30 Day Squat Challenge

So to prepare myself for summer I have been trying out the 30 Day Squat Challenge. The name says it all really; all you have to do is gradually increase the number of squats you do over a month-long period. Simple. This has been great for me – I do not want to lose weight, but I would like to tone up, especially before these dreaded bikini months. It has been tough, motivation and dedication is key, but the rewards are worth it. Personally I have noticed a difference in my muscle tone, as have friends, and I will definitely consider continuing beyond the 30 day limit. If you’re considering it, why not just go for it? You have got nothing to lose and so much confidence to gain. Definitely my top workout for the moment.

(P.S. it hardly takes any time out of your day…what have you got to lose?)

#3 – Have a picnic

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So I know it’s a bit of a mundane one to start on, but yesterday I had a picnic – being a beautifully sunny day, it seemed like the perfect time to crack out the strawberries and the pimms and set off with a friend to a local park. Here we basked in the sunshine listening to Alt-J whilst snacking on various goodies – paradise! Definitely a good start to my summer.

 

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I Capture the Summer – bucket list 2013

Every year I make myself a bucket list of things that I wish to complete during my summer break. I’m not always totally successful, but I like having goals in my mind to help me to make the most of my holiday. So, here goes:

#1 – Make face masks

#2 – Tie dye/ombre a piece of clothing

#3 – Have a picnic

#4 – Go on an adventure

#5 – Have a paint/glitter fight

#6 – Leave post-it notes round town/in library books

#7 – Go for a run

#8 – Go to a costume party

#9 – Have a campfire with marshmallows

#10 – Get an autograph

#11 – Make my own lemonade

#12 – Have a barbecue

#13 – Sip pimms at twilight
#14 – Mess around in a paddling pool full of bubbles

#15 – Dance in the rain

#16 – Send a message in a bottle

#17 – Stargaze

#18 – Meet someone new

#19 – Watch an open air film/go to a drive-in (if they have them in the UK)

#20 – Spend an evening listening to jazz

#21 – Watch the sunset

#22 – Go to the zoo

#23 – Make a galaxy vest

#24 – Put a sign saying ‘This Way to the Ministry of Magic’ on a public loo somewhere

#25 -Sell something that I created

#26 – Read books

#27 – Have a spa/detox day

#28 – Watch ‘Midnight in Paris’ (Woody Allen)…again

#29 – Be totally positive for a day

#30 – Complete a maze

#31 – Finish reading a book in another language

#32 – Host/attend a ‘Come Dine with Me’ evening

Starting: 1st June
Ending: 5th September

Feel free to comment any other ideas ūüôā I’ll prpobably add to my original list when I think of more things to do… Enjoy!

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser – review

So I’ve seen many reviews of this particular product floating upon the web, but I decided to do my own after being given it by a friend. It is unlike any other cleanser that I have tried – and I love the concept.

My favourite thing about this product is that it is not messy like most other cleansers. No longer must you smear a sticky gloop onto your face followed by furious splashes of water. Instead, you simply cover your face with a thick paste and wipe it off using one of the cloths provided and some hot water. Simple. This way, the cleansing process becomes much more controlled and much less annoying.

stranger 001

The product is great as it works as a gentle exfoliator as well as as a cleanser. Consequently, my skin feels much fresher and able to breathe after use РI feel as though every tiny speck of makeup has been removed. This 3-in-1 element is great for me РI can exfoliate, cleanse and remove my makeup all in one step.

I haven’t been using this product for long enough to say whether or not it has actually made a massive difference to my skin, but at the moment I feel that it has huge potential. Plus, the large bottle size means it will last me much longer than other cleansers I have used in the past!

A final plus point: the smell. This cleanser contains rosemary, chamomile, cocoa butter and eucalyptus essential oil which causes it to smell fresh and clean, a definite bonus. It lacks that repulsive clinical smell found in many cleansers, but is not too overpoweringly fruity or floral at the same time.

So far I have not found anything wrong with this cleanser and I look forward to exploring the¬†rest of her skincare range.¬†Feel free to leave a comment below saying what you love/hate about it ūüôā

Top tip: Wipe eye makeup off last to avoid smearing mascara all over your face!

High Hopes – Kodaline

Kodaline performing ‘High Hopes’ live in Paris.
After spending the last weekend in the French capital constantly singing this song as I walked round the streets, I was stunned to find this (rather better) version on youtube. In love with this song – is definitely up there with my favourites at the moment.

Albums for the Summer

So seeing as summer is on its way, I feel it’s time to update my summer playlist. Exams are almost over for this year, the sun is beginning to creep out from behind the clouds, the temperature is starting to rise – it’s time for summer music.

1) Bastille

photo from nme.com

photo from nme.com

I’ve been loving Bastille for about 9 months now, and was super excited when they released their album ‘Bad Blood’. For anyone who doesn’t know, Bastille are an English alternative/indie-rock band formed by frontman Dan Smith. And I love them. I heard about them from a friend last year, before they released their album, and was not disappointed when it came out this year. The album contains some upbeat, uplifting songs, and others which have a more mysterious, subtle vibe. All in all, Dan’s breathy vocals and beguiling lyrics make the album an irresistible delight to listen to. What I like most of all is the fact that the songs are not predictable or tiresome. You hear something different everytime you listen to them, and they still make you want to sing along or dance round your bedroom, no matter how many times you’ve heard them already.

I’d also massively recommend their playlists ‘Other People’s Heartache’ (part 1 and 2), a captivating complilation of covers of the works of various artists.

2) Alt-J

picture from amazon.com

picture from amazon.com

I love the quirkiness of Alt-J’s album, ‘An Awesome Wave’, released this time last year. Like Bastille, they are defined as an ‘indie-rock band’. The sweeping vocals and undulating melodies immediately relax me – perfect for when I’m feeling stressed or just need a boost. I love the unconventional nature of Alt-J’s music, it’s meandering and eccentric style and the way the lyrics mingle together in what many see as simply a poorly-enunciated mess. Overall, Alt-J is up there in my top albums for summer because of the lighthearted, laid-back (unusual for me) feeling it gives me.

3) Dry the River

picture from nme.com

picture from nme.com

Yet another indie-rock/alternative band…Dry the River are less well known than the others, but definitely worth a listen. Their album ‘Shallow Bed’ is an interesting mix of upbeat music with an almost melancholy undertone. Like with Alt-J and Bastille, the lyrics are not repetitive or predictable, but rather more expressive, something that I look for in good music. The album is not necessarily what one would automatically associate with summer, but for me they go together perfectly – it does not have the artificial electronic beat of many classic summer tracks, but has a more organic sound.

4) Kodaline

picture from townsend-records.co.uk

picture from townsend-records.co.uk

Kodaline have yet to release their album, but their EPs are definitely worth listening to (The Kodaline EP and The High Hopes EP). Again, this is not synthesised pop, but instead a very relaxed, emotive mix of songs, perfect for a summery picnic on a warm day. The songs are delicate yet project a haunting sensation which I love listening to.

5) One Republic

picture from billboard.com

picture from billboard.com

One Republic have recently released their newest album, ‘Native’. This album is slightly different to the others in the sense that the songs have a clear, steady beat, making them lively and animated to listen to. I find it impossible to stay unhappy when I listen to this album – it’s so stirring and exciting to listen to, immediately putting you in a good mood.

For me, these will be my staple albums this summer, I’d definitely recommend checking them out if you haven’t already. Enjoy!