30
Jul
2015

Fitness Update

If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram then you’ll already know that I bit the bullet and signed up to The Body Coach 90 Day SSS Plan. If you haven’t heard of this plan, it was devised by Joe Wicks who has a degree in sports science, he’s spent 5 years as a personal trainer, 3 Years as an online nutrition coach and has over 10,000 client transformations under his belt as well as being featured in the Daily Mail, Women’s Health, Grazia and on various tv programmes. I kept seeing these amazing transformation pictures on his instagram account but initially I just assumed it must be another scam or quick fix.

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But as the weeks rolled by, I became curious what the plan was all about and whether it was actually something I might be interested in.  Ever since Conor was born, I’ve been working at getting back into shape. I feel pretty confident in clothes but out of them…not so much! I lost the baby weight within 3 months of the birth and continued to try and eat healthily and work out regularly but my torso is far from where I want it to be. Things seemed to plateau and what I really wanted was to get my dream body – achieve something I’d never had before and feel amazing in a bikini. I wanted to become lean and toned and in the best shape of my life. But something I was doing was preventing that. After reading endless testimonials and failing to find anyone who had a bad word to say about this plan, I decided to research it. In essence, it’s just a common sense approach and an overall lifestyle change. This plan isn’t designed to be something that you follow for 3 months and then let it all fall by the wayside. The 3 months are split into 3 cycles and comes with a nutritional plan and recipes to follow. Cycle 1 is all about educating yourself about what your body needs (and doesn’t need) and also incorporates HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to bring you to a higher fitness level and burn as much fat as possible. Cycle 2 is all about shaping your physique and increasing muscle mass.  Lastly, Cycle 3 is the final step in helping you to maintain this new lifestyle in a sustainable manner. This is a plan that’s designed to change your life, not just the next 3 months.

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I got myself some new gym wear from ASOS and MyProtein which is always a good way to feel extra motivated about working out.  The clean meals I was making before were very much in line with the types of recipes in the plan so I felt like I had a bit of a head start. I have had an active lifestyle for a long time now so the exercise side of things didn’t phase me at all. I filled in my questionnaire and my plan was tailored to my age, height, weight and activity levels, as well as any other considerations.  The plan costs £147 which in my opinion is actually pretty reasonable considering some of the other nutrition and fitness plans out there. Also, what price would you put on your health? To me it’s worth every penny if it gives me the results I want using a healthy and sustainable method.

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You get a meal planner which helps to organise exactly what you’re going to have that week. On this plan you are expected to eat 3 meals a day and 2 snacks.  I make a lot of the meals in advance and freeze them in tupperware boxes so I never have an excuse to opt for some convenience food when I’m on the go.  The meals are tasty and really filling. I’ve actually struggled to finish some of them! The biggest change for me has been learning the importance of timing. What I mean by that is giving my body what it needs, WHEN it needs it.  You learn when is best to eat those complex carbs, when to take your supplements/what they do and when to do your workout to maximise the fat burn. Everyone who signs up to this plan has to submit photographs of themselves in swimwear or underwear. This was cringe to say the least but I know I’ll be so glad I took those pictures when I’m in the best shape of my life and can put them side by side and compare how far I’ve come.

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The HIIT sessions aren’t actually that bad because I was used to working out 5 times a week as it was. I do mine on the rowing machine we have in our house so it’s great to do a 25 minute session and get it all out of the way in a short space of time. I still walk the dogs twice a day with Conor on my back but this was built into my questionnaire so it’s all been taken into consideration. I’ve stocked up on protein and supplements from the MyProtein website and I’m raring to go!

I’m fully dedicated to this plan and I’ll be letting you all know how I’m getting on with weekly update posts. For any of you who are interested in signing up to the 90 Day SSS Plan, it could be a great way for you to find out what it’s actually like to do it before spending your hard earned cash. I have a few challenges in the next couple of weeks as I have a night out tomorrow, an overnight stay in Glasgow on Sunday and a week away in Ireland the following Thursday. All of these things will really test my resolve and I’ve already started thinking of ways that I can stay on plan.  I am determined not to use these things as an excuse to become lax about the whole thing.  Wish me luck!

*Just as a side note, this is not a sponsored post and I paid for the plan with my own money.

30
Jul
2015

La Redoute Baby Boy Clothes Haul

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I know not all of you who read my blog are interested in baby-related posts but I do find most of my inspiration for Conor’s clothes purchases from other bloggers. So I thought I’d do a quick post on these bits I picked up from La Redoute recently.  I do love the likes of Zara for baby clothes but it’s become such a popular place to shop that I’m increasingly finding that it’s become harder to find unique clothing that no one else has. La Redoute is a lesser known brand and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how gorgeous their baby clothing range is. I’ll definitely be doing another haul soon!

redoute1Fox jumper (£11)

I can never resist anything fox related and this jumper will go perfectly with Conor’s Tobias & The Bear fox leggings! They have some really cute t-shirts for baby boys as well and this 2 pack caught my eye. I like to dress Conor in quite neutral colours but I do like the toned down pink shade on the right. Real men wear pink…right?

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T-Shirt 2 Pack (£15)

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Socks 3 Pack (£9)

I had spotted a couple of other mummy bloggers picking up this mustard coloured jumper and I absolutely love it! It’s very similar to the type of clothing you find in Zara and it’s about the same price point too. I do find that I dress Conor in a lot of jumpers, even in the summer because the weather we get in Aberdeen wouldn’t exactly be described as tropical! I love the contrast of the cobalt blue palm tree print trousers with this and they’re currently on sale so check out the website to grab some bargains!

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Jumper (£11), Trousers (£4.80)

29
Jul
2015

In Shower Quick Fixes

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More often than not, I don’t have time for long winded, complicated beauty routines. So when I want to primp and preen and I want it to happen fast, there’s a few products I know I can always rely on to deliver the results I want.  Being a mum of a young baby, I need multi-task products that can seamlessly fit into my daily routine without any fuss and do the job efficiently and at double speed.  Shower time is one of the only parts of the day that is dedicated solely to me. It’s my 10-15 minutes of pure luxury so I make it count! Today I thought I’d run down my top in-shower quick fix products that I always have to hand.

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St Tropez In Shower Gradual Tan (currently on offer for £9.50 at Boots!)

I was extremely cynical about this product when it was first sent to me. I hadn’t heard any reviews at the time and I just couldn’t get my head around how it could possibly work. It just seemed too good to be true! However, after thorough usage, I can confirm that it really does work! You step in the shower, wash as normal, then turn off the shower, apply the lotion and wait 3 minutes before washing off. A lot of people have complained about this aspect of the application process but I actually just carried on with my usual routine – cleansing and toning my face and plucking my eyebrows as I waited. I don’t waste ANY time! Do this and the whole process is hassle-free and painless. It gives your skin a really nice golden glow and you can use it consecutively over a few days to deepen the colour.

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil (£18.00)

You guys know I love this product.  It adds a little luxury to every shower, smells amazing and it leaves your skin feeling like silk.  Nothing compares. It’s been a part of my daily routine for a couple of years now and every time I run out, it just makes me realise how much I love it. A beauty staple that will be repurchases again and again.

Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial (can currently be bought in a smaller size at ASOS)

This face mask is fantastic for when you need a quick skin fix. You can apply it in the shower and leave it to work as you wash your hair. It brightens the skin, smoothes and tightens pores and can be especially helpful if you’ve had a sleepless night! This is an ideal product for when you’re in a rush and want a quick pick-me-up.

Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask (£45.00)

This is the most expensive of my quick fixes and I must admit that I only use it for special occasions when I want my skin to look incredibly glowy and flawless. It leaves your skin feeling hydrated, dewy and it clears imperfections.  It’s a true multi-tasker in that respect. When I want my skin to look absolutely perfect, I reach for this.

Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo (£18.50)

If you put styling products in your hair daily or make use of the fabulous invention that is dry shampoo (a.k.a. a mummy’s best friend) then this is the shampoo that will reset everything and bring your tresses back to their shiny, deeply cleansed, manageable best! It clears your hair of any build up and puts the volume back. It’s like a detox for your hair and I always have a bottle on standby.

Pro:Voke Touch Of Silver Shampoo (£3.05)

If you’re a blonde like me then you’ll know how tricky it is to keep the colour bright and fresh. Over time, it can develop brassy tones and become dull.  This violet-pigmented shampoo restores the colour, lifts blonde tones, adds shine and brings your hair back to it’s best. It keeps my blonde colour looking good right up until my next hairdresser appointment.

*Post contains PR samples

22
Jul
2015

Bobbi Brown Telluride Collection

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I’m going to put it out there and say that the eyeshadow palette from the new Bobbi Brown Telluride Collection is, in my opinion, the best neutral palette I’ve tried from the brand to date.  There are so many neutral/nude palettes out there that it’s easy to assume they’re all much of a muchness and all created equal. The collection is said to be inspired by the late afternoon sun in Telluride, designed to create a tawny, golden glow.

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You can’t go wrong with a Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick and the Limited Edition Sunset Pink version looks lush! I already own the Beige and Apricot shades and they are gorgeous – adding a lovely sheen to your cheekbones. The Pot Rouge and lip shades really compliment the summery golden glow of the accompanying products in the collection.

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The eyeshadow palette, albeit a neutral one, is the star of the show for me. Having tried lots of nude palettes I wasn’t expecting to be that impressed by yet another one.  However, something about the rich shades of soft pink, warm rose and rich brown just really flatter my skintone, bring out my eye colour and creates a really soft smokey eye.

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Telluride Eyeshadow Palette (£39.50)

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I loe the mixture of matte and shimmer shades in the palette, making it versatile for day or evening use. It has a matte ivory for the browbone and a matte black for creating a smokey eye or tidying up eyeliner. The matte black is a nice texture for blending into the crease because it’s not too harsh. The warm terracotta shade second from the right is also lovely in the crease to warm everything up. All the shades just blend into each other seamlessly.

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I wasn’t sure how the Telluride Pot Rouge would translate to my skin but applied lightly, it just warms up the cheeks in a really pretty way. The lip liner is really pigmented and the most lovely shade of coral pink, It has great staying power too.  Some Bobbi Brown lipsticks in the past have been slightly dry in texture but this Sheer Lip Color feels moisturising, it glides on and I’m in love with the summery colour! I’m not the biggest fan of lipgloss so I wasn’t blown away by this one but it is a lovely colour if you are a fan of those types of products.

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Left to Right: Pot Rouge For Lips & Cheeks in Telluride, Lip Pencil in Pink Guava, Sheer Lip Color in Sunset Pink, Lip Gloss in Sunset.

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In the pics above I used the matte ivory on the brow bone, the matte taupe all over the lid, with the metallic shimmery brown in the crease and outer corners, as well as my lower lash line, I then used the lighter metallic brown to blend everything together, adding a little of the pale shimmery shade to the inner corners.  I blended a little of the matte black into the socket and on the lower outer edges of my lash line. This created quite a subtle, wearable smokey eye for the daytime. I’m not one for really heavily done up eyes as mine are deepset and can look tired quite easily.

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What are your top picks from the collection?

*PR Samples

21
Jul
2015

Healthy Eats: Spinach, Mushroom & Walnut Stuffed Chicken with Feta & Basil Dressed Veg

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I’m constantly looking for new healthy dinner ideas to keep things fresh and interesting. We eat a lot of chicken in our household and it can become a bit ‘samey’ unless you jazz it up.  This meal is really filling and super satisfying and although it does take a bit of prep time, the finished result is more than worth it! Chris said this was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever cooked up for him and the fact that it’s a healthy dinner is just a bonus. I wouldn’t have any qualms about serving this up at a dinner party because it really looks the part too. Give it a go and let me know what you think!

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

Stuffed Chicken:

  • 5 thin, crisp whole-grain crackers (I used The Food Doctor Wholegrain Spelt Crackers)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 large chesnut mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 large handful spinach
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, pounded evenly
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Dressed Veg:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 6 large broccoli florets
  • trimmed fine beans
  • 1/4 cup crumbled organic feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil, packed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • pinch chili powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 190oC degrees. Pulse crackers in a food processor until finely ground.
  2. Peel and chop the sweet potato into small cubes. Toss the sweet potato into some melted coconut oil and place on a baking tray. Roast for 25 mins.
  3. Heat coconut oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Cook garlic and shallots until soft, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme, and cook until mushrooms are slightly golden, about 4 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add spinach. Cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Chop spinach, and add to mushroom mixture with salt and pepper.
  4. Season each chicken breast with salt and some pepper. Lay 1 chicken breast on a plate. Spread half of the mushroom-walnut mixture onto chicken, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Roll, and tie with kitchen twine or skewer with cocktail sticks. brush with egg and cover with cracker mixture, pressing to coat. Repeat with remaining chicken, mushroom-walnut mixture, and crumbs. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
  5. Fill a pan with water and begin to boil the broccoli and fine beans.
  6. Using the same pan you used for the mushroom-walnut mixture, melt the feta on a low heat with the minced garlic, slowly adding the milk to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once it becomes a thinner consistency, remove from the heat and add the seasoning and basil. Toss the vegetables in this dressing until throughly combined.
  7. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Untie, and slice, serving on top of the dressed veg.