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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Caffeine Free: 6 Months On

Caffeine Free Girl- 4 Months On (2)

Good morning! You know I write my posts in advance but I can safely predict that by now I’ll have jumped out of bed in my minion pjs and headed straight for my Peppa Pig advent calendar (random purchase from the other half) for a little pre brekky chocolate. Yep, we’re definitely into the festive season! This is a time of year to indulge, treat yo’ self, and live for the moment.

So why am I writing about how I gave something up?

Well, I figured that this is just the time to have some real talk about sticking to your guns without actually denying yourself the little pleasures in life.

Way back in  July – ah July, remember the sun? Or more appropriately: slightly warmer rain? – I took the decision to cut caffeine out of my diet entirely. There were a number of reasons for this which I posted about here. I’m proud to say that I’ve managed to stick with it since then. But it wasn’t easy. Just to confirm, when I say I gave up caffeine I mean that I gave up drinks with high caffeine content: regular tea, coffee and cola. I’m not strict enough to cut out coffee flavored things or to remove things like green tea from my diet which has a very low caffeine content.

Unfortunately I can’t say that I had a trick or great cheat for giving it up. I had to just use my will power. It was bloody hard at times if I’m honest. I found that the most helpful thing was to be kind to myself. Treating myself to a little hot chocolate on the way into work, and getting some really good herbal teas made substituting coffee and tea and thing of luxury. Sure a box of fancy tea is more expensive than the regular stuff but hey, I was making a saving on coffees on a daily basis, so why not? Having some healthy snacks in my bag like bananas and oranges were another handy way of keeping my energy up without coffee and tea.

The thing about giving up caffeine is that, at first you think you’ll be exhausted forever. The fact is, after a couple of weeks my sleeping pattern had normalised. I was sleeping in a meaningful way and I’m more rested and alert in the mornings now. With the amount of dairy and sugar I was removing from my daily intake, my skin began to improve. I started to feel like I had more energy. Real energy from real food and not an artificial boost. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that coffee is the devil or anything. It just wasn’t working for me and I’m a lot happier and healthier without it.

If you’re coming into the festive season and are worrying about losing sight of your commitments, don’t. You might not be tempted, or you might have a moment of weakness. My advice is that if you want to indulge yourself do it with something you’ll really enjoy. For me, that means not feeling guilty later. So if you are cutting something out, just be honest about what’s achievable for you, remember to try and if you do over indulge, forgive yourself!

We’re only human after all.

 

Go For It: Yoga

Good morning!
Bring some colour into your day with Yoga!…Oh…

Generally met with enthusiasm, trepidation or some light eye-rolling, yoga is one of those activities that we have all had our preconceptions about. Western culture has embraced not only the physical teachings of the discipline but also it’s spirituality and lifestyle over the last 30 years or so. Everyone has heard of yoga, and I bet that, like me, a lot of people associate it with beautiful bohemian ladies displaying their awesome flexibility on a beach somewhere. Yoga is also associated with privilage, because folks; it ain’t cheap!

The truth is though, yoga is for everyone. You can be a blonde surfer in Cali or 50 year old accountant in Dundee, either way, if you have the go ahead from your doctor you can reap the benefits of yoga. Personally, I have practiced Hatha and Bikram over the years. I first came to Yoga when I was 21 and in the final year of my degree. I was feeling overwhelmed and wanted to do something to help me to relax and also improve my fitness. I found the physicality of Yoga to be challenging but soon began to notice the benefits including increased flexibility and higher energy levels. I also became increasingly more aware of my posture and this began to improve. But it was the relaxation and spirituality of yoga that has stuck with me. Concentrating the actions of your body rather than what happened in your day is something that you can get from any form of exercise; but Yoga also places the emphasis on your breath and on your relationship to the ground. It creates a direct bond between you as a person and the environment around you. The word Yoga is a translation from the Sanskrit to “Listen”. Listen to the world around you, listen to your body.

Yoga for me is like a favorite book, I can forget about is for a while and move on to other things, when I need it to go back to it’s teachings they’re right there. Only enriched by time and experience. Nothing can beat the attention of a trained yoga teacher in a class environment and I recommend it. However, if you are like me and want to come back to something that you already know, or would like a bit of a taster session, or just don’t fancy the classroom environment; our good friend the internet has provided some brilliant resources for Yoga training. Here are my favorites:

Morning Routine: The Yoga Solution with Tara Styles – this video is perfect for anyone who wants to wake up well in the morning but really doesn’t have time. I tried this out yesterday and today and found it energizing and relaxing too (if that is possible?!). It will be tough to pull myself out of bed, but I really am going to try to get this into my weekday morning routine a couple of times a week.

Yoga with Adrienne – I only became aware of Adrienne’s 30 days of Yoga through another blog, Style Sunrise (it’s awesome btw, link here) but it’s seems that I am rather late to the trend! How great is it that you can get a brilliant and completely free introduction to Yoga just by checking out these videos?

Jayne Becca Yoga – Jayne Becca provides both video content and a blog for Vinyasa Flow yoga. I found her on a random blog search and she is actually what is what got me thinking about getting back into yoga if truth be told. Well worth checking out.

I hope that you enjoyed this post and would love to hear your Yoga stories.

After all of this relaxation, I’m going to get out for a long run today; the 10 Mile Edinburgh Great Run is coming up next Sunday, not sure where that time went, but this week is going to involve some prep work! I’ll catch up with you soon and let you know how I’m getting on. I promise that I will also try to have less back to back Go For It Posts, the last couple of weeks have been quite demanding and I’m planning to get back to a better routine with writing and photographing too.

‘Till next time,

Jen

A Sunday Post: Venturing Out With Mum

Hello!

I have seen a lot of lovely things written on social media by people about their mother’s this Mother’s Day. There is always a worry about the narcissism that social media breeds (this blog possibly being a prime example) but to see so many expressions of plain and simple love and gratitude all over the feeds today has given me a bit of hope. I haven’t posted anything today because, well, my mum doesn’t use social media! I don’t get to see my mum very often because I live in a different country now, but she came to visit me yesterday, just for the day and we had Mother’s Day a day early. We had a great catch up lots of tea, an impromptu tour of the Mitchell Library, I treated her to a nice dinner and we also watched the Rugby (this just has to happen when we are together), but I’m from Ireland and I shall say no more about that particular black cloud!

I am lucky enough to have a wonderful, hilarious and kind mother who I am very close to, and I miss her, but that’s not something to dwell on here. Coming from a farming background, one thing that she has instilled in me is a love of the great outdoors and nature, so of course we took a long trek yesterday through Linn Park (which is like a mini national park with trails and everything!). It was lovely to be out in the fresh air chatting away and enjoying our surroundings and I am so glad that we had the good weather to enjoy it.

I actually made a surprise discovery yesterday. Because her flight was delayed I figured I’d just sit and get a coffee and read a magazine while I waited. I picked up a copy of Country Living which isn’t a magazine that I would normally buy, but figured that I could have a flick through and then give it to her to read on her flight home that evening. But I have to say, I loved it!

Sitting With my Coffee right in the heart of the city centre, readying up on Country Living
Sitting With my Coffee right in the heart of the city centre, readying up on Country Living

They have pieces about seasonal food and baking, simple crafts and just generally interesting stuff as well have having some beautiful photography which is rather inspiring for a girl with a new home. I did give it to her in the end but it’s another good resource for anyone looking for some clean living, healthy lifestyle and food inspiration!

Today has been a very relaxed affair. Our internet was installed on Friday (thank God!) so I am catching up on blogging in my little office which I love!

My desk
My desk
Very Pleased with my little space!
Very Pleased with my little space!

I’m going out for a 10k run this evening, just to run the distance more than anything so I want to get it in under an hour but that’s my only constraint really.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and I will catch up with you during the week!

A Windy Weekend

Me Getting Ready
Me Getting Ready

I had thought that being March (already?!) and with the longer evenings ; maybe, just maybe the long awaited Spring weather would be here. Sadly, I was wrong and for those of us who like to be outside, the weather of Glasgow has brought us wind, rain and little else! However, we’ve got our goals to achieve and we can blame the weatherman all we like but that won’t stop those races, climbs and ski trips from looming ever closer.

After my Run
After my Run

On Saturday I had to forgo my parkrun in favour of a trip to town as I was off to a very fancy Presidents Award dinner for work! However, a 5k run was definitely on the cards and I got one in in a respectable enough 35 minutes on Saturday. I love getting a run in before a night out and will always recommend a bit of light exercise as part of getting ready.

After a night of dancing, Sunday saw me placed firmly on the couch and Monday has seen the winds rise again and I chickened out of a run I’m afraid! However being very conscious of the Edinburgh ten mile coming up next month I plan on getting two 5ks in before the weekend and then a long run on Saturday 6-8 miles if I can find a good enough route! Another event that I am rather looking forward to this week is getting my internet installed in the new place! I’ve been posting from my phone which really isn’t ideal so I’m sorry if my last few blog entries have seemed a bit akward. Come Friday all will be well again! Do you have any interesting plans for this week or recommendations for my ten mile preparation? Please leave a comment if you do I love getting them!