Mind and body

indian-summer-date-nightI’m not going to lie to you, these last few weeks have been hard work. We are not sleeping massively well (show me parents of an 8 month old who do!), work has been really demanding for both of us and we just seem to be burning the candle at both ends every single night.

The thought of a date night didn’t really appeal. We were too exhausted to be romantic, do you know what I mean? After a particularly stressful Friday what I really wanted was to curl up in the foetal position and rock myself a bit… that or sleep for about 3 days.

I had already sneaked a peak at this months Indian Summer Just us box date night and seen there was something to do with meditation, that is a bit like sleeping right? So against every bone in my body that was telling me to go to bed (at 7pm) I suggested we open the box and have our date night. I thought it could really do us some good as we’d spent the week sat next to each other on the laptop in the evening, him doing his work, me doing mine. Oh the romance! It’s not very often we have such a week and I could tell that some ‘us’ time was in order.

We laid out the rug and meditation blanket, lit the candles and incense (which smelt totally divine!) made our cups of delicious soft chai and opened the contents of the box. We chatted through the activities and conversation starters and it really perked us up. I started to feel quite a bit better within minutes of doing something different and of the non moping variety. We talked about India and the Taj Mahal, both agreeing we’d like to visit one day. We asked each other questions and got a full house of correct answers! Trying to name the different karmasutra positions had us giggling…

flyingwishpaper

Then we opened the flying wish paper. I’d not heard of this before but the concept was lovely. You wrote down your wish, your dream or your fear (if you wanted) on red thin paper. You then scrumpled this up and concentrated on your wish. Straightening the paper out, you then rolled it into a tube and placed it on the base, touching it with a flame. The wish burned brightly and then flew upwards before turning to ash and floating back down again. It was quite mesmerizing to watch and it got us thinking about our dreams for the future and what was truly important to us.

burning-flying-wish-paper

From here it seemed to make sense to do our meditation. Plus I was looking forward to the relaxation. Initially we wanted to do the couples meditation facing each other with knees touching but we had some technical issues as my other half finds it weirdly difficult to put his knees towards the floor in this position so our knees were at very different levels. So we opted for back to back which felt supportive and strong. It was comforting to have our bodies touching in this way. Personally I found the meditation surprisingly easy and I absolutely loved it. My partner didn’t find it quite so simple and got very fidgety towards the end… I will definitely be giving it another go again either on my own or with him if he is willing!

karmasutra-game

Feeling relaxed we opened up the Karmasutra game. Not knowing what to expect , we did have a good giggle at some of the photos and phrases. As a couple we are pretty comfortable with each other in this way so were willing to give the game a go and actually we were rather pleasantly suprised. Selecting different cards, you were supposed to follow the instructions given. Luckily it wasn’t as cringeworthy as it sounds… the game was about intimacy, massage, sensuality and love and we actually really enjoyed making the time for each other. I totally forgot how tired I was and we managed to lose a few hours by candlelight…

Romantic, sensual and spiritual is how I would describe this months box which personally is a winning combination for me. The Just us box date night once again succeeded in taking us out of our every day normality, allowing us to escape for a few hours to a place where romance lives.  When our lives are so busy and tiring and we don’t seem to be able to get a moment of togetherness, having these evenings means we can reconnect and reminds ourselves just what it is that we have.

What I love is the contents of this box can be reused over and over again so we can have more Indian Summer nights if we would like or we can just use the different elements as and when we need them. I will be burning some more of the soothing incense and giving the mediation ago on my new meditation blanket. Littlelish has already been playing grannies with the silk scarf (hilarious) and will no doubt be begging to make wishes using the flying wish paper. Sadly we didn’t get round to using the Henna but I think we will have some fun as a family with it as Litlelish is also studying India as a topic on her return to school.

Thanks again to Just us box for gifting us this months date night box, we love it. Just to clarify, my thoughts and opinions above are very much my own! Should you wish to sign up to Just us box don’t forget there is currently a sale on until 12pm 4th September where you can receive 15% off by typing in LISH15. If you are too late for this sale you can receive 10% discount by using the promo code LISH10.

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workout

I’m not really one for New Years resolutions, I know how easy they are to make and break.

This year is no different, I’ve not made any official resolutions. Something is different though, I do have a focus, I’m going to get fit and healthy in 2014.

Since having a child 4 years ago my body has not been the same. It wasn’t so much the pregnancy that wreaked havoc with my waistline, rather the change in lifestyle.

I became a stay at home mum. My priorities and focus changed, I took on motherhood with great enthusiasm and my baby daughter was my life. I happily played with her for hours, read to her, admired her every move and coo. I did not care one bit for how I looked on a day to day basis and neither did she. I had less time and desire to look good, I was in love!

I didn’t eat unhealthily, I’ve always been big on homecooked food, fruit, vegetables and fish and that didn’t change. But I did find myself eating lots of bread and pasta, my two biggest weaknesses. My little girl and I also loved to bake cakes and biscuits together, so much fun but for someone like me who loves food and doesn’t seem to know her limits, it was difficult. I could happily scoff more than a couple of cupcakes we’d made together.

I stopped going to the gym and 4 years down the line, I had put on 2 stone and was a size 16. It felt like a constant struggle. I was happy with how I looked and felt annoyed that society put pressure on me to be a size 10, I was beautiful just as I was. But actually the reality of it was, I was unhealthy and sluggish and probably really deep down, unhappy about my appearance. I did dream of being thinner but then talked myself out of it, I was fine.

While ever I thought like that there was no chance of my body transforming. Any change in lifestyle that you want to make requires a real commitment and desire to achieve.

Once again, it is January, a New Year and time to start again. Last year was a tough one, I made a few big changes which turned my world upside down. Now in a better place, I felt more in control over my life and who I wanted to be. I recognised that yes I was a mum and I loved that but I was also still me, the ‘me’ before children and she still wanted to play. I was a woman who was a loving mum and a healthy, happy, determined, empowered woman who could achieve whatever I wanted.

And one thing I really wanted was to take control of my figure again. The fate of this body was in my hands and nothing was going to change until I did something about it. It was like a switch went on in my head, I signed up with the gym, started researching nutrition, diet, fitness and sport so I was well informed. It became an interest of mine, a daily hobby and a lifestyle change. I even started a new blog all about fitness and wellbeing called http://www.timetotry.co.uk.

After a couple of times dragging myself to the gym, I realised how much I enjoyed it. From my research I’d decided to focus on a mainly resistance exercise program to build muscle. Because this wasn’t just about being thin but about being fit and strong, building my body up to be the best it can be. Plus I hate cardio, so I needed to do what worked for me. I was not scared about bulking up as I had discovered it was near on impossible with a women’s body design.

I’ve also taken up running, something I never, ever would have imagined. I am not a runner, this is what I told myself year after year and yet after a few times out there, I realised I actually like running. There is a certain power it gives you, a drive and it is addictive.

As for my diet, I have decided to try and give the Paleo diet a go. There is so much contradicting information out there once again I had to go with what would work for me. I’m basically eating fruit, vegetables, meat and fish and have cut out all grain and dairy. It is the diet of the gatherer hunters rather than the farmers we evolved into. So far it is working, within about a month I’m down to a size 12/14 having lost quite a few inches off every part of my body.

I don’t know what is different this time. Perhaps I just really, really want it more than ever before. Rather than finding an excuse not to exercise or go to the gym, like I have too much house work to do, too much work to do, I have to go and do the shopping or some other task that can wait. I now make time for me. My body and health is a priority and nothing is going to miraculously happen unless I put in the hard work.

So I guess I did make some kind of resolutions but these were more lifestyle changes that are hopefully less likely to be broken.

1. Make time

In this world where everything is rush, rush, rush we need to make sure we are taking the time to look after our bodies and minds. We need to make time for sport and exercise, take time to prepare delicious healthy meals and to try out new beauty ideas. We need to set our mind to this and find the time for ourselves, because looking and more importantly, feeling good, makes us more confident and ultimately, happier people. And there is no time better to start than now!

2. Try

It is about trying, wanting to achieve, persevering, having the willpower to succeed. No one else can achieve this for us, it will take hard work, there is no denying that but it will be worth it in the end.

http://www.timetotry.co.uk is a blog about fitness, diet and beauty written by me, Lucy. I am not perfect, I do not have a beautifully sculpted and toned body (yet), I am not an athlete or a model. I am a curvy, size 14 woman, mum of one who is making time to improve my lifestyle and fitness. So if I can do it, so can you. Are you going to join me? It’s about time to try getting fit!

eyebrowsToday’s guestpost is perhaps what every woman wants to know, the secrets to beauty! For me it is definitely about the last 3, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, I see so many beautiful women each and every day. Have the confidence to know that you too are beautiful in your own enitrely unique way and if you need some extra tips on how to look glowing, take note!

There are some women who just seem to have a certain indefinable something. Many famous women have it and in our daily lives we come across it as well; if you see these women’s mothers, they often seem to have it too. While there’s often an element of good genetics involved, there’s also a set of rules or tips that they adhere to which help them obtain that little spark that elevates them to the status of ‘beauty’!

lady-biking-retroThe right lifestyle

Women who seem to be effortlessly beautiful are actually ‘living’ their beauty regime. They don’t follow fad diets, but eat well most of the time, keeping the indulgent foods for a treat at the weekend or for special occasions. In addition to this, they find a way to incorporate exercise into their lives; they may walk when they do a small amount of shopping, for example, rather than taking the car and they are more likely to use the stairs than the lift. An open secret of being beautiful is to get plenty of sleep; there’s a reason why they call it ‘beauty sleep’, so if you want to give yourself an advantage, try to get to bed early. One other aspect of the beautiful woman’s lifestyle is her attitude to personal grooming. She won’t leave her eyebrows unplucked or her legs unshaven and little touches like that make a difference!

elizabeth-taylor

The perfect canvas

Being beautiful isn’t about how you apply make-up but how you take care of your skin and there are three beauty tips that will make you glow. First of all, the cleansing routine needs to be stringent; never go to bed without removing every scrap of make-up and use a gentle cleanser twice a day, with a regular exfoliation programme, once or twice a week, to get rid of dead skin. Secondly, apply moisturiser each morning and night and don’t neglect your hands, feet and those areas likely to become rough, such as knees and elbows. Finally, give yourself a boost with a good fake tan, leaving your skin with a sun-kissed radiance without exposing it to the dangers of sun beds or excessive exposure to the sun itself.

marilyn

A great attitude

The last three beauty secrets are related to how you face the world. Regardless of bone structure, colouring, weight or the arrangement of facial features, there are three things that set a woman apart: taking the time to relax, letting herself have some fun and being confident.

Relaxation will help you to avoid developing a stressed look that hides your beauty; it won’t keep wrinkles at bay forever, but laughter lines are so much more attractive than frown lines. Taking the time to have fun has various benefits, whether it’s because you’re being active and getting some extra exercise, getting a chance to unwind or just enjoying good company.

When you enjoy yourself, your body releases endorphins which are natural painkillers and reduce stress levels, which is better for your general health. The last aspect – confidence – is something that comes when you know you’re living a healthy lifestyle and being good to yourself and others. It’s the essential ingredient that can’t be faked and will make you shine

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but just about everybody agrees that a woman who is happy has an inner glow that makes her look beautiful. So, whatever else you do, just accept yourself and you’ll be one of those women with that certain indefinable something.

If you are interested in more health, fitness and beauty articles and tips visit http://www.timetotry.co.uk, my new blog!

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