Sunday, 29 January 2017

A Heart to Heart...

This is one of those posts that has been sat in my drafts folder, about to get deleted... Over the past few months my Bloglovin' following has increased quicker than ever before, I know people don't like to speak numbers, but seeing so many people read and comment on my posts has been so motivating and increased my determination to make my blog the absolute best it can be. Up until recently I feel like a couple of things have been holding me back, making me feel like I'm just not worthy of everyone that visits my blog.

I feel overwhelmed by the support I've received from so many lovely bloggers, bloggers that are not only genuinely nice people but talented content creators. However, at the back of my mind I'm always thinking 'do they just like me, and not my blog'. I think it all boils down to comparison, in the past I've compared my writing style to others and the quality of my posts, not in a competitive way but in an envious, 'I wish I could write like that' kinda way. Up until now I have always been critical of myself, I would need someone to constantly sing me praise otherwise I would feel like I'm not doing it right!

Thankfully I'm starting to grow out of it, and because of this I feel like everything is improving. I'm starting to love the writing side of blogging just as much as the photography, and I'm becoming more confident in my ability. I feel like I'm really finding my own style, and I'm happy to hit publish on posts and ideas without worrying whether it's good or not!

There would be times that I would publish a post just for the sake of it, and that really isn't what blogging is about. Going forward I never want to hit publish on a post I don't feel is useful, unique or adding something of value to an already amazing community.

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Friday, 27 January 2017

5 Everyday Blogging Essentials


It was only recently that I thought about just how much of my time is spent blogging, most evenings I'll either be writing a post, replying to comments or planning my next Instagram flatlay! With blogging taking up so much of my time, I thought it would be nice to share some of my day to day essentials that make it 10x easier...

The organiser that doubles up as a photography prop

Having a separate diary dedicated to blogging has honestly been a game changer. I know so many people find it useful to use notes on their phone, but for me nothing beats traditional pen to paper. I love sitting down to plan my content, create to do lists and get everything scheduled. I really recommend Kikki.k stationary, they have so many different collections.

Headphones - no strings attached

I love listening to music in between post writing - I find it so useful to write a post, leave it for 10 minutes and then go back to make any edits. Before trying wireless headphones I never realised just how much more convenient they would be, the Sudio Vasa Bla Headphones* £69 not only look amazing, who doesn't love rose gold? but the sound quality is fab, and finally my headphones aren't a tangled mess at the bottom of my bag. If you fancied trying these Sudio were kind enough to give me a discount code for 15% off -JMXO.

A good nights sleep in a bottle

I've raved about this so much before so I won't go on, but the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray £16 really has helped me keep a consistent sleeping pattern. I do try and close my laptop for the night by 9pm, but for those nights that I can't, this is a godsend! Trying to fall asleep after looking at a bright laptop screen can be tricky, it used to take me a while to drift off but since using this I don't wake up until my alarm. Maybe it's placebo, but without this my nights sleep just isn't the same!

A treat for tired eyes 

A bit of a random one, but I've always been a fan of the traditional Optrex eyedrops, so when I got to try the new Optrex Actimist spray* £15.99 I knew I would love it! Wearing contact lenses and looking at a laptop screen all day makes my eyes so dry, almost to the point where I get a headache. After using the Actimist they instantly feel better, it's really refreshing and I definitely prefer it to eyedrops.

The device that makes writing blog posts a joy

Admittedly, before getting a Macbook I slated them - all that money on a laptop? I'm not saying you need to splash out on a macbook pro but having this in my life has helped me become so much more productive! I'm lucky enough to have mine through work, but I know I'll never be going back to a windows laptop after using this.

What are your blogging essentials?

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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Finding the Perfect Wedding Venue - When You Don't Know What You Want!

Finally, we have our date - 22.04.18!
Before getting engaged I never realised how important finding the perfect venue was. Deciding what to go for when you have no idea of what style/ type you want is tricky, then there's all of the other factors to consider like budget and guest list! It's taken me 6 months to find the one so I thought it would be good to share my experience

BEFORE VENUE HUNTING
There's a couple of things I did before looking at venues that helped speed up the process...

1) Write a guest list... We will be inviting 65 people to the day and then around 120 for the evening. Most venues can cater to this as it's on the smaller/ more average side of a guest list, however I did like one venue that had a minimum of 80 guests for the ceremony and wedding breakfast, so straight away I was able to take that one off the list and save myself the hassle of organising a visit. 

2) Set a budget... A pretty obvious one that most people getting married need to do, setting a budget as soon as you start planning is important, and again helps to narrow things down. Already I can see how the costs of a wedding can quickly get out of hand. As soon as you mention 'wedding' a couple of 00's seem to add on to the initial price of a venue. 

3) Gather Inspiration... I think I found this most helpful when thinking about the venue, it definitely didn't narrow things down completely but this really helped me discover the kind of theme/ colour scheme to go for. I knew I wanted a rustic style with a more modern twist, and this seemed to fit a barn/ lodge style venue much better than a manor house or hall. My partner actually wanted to get married outside, which I would have been happy with but obviously it's too weather dependent, baring this in mind I wanted a venue that was light and airy, allowing the same effect as an outdoor wedding.

4) Think about the ceremony... Getting married in a church did cross my mind but in the end we have decided to have it all in one venue. There are so many factors to consider such as transport, budget and location.

5) Take a note of any special requirements... By special requirements I mean all the little things, a big thing for me was knowing that there was accommodation local to the venue for the guests to make it easier for them. Another thing is alcohol, find out if there is a corkage charge and how that impacts your budget!


VISITING VENUES

1) Look at different styles of venue in person... You can never get a true feel for a venue by looking online. Visiting venues really clarified everything for me, as much as I loved so many different locations and appreciated how lovely they looked - in person a lot of them just didn't feel right!

2) Go to open days to get a feel for the venue done up for a wedding... Seeing the venue dressed for a wedding is just amazing, it really helped me visualise the day and whether or not I wanted to get married there, instantly I was able to cross venues off the list.

3) Ask all the questions you need to! Talking to someone in person is the best way to find out everything. It's also nice because you will more often than not be chatting to the wedding co-ordinator at the venue, so you can see if you like them too. With the venue we have gone for the wedding organisers are so lovely, and from the testimonials I've seen I'm pretty certain they are going to be incredibly helpful and help make the day stress free.

OTHER HELPFUL TIPS

1) Buy wedding magazines and read wedding blogs... By being nosey and looking at other people's weddings I started to notice that I was most interested in those that had a barn setting with a more rustic feel over anything else. I started to cut out sections of the magazines I liked and put them in a plastic wallet, looking back at them two weeks later confirmed the type of venue we wanted.

2) Trust your instinct... Sounds silly but you'll have a lot of family and friends sharing their opinions on your venue choice. I've been incredibly lucky to have everyone be very supportive, but a lot of the time people will share what THEY like and what venue THEY would opt for - try not to let what your loved ones want as a wedding cast over what you like. If you like a certain venue but a loved one prefers the exact opposite, that's fine - but remember it's your wedding!

At the start of the whole wedding planning process I had no idea what kind of venue to go for, but I can honestly say what we have chosen was worth the wait!

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Saturday, 21 January 2017

Is The Too Faced Sweet Peach Glow Kit Worth The Hype?


I've been after an "all in one" face palette for a while, and when I spotted this kit I just couldn't resist! With all the hype surrounding the Too Faced 'Sweet Peach' range I had really high hopes for this peach scented, quirky product... But does it live up to the hype?

The palette contains a highlighter, blusher and bronzer - all designed to provide an illuminated look to the skin with a peachy glow. The ombre tin packaging and the adorable peach mascot are something I usually stir clear from when it comes to beauty products (I usually lust after brands like Hourglass and Nars), but in this case the fun and exciting branding just drew me in!

The sickly peach scent is a nice addition but ofcourse not a reason to spend £34. When I swatched the shades instore I was impressed, the highlighter reminded me of Becca's infamous Champagne Pop and the blusher and bronzer seemed fairly pigmented - and with the beautiful peachy undertones I expected. Annoyingly, when using a brush with this palette it's a different story, every single brush I've tried just doesn't seem to pick up any of the product. The formulation just isn't there for me, it's not finely milled or highly pigmented which is something I expect from a palette like this! It's a shame because it's not even just one of the products, all three of the shades lack pigmentation and that silky soft feeling I want from my base products.

Another issue I have is how long the products last on the skin, after only a couple of hours you wouldn't have thought I had even applied highlighter! The bronzer is the biggest fail with barely any pigmentation coming from the pan itself, making it pretty pointless in my opinion. When first applied the blush shade does look pretty, I can imagine it being beautiful for the summer months with a pink/ peach lip, but this would need topping up every few hours as it just doesn't last. I think I'm probably going to get use out of this palette by using the shades as eyeshadows, the highlighter is pretty and teamed with the UD primer potion I think it would look nice as a wash of colour over the lid.

Overall I'm pretty gutted I didn't do my research and made an impulse purchase. I did actually pick up the Papa Don't Peach blusher for a giveaway on my twitter which will be going live 21/01/17 at 5pm. I think that seems like a much better product from the range compared to this palette. If you want to enter my twitter is 'jodiemelissaxo'


Have you tried anything from the Sweet Peach range?

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Thursday, 19 January 2017

My #GoGlamGala Makeup Picks


Tonight is the #GoGlamGala with Go Send... I've never been to a Gala before so when I received an invite I just couldn't turn it down! As I'm getting ready away from home, I thought I would show you the makeup bits I've packed to wear.

BASE

I'll be wearing the products mentioned in my everyday essentials for oily skin post, so I won't bore you with an indepth review of those again. Combined with those bits I'm going to use the Urban Decay All Nighter foundation £27. At first I didn't get on too well with this, but after trying it now my skin isn't as dehydrated it sits much better and lasts longer on my skin. This foundation provides a beautiful full coverage without being too matte, definitely one to try if you are looking for a new, full coverage high end foundation.

Not a step I take for my everyday makeup, but for special occasions I love to contour using the Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour £19. This is so easy to blend and pretty fool proof, if like me you're not a pro when it comes to contouring, this is fab! Highlighter wise I was torn, but in the end I went for MAC Soft and Gentle Highlighter £24, I've had this in my collection for years but it's still the highlighter I always reach for! It's a stunning soft peachy pink/ champagne shade that works perfectly for pale skin. It is quite shimmery and an 'obvious' highligher, perfect for special occasions!

EYES

I've decided to go for a bronzed, golden smokey eye look and make it all about the lashes! As a base I'm going to use the Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow in Bette £22, this is the only cream eyeshadow that lasts well on my oily eyelids without creasing. It's a really lovely bronzed shade that compliments blue eyes nicely. Over the top I'm going to use a couple of shades from the Zoeva Cocoa Blend Palette £18. Pure Ganache and Subtle Blend are my absolute favourites, Freshly Toasted is also the perfect warm toned matte brown that works so well to deepen up the crease colour.

When it comes to lashes usually I just play it safe and wear the Ardell Demi Wispies, but I recently tried a pair of Unicorn lashes and I'm actually obsessed! The style I have is Twinkle £22.95, there is more volume in the centre of the lash which makes my eyes look so much bigger, perfect for my hooded eyes! They are light weight, fluffy and although they look dramatic they some how look natural when actually on the eye.

LIPS

I hate the maintenance that comes with a bold lip, and my lips have been feeling a little too dry for a liquid lipstick so I'm going for my favourite nude lip combo - MAC Spice Lipliner £13 and MAC's Velvet Teddy £15.50. Sally from The Makeup Directory recently did a fab review of Velvet Teddy which just sums it up perfectly, it's that 90's nude shade that just seems to suit everyone! I love using Spice lipliner to bring out the warm brown tones of the lipstick rather than pink. A good dupe for Velvet Teddy is the Rimmel London Only 1 Matte Lipstick in Trendsetter, I'll probably carry that with me for touch ups!


There will no doubt be plenty of shameless selfies on my Instagram story tonight if you want to see the full look! I'm so excited to meet Leanne and hopefully plenty of other bloggers too. 

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Daily Makeup Essentials for Oily Skin


If you have oily skin you'll know the struggle, your makeups a 10/10 in the morning but by mid day it will look like you've just done a round of circuits - I get it. Over the past few months I've started discovering more products that actually work for my skin and keep it looking fresh throughout the day.

To prep my skin for makeup I moisturise ideally half an hour before, this way it has more chance to sink into the skin. Shock, but I don't actually use a primer! I'm still yet to find something that works for me so instead I spritz the Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray £22 and let that sink in for 2-3 minutes. I find it works well as a starting and finishing touch to my makeup, my foundation sits well over the top and I definitely notice the difference in how long my base lasts when I use it.

In terms of foundation I tend to switch that up depending on the coverage, but my choice of concealer has been pretty consistent. The Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer £22 has quickly made it's way to holy grail status. This is a creamy, full coverage concealer that is so highly pigmented it really does cover any redness or blemishes on my skin - better still, it lasts all day long!

Another makeup bag staple is the Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder £29. It's so finely milled it manages to set my makeup without looking cakey or too matte, my base literally won't budge when I use this. I think for oily skin loose setting powder is a much better option, I used a pressed powder for years and it just doesn't have the same effect.

When I wear eyeshadow a primer is essential. My favourite is the Urban Decay Primer Potion £16, not only does it stop my eyeshadow from creasing and fading throughout the day, it also helps the shades appear more pigmented - this stuff is raved about for good reason! Another product I've found great for my oily eyelids is gel eyeliner, unlike a liquid or pencil a gel lasts much long without smudging or fading, my favourite is the Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner £7.99.

Lastly the most inexpensive product that anyone with oily skin needs... Blotting sheets! Again something I've only discovered in the last few months, these little sheets do wonders as they take away any oil on my skin before I do any touch ups with powder. Using the product mentioned above it's actually rare I need to touch up, but if I'm out longer than 7 hours then these really do come in handy.

Although I like to switch up most things in my routine, these products are here to stay and I use them pretty much everyday... What are your everyday essentials for your oily skin?

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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Breakout Busting Skincare



Anyone's skin have a meltdown after Christmas? From all of the over indulging it's safe to say my skin suffered. Alongside getting back on track with eating better and drinking more water, these skincare picks have saved and restored my skin from the devastation caused by too much prosecco and chocolate...

I'll start with my current mask of choice, the Super Facialist by Una Brennan Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Mask £9.99 - an absolute godsend. This mask really does help to clear my skin and prevent blemishes. Probably one to stir clear off if you have sensitive skin as it does have a slight stinging sensation at first, which I'm guessing is the Salicylic acid. My skin doesn't feel too tight or dehydrated after using this like some clay masks making it perfect for use all year round.

When it comes to targeted blemish treatments La Roche Posay has been my go to brand for years. I find the original Effaclar DUO to be quite intense and dry out the skin too much, whereas the Effaclar K  £14 does exactly the same job without leaving too much damage. This manages to reduce redness overnight and stop any other blemishes appearing in the surrounding area - a must have if like me you are prone to the odd breakout.

In terms of a serum it has to be the Nip and Fab Gylcolic Fix Serum £15. As the name suggests this contains Gylcolic acid and acts as a exfoliator, but it only contains 4% so isn't too harsh on the skin. After using this continually I do notice that the fine lines on my forehead aren't as visible and my complexsion looks much clearer. This is a really nice serum to use if you want to introduce gylcolic acids into your skincare routine, it's the first one I tried and still a firm favourite!

Lastly a product with holy grail status for me, the Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar moisturiser £35.50. Usually this doesn't get a look in during the colder months because I need something more hydrating, but when my skin isn't behaving I know that switching back to this will do the trick. It is a gel moisturiser so it feels lovely and cooling on the skin, and more importantly it keeps my skin clear and helps with any blemish scaring I may have. A fab product if you have that typical "teenage skin" even though you're in your 20's - it manages to keep things clear without being too stripping.

I try and combine these products with a hydrating toner and cleanser and it seems to work well for me. What products do you reach for when your skin is misbehaving?
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Monday, 9 January 2017

The Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette Dupe


When it comes to eyeshadow I usually stay within my comfort zone opting for warm toned brown/ bronzed shades, but I think I have found an exception...

When I first saw the Rimmel Magnifeyes Eyeshadow palette in London Nudes Calling* instantly it reminded me of the infamous UD Naked 3, which is honestly a palette that I've never been interested in - before now. The shades all have a pink hue to them reminiscent of the Naked 3, which seems to compliment every eye colour and be perfect for both everyday and evening wear.

PROS

The main pro for me is being able to try a selection of colours that I wouldn't usually reach for, without having to take the plunge and splurge on a palette like the Naked 3. Most of the shadows are good in terms of pigmentation and texture, the last three swatches (see below) are my favourite, they look stunning as part of a smokey eye look or on there own. These shadows do blend nicely too and teamed with the Urban Decay Primer Potion it lasts a good 7-8 hours before starting to fade/ crease on my eyelids.

CONS

The palest shades in the palette are a disappointment, they are quite chalky and barely pigmented. I rarely use the palest shades of a palette anyway, but if you do then it's annoying. I also feel like a darker matte shade would work well in this to make it even more evening appropriate. Of-course with high street makeup you often don't get the beautiful packaging, but it's something I actually miss and quite enjoy from my makeup! Anyone else?

If you're thinking about picking up the Urban Decay Naked 3 but you're not quite sure, I think it's well worth the £7.99 price tag to see what use you get out of it.

Do you know any other dupes for the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette?

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Thursday, 5 January 2017

5 Tips for a More Productive Day


 With the New Year in full swing I thought I would share some of the little things I do to ensure I have the most productive day possible... 


Get a good nights sleep and have a sleep routine

I know a lot of people mention how important a good nights sleep is, but whenever I get a solid 8 hours I always feel so much better for it. Since going to bed at around 10 and waking up at 6 I've created a body clock for myself giving me so much more energy. To drift off a little easier I love to use the This Works Deep Sleep pillow spray - it's a game changer and sooooo worth the hype! I also try my best to leave my phone on the other side of the room at 9.30pm and leave it there until the morning, I drift off much better having a tech free half hour beforehand (or even 15 minutes can sometimes be enough...) 

Drink as much water as possible throughout the day 

Anyone else keep telling themselves they will start drinking more water but then forget the next day? Well here's your reminder! In work I manage to drink a lot of water and it definitely keeps me on track, I know water makes a difference because when I'm at home and I forget to keep hydrated I start to feel so tired and unmotivated. I think having a big bottle helps with this, or if you're really struggling there are a couple of apps that send alerts to your phone reminding you. I also love that drinking water comes with so many other benefits too, how can it be so hard to remember!?

Take up Mindfulness

The buzz word of 2016, but don't knock it till you've tired it. My best ideas and creative thoughts always seem to pop up when I'm driving, and I've realised it's because my mind has a break from everything else! I love using the calm app to have 10 minutes of mindfulness, afterwards I'm refreshed and full of new ideas. 

Get organised and plan your day

I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to planning, I just hate no knowing how my day will pan out! All of the little things like getting my lunch ready the day before and picking out something to wear the next day means the next morning is pretty stress free and I can spend more time on important things. I never used to be this organised but since sticking to it and making it part of my routine I've managed to get so much more done.

I find writing lists really helpful and then keeping them visible throughout the day, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to tick off tasks.

Take breaks

Taking breaks for me, like mindfulness actually makes me feel more refreshed and ready to work harder. By a break I don't mean going on my phone (when I do this my 'break' turns into full on procrastination), but have a little walk around or just move from where ever it is you're working/ attempting to do something productive can make a whole lot of difference.

I'm really starting to feel motivated for 2017 now, and being as productive as possible is something I want to keep up... What's your tip for a more productive day? 

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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Perfect Everyday, Easy to Use Lip Products

For someone that has a draw full of lipsticks I seem to be lacking easy to wear, everyday lip options. The, brace yourselves *your lips but better* lipsticks that look perfect with any look are on my radar - here's the options I currently have in my collection, if you have any other recommendations then please let me know.


The Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors £18
1) Rosewood Shimmer, picture on the left
2) Rose Shimmer, picture on the right.

First of all I don't agree with the hefty price tag of £18 for these, but I'm yet to find any product that competes on the highstreet. The Clarins Lip Perfectors are one of a kind, they are so comfortable and add only a slight amount of colour with a glossy yet natural looking finish. They don't last particularly long but they wear really well and feel lovely once applied. My favourite out of the two is the nude shade, it's pretty much always in my handbag.


MAC Lustre finish lipsticks £15.50
1) Plink, picture on the left
2) Patisserie, picture on the right

I never used to appreciate the lustre finish lipsticks from MAC, but they have slowly become one of my favourites for an easy to wear subtle wash of colour that feels comfortable throughout the day. They don't last particularly long  Admittedly Plink and Patisserie are pretty similar, but my patisserie is by fay my favourite of the two with more of a rose pink finish rather than baby pink. Both of these shades have small flexes of glitter/ shimmer running through them which help to make the lips look more plump/ full too.



Bitch Perfect was probably one of my most used shades of 2016. Similar to Patisserie it's a comfortable, easy to wear lipstick that looks nice with any makeup look. Out of all the shades this is the most long lasting which is one of the reasons I kept reaching for it. A more recent addition to my collection is the Nars lip pencil in Descanso, this is a gorgeous nude with a peach undertone so it will be perfect for spring/ summer. It lasts really well and fades evenly so it's a hassle free, easy lip product.


Rimmel Kate Moss 56 Boho Nude - £6.49

Lastly I wanted to include a more affordable option. This is slightly different to the other lipsticks as it has much more pigmentation and a creamy formulation, but it's still one of those lipsticks that I can just throw on with any look. Rimmel lipsticks never fail to impress me, the formulation is fab as they are long lasting without being drying, and I always seem to find a fair few shades that I love. A real winner is you're looking for an affordable beige toned nude. 

1) Clarins Rosewood Shimmer 2) Clarins Rose Shimmer 3) Charlotte Tilbury Bitch Perfect 4) MAC Patisserie 5) MAC Plink 6) Nars Descanso 7) Rimmel Kate Boho Nude 56

What's your favourite everyday, easy to wear lipstick?

you may also like: My top 5 Nude Lipsticks 
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Sunday, 1 January 2017

2017 Personal Goals

Firstly, Happy New Year! I predict that I'm currently feeling slightly hungover and regretting not doing my full skincare routine before I went to bed last night... I wanted to set myself a couple of "resolutions", I'm not keen on putting a label on this, lets just say here are a few things I want to achieve/ do over the next 12 months!

Have more gratitude and appreciate the small things

Throughout 2016 I forgot to take a step back and just appreciate the little things in life. Whether it's a funny moment in work or a friendly shop assistant, I really want to take a moment to be thankful for all of those things I more often than not take for granted.

Learn more about SEO/ Improve my blog photography

Anyone else love the analytical side of blogging? I'm eager to expand my knowledge of all things SEO whether that's through an online course or reading up on it more. I'm also tempted to complete a photography course, I'm happy with my progress so far but I actually quite enjoy the whole textbook learning process alongside being practical.

Stop hoarding and declutter atleast once a month

I'm already on a role with this one and I actually started straight after Christmas, I managed to clear out a whole bin bag of shoes! It's ridiculous how much stuff I have crammed into draws, I really want to feel organised and in a good place in 2017. I truly believe that a tidy space = tidy mind so it has to be done!

Get fit and healthy 

Cliche I know, but hear me out. I enjoy exercising so it's just a case of keeping it up (and resisting the chocolate and crisps in the kitchen cupboard!). I want to be going to the gym atleast 4 times a week and make more time for meal prep and eating decent meals. I feel so much better in myself when I do it, I think it's just a case of getting into a good routine and also the will power to say no to a choccy biscuit...

There they are, a few things I'll be keeping in the back of my mind as we go into the new year! I hope you have an amazing start to 2017, are you going into the New Year with any goals in mind?
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