Sunday, 2 August 2015

Oringal Source Vanilla and Raspberry Shower Gel

A super short and sweet post, just like this little beauty:

Original source vanilla & raspberry shower gel


I may suffer from a little addiction to shower gels, I love standing in a shop with a huge array to choose from and sniffing my way from bottle to bottle picking out my favourites. Generally speaking the creamier and sweeter the better; anything labelled vanilla, shea, cocoa butter or milk immediately has my attention. You can imagine how I happy I was to spot the vanilla and raspberry shower gel from Origins, it literally smells like strawberry milkshake. Showering with this makes you dream of sitting in some cool diner somewhere sipping on one of those shakes with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

I love so many of the origins shower gels, and it helps that their products are totally vegan and they don’t support animal testing which is always important. The only downside to this particular shower gel is it seems a lot runnier than their other shower gels. As soon as you open the cap it comes pouring out at lightening speed!

They are currently on offer in Boots for £1 so go and stock up whilst you have the chance!

Original source vanilla & raspberry shower gel

Monday, 27 July 2015

Intu Lakeside Personal Shopper Review

Last weekend I was kindly invited by Intu Lakeside to come along and have a personal shopping experience in their re-vamped customer lounge. Obviously I jumped at the chance, what better than getting to shop with someone who will be able to pull clothes that will suit your body shape rather than fumbling around in the dark yourself!

After chatting with Carlene, it was apparent that she really connects with her customers and is more than a personal shopper to them. For some she is a rock of support when they are feeling down about their figure. Maybe they have been fruitlessly searching for the perfect outfit and have tried on more than one disaster that has lowered their self esteem. She offers advice on what will work for your body type and colouring and will hunt the shop floors for outfits to compliment you, so it really does take the hassle out of finding that great outfit. She is incredibly warm and friendly and great to talk to, it's like shopping with your best friend who won't brown nose and pretend you look great in everything.

intu lakeside personal shopper

The personal shopping service is completely free, and there's no limits on how many times you can use it. In fact they encourage repeat customers giving the stylists a chance to get to know your body shape and style so they will be a dab hand at picking amazing outfits for you. What ever your reason or occasion they will be able to help you find something perfect. The other bonus is you feel really spoilt by having someone to carry the clothes in and out of the changing rooms for you and help zip up dresses and run off and get different sizes. They are small luxuries that us mere mortals don't often get so it makes the experience even more worth while, it's a little taste of the celebrity lifestyle.

intu lakeside personal shopper

 Each session starts off with a consultation in the customer lounge where Carlene will have a chat with you about what it is you're looking for and what you want to get out of the experience, from looking for the perfect party dress or a killer outfit for a job interview she has it covered. She doesn't work on commission either so there will be no pressure to buy any of the items she picks for you and definitely no hard sell. Just honest, unbiased advice.

intu lakeside personal shopper, customer lounge

intu lakeside personal shopper


If you would like to take advantage of this fabulous service give Carlene a call on 01708 684351 or email her at personal.stylist@intu.co.uk
I would wholeheartedly recommend it. Have fun shopping x

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Vegan Delight

Vegan food, Michelle Louise Love


This was only going to be a quick post tonight, but once I started writing it was like verbal diarrhea, so please excuse the lengthly rant.

 About 2 months ago I made the decision to transition onto a mostly vegan diet. I have a chronic condition called Ulcerative Colitis and although it's mostly under control I was getting stomach aches nearly every day of varying severity. As a side line to this disease I also suffer from Anaemia and could fall asleep standing up because I'm always so tired.

I'm advised to take lots of medication to keep these things under control but much to my consultants despair, I don't want to have to take lots of pills every day. I have been looking for a more natural way to handle things and even gave gluten free a shot last year but it didn't have much of an effect for me, so the search went on.

I stumbled across a video about veganism and started to do some heavy research into it. There were lots of obvious health reasons to give it a try. I went into it thinking I may find it difficult, I wasn't vegetarian and I was a huge lover of cheese so wondered if I would cope going cold turkey (sorry).

I have surprised myself though, I haven't found it difficult and actually don't miss a thing. On my birthday I went out for dinner and chose to have a halloumi burger due to the limitation of vegan food on the menu. Much to my surprise, it left me feeling quite sick and uncomfortably full up. I am more than happy eating plant based, and never suffer from that horrible, painful sick feeling if I eat a little too much. If you go plant based you are less likely to eat yourself stupid, but even if you do it won't leave you feeling like you could vomit if someone poked you in the belly. It also doesn't leave you feeling almost comatose after a big meal.

A question I get asked all the time is "do you miss anything?" My answer is, not really. I can walk into the kitchen at work and stroll straight past the doughnuts and cakes without feeling the urge to want to give in just for one bite. I just have this acceptance that I can't eat that and it really doesn't bother me. It's very strange and completely out of character for me, I am a total foodie and if I was ever on a diet I would inevitably give in and stuff a doughnut or two in my mouth because I couldn't control myself. So to be able to walk past all the sweet treats and not feel a single ounce of deprivation is quite unbelievable.

When I entered into this I said to my boyfriend that I wanted to see if it would help me feel better, but I had no intention of being 100% vegan for the rest of my life. I still won't make that statement because I don't know how I will feel further down the line, but I honestly feel different about it now than when I first made the choice to give it a try. I feel like I could be vegan for the rest of my life, but for the time being I will probably describe myself as living on a mostly vegan diet. I have no burning desire to eat any animal products because I'm quite happy eating the way I am, I think if I was to eat something non vegan it probably wouldn't be meat though. My eyes have been opened to the suffering that a lot of animals go through in order to fulfil humans desire to eat as much meat and dairy as we do.

If we didn't consume as many eggs for instance, there would be no need for battery farms where thousands of hens are kept in tiny cages they can't turn around in and know no existence outside of those bars in order for them to keep popping out enough eggs to go with your dippy soldiers.

I feel sad that our greed for these products is causing so many poor animals to lead such sorrowful lives when you could make a couple of simple swaps and halve the amount of meat and dairy you eat.

I'm not suggesting that everyone becomes vegan, but I wish that more people would open their eyes to the horrors that are going on, in order for you to have your morning bacon, eggs and latte! If everyone was to swap a couple of meat and dairy items out of their weekly meals it would bring down the demand for these products and therefore the need to keep the animals in such horrific conditions.

Outside of that though, the vegan diet is very healthy. You would be upping your intake of fruit, veg and whole grains which are all very good for your body and your digestion. I'm eating far less crap than I ever have before in my life. I haven't eaten a cake in over 2 months and consume far less fat that I did before and that can only be a positive.

vegan food, roasted vegetables and red rice


I get asked a lot what I do eat, because people assume vegans live on lettuce! I have porridge for breakfast most days because I really enjoy it, I make it with alpro coconut milk, or coconut dream. Sometimes I'll have a bagel with non dairy butter. Or fruit and soya yogurt.

For lunch I'll often have a rice salad with houmous, or a wrap filled with houmous, spinach and edammame.

Dinners are all sorts of tasty things from veggie burritos, to roasted vegetables with smoked paprika and red rice. People have asked what I can have for dessert, thinking I may be missing out. I make banana ice cream (blended frozen banana) alpro desserts, the caramel one is my favourite. Ground rice pudding made with coconut or soya milk, sometimes I'll even have some dark chocolate.

vegan food


I'm not missing out, I doubt I would be able to continue if I was. I am more satisfied with my food options now than I was when I had no limitations!

I feel excited by the vegan options out there and the abundance of tasty recipes you could try. I have an entire pinterest board dedicated to vegan food!

It doesn't all take hours to prepare and cook either, it could be a simple as shoving some falafel and chips in the oven and would take the same amount of time to cook but a lot better for you than the ground up crap you'd get in a shop bought chicken nugget! And in case you have some kind of aversion to healthy food, there is plenty of vegan junk too! Crisps, salted nuts, dairy free ice cream, dairy free cheese, veggie sausages.

I am starting to feel much better for it as well, I knew it wouldn't happen instantly. It was a big adjustment for my body but now I have been doing it for a couple of months I have noticed the difference. My stomach aches have subsided, I very rarely get them, and I have to say quite often if I do get tummy ache it's because I've had cous cous so I may well be a little sensitive to wheat. So I will try and keep it to a minimum. Who knows where this will take me when my body is completely used to the change, I may develop super powers! ; )

kale and savoy in tomato and chili sauce

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Margie & Doll media launch

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the Margie and Doll media launch at the beautiful Hylands House in Chelmsford.  It was a stunning evening, the weather was gorgeous and warm which admittedly didn't help much when I decided to go a back route to avoid traffic and managed to get myself a little lost and very flustered and hot!

Hylands House, Essex


When I arrived at Hylands House all was serene and the beautiful building was complimented by the evening sun. After meeting up with the lovely Nicki,  we made our way inside where we were greeted with a much needed glass of prosseco and were told a little about how Margie and Doll came about.

Margie and Doll
Margie and Doll

 The business is the brainchild of Nikki Da Costa-Smith, who's love of fashion stemmed from her nan and great aunt whom she lovingly named the business after. Her concept is to bring the joy of shopping for great clothes straight to your home or venue to save you the hassle of travelling, battling with the elements between stores and being pushed and shoved by people you don't know to get to that perfect item. She cannot however guarantee you won't be pushed and shoved by your friends whilst reaching for that must have little black dress, although I'm sure she'll have more than enough of them to go around.

Margie and Doll
Margie and Doll, Essex

Nikki has brought together pieces from brands such as Traffic people, Pink Flame, Charlise and Rinascimento which you'll be able to peruse with a glass of something chilled and bubbly in your hand in comfort. A Margie and Doll "trunk show" can be hosted almost anywhere from your home, to a venue of your choice or even your place of work and the lucky hostess will be rewarded for their efforts by receiving 10% of the events total sales to spend on themself.

Margie and Doll, trunk show
Margie and Doll

Margie and Doll, Hylands House, Fashion

It certainly seems like a lovely way to shop and socialise and beats a tupperware party!

Margie and Doll


After a wonderful evening I said my farewell to the gorgeous Hylands House and promised I would visit again soon.

Hylands House
Hylands House


To host your own trunk show contact Margie & Doll
www.margieanddoll.com
@margieanddoll
#margieanddoll

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The power of make-up

There has been a video floating around on social media about the power to change your whole look with make-up. Make-up is a very special medium for expressing yourself and giving you more confidence, but there is a fine line between it being for fun and it being necessity.

I think the pressure on women in today's society is very high, we are faced with images of models and celebrities looking "perfect" and feel pressure to look like them because everyone has come to accept those images as real, which of course many of them are not. There is no denying that a lot of those woman are beautiful but they are also photo shopped to look even better than their real selves, editing out each and every flaw they have on their face and body and even editing out things that aren't flaws but are normal human traits, making the rest of us feel inferior for having pores on our skin or blood vessels in our eyes!

Make-up can make you feel amazing, but if you have confidence issues it can also make you sink so low and make you feel that you have to wear it to feel acceptable to society or hate looking in the mirror without it on. I'm all for make-up, I based a career on it so I love it dearly but I also hate seeing women who feel so inferior without it that they won't even let their partner see them without make-up on, or can't leave the house without a full face of make-up. In those instances make-up isn't the answer, there is a deeper issue and make-up will always have a hold over you and prevent you from truly being free.

So here I am about to put myself out there for the whole internet to see what I look like without make-up on, on a far from good skin day as well!


Not particularly pleasant, my skin is far from perfect and always has been. I never grew out of the teenage phase and still suffer break outs frequently. My eyes are quite round, and my lips are naturally pale.

Michelle Louise Love, make-up

After make-up, my skin looks better, my eyes look bigger and more elongated, I have eyelashes and eyebrows (which admittedly I don't very often bother to do, shock horror!) In our society today there is a growing pressure from our peers as well, if you look through beauty blogs and YouTube you will see a million images and tutorials on how to do your eyebrows or contour your face, instilling the idea that you have to do those things to be considered attractive!

I don't believe you have to contour your face on a daily basis as part of your make-up routine, in fact I think too many people contour their nose without even really understanding what they are doing to it and if they need to contour it to begin with, they are just following the rules laid out by their favourite beauty guru! Not everyone NEEDS to contour their nose, adding shadows to the side of your nose and highlight to the centre is a trick used to make a wide nose look slim, are you telling me that each and every girl that contours, has a nose that needs to look slimmer?

The focus needs to be on each of us being individual, unique and beautiful because of that. We don't all need to follow the same strict beauty and make-up rules because we are all different and will need different things to accentuate or play down our features.

Below are a couple of images taken on my tablet using the beauty face feature, it smooths and makes everything look a bit better. This just goes to show that we are seeing "real" images less and less these days if even our phones and tablets photo shop us to look better.



Michelle Louise Love, make-up


Just remember, you are beautiful with or without make-up. Seek out a partner who makes you feel that way even when you are in your holey pyjama's with your hair a mess and no make-up on because they are the ones who are truly worthy of your love! Learn to be comfortable in your own skin, because it will make you happier than always feeling the need to hide behind make-up.

Make-up is for fun, not to make you a more acceptable person.

If you're interested in seeing the make-up I used for this look, check out my facebook page where I show you.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

distant friends

Once upon a time lived a loud, happy, fun girl who spent nearly every day with a group of other loud, fun girls. We were a group of non londoners in the big city and found each other through our love of coffee, cake and dirty jokes. We spent evenings drinking eating and laughing, and weekends exploring the city with more drinking, eating and laughing. We spent holidays together because our families were too far to go back to, they were like my surrogate sisters and kept my world turning and I was so grateful to have such an amazing group of friends.

They spent nights in diners with me when I didn't want to go home and helped me escape a horrific relationship and pulled together to keep me safe. They shared in the joy when I met someone new, and encouraged me to be happy. But then something terrible happened, I became really ill, I laid in my bed all day crying in agony until my boyfriend drove me to my parents and we spent weeks trying to get a diagnosis from my GP, I was in so much pain and so ill I couldn't eat, I could barely keep water down and my heart would race if I had to stand up.

Happier times before I was ill

One morning my parents were so worried about me that they called a paramedic and that gloomy January morning I was admitted to hospital. I laid in a hospital cubicle for hours whilst the doctors tried to work out what could be wrong and found me a bed on a ward. 8pm that evening my parents had to leave and I was all alone, the hospital staff weren't the friendliest and treated me like I had some infections disease and shut me in a room with no windows for a couple of hours whilst I waited to be taken to the ward. A nurse in A&E had flushed my vein too hard and I was in pain and couldn't move my arm or get it comfy, life had hit an all time low. About midnight I was taken in a wheelchair to a ward high up in the hospital block, it was dark and quiet and I laid in the bed and cried. I was alone, scared and hurting. I had never been in hospital before so this was a scary experience for me and I longed for a familiar face to be sitting beside me to say it was all going to be ok.



The next morning I just lay there in the early silence waiting for goodness knows what. I heard the rattle of what was to become the very familiar sound of the tea cart, manned by a very sweet lady who seemed to really care, she smiled kindly and asked if I would like anything until she spotted the nil by mouth notice above my bed. She said she would find out if I was allowed a drink and quickly returned smiling and nodding. She gave me a cup of tea, but as I put the cup to my lips the smell instantly put me off and I couldn't bear to drink it, so I just continued to lay.

Within an hour I was almost passing out in the shower, vomiting everywhere. That's what happened to me whenever I tried to stand up, my body would suffer severe exhaustion and I would be sick. I was so weak that I couldn't even sit up in bed, my body wasn't strong enough to hold me up. The next few days were full of pills, pills to help the problem and pills to counteract the issues other pills would cause, I would dread the nurses coming around with the drugs trolley as it meant it was time to take another plethora of pills all whilst trying to combat nausea.

The drugs trolley wasn't the one that filled me with the most dread though, that was reserved for the phlebotomist. I had been tuned into a human pin cushion, and had to have blood taken every day so they could monitor me, I have a phobia of needles and having to face my fear everyday was terrifying. At one point a trainee doctor was sent in to practise on me and me such a hash of it my whole arm turned black and blue. I looked like a horror story.

For anyone who has ever been in hospital for an extended period will know there are two things that keep you going and define your day, the sound of the tea/food trolley, and visiting hours. You wake up and count down the minutes until they bring your breakfast round, then you count down the minutes until the next tea break, then lunch, then visiting hours and hoping a familiar face comes to sit with you for a short while. There was more than one occasion where I cried like a baby when visiting hours were over and my boyfriend had to leave.

I felt so isolated and lonely, I had gone from the social girl so full of life to an empty shell spending my days on a hospital ward with women old enough to be my grandmother! I longed to see my friends, to laugh and hear all the gossip. But they didn't come.

My boyfriend and another friend apparently tried to arrange for them to come and visit me,  my boyfriend even offered to drive to a tube station just outside of London to get them so they didn't have the hassle of getting trains all the way. They came up with lots of excuses as to why they couldn't, one even said "oh its like 30 stops, but I'll send her some flowers instead" you're not allowed flowers in most NHS hospitals and anyhow I didn't want flowers, I wanted to see my friends! I felt so insignificant to them, and I was incredibly hurt. I wasn't important enough for them to come and visit me in my time of need and I became even more lonely.

One of the girls from the group came down that day and spent some time with me, we went down to the Costa Coffee in the waiting area and spent some time catching up, I was so grateful to her for coming and I don't think she will ever realise how much that meant to me. For the friends that did visit me I am forever thankful, for the ones that didn't,  you hurt me more than you'll ever know!

I spent two long weeks in hospital, but I quickly became ill again when I left. In May 2012 a friend got married and we travelled down to Kent to attend her wedding. I was excited and nervous to see all my friends and ready to let bygones be bygones. Standing in the hallway of the registry office I saw the group of friends walk in and eagerly said hello, rather than being excited to see me they instead looked horrified and awkward and barely said anything to me at all. When inside they all went and sat together on a row that left no space for me so we took a seat on the other side of the room. I felt embarrassed at how they were treating me, I didn't want my boyfriend to see me upset so I just shrugged it off.

Once outside for the photos, more of the same continued. They chatted amongst themselves and left me out. When it was time to head over to the reception venue we offered a lift to friends that needed it but no one wanted to come in the car with us apart from the one friend who visited me in hospital. I felt more and more isolated and awkward, and to make matters worse I started to feel unwell. We had been standing for a long time and I was growing tired and for me that meant one thing, I started to feel nauseous. The colour drained from my face, and I was finding it hard to stand. By the time we were shown to our tables I had to run off to the toilets and was sick, I was gone for quite some time yet none of my friends came to check on me considering my boyfriend could hardly stroll into the ladies to see if I was alright! It was as if I didn't matter at all to them, they couldn't care less if I was alright or had passed out in the bathroom.

I was pale and unwell, still trying to reach out to my friends


I made it back to my table and managed to get through the meal, by the time the evening disco started I was completely exhausted and all my friends were sitting around another table without my boyfriend and I, so we decided it was time to head home. He helped me back to the car and I burst into tears on the way home, I have never felt so hurt, isolated and insignificant to the people I cared so much about. The friends I'd shared so many memories with treated me as if I was a leper.

In the months that followed they barely spoke to me, they chatted through a new Facebook message thread that I wasn't in and they slowly forgot about me. They sent the obligatory invites to birthday events, but I didn't feel the need to attend another gathering where they would make me feel like an outsider, and I resentfully thought why should I travel all that way for their birthday when they considered it too far to travel to see me when  I needed them.

I was particularly hurt by one member of the group as we were quite close, she had turned to me on many occasion with troubles and I was there for her during hard times, travelling out to sit in a coffee shop one evening when she called distressed that her boyfriend had just dumped her for the world's most stupid reason. Staying up late texting her when she freaked out that her boyfriend had told her by text he loved her, among other personal issues. She turned to me and I listened and helped as much as I could. And yet in my time of need she was nowhere to be seen!

It's been 3 years since all of this, and it still hurts and I'll admit that I've cried whilst writing this because it made me re-live all the painful memories again and how betrayed I felt by them.

Moral of the story is, friends are supposed to be there for the good and the bad. Don't under estimate how much you mean to some one and how the smallest thing you could do could make their day. If you ever have a sick friend, just remember they are the same person, you don't need to treat them differently or feel awkward around them. They still just want to hear about how much you hate your boss, or how annoying your boyfriend is being at the moment and the awesome burger you ate at this new restaurant you found that you'll take them to when they are better. Don't abandon them because you don't know what to say, that's the worst thing you could ever do!

If you have a friend story, good or bad please post in the comments below. I would love to read your experiences. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Going to the drive in movies

Last Friday night I managed to fulfil a childhood dream of going to the drive in movies. I used to watch Grease as a kid and be so jealous of the drive in and wished we had them in the UK. Finally it's reality thanks to a great company called Roof Top Film club, they are changing the cinema experience and pushing boundaries with their awesome ideas of ways we should enjoy watching movies.

We drove up to Alexandra Palace and were directed into a parking spot in the carpark facing a huge screen, we then tuned in the radio to the right frequency for the sound, the movie was to start in about 15 minutes so we had plenty of time to go up the PopDogs retro food van for an awesome hotdog. I love the new wave of hotdog companies that are bringing us unique and interesting ways to enjoy the sausage (cheeky!). Like all good things, popdogs started in the amazing Camden as a little food stall and then upped their game by getting a food van to bring great dogs to a wider audience.

popdogs, hotdogs


They have 3 "dogs" on their menu:



Clinton's
Lovechild

An all-American classic dog with a 100% pork oak smoked sausage, infused with chorizo & seasoned with nutmeg, paprika & black pepper. Best served with caramelised onions, sauerkraut, ketchup & mustard. Would have Monica coming back for seconds.


Dirty
Dog

A fiendish chilli dog with a 100% beef steak mince sausage seasoned with garlic, paprika & black pepper, followed by a dollop of the best chilli in town. Add cheese if that's your thing. Absolute food porn.


The
Hairy Angel

An innocent, yet perverse vegetarian dog, offering an abundance of flavour. Handmade with Caerphilly cheese & leek, seasoned with parsley, thyme, garlic & black pepper. SuBo is deprived of meat once again.

I went for clinton's lovechild and added cheese sauce to the mix and loads of pickles! Then topped it off with lashings of ketchup and mustard, food heaven, even if it was literally the hardest thing to eat without getting in a giant mess! There was ketchup all around my face, on my nose, and dribbling down my fingers! We were very glad I packed a whole kitchen roll, anticipating things would get messy! 

popdogs, hotdog, drive in movie




After stuffing our faces with all that goodness the movie was about to start and the sun was finally setting plunging us into darkness, then if your heart desired sweets or popcorn all you had to do was whack on your hazards and a lovely lady on rollerskates would come up to your window and take your order and skate it on over to you! Awesome!! I was ridiculously excited by this.

I loved that I could really snuggle down in the car, put my feet up on the dash, fidgit to my hearts content and talk without disturbing anyone else and be shushed at furiously. It was an experience I will always remember and would love to do it again. Best of all the price doesn't break the bank, at just under £25 per car, so you could fill your car with friends and split the cost for a bargain night at the movies!

Roof Top Film Club show loads of films all across London until September, a few years ago I went to see "the devils rejects" on the roof top of The Queen of Hoxton which was also amazing. It's so worth doing, not only are you watching a great film but you will forever remember watching it in such an amazing way!



Drive In Film Club
Alexandra Palace
Pavilion Car Park
London
N22 7AY

@rooftopfilmclub

@popdogslondon

Designed By aleelily designs | Powered by Blogger.