A New You: Resolutions to Live By

You can feel it in the air, along with the icy chill and the tinny sound of piped-in Christmas music – that creeping dread; the uncomfortable knowledge that soon it’ll be the New Year, and all those promises you’ll make to yourself will broken by the time you’re back at work.

 

There’s a reason for that, of course. And it’s not just about will-power. Often our worst mistake is to set the bar way too high – How many of us solemnly swear that that’s it, ‘No more chocolate. Ever. Ever. Ever.’ Only to crumble under the weight of all those left-over Quality Street and Cadbury’s Roses? Setting a future deadline is also a pretty unwise idea – our brains don’t work that way. It’s far better to just, y’know, do it. Not on January 1st, not even on Monday, or tomorrow (tomorrow is the day all diets start). Grab the horns of the bull and go for it, the very moment you decide you want to live a healthier life. They don’t have to be big changes, not at first; getting healthy takes time, and you can pace yourself so long as you’re committed.

 

Trade In the Terry’s

Hey, we all know how bad too much chocolate is. We’re reminded of that fact by government posters and dirty looks from trim, Lycra-clad runners. But instead of giving it up completely, why not start by trading in that occasional Terry’s Chocolate Orange for an actual orange. Fruit hits all the sweet spots chocolate does, and it’s healthier too. The man from Del Monte says YES!

 

Quit the Smokes

If you’re a smoker you’re forever reminded by others that you should really quit. In fact, if a smoker was halfway up a mountain, far from civilisation, having a crafty fag, someone would employ a sky-writer to tell them to give up. These days though, it’s easier than popping a patch on your arm. Companies like Plan b E-Cigarette specialise in offering electronic smokes which can reduce the craving of actual tobacco. Oh, and they can be refilled with tons of groovy flavours.

 

Walk, Don’t Talk

Ok, we’re all guilty of slouching about, not doing as much exercise as we can. But that doesn’t mean we have to immediately strap on the trainers. And the running vest. And the headband. Sure, you could run six miles, but even if you just take a brisk walk around the block, or a stroll to the shops instead of jumping in the car, it’s better than slumping on the couch watching Saturday night TV. Then again, most things are better than Saturday night TV.

 

By starting small, and gradually bettering your lifestyle, you can be sure that those changes will have more impact. After all, there’s no point in promising yourself to complete unfeasible or unrealistic goals – this way you’ll feel much better about yourself and your healthier lifestyle. So what are your New Year’s resolutions? What changes are you looking to make in 2015?

How to Look Good Inside and Out

Looking good is something that we all care about; when you’re happy with your appearance, you feel amazing! It’s true, many of us aren’t happy with how we look and struggle with confidence; well, that’s something that you should seek to change! By incorporating a regular regime of exercise and beauty treatments into your life, you will certainly feel like a superstar, therefore becoming healthy inside and out; so let’s take a look at how to do it…

Regular Exercise

exercise

Exercising regularly is nothing new, but by actually taking the time to do it, you will feel much better; it’ll give you more energy and transform your body, making it much more svelte and toned! Just 10 minutes a day can make a difference, and you don’t even have to join a gym. If you’re not used to exercise don’t just jump straight into it, check out these easy exercise tips to get you started – this will help you to exercise safely.

Healthy Diet

fruit

Rid yourself of the rubbish that you eat; go for a much more healthy and organic diet. Eating healthily not only helps you internally but externally too; eating a varied balanced diet can aid weightless and provide you with much more energy! Eating healthily can be a struggle but it can be the answer to any stomach issues that you have. If you need help, try seeking the help of a dietitian; you can find one simply enough at www.freelancedietitians.org.

De-stress

relaxation

Stress is a major part of everyday life and it can be damaging to your health – both inside and out. According to skin care retailer Simple, hormones and stress can have a negative effect on your skin leading to acne and break outs. So try to de-stress; this could be anything from having a relaxing bath after a hard day at work, to lighting a few candles or heading out for a spa weekend.

Treat Yourself

massage

Never underestimate the power of treating yourself; having regular skin treatments can improve the quality of your skin, allowing you to feel confident and happy in your own skin. According to the Aesthetic Skin Clinic, skincare and cosmetic providers, it is important to find out your skin care type before choosing a skin care treatment to ensure that you get the best results. If your skin is healthy – you will feel so confident on both the inside and out!

 

So transform your life and feel like the superstar that you were born to be! You shouldn’t just try to look good on the outside, but feel good on the inside too! Start from within, pamper yourself and feel beautiful. You’re the only one that can do it, so good luck and enjoy the results.

Great Specialist Diet Alternatives

Sometimes specialist diets can be a little limiting and you can be forgiven for thinking that following such diets will mean missing out on many of the foods you love. However, whether your avoiding certain foods for medical or lifestyle reasons, it’s worth being aware that there are an ever-growing number of great alternatives available. So there’s no reason why you have to give up your favourite foods completely. Here we give a quick guide to some great alternative products for you to enjoy.

Diary free

It’s now easier than ever to be dairy-free. For example, basics such as lactose-free milk, which is the perfect alternative for those who are lactose intolerant, is available from most supermarkets. This kind of milk is specially filtered to remove any lactose, the sugar in milk that can cause an allergic reaction in some people. However, as this still in fact contains milk proteins, it’s still considered a dairy product. If you’re looking for a true dairy-free alternative then Soya milk is a great option, and available in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties. A number of other soya products, including margarine and yoghurts, are also available from brands such as Alpro.

milk

A life without chocolate doesn’t really bear thinking about, luckily a number of dairy-free chocolate alternatives are available from companies like Moo Free and they taste just like the real thing too! Cheese is something most of us also can’t live without either, and the great thing is you don’t have to. A number of supermarkets, such as Tesco, offer specialist product lines such as their free from range, which includes a number of cheese alternatives, perfect for adding to your favourite cheesy recipes.

Egg free

For those on an egg-free diet, products such as tofu are a great alternative for recipes requiring a lot of eggs, like quiches, and can also be relied upon to create a great substitute for scrambled eggs. Whilst most baking recipes require eggs, fruit such as bananas can, in fact, make a great egg alternative. You can also source some great egg-free cakes, perfect for any occasion, from companies such as Kool Cakes.

cakes

Gluten-free

Recent years have also seen the number of gluten-free alternatives increase significantly, something you might have noticed yourself as you browse the supermarket shelves. Flour is often a staple ingredient in many recipes, and luckily there are a number of gluten-free flours available, such as almond, flour and rice flour. A number of store cupboard staples like pasta, rice, and bread are also available in gluten-free alternatives. Companies such as Genius produce a fantastic range of gluten-free bread products.

gluten

Hopefully this will have inspired you to check out the numerous alternative products out there. For some great specialist diet recipes, take a look at this great guide from BBC Good Food.

 

Look After You This Winter

There’s no denying that the winter months can be harsh on our skin, our hair and of course, our wellbeing and everyday mood. When the weather’s miserable, it can be so much more tempting to stay in bed, or wear those comfy jogging bottoms rather than the usual work attire. The weather can affect us in various ways, but why?

1

Sure, it’s cold, but that doesn’t mean we should stop taking pride in our appearance, or not look after our skin as well as we would during the summer months. Sure, it can be tempting to get lazy with our heath and beauty routine, but here are a few easy tips and tricks to making sure you stay happy, healthy and looking great this winter season!

Eat well

2

We’re all well aware of the benefits of eating well and keeping an eye on what you put in your body, but we really can’t stress enough how much this will actually affect your overall wellbeing and health. Eating well will not only improve your mood, help get you in better shape and give you more energy, but it’ll detox your body of antioxidants and make you feel winter-ready and fighting-fit! Be sure to include as many superfoods as possible into your daily diet, and for those perfect, warming evening meals – check out these tasty and healthy winter recipes that all the family will love!

Exercise

3

We know, we know, when it’s cold and dark outside, it can be so tempting to leave your exercise routine behind and enjoy some well-deserved  ‘me-time’ on the sofa. This is always a great option, and you deserve the rest – but try to continue to exercise at least twice a week, no matter the weather! Regular exercise is vital to leading a healthy lifestyle, and will keep you fit, your muscles supple and your energy levels active, so it’s really important you continue with your normal routine as much as possible. If you’re struggling for get-up-and-go inspiration though, why not download one of those top 10 fitness apps for some support!

Look after your skin

4

A major part of looking after yourself includes looking after your skin, health and body. Let’s start with your skin – the harsh weather can often cause skin cells to become dry, irritated and sore, so make sure you regularly moisturise and maybe even add a little extra pampering into your beauty regime.  There are plenty of skin and beauty treatments that rejuvenate skin and hydrate cells, giving skin that gorgeously healthy glow all year round! Beauty treatments are a great option for those who live a busy lifestyle, especially during the winter months, and can help to keep skin looking and feeling great, even if you’re under the weather! For the organic option, give a few of these homemade beauty product projects a try at home, they’re also perfect for Christmas and birthday presents!

Keeping healthy and looking after yourself during the winter months can often feel like a challenge, but don’t worry! Just follow our simple health and beauty tips and you’ll feel active, gorgeous and season-perfect all year round!

Live the Organic Life

Many people complain about feeling sluggish and unhealthy on a day to day basis. Well, the reason for this could be a simple as what you put in your body or even on your body. Today we use many products that are unnatural, which are just not as good for us as the natural option. So if you’re looking for a change that won’t just help you but the world, then transform your lifestyle and live the organic life.

face

The Organic Definition

 

 So what does organic actually mean? Well, put simply it means that the produce in question has been produced and grown without the use of chemical pesticides, fertilisers and artificial chemicals. It isn’t just food that can be organic but makeup, cleaners, textiles and hair care products; however we’re going to focus on diet and beauty care.

face1

 

Diet

 

Transforming your diet to include organic foods is much easier than it once was as now everything is clearly labelled in the stores. But what are the benefits for eating more organic food?

 

  • This food is often more flavoursome with a fresher taste – taste is the most important part of food!

 

  • Organic food helps to keep drinking water clean, as no harmful chemicals run into the reservoirs from the fields surrounding.

 

  • It is much healthier and safer than foods grown with pesticides – eating this produce will make you feel better outside and in!

 

Pesticides can actually stay in the body for many years, which can lead to illness, whereas organic food will make you feel much fresher and a lot healthier. When people think of organic produce they usually think of fruit and vegetables, however any type of food can be organic!

 

Top tip: Try to buy local as well as organic produce; less air miles = less pollution!

 

Beauty

 

face2 

It isn’t just what we put in our body that makes a difference, but what we put on our skin or hair too! There are many different chemicals used in hair and skincare that may make you feel better now but could affect your skin negatively in later life. The best option for your skin is to choose natural organic skin care, but what are the benefits?

 

  • There are no chemicals; everything is completely natural.
  • Natural skincare can help to improve the health of your skin, therefore making your skin appear fresher and younger – who doesn’t want that?

 

Top Tip: Purchase your products from recommended, reliable organic retailers. You can find out about organic standards by visiting the Soil Association website!

 

So change your lifestyle and live the au-naturel organic lifestyle, you will feel better for it and will be protecting the environment! It doesn’t just end with diet and beauty; when you’re buying cleaning products and laundry detergent make sure that you check the label to ensure that it is organic. The organic life is the good life, so buy organic produce and start your own organic garden today.

How to Get Fit at Home

Now January has rolled round again and the gluttony of Christmas is once again taking its toll upon us all, it’s time to start thinking seriously about a new, healthier lifestyle. It may be tempting to sign up to a gym, but with the figures stacked against you (30-40% of January gym memberships are cancelled after just 3 months) it may be a safer bet to invest in a method to exercise and get fit in the comfort of your own home.

When it comes to getting fit at home, there’s a huge variety of different activities that you can choose to do to aid you in your healthier, sportier lifestyle, each with their own merits and downsides. This guide offers just a few examples of what you can do depending on your ability, but it’s by no means a comprehensive list, so take it with a pinch of salt and make sure you find a regime that inspires you to stick with it, for the benefit of your long term health and wellbeing.

 

Exercise Bike (easy)

 

Although expensive, an exercise bike can be one of the easiest ways of getting fit within your own home and should definitely be viewed as a long term investment in your health. It offers the ideal solution for people with a range of different abilities and health conditions, as the pace of exercise is set by you the user. Exercise bikes are also a brilliant choice for those with health conditions such as bad knees as unlike a treadmill it offers gentle exercise that works to strengthen muscles aiding to your leg’s ability to bear weight.

 

Personal Trainer (as hard as you make it)

 

Personal trainers are often available to come and work with you within the comfort of your own home, offering you motivation and guidance as you work to improve your fitness levels. This personal trainer in Clapham for instance specialises in working with you in the place of your choosing, allowing you access to the expert guidance that you find in a gym in any location that’s convenient to you. The added benefit of choosing a personal trainer is that you can discuss your fitness goals and work with the trainer to ensure that you are meeting them.

 

Fitness DVDs (ranging in difficulty)

 

The classic fitness tape of the eighties and nineties has seen a modern revival in recent years, and now fitness DVDs are ten a penny in most households. Despite the cheesy (often cringe worthy) instruction and initial embarrassment of fitness DVD workouts, a fitness DVD can be a fantastic way to get the work out of your choosing (and appropriate instruction) in the comfort of your own home. With just a one off payment, you can do yoga, kick boxing, and even more obscure workouts such as Capoeira with very little fuss making this option brilliant for those of you who have a small budget or little desire to waste time searching for a local class to attend.

 

Whichever option you choose, it’s a good idea to tell all your friends about your new routine – that way, if you feel tempted to give up within a few weeks you’ll have the added incentive of their disapproving looks to keep you on the right path!

Rid Yourself of Those Nagging pains and Strains

Looking to get in shape for the New Year but troubled by recurring injuries? Well don’t let those old nagging pains stop you from getting into the best shape of your life and enjoying those sports and activities that you may have lost touch with due to injury. Far too many people are plagued with injuries that range from a simple ache to a debilitating pain that entirely stops them participating in and enjoying their favourite sports and physical activities. For many the solution to this continued lack of mobility is simple and a simple trip to a reputable physiotherapist such as Technique Physio can not only establish the root cause of injuries but also begin the process of getting you back to full mobility.

The benefits of physiotherapy really cannot be underestimated and continued therapy can not only see a lessening in the pain suffered but in time can lead to a full recovery of your former mobility leaving you to enjoy an active lifestyle without the worry of injuries. The health benefits of this increased mobility are well proven and in no time you will find that you will inevitably begin to lose those extra pounds that have accumulated whilst activities weren’t possible. By summer you will be able to hit the beach in confidence and the gym with newfound resolve knowing that you are on the path to the healthy lifestyle that you have longed for. Getting more active is just one step though and improved nutrition can do wonders for your health and wellbeing, there are several specialists such as Herbalife that offer dietary plans that can ensure your recovery is given all the right help.

Continue with increased exercise and physiotherapy for the whole year and next Christmas may well be the merriest of all with a new body and a new healthy outlook that will truly change your life. The cold December of 2014 approaching you will find that those mince pies don’t sit on moving hips so long and the cold crisp mornings will provide you with the perfect weather for a bracing winter walk, make sure you get the right gear to wrap up in from a supplier such as the Climbers Shop . Whatever you choose to do with your increased mobility the best time to start out on the path towards it is now and making sure that you seek the correct help is pivotal in changing tomorrow’s you, today.

A Healthy, Happy Birthday

iStock_000007623006XSmallMy little girl is turning one in a few weeks, and I am very excited about giving her the perfect 1st birthday. I realise that a 1st birthday is more for the parents than the child, but when she’s a bit older, I want her to know that I made the day special. I am a bit worried though about what to provide for snacks and treats for all the kids. I don’t think their parents would appreciate me providing snacks that are chock a block with sugar, as that will cause an sugar rush and then an epic sugar crash. I have always been resistant to things with too much sugar and the harm it can do to your body. According to an article in Time magazine about the truths of sugar, fructose (the molecule that makes sugar sweet) when taken in excess can cause fatty liver disease and eventually causes obesity, heart disease and diabetes.So I have decided to have a sugar free party, that looks good and has food that I won’t be worried about giving to my daughter and her friends.

The Cake: Obviously every birthday party has to have a cake that is both fun and delicious, and luckily I have found a company that can make a chocolate birthday cake (my daughter’s favourite) while making sure that it is sugar free. The Heavenly Cake Company makes handmade cakes for a huge range of dietary requirements. So I can trust them to make the perfect cake for the big day.

The Food: All I can say is thank goodness for the internet, I have seen loads of helpful articles and tips on how to make delicious food that is not full of sugar. The best website that I came across that gave me tons of ideas was actually Pininterest, all the lovely pictures really got my creative juices flowing, and helped to show me that birthday food can be healthy and tasty at the same time.

The Decorations: Leaving the snacks aside for a moment, a birthday wouldn’t be complete without a whole host of beautiful decorations and birthday supplies that will compliment all of the the wonderful food. My friend recommended Partycare, as not only do they have a great range of products but have a section dedicated to 1st birthdays, which is perfect.

Remember that birthday food should be colourful and full of fun and doesn’t need to be full of sugar in order to achieve this.

 

A Simple and Safe Garden

I bought a house with my partner about 3 years ago, and since then we have had a baby. Soon he will be old enough to want to start playing in the garden, which is, in my opinion, about as safe as the fire swamp in The Princess Bride. It is mostly concrete with unruly grass and hidden rocks all around, it sort of makes me wonder what the old owners were going to do with it. After reading an article on Making the Link, that states that ‘traumatic brain injury accounts for 30% of childhood deaths’, I just started seeing the garden as one massive death trap, one trip and he’d smash his head. The chances of this actually happening are very slim, but I would be constantly worrying and over thinking, so I have decided to get the garden sorted.

My idea for the garden is very simple, lots of grass, a nice flower bed and some space at the back for a garden shed and barbecue. Sure it would be nice to have some decking or a fancy fountain, but this isn’t going to be the house that we live in forever, and getting excessive with the accessories could be harmful when we want to sell. According to The Independent, a good ‘outside space is a selling point’ but think twice before ‘adding decking, paving and water features’ as you will spend more then you will get back. So I don’t mind foregoing my perfect garden in the short term, in the name of safety and making the house more appealing to potential buyers.

I have found a brilliant company, who help with garden design in Surrey and have been very thorough in showing me the designs and plans for my simple and safe garden. It should be finished soon and then finally I can stop worrying and start enjoying it with my son.

 

Secure Your Front Door

I live on a narrowboat, and most narrowboats are made of steel so they last for decades. The doors on the boat though are not made of steel but of wood, and have panes of coloured glass in the middle. I was very happy with this door until recently, when my boat was broken into. The burglar kicked at the door and then smashed the glass panes in order to open up the bolts on the inside. I was there at the time and when they realised, they quickly scarpered. I knew that if I hadn’t been there all of my valuables would have been stolen, and so I started researching ways to make my boat more secure.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department doors are the the primary route that a burglar will take when trying to break into your home,  and ‘doors with glazed panels are inherently less secure than solid doors’. I started my research into what kind of door I should invest in. I have been put off getting a wooden door for obvious reasons and according to Thermatru Doors wooden doors can ‘bow, warp or twist’ depending on the temperature or humidity. Fibreglass doors do not appeal to me and would look so out of place on my boat. So I decided to go for a steel door. They are much less expensive then a solid wooden door, are more secure and are will last for a very long time. Seeing as I am from the North West I did a search for steel doors Manchester and found an excellent company that could make me a a door made to measure, which is quite handy as mine needed to be much smaller then the average door.

I would highly recommend investing in a new door, I feel much more secure knowing that a burglar won’t be able to smash my door down either when I am home or not.