Heidi Klum at Lidl - I went shopping

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I was doing my daily shop, and happened upon the new Heidi Klum range in Lidl. I'd seen some whisperings about it on the internet, so I had a quick browse. I like Heidi, from what I see of her online, and doing a range in a budget supermarket is a brave move.

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Lidl doesn't have clothing racks like other supermarkets, so they boxed it all, which I thought was rather smart, although I bet it was chaos at the end of the day.

So I treated myself to a leopard print hoody, a leopard print camisole and some skinny jeans.

I really loved spin today (celebrating non scale victories)

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I had a non scale victory today. I use that phrase flipantly, as I don't weigh myself at all, but it has come to mean 'things worth celebrating that are not weight related', so here it is. In the past 13 days I've been the gym 7 times. I won't bore you with my gym/weight/fitness story right now, but I used to be fitter and smaller, and I'd like to return to that way of living.

So I was at a spin class today. It helped that it's the best instructor my gym has (he actually plans his tracks and exercises, and really makes it interesting), but it also helped that I can feel my body responding. Today I could really feel the strength in my legs returning. I could keep up with the RPMs, and I could follow all of his directions. It felt good.

So what is are my top tips for finding your own motivation to return to the gym....?

1. Don't fall for the trap that you'll feel motivated or ready to leave every day. Just treat it like a job, or an appointment. You don't need to feel like going, you just need to go. Like when you don't want to leave your bed but you have to get up to go to work. You just do it. Even when you don't feel like it.

2. Don't dive in too deep, but also push yourself a bit. If you go to a class that it is too scary, or try and run a marathon before a 5k, you'll crumble and hate it all. Ease in to start, this is a long-term goal, so don't rush. Just make sure you're going, even if you're doing something a little easy for the first few sessions. Turn up. Celebrate turning up. But don't get too comfy. Everyone is nervous trying a new skill, but we can all learn. Try new things. Ask for advice. Push yourself. Changes don't happen in your comfort zone.

3. Don't expect miracles overnight. Remember we're in it for the long term. When I lost weight years ago, I'd say I really noticed it after 3 months. You just have to keep turning up. Keep going and trust the process. It only works when you stick with it. 

4. Focus on your gains, not your losses. Going to the gym isn't a punishment. It's an investment in your physical and mental wellbeing. It's treating your body well because you love and care for it. When i was fitter, I used to really enjoy my calves and thighs. I'm not trying to shrink away to nothing, although yes I loved being slimmer too, I was focused on being strong. So I'm excited to get some muscles back.

The dipdye hasn't gone anywhere! - Low Maintainence Hair Colour

dipdye london salon

I can still remember when we started leaving a root when colouring, and the moment I first saw it, and laughed, thinking that the world had finally gone bananas. But years have passed, and a blended root is not going anywhere!

contrast root shoreditch

Why is it such a popular option? It allows people who want a lower maintenance colour option to still play with fun rainbow colours, without the commitment. You can leave much longer between hair appointments, and this suits some people.

rainbow dip dye london

What's the catch? Some people leave their root completely natural, and this is pretty awesome as there is  no-regrowth. It's just up to you when you want to refresh or fade the colour at the bottom. However, many people paint the contrast root in. This may be to cover greys, or just for a more pleasing aesthetic, as generally a much darker root looks 'better'. This means you'll still suffer from regrowth, but you may find it more livable if it is close to your natural shade.

blue demin dip dye

When painting in a dark root, you also need to consider the longer term plan. Many of us have no long term plan with our hair, which is fun and carefree, but remember that the dark root will grow down, and you may find it limiting as to what colour can go over it. Your hairdresser can definitely help advise you as to what would work best for you!

The dipdye isn't going anywhere for now, and it's still a very popular option at Rockalily Cuts, and we still love doing them! Do contact me if you have any queries about your own hair, always happy to help!

Social Media for small businesses (a talk by me for Square)

square payments

I was recently asked to give a talk for a pop-up shop for Square (a payment processing system for small businesses) and it seemed like fate, being almost exactly a year since I last gave a talk at London Edge. Being paid to talk is always an exciting, but nervewracking experience, and this is perhaps my 8th talk I think? I always enjoy it, but it pretty intimidating!

reeree on train

So I hopped onto the train to Brimingham, pretty chuffed that I'd remembered to reserve a spot with a phone charger. Nothing worse than being stuck on a train without the ability to connect!

I took the time to write out my notes, I don't tend to plan what I'm going to say, just make some guiding bullet points, to ensure I cover everything, and don't get too lost. It was a relaxed set-up, so I knew this would be sufficent. I used to be a primary teacher, so talking to a room of people used to be my full time job!

I always start by explaining a bit about who I am, and my career journey. I was a pretty unambitious teen, and at 21 decided to become a primary teacher. Eventually I switched to a secondary school librarian, and at this time I took a part time job in a cabaret club. I was blogging and using forums as a hobby, and this eventually led me to deciding to try and work for myself.

In 2011 I launched a lipstick brand, and then in 2012 I opened a hair salon. I'm neither a make-up artist nor a hairdresser. I wasn't really sure at all at my skill set back then, but now over 6 years later, I'd say I'm good at marketing, branding and the administration that comes with business. I've also worked for 12 months in a digital marketing agency.

 

social media talk rockabilly reeree

When I give a talk, I like to offer a small roadmap at the beginning, so people know what is coming. I explain that I would cover what to say (and who to say it to), where to say it, and what is worth measuring. 

I then listed each social platform; Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Snapchat and shared my feelings, experience and advice for each. Spoiler alert......I still adore twitter. Hardcore.

People who give professional talks fear a sea of blank faces, and so I was so grateful for the smiling, nodding and engaged people listening to me. I also really appreciated when people came up to me at the end to say how useful they found it. I always think that because I seem confident, people often believe I don't need feedback. We all need to know if we do well!

Gaining weight after losing weight.

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This post is a personal exploration of my current weight. This is your trigger warning should you need one for eating disorders or other types of disorded feelings about bodies and/or food.

4 years ago I lost weight, and loved it. I sucessfully kept it off for a couple of years, and really beileved that would be my new shape forever. However for whatever reason, for the past two years I've grown in size, and my clothes stopped fitting. Not just in an unflattering way, but literally not fitting.

The things that changed for me, were being in a relationship, taking a double dose of hormones to prevent pregnancies and changing my food/exercise choices. I don't blame the pill/implant for the weight gain, I think that's a cop-out, as its so hard for me to identify a precise cause. There probably isn't a solo reason. But do you know what else happened? I hit my mid-30s. I've read about our changing bodies as we age, and acquiring more fat around your middle is hardly unique to me. So I'm sure its a blend of age, life circumstance and being less strict with my food/exercise.

For the past year or so, I really stopped buying nice clothes, and wasn't yet ready to get rid of my entire 'smaller' wardrobe. I wasn't ready to close the door on returning to that size. Recently however, I've started buying some new larger clothes, as I realised being limited to such few clothes (and less awesome clothes) makes your self esteem suffer. So I've given in a little, and starting buying some clothes that fit me now. I'm still not ready to get rid of my whole wardrobe though....I'll give it a little more time....just in case.

So now I have to come to terms with my current body. I don't hate it. It's my body and its just a body. Bodies do not need to be small to be worthy. My body is capable of enjoying sex and exercise and deserves to feel good. However, this doesn't mean I have to fully accept it. I'd still prefer a smaller body back. Part of me hates that, but it is what it is. But I don't hate it. Hating your body is so destructive. I'm unhappy with it, and would prefer it to change, but I do have to accept that this may never happen. And to prepared to come to terms with it as it is. It's a complicated tightrope of not giving up on it, but also not pursuing something I won't achieve again.

So I'm now buying clothes in size large again, when for 2 years I'd started buying size small, and its hard not to feel disappointed in that. But I think I'm healthy enough with my thought processes, and how I manage my food and exercise choices. So I'll keep on keeping on for now. Watch this space.

I envy how men can just exist.....

men dont wear make up

I am often found on twitter moaning that I just want to exist. I just want men to leave me alone; to stop commenting on me, to stop looking at me, and stop making me fearful. I just want to be able to take up space without being objectified or scared. 

Today I had a small epiphany, in another way that men are generally allowed to exist in a way I do not. They wake up, splash their face, and their face exists as it is. They generally look the same. They can leave the house, bump into a long-lost friend, and not apologise for their lack of make-up. They exist as they are, with no apologies, embarrassment or fear of judgement. 

As an important side note, I am aware that many women do not wear make-up, and that some men wear make-up, however it is still a societal norm that women do, and men do not. 

I always say that I love make-up. I love that I get to create my face each day. However, part of me also thinks I've been conditioned to think this. Because I definitely envy men who get to just exist as they are. They don't get ready for the gym, and just allow themselves to powder on some brows, to feel more 'normal'. They don't lay in bed with a new partner wondering what they are thinking about seeing their 'naked' face. They don't debate whether they can really go to the corner shop without make up on (what if they bump into someone?!). They don't spend a good chunk of change making their 'natural' face appear more 'natural'. 

Society allows men to just have their face. It allows them to get up, get dressed and just be whoever they just are. It is less forgiving to women's faces.

I actually can't imagine how free that must feel, and they wouldn't even appreciate it as they haven't known different. To just have a face, and exist with it. To just get up and go. To not feel 'not ready' or 'not finished'. 

Body Pump or Pure Pump : Is there is a difference?

pure pump or body pump

Last year I adored Body Pump, which is a choregraphed weight lifting class from Les Mills. They create a lot of hype, host massive events and have fans all over the globe. I even found one in Bali on my holiday. 

BodyPump is oddly addictive, and at one time I was attending 3 times a week. They pay for the rights to popular music from most genres, from rock to techno and dance. They choreograph tracks so that the music carries you precisely through the struggle and to the end. They follow a carefully planned system and routine, so that you know what's coming, but you also have some elements of surprise too. 

BodyPump is a franchise, that gyms have to pay into, much like Zumba, and they can buy the official weight sets and steps too. The trainers wear branded gear and have been trained well on how to motivate and instruct a class. Don't get me wrong, I had trainers I adored, and trainers that left me a little less buzzed, but the class was reliably great.

Now, on to Pure Pump. It's the knock-off version that some Pure Gyms use, instead of paying for the official Body Pump. I've been a member of 3 different Pure Gyms, and my while my first hosted the official branded version of the class, my more recent two do not. They serve different locations, and have charged me different monthly bills. The one that used Les Mills equipment was almost double the price of my current one, and right in the city.

Pure Pump.....it's like when you begged your parents for Nikes for school, and they bought you Asda knockoffs. They sort of serve the same purpose, but are still wildly different, and you definitely get no joy from the supermarket shoes.

I've tried a few Pure Pump classes, but I've always found them so lacking, compared to Body Pump. They're just a bit all over the place, with no flow, and feel so haphazard. 20 seconds of working this muscle group, then 40 seconds with a new track on a new muscle group. Just randomly hopping from one thing to another. 

I understand that different budgets have different services, and that Pure Gym is awesome for providing a decent gym offering at an affordable price. But gosh Pure Pump is just so disappointing. It would be great if they even offered it as an add-on. My current gym has a couple of classes that are charged at £4 more. I'd pay it for an official Les Mills class, as Pure Pump just doesn't cut it.