It has been a while since I’ve taken my Samsung NX500 camera out for a spin to take some pictures, so I decided to carry it with me this weekend. I decided to share a few photographs with you, and some thoughts on how important relaxation and downtime can be.

The first set of photos was taken in and around Hyde Park. Having grown up in the countryside for most of my life, I like to be with nature a lot. It really grounds me and helps me de-stress. Spending too long in central London, without visiting a park or the river, creates a sense of anxiety in me. To help relieve these feelings, I like to take long walks by myself to be with my thoughts and create a sense of calm within me.

We spend a large amount of our lives (especially as adults) behind desks, or on our feet, focused on work and supporting ourselves and our families. Often we lose sight of what is really important. I lost sight of my need for freedom and relaxation these last few months, which created feelings within my that I am not fond of. Whilst going to the gym helps me de-stress, taking a long walk helps me re-organise my thoughts, which is equally important.

I spent Saturday morning in Hyde Park to help me relax, be with nature, and get a breath of fresh air:

Weekend Walk Hyde ParkHyde Park Weekend PhotographyHyde Park Weekend WalkMy Weekend in Pictures

The shot below is not one that was taken in Hyde Park. I saw this wall a long time ago at the Sheraton Grand in Mayfair, and always wanted to take a picture of it. I love the idea of having different plants growing up and down the entire length of an outside wall:

Mayfair Weekend Walk

After my long walk on Saturday, I decided to spend Sunday in a slightly more relaxed setting; brunch and a small shopping spree with my best friend.

We had brunch at Le Pain Quotidien at Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush, where I decided to order a matcha latte (I recommend the one from Le Pain Quotidien – they don’t use syrup!), and The Butcher’s brunch. After our shopping spree, we decided to have coffee at Caffè Concerto as well. Spending the day with my friend was great. I feel like we can talk about anything and neither one of us will judge the other. Sometimes, having a friend to talk to is the best medicine for getting over anxiety.

Sunday Brunch at Le Pain Quotidien Sunday Coffee at Caffè Concerto

In between brunch and coffee, we spent some time shopping for trainers for my friend, and a new gym outfit for me (OK so the gym outfit was slightly unplanned – oops!):

Weekend Gym Outfit Purchase

When I got home, I saw these cute little flower pots outside, which must have been planted by one of my neighbours. I love the little splashes of colour, and seriously cannot wait for spring and summer to arrive!

Garden Pot filled with flowers

All-in-all, my weekend was pretty relaxing and I feel far more grounded and happy than I have for a little while. Sometimes a little time with our thoughts can do wonders to regain our sanity and create focus for what is important and what lies ahead.

As always, thank you for reading Coffee Guaranteed. x

In light of International Women’s Day this week, I thought it was only too fitting to write a little inspirational piece for all those women out there who feel less than confident about doing whatever they want to do. Today’s post is about what I would tell my 16-year-old self today, if I could, to help her understand that everything would turn out okay.

There was a time in my life, where I was told that I was not good enough to get into university. I was told I wouldn’t be successful once I was done with university. There were a number of other hurdles that I had to get past, but looking back now I can see just how much they have helped shape me into the person I am today. So in an attempt to share some advice on how to progress your career, I’ve thought of the five things I would tell my 16-year-old self, if I had the chance to speak to her today:

Crush the anxiety within you

We have all been through it. Wether it’s finding a new, more challenging job, starting a new project, aiming for a promotion, or even picking up a new sport; so many of us have had thoughts like: ‘can I really do this?’ and ‘what if I fail?’

But we all know the answer to these thoughts:

“Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” – Erin Hassan

Never stop yourself from trying something new, just because you are afraid to fail. Sometimes, failure is a natural bi-product of living life. You must simply get up, learn from your mistakes, and try again.

You are the only person who has to believe in you

There were a few times in my life when even those closest to me believed I couldn’t do something. It never stopped me from trying anyway.

You know what they say, anything is possible. But in order to make things possible, you have to believe that they are. Belief is key to reaching your goals, because if you yourself don’t believe that you can do something, then you’ve already lost.

Don’t let other people tell you what you can or cannot do

When I was told I wasn’t good enough to go to university I could have let those words stop me, but I didn’t. I fought hard to get to where I am today. Everyone has blips in self confidence, but no one person should ever crush your dreams and tell you that you are not good enough before you even had the chance to try and reach your goal. You yourself should be the only decision maker when it comes to your own happiness, and only you should decide when it is time to give up.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint

When we want something, we want it immediately. An example would be finding a job after university. The thing to remember, though, is that you shouldn’t rush into finding just any job. You should find the job that you really want and that you know you will enjoy. This job will help you reach your goals, because you will always want to learn more, and develop your skills and your knowledge within whatever field you choose.

You should never choose a job just because it pays more, or because your friends or family tell you to. Your career is something that you should choose for yourself, because you will have to live with it.

You are more capable than you think

This is possibly the most important thing. So many children and teenagers have a lack in self confidence; be it because of teaching, parenting, or bullying experienced in their youth. A lack in self confidence can severely limit an individual’s drive to strive for what they want, because they think they will fail, or because they feel like ‘one of many’ in the competition.

Finding something that you really enjoy, however, is so important to bring out your own self confidence and your capability. More often than not, you are more capable than you think, it simply depends on what you do to bring out that capability that helps develop you in the future.

One little bonus (which I’ve decided not to turn into a sixth point) is the picture below, which I also have hanging on my wall in my bedroom:

International Women's Day: Things I Would Tell My 16-Year-Old Self Today

Dream as if you’ll live for ever because that way, the sky is the limit for you!

I hope that some of the advice in today’s blog post finds you well, and that there are some takeaways for you to consider and work on in the future.

As always, thank you for reading Coffee Guaranteed. x

So it has been a while since I’ve posted something for you lovely readers, but I have been busy working on getting into shape, and sticking to my New Year’s resolution. As part of today’s post, it’s time to check in on my fitness progress, and tell you a little more about what I’ve been doing.

When I set my goals back in November, I ended up moving further away from them at first. The Christmas season was full of food and lacking exercise, so I decided to welcome the new year with a resolution (yes, just one resolution): creating a healthier lifestyle for myself.

My progress since November

The one thing that I need to say upfront is that I actually gained 5 extra kilos between November and the end of December, so my progress is actually greater than what you can see below. All-in-all I’ve lost 6.2Kgs since January 1st, and I’ve lost 1% body fat in the past two weeks, giving me the below statistics:

Boditrax Fitness Progress February 2017fitness progress key

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve really learned that weight is just a number, and that focusing on body fat mass and percentage is another key metric to getting the right body shape. Not only have I been losing the pounds, but I’ve also been losing the inches off the waistline, so seeing the all-round body result is a great motivator to keep going!

The milestone goals I’ve set

Part of my new years resolution is to set myself milestone goals. I think it’s really important to set smaller milestones to get to your ultimate goal, as these keep you motivated. Some of my goals look like this:

  1. Come down to 85Kgs by January 31st (tick).
  2. Come down to 80Kgs by March 31st (in progress).
  3. Begin a level 2 fitness qualification by June.
  4. Begin a Les Mills qualification once my level 2 qualification has been completed.

What I’ve been doing

I’ve been taking a few classes a week at the gym, and I absolutely love them! Doing exercises that you love is something that a lot of people advise, but I never knew how truly important that is to really sticking with consistent exercise.

My weekly schedule looks like this:

  • Monday: Rest Day
  • Tuesday: Barre
  • Wednesday: Body Combat
  • Thursday: Strength Vinyasa Yoga or Zumba
  • Friday: Barre and Restorative Yin Yoga
  • Saturday: Pilates
  • Sunday: Body Balance

You can see that there is only one real rest day in the above list, but as there is a lot of Yoga and Pilates in my workout schedule at the moment, it isn’t too strenuous. I tend to also take a second rest day when I really need it, as I think giving your body rest when it needs some is very important. As and when my fitness progress begins to plateau, I will start to shake up my schedule and fit in more cardio-based classes.

As always, thanks for reading Coffee Guaranteed. x

When I started my new job, I knew there would be regular business travel involved. Of course everybody knows: with regular travel, come regular snacking and large meals. So here’s my advice on staying healthy during business travel:

Choose your meals sensibly

Breakfast

Make use of the fruit and yoghurt station at the breakfast buffet, and don’t forget some boiled or poached eggs! Try not to opt for scrambled; these are often fried in excess fat or have milk added to them. With the yogurt, it’s best to opt for plain greek as it doesn’t contain huge amounts of sugar like fruit yogurts tend to.

Lunch

Often, people have a habit of skipping lunch because they’re in meetings or simply too busy to remember. Try not to fall into that trap yourself, and opt for something healthy. A nice big salad with some lean meat or eggs for protein will do the trick. Otherwise a well balanced meal with the right macronutrient split can also do the trick (more info on macronutrients can be found here and here).

Dinner

Often, my dinner will take place at an airport (particularly on days where I travel home late). Most airports have smaller cafes which offer sandwiches, but you’d be surprised at how many calories these can incur. If you’re on a calorie-controlled diet, opt for a restaurant which serves salads or lean meats like chicken (often these are situated before security, so try to get to the airport early when you can).

Itsu at Heathrow Airport (After Security)

If you’re out for dinner with a client or a colleague, that plate of creamy pasta might look fantastic, but will it fit into your macronutrients (or your calorie limit)? It is best to go for something simple, which doesn’t have a creamy, dairy heavy sauce.

Itsu Thai Chicken: Staying Healthy when Travelling

In-flight Snacks

BA offers dried fruit and nuts. Sounds healthy right? Wrong! You’re almost better off with a packet of crisps because the sugar amounts on the fruit and nuts are phenomenal! Your best option is, of course, to not indulge in those snacks in the first place, or to bring your own.

Don’t skip the exercise

I often find myself lacking ambition to work out when I’m away on business. I’m either too tired, or the room isn’t big enough, or I just want to relax.

The body coach, however, has a great YouTube channel full of exercise videos which can be done in the smallest of hotel rooms! They last around 20 minutes and are great for days where you don’t have much time but really need to get a workout in.

One last thing

Skip the booze. Those complimentary drinks on flights, and the wine at business dinners are not worth the hassle. If at the end of the day you really must indulge in one, a slim gin & tonic is your best bet.

As always, thank you for reading Coffee Guaranteed. x

We all know the drill of New Year’s resolutions; it’s the same every year. We say that on January 1st, we will start to do the thing, ‘the thing’ being a goal that will be achieved by year-end, or something that we will have accomplished during that year. Often, however, we give up halfway through, or even shortly after we’ve started working towards our goal. As a result of this, I thought that a post on how to stick with New Year’s resolutions would be the perfect way to help you get what you want.

Focus on one thing

We often like to think of five or more things that we could be doing to better. We create lists of what we need to accomplish, but because our lists are so long, we get demotivated. We stop wanting to work towards any of the goals we’ve set because we’re going after too much at the same time.

I often find myself trying to think of all the different things I want to accomplish in my life, like progressing my career, getting fit, making my blog a success, etc. But this year I thought better of it all. This year, I will focus on one thing alone; becoming healthy (stripping right back to the starting mission of this blog, and creating a healthier lifestyle for myself). As part of my resolution I bought some new workout gear of course. I wore one of my new tops during today’s Zumba session at home:

New Year's Day Fitness Outfit

Create a goal

Setting a New Year’s resolution alone is all well and good, however, you need to go a step further and create an end goal. You also need to set up milestones along the way, otherwise there’s not much point in setting a resolution to begin with, as you won’t want it enough to keep to it.

My end goal for this year, is to become fit enough to start and complete a Level 2 fitness instructor qualification. Am I looking for a career change? No. Am I looking for something that will keep me motivated and working for my resolution? Definitely. Unless you have an end goal, you will not want your resolution badly enough, and you will end up finding excuses not to do it.

Create a habit loop

I recently started reading ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg (available here). The book is all about habits, how they are created, and what we need to do to change them. The theories outlined in the book can be applied in business and in our personal lives.

We all have habits. Habits like brushing our teeth, driving a car, and even the way we answer a phone, are part of our daily lives. We don’t even think about these habits anymore; they’re automatic.

To stick with your resolution this year, try to create a habit, make your resolution automatic. Creating a habit is fairly simple in theory. You must create a routine, consisting of a trigger and a reward. For instance, if you go to the gym, you can have a treat such as a smoothie or some sushi later that day. It is a mini celebration that your brain will start to expect once you get into the habit of going to the gym. It is important to pick a sustainable reward, as this will need to be consistent every time that you ‘pull the trigger’. Habits can only be created through consistency, remember that.

Plan your week

Planning your week makes most sense if your resolution requires time input. It is important to ensure that you have set aside time each day (or week) to accomplish what you want to, to prevent you from giving up due to a lack of time management.

New Year's Resolution: Planning for the Year

I have bought a brand new diary to help me plan my week. In my diary I have set aside time for blogging, and time for gym classes. I have a separate planner for meals. I plan all of my meals for the week, and create a grocery list to do the shopping for the week. This will help keep me on track in terms of healthy eating, to avoid the temptation of those nasty takeaways and the stress eating that can sometimes occur.

Remember why you started

Remembering why you started is so important, especially during those times when you start to question why you decided to take up your resolution. Knowing why you want to do what you’re doing, and making sure it’s what you (and only you) want, is so important to help you keep going.

In my case, I am changing my lifestyle because I want to be the best version of me that I can be; healthy, fit, and happy.

Make sure you have chosen a resolution that works for you, and that will keep you working at it for the whole year. Good luck, and feel free to use the comments section to share your resolutions and any additional advice on keeping new year’s resolutions.

 

As always, thank you for reading Coffee Guaranteed. x