The Quest for my Perfect Smile

There any many things I wish I had been better at in my 20’s. Taking my make up off every night (no matter how many cocktails had been consumed!), saving money, even considering my career more carefully. Perhaps those subjects can be addressed in future blog posts. But another area I probably neglected was dental care. It’s hardly the most glamorous side of beauty but OMG is it important. To state the obvious, you only get one set of (adult) teeth. Not only are there massive health implications of not caring for your mouth but cosmetic and financial too (even NHS charges for dental work can be astronomical!) So when Sensodyne contacted me offering to make me part of their Pronamel campaign it inspired me to share the steps I take in my quest to keep my smile healthy (and mine is far from perfect, so it is a work in progress still!)

pronamel1pronamel2
Brush, floss and use mouthwash daily.

Hardly revolutionary I know. But the choice of products is really important to me now. Gone are the days when I simply buy the cheapest option available and now I pay attention to the ingredients and benefits of the product just as I would with skincare. I reviewed a toothbrush a while back (here) and am still using this now (having replaced it 3 monthly of course!) The Pronamel products sent to me by Sensodyne have also been added to my list of favourites and I have repurchased them multiple times. The mouthwash is the first one I’ve used that doesn’t make my gums feel like they are on fire while still feeling effective and tasting minty fresh. As for the toothpaste, it is the first one I’ve used for sensitive teeth that actually tastes decent and doesn’t feel like you are brushing your teeth with powder. The enamel protecting formula clearly works too as at a recent trip to the dentist I was complimented on my enamel!

pexels-photo-305564.jpg

6 monthly dentist appointments.

Yawn right?! But if you want your teeth to look good when you do yawn, that is how often you need to go! My dental practice now allows you to book appointments six months in advance meaning I can make my next appointment each time I visit, and pop it in my iPhone diary so that I don’t forget to turn up!

pexels-photo-88745.jpg

Use straws!

Even supposedly healthy drinks can damage your enamel and so many have the tendency to stain. Now, I have not researched to see if using a straw to drink from definitely helps but it seems logical right? I’ve even been known to sip coffee through a straw (be careful with this one though!) but generally I use this method for drinking fruit juices and smoothies.

pexels-photo-196913

Look after your lips.

Because your smile is not just about your teeth. I’ve spoken about my favourite lip care products countless times on my YouTube channel and here on the blog but here’s a quick reminder. The ELF lip exfoliator is the best I have found for the price and smells amazing. When it comes to lip balm and treatments I recommend a lanolin based formula, especially for those with dry and sensitive skin. My favourite are Dr Lipp and Lanolips.

dsc00654e

Flattering make up products.

It’s well known in the beauty world that a blue toned red lip colour does wonders for making your teeth look whiter.  Favourites in my collection include Mac Ruby Woo (a classic) and Elizabeth Arden Red Door Red (also a classic).

Advertisements

Gym Wear Wish List 2017

wishlistgym.jpg

With all the retailers jumping on the January bandwagon for fitness, it has been a great time to shop (or window shop!) for gym fans. So today I am sharing my top picks from the workout wear that has caught my eye this month…

Ivy Park Logo Crew Neck Sweatshirt – £28

Cover ups are just as important as what is underneath! And I don’t just mean in terms of style, I need something warm to cover up with when leaving the gym and getting hit by the cold winter air. I love the quality of Ivy Park gear since first trying the brand when it launched (first impressions can be found on my YouTube channel here) and this dark grey colour will go with (almost) everything in my work out wardrobe.

Victoria’s Secret Incredible Sport Front Close Bra – £33.18

I own a couple of Sports bras from the brand already, and the high impact ones are excellent for keeping everything in place while remaining comfortable! Even better, this front closing option means you don’t have to be a contortionist to get in and out of it. Surprisingly great size range too (32A – 40DDD). Worth every penny.

Red Herring Teal Racer Back Vest – £16

I love a slogan on my gym tops to keep me motivated and this teal colour has me longing for spring. The unusual racer back also gives it an added edge making it great value for money.

Nike Metcon 3iD Customisable Trainers – £135

Yep, you read that right these trainers are customisable. There are countless options to make them personal to you and I spent ages on the website choosing this pair! You can chose the colour, patterns, laces and even add logos and initials. Nike are by far the most comfortable trainers I can find (I have three pairs already!) so all things considered the price is totally justified.

Sweaty Betty Navasana Mesh Crop Leggings – £65

Mesh flooded the work out wear market last year and it looks set to stay. I can see why, as the mesh not only adds to the style but is functional too – allowing for more breathing space during a sweaty session. The geometric pattern on this Sweaty Betty pair are also bound to be super flattering.

 

 

NEW Corsodyl Daily Toothbrush

dsc00593e

Gum health. Not quite as glamorous as beauty blogging or some other areas of health blogging I know. Yet, we only get one set of adult teeth so I reckon we ought to pay as  much attention to our dental routine as we do to our other beauty routines. If you follow my blog and YouTube channel you will be familiar with (aka bored of) the fact that I have sensitive skin. Well guess what, my gums are sensitive too! I’ve found I haven’t got on very well with electric toothbrushes in the past, and I find it difficult to find a manual toothbrush that is both effective and gentle enough for my delicate gums!

So, when I was offered the chance to try the new Corsodyl Daily Toothbrush I was willing to give it a go but wasn’t expecting anything special. I’m happy to say I was pleasantly surprised. Correction. Very impressed! So much so that I went out and bought another so that my husband could have one too!

dsc00595edsc00597e

Corsodyl recommends selecting a toothbrush with a small head, and easy grip handle. The Daily Toothbrush has both of these perks. I thought the bulky looking handle might not be for me but it actually makes it easy to keep a hold of when brushing your teeth. They also claim the added perk of this toothbrush is the dual length bristles. This is the main selling point for me. It’s one of those ‘you will see what I mean when you try it’ situations but the longer outer bristles are soft and therefore gentle, but ensure the tooth is cleaned right up to the gum line, adapting to different tooth shapes. The shorter outer bristles seem slightly less soft to me and therefore do the harder work. I don’t think I have ever thought about teeth cleaning in so much detail before! The upshot is, this toothbrush does not irritate my gums but leaves my teeth feeling really clean. I’ve never been loyal to a particular toothbrush before but see myself repurchasing this one (after 3 months if I am to follow my dentist’s advice!).

The Corsodyl Daily Toothbrush retails for £3.49. I managed to get my husband’s one on offer in Asda for only £2.

 

 

 

 

This content is not sponsored. I received the initial Corsodyl Daily Toothbrush as a PR sample.

The only way to drink water!

dsc00605eI’m keen on exercise and in the past found myself going through bottles of mineral water like nobody’s business. Not only was that expensive, but terrible for the environment. I then moved on to reusable plastic bottles. I found these prone to staining and they usually left an unusual taste in my mouth. Worse, more often than not they fell apart in the dishwasher – not great for this un domestic goddess!! Then two months ago, glass water bottles with silicone sleeves (catchy, I know) walked into my life. I’ve been using this for the gym, exercise classes, at home and at work and I’m converted! This one is by the brand Apana, which appears to be mainly available in the US, but I picked this up in TK Maxx for just a tenner. There are plenty of alternatives available on Amazon too. Read on to find out why I fell in love.

The water really does taste better – honestly it does! Fresher and it also stays cool for longer. I don’t think this is a placebo effect either. If you search BPA and phthalates (commonly found in plastic containers) there is certainly opinion out there that these can change the taste and quality of the water contained in them.

It’s (almost) indestructible – I’ve put this through the dishwasher almost every day and it looks as good as new.

Great for the clumsy ones among us – The silicone sleeve gives it amazing grip meaning even the more accident prone (that’s me!) will find it difficult to drop.

Looks as good as it performs – I don’t think I’ve ever had compliments on a water bottle before! So many people have asked me where I found it before rushing off to TK Maxx to get themselves one!

If I had to offer a down side, the bottles are naturally more heavy than their plastic counter parts so may not be ideal for some types of exercising including road running.

Ladival Sun Protection for Sensitive Skin

DSC00560e

Two days before my recent holiday to the Canary Islands I wandered into Boots for a few last minute purchases including sun protection. I’m no sun worshiper and having learnt the hard way (painful burns) and wised up to the dangers of sunbathing I now avoid it. Unless I’m swimming or involved in some kind of day time activity, you will find me in a shady spot reading a good book (or the occasional trashy novel!) instead. Having been blessed/cursed with fair, freckly skin that is prone to multiple dermatological complaints including eczema, dermatitis and keratosis pilaris, my choice of SPF has to be a careful one, especially as once the temperature soars you can add prickly heat to that list. I’ve previously written about my tried and tested tips for dealing with prickly heat (here) and my breakthrough in realising there are ingredients I should avoid when selecting sun protection (more details in the prickly heat post). This led me to Eucerin as my brand of choice last year but on this particular trip to Boots a different product caught my eye. Ladival not only ticked the boxes for ingredients but was cheaper and on offer. Having used it for two weeks, here are my thoughts including a comparison to the Eucerin products I fell in love with last year…

Like Eucerin the sun protection from Ladival contains no mineral oils or petrolatum (ingredients that trap heat under your skin making certain skin problems including prickly heat more likely to occur). Even better, it contains no perfume or fragrance (some of the Eucerin products do but it is the last ingredient on the list so the amount is negligible). This means the Ladival creams have what I would describe as a slightly clinical smell, although not unpleasant and very subtle. One of the ingredients is titanium, intended to reflect and filter harmful rays. This means the creams, especially the factor 50, tend to leave a ‘white cast’ on your skin which might be off putting to some, but I don’t mind adding reflective skin to my poolside look which otherwise consists of frizzy hair and uneven eyebrows!

The creams are easy to apply, the factor 30 more so than the 50 due to its lighter formula. Both factors need a good shake before use (which is recommended on the bottles) otherwise it tends to flake a bit but if properly mixed this didn’t occur. Once absorbed you don’t feel like you have anything on your skin, which could be a positive or negative attribute depending on your point of view, but I just use a systematic approach to make sure I didn’t miss any patches of skin. I applied this very liberally and didn’t suffer any break outs on the face or body, so it didn’t seem to clog my pores, although it’s worth noting I’m not typically prone to spots. One huge advantage the Ladival has is that I found it far less likely to stain clothes compared to the Eucerin products.

So the big question, what about prickly heat? I still developed it; I’ve never been to a climate warmer than the UK and escaped it completely. However it was far less widespread or severe, and settled down far quicker than previous trips abroad. Overall, I’m pleased as punch with both these brands and will use either for my ongoing sun protection at home or abroad – the best special offer is likely to swing it for me when I next need to stock up!

I bought the SPF 50 and SPF 30 in 200 ml bottles for £13.50 each, on a ‘buy one get one half price’ offer.

Do you have a favourite sun care brand for sensitive skin? I’d love to hear about it in the comments…

3 Guilt Free Nandos Options

DSC00293e

You have probably noticed Nandos has a bit of a cult following. I definitely consider myself one of it’s loyal devotees! In fact (and don’t judge me) we have coined the phrase ‘Nandos Wednesdays’ in our household which is exactly how it sounds – on Wednesdays we eat at Nandos! However, we reserve our treat meals for weekends and even though we eat at this restaurant almost every week, we go straight from the gym so still want remain conscious of the nutritional value of our choices. Seeing as we created ‘Nandos Wednesdays’ almost a year ago I have managed to work my way through a lot of the menu and now have a few favourite combinations that both taste good and fit into my weekday healthier eating habits. Read on if you want to know what they are! All nutritional values listed are calculated using information from the Nandos webiste.

(One last thing before you read on. I realise ‘guilt free’ may be a bit of a stretch! As explained in my ‘about me‘ page, I don’t claim to be an expert on anything so am not a qualified nutritionist or anything of the sort. But what I do know is that these choices are far better for me than my favourite ‘treat’ meal at Nandos; Burger, chips and garlic bread!)

DSC00296e

Chicken Butterfly, Macho Peas & Chargrilled Veg

The chicken butterfly is a great choice for those who prefer not to eat their chicken on the bone. It is also big enough so that when you add the two vegetable based sides the meal still leaves me satisfyingly full and I am pleased to have got two of my five-a-day in!

Calories 573 kcal

Fat 22.5 g

Protein 66.6 g

Carbs 21.9 g

DSC00469e

Quinoa Salad with Chicken

Salad at Nando’s?? I know but trust me this is a good one. It also has to be said that it tastes far better than it looks! The quinoa, sweet potato and avocado make this tasty as well as filling so I am never disappointed when I order this.

Calories 509 kcal

Fat 22.7 g

Protein 42.7 g

Carbs 36.9 g

DSC00297e

Chicken Butterfly, Corn on the Cob and Sweet Potato Mash

I know – a second choice with the chicken butterfly but it really is my favourite chicken main on the whole menu! I wasn’t always a fan of corn on the cob but the sweetness of this side goes well with the Peri Peri sauce, and I find it takes me a long time to eat giving me the chance to get more full. And you can’t order sweetcorn without mashed potato, but the sweet potato option makes it a healthier choice.

Calories 702 kcal

Fat 15.8 g

Protein 67.3 g

Carbs 67.6 g

If you have any of your own favourite Nando’s combinations let me know in the comments!

4 Motivation Tips – to get you to the gym!

DSC00343e

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 🙂