Sunday, 13 May 2012

A Little Edge-ucation: Choose The Edge to Shape Up for Summer

It seems as though we’ve barely finished gorging on hot cross buns and Easter eggs and already our thoughts have become consumed by the impending holiday season. Although undoubtedly my favourite time of year, summer welcomes a few very scary prospects: Summer Ball, swimwear, shorts, skirts and showing some skin.  No longer can we hide under fur coats and woolly jumpers. No longer can we make excuses about it being too dark and cold to leave the house.  The time has come to shed said layers and if that prospect makes us feel more uncomfortable than a sober game of Never Have I Ever, we should probably do something about it. Some girls seek a little confidence boost before daring to bare their bodies and partaking in some light exercise could be enough to do just that.  If you’re brave enough, our very own on-campus sports centre could be the best place to shape up ready for flashing the flesh come June.

Open 16 hours a day (on weekdays), seven days a week and 52 weeks a year, The Edge could rival the newest and most expensive gyms around.  It boasts the largest fitness suite of any UK university, the largest indoor sports hall in Leeds, 4 different class studios, state-of-the-art squash courts, a brand new climbing wall and a 25 metre, 8-laned swimming pool. Best of all, it’s extremely well catered for girls:

“The Edge is a great training environment for females. The Fitness Suite boasts from more female personal trainers and gym staff then you tend to see in other gyms plus we have over 125 cardio machines to burn those weekend cocktails. Many of our classes are perfect for toning and fat burning such as Zumba, Gorgeous Glutes and Fab Abs plus we have women only swim times on offer throughout the week.” - Helen Loftus, Assistant Health and Fitness Manager

Want to know more? Let me explain:

The Fitness Suite

The high-tech gym based upstairs in The Edge comprises of 200 stations including cardio and resistance machines, a warm up area, a stretch area, a dedicated induction zone and specialist fitness equipment including Power Plate machines. The vast array of cardio machines, both traditional and new, all contain an Active Wellness TV which provides Freeview channels through a 19inch monitor; catching up on 90210 has never been easier. For the more musically motivated, each machine has an iPod dock and inbuilt radio.

The Technogym equipment functions using a Wellness Key system, meaning all your workouts are recorded, privately, on your own TGS key. You can use this key to calculate your workout duration, calories burnt, weight lifted and it can even provide you with a personalised exercise program to follow. These clever tools are brilliant if you have specific goals to achieve, like burning off that extra portion of chips Flames forced you to order last night.

If you’re worried about exercising in front of lots of people then fear not, the suite is roughly set out so that the weights and resistance machines tend to be one side of the room, and cardio machines towards the other. Alternatively, if you go before 1pm or after 6pm it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a little quieter.


The sports centre has 3 dedicated class studios as well as the former fitness suite Cromer Terrace, the large hall not far from the union. Classes can be booked 2 days in advance and from the comfort of your own home, both online and over the phone.

For me, being motivated in the gym is a truly horrendous task. The beauty of taking an exercise class is that you can’t really leave - someone is with you every step of the way, pushing, challenging and encouraging your every move. With over 125 classes a week during term time there should be no problem finding one that suits you perfectly. Classes range from high intensity cardio classes like Kieser Cycle and Body Combat, the super-toning BLT and Pilates all the way through to the fun-filled Zumba and Aqua. Literally whatever mood you’re in, The Edge has a class for it.

The Pool

It may sound unimaginable but going for a fresh swim after a heavy night can really do wonders for a sore head (although not a broken dignity, sorry) and leave you feeling almost brand new.  Once you’re done the poolside sauna or steam room provide a prime opportunity to sit back, relax and sweat out all those nasty tequila shots. The pool has over 100 hours of lane swimming available through the week and even a girls-only swim session, which at the moment runs every Tuesday 10.45-11.45am.

I know what you’re thinking - you don’t fancy spending the rest of the day looking like a drowned scarecrow reeking of chlorine. Luckily for us, there are hairdryers, mirrors and plugs for hair straighteners in the changing rooms so you can fix up before leaving. What’s more, the pool has a special UV system which means it uses just half the normal amount of chemicals, so you should leave relatively smell-free!

Edge members can swim for free but if you don’t have access to the gym or pool, you can swim pay-as-you-go for about £4.00. The Edge also currently offers 12 swims for the price of 10, so no budget-related excuses.

Something a Little Different

If conventional methods of exercise don’t quite float your boat there are a few other options to consider at The Edge. You can hire a squash or badminton court, use the sports halls or even try a taster session or beginners course on the climbing wall.

The Verdict

So if you’re panicking that you’re Summer Ball dress won’t quite zip up, or having horrific visions of hitting the beach dressed in a Fruity onesie, just a few hours at The Edge could just give you the confidence boost you need to feel amazing in whatever you wear from now on.

Whether you’re a fresher with an unused membership, a second year wondering if it’s worth investing in next year or even just considering a pay-as-you-go option, The Edge has something for you and you’d be a fool not to make the most of it. I can assure you that if you do, it will probably be the cheapest and nicest gym you’ll ever be a member of.

You can find everything else you need to know by visiting The Edge Website.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Shake Up Your Make Up: Small Changes that Make a BIG Difference

This months' Her Campus Article:

Shake Up Your Make Up: Small Changes that Make a BIG Difference

It’s 8.30am. In a zombie-like manner you thud over to the mirror. Horrified by the sorry state of your own weary reflection, you reach for your make-up bag silently praying that today it will perform miracles. You have just 4 precious minutes to go from looking like Ugly Betty to looking like BeyoncĂ©; this will be an epic challenge. Head down and eyes closed, you plaster on some cheap foundation, rubbing it in brutally like face wash.  Two quick smears of a 5-year-old eye shadow are swiped across the lids with your index finger. It’s a little half-hearted and slightly panda-like but all lecture theatres are dark, right? A crayola-esque streak of a blunt pencil outlines, smudges and scratches your half-closed eyes and (if you remember) you pat two circles of bronzer onto your puffy cheeks.  To complete the look, you blink ferociously into a mascara wand and with your now colour-stained fingers, you cake Vaseline onto your cracked lips. Cursing at the fact your trying efforts have only amounted to looking like a surprised Ugly Betty at the circus, you trip out of the door and avoid mirrors for the rest of the day.
If you’re anything like me you’ll have been stuck undertaking the same beautifying routine since you were 14 years old; while your face may have changed, what you do to it has hardly altered. The cosmetics industry has transformed enormously since the good old days when we worshiped Claire’s Accessories, Britney Spears and Um-bongo and now we should adjust ourselves and our makeup bags accordingly. Here are some tiny changes you can make that could make an enormous difference to your make up:


Not using a face primer is like going to a seminar without doing the prep. You can get by without it, but it can make things a little substandard and a tad uncomfortable. A primer is a fantastic addition to your make up bag as it not only prevents your make up from sliding off your face halfway through the day, but it also evens out skin tone and gives your face a healthy and dewy glow. If you’re blessed with an already gorgeous complexion, you may even choose to wear primer and nothing else. With this season's new fresh faced fashion trend there are a mind-boggling array of primers out there to suit everyone’s needs and anyone’s budget; here are my top picks:

Investment Buy:

Budget Buy:

The importance of having a set of good make up brushes is extremely underestimated by most girls and I was shocked at how much of a difference good brushes can make when I invested in a decent set myself recently. Using your fingers, while quick and easy, can produce messy and uneven results but a good brush will effortlessly create a flawless, well-blended finish that will last much longer. Ditch the cheap ones that come free with products too as these are often very poor quality and frankly no good. MAC does some amazing professional brushes but if they are out of your budget, EcoTools provide a fantastic set of environmentally-friendly alternatives:

Investment Buy:

MAC Brushes - £16-£37 each
Budget Buy:

For striking night out make up, eye shadow tricks are innumerable and whatever your eye shape or colour something can be done to enhance it. Putting a white or very light shade in the inner corner of your eye near the tear duct can instantly illuminate the eyes. Similarly, dark shadow or an eyeliner flick on the outer corner and along the lash line can make the eyes look feline and beautiful.

Colour-wise, blue eyes look great with shadows in blue, bronze and light brown. Green eyes can look stunning with light browns, dark greens and lavenders. If you have brown eyes consider yourself very lucky, you can pull off just about any shade!

Liquid Highlighter

 Another fantastic item often overlooked in many make up collections is highlighter. If applied correctly, highlighter can give you that glowing look where people can't place what's different, just that you look amazing. Apply it directly over blusher, mix with blusher, or use just above blusher and under the eyebrow arch to really emphasize the cheek and brow bones. A touch down the nose and above the Cupid’s bow will also freshen up your face instantly.

Investment Buy:
Budget Buy:

Beautiful Brows

 Before I start let me assure you that by no means am I condoning the infamous Scouse Brow; we all know slugs should stay in the garden. However, having a well-defined, face-framing brow can make all the difference to how your visage looks overall. There are numerous ways in which you can darken and define your brows without looking like an idiot - stencils, pencils and mini sets of utensils to name a few. If you’re nervous, start off by filling in the eyebrows using a pencil. When you feel more confident a mini brow kit like the one by Urban Decay is great for experimenting with shapes and colour.
Budget Buy:

Investment Buy:


While I’m completely aware that the image to the right looks like something out of The Lion King, the picture shows the basic concept of getting dark and light colouring in the right places to really emphasise your best facial assets and transform the face from super-boring to supermodel. Contouring properly is quite complicated; here’s a video by the gurus of makeup, Pixiwoo, explaining how best to do it:

So there you have it, small changes that can make a BIG difference. Why not shake up your make up and adopt a change today? You certainly won’t be avoiding mirrors quite like you were before!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Review: Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector

I spent the last weekend in Edinburgh belatedly celebrating my 21st birthday. Whilst there, I was (yet again) seduced by a Clinique counter and their amazing 'bonus time' offer, roughly translated as a range of free gifts when you buy two or more products. The Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector was £39.99 and as I also bought an eyeshadow duo, with the two together I received a free goody bag with lots of skin products worth £60 AND a free quickliner for eyes in black. While I'm not normally one for a rash impulse buy, I thought what better occasion to treat yourself at than a 21st birthday weekend!

The Clinical Dark Spot Corrector is a light and creamy serum made to correct skin tone and noticeably lessen the presence of dark spots age spots and traces of past blemishes, resulting in healthy looking and evenly toned skin. It claims to be great for all skin types and tones and is dermatologist-tested. Since buying it I've been using the serum twice a day, after washing my face and before the applying the Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion as the lady said this was the best time to use it.

Evening the skin...
After using it for a few days I'm pretty happy with how it has enhanced my complexion already. It is definitely more even in general and while my skin isn't particularly uneven, the impact of any discolouration I did have has lessened considerably. The product does a great job at evening out my skin tone generally; it immediately makes the skin feel very velvety and soft.

Dark Spots...
This one's a little trickier as being 21 I don't actually have that many dark spots or other age-related marks. The lady at the counter assured me that this would still be beneficial to my skin; she uses it and her younger sister and she said they were both more than impressed with the results. The counter lady also said said it would take 4 to 6 weeks before I would notice a difference so the fact I have noticed a change already is very promising.

All in all I would really recommend the Corrector, although I think older ladies or ladies with facial scarring from acne or something similar would really benefit from using it perhaps much more than me. Being a bit of a sun-worshiper however, I think it will benefit me in the long run and maybe even prevent dark spots from developing.

So definitely one to invest in and spoil the Mum's with!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Review: Hawaiian Sky Moroccan Argan Oil

After reading tons of fantastic reviews on Morrocan Oil in the last 3 or 4 months I have been desperate to get my hands on a bottle. I'd heard it literally performs miracles on dry hair, transforming it from ill and damaged to soft, healthy and beautiful. Sounding too good to be true and knowing full well my hair was in desperate need of some TLC, I took to the streets of Leeds in search of some for myself.

I managed to find a rather large bottle of 'Hawaiin Sky Morrocan Argan Oil' from on offer from a place called 'Hair City', near Leeds Corn Exchange, costing me £7.99. This I thought was very good considering a similar size bottle sells for about £20-£30 online.For some reason I couln't find an image of this product's brand name on the internet, or even a link to buy it online! I presume it's pretty much the same formula as the likes of the Moroccanoil Series (comes in the blue-labelled bottle), Organix, Hollywood Beauty, Lee Stafford etc, so hopefully my review won't be too dissimilar to any of the other brands that sell this stuff.

At the first use, I distributed a healthy amount at the roots and ends of my hair when it was wet and then dried it off with a hairdryer. It has a strong (but nice) smell and the consistency is exactly what you would expect from an oil. Straight away I could tell it had added moisture, shine and gave my hair a silky soft feel that lasted until I next washed it. It really did feel great and almost like a completely new head of hair - all the reviews I'd read were right!

It has numerous benefits along with making the hair soft and shiny, I've heard from some sources that it protects hair from flat irons and other heat-styling tools (which is very good for a ghd addict like me).

I can't find many faults with the oil but I wouldn't say it 'doesn't give an oily feel' like it claims; I could definitely tell that it had had product in and was a little stickier than usual, making it look more greasy. Saying that it's totally worth it for the good it does to your hair, I really was amazed. Since the first use, I've found it's also very good on dry hair if it's feeling a little weak. Putting it on wet hair definitely has the best results though.
I have oily/combination skin so I don't quite dare to try it on my skin just yet. I have heard that it can do great things for the skin too though!

If you're 'umming and 'arring like I was and considering getting some Morrocan Oil from any brand I would definitely say go for it! Worth every penny in my opinion.

Amy x

Sunday, 4 March 2012

21 Candles

A week ago to the day I celebrated my long-awaited 21st birthday at home in the little town of Newark. I had such a lovely day and for the first time in years it really did feel like a proper birthday. I woke up to a very excited puppy, almost as excited as me, with a fluffy birthday collar trying to clamber on my bed and give me a birthday kiss, so cute! Due to having so much Uni work I didn't have a big night out over the weekend but I've had a few before and after in Leeds and I'm going for a mini break in Edinburgh in a couple of weeks with 4 of my best friends and I cannot wait!

I was lucky enough to receive loads of cute gifts and cards from family and friends. Lots of jewellery, sweet treats, make-up and a couple of gorgeous photo album/scrap book type things which will definitely make me smile on a rainy day spent indoors. Make-up wise I got a Clinique All Over Blush and Copper Canyon Eye Shadow Duo, both of which I'll be blogging about any time soon so look out for them.

I spent most of the day with my family, we went for a lovely meal at the Fardon Boathouse, my favourite restaurant in the whole world, which lucky for me is only a 5 minute drive from my house. The meal was gorgeous, as expected, and it was lovely to spend some quality time with my nearest and dearest without having to worry about deadlines, word counts and systemic functional grammar!

Anyway here are a few snaps from the day:

Birthday Morning

My mother - would you believe she has a 21 year old daughter!

The Williams Girls

My Grandad and I

Duck Spring Roll - amazing!

My two little brothers and me :)

This did not last very long

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Review: Philip Kingsley Elasticizer

Before trying this product from Philip Kingsley it's safe to say I was a little dubious. I was more than sceptical that it could just be yet another unnecessary product for women to fall into the trap of buying into. Not a shampoo, not a conditioner, not a blow drying treatment but a pre-shampoo intensive moisturizing treatment, promising to deliver elasticity, bounce and shine to hair. It is also said to provide UV protection even after washing, to help prolong the life of colour treated hair.

The elasticizer is not short of healthy ingredients; a balance of oils, humectants and elastin (protein), with a small amount of silicone. I'd heard good things about the Philip Kingsley hair range so I decided to curb my doubts and give this treatment a chance.

Thankfully I was really blown away by the product, even after the first use. Following the instructions, I applied a good amount through the mid-lengths and ends, left for 10 minutes and rinsed before following my normal hair-washing routine. It had no real immediate effect or amazing smell but once my hair had completely dried I was more than impressed! It really does volumize and liven up the hair and left mine feeling particularly bouncy and definitely much healthier. It left my very dry, over-highlighted hair feeling incredibly thick and silky, particularly at the ends which are unfortunately very damaged.

If I'm looking for fault it did perhaps make my hair go a little greasier more quickly than normal. I also can't say it really did wonders for the actual colour, however I think I may just be being overly picky with that one. I am definitely going to use it once or twice a week from now on to improve the general condition and maintenance of my hair. So all in all not so much of a fad product like I first thought!

It's definitely got me interested in the other products from the PK range; I've got my eye on a silver shampoo that could be gracing the shelves of my bathroom very soon!

Amy x

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Get Hash-Tag Happy: 8 Good Reasons Why You Should be on Twitter


Sorry I've been so bad with keeping up with blogging at the moment; I've been so tied down with Uni work, work experience applications and my dissertation and my 21st birthday has been and gone amongst all that...nightmare! I've got lots of things to blog about so will be back on track as soon as my work load lessens a little.

Anyway, here is my Her Campus article from last week:

Get Hash-Tag Happy: 8 Good Reasons Why You Should be on Twitter

It seems like wherever you go at the moment, Twitter is being talked about. It's all over the web, on most TV programmes, in numerous adverts and constantly on the radio. There is literally no getting away from it right now and while I’m no Mystic Meg, I don’t predict that’s going to change anytime soon. It won’t be too long before everyone’s going to be signed up and unless you want to appear as ancient as Brotherton’s Special Collections area, I suggest you bite the blue bullet and jump on the Twitter bandwagon before it’s too late.
For those that are completely unbeknown, Twitter is a social network like no other. It is an interactive micro-blogging site that allows you to follow other people’s updates and answer the question ‘What are you doing?’ in just 140 characters. Sound familiar? Fear not those who lives are continuously hindered by a Facebook obsession, it is worlds apart. Twitter is not just a social network. It is an event coordinator, a business tool, a news reporting service and a marketing utility.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter allows you to keep track of updates from anyone you want to, be it close friends, celebrities, sports personalities, musicians or news feeds from around the world. You can effortlessly follow updates from big companies and top employers at a mouse click, giving you the upper hand in job interviews, topical debates, gossip with friends and everything in between.
Need more convincing? Here are my top eight reasons why I urge you to sign up:

  1. Celebrity Stalking
Whether your celebrity obsession is Kelly Rowland or Lorraine Kelly, Harry Styles or Harry Derbridge, Wayne Rooney or Lil Wayne or none of the above, the likelihood is that your favourite celebrity is using Twitter. It’s not just for the fame-hungry, perma-tanned, ‘look-at-me-falling-out-of-a-nightclub celebrities either. Stephen Fry, Barack Obama and Richard Branson are all very famous, slightly more intelligent Twitter users that share regular life-updates with their hoards of followers. 
(Tip: Look for a blue tick next to a celebrity’s name, it means they’ve been verified - it’s actually them, not an imposter)

  1. Finding a Job or Work Experience
If you use Twitter sensibly you can really maximize your career prospects with just a few intelligent choices. Follow big names in your prospective industry, post about their topical business matters and don’t be afraid to interact with potential employers and companies. I know at least two people who have gained work experience placements through Twitter; play your cards right and who knows what doors it could open for you.

  1. Driving Traffic to Your Blog or Website
As I’ve said before, Twitter is a massive marketing tool. If you have a blog or website you want to promote, Twitter can be the opportune platform to do so. Posting about your latest blog entry, a website or even a new Her Campus article will get attention to your pages fast. The more followers you have, the more traffic you’ll obtain so tweet to your heart’s content, spread the online word and watch your hit count grow.

  1. Free Stuff
Students being students, we all love a good freebie and following the right people can give you supreme access to endless offers and giveaways. There are lots of student-related Twitter profiles that are constantly feeding their followers with irresistible deals and discounts,  @studentbeans and @MyUNiDAYS to name a few.

  1. Getting the Breaking News Before it Breaks
One of the best things about Twitter is the fact that you can literally discover things as they happen, often well before they break onto mainstream news. The left-hand ‘trending topics’ are great ways to find out about big stories before anyone else. I discovered the death of Amy Winehouse, Osama Bin Laden and just recently Whitney Houston a good hour before they appeared on national headlines.
(Tip: Hash tags (#) are used in tweets to indicate a topic)
(Tip: All ‘#RIP***** trends should be taken with extreme caution. If they were all true, Paris Hilton, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift would let’s just saynot be with us’ anymore)

  1. Twitter-wars
A brand new style of spicy celebrity cat-fight has hit the radar and we have the divine privilege to see it first-hand and from the comfort of our own homes. Twitter-wars have been all over the news in the past year or so, the most high-profile Twitter slanging matches include Britney Spears vs. Kanye West, Lindsay Lohan vs. Samantha Ronson and Joey Barton vs. the whole cast of The Only Way is Essex.

  1. Entertainment Gold
There are some hilarious spoof accounts that are bound to give you a giggle when Uni work is getting you down. Here are three crackers:
@oldmansearch  – 82 year old Norman was told by his son that Twitter was a new search engine, like Google. Anything he tweets is therefore something he thinks he’s searching for on the internet. My favourite tweets include: ‘tour de france age maximum’ and ‘eggs give me a headache’ (sic).
@EdwardBoyle – The incredibly entertaining twitter feed of our very own Edward Boyle library. Follow him for twitter wars with @TheBrotherton , confessions about Marjorie Ziff and other generally amusing comments from inside the library walls.
@Queen_UK – Did you know our beloved Queen Elizabeth is actually a gin-drinking, cursing, down-to-earth celebrity lover like the rest of us? Follow the queen’s parody account for silly, light-hearted tweets on ‘ones thoughts and life updates.

  1. Feel-Good Twitter Feeds
Follow @GirlDictionary for girl-power goodness, @TheNoteboook for soppy one-liners or @Tweets2Motivate for a daily dose of inspirational language in under 140 characters. Not all Twitter accounts are individuals and sometimes it’s nice to read the odd encouraging tweet while you’re scanning through your Twitter feed - it’s definitely worth sprinkling it with some quotidian cuteness. 

So what are you waiting for? Sign up to Twitter today and make sure you follow @HerCampusLeeds  while you’re at it!