The 30 Day Challenge: It’s the end!

So, it’s come to the end of April and my attempt at the 30 Day Challenge – at the halfway point I’d (somehow) seen an actual difference in my measurements, and now that the 30 days are up, it’s time to see the final result.

Now, I haven’t exactly played by the rules (shown below) – it was more of my own adaption, but I took the shopping list and adopted a healthier, green tea-based lifestyle.

30 day challengeThere were obstacles to overcome, such as my great dislike of fruit (which is a Challenge staple, dammit), my birthday celebrations (green tea was swiftly swapped for prosecco), and then Easter (chocolate. Lots of chocolate).

I did, however, stick to my adaption (and I’m fairly certain a bout of tonsillitis may have helped), but here are my measurements:

Before                           Halfway                              After                      Difference

Bust: 35 inches                  Bust: 34 inches                        Bust: 34 inches                     Bust: – 1 inch

Waist: 27 inches                Waist: 26 inches                      Waist: 25 inches                   Waist: – 2 inches

Hips: 38 inches                  Hips: 36 inches                       Hips: 35.5 inches                  Hips: – 2.5 inches

 

I have to say I’m surprised, chuffed and slightly baffled – I wouldn’t say I have a terrible diet (doughnuts for breakfast is allowed, right?) but somehow, just adopting certain healthier choices has made a difference.

I’m not overly fussed about inch loss, but I would like to be healthier, and I have to say I do feel better inside and out. I would definitely recommend the 30 Day Challenge and I think I’ll stick to some of the rules – I’m a changed woman!

– love Stef x

Mani Monday #17

After all of the Easter chocolate (which really didn’t last the week), I wanted to do something refreshing with my nails and if you haven’t already noticed… I love blue like Kel loves orange soda!

I’m trying my hardest to mix it up for you guys but I’m afraid this time it’s blue (da ba dee da ba die). Actually two shades of blue and a little white thrown in for good measure.

My go-to tool for this week is the make-up sponge. I love the sponge because of the ombré effect – it’s a great way to create amazing looking nails, especially when you are limited for time. Also it allows so many different colour combinations so you can literally go crazy!

To start, I used a classic white nail colour as my base. Then I painted my chosen colours directly on to the sponge in two stripes side by side. I simply applied the paint by dabbing the sponge on the nail. I tend to do one big dab then build on it. My tip is to keep the polish lids open so you can quickly apply more to the sponge if needed.

Top off with a clear top coat after it has dried, although sometimes I do the top coat earlier as it can help to blend the colours.

Et viola! Quick and effective nail paint that is guaranteed to turn heads in the office – obviously the more contrasting the colours, the more striking the nails will be.

What colours will you be trying? We would love to hear from you!

– love Clare x

Mani Monday #16

Happy Easter from everyone at the SWHH Team! We hope you have all enjoyed the long weekend and of course the Easter eggs.

So for this Mani Monday, I have been holding out on my Models Own collection specifically for this week!

I don’t know what or who inspired their Speckled Egg collection but to me, it’s the black glitter and pastel colours that create the perfect reminder of Mini Eggs and therefore Easter!

I have already raved about Models Own and once again nothing’s changed! I love this collection and the only downside is it needs a few coats and it (like all other glitter polishes) is a pain to remove!

If only I had Mini Eggs for a photo comparison but I’m afraid chocolate and I have a contract that goes way back: it acknowledges that if there is chocolate within my presence it will be eaten and I will enjoy every bite! Clearly after this weekend, I need to find a gym – never going to happen.

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– love Clare x

The Juice Diet #3: Well, this is awkward…

So, I’m just going to say it, the juice diet and I parted ways about two weeks ago – not intentionally though.

I could list all of my reasons/excuses (moving house and being unable to find my juicer being just one factor) but I won’t, there is no real excuse if you’re dedicated.

Although I would like to start it up again, (I am currently on my week of  ‘eating clean’ before I go right back to just juice), I do have to tell you what I did learn from coming off the extreme diet.

1. Eating real food hurts

Big time. On day one of moving day, having not eaten a thing, we opted for a takeaway. Eyes being bigger than my belly, and the fact I am greedy (hence the multiple diets) I had a huge plate full. By the time I had finished I actually felt like I was dying. Moral of the story: don’t eat a plate of chips when you have practically starved yourself for three weeks.

2. You will gain back the weight you lost

I didn’t sit and gorge on take out, and I have had some very healthy meals, but every single pound and inch I managed to lose has crept back on. Makes sense though really, what I lost in two weeks I put back on in two weeks. #depressed.

3. Motivation is hard when you’re hungry

When I am laying in bed watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager, (don’t judge – Daren Kagasoff is a BABE), I have every intention of starting the next day a lot better – none of this waiting for Monday nonsense. But then lunch time comes, and I’m hungry and well, I just want a big-dirty-white-bread-sandwich loaded with mayo.

4. Planning ahead is the key to a diet/life change

Seriously. Due to the above, you really should plan your meals and then you can really get your head in the game.

5. The nutrients really didn’t make me feel any better

I was loaded with all sorts of vitamins which I had read were supposed to make me full of beans and feel like a goddess. I didn’t. I was cold, tired and short-tempered to name but a few. I barely had the energy to do anything other than sit and I quite honestly felt miserable. The only joy I felt was hopping onto the scales and seeing the numbers drop – this was literally my only motivation and is enough to make me do it again to kick-start the weight loss.

I am generally quite unhappy with my weight, so if any of you out there have any tips, recommendations or indeed magic pills, please send them my way. I don’t want to die of heart disease.

– love Carla x

The 30 Day Challenge: The halfway point

We’re halfway through April and that means I’ve somehow gotten halfway through the 30 Day Challenge.

Well, to be completely honest, I’ve probably done about four days of it properly – I had three days off entirely for the birthday weekend (prosecco and cake aren’t listed oddly enough), and for the remaining nine days I’ve ‘adapted’ the challenge.

Granola was pretty hard going, so I switched to Cheerios (same thing, ish) and for lunch I may have opted for soup over salads. Dinner-wise I have stuck to the idea of fish, rice and veg, with plenty of water and green tea in between.

And do you know what? It has worked.

I feel better for it and I’ve lost inches – actual weight loss I have no idea about as scales are forbidden in the Keeling household, but here are my before and after measurements thus far:

Before                              After                           Difference

Bust: 35 inches                  Bust: 34 inches                         Bust: – 1 inch

Waist: 27 inches                Waist: 26 inches                       Waist: – 1 inch

Hips: 38 inches                  Hips: 36 inches                         Hips: – 2 inches

I’m rather impressed, especially considering I haven’t exactly followed the rules, but I will endeavor to maintain this healthier approach to food. For now, it’s a big woop to me and a celebratory green tea (rock ‘n’ roll)…

Have you tried the 30 Day Challenge? How did you find it?

– love Stef x

Spratt Says: Wife Material

Spratt SaysAs I reach my mid-twenties it was inevitable that some of my closest friends would eventually grow up long before me; buy a house, have a baby, get married etc. and while I’m over the moon for these friends – despite cutting the best years of their lives short – on a personal level I could never take such a big leap so soon.

I have no intention, at least for the time being, to ever get married but due to the actions of some of the aforementioned friends it got me thinking about what sort of woman it would take to change my mind.

What would I consider the perfect wife material?

As easy as it would be to make a typically sexist “whoever makes a good sandwich” joke right now, I’d like to think I’m better than that, so I’ve put some thought in to it.

Back in 2010 scientists claimed to have found a mathematical formula for the perfect wife, which in a nutshell concluded that a bride should be five years younger than the groom, share the same cultural background and be the more the intelligent of the pair if a marriage is to succeed.

Now with the exception of intelligence, I’ve seen all of the above most mornings on Jeremy Kyle and it’s hard to believe they’re destined to live happily ever after despite the best efforts of Jezza and Graham, so I came to my own conclusion and that is that this survey is utter trollop.

The perfect wife I’d assume should be no different to what a woman would regard as the perfect husband. Marriage is essentially teamwork and therefore both man and wife should have a similar level of intelligence, same interests, equally domesticated and so on.

I don’t think it’s that complicated but it’s not something that is likely to ever interest me, although I understand why some do but who knows, maybe one day I’ll make a woman very happy… and probably miserable the rest of the time.

 

Love, relationships & dating: What I’ve learnt so far…

So it happened. I turned 25 and technically at my age and current romantic status, I’m somewhat classed as ‘on the shelf’ – oh goody.

Having said that, as a newly single person I’ve been thrown into the ‘Dating Game’ without really having any prior knowledge or experience – constantly being in relationships for nearly a decade leaves you slightly lacking on what is the social norm.

But, through my relationships and recent singledom I have so far learnt the following things:

1. Teenage relationships/first loves are generally psychotic

My first actual relationship was at age 17 with a lad I met on a summer’s day through mutual college friends. Hormones were rife, drama was daily and the easiest way to sum the year-long partnership up is simply, psychotic. One day said lad promptly disappeared without us having actually broken up – technically we’re still together, 8 years going strong.

2. Telling people you dated your boss gives the wrong impression

Even if you were only a Christmas temp, worked together for a mere eight weeks and were a couple for five years – despite all of these factors, people will immediately assume you’re that kind of girl…

3. Parents can get a little too involved

It’s always nice when your parents approve of your boyfriend, it makes life easier. My parents, however, got what I can only describe as ‘attached’ to a particular ex – so much so that even though we’d broken up, he remained living with us for a further five months. #Awkward.

4. Accidental homewrecking happens

That sounds worse than I intended, but bear with me. Both of my more recent exes were in relationships when I met them, and though I certainly didn’t have anything to do with either of them while they were with their respective partners, not everyone you meet will always be single.

Dating Game

5. Just do what feels right at the time

I’d known my last boyfriend for seven years before we finally got together. Two months into the relationship, I moved out of my parents house and into my own flat – with the boyfriend in tow. Everyone thought it was mental and far too fast, and maybe it was, but at the time it worked and we both wanted to – so why not? There isn’t a life blueprint we’re supposed to follow, so as far as I see it, do what you want.

6. Work and pleasure don’t mix

Ever. Unless you both know exactly what you a) want, and b) are doing, do not do it. Although you’re never really meant to regret anything in life (everything is a lesson, blah blah) we all make mistakes. But seeing said mistake everyday from 9 to 5 is not what you want.

7. Dating is not like Sex and the City…or any other TV show or film

There’s no closet filled with designer clothes that you get to model night after night, from one swanky bar to the next. There certainly isn’t an unlimited supply of Jimmy Choos or Louboutins and there most definitely isn’t a swarm of handsome Prince Charmings waiting to woo you.

8. Sitting in your pants eating Pringles and watching Netflix is frowned upon

When you’re in a relationship, staying in and watching telly is socially acceptable. When you’re single, it’s considered a little sad. Apparently I should be ‘putting myself out there’ and letting my friends who are in relationships live through me as I recount my dating escapades. But all I really want to do is sit in my pants of an evening, feast on Pringles and watch everything on my Netflix list.

9. Men and women can never be ‘just friends’

As demonstrated here. The naive amongst us will inevitably experience what is apparently known as a ‘classic smash and pie’ by someone you thought was a) a friend, and b) genuine. Pick yourself up, learn from it and above all, never let it happen again. Men are never in it for the friendship and the sooner you discover that, the easier (and shittier) the world becomes.

10. Be happy

The most important thing I’ve learnt in the last ten years is that you should always put your happiness first. I know that I deserve to be happy regardless of my romantic status. I was in a relationship and I was happy – as soon as I wasn’t and I knew it couldn’t be fixed, I got out of it. I’m single, and although I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m rolling with it. I’m not going to spend this time pining for Mr Right, I’m just going to be happy.

– love Stef x

Mani Monday #15

After ruining my nails mid-week, I have forced the world to see my bare naked nails due to lack of time – unfortunately I have gained an unhealthy obsession with Video Game High School (VGHS), a Youtube series that needs no more explanation then the title.

So it’s no surprise that I unknowingly took inspiration from the show for this week’s Mani Monday!

I have been dying to get my chevron on for awhile, I even bought a fresh roll of masking tape for the occasion… like three months ago.

Finally I finished season two of VGHS and could put some time into nails. It may have been coincidence that I chose the two colours of VGHS as my nail paint, however, I love blue and I bought the yellow a few weeks back and have been trying to work it into a design since.

If I could I would have painted the chevron on top of the main colour using tape as a guide. Sadly the yellow is a opaque paint and requires numerous layers so if I had done this it would have been green!

I simply cut out the chevrons from the masking tape (pre-nail paint to save from smudges).

After painting on my yellow base coat, I very carefully added the masking tape to each nail and topped with a coat of blue.

When it comes to removing the masking tape the internet usually says to wait until the varnish has dried. Regrettably, in my case the top colour was a thick varnish that would take forever to dry so instead I removed it as soon as I painted to avoid a stringy sticky mess.

I would advise choosing a quick and thin drying varnish to save the pain.

My lines aren’t perfect but I’ll be supporting VGHS all week as I eagerly and not so patiently wait for the third season.

– love Clare x

RIP Sue Townsend

Yesterday the literary world lost a true great. The wonderful Sue Townsend passed away aged 68, and it’s safe to say generations of book lovers will be mourning – and rightly so.

The diaries of Adrian Mole have been around for more than 30 years since the first book – The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4was published in 1982.

Adrian Mole

I discovered Adrian Mole when I was about ten years old and have read the entire series several times over – I even had the 2001 television series with Stephen Mangan and Helen Baxendale as Adrian and Pandora on VHS.

Adrian Mole is one of the greatest characters ever created and it will be with a heavy heart the next time I re-read those well-loved diaries.

RIP Sue Townsend.

Sue Townsend

– love Stef x