Monday, 30 September 2013

83. Lifestyle // (Attempt #2 At The) Spending Ban

As you will know, I attempted a spending ban a month or so ago (here) but failed miserably after just two weeks! Oops. However, here I am, I'm back and I'm raring to go.

September was a very skint month for me as I over spent ridiculously at the start of the month, and suffered the consequences for the next three weeks. But for October I am vowing to be careful with my money, conscious of what I'm spending my pennies on and to live within my means.

Excuse my French...

That means, no more clothes, make-up, beauty, skin and haircare products. No magazines, no bits and bobs for my bedroom, no stationary, books or other unnecessary items! Obviously if I run out of, for example, deodrant or foundation, it can be repurchased but only if it costs the same amount (or less) than the original. That's fair, isn't it?

I'm going to run this Spending Ban from today (Monday, September 30th) until Monday, November 11th. In those 6 weeks, I can obviously spend money on food (but not a fortune on munchies, lunches or snacks whilst I'm at work), seeing friends and spending time with S. It's mainly shopping that's out of the question.

If you follow me on Twitter, you will know that S and I are saving up for a flat, as well as a holiday, and so many other things that we need to make our future together perfect, so it's very important that I learn the importance of money, and I'm hoping this challenge will help me do just that.

I will update once a fortnight to let you all know how I'm getting on and how much money I've saved!

Spending Ban's are all the rage at the moment, so if you're taking part in one too, please leave me a comment to let me know and I can check your posts out!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

82. Health // Time To Get Serious

You may have noticed that I slipped off the radar somewhat with the Get Fit in 12 Weeks challenge. It just wasn't right for me. I did try - a bit - but then, as usual, I got bored and gave up and ate chocolate and pizza instead...


Two weeks later, I feel revolting. My clothes feel the tightest they have all year, my stomach feels bloated and swollen and my skin, hair and nails are in dire condition. The only thing that has changed recently is my eating, it's gone from bad... to worse. I'm putting the blame for all the physical side effects on my atrocious diet and (non-existent) exercise regime. Time to get serious, and sort this sh*t out.

I'm going to be completley honest this time. I weigh around 200lbs. Bare in mind that I'm only 5' 4" and we're looking at a lot of excess weight here. My ideal weight would be around 130lbs; the last time that I weighed under 140lbs was when I was 14. When I met S, I was around 155lbs and I was happy with my weight, shape and size. I'd love to get back there... So, I'm aiming for a goal weight of 154lbs (11 stone) - I know this may sound like a lot to many people, and to be honest I would still be classed as overweight, but I can't imagine myself every being slimmer than that.

For one, I have big boobs and big hips, they aren't going to just disappear. In the words of Bridget Jones, I will "always be just a little bit fat" but I'm fine with that. 

So how can I lose around 50lbs/3 1/2 stone? And how quickly?!

For me, it's not about how quickly I can lose the weight, it's about actually losing it. If it takes 6 months, GREAT! If it takes a year, NO WORRIES! If it takes longer? WHO CARES! I'll be heading in the right direction. I have patience.


I researched into juice and shake diets but I don't think they're for me; I love food, nothing will ever stop that, and there is no way I could live off shakes and smoothies (unless they contain biscuits, pasta or ice-cream). I've also thought long and hard about joining Slimming World and, to be honest, I think I'm going to go for it! I'm going to try a month of doing this by myself and then I'll see whether I could do with the extra support, advice and sense of community. 

I won't be making any drastic changes to my diet: nothing is banned, I'm not going to be gyming it four times a week, I'll not be living off celery sticks and ice cubes, no, I'll do it sensibly.

I'm planning on having a poached eggs on a bed of salad, followed by a small bowl of porridge (with added cocoa powder... well, I've got to have one treat!) for breakfast before work. A chicken, tuna or ham salad and a smoothie for lunch, veggie sticks with dip as a snack in the afternoon when I hit the 3 o'clock slump(!) and then a hearty, but balanced, meal in the evening, with fruit and yoghurt if I get peckish before bed. 

I'm aiming for around 1,600 calories per day which should allow me to lose about 1.5lbs per week without exercise, or 2-3lbs if I exercise several times a week. I think this is a reasonable expectation: 2lbs would be amazing, 1.5lbs would also be great.


In terms of exercise, I will try to up to anti a bit, but I'm making no promises. I'm no gym bunny, I hate exercise. It makes my boobs hurt, my back ache and my head feel like it's going to explode! I'm hoping to find something that will gradually increase my fitness; such as pilates, yoga and brisk walking, and do around 2 hours of exercise per week, to help with toning. 

Although, as mentioned above, I'm not fussed about how long it takes me to shift this flab, it would be incredible if I could reach by goal weight by July 2014. That's when S and I are planning on a holiday abroad so it would be fantastic to be able to walk around in a bikini (I haven't even worn a swimming costume in public since I was about 14) and not give a sh*t about my wobbly bits. 

Anyway, this has been another rambly post (i'm rather good at those, aren't I?!) so I'll round it up. 

I'm kick starting this diet healthy lifestyle tomorrow, in time with Stoptober (in which I'm trying to kick the ciggies!), and also my Spending Ban (which I will be posting about on Tuesday!)! So October is going to be a tough month but I've got lots to look forwards to also. I'll be updating you all along the way with my journey and I'll be throwing in a few healthy recipes here and there too!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

81. Lifestyle // The First Tag

The beautiful, inspirational, LOVELY Imogen (seriously, I could go on all day!) from The Bluebird & The Robin was kind enough to tag me in this wonderful 'The First Tag'-tag... I never know how I'm meant to word that but, hey, who cares?! IT'S A TAG POST. And a nostalgic one...

First Best Friend

When I was younger, I used to change my best friend every. single. week. I'm still indecisive (not with friends so much now!) but it's definitely a trait that has stayed with me forever. I remember my first group of best friends; Soph, Arnia and Megan. We all went to the same primary school and we would spend our breaks together; playing football (I know - can you imagine me playing football?! Seriously though, it's true - there's a photo and everything), making daisy chains on the playing field or making up stories; I once convinced everyone that Michael Owen was my dad, and that my mum was a model... I sound like Tracy Beaker! Vivid imagination, obviously. I remember going round to Arnia's farm and climbing up the silo and leaning right over the edge, until her dad came over and shouted at us, I remember walking in on Soph's mum on the toilet and pulling a radiator off the wall by swinging off it... Megan and I went to Disneyland Paris and I spewed as soon as I got there. Why is it that I only remember the bad/embarrassing things?! 

First Kiss

I am cringing so hard. I didn't have my first kiss - well, what I'd count as a kiss (and by that I mean a hormonal, teenage sloppy snog with lots of teeth and saliva) - until I was fifteen. Drunk, in a tent, with a boy who had a girlfriend. *hangs head in shame* Don't judge.

First Concert

I was lucky enough to go to quite a few concerts when I was younger! I remember going to see STEPS with Megan (mentioned above) and I bought these amazing/hideous gold, shiny trousers which I thought were just the BEST, to wear to the concert. I remember afterwards when I was in that same shop where I bought the trousers from, and a girl said "oh my god!! they are disgusting!!" about the trousers. I never wore them again. Anyway, I'm digressing... I also went to see S Club 7. TWICE. I know, I know, I was privileged  I don't remember much about any of the concerts though, probably because I would have been far too short to see anything... and probably far too scared of the flashing lights, the screaming and the thousands of people, to enjoy it.

First Celeb Crush

Ben out of A1. Those curtains, those big eyes, that...? Well, I have no idea to be honest. For some reason, I thought he was the most beautiful creature I'd ever set eyes on (when I was about ten). I remember he was on Big Brother (or something?) a few years ago, and I actually *blushes* still had a little bit of a soft spot for him then. Over the years I have also been madly in love with almost every character off Grange Hill (back in the day), Paul out of S Club 7, Calvin from S Club Juniors and Lee out of STEPS. I had the best taste, ever.

First Job

I always find it quite hard to remember my first job as I've had quite a few in the last 6 years! But I think it was either washing dishes at a local hotel, or - well - washing dishes at a pub on a Sunday. Needless to say, I quit each of them after about two shifts as I couldn't stand the pressure. Just kidding, I just hated the pruney-hand-effect.

First Phone

Another of my little fibs; I used to always borrow my mum's phone - one of those old Nokia's that you could only either text, call or play Snake on - and text my friends from it, telling them it was my phone. It was all going swimmingly; everyone believed I had a phone, just like everybody else, until I arranged to meet one of my friends at the pool and she rang my *cough* my mum's *cough* phone on her way to meet me, only to have my mum answer and inform her that actually this is her phone, not her daughters. Illusion = shattered. In all honesty, I don't remember when I got my first phone, but at least I remember when I first pretended to have one.

First Music I Bought

THIS. 

First Tweet

I've tweeted so much that I can seriously not go through all my tweets to find my first one but... I think it was something about having a shower? #YOLO

First Make Up

I have to say, for this one, I have absolutely no idea. I don't even remember when I started wearing make-up but I think it was probably when I was about 11 or 12 and I went through a craze of wearing bright blue eye shadow (WITH NO MASCARA. OMG. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!) 

First Word

Much like Imogen, I asked my mum and she pondered it for a moment and then shrugged, "I really don't know." Thanks mum... I presume it was something incredibly mundane like 'mum' or 'dad,' otherwise I'm sure she would of remembered...


First Pet


Oh God, we've had so many pets. Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, lizards, rabbits, goldfish! When I was really young we had two gorgeous cats, Bailey (named after my mum's favourite drink) and Benson (named after my dad's favourite brand of cigarettes, rock and roll bitchezzzz), and they're the first pets I really remember. We also had a cat called Cougar but I don't remember if that was before or after?! My memory is honestly horrific. I should never have agreed to do this post. We also had a menagerie of goldfish (mainly sourced from fun fairs), the most notable (meaning he probably lasted for more than a day) being Rainbow. Imaginative as ever!


Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed my rather rambly (and rubbish, sorry) attempt at The First Tag. If you want to have a go at creating a (much) better post, go ahead! But for now I'm going to tag three of my favourite bloggers:


Magdalena

Dani
Cat

Friday, 27 September 2013

80. Recipes // Chocolate Orange Brownies

I got a great response on Twitter when I mentioned that I was going to be baking a personal favourite of mine; chocolate orange brownies, for my works' Macmillan Coffee Morning this week. We held our coffee morning on Thursday rather than Friday as most of the reporters (I work for a local newspaper) are out of the office on a Friday.

Anyway, boring-ness aside, we raised over £300 through sealed bids for amazing prizes, a tombola, a raffle, donations and lots of yummy cakes available to purchase, and I had a wonderful time! I even won a Yankee candle, some Nails Inc polishes, a bottle of white wine and a box of Malteasers... everything you'd ever need for the perfect girls night!

So, after the great response and lots of requests for me to share my brownie recipe, here goes!


I used a recipe from BBC Good Food's website, but adapted it slightly.

Ingredients

200g butter,
200g chocolate (I used Cadbury's Dairy Milk),
Grated zest of 1 large orange,
4 eggs,
350g caster sugar,
100g plain flour,
50g cocoa powder (I used Cadbury's hot chocolate powder),
Juice from 1/2 large orange,
120g Terry's chocolate orange (equivalent of 3 bars),
Cocoa powder to dust

Method

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees,
2. Melt the butter, chocolate (not the Terry's!) and orange zest over a low heat,
3. Leave to cool whilst you mix sugar and butter until fluffy,
4. Sift in the flour and cocoa butter in with the sugary-buttery mixture,
5. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture
6. Add the chunks of Terry's and the orange juice,
7. Pour the mixture into a greased baking tin/tray,
8. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes,
9. Best served warm with ice-cream.

Monday, 16 September 2013

79. Recipes // Homemade Chilli Nachos

Hello guys.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! I'm lucky enough to only be working two days this week before my mum and I are off to the Lake District for four days - I can't wait! I'll hopefully have more time whilst I'm away to catch up on blogging and get a few posts written up and scheduled, I'll also be able to take some more photographs with my new camera *yay* 

Anyway, I'm getting carried away... Today's post is a really yummy recipe that Shane and I tried for the first time last weekend; nachos with chilli! We've made nachos with cheese and jalapenos and all that jazz before, but this time we made our own chilli and it's surprisingly simple, so here goes!

As we both work full-time and usually don't eat until about 7 o'clock, we decided to take a few shortcuts *cough* ready made mix *cough* so I've been entirely honest about these in the recipe.

Ingredients (for 2/3 people)
400g steak mince
1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 x peppers, sliced
1 x medium sized onion, diced
250g Mexican cheese (available in Iceland and Tesco)
Handful of sliced jalapenos
1 x packet of nachos
1 x tin of baked beans
1tsp chilli powder
1tsp paprika
1 x packet of Schwartz Chilli con Carne mix 

Optional: Guacamole and Soured Cream to serve.

Method
1. Once all your vegetables have been prepped, brown your mince and onion in a pan
2. Whilst the meat is browning, follow the instructions on the Chilli mix to create a sauce
3. When the meat is browned and the onions have softened, add the sauce
4. Also add the baked beans, chopped tomatoes and peppers (and any seasoning)
5. Heat all the way through and then leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes on a low heat
6. Whilst simmering, spread the nachos in a baking dish and grate the cheese
7. When cooked, pour the chilli on top of the nachos and spread evenly


8. Sprinkle with grated cheese and jalapenos (if you want an extra kick!)


9. Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden


10. Top with guacamole and soured cream, and enjoy!


Have you ever made your own nachos?
Do you have any recipes for homemade guacamole?

Lots of Love,
Becci xo

Saturday, 14 September 2013

78. Lifestyle // Birthday Wishlist

It's only 30 days until I turn 21. To me, that's a big deal. 21 marks being an adult, a proper adult, where I'm old enough to do just about anything (except get a free bus pass). I'm really excited about it but, at the same time, very nervous as I feel that I'm not where I should be in life. I know this is silly as I've got a lot to be proud of and everyone achieves at different stages in their lives, but that's just my outlook on my situation.*sigh* Let's cheer this up a bit!

I thought I'd do a birthday wishlist as I love creating wishlists, and I thought it'd be a good way to subtly hint, to Shane, what I'd be happy to receive. Not that birthdays are about presents... No, of course its not. (I love presents).



This beautiful Kindle cover is available from NotOnTheHighstreet for £26.50. Now, you may think that's quite pricey for what is basically just a bit of fabric, but it's so pretty and it's handmade. However, I would also need a Kindle to go with this cute cover ;-)

I've been looking for some ankle boots for a while now and these glam cut-out panel buckle boots from New Look are perfect! I think they'd look great on a night out, or even in the office with a pencil skirt and some coloured tights to make them stand out, and for only £24.99 you can't go wrong!



Whilst browsing NotOnTheHighStreet I also stumbled across this adorable personalised 'love letter' necklace. The chain and envelope are made of gold and inside there is a removable wooden inscripted note; you can choose any wording you like. I think this is such a lovely idea, and for £48 it'd be a piece of jewellery you'd keep forever.
Now, I know this isn't the newest or most fashionable scent, but I love it. Unfortunately, I ran out of Euphoria well over a year ago and I've never been able to justify buying myself perfume, so I think asking for this newer scent as a birthday present would be ideal. You can find Calvin Klein's Forbidden Euphoria on Fragrance Direct for £36.95 (100ml).


It wouldn't be a birthday wishlist without flowers! I spotted this gorgeous, sumptuous Autumn Sunshine bouquet on Interflora, and now I'm desperate for them. They'd brighten up any room! Interflora also offer a bottle of red wine (double win) and free delivery with the bouquet, which makes the deal even sweeter. This lovely bouquet is £39.95 for the standard size, or £49.95 for the large bouquet.

What do you think of my birthday wishlist?
Is there anything you'd add?

Lots of Love,
Becci xo

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

77. Lifestyle // The Ladyboys of Bangkok

Hello lovelies!
 
I was privileged enough to receive two free tickets to go and watch a performance of the Ladyboys of Bangkok in Newcastle this week! Yup, you heard that right: the Ladboys of Bangkok. Now, if you haven't heard of the Ladyboys of Bangkok, a) where have you been?! b) you are missing out.
 
After, obviously, snapping up the chance to go and see such a world renowned show, my sister and I set off for the big city of Newcastle. I went directly from work - meaning changing my shoes, doing my make-up and eating my tea on the train! Stay classy, ladies! - and arrived in 'the toon' just after 6 o'clock.
 
It was icy cold and as me and my sister stumbled (we were wearing heels, 'nuff said) along to the specially made Pavilion at Times Square, our excitement rose! There were big groups of girls waiting outside the entrance and the atmosphere was great. We could hear music coming from inside the Pavilion and there was even a bouncer at the door. *how posh*
 
After collecting our tickets, we made our way into the Pavilion, past the bouncer (who was actually just there to check tickets, oh, and take photos of us posing....) and we were shown to our seats by a rather 'fit' (as quoted by my sister) waiter? steward? who knows what you call them.
 
We each picked up a drink (£4.60 for a rose & lemonade, *heart attack*) and were sat at a table with four other people, each armed with their cameras, of course. I took my trusty (new) Canon PowerShot with 60x zoom (I was hoping to catch a glimpse of something naughty). 
 
The Pavilion looked incredible. There were about thirty round tables, each seating six people, and the room was dimly lit but had a pink tinge to it, which was very cool. We were almost directly in front of the stage which was also very cool (but also very scary later on...) and everyone seemed to be having a great time. It turned out the atmosphere inside was a million times more electric than it was outside.
 
And then it began. Oh my God.


The ladies/boys/ladyboys looked beautiful. Seriously, beautiful. They wore the most incredible (and very sparkly!) outfits and sang *cough* mimed *cough* along to some brilliant songs; ranging from Girls Aloud and Gangnam Style to Tom Jones and Nicki Minaj, there was something for everyone!
 

 
The entire way through me and my sister kept looking at each and mouthing "oh my God, she's so pretty!" or "I wish I looked like her" down to the less classy "she's got a lovely bum" and "I can't believe every single person on stage has a willy..."
 
Honestly, they say 'you won't believe it until you see it' and that is so true. When I told my friends, colleagues and boyfriend about it they said 'you'll be able to tell it's just a man in a dress' but when I showed them the photos they were gobsmacked (great word, by the way). The amount of work these girls put in to look like, well, girls, is unreal. I read that they have hip and buttocks implants as well as the more obvious breast implants! That's total dedication, and it pays off. Some of the girls were simply stunning.

The show was also hilarious. There were some brilliant renditions and adaptations of some famous songs, including a quite emotional 'My Way' by Frank Sinatra, and a laugh-out-loud song about 50 Shades of Grey. Seriously, I've still got it stuck in my head...
 
As well as the incredible entertainment, there were also a variety of drinks and even home-cooked Thai food (I know! *drools*) on offer. However, because of the price of the drinks(!) I decided to avoid the food, in the worry that it would cause me to go overdrawn! There was also a gorgeous outside lounge for us dirty smokers to relax (and inhale toxins) in, which had been decorated especially for the events.

 
There was also lots of audience participation which made the night even better as it's always great to get involved; whether it was going up on stage for a bit of a snog, doing the conga around the pavilion or just singing and clapping along to the music! 
 
The event ended at around 8.30pm meaning it was just over an hour and a half long (taking out the breaks) and, if I'd have paid, I think it would be worth every penny! I've already been recommending it to people at work and friends. If you have the chance - GO!
 


 
Lots of Love,
Becci xo

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

76. Recipes // Steak Black Bean Stir-Fry

 In the spirit of the Get Fit in 12 Weeks challenge (which I promise I am trying harder at this week!), I decided I'd cook a high-protein meal for us to enjoy, so last weekend I decided I'd make a delicious stir-fry. 

After nipping to the butchers and discussing what meat is best for a stir-fry (as you can imagine, not a very interesting conversation...) I settled for rump steak. One of the perks of having a butcher for a boyfriend is a 20% discount off meat (and that includes bacon sandwiches, praise the lord!) I popped into a couple of shops and picked up some veggies, stir-fry sauce (as if I could be bothered to make my own sauce?! Sorry!) and some noodles and I was good to go.

So on Saturday night, after Shane finished a long shift at work, I made this stir-fry and it went down a treat with a glass of Six Hats shiraz whilst watching Dexter, and it's almost entirely guilt-free. Well, not really... but it's not that bad for you!

Ingredients (for 2)
200g sliced mushrooms
1 x sliced green pepper
1 x diced white onion
400g rump steak in slices
1 tbsp olive oil
3 nests of egg noodles
1 x packet of Blue Dragon Black Bean stir-fry sauce
1 x tin of whole water chestnuts (drained)




Method
1. In a pan of boiling water, cook the noodles for about 4-5 minutes until soft



2. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan
3. When hot, add the steak, onion and mushrooms and fry for 2-3 minutes



4. Add the green peppers and water chestnuts


5. After another 2-3 minutes, add the drained noodles and stir in the sauce
6. Mix everything together and serve immediately 


I'm hoping to create some more healthy(ish) recipes over the next 9 weeks of the Get Fit in 12 Weeks challenge! Next on my list is a refreshing smoothie, so keep your eyes peeled for that one!


Lots of Love,
Becci xo

Sunday, 8 September 2013

75. Lifestyle // Spending Ban Update

I have a confession to make... I have failed my spending ban spectacularly! I lasted three weeks. Three weeks without buying any clothes and make-up. Now, I think that's pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. 

So why did I give up, you ask? Well, I needed a vest for work. Just a simple black vest... £5 from Dorothy Perkins. But as soon as I'd bought it I wanted to buy more! I spotted a bag and asked Shane if I should get it, he obviously said 'no' so I left with just the t-shirt, but as soon as I got home I ordered the bag online! *faceplant*

And it was a downwards spiral from there! I've ordered a few new things that I actually needed. Well, maybe not desperately, but I certainly feel that they will 'improve my life' or something like that. Here's what I've been buying lately...


My beautiful new camera! I bought this Canon PowerShot SX500 IS in Argos on Friday as I was fed up with the shoddy quality of my blog photos! I can't wait to start using this camera to get some great, professional looking shots.


I bought this Sleek contouring palette after some recommendations for a few beauty bloggers on Twitter. I used it for the first time yesterday and I love it, I'll be posting a review of it within the next couple of weeks!


Here are a few other bits and pieces that I've picked up over the last week. At the back of the photo you can see the gorgeous burgundy handbag that I spotted in Dorothy Perkins! In front are my new Nicky Clarke straighteners and Babyliss travel hairdryer which will both come in very handy when I'm at Shane's. I also bought up a few little necessities from Superdrug and, as I'm trying to eat healthier, I bought this funky packed lunch box from Amazon which has loads of little compartments inside for me to keep all my healthy snacks.

What have you been buying recently?
What's on your wishlist?

Lots of Love,
Becci xo

Saturday, 7 September 2013

74. Beauty // Maybelline Color Show 'Lavender Lies'

I'm a bit of a nail polish addict. Despite the fact that my nails are in pretty dire condition due to over 10 years of nail biting (this has stopped now, promise!) and gel polish which left them very flaky and weak, I do love to draw attention to them with bright colours.

As I have very pale skin, certain shades really don't work on me; yellow, for example, is a big no! I usually lump for purples, pinks and blues as I think they compliment my skin tone. My current favourite shade is actually a beautiful rich lilac shade from Maybelline.

Maybelline Color Show in 'Lavender Lies' 

Sorry for the poor quality photo! I've got a new camera now which I will be using from now on in my blog posts, so these mobile pics will soon be long gone!

As well as the gorgeous colour, the nail polish itself is a really nice thick consistency and I genuinely think that you could use just one coat and be absolutely fine. I choose to use two to increase the richness of the colour.

This nail polish is only £2.99 and comes in a lovely, sleek bottle. For the price I think this is a brilliant product as it comes in a variety of stunning shades and also doesn't chip that easily either! It usually lasts me about 3 days which is pretty good going as nail polish never lasts very long with me. It also is really easy to remove with nail polish remover and doesn't leave any sort of residue on your nails.

Now, I'm no beauty blogger hence the awful review but BASICALLY this is a good nail polish and if you don't like spending a fortune on beauty products BUY IT. It is available in Superdrug (and probably lots of other places!)

Lots of Love,
Becci xo

Thursday, 5 September 2013

73. Lifestyle // 21 before 21 Update #3

It's now only 40 days until I turn 21, and two months since I began my 21 before 21 list. The last month has been a busy one, and you can see from my August Round up post here, but I still managed to tick off, or make progress on, a few items on the list - any items which have been completed have been striked-through and any that have changed/had progress made, are in bold - any that I have totally and utterly failed at are in red!

So, let's see how I got on...


Health & Beauty
Lose another 20lbs (or reach a weight at which I'm genuinely happy) - I got started on the Get Fit in 12 Weeks challenge; so far I've only lost 1lb but, hey, slow progress is good progress right...? Right?!
Stop biting my nails 
Give up smoking
Get my hair in good condition

Blogging
Reach 50 followers on Bloglovin & 10,000 page views 
Attend a Bloggers meet-up or event - ticket booked for #MinkMeetUp
Get a proper blog layout

Friends & Family
Arrange my 21st birthday celebrations with friends
Have an amazing time in Amsterdam with S (everything is booked & paid for, roll on October 12th!)
Have enough money saved for a deposit 


 Hobbies
Read and review one new book each week (5/19)
The Boy in The River (9/10), Songs of the Humpback Whale (6/10), Oh Dear Silvia (7/10), The Pianist (8/10), Backstory (8/10)
Watch and review one new film each week (12/19)
Blood Diamond (6/10), Wreck it Ralph (8/10), World War Z (7/10), This is 40 (7/10), Snatch (9/10), Angel's Share (8/10), Attack of the Block (6/10), The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (8/10), Cloud Atlas (5/10), Olympus has Fallen (6/10), Bernie (7/10), Oblivion (6/10)
Cook or bake something new each week (6/19)
Chai & Banana Cake, Oreo Cheesecake, Homemade Nachos, Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies, Cranberry Flapjack, Lemon & Blueberry Cake


Financial
Save £600 towards Amsterdam & flat deposit ~ halfway there!
Do not go overdrawn or miss any card payments or bills~ went overdrawn and missed a payment :'(
Material Matters
Buy a good camera
Treat myself to a Kindle Fire HD
Buy or create one item each week for our new home (9/19) - I'll be doing a little post on this soon :)


The Boring Stuff
Pass theory and practical driving test ~ theory test booked!
Find a job that meets my needs, e.g. hours, income, challenging - YES! FINALLY!
Pass first module (The Arts: Past and Present) with a minimum overall score of 70% (currently on 75%, boom!)

What have you achieved recently?

Do you like to set yourself goals?

Lots of Love,

Becci xo

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

72. Lifestyle // August Round-Up

Summer is over and autumn has arrived.
August has zoomed by so quickly that I've actually had to look back through my diary, Facebook and Twitter to remind myself of what the month consisted of and it turns out it was a pretty good month!
August marked my 2nd month in my new job (can I still call it my 'new job' or is it just my job now?!) which has been incredible so far. I honestly have loved every minute of it and I'm already dreading having to leave when this maternity cover is over. I've had lots of new features to work on and I'm really coming into my own; developing relationships with clients, making my mark and achieving my targets. I feel like I've settled in and I had a lovely night out with everybody towards the end of the month which consisted of Italian food, wine and fun.
August also saw Shane and I book our flights to Amsterdam, finishing saving up our spending money and I finally got round to renewing my passport which means we're all set for our long weekend in Holland now.

I also started a Spending Ban, which you can see the posts about here and here, which lasted a  grand total of 20 days before I caved and bought a sculpting palette and a vest - oops! At least I've spent a lot less than money on clothes and make-up than usual, so I'm pretty proud.
I had a chance to catch up with on of my oldest childhood friends before she jetted off to New York for a year of studying abroad this month. We had the loveliest time; filling each other in on everything and anything before an very-nearly-teary farewell. I'm in the process (and by 'in the process' I mean 'I'm going to at some point...') of setting up Skype so we can keep in touch. 
Shane and I had a great night celebrating my best-friend's 20th birthday in the middle of August too, with a big barbecue followed by a trip to the pub and lots of local bands (and ciders) in the sunshine. It was fab.

The next day I headed down to Leeds to celebrate my cousins wedding. It was an incredible day and very emotional as she's had such a hard time in recent years, it was lovely to see her so happy and it was great to catch up with my family.


August also saw me start driving lessons again after an 8 month break! I also got round to booking my theory test and, as soon as that is passed, I'll be getting ready for my practical. Lessons are going well so far and I really can't wait for my next one! It's very liberating.
I set myself some blogging goals in August too, which you can see here, as my blog is quickly becoming a big part of my life and I'd love to see it grow. I'll be letting you all know how I've got on in a few months, so fingers crossed I can reach my targets.
The last weekend in August was probably the best (and not just because it was payday!) Shane and I went out for drinks on the Saturday and ended up at his grandparents old pub, playing bingo! It was very different from our usual nights out but it was honestly so much fun and who can complain when a pint is only £2.25? Sunday was spent sleeping, having a lovely long walk in the park, eating Sunday dinner and watching Dexter in bed.
All in all, August has been brilliant but I'm so glad it's September now. I'm looking forwards to getting wrapped up in a big coat, ankle boots and pretty scarves, spending more cosy nights in and the leaves beginning to change colour.
What was your favourite part of August?
Are you happy that summer is over, and autumn is upon us?
Lots of Love,
Becci

Monday, 2 September 2013

71. Lifestyle // Get Fit in 12 Weeks: Week Two

I - along with Kate at Ruby Duchess - am now officially one week into the Get Fit in 12 Weeks challenge and, to be honest, I think it's going to take me a lot longer than 12 weeks if the past 7 days are anything to go by...
Now, that's not to say that I've been terrible: I haven't. I haven't binged, I haven't eaten loads of chocolate or devoured an entire takeaway in the space of ten minutes; no, I've been okay-ish. 
But okay-ish just isn't good enough.

Although I've done a lot more exercise than usual (despite hurting my ankle with my horrendous squat technique!) and eaten less than normal, I did have a few bad days. During the week I stuck to a pretty healthy diet; porridge or cereal for breakfast, a sandwich with plenty of salad, or pasta with veggies, for lunch but it was when I got home that I found it hard to resist temptation.


On Thursday night, I went out for food and drinks with work and seemed to completely forget that I was trying to eat healthily... 4 glasses of wine, bruschetta and a huge portion of lasagna later... I remembered.


The weekend was also pretty bad! On Saturday I went to Greggs (what was I thinking?!) and ate a ridiculous amount of food. We then went out for drinks in the evening and that ended with a pizza from a pretty dingy takeaway. On Sunday, we treated ourselves to a Sunday dinner, and I also had a little (well, A BIG) bit of chocolate. Oh, and some full fat coke. Oops!


I'm actually quite disappointed with my 'performance' last week, as I was so motivated but just lost track along the way. However, on wards and upwards, as they say! We're now into week two, and that means new challenges!


1. Workout Intensity: start to jog even if it's in intervals; aim to be active for at least 20 minutes, running as much as you can. Or, walk, run or sprint, up the stairs for 20 minutes (including resting). Or, do some sort of exercise or activity that you enjoy and that also burns calories, for 30 minutes! I am going to aim to do some 'intense' exercise for 100 minutes (altogether) this week. 

2. Tone it: the plan suggests press-ups and I've chosen the beginner version as I truly am a beginner when it comes to exercising! I'm aiming for 200 press-ups, in sets of 50 at a time, this week - holding each press-up for 20 seconds. 


Source

3. Cut Down on White Flour: the plan recommends that I cut down on white flour, especially refined varieties such as white bread, pasta, etc, and instead opt for wholemeal pittas, wholemeal pasta or bran-based cereals, as refined wheat turns to sugar really fast which can leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. White flour also makes me bloat, so giving it up will be a win/win situation really! 


4. Say No to Caffeine: it's suggested at this point in the challenge, that I limit myself to two caffeinated drinks a day. To be honest, I don't drink tea or coffee really so this shouldn't be too difficult. It'll be keeping away from coke (of the fizzy, liquid variety...) that'll be the challenge!


So far today I've done really well, despite going out for lunch with a friend, I've managed to eat quite healthily; having a wholemeal bagel for breakfast, a ham & mango wrap with salad for lunch, only one cup of tea, and sausages (I know that's not great but, hey! I'm allowed one treat a day, right?) with potatoes and vegetables, for dinner. I've also done a fair bit of walking around and I'm going to do my press-up's once I've finished blogging for the night!


I can't wait to do my next update a week today: fingers crossed it'll be more positive than this weeks update!


Lots of Love,

Becci xo