Thursday, 28 May 2015

May Fitness Update!

Thought it was time for another little fitness update as I've made so many changes in the last month it's hard to keep track...
Last Targets I made (6ish weeks ago)
1) Drink more Water (Skin has been going through breakout phases a lot lately!)
2) Build some core muscles/strength (Going to aim to go to Yoga/Pilates more!)
3) Throw out the old clothes that don't fit!
4) Get outside more - whether it's running or cycling, or just going for a walk.
 
1) Drinking more water has definitely been a big change over the last month or so and it's actually going better than expected I've brought a nice proper water bottle to keep track and I'm trying to drink at least 2 a day along with a bottle in the gym while I'm working out. I've not noticed a huge difference in my skin as I've never had bad skin anyway but I hope it's supported my new Skincare Routine which I recently posted about!
 
2) I've found a whole new love for working out since I brought the 12 Week Bikini Body guide by Kayla Itsines from Austrailia! She sets out a day by day, week by week plan to help you tone up as well as lose weight. I'm only a week or so in but I can already feel and see a difference in my arms and calves. I've been experimenting with different "on the spot" weight training as well as following her guides at home in the privacy of my own home with a medicine ball and dumbells! I'm sure I'll blog more about her guide when I've completed more!
 
 
3) I had a huuuuuge clear out about 3 weeks ago and have 5 carrier bags of clothes and shoes to take to the Cash for Clothes Shop and managed to make £73 on eBay which helped pay for a new pair of jeans... 2 sizes smaller than the ones I brought just before Christmas. This was a bonus not only to prove my fitness regeimes and healthy eating are paying off, but it's a little extra pocket money for my holiday!
 
4) Ok, old person statement alert - I've joined the National Trust! Yes.. I know! But do you know what, I bloody love it. It's so nice on a weekend to be able to go for a walk or jog around the different routes, through the fields and nature (apart from when a Cow has a shit at the same time as you walk go passed and it swings your tail so you get covered.. unfortunately true story)! It definitely cheers my mood up and it's nice to have a change from the same 4 walls in the gym!

 
Awsworth 5km "Fun" Run
Last week I took part in a fun run for Bone Cancer Research Trust at my little Brother and Sister's school and around their village. I'd only managed to get to 11 minutes a mile each day the week before and couldn't get it under so I gave myself an hour to complete baring in mind the chances were my Step Mum would race ahead, Henry would want to walk the whole way with Jess determined to run as much as possible. I was determined to be with Jess and run as much as we could and despite parts of the course being quite hilly particularly towards the end, we completed it in 44 minutes so on average, 11 minutes-ish a mile even with a 5 years old in tow! I was so chuffed with myself even if little kids 10 years younger than me beat me. It's definitely given my that buzz to sign up for more like the Race For Life (any that you can walk and run basically)!

Food-wise, it's going fab too, especially since getting the Kayla Itsine bikini body guide which includes so many new and exciting things to try but head over to my latest Food Friday blogs for more ideas and inspiration :)


I've got a smoothie maker and a Blend Active blender but I've been so busy this month I've barely used it but luckily I've found the Cawston Press beauties in Tesco! They're so nice and don't have all the hidden sugars that most other juices do. They're a little pricey but Tesco have had them on offer the last few weeks so I'v been treating myself :)



With just weeks until my holiday, I really need to keep focused on my new targets to ensure I feel confidence and looking smokin' in that bikini on the beach! ;)


1) Keep toning up - start to aim an entire gym session twice a week purely to weights!
2) Cut down on bread/carbs/junk food during the week. Only have it at weekends throughout June.
3) Make sure I continue to have breakfast as this has been slacking recently!
4) Swim more to help tone up!
5) Sign up to some more fun runs

Please Tweet me tips and inspo on how you're getting bikini body ready!


Monday, 25 May 2015

How to Gym-Proof your Hair! + 10K VIEWS GIVEAWAY!

I got into a conversation on Twitter earlier after posting my blog about the new Tangle Angel about how often I wash my hair due to how much I go to the gym. I've posted previously (aaaages ago) about my 5 day hair rule but I thought I'd give my little tips on how to 'gym proof' your hair!

Plan ahead!
I always try to plan what days I'm going to the gym and if I'm going out any nights and that way I can suss out when I need my hair at it's cleanest and most presentable! If I know Im going out on the Friday night, I'll wash it after my gym session on a Thursday night... If I know I'm going out Saturday night I'll go to the gym Saturday morning and wash it straight after. It also depends if you want to leave enough time to curl it or something on 1 day old hair!

Never Under-estimate the Minis!
My Gym bag has 2x 2kg weights in it which I use on the treadmill (whole different story) so the last thing I want to is be lugging around huge bottles of shampoo and conditioner for when I wash my hair at the gym so I always keep a stash of mini Shampoo and Conditioners in my gym bag ready incase I decide to wash my hair when I hadn't planned too!

Avoid hair bobbles!
Yes - you read that right! I don't wear proper elastic hair bobbles in the gym because a) they pull your hair and damage it and b) if I've straightened it or styled it and need it to last another day or so. Instead of a bobble I go for either an Invisibobble which are amazing for gripping your hair and holding it in place for harder and more vigorous work outs or a Prairie Charm band which I got from the Shropshire Blogger Meet Up (Thanks Prairie Charms!) and they are sooo super pretty and leave no kink in your hair and add a little bit of girliness to a Gym outfit - they're better for the work outs where you may just be doing weights or a workout that isn't as tough going! If you want to get your hands on a pack, keep reading ;)

Don't overdo the dry shampoo.
Take this from experience peeps. I use to plaster my hair in dry shampoo before I'd even left the changing room but because my hair was still damp and sweaty it had gone minging and clumpy so I definitely learnt my lesson. I leave it 'til the next morning when I get up and am getting ready to put a bit of dry shampoo but always do 2 things - 1: use scented dry shampoo! 2: Tip my head upside down so I can get to the roots at the back as well as the front!

Protect while you work out!
If you know you want to have curly hair the day after or if you know if still have another day left after tonight's gym session, why not put your hair in a french plait from the top of your head? To help protect your hair, run some coconut oil or treatment through dry hair before plaiting. The next day you'll be able to take it out and it'll be lovely and curly - may just need to wack a bit of dry shampoo.


So yeah, if you're a gym goer like myself, hopefully these little tips will come in handy :)

ALSO... 

To celebrate hitting 10,000 blog views I am giving away a pack of super-cute Prairie Charms Hair Bands! 

All you have to do is follow me on the below links + for bonus points share my blog and tag me in your Tweet/IG Post! (Comment on this post when you've done xox)



CLOSES JUNE 7TH. 
WILL POST INTERNATIONALLY. 



Facebook - Stella & Dot 
3000 Mile Challenge 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

#FoodFriday: Kayla Itsine Inspired Meals

I put on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that I finally caved and brought the 12 Week Body and Food guides by the super-hot Kayla Itsine! As it was a little on the pricey side for someone who's trying to save for a holiday, I'd debated it for a few weeks but after seeing some amazing before/after photos, I ordered it and downloaded the eBooks.

After 12 weeks I'll do a full blog post on the guides and more about them but I thought I'd share the meals I've made the last week which have been from her guide - I've adapted some of them as I either couldn't find certain ingredients or wanted to make it even healthier... (I'm not going to put Kayla's exact recipe on here as a) it cost me £80 so I'm not giving it out for free and b) there's a disclaimer on it to say not to share).

Enchiladas
For the filling I used quorn mince with red onion and peppers with a Tesco Healthy Living tomato and basil passata sauce. I used Tesco's Gluten and Wheat Free wraps and put some of the passata on top with a little bit of grated cheese. Only cooked for about 20 minutes as the meat was already cooked on the hob - mmhmmm!

Chicken, Sweet Potato and Veg Wraps
I had some left over wraps along with a load of salad that was due to go passed it's best so I stuck with the wrap theme the next night and just cooked 4 breaded chicken fillets as well as some cut-into-wedges Sweet Potato and fried some veg (peppers, halved cherry tomatos, red onions, sweet corn and spinach). This is possibly one of my favourite meals so far as it was great to build you own dinner so to speak and add what you want to make the perfect wraps. It also gave us the first chance to use our outdoor table on the roof (we live on a pub with no garden so the roof had to do!)

(Even Nick's getting on the healthy eating bandwagon - although living with me, he doesn't really get a choice!)


Salmon, Veg & Rice
I'm loving Salmon at the minute despite having never been a fish lover so was more than chuffed that there was a great, simple recipe to have a go at. I normally drown salmon in Sweet Chilli sauce but this time I sliced some lemons and put them on top as well as squeezing the juice of half a one over it. I then fried some mushrooms, cooked broccoli, peppers, red onions, peas & sweetcorn and cooked a "cheat" bag of brown rice and quinoa in the microwave. I used the other half of the lemon juice on the rice and veg before placing the fish on top - boom! I'm such a loser at the minute and trying to make my food look as colourful and exciting to eat as possible! 
 

 Chicken and Veg Curry
Ok so this one doesn't look as colourful and exciting but it tasted sooo good and I was so surprised at how much I liked it. The main trick is to use some curry (I used korma as I'm a wimp) past with 100ml of Veg stock instead of a curry sauce as it's so much healthier than a jar of calories. I used chicken with sweet potato, butternut squash, peas and chopped tomatoes for the curry and added a bag of microwave brown rice. It's definitely a "don't knock it 'til you've tried it" dinner (particularly juding by the photo!)

These are just a few ideas for quick and simple Summer meals that are good on the waist line and also works out cheaper as you can use the veg in every meal too!

Send me links for other Summer meal ideas and let me know if you try any of mine!


Monday, 18 May 2015

Urban Decay Selfridges Bloggers Event

Late last week I got a message inviting me to the bloggers event being held by Urban Decay in Selfridges, Birmingham so Bloggers Event + Bull Ring + Need for holiday shopping = YES!

So yesterday I got a early train to Birmingham with my game face on and determined to pick up some bargains before meeting the gorgeous girlies at Urban Decay.. (I'll do a seperate post on my holiday pick ups which are 99% Primark!)

The small meet up was hosted by the lovely Kirsty Lo on the Urban Decay stand in Selfridges - be sure to go and say hello if you're passing by! It was so lovely as always to meet other bloggers from the surrounding areas and we got a first look at the brand new Vault, The Stock Pile which is a large collection of lipliners and lipsticks worth nearly £400 in total but selling for £180 - something else to save for ;)

It gave me a great opportunity to look at and try the products as I've never ventured into Urban Decay so I'm excited to try new products and learning about the looks you can create... I won't keep rambling but here are a few snaps!

Oh hey Karen from JinksyBeauty!


I've never been a huge fan of lipgloss and I'm a definitely a matte lip girl but I tried a couple of the nude new Revolution High Gloss products and I'm definitely on the way to being converted. They were just lovely in colour and texture - with so many colours there's definitely something for someone whether you're like me and stick with the nudes or a bit brave and like something brighter and bolder.



Thank you to Kirsty and the Urban Decay team for hosting a lovely afternoon and ironically after saying one of the only products I've used are the eyeliners, we got a free one in our goody bags and after using it this morning, I re-found my love for it! <3 p="">

Please send me links to any Urban Decay reviews so I can make a list of products to try! Plus if you know of any meet ups going on in the Cheshire/Shropshire/West Mids area and have spaces available, please drop me a line as would love to meet more bloggers - one of my main blogging goals of 2015!

 Twitter




Sunday, 17 May 2015

Boots Haul & Holiday Shop!

So with just 7 weeks until my holiday... not that I'm counting... I had some Boots vouchers to use by the weekend so I thought it was the perfect time to get some shopping done.
There's not a huge amount of different items but there were so many great BOGOF/3 for 2/2 for £X deals on it was hard to say no. I love the offers in Boots as it's a great chance to stock up plus when you have your vouchers in the post, it quickly adds up on your Advantage Card.
I had a voucher for buy 2 Soltan get 200 points so this was a must use and the Hawaiian and Magicool  were both on half price! I had a 100 points voucher when you spend £7 on skincare and the wipes were 3 for 2 so double deals going on here. The Lynx body washes, Lynx sprays and VO5 (all of which are for Nick.. I'm a nice GF like that!) along with the Colegate were on a 2 for £x offer.
My favourite voucher though had to be the £5 off a Perfume and with the new Jimmy Choo Exotic (which I've been eyeing up for weeks) being £10 off already, I couldn't resist any longer.
I cheekily did it in 2 transactions as I had 2 500 points when you spend £5 vouchers so altogether I spent £102 (baring in mind the Soltan's are like £9 each and including the bottle of Jimmy Choo perfume and a few other odds and sodds that aren't offer or holiday related eg, tights & powerbars) and not only saved over £37 but gained £17 worth of points!
This is the first time I've properly used my Boots vouchers that I get in the post or from the Boots App but this was perfect timing with so many offers - plus it's getting me excited for my holiday!
What are your holiday must haves that are on your shopping list? Need to make sure I have everything I need.
7 weeks baby, 7 weeks!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Tangle Angel Review

My hair is a day to day battle and washing/blow drying it is a genuine chore. All girls out there with long and thick hair will understand exactly what I'm saying when I say that I genuinely dread washing in and will do anything to get another day of dry shampoo'd hair.

I recently went to the Shropshire Bloggers Meet Up and in the amazing goody bag we got a free Tangle Angel Hair brush (and a mini key ring version too!) and I admit I was excited but I've been through Tangle Teezers (which I actually lost a month or so ago and wasn't keen enough to repurchase) and other products so my hopes weren't being held too high.


Last night though, a new era started for my hair! It took me no more than a minute to brush through my tangled wet hair which must be a new record, particularly as it had been scragged up into a bun after washing it quickly after swimming. I was so surprised as how easily it went through my hair - it did the typical "brush your hair from the top and the knots just gather at the bottom" but it was so easy to sort out compared to the Tangle Teezer.

Probs shoulda cleaned it first! Woops - least you know I've really used it!

What I really love is that it has a handle whereas most similar products don't and end up slipping out your hand or become uncomfortable when wet. I will admit though that I'm not the girliest person and the angel wing shape and metallic pink is certainly more up my little Sister's street than mine but I'm beyond ecstatic that these were in the goody bags. It's not heavy at all so it's perfect for putting in my swim/gym bag and the mini keyring is great for when I'm on nights out and need to back comb my hair a little or if I get stuck in the rain.

Both me and my hair are more than chuffed and this will certainly be part of my hair care routine for life!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Food Friday: April Favourites

After a few people have asked how I make certain meals that I've posted on Instagram over the last few weeks, thought I'd pull together a food version of April Favourites and the meals I've been making last month!

As you probably know I'm on a huge health kick because a) I'm doing a 3000 mile challenge for Bone Cancer Research Trust (read more here) so I'm learning about the best foods to eat before/after gym sessions and more about how to get protein into my meals and b) I'm trying to lose weight before my holiday which is in 9 weeks... not that I'm counting. So these are all pretty healthy and normally super quick after a gym sesh!

I did a post a couple of weeks ago about my fitness update and mentioned that I'd been trying to have breakfast a bit more and this is definitely one of my favourites for those days where I have a bit more time (normally the weekend) and may even have it after the gym depending on how early I go! Really simple just 2 slices of toast with fried eggs and fried halved plum tomatoes and spinach. I've been trying to use coconut oil when cooking instead of other oils and generally it's much better.



I've never been a huge beef eater until earlier this year but in the last few weeks I've really been drawn to simple steaks with veg and sweet potato chips/wedges which I've made from scratch. I try and fry all the veg together as I prefer it warm than steak with cold salad/veg. It's also perfect with home made beef and onion burgers which I made a video on recently...


 

Again a new found love is definitely Salmon.. I seem to be having it a couple of times a week either as a fillet with gluten free pasta and veg or flaked into a stir fry - a stir fry for me is perfect as you can throw in whatever's in the bottom of the fridge and it's really quick and simple. I put sweet chill sauce on the salmon fillet in the oven while cooking so when I shred it and mix it in with the egg noodles the taste carries through! This is definitely possible one of my favs of the month - egg noodles with sliced mini sweet peppers with plum tomato, spinach and mushrooms!


I'm still on the Smoothie Hype and these are currently some of my favourite combos...

  • Banana + Strawberries + Porridge Oats + Milk
  • Banana + Blueberries + Spinach + Milk
  • Frozen Berries + Kale (minus the stalky part) + coconut water
  • Pineapple (super nice when frozen) + coconut water
  • Apple + Celery + Cucumber + Ginger + Apple Juice/Water
My last thing is again, jumping on the hype/band wagon, Kale Chips. I keep seeing everyone post about flipping kale chips and I've never been that fussed as I just assumed they'd be pretty plain and I didn't like kale normally but I opened the fridge last week and saw the 3 bags of kale just sat there (I have a guinea pig... this is perfectly normal in my flat) and decided to give it ago after reading Lydia Millen's post. I cut off the chunky stalky bits (technical term!) and spread them over a baking tray, drizzling them in vegatable oil and give them a good sprinkling of salt and black pepper and even some garlic powder before putting them in the oven for about 15 minutes! I was pleasently surprised I'm not going to lie and brought them to work in a tuppaware box the next day to snack on!
 
Think that's about it for my favourite meals from April but hope that maybe it give you a bit of inspiration as to what to have for breakfast or dinner today! :)
 
If you're on a health kick, please do Tweet me your foodie posts and give me new ideas and inspo xo


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Shropshire Blogger Meet Up!

Finally getting round to writing my post on the lovely meet up with fellow Shropshire Bloggers on Saturday afternoon at The Two Henrys in Shrewsbury! I'm going to keep this relatively short and hopefully sweet but I just wanted to take the chance to say thank you to Kirsty for organising such a great afternoon and to all the brands involved for making the goody bags so good they're gonna be hard to beat ;)
 
It was so lovely to meet so many people who write a variety of blogs and are from other local areas with the added addition of Charlotte from Smashbox doing a chat about the brand and Chelsea's blogging tips - I also got up there for a very quick chat about Stella & Dot and used the gorgeous Karen as a model.
 
The buffet provided by The Two Henrys definitely kept us going as there was so much, along with the crazy amount of Popcorn provided by Propercorn!

 

 
Stole these photos from Kirsty.. was so lovely and welcoming having everyone's bags and cupcakes set out. Thank you to Lisa at Cromwell's in Shrewsbury town centre for baking so many delicious cupcakes! And thanks to Karen for being my lovely Model - the Soleil Pendant looks pretty great on you ;)


 
The goody bags were incredible.. I mean just look at the contents - everything from the super-cute Prairie Charm's no-bump-bobbles and Tangle Angel hair brush (both I'll be reviewing!), shit loads of popcorn and snacks, the Kylie Jenner Full Lips, the amazing nail kit with everything in it you could possibly want to do a funky manicure with and Lush Products... how can you go wrong?

Goody Bag Full Product List
Rio Beauty
Metcalfe's Popcorn
Fullips
Propercorn
TT Beauty MasksNanshy
Neal & Wolf
Tangle Angel
Moo Goo
Paul Mitchell
Sebamed
Korres
LUSH Telford
Prairie Charms
Halo
LiLash
Smashbox
The Blogger Programme
 


 
As well as the goody bags, Kirsty had arranged a great raffle too and raised nearly £100 for Scope which is fantastic!
 
All in all, was such a wonderful afternoon and lovely chatting and meeting with other bloggers - it was really nice that it wasn't just beauty bloggers; managed to blag some great fitness and cooking tips too ;)

Can't wait to see you all again at the West Mids Bloggers Meet Up in September and thank you to Kirsty again for all your hard work and effort. <3 p="">

Please send me other links to not only the Shropshire BMU, but any other meet ups you've been too lately. Plus if you know of any meet ups going on in the Cheshire/Shropshire/West Mids area and have spaces available, please drop me a line as would love to meet more bloggers - one of my main blogging goals of 2015!