Stories of 2019 #35

What an incredible trip I have recently had to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It was truly MAGICAL! And yes, it deserves to be in capital letters because it was the most unbelievable week.

I have been to Walt Disney World before back in 2005 when I was only eight but I only remember a few things such as breakfast with Minnie and going on Splash Mountain and it being an amazing trip. However, going back as an adult, I found it so much more special. Previously we stayed in a villa just outside of Disney World but for this trip, I stayed in the Animal Kingdom Lodge and it was so special. I mean it was a dream waking up in the morning, stepping out onto your balcony and spotting giraffes!!

Here are some gems from my previous trip to Walt Disney World. Look how young we look!! These beauties are scanned in from the Florida photo album ha ha.

My friend Jess took me on her trip and we had such a lovely time. We flew out of Gatwick airport last Monday at 11:40am. Both very excited we bounded into the airport early in the morning, met the others who were also on the trip and got all set for our 9-hour flight to Orlando!

The time flew by (literally), especially with good films and food. Afternoon tea miles high in the sky was a particular highlight for me, with Rodda’s clotted cream too… Virgin knows how to do a proper scone.

Once we had arrived at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we were greeted by Zoe and Dave – the amazing Disney PR’s that took care of us – in the grand lobby of the hotel with our magic bands and hotel packs. They took us to our rooms and that is when the excited screams began…

Towels, pillowcase, Minnie ears, personalised hats and tons of sweet goodies – Thank you, Mickey! We were completely spoilt from the word go. The room was wonderful, all African inspired with wooden interiors and quirky wallpaper with animals and mountains on.

It was quite late by the time we had reached the hotel and settled in but around 7pm we all met for dinner. The first meal was within a restaurant at the hotel called Jiko – the African cooking place. Food that was vibrant, spicy and packed full of flavours paired with South African wines set for a lovely evening.

To start, me and Jess shared the Inguday Tibs in Brik which was a samosa-like dish. Mushroom and spinach in a crispy Tunisian filo pastry with apple and curry vinaigrette. Following this for main I had the West African Koki Corn. Mushrooms and avocado on a poblano-tomatillo puree with roasted red pepper sauce matched with a smooth, rich red wine.

But jet-lag hit the group and everyone headed to bed as some stayed behind and had a slice of white chocolate cake – the first signs that I would not feel hunger for the next five days. Not long after we headed back to the room, excited for what was to come the next day when we were off for breakfast with the characters and a day in the Magic Kingdom!

Stories of 2019 #34

I was doing so well with the daily blogs! Now a week has passed since my last post… But in all fairness, I have been on a very exciting trip where I was creating content for Stories. This week has been an absolute whirlwind but tomorrow my blogs will be back to normal. I hope you are having a good weekend!

Stories of 2019 #26

For those needing a new workout or fancy shaking their gym routine up a little bit here is what I did in workouts this week…

P.S. some of these are an absolute KILLER!

Monday (cardio – do this workout with a partner and whilst they are running, you do the other exercise until they are finished)

400 meter run x mountain climbers / 400 meter run x burpees / 400 meter run x wall balls (I did 6kg) / 400 meter run x leg raises / 400 meter run x russion twists (I used an 8kg kettlebell)

1 minute plank x 10 push ups – repeat 3 times

Tuesday (Iron class, focusing on heavy weights)

Barbell chest press on floor 5 x 10 / body weight rows 5 x 12 (super set so do one after the other with no pause)

Kettle bell push press 3 x 8 per arm / kettle bell single-arm row 3 x 8 per arm (super set this again)

Plated push ups 3 x 10 (weighted plate on your back)

Wednesday (Rest day. Woooo!)

Thursday (Cardio class again. This one was especially hard so good luck ha ha. I struggled!)

400 meter run / 50 (yes, I repeat 50) jump squats – have 8 minutes to complete twice

400 meter run / 15 burpees / 300 meter row – have 10 minutes to complete twice

800 meter run / 10 pull-ups – have 12 minutes to complete twice

Friday (Weighted, Olympic lifting session)

Floor to overhead press with barbell 5 x 5

Hanging clean and press 4 x 4

EMOM (each minute, on the minute)… minute 1: 10 kettlebell swings on left arm / minute 2: 10 kettle bell catches on left / minute 3: kettle bell swings on right arm / minute 4: 10 kettle bell snatches on right / minute 5: rest / REPEAT TWICE

Saturday (My fav – squat Saturday)

Wall balls (6kg ball) 3 x 15 / back squats (I went up to 95kg, my personal best) increase weight as descrease reps for 10,10,3,3,3 / barbell hip thrusters 3 x 10 / leg extensions 3 x 12 / leg press 3 x 20 (10 wide, 10 narrow)

Sunday… I was going to go but a late night at work meant I did not make the class. But, oh well, I am off to the airport so no time now to try and get my bikini bod!

Stories of 2019 #25

Thank God it is Friday! This week seems to have gone by in a flash but also gone at a snails pace? Isn’t life and time weird.

Monday started off to be a great week week. I went for a run, did some job applying and went to the gym. Very productive in my eyes!

Tuesday, I was kept busy working at The Hyde Bakers and again went to the gym (my week in workouts will come at the weekend).

Wednesday was 100% #humpday and I did not go over the hump successfully! I had my sisters dogs – Mya and Brucie – for the day and was meant to walk them but I could not get Brucie’s collar on which sent me into a tizz. I mean tears and everything ha ha. Let me tell you Brucie is the about the size of my foot and I was reacting this way. I do not know what got into me. Instead, I had to wait for mum to get home in order to put his collar on and go for a walk. Although, I did watch Bodyguard and OH MY GOD, how amazing was that series?! I was bloody hooked all day!

Thursday, another dog walk. But in the afternoon me and my mum went over to Hitchin to have a little look around and we visited my favourite plant-based cafe – Chia – for a much needed cake and coffee. I choose the banana bread and my mum had the salted caramel slice… *drooling*. That I evening I went to the gym but wish I never as it was so hard. I mean I felt great after but during I was cursing the PT.

And today, Friday, I have had my nails done, attempted to pack and now feeling the slump. I cannot decide whether to go to the gym this evening or to give it a miss? I think the hardest part about going to the gym is finding the motivation to go. Once you are there, it is fine, it is just the hours before that is hard. Or, in true #TGIF style, do I go to the pub? Just slightly different ends of spectrum aye.

Anyway, that is my Friday ramble. What are you doing this weekend?

Stories of 2019 #24

The food of the Gods… Hummus!

Roasted red pepper, Moroccan, sun-dried tomato, caramelised onion, avocado, the list goes on. I am a lover of hummus. I even went to a hummus restaurant over the other side of the world. The Hummus Club in Northbridge, Perth if you live that way!

Hummus is soooo easy to make, with only two ingredients for a basic hummus – chickpeas and tahini. But for this hummus, I have mixed it up. Instead of chickpeas, I have used butterbeans. In my opinion, it actually tasted much nicer than using chickpeas as it was smoother and not so thick.

I added in garlic granules and a pinch of salt with my 250 grams of butter beans and 20 grams of tahini before blitzing it all with my hand-held blender.

Would you believe it is that easy to make and much cheaper than shop bought.

It passed the taste test by me and my rice cakes anyway and that is all that matters haha.

Stories of 2019 #23

On Instagram, I follow and see these amazing women running outside and they look like they are just feeling amazing. And I know, Instagram can sometimes just be someone putting up their best selves and I know that it is only a snippet of someone on a random day but I have been following these women for a long time and I listen to plenty of podcasts about how running makes you feel mentally, amazing.

I used to run two summers ago and I remember doing it often but struggling. I had to keep stopping and I was huffing and puffing but I was out there doing it. When I was doing my Master’s degree, I also signed up to do a 10k in London and even in the cold mornings of February I was doing Park Run around Forest Fields in Nottingham. So, it is not like I have no experience with running but for some reason I was petrified of going back outside and doing it.

Running is simple. One foot in front of the other. It does not matter how fast you are going or if you have to stop and walk or if you even only run for five minutes then turn back. You are out there, running and building strength, doing something good for yourself! I wanted to be that person. But something was holding me back. I even kept Googling, ‘How to start running?’ Like I did not know it was as simple as going out and doing it. I just feared people would look at me funny or I would not be able to manage the route I had planned. However, with over 5 billion results, it looks like I am not the only one. I wonder why running, outside in particular, feels us with such lack of confidence and fear?

But on Monday, 21st January, I made the decision today I was going to run and I set the run time at 10am.

9:50am… The thoughts start to go around in my head… Doubts that I should not go.

10:05am… Still at my house.

10:15am… I stepped out the door, headphones on and the Nike Running Club man motivating me in my ears just to go! If you have not tried this app, it is so good. It is full of guided runs from one minute to a 75 minute run to runs on the treadmill. It is free and I found very helpful when I was out.

10:30am… I was doing it! I was running, OUTSIDE! I was already smiling at the fact I was out and actually running, let alone how far I was running. I did the route I used to do two summers ago and I did not stop once. An achievement I never thought I would be able to do. And, I felt like my favourite Instagram stars, Food Fitness Flora and Adrienne and Bryony Gordon.

When I got home I was beaming so proud that I had done it. I did not even notice the cars going past funnily enough. I was as simple as going out there and putting one foot in front of the other. It was only a short run 3.5k but it was a run and I will be doing it again.

21st January 2019 // My first run

So, if you are nervous to start running my advice is, instead of being like me and Googling how to’s – just do it. In the wise words of Nike! Even if it is to the end of the road. Trust me you will feel great just because you went.

Stories of 2019 #22

Exercise is a big part of my life. It always has been. From a teenager I was in a competitive gymnastics squad and then at this time I started to go to the gym. More for fun with my friends Jessamyn and Mollie but nevertheless we still went. Since then I have always gone to the gym. The only time I did not go to the gym was the time between finishing my A-Levels and starting university (probably because I found alcohol and going-out far too much fun). From university to now I have been a consistent gym goer (which is good for seeing results… as the saying goes consistency is key) but I have also tried my hand at running, yoga and now boxing.

Now I am home in Hertfordshire and settled back in, I have gone back to the gym and really enjoying it. The gym I am signed up to (Renegade) is probably the best gym I have been too. The classes are mixed and really push you. We run, lift weights, row and do pull-ups – stuff I would not do if I was on my own.

I really enjoying exercising so I tend to aim to between 4-5 times a week but I also listen to my body and if I have little energy or I feel my body cannot work-out or more importantly I am off out with friends or family instead, I will include another rest day.

Anyway, here is a typical week of work outs!

Monday // Cardio (6-7pm). Start the week off with a burn to blow away the cobwebs of the weekend. This class is a mix. Sometimes it will be a non-stop circuit with bodyweight or sometimes it will be heavier weights with cardio included. For example a class we did last week…

10 barbell deadlifts / 10 burpees / 500 meter run outside – x 5

20 seconds kettle bell swings / 10 seconds off / 20 seconds push-ups – x6

Tuesday // Weights (6-6:45pm). Build them muscles! Adding weights into your work-out routine has many benefits. And if you fear the ‘bulk’, weight training really will not make you bulky. It adds such a different element to a work-out and also is a great way to burn fat also and you will begin to develop muscle tone. The weight classes at Renegade at short, often consisting of only 4-5 exercises but you always wake up the next day feeling it! An example weight class is…

Strict overhead press 5 x 5 / 12 twisting lateral raises x 4 / 12 a-frame push ups x 4 / 1 minute straight arm plank x 4

Wednesday // Rest day. Just as important as getting a work-out in!

Thursday // Cardio (6-7pm). Same as Mondays class. Another example of the cardio class is…

200 meter run / 20 bodyweight squats / 10 push-ups – x 4

400 meter run / 10 calorie row – x 3

800 meter run / 30 kettle bell swings / 20 kettle bell snatches / 10 goblet squats – x 2

Friday // Weights (5:45-6:30pm). Again, same as a Tuesday class. More weights to finish off the working week. However, sometimes I do go to the morning class, depending what I am doing in the evening, and that is a cardio class but more often than not I am at the evening session. An example work-out includes…

12 chest press / 12 push ups / 20 tricep dips – x 4

24 bicep curls 6 half, 6 half, 6 full – x 4

Saturday // Squat Saturday (8:30-9:30). A bright and breezy 8:30am class! When my alarm goes at 7am, it is often a battle in my head as to whether to go or not. But once I am up and out, it is fine. I must admit I am excited for lighter mornings. As the class goes, it is in the name. It is based around squats and focused on your legs and glutes. We normally start off with barbell back squats, starting of with lighter weights and increased reps then as you build the weight, you decrease the rep. This is followed by lunges, step-ups, leg press, goblet squats and many more leg burning moves! You are normally left leaving with jelly legs. Example squat Saturday…

20, 15, 10, 5, 3 Barbell back squats / 12 step-ups x 3 / 10 leg extensions x 3 holding last rep for as long as possible / 12 leg press machines x 3 on last set drop set and do 20 reps / 15 wall balls x 2 / x 2 wall sits

Sunday // Boxing (10-11:30am). For two weeks now I have been going to the ladies boxing class at my gym. I am really enjoying it so far! The class starts off with some running and stretching to warm up, followed by a conditioning circuit to help build our muscles to help build our skills. The rest of the session is practicing on the bags (my favourite part) and then sparring in the ring. Daunting but we only do 1 minute at a time (thank god for me at the moment). Boxing is so different to something I have done before and does not even feel like I am doing a work-out.

I have also upped my cardio by trying my hand at outdoors running again. I did my first run yesterday and while it was only a small 20 minute run, I loved it! So keep your eyes out for any running updates.

If you want to know more about what I do health and fitness wise, comment below!