Sunday Post – Weekend Stretch

WeekendStretch

After a period of intense exercise we need to wring the intensity out of our bodies to allow ourselves to recover. It’s like anything in life, you need some time to rejuvenate after working hard. I’ve certainly been doing that over the last couple of days. I took some annual leave from work and I’ve been enjoying a bit of me time as well as getting some much needed life admin out of the way. There was plenty of good craic involved too though: bittersweet fun with cocktails on Wednesday to celebrate my friends last day in our office, a photography seminar on Thursday and spending Saturday night with my boyfriends family to celebrate his grans birthday. Chris’ family all live in a seaside town on the West Coast of Scotland which is about an hour away from where we are in Glasgow. It was nice to go away somewhere different for the night even if it isn’t too far, and, as always happens when I’m in Ayrshire, the weather was stunning – I’m actually a bit sunburnt!

Stretching for me is such a relieving part of my exercise routine and I really enjoy doing it. This morning when Chris and I were our for a run by the beach in Saltcoats I thought that I’d get him to document some of the stretches that I do at the end of my run to share with you, as well as the beautiful location and weather – and some pretty awkward facial expressions on my part!

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Did you have a nice weekend? Leave a comment below or if you have any good post run stretches to share with me, please do!

Caffeine Free Girl

Caffeine

Throughout the course of my little blogging journey I’ve been trying to make positive changes everywhere I can. But, as we all know, even for the most open of us, change can be bloody hard! Experts will tell you that behavioral change is the most difficult because habits become ingrained into our routines and therefore our lives. That’s why smokers find it so hard to kick the habit, why you’re waking up at 6 am on a Saturday instead of lying in while you have the day off and probably why 9 times out of ten you did lock the door when you left the house even if you can’t remember doing it. Behaviors, people! So change is hard, and it’s not because you’re not up for it, it’s just that you’re battling a consistent behavioral pattern that your mind has gotten used to and doesn’t see a reason to do anything differently because it likes its little routine.

Just about one month ago, I made a bit of a biggie (for me anyway). I cut high doses caffeine out of my diet. Coffee, Coke, Tea (inwardly wails) are gone.

Caffeine and Me

Why you ask? Well, I’m a slight girl with a fast metabolism and I have found that while caffeine can definitely give me an energy boost, the negative effects greatly outweigh the positives for me. I get energy spikes and then massive troughs (which makes me need a boost through food, often sugar) and it has a really bad effect on my sleep. Over the last while I have been noticing that it makes my heart absolutely race which, again just doesn’t sound very good. I’m not a girl to do things by halves and I have been down the “cutting down” road before so I made the decision to just get it out.

I love a cup of coffee. I am the girl juggling a take away Starbucks or Glasgow favorite Gordon St. Coffee cup with my phone and bag while stalking about town. Tea is my go-to comfort drink. I feel like I actually need it when I’ve had a tough day or open a book. There are just so many situations when it’s the most appropriate drink going. Basically, the last month has been very tough. But as anyone who has ever made a decision and stuck to it knows well, it has also been really, really rewarding.

How I managed it:

For the first 10 days I was very tired. Specifically at work which is where I tend to need the pick me up most – I have written a post on staying healthy at work here if you are like me and would like some tips. But I realised that if I was going to make this change, that I would need to really commit to it. So I started going to bed a bit earlier. I started to make sure that I was more hydrated at work – even going so far as keeping a 2 litre bottle of Evian at my desk! Soon, I was finding that my energy levels we actually increasing and (oh joy of joys) my skin started looking much, much healthier!  It can be very difficult to break a habit and make a change and the thing about changes to your lifestyle is that they require a consistent effort. But the reward has been so great and I am so proud of myself for sticking to it!

If you are interested in cutting out caffeine, I hope that this post has shown that it can be done. Here is a link to caffeine content in various drinks from The Guardian which was a bit of an eye opener for me.

Have you ever given up something and reaped the benefits? Leave a comment below, we can encourage each other!

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I miss tea but here are some of the substitutes I’ve been using from left to right: Earl Grey from Whittard (sparingly), Lemongrass and Green Tea from WholeFoods, Mountain Honeybush Tea also from Wholefoods and Arctic Storm Tea (a mix of green tea with chilli and other delicious things) which I bought in the Greenwich Market in London and utterly love!
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Water has been my go-to lately which may explain the slightly more glowey skin I have been experiencing!
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Boiled water with lemon and/or Lemon and ginger is another delicious and cleansing hot drink. Also…look at the size of that lemon!!

Sunday Post – Abs, Crafts and Small Setbacks

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Wow August is just flying in! Here’s a little update from me on the past two weeks:

I had a wee setback…

So last Monday night I spectacularly stubbed my toe on our lovely pine table leg, making it far too painful to run on for a good week! I’ve only just signed up for a half marathon on September 19th which is creeping ever closer so it was terrible timing. The toe is now healed though and training is back on in earnest. Just my luck though, eh?

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My Brother Visited…

My big brother came to stay with me and Chris for 10 whole days. We had so much catching up to do and it was great to have so much time to do it! He also happens to be a wonderful cook and treated Chris and I to some delicious home cooked meals after a days work which was so kind and very much appreciated.

8 Minute Abs in Earnest…

While I was unable to run or do anything leg related really, I made a big push on my 8 Minute Abs workout! It’s a tough one to do but I have been noticing that I am getting better at it and my core is becoming more defined as a result. A strong core is vital for running so this is a workout that I will continue with my training for this next half marathon.

Edinburgh Fringe is on…

I stopped by Edinburgh Fringe last Saturday with my brother and we had an amazing time. I love the atmosphere during the festival and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in comedy or the unusual. We caught one of many free shows at City Cafe and then headed down to the University which looked just like a music festival. If you can get there, I say go for it!

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Reading Time…

I bought a book called Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell and I’m really enjoying it. For me, it reads like an exceptionally well written sociology thesis which ain’t a bad thing. I have been flying through the book and would recommend it to anyone who loves to delve into the cultural, geographical and socio-economic reasons behind who gets ahead and who doesn’t written in a positive and fluent style which makes it difficult to put down!

I did Crafting…

Three girls, exceptional home cooked food, felt, foam, PVA glue and chilled white wine: all of the ingredients for a wonderful Thursday night. My friend hosted a lovely craft night this week and even though I would not describe myself as artistic or crafty in any way, it was a lot of fun and a great way to spend a school night. Next week I’m looking at decorating glasses…there quite possibly a Go For It post on the horizon here!

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Have you done anything different this week or had any set backs?

Leave a comment below, it’s always nice to hear from you!

Kitchen Cupboard Skin

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Weekends for me tend to be a little bit hectic, it’s mostly to do with my inability to say no to things. However, I’ve had one or two Sundays over the past while which were restful ones and they were much needed! With the extra time on my hands I was able to revert to a little acknowledged but long honoured tradition of Sunday papers with tea and cakes. This is something we have done in my family home for as long as I can remember when Sunday calendars were clear. Usually in the dining room or, if the weather was good, out the back garden. I don’t generally buy magazines, particularly since I have gotten into blogging. There are so many talented writers on whatever topic I want to read up on right there in my WordPress or Bloglovin’ feed, so I feel like I don’t need to! However, while some people like Vogue or InStyle, my fashion and beauty bible has always been the Sunday Times Style magazine, and when I pick up my Sunday paper this is usually the first thing I turn to!

There was a piece on Coconut oil which caught my attention a little while ago as it is something that I use for cooking quite a bit. I find that coconut oil is really light and veeeery long lasting in the cupboard. It’s also great for baking I used it in a carrot cake for Chris’ birthday and it gave a lovely consistency and slightly sticky outside to the whole thing. Basically, I love the stuff, but what I hadn’t realised is that it is relatively high in cholesterol compared to say, vegetable oil. So I reckon I’ll be more sparing in my use of it in future! But, good old Style gave me an even better use for my little cupboard staple: skincare!

Dry Skin

I am genetically blessed enough to have very pale, dry, sensitive skin. I was prone to eczema as  a child and even now I can get very dry patches on my upper arms and legs. As someone who likes to run, I wear shorts a lot and I know that it’s not what life is all about, but yeah, I would rather not have dry flaky legs on display while I jog about the place! My mum bought some L’Occitane Almond oil for me at Christmas time which I found was amazing on my legs. However, having run out of that a while ago with what I would consider quite a high price tag, I figured that I’d try putting a bit of £2 coconut oil on to see if it would work.

How I Use It

One thing that I have always been hesitant about with oils is their ability to clog up the skin, however I have been using coconut oil on my legs and elbows for the past few weeks and I’ve found that it has had the opposite effect. Just a small amount massaged into the skin for about 20 seconds will do the trick. My legs are a lot more hydrated looking. If you have dry skin this might be a good inexpensive and nourishing alternative to try out.

I am by no means a beauty expert or anything but I thought I would share this with you as the gym/running/yoga gear is by nature a bit revealing, and who doesn’t want to feel good in their own skin?

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Sunday Post: August Energy

Hello, it’s August!

Where did the time go, eh? I really like the month of August. There’s a bit of extra energy in the air as people are making the most of shortening days while still enjoying the last rays of summer sunlight. The return to school and university are imminent and slowly but surely the holiday goers start to come back, concentrating everyone into the same place again. Which is good news because your group of pals gets replenished! Everybody is ready to kick off into the next phase and we all want to spend the less lengthy evenings together, squeezing every last drop we can out of the summer.

For me August is going to be all about energy. Finding it, fueling it and using it. Energy can be found in a number of ways, through outlook, regime and (my personal favorite ) food!

So here are three ways that I am going to stay energized this month:

1. Outlook

How we look at our lives and ourselves has a massive effect on our mood and with that, our energy levels. Have you ever had a day when you just didn’t want to get out of bed? I have and it’s generally when I feel that something truly dreadful is afoot! You can’t be happy all the time but you can look forward to things and for me, this is really energizing. On Friday night I signed up for the Scottish Half Marathon on September 19th and I am considering another half marathon in Northumberland for October. Deadlines give you the energy to push forward so this month is going to be all about marathon prep for me. I have every hope that I can achieve this in 2 hours which is a goal that I had set myself at the start of the year. But that won’t happen without a lot of hard work!

Another outlook improver has been a little gift I bought myself, my Mandala book (or as my boyfriend calls it, my colouring book). And yes, it is a colouring book! But it’s a relaxing thing to just take half an hour to be creative and I have found it to be most zen!

Mandala Book!
Mandala Book!

2. Regime

So I have a half marathon coming up next month, that means making sure that I am using my time wisely to give myself the best opportunity to prepare. I have to be realistic about this because there will definitely be days when I just want to curl up and binge on Grey’s Anatomy. And sometimes that just has to be done! This month is going to be all about balancing the scales, leaning towards the healthier options and away from the lazier days. A couple of my friends and I are going to start into Bikram yoga again which will be great for the old flexibility not to mention encouraging as there are a few of us going together. I am also going to make a decent push at blogging my progress this month. Blogging motivates me so much because I am accounting myself and sharing with others, while also reading about and being inspired by others successes. Last year, when I was considering writing a blog, one of the main motivators for me was reading a Guardian article about running. The article encouraged runners to start blogging. Blogging about your goals becomes a self fulfilling prophecy: you blog about running, you have to run. You blog about being healthier, you become healthier!

Plenty more red-faced moments on the cards for August
Plenty more red-faced moments on the cards for August

3. Food

Eating well is a creative little mission that is beneficial and energizing and delicious all at once. I have tried a couple of new things over the last while including yummy homemade avocado ice lollies (inspired by The Baked Apple – a blog bible for healthy eaters, link here), home made chicken korma and more meat free dishes  – quorn and halloumi are amazing substitutes. Food is a provider of energy but it also fits really well into the above two categories too. The process of cooking and baking is a creative and joyous one and definitely helps with a positive outlook, and planning healthy nutritious meals is a great way to keep a regime going strong. One thing that we have done quite recently in our kitchen is moved the table right in front of the window to encourage us to have breakfast in the morning and make more meals. Having a bright table and looking out at the world around me actually has motivated me to sit down and eat more – in fact I am writing this post at the table right now!

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The korma was yummy, but no, presentation is not my strong suit
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If you also love avocados, try this at home!
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Even is the weather is poo, having a nice view is a better way to eat 🙂

What are your plans for August?

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