The short of it

Another title for this blog post could of been – Body Image: Current status ‘its complicated’. Let me explain…

I’m just about to go away on holiday and for the past 11 weeks I have been religiously following the Weightwatchers Flex plan my aim to lose a stone before my holiday as well as running my usual 15km a week. As ever my commitment was unwavering and I exceeded my goal losing 17.5lb and over 10% of my body weight.

In a way that was the easy part. It has been an extremely hard journey to lose the weight this time round (I am now 45 and losing weight is getting harder and harder) but more importantly during this journey I have noticed some other significant changes happening to me. One of the biggest things that has happened is I have started to wear shorts!!!

Now thats probably not a big deal to most people but it is a huge deal for me…

Obviously a trivial thing like wearing shorts is the visible change but something much more significant has changed in me. Even though I have lost a lot of weight over the last 5+years (I was at my heaviest a size 20/22 and am now a size 10/12) I find it very hard to see myself and my body as ‘ok or even *gasp* quite good. These insecurities would mean I would wear leggings under dresses and go running in capri running tights even on the hottest of days.

Body image is a strange thing and however much other people tell you your body is ok unless you believe it yourself, it means nothing.

During the last 3 months I’m not sure why I started to feel different but I realised I was feeling angry. Angry mainly at myself for limiting my choices. Why shouldn’t I wear what I wanted? Why should I be hot and uncomfortable because I was worried someone might judge me? Was I really this stupid? Was I really this vain?

So, I bought some running shorts and I ran. And bought some summer shorts and I wore them. And you know what? The world didn’t end!!! No-one mentioned my admittedly wobbly thighs and even better I didn’t feel bad. I actually felt great. I felt free…and most importantly proud of myself.

Learning to love yourself is a journey thats for sure. But here I am, standing smiling in the sun wearing the kind of ‘short’ shorts I used to fear and a vest, embracing my new body, faults and all. I have bought a white bikini and will wear it by the pool and those running shorts are packed. My body is not perfect, but its better than it was. Its healthy and strong, my boyfriend thinks its sexy, it made a beautiful child and most importantly its the only one I’m getting!

More reading:

Find previous blogs about my weight loss journey here and here.

Find previous blogs about my fitness and running here, here and here.

Oh hello again weight loss journey…

For the last 3 months I have been signed up to Weightwatchers and following their new Flex program to lose weight.

I had put on a bit of weight this year (about 2 stone) due to too much snacking and too many treats as well as an issue with my contraception which meant I had to go on the pill for 6 months which changed my body shape/weight completely. I was unhappy with how I looked, was struggling more and more while running and knew my issues with food were rearing their ugly head again, so in September signed up with Weightwatchers for 3 months.

My start was a little slow but after 4 weeks I had lost 7lb and got my first ‘silver 7’ sticker. It took me a while to get used to points rather than calories but I soon adjusted and was tracking my food every day.

While I was on my 3 month subscription, the Flex program was launched – this is where my weight-loss really sped up. This new system builds on the existing SmartPoints system, but has expanded the zero point foods to include more than 200 different foods. You do get a lot less points per day though – mine dropped to just 23 but I have to say it worked for me. According to Weightwatchers in a six-month clinical trial, WW Flex produced better weight loss results among participants than in clinical trials of previous Weight Watchers programmes.

As always with Weightwatchers, no food or drink is off limits and now members have the freedom to eat many more foods without tracking or measuring, including eggs, all fresh fish and seafood, skinless chicken and turkey breast, fat free plain yogurt, beans, peas, sweetcorn, lentils and tofu. For even more flexibility up to four unused SmartPoints each day can be rolled over into your weekly points to use however you wish (for me usually on something sweet!).

Find out more about Flex here – I definitely recommend it.

My next milestone was losing a stone…and you get a little certificate! They say a stone is a dress size and my this point my clothes were definitely starting to feel loose on me plus some bits that had got too tight now fitted again.

Once you achieve a loss of 10% body weight it is also marked with a certificate as its an important milestone in health. According to Weightwatchers losing just 10% of your body weight is scientifically proven to lower your cholesterol and reduce your blood pressure, and high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure are two major risk factors for heart disease. Also if you’re overweight, you’re at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, which means your body can’t make enough, or properly use, insulin, a hormone that helps convert food to usable energy. By losing just 10 percent of your body weight, you’ll improve your body’s ability to use the insulin it makes, possibly preventing the onset of the disease. My blood pressure and cholesterol were already fine but its still great to be keeping an eye on these things particularly as I am now in my forties.

Exercise was a key part of this process for me – I ran in the snow…

I ran at night…

I just basically ran a lot!!! I have been exercising regularly the whole year anyway, running 5km three times a week, every week currently adding up to about 725km/450 miles in total – but weight loss is 30% exercise/70% diet so sadly the weight still crept on. If you’re interested in starting running but don’t know how to start, I’ve written some blogs about running as it has been a lifesaver for me – find links to them at the bottom of this post.

My last weigh-in was this week and I lost another 2lb taking me to 1lb over my goal of losing 1.5 stone by Christmas. I am so proud of myself as it has been really hard particularly as it got closer to Christmas.

So what have I learnt? After losing over 6 stone about 5 years ago I really thought my struggles with my weight were over…sadly I was wrong. I realise now this is something I am going to have to manage my entire life and must always be aware of.

So at the end of 2017 I am 22lb lighter, off the pill, my running has improved again and I am back to a size 10-12. For my work Christmas party I wore a heavily sequinned top which I would never of worn 20lb heavier…and I felt fantastic!

Always a blue sky girl 40 plus fashion blog blogger Sarah Gorlov blueskygirlie very sequin party christmas top

Always a blue sky girl 40 plus fashion blog blogger Sarah Gorlov blueskygirlie very sequin party christmas top

Losing weight has not been easy, but it definitely has been worth it. I realise not everyone wants to lose weight but for me the bigger I am, the more unhappy I am.

I enter 2018 much more aware of how easy it is to put weight on and feel I am back in control of my body and mind again. I feel healthy and strong but most importantly, I feel the best version of me again. I still have about 7-10lb to lose but for now I’m going to enjoy Christmas (although not go mad, I’ve worked too hard for that!) and then continue my weight loss journey in the new year, knowing I only have a few pounds to lose. Most importantly I am going to do what I have always done for the last 3 years – keep my running up (3 x 5k a week), walk as much as I can and generally be as active as possible…it really makes such a difference.

This is going to be a life-long struggle for me, but I am never going to give up. People throw around the phrase ‘lifestyle change’ but thats sadly what it has to be. This change has to be for life…of course every day cant be perfect, but as long as theres more healthy days than unhealthy ones, thats what matters.

Find previous blogs on my weight-loss journey here and here.

Find previous blogs on my running here and here.

Midweek Meal Inspiration with Capsicana

Last week I was lucky enough to be sent some new cooking sauces to try out by Latin food experts Capsicana as part of their #CapsiCarnival event. Capsicana is an authentic Latin American cooking sauce range, inspired by real Latin American dishes such as Mojo sauce from Cuba, Aji Verde sauce from Peru and Moqueca from Brazil. Bursting with real authentic ingredients from the region they also contain no artificial colourings or flavourings, are suitable for vegetarians, gluten free and only use non GM ingredients too.


For our first use we went for the Mexican Chilli & Honey sauce. This is a sauce based on ‘Puerco al horno con salsa de chile ancho y miel’, a classic Mexican dish. To recreate it, Capsicana use Mexican-grown chipotle & ancho poblano chilli peppers as well as honey, which has featured in the country’s food since Mayan times. The Mayans believed that a native stingless bee had been given to them by one of their gods and that it was a link to the spirit world – honey has been integral to Mexican cooking ever since. Its a medium level heat so I thought was a good place to start!

Following the receipe on the packet (I love a bit of receipe inspiration) we needed fresh chicken breasts, some peppers and an onion to create our feast. Its a lovely thick sauce which smells delicious the minute you open it and theres lots in a pack. One pack = two servings and its definitely enough for two hungry people.

Once the chicken was done, we chose to serve it with sautéd potatoes and a fresh salad and I have to say it was delicious! The sauce has a deep, rich flavour and a good heat to it without being too overwhelming. It is measured as medium heat which I’d say is about right. The sweetness of the honey isnt sickly, in fact it balances out the chillis really well and I found it a really delicious and easy to use cooking sauce.

Capsicana latin cooking sauce review Mexican Chilli and Honey - Always a Blue Sky Girl blog

Capsicana latin cooking sauce review Mexican Chilli and Honey - Always a Blue Sky Girl blog
Capsicana latin cooking sauce review Mexican Chilli and Honey - Always a Blue Sky Girl blog

Overall, I really liked this sauce, its consistency, pack size and flavour and it created a quick and easy dinner for two which as a busy person, I liked even more.

But best of all? I’ve still got three more sauces to try yet…

Capiscana quick cook sauces are available in Sainsburys and Waitrose priced at £1.99 each. 

For more information and recipe ideas visit http://www.capsicana.co.uk

*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.

Me, my mental health and I…

Ostensibly this is a style blog – something to help you look and feel good, but in my experience neither is possible if you are not mentally healthy.  This week is Mental Health week, an awareness week supporting people to open up about mental health, fight some of the stigmas associated with talking about mental health problems and to seek help if it is required. This years theme is to ask ourselves if we are ‘Surviving or Thriving?’ and seeing that a mental health problem will affect 1 in 5 of us in our lifetime, this week seemed a good week to share a personal essay about my own journey with my mental health…

I was always a happy child but an anxious one – I was the oldest and an overachiever from the minute I could talk. I think anxiety is born into you – maybe even an inherited trait, as I remember worrying about lots of things as a child and already having a sense of wanting to be perfect. Nowadays theres is lots of talk about safeguarding children’s mental health but in the 70’s and 80’s that kind of thing was practically non-existent, however there was also not as much pressure on kids at an early age like there is now. For some reason though I put pressure on myself. I remember getting ‘nerves’ and being ill when worried (about a big event or test for example), getting headaches, being sick or having stomach problems – all classic signs of an anxiety disorder. By the time I was a teenager and was at a high pressure girls-only grammar school, this anxiety was exhibiting almost every day. Did I get help? God no, I just hid it…I hid it really, really well and so began a pattern of behavior that I followed for most of the rest of my adult life.

Hiding a mental illness is not uncommon. Why do we do it? Well mainly its the stigma of saying you are ill, but not properly ill, just ill in the head. This is a totally ridiculous view of course but this is how you feel – people tell you to ‘pull yourself together’ or imply you’re making a fuss about nothing. Feelings of shame overwhelmed me and I became very good at hiding my issues. By the time I was 16 eating disorders were common at my all girls school and something that the girls there encouraged each other to have. Having already developed an unhealthy relationship with food I was overweight so opted for Bulimia – it really was that simple.  I first foray into a proper mental illness – I crashed dieted then binged and purged… I lost weight and everyone praised me and told me how good I looked. It was a strange irony, I was ill on the inside but deemed as looking great on the outside. My periods stopped, the enamel started to come off my back teeth, I had a scar in my hand from making myself sick and when my parents at their wit’s end called out the doctor and I started to realise I couldn’t live like this – I was eating ice cream for breakfast and then not drinking a Diet Tango because it had 3kcals in it rather than Diet Cokes 1kcal.  Ultimately as a form of self-preservation I came to my senses and stopped the purging…it really is the most awful, destructive, disgusting illness but my issues with not feeling good enough, being anxious and my warped self-image never really went away.

After I left school I started working as a window dresser in London in a creative whirlwind of fun, partying and no real responsibilities. It was the early 90’s and we were fuelled by alcohol, ecstasy and the energy of youth. Ironically even with all this hedonism they were some of the happiest and least anxious years of my life – but then earning decent money and living at home, real life hadn’t really begun for me yet…its like I was playing at being a grown-up, but we all know those days cannot last. And they didn’t – by the time I was 21 life suddenly got very dark.

When I had my first panic attack I honestly thought I was dying. I had experienced the sudden death of someone very close to me and was deep in the confusion of grief, loss and utter devastation. There was help around me – my worried parents paid for private counselling, my GP offered me Prozac and Valium and friends rallied round me but I just wasnt ready to help myself. As I limped out of this terrible experience my anxiety gripped hold of me as it did again 3 years later when my father died suddenly and I headed through my 20’s and then into my 30’s suffering from different types of anxiety disorders. My reliance on food as a comfort continued too and my weight ballooned leaving me morbidly obese by the time I was 30. My mental health was all over the place – I gained and lost the same 3 stone at least 3 times each time not being able to keep myself on a steady path. I also became better and better at hiding the cracks in my mental health – I was always bubbly and confident, well presented, I held down a good job, was in a long-term relationship and created a beautiful home but on the inside I was fighting myself…and my panic all the time.

At 33 I had my son.  I desperately wanted a child and when he was born he was just perfect and I instantly fell in love. I was lucky, unlike many other mothers I didn’t suffer from post natal depression and recovered quickly from the birth. Having my son made me, probably for the first time in my life, put someone else first. He changed everything, because although I still worried (mainly about him) I couldn’t focus on myself all the time, over-thinking and obsessing, and slowly my anxiety started to dissipate. Back at work full-time with my husband staying home to look after our son I decided I wanted to start to take the control back in my life. Within a year or so, I had achieved everything I set out to do but something didn’t feel right and my old enemy, anxiety started to rear its ugly head again. Migraines, sudden sickness and panic attacks become a regular occurrence but you would never of known it. I knew in the back of my mind what was wrong but decided it was better to ignore it. It’s amazing how long you can ignore your own problems but ultimately in the end you realise it is killing you slowly and by the end of my thirties I realised I was wasting my life – I felt like a zombie. After much soul-searching, in quick succession I left my husband (it had been an unhappy and unhealthy relationship for some time), I took redundancy from my senior creative role and sold my house, downsizing my lifestyle considerably. I totally changed my life.


As I entered the most stressful stage of my life I had experienced so far, at the beginning panic gripped me everyday but I fought it and the mere fact I was creating positive change made it easier and easier to control. I removed toxic people from my life, simplified how I lived and I started exercising at the age of 40. Exercising has completely changed my mental health. Gone are the panic attacks, I still get anxious about things, sure, but exercising seems to quell my demons, helps me think and fills me with endorphins. After building up my fitness using the app C25K I now run 5k three times a week every week. I have a very loving, supportive new partner, a great work/life balance and finally the understanding that I must be proactive and responsible for my own mental health. No-one else can do this for me – I wanted to change my life so I did. It wasnt easy but it was worth it. 

I now know the warning signs when things are getting too much and I speak freely to the people around me about how I am feeling. If I’m getting stressed I tell my loved ones and seek their support. I refuse to be ashamed anymore – my anxiety disorder is just as much part of me as my green eyes are, but I will not let it own me. I control my life, I control my health and I control my happiness. I have made a conscious choice to be happy and I can say I am happy in my life now – truly happy.  However there is no real end to this story – I will live with my anxieties in some shape or form for the rest of my life but I will not be beaten by them.

Find more about Mental Health week here and find links to my other blogs on my mental health below, I hope you find some things in them that are useful –

My weight
My self esteem
Exercise
Being called ‘fat’

If you need help speak to someone – a friend, family member, your doctor or call one of the many helplines available. You are not alone.

The Strange Case of Self Doubt & the Confident Girl

Have you been watching the new series of Sherlock on the BBC? Well I’ve got a case for you to investigate mystery lovers…

This is me: at 43, I’ve studied hard, I have been travelling, I’ve worked at some of the best places in my profession; I have been married, I’ve been divorced, I’ve done it alone, I’ve created a blended family a fantastic new partner; I’ve forged a great career (although its now taking a backseat while I do the whole primary school thing), I’ve owned my own business; am a mother and step mother, bought and sold houses, chose to change my life and drop 6 dress sizes and generally aim to embrace life and all it offers.  I travel, love having new experiences, care deeply for those I love and am always the life and soul of any party.

But I am still wracked with that pointless emotion…self doubt.

Self help doubt mental health blog via Always a blue sky girl blog

Maybe you suffer from it too? Its definition is this –

SELF DOUBT [self-dout] noun

lack of confidence in the reliability of one’s own motives, personality, thought, etc.

It is a strange thing to be seen as so confident and bubbly by everybody, as they seem to think you are never not confident as if you are a non-stop fun machine. I myself am a person of extremes – put me in front of a crowd and ask me to perform and I am in my element, but looking at a person on Facebook who has ignored my friend request will reduce me into a state over-thinking.

“They must hate me” I think.

“Maybe I’ve done something to upset them?” I ponder.

Is it because I’m too loud / odd / fat / fit / obsessive / dreamy / pretty / ugly / bullish / fussy / common / snobby / ethnic / funny / miserable ? etc etc – delete as necessary.
I have always been a worrier.  I will worry about anything and everything and again those niggling little thoughts can creep in – the ‘what ifs’… Suffering from any form of anxiety can be crippling at times but I believe telling people about it is half the battle, particularly if you’re good at hiding it. In my 30’s I suffered quite badly with anxiety and panic but ultimately I had to acknowledge that the only thing holding me back from living the life I wanted was me. It was a watershed moment and I changed my life – big time…but thats for another blog. I still get anxious about things of course but I do not and will not let it control me. (as an aside I’ve found regular exercise key in making this change to my mental health)

Being a mum can make self doubt rear its ugly head far too often too. “Am I doing the best I can?” I ask myself as I rush from work, via the school run to after-school swimming then rewarding my son with dinner out as a reward as he passes into the next swim group. Of course I am, but its easy to look at people around me particularly via the rose-tinted glasses of social media and think – “Wow they’ve got it all under control…activities every night after school and perfect children, maybe we should start violin lessons and I should stop letting the kids go on the computer so much”. However once you start comparing your life to others lives you will never stop…and probably total madness would follow!!!  My mantra is now “I am doing the best I can and I am good enough.”


Ah social media. As someone who works in marketing and uses it everyday in my role, I can see the good it can create but I also think social media is a particular issue our parents did not have to deal with; whether its the Facebook show offs, the people trying to tell you how to parent or the general taboo of admiting that sometimes life and motherhood is really bloody hard, I’m learning to take it all with a pinch of salt and remember… however much it is presented as reality it is not actually real life!

I was recently picked for a fabulous opportunity – to film an advert for Garnier Olia hair dye and be the face of their Intense Red shade 6.60 for 2017. All the attention, praise and compliments was really quite humbling and its really nice to see yourself through other peoples eyes…in fact it is quite amazing.  Not only was I feeling good about how I looked, I was suddenly being told how well I had done, how proud I should be of myself, and you know what, the more they said it the easier it was to feel it.Garnier Olia hair dye commercial via Always a Blue Sky Girl Blueskygirlie fashion beauty blog blogger

Garnier Olia hair dye commercial via Always a Blue Sky Girl Blueskygirlie fashion beauty blog blogger fearne cotton

I compliment people all the time but find it hard sometimes to accept a compliment or praise graciously, as if I am embarassed by the fuss. I wonder why that is, why it feels like showing off when it is, in fact, just being proud?  It is one of my proudest moments so far and has definitely helped me stop telling myself “you can do better!” quite so much!

Garnier Olia hair dye commercial via Always a Blue Sky Girl Blueskygirlie fashion beauty blog blogger with fearne cotton

Being in a TV advert definitely helps you get used to really focusing on how you look which is usually the time when that self doubt can creep back in for me. When you photograph yourself all the time for your blog it seems strange to say you suffer from worrying about how you look, after all how I look is a big part of the blog. It is a ‘chicken and egg’ situation as one of the reasons I started blogging was to help my self esteem and it has been very good at helping that – generally people are very kind and supportive and I have not come across many trolls.  But do I look in the mirror and love what I see? Well lets just say I am working on it…

Primark Atmosphere sequin top outfit via Always a Blue Sky Girl Blueskygirlie fashion beauty blog blogger
So what has this bubbly, mainly extravert; worrying, sometimes introvert actually learnt?  I have realised I am far too hard on myself and really need to give myself a break – we all do. We were the generation that was told we could ‘have it all’, but that is pretty much impossible. We must make our choices and pick our battles and celebrate each success however small.  It is ok to not get everything right, in fact to learn and develop it is a very necessary thing. The key for me is to keep trying, to never give up and to try and be the best version of me I can be.

So I continue on my lifes journey trying as best I can to banish this pointless, undermining emotion and remember the amazing journey I have taken to get here – to this exact point, with all its ups and downs, its failures but also its many successes – it is this exact journey that has made me, me!

Self help doubt mental health blog via Always a blue sky girl blog

I’m realising I am the only me I’m gonna get and you know what, I’m pretty damned good at all this life stuff.

I’m still wondering my that person on hasn’t accepted my Facebook friend request though…

The F Word

*warning this post may have triggering effects linked to food or weight issues*

Hi, I’m Sarah and if you follow this blog you will know that I am a generally cheerful, confident, fun person. You will also probably know that I have lost a lot of weight (I was a size 20/22 at my largest) and have to work hard to stay a size 12 by trying to watch what I eat and running 5k three times a week.  It is not easy.It has taken me quite a while to like myself again but my body image is still a constant struggle and this blog, in part, is a tool to embrace my flawed, curvy, 40plus figure as seen by my super critical eyes.  I had a eating disorder as a teenager and still have a complicated relationship with food and my body – to try to help, I follow quite a few plus size bloggers, those who embrace their size, love their bodies and are part of the #effyourbeautystandards movement. I admire them and their confidence but I cannot feel like them sadly. Being morbidly obese was a prison sentence for me and although I seemed confident I suffered terribly from anxiety, was physically in a bad place with various aches and pains and I hated myself.

So why am I telling you all this?

Well last week during an arguement with a stranger (a man) I was called ‘fat’.  I was also called a bitch, stupid, a ho and various other insults but ‘fat’ was the one that really hurt. It got under my skin and wounded me more then any other insult and it made me think – why do people still use it as a low blow insult? A word that is used to hurt and belittle, particularly towards women.


Forgetting the fact the man saying it looked like the back end of a bus (and was hardly an Olympian himself) once that word was said I felt awful, insecure, and yes, fat. I felt ugly. I felt weak.  He had told me in his eyes I was…what? Unattractive to him? Not the perfect body shape? Imperfect?  Erm – who cares! But sadly I did care.

At my sons school they are taught the word fat is a hate word, as abusive as a swear word or racial slur and if he hears me using it he tells me off. This gives me hope that using the word to attack and hurt and undermine will end with our generation.

Body confidence is hard – every time I go on a run I put myself out there. Dressed in skin tight lycra it is scary to exercise in front of the world. It not just the actual running that’s hard, its fear of being watched, insulted, maybe even hurt…I’d say pretty much every month I get catcalled by men in cars/lorries bleeping their horns etc – they seem to think thats a compliment. Doing it every other day, regardless of those fears takes guts. 



So am I going to stop eating cake? Hell no!  Not run in public?  I’m fitter than I’ve ever been so, sorry, no. Starve myself for an ideal I can never reach, one that is perpetuated by photoshopped images anyway?  My body has done amazing things – it carried a baby, it can run for miles, ticked amazing places and experiences off my bucket list, kept me fit and healthy and my boyfriend seems pretty keen on it too!

What I do need to do is make sure that my confidence in both my inner self and the body people can see (and judge) is greater than any throwaway line or joke.  I need to hear the words when the people who care about me tell me I am beautiful and loved and perfect in their eyes.  NO-ONE male or female has the right to make you feel bad about the way you look…and the key is knowing they are not just wrong, but that they are the weak ones, the insecure ones, the ones that truly hate themselves.  I need to remind myself of this statement – 


So another pathetic human being goes on their way thinking they’ve won because they have said some throw away insult which is not based on anything apart from wanting to hurt. But you know what? People like that will never break me – I am more than words, more than their twisted ideals, more than their insecurites – I AM ME…AND AM PRETTY DARN FABULOUS!!!Find my blogs on my fitness and running here, here and here.

All photos via my Instagram – blueskygirlie

Still Running

Someone asked me the other day how I motivate myself to keep running. They wanted to run, in fact they could run a 5k OK, but they couldn’t motivate themselves to do it regularly so it wasnt having any effect.

It got me thinking – how have I bucked the trend and run 3 times a week every week for the last 2 years come rain or shine and havent given up?

Well firstly its definitely not due to any physical prowess! Let me be clear – I still find running hard – I’m tired at the end and I definitely dont look forward to it.  But the thing I’m best at is never missing a run, so these are my 5 tips for not just starting running, but keeping running…

1) Treat it like a commitment you cant get out of – when you get up for work in the morning not going in isn’t an option you consider even if you’d rather stay in bed. I treat running the same way. I have ‘running days’ that fit around my work and childcare schedule and think of them as an appointment in the day that is non-negotiable. This change in how I think about them makes them a ‘have to’ rather than a ‘might do’.


2) Provide yourself with tools that make it easier – buy yourself some bits of clothing that mean youre not reliant on good weather. Any gaps for excuses is dangerous.  A hat, snood and gloves for winter and sunglasses, vest and water bottle for summer.  We can all make excuses to get out of doing things but dont give yourself the option. Carry an ipod or phone with you and listen to music or an audiobook – if you can find ways to make yourself feel more comfortable within the act of actually running it wont seem so hard.


3) Get to know your body – your body is a machine and you need to treat it as such. Know when you’ll be running and make sure you eat a decent meal beforehand. Dont leave it too late though, everyone is different but I would suggest a gap of least 2 hours so you dont feel like youre going to see your food again! Stay hydrated too and then take some water with you particularly in the summer and you will find running so much easier. If youre a woman don’t push yourself too hard at certain times of the month – a slow steady run is still a run. And finally a small thing but its mega important, ALWAYS make sure you use the loo before you leave 🙈.


4) Revel in your acheivements and be proud!  Hey, youve done something amazing. Realise that. It shocks me how many people do no exercise at all – I used to be one of them. Share your run on social media – you might get the odd sarky comment but you know what? People that do that are just jealous (and usually doing no exercise themselves) and on the whole I find friends very supportive. Join a running community online or find followers via Strava – kudos from others can be a powerful tool.  And if all else fails treat yourself to a favourite dessert or treat with dinner that night…after all the more you run the more you can eat!!!


5) Push yourself and acheive some ‘bucket list’ goals – when I started running just the idea of running a 5k without stopping was my only goal but as I’ve gone on (and its got easier) my goals have become bigger. Trying to get better times, running with others and recently doing my first organised run – a daunting concept for me – a charity Colour Run where we got pelted with paint powder as we ran. That had been on my bucket list so I was very proud…plus I got my first running medal!

Dont wait for January with the New Years resolutions losers, or during a short-lived health kick, or even wait till Monday, start now. And then, most importantly, DO. NOT. STOP.

All images via my Instragram – follow me here.

Swarovski activity tracker jewellery

So, I don’t wear an activity tracker when lots of people do. You know why?

Well its simple – they look awful. I dont care how beneficial they can be I can’t wear an ugly bit of plastic/rubber round my wrist all day, every day. I know I’m fussy but I plan my outfits with precision…and a FitBit (or similar) just doesnt work for me style-wise.

Then I saw this advert…
 

Erm…hello!

This is what the website says –

“Swarovski and Misfit joined forces to bring the most advanced tracking technology into beautiful Swarovski jewelry.  The Swarovski Activity Crystal is designed to be always on — it has a six-month battery life and is water resistant. And it is designed to help you look great throughout your day, whether playing sports or celebrating a special occasion.”

This is how it works…

OK, thats made me fall in love a bit, it looks great but lets be honest Miranda Kerr could make anything look amazing…

 
  
 

Choice wise the look is luxe and sparkly. You can get different options with studded and diamante straps, a leather watch style strap, matching bracelets and bangles and even a pendant necklace!

   
   
Find the full range here.

But the real question is does it work well as an activity tracker or is it all style over substance?

  

You don’t need to charge it just relace the battery every 6 months or so. You can improve and track your fitness via the app where you can view your activity or sleep history by day, week or month with graphics to show number of steps, calories burned, distance travelled etc and how many points you earned towards your goal. For sleep tracking, you can see how much sleep you’ve had and how much of that was deep sleep. There’s also the usual notifications for personal bests and the option to connect your account to Facebook.

Plus its not just an activity tracker – the Swarovski Activity Crystal pairs with the app to become a smart button that can interact with connected devices.  You can take a picture or selfie or control your music…now this function I really like!   

 

Whether you think the options are gorgeous or garish, one thing’s for sure – this is a blueprint for invisible wearable tech that fits into our stylish, fashionable lives. The future is now!

The tracker is available in stores and online starting at £129 with extra straps available at £59.

It is designed to be compatable with iPhone 4s/5/5c/5s/6/6 Plus, iPod Touch 5, iPad 3/4/Air/mini, Samsung Galaxy S 4/5/6, Samsung Note 3, Google Nexus 4/5/6 and Android 4.3 BLE devices and above.

All images via Swarovski.com 

InstaNatural Argan Oil Beauty Review

I have been using a new organic range as part of my beauty routine for a while now.  I have reviewed quite a few of InstaNaturals products now (find the blogs here and here) and I have now tried out some of their Argan Oil products.
As a 43 year old who wants to look 33 (!) I do make sure I follow a good beauty regime and InstaNatural say their products are great if you have sensitive skin as the entire product line is made without alcohols, parabens and sulfates that can be irritating to the skin and none of the products are tested on animals.  In todays blog I share my thoughts on 3 of their Argan Oil based products…InstaNatural Organic Argan Oil Multipurpose mosturiser for hair, face, skin & nails – £16.95/120ml

Details: 100% pure and Eco certified Moroccan Argan Oil.  

I have been using Argan oil for a while now and really like its simplicity and multi usefulness…well I did until I realised the cheaper ‘Argan’ oil I was using had 9 other non natural (ie chemical) ingredients in it! This oil from InstaNatural is 100% pure, in a large size (which lasts ages) and is in a nice glass bottle with a pump. It feels great and worked wonders taming my thick curly hair particularly before blow drying. Use it sparingly as (maybe because its so pure) a little goes a long way and needs to be able soak in…otherwise it will make hair greasy.  InstaNatural say it is therapeutic for every skin condition and also great for Acne, dry scalps, split ends, frizzy hair, stretch marks, nail cuticles & more!  I used it on dryer areas of my skin too – knees, elbows etc and it softened them nicely as well as creating a nice ‘glow’ of my skin, great if you’re going out and showing a bit more skin than normal. With this being 100% organic/ natural there is no perfume to it, in fact it smells as you’d expect – slightly oily, but I’d much rather that than use all the chemicals I was inadvertently using before.

Argan Oil Leave in hair treatment – £11.95/120ml

Details: 100% Pure & Organic Argan Oil, Coconut Oil & Carrot Seed Oil.

Having quite thick wavy long hair, Argan oil is something I do often use in my hair to try to tame the frizz. Used sparingly this treatment by InstaNatural can be really beneficial for dry hair, or dry/split ends in particular. However if you use too much your hair will end up greasy – it took me a while to get the amount right as you don’t need more than two pumps of product to make your hair feel soft and shiny. If your hair gets tangled easily after washing I’d recommend this too.

This is an easy to apply lightweight oil which comes in a large pump action glass bottle and is filled with ingredients such as grapeseed oil, olive oil, jojoba oil and shea butter and has a mild scent. Overall I liked its effects and would recommend as a twice weekly treatment rather than daily to create shiny, frizz free, nourished hair.

img_4157InstaNatural Superior Hydration Argan Oil Hair Mask – £14.94/240ml

Details: Organic Argan Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Vitamin B5 & Green Tea.

This is a deep conditioning hair mask in a large tub with a screw on lid. The conditioner is thick but easy to apply from the tub – I worked it through my long hair paying particular attention to the ends as these are quite dry and left it on for about 10-15 minutes. The product has a lovely sweet smell to it, and it rinsed out well and did not leave my hair feeling greasy at all. Afterwards my hair was left feeling very soft and smooth. The hair mask has ingredients such as Argan Oil, Japanese Green Tea, Amino Acid Complex, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil and Vitamin B5 and is totally organic like all InstaNatural products.

Overall I liked its effects and would recommend as a weekly treatment to create shiny, frizz free, nourished hair particularly if you blow dry or straighten your hair a lot. Its gorgeous aroma lasts and was remarked upon very positively by my partner which was nice too!

The range is sold exclusively in the UK via Amazon.co.uk – find the full range here. All prices correct on Amazon at time of posting.

All products – InstaNatural via Amazon*