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Green+Aquamarine: November 2014

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Natural Beauty: Waitrose Pure Face Cream

Being in a small Welsh city and on a student budget, I was a little worried when my last face cream ran out. While I like to use the nicest skincare I can get (I'm currently loving the Elemis FreshSkin cleansers and exfoliators) this time around I knew a budget replacement cream was on the cards. I wanted to find a natural product so as not to irritate my skin, especially with the lower price range. My skin is prone to both sensitivity and breakouts (still!) so I needed a product that I could trust not to damage.

The solution came, surprisingly, in the form of Waitrose's in-house skincare range. I didn't even know that the supermarket had released its own cosmetics, but for a face cream 97% natural ingredients at £2.99, I wasn't about to complain. The cream uses Shea butter to moisturise and vitamin C to nourish.

Being so inexpensive, I wasn't expecting an amazing cream, just something gentle and lightly moisturising. But it so far is performing better than expected. Despite feeling initially thick, the cream is quite watery, giving it an unusual texture. This puts some people off, but I was surprised to find that the cream absorbed quicker and moisturised me more than my previous moisturiser.

Because of the price, I am quite happy to be generous about moisturising my neck and décolletage area, something I have skimped on when using more expensive creams.

In the week that I have been using this product, my skin has been feeling comfortably hydrated, and no new blemishes have appeared. It is by no means a hero product, but is a great budget or back up option to keep in your beauty cabinet.

The Pure face cream retails in Waitrose stores for £2.99, or two for £4.

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Review: Sweaty Betty #3 Workout

Last month I went to Oxford to visit Stuart for the weekend (I blogged about it here). While there, I got very spoilt, and, alongside a wonderful weekend away in even better company, I found myself coming out of Sweaty Betty with a well-stocked shopping bag. I unintentionally picked an outfit straight out of this season's Sweaty Betty catalogue, which I'll be reviewing today.

With it's relaxed fit, this top is comfortable, yet still really flattering. Like all Sweaty Betty workout gear, this top is highly breathable, which is an absolute must. The t-shirt falls on the body easily, so you won't have material bunching as you try to lean over to pick up your weights, or as you stretch out at the end of a workout. I love the colour; there's enough detail to make it pretty without being overwhelming. I prefer the cooler tones here than lots of bright pinks personally. This is my current favourite workout top, beating my Sweat Betty Athlete Vest. As always, I'm really impressed with the quality.

Source: Sweaty Betty

I am so happy to finally have a pair of workout capris that are flattering, comfortable and keep your modesty covered. These leggings are snug and supportive without compromising on flexibility of movement. There's also lots of little extra details that make these capri's worth the money. The waistband is suitably high, with a drawstring for fit adjustment. To keep your workout hygienic, the gusset is antibacterial, so no smelly kit! The small back zip is so useful, yet you can barely feel it. In true Sweaty Betty style, the backs of the capri's are scalloped and finish at a flattering length, to make you feel your best while workout out. They're quite thick, so I'm not sure if you might overheat in them over summer, but as the moment, the thickness is working really well for me as it gives the additional support and comfort to the bottoms.

Can you believe it wasn't even four when these photos were taken? It's getting so dark! Big thanks to my photographer of the day, Abbie.

Both items in this outfit have been tested by myself whilst on a rowing machine, lifting weights, squatting and running outside in 5'C weather. This is a really good all-rounder outfit for workouts and sports alike.

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Om Yoga Magazine: Iyengar Special

Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha yoga pioneered by the legendary BKS Iyengar who passed away this year. Until recently, I wasn't familiar with the style at all. Now, my new yoga teacher is trained in the Iyengar style and I practice it in class twice weekly. Rather than having an emphasis on flowing sequences seen in vinyasa classes, Iyengar heavily focuses on the detail and alignment of postures. As a result, it is a really good style of yoga to practice alone, or to compliment other styles in making sure that your asana is accurate.

Iyengar classes are very inclusive; props are used so that students of all abilities can safely and effectively try the postures. The teachers often demonstrate new poses, and students are actively engaged; encouraged to ask questions and have one-on-one corrections to postures made. In my particular class, we spend a good five minutes focusing on every little detail of Mountain Pose to increase awareness of detail in any pose, and to build a strong foundation.

There is a focus on five standing poses -triangle pose, extended side angle pose, Warrior I and II, and intense side stretch. However, a large range of poses are used in Iyengar yoga. The poses are often hold for longer than in other classes, often 20-30 seconds. This allows for greater mental alertness. In many cases, the classes progress with the students, and over weeks new, more challenging poses are added, with many modifications offered to suit a range of abilities.

Through one man, Iyengar yoga has become exceptionally widespread, teaching millions worldwide to practice yoga to their fullest since the 1960's. In bringing yoga to the west, BKS Iyengar has been named the "father of modern yoga". Although he is no longer with us, his legacy lives on in his books, teachings and classes.

If you've tried Iyengar yoga, leave me a comment! Have you been reading Om Yoga this month? If you'd like to try, follow the photo link below to download the latest issue for less than the cost at the newsagent, or a free sample issue.

OM Yoga Magazine

Disclaimer: I am an Affiliated Blogger with Om Yoga Magazine. Each issue I will write a post on an article from the magazine and share it with you. Have a look here to find about the other lovely affiliated bloggers.

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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Homewear Favourites: Accessories

At university, a big challenge of having a bedroom, living area and study all contained within one small room is making the space seem homely and personal. Since moving to Wales, I have been making a few additions to make my room more "me". Today, I thought I'd share some of these bits and pieces with you.

When visiting Caernarfon, I treated to myself to this sweet little plant pot for my Peace Lily. The shop, called Lotti & Wren was full of home wears, gifts and Christmas decorations. I picked up a couple of Welsh Christmas cards too, as a personal touch for next month. Having a plant brings a bit of life to my room, and Peace Lily's are supposedly good for keeping air clean and detoxified.

From home, I brought this tray. It mostly sits of my shelf as decoration, but is a useful drink tray for morning cuppas and evening cocktails on occasion.

My second tray actually came from Anglesey Sea Zoo, where I was doing a research practical. I had been looking for a metallic tray for my perfumes, and couldn't resist the starfish and shell design. Plus, the proceeds go towards keeping the zoo running, which does vital research and conservation for British marine species.

Unable to resist the Debenhams Christmas section, I had to get this bargain fleece blanket. It is so soft and warm; perfect for wrapping myself in when watching films with my flatmates. I think it will be coming home with me over Christmas to keep my warm and festive on cold winter nights!

Lastly, I like to keep a couple of bags to hand. My green Zatchels satchel is my day-to-day bag, fitting my laptop or notebook and other essentials in neatly. Behind is the carrier bag I got from Sweaty Betty. For a free carrier bag, it is impressively sturdy, and has one of my favourite quotations on one side:

"The cure for everything is salt water -sweat, tears, or the sea"

Comment below if you are enjoying my university updates, or have been redecorating and updating your home recently!

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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Pinterest: Come Pin with Me

Almost everyone I know now has Pinterest. It is an addictive online pinboard-come-social media. I love filling up my boards on all my interests; yoga, fitness, the ocean, and a few cheeky cakes and cocktail recipes. When I have a few spare minutes, I can always brighten up my day looking at "geek", animal and Disney humour, as well as pooling inspiration for outfits.

I also pin photos from latest posts, and things that inspire me for my blog. To follow me, or one of my boards, you can click the image above or follow my link here.

In light of sharing the blogger love, I thought I would link below a few of my favourite pincers below:

Megan McMinn: Briar Rose Blog

The prettiest pastels, outfits, accessories and party boards you are likely to find on Pinterest. I love that she lives in Cornwall and my old city, Bath too! Megan's board featuring her wedding is whimsical and so stunning.

Tash: Dance, Flow, Lift

Natasha is a fellow Health Blogger, and a BarreCore fitness trainer... with an amazing fitness wardrobe! With her background in ballet and dance, Tash's Pinterest page is filled with fitness inspiration and beautiful photographs.

Carly Rowena

I tend to skip between watching YouTuber's regularly, getting bored fairly easily. However, I always look out for Carly's new videos. On her Pinterest page, Carly has lots of fitness inspiration and workout ideas, alongside lots of funny animal pins! Her boards are brimming with positivity, definitely one to follow.

I could have listed so many more, but I'll keep it concise and let you explore. Do you have any favourite Pinners or boards? Comment below!


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Mala Collective: Beads with Intention

Last month I went to the Om Yoga Show where I met Ashley from Mala Collective. There, I bought myself the Ocean Turquoise bracelet, made with rudraksha beads and turquoise. I mentioned Mala Collective a couple of months ago, and since then I have been talking with Doug from the team, who suggested that I become an affiliate and explore the beads further.

The meditation beads and jewellery originates from Bali, in partnership with Soma Temple, who sounds like an amazing, positive woman. Rudraksha are actually seeds, and have been known to survive many generations as mala beads. I like to wear my bracelet as a daily reminder to stay positive and healthy. At the end of yoga practice, I find having a mala bracelet useful to help me focus during the meditation and savasana. At some point, I'd love to get a full length necklace to meditate with.

You can buy Mala Collective online here, or send the team a quick message to see if there is a stockist near you!

Disclaimer: I am an affiliated blogger with Mala Collective. This is an original post and all thoughts are my own.

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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Natural Beauty: Coconut Oil Shaving Scrub

I hardly need to give coconut oil an introduction do I? Popular for it's health benefits both inside and out, it has become as essential in the health junkie's life as green juices and chia seeds. I first started using it when making soap a couple of years back, but since then I have mostly been using the oil in cooking and baking only. I treated myself to a jar of Essential Organic's raw virgin coconut oil from my amazing new local health food shop recently, so I decided it was time to get creative.

For a cooking oil, coconut oil is relatively expensive (my large jar cost £8 or £9) but as a multitasking moisturiser/scrub/hair oil it suddenly becomes a pretty economical choice. I found the recipe for this online and although it is labelled as a shaving scrub it works nicely as a moisturising exfoliator for your face, lips, hands and body. It also smells gorgeous thanks to the two sweet ingredients. You could add a drop or two of essential oil to add extra benefits to your scrub.

This recipe is really simple; heat coconut oil gently until melted, with equal amounts of brown or granulated sugar. Pour into a jar and leave to cool, (in the fridge or at room temperature) stirring regularly so that the sugar stays in suspension as the oil hardens. You may find that you need to add a little extra sugar; the scrub is not an exact science and varies depending on the oil used and how you want your scrub to feel like. The sugar helps to stop the oil from setting rock solid. If your bathroom gets especially cold in winter, then a tablespoon or two of almond or groundnut oil will loosen the texture.

Give the scrub a last stir once it has mostly set, and pop it into your bathroom.

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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Oxford Streets

On Saturday, the Halloween outfits were put away and the spare cakes packed as I headed my way across country to visit Stuart in Oxford. As far as long-haul rail travel goes, it was a fairly impromptu trip, which in a way made it all the more exciting to look forward to.

I love Oxford; it has been years since I last visited. The wide streets and sandstone buildings remind me of growing up around Bath, and in the bright sunshine the city was especially pretty. As if in attempt to push Welsh stereotypes, it had been raining almost every day in Bangor for the previous week, and to walk through the crisp orange leaves on Oxford streets was such a novelty. 

Stuart took me on a little tour around, joined by another good friend, Katy. We had a nosy into some of the colleges as well as walking the streets. As it was beyond normal visiting hours for the colleges we visited, it was great to utilise the student and friend access to have a quiet explore. 

Next I met Miriam for a coffee and catch up. I was really lucky to be able to catch up with so many friends in one trip! You can read Miriam's blog over at the English Mademoiselle Diaries. 

Sunday evening was the real showstopper though, as I was taken to Magdalen College's Formal Hall for dinner. Stuart and his fellow students were expected to wear their gowns, with visitors dressing appropriately. Each Formal is attended by some of the College Fellows who are greeted by one of the choirs whilst the attendees stand in respect. Then, we sat down to a three course meal followed by coffee and port. It was quite a surreal, but lovely experience, and the food was really impressive. The prawns and saffron rice for the fish course was probably my favourite, perfect for setting the guests up for the rest of the meal. In the middle of student life, it was lovely to sit down and have a proper, adult meal out.

Sadly Monday morning rolled around too fast and before I knew it I was on my way back again. I can't wait to visit again!

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