Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Christmas Tag

HI lovelies, I hope you are all well and all ready for Santa coming!! I was tagged by the wonderful Jen from The Life and Style of Jen for tagging me to do the Christmas tag. I love Christmas but with it comes a mixture of joy and sadness, but I loved the questions in this tag all for different reasons, so thanks Jen for tagging me

Question 1
What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
This is easy for me, it has to be Home Alone but it’s a tough choice between 1 and 2, but I would have to say the original one. It may be a Christmas movie but I am not ashamed to say I could watch this all year round.

Question 2
Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
We always open our pressies on Christmas Day, but I do get to choose one to open in bed on Christmas Eve, it was a tradition as a child and it’s just carried on through till now, and I love it, although I must admit when I open one I just wanna rip the rest apart, please tell me it’s not only me who feels like this!

Question 3
Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
For me this is a question tinged with sadness but is still a great memory. As most of you know I lost my mummy on paddys day 2011, she was very poorly and spent Christmas 2010 in hospital but defied the odds and got out in February. My mum adored Christmas, she loved everything about it and having her Christmas dinner was always her favourite part, so a few days before she passed she felt up to celebrating so I cooked a turkey and we had a full blown xmas day, she was so happy and to see her across that table is a memory I will cherish, unfortunately mum passed suddenly a few days later, but it was nearly like she held on to have her Christmas.
This picture was taken on xmas day 2010 she was such a character, the woman was so strong it was truly inspirational

Question 4
Favourite Christmas Food?
It has to be my trifle, it is so simple yet I could literally eat it till I am ill

Question 5
Favourite Christmas Gift
In terms of a physical gift that’s a toughie I have had some beautiful gifts through the years, but I think the main one was a stunning diamond bracelet that my hubby bought me just before our wedding at Christmas. It was made in the same design that my wedding band was, and it holds precious memories.
Another one that really sticks out was the Christmas of 2009 and mum and dad bought us a set of goats from the Oxfam unwrapped site. It was a lovely gift and now every xmas I buy goats or sheep in mums name and get a gorge card sent to daddy.

Question 6
Favourite Christmas Scent
This question is a fab one because every Christmas mum and dad would have taken me into town to get a bottle of perfume, it’s just a little tradition, and for the past few years I have been getting the Giorgio Armani She perfume, Dad and I were just in town a couple of days ago getting this years

Question 7
Have you any Christmas Eve traditions?
The biggest tradition at Christmas is that daddy and I still set the dinner table together. No one else gets to touch it and to this day we still do it. Normally there are a few tears shed but it’s one of those things that I won’t stop doing. This tradition is special to me, and it’s always been our little thing.

Question 8
What tops your tree?
The past few years since mum passed I have used her red angel as our topper, it doesn’t match with our teal and purple decorations but I don’t mind. Up till then it was a very old angel that was on mum and dad’s old tree, but it’s packed away safely for now. Although Mr. preener is hankering for a captain America shield for the top next year!

Question 9
As a kid what was the one extravagant gift you wanted but never received?
I have to admit, being an only child meant I was very very lucky at Christmas and in all honesty there wasn’t anything I wanted that I never got, gosh I sound spoilt don’t I!

Question 10
What’s the best part of Christmas for you?
Before mummy passed it was just all of us sitting round opening gifts, watching TV etc, but now the main part of our day is our service in church then our visit to the grave to release balloons and lay flowers. It’s just a time to share, to cry and to share some memories and thoughts. Presents come and go but those few minutes at the cemetery last a lifetime for me

Just a little throw back pic here for you all, I look happy but supposedly i was terrified!!

So that’s all the answers, and I have to admit there are a few tears, but I think it’s good to remember the good times we all shared at Christmas.

I would like to tag


Friday, 4 December 2015

Womens Christmas Gift Guide

Hi my lovelies, i hope you are all fab! Today i am back with a little Christmas gift guide. Maybe you still need to buy the mother in law or the bestie, or you might even fancy a wee treat for yourself. So read on and let me know what you think.

White Polar Bear Flannel Pjs
Nothing screams Christmas, than a nice new cosy pair of pyjamas and these ones from Debenhams are just gorgeous. The print is so festive and i can just imagine cosying up with these on Christmas Night with a movie and little festive tipple. They are £25 and they range from a size 8 to a 20. I love the traditional but cute look to these and i am sure all of us would love to find a pair of these under the tree.

Elaine Earrings
These amazing statement earrings are from a lovely Irish company called My Shining Armour and are a total bargain at only £14 and whats even better the company offers free worldwide shipping, more money to spend on a treat for yourself i think!! These will be stunning for Christmas parties and all year round, they can take a plain black dress to a showstopper within seconds. I would definitely be happy to find these under the tree!

Kate Spade Mini Rose Gold Notebook
Nothing says Christmas more to me than writing lists, yes i know i am one of those list writers but it gives me the chance to buy all the pretty stateionay and use the excuse its to stay organised. Hippenings have the most beautiful choices of stationary online and this one would be perfect for the handbag, for lists or ideas on the go. It is 16.50 in Euros which works out at just under £12 which is a great price for such a fab brand and design.

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm Tree Decoration
This cult product has been made into the cutest tree decoration and is priced at £10 from Space.NK. For the price you get 15ml of product and one of her cleasnsing cloths. These are a great way to try a product without having to pay out for the full price and not be sure if you like it. This would make a beautiful addition to any tree or stocking this year.

Blank Canvas Cosmetics- My Face and Eye Professional 12 piece brush set with cup holder
Without a doubt Blank Canvas has made a name for themselves in the world of cosmetics, but their stand out products are their great value and amazing quality brushes. This set is the perfect one to start your brush collection or just to add some staples into your collection. It has everything you need to create a flawless face, and the cup holder is the perfect companion for them and is great for travelling. The price is an amazing £72.32 and for 12 brushes this is great value.

Story Horse Teal Twist and Turn Slouch Socks
I had the pleasure of receiving these as a gift from the ladies at Storyhorse, and I couldn't get over how cosy they were. These are a gorgeous teal and are priced at £25. My feet have never felt so good, even Mr Preener has been eyeing them up! They have the softest lining and are great for keeping cosy on a cold night

So thats just a few little ideas for you to consider, hope you enjoyed
Lots of love and happy shopping

Ali x

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Story Horse Belfast

Hey my lovelies, I hope you are all really well!
Today I have a lovely post on a wonderful business based in Belfast called Story Horse, you may have heard me raving about this brand on social media recently, so read on to see why.

Story Horse is a great brand whose ethos of having fun, getting your boots muddy and creating memories is embedded in their site and their products reflect this ideal. Recently the company had a beautiful A/W launch, and unfortunately I was unable to attend, so the lovely ladies at Story Horse sent me the most gorgeous package. In the package was the Twist and Turn Slouch Socks in Teal and the gorgeous Breezy Day Wallet in a bright and cheerful purple and yellow colour.

To say I was over the moon was an understatement, these gifts couldn't have come at a better time. Cosy socks to keep my tootsies warm and a lovely purse to keep all my pennies safe!

The teal twist and turn socks retail at £25 and they are the softest and cosiest socks I have ever used. These have the cutest grey pom poms on them and are made with 50% wool which makes them super warm. The lining is cosy and I promise you wont have cold feet with these! The teal and the grey work in perfect contrast, and I have spent lots of time snuggled up on the sofa with these on, even hubby has been looking at them thinking could he steal them on me!

The Breezy Day Wallet retails at £25 and is a gorgeous yet practical wallet. I don't know about you, but some purses these days may be lovely to look at but in reality they aren't that practical, either they are too big, not enough card slots or not a good zip. Well trust me this one is fab. Its very sturdy and has 14 card slots, which is fab. Plus they have their name on the zipper which is a great little addition and great promotion for the company.

So thanks to the lovely ladies at Story Horse I have cosy feet and a fab purse for the winter. If you would like to check out the items you can buy the wallet here and the socks here

You can find Story Horse at the following links:

Let me know what you think and if you head to the website, let me know your favourite items.

Lots of love
Ali xxx


Saturday, 7 November 2015

Can exercise help stress? guest post by David McKinley PT

Hey my lovelies, today I have another post from my fab friend David a personal trainer who has been kind enough to write a couple of posts for you all. Today is all about stress and how doing some exercise can help aleviate it. Obviously before entering into any exercise you should seek professional and medical advice.


So in the last blog we looked at some of the factors that can influence how stressed you are and the effect that can have on your body. Can we eliminate stress completely, in short no. If we could I would be looking for a way to monetise it and live on an island.        


While not being able to get rid of it we can however try and reduce it or at least it’s affect on our bodies. A lot of people these days will revert to things like a pill or alcohol as a way of reducing stress, these are however quite destructive them selves and come with some effects. I always recommend Exercise as a great way of affecting stress so let’s look at some of the reasons why. 

Exercise in any form has a huge impact for good on your mind and body. We know this right? I’m not telling you anything new. The problem from what everyone is telling me is that they are so stressed and so short of time that you don’t have the ability to fit this great tool in to your schedule. (We will address this in the third instalment) So first of all why is Exercise so good for you?
Endorphins: Exercise pumps up your brain to release some of the ‘feel good’ hormones called Endorphins, we have all heard of these, Chocolate also releases these but unlike chocolate exercise doesn’t add extra calories in to your diet. I’m not saying don’t eat chocolate by the way. 😀 Meditation: Think of it as meditation in motion. You will find that after a run, jog or a few laps of a swimming pool that whatever stress of the day you had when you went in doesn’t seem as stressful anymore and have started to drift away a bit. Partly this is because for that short time you are concentrating on just the movement you’re are doing or your breathing. For me that’s why I personally like lifting weights, I focus on form and breathing during it and whatever I was thinking about before goes right out of my head.

This idea of focusing on something repetitive is a big part of meditation. I won’t talk about that any further now because I could do a whole other post on that! Confidence and Mindset: Exercise can increase your mood on a day to day basis. Think of the scenario, you are unhappy with your body which you are in 24 hours a day, this can massively effect your mood. So lets imagine that instead of focusing on the scales you start running and you start small by trying to walk a mile everyday and then increase it to the point where you are able to do your first 5K. You body will have changed so much in that time you will feel much more confident about it and with hitting new records over time for how long or fast you can run you will also gain confidence in your own ability. This all has a carry over in to your daily mood and how you approach something, if you have gone from struggling to walk a mile to running a 5K you can bet when you are presented with a challenge somewhere else in your life you will feel better about overcoming it.

I know what you might be thinking - “Alright, we get it, I need to exercise but I’m really busy”
Don’t worry I’ve got your back. In the next post I will talk about my 10 ways to get a little more exercise in your day.

If you want to ask me any questions about Health, nutrition, or fitness in general you can drop me an email - David@sustainablefitnescoach.com Like the Facebook page and send me a message on there — www.facebook.com/sustainablefitnesscoach I’m also on Instagram - @sustainablefitnesscoach

Friday, 23 October 2015

Maybelline Mascara Lash Sensational Review

Hey lovelies, hope you are all really well!!

I haven’t used a Maybelline mascara since the last craze of “the falsies” one which I adored!, but after hearing so much about this one I thought why not give it a wee go. You can get this in Superdrug, Boots and other high street stores and online. It retails around £7.99 which is a great price, and you can always find a 3 for 2 deal or buy one get one half price deal somewhere, which is me just justifying the need for more make up! Tell me I am not the only one who does this!!

Now onto the mascara, it is in a gorgeous lilac purple tube and the wand is a large curved rubber brush. I found it so easy to apply a nice amount of product to my lashes as the shape of the wand hugged the lashes well. The only negative about the size of the wand is that on the bottom lashes sometimes I find myself getting a little on my face but it’s nothing a cotton bud won’t fix.

My lashes didn’t clump but instead they fanned out quite well and held the curl well. I chose to get the waterproof one as I wanted the longevity and boy did it stay! I think that one coat is a nice amount for a day time look and I build it up for nights out, 2 coats gives a gorgeous effect, and if you really want to amp it up use 3 coats for a real false lash effect.
When it came to removing this is where you could tell it was long lasting, I ended up using micellar water, and an oil cleanser to remove it, and even then I didn’t feel it was fully off.

Personally my lashes didn’t feel dry or crispy using this and it’s became a firm favourite in my makeup bag.

Have any of you tried it, or is there something similar on the market you think I should try. Let me know 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Anxiety Coping Techniques

Hey my lovelies

Anxiety... What a word with so many meaning to so many of us. A lot of you reading this if you are anything like me, then even the word anxiety makes me anxious, as it gives me the stark reminder of what I like many of you go through day in day out.

So what actually is anxiety??
To me and you, anxiety can be many things. It can be the feeling of being panicked or worried, on edge, uneasy, tearful and not being in control or able to relax to name only a few things. It can manifest itself physically as well as mentally.
Physically you can get short of breath, a pounding heartbeat, flutters in your stomach, dizzy, sweaty and chest tightness. All these can lead to a panic attack. Mentally it can make you nervous, on edge, angry, teary and everything in between.
Anxiety can also be a symptom of other conditions including panic disorders, depression, chronic illness and post traumatic stress. Obviously anxiety can play a major role in many illnesses and if you think your anxiety is coming from something I urge you to seek help.

As you can see already, anxiety is a very complex illness and without a doubt this is something I have found out myself.  There is no way to describe it and when you are in the grips of it, it can take over every cell of your body. This for me is why I decided to write this post on how I try and cope with my anxiety issues. My anxiety has been up and down for many years since childhood, but since I took ill at university over 10 years ago the anxiety has worsened. Over the years it has been hard at times to cope with it, but then others I have been able to cope. We had a serious car crash at xmas last year, you can see some of my updates from it in my you tube channel. This picture was actually taken the day of the crash at the Xmas Market in belfast, and my heart drops every time i think of what could have been.

www.youtube.com/passionsandpreening and since that my anxiety has got to a level that it effects my whole life.  It leaves me not wanting to leave the house a lot of the time or get into a car. I try and use the following techniques regularly to help myself.  Obviously not all of these ways of coping will help or interest you, but there might be something that you want to try.

Without a doubt I needed the medication when I fell to my worst point soon after the accident. I now take a combined anti depressant and anxiety tablet daily and when I need it I take extra diazepam. I totally understand medication will not be for everyone but personally I felt I was at my lowest and at that time it was the best decision for me. It was a decision that was not taken lightly and was thoroughly discussed with my GP.

Maybe counselling or therapy is something that you feel you could benefit from. There are lots of great charities eg Mind that can help find a private therapist, or you can talk with your GP about a referral for therapy. Lots of people get great help from therapy and it is something I have been referred for the anxiety, unfortunately like everywhere our NHS waiting lists are long and stretched for these services, but I am happy I took the first step in getting the referral.

When I start to feel anxious I feel that just taking a few minutes to sit and think of my happy place or times where I wasn’t anxious is a great way to detach myself from the anxiety and let myself be free even for a few minutes. Decide what your happy place is and just clear your mind and think about this place. Obviously if you are in the full grips of an attack this will be extremely hard to do, but I find if I can do this when anxiety is just starting it has helped to stop the attack.
Don’t bully yourself for feeling the way you do, instead acknowledge it
Personally when I am in the complete hold of anxiety, I get very hard on myself. I tell myself things like, don’t be silly, snap out of it, catch yourself on, but a while ago a really good friend of mine told me to stop and actually acknowledge how I was feeling. I try now and talk to myself and repeat things like, it’s ok to have these attacks, you will get passed it, you will be ok. Allowing myself that acknowledgment has really helped me.

Colouring in
Yes you did just read that right! Recently adult colouring in books have become very popular and hubby bought me one in our local Waterstones not that long ago. So now at night I try and do a little piece of a page and I don’t work in colour patterns, I just go with the colours I fancy at that time. It lets your head get out of that negative space and it helps me focus my mind on the book and not the anxiety.

Take a bath
One thing I hear so many people talk about is how nice a bath with a few candles and a lush bath bomb is. Unfortunately we don’t have a bath here but what I do like to do is have a shower in the evening and use a body wash with lavender in it to relax me.

Pamper yourself
Get a nice face mask on, paint your nails or maybe just cuddle up on the sofa with a cosy blanket, cuppa and film. I think taking some time out for you is really beneficial when it comes to managing anxiety, as sometimes our lives get so busy we just go through the motions. Taking time to pamper myself has really helped me relax.

Take a walk or do some exercise
Physical activity releases endorphins which are the body’s natural feel good factor and these help to reduce stress levels and in turn may help your anxiety problems. For me heavy exercise isn’t an option but even if I get 5 minutes in the fresh air it really helps.  The other night I was extremely anxious and I knew I needed out into the air, all I done was walk not even 5 mins round our avenue, but taking some big deep breaths in and slowly walking really helped and I was able to refocus on feeling ok.

Writing your feelings down and binning them
I never really understood how beneficial this could be till this year. Any counselling I had in the past had talked about using this method for my depression but I never knew it could really to help with my anxiety. I tried it a couple of times after the accident and it really helped. It wasn’t a nice well written piece of work, but it was raw and emotional, questioning why and how. Then when I finished it I ripped it to shreds and binned it, and whilst binning it I focused on letting go of the questions and all of the fears and negativity surrounding the accident.  I wouldn’t say it helped everything at all, but what it did do was give me a safe outlet to be able to share all my feelings.

This might sound like a flippant statement to end on, but if you are anything like me, when my breathing starts to go from the anxiety I have found myself holding my breath not realising I am doing it. So now I really try and focus on taking long deep breaths in then out my mouth.  When in the grips of an attack you won’t be getting as much o2 in as you need so this helps this aspect, but what it also does is gives you something to focus on. I really try and work on my breathing as I feel it has helped loads.

So there you have it, just a few ways I use to try and control this rotten illness.  Be kind to yourself, look after yourself and always remember you can get through it

Love Ali


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Lidl Nail Polish Remover Review

Hey my lovelies

Whilst nosying around snapchat one night, Ciara from Food Fashion and the Fight was talking about a nail polish remover she got from Lidl for under £2. Now I must admit I would have never thought on picking this up if I hadn’t heard Ciara rave about it. So off I popped to my local Lidl and grabbed it! The bottle itself is a great size and has this fab pump top which means no more possibility of knocking it over and it going everywhere!!

 Basically you just place the cotton pad on the top of the bottle and give it a couple of pumps and you will have enough to remove polish from one hand.
Huge kudos to Lidl for this design feature as I think a lot of us would agree something like this makes life a lot easier, and it cuts down on waste for me.
There are two types of remover on offer, the acetone and non acetone, and I chose the classic one with the acetone. It’s just personal preference which one you use, but this was the only one available to me.

So then I thought right how good could this actually be for the price, will it leave my nails dry and sensitive, will it even remove my glitter polish!!
So, on my nails I had 2 layers of OPI nail envy as my base, 2 coats of a red polish, from the pound shop by the way and it’s amazing! And the two coats of an Essence top coat.
Well in all honesty I was shocked, I held the soaked pad to my nail for a few seconds and wiped it off and it basically all came off. The second wee rub and my nail was as clean as a whistle, and not the slightest hint of dryness or sensitivity in sight.

Without a doubt I have been pleasantly surprised at how well this nail polish remover has performed and for a couple of quid I suggest you give it a whirl.
Also on a side note go give Ciaras blog a wee read, she is one of the most inspirational ladies I know!


Ali x

Friday, 9 October 2015

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Hey my lovelies

Today I decided, I would give you a little look into my breakfast ideas. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is one that is often forgotten about today, with so many of us being so busy in the morning, we might grab something and go or not have anything at all. Personally I have only recently started being mindful that I am consciously making time to eat something however small every day.

These few recipes I have included I love making as they are quick and very simple, no fluffing about for hours!!  The only one that requires a little more time is the healthy fry up but that one I save for the weekend with hubby.

Overnight Oats
Place 30g of rolled oats into a kilner type jar and cover just enough with milk. I use semi skimmed milk as I just can’t get use to the almond milk yet, but I know a lot that use milk alternatives. Give your mixture a little stir. Sometimes I will add in berries at this stage like strawberries and blueberries, then add a little sprinkle of seeds. Normally its chia seeds or one of the multi seeds, a teaspoon is enough for me, but again the amount you use is personal choice.  Normally I will add more fruit in the morning, and at the minute I am loving pineapple with the berries.
This is a recipe you can really play around it and depending on what you have in the fridge or what you fancy they possibilities are endless.

Some mornings I like something warm especially coming into the colder weather, and I think an omelette is perfect for this.  My favourite is just a plain omelette with some ham and a sprinkle of cheese. I whisk up 2 eggs, a dash of milk, some salt and pepper, and my ham. Then I get my pan ready and pour in the mix and let it cook. To cook the top I will put it under the grill for a couple of minutes. I then add my cheese but you can add the cheese into the egg mix before cooking. Again the possibilities are endless. If I am having a late breakfast I might add peppers and onions in to add some texture and get some extra veg. This is a great way to use up some left over veg to cut down on waste.

Cereal, yoghurt and fruit
This is my go to on lazy days. It’s simple but its filling and you will get some good nutrients into your body to start the day. I like to get my little heart bowl out that I got in b and m bargains for a couple of quid and put 2 to 3 tablespoons of low fat natural yoghurt mixed with 1 teaspoon of stevia natural sweetener. Then on top I will put whatever fruit I have, normally it will be pineapple, strawberries grapes or banana. Then I will top with my cereal, at the moment my cereal of choice is all Bran, but again this is totally personal to you. Sometimes I will put this layered into a nice glass. I think a lot of the time if I like the look of it, I will enjoy it more.

Healthy Fry up
I love having this with Mr Preener at the weekend, and it’s such a healthy alternative to the normal grease laden frys. Normally we use the Linda McCartney Rosemary and Red Onion sausages; these are so yummy and so much healthier for you than normal sausages. They taste meaty but have a gorgeous flavour also. I dry fry all my meat in a ceramic pan. We will have some rashers with the fat cut off. Then some beans, mushrooms done in a little frylight, hubby will have tomato and we will finish it with either a toasted pancake or 2 pieces of brown toast.
It really feels like you are having a naughty meal when in actual fact it’s pretty healthy.
Breakfast Wrap
This is yummy for on the go and filled with the right things can be really filling and again healthy.  I use one of the wholemeal wraps or the weight watchers ones, and fill it with 2 of the Linda McCartney sausages cut up, mushrooms, rashers and a wee taste of your favourite sauce.  If I am having my wrap at home then sometimes I will put some scrambled egg in mine, it’s gorgeous!

I hope I have given you a little inspiration for some very quick, easy breakfast ideas. Let me know if you try any.

Ali x

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Girls Night In with Vita Coco NI

Hey my lovelies

So what’s better than a girlie night in watching a great DVD and gossiping, add in some cocktails!! We are well into October now and I hate to say it but Winter is coming, but we can relive our summer memories with a  girlie cocktail night using some beautiful Vita Coco NI coconut water lemonade.
All you need is your fave girls, some cheesy music and a few ingredients and you have a great night in.

Vita Coco Coconut water lemonade is made with lemon purree and coconut water, and it is so refreshing and yummy! It really reminds me of the old fashioned lemonade you would have got that has that real genuine lemon taste to it. At the minute I am really trying to up my water intake, and sometimes have one of the little 330ml cartons as a treat at night, as it feels I am getting something naughty.

Talking about naughty lets get on to the girls night, so grab your girls and read on for some fun cocktail ideas. I have given these random girly names so i hope you like them.

Fashionably Fruity
This cocktail is a fusion of fruit, Malibu rum and cocnut lemonade. For this i would recommend per person
150ml cocnut lemonade
35ml Malibu
Strawberry liquer to taste
Sprig of mint

This might be too much cocnut for some but if you add the mint in, it will cut through it making it not as sweet. I would serve this in a tall glass over crushed ice.

Luxuriously Lucious
This would be my favourite and includes prosecco. I would suggest a glass of prsecco with maybe 50ml of the lemonade just to give it a kick. You can also add in some grenadine to this one or a fwe strawberries.

Obviously not everyone drinks, and in all honesty my hangovers get so bad that i get put off drinking these days, but i do love a mocktail or two.

Refresh Yourself
Here you can use the 330ml carton of lemonade, with a little sugar syrup, strawberries and a squeeze of lime. I think these combinations of flabours together would be so refreshing and tasty.
In my opinion the best way to drink this lemonade is in a tall glass over lots of ice, pink umbrella is optional!

Sometimes a drink doesn't need fancy flavours and added flavours and the coconut lemonade is one of them. It could easily pass off as something more luxurious!

So i hope if you get your girls together you try these cocktails, or even if you make your own variation let me know

Lots of love gorgeous preeners

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Little Life Update

Hi my lovelies
I hope you are all really well. I just want to give you a little update as to why I have been quiet for the past fortnight.
So, uni has started back again last week and this is my last term, I cant believe my degree will be over. A degree in business studies shall be mine, well hopefully unless I really mess up this final year. Say a prayer that doesn't happen!  So I was getting sorted for that, and Scott has started his new job which has been a huge adjustment personally for the both of us.

My health hasn't been great the past few weeks, just things getting on top of me and me not being able to put the measures in to cope with them the way I normally would, but now I feel I am getting on top of it. I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow to discuss a couple of things so hopefully I can sort this anxiety out.
As you all know, we had a bad car crash last Christmas, and my anxiety has went nuts, I have been on medication but I feel its not just doing the best job possible at the minute so I want some advice tomorrow.
I will have a post up soon about how I try and cope with my anxiety but always remember what works for me may not work for you, but I hope you will get some information from it.

I rejoined Slimming World a couple of weeks ago, and between Scott leaving for his new job and Dad taking ill, I have used food as a crutch again, this is my real weak point so any advice etc would be amazing. I will stick at it though and a good positive is I am very aware of my mindless eating now, so I am going to work on that

My last little update that a lot of you will know if you follow me on my snapchat (alison2603) if you fancy a nosy! Is that my wonderful daddy had a stroke in his eye a couple of weeks ago and has lost some vision in one eye. It could have been a whole lot worse, so I just count our lucky stars that it wasn't. The main thing that has came from this, is that he is not allowed to drive till at least the end of October, which for daddy is like cutting his right arm off. He is so independent and hes my rock and my wee taxi driver so its been a strange couple of weeks, but fear not he has applied for his bus pass so maybe he will start taking day trips!! We could blog about them lol

So the long and short of it is, I let life get in the way of the blog and I shouldn't have. I am back on track now and have a few posts ready to be wrote and pictured, so blogging will resume Friday and Tuesday.
This Friday you will have a post on how to do a girls night in with the help of Vita Coco NI, cocktails and mocktails with a cocnut twist.

I have a little competition running on Facebook to win a Mac Lippie so come over and enter

So for now I will sign off because I really need to go get ready for uni boohoo
Apologies for the lack of chat etc but I promise I will be back to normal soon.

Come say hi on my other social media
Twitter passionandpreen
Facebook passionsandpreening
Snapchat alison2603
Instagram passionsandpreening

Chat soon my wonderful preeners
Ali xxx

Friday, 4 September 2015

Guest Post from Sustainable Fitness Coach-- Stress and how it effects you

Hey my lovelies today i have a guest post from my wonderful friend David McKinley, a great guy with a wealth of knowledge. He will be sharing three posts over the next few months on a few different areas. Today's post is all about stress and how it negatively affects the body
Hope you all enjoy it

We are all stressed right?

From the student that has exams coming up or the mum that is trying to hold down a job and take care of the kids and try and have a social life of some description, let’s not forget all you stressed bloggers out there. :-) 

Over the next 3 blog posts from me I will be covering 3 topics:
  1. The cause of stress and the Negative impact it can have on the body
  2. Why you might want to use exercise to combat stress
  3. What exercise types to use and how to fit them in to a busy schedule.
First of all what is stress?
The dictionary says "pressure or tension exerted on a material object
In this instance the material object referred to here will be you!
Stress is everywhere in our life and different triggers exist for different people:
  • Work
  • Money
  • Time
  • Partners
  • Children
  • The news

Some of these things have a really positive effect on our lives but they also bring stress with them. That doesn’t mean they are a bad thing.
One thing I would like you to think about is that none of these things actually cause stress in your life. Stress is caused by you, not the things you perceive it to be. It's how you react to the things above and other factors that cause the stress.

Have you ever noticed how certain things will stress some people but not affect others? This is simply about how people react differently to stress triggers, even the most laid back people have something that will do it for them.
So what actually happens in your body when you are stressed?
Sorry if it get’s too technical here- 

The stress response starts with a signal from the part of your brain linked to the autonomic nervous system, which rules involuntary body functions such as breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, and digestion. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus—preparing you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand.

At the same time, the body functions not needed for fight or flight—such as the digestive and immune systems—stop working and the repair or growth of body tissues slows. Your body isn’t brilliant at knowing what is an everyday annoyance and what is actually something that is threatening.
As a side note this is why some people feel sick when they are stressed, if you have food in your stomach your body has decided it isn’t going to need it within the next few minutes so it decides to get rid of it the quickest way it can (throwing up).

One of the effects of long term stress is increased Insulin resistance, it does this to leave more energy available for your muscles (remember we are in fight or flight) with more glucose (sugar) in your blood for long periods of time you are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes. 
Also you will have Cortisol pumping around your body, its main purpose is to replenish your energy stores and you have done the fighting or the fleeing so it will make you hungry and over eat, this isn’t very helpful in our modern world when stress is elevated for long periods of time because it causes you to be hungry. Every heard of stress eating? This is what causes it.

In summary 
Stress = more sugar in your blood = increased risk of Diabetes
Stress = more Cortisol = higher hunger levels and likelihood of overeating leading to weight gain.
Stress = No Bueno!

In the next blog I will talk about Exercise and the effect it has to reduce stress on the body.

A little bit about me - 
I’m someone who has always worked with people, retail, bars, customer service and now helping them gain confidence and feel better about themselves.
I know what it’s like, I’ve been there. I was always the chubby kid and that followed me into Uni where I piled on a lot of weight and then into my mid twenties.
I tried some extreme things where I cut out all carbs or tried to cut down my calories by cutting out entire meals! I was never in to exercise or the gym and had no clue what I was doing. 
I HATED MYSELF - I was really unconfident, didn’t like shopping for clothes or going out much because of how I felt about myself.

This was until I had had enough one day, the pain of the pressure I was putting on myself and the unhappiness I had about my body just got too much and I decided to do something about it. a long story and several years later I’m now much more confident about myself, I love going out and getting compliments and actually like going shopping for clothes knowing that I can find things I want to wear.

If you want to ask me any questions about Health, nutrition, or fitness in general you can drop me an email - David@sustainablefitnescoach.com
Like the Facebook page and send me a message on there — sustainablefitnesscoach
I’m also on Instagram - @sustainablefitnesscoach

Thanks to David for a great post, and I am sure you will all look forward to his nexr one about how exercise can reduce the effect of stress on the body

Bye for now my lovelies
Ali xxx

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Ten things you didn’t know about me!

Hi my lovelies, hope you are well. Today I have a fab tag post all about ten things you don’t know about me. I was tagged by the fabulous Grainne from Tres-Belle which is an amazing blog that you should definitely go check out Tres-Belle

I love these tags as it lets you know more about me, and it gives me time to think about things outside of the norm.

So I have to answer 10 questions set by Grainne so lets get going!

Who are my top 3 bloggers at the moment?
This is such a hard one as I have found so many amazing bloggers recently from joining lots of amazing groups etc.
My first one would have to be Grace  Facesbygrace her sheer knowledge and chatty style of writing drew me in from the instant I started reading.

Next would be Sera  The Style Guide Blog This is a new blog for Sera but her style of writing has a great balance between being very personal and very informative and her blog design is gorgeous.

My last but by no means least would be Kathleen Squidgymoments she is so down to earth, and hilarious. She has a real love for her blog and that shines through.

If you could own any animal in the world what would it be?
Hands down this is easy, it would have to be a meerkat. I adore them ever since meeting and interacting with them in Africa. They have such amazing little personalities, and I love the pack and family mentality they have.

          Have you a shameful crush (celeb world)?
Yes, (I will hang my head in shame now) but it is Justin Bieber he is just so cocky and the way he dances. Oh ladies get me a glass of water I have come over all faint!! No but in all seriousness, I don’t know what it is, he has always been my guilty pleasure, at my 30th the DJ knew to play Justin quite a lot, see how I said Justin we are on first name terms!!! (in my dreams)

    Whats your favourite word?
Can I say Justin, no I am just kidding don’t worry. I think it would have to be love. I love hearing the word and I love saying the word. Love can bring up so much happiness etc and I think saying and hearing it can brighten a day up.

What really gets you mad?
There aren’t many things in life that I would say truly get me mad, but one thing that makes my blood boil is when I use my blue badge for the car park, and get out and maybe I don’t have my stick with me that day and people normally old people will say something. The other day Scott had an old woman basically argue she should have the space, now normally I would have said grand take it, but it was a day my walking was really poor and my back was bad so I thought no I am using what I am entitled to. Along with this come people using disabled spots when they are just too lazy to walk the extra few feet to the store. Its things like that would get to me without a doubt.

   Do you prefer red or green grapes?
Oooh that’s a toughie, I like red ones but I think I like green better. I don’t like when you get a bitter red one though eeeek not nice!

What’s your favourite pastime?
Again a tough one, as it varies so much. I love having lunch outside even a sandwich in a park when I am well enough. I also am loving all the old board games at the minute, just ask Scott about my obsession with Battleship. There has also been a lot of times recently I have needed and wanted to spend some alone time down at Mummys grave just to sit and be at peace. I think overall a lot of my favourite pastimes revolve around family and quality time with friends. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate to be meaningful remember that

     What would be your dream job?
This is a question that makes me sad if I am honest. Before I took the epilepsy I wanted to be an aircraft engineer or air traffic controller, and the second I took that first seizure those dreams got shattered, needless to say I had to change unit course but now I am able to see that maybe that wasn’t my path and hopefully my blogging will take me further one day.

  If you could learn any language fluently what would it be?
I lived in Leuven for nearly a year when I was 18 and they spoke Flemish, I picked up a little conversational knowledge but it’s definitely something I wish I had of learnt more of. It’s such a unique language too

What’s the best decision you have made in your life so far?
Oh what a hard one to finish on. I could say marrying Scott but is that too cliché, you want something different and juicy don’t you. Well I think I would say it was moving to Belgium, I wouldn’t have gained the life experience I have and I wouldn’t have learnt so many skills I still use today. I would also say that learning to be at peace with the cards I have been dealt has helped me deal with illness and pain a lot better than what I used to. Yes I am ill and in pain a lot but I can still smile and realise that there is goodness to come.

So those where my 10 questions, it’s actually quite hard to think on answers. So now my questions are:
Who inspires you to blog
What is your worst purchase you regret
What is your favourite food to indulge on
What is one moment from your life that sticks out
What is your best makeup tip
What is the strangest book you have ever read
Where would you go on holiday if you could
What would you do if money where no object
What would you change if you could
What is your biggest achievement

These are the fab lovelies I would like to tag

So now all you have to do is answer the questions, link back to me and add the image at the top of the post.  If you would like to then compile 10 questions and link some bloggers.
Thanks for taking the time to take part and thanks again to the gorgeous Grainne
Ali xxxx


Thursday, 6 August 2015

My little blog is 1 year old!!!

So my lovelies, I can’t believe I am writing this post. Passionsandpreening is 1 year old today. It started off as a passion and it has remained a passion. I have made some wonderful friends from this and I know these will be people that will continue to be in my life for a long time. Having people in my life that have the same passion as me for the latest lipstick or lifestyle issues has done wonders for me as a person.

Due to illness I don’t work and this has given me a purpose for getting up in the morning so for that I thank the blogging community. I would have never got the courage if it wasn’t for a few very special men in my life, my husband told me I could do it and Dave Lackie and Jeff Smith two amazing talented men in Canada gave me the push I needed. Dave is the Editor of a magazine and we got chatting through twitter and Jeff spurred me on with amazing chats and to this day and forever more I will be grateful to these 3 men. One friend that needs a special mention is Joanne she is like my little personal cheerleader always sharing, commenting etc, so thanks Joanne you really are amazing.

Some people blog for freebies and recognition I blog for the freedom it gives me to chat about things I love!  I wish I could say it’s all been plain sailing but trust me it hasn’t. People thinking blogging is easy that’s laughable. Getting the right lighting for pics, thinking of original content and dealing with the technical side of it was something I still struggle with, but you know what I wouldn’t change a bit of it.

So I just wanted to say onwards and upwards for my wee blog with hopefully exciting things for my second year!!

Love to each and every one of you who have helped me along the way

                                                                         Ali xxxx
© passionsandpreening

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