What I’ll be doing on Valentine’s Day ♥

All over YouTube, I’ve been seeing videos for Valentine’s Day gift ideas, or date night outfit and make-up ideas, and while they’re lovely; when you’re single on Valentine’s Day, they aren’t the videos you want to run and watch straight away. So when I was popping onto Twitter, The Tea Party Beauty posted her “Single Valentine’s Night In” (which coincided with her “Single Girls Valentine’s Treat Guide”) and I was just like, finally! It was really simple but quite nice, so it’s almost like my inspiration for this post. Then Frankie from CrazyBlondeGal tweeted me her “Treat Yourself” post she wrote last year about treating yourself for Valentine’s Day and I loved that too! So I thought I would do my own little version and talk about what I’ll be doing on the day.

Massage and Facial
In my original post, I said I was going to go into town and buy myself some food treats but I was able to nab myself a back massage and facial on Saturday morning so because I’m paying for that, I won’t be getting myself any treats. I also said I was heading to the gym but I don’t want to be really relaxed then head to the gym so I’ll be going on Sunday (like normal anyway). I’ve never had a professional massage or facial so I’m really excited!

I’m a tea girl. I love tea. I’m addicted to tea and I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t have it anymore, so I’ll simply be filling up on tea all day once I’m home and settled.

I’m pretty good at pampering myself, I know how to relax and treat myself (since I do it most Saturday nights anyway). I’ll be giving myself a foot soak with a LUSH bath ballistic along with a manicure and pedicure. And it wouldn’t be a pamper night, or a good night in general if I didn’t light a few candles too.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to watch yet. One of my favourite girly films is “A Walk To Remember”, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve watched it and if I want a good cry, that’s the film for me. I bought a few new films recently too so I might think about sticking one of those on and I do have quite a few TV boxsets, as well as Netflix, so I may stick some Office US episodes on too. I really haven’t decided yet.

I could sit around and feel sorry for myself, and you know what? I probably will feel a little sorry for myself because all over Facebook, it’ll be filled with couples being cute, but I’m a pretty good date to myself, so I don’t feel too bad for me.

NYR: January Update.

To make sure I keep up with my New Year’s Resolutions, I thought I would do an update post at the end of every month and it’ll be nice to look back in December when I probably wouldn’t have remembered half the things I done in January.

  • I signed up to a six week yoga class, I went to a taster class on 8th then started the term class on 12th January.
  • I went to another Kirtan event last night (31st January) on my own this time, and it was definitely very weird going to something on my own.
  • I started Amy Poehler’s Yes Please on New Year’s Day and finished it on 11th January.
  • I found two new recipes over the month and I bought a nutrition/cookbook from a local nutritionist.
  • As you can see, I started my WordPress blog and I’ve been keeping up to date with it.
  • I done Meatless Monday for all four Mondays!
  • I’ve completed one month of Jantastic!
  • I went to Southampton for the first time the weekend of the 23rd, to visit some friends at Uni.
  • I’ve been reading more blogs and here are some of my favourite blog posts from the month:
    (Fleur De Force) http://fleurdeforce.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/blogging-block-book-update-and-january.html
    (Hello October) http://www.hello-october.com/2015/01/the-lazy-girls-introduction-to-exercise.html
    (Essie Button) http://www.essiebutton.com/2015/01/19/love-tea-top-teas-favourite-mugs/
  • I used up 22 beauty products this month; I didn’t expect to use up that much! (x)
  • I hit 20,000 steps on my FitBit and got my little 20,000 steps badge.

2014 Nail Polish favourites.

The third and final post of my 2014 Favourites, the nail polish edition. Like the last two posts, I’m just going to name the brand and the colours and insert a link with the IG along with it. Describing that many colours is great detail could get tiring for you and me both.

OPI Sleigh Ride For Two (x)
Dark cherry metallic burgundy.

Nails Inc Edith Terrace and Ascot (x)
Dark metallic red and metallic festive green.

Nails Inc Soho Place and Downtown (x)
Bright teal and bright fuchsia pink.

Nails Inc Weighhouse Street and Carlton Gardens (x)
Pastel baby blue and metallic soft blue.

Essie Blanc and Jamaica Me Crazy (x)
Pure white and metallic pink purple.

Nails Inc Victoria and Villiers Street (x)
Dark cherry red and festive metallic red.

Nails Inc Bow Street and Baker Street (x)
Dark metallic glitter purple and cobalt blue.

2014 Other Favourites

Second post of my 2014 Favourite trilogy: Anything that isn’t beauty and skincare, so health, fitness, food, TV shows and anything else, almost like a little random section and like the first post, if I have an Instagram picture, it’ll be linked beside it.

Women’s Health Magazine (x)
My Mum paid for a subscription for me for this magazine last Christmas and it’s always a nice surprise every month getting it through the post. It’s not like those women’s magazines where it tells you you can drop a stone in four weeks; it gives real advice, insightful interviews and takes health seriously. I have another subscription for this year too so I can’t wait to get more!

FitBit Flex (x) (x)
I got a FitBit Flex at the end of February, I had been looking at it for months and was thinking about it and I finally took the plunge. It was a special price at the time, I think it might have had £10 or £15 off the original price so I thought why not. Then in October, I bought myself a pink band for it. It’s really motivating to get more steps in every day and I still get a little boost when it vibrates every time I hit 10,000 steps.

Nike Free Runs (x)
Now, I’m not actually sure if these are thee Free Runs, they might be the slightly older version but they are pretty much the same thing. I went to the Nike Outlet at the beginning of the year to get some good trainers because I had always bought cheaper ones but I wanted to be more serious with my workout gear and trainers are always a good place to start. I got two pairs that day, and I use this pair for cardio work. They’re fantastic for running and any other cardio, but I tend to use a heavier shoe for weight training. I got a really amazing deal on them because they were from the Nike Outlet and I spent less on two pairs of shoes that I would on one pair if I had’ve paid the original retail price. They’re purple too so it adds a nice little pop of colour too (Not that that is important to a gym, but you have to add a smile to a cold winter morning somehow).

Kale (x)
I’ll admit, a weird one to add to favourites but last year I found kale and I fell in love. I became obsessed in June with making kale chips and they’re just the best!

Sweet Potato (x)
I prefer these now to regular potatoes. They’re so delicious and a personal favourite is two small baked sweet potatoes and loads of sweetcorn. It’s so so good!

Amazeballs (x)
I discovered “Check Out My Buns” on Facebook in February and found out they had a stall in a local weekend market in Belfast so I went down one Saturday and got loads of little food goodies. They are a gluten free company with almost all their products being vegan too, which I love. I’m not a vegan myself but I love that they cater to vegetarians and vegans, as well as people who are eating gluten free, like myself. The amazeballs are made up of ingredients like cocoa powder and nuts, and they’re a nice sweet treat. I can never eat a whole one, I always cut mine in half, and if I buy 5, they can last me up to a week. It’s a nice, good, wholesome snack.

Pulsin Vanilla Chocolate Chip Protein Snack (x)
I was online one day in November looking around for protein bars, mainly for after the gym. Most of the bars I’ve seen either contain gluten or soya (Which I also can’t have) so when I found these on Amazon, I was so excited and they didn’t disappointed. Everyone who I’ve let taste them, couldn’t get used to the taste of them but I love them. It’s a mix between fudge and cookie dough; they’re gluten free, soya free and vegan, so an all round great bar.

Genius Chocolate Cupcakes (x)
We all love a cupcake because it’s like a party in your mouth. Now I’m not saying that this is an every day thing, or every week, but I do like to treat myself to one of these now and again. They’re gluten free, soya free and just overall amazing.

2014 was the year for tea. I tried loads of teas, I got used to green tea, I loved loads of tea and it’s so lovely having some choice for tea now.

Pandora Bracelet (x)
Last year was the year I indulged and bought myself a Pandora bracelet. I had been looking at them for years and I finally done it. I’d always loved my friend Whitney’s bracelets and she was just as excited as me when I got mine. I’ve been building it up all year and it’s not the type of thing I would buy myself every month. If there’s a special occasion then I would buy myself a charm to signify that. For example, I bought the ‘grandmother’ pendant charm when my Granny passed away and I bought the star to represent my first adult job. It’s a meaningful bracelet with each charm (excluding the spacers) having a special meaning.

Michael Kors Watch
Unfortunately I don’t have an IG of this but it’s one of the best presents I’ve ever received. My brother got it for me for my birthday and I just love it. It’s a gold tortoise design with a medium sized face, and I don’t wear a lot of gold, but I’m not a person that has to have all their metals matching, so I don’t mind mixing it with my silver rings It’s so beautiful and it’ll be treasure forever.

Pandora Rings (x) (x) (x)
Until 2014, I was never a jewellery person. I wore earrings and a nose stud but that was it. I sometimes wore a watch but nothing major. So 2014 was a big year for more jewellery for me. Once I got the bracelet, I discovered more rings from Pandora and I wear the rings every day. Not all of them of course, but at least two at a time. They’re a nice accessory especially if you’re not like me and don’t wear big statement necklaces. I prefer rings to necklaces.

For the candles and TV shows, because I’m not the greatest at describing scents and you don’t want to read a big paragraph on each show, I’m just going to list my favourites to make it easier and because no-one wants to hear the words, “great” or “so nice” again.

Vanilla Chai (x)
Bahama Breeze (x)
Red Velvet (x)
Blissful Autumn (x)
Welcome Christmas (x)
Candy Cane Lane (x)

Television Shows
The Office US
Parks and Recreation
Veronica Mars

My experience of food intolerance testing.

This post is following on from this post, so if you haven’t read that, make sure you read that first.  I also have to say, this was my personal experience of food intolerance testing, I am not a medical professional and if you are in a similar position, please seek professional help from your doctor.

After researching and finding that there were places that could actually push me in the right direction about what was going on, I found one close to me, shot them an email and I set up an appointment. Now because this wasn’t under the NHS, I did have to pay, but to be completely honest, it wasn’t a lot of money and it’s better than living in agony all the time.

I arrived at the centre and my appointment was with a woman who (was a trained professional of course) was really friendly, she put me at ease and the session went quite quickly. She started telling me how the whole process works, and it was very scientific so unfortunately I can’t tell you the science behind it, but there were no needles involved. She used an almost blunt pen connected to a big monitor with loads of tubes connected to it that you could put in and take out. These were to do with all different food groups and when she pressed the pen into either your hand or your toes, it would send a reaction to the pen, which is how it tells you if your body is reacting to it. The reason she pushed it into your toes or hand was because these parts of your body show the reaction to other parts of your body, like your kidneys and liver for example.

Towards the end of session, she gave me a very helpful booklet and told me all the foods that my body seemed to react to. These were gluten, wheat, soya/soy and carrots. When I tell anyone I can’t have carrots, I get very odd looks because it’s very strange to not be able to eat, and it’s a real shame because carrots used to be my favourite vegetable. She also told me about the Candida diet which was connected to not being able to eat wheat and gluten as well as having a possible yeast overgrowth in my body and through the diet, it is meant to flush out your system and bring your body back to health. The process can take anything from two months to eight months, but at the time I had a lot of work going on in college and I simply couldn’t have gone off a lot of food at that time.

There is so much information on Google about the Candida Diet and the benefits of doing it (Of course, it is a treatment for built up yeast overgrowth and should not be done unless you have all the information and are advised to do so) and there are big long lists of food and drinks you can’t have during it. When I was doing more research on this, I found The Candida Diet website very helpful or more information.

In this booklet, she gave me advice and tips for the diet as well as moving on with my regular diet cutting out wheat, gluten, soy/soya and carrots altogether. She was really helpful and was able to answer any questions I had at the time.

About a year later, I went to the doctor and they weren’t happy that I didn’t go through them to find out if I couldn’t have gluten and wheat. In hindsight, I probably should have badgered the doctors more and got a Coeliac test done. I wouldn’t be able to do this now because you have to put your body through eating gluten for at least six weeks and I feel (and the doctor also felt) that it would put my body through too much. So if I had any advice for anyone who thinks that they may have an intolerance to wheat or gluten, go to your doctor first and try and get them to get the appropriate tests for you. I felt guilty when I was told that I shouldn’t have went to a technically third party (They are trained professionals, just not through the NHS) to find these information out, but how long would I still have been in pain for if I didn’t? Would I have ever found out soy/soya was bothering me, or carrots? I’m glad I did it, but if you are going through something similar, go to your doctor first and be persistent.

2014 Beauty and Skin Care Favourites.

Ever since August, I’ve been doing (almost every month) monthly favourites with anything from nail polish to candles over on my Tumblr blog but since I have a fresh new blog, I thought I would start posting them here too.

For my 2014 Favourites, I’m going to split them into three posts. One will cover beauty and skincare, another will cover health, fitness, jewellery and anything else that I’ve enjoyed in 2014 and the last will cover nail polish, because if you know me, you’ll know how much I love painting my nails so it deserves a separate section. If I have any Instagram pictures for the products, I’ll put a link beside them instead of inserting pictures for each individual product.

Liz Earle Skin Care (x)
This skin care really changed how I treat my skin. I first tried it in March and slowly ran out by the end of May and it was pretty heart breaking. I changed to a new skin care routine in July because I couldn’t really afford to by Liz Earle every month, and the difference was really noticeable. Changing from products that made my skin nice and smooth, even the next morning, to products that I didn’t think were really doing anything for me, was a very odd feeling. Towards the end of August however, Liz Earle had a Today’s Special Value on QVC and I jumped on it because it was such good value and you got so many products for your money. I actually enjoy taking my make-up off at the end of the day, thanks to this range.

Soap and Glory Smoothie Star Breakfast Scrub (x)
I’ve been using Soap and Glory scrubs for the past few years and I love them. They’re not too expensive and they last a good amount of time. I tend to find the breakfast scrub is the scrubbiest of the body scrub range they have, and I’m a scrubby person. I don’t really the gentle scrubs but they’re great for people with very very senstive skin.

Bath and Body Works Hand Gels (x)
My best friend Whitney who lives in Canada, got me hooked on these little hand gels. They’re the best. I have some everywhere. I have one in my coat, one in my bag, one on my desk at work, one in my bedroom and one lying elsewhere in my house. It’s safe to say I’m pretty obsessed. I don’t have a particular favourites, I love each and every one!

Flash by Jimmy Choo
I bought this in last year’s Christmas sales (2013 of course) and it was one of the only perfumes I used all year. It’s almost half down and it’s lasted so well. I’m not very good at describing scents (How many times have you heard a YouTuber say that?) but it’s very strong so I get away with a squirt and I would say it lasts the entire day.

Shoot For The Stars LUSH Bath Ballistic (x) (x)
Maybe this is cheating slightly since I only used this on 27th December but it was my favourite bath ballistic of the year! I don’t have a bath but I soak my feet every weekend, just to have a little pamper night for myself, and I used this and I was blown away with how beautiful it was.

Korres Lip Butter (x)
This lip balm or lip butter had been all over YouTube for months and I didn’t really want to believe that lip balm could be that good. I got this in August and I’m still using the same tube, it lasts for such a long time. It’s more a neutral lip butter so there’s not any colour pay off but I wasn’t looking for that. I do think £8 is a little expensive for a lip balm but for the lasting power and the fact you don’t need to keep reapplying each half an hour, I would now say it’s worth it.

Admittedly, there wasn’t a lot of make-up favourites last year. I’ve never been a huge make-up girl. Sure, I have a few Urban Decay pieces and some Benefit, but I just didn’t get very creative with make-up last year. Maybe this year’s favourites will be different (:

The first of a few Health Journey posts.

Before this blog, I had another one. I’ve actually had a few over the past few years but I always get so insecure about them, that I would delete them. My last blog had two great posts, both about my transition into the gluten free lifestyle and I deleted the blog a month ago, completely forgetting to save those two posts so if I ever wanted to talk about it again, I could simply copy and paste. I really regret it now. The upside of this is that I get to talk about it again, but a year later. I’ll spilt this into two posts, because my other posts were too long and it really needed that second post to balance it out.

I can’t remember when I started to get signs that something wasn’t right. It might have been in the New Year of 2013, or slightly before then but I was having a really healthy year. I had came back from University the previous year and gave myself a good kick up the arse and finally started to get healthy and lose weight. I was the healthiest I had ever been, but I was getting sore heads, stomach cramps, feeling exhausted and having a really foggy head. Those were the main symptoms I had had. I was sleeping so much after college every day that I had to ban myself for an entire month because it was getting out of hand and when you’re so used to going home and having a three hour nap, once you ban yourself, it’s not pretty. I banned myself in the December of 2012 because I remember thinking half way through the month “Oh yeah, I’ll be off for the next weeks so I’ll not want a nap anyway”. I had no idea what was going on, absolutely none. I went to the doctor and told them what was wrong with me and I was told I should go off bread for a month. That’s literally what I was told. Going off bread didn’t help me, I think I done it for about two months and there was still no change. It had been suggested to me that maybe gluten was the problem, but I had no idea what gluten was, but I love researching (It was one of my favourite things to do in college for projects) so I done that and it was if someone had just watched me for a few months then wrote down everything that had happened. My symptoms and other symptoms were listed and it made so much sense. All the pain I was in, all the tiredness I had felt, all the times I couldn’t concentrate in class and sometimes struggled writing down the exact same words the teacher was saying on a piece of paper, it all made sense. It was gluten. It just had to be.

I’m not a huge fan of going to the doctors for a few reasons. 1) Whenever there’s something wrong with a woman, the first question they’ll usually ask “Is there a chance you could be pregnant?” I get it. I’m a woman and yes, we can get pregnant but it really annoys me that for the majority of time, that’s what we’re asked. 2) Appointment times. As I said, I’m not a fan of doctors so when I go, I am genuinely not well but whenever I would ring up for an appointment, I was given one for a week and a half later. I understand that if it was truly an emergency, I could get an emergency appointment or go up to A&E, but isn’t a week and a half later a bit ridiculous? So I was put off a lot and I didn’t think I would get anywhere fast. I’m pretty sure I went for another appointment a few months later but I can’t be 100% sure about that.

I was still getting cramps, I was still exhausted, I was still feeling foggy. I was exercising and some people thought I was tired because I was “working out too much”. Trust me, I didn’t over-do it and I wasn’t tired from it. I actually dread to think what I would have been like if I hadn’t been working out. I was still losing weight and I was eating enough for my body type and enough for me to lose weight. But the pains were still coming and in November 2013 I’d had enough. Enough of the stomach pains especially, I was a woman, we get period pains, I only expect pains once a month, not once a day for hours on end. So I did more research and found a centre that done allergy and intolerance testing near me.

In my next post, I’ll go through my experience of the intolerance testing and how it’s helped me ever since. I wanted to include it in one big post, but it’s much better to split it up into chunks (: