Ten Things That Made My Life Better Last Week

Not the catchiest of titles, really, is it? But I thought because I’d spent the whole week being a complete and utter whingebag, feeling sorry for myself, and weeping in the corner because I felt too exhausted to move (still found the energy to cry though! Sweet as a nut!) I should get back to my cheery self with this post. Combined, all the below things made me feel about a million times better, so if you find yourself in a sticky spot, these are the things you need:

WARNING: Some of the below are a bit embarrassing.

  1. Friends: No, definitely not the TV show, which I hate with an intensity that almost scares me. My actual proper friends. People have been AMAZING this week, and I think you know who you are. People have gone out of their way to try and make me feel chirpier, and I really appreciate it. I didn’t need reminding about how brilliant my friends are, but I’ve been reminded anyway. Thank you all ever so much for picking up the pieces and seeing me through.
  2. Ukulele: Whenever life gets a bit rubs, I get my ukulele out. I find it very calming. Even though the one song I uploaded to Soundcloud was super duper depressing, I’ve secretly been playing Human League, Bellowhead, Ween, and also ‘Call Me Maybe’, which has its very own entry.
  3. Biscuits: Obviously. Don’t think I really need to explain this one too much, but biscuits and cakes were definitely a big saviour of the week.
  4. Adam & Joe: Should be prescribed on the NHS. Download their radio shows – I get them orft the interweb, which means I get full shows, so three hours of hilarious goodness. Their voices are weirdly reassuring, the content of the shows is absolutely top notch, and the music is 6Music brilliance. Definitely listen. It really does make things right with the world.
  5. Horrible Histories: Balm for the soul. Well, if it’s your kind of thing. I used to love the books as a child, and now that I’m a bit more grown up, I very much like the array of hot men in the show. Hot men who occasionally dress up as highwaymen and stuff. But let’s keep it clean! Great show, don’t let the CBBC aspect put you off. Yes, the comedy can be a little…elemental, but regular sketches include Historical Apprentice, Historical Masterchef, a movie pitch sketch featuring the League of Gentlemen chaps, and absolutely corking songs parodying all sorts of genres. Give it a try!
  6. Call Me Maybe: When life is sitting heavily on your shoulders, I strongly recommend meaningless pop songs. Shallow can be so good.
  7. Justin Timberlake’s ‘Justified’: It’s pretty obvious by now that music has played a big part in cheering me up. Justified came out when I was about 13/14, so perfect for that early teen phase where music just sticks in your head and means a huge amount. Such a great album, and it really made me happy to hear again the other day.
  8. Country walks: I live in the countryside, but I often don’t really notice it. I was lucky that some friends decided to sort me out this weekend. Saturday morning, I went for a lovely wander around the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells, and to an antiques fair in a church hall. I can’t begin to describe how reassuring I find that sort of thing. The musty smell, the dust particles swirling about in the light coming through the latticed windows, those particular blue cups and saucers than every church or town hall has. Sunday I went for a long walk across the fields in my home town with chums, children and dogs. You can see in the above photos the pair of lambs who decided to come over and say hi. When I got back from the walk, it felt like the weight of the world had lifted from my shoulders (please excuse the cliché.)
  9. Exercise: When I was feeling weak and pathetic, doing Pilates really helped me feel stronger and a bit more in charge of my poor, sad body. I attempted Tracy Anderson, but she’s the queen of the following aerobic sequences: jumpy jumpy turn turn twist star jump twist pirouette leap. Not marv when you’re a bit dizzy anyway. So I did Cassey Ho’s pilates sessions – look for ‘Blogilates’ on YouTube. And I lost 4lbs in a week! *Air punch*
  10. Pets: Finally, I recommend that you find a pet and spend some time with it. I have none, so I managed to chill with a cat on Saturday, two lovely dogs on Sunday, and also the lambs. It’s very soothing, and really helps to take your mind off things.
Advertisements

Healthy living: End of Week 1

With the zeal of anyone who has just started a new healthy eating/exercising plan, I raced through the week with few problems. There is no week easier than the first week when you’re changing your habits, as I’m sure most of you will know. Actually, the first couple of weeks are usually pretty golden. You’re evangelical about your new eating plan, and you tell anyone who will listen that they’ve ‘really got to try’ it, it’s ‘already made such a huge difference’. ‘Sugar? You know, you reeeeally shouldn’t eat that’, etc etc. You become a diet bore. You tend to see results quickly, depending on how bad a state you were in before. Everything is glorious, and you’re in a permanent good mood. Come weeks 3/4, it may well be a different story, but hey – let’s stick with week one.

I managed to exercise everyday, focussing on different bits of my body to exercise with Cassey’s POP Pilates videos. Then I’d finish off with 10-20 minutes of cardio. Saturday was an all cardio day, and I rediscovered Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo, a workout video (yes, video) I’d used to get me into shape in my teens. Ah, the sweaty nostalgia of it all. But that’s enough about my personal life, back to the exercising.

I was like a woman possessed – logging my food and exercise every day on MyFitnessPal.com, spending my ‘spare’ (haha) time on researching the best workouts to follow. I’m very happy to be following Cassey and her ‘blogilates’. She’s a lovely cheery presence and puts a smile on my face for the rest of the day. Useful, as I tend to workout in the morning.

Yesterday, I finally paid attention to the name that I’d heard floating around but had never really registered. Tracy Anderson. The great pretender, as some call her, or Gwyneth and Madonna’s personal trainer, to everyone else. She seems to have completely divided the fitness world. She has very strict beliefs, e.g. women shouldn’t lift more than 3lbs if they want to have thin arms. She’s created a form of exercise called ‘dance cardio’, and I’ve been told she tends to give little instruction and smile even less.

The programme of exercise that works for you is a very personal thing, so it was little wonder that I found such a dichotomy of opinion. I’ve danced for a substantial portion of my life, so can pick up routines quite quickly, and I don’t necessarily need a running commentary on it. I also hate doing weights, I really struggle to lift anything very heavy, so that side of things works for me to. The only thing to do was to try it. I looked up some of her free webcasts, along with a routine she did with Nicole Richie, and I absolutely LOVED them. It made me sweat (sorry, disgusting), which I welcomed as Pilates makes me sore but doesn’t yield any perspiration (was that less horrible sounding?!) I enjoyed all the hopping about and twisting round and kicking (sounds like my last date…badoom tish.) I liked Tracy, I found her to be earnest and not nauseatingly false.

So, I’ll be adding about 20 minutes of her to the end of my Pilates for next week, as I felt my cardio was lacking last week. I’ve also purchased the Snog healthy treats cookbook – £7.07 on Ebay as opposed to £17 in Smith’s. I love love love Snog, and it’s a beautiful book – I’ll blog a couple of recipes from it once I’ve tried them, so you can all join in. I’ve got a detox cookery class with Nosh Detox coming up on Thursday too, in South Ken. Should be fun, and I’ll report back on that too. I know it feels anti-instinctive to be doing this health kick now instead of January, but I just see it as getting a head start on my New Year’s Resolutions. I refuse to sit back, make excuses, and get even more unhealthy over the festive period. Let me know if you’re doing anything similar, or if you keep a fitness blog yourself

I promise these self obsessed health blogs won’t be the only thing I talk about these days – I’ve just been super duper busy setting up my jewellery business (nearly there, fingers crossed!), and my free time is either spent writing articles, or visiting spas and fashion events and things. I know, I know. It’s a tough life. But someone’s got to do it.

Big fat healthy Snogs xx

Tracy Anderson, my new queen

Frozen yog - my new ice cream

 

POP Pilates, the anti-bikini body, and a challenge…

Oh, Autumn/Winter. A good season for so many reasons, not least of all fantastic parties, open log fires, steaming cups of Earl Grey on drizzly days, tramping through woods, rubbish but totally brilliant black and white films in the afternoon, mulled wine…..

Weirdly, I seem to always get into some sort of heavy duty exercise/eating routine around this time of year. I naturally like salads and lighter food, so I get to a point in Winter where I don’t want to see a potato, or a hearty stew, or something with mushrooms in. I also feel like I’m getting one up on my New Year’s resolutions. Because, after all, who feels like changing anything on January 1st? I’m usually nursing a hangover and feeling violent unease at the prospect of the new year.

I’ve been trying to eat fairly healthily at the moment, but had a bit of a lapse this weekend, and I can already feel the results. I feel sluggish (the worst word known to man), unmotivated, and generally not a very happy bunny. I’ve been doing some Pilates videos I found on YouTube, hosted by a very smiley and cheerful girl called Cassey Ho. I used to think Pilates was pretty much like yoga – ok for flexibility, but generally still the home of mung bean eating, New Age music-listening, crystal waving types. Then along came Cassey, with her glam gym gear, her huge smile, her insanely tough workouts, and a soundtrack including Shakira, Gaga and Rihanna.

I barely managed 2 minutes of one workout, and I realised that this was something I really wanted to do, and get good at. I went and checked out Cassey’s site: http://www.blogilates.com. It’s amazing – bright colours, inspirational stories, motivational slogans all over the place. It’s very, very American, and I loved it. I spotted Cassey was running a 90 day challenge (sadly with only 60 days to go) comprising of 5 days of pilates/cardio workouts a week, combined with a good healthy diet. It seemed destined to be. So much of being able to motivate yourself and keep pushing through when you’re flagging is having someone energetic, encouraging and aspirational, and I think Cassey manages to achieve all of those things.

Right, waffle over. Go and check her out. Don’t blame me if you get sore thighs (ah…how many times have I said that in my life?!) Basically, I’m going to attempt to follow her challenge – not quite to the letter, because I’m not exactly going to be eating a stir fry for Christmas lunch, am I? But I’m going to try. Out go the cakes again, refined sugars and bad carbs, in come the fruit and veg and porridge. I’ll be attempting to track in on this blog – only every week though. Nobody needs to know what I’m eating every single day, for Chrissakes. Have a look yourself – maybe you’ll be joining me?!

http://blogilates.com/