Monday, August 18, 2014

Confessions of a Swiftie

What Taylor Swift has achieved at her mere 24 years of age lies somewhere between sensational and remarkable. Go ahead and call me a feminist if I say she is an inspiration for women everywhere. She's currently the biggest pop sensation on the planet,

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bikini Body Bootcamp!

This is my first beauty post for a while due to being almost entirely occupied with wedding planning as well as a few other bumps and hills (mountains...) in my road. Rest assured, however, that the lack of beauty related posts on my blog does not mean a lack of beauty in my life and I have plenty to catch up on. 

Our wedding and honeymoon are looming dangerously near, two weeks today in fact, so I thought I'd share with you some of my tips for getting bikini-body ready for holidays.

Firstly, I'm a big believer of looking after your body all year round so the bikini season can be any time you like. Why neglect your diet and lifestyle just because it's winter and you're less likely (hopefully) to wander around in a teeny tiny two piece? A consistent healthy diet and lifestyle is key to maintaining the figure you want and it's just good for you! Also, if you're not comfortable in a bikini simply don't wear one. Play up your best features with a swimsuit that flatters your figure. If you feel great, you'll look great. Easy. There's no way I'll be wandering around the beaches in Thailand in my bikini, but I do like one for sunbathing and swimming. A classic one piece with a high waisted cinch is one of the most chic and flattering options this summer, and they're everywhere in the shops. Tropical prints are majorly in fashion and are universally flattering.

Ok, so the title of this post is a small white lie... It should read "Wedding Dress Bootcamp!" When I was measured for my beautiful gown in October last year I was described as a 'spelk' and so, not surprisingly, after months and months of waiting, a long cold winter and a penchant for wine and chocolate muffins, when my dress did finally arrive, it didn't fit. It nearly fit. I was one button and a hook 'n' eye away from perfection. So for the first time pretty much ever, I went on an actual diet inspired by Deliciously Ella. After six weeks I hadn't lost even a single pound but I had slimmed down enough for my dress to do all the way up (woohoo!). After various fittings and decisions the dress was eventually taken out a couple of centimetres and now it fits like a dream.

So my point is, in the last few weeks of desperately trying to lose weight and failing, it is the products pictured above that I truly believe are to thank for finally squeezing into the dress. I've always been a user of cellulite busting creams and gels as well as toning products and firming moisturisers. Some are better than others, obviously, but the key to any of these products is persistence. If it says apply twice a day, do it. And really massage it in until your arms ache (this is pretty good for toning your arms too!) I've been religiously applying my Dr.Ceuticals products for weeks and the results have really been amazing. The Beach Perfect Body Firmer is a seriously rich, smoothing moisturiser that makes your skin feel like velvet and I saw a result on my thighs in just a week. It also smells divine and made me practically irresistible to my future husband... I bought the Tummy Tone and Cellulite Sculpting Treatment when they were on offer at Boots (normally retail around £19.99 and £14.99 respectively) and have been very impressed so far. The Tummy Tone is a tight, tingling gel that is easy to massage in and a little goes a long way. It instantly tightens and smooths and boasts waistline reducing properties as well as fat-cell busting. The same goes for the Cellulite Sculpting treatment which has genuinely reduced my hips by 2cm each! Feeling toned and svelte is such a confidence booster, and fitting more easily into my tight jeans is like a dream. 

In a last attempt to get the best body I can before the big day I ventured into detox territory, landing on Bootea UK's 14 Day Teatox. This £20 kit has two weeks worth of teabags - 1 for every morning, and a bedtime bag for every other night. To be honest, it really wasn't the nicest tea in the world. It tastes like very strong green tea (a little insipid...) and the bedtime one was quite sickly. Anyway I was very good for the two weeks, cutting out bad, processed, sugary foods, alcohol (except for the hen party...) and red meat because the point is you're trying to rid excess toxins from your body. Other users have reported significant weight loss but my experience was, again, no weight loss whatsoever. However my cellulite has pretty much completely vanished and my waist is as slim as ever. My skin and hair look great too. All in all I was quite disappointed but it hasn't been a total waste. A flat tummy and smooth thighs was the aim of the game anyway and I've definitely achieved that! My before and after pics can be seen here.

So with two weeks to go my plan is to continue using my wonder products to maintain a smooth silhouette and attempt to eat as healthily as possible. Saving my wine and chocolate fetish for the big day!


Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Liebster Award!

I'm quite new to blogging and had never even heard of the Liebster award until I was nominated by two lovely ladies - Rachel from Bella Forcella and Catherine from Counter Pretty.  Thank you so much for introducing me to such a fun blogger community activity and for taking the time to read my little blog. It means the world to me when just one person reads a post so these nominations are incredible!

Ok, so here's what I've found out about the Liebster Award...

There are a few rules to follow:

- You must list 11 fun/random facts about yourself
- You must answer the 11 questions asked my the person who nominated you
- You must nominate other blogs and ask them 11 questions.

So here goes!!

Bella Forcella asked me:

1. What is your 'anthem'?
My signature karaoke song is Dolly Parton's '9 to 5' and people always say they think of me when they hear it!

2. What message do you want to convey to the world through your blog?
My blog is my little safe space where I can express my feelings, post about my interests and share my opinions. I suppose my message could be to encourage self awareness and celebrate being unique.

3. What is your favourite Jo Malone fragrance?
Easy, White Jasmine & Mint.

4. Who are your idols and why?
This is a tough one, I definitely have a few and they're pretty embarrassing on the outset but bear with me... First up is Avril Lavigne - She may not be what many people think of as a role model but when I was a teenager struggling to find myself through crowds of cliques and trends her music helped me so much, and she inspired me to write songs which I still do to this day. Next is Taylor Swift basically because I just want to be her. She's incredible. I'm a keen cook and baker too and I will always do whatever Nigella tells me to! 

5. What's your favourite thing about blogging?
I love to write. I love finding the best words to describe products or emotions and pour them out into legible scribbles. 

6. Where is your favourite place in the world?
My family have taken holidays on the Northumberland coast for as long as I can remember and now our holiday home in Beadnell is something I share with my new family. It's our haven.

7. Which 'Friends' character are you most like?
I definitely have some frantic Monica in me (anxiety and obsessive behaviour...) mixed with Rachel's love of fashion and fun and Ross' love of history and dinosaurs!

8. Who was your childhood style icon?
I grew up in the 90s so it HAS to be the Spice Girls! Platforms, crop tops, joggers and bunches. Oh yes.

9. Would you rather go back in time and give your younger self advice, or travel forward in time and get advice from your older self?
At this moment in time I'm quite content with how my life has worked out. There's been some major bumps in the road though so I would love it if my future self could give me a sign that everything will be ok and to just keep at it. 

10. What is your all time favourite beauty product?
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair.

11. What would your ideal day look like?
A day out with my mister and my dog. Shopping, eating, drinking and a walk on the beach followed by a cosy movie night with sweet popcorn and Pepsi Max. It must also include a Soya Hazelnut Latte... 

Counter Pretty asked me:

1. How did you get into blogging?
I originally started a blog when I was working in a pub and had so many stories to tell after every shift (and they were pretty much all hilarious) so I started an anonymous blog to share my tales. It was various family members who suggested I start my beauty blog because that's what I was interested in.

2. Country or City?
Country for living and relaxing, city for shopping and partying.

3. Lipstick or lipgloss?
I suffer from very dry lips most of the time so I don't often use lipstick, but I hate the way my hair gets stuck in my lipgloss so I usually just go for tinted lip balm but both stick and gloss when I'm getting dressed up.

4. Where is your favourite place to be?
Our summer house in Beadnell on the Northumberland coast. 

5. If you could only use one makeup brand for the rest of your life what would it be?
Chanel. It takes up most of my makeup bag already!

6. If you could only use one makeup product what would it be?
Concealer... no blush... no lip balm! Argh!!

7. Drugstore or highend?
Always highend. Premium beauty is just better.

8. If you could travel anywhere where would you go and for how long?
There are so many places I would love to visit, but I would definitely travel to Southern India and spend a week or so exploring the paddy fields (and eating) then on to the Maldives for at least a week in a beachfront villa. I would also love to visit Bali, New York, Seattle, Tequila in Mexico and Iceland again.

9. What is your biggest achievement?
Landing the perfect husband?! Haha no, passing my driving test. I quit learning when I was younger because it made me so incredibly nervous (sometimes I was physically sick before lessons) but then my fiance encouraged me to have another go despite my crippling fear and with the right teacher, a better car and total determination I passed in a few short months on my first go with only one minor. Yes! The confidence and independence I have gained are utterly priceless.

10. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
Answered above!

11. What is your favourite flavour of Skittle?
I don't eat sweets but I do remember the best way to eat Skittles is one of every colour altogether.

Wow that was fun!!

Now here are 11 facts about me:

1. I'm completely deaf in my right ear.
2. I have naturally curly hair.
3. I have a cow's milk intolerance.
4. I have performed in the West End, the Royal Opera House and St James' Park (Newcastle).
5. I have seen Barry Manilow live 5 times...
6. I have very strong prescription reading glasses.
7. I hate fruit pastilles.
8. I can cook and bake really well.
9. I'm a homeowner.
10. I have a Grade 8 Singing certificate.
11. I used to be fat.

I nominate:

And my questions are:

1. What inspired you to start blogging?
2. Are you a cat or a dog person?
3. What is your favourite food and can you make it yourself?
4. Where did you grow up?
5. Do you have a nervous tick?
6. Where is your favourite place to shop?
7. What is your go-to all round beauty brand?
8. You can take 5 beauty products with you on your desert island getaway. What are they?
9. What song makes you want to dance like nobody's watching?
10. What are your current life goals?
11. Are you in love?

This has been one of the most fun posts I've ever done and I can't wait to read everyone elses!

Thanks again for the nominations!


Saturday, August 02, 2014

All the Lonely People

The Beatles once said - "Where do all the lonely people come from?".  They didn't know then and they probably still don't. 

When I think about all of the wonderful people I have in my life, family and friends be they close or distant, it makes me ponder this very same question. A lot has been going in my life over the last 18 months or so and I can safely say I would have been lost without my unconditional support system. 

When Nick proposed I was surrounded my genuine love and happiness, some people going seriously out of their way to congratulate us. Our families were overjoyed and planning began straight away as we didn't want to wait to become Mr & Mrs.

Not long after our engagement Nick and I made the extremely brave decision to start our own business. Well, a franchise. It turned out to be a total disaster from start to (very short) end and left us confused, miserable and our confidence was shattered. We had no idea what we were going to do next and we're still working on it! We've had to literally hold each other up at times just to make it through another week. 

Throw into the mix a young puppy in the form of Sully the Springer Spaniel and we had a recipe for sleepless nights and chronic fatigue. Adjusting our lives to include our tiny little ball of utterly helpless fur was not easy. He completely took over our home, our routine and our minds as every choice we made throughout the day involved his whereabouts or welfare. Many, many tears were shed, voices were raised and long walks on the beach became a chore rather than one of our favourite pastimes. Sully slowly became a very important member of the family and we sometimes look back and wonder what all of the fuss was about. I certainly found his company during the early stages of the business invaluable. Now he's our special little guy who loves us no matter what.

Wedding planning has had it's ups and downs. Fights with my Mum and forever changing my mind obligatory. At one point it seemed like every single thing was going wrong, being cancelled or was winding me up so much I retreated away from it all. My anxiety levels became unbearable. If it hadn't been for my very patient and generous parents and my very understanding fiance I would have gone crazy. It's amazing how grounding the people close to you can be.

More recently I've had some very emotional personal issues with a friend which have affected me in an irrevocable way. I've been amazed at how supportive and understanding all my friends and family have been. Even my wedding correspondents and friends of my parents have given me wonderful advice and a friendly face to talk to. 

So here is my question. Where do all the lonely people come from? I look around me and I don't see any lonely people. I don't see loneliness, I don't feel loneliness. I see love and understanding and I feel loved, cherished, appreciated. How could I ever be lonely.

Thank you to everyone who has helped me through the past year, there are far too many of you to mention.