Week 6 of new fitness regime and I'm not feeling so great about it

what stops you going to the gym

I've hit week 6 of my new fitness regime, but it has thrown me a curve ball. Yesterday I was late for my class of choice, so I quickly picked a new one. It was a class I hadn't tried before, but I was ready to keep up with my habit of being willing to try new exercises.

It turned out it was everything I hated and feared about exercise classes. Imagine a very high intensity aerobic work out, with lots of bouncing and energy and choreographed moves. I hated it, and I hated how it made my poorly back feel.

After 15 mins, on a brief water break, I just decided I didn't want to return. I'm a adult and I don't have to stick things out if I don't want to. So I left.

I went and worked out on my own, but it didn't feel great, and for the first time in 5 weeks I felt an injury. My calves felt off, as did my feet. My poorly back wasn't happy.

Roll on to today. Back at the gym, ready for a class I knew already. Sadly another depressing visit, though no fault of the trainer. I was just reminded through out the class how debilitating my back can be, and I really feel I'll never not be able to focus on it, and it's needs. I hadn't felt this so much up until now. I'm hoping it's just the twinge from yesterday's silly class, and it will settle to its usual level again, which I seem to cope ok with.

It's really knocked my confidence.

The takeaway? All that matters is that you keep plodding on, even when it doesn't feel so good. You keep turning up, and working out. I don't mean pushing through an injury with no regard, but continue to turn up, and move towards your goal.

Week 6 hasn't been so good, but I'll still finish it, and that's all that counts. 

Hot Hair Wig Review - Pink Ombre Bob

I've been wearing full wigs every day for just over 2 months now, and I've loved hearing that some of you have gained the confidence to try wigs yourself after seeing me wear them too!

If you want to read my first wig collection summary, click here.

I was sent this pink ombre bob wig to review from Hot Hair, and it's from their new Fantasy Wig Collection. It currently costs £65. It isn't a lace front lace, which certainly makes it a higher end priced wig, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. 

When a new wig arrives, I generally always chop a fringe in. This is because I like a fringe on me, but it also helps disguise the hairline, helping make it look more realistic. I also powder wigs with dry shampoo or baby powder, just to dull the shine of the plastic (I don't have any real hair wigs).

The hair on this wig is lovely, and didn't tangle. The joy of short wigs is that they tangle less, but the type of fibre also effects this.

The wig cap is a tad too big for my head, but not so much that it causes any issues. Some wigs have combs at the front, but this wig is just a regular cap. You could add one if you fancied, but I find sometimes wearing a comb can give you a small headache if it pulls too tight!

I wore this wig out for the first time, and at the market instantly got a compliment on my hair, and received gasps when I said it was wig. She couldn't believe it!

This wig is on the pricier side, but what you're getting is a thick wig, with good quality fibres. You're also getting an almost ready-to-wear cut (minus my fringe). A lot of cheaper bob wigs are very blunt, and wig-like. This comes cut into a lovely graduated bob shape, which definitely makes it easy to grab and go once it arrives.

It also comes with a parting, which is also one of the things that makes a wig look more realistic. Cheaper wigs often don't have partings (they all have the hair coming from a centre point). 

This is what makes synthetic wigs different from each other - the fibre, the cut, the parting and the cap formation.

Hot Hair largely sell 'regular' wigs, rather than brightly coloured fashion wigs, so I was excited to see this new collection - hopefully they'll continue to add to their rainbow options!

You can have anything, but not everything.

I'm a fan of dating shows, First Dates and Married at First Sight are my current favourites, but I even used to love Street Mate back in the day. I was recently struck by how some people seem to be struck with the disease of "I want it all-itis".

One woman seemed cross that her partner expected time with her, and confused that she was struggling to fit in the 3 am-dram classes she took a week, and all of the other social commitments she had. She seemed to believe that the right man for her, would just fit into her lifestyle. If she had to sacrifice anything he surely wasn't the right one...

Another woman spent most of the show discussing the personality traits of the ideal partner she'd like, however after meeting her date, instantly got cross and sad that she didn't feel instant and electric chemistry.

What we sometimes need reminding of is that we can't have it all!

If you want a partner in your life, you firstly need to be willing to make space for one, and secondly accept that a partnership means a blending of two lives, not one simply merging into yours. It's like me wanting to change my body; I can't change my body and still do everything else at the same time. I've committed to 4 gym visits a week for a while, which means saying no to some other things. I can't do it all.

If you want a partner you can't set an imaginary list of criteria, and stick so strictly to it, that you spend most of your time saying no to a date 2. I remember reading great advice once, that a first date only had to be good enough to warrant a second. Don't make any massive judgements about your feelings, just ask whether it was nice enough to repeat. Sometimes feelings aren't instant, but that doesn't mean it can't result in exactly what you are looking for.

I'm not anti Tinder by any means (I met B on Tinder afterall!) but it has certainly encouraged the "I won't settle for anyone who doesn't tick every single thing on my list" mentality. Which I think means that many people miss out on potentially awesome things.

I'm not saying settle. I'm saying be open, and be flexible. Remain focused on what you actually want. You may need to change your lifestyle patterns if you find someone, but remember you wanted to find someone! You may want someone who is kind, funny and loyal...that person may not be the exact height you dream of. That would be such a shitty reason to miss out on the love of your life.

Braving your spin class: My top tips to get in the saddle for the first time

first spin class

Braving your first spin class can be daunting, so I thought I'd share some top tips, to ensure you don't let your anxieties and worries stop you giving it a go.

1. It gets sweaty in there. Do yourself a favour and don't wear cotton. Wear proper gym clothes to allow yourself to sweat without feeling soaked. These clothes don't need to be expensive. Primark, H&M, and other high street brands offer great starter kit.

2. Take a small gym towel, and a bottle of water. These will sit in the bike handles, where you can grab them when needed.

3. Wear knickers/pants that don't have 'edges'. You may get a little sore down there if things rub too much. Seamless pants are good.

4. When you walk in, go straight up to the instructor, and say you're new and would like some help setting up your bike. Most people have their bike set up incorrectly, so just get it right first time! There are 3 adjustments, the seat height, the handlebar height and the distance between the bars and the seat. Each adjustment have numbers on them, which you can then remember for next time.

5. Spin is an enhanced cardio work out as it has resistance built in. You change the resistance with a dial on the bike. You will be switching your resistance many many times during a class, so feel free to play with it for a while. The genius is that you're in complete control, and if you want to keep the resistance low on your first go, just to find your feet, go for it. It's up to you, and no one will know what you're up to.

6. Exercise is meant to be hard. Whether you're fit or less fit, you'll have a setting that makes it a struggle. Don't be embarrassed if it feels hard, that is what exercise should feel like. If it's not hard, you need to up your game!

7. You'll be asked to stand up in the bike. Practice this while you're waiting for the class to start. You can put all of your weight leaning forward on the bars, the bike will hold you!

If you've always been curious about spin, but worried about how to actually do it, give it a go! Nothing to lose. Promise.

User-Generated-Content : What should we expect from brands?

As a blogger, and someone who works with brands as an outreach specialist, I've certainly spent more time than most pondering the relationship between user-generated-content and brands.

Recently I responded to this tweet from Dove:

The words 'colours' and 'confidence' seemed right up my ally so I tweeted a photo of me back in response.  I didn't think much of it, and forgot about my entry.

Then I started getting tweets and messages from people who had spotted me in the Dove gif. They only seemed to have picked about 5 images, but they're now using them in paid campaigns. No direct message from Dove, and I certainly hadn't won a dress.

It got me thinking. Is user-generated-content just being used a shortcut by massive brands now? I mean, Unilever can certainly afford models, and studio time. But what usually accompanies user-generate-content is a mention of who it is. This can work for influencers, as we may gain some new reach. Or it at least works as a recognition that this was submitted by someone else.

However, that screen grab, of my image, sat with their text, reads as if I had tested Dove while wearing my dress. Which is factually incorrect. That image doesn't say it was user-generated. I may as well be a stock image they paid for, or a model they hired.

It sits rather uneasily with me. This is Unilever. A global company who should be paying for their social advertising. I didn't even get an acknowledgement, or a mention, or a thank you. Yet there is my face, promoting their brand for free.

There was a tweet following the tweet I responded to, with Terms and Conditions for taking part. I didn't see this tweet, and I don't think it's good enough. I don't think its good enough to make people sign all of their rights away, for simply tweeting a pic for a competition to win a dress. I think big brands should be doing better than this.

The rather hilarious irony is that I've been asked twice to submit screen tests for previous Dove campaigns. 

Green Envisage Wig Review - The current favourite wig

I've shared some of my wig collection before, but I wanted to add my current favourite! 

This is a wig from Envisage Yourself, and it arrives super curly (see above). I gave it a trim, and a calm down!

When the hair arrived, it came in such a swanky box that I was surprised that the hair didn't feel very soft. I was a little disappointed. However, how wrong I was! This is now my favourite day-to-day wig!

I actually think the plastic is less soft, because it's super light. It's less sweaty, and a little less tangly than most wigs, and the lack of softness actually makes the hair a little less shiny.

After cutting some length off, and cutting the fringe shorter, it really is a lovely wig to wear! The curls make it a bold statement, so its not a wig for the faint hearted, but I love it! I plan to get it in other colours too! 

#MostStylishRaceGoer at Newbury Races?

ladies day at newbury races

I was invited to Ladies Day at Newbury Racecourse this weekend, as a fun bloggers' day out. Having never been to the races, the sunshine scheduled in, I set about buying a hat!

I started the train journey in a traditional fashion - with cocktails in a can! There really is no other way to travel.

I wore a Horrockses Fashions dress, a vintage brand that has just relaunched with a new range. It was originially £125, but is currently on sale at £87. It definitely feels expensive to wear, the material is thick, which means it hangs without flying up in the wind, always a plus with this style of dress.

We were given a free bet, and having never bet on a horse before I found the staff helpful, but sadly we didn't win anything. Our horse didn't even place. Whoops!

The lure of an £8000 trip to the Seychelles meant that I entered the #MostStylishRaceGoer competition, but yet again, we didn't even place. I'd better get saving for my own holiday!

The hashtag for the day was #WinInStyle, and although I didn't win anything, I definitely felt I had fun in style. Winning.