5 May 2016

Boots #PetalParty and 10 tips to help beat hayfever

It looks like hayfever season has just started in the UK and after the fun of the Boots #PetalParty yesterday I thought I'd share a few photos as well as some handy tips on how you can beat the symptoms this year: 

 Boots #PetalParty

Being a relatively new sufferer of hayfever I'm all too aware how miserable the symptoms can be and not only are pollen levels high in the morning, as temperatures drop in the evening they rise again and lead to what Boots have termed 'Insneezia'. Constant sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose can lead to insomnia like symptoms with an knock on effect the next day. I know I've certainly been affected and have struggled at work and cancelled on invites as a result!

To highlight this Boots showered St Christopher's place with over 3 million petals yesterday and with a fun soundtrack from celeb DJ Lauren Pope it was quite the party! My photos don't do it justice but I hope it gives you an idea of the night if you weren't able to come. You can also see the video on their Facebook page here.

So onto the most important bit, what can you do to minimise symptoms? I find a good anti-histamine essential but Boots have also shared these 10 tips and tricks to help you get through the summer: 

Five hacks to help reduce night-time hayfever symptom
1. Keep the windows shut at night and first thing in the morning. Feeling hot? 
Pop your pillow case in the freezer before bedtime for a temporary cooling effect

2. Wear sunglasses after sun down. Not because you’re a wannabe celeb but to 
help protect your eyes from pollen

3. Hang laundry inside - even when the sun is shining - because you don’t 
want pollen-infused bedding

4. Shower before you go to bed to help wash any stray pollen from your hair and 
skin which could aggravate your symptoms overnight

5. Teeth cleaned, face washed and moisturised? Don’t forget a final smear of 
petroleum jelly under your nose which may help trap pollen

Five hacks to help tackle the impact of ‘insneezia’ the next day

1. Shower again! Showering in the morning helps to stimulate the circulatory system and
‘shock’ your body into a more awake state if you’ve lost out on shut-eye overnight

2. Think twice before reaching for a coffee or chocolate based pick-me- up – both 
contain high levels of vasoactive amines, like histamine which can cause some
 sensitive individuals to suffer ‘allergy-like’ symptoms

3. Lose the booze – Alcoholic drinks, such as wine and beer and cider can make it hard 
to sleep well anyway and these also contain histamine and other vasoactive amines.

4. Chill two teaspoons in the fridge overnight then cup them over your eyes for 5 minutes
to help combat any puffiness caused by lack of sleep

5. Stay hydrated – to help replace lost fluids and help you feel more energised

Did you come down to the Boots #PetalParty yesterday? What are your top tips for beating hayfever? 

*Post sponsored by Boots

3 May 2016

Taking part in the Aveeno inside & oat challenge

After a fun but unhealthy bank holiday weekend I'm definitely in need of a detox! So this week I'm going to be taking part in the Aveeno Inside & Oat challenge, testing out their skincare and making a few healthy diet and lifestyle changes to see how it affects the way I look and feel:

 Taking part in the Aveeno inside & oat challenge

 Aveeno inside & oat challenge

Over the next 7 days I'll be following a simple six step routine from dermatologist Dr Rajpopat which includes steps such as avoiding long hot shower, exfoliating regularly and getting plenty of sleep in order to allow the skin to regenerate. In addition there's a high intensity workout which I'm going to try every 2-3 days to really get the blood pumping. Aveeno have also kindly send over a hamper of ingredients so I'll be swapping a few of my meals and snacks for alkaline chef Natasha Corrett's healthier alternative too.

Aveeno have always been known for their moisturising lotions and the oat extracts have been clinically proven to increase hydration, soothe, protect and maintain normal skin pH levels. Since getting back from holiday my skin has been particularly dry and dehydrated so I'm really looking forward to seeing if all these changes will make a difference. I'll be documenting my thoughts and meals and will report back with the results in one week's time!

Have you ever tried any Aveeno skincare? Do you have any tips for dry/dehydrated skin?

*Post sponsored by Aveeno

30 April 2016

Boots #PetalParty and hotel stay giveaway

A little known fact about me - I didn't get hayfever until my early twenties and it's only been in the last few years that I've experienced the misery that it can cause. Constant sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose really is no fun and it's ruined far too many days for me until I got the symptoms under control. So this year I've teamed up with Boots for their 'Insneezia' campaign to raise awareness of the effects of hayfever at night and there will also be a special event in Central London next week to highlight this:

Boots #PetalParty, Hayfever, Insneezia, London, Oxford Street, St Christopher's Place
Boots #PetalParty

always thought early mornings would be the worst time for hayfever but it turns out that as temperature decrease in the evening, pollen falls therefore exacerbating symptoms and potentially even disturbing sleep. No wonder then that I always had to take an anti-histamine at night too!

Boots #PetalParty, Hayfever, Insneezia, London, Oxford Street, St Christopher's Place

To highlight this Boots will be showering St Christopher's place, just off Oxford Street with over three million petals at 7pm on Wednesday 4th May (weather depending). Lauren Pope will also host a DJ set to really get the party going. I'll be there with a few other bloggers so do come down and say hi or follow the live stream on Facebook!

In addition Boots are giving a night's stay at the amazing Mondrian Hotel (including breakfast) plus £200 to spend on food and drink at the Dandelyan bar. To enter simply share a tweet saying 'I'm going to the @BootsUK #PetalParty with @Peonieslilies to help tackle Insneezia from night time hayfever'. Terms and conditions as below, with the winner selected on 3rd May and you can claim your prize anytime within the next month. 

·         Entrants to this prize draw must be aged 18 or over and a resident in the UK.
·         Employees and the immediate families of Boots UK Limited or anyone professionally connected with this prize draw are not entitled to enter the prize draw.
·         This competition closes at 9am on 3 May 2016
·         This prize draw is free to enter.
·         Responsibility will not be accepted for loss, delay and corruption of any data in transit or in the incomplete nature of any entries to the prize draw.
·         All entrants agree to their names and comments being used for promotional purposes. Copyright in all material submitted as entries rests with the promoter.
·         Prizes - all entrants will be entered into a prize draw to win a night’s stay in a standard room at The Mondrian London, including breakfast, plus a £200 for food and drinks at Dandelyan in The Mondrian. To be used within a month from Wednesday 4 May 2016. This is the prize in full, travel and any other expenses are not covered as part of this prize.
·         There will be one winner in total.
·         Prizes will be confirmed within 24 hours of details being received.
·         The winner will be notified on 3 May via @BootsUK Twitter. This must be acknowledged by the winner within 5 hours. Failure to respond means an alternative winner will be selected from all valid entries received.
·         Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these rules and to agree to be bound by them.
·         We will not pass on your personal details to any other organisation without your permission, except for the purpose of awarding the prize if necessary.
·         The promoter’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
·         The promoter of the competition is Boots UK Limited, 1 Thane Road, Nottingham, NG90 1BS.
·         The name and region of the winners may be obtained by writing to the following address after 04/05/2016: Boots Social Media Team, Boots UK Ltd, Thane Road, Nottingham, NG90 1BS.
·         This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Twitter. You are providing your information to Boots UK Limited and not to Twitter. By participating in this promotion you agree to a complete release of Twitter from any claims. Participation in this promotion is subject to the official rules.
·         All entrants agree to their names and comments being used for promotional purposes. Copyright in all material submitted as entries rests with the promoter.

Good luck and hope to see you at the #PetalParty next week!

*Post sponsored by Boots

27 April 2016

The holiday skincare essentials

You may have guessed that I've been on holiday recently and although I still have a few more travel posts to publish I wanted to talk about a five of my favourite skincare essentials today:

Holiday skincare essentials, Sond skincare, Garnier ultimate blends, He shi, Biz Buin
Holiday skincare essentials 

Holiday skincare essentials, Sond skincare, Biz Buin
  Holiday skincare essentials

This last year my skin has become really dehydrated so going on a long haul flight I wanted to treat it as much as possible. In the past I've opted for leave on face masks but this time I decided to try a facial oil instead with regular hydrating sprays to top up during the flight. Sond replenishing face oil is specifically designed for sensitive skin so I knew it wouldn't irritate and it's packed with coconut oil to help hydrate and nourish. Like with all oils it leaves a slight sheen but it's non greasy and feels very comfortable on the skin. I've since started using this in place of a night cream and my skin always looks fresh and plumped up the next morning. 

Sond hydrating face spray was another skincare hero and as much and as I enjoyed using it during the flight it was on holiday that I truly appreciated the spray. With temperatures of 35 degrees the cooling liquid with such a welcome break and definitely much needed during the day! It's also really good for setting make up although because of the more powerful spray I'd recommend using it about an arm's length away. 

With sun damage being the biggest cause of ageing I made sure to stock up on SPF before leaving the UK. I don't like anything too heavy or greasy especially on holiday so Piz Buin ultra light dry touch face fluid remains a firm favourite. It's just so lightweight and quick sinking and doesn't interfere with my make up at all. Plus it offers broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Holiday skincare essentials, Garnier ultimate blends, He shi
Holiday skincare essentials

With my skin more on show I made sure to use Garnier ultimate blends restoring body lotion daily. Extracts of royal jelly, propolis and honey made sure my skin was soft and well hydrated, and although it's on the thick side I found it to be fairly quick absorbing and non sticky on the skin. Plus it smells beautiful and the scent will forever remind me of our amazing holiday. 

I'm not the most organised with fake tan so instead I packed my He-shi one day tan instead for days when I wanted to look my best. It gives a really gorgeous naturally bronzed glow and is so quick and easy to apply - I used a tanning mitt for the best results. It's a waterproof formula and I actually found it to be pretty transfer resistant, although I'd recommend avoiding wearing white just in case! 

Have you tried any of these 5 products? What are your holiday skincare essentials?

25 April 2016

Vivanta By Taj - President hotel review, Mumbai

For our hotels in India we wanted somewhere luxurious and modern where we could relax in between all the sightseeing. Vivanta by Taj President Hotel in Mumbai was recommended to us by a friend and I have to say we really lucked out and couldn't have asked for a better place to stay:

Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
Vivanta By Taj President is located in the south of the city, about an hour's drive from the airport
and within walking distance of all the main attractions. After clearing security (mandatory in most
hotels) we were greeted by the staff and led to this beautiful lobby. A truly stunning space with
marbled floors, plush leather sofas, cold drinks on tap and fresh flowers galore. You really do get
 a sense of the grandeur and luxury of the hotel and the staff couldn't have been more helpful.

Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
Our rooms were equally as lovely with it's modern but simple decor, home comforts and extra
little touches which made it a real 5* experience. I don't know what it is about hotel beds but
they're always just so comfy and I loved relaxing in the armchair with it's own little footstool.
There's even a pillow menu and you can request a complimentary delivery of fresh fruits daily.
For us bloggers there's free hi speed wifi throughout the hotel and should you want to relax
more there's also a spa and swimming pool downstairs.  

Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
Since starting to think about redesigning my flat I've come to really appreciate a good bathroom
and the one in Vivanta By Taj President doesn't disappoint. With it's gorgeous marble and stone
counters it mirrored the decor downstairs and I loved the power shower with it's own inbuilt shelf
(such a good idea which I'm definitely going to steal for our bathroom). They'd even thoughtfully
prepared a tray with mini toiletries, flannels and all the little extras that we could possibly want.

Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
Another view of the lobby and I loved this tropical set up near the Italian restaurant. It  
reminds me of an outdoor terrace and would have been the perfect spot for some afternoon tea.

Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
Breakfast was included and wow were we spoilt for choice! A huge buffet of Indian and Western 
food was laid out every morning and there was also the option of ordering a la carte too. I'd highly 
recommend the waffles, pancakes and Indian dosa, all washed down with a glass of Marsala tea.
Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
In addition to Italian and Indian (you can see our Thali here), there was also a Thai restaurant which 
tired after a long day of exploring we definitely took advantage of! As with everything in the hotel 
you can tell that a lot of thought had gone into the decor and we all particularly enjoyed the Pad Thai.

Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
Now the hotel was beautiful but it was the exceptional service and thoughtful extras
  which truly elevated it to 5* status. It was international womens day during our stay and
 it was a lovely surprise to come back and see that the staff had left flowers in our room. 

Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
Vivanta by Taj President Hotel Mumbai, Review, Travel blogger, Lifestyle blogger
After an amazing 3 days in Mumbai it seemed only right to toast our trip with some drinks in 
the hotel bar. With it's cool wooden counters, comfy sofas, extensive drinks selection and gentle 
background music this was probably one of the nicest bars I've been to, and had we not had an early 
morning flight to Delhi the next day we could have easily sampled more of their yummy cocktails.

Overall we all absolutely loved our stay at Vivanta By Taj President Hotel. Nothing was too much trouble and the facilities and service were second to none. It's easy to see why they've won so many awards and if you're ever looking for somewhere to stay in Mumbai then I would definitely recommend. 

Next up, our Delhi and Agra (Taj Mahal) photo diary plus a review of one of our favourite restaurants!

Have you ever been to Mumbai or India? What are your favourite luxury hotels?
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