Fitness overhaul- recharging batteries and some vitamin sea

  
After running a 10k, starting to survive circuit classes every week without almost falling over the next day and managing to do box squats, I hurt my hip. It was a pretty bad level of hurt too. It almost came out of its socket (as gross as that sounds it’s not that bad when you’re hypermobile like me) and I had to develop a new walk where I looked a bit like I was trying to be Snoop Dogg. Or Lion. Or whatever. 

I had to take two more weeks out of exercise after another previous injury (some sort of sharp leg pain every time I moved, good fun all round) so I became disillusioned again and started feeling like my bad health would win this battle.

My bad bad mood and defeatist attitude was made a little better by the osteopath I went to see for my sore lower back (a result of my new gangster walk to compensate for the hip business) who told me I looked muscular. She also told me my upper body was wonky but you can’t win them all. She told me to wait until I got back from my two week holiday before fully getting back on the wagon. A whole month out of running, classes and any form of progress after reaching my best level of fitness. Big thumbs down.

It made me dread the actual holiday because I was looking forward to feeling and looking better than ever while I pranced around beaches in bikinis, and the whole thing suddenly felt pointless (hello hormones and crying at dogs on TV). That’s a bad way to look at things, I’m aware that my bikini body isn’t the real reason for all this, but it still made me feel like I had wasted my time. 

I snapped out of that in time to go away, just about and remembered this was about the bigger picture and being well again. 

It turns out though that my constant low mood and iritability and general lack of good spirit was a lot down to being desperate for a break. Before this holiday I had reached the most tired I’ve been since I started full time work 4 years ago. I felt like every morning was climbing a mountain. I stated going to bed at 9:30 and still feeling awful the next morning. I also had some really sexy blue/purple bags hanging out under my eyes. 

I’ve definitely put weight on in the past month, I’ve definitely lost some fitness level and my toned stomach is looking less each day, but I feel a million times better. There’s nothing like beaches, sunshine, a serious vitamin D boost and some time out to watch the sea roll in at you. I haven’t been on a holiday like this in a long time but 10 days in and I’ve reflected on being a bad mood for about, erm, three months. Sorry boyfriend. 

The last seven months have been quite strange. Overhauling my entire fitness regime (which before was basically taking the stairs instead of the lift) has been more mental and a test of willpower than physical. I never realised the amount of willpower that would be required to keep up the routine- I just thought it would become habit and I would be fit enough to handle it without barely breaking a sweat after a few months. I was very wrong. My health isn’t ever going to give me an easy ride but set backs won’t win. I’m ready to get back to my routine, and probably weeping after my first circuit class in 5 weeks. 

Larnaca, Cyprus – The sunshine island

 If you want guaranteed sunshine and don’t mind baking in heat then Cyprus is as good a location as you’ll get in the summer. The risk of rain is practically nil, as is a cloudy day. I’ve been here five times during my adult life due to family ties so I know it pretty well and the climate is a dream.

The flight is longer than your average European holiday from the UK, taking about 4 and half hours from London, but it’s worth it. It’s known as the sunshine island, and that’s exactly what it is. 

  
My favourite things about it and reasons I’d give anyone to visit are: 

The glorious weather 

The cheese (it is after all the birth place of halloumi) 

The coffee, especially iced Cyprus coffee 

The crystal clear seas

The fact you can drive into mountains and beautiful hills within an hour from just about every town or city

The Greek fusion cuisine

The national parks 

The villages nestled into the hills and mountains

The really, really good beer- Leon especially 

The fact it stays hot until well into October or even November

  
  
  
If you’re looking to book a last minute break to bask in sunshine then I can’t recommend Cyprus enough. The food is good, it’s cheap generally once you’re here, the roads are good to drive and travel around and even though the evenings might grow cooler you can come here in winter and still have bright blue skies and warm days. 

Airlines such as Norweigan Air and Cyprus Airways will bring you here cheaply, and there’s also classic EasyJet. If you’re looking for beach resorts try hotels in Mackenzy Beach Larnaca, Fig Tree Bay or Protaras. Happy holiday hunting people. I’m off to soak up more Cypriot rays. 

One to buy- Loreal La Palette Nude

   
 
Loreal’s latest nude eyeshadow palette is about the prettiest I’ve seen in a long time. Nudes so often look the same that it seems almost pointless to buy more, but if you find yourself traveling any time soon this is well worth some of your spending money.  
 

It reminds me of Urban Decay shadow in the way it goes on quite heavily on the first application and doesn’t crumble onto your cheeks. There’s very little loose powder too which means you don’t waste half of the colour blowing it off or dusting it out of the bottom of make up bags. 

The dark grey and warm brown make the palette worth it on their own. For darker colours they don’t crease, they stay bright and they shimmer just the right amount without making it look like you’re trying to channel your inner Mariah Carey. 

This particular boxed palette is a travel exclusive but you can get the set in Boots for £14.99. Honestly the prettiest palette I’ve seen this year for nude hues and for the small price tag, definitely the best quality. It has brilliant staying power, a good, long brush and is really easy to blend for smokey eyes or a light barely-there look. 10/10 Loreal. 

  

I’d like to thank my passport for…

Over the past few years I’ve been lucky to be able to do a lot of traveling. As soon as I finished university I started getting itchy feet to go and see new things but a combination of bad health and falling quickly into a job kept me on solid ground for a while.

Once I was a bit further up the career ladder (in a proper job where I had my own email address and actual colleagues, shall we say), I started getting some good use out of my passport. I had a temporary job for quite a while at one point, and while I was always slightly scared it would end at any given time, the freedom it gave me was perfect. These days I play the ‘use your annual leave really carefully’ game to get the most of travel time, but I’m not complaining. I like my work/life balance just fine and I’ve had some really amazing experiences in places far and 

I bloody love my passport. 

I have really adventurous friends so I’m lucky to always have someone who wants to come along, be it for a weekend or a few weeks to explore somewhere new.

There have too many memorable travel moments to fit into a ramble like this, but I am truly thankful for my passport- and here’s a few reasons why:

Sri Lankan sunsets and mountain climbing with some of my favourite people while managing to completely escape Western life for a couple of weeks.

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The chance to visit family members who have carved out lives in places that look like this:

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A chance to regroup away from too many similar things after a really hard time, just two hours away by plane.

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Making me appreciate how much greater nature is than we ever could be.

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Making me more and more curious about people I’ve never met and things I’ve never seen.

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Allowing me to go to places that make me feel like I’ve always belonged.

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Sending a serious reality check to remind me that phones and technology and social media are so inferior to feeling properly happy.

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I can’t stop self-trolling 

  
The other day I was standing staring at myself after I had showered, listing the things that I don’t like seeing in the mirror. Stretch marks, my hips, bad posture, traces of cellulite- the usual. I wasn’t talking to myself, my boyfriend was in the room, but it was really aimed at my reflection, not a prompt for discussion.

I’m not aiming for some sort of airbrushed, kardashian-esque body that makes others feel utterly inadequate as they scroll through Instagram while munching on super noodles (not just me right?). I just constantly build up lists of stuff that I would like to correct. Some, such as my hip bones, that’ll never be any different no matter how many times I throw them some serious shade in front of the mirror. You can’t exercise off bone. 

I can’t remember what bit pushed my boyfriend to the point of temper-flaring, but when I said I felt like stretch marks were trolling me he half shouted that actually, I just troll myself and asked why I do it.

Good question. It REALLY annoys him. 

I do troll myself. I lay into myself so much about my skin, my hair, my bad make-up skills, any part of my body that wobbles and any time I don’t achieve exactly what I want in the ridiculous timeframes I set myself. 

This isn’t because of I’ve got a distorted idea of how I should look or how my life should be from spending too much time on social media. It’s not because I feel a need to keep up with my friends. It way outdates both social media and the friends I have now. It’s been this way for as long as my memory stretches back. It’s older than my stretch marks, that just FYI I swear appeared when I was 12 and whippet thin. 

I’m one of those people that’ll try something if I’m told it’s good for me. Drink kale? Yep. Take garlic capsules? Yep. Cut way down on meat to basically veggie level? Yep.

 I do things like that. I get caught up. If I could buy a body satisfaction pull and life relaxation pill I would be first in line at Holland and Barrat with my debit card ready to roll. I don’t want to be a ‘me troll’ and spend so much energy trying to change things, although l seem to be pretty consistent at it. It’s pretty much second nature now, even though I’m aware of it and know I should stop and cut myself some slack. 

It’s not as easy as being told you look good, you’re doing well or you’re fine just the way you are though. As nice as it is to here those things, the only thing that’s made me realise how bad I am to myself is pushing someone else to sheer exasperation over it. 

I’d like to stop one day, but it’s really not an easy thing to give up. 

Interior style crush 1- everything grey

I’ve never been much of a Pinterest person I have to admit. That’s always mostly been down to not really getting how it works or ever having anything big to plan. I’ve watched friends get completely swallowed by it while planning weddings or holidays or decorating, and now I’m edging closer to moving, I’ve finally fallen under the Pinterest spell.

I downloaded the app after deleting it ages ago in a ‘phone storage full’ emergency while I was on holiday and had sunset photos to busy myself with taking. I’ve never had to do any proper decorating but as the time to be a fully-fledged adult approaches, I find myself thinking about paint more and more. Thinking about paint makes me feel like I don’t really  recognise myself, but it’s also really exciting.

I remember my parents redecorating our bedrooms when I was in my teens and picking an explosion of colours and various, really bright photos frames, lamps, rugs and fairy lights from Ikea. Now though, instead of ALL the colours, I’m suddenly really into grey. REALLY, REALLY into. It’s unfortunate that my boyfriend thinks grey is ‘cold and unwelcoming’ because it means I’ll have to decorate the whole house in it while he’s out one day.

These are my biggest forms of grey inspiration that Pinterest has served up so far, and some of my favourite home boards, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Above are all from Barker and Store House- New Nautical board

Above are all from Red Online boards

Above are all from Interior Decorating board by Lawrence

Got any favourite interior pinners? You can find me pinning all of the grey and all of the world map murals here: pinterest.com/laurenrellis010/ 

The little things that make friendships

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Yesterday was apparently National Friendship Day. I realised this upon scrolling through Facebook and seeing several memes of cute animals snuggling together with captions like ‘Tag a friend who makes you this happy!’

I can’t say I did anything to commemorate Friendship Day. I’m sure I’m not alone in that. Though on Saturday, I saw a lot of my friends, and saw a couple of friends who I’ve not seen in a really long time, all gathered for a triple birthday celebration, made all the more sweet by the appearance of summer again. You know you’ve found a friend for life when you haven’t seen them for more than a day in almost two years, but within five minutes it feels like less than a week since you sat drinking and talking about work and life and the London housing crisis. I’m lucky to have good friends. I’m lucky to have friends who I don’t have the time or the geographical workings to see often, but who I still feel completely with ease even after a long absence.

I feel since grappling with my early twenties and then falling into my mid-twenties, that friends are more important than ever. Adulting is hard, no matter how smooth or seamless the process might seem in other people, I don’t believe anyone has a totally easy time of it. My friends have made the whole ‘growing up’ thing a lot easier and they’ve helped bathe the many disasters and mishaps in good humour. We laugh about everything and it’s helpful. It’s so helpful. I’m thankful for it beyond measure and what better day to celebrate them than, erm, the day after National Friendship Day.

Cheers to my friends for all of the below-really small things that still make me smile and probably always will

1) The friend who thought wolves were mythical.

2) The friend who thought sheep lived on a diet of grass and wild field mice.

3) The friend who wildly ran over London Bridge at 2am, then made their way home in a James Bond manner after many beers, because he thought the helicopter passing by was solely pursuing him on his way home to sleepy Southfields.

4) The friend who called Phil Collins ‘Phil and Collins’.

5) The friend who I ate a cheeseburger from a vending machine with, and who still reminds me about it every so often, even after several years.

6) The friend who took me on a wild night out in Bangkok and introduced me to Alabama Slammers.

7) The friend who once took over two hours to do a ten minute walk home from a pub because she stopped to save a baby hedgehog separated from its mum.

8) The friend who wore a cape and brought a wand to the cinema in third year of uni when we went to see Deathly Hallows Part 2.

9) The time I was on holiday with nine friends and we managed to lock ourselves outside on one balcony, and had to trade some peach schnapps with some Spanish teenagers to make them alert someone to our situation.

10) The friend who cried at a pharmacist in Spain after being stung by a jellyfish, and was so upset they thought she had been assaulted and referred her to the police.

5 times the internet has been good lately

I’ve been filling the time I usually spend running or at gym classes laying and browsing my phone for stuff to read this week- and drinking too much caffeine. I hurt my hip so I’ve been indoors a lot more than usual, and reading a lot more than usual. These are links some of my favourite reads.

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1) I’m really flexible and it’s not sexy

This is from Sarah’s blog, which is a regular read of mine and I particularly love this post as it talks about the struggle with having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome- which I have too. I’m also extremely flexible, but as Sarah explains really well, it’s not sexy!

2) I attended a Harry Potter cyber school

This is a slightly odd little read in some ways, but I like it because it goes to show just how much Harry Potter took the world by storm. It was a massive part of my childhood and is still part of my life now (I went to the plays last month) so I sort of wish I knew you could do this when I was kid. Also kudos to the 11 year old who built Hogwarts entirely online.

3) Why Paulette is the most important character in Legally Blonde

The anniversary of the film reminded me how much I love it so I’ve enjoyed seeing lots of stuff written about one of my childhood obsessions. ( I really wanted to go to Harvard after I watched this film. Funnily enough that didn’t work out.)

4) The Yorkshire Dales and The Lake District

Just in case you needed a little reminder of how beautiful England really is- The Guardian asked for people to send in photos and they’re bloody beautiful.

5) Three days in Budapest

This is from While I’m Young and Skinny- one of my favourite travel sites. All of the round ups and itineraries that Danielle puts together are brilliant. This is top of my city break list and if you’re heading to Budapest I recommend this.

Learning about money and not needing it for happiness

This year has been a year of saving. I’ve saved and saved and saved and saved some more. I’m sick of saving, but I need to carry on just a little bit longer. Partly so I have some money when I do move (the reason for the saving) to use for food and to do other quite important things- like a buy a fridge to eat said food from. Oh and a chair to sit on.

I’ve learnt what living on an incredibly tight budget is like, which can be no bad thing. I have gone from having a a lot of disposable income, to so little that I’ve had to make every penny count- literally. Even buying a coffee in a groggy state on a Monday morning has had to be accounted for, as has the kind of food I eat and the way I get to work.

When I first graduated and started looking for jobs I thought the only way I could make my life go in a good direction was money. This is probably because I didn’t have any at the time, and wanted a taste of not having to avoid cash machines and bank statements at all costs. When I did start earning enough to pay rent and still live comfortably, I just took having loads of disposable income for granted. I just spent it because it was there and had the privilege of not needing to worry about it much, if at all.

Taking this away and having to budget for everything has cut my social life, meant I haven’t been able to join in on events all the time and has meant waving goodbye to some hobbies for the time being as well as other stuff I didn’t even think about like my diet, healthcare (things like paying for extra physio if I really need it) and the strain it would have on relationships with friends. But I have realised that all the worth I put on money and my constant niggling ambition to keep earning more was and is never going to equate to happiness.

I was dreading this year. I was dreading moving home. I was dreading having so little money to spare, but I’ve actually felt really content from making the most of this situation. I’ve enjoyed finding ways of spending weekends for free. I’ve enjoyed being at home, I’ve enjoyed interacting more with family and I feel better about myself. I don’t feel like I don’t have enough, aren’t buying enough new clothes or aren’t keeping up with everyone around me because I can’t, so what can I do about it?  I don’t even miss that money anymore, because as spoilt as it might sound given I am in a very good situation and am incredibly lucky, I was so forlorn at the idea of giving up all the stuff money gave me. It seems ridiculous now, as I’m saving it  to get myself a home- how could I possible have felt so negative about it?

A ‘money detox’ (sorry, I hate myself too) has been a really good thing. I’m not suggesting you try it by hiding your money from yourself, but I’m happier for realising money doesn’t make the world go round.

I went out with my sister last week to get some stuff I had run out of/broken/had holes in and I spent not even half of what I saved to spend, which shows my attitude to spending has changed, as previously I’d have parted with the lot. I want to keep a bit of this attitude up from now on.

Also, look at the pretty cheap things you can buy if you try:

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Lightning toiletry bag (£4) & yellow shoulder bag (£5) are Primark
Mugs (£3.75 each) are from Nordic Style in-store sale
Scarf is from a charity shop
Shoes are from the Oasis sale

14 things to do, eat, drink and see in Brighton


Brighton is my boyfriend’s home town so I’ve spent a lot of time there over the past five years and it’s one of my favourite places.  It makes the seaside seem effortlessly cool and there’s endless amounts to do, not just a pier and pubs- though take a good amount of time for the glorious pub scene, you won’t find much else to rival it. Here’s some stuff you should find time for:

1) Visit the famous Lanes and look at all the pretty jewels in shop windows. There’s also loads of little independent shops, sweet shops, craft shops and plenty of pubs. It’s also an Instagram dream if you’re that way inclined.

2) Also go the The Lanes for dinner- particularly if it’s warm enough to sit outside.  I recommend the Giggling Squid for killer Thai food.

3) Eat the best vegetarian food imaginable at Terre A Terre. I’m not veggie but this place is a foodie dream, as are the churros.

4) Take artsy photos of the West Pier ruin.

5) Go to many, many pubs. Brighton has more pubs per square mile than anywhere in the country, so no excuse. My faves are The Mash Tun, Fishbowl and I once spent a good six hours loving life in The Evening Star.

6) Eat all manner of bad-for-you food on the pier. It’s kind of compulsory to go to the pier even just for five minutes. The doughnuts make it worth while.

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7) Get brunch at Kensingtons Balcony Cafe then go shopping in the streets around it. These little streets are lined with vintage shops, second hand clothes sales, stalls selling weird and wonderful jewellery and plenty of seriously good cake and coffee.There’s also a place called Snooper’s Paradise that you should check out just for the experience.

8) Walk around the gardens of the Royal Pavillion. Also prime picnic location if you snag a nice day. You can get a tour of the inside too if it’s not so much of a nice day.

9) Visit Beyond Retro and buy something much cooler than you really are.

10) Go street art spotting.

11) Eat fish and chips in OHSO and watch the sun go down.

12) Go to Choccywoccydoodah and look at chocolate sculptures and probably gain weight through your eyes.


13) Get tea, cake or breakfast at Blackbird Tea Rooms. I like it here because it’s decorated like a Victorian child’s bedroom and because the cake slices are like triple portions.

14) Head into Hove if you get the time, mostly to just admire all the beautiful houses really.