28/05/2015

Products I Used Up - May


I can't believe it's been over a year since I wrote an empties post on my blog. I recently started sharing the majority of my empties over on Instagram, by posting throughout the month I don't have to hang onto leaky products! I seem to have used up lots of skincare, a few body care products and even one makeup item over the last few months, so, I thought I'd share with you the products I've used up. Some items I have already repurchased, others I'd probably give a miss -

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic - I've mentioned this toner on my blog/social media quite a few times so I won't go into too much detail. The Liz Earle Skin tonic calms my skin and helps to keep my skin clear. It feels incredibly hydrating on my skin, no other toner works for me quite like this one does.

Bio Essence Moisturising Gel - This moisturiser is lightweight yet super hydrating, my skin loved this. I can imagine it would be perfect for Summer. I wouldn't repurchase this, I got through the 50ml tub so quickly. I have similar moisturisers that last 5-6 months, whereas this one lasted for 2 months. Not impressed.

Ginger & Co Double Up - Creamy Body Wash* - I received some Ginger & Co products back in February, I'm surprised at how long this creamy body wash has lasted! Great value for money considering I used this almost every day. This creamy body wash had a lovely, sweet smell and left my skin hydrated.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish - Orange Flower and Chamomile - My favourite cleanser, I think that I even love this more than the original Cleanse & Polish. This limited edition C&P has a lovely fresh scent, the texture is slightly lighter than the original and overall I think that this one is more effective at removing my makeup. At Christmas I stocked up on this, but sadly this was my last bottle so I'll be purchasing the original. Liz Earle…please add this one to your permanent line!

Soap and Glory Flake Away - My favourite S&G scrub (after the Breakfast scrub of course!) This scrub buffs away dead skin, smells yummy and doesn't clog my drain. I couldn't really ask for anything more from a body scrub!

Oskia Renaissance Cleanser - I've repurchased this cleanser a few times now, although I do quite like this, I'll be going back to creamy cleansers for the Summer months. I find that cream cleansers are more effective at removing makeup. The Oskia cleanser leaves my skin super hydrated, and also brightens my skin, but I find that balm cleansers are more suited through the Winter months when my skin feels slightly drier.

Bioderma - I bought this last July in France and I've only just finished this - great value for money! Although for me this doesn't deserve all the hype it receives (I still find myself using like six cotton pads to remove makeup) I would probably still repurchase this. Since this ran out i've tried a few budget micellar waters that have broken my skin out real bad. It's handy to have something like this in my skincare basket for a pre cleanse. If you have sensitive skin, Bioderma really is worth the extra cash.

I Love…Coconut Cream and Mango & Papaya shower gel - Already repurchased these products as they are purse friendly, and smell incredibly! My skin smells and feels amazing after I use the I love…range.

Clinique Instant Perfector - I'm already feeling a little bit lost without this, the Clinique Instant Perfector blurs pores and mattifies my skin without making it dry or cakey. This is great under makeup as a primer or for touch ups throughout the day. It's great for the Summer months when my skins more oily.

What products have you used up lately? Are you a fan of empties posts or do you prefer them to be posted elsewhere? Have you tried any of the products in this post?

*PR Sample
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26/05/2015

Garnier Ultimate Blends - The Strength Restorer

 


Heat styling, treatments, endless backcombing and colouring - our hair sure does take a right old battering! All this abuse can leave our once healthy hair looking dull, limp and damaged. It can be difficult to find a budget haircare brand that targets damaged hair so when the Garnier team contacted me to try The Strength Restorer range from the Ultimate Blends line I jumped at the opportunity! The PR team had clearly taken the time to read my blog and had not only identified my hair type, but also saw how much of a fan I am of the Sleek Restorer range that I’ve featured here and here.

So, a little bit about my hair I’m naturally blessed with super curly hair (cheers dad!)There’s no denying I’m a slave to my straighteners and as a result my hair is slightly damaged and very brittle. , I was keen to try the Strength Restorer range in hope that it would improve the overall texture of my hair and hopefully protect from any future damage. With heavenly honey, propolis and royal jelly there are some lovely ingredients packed into every product in the Strength Restorer range. As you can imagine all the products smell amazing. This sweet (but not sickly) scent lingers in my hair after styling, I have to say it’s a huge selling point for me as I haven’t smelt any other haircare products that smell quite as good as the products from this range.  Gorgeous scent aside, let’s see how the products performed -  

Before trying the Strength Restorer shampoo I had a few problems with my hair, my scalp was very oily, but my ends were quite brittle and dry. I’ve found that a combination of the shampoo and conditioner in this range has completely eliminated my problem. The shampoo (as you would imagine) lathers up well and feels quite gentle on my scalp. The shampoo feels so nourishing and doesn’t leave my hair feeling stripped or dry. 

The conditioner has a lightweight texture; I apply a light layer through the ends of my hair and then apply a little more product, focusing purely on my ends. I leave this on my hair for around 5-10 minutes then rinse away. Some conditioners can really weigh my hair down, but this one manages to be incredibly lightweight but also very nourishing.

If you haven’t tried any of the 1 minute treatments from the Ultimate Blends line, you need to get on that – like right away! All of the Garnier hair treatments have a buttery thick texture that provides an intense treatment for dry parched hair. I tend to use the Garnier 1 minute treatments once a week or on days where my hair needs an extra boost of hydration.My hair not only smells incredible after using this, it feels super soft, hydrated, nourished and it looks super shiny!

I saved the best until last, the Strength Restorer serum is definitely my stand out product from the range. If you only buy one thing, make it this! As you would expect the serum has a lightweight formula and smells like honey - the scent is even stronger in the serum! You can apply this serum on dry hair, it adds a lovely shine to my hair, protects against frizz/humidity and leaves my dry ends (that are in desperate need of a cut) looking less gross. You can also use this serum as a pre-styling treatment on towel dried hair, it protects against hair breakage and brushing damage. As with all the products in this range the serum made my hair a lot more manageable during the styling process, my hair was a lot smoother and less tangled.

After using the whole range I have to say I’m in love, I wouldn’t hesitate to repurchase products from the Strength Restorer line. I’ve recommended this range to friends and family. My Mum who has her hair chemically straightened (and suffers with a lot of breakage) is absolutely smitten with the serum, after a gentle nag she has purchased her own bottle. I have been using this range for over three weeks now and I have to say in terms of improving dull, fragile hair the results are instant. The claim regarding 84% less breakage is something I will notice over a longer period of time, however I have noticed when straightening my hair there’s a lot less hair shedding (nice) and the front parts of my hair that usually feel a little tufty and coarse are a lot smoother and healthier looking!

Are you a fan of the Garnier Ultimate Blends range? What are your favourite budget haircare products? Have you tried any products from the Strength Restorer range? 

*PR Sample 
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22/05/2015

My Fitness Goals + Did I achieve my 2014 Goals?


I can't believe almost nine months ago I shared my fitness goals here on Rinica Writes, so cliche but seriously where do the months go? Today I thought I would review my fitness goals, I wanted to share my progress and also write up some new challenges, that I can hopefully achieve before the end of 2015. I recently won free entry to Spartan Race in a blog competition over on Tasha's blog Elsie Delilah, I'm so grateful and incredibly excited. I'm going to have to step up my training over the next few months - so there's really no better time to write up some new goals! 

2014 Goal - Be able to do the splits
2015 Review -  I think that I was a little over ambiguous with this goal. Building up flexibility is a slow, painful process! However, I have seen some small improvement with my flexibility, I can touch my toes and I can almost place my feet firmly on the ground in down dog. Baby steps. 

New Goal – Yoga, and weekly 20 minute stretch
After a lot of research, and reading this post here by Cat Meffan I've decided that in order to improve my flexibility I'm going to have to dedicate a lot more time to stretching than I currently do. One 20 minute session weekly, and regularly yoga should hopefully improve my flexibility. 

2014 Goal – Run 10k
2015 Review - Done. One that I can tick of the list. The Bupa Training Plans that I've mentioned before are pretty awesome for beginners, or even regular runners who are wanting to up their distance or improve on speed - certainly worth checking out. 

New Goal – Improve my time & successfully complete the Spartan UK race
The current aim is 5k 25 minutes and 10k in under 50 minutes. I'm not too far off with my current times, but with regular speed training I could be there by the end of the year we shall see. The biggest goal for me is to run the Sheffield Half Marathon next year!  

2014 Goal - Beat those post run headaches
2015 Review - Yay, no more headaches. I've found that having a snack such as Greek yogurt and berries or a trek bar before running combined with gel shots midway through running has eliminated those awful post run headaches I used to suffer with. 

New goal – Up the protein & improve my diet
I have been trying to incorporate protein packed meals into my diet, but this is something I really need to work on - my diets not quite there yet! 

2014 Goal - Gain some arm muscle
2015 Review - I guess one might say that I have developed a teeny arm muscle, but if I'm honest there's still a long way to go. 2015 is the year for me to focus on my arms, build my strength and increase the amount of weight exercises I do. 

New goal I'd like to increase my weights from 3kg to 5kg. I am aiming to include three weight training sessions per week. 

2014 Goal - Define waist and improve core strength
Review - Definitely can tick this one off. If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen my 30 day ab challenge progress pictures here and here. I'm well on my way to a super toned tum, but, there's still a long way to go before I'm rocking some Kayla Itsiness abs!

New goal Continue daily ab workouts. Improve my diet cut out foods that cause a bloaty belly.

I can't wait for you to come on my fitness journey with me!
Do you have any fitness goals? Any tips for improving flexibility? Have you competed in the Spartan races?

P.S Image source this image is free to use/share but I wanted to include a link to Alex Van's page -  he has some beautiful photography! 
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19/05/2015

Lush Rose Bombshell



I was surprised to come across a Lush bath bomb that I had not tried, but here we are Rose Bombshell…another bath bomb I can add onto my long list of Lush bath bombs that I have tried.

I believe that the Rose Bombshell bath bomb was part of the Lush Mothers Day collection, it was kindly gifted to me at the The City Girls launch party event. I’m always very apprehensive with rose scented products, as sometimes the scent can be quite mature smelling and overpowering. However, Rose Bombshell had a lovely fresh sweet scent that left my bath smelling divine and  lingered on my skin.

You all know how I feel about bath bombs that turn your water red (blood bath anyone?) I was quite happy to see that this bath bomb left my bath water pink, I felt like a pampered princess with my pink water!

As this bath bomb fizzled away, I was left with rose petals in my bath, some people may love that about this bath bomb, however petals (or seaweed for that matter) are a huge turn off for me.  The petals clogged my drain, and having to pick soggy petals out of my bath seemed a bit of a chore.

Although this bath bomb is no longer available at Lush stores I hear that Rose Queen (from the permanent line) has a similar scent/concept. So, if Rose Bombshell sounds like your cup of tea you might love Rose Queen. 

Although I loved the scent, the petals aspect for me did put me off, so I probably wouldn’t repurchase this! But if petals are your thing and you love rose scented products this bath bomb may be for you. 

What are your favourite Lush bath bombs? Are you a fan of rose scented products? Have you tried Rose Bomshell?
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17/05/2015

A Week in Fitness


Welcome to my week in fitness! I guess that you could call this a diary entry of sorts, but today I thought I'd share my week with you. This week saw me trying lots of new classes so who knows, maybe this post will inspire some of you to try something new and get that body moving. Reading posts like this helps to motivate me, as you may already know if you read my fitness motivation (post here) I’m a firm believer in mixing things up when it comes to fitness. Doing the same workout repeatedly not only becomes a chore, but I also find that I stop seeing results. Pushing yourself to try something new not only works new areas of your body (that you otherwise neglected) it also keeps exercise fun, which in return makes you more motivated!

Here's what I got up to this week - 

Monday – Run to gym/home (5.49km) + Spinning class
Lesson learnt, running after a spin class is crazy (don't do it!) What is spinning I hear you ask?  Spinning is a high intensity exercise that involves peddling as hard as you can whilst adding/subtracting resistance. Spinning makes me sweat in places that I’ve never sweated before! Possibly TMI, but spinning well and truly hurts my tooshi - maybe it's just me I don't know!? Tooshi pain aside, spin class is great for burning fat fast, this 45 minute class certainly isn't for the faint hearted, but I enjoy it none the less! 


Tuesday – Box Fit + Intro to free weights session
Tuesday was a day for something new. I booked onto a Box Fit class, I didn’t really know what to expect, if I'm honest, I assumed it would be a few punches with aerobic moves (nothing too strenuous.) So, you can imagine my surprise when I arrived to a 10kg barbell, dumbbells and a step box! This class involved lots of punching (with weights) burpees, squats and push ups - I'd say this was more like a circuit training session with weights. My arms and shoulders burned so bad after this class, which is great for me as I'm working hard on my upper body at the moment - #weenyarms! If your goal is to achieve a strong upper body give this class (or something similar) a try! 

I also attended an Intro to free weights session, it lasted for around 15 - 20 minutes, I can't recommend it enough! I've always lacked confidence when it comes to free weights maybe it's just me, but the free weights section can be very intimidating. There’s always sweaty guys in groups, pumping 50kg, grunting in the mirrors, hogging every piece of equipment! Anyway, this intro to free weights gave me lots of new workout ideas….I feel a lot more confident with my weights, and turns out my form actually isn’t as terrible as I thought!

Wednesday – Rest Day
I ended up having a bad case of Vertigo on Wednesday, so annoyingly exercise was out of the question. I did however do some reps at home with 5kg weights. Bicep curls and trip dips for around 15 minutes.


Thursday – Kettlebells & Abs session
A new class for me, I've heard a lot about Kettlebells though, apparently you can burn a lot of calories in 30 minutes! I didn't enjoy Kettlebells quite as much as I thought I would, there's a lot more to this class than just swinging a kettlebell, there's a technique to it and a lot of things to think about. The instructor corrected our forms and talked a lot about technique - which I can understand as we don't want any injuries. But for me this class was all talk, no action and for a 30 minute class I want to be working hard and have a real sweat on which I didn't find with this class. Maybe it was the instructor, maybe it was the class but I'm not keen on trying Kettlebells again. 

I followed Kettlebells with an abs session. It was in this abs class that I discovered just how much I hate Russian twists, my stomach burned. I had such a sweat on, it was 30 minutes of pure hell but worth it for a toned tummy. If you don't have a membership, but fancy 30 minutes of pure ab hell at home, I recommend this Fitness blender video here - it kills so bad! 

Friday - Bootcamp 
Hell. Yup, if I was to describe bootcamp in one word, it would be hell. I'll be honest though there's something about getting shouted at that makes me work 10x harder. Bootcamp is military style workout, with very harsh discipline. You get a fast paced class that burn real bad. I'd love to find more bootcamp classes in Sheffield, as sadly this was the last time I'll be able to attend this as I'm back full time next week (scary times!) 

So, there we have it! I'd love to know what you got up to this week (I'm nosey like that.) Are you a fan of Kettlebells or is spinning your favourite? Are you a fan of bootcamp sessions? What are your favourite fitness accounts on Youtube?
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13/05/2015

Liz Earle Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion


Got hayfever? Then you have to try the Liz Earle Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion. With witch hazel, aloe Vera and cornflower this lotion feels super cooling on tired, puffy or irritated eyes.

If you suffer with hayfever you might be familiar with itchy, irritated eyes, mine are terrible around this time of the year, thing’s get puffy and watery – mascara is well and truly out of the equation! I recently received a teeny sample of the Liz Earle Eyebright (Liz Earle always includes amazing samples with online purchases!) This eye lotion is unlike anything I have previously tried as it comes in a similar bottle to toners, you pour the product onto cotton wool, hold over your eyes and wipe gently. The eyebright solution feels cooling, refreshing and really helps to reduce puffy eyes. Although, I would still recommend applying an eye cream, the eye bright solution isn’t at all drying on my eyes – it’s great for even the most sensitive of peepers.

My eyes always look less tired and brighter when I use Eyebright. For evening use the Eyebright solution also does a fantastic job of removing any leftover mascara, which is great for me as there’s nothing worse than panda eyes in the morning!

So, the question I can imagine you are asking is do I need this? And I have to be honest before trying I probably would have said no, however, since trying this I have to say yes! I feel like the Liz Earle Eyebright solution is a great alternative for a twenty something year old (like me) who always forgets eye cream (and generally neglects the skin around my eye area.) In the mornings this feels so refreshing, and instantly brightens up my eye area without leaving a greasy layer.

Since finishing this sample I actually quite miss it, which I guess is a sign I must have really enjoyed using it! I wouldn’t hesitate to repurchase this.

I’d love to know if you are a fan of the Liz Earle Eyebright? What are your favourite eye care products?
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07/05/2015

I love… Mango & Papaya Shower Gel and Coconut & Cream Lotion


I'll be honest when it comes to my everyday shower gel and lotion I'm cheap and cheerful. There's no denying I love a little Lush, Soap & Glory and The Body Shop, but if I'm honest, I usually like to opt for something slighter cheaper for everyday use. I'm so happy to have found a range that smells incredible at an affordable price. Having tried products from the likes of Baylis & Harding and Wilkinsons my expectations for the I Love range were relatively low. However, I couldn't have been more wrong as the two products I'm going to write about today have really impressed me, so much so that I'm keen to pick up more products from the range. The I Love products are currently stocked in Superdrug and on their website here. The product prices start at a mere £1.50 with the most expensive products in the range coming in at £4 …bargain or what! All of the products contain natural extracts to help you feel invigorated, all the products are soap free and paraben free - which is an added bonus!

I love…Mango and Papaya shower gel £2.99 (full size 500ml) 
I've had this shower gel since Christmas even with daily use this 100ml bottle has lasted me ages, I'm sure the 500ml bottle will keep me going for quite some time. If you are a fan of fruity, sweet smells you'll love this. The smell is so refreshing in the morning, I love how this smells super fruity and sweet without being too sickly or overpowering. The shower gel lathers really nicely, and doesn't dry out my skin …an added bonus for me as I suffer with eczema. I wouldn't hesitate to purchase the full size of this as it will be perfect for the warmer months.

I love…Coconut Cream Moisturising Body Lotion £2.99 (full size 250ml)
This body lotion smells incredible, coconut oil and shea butter leave my skin feeling so nourished without leaving a greasy residue on my skin. The lotion is really lightweight, making it a perfect option for both Summer and Winter. This has a lovely fresh coconut scent, for me, it's on par with my favourite TBS coconut body butter, which is saying something for me as I love TBS body butters.

So, I guess it's fair to say I love the ummm I love... products I have tried so far! I can't wait to try more from the range the raspberry and vanilla scented products are high up on my list. I can't wait to try the shower smoothies and body butters - they look amazing.

I'd love to know if you love the I love range as much as I do? What are your favourite products from the range? What are your favourite budget brands?
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05/05/2015

Nike Sportswear Haul


I love new workout gear. It's quite funny really as my boyfriend doesn't understand why I spend so much on something I'm essentially going to get sweaty in. As I mentioned in fitness motivation post over here, I like to use new workout gear as an incentive, when I achieve a new goal, work out 5 times a week for a whole month or eat healthy I reward myself with one item from my wish list. As my fitness journey seems to be going pretty well at the minute *pat on the back* I've ended up with lots of new sportswear. Today I thought I'd share a few Nike pieces that are new to my collection. Despite what my boyfriend may think I find Nike sportswear to be both fashionable and durable the DriFit range is so breathable my clothes don't feel uncomfortable at all, which for me is important. Nobody wants sweaty clothes that cling to all the wrong areas, and for me Nike just has my perfect fit!

Nike Pro Classic Bolt Bra - I originally bought this from Asos but it looks as though it may have sold out in most stores from a quick browse online. The Nike Pro classic bras provide medium support for low impact workouts. I like to use this bra for gym sessions, yoga or running. I'll be honest, there's not enough support for running, but I'm naughty and wear it anyway as I love the colour. Black, yellow and white print this bra adds a pop of colour to my outfit and goes really well with …

Nike Just Do It Drop Armhole vests here  and here - Anyone who knows me well will know that I have one hell of a complex with my arms. No ones fault but my own as I've abandoned my arms for years, I've never incorporated any form of arm exercises into my fitness routine years of neglect has resulted in weeny arms, with literally no definition. I recently completed a 30 day arm challenge, upped my weights and I actually feel a little more confident about getting my arms out! The Nike armhole vests have a loose breezy style fit, perfect for running as things stay really cool. The tops have a boxy fit and cover the shoulder area whilst having a little show of flesh on the side detailing - which I love! If you have weeny arms like me or feel slightly paranoid about showing your arms these boxy style vest tops really are flattering.

Nike Lunarglide 6 (better picture here) - Pretty shoes, hefty price tag. At £115 certainly not the most affordable trainer, however, keep an eye out for various discount codes, also check out Sportsshoes.com as they retail slightly cheaper. Price tag aside, the Lunarglide 6 have to be the comfiest trainers I own. I originally purchased these trainers in hope that I would be able to use them for running, however the Lunarglide 6 are a neutral shoe which doesn't actually provide me with the support I need (more on finding my perfect running shoe in another post!) The Lunarglide shoes are perfect for gym sessions, classes and I even like to just wear them with jeans and a top.

Nike Grey Vapour jacket from Wiggle - The vapour jacket fit is perfect for me, most running jackets sit above your bum and are more fitted. The Nike Vapour jackets are loose fitting, cover the bum and look perfect over vest tops. The material is lightweight, waterproof and breathable. I have a Nike Vapour jacket in high vis and pink, I'm happy to add this grey one to my collection, although I love colour, it's handy to have a grey one as it just goes with everything!

So that's it, my mini Nike haul. I'd love to know what your favourite sportswear is? What are your favourite shops for high street sportswear?
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