Deliciously Ella; Get the Glow; & 5 Weeks to Sugar-free: A Review

Deliciously Ella, Get the Glow, Davina McCall comparison

Hey Sweeties,

So this is how it began: Bought Deliciously Ella, loved it. Got curious and thought it might be worth buying Madeline Shaw’s ‘Get the Glow‘ book, loved it. Thought I might as well complete the collection and buy Davina’s ‘5 Weeks to Sugar-Free‘… so I did. Now I have all three books and I thought it would be a good idea to review and compare them for you, my lovely readers, in one place. So I am (FYI I would grab a cuppa, it’s a long one!).

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Keeping Fit for Summer

Hey Sweeties,

Now that the summer evenings are lighter, there is nothing nicer than after a long day in the office, to be able to come home and get out in the fresh air for an hour or so -however long time allows before the sun sets.

Before Ian and I moved house last July, I had the most beautiful scenic route for walks and runs around the back lanes of the village which, from initial appearance of our new location, never imagined it could be matched. I was wrong, a mere mile or so up the road we have the beauty of the Thames overflow river, home to tons of wildlife and perfect for quick evening walks and runs or longer strolls at weekends.

Thames Overflow

River Thames

I can’t remember if I mentioned on here last year about my work’s Step Challenge -a virtual walk from London HQ to our Copenhagen office to raise money for The British Heart Foundation? Although our partnership with the BHF has now come to an end and we have begun working with The Prince’s Trust, the Step Challenge is back on! For one month, in teams of six we have each pledged to complete 10,000 steps a day (or as close as possible), to support our team to reach the final destination first. Rather than London to Copenhagen, this year we’re ‘walking’ Copenhagen to (and around) the rest of the Nordic region; 848 miles/1,790,976 steps!

The fundraising aside, this is a fantastic work-based initiative and raises awareness of how easily it is to sit at your desk all day and not move except for the occasional tea/coffee run. To date I have been extrememley lucky with where I have worked on the basis of location. In my last office we were situated on a little country lane and also had an amazing forest at the end of the road. In my current workplace, a short walk out of the business park and through a housing estate and we have a beautiful canal to walk along so for that lunchtime break there really is no excuse to not get out for a bit… unless it’s raining, that’s a justified excuse I guess.

ISS-Steppers

Last year you’ll also remember (possibly), at this time training was well underway for the X Runner Water Wipeout Challenge (here) and the Yorkshire Three Peaks (here) I had signed up for. This summer, aside from the step challenge that is already in progress, I haven’t yet signed up for anything to provide a focus to my training. Not that I definitely need one, but I think it always helps to have something to work towards so I’ll be keeping an eye out for any local events that might be worth participating in.

Sometimes, the last thing you want to do -despite the health benefits- is go out after you have come in from work and that is where the step challenge has its drawbacks; if you haven’t met the 10,000 daily step target you have to go out, but in equal measure has it’s perks as it forces me to get off my arse and out exercising. I am someone that loves to keep active and fit (as you know) and I am definitely so much happier when I feel fitter but even I have my lazy days and need motivating to move myself! For me, amongst other things, exercising is my number one stress reliever hence why I enjoy playing hockey so much; after a long day I have a good runaround and burn some energy.

What are you guys doing to keep fit and healthy at the moment?

Until next time x

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Lucy Mecklenburgh Body Beautiful Book Review

Be Body Beautiful

Hey Sweeties,

You’ll remember from my post a couple of weeks back (The Fitness Plan) that I had recently purchased Body Beautiful by Lucy Mecklenburgh. I mentioned that although I wouldn’t say that I am a fan of hers, I do admire her success and that she is her own boss creating (and running) two businesses. I also do admire her drive for fitness and healthy living so of all the books of this type out there, I figured hers might be worth a read.

The book is divided into seven chapters: My Journey – Motivate – Nourish – Energize – The Recipes – Transform – A Healthy, Happy New You.

The book I think is a great mixture of Lucy’s story, healthy recipes and exercise plans as well as the right level of motivation to get you up out of your seat and setting out to achieve what Lucy and her team are encouraging readers to do, particularly those that aren’t keen on gyms. As someone that already exercises and eats well or at least, a moderate diet, maybe I am the wrong person to be reviewing the book as to be honest I am not in a postion to need to try out the plans…yet! But, you only have to look at Instagram or Twitter to read and see evidence that Lucy’s advice not only works, people are championing it and openly sharing their love for the book and their new, svelte figures and lifetyles.

Be Body Beautiful

For me, I actually really enjoyed reading about Lucy’s life, particularly where she has come from and how she ended up on The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE). She spoke about her life to provide a context to why she has gone down a path of health and fitness and not be like every other celebrity releasing their autobiography before they have actually really done anything. Lucy’s point of view was actually quite refreshing and although she did on occassion tread thinly on making being a size 12 seem fat, she did well to drive home the point about your body being yours and you know when you’re not at your best. A size 12 isn’t fat but on some petite frames such sizes can appear big so she does have a point… sort of.

Be Body Beautiful

I have yet to try out some of the recipes supplied in the book, particularly the smoothies which for the most part look delicious, but while we’re still in the midst of winter, this is something I’ll come back to and try out once the weather turns warmer and the evenings lighter and my exercise plan adapts and increases. If it didn’t cost the best part of £500 I would also actually be quite keen to attend one of Lucy’s Booty Camps…

The only thing that actually really irritated me throughout the book was the American use of the letter ‘Z’ in replacement of ‘S’ (hense the above chapter ‘Energize’ instead of energise). Really annoying. But as that is really the only fault I can find and feel the need to mention, I think you can be assured that this book recieves my seal of approval and purchasing it yourself certainly wouldn’t be money wasted.

Until next time x

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Let’s Talk about Smears | Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

Cervical cancer prevention week

Smear Testing & Cervical Cancer

Hey Sweeties,

I was called for my first smear test in early 2013, I was 25 years old and I had just (literally) started my first role in marketing. I always knew it (the smear) was coming and to be honest, I am quite laid back about these things. I know they aren’t particularly pleasant but they need doing so delaying is pointless. You just have to grit your teeth, allow yourself to blush a little and the whole thing is done within 5 minutes. Easy and more importantly, painless!

It was a Saturday morning about a week or so later that I got an envelope through the door. Opening it up and reading the letter, my heart sank. The letter informed me basically that some irregular/abnormal cells had shown up in my smear and I was required to go for further examination -known as a colposcopy- so my cervix could be examined further and in more detail. If the consultuant decides you need treatment -which I did- he/she carries out a small biopsy to remove the cells in question.

The risk of developing cervical cancer is incredibly slim but it needs mentioning because you need to be prepared that it could well happen down the line and the risks are very real. But this is why it is a requirement for women from ages 24-25 onwards to have an annual smear test. Cervical cancer -like most cancers- develops and takes hold when it goes undetected for a long time which is why it’s so important to act when those reminder letters come through from your doctor.

I won’t lie though, when I got that first letter through highlighting my abnormal results it’s safe to say I cried for the rest of the day and pretty much every day until my appointment. It must have been horrible for Ian to see me so scared and be powerless to do anything about it. But when you lack all the information and have no-one you know who has been through the same thing to reassure you, it is very scary. But that’s okay.

Going for a Colposcopy

However, be rest assured that you are not alone. Abnormal smears are common (about one in twenty women will have an abnormality in their results) and a quick Google on the internet will reveal hundreds of forums and posts from women either going through or having experienced the exact same thing. Also, when I rocked up to the hospital in a teary snotty mess I was instantly comforted by the staff. The (male) consultant talked me through the whole procedure and the nurses were fantastic in making me feel comfortable and at ease.

In total, I was in the room for probably no more than 30 minutes and I was awake the whole time -the consultant just put some local anaesthetic in my cervix to numb the area so he could do a small biopsy. You have the opportunity to watch the procedure on a screen but I personally declined the offer; I would rather just lose myself in my own thoughts for a few minutes, but each to their own of course.

I was required to go back to the hospital six months later for a follow up examination, and again (unfortunately) those results still picked up some more abnormal cells so once again I was back at the hospital, in the chair, legs a part having another smear. This time however, it was to be absolutely sure that the HPV (human papillomavirus) strain that could potentially lead to cervical cancer wasn’t there.

Fortunately, those results came back clear and I have been all good for a year now. However, it’s time to go back for another routine check-up. If my cells are abnormal again then it’s just one of those things I have to learn to accept. I would rather have to go through a few additional minutes of discomfort every six months – year, than be diagnosed with cervical cancer too late.

Sweeties, you know me, I tell it like it is but in doing so I hope that I haven’t scared you. Smear tests are routine and so, so important to do. Go and get yourselves checked!

If you have any questions about going for a smear test, or my experience of going for a colposcopy, please do reach out to me on my social media, or in the comments below.

Until next time x

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This Girl Can campaign by Sports England

This Girl Can

Hey Sweeties,

Call me late to the party for waiting until now to mention it (that’s blog scheduling for you!) but how great is the This Girl Can campaign by Sport England?

For those who haven’t seen it, here’s the advert currently crossing the air waves.

 

The most hilarious thing I have heard (on the radio) about this campaign is that this advert is sexist. SEXIST?! How on earth is this campaign sexist? It shows real women getting out there and doing their thing; it’s nothing other than fantastic. If this campaign used skinny framed, big boobed, highly attractive women in full makeup then you might have an argument. But it doesn’t. End of.

Through these Sunday Chat posts, I have spoken about confidence and about the benefits of doing something new amongst other things and I feel that the This Girl Can campaign is only but adding to this group of posts as well as the messages and advice I myself am trying to pass on to you, Sweeties.

(For a bit of context) Sport England following research, identified that there are 2 million fewer women than men doing sport/keeping active for fear of well… essentially not looking their best in front of others and feeling a bit self conscious which is crazy but as a woman who does exercise and keeps active, I can totally relate! Last spring/summer, I started going out for runs/jogs in the evenings  and where Ian and I used to live, I could do a really good circuit that took me round the back of the village; it was beautiful, scenic but more importantly, I could exercise away from the glare of others, it was private and I was alone.

As you all know I play hockey and this involves training once a week with a mixed group of people (men and women) and then a match at the weekends. I don’t worry about wearing no makeup as aside from the unattractiveness of makeup running down your face when you get hot and sweaty, mascara in your eyes owing to said sweating, stings like hell! My ‘fear’ is actually not performing well in front of others. I am better in matches because the adrenaline of the game takes over and you haven’t got time to think about anything except for the game at hand but in training, when it’s perfectly acceptable to make mistakes… that’s when I worry. Truth is, I don’t enjoy the games… well that’s a lie, I do enjoy the games and I love the training sessions, I just do a fantastic job of psyching myself out of them until the hour before. It’s ridiculous but at the moment I am just going through a stage of having an incredible lack of confidence in my abilities. I am also still finding my place within a new group of people and that’s always a factor with these things.

But every woman is different and ‘the fear’ that the campaign is trying to both raise and tackle will be different for everyone. Some may love gyms and don’t worry about sweating, but the thought of exercising alone is unthinkable and vice versa. For me, the thought of never playing hockey again fills me with dread so I put my confidence issues aside and just go for it and I think everyone reading this should do too!

Until next time x

PS.

30.01.2015: I have nothing against Company Magazine as I am sure they mean well but this kind of content from women’s publications drives me mad! It also goes almost completely against the above campaign! Working out is not about looking good while doing it; it’s ok to sweat and look a mess! I love their point regarding wearing waterproof mascara on the off chance you catch the attention of the Personal Trainer… because that is of course why women go to the gym. Man alive!

Company Magazine

Yes I commented back to them…!

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