Northern Girl on… Weekly food/exercise diary 

With a holiday to Cyprus and bikini wearing looming I recently signed up to a weekly hiit class and ran a Twitter poll asking if I should document week 1 of my (hopefully) reformed healthy lifestyle and you guys voted yes! So here it is… 

Monday:

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs and tomato, yoghurt granola pot.
  • Lunch: jerk chicken salad with itsu chilli prawn crackers
  • Snack – grenade carb killer protein flapjack (before tennis)
  • Dinner: protein chicken singapore noodles with added sweetcorn
  • Water: 4 litre
  • 1 x black coffee

Exercise:

  • 200 squats
  • 1 hour of tennis
  • 10 squat jumps 
  • 22,386 steps 

Tuesday:

  • Breakfast: scrambled egg and cherry tomatoes
  • Lunch: Jacket potato with tuna and low fat mayonnaise and spinach side salad
  • Dinner: 2 x grilled chicken breasts with greens and cajun seasoning 
  • Dark chocolate choc ice
  • 3 x black coffee
  • 2 litre water 
  • 1 x gin and slimline tonic

Exercise

  • 200 squats
  • 7200 steps 

Wednesday:

  • Breakfast: 2 plain croissants and tropical fruit pot
  • Lunch: jacket potato with low fat cheddar and spinach side salad
  • 1 x pack Ritz crisp and thins
  • Dinner: 2x tortilla wrap pizzas with low fat cheese
  • 2 x black coffee
  • 2l water
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 2 x gin and tonic 

Exercise:

  • 200 squats
  • 16,300 steps

    Thursday: 

    • Breakfast: Myprotein chocolate pancakes with mixed berries and sweet freedom choc shot syrup
    • Lunch: jacket potato with tuna and low fat mayonnaise and spinach side salad
    • Dinner: nachos with guacamole
    • 1 x Cadbury hot chocolate
    • 2 x black coffee
    • 2l water

    Exercise 

    • 200 squats
    • 7500 steps

      Friday:

      • Breakfast: myprotein chocolate protein pancakes with chopped strawberries and sweet freedom choc syrup
      • Lunch: jacket potato with tuna and low fat mayonnaise and spinach side salad 
      • Dinner: Wahaca street food and churros
      • 1 x black coffee 
      • 2l water
      • 1 x corona
      • 1 x G&T
      • 1 x red bull speedboat cocktail

        Exercise 

        • 120 squats
        • 12,000 steps 

          Saturday:

          • Breakfast: 2 x slices of cheese on toast
          • Lunch: gluten free sausage rolls with side salad
          • Dinner: gluten free lasagne with curley fries 
          • Grapes 
          • Handful of dark chocolate chips
          • 1 x black coffee
          • 2l water

          Exercise 

          • 1 x hour yoga
          • 2km run
          • 8000 steps 

          Sunday:

          • Breakfast: protein pancakes with dark chocolate chips and strawberries 
          • Lunch: broccoli and cheese quiche with salad
          • Dinner: homemade fajitas
          • 1 x black coffee 
          • 2l water 

            Exercise:

            • 3km run
            • 30 mins yoga
            • 7000 steps 

            The Northern girl’s money diaries – week 8 with Abbey!

            Hi! My name is Abbey, I’m a 22 year old student and blogger over at www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk. My blog is a real mix of everything – from books and beauty to fashion and days out! I’ve just finished my Masters degree but I’m not completely done with education yet, as I’m starting my PHD in September. I’m very used to living on a student budget after all this time, so I was very excited to be offered the chance to feature in Chloe’s money series. Keep reading to find out where I splash (and save!) my cash…


            MONTHLY EXPENDITURE:
            Rent:
             £558

            Bills / Utilities: Included with my rent

            Loans: I’m not paying back my student loan yet as I’m not earning regularly

            Memberships / Subscriptions: N/A

            Socialising / Leisure: Average £80

            Food: Average £80

            QUESTIONS:
            1. What does a typical week look like for you? I have just finished my Masters Degree and I’m currently still living in my uni accommodation as my rent is paid until the end of July. A typical week for me during my degree would include the regular mix of studying, attending lectures, writing essays, and that all important down-time. Thankfully, I don’t have any day-to-day travel expenses as I walk everywhere (Oxford is quite a small city!). My hobbies include reading, going out with friends, and blogging – most of which aren’t that expensive! However, if I go away to visit friends or to attend blogger events, transport can get pricey as I’m reliant on bus / train travel – but thankfully the coach into London is only £14 for a student ticket, which really isn’t that bad!

            2. What are your usual guilty spends, what can’t you resist buying over and over? I used to be a massive clothes shopper but I’ve grown out of that a bit now! Gone are the times when I’d regularly splurge all my pocket money in Primark! These days, food is probably by guilty spend! I really enjoy going out for breakfast (there’s an amazing breakfast place just a 15 minute walk away from me in Oxford and their pancakes are to die for!), and there’s always the temptation of a packet of chocolate biccies in the supermarket as well! But hey, eating is essential, right?!

            3. What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought? 
            My recent expensive purchase has actually been a holiday! In August, I’m off to Portugal on a yoga retreat as a solo vacation, which I’m really looking forward to! Thankfully I have a job in September which should cover most of the costs (hooray for something above minimum wage!!) which is a relief. The holiday has set me back about £700 so far but I’m determined not to let costs creep above £1k. As I’ve paid for the holiday itself and the flights already, that shouldn’t be a problem unless I go CRAZY when shopping for new bikinis! 😉

            4. Are you saving for anything in particular at the moment?  Does saving for a rainy day count? I don’t really save for particular things, my usual motivation is just seeing the figure in my savings account rise and rise, I find it really satisfying! 

            5. If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would go out and buy?  I would most definitely buy a nice house for my Mum and Dad – they have worked so hard in their lives to ensure that for me and my siblings, nothing was wanting. My Dad has built up the family business from practically nothing to an amazing success, and I can’t thank him enough for it! My Mum is also a fantastic businesswoman and she is so savvy, always coming up with new ideas and advertising campaigns, so she really deserves a treat too!

            6. If money was no object what would be your dream travel destination?  I have been studying Classical Archaeology (the material culture of ancient Greece and Rome) for four years now, so I would love to go on a full tour of the Mediterranean! I’ve visited Athens twice and loved it, but I’ve yet to explore the city of Rome properly, so that would definitely be the top of my list! It would be amazing to visit the places I’ve read about in books for so long and properly get an understanding of how ancient peoples once lived there! It’s a totally nerdy answer but hey, that’s me!

            7. What’s the best money advice/tip you’ve ever received? My Dad always told me that although a new pair of shoes or another equally frivolous purchase might seem like all I want now, when it came to later life and I was wanting to buy something big like a house or a car, I’d be really thankful that my younger self had put some money away to help me achieve those things! And guess what – he was right!

            Thanks Abbey for taking part! If you’d like to be involved in my money diaries series drop me a comment! NG x

            Northern Girl reviews… Skinny Living

            On Wednesday me and Tom had managed to secure ourselves tickets to see Skinny Living live at an event – we would eventually discover – put on by Sony music. The gig was held in an intimate, basement venue in town just off Tottenham Court Road and with free drinks and canapes we were set for a dream evening out. The venue honestly couldn’t have been more perfect with sporadic glass tables and candles and the stage protruding into the audience it felt like it was made for such an event and I hope I get to return! 

            Free drinks and sliders!

            So I’ll swiftly move on to the band. If you haven’t heard of them already then shame on you. If you were at #BSTHydePark when Bieber was there then they may sound familiar (they were a support act after all) but if not they’ve featured more recently on BBC Radio 1 as well as being featured in Spotify’s viral top 50. I’ll hold my hands up and admit apart from hearing “Why” on Spotify and their beautiful acoustic video from their time in Hyde park, I was relatively new to their work but I know a lot of people back home who are huge fans and I trusted their judgement entirely.

            So onto the music itself. I was already pretty familiar with why so it was no surprise this was their opener but I was blown away actually seeing it performed live and the lyrics resonate around the room so much more. 

            Their next was a funky, acoustic vibe and then we got into fade. The band worked the crowd and got us to sing along. By this point in the gig I hadn’t stopped dancing and I was grinning from ear to ear. I don’t know if it’s the Irish lilt of the lead singer but fade almost reminded me of The Script in their early days. It’s perfect, bounce-along pop with amazing instruments thrown in and my inner indie girl from my teens fell in love with the band. 

            The next song was an emotional one and I enjoyed it just as much. Messiah is a truly beautiful song with the most beautiful lyrics and story and the perfect balance to fade.

            There is literally nothing not to love about Skinny Loving. You only have to spend 5 minutes listening to the lead singer talk about the band to know how much it truly means to them and yet there’s almost that air of disbelief that all of this is happening to them (they quite clearly deserve every inch of success). They have an insane amount of talent and yet seem like this band is where they are meant to be.

            So what’s next from the band?

            Well from what I can gather from speaking to the band, they have a string of festivals in the summer, an EP imminent and an album on its way which I quite simply can’t wait for. There wasn’t a single fault I could pick with any of the songs I heard and I have no doubt that their album will become one of those where you literally listen to it from start to finish – no skipping required, the sign of a truly good album. I’ve been to a string of gigs recently but it has been so long since I last saw something where I literally couldn’t stop grinning like a Cheshire cat all the way through. The music is refreshing whilst familiar all at the same time and it is something the charts are so desperate for right now.

            You can find the band on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Spotify.

            NG x 

            10 reasons why you should visit the para athletics world championships 

            For the first time ever World Para Atheltics Championships are being held in London. Here are 10 reasons why you should go!

            1. Be a part of history – the number of tickets sold to this games is thought to have outsold the previous 5 world championships proving that following the 2012 Olympics, London really does do it best 

            2. You get to see one of countries newest football stadiums – granted if you went to a West ham game you’d get to do this anyway but if football isn’t your thing it’s still a magnificent stadium to visit and so hugely important to London’s Olympic legacy.

            3. It’s easy to get to. Stratford is on both the jubilee and central lines as well as the DLR meaning it’s super easy to get to and quick it also has great bus links and is even connected to TFL rail.

            4. You’ll get to see some super star athletes – team GB are absolutely smashing these championships and we’re currently second in the medal table  (go cheer them on, we might get first)! With so many great athletes you’re guaranteed to see some GB medals no matter which session you attend.

            5. Tickets are cheap. And I mean really cheap. For over 3 hours worth of action tickets start at £10 and just in case you’re worried that that means being up in the rafters here’s the view from our  £10 seats

            6. See world records be broken – who doesn’t want to be able to say “I was there when xxx broke the world record” it’s so astounding to see what these athletes are achieving and how close some are to even beating their able-bodied counterparts. It’s also really heartwarming to see how many athletes are smashing PBs at these championships.

            7. You’ll learn a lot. Before each event they have a little infographic explaining what the disability category means so you’ll be able to tell your T11s from your F34s in no time.

            8. It’ll make you really appreciative of your life – I said it on Twitter recently but nothing humbles me more than para sport. To even begin to imagine what these people have been through and to be going out there and achieving what they are, channel 4 (the official Para sport broadcaster) really do say it best when they say they’re superhumans.

            9. You’ll have fun – there’s loads of great food outlets all around the Olympic stadium and the atmosphere inside is incredible they even play upbeat songs between events to keep you bouncing so get ready to sing along to some of your favourite hits.

            10. You’ll get to explore the Olympic park – get there early enough and there is so much more to see. The Olympic park itself is magnificent, take a peek in the aquatics centre, stroll along the canae or be a big kid on the various climbing frames. It is such a fantastic ode to London 2012. See if you can beat Greg Rutherford’s gold-winning long jump distance or remind yourself just what was achieved on Super Saturday. As if that wasn’t enough you could even take in the views from the top of the Orbit before sliding all the way down in the giant helter-skelter-esque slide.

            Tickets are currently available for all remaining sessions right up until the final sessions on Sunday 23rd July. Purchase by visiting http://www.london2017athletics.com/worldparaathleticschampionships

            NG x

            Northern Girl on… my body image story – update 3

            Can you believe a whole other month has passed since my last body update? So what’s happened since?

            1. I went on holiday to Majorca for a weekend and wore a bikini
            2. I went out in crop top and jeans
            3. I haven’t weighed myself since 
            4. I’ve started a new fitness regime
            My new favourite outfit – out for drinks in London

              Safe to say it feels like this month I have taken huge steps to improving my mental health. Majorca was a big factor in that. I didn’t feel fat in my bikini and I was going out in size 6 dresses! The group I was with was just the most amazing group of people and I never once felt uncomfortable or self conscious and I literally came back like a new person. I am so much happier in myself and it’s reflecting in all aspects of my life. My relationship is stronger and my health is much improved, I barely have half of my IBS pains (proof it is emotion related)!

              The day after I’d got back from Majorca I’d completely forgotten it was my first HIIT class session with “Divas with Dumbbells” – more on that later – and I have to say I’m hooked. Your first 2 classes are free which is incredible but after that not only are the classes super affordable but the amazing girls who run the sessions also create for you a personal nutrition plan, homework to help you with your goals and take your measurements to help you see your progress. Me and tom have also started playing tennis again so I’m really working on my fitness in time for Cyprus  (40 days to go).

              I’m hoping that with the right nutrition plan and fitness regime I can get myself to a state where I am ultimately fit and healthy but also happy with myself and feel like I deserve the slightly unhealthy treats. Thanks to a Twitter poll I’m running a food and fitness diary this week so it’s certainly helping me make conscious food choices.

              It’s safe to say this time last month was a huge struggle but now, it couldn’t be more different. I can barely even remember what my weight was that I was so unhappy about and long may this continue!

              NG x

              Northern Girl on… Fitness and sport

              I decide to seize moving to London as an
              opportunity to get my fitness in slightly better shape. I have danced for as long as I can remember and took up skiing about a year ago but my actual fitness was far from great and I decided now was time to change that. 2017 has been my first real year of ‘fitness goals’ there’s the typical weight loss (15lb in total following a far from perfect diet) but this year having taken up running – more on that later – my goal is also to run my first official 10K.

              If you’d have told me 6 months ago I was going to catch ‘the bug’ I’d have laughed at you. I have never been the runner or the fitness fanatic, I’ve always admired those people who get up at the crack of dawn and run through wind and rain but extra sleep/warmth has always been my preference. I’m still not sure if it’s London that’s done this to me or the fact that I used to live between two huge hills, maybe both, but my evenings are now filled with lycra, Nike free runs and the Thames path. As a Northern girl it perhaps helps that running is free! So here are some of my top tips for keeping fit in The Capital without expensive gym membership fees.

              Running Tips:

              New to running? – Try free apps such as Couch to 5k / 10k (available in the App
              Store/Google Play)

              love these apps! I’m currently using couch to 10K, it aims to get you 10K ready in 14 weeks based on 3 work outs a week using proven interval techniques to increase your fitness. The app tells you when to alternate between walking and running for optimal results. I also like to pair this with GPS tracking apps so I can see the map of my route; my favourite is Under Armour’s Map my Run.

              Get the right gear – A money saving blog telling you to spend money seems somewhat counterintuitive, but there is nothing more motivating than new clothes or feeling comfortable in your work out gear. The best thing is you don’t even need to spend a lot of money. Sports Direct have some amazing sales on their Karrimor range at the minute, I’ve just picked up a neon pink long sleeve running T-shirt for £5.25 and the high street is going crazy for fitness gear with the likes of Primark, M&S and even Boohoo.com releasing fitness ranges there is something for everyone. I am lusting after the Oasis x Pineapple Dance Studio collection.

              My new £5 bargain top featuring my £25 trainers

              Shoe size smaller than a 6? – Try out the junior ranges

              If you’re a keen runner already and training for marathons, this one probably isn’t for you but if you’re new to the sport and not ready to commit to expensive, custom fit shoes always try the junior sections for your running trainers. In the looks department they are virtually like for like, spec they are perhaps slightly lower but I’ve been buying my trainers in the junior section for years and I have found them to always be perfect and there are huge savings to be had! I got my first pair of Nike trainers for £25, the adult equivalent were £90!!!!

              Struggle to motivate yourself? – See what’s going on in your neighbourhood

              My local community are really active and have a dedicated Facebook group for fitness activities including HIIT classes, yoga, SUP yoga etc.  It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people and find running buddies. See if your local area offers something similar or start your own! Goodgym.org are also great to give you a little more motivation on your run, they are organised runs throughout different London Boroughs that combine exercise with giving back and helping the local community – get fit and do good! London is great for water sports and the docklands sailing centre near Canary Wharf regularly offer discounted taster sessions for sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Check them out on Facebook for more info.

              Giving yoga a try at a local yoga class

              Or if running isn’t for you…

              • Shop around for classes – Seriously. It’s no secret that this City is crazy expensive and if like me you get a kick out of dance classes; shop around. When I first moved here I was being quoted £90 for an hour dance class, £22 for a weekly group class but with various research I was able to find somewhere offering Ballroom dance classes at £7 per week – the exact same price I was paying back up North.

              • Home workouts – My boss swears by a home kettle bell work out and zumba and YouTube is full of them and others. Simply stream then straight into your living room (or preferred work out location) and away you go. 

              • Groupon – THEY HAVE EVERYTHING – From monthly gym passes, to spin classes, aerial hoop aerobics sessions, yoga, Pilates, martial arts and rock climbing. You name it, Groupon probably have it (and if they don’t it obviously isn’t worth having)the offers are incredible (5 spin classes for £15 being a personal fave) andit’s an amazing opportunity to try out new and exciting things without a hugefinancial commitment. You never know, you might find out that all that energywasted on a treadmill was a lot better suited for an aerial hoop!

              • Team sports – Look out for local tennis clubs, netball teams, touch rugby teams. Whatever you’re into you’d be surprised at just what you can find on offer. The LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) have a great website that shows you all of their accredited centres and some even have a book a court feature. The ‘This Girl Can’ campaign by Sport England also has loads of information about what’s going on and is available to you.

              • Check you’re not missing out on exclusive Gym offers – Residents of Southwark can get access to gyms for free within that Borough or failing that, see if your work can offer discounted schemes to access gyms in the way of salary sacrifices/corporate discounts etc. If your work are signed up to ‘Gym Flex’ there are savings of up to 40% per month to be made and you don’t pay NI on your monthly salary sacrifice scheme. Look if your local gym offers a free ‘trial’ month, just be certain to read the T’s and C’s. Most may offer your first month free but only after they have tied you into a contract, totally the opposite of productive if Virgin have already tied you into a £250 a month membership (not exaggerated.) 

              • Love Cycling? – Santander Cycles – I love Boris bikes. I think the concept is genius, they are cheap, easy to use and they are everywhere. Download the app, register your card and get access to a code instantly. I also love the way you can see where around you has bikes available/docking stations free. A lot of London’s parks do allow cyclists such as Hyde Park and Victoria Park so you can avoid the hellish roads. One of our favourite routes is to pick up a bike at Limehouse, take the canal path up to Victoria Park then up to the Olympic Park and on a Sunday – with good timings – it will only cost you £2.

              • Take up golf – London has so many great driving ranges which makes golf a much more social event. From top golf out in Chigwell where you turn your driving range experience into various different target hitting games to the range at the o2 in North Greenwich they’re a great place to hit with friends for some light sport and alcohol! 

              What are your favourite ways to work out? NG x

              The liebster award

              A huge thank you to Yella from yeallahawk.com for inviting me to do my first ever blogger tag post! I got asked some great questions which you can see the answers to below but first, the rules of the tag.

              • Thank the person for tagging you
              • Answer their questions 
              • Tag between 5-11 other bloggers 
              • Give them 5-11 questions
              • Let them know they’ve been tagged

              What would the perfect Sunday morning look like to you? It would have to start with waffles from The Green Cafe in Greenwich. I’ve almost spoilt myself as the first place we’ve lived in London is walking distance to Greenwich. Then I’d probably have to wander round the clock tower vintage market before picking up a Pimms and fresh lemonade from Greenwich market.


              What’s your all time favourite book?
              Oh this is so hard! I go through so many phases with book genres that I’m obsessed with (right now its psychological thrillers) but the book I probably always come back to is The Great Gatsby. Ironically when I studied it for my AS levels I actually hated it but as I began to understand the sub stories and complexities it gripped me and I probably go back to it every year and come away remembering something new each time.

              What’s your biggest goal in life? Probably just being happy? Obviously I have different goals for all aspects of my life from blog to career to body image but those are all relative compared to just having a happy healthy life with my family.

              What do you love most about your blog? The fact that it gives me a purpose to get out and explore interesting and different pockets of London. And that it introduced me to the blogging community where I feel like I’ve established some genuine friendships that are only going to flourish.

              Who inspired you recently? This is really difficult.I sometimes think I’m inspired without really realising it. To be honest some of the deep conversations me and Tom have really get me thinking about myself and my life and can often spur blog ideas so he inspires me a lot and makes me challenge my own thought process.

              What advice would you give someone who wants to start blogging? Go for it! Honestly don’t ever look back. Do what suits you and join blog chats as often as you can!

              What’s your favourite cocktail? Hands down an espresso martini. I’m a little bit of a caffeine addict so it’s just my absolute dream in a glass. It also helps that you can get them for free in London from with the help of Drinki App!

              I’ll be tagging my bloggers ball blog squad:

              Chloe from imjustagirl16.co.uk

              Kirsty from thevioletblonde.com

              Chloe from chloealicelily.co.uk

              Lauren from mylifeaslauren1993

              Chloe from simplychlo.co.uk

              Here are your questions girls! 

              1. What’s your ultimate pet hate?
              2. What’s your favourite animal ?
              3. What would be your death row meal?
              4. Where’s your favourite city ?
              5. If you could choose only one to use what would it be? Twitter/Instagram/Facebook?
              6. What’s your favourite cuisine?
              7. Least favourite household chore?
              8. If you’ve ever been to London what’s your favourite thing about it?
              9. What’s your ultimate blogging tip?
              10. Who’s your favourite blogger (big or small)?
              11. And finally, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

              Northern Girl on… Joan Collins lash treatment

              When I went to The Bloggers Hub Summer Penthouse Party they had the dreamiest giftbag and in it was the beautiful Joan Collins lash treatment. It recommends continual use for at least 30 days so I decided to give it a try throughout June.

              The Product
              It’s like a clear mascara that you apply on an evening before bed to help grow and enhance your natural lashes. The outer packaging itself suggests that with use you will feel like you no longer need to wear false lashes. It’s so unbelieveably easy to apply and the second you apply it you see an instant lift in your lashes. Its definitely worth applying it on an evening as suggested, there were the odd mornings where I tried to apply it just so I kept up with it and it definitely made applying my mascara more difficult as it simply hadn’t had time to soak in.

              Before and after, instant lash lift

              The packaging
              Beautiful. It feels so classy and upmarket and the perfect look for sonething to stamp Joan Collins’ name on it. I love the entire feel of the Joan Collins cosmetics range for it’s packaging.


              The results

              Whilst the application showed an instant lift it certainly didn’t continue in the morning. I dont parricularly have small lashes anyway and with a bit of care on their own they can curl up to my brows, making false lash application actually really difficult, so maybe it’s aimed at people who need more lash lift than I do. At around day 30 the only thing I had noticed is that when applying my mascara my lashes were definitely thicker but this almost caused more issues as it made them clump together more. Overall i’m disappointed so far, I’m going to try and persevere with it for another month but if the results are the same I’ll be donating it to my sister (who does wear false lashes frequently)

              Have you tried anything from the Joan Collins range? Let me know your thoughts!

              NG x