18
Dec
2014

Conor’s 6 Month Update

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You know when people tell you to enjoy every second with your baby because they grow up so quickly? And you know how you nodded like you understood? Well, no one prepared me for the (almost panicky) feeling when you realise just how quickly time is passing. Out of nowhere, Conor is now 6 months old. Half a year old! His face changes by the week, first he looks more like Chris, then a mixture of the both of us. He’s doing new things all the time and it just serves as a reminder that every moment is precious, you have to drink it in and savour it because time is passing like sand through your fingers. There is no pause button in life unfortunately and my delicate little newborn is turning into a chunky monkey with deliciously chubby arms, dimply thighs and cheeks you just want to constantly pinch! I’m starting to understand why it’s so difficult for parents to watch their babies grow up!

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Milestones: Ever since we got the jumperoo, Conor has been going from strength to strength and his legs are so strong now. You definitely can’t leave him anywhere unattended because he’s starting to sit up, roll around and is generally on the move. It won’t be long before he’s crawling properly. He started on solids last week too. I really didn’t want to introduce them too soon before his digestive system was ready so I waited until he showed more interest on food in general. He started grabbing for things so I decided to try him out on some baby porridge – which he seemed to really enjoy! We’ve been feeding him solids once a day – things like mashed banana, pureed sweet potato and apple. He quickly started opening his mouth to take the spoon and he’s been sleeping through the night so I’m assuming that’s because his stomach is fuller! He’ll also be going on his first flight on Monday to Ireland but luckily it’s only about an hour long! I’ve been gathering tips from friends who are parents so I’ll report back on how that goes…

Sleep: His nap schedule is pretty concrete now and I really like having something to stick to on the days we are at home. We get up at 8am. I change him, feed him and put him in his jumperoo while I have my breakfast. He goes in his cot upstairs with some toys while I have a shower and get ready, then we take the dogs on a long walk. He goes down for a nap at 11am and generally sleeps for a couple of hours.  Then it’s solid food time, playtime again, some tummy time, another dog walk and down for another nap at 4pm. He generally sleeps until about 5:30pm then daddy comes home. He has a bath and a feed and goes down for the night at 7-7:30pm. I usually wake him at 11pm before I go to bed to give him a bottle and for the past 4 or 5 nights, he’s slept all the way through until 7:30am.

Best Moment: Seeing him interact with the dogs has been really fun. He laughs at them when they walk past and he always reaches out to touch their fur. They are so incredibly good with him too. I can see a relationship and a bond developing between them and that’s really special to see. They’re going to be partners in crime and the best of friends!

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Worst Moment: He’s been a little cranky some days because of the teething but I can always tell when we’re going to have one of those days. He chews on his hands a lot, his cheeks go very red, he’s a bit irritable and whines (which he rarely does) and his bum gets sore (a weird side effect of teething). On those days, he can more demanding than usual but I can deal with it because there’s only maybe 1 or 2 days a week when he does it. Plus it’s not his fault! We all get cranky when we’re not feeling well.

Health: He does sometimes go a couple of days without having a poo but it never seems to bother him. I’ve read up on it and if the child isn’t presenting signs that they’re in pain then it can just be their digestive system adjusting to solids. His cheeks have been getting dry from all the walks in the winter weather but I’ve been using some natural skincare products to soothe that and some barrier cream too. He’s been a bit snotty because of the teething but it’s nothing that upsets him. Other than that, the little dude is thriving!

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Eating: This boy LOVES his food and he’ll happy take 240ml of milk in one sitting. As I said, he’s started on solids now and I love seeing his reaction to all the new tastes.  I am going to start using the Nutribaby system (from the makers of Nutribullet) to make his food from now on so I’ll pop up a review of that once I’ve had a play with it.

Things I want to remember: I want to remember that look on his face every time sees, tastes or touches something new. That is what makes you realise how amazing the world is and just living in general – looking at the world through a child’s eyes makes it all fresh and new. You gain a whole new appreciation for life.

17
Dec
2014

La Roche-Posay PigmentClar

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Living in Scotland, I don’t get a huge amount of sun so dark spots aren’t so much a skin issue for me. What is however, is discolouration and any scars left behind by blemishes. I was sent the La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Serum (£29.50) and Pigmentclar Eyes (£24.50) and I’ve given them a good couple of months to give you guys my honest opinion on them. I always like to test skincare for at least 8 weeks so I can judge the short-term and long-term benefits/effects.

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“Pigmentclar Serum: an intensive serum with patented innovation to reduce the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone.With a gentle moisturising fluid texture and specially formulated for sensitive skin. Helps maintain skin uniformity and radiance. Benefits: Complexion looks brighter and more even. Dark spots and pigment irregularities appear significantly reduced. 88% of consumers found their complexion looks fresher*, 86% found their complexion was more luminous*, and 80% found their complexion looks more even*.*Consumer test 41 women. Tested under dermatological control. Suitable for sensitive skin. No parabens. La Roche-Posay follows strict formulations standards: - Hypoallergenic skincare - Non-comedogenic – Optimal concentration of selected ingredients with Thermal Spring Water- Suitable for sensitive skin”

“Pigmentclar Eyes: our first correcting care targeting dullness in the eye zone, using the Pigmentclar complex combined with caffeine. Invigorate the look of the eye area. The melt-in texture is enriched with light-reflecting pigments to illuminate the eye area, and the tapered metal applicator is cooling on the skin. Benefits: shown to improve the look of the eye contour. It looks smoother, more uniform and feels more comfortable. Tested under dermatological control. Tested under ophthalmological control. Suitable for sensitive eyes. No parabens. No perfume. La Roche-Posay follows strict formulations standards: - Hypoallergenic skincare - Optimal concentration of selected ingredients with Thermal Spring Water”.

I’ve been applying two pumps of the serum every morning and evening and the eye cream every morning. The serum has a lightweight gel feel to it and sinks into the skin, leaving no oily film behind which is perfect for creating as good base for makeup.  I noticed a change in my skin after a couple of weeks of using the serum in that a few scars I had from previous blemishes around my mouth significantly faded when they would normally have stuck around for a lot longer. After using it regularly my skin looked much more clear and even in tone. I didn’t particularly notice that my skin was brighter or more radiant.

As for the eye cream, it’s very enjoyable to use because it sinks into the delicate skin around the eye very easily. I really like the metal applicator that has a cooling effect in the mornings. It helps to refresh my eyes, smooth the area, deals with any puffiness and ultimately makes the whole area look brighter. I have noticed that my under eye circles have also improved whilst using this, which is a feat in itself because I’m not getting whole lot of sleep! I still need a good colour corrector and concealer to hide the darkness but this cream has definitely helped.

*PR Sample

15
Dec
2014

My Birthday Makeup

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I’ve had a few emails over the weekend asking about the makeup I wore on my birthday night out on Saturday evening. I really wish I could do a video tutorial but I don’t have the time to get that done this week because I have a million things to do before we go to Ireland. So as a compromise, I thought I’d run through all the products I used so at least you have that if you want to recreate this over the festive period. In the first picture, the photo came out a little orange but that was just the lighting, as you can see in the photo on the right.

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Base: Estee Lauder Double Wear Light in Intensity 2.0 mixed with Nars Copacabana Illuminator, Bobbi Brown Corrector, Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover used as underage concealer, Urban Decay Naked Skin Compact Powder in Medium Light, Loreal Glam Bronze Mono in Blonde Sun, Anastasia Contour Kit.

Eyes: Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ash Blonde, Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette (White Chocolate all over lid and brow bone, Creme Brûlée on lid, Marzipan on inner corners, Hazelnut in crease, outer corner and under outer third of lower lash line, Haute Chocolate to soften top lash line), Charlotte Tilbury Rock n Kohl in Barbarella Brown along top lash line and softly on outer third of lower lash line (smudged), Benefit Eye Bright on waterline, Urban Decay Subversion Primer and Subversion mascara on top lashes, Loreal False Lash Architect on lower lashes.

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Lips: Primed lips during makeup application with Rodial GlamBalm Lip, Estee Lauder Double Wear Lip Liner in Red, Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in ‘In Love With Ginger’.

15
Dec
2014

Clean Eats: Chilli Con Carne

Winter calls for some heartier food and this recipe is so warming and comforting, whilst still being really good for you. You can serve this with brown rice, quinoa or even on top of a baked sweet potato! All of which would be a delicious and healthy meal. If you wanted to make this meal meat-free then you could just use mixed beans and chickpeas to bulk it out. As always, send me your pictures via Twitter if you decide to give this a go! I absolutely love seeing other people enjoying my recipes!

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Serves 4 (there’s always extra so just freeze whatever is left)

Ingredients:

  • 300g lean pork mince
  • 250g good quality stewing beef
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium carrot (finely chopped)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder (alter to preference)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tin red kidney beans
  • 500g carton passata
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 200ml organic beef stock

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Directions:

Saute the onion, carrot, pepper and all of the spices with some olive oil on a high heat for 3-4 mins.  Add the pork mince and stewing beef and cook until browned. Turn the heat to medium and add the garlic, tomato puree and balsamic vinegar and cook for a further couple of minutes.  Add the passata, the beef stock, kidney beans, salt and black pepper. I then transfer everything into a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours.  If you don’t have a slow cooker you can just leave it on a very low heat on the hob for about 3-4 hours (checking every hour to avoid catching).  Just before serving, stir in the fresh coriander.

Serve with rice and half fat creme fraiche or greek yoghurt and chives.

12
Dec
2014

Daily Greatness Training Journal

After seeing the Daily Greatness Training Journal (£29.95) on Anna’s blog and vlogs, I decided it would be a great way for me to kick off 2015 and continue on my health and fitness journey. I included it in my wishlist for Christmas but I ended up just buying it myself. I’ve found that I’m most successful with my weightloss and fitness regime when I have to consciously log things into an app like My Fitness Pal. I like to record my progress and see a tangible change so keeping a diary of sorts really helps me to be accountable for everything I do (or don’t) achieve. These apps are fantastic but sometimes you need something a little more substantial to record your thoughts, emotions, goals and just positive affirmations to get you through those tough days. That’s where this journal comes in.

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“How we start our days determines how we spend our days. How we spend each day determines our future. What then, is more important than beginning and ending each day with clear intentions, a positive focused mindset and conscious reflection?

There’s millions of excellent self-help books, coaches and courses out there but it’s only when you apply that knowledge into your life in a practical way, will you see lasting results. The Dailygreatness Journals are for people who want to consciously create their days and better manage their time, their mindset and their daily routine. But don’t be fooled….it’s not that superficial. It’s much more than just a planner. 

The Dailygreatness Journal concept will empower you to: 
 
★ create a compelling vision for your life
★ set exciting goals
★ follow up on your goals
★ change disempowering habits to empowering ones
★ find and follow your purpose and mission in life
★ take massive action towards your dreams
★ focus on the positive
★ acknowledge your strengths
★ overcome your weaknesses
★ challenge your fears
★ and simply be happier!!”

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This is a 12 week journal which combines a fitness planner, goal planners, food and exercise journal and inspiration for staying motivated. I love the fact that this journal encourages a healthy mindset when it comes to body image, self confidence and promoting a healthy, balanced lifestyle. It’s not about reaching one perfect body type, it’s about being reaching YOUR potential and being the best YOU can be. After all, happiness is not measured by a number on the scales. The pages of the journal are peppered with positive quotes for a healthy life and mind. You are encouraged to not only record your progress, but also to stop and think about what you’re grateful for and what you like about yourself. I think we’re all guilty of being too hard on ourselves and it’s important to learn to love yourself.

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I think what this journal is trying to achieve is to become a tool with which we can see the bigger picture. When you’re trying to get fit and follow a healthy lifestyle, it can become all you think about and your happiness for that day hinges on how many calories you burned, whether you ate that cookie etc. This can cause a cycle of self-loathing that’s certainly not healthy so this journal encourages you to see the big picture, looking beyond just the numbers and dealing with how you’re feeling that day. If you can identify the reasons why you tend to sabotage yourself then it’s the first step in dealing with it.  It all sounds very deep but lets face it, your health depends on your behaviour and your behaviour depends on how happy you are…so really it makes sense to take care of your mental health too, right?

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This journal isn’t about getting that idealistic ‘perfect body’ that we have stuffed in our faces by the media. It’s about taking care of your body and mind, becoming more self-aware and ultimately leading a happier, more fulfilled life. If all that takes is a little more mindfulness, then I’d say it’s definitely worth it. Your state of mind is intrinsically linked to your health and this journal addresses both.