My 2018 motto

The words below were written on the back of a sugar packet in a cafe I found in Spain last Summer.

el tiempo no se detiene mi espero por nadie, asi que no detengas tu vida por pequences, sigue adelante porque en este momento eres lo mas viejo que puedesser y lo mas joven que nunca volveras a ser jamas

It essentially means that time stops for nobody so you shouldn’t let the little things bother you. Enjoy life because at this moment you are both the oldest you can be and the youngest you’ll ever be. I found it when I was going through a tough time and it really stood out to me. It also reminds me simple things I love about life: good coffee, sunshine and embracing culture, and of course being surrounded by people I love.

So it’s going to be my motto for 2018.

What’s yours?

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Getting into the Christmas Spirit: my fave to dos

It’s a Christmas to do list!

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Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it really is good to get into the festive spirit. Aside from all the get togethers, presents (and stress!) at the heart of it Christmas should be about sharing and caring. The time of year when most people take some time out to relax and spend it distraction free with loved ones. As things start to slow down a little (mentally, not physically) some of my favourite things to get into the spirit of Christmas!

To do: Festive sports

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The perfect time to try a new winter sport. How about trying Ice Skating at a Christmas market? Somerset House in London is beautiful, but any outdoor skating rink is perfect.

To do activities list: Ice skating, winter walks, indoor/outdoor skiing or snowboarding, sledging, christmas decorating.

To go: Christmas Cities & Markets 

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Mulled wine, market food and crowds of festivities? There’s just something special about a Christmas market that brings people together. I also love to get dressed up and go out for Christmas drinks with the girls.

Top UK cities: Manchester, London Winter Wonderland, Belfast, Birmingham, Bath, Liverpool, Leeds, there are tons spread out across the UK. 

Overseas: I hear Copenhagen, Prague, Amsterdam, Berlin (or anywhere in Germany), Tallinn, Paris, again, tons spread out!

To watch: Christmas Films

I’ve already watched Home alone 1 & 2 and Love Actually. But others I recommend are The Holiday, Bad Santa and Christmas with the Kranks. Christmas is the perfect time to watch some nostalgic TV and films. What are your faves?

 

To bake: Festive treats  

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I really like the idea of making personalised treats for stocking fillers as I think it’s just that extra bit special when somebody goes out of their way to make something. Last year I made biscottis which were delicious! For the ones above I followed a standard biscotti recipe and then to make them more festive I added pistachios, cranberries and grated orange peel.

To make: Christmas DIY 

There are tons of DIY ideas out there. One year I made a wreath when I had a craft day. Other nice things to make are decorations, candy canes, potpourri, jewellery. They also make great gifts!

To practice: Self love

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One thing I think is seriously neglected at this time of year is taking care of ourselves. Year round it is so important to take the time out to relax and look after our minds and bodies, but especially at this time of the year when we become super busy, our stress levels rise and our bank levels drop. It can be hard to find free time so just remember to practice being grateful and express thanks to keep you grounded when surrounded by such abundance. Also try to take a bit of time out to unwind – visit your favourite coffee shop, read a book, have a pamper evening or take yourself to a quiet spot to clear your mind. Manchester Central Library (above) is amazing for peace and quiet.

As well as loving yourself, practice extending that love to others. Express kindness to people you meet (regardless of being cut up in traffic or in a queue :-P) as you really do not know what is going on in the minds or lives of others. Instead of falling into the trap of becoming bitter, senseless or unappreciative, just remember that everybody is feeling just as stressed out. So forget the nitty-gritty of who buys what and who owes who, and don’t allow yourself to be pulled into the dramas that crop up at this time of year. After all it’s the time to forgive and forget.

Top tips: Daily gratitude, smile at people and have an open heart. Why not donate your time to a good cause? This time of year it would be good to donate a jumper or coat to the homeless. Share your time with people and fill it with good things

..and of course to complete the list: a spot of indulgence!

IMG_2635Festive foods, party spreads and Christmas dinners. This was an incredible spread we made last year. I think we can all learn to ditch the guilt on that one day of the year (or week!). Enough said.

Have a very Merry Christmas

xoxox

Staying fit during winter

December arrives with a plethora of christmas parties, festive nights out and good old catch ups. Personally I enjoy having lots of festive fun, but with a jam-packed schedule it can be difficult to stay on top of fitness.

During the winter your body produces more fat storing chemicals (ATLPL to be precise) and you crave more comfort food (serotonin levels drop which leave us more tired and hungry) basically serving us a double whammy. Exercise offsets both of these hormones which makes it even more essential to stay active during the cold and wet winter months. Beyond obvious physical health benefits, exercise boosts your mood, reduces stress levels and decreases your risk of depression. All of which are prone to suffer the most as the nights draw in and the mornings become increasingly darker.

This got me thinking about little ways to change things up a bit and stay fit during winter; since I definitely do not want to turn into the stuffed turkey…

Motivation.   

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  • Dark mornings and nights play havoc on energy levels so it’s natural to feel a dip in motivation at this time of year. The last thing you want to do is get up extra early to exercise but don’t fall into the trap of excuses
  • Read about my ways to boost your energy levels and my tips to eat healthily during the festive period
  • Action comes first and motivation follows. If you wait to feel motivated, it’ll never happen.  Build those good behaviours day by day and before you know it habit takes over

Be prepared.

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  • Schedule.. your week ahead by making exercise plans in your diary. It helps you stay accountable. Aim to get in some form of activity most days, whether that’s a gym class, walk on your lunch break or taking the stairs
  • Pack up and go.. Early morning gym session? Lay your gym kit out and have your bag packed. The last thing you want to do in the morning is spend time searching for something to wear
  • Fuel up.. Keep water next to your bed and drink first thing to wake you up. If you’re struggling, grab a coffee or quick snack for some energy. A banana, handful of nuts or raisins will give you that quick burst
  • Jump out of bed.. 20 minutes spent deliberating about getting up? Those could be spent going for a quick run, getting to the gym or working out at home. Having done a quick 30 minutes of exercise, be showered and dressed before 9am? Now that will certainly put you in a good mood for the day

Banish the excuses.

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  • Sign up to classes.. 
  • Grab a friend or gym buddy.. make plans with others and it’ll make you more accountable. You can catch up, make your workout fun and feel good after
  • Too dark and cold out? Work out at home. 30 minutes and your body weight is all you need
  • Busy day? Use time creatively and make sight adjustments to the day. Go for a walk on your lunch break, take the stairs, get off the bus at an earlier stop, walk/cycle to work
  • Make your social plans active.. go for walks, bike ride, a yoga class, ice skating, indoor trampolining, whatever takes your fancy

Winter proof your workout.

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  • Try a new activity, sport or class… avoid becoming stagnate by changing things up 
  • Embrace the cold.. by trying a winter activity. Get outdoors, countryside walks, ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, sledging…
  • Invest in new workout gear.. nothing says new motivation like a new piece of kit. Get the right gear and layer up. Once you start moving you’ll warm up
  • Workout at home.. if you can not face going outside. With a plethora of YouTube videos and workout apps you can do almost anything from the comfort of your living room
  • Motivation.. update your playlist and grab a friend to up your motivation

For more tips for health and wellness over winter check out my other posts:

Essential nutrients to boost energy levels

Tips to eat healthily during the festive period

‘Healthy food’ mistakes you need to stop

Let me know if you would like any specific workout or nutrition tips

Good luck!

L x

 

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