Sunday, 21 February 2016

Sophia Karlberg - Pillowtalk | Zayn Cover

Hello Lovelies! Like the majority of people at the minute, I'm obsessed with Zayn's new song Pillowtalk. And, we all know I'm a big fan of my covers. So, it was only a matter of time before I featured a pillowtalk cover, wasn't it? The amazingly talented Sophia Karlberg's cover turned up in my subscription box recently and I just knew I had to feature it!

Her voice has got a lovely, slightly husky tone that really lends itself to the song. It's such a soothing version, I could probably listen to this all day for the foreseeable future and not be bored. Really! I haven't got one bad word to say about this version, it's so good you forget it's a cover and just enjoy it for what it is. You know that level of amazing? Yeah, this is it! Well worth a listen. It will also be available on iTunes & Spotify soon so, if you like it definitely support her and check it out there too!

Maxine, xo 
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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The 4 Week Spending Ban | I Have No Willpower

Hello, Lovelies! Like most of us, I spent a lot and got a lot over Christmas, which was quickly followed by my birthday in January. However, I'm a hoarder. A massive, ridiculous hoarder. So, on top of a huge pile of stuff I've got lying around the house, I've now got Christmas and birthday gifts, plus sales purchases to find homes for. I'm still struggling. It's just not happening. And, being realistic, I'm skint. So very, very bloody skint. 

The solution? A spending ban! As of today, I'm going to be only buying essentials. And, by essentials I mean I literally don't have another bottle of foundation left in the house, not I've got more bottles than I can count but omg doesn't this one look like it'll be the one?! Not that I've ever done that, of course... 

The point of this ban is, of course, to kick-start me into saving, hopefully make me realise that new things are grand and all but I don't need 50 red lipsticks, and also to give me an excuse to test out products I haven't tried in a while, force me to be more creative and hopefully give me lots of new things to write about here. Which can only be a good thing, yeah? Yeah. 

If any has gone on a spending ban recently, if currently gone on one or has any tips, please do leave links to your posts below! 

Much love, Maxine xo
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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Everyday Daytime/Morning Skincare | DRY, SENSITIVE SKIN.

Hello, Lovelies! Following some recent purchases and actually spending time on my skincare routine, I've finally (fingers crossed) got my skin somewhere near decent. I still get the odd dry patch, but it's the best it's been in a long time! So, I thought I'd share my basic, everyday daytime skincare routine with you guys. These are the steps I do in the morning to get my skin feeling fresh and make-up ready. You can read my everyday nighttime skincare routine here.

Firstly, I'll cleanse my face using a cotton pad and my trusty Garnier Micellar Water. My skin always feels fresh and clean after using this, and I haven't had any reactions to it so that's always a good thing! I've never noticed that dry, tight feeling we all know either. I do then like to run a warm, damp washcloth over my face, just to make sure my face is extra clean.

Next, I use my Superdrug Hydrating serum (read my review here) which gives me a massive moisture boost and is surprisingly lightweight. I'll leave that to sink in, then I'll  massage a little bit of the L'Oreal Triple Active Day Cream on top. This is quite a thick cream, so I like to give this some time to sink in before I layer more things on top! It definitely gives another hit of hydration, and keeps my skin from drying out under all the makeup and cold air throughout the day. Once I've massaged this in, I'll normally eat breakfast or something, then by the time that's done I'm ready to layer on primers and foundations and everything else. 

Much like my nighttime skincare routine, I like to keep things as simple and minimal as I can do with my everyday routine, otherwise, my skin can get quite overwhelmed and just end up a massive, dry mess. I'll be posting my "extras" routine soon, with my exfoliators, face masks etc. 

Much love, Maxine xo
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Saturday, 13 February 2016

New Year Fitness | Tips + Tricks

Hello, lovelies! As you may have already read in my 2016 goals, I'm working towards really improving my fitness this year, which isn't as easy as it sounds! So, I've got some little tips and my "routine", if that's what you want to call it, for slowly adding fitness into your everyday life. 
I cannot stress enough how important it is to see a professional, these are just little things I've found work for me personally. 

First things first, invest in some apps. I've recently posted apps I've been loving, and they're all free (most, if not all, offer in-app purchases). The 2 I'd recommend that go really well together are MyFitnessPal and Sworkit. MyFitnessPal tracks how many calories you've burned in your workouts that day (and how many you've eaten, if you want to plug that info in, plus a lot of other good stuff), and Sworkit offers a range of pre-picked workouts, ranging from yoga, cardio, and strength, plus stretches too. You can choose any time from 5 minutes up to an hour or more, and it tells you how many calories you've burnt at the end (and plugs that info straight into MyFitnessPal if you let it, saving you the trouble). 

Next, is to start slow. If you're starting from nothing, it's very easy to think "oh, I'll do all these things and it'll be great", only to be too tired to make it through either a workout that's too grueling in itself or just simply too tired/sore/disheartened from a previous workout to do the next. I personally work in a lot of smaller workouts that push me without pushing me past my limits, with the intention to build up to a bigger, more intense workout when I'm capable. 

Fit in workouts where you can. Everyone's got time to fit in workouts if you really want to. We've all heard the "get off the bus a stop earlier, take the stairs" schpeel so I'll spare you, but it really does count! Another tip is to make use of the smaller workouts on Sworkit (and similar apps). Do a 5-minute workout during the ad break, fit in a 10-minute workout when you get home from work/uni etc and it'll all add up, and you'll be surprised by the difference it makes! 

Have a rest day or two! I personally have a rest day through the week (mine's Thursdays), but fit it in whenever you feel works best for you. You definitely need time to let your muscles rest and repair, and yourself too. You'll feel so much more rejuvenated and ready to go the next morning when you're less sore and tired. 

Finally, find what works for you! If walking, jogging or running is for you, that's great! If you despise that, but love Zumba, that's great too! Don't push yourself to do a workout you hate, you'll only end up really dreading it. 

Of course, share any links you have in the comments, as well as anything you'd add!

Much love, Maxine xo
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Friday, 12 February 2016

Everyday Nighttime Skincare Routine | DRY, SENSITIVE SKIN

Hello, Lovelies! Following my recent skincare haul, I thought I'd post my current skincare routine, featuring some of the products I bought and some old favourites! Note that this is my basic, everyday routine. I do use facemasks, pore strips etc a couple of times through the week, but this is something I do every day without fail (err.. mostly!). So let's get into it! 

I can't do anything without one of these dogs getting in the way!

First, I take my eye makeup off with these Superdrug eye makeup remover pads, 99p which are designed for sensitive skin, so they don't sting or irritate my eyes which is a massive bonus for me, as my eye area is very sensitive and dries out at the drop of a hat. I then take off the rest of my makeup with these Superdrug face wipes, 99p Which are for dry skin, and are "enriches with sweet almond oil and hyaluronic acid" so they not only do they stop my skin getting irritated and dried out, they also give me a bit of a moisture boost, which is always a good thing for me! These combined leave my face pretty much makeup free, at least to the naked eye! 

Next, I cleanse using the Garnier Micellar water, £1.99 on a cotton pad. After I've done this and the cotton pad is coming away clean, I like to cleanse my face again with a facecloth and some warm water just to make sure my skin is as clean as it can be.

Finally, I use this Nivea Regenerating Night Cream, £4.35, which leaves my skin feeling amazingly soft the next morning. This is developed specifically for dry and sensitive skin, and it claims to "Support the skin’s regenerating process during the night with its indulging formula containing Provitamin B 5", which I definitely agree with so far.

And, that's that! I try not to faff on with too many products/steps because my skin is so sensitive and dry, if I do too much it reacts badly and I end up with really bad dry patches. I'll post my "extra" skincare routine soon, with my favourite masks, exfoliators and all those goodies! 

Much love, Maxine xo
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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins Recipe | Healthy 2016

Hello, Lovelies! For a while now I've been trying to eat a lot healthier, and I've fully jumped on the sweet potato bandwagon! I almost live off them, turning them into fries, wedges, baking them, mashing them.. the list is almost endless! But, something I've been loving lately is stuffed potato skins. They're simple, full of veg and goodness, and great on their own or paired with some grilled chicken, baked fish or anything else you want! So, let's get into these little beauties eh?

What You Need (per person):
1 Sweet potato 
2 Spring onions, chopped
1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped
1 Chilli, finely chopped
2 Cloves of garlic, crushed
Small handful of baby spinach, finely chopped
4-5 cherry tomatoes, diced
1Tsp Coconut Oil
Handful Grated Mozzarella Cheese (optional)

What You Do:
1. Prick sweet potato a few times, and put into an oven at 220C for about 40 minutes (depending on size, I'd check at about the 35min mark for small potatoes, 45 for medium etc)
2. Fry the red onion, garlic and chilli off over a medium heat for a few minutes in the coconut oil, until the onions are soft. Leave to one side. 
4. Once the potatoes are done, scoop out most of the flesh and mix the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese.
5. Place the mixture back into the potato skins, top with the cheese if using and place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes. 
6. Enjoy!

I absolutely adore these, they're really simple and quick to make but are absolutely packed with flavour and goodness! They're really filling and satisfying, especially in this cold weather, and the best part is they're packed with healthy veg! You can, of course, switch out any ingredients to suit your tastes, but I find this combination works every time for me! 

Much love, Maxine xo
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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Simply Pure Hydrating Serum | Review

Hello, Lovelies. You might remember from my January Haul that I was very, very eager to try this little beauty. The dry, cold, horrific weather recently (I'm a Spring kinda girl!) has left my already dry skin in a terrible state. Coupled with the poor diet over the Christmas and New Year period and then my birthday days after, I was desperate to try anything and everything with even the tiniest claim to get my skin back to normal. So, how did I get on? Keep reading to find out!

"Nourishes and replenishes skin
Developed purely for sensitive skin
Mild, gentle and 100% fragrance free
" (taken from Superdrug website)

The first thing I want to mention is the packaging. I know it's quite a small thing to be raving over, but I adore the fact this comes with a pump. I just think it's so much easier to use, and more hygienic, too. 
Next, the actual product. In a matter of days, my skin had gone from being so dry I could literally peel it off in places (I know, grim! Sorry!) to only having a few places of slightly dry skin. My nose, mouth and under my eyes are always super dry, but even these areas are curbed. Not normal, but certainly noticeably better. 
I use this first thing in the morning under my usual day cream, and it's quickly become a part of my everyday skincare routine. I reach for this every day without even thinking about it, and I'll definitely be purchasing another bottle when I run out. This definitely lives up to its claims and more! 

Super affordable
Hydrates skin amazingly
Doesn't irritate even my sensitive skin!

I honestly sat for about 10 minutes trying to come up with a con, but I can't think of one!

So, all things considered I would 100% recommend this. It's affordable for almost any budget and it lives up to its claims. What more could you ask for?

Much love, Maxine xo
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Saturday, 6 February 2016

What's On My Phone | Health + Fitness Edition

Hello, Lovelies! Much like everyone else, I'm absolutely glued to my phone, but I also want to be as active and healthy as I can be. As I mentioned in my 2016 goals, I want to try and improve my fitness as much as I can this year, as well as continue to just improve my health in general. So, I've done the only logical thing and downloaded some apps to help me along the way! I've been using these apps for at least a few weeks, some longer so I really can vouch for them and their effectiveness (For me, at least!) 

Firstly, we've got Myfitnesspal. I mainly use this just to track my food intake and my calories burnt during exercise, I don't really update anything else on it. But, I think this is so useful for keeping track of how much you eat and how much you burn off. You just put in whatever food you're eating (I haven't had an issue finding brands at all) and how much you've had and it gives you all the info on it. The same works for exercise: put in what you've done and how long you've done it for and it'll tell you how many calories you've burnt. It also tells you how many calories you've got left to eat throughout the day, plus it tells you how much fat, different vitamins, fibre etc you've eaten and your goal for those too. This is probably my most used app and the one I'd recommend before any of the others on the list.  

The next app is my most used fitness app, Sworkit. This is great for quick workouts in the house. I'll be doing a fitness post soon on how I fit this in and little tips on my fitness journey so far, but this is absolutely invaluable. Especially in this weather, you don't always want to go out for a walk or trek back out to the gym after a hard day at work/uni etc, so this is a perfect fix. You can choose a length of between 5-60 minutes for your workout, so there's always time. It's got loads of different pre-picked workouts in loads of categories, and you can you can also make your own workout if you want something a little bit more personal. Another bonus is that it links straight to myfitnesspal, so you don't have to do anything to add those burnt calories to your diary! 

This next one is more a mental health than physical, but I think they both go hand in hand, so it's both kept in that folder and added in this post: Stop, Breathe & Think. This is a meditation app, which is something I've been really getting into to relax lately. I like to do this right before bed, and anytime through the day, I'm feeling really worked up, too. You do a little quiz on your mood and it gives you a list of different meditations to fit how you're feeling and relax you down. I honestly have noticed this works a dream for me. 

Last, but certainly not least, is Yoga Academy. I've noticed I'm nowhere near as flexible as I'd like to be, and have been wanting to start yoga for a few months so this is great. I do admit I use the yoga category in sworkit more than I use this, but the selection of classes on this is amazing. They range from 9-63 minutes, so again no matter how much time you've got you'll have time to fit a class in a few times a week. You do have to pay for more classes, but I think the range of beginner classes you get for free is amazing, and definitely enough to get your teeth into! 

Leave me links to apps you've been loving - health and fitness or otherwise - below, I'm always on the lookout for more, and I'll speak to you next time! 

Much love, Maxine xo
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Friday, 5 February 2016

Recent Skincare Haul | Dry, Sensitive Skin

Hello, lovelies. I'm not sure about you, but Winter has battered my skin. As it always does. So, I've been on the lookout for some new products to get it back to tip-top condition, and I thought I'd share the bits and bobs I've picked up. Again, I've had these in for a while so reviews and such should be up within the next week or two!

First, I'll get the not-technically-skincare product out of the way, Nivea Post Shave Balm, £3.52. I'm sure by now you've heard all the great things about this being an amazing primer, so I absolutely had to pick this up. Even though it's not technically skincare, it kinda still counts y'know? 

Superdrug Eye Makeup Remover Pads, 99p. I like to keep these in to take my eye makeup off, if I'm wearing a matte lipstick, because they get everything off a lot easier than most face wipes, in my experience.

Superdrug Cleansing Facial Wipes, 99p. I've used these before and had good results from them, they remove my makeup quickly and don't leave my skin feeling tight and dry, which is always a plus! 

Nivea Regenerating Night Cream, £4.35. I've used a lot of Nivea skincare in the past and had really good results, so I had to give this a try. It claims to aid your skin's regeneration process overnight as well as giving you a moisture boost, so I'm very excited to try this. 

And, finally these three face masks; Hydrating Sheet Mask £1.29, Chocolate Orange Self-Heating Mask and the Manuka Honey Peel-Off Mask, both 99p. These are all aimed at either dry or sensitive skin, so I thought I'd give them a try. I'm most excited to try the sheet mask. Sheet masks are everywhere at the minute, so I had to get this! I've always had good experiences with Superdrug's face masks, so I'm very hopeful!

I'll post reviews as soon as I've given these a chance to work, so keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks! 

Much love, Maxine xo
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Thursday, 4 February 2016

Vegan 'sausage' rolls | Vegan Recipes

Hello, lovelies. You may or may not have been aware that I've been trying to phase a lot of vegan foods into my everyday diet. Although I'm not following a strict vegan diet yet, I'm getting there! And, after recently seeing this recipe I had to try them out! I didn't have everything handy and I don't like other things, so I've adapted them to my taste, but I think they turned out well! They're a lovely treat if you're a vegan/vegetarian, or even if you just fancy something new! 

What You Need (makes 8): 
250g Mushrooms, very finely chopped
Half a white onion, very finely chopped
Half a red onion, very finely chopped 
4 cloves of garlic, crushed 
1 large carrot, grated
1 potato, grated
Vegetable stock
Smoked paprika (about a tbsp)
1 tsp coconut oil 
40g Breadcrumbs
1 sheet of ready-made puff pastry (by all means make you own, but I'm lazy!)

What To Do: 
Preheat oven to 180.
1. Heat the coconut oil over a medium heat in a pan, and add the onions and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and just caramelising. 
2. While that's cooking, add the mushrooms, carrot and potato into a bowl and mix until they're well combined. Make up the vegetable stock and add the paprika to taste (I used about a tablespoon, but I like mine strong!)
3. Add the mushroom mixture to the onions and cook for a few minutes until it all starts to combine and soften. 
4. Add the stock, stir thoroughly and leave to simmer until all of the liquid has evaporated. Check for seasoning and add salt, pepper and more paprika to taste. Leave to cool. 
5. Once that's cooled, add the mixture to a mixing bowl and add in the breadcrumbs. stir thoroughly. 
6. Lay out the pastry and cut in half lengthwise, so you've got two long strips of pastry. 
7. Add the mixture to the pastry, in a sausage shape along each length of the pastry. 
8. Brush the edges with almond milk (I used oat but I presume almond it more popular, and it's what the initial recipe used) and fold over. 'Crimp' the edges with a fork, and brush over with the milk again. Cut each length into 4 rolls, and cut 2 holes in each roll with a knife. 
9. Pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes. 
10. And, enjoy! 

And, that's that! I think the most faffy part is chopping up all the veg, but I just pop it into a food processor. After that, they're really simple to make and they're a great treat! 

Much love, Maxine xo
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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

John Adams - Can't Help Falling In Love | Cover

Hello, lovelies! I'm trying to keep up with the covers on this little blog; because I think they're a great way to find new artists. And, who doesn't love that? Plus, I love hearing the songs I know and love already in sometimes and entirely new light. So, I hope you do, too! 

I may or may not have already expressed my love for the lovely John Adams on this blog, but either way, it's about time I did it (again?!). I love his gritty, soulful tone and there're moments in his songs I just repeat over and over again because they're so beautiful. Something else you may or may not know about me is that I'm quite a bit Elvis fan, and love Can't Help Falling in Love especially. I think it's a song most people know one way or another. So, when I saw this pop up in my subscription box a week or two ago I knew I had to feature it as soon as I could. A song I adore, sung by a man whose voice I adore equally? Instantly a winner for me! 

Of course, however much I love an artist I'm always a shade dubious when I first listen to a cover of a song I love because what if they don't do it justice? It's rare, but it happens! Not in this case, however. I can't express enough how in love I am with this version. Maybe not as good as Elvis', but certainly up there. 

Much love, Maxine xo
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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Recent Top Ten | Makeup, Music, Youtube + More!

Hello, Lovelies! How is it already February? Can we all start hoping for some sun, yet? Is it too soon? Potentially! Either way, January was a month of loving a ton of stuff, so I've compiled a little list. Because we're a nosy bunch, aren't we? Or, is that just me? 

1. Nude lips! I'm wasn't a nude lip fan until maybe this time last year, but now I'm obsessed. I've gone from a bright red and purple lip addict (I still love a bold lip!) to pretty regularly reaching for the nudes. Maybe it's old age, maybe it's just a phase.
 2. I heart Makeup Foundation. I mentioned this in a recent haul, and I'm in love. I'm getting round to posting reviews on all of the products mentioned, so keep an eye out for that where I'll go more in-depth on the pros and cons of this little beauty, but long story short: a £2 foundation that I actually like and is pale enough for my white skin. Winner!
3. Weekly Vlogs. Mainly Brogan Tate and Rosanna Pierce.
4. Elementary. I was never really very intrigued by this, but I was recommended this by a friend and guys, he was right! It's taking me a while to get through this, probably because I've got a couple of seasons to get through, but every chance I get I've been watching an episode or two of this and I'm in love! I'm about a quarter through season 3 currently, and I adore it.
5. Casualty. I've spoken about my love of this show before, and I can't speak highly enough of it. It's a show I grew up with, and a show I still get excited to watch every Saturday.
6. The last of the TV shows this month, Gotham. The same friend recommended this show too, and I binge watched it over about 2 days. It was a shade hit and miss towards the end, but I thoroughly enjoyed it for the most part, so definitely worth a mention.
7. X+Y. I mentioned this film on Twitter at the beginning of this month, and I've watched it a further two or three times. A British film about a young man living with Aspergers and a love of maths, it's truly worth the watch. I can't recommend it enough!
8. Sworkit. I've been loving this app for fitting in quick workouts. You can actually set a time from 5-60 minutes, so maybe not that quick. But, I don't have to schlepp all the way to the gym, and that's the main thing!
9. Charlie Puth! I've been a fan of his, and I know this wasn't released that long ago, but I've had his new album, Nine Track Mind, on repeat for days, so I couldn't leave it out!
10. And, finally, Blogging! I've always thoroughly enjoyed blogging, but even more so now. I've got a ton more motivation to rant to you guys about life and makeup, which is always a good thing. For me, at least!
And, an extra! Something I've been obsessed with this month, probably more than anything else, has been therealdrmiami on snapchat. Not one for the faint of heart, he's a plastic surgeon who films his surgeries and puts them on his Story. Live. Sometimes a bit grim, but if you're into that kinda thing, it's very interesting!

And, breathe! What have you been loving lately? Leave me links below, as always! 

Much love, Maxine xo
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