Monday, 23 November 2015

Work Hard Play Hard

Having recently joined the world of full time employment, I know first hand how hard it can be to balance home life and work. If you follow my blog regularly, you might remember that back in October, my three posts a week fell to one. I just didn't have the time, and I hated it. I've only got into blogging regularly relatively recently, and I hated the idea of having to cut it back, or even stop altogether. And it wasn’t just my blog that was suffering. I work some unfortunate hours, and just couldn't find time to really chill out. Thankfully, by about four weeks into my new job, I struck a bit more of a balance. It's not perfect, that's for sure, but I thought I'd share some things I've found useful with you in case you find yourself in a similar situation.
Have a social life - it sounds harder than it is. I found that once I stopped making excuses and just agreed to events, it became easier to fit things in. If your friends suggest dinner one evening, try and make it fit your busy schedule. You have to eat, so why not get some social time out of it too. The evenings I've spent with some of my friends have really acted as a refuel for me - I feel so much better afterwards. You have fun and relax and catch up on all the gossip, what more could you want? No one works so many hours that you can't fit any social time in, so try and find an hour or two. You'll feel better for it, I promise.
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Dinner with Anna and Jess * Photo credit Jess
Stay active online - people often say that social media can escalate feelings of loneliness, but I think it's a great way to connect with people you might not get the chance to see. Taking part in a Twitter chat, or messaging your friends can feel like socialising, but from the comfort of your own home and PJs. Keeping in the loop of what's going on plays a big part of maintaining a good balance between home and work.
Utilise your time - this is essential. I have an hour commute to and from work every day, and I soon realised that this would be ideal blogging time. In theory, I could smash out one, maybe two drafts of a post a day. Who said it was hard to blog daily? Just kidding, that's a commitment I could not make right now. In all seriousness though, I'm writing this post during my lunch break. Find a quiet spot to sit, grab your tablet or laptop, or even a pen and paper, and get writing bloggers. I also love reading on the commute. It's so relaxing, and I can get a fair bit read in that time. Even just listening to music used the awkward time in your day, and stops it feeling wasted.
Make time for me time - this might be the most important. Finding a few hours in the week when you can just totally relax can be a bit of a task, I know. But making time for a Lush bath, a face mask and a catch up on your favourite bloggers or YouTubers can be so refreshing. It's some time when you don't have to think about anything, perfect. It can feel so luxurious to spend a few hours just relaxing. I try and find some time for this on a Sunday, to unwind and prepare for the week ahead. It really does do the world of good.
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So with these little tips and tricks, I think I've managed to equal out the work/home balance. Thankfully. I hope you find it even the slightest bit helpful. Do you have any other hints that I might find useful?
Until next time,
Lexie
xo

Friday, 20 November 2015

Lee Stafford Hair Care

Now, I do not claim to be a hair expert - far from it, let's be honest. But, I do know that Lee Stafford knows how to do hair care. I've tried odd bits here and there, but I can assure you, it swiftly became some of my favourite hair care items. I thought I'd share the love today, with a few of my favourite items that I'm sure I'll buy again and again and again.
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It was around last Christmas that I received a fab box set with all the Lee Stafford items I could ever need. I'd tried a few bits previously, and some of the shampoos and conditioners here and there, but I relished the idea of being able to try multiple items. I'll admit, it took me a little while to actually give the bits a go, but once I did, I fell in love - as I expected!
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A staple to any girl's hair care - dry shampoo. I love dry shampoo for reviving my hair between washes, especially when I'm getting up at 5am for work, as well as for adding volume, which I definitely need. I usually use Batiste, which can be hit and miss, but this Lee Stafford Original Dry Shampoo really does the trick. Designed for oily roots, I find that this tackles my hair issues really well - my roots are where the problems are. It smells nice, with the signature Lee Stafford scent.
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Another essential for any girl's hair kit - the Hold Tight Firm Hold Barnet Hairspray. This stuff is incredible, by far my favourite product. It sets almost instantly, and really holds your hair in place. I really struggle with flyaway hairs, especially when I wear my hair in a ponytail. With this spray, I don't have to worry. A quick spray all over my head, and those strays are tamed.  It stays in place all day, but brushes out easily - what more could we ask for?
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The third and final item I've fallen in love with is the Big Fat Root Boost Mousse Spray. I've never really been a fan of mousse, often worrying that it'll leave my hair crispy and disgusting. But this, when blow-dried out appropriately, works wonders. It really does give your hair a real boost, something we all want, right? My hair is rather thin and flat, but with this spray, it definitely looks boosted.
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So - not only does the product range look amazing, with it's bright pink packaging, but it also does incredible things to your hair. I can guarantee that I'll be buying these over and over again, and hopefully trying out some more items from Lee Stafford soon.
Are there any products from Lee Stafford you think I should try?
Until next time,
Lexie
xo

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Blake's Delicate Rose

I’ve always been a fan of the L’Oreal lipstick collections fronted by various celebrities. The colours are so varied, with something for everyone. I’d previously picked up a lipstick from the Nudes and Reds collections – Cheryl’s and Blake’s respectively – so when I heard that L’Oreal were releasing a Pink collection, I knew there’d be at least one shade that I’d want to pick up. I wasn’t wrong.
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Ever since I heard the news that L’Oreal were adding a new colour range, I waited for them to arrive in my local Boots or Superdrug, just maybe not too patiently. After what seemed like an age, I finally spotted some, and got to the task in hand – swatching. The shades available range from some gorgeous pale pinks I wish I could pull off, to some brighter shades, that were right up my street.
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With a few catching my eye, I tried to restrict myself to choosing just one. And so, after much deliberation, I settled for Blake’s Delicate Rose. It’s nice and bright, just how I like my lipsticks, and was a nice balance between the paler shades, and the darker ones. Although I know winter is fast approaching, and our lipstick choices are getting darker, I think this lipstick will get a lot of use, and will stay in my makeup bag right the way through to Spring 2016.
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The velvet matte formula appealed as much as the colour, to be honest. A lot of my bright lipsticks are a glossier finish, so the opportunity to have a matte bright was fabulous. They’re reasonably comfortable to wear, something we all battle with when wearing mattes. I definitely think this will get a lot of wear – I might even be tempted to pick up another one or two.
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Have you tried any of the L’Oreal Collection lipsticks? Will you picking up any of the new Pink lipsticks?
Until next time,
Lexie
xo

Monday, 16 November 2015

Stakks Pancake House

Hands up who loves pancakes? Yep, me too! When Anna from BrightEyeBlog and I decided to have a little weekend catch-up, we both thought it'd be a great idea to try Southampton's latest pancake offering, Stakks Pancake House. Located in The Marlands Shopping Centre, I was surprised that I hadn't heard more about Stakks, so I was looking forward to the opportunity to try it out.
Photo credit Anna
Photo credit Anna
We arrived just before 1pm on Sunday, and quickly chose a table and settled down to the task in hand - tackling the menus, to try and decide which pancake offering we would have. With a selection of both sweet and savoury toppings, we both had a bit of a struggle. Eventually I settled on the Nutella Stakk, with banana and strawberries, while Anna chose the NYC Stakk - the classic maple syrup and bacon. All the menu options are really reasonably priced, and you get the option of crepes, or American style pancakes. We both chose American style, and we waited patiently for our food.
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When our food arrived, we were so excited. They looked incredible, and smelt delicious; we couldn't wait to tuck in. With three well-sized pancakes, and plenty of toppings, you definitely get your money's worth.
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I am a massive Nutella fan, and teamed with these delicious Stakks pancakes, and strawberries and bananas, I was in love. They were absolutely delicious. Along with the relaxed atmosphere, I would really recommend trying Stakks, and I will definitely head back for a catch up with friends, or a little treat. There are plenty of choices, and the opportunity to build-your-own, so you can have something different every time.
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What are your favourite pancake toppings - anything I should try? Do you prefer crepes or American style?
Until next time,
Lexie
xo

Friday, 13 November 2015

The Autumnal Makeup Duo

Praise the makeup gods, I think I've found my ideal autumn lip and cheek combination. I'll be the first to admit that as soon as September makes an appearance, I'm craving berry tones, and this year, I took to my makeup bag to see what I could dig up.
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I rediscovered the Creamy Matte Lipstick in Razzberry from Bobbi Brown back in October, and instantly fell back in love with it. If anything I love it more second time around. It's my perfect berry shade for day to day wear, without looking too much. As the name suggests, it's both creamy and matte, so it isn't drying like a lot of matte lipsticks. I can wear this all day and stil feel comfortable. Yes, it fades, but not in a patchy way, and I always top up my lipstick throughout the day. I can guarantee that this will get a lot of use this year.
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Blush was the area I thought I was lacking. But after clearing through my makeup collection, I found this beauty from Maxfactor. I picked up a few of the Crème Puff Blushes when they were first released but totally forgot about this one, Gorgeous Berries. These blushes are so soft and blendable, they are so easy to apply and wear. They're quite pigmented so a little goes a long way, but I can quite easily fix it if I'm a little heavy handed. I'd definitely recommend swatching these, I doubt you'll be disappointed.
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When I tried pairing these two together, I was pleasantly surprised. They're almost identical in colour. They compliment each other really well, and really tie my makeup together, I think. I already know I'll wear this combination over and over again throughout autumn and winter.
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What are you favourite autumnal colours? Anything I should have a look at? Autumn shades are my favourite, I'm always on the lookout for new possible favourites.
Until next time,
Lexie
xo

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Bloggers' Night Out OOTN

If you follow me on social media, then I'm sure you'll know that last Friday I got myself all dolled up and hit the town with some of the Southampton Blogger girls for a night of drinks and giggles. It's been a while since I've been out, so I was super excited, and spent a good while deciding what to wear - something very unlike me!
After a last minute dash to New Look before heading to work on Friday, I had an outfit I was really happy with. I’ve seen glitter in all the shop windows recently (it is nearly Christmas I suppose) and I really wanted to get involved. I fell in love with this black and gold top, with cut out shoulders, so had to pick it up. I think it was just right for a night with the girls and I felt really comfortable.
I teamed the top with leather look trousers, a staple of mine when I was at university. They're super comfy - you'll see this is important for me haha - but look like you've made a lot of effort. Plus, in this cold weather, they keep you surprisingly warm.
Accessory wise, I kept it really simple. I wanted the top to be the outfits main focus, so I just went with heels and a bag, no jewellery. I love my wedge embellished heels! They're another item that saw a lot of use while I was at university, and I love the edge they add to any outfit. I grabbed my favourite black bag from the Kardashian Kollection for Dorothy Perkins. Where this bag can be both a clutch and a shoulder bag, it's really versatile, and easy to wear.
With a red lip from Revlon, and some winged liner, I was good to go. I really liked what I wore, and can't wait for the opportunity to wear it again!
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Until next time,
Lexie
xo

Monday, 9 November 2015

Ruma Salon Opening

This weekend, I was lucky enough to be invited to a Bloggers’ Preview afternoon at the new Ruma Salon, in Bursledon, Southampton. Now I love the opportunity for a bit of a pamper, and I was super excited to see what this new opening would have in store.
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The lovely staff greeted us with drinks and cupcakes - the way to a blogger's heart, as we all know - before we were shown around the new salon.
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The new salon has a really luxurious feel, with a combination of neutral tones and textures, including dark wood and copper. It feels so luxurious, you wouldn't think it's just down the road from Tesco.
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The treatment areas were so relaxing, and I even got the opportunity to try out the vibrating chair, in both the massage room and the basin area. It was bizarre at first, but totally relaxing so I can see why they've been included.
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Ruma is offering a range of treatments and services, from Shellac nails, to massages, Murad speciality facials and hair cuts and colours. The salon also stocks a variety of Redken and Pureology, which sound really amazing. I've not tried any myself, but I've heard great things from fellow bloggers, and the staff were raving about it. I'd definitely be up for trying some.
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I was also lucky enough to have my hair played with and done in an up-do by the really talented Sophie. She was super creative, so I let her have free reign over my hair and I was super impressed. She created this gorgeous messy side bun with a ladder braid - it looked amazing, I didn't want to take it down come the end of the day. I'm awful at doing my own hair, so it was lovely to have something other than a ponytail. If only Sophie could do my hair every day. I'll definitely be popping back to see Sophie if I have an event that requires some fancy hair.
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I had a fabulous time checking out the new Ruma Salon. Everyone was so lovely, and made us all feel so comfortable and welcome. The atmosphere was so relaxing, it really was a little haven. I can't wait to go back. Want to have a look for yourself? Ruma's official opening is this weekend, both Friday and Saturday, when you can just drop in and have a look for yourself.
Until next time,
Lexie
xo

Friday, 6 November 2015

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks - An Obsession

Are you one of those makeup lovers who buys every version available if you fall in love with a product? I certainly am, and you can guarantee that if I really like something, I want all the colours out there. You can assume then, that I love the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks.
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I've always loved cream eye-shadow. It works so well as a base for other shadows, and looks amazing on its own. Working in retail, and now working long days in a busy environment, I like anything that stands the heat and is still evident come the end of the day. I've got plenty of the Bobbi Brown cream shadows in the pots, and when I was recommended the stick form, I was sure I would fall in love. I have acquired four this year, and there are more on my wishlist.
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My first venture into the Shadow Sticks was the Golden Bronze stick, as recommended by my best friend. I trust her recommendations wholeheartedly, and knew I'd love this shade. It's exactly how the name describes, a golden bronze, a colour I wear all the time. I use this as a base and on its own, and it got a lot of use this summer - so much its almost gone! I'm sure I'll use it loads in the winter too, with a berry lip.
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Once I knew I liked the formula, I headed back to the counter and started swatching. I picked up Dusty Mauve, a pink/purple toned taupe, and it looks beautiful with the shades from my L’Oreal Le Palette Nude in Rose. I wear this when I want neutral makeup but a little more adventurous - only a little, mind. I also picked up the Golden Pink Shadow Stick for the same reason, although I would say it's more of a summer shade.
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With winter coming in full force, Forest was my latest addition. I love green, and as I want to experiment with more colour, I thought this would be a great shadow to own. It's quite dark, so it should work well as a smoky eye. I definitely want to get more use out of it soon.
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Have you tried any of the Bobbi Brown Longwear Shadow Sticks? Are there any more colours I should pick up?
Until next time,
Lexie
xo

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Festive Lush Haul

Nothing gets me more excited than the release of the limited edition Lush collections, especially for Halloween and Christmas. Maybe it's the fact that they're products we can't get all year round, or maybe it's because it means Christmas is on the horizon. Either way, I have no self control when it comes to Lush at this time of year, and I thought I'd share what I've picked up - so far, that is, I'm sure there'll be more.
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This was never something I was drawn to in the past. I love the sweet Lush products, and I didn't think this green bath bomb would be up my street at all. But a rave reviews from my best friend was enough for me to give this a sniff and boy was I glad. This might not be as sweet as I'm used to, but I think I'll enjoy using it.
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An old favourite. I discovered this last Christmas, and found that it worked wonders for my psoriasis and eczema. It's so moisturising, and it smells amazing. Yes, it is the same as the Butterball, which you can get all year round, but there's something about the shape of this one that makes it so much better.

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I've never been a great lover of rose scents, so this was another product I'd avoided. But after hearing Brogan rave about the shower gel in numerous videos, I thought I'd investigate the bubbleroon. And boy, had I been missing out. It's not too overpowering, and reminds me of Turkish Delight, yum! I wish I'd discovered this sooner.

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Another favourite from last year. I love the spiced scent of this bath bomb, with it instantly reminding me of Christmas. Though it may be small, it packs a considerable punch, and I bought multiples of this last year. The popping candy adds an element of fun, and it instantly gets me in the mood for caroling and Christmas shopping.

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What would a festive Lush Haul be without a Santa themed item? I was drawn to the Peeping Santa (its just so cute) but I decided to go with this bubble bar. He's just as cute, and smells amazing. I'm sure I'll feel a little bad crumbling him up, but it's for a good cause, right?

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So that's my collection of Christmassy Lush bits, so far. I'm sure I'll go back for more but I think this is plenty to keep me going for now. What are your favourite festive Lush releases? Is there anything I should try out?
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Until next time,
Lexie
xo

Monday, 2 November 2015

Hairspiration

With a haircut on the horizon, I've been trawling through Pinterest searching for inspiration. I'm always one to switch up my hairstyle on every visit to my hairdresser - I'm sure she loves it for me really - so Pinterest and Instagram are my favourite apps. I thought that before I make my next appointment, which won't be long I'm sure, I'd share some of the looks and hairstyles I'm using as my inspiration!

Lucy Hale - I've always loved Lucy Hale, but since she's started cutting her hair, I've had total hair envy. The colour, the style, everything. She's been a great hair inspiration in the past, and I love her hair these days.
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Caroline Flack - I fell in love with Caroline Flack when she was on Strictly last year, and her hair was just another aspect of her kooky self that I totally fell in love with. I'd love to be able to pull this sort of look off, so she's definitely an inspiration.
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Jenna Coleman - I'm not a great Doctor Who fan, but I do love the opportunity to ogle over Jenna Coleman's outfits and her hair. It's so appealing, so I think I'll definitely add her to my inspiration list. It looks so pretty on her, but adding an edge to her style.
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Louise Roe - I've always loved watching Louise Roe on Plain Jane, and have dreamed about having her wardrobe, hair and makeup. Since she's cut it, I've realised even the girliest of girls, like Louise, can have a shorter, edgier haircut.
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So that's my current hair inspiration. Any other suggestions for me? Or do one of these appeal to you?
All images can be found on my Hair board on Pinterest - you can find it here: https://www.pinterest.com/lifelovelexie/
Until next time,
Lexie
xo

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