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

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

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

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 At my mums wedding August 2012 


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February 2012

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 My Graduation 2012

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

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

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

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December 2014 - I'd got my 5.5 stone award 

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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 :)

Meat Liquor Leeds Review

If you like posh, fine dining then I suggest you stop reading now because I'll tell you now Meat Liquor is not for you. After visiting their London division a couple of years ago I've been wanting to try the new restaurant at Leeds Trinity shopping centre so I took a friend along with me to enjoy this no-frills burger experience. Getting to it was probably the most difficult part; it's actually hidden down a little alley behind Victoria's Secret... kind of like Trinity's dirty little burger secret. Downstairs in the dining area I could tell it was a different vibe to that of the London restaurant; it's not as dark and the chairs and tables are ever so slightly more luxurious, probably a nicer eating experience because you can actually see your food in all its meaty, greasy glory. 

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As you can see, totally no frills. No tablecloths, no napkins, just the essentials; kitchen roll, bottled sauces and they even treat you to a mat for your drink. The service was quick and friendly; we didn't go for any fancy drinks (but there is the option to have some pretty lethal cocktails) and I already knew exactly what I wanted; a bacon cheeseburger with cheese fries... basically all the cheese. My friend eventually decided on the same with some onion rings (we shared the sides because I knew how big they'd be from previous experience). If burgers aren't your bag there'll be something you'll enjoy whether it's chicken, ribs, a chilli dog or a vegetarian option of Greek salad or a halloumi and mushroom burger.

I could see when we walked in that my friend wasn't overly impressed with the whole Meat Liquor idea of no frills dining; he prefers nicer chairs and seating arrangements which aren't as close together; he likened it to a school hall. I was really hoping I could win him over with the food... 

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The first thing he said was 'do you not get a plate?'... I'm sure you could request a plate but I said the idea is that you eat the food straight from the tray so he squeezed some tomato sauce onto the paper with a puzzled looking on his face and started tucking in. 

I knew exactly what to expect; a burger medium cooked, smothered in cheese with lashings of sauce and pickles. I was in burger heaven. If you can eat a burger from Meat Liquor without having to wipe your mouth then you're doing it wrong. It's meant to be a messy experience, it's not a clean burger it's saucy and a little bit greasy but my god it tastes good. The cheese fries were everything I expected and more; with grated onion on top they have a unique taste that separates them from your regular cheese fries that you'd get anywhere else and they really don't go easy on the cheese which is another reason why I love them. One thing my friend did compliment was the onion rings; they're massive, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside... everything an onion ring should be. 

Sharing the sides was definitely a good call because we were both so full when we'd finished but although my friend ate it all his review wasn't great. It's all down to personal preference though, not down to the quality of the food. He prefers a flatter burger with a bigger bun rather than the higher stacked burgers that they serve at Meat Liquor and I just don't think he 'got' the dining experience as a whole. We ate at lunch but I would never bring him at night because I would imagine that the feel of the place changes again (the lights are probably dimmer and the music will be louder). The price was about average for a burger joint in the centre of Leeds; burgers are £8.50 and the sides are priced between £3 and £6 (which might sound a bit steep but they are BIG sides, trust me). It's exactly what we'd pay in somewhere like the Handmade Burger Co. and the drinks were very reasonable too (£2.00 for a Diet Coke). 

If you like a burger and you don't mind getting it round your mouth then Meat Liquor is the place for you. As long as you know what you're getting and you know you'd enjoy that sort of thing then you'll really love Meat Liquor. I know I love it probably more than I did in London and I'll most definitely return.

Skincare for Combination Skin Bee Good Honey & Wild Flax Moisturiser

It's no secret that I'm a massive fan of Bee Good as a brand and I've pretty much tried (and loved) most of their products so it should come as no surprise that their Honey & Wild Flax moisturiser* has quickly become one of my favourites. I've been using it for a good couple of months now and I'm just finishing the tube so I decided now was the time to tell you what I think about it...

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Having combination/oily skin means that I don't always feel like I need to wear moisturiser but just recently I think the cold weather has really affected my skin in the fact that my cheeks feel quite dry so this has really helped to even out the feel of my skin making it easier to apply makeup onto; without this my foundation can look quite cakey and feels quite uncomfortable. For me it's the perfect formula which ensures that I feel nicely moisturised throughout the day without getting any excessive oil breakthrough. I also find it quite soothing when my skin has flared up due to it being 'that time of the month' because I can get some really angry spots especially in my chin area. Because it's so light it is quickly absorbed by my skin and doesn't leave any sticky feeling afterwards; it's perfect for anyone who finds that gel formulas are too little yet thick heavy creams are too much.

Bee Good as a brand don't use any SLS, parabens, mineral oil, synthetic colours or silicone in their products so there's 5 potential breakout causing nasties that you don't need to worry about with this moisturiser. It does have a fragrance to it but it's not strong it's really soft and pleasant so I never worried about that being a problem when I first started using it. 

The fact that I've cut it open to get every last drop out is testimony to how much I absolutely love this product. As a beauty blogger we all know that this won't be the last moisturiser I'll ever try but it's on the very limited list of products which I know I can always fall back on because I know they work 100% for me. I'll always make sure I've got a tube of this in my collection just as a back up because although it's not cheap at £19.50, it's definitely affordable and puts my mind at ease to know that I've always got something which agrees with my skin completely. 

Is Benefit Roller Lash Mascara Worth the Hype?

So there's this massive hype around one of the newest releases from Benefit Cosmetics; Roller Lash Mascara. They're giving you the chance to try a sample size in this months Elle magazine so I had to go get one just to see what all the fuss was about. A couple of days previous I had bought the newest Maybelline mascara; Lash Sensational and I couldn't help but notice that the wands were very similar so I decided to put both mascaras to the test and see which came out on top; would it be high end or high street?

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As you can see, the wands are very similar in their shape and they both have plastic bristles much like the ones you see on the Benefit They're Real wand. I'm assuming that the wand is still the same size on the full sized version of Roller Lash but if it is slightly bigger it would make the two a very close match. Lash Sensational is slightly more curved and probably has more bristles whereas Roller Lash is a thinner, more rigid brush.

Then there's the obvious difference between the two; the price. Lash Sensational retails at £7.99 (on special at £5.99 at the moment) and although Roller Lash hasn't been released yet I would imagine that it will retail at around £20, well over a tenner more than Maybelline which I for one don't mind paying if it's good enough to justify it but my opinion is why pay more for something that you can get cheaper?

Anyway, onto the comparison between the two; instead of writing a few long paragraphs about each I'm going to show you the before and after photos and then do some pros and cons of each. It's probably worth mentioning that Benefit Roller Lash is aimed more at giving your lashes a curl similar to that of a perm whereas Maybelline Lash Sensational claims to capture lashes you never thought you had to give you longer looking lashes. Out of the two claims I would personally be more drawn to the Maybelline mascara because I'm a little bit obsessed with having really, really long lashes.

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Maybelline Lash Sensational

Pros
- Nice big spoolie which makes application a dream but not too big that it makes bottom lash application a pain.
- Creates the illusion of voluminous lashes
- Very affordable
- Longer lashes without looking unnatural or spidery.
- Very litte, if any clumping

Cons
- Probably doesn't capture lashes you never had
- I aren't keen on the handle of the wand; I don't find it easy to hold
- Makes lashes feel quite rigid, when you touch your lashes you know you've got mascara on

Benefit Roller Lash 

Pros
- Gives really, really long lashes
- Gives a good curl
- Long wearing

Cons
- Pretty awful for bottom lash application
- After one coat it can look a bit clumpy and spidery
- Expensive 
- I think the small, thin applicator actually makes it quite difficult to apply

I've spent the best part of an hour looking at each of the pictures of my lashes trying to weigh up which one I think looks best and the truth is I like both of them, I can't say that either of them looks bad. My lashes look loads longer and thicker than they do without mascara but I do think that on face value Roller Lash does make them look ever so slightly longer and obviously there's the curl aspect there.

Application wise I much prefer the ease of Lash Sensational; it requires a lot less patience and I've never felt like my lashes have clumped up easily whereas I did get a bit frustrated with Roller Lash because I felt like they looked like they were clumping. If you've got the patience to work with Roller Lash you can get a really nice finish but if you're looking for something you can pop on in a rush then Lash Sensational would win hands down for me.

Overall I think Roller Lash will be another very popular release from Benefit but I don't think it beats They're Real. I wouldn't suggest that you rush out and buy it if you're on a tight budget because as you can see, there are mascaras on the high street which will do a very good job of making your lashes look good. As always Benefit wins on the packaging front and no doubt the pretty roller-esque packaging will catch the eye of anyone who's prone to giving into the next biggest thing in beauty. I must admit that part of me does want to buy the full size Roller Lash when it's released on 1st March because I feel like I'm doing it an injustice by basing my opinion sole on a sample size so watch this space...

tl;dr - Yep, Roller Lash is good but Lash Sensational is also great for the money.