Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Workout Wednesdays.... Plateau Pity and Tabata Training!

I like to keep my blog posts upbeat and positive but I am a human and not always happy. This last ten days I have been really struggling with my lack of progress. I've hit a serious plateau; I'm not losing weight, not gaining muscle and not getting stronger. I know I'm not an actual machine. The human body is unpredictable and life doesn't always go as we want it to. But that doesn't mean I'm not allowed to be a little annoyed when everything isn't happening as I planned.

I decided that my body needs a shock to give it a jumpstart and get going again. So I bought the LDN Muscle Bikini Guide V2.

I feel a little as thought I'm starting from scratch again. It's a little scary but it is fun and interesting to learn even more.

This guide is a definite improvement on the original. There's 2 full weeks of training programmes, aimed at not letting your body get used to your routine (which I think has been my problem). There's a new diet guide with comprehensive information on nutrition, supplements and body types. Everything you could want from a training guide is there, bar the voice in your ear telling you to push for one more rep!

Two days in and I've failed slightly on the diet side but I couldn't resist a trip to Yo Sushi! with my friends! I'm so excited to get in the gym today and do my new arms and back workout!

I spend a lot of time online researching form and technique and just reading about fitness types. I have discovered I am definitely an endomorph - easy to gain muscle but hard to lose fat! As brilliant as my LDN plan is, I think I would really benefit from incorporating some short fat-burning sessions into my regular sessions.
I don't want to be a slave to cardio and I don't want to overtrain so I had a good look around and discovered Tabata Training. Tabata is a type of HIIT created in Japan by Izumi Tabata. Essentially, the premise is a 20 second powerful burst of movement followed by a 10 second rest period, repeated. Some people choose to do this for up to 20 minutes but I think that's a little excessive on top of a mammoth weights session so I've found one that adds up to four minutes!
Hopefully this will get my heart going and fat burning quickly without exhausting myself and detracting from my weights training. Below is my little workout that I'm going to throw in halfway through my session today! I'll let you know how it goes!
20 seconds High Knees
10 seconds standing rest
20 seconds Jumping Jacks
10 seconds standing rest
20 seconds light Dumbbell Punches
10 seconds standing rest
20 seconds Squat Kicks
10 seconds standing rest
Repeat, done!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Skincare Sundays... The First Post!

I've decided to start a new regular feature on this blog... Skincare Sundays! Here's the first official post and I think this may become my favourite feature. 

I own so many beauty products; nail varnishes, make up, skin products, hair and body products. I have a mild addiction to buying and trying new things so I thought I would share my new findings with you all. 

NB - most of these reviews / posts will be for products I've chosen to buy. If any lovely companies gift me their products, I will state that and will always provide an honest review. 

This week I've tried some new facial cleansing products and a new foundation. 

First I tried these products from the Olay essentials range. They're currently on offer in Boots so I thought I'd give them a try. I'm looking for a new, complete, Skincare regime to attempt to clear my skin and have it last a lifetime. 

I bought the "daily facial cloths" as I find that normal face wipes don't remove all my makeup. I use a normal face wipe first and then run one of the Olay cloths under a tap to kick start the foaming and scrub my face with it. The textured clothes gives you a nice gentle exfoliation and you can see the remnants of your makeup on the cloth! The product foams nicely and isn't drying for your skin, leaving it feeling fresh after you've rinsed your face. 

I usually use those before I go into the gym so that when I get hot in the gym and my pores open, they don't absorb all the makeup and dirt sitting on top. 

In the morning - and after my gym sessions - I use the "refreshing face wash". I'm not as fond of this as I am of the cloths. Despite the lovely, gentle fragrance and the non-drying aspect of the wash, it's too foamy! Even using the smallest amount creates enough bubbles to fill a bath and I end up blowing bubbles through my nose for half the shower! Slight overshare? Sorry. 

I've been on the hunt for a new every day foundation and decided to try a company whose products I've never used before; Max Factor. 

I got this MaxFactor FaceFinity All Day Flawless 3 in 1 Foundation in Warm Almond. 

I'm admittedly a little lazy with my every day morning makeup routine so having one product that acts as a primer, concealer and foundation is perfect for me.

Having bought the product on Friday lunch time for £8.99 in Superdrug, I couldn't wait to use it so decided to try it out when I went out for dinner with my mum on Friday. The photo below has been edited to add a filter but you can see that the finished face is definitely photo worthy! (I added a pressed powder over the top as my skin can get quite oily).

Please forgive my slightly blinded eyes below but I decided to show you a picture I took with just half of my face covered with the foundation (the left side on the picture). Although this isn't the best picture, you can see that the side I used the product on has no blemishes, the colour is even and corrected and the puffy eyes are well concealed! 


On Saturday morning, I applied my makeup around 9 am. When I got home around 6pm it had mostly come off but I think that's due to the oily nature of my skin. 

Overall, I would recommend this product. The price is an absolute bargain - the combination of products inside would cost around £20 at least separately so the 3 in 1 aspect definitely makes it purse-friendly. 
It took a couple of squirts to cover my giant face and may not have lasted for 10 hours but I did like the finish and the look. This is a happy new addition to my makeup bag!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Workout Wednesday... Gloves galore!

I've made a promise to myself that I'm going to try new things more often. Not just in fitness but in every day life too. I'm very aware of my comfort zone and nowadays am not too keen on breaking out of it. I've been spending time rebuilding my self-esteem these last few months and I think trying new classes at my gym is a good way to start branching out.
The only class I really do at my gym is yoga, two or three times a week. The classes are with three different teachers but I still don't think that counts as variety! So I made a promise to try a new class whenever the gym's schedule and mine combine to create an opportunity.
This week, a wonderful opportunity arose - kickboxing! Turns out I had no idea what I was letting myself in for but I really enjoyed it in the end! Most of the other people in the class were hardcore veterans and really good at it but luckily there was another newbie girl and we were paired together so it wasn't too embarrassing!
The class involved almost no basic cardio which is great news for me as I hate it. The cardiovascular workout came from resisting the other person; little did I know how much it would entail! We took it in turns to have the gloves or the pads evenly and the class did not get boring or repetitive at any point.
I know it's not everyone's idea of a good time, to be kicked and punched at for 30 minutes but I found it good for my mind; focusing on not getting hurt & blocking punches meant my mind was clear of all other thoughts. Then when it was my turn to wear the gloves, any frustrations and anxieties I had were released into the mitts of my opponent.
The DOMs weren't as intense as I thought they'd be in the following days but I think I was holding back a little as my opponent was smaller in stature than me and I was a little scared of breaking her!

Apparently Sunday wasn't enough and I'm going again tonight! Which leads me to the second part of this post... Gloves!
Wearing stale sweaty boxing gloves that have been worn by a hundred sweaty people before me sets my OCD off a treat. It's revolting. I don't care if I'm being a princess about it, it's unsanitary and makes my skin crawl.
So this week my Lust List is comprised of two sets of gloves; boxing gloves and weight lifting gloves. I lift weights to look pretty, not to have horrid scabby hands. I have one pair of gloves and I love them but I like to change my outfits up so am going to start building my glove collection too now!
So I have discovered these little beauties and need them immediately! They match most of my other workout gear and aren't boring and black. Though I doubt all the hardcore MMA people in my class will appreciate them!
Tuf-Wear Wild Cat Sparring Glove - White/Pink
I have discovered an absolute plethora of girly weightlifting gloves online but unfortunately most of the cool customising companies are US based and I can't afford that level of shipping costs. I have, however, found this jazzy pair that will be ordered as soon as I get paid on Friday!


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Friday, 17 January 2014

Fashion Friday... Let the awards commence!

Awards season is upon us and that means endless gowns, tuxedos, critics and probably a fairly good bonus for all the paparazzo out there! I couldn't possibly discuss anything else for this week's Fashion Fridays post so here I'm going to highlight who I felt were the best and worst dressed at both the Critics' Choice Movie Awards and the Golden Globes Awards.

First up is the Golden Globes, which happened in California at the beginning of the week.

My first winner of the fashion stakes is the ever-sleek Reese Witherspoon. The colour of this Calvin Klein dress is bold yet not garish. The cut well suits her petite frame and the Harry Winston diamonds add just the right amount of sparkle.

Second up is Amy Adams. I developed a bit of a fascination with her boobs in American Hustle and this Valentino dress hasn't failed to disappoint in that area. I love the contrasting shades on her pale skin and the cut is graceful and elegant. I felt her hair let her down slightly - this up do is quite reminiscent of B*Witched (the Irish girl group) in the old days!

My third choice is always a winner - Sandra Bullock. Not only is she an amazing actress, she's a vision of beauty all the time. Her face does not tell her true age and she always picks dresses that suit her body and personality. Despite, what the critics have said, I am really drawn to this Prabal Gurung dress. I love the contrast of the black panel to the two pastel panels. I like the structure of the dress; it flatters her waist but also brings a bold presence to her outfit. Her hair, as usual, looks fabulous and glossy and I'm very jealous.

My final winner – and possibly my favourite dress of all time – is Kate Beckinsale. Thus far, there hasn’t been a Zuhair Murad dress that I don’t love and this one is continuing that trend. Though it looks heavy & must have been a pain to wear, I think this is just divine. The cut is the epitome of femininity. The top-to-toe bling sets my inner magpie alight yet its dark tone prevents it from being garish.

I’m not generally a big Zoe Saldana fan but I usually don’t dislike her either. This dress, however... She’s going to have to come out with a stunner next time to compensate for this shambles. I find it shocking that Prabal Gurung can make two dresses so vastly different and one so grotesque. The cut, the fabrics, the colours, none of it makes sense to me! It doesn’t flatter her in anyway and looks a bit like the bit in Cinderella where her dress falls apart. Dislike.

On a brighter note, let's move onto the winners of the Critic's Choice Awards.

My first winner for the Critics’ Choice is completing her double-whammy of the week – Sandra Bullock. This burgundy Lanvin dress seemed to flow like a waterfall down her long, slender body. I’m not a fan of the clutch she added in but the belt gives a nice feature and draws the eye to her lovely waist.

There really weren’t many last night that caught my eye so I only have two but my second is another fabulous gown. Kirsten Bell was wearing an almost Gothic dress from designer Pamella Roland and something about it really catches my eye. I’m not sure if it’s the slightly off-kilter neckline, the sequins or the long train but I just love this dress. Not a fan of her hair and makeup; it’s all a bit harsh but the dress compensates for it.

Hands down, without a doubt, the worst outfit of the night, in my opinion, goes to Oprah. I feel like she has all the money, experience and years a woman could need to learn her style but still hasn’t quite figured what suits her. Her boobs look fantastic but that’s about it. The colour is drab and doesn’t work with the highlights in her hair. The material looks cheap and the bow belt looks like it comes from Claire’s Accessories. The changing hemline on the dress makes her look very bottom heavy and the gold clutch clashes with everything else. I’m disappointed.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Workout Wednesday... When did this happen?


Yesterday I had the biggest grump on. I was in a foul mood all day. I even clocked myself pouting with my arms crossed.

This time last year, if I had been in the same mood, I would have gone home, binged and cried a lot. The bad mood would have hung over me like a dark cloud for days and the last thing on my mind would have been the gym.

I don't know when it happened but I have already made my biggest transformation - my mental one. I have no idea what clicked or when but something has changed and I am in a much better place. In my funk yesterday, I knew it would dissipate once I got myself to the gym and got some endorphins running through me. I didn't come out smiling and bouncing but I did no longer feel like the entire world was against me as I had during the day. I even managed to ring my mum and laugh at my sorry state, something which seemed impossible a year ago.

Earlier in the week, I remember tweeting about joining "the fitfam", the community of fitness enthusiasts on twitter and other blogospheres. I'm not sure at which point I entered the Fit Fam but I'm so happy I did. I'm part of a community of peers from around the world. We're not defined by our gender, our class, race, ethnicity, hair colour. There's no negativity and insulting each other. There's nothing but love and support for each other's journeys.

Searching #fitfam on twitter brings up a multitude of entertainment. It can be motivational quotes and pictures, new exercises, recipes, tips, seminars or a simple progress pic. If you need some fitspiration to get you to the gym, want to check a technique or ask for advice, you need only add the hashtag to your tweet and a strong stream of useful, knowledgeable people will reply in an instant.

Sometimes, battling your inner demons can feel like a long, lonely task. Some days, mustering the energy to even walk to the gym can seem like a painful endeavour in itself, let alone managing to workout once there. You can feel that people you know well aren't noticing your progress or that people around you who don't understand your diet or training regime do nothing but criticise you because it's different to what they know. One quick tweet can release all those negatives and bring light a positivity into your virtual world, giving you the determination to make another success of your day, no matter how small.

For those of you who are fitness enthusiasts, I strongly urge you to use twitter as another training tool. There are a lot of accounts that are "anonymous" and dedicated just to fitness. I decided to not start a separate 'fittie' account and use my main account. After all, the gym and the new love of health and fitness is just another extension of me. Why should I put it in a separate box?! You can follow my waffle on all things in my head at

I love the Fit Fam!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Saturday review... Cocoa brown tan

I recently discovered a new Irish brand of self tan called Cocoa Brown. Created by the beautiful Marissa, it's Ireland's most successful selling brand of self tan. 

The lovely ladies on the Emerald Isle sent me some of their goodies to test out so I thought I'd write a review. 

Firstly, I love tha packaging. Even the jiffy envelope was hot pink, my favourite colour! I not only received the One Hour Tan but also the tanning mitt - every bronzed goddess' best friend. 

The can comes with brilliant directions (such as where to moisturise etc) which is  vital knowledge for those new to tanning and so often missed. I also checked out the website for additional hints & tips and stumbled across a lot of positive reviews from other bloggers, always a good sign! 

I chose Friday night for my tanning session and used my delicious Gok Wan shower scrub in my post-workout shower to make sure my skin was nice and exfoliated and ready to receive the glow. 

I stripped down to my knickers (I like to have a tan line for my first time trying a new product to check the reality of the colour), moisturised those pesky dry areas with Palmer's Cocoa Butter (fitting) and gt my Cocoa Brown gear ready to go. 

Armed with my mitt, I squirted a large dollop of mousse onto it and got to work. I know many people prefer lotions but I prefer mousses for tanning. I like the way they slide on and absorb quickly and this is also true of this product. 

I don't know what magic they put in these bottles but the tropically floral scent of the mousse is divine! Not the usual smell of biscuits with cucumbers, always a bonus. 

I'd have preferred if the mitt was a bit bigger as I have a tendency to get messy and end up with very dark wrists but that's my problem, not a fault with the product. 

The guide colour of the mousse makes it easy to see where you've already applied and helps prevent streaks. 

Once I was covered,
It was time to sit back & let the colour develop. The directions recommend different times for different depths of colour so I chose to wait 90 minutes on the hopes of having a medium brown glowing result. 

I have to say I'm impressed with the result. I've got a couple of white patches but that's because I was too hasty in m application as usual. 

I don't look like I've been living in the Caribbean but I do have a nice colour that's more suitable for winter! 

Here's my tan line on my hip!

Overall, I'd give this 4 out of 5 stars. Easy application, lovely packaging, a nice scent and a decent colour. 

Fashion Fridays... Catch up

So this is what I wore on Christmas day and to my work Christmas party. Though I wore heels to the party, not shiny trainers! Not even a little bit sorry for the silly face. I was absolutely loving life on Christmas morning!
I feel fun and relaxed in the dress and I am a little obsessed with burgundy things at the moment.
This week, all I can think about is owning a pair of crisp white Converse for some reason. I want an alternative to ankle boots etc and I really like how they look with a pair of jeans. Plus I think they can be worn from now right through till Summer and stay classic for a long time to come. My only doubt is that they will be wrecked within a week as I live in the country that loves sporadic rain. And maybe a little bit because I'm clumsy.
I have absolutely no plans for January aside from the gym so I don't really have a need to buy any new clothes which is quite boring. I'm planning on being quite hardcore with my diet and exercise this year so hopefully I'll lose tons of weight and have to buy an entire new wardrobe! Fat chance. Excuse the pun.
In the next few weeks, all the fashion shows and all the awards ceremonies will be happening so there'll be tons of beautiful things for me to admire and review but in the mean time, here is my list of things I own in my fantasy world.
This Cedar Street Medium Harmony bag from Kate Spade. (Which I can't copy a photo of apparently)
And Kate Middleton's Jenny Packham dress. Please.



Thursday, 9 January 2014

Random Thursdays... American Hustle Review

This is my first film review so be nice please!

Last night me and my buddy Emily went to see American Hustle. (I refuse to go to the cinema not on an Orange Wednesday; the prices are disgusting!)

Aside from having seen the movie posters, I knew almost nothing about the film. I've not seen any trailers for it and honestly just went because J-Law was in it and I majorly love her. (This is one of many glorious blogs full of epic Jen GIFs)

Going in to the cinema with pretty much no clue what it was about, I didn't really have an preconceptions of what American Hustle would / should be like. I'm so glad I had no idea. The film far exceeded any expectations I would have had and the comedy aspect was a complete surprise to me!

The 70s Technicolour style gives the film authenticity, despite it only being loosely based on some factual events. The costumes are brilliant, especially Amy Adams' character's... Boobs galore!

This is a fairly tame example of her fabulous outfits...

Jennifer Lawrence puts in yet another smashing performance as the mentally unstable wife but brings a fantastic comedic side to her performance that takes the bitter edge off a tense storyline.

Christian Bale is unrecognisable at the balding, middle aged, rotund con man while Bradley Cooper has the best curlers in town and provides a bucket of laughs with his strong role.

This film does take some concentration; the plot evolves and twists very quickly and there's some elements of jumping to different times.

Overall, this film is a winner. With relatable, believable characters, authentic wardrobes and camera filters, observational and eccentric humour and just enough of a hint of sex appeal, this is a film I'd recommend to pretty much any adult.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Workout Wednesdays... New Year, New Me?

Happy New Year to you all!

This is a brutally honest post. I'm slightly ashamed but I'm only human and can't succeed all the time. I know I'll be judged but some of the harsher "fitties" out there but I hope the fit gods will forgive me and appreciate my new abundance of enthusiasm.

Christmas entirely sabotaged everything in my health and fitness journey. I only exercised once a week, only stuck to about 10% of my diet and ate total junk a lot. Apparently I'm not yet strong-willed enough or well-enough equipped to cope with being out of my routine. I did gain weight but not as much as The Metro says the average Brit does so all is not entirely lost.

My attitude is that this journey of mine is not a diet, but changing lifestyles for a permanent, healthy future. I don't believe I'll ever bee 100% 'clean' all of the time but life is too short to deprive yourself of the fun things in life like cocktails.

I'm not weighing myself again until the end of January. I think it'll make me too sad and demotivate me!

On a brighter note, I am back into my clean eating and routine and loving my new gym! Plus, my yoga teacher has moved to my new gym with me so I can still have my hour of heavenly sanity every week!

My proudest moment so far happened yesterday... I flexed my biceps and actually saw something appear! I couldn't be prouder.

This week my challenge is to incorporate a new exercise / move into each of my workouts.

My most recent fit purchase is this little beauty - a Beurer heart rate monitor watch. I'm still learning all about heart rate and different zones and things but this is a great motivation tool, right on my wrist. At the end of a session, it also tells me how many calories I've burnt which is such a satisfying little nugget to end a workout on!