Sunday 13 December 2015

AMBCS PCOS CFS - Odd One Out? The Health Update

Samhain even Practises Pilates

Now I don't dare to even look how long it has been since I posted a health update so I'm not even going to check. A lot has been going on, too much has been going on in truth. Work has been busy, with the odd trip into Manchester for college I've been feeling more exhausted than usual. Now this isn't why ended up at the doctors, I was in for a simple medication review, but fortunately for me I have a fantastic doctor.

I've been taking painkillers for years now, since before the surgery on my renal tumour, so this was a standard check-up but my doctor read between the lines. I've been tired for some time now, not just a bit sleepy but without my painkillers, tramadol, I'm barely able to get out of bed. Without taking them I have about a half an hour window, I can drag myself up, nip to the bathroom for my ablutions, make a brew and then I'm back in bed, unable to move, speech slurring and unable to get myself out of it without the tablets. Part of me has questioned whether this is simply psychosomatic, possibly because of this thought I have feared bringing this up with my doctor but, as I had a night appointment this week, I was tired and slurred through everything. My doctor reviewed my notes and picked up that I had been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in my early 20s. Something I hadn't considered, I've always been half and half over the reason for my tiredness, either the surgery or the use of medication for so long, never looking for another source.

I have a follow up appointment in January to go through it all. Part of me is relieved, if this is the case it will explain everything, and although I don't know what the solution will be or what this means in the long term, knowing that it could be something helps. My worry these last few years has been how do I cope without the medication? But at least now this will be addressed. Although the thought of always feeling tired, never knowing the restful feeling of a good nights sleep is terrifying.

Now of course these posts always focussed on fitness, health and weight loss. This is something I still strive for but it isn't the focus of my existence. I'm still doing it, so to speak. I eat what I like in moderation and exercise, it appears that it is paying off. My doctor didn't recognise me at first and admitted this after weighing me, I've lost 10kg since March which I'm pretty damn chuffed with. This year has had so many ups and downs so to keep this going along with plenty of cake eating is my success story of the year. I still love the gym, it's my little sanctuary where I can get sweaty under air conditioning whilst listening to music and pull daft faces, I can't imagine a better pastime, well, not in public.

So the title, the odd one out? all letters can be associated with myself, but there is only really one that I would shout about. I'm an open book, I like to share experiences but I don't think that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) nor the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) define me. Sure, they effect me but they aren't me, but the AMBCS? Well that is Associate Member of the British Computer Society. I never talk about my career but I moved from libraries into a role involving computers a couple of years back, it's something both new to me and something I've been surrounded with my whole life. There really aren't enough women I.T. so maybe I should shout about it a bit more and make myself count.

Monday 19 October 2015

Purrfectbox October 2015 Review

It's here, Samhain's October Purrfectbox arrived on Saturday which meant two things, I got to treat him and that he was most likely to get himself into a fight. It doesn't always coincide but this isn't the first time I've said that I've been able to treat Samhain after getting himself into a scrap.

So what did he get?

I think the tongue is because he's fed up of all the photos! 

The thing I like about Purrfectbox is I feel that they have appeal for the owners too. Now I don't mean something for us to use ourselves but those practical products that can come in handy. This month is no exception.

Nilaqua No Rinse Pet Shampoo (£4.45 for 200ml)
I was happy to see this, Samhain was curious to smell it but was disappointed it wasn't food for him. His fight earlier on gave me a good reason to try it out. As you can see above the product is pretty runny but foamed up in his fur. He was slightly annoyed at first but got right in to the massage, the product doesn't need rinsing so after massaging it in I used a towel to dry it through - he loves a towel rub down. It made his fur shine immediately but even more noticeably as we cuddled up to get to sleep I noticed how soft his fur felt. I think this might quite easily become a weekly tradition. I didn't need to use that much to cover him completely so a little will go a long way. Who knows, he might even find himself a lady cat friend as it smells really lovely, although that could be just to us humans.

Top photo with the shampoo on ready for a massage, then after nice and soft

Ethical Products Inc.- Spot Laser Toy (Usually around £4.50)
We've had laser toys for Samhain before and he loves them. This was well timed as his old one is broken, the end won't screw on properly. It's one of those toys he is guaranteed to go mad for. It's strange as so many toys appeal to cats because of the taste or texture whereas this is simply a red light. He really goes bonkers for it. With other toys he'll only play with them if I'm doing the shaking but I can give this to anyone to use with him making it ideal for my dad to use (he collapsed last year and isn't able to move about easily) from the comfort of the sofa.

Les Filous - Mini Chicken 'n Fish (50g)
Samhain is a big fan of dried protein style snacks, he has trouble biting into things on occasion as he has really busted teeth but he found these chewy bits of real meat easy to chow down on. To be honest he wasn't sure at first but once he'd chewed one he wanted to keep going.

Camon Cat Grass (Usually around £5.00)
Samhain snacks on grass outside but I've never tried growing some for him indoors mainly as I tried it with my old cat and he really could not be bothered with it but Samhain is younger so I'm hoping he'll go for this. Especially as winter is on its way and the grass outside won't be as delectable as it is now.

Equilibre & Instinct Bio Complete Wet Food in Chicken 100g
Wet food is always welcome to try on Samhain, I have to admit he's a little bit fussy so doesn't always like new wet food but I still like to try it out on him. This is a complete wet food, in chicken and mashed vegetables its ingredients are 100% from an organic source. I try my hardest to feed Samhain organic food but as I mentioned before he can be fussy. This is more of a mushier texture like traditional cat foods which is Samhain's preference.

Trixie Salmon Pâté (£1.99 for 75g)
I never buy pâté for Samhain, it just isn't that common in local pet shops but he really gets into it. He is always funny about it at first, he never takes it from the tip of my finger these days but if I leave a bit out on a plate (or a strip of cardboard) he just laps it up. I wish I made more of an effort to give him pâté as a snack because it excites him, plus this particular one has no added sugar, gluten free and with taurine.

Ethical Products Inc. Corduroy Dragonfly Toy
Samhain loves his toys, he is spoilt rotten with catnip toys, I don't even want to think on how I would spoil a child if I had one as this cat pretty much has everything on the market. I do stick to the brands I know he loves to be on the safe side so receiving something new to try means there is always a chance that he won't like it. As soon as the box was opened he went for it, I couldn't actually smell it that strongly, I'm used to picking toys out in shops by sniffing them! But this appealed to him. One of his favourite things is being rubbed by his catnip toys and the corduroy is a lovely texture to rub him down with.

As always the box also comes with a mini magazine, Purr Notes, a lovely, very professional little publication that's neatly informative.

Another lovely box full of goodies for him and for me to use on him. I'm looking forward to growing the grass to see how he takes to it, as well as remembering to give him pâté as a daily treat!

The box was sent complimentary to Samhain and myself for an honest and open review.

Purrfectbox costs £19.90 a month or sign up for three months and pay the equivalent of £18.90 a month, six months and pay the equivalent of £17.90 a month and an even better deal if you sign up for 12 months, it will cost just £16.90 a month. Not only that but you'll also be helping out a great cause.

Wanting to give Purrfectbox a try? But want to save money? The unique code below entitles you to 25% off your first box on any one of their plans- including their monthly, 3, 6 & 12 month subscriptions!


More information on this can be found on their website.

Monday 14 September 2015

Health & Fitness Update and Why I Hate BMI

I've decided to be less methodical with my postings and focus more on my emotions along with my triumphs.

It's been a funny week or two, my emotions have been controlling me a little more than I'd like when it comes to what I eat which has led me to want to be more open. I have been busy this summer but I've also been somewhat heartbroken. I was dating someone and we split at the end of July, we hadn't been dating long but it was intense and I had strong feelings for him but circumstances got in the way and he ended it. I like to think of myself as being quite level-headed but maybe I approached the break-up in too much of a straight-forward manner. I focused on why it couldn't work and also thought as the relationship had only been a couple of months old it wouldn't take long to move on. I was pushing my emotions to the side, hitting the gym and concentrating at winning in other ways. Getting over a relationship just isn't linear, there ups, downs and u-turns and ignoring my emotions was stupid, our emotions make us who we are, I should have embraced them. So after weeks of being fine but a little sad I've now recognised that actually I'm very sad. Nothing can change this, I just need time.

Being open about this has made me want to be open about another thing, my weight. I never post it as I rarely weigh myself but I've started to at least check progress using the balance board on the Wii. I look at what I've lost rather than the weight, In the last 2 months I've lost about 10lbs which I'm pleased about, I'm eating what I like but working my butt off. I say I eat what I like but by this I still try and have a super healthy breakfast, an okay lunch and a less than perfect evening meal. With the sadness I find I don't eat as much as I should but I'm doing better, I've just been patchy in the evenings but usually eat okay in the day.

Now the other thing weighing myself on the Wii shows me is my bmi, I am now just in the overweight category no longer obese and for some reason this annoys me.

I'm a UK size 14, I do buy size 16 jeans as I hate them tight I just use a belt. I'm also 5'10" so I'm never going to want to be any smaller than a 10. But I'm at the top end of overweight according to my bmi. I don't feel at the top end of overweight, just somewhat overweight with muscle but this funny little number can dictate how I view myself and it sucks.

I've never been a competitive person with others but when it comes to myself I'm my own worst enemy. This led to eating disorders when I was younger and looking at my bmi didn't help, I was midway on the normal range whilst looking skeletal, so to me I was perfectly in my right mind to lose more weight. I grew up swimming so was quite built before I started looking at the numbers, It was never pointed out how things could vary, when I was a young teenager I didn't even take into account the differences in height. I grew up thinking women had to weigh below 10 stone. Now I've worked my way through my eating disorders and fully feel in control of everything, it took until early 2013 but I got there and January 2013 is when I officially started to get better but I still feel a bit baffled by all the numbers, do they really matter? Is making the effort to exercise and feeling in control of what I eat more important? I think so.

I want to compete with myself when it comes to working out but I don't want to use the numbers against me. The problem is when you compete with yourself you're not only always winning but also always losing, and I'd like to be somewhere in-between.

Half the battle when it comes to obtaining a healthy body is obtaining a healthy mind. With so many magazines that are seemingly against it's hard to not develop an all or nothing approach, plunging us into the world of yo-yo dieting. The truth is that keeps the cycle going, it keeps dieting an industry. You can eat chocolate and lose weight, you can eat chips and lose weight, just keep it in balance and forget about what the magazines tell you (although I have to say I find Cosmo Body really balanced along with Women's Health), do what makes you happy, eat a little less, exercise just a little more and you'll get there, eventually, and most likely stay there.

Instead of ending on a downer I'm going to mention some happy things. I entered the triathlon challenge at my gym, there are three levels, Sprint, Olympic and Ironman, I've completed Sprint and have nearly finished Olympic so I'm pleased with that. Also I have gorgeous new trainers, behold;


I hope everyone is doing well with their challenges, physical or mental.

Thursday 3 September 2015

Health & Fitness Update (Playing Catch-up Part 2)

Another week and I'm playing catch-up. As you can tell my blog posts are still few and far between. This is mainly because I'm so active at the moment, I haven't been on any fabulous holidays, the summer holidays do not mean I have time off with the kids (because I haven't got any), yet I find myself distracted and busy, but in a good way.

My life is either work or the gym with walking to and from in-between. Now I usually go to the gym every other day and with swimming in-between or after, I haven't done as much recently as I am a bit burnt out. Not the gym so much but work, it has been a long time since I had a holiday and I won't be having a week off until the beginning of October, but I am having a few long weekends this month - I just might be busy doing stuff!

I'm progressing in the gym rather well. I've also taken on running using the treadmill, building up stamina. This has led to be me taking on their Triathlon challenge. So I'm really giving it my all at the moment. I also love setting myself challenge on the Swimtag website, see below, it's a great motivator. I love being competitive with myself.

I haven't been weighing myself but I'm slimmer, my clothes are loose and I can fit and fasten a size 14 coat so I'm happy with myself. I've had to order another pair of trainers and will certainly need to pick up my third swimming costume of the year as the first one I bought is so baggy it's obscene.

Nothing exciting to report food wise, just a little of what I fancy, portion control and a good breakfast.

My routine might be slow but it's steady and I'm happy with that.

I hope the summer holidays have been a breeze for everyone and that there is plenty of positive action going on!

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Topshop Rio Rio Lipstick Review

I always pick up a new, bright shade for summer. This year I chose Rio Rio from Topshop, unfortunately in the UK the summer has been lacking so my chance to wear this has been few and far between, but as I feel autumn is descending upon us it's time I review this lipstick.

I wanted a lipstick with a retro, 70s feel making Rio Rio perfect. It's a bright, red-orange shade that really stands out brightly. It applies so softly, both silky and smooth yet the finish is matte which makes it a perfect statement shade for the daytime. It feels really soft and nourishing on the lips and also has a fruity "taste" to it.

Now my summer plan was to just wear it with a light coat of mascara but this summer just hasn't really happened. I will make the most of this lipstick by taking it into autumn, again with a 70s retro feel, wearing it with a bronze eyeshadow and lashings of mascara.

With just a lick of mascara

It's such a bold lipstick you'd think you would need to reapply constantly but it sits and stays on the lips, even after a meal I found it stayed put. It really does feel like it sets when it goes on, just not in an uncomfortable sticky manner.

It's a gorgeous shade, it's just a shame the weather hasn't been on my side.

Not only is Rio Rio available in the standard packaging but currently you can pick it up in the limited edition Topshop 5 years of beauty packaging for the same price.

Sunday 16 August 2015

Health & Fitness Update (Playing Catch-up)

Well it has been quite some time since I posted a health and fitness update. There has been a lot of upheaval in my life but it is all okay now. Everything is once again more positive. I'm happy to say that even though I haven't been updating my blog I have been super busy and super active.

I'll start with what hasn't changed much, the food. I still have a standard pattern, I eat a little more as I'm doing more activity but in general I'm happy. I eat everything I like in moderation although I can be a little lazy. I do find it hard to cook from scratch for one, it's all the pots that mount up. If I'm making some kind of veggie "meat" sauce, (i.e. bolognese, chilli), I'll make enough for a few days. I don't bother to freeze, I just have the same meal for a couple of days in a row, I can always change the carb that goes with them. I've been lazy with making food to take to work which is something I need to change, there aren't many vegetarian options let alone healthy ones so a weighed portion of pasta with veggie pesto is better than the usual chips that they have.

I haven't discovered any new, interesting foods to discuss. I really could do with a bit of excitement and colour injecting into my diet!

My steps have been pretty okay, I think! I really haven't been checking as diligently as I spend so much time in the gym at the moment.

Now the gym is the new love of my life, it treats me well and I make sure I spend plenty of time there. I try and spend 4-5 days at the gym/swimming pool. I have a fabulous routine that I'm enjoying and have also added the treadmill to that routine as of yesterday. I've even made it on the Top Swimmers board at my gym (no. 2) - happy days!

So to conclude, I haven't given up, I'm still here just working out super hard. I feel strong, fit and healthy so I thought I would share some of my pre/post gym photos.

If you are on Instagram or Twitter, please look me up, I post most of my workout stats on there along with "sexy"* photos like above.

So how is summer treating your fit and healthy routine? Any inspiration?

*I'm using the term sexy very loosely, I can't pull a normal face. 

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Happy Anniversary Samhain

On the 23rd July we celebrated a year of Samhain. It marked a year since I adopted Samhain, I really can't believe he has made it with the amount of mischief he likes to cause but it has been such a wonderful worthwhile year I wanted to share some little bits of information.

After briefly looking after the lovely but poorly, elderly cat The Beast for 6 months starting 13th December 2013, I knew I wanted to continue to adopt. It was hard at first but when I realised how difficult it is to rehome black cats I knew I wanted to continue and make it almost a tradition that I adopt black cats. I also knew I wanted an older cat, I knew with each death I'd be heartbroken but I also realised I would feel even more heartbroken thinking about all those poor, elderly cats that nobody is interested in taking in simply because there time with them would be shorter.

I found Samhain around two weeks after The Beast passed away, I wasn't ready to start looking but I couldn't resist looking at my local RSPCA site and then I saw this photo.

I thought he looked a bit helpless, unsure, shy but inquisitive, I was right about the last part. He does that little head tilt each time he is trying to work something out. I knew that Samhain (then Sam) was the boy for me and within 6 days all the paperwork and checks had been done and he was now in his forever home.

I love my little Samhain to bits, he can be a handful but that makes him more special. He came to us with some missing teeth and has managed to lose another half fighting.

The love he gives my home is amazing. I love how bold he is, going from my room to my parents room in the night, plonking himself wherever he likes. Although Samhain has been done he still has the urge to hump and my clothing ends up getting the short straw. My neatly folded piles become unfolded, dragged around and crumpled. I don't mind, I just want him to be happy.

My once neat piles of clothes destroyed, mounted then slept upon
Samhain and I last week
I love Samhain's quirks. One thing I taught him was to tap/high five my hand for a treat. He picked that up so quickly and now uses it against me. If he wants attention, say if I'm trying to get changed, he taps me, if I'm cooking he taps me, if I'm sleeping he taps me! I find this adorable, I love it when he demands attention first thing in the morning.

Another "defect" Samhain came with is a bust nose so I'm wary of him having problem breathing. Nothing to worry about so far but he does snore, grunt and huff when he isn't happy as well as the odd grumbling meow.

I love Samhain so much, now his age was estimated to be around 10 but we really don't know, he can get himself into trouble so I do worry about him, it's still worth it. In general he is very happy, he has a home to roam around and a large garden to go out in - he can do what he likes when he likes. Whatever happens I know each day I make him happy and he makes me happy, that's all that matters.

So Happy Anniversary Samhain, here's to another year (hopefully!)

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Purrfectbox July 2015 Review

It has been a busy few months for me which is why I've been absent from the blog recently. Last Thursday was an important day, the 23rd July marked Samhain's 1 year anniversary since adoption. In lieu of an actual birthday, I haven't really a clue how old he is, this is the date we can celebrate and luckily his Purrfectbox arrive just in time to spoil him. So what did he get?

Being good before diving in

Pet Munchies - Gourmet Fish Fillet
We've had some other flavours before but hadn't yet tried the fish. He really loves dried snack food, these are smaller pieces than other brands but this doesn't make a difference to the taste, he really enjoyed them, I think they would have been better slightly bigger but as he struggles with the larger varieties this might just work in his favour, even if he ends up flicking out the little pieces every now and then. I love it when treats are actually good for them, these are 100% natural, wheat, gluten and cereal free plus they contain Omega 3.

Trixie - Delicious Happies
I have never tried Samhain on the Trixie snack food, I don't think I can get it locally but I must check as he went wild for these snacks. The smell for me was horrible but it worked for him. Now these aren't natural but he can have the odd treat, no matter how stinky. These are poultry and cheese flavour but without the lactose, naturally.

Gimcat - Multi-vitamin Paste
Now this is a multi-vitamin paste for cats , I haven't tried him with this yet but I'm looking forward to seeing his reaction. He recently had some pâté and loved it so I have high hopes, this paste contains 12 vitamins helping to boost a cats natural defences, it is to be used as a supplement along with their normal diet. Samhain has been having a stressful time recently due to new cats in the neighbourhood so hopefully this pick me up will help him get back on his paws.

Not quite getting into it just yet!
Happypet Glitterbal Interactive Toy
Samhain only seems to like to play with me and as I'm at work most of the week I do worry he is being neglected. There are others in the house with him but for some reason he'll only play with me. He was rather interested in this toy but didn't play with it how he should so for now I'll spray it with catnip and leave it in his usual play area and hope for the best.

Camon Litter Shovel
Samhain doesn't care at all for this product, I however think that's amazing. This litter shovel has a hollow handle so that you can attach a bag to the end and tip the messy contents of the litter tray straight into a bag with a mess. I told you, amazing!

Petbrands Catnip Toy
Samhain loves any toy that we can play together with, this is a soft catnip toy with an attractive feather for him to paw and lick, he's quite taken with this already so I can add it to his play routine.

A half empty box makes a good place for a stretch

*The box was sent complimentary to Samhain and myself for an honest and open review.

Purrfectbox costs £19.90 a month or sign up for half a year and pay the equivalent of £17.90 and an even better deal if you sign up for a year, just £15.90 a month. Not only that but you'll also be helping out a great cause. For each box Purrfectbox that is sent out the company donate part of the proceeds to help pet charities, so even better, you aren't just treating your own puss but also those less fortunate moggies. More information on this can be found on their website.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

NARS Dolce Vita Sheer Lipstick Review

Now I usually review a lipstick after a few wears but I haven't found the time up until now with this one and by the time I took some photos I had already worn the lipstick down quite a bit which is a rarity for me (I buy so many but never make my way through them all!). So I'm actually reviewing a lipstick that is now an essential item in my make-up bag.

I should also mention that I'm easily swayed by items that have names associated with film titles (NARS are great for this) so I picked up this shade, Dolce Vita, without concentrating on the shade, because I associated this with the Fellini film of the same name but you could look at the English translation of the phrase and see this as a luxurious lipstick which it really is.

It's a rather simple, beige/pink natural shade that is a perfect nude for me. It's a sheer lipstick so lightly fills in the patchiness of my own lips without being heavy. It's also a beautiful, moisturising balm and always leaves me lips super soft.

It lasts for a relatively long time for such a light shade, even leaving colour after blotting. It's such a soft shade it works well with heavy eye-make up or as just a quick boost to the lips for that no-make-up, make-up look!

Now it is a luxury lipstick with a luxury price tag but the fact that it works with everything, and is being used constantly, means I'm at least getting my moneys worth. 

Monday 13 July 2015

Health & Fitness Update 06/07/2015 to 12/07/2015

Another week, another fitness update. I feel like I'm going from strength to strength. I'm not even focusing on food that much, I'm making wise choices, sticking to 80 good, 20 not so good, roughly. Steps wise, I'm not thinking as much about it but I'm doing much better with that, even closer to averaging 10,000 a day thanks to being more active at the weekend.

Now Ever since joining my local leisure centre I've pretty much been living there. I tend to swim 5-6 times a week and gym 3-4 times (I usually swim after the gym) so I'm really pushing myself. I'm increasing the weights I lift, increasing the time I spend on the rowing machine and recumbent bike and working on my stamina in the swimming baths. I've also added the leg press and plan to my routine. As you can see it's all going well, I've had to take two shots of my activity logs.

Now since James has moved out I've been busier at home, looking after Samhain, doing more housework but fitting everything in, full time work, gym, and swim, well it makes me feel alive, energised. I've always said if I'm having a lousy week, are super busy, then I'll take a few days off but right now I can't imagine not wanting to.

Well I hope everyone else is feeling motivated, despite the lousy weather! 

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Health & Fitness Update 29/06/2015 to 05/07/2015

I have had a hectic week so I'm keeping this post brief, very brief.

Nothing exciting food wise, now James is out of the house I'm struggling to get a proper meal down me in the evening, mainly as when I return my mum is usually just destroying the kitchen meaning it isn't free until 9 which is way too late so I'm concentrating on eating proper meals for breakfast and lunch.

Step wise, well I don't actually know, I need to check my Fitbit report as I've been concentrating on exercise more than anything so let me just check the score....

Not too bad at all, actually very close to the 70,000 mark without even trying.

That's of course I have a new love, my local leisure centre. I've spent most of my time there this last week. It's great to get out of the house and focus on something other than everything else!

I had my gym induction last Wednesday and since then I've been on the Thursday and Saturday, both times I followed up with a swim and then swimming on Monday, Friday and Sunday! I've been incredibly busy.

My activity list is above! Although I do break down each part of the gym - although I don't include strength training. The main thing is I'm just having fun with it, it gives me something to do at the weekend and something to look forward to in the evenings!

I'm just feeling rather positive about the exercise at the moment so will continue to work hard at it. 

Sunday 28 June 2015

Health & Fitness Update 22/06/2015 to 28/06/2015

This week started poorly but has ended in a high. I really felt crappy this week, I cant even remember why I felt so bad because there has been a complete upturn in attitude and ability! As I felt so crappy I didn't really push myself but on Thursday some switched and I made an incredibly exciting decision.

My food has been okay, yogurt, blueberries and granola for breakfast most days along with the odd cooked breakfast at work, as I don't have meat it isn't too bad, beans, mushrooms, potatoes and eggs are usually what I go for, plus I like the idea of having my first two meals but and my evening meal light. As James is due to move out next Wednesday I think I'll make sure that is the norm rather than exception so that when I get in at night I'm just having some soup or beans on toast, depending on my activity.

My steps haven't really improved that much this week, apart from at the weekend which I'll get into in a moment. I still try and get away from my desk at work routinely to stretch my legs but it can depend on what I'm doing, sometimes I can't get away but I do try to visit people at their desks, or deliver items in person just to get the extra steps in.

Now because I was feeling rubbish and hot, I didn't do any exercise until the weekend. I started to feel a bit ropey for not doing any exercise, I do like it, I don't love it all the time but it isn't such an awful thing. Now Thursday afternoon I was in reception at work, the only place with mobile signal, and an offer came by text from my local swimming pool/gym, it was a rest of the month free, next month half price type deal. Now I've ignored these for a while but for some reason I felt motivated. My local pool/gym is really good value but I hadn't felt confident enough to join. Something has switched lately, my new partner, Jason, makes me really happy, and although James was great and encouraged me, he has never said that I'm ugly, fat, he always tried to help with how I felt, it just never worked with him. I suppose Jason makes me feel like nobody else exists and that has led to a new found confidence. So I went that day and joined!

There are many plus points to the gym and pool. Firstly the price is great, a corporate discount due to my work means I pay £27.20 a month. This is unlimited swimming, gym and lessons. It also means I get out of the house, working out at home is quite stressful (and super hot right now), my mum can come in and out, ask me awkward questions when I'm in a downward facing dog pose. I also don't get to see Jason very often so it's a nice to have something to distract me when I know I might not see him for a week or two. Now due to being a couple of staff members down I don't have my gym induction until this coming week but of course the swimming pool and lessons are things I can immediately get into. I've focussed on swimming, I use to swim an awful lot when I was younger so getting back into the pool was amazing. I picked up a new swimming costume Friday evening and went swimming Saturday morning and Sunday morning. My pool also has Swimtag which means I can monitor how many lengths I do which makes it all the more exciting (see results from today below). The other bonus is that as I'm walking there and back I'll end up doing around 3000 steps total when I do this. Now I plan to do both the gym and swim some nights and on days I don't feel like exercising I'll swim as swimming was a hobby I enjoyed for so long it just doesn't feel like I'm making any effort.

Saturday 27 June 2015

Astrid & Miyu Secret Box June 2015 Review

I received this box at the beginning of the month but it has taken me this long to get over the heartbreak of it being the final secret box on offer from Astrid & Miyu. Now there jewellery is still available to buy but they are canning their Secret Box - it's still available from their website but not for long. 

Now I believe the Astrid & Miyu secret box has received mainly positive reviews, from what I have read, but it does depend on your expectations and budget. I was already an A&M fan and had been stocking up on their pieces for a number of years so for me it was a way of getting more of their pieces for less. However, if you weren't already a fan it may not have felt worth your money. It was definitely more of a grown up subscription box at £39 every three months it was hardly pocket money, especially as you would usually receive just the 2-3 items. I still found it reasonable as I was used to spending £39 on just the one item. There are of course other similar style subscription boxes, cheaper and offering more items but I find Astrid & Miyu to be slightly more than costume jewellery, it just all depends on what you want.

I'm sad that the Secret Box has come to an end but it has finished on a high with two great pieces of jewellery. So what did I get?

Pretty Me Earrings in Rose Gold - these retail at £69.00, are cubic zirconia diamanté and crystal pearl - so simulated pearl, which for me is good, I don't do real pearls. These are really beautiful, smart and classic, I may never have purchased them myself at the price but I'm overjoyed to have this pair and plan to make good use of them. 

The Rosy IT ring in blue - this ring retails at £44.00, I already have one of these rings in black so now I have a mini stack to wear to work. I really love these rings, they are dainty, pretty and look precious. This is rose gold plated brass so can need a clean every couple of months. They do manage to look more expensive than they cost so a perfect in-between piece, not quite costume, not quite fine.

I love my Astrid & Miyu jewellery, they're the reason for my love of rose gold and although I'm disappointed that their Secret Box has come to an end I will continue to buy jewellery from them, especially when they have a sale on! 

Tuesday 23 June 2015

What's in Samhain's Cat Hampurr? June 2015

It's been all go go go recently which is a minor explanation to why we didn't take a look at last months Cat Hampurr, it was fabulous as always. I have a very content, spoilt cat on my hands, I'm definitely one of those types of parents, my little man is living the life of luxury as I eat cold baked beans from a tin! Okay, not quite, I would always heat baked beans - the thought of eating cold beans immediately makes me think of eating them with swiss roll as served up in the 80s advert for the toy A La Carte Kitchen - it's funny the things you remember. Me rambling on in a funny way ties me to the theme of this box, Ye olde favourites.

Now the worry with this is that you could end up with duplicates of items you have already received but it is mainly old, favourite brands rather than the exact product from before. With the food we've had the brands before but not necessarily the product or at least flavour. With the toys they're all new to us although we've been receiving the box for a relatively short amount of time compared to thetime the box has been around

Anyway, enough chatter, here is what Samhain received....

Meowing Heads Complete Wet Food 2 x 85g
Samhain received one pot of Chicken and one of Salmon and Chicken. I believe Samhain wasn't that keen the first time we tried it but since his tastes have changed, he has been keen on softer food, more terrine and mousse like, which, from what I recall is what these are like. Now even if Samhain didn't like them the first time I at least liked the idea of them. They are taurine enriched, grain free, no GM ingredients, no artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives. Not only that but they have the PeTA seal of approval. I'm just hoping that with his changing tastes he'll finally enjoy the Meowing Heads wet food as much as he likes their biscuits.

Thrive Freeze Dried Treats 15g
We've had these a couple of times I believe, they're always welcome though as these are his favourite snacks along with deli chews. The Thrive freeze dried treats are the type that he will sit-up and beg for, in fact I taught him to even high-five for them, I can rattle the tube and he will run from anywhere in the house. I can't remember if he has had the White Fish treats in a Cat Hampurr before but I have purchased them for him (the only ones he has never had are the prawn treats which I haven't seen for a while), to be honest he loves all of the flavours.

Demonstrating the hand tap which has spawned from being taught to high five for treats! 

Yarrah 100% organic Chew Sticks 15g
On top of the Thrive freeze dried treats his other favourite treats are deli chews. As I buy them locally we are usually limited to either Webbox, Sainsbury's own or Waitrose own - he loves all of these but I was excited to try a new brand of chews. Sadly he didn't really get on with these, unlike the other chews these are more stick like, they are harder and although the flavour appealed to him he couldn't quite get his teeth to chew the sticks as he should. Samhain is a rescue cat and when he came to us he had already lost quite a few teeth, he can eat fairly normally but can struggle on tougher items. I've not quite given up as there are three in the pack, if not I'm sure I can find another pussy to enjoy the final one.

Natural Pet Toy Company Catnip Toy
The first thing Samhain goes for in the boxes is whatever catnip toy or toys are in there. Nothing makes him happier than getting his tongue around a new toy, soaking it with saliva and then fading away into a blissful deep sleep with his new toy. This was a big hit and still is, it's a pretty simple toy but the nip is good quality and the design is adorable. I took many photos of the many emotions he went through with this toy, below is a small selection!

First comes the licking...
a lot of licking
before the rubbing, covering himself in the scent
then a touch of snoozing
then he becomes spaced out, totally spaced out
until he is completely gone, and fully poseable! 

Hem & Boo Cat Teaser Toy
Samhain loves to play and this toy is overloaded with good fun, we have stars, bells, feather and a ball. He loves the toy but it overwhelmed him at first because there is just so much stuff going on but he enjoys the heck out of it, he might be 10 (or not, that's just a guess they made) but he plays like a kitten so a good stock of toys is necessary as he can wear them out. This is good and sturdy, I personally like the short handle as I've managed to snap the longer ones whilst playing with him, I tell you, he's wild!

Applaws Complete Dry Food 50g
Applaws are one of his favourite brands. We have a large stock of the wet food (favourites being Ocean Fish, Chicken & Mango and Chicken & Tomato!) but, although I have a bag of the chicken biscuits for him I have yet to try them out on him. Now these are Chicken & Salmon, I want Samhain to have more fish so the idea of having them in biscuit form is ideal, I know I've said this before but it's true! Now just because I like the idea of them doesn't mean he will but fortunately he wolfed them down like they were a treat!

It's been a great box this month, for me revisiting their past meant Samhain received two items from our favourite brands, Thrive and Applaws. Samhain says roll on next month!

Cat Hampurr costs Bi-Monthly Box £6 month, Monthly Hampurr £11.95 month or Double Helpings £21.90 month

Sunday 21 June 2015

Midweek Health & Fitness Update 08/06/2015 to 21/06/2015

Well not only is it not midweek but it has also been an age since I posted, pretty much anything! I did plan on updating on Wednesday but my time is pretty much taken up at the moment but I'm here now which is the main thing. 

It has been a busy couple of weeks, it's been a busy month with dating added to the mix - something that is very much a positive in my life. Now this is slightly long distance as he is north of Manchester and I am south, so two connections around around 2 hours of public transport. Now I plan to be down at his every other weekend and he will visit me once a week in the evening, we speak a lot and it is all going very well. I still try to have a routine but there is less time, plus on the weekends I'm with him I'm not exercising or walking much.


I have been trying to keep on top of things around this though, in a week the least amount of times I'll exercise is three, the most five. I aim to do yogalates twice a week, HIIT style the other days. I took today off to tidy up somewhat, my ex still lives with me but is due to move a week on Wednesday so I decided to help by sorting out the clothes in our old bedroom. I can't wait for this room to have more, well, room, as currently we have a mattress propped up at the end of the bed and our own mattress on the bed which he will be taking and I will once again have daylight in the room. 

I think a lot will change in my routine once James has moved, we still eat together most nights so that dictates what I eat. On nights where we aren't my pattern has changed slightly, I'll have a proper meal at lunch and then something light in the evening. We will see though, everything is up in the air at the moment.

Things had been okay and I had been on schedule apart from early this week. I have been taking metformin for PCOS for over a year until I cut down late last summer when I was trying to control the amount of medication I was taking, it was all making me ill. I had been gradually starting to take this again but last week was the first week that I also took it with my breakfast. I had already been increasing the dose over the month, starting with taking it with my evening meal for a couple of weeks, then lunch and it has been okay but having it with breakfast made me really ill. It made me go from feeling incredibly nauseous to extremely hungry and shaking, I couldn't control my appetite and it made my stomach off. So I've had a shocking week after quite a few weeks of really excellent routine and behaviour.

I've also not been paying attention to my steps! I really need to get on top of everything but mainly diet. I don't want the tablets to make me crave carb or any types of food, I just want a reasonable diet and slow, reasonable weight loss.

On the plus side my new smaller jeans still fit! Once life is clearer I will regroup my thoughts and focus! 

Monday 15 June 2015

NARS Zakynthos Nail Polish Review

I received this nail polish for my birthday back in March but it has taken me a couple of months to try it out. It's sad to think that the reason I asked for it was because the weather was so variable, some days nice, others miserable, the same can be said now. At least this makes it a practical, year round shade.

I was after the perfect non-nude nude, the obvious nude, the opaque nude, this fits the bill. Described as a beige, this is a beautiful milky coffee brown. Incredibly smart and perfect for work. I love NARS nail polish as it lasts for such a long time, applies smoothly and incredibly evenly. I'm wearing two coats in the photo but one coat can be perfectly even. The nail polish dries relatively quickly, touch dry within 15 minutes and lasts a good few days without a top coat before chipping, five days with.

At £15.00 it isn't the cheapest nail polish but the quality makes up for it, plus it's worth the investment for such a classic shade. 

Sunday 7 June 2015

Midweek Health & Fitness Update 25/05/2015 to 07/06/2015

This is two weeks worth of updates as I've been rather busy, which is okay in general but not good for my blog.

My diet has been lacking, through being busy I've been eating less and less, now this is okay for losing weight but isn't ideal long term. I don't want to feel exhausted during the day so I need to get back to three square meals rather than two.

I have been supplementing my day with diet drinks for a snack, I say diet drinks but its basically a protein drink that is low carb. I have that with a banana in the afternoon which helps before a workout. My lunch has been lacking in durum wheat for a while so instead I've had eggs, carrots, cucumber and fruit which really isn't enough.

My new goal is to have routine with my eating. I need to start cooking more too, it's difficult cooking for one but it is doable. I can always make a batch of veggie chilli and freeze some.

Now my steps have been down this week mainly due to a migraine on Monday and Tuesday, this left me lacking in energy so I didn't manage to get my steps up. I did make sure I went back to my normal routine on Tuesday this week, despite the migraine, and managed to do some exercise. I have stupidly been forgetting to log all my exercise but I'll get on top of that. I have started to see my new partner every other weekend and we're looking at seeing each other on a Wednesday so that will cause a little disruption to my exercise routine but hopefully it will be worth it.

This week I want to keep my exercise up and get my steps back on track.

I did pick up a pair of jeans in a smaller size last week, I'm feeling slightly more toned in general but I just need to lose a little more weight.

Saturday 30 May 2015

bareMinerals Locked & Coated™ Waterproof Lash Topcoat Review

It's not often I can say I've found myself a new, wonder product, but today I can. I've been using bareMinerals Locked & Coated Waterproof topcoat for two weeks now and I can already say my make-up bag will never be without this product.

I know I hark on about when I was a teenager a lot (that was a couple of decades ago now, eek!) but I'm going to do it again. You either had mascara or you had waterproof mascara, those were your options. These days 95% of mascara products have the aim of giving you that false lash effect, scouring the shelves for a waterproof mascara has proven to be unsuccessful locally (I live in a small town) so I took my search online and found this product instead.

Now I have a few mascaras that I love to bits, but none are waterproof. They usually do okay but I have two issues - when I'm caught in a downpour (not only do I live in a small town but I live in a small, wet town) and when I spend my days laughing my tits off, this is quite common, I also screw my face up an awful lot. This leads to smudging and disappointment. I could just adopt a dour attitude but the topcoat seems like a preferable option.

The topcoat is a clear coat that you add on top of your normal mascara, the brush is very fine which also serves to lift and separate the lashes which, of course, is an extra bonus. It takes no time to add, or dry, I actually apply quite slapdash but this hasn't prevented it working how it should.

As mentioned this is a wonder product, it has left my lashes looking the same as when I first applied my mascara, even up to 12 hours later, no smudging, not even a hint of Alice Cooper about me, it is absolutely perfect in every way. At £12.00 it's also rather reasonable as it will turn the cheapest mascara into a long lasting beauty.

This is the first product in a long time, that I'm now worried will be discontinued, please bareMinerals, produce this product forever, my lashes and face will thank you for it!

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Midweek Health & Fitness Update 18/05/2015 to 24/05/2015

My first post since my long weekend away, I guess you can guess I've been busy! Last week was busy too but I took the opportunity to keep it together and carry on as normal.

This did mean being flat-out busy all week, work, exercise then planning what to pack, packing or shaving!

Food has been pretty standard with the usual yoghurt, granola and blueberry breakfast. I have however been having a slightly different lunch, mainly down to being cheap and not bothering to pick up more durum wheat. Instead I've been having eggs, carrots, cucumber along with some other bits usually some fruit and a nutrition shake. It's nice to have a change but I haven't cut out the wheat completely. My evening meals haven't been that exciting, I think I find it harder to work out what to do for myself, so no big meals. I just don't fancy much right now, at least that is healthy and clean. I'm in a total blah mood with my evening meals.

The weekend date went very well, it was three nights away. I had whatever I fancied, we have a couple of meals out at night and room service one night. But, as we weren't leaving the hotel until late we were simply having breakfast then dinner! So it wasn't too bad at all.

My steps were down slightly although overall I did more at the weekend than usual so they really aren't that terrible. I'd like to work my way back up to averaging 70,000 a week by the second week of June ideally.

As I had the three night date at the weekend I certainly made sure I kept up with my exercise, although I realise now I forgot to log Thursday - possibly as I was rushing about shaving and re-packing! I'm doing a mixture of HIIT, Pilates and Yogalates - it all seems to be working for me right now and I want to build on this, I plan to do one week 4 days of exercise the next 5, then back to 4, I want to both mix it up and give me the chance of having an extra rest day every other week.

Everything seems to be going along swimmingly, I feel like I've lost some inches, I just want to kick everything up a notch.