Tuesday, 19 May 2015

My First Week On Slimming World

With our wedding 403 days, 17 hours and 54 minutes away (at the time of writing this post) i thought it was time to start shifting some weight that had been bothering me for a while. I've only been shopping for dresses once, but when I did I ended up feeling restricted on the style of dresses that I tried on which wasn't really how I had envisaged my first trip. Back in January, my Mum joined Slimming World and has lost two and a half stone so far so I decided to join too. My first week on Slimming World really didn't go to plan (wine, pizza and a cream scone) but I've had to tell myself that is ok because sometimes life gets in the way. I'm determined this week will be much better, all my meals are planned and I am raring to go. I thought I would share some of the things I have been enjoying this past week.

The basics of the plan are as follows, everyday you get the following: a healthy A extra which covers dairy, a healthy extra B which is fiber and then a huge list of free foods to make your meals from followed by 5-15 syns each day which you can use for anything, be it wine, chocolate, crisps or anything that is not classed as free.

Initially I started having fat free yoghurt and berries but that wasn't filling me so I decided to use my healthy extra B at breakfast by adding 35g of bran flakes to the mix. 

Options are so vast, you could have beans on toast (2 slices of wholemeal bread from a 400g loaf) a sandwich, salad or soup 

Again, you can have pretty much anything that is modified to fit in with the plan. We've been having spag bol, chilli, burgers and fish dishes. Just make sure if you use meat it's lean. Aldi do a great less than 5% fat beef mince. 

I always stock up on fruit to nibble on, speed fruits such as clementines, apples and melon are great to tide me over between meals. For my syns i like to have a bag of hula hoop puffs which are 3.5 syns, a curly wurly which is 6 syns or a kit kat which is 5.5 syns or even a glass of wine. 

The options are endless but it's all about moderation and balance, something which I do tend to struggle with. I'm excited to see what results I can get and hopefully share some tricks, tips and recipes along my journey.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Sneak Peak: New in at The Body Shop

The Body Shop is without a doubt, one of my favourite highstreet stores. I've been through countless bottles of their Camomile Cleansing oil, Balm and eye make-up remover. Their Vitamin E Facial Oil and Vitamin E face cream also feature heavily in my skincare routine. So when they sent me a sneak peak of their new Fuji Green Tea range I was over the moon and couldn't wait to share it on the blog.

There's nothing I love more on a morning than a steaming mug of green tea to kick start my day, so I instantly knew this range would be right up my street. Green tea is a great natural antioxidant, and in some cultures, Japanese women have been known to apply it straight to their skin to reap the natural benefits. The Body Shop have taken this knowledge one step further to create the first beauty line featuring Green Tea.

Despite being a massive Body Shop fan, I realised I've never tried one of their Body Butters, a cult classic from the brand. I thoroughly enjoyed using The Fuji Green Tea Body Butter (£13.00) after a long soak and exfoliate with the other products in the range, which are pictured above. The Fuji Green Tea Scrub (£14.00) is lovely, not too abrasive but rough enough to slough away dead skin. One of the standout products for me, is the The Fuji Green Bath Tea (£12.00) which I've never come across before. You can also buy a cute tea strainer (£5.00)to pop the tea in. Using a combination of the products, my skin felt so refreshed and supple.

The range launches on 31st March at stores and online. My top picks are definitely the Body Butter and bath tea. Will you be picking anything up?

These products were sent to me for review purposes. As always, opinions are entirely my own.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Working Out At Home vs The Gym

Since setting the date for the wedding, my thoughts have definitely turned to fitness. January rolled around and like others, I made a beeline for the gym determined to shift the Christmas bulge. I always tend to set myself up for a failure, by vowing to go 5 times a week. However, 5 times quickly turned to 4, 4 to 3, 3 to 2 and you get the picture, my motivation quickly disappeared. I started to think, is a gym the only place you can get fit and loose the inches like they suggest? Around this time, I was also approached asking whether I wanted to review a Fitness Pack which included some headphones and an iTunes gift voucher, so i jumped at the chance seeking to compare my at home workouts with the dreaded gym.

 When I initially started thinking about working out at home, my thoughts turned to the traditional work out dvd which I have done in the past and to be honest, bored me to tears. Motivation is definitely key here and for that, I need to be interested so keeping things varied is essential to hold my attention. It's often said our lives revolve around our smartphones, and while that's true, I realised my iPhone held the key to keeping things varied. Having never really taken an interest before, I soon learnt the app store has so many apps designed to working out at home, so the good news, if you can't get to a gym you can still workout at home with very little or no equipment.

 The photos above document some of the apps I have discovered. I've found a great range of free and some that are not.

Aside from variety, music is definitely key to keeping me going when I feel like giving up. So I was happy that the fitness pack included a set of headphones that are designed for working out. Unlike my Apple earphones, these do not fall out of my ears as they hook round your ear, fabulous!

My current workout album is Taylor Swift. I am literally obsessed with her. 

Over the past few weeks, I've actually lost half a stone, which even though it's not a massive amount, it's a start. I'm actually booked in to try wedding dresses on next weekend which I am so excited about. I can't wait to try on dresses and feel like a Princess for the afternoon.

I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on working out, do you favour the gym or your own home?

* I was sent the headphones and an iTunes gift card to feature in this post, but as always the content is my own

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

January Favourites

January. Possibly the most depressing month of the year is officially over. It hasn't been all doom and gloom though, I've discovered some beauty products that have seen me right during the colder days and nights.

The Make-Up:

At some point during 2014, I rediscovered my first ever high end foundation purchase, and it basically hasn't left my face since. Mac Studio Fix Fluid is the epitome in perfection in my eyes, it can simply do no wrong. It provides the perfect amount of coverage I require and Nc15 is the perfect colour match for me. To warm my complexion up, I've been reaching for The Body Shop Honey Bronzer in shade 002. It provides me with the perfect flush of colour to warm my face up, with no orange tones in sight this shall see me through to the Summer months. For the lips, it's been all about the darker more neutral tones, and Mac Brave has been my shade of choice. Said to be a favourite of Kylie Jenner, it's a great everyday shade. Not strictly a make-up item, but something I consider to be part of my make-up routine, is the Benefit Puff Off!* which I reviewed in more detail here. Keeping in theme with the eyes, and considering I've only had it a few days, I had to give an honourable mention to Benefit's new mascara, Roller Lash*. As a firm believer that They're Real is the best thing since sliced bread, I wasn't sure if this would live up to it predecessor. But WOW, Benefit have really outdone themselves with this one. I posted a picture of my lashes with it on on my Instagram, so click here to see it in action.

The Skincare:

Two new discoveries this month, come from The Body Shop. A brand that really can't do much wrong in my eyes. I managed to tear myself away from my beloved Camomile oil cleanser, to try their new offering, their Softening Cleansing Gel Oil. I adore oil cleansers, and this is no different. It removes my make-up and leaves my skin soft, cleansed and radiant. For a pick me up treat, I've been enjoying using their Warming Mineral Mask. A clay based mask that cleanses right down into the pores leaving your skin feeling nourished and clean.

I'd love to know what you've been loving this month, and if we share any favourites.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Puff Off with Benefit

To me, Benefit always seems to combine imaginative packaging with products that I just can't live without. Their new release is no different...introducing your new best friend in ironing out your puffy eyes and awaking your peepers like you never thought possible.

January is most definitely the month we all attempt to reinvent ourselves, as a more health conscious version of ourselves. New years resolution of getting more sleep not lasting? Puffy, creased eyes as a result that need reviving? Then look no further, Benefit has your back with their adorably packaged Puff Off! *eye gel.

I've been putting this to the test over the past few weeks and I'm happy to report that this is now a product I don't want to be without. I've found this to be a product that does a bit of everything in the eye area, cutting down on the need for an army of products to look half awake before I roll into the office. Not only does it brighten, it de-puffs and smooths over the eye area leaving a smooth surface for make-up to be applied onto. The first time I used it, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I did my usual routine of shower, moisturiser, then applied the eye gel and popped down to make a coffee while it all soaked in. When I felt my under eye area it felt so smooth, I actually couldn't believe it.

Some might feel the packaging is gimmiky, and you're right, but it's also wonderfully functional too. The iron head applicator is metal and so acts as a cooling treat to your eyes to really cool and help de-puff the eye area. Genius!

If you fancy trying this yourself, then you now get your mitts on it from any Benefit stockist.

Let me know your thoughts on the new release from Benefit.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

A New Chapter...

Well, it literally feels like a lifetime ago I sat down to blog. Since my last post, life has been pretty full on hence the radio silence. To cut a long story short, life has been pretty full on of late. Andy and I both got new jobs, we got engaged in the most magical setting of Barcelona which I blogged about here, and we finally got to turn a house into a home by getting our feet firmly on the property ladder. Needless to say, our weekends have been consumed with endless trips to Next at Home, Dunelm Mill and B & Q but this evening I got this overwhelming urge to blog, so I thought I would share my favourite spots of our home together.

I have so many posts lined up, some beauty, some lifestyle and maybe even a wedding post thrown in for good measure.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The One Where We Went To Barcelona

This July, Andy and I celebrated 6 years together. Around the time of our anniversary he informed me he had a surprise planned and more details were to follow. A few weeks ago he told me to book certain days off work and remained tight lipped. Then two days before we were due to go away he dropped a hint saying we were actually leaving a day early and flying to our destination. Upon arrival at the airport I found out we were going to Barcelona, a place that had always been on my list of places to visit. I still had no idea where we were staying until we pulled up outside the Crowne Plaza. We went to check-in, only for me to find out he had booked us into a VIP room giving us full access to club lounge where there is an abundance of snacks and drinks to help yourself to.
Barcelona is simply amazing, with so much to see and do. We sampled many tapas places and drank lots of sangria.

However it was on the last night when the big surprise really came. Andy suggested we went out for dinner and then visit the Magic Fountains to witness an amazing show that combines water, drama and music. Towards the end of the show, the most surreal, beautiful moment came:

Andy asked a bystander to take our photo, so we posed and as I walked away he grabbed my hand, I looked down to see him on one knee and he popped the question. I glanced over at the lady taking our photo, she was in tears and her partner was jumping in the air. We were then met with a round of applause and cheers from the hundreds of people watching the show. A truly magical moment I will never forget. Barcelona, you were amazing and will forever hold a special place in my heart.

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