I’ve been trying to up my exercise before Christmas, and make progress with my goal to eventually be able to do an unassisted pull up.  This has meant getting a gym pass and hitting the weights.

I definitely feel the benefit of doing weights almost instantly and as I have such an active job that involves carrying heavy stuff and holding a heavy camera- my guns need all the help they can get!

I also seem to have less time for a decent breakfast so I’ve been making this banana smoothie for an easy on-the-go boost.

INGREDIENTS: 1x banana, 1x Whey Better Banana scoop, 2x spoons of  dairy free yoghurt, few ice cubes (for extra hydration) and ¼ pint of oat milk.

You literally can’t beat exercise for lifting your mood, making you feel good and helping you to stay focused and happy.  I always feel so happy and motivated after any form of exercise- horse riding, running, yoga, or a great gym sesh.  Even though the weather is pants this is even more reason to boost your mood and work up a sweat!

You can either use a fresh banana, or if you want to be super organised chop a banana into slices and freeze the night before for an extra cold, thick smoothie.

I use oat milk but you can use any type of milk.  My body hates regular milk (dairy in general) so coconut milk or Oat milk is my choice of liquid.  I’m using coconut yoghurt so wanted a plain base.

As this is either a pre or post workout smoothie I’ve been using Bio Synergy’s Whey Better Banana Protein.  I LOVE this brand of protein.  My gorgeous super-fit friend Natalie introduced me to the brand when I was training for the marathon.  Check out her amazing healthy twitter feed here! Their Cookies and Cream flavour is THE BEST and it’s not too sugary or sickly or leaves that horrid powder taste.  My skin hasn’t reacted to it either, so it’s a winner in my eyes!

I also add a couple of tablespoons of dairy-free yoghurt to thicken up my smoothie.  I’m in LOVE with this Aplro soya coconut flavour at the moment.  I used it in my bircher recipe and it’s still a fridge staple.

Add all your ingreidients together in a blender and mix together.  I bought a Ninja blender from a Costco sale last year and it’s insanely good.  It’ll blend ANYTHING. (You can buy one from Amazon here). I use it for all sorts- drinks, Guacamole, dips, soup.  It’s really solid and powerful and not crazy expensive.

That’s all there is to it-simples.  You get enough for two portions too!  OooOooh I bloody love bananas.

I’ve read so many different stories about how bananas are great for Eczema and others saying how bad they are.  I’ve never tried eliminating them from my diet, maybe I should to see if it makes a difference- but I just love them so damn much!

Until next time, happy slurping!

J xx

“Don’t be alarmed, Cinderella,” said the fairy. “I know you would love to go to the ball. And so you shall!” “How can I, dressed in rags?” Cinderella replied. ‘’Don’t worry’’, said the Fairy ‘’I have the perfect outfit for you- for less than £100!’’

OK, so the last quote wasn’t DIRECTLY from the script and you might not be in the same predicament as Cinderella, but if you need some Christmas party or Ball dress inspiration, for a fraction of the cost of a glass slipper, then you’ve come to the right place!

As Christmas gets nearer so do all the exciting events at this time of year- festive gatherings, shopping trips, meals out, Christmas parties, and the annual Hunt Ball.

Christmas can get SO expensive, but your party outfit doesn’t have to!

image

Shop the look (links at the bottom of the post)

This was my second year at the annual Hunt Ball in north Nottinghamshire and it’s always a glitzy event. I already knew what kind of dress I wanted- long sleeves (hides any winter lizard-Eczema skin I may have) and a nice deep open back.  I normally go for really bright colours but when I spotted this Zara number I couldn’t resist an absolute bargain!  I’d already looked at several really expensive dresses online and in stores but some of the fabric was really itchy or just an odd fit.  I’m really small so I’m not very successful when it comes to a maxi dress purchase, apart from petite ranges they always seem to have been created with a 6ft giraffe in mind!  However, once I’d added my heels this (for once) didn’t need any alterations at all!

The fabric on this Zara dress is really flattering and stretchy- not too hot either, and it has two slits up either side so you can easily bust those shapes on the dance floor without tripping over your outfit! (Although this OBVS depends how drunk you are!)

It’s also a great outfit if you’re going for a night out with a man in a tux.  I took the Bear with me so we looked really coordinated in Black together.

image

The shoes were an absolute bargain. Kurt Geiger is my go to shoe store for party shoes and they didn’t disappoint this time.  Not only were they perfect to add a bit of glitz and sparkle to the dress but they were also less than half the original price!  They’re also a great store for ALWAYS having size 3’s in the sale.  Shoe heaven : )

image

(Optional extra accessories…)

I styled my hair using my friends Mark Hill wild waver hot wand.  It did take quite a while as my hair is quite long and thick and to get the waves to hold I had to use tiny sections of hair and hold for quite a while, but I was really happy with the result and the waves lasted all night thanks to a good dose of hairspray!

Add your accessories, make up and a Hollywood hairdo and you’re away.  Ball fabulous for less than £100!

Jem x

SHOP THE LOOK:

Shae ‘Gold’ shoes, Miss KG, were £80, now £39, Kurt
Geiger

http://www.kurtgeiger.com/shae-gold-fabric-41-miss-kg-shoe.html

Backless dress, £29.99, Zara

http://www.zara.com/uk/en/woman/dresses/maxi/long-dress-with-slits-c733888p3053531.html

Avon top coat Opal glitter, £2.50, Avon

http://reviews.avonshop.co.uk/9028-en_gb/39065/avon-avon-nailwear-opal-top-coat-reviews/reviews.htm

Essie nail varnish ‘Cashmere Bathrobe’, £7.99, Boots

http://www.boots.com/en/Essie-Fall-Nail-Polish-Collection_1365301/

Human Hair thick density lashes, £3.50, Eyelashes Direct

https://www.eyelashesdirect.co.uk/false-eyelashes/human-hair-lashes/human-hair-eyelashes/human-hair-thick-density-false-lashes-3369.html

Eyeshadow pallete, L’Oreal, £14.99, Boots

http://www.boots.com/en/LOreal-Paris-Color-Riche-La-Palette-Nude-Eyeshadow-Palette-Beige_1679746/

Mark Hill Magic wand, £29.99, Mark Hill  (not the same as the one I
used but that is no longer available, try ebay?)

http://markhill.co.uk/products/magic-wand/

If you want your face to feel baby soft then this is the product for you!  I’ve seen a TONNE of hype around this mask on Instagram and YouTube and as I’m all about the organic products it was time to see what the fuss is about.

I’m always super wary of organic products as even though they’re made of the good stuff my skin is rather picky about what it’ll agree with.  I’m not normally a mask person (apart from Halloween) but I do think as I’m working outside a lot in winter my skin is really starting to suffer.

As I do with any new product or brand I always do a bit of research into them (must be the bi-product of hanging around with all these journalists at work!) The ethos  of Tru Organics is amazing.  They’re all about self-loving and were created by a wonderful woman who just wasn’t satisfied with slathering her skin with hundreds of chemicals a day. Sounds familiar…

I’m a moisturiser maniac but when it comes to my face I’m kinda lazy at looking after it, which is definitely something I need to adjust as the years go by and the wrinkles *gasp in horror* start to show.  Prevention darlings, prevention.

The product claims to restore blemish-prone skin.  My skin is more dry at the moment but I’ve had quite a few break outs recently, and anything that offers to help reduce discolouration and fine lines leaving me with a glowing complexion is definitely worth a go!

I’m obsessed with inspecting the pores on my face too (gross but we’ve all done it) and this mask will help clear out those clogs and shrink your pores- perfect!  It also is free from all the crap I hate- no parabens, no fake scents, no preservatives. Just a lovely blend of clay, Epsom salt and collagen Hydrolysate (I strongly recommend you google the latter.  I was amazed at all the things it’s linked with- including a dairy-free diet!)

The face mask is a lovely clay like texture.  It smells natural without being overpowering, unlike so many ‘natural’ products, which leave you feeling like you’ve left your nose in a garden centre.

The product is so easy to mix, the instructions say to mix equal quantities of mask and water, you can use their detoxifying mask solution, but I just used water. Maybe treat yourself and grab a bottle of Evian!

I kept with the organic theme and mixed mine in my little handcrafted wooden teacup I bought from Thailand.

The advice is to leave it use it twice a week for up to ten minutes and then once your skin is used to it leave on for 30 minutes until it is dry.  As I don’t trust my skin to literally not fall off after using something new I only used it for 5 minutes the first time.

OH.MY.GOD My skin felt INCREDIBLE straight after using this.  I washed it off with warm water and a muslin cloth and splashed my face with cold water afterwards.

I have really noticed a difference in the texture of my skin since I’ve been using the mask.  It’s definitely softer and although I wouldn’t say my pores have shrunk my face feels so healthy and clear and It’s a firm fixture in my skin routine now.

I would advise you though not to use it for the first time before a special occasion- after my first run I came out in two spots but I’m guessing this is just my skin either reacting or from the mask clearing out all the crap!

Another lovely Organic brand to add to the list- perfect : ) #loveyourself

Jem x

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day.  I can’t function properly without it. I have quite an active, demanding job and not eating just makes me grumpy and tired.

Anyone that follows my Instagram knows I’m obsessed with eggs, and a poached egg is my usual food of choice first thing after sticking my contact lenses in.

However, recently I’ve been branching out.  When I say ‘branching’ I mean mixing a load of stuff in a bowl overnight.  It’s often hard to have a dairy free breakfast.  I’m trying really hard at the moment to eat to heal my skin and to try and prevent my skin from flaring up as I’ve recently stopped using steroid cream.

Dairy is the devil to me.

I do love a good porridge though and a few weeks ago my friend bought some Bircher Museli and it looked SOOOO good I nearly strayed off my dairy-free path and then I realised I should just make my own dairy free version!

*HISTORY ALERT* Bircher Muesli was introduced by Swiss Physician Maximilian ircher-Benner (and with a name like that you are DESTINED for great things) in the 1900’s.  Originally soaked overnight with lemon and water and then eaten the next day with fresh yoghurt.

There are a bazillion ways to make overnight oats or Bircher Muesli, some with naughty things like cream and sugar added, others that practically come out the bowl wearing a halo because they ooze so much healthy goodness.

There’s loads of recipes but I’ve fine-tuned mine (without added sugar or fruit juice – I add apples and raisins which makes it sweet enough I think) and the only really naughty part is the dairy free Yoghurt, which you could always leave out or substitute.

I wish I could wake up like Maximillian did eating my oats surrounded by a gorgeous view of the Swiss Alps, breathing in fresh air and skipping around the mountains.  However I usually have to scoff mine on the way to work or looking out of the window in rainy England.

All the things you’ll need for this: (makes enough for 4-6 depending how hungry you are…) 

  • 150g oats (I use Nairns Gluten free)
  • 1-2 apples cored and grated (I use Sainsburys SO Organic ‘cos they’re lush)
  • 420ml Oat milk (you can use Coconut or Almond milk)
  • Generous handfuls of raisins, pomegranate, and blueberries
  • 4 tbls Alpro Coconut Yoghurt (dairy free- you could use any)
  • 1 banana (half mashed and half sliced for the toppings)
  • To top mine off I use Milled Linseed with sunflower and Pumpkin (Aldi)

It’s the easiest thing to make and you can add anything you want- swap fruit for nuts (as long as you’re not allergic to them!) you could add different flavours such as Nutmeg, or even add different seeds, or dried fruit.  The possibilities are endless.

A yummy healthy breakfast that you can take with you on the go!

First up you’ll need to prepare your oats the night before.  You could probably do it a few hours before you eat them but I think the longer the better to really soak everything up.

Mix the oats and milk into a bowl and pour the oat milk over the top.  I’ve done this with coconut milk before which is yum but as I’m using coconut yoghurt this would be coconut overload and this isn’t breakfast at Club Tropicana!

I always add in all my fruit at this point.  The raisins make it sweet and I think taste so much better once they’ve been soaking overnight.

Give it all a right good old stir, cover and leave over night.

The next morning- remove the oats from the fridge and wash your apples…

Grate your apples (remove core but I leave the skin on because it tastes good and looks pretty- obviously give them a good old scrub first).

Add your sliced banana and yogurt (leaving a few slices spare to decorate the top) mix it all together with a spoonful of Linseed and then serve!

Voilà- you’re done!  Best breakfast ever- super quick too!

I fucking love breakfast!  I bought these super cute jars from Sainsburys, think they’re less than £2 each. Happy munching…

J xx

I LOVE Halloween.  I love all the cute stuff in the shops and all the crazy outfits.  I’m no makeup artist but I’m always up for getting dressed up and doing some crazy-ass makeup on my face.

Last year I dressed up as a skeleton and even painted the horse I was riding!

I have to be super careful when painting my face- when you have sensitive skin the last thing you want to do is take your makeup off only to find your face still looks like a Halloween mask!  Always test products before you use them.  There are a few brands of face paint I can’t use but I did buy some white face paint from Snazaroo and it’s easy to take off and doesn’t irritate my skin.

Here’s my Halloween wish list (all links at the bottom of this post):

Last year for Halloween showjumping I dressed up as a Skeleton and even painted my horse too!

And here’s a close up:

This year I bought the cute Wool hat with ears from H&M (see wishlist) so I wanted to some sort of Cat makeup. As last years was Black and White I decided to go all colourful- but added fangs and  White Out contact lenses to make it less cute and more creepy!

I bought my fangs for 15p form Wilkos  (what an absolute bargain, although I do have a massive mouth and they were a bit small… and I bought my contacts from Foureyez,  I wear contact lenses anyway (think this is the downside to being a photographer, all of the snappers I know have terrible vision- must be all that squinting) but if you don’t normally wear them test them out first so your eyes get used to them.  They felt like bricks in my eye the first time I wore them).

So here’s the links to my two tutorials:

Simple cat makeup:

Skeleton face makeup:

HAPPY HALLOWEEN ALL YOU GORGEOUS PEOPLE, 

J xx

 

Wishlist:

Bouncing figures, £3.50, John Lewis

http://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-halloween-bouncing-figures/p1963801#media-overlay_show

Wool hat with ears, £14.00, H&M

http://www.hm.com/gb/search/#!/products?q=hat%20ears

Mermaid vest, £17.99, Blue Banana

https://www.bluebanana.com/product.php/1019493/0/cosmic-mermaid-super-skinny-vest-

Terracotta Pumpkin, £5, Wilkos

http://www.wilko.com/halloween-partyware/wilko-large-terracotta-pumpkin/invt/0334938

Facelace eye sticker, £8.50, Facelace

http://face-lace.com/shop

Cat Jelly coin purse, £6, ASOS

http://www.asos.com/asos/asos-cat-jelly-coin-purse/prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=5681774&clr=Multi&SearchQuery=cat+coin+purse&SearchRedirect=true

Bat bow tie, £3.99, H&M

http://www.hm.com/gb/product/32438?article=32438-A&cm_vc=SEARCH

Pumpkin candle holder, £2, Hobbycraft

http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/pumpkin-candle-holder/607964-1000

Hades Orion heels, £130, Blue Banana

https://www.bluebanana.com/product.php/1011587/22/hades-orion-stiletto-shoes–black-

Belt buckle, £3, Blue Banana

https://www.bluebanana.com/product.php/1004795/0/blue-banana-sugar-skull-belt-buckle–black-

Ghost hair clips, £2, Primark