THE AUTUMN TAG

Thursday, 23 October 2014




Helloooo everyone!

I love Autumn, I think you've all pretty much picked up on the fact I'm excited for Christmas, and I should think you'll know to expect a lot of autumn/winter themed posts heading your way over the next few months.

With that said, my lovely friend Summer tagged me to do the Autumn Tag which I'd be planning to do for a while but am now getting right into the swing of it. Sit down, grab a cup of tea, and get reading about what I love about the autumn - and maybe you could answer along yourself!


1. Favourite Starbucks Drink?
I'm not really one for drinking 'regular' tea or coffee - although that caramel coffee I bought was divine. Usually, I'll have a peppermint tea but sometimes I might treat myself to a Caramel or Cinnamon Hot Chocolate, a Latte if I forget about the awful caffeine hit afterwards.
Aside from Starbucks, my favourite drinks right now are all from Pukka Herbs - Vanilla Chai, Three Cinnamon, Revitalise, Peppermint and Three Ginger; some of these blended together are divine.

2. Favourite Music to listen to in Autumn?
Usually it's just my regular music on Spotify or iTunes, but now is the time for me to crack out the Michael Buble 'Christmas' album - got to get in the spirit early.

3. Autumn Scent?
I like to blend my YSL Elle perfume with either One Directon's Our Moment (it smells good okaaaaay) or Diesel's Loverdose.

4. Favourite Autumn Lip Product?
Anything brown, red or purple toned. My current favourite blends are Rimmel Black Tulip Lip Pencil with either Chanel Rouge Coco Mademoiselle or Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry, or a brown lip pencil with Oriflame THE ONE Colour Unlimited Lipstick in Mocha Intensity or Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Liqueur.

5. What do you love most about Autumn?
I love the crisp, bright days where you can wear jumpers, scarfs and boots without being too cold. The colour of the trees, the feeling that the festive season is coming near, and snuggling up with warm drinks in the evening.

6. Autumn Accessories?
Long boots, a cute beanie hat, chunky scarf and a bold statement colour in some form. I love feeling snuggly and warm wrapped up in some knitted pieces.

7. Favourite Halloween Movie?
I don't watch Halloween films, and I'm not usually bothered about it unless I'm going to a party. I'd rather watch The Holiday or something classic like Batman. Yeah.

8. Favourite Nail Polish?
Oh goodness, there's too many to choose! Anything red, purple, navy, green or gold is good for me, particularly the Rimmel and Maybelline ranges.

9. What am I looking forward to most this Autumn?
New scarves, buying candles, making changes, baking and getting ready for Christmas!


I tag Kris from Creepers and Cupcakes, Meg from MegSays, and anyone else who's yet to do the tag and loves autumn!

Are you an autumn lover? What's your favourite Starbucks drink and autumn film? Or are you more excited for Christmas?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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THE STRIPTEAS TEATOX

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Helloooo everyone!

There's not a point in the day where I don't have a cup of tea at arms reach; from the benefits side of drinking it (hot drinks keep you fuller for longer) to the fact I am obsessed with so many herbal teas now (Pukka is my weakness, as are Christmas flavoured drinks), I am always keeping my mug topped up with my favourite flavours to do my tummy some good.

One of the things that's been floating around on social media for a few years now is the Teatox, whereby drinking a carefully selected blend of herbs for a certain amount of days is said to help shift your system of any backlog - carefully chosen words there - and bloat you have hanging around. These types of 'cleanses' are great if you've overdone the pizza and wine or a holiday abroad has left you satisfied yet a bit bogged down, but for someone who drinks peppermint and 'detox' tea regularly these haven't generally caught my eye in the past as I've been doing most of the work already, yet I still get the natural bloat which I have come to deal with.

However I was approached by StripTeas to give their range a go as they knew I loved my herbal teas, so I thought 'why not?!' and gave the ol'teatox a try. And what can I say, I'm officially converted.



The teatox lasts 14 Days, and you get a Morning Wake Up tea, Daytime Teatox and a Sleep Tight tea, with the Daytime tea available in three flavours - Original, Vanilla or Berry - making the teatox tailored to you and your tastes.
Alongside the teatox plan, StripTeas provide an eating plan which you can follow to really gain all the benefits of the two weeks. I follow a clean diet anyway so I didn't use this as much, but it's great to know you have something that runs alongside your teatox which also contains great meal plans!

So now to the real talk.


The great news is that the teas taste great. I know some people have trouble adjusting to herbal tea but they have a nice flavour which tastes just like my regular herbal teas so that makes it easier to drink, plus the pyramids are packed with so much flavour that each bag lasts 2-3 uses. There's also no unnecessary laxatives incorporated so you're free from any harm - and unnecessary toilet breaks.

StripTeas advise you to drink your first cup shortly after you wake up to boost your energy and stimulate your mind - which it does thanks to the ginseng and peppermint! - and that your Daytime Teatox be drunk around the same time each day to get your body used to the stimulation of your metabolism and suppressing your appetite towards snacking. The Sleep Tight is a lovely sweet send off into nighttime, and does help to calm my mind as best as it can - thanks to the chamomile - whilst I try to stop working on the computer at 9pm - bad Lauren.


Although it says to drink one tea at each time, I do reuse the tea bags until the next scheduled cuppa but add in another flavoured tea bag to switch it up a little. For example, after my first morning tea, I add in a Three Mint tea for an extra cleansing, spritely fix, or in the afternoon I may add a Vanilla Chai into my Daytime teatox for extra warmth. I don't feel that having the extra tea has done much more than what is stated, but it's nice to have the extra blend of ingredients to keep you going all day.


Results wise, I started off at 34" stomach, 29" waist, 35" hips and am now 33.5" stomach, 28.5" waist and 34.8" hips, which I'm very pleased with! The only exercise I did was 10-20 minutes of yoga each night with some leg toning and planking mixed with general cardio throughout the day - aka I didn't push myself hard but I felt better doing exercise throughout the day than before. My appetite at one point really dropped, so I ate less and felt fuller for longer, and I actually forgot that it was the tea doing that! I had a lot of energy so was bored with having to sleep, but when I did sleep I slept deeeeeeeeep.

I really felt that the teas help shift a lot from my body that I didn't think was possible with such a detox, and around 80-90% of my tummy bloat has gone (hurrah!) so, if this review hasn't been enough to convince you to try StripTeas then here it is simply put: for £27.99 this is the best natural and effective teatox to try. It works, it tastes good, and I would become an ambassador for this tea because I believe it does the job good and proper!

Before


After




This teatox has been so fun to do, and I love the effect it's had on my body. I'm kind of sad I won't be drinking it anymore, but I'm looking forward to going back to my herbal teas with a happy tum in mind and a better approach to my appetite. With that aside, I'm happy to know I can turn to StripTeas when I have an event coming up - or I've overindulged at Christmas, because let's face it, it's gon'happen! - and that my cup of tea at hand can to the job of making me feel good naturally. ALSO StripTeas has kindly offered you lovely readers 10% off any purchase with the code BRITTONLOVES10, so go get checking our your order!


You can find the full list of ingredients in each tea here, and a detailed plan of how to use the teas to their full advantage here.

Have you tried StripTeas, or are you considering them now? Are you a teatox fan? What is your favourite kind of tea?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


*This post contains products sent for review. The opinions expressed in this post do not reflect those of the company, nor are they influenced by them. Please see my disclaimer for more information.

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BEAUTY : UPDATED SKINCARE ROUTINE

Monday, 20 October 2014


Helloooo everyone!

After a couple of very nice comments about my skin in past posts, I thought I would do an updated skincare routine for the Autumn/Winter months. Looking back on my last skin post in June, it may seem like not a lot has changed, however I have now added a night routine which has been so beneficial whilst also picking up some old faithful creams along the way.



Mid-summer and at random times of extreme weather, my skin decides to do a 180 and switch from oily/combination to dry, sensitive and extremely devoid of all nourishment. Aside from my targeted products for skin conditions, I like to use brands I know and trust and switch to their hydrating ranges to bring balance back to my skin.

Clarins is my one true love for keeping my skin in good shape, so this lightweight yet creamy Cleansing Milk for Normal to Dry Skin keeps my dry areas nourished and my skin soft without stripping it of essential oils. Speaking of oils, I am still loving the Clarins Lotus Oil which I use in the mornings to prevent excess oil from being produced, and it does a nice job of adding some extra moisture without encouraging shine.

Now I can get puffy eyes during the morning which my concealer does not comply with, so something cooling such as the Eye Contour Gel does wonders to my morning blur. All eye gels and creams work best if you use your ring finger first to tap the product in on your under eyes and lids, and then I find using your middle finger to tap again under your eyes and above the cheekbone promotes your lymph to remove any puffiness or water trapped in your skin.
Finally, some moisture that will also protect me from UV rays and keep my skin quenched; the Hydraquench Cream SPF 15 is an old faithful, and it doesn't matter what skin-type you have because this will  work. It sinks in beautifully, working wherever needed and the plant-extracts keep your skin looking fresh and bouncy all day.



Moving on to the nighttime, I'm all about washing the day away and making sure I have squeaky-clean skin to allow my more nourishing products work their best whilst I sleep. The Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm is the one; it's lasted me since March this year and will probably run out this week *cries* after using it every night (and sometimes for double cleansing too!) You only need a small amount, and when you warm it up in your hands it just glides on like a dream. I use this for my nightly face massage and I have never slept - or looked - better, plus it smells just like a spa which is dreamy. Once this runs out I'll be having another try of an old favourite in the form of the Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel, which does a similar trick of melting all over the face and cleansing you in just a lovely, nourishing manner. Heaven.

Whilst cleansing does get off a 99% of your make-up, you can guarantee that your mascara might still be clinging on your lashes, so to budge it right off I stick to the saintly Clarins Instant Eye Make-up Remover. If you have sensitive eyes at times I would suggest you dilute it with water, otherwise this will clean everything right off. The oily base helps to magically remove any panda eye trace, leaving your lashes naked and free.

For oils, I of course am sticking to Clarins mainly, and to keep my skin from drying out I use the Blue Orchid Oil. I find that if I use the Lotus Oil day and night my skin will feel deprived of oils, so at night I give myself a good oily punch by working this into my face - again in a circular massage - to prevent any further dry areas. On top of that, if I'm having a good skin week I will just work in the HydraQuench Cream, but if it's that time and my skin is a bit blotchy or a few irregular deep spots are emerging, I'll use the Super Restorative Night Cream either on the individual spots or all over if it's going a bit cray cray. My skin is back to normal in two days, and it also gives me the hydration I need in the winter.


Once or twice a week I'll also do a face mask routine, and sometimes I do it more often if my skin looks clogged or is a bit raging as I'd rather bring out the elements naturally instead of squeezing and damaging my skin. After cleansing, I'll steam my face over a bowl until the moisture starts to drip off and use the Elemis Herbal Lavender Rescue Mask to draw out all the dirt and deep nasty stuff whilst brightening my complexion at the same time. 15 minutes does the trick and it doesn't dry hard like clay either which is lovely, and then after toweling it off with warm water, I'll take a hot steaming cloth to just open up the pores again quickly and use the Quick Fix Exfoliating Scrub Mask to really get inside the pores and work out any of the gunk that's come to the surface and also remove any dead skin cells for a nice new shiny fresh face.

Doing a double mask may seem a bit harsh, however the first mask - I've personally found - leaves all the gunk trapped in the pores so more spots and blackheads occur. Using the second mask is very gentle, almost like a cleansing scrub, but it does work to just bring out that gunk and get the cycle of breakouts moving and gone in a few days.

I realise this is quite a Clarins laden post - I promise I am not sponsored, I just love the range - but I think it's important to find a range and products that suit your skin and make it work as it was created. My skin is better now than in many years, and choosing higher end and more plant based ingredients has definitely given my skin the chance to flow through the changing seasons easily, and to work with daily grime and make-up much better than high school - oh the days of using cheap cleanser, the pain and the torture!

Tips for good skin? Cleanse morning and night, double cleanse after make-up, always take you your make-up (even if it's 2am), use a balancing oil to keep you hydrated but prevents excess oil production, invest in natural/plant based brands that will promote gentle skin, and use mask to unclog your skin - not your fingers.

Are you a Clarins or Elemis fan? How often do you do a face mask? Have you got a day/night routine and what products to you suggest?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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FASHION : AUTUMN DAILY OUTFITS #3

Friday, 17 October 2014


Helloooo everyone!

Another week of typical English weather (where are the crisp Autumn days?!), another chance to wear a jumper! I finally cracked out my favourite outfit of the cold season - a navy knit paired with a cute collar and my trusty Zara beanie, a look that's never done me wrong.


Jumpers are my best friend come October; you can wear them with fancy skirts, trousers, plus you can buy all sorts of style of knit to jazz up your wardrobe (novelty jumpers and sparkly additions are great come the festive season, no need to stop me going crazy in that department).
When you need something casual, an old faithful you may say, a plain chunky knit will always serve you well. This particular one is from H&M, and is perfect for layering as it's not too bulky but really insulates you. A jumper that fits under a coat is a great one to invest in, as you don't want a tight constriction across your arms or chest when all zipped up.



My ever faithful new jeans c/o M&Co are another fabulous casual piece to pair this season, as the high waist design keeps all my tops tucked in and my stomach warm - no one like a cold back in the autumn am I right? The super soft fabric makes it easy to move, and they are perfectly layered with my over-the-knee boots for keeping your legs even warmer - all about keeping warm this post is!

Beanie - Zara (see similar) | Collared Top - Topshop (see similar) | Jumper - H&M (see similar) | Jeans* - M&Co | Boots - Clarks via TK Maxx (see similar) | Bag - Urban Outfitters (see similar)

When the typical weather strikes, it's nice to fall back on your favourites and know you have something stylish and easy to wear during the day. So take a strike against the rain and step out in knitted style!

Do you have any favourite jumpers? What do you love about autumn fashion? Are you a big beanie fan?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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FOOD : COFFEE CARAMEL SWEET POTATO BROWNIES

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Helloooo everyone!

I am so super excited to share this recipe with you, simply because it's just so  delicious, so  fudgy, and so  healthy! That's a lot of 'so' which means it's just really that good.

Sweet potato is one of my fave things to eat, and I've been keen to try it out in brownies for ages, so with a recent cheeky purchase of some Caramel Coffee - oh yes, the good stuff! - I was on it like a car bonnet to get baking some healthy treats. 
It also gave me the chance to try out making caramel using dates - how amazing food is - and it really did go down quite the treat, so sit back, relax and have a temptation by the brownies, and get copying this recipe!

Ingredients
1 Large Sweet Potato | 150g Rice Flour | 20g Cocoa/Cacao Powder | 35g Sugar | 3 Tbsp Caramel Coffee Mix | 66g Raw/Dairy Free Chocolate | 20 Dates | Nut Milk | 55g Butter | 1 Tbsp Soya Yogurt | Hot Water | ½ Tsp Baking Powder | ½ Tsp Maca Powder (optional)


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with parchment. Cut your sweet potato into small chunks, and boil in a small pan before reducing to a simmer to become soft. In a bowl, soak your dates in warm water until finished making the mixture.




2. Measure the sugar and butter before creaming together, and measure in a separate bowl all the dry ingredients



3. Prepare the coffee in a small Cafetiere and allow to infuse and become strong, and break up the chocolate to melt on a medium-low heat until liquid.



4. Once the potato is ready, drain and mash in the saucepan before transferring to the wet ingredients. Mix together lightly with a fork to combine.



5. Alternate between sifting in the dry ingredients, pouring in the melted chocolate and coffee until you achieve the perfect consistency. If you find it's too dry, add in some yogurt to thin it down and make a creamier mix, and the pour into the tray.



6. To make the caramel, take the soaked dates and add to a blender with some milk. You can also use hot water to make the dates softer if you need to, but blitz the dates until smooth by adding milk a bit at a time and the dates have produced a lovely caramel colour. Take half the mixture and cover the top of the brownie mix, and cook for 17-20 minutes.




7. Stick a knife in to check it's all cooked, and allow to cool on a wire rack. Once it's set a little more, spread the remaining caramel on top and allow to cool and stay fresh in the fridge whilst you take a cheeky slice to enjoy ;)


The first bite of this is so good, especially eating the mix along the way (oopsie) and what's great is that it's not too sweet but you don't need a lot of it to get your dessert kick. I'd suggest a deep baking tray so the brownie doesn't become as dense, because you want a good mouthful to chow down when you have a little treat right?
You can make it more coffee flavoured for a real mid-morning kick, and with the added carbs from the sweet potato you will be feeling fuller for longer - yay for no hangries at work or school!


If you're into fudgy brownies, being healthy and having a treat now and again, then you need this recipe in your life. Try making it one rainy evening and indulge in the goodness, and you'll certainly surprise yourself and your pals with the delicious ingredients and taste. Go on, you deserve it.

Do you like brownies? Are you a flavoured coffee person? What is your favourite healthy treat?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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BEAUTY : THE SCHOLL PARTY FEET GEL CUSHIONS

Monday, 13 October 2014


Helloooo everyone!

After a summer of open-toe shoes, flip-flops and wedges, it's safe to say that your feet may need a little TLC; add to the mix your heels for work or parties, breaking in new boots and neglected tired toes, and you've got a recipe for sore, uncomfortable feet all season long.

Thankfully there are ways to make sure your feet stay snuggly and cared for through out the wear-and-tear, including the holy grail to all girls - Scholl's Party Feet Gel Cushions* and Heel Cushions*. Designed to add extra cushioning that reduces the burning sensations from pressure, they're easy to fit into any shoe and can be re-used time and time again - I do like a multi-use product.


The perfect opportunity to give these a proper whirl arrived when I popped back down to London a few weekends ago, as I had a pair of trainers I was dying to wear but after months on the shoe rack and trodden down sole, I wanted to make sure there'd be absolutely no ripped up tootsies on my walkabouts.

For maximum comfort all day long, I whacked in both pads for the heels and at the front of the foot to level out the position of my feet like a shoe insole and protect me from any painful feelings from breaking back into my shoes - no one likes walking around with cramped or bad footing.

The non-slip technology really does keep the pads in place throughout the day which is fabulous when taking your shoes on and off lots, and it keep your feet feeling bouncy all day long.


It's safe to say that after a weekend of wearing these, my feet were pain free and super comfy - no rubbing, no blisters, no complaining (well not much) - and they also worked really well at keeping my feet in my pair of sandals a day later, which sometimes cause my feet to slip but no more hurrah!

To top up the protection and nourishment, the Velvet Smooth Intense Serum* has been marvelous at injecting in extra moisture after washing and keeping my tootsies covered in socks all day and night. The added Hyaluronic Acid helps the skin suck in all good hydrating properties that will help restore your neglected toes - come on, admit you hardly moisturise your feet like me... - and make them feel super soft and strokeable.

Whether you're partying the night away, walking around a new city, or just need some comfortable grip between your feet and favourite shoes, you need to invest in these pads. I would definitely suggest buying both packs as you'll prevent any burning, uncomfortable pains, and they are re-usable too so a big woop for being cost effective. Don't let your feet suffer this season, keep your feet in balance with the awesome Scholl collection!

Have you used the Scholl Pads before? Are you a feet neglecter? How do you deal with sore tootsies?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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FASHION : AUTUMN DAILY OUTFITS #2

Friday, 10 October 2014


Helloooo everyone!

What a very rainy week it's been! I got the chance to jump in some nice clothes for a quick outfit post today, in a bid for early morning autumn sunshine. It's ended up being quite a 'classic' look for me; minimal colour and pattern (shocker), very workwear-esque but something easily translatable from day to night, and of course it's paired with a classic trench or mac coat piece.



Trench - Warehouse (see similar) | Shirt - Thrifted (see similar) | Black Sheer Top - TK Maxx (see similar) | Leggings - Urban Outfitters (see similar) | Heeled Boots - Debenhams (see similar)


I'm quite surprised at how much I like this look; the shirts layered together creates quite an exciting shape and by switching up certain pieces you can also make it a little more glam for evenings out. Something cool and casual to throw on before the rain starts up again - brollies at the ready everyone!

Do you like classic, simple tailored looks? What have you been wearing in the dreary weather?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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THE FUNKY CHRISTMAS JUMPER ADVENT CALENDAR

Thursday, 9 October 2014


Helloooo everyone!

If you're a blogger, someone who works in PR or Marketing, or a champion retail assistant, you will know that it's never ever  too early for Christmas. With press releases starting as early as June, and most stores now stocking the shelves with chocolates, crackers, decorations and deals - must.resist.deals - you can't hide from the fact that the festive season is nearly upon us.

Now if you're not one for getting excited prior to December 1st then look away now, otherwise let me take you down this funky christmas advent calendar route, something a little outside the realms of chocolate and the increasingly popular beauty calenders...

I'm going to admit that amongst the offerings of advent calendars, I'm a little stumped. I know I want something I'm going to use - so goodbye chocolate - but there's not a beauty brand calender I'm 100% 'jumping for joy' over. Whilst not prepared to part with my £50 for Benefit just yet, I stumbled a great idea (if I do say so myself) thanks to the elves at Funky Christmas Jumpers.


I love Christmas Jumpers. I love wearing anything festive. I love having a variety of jumpers that are festive, that I can also have some in the wash and wear others whilst being impatient for presents. And thankfully, this season's collection from FCJ is up for grabs so you can don all your friends and family in jumpers, or, be super clever and creative and have a Christmas Jumper Advent Calendar! That's something I'd buy right away.

What I love about this collection is that each one of them is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Whatever your style, and however crazy or 'vanilla' you like to be with your festive jumpers, you cannot lie and say they don't make you smile and laugh a little which I love! There's a jumper for every occasion, every party or outing, every member of the family, and there's even a few designs to even make the Scrooge of the family a little bit merry.

These jumpers are so unique to the market, and with loads of celebs wearing them too - I see you One Direction - you know it's going to be top knotch quality that won't make you look like a cotton headed ninny muggins. 
The brand has come a long way in a few years and has a cult following around the globe, and all the jumpers are unisex with a variety of sizes, so what are you waiting for? Join me in the campaign for a Jumper Advent calendar and get buying your own FCJ!

To enter the contest to win the whole 2014 collection click here, and if you love this idea just give it a little comment and tell me which jumpers you love and what you want as an advent calendar this year.

Are you excited for Christmas? Do you have a favourite Christmas jumper? Do you love the look of Funky Christmas Jumpers?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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