I love a bright pair of trainers! I’m not gunna lie, I always do a better work out if I feel confident in my workout gear – and a pair of stylish trainers can real make a gym outfit! I’m a big fan of nikes, but there are a lot of other brands out there with really gorgeous styles. I’ve made a ‘lust list’ of all my favourite trainers on the market which I wouldn’t hesitate to buy if I had the budget or the storage space!!

NIKE FREE TR6 FITNESS TRAINER

This bright pink beauty is a real showstopper! Not only is the four absolutely fabulous but it’s also great for pushing yourself in the gym; lightweight but also durable and with enough support to do your heavy stacked squats!

£45 from JD SPORTS

NIKE LUNAR EPIC FLYKNIT

A little on the pricey side but how amazing are these? I love the colour. They are designed for running rather than gym work and give you all the high tech support, ventilation & ‘barefoot’ feel that runners need. I don’t really like running – but I still want these babies!

£130 from JD SPORTS

UNDER ARMOUR CHARGED BANDIT TRAINERS

I just love the colour of these. If you do t fancy a psychedelic shade like the two above I think this is a really nice compromise. These are all about comfort; with an extra foam layer for shock absorption so would be a good all round training shoe. They are also in the Sports Direct sale at the moment – what’s not to love??

£62.99 from Sports Direct

Karrimor Duma 2 Ladies Running Shoes


Karrimor were the first trainers I ever owned and although they didn’t last as long as my current our of nikes – if you are looking for something that will do the job and not break the bank then these are great. These shoes come ina great choice of colours ranging from the very garish (which I would pick obvs.) to the subtle and plain, as well as having great grip and being an already fitness training shoe. I personally wouldn’t recommend karrimor for serious running; I once did a 10k in my old ones and they we were too heavy and didn’t have enough bounce.

Currently in the sale £24.99 from Sports Direct

Do you lust after fitness shoes like me? What are your favourites?

Since I got married and I have lost my fixed ‘goal’ in terms of something to work towards I have struggled with motivation slightly. In the last few weeks since we got back from Portugal and work has been really full on I have noticed my gym routine start to slip slightly.

SO this week, I am back with a vengeance. I have pledged to attend the gym 5 mornings before work at 6.30am and adding extra cardio after work too. I pretty much despise cardio but by committing to a very short blast of running outside (20 mins max) after work every day I can seem to cope with it.

I am feeling really inspired at the moment by the Olympics and the likes of Laura Trott and Jess Ennis. Their abs!! Seriously – goals.

My abs are getting there and you can juuuust about see them in the right light (!!!) but take a lot of work and dedication to maintain.

I’m feeling motivated and ready to get back on it and embrace those early morning gym sessions again and boss it!

xox

Like many people, at 18 I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I had done well at school, my passion being the arts, but ensure if I wanted to pursue them as a career. I knew I wanted to travel but had no money to do it.  I spent a few years drifting from job to job, and when I say job to job I mean it.  I think I recently calculated that I have had no fewer than 13 full time ‘careers’, although can you call it a career if you lasted 6 months?! I’ve done sales, property, makeup counter, temping, admin, payroll, hospitality, I could go on…In the middle of this I went travelling for 6 months, had the absolute time of my life, but came back still none the wiser about job prospects or a goal for the future.

Fast forward to the ripe old age of 24 and it came to me! I’d always fancied being a teacher but had always shyed away from it, partly due to being too lazy to do a degree to be honest. But now I felt ready for the challenge.  I found a degree at the University of Greenwich in primary ed, was offered a place and before I knew it I was moving to London with Paul and becoming a fulltime student.

I was considered a ‘mature student’ which sounds scary. But really it’s no different, and it basically just means anyone who is 21 and not a school leaver. I still got all the benefits and financial funding so really there is no difference.

The main difference for me personally was that I was not living at home, or in University halls. I was a nearly-married woman trying to rent a flat in a very expensive part of London with my fiance on a Student Loan and trying to balance working 20 hours per week, uni and actually having a life. At times, it was tough. But I’m so proud of myself and my achieving a first class hons. I have one year left of on-the-job teacher training and then I will be fully qualified and ready to start my real career.

Disadvantages: yes, maybe you don’t get eh ‘full’ mad, student experience, but to be honest that’s down to personal choice. I didn’t live on campus so I was slightly removed from all that, but if you want to live in halls and play shithead every night aged 50 there is literally nothing stopping you! I think there are many advantages to attending uni a bit later. I feel more confident in myself and the subject I chose, I think many school leavers are rushed and pressured into a decision and their hearts not in it. I also felt more motivated to prove people wrong and show them that I could do it even after having been out of education for 6 years. I made lots of new friends, had great experiences and learnt a lot.

If anyone is considering going to University as a mature student (whether you are actually mature or not) I would say go for it. It’s not as bad as it sounds! There is literally no age limit and it could change your life.

xox

I can’t put it off any longer, the culmination of any uni student’s degree and the result of years of work comes down to the dreaded dissertation.  Some of you may be horrified that I have left it this late to start, as many of my friends dissertations are due within the next few weeks, however as my course is a 2 year accelerated degree our term finishes much later and mine isn’t due until the 14th June! Phew.

However, that may seem like a long way off but it’s not: it’s less than 2 months. So this week I decided to get down to business and begin.

How to begin. It’s difficult. If you are a procrastinator and a last minute.com person like me then it’s exceptionally hard. However it’s important to understand that this piece of work is quite a large chunk of most degrees and I would be devastated to throw away my hard work by failing to plan effectively. So I have actually started this piece of work in advance to give myself the best chance of getting a good mark.

The worst thing about a dissertation is the thought of it.  At the beginning it seems enormous; a marathon that you’ll never finish. But once you begin it seems to shrink. My approach so far has been reading some books on my topic and making rough notes in a book and then at the end of each day typing the notes up. So far I have my introduction plus about 2000 words of my literature review, which I’m quite proud of! My dissertation is an educational research project, so I still have a long way to go conducting interviews and writing up the results.

My advice to any future students would be to start early, do a bit at a time and don’t let it take over your life. I know it sounds easy to say but I can tell you that it seems much more manageable to me now than certain essays which I have started the day before they’re due! Also, make use of your dissertation supervisor which will be much easier if you do start early, as they will be much more inclined to read through your work and offer advice if you give it to them in plenty of time. Lastly, choose a topic that you are genuinely interested in and at least have some experience of (I chose outdoor learning which is something that I have written 2 other essays on during my course) because it’s a lot less work as a lot of the literature is already read and I can recycle notes.

It’s not that scary so far. Ask me in a month’s time and I might feel differently! Wish me luck…

xox

2016-04-19-blog- Jess Mann-B