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Leather and Glitter

It's a tough life, without a little sparkle!

Saving Money at the Gym

DSC_0352e.jpgNow, I know I said last week that you can’t put a price on your health. That’s why I pay for a gym membership. It’s one of the most expensive gyms in town, but the only one with access to the Leisure centre pool, and I do love a goo swim. Unfortunately, as it is one of the more pricey gyms, I’ve had to figure out ways to get the most out of my membership. I thought I would share my ideas with you, in case anyone was interested.

Parking

Now, the most expensive part of gymming for me is the car park. It is a public pay and display car park, so unfortunately, it’s costly. What I try to do, is to go to the gym in the hours when parking is free – between 6pm and 6am. I finish work at 5, then take half an hour to change at home, and half an hour to drive through rush our traffic to the leisure centre where my gym is. I usually arrive at bang on six pm, which means I don’t have to pay for parking. If I were to change at the gym, I’d have to pay £1.70 for that little half hour extra I spend there, each day. I go three times a week, which amounts to £5.10 a week; which is £265.20 per year! (That’s almost seven months of gym membership!) Just by taking that extra half an hour, I am saving quite a substantial amount of money each year. If you’re lucky enough that your gym has free parking, good for you! It’s one less expense you have to worry about.

“Free” Stuff

This differs from gym to gym, and is not technically free, but included in the cost of your membership. My gym includes free use of the pool, sauna, hot tub, and entry to all classes. You can also get a personalised exercise plan drawn up for you and a monthly reviews to make sure you’re staying on track. Some gyms also offer free protein shakes and snacks, and my old gym had a free hair dryer. My current gym has a hair dryer that costs 20p, but I rarely blow dry my hair anyway. If your gym offers any “free” products services at all, make sure you use them to your full advantage. After all, you’re already paying for them!

Bring your own food and drink (if it’s not free)

I always take a power bar with me. And a water bottle to fill up at the cooler. Vending machines in gyms and leisure centres charge over-the-odds prices in the hopes that somebody with the munchies after a good sweat session will pay £1.50 for a kitkat and £2 for a bottle of lucozade. The other problem with the vending machines is that they rarely have healthier options (at least, not in my gym), and so you’ll be loading your body with sugar, which will be stored as fat. Seamlessly undoing all that hard work you’ve just put in. Not. Good.

Invest in a good pair of trainers.

Now I know this might sound stupid in a money-saving post, but in the gym, you’ll be on your feet for the most part. You’ll want to be comfortable, and blister-free. Invest in a pair of trainers that will keep you feeling like you’re walking on air, and are not going to fall apart after your first go on the treadmill. Because then you’ll have to buy a new pair, and that adds up cost. See where I’m going?

Buy cheap gym clothes.

I know it might seem tempting to splurge on expensive, branded gym wear; but cheaper brands from Sports Direct or even own branded items from supermarkets are just as good. They’re all made from the same fabrics and the cheaper brands are now cottoning on to the bright-colours and pretty-prints trend that I love. I would also highly recommend Primark in February. All the new fitness gear gets released in January for everyone’s new years resolutions, and then in February, gets reduced. Primark workout gear is by far the best priced stuff on the market, and in february, the prices get even better!

Personal Training on the Cheap

There are three ways to go about getting a little bit of personal training in without spending a penny. Bring along a like-minded friend. You can workout together, and motivate each other. You’ll both be pushing yourselves that little bit further than you would if you were alone. That one isn’t an option for me unfortunately. I only have a personal trainer in the form of  my Fiance when we’re cycling, as he doesn’t come to the gym with me, but when we are cycling, he really helps me push myself to my limits. The second way is to look up plans and ideas online. Training videos on YouTube are an excellent resource and can show you the correct ways to do certain workouts. The third option is to ask a member of staff for some help with a machine. If you ask the right questions (How do I set this machine for fat burning? Which machine should I be using to target this part of my arms?), they’ll be able to help you with a little of their expert knowledge for free.

So there you have it. What do you think of my money-saving ideas? Have you tried any of these? Will you try any of these? Do you do anything differently to save money at the gym? As usual, drop me a comment.

Eight Weeks on SlimFast – What I Learned

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Before you judge me, I put on a lot of weight recently, and needed something extra to shed those pounds. I’d been calorie counting and going to the gym semi-regularly, but kept losing my motivation, resulting in unhealthy binges and not really knowing, or caring what I was eating. This led to my weight staying constant and not budging from the overweight line on the BMI chart. I’d seen a few adverts for SlimFast on TV, liking the idea that they offered proper food now as well as just the shakes and bars, so one week, I just decided, hey, I’ll give it a go and see what happens. The meal plan itself is pretty simple. 3 snacks, 2 meal replacements, and one 600 cal meal of your choice. After several weeks, I can confirm that it works, but there’s a few things I’ve learned on my weight loss journey.

Continue reading “Eight Weeks on SlimFast – What I Learned”

One Year

For those of you who didn’t read my blog post which explains in a little more detail why I  started this blog, It was due to my best friend passing away. I decided to use it as a distraction from my grief. Today marks the one year anniversary of her death. So in a very public fashion, I am writing a letter to my best friend, for everyone to see.

To my best friend, partner in crime, and bad influence;

I can’t believe I’ve gone a whole year without talking about boys with you. An entire year without your potty-mouthed curses, or your brightly coloured outfit decisions. 365 days of missing you so much that at times, I still don’t know how I’ll get through it. But I do. Because I know if you were here, you’d tell me to get off my ass and stop f*cking crying because I’ll ruin my mascara.

So much has happened in the last year that I wish I could tell you about. It would be impossible to tell you everything, but here’s a quick rundown.

I tried, and failed to sell my house. Yep, my fiance and I went on the market to move to a great new place which would have eventually become a family home, but the sellers of the new place pulled out, so we were stuck, and had to cancel the sale of our house.

I quit my job. The changes that happened at work shortly after you passed away meant I no longer felt like it was for me. So I quit, rejoining a job with my Fiance and hs family. I wished so many times I could have talked to you about this, to know if you thought I was making the right choice. I feel like I did, but nobody else was ever as neutral about my jobs as you were.

I got officially engaged. My fiance and I set a date for our wedding. I wished so much that I could hug you and you could share the joy with me. We’ve been waiting seven years and the timing (and our finances) eventually felt right. And I know you’d been helping me plan all the little details for when it eventually happened, so I promise I will include those ideas for the day.

I redecorated. Since we decided to stay put. The house quickly got a nice modern makeover.

I made friends with your other bestie, and we talk and hang out all the time now. It’s great that her husband and my Fiance get on so well too, and we’ve had a few double dates. I am so grateful that you introduced us, as we’ve been each-other’s support in the last year.

I went to the fairy festival. I wish you could have been there. It was incredible. to literally spend a weekend away with the fairies where we could all be our weird, wonderful selves without any judgement was the best weekend ever. It was also an opportunity to hear some new music and dress up in glittery costumes – something we always used to do together.

I am selling my house again. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly this time. Hopefully you can put a good word in with the powers that be this time around? 😉

So yeah, a lot has happened. I feel lost without you at times, and I still cry at random moments because I miss you. That won’t ever go away I don’t think. But I know that you’d want me to carry on, and so I will.

“I look at my best mate and think ‘why the fuck do I love this twat?'”

All my love and curses always.

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Unicorns Heart

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I was recently scrolling through instagram, and found a post from superdrug that made me jump up to grab my purse. Normally, things like instagram posts are not enough to get me buying, but I’d been wanting to try a product like this in so long, so when I saw that my favourite budget beauty retailer had started stocking them, I leapt at the chance to try it.

This product is rainbow highlighter.

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Yes. Rainbow. Highlighter!

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It took off on Etsy a few months ago; although the original creators have now moved to their own site; and had a cult following from the start but I was never quick enough to grab one of these beauties, and as I am in the UK, getting hold of one was even more difficult, and pricey. *Sob*

I went straight to Superdrug, and they had sold out. But fortunately they had a “Back-In-Stock” notification option. It was back in a week later, so I jumped at the chance. At £4.99 from I Heart Makeup, “Unicorn’s Heart” Rainbow Highlighter is a steal compared to the $22 original (I’m all for a dupe).

When it arrived, the packaging was not the hard plastic I was expecting, but cardboard. I am still on the fence over whether or not I like this. On the one hand, it gives a vintage vibe and makes it feel quite special, however on the other hand, it’s not so durable if you want to put it in your handbag. It makes me feel like it should just sit pretty on my dressing table.

It was also bigger than I expected, covering the whole palm of my hand. This definitely backs up my non portable theory, but you do get more product.

Applying it was… interesting. I tried swatching first – it was so damn beautiful. I used my fingers first off, then tried a fan brush – the only one wide enough to scoop all the colours in one go.

This method didn’t really work though, as all the colours sort of blurred into one and it was just like a regular highlighter, but a bit more… blue.

So I tried to apply each individual colour with a small brush (originally an eyeshadow brush but who can tell once it’s on your face, right?) Bingo! This worked like a charm, and I had the desired rainbow effect. The photos of it on my face do not do the colours justice. I had a hard time getting the lighting right to show all the colours as it’s a “Catch the light” Kind of product. I used one coat, and it gave a nice subtle finish, but shortly after I bought it, I headed to the Fairy Festival in Cornwall, so it got used to the max!

As usual, let me know if you try this and what your thoughts are.

Waldorf Smoothie

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After watching an episode of Fawlty Towers, I found myself craving a Waldorf Salad. If you haven’t seen that eponymous episode and don’t know what a Waldorf salad is, I shall explain. According to the episode, at least, it is a mix of celery, apples, grapes and walnuts in a mayonnaise dressing. According to Wikipedia, the salad was first created in the 1890’s at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City; hence the reason us Brits didn’t hear of it for a while, and still many don’t know what it is. Anyway, in the Wikipedia article, it explains that the salad is also served on a bed of lettuce. I came to the conclusion that this is quite a healthy salad if you skip out on the mayonnaise; but me being me, I had to test some other Waldorf themed recipes. I came up with this one. A Waldorf Salad smoothie. I recently made an investment and bought myself a Nutribullet Pro 900 Series. It sounds like an aircraft taking off, but sure as hell pulverises everything you put in there. So I bring you, the Waldorf Smoothie:

This recipe makes 2 smoothies, so you can share with a friend, or keep some for later.

Ingredients:

2x Large Handfuls of Spinach

2x Pink Lady Apples

4x sticks Celery

Approx. 30x Red Grapes

400ml Water or Coconut Water

1x Small Handful of Walnuts

Method:

Chuck all the ingredients in a blender and blast that sucker until its smooth. It can get a bit lumpy with the walnuts, so add some more water or coconut water if required and carry on until you get a consistency you like.

The end result is quite a bright green coloured thick smoothie with little red flecks from the grape skin. It tastes very refreshing and sweet, with a nutty after-taste.

I have no doubt now I have a nutribullet there will be more posts to follow containing smoothie recipes. Keep your eyes peeled!

Please do let me know if you try it, and drop me some feedback. I love to hear readers opinions!

My favourite “Jurassic Park” Quotes

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Hello there!

Those that know me will know all too well how obsessed I am with the Jurassic Park / World franchise. I absolutely LOVE the films and cannot WAIT for the next installment in June next year. It’s really exciting that the cast and crew are in the UK filming and that some of the next film will be set here. Also, breaking news recently is that Jeff Goldblum is set to reprise his role as Ian Malcolm. Fans everywhere have been exploding about this, so I figured this post could not have come at a better time.

As I’ve been watching these films for most of my life – the first one came out when I was two. Obviously I didn’t watch it until I was older, I think I was probably nine or ten years old – they have clearly made a big impression on me and my life. And because they are so cleverly written (as are the books by Michael Crichton), there’s a lot of inspiring quotes in them. So without further ado, here’s my list of inspiring, thoughtful and sometimes funny quotes:

Jurassic Park:

“Life, uh, finds a way” – Dr. Ian Malcolm

Quite possibly the most famous quote in Jurassic Park history, these are words that have really taught me something. No matter what happens, the world keeps turning. Life goes on; and keeps evolving and adapting, and getting stronger. you can’t attempt to control something so untamable, so unpredictable, so wild as life.

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” – Dr. Ian Malcolm (again)

This is the classic ‘just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do it’. I always try to live my life by this principle, even if I do occasionally make the odd mistake.

“Dinosaurs eat man, women inherits the earth.” – Dr. Ellie Sattler

Such a surreal quote, and only a woman of the calibre of Ellie Sattler could get away with this. It’s not meant to be sexist, it’s meant to be funny. Although this quote hasn’t really taught me a huge amount in life, so many people love it, and it’s always a quote I come back to when attempting to make comedic quips.

“Are they heavy?” “Yeah” “Then they’re expensive.” – Donald Gennaro & Tim Murphy

I quite often judge the quality of items when I’m shopping based on this principle. Most of the time, unless something is designed to be lightweight, if it’s heavier, it’s worth more. Especially with jewellery, and um, night vision goggles…

The Lost World: Jurassic Park:

“There aren’t any versions of the truth” – Dr. Ian Malcolm (yet again. I know, I love this guy.)

Unlike a lie, if you tell the truth, there are no facets. There is only the truth. It is up to those you tell if they choose to believe it. But in the end, Ian told what he knew to be true about Jurassic Park, and some believed him, others didn’t. Eventually they all did though, when a T-Rex rampaged through San Diego.

“Violence and technology? Not good bedfellows” – Eddie Carr

All the way through my A-Levels, and into my adult life, I have followed this quote. Be patient with technology. Learn what is causing the problem and fix it, rather than just yelling at a screen and slamming your hands on buttons furiously. It’s gives me pride to call myself a nerd (or hacker, as Lex Murphy prefers to be called) and most of that has been because I have been patient with technology, and not violent.

“I love you, I just don’t need you right now.” – Sarah Harding (Because how many other Sarah’s were there on the island?)

A perfect way to say ‘I need some space.’ Sometimes we all need to get away from someone we love because they have become suffocating. And Sarah was doing just that when she told Ian to leave. The only problem was that Ian was right – as usual (“Boy do I hate being right all the time”) – about her staying on Isla Sorna – it wasn’t safe. The speech she gives to him though, shows how independent she was, and I love that.

“The school cut you from the team?” – Ian Malcolm (Again!)

This was right after Kelly, Ian’s daughter, kills a velociraptor; that was trying to eat them with her amazing gymnastic skills. Earlier on in the film we learn that she had been cut from her school gymnastics team. It’s an empowering part of the film that basically shows how badass you can be if you believe you can do something, even if others say you aren’t good enough. I mean, how badass was Kelly? Answer: Very.

Jurassic Park 3:

“Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions.” – Dr. Alan Grant

In short, Billy did something stupid in an attempt to help. Alan Grant wasn’t best pleased. And he was right. It all goes back to Ian Malcolm’s point in the first film – just because you can, doesn’t mean you should – and again, this is something that has resonated throughout life.

“This is how you make dinosaurs?” “No, this is how you play God” – Amanda Kirby & Dr. Alan Grant

The third film really brought home the whole ‘playing God’ thing. Grant was not a Chaotician, like Malcolm. He was a traditional paleontologist who believed that real discoveries were made in real fossils, not in theme park monsters created in a lab. So when the group came across the laboratories on Sorna, Alan obviously had some feelings. And rightly so. It’s not up to humans to control nature. Again, as Malcolm so eloquently said – “Life, uh, finds a way.” For two characters who didn’t supposedly see eye to eye, they sure did share a lot of the same opinions…

“She was the one person I could always count on. I owe her a lot. Although I don’t think I ever told her that.” “You should” – Dr. Alan Grant & Eric Kirby

Alan was discussing how he felt about Ellie. The moral of this story is that you should always tell someone how much you love/care for/appreciate them when you have the chance, because you might not get another one. Eric realised this after being stuck on an island full of dinosaurs for eight weeks, and encourages Alan to tell her how he feels.

Jurassic World:

“The key to a happy life is to accept that you are never actually in control” – Simon Masrani

This is such a wonderful quote. I am not entirely sure if it was said by Irfan Khan’s Character originally as it does sound like something that was said before; but I’m crediting this exact quote to Masrani. Since hearing this quote, I have been attempting to live my life like this. Letting go of the things I can’t control, because – as shown in the movie – plans go to pot, life is unpredictable, and you can not control a very angry 50ft long hybrid dinosaur, no matter how many walls you build. Life, uh, finds a way…

“Struggle breeds greatness” – Vic Hoskins

In order to better ourselves, we must first struggle. Push boundaries. Fight. No pain, no gain. Take Claire Dearing’s character. In order to become the badass who eventually saved her nephews and her love interest from being eaten, she had to struggle through the wilderness, fight against all her normal inhibitions, and push her own boundaries in order to be “great”. This is my main workout quote, if I’m being totally honest.

“I don’t own the raptors, it’s a relationship. It’s based on mutual respect.” – Owen Grady

In order to have a successful relationship with anyone, or anything, you must learn to respect one another, and not attempt to control. It makes sense really. It also kind of goes back to Ian Malcolm’s “Life, uh, finds a way” quote again. You can’t control life, you just have to respect it in all it’s glory.

“Monster is a relative term. To a canary, a cat is a monster.” – Dr. Henry Wu

When Wu said this, there was an audible gasp from those around me at the cinema. Because it’s so true. and I never really thought of it that way before. He goes on to say “We’re just used to being the cat.” Which is also true and hammers home the franchise’s aesthetic about playing God and the consequences of doing so – a powerful lesson.

“Open paddock 9!” – Claire Dearing

It’s not so much the quote, but the realisation of what this woman is about to do, as she lights up a flare and that gate starts to lift. This is not the same Claire we saw at the start of the film – she has now transformed into a fully-fledged badass, with completely different values and opinions on everything from family to the animals, and her own life. She does something incredibly brave – if not a little stupid – and manages to save the lives of her nephews and her “colleague” (“We work together” – Claire on Owen, after he kisses her for what we assume is the first time). Moral of this one? It’s OK to be brave and stupid sometimes – if you can push yourself to your limits (outrunning a T-Rex in 4 inch heels, or otherwise) – you can do great things.

“Probably stick together, for survival.” – Owen Grady (I love this guy too… maybe a little too much.)

The last words we hear from the Jurassic Park films until the fifth installment is released next June. Owen says this to claire as they find each other again after the evacuation and she asks “So, what do we do now?” It sets the scene for the next film, right before we see Rexy standing on the Helipad and taking back the island. I honestly have no more words to say on this quote than “Squee!”

And there you have it. I’m done. I’ve had my nerd moment. Thank you for reading.

Black Peel-Off Face Mask Review

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First of all, let me apologise for the lack of posts lately. I have been taking a break from blogging to practise a bit of self-care and try to straighten out some personal issues. But I’m back. What better way to practise self-care than to have a little pampering session.

For those of you who follow my instagram, you’ll see that I tried a black face mask recently. It’s one of those things that I’ve been seeing everywhere and thought I should try it just to see what all the hype is about.

The mask itself is a cheap one (£3.69) from eBay made by a brand called OneX. I made sure I bought it from a reputable seller in the UK, as buying cosmetic products from outside the EU is always a bit risky as they don’t have the same regulations on ingredients. I read the ingredient list and it did contain charcoal – which is the biggest contribution to the black mask and is great for drawing out impurities. It has been used for years as an impurity filter in many applications, such as water filters, extractor hoods and air purifiers – so there must be something in it! If it’s good enough to clean out air and water, it’s good enough for my face!

The first step with any face mask is to cleanse your skin and to open your pores. To do this, use a warm water with your cleanser to relax the pores and open them. I used Lush’s “Coal Face” – sticking to a theme here. I washed my face with lukewarm water and the coal face cleanser, then once my face had a nice layer of grey foam all over it (it’s an unusual look, I’ll be honest, bust stick with me here), I ran my favourite microfibre face cloth under the hot tap until it was pretty warm. I rung it out and placed it over my face for about 15 seconds. The steam and heat, mixed with the cleanser made my skin go all tingly. That tingly feeling is the pores opening up. I gently rubbed away the cleanser and rinsed my face with more warm water, then immediately started applying the mask.

This mask is really goopy. It’s like PVA glue that’s been sat out for a while. I coated my face in a good thick layer of it and made silly faces at the camera. The instructions said to wait 20 minutes to dry, so I had a cuppa and watched an episode of friends. It still wasn’t dry and I think it probably took a good 35 minutes in total before it stopped feeling all tacky and started feeling like a layer of rubber.

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Then came the part I was most concerned about. Peeling it off. I managed, eventually to find an edge to work with, and then slowly peeled. It has to be done slowly. I think if you did it too quickly it would damage your skin as it’s a very harsh mask. It stung. A lot. I cried. When I was eventually done with the torture, I was left with little black outlines where the mask had been, which washed off nicely with a bit of warm water and my microfibre cloth.

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I then took the time to marvel at the results. I never knew I had so much crap in my skin. Holy cow it’s fascinating to look at. It would explain why it hurt so much, if the entire contents of my pores had literally been ripped out.

I used a gentle toner (Lush’s “breath of fresh air”), in order to close my pores again; and then slathered on moisturiser (Lush’s “Vanishing Cream”) in an attempt to cool down my face, which was rapidly heating up. The mask had seriously set off my rosacea and I looked like a tomato. It was scary. I fanned at my face and kept applying a cool cloth to my cheeks, and eventually the redness went down again, after about an hour.

When the redness had finally gone down, I had the chance to look at my skin in more detail, and saw that it looked cleaner, healthier and brighter. It was soft and matte to touch and when I applied my make up later on, it went on so easily, and looked pretty flawless (if I do say so myself).

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My final words on this mask:

I would definitely, despite the pain and the redness, recommend this mask to anyone who doesn’t have thin or sensitive skin. I know my limits and although I went very red, I knew I wouldn’t be allergic as I read all of the ingredients carefully and did a little spot test on the back of my hand before I used it. It is amazing what will come out of your pores and I will definitely be adding this one to my rotation of monthly masks. It’s not one for the faint-hearted, as it really does sting. More than I expected it to. And I would also recommend doing it before bed, so that if, like me, you suffer from rosacea, the redness will go down by the morning and you’ll wake up with beautiful fresh, soft skin. As with all masks, take care when applying and avoid the delicate eye area. With this one I’d also avoid anywhere there is a substantial amount of hair – yes, you, eyebrows – as there’s a chance you may lose some to the pulling power of this mask.

And that’s all I have to say on the matter. Let me know if you try it, and drop me a comment or a line as usual.

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Shopping your Closet with the “Stylicious” app.

A few days ago, I posted about creating a capsule wardrobe. I had my doubts, but managed to convince myself it was a good thing. So, after a massive wardrobe clear out, I can happily tell you I have created my very own capsule. Sort of. It’s by no means minimalist, but every item in that wardrobe gets worn regularly, and goes with at least 80% of the other pieces of clothing in there.

So what I’m writing about today is a great little app called “Stylicious“. It’s available on both Android and iTunes, and is free. It’s definitely taken some time to catalogue my whole wardrobe. I tried to do this a few weeks ago and it was just too much of a task, but since I’ve trimmed down my wardrobe to almost half the size, I thought I’d try again. My plan is to log my outfits every day for a year, and at the end of the year, if I have not worn it, I will take it out of my wardrobe for good. I have decided to share with you the basic workings of this app and how I use it to keep track of all my clothes, so here goes:

Step 1: Cleanse

First off, pull everything out of your wardrobe. Slim down your wardrobe immediately by asking yourself this simple question:

“If I were shopping right now, would I buy this?” If the answer is no, then get rid of it right away.

Then, filter through the end result, and pick out any items that you find uncomfortable (either physically or mentally) to wear, or that you can’t create a full outfit with because it simply doesn’t go with anything else in your wardrobe. Get rid of those items too.

Lastly, think about the last time you wore the items that are left. If they haven’t been worn in a long time; ask yourself why. If it was due to circumstance (e.g. you haven’t worn a pair of shorts because it rained all summer) then keep it; but think about ways you could change that to wear the item more often (e.g. wear tights with the shorts when it’s raining). If it is because it’s a sentimental item, then store it away. If it has simply been forgotten about, then give it a new lease of life if you can, or get rid of it if you can’t.

Step 2: cataloging

First off, write down everything in your wardrobe that you want to include. As I said in my capsule wardrobe blog post, I would not be including “Job Specific” items or things like activewear, tights, shapewear, thermals and under-layers.

Then you will need to collect photographs of each item of clothing. Don’t panic! It’s not as bad as it sounds, I swear. The thing with clothes is that there are a lot of duplicates. Something you bought from New Look could appear indifferent to something from Gucci in a photograph. So I decided to simply google each item I had written down, and find images that looked similar to the pieces I already own – for example “Black Skinny Jeans” or “White Stripy T-Shirt”. Then, once I had found each and every item I could, I was left with the more unique items, such as my vintage items and souvenir pieces from abroad, as well as my hand-made or custom pieces. I photographed these on a hanger  and tweaked the images slightly to make sure it all looked visually pleasing. I then saved all the photos in a separate folder called “inventory”.

Step 3: Log each item.

Now it’s time to open the “Stylicious” app. The Home Screen is what you’ll see first:

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If you click on the “My Closet” icon at the top, you’ll get this screen (but obviously with your own clothes and not these ones – which are mine):

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Here you can see everything and sort it into categories using the drop down menus at the top. This means if you’re out shopping, you might be able to visualise outfits more easily as you have all your clothes literally at your fingertips.

To add an item, tap the little Polaroid icon (or you can tap the camera icon but I didn’t really need this as I had already catalogued my clothes in image form); and you’ll be able to choose the file where your images are and open the image you want. Then you’ll get this screen:

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I didn’t pigeon-hole the season or style, or add any notes. I just selected the “Kind” and the “Category” so I could sort the items in the main screen or lookbook. More of that shortly.

Step 4: Creating outfits and using the “Lookbook”

This is a really useful tool in the app. You can create outfits, either with your own clothes, or with something from a wishlist, which is perfect if you want to see if an item will work with what you have already. You can also use this to create outfits you have already worn, and log them on the calendar. More on that shortly.

To create outfits, simply tap the “+” sign at the bottom of the “Lookbook” Section, and scroll through your clothes, tapping each item you want to add to the outfit.

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When you’re done, click the “>” Symbol, and it will put the items on a blank screen for you to move around and resize using dragging and pinching on the screen. When you’re happy, save it to your lookbook to either log, or keep in mind for the future.

Step 5: Logging the outfits on the calendar

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So this is my favourite part. It will help me determine what I will be throwing out this time next year if I do not see it in this section. It’s really quick to add clothes to the calendar. You can either log one item, or a whole outfit, via the “+ My Closet” and “+ Lookbook” buttons at the bottom. When you open an outfit from the “Lookbook”, tap the calendar icon to select a date to add to the calendar. I think this is also a really great way to plan outfits, as it can remind you to wear certain items too.

Step 6: Shopping your closet.

So this is where the fun begins, if you’re like me and love putting together outfits. Say you’ve got a date night planned. You think “I must go shopping and buy a new outfit for the date.” Nope. Just scroll through what you have already using this app. Have a play around with items and put together some outfits in the lookbook. I swear it will feel almost as fun as shopping, but less messy than trying everything in your wardrobe on (and then leaving everything on the floor); and far less expensive!

I will be posting some more ideas on shopping my closet soon, with ideas on how to get more wear out of what I (and probably you) already own.

So what are you waiting for? Seriously? Download the app, it’s amazing!!

How to be a “Morning Person”

I’ve been thinking about it recently, and it’s occurred to me that I am definitely a morning person. Maybe it’s been trained into me, maybe I was born that way. Either way, I would like to share with you my top tips for getting up early, and doing it every day. So without further ado….

Get into the right mindset

Ask yourself why you need to be up early each day. Is it for work? Is it to have more time to get things done? Is it to have time to eat breakfast? Do you have children you need to be up for? Make a note of these reasons either mentally or on paper to remind yourself of, on days when you feel particularly sluggish. I find that reminding myself how great it feels to Continue reading “How to be a “Morning Person””

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