How I Tame My #MorningMane (*)

My Hair can sometimes be a struggle in the morning, its thick, long and does what ever the hell it wants to. So for those days when my hair just isn't playing game yet I still want to wear it down I have two 'go to styles' One is to throw up my fringe in a half up half down style and the other is this simple Spring double braid.

In collaboration with and their #MorningMane competition to win £75 hair salon vouchers by entering your before/ after photos of your morning mane. Here's the products and techniques I used to go from a bed head mess to a tamed sleek lose curled style.

I already washed my hair the night before using the John Frieda Luxury Volume 7 Day Treatment which lifts your hair at the roots and thickens the overall look. As my hair is long it can get weighed down so this little bottle of glory works a treat!

However after throwing it up over night it's guaranteed you'll wake up with a cave woman-esque style. So to begin to tame my mane I use my trusty Michael Mercer de-tangler with a spritz of dry shampoo to give your hair 'grip' in order to make it easier to style.

I then took two 1.5inch pieces from either side of my hair (one side just behind my fringe and the other from the front of the hair) and messily braided both pieces. I secured them with two small black elastics and pinned them together at the the back of my head with bobby pins that I'd spritzed with a little hairspray. 

Taking random pieces of hair, i then used the Mark Hill Curling Tongs to create loose curls which I eventually brushed out (to turn into waves) using the the Lee Stafford Argan Oil that tames frizz and adds a healthy shine. 

To finish the look and secure the style I used a mist of hairspray from a distance and that's it! A super  easy, quick and effective style that looks effortlessly put together.

If you'd like to enter the Leo Vegas UK competition to win £75 hair salon vouchers then share your before/after photographs of taming your #MorningMane >here< or tweet your photos using the #MorningMane hashtag to their Twitter Page. Terms & Conditions do apply so pop over to their Facebook page to take a look! 

Beki Xo
The Fragrance Shop Discovery Box - Spring Edition 10 (*)

Spring is finally here and with crisp cool mornings, blossoming tulips, parsley-green grass and lighter days brings the opportunity to purchase a new fresh fragrance. When I think of my perfect Spring fragrance, I think of something light, girlie, fruity and fun. Thankfully the new Spring 2015 Discovery Club Fragrance Box lets you indulge in the latest and greatest 2015 launches from the affordable to the luxurious. Your sense of smell changes throughout the day so if you think you like something in the morning, after a couple hours wear it might not have the same scent. This is what makes sample size perfumes so great, you can pop them into your hand bag and have a full experience of the perfume before you splash out on the full size bottle!

Hugo Woman
Hugo Woman is a floral day time fragrance with a hint of masculinity. The fruity scent holds notes of sweet mandarin and juicy plum with hearty boyish undertones of warm amber and sandalwood to add a conventional twist on a classic perfume. Its one of those fragrances that reminds me of my teens with a more grown-up twist.

Givency Very Irresitible
An iconic fragrance that oozes playful notes of floral bouquets and aromatic star anise, together they create an elegant, energising scent. The perfect scent for spritzing on in a morning and making you feel refreshed and ready for the day ahead. 

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraiche
One of my favourite fragrances from the Discovery Box, this beautifully unique scent is fresh and well balanced. It has top notes of lemon and mandarin with a hint of Turkish rose and smoothing base notes of almond and pistachio. A bespoke bottle of fruity notes and powdered undertones that give this fragrance an almost unusual familiar scent.

Versace Eros Pour Femme
The Versace Eros Pour Femme is a classic bold scent with bold notes that ooze power and seduction whilst still remaining light weight and citric. The scent opens vibrant top notes of Sicilian lemon infused with jasmine and finished with a creamy sandalwood and musk base.  It’s one of those scents that can be worn both day and night with its perfect mix of beautiful ingredients that change ever so slightly as they sink into the skin.

Dolce & Gabbana Floral Drops
This fragrance is practically the Spring season bottled up into a scent. It has an airy scent of freshly picked daffodils, juicy strawberries and dewy grass. It holds notes of papaya flower, white flowers, daffodils and water lily with creamy base notes of cashmere, musk and sandalwood. An all round beautiful fragrance that has that almost edible tone.

Stella McCartney
This scent reminds me of walking into a candy store on a cool Spring morning. It has a fizzy sherbert like scent with a Mother/ Daughter feel. A sensual fragrance with top notes of fresh mandarin and frozen lemon finished with soothing peony petals and amber gris that give that subtle touch.

Versace Eros (for men)
This is a classic, masculine scent with a fresh, familiar feel. With notes of green apple, Italian lemon zest and mint freshening the top notes the scent soon becomes strong and masculine with base notes of oak moss, vanilla and cedar wood. A sensual fragrances that oozes power with its sharp notes and silky undertones.

You can check out more of The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Subscription Boxes >here<

Beki Xo

Healthy Banana Oat Breakfast Muffins

I'm always in a rush in the morning and never really feel like chowing down on some breakfast let alone have time for it. These 'Healthy Banana Oat Breakfast Muffins' are the perfect breakfast on the go or even mid-late morning snack. The banana keeps your fuller for longer and the oatmeal is slow releasing energy, not only that but the flax seed is rich source of vitamins, minerals and Omega 3. Making this the perfect little breakfast muffin that's low in fat, calories and sugar. Here's how i made them...

Makes:  22 Muffins Calories: Est 85kcal per muffin

2.5 cups of plain porridge oats
1 cup of plain low fat Greek yoghurt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
2 tsp flax seed
0.5 cups of runny honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 medium over ripe bananas (the darker the better)

Preheat the oven to 200C Gas Mark 6
Add the porridge oats into a blender and pulse for 10 seconds so the oats are partially blended
Pour the oats into a bowl and combine the eggs, vanilla essence, honey and flax seed. Mix the ingredients together with a spoon until evenly combined.
Then add your Greek yoghurt and over ripe bananas into the bowl (I would of preferred mine to be a little more freckled but unfortunately I couldn’t wait!) and using your hands, crush them into the other ingredients.
Once the mixture becomes a thick batter add your bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and fold into the mixture using a spatula or spoon.
Line your muffin tin or pop your muffin cases onto a baking tray and add 1.5 heap table spoons of the mixture into each case.  As mentioned this recipe makes 22 breakfast muffins.
Put your tray on the middle shelf and leave to bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

The great thing about this recipe is you can pop them in your fridge and they’ll last around 7 days, During this time they also become more banana flavoured!

Beki Xo

The Exante Diet Meal Replacements (*)

If I’m truly honest I’m not a fan of ‘diets’ especially those that restrict what foods you eat and when you eat. I prefer to eat what I like, when I like as long it’s in the guidelines of my estimated daily calorie intake and as balanced as possible. This way you it stops cravings, minimises hunger and means that you can never ‘fall off the bandwagon’.

I try to eat as balanced as possible and more recently have taken a keen interest in healthy versions of my favourite naughty foods such as cauliflower pizza base, courgette pasta and avocado brownies (recipe here).

However there’s one thing I’ll admit I’m really awful at and that’s eating 3 square meals a day.  I don’t eat breakfast until later in the morning as I never feel hungry when I’m awake so early and I’m not one for sitting around eating a full lunch. I prefer something quick, easy and on the go there for I tend to snack throughout the day or have something that’s small and filling.

That’s why when I was recently contacted and asked if I would like to review Exante Diet products I immediately said yes. These aren’t just for those who are dieting, they're also great for those who are on the go. All their products are just a case of adding 1 extra ingredient to make them a full meal and that's either hot water or cold water.

The 7 products I tried and tested where 2 x Toffee Caramel Smoothie, Thai Chicken Soup, Sweet & Sour Noodles, Apple Crumble Custard, Beef & Black Bean Pot and the Indian Style Daahl Pot.  Out of all the products trialled my favourite was definitely the Toffee Caramel Smoothie which was sweet, thick, frothy and very filling. I found it perfect for after I’d finished a work out as it’s low in both calories and fat, high in protein and contains beneficially vitamins and minerals. My other favourite meal replacement from the range was the Beef & Black Bean Pot. The photograph does it no justice what so ever but the taste of this little pot of joy was amazing. It is a fragrant blend of rice, black beans and vegetables that also contain Vitamins B, D, E and K, vitamins, minerals and just like the rest of the Exante range it is high in protein.

The Exante product range (from the 6 meals I’ve tested) seems to be more flavoursome than your usual ‘diet meal replacement’ products; it’s very filling and is the perfect portion size. For me it’s more about being quick, easy, low calorie and filling in which these products have ticked all the boxes.  

Beki Xo
Skirt-Newlook, Jumper-H&M, Shoes-Primark, Bag-RiverIsland, Turqouise Ring-TBHCollective, Black Ring-CheapFrills, Large Opal Ring-CheapFrills, Small Opal Ring-TBH Collectivee, Plain Band Rings-Ebay 

Who doesn't love graphic jumper or slogan tee? They're the perfect wardrobe piece to throw on and still look effortlessly stylish without the need to dress it up statement jewellery. 

I'm always on the hunt for anything cropped (as you'll know if you already read my blog) and this chunky cropped sweat is the latest piece that's entered my wardrobe. I've never been one for pastel colors (let alone pink) but there was something sports-chic that i loved about this piece. I picked it up in H&M for around £12 (i think) and its the first thing i reach for pretty much every weekend. Its has a loose comfy fit with ribbed sleeve cuffs and a high rounded neck that has a slouchy but not too oversized feel. 

I paired it with a ribbed body con skirt to balance out the over all shape and threw on my trusty pair of rubber soled beige boots *intake of breath* from Primark. I've had these boots for so long and cannot tell you how comfortable they are, Its almost as though the thick rubber tread adds some bounce and cushion to the feet! 

To continue with the sports-chic feel i teamed it with a black leather look backpack from River Island. I was previously never 'into' the backpack trend last year but after owning one you soon realise what the fuss was about when you find that they're so much more comfortable than your typical shoulder bag. I've already been aweing over the Mulberry Cara Delevingne and the Michael Kors style backpacks but that will take ALOT of saving so I'm on the hunt for a dupe version!

Beki Xo 

My 3 minute skincare regime

Before I started blogging my skincare regime typically consisted of using a couple makeup wipes and some form of moisturiser, then every other day I would use a facial exfoliant. However since blogging I’ve become a little addicted to trying out new skincare products and discovering my favourites that I can add into my routine or more recently… routines.

I have two types of skincare routines, one for when I have more time and I feel my skin needs some TLC and a one for when I just can’t be bothered but don’t want to let my skincare regime slip! My luxury regime typically consists of a double cleanse, a face mask, a chemical exfoliant and an eye cream that help to penetrate deeper into the skin and hydrate but it can be time consuming.

So when I just can’t be bothered to stand around faffing with removing my makeup (which is mostly every weekday) this is 3 minute skincare routine…

Step 1: Simple Makeup Remover Wipes
I use these to quickly remove my eye makeup as they work perfectly and are gentle on removing even waterproof mascara.

Step 2: Garnier Miscellar Cleansing Water
I’ll then use (my holy grail of all makeup removers) the Garnier Misceller Cleansing Water onto two large cotton pads to remove the rest of my makeup. It might just look like plain all water but this stuff removes every last bit of makeup until even the cotton pad looks clean!

Step 3: Boots Tea Tree Witch Hazel Exfoliating Pads
To exfoliate and also keep my skin clear I’ll use two of these Tea Tree Witch Hazel Exfoliating Pads. They contain the perfect mix of two naturally calming and antibacterial ingredients that aid in keeping blemishes at bay, unblock pores and also help to tone the skin.

Step 4: InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Just before I apply my moisturiser I like to use a hydrating serum that can inject my skin with instant moisture and vitamin C. The InstaNatural (full review >here<) helps to soften and lubricate the skin whilst it contains a hyaluronic acid that helps the product to penetrate deeper into the skins tissue.

Step 5: Dr Organic Manuka Honey Rescue Cream
After application of a serum I’ll seal it in using either a night time face cream or one that has more benefits than my daily moisturiser. The Manuka Honey contained in this products is perfect for dry skin as it leaves it silky smooth and feeling incredibly supple in the morning if left overnight.

Step 6: The Body Shop Solid Lip Argan Oil
To finish my routine and just before I hop off to bed I’ll pop on a lip butter or oil so overnight it can work its magic!

The great thing about this skincare regime as its perfect for when you just can’t be bothered but want to keep up with looking after your skin. It's quick, easy and simple, using products that cut corners but are still beneficial for the skin. 

Beki Xo

MyVitamins Green Tea Extract & Aloe Vera Supplements (*)

I’ve always had an interest in the benefits of consuming certain foods and the effects they can have on the body. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no health expert and my weekend food groups mainly consist of cheese and carbs. However in the week I’m a little more health conscious and more recently I’ve taken an interest in vitamins and supplements.

There are certain plants and shrubs that when consumed can have a huge benefit on the body and mind. Typically they can be taken in their natural full form whether that’s through food or drink. In this case green tea is a popular hot beverage and aloe vera is added into a lot of health drinks as well as being used in skincare products. However sometimes the recommended daily amount is a little harder to reach when consuming through food/ drink there for taking supplements can make this easier, simpler and more beneficial.

Two supplements I’ve been recently trialling are the MyVitamins Green Tea and Aloe Vera. All MyVitamins tablets come in an easy, travel friendly, reusable seal top bag so theyr'e super easy to pop into your handbag without them taking up too much room or turning your bag into a giant maraca!

Green Tea Extract
Green Tea is known to obtain high amounts of antioxidants and nutrients that contain free radicals of which aid in the protection of cells and damaged molecules. The caffeine content and amino acids content helps to boost your metabolism and increase energy levels, making it the ultimate natural fat burner and brain power stimulant. It is also known to reduce the risks infections and various types of diseases making it on the top of my list for a supplement to add into my diet.

The supplement itself is small and easy to swallow. It is recommended to take 1 tablet per day which means 1 bag of MyVitamins will last you around 2 months! It’s been just over 1 week since I started taking the Green Tea Extract supplement and I have noticed the increased in my energy levels and ever so slightly brain performance which will be more than likely be due to the caffeine content. Overall, although the benefits of taking green tea extract are less physically reflected and more internally beneficial, green tea is one of the highest rated shrubs that are the most naturally healthy ways to supplement the body.

Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is high in vitamins and minerals such as; vitamin A C E, folic acid, B2 B2 B3 B12, calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper and magnesium. It also contains amino acids and fatty acids which are known to reduce symptoms of allergies and acid indigestion as well as providing the body with 18-20 out of 22 amino acids that build protein and are essential to the body. It is also a antioxidant and disinfectant which can be used both internally and externally.

The recommended daily intake is 2 tablets per day taken with food, which means this bag of MyVitamins should last you just over 1 month.  The aloe vera itself is made into a powder and then coated in an easy to swallow capsule. Again Aloe Vera helps to absorb the toxins in your colon as well as neutralising the bodies alkaline and boosting the immune system. Since consuming these tablets for just over 1 week, I have already noticed a difference in the reduction of bloating and my digestive health.

Both of these supplements have been known to aid in weight loss due to the active ingredients that speed up the metabolism and break down fat. However more recently I've been losing weight at a steadily rate (due to a calorie controlled diet) and haven't been using the supplements long enough to comment on any weight loss benefits. However the other effects i mentioned that I've noticed by consuming both the Aloe Vera & Green Tea Extract means I'd definitely recommend trialing them for yourself as a highly beneficial supplement to add into your diet.

Beki Xo

Dr Organic Snail Gel Range - Holland & Barrett (*)

I’ve always been intrigued into the weird and wonderful world of natural skincare. Whether it’s using plant extracts, chemicals contained in fruit/ vegetables or the more unusual way of using substances produced by animals such as… snail secretion.

Now I know what you’re thinking aside from being grossed out.  It’ll be sticky? No. It’ll smell weird? Far from it. Real Snails? No…well, just real snail goo.

But think about it, a snail uses its secretion or Helix Aspersia Mulle (to be all scientifically fancy) to regenerate its own shell and skin when it becomes damaged. It contains an incredible mix of glycolic acid, collagen, elastin, allantoin (uric  acid), vitamins and minerals… Impressive for a wee little gastropod huh?

Snail Gel Hand & Nail Elixar
This is my favourite out of all three products. Like the whole range the fragrance of this product is a light citrus scent that is incredibly refreshing and ‘awakening’. I’ve always been fussy when it comes to hand cream as I hate that sticky, thick feeling you get after applying them that almost leaves your hands feeling like a breeding ground for germs. However ‘hands down’ this is the best hand and nail treatment I have ever, ever, ever, ever used. It’s more like a serum with a light-medium consistency that upon application sinks into the skin quickly leaving them feeling super soft and smooth with no excess stickiness or that feeling of a weird layer over your skin. It also leaves your nails looking healthy and super shiny with a fresh light fragrance.

Snail Gel Facial Serum
Similar to the Snail Gel Hand & Nail Elixar the serum has a citrus like scent and consistency is pretty much the same. The bottle has a pump applicator so it’s perfect for estimating the right amount of product to apply and with this serum a little goes a long way. Once applied the product is very light weight on the skin and refreshing, leaving an protective and breathable layer that makes your skin feel smoother and plumper working beautifully under your moisturiser and even as a primer for makeup.

Snail Gel Face & Body Gel
Again this product has the same scent as the serum and the hand treatment however the moisturising gel has a very different look and consistency. It has a medium to thick jelly like texture that looks more like what you’d imagine ‘snail gel’ to appear like...clear, gloopy and thick. The gel contains a unique mix of natural ingredients that aids in repairing damaged skin and reducing the appearance of scars. On application the gel applied smoothly and almost feels as though it’s tightening and toning the skin. I typically use this as a night time facial moisturiser as it has quite a shiny appearance and a more intense injection of hydration that isn’t that great for day time wear. However I’ve also been enjoying using this product more on my body (mainly over my cleavage and down my neck) as it leaves my skin feeling incredibly smooth and toned.

You can pick up the Dr Organic Snail Gel range online or in your local Holland & Barrett 

Beki Xo

Healthy Fudgy Avocado Brownies

I’ve never really been one for baking but there is something about ‘healthy baking’ that I find most intriguing and more recently I’ve become quite obsessed with finding new recipes to bake into healthy versions of my favourite sweet treats! There’s something quite satisfying about replacing the bad and unhealthy ingredients hidden in cakes, cookies and brownies etc for the natural and healthy ingredients that you wouldn’t of  ever known could ever be used as a substitute. And obviously this means they’re guilt free too!

I’m a huge fan of avocado so I’ve been researching some delicious tasting treats that I can use the creamy green vegetable in. The great thing about these brownies is they can last days in the fridge and can even be frozen! You can also take the ingredients as a basic recipe and turn it into your own adding coconut flakes, choc chips, almonds or even dried fruit!

Healthy Fudgy  Avocado Brownies - serves 8 brownies
What makes them healthy? Gluten free, low fat, lower sugar than your average brownie, flourless and grain free.

You will need...
1 large ripe avocado (200g)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp water
1x 100g/3.5 oz bar of dark chocolate (around 75%)
1 overfilled cup (85g+5g) cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar or powdered sweetener (for lower calories)
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt

How to make...
·         Preheat your oven to 180°C/355°F.
·         Grease and/or line an 8" square cake pan or glass oven dish
·         In a blender whizz up the vanilla extract, water and eggs until smooth
·         Melt your chocolate (I popped mine into the microwave for 2mins) and add it into your food processor or blender. Once this has been poured in, add in your cocoa powder, sugar or powdered sweetener, baking soda and salt and mix and blend until thoroughly combined.
·         If your mixture is too thick, add another 1 tbsp or so of water.
·         Scoop your mixture out of your food processor into your prepared pan, smoothing out the top and making sure you spread out the mix to all of the edges.
·         Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. To check it has cooked through use a knife to poke into the centre and it should remove clean.
·         Leave to cool before taking out of the oven dish/ baking tray and leave to chill in the fridge.
·         Slice and serve. They can be reheated ever so slightly in the microwave for a warmer brownie!

Beki Xo

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