Friday, 27 April 2018

My Journey with Intermittent Fasting

Firstly, let me credit this post to the beautiful Sian from Quite Frankly She Said, who introduced me to the concept of intermittent fasting back in January and goes into the "diet" in far more detail on her blog. Secondly, I'm obviously not advising that this will work for everyone and I'm not a dietician or nutritionist - I'm simply sharing what has worked for me. Thirdly, no I don't have any before and after photos because it's recently occurred to me that nobody ever took photos of me before Keiran and so you'll have to put up with these two instead of "afters".

Intermittent Fasting is basically when you fast for a certain amount of time each day, until your body reaches the fasting state and your body uses fat for fuel as opposed to food. As per Sian's post, I use the 16:8 method where I don't eat for 16 hours out of the day. Most days I tend to do this naturally anyway really, we have dinner with Sophie usually at around 6.30pm and I've found since starting intermittent fasting, I've not actually felt hungry any later than that. Getting ready in the morning with a toddler is like an Olympic sport and whilst she's eating her breakfast I'm usually in the shower or getting dressed which leaves me busy until 8.30am when I get to work. By the time I've done all of my urgent jobs first thing in the morning - I only have another hour or so to kill until my 16 hours are up. This is just the timings that work for me however, I know Sian does it differently and I'm sure a different time frame may work for you too.

One of the biggest things that Intermittent fasting has changed is my attitude towards snacking. I don't know about you but I used to snack most during the evening when I was just sat in front of the sofa, or I'd grab a kitkat for "breakfast" on the way out of the door. So both of those times are eradicated because they're not in my eating window and the rest of the time I seem to be far more conscious about whether I'm actually hungry or just wanting to eat because I'm bored. Obviously you have to be mindful of everything you're eating, you can't get to 10.30am and devour seven burgers each day and still hope to lose weight.

I've lost around a stone and a half in total since last November, although in fairness I lost a stone of that through plain not eating during my breakup and then put half of it back on after Christmas. So in total I've lost a stone since trying this method. I've done no exercise whatsoever really to accompany this and I still eat pretty much the same foods as I did before, just the junk in more moderation and no snacking in between. I'm not going to post my food diary as I'm a really fussy eater and I don't consider what I eat to be healthy. I've also had plenty of days where I've caved and had something sugary to eat or drink before 10.30am, but I try to forget about these the next day and start a fresh - which is one of the great things about intermittent fasting! The other rule that I bend is that if I do eat later than 6.30pm, I still start eating again at 10.30am if I feel hungry. I don't want to feel like I'm starving my body so even if I last ate at 8.30pm the night before, if 10.30am comes around and I'm starting to feel ravenous - then I'll eat.

I've found that Intermittent Fasting is flexible enough for me, the fussy eater who doesn't like to deprive herself, but has still shown me huge results in a relatively short space of time. It's also changed the way I look at food and my portion sizes are back under control too. I wasn't setting a healthy example to Sophie by eating rubbish first thing in the morning and it was only getting more difficult to explain to a toddler why I've got chocolate but she has to have a banana so to me, this works. I don't find that I'm sat at my desk thinking about all of the foods I can't have, I'm not counting calories and I can go to a restaurant and order whatever I like without feeling guilty!

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Monday, 23 April 2018

Origins GinZing Collection

I'm quite lucky that my skin is fairly "normal" in that it doesn't get particularly greasy or dry and I only suffer from the odd breakout which is usually hormonal, stress or because of my diet. Whilst that certainly is a blessing it also meant that I was never sure what moisturiser I should be using. I don't really want one to do anything other than put a touch of moisture into my skin without taking ages to sink in or leave me feeling greasy.

I went to my local Origins counter for some advice way back before I was even pregnant as I was getting bumps under the skin on my forehead. The lady there advised it was because I was using E45 as moisturiser which was far too heavy and my skin couldn't breathe (oops!). People have raved about the Origins GinZing range for as long as I can remember, in particular the eye cream but I'll come on to that in a second. It's claimed to give you skin a boost to banish that tired, dull look that every other mum out there knows all too well and offer you moisture whilst still being light and refreshing. Origins were running a special promotion at the time whereby I got 75mls for not much more than the 50ml pot and so I invested in my first ever "high end" moisturiser!

Needless to say, as I'm writing this post nearly 3 years on - I've never looked back. I've toyed with the odd PR Sample and sometimes wonder if I need something more heavy duty in the winter months but all in all, the Origins GinZing moisturiser has served me very well. It's exactly what I wanted, I just dab my finger to get less than a pea-sized amount for each cheek and my forehead and it's soaked into my skin before I even reach for my eye cream. It gives me a nice little boost but means I can crack on with the rest of my beauty routine nice and quickly.

The eye cream, I really wanted to love, but it just wasn't enough for me. You'd think as a tired Mum of a toddler I'd be all over anything to make my eyes look more refreshed but I just don't think it was rich enough for my needs. I've noticed the skin around my eyes starting to thin slightly and I need something a little more heavy duty.

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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation

I think that foundation is my favourite part of my makeup routine, it's the thing that I invest the most money in and if my foundation isn't right then I might as well not wear anything else on my face. I don't think that my skin is particularly bad but for some reason I don't feel confident if I don't wear a medium to full coverage foundation. I like my complexion to look as flawless as possible and so I spent months desperate to try the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation.

As I said previously, I invest more money in my foundation than anything else - so nothing annoys me more than ordering online and getting the wrong shade. I also want the experience of buying a High End Foundation rather than just placing an order online and hoping for the best. So when I was invited to London one day last year, I decided to go the whole hog and had a Charlotte Tilbury makeover. The experience was lovely, and if you're planning on spending £35 or more in store then I'd highly recommend you purchase on as the cost is redeemable against any purchased you make and you get to try out so many more products at the same time.

The foundation itself definitely lived up to expectations - I've actually used it all up now and even scraped the inside out to get every last drop. It's £32 which is on the higher end of foundation prices for me but definitely not the most I've ever paid. Plus the packaging is super luxurious - a frosted glass bottle and the gold lid just look beautiful on my dressing table. This lasted me a long time too, I promised myself that I'd save it for special occasions but quickly fell in love and nothing else seemed to compare. I've applied this with both a brush and a sponge and in my opinion the sponge performs better. It creates a flawless base, it's not as dewy as I'd normally like but offers amazing coverage and I'm aware that you can't really have both!

It's a medium to full coverage if you ask me, with the first application you can create a good base which still looks natural, paired with a light dusting of blush and a slick of mascara you can create the perfect "no makeup, makeup" look. I like my foundations to be versatile and so it's important that I can feel comfortable wearing it with or without the rest of my makeup on days where I'm running short of time. Another layer and it builds to give you a flawless base ready to contour, highlight and sculpt the living daylights out of.

Would I repurchase this foundation? Most certainly I would! The reason that I haven't is I've started to fake tan religiously and so I'm unsure what colour I'd need now. I also live in the middle of nowhere and my nearest counter is well over an hour away - and as I've said before, I don't like to take chances on ordering foundation online. That being said the Charlotte Tilbury website does show the foundation on actual models and is really useful for selecting your shade if you're not as dubious as I am!

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Monday, 9 April 2018

Finding my inner Rachel Zane...

Photo Credit:
 The other day I was offered something pretty special to me, and that's my first sponsored post in collaboration with Panasonic, in particular the Panasonic 4KTV. This landed in my inbox as I was daydreaming about what sort of posts I wanted to write now that I was back blogging, I don't want this to become a "Single Mum" blog and I've always asked myself how I can incorporate my career into my blog, so this was really perfect timing and thank you so much for Panasonic for inspiring and sponsoring this post.

Have you ever watched a TV Programme and it's completely changed your attitude, either towards yourself or even another person? I'll admit that the main reason I started to watch the hit US show "Suits" was because of Meghan Markle playing Rachel Zane, but after the first episode I was absolutely hooked. I've binged watch Suits over the last month or so, and I have to say I've noticed myself changing as a result. The female leads within the show are so strong and sure of themselves and it's by far the thing that has kept me interested.

I too work in a male dominated environment, a car dealership, I'm the only Marketing Executive and I mainly work alongside a team of men. So there are a lot of similarities between my real life struggles, to be taken seriously, to be heard and to allowed to be ambitious - and the show. Seeing Rachel boss her way into Law School and achieve her dream of becoming a Lawyer spurred me on to start my degree level qualification in Marketing. It's going to be tough and mean some long nights of studying but I deserve that qualification and I know I'm worthy of it.

Watching Donna dominate the male leads and in turn the Name Partners of a major Law Firm has made me a little bit more sassy myself! I find that I've been standing up for myself a lot more recently, I know that my voice is worthy of being heard and no matter what my gender or my title, I'm employed because I'm good at my job and my contributions are valuable. I landed myself an extra day at work now that Sophie is that bit older and I fought to be given an extra line of responsibility to which I was told yes!

This post may look like I'm portraying my company really badly, but one of the biggest things I've noticed is the parallel between Harvey and my own Manager. He gives Donna free reign to do what she does best, he trusts her and her opinion hugely and you can tell that she is valuable beyond measure. My boss makes me feel like that, and I can't tell you how grateful I am for it. I'm a young woman in a male environment, the only relevant qualifications I have are ones that I've gained since being there and he took me back after I left years ago. I'm not naming him, but I owe a lot to him, as Donna does to Harvey.

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Friday, 6 April 2018

Two Years of Sophie Charlotte

 Sophie Charlotte you are so very almost two, just four more days until your Birthday and whilst half of me can't believe how quickly the time's gone - the other half can't really remember what life was like before you. I often find myself wondering why my childless self actually get out of bed of weekend, what motivated me to achieve that next career goal or payrise - because you are my motivation for everything I do now.

I'm not going to ramble on about her developmental milestones because she's ticked all of the boxes that a child "should" do between age One and Two. She's a walking, talking, independent little sass machine and I couldn't be more proud of her. Next Wednesday, the day after her second birthday, we're going to see a Pre-School as she's so darn intelligent and I'm terrified of that being stifled so I think she's more than ready.

Sophie's second year of life has been full of happy memories but also had some challenges. Her Dad and I are no longer together, a choice that was mine but the feeling was mutual, and Sophie has adapted so well. She loves going to her Dad's equally as much as she loves coming home to me and touch wood, we've had no issues, behavioural or otherwise. I'll do a separate post on becoming a "single mum" another day because this post is a celebration of my wonderful daughter and how proud she's made me over the last two years.

Everyone that Sophie touches is enchanted by her gorgeous eyes, her cute smile or her infectious laugh. She's funny (and she knows it), adventurous and not afraid of anything! It's a shame that rural Lincolnshire doesn't offer more in the way of Toddler groups as I'd love to get her into gymnastics whilst she's still fearless and flinging herself off the arm of the sofa. She loves animals, in particular dogs, and knows to be gentle with them but never seems scared when they approach her.

One thing that Sophie is scared of, is the hoover! I don't know where she's developed it from (perhaps a lack of introduction from an early age...ha) but she hates it, and she hates her toy version too! I'm sure there's a developmental reason behind her not liking noises of that kind as pretend animals that make noises tend to freak her out as well. Other than that, she's completely carefree. Muddy puddles are for splashing in, bikes are for riding (although non with pedals yet of course) and trampolines are for jumping as high as you can on!

Sophie Charlotte, you are one thing in my life that I definitely got right. Everything I do is for you and it always will be. I look at you and burst with pride that I not only made you, but also moulded you into the amazing little girl that you're turning into. Never ever change.

All photo credit: Natalie Lauren Photography

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