I am a beauty obsessed blogger based in the UK. BbyB is my creative outlet where you will find a vast amount of beauty and skincare alongside a bit of food and fitness, travel, lifestyle all thrown in...



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Fashion          Beauty          Hair          H&F          Travel          Lifestyle

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Healthy Starts with the Brekkie Club

A confession here.. I don't normally start my days very healthy, in fact I do skip breakfast *insert shocked face here.* Yes, yes, I know, a healthy breakfast is the most important meal of the day but for me an extra 10 minutes in bed had too much appeal. So when the Brekkie Club reached out and offered me a week of healthy breakfasts I thought to myself this may be what I need to kick the skipping brekkie habit. 

After jumping at the chance a box arrived on my doorstep (in record time may I add) containing plastic pots of brekkie for each day. A leaflet is provided with what is in each days portion and each pot is clearly labelled with a rather cute coloured sticker. On first appearances it looked so easy that not even I wouldn't be able to do this each morning or make any excuses. 

As the contents of the box normally change each week with the Brekkie Club subscription I thought I'd share the low down on each day of my box. Here's what you see when you open the box: 

Brekkie Club Box

- Quinoa, almond and apricot muffins with soya yoghurt and pomegranate compot

The first time you try something is always a little odd but starting the week with a muffin for breakfast was a rather nice surprise! I opted for a bowl instead of using the pot provided first time around and although it all looked a little brown I actually really enjoyed my first breakfast. It was a nice mix of taste and texture with the cherry on top being one hell of a delicious muffin. I'm a true sweet toother so straying to a non chocolate muffin was something I'd never done before (weird I know) but I'm converted - roll on more muffins! 

- Apricot Kernel and pecan granola served with soya yogurt and pomegrante compot 

I was late for work on this day (damn you traffic) so the bowl went out the window and the full Tuesday contents went into the Tuesday plastic pot. The pot came with me to my desk and I ate as I worked which for sheer easiness was great. No mess, no fuss, just a lovely breakfast on the go.

- Blue B Overnight Barley

Each day I was getting more and more surprised about how much I was liking a healthy brekkie and the simplicity of it all. As instructed for this day and before I left work the day before, I put the oats onto soak in the office kitchen, ready for the next morning. Roll on 8am and I added the little pot of blueberries and the oat milk provided in the pot, stirred and it was done. Honestly I didn't think I'd like this one but the mix of textures and the blueberries was really nice and it felt very light to eat. Plus it was at this point in the week that my colleagues began to bring in breakfasts and chat about healthy eating - a sort of health conversion had begun in our office.

- Pecan and date protein balls with soya yogurt and pomegrante copot

Balls, yep you see them, balls. 
If you have read any health blog, magazine or just been on the internet at some point you would have seen people harping on about protein balls. To be honest I would never have chosen these for myself but I think that is part of the joy of a subscription box in the fact that you get to try new things. I was dubious on the balls but actually really liked them and would even go as far as to say I would have them in a pack alone for snacks in the day. They are one of those things that tasted great but also weren't overly filling so would be good for me at work or when I'm out and about.

- Lychee with Granola and Oat Milk

Lychee with Granola and Oat Milk

Ok so I'd never seen a lychee before and embarrassingly to me I thought it looked like fish. I mixed everything together in the pot as normal, closed my eyes and hoped for the best.... Taste and texture wise I have to be honest and say this wasn't a favourite of the week and I'm glad I tried it but maybe me and lychee's aren't meant to be. 

The Verdict:
So the verdict here is well, obvious. For me the convenience and quality of these healthy breakfasts is brilliant and also are quite good value. I would highly recommend this for those who like to just get up and go in the morning or want breakfast without having to lose that extra sleep time. 
You can choose the 3 Brekkie (£12) or 5 Brekkie a week option (£15) and the lovely people at Brekkie Club are offering BbyB readers a little trial!! If you go to the Brekkie Club and use the code BBYB16 you can try the first week for £10 and see how you feel. 

I'm ending this post feeling a lot brighter throughout the day and with the silly realization that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day - it only took me the Brekkie club showing me the way...
P.S The photos on this were taken by the awesome dude that is Tez Wu - Check out his work HERE

Friday, 8 April 2016

Meet The Super Cool: Felt Mistress

Picture the scene: It's a rainy, moody evening in the artistic heart of Birmingham, Digbeth. I was on my way to Eye Candy Festival for a night of perusing awesome artists work and of course the occasional glass of wine, bottle of beer and it would go on... As the drinks flowed and I wandered around a warehouse filled with wonders, I found myself stood staring up at 'The Great Advisor' whose long blue limbs and subtly knowing expression had me hypnotized. Call it the warmth of the my 5th glass of wine or just my general obsession with creatives and their work, but from that moment on I became a huge fan of the work of Felt Mistress, the awesome creator of many a curious character.
The Great Advisor - Eye Candy Tumblr 

Since that night in 2014 I have followed Felt Mistresses work avidly and have fallen in love with characters along the way. Groam for example (see picture below) is a prime example of a freaking awesome character who believes “the only way to true happiness is through sheer misery.” "He enjoys sitting alone in cold rooms, overcast days and missing the last bus home. When not spreading misery Groam also enjoys playing Ping Pong. - Total babe right?

Groam - The Felt Mistress
Felt Mistress work has been seen all over the globe and their collaborations with Jon Burgerman (amongst many other awesome artists), for Selfridges window displays and their own unique creations have paved the way for a hugely successful career and an amazing world of felty creatures.

The most recent Felt Mistress project is Power Up! Simmer Down (see crew below) which is an exhibition happening now by Felt Mistress and her partner in crime Jonathan Edwards at Cafe Zenon in Tokyo. Myles, who likes sunshine and FM Radio, is the character in yellow headphones who may be my favourite from this lot... but then again this is a seriously cool crew - just check out those sandals! 

Power Up! Simmer Down Crew - The Felt Mistress 
Felt Mistresses work is just so full of fun, randomness and well, just great character that you can't help but love it. This was such a fun post to do and hopefully I can grab an interview from the Felt Mistress crew in the near future! 

Images were taken from the lovely Louise (Felt Mistress) who gave her full consent for me to share them -  go give her a shout out and hello as she is super cool (hence the title!)

Felt Mistress Twitter
Felt Mistress Instagram

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Communicating with your hairdresser

So we've all been there, sat in the hairdressers chair anxiously awaiting that awkward conversation with a person you don't know but someone who will be basically controlling your hair. For me I think I've had way too many of these conversations as my favourite hairdressers over the years have gone travelling, emigrated or changed career so for me a new hairdresser and this conversation is an old game.

My hair before:
Most recently (5 days ago) I went for my second visit to a salon but to my first session with a new hairdresser. I was assured that they were 'great with colour,' bear in mind here I currently have bright purple hair, and that she was 'brilliant.' I sat down and waited to make that awkward small talk whilst making it crystal clear what I wanted. I have done this for so long that I bring images and am very direct with what I need so to ensure nothing untoward happens.  My eyesight is also poor so for me I only really see the full hair result when I pop my glasses back on and trust with a hairdresser is key.
The picture for hair reference I took in below - I asked for purple hair as I normally have with the very tips pale blue:
Roll on 3 hours and the glasses go back on..... *jaw hits the floor.* 
Not only is my hair still damp (not even close to being properly blow dried) but worse there is only purple colour on my roots. I sat there confused.... why would you only do my roots? What have you been doing for all this time? 
I of course ask the question and the hairdresser tells me it looks cool and that I will have to come back to have the rest of my hair finished in another colour. (Picture the horror on my face, then triple it.) 

Why should I have to come back? When did I say I only want purple on my roots? What the hell have you done? 
So many thoughts ran through my mind in a moment. Now, I am not a rude person and I actually find it very difficult to say I don't like something but I think my face clearly gave it away. The awkwardness set back in as a barrage of compliments from her came my way alongside grabbing colleagues to discuss my 'next visit.' I've played this game before so know when a mess is trying to be causally covered and actually if I had been told what was going on or the mistake that was made I think I would have been less upset about it. Needless to say I said my polite piece and went home and dyed the rest myself - what a waste of time and money!

Lesson Learnt: So this story is to illustrate that clear communication goes both ways in a salon. Don't be afraid to say what you want and don't keep your thoughts to yourself if you really hate it. If what happens to me then happens to you then you know there's really nothing you could have done and that maybe, just maybe the hairdresser should be telling you that they are not experienced enough to do what you are asking.

Top Tips for Communicating Clearly with your Hairdresser to avoid the above: 

1) Explain clearly what you want. This can be for colour or cut but remember your 'take 2 inches off' may be different to theirs so don't be afraid to grab your hair and show them. Sounds silly but if that 2 inches turns to 4 you will notice. 

2) Take Pictures: These are reference points for hairdressers and over the years all of the ones I have visited say this is the most useful took in avoiding any miscommunication. 

3) Be nice. I have spoken to several hairdressers over the years who struggle to speak to clients who are rude. I don't blame them because really who wants to deal with that?!?! But seriously, being nice during your visit makes everything easier including a continued discussion on what you want as an end result. 

Now some of you will be reading this and think I am vain because this is a post all about my hair. Some of you will also be like 'it's only hair' and yes I agree on both points but how I feel about my hair is my own personal feelings and this is a storytime/ helpful hints posts for those who are open to it. This post is also NOT an attack on the hairdresser who did my hair or to the lovely hairdressers out there. I love getting my hair done because of the great people I get to meet so I hope this was just a blip on my hair colour spectrum. 

Here's me now (Purple by Arctic Fox)

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

You need a blooming shower!!

Fabulous, Foaming and Floral!

So for Valentines I was lucky enough to be bought roses by the fella and also be sent some 'You Need a Blooming Shower' Rose Body Cleanser by Anatomicals*. Now you may read that and think what..? that's a bit rude, girl you should be offended but if you know me I love any form of skincare especially if it smells of roses. Now full disclosure here I knew Anatomicals were sending me this so no offence was taken but my golly it was one hell of a good gift!


First things first the tube of this body cleanser is huge! Whoever said size doesn't matter is wrong when it comes to body products, for it's the more the merrier. The tube itself is 250ml, bright pink and extremely squeezy which means when it's wet in the shower you can't really drop it. What I really like is the Anatomicals branding and kooky blurbs that go on the products and this on is no different - it felt like it was talking to me (if you get this product you will understand.)
Now other than the result of have super clean, soft skin for me the smell is pretty high up there on turn offs in body products. For me there is nothing worse than using a hugely perfumed product that end sup breaking my skin out and leaving me in a daze as smells affect me in weird ways. Turns out Anatomicals have my back here and feel very similar so aim to get the balance right across their ranges. This products strikes that balance well although if you use too much it can be a little over the top. 

A big thank you to Anatomicals for my Valentines gift and if you wanted to give this a go it's only £3.00 on ASOS - what a bargain!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Home Style Inspiration: Vincent & Barn

Vincent & Barn

From Right to Left:
Wooden Crate Bookshelf (£375) | Iron Coat Hooks (£20) | Laundry Sign (£6.40) | Wire & Wood Low Bookshelf (£245) | Industrial Apothecary Draw Unit (£525) | Industrial Mesh Cupboard (£825) | Industrial Swivel Bar Stool (£95) | Wire Diablo Stool (£720

Since deciding to become a fully fledged adult and buy our first house me and the fella have been perusing interior design magazines and online media for some Inspiration. Through some serous Pinteresting it turns out the Industrial style is a big favourite of mine and that Vincent & Barn (of whom I had previously been a customer) have a huge selection of drool worthy furniture/accessories within this theme. I already own the Tea Sign which hangs proudly in my parents kitchen so for my first home I know I can trust the quality of Vincent & Barn's products. 

I have put together my current Vincent & Barn Industrial Wishlist with that GORGEOUS Apothecary unit being no1 on the 'must save for' list. It would seem our home may become flooded with Industrial stuff if I get my way!!

Do you like the industrial style? 

*NOT sponsored!*

Monday, 15 February 2016

Where is your Clothes Show post?

I'm grateful to have loyal readers of BbyB but sometimes you guys floor me with what you notice! As a long term visitor to the Clothes Show I have always written about my time there but I hadn't written about my 2015 visit and you guys noticed! *huge virtual hugs*

My mom used to take me to the Clothes Show when I was younger and I loved spending time with her shopping, chatting and generally having a fun time. Over the years I have also gone with friends and colleagues but each year I have come away with an uneasy feeling. It felt to me that something important had gone and something cold and cheap had replaced it.

In 2014 I wrote that I may be the wrong age demographic now for it and maybe the memories of me and my mom popping about the place having a brilliant time were because I was young. I still feel like this is the case but there is an air of unabashed consumerism that has taken the fun out of the experience and just left well... alot of rubbish. Now by saying this I don't include alot of the small independent brands as what they are doing is growing and offering products at a fair price but there are those at the clothes show just there to sell cap. There I wrote it, cheap crap. This to me is inexcusable as this should be a place for fun, innovative design that is made accessible to the general public not a marketplace showboating as something grandiose.

I had tried not to write this post as I am grateful to the Clothes Show team for inviting me but so many of you messaged me I couldn't not do this. To me the independent brands and the creative team behind the stunning catwalk show save the Clothes Show for me from being something I will never go to again. I will go each year with hope and support the smaller brands and hopefully one year it will surprise me. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Raw Gorilla Munchies

So you're on that new year diet and you are looking for some healthier snacks to survive those naughty cravings? Or you are like me and hate the 'new year, new me' rubbish and just want to cut down on the sugar and feel a little less yucky. Well I may have found the solution in Raw Gorilla and their lovely Munchies*.

Raw Gorilla Munchies

You will have to excuse the not so great photo of the Munchies as I took these when I first got them at work and then they were gone seconds after - eaten by hungry colleagues. I was sent the Raw Gorilla Raw Maca & Cinnamon Munchies 40g (£1.49) and the Raw Gorilla Raw Cacao & Lucuma Munchies 40g (£1.49) to try, both of which went down a storm! Special praise was given by my coeliac colleague who struggles to find snacks constantly that won't make her ill; I was very popular in the office that day! 

Who are Raw Gorilla?
Raw Gorilla was born in early 2014 by the Founder Fraser Gregory who was on a mission to create healthy snacks/breakfasts that were cheeky, fun but most of all yummy. The brand has grown rapidly and the products can now be found everywhere from health food shops to the high street. 'Raw' food as it is known, is now not only extremely fashionable but also affordable to the masses as it really hadn't been over the past decade. 

What's in the products?
Organic, Sprouted, Raw, Gluten free, Paleo, Vegan, Grain free, non- GM, No added sugar, No added salt, no artificial colourings or preservatives. 

Now you may read the above and ask 'what on earth is sprouted?' which is exactly what my colleagues asked after they had devoured them. I won't do this justice so here's the right answers from the Raw Gorilla website: 

"To create nutritionally superior products we went back to ancient times where sprouting was part of people’s daily lives. Sprouting seeds, beans and legumes are an age old practice with the aim to unlock nutrients and create naturally functioning food which is easier on the body and nourishes at a higher level. By soaking these tiny nutritional nuggets, enzyme inhibitors are broken down as seeds are preparing to grow into a tree! We dry them at their nutritional peak whilst preserving a higher protein, fibre, mineral and vitamin content that is found in non-sprouted food.

Don’t forget, when our body is not working on digesting food it is free to metabolise and function well cleansing, detoxifying and repairing cells. The more light and easily digestible food we eat, the more time our bodies can spend on functioning optimally.

It’s worth remember the benefits of sprouting foods:
- It’s one of the most complete and nutritional food out there
- we can eat less by eating more
- a higher level of vitamins, minerals and enzymes
- the food’s natural protein and fibre is food intaking something? is enhanced
- sprouted food is very alkalising, meaning it creates a friendly environment for the right bacteria in our intestines
- is bursting with antioxidants"

Well with that all elequently put by Raw Gorilla here's the verdict (from me and the work maties):

Raw Gorilla Raw Maca & Cinnamon Munchies (the pink pack)
These were by far the favourites with the team, especially those like me with a severe sugar craving. The texture is crunchy but still has a bit of chew to it which makes them last a little longer when you are eating them. For me I think the sunflower seeds were the flavour I picked out as the strongest but there is a hit of cinnamon which is probably what made my sweet tooth happy. 
It boggles the mind that something this healthy can taste so damn good and as they are moreish you just want more and more. I would say the only downside to these was that they don't currently come in a larger bag or a multipack for sharing. 

Raw Gorilla Raw Cacao & Lucuma Munchies (the purple pack)
This was the pack that people in my office on diets/health regimes preferred. Weird I know but after some discussion they seem to think they've lost the cravings for naughty treats so prefer 'real healthy' things - it's all in the mind I say! Personally I will be picking these up for days when I know the cravings may beat me and I still want to remain somewhat healthy. Plus it's nice to have a snack that my gluten intolerant colleague can share! 

So it's a big thumbs up from me to Raw Gorilla - here's to snacking healthier and starting up my #GymBunny series again. 

*PR Sample - a very yummy one! 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Creature Candy, Crowd Funding and my bee obsession........

I love wildlife imagery- basically anything with a bee on it I have to have and this has spread over the years to most insects and creatures. I currently have realistic looking flower wallpaper in my room which has framed images of insects on it. Then all around are taxidermy butterflies and ceramic creatures surrounding me in nature - I basically want to sleep in an English country garden. To futher fuel my woodland desires I went on the hunt for some insect prints and came across Creature Candy....

When I first found Creature Candy last year I was floored by the beautiful products but also by the kind heart of the brand and the donations they make to wildlife charities. Each product (all made in the UK) sold features a creature and a percentage of the funds made from that product go to a relevant charity e.g You buy any of the bumble bee products and the a donation is made to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust - it's fabulous!!

They have today launched a crowdfunding scheme to raise money to launch their 3 new designs - hedgehog, red squirrel and the lesser spotted wood pigeon. You can pledge funds to help them out and also receive a thank you gift for getting involved.

"By launching these designs we will not only be able to support 3 new charities, but we will also be able to raise awareness of 3 more of Britain’s beautiful, but sadly declining, wildlife species." - Creature Candy

These are great causes that you can support by just grabbing one of their gorgeous designs from their website or by pledging funds through their crowdfunding platform. Of course my favorite is the Bumble Bee from their current collection with the bat in close second :) I fully expect my wildlife obsession to continue in my future home and have already decided to grab some of the A3 prints and also this gorgeous apron..
Bee Apron
Which of the Creature Candy products do you love? 

Make sure to head over to their crowdfunding page and pledge - such awesome causes! 
*NOT sponsored - adore this brand!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

What the hell is Reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates

Have you ever heard people talk about Reformer Pilates? I did and decided to give it a try... 

So a bit of background of where I currently am fitness wise:
Last year began with me in full Gym Bunny mode and really sticking to my exercise regime. Admittedly my diet was horrendous so really it just kept me balanced and by Aug/Sept it was getting boring. I was determined to add something new into my routine so began reading up on new fitness things to try. I kept seeing this odd looking machine everywhere called a Reformer and decided it maybe one to give a go.... 

It was actually quite hard to find a Reformer Pilates class near me at a reasonable cost. I currently reside in the West Midlands and it seems as it's not so common the prices rocket. In the end I found a class about 15 minutes away from where I work and to begin classes you have to have a rather pricey 1:1 session (£42!) 

The 1:1 session
You have to have a one to one session in order to understand how the machine worked and for the trainers to see my levels of flexibility, injury etc. This wasn't overly in depth but actually the machine can do alot more than I thought it could. The major thing you learn is the springs that are used, that you can adjust them and how each has a different level of resistance therefore increasing the level of difficulty. As you can see the machine looks odd but I will say it is very comfortable and as pretty much everything is adjustable it would be good for all shapes and sizes. The only downside (other than the cost) was that I had this training prior to the holiday period and in my first lesson I had forgotten pretty much everything.... 

The First Class
In the run up to this I was actually pretty nervous which was scary and cool all at the same time. Walking into a small class of 4 people people who you don't know and who have been doing this a long time was always going to take some getting used to.
As you have to book the month in advance (£17 per class), the class members won't change so currently I'm with 2 other ladies and one guy who are all about 20 years older than me! Weirdly this made it alot easier to settle in and the oldest lady (she's 62) is so freaking flexible it is inspiring.

During the first class we went through various exercises on the reformer machine and the teacher kept popping along and alter the springs as she saw fit. It was good to properly get into the swing of things and see how the exercises worked for each different person. I did think after the lesson that it wasn't overly strenuous but again I think that was down to us getting used to the machine and the teacher finding out our limits. 

Class no.2: 
I've just been to my second class and it was amped up with varying springs, balls, planks and all kinds of new exercises. This time our teacher meant business and made sure that we were feeling it! A big lesson I learnt is that it doesn't really mater what level of resistance (springs) you use in some exercises as some are better the less you use. I'm determined now to keep practicing to improve my balance and tone and to see how it will affect my flexibility. 

I am looking forward to my next class and will keep you updated on progress. Also if you want a more in depth tour of the reformer machine itself or to see it in action let me know :)