Pregnancy Update and Current Beauty & Lifestyle Favourites

Long time, no see!

Quick life update: I’m now in the third trimester of pregnancy and things have been going well so far… (touch wood).

We’ve found out we’re having a girl and she is a very active little madam indeed. The shopping list is big but we have made a dent with getting the pram, car seat and Isofix base in a helpful bundle deal from Mamas & Papas. We’ve also been investing in some second-hand sleep suits and the like from Depop. I’d thoroughly recommend checking these out if you too are expecting!

vivify baby @ 20 weeks

Once again I’m sorry for the lack of updates. Working full time and growing a new life has left me very tired indeed. I hope to have more time to blog now I am using up my holiday at work to go almost part time during the last couple of months before maternity leave.

Whilst I’m here I thought I’d share my current beauty and lifestyle favourites with you:

  • Dove Summer Revived: As we come out of the colder months it’s nice to have a bit of a glow. If you’re pale skinned like me and burn to a crisp within five seconds of basking in the sun or are just sensible about skincare, it’s better to fake it. This is a gorgeous gradual tanning lotion which leaves a subtle glow without streaks or making me look like an Oompa Loompa. I go with the fairer variety but there is also a darker offering.

 

  • Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara: Yes, the bloggers’ fave, but for a reason. I’m all about the quick and effective products (even more so these days!) and this ticks all the boxes for me when it comes to mascaras. I would happily pay more for it, but don’t tell Maybelline. This mascara beats or at least competes with every high-end version…

 

  • Emma’s Rectangle: I’ve only just discovered Emma’s channel but I love everything I’ve seen so far. She’s a lovely down to earth girl and I thoroughly enjoy watching her tutorials and hauls. Check her out here.

 

  • Bloglovin’: I am addicted to swiping through my favourite blogs on my tablet during my lunch break at work. It’s just so convenient to have everything in one feed rather than hopping through different links! You can follow this blog here!

 

  • ASOS maternity jeans: I have tried them all and nothing fits me like ASOS. Personally, I was highly disappointed in the New Look maternity range as they come up too large. H&M are amazing for tops but the jeans are too expensive. So the responsibility fell to ASOS! I am lucky enough to be able to wear jeans to my office job so I NEED a reliable few pairs to see me through pregnancy. Look out for special offers!

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I’ll be back very soon hopefully with more single product reviews amongst some other stuff!

laura

PS Don’t forget to follow vivifyblog on Instagram where I am trying out instastories! The above picture is lifted directly from my “story” from a few days ago.

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2016 | Year in Music

I have a soundtrack for everything. My Spotify has a selection of playlists curated by me for each and every occasion, memory, holiday, year, genre, artist – you name it!

Throughout the year I add current favourite songs into one playlist which becomes a sort of time capsule. I see many blog posts using Instagram to sum up the blogger’s year -which certainly is a good indication of what each of us got up to in 2016 – however, for me it’s all about the tunes:

Okay, not every single song brings back a poignant memory, but scrolling through I am reminded of the highs and lows of 2016: the deaths of David Bowie and George Michael, a very difficult time at work facing redundancy, the relief of keeping my job, our honeymoon (particularly blasting out Austra when driving over the Golden Gate bridge and hearing JT on the radio whilst cruising around Hawaii), falling in love with Gilmore Girls (Carole King and Sam Philips of course), and finding out we are expecting our first child.

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These are memories that will be infinitely linked with these songs. In years to come, I will always associate certain songs with a particular bar in Vancouver – as if I was sipping an ice cold beer right there and then (currently dreaming of having another once our new addition is here).

It’s said a picture says a thousand words, and that may be true, but for me a song says even more.

Happy new year all!

laura

PS I will be back very soon with my favourites (beauty and lifestyle) of 2016!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Why I’ve Been MIA in the Blogosphere

If you follow me on twitter you may have seen my humble tweet announcing my pregnancy. Yes, I am 9 weeks pregnant. I feel like I’ve already been on one hell of a ride.

Where do I start? My husband and I are very happy about the news, and this baby was planned. Truth is, we only tried for a couple of months before we hit the jackpot. This makes us very lucky. 

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We saw Baby at 8 weeks, measuring a healthy 18mm and showing a strong heartbeat. I am not naive enough to think this means we are out of the dark (I don’t think you truly are until you hold your little one, and then new worries take over), but the odds are certainly in our favour. I did not want to make any announcements until we had some degree of confidence.

I am excited, feeling very ill with “morning” sickness, and extremely tired. I have found it hard to keep up with day to day life in all honesty. It’s an exhausting, humbling and magical experience, but it’s also not easy. Pregnancy wasn’t supposed to interfere with blogging, but it has. Now I’m nearing the end of the first trimester I hope to be back with more product reviews etc.

If you guys are interested I will also include some pregnancy updates. This is will be alongside my usual content.

Until then, take care and have a Merry Christmas! I hope to see you again before 2017!

laura

 

 

Falling out of Love with Beauty Boxes… From addiction to recovery

They were once a wonderful thing, filled with discoveries and unknown territories. But I now look around the remnants of what was, and I feel almost regretful…

No, this is not a love affair (although it could be mistaken as one). I’m talking about my relationship with beauty subscription boxes.

A year ago I was a paying subscriber to all mainstream beauty boxes and now I’ve reduced that total to only one. And that lone survivor only remains as I signed up for a year’s commitment to reduce costs!

The excitement of the postman knocking and handing me a box! The moment I opened it to see that eye palette or new launch from Revlon I was lusting over on the Boots website! It was almost an addiction.

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Why the change of heart? Read on.

Too many samples have built up. They were coming to me at an unsustainable rate. There was no way I could use all this… stuff. My bathroom still resembles a shelf at the Body Shop and no one seems to be shopping there. I am trying my hardest to use them all up, but it’s going to take a LONG while.

Money! I actually paid for this stuff. Yes, it’s great to receive a miniature of a luxury product, but what about the things I have no use for? I paid for the privilege of receiving them only to keep them buried in a drawer or pass them onto friends. This is not only costly but also wasteful.

Now I can spend money on what want. When I first began my love affair with beauty boxes, I didn’t know which products suited me. It was all in prep for my wedding and I needed experience, STAT. 18 months ago I didn’t know a BB cream from a tinted moisturiser. I loved sampling products and believe these boxes were an integral part of my journey.

I now have it all figured out: mattifying foundations dry me out. I don’t have a need to play with my already defined brows.  Yet, I’d love to treat myself to a fancy tinted moisturiser or volumising mascara.

In fact, that’s exactly what I’ll do with the money I’ve saved…

xoxox

New Season Resolutions: Autumn/Fall

Autumn is by far my favourite season…

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The dazzling colours and crisp air bring a feeling of new beginnings and fresh hope. It’s no secret amongst those who know me that I am not that keen on Summer (purely because I burn and tend to feel the heat excessively), so I am very much excited to whip out those scarves and leather jackets.

Like any new season, it’s also the perfect time for personal reflection and so here are my Autumnal resolutions:

  1. Blog more!

    I know, I know, I’ve said it hundreds of times before but I promise this time I will follow through. VIVIFY has been neglected amongst my honeymoon and those constant work stresses, but there will be no more excuses.The very premise of this blog is to celebrate the mundane and appreciate the brilliance of the everyday.

    Plus, I am yet to try out my micro-review concept (regular single products reviews offered in small bursts that can be consumed whenever & wherever). There will still be lifestyle posts but I have concluded from previous experience that this mode of blogging suits my life best. We shall see, but in whatever form, expect more posts here. I promise.

  2. Stress less!

    I have been doing a pretty good job of late not to let things get to me so much. For example, I hate my job but I come to realise that it does not define me and I’m just ruining my time outside the office by stressing about it constantly.It pays the bills and allows me to fulfil other parts of my life I very much enjoy. The people are nice and the atmosphere is casual. There are many positives amongst the very real negatives. Now I just show up and get on with it, leaving office politics behind me when I walk out at half five.

    Life is very much about the five to nine and not the nine to five.

  3. Get back to healthy ways!

    I did tremendously well last year by exceeding my weight loss goals and losing 24 lbs before my wedding. Slowly, but surely, the weight is gradually creeping back and I intend to nip it in the bud. And I’m not just doing this for aesthetics, it’s more about health for me.See the point above. My bad eating and drinking habits were all linked with my ability to turn literally anything into a soul-sucking negative. My newly found positive thinking goes hand in hand with my healthier lifestyle. And I’ve never felt better.

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I really do have a good feeling about the future and cannot wait for all the wonderful things Autumn and Winter bring. This is why I am now fully committed to sharing such things with you on VIVIFY. From my new layout to a new attitude to blogging, it’s all gravy (especially alongside those roast dinners the colder nights bring!).

What are your feelings toward to the change of season? Are you excited to get cosy like me or will you be mourning the sun? Let me know in the comments below.

xoxoxo

Full credit to MakeupSavvy for these brilliant Autumnal stock photos!

 

Fresh Start, Fresh Rules…

Let me be very honest here – blogging the way I have historically just does not work for me. I work full time, I have other hobbies and interests, and sometimes all I want to do during my free time is curl up on the sofa with a sharing bag of crisps and binge-watch Netflix.

What I mean is, life takes over and it’s hard to find the time to sit down with my laptop and blog.

I tried the whole scheduling thing: I had a well-intentioned calendar of blog posts to write and bumper photography sessions of self-made stock photos. It was the pitch perfect blog planning situation but with one massive problem: I lacked the time and motivation to see it through.

But I love blogging! I love having my own little space on the net to voice my opinion on products and to feel as if I am a part of the blogging movement. I don’t expect or particularly want to be the next big blogger on the scene. I doubt I will make a penny from this site. But that’s beside the point: I want to blog and I enjoy it.

So here is how it is going to go: I will blog when I can. I will mainly focus on simple, single product reviews as this is the easiest thing to jot down quickly when the opportunity arises. Yes, it might be a little niche at times but if you’re looking for a straightforward, no BS review on that new drugstore nail polish then maybe VIVIFY.com is the place to be.

When and how often? I’m afraid I don’t know. Of course, there will be the odd travel, food, lifestyle and fashion post chucked in for good measure! I’m just going back to my old Tumblr routes (where VIVIFY originated) and focusing on my strengths: honest, to-the-point, single product reviews.

Be sure to follow on bloglovin to ensure you never miss a post. It will be unpredictable and spontaneous (all the things the blogging advice guides say not to do!) but it will be honest and to the point. I’m excited to finally breathe some life back into this blog and I hope it can live up to its namesake – to make life interesting.

How I De-Stress and Unwind

Oh my god: what a stressful month!

My job was at risk of redundancy which put our three week, once in a lifetime honeymoon was in the firing line also. Of course, this was not the biggest problem at hand. I put myself out there just in case and applied for tonnes of jobs. The problem was none of them appealed to me: I’d fallen into finance by accident and then it remained habit… But the feeling of submitting my CV and hearing back from recruiters at least made me feel as if I had control over this aspect of my situation.

Long story short: my job is safe and I am very, very, very much relieved. My upcoming holidays are safe and I no longer have the embarrassment of asking a new employer for three weeks off almost immediately after starting a new job – what if they said no?!

So how did I make myself feel better during those worrying weeks?

Firstly, I ate well and stayed hydrated. By looking after my body this took some of the strain off my mind. It’s also important to get as much sleep as possible. I have always been a bad sleeper, especially in times of worry, but routine is of the utmost importance. I aim to get up the same time every day – yes, even at weekends – and the body clock follows.

Exercise is also a good stress-reliever as it gives you a chance to expel some energy and frustrations, whilst taking care if your body and also helping you sleep. I have a cross-trainer and weights at home, and also practice yoga from my bedroom, so forking out for expensive gym membership is not essential. My favourite yoga YouTubers are Brett Larkin and Yoga with Adrienne who provide online routines for beginner and experienced yogis alike.

So I’m fed, watered and exercise – now onto relaxation! I love catching up on social media, but stay mindful that everyone projects a refined version of themselves online and only the parts they want you to see. It’s so easy to fall into the trap that everyone else’s lives are perfect when the reality is quite different. So long as you remember this as you scroll through your Instagram feed, social media can be a good way to unwind and connect with fellow bloggers and personal friends.

I also love chilling out with the latest uploads from my favourite YouTubers. There is so something so therapeutic about watching a make-up tutorial or a look book. Perhaps one day I will have enough courage and time to start my own channel! But until then I am more than happy to let my subscription box fill up with vlogs and GRWMs.

So once I’ve been inspired by a YouTube pamper routine it’s time to start my own: firstly, I need to make sure all of my make up is off. You’ve heard of a double cleanse. Well, mine is more like a quadruple!

Make-up wipes and micellar water to get the damn stuff off and then an oil cleanse, followed by a foaming face wash. If I am fortunate to have the time for a bath I would then apply a cold Lush face mask from the fridge whilst running a tub full of Epsom salts, muscle therapy bubble soak and a dash of aromatherapy oil. Bliss.

Once in the bath I’d treat my hair to a mask, shave my legs and relax with a cold beer. There is something so special about the contrast between a hot bath and a cold drink.

Once out, I douse myself in body lotion, put on my dressing gown and read a book/magazine. With my pixie cut I do not need to blow dry my hair so my bath time is over. Bonus.

This simple routine kept me sane during a v. stressful month. Self-care and indulgence in simple pleasures is all there is to it.

How do you unwind and de-stress?

xoxoxo

 

Life Update and Current Obsessions!

Hello after another longer than expected blogging hiatus!

I can’t even attempt to sugarcoat the situation: life is tough right now. My job is at risk of redundancy and suddenly talking about shower gel seems so superficial. But then again, isn’t life about its little treats? Indulging in a long bath has certainly helped with stress recently, amongst these other things:

Make Up

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Nail Colour (£7.99) – Whilst this polish is a little on the pricier side, the longevity and ease of application more than make up for it. I’ve been rocking the bright red, almost coral, shade All Fired Up.

MAC Syrup (£15.50) – This pink-toned nude is the very definition of your-lips-but-better and I just adore the semi-creamy finish which sits so comfortably on the lips and lasts all day. I think this may be The One.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation (£9.99) – I mentioned in a previous blog post that I hardly ever wear foundation because of its cakey feel, instead using tinted moisturisers and BB creams to even out my complexion. Well, then this came into my life and the rest was history. I use the shade Light Vanilla but it comes in 8 shades to suit everyone.

Skincare

Sanctuary Spa Beauty Sleep Face Mask (£12.00) – I would classify myself as a lazy girl, so a face mask that works its magic whilst you sleep and requires no rinsing very much appeals the me. I’ve tried similar concepts in the past but was put off by sticky residues and lingering scents, however this soaks into my skin before you can start counting sheep leaving healthier, brighter skin by morning.

NIP+FAB Deep Cleansing Fix (£8.00) – This multi-use cream is an absolute delight. Not only does it remove makeup and cleanses the face, it can also be used as a face mask. Tea tree and sweet almond oil not only smell fantastic but help clear blemishes. I’d stock up.

Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Ageing Moisturiser and Serum Duo (£14.99) – We all know the importance of wearing daily SPF but I can’t be the only one who finds the clogginess and overwhelming scent of traditional suncream a turn off. This clever moisturiser and serum duo contains broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection (SPF 20) and is oil free – so all the protection without the grease.

Hopefully life will turn around for me in the near future, but in the meantime I will stay strong and keep treating myself until I get my feeling of vivify back!

xoxo

Back to Basics: A Very Honest Blog Post

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Hello! Apologies for the lack of posts recently (I feel like I’m always saying that but fellow bloggers who also work full time will understand). The dark nights and indulgence of February kind of hindered me. Life took over and blogging got put on the backburner. I hope you can forgive me.

So in order to get myself back in the blogging frame of mind, let’s have a small life update shall we?

Ok, well work is the same old and I’m living for the weekends. My husband and I spend the few hours we get together each night cooking and cleaning. But I’m not down. My life is not a perfect Insta of coffee meetings and avocado on toast, and I’m too tired to go to the gym for 6am. I think 99% of us get that.

I’m here for the ordinary amongst us – the 20-somethings who live the 9-5, who want to be healthy but love pizza too much, those who simply don’t have the time or funds to use 30 beauty products a day. And the ones we do use are all from Boots.

But that is not always what people want to read about – how I spent the day cleaning or organising groceries, and how I just spent waaaaaay too much in Primark. How can the rest of us compete with vlogs to the Maldives and Chanel parties?

I know the Gleamers we spend so much time watching on YouTube also scrub the loo when they put down their cameras. What I’m saying is, are people interested in reading about my very average working day routine? Do they actually care about my favourites of the previous month, alongside thousands of other similar posts? Maybe I’m just too average, too boring, too vanilla for the blogging world. Perhaps I should be an onlooker?

I love being a part of the blogging movement. It is a wonderful female-lead community of strong women. But it’s time to ditch the rose-gold tinted glasses and stand up for the everyday woman…

I did not expect this post to take this turn. Perhaps that’s my niche – honest blogging, for the non-princesses and ordinary working women. But that is not a bad thing. Perhaps I will post about the best cleaning products alongside glossy pictures of lipstick and handbags. About working overtime and still being overdrawn. About ordinary issues such as not be able to lose that final bit of weight we have tried to diligently to ditch.

Is that what you want to read?

Never believe that ordinary does not make you extraordinary. 

VIVIFY Awards: Best of 2015

Welcome to the inaugural Vivify Awards where I showcase my favourite items from the world of beauty & lifestyle from the previous year!

Make-up

Most of these products are from the drugstore and are under £10 – score! I personally believe high-end products aren’t worth their high-end price tag so how about trying these out next time?

Mascara: Maybelline Lash Sensational (in shade Very Black)

Eye-liner: L’Oreal Paris Superliner Superstar Black

Foundation: Collection Perfecting Minerals Foundation Light To Medium

Powder: L’Oréal Paris True Match Powder (in shade Rose Ivory)

Brows: Soap & Glory Archery 2-in-1 Brow Pencil (in shade Hot Chocolate)

Eye-palette: Maybelline, The Nudes

Nail polish: Ciate Paint Pots Red Hot Chilli

Lipstick: KIKO Ultra Glossy Stylo SPF 15 # 813 (Apple Blossoms)

Lip balm: Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter Peach Parfait

Hair:

Hair colour: Live Colour XXL Radiant Red

Shampoo & Conditioner: John Frieda Radiant Red

Styling Product: Got2B POWDER’ful

Dry shampoo: Batiste Original

Skin:

Make-up remover: Garnier Micellar Water

Serum: Olay Anti Wrinkle Firm And Lift 2 In 1 Moisturiser And Serum

Primer: Rimmel London Lasting Finish Primer Transparent

Moisturiser: Simple Kind to Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturiser

Cleanser: Simple Kind To Skin Vital Vitamin Foaming Cleanser

Wipes: Simple Micellar Water Cleansing Wipes

Toner: Simple Kind To Skin Soothing Facial Toner

Face Mask: KIKO Hydrating Mask

Miscellaneous:

Candle: Yankee Christmas Memories

Book: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Album: At Least for Now by Benjamin Clemintine

Song: Chandelier by Sia

Bag: Fiorelli Flapover Shoulder Bag

TV Series: Pretty Little Liars

Bloggers/Vloggers:

Best health & fitness vlogger: Carly Rowena

Best yoga channel: Brett Larkin

Best beauty blog/vlog: Vivianna Does Makeup (blog, YouTube)

Best tutorials: Lisa Potter-Dixon

Upcoming vlogger/blogger: Fashion Mumblr (check out her new-look blog here!)

Best daily vlogs: The Saccone-Jolys

Most unique content: Zoe London

Best YouTube channel: Helen Anderson

What a year it has been! I cannot wait to see what 2016 has in store in the world of beauty and blogging.

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xoxoxo

NB all opinions are my own and this post contains no sponsored content