Saturday, 28 February 2015

Things you should never say to someone who has lost weight

Losing weight is honestly one of the best things I have ever done for myself, it's given me a brand new lease of life by giving me lots of confidence and belief in myself. However, there have been times when it hasn't been easy from a food point of view or from an emotional point of view. Don't get me wrong 90% of what people have said to me has been totally complimentary but there's always been that 10% of people who (sometimes knowingly, sometimes not) have said things that have either upset me or made me quite angry! Body confidence and confidence in general, no matter what your size, is quite a fragile thing and someone can shatter it in just a few words so next time you see your friend/relative who looks to have lost a bit of weight or who you know is on a healthy eating plan, just remember these things...


You can't eat that, you're on a diet!
Firstly, I am not on a diet, I am following a 'healthy eating plan' and secondly yes I CAN eat that because I have counted my calories/Syns/Points.

Wow, you must have been big before!
With this one I can never tell whether they're actually implying that I'm STILL big or what... 

Don't stop now, keep going
Well actually, I think I have finished losing weight because I'm happy as I am but you saying that makes me doubt myself. Have I lost enough, do I still look 'big'? 

You look so much better
This is a difficult one to be honest, and I know for a fact that these people don't mean to offend but although they think they're giving a compliment, to me it fills my head with all the things they must have thought of me before I lost weight. I know I look better, I feel better but this is one of those things that's kind of an insult and a compliment at the same time. If you want to say someone looks 'better' say 'you look great' instead. 

One little bit won't hurt/won't make a difference (when talking about synful foods)
Well actually yes it will hurt and it will make a difference. Everything that passes your lips will show on the scales and maybe that 'bit' won't make a LOT of difference it could tip me over into eating a whole piece or whatever. I remember my husband and I once had an argument about a piece of quiche because I wouldn't have a bite to 'try it' but I knew if I had a 'bite' I would have wanted a full piece and the craving would have then been there for the rest of the night. 

How much do you weigh now?
Quite a few people have asked me this and to be honest I've kind of got used to it now but I can't help but think 'why does it matter?!' there was something I saw on Pinterest which said something along the lines of 'my weight is no concern of yours unless I'm sitting on you' - so yeah, that!! Asking someone how much weight they've lost is different because you're not talking actual figures which show on the scales so if you really must ask the 'how much' question, try and ask in terms of how much they've lost.

Moral of the story is... if you're unsure as to whether it's 'ok' to say something to someone, don't say it! And if you're on the receiving end of anything like this remember that the person saying it probably means well and doesn't mean to offend, chances are they've never been in your shoes and the most important thing is to not let anything or anyone stand in the way of your weight loss! 

*if you're reading this and you've ever said any of these things, don't worry, I probably didn't take offence, you'd know if I had! haha

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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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Saturday, 21 February 2015

When the shades are amazing but the formula is not so much...

It's been some time since Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lipsticks were released and although I pretty much bought them as they came out it's taken me until now to decide what I actually think of them; which is unusual for me because I can usually work out whether I like most makeup products within one or two uses but these really had me stuck as to what I thought of them. What they actually are confuses me to begin with; they apply as you would a gloss but they have the pigmentation and feel of a matte lipstick so in essence they're a liquid lipstick, similar to Limecrime Velvetines. They come in 8 different shades, I bought 3 of them which is unusual in itself because apart from MAC I don't think I've ever bought more than one shade of any lipstick but like I say I just couldn't decide how I felt about these so I obviously felt I needed to give them 3 opportunities to make some kind of impression on me. 



The 3 shades I bought are Nude-ist, Grand Cru and Hot Pepper and I can honestly say that I love all 3 of the shades; I think Nude-ist is an amazing day to night colour and the other 2 are among my favourite shades for night time looks. It's just the formula, my god is it hard to work with. I actually don't mind the doe-foot applicator, I can work with that it's just that the product is so thick so it doesn't apply evenly at all and heaven forbid that you get it outside of your lips because that isn't coming off in one clean swipe because it stains (the staining isn't a bad thing if it applies clean and evenly!). They're brilliantly pigmented, don't get me wrong and when they're freshly applied (after you've taken 15 minutes trying to get your application perfect) they look amazing, I really think they look very nice but give it half an hour and they've dried my lips out to within an inch of their life. 

I've tried exfoliating my lips and applying a balm beforehand to try and make this more comfortable to wear but it really isn't nice once it's been on my lips for any length of time and I feel like reapplication only serves to add another layer of product which then feels almost crusty/flakey (ergh!) and makes me really conscious as to whether people can see said any kind of flakiness. I realise I'm not making these sound very nice but I think it's worth knowing that although these come in some beautiful shades, they're so difficult to work with. I do still wear them purely because I like the shades but I can't say they're a pleasure to have on my lips because they're really not. I would imagine that anyone with a hint of dryness on their lips will find the same problems and even those with perfectly hydrated lips might find these hard to apply. I have tried to apply a balm over the top of these to relieve some of the dryness but then that just defeats the object of them looking matte doesn't it?

Don't get me wrong they do give your lips bold, matte, long lasting colour but for this I think you sacrifice a nice feeling on your lips. I do wonder though whether dryness is just something we have to put up with if we want a matte lip look?

Have you tried Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets?

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Friday, 20 February 2015

Is that really what's in your bag?

What's in my bag posts are everywhere on blogs and youtube channels and I'm just sat here like erm, why is my bag not as clean and tidy as that?! My bad is very rarely organised and tidy; it becomes a dumping ground for various receipts, odd coins and lipsticks so I thought I'd give all you ladies out there with messy bags and shout out and show you what's really inside my bag... (before I got all ashamed when I realised how much a of a mess it was and actually cleared it out!)


Aww look how pretty this looks, like a typical 'what's in my bag' post I have a very nice purse peeking out of the opening with a phone, a bottle of perfume and some hand cream strategically placed as if they've just fallen nicely out of the bag. The reality of the situation is very different...





What was really in my bag:
- iPhone 5s
- Michael Kors Purse
- Soap & Glory Hand Dream
- Zara Oriental Perfume 30ml
- WHSmith carrier bag (did contain Fleur de Force's book which I bought for my niece)
- Cineworld Tickets (from 50 Shades of Grey)
- Empty Minstrels packet (also from 50 Shades of Grey, I think I kept the wrapper as a souvenir of the £3 I paid for them!!)
- Various packets of paracetamol (I don't even know why I have so many?!)
- Sweetener tablets
- Receipts from Boux Avenue, Makro & Boots
- Statement Necklace (I took this off at some point because it was irritating me)
- Touch screen gloves
- Bath & Body Works Cashmere Glow body spritz
- Nivea Raspberry Rose Lip Butter (smells amazing)
- MeMeMe Persian Pink
- Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick
- Soap & Glory Sexy Motherpucker lip gloss
- Mac Lipstick 'Twig'

I obviously got rid of the rubbish out of it when I realised how much there was in it and I was actually left with quite a minimal handbag stash. I don't carry around a lot of makeup with me and I never carry anything like an iPad because most of the time I don't think it's necessary because my phone does pretty much everything I need it to. I should probably be more organised in the handbag department, I reckon i'll be sticking my nose into other peoples 'what's in my handbag' posts to get some organisation inspiration!

What are your handbag essentials that I don't already have in mine?

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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

What I spent a £50 Look Fantastic Voucher on

It's not often that I get a chance to spend a decent amount of money in one go on beauty products because my wages usually get eaten up with with boring but essential things like food, bills etc. but I happened to have a voucher for Look Fantastic which was burning a hole in my virtual pocket for some time and I finally decided to grab some things that have been on my beauty wish list for a good while...


REN ClearCalm Clay Cleanser (£18.00) I bought two bottles of this in 2013 and it was my go to cleanser for a good while so I decided I wanted to remind myself how good it was. It's not cheap by any means but you get a lot of product for your money; with it being clay it really agrees with my blemish prone skin and it also removes eye makeup which is a bonus because I hate having to use separate product for that. You can see my review here but I reckon I'll be doing some kind of updated review when I've been using it for a few weeks.

Philip Kingsley Brilliant Blonde Collection (£15.00) This was a right bargain! I was originally going to buy a small 75ml tube of Elasticizer which is £15.00 on its own but then I noticed this set for the same price in the outlet section. The collection consists of a Pure Silver shampoo and conditioner, a 75ml Elasticizer and a mini dry shampoo so it's absolutely brilliant value because you're getting 4 products for the price of 1!

Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm (£9.50) A blogger favourite that I've been putting off getting for years now since it became 'big'. I'm not usually one for giving in to hypes especially because I've read good and bad things about this but my lips have been particularly dry and hard to work with lately so I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a go, I've got my thoughts about it though so there'll definitely be a full review on it.

Bourjois Rouge Edition 12 Hour Lipstick in Prune Afterwork (£7.19) I had to make it up to £50 so this was what went into my basket. I've tried the Rouge Edition velvets so I wanted to try the lipstick too, I read about them on Sandra's blog (The Black Pearl) and decided that Prune Afterwork was the shade for me. Admittedly it's not been swatched or anything yet because I've not taken any photos but I'm hoping it's a nice wearable day time shade.

Probably the last big beauty related haul I'll have for a while because as I said I tend to buy things one at a time rather than splurging (spending £10 five times creates a lot less guilt than laying out £50 all at once, I don't know why it's just how my mind works!). It did feel good to get a big box full of goodies though, I won't lie.

What would you have chosen from Look Fantastic to spend a £50 voucher on?

Note: the voucher was NOT gifted to me by Look Fantastic, I chose where I wanted the voucher for as compensation for a post which I wrote last month. 

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Monday, 16 February 2015

Box Sets that I could watch over and over

I love Netflix, I really do. It's so convenient to have thousands of hours of binge watching material at your finger tips for only £5.99 a month but who can forget the old faithful, hard copy box sets? You can guarantee I always had at least one on my Christmas/Birthday list every single year and I built up a bit of a collection before internet viewing became popular; they've been a bit neglected just lately so I thought I'd revive them from my shelf and share my favourite ones that I could literally watch over and over and not get bored...


Sex and the City - anybody who has dreamt of living in a city at some point in their life has probably watched at least a few episodes of SATC. For that hour or so I'm transported into Carrie's little New York City bubble; she has her ups and downs in life and love but bloody hell she's living it up every single day isn't she! I love that I can see myself in each of the girls but I how 4 women who are different in so many ways can be such good friends is beyond me but it works and I was hooked from episode one right to when Carrie rekindled her love with Big in Paris. 

Cold Feet - who remembers this? Better still - who watched it when it was live on TV?! This used to be what I watched when I was home alone when I was younger, it was like my little TV comfort blanket. It follows 3 family's trials and tribulations; from marriage problems and kids to crushes and affairs... Cold Feet dramatises 'normal' suburban life pretty perfectly I think; it's easy watching but with enough drama to keep you interested.

Downton Abbey - the last TV series I thought I'd get into is a period drama but I bought this for Jason (secretly for me) and found myself absolutely absorbed by it; I think we watched the whole first 3 series within a couple of weeks. The first 3 series takes you through World War I in the house where it becomes a convalescent home for injured soldiers whilst following the lives of Lord Grantham and his family right through to the inter-war period (series 4, which has just been on TV covers up to the mid 20's). I have to admit that my favourite character is probably the Dowager Countess (Lord Grantham's mum), played by Maggie Smith - for a posh old goat she comes out with some right one liners!

What are the ones you could watch over and over?

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Sunday, 15 February 2015

'Give Us Your Most Fun Cocktail' - The Alchemist, Leeds

The other day, you'll probably have seen that I visited Meat Liquor in Leeds Trinity. To make a bit of an afternoon of it we also incorporated a little trip to The Alchemist which is on the top floor of Trinity; it's quite a popular place from what I can gather, I've seen and heard loads of people talking about it and I felt like I was missing out so I had to go see what the fuss was about. 

The setting is beautiful, I felt like I was in an oldie worldie library with art deco styling; there are comfy sofas if you can bag one for you and your friends and places to sit and eat but me and Jason chose to sit at the bar because we knew we just wanted drinks. The Alchemist are known for their fun cocktails, their not just a regular cocktail joint they have a massive menu full of different concoctions which are pleasing to your eye and your tastebuds (some of them also leave you a bit puzzled as to how they do them!). The menu is actually quite overwhelming at first because there's so much to choose from and although they show the ingredients they don't really give anything away as to what each cocktail 'does' so it's a bit of a guessing game. 



The first cocktail I chose was a White Chocolate Raspberry Martini because I wanted something that was a bit of a dessert as well as a drink to finish my meal that I'd had at Meat Liquor.  Jason had to go for a non-alcoholic option so he chose a Virgin Pornstar (of all the cocktails he could have chosen he had to go for one with a name like that didn't he?!); the VP was a bit like a slush drink with lots of fresh passionfruit, pineapple juice, vanilla syrup, lemon juice and sugar. It was a really gorgeous refreshing drink, Jason did actually say that it was the best non-alcoholic cocktail he'd ever had because they tend to have a reputation for being a bit crap and unimaginative in a lot of cocktail bars but this one was something a bit different. 

The White Chocolate Raspberry Martini was tart but sweet at the same time and the white chocolate foam (cream) was incredible. It was definitely a strong cocktail; I could really taste the raspberry vodka and liqueur and I would say that it probably ended up being about 60% alcohol 40% cranberry juice and cream. It was really tasty and just what I was looking for to finish off my meal.

Jason insisted that I try another one even though the first cocktail went straight to my head so he asked the bartender (who was very pleasant and helpful) for their most 'fun' cocktail. After asking what kinds of things I liked I finally settled on Lady Marmalade, a bitter sweet citrusy cocktail with the kind of theatrics we were looking for...




Here we have a conical flask (exactly like you see in secondary school science lessons), orange peel, dry ice, Marmalade vodka, vermouth, lemon juice, sugar and bergamot flavoured drops. The bartender actually boiled this up and served it over dry ice in the conical flask ready for me to pour into the glass, now that's what I'm talkin' about! Before I'd even tasted it I was impressed. To be totally honest I wasn't expecting to like it as much as the previous cocktail but it actually was a lot fruitier than I was imagining and not half as bitter. Apparently it's one of their most popular cocktails and I can totally understand why because it has everything you want from an Alchemist cocktail; it's tasty and fun.

Like I said they have an immense menu of different cocktails and it would take a lot of time and money to actually work your way through them. Individual alcoholic cocktails range between £6.95 and £8.50 which to me is a very fair price for a city cocktail with a difference. I will definitely visit the Alchemist again and sample one of their Mad Hatter's Tea Party sharing cocktails which comes complete with smoke and tea cups - so cool! I would definitely recommend visiting during the day or a week day evening if you can because I hear it can get a little bit mental over the weekend but either way I'm sure you'd have a brilliant time if you did pay them a visit. If you're not around Leeds there are also locations in Manchester and London.

Have you ever been to The Alchemist?

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Saturday, 14 February 2015

10 ways to really annoy someone who lives with you

There may come a time when you feel you really need to get on the nerves of your family member/partner/housemate so I've put together a few ways that you can really grind on their nerves, if just one of these 10 ways doesn't quite get the job done then try doing a couple of them all within the same day, I can guarantee you'll get the reaction you're looking for very soon. Alternatively, you'll probably really relate to this post because there might be that certain someone in your household who does one of more of these things on more than one occasion...



1. Don't ever empty the bin, just keep piling stuff on top of the already over flowing heap of rubbish and just try and squish the lid down as best you can.

2. If you are ever nice enough to empty the bin, make sure you don't replace it with another bag - either drop rubbish into the bottom of the bin (which will make it smell lovely in a few days) or just line up your rubbish on the kitchen side.

3. Make sure you eat all the nice food and never replace any of it.

4. Leave rubbish lying around in every room of the house - just think of it as 'marking your territory'

5. Let your mucky plates and cutlery mount up in the sink - never wash them and definitely don't even think about scraping the plates before you put them in there.

6. Always make sure you put empty packaging in the fridge - that empty egg box likes to be kept cold

7. Cook food for yourself and don't offer anyone else any. Similarly, don't ever say thanks when your house mate/partner/family member is nice enough to make you food.

8. If you're a bloke, always leave the toilet seat up or even better, leave the seat down but make sure you pee all over it.

9. Don't put things back in the fridge where they belong, leave them on the side for them to go all warm, everyone likes warm lettuce...

10. If you use the last toilet roll don't put another on the holder - just watch the next person struggle when they've already done their stuff before realising there's no toilet roll left.


Do you have any other ways that you could really annoy someone who lives with you?


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Friday, 13 February 2015

Eating out and making healthy choices - The Nando's Edition

Being on a healthy eating plan can mean that you feel like you can't go out for meals, I know lots of people who will actively avoid eating out because they are on a 'diet'. In my opinion the best way to succeed at losing weight/becoming more healthy is to look at the change in what you're eating as a new way of life which you'll be following for the foreseeable future so you need to know how to live as well as lose weight. 

Throughout my time at Slimming World I have eaten in various different places, don't get me wrong some places are better than others but there will always be a 'healthy' choice and the key is not to be scared to ask for something without a dressing or to have something in place of chips. I know that in a lot of places it's VERY hard not to choose the biggest cheesiest burger or the most calorific pizza you've ever seen but I can tell you from experience that when you choose the healthy choice you leave without an ounce of guilt and with quite a smug little smile on you face. 

I'm going to turn this into a bit of a series and we're kicking off with Nando's, champions of chicken. You'd be forgiven for assuming that it's all pretty healthy in there but there are things to watch out for; I'll break it down into starters, mains and desserts...


Starters

To be totally honest none of the starters here really float my boat, I usually just go straight in with the main course but nevertheless if I was forced to choose a starter I'd probably go for the mixed olives because although they're probably covered in oil, they're the best of a bad bunch really. 

Mains

This one is easy for me, I'd definitely go for the chicken butterfly because although there is a bit of skin on it there's nowhere near as much as there is on the other chicken 'parts'. As for sides you could go for spicy rice, corn on the cob and/or a side salad, the only thing I'd say is don't slather butter all over your corn - sprinkle some salt on and it tastes just the same. The mash and macho peas might sound like a healthier option but the mash is loaded with butter to make it creamy and tasty and the macho peas contain quite a bit of oil from what I've heard. I might also treat myself to a slice of halloumi and count it as my Healthy A choice (slimming world talk!) but I usually just go for the butterfly, spicy rice and side salad. I would suggest that you can use the peri peri sauces pretty freely because they're not creamy or anything like that so shouldn't contain too many calories so crack on with those if hot stuff is your kinda thing. 

Desserts

The frozen yoghurt is definitely the lesser of the many naughty but nice desserts on the list; I would imagine that it's full fat yoghurt but that's better than a calorie loaded chocolate cake!

So that's my first little guide to eating out and making healthy choices. If you have any restaurant/eating place suggestions then please tell me in the comments!

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Thursday, 12 February 2015

What I've been using, wearing, drinking and loving lately

I don't do a monthly favourites post because I can be a bit of a creature of habit at times so the same products would be in the list over and over again but it's been some time since I've properly shared what I've been loving so because there are a few newer bits that I've only just discovered in the last couple of months I thought I'd share them with you...


007 for Women* - Let's be honest and say that a 007 perfume probably isn't the first you'd pick up and smell in a perfume shop because I know I would usually just pass it by and go for the big brands. My experience with this (and Katy Perry Killer Queen) have shown that it really does pay to look at lesser known brands because I have totally fallen in love with this. The scent is 100% me; it's oriental yet fruity, the vanilla and white musk shine through combined with notes of blackberry to create a really sensual, addictive fragrance (by addictive I mean that I actually can't stop sniffing it in disbelief that it's so nice). The Fragrance Shop currently offer a 'try before you buy' scheme with this perfume where you get a sample vial to try before you open the actual thing to give you opportunity to send it back if you don't like it.

Zara Oriental - Another fragrance has made it into this lot of faves because I couldn't not mention this one. It's a great dupe for Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb at an absolute steal of a price (£9.99) and it is a massive 100ml bottle. I wear this pretty much every single day and I've had so many compliments about it so if you like V&R I strongly recommend that you get a bottle of this when you're next in Zara.

No.7 Beautifully Matte Foundation - Are you sick of seeing me go on about this yet? If you follow me on Twitter you'll know that this is what I always mention when people ask 'what's your favourite foundation'. I never thought I'd find such a brilliant product on the high street which I use religiously for every occasion; it's the perfect coverage and colour and never cakes on my dehydrated cheeks which is brilliant for a foundation which stays pretty matte on the oily parts of my face.

Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Scrub - There seems to be a bit of a theme to this favourites post; things that smell really, really good. I haven't yet treat myself to the shower gel but after trying this when I got it in a set at Christmas I'll definitely be going for the shower gel because this smells absolutely beaut; citrus but sweet and something I can't stop sniffing!! The scrub itself is also a great performer - it exfoliates beautifully but doesn't leave a gritty mess in the bottom of the bath; most of it seems to dissolve in the water by the time you've finished your bath or shower.


Jack Wills Hoodie - I would imagine that you'll either be a lover or a hater of Jack Wills stuff. Basically the story behind this hoodie was that I said when I lost weight that I wanted to buy clothes that I couldn't buy before (i.e. from shops that only went up to a 14) and Jack Wills came into that category. I managed to get mine for £40 in the sale just before Christmas so I didn't feel as guilty but I definitely wouldn't pay £54.50 for it and I aren't suggesting that you do it's just that it's never been off my back since I got it so I had to give it a little mention!


Alpro Soya Chocolate Milk Cartons - My friend Beka got me into these, I never thought I'd ever be one for trying anything that wasn't 'proper' milk because I don't have any kind of intolerance so I've never really given them a second look in the supermarket. However, these little 250ml cartons give me a sweet chocolatey fix and I can safely say I absolutely love it. Taste-wise I'd probably say that it tastes quite oaty (even though there's obviously no oats in it because it's gluten free) and considerably chocolatey even though it's less than 200 calories per carton. If you fancy trying this you should be able to find it in the non-chilled area where all the Soya products are. 

So there we go, five of my current favourites. What have you been loving lately?

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Discover a new blogger #5

It's been a while since I last did one of these but after spending many an hour chatting with bloggers through various Twitter chats I've come up with a set of three blogs that you will probably love. I'm all about being real when it comes to blogging, I don't want a magazine set up (there's a reason why print magazines are dying on their feet) I want relatable, witty, ever so slightly different content. I want to see personality and that's what all three of these blogs show me, just by reading their posts I feel like I know them a little bit and I love that, I really do. So here we go...




Jess has a lovely little lifestyle blog with lots of different things to keep you interested, I personally love her Positive Vibes series because it spurs me on to look on the positive side of life no matter what happens; she uses the posts to highlight everything that has made her happy that week, no matter how small.




After falling out with blogging for a little while Holly seems to be back and loving blogging again; her pictures are beautifully captured and I feel like I'm slowly getting to know her a little more with each post. She recently posted about her chocolate orange brownies and my god they look to die for... my list of things to make on treat night Tuesday is growing by the day!



This one is more of a beauty blog but what stands out massively for me with Sarah's blog is how beautifully she has showcased some lip products; if there's one thing beauty bloggers aren't always great at it's showing the product actually on lips, arm swatches are great but lip swatches are even better and Sarah even shows them in context with her whole face which really gives you a good impression of the colour. Teamed with her honest reviews I reckon I'm onto a winner with this one - definite potential to be a proper enabler! 

So there you go, 3 blogs that you might not be following but if you're like me then you'll probably love them. I've tried to choose blogs with under 600 followers who I really think deserve more recognition for their writing and by doing this I will have hopefully introduced you to at least one blogger that you've never heard of...

Who are your favourite, lesser known bloggers?

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Monday, 9 February 2015

Salted Caramel Green Tea - Really?

You've probably heard something about the benefits of drinking Green Tea; it's packed with antioxidants which can help speed up your metabolism, reduce the risk of heart disease etc. I drink quite a bit of it because I do believe it helps with my weight loss; if I've had a bad food week I up my intake of green tea and I genuinely believe that it's helped to keep weight off. The problem is that I can't say I actually 'enjoy' the taste of normal green tea. I think it tastes really bitter; nothing like actual tea and I've never thought it would be any better with sweetener so when I saw that Twinings were doing a salted caramel version of green tea I obviously picked a box up with high hopes that it was going to taste like actual salted caramel.



Twinings Salted Caramel Green Tea is £2.49 for 20 tea bags in which is a little on the expensive side but Twinings is a premium tea brand and it's something different to your normal kind of tea so I didn't really mind paying it. I always keep the tea bag in the water for at 2-3 minutes because I like to actually taste something rather than it being more like sipping on hot water; I have to say that this green tea smells incredible when it's steeping, you can really smell the salted caramel whereas normal green tea is pretty odourless I would say. 

As far as taste goes I'm going to say don't expect it to tastes as strong as it smells. I think the salted caramel aspect only really serves to make green tea less bitter and more palatable; it does have a very very slight taste of caramel but it really isn't a lot. I was a bit disappointed to be honest but then I do have to remember that is it still green tea and it's quite a vast improvement on the normal stuff; I much prefer the salted caramel version. If you want to drink green tea for its health benefits but you really dislike the taste then I would suggest trying this or one of the fruity green teas. I think when I've finished this box I'm going to try Twinings Mango and Lychee because I think that sounds nice and I reckon it'll have even more of a sweet taste than the salted caramel.

What's your favourite brand of green tea?

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Sunday, 8 February 2015

A face mask for when my skin's gone mental

For one reason or another (usually either because I've eaten too much sugar or it's 'that time of the month') my skin sometimes just says no. I break out in angry red spots and my face just hurts. It's during these times that I need something that is going to provide me with some kind of relief before I try and scratch my face off (I'm an absolute bugger for picking spots and I really need to stop it!). Just over a week ago I had a horrible break out on my hands; I had painful red spots on my cheeks and chin which were really getting me down - they were difficult to cover with makeup and they were actually really painful but there was no sign of anything that I should squeeze (squeezing spots when there's no 'head' gets really messy, believe me) so I knew I needed something to purge whatever it was out of my skin and calm down the redness but without drying my skin out totally.

Enter Super Facialist by Una Brennan.


When choosing face masks I always look for 2 key words; clay and salicylic acid. When some people see acid they run a mile thinking that you shouldn't be putting it on your face but salicylic is a good acid which can really help your skin out if you're suffering a breakout. Clay absorbs excess sebum (awful word), bacterial and various other toxins from your skin so it's perfect for helping to clear blemishes. The Anti Blemish Mask by Una Brennan has both of these and it's very affordable at £8.99 so I figured it'd be a good choice.

Like most face masks you apply it to a cleansed face and leave it on for 10 minutes (packaging says 5, I prefer 10). It's quite tingly for the first couple of minutes which I like because it makes me feel like it's working; from what I gather from skin gurus like The Hirons, tingling is good, burning is not so good so I was quite happy with the feeling - it didn't concern me. Even after 10 minutes the mask never dries fully on me and I'm not quite sure why but I doubt that it actually makes a difference.

After just one use my skin felt loads better; it reduced the size of the spots and hydrated my skin wonderfully. You know sometimes when you take off a face mask your face feels tight, well that doesn't happen with this, my skin just feels soft as a babies bum. I have a bit of a problem with blackheads on my nose and these have been visibly reduced with this mask which has made applying makeup much easier.

I'll definitely repurchase this because I think it's really helping my skin to calm down and stay calm; my cheeks are definitely not as red as they were before and the spots that I had a week ago are nowhere to be seen, not even a bump or any dry skin so a definite thumbs up from me. It should be pretty easy to find as well because Una Brennan products are available in most larger Boots stores and obviously Boots online (I ordered mine online and got free in store collection).

What's your favourite face mask for when you're skin isn't co-operating?

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Saturday, 7 February 2015

My 6 Stone Weight Loss Journey - Before & After

You'll probably already know that I'm a member of Slimming World and I have been for around 18 months now. After years of being obese with a BMI of 40 I finally decided to do something about it (you can read more about why I started to lose weight in this post), losing weight really is something that you've got to want to do otherwise you won't succeed. I often wonder what took me so long but the truth is I just wasn't ready to commit to losing weight; even my wedding didn't give me the incentive! It took me 62 weeks to lose 6 stone and it didn't come easy, I had my ups and downs; I've been on a few holidays and things during that time so it has meant some gains but I got there in the end. Lots of people have been asking whether I'm going to before and after post so here it is... (apologies for the quality of some of the photos, they're mainly taken with phones!)

Before Measurements (taken February 2012 so I dare say I will have got bigger)
Waist: 41 inches
Hips: 47 inches
Bust: 47 inches

June 2013 - London IMATS with Brogan - I would say that this is the only picture I have of me at my heaviest. 

On my wedding day October 2012 (the dress was a size 18)

 At my mums wedding August 2012 

February 2012

 My Graduation 2012

 This was in November 2013 when I had started to lose a bit of weight - I'd lost just under 2 stone 

 January 2014 I was at the 2.5 stone mark here and I started to feel a lot better about myself

On holiday in Florida May 2014 - I'd lost 4 stone for this and felt pretty damn good.

December 2014 - I'd got my 5.5 stone award 

This was me last night with my 6 stone weight loss feeling amazing!

After measurements
Waist: 31
Hips: 36
Bust: 38

So obviously 10 inches off both my waist and my hips and 9 inches off my bust. It's not until I look at figures like that, that I realise how much my body has changed. My confidence is through the roof and I honestly feel like a different person; I'm much happier now because my life is so much easier in all aspects; working, buying clothes, going out etc. etc. I was a size 18 both top and bottom before and I'm now a 10/12 bottom and a 12 top; I do still have to buy size 14 dresses most of the time because I've still got a sizeable chest but I don't mind that. At the end of the day it's not all about size and what the scales say, how I feel is what's most important to me. I'm now a target member at Slimming World so I have relaxed the plan a little to make sure I maintain within my target range and I'm absolutely loving life as my new slim self!

If you're thinking of doing Slimming World and you have any questions please do ask me in the comments below, although I'm not a consultant I can give you advice about the plan and point you in the right direction :)

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