This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Green+Aquamarine: September 2015

Monday, 28 September 2015

Review: The Yoga Collective

The Yoga Collective, home practice, vinyasa, review

More and more of us are getting hooked on yoga, which is an really great thing. Unfortunately, due to studio costs, or class availability, keeping your practice up can be hard, especially when your home practice hasn't developed. There are some really great YouTube videos and tutorials out there (check out Jayne Becca's channel for some great vinyasa flows!). But it can be tricky to delve through all through videos, especially when you don't know who is properly qualified.

Luckily, there are a few great subscription services out there. One of them is The Yoga Collective, a website designed so as to feel as though the yoga studio is being brought to you. The Yoga Collective has an in-house group of yoga teachers, each with a different expertise and specialism. With HD videos in student-filled classes, the experience is really authentic, almost like being in a real class. All classes are filmed in The Yoga Collective's own Venice Beach studio, giving the videos a really consistent theme. You can search classes by difficulty, teacher, class length, yoga style or body focus. This has been really useful, and have found myself coming back to a couple of teachers and particular classes.

Whilst there isn't the variety or sheer amount of videos as other websites such as Grokker, the library is expanding, and with the Yoga Collective, you know that you will be getting consistently high quality videos. One perk, is that I haven't had any slow, or even crashing videos as I have experienced   on other sites -a total nightmare when trying to follow a yoga flow!  With the exception of a section of recipes, The Yoga Collective is completely focussed on yoga -again, meaning less variety, but better focus.

The actual cost of The Yoga Collective varies as to whether you subscribe monthly or yearly. A monthly cost works out at about £7.90, and the annual subscription is slightly cheaper, equating to £7.13 per month. Based on this, I would recommend paying monthly rather than the full £86 for the whole year. With some individual classes costing upwards of £5, even £10, this subscription works out as pretty reasonable.

If you really want to improve your home practice, or get more classes in without spending over the odds, I would really recommend giving a subscription service like the Yoga Collective a try! Have you tried The Yoga Collective or similar?

Labels: ,

Thursday, 24 September 2015

I'm on YouTube!

Happy Thursday everyone! It is finally sunny here in Wales and I am hoping that the next few days will be as lovely so we can go out walking and maybe surfing.

I have just started a YouTube channel and it would be amazing if you could check it out and subscribe. I'm still working my way around the channel customisation and appearance, so do bare with me! If you have any specific videos that you would like to see, please let me know. I have a holiday blog coming up soon, so keep your eyes peeled! This week's video is showing some of the items that I have recently purchased for the kitchen and my yoga practice.


I hope you enjoy!

Labels: ,

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Om Yoga Magazine: Get Outdoors

One of the things that I love about yoga is that it pairs so well with a host of other activities. Whilst other sports and hobbies tend to promote themselves, yoga can be both a standalone activity, or used to support others. For example, runners benefit from yoga as it opens up stiff hips and works the arms that are utilised less on runs. Anxiety and stress disorders can be relieved by the meditative aspect of yoga. So, I was really pleased to see the Ordnance Survey's #GetOutside campaign being mentioned.

I love going on walks and being outside. Despite practicing yoga, going running and lifting weights at the gym, it is often when on a run that I feel my strongest and healthiest. There's something about conquering hills and scrambling down rocks that makes me feel alive. And, it seems, I'm not the only one.

TV presenter and wildlife expert Steve Backshall is an OS Champion, and is helping to front the #GetOutside campaign, which aims to encourage the British public to become more active in the great outdoors. With cars becoming increasingly relied upon, it is thought that most people in the UK won't walk anywhere that takes over 15 minutes, and 70% of us won't walk to the shops.

If you are really keen, there is also a competition being run: if you love being outside and want to encourage others to do so, send a 250 word piece to getoutside@os.uk explaining why you should become an OS Champion. Include any social media links, and two photos of yourself; one head and shoulders shot; one activity shot. The winners will take part in a photoshoot and a range of activities for the next year. On top of that, you could have access to a selection of OS products and cash sponsorship.

Walking is so basic to humans, and brings so many benefits. Even a brief walk around the park helps to clear the mind, and loosen up any stiffness from a day sat down at a desk. If you haven't already seen it, read my post here about moorland walks and see just how beautiful your local patch can be.

Next time you're going from A to B try this: mindful walking. Just like when meditating or in Shavasana, stay in the present moment. Acknowledge thoughts as they come into your head, and then let them go. Be aware of the sights, smells and breeze as you move. You may notice things that you have previously walked straight past.

By following the my link below, you can purchase an issue of Om Yoga magazine for £1.99, or start a subscription at a discounted price!

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. 

Labels: , ,

Monday, 14 September 2015

Living Matcha Tea (and Matcha Latte Recipe!)

Living Matcha Tea, Matcha latte. 100% organic, raw, vegan and gluten free

Today I am sharing with you an exciting new brand, Living Matcha, that I hope you'll love! Matcha tea is becoming really popular as a source of caffeine and antioxidants. With half a teaspoon of Living Matcha powder having the nutritional benefit of 15 cups of health-foodie fave green tea. Part of this is due to the fact that you consume the tea leaf in matcha tea, rather than just an infusion of it. The balance of caffeine and relaxing L-Theanine creates an energising beverage without the crash associated with other caffeinated drinks. Another benefit of matcha is that it boosts metabolism, making it popular with those looking to loose weight and build muscle mass. Matcha has been used for centuries or even longer in Buddhist monasteries, as it has been shown to increase focus and so aid in meditation. With all these benefits attributed to such a small dose of a food, matcha can be thought of as a superfood. By superfood, I mean a highly nutrient-dense food that can be used to support nutrition, rather than, say, a particularly nutritious vegetable or berry.

Living Matcha Tea, Matcha latte. 100% organic, raw, vegan and gluten free

So, onto Matcha Living itself. Matcha Living sources their shade-grown matcha green tea from Kagoshima, where matcha has been grown for generations. Matcha is grown in the shade to promote chlorophyll and L-Theanine growth, and it is this that separates it from ordinary varieties of green tea. Living Matcha promises to make it's product 100% organic, raw and pure.

I am quite picky about my green tea, as many varieties can be horribly bitter. Good-quality green tea should have an almost creamy texture. Living Matcha had quite a strong, grassy smell, and I was preparing myself for quite a harsh flavour when I first tried it (I had wheatgrass on the mind..!). However, I was really taken by surprise. Despite being worth so many cups of green tea, the matcha had a surprisingly delicate flavour. It is recommended to use a small electric whisk to mix the tea in, but at a pinch slowly adding water and stirring quickly should work as well.

Living Matcha Tea, Matcha latte. 100% organic, raw, vegan and gluten free

Living Matcha Tea, Matcha latte. 100% organic, raw, vegan and gluten free

I tried my first matcha latte with Living Matcha as well. I couldn't get hold of my normal almond milk, so used hemp, which I have been surprised to find that I really like! To make, add a half teaspoon of matcha to a cup or latte glass. Heat milk of your choice to around 70'C, which is an optimum temperature for frothing up milk without scalding it. Use a small electric whisk to thicken the milk, and pour into your glass, mixing the tea and milk as you do. Drink immediately! I did find the combination of green tea and milk odd, but it is a lovely alternative to traditional matcha tea, particularly when on coffee dates with friends so that you don't feel left out!

Living Matcha is sold in 30g pots, which are kept completely airtight with a ring pull (such as on other tinned goods). I think half a teaspoon works out as a gram or even less, so the 30g pot should last deceptively long. I don't really tend to notice an energy boost when drinking coffee (one of the reasons that I rarely drink it) but I am sure that I did feel more alert after drinking it. I love how pure Living Matcha is, as I felt confident that all the nutrients from the matcha were complete and that I was getting maximum benefit from the tea. For me, superfoods aren't about noticing immediate result, but looking after my body long term. I have only been taking matcha for a few days so can't really comment on if there has been an effect on me, but so far I am feeling really positive.

Living Matcha Tea, Matcha latte. 100% organic, raw, vegan and gluten free

I am really pleased with the ethos of Living Matcha, and have found it to be a delicious product. Living Matcha has been set up by just two people, Ed Allistone and Russell Smith, so it is a real, small, independent business. For me, it is a no brainer. If you love tea, healthy living, or supporting artisan businesses, then Living Matcha is a brand to try.

Living Matcha is available to buy for £25.00 here.

Labels: ,

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Is Bread Really the Enemy?

So, in the last few years, bread has become the thing to avoid. With increased awareness of food intolerances, those unable to eat products in bread are able to pinpoint issues and quickly eliminate bread from their diet, which is fantastic. Rising popularity in gluten free food is creating a demand that is making life much easier for people with coeliac disease. But are others just jumping on the band wagon and potentially missing out on a filling food that is a great source of fibre?

Is gluten really the enemy? Or does yeast, flour quality and diet result in sensitivity to bread products?
Before I start, I want to make it clear that this is in no way an attack on anyone with coeliac disease, or any kind of food intolerance. I am also not a nutritionalist, but I do have an interest in this subject, and aim to keep myself informed with a range of unbiased publications. I am hoping that this post will break down the varying factors in bread that can cause stomach upset, to be of use to those interested. Do leave me comments if you found this helpful!

In wheat products, the big bad-boy to avoid is gluten. Gluten is the protein in the grain that gives bread dough its elastic texture. For celiacs, gluten causes an inflammation of the small intestine lining, resulting in gas, bloating and diarrhoea. Long term consumption of gluten can stop nutrient absorption, and so can lead to malnutrition. By contrast, gluten sensitivity does not inflame the gut, and can have symptoms ranging from negligible to almost as extreme as if you have coeliac disease. If you have gluten sensitivity, I would suggest experimenting with spelt and rye breads. These grains are more primitive than modern wheat and so your body may be able to better digest them. Introduce changes gradually, over weeks or months, in order to monitor them accurately.

Another key ingredient that it is possible to be sensitive to is yeast. Yeasts are forms of fungi, and are used in bread as carbon dioxide is produced when the yeast digests the sugars in the flour and respires. This is exactly the same as in the brewing of beer. It is yeast that makes popular health foods sauerkraut, kimche, and the drink kumbucha. As many products that contain gluten also contain yeast, it can be difficult to distinguish which you have an intolerance to. Elimination diets are the best way to determine an intolerance, so speak to your doctor and ask to be tried for wheat and yeast.

Similarly, dairy intolerences, either to the milk protein or sugars, can be confused as gluten intolerance. Again, speak to your doctor. If you have recently been on a course of antibiotics, you may find some foods that you have previously not had any issues with causing upsets. To combat this, eat fermented foods if you can and take probiotics. "Recovery time" depends on how much the antibiotics have affected your gut flora, so take things slowly, and don't necessarily expect to be able to eat absolutely everything that you could before.

So what if you don't have an intolerance, but bread still doesn't make you feel great? At this point, looking at the quality of bread that you eat could be the answer. Bleached white loaves, with preservatives, salt and other nasties aren't going to do your body much good. According to Sebastian Pole, author of A Pukka Life, wheat flour can have a "stale and rancid quality". He recommends using good-quality wheat or spelt flour, and a sourdough starter. Sourdough is a time-consuming, but rewarding bread to make. Fortunately, good-quality bakeries are featuring it more and more commonly, so next time you are doing a food shop, or passing the market, pick up a loaf and see what you think. You can also buy live yeast from many supermarkets (in the dairy aisles if I remember correctly...) or alternatively, try your hand at soda bread, using bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk rather than yeast.

Finally, you may have absolutely no issue with bread, but are having a bit of a bloated day because, perhaps, you've over indulged, eaten something else that you are sensitive to, or are just having a slow-digestion day. Listen to your body and make a food diary if you have any concerns, but avoid worrying yourself and jumping the gun!

Labels: ,

Monday, 7 September 2015

Natural Skincare Products

Natural beauty: my favourite skincare and bodycare products. Featuring Neal's Yard, Lush, Boots and Elemis.

I have popped a couple of DIY's on the blog over the last few months, so I thought it was about time that I showed you some of the natural skin and body care that I use. Ideally, I look for products that use natural/organic and sustainably sourced materials, are cruelty free and from companies with a planet-friendly ethos. I have ver fair, quite sensitive skin, so using naturally-dervived products tends to keep my skin happier, although I am careful around harsher ingredients such as tea tree oil. One thing to bear in mind, is that "natural" as a label, really doesn't mean anything; it gives you no guarantees about the product. Look for certifications on the packaging, such as the leaping bunny (cruelty free), or the soil association (organic material). These markers are the gold standard to proving that you are buying something that you can trust. I do find that I am starting to become quite loyal to a handful of brands, as trust is something very important when buying natural or cruelty free products. My two most go-to brands at the moment are Neal's Yard and Lush. They are very different brands, but I feel like both represent my views very well.

Natural beauty: my favourite skincare and bodycare products. Featuring Neal's Yard, Lush, Boots and Elemis.

Neal's Yard Rose Otto Cleanser

This cleanser is my absolute miracle product. Until I switched to it a month or two ago, I was still using products aimed at oily skin. After a foray with my coconut oil scrub, my skin seemed to respond well to the added moisture, so I decided it was time to make the switch. The cleanser is aimed at normal and sensitive sin types, so really is perfect for me. It comes as a gel rather than drying foam, or rich milk, so is perfectly light. I like to massage it into damp skin with my fingertips, before dabbing off with a flannel and splashing with cold water. I've really seen an improvement in my skin texture and clarity, so I am really impressed!

Neal's Yard Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is the natural beauty hero product of the moment. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are anti fungal and antibacterial, so I like the thought of this for my skin. Double cleansing has recently become popular with beauty bloggers, and using a face oil counts as the first of your two face washes, in order to get a squeaky clean finish. I melt the oil in my fingers and use a cotton pad to lightly wipe around my face and eyes to remove grime and make up before using my rose cleanser. I originally bought a pot of coconut oil for the bathroom simply because conventional make up removers were hurting my eyes. Now, I find it absolutely indispensable, and is more hygienic than using the same oil for in the kitchen and bathroom. It makes a lovely moisturiser, deep hair conditioner, sun burn relief, and just a great all-rounder. I know coconut oil is having a bit of a thing at the moment, but if you don't want to jump on the band wagon, or deal with melting the oil, try almond oil or similar.

Natural beauty: my favourite skincare and bodycare products. Featuring Neal's Yard, Lush, Boots and Elemis.

Elemis scrub

Elemis has created a range aimed at young adults, with gentle products aimed to help skin in its transition from oily teenage, to normal or dry adult. I use the scrub once or twice a week to get rid of any dead skin cells and declog any pores. It has a subtle, grapefruit-like scent that is really lovely. Whilst Elemis doesn't advertise itself as a natural brand in the way that others featured do, it is surprisingly good. Cruelty-free, and containing active plant ingredients, including cherry powder, jojoba beads (no plastic micro bead nasties here!!) and mandarin. It is quite a gentle scrub, which is perfect. And the price tag comes in at much lower than some other Elemis products, making it a great introduction to the brand. Unforteuntely, it seems to be a little difficult to find online now. I have spotted the range in TK Maxx, so you may get lucky.

Boots Botanics All Bright Hydrating Day Cream

I still haven't found my "perfect" moisturiser (if it's out there!), but I am really happy with the Botanic's range so far. The award winning range is a partnership between Boots and Kew Gardens and has been recognised as a sustainable business. Organic and paraben-free, I know that my skin won't suffer with these moisturisers. I have been using the night cream as well, but I haven't replaced it. The day cream is SPF 15 and 5* UVA protecting. It's currently half price, making it a pinch at £2.50. The Botanics range is also often on offer for 3 for 2, so keep your eyes peeled!

I have to say, I am very tempted to try a moisturising oil in the place of a night cream. I have heard some really good things about Pai's Rose Oil and would love to try that! In the mean time though, I'll be sticking with my trusty Boots products.

Natural beauty: my favourite skincare and bodycare products. Featuring Neal's Yard, Lush, Boots and Elemis.

Lush Charity Pot (Hand and Body Lotion)

Lush has got me pretty well sold on their haircare. I love the packaging-free solid shampoo bars, hair masks in returnable/reusable pots and the Avocado co-wash (that's a shampoo and conditioner in one to you and me) is next on my list to buy. However, I haven't really used all that much of their other products. I usually buy one of the £1 mini charity pots whenever I am at the till, but after my friend and I spotted Fin Fighters on the top of on of the larger charity pots, we both had to buy them! Fin Fighters is a charity that I am passionate about, and they are committed to ending the distribution and sale of shark products in the UK and beyond. To be able to buy a yummy-smelling moisturiser that ticks all the boxes mentioned above, AND to donate to a cause that I support? It's brilliant.

Neal's Yard Bee Lovely Hand Cream

I mentioned the Bee Lovely range in my post about Neal's Yard in York. I absolutely love this hand cream as it is so moisturising without being too sticky. It smells heavenly and supports the protection of bees -so far the range has raised £60 000! It is full of goodness including, of course, honey that keeps my skin happy during busy days. Students get a handy 10% off as well.

I hope you found this post interesting and useful, do let me know if you use any of these products, or have any favourites of your own!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Inspiration: Jayne Becca Yoga

Today I am talking to the lovely Jayne of Jayne Becca Yoga. Jayne is a Vinyasa yoga teacher, and since qualifying, has taken on a host of teaching positions and started leading successful yoga retreats. She is the go-to lady in the health blogging community for any questions about yoga, and has partnered up with fellow teachers and brands to bring her readers and students exciting collaborations and competitions. You can find Jayne's website and blog here, or subscribe to her YouTube channel for regular yoga flow classes.

What first drew you to yoga? 

I was first drawn to yoga many, many years ago when I was a teenager. I grew up in Cumbria in the North West of the UK - there we not any yoga classes around, the internet was just coming into circulation (hello dial up!) so there was no such thing as online yoga videos, so I had these little flash card type things and I just did a few poses in my room, not really knowing what I was doing! Fast forward a few years and I was in Bristol doing yoga in my front room. I didn't go to an actual class for a long time, simply because I was super shy, suffered with anxiety (cold sweat, raised heart rate) if I did something out of my comfort zone. One day something changed, I stepped into a class at my local leisure centre and never looked back.  

You are a vinyasa teacher. What do you like about that style of yoga?

I love that my practice is always so varied and that translates into the way that I teach. Vinyasa flow can be fast, slow, dynamic and sweaty but above all it's very heartfelt and mindful. I truly believe that people should move in a way that feels good to them, from the inside, not judging themselves on how they look from the outside. I have tried a few different styles of yoga and I find them too regimented for me. I love the freedom of vinyasa flow. Every single day is a different day, a different practice. Every time you step on your mat you should check in with yourself and ask - what do I need in my body today? That's the beauty of vinyasa flow. 

Have you always been interested in healthy living? 

From as long as I can remember I have been interested in healthy living. At times I admit it was an unhealthy obsession. I used to pour over copies of Zest magazine in my teenage years, wondering how I could get the perfect body. My own issues with body image is something I still often need to work on every single day - yoga and meditation help! I was also super active when I was growing up, I was a county cross country runner and I loved my horses, I grew up through Pony Club and Riding Club and I am so so grateful to my parents for allowing me to do those things and have such a healthy interest in health and fitness when I was growing up. 

Aside from yoga, do you like to keep healthy in any other way?

I like to run. I used to run a whole lot but I found that it took it's toll on my body, so I'm all about the shorter distances nowadays! I also love walking, getting out into the fresh air. 

What inspired you to turn yoga into a career?

I was in a job which was secure but boring. It was never my calling. It took me a little time to find it but my calling is yoga. I love to share yoga with people, connect to people and help them along their own journey. It was actually a post from Rachel Brathen in December 2013 that spurred me to do my teacher training. I took that leap, opened my heart and from there things just got crazy. I found classes to teach pretty much straight away and just decided why the hell not?! I handed in my notice about a month after returning from my teacher training and never looked back. 

Where is your must-see travel destination?

I have been to Crete and I would love to see more of Greece. I would also love to visit Lake Como in Italy and of course the Caribbean - the world is just so big and there are so many places to go! 

What, or who, inspires you the most?

My students inspire me. Everyone who steps up to the mat and comes to class inspires me every single day. 

As well as the physical aspect of yoga, wellbeing and diet is important. Do you have a favourite healthy meal?

I LOVE food! I am obsessed with green juices which isn't really a healthy meal as such, more of a healthy drink I guess. 

What is your favourite asana?

It depends on the mood I am in that day. I am very handstand orientated at the moment and I am practising every single day but I also love a good supine supported heart opener. It's a great way to begin a practice - to open the heart. 

Finally, what makes you happiest?

I am very much a home kind of person. I love the simple things in life - spending time with my boyfriend, a healthy breakfast and a good sweaty, heartfelt yoga practice.

Labels: ,