Monday, 21 July 2014

July Favourites

 Sunday 20th JulyEngland, Rain

I'm trying not to let July end dismally, because as I write this I'm looking out to solids banks of dark grey clouds. So I baked a cake, figuring that I couldn't possibly write a depressing post whilst the warm scent of freshly baked Victoria Sponge wafts about the kitchen. What better way to spend a Sunday than to pretend I'm a domestic goddess? 

Here are my July Favourites

1. Bourjois Java Rice Powder. This powder was brought on a whim after reading reviews that dubbed it as a dupe for the Hourglass illuminating powders - at a fraction of the cost I couldn't go wrong. It's great for setting a whole face of make-up to create a subtle glow, or use for brightening the under eye area. It smells antique, in a good way, like how your Grandmother's powder compacts used to smell. 

2. Vitamin E Serum-In-Oil. I'm a mahoosive fan of the Vitamin E collection at Body Shop, so after crowning their Face Mist as a product I could not live without, I was excited to try this serum-in-oil. This stuff is like beauty sleep in a bottle, 'nuff said. I use it every evening before moisturising, and even my Dad complimented how glowing my skin looked - win!.

3. Soap & Glory Thick & Fast. You know that product you just keep coming back to? Thick & Fast, I love you - you've got my back, you don't clump my lashes together. 

4. Essie Play-date. I've been completely and utterly obsessed with this varnish for the past month - the colour, the application, it's perfect.

5. Grapefruit. It smells delicious and tastes even better. Too much grapefruit has been consumed this July.

6. Quinoa. Possibly the best discovery of this month, and maybe ever. This superfood is low in fats, gluten-free and full of fibre and protein. Also tastes pretty darn good. Keep your eyes peeled for a vegan recipe.


On a quick ending note, I'm currently resting and rejuvenating with a Pina Colada in hand.

The White Shirt

(ASOS White Shirt, ASOS Sunglasses, Zara Shorts, Zara Sandals,  Olivia Burton Watch, H&M Rings, MAC Morange)


Friday, 18 July 2014

The Thing About "Bulking" Up + Fully-Body Workout

 Oh no, I only want to know how to use the cardio machines” – it’s probably the most heard sentence gym instructors hear, and I’m putting it out there, whenever I hear it, I laugh a little to myself. Not maliciously. Not with the intent to make fun of, or sneer at the those new to the gym. I laugh because that was me. When I first started, I wanted to lose weight, I would hop from cardio machine to cardio machine without any intention to touch a dumbbell. And why? We're all afraid of "bulking up" and turning into these fearfully, muscular women - which is unrealistic because 1. they train bloody hard, and have done so for years 2. They eat and take supplements to specifically look like that. So unless you dramatically increase your protein intake, your muscles will not get so large that you’re tearing the seams of your t-shirts like the hulk.

Weight training helps you to burn fat, therefore you are not building muscle upon fat, but rather losing the layer of fat covering your muscles. Sorted? Fabulous

Personally I like to do full-body workouts, rather than split my workouts into abs, arms, bums, legs over a series of days. This is a great full-body circuit workout with weights that I’ve tried, tested and nearly died in the process of. The routine may be too easy for you, it may be too hard, and it may not work for you at all – add in heavier weights, more cardio, go down a weight, swap around exercises – experiment and track results. No two people are built the same, so you cannot guarantee that the same workout will provide the same results with everyone.

(Find a detailed run-through of all the exercises here)

The first time I did this I opted for 30 minutes cardio on the treadmill, second time 10 minutes cardio, and the third time 15 minutes cardio. If you want an absolute killer workout I suggest 30 minutes, however doing less cardio was still effective.

I went for a lighter weight than what I can lift (which isn’t very heavy at all), especially trying the workout for the first time – I would rather be able to completely finish the circuit than using too heavy a weight and not be able to complete it.

-       I always finish a workout with 5-10 minutes of stretching. You’re using a lot of muscles in this routine, so make sure to stretch everywhere.

You’ll want to give up halfway through, that’s a given. But winners never quit, and quitters never win.



Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Travel Skincare and Make-up

I don't travel light. Not that I'm sure that comes as a surprise to anyone. But seriously, 20kg luggage allowance just isn't enough. However, this year I was determined to be well under the luggage allowance, packing only the bare essentials - the stuff that I reach for and use continually. You may think that going on holiday gives you the excuse to be brave and try something out of your comfort zone, or that you can't decide between which shade of red lipstick to take, so you'll just take all of them. No matter how much you promise yourself "I will wear this, I'll sleep with it on if I have to", in reality, you won't use it.

Save space and be strict. Keep a drawer of make-up and skincare that you use on a day-to-day basis over the course of a week or two. When packing, allow yourself only to take away with you what is in that drawer. These are products that work for you, that you feel comfortable in and love wearing. But yes, it's bloody hard to pick between those red lipsticks.

Here's my picks:

(Simple Kind To Skin Moisturiser, The Body Shop Unperfumed Eye Gel, The Body Shop Vitamin E Sink-in Moisture Mask, The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil, Malin + Goetz Lipbalm, Garnier Ambre Solaire On-The-Go Face and Body, Garnier Ambre Solaire Golden Protect Factor 30, Sainsburys Cotton Buds, Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic, Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, Muslin Cloth, Sainsburys Cotton Pads)

(L'oreal True Match Foundation, Maybelline Baby Skin, MAC Soft & Gentle, Nars Laguna Bronzer, MAC Immortal Flower Blush, MAC Stay Pretty Blush, Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer, YSL Touche Eclat, Bourjois Java Rice Powder, MAC Fluid Line Gel Eyeline, Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24 Hour, Benefit Brow Zings, Blink + Go Eyeshadow Palette, Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette, MAC Morange, MAC impassioned, MAC Sunny Seoul, Rimmel Kate Moss 107, Clear Mascara, Maybelline Master Smoky Eye Pencil, Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Mascara)


Friday, 11 July 2014

My Workout Playlist

Gyms are like breeding grounds for people to embarrass themselves. We're hot, sweaty and tired, crying out in hunger attempting to beat our personal bests, or show off in front of good-looking gym-goers - or at least thats just me. They're bound to happen. I get caught tripping-up on the treadmill, or have awkward "I didn't realise my leggings were this see-through" (back in the earlier days before the discovery of Nike Dri-Fit), and who can resist those sexy lifting weight faces? Yet, the greatest humiliation I've yet to find in the gym, is being caught out singing along to my iPod. And apparently the cheesier the song, the better.

Here's My Workout Playlist. I try to create a new playlist each month to keep workouts fresh, otherwise I lose interest in the songs. So have a listen and delete what doesn't work for you. And if you're really not a music person, have you tried listening audiobooks? At least you won't be caught out mouthing along to those.

July Workout Playlist

1. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - Taylor Swift (Supasound Remix) 3.00
2. Ho Hey - The Lumineers 2.43
3. Get me Bodied (Extended Mix) - Beyonce Knowles 6.19
4. Falling - Haim 4.17
5. Fancy - Iggy Azalea (feat. Charli XCX) 3.19
6. Chaka Demus - Jamie T 3.36
7. Happy  -  Pharrell Williams 3.53
8. Green Light - Beyonce Knowles 3.30
9. Run The World - Beyonce Knowles 3.58
10. Summertime Sadness - Lana Del Ray (Cedric Gervais Remix) 6.52
11. Riptide - Vance Joy 3.24
12. Ghost - Ella Henderson 3.36
13. The Wire - Haim 4.05
15. Grown Woman - Beyonce Knowles 4.24
16. Hey Ya - Outkast 3.56
17. Upgrade U - Beyonce Knowles 4.33
18. Wasted - Tiesto (feat. Matthew Koma) 3.08
19. Primadonna - Marina and the Diamons (Benny Benassi Remix) 7.05
20. (Something Inside) So Strong - Labi Siffre 5.37

And don't knock the last song, it has amazing motivational powers.



Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The New Do

10:30, Monday morning, finally. I'm finally chopping off my locks. It took months of plucking up the courage, but today's the day. Whilst I stand in the shower, I remind myself it will be the last time these ends ever get a condition, so I lovingly massage the conditioner in - they've been good to me, so I feel I owe them this one last time. 

As I make my way over to my Auntie's, I try to mask my fear by singing Grown Woman at the top of my voice but there's this nervousness looming at bay. I've been growing my hair for years, and years, it's become my comfort blanket - am I making a huge mistake? Panics definitely setting in. 
Well too late, by 11:30, the first lock of my hair has been chopped off and there is no going back. I expected to be crying about now, but oddly enough, there's no regret at this point, instead excitement rushes through me as I watch the hair pile up of the floor. I'm free. I feel so free. My head already feels lighter, I'm not having to haul round heavy locks anymore.

My Auntie offers to put all the hair she cut off in a bag to take home, and whilst I want to scream "yes, yes, yes", I politely refuse, realising that the only way I'm going to get through this is just to say goodbye now - a clean break, or cut

It's only late afternoon at 5:00, as I attempt to style the new do, that an ounce of regret rears it's ugly head. It's so thick now, that I'm finding it impossible to curl. But I manage. It'll take a bit of getting used to, but I factored this into the pros and cons list. And by 6:00, I've splashed a selfie across my social media - I quite like my new do, if I do say so myself.  

I know that these photos don't even make my hair look that short, but I had a good 5/6 inches cut off, and thats an awful lot to me. So would you risk the cut?