Thursday, 28 February 2013

My Diet in a Day #2


protein porridge with berries ~ apple loves mint suki tea ~ greek salad with turkey breast ~ chicken polenta with broccoli 
The last time I did a Diet in a Day blog post, I was doing Intermittent Fasting - something which I've recently stopped as I had a mystery case of fatigue so I wanted to make sure it wasn't because of my diet. It's taken a fair bit of getting used to not eating in a set time window if I'm honest, especially having to wake up earlier so I have time for breakfast! I've also given up bread/bread-like products for lent, which means I actually have to think about what I'm going to be eating in a day a gazillion more times than I used to!

I think that I have probably made the best discovery to make breakfasts better in the whole world (it really has been that life-changing for me!) because I came up with the amazing idea of adding vanilla protein powder to porridge! I know a lot of people add sugar or sweeteners to porridge to give it a bit more flavour but for me, adding a bit of vanilla whey gives it that little bit extra sweetness and extra protein so I'm staying fuller for longer, and helping reach my protein targets.
Nothing else amazing to speak of if I'm honest - although the tea I had from Suki was absolutely amazing! Apple and mint has to be one of the greatest flavour combinations for tea everit was so refreshing!! I also had a protein shake or two as well, but I forgot to take a picture of them. :)

Hope you're having a good day! I'll be back tomorrow with a giveaway if the schedule thing works to say well done to everyone who's taken part in #FebFocus this month - comment below with how you got on! :)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Mission to Money: Week Two

Yes I'm well aware that this was meant to be a Sunday post, and not a Tuesday evening post - sorry guys! I do have a legitimate excuse for my lack of posting since LAST MONDAY (literally didn't even realise it had been this long - time really does fly!) as I have been spending the entire week being neck deep in finishing off a million pieces of coursework AND making the final preparations ready for my cheerleading squad's first competition of the season which was on Sunday.
We trained for over 9 hours over the course of 3 sessions last week to make sure we were as ready as we possibly could be for Future Cheer University Nationals and it was worth every minute of it for the feeling you get when you perform!
My amazing little cheer squad at Future Cheer on Sunday! I'm one of the bases holding up the girl in the middle :)
I actually can't think of anything to put on my wishlist for this week either which I guess is good news - although I haven't really had the opportunity to see anything that I liked with being stuck in either the library doing coursework or in a sports hall training all week haha. I did however make a few cheeky purchases that I perhaps shouldn't have!

Monday:
Coffee with a friend - £2.45
Snack - 60p
Lunch - £4.00

Tuesday:
NOTHING!

Wednesday:
NOTHING!

Thursday:
Bus fare - £1.80

Friday:
Snacks - £1.79

Saturday:
NOTHING!

Sunday:
Lunch - £5.00
Cheer Clothes from Future Cheer - £38.50
Drink - £1.20

Total: £55.34

I'm pretty dissappointed in myself if I'm honest - not because I've spent over £50 - but more because I didn't learn last week's mistake of not buying lunch out! I'd planned all along that I would buy a couple of things from the Future Cheer shop when I went to competition on Sunday so the £38.50 doesn't really bother me all that much. It's more that once again I have spent  SO MUCH MONEY on food and drink when I can save money by taking lunch with me! I really do have to make some changes because it's getting ridiculous.

Is anyone else struggling to keep their finances in check? Let me know your experiences! :)

Monday, 18 February 2013

#FebFocus Guest Post: Knowing What & Why You Want Something!


Hi everyone! I can't believe we're over half way through #FebFocus already, it's gone so quickly!

The #FebFocus Guest Post this week is from Personal Trainer Mark Raynsford! Mark has 12 years of experience in helping people achieve their goals and has been in national magazines and on the radio - so I'm super grateful that he managed to find the time to write this Guest Post for me. He's made some excellent points in this post so hopefully some of them will be useful for you! :)

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Most people decide they want to achieve something - often losing weight/fat, but the “desire” often isn't enough or isn't important enough to achieve anything long term. By this I mean, plenty of people will say “I want to lose weight, or I want to lose a stone” but the reality is they just want to look better, and feel the need to attach a number or tag to this feeling.
The problem will come after a few days, when previously tried and tested regimes fail again, new “diets” aren’t conducive to your usual routines and you fall off the wagon, and yet again another diet attempt falls by the way side. Below is my 5 point steps for achieving!

1) Find out your “Why?!” Most people start with their “what” - such as the above. However, if you can visualize yourself in the “finished article” and write down everything you imagine you feel and look, and the underlying reasons “Why” you actually want to achieve this, you’ll have something that is REAL motivation, rather than just “I want to be skinnier”.
Our minds are great at fantasizing and imagining situations, so use it to your benefit and pen down everything you imagine you feel and look like when you achieve your target/ desired outcome. Having a vision-board of pictures/cuttings/photos that inspire or motivate you - either yourself or others is a great “fantasy” driver!
2) Know how you are going to achieve it. The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different outcome. If it didn’t work before it won’t again! Find exercise you enjoy doing, or a programme that has proven results and stick with it! Start the journey with a friend or relative - it’s a lot easier to achieve something when you have support. I have plenty of nutrition, exercise and motivation tips on my blog at www.TheWeightLossTips.co.uk.
3) Create new habits - it’s your current habits and routines that have stopped you getting where you want to be. List down everything you KNOW that is moving you further from your goal, rather than nearer. ie I normally drink alcohol in the week. I’ll eat chocolate in the week. I often have bread everyday (bread/wheat gluten is one thing most people don’t function/tolerate well - remove this for 14 days and watch that stomach flatten!) then aim to make changes to these habits/routines.
4) Eat cereal for breakfast? Ditch it! It has zero nutritional benefit, increases the levels of sugar in your blood which causes the release of insulin, a nice fat storing hormone. Replace it with natural foods like scrambled/poached eggs on rye toast, or greek yoghurt with some nuts and berries - energy levels will increase.
5) Aim to drink 2 litres or more of fresh water. When dehydrated you’ll feel sluggish will affect food choices and energy levels for most things. Hydration is also key to remove toxins from the body. Results can ALWAYS be found, it’s just about initially tuning in with the right mindset and thought process, rather than committing just 50% of your effort. Make small changes, and let them form as new habits and routines!

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Hope you were able to take something from this post - what did you think about what he said? Do you have any tips of your own? Let me know! 
If you want to hear more from Mark then here are his links!! :)
PT Site - www.MarksPT.co.uk
Blog - www.TheWeightLossTips.co.uk
Facebook - www.Facebook.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Charbrew Tea Giveaway Winner!

Can't believe that we're two weeks into the #FebFocus Challenge already! If people have any stories that they want to tell about their progress then email them over to me - it doesn't matter how big or small you think they are! :)

And now onto the bit you've probably all been waiting for - the winner of the Charbrew Tea giveaway, which I can happily announce issss...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Well done Jayne! I've already emailed you to say that you've won, so if you get back to me with your email address I'll send you your fantastic prize - enjoy!! :)

I've already got another giveaway in the pipelines for you lovely lot so don't worry if you missed out this time - and remember that you can still get 30% off Charbrew products using the promotional code 'RhaiOwen13'!

Hope you're all having a great Valentine's Day, whether it's with a loved one, your family or your friends! Seeing as the boyf is away (onlu 84 days til I get to see him again!) I'm going to be spending the evening with mumma with an M&S Two Can Dine meal, some choccy and a film! <3


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

#FebFocus Summary + Lent

The #FebFocus chat on Monday night was a bit of a flop this week unfortunately! I'm not sure whether it's was just because people were too busy too take part (which is understandable - I'm completely swamped myself!), or if the day and time isn't suiting people, but other than a couple of comments their really wasn't all that much going on.

That said, I can't say that it was a completely bad thing - I've been feeling super tired lately and I'm desperately trying to find the route cause of it all! At one point I hadn't been sleeping properly so I'd thought it was that, but now that I've been sleeping better the problem's still there so I'm trying all sorts of things in a bid to have some energy again. So if anyone has any tips or has an idea of what might be wrong then please let me know! I've made the decision to come off my current Intermittent Fasting schedule and go back to 'normal' eating just to see whether that's the answer so I'll have let you all know how it goes!
(sent to me by my lovely friend, Sarah!)

After everyone's indulgence yesterday for pancake day (myself included) is anyone giving up anything for lent? I know lent is traditionally a Christian thing, but I think it can be a really good idea for people to give up one unhealthy thing (or take up one positive thing!) for 40 days to see how you get on.
I've chosen to give up bread and their substitute-style things after slowly weaning myself off them for the past couple of months. Bread's always been a weakness for me and is always the area that I slip up on when trying to reduce carbs, so I'm using lent as being the starting point to stop me relying on it so much!

What are you giving up for lent? Let me know! :)

It's the last day for the chance to enter my competition with Charbrew Tea to win one of their amazingly yummy Fruit Frenzy gift packs - click here to enter before midnight tonight - I'm revealing the winner tomorrow!! :)

Monday, 11 February 2013

#FebFocus Guest Post: H2 Ohh | Why You Should Drink Water

Today's guest post for the week is going to be from the lovely Jayne! This is such a great, informative post and is relevant to everyone - enjoy! :)

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Hello everyone! I'm Jayne from a little blog called Miss Jayne Becca. I write about my beauty finds, my fitness journey and everything in between. Today I wanted you to chat to you about my friend water.

We all know that we are supposed to drink lots of water every day. It has countless health benefits and can also help your skin and your energy levels. Water hydrates your skin making you look younger and can assist in weight loss. So why don't we drink enough? Because water can be a little boring next to a delicious frothy latte or a fizzy drink.

Your body is made up almost entirely of water - hard to believe right? So when your hydration levels get as low as 80% (i.e not very low!) your liver and kidneys have a difficult time functioning. The liver has an important function ~ it breaks down fat to use as energy. So if you are dehydrated the liver function slows down and fat does not get broken down at the rate we need in order to maintain a healthy body composition. Not good right?

So for diet and exercise to be 'truly' effective we need to make sure that we maintain a proper level of hydration. That way the fat that is released into the bloodstream due to exercise can be broken down correctly and be used as energy to repair and build muscle.
Water increases your metabolism so much that if you are chronically dehydrated it can mean as much as an 8 pound weight gain (or more!) per year. So drink up! I follow the philosophy that you should drink half your body weight in water PER DAY i.e. 120lb = 60oz of water.
If you find water a little boring here are a few ideas to spice it up and get your daily water intake in.

Fruit | Slice it up and toss it in. Strawberries, lemons, limes, oranges ~ whatever takes your fancy!
Mint | Add a few mint leaves to your water to give it a refreshing twist.
Tea | Fruit of green teas count towards your daily water intake too. Perfect for cooler days.
Coconut water | Great for post-workout, coconut water is full of electrolytes and potassium.

I hope that you found this post helpful! Let me know if you have any tricks for making water a little more interesting. :)

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Thanks for that Jayne! Water is such an important factor for staying healthy and losing weight - I always carry a water bottle around with me in my hand, as I always tend to sip subconsciously throughout the day.


Don't forget to join in our #FebFocus Chat at 8pm (GMT) tonight! We'll be talking about food and how you're using it to help you reach your goals!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Review: Xen Tan Dark Lotion

I don't know about you but one of the worst things about winter (miserable weather aside!) is how horribly pale my skin goes - which is where I think every girl in the whole of the world can say THANK GOD FOR FAKE TAN. Fake tan has become an regular part of my life ever since starting university that I can barely believe that I managed without it!

Whether you've seen them or not, it is always customary for us cheerleaders to slap on a layer or five of fake tan for competitions to prevent us looking like ghosts under the less than complementary lighting on the mats, and so far I'd been getting on fine with my £2.99 St Moritz - but when Wizard PR asked me if I would like to review Xen-Tan's latest offering in the fake tan market, I couldn't help but jump at the chance to put a more premium self-tan brand through it's paces - if it can survive a 10 hours-per-week training with cheer - it can survive anything!


The first thing I noticed on pumping it out of the bottle is the smell - which smells a lot like marzipan! Being used to either the coconut scent of Fake Bake, or the more chemically smell of St Moritz - it was a bit of a surprise to the senses to have a waft of almondy goodness rising up from my tanning mitt. I personally love marzipan, but if you're not a fan of it then this product may not be for you as it is quite strong.
Application-wise Xen-Tan's Dark Lotion went on really well, and blended well into the skin leaving no streaks whatsoever. It also dried relatively quickly, although not as quickly as foam-based self-tans which I have used before. This is excused however because the colour that I ended up with was truly lovely!
The green under-tones in the tan meant that I was left with a beautiful, natural-looking colour. The marzipan smell faded pretty quickly, and overall I was super impressed with the results! It is also extremely buildable, making it really easy to work up a lovely dark tan whilst staying away from the dreaded orange shade.

And now for it's survival rate!



I was really, really impressed with it's longevity - even with me getting extremely hot and sweaty (sorry for the lovely image), and having people fall, stand, and jump all over me it held it's colour and barely rubbed off at all! Other fake tans I have used previously just couldn't hack the beating my body takes and would end up patchy making me look like I was dirty! But the Dark Lotion stayed on really well which is amazing.
I'm definitely going to be using this for my next competition (which is in two weeks, eep!) and I've already recommended this to everyone at cheer so far who have said how natural it looks so I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending it you lovely lot!

The RRP for the Xen-Tan Dark Lotion is £28.99 is a little steep, but if you're a regular user of fake tan I 100% recommend it and there's always offers on websites like feelunique etc. :)

What is your favourite self-tan? Do you prefer to splash out on your tanning products, or do you find cheaper ones do the job just as well for you? Let me know! :)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

#FebFocus: Charbrew Tea Mini Review & Giveaway!


So it is finally time for the first #FebFocus giveaway! With tea-drinking being one of my favourite past times, and my collection of different brews filling up my kitchen work-top faster than anything, I thought it would be the perfect first prize to give away to you lovely people!
Charbrew is a speciality tea company who's aim is to bring you young lot into the tea market - although I think most of us probably already are! ;) Being the lovely people they are, Charbrew have sent me their fantastic Fruit Frenzy Package for me to give away for you, as well as sending me a bunch for me to give a go myself (review will follow soon!).

Just so you know whether they're going to be your cup of tea (pun maost definitely intended!) - here's what I though of the fantastic choice of flavours that you have the opportunity to win!

Charbrew Orginal: This smells like Apple Crumble which is awesome in itself! When I read original on the box, I genuinely thought that it would mean that it was going to be your standard cup of tea but that is definitely not the case. :) Charbrew Original is their signature flavour, and is packed with apple, pineapple, papaya and spices to create the most lovely winter-warmer style tea you will ever drink. I've really enjoyed getting out of the cold when I get home in the evening and curling up on the sofa with this - heaven!
Strawberry & Cream: This one seriously reminds me of Campinos (remember those sweets?!) in every way! It smells absolutely divine and tastes even nicer. I was really worried that it would end up being super sickly and I wouldn't like it - but Charbrew have got their blend spot on with it having a beautiful sweet taste, without it being overpowering. Because of its taste, this blend always feels like a treat when I have it, but without having any of the guilt - what more could you ask for?!
Tropical Rooibos: This is another one which I was worried about being too sickly but I really needn't have. It has cool little blue bits in the pyramid teabag which is definitely something different from your usual cuppa - I think it's cardamon?! Either way, the fact that it's caffeine-free and has a gorgeous floraly/fruity scent has made it perfect to have before I go to bed - and the Rooibos leaf that it is made from is also used to help cure headaches, fatigue, high blood pressure and asthma among a list of ailments!
Black Tea with Sunflower Blossom: This one is different from the others in that you can actually add milk to this one! That said, I haven't actually tried it with milk yet as it is pretty yummy without! Also containing little health benefits within it's little pyramid bag, it has a higher caffeine content than the others making it a perfect choice to help get you started in the morning. If you want to go down the sans milk route, try adding a lemon for a hint of zesty freshness to it, and to help quench your thirst a little better!

Good luck! The competition ends next Wednesday at midnight, but if you really can't wait, then use code 'RhaiOwen13' for an outstanding 30% off your Charbrew Order!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Tuesday, 5 February 2013

#FebFocus Twitter Chat Summary

Firstly I want to say a great big thank you to everyone who took part in the Twitter chat last night - it was so lovely so be able to speak to you all and we had a lovely natter about what our goals were and little tips on how everyone is planning to achieve them! It was lovely to see how supportive and friendly everyone was, and I think everyone ended up having at least one cup of green tea by their side by the end of the chat!

On Goals:


The biggest thing that I picked up from yesterday's chat was how realistic everyone had made their goals. It was so nice to see that people hadn't set the bar too high, so we should see some very happy faces by the end of February fingers crossed! :) The most common goal was to lose 1-2lbs per week, and people have lots of different ways in which they're going about it which is really encouraging to see.
Many have also decided to try and drink more green tea, and there were lots of tips flying around on how they drink theirs, and discussions about people's favourite brands - it would seem that fruit-flavoured green tea is the way to go!

On Tips:

I think everyone's struggling to get out of bed at the minute with this lovely weather we're currently having - snow anyone?! If you can't bare to leave the warmth of your bed, you could always leave your alarm ob the other side of the room like Kirsty suggested - or you could try and get yourself into a habit of waking up at the same time every day!
We all came to the agreement that for tracking progress, taking measurements is just as important for monitoring weight loss as well as the scales - especially if you're building muscle!

Next week we're going to be looking at people favourite healthy snacks and meals - and how to keep away from filling your face with those calorie-filled foods! Have a think and let us know everything food related, from what your worst foonemy (food-enemy!) that you find it hard to say no to is, to your favourite healthy meal.
Can't wait to hear from you! Our next Twitter Chat starts at 8pm next Monday!  (11th. Feb 2013!) :)

Monday, 4 February 2013

#FebFocus Guest Post: My Fitness Ethos


Hi everyone! Today's post is from the lovely Natalie from The Blonde Ethos! She's written a great post on how she stays fit and healthy - hope it's useful for everyone! :)

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Hi beauties! My name is Natalie and I wrote the blog, The Blonde Ethos. The Blonde Ethos is my lifestyle, sharing advice and ideas on beauty, fitness, health and fashion. Rhiannon has kindly asked me to drop by and share some of my thoughts and tips with you!

#FebFocus is about helping to motivate each other to achieve our goals. Most of us welcomed in 2013 with a list of resolutions and of these, the majority are health and fitness related. Maybe you aimed to shed a few pounds, tighten that waist, eat healthier foods or just get more active. Some of you may have even given up on these resolutions already (it’s not uncommon!) and want some help to get back on track. It’s never too late! People that say they can’t find time to look after their bodies will sooner or later have to make time for illness.

So, without further ado, here is my fitness ethos:

Find something that you love
When I was at school, I hated P.E. classes. I was rubbish at sport and couldn't even leapfrog until I was nearly in my teens (seriously!) but I always enjoyed dance. I have been doing Street Dance classes for over ten years and this is undoubtedly my favourite way to keep in shape. The variety of movements works all muscles from all directions and it makes for a great cardio session. Dancing might not be your thing but something will be! Try a variety of classes at your local gym, test out different pieces of workout equipment or invest in a selection of workout DVDs and I guarantee you will find something that works for you. Check out my post on why you should not be put-off by one bad workout experience, here.

Eat clean
Personally, I have never calorie-counted. I have just ensured that I am educated on different foods/food types and their benefits. I have just eaten a clean and varied diet. A good motto to have is that if it didn’t grow, don’t eat it! I try to avoid eating things that are too heavily processed, including everything from Haribo to Ham. This isn’t to say that I don’t eat meat, I just like it in it’s purest form. A chicken breast is great but the packaged sandwich slices pumped with water and preservatives… not so much. A naughty treat is okay every once in a while too but I guarantee that once you start experimenting with all the yummy fruit and veg out there, your cravings will reduce! One of my favourite snacks at the moment is apple slices, dipped in crunchy peanut butter. Yummmm.

Get rid of those scales
Like calorie-counting, I understand that stepping on the scales twice a day works for some people to motivate them but personally, I don’t care what I weigh so long as I am happy with how I look and feel. This is for several reasons. Firstly, I am at one of the heaviest weights I have ever been yet one of the smallest dress sizes. At nearly ten stone, I wear anything between a size 6 and a size 10 (depending on the shop I buy it from… we are all probably all familiar with this issue!) but I am the strongest and most toned that I have ever been and I LOVE it! I would be offended if someone called me skinny. To me, that suggests that I look frail and weak. I want to be considered slim, toned and feminine. If you want to slim-down, don’t count the pounds; count the inches. Secondly, muscle weighs more than fat. Three times more! A lot of people that drastically change their body may think that they are not achieving results because their weight has plateaued but in fact, their body may be changing dramatically; dropping lots of fat and gaining a little bit of lean muscle.

I hope this gives you a bit of motivation ladies! If you want any more tips, fitspiration or just an easy read, check out theblondeethos.blogspot.co.uk. You can also track me down on Facebook and Twitter – my links are all there!!

Good luck dolls - and happy #FebFocus!





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Thanks Natalie for a great post! Don't forget that it's the first #FebFocus chat tonight at 8pm - can't wait to chat to you all! :)

Friday, 1 February 2013

Welcome to #FebFocus!


It's been weeks in the making, but #FebruaryFocus is finally here. There's been a fair amount of interest in my new feature, and those who have signed-up so far have all made really realistic goals which everyone will hopefully be well on their way to achieving by the end of the month! As part of this challenge is creating that community feeling, I'd love it if people would be willing to share their progress and experiences half way through #FebFocus or at the end? I want as much positive comments and cheering people on as possible! 

Lots of you have weight loss as your main goal, with people aiming to lose 1-3lbs per week so I'll make sure there's lots of recipes and exercise tips to help you shift those pounds. Lots of you are trying to go running a lot more as well so I'd love to hear people's progress and what you're doing to improve as it's something I need to do more of as well! :)
I absolutely love that you have also added in non-health and fitness goals as well such as speaking to more new people, cooking for family, and not using heat on your hair!
Speaking of my goals, it's only fair I tell you all my goals seeing as you lot have all told me yours ;)

Goals:

  • To lower my body fat percentage.
    I'm well on my way with my fitness progress and I'm feeling stronger all the time! Now that I've got that aspect of my life under control, I really want to start cutting down on my 'flabby bits' a bit more and get leaner. I'm currently at around 24-25% BF, and I'm hoping to eventually get it down to about 12-15% for when I go holiday in May so fingers crossed!
  • To be able to squat my own bodyweight.
    Leg/Lower day at the gym is definitely my favourite day in my workout routine, and I love nothing more than doing my squats, lunges, and deadlifts - especially with how important leg strength is in cheer. I'm currently barbell squatting around 40kg at the minute which is nothing compared to a lot of people, but I'm aiming to push it that tiny tiny bit further and get it to 55-60kg so I can finally say I can squat a person! May seem a little weird but if it keeps me going to the gym, I'll settle for it.
  • DO MORE CARDIO!
    Kinda goes hand-in-hand with the first one to be honest! I am a MAJOR skiver when it comes to cardio - I absolutely hate it and would much rather do a four hour weights workout than go for a 20 minute run. But (as much as I want it to be) it's neither sustainable or helpful in getting my body fat lower or improve my fitness further so I'm going to have to just stuck it up and hopefully learn to enjoy it!
I have lots of posts lined up for you, including my first giveaway EVER on The Barbelle, and lots of guest posts from some lovely people!

If you haven't signed up yet, it's not too late! Spread the word with all of your friends, and don't forget to take part in the first #FebFocus Twitter chat on Monday 4th Feb at 8pm! It'll just be a general chat to talk about what everyone's health and fitness goals are to start with so everyone can meet, and then we'll see where it goes from there!:)
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