Wednesday, 28 May 2014

My Fitness Journey (Part One)

Two weeks ago today I was just getting ready to go out for a cream tea with my boyfriend when I sat on the sofa, burst into tears and told him I wanted to change the way I looked. I said I wasn’t happy being unfit, unhealthy and feeling like I was looking at the wrong body every time I looked in the mirror. He gave me a hug, listened to me vent and then we formed a plan.

It’s two weeks since I decided to change the way I live my life and I wanted to weigh in (ha, punny) with my progress, and how I’ve found my first fortnight.

In short, it’s already changed my life. I have double the energy I had before, I never find myself needing to take a nap because I’m so tired by 3.30pm, my skin is crystal clear, my hair is shiny, my nails are strong and I can already feel my body changing inside and out.

Before I started I always used to eat until I was stuffed; I think over the years I’d taught myself that stuffed meant satisfied and I never felt content unless I’d eaten so much I could barely move from the sofa for an hour. Now I’m learning to stop when I’m satisfied and get control of my portions - which has probably been the toughest thing to get my head around! I’ve been eating giant portions for years now, so when I see a normal portion on a plate my brain is all ‘wtf? Srsly bro?’ But I’m sticking to it and I’m already finding myself in shock when I think back to what I used to be able to eat.

Me and my boyfriend have fajita night every Friday. I have always, always eaten four fajitas without a second thought. Yeah I felt lethargic and sick afterwards but the fajita kit gives you eight fajitas and there are two of us so…I guess it made sense for me to eat half. Now I’m only eating three and even that felt too much yesterday so next week it’ll be two. In three weeks I’ll have halved the portion I need. I’m pretty impressed with myself.

I’ve worked my butt off and I’ve stuck to eating healthily religiously. I haven’t cheated once, I haven’t over-eaten at a single meal as I decided to be completely strict for the first two weeks, to give myself a bit of a detox. Now I’m learning to listen to my body and figure out what it needs, rather than what my brain wants, I know I’m on the right track.

And exercise has been a huge part of it! Since I stopped going to the gym when I first started university I’ve shied away from all forms of exercise, aside from the odd foray into yoga. I joined a gym a couple of years ago, went half-heartedly for a few months and then quit. Now, though? Things are very different.

My boyfriend converted our garage into a gym a few months ago and it’s packed full with gym-grade equipment. A dumbbell rack, a power cage and every snazzy attachment you can think of. I was too intimidated to use it before but my boyfriend spent a week running through everything with me and writing me programmes for different days and now I can’t get enough of it. I’m supposed to do three strength training sessions a week but I did four this week and I’m already thinking about squeezing another one in this weekend.

I weighed myself today, two weeks after I started, and I’m down 4lbs. Yeah part of me obviously wants to step on the scales and see myself down four stone instead (ha!) but crash dieting is not what I’m trying to do and I’m so pleased with my progress. I measured myself as well and I’ve lost four inches in the last two weeks. FOUR INCHES. I’m so proud of myself and already seeing results in such a huge motivation for me.

This is just the beginning of my fitness journey and I wanted to share every step of it with you - my crappy days, my milestone achievements, tips I learn along the way. So, I’ll be back with another update in two weeks, which will mark one month since I started!

Until then, happy lifting everyone!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Why I Cry (Or, Why I Learned to Shop Worrying and Weep All I Want)

I was at lunch with two of my best blogging buddies the other week (Amy from Amy Loves and Emily from Pretty Please - both of their blogs are amazing!) when we got onto the topic of how often we cry. Now, I’m a prolific crier and we spent the next half an hour shrieking with laughter when we talked about all the silly things that have made us cry… or not cry, in Iron Amy’s case (although we did break her with Hannah Maggs’ Draw My Life video, don’t worry).

I decided to write a blog post sharing all of the things that have made me cry in the last seven days because, well, it makes me chuckle to look back and see what a sap I am. I swear, pretty much the only time I’m not crying is when I’m feeling totally neutral emotionally, any other time (happy or sad), I’m usually bawling.

I sometimes see people answer ‘about me’ surveys on their blogs and say they can’t remember the last time they cried. REALLY? Man, if I haven’t cried in a 24 hour period there’s usually something seriously the matter with me. I love a good cry. It’s cleansing. But I’m still convinced that’s why I have dry skin…

So anyway, these are the things that have made me shed a tear over the last seven days:

When I couldn’t do a wide grip pull down in the gym because my wrists were too weak (frustrated tears)
When my boyfriend suggested my portion of stew was too big (frustrated tears)
When my boyfriend suggested I might be able to squat a bit deeper (‘omfg why don’t you do it then?’ tears - sorry, Simon, I know you were just trying to help!)

(In case you couldn’t tell, I wasn’t good at taking fitness criticism this week)

When their parents turned up to their photo shoots in the America’s Next Top Model final (happy tears)
When Ping won Masterchef (happy tears)
When I read an article that showed photos of dogs in the car after leaving shelters (happy tears)
When I read a Game of Thrones spoiler on Twitter (RAGE tears)

I *think* that’s it for the last seven days.

So, um, any other serial criers out there? Anyone? Bueller?

Me, all the damn time

Friday, 23 May 2014

Make Up Revolution Haul!

My second haul in a month - what's become of me? Well, after I spotted a host of great reviews popping up for Makeup Revolution I decided to buy a few bits and pieces and see what the fuss is all about. Luckily the price tags are eeny weeny, so a haul like this will come in at around £20 - not bad at all.

I decided to try a range of things from the brand but steered clear of eye products because I do *not* need any more eyeshadows for a LONG time! Well, I also don't need any more face, cheek or lip products but, well... I have no excuse.

Cream blushers are something I haven't really tried much of before but after falling head over heels for cream eyeshadows I thought I'd get some creamy goodness for my cheeks. I went for two cream blushes from the range, in Peach Cream (£1.50) and Rose Cream (£1.50).

After hearing that the One Foundation (£4) is similar to MAC Face and Body (I've never tried it so I'm not sure if this claim is true or not) I decided to give it a go. I was a bit surprised a size of the bottle when I unpackaged it (photographed next to a lipstick for scale) as it was pretty tiny but as the foundation is a really thin liquid formula I think this'll go a long way.

Next up I picked up the highlighter in Pink Lights (£3), as I don't have a lilac coloured highlighter in my stash. It's a huge product and I'm never, ever going to run out of this. I've photographed it next to a cream blush for scale. 

And then, of course, I caved and bought five lipsticks, because I have no self control. Although at £1 each I can't exactly complain if a couple are misses. I picked out Bliss, Vice (WHY did I think neon orange would look good on me?! Spoiler: It doesn't. Photos coming soon for lols), Twist, Fusion and 100% Vamp.

Last of all I decided to get one of the Blush Lacquers (£3), as I've tried one from ELF and really got on with it. I went for the shade Desire and I've only swatched this on my hand so far but it's pigmented as hell!

So there you go, my Makeup Revolution haul. I've had a lot of fun playing with these bits and pieces over the last week, so I'll be bringing you individual reviews soon of some of the hits...and misses. Gird your loins for a picture of me in dashing bright orange lipstick - it's definitely not my colour.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Lipstick Tag

I saw this tag over at the lovely Jennie's blog and knew I had to take part - lately lipsticks are becoming my weakness and my collection is growing and growing!

1. How many lipsticks do you own?

Eek, I dread to think. Maybe... 35? Plus a bunch of glosses, lip butters, lip liners, lip balms... Yeah, lip products are definitely my downfall! 

2. What was the first lipstick you owned?

I think it was a Natural Collection lipstick in Raspberry, which was quite a deep raspberry pink - bit of a bold colour for my first lippie! I loved it, though, and went through about three tubes before I decided to branch out to another colour. I used to wear it with the Natural Collection Juicy Lips lip gloss in Turkish Delight over the top - I’ve still got a tube of that gloss kicking around somewhere!

3. What is your favourite lipstick brand?

Ooh, I think I’d have to go for Too Faced, because I love their La Creme lipsticks sooo much, but I also love MAC (obviously) and Revlon Lip Butters.

4. What is your most worn lipstick?

Ooh that's a tricky one. I'd say either MAC Speak Louder, Too Faced La Creme in Bumbleberry or Nars Dolce Vita.

5. What is your favourite finish?

Anything creamy and moisturising! My lips are quite dry so sometimes matte colours don’t look great on me, though I do like the finish. Something that has the consistency of a lip butter will always be my favourite, because they’re so low maintenance and leave my lips lovely and smooth.

6. What was the last lipstick you bought?

I picked up five (yes, five...) lipsticks from Make Up Revolution. Come on, there were £1 each, I couldn't resist.

7. How many lip products do you currently have in your bag?

I change my bag around every time I go out so I don't usually find myself carting loads of lip products around. At the moment I have three - Nars Dolce Vita lipstick, a Buxom lip gloss and a Burt's Bees lip balm.

8. What is your favourite red lip colour?

Hmm, it’s a bit of a toss up between Too Faced’s Red Stiletto and MAC’s Ruby Woo. I love Ruby Woo for that statement matte lip that really commands attention but it can be quite high maintenance. Red Stiletto is a gorgeous red that feels super creamy on the lips and because it’s technically more of a lip butter than a lipstick you can whack it on at the beginning of the night and leave it to do its thing.

9. How do you store your lipsticks?

I have a couple of acrylic holders that I store my favourites in, which sits on top of my make up table. Then the colours I use less often, lip balms and glosses etc are in a drawer next to my make up table.

10. Which lipsticks are you currently lusting after?

MAC Creme Cup, YSL Rouge Volupte in Corail Jalouse (or Rose Opera) and Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle. Yeah, think I'll be saving for a while for these! And that's without a mention of Tom Ford...

So there you go, that's my take on the lipstick tag! I tag all of you lovely people reading this to take part :).

Monday, 19 May 2014

Hair Colour Inspiration!

So now summer is approaching I feel like it's time to change up my hair! As you might know I don't really get my hair cut in a salon very often. I tend to just trim it at home and take care of it myself but every so often I do go to get it sorted out properly, and that time has come round again.

I've been having a think about what I'd like to get done and I feel like a change when it comes to my colour; my natural colour is dark reddy brown and I dye it every six months a slightly darker red, just to deepen things a bit. However, I do fancy something a bit different so I'd like to lighten things up, get some caramel highlights and just lift things a bit.

When it comes to hair inspiration is there anywhere to go other than Pinterest? Nope. I put together a little collage of some pictures that I'll be showing my hairdresser when I go to get my new colour. Yay! Summery hair awaits!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Collection 2000 Colour Match Foundation

Another high street foundation review for you all! I bought the Collection 2000 Colour Match foundation last month so now I've had a chance to try it out properly here are my thoughts.

Collection 2000 Colour Match foundation comes in limited shades but I was lucky that the shade I went for ('Light') is actually a pretty decent match for my skin. When I first pump this out of the bottle I'm always convinced it's going to be way too dark for me, as it does look very orange when it's first applied, but after a few minutes it settles into the skin and does blend nicely.

As you can see from the left side of the picture this provides medium coverage - it events out most of my uneven skin tone but the eye bags are still going pretty strong and there's an uneven patch around my nose. I like the coverage it provides and it feels weightless on my skin, which I always like as I'm really not a fan of feeling like my skin can't breathe.

The only real drawback about this foundation is that it's preeeetty shiny - check out the glow on my chin, cheeks and forehead. I've got dry skin so for a foundation to look this shiny on me, so soon after application, I'm really not sure how this would fare on anybody with oily skin.

That said, every time I've worn this foundation I've got compliments on my skin, so it's got to be doing something right! It's nice to be able to whack this on, add a bit of cream eyeshadow and a quick jot of eyeliner and feel like my face is put together - especially on days when I fancy a five minute face.

The Collection 2000 Colour Match foundation comes in at £5.99, which is beyond reasonable for a foundation. The more I use this the more I like it, and now I've photographed myself wearing it I'm even more impressed. For such a teeny tiny price tag I'm really happy with this.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in Bad to the Bronze

I featured this product in my April favourites so I wanted to give it its very own post as I'm sooo in love!

Last year I picked up three Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadows but never really used them as, if I'm honest, cream eyeshadows scared me - I felt like they'd crease, wear away after a couple of hours and end up looking a complete mess. Um, how wrong was I? After using this colour a couple of times I was completely converted and now I'm slowly trying to build myself a little cream eyeshadow collection because I love them so much.

Before I go into any more detail, here is how my favourite shade, Bad to the Bronze, looks on my eyes, without any primer:

It's such a lovely, shimmery bronze that looks so gorgeous - when I've got this on I don't use anything else on my eyes apart from a bit of mascara. I hardly need to use any product - you can see there's only a little dent in the pot and I've used this pretty much every day for a month, so it's going to last for aaaaages. Plus, it's an absolute bargain at £4.99!

I cannot praise this highly enough and it's led me to buy even more colours from the range, including the recently acquired Pink Gold, a review of which will be coming soon.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara

Now Tarte have finally arrived in the UK I wanted to bring you a little review of their Lights Camera Lashes mascara, which I picked up in Sephora last year and have been enjoying ever since.

As you can see this has a lovely effect on my lashes - it holds a curl really well, lengthens and separates the lashes, which is exactly what I want from a mascara! This lasts for hours and doesn't smudge under my eyes - this is always a big test for me as I find sooo many mascaras smudge after I've been wearing them for a couple of hours.

Tarte's Lights Camera Lashes mascara really opens up my eyes and I love wearing this on minimal make up days, when all I want is to look a little more awake and a little less 'it's 7am and I am sooo not ready to start working'.

Anyway, as it's a Tarte product this isn't readily available in the UK and I can't find it listed on the QVC website... however, if you're desperate to get your hands on this one you can buy it from Amazon here, with free delivery.

This is a gorgeous mascara but it's not the cheapest and I'm not 100% sure I'd repurchase it, as I do get a similar effect from cheaper mascaras. Though, if you're heading to the States and fancy a higher end mascara then it's definitely worth snapping this up, as it's a steal if you only pay the US price!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Seventeen Stay Time Foundation

I've tried a fair few products from Seventeen over the last year and they've definitely got some gems on offer - I love the Doll'd Up mascara and Flawless Poreless primer in particular. I'm on a quest to try out some new high street foundations so picked up Seventeen's Stay Time foundation and now I've had a bit of time to try it out I wanted to share my thoughts.

Left side of my face - Stay Time Foundation // Right side of my face - no make up

This is described by Seventeen as a full coverage foundation but I'm not 100% sure I'd agree with that - I'd say it's more medium than full, as you can see in the picture above my eye bags are still showing through a little. I like that it's not quite full coverage, as it doesn't feel heavy on the skin.

The formula feels quite stiff and you do need to work it into the skin quickly, but once it settles into the skin it feels a lot lighter than I thought it would and it's not at all drying, which I was also worried about. The colour is a great match for my skin and one of the things I was most impressed with was the range of colours available - especially for us pale girls.

In the picture above I'm wearing the foundation on the left side of my face and nothing on the right side - as you can see it does really even out the skin and cover red patches. Now I've seen a photo of this on my skin I'm much more impressed than I was when I'd just been catching glimpses of myself in the mirror!

Seventeen Stay Time Foundation promises 25 hours of wear but I haven't tested this out, obviously, because who's going to sleep in their make up?! I do always find it a bit weird when brands release products that last for 24 hours or more - does anybody really keep their make up on overnight for this to matter? Anyway, I have worn this foundation for twelve hours on the trot and it really does stay in place without any need for powder.

For £6.49 you get a medium to full coverage foundation that evens out your skin tone and stays put for hours and hours - well done, Seventeen!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

A Little Boots Haul

So I picked up a couple of bits and bobs in the Boots 3 for 2 - of course I did. I've had some great job news over the last few weeks and now some contracts have been finalised I thought it was time to treat myself, after being on an unplanned three month spending ban!

Here's a little look at what I bought:

So, first up we've got the Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover (£4.99), which I'm sure every blogger under the sun has already mentioned numerous times. This is my second pot of this and I'm a bit fan - it's not great with glitter varnish but then nothing really is. This is so handy, easy to use and doesn't dry out my nails. I'm really looking forward to the new version of this, which features a handy sponge in the lid for removing toe nail varnish!

Next up is the Seventeen Stay Time Foundation, which I got in Soft Ivory. I was quite impressed at the colour range for us pale skinned girls as there were quite a few choices, rather than just the standard 'Porcelain'. I've used this foundation a couple of times so far and it's nice...nothing amazing and I doubt I'd repurchase but it makes my skin look even and smooth so it's a pretty average foundation with a nice price tag. I do find it's quite thick so you have to work it in quickly before it dries and I'm not 100% sure the full coverage promise comes true - but for £6.49 I'm not complaining.

I picked up two nail varnishes that I think are perfect colours for spring - the first is a pastel orange from the Maybelline Color Show range (Peach Smoothie - £2.99) and the second is one of the Seventeen Gel Colour varnishes, which I got in the shade Azure Amore (£3.99).

I've become a huge fan of the Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadows lately so I decided to buy myself Pink Gold (£4.99), which is a pretty shimmery pink that looks beautiful on the lid with some winged eyeliner on top. I've used this almost every day since I bought it and it's my favourite product of the bunch - 100% recommended!

Last up is the Maybelline Brow Drama (£4.99), which I bought to replace my almost-empty (*sob*) Benefit Gimme Brow. I've used this two or three times and I'm actually pretty impressed with it. The shade I bought (medium brown) is a great match for my brows and it fills in the odd gap and neatens everything up without being too over-bearing. I'm not a fan of my brows feeling coated in product but I can deal with it for tamed brows that stay in place all day!

So there you have it, this lot came in at just over £20 once the 3 for 2 kicked in, which I think is pretty darn good! I've got some real gems in this haul and I'll be bringing you more detailed reviews of a few of the products soon.