Monday, 30 March 2015

Workout Of The Week: Banishing Bingo Wings


This week I wanted to share a new mini circuit i've been doing that really targets triceps.  I love my arms to be strong, but look lean and sculpted and although a lot of that "toned" look comes from clean eating and body composition, it's important to ensure we've given each body part a good workout during the week. 

It's great to have new exercise combinations to freshen up training, so here's mine for you to try...







Lying Down Tricep Extension // 12-15 reps  
















Tricep Dips // 12-15 reps



Single Arm Med Ball Press Up // 12-15 reps


















Image source: WorkoutLabs 


Repeat this whole circuit 3-4 times! 

Tips 

  • Choose a weight that's right for you. This should be around 80% you feel is your maximum. The last 2 reps should feel hard, but not impossible.
  • Start with 12 reps and build up! 
  • If you struggle with these style of press ups, do them on your knees. Keep your abs tight as you'll work your whole body! 



It's perfect for blasting your bingo wing area and feeling some arm burns. I would do this at the end of an upper body weights session, but if you only have 15 mins, this is  a great quick workout that can be done with little equipment or space. 

Leave me a comment if you try it and let me know how you get on!

Enjoy, 

B xx 




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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Budget Beauty Buys

3 for 2 in Boots.. on all make up. 

Now there's an offer you can't refuse! I've never been much of a beauty queen, i'm pretty crap at make up and i've never liked my hair but I love to feel good and take care of my skin... God loves a trier! So I thought do a quick post on some new bits I've found and wanted to share. 

I adore a Saturday afternoon browse around the shops and this past weekend I had my eye on a few bits I've been wanting to test. My make up bag is a total mix of budget buys and brands and longer lasting more expensive products. I do have a few staple faves, but I like to try new things and suss out the hype around new launches for myself. 





On the shopping list was Barry M Quick Dry, NEW Rimmel Liquid Highlighter, NEW Rimmel Brow Kit, Sally Hansen Nail Rehab and Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix Serum.So, without further a do... here's what I think of them! 





Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix Serum - 30ml &7.47

After all the Kylie Jenner hype with Nip & Fab I thought I'd give this serum a go. It's currently half price in Boots and this range sees the perfect collection to bridge budget and high-end. It's had some great reviews and love from beauty bloggers so I was keen to try it. I love fresh and dewy make up in the Summer months so this serum seemed perfect to give my skin a boost. According to Nip & Fab "the serum improves skin texture, and reduces the appearance of pores fir a more refined and even looking complexion." I've got into a routine of putting this onto my face before bed and so far so good! 


I adore the grapefruity smell and how easily absorbable it is. It feels rejuvenating and hydrating for your skin, perhaps due to the Aloe in it. It contains 4% Glycolic Acid, but doesn't feel harsh on your face, more just refreshing. I would however, recommend allowing your skin to dry before going to bed as it is a teeny bit sticky but other than that i'm so far impressed with the results. 

Next on my wishlist is their Dragon's Blood Fix Serum, which sounds ideal for gym bunnies and post workout pampering and hydration. Let me know if you've tried it!









£3.99 and £4.99

I can't fault Rimmel for always delivering fast, affordable, on trend products. I do find the quality and staying power of the foundations and lipsticks not quite as good as the likes of Benefit and Mac, but for the price you pay I always like to try new releases. This week my beady eyes spotted Good To Glow Highlighter and Brow This Way brow kit and I couldn't resist. 

The highlighter is light and gives a lovely dewy glow. My skin is definitely more radiant after application. It's a thin consistency, but a little goes a long way and over sun kissed skin I reckon this will be a firm fave for holidays. 3 shades are available and I went with Soho Glow, applying with just my fingertips. 

Brow This Way looks to be a fab dupe for the Benefit Kit I swear by. I love my brows to look full and natural so usually give them a helping hard with pigmented wax and clear gel to set them. With this Rimmel bargain only setting me back £3.99 it was a no brainer to give it a go. 

The set comes complete with an angled application brush, powder brush and mini comb. My Benefit brush is much softer and I found that to be preferable over the Rimmel Brush bu that said; the coverage was sufficient and the colour suited me well. The texture was less creamy then I would have liked and the wax is quite stiff but as a travel kit or touch up product I reckon it's just the job. 



After years of biting and having acrylics my poor nails are not in the best state. I'm forever hunting for polishes and products to restore some strength and help them grow. Sally Hansen products are a plenty in my make up drawers but I'd never tried this particular polish.  

It describes it's self as a  "breakthrough Sally Hansen formula conceals ridges and imperfections while strengthening weak nails. With soothing and moisturising Jasmine, Rose and Vitamin E extracts, it nourishes nails for an overall conditioned look." 

The polish goes on easily and it's satisfying and full to apply. My nails dried glossy with a pinky/nude hint. I've found 2 coats are still necessary to prevent chipping off quite so fast and I needed to re-apply after a couple of days but it's definitely a product I'll continue to use. 



I'm always a bit skeptical that quick dry polishes will be thin and flakey, especially when going for a pastel shade but I was on the hunt for a nice coral/pinky polish and this one from Barry M fit the bill. Despite my skepticism, I do love a quick try because i'm impatient and there's nothing more annoying than smudged nails!... So into my basket it fell. The brush is thicker and flatter than on other Barry M collections which does make it nice and easy to apply. 
I definitely needed 2 coats though as after 1 there wasn't enough coverage. I'd recommend it as a polish better for toes than fingers as it does chip quickly, but the colour is fab! 


Have you found any high street bargains recently?  What are your go-to budget beauties? 

B xx 
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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Camera Lies

The Camera Lies. True Story. 



If you follow any gym bunnies on Instagram, you've no doubt come across the hashtag #TransformationTuesday. I love all the social media inspiration but sometimes you just need a reality check. Hence, today's ramblings.  




How long do you think was it between these two photos? 










It was actually 2 minutes. 


My abs in the 2nd photo look a bit more defined and a lovely brown tummy is always more desirable. But it's the first photo - bad angle, bad light, pale skin that is more of a true representation of my body's current state... And one that I wouldn't usually dream of sharing. Is just not Insta worthy is it?  We're conditioned to expect flawless pics only. 

People posting their transformation photos showcasing their journeys to achieving more muscle, toned muscle, less body fat, more strength, defined abs... the list goes on, is becoming more common. It can be great to have a little snoop and admire the motivation and success others have, however I can't help but feel it's just another phenomenon contributing to self loathing, body hating and comparison of others. You cannot believe every photo you see on social media and take them as a representation for how that person looks in real life. 

It's often forgotten that the secret to a good photo is all about the angle and lighting. The girls looking tanned and flawless on Insta may not be tanned and flawless in reality...Yet the moment the thought "she's amazing, why don't I look like that?" enters our head, that rationale is forgotten and confidence is damaged. 

Using light properly, knowing how to pose and covering imperfections with a filter are definitely features of a transformation photo we decide not to shout from the rooftops. You never know what's going on behind that camera lens so next time you see a dubiously perfect selfie, remember the editing, tensing, tanning and 5000 attempts it took to achieve it. 


Sometimes, we just need a REALITY CHECK! 



Be your healthiest, happiest, most sustainable self. 

B xx 

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Monday, 23 March 2015

Workout Of The Week

I love reading workout blogs and hearing about new ideas, new programmes, new trends. It keeps me motivated and trying new exercises keeps my routine varied and challenging. So after an indulgent weekend (typically) I love my Monday workouts to be HIIT or circuit based with lots of sweating and energy. 



It's great to have a re-focus or learn a new skill at the beginning of the week so from now on, my Monday posts will be new workout orientated. #MotivationalMonday if you like. It's less than a week until the clocks change (yipee!) so time to put away the hot choc and winter PJ's and time to embrace the change and shake up your routine. 

So here we go:


FULL BODY BLAST IN 12 MINS

Perform each exercise for 1 minute - no rest!
Between each set you can take 1 minute. 

Set 1 
Squats
Press Ups
Leg Raises
Burpees 

Set 2 
Russian Twist (with Medicine Ball or Kettlebell)
Jump Lunges
Squats
V-Sit

Set 3 
Tricep Dips
Jump Squat
Press Ups
Kettlebell Swing. 



Tips:

  • Do your squats with dumbells if you feel capable. 
  • Press Ups on knees are fine if you struggle with a minute of full press ups.
  • Thrust from your hips with the Kettlebell Swings - this predominately works your lower body not shoulders. 



Enjoy it! 

B xx 




Kettlebell Swing
Russian Twist
Leg Raise
Burpee



V-Sit














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Sunday, 15 March 2015

The #QuarterLifeCrisis

I'm 23 in just over 6 months. Gulp.
 
That puts me right on the cusp of my #QuarterLifeCrisis. I've been inspired by Origins catchy new campaign for their Skin Renewal Serum (post on that coming up, it's fab) but I do believe this is a genuine phenomenon and one that must be articulated as I refuse to believe i'm the only girl going through this. 

I've found the last 4 years, since leaving the routine and security of school and family life all a bit of a blur. Some good, some bad, some meltdowns, some achievements. It's kind of like playing grown up for a bit. Legally you're an adult but you don't feel like a real one. Real adults have proper jobs, houses, dogs, disposable income and don't call their Mum's crying when they smash their phone screens or are dying of hangovers. 

Most #QuarterLifeCrisis'ers have survived Uni and unless you are one of the lucky ones to secure a grad scheme place, are probably back at home feeling rudely interrupted that your student days are over wondering what next? All of a sudden, you aren't 18 anymore, even your 21st feels like aaages ago and your best friends aren't even on the same wavelength. Everyone has radically changed. (And we don't like accepting that.) Some are travelling, some have the envied "real job" lined up, some are doing masters, some are having babies. Some are living with parents, some are still partying 6 nights a week, some are buying houses, some are engaged, some are single, and everyone's just comparing themselves to everyone else looking for reassurance that they're getting this life malarky right! 



I for one am certainly not in a position I expected to be in at this time. I thought by now i'd be in a "real" job having spent the last 3 years in Sheffield partying and studying, graduated successfully, with a fabulous promotion ladder ahead of me, decent income, had some brill travelling trips, on my way to buying a house before I was 25. 2 kids and a hubby before I was 30. Job done. Pfffft. That ain't gonna happen anymore! 
So how do we cope with these waves of confusion and overwhelming uncertainty? 

I've learned my lesson to slow down with the planning and expectations. Try really hard to learn and evaluate mistakes, and make the most of every opportunity. "The harder you work, the luckier you get" certainly has a place in the #QuarterLifeCrisis and i've realised as long as you are doing something you enjoy and feel a purpose for, you're getting somewhere! Keep going! There are many paths to the final destination. 

So how to we overcome the #QuarterLifeCrisis? Lets try these 4 steps first:

1) S T O P comparing yourselves to others. We defensively judge each other to provide our egos with reassurance, and you know what? It's just not constructive. I reckon in reality - the grass is not greener. 

2) Just get on with it. What is your dream career? Where do you want to live? Write these down and make some clear steps to help you reach them. Can you do an internship? What are your needs? What are your values? Who can you contact to help you? 

3) Be realistic. Did you really want to buy a house before your 25th or did you just have rose tinted specs on? Do you even know where and with whom you want to live? Focus on one thing at a time. 

4) Remind yourself what's G O O D! Never mind what you haven't managed to tick off, what have you managed? Think of the good stuff! Positivity and confidence are uber attractive, you are never going to achieve your "tick list" full of negative energy and resentment. That is not attractive. So put a smile on even if it's fake for today. Practice makes perfect. (If you aren't ready for that, have one more night sat wallowing with wine and chocolate then remind yourself you are not Bridget Jones and prepare for your fresh mind set tomorrow.) 

These methods are currently under trial, so let me know how you get on fighting the #QuarterLifeCrisis slump. Good luck and hugs. 
B xx 





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Thursday, 12 March 2015

Super Simple Sha-mazing Smoothie's

What gets me out of bed in a morning? 
Well... It's a no brainer and probably one of the few questions the BF and I agree on... 
BREAKFAST!  
I'm a breakfast junkie.  Never skipped it and probably never will. 

In the last 18 months I think it's fair to say i've become a teeny bit predictable in my choices as 5 days out of 7 i'm likely to have a smoothie.  I'm not talking a shop bought, full of sugar rubbish kinda smoothies, i'm talking my homemade blender full's of wholesome yumminess.  I think people often pull faces at bright green drinks and blended vegetables but just reserve judgement for about 30 secs and give these a try. I bet you'll be hooked! 

All you'll need for the below is a few easy-to-buy ingredients and a blender. If you're currently too poor to invest in the infamous Nutribullet, i've found this bargain £20 Kenwood Smoothie To Go  does just the job! 





Greens, Greens, Greens! 

1 scoop unflavoured whey protein (Available here)
1 chopped-into-chunks frozen banana
1 handful of spinach
1 (big) teaspoon almond butter 
1 teaspoon Spirulina (Available here) 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
200ml Unsweetened Almond Milk 
Tiny squeeze of honey

Blend it up and drink immediately. I love to add goji berries or a few seeds on top for crunch. 



Berries and Banana! 


2 handfuls frozen berries 
1/2 a large banana
1 scoop unflavoured whey protein 
1 (big) teaspoon peanut butter 
200ml Unsweetened Almond Milk
Dollop of greek yog


This is my go to breakfast, i can't imagine anyone not enjoying it. Ingredients can be supplemented for other similar ones and I sometimes add half an avocado (super creamy) or some oats if it's post workout and i'm starving! 
Topped with flaked almonds or chia seeds.  



Hope you love them! Let me know if you give them a try or if you'd like me to do a shopping list post. 

B x 



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Sunday, 8 March 2015

Fitness Is Getting Fitter

The most relaxing part of my day, is when i'm physically most exhausted.  For me exercise has always been a great stress reliever, distraction from "stuff" and general passion. Running, love. Lifting Weights, love. Spinning, love. Swimming, love. 

I was lucky enough to have been brought up by fit and active parents and from a young age my brother and I have been competitive and fairly good at the sporty stuff you do as kids. However it's not necessarily until adulthood that you become grateful for having an innate love for an active lifestyle. And i've noticed it doesn't come easy to everyone. I think it's fair to say the media have not always made it appear glamorous to sweat or feminine to lift weights. And people are quick to judge if "you're eating rabbit food again." Recently though there's been a huge shift concerning the fitness industry winning over former non exercisers and I reckon alot of it's(aswell as utterly motivational #TrainLikeAnAngel vlogs and gorge Millie Mac donning the cover of Women's Health") down to the amazing new gym bunny collections coming from the British High Street. I for one am loooooving it! Fitness meets fashion is at an all time high. 


During my time of training and competing, workout gear was very much just for working out, I would never have worn it in public. It may be that as i'm getting older i'm more comfortable in my own skin, but workout clothes are now more of  statement, contributing to feeling confident and well, not just frumpy black leggings that wriggle down and unflattering shaped tops that don't pull down long enough. 

If you are a newbie to exercise, you want to feel great from the get go and a little splurge on gym stuff, never fails to be a huge pick me up! So, if you need a little nudge in the squat direction, here are my top places to purchase some amaze kick-up-the-arse workout gladrags. 



Photos
Above: Trainers: Asics. Shorts: H&M. Top: Decathlon. 
Below: Trainers: Nike Free Run. Leggings: Sweaty Betty. Hoody: H&M


1. H&M

Very purse friendly and good quality, online and in-store = winning! 

2. Active In Style 

Gorgeous new brand bringing you fitness gear from the best in the industry worldwide. Affordable and incredibly inspirational with the use of real PT's and fit girls to model their clothes. 

3. Fabletics

Kate Hudson's new venture doesn't fail to disappoint. She's always been a girl crush of mine, and now she's gone and started a fab fitness fashion brand. It's super affordable and super well designed. 

4. Missguided Active

I'm sure you've all heard of Missguided.co.uk but had you noticed they have a whole new section to their website called Active? It's not to be missed! I have a loooong wish list on there right now. The quality of their collection may not be so durable or technical, but the prices are very purse friendly and there are a few gems! (I'll got a workout gear haul and review soon.)

5. Sweaty Betty

Anyone who knows me will have probably noticed my obsession with SB. I simply adore them. Now, they aren't a cheap brand, leggings tend to cost between £80 and £90 but I would argue, worth every penny. The fit, durability and quality are unbeatable. The detail, care and story behind every design ensures the brand is impossible not to love. Their community and #FitForFree campaigns are also fab so join in while you browse! 

I do also adore Adidas and Nike as my go to brands, and they continue to deliver but be sure to check out these other brands if you fancy an injection of colour and confidence. 




Happy Calorie Burning!


B xx 





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Sunday, 1 March 2015

Feel Good February

Every year when February comes around I feel a huge relief. My thinking tends to go along the lines of; I survived the gloom of January (yay!) and Feb is so short it's basically Spring. 

The change of month usually gives me a massive kick up the bum, mentally and physically, and this year was no different.  I changed my routine at the gym, lined up a load of new healthy repipes to try, and put my "I've got this" head on. 

So here we are now at the end of the month, and being a little reflective I thought I'd share a little recap of feel good products, meals and STUFF i've discovered or re-kindled my love for this February. 


"Next time you think of beautiful things, don't forget to count yourself in." 

Garnier Summer Body
It's an oldie but a goodie. One of my go to cheaper products. I've found it to be the best best gradual tan lotion on the highstreet. It goes on evenly, absorbs into your skin quickly and only smells quite mild. I use the Deep Sun Kissed and find it takes about 3 applications to see a colour change in my skin. It's light and natural and leaves your skin soft. 

Garnier Ultimate Anti Cellulite Oil
This is my new love. Firstly, it smells DEVINE! The fragrance is fresh with mandarin, lemon and grapefruit scents - I could literally bathe in the stuff. Secondly, there's something utterly self indulgent and therapeutic about massaging your thighs and stomach in oil after a shower and thirdly, it's not greasy. I'm under no illusion that these "anti cellulite" products actually decrease cellulite, BUT after using it every day for a week, my skin is a bit firmer and feels uber soft and moisturised. Great for holiday prep I would say. 

Origins Gin Zing Energy Boosting Moisturiser
This lovely pot of zingy-ness is now my go to moisturiser. I'm on my third pot, and in my opinion it's worth every penny. Origins are fast becoming one of my favourite skin care brands, partly due to their products being so gorgeous and wholesome for your skin and ethical conscience and partly because they perfectly bridge the gap between having to re-mortgage your house for the sake of your face, and not wanting to lather yourself in something cheaper and mediocre. This Ginzing costs £23 in Boots and would last me about 3 months. It's really light to apply and really re-vitalises tired skin. It's "fortified with legendary skin-boosters like Panax Ginseng and Coffee Bean, jumpstarts hydration levels."  - Boots UK. You feel all lovely and glowy after application. Yay for when you're skin's been through a long British winter. 

Burberry My Burberry Perfume 
I received this gorgeous scent for Xmas, after falling in love with the fragrance and looking to embrace my inner Cara/Kate having seen the Burberry ads. I'm a sucker for Marketing, but this really is fab. Inspired by London Gardens, fresh after rain, it's kind of floral, kind of sweet, and kind of citrusy. Although definitely not sickly. It's just perfection. Even the bottle top looks like the button from a trench coat. I think i'll be sticking to this little British gem for a long time.



"Good food           

...is good mood"


Courgette and Butter Bean Bowl. 


My new munch this Feb came in the form of this warm salad. When you think "salad" don't fall into the trap of thinking "uugghhh more leaves". This is 100% leaf free and so sooo delicious!

It also happens to be full of nutrients and take about 15 mins to cook. Inspired by a Women's Health article, i've perfected my own recipe suitable for student budgets and flat tummies. 

Here's how to whip it up: 
(serves 2)

*2 rashers of good quality smoked back bacon.
*1 tin of butter beans
*2 courgettes (sliced into chunks) 
*Half a savoy cabbage (finely shredded) 
*1 clove of garlic
*1 tsp mixed herbs


Photo cred (Womens Health)

Method - there isn't really one. It's too simple! You basically just fry it.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a pan, add the bacon and garlic, fry for a min, add the cabbage, fry for several mins, add the courgette, fry for several more mins, add the butter beans, .... you get the picture.

I would suggest using a deep frying pan with a lid, and once all the ingredients are added, let them soften in their own steam until cooked, giving a stir every so often. 

Season generously and serve with a sprinkle of crushed walnuts and parmesan. 



So ... there we have it, my little guide to a feel good month. Now eat your greens, do your squats and don't let boys be mean to you. 

B xx 


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