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. Continue reading “How To Survive Working-Out Without The Gym.”
The lovely Kindly Katie (click to see her blog!) had some great ideas for those of us who’ve come home from university, travelling or anywhere else and are back living with our parents. Although the free food in the fridge and household heating might be a luxury at first, sometimes the novelty wears off of being back home, but Katie’s gathered a few ideas about how to cope with this:
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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!
Today I was scrolling through Snapchat and somehow ended up looking at the Daily Mail Snapchat Story. There was an article which, if you have me on Twitter, you will know infuriated me. So now I’m going to rant about it on here and you’re on this post now so you might as well sit and listen.
Angelina Jolie went to meet the Archbishop of Canterbury to discuss the Refugee Crisis, preventing sexual violence in conflict and South Sudan. These are just a few of the humanitarian issues Jolie vocally cares for and works towards bettering. Amazing right? A star as big as her using her platform to better the world and help those in need. What did the Daily Mail have to say about her? They released an article reporting comments about the fact she wasn’t wearing a bra, claiming the Archbishop was “in danger” (genuine quote, because nipples are so threatening, didn’t you know?) of being distracted by her nipples. The last few paragraphs of the article did mention some of Jolie’s charity work, but the leading headline and opening paragraphs were focused on comments on her nipples. It also implied the Archbishop had nothing to be concerned about other than her nipples, as if he spent the whole meeting staring at them. Doubt it Daily Mail, it’s only you and the likes of Piers Morgan who think every opportunity is an opportunity to sexualise something. In the same Snapchat Story, women’s bodies were constantly the forefront of their “News” yet they continued to place negative light on women doing well and being happy with their bodies.
The same has been seen with Emma Watson’s latest photo shoot which apparently was a “topless” photoshoot, which it was not. It was slight under-boob/ cleavage. To be honest, it was nothing more than any ordinary artistic modelling shoot you’d see in Vogue or something. But even if it was topless apparently, you’re not allowed to be a feminist and have boobs. Men like Piers Morgan are the ones who get to tell us what is and isn’t feminism and what is and isn’t acceptable to do with our bodies. Duh. Apparently images of Cindy Lauper looking smoking af (see his twitter feed) are okay, but Kim Kardashian, Emily Ratajkowski and Emma Watson can not possibly be sexual beings with you know, female bodies, and also feminists.
Perhaps even worse, however, is women tearing other women down because of their bodies and what they choose to do with them. You don’t get to tell someone “oh put it away.” or say “her bum isn’t even that nice” just because you’re not comfortable with flaunting your own body. It’s okay to not want to take topless photos or wear short dresses or whatever. But it’s also okay to want to do that. What’s not okay is slating someone for being happy with their body, choosing to wear revealing or non-revealing clothing. (To be honest I don’t even like using the word revealing here, it feels kind of derogatory, sorry, I just can’t think of a different word). If you don’t want to see someone’s pictures, if you think how they’re dressing is wrong, how they’re posing is wrong or their bum isn’t that nice, fine. Unfollow them on Instagram, wear whatever clothes you want and keep your nasty words to yourself.
Seriously, how have we got to a point (or should I say how are we STILL at a point) where women’s bodies and appearances get more attention than their UNICEF work, animal rights work, women’s rights work, charity donations and time spent volunteering, amazing acting work, amazing entrepreneurial skills or you know, nice personality and good-will? In the words of Emily Ratajkowski “If you can’t take a woman seriously because you’ve seen her body, that’s on you.”
Bodies are just bodies. If anyone is critical of yours and what you do with it, it’s only because they’re taking a break from being so critical of themselves.
Seriously do you have any idea how frustrating this is?
I am somehow, simultaneously, the laziest person I know and the biggest perfectionist I know. I know it sounds impossible but on one hand I’ve genuinely been referred to as “the real life Monica Geller” before but then I’m also the kind of person who leaves my dishes on the side hoping my housemates will eventually, bit by bit, wash them for me. (Sorry housemates, love ya!) But heaven forbid that pile of dishes spreads further than the designated dirty dishes section of the kitchen counter. Dear God no.
I like to do this thing where I get an essay question and plan my answer to it weeks in advance, feel really productive for one day doing loads of secondary source searching, then not look at it for weeks and leave it until the last few days to actually do any writing. I want my work to be perfect, but I’d much rather binge watch Netflix. See the internal conflict?
I also love hosting. Being a control freak and all, the role of the hostess and organiser of pre drinks, sleepovers, whatever is very appealing to me. Okay, fine. It’s nice to have someone around to organise fun things to do in a group, right? WRONG. Remember that Friends episode where Monica hosts a birthday party for Rachel but no one enjoys it? The one where the guests keep trying to sneak to Joey and Chandler’s alternative party because Monica’s getting neurotic about coasters under glasses and her awful party game? I’m the Monica there, except my neurosis is induced by trying to herd uncooperative people into taxis and not letting anyone use my family heirloom Vintage 1960’s shot glasses. (The fact that my family heirloom is a rack of shot glasses probably says a lot about my family but let’s not pry.) I love to host, but it’s my way or the high way. If you’re wondering why I don’t just let someone else host, well, I just couldn’t possibly. Where’s the control in that?
My favourite, however, is sleeping in way past my alarm and leaving it until I have twenty minutes before I have to leave the house to get ready and eat breakfast. Impossible you say? Nope. The Monica Geller in me has solved it. Gym clothes. Picture this: me in normal clothes looking tired, windswept with last night’s hair. Lazy, running late perhaps? Now picture this: me, make-up -less, windswept with last night’s scruffy bun BUT with running leggings, a sports bra and trainers on, carrying my “Drop it like a squat” water bottle. Suddenly, I no longer look lazy, just super active.
I have decided, however, to embrace my Monica Geller side more. She’s not so bad. She’s organised, she’s got great clothes and everyone still comes back to her apartment at the end of a long day. Although, I do promise never to get my hair braided like hers no matter how humid it may get.
I’ve always been told I’m headed for great things. I’d like to believe that. Who knows, maybe I am? However, right now I can categorically say I am not doing great things. I am nothing out of the ordinary. I’m average. I’m a student. I drink, I write essays and hand them in on time, I maintain a good grade, I go to the gym. I know that sounds quite productive, like the usual good student having fun but remaining studious, but it’s average. Masses of twenty year olds in the country are doing the same.
Now, that thought may seem like a belittling, negative one, but bare with…
All my life, I’ve been reassured by loving parents, grandparents, sometimes even strangers that I’m the “prettiest” , the “most intelligent” , and a “very promising” girl. That could be correct, given the right circumstances, but it’s probably not. This isn’t an “oh boo hoo I’m so ugly/stupid/useless” post, it’s positive, I promise, I’m getting to it. Basically, my whole life I was conditioned to be something special, something exciting. I was going to be a performer, I was going to be something so admirable, and exciting and I’d have hilarious stories to tell quirky strangers in bars. There was this huge pressure on me, particularly through college, that being ordinary, being like everyone else just wasn’t enough. That’s probably because it was a performing arts college, leading us all into a competitive industry, however, I do believe at some point everyone feels this same pressure. This pressure that to be important and popular and unique is everything.
I used to spend ages scrolling through Instagram looking at people I thought were the most beautiful. I wanted to look like all these girls with perfect make-up and gorgeous clothes, and I wanted to be surrounded by these gorgeous, edgy male models drinking gin and flashing their watches. They were the best, the elite and I wanted to be part of it. I wanted this lifestyle that involved gorgeous people, with cool creative jobs, who seemed to just effortlessly stroll into VIP Lounges and tell people stories about the time they met such-a-body from the radio or how they partied with such-a-body from TV through their most recent acting job.
Basically, I used to spend hours convincing myself I had to be something more than what I was. I’m not the sort of person who gets into VIP just by strolling in. I don’t even like clubs that much anymore, I’d really rather be in bed by 11pm. My stories are somewhat quirky, but they’re usually at the cost of my own dignity, and don’t often involve celebrities or much more than me making a fool of myself. I like gin, but I’d really rather drink it with my friends on a weekday than with some guy in a snobby bar who just wants to tell me how much his watch costs. I used to think I had to do all these things so I’d have something to impress everyone with, so I could be the kind of person who had a witty anecdote if ever needed. But really, how often are they needed? And who am I impressing?
The fact is, being cool, being new and exciting is nice. If you are cool and exciting and you have all these amazing stories and interesting careers, really, more power to you and keep up the good work. I admire that, and there’s still this part of me that wants all of that, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting that. But some of us aren’t there yet. And that’s okay too.
It’s okay not to be the most beautiful. It’s okay not to be the most intelligent. It’s okay to not have everything together yet in a nice Pinterest-worthy package of a life. You probably are headed for great things, but your parents will be proud of you if you’re happy. It’s equally as impressive to have what you need and not want more, to have a quiet life with a small circle of loved ones. Your job doesn’t have to be the most exciting to strangers if it’s exciting to you. You don’t need to post a quirky picture of “the best night out everrr [insert party popper/champagne emoji]” on Instagram every week to make people think you’re interesting. Doing the ordinary isn’t settling. Doing something you’re uncomfortable with is settling. Never settle.
I hope this made some sort of sense. If you need a summary after my rambling: Ordinary is okay. Most people are ordinary and they’re perfectly happy. Just be happy, and do you, boo, do you.