Health + Fitness: The Flexible Working campaign


When I was contacted to take part in the Powwownow Flexible Working campaign, it got me thinking.
The whole idea of the campaign is to promote health and wellbeing among those who spend too much time at their desk - and being a blogger, I can totally relate! It wasn't until the campaign rolled around that I realised just how much strain and uneccessary ache I was putting on my body by sitting in the same rigid position for hours on end whether it be in my god awful Ikea desk chair or sat awkwardly with my laptop on the sofa.

I've decided to be more proactive and take better care of my body in 2016 (new year, new me and all that, yada yada yada...) and one of the things I've started to get into a better habit of is STRETCHING! It sounds silly but a little stretch goes a long way and since combining it with gentle yoga practice a couple of times a day, I've really been feeling the benefits!
Doing something as simple as the downward dog pose really elongates and stretches out the entire body and the muscle release you feel after is amazing and helps stop those mid-evening dips in energy!

So next time you realise you've been stuck in front of your computer screen for 4 hours straight and your chair isn't doing your back any favours, get up and give it a good stretch!

You can read more about the Powwownow Flexible Working campaign here, where there's also lots of other tips from some other lovely bloggers on how they stay fit and motivated from their desks!


Always, Alice x

Interiors: Prints, Prints, Prints

clockwise from top: Wanderlust print - from £5.75
"But First Coffee" print - £4.30
Pineapple print - £4.30
Disney Ariel print - £2.15
Boho feather print - £4.30
"Flush the toilet" print - £4.64


Since moving into my first home, I have gone absolutely interiors CRAZY. I can't walk past a homeware shop without going in and drooling over everything inside and I spend hours trawling Pinterest and online shops looking for home inspiration. 
The one thing my little house is currently lacking though is wall art! My walls are bare (and a horrible magnolia colour...eww) and I dream of putting up frames in every room. I've printed a few of my own designs which I looooove but they take time so I've been looking to the next best thing - Etsy
 I'm a massive fan of anything homemade and supporting small businesses and there are so many amazing pieces of art available at nearly next to nothing. Above are some of my favourites, and best of all, most of them are able to download instantly and print off in your own home! 
I can't wait to transform my humble abode from a house to a home and some of these will be making their way to my walls very soon!

What are your favourite homeware stores? 
Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' if you want to keep up to date with more of my posts!

Always, Alice x

The Sunday Post: Things That Made Me Happy This Week #24


What made me happy this week...

- We finally unpacked all of (okay MOST of) our stuff and our little house is finally starting to look like a home! Now all it needs is a little lick of paint and some photos hanging on the walls and it will finally be all cosy and OURS.

- I got my blog mojo back. It's taken a while but I feel as though I've hit a real high point with my little space of the internet this week and it can only get better from here! I've worked out a schedule that suits my crazy work life and I feel as though I'm getting my shit together. Win.

- I finally got a hoover. Sad, but you know you're an adult when you get excited about your first ever Dyson.

- The pub I work at has closed for a week as of today so YAYYYYYY! I can't wait for all the lie-ins and all the early nights. Come at me!


What made you happy this week?
Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' to keep up to date with my posts!

Always, Alice x

Beauty: January Birchbox + First Impressions


Another month, another Birchbox delivery and I don't think I've ever been so excited for the Yodel man to knock at my door!

For January, Birchbox has joined forces with Pinterest (right?!) and if nothing else, the box is ADORABLE! One of my fave things about Birchboxes is their packaging is always on point and a lot of them have been recycled and now make cute storage/decorations for my desk!
Inside doesn't disappoint either. Unsurprisingly, there's a mini Benefit sample but I'm not complaining. It ain't cheap, so I love trying out their new products in mini form before taking out a bank loan to buy the full size.
This months offering is a mini version of the new They're Real tinted lash primer in mink brown which is perfect for my lashes! I've heard good things about this bad boy and although I have naturally quite long lashes anyway, I'm looking forward to trying this out!

Next is the L'Eau Soir et Matin cleansing water by Absolution. It's not a brand I've heard before but I love the packaging and cleansers are my favourite thing ever! RRP on the full size bottle is £27 so it must be good stuff and since it's packed with good stuff like hazelnut oil and aloe vera, I'm sure it will be a welcome addition to my skincare routine.
I've received a few Beauty Protector samples in previous boxes and while I haven't been positively blown away as of yet, the Protect and Detangle leave-in conditioner I've got this month sounds like a life saver! It claims to condition, detangle, is uv protecting, a heat protectant AND it minimizes frizz! It's a Birchbox best seller apaz and I'm looking forward to trying it and finding out why...


What I first thought was a lip liner by Jelly Pong Pong turns out to be their Lighten Up Brightener Waterliner which I'm most looking forward to using. Good for brightening the under and inner eyes, it also doubles up as a highlighter...win!
The last of the samples is the Whish Three Whishes Almond Body Butter, which is a pretty standard body butter but it smells freaking AMAZING. I'll be taking this to the gym with me (wishful thinking?) for a pamper post-workout!

In addition to the 5 samples I've mentioned, there was also the inclusion of a few novelty bits. There's a handy compact mirror that I'll be slipping into my handbag and then there's a range of postcards illustrated by the fab Viktorija Semjonova. I'm definitely going to get a couple of them framed and put on the wall around my desk!
All in all it's not the most mind-blowing Birchbox that I've ever gotten but I'm looking forward to using the products inside and I'll get back to you with my thoughts!

Are you a Birchbox subscriber? What is your favourite subscription box?
Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' to keep up to date with more of my posts!

Always, Alice x

Beauty: A Little Bit Of Charlotte Tilbury Magic


Anyone who knows me knows that I'm in love.

Head over heels in love with a woman named Charlotte and I just can't hide it anymore.

As mentioned in my 2015 Beauty Favourites, last year was ALL about the flamed haired lady and her fabulous range of makeup and skincare. Like a magpie, I was drawn to the shiny rose gold packaging straight away and it was a massive bonus that what was inside was amazing too. I'm the lucky owner of 2 Matte Revolution lipsticks (Glastonberry and Love Liberty FYI...both of which you NEED to own!) and the Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette which I think graces the dressing table of just about every beauty blogger there is. But I wanted more.

Enter the Magic Foundation. Also known as THE best freakin' foundation ever.

I bought it on a bit of a whim on a recent trip to Liverpool and thanks to the absolutely lovely gal on the John Lewis CT counter, I was matched up with a shade that perfectly matched my skin tone and rivaled the finish of my beloved NARS Sheer Glow. The cheeky devil also tried to sell me a dozen other products and if the purse strings would have allowed it, I'd have been walking out there with the best part of the whole collection. But no, self control stepped in and I went away the happy owner of one Magic Foundation.

The shade range is fab for a new release, with 15 shades all available for all skin tones, types and ages, and as predicted, I was one of the lightest shade in Shade 2.
Upon first application, I was sold. It has that real your-skin-but-better appeal to it and while it's definitely a full coverage foundation, it doesn't feel as though there's anything on your skin at all. A little goes along way too since the stuff ain't cheap - although it's a whole £2 cheaper than Sheer Glow, just sayin'.
I've received soooo many compliments on my complexion since I started using this little bottle of magic and it's definitely a love affair that's not going to end anytime soon.


Have you tried the Magic Foundation or any other CT products? What is on your wishlist?
Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' to keep up with more of my posts :)

Always, Alice x

Food: A Taste Of The Mountains with SkiTotal


If you didn't know already, me and my other half recently moved into our first little house together, so when I was asked by the gals at Branded3 and SkiTotal if I'd like to take part in the Taste Of The Mountains competition, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to test out my new kitchen!

Myself and a few other bloggers were sent some recipe cards through the post and were asked to make one of the dishes provided, with the best post winning a lovely prize! The recipes given to us were all traditional skiing-inspired meals - Grostl, Tartiflette and Focaccia. Never heard of them? No, me neither but I was up for the challenge of trying some new cuisine and broadening my cooking skills! I only intended to make one of the dishes - the Tartiflette potato bake - but since the recipe card suggested it was served with crusty bread, I thought I'd try my hand at making the Focaccia bread too!

First up...Italian Focaccia!



Ingredients:
- 450g flour (I used strong white bread flour)
- 300ml tap water
- 3g (2-3 teapoons) of sea salt
- 7g yeast (3-4 teaspoons)
- 5g honey (2 tablespoons)
- 60g olive oil
- 2g rosemary

I started off by mixing the flour, sea salt and yeast in a large bowl and then added to it warm water and honey that I'd heated up over a medium temperature. After beating it for a couple of minutes, the dough started pulling away from the side of the bowl and it was time for the fun part...kneading! I did this on a lightly floured surface and once the dough was nice and smooth and elastic, I left it to settle underneath a large bowl for 10 minutes or so. So far so good!

While waiting for the dough to do it's first prove (how very Bake Off!), I greased the tin I'd be baking the bread in. Once the 10 minutes was up, I popped the dough in the tin and rolled it out evenly making sure to press it into the corners. I loosely covered it in clingfilm and gave let it prove again for another half an hour whilst I moved onto my main course...

...French Tartiflette!


Ingredients:
- 1kg white potatoes
- 200g bacon or lardons (traditionally used)
- 1 onion
- 150ml white wine (I used chardonnay...and drank the rest.)
- 200g reblochon cheese
- salt and pepper to season
- 50ml créme fraiche

I added:
- 2 red peppers
- 1 medium sweet potato
- a handful of mushrooms
- 1 courgette

Since the recipe calls for the use of bacon or lardons and I'm a vegetarian (yes, one of THOSE people), I had to substitute it for lots of yummy vegetables instead! And typically living in a small town, my local supermarket didn't stock reblochon cheese, although with a bit of Jamie Oliver style research, I bought Brie as an alternative instead. If you're having a go at home though, I'd definitely try and get your hands on some reblochon and do it properly!

First things first, I preheated my oven to 200 degrees (gas mark 6), which meant I could cook both of my dishes at the same time later. I peeled and boiled my potatoes for 10 minutes or so - which would have been a speedier process if I'd have chopped up the big ones first - and once these were tender and fluffy I let them cool on the side.

I diced my vegetables, as you would at this stage with the bacon or lardons. If using the latter, you would need to brown the bacon in a hot pan first, then remove and fry the onions in the bacon fat.
At this stage, whether you're a carnivore or a herbivore, you would need to add the meat or veg then the white wine and créme fraiche and simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce has nicely marinated. I sliced up the boiled potatoes and added these to the mixture with a dash of salt and pepper and left to cook for another 5 minutes or so while I tended to my Focaccia!


At this point my dough was nicely proved and had doubled in quantity (I must have done something right!), and we were almost there! I drizzled the dough with olive oil and pressed indentations at 1-inch intervals all over the surface, then went to town with the salt, pepper and rosemary before popping in the oven until golden brown. Jobs a good'un!

Going back to the Tartiflette, and my potato and vegetable mixture was ready to add to an ovenproof dish. I sliced up the Brie and laid this on the top of the mixture and popped into the oven for around 10 minutes. The smell was friggin' amazing and once the cheese has melted and the dish was bubbling, it was time to tuck in!

It was definitely a fun experience learning new recipes but would it all be worth it and taste amazing?!

YES!
It was the first proper vegetarian meal that I'd cooked for my other half and he loved it! I think I probably got a sliver of the Focaccia before he polished the whole thing off!
I'd be interested to cook the meaty version of the Tartiflette for my family and friends with some authentic reblochon this time but I think my veggie take on the dish worked really well!

A massive thankyou to Branded3 and SkiTotal for the opportunity to take part in the Taste Of The Mountains competition and I'm so excited to find out the winner! I'll definitely be making some more Focaccia in the meantime...totally addicted.


What is your favourite dish? Have you ever tried any of the recipes I mentioned?
Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' to keep up to date with more of my posts!

Always, Alice x


Beauty: 2015 Favourites



HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I'm 6 days late to the party I know (some things never change though, eh?) but I can't believe we're already nearly a week into 2016. The last year flew past and in the blink of an eye it was all over - seriously life need to sloooooooow down - and although I'm not looking forward to turning another year older, there's a hell of a lot of exciting things coming my way too!

2015 was my first full year of blogging and with it came a whole lot of favourites posts. They're something I love to read and write as I like looking back and seeing what I was loving at that time! I'm also ridiculously nosy too so I'm loving what all y'all are loving...

2015 was also the year of Charlotte Tilbury. Seriously, that gal was EVERYWHERE and like many others, I fell instantly in love with her shiny packaging and top notch makeup and an addiction was born. My collection has been growing ever since and it shows no signs of stopping! I'm the proud owner of her Magic Foundation, the Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette and a handful of her lipsticks - CT is definitely my favourite brand of 2015!
Mid-way through the year I took the plunge and subscribed to my first ever beauty box, Birchbox. I'm so indecisive when it comes to buying products that I thought it would be a fab idea to have a mystery selection sent to me every month, and I've not been disappointed since! The packaging each month is always so pretty and instagrammable and the range of the products inside is great for only £12.95 a month. I recently received the Cowshed Cow Pat hand cream in one of my boxes and it's been my winter saviour!


A late addition to my 2015 favourites is my Zoeva makeup brushes. My other half ever so generously bought me the FULL. FRICKIN. SET for Christmas and they have changed my life (or my makeup...same thing). I have a little brush for every makeup need I could possibly have and I've finally learned how to adequately apply eyeshadow - huzzah!
My other half also treated me to Viktor & Rolf's Bon Bon fragrance for my birthday which easily makes its way into my year's favourites along with Jo Malone's Nectarine Blosson and Honey. They're both such different scents for day and night but I've barely worn anything else all year!

I've been on the hunt for a holy grail mascara for some time now and I've tried and tested a fair few but I think I've found the one in Maybelline's Lash Sensational. It's a blogger favourite and I can see why - it's frickin' amazing! The curved brush does wonders for my eyelashes and they stay clump free...bonus!
As for holy grail lipstick, there was no other choice really but Ruby Woo by MAC. If I'm seen rocking a red lip, it's Ruby Woo, and I'm yet to find something I love more!
Working 60+ hours a week means there's not much time for pampering and looking pretty, so the Barry M Speedy range has been a god send over the last 6 months or so! It only takes a minute or two to transform my nails and I'm able to get on with my fay as quick as that. I'm loving the new dark shades, and the berry red one 'Sprintfinish' is my personal fave. Bravo, Barry M!

My last favourite of 2015 has been my number one skincare hero. The Body Shop's Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask has kept my face soft and hydrated throughout the colder months, and it doubles up as a fab primer!


What were your beauty favourites in 2015?
Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' to keep up to date with my posts!

Always, Alice x