Merry Christmas! 

Goodbye and good riddance 2016! It’s been an *interesting* year and I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see the end of it! 

Brussels sprouts #favourite #vegetable

There’s lots in store for 2017 so keep following, cheers!

Xoxo

Review: Es Figueral, Ibiza

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

Experiencing new places, new people and new cultures is one of life’s greatest privileges. Anyone who is lucky enough to travel should. Whether it’s to the next village, another city, another country or another continent.

Here’s my review of our family holiday to Ibiza. (Two grown-ups and a 3 year old)

Invisa Es Figueral Invisa Es Figueral

We headed to Es Figueral in Ibiza, a tiny resort towards the North of the Island, near Es Cana and Santa Eulalia. There’s not much to do in the village (it was smaller than I expected based on reviews I’d read) but it was lovely.

Invisa Es Figueral

We stayed at the Invisa Figueral resort, which is made up of two hotels (Calla Blanca and Calla Verde) and we stayed in Calla Blanca. Hotels isn’t really the right word to explain, as the resort was made up of several smaller buildings dotted around the magnificent gardens, with 10-20 apartments in each building. This gave the resort a much less ‘package’ feel and nowhere was ever too busy.

Es Figueral

There are 8 pools spread around the resort, some adults, some kids and a massive pirate ship pool that was great for the older children. There was also an indoor pool which never got busy, perfect for the mornings when the sun had yet to burn away the clouds.

We pretty much spent 80% of our time in the water, and they were toy friendly which was great!

Es Figueral
The view from the children’s playground

The resort is right on the beach, and Playa Es Figueral is one of the nicest beaches in Europe. Perfect for snorkeling, and there was pedalos, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards available to hire.

Es Figueral

The Food!!! Oh my word the food! We stayed all inclusive, which we haven’t done before, and I was super impressed. the main restaurant was open pretty much all day with the main sittings for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner wit snacks in between. There was a kids corner which the toddler loved. For the grown-ups, each day was different and some nights were themed. The food was all fresh, plentiful and the restaurant was really clean. The desert buffet was amazing! There were some really healthy options and some not so healthy, just what holidays are about! I am not ashamed to admit that I had churros with molten chocolate sauce with nearly every breakfast!

I didn’t manage to take many pictures of the food, because I didn’t want to look like one of those wankers who takes pictures of their food:-) Here’s a couple I secretly snapped!

Invisa Es Figueral Invisa Es Figueral

Top Tip: If you’re visiting Es Figueral, or any part of Ibiza, I would recommend hiring a car. There are loads of beautiful beaches and charming villages and towns all within 30 minutes. We didn’t hire one, but we did get the miniature train from Es Figueral to the Es Cana Hippy market which was fun.

We booked with Jet2 Holidays via their website, it was a simple process and I would definitely recommend Jet2 package holidays to anyone looking for a getaway with their family. We paid for the trip ourselves, I don’t have that many followers that I get paid for content, yet;-)

The link to our hotel is here: https://www.jet2holidays.com/balearics/ibiza/playa-es-figueral/invisa-figueral-resort

All in all, a brilliant week in Ibiza!

 

Friday Round-Up: Let’s get real honest

This blog was created as a way for me to track losing weight. Since realising that losing weight isn’t a linear process, especially when big life changes happen, it’s evolved into a blog focusing on my personal attempt to find balance, health and fitness.

A big part of that involves mental health as well as physical health, and for the past few months I’ve been experiencing anxiety, that erupted in the past couple of weeks to make me physically sick and exhausted.

There’s a few factors behind this episode, including work stress, fear of flying and an upcoming holiday, and increasing guilt that I’m not there enough for my little girl (she’s just started ‘big nursery’).

Now I’m a positive person most of the time, and I like to see the silver lining in every situation, but I realised that I wasn’t getting better no matter how optimistic I was.

So this week I went to see a therapist who speacialises in all sorts of therapies, and she recommended hypnotherapy. After my first session I already feel so much better, and I’ve booked a follow-up next Friday. I won’t go into details about the session as everyone requires unique treatment, but I’ve felt calmer and less stressed since.

I’ve made the decision to stay in my current role and take the opportunity available to do further career development. Hopefully this will put me in a better position to go it alone in a couple of years as a marketing and business consultant. Stopping the constant job searches and cycle of negative feelings towards my current job has helped to alleviate some of the stress.

As for family life, I’m just trying to give myself a break on the mum guilt. Yes, I work a 9-5, but I also try to make the most of my time at home with morning cuddles, evening adventures and plenty of fun at the weekends. Getting to spend a week of uninterrupted time together in a couple of weeks will be great!

And let’s not forget that physical health = better mental health with endorphins and happy chemicals being released when we move. I didn’t do the Salford 10k on Sunday, I felt to sick, but I’ve let it go. This week I got back to Zumba (I’d missed it last week) and also did a new class called Clubbercise! I’ll do a post dedicated to clubbercise soon, but it was awesome!

Instead of putting pressure on myself to reach a goal or compete in a race, I’m going to spend the next few weeks just enjoying being active, whether that’s a run through the woods as the leaves turn to autumn, bopping it out at Zumba or Clubbercise, or getting my stretch on with some yoga.

So here’s to getting help when you need it. Give yourself a break, do something you love, and if in doubt, ask you doctor or a health professional. Trust me, there’s no shame in admitting that you don’t feel great mentally, and you’ll feel so much better when you start to workout why and how you can feel better!

Pics from the week…

M&S tights
Fancy new workout tights from Marks and Spencer – fit great, no see-through bum and perfect length!

 

courgetti2

courgetti
Oooh courgetti

 

Green Veg
A mountain of green veg (brocolli, asparagus, frozen broad beans, soy beans and leeks)
Green veg2
Vegetable mountain and my oils from Carluccios

 

Grown Up Chocolate
An AMAZING new chocolate discovery – The Grown Up Chocolate Company. Get in my belly!

20160907_200537

^^^Food porn right there!

Adidas SuperCloud
Putting my feet up after Zumba!
Anxiety
When you’re not feeling happy and then you Zumba and the endorphins kick-in!

Have a happy weekend everyone!
xoxo

Finding the Work/Life Balance

These last few weeks have been really tough for creating a good balance between work life and home life. It feels like a constant struggle not to let the negativity at work (bad atmosphere, uncertain future yada yada) affect the precious time I have at home with my family.

So, what are my tips for creating a good work/life balance? Read on…

Find a job you enjoy doing

Love your job

This is easier said than done, especially in the current job market. It can seem like you’re lucky to have a job, and should stick with it even if you don’t like the company, your boss, your co-workers, the work itself etc.

But, I would encourage anyone who is able to, to make a career move when you are unhappy in your workplace. It might take time, you might have to spend some free time looking for new opportunities, network with potential new employers, maybe you want to retrain and that might mean a pay-cut? Sometimes, you have to take the leap!

Of course, if you’re stuck in a job you don’t like, here’s my more practical tips for finding balance.

Make your lunch hour your own

lunch hour
In the UK, a lot of workers have a 9-5 contract or similar, but they aren’t paid for an hour in the middle of the day a.k.a lunchtime. It can be easy to grab a quick lunch and eat at your desk, or work right through, but it is important to take that break.

You could read a book or magazine, window shop, get some exercise or catch-up with friends and family members.

When I was working in an office with changing facilities, I used to go for a 20 minute jog which meant I could still change and eat lunch within the hour. This helped to take my mind off work and also meant I didn’t have to feel guilty about spending time exercising when I got home and really just want to play with the toddler!

Leave on Time

5pm

If you don’t like your job, but you work hard during your contracted hours, leave on time. Don’t stay late as most studies show that it doesn’t make you more productive and your manager probably doesn’t notice the extra time you spend at work. Why spend more time than you have to somewhere you don’t like? Go on, log off, shut down, leave!

The De-Stress Commute

car singing

I’ve been making conscious decisions to leave the bad vibes in the car on the drive home, by playing my favourite music and just rocking out! Ignore the funny looks from other drivers, blast the music and sing your heart out! It’s amazing what a good 1-woman karaoke session can do for your stress levels!

Other options might be listening to podcasts, reading  a book, talk to friends and family (hands free if you’re driving!) or if you’re walking why not use a route that takes you through a park or somewhere with a nice view.

Get Outside

feed the ducks

Most people spend the majority of the day indoors, sitting at a desk or standing all day in a store. During the warmer months especially, you can start to feel resentful that you’re spending the majority of your time inside, and we all know we need the Vitamin Ds from the sun to be happy and healthy!

So, after you’ve finished work, get outside! It might be as simple as going for a walk, spend time in your garden, go feed the ducks, visit the park or my personal favourite,  sit in a beer garden! If you’re planning on exercising,  choose an outdoor workout. Running, cycling, yoga and HIIT/bodyweight exercises can all be done outside.

Be in the moment with your family

family

When you get home, make a conscious effort to be in the moment with your family. Ask them how their day was, talk about your upcoming plans, be active together or just watch a movie together! Don’t let your bad thoughts about work affect the precious time you have with your loved ones.

Make after-work or weekend plans

after work

Just thinking about something fun you have planned can help to minimise the impact of a job you don’t like. Fill up your free time with exciting plans so that by the time Sunday night comes around, you’re not thinking about the impending Monday and the week ahead, but instead you’re reflecting on all of the awesome things you’ve done! You’ll also have something to talk about with your colleagues rather than office gossip!

Which leads me to my last tip…

Be Switzerland

Be Switzerland

It can be very tempting to join in on office gossip and politics, but from my own experience, this only ever has a negative impact.

If you’re listening to others express their negative experiences, it can start to feel like it has happened to you as well. If you want to offer an objective ear to your colleagues, make sure you rationalise that their opinions don’t have to be your own (unless of course, you totally agree with them).

If you’re unhappy, think carefully who you share this with at work, and if you want to share at all. It can be cathartic to have a good bitch sometimes, but what you thought was a throwaway comment or just an in-the-moment stress can become someone else’s conversation, and the issue can become bigger than it really is.

If you’re having real problems at work, experiencing bullying or harrassment, talk to your manager, or go above them. Talk to your union or trade body if you have one. Don’t let serious things go unheard, as it can lead to stress which isn’t good for anyone!

What are your tips for creating a good work/life balance?
xoxo

*All the images I used in this post were taken from Google searches, I don’t own any of the image rights.

Post-Race Recap

The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race.

This past Sunday (10th July) I ran the We Love Manchester 10k, and boy, it kicked my arse!

About the race

The We Love Manchester 10k sarts and finishes at SportCity in Manchester, home of the commonwealth games in 2002. Also home to the Etihad stadium, where Manchester City football club play their home games. The race is a large lap with a 2km loop at the end to finish up Mancunian way and back in the stadium.

I won’t lie, it’s not the most picturesque race, but it was a spectacularly well organised event (Sports Tours International / UK Fast) with a good warm-up, a quick start and finish process, a goody bag (with tech t-shirt and medal) and lot’s of water available at the start, middle and end of the race.WeLoveManchester10k

Pace, where did you go?

WeLoveManchester10km

My complete lack of training for this event definitely showed on race day. Even RaceDaySelfiethough I wore my Garmin, I went out too quick and then ended up walking a lot. My first two kilometres were around 5:25 pace, my 6th was 6:45!

I set off thinking “this is going to be tough” and boy was I right. Race conditions were pretty awesome, it was overcast but not raining, but maybe a little warm for my liking. Had I trained, it wouldn’t have been a problem, but I found myself gagging for a drink of water by 3 1/2km, and I don’t carry a bottle so had to wait until the water station at 5km. I then carried this for the rest of the race and found myself walking for 30 second stretches whilst I took in some liquid.

I finished with a chip time of 1 hour and 2 seconds, damn that last bit of walking! I was kicking myself after the race thinking why didn’t I just push that bit harder…but at the end of the day, I wasn’t physically prepared.

Here’s a post-race sweaty selfie for you, look at that fringe!

Post-race selfie

I felt pretty crappy after the race, and even though I hydrated well I still got a banging headache. I persevered though, and celebrated finishing with a glass of prosecco and some vegetable pasta with smoked bacon. Savoy cabbage, soy beans, courgette, soup pasta, smoked bacon and black pepper Boursin, delicious!

Pasta vegetables bacon

My next race is Salford 10k on September 4th, and I PB’s last time, so I’m hoping that I can get somewhere close to that time again (54:43) with a good amount of training. It also fits in nicely with our holiday, and I’ll tell you more about my holiday count-down later this week!

Have you run any races or competed in any sporting events recently? Did you do better or worse than you planned?
xoxo

Life Diary – Where did June go?

WOW, June absolutely flew by. We were busy pretty much every weekend and throughout the weeks with birthdays, concerts and events, so sorry I haven’t blogged in a while!

I have however been taking pictures, so thought I’d do a little June recap!


My sister did the Leeds Triathlon in June (so impressed and proud!) and we snagged lots of goodies from the CHIA Co. stand in the expo area.

They’ve brought out a new bread with Hovis that has chia seeds in it, so delicious and great as toast!

CHIA Co Leeds Triathlon

After watching Helen swim (1500m), cycle (42.5km) and run (10km) around Leeds we were ready for some lunch, and headed to The Botanist in Leeds. I had the salt and pepper crispy beef salad and it was soooo good!Salt and pepper beef salad

I haven’t done as much running as I would have liked (especially as it’s the We Love Manchester 10km on Sunday and I wanted to get a good time) but when I have hit the tracks, there’s been some beautiful views!

Sunset Canal Run Canal Run

We went to a comedy evening at a local festival (Grassington Festival for anyone living in the North of England) and saw Rob beckett, Shappi Khorsandi and Rich Hall with his Honky Tonk band. All the acts were really funny, and i enjoyed a very civilized glass of champagne during the evening.

Champagne

I’m loving roast vegetables at the moment, and have been trying to have simple foods cooked well.

courgette, pineapple and chilli

Courgettes with pineapple and chilli flakes roasted in the oven (a mix of leftovers but surprisingly delicious) accompanied with M&S deli bits. 20160626_195516
Grilled Corn

Corn, grilled, sauteed, in salads, I LOVE corn! Here I sauteed it with chilli flakes and garlic herbs.

Steak with roast cauliflower, courgettes and potato wedges. 20160611_204612 Steak Allioli

Really easy to make, fairly quick and very satisfying! I like to dunk the veg in Allioli!

 

I can’t be good all the time though, and my treats have included:

Salted caramel Haagen-Daas

Haagen-Daas

3 ingredient pancakes (eggs, bananas and spelt flour) with The Collective passion fruit yogurt and strawberries

Pancakes, yoghurt and strawberries

Chipotle pulled pork with (more) roast veg and two fried eggs !

Pulled port, roast vegetables and fried egg

I’ll try and get back into more regular posting!

Happy summer folks!
xoxo

Monday Runday (and meat – free dinners)

image

So, my Zumba classes on a Monday were cancelled which made me sad, but then I realised that instead I could use that time for my long run!

And, a guilt free long run at that. During the week I like to spend as much time as I can with the toddler after work, as well as at the weekend. It’s my “mum guilt” for having a full time job and sending the toddler to nursery/nana’s throughout the week (which she loves, I just wish it wasn’t for so long). So during the months when it’s dark by her bed time at 7pm, I never want to go out running. That same mum guilt also makes me feel like I’m neglecting the toddler and husband if I spend time away from them at the weekend.

image

Now that it stays light well past 8pm, I don’t feel guilty about dedicating two nights a week to getting in a long workout. So henceforth Monday will be Runday and Thursday will be Zumba night💃 (dancing emoji).

Tonight I ran 9.2km in 51 minutes which I’m very happy with considering my lack of training over the past few weeks. It was a lovely route along the canal, with lots of ducklings in the water and a newly covered path which made running nice and smooth!

I followed the run with a meat-free Monday dinner of vegetable satay stir-fry with courgette noodles.

image

Red and yellow peppers, carrots, frozen soy beans, sugar snap peas and courgette in a nutty spicy sauce, delicious! 

I’ll be back on track with my posts this week so stay tuned for some eats of the week!
Xoxo