21 Things I Love

Kinda on the subject of loveeeee from my last post, today I was looking on Cashmere and Cupcake’s blog which if you haven’t checked out you must! And there is a regular post called ‘Links I love’ so it got me thinking and I ended up creating a list of the things I appreciate and love in life. I came up with a mix of things that make me genuinely feel happy and I definitely couldn’t live without! ( okay that may be a slight exaggeration for some..! ) And in no particular order…

♡ Cheese – most kinds although I am loving halloumi atm!

♡ Positivity and Happiness in people

♡ Kindness – there’s no excuse to not be kind and a little goes a long way!

♡ Jaffa cakes

♡ My Family and Friends

♡ Dogs, especially mine back at home I miss all 5 of them ( crazy right?! )

♡ Beaches

♡ Pilates

♡ Walks

♡ York

♡ Melbourne ( duhh! )

♡ Books – my faves are Metamorphosis and The Great Gatsby

♡ Flowers – peonies, orchids and roses

♡ Beyonce

♡ Summer

♡ Honesty

♡ Home – I’m so lucky to have such a lovely home in the UK which is my parents house so thank-youuuuu Mum and Dad for creating such a loving and happy home!

♡ Blogging ( obviously! )

♡ Moroccan Argan Oil – serious hair/life saver!

♡ Ankle Boots

♡ Sunglasses – I am seriously addicted to buying them!

And I think that about covers it! There are obviously so many other little things that I love but the list would go on forever! I think we all forget to take time to step back and appreciate the small things in life, sometimes the bigger picture can weigh you down and remembering those smaller things that make you happy can really give you perspective.

I have to share these pictures of my dogs back at home too, they are all so cute and crazy and unique and I love them so much! Although one of them I haven’t met yet as my mum and dad got her when I was already over here in Melbourne! FYI – they are all named after Disney characters – my family loves Disney! xo

Doggie collage

The Love Bridge ♡

At home I was never a fan of Sundays. I can’t exactly describe the feeling but it’s a day that I never really looked forward to, shops open and close earlier, it is usually a family day and a day to ‘relax,’ so in a way it should be a pretty nice day for most but it is literally my least favourite day of the week! Fast forward to being here in Melbourne and I have genuinely changed my opinion! I definitely enjoy and appreciate Sundays way more, I feel it has a very different atmosphere here which is a little bit more alive ( I guess cos it’s such a big city! ) and makes me want to go out and enjoy life! ( cheesy! ) – FYI supermarkets here are open til like midnight on a Sunday which I find crazy as at home most of them close at 4.30pm which means if you are craving a late dash to grab some treats it is tough cookie!

Anyway so this Sunday me and my boyfriend did the ultimate cutesy coupley thing and went and put a love lock on the Love Bridge on SouthBank! – I am actually not sure if the bridge has an official name, this is a name I have personally given it! And to state the obvious, it is a relatively small bridge that has become a shrine for lovers and romancers to express their love with a lock. There seems to be a trend for love locks to appear on bridges, but I haven’t seen of any back home so definitely wanted to take advantage out here! I love walking across and admiring all of the different locks and notes engraved – and now I have my own little piece! I find the whole thing so cute and romantic – you grab a padlock, engrave it with initials, dates or whatever you fancy, and lock it on to the bridge and throw away the key in to the river! I know some may find it tacky but it is something so simple but can have so much meaning and I know it is a day I will remember!

padlock    love bridge

We got our names and the date of when we planned to go to the Love Bridge – keeping it simple! I can’t wait to go and check up on it and see what other locks and messages have been added – it is a nice sentiment to think that even when we are no longer here in Melbourne there will be a little something that we have left behind – cute!

Also look how amazing the view from the river is, I know I have mentioned this before but I seriously love cityscapes, I felt like I was walking around in a scene from a movie, especially with all the street artists playing music – there are some seriously talented artists here!! – I just felt like sharing the piccie of the penguins from Madagascar with you guys, they are outside the animation exhibition at Federation Square and I had to get a pic as I love penguins!!

southbank    penguins

So here’s to Sundays and a healthy, happy week! xo

Everyday Skincare Essentials

My Skincare Routine

I Loveeeee beauty and skincare products and seen as I haven’t posted much about them here I thought the best place to start would be my daily skincare routine! I love nosying and finding out what others use daily to clean and prep their skin and I’m always open to trying new products – in fact I’m a bit of a junkie with these things! And I know sometimes the task of cleansing, toning, moisturizing, etc. can become a bit of a hassle, but I love that clean skin feel and the fact that I am protecting my skin – so when I’m 70 I will have the skin of a twenty-something-year-old!

My routine day to night doesn’t really change except for my face cream and this is what I have found works for my oily skin type. Some of you skincare fans may notice there is no serum in my routine ( shock horror!! ) buttt I have recently run out of serum and haven’t decided what serum to go for next as I feel as though they haven’t previously made much of an impact in my routine – so feel free to recommend any!!

Skincare 1

Sooooo from left to right there is an Avon Clearskin Pore Penetrating Black Mineral Mask, Elemis Soothing Chamomile Cleanser, Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash, Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner and Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water.

– The Avon mud mask is amazing and I try to use this product once a week to help clear up excess oiliness and to help minimize the look of my open pores. It goes on a dark charcoal grey kinda colour and then takes 10-15minutes to dry to a light grey colour. Where there are visible pores the mask stays a slightly darker colour giving it this speckled look which is kinda gross but I like the thought that the oil is being drawn out and that the mask is really working! After rinsing my skin always feels amazingly smooth and soft, and I swear my pores instantly appear reduced!

– The Elemis cleanser is my faveee cleanser ever as it is really light in texture and not too greasy – I hate the feeling of a greasy product on my already oily skin! It has a light chamomile fragrance and works easily in to the skin. I use this on a night to remove my face make-up ( excluding the eye area ) by massaging it directly on to my face, working in, and then removing with a dampened cotton wool pad.

– Elemis Try-Enzyme Facial Wash where have you been all my life?! It’s a face wash but so much more, it is anti-aging and helps resurface and refine the texture and appearance of skin. It is mega lightweight and used on wet skin, it forms a gentle creamy lather that once you rinse of leaves your skin feeling fresh and soft. I use this first thing on a morning in the shower, and on a night time after using my cleanser to make sure I have removed all traces of make-up and daily grime.

– Elemis Balancing lavender Toner is perfect for combination/oily skins. The fragrance isn’t over-powering and definitely leaves my skin feeling refreshed. I spritz on to cotton wool and sweep over my face once I have dried my skin from using my Elemis facewash.

– The Garnier micellar water is something I have discovered in Melbourne, at home I used the Bioderma Micellar water and loved it as an eye make-up remover. This product is very similar and does the same job! It is literally water-like in texture, so it’s non greasy and fragrance free which I love because I think it’s is so important to be super careful around the eye area! It removes eye make-up with ease and doesn’t leave any kinda residue.

Face Creams

Okay so these are my face and eye creams of choice! Clinique All About Eyes ( the teeny tiny jar ) Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, and Elemis Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream.

– Clinique All About Eyes is a staple as it is a simple but effective, lightweight gel-cream formula that applies with ease and hydrates around my eye area. I always apply this after toning and before moisturizing and allow it to sink in for a few minutes first. I apply it up towards the temples too to help keep any pesky wrinkles at bay!

– Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and the Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream are both an absolute staple. They are anti-aging moisturizers but I don’t find either of them too heavy. They sink in to the skin almost straight away and have this amazing texture that just kinda glides on! The Pro Marine Cream is such a cult product too and a definite must try – it gets its name from research that took place on sea algae and the preservative like properties it had ( ooooo! )  Also a little tip/advice that a customer once told me when I worked in skincare is to always apply your face cream down your neck to your decolletage – sounds simple right?! But I guarantee most of us don’t think to do it and in the long run it will help in preventing that crepe-y skin that is prone in the neck area!

So it’s kinda noticeable I use a lot of Elemis, and what I love is that they are plant based and not too heavy on added fragrances or nasties that some other skincare brands use, and with having an oily skin type I don’t want to over-load it with too many unnecessary ingredients that may encourage any excess oil.  I try to stick to this routine as much as possible but lets face it – everyone has those lazy days and neglects their skincare routine once in a while and I am one of them! I do think it is so important to look after your skin and body and that prevention is waaayyy more affordable and effective than a cure, and who doesn’t want glowy gorgeous skin?!   I also do use SPF if I’m in the sun, but at the moment with it being more dull and being indoors I rely on the SPF from my makeup ( SPF 15)

Happy Wednesday and happy grooming! xo

Instagram Inspiration

I loveeeee Instagram, I mean who doesn’t?! Actually I remember first getting an iPhone and downloading the app and thinking, what is all the fuss about, and it took a work friends persuasion to reassure me it was cool and fun and that I hadn’t given it chance – obviously I’m glad I did now!

What I prefer about Instagram is that it is all about the photo – with the chance for you to write a small something. It is quick, to the point and can actually be really meaningful. I know, I know, we all have those Instagram ‘friends’ who hashtag the life out of their pictures for likes or whatever, or those pictures that are heavily edited, but nevertheless everyone uses it for more or less similar reasons. It is has become sooo popular for businesses and celebrities to represent their brand so it that makes us feel as though we have this real insight into a part of their lives and that they are normal people. And then there are those that have become ‘Instagram famous’ simply through starting an account and sharing their pictures ( if only it was that easy! )

instagram famous

FYI – this is not my personal opinion, I saw the quote on Instagram which made me laugh a little!

In fact I probably feel the opposite as I have found so much inspiration through it that I genuinely appreciate how it can totally create and transform the messages people are sending! I usually check Instagram everyday and I get strangely excited to look through the piccies that have been uploaded! Not only do you get a lil nosy in to your friends life, but I have discovered so many new brands, products and ‘celebrities.’ There’s definitely been a trend in lifestyle and health&fitness dedicated pages which once you sift through there are some pretty amazing ones which is kinda why I wanted to do this post! Just as a bit of fun and to share insight in to some of my fave Insta accounts that if you haven’t already heard of, then where have you been hiding?! I narrowed it down to four accounts, three of which are pretty similar but all have a different style and all of which I find inspiring, fun and genuine!

 

Tuna the Dog

Okayyy so I’m a little bias here because I am such a dog person but this dog is honestly the cutest thing ever! He is a Chiweenie called Tuna ( a chihuahua x dachshund ) who was rescued by his owner as he has a serious overbite which is kinda considered a defect and ‘undesirable’ in dogs which = bad news for dogs! I definitely think it just makes him a million x cuter! The pictures posted are so adorable and will seriosuly but you in a happy mood, but the owner also promotes re-homing dogs and doggie charities which I think is such a good cause to bring awareness to.

Karena and Katrina

So I’m pretty sure that Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up are a huuuuuuge deal in the US. At home in England I first discovered Tone It Up through Youtube probably about a year ago and have loved their approach to health&fitness ever since. They are best friends and partners in business that promotes a holistic, happy and healthy attitude to fitness and lifestyle. They have created DVDs, nutrition guides and have collaborated with the likes of Oakley to create feminine, wearable sports accessories. The whole TIU community is full of inspiring and creative women which all reflects the personality of their brand – everyone seems to genuinely want to encourage one another and I don’t find them too in your face with selling their products.

Yoga Girl

So I love a good yoga account on Insta and this is by far my favourite. Rachel Brathen is Swedish but spends most of her time in Aruba living, breathing and teaching yoga. Her whole approach and aspect on life is very eco, down-to-earth and honest. She often writes a lot of her thoughts down with her posts ( which sometimes causes controversy ) but they are sooo thoughtful and really give a sense of dedication to her practice. I guess I kinda feel grounded reading and looking through her pictures as she always seems to have a positive outlook and really wise words to share. One of her recent quotes which I thought is so simple but so true,

” Relax. Life is not as serious as your mind makes it out to be. “

( …Mind Blown!! )

Lorna Jane

Lastly another fitness&lifestyle kinda account that I discovered since moving to Melbourne. Lorna Jane is a fitness brand that again promotes this real sense of a holistic life and well-being approach to health. The activewear is to die for, but they post some really thought-provoking things too like little inspirational quotes and memos to remind you of your journey to a happy and healthy life. There’s also posts on fitness tips, recipes and much more. Their motto is ‘ MOVE. NOURISH. BELIEVE.’ which I think is super important and basically sums up the perfect healthy attitude!

Ahhh so there it is my Instagram Inspiration, I realize that they are mainly focused on female lifestyle but I guess that’s just because it is personally easier to relate to that kinda thing being a girl!! Living a healthy lifestyle is really important to me and I find that these accounts sometimes give me that inspiration or little push I need to remind myself of that! Hope everyone has had an amazing week and looking forward to the weekend and that this has provided you with a little daily GlowDown inspiration! xo

…Ps have a lil nosy on my Insta here!

Keeping it Healthy

Over the past couple of weeks I have become a bit more conscious of my diet and what I am eating. Doing the gym thing is easy enough as I actually love the gym I’m at and enjoy going, but as you often see online and often through Pinterest ( ooo follow me here! ) and social media sites is that exercise only accounts for about 30% of your overall health and that the remaining 70% is determined by diet.

It is so confusing though for anyone to know what a healthy diet should be with constant promotions of low carb high protein diets, or eating every 2-3hours. Also many snacks and foods are labelled as ‘low fat’ but often then have high levels of salt or sugar. I have tried to follow these diets before and often felt moody due to the lack of carbs and then veered off track which obviously defeats the point! However, eating little and often does seem to help me as at work I don’t get a set lunch break so being able to nibble helps me to keep full and keep going. Overall I have begun to believe that we shouldn’t need to substitute or add in dietary supplements ( obviously within reason ) and that we are designed to get everything we need from what we grow and what is natural – crazy right?!

So lately I have been making more of an effort to eat more fruit and veg, less processed foods and less of the sweet stuff! In Melbourne there are plenty of juice bars ( some more healthy than others! ) and are an easy and delicious way to get fruit in to your diet. Near me there is a pressed juice bar that I tried for the first time over the weekend and loved it! ( visit their website and have a nosy – they do juice cleanses too! pressedjuices.com.au )

 I got the berry glow 1 – I picked it because of the colour! It is a mix of apple lime and strawberry. The website says that, “The berry family, all help to make collagen, the protein to keep skin supple, smooth, healthy and looking younger!” Which is perfect as who doesn’t want a juice that tastes great and is good for your skin?! The packaging states that all fruits and veggies used are sourced locally and cold pressed with nothing else added. Juices have to be drunk once opened and can only be refrigerated if unopened, and then can only be kept for a couple of days. It actually tasted amazing, I felt that for once you could actually taste all of the ingredients, too often you can buy juices that are packed full of different fruits yet the taste is kind of a general fruit taste.

juice

I love that the juices are simple, you don’t have to worry about any nasty preservatives or read through a lengthy ingredient list to see what you are actually drinking – what you see is what you get! Anyway I will definitely be heading there to try out more, it is just around the corner from me and I have a feeling I may become addicted! Happy Monday! xo

Healthy Cookies!

Firstly, I am am actually not a fan of peanuts so have always assumed that I wouldn’t like peanut butter so I was a bit cautious, but the promise of being easy to make and being healthy won me over! They’re super simple and super quick to make! I will get straight in to the recipe…

1/2 cup of organic chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup of rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
– In a bowl, mix the peanut butter, sugar, and baking soda until fluffy. Now beat in the egg.
– Add the rolled oats and mix well
– Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper ( I actually forgot to do this and the cookies didn’t stick to the tray at all! )
– Grab a small amount of mixture and work into a ball shape, place on the baking tray and gently press flat with your hand
– Bake for 8 mins or until slightly brown
– Cool cookies on a wire tray and store any remaining in an air-tight container

photo

Voila!

I actually loved these cookies and two of them as a snack would really fill me up! (The container in the picture is only small and the cookies were about 4cm in width – how cute!) You can also make them gluten free by adding gluten free rolled oats as the recipe contains no flour or wheat – yey! They kept really well and were such a quick and simple snack to have at work. The peanut flavour isn’t overpowering either so if you are not so fond of peanuts don’t let it put you off! I will definitely be making them again, and the recipe made about 12 cookies for me. Happy Baking! xo

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