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Monday, 30 March 2015

Top tips to stay healthy

Why I am currently obsessed with eating healthy

You may have noticed that my posts have been changing slightly. I used to only really talk about Fashion (hence the name of the blog!), but the longer I write, the more I want to talk about what is going on in my life and things that are important to me.
Food is one of them. I have always had a love-hate relationship with food. This means that I love it, but it hates me. I will admit I don’t have a healthy relationship with food. I struggled for years as a teenager with bulimia and spent most of my adult life, either on a diet or thinking about dieting or generally obsessing about food and my body. My parents are very weight conscious and obsessive about healthy eating, so this is definitely where it stemmed from. Plus, I was a chubby child, which is possibly the most horrendous thing to be at school. There is nothing that can scar you like cruel children calling you names. My ex-husband was also very weight obsessed, or should I say obsessed about my weight, always being critical. When I was about 25 I went to WeightWatchers and I actually did it. I lost about 3 stone and was a teeny size 6-8. I still wasn’t happy with my weight and would constantly fret about food and what I was eating. I struggled to sustain the weight and jumped up to a 12. Now I am re married and happy with my hubby and of course Scarlett I am at a healthy size 10.
I am not going to lie, I am still obsessive about food. I am, without doubt no where near how I used to be, and I really do feel you develop confidence as you get older, but now I think about food and the impact of food on my body.

A few weeks ago my mum recommended a book called “deliciously Ella”. I often buy into the healthy eating books, but never actually cook any of them, well I started with one of the recipes and now I am hooked. I have been a gluten free Vegan for the past month and I really am enjoying it! I cannot recommend enough. The reason I really like and I guess stuck to it is because it is simple. Don't get me wrong, you need to invest in a few key ingredients that you perhaps would not normally have in your cupboard, but after that there is plenty to go at. I started off by only following recipes, but now I've started experimenting a little.

Garlic mushroom, Kale, avocado and olives

This is one of my little creations. I simply threw loads of ingredients together and whayhey I have this beaut of  dish. I baked the kale in the oven for about 15 mins, it makes them really crispy and gives a strong flavour, mushrooms fried with olive oil and a tea spoon of ground garlic (fresh is perhaps better, I was being lazy), olives and half an avocado, to add a creamy texture. It  is super filling, nutritious and I think yummy. I do think healthy eating is about changing your what you like. I would never have dreamt how delicious this type of food could be, but I think my taste buds have changed and I have stopped craving sweet things as much. The first week or two I did like need something sweet and don't get me wrong I still love something sweet, but I don't feel that need that I used to.
If I do fancy something a little "naughty" I can, but it's not naughty!!! These sweet potato brownies are just the ticket. They are stolen straight out of Ella's cook book, and I thank you Ella for introducing me to these bad boys. They super gooey and super sweet, and only made from natural ingredients and no refined sugar. They are very more-ish, but just beware, even though they are a very healthy alternative, they are high in calories, so don't eat the whole batch! You can find the full recipe here

 I have recently also splashed out on a Nutribullet which I am literally obsessed with. The things that you can do with this is AMAZING! Don't get me wrong, it's not cheap, a bit of an investment at £100, but I can imagine that I will be using this year after year and unlike most blenders it is so easy to clean. It is the perfect solution to a working mummy who wants to stay healthy. I practically use this for every meal, it takes seconds and it is so easy to clean. I would recommend this to anyone!

So, can I feel the benefit? Without doubt. I have managed to get rid of that almost sick, sluggish feeling that I used to get in the afternoons, I feel stronger, my skin and hair are so much better and my stomach feels amazing, I often suffer with bloating, but that seems to be completely gone.

I really hope that I can keep up this healthy living, it is great when you start feeling extra energy and a lifted mood. I can't promise that I will be able to eat like this forever, but I sincerely hope that I can keep the enthusiasm I have now and most importantly teach Scarlett about healthy eating whilst she is still so young.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Why Blogging is the future

I have read so many derogatory comments recently about bloggers. General blasé comments with no facts to back them up, suggesting that bloggers are inferior to " journalists". I beg to differ.
It is obvious that bloggers who are not trained in writing may not be as articulate and express themselves with such sophistication as a "formally educated journalist", but does this mean that a bloggers content is inferior to that of a professional journalist? I think quite the contrary. A blogger, unless sponsored for a post gives a true, honest opinion that is not tainted by the newspaper/ magazine they write for. A bloggers only motivation is their enthusiasm and passion. Most bloggers make no income from blogging, they do it as a hobby, it is a way of communicating with the world about things that matter to them. They write when they want to, not when they are told to. They write when something interests and inspires them, not when they are given a story and paid to write about it.
Journalists have so many restraints. They have to consider who they are writing for and the impact it will have on their publication. Bloggers don't care. 

Why is it that "journalists" have such an issue with bloggers? If their content is really that bad, why care? Maybe the future of the "journalist" is threatened by the popularity of the blog. 

It leads to the question, why is it now more popular to read a blog than to read a newspaper of magazine? Perhaps it is because the reader relates more closely to the blogger. Maybe the average  educated journalist is now out if touch. Maybe people people prefer to read about things that are written by people like themselves?

The power of the blogger is huge. It is certainly not to be dismissed. So Mr pretentious journalist who looks down on the blogger, think again! Maybe read a blog or two, you may learn something.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

I am a student!

This is pre university selfie! (Check out the un-expected blst of snow in the back!)
Well, I have made the decision to go back to uni to study a post grad in Leadership and Management at Lancaster University. I did my BA Hons in 1997-2001 (god I feel old!), I was keen to leave and get into the world of work. Well, 15+ years on I am well and truly happy to go back to study. This is mainly an independent learning course, which basically means home studying. Although, there are about 10 days throughout the year which are on campus. I know that many consider me crazy; a full time job, blog, online business, oh and a 3 year old, but I thought why not add something else into the haze that is my life. Managing a small team at work, I thought that the company would support me as the course is centred 100% around what you are doing at work and how to improve it. I was surprised (or actually was I really?) by the negative response I received by the company. It was made clear that they would not support this course. So, Ian and I agreed I should fund it myself. Sod them.

My first day at school

It is an odd feeling going back to university. It was like my first day at school, yet an old version of me! In many ways I felt old, as the fresh faced freshers looked so young, but on the other side I felt so young being back in this environment and all of the feelings of being at university came flooding back to me. it was in the same way you play a song and the memories come back, well the whole chilled environment brought back a feeling a feeling of freedom and youth.

There are about 15 people on my course, all from very different back grounds. I was surprised that I was in fact one of the youngest, I was expecting to be the granny. It was a totally different experience to my university days. Even though I was there out of choice, there was still a distinct feeling of " I could be doing something different"; whereas in this class everyone really wanted to be there. There was a keen vibe of enthusiasm. I felt super excited and whereas in the past I have always struggled with concentration levels, I was all ears and sucked up every bit of information that was given to me.
It really struck me how refreshing it felt to be in this environment. It is easy to get used to a stressed, pushy, aggressive work place, so when a group of people get together who are genuinely interested in what every one else has to say and listen and talk with enthusiasm it felt like a breath of fresh air.

Look at my lunch! I was totally spoilt for choice, not just in the different types of food, but also the fact every dietary requirement/need it catered for. It was so sophisticated, the kind of choice you would expect to find in a trendy cafe in Soho, not a student cafe. It was clear that student standards were much higher now then when I was a student. We just lived off cheap crap.

I think I forgot how enjoyable learning is. We get so bogged down at work by all the politics, back stabbing and general grief that we get on a daily basis ( is this everyone or just my workplace?) I realised that I am not really learning much at work any more. It also occurred time how little "actual work" we do at work. The majority of the day is filled with pointless meeting after meeting, procedures, office politics, the general whining of staff members and chit chats about how we are going to do something, I constantly hear "what is the strategy" but we spend that much talking about how we intend doing something in such fine detail that we don't get time to actually do it.
What I love about university is the genuine belief that you can make a difference. I don't want to sound so negative and bitter by saying that this is not true, of course it can be. I just think the anticipation of how your career will be is often more exciting that the reality. 
I am so much looking forward to my studies this year and hope to carry it on until I complete my MA. It has really made me look at things differently which is often hard to do when you get caught up in your every day job. Doing something totally different is such a eye opener and often the only way you can see things for what they are. I realise that I spend way too much time worrying and stressing about work. Why are we at work? OK to make money, of course, but surely we want to make a difference and feel that we are contributing and even actually enjoy our job. I am going to try my hardest to sit back at work when I'm getting upset or frustrated and really think about the importance of he thing that is making me upset. Is it really worth it impacting my home life and my health? 

I'm sure that there will be many posts about my "uni life" over the next year, but it has certainly made me want to try things that are out of comfort zone. Go on try something new! 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Sunday swimming

As it's been a chilled, healthy weekend, swimming seemed like the perfect day end to it.
Scarlett adores swimming and goes twice weekly with pre school, but to my shame, we rarely go together. She often asks, but life is just so busy and in all honesty, it's not my favourite sport. I am too much a girly girl and the thought of being splashed by kids, mascara running (OK I know I'm just swimming, but it makes me happy) and worst of all getting in and out of the pool in your cozy, hoping to god that you don't see anyone that you know. There also seems something a little gross about public swimming baths. Apologies if I am sounding a bit like a snob, but I am a bit of a clean freak. There seems to always be that old plaster floating by, the general thought of so many people's body dirt being mixed together in one place and how many people do actually pee in the pool? I am guessing more than I would like to contemplate. Anyway, putting all of this aside, it's healthy and a lovely way of spending some real quality time with my little princess.

Someone is excited

Some of the key benefits to swimming;

  • It burns fat
  • It's low impact so there is a lot less pressure on your joints, it's a great recovery exercise, also ideal for Arthritis
  • It uses almost all of the muscles in your body, making it a perfect all over body workout
  • Swimming helps soothe the mind
  • It's a sport that can be done with the whole family and doesn't matter the level of the swimmer or the fitness
  • Increases circulation
  • Builds strength and improves flexibility
  • Makes a stronger heart

For all these reasons I let my inhibitions go and we had a great time!

Scarlett is improving so much with her swimming and I feel quite sad because they are skills she's picked up when I've not been there to teach her (there is always something to feel guilty about as a working mum!). We bumped into loads of her friends at the pool so it was a real social affair.

She is now fast asleep on the sofa, another great benefit to swimming! 

Tonight is move night, we're watching Tarzan with popcorn:-)

I know that a lot of my posts are quite health orientated at the moment, but for me feeling healthy is all part of the fashion/beauty package. Unless we feel good inside and have energy then it's hard to find the motivation to make the outside look good. I have also noticed that I am more tired recently. Whether this is due to my busy lifestyle, or maybe I am just getting old..booooooo:-( I have started to take more of an interest in what I put inside my body. I have just ordered a whole loads of healthy goodies which I will show you all this week:-)

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend whatever you got up to! 
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