Tuesday, 25 March 2014

5:2 diet - an update

I haven't posted an update on my dieting / weight loss in a while, but I'm happy to say that the 5:2 diet is working wonders for me. The simple fact is that I'd much prefer to basically not eat a couple of days a week, and then not be so restricted the rest of the time, rather than just give up carbs or something else I really enjoy - but basically, probably carbs. 

After the initial loss, which has been good, I do now have to admit that I'm going to have to reign it in on the other 5 days if I want to achieve the target weight, but it's still preferable to Atkins / Dukan. For me, those diets are sustainable for a short amount of time - my willpower is pretty good - but I'm never going to permanently give up bread. I just love it too much. So, 5:2 is much better for me. The health benefits are a definite bonus.

As of today, I'm 9 stone 2 pounds. My target weight is 8.5. I've lost more than a stone on the 5:2 since, basically, Christmas. Not bad. But I've been at 9st2lbs for about three weeks now. I have to face facts: I'm not going to lose any more weight eating McDonalds (don't judge - we all do it) and croissants on my non-fast days. Oh well. But if I can kick the extra pounds, and I'm careful 80% of the time, then I'll be well on my way. Hurrah. Ideally, I have an event in May that I'd like to be slimmer for - so that's my incentive. Now it's just a case of putting it into practice.

My goal is to be much more disciplined in the week, so we can still have a takeaway on Friday night. On fast days, no more than 500 calories - so that's easy. On the other days, I will stick to salad for lunch (ideally, tuna, lettuce and avocado) and then fish/ chicken and vegetables for dinner. Even if I can stick to that on the other week days, that hopefully will help shift some of the extra pounds. 

If you know of any tip top recipes that are going to help, let me know. I'm always open to new food ideas!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Review: HealGel Eye

Oh. My. God. I think my search for an eye cream that actually helps my dry under-eye skin my be over. 

I won't bore you with the details; in short, the skin under my eyes is the driest ever and to date, nothing has helped. I've tried super expensive, high end creams, and I've tried good old fashioned aloe vera - cheap as chips from Holland and Barrett. Nothing has worked. 

Until now. I read about HealGel in Tatler and discovered, upon further investigation, they also did an eye gel. Given that the gel was designed by a team of British plastic and cosmetic surgeons, with a dermatological biochemist (and, more randomly an actor) thrown in for good measure, you'd expect there to be a fair bit of science backing up the product.

You would be correct. I won't go into all the detail now - if you're interested, read it here - but it is definitely fixing my skin. The gel is cooling, light weight and easily absorbed. A little also goes a long way - one pump does both eyes quite comfortably. I'm using morning and night - but if you only need one hydration hit a day, I'd opt for this in the evening - just to give it maximum time to work without any interference. That said, it's a good primer for my Prep + Prime Vibrancy Eye so you can't really go wrong either way.  

I've been using mine religiously for about three weeks now, and so far the results are great. I'll do a longer term review later this year, but in the meantime, I'm a fan. Get yours here for £32 - although at the time of writing there is a £5 voucher off code if you spend £50 or more and quote MUM at the checkout. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

A make-up lesson at Mac - was it worth it?

I love make-up. I admit it. I don't buy anything like as much as I used to, but I still love to look. And, let's be honest, I still do buy some. Recently, I have discovered a love of 'drug store' (awful term, but we don't really have an equivalent) brands, but you cannot beat a higher-end foundation and concealer - well, that's my opinion, anyway.

Today, I had a make-up session with Jo at the MAC Pro store in Covent Garden. She was brilliant. It was a 90 minute session where she actually taught me how to apply the make-up as well as showing me a wide variety of different options. Because I haven't won the lottery, I couldn't get it all, but I did make a few strategic purchases:

(Okay, it was more than a few.) Going from left to right: Pro Longwear Concealer, Pro Longwear SPF 10 Foundation, Prep + Prime Vibrancy Eye, Eye Shadow in Charcoal Brown and the infamous 217 Blending Brush.  

The foundation is fantastic. It stays put without rubbing off on your clothes or your phone (or other people, if you're getting close) - in fact, it's pretty damn hard to get off at the end of the day. It definitely delivers on the 15 hour promise made by MAC. You're going to need a decent cleanser to get this stuff off without scrubbing your face away. I would say it has a medium coverage, but it's buildable if you're that way inclined - I'm not, which is why it works for me. It's not the cheapest at £25, but it lasts all day, doesn't need touch ups and a little goes a long way. Plus it's got an SPF. What's not to love? Good investment. 

My undereye area is really bad for dark circles and generally needs some serious help in order to make me look awake. (Probably - and this is just a guess - the four children under 5 don't help in that department either.) The Prep + Prime Vibrancy Eye is £22 and claims to be 'a quick fix to reduce puffiness and under-eye shadows whilst simultaneously creating a bright natural radiance to the entire eye area'. What I really like is that you can mix it with your concealer to really reduce cake-ing - it works very well for me. I've been struggling for some time on this, and so far, so good. Definitely worth a try if you have a very dry undereye area. 

The Pro Longwear Concealer is lightweight and I would say is medium to full coverage. The claim, similar to the foundation, is that it lasts up to 15 hours - and it certainly does on me. You're going to need a decent eye make-up remover to get rid of this stuff. It's £15.50 - so more expensive than drug store concealers - but the pump dispenser will mean it stays good for longer - and less waste. 

Being honest, I'm not sure it's worth the extra money on high end eye shadows - I reckon you can get some pretty good dupes from the likes of Maybelline and Bourjois (to name but two). However, this is the eyeshadow that just keeps giving. Eyeshadow? Check. Eyebrow filler? Check. Contouring? Check. 3 products in 1? Even I can do the maths on that. £12.50 split three ways is definitely worth it. If you're flush, though, MAC does have some lovely colours...

Obviously, I couldn't leave without this brush - the 217 is infamous and the fame is well deserved. The quality is obvious and I can confirm that it washes and dries well. I'm a big fan of the Real Techniques brushes, but I'd suggest that no make-up brush collection is complete without this. It's £18. 

If you're near a MAC Pro store and have the time (and the cash) I'd highly recommend a session - no matter what you've seen on YouTube, sometimes you can't substitute some good, old-fashioned one-to-one tuition.