Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

Dry January… A Review!

It feels like an absolute lifetime ago that I posted about ‘Beating those January blues’ – doesn’t January feel like it goes on forever?! Another reason it may have dragged so much and the reason why I have created this blog post, are those dreaded two words… Dry January.

Dry January isn’t something I have ever successfully done before – over the past two years I’ve declared to friends and family that ‘this is the year I will complete Dry January’ and each time I have failed by Day 2. However, this year was different – I was absolutely determined that I was going to successfully go an entire month without a drop of alcohol, for several reasons. First of all – I wanted to prove that I could actually go a month without alcohol. This may sound slightly concerning, but I honestly think it has been about five years since I went a week without drinking, let alone an entire month – so if anything, I just wanted to prove I wasn’t reliant on it. Second of all – the classic ‘January Detox’. The amount of food I consumed over Christmas was enough to feed a small army, did nothing for my waistline, and I was left feeling slightly puffy, tired, de-energised and de-motivated when New Year rolled round the corner. So I decided that in order to get back onto the healthy eating bandwagon, nourishing my body and going to the gym regularly, the only thing to do was to stop drinking. Having never done it before, and having so many people sneer and say ‘oh it’s soooo easy’ or those people with haunted eyes telling me to NEVER do it, I thought I would document how my Dry January went week-by-week, what I found motivated me, made me crave a sneaky glass, and made me determined to stay strong, etc etc.

Week One

January 1st – 7th

Ok. So first of all, on the 1st January, we had the pleasure of picking up our gorgeous new puppy. Meet Gus:

Sorry, I couldn’t not post a picture of him considering I take about 20 a day, and he now has his own Instagram account (aka_gusthegreat for anyone interested in giving this sweetpea a follow!). This actually helped me through the first week. I was so consumed with worry over whether or not he was sleeping okay downstairs on his own, the fact I needed to be alert in case he cried in the night – the mere thought of drinking sent my mind into overdrive – what if something awful happened to him and I needed to take him to the vets and I’d been drinking so couldn’t?! This really did get me through that first week, so finding something that totally takes your mind of it really helps.

Week Two

Jan 8th – 11th

Gus is settling in nicely and whilst I’m still worried something might happen to him, I’m slightly calmer than I was last week. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was also to get back into a solid gym routine, as I knew that’s when I feel my best, I eat right and generally my mental and physical health is better. Marcus and I also agreed we needed to get Gus into a set routine so whatever we decided in terms of timings, we absolutely had to commit to. So I made the brave decision of a 5:40am wake up to get Gus up and outside for his morning bathroom ritual, then I would have time to head off to the gym and get an early morning workout in before going to work. I’m actually quite looking forward to this – hopefully it’ll help me lose the extra pounds gained over Christmas and make me feel more positive and better generally.

January 12th

Okay. Now I’m starting to struggle slightly. It’s Friday, and after a long week back at work I’ve seriously got that Friday feeling. Damn, I could kill for a nice glass of red wine right now by the fire whilst watching a movie. MUST. STRUGGLE. ON.

January 13th

It’s Saturday – I managed to pull through on Friday night so feeling slightly smug with myself. I’ve also lost 2.5 pounds this week, so I can already see the results. This is actually making me motivated to carry on. I can do this!!

January 14th

OK so it’s 4pm on Sunday and right now I’m wrapped up in a blanket in front of the fire, with my pooch and I am GAGGING for a glass of red. Plus, I’m feeling really bluey about going to work tomorrow – and to make it worse, it’s officially been declared as ‘Blue Monday’ tomorrow. Must focus on something else… HEY let’s write a new blog post about Beating those January blues. That will take my mind off it and motivate me to keep going!!

Week Three

January 15th-18th

Now that I’ve successfully established a solid gym routine during the week and I’m seeing positive results, this is really keeping me on track. I’m getting a better night’s sleep, I’m feeling much more alert, I’m actually looking forward to prepping my meals and being healthy – so this is going quite well!!

January 19th

Out for dinner with the family. Now this will be a real test – we are going to our favourite restaurant in our local town and every time we come here, the wine is flowing and all is very merry. We are the first there, so to avoid temptation when others order, Marcus and I both order a pint of Diet Coke each. Man, this is hard.

January 20th

Feeling rather smug again today. I managed to avoid the wine last night, so up and feeling fresh today. Let’s hit the gym!!

January 21st

We’ve gone to look around a wedding venue this morning. As soon as we walk in, we are offered a glass of champagne. I think this is the closest I have come to having a drink – I manage to resist, as I know I’ll regret it – at least if I’m going to do it, do it properly with a bottle of wine on the sofa at home!!! Now we’re having to make wedding decisions and feeling a tad stressed… man I could use a glass of wine right now!!! Must avoid – how do I deter? New Netflix series, that will get me through.

Week Four

January 22nd – 25th

I’ve established that during the week I am fine – I’m killing it, absolutely smashing it. Feeling like a new woman. Maybe I can become a motivational speaker about the benefits of not drinking?

January 26th

Oh God. Scrap that last post. Again, I’ve got that Friday feeling, plus it’s sunny outside… I’m dreaming of beer gardens and sweet fruity cider, I could so easily kick back with a G&T right now! Must avoid.. continue with the Netflix series.

January 27th 

So today is Gus’ first walk!!! This will be a great distraction. He’s now had all of his vaccinations, so we are taking him on a big walk on the common where we live – look how excited he is!!

We want to get him used to public places so we can take him out socialising – best place – obviously a pub!!! But at the same time… big mistake. There we are, faced with Sunday lunchtime drinkers, having a whale of a time downing their Pinot Grigio whilst tucking into their roast dinner. After what felt like two hours sat there avoiding eye contact with the gin bottle, we exit the pub and head home (in reality, what felt like 2 hours was only 30 minutes).

January 28th

OK so I’ve made it this far – the weekends are really difficult but this is the last weekend I have to endure that yearning for wine. To try to keep that motivation up, I message a friend who’s also been doing Dry January – she’s spurred me on as she’s doing the same thing, so feeling much better and ready to tackle the final few days!!!

Week Five – the final three days

I’m operating on a countdown clock now. It’s Wednesday 31st, I’m chilling on the sofa with Gus and watching informative documentaries (just kidding, it’s Geordie Shore obviously)… I’ve made it!

So… as you can see, there were a lot of trials and tribulations throughout Dry January – I’ve had several ups and downs, and my ‘struggle areas’ have mostly related to the weekend. I absolutely love kicking back on a Friday evening, in a jolly mood as the weekend is here with a glass of wine in hand, so this has been the biggest obstacle for me and my weakest point of the entire month. However, Dry January has taught me two things. A – I’m not reliant on alcohol (that’s a relief!) , and B – I have truly seen the benefits of Dry January. I’ve lost weight, established a weekly gym routine, got myself back on the healthy eating bandwagon and generally feeling more refreshed. Whilst it hasn’t turned me T-Total, it has made me realise that everything in moderation is okay and I feel like I’ve truly taken care of my body this month. It’s also spurred me on to setting myself some kind of challenge for every month throughout 2018… so what next?!

I’d love to hear your experiences of Dry January, what you struggled with and the coping mechanisms you used to help you through!

Beauty, Fashion, Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

Beating those January blues

2018 is finally upon us, and the gloomy shadow of January is here. New Years Resolutions have been made (some broken already!) and the glorious memories of yummy food and mulled wine are fading away, as we all trudge back to work, and the reality that Christmas is over sets in.

So as the taste of that glorious Christmas food becomes but a distant memory, and the January blues set in, it’s fair to say everyone is feeling a bit down.

So considering today is officially known as ‘Blue Monday’, I thought I’d write a post around how to beat those January blues, and make your January just as exciting as any other month!!

Dry January

For the first time EVER, I have committed myself to Dry January. I’ve tried to do this for the last 3-4 years, and every time, I have failed. However this year, I was absolutely determined to have an alcohol-free month, and having not gone longer than a week without some sort of alcoholic beverage over the last several years, this is quite a challenge for me (don’t judge, I love a glass of red, okay).

So even more so, during the first week of January I was feeling more bluey than normal. But I decided I wasn’t going to let this get me down, and in fact I was going to use this time to really take care of myself, my health and body, and also set myself up for the year ahead. So here are a few tips and ideas for making your January that little bit brighter.

A little pamper can’t hurt…

As the mornings are getting colder and the evenings are getting darker, and whatever was left in our bank accounts has dwindled away (because let’s face it, Christmas wipes us all out and it is a LONG way til payday) all I want to do is snuggle under a blanket and stay indoors. So what better than to create your own at-home spa?! I absolutely adore the spa and pampering myself, so this for me is a great idea to have some real ‘me time’ and indulge in some luxurious products.

So throw in some bath bombs and a purifying face mask, and I’m on my own indulgent journey to relaxation. I love taking the time to unwind in a nice hot bubble bath with my favourite book or relaxing music playing, whilst my Origins purifying face mask soaks in. My lovely fiancé also bought me these gorgeous and fragrant bath bombs for Christmas, so what better excuse to use them?!

Next on the pamper list – hands and nails! This may sound silly but since becoming engaged and spending endless hours staring at my ring, I’ve wanted to make sure my hands are looking their best at all times. So indulging in this glorious Champneys hand and nail spa, followed by a manicure using my new Ted Baker nail varnish (another Christmas quirk) will make sure they are looking their best. Finishing this off with a Clarins hand and nail cream, means they feel as great as they look!!!

Comfortable loungewear

As mentioned earlier, the gloomy darkness of January makes me want to snuggle under a blanket, so again to make me feel my best whilst doing this – some great and comfortable loungewear!!! I received these glorious cotton Victoria’s Secret pyjamas for Christmas, which are perfect for snuggling up in. Paired with my Emu Australia slippers, makes for the perfect evening snuggle on the sofa.

Try something new

Whether that’s a new fitness class at your local gym to sweat out those toxins, or trying out the new art class which has just opened in town, trying something new is always a great way to get something fun and social into the diary. Pair up with a friend, and this makes it even more enjoyable!!

Get organised

Now this, I absolutely love – I love having a big clear out and organising everything, as it makes me feel like I’m detoxing my surroundings as well as my body!!! So whether that’s listing all those unwanted clothes on eBay that you never got round to doing, or making the journey to your local recycling centre to get rid of all the junk and rubbish you’ve been hoarding, along with rifling through new cookbooks to get some meal plan inspiration – all of these are great ways to get you feeling refreshed and like you’re winning at life.

These are my top tips for beating those January blues – I’d love to hear how you motivate yourself during this dark and cold month, and any tips you may have!

Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

‘Let’s start on Monday’.. an excuse to give up, or are we setting unrealistic goals which cause us to fall off track?

We’ve all done it. A sneaky glass of wine mid-week, what I like to call ‘easy oven food’ which does nothing for the waistline, late nights binge-watching Netflix; however joyful these events might seem, over prolonged periods, aren’t necessarily good for our health. I, for one, fully own up to my guilty pleasure of chucking a pizza in the oven, pouring myself a glass of red and settling in for approximately three hours of the Walking Dead on a Tuesday night, with the full knowledge that the spin class I had so much hope for at 6:30am the next morning, was a hopeless feat. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m 100% fully supportive of taking time for myself and relaxing, and now and again you really do need that Netflix binge (after all, what’s more important than witnessing the glorious reunion of Darryl and Carol?) but for prolonged periods, this way of living is not sustainable, nor healthy for us mentally or physically. All good intentions go out of the window, that spin class is abandoned, and the tuna salad with a healthy amount of avocado and spinach is swapped for a burrito at lunchtime as you ease off the foggy head. So what are the biggest downfalls of these good intentions, which cause us to fall off the wagon?

I don’t know about you, but the mantra I seem to live by when planning a healthy kick-start is ‘Let’s start on Monday’. Now I totally get it – Monday is the first day of the week, so it seems like the perfect day to start anything – just like New Year’s Day when we kick-start our resolutions, the 1st December when we open the first door of our advent calendar and the countdown truly begins (unless you’re me, and start straight after Halloween). We’ve all had a relaxing weekend, managed to catch up on stolen sleep and caught up with friends and family, had a chance to do the food shop and prep for the week ahead. All of a sudden, that spin class, which in reality we know makes us want to vom 30 seconds in, seems completely achievable. So it’s safe to say – weekends are pretty great. So however much we try to avoid that daunting feeling as the dark cloud of Monday looms over us, when the 5:30am alarm goes off on Monday morning, the last thing I feel is excitement for the day ahead. The last thing I want to do is chow down on that tuna and avocado salad ,with the fresh memories of Saturday night’s takeaway. So are we setting ourselves up for a fall, by starting on a Monday; or are the goals we are setting ourselves just simply unrealistic?

first amende

In my opinion, we all put far too much pressure on the goals we set ourselves, and sometimes these goals are just simply unrealistic. Now it’s totally normal to have a weak moment, and make a beeline for that KitKat you’ve been thinking about all morning. But for most of us, we seem to see this as failing altogether, thinking ‘what’s the point in carrying on?’ and by Wednesday, all has failed and we go full circle back to ‘let’s start again on Monday’. We use this as an excuse to put off our goals for the rest of week, as the reality is – sometimes, they are simply unachievable.

And how do I know this? Because I am the perfect example of someone who has lived by this mantra, and I have come to the realisation recently that sometimes you need to change up your routine, review and reset your goals. I’ve been through quite a big lifestyle change this year –my boyfriend and I have bought a house, we have both changed jobs quite recently, so our routine was completely overhauled as we adjusted to a new way of living. I used to live five minutes away from work, with the gym next door, so it was completely easy and convenient for me to roll out of bed at 6:45, whizz up a green smoothie , pick up my gym bag and make the five minute car journey in, knowing I’d get an hour workout, be able to get ready for work and then make the 30 second stroll into the office. That would set me up for the day, wake me up and get me feeling motivated. Now I live around 30 minutes away from my place of work, my gym is in my hometown, so this routine just simply doesn’t work for me here. If I wanted to follow the same sort of pattern, I would need to wake up at 5:30am, get to the gym for 6, fit in my hour workout, head home, get ready for work and then make the 30 minute car journey in – not an impossible stretch by any means, but much more of a struggle and not as easy as it previously was – especially on these cold winter mornings!!

So when I do wake up on a Monday morning with good intentions, and look outside and see my windscreen needs de-icing, I have two choices – make the dreaded journey outside and begin scraping, or roll back into bed and get an extra hour and a half of sleep. I think you all know what my preferred option is! This change in lifestyle for me has meant I need to review my goals, set new routines which suit my new lifestyle, and this makes it easier for me to accomplish my goals. In reality, I know that on a cold and frosty morning, I’m never going to be leaving the sanctuary of my bed. So it makes sense for me to hit the gym after work when I’m already up and out the door, and have no excuses to make. It’s all about setting a routine that for you is realistic – yes I would prefer to go to the gym in the mornings, however for me right now, especially in these winter months, I know the most realistic routine for me to stick to is to go straight after work.

second image

This doesn’t only apply when it comes to the gym – it also follows the same pattern for food prep. I know that at the weekend, I can make the time to cook up a big stir fry dish or something similar, and freeze it for my lunches for the week ahead. This leaves me with minimal effort during the week, and enables me to easily stick to my clean eating plan. I also know that at the weekend, I enjoy spending a couple of hours in the kitchen, rustling up delicious meals from scratch, however there is no point in me attempting to do this on a Tuesday evening, as it simply isn’t going to happen – I’m going to get in from the gym and want to make something that takes me no more than 30 minutes. So utilising cookbooks such as Madeleine Shaw’s ‘Ready Steady Glow’, which promotes quick, easy and healthy weeknight meals, is far more realistic and likely for me to stick to.


So when you are setting your goals for the week ahead, or even in the medium-long term, make sure they are realistic – everyone’s goals are different, and everyone’s motivations are different. Whether that’s a new food plan, a new workout regime, or simply taking some time for ourselves. Make sure it is sustainable, a routine that you enjoy following, so we don’t have to keep ‘starting again’ on Monday.


My next challenge…

So now I’ve finished my diploma, I’ve found myself searching for the next challenge to take on. I felt like I wanted to do something that challenged me mentally, physically and emotionally, but something I also got enjoyment out of, and a sense of personal achievement. So last Wednesday afternoon, I signed up to do a half marathon in my local town.

Fitness and wellbeing is something I’ve always been interested in and passionate about, so this seemed like the perfect challenge for me. I began taking up running last year; this started as a result of the classic ‘I’m going on holiday in 6 weeks and need a beach body’ ritual we all know so well! However, once I started, it became something much more to me than that. It actually became my escape from the anxieties of everyday life, allowed me to be alone with my thoughts, reflecting on my day, my relationships, and the general day to day trivialities that pop into my head. I won’t lie, it is a struggle when the alarm clock goes off at 5:35am, and my body is aching with tiredness. But as soon as I step outside into the crisp morning air, all my worries are left at home and all I need to think about is mapping my route, and beating my previous pace and time. I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful village in the Cotswolds, where if you are out and about before 7am, there are some wonderful sights to see – the light fog, still lingering over the fields, or the wild rabbits and the occasional fox still doing their morning route. One of the best moments however, is crossing the paths of other runners. We all do the same thing – run past each other, with a ‘knowing’ smile, a silent ‘well done for getting up and doing this’ as we could all so easily turn over when the alarm goes off and snooze it for an extra hour.

So this is what has led me to the decision to take part in the half marathon. Running is something that I truly enjoy, and get a lot of motivation and satisfaction out of. I’ve completed week one of my training so far – it’s been tough, and it will only get tougher, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I have set myself the goal of completing it in under 2 hours. Ambitious I know, but it wouldn’t be a challenge otherwise!

Chloe x

Fitness, Lifestyle

The Road to Healthy and Happy

So after my “epiphany” (if you can call it that!) in Wynn’s coffee shop, over the past week I’ve been making small changes to try to improve my happiness and my lifestyle.

I’ve always seen myself as a very positive person, and I always like to see the best in people and take the best out of a situation. However, recently I have found myself feeling down, and exuding negative vibes. So getting back to my positive and happy self is definitely top of my list.

One big area of my life is health and fitness. Since I was young, I’ve always been body-conscious. I certainly believe the media plays a large role in the distortions of body image we receive on a daily basis, and nowadays social media sites such as Instagram is a big influence on today’s health and fitness society.

I used to have a negative relationship with the media in terms of body image, however I have found in recent years, sites such as Instagram and Pinterest promote health and fitness in a positive light; giving some great tips in terms of meal ideas, workouts you can do at home if you don’t have time to get to the gym and even an inspirational quote now and again can simply lift your mood!!

Another area of social media that is a great motivator are health and fitness blogs. One in particular that I have been following for the past two years is Madeleine Shaw’s blog. Again she is a blogger who promotes health and fitness, however what I like about her blog is that she promotes happiness within yourself whilst doing it. So many people associate the word ‘diet’ with being unhappy and under eating. I used to have this view of ‘dieting’, however Madeleine Shaw inspired me to have a good relationship with food, and see it as a lifestyle change for the long term rather than a short term fix.

Over the past 7 days, I’ve been back to clean eating and my morning gym routine; it’s amazing how a minor change in one small area of my life has managed to alter my mindset in such a small space of time. I’ve found myself waking up feeling much more positive, awake and fresh. I leave my worries and negativity in the gym and both of these areas have made a noticeable difference in my stress levels, my body and my positivity.