Sunday, 22 November 2015

Life: This week #012...




001) This week I seem to have developed an obsession for porridge. Yes, the sticky, sludgy white stuff. As I don't have a lot of time between work and the gym, I found I was snacking on random items (Tunnocks wafers anyone?). As porridge releases energy slowly, I have found that having some before classes has really helped and has kept me feeling full. Personally, I like to have mine plain with a little honey in it to sweeten.

002) Christmas: I literally have no idea. My parents are asking what I would like which has to go on a list to go around the whole family (we have always done lists so that we don't end up with gifts we don't like) and I have no idea. I've submitted about 3 things to them....any gift guides that you have seen that I can peruse at my leisure?

003) Fitness-wise (I always have fitness in here somewhere), I tried out a Body Jam class which was awesome and completely different to any other dance class I have done. I also seem to have developed a love for circuit classes and core work.

004) As much as I love a good massage, a sports massage has to be the most painful one I've ever experienced. To be honest, it's no surprise that it is sore as I do a lot of classes (especially Body Pump) so my muscles are always pretty tight. I actually have small bruises on my shoulder where the therapist was working on me.


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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Eats: Almond Banana Oatmeal...



Cold, dark Winter mornings are definitely not fun at all. Most mornings I just want to crawl back under the covers until a much more sociable time (6am is definitely not sociable by any means). The only thing that will guarantee me to get up out of bed when my alarm goes off at 6am is something exciting for breakfast.

Maxinutrition recently got in contact and asked if I would like to try out a new recipe. Being the massive foodie I am, I agreed and selected a breakfast option to try out because quite simply I am rubbish at trying different things for breakfast.

The recipe that I picked was Almond Banana Oatmeal and honestly it is one of the simplest  (and tastiest) recipes I have ever tried.

To make the oatmeal, you will need:

1 banana
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp Almond Butter (I used Meridian)
1/4 tsp cinnamon (add more to taste)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp almond extract

Method:

001) Mash half of the banana into a saucepan.
002) Whisk almond milk, almond extract, cinnamon and salt. Add in the almond butter and stir.
003) Bring to the boil and add in oats into the mixture.
004) Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5-7 minutes until oats are soft.
005) Chop the remaining banana into slices and top your oatmeal with it.
006) Sprinkle cinnamon (if required) and enjoy!

Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments. 


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Monday, 9 November 2015

Life: This Week #011




001) Week....what week?

002) This week has seen me embrace my lazy side in all areas of life: from the gym to home life. I have actually spent a ridiculous amount of time binge-watching Homeland this weekend.

003) Christmas is a-coming. I'm beginning to get a little excited and I have been doing a little shopping.Actually even more exciting is that it will be about a month this week until I get to finish work for Christmas. For 3 whole weeks! Bliss! 

004) Towards the end of the week, I was doing the whole 'I'm not good at anything in life'/constantly comparing myself to other people's success but after talking to a friend (over whatsapp), I came to the conclusion that doubting myself/putting myself down is not going to take me anywhere. Cue Friday and I was bouncing out of bed ready to take over the world (I still am today!)

005) Fitness-wise there has been no major changes apart from working on my squat form during Body Pump. I find, especially when tired, my form goes out of the window and it's generally not good thing when you are lifting heavy.


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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Discovering: Linton and Mac...

Linton and Mac

Finding that perfect hairdresser has always proven to be a bit of a difficult task for me. I struggle finding a salon in Aberdeen that I like and I usually end up going home to my parents (3 hours away!) to get my hair seen to.

A while ago, I was invited along to the press launch of Aberdeen's newest salon: Linton and Mac. The brainchild of duo Joanna MacDonald and Jennifer Linton, Linton and Mac offer a range of services which include hair (including a style-bar), make-up and a nail bar which makes it your one-stop shop for all your pampering needs.

In addition, interior-wise, Linton and Mac have that London vibe down to a tee: clean, modern and if I may say so, pinterest-worthy. Very welcoming indeed and the perfect place for a bit of pampering.

Linton and Mac

Linton and Mac
Hannah from Granite City Girl

Linton and Mac
Laura from Liparazzi

Linton and Mac

                                    Linton and Mac

                                    Linton and Mac

               
         Linton and Mac
Trying out the porthole mirror with Karen from A Tiny Bird Heart

Linton & Mac is located at 18-20 Netherkirkgate, Aberdeen, AB10 1AU.
You can visit them online here













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Monday, 2 November 2015

Fashion: Boom Boom Athletica....


26.2 Black Leggings £98
Elite Tank Blue £75
Perfect Fit T-Shirt Black £55

If you have been reading my blog long enough, you will know that I love fitness and everything that goes with it. So when an email popped into my inbox regarding a new fitness range, I just had to share it with you.

Boom Boom Athletica is a new range created by Ann Johansson, an ultra-marathon runner. Tired of finding fitness clothing that was either functional or stylish (never both), Ann decided to take matters into her own hands and create Boom Boom Athletica.

What I love about this range is that everything has been taking into consideration - from luxury fabrics to garment lengths (nothing like doing Body Pump and your top starts lifting up halfway through the squat track!) and also, in the case of the Shiribetsu Hoodie, space for a ponytail in the hood. Absolute genius! In addition, there is also a limited run of each product on the website (to maintain quality) so the chances of someone else rocking up to the gym in the same outfit are greatly reduced. Perfect if you like to be unique like me!



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Sunday, 1 November 2015

Life: This Week #010



001)It's November - Christmas is next month. Help!

002)If I'm honest I have been stuck in a bit of a blogging rut  recently: sometimes I don't feel good enough; sometimes I feel that no-one reads here; sometimes I regret the lack of spare time I have to work on my blog and sometimes I ask myself what is the point. I do have passion for blogging (in recent job interview feedback, the interviewers said that I came across very passionate about my blog) but it has taken me time to find it again.

003)In other news, I have really been enjoying experimenting with food recipes and I am now planning to do some more food-orientated posts.

004)Fitness-wise I have been smashing the little personal goals that I have been setting myself. For instance, there have been various weight increases in different tracks in Body Pump; harder options taken in Ultimate Abs and full commitment to both the HIIT and Capoeira tracks in Body Combat (if you do the class, you will know exactly how difficult these tracks are!). Next up are: push-ups on my toes, tricep push-ups and (maybe) a bridge during Body Balance.

005)My flat has also been getting a little bit of loving in the interior front. Not only have I been buying new bits and bobs (oops!), I have also painted the horrible units in my living room and also painted the hallway. Next I have to gloss skirting boards, finish the kitchen and sort out the wall in front of the door in the hallway. After that, I will be gutting my bedroom and hopefully decorating that too.

006) Recently, I have been spending time with lots of little fluffs (mainly dogs) and it has made me think about getting another little fluff. Since Mr Fluffles (hamster) passed a few months ago, the flat has been pretty quiet. I don't want to rush into anything so I think I'll pass on making a decision until after Christmas.


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Monday, 26 October 2015

Fashion: Giving it some welly...

(L-R Mollywelly in Navy Dogs;  Cerise Pink Posy and Black Bee Print )


Growing up as a child in the countryside meant that a pair of wellies were always sat at the back door waiting for their next adventure: dog walking, horse-riding, woodland walks. You name it - my wellies were there!

One of my favourite retailers, Joules, have recently launched a competition, where they are inviting anyone who fancies digging into their creative side to design a pair of wellies.

The winning welly design will then be sold online with all proceeds going to charity via Charitably Joules. On top of that, the winner will also be able to tempt their adventurous side with 3 nights in treehouse accommodation. There are also ten runner up prizes of £250 giftcard too.

Sound good? Then venture on over here to give it some welly. I know I am definitely tempted!

Good Luck!
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Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Life Hacks...

Let's face it, life is busy. And when life get busy, things get messy. Therefore, sometimes a few little life hacks are required.

Here are a few of mine:


Avocados:

Now more  popular than ever, avocados have become the subject of many Instagram posts. There are so many uses: from salads to mashed up on toast and even in brownies. However, sometimes not all the avocado gets used and the half that is left can go brown and mushy. So what can we do to stop the avocado going brown and mushy? Just add a thin layer of olive oil to the surface and store in an air-tight container. Simples.


Travelling:

Packing to go travelling is literally my worst nightmare. I always leave it to the last minute and  I usually forget something - normally toiletries. A little life hack that I have found particularly useful is having a bag of essential travel toiletries all ready to go. In mine I have the usual essentials eg shampoo, conditioner etc but I also have a few skincare essentials ready too. Generally, I have found  since doing this, I have hardly ever forgotten anything and if I have, then it's normally my hairbrush.


Bedding:

There is no greater feeling on a Sunday evening than snuggling into fresh bedsheets. However, changing bedsheets for me used to result in uneventful hunt for the sheet that complements the set that I want to put on. A little lesson that I have learnt is after washing and drying your sheets, place everything (including the sheet) in one of the pillowcases. That way, you will have a complete set ready at your disposal. I've also found that it takes up less space for storing.

Have you got any life hacks that you have come across? Let me know in the comments! 

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Eats: Orange and Chocolate Chunk cookies...

Teacups and Buttondrops Orange and Chocolate Chunk Cookies


A few weeks ago I posted a picture of a little experiment in which I made Orange and Chocolate Chunk cookies. Lots of you were keen for the recipe, so here it is:

You will need:

110g Butter
175g Caster Sugar
1 large Egg
Zest of 1 Orange
150g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
100g Chocolate Chunks (use as little or as much as you like)


Method:

001) Preheat the oven to 180c
002) Into a bowl, cream the butter and sugar and then beat in the egg. After that, you can add in the orange zest and chocolate chunks.
003) Into a separate bowl, combine the flour, bicarbonate and salt. Once mixed, pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
004) Either using two teaspoons or your hands, spoon the cookie mixture into round balls and place on a flat tray.
005) Bake the cookies for 12-14 mins.
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Monday, 14 September 2015

Life: Abz meet: The Duthie Park edition...

If there is one thing I  do love about blogging minus the actual blogging part, then it is definitely meeting up with other bloggers in my area. These are girls, that without blogging, I may have simply passed in the street and never knew.

A few Sundays ago, I headed down to Duthie Park for Abz Meet which was organised by Karen from A tiny bird heart . There was plenty of tea, cake and good chat followed by multiple photo opportunites.











Lovely Abz Meet bloggers who you should definitely check out:

Karen - A Tiny Bird Heart
Sam - Hello from Rose Bud Annie
Sarah - Sarah Rooftops
Anastasia - Natbees Fashion
Hannah - Granite City Girl
Amy - Bead Bash
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Monday, 7 September 2015

Fashion: Quay Australia Sunglasses...

Quay Australia Sunglasses I love Lucy


Autumn may be near approaching, however that doesn't mean that your need for sunglasses stops as soon as the dark nights begin to draw in. As I carry sunglasses around with me every single day, I decided that perhaps it would be time to invest in something a little more substantial than the £1 ones I had been rocking from Primark.

Quay Australia Sunglasses I love Lucy

Quay Australia Sunglasses I love Lucy

After watching Lily's video, I fell in love with Quay Sunglasses. Ranging from between £25-30 and coming in a range of classic styles, they are definitely not your normal high street sunglasses.

Browsing the collection online (these sunglasses are only available online or in Topshop Oxford Circus), I debated a lot before deciding on the 'I Love Lucy' design - a classic cat-eye.


Quay Australia Sunglasses I love Lucy

What is your go-to sunglass design?


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Saturday, 5 September 2015

Life: This week #009...


001)This week it has been my birthday and  I have been home at my parents enjoying many home comforts. I have been swamped with cuddles from the dogs and I have spent far too much money (it possibly could be beans for the rest of the month...)

002)Speaking of spending money, I seem to have overdosed on marble and copper pieces for my flat. Oops! Will hopefully have a mini haul on here soon.

003) Generally, I'm feeling pretty inspired right now: blog-wise, fitness-wise and life-wise. I have  found that stepping back from everything and taking a breather has really helped me reconnect and calculate my goals.

004) On Friday, I decided to mix up my hair a little bit and I went Ombre. I like it although it has taken a little bit of time for me to get used to it. Bonus of having ombre hair is if I fancy a dark look, I tie my hair up into a ponytail...

005) Being at home this week, I have not been at the gym. I have enjoyed the break (which was long overdue) but I was itching to get back to it on Thursday. Needless to say when I did, I felt it afterwards!

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Monday, 31 August 2015

Eats: A Taste of Aberdeen - Herb Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb

A Taste of Aberdeen, Copthorne Hotel, Lamb

A Taste of Aberdeen, Copthorne Hotel, Lamb

I am pretty much a make-what-I-know kind of person when it comes to creating meals especially where guests are concerned. I'm not experimental in the slightest and chances are if you come to mine for dinner, I will make something I have made a hundred times (or order takeaway....but lets not talk about that!). I also have a fear of either giving people food poisoning or my guests not enjoying their meal.

Joes Bloggers  recently got in contact with myself to see if I would like to recreate a traditional recipe created by chef Anupam Kuila from the Copthorne Hotel in Aberdeen. For the reasons mentioned previously, I jumped at the chance in order to see if I could challenge my fears.

The recipe (which you can find here) is probably the most elaborate recipe I have ever followed. As I had invited one of my friends round for dinner, I read the instructions a million times beforehand. And I am glad I did otherwise it could have been a disaster as the recipe is not in a chronological order.

After lots of reading instructions, chopping, stirring and even burning a pan (again let's not talk about that!), I eventually managed to create something that tasted pretty incredible. I also managed to not poison anyone and serve up something I had never made before. All in all a successful challenge.
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Sunday, 16 August 2015

Fitness: My story...


2009- Graduation when I was most likely at my heaviest

From the end of primary school upwards, I was always the fat kid in the class. Thing is, I never really noticed until one day after graduating University, I had enough. I didn't want to be the fat kid that I saw in the mirror any more, I wanted to be someone else. Around the time that I decided enough was enough, a new gym opened near me and with encouragement from one of my best friends, I signed up with her. 5 years later, I am still a member of that same gym and loving every minute of it.



~1995 


~1999 - I seem to have been going through a scruffy stage


When I initially started the gym, it was a bit of a hit and miss as to whether I would be at the gym or not due to general laziness and working long shifts. When I was, it was cardio, cardio and even more cardio. Needless to say, it got boring. After that I started to introduce a class or two (Zumba and the occasional Combat Aerobics [which they no longer do]) and it made it a little more exciting.



2005 - Did someone say pirate partaaay? (Outfit what on earth ?!?)


~ 2006/07 - most likely drunk


Summer 2007

It wasn't until I was officially diagnosed with Epilepsy in 2013 that things really changed. One of my triggers for my epilepsy is tiredness (other two being stress and photosensitivity) and having this as a trigger made me seriously question my overall health. Before I embarked on adopting a healthier lifestyle, I was tired all the time; I was eating the wrong foods; I stayed up late and I was generally doing everything wrong. In some ways, being diagnosed with epilepsy gave me the wake-up call I needed. It gave me the drive to want to fuel my body appropriately and also to build up body strength so all in all I could potentially reduce tiredness as a trigger for seizures.

                                        

2012 - Drinking yet again (probably approaching drunk) and this was also the night before I had a seizure.

In the same year as my diagnosis, I discovered Les Mills classes at my gym. These classes are designed for everyone of all abilities and they certainly know how to challenge you. On a weekly basis, I currently do Body Attack, Sh'bam, Body Combat, Body Pump and Body Balance multiple times (ie all the Les Mills classes that Aberdeen Sports Village currently offer). What I love about these classes is the enthusiasm that every single instructor has: it doesn't matter how fit you are or how many classes you have attended, they push you to your limit every single time. Honestly, I have never met a group of people that have pushed me so hard to the point I want to collapse in a heap; corrected my technique when required and made me discover things I never knew my body was capable of (who knew that I would ever be able to hold any type of plank). On another slightly related note, the Les Mills team who teach at Aberdeen Sports Village are...just...well...bloody brilliant! I have no other words that I could possibly use to describe them.


2014 - Portugal


August 2015 (Impromptu play with my camera and caught slightly off guard, haha)


Not my usual choice of picture but a recent progress shot taken in August 2015. Still have some fat burning to do but it's a start!

                                 
Taking selfies for this post after a night out (totally normal...right?)


Two years on from my diagnosis, I am still enjoying living a healthier lifestyle. I still love my Les Mills classes as much as the day I started them. I'm a firm believer that if you get to a point where you are not enjoying a class, then drop it. There is no point in doing something in your spare time that you do not enjoy. In addition to the points above, I have also enjoyed seeing changes in my body: from the obvious change in weight to the not-so-obvious changes such as being able to add an additional weight on my bar during Body Pump. Furthermore, I have also discovered that I like setting myself realistic goals that I can work towards and achieve. For me there is nothing more satisfying than a sense of achievement. Yes, I work hard and being able to make last-minute plans is definitely not my forte but I would not have it any other way. For me, living a healthier lifestyle is a priority and if I can continue living this way until I am old and grey, then I would be very happy.


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Monday, 10 August 2015

Eats: Chicken & Avocado Caesar Salad...



If you're anything like me, then lunches for work can get a little monotonous after a while. Ham sandwiches for weeks on end followed by an occasional cheese one would bore most people.

I have been trying to switch up my lunch with lots of healthy options. Usually, I go for a pick and mix approach, however this salad has been one of my recent favourites.




What I used:

Several leaves of Romaine Lettuce
1/2 Avocado (this amount is perfect for 1 person)
Cherry Tomatoes
Handful of Kale (Great source of iron)
Chicken (Great source of protein; the pre-packed packets are fab)
Croutons
Caesar Dressing

001) Wash all the salad ingredients
002) Prepare the avocado (slice top to bottom and twist)
003) Add the croutons and the dressing
004) Enjoy!

Top tips:

To stop your remaining 1/2 avocado going brown, add a thin layer of olive oil to the exposed flesh. This will act as a barrier to prevent it going brown. Pop it into a container and place into the fridge.
If you are taking it to work, keep your croutons and dressing separate from the rest of the salad. No one likes soggy croutons!

This post was a collaboration with Joe Blogs Network & Simply Health. All ingredients were supplied.


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Sunday, 9 August 2015

Life: This week #008...


001) I had to say goodbye at the vets to my favourite, cheeky little boy. I was lucky enough that he let me have one last  massive cuddle before he passed away. He was naughty, affectionate and highly amusing. Loved sunflower seeds and monkey nuts and he always knew the sound of the sunflower seed tub being opened which made him come running for some.

002) This week I also found out that sports massages are definitely not as relaxing as they sound. Saying that, I can now actually lift my right arm over my head. Swings and roundabouts or something like that anyway...

003) Topshop seems to have been draining my bank account this week: 2 separate orders placed. To be fair, I did one order and spotted a couple of things in the 'new this week' section and couldn't stop thinking about them 5 days later. So I ordered them...

004) The Great British Bake-off is back and so is my addiction to baked goods. I find you can never watch Bake Off without wanting some kind of baked goods....

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Monday, 27 July 2015

Life: This week #007


001) This week the polar watch has been both annoying me and pleasing me in equal measures. The past few days I have used it, the heart monitor has slipped during my workout and therefore not recorded anything useful. On the other hand, I hit over 1000 cal. on Monday. Not bad for Zumba, Sh'bam and Ultimate Abs.

002) My book for work this week has been 'Go set a watchman' by Harper Lee and without going into detail,it's not quite what I expected. I'm not sure if it's because 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is my favourite book so my expectations were quite high to begin with or not. However, I will finish it.

003) Sunday was a pretty disastrous day for me. Not only did Tesco almost lose half of my order (not ideal when the missing ingredients were for the meal I was cooking for friends that evening) but my light cord in my bathroom snapped off in my hand. This wouldn't have been half as bad if the company who renovated my bathroom had done their job properly. It is safe to say that I have currently hit expert level in using the toilet and showering in the dark.

004) As a massive fan of Formula 1 (surprise!), I, like the rest of the Formula 1 fans, was gutted to hear about the passing of driver Jules Bianchi this week. For those who are not familiar with Bianchi, he suffered severe injuries in a crash during the Japanese Grand Prix last year - a race in which I  watched the drama unfold in front of me on the TV. He was 25.

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Sunday, 19 July 2015

Life: This week #006...

Polar FT4 watch



001) This week has been the week of all the new Les Mills releases at my gym. Needless to say, I have been trying them all out and thoroughly enjoying them. My favourite release this time is either Body Pump or Body Balance.

002) In related fitness-type news, I have also been trying out my Polar Ft4 watch. At first I was a little apprehensive of wearing the heart monitor (it's a strange thing to get used to) but after a while, you don't feel a thing. It has been interesting seeing how much calories I was burning in classes (4634 cal. this week if you must know)

003)This week saw the release of the much anticipated 'Go set a watchman' by Harper Lee. As a massive fan of 'To Kill a Mockingbird', I am really looking forward to reading this next week at work.

004) In preparation for friends coming over for dinner tomorrow, I have spent the majority of today cleaning. Cue lots of sneezing...and random dancing.

005) Is it me or is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 the best in the series of Harry Potter films?

006) Have you seen Kate from Gh0stparties new bathroom? It is absolutely dreamy and totally pinterest-worthy.

007) This week ,thanks to a lot of Youtube videos (which I really must start filming again!) I now have a long list of new releases that I would like to try. 1st thing on my list is the new Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette when it is released...

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