Wednesday, May 28, 2014

An Ode to Ella

I have a new lease of life! I can't even to begin to explain how amazing I feel, and it's all down to simply changing a few of my eating habits and moving a bit more. 

My wedding dress finally arrived last week so I got to the boutique as soon as humanly possible to try it on, but HORROR.... it was too tight!! Months of enjoying too much coffee, chocolate and wine (with a particular penchant for chocolate muffins) had widened my waistline and tubbed up my tummy. Half a stone heavier and half a year later my dress just wouldn't close around those new-found curves. I was devastated.

That very moment I decided to change. I was so determined to lose those pounds that I cleared the kitchen of any go-to comfort foods and snacks, banned alcohol and started a work-out regime I could do in my own living room. After a couple of days I was feeling OK but missing my snacks and sugary treats. It was only whilst flipping through my monthly Red magazine that a brunette beauty in an apron jumped out from the pages and practically slapped me around the ears. 

(Picture sourced from

The beauty was Ella Woodward, the article entitled 'This woman will change the way you eat.' I couldn't have phrased it better myself. A thrilling story of overcoming a severe illness only to better her health, her self, her life. A diet of raw foods, vegan and unprocessed had transformed Ella into a healthy, shining version of herself, full of life and enjoying the beginnings of a thriving career. I can only say I was truly, deeply inspired. So much so that I forgot about my beloved magazine as I hit Ella's website to soak up as much as I could about this wonderful woman. Recipes for every occasion, tips and tricks and words of wisdom left me tingling with excitement at the thought of a new diet, in the true sense of the word, that I could actively undertake and enjoy. Having a cow's milk intolerance has led me to substitute products for years so I was already well aware of most of Ella's key ingredients. Obviously a lot more needed to change though, so out went sugar, dairy, gluten and absolutely anything processed. My stick blender was dusted off and the fridge stocked to bursting with fruit and veg, the bench piled high with nuts and seeds. My day now starts with a smoothie instead of a coffee and porridge was already my staple so no change needed there. Within two days I had lost weight, my skin had cleared up and I was jumping with all my extra energy. I noticed instantly that I wasn't getting hungry until meal times, and I was never tempted to eat biscuits or chocolate. I could barely believe it! My fiance was also incredibly impressed. My spirits were so high and I no longer needed a nap in the afternoon or after dinner. To put it simply, the transformation was simply incredible. Now Ella doesn't necessarily suggest going completely vegan or denying yourself your favourite foods for the rest of time, she simply recommends moderation. For instance, cooking for two means compromises need to made. I haven't given up meat or fish but I have reduced my intake, preferring to get my protein from pulses. I also haven't completely given up gluten. As much as I can I eat gluten-free but sometimes pasta is a must! I will also be rewarding myself with a glorious glass of red wine once a bit more weight has dropped off. 

So what's the point of all of this then? Why change? Think of this diet as a new healthy way of life. The food you eat is fuel for your body, and eating food in it's raw state allows you to benefit more from the goodness that food has to offer. I'm exploding with vitamins and minerals, essential for normal bodily functions and digestion. I can't remember the last time I felt bloated, or the last time I had a headache. I'm sleeping better than ever, my eyes are bright, my skin is glowing and I have such a positive attitude when I get up in the morning and the energy I need to float through my day. I have a new lease of life. Thank you Ella, you have changed the way I eat. You have changed my life!

(Credits to Red magazine July 2014 and Ella Woodward at

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hangover Heroes

No denying it - we've all had a hangover (unless you're tee-total...) and we've all had that hangover where you feel like curling up in a ball and just ceasing to exist. It's such a shame isn't it? After all that fun you had the night before, and how great you thought you felt at 1am, 8am rears it's ugly head and sleep is no longer an option as the dreaded feeling like the world is crushing down on your soul descends. Luckily for most of us we're sensible enough to avoid such doom on days where we need to actually leave the house, deciding instead to make some sort of nest on the sofa watching rubbish telly and eating whatever we can get our hands on. Alternatively there's the remedy solution. Even if you don't need to go out for work/social obligations I have put together a fail safe kit of wonder products to help ease yourself back into life and a step-by-step guide to get the best out of these little beauties.

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask - Berocca Boost - Arran Aromatics Citrus Shores Hair and Body Wash - Boots Soluble Paracetamol - Rescue Remedy Lipbalm - Snickers

Step 1: Kick start your metabolism, brain and inner life-force with a glass of water. Sip it slowly, don't gulp it down, to go easy on your tender tummy.
Step 2: Splash your face with cool water and pat dry, then apply a thick layer of Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask - not only will this help you to feel refreshed it will make your skin glow, hiding any traces of overindulgence.
Step 3: As soon as you can face it take some soluble paracetamol dissolved in a small glass of water.
Step 4: Follow with a Berocca Boost to get rid of the paracetamol taste and to give your body some much needed energy and a healthy mix of vitamins and minerals.
Step 5: Find a husband/boyfriend/son/brother/father to make you a bacon sandwich. The best is on thick, seeded bread with butter and ketchup and the bacon nice and crispy for easy munching. 
Step 6: Follow with a large cuppa of choice (I find milky coffee works best) and your Snickers. I've tried and tested the ultimate hangover chocolate bar and Snickers won hands down - not too sweet but super satisfying, long lasting and just the right energy hit.
Step 7: Apply liberal amounts of Rescue Remedy Lipbalm to soothe your aching head (use it on temples too!) and retreat to bed/sofa.
Step 8: Once you feel like you can stand up a while on your own have a super hot shower using Arran Aromatics Citrus Shores Hair and Body Wash - it zings you to life, refreshes and softens your skin and leaves a subtle scent to carry you through the day.

This is my trusty method that always works a treat, Of course that means I'm admitting to having to use such a method and quite often at that! I try to keep hangovers to a minimum... Best advice? Simply don't mix your drinks.

Why don't you give my method a go the next time you're feeling worse for wear? Do you have any tried and tested methods that work for you?

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

MAC Me Happy

Today is a glorious day. Today has finally arrived. Today I am the proud owner of my first, ever MAC lipstick! Well actually two... but wahey! I've been lusting after one of the legendary lippies for so long and I am so happy to have finally taken the plunge. I wanted shades that were easy to wear, especially every day so I got a few recommendations. Eventually I settled on Please Me - a matte nude-rosy pink (warm) - and Speed Dial - a cremesheen mid rosy pink (cool). I couldn't be happier with the shades! A nude that doesn't make me look like day 3 of the flu and a face brightening pink that matches my natural flush. Perfect. Obviously I had to have one of the new Patentpolish Lip Pencils too in Fearless - a bright, cool pink - and a Mineralize Glass in Modern Romance - frosted mid-rose. My day was made when my little parcel came this morning, there's not much can beat a MAC delivery! This definitely qualifies for #100happydays day 3.

Patentpolish Lip Pencil - Mineralize Glass - Lipstick

Fearless - Please Me - Modern Romance - Speed Dial

Speed Dial - Please Me - Modern Romance - Fearless

Saturday, May 03, 2014

A Busy Holvast Week

Change is afoot once more in the Holvast household. Our business is no more after making the courageous decision to move on to pastures new. We've had a nightmare of a week getting things finished, tying up loose ends and moving all of the furniture and supplies out of the office and depot. Our house was a total tip yesterday! But we're slowly working our way through it, as well as dealing with life's daily challenges - such as curtain poles falling off walls, puppy shenanigans and catching the mice the cat brings in. The great news is it's bank holiday weekend and we have nothing to do and nowhere to be! Wedding plans are going swimmingly, family get-togethers are frequent and fulfilling and Nick is finally starting to relax. I've been enjoying the sunshine with Sully, going for lots of walks and visiting my parents loads before they move. We went to pick up my beautiful (stunning!) wedding ring through the week and ordered Nick's - that was a fun day. He keeps going on about how much he can't wait to wear it! We're going to love being married. I reckon I was just meant to be Nick's wife - and he reckons I was tailor made for him! What a pair of softies... This time in 17 weeks we'll be half way through our special day! That means only 17 weeks and 2 days til we go to Thailand... EXCITED! I've already started window shopping for bikinis and accessories, especially a gorgeous new suitcase to carry them all in. I'm thinking pink or purple with flowers, oooh or maybe sunshine yellow! Thailand is "the land of smiles", so a case full of shiny, colourful girly goodies is a must. We've already decided to take half empty cases so we can fill them with all the wonderful things we're likely to find. We want everything. Clothes, souvenirs, jewellery, you name it. And let's not forget that we're flying through Dubai which just happens the largest duty-free department in the entire world... Oh My.