Hot but not bothered

Claire gets hooked on Hot Yoga…

My yoga journey began back in – hmmmm, I don’t seem to remember the date, it was so long ago –  when I was eight years old, doing village hall yoga with my mum.

Fond memories of Swaying Tree pose, giggling, lack of focus and face planting from me and trumping from the old ladies (though I’m sure mum would string me up for sharing that particular snippet of information!)…

Little did I know that later in my life and with my own 9-year old I’d rediscover yoga. Minus the trumping, I might add, and with a lot more glistening – because yes, even ladies sweat in Hot Yoga.

Now, I’ve always been into fitness. That’s where I met my BYBB buddy June, kicking and punching in what we fondly referred to as the red room of pain at Suggy’s Gym, and in the 28 years I’ve been training, I’ve dipped in and out of yoga with different strains or genres.

So at the back at the end of last year, off I trotted to a restorative yoga session with my buddy Jess. I wanted to be in the yoga gang, even bought the full outfit – well, a girl’s gotta look the part, right?!

Rocking up at this studio in Nottingham, we were what I can only describe as pleasantly surprised. We’d come upon a kitsch Notting Hill-esque yoga studio with chandeliers, music and a corporate hippy vibe. Things always happen as they are supposed to, eh?

Let’s be honest here, starting your yoga journey isn’t all beautiful stretching poses. It’s going to take a while to find your chi and, until you do, you’ll probably bear more than a passing resemblance to an elephant face planting! But stick with it and wow, yoga truly is peace and health from within.

Half way through that first session, Jess was ready to kill me. It’s hard and it’s called HOT for a reason, after all – even in a restorative workshop, you’re in a studio with temperatures of up to 40 degrees, where just mastering breathing is hard enough without knocking out a Double Downward Dog.

But we did it, it was epic and now I’m hooked. There are some amazing inspirational ladies and gents in the sessions (yes, you boys can yoga too!) and I can ujjayi breathe in a hot room with the best of them…

As most of you know, I’ve struggled for years with an adrenal problem. But add yoga, a few months off work sprinkled with a life crisis, et voilà! – no adrenal problem. I’m not saying yoga alone fixed me but I truly believe it’s helped, along with the continued meditation journey I’ve been on, from Mayan sweat lodge to shamanic inner dance. But that’s another story – watch this space for it coming soon!

Peace out, be you but betters

More than just Oh K!

June gets ready to step out in style

Back in April 2014, inspired by an article on the Henpicked website and with summer sandal weather in the offing, I decided the time had come for me to put my best foot forward.

Despite the article’s rather revolting description of the process – definitely not one for the squeamish! – I was seduced by the Baby Foot promise of silky soft feet and couldn’t wait to give it a try. And yes, it was everything I expected and quite a bit more…

Fast forward to the beginning of April 2017 and my feet were more than ready for a repeat performance. But this time I took the opportunity of dipping my toe into the world of South Korean beauty products which, as we all know, are THE big thing these days.

With the Oh K! Peeling Foot Mask priced at just over £7, what did I have to lose? Worst case scenario, £7 of course – or best case, a considerable amount of horribly crusty old skin!

So did it work and, more importantly, what do you do?

Well, it worked for me and extremely well, given the price. And doing it couldn’t be easier or more satisfying in a weird kind of way.

To start the peeling process, you’ll be spending 12 to 15 hours with your feet encased in a pair of plastic socks into which you’ve decanted the fruit-enriched gel. Do it overnight then discard the socks and gel next morning, wash and dry your feet thoroughly and wait for the magic to begin…

Don’t expect much for the first four or five days. You might see a few crumbs of skin coming away but be patient, after six or seven days it starts to get exciting – yes, I know, I really should get out more!

Over the next three or four days, the shedding begins in earnest as the skin above and below your feet – and between your toes – starts to drop off. No, it doesn’t hurt and you don’t really need to do anything to help it on its way, just rub it gently in the bath or shower to loosen it.

Don’t be surprised if you find you’re leaving a trail of skin in your wake at this stage – a bit of a shock to begin with but rather pleasurable in a slightly disgusting way, although your family and friends might beg to differ with this! Keep the vacuum cleaner handy at all times – you’re going to need it…

Ten to twelve days and it’s all over, feet as soft as the proverbial baby’s bottom, time to put on some sparkly nail polish and stride forth in those strappy summer sandals!

Just a few words to the wise if you’re thinking of trying one of these deep exfoliating treatments…

  • Pick an evening when you’re home alone – squelching round the house in over-sized, gel-filled plastic socks is NOT a good look and you’re probably going to sleep in them too.
  • Keep activity to the minimum – negotiating the stairs in said squelchy socks is particularly hazardous so plan trips to the loo in plenty of time! Alternatively, you could do as I eventually did and don a pair of fluffy socks too for extra traction.
  • Above all, don’t even THINK about going out in flipflops or sandals until your baby soft feet are revealed in all their glory. This isn’t a good time to go out and buy new shoes either – spare a thought for the shop assistants who are unlikely to appreciate your custom right now!

A batch made in heaven

IMG_4130This recipe comes from Claire – here’s what she has to say about it…

I make this all the time – it’s packed with super-healthy stuff, ideal if you’ve got over-ripe bananas lurking in the fruit bowl and my Endurer team-mates luuurve it when I cook for them on race days!

It’s great  as a snack too – slice the loaf when it’s cooled, pop the slices in the freezer and just re-heat one (or two!) of them for about 15 minutes on a medium heat …

I use my funky little measuring cups when I bake but if you’d rather stick to weighing out ingredients, there are lots of conversion charts like this one on the web.

When it comes to oven temperature, medium heat on mine is around 1850C but if yours is a bit on the sensitive side, you might want to start off slowly and bake your loaf at 1650C.

And don’t forget the most important ingredient – always stir with love!!

Banana Bread

  • Servings: Makes 1 medium-sized loaf or 20 small muffins
  • Time: 1 hour including cooking time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients

  • 6 scoops of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 3 free range eggs, whisked
  • Half a cup of organic rolled oats, whizzed up to a flour-like consistency
  • Half of cup of ground linseed or flaxseed
  • 1 cup of ground almonds
  • 1 cup of water
  • Half a cup of mixed, chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts or any you prefer!)
  • 1 cup of juicy, plump dates with pits removed
  • 4 tablespoons of organic runny honey
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to medium (165-1850C, depending on your oven).
  2. Line a medium loaf tin or 20 small muffin tins with greaseproof paper.
  3. Put all the wet ingredients into a large bowl – mash the bananas and add to the bowl with the whisked eggs, water, honey and melted oil. Stir with love.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients – protein powder, ground almonds, linseed, oats, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder and mixed nuts – in a separate bowl and then add them slowly to the wet ingredients, stirring with a spoon (and more love!) till you have a batter-like consistency.
  5. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin or muffin tins – bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until there is bounce on the top of the bread and no gooey stuff in the middle when prodded with a skewer.
  6. Leave to cool, slice, eat a slice (just to test, of course) and freeze if not using immediately.

Sheer bliss!

bliss balls 2Who says we can’t enjoy a little foodie treat once in a while?

Not us, that’s for sure – let’s face it, however healthily we eat from day to day, life’s just too short to give up chocolate altogether!

But what if we said you can indulge your sweet tooth guilt-free occasionally? In moderation, of course but then you knew that, didn’t you?

Taken from Clean and Lean for Life : The Cookbook* by best-selling author and wellness guru James Duigan, the recipe for these little Bliss Balls is a huge favourite with both of us.

We’ve shared it with .countless friends already and the reaction is always the same – sheer bliss! But don’t just take our word for it, give it a try…

Only four ingredients for the basic mix and a few minutes to prepare – simply blitz up a batch and pop them in the freezer, ready for a pre- or post-gym snack or whenever the mood takes you.

The book also gives six flavour variations, adding ingredients such as a shot of espresso, raw cacao powder, dessicated coconut or orange extract.

And if you’re looking for more healthy eating ideas, you’ll find 150 mouthwatering recipes there too, from breakfasts, lunches and dinners to snacks, desserts and smoothies.

*Published by Kyle Books – RRP £19.99 (Kindle version also available)

Bliss Balls

  • Servings: Makes 10
  • Time: 15mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

From Clean and Lean for Life : The Cookbook by James Duigan


Ingredients

  • 12 dates, pitted
  • 50gms blanched hazelnuts
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs

Directions

  1. Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Roll into balls between the palms of your hands – store in an airtight container in the freezer and just grab and go whenever you want a guilt-free treat!

Back together again!

friendsIt’s taken a while but here we are at last!

When we first started talking about joining forces online late last summer, we didn’t know just how much life – the good, the bad and in a few cases the downright ugly – would keep getting in the way…

But even finding time to get together for the occasional green tea (Claire) and cappuccino (June) was proving difficult. And as for scheduling a proper meeting to start pulling all our ideas together – no chance!

Until a few days ago, when we both said Let’s just do it! So what if there’s not much for people to see to begin with? Great oaks, little acorns and all that, right?

So although distance (admittedly just a few miles!) and other commitments mean we’re not able to meet up as often as we’d like, right here we’re back together again. And looking forward to you joining us, through our blog posts, our Facebook page and our Twitter feed…

Just stick with us – we promise we’ll be sprinkling plenty of fairy dust your way soon!