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Spring Makeup From Urban Decay

Spring is finally here and it's time to switch up your makeup. A brand I love very dearly, Urban Decay, has sent over some products for me to try out. I think I own more products from Urban Decay than any other brand and they managed to send me products that were not duplicates of items I already had. I started using their makeup when the Naked 3 palette came out so I didn't have the original or the second palette and only really used their eyeshadow palettes until the last few years.

Having combination skin is one of the most annoying things about having a makeup and skincare routine. I'm trying to combat oil whilst keeping my skin hydrated. One way of helping is having a spray to hand to help your makeup last longer with a few added benefits. The Urban Decay Rebound Collagen Infused Complexion Prep Priming Spray smoothes and evens the skin tone out and provides intense hydration. It has a microfine mist and will help wake your skin up before you apply makeup, soothe the skin before your nighttime treatments and can be applied over makeup for a boost. Ingredients include chia seeds which have a rich source of Vitamin E, chameleon plant and Centella which is an ancient healing herb. Rebound is a versatile spray and can be used on any skin type which is perfect for people like me.

I originally thought the next product was a lip pencil, but to my surprise, it isn't. The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Alkaline. I've used a black version of this eye pencil before and it really is a great product. With the name including '24/7', it boasts that it's long-lasting that won't budge, and from my experience from using it on my waterline, it is. For me, using products on my eyelids requires a specific primer which stops my eyelids getting watery, so I know when used in conjunction it will last until I remove my makeup. The ingredients include Vitamin E, Jojoba Oil and Cottonseed Oil which give it a creamy texture without being wet. The shade Alkaline would look beautiful against the eyes, but I think would also double as a great lip liner.

The most obvious product out of the lot is the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette which contains 12 matte and shimmer shadows that are neutral-toned including some well-known shades like Blackout. The shades are: Foxy (matte cream), Half Baked (shimmery gold), Bootycall (pale pink shimmer), Chopper (rose gold shimmer), Tease (matte taupe), Snakebite (chocolate-bronze shimmer), Suspect (beige-grey shimmer), Pistol (grey with a shimmer/metallic base), Verve (pale grey shimmer), YDK (pink-bronze shimmer/metallic), Busted (purple-brown shimmer) and Blackout (deep black matte). The palette comes with a double-ended brush to apply the eyeshadows with and comes in a tin case to match.

The final product is the Urban Decay Mega Matte Vice Lipstick in 714. I've tried a Vice Lipstick before but it wasn't an everyday shade so hard to wear frequently enough. There are actually 100 shades of the Vice Lipstick overall in various shades, and 714 is a Mega Matte which is a super-intense matte with a ton of pigment which makes it last all day. The creamy formula includes Avocado Oil, Aloe Vera, Jojoba Oil, Illipe Butter and Vitamins E and C. The smoothness of the lipstick prevents dragging on the lips and doesn't need a lip liner underneath to show off the colour payoff. The packaging is similar to a shotgun shell and has UD embossed onto it too.

Post contains press samples 
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LighterLife Fast & Light Bites Review

There are quite a few different products and methods out there designed to help you live a healthy lifestyle and to lose weight. LighterLife have created products that can help with the process and make things nice and easy for you. The way this works is to fast intermittently to reduce your intake on certain days. On two days of the week you pick four products out of the LighterLife Fast and LighterLife Light Bites ranges which include porridges, shakes, snack bars, meals and soups. These will total up to give you 100% of your daily nutrition but only coming in at 800 calories. On the other days of the week you can eat what you like, however, they do recommend maintaining a balanced diet. 

The meal replacement shakes I received were the strawberry and banana flavours and contain skimmed milk and milk proteins, with sweetener. They are packaged in a ready to drink bottle which makes it nice and handy if you need to take it out with you as you are not messing around with powder and a shaker bottle. These shakes are also available in chocolate, with them all being gluten-free which can help cater to dietary requirements and only have just over 200 calories in them. You can also get the shake powder in packets if you would rather make them at home. I also received some of their original flavour porridge which is made with oats, skimmed milk powder, sweetener and oat powder. It was easy to make and can be done in the microwave or on the hob. I've always liked noodles so was intrigued to see what the Americana Chicken Noodle flavour FastPot was like. The pot only has 209 calories and is actually suitable for vegetarians. It's in a handy pot that is easy to make and could be great if you are on the go. The noodle pot can be used on either your fasting or non-fasting days.

The meal replacement bar that I tried was the Chocolate Raisin Bar which has 226 calories and can be used in place of one of your meals for your fasting days. It could also be used on your non-fasting days too. I found this bar did fill me up and gave me enough energy when using it to replace another meal. Another item in the selection was the Nut Fudge Bar which has 155 calories and is made with butterscotch pieces, sweetener and peanuts. The Chocolate Cookie Caramel flavour bar was one of the light bites choices and was a perfect tasty snack while only being 99 calories so can be part of your fasting options. The last items I tried out were the popped chips packs in the flavours Sweet and Smoky Chipotle, Pesto and Sundried Tomato and Roasted Shallot and Cider Vinegar, all being either 94 or 95 calories per pack. They are all veggie friendly and provided a nice snack to enjoy without having to feel guilty. I found that by using the 2-day fasting approaching and using these products helped to make it much easier to keep track of my intake and provided quick and easy meal and snack options.

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A Little Life Update

I've been away from blogging for a little bit now, completely not out of choice. In December I got engaged and from then on, as a couple, we began to plan an engagement party. In January we booked the venue and started to pick up decorations, invite guests and look for outfits. We thought we had everything planned out perfectly until it came to looking at dresses for me. My anxiety got worse and I tried on over 22 dresses in the end before I found the right one. So right when I'm in the middle of looking at dresses, a house popped up on Rightmove and we went to view it.

We had been saving for a house since January 2017, after using a lot of money for 'spends' in Los Angeles the year earlier. With that and closing our student overdrafts, it took a while before we were able to put money in per month to really begin the house savings. We had been on and off for a while about whether to get a new build or to go with an older house with more land and character, and both of these options obviously raised questions regarding money. If you choose a new build, you only need a 5% deposit, can save with a Help To Buy ISA which will be topped up and can have an equity loan for 20% of the costs. On the flip side, for an older house, you generally need 10% or more for a deposit, which when buying a house really makes you weigh up the immediate benefits of which type of house is better.

Anyway, at the beginning of April this house popped up on Rightmove and we went for a viewing and this strange maternal feeling came over me, and I was thinking about how lovely it would be to bring a child up in it. I wasn't expecting that kind of feeling at all. We put an offer in and left it at that for a few days. So with party planning and putting an offer in, we had our 5 year anniversary, which was spent being stressed and trying to sort things for the party out and wondering whether we would get accepted for the house. We ended up putting in a higher offer and on the 14th April it was accepted, and almost immediately the estate agents wanted us to tell them which solicitors and bank we would be using which was overwhelming giving that it was the first time buying a house. The week following from this was spent trying to organise our life and still look forward to celebrating at our engagement party. The 21st April arrived and we began celebrating but anxiety set in and about halfway through I had a bit of a panic attack. People intervened before it got too bad and I'm really thankful for that. I'm glad we had a party but to be honest the timing was all wrong (even though we had no idea about looking for a house now when we booked the venue in January). 

I'm only just getting to write this now as it took me a few days to 'recover' from my anxiety flaring up like that. I'm starting to feel a bit better and I know I've got some posts overdue but I promise that this week I am going to post again. It didn't help that people were asking at the party whether we'd decided who everyone in the wedding party was going to be, if we had set a date yet and asking what kind of wedding we wanted. Genuinely lovely questions but the timing was just so wrong. I've needed a bit of self-care before I throw myself into blogging and sorting other things out. I don't tend to write life updates but things have built up and I've been so silent about the matters that even writing a piece has been a little therapeutic. I'm hoping to begin writing about the house process, making wishlists and posting more regular updates as soon as possible.

Wellness Wishlist 2018

When doing workouts and other activities, having the right kit can help make your life easier and allow you to get the most out of your sessions. Being able to wear things that will be suitable for working out that you feel comfortable in can make a big difference as you then feel happier and more motivated to succeed. Whether it's pilates, yoga, a walk in the park or full-blown workouts, there is something here for you. I've picked out some of the items that I like that would be great to have as part of my wellness routine.

This woven jacket has a hood, long sleeves and a zip front so would be good to throw on as an extra layer or for when you are doing activities outside. I've been looking at different workout jackets as I want one that does the job but still looks pretty, and I'm not saying the main reason I chose this was because it's pink...

If you want a pair of leggings that you can wear for any of your activities, these bum-sculpting leggings are for you. They are designed in a technical fabric will help to remove sweat, while having the perfect mix of recovery and stretch. The grey will go well with a lot of other colours and aren't in your face either.

Being able to listen to your favourite songs or have your workout playlist on to keep you motivated, having some good headphones will be useful. Having a sweat proof design, wireless function, moulded earpieces and plenty of battery life make these the perfect workout headphones.

For those who are starting out with Yoga or want to upgrade their current mat, this pastel one will look pretty while still providing the cushioning you need. Being PVC it will clean up easily for when you have finished your session and rolled up would still look cute in your home.

These type of leggings are currently my favourite with the mesh panelling. They are breathable, high-waisted and a stretchy material so they should be great for workouts. As they are black, they can be paired with many other coloured tops so will be a verstitle option for your wardrobe.  

Having good footwear is one of the key parts of your outfit and important to make sure you are supported properly from the ground up. Although they need to be comfy, this doesn't mean they can't be really pretty. These lace up ones from Puma will take care of your feet while looking the part. I would definitely wear these casually too with jeans and maybe the jacket I've also listed.

Seen as the weather is still a little tempremental and it's still quite chilly outside, having a warm extra layer will keep you toasty when you head out. I think this sweatshirt would be ideal to throw on if you were heading out for a walk this spring.

I think this would be a great set to have when I'm doing pilates as it would still allow the free range of movement you need. Wearing something that still looks fashionable while being functional is a bonus. The leggings are 3/4 length that is paired with the medium impact sports bra which will be useful when you don't need a full sized top.

These can be used for a number of different things such as stretching, strength activities and other exercices. They are a good item to have in your collection so that you will be able do a variety of things and can often help get you started with some exercises.  

This soft cotton top comes in a regualr fit with a fun 'Let's Yoge' slogan across the front. It has short rolled sleeves and a round neckline and the overall cut of the top should be loose enough for doing your yoga stretches. 

Another item for yoga is this ballet wrap made from warm and soft fabric that is still breathable and has anti-bacterial effects. This can be tied to the front and is soft on your skin and would be perfect to pair with a some leggings for doing yoga. I definitely had a similar wrap when I did ballet as a child but they look so cute that I'd love to pick one up again.

Keeping yourself hydrated is important at the best of times, particually when you are doing any form of exercise. I love this bottle with the 'rise and shine it's gym time' slogan across the front and the pretty rose gold bottle top. 

If you fancy blasting your music out while you work out, then a handy little wireless speaker can be ideal to keep around. You can connect your device via bluetooth and will get around 10-12 hours of playback time on one charge. Oh and it also fits in with my interior theme I have going on.

These leggings have been designed to be a comfortable fit with their seamless technology that also lets the leggings compliment your body. They will been you dry and cool with their moisuture wicking capabilities with the compression fit helping to improve circulation. Ombré hair may have gone out of style, but these have not.

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Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill Chester Review

As part of my stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Chester, I was able to test out the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill. The restaurant is attached to and accessible through the hotel so is perfect for when you are staying at the Hilton. It's also open to the public so if you are ever in Chester then you can go and enjoy drinks and a meal. I found it to be cosy, being in a booth we were able to look out into the restaurant. It has a number of different sections which split it up nicely and meant you weren't just in a large open room that became too noisy. You can also enjoy impressive views of the grounds of the hotel which adds to the overall enjoyable experience.

For starters, we both actually ended up going for the Classic French Onion Soup (£6.75) which had croutons and Gruyére cheese on top to add some texture. I've not had this type of soup for years and really enjoyed it. It had plenty of flavour and the portion size was just about right, without enough to enjoy without filling you up too much before your main. For the second course we both looked at different parts of the menu. Andy loves a good steak and it was the perfect place to have a few to choose from. He went for the Grilled 35 Day Aged Sirloin 10oz Steak (£25.95) that was served with pommes frites and was complemented by the Classic peppercorn and brandy sauce and on the vine tomatoes. Having it medium well-done, it had plenty of flavour without being too dry, and you could tell it was a higher quality meat. I don't eat steak myself so went for the Classic Macaroni Cheese (£13.95) that came with poached egg, wild mushrooms and herbs. The meal was nice and quite filling so couldn't end up finishing it. I think it may have been better without the egg due to the very similar silky textures and there were a lot of mushrooms, though it was still enjoyable.

As part of our meal, we enjoyed a bottle of Californian Vendange White Zinfandel Rose Wine (£22.50) which was nice to enjoy with our meal. For dessert, we ended up both fancying the Mr Coulson's Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce (£5.95). It was a lovely end to the meal and worked particularly well with the sauce. I found our experience at the restaurant really nice, the food was great and came out in good time, and we had a lovely blonde who served us and made sure we had everything we need to make our visit run smoothly. The interior was different, with dark blue walls with matching velvet-like fabric chairs which is exactly what I'd choose if I was selecting the theme of the restaurant. I'd come again for sure and would try to pick out some other options from the menu.

Complimentary meal in return for a review.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Chester Review

I've always loved travelling and visiting new places and have found that my favourite type of trip is to do short breaks away in hotels. Hilton invited me to stay in their Chester Hotel and experience the 18th Century Manor House that is set in beautiful grounds. It's located only two miles from Chester City Centre so is perfectly located to explore the historic city. They have recently refurbished and extended the hotel which includes the addition of 79 new bedrooms which is where we stayed. It has been given a new look that fits in with the history of the hotel while maintaining the class and comfort of Hilton. Facilities at the hotel include The Garden Room, a Lounge/Bar area, the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill, a fitness room and the DoubleTree by Hilton Spa. 

When arriving at the hotel we were greeted by Alice on reception who was very friendly and welcoming. The warm conversation about what we had planned for our stay and where we have come from gave a nice personal touch. We were informed that we had complimentary access to the spa which we didn't know beforehand so hadn't packed any swimwear. You can buy some swimming attire at the spa, however, I didn't see the point in this for a one-night stay. Shortly after arriving the check in was all sorted and we were handed our room key along with a couple of warm fresh cookies to take to our room. I can't think of a better welcome than that.

The room we were staying in was one of their new King Junior Suites. It was large and had a great layout that was split into different areas while still maintaining the open plan look and feel. You get a super king bed and a large smart TV with Sky that can be rotated between facing the bed and the two-seater sofa. Two well-sized wardrobes give you space to store your clothing and other items while containing some handy amenities such as a safe, iron and ironing board and robe & slippers. A tray with a good selection of tea and coffee making facilities can also be taken out of the wardrobe, making it easy to make refreshments. There's also a fridge with complimentary snacks and drinks inside but after taking the time to look around and have dinner etc we completely forgot to make us of it. The desk area has plenty of space to do any work or comes in handy to your makeup and has plenty of plug sockets which came in useful when straightening my hair. The bathroom is a decent size with a large wall mirror and a smaller movable magnifier mirror which are useful and could be good for doing makeup. I'm not able to do my makeup standing up due to chronic illnesses but I was more than happy to sit at the desk. Having some Crabtree and Evelyn mini shower items were handy and I know Andy particularly enjoyed having an overhead second shower head that he could actually fit under as he's quite tall. Our suite had a lovely view across to the garden terrace and was nice to see something different that wasn't just a patch of land or another wall of the hotel. 

The spa that is part of the hotel offers a selection of treatments and provides a "blissful oasis away from the stresses of everyday life". A relaxing range of options including wet and dry thermal suites, Watsu hydra therapy pool, steam room, sauna, Hamman mudroom and aroma room as well as an outside heated pool with waterfall. Access to this can be added for £15 per room or £25 for a family room with any treatments having additional individual prices. As part of our stay, we went for an Elemis Introduction Facial in the spa. There was a 'before' room when you could start to wind down in the comfortable seating and enjoy the complimentary juice bar and herbal tea. From here I was taken to the treatment room by the spa therapist Meg. She was really lovely and made me feel relaxed from the start and throughout the process. When I got to the treatment room I talked through my skincare regime and the type of skin that I have. I was also asked about any medical conditions and checked that the mini massage would be okay.

I lied down to a relaxing facial that helped to soothe and cleanse my skin. I wasn't expecting the head and neck massage to be part of the treatment but it helped me to relax and I came out really calm. At the end of the session, Meg recommended some Elemis products to us which for me was the Superfood Facial Wash (£25) and the Hydra-boost Day Cream (£40). Andy mentioned that he really enjoyed the facial and didn't feel like it was just designed for women. He also particularly enjoyed the head massage part of the session. We both felt that our skin was noticeably softer and more nourished afterwards plus feeling much more relaxed. You were then taken into the 'after' room where you could continue to wind down for as long as you wished on the beanbags and beds while enjoying the complimentary lemon sorbet. The treatment lasts around 30 minutes and costs £45 which I think is a reasonable price for what you get. I would probably pay that just for a head massage so the added bonus of having your skin all clean and moisturised was great. I didn't know that you are not supposed to wear makeup for rest of day post-treatment and we had dinner booked so I had to break the rules a little but I didn't feel like it changed how my skin felt after taking it off later on.

We decided to enjoy breakfast in the room as they have a good selection on their menu. You can either call up or leave your order on the door hanger the night before to have it delivered at your chosen time the next morning. There is a £5 charge if you wish to do this but that's not much to enjoy it in the comfort of your own room. Alternatively, you can go down to the Garden Room to have your breakfast. We went for a selection of items including granola, fruit, pastries and traditional cooked items with pots of tea and fresh apple juice. It was fresh and delicious, and gave the perfect start to the morning. We actually ordered not knowing that this was also complimentary as part of our review, so we used the door hanger to order one breakfast (I'm not too hungry in the mornings) but when we spoke to Alice on the reception she informed us that it was a part of our stay and since we had booked the biggest breakfast for Andy they doubled it so we had a choice. Andy preferred the cooked breakfat whereas I enjoyed the melon and granola so it all worked out well. I'd definitely get another breakfast at the Hilton in the future.

I had a lovely stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Chester Hotel and Spa, and was able to enjoy a relaxing time where I could wind down and get away from normal life to come away feeling refreshed. The hotel was set in some impressive grounds and had some of the best scenery I've experienced when going away. I had never stayed at a Hilton hotel before but have already been looking into booking our own stay as it was very well-rounded. The grounds looked so pretty as the March snow had come down quite heavy the day before too. There is also a review of the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill as we ate here as part of the overall hotel review.

Complimentary stay in return for a review.

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