Thursday, 31 December 2015

2016 Goals

2015 has been a strange year - a year of extreme highs and extreme lows. To say SEE YA to a bit of a weird one, I thought I’d end it on something super positive with my fitness and wellbeing goals for 2016.
Alice Mary Barnes Wellbeing Goals for 2016
It was a challenge in itself to even start writing these. I’d usually make a list of about 10 and then fret towards the end of the year that I haven’t achieved them. So for 2016, I’m making 3 goals and 3 goals only (thanks Zanna for the tip!) These are more overarching themes than anything (I do have a couple of sneaky really, definitely specific goals like run a sub 1 hour 55 minute half marathon, but I’m not really classing those as my bigger goals for this year).

Be consistent
This covers a lot of bases. Be consistent with exercise/training and be consistent with the good stuff I’m fuelling my body with. I beat myself up a lot about having to exercise a certain amount and can at times, stress over the food I’m eating too. On the whole, I look after myself well; I’m getting stronger everyday (I might have even seen an AB recently?) and I eat all of the right things that my body needs. I just need to keep this up and feel happy and confident in what I’m doing. 

No bad vibes
No neggy thoughts or vibes will cloud my thoughts this coming year. It’s a year of positivity and a can-do attitude. Short and sweet.

Swim!
Much more specific than the top 2, but this year I really want to get into swimming. I’m pretty much the worst swimmer I know, and want to follow my triathlete Mum’s lead by getting some swimming coaching to boost my confidence (major under water fear) and take it from there. I’m not making any grand plans just yet to do a swimming event or anything like that, just to start and see where it takes me.

--

I'm looking forward to kicking off 2016 with a bang as well as I start my dream job in athletics in January and it'll be SIX MONTHS until J and I tie the knot (that has come around fast!). Bring in 2016!

How many goals have you set for 2016? Have you gone for the less is more approach? 
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Monday, 14 December 2015

Chocolate Coated Nut Butter Stuffed Dates

Almond Butter stuffed dates with dark chocolate recipe
Just read that blog post title. WHAT a title. When I saw this recipe pop up in my Twitter feed from Laura over at Wholeheartedly Healthy, I was like YEP - that’s for me. No hesitation. Click. Read. Make. Eat. Done. Amazing.

Loaded with nut butter and covered in 85% dark chocolate, these are a perfect sweet treat for over the festive period (or anytime of year in fact). They are a little less virtuous than the raw chocolate recipe I posted last week, but still, more nutritionally dense than a handful of Celebrations or Milk Tray (although these are great at Christmas too).

Laura uses peanut butter in her recipe, however, as the ol’ peanut and my body don’t mix very well (damn allergy kid tendencies), I used MyProtein smooth almond butter instead.

All I can think to describe these as, are like chewy natural caramels with a smooth chocolate shell. Laura’s trick, and one that I followed, was to freeze the dates stuffed with almond butter first before dipping in chocolate. This makes the chocolate extra crunchy, so you get loads of different textures going on. I’ve been storing mine in the freezer so they’re like toffees but having nearly broken a tooth last night on one, into the fridge it is! 

So, fancy giving these a whirl?
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Thursday, 3 December 2015

Festive Raw Chocolate

Alice Mary Barnes' Raw Christmas Chocolates Recipe
As IF it’s December already. I’m feeling pretty damn festive - the tree is up in all its glory and I’ve got an insane amount of Christmas candles on the go. 

I started getting well into Christmas food mode last weekend. Chocolate always features very heavily in anything sweet I make at this time of year, so I got to making a batch of these delicious pure chocolates from Deliciously Ella’s site. Using her basic recipe, I spiked these with orange zest for a true Christmassy flavour and scent.

The best thing about these chocolates are that they aren’t any ordinary chocolate - they're a healthy indulgence and kinda good for you too (excellent). Packed with cacao butter and raw cacao powder (hello antioxidants), they are such a delicious guilt-free treat.

The great thing about this recipe, is that there are so many different things you can do with the basic recipe, so it’s easy to have a play about an add whatever you’re into - cinnamon and nutmeg, vanilla - you could even add in some sugar-free flavour drops for a sweeter hit. 

Basic recipe:
  • Melt everything together in a pan over a very low heat (don’t go boiling it though).
  • Pour the mixture into moulds (I used some very un-festive heart-shaped moulds but you can buy festive moulds on the high street. Lakeland and Tiger are my best bets.)
  • Freeze for 30 mins.

These will then keep in the fridge in an air tight container for ages, but I can guarantee they’ll be gone within about 10 minutes. They're that good.


What are your favourite festive flavour combinations? 
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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Wellbeing Christmas Gift Ideas

Wellbeing and Fitness Christmas Gift Guide from Alice Mary Barnes

The season is pretty much upon us, and I'm getting that festive feeling already. The tree is going up this weekend (early I know, but it is technically the first Sunday of Advent) and I'm looking forward to seeing those twinkly lights, and getting in Christmas shopping mode.

With most of us getting our last pay before Christmas this week, I know I'm not the only one searching for gifts for my nearest and dearest, ready to hit "order" when I get that dollar hits my bank account, so, I'd thought I'd pull together an edit of top five Christmas gift ideas for the wellbeing aficionado in your life. This list is all based on things I'd love to receive (and will probably end up gifting myself a few...), and there is everything from stocking fillers to something a little bit more substantial.

Neom x Sweaty Betty Gift Set
Packed with 100% natural ingredients to help boost energy and aid muscle recovery, this is a perfect introductory set to Neom products (side note: their candles are also divine). Featuring four mini sizes of their products, these are ideal for travelling. For a starter kit, it is a bit pricey at £30 but I am guessing you won't need much of a product at a time, so it works out pretty good value.

Make your own wellbeing subscription box
Subscription boxes are a brilliant idea for a Christmas gift,  and I've had a few different beauty and lifestyle versions in the past, but I think making your own is where its at this year. You can get so many substantial sizes of health supplements and super-foods online, and at insanely good prices, that it works out better curating your own wellbeing box. That way, it can be enjoyed longer than about two seconds. As an example, I've picked out things like chia seeds, nut butter sachets and raw brownies, but you could put loads of other things in there - coconut sugar, goji berries, etc, The list goes on.

Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts
I've been pining over these for probably about the last two years and finally hoping that this is the Christmas they make their way into my life. These Himalayan salts are a bit too pricey to justify buying for yourself, therefore, the ideal thing to put on your wishlist to Santa. I'm obsessed with their product description on Cult Beauty - like a natural version of Valium -  meaning you know they're going to be the shit when it comes to de-stressing. Get 'em in your basket now.

Oxo Good Grips Spiraliser
As much as I bloody love my Hemsley Hemsley spiraliser, it's an absolute beast that takes up a ridiculous amount of cupboard space and is a PAIN to clean. I was browsing the Lakeland site the other day, and came across this absolute gem of a kitchen product. Finally! A good quality handheld and very compact spiraliser. This is a perfect stocking filler (only £15) and a must for those courgetti-loving people in your life.

BKR Water Bottle
Because everyone needs a damn chic BPA-free water bottle in their lives. And what better colour than a festive red. Merry Christmas!

What's on your wishlist for Christmas? Are there any wellbeing and healthy lifestyle products that you're coveting? 

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Friday, 20 November 2015

5 ways to stay healthy this winter

Alice Mary Barnes Guide to a healthy Christmas
Image via Pinterest

No one likes the bloat. And that's generally how we all feel come the end of December after overindulging on Christmas pudding and all that chocolate, vowing to go on a crash detoxes and juice-only plans once New Year's Day comes around. Now, I hate to it break it to you, but these quick-fix schemes never work and it's easy to fall off the wagon (come on, you knew this already).

With this in mind, I've pulled together a list of five ways to help you stay healthy this winter, which will leave you feeling pretty damn fantastic, so they'll be no need for any of those unrealistic crash diets in the new year.

Up that H20
I know what it's like. December equals warm drinks in those red cups - hot chocolate with cream, gingerbread lattes (YUM). But don't forget about your old pal water. I really can't stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated all year round, but especially when those chilly months creep in. If the thought of drinking water leaves you cold, then try simple ways of increasing your hydration like plain hot water instead of tea or coffee (sounds seriously dull but is actually not that bad), or to make it a bit more interesting, throw some orange and lemon in there. Heck, maybe even a cinnamon stick if you're feeling wild. Christmas in a mug.

Keep moving
Even though it's cold outside, and you want to stay cosy under the covers, getting out there and keeping active will help you feel virtuous (those endorphins though). The best winter workouts I've done in the past, and things I'll be doing this festive season to make sure I'm continuing to burn fat, are to head to things like bootcamp sessions, gym classes like spinning or Metafit, or parkrun. Group workouts are hugely motivational and will keep you on track. I'm always more likely to give up easily if I'm out say on a long run on a chilly day alone, so get signed up for some group training to kick winter's arse.

Pick high quality indulgences
Instead of reaching for the Dairy Milk or the tub of Quality Street, try better quality chocolate such as Booja Booja or Ombar to satisfy your sweet tooth. Their higher cacao content will mean you don't need as much to get that sweet fix and won't be mindlessly consuming calories. Also, when you do want something a bit naughtier make sure it's things which are homemade (Christmas Cake, anyone?) and therefore, less processed.

'Tis the season to be merry 
Everyone enjoys a celebration and having a few festive beverages is high on many a list at this time of year, so opt for drinks like vodka and soda with fresh lime, or a glass of really good quality red wine, to make sure you're not drinking your calories and having too much sugar.

Meal prep
I always seem to forget about meal prepping at this time of year with all of the festivities going on, so one thing I'm going to make sure I do, especially in December, is to meal prep on the run up to Christmas and get that freezer stocked up too. Meals like lovely warming soups and stews with good sources of protein and loads of green veg will help to keep your immune system in check, and try adding in spices such a ginger and turmeric to boost the flavour and keep any bugs at bay.

Were any of these tips helpful for you? How will you be staying healthy this Christmas? Hit me up in the comments below.



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Thursday, 12 November 2015

3 Instagram Food Heroes #2

Healthy food feeds on Instagram
It's that time again to shine the spotlight on three food-based Instagram accounts I've been drooling over recently. Check them out and see more of this deliciousness in all its glory.

Top With Cinnamon
Healthy Food instagram account Top with Cinnamon
Izy Hossack's beautifully curated feed features (amongst others) more oat-based goodies than you can shake a stick at and me-oh-my, I want to at all of it. Now. Warming baked oatmeals, granola bars and tasty cake, this is a place for proper, considered food with a clean slant, from a food science and nutrition perspective. Check out Izy's equally beautiful website for a shed loads of recipes - her Flourless Browned Butter Brownies are top of my to make list at the moment. Yum. (Also need that avo t-shirt immediately #avo4lyf)

Local Milk
Healthy food and lifestyle Instagram account Local Milk
This is well photographed food porn at its finest. Stylist and photographer Beth Kirby's feed is damn good-looking. You won't just find well shot and filtered photos here, you'll find a whole host of lifestyle stuff that is a visual treat. She makes the simplest of foods look exciting and I guarantee you'll get lost in the beauty of images (I definitely lost a good couple of hours trawling through her images the first time round). Enjoy.


Medicinal Kitchen
Inspirational food and fitness Instagram Medicinal Kitchen
Where to start with my love for this feed. It started with stumbling across Emma's Genetic Supplements based recipes, as I'm a huge fan of the brand. I delved a bit deeper and found Emma's story, and what a story it is. Coming from a background of ill health, Emma has become a specialist in nutrition and health, and all of her recipes are all multi-allergy friendly (from an allergy kid POV, this is frickin' awesome). She's also recently overcome breast cancer too and is championing being body positive post-op (those fitness competition shots though - I can't helped but feel overwhelmed with admiration and respect). Seriously, go and check out her feed (and her site) - you'll not only feel truly inspired by her journey but come away with a bank of recipes to improve your health to boot.

Who have you been loving on Instagram recently? Who should I be checking out? 


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Sunday, 8 November 2015

How to make protein zoats

Protein Zoats Courgette Porridge with whey protein

The hugely knowledgeable (and always lovely) Laura at Wholeheartedly Healthy got me into this supercharged porridge/overnight oats recipe years ago, and when I was doing my Saturday morning cruise through the socials this morning, I saw a video from fitness babe Zanna Van Dijk showing the very simple method for this and why they're so good for you. I hadn't made them for absolutely bloody ages and thought, "Y'know what? That's what on the breakfast menu this morning."

That's right, I'm talking protein zoats. To you and me, that's protein porridge with added courgette. Yes, courgette. Definitely sounds a little bit mental, but do not fear; you can't even taste the courgette once it's cooked down, and this is a brilliantly simple way of getting a healthy dose of greens in with your breakfast. It also packs a volume punch, so keeps you full for ages. It's ideal for your post-workout meal or as different option for breakfast.


What you'll need:



Method:
1. Combine your grated courgette with your dried oats in a pan and cover with almond milk/water - you want enough liquid so that the courgette and oats have soaked up quite a bit, but with some liquid to spare (do this by eye).
2. Cook in a pan over a low heat (or in the microwave) and when everything is starting to cook down, with just a tiny bit of extra liquid, add in a scoop of your favourite protein powder (I used a classic vanilla flavour)
3. Add in any extra flavourings you might like (zero syrups, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg etc) and cook until this forms a thick creamy consistency.
4. Serve with whatever take your fancy - I topped mine with frozen blueberries, raspberries and chia seeds.

I can't stress how simple this is to make and a brilliant way of getting those extra nutrient-packed greens into breakfast. And trust me, you can't taste the courgette.

Have you tried courgette oats/protein zoats before? Let me know if you give these a whirl.
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Friday, 6 November 2015

A Guide to Healthier Skin

Healthy Skin with Origins, Pai and Dermalogica
Image source: Pinterest

It’s fair to say my body’s been through the mill a bit and I’ve had my fair share of weird health ups and downs. One of my best pals always used to call me the Allergy Kid in our teens, and for good reason. I was always run-down, had skin woes and pretty bad asthma

One of the biggest issues I’ve had though, has been with eczema, a painful skin condition which stopped me from doing a loads of things as a kid. I had a couple of particularly bad episodes when I was around 11/12 (thanks body for giving me this awesome look when becoming a teen, really thank you), when eczema all over my legs became infected after a summer holiday; I shudder thinking about it now. It was not pleasant.

Even though my skin on the whole calmed down into my late teens/early twenties, it then pretty much thought “What can I do next to piss Alice off?” and prickly heat then ensued after every tiny bit of sunshine I came into contact with, leaving me with giant itchy red patches in my elbows creases and behind my knees. I badly wanted to cover them up so that I didn’t look like a ‘freak’ (<<<this? ridiculous) but it just made it worse. 

Over the past 5 years, since my love for wellbeing, cleaner eating and fitness has grown, I can’t even begin to tell you the difference this kind of lifestyle this made to my skin, confidence and general life. So, here I thought I’d share with you some of the best things that have helped calm my skin issues and how they could help you too if like me, you’ve suffered and/or are suffering with a skin complaint. (Disclaimer: I’m in no way a skin expert. These are things that from my own personal experience have helped my skin get healthy). 
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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

November Goals

Alice Mary Barnes Nutrition Goals
I've really struggled with my goals the past few months. I don't know if I'm trying to do way too much or making goals unrealistic, but whatever it is, I've found the whole thing very throw-away and pretty demotivating.

One of the biggest things I haven't got to grips with at all is my nutrition course. Basically, I just haven't felt motivated to do it and have been using the 'I haven't got time' excuse at every opportunity. possible, which for someone proactive and usually very motivated, has been a bit of a weird one. Yes this nutrition course is a bit out of my comfort zone in terms of the biology aspect, but I need to remember this is the whole reason I wanted to do it - to challenge myself and to throw myself into something I have such a passion for and want to explore further.

After a chat with my life coach and the oracle that is my Mum (how is it that Mums always have the answers? Go Mamas), I've decided I need to simplify to get ahead. Set myself smaller goals. Have weekly check-ins. So, here we go; a different approach to my monthly goals.

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Monday, 2 November 2015

Riley's Fish Shack

This post is overdue. Like about 3 years overdue. So, when Travelodge* got in touch to set me the challenge of writing about what I think are the best kept secrets in and around, Newcastle, I knew this was the time to write about one of my favourite food haunts (especially now that it's had some major developments), that you all need to get yourselves down to and discover.

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Sunday, 1 November 2015

October Favourites


Quite simply, here's a round-up of my favourite things from October, from the worlds of nutrition, fitness and beauty.

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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

3 Instagram Food Heroes

I'm not ashamed to say I'm a bit of an Instagram nerd (I know I'm not the only one, we're all addicted, aren't we).

My feed is mostly filled with insane looking healthy food, fitness inspiration (or fitspo...god, I hate that word) and, obviously, obviously, some hilarious cats for good measure. Amongst all the mire, there's three food-based accounts I've been absolutely loving recently, and they're three you definitely need to hit that follow button on now.

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Sunday, 25 October 2015

New In Food: Newcastle Special

This week has been all about food and new foodie places to try around Newcastle. There are some fantastic new restaurants, cafes, healthy food places popping up in and around town, so here's the lowdown on three new haunts on my food radar.

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Sunday, 18 October 2015

How to workout in Winter

Oh god. They’re here. And by ‘they’ I mean those dog sh*te dark mornings when you just want to stay wrapped up in your heavier tog duvet (yes, we’ve already upped the tog in prep for full-blown winter).

But, you know what they say - summer bodies are made in winter, so I’ve been thinking about how to make sure I stay motivated to train when it’s dark and cold outside and I’d far rather be eating crumble and custard than running.

So, with this in mind, I've pulled together a few tips to help make winter workouts a walk in the park.
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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Ullswater | Go Pro Video

So, we took a trip to the wonderful Lake District in September and took our Go Pro Hero4 along with us for the ride.

Here's a look at some of the best bits.

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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Getting my bride on at Charlotte Tilbury

So, as you may have seen me mention (once, twice or a million times - soz), I'm getting married next year! In nine months to be precise, which is a little scary but mega exciting.

I'm getting fully into the swing of prepping and planning (including a big ramp up in training), so when an invitation to have my make-up professionally done at the very shiny and new Charlotte Tilbury counter at Fenwick, Newcastle came through, I knew this would be an amazing opportunity to road-test a few things I had in mind (and also swoon over products I've been dying to try for months. Thank the sweet lord for bringing your brand to Newcastle, Charlotte).

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Sunday, 4 October 2015

SEPTEMBER FAVOURITES

Simple; a round-up of the great and good from the last month including skincare and audio visual delights.

This Works Light Time Cleanse and Glow*
A new little saviour in my morning routine, this light and fresh cleanser from This Works is jam-packed full of vitamin C and other skin brightening loveliness which work a treat to banish that sleepy look first thing in the morning. I've been using this every other day over the past couple of weeks and have already seen a difference in my complexion. It also smells bloody great too, so makes having to get up on these darker autumnal mornings that bit more OK.

Slimming Solution Teatox - Evening Blend*
I'm really not one to jump on the detox tea bandwagon - I'm not utterly convinced by their whole ethos to be honest, as there are no quick fix solutions to weight loss or slimming. I do however, believe in a healthy eating plan and everything in moderation whatever your body goals are, which is more realistic in the long run IMHO. So even though and I'm bit anti-teatox, and I am very much pro-tea and have been enjoying this blend as part of my current way of eating and trying it out in the evening. It's packed with stomach-settling peppermint and liquorice root, and has a really calming overall scent so a perfect one to have just before bed. 

Broadly
I'm mad for YouTube and there are some incredible vloggers out there creating genuinely brilliant original content. However, Broadly a new women's only channel from Vice, is pretty much the only channel that's had my full attention over the last month or so. Each video is beautifully shot in a documentary style and the content covers a whole host of subjects and issues specifically targeted to women. Go and check it out to see for yourself - you won't be disappointed.

One product that's been on my beauty wishlist for a long time is this face mask from Antipodes, so when I saw that Fenwick had started stocking it, I picked one up to give it a whirl. And I have to say, it hasn't disappointed and has been another skin superhero recently, so big up to you, Antipodes. If you haven't heard of the NZ-based brand before, they produce natural skincare and make-up, with fully recyclable (and very well-designed) packaging to boot. The change in weather and mixture of heating/air-conditioning has made my skin incredibly dry and lathering this on a couple of times a week has been helping with that Autumnal hydration drought and given me back some much needed softness to my skin too.

Have you tried anything from Antipodes? What have been your favourite things from past month?

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Friday, 2 October 2015

October Goals

Hello October, you gorgeous autumnal month you.

As always, the start of the month acts as a reboot for me and a chance to focus on things I want to achieve over the next four/five weeks.

With the festive season fast approaching, I’m wanting to really focus on my healthy eating and exercise, so overindulging towards the end of the year won’t feel so naughty if I do the right kind of prep now.

Without further a-do, here's what I've got planned this month.
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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Two New Healthy Cookbooks

Payday week brings a whole host of treat yo'self moments.

In my case, these moments have included raiding Holland and Barrett, stocking up on goodies from MyProtein (come at me, kilo of almond butter) and buying some new healthy living cookbooks to add to my already crammed kitchen shelf (I don't know what it is about September, but I just want to curl up with good cookbook and plan how I'm going to eat my way through Autumn and Winter. #girlgains indeed).

My Hemsley Hemsley, Madeleine Shaw, Deliciously Ella and Amelia Freer books are looking well-thumbed and heavily bookmarked from being referred to for pretty much every meal over the last year or so, and although I love them to bits, sometimes you've got to switch things up.
So, the other day, I ordered a couple of new tomes which I'm sure will become firm food favourites.


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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Wednesday Wishlist #2 | Portable Wellbeing

These days I find myself out the house for nearly 12 hours a day, so making sure I can keep my general wellbeing shipshape, can get a bit challenging. 

With this in mind, I’ve entered a whole new world of portable wellbeing products - stuff that’s easy and lightweight to carry around that will keep me on track with my healthy lifestyle when I’m out and about.

Here's what's on the wishlist, and what will be filling my online shopping basket this payday.

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

A healthy balance


Eating the right things 100% of the time is hard work. I don't think anyone, even the most seemingly healthy wellbeing guru, can say their diet is spot on all of the time - life just doesn't work like that and a little bit of what you fancy does you good after all.

We're at a point where there is such a wealth of information on the right things to eat, all fronted by an awesome squad of healthy living babes advocating avocados and telling us to just buy the god damn spiralizer - courgetti can be better than spaghetti (not quite the same but does a low-carb job).

There are some awesome recipes and top tips out there but like with anything when it becomes over-saturated, there is always going to be a flip-side to the movement.

In this case, two Instagram accounts are providing some serious LOLs in reaction to us all going gluten, dairy, grain and everything-free. And their overarching message couldn't be anymore bang on - it's all about balance and not taking ourselves too seriously when it comes to wellbeing.

@girlswithgluten
With a tag line of Have your cake and eat hers too, the first time I clicked onto this stream, I knew I was onto a winner. Packed with utter babes tucking in to pizza, doughnuts, pastries in all forms, shapes and sizes, this feed proclaims gluten isn't in the enemy (unless you have a food intolerance - not trying to pressurise coeliacs into eating something they can't) and even has celebs like Diane Kruger chowing down on a bowl of pasta.

Go on, treat yo'self.


@deliciouslystella
Ho, ho, ho. This girl makes me chuckle.  Fronted by comedian Bella Younger, @deliciouslystella is frickin' hilarious. She's basically Deliciously Ella's gluten-gorging, blue WKD-swilling evil twin. The captions are gold; written in a way you'd expect from a wellbeing Insta-celeb, but with an unhealthy living slant.

There's too many good'uns to mention, so get yourself over to her feed to check them out.
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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Post-Race Recovery Wonder

So I did it! On Sunday, I ran the truly mazing Great North Run and somehow managed to get a new GNR personal best of 1 hour 59 minutes 46 seconds. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how I managed it. I felt really low on energy the whole way through; I stopped five times which is very unlike me during a race. And that heat though. That was a scorcher. I have the sunburn to prove it. Ouch. 

I really wasn’t expecting to get under the 2-hour mark, so a celebratory and well-deserved pizza was on the cards for tea last night to help restore those energy levels (if you can’t be a serious #girlswithgluten contender after a half marathon, when can you?)


To help my legs recover last night, I used a product I’ve been loving recently to help with the aches and pains after intense workouts. Right before I crawled into bed last night, I lathered my legs in magnesium oil spray and y’know what? No stiff legs for me this morning. It's seriously a miracle worker. I highly recommend the Better You range, especially the Goodnight Spray which has essential oils in the mix to help you drift off.

Did you run the Great North Run? Have you ever tried magnesium oil spray to help with muscle recovery?
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Sunday, 13 September 2015

What's In My Bag | Great North Run Edition

I know I’m not alone in my love for What’s in my bag? blog posts and videos, so thought I’d do my spin on it this weekend.

Today, I’m running the Great North Run, the world’s biggest half marathon so thought I’d share all the kit I’ll be taking with me to help me conquer 13.1 miles. 
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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Wednesday Wishlist #1 | Homeware



A new thing here on AMB. What I’m currently coveting from the worlds of wellbeing, beauty, interiors, fashion and everything in between.

This week, it’s all about doing some serious purchasing for the home. We’ve been in our flat over 3 years now and are in desperate need of some updates. That whole back-to-school mentality hasn’t just got me craving a fierce new Autumn wardrobe but a new look in our flat too - like the complete opposite of a Spring clean haha.

One thing we’ve already purchased is a stellar new rug for the lounge which we can’t wait to arrive (we searched high and low for the perfect grey rug, and La Redoute came good - who knew they did homeware?)

Here’s what else is on the wish list to spruce things up:

1. Copper Photo Frame from Posh Totty Designs (also loving their Copper Hexagonal Mirror, pleeease come back into stock!)
2. Metal Framed Mirror from West Elm. Many heart-eyed emojis for this beaut
3. Gold-toned Hangers from Zara Home
4. Braided Storage Baskets from H&M Home 
5. Yet another copper mirror (vain much?) from the always gorgeous Rockett St. George

Definitely having a copper love-in at the moment accessory-wise. And who says you can’t have chic clothes hangers? Those Zara versions maybe a bit pricey are a damn sight better that their plastic counterpart and will actually keep some shape to your clothes.

Are you sprucing up or switching up your home look? Having a major copper moment like me? Hit me up with items you're loving. 
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Monday, 7 September 2015

RESET | A weekend in the Lake District

How amazing it feels to be free.

This weekend, J and I headed to the beautiful Lake District for some time away from it all. Life hasn’t stopped in the past few months and we were in desperate need of some time away to reset and recharge. 

As we aren’t going on holiday anywhere this year (saving for our big day next year), we booked up to stay at the hugely picturesque Quiet Site for a couple of nights to completely unwind and switch off.
We’ve got an ace new tent which hooks onto the side of our VW Transporter so our nights were spent under the stars and the sheer silence of being in the countryside was truly amazing - I slept the best that I have done for ages.

On Saturday, we headed out on a 8-mile hike up to Aira Force waterfall armed with some goodies to keep us going. The hike took us up to a phenomenal view of Ullswater. I don’t know if I can quite put into words how breathtaking it was.
Even though it was a super short break, I feel ready to tackle this week head on and blast my way through next Sunday’s Great North Run - wish me luck.

How do you recharge when things get overwhelming? Where are you favourite places to visit in the glorious Lake District? 
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Friday, 4 September 2015

September Goals

Srsly - where did August go. It feels like I started my new job seconds ago and now I'm into my fifth week already. Total madness.

September is a big month, so with that comes some big ol' goals. Here's what's on the agenda this month.

Complete the Great North Run
Usually I'd be saying "Complete the GNR in X time" but I've got to say, I've been a bit injured so that PB is looking a bit unlikely. Instead I'm just going to go and run. Enjoy the day, the crowds and the route and not beat myself up if I don't get a certain time. Sometimes you've got to take a step back and just do your best.

Get wedding shit done
It's now only 10 months until me and J get hitched, and I have a to-do list as long as my arm. Fellow brides; you hear me? It's big business organising a wedding, especially when you're handpicking your suppliers for the best day ever. Although I have had some moments in the past few weeks, I know it's all going to be worth it. Save the Dates are in the post, the dress has been bought and now it's a matter of getting super organised. Check out my Pinterest board for a flavour of what's been racing through my head for our big day. And I've already got my eye on this bad lad from Alphabet Bags - #brandbride

Book a spa day
I love a good spa day. Mum and I usually head to the beautiful Headlam Hall for our spa days and I'm adamant to get the next one booked in. I have a knotty back, goddamn it. I always see these days as a good recharge session, and as me and J aren't going away for a long stint this year (apart from camping in the Lakes this weekend, hurrah!), a spa day will be the perfect little get away to ease though no-holiday blues.

Take some me time
With training, changing jobs and planning a wedding, I haven't had much time for myself to do things I love. I know that saying goes "if you truly love something, you'll make time" but I literally do not have anymore time I can spare at the moment. Work is busy, I'm out most nights at the gym or with my pals, and weekends are spent running, doing housework an catching up on sleep. September will be about getting to grips with my nutrition course and doing some serious blog TLC.

Get my Autumn wardrobe sorted
I have more items in my ASOS Save for Later list than I care to mention (I'm sorry, it's an addiction). September equals pretty-much-the-end-of-the-year in my book and I've already been rocking one of my winter coats and we're only 3 days into September. To kick off the autumn/winter wardrobe, I've got my eye on some Russell and Bromley boots which may well be making an appearance on this blog very soon. They're just so damn beautiful.

What are your goals for September? What's on your Autumn wardrobe wishlist?

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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Running Essentials 101 #1

I ran 10 miles this morning. This actually took me a little a-back as, as much as I've been training recently, I haven't done that much running and had a shocker of an 8-miler last weekend which put me off completely, making me feel like my running mojo was well and truly gone.

Somehow, this morning my running seemed back on track, which was a great feeling to have, especially with only three weeks left until the Great North Run (bring it on). 

It was pretty warm along the coast this morning and it got me to thinking about how running in the heat can be a little bit grim. Yes, the sun is amazing to run in, and I much prefer this to hoicking on my trainers in the cold of winter. However, there are some not so lush things that happen during a run in the sun; red moon face, can't get cool for HOURS afterwards and the grim reality of chafing. Yes, chafing.

For some reason, I seriously only ever thought men got nipple chafing from any kind of exercise (I have been living under a rock apparently), but over the past couple of years, I've actually been experiencing this at the top of my thighs without knowing? Massively GRIM and I am well aware this is TMI, but bear with me.

Weirdly, I just thought I was getting sunburn in an odd place as I'm prone to getting a bit lobster even with sun protection and have only ever had this skin irritation when running in shorts in the summer. However, it wasn't until recently that I realised this must be the c word (shudder).

As much as it is totally grim  (how many times do I want to say grim?) and a bit embarrassing, I've been looking into a few products which can help beat that chafing feeling, wherever you may be experiencing it. Step right up and take note in #1 of Running Essentials 101.

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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

#FiveThings

What a couple of months. So much has happened and there's been a lot of change over a short period of time (that does crazy things to your head!)

Here’s a little look into life lately.

1. Moving on, m-moving on.
I have a new job! After three brilliant years in my previous job, I’ve flown the nest to another super creative communications agency in the Toon. Such an exciting move for me professionally, and it’s great to be spreading my wings. My lovely pals from DC gave me an ace send off - they were obviously sick of my healthy eating chat. 

2. #thislasscan
The running bug has well and truly bitten me again, and thank the Lord as it's just in time for the Great North Run. You may remember last year, my GNR was a bit of a disaster. Actually a massive disaster. But this year will be better as I won't have been poisoned.... I've also been nailing the heavy weights in the gym which I'm super chuffed about, long may it continue. #girlgainz 'n all that!

3. Supercharged coffee
My gym, The Fitness Rooms, opened their food and drink station FUEL@TheFitnessRooms a few months ago, but it's recently been taken over and they've seriously upped their game with a great selection of drinks and protein treats to fuel a good workout. I've been a little bit obsessed with the iced vanilla protein lattes using my favourite supplements brand, the brilliant Genetic Supplements (more on them to come soon). Next on my list to try at FUEL? Their bulletproof coffee.

4. Getting tidy
This book's being doing the rounds on the socials recently and for good reason. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo looks a decluttering for good with her KonMari technique. Hoping by the time I've finished it, I'll finally get round to sorting the bulk of my belongings that I left at my parents' house when I moved out three years ago (sorry Mum).

5. One year to go
As if it's now less than a year until we get hitched. Save the Dates are being printed as I speak - can't wait to get those bad lads out the door. Joe and I are having the best time planning (thanks Pinterest) and can't wait to share some snippets of the exciting things we have planned for our big day. Next thing on our list is to get our honeymoon booked up. Did someone say Bali?

Stay tuned for some proper blog posts - some exciting stuff coming up. Watch this space!

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Monday, 29 June 2015

June Favourites

As if it’s the end of another month. Where the f**k is 2015 going?

June has been an…interesting month. A lot emotional highs and lows, whilst trying out a new way of eating and another bloody injury. All I can say is BRING. ON. JULY.

The last month has brought some good stuff with it though, and with that is mind, here’s a few of my faves from the past four weeks or so. 

Scales
Yes. Scales. Kitchen scales at that (not the sad step, no, never that). This completely boring piece of kitchen equipment has revolutionised my month in a weird kinda way. I’ve been dabbling with tracking my macros (coming soon to a blog post near you) and without the scales, I would’ve basically powered my way through a 1kg tub of Almond Butter in a week whilst thinking ‘but these are healthy fats!’ Almond Butter is indeed a healthy fat, but not when you trough your way through it without giving it second thought. The scales have been ace for helping me with portion size and, after two weeks or following a sort-of macro plan, I’ve already noticed changes in my body shape and energy levels. Go scales!

Yes, I have joined the MFP crew. As I’m following a certain way of eating, tracking it has been incredibly helpful with helping me to analyse my diet and seeing when having certain foods works best for me (carbs in the AM all the way). Another ace feature of MFP is the fact you can pop in your favourite recipes and it shows you the nutritional breakdown and how your favourite foods can fit in with your nutrition plan. I've been doing this with things like my Paleo Sweet Potato Bread and favourite Madeleine Shaw energy balls, to track there content and the best time to eat them. I wouldn't say I would use this religiously everyday day going forward, as it is quite time consuming, but if you have a certain goal/weight you're trying to reach, this is for you.

All hail the #girlgains. I’ve been lifting weights for nearly a year now, and it hasn’t just changed my body, but my overall fitness levels and general outlook on life. I wouldn’t say I've made huge gainz (must go to the gym more) but significant enough to give to see how lifting help with not only fat loss but empowerment and mental strength, and this is totally spurring me on to keep training. A recent article by The Telegraph really sums up the whole movement for me. Ladies, for one, do not be afraid to pick up the bar bell, you will not get bulky! And there are some super inspiring ladies squatting for their lives and showing you what your body can be capable of. Gan on lasses. 

Finally! Enough gym chat, something beauty-related. I’ve been meaning to pick this up for ages as am a huge lover of anything fig-scented, and this shower gel from Korres is just the thing. It's so beautifully balanced (not too overpoweringly figgy) and doesn't dry the skin out. Win! Next on my figgy wish list? Jo Malone's Wild Fig and Cassis scent. Hubba hubba. 

Or 'The nail polish that everyone bought months ago but I’ve only just managed to pick up’. I’m not usually one for following a trend (on a continual quest of being a trend maven), but, unexpectedly, this is one of those beauty products which does live up the hype. The cool minty just-off-white shade is hot for this warmer weather, and would look even better with a tan (better get the St Tropez out). It gets even more bonus points for no chipping, even after 5 days of wear. 
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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

May Recap & June Goals


Some months just get the better of you and May was definitely one of those for me. The goals I set, which were totally achievable, went out the window a little bit but I still managed to do them in some shape or other. However, there is a lot of room for improvement. Bring on June. 

MAY IN REVIEW

Ban the bloat
So cutting out gluten...yeah. I definitely did a better job of this in April. It's not that I was binging on tasty gluten in May by any means. I just had a little more than I would've liked to. Now June has hit, I'm all over this gluten-free business. See ya bloat, hello flat(ter) stomach.

Back in the saddle
This was an absolutely massive fail. I had all these grand plans of getting back out on my bike, especially during my week off, but that just didn't happen. After a bit of a scary visit to hospital at the beginning of my time off (thanks legumes), I chilled out and just let myself rest a bit more than I usually do. I absolutely love it when I do get fully into my cycling, so this is something I'll be looking to pick up more when the sun rears his head.

Go green
Now, something I did manage to keep up for most of the month was the teapigs #MatchaMay challenge. I loved my little ritual of making my green tea almond milk latte. Luckily for me, I've still got some left, so will enjoying it even more well into June.

What do I want to achieve in June? Here goes.

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Sunday, 31 May 2015

May Favourites


May has been bus-y.

I've had some much needed time off work to get sh*t done. I haven't had any time off just to do normal stuff like go into town, go to the gym in the afternoon or catch-up on Netflix for as long as I can remember, so it's been incredible giving myself a little TLC. I've also got a heck of a lot of life admin done (hello label maker) and done some all important wedding planning which has been very exciting.

Most of this month's favourites are things which I've been using loads during my time off with a couple of others thrown in for good measure.

Ready to dive in?

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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Coconut Cold Brew Coffee

Whilst on the hunt for a summery coffee drunk that wasn't a bog standard iced latte, I came across this beauty on Bondi Harvest's incredible YouTube channel (if you haven't checked them out yet, their channel is a must for laid back, fuss-free recipes direct from Aus). Now, the title of this recipe did strike fear into me; for some reason, I thought it was going to be the most complicated thing to make, however, it is in fact, one of the easiest recipes you'll come across.

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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

What happened in April & some May goals

Sometimes you've just got to stop and listen to your body. Frustratingly, I've had to do that over the last couple of weeks thanks to a running injury (why, again, body?). So, the past two weeks have been a bit more relaxed on the exercise front but it does mean I've been able to focus on my yoga and I’m still absolutely loving Yoga with Adriene (hey-o).

With the above in mind, I thought I’d do a little run down of last month's goals; things I’m sticking with into May and any new goals I want to try and achieve.

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

5 Wellbeing Instagram Accounts to follow now


I love food. I love looking at food. I love Instagram. Can you see where I'm going with this. 

There are a ton of inspirational wellbeing and clean-living Instagram accounts out there, but here I've rounded up some of my favourites that I'm always inspired and motivated by, and hopefully you will be too.

Dolly and Oatmeal
@dollyandoatmeal 
A relatively new Insta to me, dollyandoatmeal follows Lindsey Love, a food blogger spreading a gluten and dairy free gospel (see ya, lactose). Her beautifully composed and edited photos reeled me in and her exciting recipes reworking classic staples have kept me hooked.

Check out her alt version of pasta, chickpea fettuccine, which is gluten-free winner if you're craving carbs.

Lily Healthy
@lilyhealthy
Queen of beautifully coloured smoothies, Lily is a nutrition and health coach who's Insta feed is as full of good-looking food as it is motivational quotes.

Lily has loads of great ideas for how to liven up your morning porridge, so head to her feed for some breakfast inspiration.

Silverspies
@silverspies
I really can't remember how I first came across Juliette's Instagram account but I've followed her for around 2-3 years now, and all I can say is go follow this girl. The composition and colouring of her shots is on point, along with the inspirational and well-crafted foodspiration she puts up there. Minimalist food heaven at it's best.

Juliette also has a brilliant blog, Luar + Wolffdene and has just started making YouTube videos following her life in Australia. Go check these out for inspirational food and lifestyle posts and videos.

Danielle Copperman
@dcopperman
Danielle is one of the ultimate uber health babes. Entrepreneur? Check. Healthy living master? Check. Super fit? Check. And did I mention she's a model too? I have a lot of love for Danielle's blog and her quinoa-based breakfast range, Qnola, is on my hit list for when I'm visiting London in the summer.

Not only just she post great clean food, but she also advocates a strong-not-skinny look. She works closely alongside Skinny Bitch Collective, posting videos of some of their primal workouts (which look insane - pls come to Newcastle.)

Ella Grace Denton
@ellagracedenton
Ella's Insta is packed with positive vibes and bright plant-based foods. Her whole outlook on life instantly makes me feel upbeat and ready to tackle any situation with a positive head on. Ella is staunch vegan and shares some awesome smoothie recipes amongst others. Head to her blog for a lesson in how to make the best acai bowl. You can thank me later.

I'd love to hear your recommendations of healthy babes to follow on Instagram - hit me up with your favourites.


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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Life Box Spring Cleanse


Sometimes, you've just got to treat yo'self. After I ran a PB in the Sheffield Half Marathon last weekend, I was definitely in the mood for some treating, and why the hell not. I earned it. 

Feeling all virtuous and totally kick ass, I ordered one of Life Box's food packages, crammed full of clean treats and much more. Life Box are a food subscription box service offering super good for you super foods delivered in a box of joy. Let's face it, we're all always hugely busy, so subscription services like this really hit the mark when it comes to trying to keep healthy on the go. Now, the boxes may be little pricey, but are a great way to introduce yourself to some things you might not have heard of (wtf is yacon?), whilst teaching you about the health benefits and encouraging to make treats for yourself out of the box contents.

I ordered the Vegan Spring Cleanse box - absolutely perfect for how I'm approaching food at the moment (ain't no dairy up in here).

I am so behind LB's ethos - they only source products from brands who share their same passion for health and wellbeing, and any product within an LB food box must comply with two of their rules: UK-based, refined sugar free, organic, GMO free, raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, wheat free and no preservatives or additives. So you know that anything in these boxes is going to be hella good for your health.

I'm not going to lie, I love getting parcels delivered (feels like Christmas, non?) and was actually surprised at how hefty the box was when it arrived, and now I know why. It contains a huge selection goodness; from Sister & Co's coconut oil (perfect for cooking, and hair, skin and nail treatments) to matcha green tea and raw cacao - brilliantly convenient bits and bobs for a hectic lifestyle. However, some of favourite components are LB's own pre-mixed packets, encouraging you to make-your-own and learn about the health benefits along the way. The Spring Cleanse box comes with mixes for Chia Seed Jam (already soaking ready for making up as I type), and Flaxseed Crackers, which may sound a little dull but the mix is crammed full of fibre-packed seeds - essential for good digestion.


I really can't recommend Life Box enough - sure it may be a little pricey for a subscription box but the lovingly sourced and selected goodies inside are 100% worth it and you'll discover some healthy gems you might not have heard of before. Win all round.

Have you tried Life Box before? 

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