Thursday, 31 July 2014

Desk Essentials

Hi guys!

I thought I would do a post about my desk essentials seeing as (some of you may have seen this news on Twitter) I am starting a new job in September! Wooooop!

I firmly believe that seeing as you spend the majority of your waking hours sat at your desk at the office, you should make it as nicer place as possible. I love making myself at home and having nice stationary and bits and bobs around me.

I always ensure I have a variety of stationery to make new project planning feel all profesh and less daunting! There is nothing like using a new notepad for the first time!

I like to personalise my space with coasters, trinkets and pictures to help me keep grounded if I start to feel stressed. I love my Instagram Coasters from PaperHappy via NotOnTheHighStreet.com, and I love the Eiffel Tower Ring Dish from ASOS (as pictured above). Knock Knock Stuff (you can buy it off Amazon) is brilliant for quirky stationery bits that have a bit of personality.

It's worth keeping nail polish remover, hand sanitiser, a nail file and some hand cream in or on your desk so you aren't left with a nail emergency all day! I have Laura Mercier Hand Cream with the Almond Coconut Scent on my desk and every time I put it on I get compliments. Plus if someone has broken office etiquette and had a slightly fragrant lunch that is lingering in the office I like to put it on so that my immediate personal space smells nice! At £13 it isn't cheap but it is worth every penny! I got mine for my birthday, use it most days and I still have it now at the end of July..

What do you like to keep on your desk?
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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

New Specs from Firmoo

Firmoo Glasses*
Today's post is all about my lovely new glasses from Firmoo! The folk over at Firmoo offered me a pair of glasses to try and I have to say I am SO impressed with the service!

I must admit that at first I thought, how on earth am I going to be able to get glasses off the internet when there are so many numbers and a prescription involved? But I could not have been more wrong.

The ordering process is really great. You can upload a selfie to help you select a pair (which I will be honest was so fun to virtually try on several pairs of specs) and then you just enter your prescription information and provide a PD (Pupillary Distance) figure which is basically a measurement from the centre of your eye to the centre of your other eye to ensure that the prescription element is produced correctly.

I really like the 'geek' style glasses at the moment so I settled on these lovely brown pair and I love them. They are perfect for me and arrived in mega quick time, were high quality and I am generally really very happy with the whole process.

In terms of cost, the glasses were approximately £60 and I think they are worth every penny!

I normally have my eye testing done at Specsavers so I just called them to get my prescription over the phone - it was really very simple to get the information and then input it onto my Firmoo order. I thought the instructions were really clear in terms of all the options available and extras you can add.

If you need new glasses or sunglasses then I really would strongly recommend you take a look at Firmoo!
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Monday, 28 July 2014

Festival Hair with House of Fraser

Angel Hair Scent Spray // Aveda Dry Shampoo
House of Fraser have an abundance of  Hair and Beauty products so today's post is talking how I would style up my hair for a festival, when hair washing facilities are limited, but looking less than my best isn't an option! I have selected my 'must have' hair products from House of Fraser and how I would style my hair.

Festival Hair styling for me has to include texture! If you go to a Festival with straight locks then as the weather and grease take over you will go home with hair that is stuck to your head if it is anything like mine!

I would curl my hair ahead of going, and give it a really good wash before my arrival. Backcombing can help disguise greasy roots so a considerable amount of backcombing would be added in! As the days pass during the festival, I would add some dry shampoo to absorb excess oil and a braided hair band to hide the roots! You can also spritz a hair scent in just to freshen up and then you can concentrate on having a great time!

What are your festival hair essentials?
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Thursday, 24 July 2014

#BloominGirls Festival in Manchester!


Yesterday I headed down to Manchester Academy partake in the Bloomin Girls one day festival!

Aimed at 14-18 year olds (so I felt a wee bit old whilst I was there!) the event was designed to show girls how you can get involved in sport and also incorporate fashion and beauty at the same time.

With some pretty big sponsors such as Boohoo, Batiste and MUA Makeup the ladies were tasked with taking part in mini sports sessions and then earning their beauty reward. Now, as much as I am a gym lover, it has been a LONG time since I have handled a hockey stick or dribbled a football, but I too got involved to get the full Bloomin Girls experience!

It was alot of fun, and in a non competitive environment, showed girls that it's all about getting stuck in and being active. Many young ladies are put off participating in sport at schools as quite often if you aren't quite at the level where you are on the school team, you are almost left to fend for yourself! I hated games lessons at school as it was a way to be excluded and it was really nice to see sport being promoted in such an inclusive way.

I had my hair waved as my 'reward' for the hockey and football sessions and there were stations to get your makeup or nails done, along with styling advice from Boohoo.

Neon Jungle even got involved in the sports sessions and it was great to see a band be such positive role models for their teen fans.

Hopefully there will be lots more Bloomin Girls events up and down the country! It was a great day to be involved with :)
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Sunday, 20 July 2014

A Weekend in the Life of SweetieSal

OOTD // Circuit Class // Blogger Mail // Fresh Neon Gels // CARNIVAL Pineapple Rum Cocktail // Rum Punch Bar // This dude was lovin' life // Prosecco // FOTD

Great weekend for me this weekend!

Lots of fun had, some chill time, also some celebration times(!) but I will be able to reveal more about that in the next couple of weeks!

What have you guys been up to? :)
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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Happy


Earlier this week, I read this, written by my PT Chris, and it got me thinking that I talk about goals and my training on here and over on my Twitter, but probably never put into words why I do it and why it makes me happy.

I agree with Chris that it is really important to know WHY you are doing something. You don't have to take to public domain and broadcast why you are doing something (like me!), but as someone who has talked about my weightloss journey in the past, I thought it could be beneficial to others and possibly interesting to hear about why I have decided to undertake such changes!?

As you may or may not know, I started training and attempting to change my weight and lifestyle back in April 2013. I set myself the challenges of wearing #myfirstbikini in Summer 2013, the Herve Leger #adresstoimpress project over Christmas, running the 10k in May 2014 and now I am looking towards where I want to go next, which is to be healthy and in great shape by the time I turn 30 next year.

Initially, I have to be honest, the goal was to lean out and be happier with the way I looked.

Was I happier by looking better? In some ways, yes, in others no.

The same bumps in the road happened, I still had various things to deal with and I can't say that being lighter made me cope with the curve balls any better than I would have done back when exercise wasn't a part of my life.

However, I think one of the benefits of starting something like this was that the choices I made, when faced with a bit of a crap time, were healthier. I tried to not turn to food as a comfort and stuck with routine as best I could. I firmly believe this is what made me snap back quicker than I would have done otherwise.

So, in conclusion, being healthy is what has made me happy. The by-product of the healthier lifestyle is that my skin doesn't get me down anymore, clothes shopping isn't a chore and I am not restricted to the few shops that catered for larger sizes. My fitness has improved ten fold and I am genuinely so proud of myself for completing the Manchester 10K and the Color Run. That makes me happy. What started as probably quite vain goals has contributed to me taking my fitness seriously and working towards projects that push me to challenge myself.

In deciding what my next goal would be I had a long hard think about what would make me happy. What would make me stay committed and what would give me the satisfaction that I want, to justify the inevitable days ahead where I might have to make some sacrifices to achieve said goal. I am approaching a milestone birthday, the big 3-0.

When I look back to my big 2-1, I have realised that I wasn't happy. Don't get me wrong, I had a lovely time, I celebrated my 21st when on Holiday in Miami and then had a fancy dress party when I returned home. I had and continue to have fantastic friends and family around me, but the memories I have from that year taint the positive ones in all honesty. I had some personal circumstances that I won't go into, but I can't say that I look back on my last milestone birthday all that fondly.

This is why it is important to me to feel better about myself as I approach my birthday. Everyone wants to look nice on their birthday and obviously that is a big part of my goal, but equally I want to feel happy. Be happy with how I look, feel, the people around me, the lot.

Along with the fitness, joining a gym, eating better etc I have said yes to events and experiences that I would never have done back when I was 21. If you had mentioned a run to me back in the day I would have given you a death glare at such a stupid remark. I would never have gone to a festival, not just because of the 'no washing' element, but because standing all day would have seemed too much like hard work. I have friends and people around me who encourage me to be healthy and happy and 'get' why I feel the need to do this. It is important to me and I am committed to making it happen.

This to me is one of the biggest benefits of goal setting, the positive parts that come along with it. By having goals I have proactively put myself in challenging situations, and yes, at times I have had a crisis of confidence and not been sure if I can do it, but each time I have given it my best shot. I have also figured that a lot of the journey can be a 'happy' experience too. You just have to open yourself up to it, be ready for the challenge and know that your end goal will make you happy.

So I am now going to pass on Chris' question and ask 'are you actually happy?' What is your answer?

I think it's a thought provoker of a question!
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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Bloomin Girls One Day Festival: Manchester


Hi guys!

I wanted to tell you about an event I am attending next week in Manchester with BloominGirls! As you know, since starting at the gym and learning about health and fitness, I have become quite passionate about getting involved and understanding how you can incorporate a healthy lifestyle easily and without it feeling like a mission impossible.

BloominGirls is a lifestyle campaign that aims to reverse the trend of inactivity amongst teenage girls aged 14-17, by changing their perception of the relevance of sport in their lives and empowering them to want to make a change.

This innovative, pilot campaign is being funded through Sport England and will bring together England Netball, The FA (Football), The RFU (Touch Rugby) and England Hockey to curate a one day festival of sport and fitness supported by fashion and beauty experiences from Boohoo, MUA and Batiste. The four sports have adapted their typical offering for this target audience to put on an event that will transport the girls into a festival atmosphere with neon lights and music complemented by rewards and experiences from the official BloominGirls brand partners.

BloominGirls Festival is on 23rd July.

If you are female, aged 14-17 and live in Manchester or the surrounding areas, then keep reading! The event is aimed at those of you who love fashion, beauty, hair, friends, socialising, celebrities and having fun. If you are struggling to see how sport and keeping fit can include the above hobbies and interests then come along!

If you want to attend then click here to register for your free ticket.
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Monday, 14 July 2014

Meet the Makers @Selfridges Trafford


Selfridges Meet The Makers
This  summer, Selfridges will play host to an eight-­week celebration of the nation’s favourite foodie artisans. The focus will be on the tastemakers, who define our food experiences, the way we farm, challenging our perceptions of art in food, but above all to showcase the best talent in food and drink throughout Selfridges.

Customers can experience foodie demos, in-­store sampling and events from tantalising cooking demonstrations with  top chefs to walking tours of the food hall.   

Meet  the  Local  Suppliers
Selfridges are proud to  support local suppliers showcasing some of the regions finest gastronomic talent alongside the world’s most famous culinary brands. 

The  Lancashire  Cheesecake  Company 
Using produce from the North West, the Lancashire Cheesecake Company is an independent producer in handmade cheesecake with creations ranging from traditional desserts to innovative flavours.

Fiddlers  Lancashire  Crisps
Using potatoes grown on their family farm, hand cooked in their own kitchens, Fiddlers create a range of crisps enhanced with the traditional flavours of Lancashire.

Meet  the  Sushi  Makers
Yo Sushi Maki Making and Sampling (Tues 15th/22nd July: 3pm-­5pm) 
Learn how to make Yo Sushi’s delicious rice rolls.
Yo Sushi Masterclass (Tues 29th July/31st July/19th Aug/26th  Aug: 12pm-­2pm/3pm-­5pm/6pm-­8pm) 
From maki to handrolls, learn from the pros how to make some of Yo Sushi’s authentic Japanese dishes. 

Meet  the  Chocolatiers
Prestat Chocolate (Wednesday 13th August: 12pm-­2pm) 
A favourite of the Royal Family, Prestat’s luxury chocolates not only taste divine but come with a fascinating history. Join their chocolatiers for a tasting and Q&A. 

Lindt (Friday 15th August 12pm-­2pm)
Join Lindt’s expert chocolatiers for tasting sessions and pairings with coffee and wine. 

Cocoba Chocolate (Saturday 16th August: 12pm-­2pm) 
Perfect for those with a sweet tooth, Cocoba’s hot chocolate is made by melting real Belgian chocolate.  Their experts will be at Selfridges for a special tasting session.

Meet the Dessert Masters
Meringue Masterclass (Thursday 17th July 12pm-­4pm) 
Join the Little Round Cake Company for a lesson on creating mouthwatering creations with their delicious meringues. 

L’Amandier Macaron Making Masterclass (Friday 18th July 12pm-­4pm) 
From their independent bakery in the East Midlands L’Amandier bring a touch of France to the UK. Join them at Selfridges for a lesson in making tasty macarons.  

Top your own Cheesecake (Sat 19th  July: 12pm-­5pm/Tues 5th August: 12pm-­5pm/Sat 9th August: 12pm-­5pm) £2.99. 
Join the Lancashire Cheesecake Company in a tasty workshop perfect for grown ups and kids. With a large  variety of toppings you can personalise your very own cheesecake. There will also be a blindfold taste test using some unusual flavours and a competition to design a new limited edition flavour to be featured  in‐store.

Meet the Coffee Roaster
Black Circle Coffee (Sat 12 August: 12pm-­2pm/3pm-5pm) 
Sample  the  finest  coffee  flavours   

Meet the Mixologist
U’Luvka Vodka (Thurs 24th July: 4pm-­8pm)
Inspired by Poland’s love of Vodka, U’Luvka’s  master mixologists will be in store to teach you how to mix the perfect drinks.   

Gin (Saturday 26th July: 12pm-­5pm)
A not to miss experience for gin lovers. Join Sipsmith, Lighthouse, Lantons and Sacred for an afternoon of gin tasting and master classes. 

Booking  is  not  required  for  events  however  arriving  early  is  advised  to  avoid  disappointment.   
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Sunday, 13 July 2014

Protein Pancakes

Banana Protein Pancakes
It's a lazy Sunday over here at SweetieSal HQ and after a lie in I wanted to make something quick and nice for my breakfast!

I remembered reading about a really easy way to make protein pancakes so thought I would give them a try and I think I am hooked! They were so nice, probably the easiest thing to make and fit in nicely with my diet.

Ingredients

2 Bananas
2 Eggs
Protein Powder (I use unflavoured 'Pulsin Pea Protein' but if you have a Vanilla flavoured protein then that would probably be amazing)
Vanilla Essence

How to Make
  1. Mash up the 2 bananas until they are relatively lump free.
  2. Add in the 2 eggs, protein powder and vanilla essence and mix together.
  3. Heat up some butter or coconut oil in a pan.
  4. Spoon in some of the mixture and when it starts bubbling on the top flip them over.
  5. Cook for about a minute either side or until obviously cooked.
  6. Drizzle with honey or berries and total 0% yogurt.
  7. ENJOY!
As you can see you don't need to be a masterchef to make these but my god they are so good! Simples!
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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Bourjois One Seconde Volume Mascara Review

1 Seconde Volume Mascara £9.99*
This week I have been trialling a new mascara, say hello to Bourjois newest wonder product in their range, One Seconde Volume Mascara!

I love Bourjois as a brand, I find the products to be really high quality without a too hefty price tag. I had recently had eyelash extensions on so have refrained from taking pictures of my own lashes as I don't want their sparseness to kid anyone into thinking this mascara isn't amazing, as it really is.

I have been using Bourjois Liner Effect Mascara and it is up there as one of my faves along with Benefit They're Real. I would say this Mascara possibly beats the Liner Effect in terms of wow factor and is most definitely up there with They're Real! The brush is amazing, it has bristles that captures every single last lash and gives you the desired fluttery effect that everyone looks for in a mascara.

I have also noted fantastic staying power and lack of the dreaded under eye black shadows after a few hours wear, that you often notice too late.

It is available in regular and waterproof versions and costs a mere £9.99. It is available now in Boots and Superdrug stores so if you are in the market for a new mascara then I would strongly recommend you give it a try.

Big thumbs up from me!
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The Color Run in MANCHESTER!


On Saturday 5th July I took part in Manchester's Color Run, where 10,000 participants made their way around the track and were covered in head to toe with different coloured paint powders!

I headed over to the Etihad Campus bright and early, collected my official run pack and got warmed up with the crowds!

At each kilometre, participants were covered in powder explosions before DJs and MCs entertained the crowd at the Colour Festival in an incredible party atmosphere of music and colour bursts.

Known as the happiest 5k on the planet, The Color Run has no official times or winners. The focus is on healthiness, friendship and community spirit. I wasn't really sure what to expect with the Color Run, but I had the most amazing time and was really pleased that I managed to complete the run in approximately 40 minutes.

Following the success of the Manchester event, The Color Run will soon visit Sunderland (July 20th), Birmingham (August 16th), Belfast (August 23rd) and Brighton (September 20th).

Pictures from the day are available on the UK Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheColorRunUK, on twitter by following @TheColorRunUK and on Instagram by following @thecolorrungbr. Join in the chat using #ColourMeHappy and #Happiest5k.

I will definitely be taking part next year, who's in?!
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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Nail Rehab


I am obsessed with having nice nails and for a long time my quest for the perfect talons took me to get powder gel applied at a nail bar in Manchester.

Now, this post isn't designed to make anyone feel bad if you have them, I enjoyed mine for a long time and I think when applied correctly and in a clean environment you can have very few issues with them.

My decision to remove the powder gel was based on the fact that I knew that my natural nails would probably be suffering, I have small, sensitive nails and repeatedly exposing them to the nail drills and harsh product wasn't doing me any favours, plus it's an expensive habit to have!

I decided to remove them myself as I thought I can do it in phases, let it grow off a bit and do a mixture of soaking it off and buffing the gel down. I found this to be the least traumatic way of getting rid of it, but my god it took sheer perseverance!

If this is something you want to do then I would recommend buying some acetone or nail polish remover containing acetone and get ready to sit and soak. You need to be patient and then less damage will be caused to your natural nail. I then used a buffer to gently buff down the product.

That said, once I had got it off, my nails were very weak, short and thin. I decided to give them a few days with a hardening nail polish on them to try and strengthen them up, and then I had UV gel polish applied before I went on Holiday as they were that thin that I thought I could actually do some damage if I wasn't careful!

I am really pleased I did as now they are short but look nice, my cuticles look much better and they are growing again! Result!

It has really got me back into loving UV gel polish, I have all the bits and pieces to apply it myself but had just been lazy and got into the routine of having the powder applied. UV gel polish is less harsh on your nails and once they get growing, there is no reason why I can't have longer, more healthy natural nails.

I have treated myself to a couple of colours from Bluesky UV Gel Polish, which you can buy on Amazon for approx £5 and I am determined to steer clear of the powder gel, given how much it damaged my nails! I am really impressed with the Bluesky polishes so far so I'd really recommend them if you have the rest of the kit to apply them yourself.

Check out my previous post on how to apply gel nails at home.
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