Friday, 12 December 2014

New York State of Mind.

Long time, no blog.

December is set to be one of the most exciting months, like, ever, though, so something that needs to be documented in detail.

In precisely 18 days (!), I'm off to NYC with J for New Year! Can't. Effing. Wait.

Most of my time recently has been taken up by Christmas shopping and all important NYC research.

I'm obsessed with the Love Taza guides - so well shot and edited, NYC looks a total dream in them. After watching these, basically I plan on swanning around NYC wearing great hats and buying a helluva lot of food.

Any NYC recommendations? 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Being LUSH

I vividly remember my first jaunts to LUSH as a teen - I was like a kid in a sweet shop, only instead of sweets, the counters were piled high with brightly coloured bath bombs. Nothing much has changed since then, and I still feel that kid whenever I step foot in-store. It's all quite Willy Wonka-meets-cosmetics when you think about it - solid shampoo bars, shower jellies and playdough substances which can be used as a shampoo, soap and everything in between.

I have to say, its probably one of my favourites retailers on the high street - all products is freshly handmade, always ethical and the brand is completely against animal testing to boot. That's the kind of brand I can get on board with.

My local LUSH has recently had a bit on an overhaul, and the lovely team kindly invited me down to check out the new fixtures and fittings. First thing I noticed? Lots of driftwood - a nod to LUSH's coastal home in Poole.

The staff, as ever, were terrifically knowledgable about all products and the brand and it's heritage, and their enthusiasm, something I've always loved, was at an only appropriate 110%.

One of the main things I was interested to learn about was their fragrance collection, Gorilla Perfume. There is such a story behind each scent, and I particularly loved the tale of Breath of God, inspired by Buddhist monks and the inhale and exhale patterns they use in prayer; the 'inhale' and 'exhale' notes of the perfume are both slightly different, making it masculine and feminine both at the same time. Deep.

Some of the guys who hand-produce fresh items were on hand to show us how to make Angels with Bare Skin, a fresh cleanser based on a medieval recipe, crammed full of good things for your skin - almonds, lavender and rose. A LUSH lady then demonstrated how when emulsified in water, the clay-like cleanser breaks down, making it much easier to apply to your skin.

As always, I loved just browsing around the shop and feeling like a kid again - who wouldn't want the psychedelic bath bomb, Granny Takes A Dip, livening up their soak in the tub? Go on, head to LUSH and treat yo'self.

LUSH Newcastle, Unit 1B/Chevy Chase, Eldon Square, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

All Over Autumn

(Source: Country Living)

It's safe to say the last four weeks have been pretty disastrous.

Injury, illness and having to go to hospital at the Great North Run start line rather than run the race (yes, that really happened) have made the past month one I'd like to forget swiftly. 

With this fail of a month in mind, I'm setting some Autumn goals to achieve by the end of October, to ensure I get back to full strength to be able to continue improving my fitness and taking part in some exciting events I have planned. I'll be keeping a track on everything throughout September/October and checking in on my progress here.

Run 13.1 miles 
As I had to bow out of the GNR on the day due the manifestation of a nasty infection resulting in a day in hospital a.k.a one of the worst days of my life, I'm still aiming to complete a half marathon. I raised such a lot of money for charity for the GNR and am gutted I was unable to run on the day after all of the training I put in. I don't think I'll quite get a PB for my own half-marathon, but I'm adamant to complete the distance I worked for, even if I do have to spread this across two sessions.

I'm now a member of a strength training gym. This is something I've been wanting to get into properly for a long time now, and having dabbled at a smaller gym, the facilities at The Fitness Rooms really are second to none and I'm so pleased to get stuck in and make some gains. Some lasses who lift who are currently inspiring me? I'm a huge fan of Blonde Health, Wedges and Weights and Carly Rowena.

Complete an obstacle course race
The River Rat Race in August was a great introduction to the world of obstacle races (albeit one I won't be doing again due to the infection I picked up from the River Tees). I am however, signed up for the Newcastle Stampede in six weeks time. A Tough-Mudder-esque course, this takes places at Gosforth Park in the Toon and I fully expect to get very very muddy.

Stress less
August was without a doubt a stress-filled month on all accounts, and I definitely came off badly from it. Bad skin, bad sleeping patterns, a bad, bad time all round. Coming into September, I've learned to not sweat the small stuff. It's really not worth it.

Invest in health, invest in yourself
When it comes to finance, I'm allocating a bit more money on myself from now on. Totally selfish? Non.  I've just bought a new road bike, signed up for a new gym (for that strength training, yo) and am all about buying more organic, nourishing food to keep my wellbeing at a peak over Autumn and into Winter.

Drink more water
I drink gallons of the stuff (always with lemon and cucumber for an added hydration booster) but I really can't sign the praises enough of drinking more of that clear H20. It does wonders. Believe the hype.

How do you track progress to make sure you can reach your goals?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Weekend Edition | Post-workout green smoothie action

I ran ten miles this morning. Yep, ten miles. Crazy I know.  It's the furthest I've run since last year's Great North Run, and having been a bit injured recently, I was a little bit cautious setting off to cover such a long distance. The last two weeks, I've wanted to fit in some super long runs as part of my prep for this year's GNR (it's four weeks today, bloody hell), but I've been having real problems with my calves and ankles - the woes of being an overpronator.

The last couple of weeks, I've been taking it easy, only doing short runs and keeping the pace right down just to try and get some miles in. To my absolute shock and surprise, ten miles this morning, was an absolute breeze. Nearly up to normal race pace all the way round, and no mid-run stretching out required. It felt amazing to be back on track and hopefully this stands me in good stead to do another sub-2 hour half marathon.

As with all long training runs, all I could think about was what delicious foodie treat I was going to have when I came back in. Along with a Quest bar (the only bar for getting a high-protein hit post-workout), I whipped up this super easy green smoothie. Smoothies are literally one of the easiest/quickest things to make and it took actual seconds in my new love, the Blend Active. Obviously, you can switch up these ingredients depending on what you prefer, but this is a pretty damn good combination.

Super quick post-workout green smoothie (serves 1)

What you'll need:

  • 2 x handfuls spinach
  • 1 x kiwi fruit, sliced
  • 1 x handful of fresh/frozen blueberries
  • 1 x scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Myprotein's Impact Whey Isolate in Natural Vanilla)
  • 250ml coconut water (I used Go Coco)
  • 3-4 ice cubes
I feel a bit of fraud putting a step-by-step guide here as it's literally just a chuck-it-all-in-a-blender kinda recipe. So go ahead, whizz away.

What's your favourite post-workout protein hit?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Weekend Edition | Toon Eats

Something short and sweet this week's Weekend Edition, still with a foodie focus but sans recipe. Never fear though, I'll be back with something great to try out next Sunday.

As for this week, there's an abundance of food-related events happening in Toon, so what better time to big them up?

Firstly, NE1's Restaurant Week kicks off tomorrow. NE1 have teamed up with even more restaurants this time around to offer some damn good deals from 4th-10th August. I'll be hitting up one of my favourite restaurants, Caffe Vivo - £10 for 2 courses is always a winner.

Secondly, something I am hugely excited about. The Grazer a.k.a Anna Hedworth, North East food blogger and supperclub supremo, is opening up her hotly anticipated Cook House in the Ouseburn. Opening on Wednesday 6th August, CH will be open on weekdays from 8:30am-3:30pm serving breakfast and lunches. Anna will still be hosting her popular supperclubs here, along with a food school programme - first up is a demo from Charlotte Harbottle of Charlotte's Butchery on 1st September.

Where are you off to this Restaurant Week?

Sunday Sounds #1

Obsessed don't even begin to cover my feelings for SBTRKT's new track New Dorp, New York.
SBTRKT and Ezra Koenig is a match made in experimental heaven. Who'da thought it? 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The New Essentials | Beauty

Ah payday, that wonderful day every month where everything is great with the world. Then you go to shopping. And then you have no money because you've splurged on hair and beauty products. But, you look great for the rest of the month. A weird all round win-win situation.

I purchased a few much-needed staples this payday - some different iterations of favourite products and some brand spanking new things to try.

Here's the lowdown.

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