Hey there lovelies!

I’ve got something very exciting to show you today. If you have read my blog before you may know that I’m really obsessed with skincare products. It’s kind of my ‘thing’. I know most bloggers obsess over makeup and the newest cosmetics ranges but I could leave makeup any day for luxurious skincare products which give great results! You can’t beat a clear, fresh face in my opinion!

So, today I wanted to tell you about a new product which I was sent by Skintifique; the Cleanser P.

I hadn’t heard of Skintifique before, so naturally I was curious about their brand and products. They are an international brand, and from browsing their website and social media I have to say I was really impressed. They really know their skincare, and by that I mean that all of their products are driven by science and results. Something else that struck me was that all of their products are 100%  pure and non-allergenic, they are even suitable for people who suffer from extremely sensitive skin or problems like eczema or psoriasis. As an eczema sufferer myself, this was something I was really impressed by as I often find high street cleansers can flair up the patches where I get it on my face.

The packaging intrigued me too. It’s definitely not a pink, fluffy packaged product. The brand is simple, clean, with a slightly clinical feel which matches their ‘science driven’ brand ethos.

I could go on about the ingredients and the fact that it’s paraben free, fragrance free, no nasties and generally pure as anything; but what you really want to know is how it feels to use it and if it works.

Well, yes it does. It’s a micellar water, which means it’s a cleanser which removes makeup, impurities and traces of pollution from your skin. The Cleanser P is excellent at removing my makeup, even stubborn eye makeup, and doesn’t irritate my eyes at all. It also feels lovely on my face, not oily at all which I have found with other micellar waters, and leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean. In the short term, I’d say it’s a fantastic cleanser for any skin type, but particularly for sensitive or reactive skin. It’s also a quick, easy way to cleanse morning and night with no fuss, which is what I like.

In the long term, I can honestly say that my skin has been clearer. Even more than that, I have noticed a difference in how my skin feels in regards to sensitivity. As I said, I have sensitive skin particularly on my cheeks, and I often find that after cleansing with a regular cleanser my skin feels ‘tight’ or a bit tingly. The Cleanser P has removed this feeling completely and my skin feels less dry and irritated.

The cleanser is priced just under £14 which, although more than a drug-store branded cleanser, I don’t feel is over the top for a results driven skincare brand like this, and I feel it’s competitive within their sector. If you would like more details about the cleanser, or to order a Cleanser P for yourself click here.

***I was sent this product for reviewing purposes, but the opinions are my own as always***

Have you tried this brand? What are your thoughts?

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One of my New Years resolutions for 2017 was to ‘get into yoga’ – whatever that means. I’ve been to the odd class before with friends but I’ve never sustained it for long enough to see any improvements or benefits. Lately I’ve been seeing toned women on Instagram doing headstands and various other tricky looking poses and I thought ‘I want me some of that’.

In January Paul and I (yes I dragged my husband along too!) started attending a weekly yoga class at our gym. We were lucky because our local gym has a brilliant yoga teacher who runs a really excellent mixed ability class and she’s fantastic about helping you get the very best out of your practice. As much as I am enjoying it, however, I would say yoga definitely does not come naturally to me! I’m a gym bunny, I love working out and lifting weights and I’m very naughty and very rarely stretch afterwards. Consequently, my flexibility is at around zero and I can’t even touch my toes! Now, a few months in I am loving regular yoga and I am starting to see the benefits, but I thought I would share with you a few things that you might find tricky as a ‘non-yogi’ like me trying to take up this hobby!

First up, let’s get out of the way. Even if you think you are fit, you are not yoga fit.

Before I started yoga classes I considered myself a moderately fit and kind of ‘sporty’ person. I thought I was quite strong, I can run a bit, I generally enjoy exercise so I kind of naively thought I was take to yoga pretty easily. Let me tell you; I may have thought I was strong, but I am NOT yoga strong. A few seconds in some of the poses and I was wobbling all over the place, sweating and breathing heavily whilst the rest of the class look serene. Yoga seems to just use muscles that you never use at any other time when working out. It is an amazing workout because it hits cardio, strength training and core stability all in one session. But, if you are new to it like me, don’t expect to take to it naturally.

Also, it hurts the next day.

The morning after my first yoga class I tried to sit up in bed and my body just wasn’t working. The aching was like nothing I’ve ever experienced! After a good training session it’s normal for the section of the body you have been training to ache but after yoga it was like my entire body was hurting. Good news however, after about 15 weekly classes I can confirm that the morning-after pain never again reaches the heights of the first session. I think it was just my body having a tantrum for putting it through something so unfamiliar and difficult!

They make it look easy.

I have re evaluated my initial goal of nailing the Insta-Yoga-Headstand. I can confirm that 15 weeks in and I am still NO WHERE NEAR a successful headstand! It takes time, really consistent practice and incredible core strength to do most tricky yoga poses. Right now I’m still working on touching my toes. But I am getting closer!

It might involve singing.

Yoga is a spiritual practice at it’s heart. Unbeknown  to me, it is quite usual for a yoga class to all close their eyes and belt out a couple of ‘Ohms’ at the end of a class! I love it, but just to pre warn you as I was slightly bewildered at my first class.

You will probably become addicted.

Despite all of the aches and wobbling – I am now a yoga addict. My Tuesday nights are not complete without an hour spent upside down! Not only have I seen an improvement in my core strength and flexibility, but also I feel like it really reenergises me and helps me feel calm. After a long day at work sometimes I umm and ahh about going, but afterwards I feel like the day’s stresses have melted away! I have even noticed a decrease in tension headaches since I have been going. I am determined to continue practicing yoga and get better, stronger and DO THAT HEADSTAND GODDAMMIT!

Are you a yogi? Or considering taking it up? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Hey everyone.

Gosh, I can’t believe we’ve been back over 2 months and I’m only just publishing the last instalment of our Thailand Diaries! It was such a long and amazing trip packed full of adventure it has taken me many, many posts to get it all down! So let’s pick up where I left off and wrap up this journey..

So after spending a week and a half exploring the bustling cities of the north and sweating and swatting mozzies in the jungle we wanted a bit of horizontal beach time. Luckily, if you are looking for white sand, blue sea paradise, Thailand has a lot to choose from! We decided to stick to the west side this time, mainly because the East tends to have a lot of monsoons at that time of year and also because I have already been to the East side and fancied trying something different. We visited two beach resorts in all, staying four or five days in each; Railay Beach and Ko Lanta. Each was extremely beautiful in it’s own way and each had it’s relative merits and not-so-great things, which I’m going to talk you through now.

Railay Beach

Totally cut off from the mainland and only accessible by long tail boat, Railay beach is often hailed as one of the most beautiful and unspoilt beaches in the world. As if the golden sand and glittering ocean wasn’t enough; the beach is flanked by rugged cliffs which make it look like something out of a movie. There are no cars, no ferries and you certainly can’t fly there so actually getting there is a bit of a mission but certainly an experience. Once we arrived in Krabi we took a mini bus to Ao Nang and then took one of the many waiting long tail boats to Railay Beach. As we raced across the sea we couldn’t quite believe how beautiful it was.

First and foremost

I can’t stress this enough, you need to be sensible with your luggage. The long tail boats stop just shy of the shore and you will need to wade in water about up to your knees to get onto the beach. The guys who drove the boats will quite literally chuck your luggage onto the sand. Although it is all part of the experience, I would recommend leaving your Louis Vuitton suitcase set at home.

East vs West

For a small resort there are a lot of places to stay and they are divided between Railay West and Railay East. Although you may imagine that the opposite sides of the peninsula might be a long way apart, in reality it is a 10 minute walk between the two. The main beach is Railay West – so if one of the tip-top luxury hotels there are within your budget then knock yourself out! We decided to stay on the East side however, due to the hotels being more affordable and it having more of a ‘backpacker scene’. In reality, the resorts in Railay East actually have an amazing outlook because they look out onto the unspoilt ocean without any boats or interruptions (as most of the longtails come into the West side), but you need to be aware that there isn’t technically a beach on the East side. To break it down: for luxury resorts, classier restaurants and to be right on the beach – go West, for chilled beach bars, live music and rustic beach huts – East is a winner.

Pros and Cons

The pros are definitely the stunning beach and the lack of vehicles and ferries to spoil it. That’s not to say that the beach isn’t busy though – it seriously is. In fact you’d be hard pushed to find a beach in Thailand which is as yet ‘undiscovered’ by tourism. Other brilliant things about Railay: seeing crazy monkeys up close (don’t take food near them!), amazing rock climbing experiences for all levels and the best mango smoothie I’ve ever had. There are a few cons – the busyness I mentioned earlier: the longtails bring in a lot of day-trippers so the peak time on the beach is BUSY. We also tried a lot of restaurants there and didn’t find the food to be amazing compared to other places in Thailand – particularly in the beach front places.

Do Not Miss!

A snorkelling trip to see the bio-luminescent plankton (as seen in the movie The Beach)! We did a day-to-night boat trip where they took us to islands and snorkelling spots in the afternoon but to be honest we could have taken or left that bit, it wasn’t amazing. The night snorkel with the plankton though is an absolute must! As you move underwater the water around you literally lights up and glitters. Truly incredible.

Verdict

Other than the slightly disappointment of the food, Railay Beach is a beautiful place to visit and I would thoroughly recommend it.

Ko Lanta

After the busyness of Railay we headed over water to the nearby island of Ko Lanta for four nights. Lanta has a more family friendly reputation and is considered less of a ‘party’ place. It’s very built up and outside of the beaches it has every local amentity, shop, bar or restauarant you could want. There are a few main beaches, all of them are long, wide and safe for families. It’s also popular to rent a bike to explore the island as the roads are pretty bike friendly compared to the rest of Thailand! People flock to Lanta for relaxing beach holidays, swimming, snorkelling and authentic Thai food.

The Low-Down on the Beaches

For an island, Ko Lanta is actually quite big and it has several large beaches all with their own resrots ranging from luxury to budget. There are even some budget guest houses situated off the beaches on the main road that runs all the way through the island. Although you’re never far from a beach, I wouldn’t recommend staying in these. The main road is hideously busy, dusty and, in places, dirty. There are plenty of super cheap places to stay on the coast so stick with a beach front resort or guesthouse.  We stayed in the beachfront bungalow and very budget resort of Rann Chalet in Klong Dao beach. The resort comprised of tiny bungalows which were quite cute and served their purpose but not overly comfortable! We didn’t love our beach either; Klong Dao is one of the main beaches and it’s a bit dirty and rocky which makes it not great for swimming. Also, the choice of restaurants and bars was not that great. We visited the next beach down; Long Beach, and that was by far our favourite. It’s clean, much more beautiful and is lined with trendy beach bars and lovely Thai seafood restaurants. If we went again we would definitely choose Long Beach.

Must-Do’s

We really wanted to take a trip to Ko Rok island, a tiny island off Lanta famous for it’s crystal waters and amazing coral and snorkelling opportunities. We chose to go with a slightly more ‘luxury’ company (although still not expensive compared to the UK) – Opal Travel. I cannot recommend them highly enough! We had a wonderful day on their lovely boat exploring the island and doing some amazing snorkelling. You can check out a video I made of our snorkelling adventure here.

Verdict

We loved the vibe in Ko Lanta but we wouldn’t stay in Klong Dao or that particular resort again! For a luxury beach break it would be a beautiful and relaxing place to visit.

******

I hope you enjoyed my Thailand Diaries or perhaps might find it helpful if you are planning a trip to Thailand! Have you been to either of these places before?

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March always symbolises the start of Spring for me and therefore it’s always a happy month! We’ve had some unusually sunny and warm weather in London, and I’ve been sprucing up the house with flowers and Spring like accessories!


I’ve also been loving my homemade brunches in March and have been making Sunday mornings at home extra special. I even wrote a blog post about my favourite homecooked brekkies!

March saw me investing a lot of time and energy into my YouTube channel which I’m really proud of. Now the weather is getting better we’ve also been out shooting new blog photography.

I even attended my first ever blogging event – #BlogConLDN. It was an amazing experience and I met so many inspiring people.


In mid March I also have myself a kick up the butt in terms of my fitness and I’ve been back on it with a vengeance trying to get my pre-winter body back!

It’s been a great month, and I can’t wait to see what April brings!

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It’s not everyday I get to review one of my favourites foods from an exciting new brand, so when I was contacted by Mr Lee’s Gourmet Oriental Noodles I jumped at the chance! Having travelled and lived in South East Asia I am a big fan of noodles of all shapes, sizes and flavours!

A bit about Mr Lee’s Noodles

‘..on a mission to help time-poor people eat better food!’ – a quote taken from Mr Lee himself (who is a real person by the way). I am certainly what you would describe as ‘time-poor’ so I really like this vision statement. Mr Lee are a UK producer of high quality, healthy, gluten free, ‘no nasties’ noodles in a cup.

What I thought

Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of other ‘noodles-in-a-cup’ brands on the market. I’ve never been a fan of Super Noodles or Pot Noodles, I find them stodgy and having been lucky enough to taste authentic Asian cuisine for real I just find those brand’s flavours all wrong. I was excited to try Mr Lee’s noodles to see if it was possible to get all the authentic Asian flavours into an instant noodle pot whilst still maintaining the healthy and low-fat elements.

I was pleasantly surprised and I really enjoyed all six flavours of Mr Lee’s range. The range includes Hong Kong Street Beef, Penang Chicken Curry Laksa, Tai Chi Chicken, Warrior Fighting Shrimp, Dragon Fire Mushroom and Shaolin Monk Vegetables. I did like them all – I must admit, the ‘3 chillies’, extra hot shrimp one was a little hot for me! Other than that I was a big fan of all of them. My favourite was the Tai Chi Chicken which is absolutely delicious! I really feel that this brand have managed to harness real Asian flavours into a dish which has all the ease of instant preparation – just add hot water! Something which I’m sure is not easy. I was impressed by the quality of the ingredients in all the variations, the vegetables were real veg and the noodles themselves (the key ingredient) were really tasty and good quality!

Mr Lee’s Gourmet noodles are perfect for a guilt free lunch-on-the-go or a delicious dinner when you can’t be bothered to cook from scratch. The fact that they are so healthy means you can get all the perks of a ‘ready-meal’ without feeling like you’ve fallen off the wagon eating wise! This is a biggie for me; I really do try with my diet but sometimes chopping up peppers is the last thing I want to do after a long day at work! I’m sure many of you feel the same!

I also believe Mr Lee’s noodles to be excellent value for money. They are available to buy in a pack of six for £17.94, which works out at just under £3 per pot. Yes, it puts them at the higher end of the market for this kind of product but I do think the quality is evident. For example, they are packed full of veg and the meat flavours have real meat in them rather than just flavourings. I also found when eating one of the pots for lunch it really filled me up for the rest of the day.

Hong Kong Beef

Chicken Laksa

So where can I get some?

Well, online seems to be the best place to get your hands on some of Mr Lee’s noodles! Click here to visit their shop where, like I said, you can purchase mixed or single flavour packs of six with free UK shipping! Hurrah! Something which I found extremely exciting is that soon, Mr Lee will be branching out into ‘noodle kiosks’ up and down the country – basically vending machines where you can buy their noodle pots! What a brilliant idea.

You can check out their website here.

What are your opinions of instant noodles?

**I was sent this product for reviewing purposes but, as always, the opinions are 100% my own**