Sunday Post: January Girl

SODA

Hello! Welcome to A Venturing Girl and my first post of 2016. I think we’re all well and truly over the whole festive vibe right now so just a quick roundup from me:

Christmas…I spent Christmas with my family. I played some charades, ate great food and caught up with old friends. I had a wonderful time and I hope that your did too.

New Years…New Years Eve involved an escape to Stirling with my boyfriend and an adorable Bed and Breakfast stay with the kindest hosts. We had dinner, got drunk , laughed a lot and watched the fireworks over the castle. It was the perfect place and the perfect company for new beginnings.

Aaand Back to Reality…I went back to work on Tuesday, this week has been long and tiring and yeah I totally wallowed in it – I hope that you were more successful than me!

Okay so now that that’s covered, let’s talk about what’s next.

I have a slightly different approach to my New Year plans for 2016.

I find the concept of New Years Resolutions a bit archaic. The idea stems from ancient religious practices and as positive as I’m sure they can be, I can’t help but link them to some deep seated guilt or self loathing that we’re meant to feel about ourselves which impels us to try to change who we are to be “better”. I mean, thinking about plans and goals is always a good idea. But rather than try to do something new and change myself (because no one needs to do that, we’re all fine) I want to enrich and build on what I already have.

One of the main skills I learned in 2015 was Project Management and how to really deliver on a goal. With this in mind I’m giving myself an achievable monthly To Do List to feed into a larger plan for the year.

Because who doesn’t love a good To Do List?!

So here’s mine for January:

  1. Try homemade Thai food: my boyfriend got a Thai recipe book for Christmas so what better month to try some new recipes than January: when you are constantly forced inside due to poor weather and a lack of money!
  2. Capsule wardrobe: I overhauled my wardrobe last weekend and created a capsule wardrobe after reading so much about it on other blogs. And also because with 2 trips away over Christmas my wardrobe had become insane.  Something had to be done. After a week of this I can say it works! There is a lot more clarity in my wardrobe right now (phew!). I plan to keep this up throughout the month. To find out about capsule wardrobe this blog post is a great guide.
  3. Make sourdough bread
  4. Go to One Gym Class Per Week: okay I’ve been doing this anyway but I want to stick with it!
  5. No meals after 8pm
  6. Make my Instagram beautiful: I want my Instagram account to have more of a themed vibe this year showing positive healthy imagery. Rather than spam people I know with blog promotions and a thousand hashtags I took the decision to just set up a separate Instagram account for this blog so that people could follow me because they were interested in health and fitness. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you can find me here (oh and I’ll totes follow you back).

So that’s me, short and sweet. What about you –  are you bothered with New Years resolutions this year?

Leave a comment below, I love to get them!

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Fit Not Fed Up: Motivation for the Festive Season

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Brrr! December is certainly living up to it’s seasonal reputation – it feels like I’ve been in a permanent state of wet feet and red nose for weeks! Not only this but with all of the festive merriment going on, our health and fitness priorities have a little habit of going out the window don’t they? I’ve been thinking about what’s been keeping me motivated lately and thought I’d share it here.

Get Yourself a Buddy: I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, having a partner in crime is a must if you feel your will power slacking. I recently joined the same gym as one of my friends. Having someone there who to laugh through the pain of Pure Abs with made the torturous nature of side crunches just that bit more bearable. Even if we’re not going at the same time, it’s good to be around people are are pushing toward similar goals to you. So look at who’s around you and encourage each other in these dark days of Winter!

Do Something For a Good Cause: There are tons of sponsored walks, runs, hikes, swims and dives at this time of year for so many good causes. Although Winter events tend to have a higher risk of cancellation – which myself and Chris fell victim to a couple of weeks ago when our BHF 10k was cancelled due to course flooding- when they do go ahead it’s a great day out. I ran the Glasgow Santa Dash 5k in aid of the Prince and Princess of Wales Trust Glasgow 2 weeks ago. It was a fantastic event with Santas of all ages – and a couple of dogs disguised as Reindeer – running through the streets of Glasgow on what was a beautiful mid Winter’s day. With all of the parties and days out this season, you could do worse than having a day out in the fresh air planned where you can meet people and generally have a bit of good clean fun. It’s great for the body, soul and you’re helping someone who needs it!
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You Don’t Need To Party All Night: I love a good night out but with the sheer amount of Christmas festivities right now I’m finding it impossible to have a late one every time! When I went out the pantomime last week it was a great night but I decided to take the last train home instead of face the queues in the cold for a taxi later. Committing yourself to public transport or a lift home may not be as glamorous but for some reason I enjoy the night more when I do it! Plus you can get a cheeky hot chocolate on the way back too if you’re hear a late opening Greggs too! Win win .
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If You See Some Good Weather…Go!:
Beautiful days can be few and far between so if you see one get the runners or walking boots on! Even in the depths of Winter nature is beautiful especially covered in frost and lit by pale sunlight. Dress warmly and make sure your footwear has good grip. It my be an antiquated notion and I do think gyms are great but you can’t beat some fresh air especially in these dark days.

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Four Reasons to be Cheerful

Saturday, for me had to be a day to switch off. It was one of those classic November days in Glasgow where the rain is pouring down and while the juxtaposition of the orange leaves and the gray sky is pleasing to the eye, it’s not actually weather that you want to be out in if you can avoid it. So I totally avoided it!

I find it pretty hard to sit about and do nothing for a day but I needed this. The last week has been packed with things to do and I needed a day to just chill out.

I had to take a rest week from exercise this week because I was getting over a cold and I’m glad I just focused on Yoga and stretching rather than doing any cardio. Taking a day off on Saturday was a good chance to reflect too on what I’m thankful for this week:

Fireworks and Fun: So one of my favorite things about living in Scotland is that not only do we have Halloween, there’s also Guy Fawkes! I love the fireworks and this year I went to see the big display in Glasgow Green. I’ve done this every year since I moved here and it’s become a tradition now. This time me, Chris and my friend Naomi went to West Brewery for mouthwatering outdoor burgers and beer (well, hot chocolate for me – I had an early start for an event the next day). I had some friends over to the flat last week for Halloween and even though I was getting over a cold it was such a fun night. The girls and I dressed up as trolls and we danced the night away. It was the most effort and make up that I have possibly ever worn but we truly felt like magical creatures! I was pretty reluctant to take my wig off at the end of the night if truth be told!

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A Day in the Snow: I organised a work event at the indoor slopes in Braehead and it was a great day out. As with any event there was a huge amount of preparation in the lead up to it but it was a pleasure to get 70 people out of the office and onto the slopes. Seeing a day come together like that is always really rewarding and while the lead up was exhausting – I was up till all hours the night before making last minute edits to the presentations and doing arts and crafts! – it’s just worth it every time in the end. I feel very lucky to be able to do things like this in my job.

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Narcos: I am obsessed with this show on Netflix. Narcos is based in late 1980’s Columbia during the war on drug baron’s and the rise of Pablo Escobar. If gritty drama, intelligent scripts, history and subtitles are your thing, check this one out!

Crafting: Okay, I’m a self confessed Winter hater but these cold evenings in are starting to grow on me a bit. I’ve been a bit more creative around the house have started recycling old jars for storage and adding a few little touches to brighten the place up a bit. My two friends and I have been getting together for little craft nights and it’s been a lovely way to spend a dark weeknight. It’s nice to have some homemade comforts around the house and while I’m definitely not an artist or really remotely talented when it comes to crafting I like having some pieces that are just my own little concoctions! Plus creativity, friends and wine are always a winner in my book.

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Book perfectionists look away now!
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So I cannot take credit for the hand knit stag cushion you see before you. My friend in the US sent this ti me as a housewarming gift and I absolutely love it. I just wanted to show it here because I'm so proud to have something so unique in my home. While I'll never have this level of talent she's definitely inspired me to be a bit more creative!

So these were the little things I was thankful for this week.

Are you a crafting novice like me? Do you have any recommendations for good series right now – because I’m getting through Narcos at an alarming rate -?

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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