Review: Bloom & Wild

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I adore having flowers at home.  I really think flowers in the home helps to bring life to your rooms, especially in the living room where I end up spending most of the time at home. Sending flowers is a lovely way to show love and affection to friends and family, even if you aren’t that close and times have changed with the likes of Marks & Spencer making it even easier to send glorious bouquets through the post. The main issue with those is that you have to be in to accept the delivery and I’ve had it where flowers have ended up at the Royal Mail delivery centre for almost 2 days because you cannot get there! And there is where Bloom & Wild come in.

Now, you have probably seen Bloom & Wild on a number of websites and on Facebook – they have become fairly prominent and I have to say that I’d been thinking about using for them ages. I almost decided to use them myself when I received a wonderful package from some girlfriends after I got engaged.

The main difference with Bloom & Wild is that all of the flowers can fit in through your letterbox – how you ask? By choosing flowers that are in bud which means that you have the longest life of your flowers once they are delivered. GENIUS, right? According to the website, all of the flowers are packed by hand and when you open your package, you can tell that they are. Each of the flowers has been protected by netting to ensure that they aren’t bashed about and I was surprised about how well they were looked after in what seems a quite thin box.

I have to say everything feels and looks so premium – opening the parcel was an absolute joy. I absolutely adored the below after you’ve unpacked all of your flowers is a gorgeous little quote at the bottom of the box:

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Here are my flowers in place the day I received them in pride of place and the cover picture to this post is about 3 days later and they were in full bloom!

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Honestly, the service I received was amazing. I mean, the flowers were beautiful and I think mine lasted almost two weeks which is practically unheard of of flowers I buy in the supermarket. Also, the packaging and design of the parcel you receive is of the best quality and really makes you feel like you are receiving a premium product.

Additionally, I know at Christmas they have options for mini Christmas trees to send out but they have little posies at the moment in tiny jars which I think is adorable. Prices vary from approximately £20 upwards for a one-off delivery but you can also have subscription of flowers, perfect for a present for a friend that you don’t live near.

Check out Bloom & Wild here and they are across all forms of social media with some of their beautiful creations – I would wholeheartedly recommend checking them out.

*This is NOT a sponsored post*

 

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Current status – Meh.

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Well – here goes – I’m feeling alright at the moment. I’m not great but I’m not bouncing off the walls happy and I’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on with me to make it right because I should be BUZZING for the following reasons:

  • I’m getting married to the most incredible man who I love more than anything in the world.
  • I absolutely love my new job (and it’s hard to find that!)
  • I’m looking pretty good at the moment.

I spent a lot of the weekend reading a load of health and fitness blogs, watching YouTube videos of vloggers that I really respect including the likes of Zanna Van Dijk, Carly Rowena and the very amazing Grace Victory. It’s interesting how they all have such different outlooks on the world, what happens when you’re in a funk and what to help get you out of it.

The more I’ve thought about it, I think it’s coming down to a few things:

Diet

I was doing the wonderful world of Weight Watchers, and there’s me thinking that it’s the answer to my problems – and I realised last week that it’s not going to be at all. I need structure but at the same time I need flexibility in order to make sure I feel like me – it’s all about balance. And balance is the KEY.

This has happened before but I seem to forget that when I go back to WW, this always happens. I get glum, tired and grumps for no reason. I think my brain is saying “But you said you were on this diet, this is SO many points – think about how that will look on the tracker”

Yup. No more. Bye bye Weight Watchers.

Back to eating well, limiting the amount of sweet treats I have (chocolate is my downfall) and not beating myself up when I have a full blown blow out weekend!

Fitness

Man alive, I have come SO far with my fitness in the past year. More than I think I could have ever imagined I would have come but I think I need something new to test me.

I’m going to up my fitness sessions on a weekly basis. I have now got into a 3 big sessions a week and when I don’t do them, I feel bloody dreadful which is the norm as after a while your body just gets used to doing more. When you don’t do it, your body goes “Erm, excuse me – can you do go back to normal please?”

One thing I’m going to do is join a new gym as mine was cruddy and old and if it means spending a bit more a month then I’m going to do that rather than worry about the moolah! Time to spend less money on wine and chocolate….

Skincare

As a girl who had severe acne and has never got past the fact that she still thinks she’s the spotty girl under it all, it’s time to sort that out. I’ve been using the Liz Earle range which I ADORE but I just need to get into better habits. I’m a bad “girl” when it comes to skin care regimes and it’s taken me 10 years to realise that I probably should make sure I take off my make up off every night…

I’m going to make myself FEEL better and if you are a girl, you will know what I mean. I work with some beautiful girls, inside and out – who just own how they look and I think it’s time I did the same.  I think the combination of eating better and looking after myself in all other ways – I will feel better.

September is a strange month to do this but I feel it’s a good place to start.

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Personal Training – is it worth it?

 

*Not me in the picture! I don't look this good... yet.
*Not me in the picture! I don’t look this good… yet.

I remember almost a year to the day that I sent my friend and PT a message saying ‘Kat, I think I need to do some sessions with you’. This is after I had a full blown meltdown in the middle of the shopping centre after I’d tried on about a million outfits and just thought enough was enough. I have a gym membership but I was quite relaxed about going a couple of times, I never really had any idea what I was going to do when I went and did the classic ‘Let’s sit on the treadmill for 20 minutes’ and see what happened.

I was doing a bootcamp session once a week that I thought in my head was the best thing for me but in some ways, it was the most detrimental. I was exercising hardcore for one hour a week and eating like I did an hour of hardcore exercise a day. My mind was all over the place. I felt groggy, I felt ugly and most importantly, any body confidence was completely non-existant.

Now – over the past year, that has MASSIVELY changed and a lot of that has been down to my PT.

I have so much respect for my PT Kat, she is an ex-England ruby player who knows what it’s like to train hard and to have to look after your body and fuel it for what you need to achieve. She’s an inspiration. But more than that, she understands me and pushes me harder than I would have ever done on my own.

I know people will say “But they cost SO MUCH!? I can’t justify the cost when I could go to the gym” and I want to reply but just going to the gym doesn’t provide you with a training programme, doesn’t shout at you when you know you can go harder and helps you push past the mind tricks that exercise can play on you. Also, if you get someone like Kat who knows what she is doing, you are asking them for their expertise – something you just don’t get from walking into the gym.

5 reasons why I couldn’t be without my PT:

Motivation

You need to have someone that is passionate about what they do. When you’re pushing yourself as hard as you are, having someone who is really proud of you pushing through the next barrier is what keeps you going. Kat has me running 12 pitch lengths as part of a circuit and a year ago, she probably would have got me only doing 2-4 – the moment I nailed the 12 – she was the one going ‘GET IN’. And that is so important.

Support

The days when you don’t want to train or you get there in the wrong mindset, having that 1:1 coaching means that you work through it. If you went to the gym and just trained, you may end up walking out after 10 minutes without really getting anywhere – you don’t have that luxury with an hour long booked session. You turn up, you work out and if I’m honest almost 100% of the time you will feel so much better after

Individual

It’s down to you. When you start with a PT, they will ask you what your personal goals are and when you want to achieve them by. Some people will want to be a size smaller by a special occasion. Some people want to be able to run a marathon. I work with Kat to be able to hit the commitments I made! And for me, it’s just about being fitter and feeling better in my own skin and I can’t really deny that.

Confidence

As I’ve said earlier, I was never that body confident – I was the loud, “bubbly” girl at university that everyone loved to have a crack with but I was never the girl that boys drooled over. I have never been “that” girl – not that I ever wanted to be. Saying that, I always wished I felt more confident in my own skin. I’m finally getting there – it’s only 10 years! But without Kat, I wouldn’t have grown the way I have. Because I can now run faster, longer, lift more and I can look at the work I’ve done and feel pretty proud – it just all relates.

Friendship

As you spend so much time with this person, you gain a new friend. Kat and I were mates before hand through the rugby club but when you work with someone on such a personal issue as your own body – it’s hard not to become good friends. You admit to them things you may not admit to others – I can’t stand my boobs or I don’t like that part of my body.

If you’ve ever thought about getting a PT to help then I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Sometimes you may not find the perfect fit straight away, but keep going til you find that person that makes you feel like the best version of you.

Check out my PT’s website – www.kat14.com

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Wedding Dress – The Hunt Begins

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Going wedding dress shopping should be an absolute delight right? I’m not sure if you’re like me but the idea of putting a wedding dress on has been something I’ve thought about for YEARS. I’ve pinned more wedding dresses on Pinterest than I dare to imagine and I’ve looked at more wedding magazines than I dare to think about.

And then I went wedding dress shopping.

I’ve found that not all wedding dress boutiques are equal. FAR FROM IT. I won’t be giving anyway any secrets about the dress style that I like or chose on here as the other half likes to read and that secret is STAYING secret until the day of our wedding (only 689 days to go…..)

Things I’ve learnt this weekend:

  1. Go in with an open mind.

It’s funny, I’ve looked through so many magazines and there is so much to choose from. I LOVED some of the stuff I put on, maybe it was perfect, maybe it wasn’t but actually trying on everything gave me a really good idea of the options available to me. Trying on different styles to what you thought you wanted will help you disregard a few things you thought you might have loved.

  1. Find someone that gets YOU.

The first boutique I went in was AWFUL. I honestly hated every second of being in there and if I hadn’t got my second appointment booked in straight after then I doubt I would have enjoyed my day as much. To be honest, I probably would have gone home and cried. You have to find someone that completely understands who you are as a bride. The second boutique, the consultant just went ‘Yep. I get what you’re trying to go for’

  1. Be strong.

You are surrounded by so many beautiful dresses with prices going from affordable to the damn right ridiculous. Remember who you are as a person and be strong when a consultant is trying to put you into something you’re not quite sure you like? Would you normally put something frilly on? If not, then why do you think you’d put something frilly on for your wedding day?!

  1. Take the right people with you.

You need to take the people that will be brutally honest with you. I needed the comments like ‘That looks like net curtains that need a good wash’ and ‘to be honest, you look about three times the actual size that you are!’. They are really important as they will help guide you in the right direction, and when they help you find the one. It all makes sense.

5. Walk away from THE dress.

There was a dress this weekend that made me feel incredible. I felt like a million dollars in it. This is considering it was almost 3 sizes too small for me, I honestly couldn’t imagine (at the moment) putting on anything else that made me feel like that one did. But you need to. I have an appointment booked back in for the end of October when I have alternative options coming in that they think I should try but it’s interesting to know that it’ll still be there and I can go back to it.

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Silly Yak – Review

I love sausage rolls. I have roll in  my surname and warm sausage rolls are one of those perfect Christmas treats or for family picnics like I had today. I’ve tried the ones from M&S before and they are really yum but nothing really beats a homemade sausage roll – fresh from the oven and made with your own two hands.

I’ve heard some amazing reviews of the Silly Yak gluten free pastry before but never had a chance to use it and happily found out that it was stocked within my local Tesco and for only £1.75 – I thought it was a really great price. I mean, that’s not too far off what normal chilled pastry costs for other big name brands. I have used frozen options previously but found that sometimes you have to overly plan and sometimes you just fancy a sausage roll!

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One tip that I read about was putting the pastry into the freezer for a few mins before rolling it out to keep it extra cold – the colder, the better for this one. You also need to really not overwork it as it will lose it’s puffiness when it cooks so you do need a plan of what you’re going to use it for before you start so you limit the amount of times you roll it out.

I made the decision to make basic sausage rolls to give it a try out properly. I split the pastry into two and kept one in the freezer whilst I worked using the other half. I also used Heck sausages, which are a massive favourite of mine and I have been for them for a good few years since they launched. The meat is of great quality and the taste is impeccable – not something you find every day.

Three sausages per half of pastry block sealed with a little bit of water and ready to go on the tray:
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Almost forgot to glaze them before they went in! But managed to get an egg wash on and these are the final product:

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I gave my non-gluten intolerant other half one to try and he thought they were great! Honestly, it’s the best sausage roll that I’ve tried since I’ve gone gluten-free. The pastry was really light and crispy and cooked really well. I then feed some to my family who couldn’t believe that they were ‘Anna friendly’!

I am definitely going to experiment some more with other pastry based recipes with these as it didn’t feel ‘gluten free’ and the price is really reasonable in comparison to other normal gluten-free products.

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My Simple Life

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I’ve made the decision to rebrand now as ‘My Simple Life’ – why? Because the focus on health and fitness has become just part of my everyday life, and if I’m honest, I want to natter about a little bit of everything and things that may not sit under the ‘Health and Fitness’ banner.

In no way have I decided to depart from living healthily and becoming more active but I live that life now and when I started this blog – it came from a place where that wasn’t part of my life and I was using this as an outlet to talk about the struggles and issues I was finding with it. I can’t really say that anymore. Some days being healthy is a struggle and sometimes fitting in exercise isn’t easy but that’s just part of my life – and I think there is so much more that I could write about!

The idea of ‘My Simple Life’ came about actually from talking to friends recently about our lives. In comparison to some of my friends and family, I’m not the most adventurous or the most spontaneous but I have what I call a simple life that I absolutely adore. For example, one of my sister’s at the moment is in Rio volunteering at the Olympics and another sister is on a road trip of the States – I’m quite happily pottering about in the ‘Shire!

Also, I’d like to talk more about living life gluten-free – I love finding fantastic new products and I love to rave about them when I can. And As you may have noticed, I’m getting married and actually I want to talk more about themes, the highs and lows and take you on the journey with me.

So here goes – Eat.Sweat.Smile.Repeat has been reborn as My Simple Life and I look forward to taking you on my new adventure.

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Body confidence

Amy Schumer

This picture of Amy Schumer pretty much sums up about how much I love her. There is a woman who is in the public eye who is not afraid to be who is, as in who she is as a woman whether that’s with or without her clothes on. This screams positive body confidence in one image.

Now, I’ve got some incredible girl friends who are all going through their own individual issues at the moment but we all seem to dealing with the same thing – we aren’t happy with our bodies and we are all dieting, in one form or another to get ourselves to where we want to be.

Body confidence is SUCH a personal thing. One friend of mine – who is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL – like she has the ability to put on anything and it just looks so ‘put together’ whereas I seem to put on clothes and my body is like ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING?’. But this friend of mine has just had a baby. It’s such a huge thing and you have to respect her and her body of being able to create not only one ridiculous cute baby but actually that her body has created it from scratch and now she has days where she isn’t happy.

For her, she’s now got bigger boobs and is like – what are these and why are they jiggling around?! As a woman of the bigger rack variety, mine seem to be move spontaneously and of their accord so it was really interesting to hear her talk about how it felt so unnatural to her. But it really put things in perspective for me – my boobs moving around as much as they do and how much I love my boobs sometimes for giving me the curves that I’ve got used to, just feels unnatural to someone else.

Another friend of mine has gone through a REALLY difficult time and is on the way out of this but with stress comes emotional eating (or not for some people) and I can really relate to that. When you’re down and stressed, you lean on the very loving bottle of red wine or bar of chocolate for support and it’s one of the reasons why I ended up being the size I was. But listening to her struggling to lose weight using MyFitnessPal is horrible when that isn’t working for her – because the theory and the education tells us that she should be losing weight but she isn’t.

Now, if I looked like either of these two friends then I would be PROUD – they are both BEAUTIFUL women and to be they are perfect but they don’t feel like that. This makes me sad and it’s such a thing about women today where we feel this need to be perfect (to a certain extent) and it’s something I’ve found with thinking about putting on a wedding dress at some point in the near future.
Another friend of mine has started to take up running, now she was NEVER a runner, started to make her feel better and she is totally smashing it but even she sometimes gets caught up in the calorie counting and stressing about why the weight isn’t coming off. I can’t preach to anyone as I’m very much on my journey still and there are days, including this morning, where I try on 70,000 tops as I think I look dreadful in everything but actually when I look in perspective – I’m doing alright.

I was asked recently about what I’ve learnt in my 20’s and I think the thing I’ve learnt most about is my own body confidence. I have a whacking great big pair of boobs and I’m actually becoming slightly proud of them. I have chunky ass thighs and calves but after a year of putting my butt into a decent fitness programme, these bad boys are now pretty solid with pure muscle. I don’t think I’m perfect but it’s appreciating what you have and realising that as long as you’re working towards a plan, then it will fall in place when you’re ready.

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Bringing structure back to my life

The excitement of the past few weeks has started to subside slightly and reality has kicked in that as exciting as a wedding is, it requires money – HELLO BUDGETING, and also, I want to make sure that I feel my best when it comes to the actual day. Something I’ve talked a lot about recently on other posts.

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This is where my own emotional relationship with food comes in, I’m a complete emotional eater – I’m tired, I eat. I’m hungover, I eat. I’m stressed, I eat. I’m happy, I eat. And that’s been the kick back for the past few weeks which has seen me drink, eat and be merry in a blissful land of engagement cloud nine land. I have been out to eat loads, I’ve drunk probably more Prosecco than I have ever drunk (counting the bottles this morning when putting them out for the bin man got to me like 10!) It’s been really wonderful celebrating with everyone and I couldn’t have asked for more excited family and friends about this whole process but reality has kicked in a bit more now and it’s time to knuckle down.

So, I’ve previously talked about on this blog about how I have found Weight Watchers too restrictive, and living in Points land, I can end up obsessing too much about the food I was putting into my body without enjoying it. I’ve started back at Weight Watchers – purely online though – to help kickstart back my diet and more importantly, a bit more structure into the way I eat. I’ve previously worked at Weight Watchers and to be honest, since I left, the approach has changed massively and actually the latest version is possibly the most holistic version they’ve ever had. Encouraging healthy living, eating lots of lean protein, vegetables and fruit with the right carbs and other elements can help you lose weight in the right way.

There are some elements that don’t sit perfectly with me, like you shouldn’t be using your FitPoints for food as they’ve not been created that way but once you’ve done a 60 minute bootcamp like I do twice a week, actually my body needs more energy to keep going.

Watching a few (when I say a few, I mean about 4 hours) episodes of Say Yes to The Dress over the weekend I watched so many women stress about their bodies going “I hate my arms”, “ I need my stomach to be flatter” or “I need to basically lose 50 pounds to feel good” and it hit home that I don’t want to feel like that at all. I know that trying on wedding dresses isn’t going to be a walk in the park for me anyway – there will be tears. I’m trying to think about making my body confidence NOT something that I’m worrying about.

This week is my first week back following the programme so we will see how I get on but it’s time to get my bum back into gear!

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Getting wedding ready

So as you may or may not know… I think I may have written a blog post about it here. I am now officially ENGAGED. It’s exciting and when I say exciting, I mean REALLY BLOODY EXCITING.

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This does mean though that I need to start the preparations for feeling my ultimate best on what is considered to be the best day of my life. And talking to my other half, that’s all I want – I just need to feel the best and that doesn’t mean being the tiniest person in the world or the most toned but I just want to feel like the best version of myself.

And I’ve been having a bit of think about things that I know that I CAN do which will help me feel that way.

  1. Diet & Nutrition

For me, it’s all about getting my healthy kick back up and started. I’ve taken a couple of weeks off being ‘good’ and allowed things like chocolate to slip back into my daily habits, and not worrying about what I’m putting into my body. That needs to stop so healthy kick back in – the snacking on chocolate is going to stop (daily that is!) and drinking more water.

I also have some matcha tea from the lovely guys over at EatClean so I will be bringing that to work to try and keep me on track as well. I think less coffee but more naturally derived caffeine hits may help clear up my skin and detox my system.

  1. Skincare routine

This is something that I have been desperately trying to get my head round for the past year or so and I think I’ve finally found my perfect match in Liz Earle. As you may have read previously, I tried a range from Balance Me which I really did love but found that some of the cleansing balms were slightly too heavyweight for my skin, and also I was using a skin oil as well, that I found possibly not the right fit. It is lovely but I need to use it sparingly when I’m having a really dried out day otherwise it causes my skin to feel very glaggy and for my make up to just slide RIGHT off.

  1. Bodycare

I’ve got better at this and it’s simply about giving yourself that extra bit of time in the morning & evening to yourself. Things like moisturising my legs and giving myself that bit of time to just give my skin what it needs will mean that over a pro longed period of time, I will actually see the benefits.

  1. Fitness

Finally, but not probably most importantly, my fitness. I have committed to doing two bootcamps a week along with an additional PT session. Now, these don’t work unless you actually commit to the nutrition as well. So here I am committing to myself that this time next year when I decide that I want to go and do proper dress shopping that I will feel the best that I can in where I am in my journey.

Anyone that has got married, had any great hints and tips on getting ready for the big day then I would ABSOLUTELY love to hear them!

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So I said…. YES

For my close friends and family, they have known that I have wanted to get married since the DAWN OF TIME. It’s been a constant source of hilarity and annoyance for everyone about whether or not my other half was ever going to propose. There have been taunts of ‘She’s not getting married until she’s 75’ and even ‘Every time she mentions it, I’m going to add another year onto when it will happen’.

Well, it happened. And I said yes. After crying for about 20 minutes.

The jist of the story is, we went on holiday with my grandparents sailing for a long weekend, and in a hotel garden overlooking the sea, he asked me the question and I genuinely was the most surprised I have ever been in my entire life. There was the man I loved holding out a FRIGGING gorgeous ring asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. Of course I said yes – he is frigging incredible and I couldn’t imagine spending my life without him.

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Here are a few things I have learnt about getting engaged:

Shock

  • If you really aren’t expecting it, then it will be the biggest shock of your life. As in I don’t think I have ever been speechless but it’s the only moment I truly have been.

Fog

  • It will take you a few days to get through what could be best described as a fog. There were tears, there was periods of being lost in thought and times when it all becomes just quite overwhelming but after a while the fog clears and IT’S REALLY EXCITING

Love

  • I have been truly and utter overwhelmed with ALL of the love we have been sent in forms of messages, phone calls, cards and social media messages. Everyone we know has come out to tell us how happy they are for us, how excited they are and they couldn’t think of a nicer couple for it to happen to. It’s lovely.

Excitement/Anxiety

  • That’s right – it is ALL very exciting until you realise that you know the WORLD and the guest list is quite daunting, you then start to panic about how to plan to feed everyone, make sure everyone has plenty to drink and what about the entertainment?! And the photos? And what it will look like? Is it going to be a field or in a fancy hotel? All I can is breathe. Honestly – it will all figure itself out and actually, the one thing I would recommend is giving yourself MORE than enough time to not freak out about and most importantly to save moolah for it.

 

Now for ALL of the planning but more importantly, feeling my best on my wedding day. I’m not going to go mental and start drinking just liquids but I may actually focus on my diet a lot more in terms of fuelling myself a bit better than I have done all week which seems to be mainly just Prosecco… Hey, you only get engaged once!

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