Tuesday, 16 December 2014

My #ReebokChallenge: Final Results


Friday night saw the end of a six week challenge for me in collaboration with Reebok!

It has been hard going watching everyone around me tuck into the various Christmas treats, being pretty ill during that time and feeling like a huge borelord with not drinking, but I am very pleased with what I have achieved in that time!

I have lost 8 inches off my total body measurements and 6.5lbs in weight :)

My weight doesn't tend to fluctuate a huge amount so I am pretty chuffed with that!

I will loosen the reins ever so slightly over Christmas but as I have my upcoming 30th Birthday to think about so it will be right back to it in January!

Big thank you to Chris for his hard work on my exercise regime and diet (and neverending patience)!!!

Media Links
Reebok Website
Reebok Facebook Page
Reebok Twitter

Chris Main/Unique Physique Facebook Page
Chris Main Twitter
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Thursday, 4 December 2014

My #ReebokChallenge: The Food

Whenever I see someone (celebs in particularly) who has shifted some weight, I am always intrigued as to how they have done it. It's ruddy hard work, especially when you have been trying for a while, so like most things, you have to adapt your diet and change things up in order to get the results you want.

As I have been training with Chris for about 18 months now, my body is used to certain things, so to see a change I have to change the levels of protein, carbs and fats that I eat quite regularly. Using My Fitness Pal, Chris can set me daily goals so that I have a general guideline as to what my meals should contain and how much of everything I should be having in a day.

This is very scientific and all a bit over my head in all honesty but as a general rule, if you are looking to lose fat, LOTS of vegetables and white meat and fish will help you drop it. How much you should be having will be different from person to person so that's why it's hard to judge what will work, other than the process of trial and error.

In terms of my #ReebokChallenge, this is what Chris has to say about his nutrition guidelines for me;

'Sally's nutrition is tied in with her bi-weekly and monthly re-measurement sessions.  Based on the results of those sessions (weight taken, along with caliper measurements and circumference measurements with a tape measure), her daily calorie intake (along with Protein, Fat & Carbohydrate split) is amended if necessary to ensure continuing reductions in weight and measurements.
'

On a general day my food will look something like this;

Breakfast: 2 x medium eggs + extra egg white scrambled, half a bag of spinach and some turkey or lean bacon.

Lunch: 1 and a half chicken breasts, half a sachet of microwave wholegrain rice and green veg, total 0% yogurt topped with raspberries and milled linseed or flaxseed.

Dinner: 2 x cod fillets, sliced leek and cabbage, sweet potato.

Depending on what the goals are looking like in My Fitness Pal, I will add more protein, vegetables or carbs in as required!

This probably looks like a really boring day of food but it demonstrates the quantity that I am eating and shows that I am certainly not starving myself to lose weight! If you wanted food that was slightly less bland then I can highly recommend Chris' Recipe eBook, which could be the perfect Christmas Gift to yourself or a friend/family member! You can purchase this via Amazon here.

For anyone wanting to embark on a healthy eating plan without the help of a PT, my tip for you would be to take pictures of yourself so that you can gauge progress. Not everyone has a tape measure to hand but you will know from how your clothes feel and what the scales say. You just have to stick at it!

Just over a week to go now until I have to slip on my first party dress, so it's game on and a week of saintly eating and drinking for me!

Media Links

Reebok Website
Reebok Facebook Page
Reebok Twitter

Chris Main/Unique Physique Facebook Page
Chris Main Twitter

Kevin Foster Wiltshire Website/GymCube
GymCube Facebook Page
GymCube Twitter
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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

My #ReebokChallenge: The Training



Goood Afternoon!

So as you may know, 4 weeks ago I embarked on a little shake up to my fitness regime and started a case study with Reebok, with an aim to shift some weight before Christmas and look my best for my Christmas Parties in December.

I've changed my diet, amped up my training and generally really making an effort to see some results. My first Christmas Party is on 12th December so that's my deadline!

My training has consisted of, two personal training sessions and a circuit class per week with Chris, a class with Kevin once a week for the past four weeks and if possible, an at home workout on Gymcube.

My personal training sessions consist of a number of different things such as lunges, step-ups, lifting weights and cardio, here's Chris' rationale behind his programme of exercise;

'Sally's training is being split between 'bootcamp' style workouts, low repetition-high weight 'strength' training and high repetition-moderate weight 'strength' training.  The reason for this is to be able to provide alternating stimuli, meaning that her body has to work in multiple ways in order to burn body fat.'

It's hard work and my god it BURNS. I normally whinge a lot so Chris deserves an award for putting up with me! This, paired with my stripped down diet should hopefully mean on the 12th December I feel great in my party dress!

I have mentioned it a couple of times now so you maybe wondering what GymCube is! GymCube is a website where you can access timetabled and on demand workout videos that you can do in the comfort of your own home. With everything ranging from rave workouts to ten minute tones, ab blasts and all sorts, there is a video to cater for all abilities and also all time available. There are a few different membership options, the free membership enables members to participate in scheduled classes which take place throughout the day, however the anytime membership is just £9.99* per month and grants access to all of the on demand content.

If you want to shape up in the comfort of your own home then I would highly recommend GymCube. There is something for everyone and you don't have to have loads of equipment either, so no excuses not to get fit! One of my fave websites to stock up on the sports stuff is only sports gear UK.

Stay tuned for more posts on what I am getting up to on my #ReebokChallenge!

Media Links

Reebok Website
Reebok Facebook Page
Reebok Twitter

Chris Main/Unique Physique Facebook Page
Chris Main Twitter

Kevin Foster Wiltshire Website/GymCube
GymCube Facebook Page
GymCube Twitter
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Monday, 1 December 2014

Manchester Arndale After Dark

Monsoon Ember Sequin Backless Dress £99*
Thursday night saw 25 Bloggers head to the Manchester Arndale for the #MAAfterDark event!

We had all been paired with a retailer within the Manchester Arndale to select a party dress and a panel of judges, including Victoria from In The Frow, selected the top ten to be presented to Manchester Arndale Shoppers!

As you know, I was paired with Monsoon and I selected the gorgeous Ember Sequin Backless Dress from the Fusion range. My dress was hung waiting for me on Thursday and after some mingling with my blogger pals we all got our hair and makeup done and slipped into our dresses.

There were some absolutely amazing festive frocks selected by all of the bloggers so I don't envy the judging panel on having to narrow it down to the final ten! I was absolutely delighted when Victoria announced that my dress was one of the final ten best party dresses. (Apologies for me being in my regular clothes in the above picture but I had to dash off and changed so that I didn't have to make my way home in my special dress!)

If you visit the Manchester Arndale After Dark page you can vote for your favourite dress and one lucky voter will win themselves an £100 gift card!

Huge thanks to the guys over at Manchester Arndale for asking me to take part and also to Monsoon for my beautiful dress. I can't wait to wear it for my work Christmas Party!

Hopefully for those of you who have still yet to purchase your Christmas Party dress, our dresses will give you some inspiration for what's on offer at the Arndale :)
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Sunday, 30 November 2014

If you like Pina Colada.. in Winter

Pina Colada Fragrance: The Library of Fragrance £15*
There is nothing more depressing than when the nights draw in, the weather is cold and grey and summer just seems like a life time ago.

So when The Library of Fragrance got in touch a few months back, I was intrigued to have a look through the list of scents! I had heard of The Library of Fragrance and laughed at some of the smells on offer, (pizza anyone?) so in the spirit of market research I helped them out with my opinions on a couple of questionnaires.

In return for this I was allowed to select a fragrance to try. I love sweet summer scents, so the obvious choice for me was Pina Colada! As you may have read, I have committed to not drinking for six weeks and I am currently at the end of week four with another two to go! I have not missed alcohol really so it was quite funny to smell this as it literally smells EXACTLY like Pina Colada!!

Pina Colada is my ultimate fave from the cocktail menu so this is literally a dream smell for me! If you want to pick up a gift with a difference then I definitely can recommend The Library of Fragrance scents. You can purchase them direct from the Library of Fragrance Website where the full range is on offer, or, you can purchase them via Boots where a select few are on offer and you can buy two for £25!

I want more now! Coconut, Almond and Vanilla Ice Cream are calling my name... :)
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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Meeting Charlotte Tilbury

This week I had one of those 'life is sweet' moments when I was invited to a press session with Charlotte Tilbury in Selfridges, Manchester Exchange Square. I was expecting a good few of us to be present, so when I was ushered into a private room with space just for 10/12 I was absolutely giddy!

Meeting Charlotte was a real blogging high for me. As a makeup lover, I had watched Charlotte's products be launched with interest and her reputation as being one of, if not the world's top make up artist makes her very high up my 'I'd love to meet' list.

Charlotte has over 23 years experience and has worked with all of the supermodels and celebrities, consulted with numerous brands and generally built up a pretty impressive name for herself. It was interesting to hear how she had decided to launch her very own range and the thought processes behind it.

The products are honestly some of the best I have ever used. The pigmentation, application and formula are incredible. Yes they are on the more expensive end of the makeup price scale but I really believe that the quality of the products warrant the cost!

Charlotte was there to talk to us about her Christmas Gifting packages as let's face it, it's very rare for people to give makeup as a present and Charlotte wanted to remove the doubts and frustrations from buying makeup.

The products are all arranged into 'looks' so that the regular consumer is now able to change up their makeup look like the celebrities can (with the assistance of the professionals). Charlotte explained that her concept was that she wanted her customers to feel like they have had a consultation with an expert when they purchase and that it enables us to buy colours that we know will suit us and our colouring.

The eyeshadow palettes are idiot proof, with the idea being to work around the colours in a clockwise direction, Desk ready, Dusk ready and then Disco ready!

You can also purchase the supermodel range (as modelled by Abbey Clancy) in a unique gift set with accompanying tutorial embedded within the gift box!

I am obsessed with my new treats and literally had the most lovely afternoon with an amazing woman. Thank you so much to Selfridges for the kind invite! :)
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Friday, 28 November 2014

Proactiv+ Review

Proactiv+ Core Starter Kit £19.99*
In the run up to Christmas, I always like to ensure my skin is in tip top shape as it's likely to take a bit of a battering with the increased makeup you end up wearing during the festive season.

I was recently sent through the Proactiv+ Trial Set to try and I thought I would give it a whirl to see if it lived up to the hype. I had heard of Proactiv before, but only as something that was available in the US so I was quite excited when I heard we can now access this in the UK.

With some fairly big celebrity endorsements in the States I was genuinely intrigued to see what it could do for my skin.

The range is a cleanser/gentle exfoliator, a pore targeting treatment and a complexion perfecting hydrator. I have tried it for a few weeks now and I am really quite impressed! I would say that it is perhaps a bit more than I need 'treatment' wise for every day use, but when I first started using it I had quite a few blemishes on my jawline and these seemed to clear up very quickly. It has a fresh clean scent and feels pleasant on the skin.

My skin seems to have remained blemish free aswell for alot longer than usual so I am definitely putting it down to Proactiv+. I think for £20 this skin care range is really good and I will be continuing to use it. I have been using it if my skin has felt oily, with blemishes coming through etc and I have been finding that the spots don't end up arriving or if they do they are much less red and angry looking than they would usually be.

Big thumbs up from me!!!
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Thursday, 27 November 2014

My #ReebokChallenge: Half Way Through...


It's been a weird old week since my last post... and to quote Disney, Miracles do take time.. and time is what my body is taking to show me the changes that I have made to my diet and exercise regime!

One of the hardest things I think about embarking on a fitness regime or a change in diet is that the benefits are not always instantaneous. And my GOD am I impatient. I am exactly like one of those cliché pics you see on Twitter of someone being like, right I had a healthy breakfast, am I thin yet? We all know that ain't going to happen so I don't know why I convinced myself last week that my efforts weren't working.

I was well and truly fed up and thought that all of my hard work was not paying off, and that thrown in with not sleeping and generally feeling under the weather made me one unhappy bunny last week. I didn't really do any exercise and ended up going to bed in a huff most nights. That said, I did persevere with the diet as I knew that there couldn't possibly be any harm in continuing with what I was/am eating.

I went out for dinner with friends over the weekend and didn't drink (and felt a bit of a misery for doing so) and then by the time Monday came round, I was ready to attempt some form of activity so I tried my first GymCube class! After feeling a bit frazzled, I browsed through the different videos and opted for 'Candlelight Yoga' and it was great! Just what I needed and definitely sent me off to bed feeling sleepy, relaxed and nicely stretched out. For those of you who are thinking what on earth is GymCube, stay tuned for a dedicated post on that!

I bet you are all thinking... ok fairly negative post, where are we going with this?

The moral to the story is, have faith.

It's a simple enough message, but one I need to listen to more and I am prepared to bet that there are a lot of you in the same boat. It is so easy to read magazines about celebrities dropping their baby weight in six weeks or movie stars who have completely changed their body shape in seemingly record breaking time, but you forget that they probably can dedicate all of their time to it and don't have the day to day of holding down a full time job, prepping food for the next few days, cleaning out the increasing pile of Tupperware, cleaning the bathroom, etc etc etc. Getting fit is hard work and when you have been trying for a sustained period of time like I have, it can be so easy to just want to throw the towel in because the results are often a bit less dramatic.

It can be quite isolating aswell when you have made a commitment to not drink and EVERYONE is drinking around you, but ultimately it's the choice you have to make, do you want the changes enough to brazen out the 'why are you doing this?' questions and comments? The fact is, I do. I have picked a pretty hard 6 weeks to not drink in, but I really want results and sometimes you have to make sacrifices to achieve what you want. Of course I wanted a drink on Saturday, and having people be like 'oh god I couldn't do that', or ask you if you are pregnant (NO) or if I am mad, doesn't exactly make you feel great about it but at the end of the 6 weeks I will feel better about myself and what I have achieved and that means more to me than a couple of drinks.

So after all that, I had some mid way measurements done last night and in about a week and a half I have lost 3 inches off my total body measurements and a couple of pounds. So that just goes to show that these things take time and I needed to just have faith and be patient.

I am really pleased, if a little embarrassed about all the poor people who I moaned to that I was destined to be chunky... but hey ho. I'm only human. :)

Another two weeks to go on my festive fitness attempt! My special party dress I have selected from the Manchester Arndale will be revealed over the next few days too!

Media Links

Reebok Website
Reebok Facebook Page
Reebok Twitter

Chris Main/Unique Physique Facebook Page
Chris Main Twitter

Kevin Foster Wiltshire Website/GymCube
GymCube Facebook Page
GymCube Twitter
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Monday, 24 November 2014

Festivals in 2015: Christmas Gifts for the Festival Fan

Havaiana Wellies* // Alcatel One Touch 10.10 Mobile Phone // The Ragged Priest Raincoat
After heading to my very first festival in 2014, I intend to head back again to at least one in 2015.

If you or a friend or family member has got those highly sought after Glastonbury Tickets, then why not theme their Christmas Gifts around their upcoming jaunt to be at one with nature and the elements?? :)

Everyone knows that wellies are a must when heading to a festival even if it is dry, all those feet stamping and dancing make for a bit of a mud pit so I would highly recommend Havaiana Wellies!

As comfortable as their flip flop counterparts, and very competitively priced, the wellies come in a variety of styles and colours and would make a great gift this time of year!

Next up we have a potential stocking filler of the bargainous Alcatel Mobile Phone which is just £5 at Argos.. if the ticketholder is the type to do some damage to their smartphone then pop this durable little number in their stocking and leave the worries of the dreaded smashed screen at home...

As much as we would love to have glorious skies all the time, let's face it we live in England and we just can't bank on that. Avoid getting soggy by slipping on this amazing festival rain coat by The Ragged Priest at ASOS. You definitely won't get lost in the crowds in this holographic wonder and if pink isn't your colour, they also do it in gold!

Where are you guys heading to and who are you most excited to see? I definitely have plans to purchase a full weekend ticket for Parklife in Manchester next year!
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Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Flossy and Leigh Styling Studio Experience


FLOSSY & LEIGH STYLING STUDIO
Last week I was invited along to sample the gorgeously girlie Flossy and Leigh Styling Studio in Padiham, Lancashire.

Having met Flossy and Leigh (Phoebe and Amy) at my BFFs wedding back in March 2013, I was super excited to be once again transformed by makeup and pampered for a couple of hours.

The Styling Studio isn't open to the public and is an appointment only, purpose venue for brides to decide on their final look for their big day or groups wanting a makeup lesson from the F&L team.

I didn't really have a look in mind so I just gave Phoebe the brief that I wanted something to bring the green out in my eyes, and that she most certainly did!

I absolutely loved the experience and I genuinely cannot recommend Flossy and Leigh enough. They are fun, talented and are the perfect people to have around on the morning of your wedding when the nerves kick in..!

Big thank you to both Phoebe and Amy :)
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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

My #ReebokChallenge: Going it alone.. (for a week)

 
Nothing makes me more nervous than when I am left to my own devices with exercise.. Chris is now away on holiday for a week so I'm missing out on 2 training sessions over the next 7 days. I'm at the point with my training now that I enjoy exercise and it is an integral part of my weekly routine.
 
I can find myself feeling a bit anxious when I don't do anything (I think this is more to the fact that it's a break in my routine than being an exercise fiend) so I am going to try and not panic and look at ways I can exercise on my own a bit more.
 
I will be heading down to the 3rd Reebok Class at Intersport in Stockport tonight so if you fancy a half hour of getting your heart rate up, come on down and join in the fun! You can book on to these classes by clicking here.
 
Over the past week, me and Chris have been fine tuning what I am eating to see if we can kick start some weight and inch loss.
 
As a part of my #ReebokChallenge series, I'll do a post dedicated to what kind of stuff I eat, as I think it's really important to understand that getting fit and healthy isn't about restricting calories and buying everything you can get your hands on that says 'low fat'. I probably eat more than I ever have really and it's about finding the right balance for you in terms of what your body needs and burns in a day.
 
We have also put together a programme of exercise that should hopefully help me use my muscles to burn fat and achieve the results I want.
 
I have taken some dreaded 'before' photos, which I will be honest, was fairly traumatic. No one enjoys taking a particularly unflattering picture of themselves and considering I feel like I have got my selfie skills honed to a fine art, I was less than pleased with the results of these pictures. That said, I have to get a realistic picture of my body shape now and then hopefully in another 4 weeks I will have seen some changes.
 
I will keep you posted with progress and what I end up doing exercise wise to keep up my exercise whilst Chris is away!
 
Fingers crossed for good results as I have a VERY special dress to wear on the 12th December!! :)
 
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Thursday, 13 November 2014

#MAAfterDark


 For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you will see I have been rather excited about #MAAfterDark.

#MAAfterDark is an exciting upcoming event with Manchester Arndale, where I have been paired with Monsoon to find the perfect party dress.

My fellow Blogger Pals have been assigned to different shops, so stay tuned as we all show you our faves from each of the retailers in the Arndale Centre and get you ready for the festive party season!

:)

Thank you so much to the Manchester Arndale for asking me to be involved!
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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

My #ReebokChallenge.. 6 Weeks of Fitness!


For the past week I have been working on a brand new fitness project in conjunction with Reebok!

Reebok are passionate about bringing fitness to the masses and showing you that everyone can get involved with staying fit and healthy, no matter what level your ability is, your budget or the amount of free time you have.

Reebok have introduced free fitness classes around the country, I attended the first class in Stockport, Cheshire last week and it was a really great little blast to help me continue with my quest to an overall healthier lifestyle.

The Classes in Stockport are at 7pm on a Tuesday evening for the next 3 weeks. Why not come along and learn some exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home?

You can book on to these classes by clicking here.

I will be working with Reebok and a few special helpers over the next 5/6 weeks to achieve my fitness goals and I will be blogging about my experiences and results along the way.

As you all know, I currently train with Chris Main over at Elite Performance Fitness in Stockport. I have already achieved some great results with Chris so he will be responsible for upping my training ante and helping me burn as much fat as I can.

Paired with the training, Chris and Reebok Master-Trainer Kevin Foster-Wiltshire, will be using their shared expertise on my diet and hopefully between the three of us, we can help show that you don't need fad diets, meal replacements or anything unhealthy to achieve good results.

I have committed to working out at least 4 times per week, including the free Reebok class, not drinking and sticking to Chris and Kevin's diet suggestions and in 6 weeks time I will report back on how I have done.

I have two Christmas parties in December, along with my Birthday celebrations in February 2015 creeping up so I want to look my absolute best!

Stay tuned for what I get up to during the 6 weeks... :)

Media Links

Reebok Website
Reebok Facebook Page
Reebok Twitter

Chris Main/Unique Physique Facebook Page
Chris Main Twitter

Kevin Foster Wiltshire Website/GymCube
GymCube Facebook Page
GymCube Twitter
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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Wahanda - Book Yourself Fabulous

Wahanda
Book Myself Fabulous was exactly what I did yesterday! Wahanda has just gone live in Manchester and it is a website/app that helps you source an appointment for that well deserved treat.

Wahanda has teamed up with lots of spas and salons in the Manchester area and no matter what you are looking for treatment wise they can help you find an appointment. I had been experiencing some back niggles so seeing as yesterday was so grey, rainy and dreary, I put the app to use to find an appointment for a massage at a spa close to home.

I booked in at The Didsbury Beauty Clinic for a massage and it was amazing! Such a lovely treatment and I am really impressed with the app, it was so easy to use and I will be definitely using it again!

Big thumbs up from me and thank you to Wahanda for the treat :)
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Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box

DISCOVERY CLUB FRAGRANCE BOX
It's coming up to Christmas and you will all no doubt be starting to think about what to get for who! Give someone the gift of fragrance this Christmas with the Discovery Club Fragrance Box from the Fragrance Shop!

Appearing once a quarter, the Discovery Club Box is packed full of fragrance samples and is the perfect present for the friend or loved one who likes to smell nice.

Check out the subscription options by clicking the link above :)

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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Fast Track Breakfast at TGI Fridays Manchester Piccadilly

 
If you are in Manchester City Centre, off on your travels or need breakfast in a hurry, head on over to TGI Fridays Fast Track Restaurant in Manchester Piccadilly Station!
 
The restaurant is situated on the upper concourse and promises to deliver your food in super speedy time.
 
I headed down on Sunday morning with my pal ahead of our shopping trip in town. I had a bacon and spinach omelette and she had a full breakfast.
 
Everything was delivered really quickly but we weren't rushed. I think my initial thoughts on hearing about the concept, would be that you would just be in and out and it would be a glorified fast food restaurant. I couldn't have been more wrong though, the restaurant has the same great service and food you would find in one of their normal locations, everything was just served a bit more quickly than usual!
 
It was a really nice Sunday morning treat and I will definitely be back! :)


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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Get Up and Out!

Withings Pulse Pedometer
This little gadget popped into my postbox a couple of weeks back and I have been giving it a trial so that I can tell you all about it.
The Withings Pulse is a Pedometer which calculates your steps, measures your heart rate, monitors your sleep and syncs the data with the iPhone app! You simply clip it onto your clothes and it collects data throughout the day and transfers it to the app via blue tooth.

It is advised that a healthy amount of steps per day is 10,000 so when I saw how little I was averaging I was quite shocked! It was a great motivator to get my steps up though!

I really liked that it was small, easy to use and the data output was impressive. It also can be used in conjunction with other apps such as My Fitness Pal!

I felt that the sleep assessment was slightly inaccurate but apart from that I was genuinely really pleased with this gadget and will continue to use it.

If I had to rate the product on a scale of 1-10 it would be as follows;

Ease of Use: 8
Ability to Improve Workout: 8
Value for Money: 7
Overall Rating: 8

Big thumbs up from me!
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Monday, 20 October 2014

Professional Beauty 2014

October means one thing for me. PROFESSIONAL BEAUTY comes to Manchester! A chance for beauty aficionados like myself to run wild amongst all my favourite beauty brands ALL under one delightfully pink themed roof.

This year was just as great as other years and I have included a few snaps of some of the sights! I also headed back to Nouveau Lashes and tried LVL Lashes! My natural lashes have been transformed with a lift and tint and I am really happy with the results.

Amy Childs was also there and I have zero idea how she trotted around on her stand in the heels she was wearing!


I had a great day and will definitely heading back next year!
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