that the Help: Clear Skin trial might be the wonder solution I've been hoping for.
Here are my thoughts on the Clear Skin products, and how I got on with my 28 day trial.
Help: Clear Skin is a natural soluble daily skin supplement, which claims to help achieve clear skin and reduce blemishes in as little as four to six weeks. 
The concept is very simple; I was kindly sent a box of 28 sachets and the instruction to take one sachet each day for one month. The sachets are dissolvable and can be added to any non-carbonated hot or cold drink, or even mixed in with soft foods. I opted to take my daily sachet each morning in my usual cup of green tea. But you could add the sachet to your morning fruit smoothie, glass of orange juice or even mixed in to Greek yoghurt, whatever your preference. 
The sachets don't really taste of anything; they did leave my mouth feeling a little dry after drinking it, and it does have a slightly strange smell once mixed in, but it wasn't an issue at all, once I started drinking it you can't really smell anything anyway.
 Each sachet is filled with a white powder-like substance, which looks very similar in consistency and appearance to the Lemsip sachets. Each sachet contains a unique Pravenac formula, which contains Aloe Vera that is known to have a smoothing and healing effect on skin.
 The sachets are also rich in Lactoferrin (a bio-active milk protein) this has been clinically proven to reduce acne by boosting your body's defences, to help eliminate bacteria build up and repair the damaged skin cells that acne causes.

Help: Clear Skin is suitable for vegetarians, diabetics and anyone who has a intolerance to lactose, they are also gluten free. 
Week 1
 (29th October - 5th November)
I began my trial this week. There has been no visible changes to my skin or acne yet. I am still getting new spots appearing. I'm staying positive and have high hopes for the next week.

Week 2 
(6th November - 12th November)
My skin is looking pretty much the same as last week, although I haven't had any more angry red bumps appear on my face yet. Win.

Week 3
 (13th November - 19th November)
My skin is looking brighter, although I am still getting spots they aren't coming up as painful as usual, and my existing spots have begun to reduce in size. 

Week 4 
(20th November - 25th November)
That's it, my 28 days are up and I have reached the end of my trial! My acne is still pretty much the same as it was before although my spots haven't been nearly as painful, I wasn't expecting miracles so I'm fine with that, but what has changed is the appearance of my skin. My face looks fresher, brighter and for want of a better word: healthier. Overall I think that the Help: Clear Skin sachets are a great concept, but unfortunately they didn't help to clear up my acne, which was my main skin concern. 
I think that perhaps taking the sachets every day for say, 2 - 3 months, rather than just the one I would have seen a real difference in my skin.

If you are interested in the Help: Clear skin concept, or want some more information on their products - check out the Works with water website here.

I hope you enjoyed this 'Help: Clear Skin' review post. What are your thoughts on taking daily 'clear skin' sachets? Have you tried out any acne products or supplements before?
Or perhaps you have an acne miracle cure? (wishing thinking!)

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Laurenx