SS: Sunday Saves (#63)

sunday-saves

Good morning everyone and welcome back to another edition of my Sunday Saves! If you’ve never read a Sunday Saves before, I choose three posts each Sunday that I’ve found throughout the week to talk about. This week I’ve decided to have a #NIBloggers special, and if you’re not sure what that is, it’s a hashtag used mainly on Instagram and Twitter for Northern Ireland bloggers. Being from Northern Ireland myself, I always think it’s great to highlight local bloggers as well as national and international bloggers. So this morning I’ll be talking about Instagram worthy feeds, becoming more ethical and tattoo stories.

1) Retro Rose (Is It Insta Worthy?)

Miriam Rose’s post about Instagram is something that I think we can all relate to. She speaks about some of her thoughts on Instagram including if you have nothing to post, that’s perfectly okay. I went through a period of panicking when I didn’t have something to post at least twice a day and I see on Twitter other bloggers who worry when they haven’t posted in a day. I soon came to the realisation that just because I don’t post in a day, it doesn’t make me any less of a blogger (or a person). She also talks briefly about themes and keeping to the same editing style which in all honesty, that wouldn’t be my cup of tea but whenever I see someone who has kept to a certain filter or style, I praise them because they have almost the perfect feed.

2) Lauren The Day Dreamer (Why I’m Trying To Be More Ethical)

I love that Lauren has decided to try and become more ethical! It’s something I’m trying to do myself; I haven’t ventured into any charity shops to buy clothes yet but I’m in the same boat as her. I tend to wear the same clothes over and over again and I’m definitely nowhere near as fashionable as Lauren so my sense of style could be labelled as boring but comfy clothing but I think I need to have another look at my wardrobe to see what I actually need and what I actually wear. Shopping elsewhere other than my regular H&M might even open my style habits up further too!

3) Sarah Louise Writes (My Tattoo Story #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek)

We all know that I love scrolling back on people’s blogs, not just looking at their latest posts and this is exactly how I came across Sarah Louise’s post about her tattoo. I don’t have any tattoos and I don’t know if I’ll never have one because I’m too indecisive, I’m more of a piercing woman myself but I loved her story behind the tattoo. I’ll let you go to her post to read her story in full but I think it’s so special to hear about the stories behind people’s tattoos because not many people open up as much as Sarah Louise has, especially when it comes to mental health.

Thank you so much for reading my post and remember to go to the featured blog posts to give them a read too. To catch up on my other Sunday Saves, click here and you’ll have another sixty two to keep you busy. If you want to keep up with what I’m up to during the week, I’m over on Twitter and Instagram. Have a wonderful day! 

Ice Lolly Delight at the Linwoods Hemp Protein+ Launch Evening.

Towards the end of July, I had the pleasure of being invited to one of my favourite cafes in Belfast to go to a launch event for a brand new hemp protein powder made by a local Northern Ireland company. The product was launched in Tony and Jen’s and if you know me or follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m quite fond of their pancakes.

20170804_150430
(The lemon meringue ones were replaced with cacao ice-cream one day and they were amazing!)

20170804_150347(The mint and cacao pancakes have been my absolute favourite so far, and yes, this is a double stack!)

While you scroll back to the pancakes again, I’ll tell you about the new product they’ve been making. With it being the Summer, who doesn’t love an ice lolly during the Summer months? That’s exactly what’s been going on in the special kitchen on the Lisburn Road; they have been making healthly popsicles that have been packed full of gorgeous ingredients. One of the ingredients being one of the Linwoods Organic Hemp Protein powders.

linwoods1.jpg
(My favourite is the blue bag pictured on the right!)

Linwoods Health Foods are a local company based and founded here in Northern Ireland, which I think is what makes this just a little more special. We’re always saying we should celebrate more local businesses, so isn’t this the perfect way?

On the night, you got the option to pick between four different flavours. I ended up having two lollies (I had no dinner before I got there, so my decision was justified!); the first being cacao and mint (My favourite by far!) and the second being peanut butter and banana (My favourite smoothie combo!). This is where you got to be really creative with your lolly.

20170804_133807(Easier than ‘Snap Crackle and Pop’ right?)

Whether you’re a Notella person (like myself) or maybe cashew sauce is more your drizzle, you had the chance to add a sauce or two, add some ground nuts or sprinkle some raspberry sparkle over your lolly to really make it shine. Being a blogger event, you have to make sure your creation is Instagrammable so they had four mini perfectly laid out booths for them, but I am a fan of a marble background so I went there each time.

20170726_191157-01
(This was my first one: cacao and mint. From what I can remember, I drizzled it first in Notella, sprinkled hazelnuts and almonds over it and added an extra drizzle of cashew sauce over it.)

Jenny (one half of the lovely Tony and Jen) gave us an brief overview of their restaurant towards the end of the evening explaining why they choose to eat the healthy way, how the collaboration with Linwoods came about and then she showed us the process of how you make the lollies.

The goody bag we received at the end of the night were great! We even got our own little ice lolly moulds so we could make the recipes at home with the little recipe cards we received for the different versions of the lollies (See below!) We then got treated to a big bag of our own Hemp Protein+ and a few of Linwoods snack foods; all of which I have tried and I couldn’t wait until I got a good photograph of, sorry!

20170804_133709(When you turned it over, it gave you all the ingredients you needed, which wasn’t many to be fair, and how to make them.)

As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I haven’t been to too many blogger events before and I’m slowly getting over my nerves of being shy and slightly to myself (I wrote a blog post on how my shyness could be perceived) so I feel like I pushed myself out of my own comfort zone by just walking up to someone new and introducing myself.

One thing I loved about this event in particular (apart from it being all about healthy food that I could eat) was that it was interactive. It wasn’t just someone handing out samples and telling you about the product so everyone had the same photographs or same experience; you got to choose what flavour you wanted to eat, you got to choose how to decorate it, you got to choose your own experience.

20170726_195024-01(This was my second lolly of the night; I chose Peanut Butter and Banana with the same toppings as my first creation except this time I added a little raspberry sprinkling too!)

If you want to find out anything more about the Hemp Protein+ Powders, you can click right here. If you want to find out more about the company itself, you’ll find it right here and finally if you want to find out more about Tony and Jen’s, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.

Thank you so much for reading! All the recipes for the lollies will be on the Linwoods website and I can’t wait to make my own, I’ll probably be doing it in December, but hey, you can eat ice lollies anytime of the year, right?

 

Training for a 5K Run: Running and Negative Mental Health?

Have you ever had a negative run or ran when your mental health was very low? There’s a saying that goes “The only workout you regret is the one that you skipped” and when you hear people telling you that exercise is one of the the best anti-depressants, one would assume that the majority of your problems go away if you just “run it off”. 

Mental health is something that I talk about on the blog sometimes but in general, I try to keep my “online presence” very positive, or as positive as I can be. I made the decision over the last year to not be so open about my negative mental health because it’ s very personal to me and because it can be very hard to deal with, I struggle to share that with the people around me, never mind the Internet. 

Today I’m going to open the lid of that box and share my experience of what it was like running when I was at a very low point. 

20170610_092939

Scott had planned out a run for us but I didn’t know where it was or how long it was going to be. It was a Friday night so while I should have been happy that I had finished work for the week, I could relax and enjoy my second run of my 5K training; that reality couldn’t have been further from the truth. 

He was my only motivation getting ready because I knew he was looking forward to it, and I had been all day up until that night but all I wanted to do was lie in bed and cry until I fell asleep. He brought me down to where we were going to run and it’s actually a really nice towpath that we’ve walked before so I was familiar with the scenery. 

I’m a tracker. I like to track my progress in almost everything I do and running is no exception so when my fitness tracker wouldn’t work, that made me feel slightly worse that in the end, I gave up with it. It came round eventually but I really didn’t care at that point, I just wanted to run. 

20170610_094301(This part of the path is further on down but I took a few photographs from our last visit.)

People say running is good for your mental health, it clears your head and helps you gain perspective on what’s going on negatively. Mentally, running made everything worse. I can’t describe when you’re in such a negative place how many little moments, big moments, negative thoughts, self-critical thoughts and imagined scenarios pop up in your mind.  I lost count; it’s a very scary place to be in because you feel out of control and that night I was. I tried to control my breathing but then my breathing started to get so short and quick that it was almost turning into a panic attack. I cried quite a few times on that run, and I really tried to hide it but I don’t think that worked on Scott. 

I knew I was running faster than the first time and because I was embarrassed of my time last time, running faster gave me that motivation to not get that time again. I felt like I was running away from everything; I was running away from my responsibilities’, my past, my scenarios that I made up in my head that had become so real, my thoughts, my emotions and I thought the faster I run, the faster my head won’t be spinning with these thoughts.  It’s like being in a trapped room that you can’t get out of.  

He stayed quiet for most of the run which is what I needed. I know there are the type of people who want the comfort, the cuddles and the supportive words and I admit, I can be one of those people sometimes. More often than not, I just need to be on my own, in silence while I try and let the very negative emotions pass, and if I need to cry, then I cry.  

I started to crack almost half way through thinking I couldn’t do it anymore, I almost just sat on the ground and cried but I felt like I would have disappointed myself if I didn’t finish the run. I continued with Scott until less than a mile away and I was so close to saying “can we just stop now?” when his phone lit up and said “only 0.85 miles to go until your destination”,  and I just knew I couldn’t quit then. 

IMG_20170728_231029_361

We finished the run and Scott asked me did I know what pace I was doing or did I even know what time we had hit. I didn’t know because I wasn’t paying too much attention to my watch or even the time. We had knocked off six minutes from our overall time, so almost two minutes from each mile which was incredible considering how disappointed I was with our Monday night run. It was actually around the 36 minute mark from his phone but I didn’t hit my watch off at the 5K mark, so I did in fact do the run in faster than this. He kept saying how proud he was of me and how well I done, and it was genuinely so lovely, I’m glad I made him proud despite how I felt.

So did I feel better once I finished my run? Physically, yes. When you finish something like a run or a really stressful workout, you do get this wave effect that passes through your body and physically, it feels like it’s breathing a sigh of relief. How did I feel mentally? Nothing; zero, zilch. I still felt sad, I was disappointed in myself for not being able to control the way I reacted to my feelings. I was tired but it wasn’t from the running. 

I understand that this training series is meant to be about my running progress and how excited I am about my first trained 5K but I would feel like an absolute fraud if I either didn’t tell you about the run at all like it didn’t happen or I decided just to leave out how I really felt. My mental health is something I’ve struggled with for over a year now and this was one of the many days where it bared everything, so while it might not be the nicest thing for me to type out and relive, it’s an experience I got through, and at the end of the day, isn’t that the most important thing?

If you want to catch up on the first post, that was based around my first run and it was a general introduction into what I’m training for, so you’ll find that right here.  Thank you so much for reading, I know it wasn’t my usual content, but I appreciate you listening to what I had to say.

SS: Sunday Saves (#62)

sunday-saves

Thank you for clicking onto today’s brand new Sunday Saves, I hope you’re having a lovely day so far, whatever you might be doing. If you’re new here, hello! This Sunday Saves has been created by me to come to you on a weekly basis to show you three blog posts that I have found throughout the week (or on the day I write the blog post) that I thought were interesting and I wanted to share them with those who read this blog. Today we’re not working from a theme so I’ll be talking about attitudes towards morning routines, a cruelty free exfoliation method and veganism not being a cure.

1) Kat Horrocks (How My Morning Routine Has Changed My Life)

I just want to gush for one second; Kat is one of my favourite YouTubers and I could honestly sit and watch her all day so if you haven’t came across her YouTube channel, I’ll link it here. Now onto her blog post, Kat is a huge advocate for morning routines and since the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying to experiment with a morning routine myself and I find it really therapeutic. In her post, she talks a little about her actual routine but more so about how it makes her feel, so if you feel like a morning routine won’t make a difference, look at Kat’s post and it might inspire you to look at your morning differently.

2) Pale Girl Rambling (Konjac Sponge)

Since changing my diet to completely plant based back in January, over the last few months I’ve been changing up my skin care, make-up and hair care to be vegan friendly. It’s all a work in progress because let’s face it, if I had the money to completely change everything in one go, I would but skin care, hair care and make-up are all expensive. One thing that has been missing from my skin care routine is an exfoliator; I know LUSH have one or two but I find they can be very harsh for every day use so I want to explore a new avenue. I’ll let PGR tell you about the sponge but she gives it rave reviews which makes me even more intrigued.

3) Spooky Kiah (Veganism Doesn’t Cure Everything)

I remember one of the first things I heard about turning vegan or going plant based was “Oh you’ll have clear skin” or “any digestive problems you have will become a lot better”. Well, as someone who has been eating plant based for almost eight months, I can tell you that neither or those are true and Kiah feels the same way. She talks more about the medication sides of things but it’s definitely an interesting read if you’ve heard this type of vegan myth before.

Thank you so much for reading this week’s Sunday Saves! Remember to have a read of everyone’s posts and give them a follow if you want to see more from them. If you’ve missed any of my other Sunday Saves, click here and you can see my other sixty one editions. Have a great day! 

Three Intentions for Me (#1)

20170522_183258

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening whenever you read this! You might remember in my 58th Edition of my Sunday Saves (which is linked here!) I talked about Sophie’s blog post being about her July to-do list, and I loved the idea! So I decided to base a monthly goals list around that. I’ve named this little mini series “Three Intentions for Me” because for me right now, there is quite a lot of pressure around the word “goals” so I want to minimise that pressure while also pushing myself ever so slightly with particular targets I want to achieve.

❤ Read one fiction and one non-fiction book, and finish them both.

I’m quite a slow reader and this is something that will probably irritate me to no end. I usually read when I’m on my own because it means I can read out loud. I found that when I was reading when I was younger, yes I was fast, but I was skipping words if I couldn’t pronounce them in my head so while I was “reading fast” in my younger years, was I actually reading if I wasn’t taking everything in? Into my adult years, I’ve changed my whole philosophy on reading and it’s been a tough transition especially because I do read out loud the majority of the time, that takes longer and if I can’t pronounce something, I will make sure to say it until I can. It almost sounds like I’m teaching myself to read again, I can read I promise, but I’m putting more energy into it this time around. To add to this, I think this is why I don’t tend to sway into fiction books, I’m more of a self-help book woman myself but I want to challenge myself this coming month. It might seem like a big ask to read two books in one month but I’m willing to push myself to get out of my comfort zone, it will just mean setting more time aside for reading and less time for something else.

 Take part in two Twitter chats.

A year ago, I was so on the ball when it came to Twitter chats. I didn’t take part in too many mind you, but I probably took part in two weekly ones and I always enjoyed it! I use Tweet Deck for my Twitter and even then I felt like I could never keep up because there was so much going on within one chat, so this August, I’m making a commitment to take part in just two to see how I get on.

 Complete the 5K I have signed up for.

August sees the challenge of a 5K run that my boyfriend and I have signed up for towards the middle of August so that means stepping up my training to a certain level and making sure I complete it. Timing to me at the minute isn’t very important, I just want to keep a nice happy pace with minimal walking and I’ll be happy.

I’ll check back in next month’s “Three Intentions for Me” post to update you on how I did, and to tell you what I want to make a priority in September. Have a lovely day! ☀️

Training for a 5K Race: An Introduction and My First Run.

You’ve read the title and you’re probably thinking, “Why are you trying to train to run just over three miles?” We all have to start somewhere don’t we? As you’ll read in my new monthly intentions post going live on Friday, I have signed up to a 5K with my boyfriend in August so I have just over a month to build up my stamina when it comes to running.

20170717_211842-01(I’ll take this view over jumping on a treadmill any day. So gorgeous!)

If you read my tweets or watch my Instagram stories, you’ll know that I love the gym. Of course, there’s some days I don’t have the greatest workouts and other days, I’m already looking forward to the next one. For me personally, I believe the gym and running are on two different levels; I’ve ran two different 5K’s before in fact. One was a ParkRun and the other was a charity race for Mo-Running (I wrote a blog post on the build up to it but I forgot to write about my experience during it. If you want to read the blog post, it’s right here!) but I went into those very blind. I probably ran faster than I should have, and ended up having to walk part of the way, so that slowed me down and then I dreaded starting to run again.

IMG_20170620_080413_455

(I live in these shoes. I walk to work in them, I run in them and I do any cardio in the gym in them. They’re a great all rounder, except for weight training.)

You might be asking “what’s different this time” and I have someone by my side training me. My boyfriend has ran many marathons and even ultra marathons; he absolutely loves running and coming from a weight loss background too, he’s had to build his fitness up so that includes starting from a pace where I’m at right now up until the level he’s currently at, so I’m in very good hands. (He has a blog too which centres around fitness, food and weight loss so you’ll find it right here!) We’ve been on a few runs together over the last few months and as silly as it sounds, he’s taught me how to run. Running isn’t just running, there are so many other elements to it, which I’ll talk about in a later post. This is just an introduction to how I’ll be training and I wanted to talk a little about how my first run went.

As I mentioned above, I’ve taken part in 5K’s before but Scott said to start this fresh because the time I hit on Monday night can be my new personal best. The last few months for me have been particularly challenging when it comes to the word “goals” so this new personal best isn’t a goal to beat, it’s something to aim towards but not beat myself up if I don’t achieve it the first time around.

Scott taught me to build my running up by using the analogy of “If you can’t hold a conversation, slow down” so over the past few months, I’ve been taking this on board and it’s really helped. I think my problem before was I was just going too fast, I didn’t know what my pace was and I just wanted to finish but exhausting myself wasn’t going to help that. So we stuck as a pace that was comfortable for me, there were a few hills to go up and down, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get out of breath especially going uphill but they weren’t very steep.

IMG_20170725_072959_792

(Excuse the quality of this particular photograph: It was late at night when I was trying to take the picture and Instagram tends to lower the quality of your image now too.)

So here’s my stats. from my first run: I use the Blaze in the FitBit series, I’ve had it for almost a year and I love it. Not only do I track my runs but it’s in constant use in the gym and I’m accountable for my steps every day thanks to it too. For just over 5K or 3.1 miles, it took just under 45 minutes altogether. When I first seen my result, I was really disappointed; Scott had set a “estimate” aim of 36 minutes and in my head I thought “That seems achievable” so imagine my disappointment when I see almost 45 minutes pop up. I didn’t even try to hide the fact that I was annoyed and I really couldn’t hide it. I was so certain that I would hit the aim, and having had a rough memory of my last 5K, this was a slower speed, so the self critical thoughts creeped in, despite having a “body high” after running the distance.

20170717_210540(One of the gorgeous perks of running in the evening.)

Having had the time to reflect back on the experience I’m not as disappointed: I ran continuously without breaking for a walk, it was my first 5K in just over a year and my body needs to get used to running so going at a slower pace is what it needs right now. Taking all of that into consideration, I didn’t do too badly. I’m still a little let down with myself but that’s more of a mental thing for me that I’m working on.

Thank you so much for reading today’s blog post. I’ve been wanting to write about fitness for the longest time on the blog and I’m so happy that I’m finally doing it. I think it’s always great to read about other people’s experiences, so if you have a running blog or if you’re a runner and you’re wrote a blog post on it, please send me it! I’d love to give it a read ❤ 

SS: Sunday Saves (#61)

sunday-saves

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, whenever you’re reading this, I hope you’re having a lovely day so far! I’m back with another edition of my Sunday Saves where I pick out three blog posts that I’ve read during the week that I want to comment on, and I want others to see too. So there’s no theme this week but I’ll be talking about body image, travel guides and fitness documentaries.

1) Katy Belle (A Note About Body Image)

Katy’s post really hit home with me, not only had I already planned a similar post myself for the very next day but she spoke my language. Body positivity is something that is a very scary roller coaster for me; I know what helps me when it comes to looking at my body and I know what doesn’t help but I tend to fall into the “not so positive” attitude more than I would like to. I’m not a fashion blogger like Katy is so I don’t have to edit photographs of myself as often as she would, so I can’t relate that way, but this is an emotional and raw post that I feel is an absolute must read from such a truly lovely girl.

2) Steph’s World (Travel In The UK // Introduction)

So I’m very excited to talk about this post because I’m one of the contributors! Steph put a call out for bloggers from the UK to write a blog post about their home city or one of their favourite cities within in the UK. I’ll be writing about Belfast! The series begins at the beginning of August so make sure you tune in and I can’t wait to read the other posts in the series.

3) Life of Kitty (4 Must-See Fitness Documentaries on Netflix)

One of my favourite films of all time is surprisingly, Super Size Me. It’s classed more as a documentary film, but a film none the less. It has always fascinated me and I’ve lost the amount of times I’ve watched it so unsurprisingly, I love watching food and fitness documentaries. I haven’t found a lot of fitness documentaries on Netflix or online but that’s where Katie has stepped in and listed four of her must see fitness documentaries that can be found on Netflix (The UK one at least). I can’t wait to watch these particular ones because they all sound like they’re all up my street.

That’s all from today’s Sunday Saves. If you’re interested in looking at my previous Sunday Saves, you’ll find them here or if you want to keep up with me on my Instagram, it will be linked here.