Wednesday, 27 September 2017

TRIB3 Steel Week? Completed it Mate.

I was invited down to see the brand new TRIB3 studio in Leeds during the opening week at the beginning of September, and if you've been to one of the three studios in Sheffield, you won't be disappointed with the newest addition. (I previously reviewed one here) Being so much closer to my new home, I was so excited to finally be close enough to (try and) commit to regular sessions without it involving a 1 hour 30 min round trip! 

Not for the faint hearted, 'Steel Week' is 7 TRIB3 sessions in a row. I must have agreed to take it on when I was feeling particularly optimistic about my level of fitness because I usually need at least 2 days to recover after just one class! Ideally, I would have liked to have done Monday-Sunday, but unfortunately my personal schedule wasn’t playing ball so I started on a Tuesday. This played seeeerious havoc with my mindset when I was dying a slow, DOMS-induced death on Sunday evening and realised I still have one day left. #Pray4Claudia

Even though it was an absolute KILLER (those who followed my Insta-stories journey will understand my pain!) I didn't miss one day, and although it feels weird to admit, I genuinely enjoyed every session. (Even if my face clearly said otherwise when I was mid-sesh) The main thing I love about Trib3 is that no two sessions are the same, the trainers are amazing and so supportive, the FOH are so attentive and lovely and the playlist is absolutely banging!


Day 1: Tuesday

Day 1 was upper body with Abbigail. I’ve only ever done the ‘full body’ workout at TRIB3, which includes the dreaded treadmill stints, so I was looking forward to easing myself in with a few tricep dips, couple of hammer curls, and perhaps a few planks thrown in for good measure (you know, to ‘engage the core’ and that.) HOW WRONG WAS I. The treadmills were still very much a key area in the upper body workout, it just meant that during the intensity and weights areas we would concentrate more on strengthening the arms. However, legs, core, back, glutes, head, shoulder, knees and toes? Very much still involved.

Fast forward 45 minutes, I’ve sweated one of my contact lenses out, there is actual steam rising from my forehead, and I have come to the realisation that I have the upper body strength of a new-born child. No joke- I was squeezing my bicep that hard during the bicep curls that I thought my implant was going to pop out. AND I had forgotten to position the My-Zone belt I was wearing under my sports bra for the first 5 minutes on the treadmill, so my calories didn’t track. *eye roll.* Still burnt off a good 550 though. Roll on day 2!

Are YOUR gym changing rooms this boujee?
Day 2: Wednesday

‘Lower Body’ with Leigh. Lower body actually combines every move that I despise in the gym- weighted lunges, well, lunges in general, mountain climbers and donkey kicks. So as you can imagine, I was buzzing for this.

I’ve been to a couple of Leigh’s classes before, and he is SO good at pushing you out of your comfort zone! I genuinely don’t know how he does it, cos one minute I’m in the car contemplating turning it around and taking a ‘wrong turn’ into KFC drive through, and the next I’m powering through on speed 9 on the treadmill and feeling like an absolute SPARTAN.

Anyway, this session was slightly different to yesterday, in the way that we only did each station twice, instead of three times. So treadmill hell was actually drawn out for an extra 2 minutes each time, which KILLED me, but I was proud of myself for never stopping (although I was a bit naughty and didn’t turn up my speed at the end when Leigh told us too, but in my defence I couldn’t actually feel my legs at this point.) I think I sweated so much that my feet shrank a whole shoe size, but another session down!


Day 3: Thursday

Another full body with Leigh. I’m not going to lie, when your trainer starts the class with the phrase ‘it’s going be a tough one tonight guys!’ you know it’s gonna be hard. Plus, the size of the class was a lot smaller than the previous two days, so I couldn’t have a sneaky 0.02 of a second rest when he wasn’t looking. Damn.

If you have been following my nightly reviews on Snapchat/Insta-stories, you will have noticed a pattern in me saying how each session was ‘the hardest one so far’, but I’m not kidding when I say this GENUINELY was. We started with a NINE-minute sprinting incline on the treadmills. NINE. When I was watching the clock tick past 5 minutes, then 6, and then around 7 Leigh shouted, ‘we’ve only got 2 minutes left now guys, keep pushing!’ Two more minutes?! My legs = bits. 

The good news was, that because the first round on each station was longer, the second round flew, and before I knew it I was slapping a cold flannel on my neon cheeks and getting ready to stretch and cool down. I walked (crawled) out of that studio SO sweaty that I look like I had just been dunked. In fact, me and another girl had to blow-dry the sweat out of our hair in the changing rooms because we couldn’t face the walk to our cars in that state. On the plus side, once again, I tried my absolute hardest on every station, I never stopped running, and I *think* I can feel a quad muscle. Or is that bone? IDK.

Making progress!

Day 4: Friday

Full body with Luke. I actually joked to the receptionist when I arrived that I was probably going to be the only loser who works out on a Friday night, and you should have seen my face when she said I actually was the only person booked on! No lie- I ran in to the changing room and begged some of the girls leaving the previous class to stay on so I wasn't a loner. With zero luck. It was just me and Luke in the scary, dark studio and I had no where to hide! I thought he would take it easy on me cos he felt sorry for me, but no. Although he did say that if I stayed in the red zone during the first intensity session then he would do the second treadmill stint with me. (LOL) Not going to lie, this was definitely the hardest session of the week so far (15% incline on the treadmill. That is all.) but I made it out alive!...Kinda.

Day 5: Saturday

Full body with Abbigail. I hate to admit, I actually really enjoyed the treadmill this time! We did short sprint sessions, which I haven't done so far this week. The hardest part was actually the intensity zone because a) I HATE mountain climbers. b) I HATE burpees and c) I HATE these other things where you are in a plank position and just jump in and and out with your legs. Sounds easy, but when you've done 43 minutes non-stop and your arms are about to crumble beneath you then it's tough AF. Anyway, I feel like I'm in a TRIB3-enduced bubble, because I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow! Day 6 COME AT ME.

Not the kind of shots I'm usually used to at the weekend...

Day 6: Sunday (Penultimate day!)

Full body with Dan Cornelius. Right, I'm gonna admit it. I am obsessed with TRIB3. I'm now at the point where I am genuinely looking forward to each session, which makes me laugh now when I read my thoughts on day 1 (I have been writing my reviews nightly) when I struggled SO much, and although nothing is easy, I feel so much more stronger, faster and generally fitter! Not going to lie, today was especially tough because there were sooooooo many squats. Squat then shoulder press with the weights, squat then 90 degree jump then squat again, squat then upward row with the kettle bell. Bearing in mine my quads are in absolute pieces from the last 5 days, I'm surprised I made it home without stalling at every traffic light. 

Day 7: Monday

Full body with Abi. I’m not going to lie- I was pretty gutted that today was my last day of Steel Week! Even though I haven’t been able to feel my thighs since Friday, my arms feel like they weigh 82 stone and I am in serious need of a full body massage, I really have loved the challenge! And on that note, I made sure I ended the week on a high, and got a PB on sprints *insert muscle flex emoji here*

I had the obligatory Steel Week t-shirt photo-shoot after the class finished, and naturally I posted it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, sent it on a postcard to my Mum and Dad and got it broadcast out on BBC News at 10. But on a serious level, I am SO proud of myself! I never in a million years thought I would be capable of completing a full week of TRIB3, and I did it! I feel so much fitter, stronger and faster, and I can't believe the difference in my stomach in just 7 days! (Still a marshmallow, but at least I'm heading in the right direction..)

Day 1 to Day 7

Now to try and keep up this mentality and see some serious changes! (aka abs). 

A huge thank-you to Leigh and Kevin for hooking me up with a pass for Steel Week, and thanks to all my friends, family and the fans for supporting me through this challenging week....Not to mention the Front of House team for the daily motivation!

Fancy trying it out for yourself? Remember to include my name in the referral box when you sign up and get a FREE session!

Or....Have I inspired you to take on #STEELWEEK for yourself? Buy your 7 day credits here, and good luck!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Russian Volume Lash Extensions at Q61, Leeds

I have visited the gorgeous Q61 salon in Leeds once before, when I was invited to a blogger event a couple of months, so I was thrilled when Emily, the manager, contacted me to ask if I would review their new treatment- Russian Volume lashes. As a die-hard lash wearer (the bigger the better- am I right?) I jumped at the chance. I usually get SVS lashes (read what SVS lashes are and why I love the treatment so much here) or Volume, so I was really looking forward to it.

The salon itself is slap bang in the city centre, on Duncan street, so it’s really easily accessible, as well as being absolutely terrible for my spending habits, because I just happened to leave my appointment and ‘fall’ straight into Zara…Whoops.

The treatment itself takes around 90 minutes, and the results are amaaaaaaazing! I’m always a little bit hesitant to ask for Russian Volume when I am visiting a new salon or technician unless I have done some serious snooping on their social media pages to check out their previous work beforehand. This is because some technicians pack SO many lashes into their Volume sets (up to 8D!) that they become so thick that they resemble a caterpillar. Well, I think so anyway. They just do not suit me at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love a full set of lashes, but I much prefer the fluffy, textured Kardashian-esque look as opposed to the denser ‘strip lash’ look.

One of the things I love about Q61 is that half the staff were sporting the Russian Volume, and they looked amazing! This was so reassuring because I knew I was bound to love the results. I told Martina the length of lashes that I usually get, and she got to work.

Fast forward 90 minutes, and I had the most gorgeous, fluffy set of lash extensions. They were so lightweight I couldn’t even feel them- which is so important when it comes to volume lashes, as you can imagine! I’ve had them on for about a week so far and I have already received so many compliments on them. My technician advised to go back in about 3 weeks for infills, meaning they will last me way up into October!

Volume lashes at Q61 are £70 for the first set, then £30 for infills. Visit the website here for more information.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

I am Officially Giving up Sunbeds.

My name is Claudia and I am addicted to sunbeds. Well, was. As of right now.

I am OBSESSED with being brown. And if I had a pound for every time someone said 'just use fake tan!!' I would have probably replaced all the bulb in my house with UV ray lamps and installed a sunbed salon extension onto the back of my mum and dad's house. FAKE TAN IS NOT THE SAME. 100000000000000%. It either stinks, goes on streaky, is orange, goes patchy or goes all weird on your fingers and knuckles. Plus, when I'm mid-way through a spin class I don't want to look up and see dark brown streaks pouring down my neck and back. Neither do I want to wake up and my beautiful cream bed sheets stained orange. No ta.

I dread to think how much money I've frittered away on buying minutes and courses for the sunbeds. I used to work in a sunbed shop when I was 16, so I would go on before, or after (or sometimes during...LOL) every shift, but I would pretend to my mum that it was spray tan. I go on at least twice a week- more if I've got a big night out that weekend, and even MORE if I've got a holiday coming up. In the run up to Marbella last summer me and the rest of the girls were going on 5 times a week. It was insane. But it turned into a competition, who would be the brownest, and the risks of using them so frequently didn't even enter my head, I only cared about the deep, dark colour of my body.

Equally as dangerous as sunbeds, I  bought a course of tanning injections when I was in college, so I just have been about 18. I'm not gonna lie- they worked! I was so brown, and I developed that colour in such a short amount of time, I think it was about a month. I would inject my stomach once a day for 7 days, and then once a week for 7 weeks. It sounds absolutely ridiculous typing this out now, because I bought those injections from a dodgy hair salon in town, I had no idea what was in them, and the woman who sold me them (for £40) didn't tell me any of the side effects or risks, she just took my money and I ran out the shop absolutely buzzing to get started. The only side effect I noticed was that I got big black dots all over my face- they weren't obvious enough to make me stop using them though, because I was so brown I didn't care.

I later learnt from a documentary that Gok Wan did, it was called something like 'The Dangers of Tanning' (or something equally as imaginative) that tanning injections are extremely dangerous- some even contain CEMENT. So I could have literally been injecting cement into my stomach. What. The. Fuck. Another side effect is that you can't have children. Brilliant. Safe to say I didn't purchase another course!

Tanning Injections in 2009
I've got moles and freckles all over my body, and I always check them religiously. I've been fine for my whole 25 years on earth, until now. I'm one of those people who pushes eeeeeeverything to the total limit. For example, I need something bad to happen for me to actually stop doing something I enjoy doing. Ridiculous, I know. Anyway, I recently read in the Daily Mail (the epitome of reputable news sources, I know) that Tamra Judge from the Real Housewives of Orange County discovered a sign of Melanoma from a large, dark mole that appeared on her ass cheek. A few days later, I found a similar looking one on my back, so I booked an appointment with my GP to check it out, just for peace of mind, cos it would be nothing, right? Wrong. She gave me an urgent referral to the skin clinic at the hospital for it to be looked at in more detail. 


Skin Cancer. I know it's only a possibility, and there is only a very small risk I might have something, but I never thought I would ever be in this position. I'm 25, do I really want to throw away the best years of my life for the sake of a bit of a tan on my skin? I made the decision there and then, I am NEVER using a sun bed ever again, even when I'm given the all clear next week. I'm saying 'when' because I am so terrified that I just want to flood my brain with positive thoughts and stop expecting the worse.

I'm not writing this post for sympathy (so pleaaaase don't message me about it when you've read this because I don't want to talk about it IRL) and nor am I writing it to tell everyone to stop using them immediately. As always, I'm sharing my experience for you to take what you want from it, I'm not going to be standing outside your local salon and squirting everyone that tries to walk in with factor 50 and shout about what terrible people you are.

When it comes to fake tan (huge-sigh-and-eye-roll-but-I'm-gonna-have-to-put-up-and-shut-up) I've tried them all- St Tropez, Bondi Sands, Rimmel (everyones favourite back in 2008!) Sally Hanson (if you want golden Barbie legs- stock up) Cocoa Brown, Vita Liberata and St Moritz. I'm not gonna lie, Bondi Sands has been my saviour recently whilst I've been going cold turkey, (they even do an ULTRA dark bottle!) but it's still EFFORT to apply every couple of days when I used to just nip on the beds for 9 minutes after work. But if it's going to maintain my health, and let me live to the normal age a girl like me should, then it's a no-brainer. 

If anyone has any decent fake tan they can recommend to me, PLEASE drop me a message! and if you have moles, or use sunbeds, please check out this guide to know what signs and symptoms of melanoma to look out for. 

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

And Other Stories: Wish List

Tiger Sweatshirt     |     Silver Rings     |     Jeans

Earrings     |     Trousers     |     Red Knitwear

Red Dress     |     Bustier     |     Denim Dress