New In My Haircare Basket

Haircare isn't something I write about much on my blog, I've always been happy to visit my local Boots and buy whatever happens to be on offer however, I recently decided that I'm going to bite the bullet and have my hair dyed for Spring/Summer (think Jordan Dunn's colour.) I'm a little apprehensive as I've had some bad experiences with hair dye in the past but I decided that the best thing I can do beforehand is to use quality products that will hopefully have my hair in the best condition it can be before heading to the salon. Today I thought I'd show the new products that have helped improve my hair texture -

Lush Cynthia Sylvia Stout - Shiny hair in a bottle! This shampoo is made with beer, which makes me feel like an ultimate hippy chick (groovy) but don't let this put you off this shampoo has a lovely fresh scent which I put down to the lemon juice. This adds serious shine to my hair, has a clarifying effect without leaving my hair feeling stripped. This does have a light lather which surprised me as some natural shampoos don't. Sylvia Stout has made me want to try some more Lush hair care, shampoo bars and conditioner currently on the wishlist.

Garnier Ultimate Blends 1 Minute Treatment - Any hair treatment that has the instruction leave on for 15-30 minutes is an instant no no for me - I haven't got time for that! When a hair product has the words 1 minute I'm all for that so the Garnier treatment was love at first use. This treatment works and works fast, it'll come as no surprise that I'm already a fan of Garnier Ultimate Blends line (over here) but adding this 1 minute treatment into my routine has upped my hair game. If you have fine/thin hair this treatment will be too rich, however for someone like me with thick/curly hair this is perfect. I apply this through the ends of my hair and the texture is transformed this makes my hair more manageable, soft, smooth and frizz free. On the days I don't use this my hair has more tangles, and is a lot harder to manage.

Got2b Styling Oil - Applied to wet hair before styling this protects my hair and helps stop frazzled ends. Unfortunately, this isn't as versatile as my Moroccan Oil (which I'm still trying to find an alternative too) but this does work wonders on wet hair. I can apply a tiny bit through the ends for shiny healthy looking hair, I will say though it's easy to go overboard with this. Thing's can get greasy, quickly, but used sparingly this works really well!

Joico K-Pak Protect & Shine Serum - I'm not sure why I stopped using serums, but I'm happy to have rediscovered them. Hair serums are just so light/weightless in the hair and this Joico one is no exception. I can use this on wet or dry hair for a salon finish. This serum fights frizz, and stops my hair going puffy in the rain, it's just perfect such a versatile product that makes my hair feel super soft and smooth.

Joico Moisture Recovery Shampoo & Conditioner - Can you tell I'm having a thing for Joico at the moment? I recently bagged this duo in the Feel Unique January sale, I'll admit the conditioner is so-so but the shampoo is perfect it does a fantastic job of removing product build up without stripping my hair! Coming from someone with a sensitive scalp it can be hard to find shampoos that don't irritate my scalp so it's great to find something that works for me, perfect balance between clarifying/hydrating.

Keracare Liquid Sheen Heat Spray - HG Status. In terms of heat sprays this is by far the best I've ever tried. This heat spray doesn't feel sticky in my hair and doesn't weigh it down. The spray has a mist texture which distributes evenly through my hair. My hair looks sleek, shiny and healthy when I use this. Words can't express my love for this and for £9.95 it's not too bad on the old bank balance either.

What are your favourite haircare products? Have you tried any of the products mentioned?


A Valentines Pamper With Ginger & Co

Happy Valentines Day! 
Love day is finally here folks, whether you're all for the holiday or think it's a total gimmick, there's no denying it's the perfect opportunity to pull out your favourite pamper products and have some me time (as if us girls needed an excuse!) 

To celebrate the launch of Ginger & Co in the UK Popcorn PR kindly offered to send me a valentines gift* from the brand, the box arrived beautifully packaged accompanied by some lovely sweeties which seemed perfectly fitting for valentines day. Admittedly, I hadn't heard of Ginger & Co before, but with their retro inspired packaging, quirky product names and affordable prices, they are definitely a brand to watch in 2015.

This valentines day I'll be taking some time to pamper and relax with Ginger and Co. Moisturising Bubble Bath & Wash. The soothing scents of Blossom Honey, Lemon Balm and Marshmallow Leaf will have you me feeling pampered in no time. I can't wait to try all the products, I should hopefully have reviews up in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime though why not follow Ginger & Co on Twitter here.

I'd love to know what your favourite pamper products are? Any plans for valentines day? 

*PR Sample


Running Tips For Beginners

For quite some time I've wanted to introduce a little fitness to my blog, I've always been a little hesitant about writing/talking about fitness on my blog as I do feel certain subjects are best left to the professionals…something I certainly ain't. However, I really wanted to share some simple running tips for beginners. Over the years I've improved so much with my running, I'm always striving to improve my time and technique. There are so many mistakes and certain aspects of running that I overlooked at the start of my running journey, today I thought I'd share some tips that I really wish I'd known at the start -

1. Have some structure - Don't be an eager beaver!
When I first started running the temptation to throw on some trainers and pound the pavements was all too much to resist. Although the 'go hard or go home' approach is natural when introducing something new in your life I think it was one of my biggest mistakes, my fitness level just wasn't there and by pushing my joints and over training I only caused injury. If you are new to running (no matter what your fitness level or even if you have attempted running before) build up slowly, take your time and good things will come. After causing injury I decided to attempt the Bupa 5K Training plan, no matter what your running ability or fitness level I highly recommend interval training (walk/run combination) to ease your way into running. The training plan made running so much more enjoyable, I felt like I could accomplish more, my runs were more successful. The training plan allowed me to work on my breathing, strengthen my joints and although the challenge intensifies I found that I could run for so much longer without stopping.

2. Get the right sportswear
When I first began running I underestimated the need for good quality running shoes, I was happy to make do at the start and although my trainers were of good quality they weren't offering near enough the amount of support I needed. You don't need the most expensive pair of trainers to start out with, but I would highly recommend purchasing some sort of trainer specifically for running, right from the start. By wearing trainers that offered zero support I caused myself more injury before, after and even during my run, it wasn't good for my joints at all.

Everyone always assumes if you are flat chested you don't need a sports bra, this advice couldn't be more wrong! No matter what your boob size you can can pull muscles and cause strain - it's an essential for running, look for the words 'high endurance' ...my favourites are Shockabsorber nothing comes close to the amount of support I get with a Shockabsorber bra. For something more affordable though M&S & H&M also do some great ones.

Depending on how serious you get about running you may find yourself having to adjust your kit for different seasons throughout the year. All year round I wear Lycra bottoms as I find that they don't restrict my movement, the material is breathable and light - perfect for running. During the winter time it's all about layers, invest in a good base layer and a quality running jacket. Don't forget your running cap and gloves. If you are running at night you'll also need something high vis (safety first.) Of course, all these thing's are not essential at the start but worth thinking about over time.

3.  Remember to warm up and cool down - It will make you a better runner!
I'll be the first to admit there are days where I skip a warm up/cool down and I tell you what those days are certainly never forgotten…there the days where my run feels harder, the days where my joints burn the next day (not the good kind of burn.) Never underestimate the power of a good warm up, when I first began running I did a few static stretches and headed out more recently I've discovered that dynamic movements get my blood pumping, make me feel warm and improve my breathing. With a good warm up I can push myself that little bit further, there's less pressure on my joints and I'm less likely to cause injury. A cool down allows me to stretch everything out, I usually opt for static stretches during the cool down. Some to try - Kelli's Quick cool down, Yoga with Adriene - Warm up & cool down Blogilates Pumped up cardio warm up 

4. Stay motivated
Staying motivated with running can be hard, I had to accept right from the start that progress would take time but even for the most patient of us it can feel frustrating. Here are a few tips I felt like I needed at the start to spur me on -

Work on your technique
In exercises such as Yoga we constantly improve posture, think about our practice, our movements, our breathe and in return this allows us to get stronger. Do the same with running. Think about your posture, stand tall head high, breathe deeply. As soon as you start to make small tweaks it really does help.

Download an app or keep a diary
Keeping a note of how you feel, your distance and time can really encourage you and motivate you. When I saw the miles clocking up on my Nike running app it made me more determined to continue, improve and clock up even more miles!

Set yourself a goal
Whatever your running ability setting challenge is a useful way to stay motivated, training for a race such as a 5k really helps me stick to my training plan. If races aren't your thing you can even set yourself small personal goals (e.g. I'd like to run 5k in under 30 minutes.)

Don't forget to mix it up 
Running the same route can feel like groundhog day and can soon turn running into a chore. Vary your distances and routes, changing up your route on a regular basis keeps things fresh! 

What are your favourite running tips? How do you stay motivated with fitness? 


I Changed My Mind ...

Sometimes I will purchase a product, use it religiously for weeks but never really form an opinion. There are some products I dislike, but don't hate and there are some where I just can't make my mind up these products often end up in a dark place…I call it my basket for unloved products. Every once in awhile I'll make a conscious effort to use up the products in this basket, sometimes I'll decide I quite like other times I'll decide that I hate the product, but today I thought I'd show you the four products that I actually quite like, not love at first use but never mind we got there in the end!

Benefit They're Real Mascara* - A cult favourite in the blogosphere it's fair to say I had high expectations for this mascara. When I first tried this I just couldn't get to grips with the formula, for me this was wet, clumpy and just made my lashes look spidery - which might be for some but I generally like a more natural finish for my lashes. Due to the wet formula this also felt uncomfortable to wear, my lashes felt heavy and I actually found that my eyes felt irritated throughout the day. Fast forward a few months and my views can't be any different. The formula has dried up a little and this works so much better, a light layer fans out my lashes, adds a dramatic finish (without looking clumpy) and really holds a curl. I'm not sure if I will repurchase this mascara as the price is pretty steep, but I'm happy I could get some use before it's expiry date.

L'oreal Elnett Hairspray - Throughout January I've been whipping out my Curl Secret, and experimenting with adding curls. I've noticed that my hair has zero hold, instead of heading out to Boots I decided to shop my stash. When I originally tried the L'oreal Hairspray I thought it was so-so, however more recently I've seen how effective this is especially with curls. It holds a style without leaving my hair feeling crispy or sticky, at the end of the day this brushes out easily and doesn't leave any residue in my hair. I'll be repurchasing the larger size when this runs out.

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel - I originally reviewed the Oskia Renaissance Gel here and although I was quite complimentary to the product I wasn't entirely sure on the formula/scent. My skin has been a lot drier, and a lot duller throughout the winter season, since adding this cleanser back into my routine my skin looks more radiant, hydrated and healthy. I'm still not keen on the scent, but I'm prepared to ignore that for the results that this gives. I'll have to eat humble pie with this one, as I've even repurchased.

Keracare Anti Dandruff moisturising shampoo - Having darker hair makes dandruff ten times worse. Over recent years I've managed to improve my scalp, mainly by increasing my water intake and switching to slightly more expensive haircare (with cleaner ingredients.) However, there are times where my scalp is slightly itchy/dry and for those times I rely on Keracare. When I first tried this shampoo I didn't like it at all, the blue gooey texture seemed difficult to work with, and as it only has a slight lather I wasn't entirely sure how effective it was. Over recent weeks I'm completely converted this feels cooling on my scalp, and super moisturising in my hair. If you have a dry/sensitive scalp I highly recommend this.

Have you tried any products that weren't quite love at first sight? What do you do with the products that didn't float your boat?

*Gifted at a blogger meet up 
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