Health

5 Ways to improve your morning routine

  1. Bye Bye Broken Sleep 

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This may be unpopular among those of you that love a good lie in, and I do admit I am rather partial, but many health experts suggest that as soon as you wake up in the morning you should actually get up rather than turning over for another snooze. You telling your body to go back to sleep after you’ve woken up in the morning, is no different to waking up in the middle of the night. That broken sleep pattern will only make you feel overtired during the day, so as soon as you wake up give yourself a little time in bed, but then get up – go watch some TV or check your emails and see how much more wide awake you’ll feel.

2. Get Your Lemon On 

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Forget grabbing sugary fruit juice or a coffee on your way out the door – water with lemon is the way to go. Hollistic websites suggest that it can improve your mood, boost your immune system, help clear your skin and can aid in weight loss. Plus – if you don’t leave the lemon in for too long – it tastes pretty nice too. Millie Mackitosh has been quoted saying that she drinks this every morning, so why not give it a go?

3. Pick Yourself a nice 8 Tracks Playlist

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I am an 8 tracks obsessive, ever since my flatmate introduced it to me last year I have probably played over 50 playlists. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically the Tumblr of music websites, instead of sharing photos members share playlists with hash tags. So you could search: #folk #indie #nightout #gettingready – whatever you wanted really. My favourite is #morning because it’s full of playlists with exactly the right songs to get me out of bed and in a good mood for the rest of the day. My favourite morning tunes are: On My Way – Rusted Root; Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson; Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds; Put Your Record On – Corrine Bailey Rae; Home – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Sunday Morning – Maroon 5 – among many others!

4. Shovel down a half decent breakfast 

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As I believe I have said before in this post. I LOVE breakfast. It’s easily my favourite meal: toast, cereal, eggs, pancakes, teacakes, yoghurt, porridge – the opportunities are endless and I honestly love nothing more than a long weekend breakfast. Sorry for the cliche, but I’m a big believer that it is indeed “the most important meal of the day”. If I don’t have a good breakfast in the morning, I’m basically a zombie before I have anything to eat that day, and then I crave coffee and bad food. Start your day with egg, they’re a great source of protein and will help keep your energy levels high throughout the day.

5. Splash your face 

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Since I bought my beloved Arbonne Cleanser I have been washing my face a lot more in the mornings, I find there’s nothing like a splash of cold water in the face to really wake me up for a 9am lecture. Washing your face with cold water in the morning helps to reduce any swelling under your eyes from the night before, and it naturally brightens your face by increasing blood circulation. Pick cold water over warm if you can bare the shock in the morning, it might be just what you need to start the day on the right foot.

Thanks for reading. Do you have any tips for getting out of bed, particularly on these chilly mornings? 

Harriette

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Strong Not Skinny

The word “role model” is often banded together with the idea of fame or celebrity in modern media, as the majority of big bloggers might be only too aware. Writing a blog that becomes very popular, or appearing in a reality TV programme can mean that an individual comes to be regarded as a role model, and that of course comes with the heavy burden of responsibility. A role model’s lifestyle, dress code and eating habits can easily be picked up by an eager fan, and this is where debates about good and bad role models arise.

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Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh was criticised at the beginning of last month after sharing a photo of herself on Instagram and Twitter at a photoshoot. The uncaptioned photograph, showed Millie wearing a silver bikini, highlighting her slim, muscular frame. This Instagram picture quickly sparked outrage as Mackintosh’s husband, Professor Green retweeted the photo onto his own Twitter account, adding “#thinspiration”. Experts (according to The Daily Mail) criticised the couple for encouraging young girls to starve themselves. Despite Mackintosh’s prompt reply to her husband’s joke, highlighting that her message was actually one of “fitspiration”, the media soon caught hold, with the uploading of the photo and Millie’s “role model” status even being debated on popular ITV programme Loose Women.

As a young (just about still teenage) girl, who has followed Millie’s Twitter for a good year now, I would have to respectfully disagree that she is in anyway a bad influence to young girls. There are a plethora of horrendous and harmful images available to young people on the internet with the label “thinspiration” – often used by pro-anorexia groups – but this isn’t one of them. Mackintosh’s “strongnotskinny” message, which she promotes heavily both on her Twitter and Instagram pages, encourage healthy, clean, eating and plenty of exercise. Despite her slim frame, it is her strong body which she is promoting, a body far away from the skin and bones look incorporated in most “thinspiration” images.

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It is a sad and indisputable fact that the majority of women and increasingly, younger and younger girls, will at some point, or maybe several points in their lives think about losing weight. However, adding tone to you body, can give the illusion of lost weight without getting to an unhealthy stage. By acting as a role model for young girls, celebrities like Millie Mackintosh – who children should be made aware, are generally slim as part of their job description – are at least sending out a message that strong is the way to be, not skinny, whilst at the same time promoting the empowering idea of improving your body for yourself.

I have never been a girl who’s been desperate to lose weight. Of course I’ve had my moments of “Oh my God, my jeans don’t fit!”, but generally I’m quite lucky that I’m mostly happy with myself. Recently however, I have felt inspired to exercise at least 3/4 times a week, trying to add a bit of tone to my tummy, but also, in the hope it might have other health benefits, such as giving me more energy. Since going to Uni and being able to pick my own food, I’ve always tried to eat well. I’d rather make all of my meals at home from scratch and go for the occasional meal out than eat a ready meal [mostly because they taste vile]. If I can swap a potato for a sweet potato, I will and if I can have slightly more veg and meat on my plate than carbs I will.

Personally I don’t believe in dieting, as I really don’t think it’s sustainable. But making little lifestyle choices, like cutting out bad food and trying to eat more eggs and apples and low-fat yoghurts makes me feel like I’m doing my body a favour. And ofcourse, I’m not good all of the time. I absolutely LOVE bad food. Yesterday I had lunch out, came home and ate 6 profiteroles…. I’m not denying my body food in the slightest, I’m just trying to think more and more about what I’m putting into it.

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In the way of exercise, I am working on strengthening my body through cardio and strength exercises. I’ve been enjoying using Davina McCall’s Body Buff Workout Video, which provides a range of warm ups, workouts and strength exercises allowing you to focus on key parts of the body, as I’m going on holiday soon I’ve been focusing on my “abs”.

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We also at the moment have in our house a spinning bike, which my Dad borrowed from my Uncle in order to train for a cycling race. I was slightly reluctant to give it a go, as  I had previously read a tweet from a female comedian (I’ve forgotten who) that spinning is very much like being punched in the v***** – nice. I have to say the seat is not incredibly comfortable on our old model, but I’ve found once I’ve got all my gear on and found a great workout/pop/r&b playlist on 8tracks I’m pretty good to go AND it helps me mix up my workout if I need a change from Davina.

Personally, I think I’ve been really inspired by Millie’s #strongnotskinny mantra. To me it’s a really important and empowering message to send out to young girls, that if for what ever reason you want to slim down [although I do not believe in doing so if it’s unnecessary] then at least go about it in the right way, with a healthy diet and exercise, to strengthen your body rather than weaken it. Celebrities like this, should be encouraged to spread such a positive message about looking after your body. Hopefully when girls who watch Millie strutting her stuff in her Louis Vitton, look up to her as a role model, and admire her body they will be inspired by the her happy, healthy, balanced lifestyle.

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I hope you liked this post, to read Millie’s reaction to the media attention surrounding her Instagram photo click here.

Harriette

Sweet Cecily’s Cocktail Flavoured Lipbalms *

I really love finding new beauty brands, and Sweet Cecily’s is certainly one of my favourites so far. I stumbled across the brand at the beginning of the year, when I recieved their Mojito Lipbalm in a goodie bag at the Bristol Bloggers Meet. I was instantly intrigued by the small metal tin, with it’s quirky, vintage-style label and by the company itself.

As a student, I love a good cocktail and so the idea of a cocktail flavoured lip balm is definitely my kind of thing. I was very excited, when I saw that Cecily had tweeted to ask if any bloggers would be interested in trying their new “mystery flavour’. However, as well as just receiving the brand new Espresso Martini Flavour, I was lucky enough to find out I’d been sent another Mojitio Flavour Lipbalm and a Pina Colada Flavour Lipbalm alongside it.

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Sweet Cecily’s products are unique, they are all 100% natural – with no Parabens, Petrochemicals, harmful preservatives or SLS. None of the products, nor any of  the ingredients are tested on animals, and they are all made by hand in the North Yorkshire Moors. Sounds dreamy right?

One of my favourite things about Sweet Cecily’s lip balms, except the bold flavours and natural goodness, is the packaging. Each small, handy-sized lip balm tin [ which is no bigger than a 50p piece – cute!]  comes in it’s own coloured cardboard sleeve. The labels are also really sweet, with their circus style “C” logo on the front, and the intricate details, such as the lime and mint leaves on the Mojito Lipbalm and the pineapples on the Pina Colada version.

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The lip balms themselves are made from great natural products such as Shea Butter, Beewax, Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter and Sunflower Oil. The product itself inside the tin is hard like wax, rather than creamy like some other lip balms, but when rubbed with a finger the balm melts giving you a thin layer of oil, giving a light but nourishing application. As mentioned previously in a post, I much prefer this lip balm texture to some of the thicker,wetter ones, as they tend to leave me feeling all sticky. On the other hand, if you prefer those cream lip balms that are a bit more like a gloss, this might not be for you.

Now on the the flavours…

Mojito Flavour Lipbalm

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I’ve owned this Mojito Flavour Lipbalm for about 6 months now and I absolutely love it. The smell and taste is absolutely spot on, a kind of minty, lime, which reminds me every time of drinking homemade Mojito’s at my friend’s birthday party. Yum!

Pina Colada Flavour Lipbalm

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I’ve never actually had a Pina Colada, so I can’t really say how accurate the flavour of this one is. But I do really like it, it’s got a really sweet, fruity scent, with a hint of coconut.

Espresso Martini Flavour

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Here it is – the brand new Espresso Martini Flavour! The packaging for this lip balm is still being created Cecily informed us via Twitter. However, for now the little label with it’s white background and typewriter font got me all excited as it felt like I was sampling a top secret product.

I’m not a big coffee fan, but I really do love the smell of coffee and for me this lip balm is spot on at capturing that. It smells quite a lot like a coffee truffle, which is really nice. I even caught Lewis trying some as he loves coffee, and he really liked it!

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Overall, I think that the Mojito Lip balm is still my favourite in the Sweet Cecily’s collection, as I really like the minty, citrus taste. But I am looking forward to using these other flavours as well, and maybe trying a new ones. As well as these ones, other Sweet Cecily’s Lip balm Flavours include: Strawberries and Cream, Banoffee, Chocolate, Lime and Mango and Earl Grey Tea. At only £2.95 they’re pretty reasonably priced.

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for more Sweet Cecily’s products, I’m really excited to see what else they’ll come up with. With these great flavoured lip balms, I’ve got my fingers crossed for some candles. You can check out the Sweet Cecily’s range here at www.sweetcecilys.com.


If you’d like to find out a bit more about Sweet Cecily’s and about the lovely lady behind it all, you can read my interview with Cecily about starting up the company here.

Harriette