Friday, 27 March 2015

"Lifting makes women huge? FALSE, cupcakes make women huge!"

I gym like 3/4 times a week, sometimes more and when I'm there I lift weights. When I tell people this and when they see my protein shakers at home they 1. assume they belong to someone else? 2. tell me not to get "too bulky" or "too big" or 3. ask why I want to change my body when I'm not fat. These are literally the most annoying comments that can be said to a girl that gyms (and they always come from people that don't gym). 

The worst comment I've had is that "weights are for men". To know anything about fitness and the body is to know that women don't and can't look like men when they lift. Why? Because we don't produce nearly enough testosterone to look like a 'bulky male', it's because of the sciencey stuff basically. I assume the average person thinks this because the only thing they associate women and weights with is women that bodybuild. Yep their bodies look incredibly muscular and defined (especially if you're associating the fake tanned up to the eyeballs bikini comp pictures, where the whole point is to look as muscular and ripped as possible). But I can tell you now, bodies like that don't come from just 3/4 weight workouts a week. Hours upon hours of training, science, time, clean eating, more training and god knows what else go into achieving that kind of body and I applaud them for it. And to be fair, day to day the average person wouldn't even know whether a girl has just deadlifted 100kg and is rocking a steel set of abs, because funnily enough they don't walk to Tesco bikini clad. 

No matter how far you want to take your fitness levels, be it that you just want to shift a stone or two or you want to compete in bikini competitions, these are personal goals that are usually done for no one else except the person trying to achieve them and they should be encouraged, not ridiculed. If a girl wants to get as big and as huge as possible (which is HARD) let her. Don't tell her not to get "too bulky", she's not doing it for you or your approval, she's doing it for her. No one reminds you to not get "too big" when you've ordered your second dominoes of the week do they?

But the same goes for those who just want to shift a few pounds and nothing more. Even these people will find that there is so much stigma attached to 'dieting' and working out. People don't want to know what you've eaten or not eaten or what you've done at the gym in the past few days, and pull their faces when you say no to the biscuits that are being offered out. God forbid if you upload a gym selfie or instagram your meal prep. But it's ok for us to bombard facebook with our calorific desserts and alcohol fuelled weekends. Changing the way you eat and how you take care of your body is often a lifestyle change when it is taken seriously; it becomes a part of peoples lives. So why is a picture of chicken and broccoli so hard to stomach? Probably because people don't like what they don't understand and I know this because I too have been a diet and gym-goer hater before embracing it for myself.   

I'm not pretending I'm an expert in anatomy and I've got perfect form with every rep, because I don't. I'm still learning and so is everyone else, be it that you've worked out for years or started just last week. What I do know though is that working weights will leave you with the defined, shapely body you want, not 'bulk'. Prime example...shape to your butt? You need weights...ain't gunna happen in the cardio section. There are so many benefits to pumping the iron (I know, sorry) that once you realise them you'll never want to go back to that cross trainer ever again (maybe reluctantly on cardio days). With weights your metabolic rate increases, like, dramatically. Your body has to work harder to rebuild those muscles that have been broken down, burning energy and recruiting calories to do this even hours after you've left the gym. Ultimately strength training is an effective way of achieving fat loss and gaining muscle strength. And as long as you aren't pumping your body with testosterone and aren't consuming more calories than you burn, you won't get 'big', you'll get fit.

And as for me personally and why I want to do it, is purely enjoying it not enough? I LIKE going to the gym and I LIKE working out. I know I'm not fat but I don't need those who aren't happy with their bodies to tell me I should be happy with mine just because I weigh a few pounds less? I'm certainly not doing it because I think I'm fat, I have goals that I want to achieve in terms of what I look like, just as much as someone who is overweight might have. I want to be healthier, stronger, fitter, the best version of me and let's face it there is nothing quite like the buzz of finishing a top workout. It's addictive and when you start seeing results it becomes even more so. This post is merely just to try and dispel the female fitness myth, to remind the ill-informed to think before they speak and to say to females that are reading this, get lifting! You don't know what you're missing! 

Friday, 30 January 2015

What Is It That Makes Young Love So Bloody Hard...

Last year I experienced my first ever break up. From my first ever boyfriend. And I'm surprisingly ok about it. 

We'd been together since I was 15 and he 17, 5 and a half years all in all. What I'm wondering is whether a childhood relationship can ever really last these days? Of course, I've seen my mum and dad do it, my aunties and uncles, my gran and grandad but 2015 is a different time. There are more factors than ever that have the ability to change or end a relationship, and you have to be the sort that 100% want one another to get past those obstacles. Plus, there are 7 billion people in the world, you might find the love of your life on the next street, but who's to say that's the only person destined for you? 

With the fact that we have a thousand opportunities at our fingertips, it's not like back in the day when our parents would settle down with their sweetheart at 21 and acquire a home, a dog and 2.4 kids. You don't have to think about marriage and babies until at least 30, you have ten whole years to see the world, make something of yourself, get a career going and maybe dedicate some time to the opposite sex if you fancy it, there really is no pressure. I'm not saying avoid love, if you're lucky enough to come across it then do your best to choose a love that grows you. I know I certainly feared I would never get chance to do the things I truly wanted to because of being in a long term relationship. How could I travel the world for a year and still have him there waiting? Truth is, I would never have done it because I knew he wouldn't wait and that risk petrified me. The one you're meant to be with with let you out into the world, be it travel, career or education wise and neither of you will fear that the other won't return.  

In terms of the smaller, less-life changing factors that are imposed on our everyday lives and relationships, smart phones are an evergrowing problem. We can see what our significant other is doing and thinking every minute of the day. We can look at pictures from nights out, scrutinise every awkward photograph...what's that girls hand doing? Who's that they're talking to? There's also this weird necessity for them to text you, be it a boyfriend or a potential one, you NEED to know they're thinking about you. And God forbid if they only put two kisses instead of the four that you've become accustomed to, that totally means they're not into you anymore and you're probably just going to play it cool from now on. Phones and social media mess with your head, not to mention the inevitable heavy sigh of jealously that prevails as you scroll through the travelling uploads from an old acquaintance. It's hard not to compare what you've got and what might be waiting for you on the other side of the world. Especially as you catch your boyfriend mid ball-scratch, who's still wearing those pizza stained joggers from three days ago. 

Due to the eruption of technology, cheating has now taken on a different from, it isn't just as simple as not coming home after a night out anymore. We can talk to anyone we want, at any time and it's even easier to do it inappropriately. Apps like snapchat wipe away any evidence of straying before your partner even has the opportunity to pry on your phone. Texts, whatsapp, messenger...there are a multitude of methods that enable us to get cheap thrills out of talking to that probably average looking girl you kissed back in high school. 90% of the time it's usually meaningless but it's all too easy and doesn't make it any less hurtful. And prying in itself is a problem. Logging into their accounts, checking their messages is dangerous but also a godsend. You see things you don't want to see, get the wrong end of the stick but it can reveal truths that are worth knowing.

All in all despite all these factors that have the ability to shatter everything you've worked for, I do think that a good relationship can last until you're both old and grey. I do think you can ride out the hardest parts of growing up, changing and experiencing together but you've got to both want it. A break up tears up your heart and you do think you'll never be able to find anyone that thinks that video on Facebook is as funny as you do and it's going to take you a really long time to be able to fart in front of a boy again, but the bigger picture is that there is a whole world beyond what they can offer. Better sex, better laughs and hey, you'll probably get taken somewhere better than Nandos and get to see the world in the meantime. 

Han X

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

One-to-One Makeup Session At Peaches And Cream

After following their account on Instagram for some time and hearing such great reviews from friends that had been for makeovers, I just had to visit the 'Peaches and Cream' hair and makeup salon in Liverpool. The place has been growing in popularity for the past year or two and has had many a celebrity face in the makeup chair. It prides itself on offering the everyday girl a celebrity service, and even though I'm not nearly half as glamorous as the average Liverpool girl, glitter and gloss attract me like a moth to a flame.

The event that spurred on my visit was my sisters upcoming prom. She had placed her trust in me to do her hair and makeup for the whole thing so as preparation is key, we chose to take a lesson from the girls at P&C. 

With their makeup looks being in such high demand, they offer clients the chance to learn the trade tricks for themselves. They offer a range of different tutorials, from group masterclasses where one of the girls demos a look on a model, or you can book in for a one to one class. We chose the latter as I was keen to have the attention of the makeup artist all to myself! 

You can choose between a number of different looks to recreate, with the focus being very much on the eyes. You can choose between the 'full smoke', 'half smoke' or 'glitter smoke' look, and in this case we went for the more subtle 'half smoke'. This look uses one colour on the lid and is blended out with alternative complimentary shades. In comparison to this is the full smoke which is much more dramatic and uses colours to smoke out the majority of the eye.   

When we arrived at Peaches we were taken aback by just how vibrant the place is. The salon itself is just so much fun to be in, the decor is bright and outrageous and reflects the personalities of these lively Liverpool girls perfectly. The Instagram pictures really don't do it justice! We were greeted by Kre who was to be my tutor for the morning and we got stuck in straight away. 

My sister Kim was to be my model but taking a model isn't actually necessary, you can also learn on yourself. The girls work by demonstrating the techniques on one half of the face and you reciprocate (or at least try to!) on the other. My own makeup habits mean that I always apply eyeshadow after I've done my foundation, but Peaches get the eyes perfected first. That meant that as much fall down was allowed as I pleased and enabled me to pack as much colour on as necessary! I was actually a little worried at what the outcome would look like as this was a completely new technique to me, but when we had finished and I wiped away the excess I couldn't believe I'd managed to use more than one colour without it turning into a black smudge! 

Kim's face was finished off with foundation, bronze, contour, blush, lips, lashes and Peaches own signature Pearl highlight. It's a beautiful pink, pearly iridescent pigment that looks no less than stunning and really compliments a rosy toned cheek (review on that to come!). My sister really did look beautiful, I was just worried about recreating it at home! Thankfully you get to take away a step-by-step guide from 'The University of Peaches and Cream' which has pictures detailing the entire process. 

I really enjoyed the session I had here and I did manage to recreate it for my sisters prom, which goes to show their one-to-ones really are worthwhile. The girls here are just so talented, the work they put online never fails to amaze me. They are currently promoting their annual 'Peaches and Scream' makeovers in time for Halloween and the SFX looks they've done over the past few weeks are just incredible, just head over to their Instagram @peachesmakeup to see what I mean. 

Peaches and Cream don't just specialise in makeup but hair too, if you want to find out more visit their website My one-to-one was £25 and lasted around 45 minutes, call 01512271669 to book.

Images below: Kim in the makeup chair at Peaches and Cream. Left side by me, right side by Kre.

Images below: The look recreated at home multiple times, with two different shades used on the lid just for experimentation purposes on some pictures.

Are you thinking of visiting Peaches and Cream?

Han X

Friday, 17 October 2014

Ted Baker Cierra Clutch Review

So for the first time in a long time I'm blogging again! I have been distracted for the last couple of months and not felt like dedicating much time to champagnetote. However, I've got some posts lined up for the next few weeks so I shall hopefully get back into the swing of things!
So this is my heavenly Ted Baker Cierra bag that I purchased not so long ago. I'll admit, it was bought on a bit of a whim...I'd seen it a few months back and fell in love with it but couldn't succumb to the hefty price tag. However, whilst roaming around the Trafford Centre store in Manchester, their 20% off student offer just sucked me in and I don't regret a thing.
It's made of bovine leather, which is soft and has a very similar texture to suede. For this reason, keeping it spotless is attracts dirt and dust for fun. I haven't put a protector/cleaning product on it as I'm terrified of ruining it but for now I'm just trying to keep it clean through not getting it dirty!
I guess that's the downside of the Cierra, you live in fear of spilling a drink on it, or god forbid, food or makeup. For that reason it shall only be making appearances on civilised outings, not "drunk out my face" ones.
The deep black of the leather really compliments the rose gold hardware (ahhh). I'm obsessed with the stuff right now, from bracelets to makeup brushes, I'm. Into. Rose. Gold. A tassel trim adorns the front of the bag and is finished off with a Ted Baker embossed clasp and shoulder chain strap. The chain is actually removable and turns the bag into a very chic clutch, handy eh? You can simply place the chain inside the bag and flip down the little hooks, or remove the chain completely.
The interior is fashioned with a grey/blue flower print lining and has a little pocket for necessities. As for what you can actually fit inside the Cierra, it's certainly not the kitchen sink. Phone, keys, coin purse, powder, brush and lippy is the max but it is a small bag after all (a good excuse for forgetting the purse and letting your fella pay).
Retailing at £129, it's expensive but it's timeless. It's classic and can be put together with pretty much anything, I love it.

Ted Baker Cierra Tassell Clutch Bag - @ £129
What do you think of the Cierra?
Han X

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

My Current MAC Lipstick Collection

Noseying at people's MAC lipstick collections is one of my favourite things to do, whether it be blog wise or rummaging through my friends makeup bag, I'm obsessed. With that I thought I'd let you all know where my own collection stands. Please note, I haven't bought all these overnight, I've bought them in dribs and drabs, here and there (although I would buy ten more overnight if I had the money!) It's a work in progress, yes I intend to buy more; to me they are more than just lipsticks, they're collectables too. I've tried to swatch them as best I can as I find these so helpful when I'm deciding which colours to buy. So here goes...

Swatches are in order of list below (and yes I have hairy arms).

Impassioned (Amplified): This is a popping pink shade that really makes a statement. It's a beautiful colour but its intensity might not be to everyone's taste. I did a full review on this shade here.

Brave Red (Cremesheen): I don't own a red lipstick at all so I felt it was only right I added one to my stash! This is a lovely glossy, bright shade and isn't too daunting at all.


Rebel (Satin): This is a popular shade that has found its way into many a makeup bag. I'm not in love with it on me but I think it looks amazing on other skin tones. Check out my full thoughts here.

Dark Side (Amplified): This is such a favourite of mine, its a deep red with browny undertones and I've not stopped wearing it. It's a real vampy shade and it looks a treat with winged liner. Reviewed here.

Plumful (Cremesheen): I love this cute shade, it's just so pretty. It leaves a plummy coloured pink sheen on the lips that's still very much noticeable despite being sheer. It's gorgeous.

Crème In Your Coffee (Cremesheen): This is quite pigmented considering it's a cremesheen. It's a browny pink colour and is the perfect choice for when you want to stray from your average nude shade.

Blankety (Amplified): This is a new one of mine (arrived today along with Coral Bliss, yey!) so I've only got my initial impressions to go off. I haven't wore it with full makeup yet so I hope it looks better than how it looks without!

Pink Plaid (Matte): This was my first ever MAC lipstick! I wore it to death when I first got it so I only have a small bit left now. I've gone off it somewhat in recent years and haven't worn it for ages. However, now its seen the light of day I might wear it once again.

Vegas Volt (Amplified): Another one I've worn to death. This is a very bright pinky coral and it's gorgeous. It's one of those shades people will always compliment on and ask what it is. Super summery and one of my faves, there's a full review here.

Coral Bliss (Cremesheen): This is a very sheer coral colour, I wanted a toned down coral from the one above that I wear so often, so this was the pick of the bunch. It's gives a very light sheen of colour that's just noticeable enough.

Which ones do you like? Which of your favourites would you recommend? Let me know!

All of these were purchased at MAC counters/ for £15

Han X

Monday, 14 April 2014

Benefit Six Piece B.Right! Skincare Set Review

I can't say I'm the biggest Benefit fan there is, I don't know why but I never feel their products are up to much cop and I have been left feeling uninspired by what I've used of theirs in the past. However I came across their skincare range a few months back and thought I'd try it out for size (literally). I was taken in by the cutesy miniature range they offer and for £12.50, even if it was naff, it's worth the price for trialling and testing a large selection of the skincare they offer.

All these products are from the B.Right range which all look lovely in their blue and beige packaging. Even these small products are given glass bottles adorned with peach toned lids. Benefit have delivered on the aesthetic front, but its what's on the inside that counts...

It's Potent! Eye Cream:
So you get 0.3g of product with this which is pretty much sample size, but enough to do you for a few weeks. It clearly states that it is 'a brightening eye cream to fade dark circles', which is quite a statement in anyone's book. However I don't feel it does this, my dark circles are still there and my surrounding skin isn't what I would consider 'bright'. It does hydrate though and feels great on the skin, the formula looks quite thick but upon application it has a very light consistency and glides on to the skin easily. It takes a couple of minutes to completely sink in and can feel a little wet whilst doing so, but the cooling feeling it gives whilst working into the skin actually helps my eyes to feel a little more awake. 

Overall, Benefit are a company primarily aimed at 16-30's, so I'm guessing if this product doesn't do much for my 20 year old eyes, then I doubt it'll do much at all for a more mature eye. I see this product as more of a eye moisturiser than anything else, as all it seems to do is keep my eyes hydrated. However it does contain a peptide complex known to help restore elasticity & firmness, so I might just reap the benefits when I'm 50 ey. There is no way I would purchase the full size version of this, perhaps I would if the prices weren't so ridiculous (£25.50!) but it just isn't good enough to justify that sort of money.

Total Moisture Facial Cream:
If you like your thick and heavy moisturisers, this is for you. It has a smooth paste like consistency, which feels a little greasy between your fingers and slightly on the face but not nearly as bad as I expected. Total Moisture takes a little longer than I would like to properly sink into the face. So this combined with the fact it's on the heavier side of moisturisers, I prefer to use it at night. I recommend using this only on the areas that actually need moisturising as it is so intense; it fixes up dry patches straight away - its just not great on those oily areas.

Foamingly Clean Facial Wash:
You don't really get enough of this product to properly trial it, you get roughly two washes, three at a push for your 8.9g. It's a facial cleanser and claims to 'effectively cleanse the skin and remove makeup and impurities with a soft, gentle lather'. The soft, gentle lather I'll take but removing makeup isn't the case. I was really enthusiastic about using this, as I hate makeup removal so anything that makes the process quicker is always a win for me. However I still had foundation remnants on my face once I'd worked it into the skin and washed it off. Disappointing. The actual formula of the product is lovely, it does work into a foamy soothing lather that makes the skin feel soft and supple but it just doesn't clean.

Refined Finish Facial Polish:
This is pretty much an exfoliating version of the above but doesn't foam up in the same way. I've used it after the facial wash (which means all you're makeup will come off) but all I've really found is that it leaves my skin feeling very dry and blotchy. The microbeads might be a little too harsh for some people, as it appears they are for me so I'd be weary!

Triple Preforming Facial Emulsion SPF 15:
If I were to purchase anything from this range, It'd be this. It has been my favourite out of the bunch and I have been impressed. First of all I love the fact it has SPF in it, as it means I can wear it underneath SPF free foundations or alone without worrying about protection. I've tended to wear this during the daytime for this reason. The actual product is very light and watery in consistency which I love, it cools the face as it goes on and sets in very quickly. A bonus is that it isn't oily or greasy whilst keeping my skin hydrated and hasn't even broken me out! Yey!

Moisture Prep Toning Lotion:
I'm not mad on toners and I haven't really given this the full run down. However I have been using it instead of the Facial Emulsion now that it has run out, as I feel this is hydrating enough to be used without a moisturiser. I don't like caking my face in different lotions and potions as I think it can just make everything so much worse, so I've been using this before bed and it has left my face soft and hasn't actually broken me out (yet!). It's not a bad product but for me it is something I don't feel I need or want.

So there we have it, not a glittering review by any means but an honest one at that. Some things work for some people and some don't, you may find these are your holy grails! But for me they are overpriced and don't offer much up product wise.

Benefit Six Piece B.Right! Skincare Set - £12.50 @

Have you tried anything from Benefits Skincare range?

Han X

Sunday, 30 March 2014

What's In My Makeup Bag?

This is just a general overview of what I’m currently using day to day and what I tend to take with me when I’m on the go.

Juicy Couture Makeup Bag: I’ve had this like three years now, someone bought it me as a gift for my 18th birthday and it still looks good. It’s not the biggest of makeup bags but it is handy for carrying around your basic bits and pieces.

NARS Sheer Glow Foundation: I haven’t had this long actually, I have been using it on and off for about two months. I really can’t decide whether I like it or not yet but I will post a full review when I have my opinion firmly set down!

NARS Laguna Bronzer: Pretty much the best bronzer on the market! Such a good colour as well as being easy to use and blend, reviewed here.

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer: I use this to cover up blemishes and dark circles, it works well and stays put all day.

MAC Studio Finish Concealer: I have this in the colour NW20, so I use it to brighten up the eye area. I’m still working out if I like this or not as I don’t find the colour all that flattering, however I do really like the formula.

MAC Plumful & Crème In Your Coffee: 100% my favourite lipsticks at the moment! Crème In Your Coffee is a purpley nude shade and Plumful is a pinky toned colour, both beautiful!

Max Factor False Lash Effect Mascara: I have been using this for years, I even remember when it first came on the market! It’s definitely my favourite drug store mascara!

Hourglass Brow Sculpting Pencil: I love this, I love the packaging, the formula, the colour, it all just works. It’s so easy to apply and the spool is so handy!

MAC Mineralise Blush in Love Thing: This is my favourite blush, it’s such a pretty colour and it lasts ages. However it’s a very autumnal shade so I think I need to go on the hunt for something that feels a little more Spring-like! Read my thoughts on it here.

Charlotte Tilbury Feline Flick Shodo Liner: I have an on-off relationship with this liner, it’s best for when you’re on the go and need something that requires as little fuss as possible! Read the full review here.

Bourjois Effet 3D Gloss Shade 03: I use this over nude lipsticks to give my lips some moisture and a pop of colour. Doesn’t last anywhere near the 8 hours it proposes but it’s good for the money.
So there we have it! Hopefully it’ll be full of new goodies soon!
What have you purchased recently?

Han X