RJ Hair, Rayleigh

Fashion, Features, Health & Beauty, Out & About, Quick Reads

RJ Hair, Rayleigh

Hair Cut Rayleigh

It’s no secret that I hate having my haircut. There isn’t a particular reason, a hairdresser has not ever chopped my head off or anything, but I just find it boring. So when I found RJ Hair in Rayleigh, the first thing I thought was “wow, that looks like a nice place to spend a couple of hours” and I was sold.

Getting a haircut in Rayleigh

RJ Hair in Rayleigh is situated on the high street right opposite The Roebuck. So if you have ever been to Pink Toothbrush and had a few drinks first then you will know EXACTLY where it is. Parking is located more or less behind the salon so it’s easily accessible from public transport or car.

I booked in for a trim as I haven’t had one since before Cyprus which is preposterous, and my Mum booked in for a cut and colour. Everyone at the salon is really welcoming and the inside is lovely. They even have a colour bar complete with iPads you can use while waiting for your colour.

The staff are really talented and my wash cut and blow dry was amazing, I popped up to the chemist afterwards feeling like a pure 10/10 (I’m about a 4/10 on a good day). My Mum stole my thunder though as her hair came out lovely.

Having your hair coloured in Rayleigh

Mum wanted a full on change. She had hated her hair for ages and even asked me to trim the ends for her (I said no, last person who should be trusted with scissors).  She had a lot but off and a full head of highlights and it looked AMAZING. I can’’t believe how natural the highlights look and the cut is perfect. The team there are so good, I’d really recommend them and I’m thrilled that I’ve finally found my forever hairdresser. Everyone obviously feels the same as me as EVERY SINGLE Facebook review on their page is 5*. 

Hairdressers Rayleigh

Get in touch with RJ Hair, Rayleigh

01268 947030

Website: https://www.rjhair.co.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RJHair.x/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rjhair.x/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rjhair_x

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Flyte Energy Drink

Features, Food, Health & Beauty, Quick Reads

There are three things everyone on this God given earth wants more of. Time, money and energy. Unfortunately, until that time machine I am working on gets going I can’t offer you more time, and believe me after Christmas I cannot give you any money – but I can offer you a solution to the energy issue.

Energy drinks are one of my biggest vices. Despite the fact I know they are terrible for the numerous stomach problems I have, I still drink them all of the time. If they are available I’ll always go for a cleaner one with less calories, but it really isn’t often you find one. When Flyte offered to send me some of their clean energy drinks to try I was expecting a couple of bottle to rock up so I could give them a go instead of my daily Red Bull.

When I got home from Iceland there were two big boxes of Red Berry and Orange Clementine then Green Mango and Citrus waiting for me and after the most jam packed holiday ever I was more than eager to try them.

The first flavour I tried was the Red Berry because I am a girl and will automatically go for anything red or pink given the opportunity. I really liked the flavour and one of the things I liked was that it wasn’t syrupy or sickly like some energy drinks are. I tried the Green Mango one after and this is the same, if anything it is light and refreshing. I drunk my Flyte in the morning mainly because I am actually a weirdo and I’ll have a fizzy drink in the morning on the way to work and then water for the rest of the day.

I replaced one of my MANY pre-work coffee’s with Flyte and it definitely gave me more energy. In fact, one day I had two along with my regular vitamins and I was bouncing off of the walls! Flyte is 100% something I would recommend if you want more energy. The bottles it is packaged in are really convenient as well – how many times do you end up downing a Red Bull in record speed because you can’t do it back up and save some for later?

Because Flyte is made from natural, organic products and contains caffeine that is extracted from Green Coffee, you don’t get that slump you get after the huge sugar rush of other energy drinks. They also do a lot of work to ensure they are carbon positive so if you are looking for something a bit more ethical than standard then visit their website for more info.

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Three Days In Iceland

Features, Health & Beauty, Lifestyle, Out & About, Travel

Is Iceland worth the money?

Northern Lights

I’m going to start this article with an admission that is going to make me sound incredibly uncool. I LOVE the Eurovision song contest. I’ve watched it my whole life and it is very rare I will miss it unless I’m working abroad.

So, what has that got to do with Iceland?

Well ever since I started watching it, the little VT’s before each country have evoked the explorer in me. I’ve wanted to go to Iceland ever since I can remember, so this year, when my friend asked me to go for her 30th I thought “why not” and we made it happen. We did everything. People who tell you a long weekend is not enough are lying. If you are actually going to get up off of your bottom and go out and do things and worry about the tiredness after you will be able to fit in absolutely everything exciting that Iceland has to offer.

Day 1 – Reykjavik Cathedral, The Northern Lights, and a Scary Air BnB

I’ve never used Air BnB in my life, but when it turned out our flights were cheaper to go the day before we thought we’d give an Air BnB a go for the first night instead of booking an extra room in the Radisson which was quite expensive. The theory was “how bad could it be?”. Tasked with organising everything so that we didn’t need to rely on busses or taxi’s I found an Air BnB in central Reykjavik. The “how bad could it be?” theory didn’t really serve us very well.

A short, easy walk form the bus station – the location was everything they promised. Unfortunately so was the cleanliness. Although the Air BnB had described itself as “not immaculately clean”, to me, that just meant that they probably didn’t keep up hotel standards and were worried about appearing badly in a review. As it would happen this estimation was wrong. I won’t name and shame someone’s livelihood on an article the whole world can see, but all I will say is make careful choices if you are going to use an Air BnB.  It was so bad, my friend named it “the crack den”. Luckily, we were at the Northern Lights all night on the night we stayed, so once we crawled into bed after we didn’t really mind that it was filthy.

We left immediately to walk into Reykjavik and go up to the top of the Cathedral. Don’t worry, there’s a lift, so you don’t have to walk it. It was a beautiful view and it also gave us the advantage of now having seen where everything was in conjunction with each other and knowing where to walk For 900 ISK it really is worth it.

The Northern Lights were amazing. We booked through Isango and I would really recommend them. The coach picked us up from the hotel we were staying in for the next two nights so we walked up and found our way. On the way to the first stop, the tour guide informed us that we had a 0% chance of seeing the lights. She did say that we would see some cool stars and have some snacks so we weren’t really that worried. When we got to the stop, the chance of seeing the lights had increased to 1%. Wow. We found the stars amazing. While we were on the stop, we saw four shooting stars and the normal stars were so low it looked like you could pick them out of the sky.

How To See The Northern Lights

Luckily for us, we did, in fact, see the lights. They were amazing. You can’t really describe what it’s like to be standing there looking at something that occurs naturally that is so beautiful. We understood how lucky we were, and also we managed to see them on another stop and get a picture with them.

Day 2 – Checking into the Radisson and a Night Out in Reykjavik

My friend woke me up promptly around 9am and said “Wakey wake Kelly, it’s time to leave the crack den now”. We left promptly and tried to leave the room as clean as possible but my friend did admit when we were halfway down the road that she had stolen the picture of Bjork above our room. Sorry guys!

 

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We went for breakfast at Le Bistro which was wonderful as by this point I was craving a decent cup of coffee. Le Bistro is a lovely place for breakfast and I should imagine that the French food they serve for dinner is just as nice. After breakfast we just decided to take our chances and walk up to the Radisson Blu Saga and see if they would look after our cases for the day while we did other stuff.  This is one of the best, most helpful hotels I have ever had the pleasure of staying in. Because our room was ready they let us check in, and after the crack den it was VERY welcome. My friend went off to do some horse riding and I enjoyed the big comfy, clean bed with the view of the mountains, followed by a long bath in the lovely bathroom. The hotel even lent me and my friend some plug adaptors because we are both pretty stupid and forgot them.

Now armed with the use of 2 lovely big mirrors, we got ready for a night out in Reykjavik. The other convenient thing about the Radisson is that you can easily walk to Reykjavik town in about 10 minutes. We hadn’t booked or chosen anywhere for dinner so we ended up just going to the first place that looked busy and did food we both liked – Caruso. It turned out to be a pretty good decision. Shown upstairs to the rustic little room we were going to dine in complete with ski’s and exposed wooden beams, we realised we had made a great choice. The food matched the atmosphere and was just great, home cooked, filling winter warmers that were very welcome after a chilly walk into town. The wine was also good, according to my friend, and the guy playing the guitar completed the perfect, cute, Icelandic evening.

We went on to a bar in Reykjavik and it can’t have made a great impression on me because I forget what it was called. I can’t say it was particularly lively and I must admit even though I do not drink I am far from boring, so we moved on looking for somewhere with a bit more of a party atmosphere. This was also the evening we decided to celebrate my friends 30th as it was the next day but we were going to be out all day.

When we came across The American Bar we didn’t really want to go in, not because it didn’t look good just because we are the kinda gals that like exploring and doing different things, rather than going to American/English places while abroad. As soon as we heard the live singers we were draw straight in and it was great! The music was amazing, the drinks were not too expensive and the atmosphere was great – aside from one couple who looked like they were forced to be there at gunpoint. If you are out and about in Reykjavik on a Friday or Saturday night it’s definitely worth a visit.

Day 3 – The Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle

No trip to Iceland is complete without going to the Blue Lagoon. It is every bit as amazing as everyone makes it out to be. We got a basic admission package included with our Isango booking. All anyone else who paid more got was a towel, robe and flip flops but we took our own towels and flip flops so I can’t say we really missed out. The mud masks looked good but you can pay for them there so if we really wanted one we could have had one. When you arrive, you get a wristband and you are able to purchase extra’s including treatments, drinks outside, or drinks inside. If you are going, do what we did and go early. Watching the sun come up over the mountains while actually being in the water was an incredible experience. The main thing we were worried about was freezing to death getting in, but getting in is actually indoors and then you walk outside while in the water. There is also a sauna and a steam room that is included in the admission price, so if you do get a bit chilly it’s fine. The water is every bit as warm as people say, but it is a rather weird experience having your face get that cold.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

The changing rooms are really modern with all the amenities you need to get ready to carry on your day and most of all they are warm. If you are going to book the tour that includes the Golden Circle as well then leaving yourself about an hour to get ready will give you a good chance to get dry and warm because trust me, it’s freezing at the Golden Circle.

Visit Iceland

We went into Reykjavik to pick up the next coach and start our afternoon touring the Golden Circle. Our tour guide was a jolly, knowledgable guy who’s name escapes me because my friend insisted on calling him Boris. The first stop was Þingvellir National Park where excitingly you can walk between two continents. Unfortunately the childishness of both of us came out when we found out we would be hiking down a crevice, but it was really interesting.

The next stop was the Selfoss Gesyir. By this point it was really snowing. It isn’t that I don’t like nature, it’s just that I don’t like it when it is cold and in my face. The geyser goes off a few times every hour, and we were lucky enough to see it. It was something that was definitely worth seeing, but I am glad it was part of a tour and not just the main thing we were doing as it wasn’t exactly overwhelming.

Before the next stop the Gulfoss waterfall, we had kind of agreed we were going to look at whatever it was we needed to look at and get back indoors sharpish. I can’t really remember what I was expecting, but it wasn’t much. The Gulfoss waterfall is amazing. Standing there looking at something that incredible really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Gulfoss waterfall also has the added benefit that the amenities in that particular part of the National Park are really good and include a cafe where you can defrost.

Getting around Iceland

We flew with Norwegian Air on the way there and I was expecting great things after so many recommendations, but they were rubbish! The plane was freezing and the service was terrible. To get out and about while we were there, we booked most of our travel with Reykjavik Excursions and they were perfect! 100% book with them if you are going. On the way back we flew with Iceland Air to Heathrow. On the day we were due to fly there was a strike so we were delayed by a couple of hours. I have to admit, after being up at 2.30am and being told by them to go to the airport anyway when they KNEW the mechanics were going to be on strike we were a bit annoyed and there were a few exchanges on Twitter. They had known about the strike for months and it was really poor form not to be more prepared. Saying that, we were just being moaners. Some poor people got literally stranded there. We also got boarded a bit too soon and ended up being on the aircraft for over an hour, but Iceland Air’s aircraft to Heathrow from Keflavik are lovely. Because it is the first or second leg on some long haul flights, it is like flying long haul. Leather seats, loads of legroom, free tea and coffee and soft drinks and setback screens. Even though the trip is only 3 hours long it was like being on an Emrites flight and I loved the service and the plane itself. I would actually fly with them again despite the inconvenience of the strike, I would just hope that they have learned their lesson from the situation.

Is it as expensive as everyone says?

Short answer: yes. It is expensive, but it is just one of those things you are going to have to deal with if you are going to go. There probably are ways to do it on a budget if you don’t want to see much, but some of the trips and excursions are absolutely once in a lifetime things, so if you are going to go save up and do it properly. One thing I was surprised at was the Blue Lagoon, as the food and drink wasn’t anywhere near as rice as I thought it would be. The other thing I was surprised at was the food in general, as there really are not many cheap options for eating out.

Top travel tips for Iceland 

  • Book through Iceland Air to and from Heathrow. Because they are connecting flights you will most likely get the benefits of a lovely long haul plane. We booked through CheapOair.com and got a great deal.
  • Take flip flops, your own towel and a robe to the Blue Lagoon. Then you can just book the basic package. It’s also worth taking a spare hat you don’t mind getting wet as your face and head get really cold.
  • Book up to stay somewhere you can walk into town from. Taxi’s and busses can be hit and miss so the less you have to use them the better.
  • Check out the local swimming pools and geothermal spa’s. There are a couple dotted around Reykjavik that are a fraction of the price of the Blue Lagoon if that is too pricey for you.
  • Go up to the top of Reykjavik Cathedral on the first day. It’s really practical because you can find your way around, and it is also beautiful.
  • Eat seafood. It is REALLY fresh in Iceland as one would expect, and if you are going to try seafood anywhere it may as well be somewhere where the turnaround from catch to plate is about 24 hours.
  • Take snow boots, thermals and a proper coat, hat and gloves. When it snows, it really snows. Iceland isn’t messing about, especially when you start mooching around the Golden Circle.
  • Pay out that little extra to stay somewhere luxurious like the Radisson. It really does make all the difference when you have been walking around in the freezing cold all day.
  • Use a company like OneTravel to get a super cheap deal on a holiday to Iceland, then just convert to pounds. For some reason travel companies based abroad seem to have better deals than your native country.

 

 

Me And My Anxiety

Features, Health & Beauty, Quick Reads

It never occurred to me that I could suffer from anxiety. Like most people, I always thought of anxiety as something that only effects those people who have a naturally highly strung disposition. It wasn’t until I understood a little bit more about it that I realised how many different signs and symptoms there are and how many different ways it can effect people.

My Experience With Anxiety

The first time I realised I needed to see a Doctor was when I had what could only be described as a panic attack. At the time, I obviously had no clue that it actually was a panic attack, and it wasn’t until days after I realised what it was and knew I needed to get help. I found it really hard to deal with losing my Nan, so a few months later when we were due to go to an elderly neighbours funeral, I became short of breath, sweaty, shaky and had severe chest pains, which I now know is what is classed as a panic or an anxiety attack.

When my Doctor diagnosed me, he put me on Citalopram at a low dose. SSRI’s are one of the most common forms of anti-depressant and it took a while to get the dosage right, but they really did help me when I needed it most. After being on them for about a year, I got a new job, cut out some stressful people and situations in my life and decided to come off of them. I’ve now been off of antidepressants for just over six months, and although you cannot ever say you are ‘cured’ if you have a mental health issue, I would certainly say I am better.

Signs And Symptoms I Experience

How to Spot Anxiety Infographic

One of the worst things about anxiety is that sometimes you can have no clue that what you are experiencing actually is anxiety. The signs and symptoms can be completely different from person to person, but I find my main ones are:

  • getting anxious she plans change
  • getting anxious when I lose things
  • sweating
  • shaking
  • going over the same situation in my head over and over again and convincing myself something bad will happen

There are many other signs and symptoms one can experience with anxiety. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety contact your GP immediately.

What Do I Do To Manage My Anxiety?

The main thing I have done to manage my anxiety is to give up alcohol. That may seem extreme, but there really was a direct connection with drinking alcohol, even moderately and my anxiety. Since I came off of Citalopram it just seemed pointless to put something into my body that was making me feel so anxious.

I also put a lot of effort into trying to stop my anxious thoughts before they start. If I start to get into a thought stream where I think I may spiral, I just tell myself it is my anxiety speaking and I need to calm down.

When all else fails, I find herbal remedies really help. There are lots of different things available, but I always reach for Kalms if I am having an anxious day. They now have day ones available and special lavender ones for night time. They are quite effective, and a lot better than being on strong prescription medication.

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And Finally…

Even in this day and age dealing with a mental health issue can be incredibly frustrating. Some people still stigmatise those with mental health issues or disorders and it can feel very lonely if those around you do not understand the struggle. The best advice I can give on this one is to try and educate people. It isn’t always the case that they are deliberately not being understanding. It may just simply come down to the fact they have not met anyone with a mental health issue and do not know how to approach it.

What To Do If You Think You May Have A Mental Health Issue

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According to Mind, 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their lives. As if that statistic wasn’t shocking enough there are thousands more people who suffer and go undiagnosed, therefore not only do they not get counted in official estimations like this but they do not get the help they need. It can be hard recognising an issue – but it is even harder to know what to do once you are ready to get help.

Talk To Someone

Once you have realised that the way you are feeling may actually be an issue with your mental health, then it can help to talk to someone. How public you chose to make your issues is up to you, but even if you don’t want to tell anyone having one person that understands what you are going through can be really helpful. The likelihood is that you will be facing a few weeks of appointments, trial and error with different medications and basic administrative things like booking therapy. Having someone to lean on during these times will make it feel a lot easier.

Go To Your GP

The first thing you need to do if you start feeling like you may have a mental health issue is to go to your GP. Sometimes it can be tempting to brush your issues under the carpet because you do not feel comfortable talking to your GP about things that are so personal to you – but they have all of the tools to refer you to the right services and get you the help that you need. It is worth remembering how common it is for GP’s to diagnose mental health issues. They are trained to deal with mental health as well as physical health and if they cannot help you after diagnosis they will put you forward to people that can.

If you cannot get an appointment to see your GP urgently and you feel like your health, wellbeing or safety is at risk without treatment then go to your local A&E department. Many people do not realise they can do this but a mental health emergency can be just as dangerous as a physical one. They will refer you to the correct mental health crisis teams and get you the help that you need.

Do Not Change Your Own Medication

Although SSRI’s are a great improvement on some of the older anti-depressants and medications used to treat mental health issues – different things work for different people. Getting your medication right may take a few weeks and you may have to try different dosages or even different drugs all together. Do not make any changes to your prescribed medication without discussing this with your Doctor. Many medications for mental health cannot just be ‘stopped’ without having undesirable side effects. Keep seeing your Doctor in the first few weeks of diagnosis to keep up to date on how your medication is going, and discuss any changes you want to make with them.

Some people have the opinion that mental health conditions can’t be treated with medication or medication makes them worse. Please remember to only listen to registered medical professionals and make your own choices when it comes to this. Ask yourself if the same person that is telling you that you do not need medication would tell you not to take paracetamol for a headache. The NHS mental health services have improved significantly over the years and you need to communicate with them and trust them when it comes to medication.

Take As Much NHS Treatment As You Can

When you first get diagnosed with a mental health issue it is likely you will be referred to NHS Therapy For You. It is wise to explore any NHS treatments that are available to you that you feel may benefit you. If you have heard of something you want to try ask your GP if it is available through the NHS. When it comes to mental health it may take a while to work out what it is that works for you – so until you do this it is worth trying anything that comes your way for free.

Find Things That Work For You Personally

During the initial stages of being diagnosed with a mental health issue a lot of your time can be taken up finding the right medication for you and booking things like counselling or therapy. Once this dies down you can explore the things that work for you outside of NHS treatment. A lot of people find meditation and mindfulness a great help, and exercise has been proven to help by releasing endorphins. Everyone is different and most people can find at least one thing that makes them feel better – even if it is just taking some time out of their schedule to have an hour to themselves.

If you want to know what mental health support services are available in your area, you can type your postcode into the NHS Choices website.

My Daily Diet

Features, Health & Beauty, Quick Reads

Over the last few months I have been having a bit of a health overhaul and have started taking healthy eating really seriously. The main thing I noticed was how hard it was for someone vegetarian to try and jump on the health bus – because so many websites and blogs advocate things like lean turkey mince as healthy options. As someone who doesn’t even like meat substitute products I find it really hard to make balanced meals, so I thought I’d share with you how I have managed to lose half a stone.

Start the day right

I start my day with some hot water with honey, lemon, turmeric and cayenne pepper. If I don’t get a chance to have this at home I’ll grab a hot shot from Pret. Hot water with honey and lemon is a great kickstart to your digestive system and we all know cayenne pepper is. Turmeric however, has been proven to have loads of health benefits not only physically, but for your mood as well. Fair enough it does taste a bit spicy, but it will actually make you feel quite energised if you drink it first thing.

Breakfast

For breakfast I have poached egg and mashed avocado on brown toast. I know that is incredibly cliche, but it really does give you a balanced breakfast. If you are calorie counting be careful with your avocados though – sneaky little buggers have loads in. Obviously doing all of this before work can be quite the hassle, but if you have a microwave at work you can poach eggs in it and have breakfast when you get there. All you need to do is crack them into water in a cup with a splash of vinegar and put a plat on top and microwave them for about a minute. They are not perfect – but they do.

Lunch

 

Vegetable sushi. All day, every day. I love the stuff. For me, the best one is the M&S one. I’m not fussy though, I love it so much I will literally get it from anywhere. Obviously it would be amazing if I had time to pop off to Yo! Sushi every time I want lunch so somethings supermarkets have to do.

Dinner

I absolutely hate meat substitutes like Quorn, so as a veggie that leaves me with a seriously small amount of options. Usually I’ll make a vegetable curry. I love vegetable curry because you can put anything you want in. I often put potatoes in – they get a bad reputation thanks to unhelpful sayings like ‘no carbs before Marbs’ but they are actually really good for you. If you want to be super healthy you can use brown rice. One of my most amazing discoveries recently was Coyo Coconut Yoghurt. This is easier than putting in coconut milk and yoghurt separately and it is dairy free so you can use it if you are vegan.

Drinks

My one downfall is coffee which I know I drink too much of. Aside from this I am really good and manage to get through at least a couple of jugs of water a day. I only let myself have one Diet Coke a day unless I’m out and about of the evening, where I may go mad and treat myself to a fat Coke.

Alcohol

I gave up alcohol a couple of months ago. Obviously it’s a bit of a drastic weight loss action but it really has helped. I appreciate not everyone is going to ditch the wine just to lose a few pounds or be healthier – but at least cutting down will help a lot as there are just so many hidden calories in alcohol.

Snacks

Luckily for me, I don’t actually like chocolate. So the good thing is – I haven’t had to give it up. One thing I am a bit terrible for is crisps. I do eat healthy snacks like fruit and Edamame bean pots through the week but I do treat myself of a weekend. I am a firm believer that if you just diet and diet forever without any treats this is what makes you stick to it less, so if I do want something I know isn’t good for me I’ll just work harder at the gym that day.

How To Lose Weight Like A Pro

Features, Food, Health & Beauty, Quick Reads

Scales

As I stepped off of the scales during my gym induction, I tried to work out where it had all gone so wrong. I’m a vegetarian and I can’t stand meat substitutes so my diet consists of a lot of vegetable based meals including at least one daily dose of vegetarian sushi. When I mentioned this to the personal trainer at my gym he asked me how much alcohol I drink.

Erm. A lot?

The nail was firmly hit on the head. Despite the fact that I live on vegetables and walk from Fenchurch St to Bank and back every single day, I was unwittingly drinking about 5000 extra calories a week. You really don’t need to be a big drinker to fall into this trap. Even that one glass of wine a night adds up to about 2100 calories if you do it every day. I know how shoddy my willpower is. If I were to say I’ll only drink now and again, now and again will become more and more often until I fall back into my old habits.

So I overhauled my life. I gave up alcohol, joined the gym and downloaded MyFitness Pal to track my calories. It’s now been six weeks and these small changes have worked in a big way – I have so far lost half a stone. It can seem super, super daunting when you start your weightless journey so here are some tips on how to be successful.

Think about giving up alcohol

If the thought of giving up alcohol absolutely horrifies you – then you are probably one of the people that could benefit from a break the most. You don’t need to give up alcohol forever, but having a clean break from it when you start your weight loss journey will changes your relationship with it enough to help you to make more sensible choices in the future. If you really are intent on losing weight then feeling headachy and hungover on weekend mornings is not going to help you motivate yourself to go to the gym and the junk food you will be tempted to eat certainly won’t help either. You could even change your mind about it so much that you decide drinking just isn’t for you now that you lead a more healthy lifestyle.

Make small changes to your daily routine

As Miranda Hart says, the simplest key to losing weight is to eat a bit less and do a bit more. The ‘do a bit more’ part is actually achieved quite easily. So you may not have time to go to the gym as often as you would like to, but there are definitely ways you can up your physical activity. Get off the bus a stop before you need to. Go on a walk for your lunch break. Take a trip to the toilets on the other side of the building. It all adds up.

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Treat yourself when it comes to joining a gym

There are plenty of inexpensive gyms around nowadays but if I have learned one lesson it is that you really do get what you pay for. My gym cost’s me £50 a month but it has a swimming pool, a sauna and a steam room and the staff create a personal fitness plan and help you track your journey. For one thing the lure of a sauna and steam room after my workout really gives me a push to exercise harder and also I don’t track my swimming as exercise on my calorie counter so it all adds up as a little bit extra. If you cannot afford to join a gym that has the little extra’s take your time and ask for a tour of all of your local ones in your price range. You don’t need to jump into a decision just because the first gym you look at is nice and affordable.

Have a cheat now and again

I would absolutely go crazy if I couldn’t ever eat crisps again. The same with pizza. Sometimes you just need a little bit of junk food and that’s more than ok. I have found my main triggers for wanting to eat food that I know is terrible for me is when I am anxious or when I am ill. Luckily neither of these things occur very often – so when they do I treat myself and eat whatever I want. It is near on impossible to put on weight in one day so if you do have a day where you feel a bit rubbish and want to eat everything in sight just get back on the wagon the next day. Obviously you can’t let a little cheat day outweigh the diet days but you would go crazy if you didn’t eat a little bit of what you fancy every now and again.

Find an exercise you like

Just because you don’t like Yoga it doesn’t mean that you are not going to be successful with exercise. There are so many fad exercise plans around like high intensity work outs but not every single thing works for every single person. Find a routine that you like and won’t get bored of that mixes up a bit of cardio and weights. I actually don’t mind spending 40 minutes on the treadmill for the pure fact that my gym’s treadmills have Netflix and it’s an episode of Gossip Girl. After that I do a few weights circuits and it works out perfect for me.

Don’t Skip Meals

I’m terrible for eating breakfast. It takes me so long to be hungry I literally forget. Unfortunately this isn’t a good weight loss plan. Your metabolism needs to keep working to keep working, if that makes sense. So because lunch is usually my first meal of the day, I’ll eat dinner and then snack afterwards on something healthy. This way I’m still getting my three meals – I’m just having them all later. Eating little and often is a proven method to keep your body healthy and happy.

Monitor your portion sizes

My worst habit is inadvertently making enough food for 387 people. Although we save a lot for lunches etc it is still massively tempting to pile my plate really high when I overcook. the worst offender for me is mashed potato. I literally love mashed potato so much I’ll easily get through a serving fit for 2 people. When I realised this I actually realised that all of my portion sizes were on the large side. The thing is – as humans we will just literally eat what is put in front of us without question. This means that no matter how small or large your portion size is you will put it away without thinking, so decrease it by a bit and see how it goes.

 

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Mental Health Helpful Info

Features, Health & Beauty

Raising mental health awareness is an important issue for me. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I had never had any reason to find out how taboo the subject of mental health can still be in some circles until I started suffering myself. Even going through my own diagnosis – I found it hard to talk to people about what was going on more so those closest to me than strangers.

The thought of putting anything on my blog about my mental health struggles would have terrified me a little while ago – but if it can help others then I am more than happy to do it. We don’t judge people with flu. We don’t judge people with a virus. We don’t judge people who have broken their leg, so we certainly shouldn’t judge people with mental health issues.

When I gave up alcohol I realised pretty quickly that I could either lie, and make up some elaborate story as to why I don’t drink, or I could be honest and tell people it was because it made my anxiety bad. Honesty always wins, because it isn’t anything to be ashamed of and I am incredibly proud to tell people I have given up something nearly everyone on the face of the earth does to make my health better.

The hardest part for anyone who thinks they may have an issue is starting the conversation. Finding the help is the biggest battle when it comes to it, so I thought I would put together a blog post of plenty of resources for anyone who feels they may need it.

Getting Help

Samaritans

The Samaritans are a charity that offer emotional support 24/7. As well as giving you someone to talk to they will signpost you to other NHS services, mental health charities or services where they feel appropriate.

Free telephone number: 116 123

Email: jo@samaritans.org.uk

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink mental illness offer practical advice on mental health issues. Rethink offer advice on things like money, therapy and medication. If you are getting emotional support but feel you need help with the day to day tasks Rethink are probably the best people to contact. They also offer you advice on the mental health act, and where you stand legally if you have been recently diagnosed with a mental illness or mental health issue.

Telephone: 0300 5000 927

Your GP

If your GP is like mine I can understand how intimidating it can feel to go in and tell them your feelings. Even if they are not that easy to talk to going to your GP is the only way you can get on the pathway to NHS treatment for mental illness or mental health issues. Your GP will do an assessment and then will either prescribe medication, therapy through NHS therapy for you, or both.

When I was first diagnosed I had a couple of people tell me not to take my medication. Although I have slowly weaned off of it completely now – PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN TO ANYONE THAT TELLS YOU THIS. Stopping and starting antidepressants is a risky game without medical assistance. If your GP has prescribed you medication and you feel you need this to get over the initial hump then there is no shame in this. No, coming off of antidepressants is not an easy task, but it is also not impossible. Any alterations or thoughts you may have on medication for mental illness should be discussed with a medical professional. Too many people who do not understand unfortunately go around thinking they are Doctors.

Mind

Mind have an information line that offer advice on where to get help and what different treatments are available. They also offer a range of different services for people who are struggling with their mental health. They do offer a counselling service for a fee – but the waiting list can be quite long.

Telephone: 0300 123 3393

Staying Well

I have written a few posts myself on dealing with anxiety and there are also a few websites which are really good resources for tips on dealing with mental illness or mental health issues and also places to read stories from others or meet like minded people.

The Mighty

The Mighty is a brilliant website that shares stories from real people suffering from disabilities or illness. Not only does reading other peoples stories bring comfort, but there is also a lot of practical advice for people who need a bit of support.

Time To Change

Time to change is an organisation that aims to end mental health discrimination. One of the sections of their website shares personal stories which again are helpful on an emotional level and also a practical one. If you are feeling brave you can even share your own experience to see if it helps others.

Mental Health Bloggers

There are loads of bloggers who write about mental health and you can usually find them under the hashtag #MHBloggers. Personally, one of my favourite bloggers anyway is Beauty By The Bunny mostly because of all the great review on make up and the pretty pictures and videos, but also because she is refreshingly honest about her own mental health. Following someone that you admire who is going through a similar struggle to you is a great way of reminding yourself on bad days that what you are going through is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of.

The Facts

It is estimated that 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer a mental health issue at some point in their lives

Mental health isn’t itself on the rise – but the ability to function and cope with a mental disorder has lowered significantly in recent years

How many people suffer from specific problems?

Generalised anxiety disorder 5.9 in 100 people

Depression 3.3 in 100 people

Phobias  2.4 in 100 people

OCD 1.3 in 100 people

Panic disorder 0.6 in 100 people

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 4.4 in 100 people

Mixed anxiety and depression 7.8 in 100 people

Psychotic disorder 0.7 in 100 people*

Bipolar disorder 2.0 in 100 people

Antisocial personality disorder 3.3 in 100 people

Borderline personality disorder 2.4 in 100 people

Around 20% of people have admitted to suffering from suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives.

Source: Mind

 

As ever, I will end by saying anyone who really does feel like they need to talk is always welcome to reach out to me on email.

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September Favourites

Features, Food, Health & Beauty, Lifestyle, Out & About, Quick Reads, Travel

So yes, we are a little bit in to October now, but I still wanted to share a few things that I have absolutely been loving in September. I have had a brilliant September which has included a holiday to Greece. Although it was slightly chilly I managed to catch up with some friends I used to work over there with, which was perfect.

Deliciously Ella’s Weighthouse Street Deli

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I went to a blogger breakfast at the Weighhouse Street Deli in September to promote the launch of the Hello Day Autumn box. The blogger event was really good, and the deli itself was super cut. They served us all food from the menu and I fell in love with the smashed avocado toast (which had sun-dried tomato and chilli on it) and also the chia pudding which was my personal favourite. I can’t wait to find another excuse to go back there for breakfast. It’s really central as well and is just next to Bond Street station, so a good stop off if you are doing some Christmas shopping.

Primark Make Up

I got a My Perfect Colour lip gloss and a PS Master Eyeshadow Palette. The lip gloss is a bit sticky – but for £1.50 compared to my usual Urban Decay Revolution which comes in at £15. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the eyeshadow palette. The pigmentation was really good for a budget palette and because I’d taken it on holiday without primer or setting spray I wasn’t expecting great miracles. It actually stayed on all night when we went out clubbing while I was away, so I would definitely recommend investing in some Primark make up if anything as a back up or something cheap to pack in your suitcase whenever you go away. It’s probably a bit of a liberty that Primark keep copying high end make up, but I personally think it’s banter.

Vegetable Sushi

As a vegetarian, sometimes I have to eat fish simply because there are not a lot of vegetarian options in some restaurants. This isn’t my first choice at all and I really don’t like sushi with fish in, however after recently discovering vegetable sushi I have been so surprised at how much I like it. The best one I have found so far is the Marks and Spencer’s one, which has a bit of cheeky mango in one of the rolls. I’ve also recently discovered that Aldi sell it so I’ve literally been stocking up every time I go in to my local one. It’s less than 300 calories per pack as well – so its a great healthy option for lunch.

Pret

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We have a Pret next door to the office so I’ll often pop in for a coconut flat white. The other day I dropped a full one all over the office floor before I had even taken a sip. For a laugh, I tweeted Pret to tell them and they asked for my address. After a particularly bad week I got a parcel the other day and they sent me through some treats to ease the loss of my coffee.

Kiwi Hotel Greece

I popped over to Greece this month to see the girls I worked with at the Sani Resort in 2013. When we all worked there we lived in the Kiwi Hotel, which is also a customer facing hotel. The owner Dimi runs the hotel with his family, and it is a seriously good stay for the money. The great thing about Kiwi is that there are things to do in the town it’s in but it’s also a great base to go and explore other places that are more expensive to stay in. They really welcome into their family when you stay and nothing is too much for them. In the summer, this is a great place to stay and go and explore Sani and Afytos and other places, as they are only all about 8 euro in a taxi but hotels in the towns themselves will cost you double what Kiwi would. If you ever book, tell the Kelly recommended you!

Giving Up Alcohol

I gave up alcohol a while back and haven’t drunk for ages. I thought I’d have a few drinks on holiday and it wouldn’t hurt – I was seriously wrong. My anxiety was through the roof and I have now come to terms with the fact that I can’t even have a couple of drinks without making it bad now I don’t drink at all. It’s something I think I’ll persevere with for the rest of my life if I am being honest, I’m a bit of an idiot when I’m drunk anyway so it really isn’t worth it.

Hello Day Autumn Box

I’ve already written a separate blog post about how much I loved this, but it really is worth mentioning again. The Vitality Boost capsules really helped my mood stabilise after my holiday. If you can afford to get one of these I would highly recommend it as a way to prepare your body for the colder months to come with the correct vitamins and nutrients. Looking forward to see what their winter box has to offer.

Quo Vadis, Soho

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We advertise with Yahoo and they took us out for lunch the other day. We went to Quo Vadis in Soho, which was one of the best places I have been in London. After my holiday of over indulging I was hoping to get some really good fresh food – and they didn’t disappoint. I had the cod with the mashed potato in olive oil which was simple but absolutely what I needed after a weekend of spaghetti napolitana. Because they had no tables they sat us in the members area, which was lovely, but the downstairs restaurant looked just as nice. I would highly recommend eating here if you fancy a treat in London anytime soon, especially as it is within walking distance to most of the good theatres.

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Hello Day – Autumn Box

Features, Food, Health & Beauty, Lifestyle

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A little while ago I attended the Hello Day blogger breakfast at the Mae Deli and said I would report back the results after having tried my products in the Autumn box. Obviously you get the best results if you have a balanced diet and lead quite a healthy lifestyle, which I was doing until a weekend away in Greece when I fell off the wagon a bit with drinking and eating absolute rubbish (if you go to a small fishing village in Greece and you are vegetarian all you will get is carbs). One of the things I was really surprised at is how low physically and mentally I felt after falling off the wagon for just a few days – and another surprise was how much Hello Day’s Autumn Box helped me feel normal again. The box is made up of four different products of specifically blended supplement to help your body adjust to the new season.

Beauty Boost (Capsules)

“Beauty Boost is a food supplement to promote healthy skin, nails and hair. It’s made from a combination of ingredients including Horsetail, a plant extract, and Cystine to help strengthen hair and nails and encourage growth, Vitamins B6 and C for healthy skin, with Selenium and Zinc as antioxidants.” – Hello Day.

The results for the beauty boost capsules have been excellent in the 2 and a half weeks I have been taking them. My big thing in the Winter isn’t necessarily suffering breakouts, it’s the horrifically dry skin I get even if I do moisturise regularly. I noticed after the first week my skin was getting a little bit more smooth and radiant. Usually a change in the weather makes me break out quite badly, so I though the travelling to Greece would give me a huge breakout but it has been really minimal, and there were a couple of days I forgot to take them while away.

Digestion Cleanse (Dissolvable Sachet – Mint Flavour )

“Over the Summer, we build up toxins that can lead to tiredness and stress, especially as our systems have to work extra hard to banish them. Dietary deficiencies, caused by a lack of food rich in vitamins and minerals, lead to low physical and mental energy.
A colon cleanse-related “detox” can help you overcome nutritional imbalances and be ready to face Autumn.” – Hello Day.

I know what you are thinking, because we all think the same when we hear the word ‘cleanse’. Don’t worry – there are absolutely no unpleasant effects of this. This is the main one I forgot when I was away, and when I came back I felt bloated and unhappy because I felt I’d put on around half a stone in one weekend. After three days back on the digestion cleanse my bloating has completely gone. Obviously being back to eating healthy has helped this but the digestion cleanse has really given me a further boost, and I find if I take it in the morning I reduce that sluggish feeling you get around 4pm.

Immunity Shield (Dissolvable Sachet – Passion Fruit Flavour)

“Temperatures fall during Autumn and we are prone to coughs and colds, especially if feeling tired or stressed. Start boosting your system with Immunity Shield’s specific active ingredients to protect it from unwanted viruses.” – Hello Day.

Both the Immunity Boost and the digestion cleanse are dissolvable sachets that come out brown but don’t let that put you off – they taste fine. The immunity shield one is obviously hard to measure results for but one thing I will say is that I have usually had a cold by this point in the Autumn season and I haven’t yet so it must be doing some good.

Vitality Balance (Capsules)

“Vitality Balance is a food supplement capsule to help reduce tiredness and the risk of seasonal depression. It’s made from a combination of ingredients including Magnesium, to help combat fatigue, and Siberian Ginseng Root with toning actions to promote wellbeing. Rhodiola helps you be physically and mentally alert while Passionflower induces calmness to deal with the demands of the change in climate as the days become shorter and colder.” – Hello Day.

Out of everything in the Autumn box, this really was the product that stood out for me. I love it. I make no secret of it on this blog – I suffer from anxiety. Recently I chose to come off of my medication which as anyone knows can be a bit of a bumpy ride. Usually I turn to the Kalms if I have a bad day but since I have been taking the Vitality Balance I haven’t needed to. It really has helped even out my mood and combat that ever present fatigue you seem to suffer in the colder months. For anyone thinking of trying any of the Hello Day products, start with this if you can’t get the full box. It’s something you really will notice results from.

The Verdict

At £79.00 I can understand people asking what they get for their money, and why would you just not take regular vitamins. Well for one, are you going to research all of the vitamins your body needs through the specific season and buy them all separately? Of course you are not. Are you going to figure out the exact amounts and blend that are going to give the best effect? No. The Hello Day Autumn box will give you an entire month of goodness.

Let’s face it girls, £79.00 is like what, a foundation and an eyeliner? If you want to feel and look good this Autumn for all of those cute Instagram pictures – start from the inside and invest in this. I know I’ll be getting another one when this one has run out.