This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Green+Aquamarine: September 2014

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Asana of the Week #9 Headstand

Headstand, Sirasana is often referred to as the "king of poses". It's also lots of fun! It is a good strengthener for the abdominal muscles, aids digestion, stimulates the pituitary gland and is calming to the brain.

I am showing two levels of difficulty here; with splayed hands supporting the neck, and with the more tricky elbow supported balance.

Firstly, sit on your knees, place your hands shoulder width in front of you, and place your head just beyond them, resting on the crown of your head. Carefully kick one foot then the other above your head using the abs to balance.

Slowly straighten the legs, hold for five breaths then gently lower yourself back down.

Next, return to your knees. This time, lace your fingers together and rest the forearms, shoulder width at the elbows, on the mat. Tip onto the crown of your head so that it is cradled by the hands. If you balance is really good, and you have a strong neck, you can cup the hands around your head. Lift your knees up again. This needs to be more controlled than in the first headstand. Ideally, try to raise both legs at the same time, using your muscles more than relying on momentum, which may topple you.

 Slowly extend the legs once more. Play around with balance -try slowly arching your back into a strong backbend, or stretch into inverted splits.

Each week, on  Tuesday I will share a pose and explain how to get into the position correctly. Then, I challenge you to try the asana, and tag me on Twitter (@EleanorMayC) or Instagram (@EleanorMay_C) using the hashtag #AsanaoftheWeek Comment below if you have got involved, and have fun!

Labels: , ,

Friday, 26 September 2014

Feeling Upbeat?

Getting protein in after a workout can be a tricky subject, particularly when trying to keep tabs on a clean ingredients list and not overloading on sugar. The few times that I have tried shakes from my gym, I have found them to be so thick and sweet that I wondered if I was undoing my hard work rather than promoting recovery. 

Upbeat have striped back the fuss with protein drinks, to create a product made of just three main ingredients: milk, fresh whey and fruit. The drinks have to be kept refrigerated and have a limited shelf life, so you know that you aren't consuming lots of preservatives. It does contain an acidity regulator, pectin and sucralose sweetener in very small amounts.

The bottles are 250ml which is a good portion size; the drinks come in at under 150 calories, with between 11 and 12 grams of sugar. These figures are a lot less painful to look at than most drinks, even so-called healthy options. Despite their small size, each bottle contains a solid 20 grams of protein, which seems to be the preferred quantity for most post workout protein bars. 

I tried the strawberry drink, but you can also try mango and passionfruit, and the new blueberry and raspberry. The drinks are quite sweet (honestly, I don't think the sucralose is necessary) but not sickly like other options, which was a relief. And, because fresh fruit puree is used, the drinks taste "real" rather than the plasticy artificial flavourings other drinks use. This week, the drinks have been particularly useful for me, because as well as getting me through workouts, they've been very nice on my Freshers' Week sore throat! 

Who are Upbeat drinks suitable for?
Anyone needing protein as part of their diet or as exercise nutrition, or a "bridge the gap" snack drink. The drinks are suitable for vegetarians, and those trying to have a lower chemical/fresh produce based diet.

Who aren't Upbeat drinks suitable for?
Vegans and lactose intolerant people can't drink Upbeat as it contains whey from milk and 8 grams of lactose per bottle.

*Disclaimer: I was sent vouchers and promotional products for Upbeat by the Good Whey Company. All opinions are my own.

Labels: ,

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Raw Treats

Okay, okay. A treat is a treat, so I can't quite label this post as healthy. But, there is a growing popularity in goodies that are slightly less "bad" one way or another -being (refined) sugar free, raw, vegan, or full of organic antioxidant goodness. After finding myself in a Tescos so huge that it had it's own health food and supplement section, and an actual brow waxing bar, I came across these bars and decided to have a try.

First is the Beyond Berry Bite. I bought this intsy little bar as an extra to try, although they are also available in larger sizes. These bars reminded me of the Nakd bars that are getting pretty popular (I talked about them here), being made mostly from dates and almonds. The acia wasn't my favourite flavour in the world, but the little bite sized bars would make for a nice pick me up on the commute home when you don't want to spoil your appetite *too* much.

Photo from Better Raw
Next up is the Om Bar with goji berries. I liked the mix of the dark chocolate with the warm, earthy fruitiness of the berries. The flavour is quite pronounced, so avoid if you don't like the after taste of goji berries. Om Bars are a raw, organic chocolate brand, specialising in interesting flavours and antioxidant rich chocolate. Many bars are also probiotic, giving them extra health brownie points.

The second Om Bar was my favourite of the entire haul. The coconut cream was blended into the chocolate itself, giving a smooth texture, although it lacked the really sharp snap that pure dark chocolate bars have. I absolutely loved the flavour, although as a coconut lover, it isn't too surprising. Again, having the dark chocolate instead of milk makes the difference in keeping the chocolate from being overly sweet.
Finally is the Bliss Bar. I had heard of these for a while now, but not really known what they were. This is a raw chocolate  ashwagandha and macs. It claims to be "immune stimulating, energy-giving and libido-enhancing" (just want you always wanted in a brownie, right?!) My mum wasn't too keen, but I quite liked the fudgy texture. The bar had a surprisingly fruity after taste (could have just been the goji berry bar hanging on, mind). The chocolate taste (derived from raw, cold pressed chocolate) is quite subtle, so don't be expected a rich chocolate brownie. But definitely worth a try if you're into eating lots of micro nutrients.

What healthy bars should I try next? Drop me a comment if you have any recommendations!

Labels: ,

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Recipe: Buddha Bowls

Recently, I bought Keep it Vegan by Aine Carlin as part of an ongoing attempt to reduce my reliance on meat (hey, the student budget don't allow for luxuries...) Lots of recipes caught my eye, but I most wanted to try the Buddha Bowls. I'd never heard of them before, but apparently they are something of a go to comfort meal for many vegans.

Photo by Aine Carlin via PeaSoup
The idea behind a Buddha Bowl is to cook wholesome vegetables, seasoned lightly, and mixed with grains such as rice, and then to eat the meal mindfully and appreciatively until you are satisfied. It's a nice concept, sounded tasty, so I thought that I'd give it a go.

There isn't any one set recipe for a Buddha Bowl -mix whatever vegetables cooked (or not!) in whatever form you prefer. Stuart and I stuck pretty closely to Aine's recipe though, when having lunch this week. We were really surprised just how good it was! Top marks.

Buddha Bowl - Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato,
  • 1 onion,
  • 1 red pepper,
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce,
  • 2 tablespoons rice or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
  • 2cm cubed of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 100g kale, torn into little pieces
For the rice
  • 100g rice (I used basmati and wild rice, but brown is also good)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cardamon pods or a small stick of cinnamon
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 star anise
Prep: preheat the oven to 200'C / gas mark 6. Tear off two sheets of tin foil, measuring around 40x50 cm.

Roughly chop the sweet potato, onion and pepper. Place equal amounts of the sweet potato on each sheet and top with onion, pepper and garlic. Mix the soy sauce, vinegar, oil, ginger and chilli powder together and sprinkle over the vegetables. Top with the kale and wrap the vegetables into sealed parcels. The kale will come out slightly crunchy being cooked this way, which is delicious. Cook on a baking tray for one hour.

Meanwhile cooked the rice. Peal off thick strips of the lemon zest and add to the rice, along with the spices (I like to pop these in an empty tea bag for easy removal later). Cook the rice according to packet instructions, using around 250ml water. 

After cooking, remove the spices from the rice and tip into two bowls. Add a Buddha parcel to each (open carefully -hot!) and serve.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Asana of the Week #8 Bow Pose

Each week, on  Tuesday I will share a pose and explain how to get into the position correctly. Then, I challenge you to try the asana, and tag me on Twitter (@EleanorMayC) or Instagram (@EleanorMay_C) using the hashtag #AsanaoftheWeek Comment below if you have got involved, and have fun!

This week's asana is Bow Pose, Dhanurasana and strengthens back muscles and improves posture.

Lie face down with your arms by your sides, palms facing up. As you exhale, bend the legs towards the hips, and reach with your hands to grip the ankles from the outside. The knees should not move wider than hip distance apart during bow pose.

Inhale and lift your thighs off the ground, and your heels away from your hips powerfully. Let the head and chest be pulled upwards into the pose. Draw your shoulder blades in together and down from the shoulders to open up the chest. Don't forget to breath! Take gentle breaths through your nose as you hold the asana for twenty to thirty seconds. Repeat once or twice more, then, lying on your back, hug the knees to the chest and rock back and forwards to massage the back.

See you on the mat next week!

Labels: , ,

Monday, 15 September 2014

Om Yoga Magazine: October

I loved reading through Om Yoga Magazine this month! There were so many interesting articles that I struggled to choose what to share with you. I decided to go for a slightly different post, and talk about a couple of the fantastic brands featured in the current issue.

First up are Buddha Pants -the pants that make you dance! From the US, they are a little similar to harem or guru pants, but the fabric extends so low that they give the illusion of a triangular skirt, making them really comfy. I love the fact that all Buddha Pants are made from organic cotton, and that the original design, the "Buddha" are a limited edition, with only 800 made. Buddha Pants have brought out a few new designs now, which come in the most amazing prints -I love the Savannah Flair in White Tribal.

Best of all, you can save on postage and packaging costs if you head on down to the Om Yoga Show on 24-26th October, as they have got a stand there.

Next up are the beautiful Mala intention beads by Mala Collective. Mala Collective is a partnership between Ashley and Matt from the US and Soma Temple, a rudraksha bead maker/jeweller from Bali. Rudrakshas (pronounced rud-ruck-sha) are actually seeds, believed to have originated when the god Shieva "cried tears of compassion" for man kind, and the rudraksha trees grew from his tears.

The beads are strung into necklaces and bracelets with healing gemstones, called mala beads, and are used in meditation. Each item has a specific intention based on the gemstones used -for example, turquoise is supposed to destroy hatred and promote love.

Regardless of whether or not you are religious, or believe in gemstones having healing properties, the beads remind you of your particular intention, and help to provide focus when counting the beads in meditation. I was drawn to the Prana Mala necklace, made with green adventurine. Prana means "vital life" in Sanskrit. I am also keeping an eye out for any necklaces or bracelets made with aquamarine and turquoise to remind me to be calm and optimistic through university, and to give me confidence about travelling to new places.

The beads are also known to be worn by Sting, Julia Roberts and Deepak Chopra himself, so you'll be in good company with these wonderful intentions.

Disclaimer: I am an Affiliated Blogger with Om Yoga Magazine. Each issue I will write a post on an article from the magazine and share it with you. Have a look here to find about the other lovely affiliated bloggers. Photos from this post from Buddha Pants and Mala Collective

Labels: ,

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Lush Soapbox Campaigns

Anyone interested in earth-friendly campaigns, cruelty free products or delicious smelling toiletries will have made their way to a Lush shop to stock up on products. I love how they provide a voice for organisations, and whilst looking at their website this week, I came across a petition by Protect Our Heritage on their Soapbox that rang strongly with me.

As a marine biology student, and environmental supporter, one of my greatest concerns is the health of our oceans. So reading an article potentially giving us the power to ban deep sea trawling was exciting, if humbling at the same time. Trawling is one of the most destructive forms of fishing; it rips up delicate sea beds, destroying the habitats to create underwater wastelands... which in turn, makes the area unsuitable for the marine life that is fished to survive. Stupid, right? Protect Our Heritage explains the current situation much better than I could:
The European Commission has proposed a ban on deep-sea bottom trawling, a practice described by scientists as the most destructive in History: huge weighted nets scrape the seabed at up to 1800 meters of depth and devastate in seconds ecosystems that are thousands of years old, while catching vulnerable species, some of which are endangered, in the process.
While UK fishing vessels do not target deep-sea species with bottom trawlers, foreign ships come and destroy the UK’s exceptionally rich marine biodiversity and clear-cut ecosystems that have taken thousands of years to form.
Industrial fishing lobbies put pressure on Member States of the European Union to avoid the prohibition of this fishing method, whose underperforming and subsidy-dependent business model belongs to the past. Currently, the UK government does not support the ban on deep-sea bottom trawling! This is unacceptable. Waters of England and Scotland should not be theater to the short-sighted massacre of 4000 year-old corals that are the equivalent of pyramids to Britain!

If this article has caught your interest, if you want to protect our seas and marine life, or even if you simply want to ensure the stability of fish stocks, please add your name to the petition. Every person makes a difference.

For further information, click here.

Labels: ,

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Sunny Seaside Days in Swanage

I spent a gorgeous late summer holiday down in Swanage in Dorest with some old friends last week. We rented out a pretty Victorian cottage with sea views for a final meet up before we all went our separate ways to university and work.
Photo by Sophie May and Zoë Newton
Swanage is a lovely seaside town that I used to visit fairly frequently when I lived in Wiltshire. I couldn't resist a morning walk on the first day to reacquaint myself with the area and enjoy the sunshine with my camera.

We had a few good beach days too, perfect for lounging with a good book. I also found somewhere that hired out stand up paddle boards, so I hopped on one for an hour. It's been ages since I was last on one (then clad in full length wetsuit to brave early summer Welsh seas!) and I fell in love with it all over again. It has a similar feeling of closeness to the water as surfing, but is good for exploring on days with little swell. I had a go at a little SUP yoga, running through some shaking sun salutations, and was surprised not to fall in holding a wheel pose!

Since the latest Sweaty Betty get fit for free challenge was running, I decided to do my one minute burpee challenge after a brave early morning swim with Katie! Possibly not my most dignified moment in a bikini...

As well as being my first stint at a girls' holiday, the week also served as a good practice run at living away from home -it is now less than two weeks until I start university! Gosh.

Photos by Sophie May
In all, it was a perfect week to spend time with everyone before new starts. I'm so grateful to have maintained a friendship with such wonderful people since moving. Here's to the next meet up!


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Asana of the Week #7 King of Dance Pose

Apologies for missing Asana of the Week last time -I was away and forgot to schedule a post, but I'll be sharing what I got up to later this week.

Each week, on  Tuesday I will share a pose and explain how to get into the position correctly. Then, I challenge you to try the asana, and tag me on Twitter (@EleanorMayC) or Instagram (@EleanorMay_C) using the hashtag #AsanaoftheWeek Comment below if you have got involved, and have fun!

This week is a balance; King of Dance Pose, Natarajasana. King of Dance Pose strengthens the legs, improves balance and stretches the upper back and shoulders.

Start in standing Mountain Pose. Ground the right foot, and bend the left leg back, so that the heel moves toward the hips. Catch the inner side of the foot with the left hand, and tilt forward, keeping your chest opened up skywards and the shoulder blades squeezed together. To protect the lower back, tilt the tailbone towards the floor and engage the ab muscles. Find a focus point to stare at to help maintain balance. Repeat on the other leg.
Photo from Shape
Level it up.
Want to improve flexibility more and hold the full pose? Instead of catching your foot with your hand, loop a yoga strap or strong belt around it, and bend the elbows up and behind the head, with both hands reaching back to hold onto the strap. Inch your arms as far down the strap as possible whilst maintaining the pose. Hold for five to ten slow breaths, and again, swap sides. Eventually, you may be able to discard the strap entirely and hold onto your foot or ankle by yourself.

Don't forget, that you could win a pair of weekend tickets to the Om Yoga Show here!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Om Yoga Show Ticket Giveaway

Exciting news on the blog this weekend. I am really happy to announce that Om Yoga Magazine has kindly offered me two sets of weekend tickets for the Om Yoga Show in London this October. The tickets are worth £54 each, and if you win, you can come along for all three days of the show, and bring a friend. 

The Om Yoga Show is one the largest, if not the largest, yoga event in the country and has now been running for ten years. You can attend workshops and classes, explore the stands runs by fantastic and innovative companies, stop for a healthy lunch before heading over to the Mind Body Soul experience. If you're curious about yoga, or are a passionate yogi, this event is a must see experience. For more details, have a look over at the website here:

To be in with a chance of winning, fill out the rafflecopter widget below
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Om Yoga Magazine: Positive Vibes

The latest issue of Om Yoga Magazine is out, and I couldn't wait to share it with you. One article that caught my eye was Positive Vibes. While a positive mindset is something that many magazines address, Om Yoga's take on it really appealed to me, as they suggested seven key steps to feeling good:

Stop comparing yourself to others
This one resonates so much with me; is it possible to get through school without a lingering sense of competition? Not to mention the daily influx of holiday photos, gifts and days out that are littered smugly across Facebook. To only compete with yourself is a huge release of pressure.

Give back to nature
How many of us can actually say that we had a childhood spent playing outside? I was lucky by many people's standards, but had far less freedoms with the outdoors than my parent's generation. Yoga teaches us to spend time in the countryside, but bringing some of the outdoors in, by way of flowers can bring a boost to your mood.

Give to others
Spending some time with older family members, volunteering at an animal centre, or just stopping to talk to someone will make a difference, both to you and to those that you help.

Take up art
This one is a big challenge for me: the closest I have ever got to be creative is baking. If you can, pick up some paints or pencils and get stuck in, and lose yourself in art. For me I like to sketch with words, thinking up storylines and character to write about.

You know that feeling when you're home alone and your favourite song comes on? If you've never danced like that before, go for it! It releases endorphins, makes you laugh and stops you from worrying about others opinions.

Focus on the present
One of the key lessons in mindfulness is to live in the moment. Dwelling on the past or worrying about the future is a recipe for stress. Meditation and mindfulness improve alertness and brain function too.

Look forward to something
That being said, having something in the future to look to, such as a holiday or concert can provide a mood boost and a new focus for you.

Don't forget that you can buy Om Yoga Magazine for a great price through my affiliate link here:
OM Yoga Magazine

Disclaimer: I am an Affiliated Blogger with Om Yoga Magazine. Each issue I will write a post on an article from the magazine and share it with you. Have a look here to find about the other lovely affiliated bloggers.

Labels: , ,

Monday, 1 September 2014

Sweaty Betty: the 30 Day Sweat Challenge

If you know me, you'll know that I love a good fitness challenge. And, with the start of a new month, comes the start of another challenge from Sweaty Betty. The 30 Day Sweat Challenge, run in association with Hiitgirl, aims to push your limits in fast-paced sessions. Since September marks the end of summer, this new challenge is perfect for fitting in with getting back to work and school routines, as none of the activities last longer than thirty minutes. Three times a week, the challenge asks you to join in with a half hour HIIT session with Hiitgirl. If you're lucky enough to have a local Sweaty Betty, you can join in to an in-store class. If not, head over here to follow the online workout.
As well as getting you covered in sweat, Sweaty Betty have filled the schedule with mindfulness, nutrition and extra challenges, to keep you completely healthy and motivated all month. With SB Ambassadors and campaign partners such as the Detox Kitchen and Neom Organics, the whole months looks set to be a fun challenge!
So what is HIIT? HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. It involves alternating high and medium intensity circuits to push your body and raise your heart rate to the max, in a fat-burning, muscle sculpting session. Hiitgirl is an initiative founded by Susan Dyson aimed at working every part of the modern woman's body, to create a strong physique in a workout that fits in with our busy days.

I'll be getting involved this month, so I challenge you to come and play, and take up the challenge with me. And remember... it's cool to sweat.

Labels: , ,