The Gym Playlist

Gym. I love and loathe it in equal measure. Nothing beats the high you get after a good session of sweating your derriere off, owing to that quick burst of endorphins that floods your bloodstream.  But the actual process of lifting your ass off  the couch and drag it all the way to the dungeon of terror? (yes, I sometimes refer to it as that) is another matter entirely. THE EFFORT!!!!! But you know what helps to set the wheels in motion?  A reliable playlist that you can rely on to support you in your quest to become the next Victoria's Secret Angel (I'd just settle for looking less like a big toe). Below are my picks. The songs included either have a sick beat or inspiring and motivational lyrics.

When you'd rather pull both eyeballs out than run like an eejit on the treadmill: 
Work Bitch by Britney Spears
I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas
Let's Go by Calvin Harris ft Ne-Yo
Masterpiece by Jessie J
I Will Never Let You Down by Rita Ora

As you enter the gym, you want to raise your morale as high as it could go, fake your confidence and pretend you know exactly what you're doing by listening to:
Who Dat Girl by Flo Rida ft Akon
This Girl by Laza Morgan
Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani
Hypnotized by Plies ft Akon

Working on your glutes, quads and hamstrings? Work through your squats with:
Booty by Jennifer Lopez ft Iggy Azalea
Booty Wurk by T-Pain ft Joey Galaxy
My Humps by The Black Eyed Peas
With Legs Like That by Zebrahead

For that moment you find yourself in pure agony, going _ km/hr on the treadmill, dripping in sweat, cheeks so red, heart beating so fast and your mind screams ''Pls, no more. I beg you. You ain't an Olympian sprinter. Who do you think you are? Usain Bolt?'' 
Bounce by Iggy Azalea
Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding (that 3rd round of chorus after the verse that starts with 'Yeah, I'll let you set the pace?' Works like a charm. Every. Damn. Painful. Time.) 
Dirrty by Christina Aguilera 'sweat dripping over my body'
Church by T-Pain
You Gotta Want It by Jordin Sparks
Shawty Get Loose by Lil Mama ft Chris Brown and T-Pain

We all know that cardio is boring, so spice up your workout and power through the elliptical/ stationary bike/rowing machine with these jams:
Mama by Christopher
I'm A Freak by Enrique Iglesias
Bailando by Enrique Iglesias
La La La by Naughty Boy ft Sam Smith
Show Me The Money by Petey Pablo
Dangerous Love by Fuse ODG ft Sean Paul
Break Free by Ariana Grande ft Zedd
Last Friday Night by Katy Perry
Fire Burning by Sean Kingston
369 by Cupid ft B.o.B
Ayo by Chris Brown ft Tyga
Papi by Jennifer Lopez
Famous by Charli XCX
Goodies by Ciara ft Petey Pablo
1, 2 Step by Ciara ft Missy Elliot
Timber by Pitbull ft Kesha

You're down to your last few reps of lifting weights etc, but while your mind is crying out for you to keep pushing, deep in your heart you just want to walk out already. Push through that boundary and train like a breast by bringing out the big guns:
Numb by Linkin Park 
Lose Yourself by Eminem
Fighter by Christina Aguilera 
More by Usher ''I'm a beast, I'm an animal, I'm that Monster in the mirror.... Gonna push it to the limit, give it more''

At last you've finished your workout. It sure wasn't easy. You're sweaty Betty, but boy does it feel so damn good. Bask in your hard-earned post workout glow by blaring out: 
Pretty Girls by Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea
Fancy by Iggy Azalea ft Charli XCX ''hot girl, hands off, don't touch that. Look at that, I bet you wishing you could clutch that''
Beautiful by Akon ft Colby O'Donis
On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons

You've earned those sweat patches, go rock them girlfriend.... 


Essie Fiji is just so fetch

Painting my nails was never a favorite hobby of mine. I love having my talons painted especially when they have a glossy finish, but the effort required to get there? That I despise with passion. I blame it on my unsteady hands. Hello, streak galore. But as the saying goes 'you never know what you have until it's gone'.  Given the profession that I'm in, wearing nail polishes on a regular basis is no longer possible. Sure on my days off, I can lacquer up to my heart's content, but the reality of the matter is, the happiness will always be short-lived as I have to remove it all again for the following shift that week. First world problems right there. 

So as it's more of a treat nowadays, I've learned to cherish and appreciate the entire process of nail polish application. But as 9 times out of 10, I'm still way to lazy to bother applying the stuff, a nail polish must be pretty darn special to change my ways.

Essie Fiji is one of the lucky ones. Billed as my all time favorite polish (yes, I totally went there), this stunning white based milky baby pink, paired with its creamy opaque finish is one of those 'Gosh.. I cant stop staring at my nails' love affairs. It looks so neat, ladylike, chic and is uber flattering on the nails and my skin complexion. For a pastel, I'm pretty impressed with its formula as 1 coat nearly leaves an opaque finish and unlike the other pastels that came before it, it doesn't apply all that streaky. There's still some degree of streakiness to deal with, but it's nothing that 2 coats in and some patience won't fix. Suddenly, shelling out 9.99 euro for a bottle of the stuff, ain't so bad. I've only one thing left to say Essie Fiji, you're just SO fetch! Regina George would be so proud. It's 2015. Please, can we just make fetch happen already?


Because pretty make-up deserves a pretty home

Buying make-up especially products with to die for packaging is pointless if they don't have a beautiful place to call home. A bit harsh? Maybe, but the truth all the same. Which is why, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to this babe of a make-up bag. Because let's face it. The obsession with beauty products will always co-exist with a love for pretty bags.

Say hello to my SewLomax Lipstick Pouch. Ain't she a sight for sore eyes? Finding beautiful make-up bags has proven difficult for me. Tired of seeing mass produced make-up bags, I longed for a quirky and unique design. Thankfully I stumbled upon the British brand SewLomax (now called Emma Lomax) on twitter. The brand was created by the talented Emma Lomax who offers a plethora of hand-crafted embroidered make-up pouches, wash bags, travel bags and cushions. Each bag is hand stitched all the way in India using ethically sourced materials. When I saw this bag way back in September of last year, I knew I had to have it. At that time, I was hesitant at first upon seeing that it retailed for £25. I love the bag, but could I really part ways with £25 for a make-up bag? By some miracle though, the answer was made for me. Who answered it? Feel Unique who back then, stocked it. It was included in their sale and for the price of 20 euro, it became mine. It came beautifully wrapped in cute gift tissue packaging and presented in a SewLomax stamped box which makes for an ideal storage solution. 

The attention to detail is second to none. Made from a 100% canvas like material with waterproof red nylon lining, the bag features seventeen embroidered red lipsticks. As a lover of rouge lipsticks, it's pretty damn clear why I'm besotted with it. The color scheme of black, red, cream and gold adds a touch of glamour and just compliment one another. The contrast of the bright red lipsticks with the cream pouch is just beautiful. I may have the tendency to look at this just a tad too long whenever it's sitting pretty on top of my dressing table. The bag itself is 13 cm in height, 21 cm in width and 8 cm in diameter. As the bag is made of canvas material, it's flexible and manages to hold quite a lot of my beauty junk while still maintaining its shape. It's spacious and roomy, thus perfectly suited to house the small big army of products I like to bring along with me as I go about my daily business (even though I hardly ever touch up my make-up. I'm weird. Let's move on). I love that the bag manages to stay upright even if there's no product inside. #itsthelittlesthings The shade cream is never ideal when it comes to make-up because it's obviously prone to gathering a million make-up stains, but I've had this since September and I have yet to find a stain. Maybe it's got to do with my carefulness, but when you have a bag as beautiful as this, you're going to do everything to protect it, right?

The best bit? There's an option to personalise the bags by having a personal message embroidered on the back of the bag. For a mere £0.05, you can add a touch of uniqueness. If you wanted to go one step further, there's also the option of designing your own bag. As I purchased mine from Feel Unique, I didn't get to avail of this offer, but the next time I find myself with spare £20, I'm going to purchase another bag, because while it seems expensive for a make-up bag, I can vouch for the quality of it. The cream version is no longer available, but the equally beautiful black version is up for grabs. Hmm. Seems like my next purchase is set in stone already. Only thing left to decide on? The message. I'm thinking 'the glamorous, oh the flossy, flossy' Throwback to 2007. Major points if you get the reference. :)


Most loved beauty products of 2014

It's that time again about time for me to look back over the past year and announce the best products the beauty industry has to offer. Okay. So this post is clearly way overdue. Hello. We're fast approaching the middle of 2015, for crying out loud, DIANE! I actually debated whether or not to still write about my 2014 product favourites, but seeing as 2014 was a phenomenal year for trying out new brands, I just had to. I know I say it all the time whenever I compile this annual post, but trust me when I say that 2014 will go down as one of my favourite year in terms of product discovery. I started my first job last year so needless to say, I had the funds to go beyond the walls of Boots and explore the extravagant beauty hall of Brown Thomas. Grown up version of Disneyland? Hell yes! But while I can now afford a weekly splurge, the drugstore offerings will forever have a very special place in my heart. If the product works, it works. I'm not going to be persuaded by its price tag. Now the products included in this post were not necessarily new releases, per se. Apart from the Bourjois products, the rest have been around for years now, but I only discovered, purchased and loved them in 2014. Enough word vomit from me. Here are my most used  make-up products of 2014.

When it comes to my everyday base, I'm always going to dig a light, fresh and dewy complexion. To be a contender for my everyday base of choice, there are several criteria. It has to provide medium coverage while remaining lightweight on the skin and blend easily and seamlessly into the skin. Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream in 33 Rose Beige fits the bill perfectly. 90% of time, this was my base of choice in 2014. For a flawless, no fuss just straight up healthy natural looking base, this was my weapon. It smoothes and evens out my complexion without masking, immediately covering redness. As it imparts a subtle luminous finish, it counteracts fatigue, instantly adding life back to my dull looking skin. As if the lovely finish is not enough, the runny/watery texture makes it a dream to apply as it blends easily upon contact with the skin. No need for my Real Techniques Buffing Brush. This task is one best suited for the fingers. Boasting an impressive amount of coverage while still feeling beautifully light on this skin? Me gusta.

Before I start to harp on about my love for Benefit Hoola Bronzer , let me dedicate this moment to my long lost, much loved bronzer. The wonder that was Nars Casino. I lost it way back in October and after searching high and low, it never resurfaced again. It was my trusted ally when it came to tackling my round cheeks. But while I continue to pray for the day we reunite, I've turned to Hoola
to give me that sought after chiseled look. Because sadly, I wasn't blessed with Keira Knightley-esque cheekbones. As Hoola is a medium dark brown and has a matte finish, it's perfect for contouring. The powder is a breeze to blend, thanks to its lovely velvety texture. Team up with either  my Real Techniques Contour Brush (for some contouring action underneath my cheekbones) or my Real Techniques Blush Brush for an all over gorgeous sun-kissed glow, it's faultless. (Casino, I still bloody miss you, pls don't hold it against me.)

Blushes. Ah blushes. It was either Chanel Presage (62) Le Blush Creme de Chanel or Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso. There was no in between. Luminoso's finely milled texture just blends so seamlessly into the skin, so much so that not considering it as a daily blush of choice is just foolish. This peachy pink goodness with its tiny gold shimmers is the must have item in your beauty arsenal for instant glowy cheeks without ever looking OTT. As for Presage? It's just another no brainer. A gorgeous apricot shade with a creamy texture that transforms into a powder-like finish, the second it's applied to the skin. Having a light cream consistency, it readily blends into the skin without a great deal of effort. Can you tell I like my products that require little effort? Lazy who? But kidding aside, applying Presage is always such a joy because whether I opt for my fingers or my trusted Sigma Duo Fibre F50, the highly pigmented hue blends easily, leaving an impeccable, natural long wearing flush of colour.

Eyes wise, not much has changed. It's still all about the neutral eyeshadows. One such palette that I've drooled over for more than a year finally found its way into my arms. Too Faced Natural Eyes palette, I didn't particularly need you as I have my Urban Decay Naked Palettes to satisfy my love for neutral shades, but just because I didn't need you doesn't mean that I didn't want you. 9 shades of pigmented and super blendable shades which have been compiled in such a way that you can create a ton of looks to suit your taste on a particular day? Seriously, what's not to love?  Every single shade applies beautifully, owing to their soft and creamy texture. And with four matte and 5 shimmer shades, I literally don't think I can go wrong with this palette at my disposal. I'll admit that I don't particularly care much for Heaven as I simply don't have any use for it, but the remaining 8 shades are indispensable especially Push-Up. Because damn... That shimmery pink- bronze is just an eye candy. (see what I did there?) 
From one palette to another, this duo offering from Mac was compiled by me and boy oh boy. Just look at the adorable size of it. Pls tell me that I'm not alone? It houses All That Glitters and Sable.  
A pairing that's simply meant to be. If you're stuck for an everyday choice of colors for the lids, put your trust in this pairing and don't look back. They've got your back. Considering how popular All That Glitters is among beauty bloggers, I knew I had to get in on the action and marvel at this beaut of a shimmery golden beige and all that it has to offer. Quick wash of this all over the lids, on its own instantly brightens my make-up look. Pair it with Sable, a gorgeous golden plum on the crease... And bam. We've got ourselves a winner. They just work in perfect harmony.

My love for smokey eyes go way way back, but it's only when Mac Teddy Eye Kohl entered my life did I finally achieved that smouldering finish. WHAT?!? An eyeliner finally made its way into my annual fave products of the year post? Who would have thought, eh? I was afraid of eyeliners up until about a year ago. I wouldn't go near the stuff because my clumsy hands simply wouldn't let me. I always looked like a 3 year old did my eye make-up whenever I attempted it. So that ship was long abandoned. But along came Teddy to the rescue. I don't know what it is, but somehow I'm no longer a failure when it comes to applying eyeliner. Okay. That's a lie. I'm still quite the failure when it comes to eyeliners, but significantly less so. Maybe it's to do with the fact that Teddy's soft creamy texture just glides easily along the lash line, depositing its rich dark brown shade with the prettiest subtle golden shimmers? Or maybe it's because even if I mess up applying it, I can just easily smudge it out and pretend it was deliberate, thus giving me that so called sexy, smouldering smokey eye? Either way, Teddy, you're the one for me.You're not perfect, mind you. My only gripe is that you don't seem to last long. You always migrate where you're not supposed to be, but for a player like you, I don't mind playing games. ;)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils made everyone go a bit gaga last year right? I mean they've been around the block for a good few years or so. But it was only last year when they truly caught the attention of everyone. As always, I was a little bit late joining the party, but hey. What can I say? It's my style. At present, I own 2 shades: Dragon Girl and Red Square, but out of the two, Dragon Girl triumphs as the queen bee. Nars describes it as a 'siren red' but on the lips, it's definitely not as red. The strong pink undertones makes it more of a cherry red. It's bright. It's beautiful. It is exactly what you need when you want glamour without the fuss. It's matte formula doesn't sacrifice on comfort. I truly enjoy it because it applies evenly with great ease. It looks matte, but doesn't wear like one. It's comfortable to wear as despite being a long wearing shade, it doesn't dry out the lips. It stays and stays.

Another red lipstick I simply couldn't get enough of in 2014 was Mac Ruby Woo. Channeling my inner Marilyn Monroe was made easy with this as my trusted ally. I won't harp on about my love for Ruby Woo as I previously dedicated an entire post to this beaut of a red lipstick.

For a more purse friendly option, the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets is the bomb dot com. 2014 saw the releases of many lip offerings from the drugstore. From Maybelline Color Elixirs to L'Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire Lip Colors, the playground was filled with endless possibilities, but the Rouge Edition Velvet is where it's at. Hands down, my favorite lip product from the aisles of Boots. These bold hues got me all heart eyed emoji from the first swipe. My ultimate pick? 05 OlĂ© Flamingo  is my babe. This straight up fuchsia goodness is the one to reach for when you want all eyes on you, missus. Seriously, it's a people pleaser. Wear it and wait for the endless compliments to wash over you. Not to be outdone, Hot Pepper is another stunning shade. An orange based red that went down a hit too. If a pigmented hue, one that coats the lips with a matte opaque color in one quick sweep is what you're lusting after, look no further. Upon initial application, these leave a semi-glossy finish, but wait a few mins for them to dry and they transform to a matte finish. And that is where the magic happens. For the days when I wanted to be plain Jane, Mac Patisserie did its job. This brown- toned pinky nude just ticks all the boxes.

Ask me to write a 2000 word essay on a non-beauty subject and I'd be lost for days looking at a blank screen. But ask me to write about my favorite products? Now that, I have no problems with. See you at my book signing, eh?