Saturday, 8 June 2013

AOG Goes On Holiday

Hey there!
Wow it's been so long since I've blogged I've been on a big blog-vacation and at present im on week 2 of a six week South east Asia trip!

So much has gone on since I last blogged so I thought I would update you with what's happened since my last post.

A biggie is I completed the Chester marathon in 2hrs29. It was an incredible experience the first 10 miles I settled into a decent pace but really battled with the last 3 miles. I was overwhelmed with the support from my family and friends & I raised over £200 for Dementia UK which was amazing!

Training was a 7 month journey and it took up so much of my free time. However I enjoyed the routine and gave 100% of my commitment so I really felt I had accomplished something.

Next up is when am I back?
I hope to come back to regular blogging on AOG in July. For now ive done some incredible things in Malaysia and Thailand and can't wait to blog about them.

I'll be seeing you guys soon.


Monday, 15 April 2013

Half Marathon Training: 3 Weeks To Go

Its just over three weeks until I run my first ever marathon and I have no shame in saying I am bricking it. I began light training in October (see my post about it here) when it was dark and freezing by pounding the treadmill and really working on my distance running, in between running I did toning sessions. From February onwards I began running outside. It still being dark outside after Id finished work I could only run on weekends but now that the weather is brightening up in the evenings I now have the luxury of running after work too.
An average week usually consists of one large run at the weekend and two or three gym visits in between; sometimes I swap the gym visits for a shorter run in the week.
Without sounding like an utter looser I have really enjoyed the process of getting fit for the half marathon. It’s given me a renewed appreciation for the countryside where I live. I’ve ran down lanes that I’ve not ventured down since I was a teenager, and I’ve ran distances that I could have never envisaged without jumping into the car.

Like I had hoped training for this half marathon has given my exercise focus and a purpose and it’s the only reason I have managed to stay motivated for such a long period of time. At present my Stravarun app has recorded 51 miles, 9 hours and 2,021ft spent pounding the pavements since February. I have successfully ran three 7 mile runs and two eight with lots of shorter runs in between. My target is ten miles before I run the half marathon. I’ve been unfortunate in that I have had some really nasty blisters on the ball of my left foot, in fact I’ve clean ripped the ball of my foot up when doing long runs and it has been incredibly painful and equally disheartening. I’ve since  been to my local running shop and had gait analysis (this is when you are analysed running on a treadmill) and invested in some ridiculously expensive running trainers. I’m praying that a little bit of rest for my poor feet should see me complete my ten mile target before my race.
It goes without saying amongst all of this training I’ve lost some weight, nothing extreme but I have noticeably toned up since I started out on my journey in October. It’s strange, my boyfriend has noticed, my parents and even some of my work friends. This wasn’t my initial intention, more like an added bonus but I certainly feel healthier and happier in myself.
Along with learning some discipline and stretching myself way out of my comfort zone I’ve been raising some money for Dementia UK. My page is here. I did a cake stall in work and really was overwhelmed by the generosity of my work colleagues, it really lifted me up knowing they are behind me in all of this.
Along with sharing my experience with you I wanted to show you that if you were like me fitness was always something in your life but never a priority, you have achievements in your life but sport has never been one of them then if your willing to put in the time and effort, to maintain your motivation even when the nights are cold and dark and you may be training alone then you too can do it! I hope next time I blog about my half marathon training I will have crossed the finish line and managed to achieve something that I never though before was possible.
Have you ever set a goal like this before?


Friday, 5 April 2013

La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I Review

La Roche-Posay as a brand has received some fantastic coverage in beauty blogs of recent particularly La Roche-Posay duo.
Ive had a good run with my skin, even in my teenage years I got by relatively spot-free, however in my 20s I have one problem area which seems to flair up repeatedly: between my eyebrows.

The irony is I'm probably more fit and healthy than Ive been in years, Ive looked at my diet, my skin care routine, my choice of makeup and I cant seem to be able to target the problem and most importantly fix it.
Oh how I long to rid of this problem area, every so often I will get a flare up of some angry under the skin hormonal spots. They look vile and the hurt and irritate considerably.

So when browsing the isles in a rare trip to Boots I picked up Effaclar A.I.

Effaclair A.I is a described as a "targeted breakout corrector for oily and imperfection prone skin".  The packaging is very clinical, almost like a prescription product you might receive from the doctor and the tube consists of a narrow tube in which to dispense the product.
The cream formula is quite a thin consistency and spreads with ease using my fingers, I used only a very thin layer of the product when applying to my problem area. I tend to apply this after I have removed my makeup in the evenings and applied my moisteriser.
In truth I'm really disappointed. If anything I found the area I was applying the cream flared up more with more little pimples to accompany my large ones which I was horrified at. I didn't experience any easing of redness of anti inflammatory properties just more spots. So not only was the product expensive but no use to me what so ever. I was really disappointed after
If being a beauty blogger has taught me anything its that over time our skin alters ever so slightly from time to time and products you may not get on with to start you can change your mind on after revisiting them a couple of months later. I remember when I first purchased the Clinique Anti-blemish solutions clear blemish gel and felt much of the same disappointment. Fast forward months later and I would really recommend it for break outs. So Ive not given up completely on Effaclar AI completely but so far I havent recieved the results I had hoped for.
Have you tried La Roche Posay Effaclar A.I?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Setting Up From Scratch: An Interview With Kerry-Ann From Juliet's Kiss.

Ever wondered what it’s like to set up your own business? I don’t know about you but I am always intrigued and filled with admiration for women who have gone ahead and set up their own businesses. You may remember a few weeks ago I did a post about Naomi who has set up her soap company AppleAnd Tree. Today I set up an interview with Kerry-Ann who is the owner and creator of Juliet’s Kiss an online lingerie store which specialises in lingerie to accommodate women who want purse friendly pretty designs and have little waists and a large cup size. I interviewed Kerry-Ann to find out what it’s really like to take the plunge and build her own business.

I think setting up your own business is a huge achievement, can you tell me what led you to set up your Website Juliet’s Kiss?
From an early age I have always been interested in business. I started by helping my dad in his carpet business by going to markets, car boots and helping him in store. I then progressed in my early teens to making cross-stich cards which my dad sold for me at his shop. I did this to help fund my driving lessons and as soon as I had a car the world was my oyster so then I decided to do children’s games and entertainment at local fetes and school fairs. I have continued to do this throughout my years at university as well as having a peddlers license and selling glow sticks  at events for Christmas light ups and bonfire nights. I was going to study business at university and then decided that I knew most of what I was doing so I went for what interested me the most and something I couldn't learn myself. Therefore I did Forensic Science as I've always has an interest in crime scene investigation and the science behind it. I achieved a 2:1 degree at the University in Lincoln and then managed to  get a job as a laboratory analyst 3 months after passing my degree. Unfortunately then I had an allergic reaction to a substance at work and had to give it up and then that's when I thought what next? After a shopping trip to Ann Summers and being told that my chest size is a 30E and they didn't stock bras that size, I started to do my research and realised there are not too many brands which stock bras for petite women with large chest sizes and therefore this is what led me to open a lingerie store which specialises in this.
Did you leave your full time work or did you start your business alongside working?
I had to leave my full time job due to a reaction and now I have focused all my energy on this as well as another couple of projects. One of which is still in very early stages and this will be another online venture. The other project is an already established business called Romeo & Revenge  which is a menswear clothing company who I manage certain areas, give advice and help with productions as does the CEO for me so we have a very 50/50 relationship as he does things to help me and I do the same to help  him expand and grow.
What inspired you to set up a lingerie store?        
I had studied the high street and found myself continuously going to Ann Summers for underwear as I didn't have much option apart from La Senza. Once Ann Summers couldn't help me anymore I then found it upon myself that there was a niche in the clothing market. It was myself which inspired me to set up a lingerie store as I was finding it very hard to find bra's in my size which were variant in styles as mainly what I had found from other brands is that they were quite standard and plain unless you wanted to pay more than for example La Senza. Therefore my aim is to specialise in bra's for petite women with large cup sizes and for each one to be different from the rest in style so they are very fashionable. I will have some styles which are fun and flirty and some which are elegant and classy, therefore there is something for everyone. I will also keep prices at a reasonable high street price to keep them affordable for all ages.
Is there a story behind your brand name Juliet’s Kiss?
The brand name represents the Shakespearian story Romeo & Juliet Act 1 Scene 5 where Romeo meets Juliet at the Capulet ball and they share their first kiss, where true romance shines through although they know they are committing a sin against their families. Therefore this represents the brand with the love you will have for our lingerie and the romantic styles as well as the naughty section of the website to represent the sin and naughtiness of Romeo & Juliets actions as these are the raunchier items such as body stockings, corsets, lace teddies and more.
Can you tell us a little about the work your doing developing new products?
We have produced 5 styles for our first collection. Golden Embrace is a feminine and decadent style, finished in high quality golden lace with sealed trim, over a deep purple satin bra. The cheeky, peekaboo styling to the front, allowing a V shaped section of the smooth satin to be exposed gives a nod to historic fashion, whilst the bow details, featured on the bra straps and also on the full and thong style briefs provide a playful element. Designed to be flattering and sophisticated, as well as youthful and sexy, the Golden Embrace flatters the curves of your derriere with feminine lace panelling on both brief designs.
Purple Presence is a young and bold design, but ideal for everyday use thanks to the smooth satin finish and comfortable shaping. The bow detail to the front of the bra and fashionable yellow polka dot fabric give this set a fun look that younger customers will enjoy, whilst the V shaped front to both brief designs give this set a glamorous appearance that will remain invisible under clothing.
Sweet Lilac provides both sexy detailing and the full support required by larger breasted women. The bra is designed to offer comfort to those wearing a cup size D-G, whilst cut away details make this a daring and provocative style, previously difficult to find in larger sizing. Gold striping and a double strap detail give this lingerie a luxurious feel, despite the High Street price tag, and briefs available in a full or thong style cut also provide the same fun styling, with cut away details and double strapping.
J’aime Dentelle is the sauciest set in Juliet’s Kiss’ debut collection, though it still retains the elegance and sophistication that the whole range exudes. The only long-line bra in the collection, J’aime Dentelle features lace up details suggestive of a sexy and provocative corset, with this feature matched on the briefs also. The deep purple satin is indulgent and rich, whilst the black lace over lay gives the set a dark and mysterious finish, perfect for a special evening. Bow detailing keeps this set feminine and pretty.
For grown up style and added luxury, Juliet’s Kiss have developed the Moonlight Elegance lingerie set, a black satin set adorned with golden lace embellishment that looks expensive and exclusive. With smooth satin cups that remain invisible under clothing, and vine leaf details to the straps to add interest, the bra is perfectly complimented by a range of 3 briefs, all featuring the alluring golden vine design on delicate black satin.
Which lingerie line/high street store do you think Juliet’s Kiss’ future products is most similar to?
I would like to say we are not like other brands as we would not want to be a copy brand and all of our lingerie sets are designed uniquely. However I would say we are a mixture between Ann Summers and there more classy and lace details with the fun and bold patterns of Freya and Panache.
What is your personal favourite item of the products currently on sale at Juliet’s Kiss?
My favourite from the new collection is the Moonlight Elegance set and from our current selection is the oxblood babydoll and the halter neck all in one lace teddy.
What would you like to achieve with Juliet’s Kiss in 5 years time?
In 5yrs I would like to see Juliet's Kiss being stocked in 5 countries; ideally USA, Australia, UK, France and Italy. I would also like to launch Juliet's Boutique and start a womenswear collection but that is a long way off yet. To summarise I would love Juliet's Kiss to be classed as a must have for the underwear drawer for every large chested petite woman.
What recommendations would you make to someone wishing to build their own brand?
To someone who wishes to build their own brand I would say you need a niche as the market can be very saturated in some areas. A catchy name. A clear vision and a lot of hard work and persistence as it isn't easy working for yourself and making it a success, but all the hard work will be worth it in the end.
What advice would you offer for anyone considering setting up their own independent business?
A business plan is very important, lots of people are very excited and want to dive right in but what I recommend is write everything out and analyse every detail as this will take up a lot of time in your life and you have to continue the passion towards it. However don't be fooled by your own illusions of what is "good" as you may get over your head and look at something so much you believe it is amazing, when in fact it might not be up to scratch. So take advice from others and listen as they might be your saviour and save you money in the future as well as make it for you.
Kerry I have thoroughly enjoyed this interview and finding out about the woman behind Juliet’s kiss, you are clearly a very talented and determined woman! To find out more about Juliet’s kiss pop over here to see Kerry’s online store.

Which leads me to my final question, if you readers were to set up a business or shop what would it be?


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Festival Dreaming

Hello beauts, its been a full on weekend.
Theres been about 2 foot of snow fallen over the last few days resulting in a day off work Friday and some strenuous snow shifting. This morning was spent clearing all of our drive and our road and it was back breaking work. Along with that I have baking all afternoon in order to fund raise for the half marathon I'm running in May for Dementia UK.

Anywhoo the other week I was in a foul mood and confided myself with some much needed retail therapy. I got some wonderful things (none of which are geared towards snowy weather). One of them was a tassel bag which I think is going to work perfectly for me during festival season. 

Now I know that seems like a dream away but with buying my V festival ticket I am really looking forward to the festival season (minus the disgusting toilets!)

I love the suede design of this bag, its a good size to take more than your essentials, the strap is handy and adjustable and I love the statement of the tassels. Even better it was £8 from Primark! Perfectly bargainous.

I remember when I went to my first festival I thought "what on earth do I wear?"

My recommendations:
Before hand check the weather forecast
Even if its sunny always take a pack a mac even a thin one

Here's how I plan to style this bag:

I got the dress very recently from Missguided. It just screams festival, I'm also looking forward to getting good use of it in the summer, I think it ll look great with tanned skin.
Ive had my pink hunters for about 2 years, I bought them from ebay and they have been one of the best footwear purchases I have ever made. Living in the country it pays to have some wellies in the boot of my car. I can safely say wearing Hunters all day will cushion your feet rather than give you sore blisters. Not only are they a fashion statement but highly practical- worth the splurge.

Of course I shall have a jacket to hand, I bought an equestrian jacket similar to this a while back and its a great practical jacket for keeping your core warm even in the depths of winter or a chilly summers evening.

What do you usually wear to a festival?

Friday, 22 March 2013

Dream Lust List

Hello there!
Well its an unusual Friday for me. Due to the snow my poor little car got stuck on the drive and I was unable to make my 35 mile commute to work. Today has been spent mostly in my PJs watching daytime TV whilst browsing for a cute Sunday-Bank-Holiday-Outfit. No luck just yet.

I thought I would make a dream list for you guys to see items I would LOVE in my collection. The beauty of Ebay is that most of the below items have dupes available, but if I did have a bit more bank to my balance below are some of the items I would purchase.

1. Alexander Mcqueen Union Jack Purse
2. YSL Arty Ring ...please can I have one please please?
3. Alexander McQueen Silk Chiffon Scarf I love how summery this is, such a staple scarf to have in your wardrobe
4.  Mulbery Willow Tote
5. Missoni Crotchet-knit bikini
6. Hottubs? I have a few friends that are lucky enough to have their own hottub. Maybe its because I'm obsessed with the weather warming up I don't know. But If I could plonk one in the garden I certainly would! Shame its snowing outside today...

What would you have on your lust list?

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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Affordable Cream Contouring With Elf.

Last week my eyebrow pencil died and having half filled in brows I pottered over to the Elf website to stock back up on my favorite pencil.

Elf had a spend £15 and get £5 off deal, so before I knew it I was browsing the Elf website to see what other bargainous items I could fill my basket with. This is when I chose to order Contouring Blush & Bronzing Cream in St. Lucia for a meager £3.75.

Lest we forget Kim K's infamous contouring picture, it seems cream contour products have been increasing in popularity ever since. I love the look that careful contouring creates and I have a few cream blushes in my make-up collection, its just I was never willing to pay the £17.50 for MACs sculpting creams or Illamasqua's  Cream cream pigments for £17.00 straight up without knowing if the cream formula would work well for me as a contour colour.

I have to confess I don't really rate the accompanying cream blush colour. It has these huge flecks of glitter in it. I used a very slight application of it on the apples of my cheeks and it looked ok- but going forward I think Ill use my Topshop cream colours.

To apply Elfs bronzing cream I use my Japonesque travel rounded stippling brush, to swipe just under my cheek bones. I then use my Real techniques stippling brush to blend the colour out. I then finish with a dusting of Benefit's Hoola over the same area and blend it out in the same way. Im really happy with the result, the shade isn't too orange or too brown and the cream consistency melts into my skin.

I think the products used together create a defined yet subtle contour, I wore this over the weekend and was really impressed with the results.

Above Right- swatch
Left- blended into the skin
If cream blushes aren't your thing I highly reccommend Elfs powder alternative the Contouring blush and bronzing powder before I become a Hoola convert I used this religeously as a contour/blush combo.

Have you tried Elf's cream bronzer before?