Tuesday, 16 May 2017

My Protein/ Muscle Food Haul

So it seems that when you get into fitness the whole supplement world becomes something you like to throw your money at! Supplements are exactly what they say on the tin - they're an addition to your diet. Bit of a disclaimer here - I'm not a dietician so please don't take what I say and take it as that is exactly what you should do because its not but it is something I am learning about constantly. So yeah essentially, supplements are something you can incorporate into your diet to improve performance and to support muscle growth etc.

Now I've been buying from My Protein for around 6 months or so now and I'm a big fan of their products. I do feel that since using protein more that my body has become more shapely and I seem to be able to maintain and build muscle a lot better but these supplements simply support an already pretty clean diet. As you may or may not know, I'm a vegetarian and actually since dabbling in my fitness pal and tracking macros for a while, I have realized that I really did not used to consume enough protein- it is recommended you have 1g of protein from 1lb of body weight - in my eyes that is a lot of protein and not necessarily achievable, I mean if I didn't take supplements I would probably struggle to get a 1/4 of that into my daily intake - this is a whole other ball game and probably one for a different post!

Anyway, so recently I did a top up order from My Protein and also decided to order from Muscle Food for the first time! I thought this would be a good opportunity to show you what I picked up and my thoughts on the products:

My Protein

Gluten Free Instant Oats - Well as it says on the tin, there is not a great deal to say about these and I don't really have any issues with them, oats are oats at the end of the day! However it is worth noting that this product comes in powder/flour form and when heated it can be a bit difficult to work with compared to normal oats - it is a little stodgy in texture!

Chocolate Caramel Impact Whey Protein - This is my first time trying this flavour and I have to say I am impressed. As an overall consensus I have to say that My Protein win every time for me flavour wise. I am a massive fan of the Strawberry Shortcake & Vanilla Cookie impact diet whey. This brand of Protein definitely has the best taste in my opinion. I love to mix my protein powder in my porridge or blend to make a smoothie or just simply throw in with ice and almond/oat milk.

Raspberry Lemonade BCAA - So this is actually my first time purchasing BCAA's. I have previously had a few Grenade samples and they tasted amazing so I thought I'd give them a go. I actually found drinking BCAA's encouraged me to drink more water just because it tastes so good. BCAA stands for Branch Chained Amino Acids and essentially they promote protein synthesis with encourages muscle growth and helps your body to maintain muscle but also helps with recovery. I feel this article HERE might explain it all better to you because as I say I'm not qualified! I love this flavour and so far I have found that it does help your muscles to be less 'achey' which is a bonus!

My Bar Zero Cookies & Cream - Now I actually purchased these to go hand in hand with the Prutella following a recommendation from a Youtuber  I follow - Elle Darby. These are a high protein low carb snack and supposedly go amazing with Prutella when microwaved shortly. Now they're okay but nothing special! I don't think I would purchase them again though. Apparently the chocolate flavour is the one to go for but unfortunately they were out of stock!

Muscle Food

This was my first time ordering from Muscle Food!

Walden Farms Zero Calorie Chocolate Syrup & Mocha Coffee Creamer - To be honest I have combined the two products because my opinion for them both is exactly the same. I was super excited to try the Walden Farms products and had heard so much about them but I have to say,  I was extremely disappointed. Both products taste of what I can only describe as poison! I certainly wont be repurchasing these! I feel I must be missing something here as everyone else seems to hype about them but the honest truth is they just don't taste good.

Prutella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread & Coconut & White Chocolate Spread - So as I mentioned earlier on this purchase went hand in hand with the My Bar Zero. I actually purchased two different flavours. Now I am OBSESSED with the Coconut & White Chocolate flavour, However, a side note - these products don't taste anything remotely like Nutella and don't have the Chocolate Spread Texture you'd expect - they're actually quite stodgy if I'm honest! However the flavours are pretty good.

Please note I have some special promotional codes for My Protein for you to use at the check out but you need to follow the URL provided to benefit from them. These include:
Free Delivery when you spend over £40 Code is DELIVERYFREE - CLICK HERE 
30% off Vegan Range  Code is: VEGAN30 CLICK HERE 
25% off Food & Snacks Code is: 25FOOD CLICK HERE

These codes are all valid until 25.05.17 at midnight! :)

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

How To Make The Most Of Your Day

So this is a bit of a different post from me but it's something I feel very strongly about in all aspects of life! Now I know the picture accompanying this post isn't particularly relevant to the post but I thought a picture of me looking thoughtfully into the distance being deep in thought would be a bit cringe. Anyway without procrastinating (the irony!) lets discuss  I don't consider my self to be the most productive person in the world and I don't always practice what I preach (as much as I hate to say it, but I'm only human), sometimes I get into a vortex of procrastination - it happens to the best of us! However something I constantly try and work on is how I manage my time! Time is actually the most valuable thing to me as it's something you can't get back. I hate to waste time and like to be as productive as I can. This is a bit of a rambling post but here we go... 

1. Write a list
God Lara state the obvious! I know I know - but seriously lists are arguably one of my favourite pass times and I'm constantly writing them. When I'm at work I like to write my to-do list towards the end of the day so the following morning I can just crack on. For workouts, I am a big fan of writing out my work out before I step foot in the gym because I find I honestly have so much more of a productive session because I don't have to sit and think about what to do next or panic and just jump on the next piece of cardio equipment available - I have a plan and I'm there to get stuff done! I also find writing down my goals for the week/month really helpful as it encourages me to stay on track. I actually went a step further this week and posted my goals for the week on my insta story- accountability is everything. 

2. Get a diary 
Whether it's a physical diary you can write in or an app or just even your calendar on your phone, I think it's so important to schedule any events of commitments you've got for the week. For example I always know what gym classes I have to attend or if I'm planning a day out/catch up with my friends we both put it in our diary to ensure we're free. If I intend on getting up and doing fasted cardio (very rare I like my sleep) then I put it in my diary and it means no matter what- that thing is happening so no excuses! It also means you're less likely to double book. 

3. Be prepared 
So the majority of these things I've been talking about in the previous points relate back to being prepared. However I'm talking about the little things- like doing your washing. I swear I never realised how much washing that I need to do on such a regular basis before starting the gym but if you're planning on wearing a certain outfit you need to make sure you've done the leg work beforehand. If you're wanting to stay on track with your nutrition then meal prep is so important. For me, it's key in deciphering whether I'm on point or fail dramatically. If I'm not prepared food wise that's when I tend to reach for biscuits (not good!). I like to prep a couple of days in advance but not like a weeks worth as I find this makes food go gross! Again, schedule in time to do this. Sure it's time consuming initially but in the long run your future self will thank you for being so wonderfully organised! 

4. Be smart
So that was a bit of a vague title but what I mean by this is making the most of your time. For example, when I'm meal prepping I always put on podcasts in the background to listen to. I like to be a sponge for information but I'm such a busy person so if I can get educated whilst on the go then I'm all for it. I also listen to podcasts on the way to work sometimes as I feel it sets me up for the day. If I'm taking my make up off/ washing my face or eating my tea I also find this a good time to catch up on my favourite YouTube videos. I don't like to scroll aimlessly on social media and I like to schedule in time to catch up on content. The majority of the content I follow is either my friends or a source of inspiration/education so I don't feel I am wasting time when engaging with this content. If however I am spending half an hour checking out the daily snapchat filters then of course it has got to the point of procrastination and I need to put the phone down! 

Do you have any tips for being more time efficient or how you avoid procrastination? 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

My Favourite Podcasts

So it's only the past few months or so that I have really gotten into podcasts. I had always heard of audio books but never bothered to listen. I've been into motivational/self help videos/books for a long time now though. It first started when I began my marketing apprenticeship a few years ago and on my first day my managers introduced me to a whole new world on self motivation. I discovered the likes of Tony Robbins and Grant Cardone. Ever since then I've always been interested in anything motivational and have embraced it. 

I find that podcasts are a great way to pick you up if you're having a down day or even to start the day off right. They encourage positive thinking and always offer a new angle on a given subject. Here are my go-to podcasts....

1. Ben Coomber- I'm not quite sure how I stumbled upon Ben's podcasts but I'm so glad I did. The guy is so so knowledgeable and has one of them voices you can listen to for hours. He has some real superstars that feature on his podcasts and the topics covered are always very interesting. He certainly knows his stuff when it comes to nutrition and he covers all sorts of disciplines in the fitness industry from Bodybuilding, Crossfit, Strength training, marathon running and much more. 

2. Joel Osteen - Potentially a fairly controversial choice from me as Joel is a church pastor and I don't consider my self religious but oh my this guy is so so inspirational. If I am ever having a down day I just switch on one of Joels' podcasts. He streams his church services and some of the morals and practices he teaches are amazing. Whether you're religious or not I would seriously recommend listening to his podcasts, like some of the stuff he says is life changing. I first stumbled across Joels Twitter a couple of years ago when I was going through a hard time and honestly some of his words just gave me life and helped me pick my self back up! 

3. Shredded by science - Now these also have some amazing knowledge bombs when it comes to fitness and nutrition, they truly know what they're talking about and offer some interesting insights into the industry. I feel like I have to be in the mood to listen to their podcasts but when I do I pick up some great tips and information. 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Life Update

So I feel like its been a while since I let you all know whats going on in my life at the moment. I won't go into too much detail but lets go...

Social - Cocktails In The City
So a few weeks back I headed to my best friends' for the night as she has just recently moved to Leeds. Seeing her new place filled me with envy and made me think how cool it must be to have a space to call completely your own! We went to an event together called 'Cocktails in the City' - which was essentially an excuse to drink endless amount of cocktails without feeling guilty! Some of my favourite cocktail places were exhibiting there such as The Alchemist, Hedonist & Angelica. The whole place was filled with people dressed really classy and I seriously enjoyed it. We honestly had the best time. To say I was rushing to get ready, I have to say - for what feels like the first time EVER I actually went out feeling confident and not self conscious in the slightest, which for me is a big thing. I've always been a worrier and on that night, for some reason I just felt so care free - and that was before I even consumed any alcohol. Also on the way home, we went for a late night Nandos (I didn't even know this was a thing) and I can confirm it is legit the best thing ever!

Travel - I'm going to LA
In October me and my best friend are heading for a fun filled week in Los Angeles. California has been at the top of my list for a long time and I'm so excited to explore a beautiful part of the west coast and document the entire trip! I loved America the first time round so I can't wait to see what it has to offer! I feel like 2016 was the year of travel for me and this year my focuses are most definitely elsewhere, but I still have a passion for travel and love seeing new parts of the world.

Education - Starting a new course
So as you guys may or may not know, last year I finished my Marketing Communications qualification, which to be honest - I'm glad its over and done with. Marketing is still a passion of mine and I seriously enjoy it, but my career path has slightly changed and overtime so have my interests. My job is amazing and I love it although I have to say it is something I never imagined my self doing. If you have been round on my blog long enough you will know that I once hoped to become a journalist or work for a magazine. Don't get me wrong, that still sounds amazing and I loved my time interning but I definitely feel my direction has changed somewhat.  Anyway, so after stressing over my Marketing qualification and having a little break from education, I now feel ready to start something new which I am super excited about - I've just started a Management Course. I know it's going to be pretty tough but I'm just looking forward to getting stuck in and learning new things.

Monday, 24 April 2017

FitCon 2017 - Olympia London

So on the weekend just gone I headed to my first Fitness Expo in London- an event called Fitcon! I went with a new friend from the gym who - to be honest I didn't know really at all before the event but we were both extremely keen to go and so we decided to go together. It was honestly such a good decision and I'm really glad I went with her. For one, it meant pushing my self out my comfort zone which is something I think is soooo necessary in order to grow, and also because it turns out we have a lot in common and had such a great time. 

At the time of writing this post I am tucked up in bed after a day of the exciting events and honestly I can't even describe how fired up I am. Fitcon was such a great event where by I was surrounded by amazing athletes including Amanda Bucci, Michelle Lewis, Simeon Panda etc. These  people are truly dedicated and disciplined but also so full of passion for the industry. I never thought anything like this would appeal to me but I absolutely loved it and felt so in my element. 

I got the opportunity to meet two amazing youtubers I follow - Lauren Tickner & Elle Darby (pictured below), who keep me constantly inspired and motivated which was pretty cool. I also got the chance to watch some amazing bikini and body building competitions which, for me was such an eye opener. I literally just watched the whole thing in awe of them. 

There were so many familiar brands exhibiting there such as PEScience, Grenade, USN etc and I also picked up a few freebies along the way. I also purchased a few naughty snacks including the new Bounty Protein bar, Lenny & Larry's Cookies - which, by the way are Vegan! They don't have the best macros but they're pretty delicious! 

We also had time to quickly head to central London and get some food at Whole Foods (aka my fave place on the planet). After sampling protein snacks all day and downing BCAA shots, we both felt like we just needed some vegetables- so that's exactly what we got. It was amazing!  
Before we headed back to Kings Cross we also stumbled upon this huge American sweet shop - that even had its own resident Dj! The old me would have gone wild in here, and whilst I resisted temptation, I could have quite happily consumed the majority of the Reeses Section & Lucky Charms cereal!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

My Favourite Pre/Post Workout Shake

So over the past few weeks I have been OBSESSING over this shake, it is satisfying, full of good carbs, protein and a caffeine boost and it just really hits the spot. It energizes me, leaves me feeling comfortably full but is replenishes my body with protein for muscle recovery. It's super easy and quick to make as well! I tend to take this as a pre workout or if I'm feeling like I need a boost, this is for sure my new go-to pick me up!

What you'll need:
A blender! 
1 scoop of protein - my favourite in this combination is the USN Diet Whey Isolean in Cookies & Cream Flavour - this is a really low carb and fat but has an amazing 25G Protein per serving which is pretty great!
1 banana-  You can either have fresh or frozen. I tend to just use fresh Banana.
Ice- You'll  need enough to fill around 1/3 of your smoothie cup
Alpro Oat Milk - Fill up your smoothie cup to around half way
1 shot of coffee - My preference is Nescafe Azera Americano is my preference
Optional-  Depending on if I fancy something chocolatey or not, sometimes I throw in a teaspoon of Cacao Powder as well

Blend it all up and serve!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

My Everyday Make Up Routine

So it's been a while since you've had any content on the beauty front from me but to be honest, I think its mainly because I have found something that works for me. Last year I did a big post on my skincare routine which you can read if you click HERE. If you've read that you will know that I went through a phase where I really suffered with my skin - like I never went to the doctors but it was pretty much acne. Since then my skin has improved so so much but there wasn't really any magic formula other than the fact that my skin for sure likes something simple. Overloading on products doesn't do my skin any good and it's still not perfect now but it's a hell of a lot better than what it used to be. Thank god, gone are the days where I felt like I had to wear a super heavy foundation such as Mac Studio Fix or Estee Lauder Double everyday just to mask my skin. Don't get me wrong, some days I go all out on full coverage but not because I'm insecure - just because I want to. I have the odd days where I get spots but usually that is down to drinking alcohol or if I've not ate healthy. Anyway, I'm rambling lets get down and dirty with what I throw on my face on a day to day basis...

I always start off my make up by applying MAC concealer under my brow bone (this isn't in the photo because it looks abit messy and I thought it would ruin my picture!) and then fill my brows in with Benefit Browzings. I used both parts of this product - I know some people either just use the powder or wax but I like to use both. I then smooth them over and set them in place with mac brow gel.

Now the fun part for me is eyeshadow! I always reach for one of my Charlotte Tilbury palettes depending on how I feel that day. You guys know my favourite is Dolce Vita but I also have Golden Goddess, Vintage Vamp & Muse Dreamy. I know these eyeshadows are expensive but to be honest on a day to day basis I don't have time to put together different looks and these just work so it's fuss free and I don't even need to think because the palette tells you where to put which eyeshadow i.e. crease, all over or to smoke etc so for me it's a no brainer. I also feel these red/bronze/golden toned eyeshadows suit me best. I wear Eyeshadow every single day and couldn't be without it and I always always apply a bronzey toned shadow to my lower lash line!

Other than Eyeshadow pretty much everything else stays the same. When it comes to Mascara I'm really not fussy although my one thing is that I don't want it to flake underneath as I find a lot of Mascaras do this. At the moment my go to is the Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes but I'm willing to try whatever to be honest.

For base, my ultimate go to Foundation for the past year or so now has been the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. I did a full review on it HERE. This Foundation just works for me and my skin. It gives that glow, has great coverage but even lets your natural features shine through, like freckles etc. On weekends I sometimes mix it with Mac Studio Fix but only ever a minimal amount.

I then apply the same MAC concealer that I mentioned at the beginnnig under my eyes and around my brow arch.

Next up is another of my holy grail products - the Chanel Tan De Soleil Universal Bronzer. I legit would not be without this product! Sure, it's pretty pricey but I use it every single day and one tub lasts me around a year. It's fuss free, gives you that sunkissed look and is pretty much a subtle way of contouring.

After that, the other fun part is applying Highlighter aka my favourite product ever! I feel like Highlighter just brings your whole look together and makes it pop. I did a full post on my favourite Highlighters which you can view HERE but at the moment my go-to is the Sleek Palette. I use the powder product on my cheek bone and above my eyebrow arch and then the cream product on my cupids bow and end of my nose. Basically I like to look like a glazed donut. I'm all about that glow life!

Last thing is lip products - now I literally just use the Clarins Instant Lip Perfector pretty much everyday which I'm sure you've heard me bang on about enough in previous posts but they just come in the most lovely shades, aren't sticky, hydrate your lips and smell amazing. If I'm going on a night out I either reach for a NYX Lip Lingerie or Charlotte Tilbury in the Kim Kardashian West shade.

Now I know that sounds like a tonne of products but really these days I don't feel like I go overboard with products and I like to keep a simple routine where I only change up elements on weekends. I occasionally do winged liner but not so much these days - I went through a stage of wearing it everyday, what an effort!

This make up stays on well most of the day and I never touch it up unless I'm reapplying my lip balm - I couldn't be bothered with touching it up every single day. I don't use primer and I occasionally use setting spray but to be honest that's about it for me at the moment! I still love make up and I love to buy new products but I feel I've found what works for me!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Center Parcs - Sherwood Forest

So back in January my family and I went on a mini vacay to Center Parcs. We went the week after my birthday and to be honest I was so ready for it- after spending the whole of my birthday in bed and not really celebrating at all - I couldn't even face eating cake and that is not like me! I felt awful as well as my sister had made me the most beautiful unicorn cake! 

My family is so busy and although we're very closeknit, it's difficult for us all to get together sometimes - especially with one of my sisters living up in Newcastle. Not everyone could make it, but with us all having been totally rushed off our feet it was so lovely to get together for the week and just chill out and enjoy family time.

We booked an executive lodge and I was seriously impressed with the the decor, it was all very modern and open plan. We also got a sauna in our lodge which was a great bonus! However we didn't really make as much use of it as we could have done which I regret now looking back.

The week was spent starting with a lovely breakfast usually of a variety of pastries, fruit or pancakes! We then headed to the local Starbucks and just caught up over Coffee & Cake. I think this was actually my favourite part of the break. I bought my self a book and just locked my self away in Starbucks for hours at a time, knowing I didn't have to be anywhere was bliss. We took mountains of alcohol with us with the intention of getting drunk but that didn't really happen, we all had a rare Disaranno and coke as a night nap and was in bed fairly early. We even went old school and played board games most evenings-  a mixture of Monopoly, the logo game etc. Of course it was all fun and games until I lost at Monopoly! We also went out for a few lovely meals but also had themed nights cooking at the lodge. We made my step dad designated chef and enjoyed mexican and italian night! I definitely indulged on my week at Center Parcs and sipped on way too many cocktails but it was all worth it and so much fun.

I even invited my best friend over for the night and we went for a lovely spa evening as a belated birthday celebration. I have been to Center Parcs spa a few times now but it was even better this time round as they had renovated the whole place. After a few hours of chilling out Sophia and I got ready and went to an American Diner for Cocktails and some naughty food! I was kinda disapointed with the food and drinks here because they sold it as something amazing but the reality of it just didn't live up to anything spectacular.

We all hired bikes for the week but due to our Lodge being so central we didn't really make that much use of them and even when we did head out on the bikes, it was always shortlived because it was just so cold, even when wrapped up you would just be desperate to get back into the warmth again.

One of the morning we headed to the Pancake House which is an absolute must if you ever go to Center Parcs. It is situated right on the lake and was such a lovely view whilst enjoying your breakfast. I obviously opted for the cookie dough pancakes!

During the time away I even managed to get a run in and smashed my personal best. I didn't get as many photos as I would like to of but sometimes its just nice to put technology down and enjoy your surroundings rather than living behind a screen. I definitely felt refreshed after this little mini break away. It wasn't something I'd normally be down for as I normally love the hustle and bustle of city breaks but I really loved this little trip!

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