Monday, 30 January 2017

My favourite way to eat healthily: HelloFresh Recipe Boxes

You could chuck a tall white hat, stripy blue apron and twiddly moustache at me and I still wouldn't become a natural chef. From Day 1 of moving out and living on my own (that's like, seven years now), I've never been able to get into the swing of food shopping and cooking for myself. It just doesn't work for me, and I've never found the enjoyment in doing it before.

I live with friends but we cook separately, meaning that I'll often start the day planning on cooking up something delicious from scratch for the evening. But then I remember that I live AGES away from a decent supermarket. I remember that I have zero useful ingredients in the cupboards. I remember that I'll only be cooking for myself anyway so literally what's the point. And I remember that I don't really know much about food, so I struggle to think of exciting, new things to make that I haven't already eaten four times that week. Sigh, cereal it is then.

But that's where HelloFresh comes in. I've used their recipe delivery box service a few times now after discovering it last year, and I can honestly say that it's completely changed the way I go about eating at home. I finally eat fresh, healthy, delicious and nutritious meals cooked completely from scratch by my own hands. This box literally turns me into a grown up.

Each week (or how ever often you fancy having a box delivered, they're super flexible), HelloFresh sources the highest quality ingredients for recipes designed by highly trained chefs. All you have to do is go to the website, choose the meals you fancy eating and how many people you wanna cook for. They then send all the food to your doorstep in a refrigerated box on the day that you choose, along with easy-to-follow recipe cards for your dinners.

It's all about saving you loads of time. HelloFresh cuts out your weekly food shop, drags you out of the rut of cooking the same things all the time, and it even takes away the faff of weighing and measuring ingredients. These boxes have had me cooking recipes which I would never have dared to try (or had the imagination to try), letting me experience ingredients and delicious dishes every single time.

I'm a MASSIVE fan of HelloFresh. Normally, when I opt for a Classic Box, 2 people, 3 meals, it costs £39 which is awesome value anyway, but they've actually sent over an amazing discount code for me to offer anyone who might fancy trying the service.

Just enter 'HFLUCY' to get £25 OFF YOUR FIRST BOX, meaning it'll cost you just £14 for what could be a week's worth of food. Super good value, and totally worth giving it a try as it'll save you on this week's food shop anyway. 

Just click HERE to get your first box (it'll add my discount code on automatically for you).


Wanna find out how I got on with HelloFresh this week? Check out the video below to see what Adam and I whistled up from our box - spoiler alert: it was beyond delicious.


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Thursday, 26 January 2017

GETTING A REVENGE BODY

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Kardashians. Apart from Rob, I’m not massively into him - but the Kardashian women, I have a lot of time for.

They’ve turned themselves into arguably the world’s most lucrative family. They’re smart, shrewd businesswomen, and I think they’ve done a lot for helping us move forwards from the idea that stick thin is the ONLY version of beauty to go by. But Khloe Kardashian’s latest move caught my attention the other day for all the wrong reasons.

If you’re into your celeb culture, you might have noticed over the past year or so that Koko has lost weight. Congrats, hoorah, amazing, what a triumph for a woman to achieve. Very good, very good. Khloe says she’s discovered the wonders of exercise and healthy eating, and as a result has managed to transform her body into something that arguably better fits the mould of good curves, rather than bad curves.

(Don’t even get me started on the definition of curves, for the love of GOD. Particularly men who say they like a ‘curvy woman’, and by definition of that they only mean a very slim girl with massive boobs and a tight bum. Like, no.)


Anyway. As part of her new makeover into a health and fitness goddess, and just in time for Diet Culture January, Khloe’s launched a brand new TV show entitled ‘Revenge Body’ or something along those somewhat revolting lines. If you couldn’t work it out for yourself, it features people getting ‘revenge’ on their ex-boyfriend or girlfriend by losing a lot of weight, toning their shape and having a dramatic makeover. It also has a slogan ‘Let your haters be your biggest motivators’. Okay, here’s what I have to say about that now that I’ve finished eye rolling.

It’s pretty common practice that after a break up, a lot of people do lose weight. They find that they’ve got more time to take up a new hobby - whether that’s jogging, going to the gym, salsa classes, cookery classes, whatever. They go back to eating smaller portions that aren’t being cooked by a guy (am I right ladies?). They, for one reason or another, lose some weight. And that’s just normal people, btw.

We’re also forgetting the fact here, that most of us can only dream of Khloe’s circumstances in which to chase her revenge body. Around the clock personal trainers, dedicated nutritionists, glam squad, those fucking weird waist trainer things, endless supplies of teas that make you shit yourself etc etc.


But anyway, this fairly gross idea that’s promoted by this TV show, and just the concept of ‘revenge bodies’ in general is something else altogether, which really doesn’t sit well with me. Let’s be honest, the idea of losing weight and changing the way you look to get back at a dicky ex-boyfriend - that isn’t about revenge.

It’s not even about doing something for yourself. It’s about still trying to impress that person who hurt you, treated you badly, didn’t realise how wonderful you are. It’s about still needing to be validated by their approval. Still seeking the nod of their head to tell you that you are good enough, and that you meet their standards.

Um, hold on a damn second there, please. No one, and I mean no one but mainly women because we’re fucking drowning it in it every single day, should be made to hate their body and criticise it just because someone bullied and broke them into thinking that they weren’t enough. If you want to lose weight, or you make the decision to change your body in any way, it should come from, and be about nothing but YOU. Just you. Not some dickhead who called you a fatty in Year 9, and not some knobhead ex who said you looked pudgy in your jeans, or dumped you because you gained a stone or two.


And let’s not ignore the very obvious fact that the term ‘revenge body’ itself perpetuates body shaming, diet culture, and unhealthy mindsets which need to LEAVE. The idea that the ‘perfect’ body leads to ultimate happiness is something that’s been manifested by the pure bullshit diet culture that’s arrived over the past thirty years or so. In WHAT WORLD should getting in shape, changing your lifestyle, probably restricting yourself, be centred around the idea of anything other than your own well being?

This idea that haters should motivate you is also problematic. In the trailer for the show, Khloe asks all of her minions: “This revenge body, who is it for?” Someone says ex-fiance, someone says mum, someone says my friends. No one says me. It detracts from the basic idea of leading a healthier lifestyle, and instead turns it all back onto internalised hate, the whole thing focuses on breeding hate and feeding off of hate.

If a bully, a boyfriend, tells you that being fat makes you worthless, and you lose weight solely to prove them wrong, are you dispelling their opinion, or actually kind of confirming it to be true? And letting them make your decisions for you in the process? Anything motivated by hate, but particularly losing weight, can easily transform into something disordered and controlling - if you break it down, it’s alarmingly similar to the thought that to be happy/successful/admired/loved, you just need to lose X amount of weight. That’s what the show is, and that’s also funnily enough, what a lot of eating disorders are.

Losing weight will not heal heartbreak. Equally, if you hate your body at X pounds, you’ll still find ways to hate it at Y and Z pounds too, if you’re not tackling the bigger problem - which is the need to learn to love yourself unconditionally. If you’re convinced that you need to lose weight in order to be loved, or a whole, worthy person, you’re only going to amplify your own self-hate until you hit that goal. And even then, will the goal be good enough? Or will it just keep on going, the goal posts always changing, the finish line always moving back, while you destroy your body and your own peace of mind?


You know what the best ‘revenge’ is, if that’s something you want to strive for, on someone who hurt you or broke your heart? Going out, walking away, living your life for you and NOBODY else, striving for what you want to strive for, chasing your dreams, enjoying yourself, loving life, without giving a damn about what they, or anybody else thinks.

If your body is no longer yours, and exists in its form for someone who broke your heart once, then they’ve just got an even tighter grip over you. Great revenge is living in total freedom, and loving every second.

And if you ask me, ‘revenge body’ should be a term referring to the body of your shitty ex-boyfriend, which is now lying in a suitcase underneath your bed next to your sword. Hahahahaha kidding. Sort of.

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Friday, 20 January 2017

New COLAB Dry Shampoo: Paradise Fragrance

I’m generally a pretty hairy person, and while that does prove itself to be a pain in the arse a lot of the time, I am grateful for the fact that I’ve got a solid head of hair going on. Touch wood, I won’t be going bald any time soon, which is always a bit of a relief. This does however, mean that washing my hair is one of my least favourite activities in the world. I can’t wash my scalp properly, because my hair is so thick. It takes about twelve years to blow dry it properly, and even just blasting it with a hair dryer is a full on work out. 

For all of those reasons, I am a BIG dry shampoo kinda gal. Those ‘Third Day Hair’ days are quickly sorted out with a blast of that genius lazy-girl invention, and I’m yet to find a dry shampoo formula that sorts out my greasy-ass roots quite like COLAB.

So imagine my endless joy when a shiny can of the stuff landed on my doorstep this week, along with a bag full of flamingo-shaped jelly sweets. You can’t imagine the joy. There was too much of it.

There is a pretty good reason for the flamingos, btw. It’s a brand new fragrance for the brand, ‘Paradise’, and I’d go as far as to say it might be the best-smelling budget hair product I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Think coconut bras, tropical holidays, The Little Mermaid and errr.. maybe a flamingo, although I imagine they probably don’t smell so great. The actual ingredients - coconut, tonka bean (my fave) and exotic white flowers - all add up to the perfect mix of summer, suncreamy, sunshine goodness.

As well as smelling amazing and having the cutest packaging around, COLAB Paradise is still rocking the unrivalled, quick fix formula that I love so much, which manages to leave hair looking clean, effortless and fresh with literally ZERO white residue or grey cast. Ideal, really.


I can’t rave about this stuff enough. Whaddya reckon to the sound of COLAB Paradise? Gonna grab yourself one of the cute flamingo-print cans next time you’re in Superdrug? It’s only £1.73 at the moment, which is beyond bargainous. Lemme know in the comments below, or tweet me @lucyjanewood.

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

BIG BEAUTY GIVEAWAY

Happy New Year, pals! I hope it's shaping up to be a good one for you already, and that you've already broken every single one of the resolutions that you promised to stick to. Because, as I talked about in my last chatty video, you don't need 'em anyway - especially that one about eating less cheese. Sounds like a terrible idea if you ask me.

ANYWAY, I wanted to start 2017 on my YouTube channel with something pretty exciting. Yup, we got a giveaway up in here, and the stuff that I've been gathering together for the past few months has actually amounted to an awesome prize which I can't wait to package up and send off to one of you guys. I'm super grateful for all the love and support that you're endlessly sending my way, and figured that it was about time I gave back something a bit more than my endless ramblings and life crises.

So, fancy getting your hands on a whole load of Zoella Beauty, Too Faced, Soap and Glory, YSL and Yankee goodies? Check out this nifty little gadget below to find out all the ways that you can be entered into my giveaway. GOOD LUCK CHUMS.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ahh, and here's the video for you to watch if you've got no idea what I'm on about.

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Sunday, 8 January 2017

DON'T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF

No, I’m not gonna sit and sing Jess Glynne’s pop anthem banger, sorry to disappoint you all so greatly when I know that’s what y’all came for. As much as I’d love to ('cos it's a tune), I actually want to talk about something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, which I think will probably resonate a lot with you guys.

Like pretty much everyone else that you watch on YouTube, I was going to sit down and film my 2017 New Years Resolutions this week. Just off the top of my head right now, I can think of a list longer than the Lord of the Rings trilogy, of life-changing, self-improving, highly responsible things that I was going to promise to stick to this year that would change me for the better.

I was going to tell you that I want to save more money, because I’m too irresponsible with my spending habits and will never be able to afford any property at this rate. I was going to say that I’d push myself further and work harder than ever to achieve my career goals, because so far I’ve failed to hit any of them properly. And of course, I was totally going to lose about fifty stone, because that's just what girls do when January rolls around. Cool.

But then, when I wrote it all down and started to look at this huge list of life changing habits that I was setting out to do over twelve months, the alarm bells started ringing. Suddenly, the NY resolutions weren’t as full of positive vibes as I’d anticipated, and actually, it revealed itself to just be a very vulnerable list of my own insecurities.

Every part of my life that I felt was insignificant and wasn’t yet good enough and needed to be changed asap in one neat, colour coded list. Which, when you think about it like that, isn’t a particularly fun thing to share with 27,000 subscribers.


Anyone who watches my videos will know that I have about ten life criseses a day. Maybe ten an hour sometimes. And I’ve realised recently that the main reason for those endless breakdowns and hours of self-questioning and self-doubt, are down to one thing - the pressure that I’m constantly putting on myself. On. Myself.

It’s hard to figure out where this pressure has actually come from - no one’s expecting it of me, and no one else specifically is putting it onto me. It’s a thing that, thanks to one society-related reason or another, I’ve created in my own head to make myself question where I’m up to and where I’m heading with every single aspect of my life. And because there’s so much pressure in my own head, everything I’m questioning becomes a self fulfilling prophecy of failure. Basically.

It’s taken nearly 26 years to learn this very simple fact, but taking a step back when you feel like this is the best thing you can do. Look at the bigger picture, and you realise that all of this self doubt, and the nagging desire to improve every single part of your life - it all comes from comparison. Comparison IS THE WORST.

You compare yourself to your parents who, at your age, were married, settled with children, working steady jobs and living in a three bedroom house that they officially owned with their hard earned money. Meanwhile, in my life…

You compare yourself to your mates, who’re making a fortune in their very intelligent job, happily  engaged and residing with bae in a cute little flat that they’re splitting a mortage with in their steady, loving relationship, where all they do is make homemade soup and go on lovely holidays together. Meanwhile in my life…

You compare yourself to every single person you follow on social media. That blogger you’ve got on Instagram who did yoga at 5am in a pair of £90 leggings, before walking her pomeranian down the Kings Road in a pair of Louboutins that were hashtag spon. Meanwhile in my life…


But here’s the trick that I’m finally starting to learn as I grow up. Remember to take that step back and learn to consciously block out these outside influences that are making you feel better. I’m not saying delete the internet from your life, I’m just saying to keep it all in very separate boxes from your own life, and not merge the two together.

If you didn’t know a single thing about how anyone else is doing - financially, romantically, appearance-wise, would you be more satisfied with where you yourself are up to? If you were someone else and you met you, would you tell them that they’re stuck in a rut, not making enough money, carrying too much thigh weight and not using their time wisely enough? Or would you tell them that they were a good person, a good laugh who’s a good friend with good taste in socks and the kind of girl that you wanna hang out with?

Here’s the message that I’m trying to put across: don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself credit where credit’s due, and don’t frame your qualities as things that forever need improving. Remember that you have these qualities, and they’re already huge achievements in themselves. You’re funny. You’re a great friend to pals who you care about. You’re constantly working hard, and you always give everything a good go. You like sitting in ugly, fleecey pyjamas watching Bridget Jones on ITV2, and if you like spending your spare time doing that, you don’t have to feel guilty about it.

You have a job, or you’re learning and growing. You’re earning money, standing on your own two feet or working hard to make sure that you soon will be. And that in itself is SO GREAT. You’re doing great. Wherever you’re at, you’re doing great.


When something goes wrong, or you mess something up so spectacularly and significantly that you’re left wondering whether every single brain cell you own has internally combusted, don’t sit and stew in self loathing. Actually, what’s happened is that you’ve learned a lesson - so maybe that’s something which could be celebrated instead.

By all means, strive for your goals and your dreams - that’s super important for personal growth and development. But setting yourself unattainable goals or beating yourself up when they are attainable and you just don’t do them - this is when the goals and dreams turn into something negative, and you resent yourself even more for not achieving enough. It’s all about affirmations, not resolutions.

You don’t need to change, you shouldn’t feel obliged to change or feel obliged to improve - you’re already fab and strong and beautiful as you are. Just always be aware that you can keep growing and improving - if you consciously choose to rather than feel as though you have to.

You know what, it’s hard enough to get through every single day without hating yourself, when society is constantly telling you that you SHOULD hate yourself and want to change every single thing about yourself. So just remember that these changes aren’t obligatory, remember that you’re doing okay. We’re all doing okay, if not better than okay. And actually, okay is pretty good right now.


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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

MY CHRISTMAS LIST 2016

So far this year I'm feeling about as Christmassy as an old sock that's fallen down the back of the bed and become home to a tiny ancient spider. There's been a lot of extremely un-festive worry and stress on my mind, meaning that Santa has remained firmly in a soggy cardboard box in the loft along with all of the decorations.

But after a text from my mum this week admitting that she had zero idea of anything to get for me, I figured it was about time to pull my elf socks up and get a handle on my Ho Ho Ho. Or something.

Here's what I'm asking for this year - and yep, I will be whipping out a printed version of this list and checking it twice on Christmas Day to make sure I receive EVERY SINGLE THING. I'm being sarcastic. Obviously.

This is designed to serve as a bonus gift guide more than anything, for anyone out there who is as intrinsically crap at buying presents for people as I am. Fingers crossed you find something cute on here. Happy Crimbo pals.

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