Operation Supervixen: July 2015 Update

Operation Supervixen is my own personal transformation programme. In June 2015, I decided I was utterly fed up of being miserable, unwell and feeling like I wasn't reaching my full potential in life. To combat this, I decided I was going to radically transform my diet, maintain an exercise routine and centre my leisure activities around personal development. To keep me accountable and help others in the process, I started Operation Supervixen.

Hello everyone and welcome to my July Update for my Operation Supervixen personal transformation programme. I've decided to do monthly updates on my progress mainly so I have a record of how well I'm doing because it's very, very easy to assume you've made no progress at all if you don't track it, but also because when I have to admit to other people how well I have/haven't been doing, it keeps me very motivated.

Food: 4/10
While July has definitely seen a dramatic improvement in the quality of the food I choose to consume in comparison with May and June, I'm still not quite there in terms of balance. I've finally let go of the idea that I have to be 100% healthy 100% of the time, but I also need to recognise that my diet needs to be healthy most of the time and I'm definitely not there yet. I've learnt that if I don't start my day off right, I tend to use that as an excuse for the rest of the day to go wrong. To combat this, I am going to go all out to ensure I have a smoothie for breakfast every day instead of chocolate and coffee and then even if the rest of the day is awful, at least I've still had some fruit and veg to begin with. 

Exercise: 2/10
Despite my enthusiasm at the beginning of the month, I actually only ended up going to roller derby twice during July and because that tends to be my main source of proper exercise, I definitely can't score myself well on the exercise front. I have been making the effort to go for lunch time walks when I am in the office, but I've also slowed down on taking Genghis for a walk each day, leaving that to my boyfriend instead. During August I need to commit to a no matter what attitude for roller derby at the bare minimum, but I also want to aim for walking Genghis daily and going for a lunch time walk whenever I am in the office. Eventually I want to build up to having proper workout routine again, but I need to be careful not overwhelm myself and do this very gradually. 

Smoking: 10/10
I haven't really mentioned smoking much recently because I haven't been doing it!!! However when I first started talking about improving my lifestyle on this blog, quitting smoking was a major, major thing I needed to do. During May the stress of moving house really messed me up and I smoked about 30 cigarettes during that month but I'm really pleased to say that was the last time I smoked. And the best part is, it's not because my cravings have magically disappeared, in fact, there have unfortunately been numerous times in the past month where stress has threatened to overwhelm me. In fact, I have set off walking to the shops with the intention of buying cigarettes in my head. Yet I didn't cave and for that, I am very very glad. Next step is to work on finding something that I can do when I'm stressed so cigarettes don't cross my mind.

Finances: 7/10
Can I get a drum roll please?! I FINISHED THE MONTH WITH OVER £100 IN MY BANK ACCOUNT. I wasn't in my overdraft, woooohoooo! I'm giving myself 7/10 just for that. Unfortunately I've still been spending way too much money on takeaways and food at lunch time so I should really have had a lot more left over considering how expensive August will be (paying a flat deposit, paying removal men). However, this is a dramatic improvement and I don't want to detract from that. 

Productivity: 6/10 
I'm actually pretty happy with how I've spent my time this month, although my 6/10 rating suggests not quite happy enough. I've read two personal development related books this month, I've been having regular calls with my life coach and I've also posted more blog posts during July than any other month in 2015. Overall, I'm spending time doing useful, fulfilling activities - however, I do tend to lounge around after work vegging out when I could use that time to up my exercise levels or make my blog even more consistent. 

So How Have I Been Feeling?

Mentally: Pretty good overall, although my hormones have been a bit all over the place recently meaning I am prone to fits of crying and feel quite insecure. I need to keep up with reading positive books and start taking my Omega 3 supplements again to balance my hormones a bit more. 

Physically: My healthy eating streak actually slowed down when I started feeling very, very sick for a few days. I also have a really, really bad headache RIGHT NOW so I know I need to up the water intake. 

Goals For August: 
  • Go to roller derby every Thursday
  • Go to roller disco next Friday
  • Take a lunch time walk if I am in the office
  • Walk Genghis every day (may modify this goal when I move out next week because I won't be living with him anymore)
  • Have a smoothie or other healthy alternative for breakfast every day
  • Do one productive activity after work every day, even if it's just tidying up or replying to blog post comments
  • Stick to my budget!!!!!
Fingers crossed I can report back with good news in August, I'm feeling positive about it! 

What I Wore: Wedding Guest

Outfit Details:
Flower Crown: Prairie Charms
Nose Ring: eBay
Earrings: Next
Necklace: Gifted
Dress: Lipsy (via eBay)
Shoes: Deichman 

Makeup Details: 
Base: Arbonne FC5 Mattifying Powder, CC Cream, Concealer, Pressed Powder
Cheeks: Arbonne Blush in Blossom and Sheer Glow Highlighter
Eyebrows: Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Rewind (Vice 2 Palette)
Eyes: Urban Decay Eyeshadows in Dope, Toxic and Radar (Vice 2 Palette!) and Arbonne Liquid Eyeliner and It's A Long Story Mascara
Lips: Arbonne Lip Liner in Peach, Lipstick in Magnolia and Lipgloss in Linden

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, at the weekend I attended the wedding of my step sister. The last wedding I went to I was a bridesmaid and so had no choice in my dress (it was damn gorgeous though) so it was nice to hunt down a wedding-appropriate dress all by myself this time.

Ok, that's lie. Clothes shopping is an absolute nightmare for me right now! First of all, I literally don't like anything that isn't pink anymore, I'm just flat out not interested in other colours. Secondly, I have no idea what size I am! I've tried to buy new clothes recently, but even within the same shop, I need wildly different sizes depending on the cut of the clothing, what it's made from, etc. Finally, I just don't seem to like very much at all right now! When I eventually found a dress I genuinely really, really liked, it was well over £50 and they only had it left in a size which was definitely too big. 

Eventually, after trawling through over 100 pages of pink dresses on eBay, I stumbled upon a very, very old Lipsy dress that I remembered lusting after a very long time ago but never managed to get my hands on. I decided that was as good as anything. 

Thankfully, when it arrived, I could fit in it, although it felt a little baggy up top (I've got a bum but not the boobs to match sadly). Not going to lie, I felt wildly uncomfortable in this dress! I didn't manage to get a photo but it's open at the back and only tied up with chiffon. It's the most revealing thing I've worn in a very long time and I just didn't feel confident at all. 

However, as I look back on these photos now, I actually really, really like the way it looks on me after all, even though the camera hasn't picked up the pinkness of the dress! It just goes to show you can't trust mirrors and that hindsight is lovely thing I guess. 

My makeup on the other hand...I was totally confident about. A mixture of three eyeshadows, one highlighting my brow, one on my lid and one in my crease, along with some winged eyeliner has definitely become my signature look, something I can rely on to look good whatever the occasion. The combination of Dope, Toxic and Radar from my UD Vice 2 palette is one I've used a few times now and it has seriously grown on me, I want to wear it all the time now! 

Are you going/have you been to any summer weddings? What was/is your outfit like?

PS sorry for phone quality photos of my dress! Once the day got underway I was far too distracted to take photos on my proper camera!

The Instavixen Roundup #10

Showing off my new favourite Arbonne lipstick, lusting after my old hair, detox tea in an inappropriate mug, caterpillars, pretending I'm cute, oh look, ANOTHER selfie, reading good books, nice makeup, wedding guest dress
SELFIES GALORE. Apparently, since my last Instavixen Roundup post, I've been very invested in my own face! I promise you though, in the past few weeks I have done a lot more than take photographs of my face!

In my last weekly roundup about two/three weeks ago, I spoke about how I'd turned a corner in my personal development journey and how good it was making me feel. I'm pleased to report I am still very much on the self love path and working towards a life I am very happy with. I've not been perfect, I still have days where I get overwhelmed in not so great thoughts and I still like french fries, cheese and chocolate far too much but there has been such a marked improvement this month I am feeling very, very encouraged by my progress. I feel like August is going to be gamechanger for me, so watch this space ;)

The highlight of the past few weeks has definitely been this weekend just gone. On Friday, I took a holiday day off work and travelled back up to Wakefield to see my family. I left very early in the morning so I had pretty much the whole day at home and enjoyed a much, MUCH needed chill out day where I napped, read a lot and got a paid for Skillshare account so I can get the education I need to move forward with certain goals of mine.

Saturday, the true adventure began when me and a large portion of my family jumped into a mini bus and headed to Cardiff for the day. Most of the day was spent travelling so I did even more reading but the evening was spent socialising with various people, where alcohol was flowing and good food was readily available.

But why on earth were we all in Cardiff? Well, yesterday, my step sister got married! It was such a wonderful day, a really lovely ceremony, great food, good company, although a very long day! I've had a fab weekend but believe me when I say I'm knackered now!


Reading: Swamp Bones by Kathy Reichs

Listening To: Ashamed to say that music has taken a bit of backseat in my life at the moment! Last thing I listened to on purpose was the latest Sleater-Kinney album (very good)

Watching: I've been watching a lot recently! I recently finished season one of The 100 which I adored and although season two is out, it's not available for free on Amazon Instant Video much to my annoyance. For this reason I've started watching Continuum on Netflix which is very, very good. Also keeping up with Pretty Little Liars weekly and watching Charmed when I've got time to myself!

Playing: Star Stable! May have been on it for several hours today because I'm off work but got back into Swindon in very good time from Cardiff. Nearly run out of quests now because I'm about to hit the maximum level of 17 and I will probably cry when that happens...!

Loving: Getting better at getting out of bed in the morning so I can spend a little bit more time on my appearance, which is boosting my self confidence loads

Looking Forward To: Moving into my own flat in just over a week, so having my own space, knowing where all my possessions are, settling into a proper routine again, freedom, independence!!

Hope you all had lovely weekends too xoxo

Operation Supervixen: Breville Blend-Active Personal Blender [Product Review]

Operation Supervixen is my own personal transformation programme. In June 2015, I decided I was utterly fed up of being miserable, unwell and feeling like I wasn't reaching my full potential in life. To combat this, I decided I was going to radically transform my diet, maintain an exercise routine and centre my leisure activities around personal development. To keep me accountable and help others in the process, I started Operation Supervixen.

I don't know about you, but one of the biggest barriers to healthy eating for me is the fact that I am a damn fussy eater. Despite massive improvements in the past five years or so, there is still no way I can get around the fact that I am a very picky eater. This is especially true when it comes to fruit and vegetables. Try as I might, I just cannot get myself to like them! Besides the taste, the textures just don't really sit well with me at all. There are a few exceptions; surprisingly, I like spinach, I like sugarsnap peas and I like RAW carrots.

Thankfully, there are ways I can get around how much I dislike the good stuff. In a way similar to how you might treat a child, if you can hide the veg from me, it's a lot more likely I'll eat it it. Or, more accurately, I'll drink it.

In my journey to a healthier lifestyle, I've found I am 100% more likely to eat fruit and vegetables when they have been blended into a smoothie and so, I had to invest in a decent blender.

I've had the Breville Blend-Active Personal Blender for a good few months now and I am super, duper pleased with my purchase. For a handy £20 or so, it is well worth it. As advertised, the blender is capable of blending ice and frozen fruit/vegetables. It's surprisingly powerful for such a cheap machine. It's perfectly capable of making my usual two smoothies a day containing a variety of both fresh and frozen produce, nuts, seeds and powders.

Noise wise, it depends entirely on what you're blending. The harder things you put in there, the noisier it gets. However, I've recently been blending avocado into freshly made juices and I am amazed at how quiet it is when you're not working through frozen items! Practically silent. Even when you are blending frozen veg/fruit, the noise isn't too bad. I'm happy to use my blender in early morning or late night, whereas I wouldn't dare put the washing machine or do the hoovering too early/too late!

Again, how quick it is depends entirely on what you're blending. When using fresh, soft produce, two thirty second bursts is more than enough. It needs more like 2-4 minutes, with appropriate breaks in between so it doesn't overheat, when blending more heavy duty items such as ice or frozen fruit and veg.

To get the most out of this blender, I've found the order in which you add items to the mix is essential. If you don't get the order just right, you'll find it takes far too long to produce a nice smoothie, or you'll get to the end of your smoothie and realise there's still whole berries in there, oops!

Personally, I've found adding liquid first, then any protein powder or similar you might be using and finally, harder ingredients last, then giving the bottle a good shake, is the best way to get a nice, smooth texture in the fastest amount of time.

The thing I like best about this blender is the bottle system. No need to pour anything into separate containers! You just just blend your smoothie in the bottle you will actually be drinking from. So quick, so easy, so convenient and less mess to clean up.

The cheaper version comes with 2x 600ml bottles, or you can pay about £10 more to get 2x 600ml bottles and 2x 300ml bottles. I actually decided I wanted extra bottles for mine, but Breville charge £10 per replacement bottle! I ended up just buying the Family sized blender instead because it was more cost effective to get extra bottles this way! I now have two blenders, two sets of blades, 4 x 600ml bottles and 2x 300ml bottles for £50. If I'd bought my blender and then bought these bottles on their own, it would've cost me £60!

Oh, and finally: I REALLY recommend AT LEAST rinsing the blades and the bottle as soon as you're done with them for ease of cleaning!!

The Vixen Thinks: Why We Need To Stop Dragging Nicki Minaj Through The Mud

The Vixen Thinks is an almost weekly feature on this blog. Posts vary in topic, I'll talk about anything I have an opinion on! From blogging to relationships to feminism and anything beyond. If there's anything you'd like me to write about, feel free to get in touch: emily@theglittervixen.com! Thank you!

Earlier this week, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift hit headlines after Nicki made a perfectly honest remark about racism in the music industry and Taylor went and jumped on it as a personal attack. If you missed it, a recap of the Tweets exchanged can be found here.

Thankfully, I'm lucky enough to follow people on Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr in particular who were largely supportive of Nicki and understood why Taylor was totally and utterly in the wrong. I'm happy to see that Taylor has now apologised but I'm still left reeling by some of the reactions I saw.

I'm not going to go into whether I think Nicki has a point about racism in the music industry or not because one: she obviously DOES and two: I think the last thing this situation needs is another white voice adding to it, we really need to shut up for a bit and let black women speak and listen to their experiences and feelings.

That being said, I saw a  fair few comments on a Facebook post suggesting that the reason that Nicki didn't get her VMA nomination has nothing to do with race and it is in fact because her music sucks, she is not a very nice person and is a horrible person.


Last year, Miley Cyrus won a VMA for her Wrecking Ball video which had overtly sexual content in it. If we're going to argue that Nicki is too sexual to be a good role model, then surely the same applies to Miley?

So what's the difference between her and Nicki? Oh yeah, it's race.

And the thing is, Nicki Minaj isn't a rubbish artist, nor is she a poor role model:

  • She frequently advises young women to work hard and get an education rather than focusing solely on their looks
  • She has had chart topping albums
  • She has had chart topping singles
  • The Anaconda video broke records 
  • She teaches young women that they are strong and powerful
  • She is unapologetic for who she is 

To be honest, Nicki Minaj has some pretty admirable qualities if you ask me. A woman can embrace her own sexuality, celebrate the bodies of larger women who are typically shunned by society without compromising her status as a role model.

If you are interested in learning more about how the music industry demonstrates racism towards black women, why it was wrong for Taylor Swift to jump in and turn the conversation onto herself and why Nicki Minaj is worthy of respect and praise, I recommend these excellent blog posts (I don't feel qualified enough myself to speak about it at length but felt some things had to be said):

FOTW: Everyday Bronze

Products Used: 
Base: Arbonne FC5 Mattifying Powder
Foundation: Arbonne CC Cream
Concealer: Arbonne Creme Concealer
Powder: Arbonne Sheer Translucent Loose Powder
Brows: Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Rewind (Vice 3 Palette) and Maybelline Brow Drama
Eyes: Maybelline 24 Hour Colour Tattoo in On and On Bronze and Arbonne Liquid Eyeliner, Arbonne It's a Long Story Mascara and Rimmel Scandaleyes Pencil Eyeliner in Nude
Cheeks: Arbonne Bronzer
Lips: Arbonne Lip Liner in Peach, Arbonne Smoothed Over Lipstick in Magnolia and Arbonne Lip Gloss in Linden 

Hello and welcome back to my Face of the Week (FOTW) feature! As a beauty blogger I am overwhelmed by the sheer volume of makeup I own. I either end up in a rut and wear the same things over and over and over, or I use different things every day which leads to a chaotic dressing table and too many dirty makeup brushes! To streamline my routine and get as much use out of all my products as possible, I pick one makeup look to wear all week long before I switch it up for the next week. And that's how FOTW was born.

Following on from the last Face of the Week post I did, Everyday Pink, I thought I'd do a similar looking using the other Maybelline Colour Tattoo I own in On and On Bronze. Essentially the look is absolutely the same, but I've switched out pink blush for my beloved Arbonne bronzer and gone for a more nude lip in the form of the new Arbonne Smoothed Over Lipstick in Magnolia, with the lipliner in Peach and lipgloss in Linden to give it a nice polished look.

I think this look is the perfect summery work appropriate makeup look!

Colour Block Shirt

Outfit Details:
Jacket: Miss Selfridge (extremely old)
Shirt: Primark
Trousers: Miss Pap
Earrings: Cheap Frills (I think)

Makeup Details
This post, with the lipstick switched out for Arbonne Lip Gloss in Pearl (discontinued, the new shade Linden is similar)

To say I really wasn't sure about this blouse when I took it home, I sure have ended up wearing it a lot. It's still not my favourite thing in the world, but I like the pink, white, black colour palette and it's good for work so it manages to survive my wardrobe culls. I think it looks much better with my beloved leather pants than it did with these blue jeans.

Yet again this is another outfit I wore to work, although had I any other trousers that fit me at the moment, I'd probably prefer to not wear leather pants to work. Especially at the moment when it is too damn warm for them!

I'm in a total and utter style rut at the moment, it's awful. I'm extremely bored with my hair, can't stand the sight of my bitten nails, I never get out of bed in time to wear makeup and even the clothes that do fit me at the moment I don't even like anymore.

I decided to take action and buy some new clothes, but sadly some didn't fit, even when I returned for a bigger size, and the rest just plain doesn't suit me. It's really put me off buying any more clothes but at the same time I need to keep persevering because I can't just hide away for months on end until I fit into my old clothes again but at the minute, my current wardrobe choices and appearance are really getting me down. 

Has anyone else really struggled to define their style after putting on or losing weight or in my case, both putting on weight and changing shape completely?! It's driving me mad. 

10 Things That Make Me Feel Like I'm Living Life Wrong

I don't know about you, but for me, there's certain things I do or don't do that make me feel like I'm living my life a little bit wrong. It feels like there's things that everybody loves...except me. It feels like there's things that everyone hates...except me. Here is a list of 10 things that make me feel like a bit of a weirdo:

1. I don't listen to Taylor Swift
At the minute, it feels like every female is a Taylor Swift fan and 1989 is a must have album. Yet, I just can't get into Swifty. I know a few of her songs, in fact, I probably know Bad Blood off by heart as it's so overplayed on the radio, but I just find them "meh." I don't hate her, but I don't like her either. I'm just indifferent, yet I feel like I'm missing out on an essential part of womanhood when so many girls are going crazy about her right now!

2. ...Same goes for Beyonce!
Yeah, she's talented, yeah, she's beautiful, but I just don't understand where her "goddess" status has come from? She's just another female super mega pop star in my books. (And no, social justice side of Tumblr, it's not because I'm anti-black...)

3. I hate avocado 
Avocado is definitely the world's favourite superfood right now. Every other picture on my Instagram feed has one in and even my boyfriend gets through about 14 a week. While I'm happy to have one in a smoothie for its health benefits without having to taste it, every time I try and eat one as it is I want to be sick. How has this thing got so popular?

4. I don't really like films
Yeah, I'm not a film person. I like going to the cinema, but trying to get me to watch a film at home is getting more and more unlikely. They're just so long! I haven't seen many "classics" and those that I have, well, they bored me. The Godfather is three hours of my life I'm never going to get back. Give me a TV show any day!!

5. I don't watch reality TV
Any of it. No X Factor, no Big Brother, no I'm a Celeb. Although I do LOVE the Apprentice.

6. I liked Courtney Love's America's Sweetheart Album
OK, this one isn't so much of a mainstream one, but generally, both fans and critics said this album was god awful. I on the other hand, think it's pretty good. I think I like it better than the "Hole" album she did afterwards called Nobody's Daughter.

7. I don't see the attraction of Charlotte Tilbury Makeup
Sooooo many bloggers are soooooo obsessed with this brand right now and yet it just seems like any other premium brand to me. What am I missing?!

8. I LOVE the hot weather
Literally nothing annoys me more right now than going through my Twitter feed and seeing everyone moaning about the heat. Do you people really like the snow and the rain and the cold better than this?! BAFFLING.

9. iPhones. I don't have one
...nor do I want one! At least 99% of my social media feeds are made up of people complaining about how rubbish iPhone batteries are. I charge my Samsung EVERY OTHER DAY, why on EARTH would I give that up for something that's dead when I need to use it?!

10. I hate Windows 8. 
Oh wait, nevermind, everyone hates Windows 8!  

DISCLAIMER: This isn't a look at me, I'm such a special snowflake post. I know I'm not the only person who doesn't like Taylor Swift and Beyonce or have an iPhone and I'm not slagging you off if you do like some of the things I don't. It's just a bit of fun! It'd be great to see who agrees with me on these things and who doesn't :)

Aussie Miracle Dry Shampoo Mega Instant and Aussome Volume [Product Review]

I am a big fan of dry shampoo. I hate washing my hair daily because it's not good for my hair, but at the same time, no matter how hard I try to train my hair, the day after I've washed it, my roots and particularly my fringe become a greasy mess.

While I have reviewed other dry shampoos on this blog before and found them "OK", I've never, ever found a brand I like as much as Batiste. Batiste is literally exactly what I need. It smells great and when I use it, there's literally not a trace of oil visible in my hair. It also comes in super large cans and although not the cheapest brand out there, it's not extortionate and I don't care paying a fiver for a big can because it works and it lasts a good long while.

So, imagine my horror a while back when I ran out of my Batiste. While I was in town one weekend, I remembered this alarming fact just before I caught my bus, so ran into the nearby Superdrug. The situation however, just got worse from there. They had literally sold out of all Batiste. I noticed that my sisters and mum had been using the Aussie brand last time I saw them, and it was on offer, so I had to grab that instead.

So how does it measure up to my beloved Batiste?

At first, I was quite impressed. On first applying it, I panicked like crazy because the formula is so wet, similar to an absolutely horrific brand I've used in the past, and I was covinced it would make my grease situation even worse. Amazingly though, once I'd rubbed in the Aussie Dry Shampoo, it worked really well. It eliminated the signs that I hadn't washed my hair, smelled amazing and even had a bonus point on Batiste: it doesn't leave any powdery white residue in my hair.

Sadly, the results were not prolonged. After a few uses, the spraying mechanism broke. Now, when I try to use it, either no product comes out at all, or the product that does is too wet and doesn't come out in a way that works and so your hair ends up looking worse than before.

Even if my bottle had continued to work, this Dry Shampoo is pricey. It's about £4.50 a can (I got 2 for £7 though but STILL), and you get less in it than you do a small can of Batiste and you need more of it. Add on the fact that I've never had an issue with the Batiste spraying mechanisms...well. Next time I will spend more time hunting for Batiste and miss my bus if I must!!

It's Not Too Late To Make 2015 Your Best Year Yet

Can you believe it? We're just over halfway through 2015 now! I for one got a wake up call the other day when I realised six months had gone already - I looked through my goals for the year and realised I'd basically achieved nothing, I'd barely even started on anything. There was a time when such a realisation would have stopped me in my tracks. I'd've given up. "I'll start changing my life next year" or "what's the point in trying to hit my goals when I've already 'wasted' six months of this year" I'd say to myself.

However, as I mentioned in my last Instavixen post, I've had a massive mental shift recently and along with that mental shift, I decided to blow the dust off my goals and have a big rethink about what I can and what I really want to achieve this year.

It's not too late to make 2015 your best year yet. 

First of all, let's address the notion that 1st January is the only time you can start afresh. Let me let you in on a little secret here, not only does it not have to be the first day of the new year, it doesn't have to be Monday, the first of the month, your birthday, whatever, either. If you decide you want to make a change, you have to make it then and there.

I'm so guilty of this. I love starting news things on a Monday and if it's Monday 1st, even better. I also like to have certain conditions in place before I start something. For example, when I was trying to quit smoking, I would always say "I will stop after I have finished this packet." Then, I'd get to my last cigarette halfway through the day, panic about what I was going to do before bed, and end up buying a new packet. Perhaps if I'd just thrown a packet away and quit then and there, I'd've made a much more stronger commitment and stopped then and there.

Healthy eating is another one. I'd decide halfway through the week I was going to dramatically change my diet...but only on Monday after I'd had time to "say goodbye" to all my favourite yet insanely fatty and sugar foods.

In the last few weeks, I've left go of the idea of the "perfect time" and already, I'm seeing the benefits. I'd meant to start a whole new regime on the first Monday in July, you know, start the second half of the year as I meant to go on, and it just didn't happen. Yet, instead of giving up like I would have done in the past, I decided I wasn't going to wait for the "perfect time" I was going to try again right now.

I started my current diet plan on a Saturday, not a Monday.
On Tuesday, I messed up completely (damn you Domino's!)
On Wednesday, I was back on it, rather than waiting for Monday to "start again."

If you want to make a change, if you want to make 2015 your best year yet, you have to commit to it now. No dilly-dallying, start something right now.

One instrumental tool in making 2015 the best year of my life so far has been Leonie Dawson's Create Your Shining Year 2015 workbook. I've been buying these workbooks since 2013 now and lemme tell you, they're amazing.

Thousands of women turn to this tool each year and I am proud to be one of them. I have a very chaotic and loud mind - while all the ideas and plans I need are in there, without any structure, in my head they will remain. Leonie helps me visualise what I want and what I need to do to get it and writing it down means I actually remember things. There's some insane statistic out there that's something like you are 95% more likely to achieve goals if you write them down.

Don't just take my word for it either, Leonie herself has written a blog post about why it's never too late to start building the life of your dreams.

This post contains an affiliate link. Click here for my full disclaimer policy.

The Vixen Thinks: My Thoughts On Last Week's Budget

Last week was a big week in the UK as our Chancellor George Osborne revealed his "Emergency" Summer Budget which also happened to be the first majority Conservative government Budget for nearly ten years. While I should be sick to death of writing about this because it's something I covered at work, I am desperate to write about it and express my own personal opinions about it rather than attempt to be unbiased about what I think is an absolute disaster.

First of all the "National Living Wage." When I saw the headlines for this, I got so excited. Finally, the government is going to make employers obliged to pay employees wages that they can actually survive on. Of course, I should've known it was going to be an absolute sham. The National Living Wage will be introduced in April 2016 at £7.20 an hour....except the National Living Wage Foundation has calculated that people should be paid £7.85. Yep, you read that right, the National Living Wage will not actually be a living wage at all. To add insult to injury, this rate of pay will only be applicable to those aged 25 and over.

The idea that younger people deserve to be paid less irks me to no end. If you can leave home aged 16 to go and fend for yourself, then you should paid like someone who has to fend for themselves. Do young people just not work as hard as people over 25? What a ridiculous notion. I've worked in multiple places where I've seen teenagers work much, much harder than people more than twice their age.

Unfortunately, the age discrimination just doesn't stop there. The Tories have also decided that 18-21 year olds are no longer eligible for housing benefit. Yep, not only is this age category eligible for the so-called Living Wage, but they aren't getting any extra help to cover their housing costs either. Sure, they could just go live with their parents...but what about those who don't have parents? What about kids that have been kicked out because they dared to admit they're gay or trans or something?

If you're both young and poor, then I'm afraid I have even more bad news for you. Osborne is also planning to scrap university maintenance grants and replace them with yet more loans. If you come from a low income household, you now either can't go to university at all because it is simply too expensive or you will begin your adult life in absolutely unimaginable debt.

I feel so sorry for students who previously would've depended on a maintenance grant to get through university who are now having to go to work to survive during their education. Combined with the fact that the National Living Wage will not apply to most students who are usually aged 18-21, it's disastrous because they will have to work twice as hard to receive the money that those 25 and over will be earning. The thing is, the last thing you want to be doing during your university years in working round the clock; you need time to focus on your education (there's a LOT more to it than just attending lectures) and I am also firmly of the opinion that you must socialise and enjoy your time at university.

So, what about the other vulnerable people in society? What if you're disabled? Well, I'm afraid that George Osborne doesn't think you're worth you're benefits. Life saving funding that allows disabled people to live their lives is being slashed. People have already died underneath the ConDem government because of changes made to benefits - this can only get worse now.

Thing is, what has disgusted me almost as much as the Budget itself, is the REACTIONS to the Budget.

"Just because my parents earn over X amount of money it doesn't mean they pay me through university"

Yes, you're right, I agree. Thing is, you're telling people from poorer backgrounds to "borrow more money" or "get a job" - why don't you just do this yourself hmm? You also need to understand that by coming from a better financial background, you are automatically more privileged. You are already more likely to get a well paying job. You've likely never had to go hungry. You don't have to worry about things like the government taking hugely important grants away from you.

"Why should my taxes pay for someone else to live?"

I don't even know where to start with this attitude. Congratulations on being born into a life where you can work and look after yourself. Unfortunately, despite being able-bodied and of sound physical and mental health so you can work and look after yourself, you're still an absolute dick. This "I'm alright Jack" attitude absolutely disgusts me. It's so selfish and horrible.

"But we have to cut benefits to stop people abusing them. What about immigrants, scroungers etc?" 

If you simply head over to Google, you will find countless pieces of research that proves that the idea of scroungers and benefit tourists is simply a myth. It's hard enough to get benefits when you actually need them, do you really believe people who don't deserve them are getting them too? Of course people slip through the cracks, but the vast majority of people receiving benefits absolutely deserve them.

As for immigrants: make your bloody minds up. Are they coming over here to take advantage of our welfare system or are they "stealing" all "our" jobs? They're not doing both! In truth, immigrants actually contribute far more to our economy than they take away.

Finally, if you stop all benefits for fear the system might be abused, then you're putting those that depends on benefits for survival at severe risk. Perhaps you don't care about those such as the disabled? Perhaps you think we should be weaning them out of society? Oh, wait, you know who else thought like that? HITLER.

I am not a perfect human being.

I admit, at times, I am incredibly selfish and my political views in the past have been not so great. Thing is, I've grown up. I've realised it's not all about me. As a society, we have to care about each other. Those who think the measures I've discussed above are good ideas clearly don't care about anyone besides themselves.

I'm not an economist, nor do I pretend to be, I definitely don't pretend to understand how the economy works. It might just be that George Osborne's plans will kickstart the UK economy, bring us out of recession and dramatically decrease the National Debt.

But do we really want to do that at the cost of people's lives? 

Pink Rose

Outfit Details:
Jacket: Miss Selfridge (super old)
Top: Charity Shop (has no label)
Trousers: Miss Pap
Necklace: Gifted
Earrings: Next 

Makeup Details:
This post. However I swapped the lipstick for Arbonne Vintage Rose which has now been discontinued. However, the new Rose and Willow are similar.

This top has to be one of my best bargains ever: I scored it for £2.50 in a charity shop, hooray! It caught my eye a few months ago during a visit to Wakefield and for that price, plus it being in a charity shop so there was no guarantee I'd ever see it again, I just had to snap it up. Although it has no label so not only do I have no idea where it was originally from, I don't know what size it is either, it's not too bad because it's stretchy so it fits me now and will still fit me if when I lose that weight I've managed to put since getting a desk job.

As soon as I got the top home, I knew I had to pair it with my "leather" pants from Miss Pap. I actually did a massive haul in that store around Christmas time so I'm amazed it's taken me until now to feature any clothing from Miss Pap on the blog. That being said, the only thing I actually wear from the haul is these leather look pants. They're one of the few pairs of trousers I have left that fit me still so I wear them a lot. Sadly they're getting a bit knackered now and I'm reluctant to replace them because I know I'm not planning on staying this size for much longer. 

So, a pretty simple outfit all in all but I think the leather look gives it a bit of an edge. What do you think?

The Instavixen Roundup #9

Big love for Genghis, my Wednesday 13 tickets arrived, more Genghis love, delicious lunch times, Arbonne delivery and a gorgeous meal featuring my beloved Chinese dumplings
Well, what a week it has been! I started July in a bit of a mess, who even knows why, but I suddenly went into a downward spiral again; my mental health was poor and any thoughts of self care and healthy living just went totally out of the window. And then, a strange thing happened. I woke up on Monday morning and I felt different. For the first time in god knows how long, I got out of bed when my alarm went off and actually had a shower and washed my hair before work. I felt ready to change, ready to shift.

By Wednesday, I had turned a corner. I had a Skype call with my life coach that evening and something just clicked for me during that call. It was honestly like all of a sudden, I had totally had enough of the person I had become and I decided to change. I was ready to stop making excuses for why things weren't happening for me and just start living the kind of life I want.

I am now firmly back into the routine of eating healthily, getting exercise, going to roller derby, spending my time in ways that I actually enjoy and being a happy young lady. And I feel good. I don't feel scared or trapped any more, I feel powerful and capable. No I haven't got everything I want overnight or anything like that but I think I've finally realised that everything I do want is well within my reach and the only thing that ever stops me reaching out and taking them is myself.

Long may this feeling continue!


Reading: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay (yeah, still haha)

Listening To: Marina and the Diamonds to celebrate the fact I finally have tickets to go see her as well as a bit of Wednesday 13, ofc

Watching: I finally finished watching Buffy in its entirety AGAIN this week and oh man, there were tears. I love that show so much. Now I'm getting the last two seasons of Charmed out of the way before I start something new. I also finished watching Vikings with the boyfriend which I am devastated about, I love that show and can't wait for the next series.

Planning: Holidays!

Lusting After: A dress for my stepsister's wedding!

Obsessed With: Coconut water and Chinese style dumplings (as demonstrated above)

Loving: having a whole boat load of Arbonne nutrition back in my life again. Seriously so good! It makes a difference from day one.

Looking Forward To: getting stuck in with a project I'm working on, seeing what the week ahead in store has for me, moving into my own flat!

I hope your week has been as lovely as mine xoxo

The Netflix Tag

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I am feeling particularly uninspired at the moment, so what better time to do a tag post?! Especially a tag that's all about the very thing I spent most time on when I'm in a slump...!

I originally spotted this tag over on Emma's blog :)

This is such a tough one! I'm currently rewatching Buffy for the umpteenth time and I never, ever get bored of it. I'm still as gripped as I was the very first time I watched it on live TV (and was FAR TOO YOUNG to be doing so). So, for that reason, I'd have to say Buffy is my all time favourite series that is available on Netflix. That being said, Dexter and Charmed are also on Netflix...!

As I mentioned above, I'm currently rewatching Buffy and I don't have time for anything else right now because it's too good! Prior to Buffy, it was definitely Pretty Little Liars, but since I caught up with the rest of the world and have to wait a week between episodes, it's a little less addictive than it was because I can no longer binge.

Despite the fact that I've watched Buffy so many times, I've never seen Angel so I'd love for it to become available on Netflix. Failing that, I haven't seen American Horror Story Freak Show yet so that needs to get a move on. It'd be good to see a new series of From Dusk Til Dawn and Hemlock Grove as well.

When they have like the third film in a franchise available to view, but not one or two! I really hate it when they only have certain seasons of a show available (yeah AHS looking at you again) or when they only have certain movies from a series available, particularly if the first one is missing!

For a marathon, it needs to be a show with plenty of episodes available and I need lots of snacks: some chocolate, some Pringles and some fizzy strawberry laces! My duvet or a blanket depending on the weather is also good and now that I live in a house with a dog, it's good to have a dog to cuddle too.

Erm, way too much, especially considering that I will actually never watch most of it because I've put films on it and I am really not a film person. Things I do intend on watching though are: Bates Motel (already seen but want to see again) and Fringe (I watched all but the last series of this and it'd be nice to start again and see how it actually ends this time). I've got things like Disney films on there (really don't like Disney all that much but this makes me feel like a freak and thought I'd try to get into it), documentaries about food to try and scare myself into eating healthier and series that sound alright, but I always find something else to watch instead.

Buffy, Charmed, Dexter, Fringe, Bates Motel, Hemlock Grove, From Dusk Til Dawn, The 4400, Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl.

Are you a Netflix addict?

On Feeling Uninspired

I am currently suffering from a complete lack of inspiration. I am uninspired by my appearance, I am uninspired by my current wardrobe, I am uninspired by this blog, I am just uninspired by life in general right now.

My appearance and wardrobe, I understand. I've fallen back into the horrible habit of biting my nails again and I'm extremely bored with my hair, but too indecisive to do anything about that. As for my clothes, 95% of my wardrobe no longer fits me so as you can imagine, it's pretty damn hard to come up with outfits that both make me look and feel good!

Blogging, I'm not so clear on. I was so excited to start blogging again in June after a few months off, but once I started again, I soon ran out of steam and trailed off into nothing again. I sometimes worry that I only push myself to continue blogging for blogging's sake, rather than a true love for it as I used to. For a while, I wanted to turn my blog into a business but never quite managed to make it happen and perhaps this is where my frustrations lie. More likely I push myself away from blogging because my severe lack of energy means I struggle to post when I want to and to the quality I used to be capable of.

In all honesty, I'm just quite fed up of life in general right now. I've been perched precariously on the edge of a cliff for quite some time now, fully aware that I need to make some changes, and in some cases, I even know what I need to change and how to do it, but I'm just too scared to take that leap right now.

What I really need, is a break. A week (or six!!!!!!) away from work, away from my boyfriend, away from all commitments. I need to really focus on my health without distractions. I need room to breathe for a bit. Time to just sit and reflect on exactly what I want. Time to heal myself after months of self loathing which have led to a completely inability to trust myself enough to make decisions that need to be made.

Unfortunately the kind of break and retreat I need is completely unrealistic and just not going to happen right now and so, I need to start looking at alternatives, ways I can slowly heal myself whilst still dealing with the pressures that everyday life brings:

  • I've invested in my health. After realising that juice diets just aren't for me and reverting right back into my old terribly unhealthy eating patterns, I've finally gone and bought the Arbonne 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond kit instead because I know this is a healthy lifestyle programme that works for me
  • I've invested in myself. The amazing Leonie Dawson is holding a MEGA sale on pre-orders of her 2016 product line. There's only a day or so left so hurry if you want to get on board. (This is NOT an affiliate link - although I usually use affiliate links for Leonie's products, she doesn't have one available for this sale, but it's SUCH a good offer I need to share it with you whether I get paid for it or not!!!!)
  • I'm reading for personal development. I've recently been reading Louise L. Hay's You Can Heal Your Life because the title really speaks to me right now, as do some of the messages within the book and I'm hoping I finish it inspired to adopt the positive mindset I've been so lacking recently
  • I'm making sure I go for a walk in the fresh air everyday. It's insane how much of a difference this makes...!
  • I've started taking action in the areas I can. Albeit completely baby steps, I am still progressing. I know I get overwhelmed when I try to do everything at once, so I've listed the things I can change about my life right now into order of the most important and I'm working my way through step one!
Do you have any tips for adding inspiration back into your life?