24 Apr 2014

Review: Skinny Tan 7 Day Tanner and Gradual Tanner

Published by Lauren Loves at 16:30

A couple of weeks ago I was sent some Skinny Tan tanning products. I do love a good fake tan so I was excited to try out these. They promise to provide a natural tan, with natural ingredients and reduce the appearance of cellulite and make wearers look skinnier. It's a best seller Australian product which has just hit the UK, hoping to firm and tan us UK girlies. 


The packaging is basic, white and chocolate brown with good instructions on both the bottle and boxes. The ingredients are listed with some information on how it works 



The tanners contain guarana which is a derivative of caffeine and has properties which help firm skin apparently, plus being more tanned makes us all look slimmer. It also doesn't contain DHA which is the usual fake tanning agent, but a chemical from the Brassica napus plant seeds instead, so promises to be a "natural" form of tanning.  The gradual tanner is a daily moisturiser which leaves a gradual tan over a series of days, where as the 7 day tanner is one that you apply once, leave overnight and a tan will develop and last for around 7 days. 

The gradual tanner was a white cream  and the 7-Day tanner is more like a traditional fake tanner so it contains a colour guide so you can see where you applied it. 



I thought the best way to review these was to slap it onto one leg and not the other to show a fair comparison, so excuse the pasty legs in the following photos. I am the world's palest person! (and thank you to my boyfriend for putting up with a half pale-half tanned girlfriend!)

Both tanners smell deliciously like coconuts and pina colada! It was so delicious my boyfriend commented on the lovely new perfume I had on!

The gradual tanner applied well, it smoothed on easily and I found a little went a long way! I applied it straight after my shower and smelt lovely all day, although by the end of the day it did develop that biscuity smell like the traditional DHA-based tanners, but masked by the faded coconut, holiday smell. As it was a cream, I did manage to leave some on between my fingers by accident and this is the result.


 For someone as pale as me, this is quite a deep tan. I couldn't really see myself using this very regularly like a moisturiser as I would end up very deep brown! However, you'll see that there are no hints of orange so I will happily use this for a tan top-up a couple of times a  week.

The 7 day tanner had a brown colour guide to help with application so there were no messes with this and  it was really easy to apply for an even tan. However, I didn't read the bottle which says don't overwork and I massaged this tan in too much. If you keep massaging the tan to soak in, it begins to lose the colour guide and go white and creamy - very confusing when you're applying a fake tan. It also stops the tan from working as well as it should, leaving me with a lighter tan than the gradual tanner! After this application I read the bottle and actually applied it correctly which meant leaving quite a thick layer of product on my skin and leaving it quite damp meaning I couldn't wrap myself in a towel to go from the bathroom to my bedroom without wiping tan off! As someone who uses mousse tans normally which are "drier", this was very new to me, so if you are living in a shared house I'd recommend doing it in your room and taking an extra 10 minutes to let it dry before getting dressed for the best results. The 7 day tanner also had the lovely coconut smell, but again became very "biscuity" at the end of the day.

Right leg has tanner on - this is immediately after application. It is slightly browner due to the guide colour. 


These are the results: 

left leg natural colour, right leg is one application of Skinny Tan 7 Day Tanner. 

The colour the tanner came out was nice, natural bronze without any orange tones. This is only one application so adding further will give a deeper tan, but for April this was the perfect colour for me. 

The tan all over really helped perk up my white dress at the weekend too: 


The gradual tanner is £19.99 and the 7 day tanner is £26.99, both from Skinnytan.co.uk


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22 Apr 2014

Outfit Post: Springtime Wedding

Published by Lauren Loves at 16:30

Happy Easter Weekend!






This weekend I went to my friend Emma's wedding. She kindly invited a group of us from the doctorate along and we had such an amazing time!

I wore this backless polka dot dress from TRF at Zara for £25.99 and paired it with these cranberry suede heels from tReds which were £29.99 and sent to me for review. I loved the idea of a colour clash with the white dress, and these heels were super-comfy to wear and walk in, even for someone who doesn't wear heels usually like me (because I'm super tall!)

My beautiful friends were in a mix of Topshop, Zara, Oasis and Mango and of course the bride looked absolutely stunning




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11 Apr 2014

Giveaway! Ralph Cat Eye Sunglasses 5154

Published by Lauren Loves at 12:00

The sun is out! (well it is when I write this, is it now?) and I love a pair of sunglasses. I was sent these gorgeous Ralph 5154 Cat Eye Sunglasses in tortoise from Sunglasses Shop and I have a pair to give away too! 

Last weekend I had a wonder around Bournemouth while helping my boyfriend pack up his flat for moving to Portsmouth with me. It was a gorgeous day (although a little cold and windy so excuse the fringe!) so I thought it was perfect for giving the glasses their debut. 




I'm wearing - Jumper from Primark, Satchel from Leather Satchel Co, necklace is my Laura Lee Ring on a chain, bangle from John Lewis, Sunglasses - Ralph 5154

The sunglasses come in a gorgeous leather case with a cleaning cloth

The glasses are made from plastic with metal arms, making them lightweight so they don't leave a huge dent in your nose, and expensive looking. I love the small branding details (you can tell I've not had designer glasses before because this excites me!)

The brown colour is much softer than a black so is good for paler colourings, and the cat eye shape is gorgeously retro! Sunglasses Shop say the glasses suit diamond, oblong, oval, round and square faces (pretty flattering then) and as I have a long, oblong-y face I chose this style.





So to be in to win a pair of these glasses, follow the instructions on the form below

  • This is a Google Docs form - all the data will only be visible to me. 
  • Only UK entrants will be valid
  • Closes at 11.59pm on Friday 18th April 2014 
  • A winner will be selected at random after this data and their details will be passed on to Sunglasses Shop



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10 Apr 2014

Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe and Weekend Away

Published by Lauren Loves at 11:00

A personal post from me, I love reading weekend away posts from other bloggers so thought I'd give it a try. We went to Dover for the weekend to see family. Most people say "oh I've been to Dover... on the ferry" which is to be expected; I don't think anyone would choose to go to Dover for a weekend away unless they were going on to France but we had loads of fun. 

Firstly, I made Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet cakes to prepare. I seem to have developed a reputation for being a baker so I am always expected to provide cakes now! 


Recipe

For the cakes:
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g caster sugar
1 egg
10g cocoa powder
20ml red food colouring (the ones recommended by Hummingbird aren't made anymore so I used a paste from Asda)
½tsp vanilla extract
120ml buttermilk
150g plain flour
½tsp salt
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½tsp white wine vinegar

For the icing
300g icing sugar, sifted

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Also:
12-hole cupcake tray, lined with large cupcake cases

Method:
Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3.
Put the butter and the sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy and well mixed. 
Turn the mixer up to high speed, slowly add the egg and beat until everything is well incorporated.
In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. 
Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). 
Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half the buttermilk. Beat until well mixed, then add half the flour, and beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat this process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Scrape down the side of the bowl again. Turn the mixer up to high speed and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. 
Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a couple more minutes.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 mins, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. 
Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile for the cream cheese frosting: Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 mins. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.When the cupcakes are cold, spoon over the cream cheese frosting on top.


Later in the weekend we went to Broadlees Farm and saw lambs being born and got to hold baby lambs! It was slightly embarrassing going in without children but we managed to shake off the awkward-ness! 




We went to the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and saw Evita which was lovely. We went with Sam's cousins and their partners who are all SO lovely while his mum babysat their kiddies


Hope you enjoy cooking the cupcakes as much as we loved eating them! 


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9 Apr 2014

Review: Free From Frizz 6 Week Blowout Treatment (Thick/Coarse Hair)

Published by Lauren Loves at 16:30

My friend (and part-time housemate) Jen is an amazing hairdresser. She knows anything there is to know about hairdressing, so when she said she wanted to try this Free From Frizz 6 Week Blowout treatment I knew her review would be something something you girls would want to hear. Jen is selfishly leaving me next week to go travelling around South America for 4 months with her boyfriend and said she wanted something to tame her wild, coarse hair to make it less of a hassle. She found out about this treatment and bought it, and we gave it a go on one girly Friday night. 


The kit we used was the Mango, thick/coarse hair set which was £14.99 from Boots. The set also comes in Watermelon for normal/fine hair. She also got the shampoo and conditioner from the range for aftercare. 

The product promises to relax the bonds in your hair and uses keratin (similar to a Brazillian Blowdry) to keep hair free from frizz for 6 weeks. 


In the kit came: Pre Cleanser, Active Keratin Treatment, gloves and a brush. You will also need a hairdryer and some straighteners. 



Jen's review: 



BEFORE

This is my natural hair before the treatment (here it has just been blow dried) without straightening or anything


Product and application

Firstly, you wash your hair with the pre-cleanser, then dry it until it is almost dry. You then apply the keratin treatment and brush it on using the little brush. A lot of reviews on the Boots website said the kit left their hair full of product and it was really hard to cope with their hair looking lank and greasy. This is because they had applied too much of the keratin, and so I applied only as much as my hair needed which ended up being only half the bottle. 

The products smelled really nice, the actually anti frizz liquid smells a bit like perm lotion (slightly eggy) when applied although this smell disappeared as soon as it had been rinsed. The anti frizz liquid bottle with a nozzle and lid and the comb provided meant the application process was easy, relatively mess free and took about 15 minutes. You then leave the product on to soak in for 30-40 minutes before drying hair to almost dry. 

Next, you section off your hair into small sections and meticulously straighten each section 6 or 7 times per section to get it absolutely poker straight. You have to make sure you don't leave any strand unstraightened so this may require a friend. 

AFTER straightening, my hair looked like this for 48 hours. Very early 2000s! 

After all this, you have to leave your hair for 48 hours - no washing, no tucking it behind your ear and no putting it up in an elastic band! It can be really difficult. As I hadn't applied too much product I found this stage quite manageable.  


Afterwards

So once I had waited the stated 48 hours and washed my hair using the shampoo and conditioner I blasted it off until it was nearly dry, as I would normally do I smoothed it in large rough sections, it was definitely smoother and and took a lot less time and work to dry and smooth. It now feels really soft which it doesn't normally as my hair is naturally course and frizzy and is over processed. 








Overall 4 out of 5 didn't make my hair miraculously straight and smooth but it did make it much more manageable. The instructions were really clear to follow and the kit did a good job. My hair has still got kinks in it when I wake up but it just needs 5 minutes going over with a dryer and brush so is much lower maintenance 


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