Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Breakfast Week #AnniesBreakfastClub

 Breakfast week ideas blog

Good morning all!  Right, so if you haven't already noticed I've been doing a series of how-to and ideas videos in honour of it being Breakfast Week.

I'm not working with the campaign directly, I just felt that wil my passion for a good breakfast I'd jump on the bandwagon and show you what I eat in the morning... with the hope it gives some inspiration. 

We're only on Wednesday so you still have time to join in, you actually have a good choice of things to make and try out.  I'll be running this until Saturday. 

The whole idea is to encourage people to branch out at breakfast, especially those who skip it.  I will admit I did skip breakie and as a result would eat badly the rest of the day due to being hungry.  I also used to have a piece of toast and that's it... not exactly helping my body kickstart the day! 

So far I've created the following:

There are more exciting treats to come including some local produce ones!

If you want to find out more about Breakfast Week in general then head over to their main website.  Alternatively give them a tweet @ShakeUpYourWakeUp and if you do decide to make anything I've created, or have any questions tweet me @missanniebean with hashtag #AnniesBreakfastClub 

Happy Breakfast!

Friday, 23 January 2015

My Fashion Resolutions

So we're well into 2015, I'm following my fitness regime, eating well, training hard and generally looking after myself a lot more. I'd obviously posted some of my personal resolutions but I was recently asked about my fashion resolutions.

I guess like many things we can become stagnant in what we wear, I tend to chose items I would do normally and don't really step out of my comfort zone.  I'm not saying we need to suddenly ditch our classic blue jeans for a pair of neon leggings with glitter... okay bad example but you get the idea, I just think it's good to challenge our wardrobes so I've decided to set myself some fashion resolutions!

I totally feel I need to get back on the fashion band wagon and embrace trends more like I used to.

White Jeans

I actually just typed that.  Yep, white jeans.  Never in a million years would I have the nerve to wear them but being honest because my legs are slimming down from so much cycling, I'm hoping to get to a point to feel confident enough to wear them!
white outfit
TOP ITEM: Parisian White Ripped Knee Jeans - £24.99


I'm always a little fearful of brogues because I sometimes think they can create a look that's too masculine for me.  However I think if I simple style better I can create as better balance.  Instead of simple brown or black ones I would love some bold ones in either white or metallic for a really 'stare at my feet' look!


I'm lazy with footwear, I always have been.  This is something I was working on last year that I want to encourage more, and that's by wearing more heels.  I'm only 5ft4 and I do look better with a bit of height but I just don't really wear heels due to the fear of 1. falling over, 2. looking like an idiot whilst falling over, 3. not being able to walk and 4. develop some sort of heel shuffle/waddle because I can't walk. 

hot heels
TOP ITEM:  Red Double Strap Chunky Heels - £24.99

New colours

Another thing I started to do last year but want to develop, is exploring my colour palettes.  I know rusty colours are coming in and that's a tone I wouldn't usually chose, but maybe the new Annie of 2015 might! Having a rusty colours pleated skirt with a striped top tucked in could be just what my wardrobe needs.

Tartan leggings
TOP ITEM Yellow Print Grid Shopper - £17.99

Fun Fitness

I love fun leggings (you may have seen on my Instagram) so this year I'm going to be bigger and bolder with them! They make me feel motivated to workout because they're so good! So far I'm sticking to this!

TOP ITEM  Blue Abstract Leggings - £17.99

There you have my fashion resolutions! What do you think?  I think they're realistic! Have you got any? A lot of these items are from New Look as they're reasonably priced... always a good plan when you're making a fashionable leap!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Do fitness dvds work?

The shelves of every big supermarket and online store are filled with the newest fitness DVDs... not much of surprise because of course we're in January!  The diets are on and fitness regimes are in full swing, but are these fitness DVDs actually worth you spending your money on? Are they sustaining long term fitness? Do we stick to them?

I have previously purchased fitness DVDs but have found I'll use them every so often rather than everyday.  I was even organising my old DVDs and found about 5 I'd forgotten I'd purchased.  Sound familiar?!
To be fair to myself I'd got those DVDs off for maybe a fiver and it was to keep me going at university so I didn't have to spend any money going to the gym.  Did it work?  No... clearly not!

You may or may not agree, but I get very bored doing the same thing day in day out. I mean for example if I'm doing a spin class constantly I'll start to remember which tracks are coming next and how intense it might be, or say I'm doing an aerobics class and the routine remains the same I'll know what's coming... where is the fun if it is exactly the same for the next 6 months? That for me is where live exercise classes will be my top choice as the instructors are always delivering new content to keep you interested, something you just don't get from a fitness DVD.

I know fitness DVDs have their place and after almost going full circle I've learnt how they work for people.  It's for all of us whose lives are in full speed and don't seem to stop... money savers, Mums, those who work from home and those who work away etc. 

I'm not a mother myself but my sister is and I know she truly struggles to fit any training in.  It is hard work, I babysit sometimes and even planning to clean the floor can be a right struggle let alone getting out for a run.  When the baby has gone down for an afternoon nap, as much as I've been told all you want to do is pop the kettle on and have a breather, doing a workout sometimes is all you need to have a kick up the bum. The same applies with trying to save money as some gyms tie you into a contract and charge a small fortune, that is where a fitness DVD could be your new best friend.

This is me at present!  I do go to the gym but I also like to do different kinds of exercise as my gym only offers spin, boxing and bootcamp.  I do miss yoga so I'll save that for 3pm every other day as a break from work. I have always struggled to do high impact fitness DVDs at home, even though I know I should 'go for it' sometimes I simply won't push as hard as I could on a run or in the gym.  Saying that if for some reason I miss a training session I'll happily add a fitness DVD back in to make up the lost time.

Anyone else panic when they know they're working away from home and can't get to the gym? Hi! I always do especially if I'm in a good routine of going each day.  What I have done is purchased realistic fitness videos on itunes that come with me when I'm away.  You'll also find some free fitness apps are good to tie you over, but the majority of these are toning exercises or core work.

My personal verdict is that yes there is a place for a fitness DVD, but for long term fitness?  Nope. I'll use a DVD purely when I have a day I can't get to the gym perhaps or I have more energy to burn, or even I want an alternative training session. I've been reading so many tweets about people buying fitness DVDs and doing them everyday, but will they feel that invigorated to continue doing that same DVD 6 months down the line? 

If you need something to really kick you up the bum to get fit, shed pounds and to be honest, get your confidence to exercise in public, then yes it is great.  There is a demand, why do you think Insanity has done as well as it has?  It's helping to shed the top problem so you can then find something that works for you, but once that's done you need to keep going as a lot of people get where they are happy and stop...  Then you're back to square one.  
I've gone through some of my favourite fitness DVDs that I think are genuinely good and could easily be used again and again. 

Charlotte's Belly Blitz
If you'd of asked me normally I would of totally turned my nose up and regarded it as just another reality TV person releasing some faddy fitness DVD.  The majority of them put all their weight back on a year later.... but this one I'm impressed with.  The transformation Charlotte has gone through is ridiculous  and the best bit for me is it's not some 4 week thing, this has taken her 6 months.  Created with Richard Callendar from ITV's The Biggest Loser and David Souter, this workout is actually really good!

Davina's 7 Minute Workout
I've not done this Davina work out but I previously have.  The best thing about Davina workout s are that they are realistic, not a gimmicky new fitness trend, just decent well designed workouts. Davina is awesome anyway let's be honest and this is quick short, sharp fitness. 

Roxy's Bite Sized Yoga
I have this on my iPad.  It's short 15 minute workouts, so when I'm staying away with work this is perfect!  I really love how it's taught.  Roxy is most well known for her role in Emmerdale, but I actually didn't know who it to start with.

Insanity Workout
I've had a go at some of the Insanity workouts before as my friend bought the package.  Now if you want a fitness experience with real benefits, this is the best thing out there.  It's interval training with numerous workouts and you follow the plan gradually increasing the intensity.  Bloody awesome... just Google images to see peoples before and afters. It does cost significantly more than a single DVD, I believe it's around £100.00, but if you're serious this is an amazing buy.

Don't forget there are also a lot of online services you can subscribe to that have new fitness workouts on a daily basis, and if you have Sky TV have a look for FAB TV for full days filled with various workouts! So to conclude I'd say use fitness DVDs but don't rely on them, go for walks, go for runs, get outdoors as the possibilities are endless for all budgets... Good luck with whatever you're training with and happy working out!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Matalan Press Day SS15

As we've finally got past the festive season I thought I'd share some of the exciting bits to come for SS15.  Now, I know it still feels like a long way off to the time when pastels and florals dominate the stores, but it's always nice to feel ahead of the game.  First on my SS15 agenda is Matalan.

This was the first time I'd been invited to a Matalan press event and thought I'd see what they have to offer.  One of my best friends absolutely raves about the company, but I've never really given it the time of day until I started to see items of the past few seasons I've adored.

As you know I'm all about home related bits so I initially browsed amongst their decor from cushions to ornaments and so forth. Their SS15 home range is all about giving your home the 'summer lift' so seaside blues, bright blooms, blush pinks and the was a strong theme of shabby chic with vintage inspired items.  The whole place oozed a dreamy vibe and gave optimistic inspiration for the seasons to come.

 I'm personally on the hunt for some interesting wall art and as I particularly loved this piece, I've of course decided to share with you!  This would work ideally in my kitchen or in my new revamped hallway (post coming soon).

As I say I've never actually spent a vast majority of time in Matalan but after discovering the absolute bargains you can get, I will most certainly be shopping in there from now on.

The new women's ranges for Spring/Summer was again classically pastel with some elements but strong prints were seen in some areas especially some of the beautiful bags. I got a seventies meets contemporary feel for some pieces, but with cut away tops and asymmetric shapes made it feminine all the same. I loved the fact they'd kept a previous trend in their collection with collarless coats... I fell in love the with lemon one.

I spotted their fitness gear range and of course the bright colours and excitable prints drew me in.  Love the fact Matalan are on board the affordable, fun fitness bandwagon.

All in all a superb collection from womenswear through to home items.  A collection that touches on a classic pastel tone but has raised the bar by being more of prominent colour palette.  Edgy prints and effortless shapes are the way forward it seems for Matalan SS15... I'm looking forward to when these items hit the shops!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

What to wear for a Valentines Day Date... and how to survive!

I know this is slightly premature but let's be honest these things do take some planning!  Before you know Valentines Day will be upon us and you won't have selected your outfit, am I wrong?

With a Valentines Day date I know it isn't as simple as a party frock and dinner, the possibilities of what you can do on a date are absolutely endless therefore I've created a few look ideas for different scenarios. 

The basic principle with anything like this is feeling comfortable.  No, no I'm not talking about ditching the party frock for a onesie but simply feeling good about what you wear and how you look. 

Restaurant dinner

Love this dress from Fever clothing, black equals slimming so it is perfect for any dinner date due to it's cute.  Team with a feathered bolero for an ultra glam look.

2015 Party Outfit

Dress - Fever Clothing Sandy Prom Dress - £31.99, Bolero - Temperley London Feather Bolero - £495.00, Shoes - River Island Black Barely There Double Strap Sandals - £45.00, Earrings - Betsey Johnson Heart Studs - £24.19, Bag - Accessorize Slouchy Folder Over Clutch - £19.00, Necklace - Topshop Multi Chain Necklace - £15.50

Bowling and cinema

This is for the casual activity date, you don't want to look like you're just rocking up in jeans and a hoody, but you don't want to look overdressed.... a little splash of effort and colour with some sensible flats are all your best friends.

Out with the girls

Who says Valentines is all about the men and dates?  Sometimes a girls night is perfect.  Sipping on bubbles and gossiping can be just the ticket, this slinky dress from Hybrid is ideal.
Valentines Outfit

Jacket - Desire Sequin Cropped Jacket - £15.00, Earrings - Marc by Marc Jacobs Rubberized Rose Studs - £26.64, Bag - Ted Baker Evana Crossbody Bag - £69.00, Shoes - Acne Studio Alivia Suede Heels - £351.00, Dress - Hybrid Bella Bandeau Velvet Oxblood Dress - £44.00, Lipstick - Nars Hardwired - £19.50, Nail Polish - OPI Lucerne-tainly Look Marvelous - £11.95

A day quad biking or doing go ape

An adventure date could be a great option, getting snuggled up in your winter warmers for a day filled with action.  Love a bobble hat in this pinky colour from Warehouse!

Scrappy outfit
Blouse - Warehouse Window Pane Blouse - £42.00, Jacket - River Island light grey faux fur biker jacket - £65.00, Jeans - Topshop Salt and Pepper Leigh Jeans - £40.00, Boots - Dr Marten Classics Pascal - £100.00, Necklace - Oasis Layered Ditsy Chain - £8.00, Hat - Warehouse Pink Cable Pom-Pom Hat - £12.00, Nails - Butter Nails Lacquer - £9.60

Going tobogganing

Continuing the adventure theme this look is for those who like to do things differently.  Tobogganing at the snowdome is probably the one date I'd love to go on! Can you even imagine how much fun it'd be?! Always remember you might go for coffee after so looking casually nice is a wise move.

Jacket - River Island Collarless Leather Biker Jacket - £100.00, Jeans - F&F Black Wash Luxe Sateen Super Skinny - £18.00, Shoes - Vans Authentic Low Purple - £23.50, Shirt - Warehouse Garden Floral Shirt - £32.00, Hat - Warehouse Cable Pom-Pom Hat - £12.00, Earrings - Warehouse Pretty Set Stone Stud Earrings - £3.00, Bag - Warehouse Suede Zip Round Bag - £35.00

Just drinks

Simple drinks could be on the agenda so a on trend tunic teamed with these gorgeous Next boots is a big winner.  Mixing monochrome with a cheeky splash of red oozes sophistication and style.
Date drinks

Tunic - Topshop Grid Tunic - £10.00, Boots - Next Perspex Heel Ankle Boots - £55.00, Bag - Miss KG Tara Suedette Bow Bag - £45.00, Necklace - Accessorize Nautical Plait - £5.00, Nails - OPI Gwen Stefani Nail Polish - £7.95

Key pointers to take into account

Will you be eating? If you are think about if there is a possibility of bloating? If that could be correct if you're off to an Italian restaurant, maybe reconsider the tight fitted slinky ensemble, instead look for items that go in at the waist or are more lose fitted.

How far will you need to walk?  I love high heels are much as the next person but walking a lot in them? No thanks... throw me the flats! The most unattractive thing is waddling down the pavement because 1. you haven't broken those new shoes in and 2. they are simply too high for you to handle. Go for a pair you've worn in, so if you got a new pair in the sale start working your magic on them now.

Am I paying? Come on we're not in the reality version of Pretty Women, men shouldn't be expected to pay for everything.  Obviously don't get me wrong it's nice to be given the option but you can't assume, so be prepared to offer.  If your date does pay for your food perhaps gently suggest to get the next lot of drinks in.

Have a back up plan.  I'm not saying be prepared for the worst but I believe in having a few things sorted... you know, just in case.  A taxi number is always a sensible option, that way regardless you can always get home safely.  If it's a blind date or maybe even a first date always tell someone where you're going and who it's with, I'm not saying you need to be worried it's just always a wise thing to do.

The last two pointers are mainly aimed at new couples and first dates.  Dates are great fun and you really don't need to but it on a pedestal, so you can go bowling or even do laser quest and actually have a giggle! Either way always plan ahead and feel fabulous whatever you wear this Valentines Day!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Transform Blogger Event

Whenever I hear the words cosmetic surgery I will get a flash of an image of celebrities who have taken things too far.  The trout pout or the bizarre puffy face just seem to be a big red flag (in my eyes) towards messing about with what we have been blessed with. 

I was invited to an event by Transform, a leading UK cosmetic surgery company to have a look at what they do.  After discovering I wasn't going to need to actually have anything injected into me, I found myself intrigued on what it was all about. 

As always before any event I go to I like to do a little research.   I discovered that not only do Transform offer the botox injections and lip fillers, they actually offer lots of non surgical procedures.  I was really impressed the extent of possibilities available.  They do all sorts like laser hair removal, teeth straightening and whitening too. 

On the day myself and other bloggers met the team from Transform we learnt more about the company as a whole, it was interesting to here their work ethic and how they deal with clients.  We went onto to see three procedures; lip fillers, botox injections and laser facelift.   

I'm not a huge 'needles' fan but was ridiculously interested to see and hear about it from the doctors perspective and the clients.  You could have different amounts of fillers and some of the ladies there had them done before, and they didn't look like they'd gone too far with it just merely appeared fresh faced.  

After we'd seen both treatments It did confirm with my that it isn't something I'd explore personally, however I can see the appeal as long as it's done sporadically.  I was however fascinated by the laser facelift.  Now before this event a facelift to me was going under the knife and having something very drastic done, this laser facelift skips past all that.  How it was works is that the same sort of laser used for hair removal (but hotter) would penetrate the skin allowing it to rebuild collagen, and in turn tighten the skin.  A lot less drastic than a classic facelift don't you think?  When I'm older it would be something I'd consider but right now I'll stick to me face creams!

For me the hair removal is a big bonus.  For someone who has Polycystic Ovaries having that option is a godsend.  Polycycstic ovaries is basically where the ovaries are covered in cysts which make it harder for them to perform probably, this causes irregularities in monthly cycle (I've gone 6 months without one),  weight gain, causes hair growth (goody!) and can lead to difficulties in conceiving.  So a great thing to be given I'm sure you'll agree, but knowing I have the option to reduce the regrowth is a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

Loved visiting the Transform headoffice and learning about all they do.  I'm a firm believer that if you have something you want to change and it'll make you happy then go for it.  You can check out if there is a Transform near you and investigate all their treatments.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Fit and Fabulous for 2015

New year, new you and all that jazz but how do you get started?  Personally I find that by not putting pressure on yourself to instantly make a change it allows you to enjoy the journey a lot more.  If you were told you weren't having any sugar whatsoever or you were to completely cut out bread, then all you'd do is think about how much you wanted those things.  Its crazy we think like this but when you know you can't have something it can become an obsessive thought.  By agreeing with yourself you're going to be healthy and not cut anything out completely, only cut back, then you'll be surprised how easier it is to stick to. 

I've put on ooo about a stone in the past year... which is quite a lot considering I'm 5ft4.  I have finally become happy as I'm nearly seizure free and my fiancĂ© now works normal hours instead of shift work, therefore we have gone back to our early dating days of eating out and getting takeaways... tut tut.  I'm not panicking I just need to make good healthy choices and stick to it, so I'm inviting you to join me on my 2015 kick up the fitness bum! 

No cutting, just adjusting

If you love something that is unhealthy and can't imagine cutting it out of your diet, try swapping it.  For example if you love yogurt, switch to low fat. Or if you need a sweet kick after dinner, instead of a helping of ice cream or cake try mini milks - only 30 calories! I swear by them!

Make it fun!

It's not all about training at the gym,  for me it's taken me a good few years to realise this but doing something you enjoy is key.  Having to stick to something you dread isn't healthy for you mentally, admittedly there will always be days you really have to drag yourself to exercise but if you're constantly hating it... what is the point?  I discovered cycling was something I loved most.  I am lucky to have a road bike and a mountain bike (hunt on eBay for bargains) and love to go off for cycles just because I like it.  You can try dance classes or even something different like hot yoga.

Make it needed

Walk or cycle to work! You will burn extra calories by doing something that is required... you need to get to work so why not?  Another thing I do is whilst I'm cleaning I put my ipod on and dance and sing along whilst doing it!  Makes it far more fun and energetic.  If I need to pop to the shops I often carry a backpack and walk to and from, it's like a weights class if I end up buying a 4 pint of milk as well as everything else!

Little tips aside, if you look good you feel good right?  If like me you love your fashion then you can excel in fashion with your workout wear!  I've selected a few key items from some top ranges. Some of the prices will knock your socks off....

Fitness And Fashion

I do love a jazzy pair of leggings, (just check my Instagram for the numerous pairs I have) my latest pair are in fact number 2. on my list above... £12!! Can you believe that as a bargain?!  The USA Pro ones are gorgeous too.
I did pop into Decathlon last week to pick a base layer for my trail running, my fiancĂ© would drag me round previously but we were finally there for me and I bloody loved how amazingly priced it all was.  If you're looking at getting started without spending the earth, it's quite genius!
Finally I'd just like to mention Fabletics.  You may have seen adverts with Kate Hudson? Basically a website full of pre created outfits you can buy, if you're a VIP member you automatically pay a certain amount a month and therefore get the VIP rate, you don't have to use this each month you can save it until you do.  If you aren't a VIP member than you'll pay a bit more.  I have a fab yoga top and capris from their website I bought a few months back - very well made!

So get the ball rolling, embrace the year and let's get healthy! 

Happy 2015!