I’ve Been Shortlisted!

It’s the start of a new day, new week and new month and the weather is glorious. As always, I know it is going to be busy over the next few weeks, but there’s something about the beginning of a month that feels incredibly motivating, even if I’m still tired from the day before…

I had some amazing news on Friday. Last month I discovered that I had been nominated for Blogger of the Year at the Birmingham Awards, with the shortlist of finalists to be announced at the end of September. I honestly didn’t expect anything would come of it – those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that I love my adopted city (having lived here for 17 years now) and write about what I experience in and around Birmingham within many of my posts, but as I don’t have a specific niche dedicated to it like many of those who have been shortlisted in previous years I didn’t think I would make it past the first round. I nervously kept checking the website on the announcement day, my heart beating out of my chest when I saw the link appear… Continue reading

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Cheat Days and Chinese Food

The Bloke and I made a decision a few months ago to change our dietary habits. We were both in a food rut – eating poorly, snacking often and gaining weight to the the point where we were both at our heaviest and most unhealthy. 

We decided not to follow a specific plan or count calories. After watching the documentary ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ on Netflix we were inspired by the idea of a diet of no processed food. We took it a step further based on the fact that I seem to have developed a minor lactose intolerance and The Bloke has rosacea and cut out sugar and dairy too. So, for the last few months we have eaten nothing but fruit, vegetables, nuts, white meat and fish, except for the occasional cheat day that we allow ourselves the chance to eat what we want. We usually don’t eat past 6.30pm, have extra smoothies if we are feeling particularly hungry or have food cravings, and our snacks consist of fruits, nuts and vegetables too. Instead of focusing on the idea of a ‘diet,’ we consider it to be more of a lifestyle change. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Unfold and Begin

Unfold and Begin

I’ve featured Jennifer from Unfold and Begin as I’ve followed and enjoyed her blog for a long time, but since the beginning of this year I’ve had the opportunity to work with her to build her social media, and this has given me a further insight into lots more of her posts…

I love interesting About pages, and Jennifer’s is entertaining and explains exactly what her blog is about.

My name is Jennifer Koshak and I’m on the tail end of the baby boomers. You should know that I’m willing to enjoy chocolate, practice some yoga, have some fun and explore new places and new things in my next 50 years. Continue reading

Self-Pity, Gratitude… and Cake

There’s nothing more inspiring than a positive person who has a goal and works relentlessly hard to achieve it. More recently I have been turning to American muscle gods for inspiration – anyone who has the ability to get up at 4am and train to that level when I can’t even manage breakfast and a coherent sentence before 10.30am deserves my upmost respect.

Today’s admiration is for Terry Crews. Not only is he a talented actor and fitness expert, but he seems to be one of the most genuinely positive and uplifting people around. I discovered a video that he uploaded a year ago on his YouTube channel, and it was some of the most profound thoughts I’d heard in a while. Continue reading

A Massage, Merchandise and Motivation

There’s an awesome quote that appeared on Pinterest a little while ago by Colette Werden:

‘It’s ok if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire…’

This. This is what I needed to remember last week, and that’s exactly what I did. I’ve got into the habits of doing smaller jobs every day, but this week I was feeling particularly fired so up decided to throw myself at much larger tasks and goals. As a result, my mind feels clearer, my space is tidier, my blog stats are up, I’ve lost 5lbs and I have a whole list of positive things that will be happening in the future (no, I’m not pregnant before everyone starts freaking out). Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Evoking Grace

Meet Antonia, from Evoking Grace…

Antonia has an inspiring story…

I grew up in “Il Mezzogiorno,” land of crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, mozzarella but also mysterious bureaucracy and eternal corruption. I arrived in London with only £50 and things went from bad to worse when I suddenly found myself penniless. I would have gone without food had it not been for the merciful help of some very generous homeless people! That day I learnt about compassion and solidarity and I knew I had to give it back out there somehow. Continue reading

40+ Useful Ideas for Self Care

Useful ideas for practicing self care

Things have been a little on the stressful side recently, and those who follow the blog regularly may notice that I haven’t posted much of my own content. With wedding planning, a biopsy followed by stitches (everything is fine and all-clear thank goodness, but it was a little worrying at the time), a truly horrific day of supply teaching (without being melodramatic, I think it was the worst day in over eleven years of working in schools that I’ve ever had) and the general daily tasks that needed completing there has been more than a few occasions where I have found myself a little overwhelmed.

In an attempt to try and overcome the anxiety and general cloudiness that fills me whenever I reach certain panic levels, I have actively indulged in self care – any voluntary activity that helps to maintain my mental, physical and emotional health. This isn’t just ‘hygge’ – they have involved numerous things that I enjoy simply because they make me feel better and I have taken the time to be mindful of them as I am doing it. Continue reading

On Becoming a Hermit…

Yesterday was International Happiness Day, and the blogging world was flooded with articles, images and quotes of achieving happiness.

Even without a specifically dedicated day, it’s a prominent topic. There seems to be have been a conscious movement over the last few years that focus on the ideas on mindfulness, self-care, motivation and happiness, which may be partially reactionary to the turbulent times within society, or the fact that many are beginning to realise that there is more to life than a soul-destroying 9-5. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Unfold and Begin

Unfold and BeginMeet Jenny!

Jenny is the creator of Unfold and Begin, a lifestyle blog. Her About page is one of the funniest I have read…

My name is Jennifer Koshak.  I’m a post 50 baby boomer, willing to enjoy chocolate, practice some yoga, have some fun and explore new places and new things in my next 50 years.

Some random things about me:

  • I met my husband on eHarmony.  Yes, it really works.
  • I started my first blog 4 years ago, wrote a couple of posts and then freaked that people might actually read it. So I deleted the whole thing.  (I’m trying to move past that fear of sharing myself!)
  • My favorite color is yellow, but it looks awful on me, so I painted my living room a sunset yellow instead.
  • I’m allergic to cats, which means I only have two.
  • My husband is a chef and a chocolatier.  This can be dangerous, but so, so delicious!
  • I’m a Yoga Teacher who feels that laughter is a necessity of life. I’ve been known to quote Mel Brooks movies in class—-the concept of Be Here Now can totally be found in Spaceballs!

Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Motivate Me!

shelley

Meet Shelley!

The opening statement almost seems a little silly to me, as so many within my blogging community already know and love Shelley, but it isn’t as widely known that Shelley has a second blog – Motivate Me!

Motivate Me began as a set of resolutions, as Shelley explains in her extremely eloquent ‘About Page.’

It all started with a New Year Resolution…

One New Year’s Eve I set herself a challenge; sick of setting resolutions and breaking them before the mince pies ran out, I decided to set my children and myself a better example and so I wrote a list of twelve resolutions (one for each month of the year). Continue reading