Category Archives: Health/Fitness/Sport

An Interview with The Goodness Project

Is there such a thing as a healthy office snack? In the office I worked at as a teenager, the tea lady came round with our morning coffee & afternoon tea with a range of calorie laden cakes, biscuits, crisps & sandwich … with a few pieces of fruit that had seen better days! My guest on the blog today is Anna Szanto, co founder & MD of The Goodness Project, the ultra convenient healthy office snack & fruit delivery service.  I caught up with Anna recently to find out more…. Hi Anna!

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Hello, my name is Anna Szanto and I am the Co-founder & Director of The Goodness Project. The Goodness Project offers monthly Healthy, Gluten Free and Vegan subscription boxes, gift hampers for individuals and healthy snack & fruit boxes for offices. To sum up our mission in one sentence, our aim is to help people to make the right decision towards a more conscious eating and lifestyle and to connect health-conscious brands with their customers.

The Goodness Project is a simple yet brilliant concept. What inspired the conception of The Goodness Project?

I have always been very passionate about healthy eating and in late 2013 me and my business partner have decided to launch the first healthy subscription box service in the UK, that focuses on organic and natural products. This proved to be very popular within the wellness scene and in time our customers started to ask for one-off gift boxes that they could gift, so shortly after, we have launched a range of vegan and gluten-free gift hampers. Using our expertise, this year we have also started tapping into the corporate market and we are determined to change unhealthy snacking habits of employees by supplying healthier snack alternatives and fresh fruit boxes to offices across the UK. We also have big plans: In the next three years we would like The Goodness Project to become the UK’s biggest food gift service in the free from segment and see our gift boxes and hampers stocked by mayor retailers.

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From assorted nut mixes to protein bars & healthy alternatives to crisps; as well as catering for all dietary requirements – vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free – What snacks are proving most popular amongst your customers?

Our customers are very health conscious, so they love everything that is not only tasty, but also good for them. However raw vegan chocolate and popcorn are proving most popular amongst our customers – they can’t seem to get enough!

I’m partial to the granola & protein type bars. What are your favourite snacks?

Great choice Linda, granola & protein bars are great to curb the 3 pm carvings and also really popular at the moment. I personally love nuts and absolutely adore anything with peanut butter. A few apple slices with nut butter – you can’t beat this healthy snack!

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What do you look for when sourcing products for your service? What is the most unusual “snack” you’ve come across?

Our whole team is always on the lookout for the latest snacks. We have very good relationships with our wholesalers and we constantly search the internet, social media for new products. We also get many companies approaching us with their products, so we always have the newest snacks in stock. Over the years we have developed a unique set of guidelines for our curation process to ensure only authentic products are featured in our boxes and hampers. Each product must fall into one or more of these categories: organic, vegan, gluten-free, fair-trade, environmentally-friendly, chemicals-free, cruelty-free, people and planet positive.

Most unusual snack we have come across? It has to be flavoured crickets. Edible insects such as crickets and mealworms have become popular in the last year or so and are now available in some health food shops. Although it is an environmentally-friendly alternative to meat, as a veggie/vegan business, we won’t be stocking them I am afraid.

How does a company order snacks etc – are there set contracts or plans? Is it possible for individuals to order or is it mainly offices/corporations purchasing, in effect, wholesale?

Our healthy subscription boxes and gift hampers are available for everyone to order on our website. For offices/corporate clients we offer a bespoke service, whereby they let us know their requirements and we tailor a package to suit their needs. There are no contracts or set plans – companies can easily order one-off snack or fruit boxes for events or set up a regular delivery with us; we offer a transparent and flexible service. What I think is also important to mention is that we have a constantly revolving snack selection, so our clients won’t get bored when it comes to our deliveries.

As you are based in the UK, are there plans afoot to expand overseas?

We are London based and we ship our subscription boxes and hampers worldwide.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I have a functional, minimalist wardrobe. Most of the days you’ll probably find me skinny jeans, white or black T-shirt and multicoloured trainers (my ‘signature style’ at the moment) as I move around a lot in the office and give a hand when our deliveries go in our out. If I have a meeting or presentation to attend I like to keep it smart casual, so I’d probably be wearing a combination of heels and jeans.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I absolutely love Cos, I always find something in their store! I adore their modern minimalistic approach. They offer edginess and clean lines for an everyone-can-join price and I find their garments comfortable and the fabrics long-lasting.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

As mentioned, I am obsessed with funky trainers, so it will probably be a new pair.

Boots or Shoes? ( & Why?)

Shoes every time! If you see me wearing boots it means it is very grim outside.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about The Goodness Project.

https://thegoodnessproject.co.uk/

https://thegoodnessproject.co.uk/shop 

https://www.instagram.com/thegoodnessprj/

https://www.facebook.com/thegoodnessprj

https://twitter.com/TheGoodnessPrj

Great to chat with you Anna and I wish you continued company success!  So, dear readers, do you favour a nutty healthy snack like me? When it comes to 3pm, just what do you crave to eat? Please tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from The Goodness Project.

 

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Hidden Mind

I came across an interesting book recently talking about the connection between the sub conscious and the mind/body, known as “bio energy”. It was called Hidden Mind: A Journey of Reconnection by Tom Griffin and Dr Nuala Bent.  Bio-energy therapy treatment is used in the special needs area of health, such as dyslexia, ADHD, ADD and Autistic Spectrum Disorder; and in some cases, for depression and anxiety too.  Tom Griffin developed the Hidden Mind/Bio- Energy and Corrective Sound Programme  – which is included in its entirety in the book; and Dr Nuala Bent is a Senior Research Fellow (Rehab Medicine) at the University of Leeds, a Plexus Bio Energy Therapist, Registered Reflexologist & Reiki Master.  I was lucky enough to catch up with Dr Nuala Bent to find out more ….and we talked about clothes too…. Hi Nuala!

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Hello. My name is Nuala and my passion is to inform people about the body’s natural ability to heal itself given the right circumstances and environment. I am originally from Ireland but have lived in Lancashire, UK for the past thirty years. My background was in Academia where most of my work was research based.

Congratulations on publishing your book, “Hidden Mind: A Journey of Reconnection” – a powerful collaboration between yourself and Tom Griffin – a book that invites readers to re-ignite their mind/body connection and thrive. What inspired you to put pen to paper?

I have always been a people person and realised a long time ago that we are not islands in our ability to communicate with one another. While maintaining our uniqueness we all have an integral part to play which impacts on the whole of humanity. Working on long term research projects gave me an insight into people’s lives which went way beyond the masks we all tend to wear in the public arena. I became aware of the possibility of a connection between health state, lifestyle and the outer and immediate personal environments. I also became aware of the importance of personal responsibility in a world which seemed to be dominated by pockets of control. This of course is down to conditioning and the set-up of the institutions which we encounter in our daily living. I realised that there was a need to remind people that they have an innate knowledge which needs to be accessed which is a powerhouse of information as to what the body needs to maintain optimal health. The meaning of the word ’education’ is ‘to lead out’. This implies that knowledge is already present to be accessed.

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The book includes the entire programme, as well as its foundation, of the Hidden Mind/Bio-Energy and Corrective Sound Programme as developed by Tom Griffin. As a qualified Bio-Energy therapist yourself, in what circumstances would you recommend bio-energy therapy?

Bio-energy is a rebalancing of the body’s own energy system by removing blockages which contribute to illness. It can be used in all circumstances, from the very young to the very old. It is about looking beyond the symptoms to try and establish the cause of the problems. Within our clinics, the primary aim of the therapist is to rebalance the energy system which in turn will unlock the natural healing process within the patient’s body. Only when the energy has been balanced can the body begin the process of returning to full health. Treatment is carried out over four consecutive days for approximately an hour a day. On the fourth day of treatment the therapist will go through an educational programme explaining any changes that need to be made regarding visualisation, diet, exercise, rest etc. This is an essential part of the programme and together with the balancing of the energy the correct environment is being created which will allow the body return to better health. The aim is to engage clients in a process that gives them an element of control over their own health. These treatments are the first steps on the journey to better health and patients must be willing to give the therapy time to work

What attracted you to start studying and practising complementary and natural healthcare?

A natural curiosity as to how I might help people to cope with life’s traumas and where possible to help people to look beyond life’s knocks and realise their own potential. I was also influenced by the many eminent people I met who had stood out against the established opinion and practically sacrificed career opportunities in order to tell the truth. I refer in particular to the late Professor Jan deVries whose commitment to the people in his care was awe inspiring. However, the final steps towards bio- energy training came as a result of ill health and surgery for a brain tumour after which I was much depleted of my usual zest for life and a friend suggested I go to Ireland for bio-energy treatment. I had not heard of it previously but after treatment over four consecutive days I was so impressed with how I felt that I began to enquire and read up more about all aspects of energy medicine. However, I did return on two other occasions for bio-energy over a period of several months after which I decided to train in the Plexus system. It was during this time that I met Tom Griffin, Co-founder of the Plexus system with Michael O’Doherty and current founder of the HiddenMind and Corrective sound and Bio-energy training Programme.Tom’s work inspired me towards the many discussions related to my passion to raise awareness for a new model of medicine which resulted in Tom giving me the opportunity to begin by writing our book so that the message would get out to the wider world.

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Although you live in the UK, is your book available to purchase overseas?

The book is available in Ireland through Tom’s website and people in the UK can contact myself. It is available on Amazon (kindle edition only) and it has also been recently translated into German because of the interest from Tom’s clinics in Germany.It is currently being translated into Polish. Tom runs clinics in Ireland, Canada, Germany, Poland, and recently in South Africa.

Are you looking at writing other books in the future? What topics would you like to cover?

I did a lot of research for our current book and therefore realised what a fount of knowledge I have gathered for this work. I have a big interest in the symptoms of heavy metal toxicity in the body which is an area of medicine which is virtually unknown and is seldom looked at as the possible basis of unexplained symptoms. There is also the complication that blood tests will only show toxicity if it is present and happening on the day of the test, but it remains in the tissues and takes a long time to remove. I also have a huge interest in ‘bodymind’ medicine and the new science of Epigenetics.

What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

In contrast to my work and my associated reading I like to have a novel on the go. I don’t like to travel without a book in my luggage. In particular authors who seem to have an insight into human relationships. I have a few favourites. Not surprisingly they include the late Maeve Binchy, Santa Montifiore, Kathy Kelly, Lesley Pearse, Barbara Kingsolver and others of a similar ilk.

You have worked many years as Panel Manager of a longitudinal study researching into cognitive ageing at the University of Manchester; and later as Senior Research Fellow (Rehab Medicine) at the University of Leeds. You are also a Plexus Bio Energy Therapist, Registered Reflexologist and Reiki Master. Growing up though, did you inspire to go into the medical/research field or did you have other ambitions?

Growing up I had many ambitions all of which presented themselves in accordance with what was the dominant theme of the time. However I was very lucky to find myself in a small boarding school in Southern Ireland with the Killeshandra Sisters who were an order of nuns who worked abroad on many of the world’s mission fields. I got to know many of these amazing woman who worked in situations which demanded courage and commitment to help people less fortunate. The friendships built up over the years in ‘CastleShanahan’ as the school was called were very important to me and gave me a confidence which supported me throughout my life’s journey. I still have contact with some of them to this day. I realised early on in my academic learning that I was drawn to research which probably fitted in with my curiosity about people and the life situations which impinged on them.

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Your passion is to raise awareness of the need for an integrated model of healthcare. What specific areas of healthcare do you feel is most in need of this integrated model? What hurdles are you coming across to prevent that happening?

Mostly related to the status quo opinion that health is an area that needs to be managed by a body of Professionals and that the ‘ordinary’ person has no control over how health manifests for them. A person needs to be central to the working out of the best possible way to deal with illness/disease. People need to be reminded or informed that there is a capacity for healing within each of us that needs input from ourselves as well as from our Physicians. The body knows, and often tells us but is just as often ignored in favour of lifestyle choices. If we are present to the needs of our bodies, this remind the cells to switch on the mechanism of healing. Good health is not about alternative medicine, rather it is about complementary medicine which can work alongside the medical physicians to bring about the homeostasis required to maintain a state of wellness. The dominant model of medicine does not take into account social factors or individual differences and so also excludes prevention of disease as a role in healthcare. In fact it has been described in the literature as a relationship of compliance based on prescribing.

When you’re not working, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

I love to travel. I also enjoy sharing a meal with friends and eating out from time to time. I also have a large network of friends whom I keep in contact with. My friends are important to me and many of them live in Ireland. I have a friend Anne from my school days who also lives in Bolton with whom I meet up to discuss old and new interests. I enjoy being with like-minded people.I also travel to Ireland several times a year to catch up with my family. I have a son and daughter and three grandchildren who live in Southern Ireland. I did my Bio training in Ireland and I enjoy networking with my colleagues. I hope to help Tom with teaching ‘HiddenMind Bio’ in the UK later this year.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I have a love of clothes but they need to suit how I like to look. I like outfits to flow rather than the eye having to stop and start – I suppose I would describe it as all seen in one photo rather than needing to fit many photos together to get the picture, if you know what I mean. If I am wearing a skirt or trousers the top / tunic needs to be longer than waist level.I also am a jacket person but again, I don’t like short jackets on myself. And I like to include a gilet as part of an outfit (everyday wear).I like to have a mixture of shoes which include a basic flat pair for colder weather, casualtrainer type pairs, dressy heels and sandals to wear with more dressy outfits.My main problem is trying to make a decision not to bring more than two pairs with me when travelling.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I prefer to shop in person and I like to look around several shops until an item ‘speaks’ to me.

Boots or Shoes?

I am a shoe person. I only wear boots when the weather dictates as I feel confined in boots and I always tend to notice nice shoes on people.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your book.

I have a website ‘Nualatherapies.com’ and Tom’s website is ‘www.hiddenmind.ie’.
I am also listed on the Plexushealthcare.ie website (Bio-energy) as a Therapist.

Thanks so much for coming onto the blog today, Nuala.  It is such an interesting therapy and I hope my readers found it of interest too.  I must pick on your shoe thought though – it amused me to find that when travelling you find it hard to limit yourself to packing less than two pairs of shoes.  I have the same problem … BUT do you find after packing say 3 pairs of footwear, that you ended up just wearing only the one pair for the fortnight after all? Or is it just me?  Dear readers, what are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Dr Nuala Bent. 

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An Interview With Motus3 Personal Training

Personal training with a twist – personal trainer & fitness expert Paul Yates and his company, Motus 3, are licensed to conduct personal training sessions in London’s picturesque Royal Parks – not only that, Paul can act as chauffeur and collect you from your front door in his own black taxi to the park! I caught up with the former Chelsea professional footballer apprentice recently  to find out all about his personal training style…. Welcome to the blog, Paul ….

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Hi! My name is Paul Yates and I’m the founder of Motus3 Personal Training. I’ve been involved in the fitness industry for over 15 years and launched the Motus3 concept in 2010.

Where did you get the inspiration from to start Motus3?

The genesis for Motus3 was born while managing a popular gym in Covent Garden. Apart from the hardcore regulars I knew that most people overestimate how often they’ll go the gym by about 70%. It was apparent to me that by offering to bring the gym to a clients home or uniquely pick them up in a black taxi to train at one of London’s Royal Parks, I could provide a service that overcame the biggest hurdle to successful fitness: namely going to the gym and doing the training on a consistent basis that is necessary to achieve results. By combining a complete mobile personal training service with a style of training that keeps people both motivated and engaged with the process, I knew I could greatly enhance the chances of a client reaching their health and fitness goals.

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Motus3 is a personal training brand – how does Motus3 provide a real alternative to traditional personal trainers and mundane workouts in the gym?

The Motus3 philosophy is all about the discovering of movement. A client can expect everything from swinging kettlebells, punching boxing pads,parachute sprints, going to war with battle ropes to animal inspired movement patterns and flows but where Motus3 differs to most training methods is that we don’t adopt a one sized fits all approach. We are not concerned with what works for any of our other clients but only what is going to give the person in front of us the greatest chance of transformation and success. Although we’re obviously serious about getting real results we never loose sight of the fact that the process should be fun as well.

So what do you enjoy most about being a personal trainer and fitness expert? Have you a favourite exercise?

I really enjoy connecting with people and showing that you can achieve real results while having fun at the same time. It’s so gratifying to work with people that may have become disillusioned and frustrated with previous attempts at getting fit and see them embrace and enjoy the process of discovering movement again. If I had to choose a favourite exercise it would have to be the kettlebell swing. It’s a great conditioning exercise and is the perfect antidote to the amount of sitting we do in the modern world.

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What exercises or aspects of your personal training programme seem to be the most popular with your clients?

There must be something “primal” about boxing because everyone loves hitting the pads. It really gives you a lot of “bang for your buck” in terms of fitness benefits and apart from being a lot of fun It has great cathartic value as well – plus my clients know I’m not going to hit them back!

What exercise(s) seem to yield most results? What seems to be the least popular – or gets the most groans when you suggest it? (I hate push ups personally!)

I’m a big fan of High Intensity Interval Training which means short bursts of intense effort followed by brief rest periods and repeated a number of times. It’s a great training method for blasting away at stubborn body fat and any fitness tool and series of exercises can be used to achieve this. In general people groan about push ups and squats the most but I’ve become very good at distracting clients from realising they’re actually doing them.

Being a former apprentice professional footballer of Chelsea FC, you must have come across many famous names. Which famous lady or gent would you love to do a spot of personal training with?

Wow…that’s a tough question but I think a double training session with Adele and Jamie Oliver would be a lot of fun. I enjoy training real people and although they are both massive celebrities I admire the fact that they’ve remained authentic and stayed true to themselves in spite of their fame. After our training session I could drive them out to Jamie’s cottage in my taxi where he would prepare a healthy post exercise meal and Adele could literally sing for her dinner.

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Have you had any funny moments that you can tell us about whilst conducting a personal training session?

I once had a Russian lady come up to me while I was training a client in Kensington Gardens and ask me if I could train her 3 year old daughter. She was deadly serious but I was literally looking for a camera to see if this was some kind of Candid Camera practical joke. I’ve also lost count of the times someone has stopped my client and I after training and said “let me get this straight, he picks you up in the taxi, trains you in the park and then drops you off home?”- it always make me chuckle when I see the look on their face as they process the information.

Motus3 is currently based in the London area. Have you any expansion plans?

I’ve had a number of discussions in regards to training other PT’s in the Motus3 style but without sounding conceited my training is very personalised and my clients want me. A lot of the people I train in London are American and Brazilian so I’m in the process of developing an online platform so I can better serve them when they are travelling.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I live in fitness clothing so I enjoy putting on a pair of Harrys of London shoes with Paul Smith or Diesel jeans and a smart blazer at the weekends.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I enjoy visiting the Bicester Village shopping outlet a couple of times of year to bag myself some bargains.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A trip to South Audley Street to visit Harrys of London is imminent as I’ve got my eye on another pair of the Mr Jones 2 sneaker/shoe – they look great with either jeans or trousers.

Boots or Shoes?

I prefer shoes as they’re more versatile. I did purchase some boots recently but they make me feel like an oversized golf club.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about Motus3

www.motus3.co.uk

https://twitter.com/Motus3Pt

Wow Paul – I don’t know what is more appealing – exercising in the open air in the beautiful London parks OR being chauffeur driven after a session!  I’m not sure how you can make push ups more appealing but I’ll take your word for it but I must say the kettleball swing sounds fun!  Dear readers, have you any favourite exercises or any exercises that you loathe? Do share your views, I’d love to know…

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission from Paul Yates.

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An Interview With Infruition Water

Water! If my sons complain of  headaches or feeling tired or nauseous, my answer has always been “Drink Water!”  Luckily for me, they enjoy a glass of water and 9 times out of 10, it does cure their ailments.  However, I must hold up my hands and say that I find plain water just … well …. plain boring!  My guest this week, Carmen Hubble of Infruition Water, is on a mission to convert me! Hi Carmen ….

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Hello I’m Carmen and I’m the Brand Development Manager for Infruition fruit infusing water bottles.

Infruition Water is a simple yet brilliant concept – water bottles with an inner capsule that you pack with your choice of fresh fruit & herbs. What inspired the conception of Infruition Water?

Infruition’s message is simple; we want to help people drink more water, naturally. We launched the brand with this idea in mind and immediately knew that fun and creativity was at the heart of Infruition. Everyone knows they should drink more water and Infruition makes it easy.

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There are currently three styles of water bottles – sports, classic and kids. All made of 100% BPA free plastic apart from the classic,which is made of glass. Which style is proving most popular among your customers?

The Infruition Sport is the most popular as many of our customers like to use their bottles on-the-go or at the gym! We have only recently launched Infruition Kids but are already seeing alot of pick up amongst the little ones and hope that this continues, as it is so important to get kids drinking and enjoying water.

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A normal water bottle you can just fill up – so, can you explain how you can prepare your infruition water? Any handy hints?

It really is as easy as 1-2-3: choose your combo, load the chamber, top up and go! For a stronger flavour, slice fruits or leave the bottle in the fridge to chill overnight.

There are so many fruit & herb combinations to try from strawberry & basil to the more exotic pineapple with cucumber & mint. My favourite combination is lime & mint. Have you got a favourite? What was the oddest combination you’ve come across?

Lime and Mint is actually our most popular combination; if we have events we always make sure we have this on offer. The oddest combination we have come across is famously featured in our recipe booklets:  Avocado and Kale.

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Infruition Water is a great way to get the message across about the importance of drinking water – from the new children’s bottles with their cute designs to the sports bottle that fits snuggly into bicycle holders. Just how important is it to keep hydrated?

Our brains are composed of 85% water, and studies have shown that even mild dehydration can have a significant impact on mood, energy levels and mental performance. Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that mild dehydration in study participants led to alterations in mood, headaches, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. These findings, published in The Journal of Nutrition, were found to be more pronounced in women than in men (ladies take note!); and occurred both at rest and during exercise. Check out an infographic by nutritionist Naomi Mead on the importance of drinking water: http://www.infruition.co.uk/happy-hydration-10

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As your company is based in the UK, are overseas customers able to purchase your water bottles?

Yes – we ship worldwide. If you are having issues finding your city, town or country on our website,  just drop our customer services team a line and they can help you.

Are you planning to expand your bottle styles/range in the future?

Absolutely; we have jugs, drinks dispensers and frui-tea bottles coming up!

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Infruition Water.

www.infruition.co.uk
https://twitter.com/InfruitionWater
https://www.facebook.com/infruition/

OK …. You’ve convinced me Carmen!  I may pass on the avocado & kale combo, though! So, dear readers, what water combo would tickle your fancy? What are your water thoughts?  Do tell!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission from Infruition Water.

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An Interview With Xinx

Keeping fit at the gym, whether circuit training or doing your Zumba class, requires the right outfits – they need to be practical and tailored to provide maximum comfort – and, if you like to be stylish in your day to day wear, then why compromise on gym clothes either?  Nick Jelley, a personal trainer with an interest in designer fashion, wanted to create fitness wear that was practical yet stylish – so, in 2013, he founded Xinx, the stylish sports wear brand.  I caught up with Nick recently to find out more…. Hi Nick…

Hi! My name is Nick Jelley and I am the managing director of XINX, a fitness clothing brand which I started in 2013 alongside my gym. My background is as a Personal Trainer and I have always been involved and enjoyed keeping active, particularly in the gym these days.

What was the inspiration behind XINX?

My inspiration to launch a fitness clothing brand came from various influences. In my opinion,  fitness clothing can tend to be uninspiring in design and also doesn’t provide the most comfortable fitting products. I wanted to rectify this – to create fitness clothing that featured fashionable designs whilst meeting the technical requirements for exercise and athletic physiques.

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As you are a personal trainer and have a passion for designer fashion too, launching XINX seems to be the best of combining both of your interests. Growing up, was your career aspirations sport or fashion orientated or neither? When did you start to cultivate an interest in fashion?

Growing up my aspirations were more centred around fitness management which is what I studied at university. I made use of this through opening my gym which is more of a strength & conditioning facility compared to a typical health & fitness club. However, my entrepreneurial instinct is that I am always looking at new opportunities and decided that a fashion brand would work well alongside management commitments of the gym. Whilst I have very little fashion industry experience, I understand business and have a fitness background so am determined to establish XINX as a worldwide designer fitness fashion label.

What do you look for when deciding what to add to your brand – popular styles, old favourites, customer suggestions, your own tastes or bits of all those?

Initially I researched a selection of established brands to identify what products they were releasing to create a mood board of what I liked. Then working with a design and manufacturing team focused on matching the technical fabric quality alongside creating the best measurements to suit the products. Following the initial range, we considered customer suggestion alongside best selling products to progress into new designs where we again consider fashion trends to create mood boards for new collections.

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From your current collection, the Flash capris & vest caught my eye. What has been your most popular design to date? Have you got a personal favourite?

Funnily enough, the Flash range has been our most popular item to date closely followed by the men’s prime vests. My favourite men’s items are the Prime and Stripe vests, while my favourite women’s is the snake shorts which I knew we had to create as soon as I saw the fabric. There is no design there, it is just the textured fabric which is so soft! It is difficult for people to realise the garment quality through the website, due to not being able to feel the product, however the first comment people mention when trying items from the range on, is about the comfort.

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If you were able to visit anywhere in the world, to inspire a collection, where would you go?

We visited South France last year taking in design ideas from the shops in Cannes and St Tropez, which gave us some inspiration. I think Italian designers are great and also feel the Far East seems to offer futuristic designs, but I also draw inspiration every time I am in London. It is difficult to choose one destination because you can take a photo whenever you see a design and due to the internet you can browse so many websites for items to draw from for new designs.

Which famous lady and gent (dead or alive) would you love to see as the “faces” of XINX?

That is a very difficult question! I have considered this before and would ideally want someone similar to myself who has a genuine interest in fitness whilst also being interested in fashion. From the gent’s point of view, I think Jonny Wilkinson would top my list as a top English sportsman and rugby player (rugby is my favourite sport), however I feel Hugh Jackman would also be good because even though he isn’t as strong as me, I know he is into his training also….

Are you hoping to expand XINX in 2016 by adding other lines, such as trainers etc?

We are in the process of adding additional accessory items as well as bringing in certain selected brands as partners.

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As you are based in the UK, are you able to offer your online service & delivery to overseas clients?

Yes, all our designs are available for worldwide delivery via our website www.xinx.co.uk. We already receive orders from Europe, the US and Australia and we hope this will continue to grow as we progress as a label.

When not personal training, what sports or activities do you enjoy pursuing?

Nowadays, I mostly participate in gym based training, taking part in strength based competitions as well as the occasional cardiovascular event, whether it be running or cycling or charity event. I have occasionally raced in triathlons and the London Marathon and cycled the UK this summer. I also enjoy rugby although purely as a spectator these days and I like to go on snowboarding annually. Admittedly, I do like a challenge and would really like to complete a charity expedition to the North & South Poles which would be an incredible experience.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

When I’m not wearing XINX, my wardrobe would have to be classed as Smart Casual although I am a fan of 3 piece suits when the occasion calls for it and my tailor regularly gets an email of a new item whether it be a suit, chinos or a shirt.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I am a fan of Selfridges which I tend to visit in London quite often. From a brand point of view I like Ted Baker however the fit doesn’t always match my physique and I recently discovered Orlebar Brown which I am into at the moment.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I will be looking to add some clothes to increase my winter wardrobe and I will be contacting my tailor soon most likely for some more shirts when I have highlighted any items that I like. For shoes, a pair of suede derbys and loafers are on the list as well as a new pair of espadrilles in time for the next holiday.

Boots or Shoes? 

Definitely shoes. I only tend to wear boots when it is snowy or icy for better grip, otherwise I prefer shoes which offer greater versatility with so many style options.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about XINX

To see our collection please visit www.xinx.co.uk where we also release our blogs. Also our social media addresses are:
Facebook: XINX
Twitter: @XINXuk
Instagram: XINX

Thank you very much Nick for chatting to us – I’m sure that 2016 will be a great year for you.  So, dear readers, do you like to be stylish when you workout?  Are you Zumba fanatics or bendy yoga experts?  I like Pilates, and I would love to master yoga some day! Do tell, what do you do to keep fit?

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from XINX.

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An Interview With Author Suresh Purushothaman

I’m brimming over with positivity this week – I’ve come across a lovely motivational book that contains short yet uplifting phrases that the author hopes would inspire readers to live a happier and more meaningful life.  I caught up with the author, Suresh Purushothaman, recently to discover what motivates and inspires him….

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Hello everyone, my name is Suresh Purushothaman, author of the new book, “Being In Oneness”. I live in London with my wife and son. I was born in Pondicherry, which was previously a French colony in South India.

Congratulations on publishing your book, “Being In Oneness” – a motivational book containing uplifting short phrases to inspire readers to live a happier and more meaningful life. Where did you get inspiration from to write this little book of positive affirmations &
quotes?

I always venture deep into the consciousness to get my inspiration. I can also say why I wrote this book. I wrote to share my deep thoughts on life and happiness with everyone. I want to keep it short and simple, so people can read quickly and ponder over the thoughts to find their own meaning of life and true happiness. I decided to write and finish my little book when I was facing a possible medical scare. I know that things like that can happen to anyone anytime, so I can also say my medical scare pushed me to complete this book.

Your book focuses on themes such as success, achievement, life, happiness, fear, etc. The book, however, has no chapters – so you can just dip in; and is not meant to be a formula for life; simply signposts you can use in your journey of life. Being born and brought up in
Pondicherry, India and having lived the last 16 years in London; which short phrases or inspirational thoughts helped you when you relocated to London, which must have been daunting for you?

London is a great place to live, but I have had to start from scratch. I lost financially before I started a new life in London. So I can say this thought is my famous one: “ Never wish to have anything in your past back, even if you lost a fortune. The beautiful connections of life will reveal numerous opportunities as you step into the future: Be guided by your oneness, your soul. And help it to open up new beginnings”.

“Love and life are so interlinked that one cannot live without the other. Start loving yourself and others; and life will start loving you” – that is just one of my favourite phrases that I read from your book. Have you got a favourite saying/phrase?

I also like the phrase you chose because it sums up everything for you about life and love. If you are asking my favourite phrase, it’s
“Live a life of happiness within you first; it will then radiate to cover the universe.”

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Your powerful words are enhanced on Kindle versions by beautiful photography which helps to assist the reader to reflect on their thoughts – which is a glorious bonus. The pocket sized book can be carried easily & provide an opportunity to dip into it on a regular basis.
Although you are based in London, is your book available to purchase overseas?

Yes, I decided to have pictures in the Kindle version, so readers can take time out to think on the thoughts and see how they can apply in their everyday life. You can buy my book on Amazon – it should cover the world.

If you had to write a book in a different genre from “Being In Oneness”, what genre would you pick?

I would have picked  “Leadership skills through the application of oneness”.

Are you looking at writing other books in the future? What topics would you like to cover?

The next book I am planning is the application of oneness in leadership, which can create great leaders who can inspire and motivate others for a bigger and better cause naturally as opposed to the coercive nature of modern management skills.

What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

I like books on happiness, life and leadership. My favourite authors are Dale Carnegie and Dalai Lama.

If you could visit any place in the world to give you some book inspiration, which place would you love to venture to & why?

I would like to visit places where people are happy in the midst of poverty and war and want to see what makes them happy and content.

When you’re not writing, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

I love watching news and debates. I love going with my wife for weekly shopping and doing a little house work for my wife.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Normally you can find me in tee shirts, cotton trousers and sneakers.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I normally shop on Amazon. I like their price, delivery and customer service.
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What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I am planning to buy a pair of shoes.

Boots or Shoes?

I always prefer shoes; they are more fitting to my style.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your book.

www.beinginoneness.com
https://www.facebook.com/beinginoneness
https://twitter.com/beinginoneness

http://www.amazon.com/BeingInOneness/dp/0993313701

Thank you so much for speaking to us Suresh and sharing with us your positive and inspiring thoughts.   So, dear readers, what makes you happy? Have you any tips or phrases to share? Do tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Suresh Purushothaman.

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An Interview With Spa Sweethearts W.I.

Happy New Year!  At the start of every New Year most people make resolutions – lose weight, stop smoking, join the gym, etc.  The resolutions made, often reflect our need to enhance our lifestyle by becoming slimmer, healthier and ultimately happier. Your resolutions can also include stimulating your mental wellbeing by starting a new hobby or joining a group…such as the Women’s Institute.  The W.I. are celebrating their 100 year birthday in 2015 and despite its “Jam and Jerusalem” image, young ladies whose average age is nearer 30 than 75 are joining groups and having a ball. I’m chatting to a lovely young bunch of ladies from the Spa Sweethearts W.I. this week about why they joined and is it all about Jam and Jerusalem…. Welcome Becky…image

Hi! My name is Becky Warburton, I’m 26 and I’m the president of Spa Sweethearts Women’s Institute in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. In my day job, I’m the Student Activities Manager at the University of York Students’ Union, which basically means I organise extra curricular activities for students while they study.

The Women’s Institute is celebrating its centenary this year. What was your initial incentive to become a member?

I’d just come back from uni in Newcastle and a lot of my old school friends had moved out of Harrogate. I wanted to do something that would help me get to know some new people, so my mum and I went along to a meeting. Within a few months, we’d both joined the committee, and I’ve been president since February 2014.

I imagine a lot of people perceive the WI as being all “Jam & Jerusalem” with an average age of 75 and with the saucy antics of the Calendar Girls. I am sure that there are groups like that in the UK but not everywhere is that the case. Being a group of women in their thirties who are very active members how do people react when you say you’re a member? How did you join – was it via word of mouth, out of interest,etc?

Yes, whenever I say I’m in the WI, people look a bit confused, then they either ask me if I can make jam or they make some reference to stripping off for a calendar. With 100 years of history, it’s a shame that that’s all people can think of! There’s so much more to it than that.
The WI has done a lot of campaigning over the last century and has done an enormous amount of good for society. The jam link actually stems back to the Second World War, when there was a huge drive to preserve fruit and vegetables, so WI members made a lot of jams, pickles and chutneys to help the country get through food shortages. In the 1950s, they launched a drive to reduce littering which was the beginning of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign group that has just celebrated its diamond jubilee. More recently, campaigns have been about things like increasing the number of midwives to make childbirth safer, and supporting local businesses to make sure our high streets survive the recession.
I heard about Spa Sweethearts at the Great Yorkshire Show as I visited the WI ‘tent’ to find out some more information and see if there was a group local to us. One of the advisors mentioned the Sweethearts and I knew immediately that that was the group for me.

So what do enjoy most about being members of the Women’s Institute? Have you a favourite activity that you do as a member of the Women’s Institute?

I really love the sense of community that I get from not only being a member but also from working alongside my amazing committee members. They never fail to make me smile, even after the worst of days at work! But I also enjoy learning something new and different every month and getting to step outside of my comfort zone every so often.

Baking and jam making still are popular pursuits, and joking aside, the Women’s Institute do know how to bake and make jams. Even TV shows like Masterchef call on the Women’s Institute for judging events. Be honest, how’s your baking? Are you expected to have expertise in culinary skills or an interest in that field?

I love baking and I’m not too bad at it, but not all of our members are. A lot of them have other talents, like sewing or knitting. Some aren’t interested in that sort of thing at all, and that’s fine too – we’re a very diverse lot! But we’re all pretty good at eating the cakes even if we can’t make them ourselves.

What benefits do you feel that the Women’s Institute could offer the lady in her 20s,30s,40s,50s?

When Spa Sweethearts was formed, the ladies from the WI who guided us through the process told us “The WI is what you make of it” and we’ve found that to be completely true. If you want to join the WI to learn traditional skills like baking, jam-making and knitting, you can. If you want to find an outlet for your campaigning side, you can do that too. You can be part of your community just by turning up to meetings, or you can use the meetings to invite people from your town or city to tell you about what they do, such as charity workers, police officers or even unusual things like forensic scientists. There’s no limit on what you can do with your meetings. We try to make our programme as varied as possible, so everyone can find something they’re really interested in, but we also encourage our members to come to all the meetings even if they’re not so enthusiastic about the topics. Quite often, people find they have a hidden talent that’s only uncovered by giving something a go for the first time at a WI meeting!
Of course, many people also come along just for the social aspect – to have a chat and a cup of tea, or even something a bit stronger. The great thing about the WI is that there are thousands of branches, so whatever your age and interests there is more than likely one to suit you. And even if not, you can just start your own – you only need three ladies!


What famous lady would you love to see strutting through your doors asking to become a member?

This is a really tricky one! Well the obvious answer is someone like Mary Berry, as I think our members would love a master class with her! But then I would have to say someone like Giovanna Fletcher, who is one of favourite authors (and also married to Tom from McFly!) because she loves so many aspects of the WI like baking and crafting as well as sharing her opinions through her many social media platforms but she also writes about a traditional WI in one of her books, Billy and Me, and so I would love for her to experience a Spa Sweethearts meeting to show how diverse we are as an organisation and the amazing things that we get up to.

Going back to the Calendar Girl reference – that must have been quite a giggle and at the same time it did stir some interest in the Women’s Institute as well as the charitable aspects of it all. Have you had any funny moments that you can tell us about at WI?

Nothing quite as headline-hitting as that! Our committee meetings are always hilarious – we have lots of work to do organising our monthly meetings, but we have such a laugh as well. One of my highlights was actually from the very first meeting I attended, which just so happened to be on jam making! It was led by two members of our federation who have been members for years and years and who were just this incredibly funny double act, telling us all about the organisation and why they love it so much and I just thought to myself, if I’m still involved at their age and enjoying it as much, then I’d be pretty happy.

Any advice to any ladies wishing to join the Women’s Institute? How should she go about joining?

Do it! The easiest thing to do is to go onto the WI website, www.thewi.org.uk, and put in your postcode to get a map of all the WIs near you. Alternatively, search for your nearest federation (regional office) and give them a call – they’ll be able to tell you which WIs are most likely to suit you in your area. Get in touch with one and find out when their next meeting is, then just go along. Most WIs let guests come to their meetings for a small fee, so you can try before you buy! And membership for 2015 is only £36, so if you do sign up for a year it’s really good value.

What outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing at a meeting?

For me, it’s whatever I’ve been to work in as I never have much time in between getting home, grabbing some dinner and getting to the meeting, to think about changing. I’ll usually just be in jeans or something comfy as there is often a fair amount of setting up or cleaning to do before and after meetings – we all get quite stuck in with that.

You must have had many inspirational speakers visit your group – what speaker or topic did you feel was the most inspiring for you personally or inspired the group as a whole?

One of my favourite and more inspiring meetings was when we had Dee Marshall, from Welcome to Yorkshire, come to speak to us about Le Grand Depart in June 2014, about three weeks before it arrived in Harrogate. I’ve become a massive cycling fan since London 2012 and so was incredibly excited about all these world class cyclists racing through the streets of my home town. I’d also signed up to volunteer at the finish in Harrogate and so to hear Dee talk about how they had won the bid and all the preparation that had taken place was really interesting and made me even more excited to volunteer and be part of something that made me so proud to be from Yorkshire.

What’s next on the Women’s Institute event calendar for celebrating the 100 years?

There are loads of events planned to celebrate the centenary. We’ve got a lot of competitions going on for WI choirs, an official centenary fruit cake, heirlooms which can be passed down the generations… And there will be a couple of focal points in the year. Our national AGM is in June at the Royal Albert Hall and there will be lots of celebrations there, plus there’s a three-day WI Centenary Fair in our hometown, Harrogate, from 3rd-6th September, when WI members from around the country will be descending on us to meet up and celebrate.
At Spa Sweethearts WI, we’ll be going along to as many of the events as we can, but we’ve also got our own centenary fair planned for mid-September. We’re hoping to have lots of traditional elements like baking and craft competitions, but of course we’ll be putting our own spin on it as usual. It’s all part of our year-long campaign to get to 100 members of Spa Sweethearts in the WI’s 100th year. We want to prove there’s still plenty of life in the WI, and to get younger women in particular to put aside their preconceptions and come to a meeting with an open mind. It’s our way of making sure the WI will still be around to celebrate its 200th anniversary!
I’ve also launched a Twitter campaign under @WomenoftheWI. Every week, a different WI will take control of the account and tweet about their week – hopefully including live tweeting their meeting. The aim is to show how diverse our membership is, and how many amazing and wonderful things are going on around the country every week. The interest from other WIs in taking part has been really encouraging and I’m so excited about seeing how it all pans out.

Boots Or Shoes? 

Completely depends on the time of year but spring and summer I live in ballet flats as they just go with everything and are so comfy, but then as soon as autumn and winter hit, I live in boots. I’m someone who gets very grumpy if I get wet feet, so I’ve got to keep warm in the winter months.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about your Harrogate group and the Womens Institute in general.

Our details are:
www.spasweetheartswi.co.uk
www.facebook.com/spasweetheartswi
www.twitter.com/spasweethearts
www.twitter.com/womenofthewi
You can also find a lot of other WIs on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the national accounts:
www.twitter.com/womensinstitute
www.facebook.com/theWI

Thank you Becky – I’m sure that you and your fellow WI friends will encourage many other younger ladies to take the plunge and go and find a group to suit them. It sure sounds that you have lots of fun and I wish the whole WI organisation a fabulous centennary year!  

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission of Becky & the ladies of Spa Sweethearts W.I.

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An Interview With Booticamp Babes

Now is the time to get our bodies in bootilicious shape for the beach and the pool and apart from the inevitable chocolate blip at Easter ( and if you’re a mum, this Sunday too!) we have a few weeks to make an impression – the weather is warming up so let’s warm up our bodies too!  If you’re bored with the diet and exercise DVDs or you need an incentive to get going, why not go for some action that is fun, exciting and motivating? What about a boot camp run by women for women? – it’s a great way to achieve rapid fat loss, tone up and feel great!  Tonight I’m chatting to the beautiful Sarah who launched Booticamp Babes in July 2012. Hi Sarah …image

Hi! My name is Sarah Whitehead, I’m 35 and I have been a qualified nurse for 14 years and specialising in aesthetics for the last 10 years. I am MD of a fitness company called Booticamp Babes and have just launched my brand new Aesthetics Clinic called SW Aesthetics offering globally award winning products, treatments and procedures to help you look and feel your best, with the name you can trust.  I’ve been with my husband since I was 18 and we have 3 children.

Where did you get the inspiration from to start Booticamp Babes?

I was overweight through most of my childhood and pubescent years, so I have never been skinny. I put on nearly 5 stone during my pregnancy and tried every diet with short term success, it was the same old story I lost weight then gained it again. I then started attending a local bootcamp, started clean eating and exercising 3-4 times a week and the pounds fell off. When the opportunity arose to start my own bootcamp, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands as I knew I could add value to the programme and put a unique spin on it. I can relate to every woman that comes through the door as I know what it feels like to be miserable, overweight and unfit.

imageThe Booticamp Babes have an unique “Real Women Real Results” plan- so what is this plan and how does it provide a real alternative to traditional “bootcamps” and mundane workouts in the gym?

We follow a clean eating plan, no wheat, dairy, sugar,caffeine or alcohol. It’s not easy to start with but when the girls start to see the results it spurs them on to keep good habits and even if they fall off the wagon they get back on it easily. We offer constant support motivation and send out weekly recipes, meal plans, tips and advice, ranging from choosing a good sports bra to how exercise can spice up their love lives.We also have a lot of fun and ensure that no one is left out or made to feel uncomfortable. We offer our class’s to any women over 16, any shape, size or fitness ability. My nursing background ensures that I can also offer medical and nutritional advice. With being an aesthetic nurse I can also discuss and consult on what treatments and procedures can help my ladies look and feel their best. At the gym you start off with good intentions but there’s no one there to keep you motivated, so you lose interest quite quickly, we have a secret Booticamp Babes members Facebook page to keep everyone motivated and up to date with the latest news,recipes etc…. There are absolutely no cliques and everyone supports one another which is truly fantastic.

imageSo what do you enjoy most about instructing at Booticamp Babes?  Have you a favourite exercise?

Instructing gives me a real buzz, some nights I’m tired but as soon as I start shouting and hollering and having fun banter with the girls my mood is instantly lifted – it’s kind of a natural anti depressant that’s totally free of side effects. My personal favourite is a Burpee as it works your whole body.

What exercises or aspects of Booticamp Babes seem to be the most popular with your clients?

The girls like to work on their abs, as it’s a place where all women struggle with reducing especially if you’ve had children.

imageWhat exercise(s) seem to yield most results? What seems to be the least popular – or gets the most groans when you suggest it? ( I hate push ups personally!)

Most popular is anything ab related, for reasons above, Least popular are either one leg squat thrusts as they burn your legs or Burpees as they require effort and leave you breathless if performed correctly. However it’s our press ups that leave our girls with fabulous toned arms- they are so proud when they finally do a press up on their feet as opposed to their knees- it gives the girls a real sense of satisfaction and achievement.

Must admit I’ve now managed to do press ups properly but I still like to cheat occasionally and use my knees! 

imageYou have some famous supporters eg Sky Sports presenter Clare Tomlinson. What famous lady would you love to see strutting through your doors?

I would love Jennifer Lopez to come strutting through my doors, but would equally be as happy with someone like Chantelle Houghton, Lauren Goodyer as to me they are real women with realistic curves- women hate to feel intimidated by a body shapes that requires complete and utter daily dedication to maintain. However just by exercising and clean eating they are all realistic shapes and sizes and are happy with the way they look.

imageHave you had any funny moments that you can tell us about whilst boot camping?

The funniest moments are always the partner sessions – every Valentines Day we invite women’s partners to attend the session with them, the men think we just gossip at Booti but they are hit with the stark reality at these sessions. There is nothing more satisfying and funny as seeing the women whoop their partners ass into gear with the men dripping with sweat and not being able to walk the next day.

imageBooticamp Babes are currently in Derby, Belper, Ripley and Long Eaton. Have you any expansion plans?

We would love to expand in the future and have got interest from around the country and even international interest – I’m off to India in October for discussions on franchising and teaming it up with a well-being clinic. Hopefully it will be the blueprint to launch in other parts of the world.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found imagewearing?

When I’m not in my workout gear I love to be immaculately dressed, so I like classic tailored clothes. When I’m in my aesthetics clinic I like to look professional so fitted dresses and heels are the norm.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love Zara, my daughter works there so I’m lucky to get the best pick of the outfits first. For professional outfits you can’t beat House of Fraser.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?

Mulberry Handbag

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes- as I’m quite short, I like to wear heels

Links you would like to share:

Check out www.booticampbabes.co.uk to find out more about us and my new website www.sw-aesthetics.co.uk, to find out about the latest aesthetic treatments and procedures to help you look and feel amazing.

Thank you for taking time to chat to me Sarah… I hope the predictions of a long hot summer in the UK this year will get us all in the mood to get fit and toned….

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photos have been published with kind permission from Booticamp Babes.

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An Interview With Movement For Modern Life

New Year – time to make resolutions to help make your life easier, healthier and happier – what resolutions have you made or will be making? One of the most popular resolutions is to keep fit or take more exercise – if you can’t face the prospect of joining a gym or if you have two left feet that the Strict Come Dancing craze just isn’t for you or you’re looking for something that is different, in which case, I have found the perfect solution – check out online yoga classes!  Whether you’re a complete beginner or already addicted, Movement For Modern Life will transform your outlook on yoga at any rate. Don’t just take my word for it though – my guest today on the blog is the lovely Kat of Movement For Modern Life – hi Kat and welcome:

Hello I’m Kat – very pleased to be on this blog!20131227-211222.jpg
Being previously a city solicitor, what inspired you to take the plunge and start Movement For Modern Life? 
I have always loved yoga, and trained as a yoga teacher whilst I was training to be a solicitor! I even taught yoga to my colleagues in the office in the city. Quite a few things – most importantly, things happened in my life (a bad car crash and then a divorce) which made me realise that life moves fast! Whilst I could sit at my desk as a lawyer for the rest of my life, I would also wonder about the ‘what if’s’. I knew that I wasn’t a typical lawyer, I was always very energetic and creative and had a passion for yoga. I always wanted to start a business and I knew that I wanted to tell the world, in one way or another, how amazing yoga is. I pondered opening a yoga studio. But it was when I was living in the countryside and felt so frustrated that I couldn’t get to my favourite teachers that I started to think about the possibility of starting an online yoga community…
You’re the only British online yoga company to be showcasing the best of UK teachers and teachers who visit the UK and you describe the wide range of yoga classes available as an “all you can eat” buffet of yoga. What are the main benefits of your subscription based service? 
I think it’s the sheer diversity of the yoga on offer, as well as working with the very best teachers, people can get a chance to say to themselves ‘Hey, I wonder what Indaba (a studio in London) looks like?’ and then they can check it out. Or if they’re feeling anxious, they can do stress-relieving practices, or if they have just cycled, they can do yoga for that. Or perhaps they’ve always wondered what Ashtanga is – they know that if they check out our Ashtanga class they’ll be getting a great teacher and this is a great way of finding out about the best of that practice. I’ve learnt so much from working with so many inspiring teachers from such a variety of yoga backgrounds, it’s been a beautiful process for me.
You are passionate about how yoga has improved your life – what were the main reasons that got you hooked? 
At first, I just loved the physicality of it. I did really hard, physical practices, so I got very flexible and strong in quite a short time. I was the stiff kid at school who was terrible at all sports and games. But I started to practice and I found an improvement in how I felt so quickly. I loved the fact I could try all these cool new poses and challenge myself  by doing something that scared me. And then, about 10 years later, I was in a car crash and lost movement altogether for a while. So my yoga practice deepened and I found out the real meaning of yoga, which for me is a deepening relationship with yourself. Finding out about how to learn to really love life.  Now I see my yoga as a tool in the toolkit of dealing with the stuff that comes up in life. 
20131227-211241.jpgFrom absolute beginners to yoga addicts, you have classes to suit everybody. So, which type of class is proving most popular at the moment?
Right now, the Forrest yoga classes are super-popular. We were so lucky to interview Ana Forrest, the creator of the Forrest yoga movement. She was the most beautiful, awe-inspiring person I’ve ever met. Forrest yoga is an amazing tool for dealing with the difficulties and particular stresses poses in modern living.
Have you got a particular favourite yoga class or movement?
This is really hard. I choose different teachers or classes depending on my mood, or what I need on that particular day or moment.
What clothes do you feel are appropriate when about to engage in a yoga session?
Absolutely anything that won’t rip during the practice!!! At home I often do yoga in my pyjamas! In class I like to wear something colourful which moves with my body, so I feel more confident and capable. I think the joy of doing yoga at home online is that you get to call the shots. No need to worry about that kind of stuff.
How do alignment mats help when practising yoga? Would you recommend them?
Absolutely! I use and love liforme mats. They can be handy for practicing yoga classes at home when you don’t have a teacher present to tell you about your asymmetries. They can help give home students confidence. Definitely a good idea.
Looking ahead to 2014 what plans have you got in the pipeline to extend your services?
Oh my word! SO many!!! I often get frustrated that I can’t do it all RIGHT NOW!! But that’s also the practice of yoga, so I am practicing patience… We are working to make collaborations across the health and wellness industries, but also I want to make the site more community-oriented, so that people can interact better with one another and their teachers. That’s really important to me. I am working to make the site easier for people to search for the best classes for them too…
The music that accompanies your videos – how easy is it to pick the right music for the yoga classes? How important is it that the music reflects the right relaxing mood?
I don’t use music on my site. I think if people are at home they can have the fun of picking their own background music. Best not to second-guess music tastes and I don’t want the omnipresent new-agey whale-song in the background…
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Ha ha! I actually live in my yoga clothes most of the time. So I can have a sneaky stretch and make sure I feel good all the time…
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I like Lululemon for their yoga clothes.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Some warm boots which aren’t uggly… also no sheepskin as I’ve heard how inhumane the making of sheepskin is.
Boots or Shoes?
Boots! So I can walk my dog in the countryside. Or barefoot.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Movement For Modern Life
https://www.facebook.com/movementformodernlife
https://twitter.com/M_F_M_L
Thanks for joining me today on the blog, Kat, and for being so inspiring!  I wish everybody a Happy and Healthy New Year!
 
Linda x
 
Photo Credits: Photos have been published with kind permission by Movement For Modern Life.
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To Tan Or Not to Tan…

That is the question on a lot of fair skinned ladies’ lips as summer arrives…and for those of all skin tones a further question may be, go bare legged or not ?!

I am fair,or,as I like to say, “interestingly pale”  – I do not tan naturally easily – although to be fair (LOL!), I am not really a “laze around sunbathing on a beach ” sort of person! The top half of my body does get a colour of a fashion ( ok, I go red!) but my legs remain lily white. I can remember having a successful tan whilst on holiday –  when I was in my late teens and I had obviously fallen asleep on the sun bed during the day after staying up all night dancing the night away! I can also remember having sunburnt eyelids – not very pleasant! What I can definitely recommend if you do tend to go red before tanning is to invest in some Rimmel Sunshimmer  – rub this bronzer onto the red patches as well as on your shoulders,arms,legs,chest and it acts as an after sun moisturiser and turns the red a nice glittery bronze colour !  Fabulous on your face too – gives a healthy tan colour ! Pack some into your suitcases!!!

Sunbeds are an option. I booked a course of sun bed sessions before I embarked on (another) teen holiday to Magaluf! However, I only lasted one session – I contracted chicken pox and that was that. I landed in Magaluf, pale and spotty…but not for long, thankfully! However, if you are not a person who can lie on a normal sun bed for at least 15 minutes before getting bored, then it probably isn’t a good idea!

About 15 years ago I had an all over tan treatment applied at a spa and unfortunately I turned a lovely shade of orange. Luckily, my holiday break that year was to the Lake District where I was able to wear long sleeves and trousers ! Nowadays, fake tans are more sophisticated and the orange look can be avoided.  Spray tanning at reputable salons and centres now produce flawless results – although not used myself, friends have recommended the LA Tanning company, Vita Liberata outlets and Fake Bake.

Alternatively, you could opt for the fake suntan cream and do your legs (and body) yourself. I currently use Body Shop’s Molten Bronze  – a dry body oil with a hint of natural fake tan – apply it every day and you will gradually build up a natural looking colour. For me, it just takes the edge off that lily white ! Johnson’s Holiday Tan and Dove also work in the same way. Facial wise, I’m currently using Leichner’s camera blend tinted moisturiser in “hints of beige”.  Not as heavy as traditional foundations but it gives a lovely flawless illuminated look – available in various “hints” for all skin tones.

For darker tans, and fans of TOWIE, try Lauren’s Way Glam Tan – you can see for yourself how good it is by looking at Lauren Goodger!  ( Lauren’s Way also do spray tans). Another recommendation is pHenomeal tanning mousse by Vita Liberata – this tan can last an astonishing 2-3 weeks – and is available in dark,medium and fair. The product has won the “Best Tanning Range” category in U Magazine’s beauty awards 2012/2013.

You could also boost your all over tan by sunbathing in “Tan Through Swimwear” – the swimsuits and bikinis have a built in SPF of around 6 , so it is recommended that suntan lotion of SPF 6 or higher should be used on areas not covered by the swimsuit. There is a large range on Amazon ; you could also check out the Tan Through website – they guarantee that their Cool Tan swimwear range are not see through when wet or dry. It could be just the thing to eliminate those “tan lines”!

If bare legs are not your scene or perhaps are not appropriate for the occasion, there are a range of tights to give you that just tanned and oiled look. The photo heading this blogpost is of Jonathan Aston Micronet Tights in Natural with Pretty Polly Naturals Oiled Tights in Slightly Sunkissed underneath. Believe me, they look and feel wonderful ! If you want to bare your just painted tootsies in a pair of sandals, don a pair of toeless tights – brilliant invention !!  For sexiness you can’t beat the  seamed retro hosiery  –  available in colours from nude to chocolate – these are great for darker skin tones or as an alternative to the usual black tights/stockings.

Now you’ve prepared your pins – look to have a pedicure, paint your nails a vibrant colour (I love corals!), find those TAN sandals and go, strut your stuff!

Linda x

Photo Credit: Adam Hobden

 

 

 

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