Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Workwear Brights

I am my own worst enemy. I spend so much time working hard towards my goals in various aspects of my life, and as soon as I reach them, I started worrying that I'm going to mess things up again. Things are great right now and I really should be focusing on that, but instead I'm worrying! After a great week at work last week, and an amazing weekend in Birmingham with my favourite people, this week has been a bit of a comedown. Yesterday I was frustrated at work because I wasn't hitting my targets as quickly as I did the previous week and I ended up making it more difficult for myself by trying too hard. Instead of relaxing and letting it happen, I panicked. Panicked that I was going to undo all my hard work. Panicked that it was fluke and I wouldn't be able to replicate the results of the week before. It wasn't until I had a long talk with my boss that I accepted that I was being way too hard on myself. I know, deep down, that I'm doing really well at work, but having targets is hard for me because I'm really bad at failure! I want to be hitting them quickly every week. But I know I need to start stepping back and just enjoy life. I've got a good job that I love, with good prospects for the future, I have amazing friends and I've just started a great new relationship. I should be enjoying this time, not worrying about messing it up! Do any of you have any advice for letting go of worrying and being more present?
shirt- Topshop
skirt- Boohoo
shoes- Topshop
jacket- H&M
necklace-Forever 21
Anyway, back on the lighter stuff! This outfit started out as an idea about 3 weeks ago and finally materialized the week before last. I wanted something a bit more fun for work and wanted to step outside my standard uniform of black and white. I bought this skirt right before I started work (I also have it in maroon) but it's very very clingy so I'd been a little unsure about it. It does show absolutely everything but I love it so much I couldn't send it back. I decided to pair it with my pink shirt (which I got for my 18th birthday!) and shock horror, a different pair of shoes from my usual black courts. I'm not 100% sure about the jacket, but it wasn't really warm enough to go without. I'd like to try this outfit again for summer without the jacket and black tights!
I'm spending the night relaxing and starting week 2 of 6 Week 6 Pack. I've been busy every night this week so it's nice to have a night in! I had photography on Monday, cooked for Shaunagh last night, tomorrow I have a work event and Friday Oli and I are going out for dinner. Always busy!
Have a great night whatever you're doing!

Charlotte x

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Shades of Grey

Obviously not a work outfit (I know, they do happen!)- this outfit is from the weekend before last (yes I'm that behind!). I got this jacket from New Look a few weeks ago and I think it's going to be my favourite jacket come spring. I have to be honest, it wasn't the colour I thought it was going to be! On the website it looked a kind of creamy beige colour, although the description said stone, but when it arrived it was definitely more like stone. It's a kind of browny grey. It's a nice alternative to my black leather jacket and I think it will be great for next season. I'm just yet to work out what colour shoes it needs- I'm not sure if these grey boots really work! I think it will be really nice when I bring out my pastels from last spring. I have to be totally honest though, I'm going to be sad to see winter go, fashionwise. I don't feel I've really taken advantage of my favourite winter pieces. It gets to the weekend and all I want to do is throw on some jeans and a jumper!
dress- c/o Own the Runway
jacket- c/o New Look
necklace- ASOS
boots- Next
I'm having a really great week! As I said I've had a really good few days at work which has definitely been great. Plus Oli met me after work yesterday and we went out for dinner at Luck Lust Liquor and Burn which has just opened in Manchester. It's a Mexican place owned by the people who own Almost Famous burgers and it was really, really good! Tomorrow I have a meeting which is the first meeting I've been able to go to that I booked myself and I'm taking some annual leave to finish early. Then we're going out for a meal for my Nan's birthday. And the thing I'm most excited about? I'm off to Birmingham this weekend for my friend Sarah's birthday! It's the first time I will have seen all my of friends at the same time since last year! I've also not been to Birmingham on a night out since I finished uni in May! So excited!
What have you got planned this weekend?

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

So you don't wanna hear about my good day?


I was back on training for a few days last week and this was one of the outfits I wore. These trousers are a little more on the casual scale for work so I don't tend to wear them that often, but if I know I have a day in the office with no meetings, or a particularly casual meeting to go to, this is alright to wear. I find that adding a smart white shirt and blazer is the perfect way to dress a more "fun" piece down for work. I have a post planned with tips on how to dress for work, and that's one of the ones on my list! I'm really excited to get that post but because it's been in the works for ages, but I'm so behind at the moment. I have another three outfits posts planned to go up and two lifestyle posts in the pipeline! My boss asked me today how I was finding working full time and I just said "It takes up a lot of time!"
polka dot trousers- Topshop
shirt- Marks and Spencers
blazer- Zara
necklace- Forever 21
heels- Marks and Spencers
I've had an absolutely awesome day at work today. I'd had a bit of a bad week last week and I was determined to push through it. I ended up booking two appointments today (I have to book three a week and don't usually get more than one) and brought in a massive order for the company, so I'm feeling really good. My job can be really tough but I know it's still early days (I've only been working there for three months) and I can find it frustrating that I'm not great at it yet, but I'm so excited for what the future will hold. Then I came home to a lovely Jamie Oliver meal made by my Mum and I'm gonna have a relaxed evening before I start 6 Week 6 Pack later. It's so nice to come home from work knowing I did my absolute best and it paid off. I just have to keep it up!
I'm going out for dinner after work tomorrow, so I'll be back on Thursday hopefully! I have so many posts to get up and I hate being so behind!
Have a great day!

Charlotte x

Monday, 18 February 2013

Ripped in 30 Review

You might remember a few months ago I bought Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred, and from day one I was hooked (you can read my review here!). I absolutely love Jillian (might have a little bit of a girl crush on her...), her style and the fact that her DVDs work. I had a lot of success with the 30 Day Shred and was determined to complete more of her DVDs. The second one I decided to try was Ripped in 30.
Now Ripped is definitely a step up from the 30 Day Shred, and you feel it right from the beginning. This is not the DVD to chose if you haven't done a Jillian workout before. I felt pretty confident having already completed the Shred, but even in week one I was absolutely exhausted! It follows the same 3-2-1 format as the 30 Day Shred (3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, 1 minute abs for three circuits) so it's a great step up for anyone who enjoyed the Shred and wants to try something a little bit harder!
As with the 30 Day Shred, I didn't complete the DVD in 30 days, but that was never my intention. Working out is part of my lifestyle, not something I do obsessively for 30 days and then forget about. Jillian advises to workout 5-6 times a week and to do each level for a week. Instead, I worked out every night I could (eg. every night that I didn't have plans and could fit it in between 9 and 10) and usually found myself working out 3-4 times a week. It's taken me about 6 weeks to complete Ripped in 30. One thing I like about Jillian's DVDs is the sense of time scale- I feel much more motivated if I know I have to do x number of days of each workout before I can move on.
Ripped in 30 has been tough but it's also been amazing. Like last time, I didn't take before photos (I really should...) but I did take my weight and measurements, plus I can really see the physical difference! My stomach is flatter and I can actually see some shadowing and definition (!) and after taking measurements I can happily say that I lost 1.5 inches on my hips, 0.75 inches from my waist, 1.5 inches from my under bust and 0.5 inches from each thigh, a total of 4.75 inches lost! I also gained 0.5 inches on each arm which I can also really see. Regarding weight loss, it's important with Jillian to pay attention to inch loss and physical difference, because strength training is so heavily emphasised that many people find they lose inches, but gain weight in muscle. I lost 2lbs from the start of week 2 to the end of week 4, but I'm much more impressed with my inch loss!
I work out before bed (except sometimes at the weekends), usually between 9 and 10pm. I find doing workout DVDs to be the best option for me because they're cheap (each Jillian DVD is about £10 and most of them have a month's worth of exercise on them, plus you can do them as many times as you want) and I don't have to leave the house. You do have to be very self-motivated though, especially if, like me, you just want to flop on the sofa all night after finishing work! Another thing I like is that Jillian's workout are high intensity, but short. Each workout is around 30 minutes and you never do a move longer than 30 seconds at a time, so as painful as it is, the time flies by! One thing I found made a big difference for me this time around was changing what I wore to work out in. When I did the Shred, I would just wear sweatpants and an old tshirt, but I was getting way, way too hot and it was restricting my movement. After having a look around for some nice workout leggings and a pretty vest top, I was fortunate enough to be approached by Pineapple to review some workout gear. As I've been a dancer from the age of 2, I have massive respect for Pineapple and love their clothes! I now workout in their block V vest and wide band crop leggings. Don't you think I look the part?
Of course, my Jillian challenges don't stop there! Next up, starting tomorrow, I'm going to do her 6 Week Six Pack DVD, and following that I'm thinking of getting Extreme Shed and Shred and then maybe Killer Buns and Thighs. After that I'm going to start all over again from the Shred and repeat!
If you have any questions about my workouts please feel free to ask me, and please let me know what your favourite workout DVDs are!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Week in Photos

1. Little bit in love with my toastie maker
Best £17 spent ever.
2. More of Dad's fruit salad
Tinned pineapple is the answer!
3. I love £1.50 latte day!
4. Roasted chickpeas are my favourite snack
5. Breaking Bad, Series One
Super late to the party, but we rented the first series of Breaking Bad the other weekend and  I am officially addicted! I've since got Netflix and I'm currently half way through series 2. We watched series 1 in a weekend!
6. My Nan found one of my birth announcements in a pile of old photos!
7. Saturday morning coffee <3
I wasn't convinced when my Mum decided to buy a coffee maker, but I do love my morning coffee!
8. Saturday night out
Yes, I do go out sometimes! Last weekend we went out for cocktails and dancing and I absolutely loved my outfit! Leather skirt, Rolling Stones tshirt and leopard ankle boots.
9. Article on Duluth in the paper!
There was a double page spread in last Sunday's Mail on Sunday on Duluth! I seriously think it is one of the most beautiful places in America and I am so glad to have lived there.
10. Celery and caesar dressing
New favourite snack
11. Bad night's sleep= time to curl hair before work
Every cloud! Plus my mum made my scarf!
12. Homemade croutons
Saving the crusts from toastie to make my own baked croutons. Just whacked them in the oven with some salt, fry light and garlic powder.
13. How to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon
15. When I'm not watching Breaking Bad...
16. Broccoli, feta, tomato and broccoli salad with homemade croutons
17-18. First blood donation!
I gave blood on Thursday for the first time! I've been talking about doing it for years and I've never gotten around to it (usually due to piercings!) but I'm so glad I finally did. It did hurt, but not for very long and I somehow managed to fill the back in about 4 minutes! And yes, I did ask for a sticker.
19. Who says you can't wear bright colours for work?
Friday's outfit is a new favourite. Photos have been taken, I just need to get them up!
20. Also, pink lips!
21. The cutest camera earrings!
How could I resist these for £3?!
22. Just lending my cousin a few of my favourite books. Just a few...
23. Mexican food for dinner!
24. Might have bought 3 (admittedly very different!) black polka dot dresses this week...
The left one is for work, the middle for weekend and the one of the right for a night out in Birmingham next weekend!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Working Lunch

While I was at uni, I always always brought a packed lunch (I also always brought my own teabags so I could get hot water for 15p instead of paying £1.10 for tea, but that's another story of my money-saving obsessiveness). At uni I often had much more time to pack a lunch, so I'd often make fancy roasted vegetable and goat's cheese sandwiches or fry up some fajita veggies for a wrap. Plus I always ensured I had lots of snacks! (I am such a little-and-often eater!). Now I'm working, I don't have quite as much time in the morning to make lunch but I also don't want to be paying for lunch every day! 
As you guys had been really enjoying my posts on my work outfits, I thought a post on some of the lunches I take to work might be fun too. This is only a small selection of some of the different things I take to work with me- I actually realised afterwards that my favourite salad (quorn pieces, craisins and goat's cheese with homemade honey lemon dressing) doesn't feature! Maybe I'll have to do another one of these. We have a microwave at work so I sometimes take soup or leftovers (last week I had leftover veggie burgers on salad which were just as good cold!) when I can't be bothered making anything in the morning. I always take an apple for with lunch, and a morning and afternoon snack. Urban Fruit is great to have on my desk to snack on throughout the day too. I was sent a few bags of Urban Fruit by my friend Hannah to sample a few weeks ago and they are perfect for on your desk! The pineapple (weirdly, not pictured, is my favourite) and I also had mango, superberry and cherry. My other favourite snacks are cheesy snackajacks, cereal bars, cheese strings and nuts and raisins.
Here are some of my packed lunches from the past few weeks...
egg sandwich, urban fruit super beryy mix, apple
tuna salad (inspired by my favourite Subway filling with sweet onion relish, onion, tomatoes and gherkins), urban fruit mango, apple.
as you can see, I love apples! I'm a bit of a little kid though and I like them cut up, so I cut them up and put them in a sandwich bag with some lemon juice to prevent browning.
Veggie burger salad- cut-up veggie burger, cheese, gherkins, tomatoes, onions fried in frylight, ketchup and mayo.
broccoli, tomato, feta and chickpea salad with homemade baked croutons and balsamic glaze.
tomato soup, roasted chickpeas with taco seasoning (which I found don't stay crispy at work!), apple (obviously!) and go ahead! bars.

What are your favourite things to take in a packed lunch?

Charlotte xxx

Monday, 11 February 2013

Favourite Work Outfit

As the title of this post suggests, this is my favourite work outfit. I'd been stuck in a bit of a workwear rut of pencil skirts and blazers and fortunately there was an article in the paper on workwear which really helped to inspire me again! One of the things that really inspired me was an outfit with a little boucle jacket. I was telling my Mum about a red one I'd seen online when she said "I've got a red boucle jacket!" and it's been in my wardrobe every since! I love creating new work outfits- I wear this one about once a week. Of course, the messy bun is standard. The reason my bun is always messy is literally because I don't know how to do it neatly! I might invest in one of those doughnut things but I quite like using a sock because I find the rolling method easier, but maybe a doughnut is the way forward! Any tips on a neat sock bun? I usually do one of the rolling methods, either this one or this one, but even though I'm growing my layers out I have major problems tucking them in! I always end up with loads of leftover bits to pin in!
trousersNew Look
white shirtc/o Oasap
red boucle jacketNext (stolen from Mum!)
necklaceForever 21
heelsMarks and Spencers
I don't know how I ended up going a week without updating- to make things worse I actually have five posts planned that I just haven't gotten around to writing! I had a busy week last week- I was on training for work and then I had my photography class, went for my friend Shaunagh's for tea on Wednesday, went for dinner with Eve on Thursday, went to Jenny's mum's birthday party on Friday, went out on Saturday night and then yesterday went to see family, went to Shaunagh's for tea and biscuits and then Oli came over for a mini Breaking Bad marathon. I've just got Netflix and after spending 4(!) hours setting it up on Saturday I'm trying to make the most of it. And before you think I'm stupid for taking so long to set it up, I ended up having a HDMI port on my TV and not on my laptop, and a VGA port on my laptop and not on the TV and it took me a trip to Maplin, £60 spent on equipment, a call to Netflix and another call to Maplin to get it set up. I won't go into details but I'm so happy to finally have it set up. I really want to watch House of Cards!
I have a much less busy week planned this week (though I am going giving blood for the first time on Thursday- any advice is much appreciated cause I'm a bit nervous!) so I should be back to updating. Unless I get sucked into House of Cards...

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Girl Next Door

Some things are really awesome. Things like this jumper and friends like Sian who find these things in the ASOS sale and tell you that you absolutely have to buy it. Things like this jumper being in the sale at £17 in a size large, and finding out that a size large is actually an awesome fit. Let's face it, there was no chance I was going to not buy this jumper. Plus LOOK HOW PRETTY THE BACK IS.
And yes, I am wearing a leather pencil skirt. Not a phrase I ever thought I would say! I know, I complain that I wear a pencil skirt five days a week for work, but this is definitely a little different! I've been finding it hard to find pieces that work for drinks at the weekend or dinner after work. I seem to have (almost!) enough work wear (still looking for the perfect black pencil dress), enough cosy weekend gear and a couple of dresses for clubbing, but something smart-but-dressy kind of floors me. Also, what kind of jacket do you wear with a leather skirt I ask? I am bit of a slave to my leather jacket(s- I now have six) but I feel like leather on leather is overkill! Luckily my favourite fur coat was on hand and I think it just about works. Another problem I tend to have with mid-length skirts is coat length. I don't really have any short coats and I don't have any long enough to avoid the sticky out skirt bottom problem! Also, are these boots working with this outfit? I don't really know. I didn't want to be stomping around in skyscraper heels but obviously a pencil skirt needs height and these are my go-do day heels!
leather pencil skirtc/o Lavish Alice
jumper- Vacant Clothing via ASOS
fur coat - Miss Selfridge
pearl spike necklace- ASOS
ankle boots- c/o Clothing at Tesco
lipstickRevlon Matte in Really Red
Apologies for the messy ponytail. I'd planned to put it in a sock bun but I just couldn't be bothered. Weirdly enough, I've started to prefer my hair up. I've always hated having my hair up after 12 years of dance school where we could only have hair in a bun, so I rebelled for years by wearing it down constantly for years afterwards. But now with my hair long it kind of gets in the way when I have it down, but I like it long because it's much more versatile in that I can wear it curly or in various different updos. Plus I've been growing it for over 2 years so I hate the thought of cutting it all off. I'm really happy with the colour at the moment though. I finally caved and had it re-coloured after four months at the weekend. It's funny, at times I do still forget I'm not blonde! 

Wow that was a lot of talking about my hair!
Have a lovely day!

Charlotte x

Monday, 4 February 2013

Life's Little Wins

What are you favourite little life wins? For me, it's probably finding something I thought I'd lost a long time ago, or getting to the till in a shop and finding out that what I wanted to buy was in the sale. Money Supermarket did a survey and found that the number one "little life win" is finding unexpected money in a pair of trousers you haven't worn for ages. Such a great feeling!
So to celebrate little life wins, they conducted a little "feel good" experiment. They put secret cameras in a busy dry cleaners and told customers they'd left a £20 note in their pocket. Fantastic! You can watch the video here!
So to pass on that feeling of goodwill, they asked a couple of bloggers, including myself, to take part in a similarly feel-good task. The task was simple- each blogger would get £20 to spend on whatever they wanted, so long as it gave them, or someone else, that feel-good feeling! I knew exactly what I wanted to do with mine!
As you probably know, I've been living with my parents since I came home from working in America in October. I work in Manchester so living at home is ideal for me. I pay my rent and I do some contribution regarding cooking, but at the end of the day I'm pretty well looked after. I get a lift to the train station in the morning and a lift home at night. I have most of my meals cooked for me, my washing done for me and all my food bought for me. As much as I love being independent and living away from home, the truth is living at home is really great. 
But I don't always show how much I appreciate living at home. I'm an only child so I spend a lot of time with my parents and we get along really well, but living in such close proximity means we don't always get on. I can get frustrated at my lack of independence and it can be hard to accept that I can't always do my own thing which means at times, I can be a little difficult to live with! So, when it came to a free £20 (and I'd already paid my rent for the month!) I knew I wanted to treat my parents.
So on Saturday, I took my parents out for lunch at a little Italian they've been wanting to go for a while. I told them I was using my £20 towards the meal and had a bit of a tussle with my Dad over the rest of the bill (I won). It was lovely to treat them to thank them for putting up with me living at home and driving them crazy!

Here's what we had...
Garlic and tomato pizza bread to start!
Mum and I both had Eggs Florentine (my Dad had lasagna). We had a starter as a main so we had room for lots of garlic pizza bread!
And a tirimisu with three spoons for dessert!
Thanks Money Supermarket, from the Crowley family!