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Green+Aquamarine: March 2014

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Review: Sweaty Betty Yoga Shorts and Vest

This week I was very excited to receive a package from Sweaty Betty after making use of their mid-season sale. I really wanted to treat myself to the now sold out Galaxy running capri's, but in the end I settled for the purple Bikram yoga shorts and Chaturanga yoga vest top.

To test these out, I practised a short yoga session (check out Sweaty Betty's Yoga for Runners video while you're on the website!) and did a few reps of this workout to see how they held up to sweat and  a variety of exercises.

Seriously need to stretch out my warrior two pose! xD
Bikram yoga shorts:
  • Coped well with more intense activity and sweat. I'd be happy to go running in these.
  • Really comfortable, regardless of exercise or pose.
  • Flattering fit with pretty side detailings.
  • Technical fabric feels like it is really working for you during your workout.
  • Fit is true to size
  • While I love the cut, some may find the shorts a little too small.
Chaturanga yoga vest top
  • Excellently cut piece, feels comfortable and technical.
  • Longer length suits yoga activities without swamping smaller proportioned yogi's
  • Shoulder straps are positioned between the shoulder blades for maximum arm movement.
  • Inner support is supportive enough not to need a light sports bra as well, useful for freedom of movement again.
  • The vest was smaller than I'd expected, so could have done with going a size up.
  • It's a minor detail, but it would be great if the top had light padding for modesty's sake.
The Bikram shorts are currently selling for £45.00. Sadly, the Chaturanga vest is sold out, but similar vests are available for £39.00-£55.00.


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Guest Post: MCS Could YOU Go Plastic Free?

Today I am introducing a guest post from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) Sea Champion's blog. MCS is a fantastic organisation that I believe in passionately. They work to protect our marine habitats and species as well as keeping our beaches and coasts clean and safe. Here, MCS interview Charlotte Gee:

Could YOU go plastic free?

Sea Champion Charlotte Gee, from Bristol, gives us an account of her first week living single use plastic free:

"I've made some dramatic changes in the first week of the challenge. I’m making home-made bread, refilling detergent bottles, opting for plastic free fruit and veg, getting cheese from deli counters and self-weighing dried foods like herbs and spices, coffee, dried fruit and even pasta. I take containers with me, as well as reusable bags when I go shopping now.” 

“I’ve even managed to find unpackaged loo roll from ScoopAway and The Better Food Company!

Is it easier or harder than you thought?
"It is certainly challenging and everything I buy has to be inspected, meaning the amount of time to do a food shop is doubled. Also planning where to go and what I need to get has to be thought out in advance. Luckily in Bristol we have some amazing shops that are very conscious about their ecological footprint, so most things I can get my hands on. I suppose I am just giving up convenience for a healthier lifestyle."

Plastic-free toothpaste has been a particular challenge though, so I’m going to make it myself!”

What has inspired you to take on this challenge?
" My main inspiration is the oceans and how they are a life support system to not only marine life but also land based organisms and us, the humans. The intense overfishing, degradation and general disregard of the oceans and its inhabitancy has really hit home for me.

“If I can make people more aware about the issue of plastics in our oceans then hopefully together we can make a difference and turn the devastating effects around.”

Will you continue after Lent is over?
Carrying on after Lent will be a natural progression I feel. I have really only just begun and already I have notice how reliant we are as a society on plastic, buying products unnecessarily wrapped in one-use plastic is not something I want to carry on doing. So if I can avoid it I will.

There are lots of ways to take part in the Plastic Challenge, find out more>>

Sea Champion Charlotte Gee during her first week of the Plastic Challenge!

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Monday, 17 March 2014

The Clean Eating Challenge

If you've ever taken a peak at my Instagram account you'll have seen some of my clean eating food posts. I've been trying to sort out my diet to support my body. To clue myself up, I bought myself James Duigan's Clean and Lean book.
Duigan explains how eating lots of CRAP food (caffeine, refined sugars, alcohol and processed food) builds the body up with toxins, putting added stress on the body. This made sense to me, since since the negative effect of all these products are already well recognized. While I'm not following this guide strictly as I am not dieting, I found the meal ideas and food swaps useful. The book is also filled with pictures of tanned women by the beach, which provoked as much jealousy as it did inspiration but hey...

I'm feeling extra motivated to eat clean at the moment, because I've pulled my calf muscle slightly, which means I need to let it heal by taking a break from running -boo! I think I injured it a couple of weeks ago from pre-run static stretches before I was warm enough to do so. Until then, I'm trying to make sure that I'm eating lots of lean proteins and "good" fats. In terms of exercise, I am doing a couple of extra yoga sessions at home per week, and I'm aiming to up my arms and ab toning and weight exercises to replace cardio.

 So how do you eat clean?

The idea behind this involves picking complex, nutrient-rich foods. Like many healthy eating trends, there is a focus on using proteins and clean fats to fill you up rather than simple, processed carbohydrates, such as sugary cereals. Nuts, seeds, avocados, leafy green vegetables, oily fish and lean meats are all recommended. Clean eating is not a traditional diet; it's about choice. So for me, I wouldn't cut out bread as much as suggested as it keeps me going throughout the day. On the other hand, I'm trying to eat less meat than suggested in the book, making up my protein content with nut milk, quinoa, and natural yoghurts.
Example meal day
Breakfast: Porridge or nut milk-based bircher museli with almonds and berries.

Snack: Carrot sticks, fruit, or a vegan energy bar.

Lunch Quinoa-based salad or avocado-topped oatcakes with fruit. If I'm at home I'll have scrambled egg on granary toast or soup.

Dinner is still something that on a weekday basis is a family based meal and is homemade. I always carry a water bottle on me, and drink green tea to keep my fluid content up.When I feel like I haven't had enough vegetables or need to cleanse my system I blitz up kale or spinach, lemon, celery and cucumber with some ginger to make a juice.

I'll be continuing to share posts on Instagram, so if you're also on a health kick, leave me a comment and don't forget to follow me to share inspiration and motivation.

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Review: Brooks Ravenna 5

Today I'm posting a review on my new running shoes. I've had a busy week, travelling up to Edinburgh and then having four science exams in three days, so using some saved money on these was definitely a treat. If you have a decent independent running shop near you, I would really recommend visiting rather than opting for buying online. You might not get as low a price, but unless you know exactly what you need this will ensure that you get the right shoes for your running style.
I run with a slight overpronation (my foot rolls inwards) and hit the ground with my midfoot, so I needed a shoe with some pronation support and flexibility.

As soon as I put the Ravenna 5's on, I knew I had found my new trainers. A quick run on the treadmill, and watching the video of me running back showed the high level of support in my stride.

Here's what I thought:

  • Good level of cushioning for road running.
  • Wider around the toe for extra comfort.
  • Light
  • The midsole is biodegradable, so less guilt when it's time for the trainers to be replaced!
  • I got a small blister on one heel, but a longer sock or a plaster easily solves this.

At £105.00 they're a little pricey, but I think they're worth it. Comment below if you know of any discounted companies that sell Brooks shoes!

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Saturday, 8 March 2014

Clean Energy Bars

Whenever I pass a shop selling unrefined energy bars, I just can't help but buy one. When it came to making them myself, I was shocked at how much sugar was in them. Unrefined or no, these bars may as well have been flapjacks. So, I blitzed up some dates into a purée, and got the amount of syrups down from an eye watering 200g to 75g. I think the results are delicious, and a healthy way to get your mid-afternoon sugar fix.

Clean Energy Bars (makes 12)
  • Dry ingredients:
  • 150g oats 
  • 70g rye flakes, ground to a flour in a food processor 
  • 170g mixed seeds eg chia sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, linseeds 
  • 70g flaked almonds 
  • 100g raisins cranberries, sultanas, or goji berries
  • 2 tbsp unsalted, pistachios 

  • 100g chopped dates
  • 100g coconut oil, melted
  • 5 tbsp honey, maple or agave syrup 
Preheat oven to gas mark 3/ 160'C. Line a 20cm x 20cm tin with greaseproof paper.
Lightly blizt each of the dry ingredients, except for the berries, in a food processor individually, but not too much so as to retain texture. Combine in a bowl and set aside. 
Now purée the dates in the blender, loosening with a tablespoon or two of water. Place the date purée in a large pan over a low heat. Slowly add the coconut oil until it has mixed in. Repeat with the honey or syrup. Stir in all the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
Pour into the tin, smoothing and compressing the mix out. Bake for 25-35 minutes, checking to avoid the mixture browning too much. Allow to cool before removing and cutting into bars.


Monday, 3 March 2014

Review: Ballet Bootcamp

This last month, I've been joining women across the country in participating in Sweaty Betty latest Get Fit 4 Free campaign, run with Sleek Technique. The body conditioning classes have been run in Sweaty Betty shops nationwide, whilst I've been working with the online version.
The forty minute class starts with surprisingly hardcore cardio work, and finishes with high-energy stretching, all with beautiful ballet poises and posture... sufficed to say, I felt very unelegant compared to Victoria and Flik who run the classes! After a couple of sessions I started to get the hang of the movements and improve my posture as the moves began to flow together. I'm used to ballet-style conditioning from my gymnastic and dance classes, but away from the barre, this really was a really good, tough workout.

My favourite section is where the cardio section moved towards stretching where you do a mixture of walking out planks from standing, and straight arm planks to downward dog. The playlist that Sweaty Betty has made for the class is pretty good as well, and I'd be happy to download it for other workout sessions.
There's still a week left to #GetFit4Free in store so have a look at the website for classes. The online version will stay on the website, so jump in and have a go.
All photo's from Sweaty Betty and Sleek Technique

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