We’ve talked before about how music can help your workout here on the blog before. When I first started training it worked wonders on my self confidence and helped me focus on what I was doing rather than worry about what everyone else was thinking about me. However, it is more than just a placebo! Science has actually backed up, in numerous experiments, the claim that music can actually help you SMASH your workout. Here’s why and some of my motivational gym playlist for you to listen to during your next session. 

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The Science

In recent years science has made a hell of a lot of claims regarding the positive of using music to motivate your workout (and no, I am not talking about Bad Day by Daniel Powter, however much of a banger it may be). It will probably come as no surprise to you that music distracts people from pain and fatigue, helps to elevate their mood, increases endurance, reduces how much effort you think you’re putting in AND (now I’m not sure about this one but hey, I’m no scientist) may even promote metabolic efficiency. Turns out that music is a lot more than just a distraction from the burn.

It also turns out that having your own headphones might be more beneficial than listening to the gyms pick of tunes. A 2013 study revealed that choosing your own music (dubbed ‘musical agency’) allows you to think for yourself, which encourages a sense of autonomy and self-worth, which consequently helps you to power through your workout. Those who are stuck listening to the gym playlist reported feeling less motivated – just invest in Spotify Premium guys, I CANNOT squat to my full potential when an ad is on.

So there you go, now we know that music actually does help you smash your workout and you have an excuse to put your headphones in and not talk to that annoying gym regular (you’re welcome) it’s time to share with you some of my gym bangers.

My Gym Playlist 

Apparently, there is an optimum tempo of your gym music that is songs between 120 and 140 beats per minute (bpm). I’ll be honest, never in my life have I been blasting out a bit of eye of the tiger and thought ‘hold up – is the tempo right?’. Instead, I just go for motivational tunes I am loving at the time. Obviously, my playlist is very VERY extensive so I am just going to shuffle it and take the first 10 that come up for cardio and the first 10 that come up for resistance training (no cheating). I should warn you, they are very very varied.

Cardio

“Pump up the Jam” by Technotronic

“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

“Hey Ya!” by Outkast

“Temperature” by Sean Paul

“Pound The Alarm” by Nicki Minaj

“Get Busy” by Sean Paul

“That’s My Girl” – Fifth Harmony

“I Like to Move It” – Reel 2 Reel

“Stronger” – Kelly Clarkson

“Welcome To The Club” – Manian

Resistance

“Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen

“Stronger” by Kanye West

“Survivor” by Destiny’s Child

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

“Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses

“Lose Yourself’ by Eminem

“Smells Like Teen Spirt” by Nirvana

“We Will Rock You” by Queen

“Numb” by Linkin Park

“The Man” – The Killers

Phew, shuffle was kind to me today! I would love to know what are your go-to gym bangers and what you can always count on to get you motivated. Do you have  different playlist for cardio and resistance training? Let me know in the comments below. 

Jamie x 

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Sources: 

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/01/why-exercise-workout-music-playlist_n_4173931.html

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/psychology-workout-music/

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/music-workout-exercise-playlist-pain-easier-rocky-research-studies-proven-a7238016.html

http://www.brunel.ac.uk/about/chls/life-sciences

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3741536/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19793214

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercise-and-music

Hey guys and gals! So it’s time for another Five Favourites. Rather than going for  specific brand today I thought I would share with you some of my favourite hair products. I’ll admit, I have kind of cheated a teeny tiny bit (I did warn you this would happen) and there are more than five products here but if it’s a shampoo and conditioner duo that’s fine, right? Good.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy and find it useful. So, let’s get started…

Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment

I mentioned this product earlier this week but I’m not even sorry –  I adore this product. It is the first hair growth treatment I have ever used that actually works and I literally used it ALL the time when I was trying to grow out my fringe and bob. I still use it once every few weeks just to keep my hair growing nicely. The formula works by fertilising the follicles, which helps your locks reach their maximum potential length.

It also makes my hair super silky and smell like a SNACK, which always helps.

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Image from amazon.co.uk

Aussie Hair Miracle Moist Shampoo and Conditioner

Aussie is one of my absolute favourite hair brands. They do some fantastic products from shampoos and conditioners to hair masks and oils. It was a tough one to narrow them all down but the Aussie Hair Miracle Moist Shampoo and Conditioner are my absolute ride or die shampoo and conditioner. They smell amazing and make my super duper dry hair feel nourished and super soft. They’re a little pricey but I really do think they’re worth it.

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Image from aussiehair.com

Elvive Nutri-Gloss Shine Shampoo and Conditioner

A slightly cheaper alternative to Aussie shampoo and conditioner are the Elvive Nutri-Gloss Shine Shampoo and Conditioner and they are still really good. I have really noticed that since growing my hair long it gets lifeless and dull really quickly, but these are great for giving a bit of life to your long hair. My hair always feels super soft and looks really shiny after I have used this. It doesn’t last for ages (ie. it gets dull quicker that when I have used Aussie) but it is more affordable and still pretty good stuff.

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Image from boots.com

LUSH American Cream Conditioner

Next up is another product I have mentioned on the blog before. The LUSH American Cream Conditioner is one of my favourite conditioners EVER. It smells like a thick, delicious strawberry milkshake you get from an American diner, which is so beautiful and indulgent. Not only does it smell like heaven, it also makes my hair look super sleek and glossy.

I always get compliments after using this and it leaves me smelling like strawberries and cream for the rest of the day – it’s incredible. Go and buy it. 

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Image from lush.com

Fudge Clean Blonde Violet Shampoo

Last but certainly not least is a silver haired gals best friend. I have naturally blonde hair but tend to have highlights every few months that can go really brassy when it’s time for them to be redone. This shampoo is the best out there for brightening and reviving my hair and helping to keep any yellow brassiness at bay. As a shampoo it is not the MOST nourishing but it is still pretty good and doesn’t need another shampoo used alongside it (maybe just a conditioner afterwards). 

Word of warning though, leave it on too long and you’re gonna have yourself some lovely lilac locks so be careful. Unless that’s the look you’re going for then by all means leave this bad boy on!

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Image from lookfantastic.com

So there you go, my top five favourite hair products. I actually found this a lot harder than I expected as there is so much good stuff out there for looking after your locks. A go to of mine is the humble coconut oil (I tend to just put this on the tips overnight if my hair is feeling super dry) but in terms of products specifically designed for hair, these are the ones that made the chop. What are some of your favourite hair products? Let me know in the comments down below. 

Jamie x 

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It’s Autumn time!! Autumn is my favourite season hands down. A) Because it is my birthday season (I’m an October baby so it is officially my birthday month) and B) Pumpkin spiced lattes are back and I am continue embracing the #basic life in caffeinated style and C) Because I love updating my health and beauty routine to suit to colder weather. I thought I would share with you guys today some of the changes autumn brings to my routine. So, let’s get started. 

from summer to autumn

Skin Care

I tend to use autumn as a transition season to help to rejuvenate and repair your skin from any summer damage and get it ready for the brutalities of a British winter. Everything has to serious up its game when it gets to autumn as moisture becomes to new buzz word. Now it is getting colder and I am becoming more and more reliant on the central heating, a more intensive moisturiser in necessary. I tend to ditch the lighter creams and go for heavier moisturising creams and gels that reinvigorate my skin and body and give it a little extra hydration.

  1. Whereas the Dove Summer Revived Gradual Tan was getting me through the summer months just fine now it is more about the Aveeno, which I cannot recommend enough. I also tend to get slight eczema during the colder months on my chest and elbows (nothing too serious) but this moisturiser clears it right up and keeps it to an absolute minimum.
  2. I also tend to switch up my lip care to something a little more moisturising. As you might remember, during summer I was LOVING the Carmex Pineapple and Mint lip balm (it even featured in my holidays essentials post). Now, however, my lips are needing a thicker balm that does not make me mourn my summer holidays. Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm is perfect for this. It is so so nourishing and super thick so continues to provide moisture ALL day. The thickness might not be for everyone but I cannot think of a better lip balm to take me from summer into autumn – it’s fantastic.
  3. Moisture might be the buzz word but it is important not to forget to exfoliate during the autumn months. My go-to is always FRÉ Skincare ‘Purify Me’. It keeps my skin clean, smooth and helps to get rid of dead cells and impurities without making my skin feel dry or tight at all. It’s a dream of an exfoliate and I would seriously recommend it. If you fancy getting your hands on some remember to use my code JJ, which will give you 15% off at the checkout.

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Hair 

Moisture is also the buzzword when it comes to hair. I have pretty dry hair anyway so my hair care regime doesn’t change dramatically BUT I have some bits and bobs I would recommend and one pretty big change.

  1. The Lee Stafford Hair Growth Treatment (For Hair That Never Grows Past A Certain Length) is AMAZING! Not only does it help speed up hair growth, which I love during the autumn and winter months, it also leaves your hair feeling super moisturised and silky smooth. I definitely will be using this product a lot more regularly over the next few months.
  2. The biggest change when it comes to my hair is that autumn means it is time to bring back the gold. I am a natural blonde but like to change up the tones to match the seasons. Over summer I had a super light highlight ran through it. Autumn will see more honey shades to match my wardrobe and make up changes. By winter we will probably see the return of a silver undertone but, for now at least, I’m going to be a golden girl

Make Up

I hate to say it but I am no longer the tanned goddess I was last season. Now I resemble a sheet of paper and that sadly means that my make up all needs switching up to suit. My autumn make up looks tend to be a lot deeper and more intense. Whereas summer saw pastels and pretty shimmers, autumn is about browns, burgundy and a popping highlight.

  1. The biggest change in my make up from summer to autumn is my lipstick colour choices. Whereas summer sees me rocking a soft pink, bright orange or more natural/nude shades, autumn is all about deeper and darker lip colours. My absolute go-to’s are both MAC. First up is Dark Side, which is the most stunning deep burgundy ever that goes so well with browns and oranges. I also absolutely love Dubonnet, which is described as a deepened claret. It is the perfect deep red and goes with pretty much every single make up look.
  2. I am sad to say that after months of light powders and a bit of bronzer, the liquid foundations are back. Even though I am looking for a bit more coverage from my foundation I still don’t want my skin to feel clogged up and full of make up. My favourite for creating a beautifully dewy, natural finish is the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation. If I am looking for something with a little more coverage, the MAC studio sculpt foundation is my go-to (although I am currently in the market for a new one so suggestions are welcome). 
  3.  In terms of eye shadow, my bright oranges and yellows have had to go back in the drawer until next year. It does mean, however, that my NUE Eyeshadow Palette from Laritzy  has really come into it’s own. I have spoken about this palette before for it’s stunning browns and deeper shades and they are absolutely perfect for the autumn months. My Smashbox Full Exposure palette is also a favourite for the autumn/winter months and is great for creating day looks as well as looks for your work Christmas party.

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It’s goodbye for now Silent Disco… 

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Fashion

Definitely the most notable change in autumn is my fashion. Living in the UK means that autumn gets very cold so the shorts and cute summer dresses go to the back of the wardrobe for another year and we say hello to some new fashion staples.

  1. Hallelujah, jumpers are back! I love a jumper. The bigger the better. Last year I did a huge jumper shop and got loads from Primark. They’re super affordable and will last me through this autumn as well. I would also recommend hitting up Primark for coats. They’re usually very similar to ones you might find in River Island or TopShop but are a fraction of the price.
  2. It’s time to say goodbye to the sunshine yellows, baby pinks and bright (and by bright I mean covered in flamingos and pineapples…) and hello to burnt oranges, burgundy and deep reds. Just as with makeup, my wardrobe becomes a lot deeper in the autumn months. I still like my longer dresses but tend to pair them up with cute little chelsea boots and wooly tights rather than flip flops. When it comes to shoes, Zara have an excellent selection (as always). Here are some of my favourites.

Snake Skin/Leopard Print High Heel Ankle Boots – £99.99

Red Leather Stiletto Ankle Boots – £89.99

Burgundy High Heel Knee High Boots – £119

All a little pricey (they’ve had to go onto the wish list) but Zara shoes are great quality and last for years so definitely worth the investment if you can afford them.

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Okay, so maybe baby pink still features a little… I just can’t help myself. 

Exercise

Autumn might be my favourite season but the switch from summer to autumn is a bit of a disaster my training programme. Okay, that’s unfair on autumn, but it certainly does mean there is a huge dip in my motivation. When you get up for work and it’s dark and then you come home from work and, surprise surprise, it is once again dark, the last thing I fancy doing is a gym session. This means that my exercise programme sees a bit of a switch up in order to maintain motivation throughout the colder months.

  1. My training moves from outdoor agility and functional training to more gym based, indoor training. This isn’t a problem as long as I ensure to keep up cardiovascular training whilst I’m there (I’ll also probably be walking around less so I also need to make up for that). 
  2. I train a lot smarter in the colder seasons. This means that I make my workouts shorter and focus them more on compound movements.That way I’m not inside for every single daylight hour but I can go in and get an effective session done quickly.
  3. Gym buddies are saving graces when you’re lacking in motivation so I tend to go to a lot more classes and group sessions during the colder months. Pop into your local gym and see what they’ve got available OR look into local walking groups or Zumba classes – these always keep me motivated and it is also a great way to make friends (it’s nearly secret santa time, right?)

So there you have it, some of the changes I will be making to my routine over the next couple of weeks. Are you guys excited for Autumn? What are some of the biggest changes to your routine that the new season brings? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time. 

Jamie x 

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I swear I say this every single month but HOW is it already the end of September. It seems like just yesterday I was walking around with so much sweat between my thighs I constantly thought I’d weed myself, moaning about the sunshine and waiting for the delights of pumpkin spiced syrup. Nice image for you there, ey. Seriously though, it is mad how quickly this year is going. It is also mad how I have managed to do favourites of the month consistently now since March. Well done me.

By this point you’re probably getting the hang of these, so let’s just get straight into it. 

Fashion

It will probably come as no surprise to you that this month’s fashion favourite is from Gymshark (something tells me that this is going to become a reoccurring theme). A few months back Gymshark released their Slounge Collection and quite literally as soon as I got into the office and saw these sets in the flesh I knew I HAD to get my hands on them. I went for all three components of the set in the grey but can also vouch for the other colours (I was really torn but decided that grey would go with more). They are possibly the comfiest joggers I have ever owned and yet they still manage to have such a flattering, bootylicious fit. The whole collection is an absolute game changer for Gymshark and I cannot rave about them enough. They are perfect for rest days, casual days out and for smashing your gym session now it’s getting a little colder – the perfect all rounder outfit.

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Image from gymshark.com

I wear a size S in all three components and they fit perfectly. I am usually a size 10 in bottoms and around an 8-10 in tops.

Make Up 

When I first bought this product I was a little disappointed. Not because it was bad quality because it is definitely not (it has such a silky smooth formula – I cannot fault it) but because it was a little too golden for my skin tone. I am talking about the cult favourite from Laura Geller, the Baker Gelato Swirl Highlighter in Gilded Honey. This glow is one of the best I have ever owned but the colour just wasn’t quite right. HOWEVER, that all changed this month. I have been consistently using my gradual tan and so I have a bit of a glow. Plus, now my make up as transitioned from the dewy, summer, barely there look to a more intense, winter look, it is perfect. It goes so well with deep brown lids and burgundy/berry lips. The product has a little bit of sparkle and a LOT of glow. It makes my make up pop and my skin look super healthy even in the colder weather.

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Image from beautybay.com

I would seriously recommend having a look at this product if you haven’t already because I really can see why there is such a hype surrounding it.

Skin Care

As you will know if you’ve read these posts before, I get really dry skin and this only gets worse as the weather starts to get colder. My absolute go to over the past few weeks has been Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Concentration Cream. It is the most delicious, nourishing formula that smells like melted chocolate. It has a thicker texture than usual moisturisers and feels so silky smooth, which I really like. This product has made it into my daily bag, which is a HUGE achievement for a moisturiser so well done Palmer’s – I tip my wooly bobble hat to you. The collection is HUGE so have a browse and see what floats your boat.

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Image from ebay.com

Exercise

It surprises me to say this but this month my love for the deadlift has returned. I really went off deadlifting when I pulled my lower back due to some dodgy form and seriously overestimating my capabilities (sure I am pull 100kg after 2 weeks off, no worries…). Since then I admit I have avoided it but since starting training in Solihull I have really started to love them again. Rather than going super heavy like I was doing before, I tend to do high reps with a lower weight (50-60kg) and I am really enjoying them.

If you’re not deadlifting here’s why you definitely should be doing:

  • It works your full body.
  • It helps with fat burning
  • It can help improve your posture (as long as the form is correct) 
  • Helps increase grip strength
  • Makes you feel BAD ASS.

Entertainment (Book) 

This one way easy this month. My September favourites when it comes to entertainment has to go to the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. The first book in this series is the one that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo film was inspired by. They are such fantastic reads – trippy, engaging and totally unpredictable. If you get the chance and enjoy crime fiction then I would seriously recommend giving these books ago. Larsson has such an original writing style that will have you hooked from the first page!

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Image from booktopiablog.com

This has actually been the easiest favourites of the month EVER! I usually find myself really torn but I am loving all of these things so much that they were unrivalled this month. What have you been loving this month? Did you treat yourself to the Gymshark slounge? On the hunt for an intense moisturiser to get you through the winter months? Let me know in the comments below. 

Jamie x

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Hey guys! It’s time for another one of my #FiveFavourites and today is the turn of Benefit Cosmetics. I find Benefit products really hit and miss and a lot of the time they can be quite gimmicky and overpriced. That said, there are some products that I think are such high quality that they’ve become my ride or die products. I chose this brand as I have been serious lusting over some of their new releases, namely the Hello Happy foundation, which has had some excellent reviews. Who knows, next time I do this it might just feature in my top five, but for now, here are some oldies but goldies that I love. 

BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara

First up is the BADgal BANG! mascara. I have always been a huge fan of Benefit mascaras since They’re Real but this is the best one yet. It’s a surprisingly light formula that is not as wet as They’re Real so doesn’t feel sticky all leave that weird black line under your eyes (not a good look) yet it gives your lashes insane volume. It builds up to give a false lash effect and lasts for ages on the lashes without feeling dry and gross. It’s water-resistance but still comes over nicely with make up remover and has B5 in the formula, which is known the thicken and strengthen your natural lashes. It is the perfect mascara to take you from day to night and I would seriously recommend giving it a go if you’re a lover of their other mascaras.

Brow Zing’s Eyebrow Shaping Kit

The Brow Zing’s Eyebrow Shaping Kit has been my ride or die since my year 11 prom (about 5 years ago!). During this time it has changed its formula and packaging and in my opinion the is now not as good as the older one, but it is still the only product I reach for when doing my brows. The cute little kit is perfect to throw in your hand bag or travel with and includes eyebrow powder, wax, mini slant tweezers and a dual-sided extendable applicator. It gives a really natural look to the brows and lasts all day (and night). If you love a full, natural brow then this is the product for you – it’s totally fool proof!

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Image from cultbeauty.co.uk

Watts Up Cream Highlighter

When I first got the product I was really unsure but I ended up loving it. The Watts Up Cream Highlighter definitely takes some getting used to and I had to play around with it a lot before I got the hang of it, but it gives such a stunning champagne glow. Rather than being full of chunky glitter (which I don’t like at all) it just gives you a beautiful sheen. The application is super smooth and has an almost powder like finish. I would say though, this is definitely a highlight for the cheek bones alone. For some reason it never sets on my nose or other areas and it is hard to control the intensity due to the nature of the application! It is, however, a really beautiful highlight and is also something that takes me from day to night.

Sugarbomb Blush/Bronzer

You might remember that this product featured in my favourites back in July and it is still a firm favourite of mine. The Sugarbomb Blush/Bronzer might have awful packaging but the formula is stunning. It has four difference shades of peach, soft plum, pink and rose, which blend together to give your cheeks a sugary, natural flush. I also sometimes uses the shades separately as the peach makes a beautiful addition to a summery, neutral eye look. The mix of shades also means it would suit loads of complexions and take you from summer to winter. If you can look past the packaging (hard I know) it is really worth the investment.

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Image from houseoffraser.co.uk

It’s Potent Brightening Eye Cream

Last but not least is a product I have not used in forever and I couldn’t tell you why because I really did love it. The It’s Potent Brightening Eye Cream is great for helping with dark circles and reduces/preventing fine lines. It instantly gives your under eyes a natural, hydrated glow and contains a peptide complex known to help restore elasticity & firmness. It’s a little bit on the steeper side but I tend to find that that is the case with all eye creams (my current set me back $27.99 in Crete – if you’re interested you can find it herebut I always think eye care is worth the investment as they’re the first things to age. If you struggle with dark circles or tired looking under eyes this might be the product for you.

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A natural day look using all of these make up product. I was glowing (if I do say so myself) 

And that’s a wrap. I actually found this #FiveFavourites a lot easier than I found it for Soap and Glory as I tend to find with Benefit products I either love or hate them. There are some cult favourites such as POREfessional and BeneTINT I really cannot get on with, and other things that aren’t as popular that I adore. It is definitely a marmite make up brand in my opinion, but these five products really are fantastic. Let me know in the comments what your favourite Benefit products are and if there are any particular brands you would like to see in the next #FiveFavourites. Until next time… 

Jamie x 

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