Advent marks the start of rapidly filling social calendars, mulled wine season, and best of all, its finally acceptable to play Christmas songs. We spend all year looking forward to Christmas, but the lead up to Christmas is a hectic time for everyone and it can be a little draining if you’re not careful. I thought I’d share a handful of tips to help keep you centred and combat overwhelm in Advent.
I recently had a photoshoot for my website with the incredibly talented and lovely Michelle Swan of Eyes of Love Photography. In all honesty, this brought up a lot of ‘stuff’ for me. Although I am now more comfortable in my skin than ever before, I have always avoided having my photo taken, simply because I don’t feel particularly comfortable in front of the camera, but also because I didn’t want to have my ‘fatness' captured on film. I think that this is probably true for a lot of us.
So when I booked in my photoshoot back in July my first thought was, “at least that gives me a few months to shift some extra weight so that I have 'the glow’.” Now, to be clear, I was not hating on my body at this point in time, but with almost 20-years of body-bashing behind me my reflexes are not yet totally reprogrammed. I still felt - on some level - that in order to convey a ‘true’ image of health I should probably be in a bit 'better' shape. This, of course, implies that I do not not fit society’s perception of the healthy ideal. And it’s true, because society has a very narrow idea of what healthy should look like. But it also challenged me to reassess my own perceptions of a health ideal, which were to some extent still attached to a certain figure, despite what I knew about health.
As you might have noticed, I’ve been doing a lot of travelling recently. I’ve been moving around so much that I haven’t stayed in one place for more than 10 days in the past few of months. I had a particularly big bout of self-doubt and hectic energy when I first arrived in Sydney alone. Since then it has been essential that I find a way to stay grounded and allow my energy to settle quickly rather than feeling all 'up in the air', especially when there is a lot of uncertainty circulating. Today I'm sharing some of the ways I've been 'keeping my feet on the ground'.
A good night's sleep is so underrated and just getting more sleep, more regularly would make a huge difference to our health for most of us. But we all know what it's like to wake up after some dodgy sleep, despite getting to bed on time, with no energy and a foggy brain (not alcohol induced, mind you). Sleep is also about quality, not just quantity. Good quality sleep should be undisturbed and for an absolute minimum of 7 hours. I'm going to share some super-helpful tips that'll help you get that good quality sleep, but first let me explain why it matters so much.
Sleep is essential for maintaining good physical, mental and emotional health. It helps with mood regulation, stress management and adrenal fatigue, productivity, energy levels, cell growth and repair, blood pressure, heart disease, weight loss and hormone regulation, amongst other things. The list goes on and on! So ya', it's kinda important.
I recently began a solo 3 month adventure in Australia, which has been incredibly exciting and almost as nerve-racking. Of course, Australia ain’t so close to the UK so it involves a long flight and around 24 hours of travelling. As you might have noticed, health is a passion of mine (duh), and I’m not going to let a little travelling prevent me from nourishing myself. We’re all jet setters these days and incase you're hopping on any planes soon I thought I’d share my top tips for travelling well and staying healthy in the air.
I know it’s only 24 hours or less in most cases but airline food is notoriously bad for you (fat is often injected into the meat to keep it moist, as well as high sugar and salt contents to keep it ‘fresh’) and another consideration is the high radiation exposure. I may be capitalising on shock factor here, but really I want to encourage you to make a little effort to stay healthy while flying because flights can really zap your energy and steal days from your holiday. Wouldn’t you rather arrive at your destination (or home) refreshed, well rested and ready to enjoy yourself?
As a visual learner I will forever love reading blog posts, but I have been devouring all the podcasts I possibly can recently. Even though I’ve been listening to a couple for over a year now, until recently I had no idea just how many wonderful podcasts were out there. It seems as though everyone is starting their own podcast right now, not that I'm complaining about this trend - I’m freaking loving it. The brilliant thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them on your commute, whilst walking your dogs or cooking dinner. I really got into them when I was painting the bathroom at home, which kept the boredom at bay. Podcasts a super quick way to get fired up and inspired... and save a ton of time!
I’m not one to do things by halves so when it came to choosing my favourite podcasts to listen to I couldn’t just give you a few. Plus, we all like something a little different, right? I’ve included all of the podcasts that I subscribe to on iTunes, but just to be clear: I don’t listen to all of them religiously. There are a handful that I do (marked with a *), but the others I listen to when the subject line catches my attention.
I am such a sucker for cookbooks. I rarely follow a recipe to the letter but I am always seeking inspiration, and as much as I love blogs there is something so much more satisfying about flicking through a recipe book in your hands. Luckily there are loads of healthy cookbooks on the market these days. I took the liberty of buying them all and testing out a whole bunch of recipes from each! Such a chore ;)
I actually own about another 10 healthy cookbooks but they didn’t make the cut since I really only use and love using these seven, particularly the first five. Even though half them are vegetarian/vegan and the other half are more paleo in philosophy, they’re all veggie-centric with a natural, whole-food focus. There are plenty of plant-based/vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and sugar-free options in each so no worries if you’re a fussy/discerning eater.
These cookbooks are so gorgeous and the recipes so well crafted that I daren’t stray from the ingredient list or instructions, so when I say that the recipes are wonderful, I mean that they are truly WONDERFUL.