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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Inner Me Supplement Review - #InnerMeDiaries Challenge

I recently look part in the #InnerMeDiaries challenge; a six week programme of pill-popping throughout which I documented my results. I was armed with pencils, scorecards and the Inner Me supplements of my choice; Beautify Me* and Energise Me*.

Inner Me Diaries Supplement Challenge

About Inner Me

After Inner Me’s founder, Nikki Cooper, was diagnosed with MS at the age of 28, she began taking supplements to boost her nervous system, mitochondria, and general wellbeing. However, Nikki also noticed other benefits such as dewy skin and glossy hair. This spurred Nikki on to collaborate with nutritionists and pharmacists to create a complete wellbeing package for women.

What I personally like about Inner Me is the strong branding, including an informative website (includding 'Inner Menus’ and recipes to complement the products) and particularly pretty packaging, which is clearly designed with ease of use in mind. Especially during the challenge, I found it really useful that the days of the week were printed on the blister packs, and that the packets were discreet enough to pop in my handbag, so that I could ensure I didn’t miss a dose.

Inner Me Diaries Supplement Packaging

The Inner Me Products

Inner Me Beautify Me

The first product that I opted for was the Beautify Me Pro Skin supplement, which is described as the 'ultimate beauty supplement for skin, hair and nails’ - exactly what I needed. I was particularly interested to understand the properties of each of the individual ingredients in the supplements so would have loved to have seen a more comprehensive breakdown on the website.

Mainly though, I was pleased that Biotin and Selenium were included in this supplement, as they're well known for their contribution to the maintenance of normal hair and nails. The blend also contains Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) which contains sulphur, a popular ingredient in dermatology and one that I’ve found really effective in Ren’s ClearCalm3 skincare range. It is also a component of collagen and keratin, which most people know play a huge part in healthy skin, hair and nails.

Other key ingredients are Silica (from bamboo), Copper, Iodine, Zinc, Vitamin C, as well as Marine Chondroitin and Marine Collagen. However, as there are no RDAs for the latter two especially, it’s difficult to know whether these doses are likely to be effective. Compared to other supplements of Marine Collagen, for example, 100mg seems quite low.

Aside from this, the only down side to this product is that the selenium doesn’t have the most desirable scent, but after the quick job of swallowing the capsules, it isn’t something you need to think about again for another 24 hours!

Inner Me Supplement Beautify Me Pro Skin

Inner Me Energise Me

Secondly, the Energise Me supplement is blend of vitamins and minerals designed to support energy metabolism, as well as overall wellbeing. Notably, this supplement contains 100% of your RDA of vitamins D, a range of B vitamins, which are crucial in the process of turning food into fuel within your body (as is Coenzyme Q10, although the dosage in this supplement is at the lower end of the recommended dose), and Chromium, which aids in the regulation of blood sugar levels.

The blend also contains Magnesium and Creatine Monohydrate which are both important in energy metabolism. However, the doses of both of these ingredients is fairly low (the magnesium accounts for just 16% of your RDA, and the creatine is less than 10% of the dose that I would take as a separate supplement) and so having now learnt about the benefits of these supplements, I would definitely consider taking them in higher doses independently of the Energise Me capsules, especially given the frequency with which I exercise and weight train.

Inner Me Supplement Energise Me

The Results

As I mentioned, I kept a record of how I was feeling throughout the #InnerMeDiaries challenge. In terms of my skin, hair and nails, I noticed some slight improvements over the course of the challenge. My nails were a stronger and, despite a little breakout, my skin has been incredibly soft and recovered quickly. In terms of energy, I have been feeling great. My sleep cycle has been better than ever in terms of waking up early (I’ve always been a stubborn night owl) and being more productive during the day.

How much these results can be attributed to the supplements alone, I can’t say; during the six weeks I also returned to university, had immersed myself in a new training and nutrition programme, and had got into some good new skincare habits. However, I do know that I’d rather be taking these essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients than not taking them. And, as I’ve already mentioned, I love taking them in the blends created by Inner Me and experiencing the other little delights, such as the stylish packaging, that come along with them.

Inner Me Supplements for Health Wellbeing and Vitalty

Discount Code: Buy Beautify Me or Energise Me and Get One Free

If you’d like to try either (or both!) of these Inner Me supplements for yourself, by using one of the codes below you can double the amount of supplements that you can benefit from, by buying one pack and getting one free! I highly recommend giving them a go. Remember to opt for Beautify Me for a treat to your skin, hair and nails, or Energise Me if you are in need of an energy boost! Unlike some supplement combinations, these are safe to take together, so why not take advantage of this exclusive offer and trial them both.

BlondieBM (when purchasing Beautify Me)
BlondieEM (when purchasing Energise Me)
To use these discounts, simply enter the code at the checkout.

Have you tried any Inner Me supplements? Are you considering your own #InnerMeDiaries challenge?

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Healthy Lunches: Essential Ingredients from Holland and Barrett

Holland and Barrett Healthy Lunches Meal Prep Ingredients

Holland and Barrett Coconut Oil Organic Honey

Holland and Barrett Himalayan Pink Salt Spices

Holland and Barrett Beauty Sweeties Healthy Snacks

I’ve been back at university for a few weeks now and the time has absolutely flown by. I was up to my eyeballs with assignments by the second week but, despite being incredibly busy, I have always made time to prepare food to ensure that I get all of the nutrients that I need and don’t end up skipping meals or binging on sugar to get me through my workload.

I know that a lot of people’s lunchboxes are stuffed with highly-processed convenience foods – a cheese sandwich, packet of crisps, a chocolate bar and fizzy drink are common sights – but I believe that lunches (and all meals, for that matter) should be made with real, fresh, whole foods.

A balanced meal

Eating well makes such a difference to how I feel (and look!) so I ensure that all of my lunches contain:
  • A good amount of lean protein to keep me feeling full and to meet my daily requirements. My favourites are chicken, turkey and tuna. 
  • Healthy sources of carbohydrates such as sweet potato and rice. I love baking a batch of sweet potato wedges but if you have a microwave at work, it’s easy to zap a jacket sweet potato in 4-6 minutes. 
  • Healthy fats from a variety of sources such as good quality oils used for cooking and dressings, nuts and seeds.
  • Lots of fresh, nourishing fruit and vegetables. 

Kitchen cupboard essential ingredients

I like to keep my lunches simple so that they are easy to whip up, store and carry with me. However, I also want my food to be as tasty and varied as possible, so there are some items that I always have in my kitchen cupboards:
  • Nuts and seeds that I can sprinkle on any meal, and especially salads, for an extra nutrient boost. My favourites include walnuts and chia seeds.
  • Coconut oil to cook with.
  • Herbs and spices will last a really long time and add endless variety of flavour to your food. A good cajun spice mix (although I often make my own) and ground ginger are my favourites.
  • Good quality salt. Believe me, this makes all the difference to sweet potato wedges! I love to keep some pink salt in my kitchen cupboard and not just because it looks pretty. The different hues of Himalayan salt indicates its rich and varied mineral content.
  • Desiccated coconut for healthy and easy to eat on-the-go chicken nuggets. Just dip diced chicken in egg and roll in seasoned coconut 'crumbs' before baking. Delicious!
  • Honey is another great way to add flavour to prepped foods. I like glazing chicken with honey, mustard and sesame seeds for a sweet and sticky treat! It's also a great way to naturally sweeten  sauces.
  • Nut butters are always handy to have on hand for a snack. I stick to Meridian's natural nut butters as I know they have no added nasties.
  • Something for a sweet tooth. I’m never restrictive with my diet, I just try to pick the healthiest options that I can. I tend to opt for a couple of squares of dark chocolate when I have a craving. I also recommend Beauty Sweeties, which I previously reviewed here.

Make time to meal prep

I know it can seem like a big leap to go from throwing pre-packaged foods into a bag to preparing things from scratch, but setting aside a little time once or twice a week to do it can easily become habit. Often I’ll head to my local supermarket around 11am on a Sunday morning, spend half an hour whizzing round and grabbing everything on my list, and then I’ll come home and spend an hour or so preparing everything. It makes me feel so productive and healthy, and I've noticed that overall, it saves me a lot of time and money.

I highly recommend stocking up your store cupboard with a range of flavoursome and inspiring ingredients to make preparing and eating your meals extra easy and enjoyable. Thank you to my friends at Holland and Barrett for supplying me with the essential ingredients* that I featured in this post.

There are lots of examples of what a typical lunch for me looks like over on my Instagram.

Do you prepare your meals in advance? What are your store cupboard essentials? 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

September Delights

September Delights Blonde Girl Beach Fitness Health Juice Fruit

I've had a jam-packed month where I've worked hard and played hard. I have a feeling the next few months will be filled more with work rather than play though as I've just started my third and final year of university (apologies if my posts become a little more sporadic than usual!). I still have lots of exciting content that I'm looking forward to sharing with you though, and I always love to hear what you'd like to see more of on The Blonde Ethos. In the meantime though, here are my September highlights...

+ Started training with a brilliant PT at Six3Nine. I’ve learned so much and even managed to do my first handstand since I was about 12! Keep your eyes peeled for more on this front...

+ Attended the launch of the new Epson Sensewear range and have been testing out the Pulsense activity tracker. Can’t wait to give you my verdict!

+ Made plenty of cinema trips – I find it’s such a good way to zone out.

+ Discovered the most incredible Almond Milk at the launch of Raw Press Juice Bar.

+ Took an inspiring trip to Italy with Technogym, which you can read all about here.

+ Played HintHunt with LV=. It was so much fun and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for something different to do in London! You can read the LV= blog post on the event, here.

+ Enjoyed a divine facial at the Amida Spa at Chelsea Harbour Club. More on that soon!

+ Went for a active catch up with one of my girlfriends where we walked and talked for miles on a lovely evening.

+ Spent a couple of days in Brighton for my birthday with my family and boyfriend, where we saw Alt-J. They were absolutely incredible.

What were the highlights of your month?

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A/W Activewear Lust List

A/W14 Activewear Wishlist Monochrome SportsLuxe

As we are heading into Autumn, I've been looking at updating my workout wardrobe. As I wear trainers almost everyday, and not just in the gym, I'm considering investing in some more monochrome styles now that I'm back at university (these are a little too attention-getting for a lecture hall). Also top of my list are the gorgeous Urban Warrior print compression pieces from Vie Active, as well as a sportsluxe jacket to see me through the cooler months.

Leggings - Vie Active @ Hip&Healthy - £85
Sports Bra - Vie Active @ Hip&Healthy - £56
Trainers - Nike @ JD Sports - £85
Trainers - Nike @ JD Sports - £70
Jacket - Monreal London - £240
Sports Bra - Michi NY @ Fashercise - £95
Tank - The Upside @ Net-a-Porter - £60
Sports Bra - Nike - £30

What's on your A/W activewear lust list?