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Green+Aquamarine: January 2015

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

National Breakfast Week

This week, in the UK, it is National Breakfast Week, which this year aims to have us making small changes to make our mornings healthier. With this in mind, I thought I'd share a few of my personal favourites. I'm still quite a fan of fruity things for breakfast, although I do try to throw in some veggies as well. I actually wrote a similar post to this last year, which is here if you fancy seeing some other ideas, including juices and smoothie bowls! I'm giving some specific examples and recipes here, using meals that I have shared over Instagram over the last few weeks.


Carrot Cake Smoothie
I love carrot cake-inspired breakfasts, including this carrot cake porridge here. Here, I blended up a grated carrot, banana, around 100-150ml almond milk, two tsp goji berries (pre-soaked in almond milk), a teaspoon of chia seeds and almond butter and a pinch of both nutmeg and cinnamon. It was delicious, more like a treat than breakfast!

Smoothie and Chia layered Pudding
Possibly one of the coolest looking things I have ever made. This is a two step process. Firstly, make the chia seed and oat pudding by mixing 25g (1/4 cup) of oats with a tablespoon of chia seeds and 125ml (1/2 cup) of almond milk. Add in honey, cinnamon or vanilla extract to taste and leave overnight in the fridge, making sure that there is room for your smoothie on top. For the smoothie, I blended up some strawberries with frozen summer fruits and a banana. This should come out much thicker than a traditional smoothie and is nicknamed a "thickie" as it can be eaten with a spoon. Pour the  smoothie over the top of the chia pudding and either eat separately, or mix the two up!

Green Protein Smoothie
My final smoothie has already featured in my blog -for suggested variations and nutritional information, click here. In essence, I blend 100g (two handfuls) of kale or spinach with a banana and/or 1/2 avocado, 70ml almond milk and almond butter together. Natural sweetener and wheatgrass powder can also be added. I've started using Provamel's almond milk recently, which goes really well with the "green" flavours.

Hot Breakfasts

Avocado Porridge
It's no secret that I am a big fan of porridge. It's my go-to breakfast -smoothies are actually what I have after a gym session most days because I otherwise crave warm, comforting foods first thing when it is cold. Adding avocado was a new one to me though, but it really works. You slowly add water to oats and chia seeds in a pan to create a creamy base, adding in soft fruit such as peach or banana to gently cook through. Half a ripe avocado is added as a topping along with your choice of nuts and seeds. For the full recipe, see Honestly Healthy's recipe on Grokker here.

Mushrooms and Avocado on toast
Finally, for a savoury option, I have to use avocados again. The avocados are mashed with lemon juice, salt and pepper, while the mushrooms are gently cooked in a pan. If you eat dairy, cream cheese, or a small amount of cream really benefits the mushrooms as they cook. Alternatively, leave the mushrooms raw as well; they taste so good! Depending on your preference, use good quality whole grain bread, or choose a gluten/yeast free option. I like both, so switch between both types on any given week!

Are you cleaning up your breakfasts this week, or this year? Let me know below!

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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Filofax Organisation

Happy Sunday everyone! It has now been a whole month since Christmas, January Blues are slowly fading, exams are over and there is a hint of spring in our minds if not in the air. With everyone getting into the routines of the new year, now seems to be a good time to get organised. For the last three or four years, I have been using a filofax as my diary and planner. It's primary job is educational; but I also find it useful for personal and blogging use. I can work out when to squeeze in a workout between my ever-changing lectures, and can keep on top of my sports clubs and societies. Although my university timetable is easily available to me on all my devices electronically, I still prefer the traditional approach of a paper organiser.

I went a bit made in Paperchase recently to fill my filofax to bursting point. I use a personal sized organiser, which I find is perfect; easily transportable but still with enough room to fill in lots of detail and not have me squinting at a tiny page. There are lots of little pockets in the cover, useful for storing cards, notes and spare passport style photos. I bought a zip pocket to pop in extra organisational tools such as sticky notes and pens. My main pen is also from Paperchase; having a proper pen with a pretty design adds a nice touch I think, and the lid-free design avoids ink spills.

My whole organiser is divided into useful sections, starting with my diary. This year, I have a diary with a week on two pages. It saves a lot of room, although I did like the space of having a day per page. In the next section I have to-do lists, followed by a notepad. I transfer any notes and my current to-do list to my diary so that each week I can see my tasks whenever I check my timetable. The notebook takes up most of the planner space but ensures that I always have some paper on me for shopping lists and lecture note-taking. I also have a world map and address section, which is really useful.

Some dates can be moved around, so I'll write things that aren't set in stone onto a small sticky note. They are also useful for flagging up weeks with important dates by being stuck sticking out slightly. When planning blog posts, I use sticky notes. It is a good way of seeing how evenly spread your posts are.

My organiser is definitely one of the most useful things that I own; I have always preferred it to the planners given to me in school. Definitely much easier to add mementos to than anything electronic or digital, and somehow more satisfying. Now, to take on the new semester's modules...


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Book Review: Eat Pretty

Eating healthily used to bring up images of thin, soggy salads and limited joy. Fortunately, there has been a surge in make clean eating appealing and Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty Inside and Out by beauty editor Jolene Hart is no exception. For anyone interested in eating healthily or nutrition, this will be a hit. The food facts are often fairly well known, but with a beauty-based spin on the recipes, ideas and tips given. The beauty foods are largely plant-based, although eggs and fish both feature.

The book itself is a gorgeous addition to a coffee table or bookshelf with the water colour front cover, and elegant design which continues through the book. The contents are divided into Rethink Beauty, Four Seasons to Eat Pretty; and The Essential Beauty Players. In Rethink Beauty, Hart explains the difference between what she dubs Beauty Betrayers and Eat Pretty foods. As you'd expect, Beauty Betrayers are the foods that make your skin come up in spots and sensitivity, make your gut bloated, and generally leave you feeling run down. Eat Pretty food are, of course, all the fresh, healthy produce that will leave you feeling lighter, more energised and clear skinned. Hart looks at these negative-effect inducing foods and explains why they cause problems, such as gluten, sugar, BPA, dairy and overcooked foods. Like many health writers today, Hart explains the importance of each macronutrients -carbohydrates, proteins, and fats -but also lists the benefits of vitamins and micronutrients such as zinc.

Four Seasons to Eat Pretty gives suggestions on what to eat throughout the year. Obviously this varies based on where you are, but it gives a few good ideas on what might be locally in your shops. Seasonal food undeniably tastes better as it hasn't had to be picked before it is fully ripe and shipped hundreds or thousands of miles. It helps you to eat the foods that are suited to the seasons that you are in. After a winter of eating rich, comforting foods, spring is the perfect time to detoxify the liver with lots of the fresh greens that are starting to grow with the rising temperatures. Expanding from the nutrients list of the previous chapter, Jolene Hart suggests foods to eat for each season and to keep stocked up on, with the benefits of each listed. For each season, a few sample recipe ideas are suggested.

The final section looks "beyond the plate" talking about sleep, stress and healthy digestion (which is often overlooked) and how to make sure that these factors optimise your health and beauty rather than reduce it.

Some of the research has had reports recently published, which adds weight to Hart's book, particularly in relation to acne. However, I can't conclusively say that every single claim made in the book does have a corresponding area of proven research to it, so listening to and feeling how your body reacts to the food is also important. Gluten, for example, divides many people. If you are truly allergic to gluten, then of course you have to avoid entirely. However, most people have a degree of intolerance ranging from negligible to very sensitive. In this case, go with what you feel is best for you, and this is may vary day-to-day.

Overall, this is a really lovely book; great as a gift. It helps to help you to stay positive about eating clean and healthy, as well as understanding some of processes behind how food affects your body. Pop it where you can see it next to some flowers to keep you reminded of your Pretty Eating aims. Big thank you to my friend Sophie who kindly bought me this read!

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Monday, 12 January 2015

How to get into Running

I love running. Unfortunately, I really, really, don't like getting myself dressed and out of the house to go on a run. And I'm definitely not alone! Going out for a run is fantastic for your body. It is an excellent way of getting cardio training in, and the way that your feet pound the pavements and tracks is great for building up bone density. Like all exercise, running helps to fill your body with endorphins, supporting your mental as well as physical health. Plus, it is a free form of exercise for those of without a gym membership. I also believe the exercising outside is really good for you, in terms of getting fresh, clean air into your system, challenging different muscles with uneven terrain and stimulating your brain.

Despite all these benefits of running isn't the easiest thing to get into; it requires a lot of motivation until habit kicks in. So today, I have assembled five top tips for keeping going!

I used to hate the idea of morning runs, but now I find it is my favourite time to go. By running as soon as you get up, you don't have the thought of exercise looming on you all day and the AM sweat should help to keep you alert all day. Alternatively, work your run around your daytime schedule. Do you have a decent lunch hour in which you could squeeze in a run, or is threading up the trainers straight after work more appealing? Try a few different times out, and stick to one if possible.

Don't do it alone
You will have all heard this one a few times, but I really do find that having a friend working out with you makes a huge difference. You motivate (or guilt!) one another to go out, and you work as each other's pacemaker. There are also group events all over the country. Parkruns are becoming increasingly popular, where 5km runs are held every Saturday. They have also started 2km junior park runs for the under 14's. Look out for running groups local to you as well. Many have classes of different abilities, and the location may also moves, so you're less likely to get bored.

New Kit
If you're feeling nervous about going for a run, don't make yourself feel worse in a pair of uncomfortable, see-through leggings and a baggy top. You first priority (once you've committed to running) is to buy some good trainers. Seek a proper running shop to get fitted with shoes that suit you foot and running gait, but set a budget. If you live in the Leeds area, Up and Running are hosting a competition to win a Ā£100 voucher, which could buy you some new shoes or kit!

Good-looking sportswear is becoming increasingly accessible. Head to supermarkets or TK Maxx for budget options, or online shops such as Achilles Heel for discounted Nike and Asics kit.

This doesn't work for everyone, but consider putting aside money for every run that you go on. When you reach your goal amount of runs (have a target per month to make it more challenging!) treat yourself. For example, now that you're a seasoned runner, perhaps you'd like to buy a pair of beautiful technical leggings? I blogged about Sweaty Betty's new SS15 collection here if you are looking for inspiration. Having your reward based around running will help to keep you motivated to keep going. Alternatively,spa days, or manicures are good if you like to feel pampered.

Sign up to an Event
Commit to running by getting yourself on a race. Race for Life is good to start with, as you can choose a 5km or 10km, and getting involved with a charity is a great motivator. If you're feeling more adventurous, sign up to an obstacle course, or even a zombie run?! These events are fun, and you may find yourself with a new PB as you get immersed in the action.

I hope these tips helped and that you have a healthy and happy 2015!


Friday, 9 January 2015

Sweaty Betty SS15 Collection

The January sales are finally being cleared up, which can only mean that it is time for the spring collections to be launched. I was very excited to receive an email from Sweaty Betty with a preview of the new collection earlier this week. Heralded by the arrival of new catalogues landing on doormats this weekend, the full collection is now online and in store. And I am drooling.

In contrast to last season's edgy, urban prints, Sweaty Betty has turned to softer patterns and colour palette this season. Transformation has been the key word in inspiring the collection, with butterfly patterns featuring in many of the pieces. Side panel details and soft mesh fabrics build on the theme to create a soft, yet powerful look. Some transformations can be seen on the website itself, with the popular Inspiration section becoming more detailed and interactive for shoppers.

Sweaty Betty has teamed up with the English National Ballet for it's Dance Statement collection. Layering pieces and crops have been added for adaptable workout clothing, with slogan tops and jumpers adding a relaxed slant.

The Yoga Statement is my personal favourite collection of the season, with aubergine colours and beautifully detailed tops. Many of the Sweaty Betty leggings, such as the Urdhva Yoga Leggings (which are also reversible!) are 100% opaque and undergo rigorous testing in order to ensure this. So no oops moments this spring!

The best-selling Zero Gravity running tights have also been updated with an eye-catching new pattern and is now available in three leg lengths -a relief for petite runners like me and longer legged girls alike. The Heart Rate Merino Run top from the Run Pro collection takes the changeable British weather into consideration and is also reflective to keep you safe on dull mornings and dark evenings.

There looks like there is going to be lots in the collection to treat yourself to, or to start adding to wish lists. You can see the full collection here.

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Monday, 5 January 2015

Veganuary: Taking up the Challenge

Veganuary is a 30 day challenge where participants go vegan during January. This is the third year that the Veganuary has been running and it is more popular than ever. Although primarily focused on reducing animal cruelty, the campaign also focusses on how veganism positively benefits the environment and potentially your health. I had considered doing a vegan food challenge before, and as soon as I heard about Veganuary, I knew I had to get involved.

From the 10th of January to the 10th of February I will be attempting to eat vegan for a month. Although I don't plan on becoming vegan full-time, I do want to reduce my reliance on animal products, especially milk-based products, which often come from a very intensive industry. My main reason for wanting to cut back on animal produce is to reduce my environmental and carbon footprint, although reducing animal cruelty and improving my own health are also very important to me. I am hoping that by going vegan for a month, I will reduce my dependancy on animal products, especially chocolate and cheese (the usual suspects!). I'll do my best to avoid honey and eggs as well, although I personally don't have an issue with eating these products so long as I know where they have been sourced.

Veganism can be pretty daunting in the kitchen department, but luckily, Veganuary has lots of recipes, all organised by region. You can also search by lifestyle including low-budget and weight loss, so you'll be sure to find plenty of recipes that suit you. I have been eating pretty much vegetarian whilst at university and didn't actually miss eating meat at all, so I am looking forward to seeing how I find cutting out dairy.

See my post on Aine Carlin's Buddha Bowls here

As diets diversify, it is getting even easier to find interesting vegan recipes. With bloggers like Aine Carlin from peasoupeats getting books published and instagram hashtags such as #veganfoodshare and #vegansofig new recipes are at your fingertips.

Veganury is currently up and running so why not make a difference and get involved? You might be surprised

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Saturday, 3 January 2015

Om Yoga Magazine: January/February

I find something very refreshing about the New Year's issues in magazine. They're often full of new ideas, delicious recipes and a fresh approach. This edition of Om Yoga magazine was no exception, featuring motivational articles and new intentions for 2015.

Bethany Plantanella wrote a particularly inspiring piece, Love Your Body, about daily yoga practice. Plantanella talks through her morning routine, starting with hot lemon water before moving onto sun salutations and full yoga practice. It brought forwards an idea of a calm, appreciative morning that struck a cord with me. She has made her practice part of her daily routine, which is really inspiring.

I also loved seeing Balini Sports being featured. Balini sports is a premium yoga brand that uses lightweight, eco friendly fabrics. Some eco friendly brands have a fairly limited stock, whereas Balini  has an impressive range of beautiful yoga wear. The brand originally started when the founder, Ada Hung, wanted to create high quality yoga clothing, including sports bras for the bigger busted yogini. Balini works with the same teams as Lululemon and Adidas, putting it in very good company.

The attention to detail in the clothes, especially the leggings is beautiful and would definitely inspire me to get on my mat. I'm going to be restarting gymnastic next semester after many years since training properly and these pieces look perfect for the movements required as I learn how to tumble again! The diva leggings ($89.99, see above) would also work for dance and barre classes with their stay-put stirrups, while the vests and sports bras are made for layering. I'm sold.

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. All photos in this post taken from the Om Yoga magazine. 

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