Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Healthy Eating: Wild Thing* (You make my heart sing, You make everything groovy!)

....Wild Thing I think I love you! (Sorry, I couldn't resist!) The lovely people from Wild Thing* contacted me and asked me if I would like to try some of their products (I of course said yes please!) anything food related, especially good for you food is always a big fat yes! Wild Thing are a paleo food company who create delicious, nutritious, organic products with no added nasties, additives or chemicals - nada, nothing, zip, zilch! If you are unfamiliar with the paleo way of eating it is a diet (as in the food you eat not being 'on a diet') based on the types of foods that early humans would have eaten. Such as meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, and excluding processed foods, dairy and cereal products. It is a great concept if you are trying to eat a 'cleaner' diet and cut down on the amount of processed and junk foods you consume. 

Wild Thing kindly sent me a variety of snack bars and a box of their brand new granola. Let's start with the snack bars shall we... damn, I'm starting to get hungry while typing this. There are four different snack bars, all of which are raw, made of 100% natural ingredients, 100% paleo, gluten free and suitable for vegans. So they really are a great all rounder!
Berries and seeds
A delicious combination of juicy dates, sunflower seeds, sweet cranberries, goji berries and blueberry. This is the perfect fruity bar if you are craving something sweet, without all the added sugar.

Coconut and chia
A mix of dates, cashews, coconut and chia seeds. I loved this bar, it had the perfect balance of coconut and chia. Chia seeds are such a great addition to your daily diet, they are high in protein and fibre, provide a good source of omega-3, calcium and potassium. 

Cacao and almond
This bar of goodness is a blend of sweet dates, almonds, cacao powder, raisins and vanilla. This has to be my favourite of the four bars. I have the biggest sweet tooth, anything chocolate is a winner! This is the perfect bar if you are craving chocolate and don't want to reach for the Dairy Milk - perfect with a cup of tea! 

Nuts and seeds
A mix of dates (there's a recurring theme here...) sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, cashew butter, pumpkin seeds and Himalayan salt. I love the combination of sweetness from the dates, and salty from the cashew butter and seeds. The perfect pre or post workout pick me up.

Granola is one of my favourite breakfasts. I love sprinkling it on top of Greek yoghurt or as a smoothie bowl topper - delicious! I usually steer clear of packaged granola as it can contain a lot of added sugar. But as this is a paleo blend, it is organic, vegan, gluten and grain free - with no added nasties! Wild Thing have created four different granolas: Rainforest Fruit, Mountain Berry, Equatorial Cacao and Island Coconut. I was kindly sent the Rainforest fruit granola, which is a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, dates, coconut sugar, cashew and Brazil nuts, banana, coconut oil and pineapple. The combination of seeds, nuts, dates and banana is delicious, add in the pineapple and coconut sugar and you have a bowl of tropical goodness! I enjoyed this granola with my favourite mango, pineapple and maca smoothie bowl, sprinkled on top of my healthy banana split and simply with oat milk - absolutely delicious and so versatile.
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I hope you enjoyed this 'Wild Thing' review post. I would highly recommend the snack bars if you are looking for a delicious afternoon snack that also happens to be packed full of goodness! The granola is also a delicious breakfast addition. Which snack bar would be your favourite? Are you a granola addict like me?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Lauren x

*I was kindly sent a box of granola, and the snack bars mentioned above by Wild Thing Paleo to try and test for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own - please see the contact/pr section of my blog for more information.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Health: My Top Tips For When You Feel Under The Weather

That time of year is upon us again (well sort of... the sun is currently blinding me and it's muggy as anything today) but it's now September! As soon as mid-September hits I start dreaming of cooler weather, ankle boots, hot chocolates and bobble hats. I mean to be completely honest it's most likely going to be cold, rain a lot and we're all going to moan but let's pretend it's all Autumn leaves falling in slow motion and picture perfect pumpkin spice lattes. Autumn and Winter are my favourite seasons: My birthday is in October, it's not too long until Christmas, you can eat your body weight in Halloween sweets and who doesn't love jumping into piles of crunchy leaves. It's a great time of year!

But when the cooler days roll in and the night's get gloomier, I find myself feeling a little under the weather, the change in seasons always gets me. I start to feel tired, lethargic, I always have sore, dry lips and a stuffed up nose. So with that delightful picture painted for you, I wanted to share my top tips that always work for me when I am feeling run down. 

Tea please
Tea solves pretty much anything (unless you despise tea of course, sorry about that) anyway, tea is always my go to for every situation. When I'm feeling tired, if I want a boost, if I have a slice of cake or if I'm feeling unwell - tea is the answer. I was kindly sent a few samples of different green teas from the lovely people at T Plus*. Each tea is designed to target a different part of your body, and they are all full of goodness and antioxidants which makes them the perfect brew for when you're feeling run down.
There are four green teas in the T Plus range:
A blend of ginseng, Yerba mate, raspberry and pomegranate. This 'boost' tea is designed to energise. Ginseng and Yerba mate are both plants that naturally give a slow release of energy and combined with b vitamins, makes this tea the perfect morning pick me up. 

A blend of milk thistle, ginger root, b and c vitamins, apple and blackcurrant, makes this the ideal cuppa for when your body needs a little TLC. Maybe after an overindulgent weekend, or if you are trying to add some extra goodness into your body. The combination of milk thistle and ginger root helps to support internal cleansing, and leave you feeling fresh as a daisy.

This is my favourite of the four teas, it's the perfect blend for when you're feeling run down or under the weather. The combination of orange, blueberry, echinacea (flowering plants in the daisy family) and ginseng gives your body the vitamin c boost it needs, and also helps to backup your immune system. The hug in a mug you need when you start feeling that cold brewing.

This the perfect all rounder tea, packed full of nine different vitamins and heart healthy antioxidants. A delicious green tea with a mix of cardamom, rosemary, spearmint, peach and lemon. 
Comfort food
I don't know about you, but as soon as I feel even the slightest bit 'under the weather' I crave all the carbs. I'm talking bowls of chilli, fluffy baked potatoes, the pasta heaven that is spaghetti bolognese and warming bowls of soup. (with a chunk of bread for dipping of course!) I love making big batches of my chicken casserole, or a bowlful of mushroom chilli when I'm not feeling my best. It's warm, it's comforting, it's delicious (if I say so myself) and it fills your body with all that goodness it needs to get back to feeling fabulous. Check out my chicken casserole recipe here.

Sweat it out
You're going to roll your eyes at me with this one, but it really does help! I find that even fifteen minutes of moderate exercise gives me a much needed rush of endorphins, and leaves me feeling full of energy. I also find a relaxing yoga session, combined with some gentle stretching a great way to relax, unwind and detox your body.

When you're not feeling your best, water is your best friend. Try to drink at least 2 - 3 litres of water every day to stay hydrated, flush out your system, maintain your body's fluid balance and regulate body temperature. Add in a few slices of lemon, lime or orange for an added vitamin c boost.

I find it so hard to relax, I'm always go go go and it's difficult for me to switch off and just do nothing. When I'm feeling run down I always try to take an hour or two out of the day for myself. Grab a blanket, get into your cosiest pyjamas, whack a good film on (chocolate bar optional but highly recommended) and just be lazy! It's okay to slow down once in a while, especially when you're feeling unwell. It's important to let your body rest and repair itself, and if that means binge watching a whole series on Netflix while it does so - even better!

I hope you enjoyed this 'Top tips for when you feel under the weather' post - Which T Plus tea would be your favourite? Are you a tea addict like me? What are some of your tips for when you're feeling under the weather? 

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Lauren x

 *I was kindly sent the teas mentioned and shown above by T Plus, to try and test for the purpose of a review. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own, for more information see the contact/pr section of my blog.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Fitness: My Relationship With Fitness | BooHoo Fit Collab*

Fitness to me isn't about washboard could-grate-cheese abs, body fat percentage or looking great in a bikini (although I wouldn't say no to the abs, but alas I like cake too much) I feel that fitness is about challenging yourself, being healthy and strong, and feeling comfortable with yourself. I love being active, it's become such an important part of my life. I exercise around five days per week, I love starting my morning with a sweaty workout to get my blood pumping, and those feel-good endorphin's flowing. 
Two years ago my relationship with fitness was non-existent, the closest I got to exercise was a short walk to the shops or maybe a very rare trip to the swimming baths. I used to always take the lift over the stairs, and pretty much avoided exercising like the plague. The reason for my aversion to fitness was that I myself was unfit. I couldn't walk up the stairs at work without getting out of puff, and my legs would ache (and I would whinge) if my boyfriend wanted to drag me out for an evening stroll. I felt uncomfortable and unhappy in myself and my body, so I didn't want to try. I thought people might laugh at me or stare at the overweight girl attempting to exercise. But after a ski trip in 2014 the realisation of how unfit I actually was hit me. Skiing is tiring, it's tough on your legs and bum, and falling over is so much more embarrassing when you aren't able to pick yourself up without assistance. After getting home and seeing the photographs I was shocked at my size, I thought that the oversized ski pants and baggy t-shirts were masking my larger frame, but the camera doesn't lie. It was then that my relationship with fitness began. 
I started going out for long walks, taking the stairs and tried to be generally more active. I work in a hotel on the reception desk, so much of my time is spent sitting down. I tried to stand more and move around as much as I could. Little by little the weight started to drop off (combined with a healthy, balanced diet) and I could feel myself getting stronger. I lost five stone in eight months and went from a UK size 18 - 20 to a 10. I looked healthier and I sure felt happier, but I wasn't strong. I was slim but not 'fit'. I did a lot of cardio so I didn't really have much muscle strength. I wanted to get stronger and feel fitter so I started combining cardio with strength training. (all in the comfort of my own home) I love trying different workouts and incorporating new exercises into my routine. I've found that a mix of dance, high intensity interval training (HIIT) plyometrics, strength training, yoga and pilates works for me. I enjoy variety and learning new things, I like to keep my routine fun and varied as it stops me from getting bored or stuck in a fitness rut. 

My body is in no way 'perfect' and I still have hang ups, but I'm strong, I'm healthy, I'm active and most importantly I'm happy. I might not have a super toned figure or long, lean legs up to my armpits but I am me, and I have come a long way from that unhappy overweight Lauren that I used to be. My body is the way it should be, the way I want it to be and is a body that I can be proud of. 
I am a big cheerleader for being body positive and confident. Whatever your shape or size, be proud of your body - it is amazing and allows you to do wonderful things! Run, jump, skip, dance, swim, and be kind to yourself - you are strong, you are capable, you are beautiful and most importantly you are you. 
I hope you enjoyed this 'Relationship with fitness' collab post, What do you think of my BooHoo fit picks? I love the Aztec style sports bra - too cute! What is your relationship with fitness? Are you a cardio queen or more of a yoga lover?

I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Lauren x

 *This post is in collaboration with BooHoo Fit (BooHoo X Couch To 5k), and their fitness clothing range. I was challenged to style some pieces of my choosing from their collection, combining fitness with fashion. and share my own relationship with fitness. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own, for more information see the contact/pr section of my blog.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Health: Glugging Ugly*

Water is my favourite beverage. I aim to drink between 3 - 4 litres of water every day, and you will always find me with a big bottle in hand. Water is one of the best (and easiest!) things you can do for your health and there are so many benefits. It improves digestion, energy levels and brain function, improves physical performance and can also help prevent headaches.
I was kindly sent a box of cans from the lovely people at Ugly*. Ugly is a sparkling water drinks brand, who create delicious carbonated drinks with no added nasties!
Their motto is: Ugly isn’t dressed up to look pretty, it’s unsweet and has nothing to hide. It’s just sparkling water infused with natural fruit flavours. Because you’re sweet enough already.

Ugly have two different flavours of sparkling water - lemon and lime, and grapefruit and pineapple. I love that both flavours have no added sugars or sweeteners, and contain nothing artificial. It's simply sparkling water, natural (lemon and lime/grapefruit and pineapple) flavours and citric acid. Oh and as for calorie content... a big fat zero! 
The lemon and lime tastes just as it says on the tin can. A delicious blend of citrus, with a lovely lime kick, I added a wedge of lemon to mine for even more zest! The first thing that came to mind when I spotted the grapefruit and pineapple was Lilt! (I used to love ice-cold, straight from the fridge Lilt in the summertime.) Again it was delicious, a lovely mix of tart grapefruit and super sweet pineapple. 
I enjoyed both drinks chilled, straight from the fridge with lashing of ice. They are the perfect sparkling drink for a warm day, to hydrate and refresh your palate. I will admit that they aren't anything like a fizzy drink, so if you're a big fan of sugary pop they may taste a little bland. But if you love flavoured water, with a fruity kick then you'll love Ugly! #glugugly
If you would like to know more about Ugly, or pick up a few cans for yourself - check out their website here.
I hope you enjoyed this 'Ugly Review' post. What is your favourite beverage? Will you be giving Ugly drinks a whirl?
I'd love to know, leave me a lovely comment below.

Let's be friends!

Love Lauren x

*Ugly drinks very kindly sent me the cans of sparkling water mentioned above, to try and test for the purpose of a review. As always all opinions and thoughts are my own. For more information please see my Contact/PR tab.