Sunday, 29 June 2014

Sunday Weigh-In: Dear Diary 23rd-29th June

Carrying on with the diary style entry but I'll try and keep it short this week!

Monday 23rd June
Another decent day food wise, I've stuck to my goals. I didn't exercise tonight as I was hot, tired and had an awful headache so I just wanted to crash once home. I did however get my steps up again, I had originally started the day quite lazily, well I wasn't being lazy but I was stuck behind my desk in the morning so was only at just over 3,000 at about midday I did join some friends on a walk around the site which managed to take me up to 9,000. After a desk based afternoon I still managed to add a.bit more to my total which happily meant when I left work at five I was over 10,000. I walked home and did some grocery shopping on the way so my steps are impressive and the rest from exercise was needed.

Total steps today: 15,083

Tuesday 24th June
Again food wise fine, vegetable stir fry for tea which is always a good option although a bit dull. Still feeling poop but made sure I got some exercise in, did some standing pilates followed by one of my exercise dvd's so a mixture of cario and strength. Steps wise I did rubbish compared to yesterday but amazing in general! It's sometimes hard not to feel down on myself just because I haven't quite reached the high that I had previously.

Total steps today: 12, 181

Wednesday 25th June
Now another busy day at work plus an early start but this did mean I was running about a bit which helped contribute to hitting just over 15,000 steps again. I managed to get my calorie intake to where I wanted it to be, not too high, not too low! Nothing interesting to report with what food I ate, my usual stuff really. Although as I knew we were having quiche for tea that did motivate me to get my steps up even higher as I was so exhausted I knew I was going to have to rest rather than exercise.

Total steps today: 15,015

Thursday 26th June
A quieter, catch up day today so I was behind my desk most of it but I hit my target both step and food wise. I came home early and The Beast, although not acting ill or in any kind of distress, had slightly laboured breathing. He is ill and we know there isn't anything we can really do now but we did rush him to the vets just to check, it isn't anything new just the tumour possibly pressing/the hot weather so he just need to keep up with his tablets and make sure he is in a cool place which we will do. Again they reckon he won't have long (weeks rather than months) so I'm yet again devastated but I know if it ever gets to a point where he is in discomfort we will have to do the right thing. I''m feeling a bit emotional but push on with some exercise when we return. I've started to drink a protein shake after my workout for extra calories and extra protein, just unflavoured impact protein whey.

Total steps today: 11,199

Friday 27th June
Now I've managed over 10,000 steps today but only just. I decided to make tonight another rest night, I think in future I'll make this a permanent thing, although we usually have a slightly larger tea tonight it still fits in with ease so I just need to adjust some things. It makes sense though, so Monday and Friday night I'll plan to be my regular rest nights. Food wise pretty much the same although as I have breakfast with friends I just have one piece of toast today with eggs. The usual take-out consists of a tofu dish and an egg dish as usual - Manage about a third of each dish.

Total steps today: 10,345

Saturday 28th June
It's a funny day when I''m looking after The Beast, everything takes so much longer to do. He's in and out most of the day, plus he tends to eat tiny meals, just about 8-10 times a day! I still manage to exercise plus his demanding but lovable style helps with the steps. Now I'm not at 10,000 but I'm not that far off plus I work out hard today so it's not that bad. Had another lovely breakfast of yoghurt and granola - speedily becoming a firm favourite at the weekend!

Total steps today: 7,762

Sunday 29th June
Another hectic Sunday of nothing, I've managed to be busy whilst barely doing anything only just sitting down to rel at 5pm. I've sent a good chunk of the day exercising whilst/looking after The Beast. I was on and off the cross trainer so many times I didn't think I'd ever complete my fifty minutes, plus he kept insisting on lying to the side of it so every time he got up I had to freak out and stop what I was doing to avoid hitting him! in the end I plonked him on a chair and he climbed on the windowsill so I got there in the end and followed it with trying part of a new HIIT routine a quick 30 minutes of Yogalates. I had another protein shake today which I think I will after to every workout. We just get the My Protein brand Impact Whey protein which is just over £22 for 2.5kg which works out at 100 shakes so 100 workouts! Sill have to decide on what to have for tea but as I've got 800 calories left I'll have plenty to choose from.

Total steps today: TBC

This weeks charts:

NSV (None Scale Victory): I've been able to get further in some of my poses in Yogalates which means one of two things or both, I'm improving my flexibility OR my boobs have shrunk, both things = very good!

NSV 2: I met my mile goal so I'll aim to up it next week.

Short Term Goals
To be able to get further with my exercise, better flexibility, harder work-outs, better stamina. Sticking to making sure I eat an hour before a work-out and grab a protein shake straight after. Distance Goal this week is going to be 37 miles!

Long Term Goals
That holiday I want, I want it as soon as possible but that would have a to be at least a few months down the line. My old comfortable trousers from Joseph, they have to fit again.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Lush Lipstick in Decisive

I love Lush, most people do although I know plenty of people find the shops overwhelming - as do I! Sometimes it's hard to focus with so many delicious products which is one of the reasons why this is my first piece of make-up from them. I received this at Christmas but have only just started to wear it, of course Lush products are really very natural and have a use by date - fortunately I have a few more months to go with this but I must remember in future that I don't have to save everything for best. 

The bottle reminds me of the bottle Alice drinks in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, ironically when drunk Alice shrank but this lipstick is very bold, out there and larger than life. Decisive is a bold, glorious, Hollywood red so bright red with a somewhat pink side to it. There is an absolute wow factor here as this colour really stands out and makes my lips look incredibly full. 

The texture is strange to apply, the applicator is like that of a lip gloss but it's really like applying a broken up lipstick rather than a gloss, in a way it feels like you're applying velvet to your lips as it is so soft. You do have to be careful as this is a strong shade and it's so easy to accidentally get it all over the place so apply with extreme caution. Once on I find it best to blot which I find makes it last an amazingly long time, plus it stains the lips slightly which for me is a preference. There is no strong scent/taste which is quite unlike Lush but really what you want from something you wear on the lips. 

 Now the bottle isn't the easiest thing to carry around but overall this product is a winner and I will be picking up more shades in the future, as long as I can decide which shade to go for next! 

Friday, 27 June 2014

Festival Must-Haves

Festival Must-Haves
Festival Must-Haves by sharonlynette

Dr Bronner's Magic Liquid Soap £2.50 // BUMBLE & BUMBLE Pret-a-Powder £15.00 // BUMBLE & BUMBLE Surf styling spray £9.50 // Bene balm Tinted Lip Balm £14.50 // Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner Black Amethyst £13.00 // NIP + FAB CC Face - Complexion Fix £14.95 // New Look White Daisy Bun Hair Garland £2.99 // Urban Decay Cannonball Ultra Waterproof Mascara £15.00 // Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion SPF 30 £15.00 // CATSEYE Lips wash bag £15.00 // Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh Spray pen $22.00 // theBalm® 'Stainiac' Cheek & Lip Stain £11.50 // Yes to Cucumber Facial Towelettes £4.99

With a certain famous festival under way right not, Glastonbury, although never a festival I fancied when I was younger regrettably (always more a Holidays in the Sun type of gal) I thought I should take a look those few essentials that you should take. Now music festivals may seem like a catwalk these days but it is ALL about the music. However you want feel pretty rocking so there are a few things that you should try and cram in a tiny backpack and these are those. 

Now I truly believe I've captured the essentials here. The Dr Bronner's magic liquid soap in peppermint can also be used to brush your teeth with and is also a nice treat when rubbed in tired aching muscles after a long day along with giving yourself a quick wash and to wash your hair. However, washing your hair should be low down on the list of priorities so the Bumble & Bumble dry shampoo is perfect, it also doubles up as a volumiser, the Bumble & Bumble surf spray should be used to keep your hair in check with ease - tie back with the daisy bun hair garland - lasts longer than a real daisy chain! 

The Yes to Cucumbers facial towelettes are perfect for removing your make-up, these are my favourite wipes as they are a generous size and very refreshing, they can also double up to give your armpits a freshen. Although it is guaranteed to rain most of the time the sun can still do some damage and it's easy to forget when out all day so the sun cream is the number 1 essential out of this lot. 

On to the tiny amount of make-up you'll need, A foundation is too heavy so this Nip+Fab CC cream covers all bases, It's SPF 30, moisturising complexion fix, what more could you need? Now only a few more items to top up the bag, the Benebalm is a tinted lip balm so gorgeous colour whilst conditioning, and if you want to top it up for a darker shade add a touch of theBalm's Stainiac whilst applying some colour to your cheek. Now there is no point messing about with eyeshadow but if you want a night time look you can use the Stila waterproof eyeliner to create a smoky look before applying a little bit of liner, followed by a good waterproof mascara, Urban Decay's Cannonball does the trick! Now to finish it off, not quite essential but when you're starting to feel a bit gross a touch of perfume does wonders, I love Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh, sadly I haven't found the spray pen in the U.K. but you never know! 

So that is the list of what I'd take. Is there something I'm missing that you wouldn't dare leave without?

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Lipstick Queen - Endless Summer in Hang Ten

Well a few weeks back I spent a lovely weekend in Chester. Chester is very fortunate to have a Space.NK and while I was there I knew I had to pick up a couple of more items from Lipstick Queen, which I did. One of the items I just allowed James to choose and the other was another pick up from the Endless Summer range, I already have and love Stoked

Now another thing that influenced the decision to buy this shade, it reminded me of MAC's Creme D'Nude, I can't argue that this is a cheaper dupe as it is more expensive but I loved the condition my lips feel with this lipstick and the shade is slightly more suitable for my skin tone even though the difference is minute. 

I loved the feel of Stoked, it felt and tasted like summer holidays and Hang Ten is no different. It was incredibly soft on the lips and moisturising which is what I wanted. Now this is a beige nude so you have to have your lips in good condition to wear it. Fortunately for such a pale shade I was happy that the coverage was even enough. 

This is a light colour that, in a way, acts like a highly pigmented tinted balm so you will find yourself needing to apply it a few times a day although there is always a little bit of shade left, I've never had it any other way with lipsticks as pale as this. 

It's a surprising versatile shade, perfect for a beach holiday on its own with loose hair and barely any other make-up or worn with heavy, black, 60's style eye make-up.

I absolutely adore Lipstick Queen and totally think it is worth spending a little bit more on these special lipsticks. 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Models Own - HyperGel - Naked Glow

Unbelievably this isn't just my first time with a no UV style gel nail varnish but gel nail varnish full stop. Now I did fancy a look of those home gel kits - mainly as I love a gadget but I decided it just wan't worth it. Mainly as I like to change my nail varnish every other day, so the fact that it lasts longer didn't appeal. I did like the idea of the high-shine finish which is why I decided to pick up a few from Models Own to try, I actually have three different colours but will be focusing on Naked Glow today.

Now I love a good natural colour, it's low maintenance but makes the nails look a little neater. Now what natural colour works best is a matter of skin tone but I think this colour would suit everyone. It's a lovely, barely there ecru with a lovely shine.

As I said before gel nail varnishes just weren't on my radar so I've never really looked into them. I didn't really bother to research how a home version without a UV light would work but my presumption was high-shine and long lasting.

Now the high-shine was there but I found that this didn't last. I always like to test my nail varnish with and without a top coat. Without a top coat this was chipped in less than 24 hours. However I tried it again with a top coat and this became a lot more hard wearing. They even do a Hyper Gel clear top coat which I would say is definitely worth picking up (and will do when I pick up more shades).

Now for the price this is a really good alternative to going out to the salon but you have to make the effort to put a top coat on if you want it to last but it really is worth it. 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sunday Weigh-In: Dear Diary 16th-21st June!

Well I'm starting this weeks entry super early, it's currently Monday evening. It was something that crossed my mind at work, how each day I feel different, my effort is different and I always sum it up in my head but when it comes to typing at the end of the week I forget so I've decided to a diary format with a short entry for each day. This will give me a better overall idea and hopefully stop me waffling on (minus the yummy waffles) at the end of the week. I'll still be including my steps and activity charts at the end but for now I want to type out my feelings which I certainly did yesterday - if you haven't seen it check out My (Little) Diet Rant. 

Monday 16th June  (Expect this entry to be a little more detailed than the rest)
Well for a Monday it has been a great day. I had my usual toast followed by an Actimel plus pot and melon, hopefully the deli at work will have their home mix of natural yoghurt and cherries the rest of the week as it's a good way for me to get a bit of extra protein in. Had my usual home-made salad except this was a post weekend mix missing cucumber, I had a couple of tomatoes left plus a bit of pepper, a carrot and about half a white cabbage! It was enough as one of the guys brought in some brownies that his partner had made so had one triangle with lunch - very delicious and within my calorie range. The rest of the day has been quite light, I've become addicted to the Eat Natural Almond and Apricot bars which although quite calorific are healthy and good before a workout plus it means I actually eat some nuts which I usually hate (unless covered in chocolate). Tea is some gorgeous Asparagus and Mozzarella ravioli with salad and a bit of garlic ciabatta, strawberries with a bit of ice cream for dessert.

My steps have been amazing today, I was fortunate to have been doing work that requires me to walk about a bit, I've also got a very busy week this week I always make sure I get away from my computer for at least 10 minutes every hour - usually this is just doing some other bit of my job but when I need the bathroom I try to go to the bathroom at the far end of the building - unless I'm desperate! This is actually quite a few steps and it means I have to travel down and up a few flights of stairs - which I sometimes try to run up!

I'm about to workout so that will give my calorie allowance for today a burst, I'm doing my boxing routine with my weighted gloves, usually I'll just do 20 minutes but I'll aim for 30 minutes today. Also incredibly proud of myself for digging out the floor fan that has been sat impotently next to my bed since last summer, I've been finding it so hot to workout (especially when wearing gloves) so this will make my fitness routine much more pleasant and less stinky. Now I just have to deal with the mess I've left down the side of my bed!

Plus a NSV (None Scale Victory) today, someone asked me if I'd lost weight - I said possibly as I don't really know although I do feel trimmer.

Total steps today: 14,318

Tuesday 17th June
Another great day for steps, I stayed active most of the day and manage to hit my halfway goal of 5000 steps, which I usually aim to be at by 2pm, by 12pm so a good start which continued. By the time I got home, slightly after 5pm, I was already over 10,000 steps and determined to workout. I treated myself to tryign a new routine, one from The Firm - Total Body Makeover dvd, the routine is called Cardio Party Express, yes, I did look a bit of an idiot doing it but it was a good workout - there are some clips of routines from all of the dvd on YouTube. I managed to burn 370 calories which is a nice bonus.

Food wise it has been another good day, pretty much the same as yesterday but with no brownies. We have a chest freezer full of food that doesn't quite fit together but we will have to find a way to make it work so the rest of the week we will be making use of this food rather than buying anything new and fresh apart from frozen peas, mushrooms and carrots! We could do with saving the money. So far I'm feeling positive about tomorrow but if I'm feeling like I need a bit of a rest I'll make tomorrow a rest night but make sure I keep up the steps in the day - a bit worried as I'm getting a lift in, this means I'll miss out on my close to 1000 step walk to the bus.

Total steps today: 15,293

Wednesday 17th June
Well it was never going to get of to a good start, mainly because of the lift - not that I did bad, this week is proving to be the best ever with steps and exercise. I've exceeded 10,000 steps and managed another workout tonight but only a 20 minute one. Food wise I've kept it in line again! I also got to try out my new 4kg dumbbells - I already have quite a few of different weights but have only one tiny set of the neoprene coated ones which I find a lot easier to grip when needing to hop on one leg whilst swinging it around! So these were a good investment.

Total steps today: 12,081

Thursday 18th June
Another slightly pants day although I've managed to reach 10,000 steps it has been slower progress today and nowhere near exceeding my steps earlier in the week but I had a lot on at work which meant I was behind the desk most of the time plus I had a horrible time with hayfever today and ended up going home because of this, only slightly early but I didn't do as many steps on the way home. Anyway, I got myself together and once my eyes and throat were feeling half normal I got on with some HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training and pilates so quite a big burn tonight even if my steps are only just there.

Food wise I've managed to stay under and feel like my choices have been on the 80% good 20% not so good side - just!

Right now I don't know about the weekend, I want to just relax and watch a few films which I might very well do so my steps won't be there but I will be doing a good, thorough workout on both days and possibly one small walk into town on Saturday which will at least give me some steps.

Total steps today: 10,034

Friday 19th June
A horribly busy day at work but I was quite active too so I exceeded my steps quite quickly. As I'd exercised every night this week and have also been busy in the day I've decided to make this my rest night BUT I wanted to push myself a bit further with my goals aiming to make sure Friday steps were my best of the week and I really did manage it. Plus it's been so hot so instead making it horrible to exercise in, I'll aim to be up early in the morning before the house becomes too hot.

Food wise I was pretty okay although I had a Caffe Nero Frappe Latte on the way home which is fine, I always say everything in moderation and with my steps today I will have quite a few calories to eat - I haven't had much time in the day to eat and I hate being too far under. I just hate all the carbohydrates in this drink, if only it was half the amount! It will fit in a long with a little Chinese take-away, we share a couple of dishes (I've found I've had smaller portions as the months go by), mushroom foo yung followed by bean curd in black bean sauce with extra veg.

Total steps today: 16,224

Saturday 20th June
I did it! Well I didn't quite, I'm talking about getting up early to exercise, I did wake up at 8am but I wasn't exercising until 10.30, better than usual though. I've done the usual The Firm - 20 Minute Fat Burning - both 20 minute routines and the extra 10 minute one. I've also made the effort to do a bit more walking, I was already up to 4,000 steps when I left but I having a walk through town, picking up my salad for next week and browsing the shops has doubled that and I managed to reach 10,000 steps a couple of hours after I got home - a miracle for a weekend (except when I have a day trip out).

We had a light Mozzarella and tomato salad for lunch a long with a few crisps, a bit of cereal for breakfast before working out followed by a high protein yoghurt. We also had an egg custard - I do love them but every time I have one I always think I can make them much better - I just don't have the time! Saturday is a pizza night although I just don't eat as much as I used to. As I said I do keep it all in moderation and meet my calorie, carb and fat goal, nothing wrong with having it in moderation.

Tomorrow I want to make sure I at least do 5,000 steps - I'm a bit sad as I possibly won't get the chance to do the full 10,000 but after having such a good week I shouldn't be too down on myself.

Total steps today: 11,330

Sunday 21st June
I hate Sundays, now this is only because it means being back at work on Monday - if Monday was also a day off I'd love Sunday. Now my hatred is only because it's a difficult day to do anything. You have to try and get things sorted for the next day so it doesn't feel like you have a lot of time to relax - I feel like I have got nothing done today and it is coming up to 5.

This also means I'm always undecided what to do exercise and step wise so it always ends up with something in-between. Today was another busy one with Grandma around for lunch but I was determined to get some steps in so after lunch I went for a quick walk up the road, down the road and around the road. It feels like such a shame to not meet my 10,000 steps today as I've done so well the rest of the week but there has to be some compromise somewhere. I plan to do a quick 30 minute workout, one with some strength training in although I always log this on MFP as aerobics as I just don't have the time to be precise - plus I use a heart rate monitor so I don't use their totals for calories burned. I'm somewhat determined to be exercised, showered and back to sitting on bed either watching something or playing a game before 5 and before I have to pull my clothes together for tomorrow and prepare my lunch. I know there is a slim chance so I better get the post over and done with.

Food wise I've done okay, we just had a little bit of cereal for breakfast as lunch is never that late. We had lunch with my parents and Grandma so kind of joined them - for us that just means having some of the vegetables. We actually had new potatoes and some extra veg than we usually would and skipped on the roast potatoes and mashed potato. I had some Yorkshite puddings but instead of making them from scratch we just had the pre-done ones which aren't quite as nice but less calories. I skipped on having a proper slice of pie for pudding as it was blackcurrant which I'm not wild about and instead will have a little pot of rhubarb crumble instead - I did have a little bit of the pie crust but not much and a spoon of soft scoop ice cream but it is all logged. Now we will have something else to eat today but we rarely cook a full meal on a Sunday so it's going to end on a light note.

Total steps today: To be updated later!

Steps this week

Activity this week

Even though I haven't finished for the day I have already exceeded my mile goal by managing to rack up 38 miles this week! It would be nice to round it up to 40 miles today but that won't happen.

Short Term Goals
I want to up my strength training next week. Starting having protein shakes post workout as well as a bit of yoghurt. I'm not expecting to do as well as I did this week with my steps but will aim for around 33 miles total for the week. 

Long Term Goals
To keep getting stronger and fitter. I'd like to be able to increase the weight I life too. I'd also like to feel comfortable in a pair of jeans by the end of the year.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

A (Little) Diet Rant

Well this isn't my usual, positive weekly weigh-in post but this is something I feel strongly about and fancied a bit of a end of week rant. When I call this a diet rant I'm not talking about being frustrated about being on a diet - I'm talking about the idea of diets full stop.

Now this is an issue close to my heart, I have eating disorders, I can't even fully say that I'm over them but I'm getting there. Having been a normal sized child (see above - I will never be that happy and confident in a bikini again) slightly chunky but not completely overweight but tall and conspicuous teen, to a starving girl in her early twenties to being completely overweight late twenties I've been at all sides. Now I've made progress - I've lost over 50lbs these last two years but that isn't the progress, the progress is how I now approach food.

I'm sure a lot of women (and some men) have had or still have the view I used to. Certain things were bad, others good and the bad stuff could never be eaten. If you did eat the fatty chocolate, crisps, pizza or chips then the fat contained in the food was immediately converted to fat on your body. To lose weight then you could never eat these evil foods. I've been made to feel guilty and had developed a weird relationship with food. At the height of my starvation diet I would eat as little as 600 calories a day (I'm 5'10"), if I was eating that day at all. When I did make a meal if I accidentally spilled some, or dropped an ingredient I was convinced this was because I was daring to eat at all and would instead bin it.

Unsurprisingly after a couple of years like this my illness spiralled even more out of control but as I was still in what would be considered a healthy bmi, albeit at the lower end, after being dragged to the doctors due to exhaustion I was diagnosed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and spent months recovering, eating a little more, but not much, around 1000 calories. I started to gain weight, something I couldn't deal with emotionally and spent years yo-yo dieting - by the week, I would eat little Sunday to Thursday and binge at the weekend. My weight went up and when I became ill with what at the time was a mystery illness (found to be a tumour in my kidney and cysts on my ovaries - double findings during tests!) it shot up.

At this point I felt like something was wrong with me and it was unfair. After having my tumour embolised I found myself stuck at home recovering, I had to get my body up and running again and I spent most of my time sorting myself out, The first thing I did was join My Fitness Pal - I wanted to see how much I was eating (or as little as it turned out) I then set about to increase my calories although I decreased my portion size I started eating more than I had for years AND I started to exercise, slowly I started to lose weight. Unfortunately my tumour became more and more uncomfortable so I ended up having surgery last summer to remove it and half a kidney. We're now a year later and I am more physical than I have been in a long time. Now I'm getting better now but I wanted to talk about what it took to get my head around things.

  • Thin people aren't special, they do eat "bad" foods, they just control their portion size
  • You shouldn't drastically cut calories unless you are morbidly obese and has been prescribed by a doctor trained in nutrition - if your G.P. doesn't have any training in this area they might not be able to help
  • You don't have to stop eating pizza to lose weight, crisps, bread, chocolate or pasta - just keep it in control
  • Fad diets are just that, which where the rant will come into play
  • There isn't a greater being telling me I'm fat when I drop some food!

Now as I've been a vegetarian for a while I didn't really go for diet schemes but this hasn't stopped me from being annoyed by them. First I'd like to clear up that when I say diet schemes I don't quite mean Weight Watchers or Slimming World - these groups offer support not fad diets although I do think the points schemes are just simplified ways of counting calories plus I don't agree with "free" fruit and veg - it all adds up. 

What I'm really talking about are the sort of fad diets that eliminates certain groups, colour codes your food or even worse, only allows you to eat a handful of things although nothing could be as bad as the recent rise of the 5:2 diet. All of these will work initially but they aren't sustainable, plus at the end of it you will more than likely gain it all back. The problem is eating a little less and moving a little more doesn't make money. Most of them are just tricking you into cutting calories severely to guarantee a loss but it will come back and then you'll do the diet again, each time it will get harder - something covered in the article I link to at the bottom. 

The diet industry IS an industry, it is there to make money so why would it want to lose a customer? Okay, I like my fitness DVD's but I don't subscribe to any special way of eating, I make sure I eat a little less but not too little, this is very important - I also now love to exercise.

I also feel that us women are pitted against each other, we all bitch about one and other, criticise how someone looks and it has such a negative impact. Growing up I was well aware that there was a perfect size (back in the 80's it was a UK 12 according to my mother) this was somehow viewed as important. I do think we need to stop criticising each other, maybe then we will be less harsh on ourselves. Magazines are full of negative stories on celebrity bodies which we are expected to compare ourselves too - it just needs to stop and we need to support one and other. 

I'd like to end this rant by linking to an interesting article entitled 6 Tips to Perfect Your Diet it contains a lot of interesting information, some you may know some you may have never even thought about. As I've said previously I want to reclaim the word diet, it's now used when talking about cutting calories for a set period of time to lose weight quickly but I want to use it to mean daily nutrition.

Now I know we all have different issues and we're free to try what we want but it would be nice to live in a world where the ultimate aim was health rather than to be thin. 

Barry M Nail Paint - Limited Edition - Seaside (Superdrug)

Now every so often, after a particularly rough day at work I do like to go to Superdrug afterwards for a little treat, which I did last Friday. Now the item I'm talking about today worked out for free as you could get one of their limited edition nail paints for free when spending £6 on any other Barry M products, which I did - more on those in another post - but you can pick this up for the standard £3.99 if you didn't want anything else from the Barry M collection - yeah, right! Like that would ever happen!

Gosh, darn it Barry M, I love you! Born the same year as me and still creating quality products that don't cost a fortune - also managing to remain youthful which of course I'm also doing. Which is also why I love the limited edition colours out this summer, they're fun, bright and youthful, I plan on collecting them all but I've started with this one, Seaside.

A beautiful, beach blue, like the stunning waters of the Azores this nail varnish is a luscious turquoise shade with a hint of sparkle. I love this colour, I find blue-green can be both fun but smart.  I find it applies easily, smoothly and dries in a not overly speedy but as could be expected amount of time, 15-30 minutes depending on what you wish to do with your fingers!

I always find that Barry M nail paint lasts slightly longer than average compared to other nail varnishes of this price range, and even those slightly more costly. I really wasn't let down with this shade either - although I find those with tiny particles in tend to last longer anyway. When it came to removing it this came off like a standard nail varnish which is remarkable as it does have tiny bits of glitter in - I find usually this makes it either impossible to remove or the sparkle spreads all over my fingers - neither happened here.

So this is one of four of the limited edition shades, there are 2 available in Superdrug and 2 in Boots. Both shops are offering one of them for free with any £6 spent on other Barry M products, of course you can just buy them but where's the fun in that? *insert sly "I know I'll justify buying other items just to get the free nail varnish even though it makes no economical sense" smile here*

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Lord & Berry 20100 Matte Lipstick Pencil Bouquet

Yet another lip product for me to try! I do love my lipstick and I'm already very fond of the Lord & Berry lip pencils but I hadn't tried their matte version until now. I went with bouquet which is a sophisticated dark pink, almost a mauve taupe. Certainly works as either a sensible daytime shade, and makes a perfect autumn colour - although that is a while away.

Now this applies easily, it doesn't drag like some matte lip products, it glides on and is suitably soft on the lips without being glossy. The colour comes out a bit lighter than when I looked in the mirror but this photo was taken in natural light - top left in dull daylight and bottom right bright sunshine. The colour really sticks to your lips meaning it lasts for a long time which is perfect, it also isn't drying.

It's a gorgeous, gentle shade that is really soft on the lips so it doesn't feel too harsh wearing this matte pencil in summer. Plus a very reasonable price. 

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

What's in my Glossybox? June 2014

Now this month has moved fast and my trip to Chester has meant that I've felt out of sync so I certainly hadn't thought about any beauty boxes but it's that time again, today I received my Glossybox. Now I've felt a bit disappointed with them recently although loved last months theme, I just think they've had a hard time competing for my affection with Birchbox around, however, most of the contents I love this month and it's really nicely put together.

So what did I get? I won't ruin it for anyone that doesn't want to see so the contents of my box is featured after the cut.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Sunday Weigh-In: With Cake!

Well it has been a funny old week. I feel like the last few updates I've complained about being ill with something or another and this week won't be any different. Now after all that walking last weekend I expected my legs might be tired (I did about 5 days worth of 10,000 steps in 3 days) they weren't but my back was killing me this week, the first 3 days of the week were agony which I'm putting down to my incredibly uncomfortable, heavy period - I really need to get my metformin dose back to normal as it really made the difference.

Now I didn't slack completely, I managed to keep my steps over 10,000 Monday to Friday but haven't met my mileage goal for the week, I did a work out on Monday but as I was still feeling lousy I rested Tuesday and Wednesday before getting back into it the rest of the week, starting with some gentle pilates on Wednesday. I had a new workout dvd to try out The Firm - 20 Minute Weight Loss - I've just watched/walked through half of it today but it's another impressive workout - I currently do The Firm - 20 Minute Fat Loss at least twice a week - usually one twenty minute section one day after work followed by both 20 minute workouts and the 10 minute one at the weekend. I just love this range of fitness dvds, hard work but totally worth it!

Food wise I've been good, well I haven't gone over my calories - there has been a lot of cake this week as it was James; birthday on Monday and I had ordered him a delicious chocolate cake from Waitrose - we've had a bit most days so at least we haven't gorged ourselves in one sitting! I've also started having yoghurts as a snack in work which has left me feeling fuller meaning I haven't snacked as heavily before working out once home in the evening.

Right now I'm feeling pretty good, I've done plenty of exercise this weekend and I feel nicely worn out.

Short Term Goals
I'm hoping for a bit of a better week with my exercise, hopefully I'll feel slightly more energised, it would be nice to get my steps up slightly more this week too. Food wise I want to continue with what I'm doing, not exactly less calories just from better sources - and more protein.

Long Term Goals
HOLIDAY! I want a holiday somewhere sunny where I can do nothing but walk along a beach and go swimming. In a couple of months time it would be nice to be fitter and able to workout for longer and harder - I'd also like to be lifting more weight than I currently am doing.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Holiday Snaps: Chester Mini Break

I was away last weekend, a mini break in Chester, a city I haven't visited for at least twenty years. My memories of Chester weren't actually that positive, I don't remember enjoying the historical sites (I was always a much bigger fan of York and still desperate to visit York again) and on my last visit as a young teenager I don't remember the shops being any good at all.

I decided we should go to Chester rather than York as I thought it would be nice to visit Chester Zoo again - although I'll have to save those snaps for another time - all taken without flash of course! As this was partly for James birthday and partly to mark the year that has passed since my surgery. I hadn't planned much time in Chester itself we only had 3/4 of a day when we first arrived and half a day before travelling back to do stuff in Chester - I hadn't planned much other than a walk of the walls. I hadn't even planned where we would eat in the evenings but we ended up going to just a chain tapas place the first evening, La Tasca the next evening we went out again, I thought we would just crash in the room after the zoo but I was in the mood for a nice pizzeria and a quick search online found me La Fattoria, we went without booking and had to queue but it was worth the wait, a lovely place with very reasonably priced food and friendly service. I can now conclude that my parents didn't make the most of the historical attractions in Chester (this isn't usually like my mum) and the shops, even with the recent high street decline, are pretty amazing - so I got to do a little bit of shopping - I'll feature the goods I bought by the shop I was most impressed to see in Chester a bit further down but first I'll start with the hotel.

Quite a few photos so this post continues after the cut!

Friday, 13 June 2014

What's in My Birchbox? June 2014 - World Cup Special

Yes, that's right, World Cup Special, okay in a kind of loose way the theme is called global strikers (nothing to do with industrial action) so we have a variety of products from different countries (or at least part of a Brazilian themed collection) - you'll see what I mean after the cut. This is the most excited I'll be about football - to be honest the only sport I can bring myself to watch is Ice Hockey (it is VERY exciting) although I do hope the World Cup is fun, exciting but overall friendly - I know I'm sounding completely daft now so let's move on to the contents of my Birchbox...

So what did I get? as usual, after the cut!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Yves Rocher Haul

You may have noticed I've not exactly been perfect when it comes to my beauty buying ban. I just can't resist a good offer or a sale - I have at least bought less this last month. When I saw the email from Yves Rocher mentioning up to 50% off on some items I just knew I had to browse, I hadn't thought about Yves Rocher since my teenage years but after receiving a sample of their So Elixir Purple sample last year I fell in love.

On top of the great offers they were also offering free gifts when spending over a certain amount, I ended up spending £36.10 which meant I could choose 2 gifts which I will show in a separate photo. So what did I get?

Okay, now to list it, I went for a lot of hair products, although one of the shampoos isn't for me - my partner tries all the stimulating shampoo I can lay my hands on! I have a styling spray too, plus some face products and of course nail varnish which I'm sure I'll feature again!

Now the gifts I received were the Monoï sarong, monoï de Tahiti shower gel 150ml - which smells heavenly and summery, summer tankini and vanity bag. I chose them, it might seem a bit of a weird choice, I wouldn't actually wear the tankini to a beach, nor the sarong but I thought it would be fun and handy to have for those days when the sun does come out and decides to stay, we don't get many days like this which is why I don't have anything already but there are a few days where it gets so hot I just want to sit in the garden bathing - I might even have to buy a paddling pool now - I keep saying I'll do that too!

So that's it, I'm very happy with my haul, I'm sure I'll be buying more from them in the future, especially if they keep putting on offers and giving out free gifts! The one problem I did have, even though the order confirmation was in my name the package came addressed to my mother! I contacted them about this but still haven't had a response. 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

LAYLA Cosmetics Ceramic Sorbet Effect Nail Polish, Soft Fruits Number 103

Now the name of this nail varnish is a bit of a mouthful but I couldn't find the best way to shorten it, Layla are an Italian brand I love, their price fluctuates quite a bit on Amazon but you can sometimes pick them up for a bargain price. Plus they have a wide range of colours and styles.

This style comes from their ceramic range, it has tiny white particles giving a rough, snowflake effect. The colour here is a soft lilac a really beautiful purple pastel colour. The same range also offers various other pastel colours, from blue to pink and what will possibly be my next purchase, peach.

I really love this brand, it's good quality at a cheap price. It applies smoothly, two coats offers strong coverage. It dries relatively quickly, touch-proof within 15 minutes and sleep-proof within an hour. as usual I didn't bother with a top coat (I'm incredibly lazy when it comes to top coats) but it made no difference, this is a rather tough nail varnish and lasted for four days, until I removed it, without chipping. Really not bad for under a fiver!

This brand is really worth search Amazon for, they can sometimes be picked up for as little as £2.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Sunday Weigh In: One Day Late!

Well I'm one day late but I have a good excuse - I was on holiday! Okay this was just a 3 day break in Chester for my partners birthday, but this is the longest I've been away from home in years - well apart from 6 days in hospital last year but that doesn't count and I'm determined to be able to say I've been away for longer somewhere by this time last year. Last Friday also marked the year anniversary of my surgery, this meant that my partner spent his last birthday in hospital with me which is why I treated him to 2 nights in Chester - mainly to go to Chester Zoo!

Enough about that, time for the whole healthy eating and fitness weigh in - of course the weigh in now relates to how I've done rather than lb loss. The beginning of the week was a bit of a blur but I remember I was controlled with my eating, I stepped up my protein intake (I always struggle as I'm a vegetarian but I don't pay as much attention to it as I should) I started to pick up some high protein yoghurts to eat after my work-out and will also start to pick up protein powder again at some point.

Last week I managed to eat less in the evening than I usually do. It was my mums birthday last Monday and we had birthday cake just after I got home from work. I found that having a piece of cake that was around 250 calories was better as I didn't snack on small things that amount to more. Now it won't be cake all the time but it will be a bit this week as it is James' birthday today but instead I'm going to leave my bananas at home and have one when I get in.

I didn't get as much exercise done as I did previously as I was still feeling a bit icky and didn't want to be ill for the weekend. I did manage a bit on the Tuesday and the Thursday night. So those four days were well under control, so what about my break away?

Well it was a break away, you should try things on holiday, enjoy yourself. It was slightly more controlled, I tried to have some fruit at breakfast and yoghurt. Lunch was whatever was good, handy and vegetarian (James is also veggie so it makes it easier) we had meals out both nights with a couple of glasses of wine. We really did have lovely meals out, Tapas the first night and a gorgeous Italian meal the second (Aubergine in a tomato sauce with cheese is my idea of utopia!) I have to admit to having gelato on two occasions on Saturday but I'm head over heels for gelato. So we had three good meals a day but no snacks. The walking really did make up for it which is why I'm leaving my step count photo to until the end.

James and I are both full pedestrians, neither of us can drive so not only do we use public transport to get to places but we also walk around a lot. Over the three days I managed a grand total of 49518! so all those scoop of gelato were well earned. I managed to earn a new badge on fitbit, 20,000 steps in one day!

My steps for the week - because of the amazing weekend my steps earlier in the week look less impressive! I broke my goal for miles but won't be attempting to top this in the coming week.

Short Term Goals
This week I'm going to aim to walk 33 miles. I want to up my protein but keep my calories to slightly less in the evening - by this I mean less snacking when I get home from work.

Long Term Goals
Now I loved my weekend away, it was fantastic but this has really made me want to focus on it all, my long term goal has always been to go on holiday and feel comfortable and this weekend brought it home. I enjoyed myself but it took me ages to find clothes I truly felt comfortable in, I felt large and conspicuous. Plus I refused to have my photo taken so again I have no snapshots to remind me of this trip although we will do it again. This time next year I want a beach holiday. 

Friday, 6 June 2014

Ciaté Haul

Sadly Ciaté had a flash sale last weekend, I say sadly as it meant I broke my beauty buying ban, again! For nail varnish, something I'm really not short of. I did get some beautiful bargains though, at £4.50 a pot and £12.50 for the beautiful set I think it's a miracle that I didn't buy any more than I did.

So, what did I get?

I'll start with the biggest thing, the Emerald Collection, now I wasn't quite sure what it contained as it was only a photo of the box on the site but anything green I'm having so I went for it. The set includes a paint pot in Ditch the Heels, caviar pearls in Ball Gown, a pot of velvet shaker in Chauffeur, a pot of sequins in Penthouse, application funnel and a little brush. A pretty decent selection of fun nail textures to try out. I particularly love the idea of velvet nails!

Now onto the single pots, Starting top left, Golden Sands is a beautiful natural glitzy shade, taupe with a gorgeous glimmer to it. Next up Spending Spree is an excellent amazingly shiny shade (you can tell by the photo) a gorgeous golden duo chrome which will be applied to my nails ASAP. Going to the bottom line we have a bit more of a mixture of shades, first a beautiful bright turquoise, Headliner a great summer shade. Now a bit more of an effect nail varnish, not a texture effect instead a Glow in the dark shimmering top coat, Afterglow, which will be perfect this Halloween (I'm always thinking about Halloween!). Okay the final one is back to a bit more of a summer shade, or a going on holiday shade, it's just the type you want to wear when it is sunny OR Autumn as this decadent dark, bronzed gold, Gold Digga, makes me think of the falling leaves in Autumn sun.

That's it, I've not exactly broke the bank but I hope I don't get an email from anyone else about a flash sale - especially as I bought something else earlier this week that I'll update about another day! 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Holiday Snaps: May/June Staycation!

I've been meaning to post my "holiday" snaps for some time, starting with my February trip to Manchester BUT I've lost my snaps which is upsetting, not that I took loads of photos but I doubt I'll get to see the band (Claudio Simonetti's) Goblin again. It doesn't take away the experience at least.

So no Manchester photos, but I have our staycation photos. Okay, it isn't as exciting but I haven't had a proper holiday in years so staycation is all I have to offer. Well, I do have a city break next week so I will hopefully have plenty of shots to show you then. Now I didn't take photos of us around the house on one of our many film marathon, well, not many, but we did go out for walks around town a couple of days out of the holiday so I'll focus on them.

Starting with a walk in the woods behind my house, getting to wear in my fairly new outdoor trainers.

As it gets rather photo heavy the rest are after the cut!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Lipstick Queen - Endless Summer in Stoked

First a confession, I totally broke my beauty buying ban to pick up this lipstick (and a few other things) but I don't feel guilty. I've fallen in love with Lipstick Queen this year so I couldn't resist and I can't wait to pick up more from the brand but I'll at least be patient until the next season.

Stoked is from their Endless Summer range, the name itself refers to the 60's surfer documentary The Endless Summer although even if you don't know this documentary you can guess that this range has a full on summery feel which is what I couldn't resist.

It's a gorgeous, lustrous, pale pink lipstick, it's a very glossy sheer shade which is light on feel but not on colour. There is almost a glow to the pink, like there is a slight hint of orange to it making it more of a coral, it really does just feel like a summer shade - one that would be just as suited to the beach as it would a night out. Not only is this lipstick moisturising but it also offers protection from the sun. This does also mean that not only does it look summery but it smells (you could say tastes) summery.

It feels sheer but there is some colour which does mean it stains slightly adding to its longevity, you'll want to keep applying more every few hours to keep up the protection but you'll never be without colour.

An absolutely stunning lipstick, not only a fun colour but offering protection from the sun and hassle free, when the sun is shining you just want to slick something on quickly and get out there, with this you certainly can. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sunday Weigh In: Added Miles

Last week I felt incredibly rotten and to be honest I've been feeling slightly queasy all week but I haven't let it get in the way. I was lucky enough to be off work until Wednesday and took the opportunity to get out for a little walk on Tuesday. Now it was with my dad who is soon to be 68 so we didn't go too far but we did manage 3 miles!

Now I was tired after this but it left me more determined to get out for another walk. The spot we had gone to was only  few miles up the road and gorgeous, Goyt Valley, I used to go down a lot as a kid and keep meaning to but as I don't drive it's a bit of a hike just to get down there but dad offered to drive us. Now there are two reservoirs to walk around, the ruins of Errwood Hall and miles and miles of nature. We didn't manage to make it to the ruins as we instead went on a major hike in search of the only working toilet (James had forgotten to pack tissues) but we did manage 6 miles which I'm pretty proud of and around 14,000 steps.

This has left this weeks fitbit chart looking a bit odd;

So a poor start to the week (I'm also typing this Saturday evening which is why last Sunday is included) but hitting quite a bit over 10,000 Monday - Thursday, Friday I only managed just over 10,000 as I had to nip back to work to do some more work! So I didn't get my walk home but still over, and Saturday, well you know about Saturday - I still have a few hours to go too!

My exercise doesn't look much for this week but I didn't log the walking in my MFP record on both the Tuesday and Saturday as I just use my fitbit to count steps.

Food wise I've also been pretty good, nothing too overboard although I am looking to cut my calories slightly, I don't usually eat all of my exercise calories back but I want to cut that down even more, only slightly, aiming to eat 1,700 calories a day - currently with exercise plus fitbit additions I'm usually allowed around 2,000 but eat between 1,800 - 1,950. To do this I just plan to decrease my carb portion with my evening meal and a little less snacking in the evening.

Next week we have a little weekend getaway so I plan to do a lot of walking and eat whatever is good and vegetarian, it will also mean I won't be posting on Sunday as we won't get back until late and I can't do one ahead of time as I won't know what I've been up to!

*NSV Update: Almost forgot, my walk on Saturday, as it was rather hilly and Fitbit counts this as walking a flight of stairs (or in their words the tracker calculates elevation gain based on the reduction in atmospheric pressure) I earned a new badge, 75 flight of stairs walked in a day, that's 750ft! *

*Sunday update - how pants is this, I woke up this morning, not feeling sore but run down and miserable - I blame having to hold in my pee in for so long yesterday, my kidney just started to hurt more and more - well I should say my half a kidney (if you don't know the story there are a couple of old posts about it, herehere and here - last post contains some graphic but small photos), I just feel like I have flu coming which is no good as I'm away next weekend, I've decided to rest today so no steps and no yogalates!*

I hope everyone else is feeling a lot better than I do right now, hopefully my will and determination will be back in a day or so! If all else fails I just want to be feeling better for next Friday!

Short Term Goals
As mentioned I want to cut my calories slightly but apart from that I just want to keep my fitness levels up.

Long Term Goals
Still the same, although I'm getting a weekend away I would still love a beach holiday where I can swim for hours on end!