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Favourites of the Month | January

We have officially made it. The longest month of the whole entire year is officially over… nearly. Well done us.  

It’s been a long time since I wrote a ‘Favourites of the Month’, but recently I have been trying loads of new bits and bobs (thank you Christmas!) that I have been loving, and so I thought I would share them with you all. It’s going to be a long one so grab yourself a cuppa and a biscuit, and let’s get started. 

FASHION

This month I have been making a conscious effort to make my fashion consumption more sustainable. After doing a lot of research into the fast fashion industry, I have been trying to buy less new clothes and instead buy second-hand off friends or dabble in a bit of thrift shopping.

However, I have got a few new pieces to share with you that I was bought for Christmas or purchased new knowing that I would get a lot of wear of out.

First up, it’s my vegan-friendly Dr. Martens. Yes, they’re still agony as I have yet to fully bed them in, but damn my feet look good. I got them in Vegan 1460 Chrome in a dark oxblood red and I truly am obsessed. They’re a little different to the original iconic Dr. Marten’s that have a more understated, smooth shine. These, on the other hand, have the most gorgeous reflective chrome finish that reflects slightly different colours in different lights. They’re eye-catching, they’re practical AND they’re cruelty-free. Bravo Dr. Marten’s, bravo.

And once you bed them in they do become super comfortable… I promise! 

At the time of writing this, this pair is on sale, so if you fancy yourself a pair then now is a perfect time.

Sticking in fashion, I have another  January favourite to share with you, from Gymshark. No surprises there… 

It is, of course, the black camo seamless leggings and sports bra, which quickly became my absolute favourite set Gymshark have ever designed. They’re on the pricier side of Gymshar activewear, but they are so worth it. The leggings are the most flattering I have ever worn, and the little scrunch detailing on the back gives the illusion of a bigger, perkier booty. The bra is also really flattering, not to mention it gives great support while still sporting a feminine design. I really think Gymshark have pulled it out of the bag with this one (if I do say so myself) and, if possible, I would seriously recommend getting your hands on it.

JAN

MAKE-UP 

Next up, it is time for my favourite makeup product on the month, of which there are two. I tried to pick just one, I really did, but they are both so good I thought that they should both get a mention.

First up is the Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter Luminous Gold. I have always been a little sceptical about liquid highlighters and I don’t think you get the same control or natural finish. However, this one is an absolute DREAM! Not only is it super affordable, but it has the most stunning finish that lasts literally all day. You hardly need any (one or two drops at the most) and it gives you the most reflective, dewy glow! I have also been experimenting with this under my foundation to give my skin a healthy-looking glow that it really misses in these colder months. If you’re on the hunt for a liquid highlight, you seriously cannot go wrong with this one. They come in loads of different colours and are available on BeautyBay. I get complimented every time I wear it! Hats off Makeup Revolution.

HIGHLIGHT

My second make-up favourite has to be Benefit’s Gimme Brow Volumising Gel. I have been using the same eyebrow kit for the past 6 years (not exactly the same one… I have repurchased, don’t worry) but it just wasn’t quite making the cut anymore. It was good for the drawn-on eyebrow days, but now I prefer a more natural finish. The Gimme Brow is my new ride-or-die. It is so easy to use, you literally just put it on like mascara and it gives you lashes and full finish, while still looking super natural due to the tiny little micro-fibres in the formula. I was also pleasantly surprised at the staying power – it lasts out even my sweatiest gym sessions. Here’s to the next 6 years Gimme Brow.

SKIN CARE

Confession: I am shit when it comes to skincare.

I wish I was one of these girls with a fancy routine they followed religiously but, truth be told, I am lazy. However, this year, I have made it my resolution to take better care of my skin and I have been sticking to it pretty well. I actually have 3 favourites in this section, but all part of the same skincare family so it’s okay… right?

First up in the family is the Elemis Nourishing Omega-rich cleansing oil. I’ll admit, I have had this a while and have been avoiding using it because a make-up wipe and some water seemed like a lot less agg. While my skincare routine might have taken a grand total of 30 seconds, it wasn’t really doing much, and I started to struggle with breakouts. I started using this and absolutely love it. It smells delicious and leaves my skin feeling so soft and nourished. Not only that, but since using it, I feel like my skin has become a lot more glow-y and a lot less like I have died. Always a bonus…

The other two products are the Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner, which is a lazy girl’s dream! Literally, just spray and go – ideal. Last up, it’s their collagen marine cream (basically a fancy name for a moisturiser from what I can tell). It’s super thick and feels really indulgent, but doesn’t leave my skin feeling greasy at all, rather it makes my skin feel plump and delicious. I tend to get really dry skin in the colder months, so a good moisturiser is essential.

This set was brought for me as a gift, so I don’t know the exact price, but I am going to take a stab in the dark and say that it will not be cheap! However, I am really liking it and don’t mind investing if it is going to work and look after my skin.

Long may my new-found skincare routine last.

EXERCISE

As you will know if you follow me on any of my social media platforms, I am taking part in Gymshark 66. They say it takes 66 days to make a habit, and so I am putting it to the test and challenging myself to eat better, run faster, lift heavier, and (most importantly) be happier. This means my exercise this month has been intense! I threw myself straight back into the deep-end with it after struggling for 2 months with glandular fever and, truth be told, I have loved every last second of it! The aches and the pains have been KILLER, but I have never felt fitter or more confident.

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My favourite exercise of the month has to be bench press! I always hated bench press, but since I started incorporating it into my routine on a regular basic, I started to notice some great improvements. It’s a fantastic, compound exercise that I would seriously recommend. If the barbell is a bit too heavy for you at the moment, try lying dumbbell press to help build up your strength before moving onto the barbell!

ENTERTAINMENT

I wish I could say that this month my entertainment favourite was going to a book, but Netflix have really pulled it out of the bag this January (and also, I have only been reading history books, which the majority of you are not going to care about..*.). I watched ‘Birdbox’ at the start of the month and, don’t hate me, but I really did not get the hype. 5/10 at the very best! ‘You’, however, I have really enjoyed. Super trippy, witty and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I would definitely recommend giving this a watch if you haven’t already.

*If you are I would recommend ‘In Defence of History’ by Richard Evans. It’s not without its flaws, but it is a really interesting reflection on postmodernism and that impact it has on history. NERD!

So, there you have it! I know this has been the longest Favourites of the Month EVER, but there is a lot that I have been loving throughout January. What have you been loving? Loved yourself a bit of Birdbox? Avoid benchpress like the plague? Let me know in the comments down below?

Jamie x

 

Should you be using a foam roller?

Foam rolling. Everybody is talking about it, but is it really worth all the hype? Here are the pros and cons of foam rolling.

foam roller

My torture device… 

First things first, what is foam rolling?

The idea behind foam rolling is to release tight muscles and the adhesions in them that restrict your range of motion. In other words, in theory, it helps to stretch out your muscles and relieve any soreness.

However, whether foam rolling actually does you any good is something that is hotly debated, with evidence both for and against it.

THE PROS

Supporters of foam rolling, rave about the benefits. Not only is it meant to help reduce the risk of injury by improving circulation, it also softens tendons which results in increased flexibility. It has also been suggested that foam rolling can help to regulate your nervous system, which increases what is known as muscle extensibility (how far the muscle can be stretched to you and me).

In theory, this increased circulation and flexibility helps you to achieve your full potential when it comes to your gym sessions, as it helps to encourage better form and reduce those dreaded DOMS.

Yep, it might hurt when you’re doing it, but as they say – no pain, no gain!

THE CONS

All sounds great, where do I sign up?

Before you go grabbing a foam roller at the end of your next session, it is worth considering that while many people rave about foam rolling, others recommend avoiding it. Although the supposed benefits are great, in reality, researchers aren’t all that convinced.

Many worry that rather than helping your muscles to soften and recover, the pressure that is applied during foam rolling could actually be having a negative impact on the nervous system instead! 

TO SUM IT UP

Foam rolling is a relatively new phenomenon and so scientific research is limited. While studies have shown that it might not have negative effects in the short term, the long-term effects have yet to be studied.

Therefore, while it might help your lifts in that session, or even in that week, there is currently no way to say for certain whether it will continue to offer these benefits in the future.

If you were looking for a more definite answer, I am sorry…

Do you foam roll or are you more of a stretching sort of person? Comment down below which you prefer.

Jamie x 

Beat The Heat | How To Train Safely In The Summer.

Hey guys and happy Friday. I say ‘happy’ Friday but sadly today marks my last day in Crete before heading back to sunny Yorkshire. To celebrate (and commemorate) my last day in the heat I thought I would share some of my top tips for beating to heat whilst training. Summer time is great when it comes to feeling motivated and getting yourself out and moving. However, it does not come without its risks. Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure you’re staying safe and getting the most from your summer outdoor workouts. 

The Dangers

Living in the UK I very rarely get the chance to train outside. Usually I am lucky if I miss the rain walking from the carpark into the gym! However, outdoor workouts are really effective and can be super beneficial so I have certainly been making the most of the lovely warm weather here in Crete. Unfortunately, though, it does not take Sherlock Holmes to realise that the summer heat (even the British summer time) and humidity are not always the best pairing for your workout.

Although hotter temperatures can help you warm up faster, which can prevent injuries, it is vital to consider the health risks that come with training outside. If you’re anything like me, chances are you get pretty sweaty at the best of times, but obviously you’re going to sweat even more in hotter temperatures. Sweating is not a bad thing, as mentioned in my previous post on sweat and skin care, but when it gets too hot blood rushes away from your muscles and to the skin to help cool it (hence you’re likely to go red!). This means that there is less blood in your muscles, consequently leading to a lowering of your blood pressure, which can then result in your feeling dizzy, light headed and nauseous. In really extreme cases this can put you at risk of heat stroke and even potentially seizures and heart rhythm problems – makes the pros of warming up faster seem a little less impressive, right?

As we have seen, exercising in hot weather (whether inside or outside) can put a lot of extra stress on your body and can result in serious illness if the proper precautions are not taken. This doesn’t mean to say that as soon as it gets warm you should just burn your gym pass on the BBQ and whip out the strawberries on cream, oh no! (even though I seriously recommend the latter at some point) You will be pleased to know that there are some top tips you can practise to ensure that your workout is safe in the summer months.

Tips to ‘Beat the Heat’

Stay Hydrated

This might seem obvious but speaking from experience, staying hydrated can be easy to overlook. The average individual has a sweating rate of 1 litre per hour when they’re training in hot environments (I dread to think what my sweating rate must be), which is a hell of a lot of water to lose and not replenish. Dehydration from excess sweating can lead to increases plasma tonicity and decreases blood volume. Put simply, these can reduce heat loss which results in an elevated core temperature levels during exercise-heat stress – definitely not what you want!

To avoid this, before you start training make sure you have drank a fair bit of water and ensure that you carry at bottle of water with you at all times. Make sure you’re taking a drink at least every 15 minutes, whether you feel as if you need it or not. By the time you’re feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated so you want to avoid getting to that stage. If I was working with a client who did not have a bottle of water or who was feeling very thirsty I would probably stop the training session!

You should also ensure that you are you replenishing your electrolytes, which will be lost during exercise. Sweating can result in salt depletion, which is a contributing factor to heat exhaustion. Most of us will rehydrate but will forget the replace the salt that we have lost through excess sweating. Make sure you are replacing lost electrolytes with fluids or salty snacks such as olives, salted nuts or sunflower seeds.

 

Wear The Right Clothes 

Something that is easy to neglect, your workout outfit can have a huge impact on your summer training programme. If possible you want to ensure you’re wearing breathable, light and light-coloured clothing. If you’re going to be outside for a long period of time, you might even want to get yourself a hat as well! If in doubt, look for words like ‘breathable’, ‘moisture-wicking’, and ‘mesh’ on the label as these are more likely to keep you cool, dry and comfortable. I would also recommend avoiding grey because, well… we all know grey and sweat are not best buddies.

It is also worth keeping in mind chafing and heat rash. You might be tempted to grab a pair of shorts, however, I tend to find that little shorts can lead to some painful inner thigh chafing. If you have ever experienced this you will know it is definitely something you want to avoid. You can pick up anti-chafing creams and powder deodorants that are meant to help but I have yet to find anything I have found works for me. It’s not just the inner thighs we need to be thinking about – the under arms, rib cage and nipples can suffer as well. You might want to pick up a thin, seamless tank style sports bra if you’re going to be doing longer runs in hot weather.

Protect Your Skin

I know, I know, suncream is gross and probably the last thing you want to put on before you work out but it is so so important. Make sure you’re slathering on the factor 50 before you head out and train and don’t miss any important areas! Research has shown that most of us will forget to protect the lower leg and therefore this is one of the most common places that women develop skin cancer. Other commonly missed areas can include the ears, scalp and the back of your neck and legs so make sure you’re protected.

Time it Right

Something that is easy for us British to forget is timing. You know that phrase ‘mad dogs and Englishmen’? Well, it’s true – we are not sensible with our heat exposure. If the locals are inside, you should be as well and if you’re not the very less you can do is avoid training. You should try and avoid exercising between 10-3 as this is likely to be the hottest part of the day.

You might want a lay in on your holidays, but sadly the best time for training is generally early in the morning. If this isn’t possible, why not mix up the type of training you’re doing. Instead of going for a run in the midday heat, why not take a dip in the pool? Your body will thank you for it.

Listen to Your Body

It’s all well and good giving you all these tips but it is important to remember that sometimes you should just not bother. Even if you practise all of these tips, you might still be at risk of overheating so make sure you are listening to your body and if you feel any symptoms of overheating stop immediately. Heat exhaustion can sneak up on you quickly so try and train with a friend and make sure someone knows where you are at all times. Don’t mean to sound all morbid, but safety first guys! 

Sometimes you are simply better off staying indoors and there are lots of factors to take into account including humidity, the type of training and your experience training in hotter and more humid climates. If you’re really unsure, I would say it is safer to stay inside. If you are really desperate to train, you could also use a heat index, which will take into account both heat and humidity. Whatever you decide, make sure your body is safe and protected. Enjoy the weather and take care of yourself. 

Jamie x 

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Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048167

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236240/

https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/8-tips-for-exercising-in-summer-heat

https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/a19920682/too-hot-to-train/

https://www.shape.com/fitness/cardio/10-must-know-tips-exercising-hot-weather

Favourites Of The Month – June.

Hey guys! It’s that time of the month again. No, not *that* time of the month… time for my monthly favourites. I don’t mean to terrify you all but it is more than half way throughout 2018. Madness, I know. So far this year I have completed my degree, qualified as a personal trainer, done and secured some internships and finally started putting 2018 and not 2017 on forms. Success.

Anyway, as promised now that I have graduated I have got a lot more time on my hands (some might say too much time on my hands) and so you will now be seeing monthly favourites a lot more – I’ll even go as far as saying every month but don’t hold me to it! So, without waffling any longer, let’s get into some of my favourites of June… 

Fashion

Love them or hate them (although you should love them because they are so cool) the baker boy hat is back and I finally got my hands on one!

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Look how cute it is! Okay, so it might not be up your street but I am obsessed with this cord, vintage rose baker boy. I’m not usually a hat person but anything that allows me to channel my inner Kiera Knightly in Love Actually gets a huge yes from me. I got this one from Topshop and it was £15, which I think is a little pricey. I did, however, find a very similar one in Primark for £5 so if you like it then learn from my mistakes, head there first and save yourself some cash. I am not sure how it compares quality wise because I was too hurt that I had unnecessarily spent an extra £10 to make detailed comparisons but it definitely looked very VERY similar. Cry cry. 

Despite me not being the savviest of shoppers with this one I really do love the hat. It goes with everything and makes me feel like a 90’s chick – definitely a fashion favourite.

Make Up 

This month’s favourites are actually from the same brand as last month (well done MUA!) As mentioned in last months favourites, this is a cruelty free and super affordable brand exclusively from superdrug. I went shopping in Birmingham this month and headed to Selfridges with the intention of picking up the nice new nude lipstick from MAC. They didn’t have the colour I wanted (Jubilee) so I decided to pop into superdrug and see if the high street could serve me any better. I ended up looking at the MUA collection and was SHOOK by their £1 (!!) lipsticks. I was a little apprehensive and was not expecting much from lipsticks that cost £1 but I swatched some of the colours and loved them so I thought it was worth a shot. They did not disappoint! I picked up 3 different colours: Bare (a very light, creamy nude), Nectar (a vibrant coral) and Tulip (a pale barbie pink). They have a satin finish, which is my favourite for a lipstick and feel great on the lips.

All three of the colours have pretty decent staying powder comparable with the MAC lustre lipstick collection. My favourite is Nectar. It is this gorgeous, juicy orange/coral – perfect for summer and it lasts for a really long time on the lips. My only slight criticism would be that they don’t smell great. It is not a bad smell and it is definitely not strong but when you first put them on you there is a faint play dough sort of smell. For £1, however, you really cannot go wrong. I would seriously recommend picking some of these up. They have a pretty good colour selection and they are perfect for everyday wear. Plus, it doesn’t matter too much if you lose it on a night out so no more morning after fear – everyone is a winner.

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bare

Skin Care 

No prizes for guessing but this month my skin care favourite is hands down LUSH Mask of Magnaminty. I cannot fault this face mask at all! It smells delicious (like minty ice cream), it’s self preserving (if you get the self preserving one of course), vegan and makes my skin look and feel incredible. It cost me £12.50 for a 315g tub and I can already tell I am going to get a lot of uses out of it! I’ve been using this mask twice a week. It recommends you leave it on for 15 minutes but I have been going a little longer (more like 25-30 minutes) and, in just a few uses, my skin is already looking so much fresher. It has been a miracle worker on my spot prone areas and generally my skin is looking a lot brighter and far more even.

I have tried a lot of face masks in my time and never really found one that stood out. I have tended to find them a little but gimmicky. This on the other hand is incredible and I cannot recommend it enough. Without a doubt the best face mask I have ever tried!

lush

 

Exercise 

Last month Meta-fit stole the show but this month I have fallen in love with another Les Mills class – Body pump. Body pump is an hour long and is based on 11 tracks (one of which being a banger from The Killers) . It’s all about strength and sculpting but, just as with any Les Mills class, it gets your heart rate up and seriously makes you sweat. The newest track (105) is a fab full body workout. It’s tough going (I’m looking at you lunge track) but it can be easily adapted to suit any ability. My aim with these classes was to maintain my current level of strength whilst improving my cardiovascular fitness and body composition. Since doing this class I have seen huge improvements in my muscle definition and have actually increased my strength despite doing heavy weights fewer times a week. I would really recommend giving this a go if you are looking for a serious challenge. It burns like crazy but it does do what it says on the tin and you really will feel pumped afterwards.

bodypuo

Do not put this much weight on, my lord this person must be crazy. Image from lesmills.com. Go and check out the workouts, they’re really great.

Entertainment (TV Show) 

This was really, really hard this month. Despite having a lot of free time I haven’t really watched many new TV shows. Last month it was a toss up between FRIENDS and Stranger Things and because I started Stranger Things towards the end of the month I had to give it to FRIENDS. Anyway, I was pretty certain Stranger Things would take it in June but then Safe through a spanner in the works. Both and very good and both are very different. I have decided, however, to go with Safe. This is not because Stranger Things does not deserve a spot but I was very late to join the Stranger Things band wagon and so I am going to assume most of you have already seen it. Safe though is pretty new. It’s a Netflix original, 7 episodes and they’re each about 45-50 minutes (perfect for binge watching). It’s a bit of a murder mystery sort of thing but MY GOD it is good. Loads of twists and turns, face paced and everyone is a little bit dodgy, which only makes it more interesting. I am usually the best at predicting the ending but it kept me on my toes right until the end. It was fantastic and I would highly recommend it.

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Image from Digital Spy (although don’t read this until after you have finished – loads of spoilers)

So there you have it, some of my June favourites. What do you think? Getting over excited at the number of lipsticks you can get without blowing the bank? Got a different favourite face mask I need to try out? Let me know your thoughts and what you guys have been loving this month and stayed tuned to see if MUA can make it on the favourites for the 3rd month in a row. 

june

Jamie x