Small Summer Goals

Every year for the last few years I have written a summer bucket list, and every year I’ve only managed to tick one or two things off of those lists.

I think I always think that the summer is a time where I can get loads done, because during our school years the summer holidays are the longest time we would get off, but in the real world work, I don’t get six weeks off during the most glorious time of the year, in fact last year I didn’t get any time off work in the summer.

This year will actually be a little different as I’ll be leaving my current job in July 6th, and plunging myself into a bit of uncertainty with what I’ll be doing after we move, but I don’t want to pressure myself into thinking I should be working through a list of activities while dealing with it all. Instead, I’m setting myself some little goals for the summer; things that are actually achievable even if things do get stressful or busy.

Spend more time outdoors

Because I’m normally working through the summer months, I find that I’m rarely out enjoying the sun for the short period of time we get sun here in the UK. I won’t be by the beach, but we do have a lovely big garden at our house, and we’re surrounded by lovely fields for walks, so imma get me some more vitamin D.

Lose two inches

Whatever my body looks like, that is my summer body, and I’m happy accepting that, but I have gained some weight recently since breaking my ankle, and I’d like to try and shift a little bit of it before I get back into marathon training in the autumn.

Explore my new home

I’m still coming to terms with the fact that in a months time I’ll be a northerner, and it’s gonna take some time before I really get to know the area, but while the weather is good (or as good as it gets up north), it seems like the best time to get out and about.

Bake more

I know that when it starts heating up outside, turning the heat up in the kitchen seems a little strange, but I’ve got a brand new kitchen to play in and I miss baking so much right now that I want to make more of an effort to make the time for it.

Our garden’s first bbq

We also need to break in our new garden and what’s better than a bbq in the summer?

What are your plans for the summer?

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My Beach Makeup and What Stayed Put

Its the classic dilemma for girls. Summer poses a whole new problem when it comes to makeup, because gone are the days of winter drying out everyone’s skin like there’s no tomorrow, and instead its the challenge of finding products that won’t melt off your face during the warmer summer days, but can also stand up to a bit of water, whether that’s from swimming in the sea on a beach day, or just the Great British summer showers (read: heavy rain that shows up right when we think its finally getting good).

This year, I was faced with this issue a little earlier as going to Hawaii in April meant I had a little less time to perfect my product choices, but it also meant that I could test run some products before the little summer that hits the UK – which seems to be happening right now – actually kicked in. Some of what I took with me were items that are regulars from my makeup stash, and others I took on recommendation from the Twittersphere, and they all went through a somewhat rigorous test in the 27C heat of Hawaii. But would they all make the cut for future wear?

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray

I bought this on recommendation from a number of people – I actually bought the travel sized one, y’know in case it wasn’t any good and I didn’t get stuck with a big bottle that I’d spent a lot of money on, but actually the travel sized one is still pretty sizeable which made it seem like pretty good value for money! This product is an absolute trooper. I sprayed it over products that I know aren’t waterproof and knew would probably wash off within minutes and amazingly they held up so well, leaving me bronzed and highlighted even after a whole day on the beach.

NYX Proof It! Waterproof Eyeshadow Primer

I took this with me because I know how well it works. This is the eyeshadow primer that I use every day and I actually believe it to be a miracle product – it turns any eyeshadow waterproof and I’ve even tried running swatches under a tap before and saw absolutely no shadow movement with this badboy, plus at £6 a tube its a steal.

Makeup Forever Aqua XL Waterproof Eyeliner

Call me crazy, but blue eyeliner is my jam, and I’ve always been a Barry M girl but have never been able to find a suitable replacement for my now discontinued favourite shade of pencil, but I stumbled across this one in Sephora last year, and when it claimed to be waterproof as well it was like killing two birds with one stone. The pencil itself is surprisingly soft, so very little pressure is needed on application, and it also blends well which can be fab, but I worried seeing how soft it was that it wouldn’t survive in the water, but was thankfully proven very wrong – in fact, when I swatched it in Sephora before buying, it was several days before that blue line faded from the back of my hand even with daily showering and handwashing.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

So this was another recommendation, and having never tried the cult favourite in its non-waterproof form either, I thought now was a great chance to see what all the fuss was about. Again, I bought this in the travel size tube to save a bit of money until I decided whether or not I liked it. The mascara itself surprised me as I’ve religiously stuck to Eyeko Black Magic for a number of years now and had never found another mascara that gave my lashes the same natural but wow look that Black Magic does for me, but despite being a very different shaped brush, I really liked how this product made my lashes look, so I was buzzed to test it out in the water. Unfortunately, that’s were it fell flat on its face. I felt like just looking at water had it running, and although I wasn’t crying black or anything like that, on more than one occasion I left the poolside looking a bit panda-ish. I’d probably buy the mascara again in its normal formula, but I felt a little let down by this one..

Benefit Gimme Brow

Gimme Brow is not my every day eyebrow product, but I do use it from time to time, and as I feared a little that my usual dipbrow wouldn’t hold up, I took this out with me as well. Now my Gimme Brow was pre product recall, so I don’t know how it differs from the new formula that was re-released recently, and I don’t think either claim any sort of waterproof capabilities, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well this did. I still used my regular dipbrow, but then went over it with this, and I still had decent looking eyebrows at the end of each day, even after being in the sea and the pool, and what more could I ask for?

Other shoutouts go to my current favourite foundation, The Ordinary Serum Foundation, for being SPF 15 so keeping my face a little more protected, and Benefit’s Dandelion Shy Beam and Sun Beam liquid highlighters for giving me a subtle shimmer and glow which held up well thanks to the UD setting spray!

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Blueberry Lemonade

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over a few attempts at making my own, life’s gotta give you a whole load of lemons before you can make much lemonade!

This recipe, however, is well worth squeezing a few lemons, and I know I’m gonna be making it over and over through the summer months because I could drink this all day!

You will need:

  • 5-6 lemons
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated or caster sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 250ml water and add the blueberries. Start to heat this over a medium heat.

While keeping an eye on the blueberry mixture, squeeze the lemons – preferably using a hand juicer to get the most juice out! You should be aiming for about 175-200ml.

After 3-4 mins of simmering, the blueberries in the pan should be broken down, and the liquid should be a nice purple colour. Remove the mixture from the heat, and drain using a fine sieve to ensure none of the skins or bitty bits get through. Let this cool down a little.

In a large jug, combine the lemon juice with 1.25 litres of cold water, then pour in the blueberry syrup and whisk to combine. Pop into the fridge to allow the mixture to fully cool, then serve over ice and enjoy!

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Get Sparkly For Summer

Who else is mega excited that the sun has finally started making an appearance?!

Sun means summer, and summer means beach days, festivals and pretty much every day is an excuse to be your best and sparkliest self – so get sparkly!

As a self-confessed highlighter addict, I make my love of all things sparkly pretty obvious, and here are a bunch of products that are perfect to get you shining away this summer:

Unicorn Heart highlighter from I Heart Makeup

I don’t reach for this highlighter nearly as much as I should do, but its multicoloured shine is perfect for music festivals and carnivals.

Barry M Dazzle Dust

I’ve loved Dazzle Dust since I was a teenager; its super pigmented and lasts really well, plus it feels so light! I have quite a few brighter shades, but at the moment I’m loving Aphrodite, which is a shell-pinky/nude which works amazing as a loose powder eyeshadow, but also when lightly dusted on your cheekbones as an extra shiny highlight.

Dandelion Twinkle from Benefit

I’m really a sucker for everything from Benefit’s Dandelion range, but I couldn’t help but pick up this new highlighter when I was last in Sephora and its so pretty!

Shimmy Shimmy Shimmer Bar from Lush

This just sorta fell into my basket when I was last in Lush.. Its a cocoa butter based bar which has the most beautiful vanilla scent, and is packed with environmentally friendly glitter! Its essentially a moisturiser which leaves you super sparkly, but you can also use it as a solid perfume and a highlighter. Rub it all over your arms and legs to sparkle away on a night out!

Illuminating Strobe Cream in Frosty Pink from Barry M

Not only is this a fab product for under £5, but this is also a highstreet dupe of Clinique’s Chubby Stick highligter which is £19.50!

Anastasia Beverly Hills x Nicole Guerriero Glow Kit

Remember when I bought this back in February and fell in love with it? Well I’m still in love with it and its going to be my best friend through the summer. Full review and swatches here!

What are your favourite summer beauty products?

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My Summer 2017 Bucket List

It may not still be able to quite make up its mind, but the sun is finally shining in Bournemouth today and I’m hoping and praying that summer is finally on its way at last!

I have zero holiday allowance left at work, so this will be the first summer in a good few years that I haven’t been jetting off somewhere on a grand adventure, but I won’t be letting that stop me from filling my free time with as many little adventures and activities as I can. I wrote a summer bucket list last year, but I hardly scraped the surface with that list so I’m starting anew and hoping to actually complete this years!

  • Go to a music festival – no, I’m not gonna be hitting Glasto or V-fest, but we have a few great local festivals and I really fancy spending a day on a picnic mat listening to good live music and eating from food trucks in the sun.
  • Pick your own – I’ve always fancied going to one of those farms where you can pick your own berries and stuff
  • Bingo night – I have never been to a bingo club before, and I’m a little dubious, but so many people say its a good laugh so why not?
  • Go to an outdoor cinema – something on the list from last year that I never managed to do, here’s hoping for success this year
  • Take Matthew to the air festival – Bournemouth Air Festival is a pretty big deal, and Matthew’s never been before and put a pilot at an air festival and I’m pretty sure he’ll be happy
  • Actually get a tan – I normally spend too much time indoors to see any sort of colour change in my skin, but after a bit of a top up on my trip to California, I’m keen to spend as much time outdoors so that my legs stop reflecting light.
  • Tale as Old as Time Afternoon Tea – late to the party, but I’m finally going to the famous Beauty and the Beast afternoon tea at the Kensington Hotel with two of my favourite people in June and I can’t wait!
  • Go Ape – I’ve been saying for ages that I want to go back to Go Ape at Moors Valley, and I need to actually get round to swinging in the trees again
  • Celebrate our first anniversary – when I wrote my summer bucket list last year, one of the things on that list was my first date with Matthew. Well that was almost a year ago now, and I can’t wait to celebrate a whole year with the love of my life.

I’ve kept the list a little shorter this year in the hopes that I’ll actually achieve all of them! Wish me luck!

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My New Fitness Routine

I mean, I couldn’t stay at Muscle Beach forever..

In line with my post from Sunday, I’ve gotta get back on track with my fitness training. Having only just recovered from the jet lag, this morning was my first day back at the gym since before holiday, and although I did spend my holiday running a 10K and a half marathon, I’m definitely feeling the slump from a lack of workouts recently!

Now I’m a firm believer that the term ‘bikini body’ is a load of bull, and it really does grind my gears when health and fitness companies try to use the summer as a way to shame people into thinking they should be slimmer, but while my motivation has nothing to do with that, I do want to up my training heading into the summer months, for myself, my body confidence and no other reason.

Running

Personally, I hate running during the summer. I live on the beach and you’d think that would be perfect for running during the summer but I cannot stand it; it’s busy and the sun is glaring down and there’s no shade plus kids and dogs and bikes are everywhere. No thanks.

I also don’t do any big races during the summer, primarily due to heat, so I don’t have to worry about training too much, but I do want to maintain my consistency, so I’ll be aiming to do at least two runs a week – preferably a 5K and a 10K, just to keep myself moving and on form. I don’t see the point in pushing myself too much as I’m too prone to injury!

Gym

The gym is probably where I feel my most confident when it comes to fitness. I’ve seen such amazing progression that I don’t feel at all ashamed to say that I’m proud of myself, and I’m not stopping here. I’ll be aiming to visit at least 3-4 days a week, mixing both weight and strength training with some cardio options like spinning and rowing.

Given that I’m reining back my run training, I can get away with doing more leg training, as when I’m preparing for races I’m very cautious about what lower body work that I do, so I’ll definitely be stepping up with squats and lunges galore. My main focus has always really been upper body, especially my arms, and that will still be a big focus for me, but I also really enjoy finding more functional moves and workouts to get my whole body engaged!

Home Workouts

Where most people would probably have an area rug on their bedroom floor, I have my yoga mat rolled out at all times. I try not to waste precious gym time doing exercises that I can easily do at home, so evenings are the times that I generally do more calisthetics. I have both the Tone It Up and Blogilates apps on my phone, so I’m aiming to stick to the TIU daily moves every day, as well as one video by either K&K or one of my Blogilates faves.

I’m also hoping to fit some more yoga into my routine, both for strength and flexibility as well as time for meditation and relaxation, and praying I can master that forearm stand!

Fun Fitness

On top of everyday exercise, I’m hoping to squeeze a lot more fun into the summer months – Swimming, long adventurous walks, high ropes, trampolining, anything that’s a little bit different and a whole lotta fun really! If I’m enjoying myself and I’m being active then even better, right?

Do you mix up your fitness routine when summer comes?

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Lesson Learnt by a First Time Fake Tanner

That’s right. First timer..

I’ve always thought myself lucky in that I’ve always tanned fairly well naturally, but that generally involves spending a lot of time in sunshine, which is something that I haven’t really had much of recently, and with my trip to California looming, and my legs shining whiter than the moon, I decided that I was going to do something about it.

Being a first timer, I knew that a proper fake-tanner was never gonna be a good idea, so instead I opted for a gradual tanner instead, and took a recommendation to try Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Natural Bronze lotion, and here are a few things that I’ve learnt along the way..

Always read the label

So my first tanning faux pas came the morning after my first attempt. It said on the label to wash hands after use, and did I? Well my bright orange hands in the morning might give away that answer..

Get a feel for it

If its your first time using a particular product, trial it carefully. Either test it on a small area that can’t be seen, or do a super light layer to see its effects before you totally slather yourself in it.

If you’re uncertain, go gradual

There was no way I could have thrown myself in at the deep end with a regular fake tanner on a first attempt!

Even coverage matters

Even when using a gradual tanner, being sure to get a clean spread is still super important to avoid any weird lines or streaks.

Creases collect

Knees, armpits, ankles are a few of the biggest culprits, watch out for weird lines and darker patches!

Exfoliators and scrubs are your friends

Orange hands, weird patches, these products are like little erasers.

Results are slightly addictive

Once you find a product and a routine that works and you start seeing results, you might find it a little difficult to stop.

I’m really happy with the results I’ve been seeing, even after just a few weeks. It started out as just a way to fake it until I get to California and can build a little bit of a tan for myself, but I may just have to keep it up through the summer, especially as everyone knows you can’t trust the UK sun.. But also cos its cocoa butter based and it smells delicious.

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