Don’t judge a book by it’s cover!

Hey everyone,

Today is a post I have both been really looking forward to sharing with you all but is also the post I’ve been most nervous about! I’ve been debating whether to post this for such a long time, but I figured if I do post it and it helps just one person feel better, braver or more understanding then it’s got to be worth sharing!

Now I know normally my posts are really happy and probably a bit ditzy, but this one is a bit more serious (only a bit more because it is still being written by me after all!) but it does have a serious message running through it which I hope you all appreciate, enjoy and can learn from 🙂

So today I am writing about my experiences of not feeling well and living with some kind of health issue or problem which you know is there but which other people cannot see.

I want to start off by saying, there is nothing seriously wrong with me and I know I could be a lot worse off than I am, however, over the past few years, I’ve found myself feeling isolated and misunderstood about the symptoms I have been experiencing and that for me is the biggest problem of them all.

For background, I am currently an outpatient of the rheumatology department at my local hospital as since September 2013 I have been suffering from what may be a connective tissue disorder. In English, that is basically where the connective tissue (basically every part of our body) attacks itself for some unknown reason, which sounds pretty scary, but actually it’s not that dramatic!

For a while now I’ve suffered from aching and sometimes swollen joints at random (not always the same ones and no correlation to the amount of exercise I do), extreme fatigue/exhaustion, hair loss, skin rashes and unexplained bruising, headaches and the feeling of being unable to concentrate or focus (when I’m feeling really bad it feels like my brain has been replaced with cotton wool because my head just feels so heavy and muddled) and frequent chest/throat infections.

I love to be active and energetic and to always keep myself busy, so more than anything these symptoms of the yet to be diagnosed condition are a nuisance! I visited my doctor several times before being referred to the hospital and have had multiple blood tests and x-rays to ensure I don’t have Arthritis or anything glaringly obvious or serious and since anything really bad has been ruled out I feel kind of like I’ve been abandoned. The response I get at the hospital is that I am 23 years old and that I should be fit and healthy. I eat right, I work out and I don’t smoke or drink so it’s probably nothing majorly serious. The last piece of advice I was given is that I should rest more and swap exercising (something I thought it was recommended we did more of) for doing nothing at home and to ensure I get at least one full day of rest at the weekend.

Let’s just recap – I am 23 not 83 – shouldn’t I be able to work all week and party all weekend if that is what I wanted to do? Aren’t these the years or my life where I should be able to enjoy myself and make the most of my youthful energy? Apparently not!

I know I have a particularly full diary, I hear it almost daily from the people who are closest to me, but this is nothing new! From way back when I was at school I would frequently do a whole day at school, followed by several hours of gymnastics training and when I was old enough to work I would do all of the afore mentioned activities and found time to work three jobs and still have a social life, so how comes now I am less busy, less active and look after myself better, am I struggling more than ever?

These symptoms come and go, I seem to have peaks and troughs of how I feel and currently (and the reason why I’m writing this post now) is that once again I am not feeling well. This is the third week of feeling downright exhausted and achey and muddled. There is no warning as to when I’m not going to feel well again, there are no correlations with activites I do or times of year, it just comes and goes whenever it wants. It interrupts my blogging schedule because there are days where I feel like I literally don’t have the strength to get out of bed in the morning and when I do finish a full days work, I come home and go straight to sleep. I’ll sleep all night and wake up and feel like I haven’t slept at all. It stops me going to the gym, it impacts my ability to concentrate and deliver at work and worst of all it makes me not feel like myself 😦

So far this post has all just sounded like a big moan, which I hate, so let me tell you why I wanted to share all of this with you! For me, what I have taken from this whole situation is that some things are sent to test us and that there is nothing which cannot be overcome with a bit of positivity. Feeling like I feel some days, I can totally see how it can be so easy to fall into a depression as it’s so much easier in life to focus on the bad, as often they are the most prevalent in our minds. However, I use this as a reminder to myself of all the good things I have and should be thankful for! What is a bit of a joint pain and sleepiness when I have a job I love, a gorgeous bunch of friends and family and am fortunate enough to live in the UK with all the amenities we have access to, including the NHS, which just isn’t available anywhere else?

As well as reminding me of all the things I should be thankful for, it also got me to thinking! I know so many people, and I have been guilty of it myself before, of judging people based on appearances or initial interactions, I think it’s just human nature to do so. However, how can we tell just by looking at someone whether they are suffering from a chronic illness or mental ill health? What if someone is judging them based on their perceived “lack of willingness” to partake in a conversation and thinking they are being rude? Maybe they just have other things on their mind, are in pain or just too tired to focus! So please spare a thought for all those silently managing their conditions whatever they may be, and please use this a reminder to ensure that you never judge someone on their off days or their quirks! Get to know a person before making a judgement and even then be nice as you never ever know what they may be going through!

I know lots of you readers and fellow bloggers suffer from depression, anxiety, stress and chronic conditions like this, so I really hope that this inspires you to open up about them and share your experiences with any invisible conditions and also helps you keep your chin up on the darker days! And if you are lucky enough to be completely healthy and happy, I really hope it helps you put perspective on what is most important in life and how to ground yourself to ensure you are being the best person you can be 🙂

If you enjoyed this I’d love it if you could subscribe, share, like and comment on this! Like I said, this was the hardest post to publish so the more love the better!

Lots of love, Leanne xx

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New York Fashion Week – My Top Picks

Hey everyone,

So it’s that time of year again! That’s right it’s fashion week time! I’ve been following New York Fashion week pretty closely this year, so thought I would do a run down of some of my fave collections and lines that I’ve seen so far!

Marc Jacobs

  • Military inspired
  • Cinched waists
  • Darker hues (lots of navy and khaki)
  • Elegant yet wearable daily

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Ralph Lauren

  • Collection is called Glam Safari (says it all really)
  • Super chic outfits in khaki, yellow, nude and camel tones
  • Mixture of clean lines and girly styles
  • Perfect for day time and evening wear (especially the tulle skirts which I have been obsessed with since Olivia Palermo wore won on her wedding day!)

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RLNYFW! RLNYFW RLNYFW2

Hugo Boss

  • Tailored yet flirty
  • Lots of pastels and sixties inspired lines
  • Powerful yet pretty pieces

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Delpozo

  • Not a brand I’ve heard of before, but they have turned out to have one of my favourite collections of NYFW!
    Bold colours and strong distinct lines
  • Super tailored palazzo pants and culottes in bold colours teamed with crisp whites
  • Also featured tulle dresses in light shades with an ethereal vibe
  • Something for everyone!

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The Row

  • Minimal yet highly sculpted
  • Simple colours in interesting shapes
  • Crisp looks
  • Good mix between oversized chic and fitted looks, often working together to create one cohesive look!

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Diane von Furstenberg

  • Very flirty and girly collection
  • Strong floral prints and bold colours
  • Sixties and seventies influences
  • Clueless inspired at times with cute matching co-ords and flirty tea dresses

NYFW DVF NYFW DVF1 NYFW DVF2

Round up:

The Spring NYFW has been amazing and I cannot wait for some of these trends to hit the high street with their replicas. I know that I am a budget beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogger but I still love watching and taking note from fashion week (eventhough I could never spend that much on clothes!) to see what is likely to be hot and hitting the shops soon! I like seeing how looks are put together and also to see if there is anything that I have in my wardrobe which I might be able to recycle to replicate the looks I see on the catwalk 🙂

From military style, super structured looks with an almost androgynous foundation on one end to ethereal and full on feminine hems and silhouettes on the other there is almost certainly going to be something for everyone and I for one cannot wait! I love all ends of this seasons fashion scale as I am a huge fan of bold colours and structured looks (culottes are one of my new favourite things) but on the other hand I am a real girly girl so pastel shades and full midi skirts are right up my street too (even if I am usually too short to pull off these looks!)

What do you think of the looks from this NYFW? What do you think is going to be a hit and what do you think we could do without?

Can’t wait to hear what you all think! Hope you enjoyed this post and that it’s given you some inspiration for the seasons to come! Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe if you enjoyed this or any of my other posts 🙂

Lots of love, Leanne xx

Just checking in!

Hey everyone, hope you have all had a lovely weekend, whether it’s been spent with the one you love or just doing something you love 🙂

I’ve been lucky enough to spend my weekend with my lovely boyfriend and his family up in Lincoln to celebrate a birthday and valentines day! It’s been hectic but totally worth it, however I’m really sick now and have spent all day in bed recovering, hence the lack of a good post today 😦

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Anyway, I have so much great content planned for you guys over the next few weeks and months so stick with me and I promise I’ll try harder to give you all something more exciting to read!

Lots of love, Leanne xx

10 in 10 series part 4: Where has my willpower gone?

Hey everyone,

It’s that time again for another update on my fat loss mission and to be honest this is a post I’ve been putting off! I really haven’t done as well as I would have liked over the past few weeks due to a breakdown in willpower and an increasingly busy schedule getting in the way of preparing super healthy meals for the week!

However, I can’t put it off any longer so here goes nothing I guess…

Measurements

Bust: 35 inches (-0.5 from last update)

Waist: 28 inches (-1 from last update)

Hips: 35.5 inches

Arm: 12 inches

Thigh: 23 inches (-1 from last update)

Weight: 10st 0lbs

Fat percentage: Still hasn’t been taken but I must have lost some if my inches are going down right?

So it seems that I lose inches from my waist really easily but not quite so easily from my arms and stomach which is annoying as these are places I’d most like to lost them from, however, people have been saying I’m looking really slim and healthy so I shouldn’t complain!

However, I think most of these gains have come from exercising as my eating hasn’t been as good as it could have been due to various girly evenings, dinners out and days where I have no choice in my food, for this next week I am trying harder than ever before to really knuckle down and claw back some of the naughtiness I have let creep in over the past few weeks!

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Food

So like I said my eating hasn’t been the greatest! I know I’ve been saying for ages that I’m not feeling good (way too complicated to go in to here, but I am drumming up the confidence to write a post about this soon!) and so making effort to exercise lots and eat right has been really hard for me lately. I am still trying my best and think that healthier choices are becoming way more natural to me now, however, I’ve definitely been sneaking chocolate and bad snack in to my diet way more frequently the past few weeks and I think it’s purely to try and boost my dwindling energy levels! However, meals definitely look more rounded with far less carbs and way more low carb veg and proteins. If you want to see the kind of things I’ve been eating check out my Instagram for some pics I’ve been doing of my food 🙂 I’ll try to keep a food diary one week to show you everything I’ve eaten and snacked on in detail and write it all up here for you, but obviously for an easy glance just add me on MyFitnessPal!

Exercise

So because I haven’t been feeling well, I also haven’t been exercising as much! I have still been going to the gym loads at the weekends, but after work sometimes I am just too exhausted to do anything, let along work out. I haven’t been able to make it to my yoga class at work because I’ve been so busy either, but I have been making loads of extra effort to walk more and have doubled my daily average steps which is so good!

I know this post is basically a load of negativity and excuses, however, I am still determined to get my goal but more importantly to be happy and comfortable with who I am. Sometimes I think my body conspires against me, but as soon as I am back to full health I am back on it with a vengeance and even until then I’ll keep trying my best because that is all you can do 🙂

Hope you are all doing well with your plans, I love to hear all about them!

Lots of love, Leanne xx

Garnier Skincare Product Review – Micellar Water Wipes, Micellar Water and Simple Essential Cleanser and Toner

Hey everyone welcome back!

A while back I think I may have mentioned that I was trying to take better care of my akin (because I keep reading that it’s one of those things you’re supposed to do as you get older) so today I’m going to review four products I’ve been using recently from the Garnier Skin Care range.

Let me begin by saying that I am not normally a “label whore” or particularly fussy about what brand of product I buy, and as I’m sure you all know my blog is all about finding the cheapest and most effective products possible. In this instance though I will make an exception! I will absolutely be paying more for Garnier products in the future than I currently do (sorry Wilkinson’s 2 for 1 face wipes!) because they are all just so darn good.

For background, I think I have combination skin which is pretty spot prone, so for me trying to keep my face blemish free is definitely the most important thing to me. I’m embarrassed to say that up until very recently my skincare routine literally consisted or a cheap make up wipe, some moisturiser and some Sudocrem if I had spots (I swear by the stuff) so considering I wear a fair amount of makeup daily, I probably wasn’t taking the best care of my skin.

Before Christmas I progressed to using Skin Therapy cleanser and toner which was good, but to be honest I didn’t really see good enough results to really keep up the longer night time routine, so as a stocking filler I asked for some better skincare products, I was delighted when I received the Garnier cleanser and toner (obviously picked by me and paid for by Andy!) and loved them so much I have increased my Garnier collection which now already contains the micellar water and micellar water wipes.

So I guess after that super long intro it’s time to get down to business:

Micellar Water Wipes

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These wipes were very recently given to me by my lovely friend Shelley (check her out on Instagram peoples- she is called ProjectYummyMummy!) after she bought some and lovely then so much she told me I just had to try them! And she was right, after just a couple of uses I was completely converted!

I’ve never been fussy about make up wipes before and normally would just go for whatever is cheapest (normally the unscented Wilkinson’s variety as they are ALWAYS on offer) however now I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to those, I’ve literally never loved such a simple product so much quickly before (except maybe my MAC foundation) and for it just to be a makeup wipe is completely insane!

Taking off my makeup is now so much easier as the wipes remove make up really quickly and are also really gentle on skin thanks to the moisture rich micellar soaked wipes. No more vigorous rubbing to remove make up or half clean faces for me anymore! (I’ll try to show you a comparison of wipes on YouTube or Instagram very soon)

Anyway, I would absolutely recommend these and will definitely be buying them again so from me these get a massive 5/5 (especially when they are currently on offer at Tesco as 2 for £3!)

Pros

  • Moisture rich
  • Remove make up really easily and quickly
  • Gentle on skin
  • Smell good

Cons

  • Price (except when they are on offer!)

Micellar Water

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I’ve been using the Micellar Water for a few weeks now (since before I started using the micellar wipes) and I will definitely continue to use both together. I know this may sound like overkill, but I definitely feel like my face is completely clean when using both together as wipes seem to only get some of the dirt away.

After I’ve taken off my makeup I apply some micellar water onto a cotton pad and then go over my whole face in sweeping and circular motions. This removes any left over dirt and grime from the day from deep in the pores, as well as on the surface of the skin – it literally couldn’t be easier!

The micellar water definitely gets a 5/5 from me purely because I am obsessed with it and talk about it to everyone!

Pros

  • Product seems to be never ending!
  • Odourless
  • Really gentle on skin
  • Cleans deep into pores really well
  • Leave my skin feeling so clean and smooth

Cons

  • Some people may think this is a time consuming and unnecessary step when using the micellar wipes
  • Could be considered pretty pricey (£4.99 for 400ml but is always on offer and lasts forever)

Garnier Simply Essentials Cleanser and Toner

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This is the next step in my skin care routine. After removing all the dirt and grime from my face, to help moisturise and ensure my skin is as clean as it possibly can be I apply the Garnier Simply Essentials Cleanser with another half of a cotton pad and applying in the same motion as the micellar water, I smooth all over my face to ensure I am moisturising and cleansing my face. On the other half of the pad I apply the toner and once I have cleansed I apply the toner in the same motion. This is to even skin tone and make skin feel supple and moisturised as well as completely as clean as it can be!

I love how smooth and gorgeous my face looks after these steps! I give both these products a 4.5/5 simply because I want to try some of their other products to see if these work better!

Pros

  • Smells so good
  • Moisturising
  • Good amount of product in the bottle
  • Don’t need much product for it to work well

Cons

  • Price £2.99 at Boots (Skin Therapy is lots cheaper but definitely doesn’t work as well and to be honest £2.99 is still a bargain but I had to put something as a con!)
  • Time consuming

All in all, I am 100% obsessed with the Garnier Skin Care range and am definitely going to gert myself down to Boots this weekend to get more products whilst they are on offer (2 for £4 on selected products) because these have completely changed my night time routine for the better! I cannot begin to tell you how much better my skin is looking thanks to this small change, and although it is time consuming, from beginning to end it probably doesn’t take any more than 5 minutes which is definitely time well spent. I’ve had far fewer break outs, my face looks better without make up and to be honest, my skin has never felt smoother, cleaner of healthier.

What is your favourite skin care brand any why? What is your night time routine?

I’d love to know so please let me know in the comments below! Of course, don’t forget to like, share, comment and subscribe if you found this useful or just an interesting read 🙂

Lots of love, Leanne xx

 

My Charity Abseil

Hey everyone,

This is a bit of a rubbish post so I’m sorry! I haven’t had much time to write this week as I have been so busy and today quite frankly I just couldn’t be bothered as I haven’t been feeling very well so I guess you’ll have to make do with this!

Last May I did an abseil down a water tower in Harlow for a fantastic charity called Lewis’ Fund to raise money for a young boy called Lewis who urgently needed proton therapy treatment in America for a brain tumour. I managed to raise a lot of money and it was really helpful to get him the treatment!

Anyway, the time has come to sign up again this year, so I thought as a treat, and to encourage anyone locally to the event to sign up (or to sponsor me if you aren’t close enough to take part) I would share my video from last years event

You can sign up to take part here and can see my video in full here.

I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Lots of love, Leanne xx