Ch-ch-changing, losing weight with Slimming World.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Last October I made the conscious decision to make a change, it sounds dramatic but I wasn't happy with my weight and I was the only one who could change it. I'll tell you a secret I never used to step on the scales, I had a phobia of sorts, I was scared and denial/avoidance of the scales, helped me to reassure myself that I was happy how I was (I wasn't.) My Mum and Dad have followed Slimming World on and off for years, last August they rejoined a new class determined that this time it was for the long haul, I swithered about joining (still in denial) as I kept telling them I was happy how I was/ that I was sure I couldn't lose weight, I'd never tried so just presumed I couldn't.

After weeks of debating I eventually decided to join Slimming World with the parentals, I'd just started a new job and it seemed only fitting that I started to make some life changes too, although I refer to it as a diet, I treat the Slimming World plan as more of a lifestyle change.

Heading to my first week at Slimming World was incredibly daunting, I was terrified about stepping on the scales, but if I'm honest the worst week for me was the second. I felt physically sick before I headed to my first weigh in, I was sure I wouldn't have lost anything or even worse that I'd have put on weight, walking to class I was trembling and anxious and even considered not going. Thankfully I have had the support of my Mum and Dad the whole time I've been following Slimming World, without them I'd not have gone to my first weigh in (I lost 4.5lbs by the way!) and wouldn't have had the support I've needed so much throughout my journey so far.
Fruit & Veg consumption has increased 10 fold in the BB household!

Hard to believe it's 'diet food'!
I've really really enjoyed following the Slimming World plan, I won't go into the details about it but I love that I can eat lots of the things that I like and can eat proper meals without feeling like I'm eating 'diet food' and most importantly for me see results. I've now lost just shy of 3 stone and though I have noticed the difference, in that I've been buying much smaller clothes, feeling slimmer and so many people commenting on the differences they were noticing, I don't think I'd quite realised how much I've lost, till last weekend.

In the past I'd have never worn a short dress, never, at a push I'd have worn something just above the knee but always with tights or leggings; I didn't feel confident in my body and short dresses were a definite no-no! At the weekend I wore a dress I bought a couple of months ago in River Island with no tights, a short bodycon dress sans tights, SHOCK HORROR!
Dress- River Island (£10 sale)
Shoes- ASOS (£35)

It was a definite move forward for me in terms of self-confidence and I'm glad I did it, but what really made all the difference was my blogging pal' Kirsty posting a comparison picture on twitter of me last year and now. I'd never really been much of a fan of comparison pictures, as in the past I hated anything other than pictures where I really controlled the angle and such like... So I'm glad Kirsty did  it as it helped to show me how far I have come, it wouldn't have been possible without the help and support of my family and friends, and it feels like the right time to finally talk about it on my blog.

When I first started Slimming World I never imagined I'd be where I am today, I had no idea how much weight I wanted to lose and if I'm honest I still don't, I love going to group and supporting each other with new recipes, advice and tips; I'm thankful for everyone who has been there for me along the way and I hope I can be there for any of my friends and family at group who are on their own weight loss journeys (cheesey I know but hey!) 

The Workaholics Guide to Balancing Studying and Working...

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Many of my friends, family and even acquaintances refer to me as a workaholic, it's no secret that I like earning money and being in control of my own future. For me that means working hard, gaining contacts and experience to help me in the future. I won't pretend it's easy as working 2 jobs and all the other things i do, is often pretty tough,  but I know that many other people are in the same boat and if I don't want it enough as far as I'm concerned someone else who's worked harder than me will be more successful.

Over the last two years I've worked a number of jobs and internships, helped people out with events, given the odd bit of PR/Social media consultancy, written lots and generally just worked hard! It's not supposed to be easy, and interning whilst working definitely isn't. I've been lucky in that I've had 2 internships which have been paid positions, I know this is pretty rare and I'm so grateful for the opportunities that I've had. But I won't put it all down to luck, I've worked really hard and its taken me a long time to take pride in that!

My third year of my degree at college was pretty intense, throughout I worked two jobs, a retail job and an internship and roughly worked around 25 hours a week on top of my 2 full days at college and my coursework. It was pretty full on and I'll admit that there were a number of nights I was very stressed and stayed up all hours to get work finished. I do have some advice though for anyone who is thinking of working and or interning whilst studying, obviously my tips are just from my experience but I hope they might help some of you in the future too.

1. Don't expect it to be easy.
There will undoubtedly be early mornings, late nights and times when you feel exhausted, trust me it is worth it.

2. An air of entitlement is so very unattractive.
Confidence is all well and good, but thinking you are entitled to something whether that's a job or respect, is one of the most unattractive qualities and people will very quickly pick up on it. Job hunting is hard, earning people's respect can be difficult, but by showing your talent and skills, both will become much easier.

3. Don't look down on part-time jobs.
I've worked throughout my entire time studying my degree, it's lovely that some people have the opportunity to not need to study throughout university but in reality many people do work. I've spoken to many employers and interviewers who have said they really respect and look favourably upon students who held down part time jobs, it shows dedication and the ability to multi-task!

4. Organisation is key.
Being organised is super important, I'd be lost without my Filofax as it helps me keep on track with what I'm doing from day-to-day and hour-by-hour. Whether it's making sure you've packed your lunch for a busy day at work or planning out your train times before a job interview, being organised will always help you to focus on the task at hand. I spend lots of time on trains and use as much time as possible whilst travelling keeping up with studying, be it reading or note taking, commuting time can be optimum studying time (as long as it's not too busy!)

The life of a commuter... 

5. Know your limits.
In September I'll be starting my honours year studying Film and Media at Stirling University and have already pre-decided how much time I can budget to working. I'll only be working one job next year as I know I need to focus more in fourth year and dedicate more time to my studies than in previous years.

Working hard means playing hard too, celebrating finishing our exams;
we then found out all 3 of us are graduating with Distinction!
I hope some of these tips are useful, I've just finished my BA in Media and Communications and though I worked 2 jobs (among lots of other extracurricular activities) I managed to graduate with distinction, I'm so pleased with how it's all turned out and I can't wait to begin fourth year in September! Let me know if you've got any tips for workaholic students as I'd love to hear them.

SUMMER! Lush Sun Care & Million Dollar Moisturiser Review

Thursday, 19 June 2014

If you're a regular reader of my blog you probably know I work at Lush, amongst my many jobs, today we received a much anticipated delivery at Lush Stirling, after months of excitement Lush Sun Care is now available online and in stores. The new range of Lush Sun Care products are designed to go 'above and beyond' like all Lush skincare the products are packed with the highest quality natural ingredients ensuring that your skin is not only protected from the sun but is left feeling silky smooth and looking fabulous!

The range is made up of a two lotions, a moisturiser and very excitingly a solid sunscreen wash, I'm going to do a mini review of my favourite product so far which is Million Dollar Moisturiser but firstly shall explain all 4 of the products.

First up 'The Sunblock' (SPF30); all of the Lush sun care products have been developed using industry standard synthetic sunscreens, which provide not only sun protection but also protection from UVA rays. The Sunblock is a truly unique and innovative product which takes the hassle out of protecting your skin from the sun, by simply washing on the bar during your morning shower. The solid sunscreen bar is very similar to Lush body butters and not only protects but also softens your skin, perfect huh?! Made with cocoa butter from the Fundopo Peace Collective in Colombia as well as Calamine powder to soothe, and sesame oil to increase the effectiveness of the synthetic sunscreens.

Next up is 'Sesame Suntan Lotion' (SPF10) the perfect sunscreen for those of us who are wanting to achieve a lovely golden tan yet still protect their skin. Again featuring sesame oil and Fairtrade organic Colombian cocoa butter, this lotion sinks into the skin quickly and also works as a pretty nifty after sun, thanks to Aloe Vera extract which will soothe and cool skin after a day spent in the sunshine.

'Lifesaver' (SPF30) is a refreshing and nourishing sun cream with lovely cooling ingredients such as mint, eucalyptus and avocado oil, it's sure to protect the skin from the sun and leave it in tip top condition. Not one to be forgotten Lifesaver is made up of lovely nourishing murumuru and cocoa butters, as well as calamine powder which naturally protects the skin from UV rays.

Saved the best for last for y'all... 'Million Dollar Moisturiser' is the newest addition to the famous Lush Skincare range, offering up high quality ingredients, SPF 30 protection and a subtle shimmer perfect for adding a delicate glow during the summer months.

I'm definitely a big fan of Million Dollar Moisturiser, personally I find for my skin which is combination/sensitive that British Nanny is a tad too heavy for me, but MDM is just the ticket. The formulation is a light yet nourishing, with a delicate happy fragrance. I find that it leaves my skin feeling moisturised and leaves my skin with a touch of a healthy glow, it'll definitely be a must on my summer holiday to Florida next month! During the summer I don't like to wear heavy foundations and instead favour a facial sunscreen and concealer combo, I'm super cautious of protecting my skin, especially on my face (don't want any wrinkles now eh!!) and I love not only how MDM makes my skin feel, soft and moisturised, but the fact that I'm protecting it from the sun at the same time, perfect!

Let me know if you plan to give any Lush Suncare a go, or if you have already? *Although I work in a Lush store I've not been asked by Lush to write this or been paid, I just wanted to let you all know about our newest exciting products in store!*

Guess Who's Back...Back Again.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Well it'd be a lie to say it hasn't been a while, sadly recently this wee bit of the Internet I like to call my own has been to put it simply abandoned. I feel like the last few blog posts I've written have included some form or other of this spiel about how busy everything has been and why my blog has been neglected. It's difficult I guess when you're trying to run a blog as well as living, and sadly I've had so much on in my every day life that my blogging life (even seeing my blogging pals) has taken a real nosedive.

At the end of last month I finished my exams and finished my degree, in September I plan to go onto Stirling Uni to do my honours year (fingers crossed for my results!) a choice which was a pretty big part of why I've been a bit quiet. I wasn't sure whether or not I actually wanted to do an honours year, I've worked really hard throughout my course ensuring I've not only got the academic part, but also lots of extracurricular activities such as working on the student magazine, sitting on the student council and representing my peers, as well as volunteering, working, interning and lots of work experience.

The past 3 years have been hectic and after much considered thought I decided that studying for another year would help me to close the chapter and give me greater future opportunities, at least I hope so anyway.

I'm now settling into the summer, working, catching up with friends and trying to organise my life which has become somewhat cluttered of late, clearing out clothes (which are now too big, as I'm still on plan with Slimming World) and getting ready for my holiday to Florida next month!

I'm currently on the train headed through to Glasgow to see a few of the friends I've made through blogging some of whom I haven't seen in what seems like forever, I decided that now was as good a time as ever to get this post written an official post to mark that I'm back and plan to regain a sense of normality in life as much as on this blog!

Speak soon,