Wandering into Skincare

I was going to go budget, but I spoke to a few people including my family and also went into the shops and spoke to a few ladies on the counters and reviewed it all. It is hard with so many different options out there and I had to go with my gut, history, and like of the products.

So I’ve gone back to Clinque.

I used Clinque all through university and can’t remember why I stopped (or even how I afforded it back then) and it worked. I used the anti-blemish system mostly and slowly my skin changed and I became bored, so just stopped replacing it. I’ve really struggled to find a system that suits me or develop my own system. I think this is because I don’t know much about skin and actually cannot be bothered to do the research. I hold my hands up and say I want it easy and spelled out for me what to do and when.

In the last year or so my skin has gradually been getting worse and it wasn’t until I spent half an hour with the lovely Emily at my local Clinque counter in Boots that I realised I was only using 2 steps of a proper routine – the wash and cleanse. No wonder my skin was getting worse and not better. I found some recent samples my mum gave me and started using them to prove to myself it is worth taking the time to do the whole routine. Even then when I went back I realised I wasn’t taking my makeup off properly.

So after some serious budget consideration and tweaking around I invested in the Clinque system. I am currently using:

Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm – to remove my makeup in one step (no separate eye thing needed)


Anti-Blemish Solutions Cleansing Bar – to still tackle my outbreaks on my face, neck and chest


Clarifying Lotion Number 2 – as this was the sample I was using and Emily said stay on it and move only when the tingling feeling disappears, then it’s time to move to number 3)


Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion+ – to moisturise and add oil to the areas that need it


Please note I paid for all this myself and am not receiving anything for this review, although did get a free gift outside of bonus time for spending a lot in one hit!

I have also decided to introduce some new skincare guidelines:

  • Limit touching my face to eliminate the amount of oil and dirt I add (hopefully reduce blemishes too)
  • Use a different face cloth every day to avoid the transfer of dirt and oil
  • Clean my makeup brushes every day to remove the makeup and dirt (this is much easier than setting it to once a week for me, and I added new brushes to my ‘to buy’ list)
  • Remove make up when I get home from work and/or before I do exercise
  • Try to have one make up free day a week
  • Change my bed every week (as it’s just me I get a bit random and don’t keep track of this)

The lovely Emily on the counter also advised me to scrub once a week, so I will finish my Lush Ocean Salt scrub and then get the 7 Day Scrub Cream next month when the bonus time comes along as I will also need a new foundation then and fancy trying something else or go back to Benefit, rather than No7.

I’ve already noticed a big difference in the way my skin feels. I’m definitely removing more dirt than previously and it feels smoother. I still get blemishes, but they don’t feel as bad, which I think is a combination of leaving them alone (why is it so hard?) and keeping my skin clean. The moisturiser is also working as with all the swimming I do it was getting so dry so keeping it consistent and well looked after is paying off.

Some things you just have to splash out on to get the benefits you want.

Project Lifestyle – Mental Health Workstream

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1. lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose

2. (of a person) unable to deal with a situation or with life

3. Psychiatry. Ineffectual in response to emotional, social, intellectual, and physical demands in the absence of any obvious mental or physical deficiency

This sums up the feelings I have a lot of the time about work specifically, but also life in general sometime. It’s not a nice way to feel about things. This is where I have struggled since leaving school I think. Everything at school and those years are set out for you. You have to meet deadlines and criteria and are always told if that is enough. I think I managed to translate that to me being enough, rather than my work. This then hasn’t transferred across well to the real world of work. I struggle to know whether I’m doing enough and often feel like I am not, even when nothing other than how I feel is telling me this.

I think the main source of these thoughts and feelings come from comparing myself to other people. A bad habit and a hard one to break, but something I can watch out for. So through March I am going to do some thought tracking on this. I want to catch the times these types of feelings and thoughts occur and then use this to challenge my thoughts and adapt my behaviour using the CBT tools from last year.

I would love your thoughts and ideas on how you deal with comparisons, so do get in touch! I don’t get many comments on my blog, but would love to hear from you :)

Project Lifestyle – March Social Workstream

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March is a busy month for me. I used to hate having something every weekend, but now I quite like having something to do. However I also know I need a weekend every so often that is all mine to do errands, watch Netflix all day, that kind of thing.


So what has March got coming up and how am I going to cope and ensure I get my down time?


  • 1st – Coursework and Indian with my parents

  • 2nd – Starting to help out with swimming club (actually started on 28th Feb)

  • 4-5th – Up to Newcastle with work

  • 8-9th – Heading to Southend on Sea for a course on how to make Sweet Trees with my friend Sian and we are making a weekend of it

  • 8th and 11th – Swim Coaching practice with my swim club

  • 14th – Girls night with my old work friends

  • 15th – Free all day bike maintenance course

  • 16th – Marshalling the local Mayor’s Race

  • 20th – My Dad’s 65th Birthday

  • 22nd – My friend Sam’s birthday/travel send-off party

  • 23rd – My Dad’s 65th Birthday family lunch

  • 30th – Triathlon Coaching Assessment day (and Mother’s Day)


This list is crazy for me, but for once I am looking forward to it. I also have to pick up my bike when it’s ready and start using it on top of this. Also my book clubs have yet to be arranged so they will fit in somewhere too. There are also some good movies coming out this month I definitely want to go see.


When did I become sociable?


I don’t need to clean my house in March right?


I can tell you now that the first weekend in April will have absolutely nothing planned!


I am making sure the downtime I do have is used exactly how I want it to be used. I am going to say no to anything I don’t want to do (and more than likely cannot fit in) and be selfish for my own sake. I have a number of new books I am looking forward to reading so that will also be downtime. I will also make sure I get enough sleep and not have any late nights that don’t have to be.

It will be interesting to see how I get on as I have a totally different attitude to how I would have felt about this last year, which is freeing in itself. I’ll update at the end of the month!

Project Lifestyle – March Nutrition Workstream

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I am not a fan of cutting anything out completely from my diet, but chocolate has always been my trigger food. I can eat so much of it I’m sure I would put a chocolate factory out of business (I heard that the Cadburys factory in Birmingham lets you eat the chocolate because you will get sick of it – that probably wouldn’t happen to me).

So I am taking this opportunity to give it up. I am using Lent as a period of time to stick to and get out of the habit of buying it and hopefully make my taste for it disappear. I am cutting out anything chocolate flavoured too. I’ve given the hot chocolate I recently bought to my mum :)

Rather than focus on what I am giving up and I focusing on upping my protein. I have already started to eat more chicken, pork and eggs and this last week have added protein powder (using up my chocolate flavour one) and have ordered more to add into my diet. I have already noticed that I don’t get as hungry and when I do get hungry I can see why or know it’s because I’m bored.  I have also upped my fruit and vegetables intake and feel much better for it.

Both of these things came from me attending a couple of Slimming World meetings because a friend from running club runs them and he has done amazing following the plan. I have worked out I cannot afford to attend the meetings as there are other things this month I want to do and buy. However I like the premise about the plan and being able to eat as much free and super free foods and then monitoring the syns (I hate that terminology so much), which means you don’t get hungry but can have a little of something sweet.

However not all of it sits right with me. I won’t cut out bread completely as I love baking it, but I have reduced it down. I also love my morning porridge (Dorset Cereals Proper Raspberry Porridge) and adding oats to yogurt, but all these count as syns. I also find nut butter in small quantities satisfying, so I was always over syns, but I lost weight. So I am doing my own modified version and cutting out the chocolate means I can have the nut butter and protein powders.

I am also using a Fitbook I bought a while ago as a way to write everything down. I think I prefer writing it down by hand, rather than recording it on MFP. However I like that MFP calculates the calories for you so I will continue to use that, but make the extra effort to write it down by hand. I like how it lets me review how I feel and look at my day as a whole. I also like how it records the exercise you do.





So March is about breaking my chocolate habit and upping my protein and fruits and veggies. Simple stuff!

Project Lifestyle – February Review

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Please find my full review saved in Google Docs here.

Project update Feb



Overall February has been a learning experience. I haven’t lost weight, but I have lost centemetres from all areas of my body. I also feel better for making some changes to attitude to be more positive. I have decided to keep the project as amber as one fo the key deliverables is not progressing to plan, while others are.

The nurtirion workstream was focusing on continuing to use MFP and look at the foods I’m eating in more detail. I have really struggled to keep using MFP, but have changed my food intake to increase the amount of protein and fruit and veg I am eating. I am going to take this forward in March. I went a long to a couple of Slimming World meeting and they don’t feel right at the moment or fit into my budget, but I like the premise of the eating plan.

The fitness workstream focused on the strength aspect of my workouts and this was a great success. I changed my gym programme and now have two session, once for upper and one for lower body. It feels good and I need ot mix things up more often to keep engaged.

The mental health workstream went okay for this last month. I’ve been keeping busy and doing things and have also made the most of local amenities, like the library. I also volunteered at my work and for a running event and really enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed my coaching course and plan to see if I can help out with the swimming club more.

The social workstream also went well. I stayed to the running club socials that I could and also made the most of other events such as the marshalling and volunteering to chat to people and get to know more people. A few bonus events happened such as having a bike 101 session with some friends from running club and starting swim sessions with my friend Sian.

The career workstream was a difficult one this month. The aim of this workstream is to get to a position where I will be able to progress at the end and I am finding it difficult to see the progress I can make. Some though needs to go back into this workstream.

Overall this month has been a good month. I also took part in the first gala of the year and came away with a gold, two silvers and a bronze. The only event I felt strong in was the 100m fly, but that is more about endurance than speed so that is probably why.
Feb KPIsNext month I am continuing with what I have learnt and refining things that haven’t.

  • Nutrition Workstream will focus on giving up chocolate and upping my protein
  • Fitness Workstream will focus on getting my new bike and the training plan I put in place
  • Mental Health Workstream will focus on dealing with feelings of inadequancy
  • Career Workstream will focus on the report writing aspects of my job and attention to detail
  • Social Workstream will focus on events galore and coping with being busy
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