Little Things: Staying Healthy on a Busy Week

Is it just me or does there seem to be so much going on after holiday lull that no one was ready for? There was the public outpouring of sorrow and reminiscences following the deaths of David Bowie and Alan Rickman. Tim Peake’s space walk again capturing our imagination. And, at least in my own circles the engrossing, maddening and at times heartwarming viewing that is the Making a Murderer documentary series on Netflix. Yep,it’s been an emotional roller coaster of a week – and that was just on the telly!

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I saw this in a Facebook comment and had to share – hands up if this was you after watching Making a Murderer!

Work has been fairly intense with a lot of early starts plus my boyfriend’s band played their final gig together on Thursday night. It was a great set and there was a really positive vibe with everyone there. But it did go on quite late. Having to do a presentation first thing the next day wasn’t exactly ideal but I got through it and am really glad I was there to watch the guys the night before. Needless to say though, I was ready to chill out come 4:30pm on Friday!

I’ve found this week that it’s been the little things that have gotten me through healthwise. Monday night saw me go on a bit of a YouTube binge and watch a bunch of Madeline Shaw videos. I’d read her book before Christmas which I’d mentioned in an earlier post. I wouldn’t say that I was all that gone on her entire diet plan but the quick tips and ideas she offers are really useful. For example I’ve been taking her advice and hydrating first thing in the morning with water and salt and giving myself a bedtime routine (hand cream massages are a total winner). Plus I just like her style in general. Her enthusiasm about coconut oil is just heart warming and I like that she doesn’t mind that her kitchen table is a little messy when she’s doing a cookery tutorial. Because we can’t all have those blindingly white kitchens – even if she does have a very farm chic Aga – I feel that Madeline emanates a chilled and accepting vibe which I’m very much in favour of.

Money is always so tight in January and health conscious food can be on the pricey side. I found that stocking up on plenty of fresh fruit throughout the week has been a way of giving myself a boost in the snack/breakfast department without making an impact on my bank balance! Buying a big bag of kale and mixing it up with fresh orange juice and lemons or blending a delicious apple and pear with some cinnamon and honey have made for simple but effective ways of getting nutrients into my diet when I’m just in the door after a busy day.

I went on a slow paced 3.5 mile night run on Tuesday and then a 2 hour walk in the glorious snow on Saturday afternoon. How good is snow?! It was like stepping into Narnia! Everyone in my area were out on sledges and Chris and I had a constant snowball fight the whole time we were out. Not my best week for exercise but with a gym class planned for today that’s 3 solid workouts of varying degrees which I’m pretty happy with.

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It’s a Winter Wonderland here in Glasgow

 

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So pleased!
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After any snow day or cold weather in general, a Madeline inspired non dairy (oat milk in my case) cinnamon hot cocoa is definitely a good shout!

Thinking about the little things like getting the fruit and veg in, staying hydrated and getting outdoors have kept me in good form all week – in spite of some late nights and an aforementioned compulsive tv documentary which had me shouting at the television more than usual!

Have you been shouting at any appliances this week? Do you have any tips for running in the snow? Because I think it’s here to stay!

 

 

 

 

Lovely Life of Earth

 

Saturday morning started off with a big disappointment for me. I’d been in touch with the lovely people at New Lanark about paying a visit to the world heritage site there and much loved Christmas Experience event that they put on every year. It was to start off what has now become a very busy build up to Christmas for me before I skip off to Dublin to spend the holidays with my family. But when Saturday dawned with high winds battering my building and as we heard on the radio “too many road closures to mention”, it was quickly decided that the trip to New Lanark was just not going to be a possibility . Which was a real shame. However, to salvage the morning myself and the girls went for a little breakfast instead and my eyes were opened to a new gem in Glasgow…

Bakery 47

I’m always the last to know when it comes to trendy new places so most people living in the South Side of Glasgow are likely aware of the little treasure that is Bakery 47. But I just found out so I’ll tell you anyway! This is a gorgeous, bakery and cafe with a small but delicious and reasonably priced menu. They sell all manor of cakes and bread but like any good bakery I could see that if you want to get what you need you’d better get in early. At around 11:30 when we were ready to leave I could see a bit of a queue gathering – clearly this place is loved among the locals. I had a beautiful warm mince pie with almonds and vanilla cream. The pasty was melt in the mouth and a little bit flaky which made it perfectly light. And while no mince filling will compare to my mum’s homemade fare Bakery 47s was pretty close. Even more than the mouthwatering food though, the service there was fantastic – you can tell that there is a lot of love behind that little spot and I had a lovely time there.

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Back to the Gym

While I’ve clearly been sampling the plenty of festive food, I’ve been working out more this week than I have over the last couple. This is a massive cop out but the poor weather has been putting me off running. At the end of the day, I have a demanding full time job and while I’d love to get up at 5am and run, my body clock just doesn’t work that way even though I wish it did. While I find running a great way to unwind, getting soaked and blown about the place and risking a fall just isn’t what I’d call a relaxing end to my day! Yoga and home exercise just weren’t cutting it so I’ve joined a local gym. And I love it (yes, I am one of those sad people who likes gyms). It’s good to have the option of classes again too. Although on Monday I went to an abs class and forgot my water bottle like a total chump – seriously, running sweatily over to the water fountain during the much needed rest periods was a nightmare. Lesson learned!

 

Books

Living well is as much about diet as it is exercise and I’ve been trying a few recipes from Madeline Shaw’s book Get the Glow. There are some nice simple meals in here like the spiced salmon and cucumber, and the almond pancakes which I made for my parents last week on their visit. The chia pudding has also been a breakfast staple for me over the last while. However, as you can probably tell from my bakery trip, I’m merely dabbling in Madeline’s healthy diet as I’m not in a position to fully commit to it just now. If I’m honest, the premise of the book is great but if you’re a person who incorporates regular cardio workouts into your regime – which I think people really should if they can – I don’t think that sticking to her diet is actually possible. For me, delicious and skin clearing as it is, I just don’t feel like it gives the carbohydrates and energy I’d need regular meaningful workouts. For brekky, smoothies and ideas though it’s great to have on hand.

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I went on a little Waterstones binge last week and as a minor sci fi and general space geek, Chris Hadfield’s An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth caught my roving eye pretty quickly. Reading about life in space is fascinating but even more so is how a person gets there in the first place. The drive, ambition and preparation that goes into a life’s work of making an aspiration a reality was both inspiring and encouraging to read. I particularly love his philosophy on being prepared for every eventuality and the way he rubbishes positive thinking alone as a means of getting what you want. There’s a saturation of “inspirational” people out there who, for the life of me I just can’t figure out why people think they’re inspiring. It’s refreshing to read about someone who has worked hard for success that is not only personal but used to educate and benefit everyone. Give this one a read!

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Like Chris Hadfield I want to make the most out of the time I have and make it count. So rather than letting the crappy weather get me down (much) I’m in the gym, eating cakes (sorry Madeline) and of course getting into the festive spirit. Take that Scottish weather!

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The excitement of putting up our first tree!

Jen

Go For It: Crafting

I’ve associated crafting with taking a step backwards for a long time. Think about it, when you read the word, did you automatically think of being back at school, or something you did with your mum or nana? Going deeper, I actually just associated it with an antiquated way of thinking. Pfft women crafting, go back to the fifties! The truth is though, quite a lot of my friends are wonderfully creative knitters, sewers, origamists (no, that cannot be a word) and one is particularly talented at making fantastic creations out of Tunnocks tea cake wrappers! All educated, intelligent hard working women who love to craft. So over the past few months I’ve gotten down off of my high horse and given it a go.

What I’ve found is that taking an old jar and making a new use for it, or going for a long walk with your friends to collect some Autumn leaves to press is relaxing and fun but also feels kind of productive. It’s just a pleasure to see something you actually made around the house and know that it’s completely unique to you!

For me, my favourite thing about crafting is the social aspect. Two of my friends and I meet for craft and wine nights and solve the problems of the world over some good food and felt. Only recently my friend Emer invited me to a Laura Ashley crafting event to launch their range of crafting kits in Glasgow. Sitting with a group of lovely women, drinking tea, having a giggle and eating mouthwatering cakes at the Butterfly and Pig all while violently stabbing our felt creations into shapes (some with more success than others) was a brilliant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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I liked using the crafting kits from Laura Ashley because even though I’m not particularly good at crafting, having everything that I needed gave me a bit of confidence. I’m quite pleased with how my little creations turned out!
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Before even going to the event I had bought someone (I’ll not name names in case they read this) one of the Laura Ashley apron making kits for Christmas. I thought it would be something fun and a bit different for the Christmas stocking. I’ll include a link to the website here if you want to take a look at their stuff for a gift (or maybe a little self gift…).

For me the key to crafting is that it does take you a step backwards. But not in the way I’d thought. When you’re with your friends, laughing at your concoctions or by yourself with your masterpiece, crafting gives you bit of time to step back from yourself, your schedule and all of the noise to immerse yourself in what’s in front of you.

So my recommendation is to give crafting a go. Have you ever tried it? Leave a comment below and tell me all!

 

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Catch Up Time: Photo’s, Meditation and More

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It’s good to be busy. I always find that the really exciting things happen when you are working toward something; you don’t have great experiences by sitting and waiting for things to come along!

Knowing that there are lots of things to do in a day and the potential for something spontaneous to happen is how I like things. I  just like to be busy. But having said that, I am rather prone to planning, thinking and often worrying to the extreme at times (read: all of the time).

Because I am involved in some exciting stuff at work it has been mental lately and on top of that my weekends have been fun but not what I would call relaxing!

Too Much

We all know that being on the go constantly, working overtime and not getting a break at the weekends can have a terrible effect on our health if we let it. On Sunday I went for a 5 mile run and when I got near home I stopped at the traffic lights and felt my vision start to get fuzzy. I was on a footpath so I stepped back, away from the traffic and crouched beside a hedge for a few minutes. When my vision came back I  gave myself a bit more time and a sip of water before I got up to walk the rest of the way home. That was not a nice experience. I was very close to a faint. Needless to say, I got home, got the blanket out and made a cup of sugary tea for myself.

Listen

No matter how busy we are, we all need to listen to our body sometimes. It doesn’t matter what your fitness aims are, if you are over doing it your amazing body is going to let you down. I like to exercise when I have a lot on my mind but this week I have decided to take a slightly different approach.

I have only been doing 30 Days of Yoga videos which isn’t what I would call easy, but is definitely lower intensity than a run and more appropriate after working long working hours. A wonderful girl I work with has suggested trying the meditation app Headspace. I have been using it everyday this week doing their “Take 1o” programme. The app offers you guided meditation and the Take 10 programme is free and perfect if you are a beginner like me. Plus the meditations are just 10 minutes which is great for people who are short on time (so about 98% of the population).

In Other News

Despite the minor hiccup on Sunday, it’s been a great last few weeks. I had a lovely housewarming and was really delighted that so many people took the time to come along and wish us well in our little flat. My lovely friend Eily’s visit was just full of messing and chats and love as usual. We went to the Science Centre and also to the Planetarium which is something I have wanted to do for ages!

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Last week I went to see one of the best live bands I have ever seen for the second time – and a running playlist favorite – Nordic Giants.

I only got a photo of the support band Mountains Under Oceans who also brilliant in fairness. Look how cool the venue was!
I only got a photo of the support band Mountains Under Oceans who also brilliant in fairness. Look how cool the venue was!

At the weekend I went on a random camera tour of Glasgow City centre and took a bunch of pictures with Chris. My brother and his girlfriend are visiting at the weekend so it will be a full house for me again and I cannot wait!

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Smile! You’re Under a Bridge!
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The Window of Time
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Lines
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Water Colour
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Graffiti

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Thank you for reading!

If you have you got any stress busting tips for me or meditation recommendations do leave a comment 🙂