Saturday, February 6

'The Scenter' haul pt 3

Ready for another install meant of hauls from 'the scenter?' After the success, and unsuccessful items I previously picked up from them I thought I would try out a few of there own brand items.
In my first group of purchases I picked up some dead sea bath salts and scent oils.

I was very disappointed with there dead sea bath salts as I picked up three in Cherry, Orange Spice and Peach.
Apart from tinting the bath water a slight colour they did not have any scent effect on the bath or seem to create any difference to my skin. The cherry one smells like cola cubes in its bag which perhaps made it the most disappointing as had such high hopes. No mater if I used the whole bag, half bag or quarter bag it made no difference. I don't recommend these at all.

I have to say though I am very impressed by there scent oils. The oil is a slow scentful burn which would hint a them not being full of a mixer with a quick burn time. I find with super cheap oils they tend to burn very quick. These however are very budget friendly and worth every penny.
I picked up the cherry, sea breeze, apple and dewberry scent. Each of these smell true to expected. I have liked these so much I landed up putting in another order for 8 different scents.
Out of all the things I have purchased from 'the scenter' these oils are my number one recommendation from them.

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Tuesday, February 2

Weightloss Update 3

So this is my 3rd update since the reboot of my weight loss journey using slimpod. You can see my previous one here.

Over all iv lost 7lb and 6" all over since the 6th of Jan. I did take these inch measurements on the 26th and due for the new measurement update tomorrow. I'm still using the slimpod program and listing every day. I'll admit that I often forget to write down my 3 positives of the day - even more so now there isn't a space in the worksheet for them.

I'm still very motivated to go out walking and making sure to eat healthy when I can. So honestly I can not put any of this down purely to the Slimpod but looking at there Facebook group its great to see what others are achieving.

My biggest issue currently is my partner leaving very early Mondays and not coming back until late Thursday nights as he is away on training for the new Ikea store. When he does come home its junk food and large portions like how it used to be. When he's gone its slim shakes and moaping. This is why I'm not pinning it down to slimpod, my attitude towards food hasn't changed (always been a bit up and down with it to do with my moods). I think the combination of the exercise I'm doing is the biggest factor regardless of what I'm eating.

Exercise wise I'm continuing to walk about and my new Gym will be open in a weeks time which I'm really looking forward to. January I hit

Until the Next time,

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Saturday, January 30

Ikea Wishlist - Bedroom Edition

Ikea is coming to Aberdeen and I could not be more excited if I tried. The best bit of all is that my partner is going to be working there so I can not wait to get the flat decked out in some Ikea (with a discount) pieces and create that dream home Iv been wanting. So I have put together a little wishlist of my must get pieces for around the home.

For my bedroom I would love to get my paws on the below items. The furniture's all over the place with style and colour that I would love everything to go black to match my vanity and large standing mirror. The room has a dark colour scheme anyway (just how I like it) with beautiful deep green and purple walls.
Under Bed Storage - £25 | Mirror - £25 | Twin Hook - £4 | Lamp - £11

I just know that this mirror opposite the window would help brighten up the room. With the same sort of design as the rest of the furniture already in the room it would be the perfect addition. I plan on hanging up my hair dyer and straighteners so that's why I have chosen these hooks. An adjustable light would make putting on my make-up when its dark outside so much easier and you can never get enough storage (especially when it can be hidden).

Rug - £30 | Shoe Rack - £5 | Shelf - £55 | Draw Insert - £17 | Baskets - £5

Previously when I had driven to the Glasgow Ikea we came across boxes that we now store our clothes in. This self unit is actually made to hold these boxes so it would be perfect for cleaning up the space in our wardrobe. The drawer inserts Id love to get two, my plans are to put my make-up inside this using the below inserts. A shoe rack I feel is rather self explanatory and having so many pairs of shoes it would make life so much easier to have them organised. With the baskets I have the idea of placing my yoga mat inside it to keep them cleaner - and hopefully stop the cats clawing them.
Flat Trays - £9 | Lidded Box - £10 | Large Box - £15

Do you like to shop in Ikea? What's your favourite item?
Let me know down below or better yet why don't you tweet me at @Umber_Phoenix 

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Tuesday, January 26

Things Iv Learnt about blogging: 'start as you mean to go on'

 Iv been blogging for a few years now and boy do I wish I knew then what I knew now. I could have saved myself some sleepless nights and trouble if only I followed the simple guidelines below.
Whether you are knew to blogging, thinking of starting up or just taking a step back here are my simple tips to save you some tantrums and tears.

One of the main things I have learnt over the last four (nearly five) years of blogging is to 'start as you mean to go on'. Your blog name is the very first thing people see when they look at your blog and defines what people think and how they continue to read it. It (should) be your URL and stamp on the internet. 

I started blogging when I was 17, a young free teen living with my parents with the whole world in front of me. I sit here now 22, living in my own flat with baby and partner and a few fur baby's. These two lives are very different and so is my thoughts and feelings towards subjects. I started off believing in doing a beauty blog, i'm now lifestyle and free to roam all channels of reviews and life. If I had stuck to doing beauty I would have landed up in an unhappy rut and out of ideas. The choice to let myself out of a narrow field helped my inspiration to flow and enjoy writing again.
I was lucky my original blog name 'My Make Up Life' can be taken to show case what I have to 'make up' my life, others however are not so lucky.

My blog did not start off with that URL. Its only recently iv came to my senses to have my own domain. I'm paying for that currently in DA (domain authority) as over the years my links have changed so much. Not only this all previous link backs are broken as iv jumped username over the system from crystaldark, klayerd, mymakeuplife and umberphoenix. These can be reused by other members leading your hard earned traffic to them. So if you ditch a URL remember to redirect.

Social media is so important these days and in its hand is having a recognisable brand. Everything you write should come under one header so that any fans or company's looking at your work can find you with ease. In my case when I started out everything was mixed under childish usernames which frankly looks unprofessional. Ditch the internet lingo and link up your accounts, even better if you use the same on every place so all '@username' leads to your account across the board. Cant get the same username? Create your own personal #hashtag.
My Top Tips are;
  •  Don't Be afraid to let your blog breathe over time, allow for expansion.
  • Purchase a domain from the beginning - even if its just a vanity one and stick with it
  • Don't tie yourself down to a niche unless you are 110% that's what you will focus on.  
  • Keep it professional, fans and potential business are not interested in a childish username.
  • Link your accounts for easier searching

Stay tuned for the rest of my "pre-blogging" series where I will be tackling making yourself visible, Image plus much more. Hit subscribe down below so you never miss the next post.

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Saturday, January 23

Week 2 - and a bit - update

 <= Week One Update
I always get to a point in my weight loss journey, usually 2 weeks in, where my motivation to get going has got up and left and my hand reaches into the dark side of the fridge. Week one was going so well and then this week it all went down hill.

I must admit I'm a little disappointed that this has kicked in again and from where I'm sitting it doesn't seem like the slimpod is making a difference at all - I may have had a donut for breakfast. 
I was hoping that when or If the two week barrier hit that my mind would have inhaled the slimpod enough to stay motivated to push through. However this doesn't seem to be the case.

I'll stick with the slimpod program right through to day 42 but I have to say at the point I'm so downhearted by the whole process I and am left wondering if I should continue. Even looking at my journal I can see that there are very few positives about what iv been doing. Really been scraping the barrel looking for something good about the day.

I realise that my issue comes mainly own to my own self confidence and lack of will power, but to know that there's not been a remote change (even though its been only two weeks to fix a years of issues) has left me really downhearted by the whole process.
I think its really easy to wish for quick changes and of course the weight didn't pile on over night so isn't going to come off during the night. 

I always said I would review things properly and that does mean including the highs and the lows. This is the first low so far using the slimpod and the hundredth low of weight loss in general. Using my fitbit for my steps iv done 36,245 steps less than the previous week which works out quite a bit and just shows how little activity iv been doing with this slump. 

The positive side to this is though with writing down my flaws I can help breath out the negativity and hopefully the next week can improve. I'm not holding as much weight with slimpod anymore and know its me that needs to improve and no amount of listing is going to retrain my thoughts overnight. Maybe my brains just as stubborn as me. 

I'm writing this at day 17 and in 3 days have my first measure in. Perhaps that will be the shock factor I need again as I have a feeling they will be higher than when I started.

Self notes for the coming week:
  • Drink more water
  • Hit step targets
  • Take part in parkrun

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'The Scenter' haul pt 2

Not long ago I posted my first review of 'The Scenter' and wrote near the end I was going to purchase more. Well today I am updating you with the new purchases. 
Throwing caution to the wind I decided to pick up some incense cones with names as opposed to named after what they smell like. The only issue with ordering from 'the scenter' is the lack of scent descriptions. It is a complete stab in the dark with the scents and unfortunately this gamble to an extent, to my personal tastes, did not pay off.

The scents I picked up from Stamford were: Unicorn's Grace, Vampire's Kiss, Moon Angel and Fairy's Mist. Each box held 12 cones.
Its really hard to find online any descriptions of the actual scents and you may know due to my Yankee Candle haul I'm just terrible for describing them. My favourite scents from these four would be Moon Angel and Fairy's mist. I would describe these more on the sweeter feminine side. Softy scented and not over powering, but with a lovely lingering smell which seems to develop over time. Vampire's Kiss is quite perfumed with a slight feminine edge. Unicorns Grace however is very strongly scented and reminds me, being completely honest, as toilet cleaner (though my partner described it much worse); not something I want wafting through my living room.

Trying out another brand, this time GR, I picked up some more cones. The scents I went with were Rose, Night Queen and Royal Vanilla with each box holding 10 cones.
I'm not a huge fan of these scents. Royal Vanilla did not come across very 'vanilla' but on the upside Rose is plessent. These did not smell as strong and the scent didn't linger the like Stamford's incense cones.
At £1.44 for a box (buy two buy one free) they are not as great value for money as the previously mentioned if you are to compare them side by side. However with the deal it does work out cheaper but I would go with Stanford's.

My last item to pick up were a mixed scent of mini incense sticks. Each stick is a dinky 10cm which makes it a perfect little scent pick me up. I chose the 'mixed' option and landed up with the scents Nag Champa, Musk, Patchouli and Cinnamon.
Unfortunately there is no brand labelling on these as they came in small plastic bags. Each scent is individuality wrapped in a set of 8. I took a complete gamble on the scents but landed up with some pleasing options. Cinnamon is perfect for those wintry scents and Nig Champa is a classic which I have never purchased before so it was great to try it. Musk to me is not to my taste but my partner doesn't mind it as its more of a 'man' scent.
This mixed set cost me £1.59, and with 32 incense this is incredible value. There is so many smells to choose from which is fantastic and I can see myself picking up more of these.

What is your favourite scent to fill your home? Let me know down below or better yet send me a tweet and lets get chatting.

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Thursday, January 21

Lush Mini Haul

One thing iv not done in a while is pop into my local Aberdeen Lush. So when I had some extra time and a few extra penny's I thought I would see what's new. I landed up picking four new bath products, two of which iv previously had plus really enjoyed and two products iv never tried before.

 I had originally when in for space girl bath bomb only to be told they not longer sell it. This was my favourite Lush smell apart from snow fairy so I'm gutted they don't have it anymore.
I picked up 'Butterball' bath ballistic and 'mmmelting marshmallow moment' instead hoping they can take my fizzy purple bath bombs place. Both of these smell quite sweet which is exactly what I like in a bath. 
'Mmmelting Marshmallow Moment' leaves the water a beautiful peach colour with a mild scent of marshmallow. I wouldn't say its overwhelming like some of there bath bombs so if your perhaps not fond of how strong they can be this would be a great alternative. I didn't find any difference to my skin after the bath. They retail for £2.00.

Butterball leaves your skin lovely and soft. After this one so you may not feel the need to use your lotions and potions afterwards. The smell is quite subtle but relaxing. There's more than enough in this bomb to get two baths out of. These are for sale at £2.65.

I picked up old favourites 'the comforter' and 'Creamy Candy' which I can see slowly becoming staples again of the bathroom.
 You only need ¼ of the comforter to make some fantastic bubbles so its really good value for money compared to some of the items from lush. Plus the best bit is how you smell like Ribena afterwards. Well best bit to me anyway. These cost £4.95 so they are a little on the expensive side.
Candy creamy can also be used as half to get best bang for your buck. This smells like 'Snow Fairy' and gives lots of pretty bubbles at £2.95.

The only down side to the Aberdeen store is how small it is. It was quite awkward to be in with a buggy and I landed up only viewing half the shop due to the amount of people being in meant there was nowhere for me to move. 

What is your favourites from Lush? Let me know down below or tweet me at @umber_phoenix. 


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Tuesday, January 19

'Hartmann: Malicious Rules' by Helen L Lowe

On my blog I have been reviewing books for a little while now, however my type of books are generally fantasy. I especially love ones that are set in a medieval type world which can whisk me away. So when I was presented with the opportunity, which was not my usual style, I was excited and also worried. Would I like reading a thriller? A crime thriller at that?

'Hartmann: Malicious Rules' writtenby Helen L Lowe is set in the swinging sixties in London. Initially I wasn't sure how it would pan out knowing nothing of London and very little about the sixties. However much to my surprised the location and time frame is very easy to follow even if the odd reference went over my head.
The story's main character Dr Julian Hartmann is easy to adjust too and can immediately begin to understand why he thinks how he does. Having loved and lost he is still hung up on his first love, only for her to come springing back into his life and turn it all on end: he has a son.


Following on the story many colourful characters are brought up in his ongoing search for his son. Laced with death, drugs and destruction the novel is gripping from the first word to the last. Though quite confusing from the start with many characters all being brought in, thankfully by the end its clearer to what's going on.

The most surprising aspect of the book is the sudden spring into the bdsm world which seems to come out of nowhere. I'm not sure if I enjoy this being in the book as to me it takes away the 'innocence' and would leave it a book I wouldn't give to my mother to read. I can understand it has a place and adds dimension to the book. However with the novel already being gripped by murder and homophobic tendency's, I can't help but feel it's gripping at straws to cover more bases. I would have instead had further expansion on the murders plus added more depth to the characters and their backgrounds.

Overall though it's a great read I wouldn't personally go on to read more of the series; simply because I think my preference of books are just too different from this genre however at only £2.99 its worth a go if crime thrillers are your thing.

What are you currently reading? Do you enjoy crime novels? Let me know down below in the comments.

Love reading? Check out more book reviews here. 
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PS: This book was given to me for review purposes. I believe in giving an honest review on items on this blog and money will never sway my opinion.

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Wednesday, January 13

One Week In

<= Before Starting                                                                                    Week Two Update=>

Its been a week since I started listing to slimpod every night and bucked down to my task of loosing 100lb. If you missed the first post, you can get to it by clicking here.

I always notice at the start of any change I'm really into it then a few weeks later I slip and have no more interest.
So for that its a little to early to say whether or not the slimpods working. So until then I'm on the fence to whether or not it truly works and you guys will be the first to know.

However I will tell you what I do know and what iv been up too.

I'm down 3lb and though we are not meant to measure ourselves I always find it motivating. Its something I love doing just like the monthly image. These habits are here to stay.
Iv taken the time to get out and about walking, taking full force of my fitbit and the challenges. I'm loving the competitive element as it really makes me want to get out there and move (or run about the house just so I hit 20k steps as was 1k away!). So far in the last 7 days iv covered 75,000+ steps so hitting above the national average which is fantastic. 

Iv also been doing some yoga and dusting off my wii fit. I'm now also the proud owner of a gym membership to one that's opening near me in the coming months. I'm determined to make this exercise habit stick and not slip back to how they were.  

I find myself reaching for fruit and making heather choices but with weight loss in mind this is happens every time I re-boot my eating habits. My tooth is also still niggling me a little so iv not been chomping food down like I used to anyway.

Since I'm writing Id like to clear something up which did slightly irritate me. 
I know 100% that weight loss is calories in vs calories out. I didn't by any chance thing I could actually loose weight by sitting on my arse watching TV. I don't believe in fad diets and don't even get me started on those juice plus 'miracles'. Hard work creates the body you want, but all abs are made in the kitchen. It doesn't mater how much you exercise if you eat 3 big macs a day. Slimpod focuses on changing your mental habits and improving your relationship with food which is what I struggle with.
I also know that I'm not on a diet. I can eat anything I want, I can do anything I want. I sometimes use diet too loosely when I mean lifestyle changes. No point in making quick fixes to spring back +8lb.

Now that's out the way I can breath again and go back to my Wii fit. Maybe Ill try some dance videos instead

How do you like to work out. Let me know down below.
Also if you would like to keep up with whats happining on my weight loss journey you can find me as @phoenix_slimber on instagram  

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<= Before Starting                                                                                Week Two Update=>

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Tuesday, January 12

Delicious Alchemy - Gluten Free Food

A few days ago I received a really yummy package through the mail by Delicious Alchemy. The minute they emailed me I could not wait to jump on the opportunity. Looking through there website there were so many gluten free and also dairy free options. So when the box arrived I was so excited to see some of my must-haves were in there.

The thing I was most looking forward to trying has to be the Brownie Mix. Its one of there Dairy Free items and honestly tastes so much better than any brownie I have ever tasted. Let me tell you why: it melts in the mouth as well as being gooey.  Its such a delicate little brownie packed full of flavour.

To make up the mix you just need to add two eggs and 100g of butter, I chose to make it with Vitalife to keep it diary free. Its such a simple process, melt the butter and mix it with the powder, then crack in two eggs and give it a good stir. From there you pop it in the oven for 18-20 minutes at 180 and hey presto some yummy scrummy Brownies. They never rose very much but the flavour more than made up for that.
I know that I would 100% buy this again, the brownies didn't make it to the end of the day because between my partner, toddler and me they vanished to quickly. This packet retails at £2.99.

The white bread didn't impress me taste wise. Over all it looked like a fantastic loaf of bread, it has a great rise and visually would be hard to tell apart, however that's where the similarity stop. When creating the thick dough its clear that this is Rice based with the sweet smell of rice pudding. Once cooked it has a sort of 'vinegar' smell which I wouldn't expect from bread at all. Though the crust is lovely and hard and the insides soft once eaten it takes on a glue like texture which to me is not pleasant. The taste is also somewhat lacking, though leaves a lingering after taste. 
Whether this is the norm for gluten free (and dairy) bread I'm unsure but it doesn't make me eager to try any further breads. I was also given the brown bread version of this to try, this also doesn't do anything for me. I think I will stick to the gluten free cakes.

The 'Oaty Cookie' Mix made some delicious flap jack tasting cookies. With both crunch and crumble this little cookie went down a treat with my toddler and myself. At first I wasn't sure how they were going to turn out, the dough felt far to wet to roll and landed up spooning it onto the baking tray and patting them flat. I'm not sure if this was due to using 'vitelife' which is quite a liquidly soft dairy free butter.  However I was pleased to see that they did form into something more solid even if it was a little more delicate.
Would I buy them again? For a sales price I definitely would, however I'm not sure if I would go out my way to pick these up unlike the brownies above which I would travel miles for. They are really nice just a bit messy to bake. 

The sponge mix is really easy to follow and makes a lovely risen cake. The sponge is light and fluffy and with a little bounce when pressed. It tastes wonderful and I would buy this again.
I was a bit uncertain when i first poured out the mixture into the tins as i wasn't sure if it would rise like the bread or hardly rise at all like the brownies. Happily it did rise as seen above. I made up some butter icing for the middle and it has a wonderful complimentary taste.

Have you ever tried any Gluten Free breads or cakes? Let me know down below what you recommend.

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PS:The Items were sent by Delicious Alchemy for review purposes, however like always this will never affect my overall opinion of a product. Every item ever sent is always reviewed as if I had purchased it with my own money.

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Saturday, January 9

Bella Broomstick by Lou Kuenzler

Today I bring you a review on a very charming children's book named “Bella Broomstick”. I was very lucky to be given a copy of the first book from the series written by Lou Kuenzler and can not wait to read this to my little one as she gets a bit older.

Brimming with magic and cuteness, the book follows the story of a little girl named Belladonna who just happens to be the “most helpless young witch in the whole of the magic realm.” Unlike her Aunty Hemlock and the rest of her school pupils she just doesn't seem to grow any warts. Bella doesn't seem destined for the Magic world, however she does have something much better in store; living with the Persons.

The first book of the series follows the adventures of Bella as she gets up to witchery and wonderment as she follows her promises plus hopes to finally fit in. With a big bright flamingo and kitten 'Rascal' at her side little Bella is the perfect companion for any night time reading.

I particularly like how the book is set out. With doodles and more of her thoughts written in as apposed to typed, it really comes to life like a diary of Bella's. This gives the book a special feel and helps the reader to connect deeper with the characters. With larger text and the perfect length this is sure to hold the attention of any little readers.

This book would be perfect for any little girls who love magic and amusement. Packed full of funny names, tales and colourful characters, this is sure to cause a smile and encourage reading development.


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PS: This book was given to me for review purposes. I believe in giving an honest review on items on this blog and money will never sway my opinion.

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Thursday, January 7

Slimpod: Thoughts before the start

Its no secret that I'm trying to loose a bit of weight and get fit. For the last six months iv been going up and down on those pesky scales and so far have lost 16lb, having put 4lb back on over Christmas.

Iv came under fire in the past for stating that I wanted to loose the weight, plus models are meant to be curvy right? I think its important to remember that this body is mine and mine alone, just like yours belongs to you.
Almost everybody has one flaw or niggle they would like to change, be it there eye colour, there toe length or how fragile there nails are. My one big body hang up is my belly and its overhang.
Body positivity is exactly how it sounds, being positive about your body and living it for you. You can be body positive and want to loose weight. There is nothing positive living in a body that makes you sad. I mean don't get me wrong, my weight doesn't bother me (medically speaking it should) and if I could smooth out just my tummy I would. However life doesn't work that way (unless you have the cash to do it) so its an all or nothing deal.
My biggest issue with weight loss is the fact I'm a huge sweet tooth. The second I get a sniff of chocolate its wolfed down and as they say “A second on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”. Cakes, sweets, ice-cream – essentially anything loaded with sugar seems to find Its way into my mouth no mater how hard I try to stay on track.
I even go as far to make sure there is none of it in the house however my lovely fiancĂ© – thinking he's doing good – takes home sweets and pizza as a reward for doing good so the cycle breaks down. I get fed up of eating a little green sad salad whilst his plates full of yummy chips and other goodies.

So when I was offered the chance to try out a weight loss program that did NOT involve changing what I eat, eating certain things or even any exercise it sounded like the perfect plan. Who wouldn't love sitting watching TV and letting the fat melt off? I know I would. The more I learnt about it the more perfect yet to perfect it seemed. Could I really loose weight listing to a podcast every night for 12 weeks? Well we are going to find out. Armed with my little Arc notebook with its new Success Log for the Gold Program of Slimpod I'm on a quest to shift this post-baby weight and get a body that I want.

Sounds great doesn't it? Deep down I know I eat because I feel emotionally tied to it. When I'm bored I eat; when I'm sad, you guessed it, I eat. I eat junk that fills the gap created by emotions. I'm really looking forward to trying this approach to my weight loss and its not something iv ever came across before.
I am a bit worried however that it really will be 'to good to be true' but looking at all the other reviews I have high hopes.

Along with these listing tapes I'm going to be adding in my own exercise routine of yoga (find out why it helped change my mind) and walking/running to help melt off the pounds quicker. I'm also continuing to adopt my healthy lifestyle tips. At the moment I am on a liquid calorie diet (thanks toothache) so I'm hopping by the time I'm ready to eat solids again I wont be reaching for the junk but nibbling on a carrot instead. Perhaps that carrot will be in a cake, still healthy that way right? 

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PS: Slimpod was given to me for review purposes. I believe in giving an honest review on items on this blog and money or receiving items will never sway my opinion.

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