Friday, 15 May 2015

No more COLD days!

After the last few week's glorious sunshine and high temperatues there's no doubt that Spring has arrived, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the days of colds and sniffles are over yet. A nutritious and balanced diet is always the best foundation to staying healthy throughout the seasons but sometimes we all might need a little extra help in the form of super foods or vitamins.

My no 1 super food is without a doubt the humble lemon. One lemon contains more than half of the daily vitamin C intake, which can help to boost the immune system but it's also great for ridding the body of toxins, it helps the body to absorb iron and it's also shown to have a positive effect on bone health. I have been known to every now and then peel a lemon and eat it as I would an orange, but I know that might not be for everyone so a much esier way to get a healthy daily dose of lemon is to start the day with some hot water with lemon squeezed into it for a real kick start your system or to drizzle salads and greens with some lemon juice.
 Garlic is another wonderful source of vitamin C, and studies have shown that a high intake of garlic can reduce the amount of days suffering from a cold or the flu with as much as 60%. In addition garlic can help to reduce cholcesterol levels and blood pressure and it's rich in anti-oxidants, protecting the cells against cell damage and supporting detoxification of heavy metals e.g lead. I love garlic and fortunately so does my other half, and anyone who has ever been to ours for dinner knows that sometimes the food is so garlicky it glows in the dark. Again this might not be to everyone's taste, and you can always swap the fabulously tasting cloves for capsules with extract instead.

While lemon and garlic may not be the easiest food in the world to love, surely blueberries are. They're sweet, juicy, delicious and can easily be added to a smoothie or a salad, strewn over your morning yoghurt or eaten raw on the go - what's not to love?! Blueberries are packed with anti-oxidants, rich in firbes to keep you feeling full for longer and low in fat, so no need to feel guilty for indulging in these little gems. In fact since blueberries contain a lot of manganese, the more you eat, the stronger your bones will be. Similarly to cranberries, blueberries can help to ward of urinary infections and it's also been known to lessen the symptoms if you have contracted it.  So go on  - treat yourself to some blueberries every day!

Supplements are exactly that and and you really should try and get what your body needs through your diet, however if your diet is restricted for some reason, they may be useful. While I get a lot of vitamin C naturally through my daily diet I am every now and then a bit short on e.g. vitamin B and amino acids since I don't eat meat or poultry so to support my diet I'll take multivitamins and/or Berocca for that extra boost, but if you take any form of medication, always check with your doctor before starting on a supplement. If despite your best efforts a pesky cold comes calling, add a few drops of Echinaforce to hot or cold water to help manage the symptoms, so you can still get on with the day, making cold days a thing of the past.

Monday, 2 March 2015

FABulous FABletics

New Year usually means change in one way or another, and for me 2015 has definitely marked a new beginning in SO many ways. After a long time of being employed full time with an established company with lots of perks, I decided to take stock of what I was doing, and I reached the decision that for me the right thing was to pack it in, leave what I was doing - a nice and secure job and doing something completely different. It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made and not something I would recommend that you do lightly. I've been fortunate enough to have had a very good job for a long time, but when push comes to shove, it actually didn't make me HAPPY. In these dire economic times you might think that I'm completely crazy to give up something that I know and was at least semi-happy doing, but ultimately it came down to, will I regret not having done something else when I eventually retire? The answer to that very difficult question was YES and having thought things through a besquillion times I decided that it was time for me to put my brave pants on, and to follow my heart and take the leap into the unknown. For me that has meant to commit fully to my biggest passion in life - Pilates, and over night I have become a self-employed Pilates teacher. It's been the scariest thing I've ever done, and it's without a doubt also been the BEST thing I've ever done.

My days are now filled with Pilates classes, working to improve flexibility and mobility of my clients and it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Unfortunately that also means that I work long hours and don't have much time for blogging. So, after much consideration I've decided to merge the things that I love the most; Pilates and Blogging. With that I launch my Pilates homepage: Head To Toe Pilates and my professsional FB page, and as of now you might see blog posts that are more Health and Pilates orientated as part of that process. I will still continue to post about beauty products, but sometimes it will be from my sister blog for Head To Toe Pilates. I hope you'll continue to follow Makeup By Candlelight and give me your comments and also to check out my professional FB page (perhaps also Like) and even my Head To Toe Pilates home page from time to time. Today's post is an example of the cross-over between my biggest passions, looking at the amazing FABletics Boutique.
Sad as it may seem, I can't even remember the last time I went on a proper shopping spree, but since I spend every day in some sports outfit or another it's a pretty good chance that my most recent purchase was a pair of black opaque leggings... Not particularly exciting, but what IS exciting is my latest obsession when it comes to sports wear - FABletics Boutique. The concept is based on a membership profile, so when you sign up to become a member of FABletics (free), you take a quick lifestyle quiz to find out amongst other things which your favourite colours are, what type of exercise you prefer to do, where you prefer to exercise and what type of clothes you prefer to wear e.g. long or short sleeves etc.

When you've signed up, you'll get an offer to become a VIP member. All that means is that you are offered to by an outfit at a heavily discounted price to start with, and after that you will receive monthly offers that are handpicked for you at a discounted price. Even though you get these personalised offers, you can still see the complete range of clothes and buy whatever your heart desires - well, as long as it's sports wear... You're under no obligation to buy anything, you can either buiy the outfit selected for you or let them know by the 5th of every month that you don't want the monthly offer. Then you can always go back and buy something completely different or nothing at all. If you decide to become a regular member it means that you can come back at any time and buy whatever you want at a slightly different price, but then again you don't have to worry about being organised enough to say "No" to the monthly offer by the 5th of every month.

I've been a VIP member for 2 months now and a very happy one at that. Why? - Well first of all you're offered to buy a 2- or 3-piece outfit from a starting price of £44 every month. Considering the quality of the items, the fit and styles to choose from, and the wonderful selection of styles to suit everyone, that's a pretty good deal! Secondly if you do decide that what you bought isn't what you wanted, FABletics have an easy to use return policy and you'll get your money credited back after about a week of returning your item free of cost. Thirdly, every time you do a review of an item that you've bought, regardless of whether you returned it or not, you accumulate points which you can then redeem for an item of clothing - brilliant! Not only are you encouraged to share your honest opinions about your purchases, but you actually get rewarded for it too.

The only thing you should be aware of is that sizes are generally generous, and at least half a size too big than your normal size, which is something you might want to consider when you create your profile, since you also get to add your size for tops, bottoms and bra's. 

So far I've bought 2 monthly offers - yes I know I'm greedy, and a shrug on the side and I'm so impressed with the quality, speed of delivery and customer service. The materials are soft, comfortable to wear, they wash well and come in all colours of the rainbow. If you're looking for something a little bit different, something you won't find on the high street, then FABletics is definitely the way to go. Oh, and did I mention that the FABulous Kate Hudson is one of the co-founders, recommending certain picks every month? Well, we can't all be Hollywood stars, but we can certainly feel like one!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Roberto Cavalli Exotica

As many of you may know I am a dedicated follower of fashion and have a soft spot especially for Italian designers, so when Roberto Cavalli launched the Roberto Cavalli EdP (£29.99) in 2012 I was ALL over it. I quickly became a fan of the warm, feminine, oriental scent and since then I have also kept a close eye on every new version of  it. The latest summer edition dates to back to 2014, and it's Roberto Cavalli's Exotica EdT (£39.99) in a deliciously pink bottle with a little detail of Cavalli's trademark animal print, that hides a wonderful tropical scent concoction.

I must admit that I find it a challenge to characterize this scent; it's not simply fruity or sweet or woody, it's all those things at the same time - talk about being multi faceted. The first spritz makes you think of golden, juicy exotic fruits, but it's far from a light and fleeting scent, instead the fruitiness is quite concentrated. The fragrance develops quickly and it soon reveals it's flowery sweet side with intense notes of frangipani flowers that vaguely remind me of roses. Despite the very pronounced floral notes, there is nothing sugary or sickly about the scent, probably because of the dry harmonious notes of sandal in the background which adds balance and makes Exotica a velvety smooth and seductive EdT.

Despite being a tropical summer scent, I personally prefer to wear it when the temperatures have dropped since in my opinion Exotica is warm enough in itself and during a hot sunny summer day for me it gets a little bit on the heavy side. Saying that though I'm still intrigued by the depth and complexity of it, and just like Roberto Cavalli's fabulous fashion creations this EdP definitely stands out. Although Exotica is a limited edition, it's still readily available in many stores, and on Fragrance Direct you can find both the original and its pink summer sister.  

Monday, 12 January 2015

Red 2015? No - Red 2000!

My festive period love affair with red just continues into the new year, it's the colour that keeps giving. Last week I mentioned a perfect gorgeous and ravishing red for your nails - Boudoir from Ciaté and today I just had to show its lipstick mate. I've mentioned before that I'm not usually one for doing matching nails and lips and personally I find it more interesting to contrast but some pairs are just made for each other. There are so many gorgeous red shades from the big cosmetic brands but I've always found it difficult to find a shade that works with my colouring and doesn't make me feel like the lipstick is wearing me rather than the other way around. Something tells me I'm not the only one doubting which shade suits me since L'Oréal very helpfully has released their Perfect match red range to help us find the right red.

As a blonde with a hint of a tan left from the holidays, and with a warm undertone to my skin anyway deep reds with blue undertones do nothing good for me and I do shy away from them. Instinctively I've always been drawn to the more orange reds anyway, however there's again a fine balance between reds with a warm undertone and intense scarlets that are just a tad too sharp for me. Having tested my way through reds for years I did eventually find a shade that's just right (yes there is one for everyone!) and it's Avon's Ultra Colour Rich Lipstick in Red 2000 (£3.85).
The formula is nice and creamy without being waxy, and it leaves a nice hydrating sensation on your lips. The pigmentation is very strong so I would recommend being careful when you apply it since it does leave a stain and if you get the lip contours wrong you have to remove it and apply it again from scratch. I find that it works best if you use a brush to apply the lipstick and then of course you get a fabulous and precise lip contour as well, if you've got plenty of time that is, otherwise just dabbing it on works really well too. Because of the strong pigmentation the colour is fairly long lasting, and after 4-5 hrs eventually only a stain remains, but that also mean that it does transfer onto coffee mugs etc for quite a while. From a formula and wear point of view it's a pretty good lipstick, but what nudges it into being a great one is definitely the colour; it's a gorgeous sultry golden tomato red that brings out my natural colouring and brightens everything, even the rainiest of days (have a look at my Instagram to see a color swatch). It's a confident and elegant shade and the only thing that bugs me about this gem of a lipstick is that it's no longer part of Avon's range, but you can find it on Amazon and on eBay.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Manic.Monday: Ravishing Boudoir red

So what happened to the blog during the last half of the year? Well in short - life! It was a year of massive change for me and I was as disappointed as anyone that I simply wasn't able to include the blog with everything else I had to juggle, and putting the blog on hold certainly wasn't an easy decision but unfortunately a necessary one. We're only a few days into a new year and although I won't be able to post daily, there will be a weekly post every Monday as of now, and I hope that you who have always supported me and been so encouraging will understand and continue to visit and enjoy the weekly articles this year.

In my book the Christmas period ends on January 6, which strictly speaking means that we've only got one more day of festive joy, silly jumpers and hopefully no more left-over food from the Christmas table.... SO DONE with left-overs! Saying that, I'm not yet quite over the traditional red Christmas nail. As most of you may know I am fairly daring when it comes to nails and am willing to give most looks a try, and I have been surprised at how much I have enjoyed sporting a classic style this winter and there's something about this beautiful and intense pure red that just makes me coming back for more.
This little sassy number is Ciaté's Boudoir (£9, but on sale at the moment for an incredible £4.50!), a glorious, sophisticated red and since it doesn't have overtly strong blue undertones it's likely to suit most skintones.

You can always trust Ciaté formulas; they're just the right consistency, easy to work with and dry quickly. Admittedly the pigmentation varies, and the lighter or sheerer colors will not be as opaque as the others, and they will therefor require more coats. This stunning red does have a sheer element to it, so I would definitely recommend at least 2 coats and a top coat to get as much wear out of it as possible. The longevity of this Ciaté polish is about 4-5 days, which is above average I think, but in all honesty, even if it only lasted 2 days, I would still buy and LOVE to wear this color. To me this is a timeless and beautiful red, and if like me you think that the masters of red like Tom Ford and Manolo Blahnik charge a bit too much for a finger nail of sexy glamour (£23-£32) this is a brilliant alternative.