I thought I would do something a little different in this post because there are a few products that I absolutely love (and rely on!) but they are not part of any specific routine so I probably wouldn’t normally mention them unless they featured in a favourites post. Basically, they are skincare products which I like to have on hand when my normal routine just doesn’t cut it!
A brand I have recently discovered is Botanics (available in Boots). In the past I have just ignored them (to be completely honest!) but they recently reinvented their packaging and I am so in love with it! Thanks to their new look, I explored further and picked up a couple of cleansing items to try out. And then I fell in love with their quality!
I like to keep two packets of these wipes – one in my bedside table, and another in the glove box of my car. They are really handy to just grab and remove my makeup without the fuss of completing my full skincare routine in the bathroom. Often, when I come home from work, I will immediately change into comfy clothes and want to remove my makeup but might then have a shower later in the evening It’s convenient to use a quick wipe and then do my full routine later on. If I have been out all day, or am getting back particularly late, I might even remove my makeup in the car on the way home (Guy usually drives!) because it saves me time and means I can get to bed faster!
The Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream is a staple which most people who are into beauty product will have tested/ owned. It’s so versatile that I also always have two tubes of this – one at home and one on my desk at work. I like to use it as lip balm, to moisturise any particularly dry spots, to help heal cuts/grazes or anything else I can think of! It’s such a great all-rounder!
Clinique’s Anti-Blemish Solution isn’t a part of my regular routine or two reasons – firstly, blemishes are not a consistent problem area for me and secondly, I feel like this is quite a harsh, drying product. However, this thing works miracles when it comes to zapping spots! I tend to only use it once a month (you can guess why!) when I might suddenly encounter some pimples. Dab this clinical gel on once or twice a day and it really dries out the area and shrinks the spot! It’s really great; works quickly and painlessly and gets rid of any marks in a couple of days.
Last up is L’Oreal’s Aloe Water which has no doubt appeared in some of my monthly favourites because it is just. that. good. I can’t talk about it without mentioning the gorgeous packaging – feels so high end and a beautiful colour. Then the price – less than £10 and quite often on sale in Boots – I think I picked my bottle up for just £6! And finally (but most importantly!) the product itself. Smooth, silky, super – hydrating; this lotion can be used instead of a moisturiser but I like to use it as well as (usually to prep my skin before putting on makeup- maybe just before I go to sleep when I have done my skincare routine a few hours before). Or just whenever I feel like I need a pick-me-up. It just makes my skin feel incredible.
I know this was a bit of a random one, but I really love these products and wanted to share them. If you have any recommendations of anything you think would fit into my collection then please let me know! Leave comments below!
And now I’m off to grab a coffee and get reading some of your recent posts!
Lots of love,
The image above was taken 2 years ago and is my current “thinspiration”! I was really happy with my figure at this point in time and want my body confidence to be back up there for my wedding day!
Hi! Just a quick post for me to reflect on my progress so far and to update you on how I’ve done this week! So I’ve been back on track for just over a week now and (drum roll please!) I’ve managed to stay on track! A small achievement, but one I feel needs noting nonetheless – it’s been a while since I managed to keep up with my goals for more than a few days! So here’s what has been going on…
- Every meal I have made/eaten has been balanced and healthy – I’ve kept track of the calories and controlled my portion size to make sure I’m not eating too much. I’ve made sure to make some healthy substitutes and have counted my fruit and veg intake each day.
- I’ve been drinking a lot more water. I’m averaging about 4 or 5 glasses a day, which I know is only half of what is recommended, but I wasn’t having any at all, so I’m pleased with that progress!
- When I have ‘cheated’ it’s been in moderation. I’ve put cheated in inverted commas because what I really mean is: chosen unhealthy foods- which I don’t see as ‘cheating’ in any way. I have learnt that if I completely cut everything out, I’m more likely to just give up. I need to have a treat every now and again to stop me craving all the bad foods. So over the past week I have had a handful of crisps with my lunch (on 2 separate days), a 110 calorie chocolate bar, a rich tea biscuit and 3 pancakes. I know some of you reading this will be cringing and thinking that is a lot of treats for just one week, but for me (a person who can easily eat a whole tube of Pringles in one sitting!) it’s a massive change in my eating habits.
- I’ve exercised every single day. Most days, I have done a workout – either PiYo or an abs/legs workout, and I’ve made sure to walk the dog every day too. One day we went on a really long walk on the beach and I felt great afterwards!
- I’ve used my bullet journal to track my progress. It’s been really helpful to sit down at the end of each day and see my achievements in black and white – making sure these new changes become habits that I won’t need to think about too much in the future.
- I’ve lost 3lbs! I’m trying to focus more on how I feel, rather than the numbers on the scales, but I do still need to see the numbers slowly dropping to keep motivated- and to see that my hard work and determination is paying off.
Those are all of the things I am really proud of at the end of week one but what do I want to improve on? I know that I still have a very long way to go and what I am currently doing won’t be enough to get me to where I want to be in a years time.
- I need to exercise more. The workouts I’m doing at the moment are quite gentle – mainly because I am so unfit and just getting back into the swing of things. I’m currently doing no cardio because I’m no longer a member of the gym where I used to use the treadmills/cross trainers/ bikes etc. So my next step is to think about how I can get my heart rate up!
- I need to increase my water intake. Obviously the aim is to get to 8 glasses a day!
- And lastly, I need to vary my meals. I’ve been enjoying lots of salads, eggs for breakfast and chicken with most meals (instead of red meat) but I know I will quickly get bored and will want something more substantial as the weather gets colder. It’s time to do some research and practise some new recipes!
Hopefully, this little update has shown you that small changes are all that is needed to make a difference to your health. The internet is full of ‘fitspo’, which largely consists of skinny women in lycra and a sports bra giving their advice, which I like to see and use-but it’s been hard to find women with other jobs and priorities, who may not be at their goal weight yet, sharing their experiences.
As always, thanks for reading and supporting! I’d love to read about your own journeys so please leave links in the comments below and share your healthy habits or even your struggles!
Until next time,
30th July – 5th August 2017.
It’s coming to the end of the second week of the summer holidays and already I feel like time is slipping away and the first day of term is approaching far too quickly for my liking! Having said that, I’ve had a brilliant week, spending time with family and generally recuperating after a busy school year. I have to confess that I kept forgetting to take photographs (much to my annoyance!) so this post won’t be as “photo-focussed” as I would like it to be – fingers crossed I do better next week!
On Monday, we went to the Trafford Centre (a place I spend an awful lot of my free time!) and after a gorgeous tapas-style lunch at Pesto, we went to see War for the Planet of the Apes at the Odeon. We each have a limitless card so go to see as many films as we can. This movie wasn’t one I was particularly looking forward to (it was Guy’s choice) but besides the fact it was quite sad in places, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I know none of this relates to photograph of the candle above, but as I explained in my intro, I forgot to take lots of snaps this week! However, whilst we were there, I had a peek in Home Sense (a shop I am rapidly falling in love with!) and I bought a few new candles after watching Louise Pentland’s haul on youtube. Click here if you want to watch it yourself, but I take no responsibility if you end up spending money afterwards like I did!
By far my favourite of the bunch is this Fig Leaf and Sage scented pot by DW Home. The gorgeous lid was what first attracted me to this one and it smells absolutely incredible. I have it lit on my desk as I’m writing this post and it just fills the room with such an unusual, sweet smell that lingers for quite a long time after you blow out the two wicks. It looks amazing, and at just £7.99, I thought it was a steal!
I also picked up these three smaller pots for just £2.99 each and they had so many different scents by the same company (again DW home!) that it was hard to pick out my favourite three. In the end, I settled on Cocunut Lime and Verbena, Suguared Currant and Sage Melon. And now I have the problem of deciding which one to light first!
I was feeling quite productive after our day out so when I got home, I organised all of the decorations I have bought for the wedding so far. I’ve just been picking up bits I find (especially things that have been on sale!) but it’s a bit hard to keep track of what I do and don’t have/need and I don’t want to get too carried away and end up with far too many things to transport to the venue! After a good sort-out, I began to punch some confetti for the tables – comment below if you can guess which love story I chose for my first batch!
Tuesday was the 1st of August and marked the 1 year countdown until the big day! Guy surprised me by cooking a lovely meal and we had a cosy night in, just the two of us. I also treated myself to a bath (which I don’t do often enough!) and I used a LUSH bath bomb (I have no idea which one- the labels have faded!) which turned the water into this lovely shade of pink!
Wednesday and Thursday were spent with Guy’s mum (who stayed overnight) and we went back to the Trafford centre to pick up bridesmaid dresses. I also tried on my wedding dress for her, and I’m pleased to report that she loved it! Thursday evening was spent at the Lowry Theatre where Guy and I watched Derren Brown’s new show: Undergorund. I have never been to see him before and was quite nervous about what to expect (I didn’t want to be picked to go up on stage!) but was pleasantly surprised by the experience. I also loved the set design and took a sneaky picture before the show began!
Friday was our first ‘lazy day’ of the holidays so far. I woke up and did a workout (PiYo if anybody is interested) and after a shower, got back into a fresh set of pjs and spent the rest of my day working on my bullet journal, reading and just relaxing. The day flew by and I loved having nowhere to be!
And that brings me up to today – Saturday! I did try to vlog -something I want to start doing to record memories for Guy and myself to look back on- but like an idiot, I forgot to charge the battery so only got footage of the journey! We went to Lytham St Anne’s beach with my parent’s, sisters and the two dogs; we had a great day walking, playing frisbee and giving Ringo his first experience of sand! The tide was too far out for us to introduce him to the sea, so I want to go back to a different beach before the holidays are over. I was enjoying myself so much, I didn’t take any pictures, so again, apologies!!
That was my week- so far I have no plans for tomorrow but we’ll see where the day takes us. Thanks for reading, please like this post and comment below if you would like to see more like it!
Ciao for now,
I can’t believe I am already saying this, but it is a year today that I get married! It doesn’t seem like seven months have passed since we sat in the little outdoor bar in Greenwich, toasting our engagement under a string of fairy lights as we face-timed our families to share the news! I’m feeling very calm about the big day and just can’t wait for it to be here – I’m fairly organised with everything and so far planning has been a very relaxed experience.
However, one thing I am very stressed out about is my body confidence and how that is going to affect how much I enjoy the wedding. If you have read my previous posts you will know that I am currently in quite an unhealthy place; both physically and mentally. I am striving to make changes; lose weight and focus on my general wellbeing in order to be the happiest version of myself. To be very frank, so far I have not done a very good job. Well, I’ve done a terrible job! I’ve spent a long time promising to get started – I’ve even had a few false starts with good progress in terms of my eating habits and exercise regime, but then life gets in the way so I make excuses and give up. The whole purpose of starting this blog was to give me a focus and make me accountable, but so far that hasn’t worked -mainly because I haven’t made it a priority or dedicated the time to post regularly. I could sit here and say that I have been busy with work and getting a new puppy (which is true!) but I have more spare time than lots of other people and I need to hold up my hands and admit that I could be better.
So this is the new beginning.
I’m not going to commit to a blog schedule at the moment -I’m simply going to try and post regularly; aiming for a minimum of one post a week for the month of August. I’m going to use the summer holidays (and the luxury of 5 weeks off work!) to really get into a good routine with eating, exercise and using my free time productively.
I have one year to find my ‘happy place’- reach my goal weight & feel confident in my own skin. I have the motivation, I know what I need to do – now it’s about having the willpower and determination to not give up so easily.
Wish me luck!
There are quite a few new things I have been testing out this month and I finally feel like I have a pretty good everyday makeup routine so most of the new products I have introduced into my makeup collection will be appearing in this post. Let’s get to it…
First up is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit (Surreal Light) – the latest palette from the company. I have never tried anything from Hourglass before as their products are expensive but when I began to update my make up bag, I decided this might be worth the splurge after reading lots of rave reviews. And it has not disappointed me at all! I love that I have my face powder, blusher (x2!), bronzer and highlight all in one place and when I break the price down it works out at £14 per product which I think is reasonable for such good quality. My face looks glowy and luminous and being from the same brand, each powder blends beautifully into the next.
Next is Bourjois’s Healthy Mix Foundation. Not a new foundation on the market, but a new discovery for me. I hadn’t been bothered to try it until recently and I wish it hadn’t taken me so long! I love it’s medium coverage and serum-like texture. It’s mix of vitamins help achieve a glowy finish and it lasts well throughout the day.
I’ve been using the NYX Micro Brow Pencil throughout this month and after a shaky start, I’ve really begun to enjoy using it. Lot’s of bloggers compare it to the Anastasia brow pencil and I bought it on that promise of an excellent product. In the past, I have always used a powder to fill my brows so it took me a while to get to grips with using the pencil; but now I have, I can’t see myself going back. I also really like that it has a brush on the end – I’m always a fan of anything that saves space and time!
I couldn’t do this favourites post without mentioning the limited edition MAC lipstick by Fleur de Force. I was lucky enough to get my hands on it before it sold out and I’m so glad I did -it’s the perfect nude for me. I’m gutted they are now out of stock and I’ll be hunting for a dupe soon because I know this shade is going to be a firm favourite for years to come.
In terms of applying foundation, I’ve discovered an old favourite – the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush. It just works really well to blend my base and I use it to apply my foundation, concealer and contour. I was using a beauty blender, which I liked, but the brush is quicker, easier and gives me an almost identical finish.
The last make-up related item (I know its’s been make-up heavy, but as I said earlier – I’ve re-vamped my everyday routine!) is Collection 2000’s Contour Stick in light. Again, this was another product which I had to become used to, but once I did, I realised just how great (and affordable!) this little pencil it. I think the formula get’s better after a few uses (I’m not sure if it needs to warm up and melt a bit), but the shade is really cool toned and gives a nice, subtle contour.
There aren’t any other beauty related items I want to talk about this month; my skincare routine is working at the moment but I want to do a separate post to show the products I’m using, so I’ll save that for another day. In terms of music, I have been listening to Harry Style’s new album non-stop and also the new release from Zac Brown Band. I haven’t had time to read any books (having a new puppy keeps me busy!) but I have been reading a novel with my class in school called The Nowhere Emporium (by Ross MacKenzie), if you have children aged 9 +, I’d really recommend it!
That’s all for my May favourites! Hopefully, my recommendations have been good ones and if you have written a similar post, please link it below so I can have a read and add to my own wishlist!
Until next time,
Before I begin, I’ll update you on a couple of life changes since my last post. The most exciting thing I want to mention is that I bought my wedding dress! I’m going to do a separate post on the whole experience soon; explaining how I found ‘the one’ and giving some tips on searching for your own dress, but the main reason I’ve finally got started in this journey back to a healthy lifestyle is because I now have a very physical motivation hanging in my parent’s spare bedroom!
Another massive change in our life is that we have a new puppy! Our gorgeous Cocker Spaniel is called Ringo (yep- after Ringo Star) and he is almost 15 weeks old. Obviously, he’s been keeping us busy (lot’s of people warned us having a puppy is like having a baby and they were not wrong!) and we’ve had our hands full getting him settled!
So. That’s the big news out of the way and now I can get to today’s topic: What I have learnt during my first week of ‘being healthy’. I’ve been looking to make some positive changes to my lifestyle and diet for a while and to be honest, it’s been a hard slog to get started. Over the past year, motivation has been hard to find and my willpower has been at 0%. But one day last week, something just clicked. I can’t say exactly what it was, maybe the warmer weather meant I wanted to eat less, or being up early with Ringo meant I had more time to prep meals, but I had two really good, healthy days. And then I found my wedding dress. Since then, I’ve been determined to stay on track and my first week has been a huge success. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far…
1. Variety is the key to feeling full. It’s enevitable that you end up eating quite a bit of salad when eating healthily; they are quick, easy and a sure-fire way to make sure you are getting the good stuff. I’ve made sure that each salad has been packed with as many different foods as I can; peppers, cucumber, tomato, onion, two types of lettuce or greens, a meat and sprinkling of cheese is usually the starting point. That way, each bite is different. I find I feel like I’m eating more when there are lots of different foods on my plate. That transfers to any meal, I’ve been cooking up lots of veggies for dinner and have even been having two small breakfasts (scrambled egg and tomato followed by yoghurt, honey and granola) to give the illusion of bigger meals, when actually I’ve been having more smaller portions instead.
2. It only takes a few days to feel the difference. After the first day, I felt proud that I’d made good choices. After 3 days, my stomach felt flatter and I was much less bloated. After 5 days, the scales showed a loss. After 7 days, Guy noticed I looked a bit slimmer. I’m not talking about massive changes; it has only been a week, but they are noticeable to me. I feel generally healthier and that gives me confidence.
3. A full fridge is not a temptation. In the past, I’ve always tried to keep as little food in the house as possible, following the idea that if I don’t have it, I can’t eat it. All that has led to is late night trips to Tesco to buy one quick snack, which inevitably becomes a basketful of treats which are on offer. And then I think “I’ll start again tomorrow” so eat everything I have just purchased in one sitting. This time around I’ve packed my fridge full of healthy goodies and so if ever I feel peckish, I have something to graze on which isn’t made entirely of chocolate or comes in a large, blue tube (Pringles are my life!). This also helps with point one- filling my plate with lots of different things!
4. Everything in moderation. I’ve heard this advice so many times but never followed it. Until this week. Nothing is off limits. At lunch yesterday, my fiancé had crisps with his salad sandwich. I wanted some too so I had four on the side of my plate. I didn’t feel like I was missing out and I really savoured that little treat. I’d already swapped my sandwich for just a salad to avoid the bread; so there was my compromise. This afternoon, we found ourselves out over lunchtime and ended up at Nando’s. Again, rather than denying myself, I chose a healthy option from the menu and really enjoyed it. I still ended up under my calorie count for the day – winner! By not actually banning any foods, I feel less restricted and crave unhealthy snacks much less.
And those are my four lessons learnt from this week. Hopefully, they will give you inspiration to get going if you have been stuck in an unhealthy rut; or some food-for-thought (I know- terrible pun!) if you are already on a healthy journey!
Ciao for now,
It’s payday! The day I run to the Trafford Centre and immediately start spending all of my disposable income on treats that I have convinced myself I need in my life. Well, NOT ANYMORE!! I have a terrible relationship with money. It burns a hole in my pocket and no matter how hard I try to save, I always end up spending way more than I should. But now it’s time to stop.
I have a wedding to pay for, a house to look after for and savings to grow!
I’ve realised that part of my problem is that I never spend physical cash; I always use my card and so I never actually see the money leaving my purse. This removal from my earnings means I’m not as responsible as I should be so this month I’m challenging myself to only spend cash. Not just that, but I’m pre- budgeting my spending for the month and I’m using the envelope method to keep track of what I buy.
What is the envelope method?
It’s really simple. Basically, I’ve labelled some envelopes with different categories: nails and beauty, eating out, food shopping, petrol and wedding fund. I’m filling each envelope with the money I will need for the month and I can only spend the cash in the envelopes. I’m not allowed to use my card and I’m not allowed to spend more than is inside each pocket!
This should mean I’m more careful with what I buy and will try to save as much as I can throughout the month – the fear of running out of money should put an end to my impulse purchases! It also guarantees that the cash I leave in my bank as savings actually stays there – unless there is some sort of emergency, there is no need to touch that money. (That last sentence was more of a note to self than guidance for you readers!) Payday is now going to become much more productive . Not an excuse to go on a shopping spree, but a reason to sit down (probably with a nice coffee) and look over my financial situation; monitor my expenses and feel proud (fingers crossed!) of what I have managed to save in the past months.
As I always promise; I will update you as time goes on: I’m aware I have a lot of positive changes I’m trying to implement in my life and this blog is a way for me to keep track and reflect on my progress! If you have any tips on how to best look after my money and expand my savings, I’d love to hear your ideas!
If you are a new reader – thanks for visiting; if you are a frequent visitor, welcome back! Today I have a haul to share with you as and you probably saw in the title – i’ve been to Kiehl’s!
A bit of background info: Confession time. I’ve never really taken my skincare routine seriously. I’ve always bought products and had them on my bathroom window sill where they have sat looking pretty but gathering dust. Occasionally, I would grab a face wash when getting in the shower or use a moisturiser on those days when my skin has felt particularly dry, but in terms of a ‘routine’; I’ve never really stuck to one.
For the past few weeks I’ve noticed my skin has been feeling particularly horrible – dry in places but greasy in others. My make up has been moving around/ fading away throughout the day and my face just looks dull, tired and unloved! So, I did some research on blogs and youtube and the Kiehl’s company leapt out to me. I love their background (they began as an apothecary) and their natural products and so I went to check them out. I went to the Trafford Centre store (in Selfridges) after work because I knew it would be a quiet period where the assistants would have the time to help me find the products for me without being rushed or bothered by other customers. The lady who served me was absolutely lovely and she started by testing my face with two paper dots to measure how oily my skin was. She then used a machine to test how hydrated my skin is (only 30% eeeek!) and after a quick chat about my concerns (blocked pores and dullness) she designed a routine for me. What I really loved was that she wasn’t pushy, she didn’t try to sell everything to me and she was honest about what would be practical for me to keep up with on a day- to- day basis. I will do a full skincare routine post once I’ve had chance to get used to the products, but for now, here is what I bought…
All of the products were chosen because of my particular problem areas; but I was happy to see some of the products that had jumped out to me during my research into the company and from other people’s recommendations. I still want to buy their SPF lotion (I can’t remember the exact name) but they don’t have any in stock in store or online!
When I got to the till, the lady was really kind and filled my bag with some great samples for me to try, one of which is a toner she recommend but I had decided not to purchase this time (my purse was feeling pretty empty after my consultation!) so this small bottle should last until payday!
I’m going to spend the next few weeks getting to grips with my new routine and hopefully noticing a big difference in the appearance and feel of my skin! *Disclamer* (I hate having to write these things but, you know, better to be safe than sorry!) I was in no way sponsored by Keihl’s to write this post. I spent my own money on the products and when the time comes to review them for you lovely lot, I’ll give my honest opinions!!
Thanks for reading
16th-23rd April 2017.
I’m currently writing this post from the lay on the grass in my newly decorated garden (do you even decorate a garden?!) enjoying the rare British sunshine and trying to make the most of the little time left of this weekend. I’m feeling the more happy and relaxed than I have in a long time – fingers crossed my good mood lasts through next week!
I’ve really been looking forward to doing this series and can’t wait to share with you what I get up to each week!
I’m actually going to work a bit out of order this week because I’m most excited to show you some pictures of our garden! This is the first major DIY project that we have embarked on together and it’s taken us a few days of hard work but we finally managed to finish the project yesterday and I’m so pleased with the results! We started off with a very unloved pile of dirt and some concrete slabs and we have ended up with a lawn (of artificial grass), flower bed, newly painted garden furniture and a space we can actually use and enjoy. Hurray!
I started the week with the goal of being really healthy and I have to admit I’d failed by Wednesday! We took my sister to Nando’s one evening to distract her from revision and exams for a little while (she’s currently preparing for her GCSE’s). I didn’t feel too bad because I chose a salad but we then caved the next evening and ordered a pizza (ooops!).
Monday’s tea (grilled pork, sweet potato wedges and lots of veggies!):
I teach in a mainly Islamic community and this week the girls in my class learned I had never had Mendi. They were really shocked and the next day brought some Henna into school! We spent the lunchtime creating a pattern on my arm and I was happy to let them practise their skills on me! I now have this (pretty wobbly!) pattern on my arm for the next few weeks!
And now we can talk about yesterday. The first week of term completely wiped both Guy and I out, so we had a lie in on Saturday morning and caught up on some much needed shut eye! We then indulged in some brunch at Frankie and Benny’s. Guy went for a full english and I had a cheese and tomato omelette with a vanilla latte and orange juice. Yum!
I spent the afternoon in the salon having my nails done. I get them done every two weeks and this week I went for ombre pastel blue and pink with an iridescent glitter and they remind me very much of unicorns – perfect for this gorgeous spring weather!
And those are the highlights of me week! Not bad considering I’ve been back at work! And now I plan to enjoy the sun for a while longer before getting myself ready for the new week – I’m thinking face mask, bath and a little TV before an early night!
I hope you have all had a great week and enjoyed the sunshine as much as possible! Please leave me links to your wonderful blogs and recent posts!