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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It’s not everyday I get to review one of my favourites foods from an exciting new brand, so when I was contacted by Mr Lee’s Gourmet Oriental Noodles I jumped at the chance! Having travelled and lived in South East Asia I am a big fan of noodles of all shapes, sizes and flavours!

A bit about Mr Lee’s Noodles

‘..on a mission to help time-poor people eat better food!’ – a quote taken from Mr Lee himself (who is a real person by the way). I am certainly what you would describe as ‘time-poor’ so I really like this vision statement. Mr Lee are a UK producer of high quality, healthy, gluten free, ‘no nasties’ noodles in a cup.

What I thought

Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of other ‘noodles-in-a-cup’ brands on the market. I’ve never been a fan of Super Noodles or Pot Noodles, I find them stodgy and having been lucky enough to taste authentic Asian cuisine for real I just find those brand’s flavours all wrong. I was excited to try Mr Lee’s noodles to see if it was possible to get all the authentic Asian flavours into an instant noodle pot whilst still maintaining the healthy and low-fat elements.

I was pleasantly surprised and I really enjoyed all six flavours of Mr Lee’s range. The range includes Hong Kong Street Beef, Penang Chicken Curry Laksa, Tai Chi Chicken, Warrior Fighting Shrimp, Dragon Fire Mushroom and Shaolin Monk Vegetables. I did like them all – I must admit, the ‘3 chillies’, extra hot shrimp one was a little hot for me! Other than that I was a big fan of all of them. My favourite was the Tai Chi Chicken which is absolutely delicious! I really feel that this brand have managed to harness real Asian flavours into a dish which has all the ease of instant preparation – just add hot water! Something which I’m sure is not easy. I was impressed by the quality of the ingredients in all the variations, the vegetables were real veg and the noodles themselves (the key ingredient) were really tasty and good quality!

Mr Lee’s Gourmet noodles are perfect for a guilt free lunch-on-the-go or a delicious dinner when you can’t be bothered to cook from scratch. The fact that they are so healthy means you can get all the perks of a ‘ready-meal’ without feeling like you’ve fallen off the wagon eating wise! This is a biggie for me; I really do try with my diet but sometimes chopping up peppers is the last thing I want to do after a long day at work! I’m sure many of you feel the same!

I also believe Mr Lee’s noodles to be excellent value for money. They are available to buy in a pack of six for £17.94, which works out at just under £3 per pot. Yes, it puts them at the higher end of the market for this kind of product but I do think the quality is evident. For example, they are packed full of veg and the meat flavours have real meat in them rather than just flavourings. I also found when eating one of the pots for lunch it really filled me up for the rest of the day.

Hong Kong Beef

Chicken Laksa

So where can I get some?

Well, online seems to be the best place to get your hands on some of Mr Lee’s noodles! Click here to visit their shop where, like I said, you can purchase mixed or single flavour packs of six with free UK shipping! Hurrah! Something which I found extremely exciting is that soon, Mr Lee will be branching out into ‘noodle kiosks’ up and down the country – basically vending machines where you can buy their noodle pots! What a brilliant idea.

You can check out their website here.

What are your opinions of instant noodles?

**I was sent this product for reviewing purposes but, as always, the opinions are 100% my own**

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?

Just something I’ve been pondering lately…

It’s like… I get that competition is healthy, in the right ways. For example, in sport. You can’t have sport without competition. You’ve got to have winners and losers.

But you can’t have winners at life! #winningatlife (as much as it appears on Instagram) is not a real thing. There’s no such thing. I mean, who would define it?? Who’s to say that my winning is the same as your winning? Who’s to say that I’m achieving more/doing better/ reaching my goals faster than anyone else. The beautiful thing about humans is that every single one of us is different. Not just physically but emotionally, mentally, personality wise, which means that we literally cannot compete when it comes to life. And I think it’s unhealthy to try.

For example, some peoples goals involve reaching the very top of your chosen career, others revolve around raising a healthy, happy family, some may see success as travelling the world and seeing all the wonders of the world. No one goal is better than another. By saying that something is not my goal in life it doesn’t mean I don’t think it should be yours. By saying I think one person is beautiful it doesn’t mean I think you’re not beautiful. Everyone is. There are a million ways to be beautiful.

The only person that I allow myself to compete with is myself. I am constantly trying to beat myself, do more, do better, be the best version of myself I can possibly be.

Chasing the dreams and aspirations  of others in the name of trying to ‘win’ can only end in emptiness.

Everyone is doing an amazing job. Don’t compare, celebrate. Peace and love.

(Disclaimer: This rant is my opinion and no offense is meant in any shape or form)


xox