Sunday, 29 December 2013

My New Year Goal for 2014..


Yep. You read right.

I've signed up to participate in the Great Manchester 10k Run on the 18th May 2014!!!!

For those of you who know me personally, I am not a runner. It's always been a standing joke that I don't run, like, ever. So when I was thinking about what my next goal could be, doing the 10k actually only popped into my mind because a dear friend of mine had mentioned it to me. (FYI- I originally laughed off the idea as being insane)

As a part of getting into my #adresstoimpress, I had to do more cardio, which meant I had to run. I was and still am relatively clueless about how to do it well, but I figured I have worked towards two quite fashiony related goals now and it's time I took my fitness seriously and also gave something back.

March 2013 - December 2013
Make 2014 your year!
 

I am running the Manchester 10k in aid of HOOP UK who are a charity I became aware of after working with their Patron, Jessie Pavelka, back in September. HOOP UK (Helping Overcome Obesity Problems) are a charity who educate and inspire children and adults who want to make a change to their weight and health. They provide specialist support and I think are a very deserving charity, particularly given my overweight history.

When I do the run, it will be 14 months after starting exercising properly for the first time, so I think
that is pretty good going!  I am aiming to try and complete it in just over an hour and considering my exercise prior to starting with Chris back in April 2014 was sitting on a bike for 30 mins at the gym and not even breaking a sweat, I am excited by the challenge!

I'm currently able to run approx 5k in 40 mins so I am determined to practice practice practice and really give this run my all.

If you would like to sponsor me, I have built a JustGiving Page and I would really be ever so grateful if you are able to support me and HOOP. I think weightloss is way more complex than I ever anticipated it would be, and I think society is quite quick to be fairly dismissive of exactly how difficult it can be. Whilst in theory, 'move more, eat less' does work, it's not always helpful to someone who might not know or understand why they should and shouldn't eat certain foods.

I know there will be many people also running the Manchester 10k for their own individual reasons, but this is something that means a lot to me due to the fact it is a completely new kind of goal to work towards! I will keep you posted on progress and how my 'pounding the pavement' is going.

The sky is the limit and I wanted to post this just before new year so that hopefully I might see a few friendly faces in the running crowd if this becomes one of your new year's resolutions too! :)

Social Media and Contact Links:

HOOP UK Website
HOOP UK Twitter
HOOP UK Facebook

Jessie Pavelka Facebook
Jessie Pavelka Twitter

Chris Main Website
Chris Main Twitter
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Monday, 16 December 2013

Vote for SweetieSal in the UK Blog Awards!

Vote for SweetieSal: A Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle Blog in the UK Blog Awards
Vote for SweetieSal!

A few weeks back, I entered the UK Blog Awards and now I am asking for your support to vote for me as a winner in the Lifestyle Category!

It has been a dream of mine to have my Blogging recognised by winning an award so if you wouldn't mind taking the time to vote for me I would be ever so grateful!

Click here to open up my Blog Profile Page on the UKBA14 Website and then click on the 'Vote Now' button to vote for me.

Voting is open from today until Sunday 26th January 2014 so please please please help me out with your votes! :)

Thank you!
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Saturday, 14 December 2013

#ADressToImpress..


A few months back I set myself the challenge of getting into a designer dress as a weightloss goal and Wish Want Wear kindly sponsored this little project of mine by agreeing to loan me one of their amazing dresses!

As some of you know, I whittled down my selection to 10 dresses and then decided on THE ONE that would be my goal to work towards and I knew it had to be a Herve Leger one I picked.. you might notice that two Herves made it into my top ten and I opted for the festive red one! Cue some panic and excitement when the order was placed!

That's when the hard work started... I shared my dress goal with Chris and he came up with targeted workouts and we changed my diet to be very clean with very few treats (if any!) at all and no alcohol apart from two pre-approved nights out where I was instructed to lay off the rum and have vodka, lime and soda!

I have always loved watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the sisters are often pictured wearing Herve Leger dresses, I have always admired the style so to have the chance to wear an actual Herve Leger dress was both terrifying but incredibly exciting, and I think that has what has kept me focused on the end goal of getting it on!

Hello Herve!
When it arrived a couple of days ago I literally felt a bit sick that I, a. had such an amazing dress in my clutches and b. would it actually zip up? When I shimmied into it and started zipping it up I genuinely couldn't really believe it was closing, I mean that dress was tight but they are supposed to be a close fit so it took a couple of minutes to sink in that it looked like I was actually going to be wearing my dream dress! When reality sank in, I started to cry and then called my mum in semi disbelief!

I know there will be some of you who think, big deal you wore a dress, so what etc and I totally get that. I know some people won't care and that is fine as ultimately this was my goal and was something that was very important to me. It was a way of proving to myself that with hard work I could achieve what I wanted and I didn't pick a dress that I knew would fit me, I literally picked the hardest one to the point where I was fully prepared that I was wearing my back up dress as I genuinely believed it wouldn't fit me.

One of the things to come out of this whole process is that I have realised that you should never feel embarrassed of your goals. You shouldn't ever feel the need to justify yourself, and if you want it, then why the hell shouldn't you go out there and make what you want a reality? The dress, to me, was a culmination of 8 months hard work, lifestyle change and some highs and lows as I embarked on my transformation. I know the 'selfies' I take amuse and probably irritate people but it has been novel to feel much happier in my own skin and not feel a sense of dread when you get the 'so and so has tagged you in x photographs' notification - which let's face it we have all been there!

My wonderful friend Janine from Artiste Creative did my makeup for me so that I had the full Cinderella experience! Janine is a very experienced MUA and is currently involved in bringing Motives Make Up to Manchester. Motives is the Make Up range by Loren Ridinger (Kim K's BFF!) so when I knew I had a Kardashian style dress arriving I knew I needed perfect makeup to do the dress justice.. I absolutely LOVED it and if you have a special occasion coming up then Janine is your girl! Get in touch via her website or twitter! Links all below. 

The main thing I want people to take away from this blog post, particularly as people think about new year's resolutions around this time of year, is that you have the power to make a change. It sounds very cheesy but it's true. You have to take ownership and accountability for what you want as ultimately no one will ever want it as much as you do and if you want something then you have to be prepared to do what it takes to achieve it. I used to make excuses as to why I was overweight and that was my security blanket as to why I was the size I was but it doesn't need to be that way, you just have to believe in yourself. That is definitely an area I still need to work on and I don't consider my transformation over by any stretch, now is the hard part to try and tone up and work towards my next goal!

I want to say a big thank you to Wish Want Wear for lending me the dress, Chris for his never-ending support and the other trainers from Elite Performance Fitness who have all contributed in their own way to me being able to make this happen.

Christmas and New Year is a time to reflect on the year you have just had and quite honestly deciding to make the change has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am healthier and fitter than I have ever been and I am starting to believe in myself and my abilities much more than I ever had done previously. Believing in yourself takes time and having the right people around you, that is something I feel has been a really important part of being able to achieve what I have!

So there we go! I can tick some of my goals off the list and add some more on ready for a new year challenge... :)

If you are stuck for what to wear for NYE be sure to check out Wish Want Wear for all your designer dress requirements!

Social Media and Contact Links

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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Sweet Potato Hash Browns


Every so often I remember a food item that I kinda miss as a result of cutting out carbs as I have embarked on my weightloss journey. Hash browns are one of those things.

I know they are a bit rubbish but I used to enjoy them (particularly as a part of a hangover breakfast!) and I stumbled across a recipe the other day to make them using sweet potato! I have sweet potato after training so rather than just have a plain old baked one I thought I would give the hash browns a try!

The recipe definitely needs refining as they don't stick together very well, but they tasted nice and overall this is a great substitute for the real thing.

Ingredients

2 Sweet Potatoes (Peeled and Grated)
1/4 White Onion
Garlic
Oil (Can be coconut, almond etc)
1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
Sea Salt and Black Pepper
Kerrygold Butter (for Frying)

How to Make
  1. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes, then grate them into a large bowl.
  2. Add flour, onion, and garlic to the sweet potato and mix well.
  3. Add oil to the mixture to bind the mix together.
  4. Heat up the butter in a pan, to test if it is ready throw a couple of sweet potato strands into the pan and they should crackle.
  5. Use a large spoon to measure the sweet potato mixture and flatten with a spatula.
  6. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side.
  7. When they are cooked allow to cool slightly on a paper towel lined plate.
  8. Enjoy!
If I find a way to improve on this I will let you know! :o)

My #adresstoimpress D-Day is imminent so I thought I would share how I have worked towards my goal (in the hope it has worked). If you have any Christmas Parties or a special New Year Occasion, then I would absolutely recommend that you check out Wish Want Wear's vast collection of dresses as they are very reasonably priced to hire and you can have your very own real life Cinderella story, like I hopefully will!

Why not set your new year's resolutions early and commit to wearing your dream dress next year and if you do, be sure to check out Wish Want Wear for all your designer dress requirements!

Social Media and Contact Links


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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Customised Gadget Covers by Wrappz.com

WRAPPZ.COM iPad Mini Case*
When I got my iPad Mini last Christmas it pretty much instantly became a favourite item of mine! I love being able to have the internet, music and books at my fingertips and it is perfect for a blogger gal about town!

When Wrappz.com got in touch to tell me about their personalised iPad Mini cases I was so excited to design my very own case and I knew I would try and incorporate a few of my favourite things I have photographed on my instagram!

Using the site is super easy and you can use just one image or a few different ones like I did, use their stock photos or even use a pattern, it is completely up to you and there is a wide variety of gadgets catered for on the site!

I love my case so much, it fits perfectly on my iPad and is really unique!

The GREAT news is that I have a discount code for the site where you JUST pay for the postage of your case! That's right, you can get yourself a personalised case and ALL you will pay for is the postage! Get the creative juices flowing and enter the code 'freeskin' at the checkout to have the cost of your case discounted!

They make great Christmas gifts so get on over to Wrappz.com to check it out! :o)
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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A Staple Purchase: Converse Trainers

Converse All Stars £55* John Lewis
Converse are one of those staple purchases that you can convince yourself you can live without, until you get a pair and find yourself wearing them all the time!

I'm not normally a trainers girl (except at the gym) so when I was asked to 'style up my Converse' I wasn't entirely sure how I would do it... however once I tried them with a variety of outfits I realised exactly how versatile they are!

From dresses to leather leggings or shorts and tights, there's not been a lot of outfits that haven't been complimented by my Converse!

Without a resident photographer pal I struggled to get good photos of me but I thought I would just pick out my favourite kind of looks instead!

How do you style up your Converse?
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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Guilt Free Cake Recipe 2


Cakes and naughty snacks are always floating around this time of year so here is a recipe for Paleo Carrot Cake!

I was really impressed with the recipe and I think this makes a really good substitute for the real deal...

Ingredients

2 Large Carrots, Grated/Blended
2/3 of a Jar of Almond Butter (they sell it at Win Naturally in the Trafford Centre, or Tesco!)
3 Eggs
3 Tablespoons Honey/Agave Nectar
1 Cup Coconut Flour
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Raisins

How to Make
  1. Preheat the oven to approx 200 Degrees C.
  2. Put the shredded carrots in a large bowl, add the almond butter and the eggs and mix well.
  3. Add in the honey, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and add in the coconut flour bit by bit.
  4. Fold in the raisins.
  5. Grease a baking tin with coconut oil and pour the cake mixture in.
  6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until the cake looks cooked on top and has a nice crust.
  7. Let the cake cool before cutting.
  8. Enjoy!
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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

#ADressToImpress: It's getting close!


***HYPERVENTILATES***

It's now less than a month til 'D-Day' (dress day for those of you joining me at this part of the story) and my dream dress arrives on my doorstep. I have been working with Chris, my PT from Unique Physique to try and make my dream a reality and get this dress on!

Through a combination of PT sessions, clean eating, interval training, bootcamps and running, I have been trying to shed the pounds in the hope that the dress fits! Since April of this year I have shed 50.4lbs of fat and I can honestly say that signing up to train with Chris has been the best decision I have made in a long time. I think it is a process that needs you to be ready to make the commitment, but one that will absolutely change your life for the better.

I am so determined to succeed and my confidence in my abilities (fitness wise) grow each time I manage to do something that I haven't been able to before. My next goal will really test that, so look out for the announcement after Christmas!

Wish Want Wear is the perfect partner in this challenge, as the dress I have picked is literally something I have wished and wanted to wear for a long long time. If you have any Christmas Parties or a special New Year Occasion, then I would absolutely recommend that you check out their vast collection of dresses as they are very reasonably priced to hire and you can have your very own real life Cinderella story, like I hopefully will!

Why not set your new year's resolutions early and commit to wearing your dream dress next year and if you do, be sure to check out Wish Want Wear for all your designer dress requirements!

Chris is currently working on an 'online coaching' platform, so if you are interested training but can't always make it to the gym, get in touch with Chris and he can tell you more about it!


Social Media and Contact Links





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Monday, 25 November 2013

La Senza Hello Sugar Launch

Last Thursday I was invited to the Hello Sugar Launch Party at La Senza in the Trafford Centre along with many of my Bloggy Pals!

We were spoilt with drinks, sweeties (which I sadly had to step away from), manicures from Wah Nails and took away a lingerie set of our choice!

We were greeted by the La Senza Team and shown round the store to look at the different collections and talked through the Hello Sugar Bra which is hailed as being the cheapest boob job bra in the market, which increases your assets by an impressive 2 cup sizes!

Seeing as I have, ahem(!) a sizeable pair anyway I didn't opt to try the Hello Sugar Bra otherwise they would have been under my chin in quite a frightening way. Instead I opted for a festive red set from their So Free range which is perfect for larger busted ladies!

It was really nice to be talked through the collections and shown all the different options available at La Senza and they really are perfect for wearing under your Christmas Party outfits! With front fastening, back detail, halterneck and strapless on offer there is literally an underwear solution for every neckline.

I was super giddy about having my nails done by Wah Nails aswell - being a beauty blogger I have followed Wah Nails on Instagram and Twitter and always been desperate to have my talons tarted up by some nail art and the girls did not disappoint! I had my nails done in a lovely lilac with accent lace print hand drawn onto some of my nails! I loved it and will be sad to take it off when I come to paint my nails for the weekend.. I have since bought the white Wah Nails for Models Own Nail Art Pen though so I can try and recreate it!

We had such a lovely time so big thanks to La Senza for having us! :)
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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Boutique: Budget Beauty Buys!


Launched in September, Sainsburys has introduced it's own beauty range called Boutique. I was recently sent some of the collection to review and I am really impressed (and hence including it here on my Blog!)

As we approach Christmas and the shopping hours seem to diminish within a blink of an eye, it is a relief to see that you can pick up lovely stocking fillers whilst you do your Christmas big shop of sprouts, sausages and sherry!

The collection contains all the usual bits and bobs of makeup and the quality really is fantastic for a supermarket brand. The packaging feels great and what I like the most is that Sainsburys isn't featured on the branding (sorry Sainsburys). The lipsticks are really a pleasure to use and I definitely want to go instore to look at their other colours!

Check it out and let me know what you think!
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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

How To: Victoria's Secret Angels Hair and Beauty


The Victoria's Secret Show is one of those things that I personally find incredibly entertaining, I love the glamour and pure theatre of the show, but usually watch in awe and find myself with a major case of hair and makeup envy.

This year I thought I would take a closer look into how they go about creating those angelic locks and makeup looks and busied myself with watching as many backstage videos on YouTube as possible!

Orlando Pita was responsible for teasing the tresses into their gorgeously coiffed curls and his one tip was to add hair. Hair wefts were glued in to the models hair and then curled using GHD straighteners and/or a large barrel curling tong. Add in some backcombing around the crown and the curls brushed through and that is apparently all it takes!

Now, in real life, we are most likely not going to want to whip out the PVA and start gluing hair wefts into our hair so here are some options you could consider. Having used Beauty Works in the past, I think they are the perfect way to achieve the look with some really high quality hair. Depending on the thickness of your locks, I would suggest the following things to achieve your desired thickness;

It's also worth noting that if you have thick hair in the back and thinner hair in the front like me, you don't have to have a full head of hair and can get a bespoke weave done, like when I sampled Weave Got Style. Because I needed the volume at the front, I had 2 split rows sewn in, but just at the front. This meant that I achieved the thickness where I needed it but didn't have the stress of having too much hair to cope with!

Next we move onto 'that' Angel glow. I'm reliably informed that most Angels have a spray tan prior to the show but that each model is also buffed up with the Victoria's Secret Instant Bronzing Tinted Shimmer Lotion to achieve that luminescent bronzed look as they saunter down the runway! *Runs to the Trafford Centre to bulk purchase*

Dick Page was Head Makeup Artist for the lovely ladies and he was tasked with creating that sexy but not overdone makeup look. He apparently starts his face by applying lipstick to the cheeks and nose to achieve a flushed dewy look and then adds tinted moisturiser as necessary. Bronzer is added, before the perfect nude smokey eye applied, using gold hues. Using the lightest shade in the inner corners of the eyes to open them up, the darker shade applied to the crease and then the gold pressed into the centre of the lid, say hello to your very own Angel makeup look! Lips are then prepped with plenty of lip balm and nude lipgloss applied.

I absolutely love this kind of look as it's something that isn't too difficult to achieve at home, there's just the problem that I don't have the body to match.. nor the extensive lingerie collection!

In terms of fitness, watching the YouTube videos today has taught me that they all do Ballet to help with flexibility and muscle tone. So guess who is now going to try it!? Stay tuned for SweetieSal does Ballet in an upcoming post!
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Monday, 18 November 2013

Review: Rituals Miracle Hand Scrub

Rituals Miracle Hand Scrub £11.50*
I recently received this hand scrub to review, and as someone who ahem *regularly* makes fake tan faux pas around the hand area, along with the dreaded hand callouses from training, I was keen to give this a whirl! I really like Rituals as a brand, their aim is to make every day activities a little more enjoyable and I love that concept!

This stuff smells gorgeous and it is VERY thick. You need to give it a good warm up in your palms or add a splash of warm water to get this moving around. It's nicely exfoliating without being too gritty and it left my hands feeling soft and pampered.

This is one of those things you think you don't need it until you try it and is the perfect gift for someone you have no idea what to buy for! There is an accompanying hand balm to match and together they make a lovely gift that chances are the recipient wouldn't purchase for themselves (unless they have tried it before!)

Big thumbs up from me!
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Friday, 15 November 2013

Manchester welcomes the German Christmas Markets!


I love Christmas, I love Manchester and I especially love the Christmas Markets.

Back in town for 38 days, the markets span a number of popular locations across Manchester and are incredibly festive as usual.

If you are looking for a mixture of local arts and crafts, amongst food items from slightly further afield then definitely pay a visit!

Enjoy! (But don't blame me when you are stuffed full of Coconut Macaroons, Bratwurst, Mulled Wine, Hog Roast Barms.. etc) :)
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