The Reversible Revolution – Sweaty Betty

Sweaty Betty’s Reversible Revolution is here, and you can get two awesome looks for the price of one from leggings to bras and even a jacket! Reversible leggings have been in stores for years, and I’ve always loved them, but this season Sweaty Betty have really pulled out all this stops on their reversible range. Here are some of my favourites:sweaty betty, sportswear, fitness, yoga1. Iridescence – I love the subtle pattern on these, and the mesh panels are so flattering, SB always gets this right. A plain back on the reverse makes them super versatile too.

2. Euphoria – If you’re going for a striking pattern on both sides, these are the perfect choice for you. The bold, geometric print will make sure you stand out on the front row of your next yoga class!

3. Jelly Fish – There’s nothing more to say here. A jelly fish print. What more could you want?! You can get this print in a full length, 7/8 and a cute yoga short.

4. Jackie Reversible Embroidered Jacket – SB’s reversible range isn’t just about leggings, I’m lusting over this jacket! Embroidered with SBLDN on the beetle blue satin side, and a fluffy faux shearling on the other, it’d be a struggle to choose which to wear.

5. Strappy Yoga Bra – A pretty lilac on one side, and wear-with-anything black on the other, this will become a wardrobe staple for me. I hope they bring it out more colours!

With these reversible items, and lots more in the range, there are so many reasons to expand your workout wardrobe. Not that I ever need much convincing! Keep reminding yourself that you’re basically getting two for the price of one…and what’s not to love about that?

I am a Sweaty Betty ambassador and receive gifts/discounts throughout the year. All views  my own.

Preparing For Surgery – My Personal Guide

Despite my best efforts, unfortunately I’m no stranger to injury and injury related surgery. In my *almost* 32 years on this planet, I’ve been told my injury list reads like that of a 75 year old and I’ve had, as of yesterday, 6 surgical procedures. All bar one of those operations have been in the last 12 years. Through my own experiences, I’ve found a few things that have really helped me both before and after surgery. Now remember, I’m not a doctor, these are just my personal experiences and how they’ve worked for me.

Find Your Support Network

Firstly, you will usually be required to have a chaperone take you home from hospital, and that’s non-negotiable if you’ve had a full anaesthetic. Arrange this early on with someone you trust and who you are really comfortable with. You are going to be in the dozy post-anaesthetic phase, possibly feeling nauseous, in pain, and wanting to sleep or cry….or both. I’ve always gone to my Mum’s after each of my surgeries, there’s nothing better than Mum time, but whoever you choose, prepare them for a grumpy, soggy, cloudy version of you, possibly high on morphine as well.

Going back to before the surgery, it’s not required but you might want someone in hospital with you beforehand as well. My arrival time for this week’s surgery is an eye-watering 6am, but I know from experience that I won’t be taken into the operating theatre until at least 8am or 9am. Why so early? You might ask. Well there are potentially lots of people on the surgeon’s list that day, they all need their observations, a chat with the anaesthetist, a final check in with the surgeon, after-care explained (remember the post-anaesthetic brain fog), and to generally get comfortable. It can be a long, anxious wait, and unless you’re in a private hospital, you could be in a ward full of other people waiting too. Having someone with you to chat with will pass the time, and calm your nerves. I’m lucky enough to be having this done privately, meaning I have my own room with a TV, but company before the op will still be a welcome distraction.

After surgery, depending on what it is of course, you might need help at home with cooking, cleaning and maybe even showing and dressing. Grab your support network; friends, partner, colleagues, flatmates, those who you’re comfortable with, and ask them to be around in case you need anything. Don’t be afraid, don’t sit in pain, hungry and embarrassed to ask for their help. This is a time where you cannot do everything for yourself, despite being Miss Independent, especially if doing too much might hinder your recovery.

Plan Ahead

Most likely you’ll have planned all the technical things with your surgeon beforehand, but there are a few things I’ve found to be really helpful when I’m not so mobile and not so able to do things for myself.

Bulk cook food – Having a hearty chilli, bolognese, chicken stew or soup in the freezer is such a good idea. For the days when you perhaps can’t call on someone to help you, or you simply haven’t got anything to cook, popping a pre-prepared meal in the microwave is going to be a lifesaver. When your body is healing and recovering you need to be well nourished.

Clean the house – If you’re going to be on crutches, then you can’t be tripping over junk in the hallway or that pile of clothes at the end of your bed. If you can have a good tidy up before the day of the operation, and if your injury prevents you from doing that, then maybe treat yourself to a professional clean. Alternately, remember your support network? Pick the most ‘Monica-like’ and ask them to help.

Do your laundry – Bed sheets, clothes, dressing gown, towels. There’s nothing nicer than clean sheets when you’re not quite feeling yourself, so having all that done for when you return home will be so comforting. The same applies for your favourite pyjamas, and your comfy clothes. You’ll likely be living in these for a few days, if not more, so make sure they’re clean and ready.

Breathe

The thing I’m most worried about is the general anaesthetic. I don’t like being put to sleep, not having control and going into this empty dreamland. I’ve also had bad reactions upon waking before which make me more anxious about the aftermath. On the flip-side of that, having a local anaesthetic isn’t my cup of tea either, so I’m not sure which I’d rather.

I’ve been practising some breathing techniques to help me cope with the nerves before surgery, and at the moment of being put under anaesthetic. Also, my therapist suggest a little mindfulness and visualisation as well, to help calm my head on the morning of.

Take deep breaths – The more anxious we’re feeling, the more shallow our breathing becomes. Taking three deep breaths can help to settle nerves, filling the lungs with oxygen and calming the parasympathetic nervous system. Think of breathing in for 4 counts, and breathing out for 6 or 8.

Visualise your happy place – pick a place where you have always felt calm and happy. That could be your bed, childhood home, a bath, or holiday spot. Mine is my favourite beach near my Dad’s house in Portugal listening to the waves crashing. Just as the anaesthetist starts preparing to send you to sleep, have this image firmly in your head and you’ll be in that happy place for the whole time you’re under.

Don’t Rush Recovery

This is one I really have to pay attention to myself. Listen to the doctors, physiotherapists and specialists when they tell you to rest, and recuperate. Don’t wait until you’re in excruciating pain to take your painkillers, and admit to yourself that you’ll have to rest for a while. The effects of the anaesthetic can be long lasting in some cases, and feeling groggy, emotional and weak comes hand in hand with that. It can feel very frustrating, but know that it’s only temporary.

Now I’m back home with my Mum and enjoying some R&R, I can see how each of the points above helped me through the operation. I’m looking forward to getting back to my flat in a few days because I’ve got lots of food prepped, clean towels and a tidy house all ready and waiting for me. I’ve got lots of friends offering to pop over for company and food, and the cat is always on hand for a hug. My recovery will be slow and steady, but if I am good with my physiotherapy exercises, don’t rush things and look after myself, I’ll be back on my feet in no time!

The Wellness Gift Guide 2017

*Not a sponsored post, apart from being a Sweaty Betty ambassador, I have no connection to any of these brands.

It’s that time of year when your inbox is flooded with gift ideas….Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, Gifts for Teens, Gifts for Your Loved One etc etc. But what about gifts for the wellness warrior in your life? Be it your yoga bunny bestie, your personal trainer partner, or simply someone you know loves to look after their mind and body, everyone deserves a treat this Christmas.

I’ve actually not started my Christmas shopping yet, which is unlike me, so in order to give myself a little kick up the backside, I’ve compiled a little list of some ideas for you, ranging from stocking fillers to more extravagant surprises. Take a look, and get shopping!

Treats up to £75

Flo 260 Massage Bar – £7.99

gift guide, christmas, massage roller

(tkmaxx.com)

Whether you want to admit it or not, rolling has so many benefits! For those who don’t love a foam roller, these handheld rollers are a great idea to get deep into those sore muscles. They might not thank you immediately (rolling is painful at times) but they will in the long run.

 

Kikki-K Wellbeing Diary – £21

gift guide, kikki-k, diary 2018, wellbeing

(kikki-k.com)

Not just dairy, but full of inspiration and prompts for a happy and healthy 2018.

 

S’well Bottle – from £25

gift guide, christmas, health, wellness

(swellbottle.com)

I am a massive fan of S’well bottles…I have two! Keeping cold drinks cold for 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for 12 hours, I have a traveller one for coffee and a bottle as above for water. They’re also completely leak proof and come in so many gorgeous designs!

 

Lululemon Run It Out Ear & Neck Warmer – £25 each

gift guide, lululemon, running, christmas

(lululemon.co.uk)

No-one likes cold ears, or a chill down their necks, so these Lulu warmers are a great idea for outdoor training. Buy one, or both for the matching set!

 

Sweaty Betty Gym Clutch – £35

sweaty betty, gift guide, gym, christmas

(sweatybetty.com)

If you’re lucky enough to have a gym just a stones throw from where you live or work, you probably don’t need a huge gym bag to fill with unnecessary baggage. This little clutch from Sweaty Betty is perfect for your gym pass, keys, phone, headphones, purse and maybe a little deodorant for a post workout spritz. I love the colour, and if you are gymming it further afield, then you can simply sling this in your main gym bag to make sure you don’t forget your essentials!

 

Sweaty Betty Velvet Padded Bra – £45

sweaty betty, gift guide, christmas, luxe

(sweatybetty.com)

I’m honestly not sure of the usefulness of a plush velvet sports bra, but I love it anyway! In fact, Sweaty Betty doesn’t even name this a ‘sports bra’ so I vote it gets worn underneath a fancy New Years Eve outfit for some comfort! Maybe this can be a treat for the lovely lady in your life?

 

Cowshed Knackered Cow Spa in a Box – £65

gift guide, cowshed, christmas

(cowshedonline.com)

I don’t know any health and fitness person who doesn’t like a night of relaxation and indulgence. In fact, if you want to earn all the partner / sibling / bestie / housemate points, get home early, run them a bath with this gift pack and treat them to a calming pre-Christmas night in…..hmmmm can anyone do that for me?!?!

 

Indulgent gifts over £75

Urbanears Plattan 2 Bluetooth Headphones – £85

gift guide, urbanears, christmas, music

(urbanears.com)

If like me, you’re (ahem, or the person you’re buying for) constantly listening to music or a podcast in the gym or while running, then the new Urbanears wireless headphones are going to be right up their street. Foldable, and with 30 hours of wireless time, they’ll never be stuck with awful gym music again!

 

Fitbit Alta HR – £129.99

gift guide, christmas, fitbit, fitness

(fitbit.com)

If chunky heart rate monitors aren’t your favourite thing, then the Fitbit Alta HR might be the best gift yet. The slimmest fitness tracker with heart rate technology, Fitbit have designed this in a range of attractive colours. Tracking exercise, sleep, heart rate and the usual steps etc. it’s a great gift for someone who’s either a fitness pro or just beginning their healthy journey.

 

Eastpak Stand Holdall – £200

gift guide, yoga, eastpak, christmas

(Emilie James / Eastpak)

Now this is a big indulgence, but since spotting it on the lovely Emilie’s instagram (@lovaine_james) I have been in love. Eastpak are moving with the times with this limited edition range, which also includes a gorgeous back pack. This weekend bag includes a yoga mat sling, making it the perfect gift for the yogi in your life. Not keen on the colour? It comes in a dark grey/black too.

 

The list could be endless, but I’ll stop there for now. Perhaps this will give you some ideas to share with your loved ones, or help you choose the perfect gift for the fitness fanatic in your life. And hey…..don’t forget your LOVELY personal trainer….treats are ALWAYS welcome. As is chocolate.

 

*As I mentioned earlier, no brand has requested these items to be featured in this post. All views my own.

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The Decathlon Blogger Community

When I’ve heard friends and bloggers talk about Decathlon, and when I’ve briefly popped into, or passed a store, I’ve assumed its for outdoorsy people and runners. How wrong I was! When I finally looked into the company, I found that not only is their company ethos ‘Making Sport Accessible For The Many’ but they stretch far beyond hiking and running. A multi-brand empire, they cater for all things gym, cycling, swimming, running, trekking and much more. So when I was then invited to be part of Decathlon’s Blogger Community, I jumped at the chance to learn more about the company, and also spread the word about what Decathlon has to offer.

As an introduction to the brand, and as a meet up for the Decathlon bloggers, I recently headed to their Canada Water HQ for an evening of sport and trivia. Aside from having a catch up with some of my favourite blogging buddies, and meeting new ones too, it was a chance for me to explore the Decathlon enterprise.

And what an enterprise it is! With stores in 40+ countries across the world, and 33 (and growing) in the UK, Decathlon has big ambitions for the future. Championing quality brands such as Domyos – for fitness, Quechua – for outdoors and camping, Tribord – for anything water based, and more, their strive for excellence and a wide range of options. As I mentioned before, their company ethos is all about making sport accessible, but they’re also innovative, having won numerous awards for their own products. These include Best Tent and Best Road Bike to name but a few.

The evening itself was a team circuit training session and sport quiz. Did we get competitive?? I’d be lying if I said no, but we’re all sporting people in one way shape or form, so perhaps that was to be expected. Fun times aside, the Decathlon Bloggers Community is as varied as the company itself (famously there are 350 different sports played among their staff), from me the yogi/PT, to marathon and ultra marathon bloggers, active travel and everything in between, check out the rest of the crew on Decathlon’s website.

Stay tuned as I share more about the brand and their products in the future. Thanks Decathlon for including me in your growing community, I can’t wait to get more involved!!

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Be Who You Want To Be At Moreno Boxing

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There’s only one thing I’ve found that literally gives me jelly arms, and that’s boxing. I’ve done a few classes at some of London’s boutique boxing style studios, and I really enjoy not only the workouts, but the obvious stress release that hitting a punch bag can give you. I’d heard of Moreno Boxing before, since Carlos Moreno opened his first studio close to where I used to live in Dalston, but as his enterprise grows, a new location has opened up in Clapham. Last week, I was invited, along with some of my favourite blogger buddies, to try his signature classes.

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

Carlos Moreno

Former amateur boxing champion, Carlos Moreno, founded Moreno Boxing in 2015, when he saw a gap in the market where people could get fit, learn boxing the proper, technical way, without the need or desire to enter into any kind of fight or competition. Focusing on teaching real technique instead of ‘boxercise’ style moves, as well as strength training and cardio, Moreno Boxing soon became the stand out studio for boxing training with clients quickly seeing results and achieving their goals.

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

Carlos hand picks his trainers and keeps it simple with just two classes on offer at both locations; Technical Intensive Boxing (TIB) and Intensive Boxing Cross Training (IBXT). Us bloggers had the privilege of trying out both classes at last week’s event, and boy did we work hard!!

Technical Intensive Boxing

Armed with pads and gloves, Carlos took us through the proper technical way to jab, cross, hook and upper cut. This class breaks down the movement piece by piece, including how to defend and how the legs help to, excuse the pun, pack a real punch!! Then, working in pairs, we built up some punch sequences, developing our co-ordination, strength, power and agility.

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

I loved this class more than I expected to. Learning the proper way to punch, and safely receive a punch on the pads inspired me to look into training further, and incorporating pad work into what I offer as a Personal Trainer.

Intensive Boxing Cross Training

Aimed to compliment the TIB class, IBXT combines classic boxing drills with crossfit style sessions incorporating kettlebells, battle ropes, barbells and much more. A class aimed to not only improve strength but cardio and endurance as well, it’s a super tough workout that trains the whole body.

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

Due to injury, I didn’t take part in this class, but wow, did it look like a killer session. I’ve no doubt that anyone attending these classes regularly would see amazing changes in their fitness levels.

The Studios

Equipped with everything you need for a great sessions, Moreno Boxing has a ‘no-frills’ approach to its studios. The new Clapham location has a full-sized boxing ring, crossfit rig and state of the art, water filled punch bags. Both locations provide gloves and pads, and you can purchase hands wraps as well.

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

boxing, moreno boxing, carlos moreno, fitness

All in all, I was very impressed with what Moreno Boxing has to offer. Just chat to Carlos for a minute or two and you can see how passionate he is about his sport and sharing his skills and knowledge with everyone around him. If you’ve never tried boxing before, then give it a go. If nothing else, you’ll have the immense satisfaction of release the day’s stresses against an innocent punch bag, and leave knowing you’ve had one amazing workout.

Thanks to Eliza and Healthy Living London for organising a great event. It was so great to catch up with some of my favourite blogging buddies over healthy treats from The Urban Kitchen and Borrow My // Blender, as well as have a great workout.

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British 10k – A Spectator’s Point of View

Being a fitness blogger that doesn’t run, it’s not very often that I’m invited to take part in races, so when a lovely email came along from Virgin Sport British 10K, my first instinct was to decline politely as always, explaining that my joint condition doesn’t allow for high impact activities such as running. Then I got to thinking, my boyfriend is a very keen runner, having run half marathons and 10Ks in the past, and I’ve never actually been to watch a major race in London, so I suggested that he run in my place, and I write about my experiences as a race spectator…so that’s what we did!

virgin sport, british 10k, running

A Word on the Race

Now, even though I’m writing from a spectator’s point of view, it’d be a bit silly of to not mention Cyrus’s experience at all! So here’s a little insight into his race, and how we found the whole process from start to finish line.

Pre-race, Cyrus’s had a rather early wake-up call, being in one of the earliest start pens. We headed into a very empty Central London, spotting other runners on the tube, race numbers at the ready, bleary-eyed supporters clutching coffee cups as they gave up their Sunday mornings to watch their loved ones run around Westminster (I was one of them too).

As we got closer to the bag drop area, things started to get busier, but everything was clearly sign posted, with specific areas for dropping belongings relating to race number. As I understand from other bloggers who have done these races, the long toilet queues are inevitable, but staff were on hand to helpfully move people to other queues that were shorter, and everyone seemed fairly jovial despite the early start.

During the race, Cyrus reported a decent number of water stations, essential considering it was 25 degrees and getting warmer by 9am, and a clearly marked route taking in some of the great London scenery.

virgin sport, british 10k, running

From the Sidelines

After dropping Cyrus off at blogger hospitality, I made my way to the main spectator area at Trafalgar Square. An hour or so before the race was due to start, it was still largely empty save the entertainment sound check, a couple of early bird charity cheering stations being set up, and one or two faithful family members setting up camp with coffee and bacon sandwiches….yep, that was me too!

Virgin Sport had set up Fan Zones, with a nifty little route between each location to make seeing the runners at different stages easier for spectators – or ‘spectathletes’ as they like to call them. Complete with live music and entertainment, they made the day a fun-filled event for the whole family.

virgin sport, british 10k, running

My biggest fear, despite being right at the front of the fence, was that I’d miss seeing my other half running past. I had no idea how spread out runners would be, how the tracking would work, or even his exact starting time. The Virgin Sport App allowed me to select Cyrus’s race number, and those of some other blogging buddies I knew were running, and supposedly follow them on the app using their trackers. Unfortunately, both myself, and the girl I’d got chatting with next to me who was trying to track her husband, couldn’t connect properly to the trackers. They didn’t seem to activate properly until 5k, we were standing at 4k!

Whether our internet was a little sluggish, or the trackers were having trouble activating, all of the people I were following were reporting as ‘Waiting to Start’ and suddenly kicked to life around the 5k mark. We were waiting at 4k, and luckily I managed to sport Cyrus, purely by watching race numbers that were in the same starting pen letter as him, and by roughly knowing which pacer he’d be running with. After that, his tracker worked perfectly, allowing me to follow where he was on the route, and meet him after the finish line.

Despite this little glitch, being a spectathlete was great! Once the runners started going past, the crowds increased, cheering was abundant and everyone was having fun. Virgin Sport made it easy to negotiate the closed London roads with a special route for the spectathletes to follow. Getting back to the bag drop was simple, and the day was done!

virgin sport, british 10k, running

Many thanks to Virgin Sport for allowing Cyrus to take my place, and for a super fun race day. We were lucky that the weather played ball and provided us with a gorgeous, sunny morning and Cyrus ran a very respectable 46.55 minutes!! With his very cool new bling around his neck, we headed for a well deserved roast dinner and then home for a little nap. All in all, a Sunday well spent!

virgin sport, british 10k, running

If you’re thinking about entering a Virgin Sport event, go for it! And if you’re a spectator, do go along and enjoy the atmosphere, it’s very exciting when your loved one runs past. I was so excited to cheer for Cyrus, I forgot to take a photo!! Luckily, a free race photo captured his race perfectly.

Thank you Virgin Sport!

My boyfriend received a complimentary place in the British 10k in return for this post. All views my own, please see Disclaimer for more information.

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