Thursday, 26 February 2015

Girl Up North Relaunch 5 Days of Giveaways - Day 4

It's the second to last day of my little series of giveaways, this one is a very simple one and it's to win one of my favourite high street mascaras; Maybelline Lash Sensational. I'd say that it gives the new Benefit Roller Lash a run for its money (see my thoughts here) without spending an absolute fortune. All you have to do is follow me via Blog Lovin', I would imagine most of you probably already do so all you need to do is tell me you follow through the rafflecopter widget and you're entered. No extra entries or messing about this is as simple as I could make it for you because I really want to thank all of you for following and supporting me.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
- This is a UK only giveaway, entries from outside the UK will not be accepted
- This giveaway will run from Thursday 26th February 2015 to Thursday 5th March 2015
- You must register your entries through the Rafflecopter widget otherwise they will not be counted
- You must be over 16 or have permission from a parent/guardian to enter
- You must be able to supply a valid email address and UK postal address should you win this giveaway

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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Eating out and making healthy choices: The Wetherspoon Edition

Ok so Wetherspoon might not be what you'd call a 'trendy' place to eat, it's not often that you see bloggers posting about it but there's one in most towns and cities and it's fine for a bit of cheap tea or a nibble while you're having a drink. Me and Jason go there quite often because I know there are good choices to be had and I don't have to spend a fortune if I don't fancy cooking. 


Starters

Not something I'd bother with in Wetherspoon because don't get me wrong I love nachos but they're essentially a pile of crisps topped with extra calories. You could go for the buffalo wings but the sauces and whatever sticky hot sauce is on them is also loaded with calories so you're pretty much knackered I'm afraid!

Mains

This is where Wetherspoon really excel because there are so many healthy options (that aren't salads!). The key is to ask for substitutes; they will always swap chips for a jacket potato if you ask them when you order. My personal favourite at Wethers is the Chicken and Pepper skewers which come with rice for an extra £1 odd and a pot of peri peri sauce on the side; they're gorgeous and really well presented. They do some really nice (reasonably priced) steaks which are perfect; of course for you steak connoisseurs out there it's not the best steak you've ever tasted but for under £6 for a steak, jacket potato, peas, mushroom and a drink you can't really complain! If fish is your thing then they do a lovely piece of salmon and you could even push the boat out and get a BBQ chicken melt with a jacket potato. They obviously do salads as well but that kind of seems like the obvious 'healthy' choice but you'd be surprised how many calories are in their chicken caesar salad which clocks up over 400 calories with the creamy dressing a croutons. The freedom salad is ok though because although it's almost 500 calories; they're all good calories and the saturated fat content is much lower than the Caesar salad. 

Other good ideas for mains:
10oz Gammon Steak
Superfood Pasta
Sweet Chilli Egg Noodles

All in all there's plenty of choice for main meals at Wethers, I'm never stuck for what to have and although it's obviously not a gourmet meal it's cheap as chips (or a jacket potato, in this case!)

Desserts

It's been a while since I've eaten a pudding at Wethers but if I was to eat one I'd probably go for the tropical fruit and ice cream; not the most adventurous of choices but if everyone in your party is having one then it'd be rude not to wouldn't it?! 

Drinks

I wouldn't normally include drinks in these posts but because Wetherspoon is essentially a pub there's obviously the alcohol temptation there and with lots of the meals you get a drink so it's important to know what to choose if you're trying to be good. First of all step away from the J2Os, they are very syrupy and sugary and they are definitely not your friend if you're trying to be healthy; as far as soft drinks are concerned always stick to Diet Pepsi or slimline tonic/bitter lemon. They also do Monster Absolutely Zero which is a sugar free energy drink and of course they do coffee and tea if you're into hot drinks. Alcoholic drinks are a little more tricky but as a general rule I personally don't drink draft beers, lagers or ciders very often at all, I tend to stick to sprits and diet mixers (Martini is a good one, so is Vodka, Bacardi and Gin although for obvious reasons don't be going mental). I do love wine but my trouble is I don't have a stop button so I stay away from that but if you think you can stop at one glass then crack on!

Side note: How gorgeous is the crockery in Wetherspoon now?! Love the blue patterned plates!

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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

What my skin has been thanking me for lately

I make no secret of the fact that my skin is quite frankly a bit of a pain in the arse; I struggle quite a lot with blemishes and I have the most awkward skin type ever - it's combination with dehydrated patches which makes it really hard to deal with in terms of what products I can use. However, without putting a total jinx on the situation I am pleased to announce that I am going through quite a good time with my skin at the moment; it's looking clearer than it has for months and there doesn't seem to be any angry redness or dry flakey patches and it's not looking overly shiny in my t-zone which is pretty much unheard of for me! After having a long hard think I think I've narrowed it down to a few things that have really helped my situation and surprisingly (to me, probably not to skincare pros) it's not just down to products.



Cutting down on dairy - I'd heard on the grapevine that dairy is linked to acne and other skin problems but I never actually considered that it might be affecting my skin because I've always had dairy products and never given it a second thought. However, over the last 3 weeks I've cut down massively on my dairy intake; I was going to go dairy free but then realised that eradicating cheese and yoghurts completely from my life was too much for me to think about (even though I haven't actually had any cheese for 2 of the weeks and I haven't noticed it) so I've just stopped having regular milk and I'm slowly working my way through trying different types of milk replacement products like soya, almond and coconut milks. As I mentioned in my recent favourites post, I've been absolutely loving Alpro Chocolate milk and it really surprised me how nice it actually is. I'm going to carry on trying different dairy alternatives and see what works with me because I feel like it's really helping my skin; to think I might have been living with some kind of dairy intolerance and never realised is quite weird!

REN Clearcalm Clay Cleanser - I repurchased this after not using it for a good year or so and I've totally rekindled my love for it. It's so gentle yet it removes every bit of makeup (even when I've broke out the big guns for a night out) and I think the clay element is really calming on my skin without actually having to leave a product on my skin for any length of time. Although I can't deny I love my Bee Good cream cleanser this has also been working brilliantly for my skin and it's nice to remember that I don't just have to stick to one product that works.

Face Masks - I've been using two just lately that my skin seems to have really thanked me for: the Una Brennan Superfacialist clay mask that I mentioned the other day and also a Jurlique Purifying Mask. I use each of these at least once per week because not only do I find the whole face mask experience really relaxing I also think that they're keeping my skin calm and decongested. I also believe that the Superfacialist mask is helping with the dehydration on my cheeks because they don't seem anywhere near as bad as they were and any old blemishes have disappeared without spending a week or more just sat being all dry, flakey and ugly on my face.

Gel Lotion Moisturiser - I wouldn't dream of using a really heavy moisturiser, similarly I didn't think I'd dream of ever using a moisturiser containing oil, however I've been using Jurlique Rose Moisture Gel Lotion for a good 2 weeks now and my skin seems to be responding really well to it. Any combination/oily skinned folks out there will know how daunting it is to start using any product containing oils on already oily skin but it has really helped to even out my skin because it's treating my dehydrated cheeks whilst not being too heavy because it's still a gel lotion as opposed to a heavy cream.

Changing my pillowcase twice per week - Until about 6 months ago I never considered my pillowcase to be a breeding ground for bacteria but after realising that I kept getting spots on the same side of my face funnily enough it turned out to be the same side that I spend most time on in bed so now I make sure that I change my pillowcase at least twice per week because I don't think that even once per week is enough. One day I'll invest in a silk pillowcase but until I can bring myself to shell out £40 I'll stick to buying cheap ones and rotating them more often.

So there are the four things that I think are contributing to my surprisingly good looking skin. I feel like I've jinxed it massively now and I'm going to wake up in the morning with the mother of all breakouts, I hope not though because I'm enjoying feeling like I have skin which resembles some kind of normal - it's proving much easier to apply makeup on!

Do you have any products or lifestyle changes that have helped you deal with your skin type?

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Girl Up North Relaunch 5 Days of Giveaways - Day 2

The second day of my 5 days of little giveaway is to win two products from one of the most talked about (and loved) bath and body brands on the UK high street: Soap and Glory. Up for grabs is a full size pump bottle of Orangegasm shower gel and a full sized tub of their popular The Righteous Butter and all you have to do is just enter through the Rafflecopter widget below. In case you missed yesterdays giveaway it was to win a Bee Good 2 in 1 Cream Cleanser; each giveaway runs for 1 week from the day of going live so there's still plenty of time to enter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Terms and Conditions:
- This is a UK only giveaway, entries from outside the UK will not be accepted
- This giveaway will run from Tuesday 24th February 2015 to Tuesday 2nd March 2015
- You must register your entries through the Rafflecopter widget otherwise they will not be counted
- You must be over 16 or have permission from a parent/guardian to enter
- You must be able to supply a valid email address and UK postal address should you win this giveaway

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