Friday, 22 May 2015

How to get fitter without setting foot in a gym (or running... or anything else which involves strenuous activity)

You could say I'm a little bit exercise shy, since I left school I've never really taken part in any exercise and actually stuck it out for longer than a couple of weeks; I hate the gym and I just don't find most exercise very enjoyable. I know they say that you feel much better when you've done some decent exercise but if you have trouble actually getting yourself there in the first place then I'd say the rewards are pretty hard to reap. Having said that, I am keen to get a little bit fitter. I'd love to move a little bit more and have the motivation to actually do so without any commitments (either time or loads of money).

You've probably heard of a pedometer, if you haven't it's basically a device which tracks the number of steps you take between a period of time but they're pretty outdated and basic now so naturally there are new things on the market which have taken their place. I was asked if I wanted to give the Fitbug Orb Bluetooth Activity Tracker* a try which is a movement and sleep tracker which syncs to either your iPhone or iPad and shows you the results day by day and even has a fitness coach which helps you to set and achieve goals.


I've just set mine up so I'm looking forward to seeing how many steps I actually walk in a day (having a fairly active job I'm hoping that I do quite a few already) and I'm hoping to set myself some manageable goals to increase the calories I burn and try and get some better quality sleep. The Fitbug is fairly easy to set up initially, you just download the app to your phone/iPad, register with Fitbug and then pop in the last 5 digits of the serial number and you should be good to go.

There are 3 ways which you can submit the data from the Fitbug: On Demand so you just press the button once and it beams it over via bluetooth, you can set it to send progress throughout the day through the device settings or you can set it to stream progress as you go by pressing the button twice to make the green light blink every 5 seconds.

I'll be updating my progress frequently through my Instagram (Girl_UpNorth) and I'll also do an updated blog post to show you how I've got on with the device itself.

Have you got one of these little devices? 

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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Meat Market - Covent Garden, London

You might remember my post a bit ago raving about my experience at Meat Liquor Leeds so naturally when I went to London the other day I wanted to get myself some more burger goodness so the next step for me was to try Meat Market in Covent Garden. Meat Market is part of the Meat Liquor chain but it's even more of a no-frills experience; which I didn't think could be possible but it is, and it works. 


It's in quite an odd place if you ask me, although it's classed as Covent Garden it's not very 'visible' to tourists I don't think so I like to think of it as a bit of a hidden gem. It's round the back of Jubilee Market Hall on tavistock street, nestled right in so you have to keep your eyes peeled. As I say, it's completely no frills dining and it's probably the closest ever come to 'communal dining' which seems to be a bit of a craze at the moment. You go up some stairs and through the doors to be met by what can only be described by me as a an American road diner in central London. Wooden tables and chairs laid out in a straight line across the back of the room with bottled sauces and kitchen roll at the ready. The concept is simple and the service is minimal; the full menu is on the wall as you walk in, you find your seat and then order at the bar then you wait for your name to be called over a tannoy and you collect it from the end of the bar.



I went for a bacon cheeseburger (£8.50) with a side of cheese fries (£4.50) and a bottomless soda (£2.50). I didn't wait long but in between times I went up to the soda machine, filled up my paper cup, sat back down and just took in the atmosphere. I always associate London with being quite unfriendly but this place was so unpretentious, as a lone diner I didn't feel out of place at all because I could see at least another 3 people in the exact same boat. 

When my meal came (which only took around 10 minutes) I was unsurprised by the simplicity of it; I've already mentioned my paper cup but my meal was served on a tray with a wrapped burger and cheese fries in a foil tray - it was everything I was expecting and more. 






The portion size certainly didn't disappoint and the burger was even messier than the one I had in Leeds which I didn't think was possible but honestly it was everywhere and near impossible to eat with my hands but I managed it and I savoured every single mouth full. A medium cooked thick beef patty with bacon, pickles, cheese, onions, lettuce, ketchup and mustard; it was greasy, it was saucy and it was absolutely gorgeous. I knew it was getting all round my mouth as I was eating it, there really is no lady like way to eat these burgers but to be honest if you're looking for civilised food Meat Market isn't the place for you. 

The fries were as amazing as I remembered them in Meat Liquor; covered in cheese with the added bonus of grated onion. Along with he burger, I could honestly eat them every day of the week (at the risk of becoming the size of a house). It's ever so slightly cheaper than it's Liquor counterpart but every single bit as good so if you're in London and you're looking for a quick, no frills meal which is both filling and capable of satisfying any burger craving then Meat Market is definitely worth seeking out. You'd think after the 3rd time of visiting a Meat Liquor eatery I'd try something different but to be honest when the burgers are this good, not a chance. 

Is Meat Market your kind of thing?

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Saturday, 16 May 2015

The Body Shop 'Happy Hour For Your Skin' Event May 2015

I've been blogging for nearly 4 years and Thursday marked my first ever event down in London; living up North (although I do love it) means that I can't often get down south for events as there's often not enough notice or I have work commitments. However, I was invited to the launch of the new Virgin Mojito range from with plenty of notice so I decided to get myself down there, and I'm so pleased that I did!

I met up with Leanne (Do Not Refreeze) and Sheenie (Just Nice Things) and made our way to The Westbury Hotel where we were greeted with a room kitted out in Caribbean-esque decoration and seating with a Mojito bar (obviously!) and copious amount of canap├ęs. I grabbed myself a Raspberry Mojito, accepted many offers of food (who wouldn't?!) and got talking to some more friendly faces including Kat (Tales of a Pale Face), Amy (Amy Farquhar) and Grace (All That Slap). 




I got a skin consultation from one of the lovely Body Shop ladies who got out one of these really clever little blotting strips that I've never seen before that shows up the amount of oil on your skin which can then be matched to a skin type. The result told me that I had combination skin so the consultant recommended some products from the Seaweed range (which I know and love, the mattifying moisturiser is brill and the clay mask has been on my wish list for a while now) and she also introduced me to the new 'cult' product Drops of Youth Concentrate which is formulated to combat the first signs of ageing (a word that, although I hate to admit, is starting to becoming relevant to me). I took away the little booklet of recommendations and it was then time for the introduction of the brand new Virgin Mojito range and a presentation from Dr Terry about the recently released Vitamin C skincare range. 




I can tell you now that The Mojito range smells absolutely amazing; imagine what a Mojito smells like in a glass - well The Body Shop have bottled it and mixed it with some gorgeous skincare products. There are 5 products in the range; Body Butter, Body Sorbet, Shower Gel, Body Splash and a Body Scrub. My favourite of the 5 definitely had to be the Body Sorbet; a range of sorbets were released last summer and took the beauty blogging world by storm because they are such a different kind of texture for a moisturising product. My 'body' skin isn't particularly dry so I sometimes find butters a little bit rich, especially in summer but the sorbets are so easily absorbed by the skin but they leave my skin feeling just as good (if not better as it's not as heavy). The Mojito one honestly smells good enough to just squeeze into your mouth but obviously I don't recommend that, haha! It's out on 2nd June and it's limited edition so grab some for your holiday while you can!


Dr Terry gave us a really brilliant presentation on the recently released Vitamin C range; sometimes it can feel that you're being talked at in presentations and the information goes over your head but Dr Terry was so down to earth and she really put the idea of the Vitamin C range into simple terms; it's brilliant for skin which needs a little bit of encouragement to 'glow'. We're all guilty of feeling a bit run down sometimes, we often neglect our bodies through our lifestyle and our skin is a reflection of that so we can sometimes look dull and tired which is where the Vitamin C range can help you out. The Glow Boosting Moisturiser is amazingly lightweight but provides the skin with hydration and energy to help restore a healthy glow. 

We were shown so many exciting products at this event so I won't go into detail about every one of them because I would be writing forever and a day but I will definitely be writing some dedicated posts for some of the products I was given to take home and try (especially the Mojito Body Sorbet - I think I might have reapplied that about 20 times on the way home because I loved the smell and the feel of it on my skin, it's like nothing I've felt before!). My goodie bag was even raided when I got home by my metrosexual friend Josh who took great pleasure in trying out the Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser (and took even more pride in posing for a photo with it)....


Have you tried any of the new Body Shop ranges?

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

How to make your eyelashes grow

I'm always quite sceptical when it comes to products with big claims but there's always a part of me that really wants them to work so when I was asked if I wanted to try a product which promised to help my condition my lashes to promote growth, reduce breakage and just give me better lashes in general I obviously had to have a go with it. The brand in question is one that I hadn't heard of before; Lilash. This purified eyelash serum 'conditions and fortifies your eyelash follicle' to give you the most beautiful, long and full lashes you've ever had. Sound good, right?

I won't lie, I'm always a little worried about putting new products on my eyes because I'm worried I'll have some kind of reaction to it but I was assured that Lilash was suitable for sensitive eyes and I looked up any of the possible side effects and there was nothing to worry about too much; they have a  90 day money-back guarantee so if you do experience any adverse reaction you can stop using it immediately and send it back to get your money back which is a great little insurance policy.

Lilash eyelash serum

The way you apply Lilash is a little different to what I was expecting; anything to do with lashes I just assume it's going to be applied with a mascara wand but this is actually applied more like eyeliner on your top lash line. For the first 3 months of application you put it on every day (I do it before bed) and then after the 'induction period' you can reduce application to 3 times per week to maintain your lashes. I have the 'Demi' version which contains one 3 month cycle worth of product which makes it perfect for anyone wanting to try Lilash but who doesn't want to commit to a full 9 month cycle (which includes an additional 6 months of product for maintenance).

So I've been applying Lilash since the end of January and I've just come to the end of my first 3 month cycle (with some product to spare, which I'm really pleased about) and I am absolutely astounded by the results. I honestly never thought I'd see the results I've seen after 3 months, a picture speaks a thousand words so here's a before and after so you can see for yourself:

Lilash before and after photo

As you can see my lashes have grown A LOT and not that you can tell from the photo but they are also in much better condition. I very rarely have any lashes falling out even when removing eye makeup and they just feel a lot more supple (who knew an eyelash could be supple?!). I have one very thin coat of Maybelline Great Lash on the bottom photo just to colour my lashes so you could see how much they've actually grown, the next step for me now is to get my lashes tinted because if I did that I probably wouldn't have to wear mascara during the day at all.

I've had so many people asking me if my eyelashes are fake (because they're so long) and even Jason has commented on how long they are (which in itself is enough for me to know that I'm not just seeing things). So I would, without doubt, recommend Lilash in a heartbeat. Whether you've damaged your lashes through wearing false ones or they're just not as long as full as you'd like I would highly recommend at least trying the Demi tube. It's not a cheap product at £53.93 but as I always say, I don't mind paying for anything if it works and when you work out the monthly cost it actually only works out at £17.98 per month. I'm so, so pleased with my lashes now; I absolutely love how long and full they are! If you want to try this for yourself you can buy it direct from the Lilash website with free delivery and don't forget that if it doesn't work for you, they have a 90 day money back guarantee (that's confidence in your product right there!)

Have you ever used Lilash, what do you think of my results?

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