Fitness, Fashion and Wellbeing

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

Since being stuck inside while we're on lockdown it got me reflecting on how out of shape I'm getting, not just eating all my Easter chocolate but simply not doing the work my body would usually be subjected to, which I completely do without thinking. I've not always been a health and fitness fan, sports and exercise are really not something that come naturally to me and I really do have to work hard to maintain a steady weight. I think because I've been much bigger and worked hard to get that weight off, that never truly leaves you though, mentally I am still overweight and therefore fitness and wellbeing are something which really mentally boost me and get me thinking more positively about my body image (having hated it for so many years).

216. Achieve my ideal weight (10 stone)

Okay, so I haven't been exactly 10 stone for about a year. I've spent the past year hovering somewhere between 10 stone 7 and 11 stone, however when you look how far I've come since my largest (14 stone on the left, New Years Eve 2009 and my usual weight now about 11 stone on the right, New Years Eve 2019) I'm really proud of myself. I started eating appropriate portions (weighing my carbohydrates) and really working on exercising regularly and it's turned my life around.

217. Have a gym membership and use it regularly.

Here I am on my cycle at the gym, listening to my tunes, secretly enjoying my workout. Obviously I've not been able to go for several weeks with lockdown but before that I've kept up a year of going down to the gym Tuesday and Wednesday after work, Fridays where possible and Sunday mornings. Having my gym buddy (Mum) makes such a huge difference to my motivation and enjoyment although it's a small local gym attached to a campsite so very few fitness-fanatics use it, which makes me feel exponentially more comfortable.

218. Hold a plank for 90 seconds. I can currently do 60... I'm working on my core and my arms for my next martial arts grading!

219. Try a pilates class. I liked pilates and went weekly back when I first got my gym membership in 2017 as I had Friday mornings to attend the class running there as I had graduated from my PGCE and hadn't started my full time job at the School yet.

220. Go to a yoga class. I went to my Mum's yoga class back in 2006 when I was taking my GCSEs and stressed beyond belief. She took me along to take my mind off of my exams and to help me relax. I remember enjoying it so it's something I may actually look back into doing again if I can find a suitable local evening class.

221. Try a Zumba class.

I loved Zumba and we went to Charlotte's class for years (from 2011-2017) until she was no longer able to run our Tuesday night session at a time we could make with work, I was gutted and still miss it as it was fun, achievable exercise and Charlotte was an outstanding instructor.

222. Do a club-a-cise class.

This was another of Charlotte's classes which used to run on a Monday before I took up martial arts! This photo was taken at a special silent club-a-cise class, which we loved!

223. Try an aqua aerobics class.

The aqua aerobics sessions we participate in run as part of our gym. Annie, one of the trainers there is amazing, kind-hearted, supportive and not afraid to shout encouragement at us. She has us working our water socks off but smiling at the end of each session.

224. Try a Boot Camp class.

225. Try a spin class.

226. Try a HIIT class.

227. Try a pole fitness class.

228. Go for an early morning walk.

229. Walk 10,000 steps in one day.

I thought this one would be more difficult than it was. As a teacher who follows up her working day at the gym I regularly hit 12,000-13,000 steps in a day. I'm really pleased though, I managed this one in lockdown going for a lovely peaceful and isolated walk with Ben on the 6th year anniversary of our first date!

230. Walk 20 miles in one day.

231. Climb a mountain (Snowdon or Inverness)

232. Participate in and finish a 5K race

This one goes with number 225 as the first 5K race I completed happened to be the Race for Life back in 2015.

233. Participate in and finish a 10K race

234. Run the Race For Life.

This was a truly remarkable day for me because running is something I particularly struggle with (I'm more of a natural walker or swimmer when it comes to endurance). I didn't sprint run and I didn't quite run the whole way around but I did jog at least 3K of my 5K route intermittently walking as I caught my breath. It was a truly special day as I participated with my Mum, sister and two friends Becca and Vicky. I was really proud to run for Grandma, who died of ovarian cancer and for my Auntie Denise who is still battling and has been for the past few years.

235. Participate in a colour run.

I really enjoyed the colour run and what was remarkable is we completed it as a school! We all ran, the students and the staff for MIND, a mental health charity (bonus: we all loved becoming rainbow coloured).

236. Participate in a muddy run.

237. Run in fancy dress for charity.

238. Learn self-defence.

Self defence is something we learn as part of our mixed martial arts. Here is Ben and I as mere yellow belts during a grading demonstrating defence against a lunge punch, I'm in ready position. The video is us during lockdown still going, although now I've done defence against a lunge punch, defence against a turn kick, getting out of a strangle hold, getting out of a bear hug, a series of moves called "Four Swords" , and our self defence drills 1-4. Just for fun our instructor, Tim, also taught us some basic defence against a knife.

239. Achieve a black belt in Mixed Martial Arts. I'm currently on red stripe (my grading for red belt was cancelled due to lockdown). I still have red belt and deputy black to get through before I reach 1st Dan in black belt.

240. Spend a day in a spa.

This is something I've been fortunate enough to do on a number of occasions with various friends and family members. Ben and I enjoy it so much that it's become somewhat of a tradition to put some money aside for Christmas and get a black Friday spa deal at our local spa going between Christmas and New Year to spend a peaceful day to ourselves in a time where we have just survived our busiest term at School and we're still busy fitting in family.

241. Spend a weekend away at a spa resort.

We did this a couple of years running to celebrate the anniversary of our first date. An extended stay really does add an extra element to the relaxation and gave us lots of valuable time together. We loved both trips to two different local spa retreats (and enjoyed massages, facials and scrubs at both).

242. Have a full body massage. As part of our various spa days we have had the pleasure of having a number of treatments although these are relaxing and often I don't have a camera at the ready (nor is it appropriate to take one). A full body massage is arguably my favourite treatment, if there's the opportunity to have one I leap at it as they're so relaxing, despite being costly. It's just wonderful to come out feeling light as a feather and truly rested, something I truly crave as a teacher.

243. Have a foot massage. This is something I had as part of a pedicure and was probably my least favourite treatment (I'm exceptionally ticklish). I found it made my feet really ache afterwards as well, I didn't quite realise how much tension they were under! I liked having my toes painted though.

244. Have a hot stones massage. As part of my 30th birthday weekend away from my Mum and Dad they paid for me to have a hot stone massage as it's simply something I hadn't tried before. The beautician explained it's not for everyone but if I liked hot baths I should enjoy it (I love coming out of baths like a lobster). I really enjoyed it, to the extent I nearly fell asleep at the end.

245. Have a facial. I really like a facial although I always feel a bit guilty when the beautician asks me what my usual skincare routine is (suddenly soap and water doesn't quite seem to cut it - no wonder I still have acne). It always makes my face a bit sore for a short burst from being scrubbed and treated but my skin absolutely glows and is silky smooth for days.

246. Have a manicure.

This is something I got into the habit of doing each month as a treat with Mum and Emma. We found a lovely local lady who does an amazing job, is friendly and kind and an amazing listener and it's good just to have a few hours with Em and Mum to just really sit and talk. I got out the habit this year as I really started to cut back to save for our wedding, although I did have to treat myself to my nails done for my 30th birthday and we've already agreed to have one after lockdown is lifted to celebrate.

247. Have a mud bath.

248. Relax in an aqua float treatment. I liked aqua float. You get into a bath like tank with dim lights and soft music. My mind drifted to imagining I was floating on a calm ocean gazing at a star-studded sky. It was beautiful and the time seemed to just melt away...

249. Relax in a natural hot spring.

250. Get my legs waxed.

251. Get a henna tattoo.

As a teacher I can be a bit limited as I'm a professional role model with a fairly strict dress code (hence I haven't succumbed to a crazy hair colour yet). Henna is fairly temporary though and fades, also the opportunity came up since my friend Vicky was getting into creating henna designs so I let her practice on me one New Years Eve, I was stressed out with some friendship issues that evening so having her doodle on me while I watched was really soothing.

252. Go a week without makeup.

I've done this a few times, I gave up makeup for a month for a lent challenge in one of my final years at secondary school but since I was stuck inside for lockdown anyway I thought I may as well document it. This was 4th April - 11th April 2020.

253. Drink only water for 1 week.

254. Dye my hair a crazy colour.

255. Have a matching bra and pants set. I draw the line at photographing my bra and pants to display on a blog. You'll have to take my word for it.

256. Wear false eyelashes.

I like false eyelashes. Not to the extent I'd wear them every day, I have quite naturally long eyelashes anyway, but occasionally it's fun to go a bit more extreme with my make up. We were having a bit of fun at my friend Becca's house, having a mini photoshoot, playing around with some makeup and funky false eyelashes we'd spotted earlier in the day.

257. Buy an entire outfit from a charity shop.

258. Own a diamond piece of jewellery

Only a recent thing, largely because I'm a liability (super clumsy) and I've never wanted to risk owning anything too expensive. My beautiful engagement ring has diamonds along the band surrounding my birthstone, the pretty aquamarine right in the centre.

259. Own a designer dress/handbag/pair of shoes

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