Your Wellbeing Gift Guide 2018

Yes, the festive season is upon us, and if you’re stuck for ideas for your wellness warrior loved one, look no further! I’ve hand picked some great ideas, which aren’t just for the gym bunny in your life, but for the yogi, runner, or just someone you think deserves a treat to stay warm this winter. Who knows, you might find a treat for yourself!

All items marked with * are available at The Sports Edit.

Stocking Fillers – Under £30

gift guide, fitness, wellness, sweaty betty, the sports edit

  1. Pointe Studio Grip Socks* – Being a barre girl, I have more grippy socks than normal socks. These come in so many gorgeous designs.
  2. Sweaty Betty Metallic Water Bottle – Haven’t you heard? Single use plastic is out and these insulted bottles are in. I love this sleek design from Sweaty Betty.
  3. Sweaty Betty Coin Purse – A cute little stocking filler, what more could you ask for?
  4. Stance Socks* – A must for the runner in your life, these socks are uniquely reinforced and cushioned to optimise comfort while running or training.
  5. Moleskine Wellness Journal – My brother brought me one of these last year and it’s great for tracking food, exercise, goals and lots more.

Special Treats – £30 – £80gift guide, fitness, wellness, sweaty betty, the sports edit, christmas

  1. Ren for KikkiK Joy Gift Set – There are a few options in the Ren KikkiK collaboration, but this is my favourite. With essentials oils and magnesium, these products were created to keep the skin supple and toned, plus all Ren Skincare is cruelty free and designed with the planet in mind.
  2. Falke Versatility Sport Bra* – With max support, this is perfect for runners, cross fitters, and anyone cranking up the intensity of their workouts. Featuring a zip front, it’s stylish and super supportive.
  3. Beyond Yoga Viper Leggings* – From barre to the bar, I can’t wait to throw on a pair of boots and a sparkly top with these, and head out for some festive drinkies.
  4. Sweaty Betty Gym to Gin Vest – In a festive red, what’s not to like about this cute slogan tee? Perfect for the gin lover in your life.
  5. B Yoga Traveller Mat* – Made of 100% ecofriendly rubber, the B Mat is non-toxic, lightweight, and perfect for using as a mat topper if you’re not a fan of studio mats. With it’s super-grip, there’ll be no sliding out of your Downwards Dog!

Pure Luxury – £80+gift guide, fitness, wellness, sweaty betty, the sports edit, christmas

  1. Sweaty Betty Ski Base Layer Set – A seasonal favourite from SB, their base layers are stylish and functional. I’m not a skier (hello bad knees) but if I ever make it back to the Alps, this outfit will most definitely be in my suitcase for curling up with a hot chocolate post hike.
  2. Sweaty Betty Velvet Backpack – A pure luxury section wouldn’t be complete without a luxurious velvet backpack would it?!
  3. Beyond Yoga Drape* – If you’re looking to a beautiful, soft throw over, then look no further than this Amethyst cardigan from The Sports Edit. Wear it to stay warm before class, or simply to lounge around at home after the big Christmas lunch.
  4. Veja Suede Trainers* – OK, so not exactly appropriate for fitness, but I just love them! This gorgeous petal petale shade will see them through the spring, and they’re perfect for to and from the studio.
  5. Sweaty Betty Velvet Body – Do I have the confidence to rock this? I’m not sure, but I love the idea of pairing with a midi skirt, or even jeans, for a sleek look this christmas.

This Gift Guide is sponsored by The Sports Edit. Beyond Yoga outfit and Sweaty Betty base layers have been kindly gifted. All other items chosen by myself, all words my own.

Finding Rejuvenation, Focus and Relaxation with Apex Hotels

Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, for days or weeks, hotels should feel like a little home away from home. It’s not always easy though, with unfamiliar surroundings affecting your sleep perhaps, or a lack of your normal amenities resulting in disruption to your everyday routine. Does anyone else find that hotel stays can sometimes feel a whole lot less relaxing than they’re intended to be?! The team at Apex Hotels have teamed up with Registered Dietitian and wellness coach, Celynn Morin, and have been working hard at changing this, ensuring all their visitors spend their time away from home feeling rejuvenated, focused and relaxed. I was lucky enough to experience their Warmer Welcome scheme last month, enjoying a much-needed night away from busy London.

The Hotel

A 15 minute walk from Bath station, a surprisingly speedy 90 minutes from London, you’ll find Apex Hotel City of Bath. Walking into the lobby, you’re greeted not only by friendly reception staff, but also a variety of places to sit and relax before exploring the historic city. Once checked in and settled into your room, you’ll find a plethora of things to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

apex hotels, city of bath, rejuvenate focus relax, travel, wellness, warmerwelcome

Nearly every hotel room in the world provides basic tea and coffee making facilities, and a mini-bar of crisps and chocolate, but the first thing I noticed about Apex was the different options available; a Nespresso coffee machine, a variety of teas, and in addition to the usual kit-kat and nuts, healthy snacks such as popcorn and nutritious energy bars.

A quick peek into the bathroom, and I was amazed to find not only a huge bathtub, but a large wet room style shower too! A good range of Elemis products is available for use during your stay, as well as a fluffy robe and slippers should you need them. However, I can’t talk about the bathroom without mentioning the very cool Apex Rubber Duck you can take home!!apex hotels, city of bath, rejuvenate focus relax, travel, wellness, warmerwelcome

A hotel in Bath wouldn’t be complete without a little nod to Bath’s most famous historic artefact, and the underground spa at Apex didn’t disappoint. With a spacious pool, various massaging jets, as well as steam and sauna rooms, I could have easily spent my whole visit relaxing in the warm waters!

apex hotels, city of bath, rejuvenate focus relax, travel, wellness, warmerwelcome

(Photo: Katie @ cakevsscales)

apex hotels, city of bath, rejuvenate focus relax, travel, wellness, warmerwelcome

(Photo: Katie @ cakevsscales)

Rejuvenate, Focus and Relax

In every room, you’ll also find the main focus of Apex’s campaign to make hotels more wellness orientated. Designed and created with Celynn to go alongside Apex’s new podcast, inside each little booklet are tips and tricks to make your stay at Apex as beneficial to your wellbeing as possible. Here are some of my favourites from their ideas:

Rejuvenate – Keep On Moving – It’s easy to let your usual healthy ways slide a little when away from home, and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break from your fitness routine, it’s still helpful to keep active on your travels. If you’re travelling for business, the temptation to haul up in the hotel room and work until all hours of the night can be strong. Finding time to have a quick workout in the gym, or going for a walk to explore the city, will stimulate the blood flow, getting more oxygen to the brain, and actually increase your alertness, and you’ll be more productive!

apex hotels, city of bath, rejuvenate focus relax, travel, wellness, warmerwelcome

(Photo: Katie @ cakevsscales)

Focus – Breathe – With so many distractions, staying focused in a busy hotel can be tricky. When everything a little overwhelming and the parasympathetic nervous system is overstimulated, taking a moment to simply breathe can settle things down, and help you find your focus again. Celynn recommends counting alongside some deep breaths. Inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3 and so forth, up to 10. If needed, repeat! I use this technique to help me quiet my mind if I’m anxious, and I find it works a treat.

Relax – Time for Tea – I find that having a quiet moment with a cuppa tea is one of the best ways to relax, and with a wide selection of teas on offer at Apex, you never know, you might find a new favourite! If it’s sleep you’re after, then chamomile or red bush is going to be your best option. It’s thought that even the ritual of preparing a warm drink helps to wind down after a busy day, preparing the mind and body for rest, so you can wake up rejuvenated!apex hotels, city of bath, rejuvenate focus relax, travel, wellness, warmerwelcome

The City of Bath

I’ve lived in the UK my whole life, and this was my first visit to Bath. It’s such a beautiful city and I’ll be sure to return one day. A gentle stroll from the hotel, and you’ll easily find yourself amongst the stunning buildings steeped in history. My favourite was the Royal Crescent and surrounding streets, not only because my favourite childhood musical, Oliver!, was filmed there, but because the sweeping architecture is wonderful.

https://www.apexhotels.co.uk/warmerwelcome

(Photo: Katie @cakevsscales)

https://www.apexhotels.co.uk/warmerwelcome

If you only see one thing while in Bath, I’d recommend the Roman Spa of course! For a reasonable £16.50 per adult, you can discover the history of the natural spa as you walk through the museum (audio tours are free), and walk around the ancient baths themselves. If you’re keen to mix the modern with the historic, then just around the corner is the Thermae Bath Spa, a luxury spa facility with both rooftop and underground baths. That’s on my list for next time!

https://www.apexhotels.co.uk/warmerwelcomeapex hotels, city of bath, rejuvenate focus relax, travel, wellness, warmerwelcome

So, a big thank you to Apex Hotels for treating me to a couple of days away from London. Not only did myself and the other bloggers have the most relaxing evening, but we also benefited from a morning wellness workshop courtesy of Celynn herself. I returned to London feeling like a new woman, ready to take on the rest of the week. If you’re keen to find a little more wellness in your life, whether you’re travelling or not, check out Apex’s new podcast series, with lots of helpful hints from Celynn.

I received a complimentary 1 night stay at Apex City of Bath in exchange for this post. All views my own. Photo credit belongs to me unless otherwise stated.

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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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Sleep Hack Your Way to Better Recovery*

Sponsored Post in Association with Leesa* 

We all complain about being tired from time to time, but have you ever stopped to think about how your sleep is affecting your workouts, and your recovery from those workouts? I’ve teamed up with mattress company Leesa to share with you all how vital your sleep is for your health and fitness and, more importantly, how to improve your own sleep patterns.

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, welllness

During exercise, the body not only uses up its fluid and energy stores, it also breaks down muscle fibres throughout (oh that familiar DOMS pain). Refuelling and rehydrating are probably the first thing you think about post-workout, but do you think about how your body is going to recover overnight as well? It’s all well and good ensuring your body is replenished, but research suggests that sleep deprivation can decrease production of glycogen from carbohydrates. Glycogen storage is essential for energy production in the body, and if it’s not optimised, through lack of sleep, your post-workout nutrition becomes less beneficial.

Research also shows that lack of sleep increases your cortisol levels, the hormone linked to stress, meaning that during your activity, you could suffer from fatigue, low energy or irritability. Sleep deprivation in the long-term can also attribute to such complaints as depression, anger, confusion and mood swings.

So the solution is to get a great night’s sleep of course!! Around 8 hours is best, but talking from experience of crippling insomnia throughout my late teens and early twenties (and even sometimes now too), I know it’s not always as simple as that. I’ve learnt some techniques in my time to help me get to sleep, so I’m going to share with you my favourite sleep hacks, to help you get the best night’s sleep!

Make Your Room Your Sanctuary

Your room, and your bed, should be the most comforting place in your house. It needs to be a welcoming place where you feel calm and safe. Depending on your preference, you can go for crisp white, opulent deep shades, or like me, soft muted tones and pretty lighting. I try to keep my bedroom nice and tidy, I make my bed every morning (come on, simply pulling the covers over and straightening the sides takes literally 10 seconds) and change the bedding every week. Then, at night, I look forward to snuggling up in my little sanctuary of peace and tranquility.

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness

Plan Your Evening

If you need to go to sleep at 11pm in order to get a solid 8 hours of shut-eye, then getting off the sofa and beginning your bed-time rituals at 10.50pm isn’t going to work. You’ve got to do the washing up, tidy away any mess from the day, get your bags ready for the next morning, remove your make-up, wash your hair maybe…all this means you won’t get near your bed until 11.30pm or later. Plan these things earlier in the evening, and make getting into your cosy bed at 11pm on the dot your priority.

Unplug

Back when my insomnia was at its worst, I had a TV, DVD player, laptop, and phone all in my room. I would typically get into bed and finish some uni work, chat on MSN, check myspace (yes, I’m that old) and watch TV for another hour before actually trying to sleep. It’s no wonder that I would be awake until the early hours with my mind buzzing. I get that it’s not easy in a house share where you sometimes need to escape to your own room to watch your cheesy rom-com in peace, but these days the only thing that enters my bedroom is my phone. I use it as my alarm, but I do get annoyed with myself when I give it one last check before I turn my light off. Remove all those distractions, and ban yourself from checking your work emails/facebook/instagram after a certain time in the evening if you’re likely to over-think what you’ve seen.

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness

Write It All Down

If what’s keeping you awake is the endless train of thoughts that scurry through your mind, then try writing them all down. A diary, bullet journal, thought book, call it what you will, but writing down all those nagging thoughts, be they worrying, happy, silly or mundane, might just help to switch off your brain a little.

Stretch It Out

Now, I’m not suggesting throwing yourself into an hour-long yoga session just before bed, but some gentle stretches can be useful to unwind and prepare your body, and mind, for sleep. Try laying down with your legs up the wall, taking some gentle twists or forward folds before bed. You can even simply sit and take 10 deep breaths in bed before settling down. Yogic breathing can be helpful as the exhalation stimulates the nervous system to release and certain poses, particularly those with your head below your heart, can also help to relieve tension and relax.

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness

With all these sleep hacks in place, it’s also important that you’re comfortable in bed! Having the right mattress can make or break your sleep. I’ve been testing out Leesa’s mattress for the last month or two and I love it. It’s supportive and firm, but equally soft and  luxurious. With 5cm of cooling Avena foam on top of 5cm memory foam, it holds the body’s contours and relieves pressure without feeling too hard to sleep on. All of this on top of 15cm of durable core foam, I definitely feel a bit like the Princess and the Pea (without the actual pea of course) atop all this bedding! A good mattress definitely worth the investment. What’s great is that, with Leesa, you can try the mattress for 100 days, and if it isn’t working out, they will arrange for the mattress to be collected and donated to a charitable donation, offering you a full refund.

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness

Saying that though, I won’t be returning mine! You can grab yourselves a cheeky £50 discount on a Leesa mattress of your own using my link!

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness

This is a sponsored post in association with Leesa. All views my own, please see Disclaimer for more information.

Sources:

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/sleep-athletic-performance-and-recovery

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4008810/