Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Cheers to new beginnings...


First things first, I'm starting my greetings early this year - otherwise I feel they may be a little too late. So here goes, Happy New Year! 

Most of you will have plans tonight - whether you're planning on stumbling through town in six inch heels or chilling with a bottle of wine and cheese board (I know I'll be doing the latter) I really do wish you all the very best.

A long lived tradition around this time of year is to put one, two, three or numerous New Year Resolutions in place. The New Year gives people a chance of hope to re-invent themselves, to turn their lives around and to make their dreams come true. I think that anything is possible if you really put your mind to it, but I do believe that lots of people make New Year Resolutions only to brake them a few weeks or in some-cases days later. I'm not criticising, I'm simply pointing out that certain people are in some ways too flamboyant when it comes to setting resolutions. Like I said anything is possible should you have the time to work on it, but if you want to stick to your resolutions you need to make sure that you are realistically going to be able to commit to them.

I've been thinking of mine since the beginning of November - ever the organiser that I am, and have thought of quite a few:

1. To become more dedicated to my career. 
I recently graduated from a BA Hons degree in Fashion Writing and Culture at Southampton Solent University. Since then I've been working in various industries and have in one way put my passion for writing aside. This year I've decided I need to concentrate more on my career. In saying this I mean that I would like to commit to the following:
- Approach more opportunities for freelancing.
- Network more as a freelance journalist - business cards may help me here ;)
- dress less like a student and more professionally. 
I also want to commit to doing well in my current job role which is working as an IT Helpdesk Technical Adviser and Content Producer for the online magazine. This consists of troubleshooting technical issues that come in via the helpdesk, and from January committing to writing content and generating social media strategies for the online magazine and for the Helpdesk and Company in general. - So it's not the field I've studied in i.e. fashion - but I'm open minded and they've very much met me in the middle so I'm really looking forward to making a real go of it come my return to work on January 6th.

2. Live more.
I initially thought that moving to London back in April 2013 would automatically give me an exceptional social life, it didn't. Instead I've found myself waking up, going to work, blogging and then going to bed with little to no fun in between. Toward the end of the year I began to pick myself out of this a little more, and would love to make myself an interesting life by actioning the following points:
- meeting up more often with old friends. 
- joining an activity club or signing up for a night course in a topic of interest, to meet new people as well as feeding my brain. 
- Exercise i.e. get out more, go for walks and spontaneous days out. 
- Try new foods 
- Open my mind to new cultures.

3. To become dedicated to blogging.
I've bimbled about with blogs in the past - but I feel at 23 it's time for me to either become a little more serious with blogging or to let it go. I feel it such a crucial part of my future and such and that it also keeps my passion for writing alive, so I've chosen the first choice mentioned in the last sentence and have decided to get serious.

4. Loose weight and tone up. 
There's been a lot going on in the media recently about weight and body idealism, but I feel that I've rarely felt comfortable in my own skin, and want 2014 to be the year I change how I feel about myself. I want more confidence, I want to be healthier, I want to be comfortable, I want to feel attractive and I want to look like a Pussycat Doll. I've decided that I want to loose 24lbs this year.  - I know it's a lot, but I feel this would give me the confidence in myself that I've been searching for forever. To help me in my challenge I plan to:
- Exercise - go on walks / runs and practice core exercises, I've had the gear ready since September; time to get it out from the back of the wardrobe.
- Motivate myself - I think I'll get motivated as I begin to shed some lbs, but until then I plan on reading some healthy exercise and weight loss blogs to keep me in the zone as well as talking to people and blogging about my progress. That means I'll be turning to you guys for support! So please be nice...
- Eat healthily - I'm going to explore my options on this one, and see that I get enough nutrients, vitamins, proteins etc. while sticking to a healthy and proportional diet. I've already spotted a few recipes on Pinterest and have created a board so that I can keep inspiring myself with tasty looking photographs and healthy recipes.

4. Learn to Drive. 
As I'm now living more or less independently and working in a job where my employers would potentially like me to get travelling toward the middle and end of the New Year, I think it's time for me to learn to drive. I have a fabulous little Honda Jazz parked at home in Wales taxed and insured, and now just need to learn to drive it.
- Theory test booked for end of January.
- Need to find a friendly driving instructor in North London i.e. Edgware, Borehamwood, Watford, recommendations are welcome! I intend on doing a crash course... wish me luck.
I think driving will give me more independence and freedom, and I won't need to rely on London's not so great bus services. Sorry Boris, but it's true.

So there we have it, my New Year Resolutions. Now I will pre warn you there's obviously the possibility that some of these will fly away into thin air by the end of next week - I'm apprehensive about the weight loss, but I believe that I've thought about them properly and have thought of how I will be able to realistically put them into action without too much stress or bother which should mean that this time next year, I'm looking back on these resolutions and celebrating how well they went down.

What's your take on resolutions? Do you have any for 2014? Happy New Year - 
Louise x

Monday, 30 December 2013

Because we all need to feel lovely and Lush:

One of my Christmas presents this year was the Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask pot by Lush Cosmetics.

The idea of this face mask is that it will combat breakouts and fight your skin battles for you to save you the trouble.All you need to do is put it on for ten minutes, and remove with warm water. Genius.

Lush market this product as follows:

COSMETIC WARRIOR - Fresh Face Mask. Are you at war with your face? Don't do battle with your spots - coax them into surrender. This is the front line of defence for spot-prone skin.

I'm quite lucky in the fact that my skin isn't really spot prone - but I am grudgingly prone to a breakout once a month when mother nature pays me a visit, so my initial thoughts were that this would come in useful. Understatement of the century. 

The Lush Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask works miracles on my skin. In using this product I found that it evens out my complexion, gets rid of any sore or red and irritated patches or blemishes as well as sorting out any spots. I must have tried up to one hundred different skin care products and face-masks in my time. I think its safe to say that this is in my top three products after just a few uses.

The consistency of this face mask is rather thick and gloopy - you're meant to keep it in the fridge to keep it fresh. With this I did find that the product was quite heavy on my face - but I guess that only meant that a) there's enough on there to do it's job (you're meant to apply generously) and b) I wasn't likely to fall asleep forgetting I had it on.

One of the main reasons i love LUSH so much, it's the fact that you can't help but notice the smell when you walk into the store. The Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask has a smell to remember - but for slightly different reasons. Having said this, the smell isn't that bad, and seen as the product does it's job to such a satisfactory standard, it's something I'll quite happily get used to.

Another reason for why I like the brand as much as I do is that the products are almost always kind to any type of skin.  This product was handmade with the following (fresh) ingredients: 

Kaolin, Fresh Green Grapes (Vitts Vinifera), Fresh Organic Free Range Eggs, Honey, Cornstarch (Zea Mays), Glyrcerine, Fresh Garlic (Allium Sativum), Tea Tree Oil (Meleleuca alternifolia), *Limonene. They also say that the perfume (the rather interesting arome as mentioned in the previous paragraph) and Limonene occurs naturally in essential oils. 

It's said that the fresh white grapes both clean and cool the skin, which would calm down and sooth any irritation. The fresh garlic and tea tree oil are used here as antiseptic, which is probably part of the reason why this product doesn't ruin your skin when used. The fresh eggs tighten the texture of your skin while the honey softens and moisturises the skin and is also used here as an antimicrobial - which is something that is active against microbes i.e. bacteria. 
As you can see from the ingredients used it's all natural. There's nothing in there (unless you're allergic to something mentioned above) that's going to irritate your skin. 

You can purchase the Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask at Lush stores or online for £5.95 - I'd say it's definitely something for you to invest in. The pot contains 75g of the face-mask but I suppose you only really need to use it when you feel a breakout coming. 

Have you tried this product? What were your thoughts? Thanks for stopping by, 
Louise x

Friday, 27 December 2013

A fresh palette

So the first thing you'll need to know about me is that I'm a foodie. I'm not a girl you could take on a date, who would sit there and shuffle salad around a plate. I love my food and that's  that.

Formalities out of the way, I can now share with you the fabulous dish I served up on a whim after eating too much turkey this Christmas. There's only so much chocolate, stuffing and roast potatoes I can eat, and today I really fancied something fresh that wouldn't involve getting out the  pants with the stretched waist bands.
I opted for Salmon - 'American style'. Not to offend if you are from over the pond - but I've heard the Americans like to drizzle a little maple syrup on just about everything. This salmon was pre drizzled in a touch of maple syrup ready  to roast. Like I said I'm just about sick of potatoes at the moment, so I served up a citrus salad I hadn't planned this but the citrus touch was just a very much spur of the moment thing having seen the orange slices zest into the salmon through the oven door. By citrus I mean chopping up a few lemons and shoving them in a bowl with rinsed lettuce and baby salad leaves - along with some cucumbers and tomato and a bit of beetroot on the side.

I don't usually rate my cooking skills - but I could happily say that If I was ever to write one, this would be in my cook book. Not that there was too much cooking involved - more rather getting things prepared.

When roasting the maple syrup caramelised, making the salmon taste even more scrumptious than it would have done already.

I would rate this dish a nine out of ten - there is always room for improvement, but this was pretty perfect even if I do say so myself.

Until next time,
Louise xoxo