Fashion | Rocking oversized coats

Top: Oasis | Jeans: Gap (oh so old) | Jacket: Yumi | Bag: Calvin Klein

Summer has well and truly arrived in the UK but it seems to have missed Hamilton completely! I've had one warm day so far - working day - and the weekends have been filled with rain and overcast skies. It's meant I've had to pull out the old faithful jeans and boots combo, which is annoying to say the least...

On the plus side I've had an opportunity to wear my rather fabulous new oversized pink coat. Oversized coats are never something I've worn before but oh how in love I am. I just can't stop wearing it and it's so darn comfortable. Loving me some bagginess! I've also been rocking my rather fabulous bag lately in an attempt to rock some summer colours. Please sunshine come back soon!

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Beauty | Sephora Mixed Metals Baked Eye and Face Palette Review

Sephora Mixed Metals baked eye and face palette review
Sephora Mixed Metals baked eye and face palette reviewSephora Mixed Metals baked eye and face palette reviewSephora Mixed Metals baked eye and face palette review

I'm a bit of a sucker for a good palette and wowsers have I got a beauty to share with you all today! It's not often I see something that I instantly have to have but this Sephora Mixed Metals baked eye and face palette hit the nail on the head. I mean isn't it just stunning? Add the chemistry twist and it's every girly scientists dream!

The eyeshadows are a mix of shimmery, soft golds, silvers and coppers and matte brown and grey shades. I've used it everyday for the last month and I'm still in love. The colour payoff is great, the powders blend like a dream and they really compliment each other. There's just so many combinations that work. It's also easy to go from a day to night look by blending the smokey, dark shades with the coppers and golds. 

What I love most though is that these shadows can also be used wet, instantly transforming them into liners! Talk about versatile. The blush is also worth a mention here, the colour is a lot lighter than it looks in the pan and creates a lovely natural glow. Think of a blushing bride, perfect for summer.

I'm not so keen on the highlighter but hey with a palette this good, who's complaining!

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Does your workplace contribute to unhealthy choices?

In my quest to be happier and healthier I've become a lot more aware of what I eat throughout the day. It turns out working in an office can be quite counter productive to eating healthy! I had no idea how much crap gets consumed in my work, there's chocolate kicking around most days not to mention the crisps and cakes.  Oh the cakes...

I didn't think I ate a lot of rubbish but now that I'm paying more attention, it's frightening how many extra calories I used to have without even realising. One of the main issues was that I didn't bring enough food to get me through the day. I only brought lunch which meant mid morning and afternoon I was hungry. For the last two weeks I've been bringing three small meals instead; a protein shake for 10 am, a salad with salmon or chicken for lunch and some vegetables with humous or fruit for around 3 pm. It's been making the world of difference. Honestly I can't tell you all! I have tons more energy throughout the day, I'm more productive and I can do more when I workout too.

I also drink more water now and keep a 1.5 L jug on my desk. I can't be the only one who gets stuck into a project and 4 hours later you realise you've not moved from your seat. Not drinking made me think I was hungry when I wasn't too. It's funny how obvious that is to me now!

I'm lucky that a few of my team are on a bit of a health kick. The volume of unhealthy snacks has reduced a lot and instead there's dried fruit and mixed nuts in the office. My boss has also asked if we want to sign up for a 3 km run in a few weeks. Running and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship but I do like the idea of the team doing something together. Working out is so much easier when you have people around you to help keep you motivated. Exercising together is also a nice alternative from the usual 'let's grab a drink after work on a Friday.'

A few of us have also taken to going out for a short 15 min walk in the afternoon. Well, when the weather is playing nice - it is Scotland after all! Working in a building with so few windows (two to be exact) can make the day quite a challenge. I find taking a few minutes in the sun makes all the difference to my day and it's a little bit of added exercise too!

Do you think it's hard to stay healthy in work? What tips do you have for making your workplace healthier

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A very Yumi wardrobe indeed

You may remember a few weeks ago I wrote a post about wanting to change my wardrobe and say goodbye to the old, poor fitting clothing. Well I only went and blooming won the competition with my post!!! 

Wahhhh, I can't even express how amazing that feels to say! It was just the most lovely surprise for a dull Wednesday morning and such a fabulous way to kick start my new wardrobe. I've told you all how unhappy I've felt about myself lately. If I'm honest I pretty much hate 90% of my clothes but throwing everything out in one go would literally have left me with nothing. To find out I had £1000 to spend with Yumi was just the best news.

Here's a sneak peak of some of the goodies I picked. 

Competition win with Yumi
Competition win with YumiCompetition win with YumiCompetition win with Yumi
Competition win with Yumi
Competition win with Yumi
Competition win with Yumi

I've gone for a mix of casual, formal and work wear with a heavy focus on dresses as I really want to make an effort to wear them day to day. There's a few other goodies in there too including some rather stunning jackets. Honestly I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. A massive thank you to Yumi for picking me, I still haven't stopped smiling! 

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I'm too busy working on my own grass...

So as you can guess from my obvious lack of posts this week, life most definitely got in the way. Trying to balance my work alongside my blog and new healthier lifestyle has been a complete challenge and is going to take some serious restructuring on my part. It amazes me that people find time to do it all.

Who would have thought exercising and making healthy food choices was so time consuming? 

Food has been by far my biggest challenge this week. I love a salad but to be honest I'm a carb girl. Give me mac and cheese with some garlic bread and we'll be friends for life! My new food plan eliminates 'bad' carbs which pretty much cuts out bread, rice, pasta, cakes etc. Instead I'm trying to eat high protein meals with lots of vegetables. The problem is I'm struggling with ways to add flavour and make sure my meals will be varied enough to keep me interested over the next few months. Any tips or recipes please throw them my way guys.

The other issue is quantity. Eric wants me to have 5 small meals a day: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. It sounds easy but if like me you don't eat first thing in the morning it's really difficult. My body is not used to eating at 6am. At the moment it's mind over matter but I'm hoping I'll get used to it.

Exercise wise I've actually enjoyed my first week, shock horror. There's something really satisfying about busting your butt and giving it everything you have. And believe me I mean everything - never have I sweated so much! Cardio and I are never going to be best buds but I realise its necessary and I can honestly say I feel better for doing it, even after 1 week. 

I've also decided to give yoga a real go. My job is unbelievable stressful and in the past I often reached for food at night as a comfort. Obviously I don't want that to continue so I need another way to de-stress and yoga seems a good alternative. I've done a few workouts before but I forgot how much it clears my mind and relaxes me. I can see it being a favourite of mine and hopefully I'll get fit and flexible in the process.

So all in all not too bad a start x

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I've had enough of being unhappy

So here's the deal, I am almost back to my heaviest ever weight. 

Yup in just 8 short weeks I've managed to gain 10 pounds. I went a little mad with the whole all you can eat and drink thing in Mexico and kept on that tasty, sugar ridden wagon once I got home. 

Now I know 10 pounds doesn't seem like a lot to some people but it's really started to affect the way I see myself. It makes me feel really unhealthy and unhappy. I don't feel like me anymore and it really kills my confidence when a dress I bought 3 months ago no longer fits well.

I'm also mad. Mad that I worked so hard in the run up to the wedding and then immediately fell back into bad habits. What was the point of all that effort? Why did I even bother? The most annoying thing is that I felt amazing before. I was strong, sexy and loved the changes that I'd made to my own body. My hard work for the world to see.

The kicker was this weeks warmer weather. I wore a dress to work without tights for the first time this year. Getting home involves a 20 minute walk and by the time I made it to the house my thighs were red raw! They've gotten big enough that they rubbed when I was walking and I had removed the top layer of skin. Never in my life has this been a problem and I was just so embarrassed and upset about it.

For the first time in weeks I took a proper look in the mirror. What did I see? A stranger. The weight has accumulated around my hips, thighs and bum but its even changed the look of my stomach which I usually love. I could call it extra curves and embrace it but honestly I feel fat.

Yes I said it FAT.

Fat has suddenly become this taboo word. It's been in the media a lot lately and there are some amazingly positive body image messages going around challenging people's perceptions. I'm all for that believe me but I'm also not afraid to use the word fat. 

I believe everybody, no matter what size they are, has a perfect weight. It's the weight when you feel happiest and your body shape is exactly what you want it to be. That goes for slim and plus size girls. Your number is the one that you can live life to the fullest at.

I'm not at my number. 

I want to change how I think about my body. I want to feel strong, sexy and happy. I want my outside to look how I feel on the inside. I want to love myself again.

So here's my plan: I've given Eric full control for the next 12 weeks. He's a complete gym junkie and unlike me kept to his healthy ways. He's made me a 12 week exercise programme and there's a mix of workouts to keep me interested and motivated. I'm also starting a new food plan filled with lean protein and vegetables from Monday.

For the next three months I'm going to chase the body and life I want; strong and confident. Honestly it terrifies me, what if I fail again? Can I actually commit to becoming who I want to be? It's scary but if I value myself I know that my unhealthy habits have to change.

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Beauty | Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection Review

Like most bloggers and beauty lovers I was super excited when Real Techniques launched their latest line 'Bold Metals'. With gold, silver and rose gold metal finishes they are easily some of the prettiest brushes on the market. Unfortunately they are not cheap with some of them setting you back £25 a brush.

I'm a huge fan of their original collection - rarely a day goes by where I won't reach for my Expert Face and buffing brushes - but these were just far too much money for me to invest in. I noticed they were about half the UK price in America so I decided to buy a couple of them in Miami and fulfil my fantasy of brush collection perfection. I picked the 101 Triangle Foundation Brush and the 100 Arched Powder.

Initial thoughts? They are as beautiful as they look, simply stunning. Unfortunately that's about as far as I go with compliments on the triangle foundation brush. The bristles are horrible; they feel almost plastic and I found it ridiculously scratchy when applying foundation. I also really struggled at blending in products - and I tried three or four foundations just to make sure! Definitely not one I would recommend, the Expert Face brush is far superior and a lot cheaper.

Thankfully the arched powder brush is much more like what you would expect. The bristles are better on this brush, they feel softer which may be down to the shape and are more densely packed. Although I have to say in my opinion they still don't feel as nice as the original collection. The domed shape lends itself perfectly to applying bronzer and blusher and the size is great. I've also used it to apply a setting powder if I'm looking for precision rather than an all over coverage. All in all a good multi-purpose brush.

So a mixed bag really. Beautiful yes but not the best I've tried. The arched brush is a lovely addition to my collection but for me it's not worth the extra pennies when you could buy the original lines instead.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these  brushes or any others from the collection?

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Fashion | Stripes

Jacket: Oasis | Top: Topshop | Trousers: Oasis | Shoes: Schuh | Bag: Michael Kors

Ever since buying these Oasis trousers I feel like I've worn them full stop, what can I say I'm a stripe convert. Trousers and I tend not to get along so to find a pair that fit this well and look this good deserves some blogging attention. Hand on heart they are so comfortable!

I also get to share my new bag with you all, isn't she a beauty? This was a present from my new hubby in Miami and oh how I love it so. It's the perfect size for day or night and I can see this bag making many more appearances.

Hope you're all having a wonderful Tuesday!

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Travelling | Exploring York...

Last week Eric and I were very kindly invited to spend the weekend in York with Travelodge at their central hotel. Can you believe this was only our third weekend away in 13 years! We travelled down on the Friday night and got to spend all day Saturday and most of Sunday taking in the sights. Here's a little round up of what we got up to...

Due to some rather awful traffic we didn't arrive at the hotel until 10pm. We dumped our bags in the room and headed next door to Weatherspoons for some dinner - such a convenience I can't even tell you all! After some grub and a few swift drinks we headed back to the hotel for a well earned kip. 

Looking out the window in the morning was a lovely surprise, a picture perfect, fairy tale cottage! York I think I loved you even then. With the sun shining we headed out bright and early for a day of exploring. Location wise, the hotel is kind of perfect - literally a 10 minute walk to the centre of town. If you're looking for a pocket friendly place to stay not too far from the hustle and bustle this would definitely be a hotel for you! We had a wander round the cobbled streets including the famous The Shambles; a street filled with historic wooden framed buildings that make you feel like you have stepped into Harry Potter. Talk about beautiful!

We also walked round the walls - or battlements (yup boys never change) - that surround the centre. If you go to York this is an absolute must, the views you get of the city are breathtaking. I even found a walled garden that transported me back to my favourite childhood book.

If food is your thing York is packed with amazing cafes, restaurants and bars. With the races on, everywhere was packed but we did manage to get a seat in Bills in the morning for pancakes and granola.  I've never been before but left suitably impressed and loving the decor. For dinner we headed out to the @helpyork recommended Garden of India. Hands down one of the best prawn dopiaza's I've ever eaten, delicious.

Suitably stuffed and shattered from the days adventures we headed back to the hotel for the night via a few local pubs of course. Our room was everything you'd expect from Travelodge; a clean, simple layout with all the necessities you could want, but the bed! Wow guys I was suitably impressed, it was ridiculously comfortable. I had a great nights sleep, only to be rudely woken to being snapped by the hubby.

Before heading home on Sunday we went to the local Outlet Mall - hello Michael Kors store. For once I was good and didn't add to my ever growing collection of his bags but I did pick one up for my sister, the obsession continues...

The weather took a turn for the worse so we hopped in the car to begin the 4 hour drive back to sunny  rainy Scotland. If you're looking for a weekend away I'd definitely recommend York, it is beyond beautiful and there is something for everyone.

Thank you to Travelodge for such a fab weekend!

Laura x

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