Friday 23 February 2018

My Favourite Body Firming Products

My Favourite Body Firming Products - 1

A little while back, I talked about my body care routine over on my YouTube channel. In that video, I briefly mentioned firming products, and now that spring is just around the corner, bringing with it the possibility of going bare-legged for the first time in months, I thought it might be a good time to share a few more in-depth thoughts on some of my favourites.

Products that claim to firm and tone up the body are something I've only got into fairly recently. For a long time, I dismissed them as something of a fad, until it occurred to me - I use products that claim to firm up and smooth the lines on my face, so why not those that will firm up my body and smooth cellulite? (Not that I have any of course, cough cough.) Now, I wouldn't be without them. Just like anti-ageing creams for the face, these products might not work miracles, but combined with a good diet, exercise and generally taking care of myself, they definitely help. With the warmer months on the way, these are what I'll be using to whip my body into shape.

 Dry Body Brush


My Favourite Body Firming Products - 2 - Dry Body Brush

I mentioned this brush in my body care video and it definitely deserves top billing in this list. It might not look very exciting, but it's one of the best investments I've made in terms of body care and it only set me back a few pounds. I use this about three times a week before my morning shower to exfoliate my skin and get the circulation flowing, using upward strokes towards the heart, starting at my feet and working my way up. Not only is dry body brushing great for exfoliation, it's also one of the most effective things you can do to reduce the appearance of cellulite. If you have any problem areas, concentrating on them by using circular motions with the brush can really help to make them look smoother. Essentially, this action helps to redistribute the uneven fat cells which cause skin to dimple. Not particularly technical, I know, but it works! I find that using my body brush like this, combined with a few targeted butt exercises, makes the most difference to my lower body area in terms of its overall appearance. (I recommend fitnessblender on YouTube for the exercises - even their five minute butt workouts have produced noticeable results for me when done regularly.) 

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Firming Butter


My Favourite Body Firming Products - 3 - Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Firming Butter

I have always loved body butters and the way they leave my skin feeling hydrated and super soft. While I will probably always be seduced from time to time by more luxurious variations than this, you really cannot beat it. It's very affordable (on offer at Boots for under £4.00 last time I checked!) and manages to be rich and nourishing without sitting heavily on the skin or leaving it feeling greasy in the slightest. Containing cocoa and shea butter, this is a great all over body moisturiser, and affordable enough to use for that purpose on a daily basis. However, you get the added benefit of collagen and elastin which help to firm the skin while you moisturise. Plus, it has that addictive, cocoa butter scent to it and comes in an effortless pump format. Palmer's advice is to massage over the whole body twice daily, concentrating on thighs, legs, stomach and bust. Indeed, focusing a little harder on areas where you are likely to get cellulite (such as thighs and stomach) is always a good idea when applying any product, even just a regular moisturiser. Much like the dry brushing action, the massaging of the area is important in redistributing the fat cells, so the act of thoroughly rubbing the product into your skin can be just as useful as the product itself.

Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

My Favourite Body Firming Products - 4 - Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, Sol de Janeiro

The delightfully named Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (pronounced "boom boom" cream apparently). This has become a bit of a cult product and there was so much hype around it that I just couldn't resist buying it. I went for the smaller tub to try it out first because it's pretty expensive - I paid £18 for 75 ml. I'm a big fan of the cute packaging and an even bigger fan of the scent - hard to describe but "tropical paradise" is the best I can do, and suffice it to say that you will want to keep sniffing it! This is a thick cream but it feels light on application and absorbs very quickly. Containing guarana extract, it claims to tighten and smooth "like no other", and it certainly leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft - like silk. Is it worth the money? Well, it is a beautiful product, and I will probably buy it again, but due to the cost I won't be using it on an everyday basis. Instead I will reserve it for those special days when I want to feel like silk and smell like a tropical paradise!

Ren Atlantic Kelp And Microalgae Anti-Fatigue Toning Body Oil*

My Favourite Body Firming Products - 5 - Ren Atlantic Kelp And Microalgae Anti-Fatigue Toning Body Oil

As the name of this product suggests, it's an oil rather than a cream and because of that I prefer to use it in the evenings after a bath instead of during the day. It also has a beautiful scent of geranium and rosemary oil, the kind of scent that makes you feel instantly relaxed. Because it's an oil, you naturally massage it in more to help the skin absorb it, which is helpful for those lumpy and bumpy areas. Containing magnesium-rich kelp, and omegas 6 and 9-rich algae, it helps to improve the skin's elasticity as well as adding nourishment and moisture. It's not cheap at £35 for 100 ml, but I find that a little of it goes a long way and one 100 ml bottle should last a good few months.

Nip + Fab Cellulite Fix

My Favourite Body Firming Products - 6 - Nip + Fab Cellulite Fix

This is the first body firming product I ever tried and it's still one of my favourites. In terms of improving the appearance of cellulite, I'd say this is probably the most effective of those I've mentioned, apart from the dry brush. The down side of it is that it is a targeted anti-cellulite product and not really suitable for use as an all-over moisturiser, so you can't really multi-task with this one like you can with the others. In my opinion, it's the least pleasant to apply, as it's gel-like in consistency and thus a tad sticky before it's absorbed completely. Also, it doesn't smell lovely like the other products I've mentioned, although it by no means smells bad. So why is it on my favourites list? Well, as I said, it's impressive in terms of results and really does make the whole area appear smoother and even a little lifted with regular application. One of the main ingredients is caffeine, which is supposed to burn away fat cells, and it also contains Indian forskolin (nope, no idea what that is) which apparently stimulates microcirculation. It's just under £20.00 for 150 ml so middle of the road in terms of price. If you're really looking to blitz cellulite rather than generally firm up, this is the one I would recommend.

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What are some of your favourite body firming products? And do you have any top tips for staying smooth, peachy and cellulite free? Feel free to share!

Kate x

*Gifted product. Some links may be affiliate links. This poses no extra cost to you, the customer. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Friday 9 February 2018

What To Wear On Valentine's Day - 5 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Romantic Dress

What To Wear On Valentine's Day - 5 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Romantic Dress - 1

Valentine's, Galentine's, or just because you want something pretty... do we really need an excuse to shop for a new dress? I for one don't take a lot of persuading! For as long as I can remember, dresses have been my go-to for just about every occasion. I love how effortless they are - throw on a few accessories and you're good to go - and I love how feminine and put together I feel when wearing them. Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and the question of what to wear is probably in a lot of people's minds right about now. Well, whether you're heading out for a date night with your partner or you're celebrating Galentine's with your best mates, why not embrace the occasion by wearing the prettiest, most romantic dress you can find? Below, I've put together my 5 top tips on how to choose the perfect one for you.

What To Wear On Valentine's Day - 5 Tips For Choosing The Perfect Romantic Dress - 2

1. Romance Doesn't Have To Mean Ruffles

Personally, I've always had a fairly girly, feminine style, but I'm aware that frills, floral prints and blush pink aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea. That said, you can pile on the romance factor without going anywhere near those things. Case in point - the beautiful Miss Selfridge dress I'm wearing in these photos. Not a ruffle in sight, and very grown up, I'll think you'll agree. Yet it's one of the most romantic dresses I've ever had the pleasure of wearing. For me, the all over intricate lace, soft silhouette and nude lining peeping through the outer layer help to make this the perfect date night dress.

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2. It's All In The Details

Now this isn't to say that a very simple dress can't be romantic, but for me, there's just something that little bit more special about interesting details, and they can really help to give a dress that added wow factor. Those details could be anything from show-stopping lace, a delicate print or cut-out details to a full pleated skirt, luxurious fabric or a stunning open back. Whatever speaks to you, make it your own! I guarantee that special little added touch will make you feel even more amazing when wearing your dress.

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3. Maintain A Little Mystery

This is potentially a fairly controversial thing to say, so just to be clear, I have no problem with anyone's clothing choices or how much skin, or how little, they choose to show. I'm speaking purely from the point of view of what I think makes the perfect romantic dress, and for me, that's a dress that leaves a little something to the imagination. That doesn't mean that it can't be sexy, just in a more subtle way. For example, the dress I'm wearing in this post is quite modest at first glance, but in fact the nude slip underneath the outer layer of lace is very short, so you get a glimpse of the wearer's legs, without them being totally on display. Alternatively, bare shoulders can be really beautiful, and paired with a longer skirt length, it makes the whole look softer and draws more attention to the feature you've chosen to showcase.

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4. Above All, Feel Comfortable

Probably the most important tip of all. After all, nothing is going to look good on you if you don't feel comfortable wearing it! When you feel good in your outfit, it has an impact on your mood and allows you to relax, have fun, and focus on the company you're with - pretty important on Valentine's, Galentine's or any occasion for that matter. So go shopping, try on a few (any excuse) and don't settle until you've found the one! (Yes, I'm still talking about clothes.)

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5. The Finishing Touches

It's February, and here in the UK at least, coats are still very much needed! As far as I'm concerned, outerwear is as much a part of your outfit as the dress itself, so it's worth thinking about what you have that will compliment it, even if it's coming off as soon as you reach your destination. I've fallen in love with this chic grey coat from Miss Selfridge, and it's the perfect partner for my dress. Once you have your outerwear sorted, you need to think about your accessories. I always have dainty heels and clutch bags in black and nude in my wardrobe, so even if there isn't time (or budget!) to get something new, I know I should be able to complete my outfit.

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Find Your Perfect Romantic Dress

Do you have a favourite romantic dress in your wardrobe? And do you have any exciting plans for Valentine's Day?

Kate x

Some links may be affiliate links. This poses no extra cost to you, the customer. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

The Benefits Of Aloe Vera, And How I Fared On The 30 Day Aloe Vera Challenge

The Benefits of Aloe Vera, And How I Fared On The 30 Day Aloe Vera Challenge - 1

Drinking Aloe Vera juice or gel has become a hot health and beauty trend in recent months, though the many benefits of the aloe plant have been well known for centuries. Indeed, legend has it that it formed a staple part of Cleopatra's skincare routine, so it's definitely nothing new. Just before Christmas, I was invited by Forever to take part in their 30 day Aloe Vera challenge, which would involve drinking a 60 ml shot of their signature Aloe Vera gel every morning for 30 days in order to judge for myself what the benefits are. Having fallen in love with Forever's Infinite skincare range last year, I was a already a fan of the brand. I was also already aware of the benefits of Aloe Vera. In fact, I had attempted to include the juice (produced by a different brand) in my diet quite a few years ago. On that occasion, my dislike of the flavour had got the better of me, but this time, I was determined to see the challenge through to the end.

So, how did I get on, and what benefits did I experience? Read on to find out!

The Benefits of Aloe Vera, And How I Fared On The 30 Day Aloe Vera Challenge - 2

First Things First - Source Good Quality Aloe Vera 

When I accepted the Aloe Vera challenge, the first thing I did was turn to good old Mr Google for a little background research. I wanted to know what I was letting myself in for, and what benefits I could expect to see. The number one thing that became clear very quickly was that not all Aloe Vera juices are created equal. You need to be sure that what you are drinking has been processed properly. This means that you need to look for one of two words on the bottle - "decolorized" or "stabilized". Without getting too technical about it, both these processes involve the removal of the outer leaf of the aloe plant, which is potentially harmful, even carcinogenic, so this is really important.

Forever Aloe Vera Gel goes through a patented stabilization process, meaning that only the safe, inner leaf of the plant is used. In addition to that, it's also cold pressed and about as close as you can get to being a totally pure product.

The Benefits of Aloe Vera, And How I Fared On The 30 Day Aloe Vera Challenge - 3


The reported benefits of Aloe Vera are many and can be traced back through history, but one of the most significant is its use as an ideal digestive aid. It is also known to carry several nutritional benefits that can, amongst other things, contribute to skin health. As I'm always looking for things that can help to improve the appearance of my skin, this is what has always intrigued me the most about Aloe Vera. I embarked on the 30 day challenge with plenty of motivation.
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The Benefits of Aloe Vera, And How I Fared On The 30 Day Aloe Vera Challenge - 5

But Doesn't It Taste Horrendous?

Honestly? It's not that bad! As I mentioned, the taste of Aloe Vera has put me off in the past, so I'll admit I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to stick it out for 30 days. But when I took my first sip, I was pleasantly surprised. Keeping it nice and cold in the fridge definitely helps a lot, as does the fact that 60 ml really isn't very much at all. The flavour isn't too dissimilar to watered down grapefruit juice, and as for the fact that it's called a "gel" - don't let that put you off, as the consistency is no different to a regular fruit juice with the pulp left in it. The bottom line is, I can be a wimp about this sort of thing, but I found it much easier than I thought I would to drink it every morning for 30 days. If I can do it, anyone can!

But if you're still not convinced, Forever also offer flavoured Aloe Vera gels, including Berry Nectar and Forever Freedom (orange flavoured), which might be more to your taste.

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The Benefits Of Aloe Vera - My Experience

So let's get down to the heart of the matter - did I notice any significant benefits from drinking Aloe Vera gel?


After about the first two weeks, the improvement in my skin was unmistakable. It was clear, soft and plumped. In fact, the last time it looked this good was when I was using Forever's Infinite skincare range, which includes Aloe Vera as a key ingredient. Clearly, my skin loves this stuff!

I've also noticed a change in my hair. Regular readers will know that I've been growing out overly bleached hair for some time now, and the condition has been slowly improving with the use of nourishing and hydrating masks. However, the Aloe Vera has kicked this up a gear and it's definitely stronger and shinier as a result - even my hairdresser has noticed.

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With regard to digestive issues, I'm lucky enough not to suffer with any on a regular basis, so it's hard for me to judge the usefulness of Aloe Vera gel on this score. Interestingly, I have spoken to quite a few people about my 30 Day Challenge over the past weeks, and several of them have told me that they have taken Aloe Vera in the past for precisely these reasons. When asked if it helped, all of them said yes.

Finally, last week, my husband had a stomach bug. Usually, I will catch every bug going, so I was sure I was going to get it. I didn't. Whether that was the Aloe Vera giving my immune system a boost or just a lucky coincidence, I don't know, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

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Beyond The Challenge

I successfully completed the 30 day challenge more than a week ago, but I'm still taking my morning shot of Aloe Vera gel. For me, the effects I have seen on my skin and hair are more than enough to keep this product in my life for the foreseeable future. In addition to this, I think that a lot of the more general health benefits are probably things that become more evident over the long term, and from what I have seen so far, it's definitely well worth persevering with.

Have you ever taken Aloe Vera gel or juice? If so, did you see any benefits?

Kate x

This post was sponsored by Forever. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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