Ethical Accessories | Wooden Watches by Jord

Anyone who knows me, know that I don't like to over accessorise. Aside from my earrings and my engagement ring, I'm very picky over the jewellery that I choose to wear. I'm particularly fussy when it comes to watches, I wouldn't want to wear anything with a leather strap as I find them completely unnecessary, why would I want to wear another animals skin around my wrist?! 

However, when the watch company Jord reached out to me, and asked if they could send me one of their watches - I couldn't resist saying yes!


Jord is a brand of wood watches, that are designed using different types of wood, and different watch faces. They mix different metals, different colours and sometimes inject Swarovski crystals into the designs. You will definitely find a watch for you, no matter what design you would normally choose.

What first drew me to these watches was the
 wooden design - it is as far away from plastic  leather as it could be, which in turn makes it better for the environment. I did then question how the wood is obtained, but this is sustainably sourced from trees that are not endangered

The watches on this website are all automatic, which is something completely new for me. I've had moments where I have been moving my hand around near my head (I'm very expressive when I talk!), and I've heard the noise of the mechanism moving on the inside.

It has helped develop my understanding of how automatic watches work. There is no battery requirement for these watches, it actually works by the movement of your wrist. Once the watch is on your wrist you will see the second hand moving (note that it doesn't tick, but glides around the watch face), and this will continue to move due to the movement you make throughout the day. It's absolutely fine for you to take it off at night, as it has a standby time of 36 hours - so as long as you put it back on time will keep passing by (I'm not punny).

The watch that you can see me wearing is the Koa and Rose Gold watch from the Cora series which has a beautiful rose gold face, with Swarovski crystals on the 1,2,4,5,7,8,10 & 11 numbers. I will admit that the wood was a little darker than I expected, however, I still absolutely love it. Also, we have to understand that the colour or grain of the wood is something that cannot be controlled and actually makes each watch unique - which is something incredibly beautiful.

Let me know what you think of wooden watches, and the beautiful design of this one? 

Check out their website and have a look at their gorgeous range of watches!
Keep an eye on my instagram for a giveaway, coming soon ;)


TheVeganKind Subscription Box

Let's start this off by saying that I am a vegetarian, an I have spoken about my process of becoming a vegetarian in this post. However, I am keen to become a vegan and long story short I have never liked milk, butter, eggs or yoghurt, but used to eat them in the past. After much research into health, the environment, animal cruelty and costs the vegan lifestyle has become more and more appealing to me.

One of my steps to transition to this, was to purchase a TheVeganKind subscription box. They call this a lifestyle box as the products that are in it tend to be not only snacks, but cooking ingredients and some beauty products. I thought I'd share what was inside my July box:

CoLab Dry Shampoo in Active

These were incredibly yummy - I pretty much ate the whole bag!

I also love that they called it a lifestyle box, as if you are vegan or are transitioning to veganism it is a lifestyle change, and this is a way to help you into that new lifestyle.

These lentil bites were a real surprise winner for me - would definitely repurchase!!

Have you tried this subscription box? Or are you Vegan, and you can share some tips with me?


Gym Essentials | What I Take to the Gym

I have been an avid gym go-er for just over 7 months now, and I can honestly say that I really enjoy going and that is something I never thought I would say. Initially I started going with my bestie, but after our timings stopped working I continued to go on my own.

With this in mind, I wanted to share my gym essentials with you and how I stay comfortable at the gym. These would also work if you didn't go to the gym, but wanted new work out gear for running etc. 

The first and most important motivator is music, and I just take my iPhone into the gym with me for this. If you have the right music, the cardio that you might not enjoy will fly by. I love to listen to my workout playlist using my Sudio bluetooth earphones (bluetooth are essential as you don't have to worry about any wires, or dropping your phone when you carry out a particular move. These earphones don't wrap around your whole ear, which I am pleased about, but the little curvature on the earphones allow for them to stay securely in your ear and not move - even when running at 9mph!

There are a lot of stats to check out for these earphones, such as battery life, the distance you can get from your device and charge time. All of this info can be found on their website.

I was lucky enough to be sent these earphones for review, and to share with you. Even luckier, they have supplied me with a discount code for you to get 15% off, head to their website and enter the code LauraBlack15 to receive 15% off your order.

Another essential is the quality of the leggings that I use. I started in the gym wearing 13 year old boys leggings, they were cheap and they did the job - especially as I wasn't massively into the gym. Since then, and toning up, I have invested in branded leggings from Sports Direct, and these Adidas ones that you can see me wearing are my favourite.

I wear a size 6, and they are very true to size. They are a high waisted fit that don't slip down as you run, and their elasticity isn't effected no matter how many times they go through the wash. The pattern also allows you to sweat in the more embarrassing places, and it will keep it blended in and hidden.

My favourite sports bra is from Under Armour, it has no padding or cups, but really pushes your chest down so that everything is fully supported. Again, these are true to size, I got mine in an XS from Sports Direct, and loved it so much that I bought a second one.

I'd also recommend wearing a top that is made for fitness, wearing standard t shirt material won't allow for you to stay cool whilst you sweat which I think is really important not only for your temperature, but also for your skins health. Click here for a top similar to my Puma top.

Finally, I think you should just make sure that you take a water bottle into the gym with you, as staying hydrated is the most important factor to consider. As you work out you lose sweat in a healthy process to keep you cool, however, this also means that you are losing a lot of water that you need in your body so it is important that you replenish this. So take a massive water bottle into the gym with you, and work your way through it throughout your workout.

Are you a member of the gym? What are your essentials for working out?

My Current Skincare Routine | How I Cleared Acne

My skin has never been my best asset, it's always something that I have hidden under makeup or hated showing to people other than my family and close friends. My skin has made me feel ugly, has brought me tears and has shown me every medication possible for acne.

I have to be honest, I didn't ever have cystic acne or my whole face covered in spots, however I did have enough to cause a lack of self confidence.

It felt like my bad skin was never going away, and I'd almost learnt to accept that, that was the way it was. 

As of the past 4 months or so, my skin has taken a turn for the better. Now a breakout only appears on my face every once in a while - usually near that time of the month, thanks Mother Nature! And although I can't say that my current skincare routine definitely solved my skin problems, I think it definitely has played a big part in the clearing of it.

Superfacialist by Una Brennan Salicylic Acid Face Wash
I bought this face wash on a bit of a whim, I saw that it had salicylic acid in it and thought what better way to get rid of spots than to use this genius ingredient. It is an affordable face wash, and is always on offer in Boots.

For those of you that don't know, Salicylic acid helps with both blackheads and whiteheads as it can remove the skin debris that clogs the pores and causes these.

KIKO Shine Refine Tonic - Sebum Balancing Toner containing Salicylic Acid
I think it's fairly obvious that I'm a fan of salicylic acid, and when I don't use this toner I can really see it in my skin. I think this toner might be the star of the show in my skincare routine, and again this was an out of nowhere purchase whilst I was browsing the KIKO store. Although this toner works out as a kind of pricey purchase for what it is, I absolutely love how it makes my skin look and feel that I will continue to purchase it.

NSPA Expert Nightly Repair Cream
A little while back I worked with NSPA to promote this skincare range, including the serum and the day cream. As a blogger and a YouTuber I'm lucky to receive products from companies, and this was one of those. I was really pleased to use this as it is, again, an inexpensive product that doesn't test on animals, but does wonders for the skin. 
The consistency is definitely more for someone with normal to oily skin, as it is more of a gel moisturiser than a cream. It sinks into the skin really quickly, and allows your skin to feel fully moisturised, but not oily.

GlamGlow Volcasmic Moisturiser
I'm a little bit ashamed to admit that I bought this based off of the smell of the product. I was waiting for the boyfriend to pay for his products in Boots, and whilst I was there I couldn't help but want to play with the new glamglow products that had appeared. I picked this one up as it was perfect for my skin type, and then the smell! I didn't buy it there and then, but I continued to smell it on my hand throughout the rest of the day, and had pretty much decided by the next day that I needed wanted it.

I've crossed out needed above, but now I use it every morning I would say that I do need it in my skincare routine. It is the perfect base, keeping my skin moisturised enough to keep a lot of oil at bay, but it soaks in enough to work as a perfect base for my makeup.

Swiss Clinic Micro Needle Roller
This was a completely new product to my skincare routine when I got this, and it was something that I was a little bit nervous to try - just look at the name! Once I had managed to overcome my little fear, and trialled it on my hand first, I plucked up the courage to give this a go. 

Every time I use this Jack knows, he will always ask me if I have used it because my skin looks so lovely after use. I will say, you do have to use this on an evening, because it can leave your skin a little bit red (this is gone once you wake up). Also, this allows your skin the best time to heal, as during your sleep your body can really focus on healing and getting better.

The benefits of micro needling are:
- It reduces fine lines.
- It helps reduce the appearance of marks and scars.
- It encourages collagen production due to the tiny little puncture wounds that aren't visible to the eye.
- Improves the texture of skin.

Just to explain, I use the face wash on an evening (if I'm wearing makeup I wash my face twice), I will then follow this with my toner and my moisturiser - if you're wondering where the eye cream is, I still haven't found one that works for me, but if you have any recommendations please send them my way!

In the morning, I splash my face with cold water and allow that to wake me up, I then apply my GlamGlow moisturiser in preparation for the day, makeup or no makeup.

I use the Swiss Clinic Roller once or twice a week, and I like to roll it in multiple directions across my face to ensure that no space is missed. This is normally on different nights to the once or twice that I exfoliate my face using the KIKO Powder Exfoliator.

Here is the status of my skin as I write this post, no makeup and no filters... pretty good hey!

And that's it, my skincare routine all laid out for you. Let me know what you think, and if you are interested in any of the products.

Until next time,


The Beauty Community | My Experience

Since joining the beauty community in 2011, I've been lucky enough to attend many events and meet many of my fellow beauty lovers. Along the way I have made some amazing friends (Rosi, Ellie, Emily, Sabrina... to name a few), and I have also found myself idolising others.

My first experience meeting a YouTuber who was much bigger than me was at IMATS - remember when that was a fun thing that we all attended. I was stood with some of my friends, and was amazed when 'A' walked over. In my excitement, I smiled at 'A' and was ready to have a conversation, only to be looked at through and completely ignored. After leaving, I felt that it must have just been what 'A' was like in real life, and immediately felt that I would unsubscribe from them - I guess it made me feel completely naive to what I see online.

I had lots of moments after this point, where I would reach out to other beauty YouTubers (some the same size, some bigger and some smaller than me), and I only ever received a handful of replies, although what was obvious was that the bigger YouTubers were least likely to reply.

Then in January 2017 I attended the GoGlam Gala event, which was actually a really lovely event. However, my eyes were to be opened again to the ugly truth of the beauty community. Initially I was pleased as I got to attend this with Rosi, but the events that unfolded really told me that I didn't enjoy this 'community' and that actually it was as far from a 'community' as it could be.

Once we arrived in London, we got to our air B&B and waited outside for a few hours so that we could get in. During that time we went to see Aisling at her air B&B which was a huge house full of other beauty bloggers. When we entered the house, Aisling couldn't have been more welcoming and friendly, however, the rest of the girls all looked up from their phone and looked back down and that was when the welcoming feeling disappeared. Whilst there, we also realised that not being a bigger blogger/youtuber in the bigger air B&B meant that we were left out of a lot of the things that had been arranged for the day - and once 'B' realised this, she couldn't contain her snort at the embarrassment for us.

The plus side of this day is that I did meet Lydia Millen, and she is as lovely in person as she is in her YouTube videos - someone who really deserves success. 'B' wasn't too impressed by Lydia, and continued to make comment on how much Lydia must have charged to be there, and how she can charge so much for events. It absolutely stank of jealousy, and it wasn't pretty.

Many other occasions appeared where bloggers had outrightly admitted to writing a review on products they had been sent but never used, only so that they could obtain the products. I have been completely gobsmacked by some of the things that people have been happy to admit to doing.

Overall, a lot of my experiences with the beauty community haven't been great - and things that I continue to read don't fill me with optimism. However, I'm hoping that sharing my experiences with you will remove the blinkers that might make you think that it is all roses.

I wouldn't ever leave the beauty community completely as it is a passion of mine, but I am very mindful about which events I attend (if any nowadays), and I also remember that what I see online isn't always what you will see in real life.

Sorry for the completely negative post, but it's something I've wanted to share for a long time. I promise to bring back the positive vibes in my next post! xoxo

DIY Mirror Powder Nails | Sensationail

I'm definitely behind on this craze, which is partly due to me carrying out DIY Gel Nails as I refuse to pay for them at a salon (pretty much like my lack of willingness to pay for a haircut!), but I recently decided to buy the Chrome Powder Nails Gel Nail Polish from Sensationail.

I've spoken about Sensationail before, and my love for them just grows. They do not sponsor my content, nor are they aware that this post is being written. However, when I saw that they had released  the Chrome Powder Gel Nail Polish, I couldn't have been more excited if I tried - I picked it from the shelf so quickly I gave roadrunner a run for the dust he leaves behind.

Obviously, the minute I got this home I wanted it on my nails straight away. If there's something I lack it's patience. Of course, I didn't want to try this without sharing what it was like with my fellow beauty junkies.

Whilst I found it fascinating that the powder could transform into a chrome shiny finish on my nails, I have to admit that I had the powder floating around in my room for a long time afterward - I'm not sure how good it was to be inhaling that. Also, once I had finished it didn't look perfectly finished, and I had tried using varying amounts of my nails in case I had used too much/too little.

From a distance the polish looked amazing, I had comments on it and people couldn't understand that it had come from a powder when I explained. However, I knew deep down that if they were to have a closer look at my nails they would be able to see that it was far from perfect.

Later in the week, it started to peel from my nails leaving the black undercoat showing. I had no easy option of removing all of the chrome powder, or reapplying it without almost having to start from scratch with everything, so I had to put up with less than perfect nails until it was time to remove the standard gel polish from underneath.

My final thoughts are that I would use this again, but only because I have already made the purchase. As an avid lover of Sensationail, I'm slightly disappointed that I didn't fall in love with this product. Perhaps you might be able to suggest a better way to use it, or you have heard of a technique that you think I should try and let you know how I get on. Either way, I'd love your thoughts in the comments!


New York City | The Bits You Didn't See

If you follow me on Blogger, then I'm pretty certain you follow my YouTube channel, and if so, you would have seen my recent vlog that I uploaded about my recent trip to New York with Jack ... psst, we got engaged!

I feel that the video portrayed what we did very well, but it didn't portray my feelings on the trip, and it didn't show you the everyday bits and pieces - that's why you're now reading this.

The first thing I have to say is, you HAVE to watch a Broadway show whilst you are there. We were lucky enough to catch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on the first night, and I can't stress enough how good it was! You get caught in the emotions of the characters, you find yourself singing and bopping along to the songs and before you know it, it's over and you are downloading the songs to sing-a-long to in your own time.
[Little tip - if you go to the TKTS stand and buy them on the day that you want to watch a show, you can get the tickets cheaper than if you bought them prior to your trip!]

 There is nothing that can prepare you for the breathtaking views that you are about to take in. Heading to the top of the Empire State Building in the day time was an experience, it's lovely to see New York from a birds eye view and away from the bustling streets, especially considering how much time you actually spend on the group looking up! Equally as beautiful is the view of New York from the top of the Rockefeller Centre, lots of recommendations said to do this at night and it was really worth doing it that way round - it's completely different seeing New York at night, the lights, the buildings, it's an incredible man made city!

Times Square is a huge tourist spot (pretty much the whole of New York is!), and it's constantly busy no matter what time of the day it is. Again, it's an area that is so surreal when you are there, I think CeeLo Green summed this up "Bright Lights and the Big City". No matter what time of the day you go there, it feels like day time because of how bright it is!

The 9/11 Museum and Memorial will emotionally impact you more than you realise. I couldn't understand people taking selfies there, it felt like a mourning site so posing for a selfie seemed so wrong in my eyes. The museum was full of artefacts and new information about the terror attack that I had never heard of, and really showed the immensity of the emotions that must have been about during that time - you will spend a lot of time not talking, and allowing your emotions to roll down your face.

Some of the not so nice reality things to mention; the number of homeless people, this really did knock me for six when I saw this. They are willing to do anything just to gain some food or money from you, one man stood outside a 7/11 all day opening the door for people in the hope that he would gain some money for it. There was a lady who was 69 years old begging for food, and an amputee who was sat on the same spot for the entire duration of our trip. Completely upsetting, and the contrast between the rich and the poor spoke loudly. How can a city with a 'Trump Tower' care so little for those living there?

Everyone is in a rush, you will have to pick up your usual walking pace unless you're used to living in London. If you're not moving at the same pace as them, you're in the way. To cross the streets or Avenues you have to follow their crossing system, which is similar to a button controlled crossing in the UK just without the buttons, and the timing is so precise that they all know exactly what they are doing - but don't worry, you will become one of them during your trip, and you won't even realise.

Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to the Big Apple, and I would definitely recommend you taking the plunge and making your journey over there if you have been thinking about it. I'd like to go back, but hopefully not become unwell this time, just perhaps in a couple of years.

Next stop: Mexico!

Getting engaged to my best friend was one of the highlights of my trips, and means that New York will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart!


17 Things I Learnt in 2017.

1. Mental Health is SO important.
I've had a few mental health experiences this year, and last year, and I have to say that it is truly awful. Each experience is different for everyone, and just as awful. If you can find a way to get through this, then you will come out so much stronger on the other side, and if you are going through difficulties at the moment make sure you talk to someone, like family or friends, or speak with the following:

Anxiety UK: 08444 775 774 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm)
MIND: 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
NoPanic: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am-10pm)
Samaritans: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)

2. Going to the gym can be fun.
I've been a member of a gym on and off multiple times, but since October 2017 I cannot tell you how much I now enjoy going to the gym. I'm not sure what has caused this change, perhaps now I am just ready to take on the gym, plus the physical differences help to motivate!

3. People can surprise you, even if you have known them for a really long time.
This is so true, Jack (my boyfriend) has shown me so many times that even after 10 years there are still so many traits that he has that I did not know, and these traits are for the better - a true gentleman.

4. Value true friendship.

5. You cannot alter people's opinions.
For better or for worse, you cannot alter someone's opinions to suit your own. Animal cruelty comes to mind when I talk about this - I am so passionately against this that I find it difficult to understand those who ignore it like it doesn't happen.

6. You can achieve what you WANT to achieve.

Achieving something is an amazing feeling, but you will only achieve what you want to achieve - what you put all of the effort into. If you want something badly enough, you will move mountains to make it happen.

7. Be yourself.

8. Change is good.

9. It's ok to not know.
When I was younger I would have thought my 26 year old self would have life figured out, but there are still moments now where I wonder what I'm doing, or where I'm going. Initially this did panic me, but over months I've learnt that this is ok, and that as long as you are happy in that moment then you are living.

10. Experiences over material things.

11. Harry Potter is a classic.

12. Naps are everything.

13. Time can heal.
This links to number 1, there are things that no matter how hard they are, you have to allow time to heal.

14. I love jet-skiing.
Thanks Spain.

15. I love to cook and bake.

16. There's always room to improve.

17. Get the extra storage on your new phone.
Pictures. Say no more.

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