Thursday, 29 May 2014

Mandatory Summer Health Kick

Every single year, as soon as the weather gets warmer I get a health kick on and decide to get fit. Last year I began running with the couch to 5k program, which was awesome, but then I moved in the middle of summer and life got turned upside down. As I began having over an hour commute to work each way, fitness got put by the wayside and it is only in the last couple of weeks that the weather has gotten warmer and I have begun to think about how to get fit and trim for this summer.

The diet has well and begun, I am following the same principles as I did when I was on WeightWatchers last year, as that caused me to lose 2 stone, but I'm being cheap and not subscribing again, choosing to do it myself. My basic diet consists of:

Breakfast
Porridge with 2 teaspoons of golden syrup (I know golden syrup isn't the healthiest but it isn't that bad and it makes me very happy)

Morning Snacks
Banana, snack a jack (one of the big ones, usually caramel) and a small bag of popcorn (Sainsburys do them in a multipack and they're around 50 calories a bag). I eat a lot at work, and having eaten breakfast at 6.15am, it is a long time to wait until 1pm for lunch!

Lunch
Ham salad with lots of pickles, dressed with balsamic vinegar. The pickles and balsamic vinegar were free on WeightWatchers, so the lunch would only ever cost me the ham, which wasn't much. I always have a yoghurt for afters, usually a WeightWatchers one.

Afternoon Snack
2 Jaffa cakes, or some sugar free jelly, or a small portion of chocolate raisins.

Tea
Chilli, Curry or Stir Fry, with no pasta or rice, occasionally a small pitta bread if I'm feeling desperate for some carbs.

It's working well for me so far, and I'm down 5lb in 2 weeks by doing this.


Exercise wise, I have become addicted to doing Fitness Blender workouts. They're completely free and available on their website or YouTube channel. All I've bought is a fitness mat, this one from Argos is amazing and only £9.99!

Fitness Blender is run by Kelli and Daniel, a couple who met in a gym and who have amazing bodies, as you can see above. Their videos range in length from 15 minutes to their mental 90 minute 1000 calorie sessions, and they range in difficulty level too, so if you are a very unfit beginner you can start with their low impact videos and work your way up.

I really like their videos as they look professional, include a warm up and cool down, show a progress bar on the side so you know how far through the torture session workout you are and most importantly, no cheesy music or annoying audio. Either Kelli or Daniel talk you through the session and explain ways to make the workouts harder or easier to suit you, as well as fully explaining how to do each exercise. The exercises they use are simple and can be attempted even if you have no fitness level to begin with like I did. After 2 weeks of working out almost every day to these videos I am a convert, I feel as though I am getting a proper workout and sweating buckets, but I can do them whenever I want. Doing them at home also means that I can do them in my bra and pants if I so wish and I won't offend anybody.

Working out with the windows open when the neighbors children are playing outside is interesting, especially when you are grunting and moaning and shouting at yourself to complete a set of exercises. Hope I haven't scarred them too much!

So this is what I'm up to in my attempt to have a body to rival Rich's when we go on holiday soon. He has been hitting the gym almost every day out in Afghanistan and he has the ghost of a six pack appearing. Very yummy but I don't want to look like a whale next to him on the beach!

Are there any other amazing YouTube workout gurus I need to know about? Please let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

Rachel x

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Monday, 26 May 2014

Oriflame The One - Blogger Event


When I spotted on Twitter that Oriflame were having an event in Leeds the Saturday before last I signed myself up straight away, even though I had never heard of Oriflame before. (Yes it did happen over a week ago, life has been a bit mental, so sorry for such a slow appearance of this post!) After a bit of asking around, I heard they were a good makeup brand which was a bit like Avon, so I thought it would be a good way to learn a bit more about makeup and how to apply it, as I have confessed before I am useless at makeup so any help is gratefully received!


I very nervously arranged to meet up with some bloggers at the train station, as I had never been to an event and as a result had the biggest butterflies ever before going to meet them. Luckily everyone I met was lovely, even if I didn't manage to get chance to talk to everyone properly.

The event was held at the Living Room in Leeds, which was a place I wasn't aware of before. It was really nice inside, very classy and the staff were amazing. We were greeted with a drink as we walked in the door, and throughout the whole afternoon they kept us well fed and watered. The food was amazing, but I didn't take any photos - bad blogger! It definitely encouraged me to go back another time to sample their full menu.


Gary Cockerill is the face of the new range from Oriflame, I thought I recognised him, and it turns out that he has done a lot of daytime TV and worked with Katy Price in the past. He started off by telling us his story, which began with him working in the pits before heading onto painting mannequins faces. It wasn't such a huge leap to painting real ladies faces from there and his career has grown and grown. Entirely self taught, we got to discover a few of his top tips for applying lipstick, cream eyeshadow and false eyelashes, all of which were needed by me!


So, apparently when curling eyelashes it is best to start near the root, do 10 small squeezes, go into the middle, do another 10 small squeezes, then go to the end of the lash and do a final 10 small squeezes. And never ever curl your eyelashes with mascara already on as this causes a lot of breakage. Much better than my old technique of putting the curlers in the middle and squeezing like mad!


I have always avoided cream eyeshadows in the past, because they crease up and look rubbish within minutes of applying. The solution to this is to put a normal powder eyeshadow underneath, then the cream on top, which will help to stop it creasing. Simple!

I tried to follow the tips for applying lipstick, but as a complete lip product novice they went totally over my head so I gave up and just appreciated the lovely lips which were created on Yuna. 


At the end of the event we all got given a goody bag, which I wasn't expecting at all, so was very surprised and happy to discover that it included full size products! So far I have only used the mascara, but it is the best mascara I have ever used. It has a plastic brush which glides through the lashes easily and gives brilliant definition with no clumping. I will definitely be repurchasing once this one runs out! The nail varnish is meant to last for 14 days with no chipping, so as soon as I have 2 weeks at work with no clinical work I will be testing out this claim and reporting on the results.

It was amazing to meet so many bloggers and to learn more about Oriflame and makeup in general. I really enjoyed myself and I can't wait until my next blogger event!

Rachel x
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Friday, 23 May 2014

How Orange Is The New Black Helped My Relationship

I don't know if you are as addicted to Netflix as I am, but it is miles better than Sky or Virgin. Why pay a bomb for subscription TV when you can pay £6 a month and have more TV and movies than you could ever wish for? (And before you wonder, no this isn't a sponsored post, how I wish it was!)

Source
After watching something on Netflix one night, a trailer for Orange Is The New Black came on, and as I was too lazy to switch the Xbox remote back on, I watched it. Back in the day I was a big fan of Bad Girls, and this looked like a similar kind of thing, so I gave it a go.

Well. I was completely hooked straight away, I watched 3 episodes that night, and stayed awake for them all which is a miracle in itself! I was having to watch at least one episode a night, and was squealing, talking to and laughing at the TV, proof of a brilliant TV show, and you should go watch them all before the new series starts on June 6th if you haven't already.

I bet if you have watched it you are wondering how it helped my relationship, as none of the relationships shown in the show are particularly good ones, whether it's the one between Piper (the main character, who has ended up in prison due to transferring cash years ago for her drug smuggler ex-girlfriend) and her fiance Larry, Piper and the drug smuggler ex, or the inmate and the prison guard. However, the situation between Piper and Larry hit home with me, because Piper has been sent somewhere she doesn't particularly want to go, and has to remain there for a finite amount of time. Larry has been left behind in his old life, waiting for Piper to come back and carry on where they left off. They can talk regularly, but they can't see each other, and the world that Piper is in is a very different one to the one Larry is in, and he has never experienced anything like what Piper is going through.

Source
This is really similar to Rich and myself at the moment, as he is similar to Piper in the fact that he is off in a completely different place and is stuck there until his "sentence" is up, and I am at home, on pause until he returns, similar to Larry. When Rich first left, a lot of relationship tension was generated from us both feeling like we had the worst deal, the other one had it so much easier and why couldn't they understand just how bad it was for them? We were both feeling the same way, and it wasn't until watching Orange Is The New Black, when Larry and Piper were having a very similar conversation, and I was siding with Piper, did I realise the comparison. It finally helped me to see things from Rich's point of view, how so much is going on at home that he has no control over, and how much he missed the normal things, which he couldn't do anymore in the same way, and just because he doesn't have to deal with the everyday rubbish like bills and house maintenance doesn't mean that he has it easy. He has a whole different set of things to deal with, it isn't a holiday for him any more than being home is a holiday for me.

Once this realisation dawned on me I felt terrible, and we had a huge chat where we both began to see things from each others viewpoint and it really helped to eliminate the tension between us so we could relax into the deployment and begin to support each other again. Ever since things have been so much better between us, and although it sucks that he's away, it is now very manageable and the end is coasting into sight.

Who knew that such an awesome TV show could have helped to improve my relationship? I think this should be mandatory viewing for all couples about to go though deployment, as it really helps to show things from both sides of the story, and you feel sorry for both of them.

If that isn't a reason to go watch Orange Is The New Black I don't know what else is. If you have already watched it - THE END OF THE LAST EPISODE!!!!!! I was shouting at my TV that the season couldn't end there, and I was on my feet. Literally. Getting so excited for season 2 now, and I love that Netflix are releasing all of the episodes at once. Roll on June 6th!

Rachel x
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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A Reintroduction


As this month I have sponsored a blog for the first time, had a guest post go up, and attended my first blogger event, there are a few newbies knocking around here, so I thought I'd reintroduce myself.

Hello!

My name is Rachel, aka the Inelegant Wench. I'm 24, living in Leeds, England at the moment, but originally from the Midlands. I work in the NHS as something scientific, but I don't want to say exactly what because I don't want to mix up my professional work world with my fun bloggy one, I'm sure you understand.

My blog name came from being called wench a lot by one of my best friends, and as I have been compared in the past to an elephant doing ballet, as well as being ridiculously clumsy and having zero spatial awareness, that is where the inelegant bit comes from. Pretty accurate description of me to be honest!


I am a huge Harry Potter fan and never pass up the opportunity to geek out over my favourite things. I love maths and science, and am hopeless at makeup which makes me a bit of an unusual blogger around these parts. I like to be very honest, whether it's about not enjoying getting drunk or putting too much pressure on myself, it all gets written about on this blog! I'm also not afraid to admit to things like being awful at accents (video included!) or enjoying YouTubers with target audiences way younger than me.

If you know me in real life it will be of no surprise that I love food. Most of the things in my life revolve around food, and I am usually eating, or planning what I'm going to eat next, so every now and again a recipe post appears such as my 2 ingredient pizza dough or my basic tomato sauce. I have grand plans to do more of these in the future, as I have a lot of recipes passed down from my Mum, who is an amazing cook!

Rich is my other half, you will see his name pop up a lot around here, and occasionally a soppy post about him, such as our relationship story so far will find it's way onto the internet. He is in the RAF, and is currently out in Afghanistan, but he did come home, but had to go back out again. I like to look on the bright side though, and write about the positives of him being away, as well as the other things which happen, like becoming glued to your phone!

I hope this has given you a rough overview of who I am and what I write about. This post is a bit like a clip show of a TV program, showing little bits from here and there, and I also think I used far too many I's! (Is anyone else singing the clip show song from the Simpsons now or just me?)

Thank you for checking my blog out, and to each and every follower, thank-you so much. I still find it mental that anyone other than Rich and my family read this blog, so the fact that 73 (!!!!) of you are interested in what I have to say is crazy. I love each and every one of you, and if I could send you cake I would.

If you ever want to chat to me just tweet me @inelegantwench, I love making new friends!

Rachel xx
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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

How a butter knife got me out of a locked bathroom and other stories...

At a friends house this weekend I went to the bathroom. Not the most exciting of story beginnings, but it gets better, I promise.

The bathroom door handle had been playing up all night, needing a proper wrenching to get it to open, so when I tried to get out and the door handle wouldn't move the sticky outy bit (amazing description from me, I mean the bit which goes into the door frame and moves when you move the handle, if that helps you picture it?) I thought I was just being weak. I gave it a few more wiggles and it wasn't moving at all. Oh dear. I was officially stuck in the bathroom.

Luckily, it was a downstairs bathroom in a terraced house, so when one of the girls went to the kitchen to get some water for bed - it was 1am at this point - I managed to shout to her that I was stuck. After having to promise that the lock wasn't across the door, preventing it from opening, we began to really panic. Jen and Cat got the tools out and tried to unscrew the door handle, but they didn't have the right size screwdriver, and it was really stiff as the door handle had probably been there as long as the door had - a long time.

When it became evident that unscrewing the door handle wasn't going to work, they began to try and bash the door down. This always looks really easy in the movies, just one good shove and you're into almost any room. Yet another movie lie, as the door didn't open after 4 tries. I could see the pointy bit though in the door frame, so I shouted for a knife, which was passed through the bathroom window.

I pushed it into the door frame, and after a lot of wiggling, and leaning, and bending the butter knife (who knew I was that strong?!) I was free! A lot of celebrating was done and we were all very grateful that we didn't have to either ring the fire brigade to come and rescue me, especially as we were in pyjamas at the time, or that it had happened when Jen was in on her own. Would have been awful if she'd have gotten stuck without her phone and had to climb out of the bathroom window or something!

So that's the tale of how a butter knife got me out of a locked bathroom. Something amazing did come from the evening though, I learned how to make book page flowers. Jen is getting married this summer and as she is an English teacher she is incorporating book page flowers into the bouquets and flower arrangements. Me and Cat got roped into helping craft them, very willingly, and here is one that I made. Aren't they amazing! Not as hard as they look either!


In other blog news, I have been advertising over on The Life of Bon this month and been seeing a lot more hits from it. Hello if you've found me from over there! I am also having a guest post published on Nine Grand Student on Saturday all about my university experience. Spoiler - I dropped out!

I've got a very fun weekend planned, I'm going to my first ever blog event on Saturday, which I am very nervous about, and my Grandparents, Dad and Sister are coming to visit on Sunday as my Grandparents have never seen my house. Lots of excitement and things to look forward to, which is just how I like it as it helps the weeks to go quicker until Rich comes home again!

Rachel xx
 
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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sunday Confessional X


The idea for this week's Sunday confession came from Rich when I was having a good heart to heart with him a while ago. It is something I have struggled with for many years, and is something which I am beginning to understand about myself and attempting to reduce the impact it has on my life.

I put too much pressure on myself.

I have always set myself very high standards, and anything less than perfect just won't do. I am a perfectionist, and spotting mistakes in things I have done really annoys me, and I beat myself up about them for far longer than necessary. I'm still telling myself off for cringey things I did 5 years ago, my brain won't listen when I tell it not to go there!

I was a high achiever at school, and I think it all stems from there. I was predicted all top marks in my GCSEs, so when I didn't manage to get an A* in every subject, I beat myself up about it, and wasn't as happy as I should have been about my very good results. At my job I have to produce the best standards of work possible, and when someone has to correct it for me, or points out a mistake, I take it far too hard. I am beginning to learn that I do make mistakes and can't be perfect because nobody is, but old habits die hard.

When Rich went away I set a deployment bucket list for myself with some of the things I hoped to achieve on it. Well, I've failed miserably. I had all these grand ideas about how productive I was going to be, as well as keeping the house immaculate, myself fed healthily, and blogging on a regular basis. Something had to give, as I didn't have as much time in the evenings as I thought I would, and keeping myself looked after proved to be more time consuming than I thought.

With all the stress over trying to be the perfect person, I was making myself more and more unhappy and unwell, until I finally realised that I couldn't do it all. So cleaning doesn't happen in the week now unless someone is coming over, I set aside one weekend day every few weeks to do a thorough clean of the house instead. If the laundry doesn't get done until I'm on emergency knickers (come on, we all have some!) then that's fine, I'm the only person seeing my knickers anyway! If I don't manage to get a blog post up because I was feeling too unwell and needed to go to bed, so be it. My own well being has to come first, and I have struggled with that more than I could ever have thought possible.

By following these new rules, and trying to be more relaxed about everything else I have managed to become a lot more happy, but I have found that I have to keep being reminded not to put too much pressure on myself, as it is too easy to slip back into my old way of thinking. The curse of perfectionism! I do often envy those people who are really laid back all the time, it must be such a soothing way of life.

Rachel xx
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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Friend: A Bond of Mutual Affection


This is going to be a bit of a deep and real post, just forewarning you!

A friend asked me a few nights ago to help her to decide on who to have as her bridesmaids for her wedding next year, she had too many friends and didn't know how to whittle them down to the 3 or 4 which would be practical. As she started listing them and describing her relationship with them to me, I felt worse and worse, and by the end of the night I was feeling pretty down. This was no fault of hers, and I feel honoured that she was interested in my opinion and wanted my advice, but it reminded me of something which I try not to think about very often.

I don't have many good friends.

I was bullied a lot at school, and I had a lot of "frenemies" - enemies who pretended to be my friends - so there were very few people who I could trust never to poke fun at me, and to always be there for me. As a result of this, when I left school and college I was glad to leave most of those "friends" behind to start again at university, and hope to find some real friends. However as I dropped out at the end of the first year, and couldn't go back to visit the friends I had made, almost all of these friendships quickly fizzled out. As a consequence of this, the places where most people have their groups of friends from didn't really yield results for me, so I began my adult life with one best friend, and a lot of acquaintances, who I used to see on a regular basis, but didn't feel like I could message out of the blue, or go to for help.

Luckily I have managed to make some more friends since I have moved up north, such as the friend I mentioned earlier, who is a University friend who happened to move to Leeds at the same time as I did so we were very glad to have each other and to catch up! I am also friendly with a few RAF WAGs, and a few people I used to work with. However, with all of these people I am a secondary friend, someone separate from their core group of friends and the people they consider their best friends, which isn't a problem, until I think about it of course.

I did have two best friends for a while, but one had a baby, and lives in my home town which I don't get to visit much these days, so we have drifted apart somewhat due to different life circumstances. My other best friend has recently gotten into a serious relationship, and I am very very happy for her, but understandably she has fallen down the rabbit hole of new relationship and won't emerge for a while.

This has led me to begin to feel quite lonely, as Rich is away, and having been let down recently by some people I considered to be good friends, it has knocked my confidence. TV shows and films always show these amazing core groups of best friends who can tell each other everything and are always there for each other and see each other all the time. I want that. Do other people have that or is it just a Hollywood fantasy?

I am lucky to have the friends that I have and I have never had so many people in my life who I could message when I miss Rich or when I want to randomly chat. I just miss having a best friend, someone who I know I mean as much to as they mean to me. Is this horribly selfish of me? I hope not.

Sorry for the deep post, I just wanted to be honest about this, and to let anyone else know out there who feels in a similar way that they are not alone.

Rachel xx
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Friday, 2 May 2014

2014 Blogger Challenge: 10 Festival Tips

Okay. So I kind of skipped the last Blogger Challenge post. It was supposed to be a spring outfit of the day, but as I am so not a fashion blogger, and my chief photographer hotfooted it back to Afghanistan without taking a full length picture of the wedding outfit I had chosen for the post (you can kind of see what I wore in that link though), I kind of skipped it. Sssh don't tell anyone!

This next blogger challenge post is to be about music. I have never done a music post about a band before, only one about seeing Two Door Cinema Club live about this time last year actually! I don't like to read posts about bands myself, as it usually requires you watching YouTube videos, which I can never be bothered to do.

So instead I have decided to write 10 Festival going tips. I have been to a fair few music festivals now, and have learnt a few things along the way, so in the hope it might make somebodies life a bit easier, let me list my top tips!

Download 2009.
  1. Always take wellies. Always. Even if the weather for the weekend says bright sunshine, you can guarantee that if you don't take your wellies, there will be a huge downpour and you will be trying to buy wellies from the festival for a crazy amount of money. Wellies look good and are surprisingly comfy for standing in all day anyway, so be sensible.
  2. Leading on from tip 1, take suncream and a pac-a-mac. Be prepared for all eventualities, and a pac a mac can also be really handy for sitting on if the ground is a little damp, as you won't get a wet bum. Sun cream is insanely expensive to buy at a festival, as are most things really, so make sure you take plenty for the whole time you're there, and go for a higher factor than usual as you'll forget to apply it as often as you should.
  3. Packet rice and curry will make one of the best meals you have ever had. Take a microwave pack of rice (which will be fine to eat heated up in a pan) and a tin or non-refrigerated microwave curry and mix them together in a pan and heat up. Everyone around you will be very jealous of the amazing smells coming from your cooker!
  4. Even though they seem really expensive, buy a festival lanyard. They're usually around £10, but they will mean you will always know when the next band is on, and you won't miss any of your favourites. It also helps to start some conversations with people around you, as you will inevitably get asked a fair few times what time a band is on during the weekend. And it's the perfect accessory!
  5. Tights are a girls best friend. My standard festival outfit is wellies (see step 1), tights, shorts and a cool t shirt (t shirts mean that you don't have to suncream your shoulders or shave your armpits!). If it's cold I can add knee high socks and a hoodie without having to take a whole new outfit. The benefit of wearing tights? You don't have to worry about leg stubble, and if you get mud splattered up your legs, you can just change your tights and look and feel clean in one fell swoop!
  6. Download 2013.
  7. Tortilla wraps mean you don't have to wash up. I always take a pack of them with me and line every bowl I eat out of with one. That means when you're done eating your curry (tip 3), baked beans, chilli etc, you eat the wrap and you only have to give your bowl a quick wipe around before it is clean again to be used! Yummy and functional.
  8. Boys don't have to worry about this so much, but sort out a toilet survival kit before you go. You should always take baby wipes, loo roll and hand sanitiser with you, because there usually wont be any loo roll or hand sanitiser in the portaloo, and the baby wipes come in handy to clean the seat up when necessary. I'm not going to go into detail about what may need to be cleaned, but let me tell you, you will see things.
  9. Playing cards are something very small which will bring about great joy! There will be many a time when you're hanging around for something or other, and having a deck of cards to crack out will mean you will never be bored. It's a very rare thing these days to have a group of people in one place who aren't involved in some electrical pursuit in phones, TV etc, so make the most of it and have a good game of cheat, shed or rummy!
  10. Buy a naff festival phone. There is nothing more irritating in the world than trying to get hold of someone who you've been separated from and not being able to get hold of them because their iPhone has died. Take a naff phone, as the battery life will last the whole time no matter how often you use it, and it will be far less nickable so you won't worry about losing it whilst dancing. They're usually about £15 from somewhere like Argos and will make your life so much easier. You can live without Facebook and Twitter for a weekend, and being absent will only make you seem so much cooler when you tell your festival tales.
  11. Really really try to not camp next to a path or the toilets. Camping next to a path means you will have noise pretty much 24/7 and this gets really old whilst you're trying to sleep at 4am! You also run the risk of someone falling on your head whilst you're alseep as tents aren't the most protective housing. This actually happened to me at V Festival in 2007. It hurts!
I hope this has been useful to at least some people! I don't think I'm going to a festival this year, which is a shame but saving for a wedding means some things have to be put on hold.

Are you going to a festival this year? Any tips I've missed?

Rachel xx
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