Eat – Exercise – Pin – Read – Listen – Watch #2

I’m back and I’m bad. (At keeping the regular posts. I’m very sorry!) First thing’s first, I’ve moved over to the world of WordPress, so the theme is looking a little rudimental right now, bear with 😉 Bye for now Blogspot!

Thinking about what I wanted post, whilst taking (an extended) study break, I was flicking through my archive and found the first post of this series back in May. It’s now a new season, new food in my belly, new televisual goodness on the tv, and so I thought that I’d come back with round 2..

Eat – Coincidentally, I just bought a packet of leeks this morning – the same ingredient which I raved about in my first post, which was an additional ingredient to my homemade sweetcorn soup! Since getting back from the gorge-fest of Christmas, I’ve been back to eating really well, so plenty of fresh tomatoes, broccoli and greens have been going down a treat.

This month I’ve had several meals with buckwheat semolina from Lidl as my “carbohydrate,” which come in handy 100g boil-in-a-bag pouches. The first time I cooked with it I consumed the whole thing and was left bursting at the seams, but split in half and with a good helping of veg, your belly is kept satisfied. I also bought a bag of dates today as a *treat* and what I would do for a blob of peanut butter dolloped on top of those…

Exercise – Aaah exercise. My old friend. This time last year I was working out 4-5 times a week, this year it’s been slackened to about half that. I’d like it to blame it on early starts for the library and not wanting to wash my hair everyday, but of course that ole foe laziness plays a part too 😉 The workouts I have been doing however include the faithful FitnessBlender duo, and Joe Wicks’ TheBodyCoachTV. As well as still wanting to lose body fat in general, I’m really interested in core strength this time round, and can already see sliiight definition. When the lighting’s right… ..Before breakfast…

Pin – I’ve been really enjoying Pinning recently! As ever, there are plenty of foodie posts going up, a mix of the ultra healthy to don’t-feed-me-for-a-month heavenly creations. I keep stumbling across great websites, bloggers and Instagrammers who have created brilliant, simple recipes. I’m desperate to try this Unami Fennel Beef Ragu and this highly rated Butter Chicken recipe. 

I’m also pretty happy with how my Interiors Board is going. Lots of bright, airy spaces filled with foliage, wooden features and blue hues – are you an avid Pinner too?

Read – As mentioned in the first post, I don’t really read fiction/for-pleasure at uni, however, some nights I close the laptop early, and read just a few pages at a time of a free eBook I got ages ago on my Kindle. It’s the first in the Farseer trilogy; ‘Assassin’s Apprentice,’ something I probably wouldn’t read if I had picked it up in paper-form. I’m still in the early stages where Fitz is just a young boy, but am really enjoying it! The imagery is brilliant at whisking me away to a bustling coastal settlement that just makes me yearn for the sea and its scents, sights and sounds so badly.

Listen – I’m not a podcasts or audiobook kinda gal, but the songs that I keep hitting repeat on are Jasmine Thompson’s Like I’m Gonna Lose You, and Brandy’s Right Here (Departed). Both pretty emotional in different ways, but lovely listens that make even me sing ’em out loud and proud. – Sorry flatmates!

Watch – One word: Dickensian. Are you hooked too? I can’t really keep up with when the 30mins episodes are aired, but yesterday I consumed 3 episodes back-to-back. It’s a clever concept of intertwining characters from various Dickens’ stories such as The Old Curiosity Shop, A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist, who all cross paths with Inspector Bucket’s investigation of who killed Jacob Marley (Scrooge’s partner.) You don’t have to be familiar with the plots of the books, and it isn’t overwhelming in terms of the amount of characters and subplots. Catch it on iPlayer now!

My beloved Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast is back in full swing too over on Channel 4, and in keeping with food, the hilarious The Great Sport Relief Bake Off. Television’s never been better. 

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So what has you glued to the screen? What song is constantly on loop in your head, and what are you making for your dinner tonight?!

TTFN, P x

 

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Fitness Update #2 Inspiring Instagrams

I’ve only just got a brand new phone which finally allows me to use a fully-functioning Instagram account. I’m yet to actually post anything, as it is a sort of terrifying prospect being so late to the party, but I’ve had an account where I can follow people and see what is posted daily for some time now. And it’s been great. Amongst the makeup madness and enticing interiors shots, there are a lot fitness fiends’ hot-bods, and endless bird’s eye view photographs of deliciously nutritious dishes of food on my Home feed.  
Like I said in my previous #1 post, when you witness good things, you want to go on and create your own good things. Beginning with people themselves, I find a mixture of trainers and generally beautifully-bodied people help provide motivation for reaching the level of fitness I aspire to have. I will probably never have highly ripped abs, or indeed a year-round golden glow, but the posts provide escapism and a positive influence for those lazy days we all have..

The Fitness Fiends 

Body By SimoneThe latest account I decided to follow. Formerly a dancer; Simone is a fitness instructor who holds exercise classes based in dance, but also provides programmes for you to purchase yourself. I am yet to buy any workout plan, or invest in a personal trainer, but her Instagram is jam-packed with short clips of high intense dance-workouts which you can easily. and freely, take inspiration from. I’m weirdly feeling like I need to belt “Sistaaaas, are doing it for themselves.” So there we go, I just did.

FGC’s Instagram has such a wide variety of images, largely consisting of meals and snacks created, and the Fit Girls working out, with a good all-round mixture of everything you need to feel properly motivated. Their blog however, is where the juicy goodness is really at. With recipes, fitness routines and articles on global Fit Girls, it is a brilliant resource that I highly recommend you to read!

Who hasn’t heard of Kayla Itsines these days? The Australian bronzed babe is motivating and transforming hundreds, probably thousands of women daily, each with their own story to tell about the journey they’re on. She usually posts “before and after” shots of those who have undertaken the Bikini Body challenge, as well as “motivational” quotes, what she’s been eating that day, and her set of cracking abs. Not… Jealous…. At. All.

Progress shots of someone who  is on the BBG programme. Source
Consisting largely of success stories like Kayla’s, Joe often posts his “Lean In 15” meals in photographic or short video form, as well as quick clips of himself working out. He’s incredibly encouraging towards his trainees, and has a great sense of humour, the latter no doubt being a life saver for those moments where you’re wanting to pack it all in. I also discussed the workouts he posts online for free in this post.

The Foodie Fiends

Not actually a professional chef, Steph is a dancer who has an incredibly active and hectic lifestyle, having just back-up danced on Britain’s Got Talent. She’s great to follow if you’re looking for lunch ideas when on the go or for lunchbox inspiration at work.

Pauline’s photographs are truly works of art. Each tinted in what I assume is a VSCO filter, the colours are beautiful, and consist largely of round bowls of breakfasts, salads, and the odd sweet-treat of pancakes or waffles. Check it out even for just the aesthetic pleasure alone.

LTHC’s Berry smoothie bowl topped with rhubarb crumble, pecans, puffed quinoa, blueberries and bee pollen

 Source

Jen’s shots are highly saturated, with every photo a snapshot of the rainbow. She often posts healthy versions of the “naughty” treats we all love – caramel slices, cupcakes, ice-cream, burgers.. you get the gist. 

Probably the queen of the breakfast/smoothie bowl. The images are a delight, drenched in colour with a careful detail in her decoration, Meghan describes herself as a “Vegan Wellness warrior, health blogger and plant-based foodie.” She also lives in the UK, so I have no excuse for not being able to source the ingredients she uses in her magnificent creations!

Evelyn is an inspiring woman who has used the knowledge of nutrition and how food can empower and restore to help her recover from an eating disorder. A tender topic, it is something Evelyn openly posts about, whilst also encouraging other girls who may be experiencing similar issues to help take care of themselves nutritionally. Like the previous accounts mentioned, her vegan and gluten-free dishes are also painted in every colour imaginable. The posts range from chocolate peanut bars to nachos, doughnuts to lasagne. De-lic-ious. 

Fructose friendly, raw vegan cheesecake Source


About to head off to university, Siobhan is a veteran in the glorified breakfast smoothie bowls and is well clued up in all things “free-from” and health. We both share a love of bananas, dates and oats which immediately got me hooked. Siobhan is always finding new simply ways of recreating gluten or animal-based foods for the vegans, vegetarians or Coeliacs out there.

The Fabulous Famouses

Just look at her! Rosie doesn’t really post many photos of her bod or what she’s been eating, but I know she follows the Body By Simone fitness programme and I unashamedly use her glorious physique as something to examine and motivate myself with. Not fancying a workout today? Oh, RHW’s just posted a pic of her latest red carpet event and magazine shoot. To the workout mat you sprint.

I love Karlie. She seems completely down to earth and is very into fitness and maintaining her athletic physique. Like Rosie, she isn’t a full time health or fitness coach, and has too busy a schedule to be posting every meal in perfect composition, but you can expect to find a good amount of workout photos and videos peppered amongst her usual lifestyle photos.


Karlie workin’ it. Source


So which Instagram accounts do you follow who help to provide that kick up the bum in the morning? What’s your favourite meal to make post-workout?

TTFN P, x

Fitness Update #1 – Workout Routines

I’m back home for summer, which means GOODBYE EXAMS. So long third year. Hello Home. I survived, just 😉 I had a lovely couple of days post-exams gorging on every naughty food imaginable: Pizza – gluten and dairy, Cider – the first drink since October, Chocolate cake – no explanation needed, Fish ‘n’ Chips – batter and white carb, Burger, Irn Bru, Pringles, Chocolate biscuits. The list slightly goes on. 

Anyway, the celebrating and long car journeys are over and I’m back on it. This means the morning HIIT workouts are back, and eating consciously, aware again of what I’m putting into my mouth. I never go to the gym and I have (yet) to exercise outside, but am hoping to go running round the park circular with my friend over the holidays. Youtube is my friend, it’s my lover, always there providing just what I need no matter what mood I’m in. Something gentle and Zen? Pilates and yoga videos have got your back, something heart-pumping, body-dripping and floorboard-breaking? You’re sorted.

STATISTICS:

  • Since January I have lost a total of 18lb. Ridiculously chuffed.
  • Since Easter I have lost 6.6lb which is CRAZY seeing as I had eaten lots of treat-cheat foods and did next to no working out due to library days. I guess hardcore revision and brain action really does burn calories!


My Favourite Youtube Workouts:

HIIT
The Body Coach / Joe Wickes – The front man of The Body Coach workout plans and nutrition guides. Joe’s workout videos on Youtube are T.O.U.G.H. Being HIIT, this means that the individual exericse lasts for 30 seconds, followed by a 30 second rest. There are lots of different exercises within the overall workout which I think is crucial if you want to stay focused and not quit early out of boredom. None of his videos are over 30 minutes, but of course you can repeat however many times you want, especially the shorter clips which are under 10 minutes.

Tone It Up  I only use one video from the super-energetic twosome; their Hump Day HIIT. This is brilliant for days where you’re short for time but feel too guilty to skip a workout, and not just reserved for your midweek slump. It lasts 15 minutes, no time for rest, and really gets you pumped for the day ahead.

Gym Ra / Rebecca – I LOVE this gal! She’s a fellow Brit but clearly living the dream out in the land of sunshine which actually acts as great motivation when your own curtains block out the miserable overcast weather, and you’re able to escape for a little while. I particularly like this video as it’s high impact but in every “rest” you squat. Burns fat and works that booteh. What’s not to love?
The Gym Ra channel has videos for days, so there are plenty to choose from. Variety is absolutely key for me, I can’t do the same workout for more than 2 days in a row, or I switch off and have no motivation – a real problem I find with workout DVDs. 

Fitness Blender – These guys!! What a power couple. Exercise aside, the connection the two have is inspiring to watch. It’s so sweet to see them laughing together and helping one another work out. Exercise-wise, their channel also has an extensive choice of videos and different types of workout. Whether it’s HIIT, toning, weights, Barre, you are in safe hands. This video is a hefty 53 minutes long, but it really doesn’t feel that way.

BeFit / Jillian MichaelsOf course. This woman. Her workouts were pretty much all I did last summer, my body a slave to 35-55 minutes of torture hardcore cardio. But in a weirdly gratifying way. She pushes you to your absolute limit in military chants and moves. Her videos are great because she is the trainer, and there are usually at least 2 other people working out under her instruction. Her teasing adds humour and eases the pain of the tight chest or bad thoughts you send to your past self for deciding that this was a good idea. You feel bloody brilliant once completed.

PILATES/YOGA/TONE
Winsor Pilates A lil more chilled out and great for days in between HIIT and weight training. It’s not just an excuse for a kip on the mat however. Your legs get a proper working, as do the glutes, and you’re left feeling awakened and sliiightly smug knowing you’ve exercised well, but without the added bucket load of sweat. I also feel like I’ve stepped back in time a couple decades, you’ll know what I mean 😉

BeFit / Mary Helen Bowers This channel is fantastic for all kinds of workouts, but I really enjoy Mary Helen Bowers’ ballet sculpting workout. 10 seconds into the video and you want to be her, or her niece.. She seems very sweet, but certainly knows her stuff, and it’s tough on the abs. Take a look at the range of workouts available on the channel.

Yoga With Adrienne – I think anyone who has entered the Zen realm of yoga through Youtube has come across Adrienne. Sometimes I felt she was too chilled out and I missed the strict structure of cardio workouts where I’m used to following a tight plan. I suppose this is the beauty of yoga/pilates where you discover what your body can achieve and how far it can be stretched (literally). She clearly knows what she’s doing, and the videos are good for more chilled out days or even if you just want a  bit of “me” time. Adrienne also has a 30 day yoga challenge which would be great if you really want to try a “Before and After” experience of how your body has progressed.

Blogilates – This couldn’t not be mentioned. Cassey is full of energy and positivity. If you’re feeling lacklustre in mind and body her frequent snippets of encouragement and smiles are welcomed. The workouts are tough though. This 10 minutes video squeezes every ounce of energy out from within yourself, and you really feel your core getting a proper pummelling. 


LATEST DISCOVERY
Joanna Soh – Her 30 minute core and cardio video was this morning’s workout of choice. A real problem area of mine is my torso. The belly and the waist are areas that need focussing on, and this video was great for that. The video consists of lots of individual exercises which are repeated twice within each circuit. The time surprisingly flew by and I can’t wait to try more videos from her channel.

The next post is going to be on motivational Instagram accounts! When you surround yourself with good people, you become a better person yourself, when you surround yourself with healthy (pictures of) food, you want to create and consume that yourself, when you surround yourself with “fit” people, you feel motivated to get fit yourself. Instagram is great for little kicks of motivation when you see a gorgeous clean meal, or an equally gorgeous looking set of abs. Stay tuned.

What are your favourite workouts to do? Do you use Youtube, DVDs, paper plans or head to the gym?

TTFN, P x

Food Replacements

Several months ago I decided that I needed to reinvent my daily diet. I’ve always grown up in a family of healthy eaters, and it’s been great, but I realised that although I eat well, I could eat even well-er. erm. Disclaimer: this isn’t going to be a blog post on a vegan/vegetarian/raw-food-only/extreme-health detoxed foodie, but someone who has realised that by making simple replacements in her diet, a difference to her body and health can be made.


Here’s what I’ve done:

Breakfast Cereal < Porridge/Oatmeal
I have grown up eating cereal every morning for my breakfast. We were never the kind of family that had toast or muffins or a full English or eggs or pancakes, just a variety of cereals. Although they weren’t necessarily “unhealthy,” i.e. it’s usually a squadron of boxes of bran flakes, weetabix, muesli, and perhaps some kind of corn cereal standing in line on the worktop, after reading a few of the nutrition labels and ingredients, I realised things like fruity/nutty/seedy cereal actually had a scary amount of sugar in them. Although cereal will always be a love of mine, the day I decided to have porridge for breakfast, and the day after, and the week after, and the month after I knew this was a very good decision! Mashed banana into the porridge before it’s fully cooked is incredible, as is a dash of vanilla extract and sprinkles of cinnamon and ginger.

Bread < Oatcakes 
Cut out all bread. I love bread. I always have, especially when it’s freshly baked, or bursting with seeds, or dripping in butter with a heavy slather of strawberry jam. But ridding it from my diet has made such a difference to my bloating and has helped me to shed weight. Even the brown and “healthy” looking loaves can have a scary amount of salt in, as we chow down blissfully oblivious, along with the naughty white flour breads. Instead, my lunches now consist of one or two large carrots and a couple of oatcakes, Nairn’s are usually at a good price and the “rough” ones are real good, and real filling.

White Pasta + White Rice < Brown Pasta + Brown Rice
I was delighted to discovered that brown pasta tasted no different to white, however there is a distinction between brown and white rice, in texture and flavour. Brown rice takes longer to cook, and admittedly it took various adjustments and experiments with water amount and cooking duration, but when you do properly achieve the perfect boil so the grains are all pale and fluffy, it’s fantastic and I have had absolutely no bloating. Score.

Snacking
Unsalted nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits and chopped up veg is the way forward. Nuts are ridiculously filling in such small quantities and are perfect with my post-uni cup of tea or sprinkled on top of porridge if I have a particularly empty stomach that morning.

Disclaimer: I am by NO means any kind of health nutrition expert, these are just basic dietary improvements pretty much anyone can benefit from : )

TTFN P x