Post honeymoon health and fitness update

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Health and fitness in any form pretty much did not exist for me between the dates of April 10th and May 25th.  The week before the wedding involved me medicating my stress with wine and chocolate on pretty much a daily basis, then the honeymoon involved pizza, cocktails, humongous breakfasts and everything my food-related dreams are made of.  Then, the few days after I got back I was still in holiday mode, and eating my way around everything naughty in our cupboards (I stocked up on Mini Eggs before we left, which was both my best, and worst idea of all time).  During the honeymoon we did an awful lot of walking and lugging backpacks around, so although I didn't manage to get out running, we did stay pretty active throughout (it wasn't a complete slob-fest!).  Nonetheless, on a diet of carbs, carbs and more carbs, it's no surprise that I put on a few pounds and watched my belly grow from getting fairly flat pre-wedding to a very well-developed food baby.

I'm not beating myself up about this - after an enormous amount of stress, pressure, and busy-ness in the months and weeks leading up to April 17th, four weeks of eating, drinking and chilling was just what the Doctor ordered.  But now I'm back into a routine, I want to keep on top of my health and fitness to make sure I feel good inside and out.  I've not been feeling 100% since we got back; jetlag, thrusting myself straight back into work and hoovering up all of the chocolate and crisps in the house have made me feel sluggish and fatigued. Bread in various forms (tiger bread and pizza being my main weaknesses) have been on the menu almost every day, but I've started to face up to the fact that it just does no wonders for my digestive health. After eating a couple of tiger bread baps at a barbecue last weekend my stomach was so swollen I had to lie down.  It is mainly bread that does this and I'm not sure of the cause (whether it's wheat, gluten, or something else) - but I know that if I want to feel good and not like I've swallowed a football, I need to give it the swerve (a very sad sentence indeed).

I've been so tired and busy since I got back that I haven't been meal planning or food shopping properly either, and dinner has usually been something I've grabbed on the way home from work, or a mish-mash of things from the fridge or freezer.  I want to get back to prepping and planning meals in advance and making sure I fit lots of protein and veggies into my meals.  It's when I don't plan and just grab things in the shop (or from a takeaway) that I make bad choices, so being more prepared will definitely help.

Gym outfit post Gym outfit post
// vest: soas gingham run tank - fushi wellbeing - £40
// capris - legacy sportswear - £35
// trainers from nike outlet @ gunwharf quays

My fitness and exercise is going slightly better.  I decided to ease myself back into exercise by trying to run most days since I got back from honeymoon (rather than getting straight back into the gym or signing myself up for classes and PT sessions).  I haven't been doing longer runs but just little jogs around the block to get back into being active again.  I also signed up for the Runner's World Run Streak, to run every day between May 25 and July 4. I've managed running every day so far (13 miles in total this week) but I'm beginning to wonder whether it might be taking on too much.  I went to a Boot Camp class on Wednesday that was so hard I couldn't walk the next day, but I still had to run, and then on Friday I woke up with a cracking headache, so had to come home and run after work in the evening, which just doesn't work for me at all.  On Saturdays I go to a boxing class from 8-9, but because I was out for the day, I had to get up at 6.45 and run to the class, which was hard work! We're away so many weekends over the coming six weeks that I'll have to pack my running gear for two or three weekends away staying at friends' houses, and running definitely won't be on the agenda! I need to have a think as to whether it is going to fit around my lifestyle, or whether sticking to a few runs a week, coupled with Boot Camp, Boxing and Yoga classes, will provide more balance.

I've also been wearing my FitBit Flex since Tuesday, and have been chuffed that I've met my step, distance and active minutes goals every day so far.  I hope I can carry on with this level of activity and start to get rid of those unwanted lbs and build my strength back up.  I started to get some good shoulder definition and some muscles in areas I hadn't seen before in early April, but that's all disappeared now so I want to build some more lean muscle and tone up to start to get my confidence back again.

How are you getting on with your health and fitness goals this month?

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Win a glamping weekend away

There's not much I like more than waking up in the campervan, in a tent or in a yurt, and being able to take in a big gulp of fresh air, make bacon sandwiches in wellies and pajamas, and while away a morning sat in a camping chair, taking in the surroundings and enjoying being outside.  As I've got older, I must admit I've enjoyed the tent life less and less, and absolutely love being able to go away in our VW van, with full width double bed and memory foam mattress! I'm definitely all about the home comforts these days, so if we're going away on a trip in the UK we usually either go away in the van or opt for a cabin or a yurt to make sure we're nice and warm and protected from the elements (and that your belongings are protected too - nothing worse that staying in a tent and realising that the only thing that stands between your camera, phone and wallet and the outside world is a bit of canvas!)

So I'm excited to be able to share a little competition with you today, where you could win an amazing Wigwam Holidays glamping trip, a voucher and a glamping survival kit with lots of goodies inside.  What's not to like?

But first, I started daydreaming about my two favourite glamping trips away from the last couple of years.  One that will stay in my memories forever, was when we we stayed here, and got engaged!  It was truly the perfect weekend.

...and then there was my 30th birthday camping weekend, where we drank lots of prosecco and ate lots of cake, and cuddled pigs! The perfect ingredients for a weekend away, if you ask me.

Food area Bodhi camping

So how can you win your own glamping adventure, and some goodies to boot? All you need to do is head over to the competition page before 14 June, and enter your details.  They kindly sent me my own Glamping Survival Kit to show off what you could win - doesn't it look amazing? It has an outdoor bluetooth speaker, Havaianas flip flops, a selfie stick, a Brita bottle, and all sorts of other treats in there.

Glamping kit
Glamping Kit

It only takes a few seconds to enter, so hop on over and make sure you don't miss out (and let me know if you win, I love looking at other people's glamping and camping photos!

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Cath Kidston beach huts on Bournemouth seafront

The beach huts between Southbourne and Bournemouth Pier never fail to put a smile on my face during a dog walk or a morning run, so when I heard that Cath Kidston had transformed five of them with their beautiful prints, I couldn't wait to go down and have a peek! We took a trip to Bournemouth Pier (the beach huts are numbered 2368 - 2372, just down from the Harry Ramsden's restaurant) on the day they were unveiled to take in the new addition to the seafront.

Brightly coloured beach huts are part of the geography - and charm - of Bournemouth seafront (and a lot of the East Dorset coastline), and I always feel that there's something quintessentially British about seeing families lounging on deckchairs outside of their beach huts, soaking up the sunshine and reading the newspaper or enjoying a picnic.  I've always thought of the Cath Kidston brand as very 'British' too - nostalgic, floral prints that bring cheer to the kitchen and all over the home (including wardrobes, pajama drawers, laundry rooms and all sorts!) Cath Kidston have a store in Bournemouth town centre, so it seems a perfect match that they've ventured further towards the seaside to deck out some of our beach huts in their wonderful prints.

Cath Kidston beach huts

The beach huts feature classic prints (Antique Rose and Button Spot) as well as key prints from the Spring/Summer collection - Clouds, River Fish and Paradise Fields.  I adore the River Fish print (and the fish are perfect for the aquatic placement!) - but the cloud beach hut definitely has my heart.  I have been lusting after the Gola x Cath Kidston cloud print trainers for some time so to see the print in beach hut format is very exciting!

Luckily the sun put his hat on for the unveiling of the new huts, and so Tom, Tamsin and I took a wander down to the seafront with the doggies to have a good look.  Max and Bodhi were very good and agreed to pose for a photo! I sometimes called Bodhi 'cloud-dog' as he looks like a fluffy cloud with legs, so it was very apt that he did some posing in front of that beach hut (though he didn't sit quite as well as Max!)

Cath Kidston beach huts Cath Kidston beach huts Cath Kidston beach huts Cath Kidston beach huts
Cath Kidston beach huts at Bournemouth beach
{last photo pinched from Tamsin!}

The beach huts will be there until September and are well worth a visit (you can even rent them for a day!).  They're part of a new campaign called #RandomActsofKidston where the brand are aiming to bring a bit of cheer to people's days with their iconic, bright prints.

I was so glad it was a sunny day, as it was the day after we arrived home from Bali, so I was worried I was going to have to be piling the jumpers on! It was nice to still be able to wear sunglasses and flip flops.  I bought this coral lace-y top from M&S before I left but didn't take it with me, so that's been rolled out this week and I've been wearing it at every opportunity.

M&S blouse outfit M&S blouse outfit post
// top : marks and spencer : £35 {instore, can't find online}
// jeans : asos £35
// flip flops : rip curl {bought in Bali}
// sunglasses : ray ban clubmasters £125

Make sure you make a trip to see the beach huts if you're down our neck of the woods before September - they definitely won't fail to put a smile on your face!

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Loose kisses take trips

Happy Bank Holiday Monday UK chaps, and happy normal Monday everyone else! I am about to drag my bum out for a run and then meet up with a friend for lunch - it's so nice seeing all the people I've missed whilst we were off gallivanting around Bali.  Have to make an effort to see everyone before my tan fades so they can all be jealous - ha!

This was Saturday's outfit - we went to boxing class in the morning and then in the afternoon went to Wimborne to while away the afternoon in a beer garden.  Unfortunately our boxing teacher was also there and I felt slightly guilty about the bottle of wine and humongous fish and chips I was tucking into (seriously, this fish was as big as my arm).  But not guilty for too long, because wine.

It was so nice to be able to be outside in the sunshine - there's nothing worse than coming back from holiday and having to get your winter coat out! The jeans I took with me on holiday didn't get worn except for on the first and last day, and on the last day I discovered they were much, much tighter - turns out you can't eat pizza, cocktails and pancakes every day without your waistline increasing - who knew? So back to my old favourite skinny jeans whilst my daily food intake gets back to normal! 

Casual outfit Casual outfit Casual outfit Casual outfit
// jacket: vero moda {old}
// t-shirt: pull and bear {similar £7.99}
// jeans: topshop jamie - £42
// flip flops: rip curl {bought in bali}
// bag: mulberry {oversized alexa}

I bought the t-shirt whilst in Kuta in Bali; there was a giant mall there which had Pull and Bear, Bershka, Bath and Body Works, Mango and all sorts of other shops.  It was huge and very USA-esque (it even had a Cold Stone Creamery stand) - I only managed two shops before Tom started to have a meltdown though so I made sure I chose Pull and Bear - I'm a bit obsessed and forever making ASOS orders full of P&B items.  

I'm also living in flip flops at the moment - I got a shellac pedicure the day before I left (for about £7) and my feet have never looked so nice, so I am proudly exposing them to the world whilst they still look pretty - don't think I can afford to get it done regularly at home! 

Hope you've had a wonderful weekend wherever you are,

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Feeling inspired and motivated - and plans for the coming months

I wrote in my last post that I often feel like a total mish-mash of wants and goals, and that I can never seem to make up my mind what direction I really want to go in.  Travel and adventure vs home and comfort is the one that I constantly seem to waver between, but never do I feel more drawn to one that when I've spent a long time in the other (I'm also a total 'grass is greener' person, I can't help it!)

So it makes sense that now, after spending four weeks away in Bali, and prior to that having almost no free time due to wedding planning, that my feet are firmly in the 'home' and 'comfort' and 'me time' camp. When we touched down at Heathrow on Wednesday I had this overwhelming feeling of happiness, and of being exactly where I needed to be.  Even though my dreams are filled with sunkissed skin, poolside cocktails, al fresco dinners and warm evenings, I can honestly say that Britain really does feel like home to me, and of all of the places I've travelled in the world, I do find the New Forest and living on the south coast of England to be pretty darned perfect.  I had the same feeling of relief and comfort when we walked through the front door of our house - the smell of the candles in my office, the plumped cushions on our sofa, our mugs in the kitchen, my duck down duvet and pillows in our bedroom, just made me feel so content.  As well as re-invigorating my love of home, I never seem to feel more motivated and inspired than when I've been away for a few weeks.  There's something about stepping out of a situation that gives me so much clarity and excitement to get back to it with a renewed sense of creativity and excitement.

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Because of this, I now have a humungous list of things I want to get stuck into over the coming months.  This list seems to grow by the second, and I've been waking up in the middle of the night thinking of new things I want to work on, and tiptoeing downstairs to get started on them! It's so nice to feel so inspired again.  Here is the list so far:

001. Work on our garden and grow yummy food, herbs and pretty things to look at {we've got a headstart on this as Tom's parents spent two days weeding, planting and generally doing loads of work on our garden whilst we were away!}

April and May 2015 1080 April and May 2015 1174 April and May 2015 1172

002. Print more of my photos and do more in my Project Life scrapbook.

{img credit = artistic dreams}

003. Go through all of my new cookbooks and start trying more recipes and experimenting with cooking.

004. Get outstanding 35mm film developed and shoot more film.

{img credit = hitchcock blonde}

005.  Organise and edit photos I haven't been through yet - get all of my Trek America and honeymoon photos sorted and share them!

006.  Redo our bathroom (big job - we want to rip it out, get new fixtures and fittings and retile it all!)

007. Reconnect with books and practices I loved but tailed off with - re-read Spirit Junkie and The Desire Map.

008.  Read all of my outstanding articles on Pocket.

009. Start doing morning pages again.  Every day - keep to this morning ritual.

010. Gratitude journal.  EVERY DAY WITHOUT FAIL.

011.  More yoga - every day if possible, but at least once a week.  Go to more classes.

012. Frame our wedding photos and write all of our thank you cards.

013. Have the biggest de-clutter of my life.  Get rid of clothes and shoes not worn within the last six months and electronic equipment not used.  Clear out old papers and magazine.  Get rid of anything not used or loved.

014.  Take note of things that make me happy and do more of them.  Have fresh flowers in the house. Take time to listen to birdsong.  Go on evening walks.  Burn candles.  Take more baths.  Have more chill time.

015.  Catchup on my unread Bloglovin blog posts.  Note and share inspiring posts.  Take more time to comment.

016.  Read more, share mini book reviews on blog or YouTube.

017. On that note - make more YouTube videos.  Start a podcast.

018. Run in the mornings.  Go to more exercise classes.

019.  Catchup on the podcasts that inspire me.

020.  Blog, blog, blog.  Blog about wedding planning, book reviews, our honeymoon, my fitness journey, and all of the fun things I have lined up for the coming months.  Be more authentic on my blog and make more time for 'honest to blog' posts where I share what's been on my mind.

As you can see, the list keeps growing, and is getting pretty big!  I feel so excited to get started on all of these though.  Throughout the early part of the year I really felt like I lost what it was to be 'me', and lost my way a lot.  The stress of wedding planning and hitting 30 (and worrying that I had nothing figured out) really knocked me for six, and I seemed to have no motivation or inspiration, and no time for self-care.  I feel so happy that I'm now able to reconnect with all of the things that I know I love, and that make me feel good when I make time for them.  This list is pretty overwhelming though, and I wonder whether I should focus on maybe one or two things to really invest time in, rather than flitting around doing a little of everything.  What do you think? How do you make sure you don't get burned out when inspiration hits again?

{PS -Sorry for the phone photos - wanted to get a post up and have been so busy since we got back that I haven't managed to get my camera back out and take blog photos yet!)}

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On not being able to decide

I often feel like a mixed bag of interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes. They don't fall neatly into one column as I find myself wishing they would, which results in an all too frequent internal 'tug of war' when I'm trying to make plans or make decisions, both big and small. I sometimes wonder if I should have been a Gemini, the sign depicted by twins, said to mean a split or dual personality.

I think a certain amount of this is because of an inner conflict between what I want to do, and what I feel I 'should' be doing. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do my best; to achieve success at work, to be a great partner and friend, to be fit, slim, liked by others, and so on. It can sometimes be hard to get to the core of the real 'you', amongst meeting expectations of yourself and others, and wanting to fit in with what friends and peers do and like.

Even without this though, I've always felt like I've had a sort of internal swinging pendulum, moving between conflicting goals and aspirations. I have an ambitious streak that draws me towards climbing the career ladder, putting my skills to good use and finding a great job that pushes and challenges me. My plan after university was to move to London, where I dreamed of working in PR and having a busy social life; wine bars, dinners out, early morning spin classes and a well worn Oyster card. I know too, that there is a creative side of me that yearns to be more exposed; I have recently started writing poetry again and I love writing, photography, reading, and learning new things. When I look back over journal entries and reflections in my gratitude journal, days that involve yoga and meditation are often my happiest. I have a real interest in digging deeper into spirituality and living with intention. But too, I am an unrelenting social media addict who finds it hard to switch off. I have always thought of myself as a home bird - I love my comforts and simple pleasures and a night spent in PJs with a good book is hard to beat. But I yearn to travel and have a deep wanderlust and a desire to experience living in another country. I don't feel 100% settled where we are and I miss being closer to friends and family. There's a part of me that wants to move close to them, and another part that fancies trying a new life on the other side of the world.

(This will do for now)

It makes it very difficult to make plans, and 30 feels like the sort of age where you should be starting to pin down your five and ten year plans. Most people we know are starting to have children and settle into (or continuing an already established) career. Me? I can't decide whether I want to have children and stay at home making jam, or go travelling, or invest a few years in building a career. I'm not sure what my 16 year old self would think of the fact that I work in HR - it certainly was never my dream, but then, who does know what they want to do at 16? (For the record, I wanted to be a journalist).

So how do you un-jumble all of those conflicting goals and dreams, and likes and dislikes? Do you have to be 'all one column', or can you simply bumble along making things up as you go? In the meantime, I'm putting answering those questions on hold whilst I decide whether to read for a little longer or go for a dip in the pool....