Tuesday, 31 January 2017

How pole dancing changed the way I feel about my body

Pole dancing was never something I thought of trying. I’ve been an aerialist for a couple of years now but I started pole classes in May last year. I’m not going to lie, I was terrified. Aerial hoop and silks allow you to wear lots of layers and long leggings to protect your skin from catching. Pole is the exact opposite of that. You use your skin to grip to the pole, meaning the less you wear, the more you have to grip with. Pole classes often consist of shorts and a sports bra. Oh, and a room of other beautiful women. Do you know what happened when I went? I fell in love with the classes and the skill. I stopped caring about my body hang ups and what other people might think and just let myself enjoy being in class. 

I started working on my body in a different way

Dieting and working out purely for the intention to get thin fast, has stopped being my main priority. In fact, it's not even my top five. I train my body to be stronger and allow me to do more. I work on being able to hold my own body weight and lift myself (even if I don't quite manage to do so gracefully). My upper body strength has improved so much in a year and I’m only getting stronger. Losing weight has been an outcome from that but it's not all encompassing in my mind anymore. I’m also working every day to become more flexible. Pole has lead me to work on myself in a whole new way. Being stick thin wouldn’t work for me anymore because I want strong defined shoulders that will hold me up. Taking classes has completely changed my outlook on how I want my body to be and I’m so grateful. 

I learnt not to compare

These days I’m more jealous of a girl's splits than her body. Don’t get me wrong, I still see girls and think ‘Wow, I would love to have her X, she is beautiful’ but it’s not in a petty, self-hate kind of way. It can be incredibly daunting to stand in a room full of gorgeous, talented woman and feel at home but the sense of community is a lot stronger than the fear. I learn tricks and routines in my own time and everyone in class is supportive; we root for each other’s success. I don’t need to stand there and compare my body to anyone else because mine is mine, it will change however I change it over time. 
I’m happy with myself and that's a result of facing my body fears head on, albeit in shorts and upside down.

I appreciate what my body can do

I train my body in some way or another every day and I’ve seen first-hand the results it brings. If I treat myself right, and nourish my body, it will pay me back in kind and do what I want it to. I don’t believe in detox laxative teas or starving myself because I won’t have the energy to work at my best. My flexibility teacher encouraged us to complete a straddle challenge throughout January which I have been doing almost every day. The results are obvious and after just one month I am so much closer to the ground! I can do things I never thought I would be capable of and in a year, I know I will be even further on my journey. 

I’m not ashamed

In the past, I have been the girl to stand in front of a mirror and cry. I'm not ashamed to say that because I know I am far from alone in that fact. These days, I’m surrounded by mirrors and I couldn’t feel more at home. I use them to correct my posture rather than hate myself. When we start pole tricks, and I take off my leggings and shirt, I stand proud in my shorts and sports bra because I know I love what I’m doing. I don't feel the need to judge myself or feel judged by others. To be perfectly honest, people are more interested in my bruises than my jiggly bits!

I still need to lose a bit more weight but I’m doing it positively instead of obsessively. It's really not about weight loss. Pole has been a huge confident boost for me. I may not love my body all the time, but I love what it can do and it’s the only one I will ever have. I’m looking forward to learning new things and taking my flexibility and strength further. I want to take care of myself and just be happy with what I have. I’m so thankful I took up pole dancing. Anyone feeling insecure about going? Just do it. I haven’t ever looked back. 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

24 Asos steals for £19 or less

Anybody else feeling the January pinch? I went a bit overboard at Christmas (you are welcome loved ones) so I’m a little bit skint. By that I mean the buying ‘Caribbean flavoured Rum’ from Lidl because that Malibu bottle is ‘a little pricey for me’ kind of skint. Everything is so appealing when you have no money and, as much as I want to splash out on a new designer bag that would look oh-so-cute with that coat I got for Christmas, I need to be money smart. Thank goodness for all of the subscriptions I've already paid for, that's the new re-sized Glamour magazine in the photo above. I’ve done a lot of window shopping on Asos recently because they basically do everything and their sale is beaut right now. I’ve pulled together 24 things from Asos that are under £19 which is affordable for those of us trying to be good. In fact most of them are less than £15! My favourite piece has to be the mauve coloured tie up heels. They are actually being checked out whilst I write this post. Hooray for speedy Asos delivery, you will be mine.
(Post includes affiliate links)

Thursday, 12 January 2017

New Year, New Skincare

Self-care is something I am really bloody bad at. I’m really trying to work on this now that it’s a new year and so I'm on a mission to start taking care of my skin. Christmas has been awful for my face. Cold weather, heating, eating nothing but sugar for a month… my face is crying out for help. I’ve literally had the same spot on my cheek for over two weeks. It’s ruined every selfie and cute couple snap, which makes me feel like a giant toad and want to hide away or dip my face in concealer which again makes everything worse. Not over reacting or anything right?Either way I've been a bit fed up so I’ve tested out some new products and I’m starting to build a skincare routine (yes I’ve become one of those people). I can’t sleep in my make up as if I’m seventeen anymore without facing serious skin meltdowns, time to be a grown up and take care of my face.

Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask - The Body Shop

This has been raved about so much that I decided to bite the bullet and part with my £15 for this face mask. It is a very small jar, I must stress. After seeing it on other blogs I thought it would be much bigger but it’s not a huge amount of product. That said, a little bit of this went a long way and you don’t need much to create an even layer over your skin. The consistency is very thick which makes it easy to apply although it would be easier with a brush. It does have a slight burning sensation which feels almost like the way menthol gum burns your throat when it’s cold outside, but it's not painful. It also tightens quite a lot and can be slightly uncomfortable if you aren't used to masks that have this quality. As it dries you can see the affect around your pores. Its charcoal based which is known for being a handy ingredient to draw out all the nasties from your pores and simultaneously help with blackheads. I was quite impressed with the effect and have been using it weekly. Overall, I really like it and I think it’s had a positive effect on my skin. My face is so soft afterwards I’m going to keep using it.

Best for: Unclogging pores

Gentle Face Exfoliator – Liz Earle

The scent of this exfoliator is just like a spa which makes me feel instantly more relaxed. It’s like a mental prompt to be a little bit calmer! I’ve been using this twice a week because I get dry skin in the winter from all of the heating. It’s very efficient and again a little bit goes a long way. It’s a gentle exfoliation unlike a lot of other products I've tried that feel as if my whole face is being scratched off. I apply and massage in circles and then wash away with warm water. Very quick and the results are instant. Happier skin just like magic. I really have nothing bad to say about it for once! I will definitely repurchase when I run out of this.

Best for: Regular exfoliation

Deep Cleansing Mask – Liz Earle

I love this as a lighter mask. The consistency is a lot thinner than the Body Shop mask, making it hard to create an even layer. That said, it feels a lot nicer on your skin and doesn’t tighten so much. It has a green clay base which is supposed to regulate oiliness and draw out impurities. It’s done nothing for my pores so I don’t think it particularly draws out impurities. That said I have noticed my skin is less oily. My T zone is particularly bad for this and it has hugely improved. I can’t say I’m a fan of the rose scent but I know lots of other people really like this as a skincare scent but it’s not overpowering. I also like that this product includes two little face sponges to help you take off the mask. Huge bonus as these sponges feel amazing on your face and are very handy. Overall, I think this mask is great for targeting specific areas where you struggle with oiliness. I've been pairing it with other masks all at once to fix each problem area.

Best for: Fixing oily skin

I was mostly impressed with my new products. I will be investing in more skincare in the near future to keep creating a routine that works for me and to try and fend of teenage skin problems and wrinkles at the same time. I’d like to try face oils and find a better moisturiser than the one I’m currently using. I guess years of caking on make-up had finally caught up with me. If you have any recommendations I would love to know. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2017 Goals

Well 2016 was kind of a bitch wasn't she? I am doing my very best to see the positives but overall, it honestly wasn't the best. I have high hopes that this is going to be my year. I feel like I might read that back in December and laugh at my foolishness but you always have to aim high right? If you have read my blog before then you probably know that I’m a very goal orientated person and a new year is the perfect excuse to challenge yourself. I’m still working through my 101 in 1001 but I have some time to get that done yet! I like to set main goals to work on over the course of the year so I’ve picked these as my top ones to work on in 2017.

Learn to cook from scratch

I hate cooking so much but I also hate eating processed food. One of those things has got to give so I’m trying my very best to cook from scratch. Dom and I, very cutely, got each other cookbooks for Christmas. Both Jamie Oliver, but I got him a cheap eats one and he got me the Superfood Family Classics, which says a lot about us as a couple. I’ve already made one recipe and it wasn’t half bad if I do say so myself. Now that Christmas is over, I need to explore other food groups outside of carbs and sugar…I'm trying. 

Make a bigger splash with blogging

I say bigger splash because I just want more in general. Produce more content, go to more meet ups, engage with more bloggers, collaborate more, just more of all of it. I really love this weird internet world and I want to put more time into making this something that I am proud of. Expect bigger and better things from me this year. I'm still finding my feet a little bit but I think I'm finally getting my rhythm with it. I feel so motivated and I have endless ideas for content. 

Get my front splits

I’ve been working on this for over a year and I’m closer than I have ever been. It’s taking so long because I was doing it wrong for ages! I’ve had injuries and basically not done myself any favours in the bendy front, but I never give up. For the last four months I have been working at home on stretching at least three times a week, and I’ve been taking a stretch and strength class at my studio, and it’s made a massive difference. I think this is my year to touch down on my splits. I really really hope so. I'm also working on foot to head, I pretty much want to become a human pretzel. 

Go somewhere I’ve never been

Last year in February, we went to Budapest and it was incredible. It was four days of walking around, being in love with the city and each other really. I want more of that in 2017, so I’m looking for a new adventure. I was lucky enough to go away a lot when I was younger but now I’m just obsessed with seeing new and exciting places. Buying the house has put the brakes on any immediate holidays but I see adventure on the horizon. One of my best friends and I have been talking about doing Paris too and despite spending a ton of time in France I've never made it to the capital. This could be my year to travel. 

Work on Pole

Aerial hoop is my first and biggest Circus love but there is a new squeeze on the block. I’ve been taking pole class for six months and I have learnt how truly difficult it is. Even the things that look easy are hard and it takes grit. I want to work harder at pole to learn new tricks and start piecing together flow routines. I'm getting a pole at home put in my office and I think its going to help massively with strength and flexibility as well as tidying up my tricks. 

DIY Home projects

In case you hadn’t heard, we bought a house! At the moment, it is still a little bit unfinished. We have lots of big ideas but have to get the basics down first and fill in the furniture gaps. This year, I'd really like to do more DIY and make it more of a home. We have started working on a gallery wall in our living room full of photos and prints we like. Dom is pretty handy so I’ve set him some tasks including building a ladder shelf and hanging the various things I buy on Etsy. I also have a home office now, so making it a creative space is high on my priority list.

So that’s what I’m doing this year! I have a good feeling about this one. What are your goals?
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