Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Getting off the sugar rollercoaster!

I blogged a while about about linking my food habits to my skin issues, here, and I was doing really well, skin had cleared up good, was feeling better, training hard and in overall good shape! I was getting acupuncture, juicing everyday, and eating clean. 

Well over the last two/three weeks I have gone to town on eating sugary goods, I am a sugar fiend, like no self control at all, eating jellies, chocolate, biscuits, anything sweet I can get my paws on. My skin has gone haywire, it resembles teenage skin at the moment and I'm so mad at myself that I let it get this bad.

My sugar cravings get ridiculous. I become a demented person, and all I can think about is how to get my paws on more. I know every part of me suffers when I get like this but I get so obsessed that I don't care!

After feeling pretty down about my skin, last week myself and a friend decided enough was enough and we were gonna sort this pattern out once and for all. We are gonna keep each other in line and keep track of our food each day, share recipes and ideas too. We sat down on Sunday and did out shopping lists, and then went yesterday and got our bits and pieces. 

As well as keeping a food diary, I'll also be juicing everyday to get my chromium levels up to keep the cravings at bay. (blog post to follow about juicing)

So here is the plan for this week, starting today:
Decent breakfast every morning: e.g bacon and eggs, or banana egg pancakes
11's : Porridge bread (recipe to follow)
Lunch & Dinner : double up on dinner to have enough for lunch the following day.
Juice : Green juice every evening with dinner
Water : as much as possible, at least 2 ltrs
Snacks:  rice cakes with nut butter, fruit and good quality greek yogurt, carrots and hummus. 
Train hard every day for 5 days and on rest days foam roll and flexibility work.

I will keep you up to date with recipes I am using, how I am getting on in terms of cravings, how I am feeling in general etc.

I'm one of those annoying people who puts their food on instagram too so if you want a nose you can find me @coco_oscarwells

Wish me luck!! 


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Image Skincare Clear Cell and Vital C

Image Skincare was new to me until Sharon of Sharons Urban Escape introduced me to it about a month ago when I booked in to get a facial done. I had a full consultation and Sharon recommended/prescribed a combination of the Clear Cell and Vital C range 

Their Clear Cell range is specifically designed for acne treatment:
 “Clear Cell fights acne, reduces inflammation, eliminates excess oil and purifies skin”.

From the Clear Cell range I have been using three products every 2nd day. 
The salicylic gel cleanser is applied to wet skin, it foams up, great at removing makeup and gives you a very clean feeling once washed off with a hot face cloth.

In the evenings I follow this with the medicated acne masque. I find this quiet harsh so have only been applying to areas where the acne is concentrated. It only needs to be left on for a minute and then rinsed off.

The medicated acne lotion has quiet a potent smell and to be honest I was a little surprised as to how harsh it felt on my skin. It stung for a couple of seconds but quickly settled.  

image from imageskincare.com

Alongside the clear cell range I have been using some products from the Vital C Range
 “A product line high in anti-oxidants for ultimate protection and nutrition.

The Vital C Hydrating Cleanser which I use every morning and evenings (when I am not using the salicylic cleanser), its a cream cleanser, smells amazing, and great at taking off makeup. I massage it in to the face then remove it with a hot face cloth.

On the evenings I’m not using the clear cell I use the Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Mask. Its quiet a thick formula but I can almost feel my skin drinking it. I put if on for a good 30 mins before rinsing off.

The Vital C Anti Ageing Hydrating Serum is really nice on the skin too and I’ve been applying it every other day morning and evening to freshly cleansed skin.

Moisturiser wise I have been using the Prevention + daily matte moisturiser with SPF 32. This has the most amazing smell and sinks right in to the skin.

images from imageskincare.com

I know you are probably thinking I spent a fortune on products here but I didn't (i’m not that loaded). I bought the travel size clear cell kit for €15 which contains the three clear cell products, and the vital c serum and enzyme mask. These five products are all sample size.
Sharon gave me a trial size of the moisturiser and I purchased a full size Vital C cleanser for €30 (it think!!)

Soooooo what you are all wondering at this stage is did they help my skin at all?? Well the answer is a big fat yes. I have seen a noticeable difference; breakouts have decreased to barely any and my face looks brighter. 

Long term I don’t think I will use the Clear Cell every second day as I feel I have the breakouts under control now, so twice per week for the medicated masque and lotion I feel would be plenty.

I am 100% going to purchase the full size Vital C Hydrating enzyme mask as I found it a very effective exfoliater and not at all harsh on the skin.  

Overall I am so impressed with Image Skincare and would defo recommend this combination if you are looking for some acne treatment or stick with the Vital C range on its own if you are looking to brighten and freshen up the skin.

Sharon is like a fountain of knowledge on Image so if you are in and around Newbridge pop in and have a chat with her. The Image facials she does are also amazing so why not treat yourself.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Eating Clean - Some Food Ideas

I spoke here about linking my food habits to my acne issues and since then I have been making a very conscious effort to ‘eat clean’.

I know a lot of people really struggle with ideas of what to eat instead of what they have been eating for the last 100 years (slight exaggeration) so I thought it might be useful to give you a few suggestions. 
(FYI - I am by no means an expert and I’m not trying to be)

Banana and blueberry pancake – 1 egg, handful of chopped up blueberries, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of nut butter, 1 banana. Mix altogether and cook on a pan with coconut oil. This can be a bit tricky to flip sometimes, so if it falls apart in the pan don’t worry, will still taste yum!

Porridge – I eat gluten free oats, use soya milk, and top up with blueberries or raspberries and some cinnamon.

Poached eggs – you can get those pans that are specifically for poaching, just grease up the little trays with a bit of butter and leave them cook for about ten mins. Will keep you full for a few hours!

Smoothie – i throw in a banana, strawberries, blueberries, a spoon of peanut butter and some dairy free ice cream (check out Nobó http://www.nobo.ie/ )and coconut mil k. Really quick and handy and if you are rushing out the door you can take it in the car with you.

Sausages – there are gluten free options available with a high pork content (get the highest you can).
Bacon/Rashers – same applies here, get the highest meat content you can.

Snacks / 11’s:
Rice cakes (unsalted) with peanut butter and banana.
Apples sliced with peanut butter and cinnamon.
Nuts - make sure they are good quality and unsalted.
Fruit – berries are your friends, top up with mixed nuts and real greek yogurt.

Preparation is key here, if you don’t plan your lunches you WILL end up eating shite.
The most convenient way of doing lunch is doubling up on your dinners.
I tend to make the following during the week as its easy, quick and tastes good:

Red Thai Curry (link here)

Fajita Mix – diced chicken, peppers, onions and mushrooms. Marinate with a teaspoon of cumin, tsp of chilli powder, tsp Worchester sauce, salt and pepper, and the juice from half a lime. If you prep this the night before you can cook it fresh in the morning if you have the time. I eat mine with some jasmine rice.  I tend to make some guacamole also to have with this.

Marinated chicken breasts – one of the easiest and nicest marinates I have had is lemon juice, oregano and thyme. Leave for as long as possible to marinate then either grill or oven bake the chicken. Team up with some cooked veggies of a salad.

Spaghetti bol – really easy to make from scratch with tomatoes, and various spices. Keeps really well and is really filling for lunch. Eat wholegrain pasta or else have sweet potato mash or fries instead of pasta altogether.

Marinated Pork Chops – soy sauce and honey is a good marinate, or any mixed spices either. Again i tend to marinate over night and cook fresh in the morning if I have the time. I will have with some salad or cooked veg.

Hope this was helpful for some of you out there, and be sure to follow me on instagram where I tend to share my food pics!! 

If you have any other suggestions I would love to hear them. 

Friday, 23 May 2014

HealGel Face: Review

As you know by know I’m always having some sort of trouble with my skin, and because of this I have been left with some mild scarring. I was looking for something to help fade these, and when I heard about Heal Gel I just had to know what all the fuss was about. 

HealGel is a range of products, face, eye, body and intensive; created by a team of plastic and cosmetic surgeons with the help of a dermatological biochemist in the UK. It is an aqueous gel, claiming to soothe, repair and protect the skin.

I have been trialing HealGel Face* for app four months now, using it twice per day.
The packaging is not dissimilar to that of clinque, in such a way that it is very clinical which I like, fancy packaging doesn’t do much for me. It comes in a pump action bottle which is great for those of us that get a little too enthusiastic!!

HealGel Face

The product itself is very soothing on the skin, is absorbed almost straight away, and a little goes a long long way. The redness and scarring has most definitely faded, and my skin in general looks like it has a bit more life to it. I have used different oils etc to help with redness reduction but none of them have lived up to this product.

The cost of the product is most defiantly reflected in the quality, RRP is £48, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy again as soon as I run out.

If you are struggling with acne scarring and redness I can’t recommend this product highly enough. It has done wonders for my confidence. 

You can check out all of HealGel products right here

Have you tried any other HealGel products?? Lemme know what you think if you have!

*PR sample gratefully received 

Wishlist: Slogan Gym Tees

So I blogged yesterday (here) about the diff pants I am wearing to the gym, 
but what I am really lacking are some good tops.

I love a good slogan tee, and wish there was someone in 
Ireland that was making these kinds of tops!

Pinterest is full of them, but a lot of the time they are coming from America 
and the postage is just way too high. 

Soooo if you know anywhere/anyone in Ireland or the UK that is making and selling slogan gym tees please let me know as I really really want/need ALL of the below!!

all images from pinterest
I'd love to see some of the slogan gym tees you are rocking or have on your wishlist too!!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Workout/Gym Gear

Aloha All,

Finally feel myself getting back to blogging so thought I'd craic on with something I am currently obsessing over: Workout Gear - more specifically the most obnoxious/bright/patterned pants I can get my paws on!

Lets clear something up though before we start, I am not, I repeat, I AM NOT one of those people who goes to the gym with a full face of make-up and fancy labelled clothes and pretends to workout. I wouldn't be winning any beauty awards leaving that's for sure, but I do like having nice gym gear hence all the ridiculousness you are about to see!!

I've been adding to my collection over the last few months and wanted to share with you some of my favorites:

Top L-R adidas
Bottom L-R adidas & ellesse

The top right, and bottom left adidas pants have a little pocket small enough for a key which is handy, and are both clima-cool material. The top left adidas are cotton but still feel very cooling, as do the ellesse (not sure what material they are made from). 

The quality of all four is just fantastic, they are getting washed all the time and have not lost their shape at all, and are great at keeping the sweat off the body too! (nothing worse than looking at someones sweaty arse in a gym!!)

I bought all of these off Littlewoods Ireland  with prices coming in at €20-€35. 

There are so many more on my wishlist that I need/want so I will keep you all updated with any new purchases on instagram and twitter (@coco_oscarwells)...

If you have any rec's please let me know cause I am als keeping an eye out!!


Monday, 3 February 2014

Linking my food habits to my acne issues.

I have never really been one for putting on weight, I've probably been the same weight since I was 19, so I've never really concerned myself with what I eat and how it effects my body.

Well at 27 (28 in a few days) years of age I have come to the harsh realization that I know f all about food and nutrition. Don't get me wrong I would always of eaten well enough, even in college I was never one for noodles, I suppose the fact that I like cooking helps, but christ am I a fiend for sweets like haribo, skittles, bickies, give me any shite food with e numbers and I'll eat it.

Sometime before christmas after reading Caroline Hirons blog I started to link my acne issues to my food habits, the bad ones that is. For the first time in my adult life I have finally accepted that no matter what product I use, if I don't decrease my refined sugar and dairy intake and dramatically increase my water intake, my skin is never going to look better. 

Since then I have pretty much cut out dairy, as I mentioned before if I have a drop of milk in tea I am not going to crucify myself over it but I have stopped drinking milk in cereal, pints of milk with lunch and dinner, yogurts are no longer part of daily life, and I am not putting half a block of cheese on everything I eat. Don't get me wrong this is not an easy thing to do, the cheese cravings I am having are out of this world but I figure its for the greater good and I would rather have the clear skin. 

"You are what you eat!"

However hard the dairy is to give up, the sugar is a complete bitch. I really am not exaggerating when I say I could easily eat a bag of haribo a night, and any one who knows me well enough will back me up on that. Since Christmas I have cut down on the eating shite. I no longer grab five bags of haribo at the que in pennys, I no longer dream of skittles and cans of coke. To help counter the sugar cravings I have been taking magnesium for the past 2 months. I have been told that when you crave something it is usually because the body is deficient of something, and a lot of the time that is magnesium. Whether it is just in my head or not, this is defo working. I am no longer sitting at my desk everyday at three o'clock with the shakes.  Again having my head right is so important, I know cutting all this shite out will make me feel and look better so I am willing to stop. 

Another thing I have cut out purely for 'feel good' reasons is gluten. It really wasn't that hard tbh. I don't eat bread anymore, and if I have a craving for bread, there are some nice gluten free ones in Lidl. Gluten free pasta is grand (not amazing) but grand! I have discovered fantastic dark choc brownies that I can make with gluten free flour, although the do contain some butter so not dairy free I'm afraid. Google is your best friend when it comes to finding alternatives for your fave eats. 

If I have one of those dreaded sugar cravings I will have a Nakd bar which are dairy, gluten and wheat free, or one of my home made paleo bars. Instead of having toast in the morning I have rice cakes with peanut butter and banana (this is simply amazing), and the latest 'nice' thing to have in our house is a dairy free shake made from Nobo icecream, a banana, almond milk and peanut butter blended together!! AMAZEBALLS!! I have been flashing pics all over my instagram if you wanna have a nose by the way @coco_oscarwells 

Hand on heart I can notice the difference in my skin, and the difference in my energy levels since changing my eating habits. Preparation is key. Plan out your meals and snacks so that you are not caught short. Every sunday I make a list of what I will eat for the week from this make my shopping list. I try make my 'treats' at the weekend so they are on hand during the week so I've no excuses.

I know I still have so so much to learn and I have a lot more to share with you which I will go in to in my next blog post but for now I urge you to try some Nakd bars, some homemade paleo bars, and some Nobo dairy free icecream. You can thank me later!! ;)

Có x

Fit Feb 03.02.14

So my last post back on Jan 10th I had just joined a crossfit style gym. I have just finished my first four weeks and can say that I am 100% addicted. I had originally planned on just doing two nights a week because of hockey and other commitments but two weeks in and I had already upped it to three nights. I don't know what it is but I just feel so motivated when I am over there and even though it is sooooo sooooo tough, I keep telling myself I will feel great in an hour so suck it up, and I always do. If you are looking for a new challenge and are in the Kildare area be sure to have a nosey The Peformance and Fitness Academy

Hockey is still going great too btw, and as I have said over and over again, if you are thinking about joining a team sport, just do it. Seriously you will not regret it. 

As I work in the sport sector, my brain is always ticking away thinking of  how to get people involved in different types of physical activity, and this year I feel more passionate about it than ever before. I have trouble understanding how people simply sit back and let themselves become so uninterested and uninvolved in their own health. I in no way mean this in a condescending way, it really does baffle me.

I was lucky to grow up in an active family, GAA football was pretty much religion in our house. We cycled, we ran, we climbed trees, we fell out of trees, I danced, my brother not so much, and we walked everywhere, our dog used to even take himself for walks! I know that some people will be reading this thinking well that's all good an well if you have the money to do these things, but heres the thing, we didn't have the money, and you do not need money to be physically active so please don't use that as an excuse cause it really is a shit one. Ditch the lift in work, park a bit further away from the office in the morning, walk to the shop instead of driving. You do not need to be sporty to be active. 

Operation Transformation and Irelands Fittest Family have really seemed to capture the imaginations of people across Ireland this year. We have realised how sedentary we have become as a nation. There are so may walking/running groups popping up around the place, I have seen so many between Naas and Newbridge alone. If you are looking for a bit of motivation why not locate a walking group through the OT facebook page or twitter and take those first few steps toward becoming active. If you don't fancy going out with a group of strangers get your family and friends involved, round up people in work. There are ways around everything, you just have to be willing.

Inspirational words and motivational quotes

The family unit is particularly important in terms of ensuring kids are active, don't assume that one hour of PE they get a week is enough, cause it simply isn't. Find something fun to do with your kids such as going to the park at the weekends, walking the dog together, going for bike rides, play hurling in the back garden. Be proactive in your children's health by being involved in your own health. No one ever regretted getting themselves and their families healthy and active. 

In work we have recently set up whats called the 7x30 club. Its essentially an excel spreadsheet that we can record our physical activity on, based on the guidelines that we should be getting at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity. Anyone who wanted to get involved simply records their activity and time. At the end of the week you can see the total time you have been physically active. Its such a simple but effective idea. Tracking your activity gives you a real perspective as to if you are doing enough or not enough.

Basically what I am saying at the end of this long post, is if you are sitting at home wondering what you can do to get yourself healthier and fitter, get up and go for a walk and brainstorm out in the fresh air. 'but its raining out' is another crappy excuse, put your rain jacket on, a bit of water never hurt anyone. 

Its your life, its your health, don't waste it. We really do only get one go at this life, and I can 100% guarantee you will NOT regret getting physically active this year. 


Thursday, 30 January 2014

Music Therapy #1 2014

Here are a few songs I reckon you need in your life, like right now:

The Neighbourhood - Sweater Weather

Alt J - Breezeblocks 

Haim  - Don't Save Me

Sail - Awolnation

Asaf Avidan - One Day/Reckoning Song

Enjoy all @ HIGH VOL :)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

If you are like me and a bit OCD about taking off your make up, you need, yes NEED to get your mitts on Clinique's Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm. 

The balm is no frills, it looks plain and has no scent, which in my opinion is fantastic especially when you have troubled skin like me. 

I use this cleanser every night, or soon as I get in from work. Its so simple, using your fingers massage the balm on to your face and watch your makeup melt away, no seriously, it literally takes off every single bit of makeup including mascara and eye makeup. I wash it all off then with a facecloth and hot water. 

Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

If you have problem skin like me, this is the best €28 you will spend I promise! I have noticed a massive difference in my skin in terms of pore size, and reduced redness. I've had mine for about two months now and have barely scratched the surface, I will defo get 6 months at least from this one pot. 

I don't know how I survived without this, and I will 100% not be changing from this cleanser for the foreseeable. 

Bravo Clinique, Bravo!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Paleo Treats

As I mentioned in my latest Fit Friday post I am trying to eat as clean as possible, but I do get cravings for nice things, so to make sure those nice things are as innocent as possible I have been looking at various paleo recipes and this weekend I had a go at making coconut buns (or cupcakes if you wanna be fancy), and energy paleo bars.

I got the coconut bun recipe from Irish Paleo Girl's wonderful blog. I was gonna list the ingredients but since its not my original recipe I think its only fair you follow the link to her blog! They were very simple to make, and took no time at all to cool. The consistency of them is very souffle-ish, they are very light, but they are really nice to taste and do not leave me with that ugh heavy feeling. The reason I picked them was because they are dairy free, gluten free, and no added sugar! NOM!

I got the paleo bar recipe from Dominic Munnelly's site and seriously it could not have been easier. They only take about two hours to chill so no cooking involved at all. They are quiet oily (don't worry its all good oils) so I would say that if your gonna bring them to work make sure to put them in tin foil and keep in a cool place or fridge if possible. They are fecking delish, I know they next time I get my sugar cravings I will be very satisfied with this healthy option. Again there is no added sugar, no gluten, but I can't be 100% sure they are completely dairy free as I know that some dark choc may have dairy trace.

Here is where I picked up the ingredients for these delish treats:
Coconut flour - Asian Food Shop
Coconut Oil - Asian Food Shop
Dessicated Coconut - Asian Food Shop
Almond Butter - Holland and Barrett or any health food store
Dark Chocolate - Lidl (70% + is good, do not go below)
Mixed Nuts - Lidl (ensure they are unsalted for them to be the healthy option)
Organic Honey - Lidl

Asian food shops are fantastic places to get your ingredients for a fraction of the price you would pay in health food shops. For e.g I paid €4 for the coconut oil, and only €4.80 for the coconut flour. If you live in/near Newbridge Co. Kildare there is a great Asian food shop up beside Joe Kellys barbers, and in Dublin there is a massive one in the Fonthill Retail Park.
Lidl do a great range of high percentage dark chocolates if you feel like changing it up a bit.

Let me know how you get on if you decide to make either of the above!

And thanks a mill Dominic and Irish Paleo Girl for the great recipes.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Fit Fridays - Getting in Gear 10th Jan 14

New year, new start and all that jazz so I've decided to resurrect my Fit Friday posts with the hope of giving you a bit of motivation (if your struggling), and some ideas for both food and fitness too.

I started playing hockey back in September and can wholeheartedly say that it is one of the best things I have ever done. I had never picked up a hockey stick in my life so it was quiet daunting to say the least. The club I am playing for is fantastic though, I have never been made to feel stupid or shite at training, and most importantly I am having such a laugh!! We train twice a week for 90 minutes and play a match every Saturday - this has defo been keeping me fit over the past few months. If there is a team sport you have always been itching to play I urge you to take the few brave steps and give it a go, you wont regret it.

Fitness motivation
I have been toying with the idea of joining a crossfit type gym over the past couple of weeks, and finally took the plunge this week. I'm really not too good at explaining what crossfit is, so if you're not sure have a nose at the video below. Jays I thought I was nervous joining hockey, well that was nothing compared to the fear in me on Tuesday. I was lucky enough that my friend decided to come along too, and my bessie is also one of the trainers. Well I felt bloody fantastic after, and even though it was a little intimidating it hasn't turned me off going back. I was back again last night for more punishment and can safely say I have not ached like this in years, but I have also not felt this good about exercising either. #nopainnogain as they say! I am going to keep it up two evenings a week from here on in.

Food wise I've been trying to stick to gluten free foods for the past few weeks as I've started to finally listen to my body and things like white bread really make me feel like shite! Its been pretty easy i have opted for gluten free porridge, have not been eating bread, replaced regular flour with gluten free or coconut flour, and the world of google has provided me with fantastic recipes. 

Going dairy free was a decision I made purely for aesthetic purposes. I have read in numerous places that dairy may aggravate/cause acne and mine is pretty bad again at the moment so I've cut out things like yogurts, drinking glasses of milk with my lunch, have switched to alpro soya for porridge and tea/coffee. I do miss cheese a little bit but sure I'll get over that, and I'm not going to kill myself with guilt if I do have some. 

Otherwise on the food front I've been eating as clean as possible, roughly following paleo guidelines. I've been sticking pics up Instagram, you can follow me coco_oscarwells if you like!

I'd love to hear what you are all up to fitness and food wise so please feel free to share in the comments section below :) 

Monday, 6 January 2014

How to remove shellac at home..

If like me you don't have time to get to the beauticians to get Shellac off, here is how you can do it yourself at home. 

What you will need:
Nail polish remover that DOES contain acetone (I use the lidl own brand one)
Kitchen towel
Tea spoon

How to:
Put enough nail polish remover in bowl so that your nails can soak
Have kitchen towel in place for when you take your hand out and have spoon at the ready
Soak (one hand at a time) nails in the remover for about 10 mins.
Straight after taking them out scrape the shellac off with the teaspoon on to the kitchen towel. If it doesn't all come off stick them in again for another few mins and repeat!
Repeat on the other hand.

This is a tedious job if your some one who cant sit still for long but it works and means your nails aren't damaged when the shellac is completely gone.

My nails were done by Sharon @ Sharon's Urban Escape btw! Couldn't recommend her highly enough!