L&G have conducted a study and found one of the first things people give up when faced with financial difficulty is their gym membership. Surprising? Not for me. Yes, I now live further away from my gym than when I signed up, but I found that financial stress meant I had less willpower to go to the gym at all – let alone pay for it.
So, in a bid to continue to save myself money whilst not adding to an expanding waistline, I devised an at home fitness routine, and some pretty tasty smoothies for a quick Yummy Hit.
I tend to work out groups of muscles/parts of my body on separate days, rather than working out my whole body every day. That way, I can focus on areas of my body I want to improve, and don’t devote time to limbs that don’t need any more encouragement (I don’t require extra muscly legs anytime soon, thanks very much!)
Check out my routines below, and keep an eye out for an upcoming blog on healthy eating recipes you can do at home.
Pesky abs, eh? No matter how many sits, countless crunches and planks, these will always be a work in progress. Regardless, I have still seen progress with this really easy to follow program, and it only takes 10 minutes – enjoy! (The idea is to increase the reps of these exercises over time, as your muscles will get used to it. Try starting at 10 reps, as mentioned below, then increase by 5 or 10 reps each week, or as comfortable as you can take it).
Sit ups. Try to secure your feet under a bed, low sofa or in the hands of a trusting companion. Keep your back straight, and keep your knees bent. As you sit up, keep your hands behind your head, but don’t put extra pressure on your neck – you don’t want a serious injury. Sit up till your elbows meet your knees, hold for one second, and return to the first position. Repeat as required.
Crunches. Ah! But what’s the difference between crunches and sit ups I hear you cry! Well, crunches are like half sit ups in the sense that you are tensing your stomach muscles as you sit up, and only arch your back just off the floor – rather than making your elbows reach your knees. Start in the same position as your sit up, but only go through half the stage of the sit up. You should really be able to feel it in your core (stomach and abs). Hold this for a second, and return to laying down. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Plank. Think less pirate, more pain. Well, not pain – but, it can be pretty hard-core the first couple of times you attempt this move. It’s a full body workout for sure, but it definitely works on your core too, so don’t worry about that. Rather than doing the plank in reps, you extend the length of time you hold this position for. Try starting at 15 seconds, and build it up once you get comfortable with it. On a, preferably carpeted or fitness matted floor, get on your front, knees bent, hands on the floor shoulder width apart, directly down from your shoulders. Then move from resting on your knees to extending your legs out, resting on your toes, and placing your forearms beneath you. It’s really important to keep your back straight, with your bum down. I also prefer to keep my head down, as looking straight forward can give you a bad neck – but it’s up to you.
Russian Twists. Initially I called these ‘twisty sit up things’, and was then also upset when I found out a Russian Twist didn’t involve a glass and vodka. Anyway. Back to sit ups, but this time instead of holding your elbows at your knees for one second, you’re going to twist your body slightly to the left, moving from your belly button, twist back to facing forward, and lay back flat on the floor. Second step is to repeat, but twist to the right instead. This will work a different set of muscles, still in your core, but also your waist – helping you to define your curves. Eat, sleep, twist, repeat.
As any child of the nineties knows, bums, legs and tums were big business in the big hair, bright colour world of fitness tapes. Now, we have better hairdressers, like to think we have a slightly refined dress sense, but would still like to nail down the leggy, toned look. Fear not, as these 3 easy exercises will help you do just that. No, you’re welcome – really.
Squats. Yes, they don’t exactly sound sexy, but they do work. Trust me on this one. Stand with feet just less than shoulder width apart, arms either out in front of you parallel to the ground (it will help your balance if you’re new at this). Bend at the knees, and stick your bum out – don’t lean forwards. The aim is to focus the movement on your glutes, so don’t be afraid to shake what your momma gave you. Hold for a second, as your legs are at a 90 degree angle and stand back up straight. Repeat it, you know you want to.
Step ups. Again working the same muscles as your squats did, just quicker. Quick stat attack – lifting heavier weights for a few reps builds muscle – lifting lighter weights for several reps creates tone. So, doing a few more step up reps than squats is definitely ideal. You don’t need a fancy gym step for this, just a regular back door/indoor house step for this exercise. Start off slow, with you left foot first stand on the step. Then with your right foot on the step. Simple as that! Now return to your first position, off the step, left foot then right. No biggie! No need to start jumping about or running on the step – build up to that later. For now, just stick to those reps baby. Maybe 20 to start, unless you’re feeling pretty adventurous following your squat endeavour.
Wall sit. The bane of my gym existence. The dreaded wall sit. Just thinking of it makes me shudder. But it doesn’t have to! The initial problem I had is I tried to sit on the wall for too long. My eyes were bigger than my sitting power and I crumbled. Whilst it sounds so preachy, you really need to ‘listen to your body’ (I told you it sounded preachy) – but It’s true. Don’t go all in, thinking you have to attempt 60 seconds straight away, it can be something to build up to. I’ve been practicing my wall sit for a few months now, and I still struggle with 60 seconds, especially after some pretty rigorous squats. Find a wall – easy enough. Stand with your back against said wall, keep your back against the wall and bend your knees until the top part of your leg is parallel to the ground. Hold for 10 seconds to start, but feel free to hold for less or more if you feel comfortable. If you want to add an extra element, try lightly bouncing your knees for a further 10 seconds – not for the fainthearted, but you will see results. Repeat, goddammit!
Want to enter to win £350 worth of fitness equipment to help you work out at home? Enter L&G’s competition here! (T&Cs apply)
So there you have it! 2 sets of exercises you can do at home, save money and get fit in the process! Plus, you don’t need to stick on any fancy gym kit; just stay in your PJs and get stuck in to some sit ups.
By Alice Brazier
I’ve been loving more than just beauty this month! It’s quickly moving into summer, so I – like many others – am trying to get fit and healthy for the hot months. So, a couple of my May favourites are health and fitness inspired – enjoy!
I’ve tried a few protein shakes before, both pre-mixed and from powder, but nothing is as good as this stuff. Yes, I was sent this stuff to review, but my opinion is 100% real – this stuff is just that good. Unlike some other shakes the taste isn’t lessened in a bid to add more protein, and the effects do really work. Favourite flavour is Strawberry, and you can try it for your self at Muscle Milk’s website. Delish.
I only ever used to drink fruit smoothies, until I leant the health benefits of their green, veg laden siblings. Whilst broccoli, kale and spinach might not sound like a treat for the senses, the smoothie is so tasty you’ll forget all that. Even the fruit versions are amazing, and a great alternative to other sugary versions you might find on the high street – and they’re the UK’s lowest calorie shake. Another product I was sent, but you can get them here.
I have far too many different types and brands of shampoo and conditioner. I seem to buy a new set each time I go shopping, and never seem to finish any. I came across these bottles at the start of May, and they are a-may-zing. I have bleached blonde hair and have tried every expensive product a hairdresser can recommend to get my lushuous locks back to full health. However, the only product that has instantly made my hair feel soft yet strong and healthy, is Herbal Essences. Plus, it smells pretty good too. It’s a yes from me.
I was kindly sent these trainers to review at the start of the month, and I have not been disapointed. Firstly, I love colourful gym kit, so I was already on to a winner. Secondly, these trainers are so lightweight, that when I’ve stashed them in my rucksack and running for the train, they don’t weigh me down at all. They’re really great at gripping even when wet, and I haven’t slipped on my bike pedals at all this month, compared to my last trainers when it happened daily. Really impressed with these neon beauties.
I’ve played around with a few different foundations recently, but hadn’t been impressed till I found this one. The colour is prefect for my super pale complexion (they colour matched it in store), and it lasts all day without reapplication. Perfect!
I’m not really an eyeshadow girl, to be honest. I’ll happily be ready with a lick of mascara and a flick of liquid eyeliner, but not all that fussed about coloured eyeshadow…untill. I love the colour selection with this particular set; a deep plum colour complimented perfectly with two pink shades, and a deep golden shade – helping to make a rose gold tone when blended. It’s beaut, and doesn’t fade at all.
I know, I KNOW. I’m super late to the bandwagon on this one, but this BEAUTY was included in this month’s Birchbox, and I was amazed at the results. I’m always sceptical when I see other peoples reviews, and worry it won’t be as good when I try it, but seriously this stuff is it. You need this, now.
What products have you been loving this month? Do you agree with any of my favourites? Let me know in the comments below!
By Alice Brazier
As next month, June, makes the busiest month for weddings in the year, i thought I’d put together an outfit ideal for a summer wedding.
I think the pastel blue dress is gorgeous on its own, but I’ve paired it with the cute, floral jacket in case the weather isn’t on your side, or if part of the day is outside.
Let me know what your wedding outfit staples are!
I’ve been experimenting with several different beauty products this month, so it was hard to pick my top favourites, but here they are! A couple of my favourites this month come courtesy of my Birchbox subscription – my new favourite thing.
Pro:Voke Touch of Silver Twice a week brightening shampoo
I’ve been using the Touch of Silver range for a few years now, and it’s amazing at saving blonde hair from turning brassy. However, I’d only just found out that they also make a stronger shampoo – which is amazinggg. You only need a small amount, and it turns yellowy/orange blonde locks into platinum, ice perfection. You can find it on Amazon, in Boots, or on their website.
Dr Brandt Pores No More
The first of my miniature Birchbox beauties! This little saviour mattifies oily skin, and can be applied before or after your makeup, and throughout the day. Fab for greasy post-foundation skin, and great at topping up your make-up throughout the day. Get it here.
French Connection Body Wash
I received this next favourite as part of a gift set over Christmas (you know the type, from Boots?!). It came with similar scented body scrubs, sprays and moisturisers but this body wash stood out as a clear favourite. The scent isn’t named on the bottle, but it smells fresh, like faint citrus mixed with vanilla. It’s silky smooth too, and the smell doesn’t fade straight away after getting out of the shower, but then isn’t too overpowering either. (I’d love to link to this beauty, but it seems like Boots only sell it at Christmas – sorry!)
The Balm Cheek and Lip Cream
Shock, yet again from Birchbox. I was sent the colour ‘Pie‘, which is a hot pink/red shade, and is so pigmented it lasts all day. Gorgeous on both lips and cheeks, the colour looks amazing with a pale eye shadow and dark mascara. Get it here.
Leighton Denny ‘Mine’s a rose’
I hadn’t come across this brand much before it appeared in my Birchbox a few months ago, but I instantly fell in love with the shade. A pale peach/baby pink shade, the colour applies like a dream and only needs a few layers to look amazing. Quick tip – apply a coat of white nail varnish to your nails before applying a pastel shade like ‘Mine’s a rose’ to really make the colour stand out. Get it here.
Laura Mercier Body and Bath Souffle Body Creme
By far my favourite product this April. Body cremes and moisturisers often have overpowering smells have a slightly oily texture, sitting on top of the skin rather than soaking in and making your skin super soft. This Laura Mercier creme, however, is so gorgeous, another Birchbox favoruite, I would quite happily pay full price for this little gem it’s that good. The scent is Ambre Vanilla and smells so good I’d happily wear it as a perfume. It also makes my skin feel amazing, and doesn’t feel oily or spot prone. A definite new favourite.
What have you been loving this month? Any new products on your radar, or something you’ve rediscovered? Let me know in the comments below!
- What is your favourite way to relax? I love to paint my nails in a very bubbly bath, especially if wine is involved! Failing that, I love to indulge in a girly box set, like SATC or Gossip Girl
- If you could have dinner with anyone; dead or alive, who would it be? Anna Wintour, Anna Kendrik, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Moss and Beyoncé.
- What was the first thing you saved up to buy? My first laptop, when I was about 16? It seems so outdated now, it even creaks when you open it! But it was amazing to own my very own laptop…until I went to university and actually had to write essays on it…
- If you won the lottery what’s the first thing you would do? Super boring, but I’d pay off my student loan!
- Your nickname, and why? Most are based on my surname (Brazier)…Brazzers, Brazzles, Brazzersaurus…
- Biggest achievement you’ve had so far? Finishing university with a 2:1 was pretty amazing!
- What is your first memory you have as a child? I remember being picked up from nursery at a very early age. I used to be a proper little tomboy and would fight over the trucks and cars with the boys in the class, whilst all the girls played dress up and housewives. BORING!
- If you could have any job in the world what would it be? I’d love to work in an American university, either as a lecturer or as a marketer. I’d also love to blog full time, but we can all dream!
- Who is your favourite blogger? There are so many! I love Zoella, Vivanna Does Makeup and grav3yardgirl.
- If you could Vlog with anyone who would it be and why? Tobuscus! He is so funny, and I’ve been watching his videos since I started using YouTube.
- I have dyed my hair close to 100 different times, and haven’t had my natural hair colour since I was 16. Everything from red, black, blue, pink, purple…
- I’ve worn glasses since I was 2 years old.
- I love travelling, and am planning to backpack across America and Europe.
- I learnt to fly a light aircraft before I could drive.
- On the same note, it took me 5 attempts to pass my driving test. Embarrassing, but proof that there is always hope and you should never give up (even if everyone else is telling you to!)
- I only got really interested in make-up and beauty until I was 18. Before then I’d always been really sporty, and never had the time to make myself look pretty whilst I was swimming, running, playing netball…
- I’m obsessed with Pinterest. I work in social media so I use Twitter and Facebook on a daily/hourly basis, but Pinterest will always be my number one go to social network. It’s AMAZINGGGGGG. <3 <3 <3
- My favourite meal is Chilli Con Carne, which won’t be a surprise to my friends and family as I cook it ALL THE TIME.
- As i dye my hair all the time, I need to look after it with various products. My favourite is Eufora, and you can find out more about them here.
- I’m 5ft11″ which is great for playing netball/looking for people in a crowd/being intimidating, but not so great for shopping/hiding from people in a crowd/trying to hide from people you’ve attempted to intimidate.
- I write for 2 other blogs! A blog about weddings – British Bridesmaid, and a blog about new technology – AliceDoesTech. Check them out and let me know what you think!
So girls, the questions I want you to answer are…
- What do you pack in your travel make-up bag?
- What artist/band are you loving at the minute?
- If money was no object, where would you love to travel to?
- What’s your go to outfit for a night out?
- Favourite restaurant?
- What inspired you to start blogging?
- What is your dream job?
- If you could ban anything from the world, what would it be and why?
- You’ve got a few hours free to yourself. How would you spend it?
- Who would you love to collaborate with on your blog?
- Who is your celebrity crush?
Twitter – AliceBrazier
Facebook – Alice @ BBlogger
Pinterest – AliLouBee
Polyvore – AliceBrazier
Bloglovin’ – BBlogger
I’ve always loved Breton stripes, and wanted to freshen up the look with some cool leather or a statement jacket. I love this orange/coral colour and it would look great with loose curls, dark lashes and a lunch date.
How would you wear yours? Let me know!
Check out my previous blog post here
I recently attended the re-launch of footwear label Gianmarco Lorenzi, and I’d be lying if i said I wasn’t obsessed with the heels in their new collection!
Below are a pair of my favourites, styled for a night out, with rose gold smokey eyes and minimal accessories.
Let me know how you’d wear yours!
Ever wanted to perfect that hair style but can’t be bothered spending hours practising? Want gorgeous smokey eyes, but always end up with smudged, black circles? Well, ‘The Hacks’ series is here to help, with tips and tricks on everyday beauty topics, fashion advice and fitness know how.
Got a tip you want to share, or a question you need answering?
Email me at email@example.com or tweet me at @alicebrazier
- Want to get rid of mascara? Get in the shower, and gently rub a pea size amount of conditioner over closed eyelids and lashes. Keeping your eyes closed, rinse off for at least 60 seconds. Your lashes will be clean, healthy and mascara free!
- Embrace this seasons pastel trend. Just add a some white nail varnish to your nails first to make sure the pale shades really stand out
- Hair feeling a bit dry? Shower before bed and apply conditioner as normal, but wrap your wet hair in a small towel, and don’t wash out. The next morning, wash your hair and steer away from intense hear styling. Your hair will feel so soft, and you don’t have to invest in an expensive hair mask!
- Late night? Match your skin tone to your eyeliner to help make you appear bright eyed and bushy tailed. Curling your lashes is a great idea too.
- New pair of shoes? Stick on a pair of socks, add your heels and apply heat from your hairdryer to anywhere you’re likely to get a blister. It will help to make them less pain free next time you wear them.
What tricks do you use when getting ready? Let me know below, or on Twitter!