Monday, 21 February 2011

NOTD - Barry M Nail Paint in 279 Bright Pink

Hello again pretty people,

Another post for you, this time just a quick one to show you what polish i've got on my paws today: Barry M Nail Paint in shade 279 "Bright Pink" (not very imaginative, eh?)
This is a fabulous Barbie pink, and for a secret Barbie at heart (I may be brunette but I do think I was born with the wrong hair colour sometimes!) I looooove this colour.

I keep meaning to buy more Barry M products, the nail paints in particular, as there's such a varied and beautiful range now available.

Any recommendations?

Melanie x

30 Day Shred Update!

Hello everyone, hope you all had a lovely weekend (I did, Saturday involved a pub lunch followed by an icecream cone then a trip to the cinema to watch Paul - thoroughly recommend it, I might do a Vlog review/recommendation on it!)

Anyway as I am now in Week 2 of my 30 Day Shred DVD, I thought i'd give you a bit of a progress update.
I should say, however, that in the beginning I didn't weigh or measure myself (mostly because we don't have scales or measuring tape in the house!) and I am simply going on how I think i've changed and how I feel overall. I don't think i'm in any way overweight (i'm 5'8 and a half and weight around 10 stone), and i'm fairly tall and gangly (!), but I have noticed that I do put weight on more easily than I would have, say, 2 years ago (I blame this partly on the contraceptive pill and the fact I haven't exercised properly in months!) and would like to tone up my "problem" areas (tummy and bum), as well as increase my fitness.

Week 2 is basically the same as Week 1 in terms of the level I am on (Level 1), which I am ideally going to do for 10 days (i.e. 2 weeks) before moving onto Level 2, although I am considering sticking with Level 1 until I can master some "proper" push-ups (at the moment I can only do the "cheat's" version with my knees on the floor!)

Level 1 involves moves that are central to the 30 Day Shred method, and helps target trouble zones whilst building endurance. You have the choice of following either Anita (easier moves) or Natalie (more advanced) as well as Jillian herself, and there's a definate military feel to the workout, but you are given plenty of instructions and encouragement, and it is evident that Jillian has really thought out in the workout in order to get the maximum results.
The workout is as follows:

(2 minute warm-up)

Circuit 1:
  • 3 minutes of strength = 30 seconds push-ups (modified or full), 1 minute of squats with overhead press, repeat
  • 2 minutes of cardio =30 seconds jumping jacks, 30 seconds jump rope, repeat
  • 1 minute abs = 30 seconds basic crunch, 30 second reverse crunch
Circuit 2:
  • 3 minutes of strength= 30 seconds arm extend and retract to work back muscles using weights, 30 seconds of static lunge coupled with  bicep curls, repeat (lunge on either side)
  • 2 minutes of cardio = 30 seconds "butt kicks" (flicking your legs up behind you in a running motion with goal of literally kicking yourself in the bum!), 30 seconds squat and box, repeat
  • 1 minute of abs = Twisting crunches on either side
Circuit 3:
  • 3 minutes of strength = 30 seconds of chest presses (lying on the floor, arms extended above the chest, lower to floor and repeat, using weights), 30 seconds of side lunges coupled with arm raises using weights, repeat
  • 2 minutes of cardio = combination of all cardio moves in previous 2 circuits
  • 1 minute of abs = bicycle crunches (I hate these!)
(2 minute cool down)

You might be looking at the above list thinking "that looks easy" but trust me, it isn't!
After 20 minutes I am literally dripping with sweat (lovely) and I can definately feel it in my muscles. Because it's only 20 minutes and is very varied in the moves you do, the time flies past and I actually look forward to doing it in the morning rather than dreading it.
The first few days I did it my muscles were so sore I literally couldn't walk (I was at one point crawling up my stairs - yes I am that unfit) but I like the pain as it makes me think my muscles are getting a workout!
I also struggled to complete some of the moves, but now on Day 6 I can get through them a lot better (I was going to say comfortably but that would be going too far - I still end up panting and sweating!)
One area i've already noticed a difference is in my arms - they look far more defined. I do think I have "muscle memory" in this area from previously doing yoga on a daily basis, but doing this DVD with the weights (or in my case 2 tins of baked beans!) has definately helped.
At the moment I haven't really changed my eating habits, as generally I don't eat that bad, but I am determined to become more healthy overall by changing to a more healthy diet (i.e porridge for breakfast, soup for lunch and a good dinner, with things like fruit and oat cakes for snacks) and should hopefully see good results!

Overall I am already feeling a lot better about myself generally, and would definately recommend it to anyone looking to start a new workout, particularly one that doesn't take up much time but is still very effective. Out of 188 customer reviews on 150 are 5-star and 31 are 4-star - say no more!

Next week: update when I embark on Level 2!

I would love to hear if any of you have tried the 30 Day Shred - please let me know!

Melanie x
Thursday, 17 February 2011

New YouTube Video - My Wardrobe Essentials

Morning everyone, hope you're all having a good day so far.

just to let you know I got a couple of videos filmed last night (the first of which is just a quick Vlog about "The King's Speech" - fab film!), and thought you might be interested in my Wardrobe Essentials video.
I consider the following items essential (in my personal wardrobe - I promise i'm not trying to dictate what everyone should have!), and think they form good basics with which to work with:

1. Leggings - so versatile not to mention comfortable! 'nuff said!

2. Leather boots- an excellent investment and can last a lifetime if looked after properly. I've been wearing mine to death over jeans, leggings and thick tights, and think I could continue wearing them through spring and even summer, adding a "tougher" edge to tea dresses etc.

3. Nude/skin coloured underwear - essential for underneath the sheer/floaty tops in fashion at the mo!

4. Jeans (dark coloured and straight-legged in particular) - jeans have to be the most versatile of any piece of clothing and can easily go from day to night with the addition of some heels and a nice top. Dark, fitted jeans can even be worn to work (depending on your dress code of course!) and look fab with the pussy-bow blouses of the moment.

5. A good tailored blazer - can go with casual or more dressy outfits (as I mention in the video, I LOVE the idea of pairing an oversized boyfriend blazer with a white t-shirt, skinny/fitted jeans and a pair of converse!), and you don't necessarily have to spend a great amount to get a decent one - Zara in particular do lovely blazers.

6. Neutral coloured handbag - goes with anything and can be grabbed quickly on the way out the door, whilst more brightly coloured/patterned designs might require a bag change with every outfit!

7. Nailpolish! Dark coloured in particular. I think it is the perfect finishing touch to any outfit to make you look more groomed, and I always feel a lot better with pretty nails, even if i'm just lounging about in jogging trousers!

That's what I think - I'd love to know your wardrobe essentials too!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

NOTD - Avon Matt Nailwear in Violetta

Hello again Lovelies,

Thought i'd give you a wee peek of my nailwear today - Violetta by Avon from their new Matt Nailwear collection.
This was first brought to my attention by Fleur at FleurDeFlorce when she mentioned in a video that she had been sent this nailpolish by Avon to review before the actual release. She raved about it, and so when I discovered that Avon were having a sale in January and I could get a bottle of this for £3 rather than the RRP of £6, I snapped it up.
It looks amazing in the bottle: a stunning deep metallic-y purple, but on application it goes quite a lot darker and duller (which I guess is part of the effect since it's the matt range!)

I'm undecided on this one. I think i'm a definate glossy girl, in the sense I love using my Seche Vite over the top of polishes to get that uber-shine. To me this just looks a bit dull and "blah".
Since i've only had it on a day (and over my Shellac) I can't really comment on the staying power of this polish, but I can say it dries VERY fast on application, and you could probably even get away with just the one coat, as it applies quite densely (however I did two to make it more even).

I have a feeling it might be a grower - what do you think?

Melanie x
Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Get ready to get shredded!

I don't know what it is, but to me there seems to be two major fitness crazes at the moment: Zumba (if you haven't heard of this you've been living on the moon!) and Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred (dum dum dum!).

Now for some reason the former doe not appeal to me in the slightest (I think it might be the cheesy TV adverts) but the latter I cottoned on to through, of course, various people's blogs and YouTube channels (Gemsmaquillage for example).

After reading various reviews, I decided to bite the bullet and put in an order from Amazon, where this DVD is currently available for £4.99. It's also available from a variety of other websites such as and Tesco Entertainment.

If you are like me and don't watch The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels' is the programme's no-nonsense resident fitness expert. A quick look on Amazon brings up a whole host of other fitness DVDs she has produced along with the 30 Day Shred, including No More Trouble Zones, 6-Week Six-Pack and Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.

The synopsis on Amazon describes this particular DVD as a "60 minute integrated program designed to mix cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and an intense focus on the abs to create a dynamic system that can result in extreme weight loss as impressive as 20 lbs in 30 days".
The workout consists of three 20 minute circuit-training workouts (levels 1, 2 and 3, which increase in difficulty with each level) which are designed to burn fat and tone muscle. Each level contains a 20-minute workout based on Jillian's 3-2-1 Strength/Cardio/Ab training circuit: 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of ab work. There's also a brief warm-up session and a cool down stretch. The idea is that if you do 10 days of level 1, 10 days of level 2 and 10 days of level 3 you will see results (hence the name 30 Day Shred!).

Now I am only on day 2, level 1 and honestly I can't walk! Admittedly I may have been a little cocky and thought that 20 mins workout couldn't be that effective (it does fly by - part of the reason I like it!) and the exercises are fairly simple (for example Level 1 circuit 1 Strength involves pushups and an exercise involving small weights to work your back and arms, Cardio is jumping jacks and jump-rope and Abs is the basic crunch) but boy does it hurt the next day! Maybe i'm weird but I like hurting the next day, makes me feel like i've worked out...
All I can say is so far so good, and i'm glad I invested in it. Doing a bit of exercise, even only 20 mins makes me feel much better and sets me up for the day.

I'm going to persist for a few more days and see how I get on, and will do an update next week.
Would anyone like to see before and after pics? Admittedly i'm not exactly overweight, I just wanted to tone up, but if you think there would be a benefit in seeing before/after pics then please say.

Now i'm hobbling off to make a cuppa...

Melanie x

Elle Style Awards and an apology!

I'm sorry readers, I should be awarded the title of World's Worst Blogger.
Over the past few weeks i've been generally poorly and run down (suffering from gastric flu at one point) and so I haven't really thought about blogging to be honest.
I've also been musing about whether or not blogging is something I can be really committed to. I LOVE reading other people's blogs and I really admire those who can post on a regular basis, as it is a lot more time-consuming and requires a lot more dedication than I first thought.
However I'm going to persist for a bit longer, and hope that you will bear with me whilst I find my feet!

Anyhoo back to the main matter in hand....the recent Elle Style Awards! Coming up are some of the best dressed lovelies on the night....
 Can Cheryl Cole (or is it Tweedy now...?) do no wrong?! I love her crush possibly coming up!

 Emma Watson is also someone I admire style-wise. She tends to go for classic pieces whilst still looking fresh and funky - I like!
 I'm not so keen on the style of this dress Blake Lively is wearing, but I LOVE the colour

For some people this particular outfit might not be particularly striking on Helena Christensen, but I like the colours and the ruby-red shoes!

SamCam might be playing on the safe side in this dress, but I love the rich blue colour, and the nude shoes and chunky necklace finish it off nicely.

I don't particularly like this outfit that Geri Halliwell has on, but I thought i'd include her because her figure is AMAZING! She's definately got better with age!

WAG alert! The tan and boobs are too much, but I love a bit of sparkle and think this sequin dress is fab!

Melanie x