Present shopping for fitness lovers…

Happy October. I’m kinda proud of myself for doing this post already.. cos yeah, Christmas seems like a lifetime away, but with the way this year has sped by, it will soon be upon us. As a fitness fanatic myself, I know that fitness gifts will definitely please people like myself. However, if fitness isn’t your forte, then this post is here to help! So, read on to find out more!

  1. Sweaty Betty/ Lulu-lemon gift voucher; although this seems like quite a boring idea, there is so much to choose from on these websites that allowing the person you are giving the gift to to choose their present, takes a lot of pressure off of yourself and gives them the opportunity to decide!
  2. Adidas Ultra Boost trainers; I LOVE MINE and now feel that no other trainers will suffice and by that I mean NO OTHER TRAINERS. They look cooooool, they’re super bouncy to workout in (I mean, they got me box jumping) and they come in so many different colours! adidasMedia
  3. Workout bands; no gym, no problem. These bands are ultra portable and mean you can do a muscle burning workout wherever you are! They’re cheap too, so a great stocking filler! Unlike cumbersome weights, they won’t clutter up your home and there is much less danger of injury from dropping them. Another one of those fitness gifts that is incredibly adaptable to different situations, resistance bands can be used to focus on specific muscle groups, to mirror sporting manoeuvres and in conjunction with dumbbells.
  4. ‘Healthy’ cookbooks; there are SO many on the market and they all show great, versatile ways of using simple ingredients. They aid with meal prep to help reach fitness goals and can allow for people to strive to head in the right direction after the Christmas chaos. I love Clean Eating Alices books, the Body Coach’s books, Madeline Shaw includes some brilliant recipes in her recipe books anddddd so many more!
  5. Health food supplements; I’m talking protein powders, BCAA’s (try Women’s best), Pre-workouts. You name it, the fitness friend/ girlfriend will want it! A lovely brand is whey box for protein; a monthly subscription of multiple flavours of whey protein. If its vegan protein you’re looking for, MissFits Nutrition are great!
  6. Head Phones; I love Sudio Sweden or any that are noise cancelling. Head phones are great as they really help you get in the zone when you are in the gym!
  7. Heart rate monitor; I have a Garmin watch and LOVE it! It shows me exactly when I am pushing myself! Whatever the sport a heart rate monitor can give you a greater insight into you cardiac performance, allowing you to push yourself to the limit and even map your fitness as your heart gets used to strenuous exercise.
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    I love the Garmin ForeRunner 35! Great for tracking runs and workouts! 
  8. Kettlebells; home workouts are the best. You can get a sweat on whenever and wherever you fancy. Kettlebells make for a great total body workout and can reallt torch the calories.
  9. A yoga mat; The amount of people taking part in yoga sessions has dramatically increased in recent years, with classes seemingly popping up everywhere. The only equipment you need is a mat, either a cheap one from a supermarket or a rather more luxury one like the one pictured. While not usually an aerobic activity, yoga does improve flexibility, muscle strength and provides a moment of calm in the hustle and bustle of modern life. I personally LOVE my Lulu Lemon mat.
  10. A gym bag; this means you can travel to and fro the gym in style. I love Sweaty Betty and Lulu Lemon bags, however, Active in style have some great, slightly more affordable bags.
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The Sweaty Betty Lux Bag is my favourite! 

How to feel good? 3 easy steps… (Guest post by Just Josi Health)

We all want to feel good right? But sometimes it’s easy to feel down and we just don’t know why. Sometimes we get stuck in a bit of a negative rut and can’t explain what has caused it but we just know it needs to stop. I’ve found a couple of things really help me if I’m feeling this way and they may be easier to implement in your life than you realise.

  1. Self-care

This is so underrated and I know so many people struggle to find the time to make this a priority but as they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup! Giving yourself time to recharge is so important and comes in a variety of ways for different people – personally if I have a nice long shower, moisturise from head to toe I use the Aveeno moisturiser and honestly it cannot be beaten!), put some amazing hair treatment in and sit on the sofa with a cup of peppermint tea.

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I’ll either just put some nice music on or watch vlogs on Youtube to switch off my brain from any stresses. Even just one afternoon of this every couple of weeks is enough to keep me going, but I think it’s important we all keep an eye on ourselves and make sure we know when to take a break as everyone is different!

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  1. Unfollow negativity

This may sound a little controversial but I really don’t think it is talked about enough. Not everyone is compatible with everyone, it’s not meant to be that way, as they say you could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches. It is so easy to compare ourselves to things we see, especially on social media, so if seeing someone’s posts is constantly getting you down, what is stopping you from removing that negative influence? They may not even mean to do it but that doesn’t mean you should continue to feel down as a result of their posts or comments. Even if it is someone you used to be friends with, if their presence in your life is a constant negative then have the strength to move on. Neither of you need that in your lives, in the long run it is better for everyone.

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  1. Compliment someone

There is no better feeling than making someone’s day and I’m sure that the more happiness you spread, the more you feel it. Of course it’s normal to have down days but if you make a conscious effort to smile and pay compliments, it will become so natural and you will find yourself making people’s day regularly without even meaning to. That positivity will rapidly spread and you will be surrounded with a group of people all lifting each other up which is bound to make you feel good!

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What do you do to feel good?

J x

Outfit by Sweaty Betty

You can pick up the Aveeno range at Hello Skin (use code HELLOJOSI for a discount!)

Photography by Anna

 

Mindful running…

Running most definitely has its benefits; it is good for our hearts and our heads. I, and many others, have turned running into a habit that is undertaken more than once a week, not only for the exercise but for ability to slip in to another world and switch off.

I find it pretty normal for my mind to wonder whilst running; if someone I knew were to drive past me, I probably wouldn’t notice them. And the thoughts? Well, they can be related to absolutely anything; the run itself, work, life or just how beautiful the day is!

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Why do I find mindful running helpful?

If before I get ready to go out running I am feeling anxious, during my run, I will take the time to think about why I am feeling like that, how I can resolve, is there any reason to actually be feeling that way?

If I’m feeling happy, I will use it to push myself further; quicken the pace, push my legs and lungs and really get the best out of my run.

Either way, I finish the run with endorphin’s that are making me feel more positive.

What do I/ can I focus on to run mindfully?

I often focus on my breathing; making sure I am taking nice deep breaths, rather than shorter, snappy ones.

Once I have focused on that for long enough, and have got in to a rhythm, I will begin to take in my surroundings. Admire the beauty around you and the things that when life is speeding by, you may miss.

Top Tip: If I get stitch, I focus on breathing out every time I stride forward with my right foot. This way, I am no longer focusing on the issue. 

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Try to relax: 

As silly, and as hard, as this may seem, I try to relax when out running. I choose an object of focus, whatever it may be (my stride, bird song, cars, people, trees, my breath) and relax my mental attitude towards exercise. During the week, I push my body really hard when doing HIIT and weight training exercise, that I take this time to just go with the flow and allow my body to enjoy exercise!

How can you do it?

I’d say, follow these four steps:

  1. Focus on your breathing,
  2. Encourage yourself to focus on what is going on around you.
  3. Have a positive attitude towards yourself when you run,
  4. Relax and enjoy it!

Finally, reward yourself after you run! Be it a nice breakfast, a bath, shopping.. make it worthwhile! I love a stack of pancakes!

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I hope this helps!

 

Hannah x

 

 

Body Weight HIIT Workout (Guest post by @Bitesbybecs)

‘High Intensity Interval Training’ is a great form of exercise – it is a perfect way to squeeze a workout into a busy day and even better it can be done at home! So if you fancy burning some calories in a short amount of time, give this a go! All you’ll need is yourself and a bottle of water!

Before you begin, ensure you have warmed up and stretched to prevent any injuries occurring.

Complete each exercise for 40 seconds and then rest for 20 seconds. Rest for 2 minutes between each set. Complete the whole workout twice. The whole workout will take you 30 minutes.

Don’t forget to cool down and stretch after the workout too. GOOD LUCK!

Set 1

1. Skipping (If you have a rope that’s perfect, otherwise just complete the motion that you would with a skipping rope!)

2. High knees sprinting on the spot

3. Side skaters (Begin in a squat position. Jump to the left side landing on your left leg and bring your right leg behind your left ankle without it touching the floor. Then jump to the right landing on your right leg and brining your left leg behind your right ankle without it touching the floor).

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3 squat pulses in to full burpee..

REST 2 MINS

Set 2

1. 3 squat pulses into full burpee

2. Around the clock lunges (Start with feet together. Lunge forwards with one leg, then return to the centre. Then lunge sideways with the same leg and return to the centre. Then lunge back and return to the centre. Switch legs and repeat).

3. Duck walks (In a squat position walk forwards five steps and then backwards 5 steps. Repeat).

REST 2 MINS

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Skaters…

Set 3

1. Squat jumps

2. Mountain climbers

3. Glute bridges (Lying on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift hips off the ground until knees and hips are in line. Squeeze through your glutes and ensure your core remains tight throughout the whole movement. Ease back down.)

REST 2 MINS

 

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Mountain climber ready…

 

Please do tag both Bec and I if you give this a go!

 

Hannah x

Rhythm 108… my thoughts!

When I was asked if I could review the new Rhythm 108 ooh-la-la tea biscuits, I was more than excited. I have tried their good for you dessert bars and they are amazing so I had high expectations for these AND I wasn’t disappointed!

Who are Rhythm 108?

They make Real Food from The Yogi’s ancient secrets in a small cave in the Swiss Alps, bustling with Yogi-Patissiers!  They always use pure ingredients and make nutritious recipes that are simple, delicious and made with a lot of heart and soul – just like at home.

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There are four flavours:

  • Coconut Cookie,
  • Double Choco Hazelnut,
  • Almond Biscotti,
  • Lemon Ginger Chia,

The ingredients:

These are ALL natural; no preservatives, or any nasties at all. All the bars are gluten and dairy free, have no refined sugar, organic and are a great source of fibre.

All of the biscuits contain gluten free oat flour and coconut oil, each flavour then has additional, natural ingredients.

The taste test:

  • Coconut Cookie; as silly as this may sound, this wasn’t too coconutty. It had a lovely crunchy texture and was great for dipping in a cup of tea!
  • Double Choco Hazelnut; this was by far my favourite bar. It tasted just like Nutella BUT didn’t have the guilt factor. I was sad when my biscuit finished!
  • Almond Biscotti; this had lovely little chunks of almond in it, which created a great texture. They also taste just like marzipan; so feel really naughty! Again, a great biscuit to dip in your cuppa!
  • Lemon Ginger Chia; I love the lemon and ginger combination. The fact that the lemon zest is natural and organic is great too!

Overall, I am very happy I got to try these biscuits and I liked them all – if they were to be available in a store around oxford, I would definitely splurge on them once in a while. I say splurge – I think the price tag is a little drawback. BUT, if the price lowers I would buy more.

As the ingredient list is all natural, you could probably make them at home!

Besides that, I love that the ingredient list of these biscuits as they are so simple and fresh. No added scary stuff, all things we know and you can spell them all!

The consistency is perfect for my taste,, they don’t fall apart and my favourite part is the packaging which I think is super pretty and cute!

Head to their website to check them out!

Hannah x

 

 

 

 

My favourite dairy free milks…

Lactose intolerance (or dairy intolerance) is seeming to become a more common digestive problem, alongside this, many people are choosing to opt for a dairy free diet ot out of choice. I, personally, haven’t eliminated dairy products from my diet BUT, I do love to use dairy free milk alternatives in my baking, my breakfasts and in a matche latte!

There are so many Dairy-Free Milk alternatives available these days that it can be daunting to know which one to go for. Those experienced dairy-freers will already have a firm favourite, having tried a few and decided on the one they love. However, if you’re new to the dairy free lifestyle then you may not know where to begin.

Pip and Nut Almond drink:

This is my new, firm favourite.  It is unsweetened, contains no nasties and is, quit frankly, DELICIOUS!!!

I’ve used it in both sweet and savoury baking, and especially love it in porridge! Try mixing it with oats and protein powder for a porridge bowl and then top with your favourite fruits.

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Rude Health Almond drink:

This has a very obvious nutty flavour; which I love. It is great in overnight oats as it has a lovely creamy taste. It is also a great dairy free alternative in baking; especially cakes and pancakes. Try blending it with ice, a banana, cacao powder, chocolate protein powder and almond butter to make a delicious smoothie.

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Koko:

This has quite a sweet coconut taste and goes really well with cereal, fruit and in a coffee/ latte. It is low calorie too; 27 calories per 100ml. It is fortified with other vitamins and minerals, which I prefer not to have added to mine. However, it tastes great and, when I can’t find other options, I will happily use this!

Rebel Kitchen:

This company make great flavoured coconut drinks, especially great for children. They keep it simple – no additives or preservatives. They have a bold taste, fewer ingredients, nothing added as well as always being organic, responsibly sourced and responsibly produced.  The flavours include:

  • Banana,
  • Chocolate,
  • Coffee,
  • Chocolate orange,
  • Vanilla

Try mixing the chocolate orange with oats and cacao powder overnight before adding toppings in the morning. It is amazing!

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Oatly Oat milk:

This has a very obvious oat taste but then you can expect that when it is made purely of oats!!! It is great in porridge, with overnight oats and in baking! I love to use it in Banana breads instead of coconut milk/ yogurt.

 

I hope you found this helpful!

 

Hannah x

 

 

Ollybars.. My thoughts.

I recently discovered Olly Bars, a London based producer of handmade, healthy snack bars intended to keep you fuller for longer. Olly started the business with the aim of creating the ‘best tasting energy bars’ packed with plenty of healthy fruit and nuts. Many ‘healthy’ breakfast bars are actually anything but that, so I was pretty chuffed to be sent these bars! These bars are SO addictive but guilt free as they don’t contain all the additives.

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There are three different flavours: banana brunch, peanut choc chip and all day breakfast.

‘All day Breakfast’

Made with oats, dates, nuts and cocoa butter this snack bar will keep you full all morning. This bar is a good source of protein, with each bar containing 9g. It is also high in protein, additive-free and suitable for vegans. The bar has a chewy consistency and with every bite, you bite in to something different. It is a sizeable bar, probably double the size of those you would normally buy, so is great, satisfying breakfast option.

‘Peanut Choc Chip’

This bar is brilliant as a sweet but guilt-free dessert (and will satisfy a peanut-lover no end). It has to be my favourite. It is sweet but not too sweet and has an amazing texture. Basically, I love it!!!

‘Banana Brunch’

The superfood snack contains chia, sunflower and flax seeds – and has lowered the amount of natural fruit sugars by 40%, replacing them with protein by using vegan-friendly pea crunchies. Coming in at around 250 calories, it is a great pre/ post workout snack.. it didn’t quite suffice for breakfast.

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Overall, I give the bars an average of 7/10 BUTthe peanut choc chip bar gets 10/10 from me!

 

Hannah x

Turkey Mince.. My favourite recipes.

If you’ve followed for a while, you will probably know by now that I  love turkey mince. I think it is so versatile. So much so, that I prep it for both lunches and dinners.

You can also have it in so many forms:

  • Meatballs,
  • Burgers,
  • Mince- think Chilli con carne, tacos, keemas (this is my absolute favourite), lasagna, as a pizza topping.
  • Basically, if red meat is the mince suggestion in a recipe, just change it to turkey.

Why turkey mince?

In no way am I saying that red meat is bad, in fact my Dad is a beef farmer (check out Hannem Limousin’s). Red meat is a good source of proteins, vitamins and minerals in your diet. Red meat provides us with iron, and meat is also one of the main sources of vitamin B12. However, too much red meat can lead to you eating too much saturated fat.

This is where the turkey mince comes in to action. You can have the same meals, BUT with less fat, calories and more protein. If you are going to swap to turkey then make sure you are using turkey breast mince, not thigh. The thigh is a much fattier cut of meat and can end up the same if not higher in calories and fat than beef mince and undoing all your good intentions!

So, here are a few of my favourite recipes from around the internet that are quick and easy and use mince that I would change to a turkey alternative.

  1. Turkey Mince Cottage Pie with a sweet potato topping. 
  2. The best healthy Turkey Chilli. 
  3. Slowcooker healthy Turkey Keema
  4. Turkey Burgers; here are a few recipes:

5.  Turkey Meatballs; here are a few that I love:

 

I hope you find this helpful!

 

Hannah xxx

 

March favourites…

I find it slightly crazy, and very scary, that we have come to the end of yet another month. March has been a super busy one, full of exciting ventures and some slightly scary, big decisions! However, it has also been filed with many delicious food and recipes and  fun fitness events, so I just had to share them with you!

Pip and Nut and Propercorn popcorn; these two make for the dreamiestttttttt combination.  Pip and Nut is 100% my favourite nut butter (in allll the flavours); it is so creamy and tastes as natural as it is, yet is delicious!  Propercorn is the ideal combination with this; especially the almond butter flavour! It makes a great, low GI and low calorie snack (or flex bowl topper), and tastes really naughty!

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Muscle Mousse protein pancake and muffin mixes; okay, no word of a lie, these are DELICIOUS. As in, I was happily eating the mix without adding anything to it, or even cooking! They are so simple to use; you simply add water and you’re done! They’re also really macro friendly; low carb, low fat and high protein; ideal for rest day treats!

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Laid bare skincare; I loved the results I saw in my skin after just a few weeks of using this skin care and making it a part of my daily routine! The mask is exfoliating but gentle at the same time so is perfect for my sensitive skin! I use the DIY cleanser and toner in the evening to remove make up and the 9-5 moisturiser every morning and evening to moisturise my face!  The other thing I love is that it is really good value; some skincare is so expensive which I really don’t think is necessary.

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My Skillet; I LOVE my skillet; for both sweet and savoury dishes! But, I mainly use it to make my weekend breakfasts seem so much more luxurious! I love a skillet cookie, brownie, pancake, crumble, cobbler; you name it, you can make it in a skillet! Head to my blog now to find more recipe ideas!

Hannah xxx

The HollyBush, Witney… my thoughts.

Last week, I felt very lucky when heading to The HollyBush to try their food (and drinks). After talking to my friends who live in the area, I was promised great things, and the meal didn’t disappoint.

Firstly, when we arrived at the pub, it was really easy to park on the road outside, we had a 2 minute walk to the door (if that) and Witney has many places available in which you can park for free! We strolled in, were greeted with lovely smiling faces and seated at a lovely table near a fireplace!

The atmosphere in the pub was brilliant; background music that wasn’t overpowering and many other customers happily chatting (and drinking) away!

The drinks menu was the first thing I looked at and the cocktail options, as well as beers, wines and soft drinks, were amazing! So much so, that I didn’t know which cocktail to go for. In the end, I chose Passionella (because it contained Limencello, my favourite) and it was delicious! A great way to start the evening!

The Menus (the normal one and specials) had so many tasty options; I was stuck for choice! Normally, I am really fussy and don’t like many things on the menu, so being stuck for choice, says a lot (in a positive way)! In the end, we chose smoked salmon with sourdough bread and scallops with a cauliflower puree for starters, follwed by a chicken and stuffing wellington and a prawn Vietnamese noodle soup for mains!

When our starters arrived, they looked amazing and they tasted just that! They were really nicely laid out on the plate, of a great temperature to eat immediately and both tasted great! The scallops tasted SO GOOD; I would definitely order them again!

The mains were of the same level of taste and appearance as the starters; I’d never had the soup before, so was excited to give it a try! I loved it and it is definitely something I will have a try at making myself!

Overall, I feel that the price, taste and atmosphere was all brilliant and, due to this, I would definitely return!

Hannah x