Hello 2019 and welcome.
Is it just me, or do you love the feeling of turning a corner and starting a new year? It’s always such a great feeling to pack away the last 365 days and put a lid on them, much like the Christmas decorations that I was pulling down as soon as possible after Boxing Day.
I’ll be completely honest, I started writing this post at the turn of 2019 and it’s only three weeks down the line that I have got around to finishing it, doh! But here we are, another year, another set of goals!
New Year, New Resolutions
Resolutions, you either make them or you don’t. Stick to them, or you won’t. For me? I always make a list and sometimes it’s turned out beautifully. The biggest success definitely arose from my resolution to give up meat a good eight years ago! I’ve reflected on the last year and think I’ve come up with a few good pointers for 2019, which I’ll unload on my blog to somehow make me feel more accountable. Here goes:
1) Stop being a slave to the internet
You might think that’s ironic, considering that as I am a blogger, I’m pretty reliant on the internet. True dat. However, I am not gaining anything from the countless hours I spend glued to my phone, scrolling through feeds of cute animals and hot bods I’ll never have. Each time that little app on my phone tells me my weekly screen time I die a little. It all adds up and it’s a really bad habit that I am seriously going to make efforts to break.
2) Be more creative
I like to think this one ties in pretty well with resolution one. I have so many hobbies that I don’t dedicate enough time to and it makes me sad. I’ve got guitars that I only pick up to dust for goodness sake! I’m hoping with the extra time I’ll gain from stopping scrolling I’ll actually take the opportunity to pick up a sketch book, or finally learn to play Cancion Del Mariachi!
3) Drink less
In 2019 I envision Chrissy V2.0 as someone who drinks a lot less. I’m not saying I was an alcoholic before or anything, but last year I did try my best to pickle myself. I think half of it came from the fact I was getting over some serious anxiety and found drinking helped calm the nerves, that and the fact beer tastes hell’a good in the midday sun (and boy did we have a lot of it in the summer of 2018). So, yes, dry January is going okay.
I’ve started following some excellent sober accounts on Instagram, @sobergirlsociety are particularly inspiring and great to keep you off the wagon if you’re looking for a little boost along the way.
In a nutshell, New Year New Me is about improving myself, getting better at the things I think I let myself down on and with any hope, getting to the end of 2019 feeling great.
Each year we all have the opportunity to make changes that lead us forwards in life.
It’s true. So look back and reflect on your last year. Pick some things you think you can make a dent in and write them down. Make them happen. I’ve listed three pretty simple ones above that I am certain I can achieve with a bit of willpower.
PS: Usually this is written down in a diary, but seeing as I’ve been neglecting my blogging it felt like a fantastic way to start the ball rolling for 2019, that and it helped me blow the cobwebs off my wordpress account!
Go go go! x
Vegan Bagel Stack
This powerhouse vegan bagel stack was thrown together with all the leftover bits in my fridge, result! It was what we call in our house, a ‘cobbler’. Combining smoky peri-peri hummus, smashed avocado, fresh basil leaves, shredded carrots, toasted pine nuts and baby spinach. It turned out absolutely divine. This is a real vegetarian vitamin hit and is super filling. Not forgetting to mention, all this is quished together inside a toasted rye & pumpkin bagel. I’m salivating at the thought!
Now, whilst I eat predominantly plant based any way, I don’t go out of my way to vegan-ize (sorry!) .Still, it’s always a little extra bonus to know you’ve managed to avoid all animal based products whilst creating new meals in the kitchen! Add to that I was using up supplies to avoid waste, you’ve got yourself a real all-round eco lunch.
Yes, Vegan Food is Filling
After enjoying this tasty lunch I went on to the club and played tennis for HOURS. Even after all the running around I did on court, I didn’t feel hungry in the slightest. So that breaks any pre-conception you might have that vegan food isn’t as filling. I’m no expert at vegan foods, but I find if I load up a meal with lots of healthy fats like those found in nuts & seeds it does the trick. Not only does it add extra crunch and flavour, but it keeps me full up for longer.
I was hoping to use my own grown basil by this time, although it’s all gone to seed, so I got a fresh bunch to use. Not going to lie, I was tempted to call this my own grown but I’m a terrible liar! Basil is definitely one of my top herbs to use, it’s great on pretty much everything.
Just Say No To Packet Sandwiches!
I’m trying to vary my lunches at the moment, as I am on a bit of a post-holiday health kick. I have had so many salads that this vegan bagel stack was a welcome change to the normal fare. Also, if I was going out to the sandwich shop I would have been very tempted to have something filled with cheese. Think I made the right call for my healthy eating plan to stay home and prep this. I’m sure you’ve had those moments where you think another boring pre-packed sandwich just won’t do!
Variety is the Spice of Life
You can change up the flavour ideas as much as you want in a recipe like this. I used a spicy peri hummus as a base on one side, with the smashed avocado on the other. However, if you aren’t a fan of spice you could always opt for plain hummus and put some time into seasoning the avocado instead. I usually would dress it with lemon, black pepper and coriander. This time around I left it plain as I had a lot of other flavours going on already.
Y’know, just in case you want to re-create my lunch creation…
- 2 Pumpernickel bagels
- 1 Tbsp peri peri hummus
- 1 Smashed avocado
- Small, thinly sliced carrot
- Fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
I consider myself rather priviledged that I live just a 30 minute journey away from Central London. So here are my top 3 picks of London summer events. Tried & tested by yours truly. Plus one is budget friendly (I know, practically unheard of in London!). If you’re planning a trip to the capital and looking for some quality entertainment then this is the guide for you.
My Top 3 London Summer Events 2018
Of course, the world famous Wimbledon has just got to be featured on my list. Whilst you hear stories of how tough it is to get a ticket there are a few hacks I have picked up. Pick one of the quieter days match-wise and you’ll be in within an hour or two. Provided you don’t mind an early morning and a good ole’ British queue. Once through, you are free to wander all the courts, or take a seat on Henman Hill to watch the big screen. Everyone looks great, the Pimm’s is flowing and you’ll be bound to see some great tennis action no matter which court you’re sat in. Quintessentially British. Even for those of you who don’t watch tennis, it’s just a great day out.
2. Regents Park Open Air Theatre
Now, it took some convincing to get me here as I’m not the biggest fan of musicals. How glad I am I that I said yes. I even went back the next year. Set inside London’s famous Regents Park, this theatre experience is like no other. Once through the gates you are free to wonder the lovely indoor-outdoor style grounds. With seasonal plants trailing along the structure and a very enticing looking bar, I’d encourage everyone to turn up with some time to spare just to soak it all in. Plus, you can have a bite to eat too.
When it comes to the performances, the shows and cast always bring a fresh and exciting take on whatever title you may be seeing. Great choreography and stage craft. You’re guaranteed a great view pretty much no matter where you are seated also.
3. Pop – Up Screens – Outdoor Cinema
Pop-Up Screens host outdoor screenings of all our favourite films in parks throughout London. I went along last year to their showing of the classic Dirty Dancing in Hammersmith’s Ravenscourt Park. It’s a simple, yet effective, idea with a great atmosphere. We parked ourselves in a nice spot in front of the screen. Then dived straight into our picnic, with a glass of bubbles. Very civilized. As the sun goes down and the final film-goers take seat the movie starts. It’s like a regular cinema, just more relaxed and outside!
The audience participation is what makes it. With any famous line coming out of handsome Mr Swayze’s mouth, literally the entire audience would swoon and egg him on!
Prices range from £12.50-£20.00
Bargain. (and you can keep it cheap by bringing your own picnic).
So, what are you waiting for? The city awaits and these London summer events will guarantee a good time.Yum
Running is a lonely sport, or so I always though…
When I started off running outdoors I wasn’t that confident, so going it alone was fine for me. Yet now I have been doing it for years I craved something slightly different.
I recently decided to venture out on some new routes and realized they are a hell of a lot longer than I thought I was capable of. Result! So with this new found confidence I thought it’s about time I try to get out there and join some of my fellow running enthusiasts. I’ve been so surprised and excited by what is on offer locally for runners. So here’s a round-up of my first three ventures:
3 Local Running Events in Watford
Cassiobury Park, Watford
My first ever group run. On a cold, dreary Saturday morning I headed to Watford with a friend and was introduced to this great little community. Despite the fact is was seriously chilly and raining there was around 200 people there and ready to kick start their day with a jog. These events are weekly, free, and run completely by volunteers (who were all really friendly and encouraging).The course is 5k and had a range of abilities. Oh and at the end they record your time with a barcode, you get an email through telling you all your stats. Throughly impressed. In case you’re wondering, the picture below is from my second, sunnier, park run!
(photo credit Glyn Jagger)
Beer and running? You bet. Over the weekend I happened to be enjoying a beer at the Watling Street Brewery (a great bar in Watford with the brewery attached). It was there that I was made aware of a weekly run that starts and ends at the bar, with a free pint for all runners. What a great concept. Held every Wednesday, there are three routes so great for all abilities, set on a pretty trail through parks and woods.
I turned up that very Wednesday on my own. As I walked through the door I was greeted by owner, Rudi, who remembered my name and introduced me to the group, so no ice to break either. After the run everyone sets themselves along a big table to enjoy the runners high and a refreshing beer. Plates of freshly cooked steak slices are put out to nibble on, and to my relief the staff remembered I’m veggie, offering up a hearty, home made, veggie burger as an alternative. Can’t ask for much more than that!
Cassiobury Park, Watford
My first race. This 10k race is hosted annually by storage company Kelly’s at Cassiobury Park, Watford. Kelly’s put on the whole event so 100% of all donations go to charity. You can enter the race for free, although most make a donation to worthy cause Watford Mencap. It’s strange how the minute you turn up to a race rather than a social event it changes your outlook. On the day, I collected my number and was pysching myself up to keep a good pace. The course was very pretty and takes you through woodlands as well as the park. A great atmosphere with everyone cheering each other on, plus a medal at the end. I’ll be along next year for sure.
What Are You Waiting For?
I can’t quite believe it’s taken me so long to get out there and do some events. If you, like me, have been going it alone, I would definitely recommend joining a local club or park run. It is surprising just how many are out there. It’s sociable, motivation for when you can’t be bothered and other runners let you in on new events too. There’s also the fact that there is always someone faster to keep up with. It’s bound to do wonders for your PB times. Have I reeled off enough yet?
Bring on the Regents Park 10k next!Yum
You could call me a bit of a delinquent when it comes to beauty and face care. I’ve been using the same eyeliner for a good five years. I quite frankly don’t get this obsession with ‘contouring’ and when it comes to moisturiser I use any old one on offer in Boots. Then every now and again I will take a closer look at my face and be horrified at the state of my skin. So I’ve finally decided I should probably invest in a proper face care routine.
Luckily enough I hinted about getting in some nice products and one of my friends produced these lovely little potions as a birthday present. So I have ditched the 99p facewipes and bargain bucket cream for these:
Formula 10.0.6 Best Face Forward Daily Foaming Cleanser, Passionfruit & Green Tea – £7.49 for 150ml
I use this every night before bed. This gel cleanser does what it says on the tin, when you apply it, it foams up well. This makes for a good experience as you really feel you have washed the days grease away without having to scrub too much. It’s got a light but sweet passionfruit smell and I always find my skin feels soft afterwards. I’ve been using this consistently for a week now and I have noticed my skin improving. My pores are getting less and less noticeable. Each morning I used to feel I had to apply foundation to cover up the imperfections on my skin but haven’t felt the need to do this the last few days.
Formula 10.0.6 don’t use any parabens, so that gets a tick from me. The company has been around since 1933 but the site doesn’t show much about their ethos which would be nice.
Yes to Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturizer – £11.99 for 50ml
To start with, it smells amazing. I smooth this onto my face after cleansing at night and the cucumber scent is a nice bonus, it feels like you have just put fresh cucumbers on your face! I have quite dry skin and this product certainly does the job of making it smoother, yet I don’t wake up with an oily face, so I’m pretty pleased with this one. It’s a good consistency, quite thick and easy to apply, plus the design of the bottle makes it easy to squeeze out just the right amount.
As a company Yes To don’t use parabens, don’t test on animals and donate some of their profits to organizations to help others such as the Seed Fund (although I couldn’t find much further info about it..). I’ll defintely keep using this one, if it’s one thing that helps to convince me to part with my money it’s that the company will use it well instead of pocketing it all like some of the big beauty manufacturers out there. Plus they have lots of other great products that are made with fruits such as coconuts & blueberries, sounds tasty!
Take Care Of Your Skin With A Face Care Routine!
This is coming from me guys, take care of your skin! I fell into the lazy category for years but even in the short amount of time I have started giving my skin some proper attention I find it looks far better. Plus this face care routine involves using just two products. That’s something even a real lazy girl like myself can implement.
I’ve never really been spotty but the grease from the day and from makeup products caused black heads. And let’s be honest, who can leave blackheads alone? Gone are the days I find myself trying to pick at these imperfections on my face. Which obviously will cause a red spot and then I repeat the whole cycle by covering it up with yet more makeup. I always thought ‘ah well’ I’m still young I’ll care about my skin when I’m older’. Admittedly a flawed idea!
Carb lovers unite, we all love a bit of bread, but the big question is: what is the best bread for weight loss?
If you have tried and failed miserably at a ‘low carb’ diet then don’t fear, you are not alone. I tried too and all it did was make me lethargic and low on energy. Plus I seriously missed bread. Now I know there are still diets knocking around that claim reducing carbs can be beneficial, but it’s not for everyone. It’s important that the way we treat food is realistic, so let’s face it, we can’t just go cutting out bread for good.
This considered, we should still make good choices with the bread we choose to eat. But what is the best variety to keep off the pounds? Here are my top three.
My Number 1 – Rye Bread
In case you didn’t know, Rye, or ‘Pumpernickel’, is a German bread made using ground rye and a sourdough starter. That is the big difference, as the loaf you and I know well is made with wheat and yeast. The benefits of substituting your normal slice with some rye is that it will keep you fuller for longer as it’s got far more fibre. Not only this, when compared to an average slice of white bread, rye fairs better in terms of calorie count. It’s got a different taste and texture, but I really like it. I toast it on high so it is really crunchy, then you can add what you like. As a topping, peanut butter with bananas is one of my favourites.
In Second Best Place – Wholewheat Bread
Wholewheat, you can pick it up in all supermarkets big and small, and unlike rye, it’s pretty similar to the nations favourite white loaf. It looks and feels pretty similar, it’s just brown instead. Wholewheat bread is made, you guessed it, by using the whole of the wheat. The benefits of this are that the bran and wheatgerm give an extra hit of fibre. Great for digestion and for keeping you full up! I initially grew up eating white bread but made the swap to wholemeal years ago. I’m so used to it now that I can really tell the difference if I’ve eaten white instead (which is basically that I get the munchies pretty quickly, boo!). So if you know you aren’t going to have time for lunch, maybe pop some wholemeal in the toaster for breakfast to keep you going for longer.
3rd Place – Granary
Granary bread is packed full of added whole grains. Usually the bread itself will be made with wholewheat flour too, so the fibre content will be high which is super good for your digestive system. Wholegrains are complex carbohydrates, which your body relies on as a primary source of energy. Focussing on foods that are nutritionally superior will make you less likely to need a snack in between meals. So if you are a bread lover it is definitely worth picking up some yummy granary bread to make your sarnies with. It’s got far more going for it than your doorstop white loaf.
So there you have it, three options that you don’t have to feel guilty about. Superior taste, more nutrients and keeps hunger in check, what’s not to like? For those of you watching your waistlines it is a no brainer.
If you are sighing at the thought of leaving behind those white rolls and doorstop wedges then check out my recipes section for a few ideas that might enthuse you. I have toast for breakfast every weekend and crunchy rye is simply devine. Have I mentioned peanut butter on rye is like my favourite thing ever? …*Trails off into peanut butter day dream*.Yum
Thrift shops, I love them. Well, in Britain we don’t really call it ‘thrift’ though do we? We call it charity shopping. Which doesn’t quite have the same bohemian-esque ring to it. But I’m trying to be hip and cool, so for now let’s keep it as “thrift”. For a bit of inspiration below you’ll see what I threw on today and where my best buys were from. Shopping second hand doesn’t mean you scrimp on style.
I think the idea of thrift shopping is actually super popular already in the UK, more so than some of our European buddies. My dear Mam is Czech and you would be hard pushed to see a second hand store anywhere. Our charity shop culture is great, I know it gets some bad press because some high streets have too many and they get favourable rates blah blah blah. Essentially though they are here to do good things for their causes and it means we can recycle clothes rather than chuck them to land fill.
My Thrift Shop Style
Let’s see my outfit today (which is all old purchases I’ll have you know! I am keeping to my word of not buying any more stuff). It is at least half comprised of second hand thrift shop finds. Bargain!
Oliver Bonas patterned pink scarf for £5 from Cancer Research UK, coat cost me £10 & these jeans (I wear them to death) were £4. Thank-you-very-much. That is £19 and I look the business, plus I’m far too broke to ever shop in Oliver Bonas anyway. So I’ve actually got better quality stuff that what I’d usually buy new.
If you are guilty of going out to Primark ‘just to pick up some new tights’ and you come out with a hoard of clothes, then you should give charity shops a chance. I’ve often found brand new items, so you really don’t need to get all funny about someone else wearing your stuff first.
I’m going to ramble on about the planet now (sorry not sorry). As I mentioned in this post we are spending more and buying more, but throwing things away faster than ever before. Quality is no longer the prerogative when shopping. We should stop seeing clothes as dispensable items as we ultimately lose out. We’ve all done it, bought something on the high street and half the stitching has come out a few weeks later. Queue feeling all annoyed that you’ve wasted your hard earned cash on something that is now basically a useless rag.
If you really aren’t convinced then at least think twice when you buy new to make sure that you are buying for quality over quantity. Just know I will always come out on top when it comes to price 😉Yum
Inspired by this ladies plight to spend less, or in fact, spend nothing, for a whole year, I am looking at how we can all benefit from spending less and living more.
I’m not going to lie, the reason I started this post is because I live in a teensy cottage and have soooo many clothes (and shoes, and bags..) that my boyfriend is forever nagging me that we haven’t got enough space. He’s right, but during my clear out, it did get me thinking..
“The average consumer is now purchasing 60% more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but each garment is kept for half as long”
Why Do We Do it?
We are all guilty of spending too much and on stuff that we probably didn’t know we even needed. A well placed advert appears whilst scrolling through the internet one minute and there you have it, a full trolley on Asos the next. We are constantly reminded to spend at every corner. On the TV it is more advertisement than actual content. When I read the sunday suppliment in the paper there are pages dedicated to flogging us the latest cream or a smelly candle that costs upwards of £40.00.
The big companies are good at making it look as though you need to buy something. They focus on human pyschology to hook you and give the illusion that your life will somehow become better and more enriched from buying their products.
What are we actually getting out of it?
We are getting stuff, obviously. We’re also feeling that buzz of having something new which is exciting. But, we are also losing space in our homes, money in our purses and worst of all excess consumerism is contributing to pollution. According to the World Resources Institute fast fashion has allowed us to consume more. “The average consumer is now purchasing 60% more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but each garment is kept for half as long”. Now that can’t be a sustainable way for us to live. I know when I was doing the rounds at the shopping centre I wasn’t thinking about the environmental impact of the top I just bought from a fast fashion retailer, but I will now.
What could happen if we stopped?
Spending less could not only save you a load of cash, it will help the environment also. Making a small change like re-thinking where you buy your clothes can help make an impact. Second hand shops and vintage markets are a good start. Even if that doesn’t appeal to you, you can make a start by ensuring to recycle your unwanted garments. Big companies have already started to take responsibililty and H&M have introduced a garment collecting initiative in their stores, so you really have no excuse!
So, I’m not saying I’m going to go all out and spend nothing, but I am certainly going to give it a good try and implement some new tactics in my life to help reduce my impact on the planet. It’s also been really nice to have more space at home. Like us all, I get attached to my clothes and stuff, but queue some mass-ebaying and the little cash injection every time I sell an item and I am convinced. I have still got a full wardrobe with lovely stuff in it, so I really don’t need anything else. I’m not going to get drawn into ‘fast fashion’ this year.
1) Before I buy something, ask myself if I really need it
2) Spend less in fast fashion retailers and more in second hand/vintage shops
3) Keep looking at what I already own and if I haven’t used it, donate or sell it
Spend less & live better is definitely my new motto!
Today is a pretty sad day..
Just kidding, it’s been a totally okay day (or actually, even better than totally ok, because it’s only the best day of the week..FRIDAY!).
But there is something to be sad about, a little dramatic, but my gym gloves have finally kicked the bucket.
I know, I know, ‘Chrissy, they’re just a nasty old pair of gym gloves..just get some news ones’. I do have some new ones, they’re actually much better quality than this lovely zebra print number. But that’s not the point.
The point is that this pair of tatty gym gloves have been with me since day one. From the humble beginnings, when I first joined a gym not having a clue what to do, this pair have travelled the timeline with me. They’ve stopped more calluses and blisters than you can shake a stick at.
It’s just a small reminder of how, before you know it, you can change for the better. I bought these on Amazon for as cheap as possible, clearly picking fashion over function and used them for every weight I have lifted, every pull of the rowing machine, many kettlebell snatches and the occasional bike ride (and crash!). That’s four years of excellent service from these lil guys!
When I think about it like that I can’t quite believe the amount of hours of excercise and training I have achieved. Without trying to blow my own horn, I’m pretty proud of my progress so far.
So I say farewell to my little buddies that have seen me through till now. They’re frayed at the edges, theres damaged bits of fluff from where the velcro picks at the design, and all around the grip the stitching is ripped..but I will miss them!
I might even just keep them at the bottom of my gym bag for another few months..just to get the absolute maximum use from them. I clearly have attachment issues!
So next time you pick up a dumbell say thanks to your gloves, or if you don’t have a pair..you know what to do..
Till next time,
I love my iPhone.
Not trying to advertise for Apple as I genuinely can’t afford the rest of their electronic gadgets…but I am so pleased that the one item I do have from them is an iPhone.
It just does so much to make my life easier, I order my food shopping on an app on my phone, I whatsapp my friends to stay in touch, I flick on to social media when I’m out waiting for a bus (or indeed at home, when the other half has picked a really boring film on a Saturday night). It even tracks my period!
But then I downloaded this app called ‘Moment’. It’s a tracker that logs the time you spend on your phone, which is a great concept as it has just brought home how much time I spend using the bloody thing! It logs your time into categories, so if you spend under an hour a day on your phone it’s green, between 1-2 hours, orange and anything over in red. It’s like being back at school although the only thing that is being graded is how well you spend your time!
Needless to say my tracker is not looking good, a lot of orange mixed in with a few greens (go me!) and worryingly a few reds. I know for a fact that if I added all this time together only about a third of it would have been spent productively, on phone calls or work emails. The rest? Wasted. I could have been doing a host of other, more exciting things, but instead I was staring down at my phone, like a little screen zombie.
I do kind of semi-annually have this conversation with myself in my own head about cutting down my screen time, I’ll try to impose these new rules where I ignore the impulse to google cute cat videos. This normally lasts about a week or so…and then I slip back into my regular routine. I’ve even put all my apps together in a folder called ”Wasted Time” to try to deter me, it doesn’t work.
So my phone use is habitual and like I’m sure many would agree, habits can be hard to break.
I am lost as to what to do to try and cut my nasty habit (haha!) but I’ve come up with a few baby steps that I’m hoping will help me do the trick.
- Weaning off Slowly
Going cold-turkey definitely did not work for me, so my new strategy is to delete useless apps one at a time, I’ve started with Twitter. Poof! Gone! I’m not missing it, but then again I’m getting my daily dose of junk from Facebook and Insta so I think those will be harder to cut.
- Out of Sight, Out of Mind
It’s so easy to get to my office and whack the phone out next to me on my desk, planting it there all day so that I can hear every buzz of a new email or every notification. Of course though, you don’t just go and check that email then get right back to work (hope my boss isn’t a reader here..) you end up getting a junk email from River Island about new lines being added to the sale and then before you know it, you’ve spend 20 minutes scrolling through reduced clothes. Doh! So the phone is staying firmly locked away in my bag until break times.
Thats’s pretty much the only wisdom I have on this particular topic and I must say..I am finding it super hard to stick to my wits and stop tapping away on my phone. Any phone addicts out there have a similar experience? Please do share your own tips, have you discovered an app like Moment that is helping you see the error of your ways? How much of your life have you re-gained? I need inspiration!
Till next time x