Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary: the story so far

So I’ve never been particularly sporty or fit. I used to be a dancer from the age of 8 – 14 but even then, stamina was not my strong point. This year, I decided to try and change that (and my waistline) and finally get myself in shape. I set myself 2 goals:

1. Run 5k comfortably

2. Drop a dress size

I have tried running before but not with much success but then I heard about a programme that my local running club were offering to beginners to get them to 5k. I had already missed the first week when I heard about it but went along on the second week. I walked in feeling pretty nervous and shy but soon realised everyone in the room was at a similar level and the coaches were great. Not too pushy and fitness crazed but offered some motivation and advice to get you where you wanted to be. The programme is based on a Monday night club run and then 2 ‘homework’ runs during the week.

So now I’m coming to the end of week 6 and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I’m definitely not the best in the group but I try hard and push myself a little bit further each week. Tomorrow is the big test as we move from interval runs to solid running for 25 minutes. By the end of week 9 I should be running 5k. Lets keep fingers crossed!

running

The second of my objectives is not going so well however.  I know that a lot of people say that running often turns fat to muscle but I haven’t seen a difference in weight loss as yet.  I do feel like I am toning though and I haven’t exactly been dieting so thats the next phase!  A friend recommended this site  to calculate your calorie intake so will be trying this next week and see how I get on.

The other random fitness challenge I have taken on along with the girls in the office is the 30 day squat challenge.  It’s mostly just a bit of fun and an attempt to get rid of some of the junk in the trunk 🙂  Here it is if you want to give it a go yourself!

30 Day squat challenge
30 Day squat challenge

D x

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Food & Drink, Home & Lifestyle

Taste test: Berry fruit teas

I don’t normally drink fruit tea but often think I should cut down on the amount of caffeine in my 7 or 8 daily cups of tea so thought I’d give them a try. Here I focussed on berry based fruit teas from 4 different brands: Clipper, Teapigs, Taylors of Harrogate and Twinings.

fruit tea

Twinings Echinacea & Raspberry, £1.49 for 20

tea bagbrew

I was keen to try this tea as I’ve obviously heard about the healing powers of echinacea and have recently been fighting the germs that are surrounding me at home and work with everyone being ill!  The tea when brewed was the palest of the four teas that were tested, and had a very subtle raspberry scent.  There wasn’t a strong fruity flavour coming through but I did enjoy it as it had a comforting, warming flavour that I think would be quite soothing when you are feeling  a little under the weather.  I would definitely  drink this tea again but due to its lack of fruitiness I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5.

Clipper Strawberry & Rhubarb Organic Infusion, £1.49 for 10

clipper IMG_3620

 

 

 

 

 

The first thing I noticed about this tea was how much it smells like strawberry jelly 🙂  It reminded me of my Dad making Bird’s packet trifle mixes when we were younger and the smell when he was making the jelly layer (definitely a guilty food pleasure!).  This tea was a rich red colour when brewed.  The first taste was quite sharp, the rhubarb flavour was very prominent.  I didn’t find it easy to drink and didn’t enjoy the flavour. It was my least favourite of the four teas.  Because of it had an awesome scent but less enjoyable flavour I’m giving this tea 2 out of 5.

Teapigs Super fruit, £4.15 for 15

teapig

teapig
 

 

 

 

 

 
Teapigs was the most expensive tea of the bunch, I’ve heard really good things about them so was keen to give it a try. The scent is really bugging me – it smelled like sweets from my childhood but I can’t quite put my finger on which ones, regardless it smelt good!  It was very smooth to drink and had a nice subtle fruity flavour.  Although I’m a newbie to fruit teas, this one seemed to be a good all-rounder and was therefore my favourite of the bunch.  I’m giving it a whopping 4.5 out of 5.

Taylors of Harrogate Blackberry & Elderflower, £2.99 for 20

taylorstaylors tea
 

 

 

 

 

 
This was the sweetest tea and having a bit of a sweet tooth, it made it quite pleasant.  It had a more distinctive taste than the other teas so its probably one you will love or hate.  The bags were individually wrapped and endorsed by Kew gardens.  It was less fragrant than the Teapigs or Clipper tea but overall I thought it had a good flavour.  I’m giving it 4 out of 5.

So the winner of this taste test is: Teapigs!

Food & Drink, Home & Lifestyle

Quick & Easy: Chicken Schnitzel

So I can’t take the credit for this recipe, I was taught by my family in Australia when we visited last year and I’ve been hooked ever since.  Schnitzel night in our household has become a regular occurrence now and the great thing is, it’s really simple to make!

What you will need:

Chicken breast – 2 is normally more than enough for 2 people with some left over.

Plain flour

A large egg

Breadcrumbs

Paprika

Italian herbs

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4. Set out 3 bowls. In one, place some plain flour with a large dash of paprika and seasoning.  In the second, beat an egg and in the third, place the breadcrumbs and a good amount of herbs. Then, cut the chicken breast into thin slices, I normally get 3 out of each breast.

schnitzel

2. Next, take a piece of chicken, coat it in the flour mix, then dip it in the egg, then cover it in breadcrumbs.  Pat the breadcrumbs into the chicken breast to make sure they stick well, set aside and repeat until you have coated all your chicken.

IMG_3565

IMG_3566

schnitzel

3. Pour about 1 litre of oil into a heavy basedsaucepan and put on a medium heat.  The oil needs to be very hot in order to cook the schnitzel, you may be surprised how long it takes to get to the right temperature.  To test the oil, I drop a little bit of the left over breadcrumb mix in to see if it is ready – if it bubbles and rises to the top then you are good to go.  Fry the schnitzel, no more than 2 pieces at a time, until lightly golden brown.  This should not take very long.  Keep an eye on the oil temperature and make sure it doesn’t get too hot.  Remove the cooked schnitzel and set on a baking tray.

Scnitzel

4. Place the schnitzel in the oven whilst you prepare your sides, this just makes sure the schnitzel is cooked all the way through and keeps it warm!  I always serve with linguine with a tomato and chilli sauce but you could serve with whatever you fancy!

Schnitzel linguine

Enjoy!

D x

Fashion & Beauty, Home & Lifestyle

Top 5: Beauty Products In My Cupboard

I’m a bit of a beauty hoarder.  I’m an easy sell when it comes to the latest must-buy beauty product and over the years have built up quite a collection (some of which still sits in sealed boxes at the bottom of my drawer) but there are some things I just couldn’t do with out.

1. Good Shampoo

S Factor

I always buy the huge TIGI bottles of shampoo and conditioner when I go to the hairdressers.  I normally pay around £25 – £30 for them but it actually lasts me ages.  They are much more concentrated than the normal brands in the supermarket so you don’t need to use nearly as much plus I love the smell of them too!  My latest bottles I actually got from Look Fantastic and opted for the S Factor Diamond Dreams Tween pack.  It is said to be “enriched with Champagne extract, diamond dust, cashmere and crushed pearls”, I don’t really buy into that at all but it does smell good and makes my hair soft and shiny and thats kinda all I want from a shampoo!

2. Benefit Glimmering Body Balm

Benefit body balm

On a night out, Benefit’s “take a picture…it lasts longer” body balm is always my finishing touch.  It’s a light body balm that you apply with the handy velvet puff that comes with it which I think adds a little glamour to the product as well!  It leaves a subtle shimmer on the skin – great for the legs if you’re daring to bare as well as the shoulders and décolletage 🙂

3. Environ AVST Moisturiser

Environ AVST

When I used to work in London I regularly had facials at the Pacifica Day Spa in Notting hill (highly recommended by the way).  I never had really bad skin but it was never great.  The salon recommended Environ as a course of treatment – its much cheaper than Dermologica but the down side is, now I don’t work in London its really hard to get hold of!   It’s a actually a South African brand which I haven’t found locally yet so I took the chance last time I was in London to stock up!  The moisturiser in particular has really made a difference and I’m rubbish at remembering to apply it everyday so probably only use it around 4 times a week.  According to the Daily Mail its popular with a number of celebs too – now I just need to find a new stockist!!

4. Jo Malone Vitamin E Body Treatment Scrub

Now this one is currently a bit of a sore subject because I just ran out and its actually a pretty luxurious product for me to replace at its £68 price point!  I bought it as a treat a while ago and it really was worth every penny.  I never really used to take advantage of having a bath in the house.  I was more of a long shower kinda gal but this was for those special effort nights when I really wanted to pamper myself.  That was until I introduced Sunday night bath night as a new years resolution and I soon used it all up! It smells great, leaves your skin feeling super soft and has almost a body oil kind of effect after you’ve dried that feels like you have moisturised.  I’m resisting the urge to splash out on this again right now but not sure how much longer I can fight it for!

5. My Nail Varnish Collection

Nail Varnish

OK, so I tried real hard to narrow it down to one nail varnish but I just can’t do it.  There are too many and I love them all!  I have a lot of different brands but mostly Nails Inc, OPI and China Glaze.  I always think that no matter how ill or down you are feeling, if you have pretty nails it always makes you feel better! So instead of offering you my favourite, I’m going to give you a top 5 within a top 5 🙂

1. Nails Inc, Porchester Square – I always get tonnes of compliments when I wear this shade.

2. OPI, Glitzerland – This gold polish is my go to shade for the festive season, often with a top coat of Deborah Lippmann’s Boom Boom Pow.

3. Nails Inc, The Mall – It’s my favourite deep shade of purple with a blue sheen.

4. China Glaze, Sex on the Beach – Looks great all year round, for daytime or evening.

5. Nails Inc, Haymarket – this is my go to fun shade, great for the summer

 

 

 

 

Nail Varnish faves

 

D x