Hey guys,

So, if you follow my blog you may have read my post a few weeks back about yoga ‘as a non-yogi’ and what you can expect – which is the unexpected! Taking up yoga on a regular basis has challenged me in ways I didn’t expect, both physically and mentally, but I can safely say I am now 100% addicted! I have now progressed to an intermediate class and I love everything that yoga has brought to my life. In this post I’ll take you through some of the ways yoga has changed my life for the better and the benefits of taking it up yourself.

Improved flexibility

This is something that takes a bit of time and won’t come overnight after your first yoga class. However, yoga is an amazing way of stretttttchinf out every muscle and ligament in your entire body! And it feels amazing afterwards! Sometimes I don’t think we realise how our lives and daily stresses and strains can cause our bodies to get all crumpled up and a good stretch can do the world of good.

Increased core strength

Yoga is all about the core and some of the poses literally pummel your abs without you even realising. I’ve definitely noticed that my core strength has improved which has in turn made my balance a lot better. 

Better posture

This is a biggie. Do you ever catch yourself hunched over your computer at work? Same! It’s one of my worst habits. Since I’ve been doing yoga regularly I have noticed I’ve been sitting up straighter and taller as well as standing straighter, without even really noticing or making a conscious effort to alter anything. Yoga works on all the ‘little muscles’ in your back which don’t usually get much attention in the gym, but quite literally hold you up! It’s worked wonders for my hunched shoulders.

Better sleep quality

I have written before about things like getting up earlier and using ASMR and music to help my insomnia but yoga and, specifically, the meditation session at the end of yoga class has had a noticeable impact on my sleep. Not only do I fall asleep quicker but my sleep quality is a lot better, for example I sleep longer and find my sleeps more settled with less waking up in the night.

Calmer mind

My day to day life and job can be pretty stressful at times and sometimes just using some breathing techniques or simple stretching from yoga helps me to clear my  mind and feel calmer almost straight away. Our lives can be stressful and it’s important to take some time out of the day to just breathe. I can go to a yoga class with my head full of the day I’ve had and leave feeling peaceful and like my mind is almost empty; totally clear of whatever has happened. There is literally nothing a yoga class can’t fix!

 

I would seriously recommend practising yoga and meditation to anybody, no matter whether you are a beginner or more experienced, trust me, you’ll see the benefits in no time!

Fancy taking up yoga but not sure if you can fit it in to your busy life? Why not try Desk Yogi? 

Their mission is to help people experience the wellness of yoga and meditation in their workplace, even at their desks! The programme provides wellness plans including 5 minute meditation videos to help you relax and get the benefits of yoga at work. Check out their website for more details about how you can get involved!

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Morning lovelies! I’ve done quite a few hair-related posts lately which is not like me at all. I genuinely neglect my hair – hardly ever having it cut and I’m generally just a wash and go kinda girl. I rarely use product in it – other than the occasional bit of Argan oil when it’s feeling super dry. However, when I was a #BlogConLDN (we are going all the way back to March now! It’s gone so quickly!) I had a chance to chat to a lovely lady from Natural World Haircare about my barnet. She ‘diagnosed’ my hair as being fine and damaged, I knew it was damaged that’s for sure and I always have issues getting volume and lift into it so I guess it is pretty fine. She recommended that I try the Chia Seed Oil range which would help give my hair volume and a bit of life. I was excited to try it out and see.

I’m a big fan of Chia Seeds in ‘real life’ and I know all about the benefits of eating them, but not much about what they can do for my hair! Apparently the seeds are fantastic for giving hair natural shine and making it fuller and more bouncy. Natural World use only organic Chia Seed Oil, which I love, and their products are paraben, phosphate and gluten free (I didn’t know that was a thing with hair shampoo – but there you go!).

I have been using the Chia Seed range shampoo, conditioner and hair oil for several weeks now and the results are positive. I do feel like after using them my hair does have a bit more ‘bounce’ and it definitely feels less flat at the roots. I have noticed a more shiny appearance as well and I feel like my hair has become stronger. The only thing I’ve been finding tricky is where I usually use products which are geared more towards deep conditioning (as my hair is so dry) rather than volumising – I’ve been finding my hair is much more tangled when I’m done washing it than I’m used to. It takes me a bit longer with the Tangle Teaser than it does with other ranges, but once my hair is brushed and dried the results are fantastic and I’m very impressed.

To find out more about the Chia Seed Oil range or any other Natural World products then you can check them out online here.

***Please note: I was sent this product for reviewing purposes, however the opinions are my own***

Have you tried any of the Natural World products? What do you prefer to use in your hair?

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I have suffered from sleep problems on and off throughout my adult life, but the worst episode I had started 3 years ago and went on until last year. It is so debilitating and exhausting when you can’t sleep and trying to explain that weird ‘trapped’ feeling when your staring at the ceiling at 4am waiting for the sun to come up is impossible. 

Personally, I have decided to stay away from medication and try self care remedies.  I have managed to overcome my sleeping issues myself and although I know these steps won’t work for everyone they really helped me and now I can get off to sleep quickly almost every night. Here are a few simple tips and lifestyle changes that I have made which have really worked for me.

Go to bed earlier.

This may sound strange but this is the thing which has helped me the most I think. My acupuncturist told me that at 11pm we (humans) get a burst of energy and endorphins (this is where the phrase ‘burning the midnight oil’ comes from and why many artists and writers insist they do their best work in the middle of the night!).  We can avoid getting this burst if we are already asleep by 11pm! It might sound like the opposite of what you want to do if you have trouble dropping off but simply changing my regular bedtime to 10.30pm has made a really big difference to my routine.

Sorry, no lie ins!

Everyone’s insomnia is different and I know a lot of people can’t sleep in at all, but with me if I had a day off or late shift the next day I would often lie in until 10 or even 11am trying to ‘catch up’ on sleep. By forcing myself to get up at 6am every weekday for a workout and 8am on the weekends I have established a kick ass routine and by the time the evening comes around I’m shattered from getting up so early so fall asleep easier! You know when parents pack their kids’ weekends full of activities to ‘wear them out’ – well it works for us adults too!

A little bit of exercise every day.

I know it’s so easy to say but doing some exercise everyday has helped me to become a fitter, more active person and has definitely improved my sleeping, and my well being in general.

Stop trying too hard.

On the occasions I do go to bed and I can’t drop off I don’t stress about it like I used to. I leave the room (nothing worse than a deep-sleeping partner’s heavy breathing when you can’t drop off!) and usually have a bath or read a book. It doesn’t take long to start getting heavy eyelids.

ASMR.

This is a new one for me, but in someways has made the biggest difference. Sometimes there are some nights when I just can’t shut my brain off and when I close my eyes my head is buzzing with thoughts and stresses. This is when I get out my Ipad (on low brightness), plug in and listen to some ASMR videos on Youtube. I won’t go into too much detail as I’m no expert but ASMR ‘artists’ create videos using special microphones and sounds to create a sense of deep relaxation, and it really works! It’s sooooo relaxing. These videos have really helped me when all else fails and they have me drifting off in no time.

You can read more about ASMR here.

I do understand that these won’t work for everyone but I really hope that this might help someone – because I know how frustrating it can be! In our busy lives sleep is often the first thing to go and more and more doctors and researchers are proving just how important it is to our physical and mental health. If you are really struggling make sure you ease the burden by chatting it through with someone you are close to or your doctor.

Have you guys found any self-help methods for sleeping that really help you?

We all make New Years resolutions don’t we? Grand plans about how we are going to drop a dress size, become fluent in French, learn salsa dancing, the list goes on. New year, new me. In its most basic sense – I love New Years resolutions. The idea of wiping the slate clean and starting a brand new year with new intentions really appeals to me. However, a lot of the time the promises we make to ourselves after a few glasses of bubbly are not realistic, not achievable and not always that helpful to our sense of wellbeing. Constantly failing our resolutions on January 9th is not great for us! So, here are some ideas of some achieveable goals which I will set for myself, which are worth making.

1. Say yes more. I truly believe that life is for living. Say yes to the party, even if you don’t really fancy going. Challenge yourself, take a risk, say yes to the promotion/ holiday/ date. You’ll never know if you don’t go!  Cram as much as you can in while you can. Having a ‘yes I can’ attitude can have a really positive impact on your wellbeing too and you will radiate positive vibes to everyone around you.

2. Try something new. And it doesn’t have to be salsa dancing! But it could be! For me, even just trying a new music venue I haven’t been to before, a new cuisine or a new genre of film is exciting. It could be a new hobby or even a new career – but try at least one new thing in 2017.

3. Move a bit more. Next year I pledge that instead of getting the bus to and from uni, I will get the bus there but walk home. Just taking on a tiny bit more exercise in your routine can have a huge impact on your health, fitness or wellbeing. Try getting into the habit of going for a long walk every Sunday without fail, whatever the weather, or perhaps swimming on a Friday evening to relax and wind down after work. Whatever it is, it doesn’t need to be a huge fitness over haul. Just a small change is enough.

4. Drink more water. In previous years I’ve tried all the usual ‘cut down on this’ and ‘stop having that’, but I find it much more positive and helpful to think of what I can add to my life rather that what I should take away. Water is so important and most of us don’t drink nearly enough. Carry a water bottle round all day and try to drink just one more bottle full than you naturally would. Before you know it you’ll be feeling more awake, hydrated and happy.

5. Tick something off the bucket list. I know a lot of things may not be achieveable in 2017, or the year after that! Many things on my list will take me decades to get to probably. But I think it’s certainly realistic to aim to tick off just one thing per year. And if not then maybe your list needs revisiting! Potentials for 2017 for me include: surfing in Cornwall, volunteering for charity work, visiting Ireland, eating in a michelin star restaurant or swimming with turtles in Zante.

I hope you found some of these helpful and that it might give you some ideas for your own resolutions. Personally, I like to make resolutions and set goals but don’t beat myself up too much if they don’t materialise. There’s always next year right?!

Don’t worry, be happy. Peace and love to all and wishing you a truly magical 2017. I hope all your dreams come true.

Happy new year. 

Love from,

There is no denying that the staying on top of your health and fitness regime is HARD during the festive season. For one thing, it’s cold and dark and who wants to get their bum down the gym in those kind of conditions. Secondly, the number of parties and social events in most people’s calanders tend to step up a gear at this time of year meaning more food, drink and general merriment. Bah humbug say my abs.

Here are my top tips for getting the balance right and managing health and fitness without losing out on having fun:

💗 Indulge in moderation. If you deprive yourself then you’ll only binge later. Plus, there’s no fun in being the only one at the party who won’t indulge in a treat. If you want something; eat it. Just eat one or two (or a slice – don’t eat one or two Christmas puddings!!) and use your common sense as to when enough is enough.

💗 Work it off. I tend to work with my body on a kind of negotiation basis. ‘If you eat that baked Camembert you have to do 50 burpees in the gym tomorrow’ and so on. And then I make sure I follow through on my promises! Setting these kind of guidelines ensure that you work off any extra calories which might cause weight gain. I also love sweating it out in the gym after I feel like I’ve over-indulged – it helps get my body feeling normal again.

💗 Watch those proseccos. Alchohol – the invisible calories. And my enemy. I’m not saying don’t drink – just remember to take those few bottles glasses into account when you’re doing your negotiations for the gym tomorrow. On that note, you may not exactly feel like the gym tomorrow. Do not give in to the hangover. Get up, get out, work it off, start again!

💗 Don’t stuff yourself silly. There’s nothing worse than, when you’ve enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner cooked with love and maximum effort, feeling sick as a dog because you wanted just one more pig in a blanket. Eat by all means. But don’t eat until you feel ill. It’s not good for your health or your waistline.

💗 Be chilled. You might get on the scales on 28th December and shudder a bit. Chill out. It’s normal to put on a few Christmas pounds. You’ll just have to hit the gym even harder in January.

Above all, enjoy yourself and have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. 

Love from,

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