4 Motivation Tips – to get you to the gym!

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Whether you are going to the gym for weight loss/gain/maintenance, fitness, strength or any other reason the chances are (if you are anything like me) there are times when you really can’t be bothered. For me, on those days I seem to be able to think of 100’s of reasons (or actually excuses) not to get myself to the gym. Having said that I’m pretty impressed with myself as in the past couple of years I have been going consistently so I thought I’d share my motivation tips with you today. I’m not saying a gym membership is the only way to exercise (you can read my post about my favourite at home workouts here) but if you already have a gym membership you are bound to want to get your money’s worth!

1. Timing is everything

I have a 9-5 job (what a way to make a living!) and I find the best way to ensure I get to the gym is to go straight from work. Do not pass go, do not collect £200! I pack a gym bag in the morning (or the night before) and throw it in my car so that I have no need to go home first. If I do, once I’ve kicked off my shoes and sat down that’s it – not much is going to get me off my bum and out the door after that! When I worked shifts, I made sure to go after early shifts or first thing in the morning on days off. Obviously when is best for you will depend on your personal circumstances, but I recommend you find a time that means you are less likely to slack off, and make it part of your routine.

2. Plan meals

I’m one of those people who always seems to be hungry and for me working out when I feel that way is never effective. I know some people like the ‘starved cardio’ technique and to be honest I don’t know much about it but I do know it’s not appealing to me! So as I go to the gym straight from work I now make sure I have a proper breakfast and a more substantial lunch than I used to, or have a healthy snack at work part way through the afternoon. If I leave work without a rumbling tummy I’m definitely more inclined to get in my car and drive to the gym instead of to the nearest shop for food! You can read about my healthier breakfast choices here.

3. Wear ‘feel good’ outfits

I used to wear any old thing to they gym. Usually leggings and baggy t-shirts that I’d had for ages and weren’t ‘good enough’ to wear for anything else any more. I’d heard people say this was a bad idea and you should wear work out clothes that made you feel as good as your other clothes. I dismissed it thinking I’d rather spend money on other things but then I finally realised the error of my ways! I find workout clothes made by proper sports brands not only fit better, feel more comfortable and last longer but actually make me look forward to working out (yes really!). I now put the same effort into selecting my outfits for the gym as I do into any other outfit and I can honestly say this is one of the things that gets me to the gym regularly.

4. Attend classes

Most gyms have a range of classes to chose from. I find taking the plunge and going to my first one is a bit nerve-racking but I have always ended up enjoying them. I find there are a few reasons why going to a class improves my motivation. First of all trying something new and therefore mixing things up at bit definitely spurs me on. The fact that you have to be there at a certain time also means I’m less likely to make excuses or put off going. Finally, once I get to know a few of the regular faces and the instructor I feel guilty for not going so tend to turn up!

If you have any motivation tips to share please comment below 🙂

What’s On My Dressing Table?

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When we bought our house and I finally had space for one, I couldn’t wait to get a dressing table. About four years later I got around to buying one! I wish I’d got one sooner; it makes so much difference when you are a make up lover. It’s great to have all your most reached for make up items close to hand and I love displaying items on the dressing table to add a personal touch. I’m not claiming my set up is Pintrest-worthy, but if you are as nosy as I am a little tour around my dressing table might be of interest to you! The table itself is from good old Ikea. It’s from the ‘Hemnes’ range and costs a mega reasonable £135. For the price, it’s really sturdy and was surprisingly easy to put together (it took two people, 20 minutes and only one minor disagreement!)

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On the left side of the mirror I keep my lipsticks. Most other make up items including other types of lip products (glosses, lip crayons etc) are either hidden away in drawers or in a separate storage unit beneath the dressing table, but this is my favourite way to store lipsticks. As you can see, I have a modest collection, almost all from high street brands but with a few from Mac (which I love). Acrylic storage can be really expensive but I found this in TK Maxx for around £8 and I’ve got a couple of back ups for when my lipstick collection expands (which it inevitably will!)

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I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for statement necklaces and as I wear them really often I keep them hanging over each side of the dresser, bright colours on the left and more neutral on the right. They are mostly from Miss Selfridge, Primark and Make A Statement (you can find this company on facebook linked here – I highly recommend it!)

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As I use make up brushes almost every day, I definitely want these in easy reach. I find you really don’t have to spend much on containers if you are willing to be creative and shop around. I personally like the mis-matched looked as you can see! The little blue container is actually a tealight holder from Wilko’s costing £2. The middle container is a treasured gift from a friend from one of her trips to India and the Paris glass was another bargain from the TK Maxx kitchen section (I think it’s supposed to be a Latte glass!). I keep all my lip liners and eye liners in the final glass, which was a Next sale purchase.

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I love jewellery holders and want to get more, in all different shapes, sizes and finishes to continue with my mis-matched look! They are also a must for people prone to losing their jewellery, when you have items you wear every day but take off at night (speaking from experience!) I happened to get these both for Christmas last year. The Eiffel Tower one is from Next and was a gift from my husband. Here is were you will find my engagement and wedding rings (unless I’m wearing them). I keep all my ‘costume’ rings and stud earrings on the stag holder, a present from my sister-in-law and from Urban Outfitters.

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Finally; my perfumes. I’ve explained in a video on my You Tube channel that I’ve never been one to have a large perfume collection. I often only have one on the go and rarely have more than two. I’m also a bit of a fragrance floozy as I flit between many different scents and brands. On the go at the moment are Black Orchid from Tom Ford and Si from Giorgio Armani. The Tom Ford fragrance is a rare repurchase so that speaks volumes. It’s a very heavy scent so I tend to reserve this for nights out in the Autumn/Winter but it’s so sophisticated and one spritz lasts a long time. It contains black truffle, ylang, bergamot and blackcurrant so is not at all floral (as the name suggests) and a really luxurious smelling fragrance (although this is definitely reflected in the price). Si is my more ‘every day’ scent at the moment. Fresh, girly and a little floral it has ingredients including blackcurrant, musk and rose.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a tour of my dressing table. I plan to do a full make up collection video on my You Tube channel in the future so keep your eyes peeled!

Top 3 Real Techniques Brushes

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I love Real Techniques brushes. I was introduced to them after watching beauty videos on You Tube a couple of years ago, and it was a revelation! If you are a regular beauty blog reader / beauty fanatic / beauty blogger yourself then the brand won’t need any introduction. However if you are unaware of the products, here’s the low down. Real Techniques is the creation of make up artists and sisters, Sam and Nic, who have the very popular You Tube channel Pixiwoo. Sold in the likes of Boots and Superdrug, in supermarkets, and online the brushes are affordable yet great quality and easy to get hold of. If you like a more luxury feel their newer ‘Bold Metals’ range is worth a look (I haven’t tried any – but plan to!) With so many to chose from where to start? Here are my favourite three…

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1. Expert Face Brush – £9.99

This is my favourite brush, from any brand, for applying foundation be it liquid or powder. For liquid I dot the product all over my face and blend it in with the brush. For powder I give the brush a swirl in the product before applying it. It gives a beautiful smooth finish and is just the right size to apply a full face pretty quickly but the shape still means you can still get the product in all the contours of your face. It’s a dense brush, so washes really well and think it looks as good as new, despite being over a year old. A must have in my opinion!

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2. Deluxe Crease Brush – Part of the starter set – £21.99

The only potential down side to this brush it that you can’t buy it individually so have to fork out for the set. However you do get four other eye brushes and I would say it’s well worth getting when this gem is included! The slim handle with good grip, and soft domed head of the brush make this amazing for crease colours in the eye. It’s just the right size to both apply and blend the eye shadow colour in the crease and has made a huge difference to how my eye shadow turns out. I don’t apply eye shadow without using this now. Again, it washes really well, retaining it’s shape and softness without shedding.

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2. Setting Brush – £6.99

A day doesn’t go by when I don’t use this (unless I’m having a make up free day!) I’ve never seen another brush with quite the same shape and dimensions so I think it’s pretty unique. I use this to set powder under the eyes or in other smaller areas such as around my nose. It’s also great for blending liquid concealer or applying powdered highlighter, and I’ve even been known to contour with it so it’s a definitely an all-rounder! It’s neither really dense or really sparse which lends it the multiple uses, and as with the other two brushes mentioned (and all other real techniques brushes I own) it has stood up to multiple washes.

Do you have any Real Techniques recommendations? I’ve heard great things about the fan brush so that will probably be my next purchase from the range.

5 Tips – for a better night’s sleep

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I love a good night’s sleep (who doesn’t!) Years of shift work messed up my sleeping habits big time, and when I started a ‘9 to 5’ a few years ago, I struggled even more when I had to force my body back into a ‘normal’ sleep pattern. Now, I’m no scientist (unless being addicted to The Big Bang Theory counts!), so these tips are just based on my own experience but with these in place I rarely have difficulty sleeping nowadays.

1. Pamper yourself

I don’t mean a full on head to toe pamper session (but if you have the time and inclination to do this every night go for it!) but I find taking time over my skincare routine, using products I really enjoy, helps me wind down for the day. I start by literally washing the day off my face; micellar water, eye make up remover and cleanser. I follow this up with skin tonic, serum, facial oil, eye cream and night cream. I have a little acrylic storage unit on my bedside table and here is where I keep the products I use once I get into bed; cuticle cream, foot cream and hand cream. This mini pamper routine has become a bedtime ritual and I find it helps me physically and mentally relax ready for sleep.

If you would like to know more about the skincare products I use please let me know in the comments – I can do a seperate blog post or You Tube video.

2. Invest in you bedroom

In my opinion, your bedroom should be your sanctuary and by feeling completely and utterly relaxed by your surroundings, it can only help you sleep better. By invest, I don’t necessarily mean spending loads of money, it depends what you find comfortable and appealing. For me I want a soft mattress, calming colours and lots of ‘homely’ touches. For others it might mean a wall full of photos, or as many scatter cushions as humanly possible to fit on a bed, or very minimal decor – whatever floats your boat!

3. Ban smart phones and tablets

This is one tip that I really should do more often! I’m vaguely aware of actual research with scientific reasoning as to why using smart phones or tablets before trying to sleep is detrimental (something to do with the blue back light I think – I’m sure Google will enlighten you if you want to know more!) and I’ve definitely noticed that if I don’t look at mine for an hour before going to bed, I get to sleep much quicker. In our household we even ban them for the whole evening on occasions and it really makes a difference.

4. Talk to someone

I’m a big believer in ‘de-briefing’ at the end of the day, no matter how mundane, stressful or exciting it may have been. Live with a partner or your family? Chat about your day over dinner. Live alone? Call a friend or family member each evening to talk about how your day was. Not really a talker? Why not write it down or keep a diary. I find just talking about my day, and listening to others talk about theirs, helps me ‘put the day to bed’ and clears my mind ready for a good night’s sleep.

5. Meditate

Meditation is a word that used to make me feel sceptical. And it’s because I didn’t understand it. I joined a Pilates class over a year ago, and the last five minutes is always meditation. For me, it’s about controlled deep breathing and clearing your mind (not necessarily chanting mantras or sitting in the lotus position like I had imagined!) I don’t do this every night but after a really stressful day, or when something is making me feel anxious, just doing controlled breathing as I’m trying to get to sleep helps me relax. I won’t try and explain how to do it, as I don’t want to give out any misinformation! However, there are plenty of You Tube channels available with methods and advice if you are interested.

If you have any sleeping tips, let me know! If you also find the above tips helpful, I’d love your feedback too 🙂

Top Summer Lip Products – for under £8

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Lip products often end up in my shopping basket when I pop into Boots or Superdrug for ‘essentials’. This is probably because the colour on my lips is the most frequently changed part of my make up so I can’t resist experimenting when I see the latest launch or a promotion. Personally, I think you should wear whatever colour you want whatever the season, but there are definitely those products I find myself wearing more and more as the weather gets warmer.

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Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Unapologetic – £7.99

This range was launched last year and the colour unapologetic has been a firm favourite for me ever since. Coral is my favourite lip colour but I tend to shy away from it during the winter, favouring more vampy lips colours such as red and purple. But when the clouds start to clear and sun shows signs of shining, I go back to coral and this is definitely my most worn. It’s a bright coral, so one for lovers of a bold lip. Despite being a matte finish and really long lasting, the formula is really nourishing (probably down to the ‘Triple Butter Complex’) so no dry lips with this one. It’s worth mentioning the product has a mint scent (and I think the whole range does) which I personally love but I’ve heard some people can find that off-putting. To see it on the lips click here.

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Collection Cream Puff in Cotton Candy – £2.99

This is a more recent discovery for me when I tried out a few products from the brand (I posted a first impressions video on my You Tube channel) but I believe the range has been around for a while. The brand call these products lip creams on their website, and I think this is an accurate description. With a sweet scent as the name would suggest, it glides on really easily and feels ultra moisturising but dries to a matte finish. I’d describe the colour as a neutral pink, and think it’s perfect for day and night. Not as long lasting as your classic matte lipsticks but much more moisturising, this has definitely earned it’s place on my favourites list despite not being in my collection for very long. To see it on the lips click here.

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Tanya Burr Lip Gloss in Exotic Island – £6.99

If gloss is more your thing I can’t recommend this product highly enough. Tanya Burr released her make up range at the beginning of last year and I bought this one straight away. I have since added to my collection after loving this one so much, but exotic island is still my favourite. For a gloss, it’s highly pigmented. It’s also surprisingly ‘un-sticky’ and still has the usual gloss benefit of being easy to apply. I love the vibrancy of the colour and find it brightens up any make up look. Oh, and it smells like sweets! To see it on the lips click here.

If you have any favourite bargain lip products, do let me know in the comments below!