How To Survive Working-Out Without The Gym.

Please don’t see the title and immediately close the browser! It’s not going to be as bad as you think I swear. To be honest, I think working out at home is the WORST but sometimes it just has to be done. I don’t really want to pay for two gym memberships for when I’m home from university, but I hate the thought of all my hard work going to waste over the holidays. So, I’ve gathered together my best thoughts about working out at home, without completely hating it. Whether you’re a complete newbie, just taking a break from the gym or want a little something extra, there’s loads you can do without a gym.

The other day, I had an epiphany. YOGA! I know half of Instagram has already discovered this but bare with me, it’s story time first. Now, I was in the living room in my pyjamas still, feeling zen af. I got to the end of my Yoga tutorial (more on that later) and I was instructed to close my eyes and breathe as I stood. So there I am, in the middle of my living room, standing tall, breathing deeply, eyes closed until the tutorial comes to an end. I open my eyes and there is the window cleaner. Oh yes. And obviously, he couldn’t hear my yoga tutorial so to him I was just stood in my pyjamas with my eyes closed in my living room for no reason. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t even recover well, I just kept straight eye contact and slowly backed out of the room. So tip number 1: Close the curtains before you start.

Anyway, back to the point. There’s tonnes of yoga tutorials online but my favourite is Yoga With Adriene, who you can find on YouTube (or click the link I’ve made on her name). She has a 30 Days of Yoga series you can follow to introduce yourself to yoga, and plenty of videos varying in skill level. Adriene is really encouraging, and there’s always options to adapt the poses and movements to your ability. Her yoga videos are the first ones I’ve actually felt working my muscles properly whilst relaxing me. I didn’t think it was possible to work my abs that hard and relax at the same time but there you go. Bonus, as I said, you can do it in your pyjamas and no one is there to look at you funny (apart from maybe the window cleaner) so there’s nothing to feel silly about.

If you’re more of the strength building kind (not that yoga doesn’t do that, it certainly does) there’s all sorts of things you can do just on your living room floor. I don’t generally like those 30 Day Squat Challenge things that you see on Pinterest as a long term habit, however, when you don’t have a gym for a little while they can be quite beneficial for maintaining what you’ve already got. Planks, press-ups, wall-sits and most ab exercises can also be done in the comfort of your own home using just the timer on your phone.

However, with all this strength building, some cardio needs to be done. I’m not going to lie I hate jogging, although I doubt that’s a controversial opinion. However, at home I have no other means of cardio so I’ve had to learn to like it. It’s best to start with a reasonable goal, like if you’re just starting out a ten minute run followed by some yoga and/or squats/press-ups/sit-ups/whatever is more than enough. Don’t challenge yourself to run up a huge hill for twenty minutes knowing you’re going to hate every second of it. If you hate the idea of it, you wont do it. Generally, running outside feels much more pleasant than a treadmill, and more rewarding, but if you really hate it there are ways around it. Star jumps, squat jumps and HIIT work outs all incorporate cardio and strength work and can be done in your living room. Win.

I’ve also been doing loads of walking at home with my dog. I’m fortunate to live in quite a nice scenic area, so I have plenty of hills to walk up which really works your glutes. The best thing about walking is it’s great for fat burning and toning, and if the weather’s good there’s plenty of time to catch a tan as you go. That may sound optimistic for Britain, but even the fresh air is great for your skin and gives you a much brighter complexion. I used think my parents were mental for going “pebble spotting” (my snarky name for scenic walks from 14 year old me, my parents don’t actually take part in the hobby of pebble spotting, in case you were confused) but I think they’re actually on to something. Walking really gets a 10/10 from me.

I suppose the hardest part of all of this is getting yourself going. Once I’m out for my run I really do start to almost not hate it (although, that’s mostly on the down-hill parts, but still… progress.) A quick YouTube or Google search can find you some great at home work outs for all kinds of abilities, and if you’re walking you can always gather up some friends to join you and take a picnic for the top of the hills. See, no gym necessary. Just remember to close your curtains so the window cleaner doesn’t think you’re possessed as you do your deep breathing exercises.

Speak soon,

Laura

x

How To Survive Going Dairy-Free (Or accidentally vegan in my case.)

So basically, my skin cleared up around last month and I was finally mostly acne-free. Then I rather stupidly started using whey protein shakes after the gym nearly five times a week and BAM. This huge cystic acne accompanied by under the surface pimples all over my face. Grim.

Now, as whey protein comes from milk, I figured it’s probably dairy that triggers my acne, and thus (yeah. I used the word “thus”) I decided to try going dairy free for a week. However, as I already don’t eat meat, this turned into eating vegan for a week.

I know, I know, “Shut up! Stop telling people you’re a vegan! No one cares, stop telling us every five seconds!” Fear not, this isn’t going to turn all animal rights and preachy. (Although, I’m sure if you follow me on social media you’ll see enough of that) This was purely for vanity reasons. (Obviously. *Paris Hiltonesque hair-flip*)

I’m not going to lie, I honestly didn’t really miss much. In fact, it was probably the best I’ve eaten since going to university. I also feel like I had a culinary learning curve, and ventured to a whole new section of the supermarket so, overall a positive experience.

I was a big fan of Alpro’s Oat Milk. It’s found with all the long life milk, usually in the tea and coffee aisle and honestly, it was the closest I’ve tasted to actual cow’s milk. I’ve experimented with Almond milk and soya milk too but soy milk tastes gross on its own so cereal was a bit of a no-go, and almond milk is rancid in a cup of tea. I’m sorry, but you can take my cheese and chocolate, but you’re not taking my cups of tea. So yeah, oat milk was a great dairy free diet staple, it’s environmentally more sustainable and it actually tastes pretty good in both cereal and tea, so it’s a 10/0 from me. I hear it’s also usable in mash potatoes and baking if you’re into actual kitchen activity.

Speaking of which, I’m a TERRIBLE cook, like awful. 8 times out of 10 I can’t even get toast right so I needed food that was simple. Since I could no longer live off cheese toasties and chocolate cookies I felt pretty screwed initially, but it turns out supermarkets are actually getting pretty stocked up on their vegan/dairy-free stuff. Linda McCartney does AMAZING vegan steak pies and suspiciously meaty sausages. They can be cooked straight from frozen and are extremely satisfying with some dairy-free mash and veggies. I also found a really simple pesto pasta dish (using vegan pesto from the Tesco “Free From” section) to which you can add tofu or, as I chose to, Quorn’s vegan chicken-style burgers cut up, and the Tesco stir fry deal with the Singapore noodles are vegan friendly with the right sauce.

The biggest thing I really feared was a lack of chocolate. Anyone that knows me knows I inhale the stuff and usually pair it with a Starbucks skinny-latte. However, the problem was quickly solved. Starbucks stock soy milk and almond milk and possibly more dairy-free milks, you just have to ask, and Alpro once again saved the day with their Devilishly Dark Chocolate pots. They were also found in the Free From range in Tesco and honestly omg they’re SO satisfying for a chocolate craver like myself. It was the same consistency as a Dairy Milk buttons dessert pot thingy and just as filling. I also found out Oreos and Tesco’s Oaties biscuits are vegan, and any other snacking can be done with nuts, Kettle Chips and obviously fruit, veg and hummus.

If you want a little help in the kitchen, Lucy Watson and Ella Woodward have AMAZING vegan cook books out, as well as the book Vegan Goodness, which I’ve seen in Waterstones and Urban Outfitters. If you’re more a dining out kinda-guy/gal then Ask Italian, Zizzi’s and Pizza express do suspiciously good vegan pizzas and garlic breads, and a quick google can find any other dietary requirement-fulfilling places near you.

Unsurprisingly my skin cleared up after a week of dairy-free , but mostly, I just felt generally better. Vegan/dairy-free food doesn’t have to just be salads and hummus sprinkled in quinoa. There’s so many choices out there and amazing substitutes, and it wasn’t actually any more expensive than my usual weekly shop as I wasn’t buying yoghurts, biscuits, chocolate and cheese.

Just make sure you’re always checking the labels and doing what’s right for you. Not every dietary quirk suits everyone, so go slowly introducing or removing things from your diet before you go all out and keep it balanced.

Make sure you’re still treating yourself!

 

Speak soon,

Laura

x

 

How to Survive A&E

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Hello! I know it’s been a little while, but I’ve been back at uni, therefore in a constant state of drunk, hungover and panic writing essays.

Regarding the A&E subject of the blog, it’s where I spent the entirety of my Friday night out. I must say, those doctors were so efficient given an entire drunken cast of Jeremy Kyle were in there. However, I was rather gutted I had my lovely tassely American Apparell dress on with my hair and make up both on fleek, only to spend my night in the A&E waiting room. (At least the X-Ray guy was kind of hot though.)

How did I end up there? Well kids, after a few vodka lime and lemonades at pre drinks and a jump which turned into a stumble out of a taxi, I went over on my foot and managed to fracture it. So basically,  I was out of my flat for about 10 minutes in total and ended up in A&E. Well done Laura.

That sounds traumatic enough, but let me assure you, A&E receptionists don’t take so kindly to:

• One crying drunk girl with a lumpy foot.

•Two drunk girls carrying said crying girl into a wheelchair, unable to take the break off the wheelchair whilst giggling too much.

•Another drunk girl shouting down the phone to communicate to other drunk friends that the crying drunk girl was, in fact, okay and alive.

Even better, after three and a half hours, at 4am, I was informed I had to be back at 10:20am to the fracture clinic. So by the next day, I not only had a swollen, sore foot, a hangover, crutches I still hadn’t mastered and an empty stomach, but I also had next to no sleep.

The cherry on top of the cake? My moon boot. Oh yeah. That’s actually what the consultant called it. Who am I? Napoleon Dynamite? I hobbled into the fracture clinic the next day (with no help getting in and out of the taxi from the driver on two occasions now) and got a “moon boot fitted” instead of a cast. I suppose the upside to that is my flat mates can’t draw willies on it.

So here I am, stuck on the sofa with a fat leg/foot and only Netflix and Film4 to entertain me. Moral of the story? I don’t even know… don’t be a clumsy drunk? Here’s a picture of me and Vicky having a ball in A&E.

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