Spring Into Your Practice: Instagram Yoga Challenge

My second yoga challenge was the  spring into your practice challenge on instagram. I loved this journey, scroll down to see the poses and how I did…

To start off the challenge we had to share the below picture, follow the sponsors and the hosts and then get ready for the first pose…

Spring Into Your Practice

Spring Into Your Practice

The hosts were:

@THIEVINGBIRDYOGA
@ROXY_YOGA_LOVE
@ACASUALYOGI
@AMBUCHANAN82

and the sponsors were:

@fourseeapparel
@treecandleteam
@omsoulshop
@omgoddess.clothing
@sashka_co
@libretea
@satucintaapparel
@happyheartthings
@hippiechickherbalharmony

So without further a-do… the poses…

Day 1: chair pose or utkatasana

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 1 Utkatasana or Chair Pose ... only kidding! Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 1 Utkatasana or Chair Pose … only kidding! Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 1 Utkatasana or Chair Pose. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 1 Utkatasana or Chair Pose. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Day 2: Upward Facing Dog or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 2 Upward Facing Dog or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 2 Upward Facing Dog or Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

 

 Day 3: boat pose or Navasana

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 3 Boat Pose or Navasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 3 Boat Pose or Navasana. It was colder than it looks! Photos by Danielle Bussell

 

 

Day 4: dolphin pose or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 4 Dolphin Pose or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 4 Dolphin Pose or Ardha Pincha Mayurasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Day 5: Warrior Pose or Virabhadrasana

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 5 Warrior Pose or Virabhadrasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 5 Warrior Pose or Virabhadrasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Day 6: camel pose or Ustrasana.

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 6 Camel Pose or Ustrasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 6 Camel Pose or Ustrasana. I got some odd sock loving from the hosts this day :) Photos by Danielle Bussell

Day 7: bound angle pose or Baddha Konasana

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 7 Bound Angle Pose or Baddha Konasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 7 Bound Angle Pose or Baddha Konasana. When centering one’s self it always helps to wear a face mask. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Day 8: Standing Back bend Pose or Anuvittasana

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 8 Standing Back Bend Pose or Anuvittasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 8 Standing Back Bend Pose or Anuvittasana. Come to think of it, if I were wearing yellow I’d actually look like The Mask… Photos by Danielle Bussell

 

 

 

 

Day 9: Cow Face Pose or Gomukhasana

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 9 Cow Face Pose or Gomukhasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 9 Cow Face Pose or Gomukhasana. PJ Day!! Photos by Danielle Bussell

 Day 10: Side Angle Pose or Utthita Parsvakonasana

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 10 Side Angle Pose or Utthita Parsvakonasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 10 Side Angle Pose or Utthita Parsvakonasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

 Day 11: Standing Forward Fold or Uttanasana

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 11 Standing Forward Fold or Uttanasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 11 Standing Forward Fold or Uttanasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

 Day 12: mountain pose or tadasana

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 12 Mountain Pose or Tadasana. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Spring Into Your Practice: Day 12 Mountain Pose or Tadasana. I didn’t realise how lopsided those buns were at the time… not quite as Leia as I intended… Photos by Danielle Bussell

I loved this challenge. I’d had an unintentional break from my yoga because things just got hectic really quickly, so I loved being able to get back to my practice and really focus on getting back to thinking about my inner happiness.

The best bit about this challenge was how supportive the hosts were. They commented such lovely things which really encouraged me to try harder and rekindled my love for yoga.

I was so thrilled when I was announced as one of the winners for this challenge. There were so many people who really worked hard on this challenge and it was lovely to see such a wide variety of people taking part – from beginners (like me) to seasoned pros.

Spring Into Your Practice: and the winners are...

Spring Into Your Practice: and the winners are…

The winners of Spring Into Your Practice were…
@hoopalooper@satucintaapparel
@peace.love.yoga4@omsoulshop
@peaceyogadogs@happyheartthings
@terrijean_76@libretea
@apomerbeatriz@omgoddess.clothing
@healthybydani@sashka_co
@zk.yoga@treecandle
@happy_yogi_878@fourseeapparel
@katmckay.yoga@hippiechickherbalharmony

 

I contacted my allocated sponsor and I’m very excited to say my prize was 3 free bracelets. I couldn’t be more chuffed with such a generous prize!

Once they arrive I will do a mini post to show you the goodies :)

I just want to say one last massive thank you to the hosts and the sponsors for this challenge. I had such a great time and I really appreciate all your support and encouragement!

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Learn to Love Yourself. Photo by Danielle Bussell

Learn to Love Yourself

I honestly don’t know a single person who doesn’t wish they could change something about themselves, including me, and that makes me sad. Here’s a few thoughts and reflections on how I began to love me for me and began a happier life because of it. 

 

We’ve all been there, we’re starting to go through the changes that make us who we are, and we start to notice things we never did before. It’s usually because someone else has noticed it and feels kind enough to let us know. Sometimes they tell us because they really don’t see the damage they may cause, but sometimes they do it because they want to cause damage, and that is when things start to change with the way we look at ourselves.

I, like many people, was picked on at one point in my life, and it’s a horrible period in your life where you question everything about yourself. You expect when you get older for this teasing and picking to stop, but sometimes it doesn’t. I was picked on at school, but I got over it when I matured and fell into a comfortable friendship group. Don’t get me wrong, it will always be with me, but that childish bullying was nothing compared to how I was treated when I was of an age where I thought this should all be done and dusted.

I started work somewhere I thought was going to be incredibly rewarding and I was so excited to begin my adult chapter of my life. It started with comments about how I should wear more makeup, I thought, ok I’m getting older now and becoming more mature, I could try a little cover-up or lipstick now and again. Then were comments about my accent, something inherently me. Again, I worked to better myself as I thought that’s what I should do. I really wish I’d noticed the danger signs like everyone else did, but I thought it was a part of the business I was going into and I should suck it up. Things became more and more about my appearance and the way I spoke and carried myself. Comments about my foot that turns in (you may remember I mentioned that in a post about getting trainers fit) was were my mind snapped back to me and I began to get more annoyed that I was being turned into a puppet. I love my turning in foot, my out of control hair, my lack of caring towards makeup… it’s 100% me!! Eventually it got to a point where I’d become a shell of myself. I am a strong, confident, independent woman and I am proud of my upbringing and who I am inside. I’m so lucky that my now fiance sat me down and asked me what I wanted to do… and I wanted out! He supported me through all of it and I’m so lucky for that… but to cut a loooong story short, this is the moment I decided I loved me, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything!

When the realisation hits…

I can’t quite pin point that moment I finally realised I loved everything about who I am, it just… happened one day and I suddenly thought… wow… I’m awesome ;)

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are things about me that are pretty rubbish… my short temper being my internal issue and my super pear figure and lack of stunning ginger hair being my personal external issues, but why should we be made to feel bad for being who we are? There’s no-one who can be you better than you. I read that somewhere and it really resonated with me. Nowadays there’s so much thrown at us about how we should look, how we should behave. As far as I’m concerned as long as I wear what I think I look good in, as long as I look after myself and the ones I love, and as long as I behave towards others the way I’d hope they behave to me, why should it matter to anyone else? As long as I am not hurting anybody, why should they try and hurt me?

There are a lot of people out there who will try and influence you to wear what they think you should be wearing, to be the size they think you should be, or to eat what they think you should eat. I want my readers to be under no illusions. I am not perfect! I will never pretend to be either. I LOVE chocolate, cheese, crackers, crisps, milkshake, ice-cream… NETFLIX!! I don’t spend every waking moment thinking about what I should and shouldn’t eat or thinking of new ways to get that perfect angle of photos (that doesn’t mean I won’t also discard ones I don’t think are nice). I’m just a person on a journey to try and be the best me I can be, without losing who I am inside.

There are loads more social media presences that are showing you how they actually look. I love the pictures of people sitting down showing that they, like us all, get a roll over their trousers when they holding it. This is making a positive change in how we view ourselves and is lowering that unreachable bar of perceived perfection.

When I pushed the negative thoughts out of my head, it opened me up to a whole new world of positivity. One thing I would highly recommend is taking up a hobby that helps you connect to who you are. For me, that’s yoga. It’s so grounding and really helps you focus your mind and body on happiness.

So… without further ado… my tips for learning to love you?

Step One: Try as hard as you can not to let the haters in.

Step Two: Treat yourself every now and then.

Step Three: Spend time finding out who you are, not who others want you to be.

Step Four: Try not to allow yourself to be warped by unrealistic media, social or otherwise.

Step Five: Surround yourself with people who love you for you.

Step Six: Tell yourself something positive about who you are everyday.

Step Seven: If you’re in a toxic environment – get out of there!

Step Eight: Find someone you can share your burdens with.

Step Nine: Take up a hobby that helps you connect to who you are.

Step Ten: Remember, you are you and that instantly makes you special.

 

I hope you found this refreshing if nothing else. I’d love to know if you have been on a similar journey for self love and if you have, what are your top tips?

Coming Soon: Spring Into Your Practice

I’m so excited to be starting my second yoga pose challenge this week! 

 

It’s been a long time since I really challenged my practice and I feel like I need to start to push myself again. #SpringIntoYourPractice is running from 20 – 31 March, so keep an eye out on my Instagram for a daily update and head back here after the challenge ends for my review.

Spring Into Your Practice

Spring Into Your Practice

A big thank you to the hosts:
@ambuchanan82
@thievingbirdyoga
@acasualyogi
@roxy_yoga_love

and another big thank you to the sponsors:
@fourseeapparel
@hippiechickherbalharmony
@omsoulshop
@sashka_co
@omgoddess.clothing
@happyheartthings
@satucintaapparel
@treecandle
@libretea

Starling and Robin on the bird feeder. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

Welcoming Nature In

It’s exciting to see what new birds are daring to trust the space you’ve created for them. Keep reading to see how I’ve been encouraging them in and what I plan to do next :)

I love wildlife! I’m very lucky to have grown up with parents who love nature and moved us to the countryside while we were young. Back in my family home is Essex I was always seconds away from field after field. So, now  I’m back near the countryside, I want to bring that nature back to my little garden.

My first step to welcoming nature into my garden is putting up a bird feeder. I love watching birds come in and out of the garden.

Step One: Making sure your home is suitable for birds.

Back at my family home we have lots of cats. Now don’t get me wrong, I adore my cats (especially my beautiful girl Tonks!), but we all know they aren’t great for wild birds. There are a few cats in my estate, but I’ve kept an eye out for a couple of months and non of them come into my garden, so I was confident putting my bird feeder up wouldn’t be a problem. To be honest, the biggest thing you need to worry about with birds and cats is bird boxes, as fledglings are all too easy for cats to find before you do. So, don’t worry too much about bird feeders and cats, but definitely take it into consideration.

It’s also important to consider the positioning of your feeder. I decided I would put mine in the far corner of my garden so it wasn’t too close to the house so they wouldn’t feel intimidated, but also I wanted to position it near trees so the birds would have somewhere to hide and feel safe while they were getting used to the new food in their surroundings.

Step Two: Buying a good bird feeder.

There are lots of different types of bird feeders and it’s important to get the right one for you. At first I considered getting a bird table, but then I remembered that, not only do cats climb on them, if you live in an area prone to rats (mostly the city or rural countryside), they might also like to climb on a bird table.

I chose a bird feeding station. It looks really nice in the garden and has spaces to hang lots of enticing food for your bird friends. It also has a water bowl which I think it a great addition.

I got my bird feeder from Wilkinson  for £10.00 which I think was a great find! It’s really sturdy and, for those in windy areas, it survived storm Doris here in the UK so you know it’s good.  (For those wondering, yes I did put my bird feeder up for the day a storm hit… because I’m that kind of prepared!).

So here’s what my feeder looks like straight out of the box :) …

Bird Feeding Station. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

Bird Feeding Station. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

I also bought some bird food from Wilkinsons while I was on there and I have to say, the birds are loving it! Find out more below…

Step Three: Get the good stuff.

It’s best to get a variety of foods so you can cater to all birds, don’t limit yourself if you don’t have to!

You can see from the picture above that I bought suet balls (great in the UK as it’s still pretty cold out here so it’s helping to keep the birds plump and warm – £1.00), small bird feed (this contains dried meal worms, sunflower seeds, sunflower hearts, and corn, among many others – £2.00) and ground and table special mix (containing raisins, oats and seeds – £2.00).

I’ve been amazed at how much the birds have liked the oats and raisin mix. I’ve had to replace it every 2 days because it’s all been gone. From experience I knew the blackbirds would love the raisins as my Grandad has one super cheeky blackbird who sits on his window ledge until Grandad throws him out a handful of raisins.

My mum told me that she managed to make a friend in a robin by putting seeds in her hand and not looking at it for a few weeks, but apparently it preferred cake and biscuits. So yeah, birds love raisins and cake…

Full to the brim bird feeder. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

Full to the brim bird feeder. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

After my massive Wilkinsons shop I decided to visit the garden centre where I live to see if I could find a cheaper version to the feed I’d already bought as it is a weeee bit expensive for a small bag when the birds are eating it at such a quick rate. I managed to find a 12 kg bag of bird food (mostly corn, sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts) for £3.99 which is a great deal! Because I didn’t want to miss out on the raisin and oat love I’d created with my bird friends already I bought a couple of bags of Tesco value oats and raisins to mix in. I also bought a suet block which the starlings and blue tits are LOVING!  Word of warning though, don’t touch it, it’s super goopy.

So here’s a couple of pictures of the two birds I’ve managed to catch so far…

Starling and Robin on the bird feeder. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

Starling and Robin on the bird feeder. Photos by Danielle Bussell.

So all-in-all my nature experiment is going well. I am super excited to see what other birds I get as the year goes on.

My next wildlife mission is to create some bug homes in my garden and to get more plants and flowers to attract bees and butterflies .

I hope you found this post informative in some way, even if all I taught you was that robin’s like cake. Do you have anything you could add to this from your experience? If so let me know in the comments :)

Until next time!

 

 

Smoothie Recipes: Red, Purple and Green Smoothie

the latest smoothie is a mixture of red, purple and green ingredients, hence the inventive name. this is so jam packed with goodness it’s hard to believe. so sip back and enjoy ;) punderful!

Ingredients

1 plum
Handful of blueberries
1 kiwi unpeeled (you can peel it if you like)
Handful of spinach
Handful of mixed summer berries (strawberry, raspberry, cranberry)
Half a handful of pineapple
Half an apple
Half a lime squeezed
Splash of water
Sprinkle of seeds and oats

Step One:  Take the stone out of the plum and slice it into small sections (roughly the size of a satsuma segment).

Step Two: Slice up the kiwi (either taking off the skin or leaving the skin on, depending on how you like it), apple and pineapple.

Step Three: Grab the blueberries, mixed summer berries, spinach, kiwi, apple, plum and pineapple and put them in the blender with the water (if they don’t all fit at once, blend some first and then add the rest once there is room). Squeeze the lime juice into the blender and give it another quick blitz.

Step Four: Decant the smoothie into a glass and sprinkle on the oats and seeds.

Top tip: For a top notch Instagram picture, add slices of kiwi, plum and lime. For extra pizzazz add flowers and sprinkle oats on the counter and remember as soon as you’ve done so that you have to clean it up.

This is such a yummy smoothie and it’s packed full of goodness. Want to make this a smoothie on the go? Before decanting it into a sports (or designated smoothie) bottle, pour in some oats and seeds and blend them into the smoothie. This will make it thicker and a bit… well bitty, but it’s delicious and will fill you up for a busy day.

Perfect Summer Smoothie

Perfect Summer Smoothie

The incredible waterfall Gullfoss. Photos by Danielle Bussell

There’s Change in the Air

I have So much to be happy for at the moment. My life has been a whirlwind, and here’s how…

As I mentioned in my previous post, things have been a bit hectic over the last few months. I have had a lot of amazing things happen, which makes me a very lucky lady.

Number One: I went to Iceland and got engaged!

In January my FIANCE and I went to Iceland for a trip of a lifetime. We’d both never been before and it was the most amazing holiday. If you haven’t ever been to Iceland, I couldn’t recommend it more. It’s so beautiful and the people there are so lovely. We went to the Blue Lagoon which was such a refreshing experience. For those who have never heard of it, it’s a silica based hot spring which does wonders for the skin as well as the soul.

Blue Lagoon. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Blue Lagoon. Photos by Danielle Bussell

While we were there we saw a brief display from the Northern Lights and went on a golden circle tour which took us to Geyser, Gullfoss and Thingvellir National Park (where he popped the question). It was all so beautiful, it was really snowing so everything was covered, magic!

Number Two: I moved.

We used to live in a city center flat, which was wonderful, but I am so pleased to now be living in a house only a short walk from vast fields. I’ve traded in my rather ridiculously large kitchen for a more normal size one, which is a shame. But what I lack in kitchen space I gain by getting a garden and my own sewing/craft room. I can’t wait for the summer so I can start plodding around my garden, growing vegetables and trying to attract some wildlife. I will also be taking my yoga outside for a happier and healthier experience.

My New Garden. Photos by Danielle Bussell

My New Garden. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Number Three: I started Volunteering.

In May of last year I began volunteering for St. John Ambulance. It’s been such an incredible journey so far. Everyone I work with is so friendly and it really feels like a family. I have a jam packed year with lots of great events ahead of me, so I can’t wait to continue learning and helping people.

St. John Ambulance. Photos by Danielle Bussell

St. John Ambulance. Photos by Danielle Bussell

Number Four: I Got the Music in Me.

My final piece of news is that I’ve begun leaning two instruments. I have always loved music and as a child I was given the chance to learn the flute and the drums, but unfortunately it didn’t go very far. I’m now taking lessons on the drums and keyboard which I’m loving. It’s going to take me a long time to get to playing anything even remotely good, but I really am loving pushing myself to do something I’ve always wanted to do.

 

So… there we have it, lots of new things happening in my life. It’s going to be a hectic year! I can’t wait to see what happens, it’s going to be super busy but hopefully really fun and rewarding at the same time.

 

I Went AWOL!

AS YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED FROM MY COMPLETE RADIO SILENCE, I DISAPPEARED… SORRY!

Life just got busy so fast I continually ran out of hours in the day, but I have so much to catch you up on!

Firstly I got a new laptop because my old one went all blue screen of death, so as a result I keep accidentally hitting up instead of shift and finding random bits of writing in random places, so if you notice that… my bad!

More excitingly I completed a half marathon! I can’t wait to share how it went with you :)

Finally… I moved! This is mostly exciting because I not only have a garden to practice my yoga in and for general exercise, but also I have space to grow my own vegetables…eep!! The only downside to the move is I still don’t have internet, so I’m using a dongle where I can, but posts will still be a little slow until the end of January.

With the new year fast approaching, I will make a resolution here, to you, that I will do better next year to keep you up to date with my progress and to experiment more with cooking, exercise and now vegetable/fruit growing for your general amusement (as we know from past experiments (yoga challenge) I don’t exactly excel straight away…

Happy New Year everyone! May it bring you happiness and success in all you do, here’s to a great 2017!  

Day Six: Dancer Pose

Up To Balance 12 Day Yoga Challenge

Yesterday I finished the 12 day #uptobalance challenge on Instagram and I loved it! Check out how I nailed all the poses and see how I found the journey :)

I love to search on Instagram for inspiration and stumbled across @ktbabieyogini and found she was hosting a 12 day balance challenge with @getfityogagirl, @joe_lizzzzzz_yoga and @elisheva_yoga.  All of their pages were so inspirational and so I decided to jump right in and give my first yoga challenge a try! It was sponsored by @aloyoga and their page is also so inspiring and their sportswear is stunning!

The Hosts & Sponsors

The Hosts & Sponsors

Each day a different host posted the pose we were to recreate, we then posted with #uptobalance, tagging the host’s and sponsors. Some days I found the poses achievable, others… not so much. But even though I found it really hard sometimes I loved testing myself and each different pose helped me, and will continue to help me, improve my practice and hopefully my balance.

So without further a-do sit back and marvel over my first attempt at a yoga challenge, and for the majority, my first attempt at these poses.

Day One: Flamingo Pose

Day One: Flamingo Pose

 

Day Two: Standing Hand to Big Toe

Day Two: Standing Hand to Big Toe

 

Day Three: Half/Crescent Moon

Day Three: Half/Crescent Moon

 

Day Four: Revolved Hand to Big Toe

Day Four: Revolved Hand to Big Toe

 

Day Five: One Legged Chair

Day Five: One Legged Chair

 

Day Six: Dancer Pose

Day Six: Dancer Pose

Day Seven: Eagle Pose

Day Seven: Eagle Pose

Day Eight: Unsupported Bond One Foot Intense Stretch Pose

Day Eight: Unsupported Bond One Foot Intense Stretch Pose

Day Nine: Warrior 3

Day Nine: Warrior 3

Day Ten: Hand to Foot Revolved Half Moon

Day Ten: Hand to Foot Revolved Half Moon

Day Eleven: Standing Splits

Day Eleven: Standing Splits

Day Twelve: Standing Compass Pose

Day Twelve: Standing Compass Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During this challenge I tried using an impromptu yoga strap (as you saw) and I really found it helped, so I ordered one straight away and can’t wait to see how it changes my ability. I’d definitely recommend one (and will try and write a review when I’ve had a practice)!

I think my favourite pose throughout this challenge was between day three: half/crescent moon and day six: dancer pose. I just loved them! I felt so strong and powerful doing them, but also so calm and centred. When I look back at the pictures it takes me back to how I felt while holding them and makes me want to start the challenge all over again.

All in all I thought this challenge was great. It has really pushed my abilities and helped me start a new phase of my practice that I hope to continue and improve over the years.

Make sure you checkout the hosts (and sponsors) pages for instructions on how to achieve these poses and to see how they’re really done!

A delicious way to start the day!

Smoothie Recipes: Bowl of Fruity Goodness

This smoothie bowl is simply filled with fruit! It’s a great way to get your 5 a day and make your breakfast more exciting!

Ingredients:

1 x banana
1 x pink lady
6 x strawberries
1/3 small punnet of blueberries
5 x blackberries
1 x kewi with skin
1/2 fill with water
1/3 bowl of granola (Hawaiian oat granola contains dried fruits)
Sprinkle of seeds and fresh fruit

A delicious way to start the day!

A delicious way to start the day!

This recipe is so simple which makes it great for those in a rush.  Throw the fruit in your blender and pour next to or ontop of your granola. Want a smoothie on the go? Sprinkle some granola on top of your smoothie or in the bottom of your cup, but don’t forget your spoon!

One small change I would suggest is the type of granola. I had granola with dried fruit inside and they felt quite sugary, so I’d suggest to go back to basics with baked oats and honey or try drying  the fruit yourself :)

If you feel like this smoothie needs some green, why not throw in some spinach or avocado? Want more to your smoothie? Add yogurt or almond milk for even more goodness.

The Pros:

Strawberries: a superfood packing lots of antioxidants while boosting your immune system.
Kewi: full of vitamin C and K its also a good source of copper.
Kewi Skin: the skin is packed with even more fibre and vitamin C so it’s really good for you and saves waste :)

The  Cons:

My friend on the blogosphere KamilaRose has written a great post about the benefits vs the darker sides of smoothies. It’s definitely worth a read and highlights some important facts about our favourite summertime healthy drink.

I hope you enjoy the latest in my smoothie recipes series :) if you have a favourite morning smoothie, why not add it in the comments for all to enjoy?

Until next time!

Thumbs up for a good run. Photo by Danielle Bussell

From 5km to 10km

I’m on my way to my half marathon goal, and although it’s not been easy, I’m loving it.

It’s now only 13 weeks away from The Great North Run, and I’m freaking out! I keep thinking, ‘why on earth did you sign up for a half marathon?’, but then I remember how proud I’ll be when I finish and what a great cause I’m running for. I’m also finding that I’m enjoying running more and more and that it’s becoming easier each time I go out.

I’ve been working on a few different things in my running and I’ve really found my stride and pace. There’s lots of different forums with advice for how to run a half marathon, I’ve had a look at different ones and have taken a few things on board which I think have really helped.

Thumbs up for a good run. Photo by Danielle Bussell

Thumbs up for a good run. Photo by Danielle Bussell

They talk a lot about interval training when you’re running long distance. This is because it helps build up your stamina making it easier for you to run long distance. I struggle with interval training as I tend to remember about it on the end of a run, and by that point I’m knackered, so intervals leave me basically hyperventilating.  When you run with them in mind however, they can be great. The basic principle for those who haven’t heard about interval training is to use landmarks like lamp posts and to sprint/run to one and run/jog to the other and repeat. Remember to stretch after these really well and take lots of water because if you aren’t used to sprinting it will really take the breath out of you.

Apparently Newcastle is hilly… I’ve been told this by a very reliable source, my dad! He ran this race for the first time 2 years ago and was told there weren’t hills and he’d be fine, but there were, and although he was fine, hills are not pleasant when you aren’t expecting them. With this in mind I’ve been training myself to run up hills. I have to admit I love running up hills, maybe I’m part mountain goat, who knows…? I feel such a sense of achievement when I get to the top and the view is amazing! I definitely recommend running up hills, albeit slowly. The buzz you get when you’ve reached the top is so worth the effort and it means when you’re running back you’re full of happiness and adrenaline to keep you going.

The final thing I’ve been practicing is to just keep swimming!… well… running. When I’m on a long run, it gets hard to keep motivated. I find myself trying to workout how much water I have left and should I start rationing now just in case, should I have taken that turning to end this run sooner… should I walk back??? and so on. When you’re running for a long time music only gets you so far, so for me I like a long run that I’ve never done before. That way everything is new and you stay motivated for longer. You also just need to tell yourself you can do it and you’re setting a great achievement. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you need to stop and it’s not worth injury when you know you should stop. When you feel that, you know you’ve done a great job and you need to take it easy the rest of the way. I found on my last 10km that my calf was really sore. I pushed my way through another few km and then I decided enough was enough, I decided to continue the run, but I stretched out every now and then. It meant my time wasn’t as good, but I managed to continue my run without injuring myself. So, you need to know when you’ve reached your limits, but also know when you could go just that bit further.

Remember to have a really good stretch to relieve your muscles. Photo by Danielle Bussell

Remember to have a really good stretch to relieve your muscles. Photo by Danielle Bussell

So after all that waffle, how am I actually doing?

I feel like I’m going strong, but equally feel really behind. I need to up my distance, because with 13 weeks to go and 2 of them in Spain, it’s going to be tough going to raise my miles. I know I can do it, it’s finding interesting routes and motivating myself to keep going. But I feel confident in myself and don’t want to let down any of the wonderful people who have sponsored me to help raise money for Stroke Association.

Charity goal wise I’m so close now! I aimed for £250 and I’m about £5 off so yay! I’ve decided I’m going to up my goal to £300 and see how I get on, but I’m so happy that I’ve done it and I’m so thankful to everyone for their help, with a special thanks to my work for eating lots of cakes, it’s been tough, but I’m grateful for your sacrifice :)

Jumping for joy at the top of Mousehold Heath. Photo by Danielle Bussell

Jumping for joy at the top of Mousehold Heath. Photo by Danielle Bussell

While training also remember, there’s always time for an action shot… just don’t spend 5 minutes trying to get it and just as you decide enough is enough, let the wind knock your phone off the ledge and smash your screen ¬¬ thank goodness for glass screen protectors!