A quick little post before the weekend arrives to share with you some products I have been trying out that I’m currently loving. I have never tried any products from the Origins brand before, but as I am doing my best to keep up with a skincare regime that is as natural as possible, I decided it was about time I gave this highly sought after brand a review. The products I have are one’s tailored to my skin needs: Origins Modern Friction Dermabrasion, Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash, and Origins Planscriptions Anti-Aging Power Serum.
Firstly, I want to say that the Modern Friction Dermabrasion, £33 for 125ml, is my new favourite! It is one of the best exfoliators I have ever used. I like to use a dermabrasion type exfoliating wash once a week to help speed up my skin cell renewal, so that marks from breakouts and sun-damage are kept on top of, turning over quicker and revealing newer and brighter skin. This natural and gentle exfoliator also makes the texture of my skin feel super soft; I noticed my skin felt really smooth and appeared slightly clearer with more radiance after just two uses. It contains skin refining rice starch, illuminating lemon oil, and smoothing aloe, and these powerful natural ingredients work wonders to really unclog my skin. It has relaxing perk-me-up aromas of Bergamot and Peppermint, and even though it is a dermabrasion product, it feels really creamy to use. No harsh sharp particles and no redness after using. I love it, and it has now taken over my No7 Microdermabrasion exfoliator as my number 1 scrub!
The next lovely product is the Checks and Balances Facial Wash, £18.50, which aims to cleanse the skin whilst at the same time moisturising dry patches, and balancing out oily parts too. My skin is slightly combination; I have dry areas around my nose and cheeks, yet my forehead and chin can get really shiny throughout the day. This facial wash aims to target this problem, and keep skin looking refreshed. I love using this – again it smells amazing, a real natural, holistic scent with a nice frothy texture. I always feel like my skin is ultra clean after using this. If you are looking for a gentle daily wash to moisturise, balance and protect all in one, then this should be one of your go-to products!
The third product is the Anti-aging Power Serum. Now I always find it difficult to review a product that has the aim to reduce the appearance of aging, as I am only 28 with (touch wood) very few lines appearing. However, I did noticed that with regular use of this serum, my skin began to feel more firm and ‘lifted’, as well as completely moisturised. Again, it’s texture and scent are just lovely, and this product does seem to rank fairly high in the beauty world for reducing the signs of wrinkles and aging skin. It costs £48 for 30ml, but a little really does go a long way!
Have you ever tried Origins? What are your thoughts? My selection of Origins products are from House of Fraser, and although I rate all three of them, I am swearing by the Modern Friction Dermabrasion as the ultimate Origins hero product. Let me know if you are a fan too!
Most of my readers will know by now that I try to do as much fitness as possible. It’s pretty impossible these days as free time is rarely on my side, but I’m trying to save aside a couple of times a week to work out. One thing I am relieved I get to do is to walk to work every day. I’m currently living in an apartment in Manchester City Centre before I move into my new house, and it takes me half an hour to walk one way to work, and half an hour to walk back. That’s one whole hour of walking per day – pretty impressive I think?
To help me keep track of how many steps I am talking and calories I am burning, I’ve been using fitness apps on my smartphone to keep on top of my fitness. The best one by far is MyFitnessPal – it’s a great app to have on your phone to log all your food for the day as well as exercise. It also gives you a true representation of your health and fitness goals.
Another way that I enjoy keeping fit is by using music and video via my phone technology to motivate me and give me that ‘boost’ when starting any fitness regimes. The newly launched HTC M9 is a fantastic phone device which I find from reading reviews is a must-have if you need your phone to have the best music system, which encourages working out. The HTC M9 BoomSound Speakers and its ability to record/play to up to 4k of video is another aspect which promotes motivation – sometimes playing video clips I’ve recorded myself or playing a range of videos from YouTube that I’ve discovered keeps me going too.
I actually think that making sure you have a really trusty, full spec phone is an essential in the world of working out. Going to the gym or heading out for runs can sometimes kill me with boredom, but having a device like the HTC M9 would entertain on the go, and if used right, would actually turn fitness into fun. I love how it is slim, with a shiny all-metal body and a big 5” Full HD screen. As a fashion blogger, I’d feel quite stylish owning this as it has a real distinctive design. The camera also has a hardened sapphire lens to keep it scratch free, looking good and taking super sharp photos. It’s definitely highly rated for its music and video playing ability the most though – so worth checking out if you’re in the position to switch your phone (and also a fitness freak!)
To celebrate my love for fitness and technology, I have teamed up with Three Mobile to give away the Orb Bluetooth Activity Tracker, available in black, white or pink, which can be connected to any smartphone. It sends your steps and sleep data wirelessly to a compatible smartphone or tablet, or via an optional dongle which plugs into a PC/Mac. It also tracks your steps, distance walked, calories burned and sleep, helping with weight loss you lose weight, getting fitter and feeling better. If you aren’t lucky enough yet to own the HTC M9 (It’s on my wish list) then don’t worry – this Orb can work with any smartphone.
To WIN the Orb Bluetooth Activity Tracker, just answer the question below by commenting on this post with the answer, and do feel free to share this on Twitter using the hashtag #HTCM9WithEmma.
“What is the best fitness app and why?”
Competition runs for 30 days, ending 23rd May 2015. One winner will be selected. Good luck!
After having a huge clear out last week, I suddenly came to the realisation I don’t own a nice new pair of flat shoes. If you are anything like me, you may find yourself guilty of going over the top in lower priced High St stores like Primark and H&M, buying ballet pumps in every colour and print. Then after a couple of wears, the soles wear down, the colour fades and they get scuffed from hammering the pavement daily. I’m guilty of it – which has lead me to a huge throw out, in which I needed a nice new firm, sturdy pair I can walk around in this Summer.
So Bells Shoes came to my foot rescue!
Here are my newest additions to my shoe cupboard, the lovely ever so slightly pointed toe pumps in black with a much firmer sole than the flimsier ballet pumps I’ve been purchasing. These Blowfish Cleo Black Ladies Pumps are £35 from Bells Shoes, an online shoe retailer which is home to an extensive range of brands.
They have a very small platform to the sole, which is nice to give the shoes a little bit of height and makes them a more solid pair of flats. I wore them with bare feet the first time I wore them and they are really comfy and soft – no need for wearing them in before I can wear them without socks or tights.
I found these an ideal flat shoe to team up with this season’s hottest trouser trend – the culotte. I have a pair in burgundy from Topshop which I absolutely love, and now own my second monochrome pair from New Look as you can see above. Finding a casual shoe to match with culottes is quite difficult, especially for work wear, which I was looking for. Luckily, these pumps do the job more than nicely!
The culottes I’m wearing here are such a bargain – they were only £14.99- and although I purchased them last Thursday they have already gone out of stock online at New Look as this trend is hugely popular. I was completely spoilt for choice due to the amazing selection of culottes from the brand in general, and I noticed they have a stunning pair of stone colour ones too which will be my next Summer buy. Take a look at the collection here.
Well this is my first Summer inspired culottes and new flat shoes outfit! Hope it gives you some inspiration…
As a beauty fanatic, I have a number of staple favourites I rely on all year round. However, when it comes to Summer, I love to add a handful of new additions to my collection which are suitable for the hotter and brighter months. For this year, I have found some luscious new products from Yves Rocher that I have gotten really excited about! With tropical beach vibes and amazing scents, here are 4 beautiful products from the number 1 make-up and skincare brand from France…
Firstly, there is the Delicate Cleansing Cream (RRP £6.90) for which is used to cleanse hair. It has a non-foaming formula which protects the integrity of the hair fibre even when used daily. Inspired by the ‘no shampoo’ method which is big in the US, this cream uses organic hawthorn to protect hair. At first, I obviously found the non-foaming cleansing method completely different to using my normal shampoos, as you do just expect to lather up a foam. But once you get over the sensation, the massaging in of a cream cleanser actually feels really nice, and the texture is fairly thick therefore it coats the hair and gives it a lovely fresh clean.
The next product is one of my favourites from the brand, and I think it’s one a lot of you girls out there would love. The Rinsing Vinegar (RRP £11.30) is a raspberry scented wash which will eliminates limescale and mineral build up, aiming to leave hair ultra shiny and smooth. I have been using this as the final rinse after washing out my hair conditioner, and I’ve started to noticed a subtle shine after blow drying. My hair is highlighted blonde, therefore always looks pretty dull and dry after drying. It’s not a miracle product to add a permanent brilliant shine, but it definitely leaves that a glimmering light reflecting finish, and the sweetest smell.
Both products are sillicone, paraben and sulphate free and are composed of 98% natural ingredients. Not much to dislike!
Now for my very favourite product for Summer so far, the Monoi Precious Dry Oil (RRP £14.90) which is delicately fragranced with gorgeous golden shimmer pigments. It’s the loveliest oil to apply in order to enhance a tan and give skin that summer glow. I use a gradual false tan body lotion from Dove every other day, and I feel that when this shimmery oil is applied over, it illuminates the tan and gives my skin what I’d like to call a sexy sheen! Again, it is paraben and mineral oil-free, and doesn’t have the greasy texture associated to it like some oils can.
Last but not least, from the Monoi de Tahiti range, is the exotically scented Lagoon Hair & Body Wash (RRP £3.20). The wash contains organic Aloe, therefore is gentle enough to be used on the hair as well as skin – ideal for taking on holidays. It’s a great product to pop in your suitcase for a week away when you wish to save space when packing products as it’s perfect to use for all over the body. It has a tropical scent which sends me into holiday mode; it has that complete beach vibe to it. May I add it also looks really cool in my bathroom due to it’s bold colour!
Loving these new products from Yves Rocher for Summer – it may not quite be in the height of the heated months yet, but I feel a little like I’m already there. Take a look at the Yves Rocher website if you wish to explore more of the collections too. And do feel free to share with me your Summer fave’s!
It’s been a while since I have put together a travel inspired post, so today I wanted to share with you the best way to spend a budget weekend in one of my favourite North West cities – Liverpool. Last weekend, I opted for some quality family time from Friday to Sunday staying at the Travelodge on Exchange Street, to spend a little time exploring Liverpool and having a budget break away from Manchester.
There are over 500 Travelodge hotels across the UK, so no matter which city I want to take a weekend break to, I usually always end up having a little check at Travelodge’s availability and prices before I look elsewhere. I guess it’s because I know them as a reputable, trusted name in the accommodation world. Everytime I have stayed in one of their hotels, I have always had a clean and pleasant room for a really affordable price. So for this particular weekend, it made sense to stay here…
It’s not often I get to spend quality time with my Mum and Sister, so as my sister works and spends a lot of time in Liverpool, my Mum and I got the train to Liverpool on a Friday afternoon to meet her and checked into the Exchange Street Travelodge, before heading out for a good old fail-safe meal at Pizza Express. Our room was a basic double room but was roomy, clean, comfortable and cheery, with all inclusive buffet style breakfast for Saturday and Sunday. For a casual little weekend trip, it was everything we needed.
I found that throughout my stay, the staff were attentive all-round and helped us with anything we needed. We experienced a cold shower situation in our room, in which the staff were more than helpful to move us room and offer complimentary drinks at the bar to apologise for the inconvenience. And they do have a great range of spirits and whiskeys may I add! The Bombay Sapphire and Jack Daniels did the trick as perfect end-of-the-night drinks.
Nothing beats a good old traditional all-you-can-eat English Breakfast style buffet breakfast! We were fully satisfied after two days of stuffing our faces with toast, eggs, beans, sausage, tomatoes, cereals, blueberry muffins, coffees, teas, yoghurts… you seriously can’t beat a bit of everything right?
So you are probably wondering what I had planned to do in Liverpool for the weekend, as staying at the Travelodge was literally just a place for us to rest out heads so surely my whole weekend isn’t just going to involve a discussion of my accommodation…
I have put a couple of photos together which capture a little glimpse of the relaxed weekend, and have also put together a few little pointers which I recommend bearing in mind in case you plan on taking a weekend trip to Liverpool yourself. It truly is a lovely city – many a time I have came here for friends birthdays and done nothing else but go out in the city for a night out (which is still a very good reason to visit Liverpool at night, as it is an awesome place for drinks and dancing), but this time I opted for a few more chilled out attractions:
1. If you love music, and more importantly the history of music, take a walk down to The Cavern Club on Matthew Street to see where The Beatles started out. We took a walk here on the Sunday daytime, but I have heard it’s a great place to check out at night too.
2. Save a few hours aside for a shopping spree at Liverpool One and indulge in a spot of retail therapy – you’ll find all your favourite brands and more around this shopping area. There are also little side streets too around Liverpool One with more premium stores, and then of course the main shopping High Street which has a few more budget shops. It is pretty spot on for shopping. There are lots of cute coffee shops around too for a little break, and if you are into your tea’s, check out Leaf for a little tea break. You won’t be disappointed if you are a true fan! I’ve mentioned it in an older blog post here.
3. Visit the Empire Theater and book in to see a show. I attended a Matinee performance for Dirty Dancing on the Saturday which was a lovely change for me, as I usually see shows and musicals in the evening. It was nice to spend the day watching the show, and then heading back to our hotel to get ready for an evening out. If Dirty Dancing is touring when you are looking for a show to see, then I do really recommend watching it. It’s a really fun, feel-good girly show, so definitely one I recommend rounding up your ladies and booking to see. The soundtrack is phenomenal and really gets you in a dancing mood. A show that makes you ponder dance classes afterwards!
4. Book a meal at the Albert Dock in the evening, and visit the neighbouring bars for a cocktail or two. I visited Gusto on the docks, and couldn’t fault the ambiance, food, service, drinks and price. This restaurant never fails to impress me. The best Gnocchi around!
5. For a little more culture, there is the Liverpool Cathedral, Central Library and Tate Liverpool Gallery worth checking out if you have spare time. The Tate is fantastic if you love modern art, and if beautiful architecture is something you love to explore, then Liverpool boasts not one, but two of these! Have a bit of a research and see if you can fit these into your itineraries.
Overall, we had the nicest of weekends in one of my favourite UK cities. Thanks to Travelodge for providing a comforting place to rest our heads at night and for giving us a fantastic central location. Whilst I have just shared my fun weekend with you all- which is your favourite UK city to visit for the weekend? Do let me know, as a blogger who regularly features travel, I am always interested in hearing everyone else’s favourite spots!
Spring has been a long time coming but it is finally here and some shopping is called for. This should get rid of the drab winter clothes and replace them with some lively ones to compliment the beautiful spring weather.
Here are the top 5 Spring Dresses available from UK Catalogues right now:
- Shirt Dresses
The shirtdress is bigger and better as designers have revamped it to become chic and modern. The addition of front and sides slits with others reaching the thigh, imitating the trend that has been seen on many red carpets. Drop and belted waists add to the glamour making this a fashion must-have this spring. Rock them in different textures like denim, floral and prints to add points to your wardrobe.
With designers like Max Azria showcasing bohemian dresses in the major fashion runways this spring, it’s no wonder this trend makes it to the list. These dresses flow well on the body without being too clingy making them appropriate for that hot afternoon around the town or heading to the beach. They can be long, short or midi depending on the length you fancy.
- Floral dresses
From maxis to minis and midis, floral dresses are here to stay due to their cute and versatile nature. Dress them up with sky high heels or wedges to attend an afternoon party or dress down with cute flats on a busy day around town.
- Black and white dresses
Although this is not a new trend, the 2015 spring edition is ground breaking because it includes silhouettes, patterns and textures. This makes this classic colour interesting propelling it to the top 5 Spring Dresses available from UK Catalogues.
Checks are in vogue from the small to the large ones though the focus is on smaller ones. Expect to see gigham dresses in different silhouettes being paraded in UK catalogues.
Throw in some accessories like an oversize hat and some stylish heels and flats and you will be ready to conquer the world in style. For a more complete list of catalogues, check out Approved Catalogues here.
From my early days of make-up artistry training, one of the things I found incredibly beneficial along the way is the constant picking up of skincare advice and beauty tips. One of the things that always stuck in my mind is that when cleansing our skin, we should mimic the movements of a facial at least twice a week, and always use a face mask which suits your skin concerns once a week. So it goes without saying that once you find your suitable products, use them efficiently to get the best results.
I don’t use face masks often enough, but this has all changed after being introduced to my new swear-by skin saviour face mask: The Trilogy Natural Skincare Radiance Mask. Ever since I attended the lovely Trilogy beauty event at Manchester’s Doubletree Hilton Hotel, I have been hooked on this product…
You may have heard of Trilogy after the press went crazy following up Kate Middleton recently using the Rosehip Oil. Now everyone is realising that the product is an absolute hero product – it diminishes red marks scarring, blemish, open pores and sun damage, as well as providing skin with the ultimate in moisturising and hydrating. It assists with stretch marks, wrinkles, crows feet… basically it is a wonder product. The sad thing is, I used this around 2 years ago and was raving about it, but I’m not of a Kate Middleton celebrity status, therefore the world only listen up when such a credible character is pictured with it (definitely not bitterness there at all… giggle). Well all is not wasted- you can jump on the band wagon now 2 years on when the product is selling out everywhere… better late than never!
On a serious note, the Trilogy Rosehip Oil is fantastic. When I was living in Australia, all the Sydney beauty fanatics swore by this also, and again it would be a sell out product every time David Jones department store stocked up on it. The event I attended with the Trilogy team was really beneficial for me as I got to learn about the products behind the brand that aren’t just the Rose Hip Oil, and now I feel a true fan of this powerful, natural and organic skincare brand.
At the event, we learnt how to make our own moisturiser using the basis of the products the Trilogy skincare experts use. I felt like a real life scientist, using all the little tools and mixing up my ‘moisturising potion’. My final result was a rich, essential oil smelling lotion which I got to take away with me, and I now use it as an all-over-the-body moisturiser. The texture is so creamy and the strong essential oil scent is calming and sensual. A real reflection of all the products by this brand.
All the ingredients packed into the Trilogy product range include the purest natural plant oils, extracts and actives, and are all non-GMO, sustainably produced and fairly traded. At the beauty event, I learnt about some of their loveliest products, such as the Trilogy Everything Balm (a beauty multi-tasker for everyone, everywhere with rosehip, echinacea and pawpaw) and the Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask, which is now my newest beauty essential. I need a mask that promotes a brighter, more even complexion, which also moisturisers but contains an ingredient to help fade any red marks. This mineral-rich kaolin clay delivers instant radiance with a deep cleansing action from the first use- I noticed fantastic results straight away. It uses native New Zealand pohutukawa extract to help tone and regenerate while emollient oils, rosehip and evening primrose nourish and hydrate.
It is a thick, smooth mud type texture which I apply with a spatula and let it sink in for around 20 minutes. It smells like licorice! Not sure if it is meant to, but it sure does to me. It costs £19.50 for a pot, and it is now my favourite pick-me-up product to use on a Friday night in or a if I have a Saturday morning soak. I have even shared with you my scary face when I have this mask on – lucky you!
Thank you to Trilogy for introducing me to this little wonder mask. I cannot recommend it enough!
I think I have discovered the most yummiest smelling haircare of all time. Imagine using thick, creamy milkshake made with sweet smelling ice-cream all over your hair. Are you actually closing your eyes and dreaming of how scrumptious it would smell? I hope so. Because that is truly the actual scent from using haircare products from the Milk_shake brand!
The professional hair care range aims to use quality products to enhance the natural beauty of your hair. Offering the benefits of milk and fruit, this range so far is what I can only describe as ‘delicious’ and an absolute joy to use…
The key ingredient throughout the range is milk protein, acting as heavenly food for your hair. I have been trying out the Whipped Cream Leave-in Foam, which I have been applying to damp hair when when coming out of the shower, tipping my hair upside down and working it through. It’s a no-rinse formula, as the creamy foam conditions hair as a leave in product. It smells just like vanilla ice cream and has the nicest texture. I always blow dry my hair upside down as it has absolutely no volume to it, and I noticed that using this product before blow drying helps to keep it frizz free, soft and silky. This little beauty costs £6.49 and is the perfect size to take on holidays and trips away too.
The second product I have been using is the Natural Care Active Mask. A restructuring milk mask for dry or damaged hair, this product is designed spot-on to treat my hair concerns. Using hair heroes such as milk proteins, avocado, honey, vitamin E and rice oils, the restructuring mask aims to deeply nourish, condition and strengthen dry or damaged hair . It has a built in Integrity 41© to help maintain hair color. I have been using this twice a week and leaving on for around 3 minutes before washing, and have noticed my hair looks more radiant and feels so lovely to touch afterwards. It leaves a silky feel, and my dry blonde hair looks and feels so much less parched.
I have only been using these products for just over a week and a half and already I am in love! I can’t wait to purchase some larger sized products and start making them key products in my haircare collection. If you love a good thick product that resembles all the goodness of smoothies, then check out the Hair Smoothies here which promote colour brilliance. I haven’t tried this range yet, but I am popping the conditioners on my wish list!
Do you all agree that sometimes, there is nothing better than putting on a trusty, comfy, fitted pair of jeans? You know that feeling you get when you pull on a pair, and the denim feels so soft against your skin that it just molds to your body?
In all honesty, I don’t get that feeling very often because I struggle to find jeans that are the perfect fit. I’m very petite, so I usually have to get the smallest of small sizes, which sometimes mean they can be tight round the waist, yet bag around the bum and knees. And a baggy bum is not the look I go after. However, after years of struggling to find the perfect fit that doesn’t retail at £70 plus, I think I have found a winner…
I recently got introduced to the American Eagle Outfitters brand, and noticed they have a new denim range entitled AEO Denim X. Promoted as the brands ‘best fit ever’, Denim X uses a new denim technology that American Eagle Outfitters has launched, made of Lycra dual FX fabric, which combines 2 stretch Lycra fibers into one fabric. The combination of the 2 fibers gives the jeans a super comfortable stretch and the ability to retain their shape throughout the day, wash after wash and wear after wear. I now own a gorgeous ripped pair in a skinny, dark denim style and fit. They do exactly what they claim to do; they fit extremely well, they shape to my own personal curves, and they don’t bag anywhere. Winner!
Perhaps you should ignore the messy room in the background! I am currently in the process of moving into my own house, so for now any outfit shots have to be taken wherever I can squeeze a mirror before I finally get to have my own studio/office/walk in wardrobe. But you can see the general look overall – these jeans fit so lovely and I really do get that comforting feel when I pull them on in the morning.
One of the other nice things about American Eagle Outfitters and their Denim X range is that the jeans start from £32, so they are more than affordable for a staple purchase. Looks like I found my one true denim love!
Usually an avid attendee of Aintree’s Ladies Day, it was strange not to be attending this year for one of the first times. The weirdest thing was that I was actually in Liverpool for the weekend it took place, but I was there on a trip on another project for whatemmadid.com, therefore it meant packing away my finest frock and skipping the North West’s dressiest occasion.
So another year passed, with another years worth of fabulous fashions from the ladies yet again. I had a little scan around online to take a look at some of the most stunning celebrity looks I missed out on spotting, and found the two looks below sported by Rebecca Ferguson and Chloe Lewis from TOWIE…
The hot fuchsia pink worn by Rebecca looks striking paired with deep navy and a touch of embellishment, and from April onwards I always feel it’s the right time of the year to start wearing this colour. Pink and Navy also contrast each other really well, and if worn in the correct way (choose one as the key colour, and the other as the accent colour) then the two create a classic take on bold Summer brights.
As for TOWIE star Chloe Lewis, she rocked up at the event with a clear colour code of peaches and cream for herself and her gal pals. Teamed up with rich tans, long flowing dark hair and dainty gold accessories, they all looked fresh and classy. Cream is always one of those shades that is daring to wear, but if you play it down with peach and gold and a touch of embellishment or embroidery, you can get the ‘clean’ look spot on!
And whilst I am discussing Ladies Day, what was everyone’s thoughts on the winners dress? The 2015 winner, Toni, is pictured below in an oversized polka dot navy and cream ensemble, complete with a statement hat. True races style!
With these three looks in mind, I have rounded up my ultimate favourite Ladies Day celeb-inspired dresses from one of my most loved occasion retailers, Forever Unique. Forever Unique are possibly one of the most dedicated retailers to providing luxury show stopping event dresses made to a premium quality. I found some adorable cream, fushcia pink and navy styles from the brand’s collection which will be on my wish list for Ascot!…
My one true love is the navy drape dress above – so sophisticated yet simple at the same time. For a more in-depth look at the dress collections from Forever Unique for future race events, take a look at the entire range here. You’ll fall in love, I promise you!