Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2015 Reflections: An Honest Chat

I can't believe Christmas has gone past in the blink of an eye. This December has been so busy I never really felt the degree of festive vibes I would have liked too. Nonetheless, a week of seeing my favourite faces eating amazing food and having a bit more sofa time than usual has been wonderful. I'm already bursting with adrenaline, excitement and to do lists for 2016 but before we get to that, a little reflection of the last 12 months seems necessary, to count blessings and remember some amazing experiences and milestones. 


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Friday, 18 December 2015

Surviving Winter and Little Things To Love

Source: 








I'll be honest, when it's 6.30am, dark and raining outside and you've got a 12 hour day ahead things can feel a bit bleak. This time of year always seems filled to the brim with deadlines, jam packed diaries, colds and a dip in life mojo. So writing a little post gathering my fave bits about Winter will hopefully bring some warm fuzziness to a another hectic day. 

1. Adding Sparkle

I love embracing my inner child and getting creative and festive at home. Glittery decorations and snowflakes welcome. Arty activities are extremely therapeutic and add a bit of rustic to everything commercial and modern.

2. Decorating The Tree. 

The most 2nd most exciting evening of the year, so make a big deal of it and put on a bit of Mariah while hanging your baubles. You can't do it without smiling. The feeling of satisfaction when it's beautfully complete and you're lounge glows with twinkly lights is such a good one! Winter scented candles and silver/gold beads are my fave accompaniments to turn my flat into a little hub of relaxation and festivity.  

3. Cocao and Ginger Bread Everything

So maybe I do this all year round but especially in December, cravings for rich chocolaty and ginger flavours go into overdrive. In my coffee, in a cake, on porridge, where possible, I'll add them and inhale the yumminess. 

4. Finding A New Fit 

Fitness can be a tricky one to squeeze in around multiple nights out and social/ family gatherings but maintaining some kind of fitness schedule will make you feel more energised and reduce having a sluggish, overindulged start to January. Through December I've had an effort to attend Hot Pod Yoga at least once a week. If you're tired, it's not physically or mentally as hard core as finding gym or running motivation but you still get a very satisfying sweat session and your body will thank you for the brain rest all the more.   

5. Mulled Wine 

The smell of it simmering makes my mouth water. It's something that is really only enjoyed in the weeks running up to Christmas so enjoy it! If you aren't feeling festive cosy up next to a pub fire or at some Xmas markets and catch up with friends over mulled wine. The epitome of festive relaxation. 

6. An Excuse For New Books and Pyjamas 

Snuggling up with a new book in new pyjamas is just so good. Straight out the bath and with a cup of tea is even better. Make sure you schedule time to do this in the next fortnight, it makes me so happy sit on the sofa with a blanket and enter a little world of escapism. 


Do you feel the same?
Lots Of Love
B xx 
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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Non Fitness November Faves






December 1st. Really? Hello advent chocs and hello to real winter. Autumn passed in the blink of eye, it's been such a busy season full of the daily grind, a few surprises, and these new fave products I have to share! Roll on the excitement and the magic of Xmas, not forgetting to schedule some time for feel good food and beauty and a headspace for chill time. 
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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Chai Crush




For those of you not following me on Snapchat or Instagram you may not have witnessed my growing love of Chai. The mug and heart emojis are severely overused so I thought I'd perhaps long windedly articulate my love for my best 2015 discovery so far. Tesco Finest Masala Chai and Coconut Milk. 







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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Black Friday: Becca's Edit

















So it looks like the UK has fully embraced the Black Friday madness this year, giving a perfect excuse to pop together an AW15 wishlist. (Santa might even see it?) I've fully converted this year to a quality over quantity approach to shopping. I'd rather spend £200 on a dress and wear it 10 times, styled many different ways, than buy a dress costing £20 and wear it once. When you cost it per time worn they're they same price anyway so it's best to invest! *Cue Balmain dreams.* 


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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Smoothie Secrets: The Benefits Of Maca





Walking (fast because i'm running late, sigh!) into Uni on a Monday morning after yet another indulgent weekend of too much of, well, everything is becoming a bit of a bad habit of late. This last week I've noticed my skin and energy levels really needed a boost. I've been munching too many sweet treats, going to bed too late and generally juggling too many balls at once. Eating has been more binge-ful than mindful so before it's time to open advent calendars, I'm determined to give my body a brighter and more nourishing month. That said, I wanted to share my new best friend. 

Maca Powder. 
Lets start with the best bits first, it's an all natural energy boosting, hormone balancing, libido boosting, vitamin B bursting powder. How have I not been consuming this for years?! The not so good bits... there isn't any. It has a slightly malty flavour and is a perfect addition to any smoothie. It's popular with athletes as has also been found to increase stamina as well as being a source of iron. 

It comes from a Maca plant which is a root that grows in the Andes in Peru. The root has been a staple in many locals diets for years, but the powder form is definitely recommended to put in your yummy bakes and shakes. Start with just a half teaspoon at a time, as too large quantities can cause hormonal imbalances. 

I bought mine on Amazon for a bargain at £7.60 (it lasts a while). 


If you need any inspiration definitely give this recipe a go as a basis for using Maca: 

1 Frozen Banana
1 tsp Spirulina
1/2 tsp Maca
Hanful Of Spinach
1tsp Cinnamon
200ml Almond Milk

Blend up, sprinkle with Cocao Nibs and have a super energised day!




Lots Of Love,
B xx
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Sunday, 1 November 2015

October Obsessions






Hello, hello, hello, firstly how is it already the end of October? Secondly how demotivating it's now dark before I can even contemplate leaving work/Uni. There's so much going on at the moment I don't even have time to feel sorry for myself and my sore throat. 

Extra vitamin tablets at the ready, and just too many things to do, plans to make and people to see to slow down. October was good on lots of levels, I usually find it a fun month - be it containing my B'day, Halloween and the start of a new season. Long boots, hot chocolate, MAC HoneyLove and and layers welcome to AW15.  October this year however, I have other new obsessions to add to the list. Fringing, monochrome and marble. Ok, the monochrome isn't new but it now features in my flat decor not just in my wardrobe and this makes me very smiley.


It's just big enough for all the usually junk I NEED to carry around, and small enough for it not to give your shoulder ache. It looks good with jeans and converse or a dress and heels. Need I say more? 

Marble Phone Case

I adore the Madotta designs and I'm yet to purchase all their dreamy designs to protect my various gadgets, but as I was browsing Amazon for Spirulina (as you do) this popped up in my recommended to buy list. At £2.99 I could't resist. Pretty phone autumn makeover complete. 


I was on the hunt for cosy cloak like scarf for a while and this Dorothy Perkins buy was an unexpected bargain. It caught my eye in a window display while rushing around town, so I went home, ordered it online and it's been round my neck ever since.    

Posh Stationary 

Trying extra hard to be one of those girl who has, for want of a better phrase, has their shit together. To do lists and matching note books galore, I'm on it. 


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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Superfood Brunch In 5 Minutes


Nope I'm still not bored of avocados. 

This homey morning brunch wins every time with a hangover, after a run, or just because you want something delicious but nutritious.  
If it takes more than 10 minutes or requires more than 1 pan I usually lose interest in a recipe but this combo is effortlessly put together and leaves minimal washing up. Winner. 

It's also super easy to make in bulk if you are feeling generous and cooking for friends or family too. 

Simply scramble your eggs in a pan, grill your kale until crispy and dice your avocados into bit size chunks. I love to pile this onto a dark rye bread, lightly toasted and add heaps of black pepper. It's such a perfect meal to kickstart the weekend. 



Lots Of Love,

B xx 



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Monday, 19 October 2015

Never. Give. Up.





 Outfit: Sweaty Betty and Adidas   Trainers: Asics
Photo credit: Melody Armstrong



I'm not a girl that's easily defeated. Put simply I love to excel. Good enough just doesn't cut it. But some days, motivation is low and "life stuff" clouds my tenacity. In work, university, the gym, relationships, sometimes you just can't be bothered. Staying motivated knowing you have a reward or perhaps a holiday in sight during the summer when the weather is warmer and days are longer is somewhat easier than when darker nights approach and everyone seems to have a cold. Long term motivation can be tough, but be mindful of your schedule and actions and you'll find this season much more rewarding. 

Get Outdoors

If I have a late start, one of the most uplifting things I enjoy is getting up at sunrise and going for a jog or a walk. An outdoor workout on a bright, crisp morning really refreshes your mind and body for the day ahead. If I can get into the countryside once a week even better, but even in an urban setting, a dose of fresh air and increased heart rate can be a therapeutic break from any stress and light active recovery for achy muscles.     

Update Your Wardrobe

When you look, good you feel confident and when you feel confident, your perform better. In many disciplines. So make sure the shape, quality and fabrics you work out in are form fitting and sweat wicking. 

Stay Hydrated

Shoutout for herbal teas! In colder weather I find glugging water much more of an effort and I'm forever guilty of not drinking enough. Starting the day with a large herbal tea or hot water with a fresh lemon slice is a great way to kick start your system after a long sleep. Keeping hydrated is so important for concentration and getting the most out of everything.  

Sensual Smells

Since finding my love of Hot Pod Yoga I've become a bit obsessed with relaxing essential oils and having my flat smelling like a spa. During the dark winter nights I find it really therapeutic to have calming, subtle aromas in the place I want to chill. Home.  

Positivity


Positivity is so rewarding. For yourself and for infectiously, unintentionally making others' day. When you wake up each morning this week, make mental note to approach situations with a can do thought and see how much more you get out of it. 



Lots Of Love

B xx  




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Monday, 12 October 2015

Keeping It Simple




The smile you see on faces when you give or receive flowers is so infectious. That small gesture that often speaks a thousand words and truly makes someones day. Acts of kindness we don't do nearly enough that shift life back into perspective are oh so worthy of a thought. The simplicity and beauty of my fresh flowers lead to somewhat of a reflection. Keep things simple. 

Flowers bloom, we grow, things change. I'm a serious overthinker and stress head, but the world doesn't stop turning and life wont wait while I battle with my bad mood and panicking over insignificant matters. So take a deep breathe, organise your thoughts and if all else fails, add an extra yoga class to your diary.    

Last week I gave and received flowers and tonight I'll drift off to sleep noting giving and generosity feel good. 



Lots Of Love

B xx 
    
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Sunday, 4 October 2015

One Week Later // Half Marathon




Outfit (Top Sweaty Betty, Shorts H&M, Trainers Asics)


1.54:50 

I said I was going to be happy with anything under 2 hours, I lied, I really wanted to push for 1.50. 10 weeks of concentrated training and feeling sluggish progress, I wasn't sure if this was realistic or possible, but I reeeeally wanted it. 

The day started with a blanket of grey cloud and a temp of only 9 degrees (teeth chattering) but after 3 miles I felt in a comfortable stride and was warming up nicely. 

6 miles in, still steady, and on track for sub 2 hours, I gulped a mouthful of Lucozade hoping it would add a little more bounce to my stride in the second half. To my surprise I didn't slow at all and miles 10 to 13 were far more pleasurable than I expected. Yes, my legs were aching by this point, but the sky was now blue and the infectiously happy vibe from the runners and spectators totally numbed the fatigue.  

8.5/9 min miles for 13. I can now confirm, this really hurts, but feels really good. The event didn't disappoint and neither did the re-feed andd rest that evening! The volunteers deserve such a huge thank you, the event just gets better every year. So much money was raised for such worthy charities, and so many well deserved personal bests from participants. 

Mission sprinter to distance runner ... complete! For Now. 



Have you run any Half Marathons this year?  What's your next challenge? 

Lots Of Love

B xx 
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Thursday, 1 October 2015

Vegan Update



Autumnal colours are so warm and inspiring, a conscious effort to inject them into my wardrobe and diet has been noted. I wear too much black and eat too repetitively. Keeping in line with this it's 5 weeks into #VeganThursdays and I'm totally in my stride. Eating lots of chickpeas and waking up on Friday mornings feeling lighter and brighter are 2 factors I'm loving. 

This may be placebo, or it may be that a meat and dairy free day has this effect, either way I feel good for it. I thought I'd therefore write up a little post if any of you are wanting to try a plant based diet, to demonstrate the kind of foods I've enjoyed on my Thursdays - or any day for that matter. These meals are all meat and dairy free: 

Breakfasts

Green Smoothie: 
Frozen mango, frozen banana, coconut milk, spirulina, spinach, ginger and topped with dates and chia seeds (for chunchy chewy nommness.)

Rye toast with peanut butter and banana

Soya Yogurt with fresh fruit and chopped nuts

Lunches

Salad Bowl: Roasted cajun chickpeas with salsa and mixed green leaves.

Rye toast with smashed avocados or hummus and spinach

Soup: Asian style vegetable broth with lemongrass and chilli 

Dinners

Green Lentil and Cauliflower curry with basmati rice

Hot Kale and Sweetpotato Deliciously Ella salad  with broccoli, black beans, onion, garlic and brown rice stirred in. (Lemon and balsamic to dress) 

Edamame and vegetable stir fry

Veggie chilli with salad, homemade guac and corn chips





Have you got any great vegan or veggie dishes for me to try? 

B xx 


Illustration for this post from deliciouslyella.com 
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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Almond Butter Caramels & Getting Fit For Free







Confession time: I have such a sweet tooth. My sensible brain tries to repress my sugar cravings while my indulgent brain battles for desserts. Since this happens fairly frequently, I love finding more nutritious recipes and alternatives for classic sweet treats that aren't quite to bad for the body or conscience. Throughout September Sweaty Betty has once again performed a fantastic "Get Fit For Free" Campaign; this time in the shape of Body By Simone. An energetic, intense dance and body weight workout.  (The last session is tonight, so see if you can gab yourself a last minute place at your closest boutique!)  Book Here

To accompany the 4 week class, dancer turned drop-dead-amazing-foodie-blogger- Naturally Sassy came up with 3 totally delicious plant based recipes that were easy to try at home, and just as satisfying and tasty as the traditional versions. This recipe is therefore perfect post workout for nourishing and energising yourself ready for the next one! Little indulgences are good for body, mind and soul after all. 

I tried it out to see for myself if it was worth recommending. It totally is, so if you fancy giving these a go, just follow the recipe I've popped in below. Thanks Saskia and Team SB!


Ingredients

1/3 cup almond butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, agave or raw honey
 
Method
 
1. Start by melting the coconut oil. Once melted, add the almond butter, natural sweetener of choice and vanilla extract. Mix until totally smooth.
 
2. Pour the mix into some some chocolate moulds (or ice cube moulds if you don’t have any) and leave in the freezer to set for about half an hour. Pop out and enjoy. (Store in the freezer to keep cold and firm!)
 
 

B xx 
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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Talking About Change






Mid September and it's time for a reflective ramble. 

How we've got to Autumn so quickly I'll never know. I'm a summer girl through and through, and this week it's felt thoroughly like change is in the air. The weather, my outfit choices, the darker evenings and new academic year within touching distance. My Summer buzz has fizzled out and I've noticed feeling energised has become more of a challenge. For me this time of year is usually synonymous with a dip in my mood, a dip in my energy and rise in my stress levels. This September is no different, but my response to these symptoms will be. I've spent the Summer somewhat pondering and evaluating the good, the bad and the ugly of situations life threw up and how I dealt with them, taking lessons from mistakes and praising my conscious for when the bad was well handled. Reaping from it, really, all you can do is embrace the inevitable and let go of what's not in your control. (That's the tough bit.) 

My perspective on reacting and adapting to change is the fresh bit. The new addition to my psyche this year is... in a nutshell...rationalisation. At almost 23, in the blink of an eye I've feel more self assured, than ever before. Failures, successes, relationships and CHANGE since the beginning of my adulthood have all shaped and transformed me into who I am today. There's been vast adjustments to just about every life category; family, occupation, location, relationship, friendships, home. Reflecting and thinking *wooahhh thats's a lot, cut yourself some slack Bec* has it's place - Had some doors not closed - new ones may not have opened. 

In light of this, I think I've narrowed my not-so-much-experience- life lessons down into 3 main points; which may be applicable to you, if, like me, you're an overthinker with alot on your emotional plate.  

1. It's ok to cry.

2. You aren't the only person to ever go through this.

3. Adaptability is key. Think Dynamic not Static. 

Here's to hoping I read this back in another 5 years, "awwing" at my innocence, with more experiences and game changers under my belt, armed with only positive ammunition and perspective. 


Love,

B xx  
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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Half Marathon Training Diary // Week 8





Monday
3 Mile Jog 

Tuesday
6 Mile Jog

Wednesday
Leg Weights Gym Session

Thursday
Hot Pod Yoga 

Friday
10 mile run (1hr 30mins) and Crossfit Class 

Saturday
3 mile jog 

Sunday
REST


Wowzers this week went fast. I've had the chance to vary training by running in the countryside and in the city, and finally I'm finding my flow with this training malarky just in time. The race is next Sunday, giving me just 6 days left now to prepare. I'm thinking lots of resting and sleep will be on the cards and no weight sessions or long runs. Race dat looks set to be super fun filled and bigger than ever before. Truth be told however, I'm really looking forward to it being completed and heading into Autumn being able to mix up my workouts again, doing what I want to do and feel like doing not what I feel I perhaps should. Hopefully alot more crossfit, circuits and weights and less steady state cardio until Spring. Wish me luck...

B xx
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