29.1.12

Slendertone Challenge: Week 1

After a lot of wondering whether to invest in a Slendertone belt, fate answered my question when I was recently invited to take part in a Slendertone 30 day challenge! 

First things first, here is what the Slendertone Abs belt looks like:


This is the belt I am reviewing, but there are cheaper alternatives on Amazon

From the horse's mouth (aka. website): 

"Slendertone Abs Female delivers targeted muscle toning, designed to help achieve deep muscle training. Slendertone Abs Female stimulates all the abdominal muscles, not just the superficial fibres, by activating the core muscles which are essential for your core stability, posture and defining your shape.  Slendertone Abs can be used without any physical activity or while doing physical activity. Slendertone's patented 3 electrode arrangement ensures optimal recruitment of all abdominal muscles, ensuring the entire abdominal musculature, including the deep internal oblique and transversus abdominus muscles and the more superficial rectus abdominus and external obliques.  The medical grade pads ensure the stimulation is spread over the pad area evenly, allowing a more comfortable workout"

So, when I want to use the belt, I stick the three pads to my stomach, fasten the belt tightly and then begin one of the programmes. To make the 'workout' my own, I have added my own step which is sucking my tummy in almost continually for the 25 minutes with the hope that if the Slendertone is zapping my tummy while its at its flattest, it will freeze in that position over continued use... I have no idea if this will affect the end result and I realise I probably sound a bit mad, but hey ho! 

To begin a session, you use the up arrows on the remote to increase the intensity of the electric signals being passed to your stomach muscles. This belt goes from 0-150. For my first few sessions, I didn't venture past 25, which felt like a tickling sensation. After my 7th use, I'm now up to 65 and it's more like a vibrating, slight pinching sensation. It isn't exactly pleasant, but it's not painful. I can't see myself venturing anywhere near the 150 mark! The sensations come in waves and aren't constant, mimicking the effect sit-ups have on your muscles. Slendertone claim 20 minutes is the equivalent of doing 120 sit-ups! 

I haven't felt any after-effects such as achey muscles yet, like you would if you were doing crunches. I hope this doesn't mean I'm not on a high enough setting, but I will keep trying to increase this! Sometimes a bit of next-day-pain is useful to know that your muscles have been working.

Obviously I can't report any visible difference after week 1, but I can tell you that Slendertone fits much more seamlessly into my routine (sitting on the sofa watching telly) than any other toning attempts I've made in the past, which all require me to leave the sofa and even exert some effort. Not cool. It's nice to feel that I'm being proactive about my physique and posture without actually doing anything! 

I have high hopes for my 30-day challenge. Slendertone sounds like the ultimate lazy girl's answer to a flatter stomach. I just hope it isn't too good to be true! You know I'll tell it like it is, freebie or no freebie, so stay tuned to hear more about my progress over the coming weeks! 

Have you tried Slendertone products before? If so, how did you get on and do you have any advice to share with a newbie like me?

27.1.12

Stripes & Specs

Hi hi! 

I'm going to keep this brief as I am watching the final of Celebrity Big Bro! I hate finales of things... I like getting into routines! Although I was ecstatic to see that Pan Am is returning to BBC2 tomorrow night, so I can reprise that routine now!

Before I was the pyjama-clad couch potato I am right now, I was wearing this:


(Jacket, skirt - Topshop, Hobbs t-shirt - Charity Shop, Russell & Bromley loafers - Charity Shop)


(Glasses - Specsavers 'Jackie')


(Necklace - c/o Me & Zena)




This adorable cat ears ring was sent to me by Cheap Frills. My finger is marginally too fat for it so I was going to put it on a necklace, but I did wear it today and my blood circulation was actually fine. So I shall probably continue to wear it every day. Ever. It's just amazing! And only £7 on the site!

Right, I'm going to get back to my telly fest now!

Hope you guys have a scrumptious weekend! Wrap up warm, UK-ers!

25.1.12

TOTAL FAVE: No7 Exceptional Definition Mascara

I got this mascara for christmas with the big No7 beauty box that Alex bought me. I've never tried a No7 mascara before and am actually overwhelmed by this one! 

I had been using one of the new Eyeko mascaras for a while and in hindsight can see that it was not good for me at all. It just made my lashes clump up into spikes and was such a mission to remove (literally like glue) that I actually lost a lot of lashes using it. 

So I was feeling pretty down about the lash sitch until this little beaut came into my life - No7's Exceptional Definition. I had only seen the mascara as a little bonus to the christmas present (I mainly wanted it for the Protect and Perfect skin creams)! It makes me look like I have SO many lashes. Nice long, thick ones at that!


The brush has many nifty features to it. One side has a long combed brush, and the other has much shorter and closer together 'teeth'. I assume this means one side is for the top lashes and the smaller side is for the bottom lashes. On the end of the brush theres a spiky nobbly bobbly bit (as we call it in the industry) which is perfect for getting the little lashes in the corners of the eye! 


Without:


After one application:


After a second application:


I use the classic 'wiggle' mascara technique to separate the lashes, and I am so happy with the end result. Non-clumpy, thick and curvy lashes. Every day.

Boots are doing their £5 off No7 offer at the moment, so if you are pondering what to spend it on, I highly recommend this product*! They're doing 3 for 2 on No7 on the website, too, if you'd rather buy online! 

Thank you, No7, for giving me eyelashes again!!

Right, I've said eyelashes so many times it has lost all meaning (don't you just hate that?) so I shall close here! 

Have you tried this mascara? What did you think?

<3

* - If you don't have a £5 off No7 voucher, make sure you have a little look near the self service machines in Boots. They get printed off with any receipt over £5 and people just leave them there all the time! A great chance to get a free voucher or pick up some extra ones. Call me skanky, but who's the one rolling in beauty bargains?! ;)

22.1.12

Sleepy Sunday

Eurghh, I had an evening nap and now my brain is fried. It always seems like such a good idea at the time! Anyway, it's just as well I'm feeling incoherent as I have basically nothing to report. Oh, I had some lovely steak for dinner, if that counts? Oh actually I do want to rave about my new nail polish, so scroll down for that! 

This is what I wore to work yesterday:



(cardi & boots - Topshop, tee & jeans - Primark, cat hair - Roxy)



I bought the infamous OPI Rainbow Connection polish that I featured in this postEmma told me about this American seller on eBay that sells them for less than a tenner including shipping, so I was all over it! It only took a week to arrive and I am smitten. I am going to redo my nails with it and get some better photos, these were just very quick snaps. It only took about 3 coats to get a pretty much opaque explosion of glitter! It's amazing stuff.

Also, tune in to Channel 4 at 8pm tomorrow if you want to see me on the new series of SuperScrimpers! Some of you may have caught the adverts on telly already... They got me to demonstrate some tips I've featured on the blog in the past, including a whole bunch of nail art stuff which I think will be on tomorrow's show. Let the cringe countdown commence!! 

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend! 

<3

19.1.12

Review: OPI 'I Juggle... Men!'

I was recently sent a sample of this OPI polish by HQhair. I hadn't heard about the website before they contacted me, so I was surprised to see that they offer a lot more than just hair products - eg. skincare, fragrance and nail polish! They also offer free shipping - something that always makes me happy.

So, the nail polish I was sent was 'I Juggle... Men' - an iridescent shimmery polish with blue and pink microglitter in it from last year's Femme de Cirque collection. It's a very subtle polish, and works well as a topcoat as it is so glossy and quick-drying. It was hard to photograph, as the glitter is so tiny, but here's what it looks like, and here's how it looks through the lens of someone with a decent camera!


This was my base colour - Misty Grey by Models Own.



(Not my tidiest manicure ever, I now realise!)

Excuse the strange angles, I was desperately trying to get my cam to pick up the glitter! So, the above images show what 3 coats of the glitter looks like. Be careful to let the layers dry fully before applying the next, as I rushed it a bit and experienced some shrinkage the next day. 

I think this polish would be great for people that work in jobs where crazy nail art might not be appropriate, but you want to jazz up a simple manicure subtly. I like my glitter a bit more dramatic, but I will certainly keep using it as a topcoat-with-a-twist because it's amazing for that purpose. 

HQhair stock loads of OPI polishes and products, and it's definitely worth bookmarking if you're an OPI fan because the shipping is free worldwide, unlike the £4 charge on the OPI website! This particular product has unfortunately sold out* on the HQhair website, but to make up for it, they have kindly provided us with 10% off all items in the 'Nails' section of the site using the exclusive code 'GEMHQHAIR' (valid until 25/1/12). Enjoy! 

Do you have a favourite OPI polish? And do let me know if you buy something nice from HQhair!

xo

 * 'I Juggle Men' can be bought here on Amazon for £9.

18.1.12

O&FOTD. Catchy?

Today my friend Emily and I went back to University for the first time since July to (very belatedly) collect our work. We were told most of it had been 'destroyed' but luckily all of our stuff was still there. One of my old tutors told me my dissertation was the only First given on my course, and had been double-marked by someone from Central St. Martins, so I was super chuffed! After this, we were then going to go to Rochester Castle, but we opted to save it for a sunny day and head to the bright lights of Bluewater instead!

The 'outfit of the day':



(Hobbs t-shirt and black desert boots: charity shop, jacket and jeggings: H&M, skirt: Topshop)

This was my 'face of the day'. I have been trialling a little pot of Clinique Even Better foundation based on some Twitter recommendations. I am finding it quite a nice change from the matte finish of Estee Lauder Double Wear, but I did get a sample of Clinique's Repairwear foundation today too as anti-ageing is a bit of a concern for me these days! Most depressing sentence OF ALL TIME. Anyway, I am also wearing a little swipe of the Bourjois chocolate bronzer to warm things up a bit. As much as you can when your skin is doing an impression of Casper at all times. Constant Casper. That would be an awesome name for a new brand to rival Nicola Roberts' Dainty Doll range for the pale and interesting! I have finally found my calling!!!

As for my incredibly exciting haul... I bought two hairbrushes in Boots and a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Okay, two. Bank balance: happy. Waistline: constant turmoil, but some things never change! Although I AM pondering buying a Slendertone, so watch this space. Any of you tried it?

That's all, folks! I'm off to organise my wardrobe, wash up and then watch episode 2 of the new series of Sherlock. We've only just got into it but have had a marathon of it for the past week. It is amazing!

Back tomorrow!

<3

17.1.12

Tuesday Tip: Valentines Tea Bags & Sugar!

I subscribe to a fantastic DIY blog called Funky Time, and couldn't not share this incredibly cute DIY Sibylle has just posted. As the title suggests, the tutorial is about making little heart shaped teabags. She also goes the extra mile by painting hearts on sugar cubes with food colouring! GENIUS. 

I'm all for the little ideas that require a bit of effort and zero funds, so this tutorial is ideal. See the tutorial in all its glory here



I mean SERIOUSLY, how genius is this idea?! It just makes me think of all the other things you could do with teabags, scissors and thread... I'm thinking cat shaped teabags! 

Now I just need to get my boyfriend into drinking tea before Feb 14th (or quickly get a new boyfriend*) and that's my little love token sorted! 

Have you got any crafty valentines ideas to share for the financially challenged?

<3

* - jkjk

14.1.12

Caturday

Evening, all! 

I am braving pneumonia by coming out from under my leopard print throw to type this post! It's SO freezing here in Canterbury!

So, I found out the other day I've been nominated for an award in Company Magazine's style blog awards, along with some of my favourite bloggers! I am beyond excited because Company is my favourite magazine, so to think they've had a peruse of my blog is like a prize in itself! My category is 'Best 'what-I-wore-today' blog', and you can also vote for my blog in the 'Blog I love the most' category. I don't expect to win a thing, but it is just lovely to be involved. Vote for all of your faves here!

Anyway, I decided on a bit of cat-tastic layering today. I don't like wearing high-necked t-shirts on their own these days as they look a bit weird on me, but layering with a collared top seems to make all the difference! 



I am wearing my new skater skirt from Topshop. It was only £15 (even less with my discount!) and is just sooo flattering. It creates the impression of a flat tummy and a junky trunk, which is pretty much the silhouette du jour, so I'm all for it. Working in a shop, I do find it funny how women these days ask 'does my bum look big in this?' and want the answer to be yes! Hopefully bingo wings will be the next body trend and I can finally quit this 9-5 lark and become a supermodel! 

The t-shirt is from eBay (here's a similar one), layered with my scallop collar Topshop dress. The necklace is Primark and the boots are Topshop. 

I've had an okay day. One of those days where you hope to get loooaaads done and end up doing bugger all. Well maybe I'm being too harsh on myself, I did manage to knock a whole pint of squash onto a plug adaptor, hairdryer, phone charger and GHD's this morning! I don't know if any of it has survived yet as I'm too scared to plug any of it in. I also did a 4 hour shift at work and cooked a lovely Lasagne for dinner. Now it's time to send some emails, watch Big Brother and eat jelly babies. 

Hope you're having a lovely weekend! 

11.1.12

2 Minute Review: H&M Duo Nail Polish

Seeing as I'm away at the minute, I figured doing a video review of this product would be better than faffing about with uploading photos and trying to get the right lighting, etc!


The drying time was great. The polish is really pigmented so two thin coats is all you need for a fast-drying and opaque finish. I had just touched up a chip before filming, hence the smudge ;)

This product isn't available on the H&M Website, which is fine because I wouldn't recommend shopping on it anyway, but it is available in store if you want to try it out for yourself! 

Have you tried H&M's Duo Nail Polish? What do you make of it?

xo

8.1.12

my christmas money ish-list!

I have been a lucky lady with my christmas money this year, but I seem to be having a little trouble spending it... I'm so used to being a cheapskate bargain-hunter, I've forgotten how to treat myself to more expensive things! I keep getting as far as the checkout on websites and then freaking out and closing the windows! 

I'm in no hurry to spend it, so it's fine. I've put it in its own little online savings account so I don't squander it and can treat myself whenever I want over the coming months, which'll be great. But at this point, squandering is the least of my worries when I can't actually bring myself to buy anything! 

Here are the main things I'm lusting after... Not quite a wishlist, but an ish-list! 


Topshop dress - This has just come into the store I work in and I love the sweetheart neckline and the heart cutout on the back. It's the most flattering shape, too. I might purchase it, but am hoping if I bide my time until the end of the month I can get it with 60% uniform discount! 

Longchamps Pliage inspired bag from eBay - I love the Pliage bags, but despite my festive windfall, I don't want to blow £125 on one! So I'm going to be a bit of a skank and just get a fake one on eBay. The leathery bits are all real leather, apparently, so at least that's something!

OPI Rainbow Connection from Just Beautifully - I've seen this polish from the limited edition Muppets collection on blogs and it looks effing fantastic. Magic in a bottle. This is one of the only websites that still has it in stock, so I must get some! 

Panther-heel shoes from Urban Outfitters - Quite simply the coolest shoes of all time.

Betsey Johnson inspired bulldog ring from eBay - Yep it's another designer fake, but it's so bloomin' cute and it's sold out on BJ's website now! 

Monki leggings - I am strangely attracted to these leggings after I saw Misha B wearing them on X Factor! 

F-Troupe boots - I only heard of this brand recently after I was filming with channel 4 right next door to their shop in London. Their shoes are completely gorgeous and I just know these handcrafted beauties would be a lifetime investment! The only thing slightly putting me off is whether tassels would go with everything I'd want to wear the boots with... Maybe I could remove them?

House of Holland bone-print dress from ASOS - I know I'd probably tire of this print quickly, but I am so loving all of the House of Holland bone print stuff on ASOS at the minute! I probably won't buy this, but it was worth a mention.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Light - I want a new foundation as my Double Wear has pretty much run out. I found DW a bit too cakey for me, so am currently trialling a sample of the Light version (Remember my Tuesday Tip on this?). I'm not entirely convinced it's a full enough coverage for me but it is pretty damn good so I'm undecided at the moment! 

Well there's the items I'm umm-ing and ahh-ing over! Most of it isn't even expensive, but I have some sort of barrier up when it comes to spending money on anything less that total bargains and bills..! I think I'm getting there, though.

What are you planning to spend your christmas money on? Anyone else know what I'm on about with this fear of spending money?!

xo

7.1.12

Seaside Saturday

We had our friends Dan and Danielle over from Brighton last night and we decided to show them the delights of Whitstable today. Here's a few snaps of what went on...

Danielle in the car, Instagramming away! 

Charity shopping! All I bought was an umbrella for £1, but it's a bloody good one. A nice dome shaped one that won't turn inside out if you merely breathe near it like all my others!

Yeah. I don't really know what this insane furry-hatted mannequin was about, but someone had painstakingly decoupaged every crevice with fashion mag clippings...

All of this crazy could be yours for £75! 

We found an ACTUAL Mcdonald's 'M' in an antique shop! 

Loved these cushions! 

This incredible Polar Bear shelf unit was found in Found (ho ho!), a very quirky home store.

Loved this card in Alex's favourite book shop, Harbour Books.

There was more canine cuteness to be found, when these sausage dogs entered Frank while we were browsing! 

We went to the amazing Wetherspoons (words not often strung together, but this one is summin else!) which used to be a cinema. 

 Me looking a tad bedraggled from the sea breeze! 

Dani and I!

Today's outfit. Cardi - Topshop, Dress - c/o Motel, Boots - Charity shop.

Our buds have gone back to Brighton now and the rest of my night will mostly consist of watching Take Me Out, Celebrity Big Brother and then trying to claw back a few brain cells by reading How to be a Woman later on. Oh, and I shall also be addressing the mountain of washing up left over from our home made Spag Bol last night. This is what Saturday nights were made for!!

On another note, I was wondering if anyone has any requests for future posts? I'm planning to do more Youtube and DIY's this year, but if there was anything specific anyone would be interested in reading/seeing, do share! 

Hope you all have a lovely weekend! 

xo

5.1.12

against the grain

You know when you take a photo and you think the quality looks fine on the camera display and then you upload to your laptop and are just like 'WTF/how did this happen?/my boyf is such a crap photographer :('? 

Well, that happened. But let's pretend I was going for a grainy Instagram effect because I am trés hip and current. 




The blouse is by Motel's vintage line which seems to have been discontinued online. I got it in the sale at work with some of my christmas money. I also bought the Primark skinnies the other day for £9 and they are amazing. So comfy, a lovely wash and with built in muffin-top eradication technology (read: high rise)! The court shoes were a charity shop find from Bexhill the other week. I have an addiction to pointy shoes with a very small heel at the moment. More glam than flats, less ouchy than heels. 

I've had a few days off work, which has been great. I've been working on side projects, applying for a job or two, staying in my pyjamas for an uncomfortable amount of time and reading books. I just got through this self help book which I found in an Oxfam book shop in Aberdeen. It was sort of a joke buy but has been surprisingly helpful! It has really changed my outlook and given me the motivation I need to sort out the aspects of my life I'm not happy with. So I've decided to go ahead and book that sex change. You will now find my blog at JimFatale.co.uk! Joke! But I do recommend it if you're feeling stuck in a rut and want a new way of thinking.. I'm now onto How to be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran. Jen and Sarah say it's amazeballs, and after only a couple of chapters, I'm in total agreement. 

I'll hush now and let you get back to reading blogs with owners that know how to use autofocus, and perhaps even fancy lenses. I'm not entirely crap, though. You may notice I have given the blog a semi makeover! It is the Blogger 'Simple' template, but it's a start...

xo

1.1.12

Festive Frolicks in Pics

Happy New Year, one and all! 

I thought I'd update y'all with my what I've been up to and blog some of the pictures I've been snapping since christmas day!

Mine and Alex's prezzies under the tree on christmas morning! We spent christmas as just the two of us, which as lovely :)

Us in our chunky charity shop knits.

Me modelling the adorable cat slippers Alex bought me from Topshop! Trés Charlotte Olympia

 Alex also bought me the epic No7 box set for christmas! I am LOVING it! Other prezzies included some clothes, a diary, renewal of my URL, new PJ's, some great books and christmas money! Not all from Alex, I hasten to add!


My festive feast schedule! 

The feast in action! And my jumper making me look about thrice my original size...

We went to visit some friends and exchange presents. This is what I wore. My hair decided to stand up on end for some reason so I decided to roll with it! 

The amazeballs boots Alex got me from a charity shop for christmas! 

Our evening was spent swigging beer and Amaretto respectively...

... and dancing to Michael Jackson on the Wii game Alex's parents got me for christmas! It is amazing, but I am officially CRAP at dancing... There is video evidence but I don't want to ruin 2012 for you before it's even really started. We also watched a film called Moneyball, which was amazing! 

Then we went to my mum's for a couple of days. Boxing Day afternoon was spent largely in the pub, with me being plied with alcohol by mum's pub pals and getting trollied by about 6pm. We then went home and ended up watching Dirty Dancing, where I proved once more my lack of dancing abilities as I tried to join in, much to the amusement of my mum, sister and boyf! 

My bro playing DJ in the pub... 


What I wore yesterday. Picture taken in the staff room at work! 

Oh mirror-shots, how retro! Shirt - new from Motel Vintage at work, Jacket - H&M, Boots - Topshop, Glasses - Gok Wan for Specsavers. Lanyard - model's own.

New Year's Eve dinner - steak, garlic mushrooms and chippies! We had a nice chilled night, watching Crazy Stupid Love (AMAZING film!), drinking more Amaretto and doing yet more Michael Jacko dancing.. I'm pleased to say I achieved 2 out of a possible 5 stars this time round!

Today's outfit: tee - H&M, skirt and hat - Topshop

Today was spent working in a VERY quiet Topshop, falling asleep when I got home and now watching Harry Potter on telly! 

Right, I think we're officially up to date! 

So, I'm looking forward to getting back to regular posting now my shifts at work have calmed down a bit. I'm looking forward to lots of things in general, actually. Very psyched for 2012! 

Hope you all had an exquisite festive period?! Can't wait to catch up on everyone's blog posts!

xo