If you’ve decided that it’s time to tone up as you’ve never toned up before, the last thing you want is to waste your time on diet and exercise regimes that really don’t work. If you want to find out a few things that will work and have worked for me, read on…

Eating Enough

A lot of ladies think that, in order to tone up, they need to go on the latest fad diet or cut their consumption to a minimum, this simply isn’t true! It’s perfectly possible to eat little, be skinny and not toned, and actually eating less than your body needs to support itself will actually cause your metabolism to slow down. To burn fat and get into better shape, you need your metabolism firing on all cylinders, and that means eating regular healthy meals, not starving yourself. Fad diets just don't work!

Practice Yoga

A lot of people think that yoga is a very gentle form of exercise; a practice of stretching which might make you feel good, but doesn’t exactly do much to build muscle and tone the body. Have they ever seen a dedicated yogi? Sure, yoga is all about stretching the various muscles in the body, but you know what? It can be quite a workout, and when practised regularly it will almost certainly help you to tone up and build the kind of long, lean muscle that makes you look fabulous. So why not spice up your body with some yoga workout? You’ll be amazed by the results you can get in such a short time. I always find my body is aching in all the right places after a yoga class.

Lift Some Weights

Lifting weights scares many women. They think that, after a few weeks down the gym they’ll emerge looking like a female version on Arnold Schwarzenegger! This is really not the case. Lifting weights will help you tone up faster than almost anything else, and unless you’re doing something silly like taking steroids or other substances, there is literally no chance that you will ‘bulk up’ in the same way bodybuilding males do. What’s more, when you’re lifting regularly, your metabolism will be stoked, you’ll burn more calories, drop fat, and best of all you’ll be able to eat more (healthy) food. What’s not to like?

Kettlebell Training

Another thing that can very quickly help you to lose fat, build muscle and tone up is the humble kettlebell. This fabulous piece of equipment, which looks (and feels) a bit like a cannonball with a handle, can help you to burn well over 1,200 calories per hour, and give you a full body workout in just 15-20 minutes. If you want to be in peak condition, you need kettlebells in your life.

Cut Out Bloating Foods

One thing that can prevent you from achieving that lean, toned silhouette you’re after is bloating. As well as working to increase your fitness, you should try to eliminate as many of the causes of bloating from your diet as you can. Some things which commonly cause bloating include salt, beans, onions and fizzy drinks. If you can remove your triggers, you’ll instantly look a bit slimmer, and you’ll definitely feel a whole lot better too.

Other than trying some or all of the above, to be the most toned you’ve ever been, all you need is patience and determination.
It doesn't come easy, but making small changes and sticking to them can make big changes to your body!

What do you find work's best for you?


**This post is a brand collaboration**

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 think most of us will agree that lazy Sunday mornings are literally the best thing ever. Now, I love a brunch date and although sometimes it is nice to pop to a café and have someone else make it for me, sometimes I really don’t want to get out of my pyjamas and leave the house! So lately we’ve been whipping up some delicious home-cooked brunches in our own kitchen.

Instagram friendly poached eggs on smoked salmon and smashed avocado

This is super easy and quick and is equally as scrumptious to eat as it is to look at on your insta feed. Simply spread some ripe avocado on some wholemeal toast and pop some smoked salmon on top. Next, poach a perfect runny egg (this part takes some practice and I usually get Paul to do it for me!) either in hot water or using a poacher. Top with black pepper and a sprinkling of chilli flakes to give it an extra kick. A super impressive brunch which takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Guilt free oat and cinnamon pancakes

And they seriously are guilt free! These pancakes contain no sugar, no butter and no milk.  Throw 25 grams of porridge oats in a blender (or Nutri Bullet) with an egg, a banana and a tea spoon of cinnamon. Then accessorise as you please! Blueberries, strawberries, yogurt, banana and honey are all delicious toppings – but we were really naughty once and put apple, bacon and maple syrup on them!

Spicy vegetarian omelette

This delicious and healthy omelette is perfect for even the most discerning of healthy eaters! It’s meat free, dairy free, gluten free – not quite vegan though, sorry! Roughly chop peppers, radishes, spring onions, chills or any of your chosen veg you’ve got at the back of the fridge along with some tofu. Whisk three eggs in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika for a kick. Lightly fry your filling until the tofu is turning brown, add the eggs and cook, flip, fold and make your omelette! Serve with mashed avocado on the side.

 

Greek inspired bruschetta 

These are a tasty savoury brunch idea which were inspired by our time in Greece last year and we absolutely love them. They are so easy to prepare too! Serve roughly chopped ripe plum tomatoes with basil leaves and feta cheese pieces on slices of toasted ciabatta bread. Also, while the ciabatta is still warm rub a cut garlic clove over it for that extra yummy kick. Drizzle olive oil over the whole lot before serving.


The Full Monty

You cannot beat a full English fry up and sometimes – it’s just what you need on a Sunday. Particularly if you’ve had a few wines the night before I find! Anyway, I love cooking up the full monty for us occasionally but we all know it’s not that great for you. There are a few small changes I make to keep it as healthy as humanly possible (but still not healthy!). Firstly, I always use a very, very small amount of coconut oil to cook the eggs and mushrooms, and I tend to scramble or poach the eggs rather than fry them. I also cook the sausages and bacon in the oven rather than in the pan. This reduces the oil and grease content slightly. The key to a good full English is timing and preparation! The final ‘flourish’ of cooking everything only takes about 5 minutes so you have to make sure everything is out, ready and raring to go before it all goes cold! I’ve got it down now even if I do say so myself!

***

Wow, my mouth is seriously watering now! I think I better go and get me some brunch! I hope this might give you some ideas for some super easy but seriously delicious brunch ideas to cook in the comfort of your own kitchen. For more recipes and food ideas visit my Instagram page.

Have a wonderful Sunday.


Quite often, these days, my workouts are rushed. Now that I’m teaching full time my days are long and my midweek gym sessions are squeezed in at 6.30am before I get the bus to work or quickly on the way home before tea and eastenders! I usually concentrate on having long sessions on Saturday and Sunday  (at least 1hour) where I work specific muscle groups like legs or upper body – but in the week it’s usually a 30 min full body blast. Therefore I need to do a workout that works my whole body and gets my heart rate up quickly – no messing.

There are benefits to this kind of workout and although I’m not exactly an expert on all the technical stuff I know that doing high intensity exercise and getting a good sweat on, even if it’s for a short period of time, can burn just as many calories as a longer session of lower intensity.

So, here’s one of the workouts I do in my 30 min blast sessions. It takes roughly 20-25 mins which gives me a bit of time to warm up before and stretch after.

Completely 10 reps of each exercise in a circuit. Then move on to 9 reps of each, 8,7 etc descending until you finish with one of each.

PUSH UPS (picture A)

BURPEES (push up + jump up picture B)

BOX JUMPS (picture C)

TRICEP DIPS (picture D)

There is no set rest period in between circuits – I just do it as quickly as I can with a few short breaks for water etc. 

Trust me, this is a total killer, whatever your fitness level. It’s hard but worth it – and such a sense of achievement when you’ve completed it! You can put in any exercise to this format to change it up and work different muscle groups.

Let me know if you give it a go?!


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Good morning! And happy Saturday! I’m happy because I’m having a seriously lazy and chilled weekend; the first in ages!

If, like us, your weekday breakfasts can get a little repetitive (porridge is my go to everyday) then you may wake up on a Saturday morning after a nice lie in craving something a bit more yummy.

I love pancakes. I don’t love how much butter is in them! Also, since I went dairy free I can’t realistically eat an original recipe pancake. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still want them!  We’ve been experimenting with alternative ingredients and I think we’ve totally nailed it with this one. This recipe is dairy free, healthy & free of refined sugars and other nasties. And it’s so easy!

Recipe for these dairy free pancakes

Serves 1

Note: you will need some kind of blender to combine the mixture. We use a Nutri Bullet.

25 grams of porridge oats

1 large egg

1 banana

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

~Blend until smooth. Use coconut oil to fry in small circles (these work better than crepe style pancakes)~

Serve with fresh seasonal fruits, a tablespoon of soya yoghurt & a drizzle of raw honey.

Yum!

How easy is that??

Let me know if you try them or if you have any other pancake recipes you’d like to share!


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