I don’t know about you but when I’ve got something excited on the horizon, I automatically jump to picturing what I’m going to wear and thinking about if there’s something nice and new I can purchase to mark the occasion. I feel like the Summer holidays are a perfect example of this. For me, I’ve recently found out I’m going to be venturing over to Berlin, Germany for mein kleiner Bruder’s (although not so little anymore) 20th birthday! Stay tuned for holiday pictures, but first and foremost, here is what I’ve been eyeing up on the interwebs… This wishlist channels more casual chic vibes with plenty splashes of rosey pink which I’ve been loving at the moment. Easy to wear colours and comfortable materials, perfect for summertime fun and city strolling.
Ever since I was gifted this beautiful palette by my boyfriend for Christmas, it has become an absolute staple in my everyday make-up routine. Although the colours look perhaps a bit intimidating with the red and pink hues, they are actually unbelievably wearable for everyday wear.
I tend to alternate between a full wash of Creation (top right) or Divine (the mauve brown on the bottom row) with a little bit of Icon (bottom left) to define the outer edges of my eyes and worked slightly into the crease. I always finish off with Aura (the highlighter shade in the top right) on the inner corners of my eyes and on the higher points of my brow bone. However, if I’m heading out for the night, I’ll add a little of some of the more brighter (Rebirth, bright pink in the bottom left) and deeper shades (Venus, top left) to make my brown eyes pop even further. I think the red, pink and brown hues of this palette really compliment my eyes, but I’m sure that the palette would be just as complimentary with blue and green eyes also, as well as many skin tones.
However, I’m weird and sometimes I use this palette on not just my eyes, but to also contour my face. When I’m staying away from home, I don’t like to take many products with me, especially if I’m staying at my boyfriend’s house, then I really don’t want to be carrying around a full make-up bag the next day at university. With a contouring brush, I use Divine (again) to contour my cheeks and under my chin, and the result is a natural looking contour rather than the muddy brown you tend to get from contouring with bronzers. To finish, I then use my finger to dab Aura, the same highlighter shade that I used on my eyes, onto the tops of my cheek bones, a little down my nose and on my cupid’s bow. No words can explain how much I love using Aura as a highlighter! Sometimes I’ll even grab a fluffy brush and dab a little of Shell (shimmery pink shade in the top left) and use it as a blusher.
I know this post is going to be received perhaps controversially due to the brand’s past, but politics aside, this little palette is one heck of a palette. It brings colour to your eyes and has an insane amount of pigmentation. I find that the colours stay on my eyes for hours, which is perfect when I have a long day/night ahead.
Have you tried the Venus palette yet? What are your favourite colour combinations?
Now, I know this post is a long time coming and quite frankly, I’m surprised at how long its taken me to get this post up here! I went to Budapest with my family in September just before the new academic year started and it’s been favourite holiday to date. The city is idyllic and so picturesque that it’s hard to imagine that Budapest is still a bustling city in the midst of all of it’s beauty.
As most of you might know, since January I’ve been embarking on a challenge to become a better and healthier version of myself, after two years of sluggish living due to illness and therefore severe self-confidence issues. The past few months have been pretty up and down as far as results are concerned, but overall I feel a lot better for my actions. In January, I joined the gym and I have since been going pretty regularly, at least twice a week (or more) for the majority. My diet however has been showing more of a yo-yo effect; with university nights out, lots of birthday cake, and stress-related binges with the boyfriend. However, I’ve found a workout guide that I’m going to be using for the next 12 weeks to help motivate me and push me through this period of unstable progress. 6 weeks into this challenge will mark my 21st birthday so hopefully I’ll have something to show for my effort by then!
For once, I actually remembered to take photographs of the bath bomb I was using in my weekly bath pamper session. I was gutted to find that this little bath bomb is actually my penultimate bath bomb in my collection *cry*. And so, on this particularly special occurrence, I used LUSH’s Honey Bee.
I loved the look of this bath bomb. It’s colours are so uplifting and was just what I needed as a little pick-me-up. Shame I couldn’t actually smell it though as I was really ill at this point in time, but I can tell you that the LUSH website confirms that this bath bomb does in fact smell like honey. Surprising considering the name of the bath bomb 😉 Either way, I absolutely love honey and honey scented things alike so I’m sure I’d still love this if I did actually possess the ability to breathe through my nostrils at the time.
Despite the fact I couldn’t enjoy the luxurious scents that LUSH usually provide in their host of bath bombs, I loved the way this one made my skin feel incredibly soft and the yellow colouring in my bathwater really took the sting out of my ill day. The sandy looking stripe around the bath bomb is actually some kind of fancy mud that is a clay mined near Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, which is apparently what gives this bath bomb the soft touch that I so desired. Another thing that I noted when climbing out of the bath was that my skin felt remarkably hydrated despite a very long soak in the bath, longer than what I normally do. Usually I feel like what I can only describe as a shrivelled prune, but my skin felt youthful even before applying moisturiser post-bath. However, I still topped up with my ever faithful Body Shop’s Mango body butter nonetheless, just in case this miracle didn’t quite last.
I’ll definitely have to repurchase this one! Have you tried Honey Bee yet?
A lot of you will already know from my social media accounts, since the new year came around, I’ve been trying my hardest to start a healthier lifestyle. I’ve battled with self-confidence issues for the majority of my adolescent years, trying out various ways of creating a more confident version of myself. Most of my confidence issues arise from disliking the way that I look, both my body and my face. Although it will be hard for me to talk about as I feel as though I’ve hurt a lot of my teenage years feeling this way, I feel as though I should probably tell you a bit about my past with these particular issues, in hope that it makes one person feel less alone in their head and motivate them to change their lifestyle like myself.
During high school, I discovered make-up and woke up several hours early to wake up for school just to precisely apply make-up and style my hair in ways that would hide my flaws. I would buy clothes from the likes of Topshop even though the price tag was plenty out of reach for a 14 year old girl. I remember begging my mom to buy me Weight Watchers ready meals for dinner instead of eating with my family and eating what they were eating. The amount of times growing up that I cried publicly in the changing rooms of shops because I didn’t fit into the size 8’s that everyone else in my year seemed to fit into, and then proceed to shout at my mom for feeding me ‘too much’ food. At a size 12/14, I felt like I was twice the size of every other girl. Sometimes after dinner at my family’s usual time of around 5pm, I’d force myself not to eat a morsel after that time until the next morning. Half of the time, I’d cave a few hours later and then continue to eat everything that I could find in the cupboards in an attempt to make myself feel better. 14 year old me, sitting on my bed, crying into my packaged flapjacks.
I’m at university now, and although I don’t cope in the same expensive ways that I used to, I still have the same issues that I’ve had for the past 10 years. There have been times where I’ve felt a lot more confident, and times when I truly hated looking in the mirror. Usually these ups coincided with the fact I lost a little bit of weight. I remember feeling elated when people at school commented on the fact that they thought I’d lost weight, however their comments also pointed out to me that they thought that I probably should be losing weight. Fast forward a few years, just before university, I joined the gym, downloaded MyFitnessPal, gained inspiration from the new boom of #fitspo inspiration on Instagram and really threw myself into creating a healthier life for myself as well as losing a bit of weight. This was my first successful attempt at losing weight and probably the most confident period of my life, coinciding with my 18th birthday. I lost a few kg which was enough to boost my self-esteem for a while and attempted to carry it on during my first year of university. However, soon after starting, I got involved with my now boyfriend and a few years of ‘relationship eating’ and feeling a little bit more confident with where I was at, I’m now at my heaviest weight yet of 83kg.
A lot of this weight, I’ve put down to inactivity which has also coincided with the start of university in 2013. I felt tired all of the time and I could never figure out why, until I hit an all-time low in Autumn/Winter of 2014 and got diagnosed with an Atrial Septal Defect (a hole in my heart which stretched to 2cm in diameter). Along with the symptoms that the defect caused me – which probably had been going on for a while before I even noticed them when they started to get worse – I fell into a state of constant panic. I became afraid to be by myself, and relied a lot on the people around me. It was a very hard time for myself. However with the support of my loving boyfriend, friends and family; I managed to pick myself back up again towards the end of 2015 and finished the year with my awaited heart surgery. Now, I’ve been given the 6 weeks all clear just before Christmas and ready to sort my life out and rid myself of these issues that plagued my adolescence. I feel as though I have nothing left to lose. I want to give my body the best and healthiest experience possible now that I’ve been given a second chance. So here I am. Only 1kg down… but feeling a whole lot better and motivated.
- Find inspiration
One thing that has really helped me in my journey so far as been all of the wonderful inspiration that graces our social media platform these days, especially Instagram. Find someone that you can relate to, that not necessarily may have reached their fitness goals yet, or someone with a body in similar structure to your own. You can follow accounts that might inspire your nutrition as well. Seeing your inspiration everyday when you check your social media might just stop you from indulging in that leftover chocolate from Christmas. Some of my favourites are: Ellie Goulding (elliegoulding), Em Sheldon (emshelx), Rachel Aust (rachelaust), Ella Woodward (deliciouslyella) and the Hemlsey Sisters (hemsleyhemsley).
2. Educate yourself on proper nutrition
Another thing that was really helped me has been my ever-growing interest in nutrition. My interest started when I discovered Ella Woodward (Deliciously Ella) and her recovery from an autoimmune disease using good nutritional habits. At the time, I’d only just got diagnosed with my heart defect and Ella was the light in the dark for me. She inspired me to use include more fruit and vegetables in my diet as I realised that I barely included any, and after time, I began to feel so much better. I really believe that my increase in confidence and coping with my illness was down to better nutritional habits. I felt a lot less tired (before I constantly compared myself to an old granny) and much less anxious. Now, most of my shelves are filled with variations of healthy cookbooks and my friends all expect to receive healthy alternative cakes from me on their birthdays.
3. Find a buddy
Luckily, I have a house mate that loves to go to the gym, so every week we have a Saturday morning ‘gym date’. Having someone else to go with really motivates me on the times where I would rather just stay in bed. I also try and do workouts in my room several times a week as going to the gym can get expensive, especially if you don’t have a membership whilst you’re easing yourself into your new healthy lifestyle. When I’m at home, I aim for around 20 minutes of workout and usually spend about an hour at the gym when I go with my housemate. I find that at the moment this enough to make me feel energised for the rest of the day and make me feel proud of myself for getting up and doing something.
4. Make the most of technology
Probably the most helpful thing in shedding this initial bit of weight has been making the most of apps like ‘MyFitnessPal’ – a food diary app and calorie counter, and ‘Sworkit’ – a workout generator. I think every man and his dog know about ‘MyFitnessPal’ and there are a lot of controversial ideas surrounding it’s use. However, personally, I think that it is a great app to use to get started and better understand how much food you should be putting into your body to reach your goals. Once I have a bit of a routine and gain more perspective on my portion sizes, I’ll probably drop back a bit on this particular app, but for starting off your journey, it works absolute wonders. Plus, trying to meet your macro ratios feels like an actual game. It’s so fun.
‘Sworkit’, as I mentioned before, is a workout generator app and probably the best that I’ve found so far. I’ve trialled other workout apps but haven’t met anything quite like ‘Sworkit’ before. You can create workouts for any amount of time which best suits you and your lifestyle and you can also skip particular moves if they give you discomfort. This comes in handy because I’m not allowed to be lifting any more than 20/30kg because of my heart surgery for a while, so I’m nervous about attempting proper push-ups because of having to lift my bodyweight. The app is extremely customisable, simple to use, and it also gives you previews of the moves that the app generates for you. Whats more is that you can sync your end of session stats with ‘MyFitnessPal’ and the calories you’ve burnt during your workout will be added to your total calories burnt during exercise for the day. MORE FOOD.
5. Keep your eye on the prize but remember to live a little
As a student, it’s next to impossible to maintain a 100% healthy diet. There’s the temptation of fast food from your housemates, stress which leads to emotional overeating and alcohol. Lots of alcohol. I’m rather partial to a glass of vodka and mixer (or two, or three… let’s end there) and I’m not about to start missing on my nights out. I drink alcohol only when I’m going out to socialise with my friends so it is very much a treat. So once a week/every two weeks, I’ll head into town with my friends and enjoy some intoxicated fun. I try and skip on the greasy fast food at the end of the night however, and swap my usual full fat coke for lemonade to reduce the guilt. The main thing is, I don’t miss out on something that I enjoy. I try and not complete a diary entry on ‘MyFitnessPal’ for one day a week, and indulge in some treats in a healthy amount without feeling guilty. It’s important to cut yourself some slack every once in a while. If your friend orders pizza and you REALLY want that pizza, have a slice. If you want that Dairy Milk, have that Dairy Milk. The main thing to remember is though that you are in control of your actions, and no one else is accountable for you overindulging. So don’t indulge everyday, but do give yourself the occasional treat. Without them, you may fall off the health wagon one day and stay off it, and ruin all of the progress you’ve made so far. Stay balanced and don’t restrict completely.
6. See your workouts as a very important meeting
Maintaining exercise is very important for your overall health. Exercise boosts your mood, helps you feel more energised, and also boosts your physique when combined with healthy nutritional habits. Scheduling my workouts into my day and setting their importance to high helps me so much in getting them done. Your health is just as important as going to your lectures or finishing off that essay. If anything, exercise will boost your cognitive function, aiding you in these other areas of your life.
I hope these tips have helped you in some way. Please let me know in the comments your thoughts! I’d love to hear if they have helped you.