Tuesday, 26 April 2016

How To Stay Focused On Your Goals

A word we have all seem to have adapted in our day-to-day life this past couple of years .... 'hair goals' 'relationship goals' 'lunch goals' ..... but today I've talking about actual goals. Plans and dreams we all have and our small but mighty mission to get there.
I, for one, am someone who seems to constantly be making new goals - I want to do this or be like that, strive for this, pray for that! But actually getting those goals.... that's another story.

Over the last few years I've realised that if you want something, you can get it.
 As much as I believe in timings, gut feelings and thing that are meant to be - there's also the aspect of attracting your dreams, believing in yourself and doing everything you think you can to get there!

I've put myself on a right health and fitness mission this year, and although now and again I seem to fall off the wagon (damn hormones) I'm always straight back on it with that end goal in sight. (Alot different than that giver-upper Kirstie from a few years ago... booo we don't like her).

So I've decided to create a short list of ways to help you stay focused on your goals - no matter what they are! 
These will work for everything.... whether you want to loose 5lbs, saving £1000 or become an astronaut (which you can totally do if you want to you know..... I think I'd puke though).

1. Small steps = big distance
The easiest way to start your journey is to make those small steps. Even if it's just one step a week to start with.
For example - want to loose weight but feel like you have a long way to go? Week one, switch all your drinks to water. Week two, make sure you're eating at least 3 portions of fruit and veg a day. Week three, start walking at least 20 minutes a day. Slowly but surely you would have added in everything you wanted to change into your routine and you'll be surprised by how much you've changed by just changing one thing a week... they all add up and make a difference, no mater how small!
In the same way you can save money, instead of buying that Costa or Starbucks daily ("there are also other coffee suppliers available...."), put that £3 in a pot and watch it grow and grow.... all from having one less hot drink a day - bring on Barbados!

2. Reminders
Another simple but easy thing you can do it give yourself little reminders. Why are you doing this? Why is it going to benefit you? Change your phone wallpaper, make a vision board, write in a diary - just remind yourself often of that end goal and how amazing it's going to feel (even if it feels a million miles away, it be get here as long as you stay focused and determined!)

3. Record accomplishments
This is SUCH a motivator! Everytime you feel like you've overcome something, improved or got a little bit closer to that end goal.... write it down! Whether it's on your phone, in a book.... in a blog post?! 
You'll see this list grow and grow and you can try and beat it each month - progression is the key, you're not going to get to your goal in, like, a week are you? Not if it's a big life change!
So each month that passes by look back at what you did in that month to help you achieve your end goal. 
Every accomplishment starts with the decision to TRY.

4. Vision Board

They'll be a new post up very soon about these! As a child I was obsessed with making collages, cutting things out of magazines and creating.
Vision Boards are an amazing way to keep yourself on track and striving! I'm excited to start a new one for myself this week - and yes... you will be seeing it soon :)

5. Don't be hard on yourself 
We all need to press pause sometimes. There is no point in burning the candle at both ends and over-doing everything. I mean that does sort gear towards diet and exercise a little more but it can also be adapted for other things!
Everyone needs some 'me' time, time to forget about stresses and pressures (especially ones you're putting on yourself) 
Saving money? You can go out for dinner with your friends or buy that top. 
Eating well? One Krispy Kreme in a month isn't going to hurt is it?
Changing careers/studying? A day off to watch the Kardashians and rest your brain is okay.
Keep yourself motivated by having those pauses, you'll treasure them and feel so much better afterwards. Depriving yourself of anything is the easiest way to head straight back to the start line.

To get something you've never had you must do something you've never done. #truth

Remember the only reason why you don't fulfill your goals is because - you choose to give up half way through that journey. Imagine how you would feel if you got there .... remember that feeling... bottle it up and when you feel like giving up, remember it. 

(And now I've written this I have an excuse not to give up on my goals.... take your own damn advice girl!)

Friday, 22 April 2016

Easy Ways To Put A Smile On Your Face

1. Don't Waste Your Free Time
Have a passion? Hobby that you adore? Whether it's singing, painting, writing, running, whatever ... spend as much of your free time doing things that you love as you can. It's good for the sole and will improve your state of happiness no end. Even sitting here right now writing this, watching a Disney movie and drinking tea I feel a state of calm and happiness.

2. Write Down Your Achievements - No Matter How Small
Made someone smile? Beat your 5km personal best? Went for a whole week without chocolate? Write them all down in a notebook, as you fill up the days you can see what you've been doing and look back and your accomplishments and remember what you are capable of!

3. Spend More Time With The People You Love
I'm the first person to rejoice when someone cancels plans on me ... 'Yes, book and bed!' are my first thoughts but really spending time with the people you love is always bound to put you in a better mood. 
As much as you might want to get into your pyjamas and put cucumber on your eyes there's nothing better than a girly night in, catching up and talking about what's going on in Gerodie Shore  or spending the night playing monnopoly with your family - you'll be grateful afterwards.

4. Make That Happy Playlist
I've talked about this before on here. Everyone should have a 'Happy' playlist. A playlist full of songs that put a smile on your face, make you sing along and bring back amazing memories! Having a down day or a stressful afternoon at work? Put this on and go for a walk, fresh air and happy music will sort you right out and get you out of that funk.

5. Book Something
I don't know about you but having something to look forward too and aim towards always makes me smile. I booked V Festival last month which is so super exciting and I know having a holiday to countdown to is enough to make anyone smile..... fingers crossed it won't be too long until I've booked my own. (#prayingforDisneyworld)

6. Head To Your Favourite Spot
Mine's the beach near my house - so many happy memories and so relaxing. Just head to your happy place...... even if it's Primark and enjoy.

7. Look Through Old Photos
This is the best. Whether it be physical photos of your childhood or those hilarious teenage shots on Facebook from 2007 - looking back on old memories and fantastic hairstyle regrets will make you smile.

8. Have A Clearout
The best way to lift weight from your life - de-clutter and organise. You'll feel 100 times better afterwards, espically if you give your unwanted things to others.

9. Pamper Yourself
'Me' time is the best - have a few hours marathon watching your favourite movies/TV shows, eat your favourite foods, paintyour nails, pop on a face mask or glam yourself up..... all those things you always want to do but never make time for. 


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Lifestyle Book Haul

As you may have seen in one of posts recently - lifestyle books are something I am starting to invest in alot more. 
From health and fitness to positive thoughts, mindfulness and goal setting - there really is a book out there to help you with anything. 
I find it so motivating and helpful to have something on my bedside table to dip in and out of and I think it's not going to be long until I need to buy another bookcase for my home!

When I wrote my recent post (here) I asked if anyone had any book recommendations. Of course you awesome lovelies sent me some fab suggestions which sounded right up my street so ...... I went ahead and ordered some!

First of all was a suggestion from the lovely Emma (Owls and Stags) - with Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig.
 She told me it was amazing for anxiety and staying calm, which I struggle with alot and with it being less than £4 on Amazon I couldn't NOT try it out.

On first looks I was a little scared, it all seemed very much orientated about depression which is a deep, deep subject - but the reviews and comments I keep seeing everywhere seem to portray that this is an incredible book for anyone to read for a positive outlook on life.
I'm really looking forward to getting stuck in. 

Next was a book that I cannot believe I hadn't heard of before, it sounds like it was made for me! I am a super messy person. I cannot help it, I always have been .... but hopefully won't always be.
I know how much better I feel in myself when everything in my life is tidy - from home to work to even my handbag, it's so much calming when everything is in order and neat. (I'm just a bit pants at it sometimes.)
This book was recommend by Steph (Nourish Me Clean) and as soon as I heard the title - The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying - I knew I had to try it out.
I'm actually SO excited to read this.... I need all the tips I can get! I feel like I need to de-clutter my home from top to bottom and start again with everything in tip-top-tidy condition! Have any of you read this?
The third book I bought recently was one that had been in my saved items/wishlist on Amazon for months. Kate Hudson's - Pretty Happy.
'Healthy Ways To Love Your Body' is the tagline and something which I need to hear. I'm always in a constant battle with how I feel about myself and this book is said to be a fantastic guide to confidence and everyday all round happiness with yourself.

I've had a good flick through of this and it all looks amazing - so many different sections and amazing focus on the 4 main pillars to focus on to achieve a balanced, healthy life. There's also great places to fill out your own thoughts and personal details - an amazing book for travelling with.

Anymore books recommendations? Keep them coming! I'm sure over time I'll review these books in full - is there are any you would really love me to talk about then just let me know :)

Monday, 18 April 2016

Madara Detox Ultra Purifying Mud Mask Review

If you've been reading A Yellow Brick Blog for.... well..... however long - you will know I am a  huge lover of a face mask. Just once a week I love to cleanse my skin deep down and help it get a bit of a refresh.

These past couple of weeks I have been using this - Madara's Detox Ultra Purifying Mud Mask. Madara are a fairly new brand to the UK - they are based in Lavita and oh my good gosh some of their imagery is just stunning.... Latvia is now on my bucket list! (Check out their Instagram!)

This detox mask is made with Nordic Forest Lake Mud (snazzy huh?) it tightens pores, absorbs excess oils, binds toxins, hydrated and conditions leaving the skin revitalised and fresh - the perfect end of week pick me up.

I was a little weary when first reading the directions though - it mentions on the packaging that it is highly effective so therefore may cause temporary tingling or redness. With my track record of mask fails (I've had a couple of literal red faced moments) this put me slightly on edge. But... beauty is pain?! .... and I wouldn't know unless I tried.

It says to use for 5-10 minutes so to ensure the least amount of redness I went for just over 5 minutes.
I popped on a thin layer around my face and was pleased to see it drying within just a few minutes - I hate masks that take FOREVER to dry and get all tight and crusty.... I just like the feeling okay?
So after that 6 or 7 minutes I wiped off the mask with a warm muslin cloth and splashed my face with cold water - no redness no scary side effects... my skin felt and looked amazing.

I'm so impressed with the results this mask has given me. The perfect product to use pre-foundation free week and I've decided that this is now firmly in my Sunday night ritual. 
A relaxing evening with skincare prep for the week ahead, yes please. (Lets throw a Disney movie in there too, because... why not?!)
Because I only use a thin layer across my face each time I really don't have to use alot of product so I think this 60ml tube will last for months!

What are your favourite skincare treats? It's so nice to feel comfortable in my bare skin, this summer is definitley going to be more about going make-up free!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

A Week Without Foundation : How Did I Cope?

You may have spotted over on social media that for 5 days this past week I decided  to test myself.... can I live without foundation?

I have worn foundation more or less daily since I was about 14. Yes.... that is a long time, 12 years in fact, of slapping on a face full to hide bits and bobs about my face that I'd rather others didn't see.
I am lucky with my skin (*touches wood*), I've never been a big sufferer of spots or blemishes but I still use foundation like a security blanket, hiding redness here and there and creating an even toned base to work with.

As I'm getting older I'm slowly becoming more confident with my skin and the thought of going without foundation isn't actually that daunting or scary anymore. And after having a few of these thoughts last Sunday I thought I would give it go..... head to work and spend my week totally foundation free, how bad could it be?

Lets start of by talking pros.

1. Time Saving. Holy moly I didn't realise how much time cutting this step out of my make-up routine would save! I did cut down the products I use by half whilst going foundation free and it cut my make-up routine to just 5-10 minutes - perfect for when I'm running out the door each morning. 

2. Saving on products. Because I wasn't using foundation I also cut out my primer and bits and bobs for contouring and highlighting! The perfect way to save on my expensive products that I do like to use daily, not just foudantion. Plus.... it takes alot less cleanse and polish to remove the few products I was wearing, making that end of day ritual alot less of a pain in the butt!

3. My skin got to breathe! It was quite nice knowing that I didn't have a face-full of make-up just to go to work. Don't get me wrong if I still worked with the public I probably would feel a little different about this experiment but now I'm in an office with 3 other lovely ladies (1 of which I've known since I was a teen) I felt like it wasn't a big deal! My skin wasn't clogged to the brim with slap, it was nice.

Now.... a couple of cons.

1. My redness. The number one reason I wear foundation. I don't have rosacea (I don't think) but my skin does have red patches and it does have a tendency to go red - at the most annoying times!
 Our new office seems to be like a greenhouse so I have been SO warm and my skin has definitley been resonating it haha! Going to gym classes and on runs have really been showing aswell haha - my boyfriend couldn't believe how red I was the other night and all I could say was - this is what it's like with no foundation! Saying this.... it does feel alot nicer breaking a sweat without a face full of make-up clogging up my pores.

2. PALE. I felt SO pale.

My Foundation Free Routine
So I suppose you all want to know what products I WAS using? So let's chat.
I started off each morning with my using cleansing routine then popped on some of the Madara Ultimate FaceLift Day Cream (I thought if I wasn't going to be using a foundation I might aswell try and improve my skin in a different way.... I was aiming for ten years younger!).
I then used my Recover concealer which is made for redness to tackle around my nose and my eyes. I have to have a bit of a glow/shimmer as my dull skin is totes boring so I then dabbed a bit of MAC strobe cream on my cheek bones, down my nose and on my forehead. It was then just my eyebrows, which I use MAC eyebrow pencil and my lashes - Maxfactor Masterpiece Max mascara. They are two things that I definitely couldn't go without. 
That was it, my morning routine done and dusted - seriously.... so much time saved.

The Verdict
From now on I think that for normal work days and just day to day life.... I don't need foundation - I can't believe I'm saying that!
 If I'm off out with friends or spending the day somewhere then yes I will feel alot more comfortable with it on but for work int he office/the gym/popping out here and there - I'm going to go foundationless! (Bring on summer when I have a bit more of a tan though!)

What do you think? Could you go #FoundationFree for a week?

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

How I Work Out At Home : Part 1 - HIIT

Working out has slowly become a regular occurrence in my life again - *thank goodness* yells my un-toned, podgey stomach and bingo wings!
 Growing up I never thought I'd become a lazy and 'un-sporty' girl but after leaving school and becoming 'adult' the thought of exercising slowly went to the bottom of my life priorities and I lost total interest in breaking a sweat and being active.
For a girl who used to be in every school sports team, head to dance classes for hours on end each week and chose P.E. as both a GCSE and A Level - I had rocketed to the other end of the spectrum!

I've had fitness phases over the last few years but nothing that's ever seemed to last more thana  few months - except for walking.... although that's probably just due to the fact that I'm a 26 year old who cannot drive. (yes, I'm saying that in a Clueless quote kind of way!)

I now have a gym membership... yes me! haha..... which means I can take advantage of all the fitness classes they provide, which I have fallen in love with - Dance Atomic is SO much fun!

I'm feeling so happy now I'm back doing regular workouts, runs and classes and slowly but surely I'm seeing a difference. (If I'm not annoying you on social media yet with my updates.... then you're clearly not following me on enough platforms!)

 I can't always get over to the gym and some days early mornings workouts are my only option.
I've been to a few HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) classes recently - I love the variety of moves and working out my whole body and the timed music that's used (so motivating for me knowing there's only 10/20 seconds left haha!).

It was while I was listening to this music that it suddenly HIIT me (haha get it?)  .... they must have downloaded this 'soundtrack' from somewhere, I could soooo do this at home! So I headed onto Apple Music and searched for HIIT albums and there they were - so many different versions and difficulties, perfect!

I went for a playlist that lasted around 20/25 minutes. Each set being 4x 60 second efforts with 20 seconds rest inbetween.

This is amazing for a quick morning workout or even after work before dinner
I try to break a sweat 6 days a week now, so 20 minutes in my own home is perfect - who can't spare 20 minutes?
You don't need alot of room and you can choose whatever moves you want! Whether you want to focus on an area e.g. legs/abs OR work the whole body with a variety of moves (that's my favourite way and it gives parts of me a rest!)
I have a kettlebell that I use to add a bit of weight work into my routines which I love - it was only £10 from Littlewoods #bargain and I have a yoga mat that I use for floor work (no-one likes a carpet burn) but apart from that all I need is my phone with the music on loud to keep me motivated! 
Like I said before, during the workouts you are actually given updates like "half way there" and "10 seconds left" - which really help me to focus and give my all for that 1 minute of intense exercise. (Plus you get 20 seconds in between... perfect for a sip of water or hair adjustment.)

So.... I'm sure you are all wondering what I get upto so here's a list of 10 of my favourite moves to do whilst doing HIIT at home..... (not sure what they are... google is your best friend.)

1. The Plank - great for working and strengthening the core.
2. Mountain Climbers - for someone who hates burpees these are a great way of getting the heart rate up.
3. American Swings - this is a kettlebell move that I probably find more fun that I should!
4. Squats - Booty goals.
5. Bicycle Crunchesa great way to target the abs and obliques in one easy exercise - I really like to push myself on these.
6. Triceps Dips - again with the kettlebell, I have NO upper body strength so as much as these pain me I know I need to do them to improve!
7. Squat Pulses & Squat Kicks - Again .... I need a good butt so these should work wonders.... I hope!
8. Alternating Sit-Ups & Press-Ups - these kill me.... but that means they are working! I normally do 4 sit-ups then 4 press-ups!
9. Scissor Abs - My belly is one of the areas I am most conscious of - I love these as I can really feel like working my muscles.
10. High Knees or Sprint - Another great one for getting my heart rate up - I literally power through this as hard as I can - it's only for a minute..... but it always feels longer (I'm not sure my downstairs neighbour appreciates it though....)

Like this post? Keep your eyes peeled for Part 2 of my 'At Home Workout' series coming soon..... featuring a certain lady's DVDs.....


Sunday, 10 April 2016

4 Books To Help You Create A Positive & Healthy Lifestyle

Books books books! 
I bloomin' love books and reading in general for that matter so whilst delving into my mission of health, fitness and mindfulness recently I've come across a few books that have resonated with me so much that I feel a blog post is in order to share them all with you. From quotes to tips - these 4 books have become permanent fixtures on my bedside table.

First up - Start Your Day With Katie by Katie Piper. I have actually had this book for years but never, ever get bored of it. 
Each day there is a lovely quote or uplifting and positive message to start your day with. I have shared snaps of this book so many times across social media and I'm always getting asked what it is - is it a book? is it a diary? So here it is! 
Buy here

Next we have Health Hacks by Esme Floyd - a book I actually found on ASOS!
This handbag sized book is full of 500 simple solutions to help with everything from migraines and nausea to sleep and weight-loss.
Quick and easy snippets to guide you with more or less any symptom - dip in whenever you want more information on a health concern or problem! Definitley one to take on holiday with you too!
I literally can not recommend this enough - now to invest in the rest of the collection.... beauty hacks and fashion hacks!
Buy here 

Calm is a book that came into my life whilst taking part in #calmday earlier this month and wow - this book is amazing. 
You may have heard of the Calm app  (which I've just started using and it is brilliant) but you can now create a peaceful, calm environment and mentality with your very own book by Michael Acton Smith.  
This book is FULL to the brim with different tips, techniques, things to do, facts and ideas to help you along the way.
The book is divided into eight sections including Nature, Travel, Relationships & Food, this is the perfect thing to pick up as and when you need it to help you in any aspect of your life.

There's gorgeous imagery and fantastic bits for you to fill out yourself - just head to Twitter and search #calmday to check out some of the gorgeous pages inside! If you're an anxiety sufferer/worrier like myself I highly believe this book and the matching app are  fantastic ways to help ease any negative feelings you may have.
Buy here

Last but not least is 'The Feelgood Plan: Happier, Healthier and Slimmer in 15 Minutes a Day'. This book is by Dalton Wong, Jennifer Lawrence's very own personal trainer - and I mean.... if it's good enough for J-Law, then - gimme gimme!

'Dalton taught me how to eat, move and live a delicious but healthy life' - Jennifer Lawrence

First of all I just want to say the layout of this book is incredible! It's so easy to follow, keeps my attention and Dalton along with fellow author Kate Faithfull-Williams have literally thought of everything!
Not matter what stage of fitness or health you are in this is a winner, the attitude behind it is everything I need to help me stay motivated and on the right path for me and my life.
Buy here
Do you have any books recommendations? Leave them in the comments below! 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

The April Lust List


Sunday, 3 April 2016


It's okay to..... treat yourself.
Month in, month out I see my well-earned cash go on so many bills and general living costs (adulting really sucks sometimes).
 It's sad, that's life - but with the money I earn I also know that it's okay to treat myself now and again... I mean, shopping sprees, cupcakes.... that's what life is about right? 
It's okay to buy that pair of trainers you've been dreaming of or sneak in a cupcake after a workout. Balance is key but treating yourself is a necessity.  

It's okay to..... be confident!
This is something I get green with envy with. Confidence can sometimes be seen as arrogance but it's SO okay to be confident in yourself, in fact it's pretty bloody brilliant!
Knowing who you are and being okay with it, that is amazing. Nowadays there is SO much pressure on being perfect, we compare ourselves to others far too much and as much as I preach about positivity and owning it..... I'm STILL one of those girls scanning through Instagram wishing I had 'this' or looked like 'that'.
I can't wait for the day where I except who I am, what I have and what I look like, be content and not fuss about every single little thing.

It's okay to..... love your own company.
I wish more people understood this. It is totally okay to love your own company. You're not boring or a loner. I, for one, LOVE my own company, I love having evenings to myself, my own thoughts and all the things I love to do. I think being happy with your own company is actually really healthy so please don't feel weird if you're in constant need of some alone time and just want to do your own thing.

It's okay to..... CRY.
Good god YES!
 It is okay to cry. There's times in fact that it's just bloomin' necessary... even if you don't even know why you're crying - let it out, you'll feel much better!

It's okay to..... have your own passions and interests.
For a long time alot of things I love I wouldn't share or talk about with others as I thought they wouldn't care/ would laugh/ would think I was weird. But now I've realised having your own loves and interests is what makes us different - whether it's our choice of music or TV shows or even the hobbies in which we decided to spend our spare time doing (*cough*blogging*cough*). Share youre passions, be proud of your personal activities - I mean all those different things about us is what makes us more interesting as people. Whether you're bird watching, listening to classical music or line dancing, be you, enjoy your passions. 

It's okay to..... say no.
That is all.
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