Change of Mindset

motivation

I really began my exercise journey almost two years ago when I started doing bootcamps after being persuaded by my other half to give them a go. I vividly remember that first bootcamp when I came home and thought I was going to vomit. I was enjoying my one bootcamp a week, and then six months later I decided to take on P. And then I started two bootcamps a week. I now do three solid hours a week of planned exercise and in the past month, I’ve started doing two to three regular runs a week with the desire to run a 10k in February.

My life and my attitude to exercise has done a complete 180 in the past 12-18 months.

Last week I was having “one of those weeks” – we’ve all been there for whatever reason. Nothing was going right, I was in a real hump about everything and basically exercise was the last thing I wanted to do. I didn’t run, I wasn’t able to get to one of my bootcamp sessions due to working late and my food planning kinda went out of the window. I only put on half a pound at Slimming World but it really affected me.

This week, I’ve put my big girl pants on and cracked on with life. I’ve put my food planning head back on, I’ve got my running plan back into action and I’ve gone to both bootcamps and worked my little booty off! I woke up this morning and I feel so much better about everything. My body feels in tune again, my mind feels clearer and I feel like I can go and attack the day in a way I just struggled with last week.

Exercise is a difficult habit to get used to, but once it’s part of your everyday life, it just feels so strange when you don’t do it. Your body craves it, your mind needs it and if I’m honest, I think exercise has helped not only my body in its shape and ability to do things I never thought was possible but it’s also my mind.

My mental health hasn’t actually been in this good shape for a long time – I’ve always been lacking in self-confidence, my self-esteem has always been very low and generally felt like I put on a front to smile and get on with it. Since giving myself some much needed TLC – that’s changed massively. I’m more confident in who I am as a person and I feel more capable in managing what comes at me.

Changing your lifestyle has partially being about losing the weight and looking at a different girl in the mirror but it’s been just as important and changing my mind space and feeling far more confident in the girl who’s in my head.

 

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My Cooking Saviour: My Slow Cooker

Life has been a bit mental over the past couple of weeks, work has ramped up (I think everyone knows that it’s coming to Christmas and everything needs to get done yesterday!) and I’ve been focusing loads on my training and dieting. And about two weeks ago, I bought what could be best described as my new cooking saviour. My slow cooker.

I didn’t go and buy a really fancy one or anything – I bought mine from Sainsbury’s which is just their own brand version and it was even on offer and cost me a total of £11. Eleven pounds’ worth of appliance has actually changed my life.

Me and the other half both work quite long hours, but additionally we have very active social lives and evening activities which does lead to some nights coming home where we can’t be bothered to cook – Hello the local takeaway or beige food that comes out of the freezer. And there are times when that totally works but that shouldn’t be the fall back as often as it has been.

I’m an early riser and I’m up and ready to roll first thing after years of getting up and going into London at the break of dawn, I’m now in that habit and it hasn’t changed. The slow cooker benefits my life as I can get up, whack everything in and then let it go for the next eight hours. I have tried so many recipes over the past couple of weeks but there is a real stand out favourite – Slimming World Pulled Pork.

HOW?! I found a recipe for basically one of my favourite meals that I could cook and work into my life which wasn’t going to ruin my days on plan but it tasted so satisfying, I’ll pop the recipe below if you’re interested.

I’m always on the look out for the best slow cooker recipes, but sausage, lamb and beef casseroles have been coming out of my kitchen and honestly, I would love to keep trying recipes so anything new send my way!

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Slimming World Pulled Pork

Ingredients

  • 1.5-2kg pork shoulder, all fat removed
  • 5tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tsp mustard powder
  • 500g passata
  • 3tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3tbsp sweetener

Method

  1. In a small bowl, mix passata, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, mustard powder, garlic, sweetener and seasoning.
  2. Transfer to a small pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
  3. Meanwhile, trim and remove all visible fat from the pork and sear all sides in a hot frying pan. Transfer to a slow cooker coat with the sauce and cook for 8-12 hours on the medium setting.
  4. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and place on a cutting board. Allow the meat to cool for approximately 15 minutes, then shred into bite-sized pieces using two forks.
  5. Remove the sauce from the pan and set aside to drizzle on the meat later.

You can serve it with whatever you like but I served it with homemade sweet potato wedges and a loads of super free greens!

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Review: Too Good To Be Gluten Free

 

I’ve previously mentioned the company Too Good To Be Gluten Free (TGTBGF) before about their recent branding change but the exciting brand new products they have launched. The free-from market has exploded in the past 12-18 months and it’s becoming easier to find products that are not only high quality but reasonably priced. TGTBGF is one of those brands that over delivers on the term quality because the products I’ve tested so far are really superior to other things I’ve tried.

This particular review is focusing on the new range of savoury pies that launched with the rebrand. All of the pies come in individual sizes and if I’m honest, are well sized so I wouldn’t suggest serving with another set of carbs but load yourself up with lots of vegetables. There are 5 in total:

  • Chicken & Wild Mushroom
  • Steak & Ale
  • Red Thai Chicken
  • Steak, Merlot & Shallot
  • Cauliflower, Kale & Stilton

I decided that the best way to test these was to serve one for dinner to my non-gluten intolerant finance and see what he thought. We’ve tested all of them over the course of a couple of dinners and he absolutely LOVES them – a big thing for a non-gluten intolerant bod to say, as there is a LOT of things I have that he just wouldn’t eat.

The pastry is the hero of these products – the buttery light texture falls apart in your mouth and the fillings are to die for. All of the flavour combinations are really enjoyable and perfect for coming into winter and looking for something that is a bit indulgent for a cosy winter dinner.

The one thing I would say is that as gorgeous as these are, they are not for every day consumption. Both the calories and the fat content is high and these are very much a luxury, indulgent product for certain occasions! I’m trying to follow Slimming World at the moment and as enjoyable as these are, they are very high in syns BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them – it’s all about balance.

This will be the first review of a series as the guys at TGTOBGF sent me SO much stuff that I felt the desserts needed their own post. Watch out for more.

 

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Review: Pure Couture, Beaconsfield

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I’m all for speaking out when you get bad service, especially when it comes to the world of bridal and to be honest, you’re spending a HELLUVA lot of money for what you wear – but what I believe in more, is when a company just gets it SO RIGHT.

And Pure Couture, in Beaconsfield – I couldn’t speak more highly about them if I tried.

In August, I had been to another nearby bridal boutique before Pure Couture which had left me sorely disappointed and to be honest, a bit upset. I was imagining the first time I tried on wedding dresses to be this magical thing where I cried and felt amazing – I left feeling like a whale, never thinking that anything would look good on me and the budget that I had wasn’t enough. Then I went into Pure Couture – and everything changed.

My entourage aka the people who I dragged along to watch me in and out of the million dresses that ensued, felt immediately 1 million times more comfortable when we walked in. My first appointment I was asked to give some more information, we talked about the kind of wedding we were going to have and what styles had I tried on. We started from scratch pulling a number of different styles, colours and anything else!

Honestly, I can’t talk much about the dresses as I can’t give anything away but I was made to feel incredible – we tried on everything and anything that we could. We even found THE DRESS in the first appointment which was a complete wildcard chosen by my Grandma but as a girl who is very bad at being decisive in these kind of situations, I went away and tried on some other dresses in other boutiques.

The other week, I went back to Pure Couture for round two. I pulled a couple of other dresses first and then went back to THE DRESS. I put the others on and I just wanted to get it back on. Once it was on, we all knew. We all knew that was it.

All I can say is that if you’re looking for a boutique that listens to you as a bride, listens to your entourage for their support, stocks the most BEAUTIFUL range of dresses and most importantly, makes you feel comfortable within two minutes of walking in – I can not recommend them enough.

The fact that the dress is ordered is great but when ordering, the ladies encouraged me to come back and try the dress on as many times as I liked between now and sending my final measurements then they would love to have me back. They also have in-house team of seamstresses that will help nip and tuck everything so it’s perfect is so comforting.

I can not wait to get my dress back on…. Only a little over 600 days to go.

Head to their website to check out their collection and to book an appointment: http://www.purecouture.co.uk/

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Balance and Setting Targets

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A BIG thing happened this weekend – I bought a wedding dress. Ok, I said bought, ordered and I now have something to work towards and it’s a big thing. I don’t know about other brides, but I don’t think it was really real until you say yes to a dress and you go “This is what I’m going to wear when I walk down the aisle and start my life as a wife” It’s a unique but very wonderful feeling.

It has made me think about the things I want to focus on and namely it’s balance. I love my life, I love going out, I love spending time with my friends but at the same time, I don’t want to be the size I am now when I am walking down the aisle in that amazing dress. So I’m taking the bull by the horns and making some real changes.

Slimming World

There are diets and there is Slimming World. Yes, Slimming World is a diet and yes, I’ve previously said that I wouldn’t go back to dieting. I am a woman and we change our minds. I wish I could tell you that there is an answer but I’m giving it a go.

It seem like I’m going back on everything I stand for but actually I think SW may be the right answer for me. It’s all about eating the right foods, not filling your body full of processed stuff and giving your body the right fuel that it needs to keep going.

We will see but I’m giving myself a goal of losing a STONE by Christmas – just under 10 weeks to go but completely manageable if I pull my finger out.

 

Cancer Research – London Winter Run 10k

I’ve never been a big runner. I think I always worried that basically I’d take myself out with one of my boobs (they do move that much!) but I never thought I was very good at it. Through PT and general exercise, I’m feeling much more confident in my ability to run including one a long tabata session with my PT recently that made me change my mind.

I’ve never run a 5k in one go, let alone a 10k but in line with pushing myself, I’m signing up to complete a road 10k with some friends in February. That’s actually not THAT far away which is a daunting prospect but if you don’t push yourself then you never know what you can achieve.

That’s the starting point for now but any suggestions, advice that anyone has about hitting targets, focusing your willpower and motivation then I would really appreciate them.

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Why I love Autumn

The weather has finally turned.

September was a confused month – we had days that started under 10 degrees and finished on 25 and my body, skin and everything went completely out of sync. My skin has had a nightmare and my brain has become very confused about the sunlight and screams – what on earth is going on?! But this happens every single year when the changing of the seasons happens. But saying all that, autumn and winter are my absolute favourite times of the year – I just love snuggling down into knitted jumpers, putting tights back on and getting out the boots.

The reason I’m saying this is because of these beautiful drawings that I’ve seen flying around Twitter over the weekend by the very talented Sejal Kapadia who used to be the former Deputy Editor of Stylist.co.uk.

autumn

 

This summed up my love for all things autumn and I thoroughly recommend checking out her Instagram to follow and to see the beautiful things she creates.

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The Brides Show 2016

BRIDE-TO-BE INCOMING! 

Since getting engaged, my magazine purchasing has changed from unnecessary fashion magazines to beautiful and completely necessary bridal magazines. A magazine is one of my biggest guilty pleasures – I love the feel of a brand new magazine in my hands and whisking me off into a fantasy world, and ever since getting engaged – it’s all about the wedding. Quite quickly from looking through a host of magazines, Brides has quickly become my favourite and I’m not surprised as it comes from the publishers of my other favourite magazine, Glamour. 

When I found out that that they were hosting a three day event where I could basically be drowned by everything bridal, I was totally 100% sold. Sign me up, and I did along with dragging along my Maid of Honour and one of my oldest friends and bridemaids – getting free tickets for the Saturday, we upgraded to get the VIP package for only 35 quid which wasn’t too bad. 

The day itself, was SO exciting! So much to talk about but thought I’d talk through what I loved, liked and maybe wasn’t too sure about from the day itself.

Loved

I have to say that I adored the day in itself, it was  the perfect opportunity to get some great ideas on things that would work and what wouldn’t. I definitely walked round and could quite quickly see the things I absolutely despised yet also found things that I hadn’t thought about. 

One big thing for me as a revelation was that I changed my mind about the invites. We have been thinking a lot about using our digital knowledge to just do it all online as we’ve had friends that have done it recently and it really worked! The only issue is that we have a lot of older relatives who just LOVE a real invitation. I got some ideas on things that we liked with a theme of the simpler, the better for us. 

I also loved being able to see my photographer. We have been so honoured to be able to say that Faye Cornhill is going to be capturing our day. She’s actually a friend anyway but we have had to book her in so far in advance because she is so in demand. If you’re looking for someone to produce epic photos for your day then I would recommend you checking her stuff out. 

Liked

I liked that fact that there were so many booths to go around and explore but the amount of people there was just too many. You want it to be busy and buzzy but we couldn’t move between the booths without smacking someone in the back with a bag! 

I really liked the Bobbi Brown masterclasses which I think highlighted for me, the NEED to have a professional on the day to make you up. Seriously, the girl on the stage went from beautiful normal girl to a glowing stunner within only 30 minutes. I need someone with knowledge and the tools to make sure that I look my absolute best on the big day.

Not so sure

Sorry to say it but I really didn’t enjoy the catwalk show. The circus theme was just a bit too much for me. There was a conductor on the stage that just looked out of place throughout the entire thing and if I’m honest, some of the dresses were just so out there that it wasn’t that real. I would have loved a little bit reality when it came to the catwalk rather than being really out there and haute couture! 

The VIP lounge. To be honest, I was really let down by this. I thought there would be more within this lounge than there was. Considering how much we paid, I would have expected more than just a few seating areas. I think next year they could do more by having VIP Bobbi Brown tutorials or something more within that area as I didn’t feel particularly special! The goody bags were fantastic and loads of things for me to play around with but the experience on the day could have been better. 

All in all, I think it was an amazing day and I thoroughly loved it.I am definitely considering going back next year but maybe not the whole hog in terms of VIP. 

*picture taken from The Brides Show Facebook page 

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Review: Mac Lippy

I wouldn’t say that I’m the best girl, I’ve said this before so when I find a product that works for me then I really want to shout about it! To be honest, I think I’ve recommended this to ALL of my friends and I’ve even got one friend who has gone out and bought it. Bit more context about this purchase which was a complete chance walking around Carnaby Street dragging my other half into a number of shops that he was just not interested in so I took the opportunity to dive into Mac. 10 minutes later, I have a raspberry matt lip and a black paper bag with my new lippy! 

We were off to a party straight after and I got so many compliments about it, it just makes you feel awesome when other girls go “Oooh, I love that – where’s it from?” We have all been there! 

I’m a Mac fan, always have been and always been, I love Bobbi for a good shimmer brick and Benefit for the most epic mascara but Mac – it’s all about the lip for me. This is part of their Retro Matt Liquid Lipcolour range and the colour that got colour matched for me was Dance With Me – its a sumptious deep raspberry colour which totally makes everything else pop for me. In typical Mac fashion as well, it comes in 20 shades from a nude, coral to a fuschia pink – there really is something for everyone.

I loved the colour when the Mac consultant put it on but with matt lipstick, I have always found that the colour disappears within an hour and that is just so disappointing. This did not budge for absolute HOURS. I’m not joking, as we were at a party – I ended up drinking too much and I did look a bit like the joker the next morning but this stuff has true staying power. 

The one thing I would say is that you need to ensure that your lips are hydrated to use this kind of product.When I first used it, I had been really good at drinking loads of water and had been looking after myself but in recent weeks, I’ve not been as great at that side of things and my lips are suffering. This has meant that when I used this recently, I did look a bit like I’d drunk a bit too much red wine by lunchtime and it just looked a bit stained!

This product has gone on my wedding make up MUST HAVE list. I don’t think a bright red lip would be appropriate but I will definitely be looking at the slightly more nudey versions for the big day and it’s great to be able to test out these types of products way in advance. 

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‘No G’ Becomes ‘Too Good To Be Gluten Free’

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I’m a real fan of a pie – it’s hard not to be really?! Can’t really go wrong on a cold night for a pie with some mash and gravy. And then about five years ago I got told that I was gluten intolerant and no more pies – or so I thought.

I’m a HUGE fan of No G or as the new branding that they have just announced ‘To Good To Be Gluten Free’ and honestly – they really are. Pastry is not easy to get right especially when there is no gluten to hold it together but these guys really nail it. Not only has the name changed but they’ve changed their packaging to new vibrant colours to tempt in those of us who are gluten intolerant.

Along with the name change, they have also expanded their product choice to include more family sized servings which is awesome news. I spend far too much time producing different meals for me and my other half, simply to keep things gluten free for me and this will be a god send. I also love their quiches and a family sized one will keep me going in lunches for a week!

For those of us that don’t live near huge superstores, which are more likely to stock ranges such as this one – they have opened an ecommerce store! Brilliant, now I need to be a chest freezer. This is great news as gluten free ranges, especially chilled, are not that vast and so being able to have these delivered to your house is a fantastic option. I find especially around Christmas time when chillers are prime space, we lose it to a premium range of canapes – ARGH. Thanks TGTBGF 🙂

And from the horse’s mouth – Sam Benjamin, brand manager at Too Good To Be Gluten Free, said: “Adopting a gluten-free lifestyle shouldn’t mean that you have to compromise on quality, flavour or choice.  This rebrand plays up the positive aspects of great-tasting gluten-free food, where premium ingredients are key.  The fresh, modern look of the packaging will stand out on shelf and introduce the products to a wider range of shoppers.”

Watch this space as I’ll be doing some reviews on the products shortly!

Check the new website here toogoodtobeglutenfree.com or across social media on the following:

  • Facebook: Too Good To Be Gluten Free
  • Twitter: @nog_uk
  • Instagram: g_uk
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Do you touch yourself? #BreastCheckNow

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So, do you? Women should on a more frequent basis than they currently are. I polled some of my friends recently and asked how often they checked their breasts – I got the jokey “Every morning – I like to check they haven’t gone too far south!” but without the jokes, practically all of them bar one said they didn’t. When you ask females why not, the main reason is that they just don’t think they need to, especially for those that don’t have any kind of cancers in the family or anything, they just don’t see the need.

And that’s why it is so important.

Last year, my sister and I raised just over £12,000 for Breast Cancer Now walking 100km with a group of our friends doing the Thames Path Challenge as losing our mother when we were both so young and the genetics in our family – we will constantly do what we can to help raise awareness and money for such a worthy cause.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and stats from Breast Cancer Now state that more than 4,000 British women in October alone, will receive the news that they have breast cancer. I will be doing more on this topic throughout the month but today,  Breast Cancer Now has released a brand new app called Breast Check Now and every female I know should be downloading it now.

Seriously – DOWNLOAD IT NOW. Just search ‘Breast Cancer Now’ in your app store today (available on iOS and Google Play)

The Breast Check Now app is really useful as it does the following:

  • Provides you with a planner so the app will remind you to check your boobs wherever you are!
  • Gives you a guide on what to look and feel for

The mind blowing stat that I’ve seen from the team at Breast Cancer Now today is that if every woman regularly checked her breasts – 1,500 lives a year could be saved. That’s 1,500 mothers, daughters, wives and friends.

Their objective (in their words):

Breast Cancer Now’s goal for the app is to get at least 50,000 women to download it in the next 12 months – the same number of women who are currently diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Britain. The free app is designed to help people get into the habit of checking their breasts regularly by setting up a plan that’s simple, easy and fits in with their lifestyle.

Ladies and gents who have ladies in their lives – start doing what is such an easy thing and don’t ignore something that doesn’t feel right. The more you check your breasts, the easier you will understand when something doesn’t look or feel right – that’s when you can go to your GP and explain why it looks and feels different.

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