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Green+Aquamarine: June 2014

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Northumberland Glamping

Hello! So earlier this week, I went glamping for the first time for my Mama's birthday. Glamping is essentially luxurious camping. You're still off-grid and outside, but your tent -or in my case a yurt -is already set up on decking, with comfy beds and home comforts. There is a certain feeling of cheating to it, but other than that, glamping it is rather nice.

We stayed with Wild Northumbrian, which was really fantastic. You had to cross over a little rope bridge to get to the yurt, which was decorated beautifully -I want my next bedroom to look like this! All the paisley prints and throws were so appropriate and the tea lights decorating the interior kept the space light late into the evening.

On the first evening, we headed up (and up) to the Kielder Observatory. Northumberland is in an area of protected dark skies so is fantastic for star gazing. Architecturally, the observatory is visually really appealing, looking completely unique to most dome-shaped observatories and is very suited to the natural forested landscape. Sadly, I couldn't manage to get any photos, but I saw Saturn and Mars through the two telescopes, which was really impressive.

Being so close to the summer solstice, the sky never got completely dark. This photograph was taken at midnight:
The next day was spent getting very muddy on a 26 mile bike ride around Kielder Water. It was tough going, especially when I had to swap my hybrid bike for the heavy hired mountain bike to give Mum a rest, but it was really fun! It was a bit moody, a drizzly at points, but an old pair of Nike Dri Fits capris and my Sweaty Betty Athlete top kept me comfortable. Even when I wasn't wearing my jacket, I felt pretty dry, so I was really impressed with Sweaty Betty for that, and I'll be investing in some new Nike Dri Fit in the future.

We stayed for two days, and I would definitely go back again. After all the stress of exams, having a few days out was priceless. To take things slowly, eat outside, read books again was wonderful.
Have any of you tried glamping? Comment below!

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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Get Fit for Free

One of the biggest barriers often cited to keeping fit is the cost of classes and gyms. It has certainly stopped me from taking out memberships over the last couple of years. So this blog post is all about keeping your change firmly in your yoga pants pockets.

Running has always been the first thing that I have turned to whenever I've had a sluggish few months and have wanted to get back to being fit again. And honestly, I find running outdoors is so much better than being stuck on a dull tredmill. The nature of going around a route forces you to keep going and get home, and with changing scenery the whole experience is much more enjoyable. There's a certain amount of will power required initially, but the result is so rewarding, and you'll quickly be hooked.

Online Fitness
In my Ballet Bootcamp review, I talked about the free classes run Sweaty Betty. These workout videos are taught by professionals, can be done in the safety of your living room, and are really good fun. I think a few other fitness brands do these, saving you from paying subscription fees.

Next is YouTube! Who doesn't use YouTube when looking for a tutorial on just about anything? If I'm looking for something new, I'll search for the type of workout that I want (eg Short arm workout with weights) and see what comes up. Otherwise, I'll check in to my favourite fitness YouTubers, such as Carly Rowena, Karena and Katrina or Blogilates.

Local Events
Keep an eye out for free fitness classes. Sometimes sports centres run free weeks, to get people involved, or sports shops like Sweaty Betty and Reebok (if you live in London) run free classes every week. Local running or cycling clubs are often free as they are usually organised by like-minded people. Doing something in a group brings structure and is great for keeping motivated. My local running club picks new routes every week, and has a beginner's night for the less confident.

Quick Tricks
According to the New York Times, 80% of jobs are classed as sedentary or light activity-based. As a result, adding small exercises throughout your day can make a big difference. I like squats whilst cooking, press ups whenever the computer freezes... it's really up to you. I heard of a woman who kept dumbells in the bathroom. Dedication or what?

Apps are everywhere now aren't they? How many times have you heard the phrase "There's an app for that"? And when it comes to fitness, there really are. The most popular out there has to be Nike Training App. I haven't used it myself, but there's supposed to be lots of exercises that you can tailor into full workouts. I'm forever switching between apps to keep things interesting, but I love Authentic Yoga (Deepak Chopra). You can follow or build routine, and each pose is properly explained, including the benefits of the Asanas.

Make a Day Out of It!
Finally, I would suggest adding in an active day every now and again. Walking is easy and completely free -apart from any cups of tea bought on the way! -and  it is such a good way to explore new or familiar settings. Bike rides are a real blast, and you'll amaze yourself by how far you can go. Much of my childhood memories are of cycling along the canal, up the famous Caen Hill Lochs and back home again, supplied with picnics or pub lunches. This week I cycled 26 miles around Kielder Water and it was such a rewarding, fun, challenge. When you're at the beach, go swimming or muck around with a volley ball on the sand. Get friends involved; the important thing is to have fun. The possibilities are endless.

If you want to win Ā£350 of home-gym equipment, share your free fitness tips in a blog post, adding the link below. The competition is generously run by Legal and General, so don't forget to add the link and let them know that you've entered.



Saturday, 21 June 2014

York Food Festival

I wish more food markets were like the food festivals that I've visited and worked at during the last few months. It is a real pleasure to walk through streets full of artisan stalls and great pans full of sizzling world food. I finally finished my A Level exams so I decided to head into York and spend some time browsing in the Friday sunshine.

It was good to see a mix of businesses that feature in local shops and my town's local monthly Food Lover's market. There's been a definite trend for oil traders at food markets recently, including Yorkshire RapeseedOil, while the Olive Shop added dried fragrant herbs and pastes to their repertoire. There were also a lot of venison burgers around the place, which, had I been hungrier, I definitely wouldn't have said no to!

I had a make up lesson in preparation for my Leaver's Ball next week, so to keep me going I headed to the Filmore and Union stall. I love this business, for which I am a fairly regular customer at their railway station branch on my way home. Filmore and Union specialises in pure healthy food, providing fresh juices, salad pots and gluten free treats to suit a wide customer base. I switched my usual Raw Energy juice (broccoli, cucumber, spinach, apple and lemon) for the new Summer Love juice (pineapples, strawberries, mint and lime), with an acai berry shot. This was absolutely gorgeous.

 Being in such proximity, it was good to see seafood stalls. The presence of a real smoked kipper stall was comforting as the last historical smokehouse in Whitby was damaged last year by landslips. The strong smell definitely wasn't for the faint hearted though!  

There were a few more artisan alcohol and liqueur stands too this year, which is always interesting. I stopped for a chat and sample at SLOEmotion, which is a family favourite. They produce a variety of rich gins, whiskeys, brandy's and vodkas flavoured with summer and autumnal fruits, suited for digestifs and cocktails. They've also done a take on Pimms No. 7 which I really enjoyed. 

The whole market had a decidedly yellow theme to it as we are now just two weeks from La Tour de France starting it's Grand Depart in Yorkshire. The whole city has been covered in yellow bunting and flowers in recognition of the event, with spray painted bikes tied to ever street corner. It's good to see the county getting so involved in something like this, and it paired nicely with the Food Festival's summery appeal.

York Food Festival is running until 29th June, so if you are in the area, I would definitely recommend a visit.

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Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

It has been a scenario that I am sure you are all familiar with: exams. For the last month or so, my friends have been reaching the end of A Levels, IB and university finals, and now tomorrow will be my turn. I must say that I am relieved after months of hard work. I have memorised countless death tolls of natural disasters and the trends of the Tricellular Model in geography and can work out various equations relating to period 3 elements from chemistry.

Last month we officially left Sixth Form. Despite only being there for two years, it was a strange morning of bittersweet laughter as we prepared to move on to pastures new, leaving the familiar behind. The common room got completely reorganised with tables stretching down from the servery to the sixth form office, with balloons and bunting everywhere. Whilst watching a slideshow of photographs from the last two years, the entire year group sat down to enjoy a final brunch complete with virgin mojitos and Buck's Fizz. Naturally, final goodbyes were said at the local pubs afterwards.

And now from tomorrow I'll have a full summer ahead of me... I have to say, I really can't wait to get blogging properly again. I have a few trips planned too keep me busy, so I will be keeping you all in touch.

And now I shall get the laptop turned off for the evening ready for tomorrow's early start -I'll blog again when I'm on my summer holidays!


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

June Yoga Challenge

Two weeks on Friday until exams our over! To keep revision from getting me stuck in too much of a rut, I have decided to take on a yoga challenge this month. I am taking part in #StepbyStepYogis to challenge myself with my postures.
Now that the sun is (occasionally) coming out again, I am really enjoying being able to take a brief break from working by a desk to stretching out on the lawn. Over the last few months I have started to see some improvement in my strength and flexibility, so I am hoping to focus on balance this month -for a one-time gymnast mine is atrocious!

Step by Step Yogi's is being run by the lovely  
  • @getfityogagirl 
  •  @yoga_lovely 
  •  @bellaellaful 
  •  @chrisfloats 
  •  @shawna_turner  
  • @superhumanyogi  
  • and @rivkayoga

So far, we're four days in, so there is plenty of time to get involved if you want a challenge this month. Have a peak over at my Instagram. I'll be posting up videos too when I can, so I'd love it if you could take a look.

This one is for Sam of Planet Bake Life.... all the times where I couldn't hold my pose until the camera clicked! #YouveJustBeenOuttaked