Thursday, 29 January 2015

Wish List: Following the Blogger Hype

I’m back into regularly reading many blogs again, and there are always running themes: everyone seems to be one step (or seven!) ahead of me when it comes to the latest craze or even products which have been around for ages and still have amazing reputations. And although I've managed to get my hands on a few, there are still so many that I’m yet (and desperate) to try! Most of the blogs I read are beauty blogs, so most of these products are beauty-related.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Everyone under the sun seems to rave about this eye primer. I have oily eyelids so if I do wear eyeshadow it usually slides off within a few hours or at least cakes up in my crease. I’ve tried the Rimmel eyeshadow primer and it doesn’t do much for me, but I’ve read that the Urban Decay primer is incredible. I have to try it.

MAC Products
Hello everyone, my name’s Wendy and I have never tried a MAC product. *shock horror* MAC is one of those brands which is constantly raved about and makes up a lot of people’s ‘holy grail’ staples, but I have never invested. I think what has stopped me is the price, plus I don’t seem to know where to get it (lack of research on my part). Particular products I want are the 237 eyeshadow brush, Mineralize Skinfinish highlighter, lipsticks (all of them!) and Studio Fix foundation fluid.

Yankee Candles
Am I the last person on earth to buy a Yankee candle?! Probably. I love candles, but when I see the price of the Yankee candles, I just can’t justify spending that kind of money on them. I also want to try candles from The White Company and Jo Malone, but I have the same issue. Maybe once I’ve made the first investment I’ll think that it’s worth it!

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish
Another holy grail product for sooo many people, I have read post after post about how this works wonders on their skin. I’ve still not come across a cleanser which works particularly well with my oily/combination skin, so just have to see if it lives up to expectations.

NARS Products
Another range of products which are pricier but apparently worth it, I want to see what the hype is about. It seems that the foundations and blushers are the most talked about. Why all the fuss? I need to find out!

Sleek Cheek Palettes
Now these are more within my price-range, so it’s just laziness and other priorities which have stopped me from getting any of these so far. The blush trios and the contour kit take my fancy the most.

Do you disagree with the hype over any of these products? Do you have any other recommendations?

Wendy x

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

My Everyday Breakfast Smoothie

Now that I’m back into eating as well as I can (through the week anyway!), once again I’m drinking my awesome breakfast smoothie regularly, so I thought I’d share my recipe with you. I used to have this every morning before drama school last year: it’s really fast to make, I used to chuck it into a travel cup and drink on the way to school (great for mornings when you’ve pressed snooze one too many times!), it’s super healthy aaand is great for slow-releasing energy, meaning it would keep me going all the way to lunchtime!

You will need:
A jug
A hand-held liquidiser or fancy smoothie-making machine thing (which I’m yet to invest in!)
1 medium ripe banana
A small handful of frozen berries – I usually use blueberries, as their seeds are super tiny so I don’t have to chew my smoothie!
1 heaped tsp peanut butter – I use smooth peanut butter, resulting in a smoother smoothie(!) and I also use peanut butter which is made from 100% peanuts, making it sooo much better for you than the ones with yucky additives such as nasty palm oil
2 tbsp. oats – I actually use Ready Brek (or a supermarket own brand equivalent) as these oats are finer and often have extra things like calcium and folic acid added
1 tbsp. natural low-fat yogurt
½ cup milk

The method:
Basically chuck all the ingredients in the jug and liquidize!

Of course, if you don’t consume dairy, then you can use the fantastic alternatives out there, which I’m sure will make an equally wonderful smoothie, and provide other nutritional value as well.

Do you like smoothies? Have any recipes you can recommend? Let me know in the comments :) Also, let me know if you try this one and what you think of it!

Wendy x

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Get Fit Log #1

I’ve decided that (in order to keep me even more motivated) I am going to try to post a log every Sunday about how I’ve got on during the previous week with my plan to get in shape. It’s more for me than for anyone else, but as I’m serious about finally getting fit, every little thing that can help motivate me can only be beneficial!

As I said in my Goals for 2015 post, I want to start by either walking a lot or running a little (or I suppose anything that gets my heart rate up) as often as I can, and this week went quite well. My phone has an app which acts like a pedometer (so counts your steps) and estimates the distance you’ve walked, which is really handy, but obviously it only works for when you’ve got your phone on you, so some days it seems like I’ve hardly moved!

Activity: Walked 5 miles
Stretched: Yes

Activity: 5-minute run (I said I was starting easy! It still almost killed me: I nearly threw up by the end)
Stretched: Yes

Activity: Walked 2.5 miles
Stretched: Yes

Activity: Walked 5.2 miles
Stretched: Yes

Activity: Workout DVD (though only did 15 minutes before giving up!)
Stretched: Yes

Activity: Walked 5 miles
Stretched: No

I doubt it’s very interesting for anyone else to read, but seeing it altogether makes me feel quite proud that I managed to do something every day! You’re apparently meant to have rest days anyway. The more research I do, the more I’ll understand I suppose.

I also bought a pretty new yoga mat yesterday (I’d been borrowing my flatmate’s). It’s from Argos and was only £9.99:

It’s not overly thick or comfortable or anything, but it’s much better than the hard wood flooring in my flat! And the underside has great grip so it doesn’t slide about (especially when I’m in a position like downward dog or something, when my flatmate’s mat would just stretch and slide beneath me!):

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be able to keep this up. Let me know if you’re doing something similar and we can motivate each other!

Wendy x

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

How I’m Going to Get into Shape

As mentioned in my previous post, I’m determined to get into shape this year. I am by no means overweight, but haven’t felt comfortable with how I've generally been feeling as well as my figure. I am almost 5’9” and 10st 9lb (dress size 10 – 12), giving me a BMI of 22. Although 22 is comfortably in the ‘normal’ section of the index, I know that I could have that same BMI number and have a lot less body fat and a lot more muscle. So I finally want to really make a change.

One of my main problems is that I have an incredibly sweet tooth and have little to no willpower when it comes to cake/sweets/chocolate/pastry/ice cream… My insides must resemble the witch’s house in Hansel and Gretel.

As well as this, I am not very fit, have no muscle definition anywhere and although I used to be confident with my figure, the comfort-eating and Christmas indulgence of the past few months have led to my clothes feeling tighter than they ever have done before! And I definitely can’t afford a new wardrobe...

I need to change. And this is how I plan on doing it.

Be inspired
This sounds simple, but I find doing something without something to keep me motivated much harder than with. There are countless inspirational fit/healthy accounts on Twitter and I’ve followed a whole tonne of them. By constantly reading health and nutritional tips as well as seeing photos of goal figures and seeing the results of consistent hard work, I already want to get to work!
As well as this, my flatmates are all good runners: one in particular, Laura, is working towards a half-marathon. She is incredibly fit. And I look at photos of when I first met her in August 2013 and the difference in her figure is amazing. Such an inspiration.

Not trying to achieve too much, too quickly
I know from past experience that if I try to cut out all junk food and go ‘cold turkey’, I fail within a few days. I have come up with my own diet-plan (allowing myself whatever I want at the weekends) which works and I know I can keep up. The longer I can do it, the easier it will be for me to be stricter with myself. Everything in moderation.
As well as this, I am starting by walking a lot or running a little every day, as well as trying to keep up my stretches as often as I can. Little by little I want to include more and more cardio and strength-training, then maybe by summer I might even feel confident enough to wear a bikini without trying to cover myself up!

Help from friends to NOT QUIT
My flatmates and I like to keep each other motivated (which is really useful when we’ve all chosen such an unstable career as acting!) so I’ve made it clear that they’re not allowed to let me give up. I know they won’t let me down.

Both images taken from Google Images.

And it's as simple as that! Obviously I am no fitness trainer or health expert, but you’re welcome to use these steps if you also want to become fitter and healthier this year. I reckon keeping it simple is the main thing: walk before you can run (quite literally!).

Wendy x

Monday, 19 January 2015

Goals for 2015

I know we’re over halfway through January now, but I reckon it’s not too late to write a post about what I’d like to achieve in 2015. I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, purely for the fact that I know I won’t stick to them, but in a moment of inspiration and motivation I came up with this year’s list.
I’ve had a YouTube channel for a few years now and started to upload videos of songs I’d written when I was much younger after a friend convinced me to share them. They’re not amazing, but it was fun to record and upload them, when I had expected them to never be heard by anyone. Also, I know my friends and family watch them when they’re missing me, which makes me feel happy.
Basically, I haven’t uploaded any videos in years and I want to get back into it again. I have recordings of previous concerts (even though they might be pretty bad quality) and I’m asking for a good camera for my birthday in April, so hopefully I’ll be able to upload some stuff fairly soon.

Get healthier, fitter and more flexible
I’ve gone through phases of having this sort of diet-plan thing (not really), where I would only allow myself the weekend to eat junk food. (Any more strict a diet than that and I would be sure to fail!) As of today, I’m starting that again, and might even extend it to the full 40 days of Lent, when it comes around (though that’s not certain yet!). When I do this plan, I always feel like I have more energy, I sleep better and just feel happier in general, so I want to stop myself giving into temptation and keep it up for most of the year at least.
As well as this, I want to get fitter. All my flatmates are really good runners and I’m very jealous. I also watched the film Fast Girls which was on the telly recently, and that inspired me to start running as well. I’m really bad at running – both physically and stamina-wise – but I really want to give it a good go. If not, I’ll need to think of something which is equally as good for cardio workout –– suggestions welcome!
Also, during November and December I was singing and performing in a children’s puppetry show of the book, Beegu (for very little kiddies) and as I’d never done puppetry before, I found the whole process very demanding – especially physically. I was using muscles I’d never properly used before and I found that I had to stretch at every opportunity (usually between 2 and 4 times a day) to stop myself from constantly aching. Now, I’ve never been a flexible person – Wendy was most certainly not bendy! I couldn’t even touch my toes – but I found that by the end of the run I was way more flexible than I had been previously and I actually found stretching enjoyable and quite satisfying (as I was finally getting results from it). I’ve continued this as much as I can over the past few weeks (though it has been tough for various reasons, as mentioned in my previous post) and have decided to set myself the goal to be able to do the splits by the end of the year. I think that I’ll only be able to do the scissors splits (I think that’s what it’s called?) but not the middle splits as the bone structure in my legs means my knees don’t seem to physically be able to go back (like they would in ballet pliĆ©s). As I’m actually seeing results from keeping it up, I hope I manage to stick to it and achieve my goal.

I started teaching myself flute in August and have made it to half-way through the second book in the set that I’m using to learn. I want to keep this up, start getting actual lessons and work towards an exam (maybe grade 5) to motivate me.

European languages
Taken from Google Images
I learnt German and French at high school, then went on to work at a distillery giving tours in English and German (and sometimes French). Since then, I’ve lost a lot of the vocabulary and confidence I had and I want to get it back. I’m going to set myself monthly goals to reach certain stages of vocabulary for both German and French as well as trying to speak them to my fluent friends. And I also have a resource which will help me to learn other European languages such as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian – all of which I’d like to give a go!

Other than general life and work goals (which I’ll keep to myself), these are my main ones for 2015. What are yours? I love reading other people’s, so let me know if you’ve got a post on your resolutions or goals for 2015 and I’ll definitely have a read.

Wendy x

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Back to Blogging and Update on Life

Hello! Happy New Year!

(For anyone not interested in personal stuff, this post won't be for you. I just need to unload my mind for a few minutes. If anyone has any helpful advice, please get in touch as for some reason I don't want to burden my friends and family with this. The blogging community is friendly and understanding, and I think that's why I feel safe to write about and publish this.)

I haven't blogged now since March last year. SO much has happened since then and quite simply my blog was something that just completely took a back seat while everything was happening. I finished my drama course in July, went home for a much-needed break, came back to London and had my first performing job after leaving DSL.

As well as these, the past couple of months have been pretty tough. At the beginning of November, just after starting rehearsals for my last project, my good friend and previous opera director, Jane, died after battling thyroid cancer. That, on top of struggling with the long rehearsal-days and learning necessary but very difficult new skills, made November very challenging, both physically and emotionally. Then a couple of weeks later (literally the day after my run of performances had finished) I found out that my granny had suddenly taken critically ill and I needed to make the journey home for Christmas earlier than originally planned. I made it home just in time as she died the next day. Since then, things have been very hard. I was at home and basically took on everything. Granny had come to us for Christmas and New Year for as long as I could remember and we knew that she'd have wanted us to try and have a good time, especially for the sake of my niece, Aria. To cut a long story short, it was hard: I exhausted myself out and although granny's funeral was last week, I don't think it's all properly sunk in yet. I'm back in London now and have training and a new money-job (i.e. not a performing job) to look forward to starting, but I still don't feel like I'm back to normal yet. I feel like I'm floating in this limbo between trying to be superficially positive around my friends (so they don't worry about me), staying strong for my family (so they don't worry about me), yet I'm not sleeping, I keep getting headaches and earache and generally feeling like I'm stuck in this place where I'm not happy and not sad. Just kind of numb. I have all these things I want to do - literally a list of things I want to focus on and achieve in 2015 - yet I have no energy or motivation to do them. It's a challenge to pull myself out of bed each morning, and now I'm back in London and don't have thousands of things to do for my family to keep me focussed, I feel kind of lost. Why? What is it? I mean, I understand that grief affects everyone in different ways, but I've always been the strong one with all the energy and focus to keep going with something. It feels horrible and I don't like it.

Anyway, I hope I'll get back to normal blog posts soon, once I've found some inspiration and started feeling normal again. Though that's another thing: before, as I enjoy reading beauty blogs more than any other kind, I tried to write about all that stuff, and didn't really write about stuff which comes more naturally to me, but with everything that's happened, I kind of feel that I'm going to just write about what I want to write about and not care whether people will be interested in it or not. This blog is for me.

Anyway, that's all I want to say right now.

If you've read this all, sorry for the negativity; I just wanted to get it all out of my head.

Have a good weekend.

Wendy x