Thursday, 28 January 2016

5 Things To Boost Positivity (Cheer Up, Miserable Idiot)

So after a bit of a rough January, in which I lost my job and I just felt generally run down I figured I'd type up a post about how I've managed to turn it around and how you guys could too. Today's post is going to follow the well-being theme that I've recently been following so be sure to check out some of my most recent posts if you haven't already.

These tips are going to be fairly obvious but I just think we need to remind ourselves that we should do things like the ones I've listed to maintain good mental health. Of course, there's no magic recipe to a good mentality but by making a few simple changes you could at least feel a bit better about yourself.

  • Exercise! I've only been going to the gym for about three weeks now but since my lifestyle has been a bit more active I've felt much more awake and confident. I've always struggled to motivate myself for the gym but I think it's really just mind over matter. I actually enjoy it now.
  • Gain healthier eating habits! I just ate whatever was in or whatever took my fancy for quite some time, I think that was one of the reasons I was feeling so sluggish. To try and combat all these months of laziness I've been making sure I eat breakfast, I've been blending up a healthy smoothie for lunch and having a proper meal for dinner.
  • Make time for friends! Whilst I've been job hunting and searching for potential opportunities I've had much more time to hang out with my friends, when I was working 6am to 6pm. It was much harder to align our schedules when I had daft working hours and travel time to boot.
  • Invest time in your hobbies! My main hobby is blogging so I've been giving my blog a bit of a boost and typing up some lifestyle content, it's something I've struggled to do unless I've had a project like Blogmas. 
  • Try out adult colouring books! It's very therapeutic and it's something you can do away from home too, it makes travelling go by a bit quicker (not literally) and it's nice to just focus on the lines instead of any problems you may have. 

Well, thanks for reading! I hope you've enjoyed today's post, if you have any requests for future posts please don't hesitate to suggest them in the comments. Until next time, bye! 

Friday, 22 January 2016

My Fitness Program (Beginners Routine)

Hello everyone! So as my returning readers will already know, I'm putting a lot of energy into getting fit and healthy this year. It's not a NY resolution because those never get done, it's just something I want to do sort myself out.

I've been lazy when it comes to exercise, skincare, nutrition and general well-being for the past six months or so and I think now is probably a good time to kick those bad habits. Today's post is just going to be about my gym routine because it's a mix of what an instructor has told me and a little bit of my own doing. 

Now, I'm not the fittest person in the world so it hasn't been a hardcore regime but I'm improving and my routine will differ as I continue to get fitter. I would advise going to the gym rather than doing it at home or just running because the equipment is much more varied and there's always a professional on hand for advice. 

I always start off with cardio and then move onto stretching and weights, not heavy ones, just enough to tone me up! The first thing I go on is the cross-trainer for twenty minutes, I use it first because it's the one I dread the most and it just gets it out of the way. The upright bike is next, I either go on for twenty minutes or I split it up and do ten minutes and then go back to it later in the session.

From there I use the rower to improve my upper body strength a bit and to make sure I'm spreading out the effort I'm putting into different parts of my body. I don't actually mind the rower because I used to skive PE by sitting in the fitness room with a friend or two and doing some rowing. One thing I don't like, however, is the stepper. I do that after the rowing machine because by that time my lower half has had a little bit of a break and it does work different leg muscles to the ones used on the upright bike and the cross-trainer. 

I'm not going into the weights side of things too much because I don't put too much focus on that but I start with the leg press, move onto the two different abductor machines, and finally I use the vertical lift. 

To finish off the program I move onto the mats and do independent exercises. 

 These include:
  • 10 crunches
  • 10 lunges per leg
  • 30 second plank with feet together
  • 30 second plank with feet apart
  • 30 second bridge
  • Multiple stretches for my legs (including attempts at splits!)

As I said before, this is very much a beginners routine but I'm gradually getting fitter and I'm increasing the time I do each exercise by small amounts to help build it up. Thanks for reading today's post, let me know what you you guys do to stay fit in the comments below!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Healthy Breakfast Smoothie Recipe Ft. Pomegranate And Almond

Hello everyone! So today's post is just going to be a healthy recipe because I'm still attempting to get my backside into gear. Just in case you don't know, I'm making January super positive on my blog and writing posts about bettering myself. The previous post was about improving my skin throughout 2016, you can read it here.

Now I've gotten the rambling intro out of the way, I'm just going to get straight into it. For my breakfast this morning I just made a simple Greek yoghurt smoothie so I'm going to tell you what went into it and how it was made. I really enjoyed it the way it turned out but I will make suggestions for changes you could make. 

What you need:
  • A blender!
  • Low Fat Greek Style Yoghurt
  • Squeezy Honey
  • Almond (ground or flaked)
  • Pomegranate 

The base of the smoothie is Low Fat Greek Style Yoghurt, if you don't like Greek yoghurt you can always use something a little sweeter but the rest of the recipe kind of balances that out. I used half of the tub because I knew I was making it to fit my drinking jar. I just poured the yoghurt straight into the blender ready to add the other ingredients.

Of course, you can change the quantity of the ingredients depending on how many people are drinking the smoothie or the serving size but I just made this for myself.

For the next step you literally just have to plop the ingredients into the blender. You're going to need equal amounts of pomegranate and almond so that you can get the right sort of flavouring. 

Take half of a pomegranate and extract the seeds (or do what I do and get them pre-prepared!) and then match up the amount of almond you use. through trial and error I would say that ground almonds are better for this because it takes less time to blend. Also, if you use too much pomegranate the smoothie becomes gritty and the seeds settle at the bottom. 

The next part of the recipe is a way to sweeten up the Greek yoghurt, this part is optional but it really does change the flavour of the smoothie. Besides, it's kind of fun squeezing honey into the blender... Don't add too much but don't just add a tiny dollop. It beats using sugar or artificial sweetener anyway because the smoothie needs something to make it a little more sweet.

If you can find squeezy Manuka honey then use that stuff because it has more healing properties but if not you can just use whatever. I think Manuka honey has a slightly stronger taste to it as well so if you're wanting a slightly stronger flavour it's a great option. If you're not bothered about it being healthy you could use syrup or runny treacle but the treacle may be a bit of a nuisance as it's stickier.

All that's left to do now is just close the lid on the blender and blend the smoothie on the highest setting for a minute or two, you should attempt to get the mixture as smooth and not gritty as possible. My mixture was a little thin because I wanted to be able to use a straw so it's really just all about preference. 

It should look like the image to the left by the time you're finished. If you want something a little thicker and a bit more filling you can go back and add a small cup of oats or some flaxseeds/chia seeds.

Anddddd... We're done for this post! I hope you guys have enjoyed this one, I might be adding a few more recipes to my blog over the next week or two. As always this has been one part information and three parts rambling but I've been healthy so it's all good!

Well, thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you want to try it or if you have any smoothie ideas for me. Bye!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Better Skin For 2016 Ft. Eloquence Skincare

So we're well into January now and as I mentioned in my prior two posts, I'm using this year as a springboard to get my backside into gear. This whole 2016 betterness thing involves fitness, skin, career... EVERYTHING!

Today's post is about skincare, more specifically that of Eloquence as they were kind enough to send me their full regime! I tried it out over Christmas as I was feeling a little low and I've been quite impressed so far. The set includes cleanser, serum, eye gel, cream and oil so it really is the full skincare regime. 

They use something called Sacha Inchi Oil which is extracted from seeds in Peru. I'd never actually heard of the stuff before I was introduced to the brand so understandably I was curious. I'm not going to got too far into the specifics about the oil but the Eloquence website has a tonne of information about its origins

I'm not going to lie, because all of the products include the oil it did kind of make my face feel quite oily but if you can power through that, the benefits outweigh that. It does eventually sink in but if you're in a rush it may be a good idea to skip a few steps.

In particular, the treatment oils is mainly a pamper product as you can massage it over your nails to strengthen them, you can add it to your hair or you could just rub it in like a moisturiser. It's a multiple purpose item so it's a great investment product, you can quite literally use it for everything. 

The rest of the products just work really well together which is obviously point as this collection was made to be used as a full routine. That makes it easier for me because I get super confused when it comes to putting together a full regime, there are too many products out there right now!

Well, that's it for today, I hope you guys have enjoyed this post. I just want to say a big thank you to Jayne from Kitsch Inc for setting up this blogger to brand collaboration. As a disclosure I just want to say that I wasn't paid for this post, I was just provided with the products! Thanks for reading.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Getting Fit (AKA, The One Where I Get A Personality Transplant)

Hello everyone! As promised, today's post is all about my little fitness kick that I'm working through right now. I'm blaming Leanne because she went skating with me but really I should be thanking her! I've since joined the gym and I've pushed myself to go all week and uh... I'm starting to enjoy it.

When I was in secondary school I avoided anything to do with fitness, I skived off and made excuses. My PE teacher told me that I'd regret it and I was like "yeah right!"... Now I'm 20 I've started to feel a little ashamed about how unfit I am so I've finally taken up the free gym membership I've had for months!


Of course, a few other things contributed to my sudden interest in the gym; lack of confidence, how unfit I am and losing my job. I guess it's just about time to kick my backside into gear. I'm hoping that this time I'm really going to stick to it and get fit, this isn't my first attempt.

My first step was probably buying some gym gear, I bought three new sports bras from Primark's fitness range. I think that as woman it's one of those things that can put people off going to the gym, I used to feel self conscious about my chest at the gym so feeling comfortable makes a big difference.

One of the staff members at the gym has put together a program for me to try out over the next six weeks so watch this space, yeah? It's inclusive of cardio, weights and tonal exercises so I should build up my overall fitness level.

As I mentioned before, Leanne has been taking me skating so that's another thing I've been doing for a bit of variety. She's been helping me on the ice with a few moves because I'm hopeless and she's trained.

We're planning on doing yoga on Sunday so I'll probably mention that next week too! Well, providing that we end up doing yoga because she's pretty busy with uni work.

I think that's enough about my fitness kick for the moment, I'll be giving you guys the odd update and I might even post my new fitness program at some point. Thanks for reading anyway, if you have any tips or ideas please leave them in the comments page!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

"I'm Super Unorganised... So How Do I Plan My Blog?"

Ask anyone who knows me, they'll tell you how unorganised I've been over the years. My main saving grace is that if I set myself a goal I can get things done but it has to be self-motivated. If you don't want to do it then it's pointless, running a blog has to be something you enjoy.

I've recently set myself the goal of posting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the occasional Sunday piece. I think if there's a day to day plan to set posts for it's much easier as you can, or rather I can start thinking of themes and series. 

Once I get into the blogging mindset I can type up post after post after post and I don't even need to take a break really because I just love getting to be creative. Funnily enough, that's the driving force behind the fact that I'm about to start looking for freelance content creation work!

Well, now that the into is over and done with I should probably list off a few tips for running a blog for those of you who are either super busy or not at all organised.

  • Keep a planner or diary handy! It means you'll spot your planner in your bag and it'll remind you about the planning side of your blog, I tend to think of random ideas so I jot them down as and when I think of them. 
  • "Wait, Aymie... I have a phone, can't I just add it onto a memo or note page?" I prefer to write them down because it makes me think about what I'm writing and I get extra ideas as I'm scrawling it down... You can just put them in your phone though. "Short answer? Yes."
  • Find out when other bloggers in your niche are posting, it's best if you find a gap and post when people are online but when it's not an optimum time for it because any sharing messages may get lost in the masses!
  • Create a marketing strategy and put together sets of themed posts to keep in-line with the campaign, I find that it's a good form of motivation actually because I get so into what I'm writing it becomes easy to finish the series.
  • Mood boards and Pinterest are also great for planning as it means you won't fall behind with ideas, it's a good preventative measure against writers block! Aim to create a mood board or put together a board on Pinterest at least once a week to inspire throughout the theme of the week!

Speaking of themes, Friday's post will be about my latest attempt at regular exercise so that should be an interesting one. The next theme is 'Bettering Myself For 2016', this post is part of it as I plan to be on the ball for this blog.

Thanks for reading this post, I hope it's helped you guys! Let me know what you think in the comments and if you have any of your tips... Please share!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Skinnydip Mermaid Bag And #NOTD

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend because I certainly did! Today's post is mermaid themed because I spotted the bag that matches my current phone case and thought why not? 

Despite being out of my teen years, I'm essentially a big child. My nine year old sister was never into Disney princesses, she preferred the films centered around animals so I'm the one that forces people to watch Disney in my house. This may seem a little off topic because I've just suddenly started randomly going on about Disney but my mermaid obsession started with The Little Mermaid. I grew up wanting to be Ariel and as a twenty year old I still haven't quite passed that phase...

My nails of the day are based on Ariel, I have the pastel purple feature nails to represent the shell bra and the sleek seaweed green to represent her tail. The glitter coat was added to the feature nails to make them more suitable for the look as I wasn't keen on the block pastel against the shimmery green polish. 

The green polish was from Claire's, I still love their chip resistant stuff but this one is a fairly old one so you may need to seek out an alternative. The pastel shade is Go Wild-Er-Ness from Rita Ora's Rimmel collection, I bought it for my holiday in Majorca last year and I always think it works better as polish for a feature nail or two. As for the Glitter top coat, it's Diamond Glitter from Barry M.

Now onto the bit I'm fairly sure you're here for, the 'Skinnydip Mermaid Shell Across Body Bag in Silver'. It's a faux leather bag that can either be used as a clutch or an across the body bag, both ways I'm appreciative of.

I fell in love with it the moment I saw it, I've been wanting one like this for ages because it just fits in with my strange style so well. I'll wear it with dresses for nights out, for work and to meet up with friends so whilst it was £30 it was very much an investment piece. 

I mentioned earlier in the post that I have a phone case to match so I might as well add it onto this post! It got the phone case in the 'Skinnydip London x Birchbox Collaboration', I blogged about it so you can see what else was included in that box if you like. 

On that note, I'm just going to tie off this post now or I could just type up about all of the random mermaid items I have lying around. It's getting to be a bit of a problem! Well, thanks for reading today's post. Watch this space for the next post on Wednesday if you want to see another style post, this one has been a blast!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Creepiest App Ever?!

Hey guys, today's post is a little weird but I know that a lot of you guys use photo editing apps for Instagram. I've recently been trying out YouCam, more specifically the Beautify feature.

Your skin looks a little oily? There's a feature for that. You have a blemish or two? There's a feature for that... Actually, there's quite a few features. The one that I want to talk about is their smile feature. If someone's being miserable or your smile looks small and awkward you can just turn up the smile feature and hey presto, you look like a creepy weirdo.

The image to the right is an example of me overusing the features a little, I overdid the skin perfecting thing and I pretty much got rid of my nose. Voldemort-esque or what? Of course I realised my mistake and tried to enhance my nose but I ended up making only one nostril stand out. Plain old weird.

I mean, I still used the image because my eyes looked cool but I certainly realised that I looked like a deranged person. I think that this app certainly takes a lot of trial and error, if not it's just a comedy app because I have laughed at every single one that I've edited. 

Believe it or not, this one is the most normal that I've managed to create with the app so far. It was for a makeup post I did for Halloween but it never made the final cut because I ended up redoing my makeup to make my skin look super white with face paint. 

I'm curious, anyway, are there any apps that any of you use to easily edit photos on your phone? If you have one that you swear by just please leave a comment because I'd love to check out some more apps. Well, thanks for reading this post. I hope you've enjoyed seeing my face all crazy and scary because I enjoyed the write-up for this one. 

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Soap & Glory, The Whole She-Bang!

Hello everyone! As promised, today's post is about Soap & Glory's amazing Limited Edition set 'The Whole She-Bang!' since I couldn't help myself when I popped into Boots for my gran. I only went in for toothpaste and cough medicine but this was just cleverly placed near the till so I was swayed. I'm an impulse buyer more than anything.

The set includes quite a few items that I, personally, wanted to try and since it was £25 down from £60 it would have been stupid to ignore it really. It saves buying the items separately throughout the year anyway! 

The set comes with nine full size products and a gorgeous bag rather than a wasteful box, it's practical and it's a bargain! I don't tend to buy a lot of Soap & Glory products, not because I don't like them, just because they're more of a birthday/Christmas thing for me. I get a lot of them as gifts and then they just last me ages so I don't really have to re-buy that often. Anyway, I'll stop jabbering on and I'll just tell you all what you get when you buy 'The Whole She-Bang' set.

Contents:

  • Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Gloss
  • Thick & Fast High-Definition Collagen-Coat Mascara
  • Peaches & Clean 4-in-1 Wash Off Deep Cleansing Milk
  • Clean On Me Creamy Moisture Shower Gel
  • The Righteous Butter
  • The Righteous Butter Instant Sunkissed Tint Body Lotion
  • The Scrub Of Your Life
  • Heel Genius Amazing Foot Cream
  • Hand Food
Andddddd that's what's in 'The Whole She-Bang' set. Let me know which of their products you particularly want to try and which you're already in love with in the comments. Thank you so much for reading!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Auckland Castle (Skating And Tour)

Hello everyone! So the temporary skating rink at Auckland Castle (Bishop) was taken away on Sunday and I got there the day before to experience a plastic rink for the first time. It had been open since the 20th of November for over the festive period but as with all good things, it has just came to an end.

The temporary rinks are placed all the way up and down the country and switch places every once in a while. This is the first year that I've bothered with a plastic rink because I'm usually busy at this time but since Saturday is one of my two days off I decided to pop over to Bishop with Leanne to check it out.

Leanne has skated for about seven years now and I've attempted it a few times over the years, I will say though, don't try to do anything overly complex on the plastic rink slabs as the cracks in between can get loose and bad weather can make the rink uneven.

We had a few laughs and we spent a lot of time chatting, I think we'll be visiting a proper ice rink fairly soon if we can get our schedules to align. We always have the timing issue because we have such different lives now, it's not the same as when we were in school!

Anyway, after skating we had a look around the castle because it was free with the skating and we're both history nerds. We actually ended up getting a bit of a history lesson from someone who works at the castle. We kind of got accosted as we were walking through the archway, helpful but we both got a bit confused. 

It turns out that the north east of England has caused a lot of trouble in the past. Then again, for the most part we still cause trouble but we haven't slaughtered hundred of soldiers so we're sweet compared to that. For more information you should pay the castle a visit, it's full of information and history.

The stained glass windows weren't the originals but they were replaced quite some time ago. What I found fascinating, however, was the ceiling which was covered in family coates of arms and the town coates of arms. It was all in perfect detail too, they must renovate and repair the panels fairly often.

Well, thanks for reading today's post. It was a fun day so it's nice to actually share some of the things that I got on with over the weekend. Hopefully I'll get a chance to write more posts like this but I guess it just depends on how things pan out over the next few months.

Friday, 1 January 2016

I'm Free As A Bird!

Well, Blogmas is over! It's been gruelling at times but fun too, it's definitely kept me on my toes. It's a real struggle to post every single day and most bloggers will tell you that. Then again, it's given me the motivation to keep my blog updated all the way throughout the month. It just proves that if you are dedicated to something then it will happen, there's no excuse!

Saying that, my new years resolution to get fit and healthy probably won't be particularly prosperous for me because I've added that one to the list every year since I turned fifteen. 

Since Blogmas is finished I figured I'd list a few of my favourite posts from my project this year. I hope you guys agree because I have been quite proud of some of them this year.
  • Day five brought a Festive Lush Haul in which a reviewed a number of the Christmas edition bath bombs. You've gotta love a bit of Lush!
  • Day six showed you how my house was festively decorated, I really quite liked how it was decorated this year because it all seemed so coordinated and homely.
  • Day ten was all about Mane n Tail haircare as I was sent a few products after proclaiming my love for the brand over Twitter. Gosh, I love that stuff.
  • Day eleven was a guest post from Tamara Ali, it featured a DIY Christmas tree idea which turned out pretty damn good.
  • Day thirteen was my collaboration with Nouveau Lashes as part of their Lash Gang. I got individual lash extensions at a local salon as part of their #UltimateLashSelfie campaign.
  • Day twenty three recollected my first ever office work party which was a meal at Cena in Yarm with the Secret Santa as an extra feature for the post.
  • Day twenty eight is on this list because... Gingerbread, just gingerbread. My mum and dad got me a gingerbread house building kit for Christmas... Awesome.
  • Day thirty one is possibly my favourite post from Blogmas because it gave me a chance to reflect on the year and put together some goals.
Well, I hope you guys have enjoyed this post. Let me know which post you prefer in the comments, it would be much appreciated as I'd know hat sort of content to create in the future.