Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser | Review

I’m not very good at looking after my skin which is silly because I love all of the processes skincare involves. I’m not consistent and insist, “When I have the money to buy the products, I’ll be a skin looking after-er goddess” even though this is silly as I could find ways to help my skin right now. My mum always encourages me to cleanse my skin and do this and that and she is wonderful for getting me products I need but don’t buy. This Christmas she bought me a cleanser by Clarins and after a week of using it (I will continue to use it daily), this is what I think!

IMG_0175.JPGAnd to cut a long story short, this stuff is GOOD. I have only been using it in the evenings and rarely the mornings- for no particular reason but I think I’ll stick to this. Immediately my skin feels loved once applied and the next morning it continues to feel super smooth and better than when I ignorantly can’t be bothered to look after my skin. I don’t know a lot about beauty products at all (I can do eyeliner and from then on, I know – the technical term is, I believe – nowt) but I definitely know this is (prepare yourself for another piece of jargon) a good’n. I can only assume the science behind it like cleaning my skin has been working because my skins looks and feels better.

I rarely wear make up products that are applied directly to my skin. I never wear foundation and only use concealer when I’m dressing up or going out at night or doing something fancy. Post event, my skin gives me a bit of a hard time when I choose to use concealer. I still won’t use it very often but this cleanser helped me out when I wanted to apply concealer last week. After taking off my make up in the evening, the cleanser worked wonders during the night. The next morning I did use the cleanser, much to my skin’s happiness. It just restored how my skin looked before and it continued to do brilliant things to make my skin look healthier.

Using this cleanser has been highly therapeutic. It makes me feel like a together adult and I feel super smug when I slip into bed with my soft skin. Lesson to be learnt? Mother knows best!

~ Kat ~

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The Art of Curbing Cravings

Recently I’ve been making an effort to curb cravings since I’d find myself wanting sugary foods after lunch until I went to bed. Although I never cut out chocolate, when I’ve chosen not to eat it, after a period of time, I stopped wanting it. I want a midpoint between not picking up anything sugary too often but having it when I want. After a couple of weeks of sticking to this, I’ve  become quite accustomed to not going near sugary-filled foods and not wanting to either. My lifestyle is labelled by balance but I’m happy to be nourishing my body with wholesome foods and staying away from refined sugar. I’ve written out a few ways to stick to curbing cravings that do occur/how I’ve been avoiding them altogether so I can remind myself when I’m considering a trip to the shops for some sugar.

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1. Since being back at university I have made sure I always have my favourite healthy (or snacks that aren’t nutritious necessarily but are quite good in comparison to a Galaxy bar) foods in. I’ll always have my favourite fruit and veg in that I can snack on: raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes, peppers (with hummus!) along with a bag of Metcalfe’s popcorn, Nakd bars and some form of dark chocolate! This has massively helped me not even think about other foods because I’ll be more excited to reach for some raspberries for a burst of natural sugar happiness.

2. This is a piece of advice I followed when Monday came about and lectures started again: JUST FOOD PREP. AND FOOD PREP YUMMINESS. Food prepping something to eat for whenever you’re hungry lessens the chance of picking up chocolate when you pass a shop or are sat in the university cafeteria. At least I find it does!

3. Eat fulfilling foods! Making healthy food choices does not have to be boring- I definitely find healthy food I make more yummy than any unhealthy food. Recipes by Joe Wicks are my go-to when I want to use a cookbook. He shows how eating healthy is GOOD. However, in general, so long as I am eating healthy and fulfilling (whether that be warming, fresh or just more tasty than unhealthy food) I feel completely satisfied and less likely to even think about other foods.

4. These last couple of weeks I have helped myself curb cravings through contemplating how I would feel post sugary treat. I don’t feel guilty about food – it’s an emotion I really don’t want to associate with food – but eating unhealthy foods can make me feel sluggish and unfulfilled and in turn simply wishing I didn’t make a particular choice.

5. I have found writing down everything I eat so helpful. It allows me to analyse (in a healthy way) what I am eating and in turn presents to me that I don’t need Tangfastics because I’ve eaten enough already. I might realise I need more veg so I can go and get some peppers or carrot sticks, in turn curbing or avoiding cravings entirely.

What are your tips to feeling happy and not restricted by healthy eating- to not feel like you need to give in to your cravings?

~ Kat ~

Roath Park | The Last Six Months

With only half a year left at university in Cardiff, the “letting go” process has begun. Cardiff, it’s me, not you. You don’t know what you had until it’s gone and all of that. I don’t want the last six months to just consist of writing assignments and preparing for exams because I’m already having withdrawal symptoms from my favourite parks, restaurants and cafes. And so, camera round my neck, after my last lecture on Monday I headed down to Roath Park- The “I Must Instagram This” Park.

img_0090img_0088roath-parkroath-park-2img_0083img_0096img_0094Stepping through the gates of Roath Park brings back a whole bunch of memories like flicking through photos on a camera. It will always be, not just one of my favourite places in Cardiff, but my favourite places ever. It’s the happiest place in the world- everyone always seems to be smiling. However when I ran on the outskirts of it during the Cardiff Half Marathon I was feeling pretty angry at the place- we’re cool now.

Roath Park reminds me of an ice cream after my last exam last January; it reminds me of heading down there on the first warm day in Cardiff; it reminds me of a few hours after the Cardiff Half Marathon and heading down there to make peace with the place; it reminds me of my final run before the Great South Run last year, looping around the park, the park making it very easy to keep running. And now it reminds me of heading down there at half three after my last lecture of my LAST EVER TIMETABLE AT CARDIFF to clear my head and finally, properly, have a go with my camera. Walking around parks – especially Roath – is more than therapeutic and I plan on taking walks for leisure a little bit more often- if only to beat my mum’s steps on the old Fitbit.

It does freak me out a little that I won’t be living around the corner from the brilliant Roath Park in just a few months. A friend and I have started counting down how many hours we have left and it’s a weird mixture of feeling excited to have this degree thing done (and take the best High School Musical-esque photographs at graduation) and a horrible feeling of not seeing everyone and Cardiff every day. But, for now, I have six months left in a pretty cool place and I’m excited to see the same parts I love and new places I’m not acquainted with yet!

~ Kat ~

Exam Week Honest Food Diary

After reading a post by Lily pebbles where she provided her honest food diary for the week, I thought I’d do the same. I am writing down everything I eat anyway but I thought presenting it on the internet would allow me to analyse how I’m eating and what I want to improve or carry on doing. So here is how I ate on weekdays last week where I was revising and sitting exams!

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  • Porridge with 5 strawberries
  • Chicken and chorizo Joe Wicks’ recipe (peppers, tomatoes, spinach and red onion)
  • Mushrooms, tomatoes and peppers (dinner didn’t go to plan!)
  • Snacks: Mini roll; handful of popcorn; 4 blocks of dark chocolate
  • Liquids: lots of water; 1 mango green tea; a cranberry juice

TUESDAY

  •  Chicken wrap (weird breakfast)
  • Mince plus tomatoes, peppers, onions with tinned tomatoes, puree and vegetable stock cube
  • Jacket potato with cheese
  • Snacks: mango; 4 blocks of dark chocolate
  • Liquids: not enough water; cranberry juice; apple and mango juice (a bit too much fruit juice!)

WEDNESDAY

  • Mango (not enough for breakfast!)
  • Jacket potato with cheese
  • 2 chicken wraps, one pepper with humus and a mozzarella, spinach and tomato salad
  • Snacks: grapes; 3 blocks of dark chocolate; no added sugar jelly; Nature Valley oats and honey bar
  • Liquids: not enough water; apple and mango juice

THURSDAY

  • Nature Valley oats and honey bar
  • Jacket potato with cheese
  • Joe Wicks’ chorizo recipe again
  • Snacks: no sugar jelly; 4 blocks of dark chocolate; another Nature Valley bar oops
  • Liquids: lots of water; apple and mango juice

FRIDAY

  • Porridge with blackberries
  • Jacket potato with cheese
  • Halloumi skewers and sweet potato chips (end of exam celebration dinner)
  • Chicken wrap
  • Snacks: Nature Valley oats and honey bar; no added sugar jelly; a whole punnet of raspberries (oops- bit too much natural sugar)
  • Lots of water; apple and manjo juice

diaaryyThe main things I found were:

  1. I wasn’t eating nearly as much as fruit and veg as normal because I was cooped up in my room revising all day and time kept flying past while I was revising and then it would be bed time. It wasn’t the worst ever but next time I will be more conscious at least 8 portions
  2. I definitely had too much white potato! I normally limit white potato to about 3 times a week but I was finding jacket potatoes a really filling meal although I definitely should have picked sweet potato a bit more often
  3. I for sure wasn’t drinking enough water. I am normally really quite good at staying hydrated but I find it more difficult at university. So towards the end of the week I started buying big bottles of water for 50p so that I always have it in my room and no excuse at all not to drink it
  4. Last week I ate no fish which is such a rare thing for me so when I go shopping later I will be picking up a fair bit of fish
  5. I like red meat a bit too much. It is one of my New Year’s Resolutions to cut down on it (for health and environmental reasons) however the week obviously didn’t get off to a good start in terms of this. So from now on I am going to have red meat twice a week which will likely be this chorizo dinner I LOVE and using mince in some way or another- but also sausages every now and then too (which I will be having this week!)

I have been finding the process of writing down what I’ve been eating super therapeutic. It kept me on track this week and genuinely helped me not even think about going to the shops to get sweets. The best part of this week, though, was the purchasing of this diary from Paperchase. I never spend that sort of money on something like this (nearly £10) but I adore it and I thought spending more money will ensure I use it to record my food, things I need to do, exercise and my general days really. Whoop for organisation!

~ Kat ~

Student-Friendly Paprika Wedges

Even though my mum has always made flavourful and healthy dinners, I never used to understand that eating healthily doesn’t just mean eating steamed veg, boiled potatoes and unseasoned meat. I definitely didn’t know you could have chips that tasted like chip shop chips (even better as well!) and they would be super duper healthy- and as cheap as chips! I try to keep my portions sensible and eat them no more than three times a week, and in doing so I have a lunch or side dish that is fulfilling, cheap and yummy.

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Ingredients | For one hungry student in Lidl

  • 2.5lb white potato (I also use new potatoes/baking potatoes)
  • Frylight 1 cal spray
  • Paprika
  • Pink Himalayan salt/seasalt

Method

  1. Boil enough water to cover the potatoes
  2. Cut the potatoes into wedge shapes
  3. Pop the potatoes into a medium-sized pan before adding the water
  4. Boil for 6 minutes
  5. Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6
  6. Line a tray with foil and once the potatoes are boiled, drain and pour onto the tray
  7. Spray the chips evenly with the oil, before sprinkling salt and paprika over the top- making sure all coated with paprika. Use a spatula to turn the chips around and, once again add the oil, salt and paprika
  8. Pop the chips into the oven onto the top shelf for 25 minutes
  9. Take the chips out, turn them over and spray again with oil before putting them back into the oven for 20 minutes
  10. At this point the chips could be done but more often than not I find they need a bit of jiggling about and a few more sprays (maybe some more paprika) and put back into the oven for 10 or so more minutes- until golden!

There are super easy and really cheap- one of the easiest ways for a student to avoid oven chips or popping out to collect a takeaway. Any seasoning will do- rosemary is another good’n. They can be added to a chicken and sweet chilli wrap (my favourite) or used as a treat in a chip butty (my second favourite). Because of these I haven’t eaten oven chips in nearly a year!

~ Kat ~

The Benefits of being an Idiot

I might just go and lose any new phone I get for the sake of a few extra lessons… Okay, I won’t. So I lost my phone; it was all completely my own fault and I deserve no sympathy. Despite being gutted because I lost a few photos I never backed up (that lesson has been “learnt” a few too many times now- note to self: BACK UP ALREADY) and obviously preferring that I never lost it, I have learnt a few things from leaving my phone behind one fateful night.

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  • I have learnt how time with our phones, even if we are alone, will never give us “me time.” Not truly. I’m someone who does enjoy my own company but I guess, most of the time, my phone is never far out of reach. Walking to work and wherever else I am heading without the ability to call someone has been bliss. Although it’s a great time to catch up with my best pals, it’s been so GOOD to just walk and spend some time with myself (and my Fitbit). Especially when I’ve watched the sky go from day time to getting sleepy, to changing colours completely until it’s getting into bed and ready to close its eyes. I wouldn’t have paid full attention to the colours with my phone in my pocket. (The photo was taken with my camera.)
  • I don’t feel obliged to reply to Facebook messages when they pop up on my phone. However when my phone is switched off, upon turning it back on I’ll check my apps out of curiosity and then I find myself feeling like I need to reply to messages when I really don’t (most of the time). Tonight I had Zumba and I’d normally switch my phone on straight away just to check what’s going on when I really, really don’t need to. Not having a phone tonight showed me this and, once again, it felt good. It reminds me people really did cope without mobiles once upon a time.
  • Equally, last night I was out for dinner with Aaron, his sister and her boyfriend and normally I’d probably see my phone out of the corner of my eye and suddenly realise I wanted a selfie/to Snapchat something. With no phone, it didn’t even cross mind. I’d obviously have had a fab time even if I hadn’t lost my phone but the lack of phone buzzing in my pocket or being on my phone for a selfie meant I really soaked up a fabulous evening.

Especially when it comes to special days/moments I wouldn’t let my phone get in the way, but having no phone at all has allowed me to properly soak everything up- walks home, an evening at my favourite exercise class and an evening with some of the best people. I’m definitely going to practice days with less of my phone (which translates as less social media) when I do get a new one. But for now I’m going to go to sleep without even the chance to be interrupted by a phone and wake up without seeing whatever has gone on while I was asleep.

~ Kat ~

All the Gear, No Idea

For Christmas Aaron bought me a super duper snazzy camera- the Canon EOS 1100D. Despite not knowing a lot about this photography lark (wanting to have an on fleek Instagram doesn’t count, apparently), we took one of our trips to Hamble for the afternoon. It was a perfectly blue day you’d mistake for a summer day if you were stood by the window… by a radiator.

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After a little walk around my favourite village to visit, we headed into our favourite pub: The King and Queen. Aaron wanted a little beverage but because there was no room inside we naively sat outside in the freezing, freezing cold. BRRRR. We did, however, take this opportunity as a chance to play with my camera. We then walked around, admiring all of the dogs (“LooK AT THAT DOG KAT!”) and both took some photos. Even though I despise this last photo it reminds me of the fact builders were staring at us thinking we were a bit odd and I didn’t even realise while I posed derp-erly.

I’m currently only sticking to the simple settings. However I aim to keep reading the manual, watch tutorials, play around with it a lot and get a friend to help who is a giant know-it-all with this kind of thing. I know a lot of people who get cameras and know how to take photos similar to the ones above (focus… and snap) and wish they’d find the time to fancy up their skills. So another New Year’s Resolution of mine is to get super arty with this thing. I’m only really arty when it comes to my eyeliner- that’s when the line is literally drawn. I love taking photos and getting a good’n so I hope I can become maybe a smidge impressive with my new pal (a girl can dream!).

Once again Hamble was the perfect place to spend an afternoon and I’m glad I’ve already visited in 2017. I imagine I’ll be back quite a few times before 2018 rolls about. And when I’m back I intend to take the perfect snap of the swans I simply couldn’t focus on.

~ Kat ~

Keeping Up with the Resolutions

The first week of January means making goals for 2017. We want to start looking for a new job or spend more time with our family. We want to finally get that project finished and keep our homes tidy throughout the year. At the forefront of a lot of our minds is health and fitness which may be translated as “being thinner” or a plethora of other aesthetic translations. As well as explaining why I try so hard not to see it this way, I thought I’d give some advice as to how we can keep our 2017 New Year’s resolutions up while feeling positive about them!

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1. Be fitter, healthier and happier, NOT thinner, more defined and obsessed  

Enjoying exercise and eating well comes when we stop wanting to lose weight for obsessive reasons and instead wanting to better our health, fitness and ourselves as a person. Fitness and healthy foods mean better health and improvements in energy. “Losing weight” doesn’t simply equal to happiness. There’s more to it than that. Put aside aesthetic goals and take them as a bonus as you do good for your body.

2. Record your progress 

Buy a journal or find a space to keep some notes. Every day, week or month, write about the food you ate and the exercise you did. Write how the food and exercise made you feel. Even if you’ve felt negative about the day, week or month, be only positive when you sit down to write it down. See it as a chance to see where you can improve. It’s still progress when you’ve eaten food you’re starting to regret or you didn’t enjoy your 5k run. You can write how you feel and how you want to change your approach.

3. Set realistic goals

Don’t aim to run six miles by the end of the month if the last time you ran was ten years ago. It’ll inspire negativity if you don’t achieve it and you’ll chuck your trainers away before you’ve even started. Likewise, don’t cut out all chocolate (for example)- doing so might mean you binge on crisps and pizza or simply make you feel down and deprived. Cut things down but not out. But also find away to make foods that give you the same satisfaction a Galaxy bar gives you.

4. Don’t make it a chore

Being negative about what you feel you’ve done “wrong” as well as the task in general will only make health resolutions less attractive and less likely to go underway successfully. Eat your favourite healthy foods, make your favourite unhealthy foods in a healthier way and do your favourite workout classes and exercises. Your body doesn’t know you’re eating cake- only you do. It isn’t going to punish you and it’s only one slice that isn’t going to do anything. You are allowed it. As soon as anyone’s mindset is switched over to the positive side of things, we’ll all realise that maybe anything is possible. And it’s possible with a smile on our faces. (Except when you ban yourself from Pringles over Christmas. I did so begrudgingly.)

5. Don’t cling on to end goals

I try not to see any of my fitness goals – or aesthetic if I accidentally make them – as something that can become conclusive. I find it weird people “diet” and revert back to every snack and meal being processed. Health isn’t accomplished for life; it’s ongoing. And that is a fun and fulfilling thing; not something I want to lose. So I don’t want to cut what I can do short. We can feel healthier and healthier and get more and more fit.

Ultimately make goals that will make you happier and healthier rather than bring you down. Yesterday I wrote about my New Year’s Resolutions– what are yours?

~ Kat ~

Healthy New Year | 17 Fitness Goals

Whether I complete them or not, lists are my best friends. When it comes to lists about exercise and health I am far more motivated and successful in comparison to those telling me I need to tidy my room and get my uni work done by five o’clock. So many people make fitness goals centralise around aesthetic hopes when the really fulfilling part is how that process helps our bodies, our fitness and our health. I thought I would write my 2017 goals down so I can revisit them at a later date and see what I have achieved!

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  1. Run a mile in 6 minutes or less
  2. Run a 22.5 minute ParkRun time
  3. Run 10k in 48 minutes or less
  4. Run the Great South Run in 1:22:00 or less
  5. Run 18 miles
  6. Swim for 30 minutes without having a break
  7. Manage a proper pull up
  8. Do 5 pull ups in a row
  9. Do 25 press ups in a row
  10. Plank for at least 4 minutes
  11. Ski sit for 4 minutes
  12. Take up weight training
  13. Take up yoga
  14. Go climbing at least 4 times
  15. At least once a month go on an epic walk somewhere pretty (with new swanky camera and Fitbit)
  16. Do 500m on the rowing machine in 2 minutes (x 3)
  17. Up my HIIT game as the year goes on

What are your 2017 fitness goals? Happy New Year!

~ Kat ~

P.S. My brother has done something quite hilarious. If you want to know what makes your Instagram suck, have a look HERE!