Friday, 30 January 2015

Beauty // The Body Shop - Wild Argan Oil Shower Gel & Body Lotion

When I was younger you couldn't move in my bathroom without tripping over something by The Body Shop. I absolutely loved their brightly coloured lotions and potions and the fact that everything smelled so yummy! However for some reason I now find myself not having used anything from The Body Shop in years. I was recently contacted to see if I'd be interested in trying out a couple of products from their new Wild Argan Oil range and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to reintroduce myself to their products. And I'm so glad I did!

the-body-shop-wild-argan-range

Argan oil is known for being deeply nourishing and moisturising, making it just perfect for a Shower Gel and Body Lotion. I wasn't disappointed as both these products have helped make my skin feel so soft.

the-body-shop

The Wild Argan Oil Shower Gel leaves my skin feeling really clean and moistursed. It lathers up really nicely, and a lot goes a long way. Is there anything worse than a shower gel which doesn't make many bubbles?! It smells great too - a really yummy almond smell which isn't too sweet but a lovely warm scent which is just perfect for complimenting a nice long hot shower. 

the-body-shop-shower-gel

The Wild Argan Oil Body Lotion is also really moisturising and has left my skin feeling silky smooth from top to toe. It rubs in really easily and doesn't leave my skin feeling greasy which is great as I can use it in the morning as well as night time, and is perfect for putting a layer on and not having to wait ages before getting dressed. Great for me as I am always running late and in a hurry! 

the-body-shop-body-lotion

Like the Shower Gel, the Body Lotion smells nice and nutty, but I do find the scent a bit stronger and sweeter on the moisturiser. It is quite strong when I first apply it but as the product sinks in to my skin I'm left with a really nice subtle buttery almondy scent that lasts for a good few hours. Yum! 

I really love that the Body Lotion comes in a pump topped bottle which makes it so easy to apply on the go with minimum mess or wastage. My bathroom doesn't have a window in it so gets very steamy when I shower and I often find my moisturisers with twist off lids are all slippery after a shower so it's great to have an easy access bottle! Pump lids are also so much more hygienic and make products stay better for longer so I'm very happy with that!

the-body-shop-wild-argan-oil-range

I've really enjoyed using these products and would definitely re-buy both. At only £4 for the Shower Gel and £8 for the Body Lotion they're total bargains and I love that the Argan oil is sourced from the  Atlas Mountains in Morocco as part of a Fair Trade initiative which provides women with a regular income. Someone tell me why I stopped using The Body Shop again?! 


I'm so excited I have reunited my love for The Body Shop and look forward to trying the rest of their ranges! There are also lots more products in the Wild Argan Oil range and I will definitely be trying out the Lip Balm and Body Scrub!


What other ranges from The Body Shop do I need to give a go?


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** Don't forget to enter my Valentine's Day Giveaway to win a £50 Hotels4U Voucher **


*Thank you so much to The Body Shop for sending me the Wild Argan Oil Shower Gel and Body Lotion to try. All thoughts are honest and my own. For more information please see my Disclaimer Page.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Midweek Manicure // Illamasqua - Caress

Most of my nail polishes are high street brands costing no more than a fiver a bottle. However every now and then it's nice to push the boat out and treat yourself to something high end and this gorgeous powder blue Caress polish by Illamasqua really is a treat to wear.

illamasqua-caress

I'm a real sucker for a blue nail polish and this one is an absolute beaut. Caress is a really pale cornflower blue but dries with a lovely glossy finish and looks so pretty on the nail.


illamasqua-nail-polish

illamasqua-caress-nail-polish

It is quite sheer so I always use a few thin coats to make sure I get an even full coverage (the photos here show 3 coats). It's a really beautiful, serene colour and despite being an absolute dream for Spring, it actually looks lovely all year round. I really like wearing it with black as it stands out and really makes an impact

illamasqua-nail-polish-review
illamasqua-nail-polish-review


Whilst looking for this colour on the Illamasqua to provide a link for you lovelies to buy your own bottle of Caress, I've just seen that it's actually now discontinued say whaaaaat?!?! However there are lots of other colours available including some in the sale for a bargain £5.80 a bottle (**uses all strength to resist buying one of every colour**) From my experience of Caress and Scarab (review here) Illamasqua polishes are great quality and definitely worth giving yourself a little treat. Oh screw it, I'm buying more!!!


What are your favourite Illamasqua nail polishes? 


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** Don't forget to enter my Valentine's Day Giveaway to win a £50 Hotels4U Voucher **

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

GIVEAWAY // £50 Hotels4U Voucher

Valentine's Day - whether you love it or hate it, there's no denying that it's a great excuse for a holiday!
I always get excited around this time of year as the 14th February is also my birthday hurrah! My boyfriend and I always like to go away on a city break to celebrate the double occasion and this year have our sights set on Paris. In the past we've been to Bruges, Barcelona and Rome, as well as planned some lovely quality time in our home city London. The little love hearts at Hotels4U are well aware that lots of people choose a weekend away with their loved one to enjoy Valentine's Day and have launched their own Romantics Breaks Hub, listing their top romantic hotels - and there are some great offers included too! To celebrate we're getting together and giving you the chance to win a £50 voucher to spend at Hotels4U on your perfect getaway. What's not to love?!

valentines-day-getaway-deal

Hotels4U offer fantastic deals on great hotels in heaps of destinations worldwide. So whether you want to spoil your sweetheart, have a girlie getaway, or some family fun, all you have to do is enter your details into the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win £50 towards the holiday of your choice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hotels4U-voucher

Good luck lovelies! Promise you'll send me a holiday pic if you win :D and if you are planning a trip to London don't forget to check out some of my favourite places in the city. Feel free to tweet me @emsypickle with any questions you have about where to go and what to see!

Where's your dream location for a Romantic Break?


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*Thank you so much Hotels4U for collaborating with me to run this giveaway. All thoughts are honest and my own.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

InstaLIFE // Sunday 25th January 2015

Hello and happy InstaLIFE Sunday! I've had quite a nice couple of weeks since I last posted an update, despite it being January which is usually pretty gloomy! I've had some great days out, eaten lots of delicious food and had the odd shopping trip or two! So far 2015 is ticking along nicely!



I saw this little pic on Twitter and absolutely loved it! Pizza is one of my all time favourite foods and I am definitely missing it atm as one of my New Years resolutions and goals for 2015 is to be a lot healthier this year. Which means I've not had any pizza yet this year waahhhh!! I have however had the odd treat, as you'll see in the rest of my pics...!



It's been so cold in London recently and I've been thinking longingly of the lovely hot summer we had last year, so it seemed only right that I posted a #TBT photo from my friend's wedding I went to in July. I really like this pic of Tony and I and still really love the dress I wore (which you can read more about here).



Last Friday Tony and I went to Honest Burger for dinner (haha what did I say about eating healthily?! Hey, we're all allowed the odd YOLO meal, right?!) While we waited for our table we went to one of my favourite bars - Simmons - and whilst I was thinking how much I was enjoying my beer I suddenly remembered I was supposed to be going dry for January! Whoops! It's the first drink I've had all year, and I've not had one since so it's not too bad. Right?! And how awesome is the wallpaper?! I used to have the same print as curtains in my bedroom when I was little! (I say little, they actually stayed until I moved out when I was 18!)



Last weekend Toto and I headed down to the Museum of London and checked out their Sherlock exhibition. If you haven't been to the MoL it's definitely worth a visit and tells the whole history of London right back from its beginning to modern day. There's loads to see and I learnt so much I didn't know about my beloved city. And best of all - it's free! The Sherlock exhibition was also really interesting and had some amazing maps and photos of London, with lots of quotes, props and artefacts from the Sherlock series. And there's a place where you can pose for these awesome pics...! Don your deerstalker and get down there!



I had a lovely time last Sunday at a bloggers Dim Sum Afternoon Tea, hosted by my fave blogger network Joe Blogs - thanks guys! The food was absolutely delicious and it was lovely to celebrate Chinese New Year (a little early) and meet lots of new blogging friends. I'll have a full post about this up super soon with more pictures of the scrumptious food! Watch this space...!



Always Late. Yep that is definitely one of my biggest imperfections! Match.com's latest campaign however is all about learning to love your imperfections and know that someone, somewhere will love you for them too awww! You can win your own personalised mug by tweeting your imperfection to @match_uk using the hashtag #LoveYourImperfections Let me know what your biggest imperfection is in the comments below!



So Monday 19th January was officially the most depressing day of the year, apparently...! I decided to brace myself for whatever Blue Monday might throw at me with my new MAC lipstick in the shade Captive which I LOVE and a sparkly statement necklace. It seemed to work as my day turned out pretty well and my Shoeaholics order arrived hurrah! You can see what I bought in my upcoming Pickle's Payday Purchases haul post!



Another throwback Thursday pic! It suddenly dawned on me this week that I have absolutely zero gigs or festivals planned for this year! Yikes! I need to remedy this ASAP! Here's a photo of my friend Ruth and I lounging by the Glastonbury sign in 2011 - I definitely need to book some fun musical times for 2015.



On Friday night I decided to go for a quick mooch around Primark on my way home from work. One of my favourite sections to check out in the Tottenham Court Road store is the big wall of tshirts. There were loads of new ones in and lots of Disney ones including a new Lion King one, a collage of Disney Princesses and this amazing slogan tee. I definitely need to treat myself to one of these for my upcoming trip to Disneyland Paris!



I hope you've been having a fun January too. I'm super excited that February is fast approaching and have lots planned for my blog to celebrate Valentine's Day and my birthday, including a giveaway so keep your eyes peeled for that!


What have you been up to the last couple of weeks?



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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Midweek Manicure // Pretty Little Liars Pink

I have become absolutely obsessed with Pretty Little Liars since it became available on UK Netflix on January 1st and am currently about half way through Season 3 (so please, no spoilers!) I've found myself subconsciously wanting to wear bright pink matte nails, which is quite unlike me as pink is my least favourite shade of polish to wear. However I realised the other night that this has come from the opening credits of PLL where they paint the corpse's nails a matte hot pink colour! Haha I realise this sounds quite morbid, and even more macabre to have inspired a Midweek Manicure post! Give PLL a watch though and I guarantee you'll be dreaming of the characters' amazing clothes and cool styles...albeit mostly of the alive characters! I knew I had the perfect pink polish in my collection and whilst having another PLL marathon, sat back and painted on Barry M Matte Nail Paint in Miami.


I was lucky enough to win Miami back in July (and wrote about it here) but haven't dug it out since as I usually find pink nails a bit boring. However as I began to paint on this week's Midweek Manicure I was really impressed with the bold colour and love how it looks in a matte finish, as opposed to the glossy shine usually associated with hot pink polishes. 


The only thing I've not been so impressed by is the application wahhh! When I first swatched the polish it was on a nail wheel so I didn't encounter any problems, but on my nails it clings and shows up every bump and texture. My nails are in quite bad condition at the moment due to wearing lots of glitter polish over the Christmas period and the flaked tips show up under this polish. Sob! It also seems to have created the appearance of new ridges by building up in certain areas of the nails, looking like melting ice cream, which is pretty rubbish. I think I will be having a good go with my nail buffer before wearing Miami again!


It's a shame it comes out quite patchy on my nail as Miami really is a gorgeous colour. It will be lovely for wearing in the summer and the matte texture also makes it wearable for the winter too. It's a great shade for wearing to work and has been brightening up my dark dresses without being too in your face thanks to it's dimmed surface. I just hope no one looks too closely and spots the uneven finish! 


I love doing manicures inspired by TV shows (and they're usually a bit more inventive than this one!) Check out my Gossip Girl mani here and my Breaking Bad mani here).


Let me know if you have any Midweek Manicure requests in the comments below! And if you're a Pretty Little Liars fan, who's your favourite character? I love Hanna! 
 


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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Lifestyle // My Favourite Healthy Snacks

You may have seen in my New Years Resolutions and Aims for 2015 post that my main goal for this year is to finally get fit and healthy (and fingers crossed lose a good few pounds too). I've been doing pretty well so far (despite a couple of slip ups involving left over Christmas biscuits) and thought I'd share a few of the healthy snacks and nibbles I've been enjoying to help me on my quest.

healthy-snacks-for-weight-loss


I have become literally OBSESSED with Nakd bars! My ultimate favourite is Cocoa Delight which has cocoa in to satisfy my chocolate cravings but without all the sugar and fat. Made up of pure fruit and nuts smushed together, they're vegan friendly, dairy, wheat and gluten free, AND they count as one of your five a day - they're basically miracle bars! They're only 135 calories each bar and are so so filling. I can have one of these for breakfast on the go, and not feel hungry until lunch time. I used to shun these in favour of Alpen Light Double Chocolate cereal bars which are only 79 calories, but I would still be starving after one of these so it is definitely investing double the calories and have a far more nutritious and filling option. If Cocoa Delight doesn't tickle your pickle they also do heaps of other flavours and I want to slowly but surely make my way through them all! The Cocoa Orange ones have been particularly good at weaning me off the Terry's Chocolate Oranges I became a bit too accustomed to at Christmas!


These porridge sachets are so simple to make up - just pop the oats in a bowl, fill the sachet with milk, pour it in and then microwave for 2 1/2 minutes. Simples! They make a really filling breakfast or as part of a light lunch and are lovely on these cold wintery days. Again there are lots of varieties on offer and I've tried the Original flavour and Almond and Honey which is without a doubt my favourite.

Bear Nibbles Fruit YoYos


Another new favourite of mine are these Pure Fruit YoYo packs. Again each serving makes up one of your five a day, which is perfect for me as I really struggle to eat fruit (really not a fan!) however give me what is effectively an adult Fruit Roll-Up and I'm all over it! Each pack contains two ribbons of rolled up fruit which are only 27 calories each and full of natural goodness. These are great for when I'm craving sweets and again come in several flavours (though I've only tried strawberry so far). To appeal to your inner kid even more, you also get a collectable card in each packet which has facts about different countries around the world. Ok fine I'm pretty sure these are meant for kids, but whatever I like them ok?!

healthy-snacks-for-weight-loss


I've never in my life had a cup of regular tea, but I do like a steaming mug of peppermint tea. As well as warming me up on these cold days, it's also great for curbing hunger pangs when I'm cutting back on snacking and helps increase my water intake. It is naturally caffeine free, aids digestion and is really refreshing perfect for a post lunch pick me up!


I used to drink Options Belgium Hot Chocolate but since the beginning of the year have switched to the Cadbury's alternative and it is so much nicer! For the same amount of calories as Options, it tastes so much more chocolatey and also less sweet and artificial. I love a mug of this after dinner when I fancy a sweet pudding, and at only 38 calories a serving it's much better for me!


I blogged about my fizzy drink addiction in my 2015 Resolutions post. Whilst I do drink 2-3 litres of water a day and am absolutely in love with sparkling water, I do have a pretty bad habit of guzzling soda. While I no longer drink Coke, my love for the good stuff has been replaced with lemonade and even the diet Sprite Zero and 7 Up Free is far from good for me. I know this, but really do crave a little pick me up around midday, and want to break up the monotony of my water drinking with a little bit more flavour. I was sent these Little Miracles Organic Energy drinks* to try out and I'm really impressed with them. They combine organic tea with fruit juices to give you a healthy zing. There are four flavours and each is free from artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners and are all less than 90 calories per bottle. I've tried out the Green Tea, Ginseng & Pomegranate and Lemongrass Tea, Orange Juice & Ginger flavours and both are really fresh tasting, and contain Ginseng, which is a herbal remedy said to boost your mood and fatigue, as well as be good for your immune system. Impressive! They've been a great substitute for my lemonade obsession, although my MyFitnessPal app does freak out about the amount of sugar which is in each serving (about 20g) so I make sure I only have half a bottle at a time, and only very occasionally. 


Which leads me on to....



Now obviously this isn't something edible but it is a great way of recording everything I eat! MyFitnessPal is a free app and it's blooming marvellous for anyone wanting to lose weight. You simply input your stats and how much weight you want to lose and how quickly, and it cleverly calculates how many calories you should be consuming to reach that goal. Each day you just fill in the food diary and it uses it's magical knowledge bank to track the nutritional value of everything you eat and drink. It's great as if there is something not in it's library you can add the details yourself, as well as save groups of items together to form your favourite meals etc. You can also input any exercise you've done and this is all taken into account too. MFP also has heaps of restaurant menus stored so you can pre-plan your healthiest option to stay within your suggested allowances, or know just how naughty your YOLO cheat meal is! Once you complete each day's food and exercise diary MFP then calculates "If you were to eat like this day everyday, in 5 weeks your weight would be XX". This is possibly my favourite feature as I find it so motivating on a good day to see where I could be at if I keep up my healthy eating / diet, and it's also a great deterrent on days I lose track to make me get my head back in the game the next day. You can do it Emsy!

healthy-snacks-for-weight-loss
healthy-snacks-for-weight-loss


So there you go, some of my favourite snacks and low calorie alternatives which have been getting me through January so far! I've been experimenting with cooking new healthy dinners too so let me know if you'd like me to share some of these recipes too.


What healthy snacks do you enjoy? I'd love to know to broaden my snacking range, cos, you know. I just love to snack!





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*Thanks so much to the Little Miracles team for sending me some of their drinks to review. All thoughts are honest and my own. For more information please see my Disclaimer Page.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Lifestyle // Gingerline Jubilee - An Immersive Dining Extravaganza

I receive quite a lot of press releases in my inbox and often I have a quick glance and think nothing of them. However on Friday I read one about Gingerline Jubilee - "The Oh So Secret Food and Art Fusion Phenomenon" - and I thought it sounded so cool I wanted to share the details with you lovely lot!

gingerline-jubilee-dining-experience


Described as an "underground immersive dining extravaganza", Gingerline Jubilee takes place at a hidden location along the Jubilee line and combines "set design, a secret menu and complete immersion in a parallel reality, this is an experience designed for an adventurous palate and dating spirit". Sounds pretty awesome doesn't it?!

I love food and art, and have a real passion for discovering London's biggest secrets, so Gingerline Jubilee sounds right up my alley! The event is organised by Gingerline who create temporary nomadic dining experiences which in the past have involved surreal puppet workshops with marrionette diners, fully fledged fairy tale forests, or most recently a retro space shuttle from the Planet Gingerline! Intriguied? Me too!

I'd not heard of Gingerline before but have tried several other "secret" theatre and immersive dining experiences, such as The Pale Blue Door, and loved every one of them. Like others I've experienced, patrons don't actually know where Gingerline Jubilee takes part until they arrive. You simply go to any tube station on the Jubilee line and wait for a text message at 6pm with clues to find your destination. My inner Miss Marple loves it! 

Tickets to Gingerline Jubilee sell out mega quickly and their last set is being released this Tuesday 20th January at Midday for experiences between 25th February to 14th March 2015. Each ticket is £55 - £60 and includes a welcome drink, four course set menu, a keep sake momento, and of course all the excitement and entertainment. To be one of the Gingerline elite you can buy your tickets here (www.gingerline.co.uk/jubilee) You can also follow all the Gingerline news on twitter - @gingerline - and Facebook


I love that in this digital age there are still some secrets that can stay hidden in London, and that people seem to really get involved with the experience and not splash every detail all over their social media accounts. Gingerline Jubilee definitely sounds like one secret I'd like to discover!


Have you ever been to a Gingerline event before? 

Will you be buying tickets to Gingerline Jubilee?



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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Midweek Manicure // Frozen Nail Art

Just before Christmas you may have seen I blogged a little Frozen haul which included some rather jazzy nail stickers with pictures of Elsa, Anna and co on. In December I went to see Singalong Frozen with my younger cousins (beyond amazing, obvs!) and wore these nail stickers along with Asscher Blue by Models Own to create my own Frozen Nail Art Manicure

frozen-nail-art-manicure

This is my first polish from the Models Own Diamond Luxe range and I'm really impressed! I adore blue nail polish and this is a really gorgeous icy glacial colour - perfect for a Frozen mani! The cool thing about the Diamond Luxe range is that they actually contain real diamond dust (so fancy) which makes them super sparkly and multi dimensional looking. Asscher Blue has a silver shimmer running through it which makes it perfect for this wintery look. Whether due to the diamond dust or not I'm not sure, but I found this polish to be really hard wearing and long lasting, so I'll definitely be giving the other colours in the range a go.

models-own-asscher-blue
models-own-asscher-blue

Anyway, on to the Frozen part of this Frozen themed mani! As I blogged before I bought these transfers from eBay for only £2.89 for 5 sheets. Bargain or what?! Some of the pictures are a bit dodgy quality so I was glad I had  5 sheets to pick the best ones from. I decided to go for a different character on each finger and ended up with the below result.

frozen-nail-art
frozen-themed-manicure
elsa-from-frozen-manicure
olaf-nail-art

Cute eh?! The transfers were really easy to use and they stayed in place a lot easier than some I've tried (remember the rubbish snowflake decals I used recently?! Nightmare!) A quick slick of top coat and I was good to go, ready to sing my heart out at the cinema (and give the kids in their full on Elsa costumes a run for their money with my ice-cool nails :D)

frozen-nail-art

I hope you like this fun, easy Frozen manicure. I love using nail decals as they're so simple to use and look a lot better than any characters I'd be able to draw myself! I'm really pleased I used Asscher Blue as the base - it's a really beautiful blue, and the perfect ice colour. I mean look how well it blends with Elsa's dress!


Are you a big Frozen fan?
What do you think of these nail transfers?


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