Amazing protein treats from myprotein

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My Protein is such a wonderful brand! They do absolutely all sorts of fab treats to supplement my training and to make my diet as healthy as possible without feeling deprived. My latest haul can be seen here. The protein muffins are scrummy and I think they are actually nicer than a chocolate muffin usually is. They have a soft core, chocolate chunks and are really filling due to the protein.

I also stocked up on Super Omega 3 I always buy the super strength version as it was a tip from my personal trainer. The reason I have got this is for my clicky knees. I did a lot of dancing as a child and teenager and so it is to counteract the effect that has had.

L-Glutamine is something I have not explored before but it was also on my trainers list of healthy supplements. It is known to be a gentle yet effective supplement that is said to benefit many ailments and deficiencies.  It enhances our body’s natural l-glutamine production. I got the impression that this may also help my muscles. I am going to be adding this to my protein shakes.

I’ve got my eye on sooooo many Myprotein products so there will be more haul posts soon! Top of my list to try next are the lemon muffins – yum! See more Myprotein products here.

What are you guys, my fit fam friends buying at the moment? I’d love to hear about anything you can recommend?

Anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you! Said the female of the species!

The blog has been a little neglected the past two weeks (sorryyyyy) I had multiple bits of bad news and was in hibernation with coffee and chocolate. However now I’m back bursting with absolutely tons to write about! First up DIY! We are currently looking at selling our house and whilst painting and prepping the lounge the ancient Venetian blind fell off the wall leaving the front room exposed to the street. Now who invented blinds with three cords. Fair enough the nice modern ones with two easy to work cords and the bit that you twizzle but this blind was a nightmare. After copious amount of pulling and even trying WD40 that dripped down into my hair, I won.. well sort of.. when the whole thing completely came away and hit me on the head.

So off to my local B&Q I went and was helped by a very wonderful store manager (I didn’t know Andy was the manager at the time.) Who took 40 minutes out of his day to not only help me pick a drill and all of the bits that I needed but show me how to use it all and give me step by step instructions if there was an A+++ for customer service then Andy and his store would of one it.

I head home newly enthused about drills, as out of character as can possibly be! An hour and a half later my new curtains are up and my room actually looks more modern and somehow bigger! I think the length emphasises the high ceilings of the house. I am super proud of myself! What has everyone else been up to this weekend?

Drill DIY

Now this Iphone pic is a little fuzzy but I needed to share my handy work with you all! Saturday DIY

Lovely good Friday in Lancashire at a lovely farm

There is nothing nicer than doing something completely random over a bank holiday! I had seen a fellow blogger had visited a farm a couple of weeks ago and seeing the micro pigs sounded amazing. They didn’t disappoint I wanted to take them all home. My favourite was the little lambs they were so soft and you could feel their little knashers brush against your hand when you fed them but they never once nipped. The big pigs were hilarious they had cottoned on that people were a bit concerned of getting bitten due to the signs so they opened there mouths and tipped their heads back so they could get fed also!

This was a super busy farm and the whether was awful so I dread to think what it is like on a summers day when the weather is lovely but a fabulous day out and something really different to do.

I still need to download some more of the pictures but here are a couple for now. This little lamb kept moving so I couldn’t get a great picture but he kept jumping up as he learnt that if he did I would feed him!

What did you do this Easter?

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The crown jewels at Hancocks jewellers

So back to my luxury roots this weekend! Yesterday was the most AMAZING day! I have been thinking about it ever since and day dreaming about diamonds. Yesterday I got to try on my most expensive diamond ever. £145,000  of pure beauty. It was the most sparkly diamond I have ever seen. As a self confessed magpie I was in heaven. The £145k diamond was yellow and I used to dream of having a yellow diamond. I used to stand outside a jewellers in the Victoria Quarter in Leeds and stare at a marquise diamond ring. This one was even more stunning. I also tried on the little sister ring that was £14k and found myself thinking it was a reasonable price well I suppose next to 145k it is! The yellow diamond can be seen on the Hancock’s website if you have a look let me know what you think. It weighs 4.69 carats.Click here to have a look and look at the rest of the beautiful jewellery

Yellow diamond

My friend Karen Cheshire’s best stylist came along with me so we could have a catch up which was really lovely and a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. We had a lovely glass of champers and listened to a fascinating talk about the history of Hancock’s and also one of the brands they sell George Jensen.  I have always loved the wave rings they are on my wish list so it was really interesting to hear the history of the brand. Hancock’s is privately owned and a real part of Manchester’s history having been at the current store for over 50 years.  So here are my pictures of my diamond experience, what do you think of my dream diamond?

125,000 pound diamond

Cheat meal Mother’s day lunch with nana

Mothers day was a lovely day we took my nana out for her lunch. We went to a lovely local restaurant we have been to a few times as it is a really convenient place in between our two villages. When it is Mr CD and I we don’t tend to go back to places when it comes to food as we like to try new things but when taking someone else out it’s nice to go somewhere that is consistently good as then there are no surprises. Writing this I am just thinking about I once suggested a restaurant a quiry venue in Manchester only to have the rudest, grumpiest waiter who when we asked for some sauce for someone else at the table he said ‘more sauce’!!!

This turned into a bit of a cheat meal for me although I did make myself have lots of veggies so it wasn’t really as bad as it looks! What did everyone else get up to for Mother’s Day?

Cheat Meal Sunday Lunch

Me and nana

Turn back the time with this little miracle eye cream

This eye cream is a game changer! I adore it! My face shape means that in my opinion one of the first areas to look older was the eye area. This cream has dramatically reduced the fine lines I have from smiling under my eyes. I really want to try so many of the products as I have been beyond impressed! Next on my wish list is the collagen bomb because as you get older your skin loses its elasticity.

My eye cream has been described as eight hours sleep in a tube and I understand why. It felt like the skin was plumper and smoother. The dark circles also seemed reduced. I think my under eye skin has become more supple and I always think prevention is better than a cure hence why I love looking after my skin.

You need powerful ingredient to support the eye area and this moisturiser features potent peptides and powerful natural ingredients. Centella, along with peptides, helps boost skin’s micro-circulation and thicken thinning skin. Borage Oil has long been recognised for its anti-ageing properties, licorice extract targets dark circles, and Hydrolized Cornstarch produces an immediate tightening effect.

If you give any of this lovely range a go let me know how you get on!

time balm

Drop it like a squat

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Recently I stumbled across THE BEST gym bags EVER! With them I also found an array of fantastic accessories. I chose the ‘build your own fit kit’. The wonderful kit contains a gym bag, hair ties and gym towel. You select your favourite hair ties and the colour of gym towel along with a bag with your chosen slogan. They are all fab so you will probably struggle to chose! I like ‘House of Cardio’ and ‘Dance Like Everybody Is Watching’. For me though it had to be ‘Drop It Like A Squat’ as I am doing so many squats at the moment to strengthen my legs.

Ibiza has a special place in my heart having worked there when I was a student and having met Mr CD there as well and so I had to have Ibizan sunset hair ties. They were so vibrant I couldn’t resist using one before I wrote about them. They are the first ever hair ties I have used where my hair doesn’t get a ridge and looks as good when I take them out as before – result!

My fluffy towel had to be pink, why? Because I LOVE pink!

This would be a wonderful gift as well so I think I will be back very soon! There is also 15% off if you sign up to the newsletter. Let me know if you love this site as much as me!

http://www.heyholla.com/

40 days of fitness with DW Gyms #fitnessrevolution

A couple of weeks ago I started incorporating the DW fitness challenge into my weekly workout schedule. I already do A LOT of exercise and am desperately trying to work out how I can cut down on my cardio when I love it so much to do more weights. I train nearly every day and have 1-2 rest days a week. As the DW personal trainer in this challenge says rest days are important to let muscles recover. What I have been really enjoying is that the challenges are pretty simple to work into your everyday routine. For examples the squats you can do them whilst drying your hair or watching TV – no excuses guys there is always time for fitness! I feel so much better since I got back into it and when I feel tired it gives me more energy working out! The start of this challenge accidentally coincided with my joining a new gym – DW and getting a PT so we have worked in some of the daily challenges below into my workouts!

So I thought I would share the previous days of the challenge and then if you want to give it a go you can do to! 

You could change up the days and start yours in the coming weeks obviously the hashtags are a little out dated then but you can still look for them on twitter and get some motivation from everyone else joining the fitness revolution! Enjoy and tell me about your progress…

PS since I started doing this my plank has gone from 1.5 minutes to 3 minutes so it shows it is definitely working!

 

40 DAYS OF FITNESS

Wednesday 18th February – #WednesdayWorkout

Lee: It only takes one step to get started. You’ve made that first step by joining in with our 40 Days of Fitness Challenge! Congratulations!

We’re throwing you in the deep end here, so don’t worry about pushing yourself too hard. Complete your chosen level of exercise for 20 minutes and see how far you can travel.

Beginner                 Walk

Intermediate             Jog

Expert                   Run

 

Thursday 19th February – 3 sets of squats with 60 second rest in between

Get as low as you can, but make sure your knees don’t travel too far over your toes, and keep your chin up and your back straight.

Beginner                10

Intermediate            20

Expert-                 30 (add 3kg weights if you don’t feel this is challenging enough!)

 

Friday 20th February – Planking

Lie on your front, resting on either your hands or elbows, and lift yourself up. Ensure that your bodyweight is spread out evenly, keeping your back straight and neck neutral.  Time how long you can hold the plank, make a note and try to beat it next week!

Time held:

 

Saturday 21st February – 3 minute (#SaturdayChallenge)

How many of each exercise can you do for 1 minute each? Make a note and get ready to beat it next week.

Jump squats:

Star jumps:

Sit ups:

 

Sunday 22nd February Rest day

Lee: Rest days are often overlooked, but it is important to incorporate them into your routine. Rest days allow your muscles chance to repair and grow. Without rest days you are at risk of overtraining, but this doesn’t mean you get to veg out all day! Keep moving at a low intensity and ensure you’re still eating healthily.

Try this great Thai Red Curry as a delicious alternative to Sunday roast (switch the chicken  with tofu for a vegetarian option):

1tbsp vegetable oil

500g (1lb 2oz) skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks

1 stalk fresh lemon grass, bashed with a rolling pin

2tsp grated fresh ginger

200ml coconut milk

1 chicken stock cube, dissolved in 150ml (¼ pint) hot water

2tbsp Thai red curry paste

1tbsp light soy sauce

2tbsp fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra for garnish

Cook the chicken, garlic and onion for 5 minutes, add all other ingredients, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, remove the lemongrass from the sauce and serve with rice or noodles.

 

Monday 23rd February – Tricep Dips

Lee: Whilst you might think that getting up early and hitting the gym is good for you, if it means that you’re missing out on valuable sleep, you’re probably doing more harm than good.

3 sets of tricep dips with 60 second rest in between

Beginner                 10 with legs bent

Intermediate             10 with legs straight

Expert                   20 with legs straight

 

Tuesday 24th February – Ingredient of the week: Substitute milk

Courtney: Dairy can be difficult for many people to digest. It can cause gas and bloating, and unless you eliminate it for a significant period of time you won’t know if it is the source of your discomfort. Unsweetened versions of milk alternatives also tend to have less calories, one cup of almond milk has around 30 calories, whilst skimmed milk has 90. Despite the reduction in calories, dairy alternatives often have similar percentages of vitamins and minerals.

Courtney suggests using coconut milk instead of eggs to fry up your French toast. You could also try coconut or rice milk in a smoothie, which gives your drink the consistency of a milkshake, helping you to feel fuller for longer.

 

Wednesday 25th February – 25 minutes

You did a really great job last week, now travel a little further for an extra five minutes. If you’re lacking in motivation, create a playlist of your favourite feel-good songs to listen to whilst you’re out and about.

Beginner                  Walk

Intermediate              Jog

Expert                    Run

 

Thursday 26th February – 3 sets of squats with 60 second rest in between

Lee: If you feel like your workout doesn’t challenge you, make an appointment with a personal trainer or join a class. You’ll get some great feedback on proper form and inspiration as to some new moves you can incorporate into your own workout.

We’ve increased your reps this week, you can do these during the adverts of your favourite TV show!

Beginner                20

Intermediate            30

Expert                  40

 

Friday 27th February – Plank

It’s Friday, so it’s time to plank. Look at your time to beat and see how much your fitness has increased in the space of a week!

Time to beat:

Time held:

 

Saturday 28th February – 3 minute #SaturdayChallenge

It’s that time again! Time yourself doing the Saturday challenge and see if you can beat last week’s scores.

How many of each exercise can you do for 1 minute each?

Jump squats:

Last week:                                                   Difference:

Sit ups:

Last week:                                                   Difference:

Star jumps:

Last week:                                                   Difference:

 

Sunday 1st March – Rest day

Take it easy today and do some gentle stretches. Try a few at home, or visit a yoga class for some real relaxation.

Lee: If you’re feeling sore from a workout, take a bath or do some simple stretches. A general ache in your muscles means that you’re working hard and your muscles are repairing. Any sharp pains that feel unusual, check with your doctor.

Step your right foot forward into a lunge, placing your fingers on top of your extended foot. Breathe in, and exhale as you gently straighten your right leg. Repeat on the other side.

Stand with your feet together and arms over your head. Exhale as you bend your upper body to the right. Inhale as you return to the centre and repeat on the left side.

Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet placed together, letting your knees fall to the side. Grasp your feet and stretch your chest upwards as you inhale. As you exhale, slowly lean forward from your hips without rounding your back.

 

Monday 2nd March – 3 sets of each exercise

Lee: According to our survey, only 1 in 5 women manage to stick to their fitness resolutions. Falling off the wagon is fine, as long as you can jump straight back on! More super good advice from DW because yesterday I had a couple of chocs and fizzy sweets and felt a bit guilty but back on it today starting the day with a green tea! Keep going guys it’s definitely worth it!

http://www.dwfitnessclubs.com/blog/2014/infographic-can-stick-2015-fitness-plan/

Beginner

– 10 chair squats (sit and stand up with arms raised at a 90 degree angle)
– 10 modified press ups (use your knees)
– 15 step ups (Can use your stairs or sturdy box)

Intermediate

– 20 chair squats
– 10 press ups
– 30 step ups (can use stairs or sturdy box)

Expert

– 30 chair squats
– 20 press ups
– 30 jump ups (jump on and off the box/step)

 

Tuesday 3rd March – Ingredient of the week: Sweet Potato

I love, love, love sweet potato and have written about it before on the blog such an amazing good carb! Read the DW recipe below it tastes AMAZING!

Get creative this week with Sweet Potato. If you’re stuck for ideas, we’d suggest you wash them, slice into wedges, sprinkle with salt and paprika and roast in the over for around 40 minutes, or until crisp outside and soft inside. Alternatively, you could use Courtney’s recipe for Sweet Potato Pancakes!

One sweet potato cooked and mashed

2 eggs

One tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp baking soda

One tbsp flour your choice. Almond coconut rice or whole wheat flours work well

Any spice of your choice. If you’d like a sweet pancake, add in cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and one tbsp sugar. You can also use coconut, dates, or brown sugar.

Salty or savoury pancakes make a great choice for either lunch or dinner. Add in onion and garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper.

Mix all your ingredients together and drop the batter into a hot pan, lightly sprayed with cooking oil.

 

Wednesday 4th March – Intervals, continue for 20 minutes

Interval training helps to challenge your body and increase overall endurance.

Beginner            2 minute walk, 1 minute jog

Intermediate        2 minute jog, 1 minute run

Expert              2 minute run, 1 minute sprint

 

Thursday 5th March – 3 sets of press ups with 60 second rest in between

Beginner            10 modified press ups (use your knees)

Intermediate        15 modified press ups

Expert              20 full press ups

 

Friday 6th March – Plank

Lee: Ignore what it says on the scale. Focus on how your body is changing, and recognise the small victories. You’re more capable now than you were when you started!

Check your results from last week and try beat them this week.

Time to beat:

Time held:

 

Saturday 7th March – 1 minute #SaturdayChallenge

Lee: Slow progress is still progress. If you’ve only managed two more jump squats than you did last week, it’s better than not improving at all!

Jump squats, star jumps and sit ups, beat last week’s reps and see how well you’re doing!

Jump squats:

Last week:                     Difference:

Sit ups:

Last week:                     Difference:

Star jumps:

Last week:                     Difference:

 

Sunday 8th March – Rest day

Lee: It supposedly takes around 4 weeks of consistent training for you to notice results, 8 weeks for your family and friends, and 12 weeks for everybody else to notice your progress. Keep on moving when you feel like you’re not getting anywhere.

This is such good advice since upping my training after Christmas I am at the husband noticing I am trimmer stage but still got a long way on the journey until I am where I want to be so this is good advice to stick with it and keep going, if like me you are impatient and want results now just remember- Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Midnight in Paris a very special Thursday evening in Chester at Chez Jules

Chez Jules is one of those remarkable restaurants you never forget. It was wonderful last time we visited and I had not thought it could get any better but with the launch of the cinema night it has! I can’t think of a more super idea than this. Chester doesn’t have a cinema which is a real shame but now it doesn’t need one. Chez Jules will show a different film each time they have the film night and I can’t wait to go back for another one. The line up for the next ‘meal and movie’ nights sound brilliant and include Leon a film I have always wanted to see!

The restaurant is so beautiful as you will see from the pictures. I had never been upstairs before and it was decorated with teems of black and white pictures and matching furniture. I wonder who did the décor as I found it incredibly sophisticated and I felt as though I was back in Paris, J’adore.

We started with some nibbles, soft white bread and olives and a glass of wine. I chose the salmon main and Mr CD chose the chicken. As usual we shared a little bit of each others and both were equally super. The vegetables were just perfect. My highlights- honey roast carrots (my all time favourite vegetables) and dauphinoise potatoes that melted in the mouth.  Service was impeccable and after the main course there was a short break and then our sharing dessert trio of a chocolate ganache, banoffee pie and a creme brulee which was my favourite of the three. During the dessert the film ‘Midnight in Paris’ started and popcorn was distributed.

Thoroughly marvellous and far more exciting than a visit to the cinema. It won’t be long until we return as it was a wonderful evening. Enjoy the pictures and let me know what you think! http://www.chezjules.com/

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Special offer for my readers and website launch day

The lovely lady over at www.mybuddy-box.com has given me a code especially for my readers. The code AMANDA will give you free post and packing on an order.

In 8 months time there is a plastic bag tax coming into force and at present it isn’t known whether shoppers will be then charged for bags. So this company has come up with a fab solution to carry groceries in. When in Europe I love it when you can pick a box and have all of your goodies poking out the top and here in the UK we are about to follow. I already uses boxes at the farm shop and they make so much more sense. The best thing about this one is it folds from a folder size into a box. It’s super magic to watch. When I get time I will fold it back up and film it for you. Basically it unravels and has firm sides to hold up to 20 kg which is amazing!

MY BOXAs I am in the midst of trying to prepare to move I have been making my box work nice and hard in my car on my passenger seat.

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Let me know if you get your very own buddy box!

Protein cookie dough truffles

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Super easy to make and totally tasty you will love these! Make sure your blender can grind as this was my initial mistake! You need to be able to grind nuts. These are no bake so really fast to make as well. I am a big fan of simple recipes as I never have much spare time so here goes.. simples!

You need:

1 cup of raw cashews

1/2 cup of rolled oats (go for the ground ones as less blender work)

3 tbs honey

1 tbs maple syrup

1/4 cup semi or dark choc chips or if not making them mega healthy you can opt for milk choc or any other filling. I got mine from the cake decorating aisle and these included a lemon meringue one as I wanted mine to be treat protein balls. Coloured sprinkles also work well!

You mix in your blender your nuts and oats. Then slowly add the honey and maple syrup get the dough out and mould it to a ball. Pop it  in the fridge for 10 mins to firm it up and then roll it into small balls rolling in your topping and filling of choice!

Easy peasey! Let me know if you give these a go!

 

 

 

Got a cold? You need to try this!

Saturday I was feeling dreadful, my throat was as though I was swallowing razor blades (not that I have swallowed many in my time but it was mega stinging.) So after resorting to something recommended by daddy bear. Green nevertheless! Not just dark green but bright green! I will share a picture of that at a later date as it did have some effect for a short while but after a little bit it wore off.

So I turned to some goodies I had stocked up the cupboard with a couple of weeks ago from http://www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/

Having nipped to our local supermarket for some vege I blended everything I could get my hands on through my Jason Vale juicer (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, plums, cherries, beetroot powder, spirulina, wheatgrass and organic protein powder!) Some combo! I had forgotten that it can seperate pips from the cherries so you can just throw them in how great is that! It wasn’t meant to taste beautiful but to make me feel better and that it did also it ended up pretty darn tasty because of the sweetness of the fruit and the beetroot.

After about half an hour I had so much more energy! The bundle of products I’m using are the sports bundle as it you read my blog regularly you will know I am doing lots of fitness based activities and love health and fitness!
This is the listing of products I am using and adding into my foods at the moment.
Sports Bundle
Organic Wheatgrass powder 100g
Organic Banana powder 100g
Organic Spirulina powder 200g
Organic Hemp protein powder 250g
Cordeceps CS4 powder 50g
Beetroot powder 250g

The biggest benefit I am finding about the supplements is that I can add them to my protein shakes and smoothies so easily! I have also added them to my yoghurt and muesli with honey and I will share some of those recipes with you on another day!
Next on my list of naturals things I want to try are bee pollen for it’s health benefits and charcoal but more on those another day! What natural ingredients do you recommend?

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Beetroot

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Gym in the AM Party in the PM Amazing NEW Gym Wear

At present I am spending lots of time in my gym wear and loving it. However I wanted some pieces that are more unusual. I also don’t like to always wear clingy leggings sometimes it is nice to have a loose fitting trouser. My new gym kit ticks every box!

I have a baggy vest I throw on over my sports bra in black with my favourite gym saying ‘sweat like a pig feel like a fox!’ a stunning, vibrant pink hoody with ‘Doll’ on the back as every girl loves pink! Some super soft, amazing straight leg yoga pants that are totally comfy and say ‘Be Fierce’ down the leg and another long line hoody (I like my hoodies long) this one has a quote on it that I saw in a magazine ‘Gym in the AM party in the PM’. So far I’ve had loads of compliments on them.

The company I worked with have a fantastic design department that can do anything you like and they are super fast at coming back to you with concepts and then delivering the items. They also do work wear if you had a business and wanted to kit out your staff in a super cool uniform. Check them out at http://www.buytshirtsonline.co.uk

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My new beauty must haves

This weekend has been a weekend of pampering. Alongside the usual crazy running round ticking things off a big ‘to do’ list of course! Now usually by this time we have taken our first flight of the year and gone somewhere wonderful but we are in the midst of buying a house so exotic adventures have been replaced with lots of weekends catching up with friends and being generally chilled! So this weekend I thought I would get and try some of the products I have been meaning to use for ages! First up I had a play with Cocoa Brown fake tan already a massive hit in Ireland. I haven’t used a tanning mouse for ages but this one is really super. It has a light fruity smell and doesn’t have that biscuit smell that so many have. It went on really easily and was completely patch free apart from one little area that silly me forgot to rub in properly. I sorted that out with this nifty little mit from tan eraser. It has one side for gentle buffing and the other side is for if you need to be more vigorous. It really got rid of the stubborn little mark so I will definitely be taking this on my hols later in the year. There is nothing worse when you have a fake tan for your holiday and it starts to wear off in an non even way.
The last product I’ve tried this weekend for the first time is a hair care brand called Osmo. I’ve got their mask to try as well and I’m saving that one for next weekend. My hairdresser has been telling me for ages to try oils on my hair as it has been very dry in the past from dying it. Also hair extensions have made some of the back knotty so I gave this light oil spray a try. Wowza! It’s totally light, non greasy and smells amazing. My hair also looked refreshed like when I use dry shampoo so really the opposite of what I had imagined from an oil- result!
Have you tried any new wonder products? I’d love to hear your tips! Have a great Sunday and make it count!

Hair Oil

Tan eraser

Cocoa Brown

Midsummer nights dream flowers

I don’t know what it is but my beautiful Wild Flower Company flowers remind me of an enchanted wild garden. I think it’s the combination of delicate blooms with wonderful foliage and the unusual combinations. These are literally one of the most stunning bouquets I’ve ever received. This super pretty bunch lasted for 3 weeks! How amazing is that! You never ever get more than a week out of shop bought flowers. I thought I would share a little pic as they are just too pretty not to share! I was gutted when I put them in the bin this morning. Enjoy your weekend!

Flowers

Insanity workout craze

Insanity has been another 2015 discovery. I love it but I hate it at the same time! I’ve tried two difference classes now the class at my gym and a class run by a local fitness company. The first class is for an hour which was just way too long for this type of crazy workout and in my opinion is better for men. Also I think the general premise of insanity is that it is short interval bursts but the hour long class felt like it was just tough all the way through. The half hour class although making me sweat just as much (I know it’s gross but it’s a fact of life if your getting fit!) but has small rounds of lower cardio toning moves so you can just about get through it! Also half an hour means you don’t feel like you are giving up your whole evening. You also feel AMAZING after you have done it but hate it whilst you are doing it!

There are some weeks I love more than others as there are lots of different rounds and movement combinations. I would say if you are looking to really feel like you have worked and want an all over body workout then Insanity is for you!

Let me know if you give it a go and what you think of it!

The most relaxing part of my weekend!

Regulars will know my weekends are always crazy! This one was no exception… I managed a personal trainer appointment, zumba, getting ready to move and much more. As usual I felt the weekend whizzed by and I was busy every second. To me though that’s a good thing as life moves far to fast and goes far too quickly. Now I had thought I had written before about our favourite place in Cheshire for coffee but when I look back I can’t see a post. Maybe I presumed because I’ve instagrammed so many pictures from there that I had written about it. The venue in question is a lovely restaurant just outside of Cuddington. It’s a fabulous place with a great name ‘The Lounge’ it’s a gorgeous little home from home. You will find wonderful staff, divine food and a warm environment where you will be happy to sit and relax with the papers.  We nipped in for a quick drink in the afternoon and it was super tempting to have lunch but we just about resisted! Let me know if you give it a go or love it too! Here’s a little picture of my skimmed milk hot choc treat I thought I deserved one as it’s the weekend! Mmmmmm…

Cheshire Life

Partying sorry I mean exercising at Zumba

Since new year I have been on a complete health kick and everything is starting to get firmer, woo hoo! I’ve become a little bit addicted to zumba! I love the fact I can jump around, dance, sweat and actually enjoy it! An hour goes soooo much faster than it does at the gym. I can tell I am definitely getting fitter as well. My skin is better and I have far more energy. Zumba is super fun and if you haven’t done it before you will love it. My one bit of advise is if you find it quite difficult to get the moves at first then stick with it because as the weeks go on it gets easier to coordinate everything.

Zumba was created in the 1990’s and mixes dance with aerobic elements. The choreography fuses several different dance types. Zumba fitness the company that owns the licence for the zumba program don’t charge gyms or businesses a licence fee to teach. I think this is a wonderful mentality because generosity and this approach can grow global brands. It has obviously worked as 15 million people world wide take zumba classes!

Let me know if you have a go and join the party!

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Waist training

Now unless you have been hiding under a rock you will have seen celebs doing waist training. This involves wearing a corset for up to 10 hours a day. Thinking back to the Victorian’s all of their dresses had a tucked in corset waist and they all had super slim midriffs so there must be something scientific in it! Now those of you that have very little free time to fit in a full on fitness regime will probably be quite excited by the concept (me included!) So I started with this just over a week ago. As I want it tighter I think I will have to get it fastened for me as I can only get it to a certain level of tightness myself but to be honest at the moment if it was any tighter I wouldn’t be able to breathe! When you take it off you definitely feel more toned and like it has had a positive effect on your shape and it is really helping my posture. So far I am giving this a big thumbs up! I will keep you posted! My waist trainer in pretty pink (my favourite colour) is from @Hiddenbeautysecrets it’s an absolute bargain and worth every penny!

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#Currysintrojuicing

 

Currys juicing event

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fruit

As I’m sure you know sometimes I like to let the pictures tell the story… I think these scrummy fruit pics express what my Sunday was about. I live tweeted and instagrammed most of my Sunday afternoon so you can catch a little more on social media in terms of the pictures. I had a fantastic day networking with other bloggers. Most were lifestyle, health or nutrition bloggers and it was really great to catch up with familiar faces and make lots of new friends.

My group started with a ‘Rocket’ yoga session that was really fluid and enjoyable. I liked the pace of rocket yoga and even though it was only a short session due to just being a taster session I really felt like I had worked out at the end. If I lived nearer I would definitely attend the classes that Hayley the leader runs.

The venue was a really cool clothes shop with a bar and events space upstairs near to the river in a trendy part of Leeds. Many years ago I lived in Leeds for a while and I still adore the city. It’s still a little odd going back to somewhere you once lived and seeing it change each time you visit. Most of the places I went to are still there but lots have changed name. After yoga we got to play with the juicers. So super easy to use and able to juice ANYTHING and I mean anything. We even added ginger and it could get through it! The great part of the afternoon was that whilst we were doing an activity there was time to chat and network and I got a vast list of new bloggers to check out. My favourite part of the day apart from yoga was a nutritionist taking us through the different types of juice you could make and seeds and super foods you could add for energy (chia seeds.)

Lunch was a delicious soup and gluten free bread and our day ended with crazy smoothie making where we picked the ingredients and a bar man demonstrated and served.

I left absolutely bouncing with energy and surely that highlights the benefits of juicing. Soon I will be showing you all of my favourite juice recipes! Please let me know if you have any suggestions you have made before?

You can see more of the event on the Curry’s website – http://techtalk.currys.co.uk/cooking-home-appliances/currysintrojuicing-20-the-leeds-detox/

Thank you Curry’s / Joe Blog’s network for a wonderful day!

Beautiful Blooms!

WILD FLOWERS

When the weather is bleak, your stuck inside and it’s dreary and cold there is nothing more beautiful than a bunch of flowers. I love wild flowers they’re so effortless. My regular readers know I love brands that have great values and stand for similar things to myself. The Wild Flower company has fabulous ethics. They believe in high quality and sustainable flowers. One of my favourite things about these flowers is there is no air miles used. They are grown in Britain and cut the day before they are sent. You can’t get fresher flowers than those! I’ve recently been eating organic and as clean as possible and I’m trying to incorporate more ethical purchasing into my world. Receiving these flowers has made me realise I need to address my convenience buying of flowers for friends from the local supermarkets. Lets all support wonderful businesses like this!

I remember reading one of the celebs husbands used to send her weekly flowers (how beautiful is that!) Now not everyone can afford to do that but the flower company allows you to send either a one off arrangement or a regular bunch of flowers to your favourite person with a variety of different subscriptions!

The arrangements are led by seasonal and market availability. By buying and preparing flowers upon orders, shelf time is reduced and the flowers last longer than if purchased from other companies. I loved how they arrived housed in really safe secure packaging and such a wonderful out of box experience.

Surprise flowers are something we all need in January!!!

Check out the Wild Flowers company and let me know what you think, I think you will probably love them as much as I do! (Pics of my bunch to follow tomorrow)

Sweat like a pig feel like a fox!

He he :-) I saw this on a poster yesterday on my way into Manchester and thought it reminded me of myself in the gym! I thought it may of been a sports brand but I looked at who the ad was from and it was actually by ‘Sport England’. Apparently 2 million more men than women workout. It says the biggest reason we don’t (as women) is fear of judgement. Now I am a size 8-10 so by no means big if you look at the average size women in the UK but when I got back into training at the gym and not just going to classes I felt nervous going in. So if you were bigger it would take some nerve to take that step back into a gym. I like to think if I met anyone at a class or in the gym who was looking nervous I’d strike up a conversation and make them feel at ease as someone did with me on Thursday at Kettercise (which by the way is hardcore and my legs are still stiff!) Anyway I thought I would share this on the blog because it caught my eye and is a super clever campaign!

Advertisement

Hair saviours from Phil Smith

Since I had my extensions out two weeks ago I’ve needed to give my poor hair some TLC. I’m currently using the Phil Smith range. It’s working wonders on my knotty locks. I’ve got a couple of the shampoos and a fab shampoo. My favourite combo for super soft hair is the Argan oil shampoo and SOS conditioner. It smells lush and washes out really well! I’ve got some f the styling products to try so more about those soon when my current products run out! What’s everyone using at the moment? Let me know if you’ve got a favourite I should try?

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Fakeaway! The dieters takeaway!

Well since I started this big health kick I have been doing really well. My body shape is definitely starting to firm up yipeeee! The pounds aren’t falling off but I think it will take time. I’ve lost a couple of pounds over the last 2 weeks so that’s a start and I think it will just take time. The best thing is I am really enjoying working out and finding it really good fun. My energy level is also much higher.

The other day I was reading on one of the dieting sites about the idea of a fakeaway so this was what I made for our dinner Sunday night. I recently bought a device off ebay that creates chips from your potatoes. I LOVE it! It shoots the potato through cut into strands. Well all apart from my sweet potatoes that I stupidly had in the fridge and are rock hard! A light coating of oil. We use healthy olive oils. Then chicken and a jar sauce. I also bought shop bought poppadoms that were so much healthier than the takeaway alternative.

So try your own fakeaway this weekend and let me know how you get on. I didn’t take any pics but will do next time!

Sweet tooth and on a diet? Try this!

Recipe

 

How much do these look like scones? Well they are in fact made from completely healthy ingredients with NO SUGAR! They were really tasty and Mr CD really liked them too.

All you need is 3 ripe bananas that you mash.

1/3 of a cup of apple sauce.

2 cups of oats.

1/4 cup of almond milk.

1/3 cup of optional raisins (I also used currents and cherries.)

1 tea spoon of vanilla essence.

1 tea spoon of cinnamon.

Depending on your oven and how hot it gets bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

These are such a healthy treat if you have a sweet tooth but are trying to avoid sugar.

 

 

Wonderful water for detoxing after Christmas

FruitRegular readers will have already heard about my health kick. Being a scorpion we are a little all or nothing and I have a packed agenda of classes and gym sessions to bust the fat ready for summer! The best thing about social media and our crazy internet based world is there is tons of inspiration for getting healthy! I think I must be maturing but it is no longer about being super skinny but about being really firm and fit. Since I started my new regime I have been making healthier choices and have lost interest in as many fizzy diet drinks that although not full of sugar are full of chemicals.

So this is my current tipple of choice and my skin is already looking clearer! Just place cucumber, mint, lime and lemon in mineral water and leave in the fridge overnight. It’s actually really tasty and reminds me of pimms in the summer (but without the pimms obviously!) I think it is the mint and cucumber which I always add to my pitchers for summer BBQ’s.

It got me thinking that I am going to flavour some water with some different fruits rather than adding something non natural. Keep an eye out as I am going to try strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and pineapple over the next few weeks! Any more fruity ideas then let me know! Have a fab Wednesday! Amanda xXx

A recent fabulous fashion discovery!

As you know I love online shopping (in fact scrap that I love all shopping!) I’m always browsing online looking for beautiful fashion. I end up with lots of wishlists and then the things that I really can’t stop thinking about I eventually buy. Whilst on one of these internet missions I came across the most beautiful website. There are some sites that you instantly feel like if you wore there clothes nobody else would have the same and this is one of those. Check it out for yourself here: http://www.avenue32.com/

There are a couple of other high end fashion sites that sell some of the same brands but this site stood out to me because there is a more exclusive, luxurious feel to the site. Avenue 32 also seem to support more up and coming and unique designers and this is the best thing about this type of fashion. You can discover them before the masses and use a site like this to really keep your finger on the pulse.

Whilst browsing I found two designers that I absolutely adore and they shot right up the wishlist! BLK DNM and J.W. Anderson. The first has amazing rock chick pieces that have a real edgy high end all saints and Kate Moss feel.

The jeans, t-shirt and jacket below are all by this brand. also the perfume which I imagine to smell divine. I would describe the pieces as rock chick staples with an edge!

The other amazing brand has work wear with a real twist! This brand J.W. Anderson had lots of great knot details and twisted fabric and were reminiscent of Vivienne Westwood for me. The white shirt and stunning bag were my favourites of their pieces and can be found below. I have put together a couple of outfits from the brand that I would wear below and I think they look super cool together. Have a look and let me know what your favourite pieces are!

Avenue 32

Divine Dinner at chime Hartford

So now I’ve finally found the little pink camera that has been hiding with the memory card I needed in it here are the pics of my dinner at Chime! It was perfect! The staff are warm and welcoming, observant yet not over the top like they can be in some restaurants. Chime is a restaurant bar combo and I’ve since been back again with my girlfriends for drinks and nibbles. It’s perfect for a glam night out or a midweek meal and only 5 minutes to Northwich and 15 minutes to Tarporley, Knutsford and lots of other cool Cheshire villages to carry on the fun! However it’s the kind of place where once you see the cocktail list you can easily while away the hours without needing to move in to somewhere else.

Next up on my must try list is breakfast at Chime and then milkshakes in summer as they’re my guilty pleasure!

So our food… Garlic flatbread to start, divine, melts in your mouth and not too heavy if you want a light bite or non stodgy starter. Mum had the soup of the day which was delicious and came with some fluffy fresh bread, fabulous! For our mains I had my usual naughty main a burger and mum was healthier and went for a chicken salad. The salad was only a starter size but was still huge and plenty of chicken. Don’t you usually find as a women when you order a starter as a main it’s usually a little stingray on the meat well we definitely didn’t find this problem at Chime… Alas no room for dessert but next time definitely as I am sure I will be back time and time again!

Thank you to the wonderful, warm staff and the excellent chefs, five out of five!

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My favourite new place chime Hartford

I recently told you about attending the opening of a stunning new venue in Hartford, Cheshire called Chime! It’s a beautiful restaurant and cocktail bar nestled in a quaint village called Hartford. Here are some pictures from the opening and later today I will share with you my review of the delicious food! I can’t look at food pics right now as I’m starving and it’s lunch time! Panacea used to be my little home from home but I think Chime will be where I am found from now on! Check out the really unusual beautiful rose bellini’s below with real petals and the warm inviting décor…the cupcakes on opening night were made of melt in the mouth gorgeousness! Mum had black forest and I had lemon!.. Enjoy…

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Zumba, Insanity and my healthy eating still going well!

Monday I returned to zumba! I forgot how much I love this type of exercise! It is just soooooo much fun! I am going to try and go a couple of times a week because it is definitely more fun (for me anyway) than the gym! Tonight (Thursday) I did Insanity O-M-G it is hardcore! It is only for half an hourbut so tough. One of the ladies gave me a tip at the start which was don’t go too hard in the first seven minutes. This was very good advice as it gets A LOT harder! Also for the first seven minutes you can’t drink and have to stick with it. This is how I imagine boot camp to be and it is a definitely a ‘go hard or go home’ workout. Now I have done it I feel great but I didn’t at the time.

Working out and being back on track with my training is definitely making me eat better! For the first time in ages I am nearly getting and sometimes hitting my five a day which is great. Here is a little pic of the meal I made Sunday. This is a Jamie Oliver recipe. Thyme, Paprika, Garlic, Peppers, Chicken thighs, Olive oil and if you follow the official recipe much more! I did my own version so I only used the above ingredients. Here is a picture of my version and below it the official recipe.

Jamie Oliver Recipe

Ingredients

 

  • 4 large ripe tomatoes

  • 2 red onions

  • 1 red pepper

  • 1 yellow pepper

  • 6 skinless, boneless free-range chicken thighs

  • 4 cloves of garlic

  • 1/2 bunch of fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

This is the official recipe as I altered it a little to suit my ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Quarter the tomatoes and place them in a large baking dish or roasting tray (roughly 25cm x 30cm). Peel the onions and cut into large wedges, then de seed and roughly chop the peppers. Add all these to the tray along with the chicken thighs.

Squash the unpeeled garlic cloves with the back of your knife and add to the tray, then pick over the thyme leaves and sprinkle over the paprika. Add the oil, balsamic and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Toss everything together really well to coat, then spread across the tray, making sure the chicken isn’t covered by the vegetables. Roast for around 1 hour, or until the chicken is golden and cooked through, turning and basting it a couple of times during cooking with the juices from the tray.

Serve the tray bake with a lovely green salad on the side. You could also buddy it up with a little rice, polenta or a loaf of crusty bread to mop up the juices.

 

Nom, nom, nom, sweet potato fries, the healthy regime is going strong!

Sweet Potato Fries

Fourth day at the gym today! So I am eating healthy so all of that training pays off! Tonight for dinner I did salmon with sweet chilli and sweet potato fries. I discovered these at Christmas when my friends mum made them. They are AMAZING! Tonight whilst out shopping I had a quick look online and one of the first posts on how to cook sweet potato fries was a blog (which is always good news as I love my fellow bloggers!)

The original recipe I used was on a site called ‘instructables’.

You just need sweet potatoes and good quality oil!
You peal them and coat them in great olive oil. Add sea salt and ground, chunky black pepper and roast them in the oven for around 20-25 minutes at around 200 degrees (depending on your oven.)
I thought I would share this healthy little journey with you as it’s really exciting for me to be back at the gym and training and it totally makes you want to eat better!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! I took an accidental break for the past 10 days and now have soooo much to write about! I am back at the gym and feeling great. I have been three times this week already and definitely feeling more energetic for it. I am definitely keeping it up in the new year. I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas? This week I will be getting Raffle-copter to pick the competition winner for December and I will be writing about my crazy busy Christmas! This is just a quick post to say hello but more from me soon! xXx

My dream Christmas!

Isn’t Christmas just fab?! However what makes it so flaming marvellous is that it is once a year. It’s a highlight. We have just watched a programme about two wacky people. One who loves gingerbread so much her whole house has been painted to look like a gingerbread home and she has a massive vat of ginger that she gets from a wholesaler to add to everything she cooks! The other a man who celebrates Christmas EVERY SINGLE DAY! Cooking a full roast dinner and even gifting himself! (I wouldn’t of minded the Mercedes he awarded himself!) It got me thinking about my dream Christmas!

I love the glamour of Christmas but it is also a time to relax and unwind after all of the pace of the weeks running up to it. I’d wake up on Christmas morning in a large sleigh shaped bed (my favourite bed shape and not because of Christmas!) And have bucks fizz in bed!

I’d sit in my snuggly pyjamas to open my beautifully wrapped gifts! I’d dress up in something sparkly for dinner and then after everybody had left I would put my silky pj’s back on and curl up in front of the fire to watch TV with a glass of champers and some chocs! Bliss!

Whilst dreaming about my perfect Christmas day I caught up on some of the Christmas ads I hadn’t yet watched.

I already love Boux Avennue for nightwear and they’ve done a fab Christmas ad that really showcases a glamorous Christmas more than any of the other Christmas adverts. This ad also captures elements of my dream Christmas. You can see the ad below:

#Dreamingofboux

NYE outfit edit

Christmas is my favourite time of year! The best part for me is the opportunity to really get glamorous and having lots of social events where I can dust off the sequins!

This year New Look has really gone to town with an amazing party wear range. Now I love a designer item (or two!) But it is always nice to mix in those designer buys with high street items. The best thing about the high street is because it’s so affordable I can get a handful of outfits for the same price as a designer buy and lets face it sometimes the clothing may well be made in the same place!

New Look is super fashion forward and there are some stunning pieces. There are about 100 items that I would really like but I have started with a first outfit that I have my eye on.

Playsuits have really come into their own in the past few seasons and in my mind they sit firmly alongside dresses as a key outfit choice for night outs. The playsuit I have styled my outfit around has gone into the sale so even more of a bargain and is £20.50! The fake fur coat is super fluffy and warm as I have also seen this in store. It is also a classic shape and a good quality fake fur. It is now £48.50 a real steal as it used to be £64.99.

The diamanté box bag is just the kind of glitzy glam that I love! £24.99 although a really neat shape it looks pretty spacious for my camera and lipstick. The silver block heal shoes are really beautiful and very similar to a designer pair that I saw elsewhere but at 10 times the price. This pair are reduced to £17.00.

So let me know what you think of my potential NY outfit!

http://www.newlook.com/shop/womens/party_2270105

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Geoffrey Plumptre (2)

Posh People Inside Tatler

I love this programme! If only it could be a long term series! What a wonderful way to engage new readers and become even more aspirational. Behind the scenes programmes have always been a firm favourite of mine. It’s wonderful to take a glimpse into someone else’s world and if you love doing that this then I have the programme for you.

I already loved Tatler even before this programme and now I love it just that little bit more. Each employee is given an old fashioned etiquette book, how wonderful! I think that should be a rule everywhere. We are lacking some good old fashioned etiquette in some areas of modern life.

I imagine when the cameras aren’t rolling the team know who is the boss but there is a politeness to the edge of the editor and she is not quite (although almost) as scary as Miss Wintour herself.

The office have a resident dog (Geoffrey Plumptre now less) and I remember reading about the previously deceased dog with sadness. Now if I went to work everyday with a dachshund in the office I wouldn’t get any work done (I adore dogs.) I would be there feeding it my lunch under the table! He trots around their office like an old friend and it’s incredibly cute.

There are some other real characters in this programme. Noticeably for me a young red haired chap who is ultra keen and pitched the idea of ‘breaking in’ to the Queens garden party, bless him. He somehow got drawn into believing that one of the concepts discussed in the office was a ‘real ‘ idea. He had to amend his plan and try and ‘break in’ to another party undercover. (They couldn’t possibly end up offending the queen) which we all knew as viewers. I’m not quite sure why he didn’t think of that he must of got swept along in his wave of excitement!

This is a creative, glitzy, glamorous affair and I think you’re going to love it!

Posh People: Inside Tatler

 

London in lights

A couple of weeks ago I went to London for the day. Now I adore everything about retail from a shopper perspective and as a marketer. I took some snaps as I was walking around of some of the amazing windows. The Debenham’s light effect in the entrance was really cool and the Selfridges window was my fave!

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New lash lengthener

Whilst having a little break from my false lashes I have been trying out a new product. This amazing lash lengthener has been a god send for my lashes. My friend who applies the false lashes even noticed the difference in my lash quality!

It is super easy to use you apply the gel and then the fibres and then ideally blast your hair dryer upwards which curls the lashes points the fibres upwards in the correct direction and gets rid of any excess fibres.

It made my lashes look thicker and longer and I was super impressed with the results.

The 3D Moodstruck Fibre Lash Mascara is £23 you can find out more here – www.redefineyourbeauty.com

Direct Link to the Mascara:  https://www.youniqueproducts.com/redefineyourbeauty/products/view/US-1017-00#.VDiVLvldXnM it is also available to purchase in the United State, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

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My #Nextmas Christmas wish list

I love next.. the furniture is beautiful, I can always get stunning tailoring, beautiful Christmas outfits and presents for all of the family. So here is my Next Christmas wish list…

First up this beautiful tuxedo style waistcoat dress. These have been massive this season and I adore this one as I could dress it up for a nightout with some Christmas glitzy accessories and shoes or dressed down for a more casual occasion.  Available online and in store for £45.00 http://www.next.co.uk/g4022s2#949599g40

NEXT DRESS

Christmas for me is all about glitz and glamour and this skirt encapsulates those things. Beautifully sparkly and elegant this is a stunning number. Available here for £42.00 http://www.next.co.uk/g6718s6#697617g67

next gold skirt

I love cashmere and I recently bought a leather look skirt and trousers from Next and I think this jumper would look amazing with them. It just looks so super soft and perfect for this cold weather. £95.00 http://www.next.co.uk/g403052s2

Cashmere

This little lovely is just adorable! I spotted it a couple of weeks ago when I was already at the till so it stayed where it was. I also didn’t really need it but isn’t it just the sweetest bag you ever saw?! I want it in black and pale pink. It’s £25.00 http://www.next.co.uk/g402212s11

pink bag

This perfect camel coat is an absolute steel at £65.00! http://www.next.co.uk/x5490s5 i’ve wanted a camel coloured coat forever and I love the shape of this one.

camel coat

My mum has these shoes and every time I see them I go to tell her how much I love them and realise I already have. They are simply stunning! They’re £30 and look far more expensive http://www.next.co.uk/x542306s4#699131×54.

699-131-X54s

Last minute votes needed!!

Hi Everyone,

If you can spare 1 minute tonight please vote for my blog in the lifestyle category and the other categories if you have time (as it is nominated for about 4)

The link to the category I have focused on is here- http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/candidates/thisluxlife-2/

Tonight is the final night and it would mean the world to me to get some last minute votes!

Thanks lots,

Amanda

 

 

 

Shoes I choose

mcqueenHow amazingly amazing are these shoes??? McQueen does it again! If I had unlimited money I would buy 90% of the McQueen collection each season. I trawl through Net a Porter and drool… currently I am lusting after a stunning wool cape with a front bow that would look like pure perfection with these bad boys. Aren’t they just the prettiest Cinderella shoe but with a rock star edge…. a little McQueen snook onto my Christmas list so let’s cross fingers and toes…

 

A wonderful new restaurant and bar in Hartford

On Friday night I attended the launch of a fantastic new venue in the village of Hartford. It can’t have opened at a better time. In the short term it’s the run up to Christmas and in the long term lots of houses are being built in the area. I’ve been a little lost for a local since Panacea burnt down! It wasn’t even so local but it was a great meeting place for me and my friends with terrific food and great drinks. I think Chime will easily fill those shoes. The canapés were divine and we had my favourite mini cupcakes which were to pretty to eat! I treated mum and I to a rose Bellini – very unusual but terribly pretty. I loved it because I’ve had every other type of Bellini but never rose how wonderful and unforgettable. There was a live singer which was wonderful and I had a brief chat with one of the owners who was absolutely lovely. These are my first pictures and just the ones from my iphone but there will be lots of beautiful pictures soon and these give you an early flavour of the stunning interior.I wish Chime every success and I can’t wait to tell you all about my first meal there soon!

http://www.chimehartford.co.uk/

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Philomena

Philomena_poster

Thank goodness I have nearly finished Christmas shopping! What a very stressful Sunday! Whilst I was out and about today I saw the movie Philomena for sale and I remembered I never wrote about it on the blog. This was one of my plane watches and it was one of those movies that I kept thinking about.

It stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and they both give note perfect performances. The film tells the story of a world-weary political journalist whom picks up the story of a woman’s search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.

The film was based on a book and the book was about a true story. The mail has written an article about the background to this sad tale..

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2495391/How-I-helped-Philomena-track-son-sold-cruel-nuns-Its-film-toddler-torn-mother-reducing-grown-men-tears–REAL-story-haunt-forever.html

Favourite Christmas Drinks

Costa

Whilst shopping today it got me thinking which Christmas drink I love best.

From Costa for me it has to be either the ‘black forest hot chocolate’ or the ‘white chocolate hot chocolate’ both are divine!

This weeks discovery has been the love bar latte from Pret a Manger, a chocolate, caramel biscuit-y coffee with a subtle nutty aroma to finish, I promise you it is amazing.

Starbucks it is again white hot choc or honey and almond hot choc and last up Caffè Nero praline late or white chocolate mocha..

So many choices and so few weekends until Christmas!

Which is your favourite? xXx

 

Apple watch early 2015

I have to say I am rather excited to hear more about the long awaited Apple watch! Personally I can’t really imagine myself using it for talking but it would actually be quite handy in the car rather than the hands free kit…

Texting I imagine would be difficult but we shall see. How quickly is technology moving on! When I was a teenager if you liked somebody there was a lot of letter writing and you had to ask to privately use the house phone and nervously call them! How times have changed!

APPLE WATCH

The circle of life my wonderful family

I’ve been very lucky in my life to have had Nana Doreen my adorably sweet Nana that was my granddad’s mum. Granddad Bill who really believed in me and came to see all of my amateur dramatics plays. Great Nana Sarah who would sneak us sweets when mum said we weren’t allowed. Great Nana Jessie who was one of my best friends when I was a teenager. Grandad Allan who taught me so many lessons I couldn’t even start to write about them and my best friend until the age of 31 when sadly it was time for him to go and I still have my very wonderful little Nana ‘Hovis’ a name I gave her a child when I couldn’t say her name. I’m very blessed to have had all of this wonderful family in my life but also very unfortunate to have loved and lost them. Yesterday mum and I were talking about the relatives we could never of met due to the sad circle of life. I didn’t dwell on it at the time as it is a sad thought but what a shame we don’t get to have our wonderful great grandparents and grandparents in our lives for the duration. Tonight I came across an article utterly fitting to this whole train of thought…

danielleandjanis.com has a section about a lady who took pictures of her mother as a child and herself and fused them together. The results are amazing! What a fabulous idea.. I would love to do that with the three generations and see the results!

Anyway this is a little deep for a Saturday night so I am off to pour myself a vino blanc and enjoy some trash TV with I’m a celeb, thanks as ever for reading lots of love xXx

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Hartford welcomes Chime

I am very excited to tell you more about this over the weekend and to share some images from the evening but tonight I am off to the VIP opening of CHIME in Hartford. The owners and managers have done a wonderful job in the run up to the opening and I think people will flock from all over Cheshire to visit this unique concept!

More from me soon for now the clock has ‘chimed’ and it is time to go and put on my best sparkly outfit! (See what I did there!) Happy Friday! xxx

http://www.chimehartford.co.uk/

Stunning pieces from Nude jewellery

How perfect is my new necklace from Nude Jewellery?! I love it so much. Simple silver, modern jewellery is my favourite and this ticks all of my boxes of the most perfect necklace. The gold ball is really unusual and I haven’t seen anything like it before. It’s so delicate but really stands out when I wear it. There are so many pieces on the Nude site that I want.. I think I will do wish list post next week and share some of my other favourite pieces. As regular readers know I love my independent brands and small boutiques and this site has lots of designers featured and these are my favourite types of sites and stores! Have you bought anything from a wonderful full independent recently? Let me know! Check out Nude jewellery here

Necklace

The Comedy Store Manchester, a great night out

Imagine the moment you walk on to stage only you’re not meant to be there this was a little like the start of our Saturday evening a couple of weeks ago. We were going to the Comedy Store in Manchester. Now I think our city has a vast array of wonderful things to do and comedy is one of them. Previously though I have favoured huge venues and mainstream names. At this moment this venue felt huge! The traffic was horrific as there had been a football match and the main road into Manchester was closed causing gridlock. So we were late…

If there is one event I would not like to be late too it is comedy. Everyone knows you are prime ‘meat’ for heckling and jokes. As the doorman assured us this particular comedian wouldn’t we still hung our heads in shame as we shuffled into the auditorium but there was no way I was missing ticking the ‘Comedy Store’ off my bucket list?

As he opened the doors the light hit me and I could feel thousands of eyes. This venue is far bigger than I expected. I needn’t have worried as thankfully even as I shuffled through the crowd looking desperately for two seats with a grimaced expression on my face nobody said anything – as we sat down at the back we both exhaled a sigh of relief. We had survived.

The compere was fantastic and a great comedian in his own right and he presented the rest of the acts for the evening which included a selection of well-established but not necessarily famous faces. Really though in comedy terms it made me realise the comedian doesn’t need to have hit the heady heights of a DVD and the MEN to be hilarious in their own right. By the interval my cheeks ached from laughing.

The venue is licenced so you can take your glass of wine into the auditorium so there wasn’t the same stressed scramble for bar drinks that you get at the theatre. The crowd were all ages but warm and friendly (typically Mancunian) I sound ‘north-ist’ (yes I know that’s not technically a word) but you know what I mean…

Two hours went so quickly and I could have easily stayed double that time as it was so much fun. I spied people with pizza in the interval what a super idea!

I cannot wait to go back and am already planning my return (on a day when there are no road closures!)

Millennium Hotels have invited blogger’s in the North West to tell them about their favourite things to do in the city and this post was written for the guide! http://whatson.millenniumhotels.co.uk/manchester/bloggers-guide-to-manchester/

photo (53) Now this one is a little blurry as it was a hurried snap whilst the show was on!

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Insta Natural is this the coolest name for a skin care brand or what!

I loved the name immediately (as I am a little Instagram obsessed) and so I really wanted to try some of their skin care products. I started with the hyaluronic acid system. The fragrance is really light and clean; I think it is the witch hazel and aloe which I love the fragrance of.

Whenever you think of acid it does tend to make most of us and me included a little nervous but having read about lots of skincare it is one of the only ingredients to get real results. The best thing about this little wonder was that I didn’t have to wait weeks and weeks to see a difference. In fact it isn’t really a little wonder as it is a 60 ml bottle and fantastic value for a product so jam packed with skin care ingredients.

My skin was instantly smoother literally after the first use and I’ve been so impressed with it. Let me know if you try this and what you think! Also what is everyone else’s favourite skincare products?

Hyaluronic Acid face serum

My hair care journey

Since I had my hair extensions out I am trying to strengthen my hair. I think the problem with fine hair is that you really feel it when you have the extensions removed because you go obviously from tons of hair to feeling like your own hair is super thin.

I started taking these vitamins to help my hair grow and I have been getting so many comments about how long it is now. I was also really pleased to find that a lot of the ingredients are food supplement elements as well. I am very aware that lots of vitamins are made out of synthetics and so aren’t great to be putting into your body because of the way they are produced. These have nothing synthetic, no preservatives and no artificial colourings, so they are just really good for you all round.

They feature Biotin, Zinc, Selenium, Collagen (which I have been taking in other formats as well as it adds elasticity to the skin as you get older.) Also Spirulina and Bamboo silica. I’ve seen my hair get thicker and also longer very quickly!

Check them out for yourself here and let me know what you think if you give them a try.

photo (51)

Drop it like a squat

Originally posted on Thisluxlife:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Recently I stumbled across THE BEST gym bags EVER! With them I also found an array of fantastic accessories. I chose the ‘build your own fit kit’. The wonderful kit contains a gym bag, hair ties and gym towel. You select your favourite hair ties and the colour of gym towel along with a bag with your chosen slogan. They are all fab so you will probably struggle to chose! I like ‘House of Cardio’ and ‘Dance Like Everybody Is Watching’. For me though it had to be ‘Drop It Like A Squat’ as I am doing so many squats at the moment to strengthen my legs.

Ibiza has a special place in my heart having worked there when I was a student and having met Mr CD there as well and so I had to have Ibizan sunset hair ties. They were so vibrant I couldn’t resist using…

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The need to relax in everyday life with beautiful bathing

candle_bath

bath

I’m really funny about baths I just can’t relax if they are a bath someone else has used. I can just about manage it in a luxury hotel but I just don’t find them relaxing otherwise! There is nothing nicer though than a bath with candles and wine! I can’t wait to move and to start to incorporate them again with scrummy Jo Malone candles and essential oils, bliss!

It’s so important to have time to unwind when life is so hectic. At the moment I do this with a soothing shower and drop essential oils in the water as it runs. Doing this and creating a spa like experience at home can helps me sleep better, de-stress and relax.

I create my little bathroom heaven with scented candles and dimmed lights perfect after the glare of office lights in the day time. My favourite candles are Jo Malone and I love having my wedding scent burning or the macaroon flavoured candle which smells like cookies and coconut – perfection!

Sometimes to create a real ambience I will put music on, my favourite is some Ibiza chill out tunes so I can unwind dreaming of lying on the beach with the sound of the ocean. Chicane brings back a lot of Ibiza blissful memories for me so they are always a favourite.

I use tons of different products in the shower and bath and there are numerous amazing brands, too many to mention but you can’t go far wrong with Lush, Origins, Espa and Liz Earle.

For any help with creating a beautiful new bathroom I have discovered a wonderful company that have everything you need to kit our your bathroom and create a haven. Top of my wish list is an oval shaped bath which I hope to have at some point! Just perfect! Let me know what you think of their range! http://www.bellabathrooms.co.uk/bathroom-suites/suite-collections/rak-infinity.html

Loving Ralph Lauren and their new style tips!

Ralph Lauren is one of my favourite brands. The stores are beautiful, the staff knowledgeable and friendly and the whole experience is always a pleasure. I thought I would share with you my favourite pieces to be able to style yourself in line with the new Ralph Lauren style tips that you can read more here

Tip number one to take a silk blouse and tuck it into a structured pencil skirt..

I adore this RL silk shirt it is so delicate and pretty and ideal to create this look. I also have a Ralph Lauren silk scarf that I have written about before that would work really well with this look.

silk blouse

Tip two when in a rush pair a black t-shirt with skinny jeans… I think this t-shirt is an absolutely perfect staple. Victoria Beckham would approve of this and in my opinion she does dressed down style effortlessly!

tshirt

On to tip three – pair a bomber jacket or biker jacket over your evening gown. Now this little jacket would be perfect dressed up with your evening gown but also during the day to add an edgy vibe to your day time look. I love this item soooo much!

Leather

Tip four, go bold or understated! I use both approaches regularly. Everyday I tend to wear a very simple silver heart necklace but for a night out I like a high octane large necklace.

Tip five, take the leap into spring and update your wardrobe subtly with colour. Light grey and pastel hues will bring your wardrobe up to date. I’ve always loved the pony range and I love this pale grey t-shirt.

greys

Tip 8, use your partners shirt as a beach cover up what a totally great idea! We all know how fab an oversized shirt looks so I think this tip is brilliant and I will definitely be trying this out on the beach this year! Check out the range here Which pieces by Ralph Lauren do you love? I love to talk fashion and would love to know your thoughts! xox

Midnight in Paris a very special Thursday evening in Chester at Chez Jules

thisluxlife:

Wonderful memories from last week :-)

Originally posted on Thisluxlife:

Chez Jules is one of those remarkable restaurants you never forget. It was wonderful last time we visited and I had not thought it could get any better but with the launch of the cinema night it has! I can’t think of a more super idea than this. Chester doesn’t have a cinema which is a real shame but now it doesn’t need one. Chez Jules will show a different film each week and I can’t wait to go back for another one.

The restaurant is so beautiful as you will see from the pictures. I had never been upstairs before and it was decorated with teems of black and white pictures and matching furniture. I wonder who did the décor as I found it incredibly sophisticated and I felt as though I was back in Paris, J’adore.

We started with some nibbles, soft white bread and olives and a…

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