Gymwear & wellness | How our workouts have progressed…

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Top: Next, Bomber Jacket: Next (old) Leggings: Gap, Trainers: New Balance: (Old)_DSC0483_DSC0487

Our exercise journey so far…

Starting a new regime can be quite the adjustment. For us, we went from sitting on the couch and eating terribly to working out every other day, eliminating most sugar and bad foods from our diets and being more conscientious in our day to day decisions.

In a short period of time we have seen a range of changes in our life, from wellness to the beginning of fitness its been an interesting adventure….

Sugar – time to break up?

The most interesting thing has been to see the way our energy levels have been ruined by an over dependance on sugar.

On the days that we go back to bad eating habits (the dreaded cheat days) the day following is never as good, we lack energy and can find ourselves often lethargic. Honestly, the biggest change has been energy levels.

Energy

I honestly thought that I would spend most of my time yawning (A big concern pre joining was… we will be so tired! We won’t have any time!) honestly, that has not been the case. Even better nights at the gym have given me much more energy in the day time, I don’t even yawn as much! Joined up with losing that lethargic feeling my body has felt more peaceful, more aligned if you are into that type of thing.

I believe it must all come down to being more active as ultimately I’ve started giving my body its needs rather than what my brains wants.

What about those cravings?

Pre gym I decided to slowly give up sugar and minimise how much I ate. Was I successful? Not at all, in fact I was quite the opposite. During the days when we had been off of exercising (We managed to get a cold and two sick bugs within the first three weeks) I found it easier to eat badly. Also if we popped off the bandwagon for a weak moment (A night of drinking for example left us eating chips and pasta and the next day left us craving sugar with less resilience) we found it harder to be strong with our healthy eating. However, when we stuck to less food in general, no alcohol and fruit as our sugar source it was much easier and effortless to maintain. In fact perhaps the old adage is true, you don’t miss what you don’t have.

Lessons learnt so far?

  • Always wipe down the gym equiptment
  • Routinely wash your hands after a work out and use the hand sanitisers in the gym throughout your workout
  • Don’t buy bad foods and you won’t eat them
  • Throw out any bad snack foods that are in the house
  • Make sure you have lots of healthy snacks on hand

Whats next?

Honestly whats next is to keep going… You can’t see much change in my body in the photos above but thats another story for another day but I certainly see much change in my mind and myself internally.

Exercising and being dedicated to a slow building programme has been really beneficial to our mental health. Its made us feel so much better about ourselves and even better, its manageable and addictive. That sports high is something I had completely forgotten that I was in love with. Honestly with the repeat injuries I thought I just couldn’t exercise but in reality its just that I needed to find another way to exercise, to reach those highs.

From here it is onwards and upwards! We are increasing our weights, our reps and are continuing to push forward to achieve our healthier living goals. We know its not a quick fix but honestly we feel so much better just showing up, it wouldn’t be possible to stop.

In which a gymphobe tells you to, just do it!

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“Well I’m excited to wear my new leggings….Even though I just took the tags off and they are grey… sweat patches be damned.”

(A thought from one of my first sessions…)

My decided meaning for the Nike slogan, “just do it” occurred to me on a very busy Saturday in Oxford Circus, London. 

Having gotten over my initial – “I do not belong in a sport-shop, period.” fears, I had just asked the kind salesman in Nike for a pair of men’s, *gasp* vomero 12’s in their bright blue and I was feeling unnaturally chipper and upbeat.

The thing is, I’ve been doing a lot of conquering of my fitness fears of late. 

Breaking free from the 11 year old, secondary school fear of exercise god, at 26 I had finally started beating away the, too big for exercise demons I seem to have picked up somewhere along the line of mandatory leotard wearing at age 14. And now, finally 15 years later I have finally started understanding the Monika, “just do it”. 

The fact that the unfit don’t just get struck down by giant chocolate lightening bolts the moment we enter the gym is a god send and although I have to wear men’s trainers, there are somehow running shoes for six foot tall, accident prone women who apparently have a thing for neon blue.

Just do it of course, is the key. You want to loose weight? Then just do it! Want to lift weights until you look like John Cena? Then just do it! 

Need to ask the all too attractive men in Nike about trainers for post- stress fractures and broken ankles then just do it! Own it! And one day soon you might feel even braver! 

I realise I’ve just played into a simple marketing slogan but at this point I don’t care. I’m a gym-adrenaline junkie and I know it. I want to lift weights like the scary men in the free weights section, get arms and abs like The Bella Twins and you know how that’s gonna happen? 

Because I’m just gonna do it.

*have you got gym/workout fears, or just starting a new workout? Let me know below I want to hear all about your exercising adventures! (& Cheerlead too because I’m going all out!) 

Health & Fitness week| Joining the Gym.

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We are joining the Gym*.

You heard the correctly, me on a treadmill. Now, I realize that this might open the floor to some comments like, don’t be silly, you’re fine! You’re a stick with eyes!

Well let me tell you guys I don’t need it. I promise, I love you all but I’m cool with honesty, I’ve let myself go and I’m about to make it up to myself.

Furthermore, if you do ever encounter a six-foot tall stick with eyes – Run! This is not a drill people; this is the beginning of the apocalypse!

Why now?

So how come we have decided on the gym life? We’ve never gone in the gym direction as a couple before instead prior to a string of injuries and moving house we were prolific cyclers and runners. I personally, love working out when I do finally go, I just tend to like it more, outdoors.

Before I broke my ankle in 2011 I used to run for about two hours every other day all around Deptford, Greenwich, Blackheath and Lewisham but post ankle break it took me a while to get back. In fact from about 2013/14/15 I had three near stress fractures on my metatarsals and I still suffer from a lot of metatarsal pain every now and then. Especially when I’m pounding the pavement, it made running outdoors, impossible.

Josh however, unlike me isn’t so attached to the outdoor exercising life, in fact when I met Josh he was a full blown gym addict. He of course was super excited about going back, its where he feels comfortable getting a full workout.

My unexpected reaction

I won’t fob you off, when Josh suggested it, I cried in the middle of our kitchen. A strong reaction right? But I realized that feeling ‘big’ can be a big restriction in feeling comfortable enough to attend. Would I be judged? I’d met enough mean girls from attending an all girls school to encounter some more shouldn’t have been a problem… Luckily for me I have my best friend boo who has been a committed gym goer for ages to put my mind at ease. She let me know that most are so wrapped up in what they are doing they won’t be noticing me.

Now, I can’t lie I have done an awful lot of googling this past week or so to get the lay of the land. Especially since part of the problem is just that I have no idea what I am doing, but we all have to start somewhere, and this is going to be mine, deep breath, lets do it….

*We joined! Its was strange and all kinds of odd….

The Weekend | Wellness & Health Pamper Saturday….

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The best thing you can do for yourself tomorrow morning? Give yourself a time out to look after yourself.

Last weekend we chose to give ourselves a weekend at home to finish up a few more things in our living room and just have the weekend off. In reality we barely got any chores done because we were too busy resting, but thats ok too and here is how it went . . .

YOGA

I’ve been a little out of it in terms of exercise but I have been focusing on building strength and balance rather than focusing on quick fixes. Yoga has been great for me in terms of flexibility and strength and I’ve been trying to do a different practice every other day. Last Saturday it was improving posture and shoulders, thursday was core and tuesday was legs…etc It certainly won’t transform me overnight but I’d rather I implemented a practice I could keep.

Body Scrub

2016 marked the year of proper skincare but interestingly I’ve never been good with the rest of me. I have surgery scars that the moment they occurred everyone told me to cover in vitamin E and all that but its just never been something I’ve been that bothered with, so four years later they really are still there but I have been playing around with body scrubs. Especially since we still haven’t gotten a bath, its as close to relaxation and candles as I’m ever gonna get.

Here I’ve used both a foot scrub (It smells of peppermint!) and a hand scrub which in the winter season really helps to minimise all that dry skin!

Face Masks

Last year I found this Face Mask from Loreal+  I really love the Charcoal mask but because I take it off with a hot flannel I’m always worried I’m leaving parts of it in my pores so I like to follow it up with Estee’s Nightwear detox mask.

Moisturise….

Once you’ve stripped all the oils you have to put them all back in! I also like giving myself a good amount of time for this to sink in. As we were at home that day I also used the advanced night eye cream, which I love. This thicker, gel like consistency sinks in quickly and I hate to say it but my eyes feel better for it, whether its working or not.  Followed up by daywear which is my go to for the winter months.

As a body moisturiser I’ve recently been using this moisture spray from sanctuary, its really light and absorbs quite quickly making it quick and simple for those like me who are on the go.

Eat Well

In another effort to feel better I’ve been dropping carbs in and out of my diet to find the best balance for me. I’m not allergic or anything like that, but my ibs is happier with less carbs, so a hearty breakfast last weekend was half an avocado, an egg (best poached) and some bacon, delicious, easy and simple.

The best way to continue a weekend like this is of course, a daily walk, afternoon naps and plenty of movies, but if you aren’t good with weepy films don’t foolishly start The Choice thinking it will be all daisies and buttercups… not the case.

Me and Josh are still recovering now 😉

 

 

Friday Fashion recap & New Years Resolutions?

2016 in review

I’ve always been terrible when it comes to making new years resolutions. There has been the odd year where I have made some but none where I have actually kept them and fulfilled my plan.

This year however, honestly I feel like I have some to make and some to keep, whether I will or not I guess I have to tell you them to keep some accountability.

Educate myself

As the wedding planning ebbed away this came to me almost fully formed, I want to go back to educating myself a little. In particular, I want to finally learn to code. In secondary school I learnt basic coding on terrible programs like Dreamweaver but now I know I really need to get to grasps with HTML and be able to apply that to my graphics for work and this blog.

I also want to touch up my graphics knowledge. Although I don’t use that knowledge on this blog that much (mainly because I don’t have a decent enough computer to cope with Photoshop or even elements.) I have about 12 years experience but I really want to hone it in and learn more about using the newer tools.

Saving

To assist myself with this I am also planning on saving up for a new basic laptop.

Currently I have an eight year old Toshiba laptop which is crazy clunky and needs an external hard drive attached to work faster than a snail and then I have my MacBook pro. This is only 4 years old and I am writing on it right now however, it is almost out of storage and really I can’t delete enough off of it to give myself enough space for Photoshop and everything else I need so my plan is to get a new one which can cope with Photoshop and all the other programs I need.

On the savings front I am also tempted to join bloggers like Jesse Coulter on having a spending freeze on things like clothes and home wears. Something, which really became apparent this Christmas is we really don’t need anymore home wear stuff. At first it was super exciting because we had this big house which looked empty but ultimately we have plenty now and really don’t want to cramp our house anymore.

We have just painted and laid new floors in our living room and after having emptied the room we have ended up putting less than half of the stuff that was in there back in. Since then it’s really opened up the space again and feels like a breath of fresh air with so much less stuff!

With this in mind I am really thinking it would be good to stop spending for a while put that money towards a new laptop and furthering my graphic design/HTML knowledge.

Continuing to get out more and spend more time being active

Planning everything during the last two years kept us stuck inside and our bodies and minds have felt worse for it. In response, at the end of last year I started walking into work in the morning, adding a further 20 minutes exercise into my day and I have really seen the mental and physical benefits.

I think it will also be nice for Josh and me. Two years ago we spent vast amounts of time on cycle rides and walks and just taking in life outside of the TV and the living room and it really defined us as people so being more active again with walking, cycling, yoga and exploring our new village will really bring us back to that place of comfort and health.

That is really it for this years resolutions they are all rather easy and achievable and this year I am determined to follow through! Picture wise, as above I barely shared any outfit posts this past year so hopefully we can also rectify that as well!

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Beauty and Health | 7 things I’ve learnt about my skin

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I think that there is a lot to learn about our skin as we grow into ourselves. From small things like what irritates, what foundations won’t sit on ‘that’ moisturiser to learning that skin is one of our most important body parts and to give it bad products and food choices can make life long affects.

It made me think, maybe I should share 10 things I’ve learnt about my skin.

  1. Adult acne, its real and its not going anywhere because its hormonal. 

Learning that my adult acne was not an infection but instead, a hormonal issues was almost the best moment ever. For the majority of 2012 I was on antibiotics. Antibiotics which I’m pretty sure caused IBS for several years.

The lesson here is if you hit 21 and your periods are all over the shop and you potentially have these symptoms its worth telling this to your Doctor. Polycystic is not the end of the world (and it often doesn’t cause infertility so you know) so make sure you have covered all basis, overloading your body with antibiotics is never good.

Your doctor will most likely prescribe drugs for this but there are other ways, I find Alisa Vitti to be on the right track so check her out . . .

        2.  & 3. Sensitivity

Cheap skincare products hurt my skin. I wish that they worked for me because hello savings but oh my gosh my skin hurts and erupts when they are no good.

I have to wear gloves to use cleaning products and nail polish isn’t worth wearing. Nail polish remover is now my enemy and leaves a feeling that I can only describe as being  like having bamboo placed under my fingernails. If it hurts, don’t do it.

       4. eczema 

My legs are uber dry, I must remember to moisturise, I rarely do but every four weeks guys, my legs, uber itchy.

5. Sometimes your facial moisturiser likes you other times, its gonna not be so happy

I have come to the conclusion that sometimes you have to have to separate regimes ones for summer and one for winter. Also sometimes our skin changes or its needs change and you just have to switch it all up!

6. Allergies

Who knew you could be allergic to hairspray? Apparently all my hairdressers is who. They look at me pretty oddly. Somehow its something that happens, I’m onto my forth attempt but I have been keeping it as far from my roots as possible and so far its working!

7. It might work for someone else, it might not work for you

My dad washes his face with soap from Sainsburys. Its basic but his skin never breaks out, always looks healthy and I’ve never seen it oily or greasy. If I did that to my own there would be a drastically different reaction. The reason for this is not for any other reason other than that we are different and our skin reacts to things in a different way.

At almost 26 the key to my skin has been playing with different products and combinations to see what sticks. Right now my skin is working very successfully with Estee Lauder skin products and it doesn’t work so well with the L’Oreal products which I used consistently from 22. Skin changes and thats been another discovery to find the right products at the right time!

What are your skin lessons? Leave them in the comments below!

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Food & Health | Health Kickstart at breakfast

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Last week we took off two days before the bank holiday so we could give ourselves a much needed break. Unlike our usual stay-cations where we cram in as much as possible this was the short holiday where we decided that we wouldn’t do anything.

It also happened to be the last weekend of eating whatever we want before our self-imposed four month wedding diet kicked in. (By now it has and I’m probably a craving mess right now.) Something we both noticed by three days in however was that although sometimes its nice to forget the rules completely your body also needs to be nourished and looked after as well. The bread might taste great but the body sometimes needs recalibration.

Starting with breakfast and a run on Monday morning we were getting back on track and this right here is the best way to kick start it. Porridge, Linseed, Honey, Banana, Cinnamon and pumpkin seeds. Throw in as much water as possible and peppermint tea and you’ve got yourself a party of good eats! Now ask me this again next week and it might be a different story . . .
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Happiness is … time for baking

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Fudge topped brownies 

(Who just needs brownies when you can have fudge sauce on top as well? Also I made both of these with pre mix because I just didn’t have time for full on stuff! I have zero judgement for using pre mix)

I can have the most insanely filled weekends but fitting in, baking or watching a girlie movie or even reading a magazine can instantly turn busy insanity around to a relaxed weekend.

With a wedding on the horizon our weekends are getting more and more jam packed (especially once we add in gardening!) but this weekend we had my lovely sister in law around and Joshes best friend in the world Paul around meaning in the course of one day we managed to get some shopping in, a frappe stop off, pick up some of the suits for the wedding as well as de weeding the front garden and of course baking fudgy brownies and cookies…

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These are my particular favourites. I mix nigellas recipe for double chocolate cookies and then I either put a caramel button in the centre or this time a piece of malteasers chocolate. They taste amazing and are also ridiculously fun and relatively simple! Next time I am tempted to add popping candy (Joshes favourite thing) so this is what happiness looks like this week, baking cookies and watching the second season of Grace and Frankie on Netflix (love this show so much!)

The Weekend | Happiness is . . .

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It might sound obvious but finding time off on the weekend has not always been that easy for me. Although in the past I’ve been known to be a homebody as an adult I took on some many side projects that filling the weekend was more than easy to do.

Since moving we have slowed this down and have found more downtime in our weekends for relaxed fun. This weekend we spent saturday literally running errands and napping. Although we did fit in a quick walk around the village as the sun went down which was amazing.

On Sunday however we weren’t so certain what the day would hold. We started off with some fruit and cooked breakfast before heading off to a national trust property in Sevenoaks. Unfortunately it turned out that everyone else had had a similar idea so not long after we found ourselves in Tonbridge. Getting out of the house seems to be a key component for feeling happy. There is really little better than time spent wondering with Josh before coming home to paint our fence in the sunshine.

This weeks happiness therefore was simple. Happiness is . . . doing very little at all.

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All I want for New Years is . . .

 

Mariah Carey is not the obvious choice for new years resolutions however with new years here and glistening its that typical blog time where we tell the world our plans to stop ourselves backing out so here I am, deep breath, here goes . . .

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Be more brave and exploratory

2015 certainly had its break throughs and big steps but for 2016 I want to be even less timid about mine and Joshes future and where necessary make the harder choices to secure the better path. At 25 I realise that its not enough to go easy, to make allowances but to instead be a little bolder and a little braver.

Health in all forms

Buy a house and then see how your well being drops.

In 2015 we have stressed ourselves to max, forgotten all our good eating habits and become sloppy. Like million across the globe, January means health, it means more exercise and it means being more serious about making good food choices.

 

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Be more saving savvy

Pre-house we were so good at saving it hurt. We pushed for making ourselves as secure as possible and honestly owning a house costs far more than just a deposit, it requires fixes (quick and long) it needs your attention and then other things do to, like when your car breaks down, you cough up that cash but it does take its toll if your not replacing those depleted funds properly.

Thats not to say that we haven’t been saving, we have but not to the same extent that we would like. I’d also like to put a disclaimer in here, from what adulthood has taught me we are not the modern norm to want to save and to put away, the way we do. I like flying by the seat of my pants on most things but for me being secure monetarily is not fly by the seat of your pants acceptable. So in the months of February and March (which in the UK are non council tax months) myself and Josh are going to challenge ourselves to get out a small, set amount of cash for the month and try not to spend anymore than that. Its gonna be a challenge but we are excited for it a chance just to see how much we can live on. So stay tuned for more on this and how you can join along!

And then . . .

Thats it really. We have other things happening in 2016 like getting married etc but these are the right now things, keep your fingers crossed for me and lets see where 2016 takes us all!

The Weekend | Treat yo’ self

Hallelujah its Friday! Finally!

This week has been one long line of tiredness with delayed and cancelled trains! I haven’t gotten home at my normal time since last Thursday! Which seriously takes some doing! But finally its Friday and after a quiet week on the blog I thought why not check in with you lovely people and share a little of what we are doing to rewind this weekend!

  1. Yoga & Magazines

Morning yoga with Adriene+

Recently I have been horrendous with missing my nightly yoga and believe me I feel it! So with a casual Saturday morning in waiting for our new dining table and to have our electric meter switched over this is the perfect time to take a little time out.

If you are Yoga inclined this is excellent for really letting go of mental and emotional baggage. I don’t completely switch off very often so to give myself half an hour of no thinking and letting stuff go I can almost completely turn my day around! This morning yoga video is great as well for anyone like me whose joints are problematic first thing.

Secondly of course is magazines! I have a three month high pile of unread magazines so when the electric is turned off for the engineer it is the ideal time for catching up! Also leggings may feature in this weekend plan!

2. Date Night.

I am the biggest believer in the healing power of a proper date night. Myself and Josh are quite lovey dovey anyway but we love to get a little spruced up to go get dinner and reconnect more than just, “The traffic on the M25 was the worst today!”

Because we are going to catch a movie (hello Daniel Craig) I’m going to be keeping it simple with lots of moisturising and a dab of Yves Saint Laurent’s, “le teint Touche Eclat” foundation. Which is really light and dewy and kind of perfect for those air conditioned cinema seats!

A swipe of Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme mascara (Also I am totally asking for this gift set for christmas! completely my jam!) Then all I need is Clinique’s Baby tint in budding blossom. A lot of women who I have spoken to hate this colour. They say its too pink! I however absolutely love how pink it goes! It feels so light and fresh and perfect for a healthy glow!

I have also picked up this months UK Harpers Bazaar for the free sample of Estee Lauders night repair cream. I have wanted to try this forever so when I saw it as a freebee it had to come home!

At only 25 my poor skin seems to be showing more of when I’m uber tired and that just isn’t gonna cut it for me! I definitely agree that make up can be cheap but don’t mess with what works for your skin! (Especially for those like me with PCOS it can be a real struggle to find the right way to deal with oily and acne prone skin!)

( I bought this tray recently from TK (TJ) Maxx and I love it, its just Christmas enough for me to be excited by December whilst being calm enough to be used all year!

Sunday

Sunday is again going to be really relaxed, originally we weren’t going to do anything bar maybe popping out for a walk or cycle ride but now we are going to enjoy the company of Josheys family for a lovely, chilled Sunday lunch which I think will  be just what the doctor order bar rest and of course, NO SOCIAL MEDIA!!!! I might go back on that but . . . . here’s hoping I won’t!

Have a great weekend guys and hopefully see you again soon!

Make: Joshes, end of summer Mocktail/Cocktail

A refreshing cucumber & lemon Mocktail or Cocktail when you add Gin!

So did you know that Josh is the main Chef in our house? You might be surprised by this but Josh is one of the best cooks I know and I am blessed weekly by all his lovely food! In fact terribly you can witness how often I cook by how often I post an Instagram of food, if its Instagrammed I’ve made it. Mad proud of my limited skillz ok?

We had this little dream of a mocktail a few weeks ago and although I had photographed it and talked everyone I knows ear off about it it just never made it to the blog. So although this is a little out of season it is just as good to have now! (we also have this as a mocktail but you can do this same drink with Gin and it will be just as good!)

Ingredients 

  • Tonic Water
  • Mint
  • Cucumber
  • Lemon (you could also use limes – we had run out!)

(Glasses (are from IKEA!!), chopping board (from Joseph & Joseph and knife!)

So these are the Josh instructions!

Firstly cut your ingredients (cucumber and Lemon) into pieces and pop them in the bottom of your glasses. Next thing is ice cubes! Crushed ice would be amazing but we have these strange reusable ice cube things which you can see above instead. The next of course is, mint. Crushing this is best so tear it into your glass as you go! Now once the three are together a good idea is to crush the ingredients down a little bit as this will give you more flavour! From then it really is as simple as adding tonic water. A great idea is to let this settle somewhat as it gives you more flavour but I can understand that if your in a rush you might not wait all that long!

Another tip is if your adding gin put that in first before the tonic water and crush your lemon or lime into this mixture!

To finalise it we also put a few pieces of fruit in there as well just for a more summer vibe!

p.s we may have also eaten a nice big bowl of strawberries and raspberries! Sooooo good!