Love don’t cost a thing… yeah that’s what J-Lo said and its totally not true according to @prezzybox #valentinesday #love #gifts

So Valentines Day is (unbelievably) just around the corner, but do you know how much love costs? If you’re J-Lo, obviously love don’t cost a thing…. but there are varying differences for the average ladi-dah, so our friends at Prezzybox developed this fantastic run down of just how much love costs, so enjoy!

unnamed

Dear Skin, how much do I love thee? And how much do I spend? @katscapades #health #beauty #skincare

kat06 web


@katscapades is back and this time she’s getting up close and personal with her skin! So read on and don’t forget to follow her blog too!

I’m one of the billion people who spend money on skincare products. My spending habit from five years ago is vastly different from how much I invest now when it comes to taking care of the largest organ of my body. I’m grateful that my parents passed on the good skin genes and I’ve always wanted to maintain it, more so, improve it. Who wouldn’t want a healthy and younger looking skin all the time?!

I’m not denying that I also went through the stage of break-outs and unhealthy looking skin during some periods of my life.  Ergo, I was also one of the billion people victimised by aggressive marketing campaigns on skincare products – which actually did more harm than good at times – not just my skin but also my budget!  Glad the skin cells regenerate every 7 days (according Standford School of Medicine) and thank God I’ve got a job to recover my unwise-impulsive-skincare-shopping-habit – that’s learning it the expensive way!

Over time, I’ve realised that the importance of a healthy-looking skin goes a lot deeper. Reading various articles also helped me discover and rediscover facts about skincare. Dedicated to everyone who’d been asking me about my skincare secrets and to all my readers out there, I’m more than happy to share (publicly as I’ve been sharing a lot via private messages, skype and chitchats over a cup of green tea) the things I use and do and most importantly, how I prioritise my budget when it comes to my skincare expenditures.

So I’ve created a skincare spend-o-metre starting from the highest to the lowest:

SPENDING LEVEL: HIGH

1. Kitchen Machines

a. JUICER. About five years ago, I didn’t care that we had an existing juicer at home and I had no idea what joy it could bring into my life back then.  However, as I moved to France with my husband and learned the importance of juicing along the way.  I initially bought a juicer for just under a €100 and now investing into a €400+ Hurom Slow Juicer. My skin benefited a lot from juicing fresh vegetables and fruits and my juicer has been one of the busiest machines in my kitchen.

Frequency of Spending: Twice – one for my previous juicer and one for the slow juicer.

b. In-home alkaline water ionization technology . Actually this came into our home first before the juicer. “Drinking plenty of Alkalized water will maintain the pH of our bodies neutral, between a healthy range of 6.8 to 7.8, ideally 7.4. This neutral pH, not acidic-not too alkaline, prevents our immune system from malfunctioning or getting weaker and prevents diseases developing and keeps it strong and healthy” (click here for the source). To put it simply, healthier body = healthier skin. After careful research and consideration, we chose Kangen by Enagic USA but this machine comes with a huge price tag (you may want to close your eyes like we did when filling up the order form and handed the payment!).

Frequency of Spending: Once in a lifetime (filters have to changed yearly though)

 2. Fruits and vegetables.

You’ll probably notice that it’s cheaper to buy a big pack of Haribo Gold Bears or Doritos rather than a 100g of blueberries-rich-in-antioxidants or a bag of vit-c-filled-oranges for snacks; it’s cheaper to fry pork chops or grab those processed foods rather than making your own pesto sauce or making a hearty salad with the 5-a-day component. If I have €20 in my pocket and drop by at the mini supermarket, I could easily fill my shopping basket with junk with that amount versus going green – but I’d rather not. Fruits and veggies can also be used for some D.I.Y. skincare treats at home such as the famous diminishing-dark-circle-around-the-eye cucumber and avocado-super-face-mask to name a few (but to be honest, I haven’t done one in a long time since I love eating or juicing them!).

Buying organic produce also brings these green love goodies on this high spend-o-metre level. But trust me, it’s worth it.

Here are the usual fruits and veggies that I incorporate in my daily diet which are good for the skin: spinach, avocado, lemon, banana, cucumber, carrots, oranges and the following depends on their availability: berries, broccoli, mangoes, tomatoes and sweet potato.

Frequency of Spending: Daily.

3. Good exercise outfit.

I strongly believe that when you like what you’re wearing, you exercise better. Sports bra, running shoes and others to complete the fitness outfit are quite pricey! Make sure you buy comfortable and long-lasting items. It’s worth checking outlet stores too 🙂

Okay what’s the connection with skincare? You’ll see later on.

Frequency of Spending: Once in six months (sometimes more if I reward myself from working out)

SPENDING LEVEL: MEDIUM

1. Nutritional Supplements.

As I become more health conscious, I’m so paranoid of what I put in my body including what fitness drink or vitamins to take. I choose Juice PLUS+® since it’s plant-based and super safe even for pregnant nursing women and kids. JP Complete (choco / vanilla shake x 6 cans) costs around €160 inc. VAT and JP premium costs €76.75 per month, including VAT and delivery, that makes it €2.55 per day of full nutrition from 26 different varieties of fruits, veg & berries – which you cannot get that amount of nutrition under €3! In total, both JP Complete and JP Premium capsules cost €3.85 per day (or like buying a cup of cappuccino everyday). I thought it’s quite pricey (esp for people like me who don’t buy a cup of coffee daily) but equating the costs vs the nutritional benefits makes sense so it goes under this level of spend-o-metre.

JP Premium

Frequency of Spending: Monthly

2. SPF protection

I do invest into a good sunscreen protection especially when I’m out and about. I use Avène Sunblock – it’s more expensive than generic brands since it comes in a smaller bottle but I’m happy with its light fragrance, easy-to-apply texture without leaving those annoying white marks like other sunscreen creams do and it provides ultimate protection while being gentle on the skin. I also had the privilege of visiting Avène’s Hydrocentre and their team showed me how they make their products. Please click here to read the full story.

Avene

Frequency of Spending: My Avène sunblock was part of goodie bag from my previous trip at their Hyrdrocentre (yahoooooo, freebies! love the perks!). But I’ll probably be buying it once a month depending on how much I go under the sun during summer (less frequent during winter).

3. Make-up

Well, I just have a few essential things in my Make up bag. I opt to be make-up free most days of the week.  I think that my skin needs to breath and make-up clog my pores – oh that’s just me. I put make-up at this level of spend-o-metre since they are expensive pretty little things plus they must come with a gentle make-up remover, however, they last a long time since I hardly use them 🙂

Here are some of the make-up free, no-filter, no-edit selfie shots I’ve taken using my iPhone since I started juicing:

photo

Frequency of Spending: Once a year.

4. Facial Cleanser

Here’s another revelation: after cleaning my face with a paraben-free facial cleanser (I use La Roche as seen on this post), I spray Avène Thermal Spring Water on my face and leave it til it gets dry before I moisturise.

Spray

Frequency of Spending: Every 6 weeks.

5. Fish

My husband and I eat fish at least 2-3 times a week. Fish is more expensive than meat here in South of France (not sure about your area – hope it’s the opposite as fish is supergood and yummy!). Salmon and other cold water fish are high in protein which can help to speed up the skin’s natural healing process according to Glamour.

Frequency of Spending: We buy supply good for a week, so weekly.

SPENDING LEVEL: LOW

1. Daily moisturisers

JLo said in an interview a few years ago, if there’s one thing she’ll teach her kids, it will be to moisturise. Moisturising is a skincare essential. I used to be obsessed in buying the mid-range to expensive pots. Oh I loved seeing them lined up in the special section of my bathroom back in my London days. I fell in love with Liz Earle’s Organic Moisturiser, Mandelular Sensuous Body Soufflé by Sanctuary and of course, my super Molton Brown products. Moreover, I kept collecting bottles from other brands too. Can you imagine what  my bathroom looked like then?

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Liz Earle and those nicely packaged creams but like what my husband told me, if you find products that are good for your skin, stick with it. Nowadays, I’’ve been using the affordable Oil of Olay Day and Night Cream for the face and for the body, I use Nivea Soft Cream daily (under €5).

I’ve also read somewhere that experimenting on different products may be harsh to our skin. Well, it’ll be a quest to find what really suits your skin type before sticking on it and I’m not stopping you if let’s say Crème de la Mer is the one that works for you but living a healthy lifestyle can save you from spending too much on creams and reallocate your budget such as sustaining the juicing habit.

Frequency of Spending: Face creams last upto 6 weeks and 7-10 days for the body cream shared between us

2. Other Basic Toiletries

I try to keep a low maintenance practice on the basic toiletries such as body wash (currently, we are using Dove); deodorant (I always use the DEOROCHE SPRAY – an all-natural potash alum spray with no colouring agents and fragrance plus it’s paraben free; and hair removal tools i.e. Veet facial/body easy-wax strips and Venus razor.

Frequency of Spending: Between 2-3 weeks

3. Green Tea and Eggs

Super cheap anti-oxidant polyphenol-rich green tea’s good for the skin too and eggs too – I don’t take them together though :p

Frequency of Spending: Between 2-3 weeks for a pack of green tea and every 3-5 days for the eggs

SPENDING LEVEL: NADA

1. Running 

It’s free and it makes me sweat! “Sweating is our body’s way of helping to keep our skin clean. Every day, toxins build up in our pores that need to be released. If they’re not, then our skin can break out and cause pimples, rashes and other skin infections. By sweating out these toxins, our skin stays cleaner and, over time, it will appear to look healthier than ever” (please click here for the source). Amen.  Since I started running, I haven’t had any breakouts.

2.Hydration

I don’t count the water bill on my skincare spend-o-metre as I charge it under monthly household expenditures (which by the way is included in our rent!). On top of juicing greens, I drink loads of water throughout the day and avoid sodas and other fizzy drinks. I know coffee has benefits too but I don’t drink coffee, I prefer green tea (a good source of antioxidants too).

 3. Sleep

My best friend used to have this pink pillow with a caption – Live Now Sleep Later. I’m not denying I went through that kind of lifestyle which was so-against skincare 101. According to Day, who wrote the book, Forget the Facelift, “Your skin, and your whole body, goes into repair mode when you sleep. It’s repairing and restoring and rebalancing”. My gorgeous uni friend once said, “if I sleep late, I don’t feel better the next day. If I don’t feel better, I don’t look better”. Hear, hear! Oh you must see her well-maintained skin too! In the past few years, I try my best go get 8 hours of sleep daily and I think I’m pretty good at it (*wink). Day added however, “do not oversleep as it can actually increase skin cell breakdown”.

 4. Smile

Smiling is always free and it always adds glow to the skin.

Hope you find this useful. Remember having a healthy glowing skin comes from the inside out. It’s living a healthy lifestyle – proper diet, regular exercise with good sleep and hydration plus the help of the skincare products that work for you. Don’t forget to smile too! It’s important that we take care of our skin – it’s the only skin that we have 🙂

Milkshaken not stirred? @Prezzybox and @zokuHQ goes all Bond! #kitchen #gadget #food

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 08.30.35

We might be preparing for yet another heatwave, but you can cool down in style as Prezzybox shows us how! So put away the Martini’s and get out the milk as we prepare for The Zoku Slushy and Milkshake Maker!!!

If Bond made a smoothie he would definitely use Zoku’s Slushy and Milkshake Maker. Sharp, smooth and always on the money, you are only seven minutes away from your perfect iced drink with this sleek, purple device. Freeze the core and then stir in your favourite tipple for the perfect crunch in a heat-wave.

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 08.30.04

Features:

·       Durable, easily cleaned purple outer sleeve that insulates the frozen core and keeps the outer layer at a level temperature.

·       Long, trendy spoon designed for optimal manoeuvrability and grip

·       Huge 9 Ounce capacity

·        Recipe ideas and instructions included.

 Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 08.29.53The Zoku Slushy and Milkshake Maker won’t shake your wallet either, selling for just £19.95 at www.prezzybox.com

Have more fun in your kitchen this Summer… go on, you deserve it!!!

 

The Great Gatsby – A party like no other #filmreview #film #cannes2013

An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Long Island-set novel, follows mid-Westerner Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) as he documents his lavish encounters with neighbour Jay Gatsby; who seems to have all the wealth and wonder in the world, but remains childishly unsatisfied without one thing, the woman he adores, Daisy (Carey Mulligan).

Following all the hype about the decadence of this film, fans of Baz Luhrmann’s work will not be disappointed with the spectacle that this film delivers in the first half at least. Taking the concept of the ‘roaring twenties’ to its literal extreme, as the film begins you are introduced to a booming New York full of promise, prosperity and parties! Intercutting re-purposed original footage with some of Luhrmann’s newly developed settings; the audience follows Nick Carraway as he discovers and becomes a part of this world. Slowly, through the eyes of Nick, we discover the main nouveau rich players in this story, starting with Nick’s cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton).Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 11.52.04

Upon entering this world, we are faced with an immense sense of overwhelming intensity, the editing is fast paced from one character to the other and at times you’ll feel breathless trying to keep up. You will find yourself trying to take in the scenery in front of your eyes and attempt to keep up with the storyline as well. This puts you straight in Nick’s shoes, a new world, new people and a whole new lifestyle.

Tom Buchanan is expertly played by Joel Edgerton, and is dominating in every scene, bringing a sense of rich, butch, manliness, which is neither endearing nor trustworthy. With him is Daisy, brought to life by Carey Mulligan, an interesting choice for the part, she makes a promising entrance making the character feel care free and wistful as we meet her – quite like a bubblegum princess – but as the film progresses ever so slightly fails to demonstrate the complexities and shallowness of the literary Daisy that fans of the book will have built in their minds. Alongside these characters is Jordan Baker (newcomer Elizabeth Debriki), Daisy’s best friend, this other than Gatsby is probably the best casting of the whole film – looking like a real product of the time and acting with the arrogance and elegance you would expect from a flapper socialite. Debriki carries herself in a scene-stealing manner that, like Edgerton, dominates any screen time she has.

Onto the main man, for a modern day Jay Gatsby, Leonardo Di Caprio is the best choice. Smart, mysterious, yet at times vulnerable with a buffoon like quality; the moment the actor raises a glass to the crescendo of music with a beaming smile at one of his lavish parties, you can only imagine teenage girls once again placing posters of this man up on their wall as teenagers of over fifteen years ago did with his last outing with Luhrmann.Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 11.52.21

Bringing all these characters together really does make one hell of a party, and if there’s one person who likes to put on a party bigger than Jay Gatsby, its Baz Luhrmann. This is what the audiences are most looking forward to out of his films, and if we’re honest, this is what the film is entirely sold on. Three scenes of stunning clothing, expensive jewelry, amazing choreography and stereotypical nods to the era that had it all. Once the audience is introduced to the world of Jay Gatsby’s parties, you really see the trademark Luhrmann come to life.

As much as this spectacle is what Luhrmann fans are craving, the novelty can only go so far. Part of the films downfall is its pressing focus on style. Sadly there is not enough substance to support it. Throughout the second half of the film, the parties dim down and you are left with the love triangle story. When you watch it unfold, you become more attuned to the flaws in the film.

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 11.51.46Firstly, the extravagant sets that populate the initial part of the film feel more contrived and fake, as there are less people in the room. You find yourself feeling like you are watching a play, with purpose-built backgrounds and a very clear distinction between what is a real location set and what is constructed. Once you see this, you feel that there are more contrived elements to the film, everything is so detailed and so precise – particularly thinking back to the blocking of every character from extra to main – Looking back at Luhrmann’s other films, particularly Moulin Rouge, he managed to create a fake Paris that felt real, you could almost smell the stinking sewers of Montmartre and taste the champagne being poured into the glasses on screen, perhaps it was the limitations on technology that allowed him to be more artistically experimental and in this case as more has been offered to Luhrmann on a plate, it feels like he’s used it because he can and not because it’s right. Whatever the reason, with The Great Gatsby, something just doesn’t quite marry up – and this is similar to the issues that one may find with Joe Wrights Anna Karenina.

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 11.45.50Alongside this, you feel so distracted by the set that the fundamental plot line gets lost, and where you would expect to feel real emotion towards the situation Jay and Daisy are in, and build dislike towards Daisy’s fickle nature, you just don’t care. There are tender moments, such as when they meet once again after five years, and this is where DiCaprio shines with relatable buffoonery and nervousness. But that is about it, suddenly there is a lacking of focus and complexity within the acting and you do feel like the actors are sadly moving around a room to hit their mark and deliver their lines, rather than providing a real rival performance to the Redford/Farrow Great Gatsby that people know and love. Perhaps a much simpler setting could have allowed time to focus on the real story at the heart, and provide a more complex character study, which those fans of the book will crave more.

Depending on what you’re looking forward to most within this film, you’ll either love The Great Gatsby for its decadence or loathe it for its lacking in substance. Whichever way you look at it, you’ll definitely be seeing something different to what is in the cinema at the moment. However, The Great Gatsby is another problematic product of too much hype in the build up and not enough clout in the end product. Fans of Luhrmann’s work will enjoy seeing him bring another film to the cinema screens, however may still feel he peaked at Moulin Rouge and has struggled to live up to that success ever since. But if there’s one thing you do take away and treasure forever from this film, it’s the incredible soundtrack, just like Baz intended; it’s the perfect accompaniment to any party.

3 Stars.