Sublime Sundays: Taking Control

Sublime SundaysI’ve already done one post today so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. You might have guessed from the title of the post, that this one is about taking control

I’ve had a fairly lazy weekend but it’s been majorly productive too. How can it be both you might ask? Well it’s been lazy in the sense that I’ve mainly been in bed or on the sofa. Why more productive than usual? Because I’ve decided to take control again.

Recently I’ve been frustrated with a lot of things – not losing weight, not writing enough, not getting the traffic I want on the blog and generally just being a bit grumpy most of the time. 

But all of those things that are frustrating me are within my own control. And this weekend I’ve decided to do something about it. Simple really.

An awesome chat with an amazing, well-grounded lady on my lunch break followed by a challenging boot camp on Thursday gave me the kick up the ass that I needed.

I now have a whole month’s worth of blog posts drafted, edited and scheduled. Yesterday I cancelled my gym membership and signed up for boot camp instead because I know I need someone to push me – I just won’t do it myself. I’ve reworked the schedules for both this blog and my new one (that’s not launched yet) so hopefully I’ll be more productive with that. I’ve also signed up to a couple of courses with Inner Space in Covent Garden next week so I’m looking forward to those.

Anyway, that’s it from me for this Sunday – I’m busy crying my way through The Fundamentals of Caring. If you haven’t seen it yet, it”s a Netflix Original and it’s amazing – watch it immediately! 

Actually, one more thing – don’t worry if you are struggling, that’s OK too. It’s taken me a long time to get here. A few weeks ago my friend sent me this and it’s just perfect.

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Planning My New Adventure – July Update

AdventureIt seems like I missed the June update. Sorry! But that’s OK, I made very little progress in June so it would have been a short post anyway!

In my May update I said that I was feeling much more in control of things and that is still true – yay! We all know that it’s really hard work to get a handle on things but crazy easy to let it slip again. So let’s just take a minute to say “well done” to ourselves for being here right now.

I’ve got two main updates for you so I’ve split this post into two parts just in case you’re only interested in one of them! This month, I have updates on finances and…drum roll please…actual travel plans! Yeah buddy, I’ve actually started making travel plans!

Finance 

Why do I have to be a grown up????? It sucks doesn’t it. Seriously, bills, housework blah blah blah blah blah. I just want to be a kid again running around in the sun with no pressure to have a life plan. But the fact is, I’m closing in on 30 and I need to sort my shit out. 

Back to the plan…I’m plodding along with paying off my debt but it’s slooooooooow progress. I’m in that crappy place where as fast as I’m paying money off, I’m getting charged stupid amounts of interest. It’s made me feel a little bit defeated but I’m trying to focus on one card/loan at a time and pay as much off that as possible rather than paying a little extra off all of them. Fingers crossed that by Christmas I’ll be able to see a real improvement on my situation. I know that it will be a bit of a snowball effect because once I’ve paid more off, the interest will be lower and therefore easier to pay off…well that’s the theory anyway! Again, why do I have to be a grown up?? 

I’ve been trying to follow my own advice from my Top Tips for Saving Money post – I’ve been making my own lunch and planning evening meals ahead. I’m not going to lie, it’s boring but it’s saving me so much money! I’ve also limited takeaways or eating out to no more than twice a month which I think I could probably cut back to once a month but I don’t want to restrict myself too much.

Remember I mentioned my new blog in the last update too? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Don’t worry though, I’ll tell you all about it now! Well, not all about it as a lot is still under wraps but I’m feeling pretty confident about it at the moment. I’m starting to pick up the pace on freelance writing and I’ve been working on a blog to help people who want to do the same. I’ve been crazy busy trying to get the new blog up and running and I’m really hoping that next weekend will be the big launch!

Now on to the really exciting stuff…

Travel Plans

I’ve realised that, in order to make sure I’ve saved enough money to set out on my adventure, I really need to start thinking about where I want to go and what I want to do. I don’t want to plan every single day down to the exact minute but I think I need to have a rough idea.

I want to start my trip off a little bit like a holiday to give me time to wind down from my 9-5 life and get back into the swing of travelling. So this is my itinerary so far:

Days 1 – 4: Iceland

Days 5 – 9: New York (hopefully over New Year)

Days 10 – 12: Chicago

Days 12 – 43: Route 66

Day 43 Onward: The plan is to fly to Rio after I’ve finished Route 66 and chilled in LA for a while – I should be there in time for Carnival which coincidentally is happening at the same time I turn 30!

I’m planning on doing some posts with a more detailed itinerary and I’d love input from you guys. So watch out for those posts and if you have any recommendations of things to do, places to see and places to eat and drink at, please let me know!

That’s it for my July update for now, so until next time, ciao!

Summertime Smoothies

Summertime SmoothiesAll of these summery smoothie recipes are from my favourite smoothie and juice book. Admittedly I don’t actually own many but there isn’t a bad recipe in this one. It’s called Juices and Smoothies: A Pyramid Cookery Paperback.*

SmoothiesHigh Flyer

Ingredients:

1 ripe mango

200 ml (7 fl oz) cranberry juice

50 g (5 oz) peach yogurt

Method:

Roughly chop the mango flesh and place in a blender with the cranberry juice and yogurt. Process until smooth and pour into glasses. Add a couple of ice cubes and decorate with fresh cranberries.

SmoothiesSummer Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

105 g (5 oz) frozen mixed summer berries

300 ml (1/2 pint) vanilla-flavoured soya milk

1 teaspoon of clear honey (optional)

Method:

Place the berries, soya milk and honey into a blender and process until smooth but still thick. Serve in glasses with fresh berries on top.

SmoothiesKiwi, Melon and Passion Fruit Smoothie

Ingredients:

1/4 of a watermelon (about 300 g without the skin)

2 kiwis

200 ml (7 fl oz) passion fruit juice

Method:

Remove and discard the seeds from the watermelon and dice the flesh. Freeze for at least two hours (or overnight). Peel and roughly chop the kiwis and place them in a blender with the frozen watermelon and the passion fruit juice. Process until smooth but still thick, serve in glasses and decorate with passion fruit seeds.

SmoothiesBionic Tonic

Ingredients:

1 large banana

1 large ripe mango

150 g (5 oz) natural bio yogurt

300 ml (1/2 a pint) pineapple juice

Method:

Slice the banana and roughly chop the mango flesh. Freeze for at least two hours (or overnight). Place the frozen banana and mango into a blender with the yogurt and pineapple juice. Process until smooth, serve in glasses and decorate with pineapple chunks.

*This site uses affiliate links but only for products I have used and enjoyed (and not been paid for). By following the links and purchasing products through those links, I will earn small commission at no extra cost to you.

Friday Fitness: Boot Camp

Friday Fitness Part FiveThis week’s Friday Fitness is completely different to the rest for two reasons:

  1. I’ve kept forgetting to record what I’ve been eating. This is probably for the best as my diet hasn’t been great recently and what I’ve eaten this week is probably quite embarrassing!
  2. I went to my first ever boot camp session last night and needed to write about it IMMEDIATELY!

So, just a quick general update – I’ve been really slack with the gym lately. I’ve been exhausted (I say this waaaaay too much). There’s been a lot going on in the world of Dani over the past few weeks. I’ve been off medication for a while now which means I’m finally starting to feel less like a zombie but it does mean that I haven’t been sleeping well. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather be myself and struggling to sleep than still on medication. Whilst I think I deserve a mini “Yay!” for that achievement, I also deserve a kick up the ass for not working out. Also, I’ve been having a nightmare with my implant so that’s coming out today – another mini “Yay!”

Anyway, enough about me, on to boot camp. Me and the girls at work are trying to do different “sporting” activities in London. The catch being that they have to be free. So far we’ve had a free taster of a Michael Jackson dance class (evidence below). The class was so much fun and the instructor was amazing – she had so much energy and passion it was insane! Also, as it was a taster session, nobody knew what was going on so we weren’t alone there!

Sported staff learning to moonwalk

I digress, again…So, our next free group activity was boot camp. This is what dictionary.com has to say about boot camp:

Boot Camp

noun

1. (US, slang) a basic training camp for new recruits to the US Navy or Marine Corps
2. a centre for juvenile offenders, with a strict disciplinary regime, hard physical exercise, and community labour programmes

Sounds horrific right? And also nothing to do with keeping fit through choice. But boot camp sessions are taking London by storm…well I think they did a while ago but I’ve only just jumped on the bandwagon!

Due to location and the fact that they offered a free trial, we went with Swift Fitness who have this to say about their boot camps:

“The sessions had to be super effective, and get people in amazing shape. Every workout has to be fun, enjoyable and something you want over and over again. Plus we want each session to be social. Whether you’re bringing old friends along, or making new ones. Working out is just better with mates.” (Copied from Swift Fitness’s website)

Before I carry on, I’m going to say this right now – I have not been paid for this review…but it was amazing!

Granted, for half of the one hour session I genuinely thought I might throw up but I guess that’s what happens when you’re unfit but push yourself anyway!

It’s hard to explain what we did. Partly because it’s a blur and partly because words don’t actually do it justice. There was sprinting, squats, lunges, weird crawling, press ups and a whole load of abs. All made more interesting by the fact that it was raining so we were essentially a bunch of weirdos rolling around in the mud in Green Park. 

Boot CampThe key thing was that it was HARD. Like, can’t breathe, sweating my face off, might throw up hard. But it was also really fun. And I say that as one of the slowest, least fit people in the whole group. Sure, I was waaaay behind most people there but I didn’t actually care and usually I would. I didn’t feel like people were judging me or laughing at me. I just went at my own pace and that was OK. But I guess that’s what happens when you’re in a group of people all doing the same thing but in a way that works for them – everyone was far too busy focusing on what they were doing to even care about anything else.

The instructor was awesome too (although some of the others will definitely not agree with me on that). He made you challenge yourself and push a little harder than you wanted to but he wasn’t mad-as-hell, yelling in your face, mean to you. He also loved my Thursday face and anyone that can accept my Thursday face is OK in my books.

The combo of constantly changing exercises, a good instructor and a friendly group meant that the hour absolutely flew by.

Summary? I ache massively today so that’s always a good sign of an excellent workout. I’d definitely do it again but pricing is an issue in London so I need to figure out how often I’d actually go and whether or not I’d keep my gym membership too.

I’d definitely recommend you checking out your local boot camp and, if you can, popping along for a free trial. The only downside is that they can be quite expensive, especially in central London.

Anyway, get out there and enjoy!

How to Overcome “the Fear” When Exercising

Overcoming the Fear

Overcoming the Fear

Recently, I read a really good post on Career Girl Daily about overcoming paranoia at the gym. It was one of those posts that really hit home – I could relate to pretty much everything there. But I also realised that I have a few extra worries when it comes to the gym and exercising in general. So I thought I’d write my own post tackling those issues. Yes, a few of these points are covered in the Career Girl Daily post but I’ve added my own thoughts in here too.

1. The Fear of Being Judged

This is my biggest fear at the gym as well as when I’m running outside. Regardless of the location, I feel like there’s a million eyes on me when I’m working out, all judging. I don’t mean that in a “Oh look at me” big-headed way, I mean in a “haha, look at her” way.

I hate it. My mind races with things that people are definitely thinking about me – “What the hell is she doing?” “Wow, that’s some serious wobble!” “She looks like Phoebe running!”

The reality is, people in the gym are far too focused on what they are doing to even care about what you are doing. Most importantly, you should just focus on what you are doing not whether or not people are watching you. Do what feels right for you – I guarantee you;ll feel better once you’ve worked out.

If you’re running outdoors, people will inevitably be watching you. It’s just what it is. I run a majorly busy route in central London – through Green Park, past Buckingham Palace, across Trafalgar Square, down Southbank to Tower Bridge. Literally the busiest parts of the city. And yes, I do constantly feel like I’m being judged, there’s no getting away from that. But I turn my music up loud, look at the pavement in front of me and shut everyone else out. If I do catch someone looking at me (realistically, they’re probably looking at something else!) I just think “You know what, at least I’m trying”.

No matter what you are doing in life from food shopping to exercise, people will always judge you. All you can do is focus on doing what you need to do for yourself. And remember to enjoy it.

2. The Fear of F***ing Up

Tripping over the curb? Falling off the treadmill? Getting stuck under the barbell mid chest press? Scary stuff right?! You know what, shit happens. That’s life. All you can do is your best to stay safe.

Chances are, you won’t fall off the treadmill. You know what you’re doing, you’ve got this.

Worst case scenario? Sure, falling off the treadmill will be super embarrassing but other people have done it before and other people will do it in the future. Yes. People will laugh but so will you. Then people will forget about it and move on with their lives.

If you have a serious fear of messing up when it comes to weights, ask someone to help you. Which leads nicely on to…

No Fear

3. The Fear of Hurting Yourself

Falling off the treadmill looks painful. Dead-lifting with the wrong posture is seriously dangerous. Scrap that. Working out is dangerous full stop!

The best thing you can do is to research your workout before you go to the gym. Make sure you know what you’re meant to be doing. If you’re not 100% certain when you get there, ask someone. Either someone else working out there or gym staff. That’s what staff are there for and they have your health and safety in mind. They want you to get the best out of your workout and actually love helping people achieve their goals.

Make sure you always warm up properly and stretch well after every single workout. Also, make sure you take schedule rest days and listen to your body. If you feel tired, be careful – don’t push yourself too much. If it’s not a scheduled rest day but your body is telling you to rest, listen.

4. The Fear of Breaking Something

I don’t mean bones. I mean equipment. Some of the assisted weights machines look scary as hell and too often I have tried to adjust the seat height (I’m seriously starting to wonder if gyms cater for people my height), “broken” the adjuster thingy and just had to walk away!

If you’re not sure how to adjust some of the machinery without breaking it, watch the person using it before you – learn from other people in the gym. Still unsure? Ask for help. Now I’m going to say something slightly controversial here but it’s my personal experience. Asking for help in the gym is insanely easy – those guys flexing in the mirror are literally waiting for an opportunity to help you and look manly!

Also, I’ve said it already. Shit happens. You might well break something! Just make sure you tell the staff because the next person might hurt themselves trying to use it.

5. The Fear of a Wardrobe Malfunctions

I know for a fact that I am not the only person who worries about my clothes in the gym. And I don’t mean in a vain, am I wearing the latest brands? I mean the fear of my leggings splitting when I squat. The fear of getting off the bike with some unsightly sweat patches. The fear of the girls jiggling far too much when I run.

The only way to deal with this is to just deal with it. I know that’s not helpful and I’m sorry but there’s only so much you can do. Replace your gym/running clothes regularly and buy good quality brands. If you are prone to sweating more than most (I definitely am) choose the colour of your clothes carefully. If you’re worried about your bum jiggling too much, wear a longer top that covers it. Invest in a good sports bra and don’t wear anything too low cut. It’s all common sense really!

Brighteyed and Bewildered (8)

6. The Fear of “Fat”

Stop. Stop right there. You are NOT fat. Everyone has to start somewhere. Going to the gym or going out for a run takes a lot of motivation and a whole lot of courage. Be proud of yourself and keep going!

7. The Fear of Failure

If you’re made it to the gym or out for a run. You have already won. You are awesome.

Sometimes you’ll get to the gym, start your workout and really not be feeling it. You might usually run 5km but today, you might get 1km in and have to stop. It’s OK. For some unknown reason, sometimes we just can’t. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It’s OK to stop and just try again tomorrow.

As long as you don’t quit all together, you are not a failure.

Some Extra Tips

  1. Find a gym/running buddy – you’re a lot less likely to worry about these things if your’re not alone.
  2. Listen to music – I simply just block everything out around me and get in the zone. I don’t even realise there’s people around me most of the time.
  3. Start with what you know – this will reduce the likelihood of messing up or injuring yourself.
  4. Ask for help – if you don’t know how to do something, or if you need someone to spot you, ask!
  5. Take a class – worried about looking stupid? It’s hard to worry when everyone in the room with you looks just as silly!

No Fear

So, stop letting these fears get the better of you. Exercising is not easy but the benefits are insane – both physically and mentally. Get out there and enjoy it!

Can you relate to these fears? Do you have any other worries when it comes to exercising? Let me know.