Lauren Loves Blog

1 Jan 2017

Wagamama Gunwarf's Makeover

Living where I do, Gunwarf Quays, Portsmouth, is only a short walk away. The other night, in the confusion between Christmas and New Year, we walked over to check out the shops and to have dinner at Wagamama Portsmouth, which recently had a makeover from bright benches and booths, to chic decor.

Sam and I are huge fans of Wagamama, so we were excited for our date. Normally we only go for a main meal, but for the sake of a review we had starters, mains and puddings. You're welcome readers!

The Environment
First up, it got chic! Gone are the bright white walls, orange accents and general cheery lunch time vibe. Everything is black, exposed bricks and low lighting. Perfect for an evening date! The benches are still there which mean you have to share with others, although the team were great at placing groups with gaps between if possible meaning you still got some privacy. As always, you can see the chefs cooking, but you have to peek between large black light shades. We took photos of each other instead of the surroundings to capture the environment! I did take one looking through but a few people were looking right at the camera! I got caught!

The Food
As always, the food was amazing! We started with some Asahi beer for Sam and a prosecco for me. Yum. We then ordered duck gyoza and ribs for starter. I'm afraid both starters show you get three things, but that's only because I rememebered to take the photo after we'd eaten some. You actually get 5 ribs and 5 gyoza each. As usual, Wagamama serve the food as it's ready so it all comes at different times.

I love the duck gyoza, but they are naughty - always fresh out the fryer and boiling hot in the centre! They are so yummy though.

For mains, I had raisukaree - a delicious red thai curry. If you love it too and want to try it at home, I spent a long time experimenting and came up with this Wagamama raisukaree at home recipe which is pretty spot on!

Sam had beef teriyaki donburi which was served with lots of veg, rice and kimchee. He said it was nice but not his favourite meal he's had.

As Wagamama pros (official title) we've spent a long time trying out the menu. What we tend to do is I order two dishes we haven't tried before, we eat half of our meal, and then swap so we both get to try out the menu. Through this our short list of great dinners are:

  • Chicken Raisukaree
  • Yasai Katsu Curry
  • Firecracker Rice
  • Pad Thai
  • Cha Han Donburi
Finally for dessert we shared banana katsu - yummy deep-fried banana coated in breadcrumbs with salted caramel icecream

Delicious. With another prosecco and large beer, the whole meal came to around £60 which wasn't bad for both of us. Luckily for the review we were sent some vouchers which covered half the meal. 

With Gunwarf being a great shopping place, I dragged Sam through the early sales. I ended up buying this gold Swarovski Spiral Ring reduced from £110 to £35! It's bling! 


27 Nov 2016

Gifts for Beauty Lovers: Dermalogica Gift Sets

As I have complained to my friends numerous times, my skin has broken out massively! New job stress, hormonal imbalance, too many new products... I'm not sure what caused it originally. All I know is being an adult with acne sucks. If you follow me on instagram you'll know my new favourite product is magnesium paste to make under the skin lumps disappear. However, another skincare saviour which has been helping me out recently is Dermalogica.

Every time my skin has a wobble, I always go back to Dermalogica. It's a brand you know you can trust to be gentle, yet effective on your skin. When I heard they had a Christmas Gift Set range out this year, I was excited to try one out and show you what they do.

This is the Dermalogica Skin Health Heroes set. It contains the basics you need for healthy skin, helping me get it back on track. It contains the classic Special Cleansing Gel, Multi-Active Toner, and their flattering Hydroblur Primer.

The kit contains perfect little sizes, great for weekends away or to try out Dermalogica. It would make a great gift for young teenagers getting into skincare for the first time, or for those who love their beauty products and wanted a collection of "iconic" skincare products

For me, it really helped settle my very spotty, red and painful skin. I don't know what I reacted badly to. I have always suffered with acne but suddenly I had a collection of painful, under the skin lumps. I tried Proactiv on a trial through ASOS and my skin became a peeling, red, itchy, painful mess (sob sob sob) so when Dermalogica sent me this set it was a real gift. My skin is now slowly recovering. The painful tightness has gone and I'm left with spot-free, recovering skin. The scars from old spots are slowly fading and I'm starting to get some confidence back. Go away adult acne!

If you know a beauty lover who would want a Dermalogica set, go to the Dermalogica Website where there is a range of gift sets for different skin complaints. They start at £13.70 for a teenage skin set.

6 Nov 2016

Microbeads in beauty products

My friend Alice Horton is a genius. As part of her work, she is researching microbeads and publishing fantastic papers into the pollution done by microplastics in our environment. I was really interested in this, as I've been hearing a lot about microbeads in cosmetics. I asked Alice if she would write us some information about microbeads in cosmetics, and how to avoid them. Here's her piece below:

Image from the Good Scrub Guide

With the recent news that the UK government are banning microbeads in our face scrubs and cosmetics in 2017 there are sure to be a few questions. For example, what is a microbead? Why are they a problem? And how do I know if they are in the products I use? I shall attempt to answer these questions to help you make an informed choice about the products you are using.

What is a microbead?
A microbead is a very small ball of plastic, usually less than 1mm in size. These can be added in great numbers to products such as face scrubs to give you that ‘scrubbing’ feeling. A recent study found that one wash of your face can use anywhere between 5000 to 95,000 microbeads!
Why are they a problem?

Microbeads are essentially tiny pieces of plastic. They are too small to be collected by sewage treatment works so once you flush them down your plughole, they are fast-tracked into rivers nationwide, ultimately reaching the sea. Although plastics can break into smaller and smaller pieces, they don’t ever degrade completely (this can even be the case with some ‘biodegradable’ plastics!). Studies have shown that organisms can accidentally eat these plastics, which can then cause internal damage and chemical toxicity effects due to the chemicals that are incorporated into plastics. They have also been shown to be transported up the food chain with the potential to cause harm at a variety of levels.

How can I avoid buying them?
This is tricky as the companies who use microbeads don’t always want to advertise this, especially now that people are becoming aware of them as a problem. Whereas some products will advertise that they have exfoliating or cleansing microbeads, with others you will have to comb the ingredients to determine whether they contain plastic. What you are looking for are names or abbreviations including polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), nylon, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

For further information and a list of plastic-free products, check out the Good Scrub Guide

Another thing to be aware of is that ‘microbeads’ are not the only plastics added to beauty products. For example, take glitter. I bet you never thought about the fact that glitter is really just tiny pieces of plastic! And this is not necessarily just obvious glitter that is easy to spot, but sometimes even shimmery particles in eyeshadows and face creams. Microbeads covered by the ban have been defined very specifically as those used in exfoliators and cleansers, and things like glitter will not be covered by the ban so beware (although glitter addicts you can breathe a sigh of relief)!

What if I can’t bring myself to give up my favourite product?
It is up to everybody which products they choose to buy and how they choose to use them. My job is simply to give you the facts so you can make an educated choice! The good news is that even if your scrub does contain microbeads, companies will be legally obliged to replace these with a non-plastic substitute by next year – and many have started to do this already. In terms of glitter and cosmetic plastics, think about how you could limit the possibility of this entering the environment, for example, you could use a face wipe and put this in the bin rather than washing your makeup off.

Are there any other problems?
One of the main issues with this ban is not the ban itself – it can’t be bad to reduce plastic pollution! – but the misconception that this ban will help ‘solve the problem’ of plastics. For a start, plastic is already everywhere in the environment. Just go to your local park, or even the path outside your house, and you are sure to see plastic bottles, bags and chocolate wrappers. But look closer again and not only are there large items like these, but there are many smaller pieces of plastic that have broken down from these items and are working their way into surrounding soils and waterways. These can’t be collected as they are too small and once in the environment will stay there forever.

Thank you Alice! I feel informed now and will be checking all my bottles in the bathroom.


21 Oct 2016

Review: Annika Nail Colour

If like me you're a big gel nails fan, and are lucky enough to have a Capital trade card,  you'll have heard of The Edge Nails. They are a brand which produces great equipment, products and always has the newest trends out quickly. I got an email a few weeks ago letting me know they are now creating regular nail polishes for those of us who can't get into a trade shop (or know someone with a trade card...). They've called the brand Annika and stock loads of colours which are all Formaldehyde, Toluene and Phthalate free (the nasties). They're £3.50 + VAT each (that's £4.20 to us).

I was sent four colours to review, a chic grey, a lovely nude, and a pink and white for a French manicure. Here's swatches of each which I have photographed in several lights:

Clean Slate
Clean Slate is a gorgeous, stormy grey. The kind of colour which isn't flat, but you can see shades of blues, purples and pink in like a storm cloud. I found this colour really flattering on my pale skin and can see it complimenting all skin tones. 

Bella Ballerina and White Swan

Bella Ballerina is a sheer, pale pink which gives nails a natural glow (see ring finger). It's very pretty but don't expect a thick layer. White Swan is a more opaque, perfect white colour. It's perfect for french manicures or just all over. See little finger for how 2 layers looks. The rest of my fingers and thumb are my attempt at a french manicure using both colours. 

Cafe Au Lait

The final colour is Cafe Au Lait - the perfect nude. As you can see it's a lovely, pinky beige which was very flattering and had enough warmth to make me look like I was still alive. It's a great work colour. This opaque effect was achieved with only two coats. 

Overall, I really liked the range. There are a huge number of colours to choose from, the polish is lovely quality and applies well. A bonus is also that it dries quickly! It is fairly hardwearing - lasting on me as long as other polishes which sell themselves as long-wearing. I found it also lasted better without a basecoat. Maybe this was because my basecoat is Nails Inc which I have been totally unimpressed with, and this would do better with an Annika basecoat - I don't know. 

19 Oct 2016

Review: Rapidwhite 2 Week Tooth Whitening System

For holiday, I decided to whiten my teeth. I've posted before about loving Crest White Strips, but they're getting harder and harder to get hold of in the UK. I decided to try out a cheap-ish kit from Boots. This is the Rapidwhite 2 week tooth whitening system and costs £20.

The kit comes with toothpaste, an activator liquid, whitening gel and a mouthguard. The mouthguard is mouldable, so you put it in boiling water, put it in your mouth and it shapes to your teeth. You use this kit for 10 minutes, twice a day, for two weeks.

So before we go on to the review, here are the before and after photos:

I already had pretty white teeth, but the kit has given them a bit of a lift. The kit promises 8 shades whiter, which I obviously haven't achieved, but if your teeth really were at no 9 on the chart (super brown), I wonder how well it would work. Because the system takes so long (2 whole weeks, twice a day!) I didn't notice the difference until I looked at the before and after photos.

So the process is: clean your teeth gently, fill the trays with a little whitening gel, and then rub the accelerator liquid over your teeth. It's in a tube with a fabric top (a little like a bingo dobber). You then put the trays into your mouth before you close your lips and rub the accelerator off. You then leave it for 5-10 minutes, before you rinse your mouth and brush your teeth properly with the special toothpaste they give you.

There are several pros and cons to the system


  • It works
  • It's gentle - no sensitivity and you know it contains no strong ingredients like bleach
  • The kit is fairly cheap
  • It tastes gross! The liquid often leaked out the mouthguards and tasted like minty chemicals. Gross
  • You don't know how much of the gel to put into the trays, therefore I ran out before the two weeks was up. I go about 12 days out of the kit. 
  • It turns out 5 minutes is a really long time in the morning, when you're running late. After a week I got a hang of how to fit it into my routine, but it wasn't easy and I did skip it once when I was so frustrated with how long the whole process took. 
Overall - I don't think I'd buy the kit again. Although it was a good price and did deliver results, there are more options out there, which take less time and are less faff. I will endeavour to keep trying kits and giving you full reviews! 
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