Wednesday, 7 June 2017

My Week In Photos: Angelica Leeds & Violet Hair

So its been a while where I did one of these posts. To be honest lately, I have just been super busy. I've had a lot going on and had such a hectic social schedule (for once!). June is always a busy month because its my two sisters birthdays and of course with birthdays and being female comes a weeks full of celebrations. So without rambling on too much I'll let the pictures do the talking...

The other day a huge group of us headed to Leeds for a day session. We spent the majority of the day being civilized sipping on lovely cocktails but also bit of time playing beer pong at Roxy Ballrooms! We went to the usual cocktail hotspots such as Angelica  - this was my first time there and it was such a lovely day so it was great to sit on the terrace/balcony area (picture below). We also went to The Alchemist. I've been to this place a fair few times now and I'm never disappointed. The cocktails are amazing and I would recommend it to anyone. I went for the Screwball cocktail which tasted like bubblegum and ice cream mixed together - it was unreal! We also went to Skybar on the top floor of the Double Tree Hilton, upon arrival we got put in the VIP area where there was a supposed party going on - I didn't think much to it but the Saxophonist was pretty cool. The view of the city was a bonus but the prices of the cocktails were ridiculous and they weren't anything special. 

Okay so I think we can all agree I look extremely gormless on this photo but I love this picture as its with two of my favorite people - Emily & Sophia.

So this week most definitely had its ups and downs but I was so chuffed when these beautiful flowers got delivered to me at work which was such a lovely gesture and really brightened my day.

I also really liked my make up at the weekend as I made more of an effort with it! 

I also got my hair done at my usual Salon - Soul. Soul have recently moved premises and are now located in Bawtry. The Salon experience was wonderful as ever and I wouldn't trust anyone else with my hair. As usual I went for something a little different, still sticking with my ombre but I decided to have a voilet toner on the blonde. This will fade to blonde/silver but I like to mix things up as I get bored easily! 

We recently recruited a new family member - Stanley! Unfortunately this little hound isn't mine - he belongs to my brothers in laws but my brother invited me round for puppy cuddles and as we're a close knit family I'm sure there will be many moments where Stanley will be spending time with my brothers' dogs and I have already requested designated dog sitter duties!

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Perfect Protein Pancakes

Okay so the title of this post is somewhat debatable and I'm sure there some other pancakes out there that are game changers but for me, I have found the perfect recipe for protein pancakes. These take 5 mins! They have the appearance and texture of them amazing american fluffy looking pancakes we all love, they taste pretty good and can be made to taste even better depending on what toppings you like or how naughty you want to be!

So for the pancakes you'll need:
1 Scoop MyProtein Gluten Free Instant Oats (Or you can blend your own oats to make oat flour)

1 Scoop My Protein Powder (I used Chocolate Caramel but to be honest you can use any flavour you like really. I didn't find the flavouring added much to the flavour anyway!)

1 Egg

A tiny bit of Oat Milk (or any milk alternative)

Blend all of these and add milk to make the mixture more a liquid formula but quite a thick consistency.

Put some Fry light (coconut one is my preference) or any type of oil in a flat pan and let it heat.

Add in the pancake mixture. I find this makes 3 good size pancakes.

Now I usually add in fresh blueberries to the pancakes as soon as I put the mixture in the pan. However if you want to make this a bit of a cheat meal you could always add in some Chocolate chips or something. I haven't tried that yet but I'm sure it work out a treat!
I topped the pancakes with fresh blueberries, chopped banana, a drizzle of agave syrup and a dusting of cinnamon.

I find these pancakes really satisfy my sweet tooth!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

My Protein/ Muscle Food Haul

So it seems that when you get into fitness the whole supplement world becomes something you like to throw your money at! Supplements are exactly what they say on the tin - they're an addition to your diet. Bit of a disclaimer here - I'm not a dietician so please don't take what I say and take it as that is exactly what you should do because its not but it is something I am learning about constantly. So yeah essentially, supplements are something you can incorporate into your diet to improve performance and to support muscle growth etc.

Now I've been buying from My Protein for around 6 months or so now and I'm a big fan of their products. I do feel that since using protein more that my body has become more shapely and I seem to be able to maintain and build muscle a lot better but these supplements simply support an already pretty clean diet. As you may or may not know, I'm a vegetarian and actually since dabbling in my fitness pal and tracking macros for a while, I have realized that I really did not used to consume enough protein- it is recommended you have 1g of protein from 1lb of body weight - in my eyes that is a lot of protein and not necessarily achievable, I mean if I didn't take supplements I would probably struggle to get a 1/4 of that into my daily intake - this is a whole other ball game and probably one for a different post!

Anyway, so recently I did a top up order from My Protein and also decided to order from Muscle Food for the first time! I thought this would be a good opportunity to show you what I picked up and my thoughts on the products:

My Protein

Gluten Free Instant Oats - Well as it says on the tin, there is not a great deal to say about these and I don't really have any issues with them, oats are oats at the end of the day! However it is worth noting that this product comes in powder/flour form and when heated it can be a bit difficult to work with compared to normal oats - it is a little stodgy in texture!

Chocolate Caramel Impact Whey Protein - This is my first time trying this flavour and I have to say I am impressed. As an overall consensus I have to say that My Protein win every time for me flavour wise. I am a massive fan of the Strawberry Shortcake & Vanilla Cookie impact diet whey. This brand of Protein definitely has the best taste in my opinion. I love to mix my protein powder in my porridge or blend to make a smoothie or just simply throw in with ice and almond/oat milk.

Raspberry Lemonade BCAA - So this is actually my first time purchasing BCAA's. I have previously had a few Grenade samples and they tasted amazing so I thought I'd give them a go. I actually found drinking BCAA's encouraged me to drink more water just because it tastes so good. BCAA stands for Branch Chained Amino Acids and essentially they promote protein synthesis with encourages muscle growth and helps your body to maintain muscle but also helps with recovery. I feel this article HERE might explain it all better to you because as I say I'm not qualified! I love this flavour and so far I have found that it does help your muscles to be less 'achey' which is a bonus!

My Bar Zero Cookies & Cream - Now I actually purchased these to go hand in hand with the Prutella following a recommendation from a Youtuber  I follow - Elle Darby. These are a high protein low carb snack and supposedly go amazing with Prutella when microwaved shortly. Now they're okay but nothing special! I don't think I would purchase them again though. Apparently the chocolate flavour is the one to go for but unfortunately they were out of stock!

Muscle Food

This was my first time ordering from Muscle Food!

Walden Farms Zero Calorie Chocolate Syrup & Mocha Coffee Creamer - To be honest I have combined the two products because my opinion for them both is exactly the same. I was super excited to try the Walden Farms products and had heard so much about them but I have to say,  I was extremely disappointed. Both products taste of what I can only describe as poison! I certainly wont be repurchasing these! I feel I must be missing something here as everyone else seems to hype about them but the honest truth is they just don't taste good.

Prutella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread & Coconut & White Chocolate Spread - So as I mentioned earlier on this purchase went hand in hand with the My Bar Zero. I actually purchased two different flavours. Now I am OBSESSED with the Coconut & White Chocolate flavour, However, a side note - these products don't taste anything remotely like Nutella and don't have the Chocolate Spread Texture you'd expect - they're actually quite stodgy if I'm honest! However the flavours are pretty good.

Please note I have some special promotional codes for My Protein for you to use at the check out but you need to follow the URL provided to benefit from them. These include:
Free Delivery when you spend over £40 Code is DELIVERYFREE - CLICK HERE 
30% off Vegan Range  Code is: VEGAN30 CLICK HERE 
25% off Food & Snacks Code is: 25FOOD CLICK HERE

These codes are all valid until 25.05.17 at midnight! :)

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

How To Make The Most Of Your Day

So this is a bit of a different post from me but it's something I feel very strongly about in all aspects of life! Now I know the picture accompanying this post isn't particularly relevant to the post but I thought a picture of me looking thoughtfully into the distance being deep in thought would be a bit cringe. Anyway without procrastinating (the irony!) lets discuss  I don't consider my self to be the most productive person in the world and I don't always practice what I preach (as much as I hate to say it, but I'm only human), sometimes I get into a vortex of procrastination - it happens to the best of us! However something I constantly try and work on is how I manage my time! Time is actually the most valuable thing to me as it's something you can't get back. I hate to waste time and like to be as productive as I can. This is a bit of a rambling post but here we go... 

1. Write a list
God Lara state the obvious! I know I know - but seriously lists are arguably one of my favourite pass times and I'm constantly writing them. When I'm at work I like to write my to-do list towards the end of the day so the following morning I can just crack on. For workouts, I am a big fan of writing out my work out before I step foot in the gym because I find I honestly have so much more of a productive session because I don't have to sit and think about what to do next or panic and just jump on the next piece of cardio equipment available - I have a plan and I'm there to get stuff done! I also find writing down my goals for the week/month really helpful as it encourages me to stay on track. I actually went a step further this week and posted my goals for the week on my insta story- accountability is everything. 

2. Get a diary 
Whether it's a physical diary you can write in or an app or just even your calendar on your phone, I think it's so important to schedule any events of commitments you've got for the week. For example I always know what gym classes I have to attend or if I'm planning a day out/catch up with my friends we both put it in our diary to ensure we're free. If I intend on getting up and doing fasted cardio (very rare I like my sleep) then I put it in my diary and it means no matter what- that thing is happening so no excuses! It also means you're less likely to double book. 

3. Be prepared 
So the majority of these things I've been talking about in the previous points relate back to being prepared. However I'm talking about the little things- like doing your washing. I swear I never realised how much washing that I need to do on such a regular basis before starting the gym but if you're planning on wearing a certain outfit you need to make sure you've done the leg work beforehand. If you're wanting to stay on track with your nutrition then meal prep is so important. For me, it's key in deciphering whether I'm on point or fail dramatically. If I'm not prepared food wise that's when I tend to reach for biscuits (not good!). I like to prep a couple of days in advance but not like a weeks worth as I find this makes food go gross! Again, schedule in time to do this. Sure it's time consuming initially but in the long run your future self will thank you for being so wonderfully organised! 

4. Be smart
So that was a bit of a vague title but what I mean by this is making the most of your time. For example, when I'm meal prepping I always put on podcasts in the background to listen to. I like to be a sponge for information but I'm such a busy person so if I can get educated whilst on the go then I'm all for it. I also listen to podcasts on the way to work sometimes as I feel it sets me up for the day. If I'm taking my make up off/ washing my face or eating my tea I also find this a good time to catch up on my favourite YouTube videos. I don't like to scroll aimlessly on social media and I like to schedule in time to catch up on content. The majority of the content I follow is either my friends or a source of inspiration/education so I don't feel I am wasting time when engaging with this content. If however I am spending half an hour checking out the daily snapchat filters then of course it has got to the point of procrastination and I need to put the phone down! 

Do you have any tips for being more time efficient or how you avoid procrastination? 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

My Favourite Podcasts

So it's only the past few months or so that I have really gotten into podcasts. I had always heard of audio books but never bothered to listen. I've been into motivational/self help videos/books for a long time now though. It first started when I began my marketing apprenticeship a few years ago and on my first day my managers introduced me to a whole new world on self motivation. I discovered the likes of Tony Robbins and Grant Cardone. Ever since then I've always been interested in anything motivational and have embraced it. 

I find that podcasts are a great way to pick you up if you're having a down day or even to start the day off right. They encourage positive thinking and always offer a new angle on a given subject. Here are my go-to podcasts....

1. Ben Coomber- I'm not quite sure how I stumbled upon Ben's podcasts but I'm so glad I did. The guy is so so knowledgeable and has one of them voices you can listen to for hours. He has some real superstars that feature on his podcasts and the topics covered are always very interesting. He certainly knows his stuff when it comes to nutrition and he covers all sorts of disciplines in the fitness industry from Bodybuilding, Crossfit, Strength training, marathon running and much more. 

2. Joel Osteen - Potentially a fairly controversial choice from me as Joel is a church pastor and I don't consider my self religious but oh my this guy is so so inspirational. If I am ever having a down day I just switch on one of Joels' podcasts. He streams his church services and some of the morals and practices he teaches are amazing. Whether you're religious or not I would seriously recommend listening to his podcasts, like some of the stuff he says is life changing. I first stumbled across Joels Twitter a couple of years ago when I was going through a hard time and honestly some of his words just gave me life and helped me pick my self back up! 

3. Shredded by science - Now these also have some amazing knowledge bombs when it comes to fitness and nutrition, they truly know what they're talking about and offer some interesting insights into the industry. I feel like I have to be in the mood to listen to their podcasts but when I do I pick up some great tips and information. 

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Life Update

So I feel like its been a while since I let you all know whats going on in my life at the moment. I won't go into too much detail but lets go...

Social - Cocktails In The City
So a few weeks back I headed to my best friends' for the night as she has just recently moved to Leeds. Seeing her new place filled me with envy and made me think how cool it must be to have a space to call completely your own! We went to an event together called 'Cocktails in the City' - which was essentially an excuse to drink endless amount of cocktails without feeling guilty! Some of my favourite cocktail places were exhibiting there such as The Alchemist, Hedonist & Angelica. The whole place was filled with people dressed really classy and I seriously enjoyed it. We honestly had the best time. To say I was rushing to get ready, I have to say - for what feels like the first time EVER I actually went out feeling confident and not self conscious in the slightest, which for me is a big thing. I've always been a worrier and on that night, for some reason I just felt so care free - and that was before I even consumed any alcohol. Also on the way home, we went for a late night Nandos (I didn't even know this was a thing) and I can confirm it is legit the best thing ever!

Travel - I'm going to LA
In October me and my best friend are heading for a fun filled week in Los Angeles. California has been at the top of my list for a long time and I'm so excited to explore a beautiful part of the west coast and document the entire trip! I loved America the first time round so I can't wait to see what it has to offer! I feel like 2016 was the year of travel for me and this year my focuses are most definitely elsewhere, but I still have a passion for travel and love seeing new parts of the world.

Education - Starting a new course
So as you guys may or may not know, last year I finished my Marketing Communications qualification, which to be honest - I'm glad its over and done with. Marketing is still a passion of mine and I seriously enjoy it, but my career path has slightly changed and overtime so have my interests. My job is amazing and I love it although I have to say it is something I never imagined my self doing. If you have been round on my blog long enough you will know that I once hoped to become a journalist or work for a magazine. Don't get me wrong, that still sounds amazing and I loved my time interning but I definitely feel my direction has changed somewhat.  Anyway, so after stressing over my Marketing qualification and having a little break from education, I now feel ready to start something new which I am super excited about - I've just started a Management Course. I know it's going to be pretty tough but I'm just looking forward to getting stuck in and learning new things.

Monday, 24 April 2017

FitCon 2017 - Olympia London

So on the weekend just gone I headed to my first Fitness Expo in London- an event called Fitcon! I went with a new friend from the gym who - to be honest I didn't know really at all before the event but we were both extremely keen to go and so we decided to go together. It was honestly such a good decision and I'm really glad I went with her. For one, it meant pushing my self out my comfort zone which is something I think is soooo necessary in order to grow, and also because it turns out we have a lot in common and had such a great time. 

At the time of writing this post I am tucked up in bed after a day of the exciting events and honestly I can't even describe how fired up I am. Fitcon was such a great event where by I was surrounded by amazing athletes including Amanda Bucci, Michelle Lewis, Simeon Panda etc. These  people are truly dedicated and disciplined but also so full of passion for the industry. I never thought anything like this would appeal to me but I absolutely loved it and felt so in my element. 

I got the opportunity to meet two amazing youtubers I follow - Lauren Tickner & Elle Darby (pictured below), who keep me constantly inspired and motivated which was pretty cool. I also got the chance to watch some amazing bikini and body building competitions which, for me was such an eye opener. I literally just watched the whole thing in awe of them. 

There were so many familiar brands exhibiting there such as PEScience, Grenade, USN etc and I also picked up a few freebies along the way. I also purchased a few naughty snacks including the new Bounty Protein bar, Lenny & Larry's Cookies - which, by the way are Vegan! They don't have the best macros but they're pretty delicious! 

We also had time to quickly head to central London and get some food at Whole Foods (aka my fave place on the planet). After sampling protein snacks all day and downing BCAA shots, we both felt like we just needed some vegetables- so that's exactly what we got. It was amazing!  
Before we headed back to Kings Cross we also stumbled upon this huge American sweet shop - that even had its own resident Dj! The old me would have gone wild in here, and whilst I resisted temptation, I could have quite happily consumed the majority of the Reeses Section & Lucky Charms cereal!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

My Favourite Pre/Post Workout Shake

So over the past few weeks I have been OBSESSING over this shake, it is satisfying, full of good carbs, protein and a caffeine boost and it just really hits the spot. It energizes me, leaves me feeling comfortably full but is replenishes my body with protein for muscle recovery. It's super easy and quick to make as well! I tend to take this as a pre workout or if I'm feeling like I need a boost, this is for sure my new go-to pick me up!

What you'll need:
A blender! 
1 scoop of protein - my favourite in this combination is the USN Diet Whey Isolean in Cookies & Cream Flavour - this is a really low carb and fat but has an amazing 25G Protein per serving which is pretty great!
1 banana-  You can either have fresh or frozen. I tend to just use fresh Banana.
Ice- You'll  need enough to fill around 1/3 of your smoothie cup
Alpro Oat Milk - Fill up your smoothie cup to around half way
1 shot of coffee - My preference is Nescafe Azera Americano is my preference
Optional-  Depending on if I fancy something chocolatey or not, sometimes I throw in a teaspoon of Cacao Powder as well

Blend it all up and serve!

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