Sunday, 13 April 2014

neutrogina visibly clear 2 in 1 wash & mask


I recently decided to use up my entire stash of skincare before purchasing anything new, and when I ran out of my faithful No7 this Neutrogena wash which I picked up after forgetting to bring my usual cleanser away with me one night was the first product that caught my eye.

It's a 2 in 1 product and can be used either as a wash or mask. I've been using it daily as a wash with my No7 Cleansing brush (review here) and, unlike most products advertised as a 'wash', doesn't create much foam or lather. It's very thick and creamy to apply and leaves my skin feeling moisturised and clean. I've used it once or twice as a mask, but it didn't impress me at all and my skin didn't feel any different than it does when I use it as a wash.

In the month or so that I've been using this daily, I can't say I've noticed any changes in my skin or the amount of blemishes I get. I do enjoy using it, and I especially love the menthol scent and the way the menthol leaves my face feeling really fresh, but it's not a ground-breaking product and I probably wouldn't buy it again unless I was once again stuck with the small selection of skincare a small supermarket has to offer!

Monday, 7 April 2014

compete with yourself, not others

When it comes go health and fitness, I find it so easy to fall into the trap of feeling like I'm making little to no progress by comparing myself to others and then, as a result of feeling rubbish and losing my motivation, slacking at the gym and eating badly.

With so many fitspo bloggers and instagrammers around it's easy to get sucked into stories of dramatic transformations (from overweight to sporting a 6 pack in 3 months, really?!) to following food diaries of people who seem to live on a never ending supply of green smoothies, chia seeds and clean foods with not a square of chocolate or sneaky side of fries in sight.

But are these people really living this seemingly 'perfect' lifestyle? Do they really go to the gym 7 days a week? And do they never give in to (or even get) temptations for bad foods? The truth is, that whilst some people really do eat breathe and sleep health and fitness, the majority of will be painting the picture of perfection for their followers - meaning that you (and I) can chill out about that cookie we just ate with lunch.

People, including myself, choose what to share and what to hide online. I choose to blog about certain subjects whilst keep other things personal - and there's nothing wrong with that. Nor is there anything wrong with choosing not to include the photos of your cheat meals, the days where you skip the gym in favour of lazing around in your pyjamas or the days where a can of Diet Coke replaced your green smoothie.

The important thing is to stop comparing yourself to others and to remember that everyone is human, everyone likes the odd piece of chocolate/cake and sure, eating these foods daily will slow your progress down but that it's only natural to want to eat these things on occasion and a treat once every now and then never hurt anyone. So what if you only made the gym three days this week because you skipped it to hang out with friends on the 4th? Who cares if you had a slice of cheesecake? As long as you're making progress and working towards your goals then you've got nothing to worry about.

My sense of achievement and motivation might have been dented with the amount of clean eats and six packs appearing on my Instagram feed lately, and the people that once inspired me sometimes made me feel insignificant and a bit of a failure for a while but I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's time to stop comparing myself to others sharing selective snippets of their life and focus on the progress I'm making myself.

And I'll forever be Instagramming photos of cake, don't worry.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

bathroom refresh


Since we moved in over 1 year ago, my en-suite hasn't really any TLC. The shower flooded the room before we moved in and the light coloured flooring was stained a horrible murky grey and left the whole room look grubby. I stuck a few sea-themed pictures on the wall, bought some nice soap dispensers and accessories, an Ikea cabinet, and left it like that. But it's never been a room that I enjoy looking at.

After finally getting around to doing something about it, my flooring is being replaced next week with a lovely white, beachy wood effect flooring and the thought of it has sent me into a bit of a Pinterest frenzy of pinning blue walls, shells in jars, lighthouses, starfish and anything remotely nautical. I'm dreaming of prettily decorated shelves, all my cotton wool and bits and pieces in cute jars (it's the small things) and a bright, fresh style.

I can't wait to give the room a fresh coat of gloss, and paint the boring white walls a sea inspired blue and fill it with some of these accessories. My two favourite homeward deparments - Next Home and Matalan - have come up top again with their beachy/sea/nautical inspired ranges!


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

no7 beautiful skin cleansing brush


Let me introduce you to my favourite Christmas present, the No7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing brush. Like everyone else, I'd seen the rave reviews of Clarasonic Mias but personally I could never drop £100 on a tool to, essentially, clean my face. This little gem from No7 is available for under £25, a lot more purse friendly in comparison, and has worked wonders on my skin.

I was a bit scared to start using at it first, after hearing about the terrible 'purging' phase causing horrendous break outs and having blemish prone skin already this was my worst nightmare. My skin is also quite sensitive and can be dry, so I was worried that the brush would be too harsh. After my first use though, I was addicted. The difference it made was definitely visible, and as I looked at my skin the following morning I was actually excited to wash my face again that night. The difference it had made to my skin was more than I expected - all my rough areas were completely soft, a lot of my blocked pores were clear and my skin had a glow to it.

Two months on my skin is clearer than it has been in a long time and blackheads are a thing of the past. Simply using this and moisturising each night has left my skin feeling baby soft and actually feeling more hydrated than before. I've still had a few blemishes but I find that the brush helps clear them up slightly quicker than usual and the red marks haven't been as noticeable.

The cleansing tool has 2 speed settings: a gentle one to suit those with sensitive skin, and a quicker, rougher one which I actually prefer to use myself. It's the easiest tool ever to use - simply apply your cleanser of choice to your skin (I'm currently using up my stash of skincare so I'm finishing off this Neutrogena wash and mask), switch it on and take it across your skin in small circular motions. I never remember to stick to beauty regimes or even do regular facemasks, but this sits in my shower and as it only takes 30 seconds or so to use is a step I never skip.

The instructions recommend using it 2-3 times a week, but as my skin has reacted really well and as I haven't had a break out, dry skin or any adverse effects I've been using it more often, but not quite daily, and alternating between the two settings so that I'm not too rough on my skin.

I can't recommend this enough, and with replacement heads coming in at only £8 for two (one will last you a recommended 3-4 months) this is a step in my routine I'll definitely be keeping up!


Thursday, 13 February 2014

is there a place for fashion at the gym?

Nike Pro Running Tights* | Nike Pro Printed Bra*

After SportsShoes got in touch about their Fashionably Fit campaign, I've been thinking a lot about the importance of feeling good and being 'fashionable' at the gym. I'll be the first to admit that after ditching my stack of bargain "I probably won't stick to this" Sports Direct clothes I bought when I first started exercising, that I'm becoming a bit of a gym wear snob and will now only buy Nike branded clothing.

I know some people who are quite happy to work out in a freebie company branded t-shirt their employer handed them or even a torn Primark t-shirt which is fit for the bin, whereas some are happy to spend £75 on a pair of running leggings (ouch!) - and I know for a fact that each of those people would both put in as much effort and determination and work as hard as each other at the gym.

So why do I insist on being brand loyal and picking those amazing printed leggings and brightly coloured sports bras over the plain black ones every time?

Personally, it all comes down to confidence and how the clothes make me feel. I put thought into my daily outfits, and what I wear to the gym is an extension of that. Nike has a style that I gravitate towards, and their clothing fits like a glove and keeps me comfortable and at the right temperature during my workouts so for me they tick all the boxes. Call me a little vain or fickle here, but putting effort into my clothes gives me a confidence boost, it makes me feel good and if I feel good at the gym I'm more likely to stay longer, worry less about how ridiculous I look whilst attempting one of the crazy exercises that I swear my PT invents just to embarrass me and ultimately put 100% of my attention and effort in.

SportsShoes were kind enough to let me pick out some pieces (Nike, of course!) from their website and I headed straight for the colourful, patterned pieces above. They were delivered on a rest day, but I was so excited to wear them that I put them on, squealed to my flatmate about how much I love them, and got myself to the gym quicker than you could say "thanks Sports Shoes!" I think that proves the point I was trying to make here - for me, fashion wins every time.