Doubts & concerns. A normal part of growing up.

6 months is a long time and yet it seems to go so quickly! That is how long it has been since I last wrote on here and I feel so awful for the fact I haven’t been keeping in touch more, but life has been busy both in and out of work and to be honest, I’m not going to beat myself up for enjoying myself a little.

For a while I thought about taking the blog down as I didn’t have the time I used to to devote to something which I created from scratch. Also, people change. The plans I had when this blog was started are so different now and I think that if anything my blog just needs a refresh. The most helpful posts for me have always been ones which are really open and real so instead of talking about fashion and beauty quite so much, I’ll be focussing more on real life. Of course, I still love all that stuff and that will feature, but think of this as a real insight into the life of your very average 20-something woman!

So what has been on my mind lately? For me it has been about whether I am good enough. What do I mean by that? Well some of the things which feature:

  • Am I being a good enough friend/girlfriend?
  • Could I be doing more at work/professionally?
  • Am I too fat and should I be working out more?
  • Am I too hard on myself and worrying about nothing?

The list goes on and on, but you get the picture. The worst part is, I know I am not alone in these thoughts as these are fears a lot of people I know also share in one way or another.

I work so hard and put my all into everything that I do and sometimes it just doesn’t seem enough. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to go for a run or a bike ride, sometimes I would rather just stay in all weekend rather than going out. Luckily, as someone who tries to look at everything from an optimistic point of view, I don’t get stuck in that slump for too long, but it does happen. Take the blog as a perfect example, I started something which I feel like I haven’t been able to finish. At one point it was something which felt like it defined me and now it’s not so great.

And why do we feel like this from time to time? The answer is that we compare ourselves to others!

When you compare yourself to others it is so easy to get in a rut. No two stories are the same, so how can you properly compare? Someone else may seem to have more in one aspect, but without a doubt they look at you and see something that they would like to have just as much.  Instead of focussing on what everyone else has that you wish you did, write a little list of the things you know you do well or have in your life to be positive about. It doesn’t have to be a long list, but the more you can add the better, even small things like smiling at strangers as that goes a long way for some!

I’d love to hear how you feel about this post! What are you biggest fears and concerns? Do you think you are too hard on yourself? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Lots of love, Leanne xx

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Welcome back!

Welcome back!

Hey everyone, I know it has been ages since I last posted and for that I am sorry, although really the biggest apology that I owe is to myself.

I spent a lot of time and effort setting up my blog and I loved writing and sharing my take on everything from fashion to foundation! A lot has changed in the past few months though, some of which I will share with you in my writing, but it was a perfect storm of life changing events and for a while I kind of lost myself without even realising. It’s funny how you don’t realise how something has changed until it gets back to normal. Like if you’ve ever lost your hearing because of a cold and then one day it suddenly comes back and you realise how amazing it is to hear properly again. That’s what happened to me recently and I realised I needed to stop being unmotivated and get my shine back again and here I am.

I realised as well since I was last here that even if I am not feeling great about myself and the way I look or do makeup or dress, there is always someone else out there who looks at you and thinks “wow I wish I could do that” and that really motivated me to not let those people down.

So here I am, pretty much the same old me but definitely a bit older and perhaps even a bit wiser now too. So what will I be talking about here now? Pretty much the same stuff from my favourite fashions, my go to make-up, real world weight loss struggles, image advice but most importantly this will be a place for me to come and be myself, so I hope you all like it  🙂

Lots of love, Leanne

Review: Thai Square Spa

I had all but given up on blogging recently with time being a complete squeeze, but then one email reminded me that I was a good writer and even more than that, I really loved it too.

Not only was I going to a spa (which was well needed) but I would have an excuse to discipline myself to sit down and write and really remind myself what it is I loved about this in the first place. I love writing, but not finding the time to do it is certainly easier than finding it, but perhaps I just needed a little reset and zen time to remember this!

So off I went to Thai Square Spa in Northumberland Avenue for an afternoon in the Sen Space and for a Himalayan Salt Massage!

It was one of the hottest days of the year, the tube was uncomfortable and I was feeling like I’d rather sunbathe in Hyde Park all afternoon, but I went along hopeful (although slightly grumpy!) but luckily the team immediately had me at ease. Speaking in soothing tones, dressed chicly in black and with sparkly marble everywhere, I felt like I was exactly where I should have been (even if my smudged makeup, rushed up do and slovenly attire made me feel just a tad uncomfortable).

I was taken into the changing rooms, provided with my robe, slippers and a locker and then took some time to look around. The changing rooms were so clean, the lockers were big (and free!) and everywhere you looked was a lovely combination of sparkly red and black – it felt so decadent and even better that the slippers actually fit and the robes were soft unlike other spas I have been to.

Then I was taken into the dark and quiet downstairs, quite a difference to upstairs, which was decorated in stone, white and black with tiny Buddha’s holding tea lights everywhere you looked which gave the most amazing finish. An array of curved beds were situated in several areas, with enough room for your own space without being too far from friends and family. In the corner of one of the most relaxing places I have ever been was the Sen Space. Filled with a Jacuzzi, Sauna, Steam Room and an amazing ice funnel/dispenser thing, I was spoilt for choice! The Sen Space is unisex which I was warned about up front. I was sharing the Sen Space with a group of guys which although slightly intimidating at first as I was on my own, was easy to work around. After 30-40 minutes in the Sauna and Jacuzzi (which was amazing by the way!) I made my way to the beds to cool down ready for my massage.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect as I’ve only ever had a pretty standard half body massage before, but when a lovely softly spoken girl came to meet me I was very intrigued! The spa had such a calming yet mysterious feel! She took me into a treatment room and provided me with a speciality Thai tea which I should have taken the name of as it was beautiful, all whilst receiving a foot soak/massage pedicure treatment. After this it was massage time! Sometimes massages can be uncomfortable, as you can hear the therapist clattering around, making idle chit chat and being naked doesn’t help either, but this wasn’t the case at all here! The therapist (whose name I cannot remember sadly) was so quiet, kept making sure I was comfortable but was still very thorough.

The treatment started off with a hot flannel treatment, before a massage on my feet and legs, then arms and lastly back and shoulders. I carry a lot of tension in my feet and shoulders due to sports injuries and she made sure that every last knot was removed, which although painful, was also hugely relaxing. I wish I could remember more of it to describe in more detail but I had to fight the urge to fall asleep for the full hour as I was just so relaxed. After some lovely smelling oils and lotions I was then rolled onto my back to continue the massage on arms and legs before finishing with a very relaxing face and head massage.

I left the treatment in a lovely little bubble of relaxation which even on a hot tube home stayed with me for days.

I would seriously recommend for anyone to go and I’m already looking to go back for more treatments as the standard of the one I had was so high. It isn’t the cheapest of spas to attend, but I would say that it is so worth the money as it is by far the best experience I have ever had. (I have to point I didn’t have to pay for this treatment in return for a review, however if I hadn’t have enjoyed the experience I definitely would be truthful in my review. Luckily for you all it really was incredible though!)

 

How time flies…

Wow, I cannot believe that it was the 2nd birthday of my blog this week.

I completely forgot to do anything to commemorate it as it has been one crazy week! Travelling around so much with work, my mums birthday, a major op for a close family member and planning for my last sessions of coaching have taken up all my time and attention.

Finding two minutes to reflect, the 2nd year of my blog hasn’t gone as well as the first and the blame lies completely with me. I haven’t been able to put as much in so naturally I’ll get less from it, but I’m not disheartened. Sometimes life changes your plans and I think that every change or challenge should be viewed as an opportunity. So far this year advancing my career whilst bettering the bonds with my friends and family have been the most important things to me, so lacking a little here has been worth it 🙂

Next week will be very emotional for me as I am leaving gymnastics after 20 years of being involved in the sport, 7 of those in coaching. Dropping one commitment does mean I should be able to find time to write in the week though as well as taking better care of myself, so I’m focusing all my attention on the good that will come from making such a heart-wrenching decision.

More important than looking back though is to continue to look forward. I want to thank you all for your support so far and let you all know I cannot wait to be able to invest more time with you as I am sure then only good things will happen! LifestyleforLess HQ really is a no negative vibes kinda place 🙂

Stick with me!

Lots of love, Leanne xx

 

It’s okay to feel flat, fat and fed up sometimes

Hey everyone,

I know I have been rubbish at posting blogs lately, life has been busy in general and after coming down with a horrible chesty infection a few weeks ago, going away on holiday and then having to deal with Andy’s broken wrist since being back it’s all been a bit much! However, I am slowing down a bit to commit to writing some more. Even when I don’t get to post written pieces though, there are always new pictures on Instagram so make sure you stay tuned there if you aren’t already!

This post is a little different for me. I’m focussing on feelings, emotion and life instead of fashion and beauty purely because my blog is like my little online diary. I’ve had a few conversations with people recently where they have confessed they haven’t been feeling so good but seemed so reluctant to talk about it and after hearing that some of their favourite posts of mine were the ones where I was really honest and myself, I was inspired. People several times a day ask “Hey, how are you?” However the only answer it seems okay to give is “fine thanks” which is a shame because if things aren’t fine it’s crucial to talk about it as it really does help! It isn’t something we really talk about, but why shouldn’t it be? So here I am doing my little piece to break down some barriers and to hopefully help start some conversations 🙂

I don’t know if any of you had the same perception as I did when you were younger? At 16 years old I felt being 24 was so grown up and that everyone seemed like they had it all together and yet now I’m here, I don’t feel that way at all. I don’t feel grown up or like a proper adult and I definitely don’t feel like I have my life together at all! Don’t get me wrong, I have a lovely life filled with many wonderful people and experiences and I’m always really happy and grateful, however this is not how I pictured I would be at 24.

I guess looking back I didn’t really ever stop to think how I expected to feel as I got older. And it’s not that I’m scared of getting older as actually I quite like the increasing wisdom and respect which comes with age, however I don’t feel grounded, I don’t feel anywhere near being fully accomplished and I certainly am not at the point where I feel content.

When you are at school people say those are the best years of your lives, when you are in your twenties people are saying the same thing so you begin to wonder “what actually is the best time of your life?” Will you ever have a moment where you wake up one day and think “yeah, I’m happy I have it all together, I know what I wanted and now I’ve got it”?

I actually think that being in your twenties is one of the toughest times of your life. In your teens, people don’t expect much from you except that you will make mistakes and probably be a bit angsty and hormonal and yet in your twenties you’re an adult and people expect you to act like one, eventhough you are still muddling your way through except at the same time working full time, or battling to find a job after uni and probably having to look after yourself at home too. As you approach your mid twenties, questions about when you are going to get married and have kids become more frequent and if, like me, you aren’t sure whether marriage and babies is your thing the response is always “you’ll change your mind, you’re only young”! I’m lucky as I’m pretty self assured and outspoken and luckily supported in all I do by my family, but even I sometimes hear these responses and wonder if I’m normal. But in my logical mind, I want to remind you that we actually don’t know what normal is. Who defines normality? Who defines what is an acceptable way to think and feel.

So I guess all I want to say is, don’t worry and don’t hide how you are feeling. Don’t worry if sometimes you feel fat and frumpy and yet still want to eat every item of food within reach and not go to the gym, don’t worry if you aren’t sure what you want to do or achieve in life or if your views are different to those around you. Just do you – You’re the only one that can and so you should make the most of it!

I hope you liked this post and that it helped if you were feeling at all confused, down or just fed up!

Lots of love, Leanne xx

 

Save a life – give blood (pretty please!)

Hey everyone, bit of a different post today, but I hope you like it all the same 🙂 It’s inspired by something I did for the very first time recently and feel quite passionately about, so if my writing can encourage even one of you to take the plunge, I’ll feel like I have used my audience to achieve something good!

I’m talking about giving blood of course 🙂 It was something I had thought about doing for ages, but wasn’t sure if I could, or even how to go about it which really put me off booking into a session. I’d signed up as a donor in June but never got around to going, so when I saw that a blood drive was coming very close to where I work I decided enough was enough and that I was going to do it (after persuading my friend/manager Tim to join me too!)

After wandering over to the blood drive in my lunch break and booking in to give blood a few hours later, I was anxious to see what it would be like, but when I arrived to give my donation, I was quickly reassured and felt very safe 🙂

As a first time donor the process is slightly longer than those who have donated before, but the process really takes less than an hour from start to finish even with the extra bits! Initially you have to fill out a form which asks questions to make sure you are able to give blood (again something that put me off donating was the list of reasons you cant donate e.g recent holiday abroad/illness/tattoo, but after speaking with someone I was quickly calmed that I would be eligible assuming my blood was suitable.) You’re then called off to see a nurse who does a secondary evaluation of your questionnaire, take a small sample of blood from your finger to check you have enough iron and then confirms whether or not you are able to donate and once that is all done it is over to a chair ready to be hooked up.

giveblood2Another nurse puts you in a chair, lets you choose which arm you’d prefer, lays you back and inserts the needle to withdraw blood. It doesn’t hurt at all even though the needle does look pretty initimidating and once it is in you are given exercises to do like hand and bum clenches to keep the blood flowing, although my blood was a little slow! Once your pint is taken, the needle is removed (my least favourite part but even that wasn’t bad!) you can see and even hold you blood bag if you want and then once they are sure you feel well it’s over to the tea and biscuit area!

And that is literally it! From start to finish feels pretty relaxing, is over quickly and you get to meet some really lovely and amazing people in the process too 🙂

So hopefully this post tells you all about the process and puts your mind at rest if it was something you were considering but were scared about. I can assure you there is nothing to fear and after all, a small bruise is a tiny price to pay considering you can save up to three lives with every donation you give. And don’t think “oh well I have a common blood type I don’t need to give!” I found out I am A Positive (the second most common blood type) which just means they need more of it as more people need it! I even found out from the staff at the blood drive that they only ever have enough supply for 3 days worth of supply! 3 days?! That’s insane for something so critical!

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And also don’t think why would you give because you’ll never need it, it’s actually quite common to have blood transfusions. Not only for serious illnesses such as cancer, but also for things like newborn babies and their mums who lose blood in childbirth, so one day it could be you or someone you know who needs it!

So get yourself to the Give Blood website now to find out how to become a donor (UK Only but please please google for your blood drive operators if you aren’t in the UK) and to find out where you can donate 🙂

One final thought as well as most of my readers are female, 70% of people who donate are women, so let’s carry on doing our bit by getting even more of us to sign up as donors as we can only give blood every 16 weeks so its important there are more of us than ever to ensure we are never short of what we need!

Please let me know if you have given blood or if you are thinking of signing up or just have any questions because I’d love to hear and help!

Lots of love, Leanne xx

My Top 5 Beauty Essentials

Hey everyone, me again! Just wanted to start this post by saying thanks so much for all the messages of love and support I received after the post I did on Sunday (which you can read here if you haven’t already!) Those more personal posts where I express my true opinions on topics which can be very divisive are the ones I get most nervous about sharing, but now I know I shouldn’t be scared as so many of you are feeling exactly the same way I am! And to hear that I have inspired  a few of you really made my day 🙂
Anyway, today I am writing about some far less controversial and am instead going to be sharing my 5 beauty essentials, basically products that I don’t think I could cope without and I’d love to see if you agree…
1) Good brushes and a make up sponge
I apologise now, some of the essentials are technically more than one item but I am lumping them all in together otherwise this list would be very VERY long! For me, perfect application of makeup means having good tools to do so. They say that a bad workman (or woman) always blames their tools, so my theory is, if you invest in good tools you are more likely to invest more time to ensuring you get perfect results.
My favourites are actually pretty varied! 2 few years ago I bought a set of Real Techniques brushes which have been some of the best brushes I have ever owned. They are standing the test of time so well, and are washed regularly, although I probably do need to invest in more although they are pretty expensive!
On the complete other end of the spectrum, Wilkinsons also do an amazing range of very affordable make up brushes. Some don’t last as long (their foundation brushes for example don’t last past a few washes) but are so cheap that you don’t really mind replacing them. Some however last forever, such as their blusher brush which I adore as it gives perfect application of blusher, bronzer and highlighter 🙂
As well as brushes, I now use a Beauty Blender or make up sponge religiously, as it gets rid of any streaks and brush marks and gives an airbrushed and flawless look to foundation. I was lucky enough to be sent a Nanshy Blending Sponge a while ago (read the post here) and have been hooked ever since! It doesn’t wash as well or as easily as brushes it turns out, but has lasted a fair while, although I probably do need to purchase another one.
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2) Tangle Teezer & back comb brush
For any of you who are huge Becca Rose fans (like me!) you will know that she carries a comb with her everywhere she goes. I am very similar, but instead of a comb I will almost always have a back comb brush (I probably own at least 4) I have relatively thin hair, so backcoming is essential for the voluminous locks that I love but as well as that I also really like how they help tame flyaways so well
Despite having pretty thin hair, it seems to get ridiculously tangled, especially the longer it gets, so another must-have is my Tangle Teezer. I don’t know what I used to do without one of these, but it is by far my favourite thing that I own. I wash my hair several times a week (the least I possibly can) and always wash it in the evening to let it dry naturally overnight and the Tangle Teezer is perfect to brush through any knots straight after it is washed, and then again to de frizz my morning lion mane with ease 🙂
If you don’t own one of these already, firstly where have you been the last few years (?!) and secondly get one! They aren’t the cheapest for what they are, but they stand the test of time and are priceless in the long run!
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3) Sudocrem
I know this seems properly random, but I can explain! I love this stuff for multiple reasons. As I’m sure you already know as I have mentioned it before and will probably mention again in future posts, I have fairly troublesome skin. It is prone to outbreaks, especially when I change the amount of water I drink or the change of seasons, and like everyone having spots makes me super self conscious. However, a year or so ago I started to use Sudocrem on my face in the evenings before bed on any areas of trouble on my face and found that this stuff was like miracle cream! Overnight it would reduce swelling, redness and dry skin and make it so easy to apply make up to cover it or get rid of the spot all together. Eventhough it doesn’t stop me getting them (if anyone has any recommendations for that let me know!!) it definitely does help when they develop and really stops them in their tracks.
But that isn’t all that it is good for! I love sunbathing and taking part in loads of different sports and activities and find that Sudocrem on dry skin or cuts and abrasions helps them clear up really quickly and look better and more moisturised almost immediately! Plus a giant pot of Sudocrem is so cheap and it lasts for years so invest in some now and give it a go!
4) Good make up remover!
Anyone who is a fan of makeup really should also be a fan of skin and skincare as the two go together like strawberries and cream!  I love makeup and I have had to teach myself to love the art of skin and looking after it. After all it is really important and if you treat it right you certainly notice a difference.
As someone who wears makeup all day almost every day (although I am trying to give my skin at least a half day off wherever I can) one thing I enjoy almost as much as putting it on, is actually taking it all off at the end of the day. I have written about my skincare routine before (which you can read here) and I still stand by everything I said in that post. Every evening I take my makeup off with a face wipe and then use my Garnier cleanser, micellar water and toner to finish off, followed by Lacura Face Serum from Aldi (and then Sudocrem if needed!)
I made the mistake of not taking any of these products with me on holiday and boy did I notice the difference! The first thing I did when I got home was properly cleanse my face and it was amazing, so please please if you take nothing else away from this post please look after your skin and give yourself an extra 10 minutes before bed to always remove your makeup thoroughly and to cleanse your face!
5) A good lengthening and defining mascara
And last but certainly not least is the need for a good mascara! I remember being told when I was younger that if you put nothing else on focus on your eyes and your lips and you’ll look as if you’ve made loads of effort and I have to say I agree.
I am getting better at not wearing loads of makeup all the time and recently have been just wearing foundation, lipgloss and mascara which I think is partially helped by the fact that I have found an amazing one at last! (plus my eyelashes have grown back after a lash extension disaster – needless to say I will definitely be doing my own extensions from now on)
It is the L’oreal False Lash Superstar which has a primer similar to the ELF one followed by a fibrous mascara to help thicken and lengthen lashes. It’s pretty pricey for a mascara but lasts ages and works wonders, so I would definitely recommend!
So that is my complete list of beauty essentials! What do you think? Am I missing something or is there a product you couldn’t live without? Let me know in the comments as I love trying new stuff 🙂
As always don’t forget to get involved either here or on Twitter and Instagram! I always love to hear from you!
Lots of love, Leanne xx