Getting Fit: My Way

21 April 2014

My name is Sarah and I'm allergic to the gym. My go-to motto when comes to fitness - it's boring, expensive and.. hard work. Last spring I noted that I was more suited to brisk power-walks, however as soon as summer faded and when I returned from my holiday, the thought of stepping out in the miserable weather wasn't so appealing. Add in the copious amounts of salted caramel desserts from my recent American adventures (which by the way, were worth every bite) I felt heavier.

I wanted to be fitter, less out of breath after running platforms at Clapham and overall stronger. That's when I finally bit the bullet and enrolled my self into my local gym's exercise classes. Scared witless at the fact the last time I had encountered group exercise was probably P.E at school, off I popped to my first Body Attack class, alone.

A few months on, here are my thoughts:

  • Don't sweat the small stuff. Sure it's nervous when you're a newbie and everyone else is a pro. But you gotta start somewhere. No one really cares that you're completely *dying*, they're too busy trying to keep up too.
  • Embrace the sweat. By the end of a class I look like I've gone 5 rounds with Mike Tyson, a red face and good old sweat patches. That's normal. The girl with a face full of slap (including liquid eyeliner) whose brow doesn't have a single bead of sweat, looks really weird. Especially when her gym bag is a Celine. 
  • Talk to your instructors. Jumping straight into the deep-end I started my first class with Body Attack. Major cardio for a full hour - something I really wasn't ready for. In-fact I may have had a silent weep in the toilet twenty minutes in. If I had taken advice from my instructors I would have booked in for classes that suit my fitness level better - like Body Combat (kicking/punching/pretending to be a pirate) or Body Pump (toning through weights) before building up to Body Attack.
  • Make friends! Going it alone I was nervous, but after a few sessions my new BFF is Anne. Sure she's a senior citizen and her fitness levels are better than mine, but I've met so many people in my class now we have a weekly natter and wave. Or better still, rope in a friend. I subjected my poor friend into coming to Body Pump classes and we actually enjoy it, shock horror.
  • Enjoy. Can you really enjoy the gym? If I can, you can. I feel a sense of achievement after each class, my body feels fitter and stronger as classes go by - and it certainly makes me more inclined to be healthy. Plus, it's a great excuse to buy Nike clothing.
  • Don't even begin to tell me you don't have time - I manage to shuffle in (on a good week) four. Yes, that might mean forgoing a lie-in on the weekend or heading home from work via the gym - but you'll feel better for it.
  • Forget the fancy gym in town, hunt out your local leisure centre. My classes only membership is £36 a month. If I can easily drop than dollar on eating out or on a new blouse from Zara, I can easily put cash aside for feeling fitter - and looking good for it.

Have you stepped into a gym class? Not sure if I could enjoy just slogging it in a gym, I'll be the first to admit I need someone to shout at me (whip my arse into gear). Tell me if you've thought about giving it a go or what classes you do?

Back to Basics: Spring

20 April 2014

Over the last year or so, I took on the challenge of pairing back my wardrobe. Ruthlessly throwing out unloved and unworn clothes, I began to realise how unmistakably fickle I was when it came to impulse shopping. I realised then that there was only a fraction of clothes hanging in my wardrobe that fitted me perfectly, that I felt confident wearing and that actually matched. 

Forgoing the on-trend-tat I would add to my basket on a weekly basis, I dared myself to actually wear the clothes I own and love - without having a binge here and there. What's the point of buying clothes - if you wear them once and discard them come next payday? 

Jumper - Gap ∙ Jeans - Gap  Moccasins - New Look  Necklace - Accessorize 

Slowly but surely, over the last few months I have been adding classic pieces back into my wardrobe.
After an accidental stumble into Gap, I was amazed (and soon hooked). Excellent quality but equally stylish, I've raided their knitwear department, found the perfect white t-shirt and thanked the lord for their jean department. Take the mint knit above, a complete steal (on offer for £16) I took it home in grey too. A number of welcome additions to my wardrobe, that won't hit the dust come next month.

Tell me: Are you an impulse shopper? Have you stepped foot in Gap since the 90's? How amazing is this bluebell forest in my village?

Skincare Refresh

16 April 2014

Whether you are a one gal cleanser or you have an army of oils at the ready, skincare is never just simple. A stickler for my staples, I'm not a girl who constantly switches in new product. Preferring to take it one step at a time, over the past six months I have found some worthy additions I wanted to share...

Hot Cloth Cleanser - Ren* Pore Refiner - Bioderma  Effaclar Duo - La Roche Posay  Eye-cream - Kiehls ∙ Oil - Josie Moran

Ren Hot Cloth Cleanser - Placing my trusty Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser to one side, the Ren HCC alternative did not disappoint. Thick and creamy, I found this cleanser to be a pampering treat night after night. Not only does it easily remove every trace of my make-up, but I found the experience more enjoyable than my Liz Earle (gasp!). Winning major brownie points for coming with a flannel rather than a muslin cloth (of which retains hardly any heat unlike the former), I find the product distributes more evenly across my face like a luxury cream. Bliss.

Bioderma Pore Refiner - After spotting the legendary Lisa Eldridge using the Pore Refiner in one of her videos, I knew it had to be mine. A very light lotion, the primer glides effortlessly on to the skin. Smoothing over pores instantly, it doesn't fill them (like the nasty Benefit Porefessional) but simply blurs the appearance. Long lasting, it also keeps skin matte throughout the day. The perfect base for make-up application, it neither rolls under foundation but creates a seamless base. Try it, now.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo - I'm late to the party, I know. But by god, I'm glad I RSVP'd. The Effaclar Duo is the spot treatment that works. Full stop. Slathering a thin layer of problem areas, the little miracle worker gets to work straight away. Not only does it make my pores on my t-zone appear smaller, it works wonders during the pesky PMS blighters that appear on my chin. I use this as a lotion at night, being so light I don't find it too clinical or heavy. In-fact, I'm quite addicted.

Kiehls Creamy Advacado Eye Cream - Soft and creamy to the touch, this thick eye-cream has been the saving grace of my dark circled peepers. It aims to do nothing more than moisturise, and by heavens it does. Sinking in rather impressively, I reserve this for night-time for a hydrating boost. I can never tell if eye-creams are doing the whole anti-ageing shebang - but with such good moisturing properties, you've gotta be onto a winner right?

Josie Moran Oil  - Come Wednesday and Sundays, I switch up my PM routine to include a nourishing oil. How fancy eh? I picked up a sample of the Josie Moran oil while stateside last year and now I'm a massive convert. Less fragrant than other oils I've tried (my eyes water at Trilogy's Rosehip Oil) I evenly spread a few drops on to bare skin, avoiding the eye area then moisturise with my night-cream over the top. Instantly sinking in, my skin simply drinks up this hydrating wonder oil. Waking up in the morning, I can noticeably see a difference with softer, smoother skin. Thankfully re-stocking my supply won't be such a chore, as Net-A-Porter now stock Josie Moran - phew!

I'm currently waiting for a new Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial to hit stores. I was lucky enough to sample a sachet or two, and I was so amazed I used both in one week.. Stay tuned for more details, I plan on purchasing as soon as that baby hits stores.

What skincare saviors have you discovered recently?