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Green+Aquamarine: July 2015

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Fitkit: The Bestseller's Edit

Sometimes the lure of shopping gets stronger than usual and I start making hypothetical wish lists to get spending off my mind! After receiving a few restock emails recently, I started thinking about bestselling items, and what makes an item become a must-have, hero product. A combination of design and functionality comes together in a sports bra or pair of leggings and, perhaps with a little endorsement from a popular blogger, something of a sell-out frenzy starts! Today I am sharing some of the items that I think have become exceptionally popular, which may perhaps inspire you to build your luxe workout wardrobe... or alternatively, to strive towards uniqueness!

Bestseller's Edit

  1. Rockall compression tights, £85, Vie Active, at Active in Style. The 7/8th length version are at the top of my list! With a top-quality compression fit, fierce pattern and flattering dark colours, it is easy to see why these leggings have become a sell-out.
  2. Hey Girl water bottle, £22, Lorna Jane at Active in Style. This huge (1 litre!) bottle won't spill, is BPA-free and motivating. Pricy, yes. But worth it? It seems so.
  3. Hair ties, £7.50, Hey! Hola at Hip and Healthy. These knotted hair ties are a must have from the United States for both in the gym, and out.
  4. Existence run shorts, £42, Lorna Jane at Active in Style. As the weather (hopefully) heats up, or we get our sweat on on holiday, shorts are a must-have. The print on this pair is just too pretty to pass up.
  5. Pacesetter running tunic, £32 (sale price), Sweaty Betty. The pacesetter top features every season at Sweaty Betty, made popular by it's quick-drying properties, headphone port and mesh detailing. At full price, this vest retails at £65.
  6. Vimsa yoga leggings, £80, Sweaty Betty. Another staple design, this particular colouration will be available for the up coming season. These leggings are reversible, 100% opaque and ultra-comfy. It is worth keeping an eye out when the sales come around for a bargain, if you don't mind missing out on the latest colour variation.
  7. Spectra bra, £38, Alo Yoga at Hip and Healthy. Cult brand Alo Yoga have produced one of the prettiest yoga bras ever. With a simple and dainty cut, this bra won't impede deep stretches and binds, but is best suited to small to medium chests. With mesh details, this bra can keep up with fast yoga flows and spin classes.
Does an item being listed as a bestseller give you the confidence to buy, or encourage you to seek more unusual options in order to stand out? Comment below, and give me a shout if you have tried any of these items! 

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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Natural Beauty: Lavender Toner

Despite it's somewhat granny-ish associations, I have always loved lavender. Mum has always had a few plants growing in various gardens as long as I can remember, and the heady scent of the flowers, so much brighter than in toiletries, always goes straight to my head. Lavender is famous for it's calming properties, but also boasts a wide choice of benefits when used in natural beauty products. It is both antifungal and antibacterial, acts as a bug repellent, calms inflamed skin, and is also an effective acne treatment. So, when I saw a recipe for a lavender skin toner in Simple Things magazine, I knew I had to give it a go.

I would recommend using fresh lavender if at all possible -I can't comment on the potency of using dried flowers. You'll need a hob top espresso percolator -buy an inexpensive one just for making herbal infusions rather than having the coffee and floral scents taint one another!


  • Fresh lavender flowers
  • Cider vinegar (raw if possible)
Pack the flowers into the base of the coffee percolator and top up with water. Screw on the top part on firmly (no need for the middle filter part) and place over a hot hob to boil. This creates a hydrolsol, a semi-concentrated floral water. Immediately pour into a heatproof, sealable container and allow to cool.

To make the toner, mix 100ml of the hydrolsol with 25-50ml of the cider vinegar. Apply to a cotton pad and wipe over your face between cleansing and moisturising. 

If you have any hydrosol or toner going spare, use as a light cleaning spray for your yoga mat. Just wipe over and allow to dry before rolling the mat back up!


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Getting my Protein Fix with MyProtein

I have to say, I am fairly new to the protein and supplement scene. As someone with an interest in fitness, getting my protein in is definitely important to me, but I have mainly been getting this from dietary sources, and have potentially not been meeting my daily requirements. So, when MyProtein offered to send me a few products to try and review, I was definitely interested! I thought I would share some ways to get extra protein into your day.

MyProtein, review, protein, supplements, weightlifting

I always look towards plant based sources where possible, so I was pleased to find a mix of pea, hemp and rice protein powder together and, moreover, in a chocolate flavour. Whey protein powders get all the interesting flavours so this was pretty exciting. Although I am used to less than sweet taste of pea protein, MyProtein also sells flavdrops, which a perfect for those of you new to vegan powders. The flavdrops are very concentrated and just smell amazing. For a filling protein shake, blend a 30g scoop of protein with almond milk, a banana and some toffee flavdrops if desired. The mini protein shakers from MyProtein are the perfect size for one portion to take on the go with you.

MyProtein, review, protein, supplements, weightlifting

I love, love pancakes for breakfast! (who doesn't?!). MyProtein's pancake mix uses whey protein and golden syrup flavouring, making it perfect for after a morning workout. Stuart and I enjoyed a lazy Sunday brunch of fruit and honey-topped pancakes and it kept me going for absolutely hours. It reminded me of the Betty Crocker pancake mix that I used to use whenever it we had pancakes, needing only liquid adding to it, and then being good to go. Super easy. If you prefer making pancakes from scratch, then adding a scoop of protein powder to your preferred pancake recipe may be more up your street.

MyProtein, review, protein, supplements, weightlifting

For protein on the go, MyProtein has created the surprising snack of protein-rich bread sticks. Rich in olive oil, these little morsel's are 30% protein and are just perfect with sun-dried tomato flavoured hummus. They are great to pop in your desk or bag for when you need a little something to keep you going. I had some alongside strawberries from a pick your own farm in the middle of a bike ride. It was a perfect way to refuel and get ready for the next ten miles of cycling! Warning: you'll need scissors to get in to the bag if you don't want to tear it in two whilst on a picnic!

You can see the whole range of MyProtein's women's fitness range here. How to you get your protein intake each day, or do you focus on other aspects of nutrition?

Disclaimer: I was sent a selection of MyProtein products for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Sunday, 19 July 2015

Strawberry Fields

Pick your own fields leave me reminiscent of childhood days spent getting appropriately mucky whilst picking a glut of fresh fruit. The juicy British berries, available for only the shortest amount of time, are all undeniably better tasting when sun-warmed, and picked at the very peak of their ripeness. Classic strawberries, raspberries and red currents can now be enjoyed alongside American blueberries and unusual white pine berries, amongst other delights. It has been a long time since I visited a PYO farm, with home-grown berries only occasionally supplementing the market- and shop-bought fruits.

PYO, organic, strawberries, british, wholefoods

Stuart and I decided to relive this nostalgic practice, and hopped on our bikes for a twenty mile-round trip in search of strawberries. It was almost the perfect day for cycling; just a little blustery, and we arrived hungry. The remote farm in the Yorkshire Moors was surprisingly busy, with ladies taking a break at the tea rooms, and young families carrying buckets filled with fruit. Stuart and I opted for a modest punnet, and spent a few lazy minutes picking out the ripest of strawberries to buy, before making a lunch out of them with wrap breads and almonds and gooey dates.

The remainder were securely packed into my wicker bike basket and eventually found their way into a big jug of Pimms for the family that evening!

PYO, organic, strawberries, british, wholefoods

PYO, organic, strawberries, british, wholefoods

It feels like a practice from a bygone time now, but if you have the time, why not spend a half hour or more stocking up on fresh British berries to enjoy? If you can't eat your berries straight off the bush, PYO farmer John Sinclair recommends taking "berries out of the fridge well before you eat them. Like a good red wine, their flavour and aroma are best appreciated at room temperature".

With a recommendation like that, I am sure it won't be long before I am foraging for local fruits again.

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Adidas and Recycled Ocean Plastic Trainer

Today I am sharing one of my favourite collaborations... ever. It isn't often that my passion for the oceans and protecting the planet gets to go hand in hand with fitness, but then a pair of prototype Adidas trainers were presented at a UN and Parley conference. And with that, my dreams came true.

Adidas, Parley, Sea Shepherd, Ocean Plastic

Sea Shepherd, a marine conservation organisation, collected ocean plastic whilst on a 110 day expedition that tracked illegal poaching ships that Adidas then crafted into beautiful trainers. I truly love the aquamarine netting finish on the shows; the design is so fluid and sleek.The prototype is part the range of Ultra Boost shoes, an energy-returning running shoe that is Adidas' answer to Nike's Free Runs. You can get your hands on the rest of the Ultra Boosts now, but there is no confirmed release date for the prototype, or if they will be released. However, from early next year, Adidas will begin incorporating recoiled plastics into their shoes.

The trainers mark the beginning of Adidas and Parley's partnership to create more sustainable fitness wear. One of the aims of Parley is to make positive differences to the plethora of issues that face our oceans today, by utilising art and creativity.

“We need to defend diversity on land and in the sea and we need solutions, and these solutions can only be realized by harnessing the imaginative side of human culture – the arts.”

I cannot even begin to highlight the importance of preserving our oceans. The nature of currents mean that much of our plastic waste ends up in one of five vortexes or "islands" of plastic, just floating in the middle of the ocean. On top of that, plastics are broken down into tiny mircoplastics, which get eaten by small animals, move up the food chain until we end up consuming them. Plastic for lunch? That is a scary thought.

Whilst these shoes are by no means an ultimate solution to plastic waste, turning plastic from waste into a resource completely turns traditional thoughts on their heads. To my mind, it is exactly what we should be doing.

I would really urge you to take a look at Parley's website. It is a real eye-opener of what issues we face, but also hope for the future. Between warming and acidification, overfishing, shark finning, plastic pollution and coral damage, the seas have a lot to deal with. My greatest interests and concerns is ocean plastics; it is what I would like contribute research to and raise awareness of. So for respected, iconic brands to be getting on board is the most exciting thing. For fitness wear that is not only fashion-forward, but sustainable and revolutionary as well is so exciting.

I really hope that Adidas and Parley are paving the way for intelligent and sustainable fitness fashion and kit, and that we will get to see more brands taking up the mantle.

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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Have a Healthy Glow this Summer

Albiet between rain showers and cold mornings, the warm, sunny weather is making it feel like summer has finally arrived. Skin gets bared, make up goes lighter and everything feels healthier -in theory. Instagram has slowly but surely become filled with snaps of exotic locations and glowing, healthy women. Summer is a time in which we want to feel our best, but things don't always end up that way, especially when working life doesn't embody the wholesome, active lifestyles of role models. With that in mind, I thought I would share a few tips and tricks to keep your skin glowing and body energised.

get the glow, summer

I almost feel like I am cheating by putting this as a tip, as it is one that we are constantly reminded of! However, with added water loss from sweating, summer is the crucial time to keep your fluid intake up. Rather than aiming to grab some water or a hot drink at work, commit to bringing a (bpa free!) bottle with you at all times. Flavour with lemon or other fruit and herbs for added alkalising or antioxidant benefit, and to keep you away from fizzy drinks and sugary juices. The standard recommendation is eight glasses, or two litres of water per day, but how much you really need depends on climate, your activity level, and the water content of your foods. Drink up to keep skin cells plumped and hydrated.

Eat your greens
Call me a biology geek, but I find the fact that haemoglobin in our red blood cells and chlorophyll in plants differs on a molecular level by just the central atom really cool. The consequence of this, is that ingesting green, leafy vegetables is fantastic for our blood, helping to regenerate red blood cells. Healthy blood = healthy flush to the skin. Chlorophyll is found in the uppermost layer of cells on plant leaves, beneath the waterproof leaf cuticle. Go for a variety of leaves, especially dark green, for a variety of nutrients and high levels of chlorophyll. Superfood powders such as spirulina and chlorella are also great sources.

get the glow, summer

Embrace fat
The deliciousness of avocado has done wonders for stopping us fearing eating fats. Avocado has antioxidants and vitamin C that absorb free radicals to help slow the ageing process. The monounsaturated fatty acids in avocado, and many nuts and seeds are great for maintaining moisture within the epidermal layers of your skin. This means that your skin will naturally be comfortable and moisturised, even without slapping on heavy moisturiser. Try avocado on toast for breakfast, or indulge in nut butter-filled dates.

get the glow, summer

Enjoy the sunshine
There is nothing like getting outside in the warm on a gorgeous summer day. Depending on the level of sunlight, ten minutes or so is perfect for getting the correct level of vitamin D for the day, without risking burning or skin damage. With spf applied, stay out longer for an al fresco workout, gentle walk with friends, or even just sitting and enjoying the warmth. The endorphins produced are perfect for counteracting stress, which causes havoc on our body, including breakouts and dull skin. Speaking of endorphins...

Come on, you knew this was coming. We all know how great exercise is for us, but to make it even better for you, change thing up a little. If exercise tends to be a chore rather than something that you enjoy, do something different. Even if you aren't building as much muscle, or burning as many calories, doing something that you enjoy is worth so much more. For a complete body blast, try lots of different things. Mix up long, slow runs, with sprints and HIIT workouts, and compliment weight lifting with yoga and pilates. By cross training in this way, you target your whole body for a more well-rounded exercise routine than keeps you at your best level of fitness. As well as the physical benefits, a good, fun summer workout should leave you feeling great. A smile and a positive attitude creates more of a glow than any amount of facials and dieting can.

Finally, wind down
We are geared up to be on go at all times, but giving your body and mind a rest is so vital. Treat yourself to that ice cream and watch some trashy television once in a while. If you like, meditate, but acting mindfully is also great. Find whatever it is that helps you to switch off and embrace it. Like exercise this keeps cortisol, the stress hormone, at bay and lets serotonin take over. Ahh....

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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Beetroot and Walnut Hummus

Beetroot and walnut hummus, plant-based, wholefood, superfood

One of the best things about being back at home is that making things from scratch is considerably easier (I'm in the market for a food processor if anyone has recommendations!). It has been lovely to be making hummus from scratch again, so I have been playing with some new flavours. I am particularly taken by this variation at the moment, and I hope you'll enjoy it too. The beetroot lends a subtle earthy flavour without being too strong, and the walnuts bring a wonderful texture to the hummus, being full of omega-3 fats and antioxidants. The hummus is based on a recipe that I posted about previously, with further variations that you can see here. There are also instructions on how to make your own tahini as an alternative to shop bought.

Beetroot and walnut hummus, plant-based, wholefood, superfood


  • 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 1 garlic clove
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tsp tahini
  • 6 tbsp good virgin olive oil
  • Half of a raw beetroot, chopped
  • 75g walnuts
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
Beetroot and walnut hummus, plant-based, wholefood, superfood

Blend the chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil together in a food processor before grating in the beetroot and seasoning with salt and pepper. Finally, add the walnuts and use the pulse function to break up and mix them in without grinding the nuts too finely. Garnish with lemon and coriander if desired, and serve with a salad or good bread.


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Free People: Movement Collection

If there is a brand that sums the sun-soaked, US boho-style, it has to be Free People. Think tassels and crochet and floaty florals and you are about there. A while ago, Free People launched their Movement activewear collection, and I've been lusting over it ever since. The line is divided into four categories; yoga, dance, surf, and run, all of which are gorgeous. Some, if not all, of the buyers for the collection are also fitness instructor, so the pieces are designed to work with you in your movement.

Key features of the movement collection include cut-out and knotted detailing, bold prints and a variety of colours.  I love the muted colour, stirrups and high waist of these leggings:

Free People is a little bit on the expensive style, especially some of the surf collection. However, if you are looking to treat yourself, the collection is a great alternative to other premium activewear brands, with pieces that will really make you stand out.

Free People are currently sharing a few tips for summer fitness over on their blog, and are also interviewing some of their in-house experts. How will you be keeping fit over summer?

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Thursday, 2 July 2015

Om Yoga Magazine: Summer

The new issue of Om Yoga Magazine has arrived; rather appropriately in the middle of this heat as this month's is a rather summery issue. There was lots that caught my attention in the issue, from heart opening sequences, to "yogging", a blend of running and yoga, alongside a collection of quotation from major figures in the yogic communities.

Sea, ocean, natural therapies, natural beauty

I am always quite taken by the Natural Born Beauty section that talks about the benefits of seasonal changes, and how you can incorporate the fruits of these as a part of your natural beauty routine. This month focused on the lure of the sea, so I of course had to include it in this month's post. In the UK, we have a fairly narrow window in which to enjoy the coast in warmer conditions, so the author, Denise, encourages you to make use of the benefits of seawater by taking a dip. In yoga, a common breathing technique is called ocean breathing, and so it seems only fitting to sit meditatively at the edge of a beach and breath in and out in time with the crashing waves. One thing that can be enjoyed almost all year round is taking beach front walks, particularly in morning or evening when the shoreline is a little quieter.

To receive the energy boosting benefits of the sea when inland, Denise recommends using marine-based beauty products, and eating Dulse, a form of red seaweed. I thought that I would share some seaweed derived products with you today.

Sea, ocean, natural therapies, natural beauty

  1. Seaweed salt scrub, £12.95 | Neals Yard Remedies
  2. Seanik solid shampoo, £5.95 | Lush
  3. Bath and shower gel, £35.00 | Darphin 
  4. Seaweed and Sage body wash, £15.00 | REN
  5. Deep cleansing facial wash, £8.50 | The Body Shop
I love how many of these products use a variety of seaweed varieties, or incorporate other natural ingredients such as sea salt and lemon. Do you use any seaweed products or natural skin and body care? Comment below; I'd love to know!

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