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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Fruity Face Masks| A Montagne Jeunesse Review

 

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A face mask always brightens up my day. I don’t know about you but as soon as I put a face mask on I am instantly relaxed, it may be because you can’t really move around too much while you are wearing one. Whether it is or it isn’t, those ten minute when my skin is being cleaned and nourished are special to me. So whenever Montagne Jeunesee contact me to ask whether I would like to trial their new face masks I always say yes. Plus a nice soothing or refreshing facemask is perfect for rejuvenating your skin after those late nights and too many glasses of champagne you’ve probably consumed over the past week!

Montagne Jeunesse kindly sent me three masks to try from their new Exotic Fruits Range, one mud mask and two peel off masks. I am sure you have heard of Montagne Jeunesse before, many of you, like me will have grown up using their face masks with your mum or with your friends during sleep overs. If you haven’t I will give you a little information. They are an animal friendly company based in the UK which makes a range of natural skin care products. Their products are all suitable for vegetables and  use natural ingredients. I think they are very reasonably priced at around £1, this range above are sold for £1.29 from Boots, Asda and their website- www.motagnejeunesse.com. I was really surprised to learn that they sell 30,000 face mask every day in the UK! Now that’s impressive!

Anyways onto the products and review. Their Exotic Fruit collection is is made from a range of unusual natural skin care ingredients, which makes them all very fruity! 

Paw Paw Peel Off Mask

They say- “Picked from the tropics of South America the PawPaw aka Papaya (known as “ Fruit of Angels”) and Noni Fruit naturally help protect. This duo work harmoniously, revealing clean sensational skin, sent from the Heavens.”

I say- “This mask was very very sticky when applying, so it went on quite thick. Despite how thick it went on it dried in a good amount of time (around 10 minutes) and when drying there was no discomfort like there is sometimes. The mask came off very easily, almost in one piece, and I was left with amazingly soft skin!! I tried to take a picture of how glowing it was, but the picture did no justice to how great my skin looked. It definitely took away my dead pores and left with with pretty good pores!”

Dragon Fruit Sauna Mask

They say-“For a flaming good clean, ablaze with freshly crushed Dragon Fruit from the depths of central America and pulped Kiwi Fruit, this warming wonder reaches into pores removing trapped oil and dirt… a fiery feast for smooth, clean skin.”

I say-Again this mask was very very sticky, and very fruity smelling, but the smell was amazing! This mask definitely warmed up! It heated to a noticeable yet comfortable temperature and dried in good time. Again I was left with soft, clean and glowing skin. However I don’t think this is my favourite sauna mask, there are others in the Montagne Jeunesse range I prefer, such as the Red Hot Earth Sauna Masque.”

 Prickly Pear Peel Off Mask

They say-“Native to the Western Hemisphere, Prickly Pear helps protect skin from the Earth’s daily assaults whilst Mangosteen has powerful free scavengers (antioxidants)- How’s that for a boost?”

I say-“Again this mask is super sticky! But the results are amazing, very similar to the Paw Paw Peel Off mask, my skin was left very smooth, soft and clean. I used it after my night out in Manchester, and it definitely brightened up my dull, hungover skin, and I went to work on Monday looking fresh (just a little tired!)”

Overall, as always, I was very impressed with the results. My skin looked amazing after each mask and the product did as it said it would! The only downside and negative comment I can make is that the Exotic Fruits range as fruity as it is, isn’t very festive. It would of been great to see a new range released that reflexed my favourite season. Something rich, chocolaty and warming!

What do you think of Montagne Jeunesse products? Are you a fan? Have you seen or tried any great Christmassy face masks that are fitting for the season?

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone

 

Merry Christmas Blog Post

Just a quick post from me to say Merry Christmas everyone! I won’t be posting over the next couple of days as I will be busy filling my time seeing family and friends.

This year is a little different for me as it’s the first year I am having my Christmas dinner away from home and with the boyfriend's family. We spend every Christmas together, but for the past 4 years we have spent it with my family, so this year I decided it was time to spend it with his. So Christmas morning I am getting up early; I always do, as I am too excited to sleep, and going for a run. Now yes you may think that’s madness, but I do enjoy it (I swear) and plus I will feel less guilty about munching on endless streams of chocolates all day. We will then open our presents with his family and have Christmas dinner early afternoon. Later in the day Matt is driving us across the country to my Mum’s house where we will spend the night. Boxing day will be a second Christmas for us, with more presents to open, more family to see and more Christmas dinner to eat! Then on the 27th I am back to work so there won’t be much relaxing for me this year… but there never is!

I hope you all have a lovely day and get to spend the holidays’ with the people you love. I’m looking forward to seeing what you all got for Christmas in your haul posts! Have a great day!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Fitness Friday| Personal Weight-loss| Progress Picture

 

Firstly this post is a little bit late, my apologies, but like many of you, I have been especially busy the past week getting everything organised for Christmas. Now that I am at my Boyfriends’ parents house (where I’m spending Christmas) I can finally put my feet up and relax. I am currently writing this post while sitting in my PJ’s waiting for my tan to dry and nibbling on Cadbury’s Chocolate fingers… yum!

Anyways on to the purpose of this post… my personal weight-loss or even fitness/health journey. As you should all know by now, as I keep going on about it, I have been taking part in my own Festive Flat Tum Challenge over the past few months and although I haven’t quite achieved a flat tum tum yet I have seen some results which I wanted to share with you.

I have on this journey gained more than I have lost.. I have gain a new perspective on my health, body and fitness. I write this post as a completely different girl than what I was 4 months ago. For example, yesterday I was out in torrential rain running… I have officially turned into a mad runner… but more than that I enjoy it! It isn’t a chore, I enjoy going out and working out, I enjoy pushing my body and working hard and no matter how many pounds or inches I lose will change that.

Firstly I need to explain that I don’t use weighing scales, so I measure my progress through this progress  picture I am sharing with you, along with the inches I have lost and how my clothes fit. I used to have an unhealthy relationship with the weighting scale and would concentrate more on the pounds I lost than how I felt and looked. For example if I have a really good week where I had worked out 6 times a week and eaten healthily everyday but then I only saw a small amount of pounds lost I would feel awful, upset and demotivated. Now I concentrate on my performance in my workouts; how far or fast I run, how may squats I can do, how long I can hold a plank for. This means I end up pushing myself a little bit harder with each workout and I know the harder I work the sooner results will come.

To achieve the results I have I have simply changed my attitude; I focus on health not weight-loss. I eat healthy 80% of the time and workout 5/6 times a week for about an hour. I have not deprived myself of anything at all; If I want to go out for dinner and have a big burger I will. I just know to not have a huge big burger the next day. I eat 3 meals a day and have 2 small healthy snacks, so I am eating little but often. Because of  this constant grazing I am rarely hungry so I don’t end up binging on something I shouldn’t because I feel starving. With my exercise I aim for 30 to 40 minutes of cardio a day and 30-20 minutes of strength exercises a day. For my cardio I mainly run, but do use a mixture of workout DVD’s and games also such as Zumba. With my strength exercises I either makeup a routine of simple but effective moves such as Squats and The Plank or I use a DVD such as The 30 Day Shred.

So my results are as follows. In 4 months I have;

  • Gone down about 2/3 dress sizes on my top (dependant upon the shop)
  • Gone down 2 dress sizes on my bottom (again dependant upon the shop)
  • Lost a total of 13 inches, including 2 inches off my boobs, hips and bum and nearly 2.5 inches off my waist!

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I still have a long way to go till I will be completely happy with my body, but I am very happy with my results so far.

Have to been on a fitness or health mission this year also? Have you seen any results from exercise or changing your diet recently? I always love to hear about success stories!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Motivation Monday| Zumba Fitness Core Review| Personal Results


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As you probably know, seems I keep banging on about it, I have been on a big fitness kick over the past 2 months. I’ve been working hard so I can fit perfectly into my party dresses this Christmas and New Year. I have been taking part in my self devised Fitness Challenge, however the other week I was kindly gifted the new Zumba Fitness Core Game to trial and to incorporate into my Festive Flat Tum Challenge.

As a huge fan of the Zumba workouts I obviously jumped at the chance to try this new game. Having exhausted all the routines and moves in the old one this was a nice change. The reasons why I love the Zumba games is that they don’t feel like a workout, you don’t have someone shouting at you demanding you to do push ups and jumping jacks, instead you get to dance along to some great moves and have a laugh. There have been many a times when my mum and I have been in stiches try to master some of the moves, one time my mum almost knocked me clean out while getting too overenthusiastic with the Zumba hand weights and hitting me in the head!

Anyways on to the new game! You can buy the Zumba Core Game for the Nintendo Wii and Kinect for the Xbox 360 and it is priced at £19.99, an absolute steal and only the cost of  a few exercises classes (or cocktails!) You can buy the game from the usual places, including Game. The game was designed and developed as research shows that the core is the one area that women are most unhappy about their own bodies and the area they most want to work on. It comes with a dance belt so you don’t have to mess around trying to carry a remote control, you can just dance you little bum off!

The review

What they say-
“Dance your way to flat, sexy abs! Skip the crunches and strengthen your core with the only game to sculpt you abs through an exhilarating total-body workout. Zumba Fitness Core focuses specifically on strengthening and sculpting your core, within an effective body workout to deliver the tight and toned abs for a sexy six pack. This energising dance-fitness experience features 40 tracks from Enrique Iglesias, LMFAO, Shakira, Bob Marley and more, and over 33 dance styles so you can party your abs off- without ever getting down on the floor!”

What I say-
“I have one other Zumba game, which I love and thankfully I can say the same about this one! I enjoyed the music a lot more than previous one, as there was more recent/recognisable songs. I think the dances are more diverse, you can find all sort from ballet to jive to African dance alongside the more traditionally Zumba dance; salsa and samba. If you are a newbie to Zumba, there is no need to fear as the tutorials are very clear and helpful so learning the steps is easy to do.

As with the older game, the workout options vary so you can match them to your mood. You can choose to dance one or two dances, picking from any of the routines, or you can do a full dance class, which are either 20, 40 or 60 minutes long.  I normally do the 40 minute routine, which is definitely long enough to feel the burn!

The feature I love the most is the ability to monitor your progress, just like my beloved NikeRun Ap, I love to see how I am performing and if I am improving! With the ability to monitor your progress and set goals it keeps me hooked in… I’m a bit of a nut for stats! So finding out how many calories I’ve burnt, achievements earned and technique scores is a great addition!”

Results
I have incorporated this game into my Festive Flat Tum Challenge and have been using it for about 3 weeks. So with my running, additional abs exercises and this game I have to say I am seeing results! I actually managed to fit into my target dress this past weekend, which didn’t fit 6 weeks ago… it barely went over my bum 6 weeks ago! You can also see how many inches I have lost on my waist! I put this belt on and was shocked to find it doesn’t fit anymore.. it literally hangs off me!

Overall I am more than impressed with this game! It has given me results and most importantly it is fun! I can’t wait to crack it out after Christmas and challenge my friends and family to it.. burn off that Christmas turkey!

Have you tried this game, or any of the other Zumba workouts? Do you enjoy dance workouts?

Days Gone By| It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

 

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With only a week to go, it’s definitely starting to look a lot like Christmas. I don’t know about you but I enjoy the build up to Christmas just as much as, if not more, than the day itself! That’s probably why I start my personal build up from as early as possible. I started buying presents in October, I made homemade gift tags in November and I always put up my tree on the 1st of December.

I thought I would share with you my life in pictures from the past few weeks, in particular the Christmassy ones!

  • The other weekend my boy and I went Christmas shopping in the lakes. I didn’t have much left to buy but wanted to get a few smaller gifts/stocking fillers, and it’s always great to support local shops. While at Bowness-on-Windermere I got his lovely picture of the snow topped fells.
  • As I mentioned above, I started Christmas shopping in October so I managed to finish buying it all quite early. I enjoy wrapping presents just as much as I enjoy buying them, and this year I made my own gift tags featuring my cute and troublesome dogs. You can see how I did it here.
  • As the newbie at work I was drawn the short straw and had to write a load of Christmas cards for our clients. It took me a good hour or so as I had to use my fancy writing, but on the plus side it did put me in a festive mood!
  • My gorgeous Christmas Tree! I take pride in my Christmas Tree decorating skills and love nothing more than putting the Christmas music on and trying to and cram as many baubles on the tree as possible.
  • As  you may have seen from my Twitter or Instagram, I bought this adorable faux fur Russian style hat from Primark last weekend. It only cost £6 so was an absolute bargain! I love how glamourous it makes me feel!
  • A little shot of my Christmas Graze box… yes I am still buying these! I find that their little boxes are perfect for snacking at work.
  • Christmas George! Don’t you just love decorating your dog in Christmas decorations! He doesn’t look impressed does he?
  • This is the Christmas Fairy that I have had since I was a tiny little baby and it still sits proudly on top of my mum’s Christmas Tree.
  • My mum also bought new Christmas decorations this year. The one I am most in love with is the Christmas glittery Hedgehog… how cute!
  • My dogs got treated to new Christmas jumpers aswell. They were going to debut them on Christmas Day but we were too excited so took some pictures of them now.
  • The last picture is from June this year when my friends and I travelled around Finland and Lapland. While we were there we visited the real Santa at his workshop in Lapland. I mean you can’t go to to Lapland without seeing Santa Claus!

Have you been getting in the festive spirit? When do you put your Christmas tree up? Do you have any Christmas traditions?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Feeling Festive| Christmas Party FOTD and OOTD

 

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So what does a girl wear to her Christmas party? Never mind that! What does a girl wear to her first Christmas party at a company where she is still trying to impress and make a good opinion? This was my dilemma last week. Usually I would be the first to whack on a tight dress, get my tanned legs out and put on my stiletto heels, but when I work in an office in a very rural location, where my nearest cocktail or champagne bar is at least 70 miles away, I had to second think my attire. I still wanted a look that was glam, but maybe not as sexy as I normally aim for.

I decided to based my outfit around my sparkly shoes from Moda In Pelle which I love with all my heart! Look how amazing they are! They were the pair I wore for my mum’s wedding, and I think they are perfect for the festive season. I paired it with a matching glittery clutch bag from TKMaxx.  After I chose my shoes and bag I was stuck; I have a million dresses in my wardrobe, even more so now I have lost a dress size, but couldn’t decided which one was appropriate. So like you probably all have done, I ended up sat amongst all my clothes after having a hissy fit about how “I don’t have anything to wear!” I know a little black dress would of looked great but I wear black dresses to work everyday, so wanted something with a bit more colour. So after trying on all of my dresses I finally settle on the above lilac one from H&M. at first I thought of it as a more summery dress; more fitting for a wedding. But after trying it with the shoes and bag I thought it was perfect; sophisticated, girly and festive!

My works Christmas Party was a great success. We all went to a local hotel to have an all expenses paid for dinner and drinks, plus a little disco. It was a nice change to see my work colleague outside of the office, and we all had a great night; Sunday was evidence of that! Lets just say I had a few too many glasses of wine!

What did you, or are you wearing to your Christmas Party this year? Anything sparkly like my shoes?

Friday, 7 December 2012

Fitness Friday| How to get a flat stomach

 

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As many of you will know I have been taking part in my Festive Flat Tum Challenge for the past month with an aim to tone up and get a flat tum for Christmas. You may be asking… why work out in the run up to Christmas, with all the parties and food… am I mad?! Well yes, it is proving to be difficult especially with the boxes of chocolates being brought into the office weekly, but I want to look fab for Christmas so the challenge is worth it!

So with an aim to get that flat tum I have been doing my favourite, most effective ab workouts daily, and I wanted to share with you my tips on how to gain a flat tum. I am in no ways a nutritionist or qualified personal trainer, these are purely tips I have learnt through my passion for fitness and health. So here goes!

Firstly to gain a perfect flat tum you firstly need to get rid of the fat hanging around your midriff. You can do as many crunches as you want but if you have fat around your middle this will always hide the muscles you are building underneath. So you need to combine both cardio and strength exercises. Ab exercise alone won’t get rid of belly fat!  Think of it this way; you use strength exercise to tone from the inside, and you use cardio to loose the inches on the outside that will allow you to show your sexy toned stomach! So make sure you are working up a sweat for 30 minutes 5 times a week, at least!

Next step is strength, I want to share with you the go to strength exercises that I recommend to tone that tum as quick as possible. Basically you should be doing exercises that use as many muscles as possible in one go and for this I recommend The Plank and Bicycle Crunches!

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The Plank is the best move I can recommend as it works a tonne of muscles all at the same time! You don’t need any equipment, you can do it anywhere and it works you hard in relatively little time! The Plank works your muscles more effectively than traditional crunches! It has been scientifically proven to build endurance in your abs, back and arms, as well as stabilise the muscles. It is also the perfect move building up strength for those dreaded pushups! Here is some tips on how to perform The Plank;

  1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
  2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
  3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
  4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.
  5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.

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Bicycle Crunches are my next tip! These little painful beauties have been proven to be the most effective abs exercise! This move, like The Plank works a series of muscles all at the same time. They work the  rectus abdominals (the six pack area) and the obliques (the waist). The Bicycle Crunch works those side abdominal muscles like no other core exercise, so if you want that sexy waist get going girls! Here is some tips on how to perform Bicycle Crunches;

  1. Lie face up on your mat and place your hands behind your head, lightly supporting it with your fingers.
  2. Bring the knees in to the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the floor without pulling on the neck.
  3. Rotate to the left, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee as you straighten the other leg.
  4. Switch sides, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
  5. Continue alternating sides in a 'pedalling' motion for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.

So there we go! To gain your flat tum you need to burn off the fat with cardio and perform effective core exercises such as these often. I do them daily, but try to at least do them 3 times a week.

What are your favourite ab moves? Do you have any other exercise your recommend to tone up that stomach in time for Christmas and New Year?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Clean Brushes Create A Clean Face| How to clean your makeup brushes

 

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I often get messages and comments on how clear my skin looks; I mainly put this down to good diet and plenty of exercise, but there are other little things that I do that make all the difference. One of these things is making sure I have clean makeup brushes. I admit I don’t wash them every day… I know I should, however I give them a good deep clean once a week. Everyone is guilty of piling the makeup on daily, and we all take the time to wash it off at the end of the day to ensure no nasty bacteria is lying around. However, how many of us wash the same dirt and bacteria off our brushes? I bet there isn’t many! It is essential that you deep clean your brushes once a week, as they can end up clogged full of old makeup, dirt and debris, bacteria, oils and dead skin cells… pretty gross!

So how do you wash your makeup brushes? There are many different ways and many different brush cleaning products you can use. The tools I use are hot water, Johnsons Baby Shampoo and a scrappy towel. I use the Baby Shampoo as it is a gentle shampoo with little chemicals so there is minimal, if any, damage to your brushes. The method I use is as follows;

1- Prepare yourself by choosing the brushes you need to clean, the towel you are going to use and your Baby Shampoo.

2- Wet the hairs and pour a small amount of the Baby Shampoo onto your brush and rub in into your brush. Use some force but not too much, just enough to create a lather. I create a lather by wiping the brush in small circles in the palm of my hand.

3- Next rinse out the shampoo, still wiping your brush in small circles so you are sure to rinse out all the shampoo. Be careful not to get any water on the handle or the ferrule of the brush (the part that holds the brush bristles together), as this can damage the brush fibres and make you brush moult.. not what you need! If the brush is still not clean repeat steps 2 and 3 until your brush rinses clean.

4- Once you brush rinses clean you can now dry it. To do this gently wipe it across your towel. Then leave your brush to air dry for a couple of hours.

Depending upon how many brushes you need to clean, the process only takes around 10 minutes. So 10 minutes of your time to ensure you have a bacteria free, and clean face is definitely worth it! Ideally you should also use an instant brush cleaner for a quick cleanse after every use. Another bonus to having clean brushes is keeping them soft! How lovely and soft are your new makeup brushes? If you clean you brushes regularly they will be kept soft and supple for longer!

How do you clean your brushes? And how often do you do it? Do you recommend any instant brush cleaners that aren’t too pricy?