30 May 2014

Loving, Needing, Meh! #48

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This week I have been LOVING:
  • Seeing the first poppies on the roadside. Beautiful, tall, proud red poppies - it won't be long until the fields around here are full of them too.
  • Crafting. As you may have seen, if you follow me on Instagram, I have embarked on a bit of a craft project this week. I needed a notice board for my 'office' (it's not really an office but you know what I mean!) and I couldn't find something I liked so I thought I would create something I liked! I am putting it into a blog post which I will put up next week. Stay tuned.
  • Seeing this little write up on one of my favourite blogs about my blog (thanks Rosie).
  • Talking about our wedding a bit more. We looked at rings last weekend and I have been researching photographers too. We will be thinking about a date this weekend, which seems to have been pushed to the bottom of the 'to-do' list but remains the most crucial piece of planning! Bit of a fail!
This week I have been NEEDING:
  • A foam roller. I have been suffering so bad with a knot in my back/glutes (sorry if that is too much information but I feel we are friends now!). I will be purchasing a foam roller this weekend to knead that little blighter away as it won't go anywhere, despite countless time spent stretching my poor, achy muscles!
  • This top from Newlook (don't judge me for liking a shirt with zebras on, I didn't actually buy it as I know I am no longer 18 years old, but I think it is cute!)
This weeks 'MEH!':
  • Having a headache for over three days. It has been driving me insane and has only started to feel better today. It's like my head knew that I had a week off and wanted to train like a demon and do loads of things around the house and it was like 'no Lucy, I don't think so, you are going to have to lay down and feel sick I'm afraid...mmah ha haaaa!'. Well, thanks a lot head. 
I hope you all had a lovely week. What have you been up to?


29 May 2014

Taking Stock - Man Style

So, yesterday I 'took stock' of the month of May and whilst I was typing up the post I asked Joe to do the same. Here is May from Joes brain...

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{Image from Pinterest}

Making | a lot of new music.
Cooking | yummy shepherds pies. 
Drinking | hot chocolate... Right now!
Reading | a book by Chris Hadfield.
Wanting | a holiday.
Looking | around IKEA for ideas and cool things.
Playing | guitar.
Deciding | if it sounds worse with a compressor.
Wishing | we could own our own house one day.
Enjoying | Lucy's yummy cupcakes.
Waiting | for a record deal.
Liking | our new living room a whole lot!
Wondering | about the universe.
Loving | Lucy.
Hoping | this rain will stop.
Marveling | at satellites, stars and the ISS.
Needing | to stand on a beach.
Smelling | fake tan all over the bathroom.
Wearing | clothes I should really replace.
Following | lots of bands on SoundCloud.
Noticing | there is a massive snail in the garden.
Knowing | there are a lot of things I don't know.
Thinking | about our wedding.
Feeling | inspired is brilliant.
Opening | a new packet of biscuits.
Giggling | together.

28 May 2014

Taking Stock | May 2014

I have seen this post everywhere, and I am sure you have too, but I think it's a really good one as it allows me to sum up the month fast (with no rambles, hopefully!). I adore reading these kind of posts as I think they allow for a wonderful insight into someones mind and life which you may not get on an everyday basis.

I have also asked Joe to do his 'Taking Stock' list, so stay tuned for that appearing very soon...

So, here we go, let's 'Take Stock' of May...

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{Image from Pinterest}

Making | vanilla cupcakes for treats at the weekends (so yummy!)
Cooking | healthy chicken curries that feel like treats but are actually pretty good for you.
Drinking | protein shakes and too many cups of tea.
Reading | 'Stoner' by John Williams. This is a slow read for me but I am enjoying it.
Wanting | more free time to spend with Joe and slightly less stress in my life.
Looking | at Pinterest (far too much).
Playing | Metallica on my gym playlist & Alice in Chains too because Joe made me a CD (loving this track)
Deciding | when and how to get married.
Wishing | for warm days in the sun with all the doors and windows open and a BBQ on.
Enjoying | getting back into our 'Friends' box set. I just can't get enough of those jokes!
Waiting | for a very important bit of post to arrive.
Liking | nesting. Our home has come together a lot this month and I love adding to it with Joe.
Wondering | what is eating all my clothes? Moths? Really? Everything has holes in the bottom.
Loving | my very supportive man, very, very much.
Hoping | for breakfast at 'Bills' again really soon. On hungry mornings I dream of buttermilk pancakes.
Marveling | at wedding dresses on Pinterest and Etsy. So pretty.
Needing | sleep, lots of it please.
Smelling | my Body Shop cleansing oil - that stuff smells like heaven to me.
Wearing | rolled up jeans and stripey t shirts.
Following | 'Cider With Rosie' as she plans her big day on YouTube.
Noticing | how very fast time is passing by. My dad turns 70 years old in just over a week. How?!
Knowing | more about who I am with every little test this month.
Thinking | far too much about things that should matter the least.
Feeling | fitter. I have been doing this for a few weeks and definitely notice the different to my fitness.
Opening | too many packets of Oreo's at weekends.
Giggling | at Joes 'Life of Brian' impressions, bloody hysterical!

27 May 2014

Sunday in Salisbury - Plus a vlog too!

I love weekends, and Bank Holiday weekends are even more enjoyable (I wonder why?!).

We had zero plans this Sunday but when we woke up to the sun peeping through our bedroom curtains we decided to get up, head into Salisbury and enjoy the weather (while it lasted). We knew there was a International Food Market happening in the Guildhall Square so decided to get parked up early to avoid total mayhem. Wandering into the square so early was a delight, there were hardly any people about at that time so we got to take in the market without being elbowed about. 

It was hard to resist the smell of freshly cooked bread, cakes and various other international delights but we managed to not give in to the temptation (until lunch anyway!). I adore markets and this one was made all the better due to the Dutch Flower Stall. Flowers and plants just make me happy and this stall was full to the brim with reasonably priced blooms. Amazingly, despite re-visiting it more that a couple of times, I didn't buy anything, mostly because I am attempting to bring on some young plants at home and figure I would have my work cut out for me if I tried to 'mother' more!

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As it turned out the Bank Holiday weekend was also Salisbury Arts Festival so we ran into a couple of really amazing street performances. I have a real passion for contemporary dance and the piece we saw performed by two male dancers was beautiful and touching in so many ways (I inserted a clip in our vlog below). There was a whole programme of events going on throughout the day, including drama, dance and music, which I think is fantastic as it was totally free and created such an lively and exciting atmosphere in town. Seeing people of all ages enjoying things that they may not otherwise interact with is something that makes me very happy... mix in the mouthwatering aromas of the food market and it was heaven!

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26 May 2014

New YouTube Video | Get Ready With Me

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I'm back with my usual Monday post - a new YouTube video! If you are new to my blog then Monday is usually a beauty post of some description...

Today I am bringing you a quick 'Get Ready With Me' make up video, I hope you like it. I have plenty coming up for June too so make sure you 'Subscribe' to my channel to receive all the new uploads first!

To see all the products I used please watch the video in YouTube (HERE) and click on the down-bar to see a full list! 

If you have any suggestions of what you would like to see me film, don't be shy, you can comment below, tweet me or put a message on my Facebook page!

23 May 2014

Loving, Needing, Meh! #47

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This week I have been LOVING:
  • Retro goodies. We had mint Viscounts in the office yesterday - I didn't know they still made them but if you are able to remember them high five to you! (I was restrained and only had one, pat on the back for me because I love mint chocolate!)
  • Framing. I bought an original print years ago by an artist called Louise Davies. I knew that framing it wasn't going to be cheap but Joe and I went into town and got it all sorted. I cannot wait for it to come back so it can take pride of place in our lounge, it'll look stunning. I am excited about collecting art for our house.
  • A good storm. Yesterday I sat in my office watching some very angry looking clouds pile in. Within minutes it was pouring with rain and the lightning and thunder were directly overhead. Am I the only one who loves a storm? The smell in the air afterwards is so nice and refreshing.
  • Last weekend, whilst in town organising the prints new home, we popped into Paperchase. I love that place, really love it. They have some particularly beautiful cards in at the moment, including some very cute little animal ones which I adore, I picked up the one with the fox on but they were all gorgeous! (Couldn't find them in their online store to link for you, maybe it's because they are brand-spanking-new!). I also grab one of their beautifully illustrated text cards too, next on my list is this one, closely followed by this.
This week I have been NEEDING:
  • To reacquaint myself with YouTube. The video I filmed last weekend was a disaster. My brain was not with me and I just felt it was all of a babble, so I missed my weekly upload day but I promise I will try to get something up this Monday. It was just a bad week! (Sorry xoxo)
  • Sugar. I have been craving sweet food all of this week, maybe it is something to do with the tiredness that seems to be hanging over my head like a cloud, maybe I am just hungry (or greedy?!).
This weeks 'MEH!':
  • The realisation that some dodgy company has been able to access my bank account for more months than I care to mention. Just can't believe it. 

21 May 2014

Love Happens

Cheesy post alert... (only scroll down if you can handle it people!)

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{Image from Pinterest}

When you find your 'person' it is not always the things you expect that make you love them more than anything else in the world. The things you do for each other, routines that become solely 'yours' or the things that make your partner happy (and seeing that on their face) are what cement you together. 

When you are slapped in the face with full on love for another person it can be all consuming, overwhelming and damn right wonderful (and so it should be!). 

Have you ever compiled a list, mentally or otherwise (with the aesthetics to one side) about why you love who you love? Here's mine (or some of it at least)...

- Joes favourite films are the cutest! (Bedknobs and Broomsticks is one...there are often random 'bobbing along, bobbing along, on the bottom of the beautiful briny seeeeeeaaaa! sing-songs!)

- I find my mini post-it notes (stolen) from my desk in random places with lovely little notes on (therefore I don't mind the stealing so much). Most recently I found one in my work diary, it made me smile so much.

- Watching him play guitar fills me with so much joy. He is incredibly talented and so passionate about his music and I am always so in awe watching him play.

- Joe notices everything. If I try something new with my hair, my make up or cook something differently he always says something nice. When times are as busy as they are right now a quick 'hey, your make up looks nice today...' goes an incredibly long way. I love him for that.

- Tea is never far away. When we spend a few nights apart in the week and I say that I am feeling a bit tired or whatever  I get sweet texts promising me a cup of tea and chat when I get back.

- Sharing geeky moments. Standing outside together, excitedly awaiting a bright light moving across the sky (space-station watching) and getting into deep conversations about the universe, the 'whys' and the 'what ifs'.

- Joe is the most gentle, kind person I have met. He honestly would never hurt a fly. He is so honest and thoughtful and has so many qualities that I wish I was better at (he definitely brings out the best in me).

- Holding hands has always been our thing. Since we have been together we have held hands... always. When we sit on the sofa, walking through town and when we fall asleep. Sometimes I wake up in the night and we are still  holding hands - I love that so much.

- Joes Christmas enthusiasm is utterly contagious! A request to watch Muppet Christmas Carol has already been made. Come December 1st our tree will be up, Christmas songs will be playing and we will be in full Christmas mode.

There are honestly so many more things I could say and the list is truly endless but, you know, I don't want to embarrass him too much do I?

19 May 2014

Favourite YouTubers from last week.

Firstly, sorry if you are here expecting my regular Monday YouTube post and video. I had one all filmed but when I came to edit it yesterday it was not right, it didn't cut the mustard...it just wasn't very good. After throwing a tantrum in my head about it I had to admit defeat and accept it wasn't going to happen. It was just one of those days (again)!
Anyway, I thought I would post some of my favourite videos from last week from some of my favourite YouTubers just to quench the thirst of YouTube for today and I promise (hand firmly on my heart) that I will do better next time. Tiredness has had a huge effect this past week...give me a few extra hours kiperoo and I will be back with ya!

I have to feature Estee and Aslan right at the top of my favourites. I am pretty sure most of you will have heard of the lovely Essie Button but if you haven't you should check her out. She was one of the first YouTube Channels I watched and I adore her (too much really!). If you want your day brightened up and want to think '...oh, it's not just me then!' Estee is the girl for you. Her blog is lovely and packed with beauty reviews, tutorials and recipes, as is her beauty YouTube Channel but I am head over heels in love with her vlogs (done with boyfriend Aslan) - Joe watches them too. Actually, it is kind of a routine of ours to pour a cup of tea and sit back to watch one of their vlogs. They are intelligent, witty and such a sweet couple...then there is their gorgeous hound Reggie...

One of my other favourites to watch is Kate from Gh0stparties. I watch her YouTube Channel more than I log on to her blog, for no reason other than time to look and read (her blog is great by the way!). I enjoy her dry sense of humour, the way she chats on about various things and then apologies for not making sense (even though she absolutly does, every time) - I also enjoy her accent, Scottish and her beautiful cat calle Mouse (her Instagram is great for catching up with Mouse and also full of beautiful, inspirational pictures from her day). My favourite video, other then pretty much all of her beauty ones, was a vlog done fairly recently, with her boyfriend - I laughed out loud several times during that, it really appealled to me!
Lastly, one beauty blogger I always check in on is Anna from Vivianna Does Make Up. I really enjoy her vlogs and any of her beauty videos, mostly because they are normal! She tells it as it is, edits beautifully and also puts together some really gorgeous style videos too (my favourite one is below). I adore her sense of style and lust after the majority of her wardrobe...
Who rocks your blogging or YouTube world? Let me know in the comments below - always good to get some recommendations!

18 May 2014

Sunday Snaps!

I figure it is just as well I only post Sunday Snaps every two weeks because time flies so fast that, even though it has already been two weeks, I feel like it is only days since I posted the last one - know what I mean? (Am I making any sense?!). The last couple of weeks, as you would have seen from Fridays post (if you visit regularly of course), have been full on, so I haven't really taken that many photos, but here are some of the ones I did take!

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1. This is our Eurovision family portrait - Gizmo was glued to all the bright, flashing lights and fancy colours bless her little socks! / 2. One of the many things I love about living in Wiltshire are the mahoosive skies. It is quite hypnotising to watch the clouds move across them like this. / 3. Training has been hard the last couple of weeks but I am pushing on and feeling good for it but just feeling so sleepy too...it is difficult when your life is busy but I am trying to stay as motivated as possible. / 4. These happened yesterday. / 5. I can't remember why this picture was taken, I think it is amusing though! / 6. I love this one of Gizmo because I think she looks like Yoda! / 7. This is certainly not her best angle but it is a good otter impression I think! / 8. This little bean is growing up so fast. When you only see them every couple of weeks you notice how they are becoming their own little characters. Lois, she will be at school before you know it! / 9. This little bean is grown up already, and enjoying some Wagamama's noodles! <3


16 May 2014

Loving, Needing, Meh! #46

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This week has been one of those weeks where it is so busy that you can't separate the days in your head, everything merges into one big lump. I have been somewhat absent from social media this week because I have been working all day, then training as soon as I get home, showering, eating food then scheduling posts for the week... all in all a very hectic existence this week! Not that I am complaining because I am not very good at sitting still! I was so exhausted last night that I got through the front door, downed tools and fell asleep on the sofa, leaving myself just half an hour to get my backside to the gym to meet L for training...

Other than crazy times, here is what else has been going on this week!

I have been LOVING:
  • The sun coming through the curtains at 5am. A big help for me.
  • Finishing Breaking Bad! I know we are a bit late to the party but we are done and it was great. I miss it! Would it be wrong to start over from the beginning after just finishing it? Probably.
  • Rediscovering 'Friends'. After writing last weeks 'LNM' and quoting the '...it tastes like feet!' line I dug out the box set Joe brought me and we have temporarily replaced our Breaking Bad viewing with this timeless series instead. I absolutely love Friends and specifically can't wait to get to hear Ross yelling 'PIVOT!' again!
  • Building IKEA furniture. Our sideboard got delivered on Wednesday and we have built it! Hurrah! Our lounge now has less of an echo and more of a cosy feel. I filmed an IKEA haul and vlogged some of what we have been up to so I will get that up in the next week or so once everything is finished.
  • Cloud shadows. I was driving to the gym last night and to get across from where we live towards the centre of town there is a stunning long road that cuts across fields and farm land. The land is so open and the sky is huge and I was captivated by the big shadows moving across the land from the clouds. It is amazing if you get to see it, it gives everything a rather beautiful blue-tinge too.
I have been NEEDING:
  • Sleep. If you read my opening paragraph you will know why - so very tired this week!
  • Ramen. I have never tried ramen but having been a dedicated viewer of 'Essie Button Vlogs' channel on YouTube, where Estee and her boyfriend Aslan are on a mission to try lots of ramen dishes, I have built up the appetite to try some! The nearest possible place for us to get our hands on some is at Wagamama's in town so I think we are heading there tomorrow afternoon (plus they do some yummy coconut ice cream too - just saying!).
This weeks 'MEH!':
  • I think I summed this up in the beginning. It has just been one of those weeks! Crazy diary, phone ringing constantly, horrible drivers, eating lunch at 4pm... It makes me feel like hibernating at home this weekend and being all safe and cosy here with the things and person I love.
I hope you guys have had a good week and have plans for this weekend... let me know what you have been up to! Follow me on Twitter or Facebook to have a chat!


15 May 2014

Beauty Review | The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Range

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Back in March I put up a YouTube video about what I had received for that month in my You Beauty Discovery Box. I had selected a cleanser from The Body Shop that month and absolutely loved it! So, when I saw that The Body Shop had one of their amazing offers on I had to stock up and try something else from the range too (slightly enabled by Kate from Gh0stparties review... it is easier to blame someone else!) 

Let's talk about the product I repurchased first, the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. Retailing at £12.00 the jury was a little out for me at first, what with all of the blogging hype over the high end Emma Hardie balm (£36.00) - plus I had tried (and unfortunately adored) the previously mentioned cult product so thought nothing could come close. Hands up, I was wrong.

The texture of this balm is hard to start with, but when you scoop out a small amount on your fingers it instantly softens with the heat of your body. I rub it between my fingers first before taking a couple of minutes to massage it all over my face and neck, where it transforms into a beautiful, silky oil (which smells absolutely amazing!). It is pretty darn great at removing every last bit of make up too. I usually use a micellar water initially, just to remove my ever-so-long lasting L'Oreal Superliner, then apply this cleanser. It is easily removed with a warm face cloth or muslin cloth too. The best part is it leaves my skin feeling nourished and soft, not at all tight and irritated so, all round, this little guys a winner! 

On to the oil version of the range. The Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil retails at £10.00 for 200ml. I guess I can 'ditto' all of the above with this product. It really is lovely. I really like the way this feels on my skin. It is a little lighter, in my opinion, to the texture of the oil in the balm, and would be suitable for any skin type. I would also say that this product is a bit more able to remove waterproof eye make up than the balm, but the overall result is pretty similar...glowing, soft and radiant (let's not forget clean!) skin.

I highly recommend this dynamic duo...if you try them let me know your thoughts (go on, add them to your wish-list!).

14 May 2014

Sunshine moments.

I have started writing many posts in the past which touch on the subject of something I am very passionate about - mental health. I start writing and it becomes a long, drawn out explanation of why I feel so much passion towards the subject and I waffle on and on (and on... you get it!).

I decided that today I would share a few of the things I keep in my mind or do when I feel the blues. This little list are just the things that make me happy and there can be no harm in that can there!

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{Image from Pinterest - original link}

1. When you leave work after 'one of those days' try to leave all thoughts of work behind you. I am a big list maker so I find it helpful to write lists, leave post-it notes and reminders in my diary, that way you lose the anxiety of '...will I remember to do that tomorrow?'. Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that no good work is done when your mind is overloaded so take time for yourself and de-clutter a little!

2. With the above in mind - do something that makes you happy. For me it could be any of the following: buy a magazine on the way home and lose myself in the articles or pictures with a lovely cuppa / have a mini pamper session / get out in the fresh air / exercise - now, I am a big advocate for this. If you are not on top of your game get to the gym, go for a swim, do a yoga DVD or walk the dog, anything to get the body moving - exercise is honestly the best antidepressant available! 

3. Sleep. Have a routine and make the hour before bed a bit more chilled out. I am not always able to do this but when I do it really helps. For me, reading plays a good part in helping me to relax before sleep - as much as I love social media and my iPhone - sometimes you just have to cut the apron strings you know?!

4. Stay 'switched on'. I recently listened to an awesome audio-book called 'The Power of Now' where it talks about everyone being so stressed that they live in their past situations or worry so much about the future that they miss the now. I don't mean to sound all hippy-dippy here but when I listened to this I thought 'yep, that's me!'. I think that is a whole lot of us really. Let's be realistic, it is not like we can all suddenly go 'oh, ok, I won't worry anymore...' but I guess what the book is saying is to just notice things when they happen. How many times are you at home with your other half at the weekend and are both sat staring at your phones instead of having a silly conversation about 'whatever' or sitting alone outside and flicking through the internet for new shoes rather than taking time to observe what is going on around you; the sounds, smells and movements of life. Sounds daft but try it.

5. My mum once said to me 'nothing's permanent' and that has stuck with me. Even in the hardest of times something will change. 

6. Stay positive. Put on happy music, upbeat films and pick yourself up. A positive action can trick your mind into feeling happier and it is only up from there. 

7. Talk it through. This. Is. Vital. (Please do this!).

Sorry if this was a bit 'heavy' but it is only my opinion and, as we know, I am not a professional but I have had struggles and I know a few people who are also struggling so, this is for you xoxo

13 May 2014

Some work-space inspiration

I have mentioned recently that Joe and I are embarking on 'Project House' having finally realised that it won't tidy itself up and furniture won't magically appear ready assembled where we need it. Our lounge is the current project and is coming along just nicely. For me, the next room to see a makeover is my little office / blogging room / art room. It is an utter shambles and to help me find inspiration I have been turning to the holy grail - Pinterest! Here are some of my favourite rooms... 

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{Image from Pinterest}
I really like the brightness of this room with the plants and natural textures, such as the wood of the chair. 

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{Image from Pinterest}
This desk is very similar to the one I have now, mine has a slightly thicker top with shelves built into the legs but I like how this one has artwork lent up as well as a super-cool inspiration board on the right. Very stylish all in monochrome too.

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{Image from Pinterest}
I found this image here initially and immediately added it to my pins. I adore the little pegged cards in-between the shelves, so sweet and a lovely way to add colour to the room. 

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{Image from Pinterest}
Old wooden desks are the best aren't they? I think they have a story to tell and I like the marks and stains that represent that story. 

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{Image from Pinterest}
Finishing on a bit of colour here. Isn't it a dream to have a 'contemplation sofa' in your blogging room / office? Just me? Didn't think so! 

Are you on Pinterest? Comment below and tell me how to find you and let's share some ideas! If you are particularly proud of your little space Tweet  Me a picture!

12 May 2014

May's 'You Beauty Discovery Box' - YouTube Video

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Happy Monday everyone! You all know that Monday's are new YouTube video day and usually beauty related waffle! Today I have my 'You Beauty Discovery Box' for you, which arrived rather late through my letterbox so apologies for that.  

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This month I went for something slightly off-piste for me, a fake tan. My record with trying tans is not great, I have zero patience for tan application and all the faffing  normally involved, but this one is actually fool-proof (therefore Lucy proof too!). It is the Fake Bake 60 Minute Self-Tan Liquid. I was lucky enough to receive the full size product in this months box (which I pay £6.95 for per month) and the retail value of this tanner is a whopping £25-£30 mark so a good bargain was had! I really liked it actually and found it dried super-fast and streak free (bonus!). If you watch the video below I go into a bit more detail about the application.

The other product I chose from this month's menu was the Glam Glow Youth Mud. This time it was a tiny sample size but that is probably because the full size is worth around £35-£40 - no giving a full sized one of those away! The jury is still out on this product, it's advertised 'tingle' made my skin feel quite uncomfortable (and my skin doesn't scare easy!) and I think this gave me a fairly hefty break out too...I will, however, give it the benefit of the doubt and try it again. Watch this space.

I also got some great freebies/samples this month so do check out the video for all the info and don't forget to subscribe to my channel to stay right up to date!


11 May 2014

A little fitness update...

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{Image taken from Pinterest, originally from here}

I wanted to take a moment to give a virtual 'high-five' to the personal trainer who I've never met (and I am pretty sure I never will) who has given me my fitness mojo back again after a difficult, injury riddled time and an operation that meant I couldn't train for a long time.

Let's back track for just a moment...

Before my collarbone operation, before the pain got more than I could cope with (and believe me I pushed through a lot of it), I was training regularly at the ever-so amazing training centre that is 'Box Bell Fit' (BBF). Based in Berkshire, Box Bell Fit offers a fun and varied timetable of Boxercise, Kettlebell and Circuit classes, among other things, that challenge any ability and fitness goal. The centre, located on a cute little farm near Wokingham, is run by the annoyingly fit and seemingly indestructible Anna and her trusty side kick Helen, the more strict and 'shouty' member of the crew (there are worse descriptions!). When I trained at BBF my fitness level soared, fast. But sadly, due to the ever dwindling collarbone problem plus our move to Wiltshire, it all came to an abrupt halt. (I will be back though training buddies, soon I hope!).

Fast forward to my January op and my surgeon saying (with his serious face) 'no high-impact training or heavy lifting for six months...and NO BOXING!' and I am left feeling unfit, fat and desperate to do something active...immediately! So, a little earlier than agreed with 'the man in charge' I head back to the gym, feeling sore and despondent and missing my BBF friends immensely.

Then, as if by a twist of fate, I chance upon an Instagram account by Australian Personal Trainer Kayla Itsines. She has an educated, inspirational, no-nonsense approach which I took to straight away! Via her Instagram she gives realistic and achievable advice but most importantly she focuses on good health and an all round success, not something purely based on aesthetics. 

Kayla has designed a downloadable 12 week programme called ' The Bikini Body Programme' (not a name that I'm passionate about but the results speak for themselves) and through the workouts, which happen to be very similar to BBF exercises, she makes you wish you could curl up in a sweaty ball and sleep - that's a good thing in my book! The plan can be done at home or in the gym and is varied, fun and hard! You get nothing without effort! I have gained so much of my upper body strength back post op and am gradually seeing physical results, but the majority of my results have not been physical. My mental motivation is back to 'fully charged' which is the most important thing to me. I have more energy, I feel stronger and more capable in all aspects of my life. That is worth everything and this is why exercise is so vital! 

For more information on Box Bell Fit check out their site HERE and for Kayla Itsine's site click HERE.


9 May 2014

Loving, Needing, Meh! #45

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This week I have been LOVING:
  • Pigeon watching! No, I haven't turned all 'bird watcher' on you don't worry! When I am at my mum and dads I sit blogging at the kitchen table watching all the little birdies pecking away at the feeders in the garden. It is really relaxing to watch and I just adore the robins that visit. But then a huge shadow appears and something very close to the size of a chicken comes in for landing... they are crafty little buggers! They hang off the feeders like circus performers, frantically waving their wings around whilst they head-butt the plastic shell trying to send peanuts flying all over the shop! Quite amusing really!
  • Bank Holiday Mondays! There's another soon! Hurrah! I could get used to these lovely little four days weeks!
  • 'Project Lounge' (home improvement plans). Having lived in our house for a while it suddenly dawned on me that we really should make it more homely so we have embarked on 'Project Lounge'. I figured that attacking one room at a time is more realistic and the results will be more apparent than buying lots of little things for various rooms and not really noticing them. We are off to Ikea on Saturday - get ready for before and after picks coming as soon as the side board gets delivered the week after next!
  • Protein shakes that don't taste like feet (anyone get the 'Friends' reference?). I won't get in to why I supplement with protein on here but the one I had previously was beyond disgusting. I would make it with as little water as humanly possible and drink it like a shot of vodka (also disgusting!). This new one is much yummier, hardly a creamy milkshake, but better!
  • (Don't judge me!) Having watched the Gary Barlow interview/programme on Monday I reunited myself with my Take That Greatest Hits album and drove to work reminiscing on Tuesday morning! 
This week I have been NEEDING:
  • A big Boots shop. About every three months I run out of all the important things in my make up bag and bathroom drawers: cleanser, moisturiser, foundation, serum... this leads to one heart rate increasing moment in Boots. I have to go soon - can't put it off any more!
  • Speaking of the above I am so desperate to get my hands on one of the gorgeous grey-blue nail polishes I keep seeing around. There is the Essie one called 'Truth or Flare', from their adorable new spring collection and 'Moonlight' from Liz Earle. I think this unusual shade is very chic and wearable and cannot wait to get it on my nails!
  • A 'date night'. Please (x).
  • To download the new Blog-Life e-course from the lovely ladies at 'A Beautiful Mess'. They have written some fab e-courses, I have done two now; 'Blog Design' and 'Blog Love' - they are super inspirational and I cannot recommend them enough for anyone starting out or experienced bloggers, these guys make sense!
This weeks 'MEH!'
  • Random phone behavior. My phone decided to turn itself off this morning and flat out refused to turn on again. I had to do that iPhone thing where you hold both buttons down to give it the technical version of the kiss of life. Stupid thing. It is new for heavens sake. It has one more chance. One more.


8 May 2014

The last thing I... (borrowed from elsewhere!)

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{Image from Pinterest}

I was having a read through one of my current favourite blogs today 'Life Outside London' and came across a post the lovely Michelle did called 'The last thing I...' and thought it was a cute little thing to do so here we go:

Who did you last talk to?
Does FaceTime count? I have just had a FaceTime conversation with my lovely man as I am staying at my parents house tonight. I felt a bit sorry for him to be honest because I had just done some pretty hardcore exercise in the lounge and had my wet hair scraped back in a rather fetching, face-lift giving bun which made my head look like a big old egg (not to mention my tomato face...gorgeous!). We had a lovely catch up about our day and agreed to talk before bed because, well, you have to say goodnight don't you?

What was the last outfit you wore?
Do I tell you about my sexy Adidas joggers and baseball t-shirt I am currently wearing? Oops, I just did... a slight change from my work 'outfit' (not sure it was an 'outfit', that makes it sound like it was purposefully put together...it was not!). Today I was sporting some rather nice tailored capri trousers from Next with a white short sleeved top (Marks and Sparks) and a rather bright pink cardigan, also from Next, with some smart heels to make me appear taller!

What was the last thing you ate?
After I finished my exercise I was greeted by a hot plateful of mums homemade fish-pie which was very appreciated and very yummy indeed! Oh, it also had green beans, sweetcorn and peas on the side for the more health conscious among you!

What was the last thing you drank?
Lots and lots of water. I am a big water-drinker (I hate small water...he he!).

The last sport you played?
I assume the gym doesn't count as sport? Boxercise? No? If none of those count then I guess it must be squash. I haven't played for about a year or so I guess that'd be the last proper sport I played. I love a good game of squash but haven't quite mastered the art of stopping before I hit the wall! (Maybe that explains the collarbone operation! What says you?).

Who did you email last?
That'll be something work-related so nothing exciting for you here. Sorry folks, I have let you down! If I take away work things then I last emailed another blogger to ask about her advertising opportunities - fingers crossed I hear something back soon!

Which of your friends did you talk to last?
I had a very brief chat with my bestie when we hit the gym together the other day. To be honest we only grab a few minutes at the beginning whilst we are loading our bags into the locker. The rest of the time is more about eye-rolling at how exhausted we are and finger-pointing to a machine we are heading to - heaven knows why, we are not exactly going to lose each other in there but, you know, just in case! 

What was the last thing you watched on TV?
Right now I am watching Harry Potter (Goblet of Fire - awesome!). There is something comforting about Harry Potter films, why is that do you think? It feels strange that it is a week night and HP is on but I am rolling with it!

The last blog you checked?
As I look at my tabs I have Bloglovin' open and have simultaneously opened 'Cider With Rosie' and the very blog I mentioned at the start of this 'Life Outside London'. LOVE LOVE LOVE! I did a post recently on my three current favourite blogs so feel free to check it out! (Shameless promo there).

The last game you played?
This is an easy one! Joe and I play Scrabble all the time - I ruddy love that game! Although I usually feel so sleepy towards the end of the game that I lose the plot (yes Joe, that's the reason I let you win...cough, cough!). One year, during a games night with friends, we decided that we would play 'make your own words up' Scrabble - a genius idea in theory then you realise it actually backfires when you all get bonus points for using all your letters and can make up any rubbish you like, scrap that, it's quite fun really!

6 May 2014

Another May Bank Holiday...

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'L' is for 'Long Weekend' - yay to another Bank Holiday in May! Gotta love this time of year. I thought I would share a few of the snaps taken over the last few days to show you what we got up to (nothing glam or overly exciting actually, but, you know, that's life huh?!).

The day started with a workout...before 9am. I will tell you something, it feels good to get that out the way early and have the rest of the day stretched out before you without interruption. I arrived home to an empty house, gasping for a cuppa and some breakfast but even more in need of peeling post-cardio gym kit off and throwing it on a 'get the sweat out of my clothes quick' wash.

My plan for the rest of the day involved handing back a lawn mower to my best friends other-half (a couple of coffees and biscuits were also involved - well, you have gotta have a chin-wag haven't you?!), cleaning windows, mowing the lawn (new mower trial - it was good!), washing, cleaning and tidying - told you my life was rock n roll! (There was a personal reward scheme in place for the end of all the jobs though... I made cupcakes on Friday night... they were just waiting for me to burn of housework calories!).

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For the first time in absolute ages we actually got to lay in; no gym alarm waking us rudely, no shopping to get - nothing to do but catch up on sleep and potter about. We took a drive to the garden centre in Wilton which leads you through beautiful fields and past some really cute houses (one day!). The views are outstanding so we always enjoy this journey. We went there in search of some cheap plants to replace some of the daffodils that have sadly died away and to get a broom - our garden is a mess of old leaves and fallen pink blossom!

For me garden centres are one of the most relaxing environments around. I adore strolling about there, looking at all the colours and taking in the smells from the rows and rows of gorgeous plants and flowers, there also happens to be the most yummy cakes and treats on offer in the cafe there too, although we resisted the urge this weekend - pat on the back to Joe and I for that triumph! 

We drove home happy with our loot of sweet peas, broom, slate heart (I have wanted it for SO long) and some other pretty plants that I can't remember the name of!

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A dedicated 8am workout started the Bank Holiday Monday with a half awake bang for me and my gym buddy Lois (we are so dedicated!). Just as I was stretching on the mats thinking about breakfast I get a lovely text from Joe saying 'marmite on toast or toasted fruit loaf for breakie?' - we are so on the same wave-length! Spurred on by the thought of a shower, a cuppa and something toasted (fruit loaf obviously) I got home pronto!

The rest of the day was spent making some little alterations to my blog, Joe attacking the rotten HTML code that destroys my brain and me tackling the design for a new section. All of this was done ever so professionally on the coffee table in the lounge with 'Horton Hears A Who' on in the background, which is one of our favourite films!

All this, and a stack of ironing done (plus a Gizmo cuddle) we made a prawn curry and settled down to some Breaking Bad to wind up the long weekend... not too bad huh? 

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How was your weekend? Good I hope!

5 May 2014

New YouTube Video | April Favourites!

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It's Bank Holiday Monday so why not sit back with a hot cup of tea/coffee and watch my monthly favourites video? I didn't do one for March because I was snowed under and just couldn't get myself together to film one but I am back with Aprils so please forgive me!

If you want to look at more detail at any of the products I talk about please go to the video on YouTube and click on the down bar where I have listed everything mentioned!

What have been your faves this month? You may have noticed that I kind of like beauty products so please let me know if there is anything you have tried and think I would like too! Tweet me or leave a comment on my Facebook Page!

4 May 2014

Sunday Snaps!

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1. Still training! This is a 1 minute rest between circuits selfie! I am more exhausted then I look! / 2. I love these little wild flowers, they are everywhere at the moment and they really cheer up my day - beautiful. / 3. These summer berries have been transformed into a yummy (& very fast to make) pudding to trick my body - blog post coming soon on that. / 4. This is literally the view we have all around at the moment, isn't it amazing? It's like a Rothko painting out there! / 5. I made these!! Then they were gone. Oops. / 6. Home from a full on cardio session to a slice of fruit loaf, some blog time and some creatine - not in that order. / 7. I was being stared at by my tripod because I hadn't put up my weekly YouTube video - it was making me feel guilty... so I recorded one! / 8. 'I love my scruff-scruff so much it makes me look like this...' / 9. Attempt one at a fishtail braid - a bit messy but I can't see behind me!

2 May 2014

Loving, Needing, Meh! #44

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This week I have been LOVING:
  • Fruit loaf. Although I feel this needs no explaining, just because it's so ruddy yummy, I will just say that I seem to have developed a bit of an obsession with this carby treat (oh dear) - I am trying to forget it exists from Monday to Friday but can have zero responsibility for what happens on Saturdays, Sundays and very occasionally Fridays (because it's the weekend then too right?).
  • Moody weather. Yep, you read it right, it is under 'Loving'. This weeks weather has been pretty warm but with heavy grey clouds and, call me strange, but I love it. It reminds me of the summer when it all gets a bit much and you pray for rain just to taste oxygen again.
  • Coral nails. This week I have been sporting particularly bright coral-orange nails and I love them! Thanks to my Sally Hanson Mega Shine top coat they have hung around all week long, go nails!
  • A new lawnmower - thanks mum and dad! Boring I know but when you have as many dandelions poking their heads up as we do you need to keep that mower running!
  • Baking. I was in Sainsbury's after work yesterday picking up a few bits and bobs and had the sudden urge to bake some sweet treats for our bank holiday weekend. Not being very good at knowing or remembering what goes into a basic cupcake I frantically googled a recipe and picked up everything I needed. See the 'Meh' section to find out the next hurdle I hit!
This week I have been NEEDING:
  • A blog tidy. For a couple of months I have been wanting to switch a few things up on my blog as I have ideas for new posts and features but also just want to give everything a bit of a spring clean. I am not talking a total overhaul in design but, you know, just a couple of new things! 
This weeks 'MEH!':
  • Continuing on my baking story then...so I get home, do my usual routine of training, showering, cooking dinner and finally, at 9pm, decide I am going to get the sponge part of my cup cakes done and then ice the next day. I hunt everywhere in the kitchen for the scales to weigh everything out...no luck. I can picture what they look like but can't find them. So now it's 9.30pm and I still haven't started cooking... I then decide to guess the weight using intuition and a cup. Now I realise those 'master chefs' among you will be thinking 'you should have just....' but remember I am no expert. Anyhoo, I guessed the weights by holding things and waving them up and down to see if the weight of self-raising flour and caster sugar felt the same and then mixed it all up, popped it in the oven half expecting nothing to happen but, by some twist of luck, it worked! (Yes, I tasted one to 'check'). When Joe gets home I ask him where the scales are and he informs me we don't have any...oops.
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