Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Workout motivation...

One of the most difficult things about working out is keeping inspired. I find if I'm not inspired then everything seems to go down the pan to the point of virtually not doing anything. Inspiration is a key factor in workout success as I find that by finding inspiration, I find the motivation to do well.

So how do I keep myself inspired? 

I buy Women's Fitness from time to time for a bit of inspiration. I like it as it's filled with recipes, exercises and then some other interesting bits and bobs. 

I am a Pinterest addict and I easily lose hours pinning things mainly from the fitness section. The fitness section on Pinterest is brilliant for inspiration as it is filled with everything you could possibly think of. It's great if you're in the middle of creating a new work-out plan. 
Oh, if you're not following me on Pinterest,you can find me here.

Instagram is a great source of inspiration as well. I follow a lot of fitness/clean eating accounts on my instagram and even just seeing a single post is enough for me to be inspired.

Some of my favourites:
Blogs are another source of great inspiration. For me, it's not specifically a fitness blog that I find inspiring, I find any blog that encompasses fitness into it inspiring.

Some of my favourites:
Vivianna Does Make-up
Twenty Something Beauty
Jayne Rebecca

So there you have it: some tips of how I keep myself motivated to maximise my work-out potential.

Have you got any additional tips that you find help your exercise motivation?
If you missed any of my previous posts in this mini fitness series then you can find them here, here and here.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Working out at home...


As I mentioned in part 1, working out from home is sometimes the easiest option for someone. Working out at home contains much more flexibility and the options are endless!

For working out at home, you don't require much in the way of equipment (or even any!). Since I started working out from home, I have managed to build up a small collection of fitness equipment for use at home.

Here is what I currently own:

Yoga Mat
Foam roller
Resistance Bands
5kg Kettlebell
2.5kg Kettlebell
2 x 2.5lb hand weights

Obviously, you do not need to go and purchase heaps of stuff at once: I slowly built my collection up over time to the point that I am at now.

There are endless resources both online and offline available for people wishing to work out at home. In part 4, I will be focusing on these more closely, but for now here are a couple of my favourites to give you a taste :) :

If you've missed part 1 & 2, then you can read them here and here. Stay tuned for part 4 where I will be discussing work-out motivation much more closely.



Friday, 23 January 2015

Real Juice Reboot Week 1...

In the last year or so, I have been making a conscious effort to look after myself a bit better - mainly through fitness.

Before Christmas, Philips got in touch to see if I would like to take part in their 21 Day Real Juice Reboot Challenge and of course I said yes! As someone who is aiming to not only maintain my current fitness regime this year but also to improve my nutrition dramatically (not even going to say what I ate today!), I decided that this would be the perfect place to start.

The Real Juice Reboot Challenge is based upon the notion that it takes 21 days to make a habit and in this case the habit is juicing. The challenge I am tasked with is very simple: one juice a day for 21 days. Simples.

For the next 3 weeks, I will post 3 separate posts with each of the weeks juices and my thoughts on the juices. Each of the juices in this plan has been created by nutritionist Madeleine Shaw and Fitness Coach Joe Wicks.

Without further ado, here is week 1:

                                                                  Day 1: Watermelon Cooler
Day 2: Classic Cleanse
Day 3: Beat the Bloat
Day 4: 4pm Pick me up
Day 5: Super Skin
Day 6: Glowing Greens
Day 7: Stir &Purr

Favourite Juice: Beat the Bloat (I love anything with Pineapple in it!)
Least Favourite: 4pm pick me up

Any lessons learnt? De-stoning cherries is the worst job ever.

Stay tuned for next week with the next round of juices!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

My class experience...

So you've just signed up for a gym membership, now what? You have two choices: to go and work-out in the gym or attend a class. Personally, I enjoy attending classes much more than working out in the actual gym as the instructors where I go push you hard and that makes me work to the best of my ability. If I'm in the gym and working out then unless I have a strict work-out plan with me, I gradually lose motivation in the session and don't push myself to the maximum.

As you will see below, my class schedule is pretty busy and between that and working full-time, it may appear that I do nothing else with my life (which is very far from the truth!). However, I do have a couple of rules which I stick to: Always have a rest day and never double up on classes at the weekend. 

My current typical weekly class schedule is as follows:

Sunday: Body Attack
Monday: Zumba
Tuesday: Spin followed by Body Pump
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: Body Pump followed by Sh'bam
Friday: Body Combat followed by Ultimate Abs
Saturday: Body Balance

Reviews of my current classes

Body Attack:
More than likely my most spontaneous decision of my life in regards to a gym class. Usually when I make the decision to try a new class, I think about it a lot before signing up. Not with this one: I jumped head first into this one. And you know what? It is probably the best decision that I ever made. Body Attack is a fantastic all over body workout and surprisingly it is actually my favourite class. Yes, it is hard work, but there are options for everyone - even a complete beginner!

Ah, Zumba my trusty old faithful friend! Zumba was the 1st class that I ever tried at my gym and for a while I was doing a few Zumba classes a week...then I got bored! However, once a week right now keeps me interested. Zumba classes do vary in regards to class content and also type of music as I've found some classes I have attended have traditional tracks all the way through. My current class is a mixture of traditional tracks as well as the likes of a bit of Little Mix and I like it this way (just no Anaconda, please! [cover class])

Studio Cycling (Spinning):
Spinning was one of the classes that I put off for a long while and then one day I took the plunge and did a 6.45am class. It is a great class as it works a much larger area than you think. Spin classes, like Zumba, vary depending on what instructor you get but all the ones I have attended have contained a mixture of hill climbs and sprints.

Body Pump:
Oh ...where on earth do I start with this one? Ok...I put Body Pump off for the longest time. Naturally, I am pretty clumsy and so I went with notion that weights + clumsy Amey = accident waiting to happen. What a load of pants! Once I tried the class, I loved it! Body Pump is a class in which you use a mixture of hand weights and a barbell as well as some core strength exercises. Each class aims to work out each of the muscle groups resulting in a full body workout. I love it so much that I have recently switched to 2 classes per week as opposed to one.

Sh'bam is like Zumba's crazier,louder cousin. I would say that Sh'bam is a dance class with serious attitude. Every Sh'bam class I have attended has included lots of leaps and turns BUT there are options, however I prefer to go all out for a more intense workout. Also it's fun to have an excuse as a grown adult (?!?) to leap around right? I honestly would do this class more than once a week if my time allowed.

Body Combat:
Inspired by martial arts, Body Combat is the class that brings out the inner fighter in you. Cue lots of kicking and punching resulting in a very sweaty workout (and a good dose of stress relief!).  I really enjoy this class and like Zumba, I used to do it more than once a week. However, once a week is perfect for me right now.

Ultimate Abs:
Ah my least favourite class. A short 30 minute work out focusing on your core (planking is included).I could quit this class as it's by no means my favourite but there are 2 reasons that I continue: the end result will be worth it and the class is only 30 minutes. 30 minutes of my time that more likely, if I wasn't doing the class, would be spent watching some random TV show. However, despite not enjoying this class as much as my others, this class is one I have seen the most improvement in myself. For instance, when I started I couldn't even hold a simple plank but now I can (albeit not as great as I would like).

Body Balance:
My Saturday morning chill-out class. To end the week, I participate in a Body Balance class which is a mixture of Yoga, Tai Chi & Pilates. It's the perfect way to end a busy working week. I always feel so relaxed after it and the kinks in my body feel like that they have been ironed out. Since I have been doing this class, I have definitely noticed an improvement in my downward dog. Considering I had very little yoga experience previously, this is major progress.

So there you have it - a little rundown of the classes I currently do. I really would recommend trying out at least one class in your gym. Start with something which you know you will definitely enjoy (which is why I started with Zumba as I love a good dance class) and go from there. You will soon be trying new ones left, right and centre!

Do you do any gym classes? If so, which ones?
Stay tuned for part 3 where I will be discussing working out at home. If you missed part 1, you can read it here

Monday, 19 January 2015

So you want to start working out?

Not my work-out attire....just some awesome pjs I own!

Becoming fitter is on a lot of people's New Year resolutions, however sometimes it is difficult to decide whether to take the plunge and join a gym or simply to work-out from home.

Personally, I do a mixture of both. I go to the gym most days but I also choose to work out from home. At the gym, I tend to stick to classes and at home, I will either do a little bit of yoga, weights or some of the good old Jillian Michaels 30 day shred (she's brutal!).

So what, in my opinion, are the pros and cons of each?



Wide availability of classes
Motivational instructors to push you
Some gyms have the option of swimming pool/sauna/jacuzzi
Every piece of gym equipment available at your disposal eg treadmills, rowing machines, weights


Can be expensive
Can be busy at peak times making it difficult to use pieces of equipment
Can feel like everyone is watching (honest truth is that no-one actually gives a crap as they're too busy focusing on their own workout)
You are limited to working out only within their opening hours

At Home:


Can work out whenever you feel like - if you take a fancy to working out at 2am, then why not?
Easy to fit around other life activities


Easy to lose motivation
Easy to get stuck into a set routine
Can get easily distracted especially if you do not live by yourself (I've experienced this when visiting parents and my Golden Retriever Alfie thought it was fun to try and push me over when in the downward dog position - I didn't dare try a burpee with him around!)

So that is it for the 1st part of my fitness series. Stay tuned for part 2 where I will be discussing my experience of gym classes.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Instagram round-up #1...

Instagram is pretty much one of my favourite forms of social media.I use it multiple times a day scrolling through feeds to see what people have been up to as well as posting my own posts.

So what better way to show what I have been up to recently than a instagram round-up over here?

Signed up to color run/Boxing Day walk with the fam/Someone's happy with his new rugby ball/
Christmas Day Selfie/Gin/Cullen looking moody/
Barney & his Kingdom/Bramble/Alfie watching Countryfile

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Under the Microscope: Crumb by Ruby Tandoh...

                    Crumb Ruby Tandoh 

One of my presents that I received for Christmas was 'Crumb ' by Ruby Tandoh. I had seen this in Sainsburys before Christmas and decided that I liked it so much that I added it to my Christmas list.

Crumb is what I would call a different recipe book from anything else that I have read before. It is personal and full of anecdotes and tips for improving your baking. This is what makes it a great read.

For New Years Eve, I decided to try out some of the recipes. I tried Passion fruit Cheesecake, Stilton & Poppyseed Crackers and finally Fennel & Chilli Crackers.

Fennel & Chilli Seed crackers, Stilton & Poppy Seed Crackers

Fennel & Chilli Seed (left), Stilton & Poppy Seed (right)
Passionfruit Cheesecake

All of these worked out pretty well and tasted amazing (if I may say so myself...). The recipes were simple enough to do which was helped by the clear and concise instructions provided.

All in all, it is such a great read and I would highly recommend it if you are looking for a new recipe book to try out. In addition, it would make such a great gift for a foodie.
Now...what do I make next?

Monday, 12 January 2015

Under the Microscope: Illamasqua Raindrops Nail Varnish...

                   Illamasqua Raindrops

I'm not sure about you but every time I see a new Nail Varnish that I like, I convince myself that I do not already own that colour when the reality is that I probably already own something similar.

This was the case with Illamasqua's Raindrops.

Illamasqua Raindrops

Raindrops is what I describe as a vintage green. It is very, very sheer on 1st application which I would say would make it suitable as an addition over another colour for something unusual. However, once you apply 3 coats, it transforms into a gorgeous opaque green which I love.

                  Illamasqua Raindrops 
After 2 days

                   Illamasqua Raindrops
After 5 days
Wear-wise, it is very good. I lead quite an active lifestyle and I also work full-time so it's safe to say that my nails get put through the mill. Therefore, I am always looking out for nail varnishes that do not chip easily and I'm glad to say that this is one of those that meets my expectations.

Have you tried any Nail Varnishes from Illamasqua?

Saturday, 10 January 2015

2015 goals...


Resolutions are a funny thing: the majority of people make them as an incentive at the beginning of the year and some follow through while many others fall by the wayside. I am one of those people that does make resolutions and although mine are not restricted to the usual subjects (you know what I'm talking about!) but more of those of a trivial nature such as reading a series of books or starting a boxset, mine are simply referred to as goals.

So for 2015, here are my goals: 

001) Participate in Colour Run - I'm not a runner and never have been so this will be a major challenge for me!
002) Moisturise (I do my face but forget about my body, oops!)
003) Finish our holiday home website which I have been working on for far too long!
004) Sort out my nutrition - I am absolutely awful with my nutrition! I have a habit of having small, unsuitable meals after a double gym session. I also unintentionally skip meals.
005) Learn to Knit & Crochet - one of my close friends is an incredible knitter and is always making amazing things. This has been on my goal list for far too long.
006) Finish restoration projects - I have 6 projects which are currently awaiting restoration. They are all vintage projects and they are just casually chilling in my living room taking up much needed space.
007) On the same subject of my flat, I also need to complete my DIY projects in my house such as my kitchen and my bathroom.
008) Beat my Starbucks addiction - I go to Starbucks most mornings before work and I always order a large Chai Tea. While Chai Tea is not exactly the most expensive drink on the menu, 5 days a week for 4 weeks, it all soon adds up.

What are your goals for 2015?

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Illamasqua Sale Purchases...

Illamasqua Sale purchases

Sales are never something that I particularly get extremely excited about (I worked in fashion retail for 8 years), however, when an email popped up from Illamasqua advertising their sale, I clicked through straight away.

Illamasqua purchases

Illamasqua is a brand that I have been meaning to try for about 2 years and I have never got around to trying. Having seen their sale advertised, I ordered some goodies to try.

Here is what I purchased:

Illamasqua sale purchases

Reflection Palette: £34.00   £10.20
Multi Facet Palette in Aura: £45.00 £22.50
Velvet Blusher in 'Peaked': £21.50 £10.75
Nail Varnish in 'Speckled': £14.50 £5.80
Nail Varnish in 'Raindrops': £14.50 £5.80

Have you tried anything from Illamasqua before?

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Christmas Gifts 2014...

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely festive period with family and friends. Speaking of which, today I am going to show you some of the lovely items that I received for Christmas. Personally I love reading these types of posts and so I thought I would contribute my two cents.

Ghost Eclipse & Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream

Ghost Eclipse & Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream:

Every year on my Christmas list, I usually have a perfume or two on it. This year I was lucky enough to receive the two which were on my list: Eclipse by Ghost and Daisy Dream by Marc Jacobs. I am a huge fan of Marc Jacobs perfume and Daisy Dream will be a welcome addition to my collection.

Kodak Film Tank

Kodak Film Tank:

Walk into my living room and you will be faced with a lot of cameras. I am a huge photography fan and I really like collecting old film cameras (even better if they work!). My friend kindly gifted me a vintage Kodak film tank which I absolutely adore and it complements my film camera collection perfectly.

Vintage teapot

Vintage teapot:

 My Mum has an amazing vintage teapot which I have been eyeing up for months. It got to the point that I was plotting how to get it back to my flat without her noticing (which failed!). This teapot which my parents kindly gave me is very similar to theirs. Underneath it is a normal teapot, however, the metal cover which slips over the top keeps the tea piping hot so you can enjoy a hot pot for longer without it going cold. Genius.

Tea storage box

Tea box:

Continuing with the tea theme, I also received a tea box which will be perfect for storing part of my oversized tea collection. It sits perfectly with the general vintage approach to my flat d├ęcor.

Ruby Tandoh Crumb

Crumb by Ruby Tandoh:

While doing some general errands before Christmas, I spotted this book in Sainsburys and after a quick browse I promptly added it to my Christmas list. This book is beautiful and contains SO many recipes. I will be doing a full review on the blog very soon so watch this space!

Floral notebook

Floral Notebook:

I have an addiction to stationery, particularly notebooks. This Christmas, I was kindly given this floral notebook which I love and I think it will become some form of blog/youtube book.

Vintage film magazines

Vintage magazines:

Most of the artwork in my flat is either vintage or vintage-inspired. My Mum knows my taste pretty well and so she kindly gave me a couple of vintage film magazines which I love!

Clarins Basic Eyeshadow Palette

Clarins Basic Eyeshadow palette:

Everyone loves a neutral eyeshadow palette, right? I was kindly given the Clarins basic eyeshadow palette for part of my Christmas. This sold out like hot cakes last year when a similar version was released. I adore this palette as neutral eyeshadow palettes are right up my street. You can never have too many neutral palettes, right?

Yankee Candle Sampler set

Yankee candle set:

I love Yankee Candles as they smell incredible and I was lucky to receive this set of samplers for Christmas. I can tell you that the Salted Caramel one smells amazing.

                     Foam Roller

Foam Roller:

I go to the gym 6 days out of 7 and the majority of that is spent participating in an exercise class or two (Yes, I double up on classes). Needless to say I ache quite a bit afterwards. To combat this, I asked for a foam roller for Christmas to roll out the kinks from after a gym session.

                    HP Pavillon


Sadly my laptop which I have had since university, died a death just before Christmas. I was lucky enough to receive a new one for Christmas (which I'm currently typing on) and its certain to say that I really adore it. I can't wait to be able to write more!