Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Eat pasta, run faster

I don't mention food enough on my blog, especially since I like to think of myself as a bit of a foodie!
When I heard Vapiano were running their campaign 'eat pasta, run faster' it sounded right up my street. So naturally, I just had to pop along to try their menu!

It was also my first time visiting Vapiano in the newly refurbished corn exchange, and I think Vapiano makes for a wonderful place to visit for a casual lunch with friends or family. Vapiano, derived from an Italian proverb meaning to 'relax and you'll live healthier and longer', have reinvented casual dining; offering freshly cooked Italian food with a self-service concept.The Manchester restaurant sits in a great location - the corn exchange in the city centre - and has a big, beautiful open space split over two floors.
Fresh herb plants are dotted everywhere around the restaurant, reminding you that their focus is on fresh, healthy, home-made food. 

Upon arrival you are handed a smart-card to scan when ordering food and drinks from the bar and the pizza/pasta/salad stations, where your chosen dish will be made freshly in front of you. You can wait while your pasta is being made - I loved this, as I enjoy being nosy - but the pizza takes a bit longer so you're given a buzzer to be called back once it's ready. 
Having your own smart-card means there's no fuss when it comes to settling the bill. You can just head to the host as you leave and pay for what you ordered on your card. Super quick and easy and perfect for large groups! 
We started with the antipasti to share. Washed down with a refreshing Aperol spritz for me and Peroni for him. We then took to reviewing the 'eat pasta, run faster' diet plan, created by Sarah Schenker, a registered dietitian and nutritionist. Sold by the campaign, we both opted for pasta dishes recommended by Sarah - bolognese and ravioli, as Sara recommends balancing your carbohydrate intake with plenty of protein. I was intrigued by this campaign, not least because I've been trying hard lately to eat healthy and I was hoping I could learn a thing or two!
I was glad I opted for spaghetti bolognese; one of my favourite pasta dishes - simple and classic, and oh so delicious! Cooked fresh on site, you are able to choose what pasta you prefer in your dish as well as customising the dish to suit by adding more or less: cheese/ chilli/ bread etc. 
Sarah recommends Bolognese as a great option for runners, as 'not only does it deliver plenty of carbohydrate to build stores of glycogen in the liver and muscles, the tomatoes deliver beta carotene needed to protect cells from oxidative damage (increased in runners) and boost immunity. The meat provides high quality protein needed for muscle strength and repair. It is also a good source of easily absorbed iron needed for the transportation of oxygen in red blood cells'. Winner! 
The ravioli is a superb recovery meal, as the ricotta cheese provides amino acids which help repair muscles and prevent soreness. I shall remember this as cheese is often the first thing I avoid when training as I know it's high in fat.

For those of you who may be currently training, or just want to get back to the gym and eat a more healthy, I have attached Sarah's 5 day plan below.

I'm personally slacking on the fitness front of late, but the healthy meal plan and tips suggested by Sarah have spurred me on somewhat. Although the dishes where recommended for runners, which I'm not, I'm positive that the plan is suitable for all those who are looking to stay healthy and get fit and can be incorporated into any fitness plan. I'm thinking of taking up dance again and this plan would be ideal to accompany a fitness plan of dance classes and weight training.

Have you tried Vapiano and if so what did you think? Also, let me know if you like the plan devised by Sarah and whether you will be trying it out. 

Thanks for having us Vapiano! 

Disclaimer: Our meal was complimentary of Vapiano but as always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

Monday, 11 January 2016

Should I buy a cleansing brush? Magnitone Lucid Review

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A while back, I was sent a Magnitone Lucid* to review and since I had never tried any cleansing brushes before I was pretty excited to give it a try!

As someone who suffers from the occasional bad breakout, redness and sometimes light scarring, I was eager to see if I would see a huge improvement from using this deep cleaning method. Offering a seven day promise, Magnitone claim to leave you with softer, brighter and clearer skin within just 7 days. Pretty awesome, right? 

So, how does it work? Well, the cleansing brush works by "providing enhanced electromagnetic pulsations that send rapid vibrations into the skin. They naturally unclog pores, and sweep away dry and dead skin cells, leaving a clearer complexion."

The brush has a 1 minute setting, but it will beep every 20 seconds, so as to indicate to move onto the next area of your face. This is an excellent feature since I for one am guilty of quickly skipping through my skin care routine as fast as humanly possible. But not anymore! The 1 minute setting ensures that you are treating your skin to a thorough deep clean and exfoliating away all of that dead skin. Another great feature is that it is completely waterproof. This means I can take the brush in the shower and do my cleanse while I'm leaving my conditioner on my hair, etc, which is great since I like to get up and go in the morning and hate spending a lot of time getting ready. I love my sleep too much! I would highly recommend using a cleanser with the brush, such as the Liz Earle cleanse and polish.

To be honest, I was apprehensive about using the Magnitone at first, since I'd read many a review on similar cleansing brushes claiming they can make you breakout even more and that the brush can be abrasive to the skin. Thankfully, as well as a deep clean setting, there is also a sensitive setting  - I chose to opt for the latter. Magnitone do pre-warn you that since you are beginning a "deep cleanse" some breakouts are to be expected during the initial 7 days, and I did suffer from a breakout when first using it. It is worth persevering though, as I noticed an improvement in my skin after the initial breakout had cleared.
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Well, after the initial breakout, which I gathered was to be expected since you are giving your skin a good old cleanse, I did notice an improvement in my skin and after using it now for a good few weeks I found that my skin was generally brighter and clearer.


I still use my Magnitone, although I've found mine works best for me when used 2/3 times a week at most. I would highly recommend cleansing brushes as they really clean deep into your pores and unclog all that nasty dirt hiding in your skin. I definitely think they're worth the initial investment, as I understand they're not cheap (the newest Magnitone retails at £70) - although Magnitone are comparatively cheaper than other brushes on the market! Once you have the brush you only need to replace the heads and these can be picked up for around £15 which is fairly inexpensive when you consider how often you use the brush and it is recommended that you change the brush every 3-4 months. I definitely think it has been a great addition to my skincare routine and think the Magnitone is a great little gadget; it's small, easily charged and perfect for travel. 

The only thing I would mention is that if you are considering giving a cleansing brush a try, I would avoid starting a deep cleanse if you have a special event coming up in case you suffer from the initial 'purging' breakout.

Have you tried cleansing brushes? Have you noticed a big difference in your skin? Let me know in the comments below! 

*products mentioned have been gifted, however all thoughts and opinions and entirely my own.


Thursday, 24 December 2015

Party ready with luxêmme

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Black swing dress - Luxêmme*
Shoes - New Look (similar)

If you're looking for a new party outfit for over the Christmas period, look no further as Luxêmme has you covered! At affordable prices, this online retailer has some awesome party pieces which will have you covered for new years if you get your orders in quick! And you don't even have to leave the comfort of the sofa...

For me, online shopping is a whole lot easier this time of year. The boxing day sales are always a complete nightmare and I HATE rummaging through the sale racks which are always a complete and utter mess; my magpie-like brain gravitates naturally to the neat and tidy 'new in' section, which is not so good for my bank balance! This year I plan on doing my 'January sales' shopping online, probably whilst stuffing my face with the left over chocolates which nobody likes, but which I will happily eat because, hey, it's chocolate.

Talking of eating too much, this swing style dress is the perfect cover up for hiding a multitude of sins, so wearing this after Christmas you needn't worry about your figure and you can just enjoy the festivities before the January blues kick in and everyone starts talking about having to join a gym etc. Etc.  Luxêmme kindly sent me this dress - just in time for the party season - and I thought it would be nice to do a little post introducing you to the brand. I must apologise for the lack of creativity in these pics, but unluckily for me, it seems to rain every time I get ready to shoot pictures lately. Luxêmme have a whole host of other great party dresses, so I'm sure there's something for everyone!

So, what's everyone's plans for NYE then?


Monday, 21 December 2015

Winter Coat Edit

Since we're now nearly in the middle of winter, now is the time to invest in your staple winter coat, if you haven't already. A lot of the sales start early, so if you can't wait for those Boxing Day sales there's still some pretty good deals online now, making it a great time to purchase your winter outerwear and avoid the chaos of the post-Christmas sales (3 of the coats listed below have already been reduced, including the navy Monsoon beauty!). 
I have complied a little 'essential winter edit' showcasing the best items from this season's hottest outerwear trends. These are my favourite coats I've found online. 

First up is one for fellow petite ladies: the camel coat from Asos. Camel is everywhere this season, and I love it! Opting for a camel coat not only injects a bit of colour into your look, but it is a great alternative to black. I personally would usually opt for a dark winter coat, but camel is a great option as it goes great with a lot of  'winter' colours you're likely to be wearing; navy, cream, grey and black all look striking against camel. I also really like the boyfriend style of this coat, and the contrasting collar even more so.

Next up is one for those winter nights out. When it's as cold as it is now, you need a coat to layer over your beautiful party dress to save you from catching a cold! So wrap up in the prettiest coat you can find but remain looking fabulous - this coat Mango (via Asos) faux fur definitely fits the bill. Faux fur has been undeniably a huge trend this season and this winter-white version will look great over pretty much anything; you could just as easily dress this coat down for a more casual look too. This coat is sure to keep you cosy this winter. 

The ladylike coat from Monsoon is a great choice if you're after a bit of a smarter look. This elegant navy coat remains on trend with the faux fur collar - this is a great choice for those looking for a stylish coat which will see them from this season to the next. This coat reminds me of something K. Middleton would wear. My tip: add a black belt to clinch in the waist to give a great silhouette.

An oversized jacket is next on the list. Oversized jackets are becoming increasingly popular and there are tons of styles available on the high street (check out Primark or H&M if you're on a tight budget). I love the laid back look of this Zara coat, plus shearling is well known to keep you nice and toasty - a little bit like wearing a duvet around yourself outside the house...

Finally, the parka! The epitome of laid back style. Almost too relaxed, however, manages to remain stylish somehow. I'm not sure if it takes a sort of person to pull one off well, but I personally am yet to find the perfect parka. But this Asos version sure looks tempting. 

Which coat is your favourite and have you found your perfect winter coat yet? 

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