Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Out and About: A Picnic at Stourhead

Last weekend we headed to Stourhead for a picnic and I wanted to share a few of my favourite snaps with you. I'm lucky to live close to Stourhead but even if you're not local, it's well worth a visit because it's absolutely stunning and a fantastic day out. I've been coming to Stourhead since I was a kid and I love it more and more every time I visit.

The scenery is incredible and you won't be able to stop taking photos - I took well over 100 and we were only there for an afternoon! There's a gorgeous lakeside walk that takes you all around the gardens, through a 250 year old grotto and past the famous pavillion, which you'll probably recognise from a few movies - it's definitely in the Pride and Prejudice remake.

Anyway, I'll stop wittering on and leave you enjoy some of the photos I took, hopefully they'll convince you to visit the gorgeous Stourhead this summer!




Homemade parmesan and sesame seed lollipops - amazing!












Monday, 28 July 2014

Sweet Cecily's Lip Balms: Mojito, Pina Colada and Espresso Martini

So, a particularly exciting and gorgeously wrapped package arrived for me the other day and as soon as I saw the logo on the envelope I couldn't wait to delve in and discover what was inside.

Sweet Cecily's is a natural skincare brand that's famous for beautiful packaging and lovely products - everything is handmade by Cecily on the North Yorkshire Moors, so it's great to see a truly homegrown brand doing such great things. Three cheers for Sweet Cecily's, eh?


So, shall we have a look at what was inside?

(Apologies for the wishy washy colours in this one - the clouds were being a pain!)
Pina Colada Lip Balm*


This balm smells of the gorgeous cocktail that's completely reminiscent of summer - coconut and pineapple and everything exotic, this is just like a beach holiday in a pretty little tin.

Espresso Martini Lip Balm*



Sweet Cecily's latest lip balm creation (launching in September) is Espresso Martini, which smells exactly like the swanky cocktail. The smell of coffee is what hits you as soon as you open the tin and it lasts and lasts - my boyfriend kissed me a couple of hours after I'd put this on and he could still taste the flavour. So this one definitely passes the smooch test!

Mojito Lip Balm*


Saving the best for last, I was so excited to discover Sweet Cecily's has a mojito flavoured lip balm! I'm definitely a mojito girl and no night out for drinks passes without me ordering one of my favourite cocktails - the humble mojito. There's something about the blend of mint, lime and sugar (and rum, of course) that goes together perfectly and this couldn't be a lovelier flavour of lip balm.

All of the Sweet Cecily's balms taste gorgeous, apply super smoothly and keep my lips hydrated and moisturised for hours - they've certainly had a good test with the weather we've been having! I definitely recommend you check these out, not only is the price great and the formula perfect, you'll also be supporting a great homegrown company.

All of the lip balms mentioned retail for £2.95 and can be purchased from the Sweet Cecily's website.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Bubble T Cosmetics - Hibiscus & Acai Berry Shower Gel and Moroccan Mint Tea Bath Bombs

I've got a two in one for you all today, as I'm going to be talking about a new (to me) cosmetic brand, Bubble T Cosmetics. The brand very kindly sent me two products to try out and after giving them a good test (this heatwave has meant many extra showers so it's been a great week to test out bath products!) I wanted to share my thoughts.

Bubble T sent me their Hibiscus and Acai Berry Tea Restoring Shower Gel and a tube of their Moroccan Mint Tea Reviving Fizzy Bath Bombs, which you can see in the picture below.


As you can see, Bubble T's packaging is vibrant, fun and eye-catching. I love the bright colours and sleek design of the bottles - it means the products look great on my shelves, as well as feeling lovely and luxurious when I use them. Double whammy!

Bubble T take their inspiration from the Taiwanese drink of the same name - I'm sure you've seen bubble tea bars popping up all over the place lately, I know I have in Bath. Let's have a look at how the company describes themselves, in their own words:

'We work to the philosophy that our products should not just look and smell good but should leave you feeling good too.
Working alongside industry experts, we have crafted and blended a divine combination of rich tea based infusions, mixed with fruit essence and extracts.
Our extensive research has helped us to combine different benefits offered by tea as an ingredient in toiletries to create a range which replenishes, cleanses and hydrates your skin as well as provide a long lasting fresh smell.'

First up, let's talk about the shower gel:


The first thing I noticed when I used this is, oh holy balls, it smells absolutely incredible. It's rich, fruity and warm and I cannot stop sniffing it. It lingers on the skin after use and every time I catch a whiff of myself it's a treat - which is pretty surprising, given the weather this week (hello, sweaty upper lip, I'm just delighted you're making an appearance).

Infused with acai berry, cranberry and wild strawberries, this shower gel is supposed to calm and restore and that's exactly what it does. This is perfect to use at the end of a busy day and will leave you feeling chilled out and ready for a long, good sleep.

As well as smelling great, this product is made up of tonnes of lovely ingredients that will leave you skin feeling super soft and nourished. All of Bubble T's products are formulated without parabens and are SLES and SLS free so are a great choice for all skin types.

The Hibiscus and Acai Berry Restoring Shower Gel costs £8 and can be purchased here.

And now, onto the bath bombs:


With Lush firmly lodged in the forefront of my brain, it's not often I use bath bombs by any other brand as I find some are so full of nasties that they leave my skin feeling a bit sensitive and dry. However, as Bubble T's bath bombs promised to leave my skin hydrated and cared for, I was excited to try them out.

The bath bombs react the way you'd expect them to - fizzing all around the bath while they dissolve. I'm still a kid when it comes to bath products and I'm still wholly entertained by bath bombs! These are much smaller than any I've used before but filled my entire bathroom with the most incredible minty fresh fragrance.

This product is part of Bubble T's 'Reviving' range and that description couldn't be more apt - I felt rejuvenated and ready to face the day after soaking in the bath for a good twenty minutes, letting the bath bomb's ingredients of peppermint, white jasmine and spearmint do their thing.

The Moroccan Mint Tea Reviving Bath Bombs cost £6 and can be purchased here.

*

I'm so impressed with Bubble T as a brand. Everything from their products, their ethos, packaging and their customer service (they are really, really lovely on Twitter so hop on over to @BubbleTCosmetic to follow them) is top notch. I'm absolutely loving the two products I have and I'm already keen to get my hands on something from the 'Stimulate' range, which uses lemongrass and green tea as its main ingredients. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Maybelline Dream Nude Airfoam Foundation

Throughout my years at university my staple foundation was the Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid foundation, which gave me a light, flawless finish. I was in one of my local cheapy shops the other day picking up some baking supplies and the make up display caught my eye. 

I don't usually bother looking at make up in discount shops, as I know it's often opened or out of date, but I spotted a few Maybelline foundations that were sealed so took a closer took and spotted the Maybelline Dream Nude Airfoam foundation. On a whim I decided to buy it and it was only when I got home and read the reviews online I thought I might have made a mistake...

It's pretty impossible to find a positive review of this online... oh dear. I thought maybe the reviews were a bit harsh and tried it out for myself... Nope, if anything they were a bit forgiving as I can easily say this is the worst beauty product I've tried in my life. Across all categories. Yup, it's that bad.


The packaging is nice enough but certainly nothing special. The product is an 'air-infused' foundation that promises a nude perfect finish and easy application. You dispense it via the pump at the top and it comes out in the foamy formula you can see below. Be warned, if you don't shake it properly you'll end up with a palmful of white mousse...


It's a soft, light mousse that feels very watery as soon as you touch it. As you can see below, the bubbles soon disappear and you're left with a watery mixture that takes a *lot* of buffing to work into the skin:


After a few minutes of buffing this is what you're left with - an orangey, streaky mess that somehow manages to be oily and drying at the same time. It looks a lot better on my hand than it did on my face, where it managed to make my entire face look greasy but also clung to any dry patches of skin - what a great combo!


However heard you try, it's impossible to get a good finish with this. It just sat on top of my skin and promptly disappeared after a couple of hours. Honestly, don't get tempted by the gimmick like I did - this is truly terrible and I can't imagine any skin type that this would be good for. Run like the wind.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush in Natural Beauty




Today I want to talk to you guys about one of my favourite blushers. It's a bit of a cult product - one of the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blushes and, as you can see from the picture above, I've accrued a sizeable stack of them over the years!

Over the next few weeks I'm going to show you how each of them looks on the skin and today's post is focusing on Natural Beauty, which looks like this in the pan:


As you can see, it looks BRIGHT as hell and I was a bit put off when I saw how crazy pigmented it looked but it really isn't that garish on the skin, at all. It's actually quite subtle and gives a really pretty wash of colour on the cheeks, which you can see here:


I really like this colour, mostly because it's so versatile. In the picture above I've paired it with pretty neutral make up but it works well with a smoky eye too. It's great to warm up my pale skin tone (no shimmer means it looks super natural) and really does live up to its title - I've worn this for twelve hours on the trot before and it stays in place pretty darn well.

I'm a big fan of these blushers so make sure you keep an eye out over the next few weeks, when I'll be reviewing the other shades in my make up drawers!

Friday, 11 July 2014

'You Can Only Pick One' Tag

Happy Friday everybody - we're almost there, so close to the weekend!
Today I'm taking part in the 'You Can Only Pick One' tag, which I saw on Agent Smyth, one of my favourite beauty blogs. The tag was created by Autumn Leaves and it looked like a lot of fun, so here we go:



Low end brand: Hmm, I think I'd probably go for Rimmel. I'm a massive fan of their foundations! 


High end brand: That's a toughie... Probably Urban Decay as I love their eyeshadows, palettes, fixing spray and lipstick. I can't think of another high end brand where I like such a variety of their products.

Primer: Definitely Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Primer - I absolutely love this stuff and it's perfect for those of us who are dry-skinned.


Foundation/BB Cream/Tinted Moisturiser: It's got the be Rimmel Match Perfection. Out of all the foundations I've tried, high end and budget, it gives me the best finish.

Concealer: I reckon it's got to be the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer. It's cheap, it's a great match for my skin colour and it covers up my bags all day. What more do you want?

Bronzer: I'm a relative newcomer to bronzer but the Lorac TANtalizer is lovely and not too dark for my skin!


Blush: Ooh, I do like to switch my blush up most days but if I'm not sure which to go for I'll always reach for Benefit's Coralista.

Powder: MAC's Blot Powder is definitely my favourite - I've just hit pan on mine :(

Setting spray: Urban Decay's All Nighter Setting Spray is brilliant. Never gives me breakouts and keeps my make up in place for hours and hours.

Eyebrow product: Benefit's Gimme Brow is my top pick but mine's just run out, noooo!

My, ahem, well-loved Naked palette...

Eyeshadow/Palette: It's got to be Naked 1 from Urban Decay. I love Naked 3 but if I could only pick one it'd be the original.

Eyeliner: Jordana Fabuliner, every damn time. Every time I go to America I usually come back with five or six in my suitcase. It's the perfect felt tip eyeliner and it's impossible to mess it up, which is handy!

Mascara: YSL Babydoll, which is quite a new discovery for me. It separates my lashes perfectly and gives incredible length but leaves my lashes feeling natural. I love it.


Lipstick/lipgloss/balm: Too Faced La Creme in Bumbleberry is definitely up there, though it's impossible for me to pick just one. Oh, ACTUALLY! Scratch that! The Tarte Skintuitive Lip Tint is what I always pick if I can't decide which lippie to go for - it's super hydrating and adapts to your skin tone to give a subtle pink wash of colour.

Nail polish: The Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Fuchsia Power. It's a bright, bright pink and one of the only nail varnishes I've completely used up.

Beauty tool: The Real Techniques Buffing Brush - it has to be!


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So, those are my picks, what would yours be?

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Shopping the Stash: July

Sometimes living on a tight budget can be tough, right? When everyone's posting amazing hauls filled with high end products and bags and bags of new make up I have to confess to feeling seriously jealous! However, to combat my shopping envy I've been shopping my stash for the last few months and have really been enjoying trying out all the products that were languishing at the back of my make up drawers.


I wanted to share my July picks with you so you can see some of the products that should be making their way to Life from the Tub over the next few weeks:


So, these are the new products I'm going to be trying out in July:

- Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser
- OCC Lip Tar
- Physicians Formula Happy Booster Blush
- Tarte Cheek Stain
- Lorac TANtalizer Bronzer
- Blinc Mascara
- Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara
- Urban Decay Naked Beauty Balm
- Olay Anti-Wrinkle Firm & Lift Night Cream

Have you tried any of these products out before? Let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

My Fitness Journey: Month Two

Last month I wrote a post about the beginning of my fitness journey, and now I've just passed the two month milestone I wanted to share my progress.

In short, it's going pretty darn well! At the end of the two month mark my total losses are:

8lbs
and
23 inches

Yup - I AM TWENTY THREE INCHES TRIMMER!!!

I can't quite believe I can make such a difference to my body in just eight weeks. I've lost four inches from my waist, four and a half from my hips, four from my chest - I'm really pleased to see it's all coming off in proportion, so hopefully I'll keep an hourglass figure as I lose size.

I'm still weight training three times a week (except for last week, which was, um, a bit slack...) but I'm not doing any cardio that goes beyond walking my dog. As I'm getting fitter and stronger I want to look at introducing more cardio, I'm just settling on what form at the moment - so if anyone has any suggestions about great cardio for beginners who are still finding their feet with fitness, please let me know!

In terms of diet, I'm definitely winning the war on portion control and making healthy choices. I had a 'naughty' meal last night because my boyfriend was away, which consisted of chicken, rice and blue cheese. If we rewound six months and I'd been in the same situation I probably would have ordered in a £25 Chinese feast, so it's really exciting to see how far I've come without even really realising it.

Living healthily has been wonderful for my mental well-being as well, which I think we often overlook. Eating home-cooked meals, drinking enough water and moving my body more has had the best effect on my mood (which I'm sure my boyfriend would agree with - no more meltdowns in the gym because I can't squat deep enough!) and I'm completely full of energy. I blitz through my to-do list every day and am getting so much done I'm always knackered by bed time, which means I'm sleeping like an absolute log for eight hours a night. Sleep is key!

So that's it from me on the fitness front for now, I do want to start doing more fitness posts but I'm still learning so much about health and nutrition I want to educate myself a little more before I start blogging about it - soon, though!

For now, I want to leave you with a few motivations that have been really helping me stay on track: