DIY Beauty Gift Hamper with Boots!

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Hampers are one of the easiest, prettiest ways to create and give a personlised gift for Christmas (or any occasion) and what's more they're fun to make and can be adjusted to suit ANYONE'S tastes! So, if you've been looking to make a special present this Christmas, why not let Boots and I give you a few ideas for a gorgeous beauty hamper as well as step by step instructions!

DIY Christmas Beauty Gift Hamper with Boots

A box of some description (a shoe box will do!)
Wrapping paper
Old news paper
Crepe paper
Sellotape or double sided tape
Gift tag
All your chosen fillers!
30 minutes to spare

DIY Christmas Beauty Gift Hamper with Boots

First, cover your box in wrapping paper and tape it down securely (the one I used is from Asda.) Then fill the base with screwed up paper (Boots suggest using shredded paper, but I found it squished too much when I added the gifts), cover with crepe paper and add your gifts.  

DIY Christmas Beauty Gift Hamper with Boots
Wrapped box with crepe paper over screwed up paper - much sturdier! 

Place any heavy or bulky items in the front, and use either rolled up sellotape or double sided tape to secure them - simple!

DIY Christmas Beauty Gift Hamper with Boots
Gifts added! I think this selection would be *perfect* for a student! 

Next wrap the box in cellophane as if you were wrapping a regular gift, tie a ribbon around, add a decorative bow, a gift tag and you're done! Excellent!

DIY Christmas Beauty Gift Hamper with Boots
 Different gift ideas - this selection would be lovely for a trendy Mum (or even Gran!)

When purchasing your fillers, try to think how it will all fit in - a large item, small item and a couple minis (like nail polishes) will do the trick. Any odd looking gaps can always be filled with wrapped sweeties, after all...

DIY Christmas Beauty Gift Hamper with Boots

I am awful at gift wrapping so I'm quite amazed it actually came out looking so pretty (if I do say so myself...) Boots even sell gift wrapping items so you can get everything BUT the actual box in one shopping trip - awesome! Don't forget that Boots also have a free 'Collect in Store' option, so you can shop online and pop down to your nearest store to pick it all up instead of battling the Chrismas crowds.

If you're interested in making a beauty hamper gift box, check out Boot's instruction page or video (above) for full instructions, tips and ideas.

Overall a really lovely, unique gift idea which is also a lot of fun to create - perfect!

Items included were provided for PR purposes. All opinions 100% my own - as always.

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REVIEW: A Thorough and Honest Look at Skinnymint 28 Day Teatox

If you've been wondering about trying Skinnymint but the amount of sponsored posts has you unsure about who you can trust and who has actually bothered to look into the real pros and cons - welcome, my friends, to a full, thorough, honest, unsponsored review of Skinnymint 28 Day Teatox.

Thorough Honest Unsponsored Skinnymint Teatox Detox Review

I'm going to start by saying that I was sent these products to review, but that's never swayed me to review things certain ways before and it wont now! So lets begin...

What is the Skinnymint 28 Day Teatox?
The 28 day teatox consists of drinking two varieties of tea - one 'Morning Boost' which is drank each morning to give you a bit of pep and energy. 'Night Cleanse' is drank last thing in the evening every second night, to help 'flush out toxins' and remedy bloating and constipation (basically, it makes you poop.) For $54.90 (USD), you receive 28 morning tea bags and 14 night time tea bags.

The aim of 'teatoxing' is to 'help boost your metabolism, flush out toxins, reduce bloating and burn fat'. 
The teas are drank alongside whatever you usually eat, and can simply replace your usual morning and evening drinks.

What is in the Teas?
Thorough Honest Unsponsored Skinnymint Teatox Detox Review


Morning Boost is primarily a green tea blend, with over half the contents of each teabag being green tea leaves. Green tea is a well known aid when it comes to weight loss, helping to boost the metabolism and burn fat more efficiently (with at least 3 cups consumed daily) although not all studies agree on this. Since green tea contain caffeine, it will also give you that slight caffeine 'buzz' or boost you might get from your regular black coffee.

Alongside green tea, we have yerba mate, another metabolism boosting tea which is also said to be able to stem your appetite and make you feel fuller for longer as it slows digestion. The caffeine content in yerba mate is also fairly high - again, adding to that boost Skinnymint have blended 'Morning Boost' for.
Next up, we have to ingredients well known for their diuretic (makes you pee) properties - nettle leaves and dandelion. Both nettle and dandelion have been used for centuries to help with digestive health - nettle is particularly good for stomach discomforts as it also happens to be a mild natural painkiller. 

Guarana also plays a part in that 'boost' - considering it contains twice the caffeine content of coffee. All together, however, 'Morning Boost' contains less caffeine than a cup of coffee.
After all of these, we have grapefruit leaves, pineapple and strawberry. Skinnymint list a few benefits of these on the ingredients page, but honestly, I think they're just there to give a bit of aroma and flavour!

Thorough Honest Unsponsored Skinnymint Teatox Detox Review

Night Cleanse is a senna tea, supported by a host of other ingredients which boost senna's main property as a laxative. Now, senna is pretty darn strong stuff! It is the most used natural laxative in the world and senna teas should not be consumed by anyone with digestive issues unless your doctor thinks it could benefit you. Long term consumption (generally considered 2 weeks of longer) of senna can have a negative effect on your digestive system, actually making it dependent on senna to function properly. It is, therefore, quite interesting that Skinnymint sell a senna product they recommend taking every two days for four weeks. On their FAQ page, they actually suggest 'experienced teatoxers' might try taking 'Night Cleanse' daily - not a good idea! 

Following from senna we have ginger root - another well known player in the world of digestive health. Skinnymint were quite clever in including this guy, as ginger will help in soothing the digestive tracts after senna has done its thing by irritating them. Gingers soothing properties has actually made it quite popular with those who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome!
Peppermint leaf is a genuine wonder ingredient and peppermint tea is something I've actually drank for years. It's brilliant for stomach aches and cramps. Peppermint is also a great aid in stopping bloating, as it helps you rid excess gas (yup, burping and farting - better out than in) which can make your stomach appear flatter.

Licorice root and psyllium husk are both included in the mix, licorice for its ability to soothe the stomach no doubt, and psyllium for its fiber and colon cleansing power. We also have hawthorn berry thrown in, which helps with anxiety, insomnia and mood-swings.

Thorough Honest Unsponsored Skinnymint Teatox Detox Review

How do they taste?
'Morning Blend' tastes like fruity green tea, as you might expect! Truth be told, I didn't like green tea at all before starting the teatox and now I actually quite enjoy it. The trick is NOT to brew it in boiling water, as that creates the nasty bitter taste I'm sure more than a handful of us associate with green tea.
'Night Cleanse' is pretty darn gingery, which makes it taste very warming and soothing. Ginger is the only flavour I get from this, then again, it is the strongest spice so it's to be expected. 
If either tea isn't to your taste, you can always add lemon or other citrus fruit, mint, herbs, cinnamon or honey to the blend without hindering their diuretic/ laxative properties. They can also be prepared in advance, kept in the fridge and served with ice.

Are they Convenient?
I'm a regular tea drinker and have enjoyed herbal teas since I was a kid, so for me the only difference has been which tea bags I use! The seal up packets are handy and make the teas easy to travel with or store neatly away.

Thorough Honest Unsponsored Skinnymint Teatox Detox Review

How Strong are the Diuretic and Laxative Effects?
I am more or less constantly peeing these days - it's pretty annoying, especially if you have 'Morning Boost' before you plan on doing a workout! Have you ever walked/ jogged on a treadmill for 40 minutes while in dire need of a pee? I have, it's not fun! It also means I'm drinking more, as it's easy to become dehydrated while taking diuretics, which again leads to peeing more! I'd think twice about drinking 'Morning Boost' if I knew I'd be out and about without easy toilet access for the morning.
The laxative effects of 'Night Cleanse' take place 6 - 12 hours after drinking the tea, you will NOT wake up suddenly in the night with the urge to go to the loo (or worse!) Again, I wouldn't take 'Night Cleanse' if I was going out within those hours without knowing if I'd easily get to the loo.

Do they Detox?
No. I don't know when this idea that peeing, pooing or sweating more than usual help to 'detox' the body became such a big thing, but it's a load of rubbish. Lets talk about why.

The human body has evolved in a way which means that basically whatever the hell we throw at it - be it drinking excessive amount of alcohol, binging on junk food night after night or heck, even something more hardcore - it can get rid of any harmful chemicals or toxins very effectively. Your body is ALWAYS detoxing itself naturally, it was designed to. If you really want to help your body in this process, it's very simple indeed -

1. Drink more water.
2. Drink less alcohol.
3. Eat less crap.
4. Get your 8 hours sleep a night.

You do NOT need fancy teas. You do NOT need a daft diet. You do NOT need to go bake in a sauna. You do NOT need wraps to make you sweat. You just need to live healthily - it's that simple!

Thorough Honest Unsponsored Skinnymint Teatox Detox Review

What's the Science of Skinnymint?

Skinnymint says it was 'scientifically designed', yet strangely provides no evidence of this. I would at least expect links to studies on the various ingredients, but nope, none of that. However, I do recommend researching such products independently as businesses can pick and choose which studies they link to, meaning you only see the rainbows and sunshines studies they want you to!
It's also worth noting that the statements made by Skinnymint about the benefits of their teas are not currently approved by the FDA.

So...Would I Recommend Skinnymint?
Lets look at the aims of Skinnymint -

Help Boost Your Metabolism - 'Morning Boost' does contain metabolism boosting ingredients, although more studies are needed on both green tea AND yerba mate to confirm their effects on the metabolism. Have I experienced any excess fat loss since starting Skinnymint which could be attributed to a heightened metabolism? Honestly, I couldn't say, as I have been doing an intensive fitness regime and eating super clean - both of which should aid fat loss, too, so I couldn't pick apart what the tea and what working out would be responsible for!

Flush Out Toxins - No, no, no, 1000x no. Just stop. Special teas will be no more helpful in this than drinking and eating right!

Reduce Bloating - Truth be told, I have noticed my stomach is flatter since starting the teatox, but 
again, this could be down to exercise and eating clean. I've also stopped eating 'heavy carbs', refined sugars and excess salt - all of which contribute to bloating.

Fat Burning - This links in with boosting metabolism, as I'm afraid wonder ingredients which melt the fat off you just don't exist. If you want to burn fat and temporarily boost your metabolism, try high intensity interval training!

Lose Weight - Surely this is the same as the fat burning claim...? Otherwise, we're talking water weight which fluctuates day to day anyway, or muscle - which you really don't want to lose!

Reduce Appetite - I have a low appetite anyway, but I haven't noticed a change in it at all. If anything, the exercise I've been doing has made me slightly hungrier than usual.

Increase Energy - I do feel I have a bit of pep after 'Morning Boost' for an hour or two, but otherwise I've actually been more tired than usual recently. I was ill last week, however, so I could just still be getting over that.

Improve Digestion - I'm very lucky that I've never had digestive issues, even when I ate meat in Asia from street stands after four years being veggie I never had so much as a stomach ache! Maybe that means I'm not quite the ideal person to comment on improved digestion, then, but 'Night Cleanse' sure gets things moving... 

Also realise that any benefits from Skinnymint you might experience will only be felt DURING the teatox. Afterwards, your bloating will return and your metabolism will go back to normal (if it even changed.) This means Skinnymint is best for a 'quick fix' like I mentioned earlier - holidays, weddings etc.

Thorough Honest Unsponsored Skinnymint Teatox Detox Review

Now lets look at the price, the 28 day teatox will set you back $54.90 (US) - that's £35.40 with FREE shipping worldwide. That equates to $13.72 per week (£8.80.) If we look at the ingredients which do the most work - that's quite pricey! There are cheaper options out there that will do the exact same thing. 

Is it healthy to take diuretics and laxatives for four weeks? Probably not. I've already mentioned how 'Morning Boost' can make me feel a bit dehydrated and how your body can become reliant on senna is a short amount of time. It's always best to leave your body to do its thing naturally, and only add aids if it GENUINELY needs it and after talking to a doctor.

So would I recommend Skinnymint? No. It's expensive for what it is, its effects are not proven (and if they were, you could get the same effects from different products for cheaper), it's a quick and temporary fix to problems that can be solved with healthy eating and exercise and it claims to 'flush out toxins' when all your body really needs to help with that is water and clean eating... 

Save your money - pop to the supermarket to buy a box of green tea for a few quid instead, your wallet and your body will thank you for it!

* Products received for review purposes. Opinions 100% my own and 100% honest, as always! *
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Why Beauty Blogging Was Important to Me, and Why It Isn't So Much Now

Following on from my post on feeling lost in the world of blogging, I've been trying to work out just exactly where I stand and how I feel about my place in the beauty blogging world. I know, I know, that sounds melodramatic, but honestly, I don't think you can understand the attachment we bloggers have with our blogs and the blogging community unless you're a blogger yourself! But when you feel totally disenchanted, lost and (frankly) uninterested, where do you fit into the equation? Is it time to take yourself out of it? Then I saw this quote on Instagram...

Remember why you started. Well, why did I start beauty blogging? I was young, in college studying media make-up and totally enthralled with everything makeup and beauty. Makeup was truly an art form to me, it was self expression, it had absolutely nothing to do with trying to improve my 'natural beauty' - to me, 'natural' or 'neutral' makeup was the definition of dull. Everything seemed magical, fascinating - I spent all of my free time playing with makeup, talking my friends into modelling for me, posting to online makeup forums and watching Youtube tutorial and I never got tired of it.  Then, one day, I stumbled upon Lipglossiping - the first UK beauty blog I had come across. I spent hours and hours reading through as far back as I could, this magical makeup world seemingly opening up even further with every mention of a product or brand I'd never come across before. I realised there must be even more UK people out there as hooked on beauty as I was, and right then, I decided to make a blog.

Those first few years were incredible. I loved everything to do with blogging - planning posts, photographing products, writing, reading everyone else's posts, keeping up with the latest products - it was so insanely fun it was all I thought about! I loved casual Twitter chit chats with other bloggers, replying to all the comments from readers, even emails from people asking advice! 

So, to sum it up, I began because I LOVED makeup, I LOVED blogging and I LOVED the community. But these days...well, everything has changed - and no, I don't just mean in the blogging world, I mean personally, too.

These days I barely wear makeup, I'd definitely not just do it for fun like I would back then! I have a drawer rammed full of crazy bright eyeshadows that I used to wear almost daily, but now I just grab whichever neutral palette is closest. The idea of spending an hour or so on some intricate look makes me feel more 'ugh' than 'YAY!' and I'd rather spend dollar on clothes, books and fitness than the latest release from whatever new brand. Getting glammed up to just sit at home feels more depressing than fun and when I write, instead of it sounding enthusiastic and full of personality, I can't help but feel it comes across as flat and bland (so three cheers for you if you're still reading!)

There's also the whole 'adulting' thing, which makes the time you "have to" put into blogging so much more valuable when there's 'real life' stuff to worry about which you never had to think about as a young blogger - work, building your skills for work, job hunting, networking, keeping your finances in check, keeping appointments, making sure you see x or y family member or friend. I admit I now feel a pang of guilt if I'm writing about a lipstick instead of brushing up on a new piece of software, fixing my work portfolio or checking for job listings - but that is real life, that is the stage of life I'm at right now.

So really, beauty blogging isn't that important to me now because...well, I grew up. I'm no longer that bright eyed 16 year old entirely amazed by new MAC releases, daydreaming about working with Pat McGrath and spending every waking moment doing makeup. I'm a slightly stressed 23 year old who spends more time writing food plans, wandering through museums and reading up on history. 

Life is wonderful in its unpredictability - it's exciting and unnerving at the same time. It changes, we change, and I've learnt we can either accept this or keep trying to jam ourselves into a mold which we've simply outgrown. So for now I will keep wandering, a bit lost, debating writing about a new topic - but that's entirely okay, after all, you miss all the fun when you stick to a set path, right?!

Are you still as passionate now as you were when you started beauty blogging? Has a new interest taken its place? Do you think feel a bit guilty writing blog posts instead of 'adulting' too? Let me know! Comments up top!

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OOTD: He Is Legend

Here's on of those posts where I wear clothes and strike dodgy and awkward poses! I did, however, have some fun taking these pictures - especially since my tripod has vanished and I had to use a toddler's patio table in its place...Gotta be inventive sometimes, folk!

TOP - He Is Legend gig
SHORTS - Primark
BOOTS - Missguided
BRACELET - Actually a necklace, from Primark
SASS - All mine

Sometimes shorts are just denim underwear, aren't they? I mean - when did it become all hunky dory to stroll about in shorts that just about cover your butt? Who knows. Who cares! Combine with a band shirt, fishnets, a choker and some boots and you're good to go!

What's your take on short shorts? Are you a band shirt fiend, too? Let me know! Comments up top!

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My Top Ten Favourite Blogs

While I'm feeling slightly lost on my own blogging journey, I thought I'd share my favourite blogs - the ones I've never gotten tired of! Some of these I've followed since I first discovered blogs, some I've followed since they started up, some I've only just discovered, but they all have one thing in common - being simply brilliant!

Many of these blogs are already well known (with good reason), but I hope you find a new favourite! Now, lets get started...

[ Image - Screenshot of 'Makeup Savvy' Bloglovin' feed ] 

Makeup Savvy
Makeup Savvy is one of the blogs I've followed the longest. The lady behind it, Fee, creates wonderfully varied content paired with simply beautiful photos. Whenever I need to read something fresh or a break from post after post of the newest launch from 'brand X', I'll head to Makeup Savvy.

[ Image - Screenshot of 'The Sunday Girl' Bloglovin feed

The Sunday Girl
How Adrienne posts so often without losing any quality is beyond me, she is a power house! I swear she must never sleep and be fuelled by the glow of her laptop screen! Always up to date with new launches, super honest reviews and a very approachable writing style. If I take a break from blog reading, I always read the Sunday Girl first to update me on everything I've missed!

[ Image - Screenshot of 'Fashion Influx' Bloglovin Feed ]

Fashion Influx
Lydia is a beaut' and her simple, chic style and love of monochrome speaks to me. She's also got one of the most down to Earth, 'say it as it is' online voices out there in the fashion blogging world right now which is insanely refreshing! Plus, three cheers for a fellow Northern lass, whey!

[ Image - Screenshot of 'Media Marmalade' Bloglovin Feed

Media Marmalade
I only started reading Media Marmalade this year after seeing her posts constantly popping up on Bloglovin under 'What's Popular'. Her blogging advice posts are hands down the best I've read - well informed, friendly, realistic and not at all patronizing. Plus, her photos are lovely!

[ Image - Screenshot of 'Zoe London' Bloglovin Feed ]

Zoe London
I've followed Zoe from the beginning and it has been incredible to see how far she has come! She is constantly improving - from her writing to her photos and everything in between. You can tell how hard she's worked. It's been lovely watching her grow as a blogger and in many ways, as an individual, too.

[ Image - Screenshot of 'Jazzabelle's Diary' Bloglovin' Feed ]

Jazzabelle's Diary
I find Jazmine's blog quite unique in that her personality shines through in every aspect. Her sense of style is wonderful, her pictures are beautiful (as is she!) and she seems like such a lovely, genuine girl - I'd happily invite her for tea and cake any time!

[ Image - Screenshot of 'Le Happy' Bloglovin Feed ]

Le Happy
Out of all the style/ fashion bloggers I follow, this girl's look is my idea of perfect. A fellow lover of leather, black, band tees and, if only I could work out how she always looks so damn awesome while I look...well, like me!

[ Image - Screenshot of 'Ambitious Kitchen' Bloglovin Feed ]

Ambitious Kitchen
You didn't think I'd go without including some food blogs, did you?! Ambitious Kitchen is dedicated to healthy, nutritious food, fitness and nutrition and is jam packed with delicious veggie recipes, too! And don't let the name fool you, they're mostly super simple to make!

[ Image - Screenshot of 'Cookie and Kate' Bloglovin Feed ]

Cookie and Kate
A vegetarian food blog which always comes up with dishes you might not have seen elsewhere. I love their creativity, mouth wateringly perfect food photos and the emphasis on good, clean eating! It's so hard to pick out specific recipes to try as they all look simply incredible!

[ Image - Screenshot of 'Fit Sugar' Bloglovin' Feed

Fit Sugar
I mainly enjoy Fit Sugar for their food recipes these days, but back when I actually exercised (whoops, there's a habit I need to restart!) Fit Sugar was ace for grabbing a bit of workout inspiration and finding new things to mix up my regular routines. I do think some of their articles are a bit misleading, so take Fit Sugar with a pinch of salt!

And that, my friends, is my top ten! Do we share any favourites? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know! Comments up top!

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Feeling Lost in the World of Blogging

This past year, I've been a feeling a pretty lost in the blogging world. I used to feel like a part of something inclusive and community based, but more and more, I feel I'm just watching from the outside as it heads in directions I'm not sure I want to follow.

When I started blogging about six years ago, it was very different indeed. I remember the majority of 'top bloggers' when they had just started out around the same time, how everyone's pictures were poor quality, getting an event invite was a big deal and the idea of money hadn't even entered anyone's minds. These days blogs look like classy magazine pages, with perfectly lit images and photos which must have taken days if not weeks to plan, everyone has become an expert in marketing and branding, agencies represent bloggers, people make enough money to rent flats in London and buy designer shoes every week. Blogging is making a more definitive switch from 'hobby' to 'career' for many - and I love that!

However, this leaves a lot of 'old timers' like me feeling unsure about what exactly it is they're getting from their blog anymore. We all started out because we had a passion we wanted to share - we were getting enjoyment from writing and sharing our thoughts and that's what mattered. But after so long, the passion fades, the interest fades, and honestly that's no way to run a blog at all.

So I guess I'm saying I have no idea which direction this blog is going to head in - or even if I'll continue to keep it up! Maybe I'll redesign and relaunch, maybe I'll become a lifestyle blogger...who knows...

Hopefully, eventually I'll find the right path...

Do you feel a bit lost in the blogging world too? Let me know! Comments up top!

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Travel Pictures from Asia!

A little over 2 months ago, I set off on a journey which would take me further from home, family and familiarity than I had ever dared to go on my own before. After all, life is not meant to be lived inside a comfort zone, right?! I've sifted through the ridiculous amount of pictures I took in South East Asia and thought I'd post my favourites! 


Thailand, Travel, Anthong Marine Park, Travelling, Backpacking, Tropical, Islands

Thailand, Koh Phangan, Travel, Backpacking, Tropical Island

Thailand, Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai, Waterfall, Nature

Thailand, Chiang Mai, Thailand Royal Gardens, Insects

Thailand, Bangkok, Sky Bar, City, Night


Laos, Vientiane, That Luang, Temple

Laos, Vientiane, Wat Sisaket, Buddha

Laos, Vientiane, Buddha Park


Vietnam, Hoi An, Lanterns, Street Photography

Vietnam, Hoi An, Street Photography

Vietnam, Hue, Hue Citadel

Vietnam, Hanoi, Turtle Tower

Vietnam, Sapa


Cambodia, Kampot, Old Bridge, Street Photography

Cambodia, Kampot

Cambodia, Angkor Wat, Koh Rong Samloen, Angkor Wat Sunrise

The entire trip I had to keep convincing myself that I was actually there. Every day I felt ridiculously privileged to be on such a journey, experiencing, seeing and learning so many new and incredible things!

Next stop? Who knows? Maybe Morocco...But until then, I'm very happy in good old England, drinking tea, eating cake and wandering around Manchester!

If you'd like to see more pictures from my time away, check out my Instagram, which I updated almost daily the entire time :)

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