The Fat Burn Revolution by Julia Buckley [Review]

I have known Julia for many years. She is a blogger friend I met many moons ago when I was aspiring to be a journalist. I have been in awe of her writing skills for the best part of ten years, so when I heard she was writing a book about my favourite subject – exercise, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

I wasn’t disappointed. The Fat Burn Revolution by Julia Buckley is a fantastic resource for anyone who is wanting to reduce inches the healthy way. I personally cannot follow it due to health complications, which means I can’t do exertive exercise (probably my biggest sacrifice in recent years) but there was a time when I would have taken the book and given it my absolute everything – and there is nothing to stop you doing just that. Take a look at this Youtube video of Julia introducing the book, as she can do it much better than me.

Authors of books are usually passionate about their projects and Julia is no different. Over the last few years I have seen Julia dive into her personal training with gutso and steadfast determination to help others achieve their goals. She has been running her own fitness blog for some time and the posts and comments speak for themselves about her success rate. This is a trainer who not only knows her field well but knows how to communicate her message thanks to her journalism background. Two pivotal factors in achieving the goals this book sets out to achieve.

If you are looking for a quick fix, or an easy way to get slimmer, this isn’t the book for you. If, however, you are committed to long term health, willing to put in the hard work and stick with the programme, then I highly recommend you go buy it. Whatever your fitness levels are, this book can help you. There is a 12 week programme that works around you and pushes your levels of fitness. The great thing about this programme is that it is adaptive, so you won’t ever feel like its too easy for you – no matter what your current fitness level. And the good thing is, you are going to come out the other end with a much improved fitness level and hopefully less fat inches.

As someone for whom exercise was never a natural activity, Julia has the benefit of personal experience. Although she has never been excessively overweight, she talks in the book about her own experience of fluctuations and hating PE lessons as a kid! She also offers nutritional advice, weight loss, maintenance, challenges and lots of other things you would expect to see in a healthy weight loss book.

I like it – a lot. It is very well researched, it is also very well written and presented and it is jammed packed with great advice that will not only serve the short term, but can be taken onboard for a lifetime of health benefits.

The Fat Burn Revolution: Boost your metabolism and burn fat fast by Julia Buckley is available from all good book stores and can be purchased from places like Amazon online (click the link). It is published by Bloomsbury Sport and is currently available in paperback and e-book.

I really hope this is a book that does well, it deserves to.

See more information about Julia Buckley at www.juliabuckley.co.uk and see her fat burn group on Facebook

Betrousse Beauty Box

A few weeks ago I ordered a beauty box from the French company Betrousse for the purposes of reviewing on my blog. I have now tried all of the products and feel ready to write a good account of my thoughts on them.

J.A.S.O.N. Normalizing Shampoo

When I first saw this product I thought it looked like something cheap; as if I’d popped down the £1 shop and came away with a bargain. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As it has none of the chemicals that normally cause shampoo to yield to bubbles, I thought it would be very difficult to create a lather. It is for this reason that I put off using the product for a couple of weeks. I shouldnt have though, because it did create a good soapy exterior. I had to add a bit more water to my head than I normally would but lathering was definitely not an issue. When I washed it off the hair felt squeaky clean. I added my normal conditioner and left it to soak for a few minutes. After towel-drying I could feel the cleanness even better and it wasnt as knotty as it usually is when I combed it through. After drying it was also softer and more managable than it usually is. I will be sat when this bottle runs out!

This Mango and Safflower Body Moisteriser is probably my favourite product in the box. A Fair Trade product that smells lovely and has a rich, thick texture. I really suffer from dry skin and need a product that absorbs really well into the skin and lasts until my next bath. I am pleased to report it definitely does that. It’s actually a really nice experience rubbing it into the skin; it relieves the dryness and makes my skin feel young and supple again – and at my age that is no mean feat!

This is a face scrub. Anyone who reads my blog will know I love my face scrubs. They leave me feeling so fresh and clear. I have to say this is my least favourite product in the box. Not because it isnt any good, it is. But its very soft and gentle. If that is what you love in a face scrub you’ll love this product, but for me the rougher the better. I really need it to strip the pores and I feel like if you cant feel it then its not getting in deep – but there is no evidence to support this idea. I think this product would suit teenage skins the best, probably boys.

I’m not normally a huge fan of lip glosses. They feel sticky and dont stay on for very long. But I am not really one for lipstick either. For the most part my lips stay nude. I am always trying to improve my appearance though so I am keen to find a lip product I can stick with. This product is very glittery and glistening on the lips. It is quite sticky though and needs to be reapplied now and again. Its quite a big tube though so that isnt really a real problem if you like to keep your lips covered.

This picture shows the option of having an oil or a toner. Which you get is entirely random and the product that arrived on my doorstep was the relaxing massage oil. I was very lucky to have my lovely boyfriend rub this into my back so I can offer a review of its effects. I am not someone who relaxes easily. Meditation does nothing for me and I have had insomnia for as long as I remember. Moreover, I have ME/CFS which was bought on by anxiety and stress – so I wasnt exactly hopeful for a bit of oil to do its job of relaxing me. However, I should have felt more positively because this product is utterly amazing! My boyfriend would claim its his magic hands of course but I am pretty sure there is some cocted ingredients that left me so relaxed I could barely move and had me closer to a natural sleep than I have been in years. If you suffer from stress I cannot recommend this product enough!!!

PS. Don’t forget about the competition I am running to win signed copies of a children’s series!!!

The Tygrine Cat by Inbali Iserles & COMPETITION!!!!!!!

the-tygrine-catThe Tygrine Cat by Inbali Iserles is an exciting fantasy story about a cat seeking his destiny, which pre-teens upwards will instantly become absorbed in. The book description explains:

Lost and alone, Mati seeks acceptance from a community of street cats at Cressida Lock. But Mati is no ordinary cat…and the mysterious assassin on his trail knows it. Mati looks different, with his golden eyes, large ears and russet coat. He also acts differently – he anticipates danger with bristling whiskers; hears voices from the feline spirit realm that he cannot understand. To defeat his enemies, Mati must unlock the secret of his true identity. In doing so, he must learn to harness an ancient feline power – a power so deadly that it threatens to destroy not only his friends but every cat on earth…

I first came across The Tygrine Cat when Iserles was recommended to me by a friend. I wasnt sure what to expect at first because young adult fantasy novels are not usually my ‘go-to’ literary genre. However, as you have seen from my previous reviews, I am always open to new reading experiences.

The first thing I notice in The Tygrine Cat is the beautiful prose. For a first novel, Iserles expressed a great talent for writing. Not only because the writing flows artfully, but also because it is completely accessible to people at all reading levels. I would imagine everyone from the age of 10 years upwards would benefit from this story. Not only is it the story of a cat, but also of the self, identity, friendships and life journeys. If I were still a young girl (sadly I am not!) I can imagine that this novel would be one that could instill a love of reading in me. Moreover, in my late thirties it is one that excites me still.

Iserles has a shockingly accurate insight into the life of a feline. This is perhaps the one thing that stands out the most. I often found myself wondering how you develop such imagination that it can lead you so deep into a character of another species – to the point that its hard to imagine anything other than a cat wrote this story. Clearly Iserles has a deeply ingrained love of felines and has spent a lot of time in their company.

Right from the beginning of this novel I was hooked. Every chapter is intriguing, full of wonder and rich with prose that completely disables your ability to put the book down! As the book progresses foreboding seeps in with the knowledge that the book is getting closer to conclusion; although you fall in love with Mati and the others, and want good things for him, a selfish part wants the story to go on forever.

I cannot be the only reader to think this way either, as Inbali Iserles went on to fulfil wishes for the young and older alike with The Bloodstone Bird, and then a sequel to The Tygrine Cat – The Tygrine Cat: On the Run.

Her website is accessible at www.inbaliiserles.com and you can purchase her books here on Amazon.

Not only this but Inbali Iserles has generously offered two signed books to give away in a competition. In order to be in with a chance of winning these books please do the following:

– Like this post

– Leave a comment stating the name of the main character in The Tygrine Cat.

And please ‘Like’ Inbali Iserles’ Facebook page here. I really recommend it!

*The competition will close on 12/07/2013 at midnight GMT. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted by email. Open to UK residents only.

Take the Heat – Aussie (style)

There’s more to life than hair, but its a good place to start!

ImageThis is a Aussie hair care slogan and it’s so true. As I have mentioned in previous posts, over the last few months I have taken to straightening my hair. This is because its so dry that it doesnt sit straight (and it is wavy too) – not sure why my lightbulb told me to straighten it because this is just making the problem worse in the long run!

I was using serum to protect it before and afterwards, until I had a conversation with my hairdresser. She told me not to use it before straightening unless it has heat defense in it because its just oil and will fry the hair. So the very thing I thought was protecting my hair was probably destroying it. Ironically, I had been using the Frizezze product but changed to a Tony and Guy one, and it was only the previous product that had heat defense.

When I mentioned this issue – needing to find a good heat defense product – to friends on Facebook, one friend recommended the Aussie Take the Heat product. I’ve used the Aussie shampoo and conditioners and I certainly have no issues with those, so I thought I would give Take the Heat a go.

Take the Heat is a leave-in spray designed “for heat-damaged hair”, so this was perfect. Not only was my hair damaged from straightening, I also dry it on the top heat and dye it regularly too (though recently I have stopped drying it unless I need it dry immediately). The product goes on to say:

Our styling formula, with Australian Jojoba seed oil, is a protective spray that helps protect your hair against the styling heat while smoothing it when using a straightening tool.”

The way I use it is this: after washing and conditioning my hair and getting excess water off with a towel, I will turn my head upside down and spray it liberally, concentrating on the ends. I probably use more than is recommended but better safe than sorry! I’ll then dry it if I am going out, or leave it to dry if I am not, and then straighten.

The first thing I notice once it is dry is that it gives me more volume than I would otherwise be blessed with. And my hair feels silky. And looks silky too. These benefits are more than enough to justify the £4.99 price tag. 

When it comes to styling my hair with straighteners I have noticed that it takes more work than usual to get my hair looking sleek. It does what it says on the bottle – helps to smooth the hair – but the heat seems to take longer to penetrate the hair follicles. This is what we want, ultimately, of course – the product to protect the hair from heat damage, and so this can only be a good thing.

I’ve been using this product a few weeks now and I have noticed a slight improvement in the quality of my hair, so its definitely worth using – and is a product I will be sticking with from here on in. 

Have you tried it? What did you think?

P.s. Keep your eye on my blog for an up and coming competition to win two signed copies of works by the prominent children’s author, Inbali Iserles.

Batiste

ImageI am a latecomer to dry shampoo. I don’t know, I just never liked the idea of it. It’s why I won’t buy a kindle – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Paper books work fine, and so does traditional shampoo.

The problem I have – and I don’t know if any of you will relate to this – I feel a need to wash my hair every day. If I don’t then my scalp feels dirty and I cannot relax. This is fine, it takes two minutes to wash my hair, but since developing ME its become more cumbersome. 

Recently I have taken to straightening my hair too because it looks much better but obviously the effects only last until my next wash. And given that straightening severely damages my hair I want to do this as little as possible. So that is when I decided to give in and try dry shampoo – with reports from my friends, I was expecting miracles.

I remember as a kid reading in a magazine that talc in your hair was supposed to take the grease out. I also remember taking it and not thinking about the fact that talc is white and my hair is brunette! I had to field embarrassing questions all day about why I had talc powder in my hair!

I was told to buy the top brand dry shampoo, and this is Batiste. I was assured it works well but is the only brand that does. So I headed down to Superdrug where I was pleased to see they had the product on offer. 

Not really knowing what I was looking at, I picked up a bottle – “Floral & Flirty Blush” – paid and went home. I hung my hair upside down and began to spray at the recommended distance of 30cm. The first thing I noticed was how refreshed my head felt! It really was like having a hair wash! But when I swung my head back up in the right direction I was taken right back to my ‘talc’ day at school – My roots were white! When I mentioned this to a friend she said you can get cans for brunettes so the next time I headed back and picked up one of those!

I used the “a hint of colour – Dark & Deep Brown” the next time I did not want to wash my hair and it was much better. It still felt cool and it also didnt change my hair colour! Result!

As the day wore on though I began to feel that dirty feeling so it did not really do what I was hoping for. And although it did brighten up my hair initially, it did look greasy by lunch time. I suppose it would have been a good idea to take the bottle out with me and apply as and when I needed to.

I think this product is good for a quick pick-me-up but I wouldnt use it in place of a good shampoo. I havent really used it since – my son gets some use out of it though – but I wouldnt rule it out, and its certainly good to have some in the cupboard for emergencies.

3/5

Coconut Creme

Image

You may be forgiven for thinking I have a coconut obsession! The recent posts on this foodstuff is purely coincidental, I can assure you!

Coconut Creme from The Little Bubble Co. is a bubble bath that I came across when browsing the bath section of my local Boots: The Chemist.

The first time I bought it there were two reasons: firstly it was on offer for 99p and secondly it smelt very strongly of coconut.

Bath products are a funny thing with their smells, don’t you find? Whatever fruit they are claiming to be, its always much more intense than the actual fruit could ever hope to be. In fact, if you smelt them together – say, coconut bath cream and the juice of a coconut – they smell nothing alike. The same for strawberries, lemons, apples, and everything else. Yet, we could smell a bubble bath and instantly know what smell it was supposed to be mimicking.

This product is no different, the smell is strong, and sweet, and really lovely. Both when you open the lid and have a sniff, and when you use it in the bath. I was not disappointed when I used it, I came out of the bath feeling like a right fruity nut!! (Do you like what I did there?!)

When you pour Coconut Creme from The Little Bubble Co. under running water it develops a lovely smelly foam in the bath. The foam isnt too volumised but there are definitely adequate bubbles. Somehow I don’t feel clean unless a product has bubbles. I feel squeeky clean after a Coconut Creme bath. It is very soft to the skin, too.

The bubble bath comes in a fairly big container, which holds 500mls. It lasted for ages so at its normal price of £2.99 you are getting really good value for money. It isnt tested on animals, is suitable for vegetarians and is allergen free.

Once I used this product it was instantly a firm favourite. I do sometimes try other products for my bath but this is one of my firm go-to products if I cannot make a decision. I currently have a bottle of it by my bath and I cannot imagine when I will not.

The Little Bubble Co. also do a range of other flavours such as Strawberry Sundae, Vanilla Biscuit and Mango Delight. I have tried them all. They are all nice and luxurious but only really loved the Coconut Creme one.

Have you tried it? What did you think?

I definitely think it is worth a go!

4/5

Book Review: The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue

The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue is an engaging story about an adulterous wife in the 1850’s who went through a scandalous divorce after she was found out by her husband.

‘Stylist Helen Codrington is unhappily married. Emily ‘Fido’ Faithfull hasn’t seen her once-dear friend for years. Suddenly, after bumping into Helen on the streets of Victorian London, Fido finds herself reluctantly helping Helen to have an affair with a young army officer. The women’s friendship quickly unravels amid courtroom accusations of adultery, counter-accusations of cruelty and attempted rape, and the appearance of a mysterious ‘sealed letter’ that could destroy more than one life . . .’ – The Times

This was at a time when divorce was almost unheard of, and women never won custody of their children. The Sealed Letter is a story that is based on a true account, and is one I havent been able to put down from start to finish.

I have always been interested in Victorian society (my all time favourite book is Pride and Prejudice) and this is why I initially picked up the book. I noted that it was written by the same author who wrote Room. From the moment I started reading, I could not put the book down. I can be quite a fussy reader and its very rare for me to experience this. The writing style is easily accessible – in fact the

simplicity of Donoghue’s writing is striking against the backdrop of an historic story. Despite the shocking nature of the issues written about at the time it happened, the story is every bit as relevant today as it was in 1890.

Donoghue has an amazing capacity for storytelling, and for marrying the gap between the historical and the contemporary. One can tell from the attention she gives to detail in the descriptions of the story that the author has done her research – a lot of it. She is clearly a specialist in the Victorian era and I really felt that from reading this novel I was educating myself, too.  There are a number of subtexts going on including friendship, morality, femininity, sexuality and women in the workplace.

The characterisations were believable but more than that they really came to life. I understood why each character behaved in the way they did, I felt their emotions as raw as if they were in the room with me. Despite the story happening 150 years ago, I could find myself relating to specific parts of each characters personality. Donoghue is one of the most skillful writers of our time.

When I had concluded reading this story, I was left wanting more. I didn’t want the story to end there; I wanted to know more! This book (more so than Room) is the book that placed its author in my all time top three. I instantly went out about bought more of her books (I also highly recommend Slammerkin, the story of a 13 year old Victorian prostitute) and she inspired me to read up further on Victorian culture.

If you are looking for an entertaining and intriguing read that will educate you and leave you wanting more, then The Sealed Letter is definitely the next book on your reading list.