New Years Day – Small Changes

New Years Day – Small Changes

At New Year I think we can all confidently say that we are inundated with two opposing forces in both mainstream and social media. These being the concept of “New Year New You” or the alternate view of “making resolutions is pointless as you never stick to them anyway”.

While for most of us a complete lifestyle overhaul is unobtainable and daunting there are so many small steps you can do to make yourself feel better. It often seems to me that the whole wellness thing that really exploded between 2016 was difficult for us to stick to, expensive to obtain ingredients and often impractical for fitting into a family routine. Just ask me about the time I tried a kale smoothie and thought I was eating grass; or the time I tried the paleo diet and it was the best thing ever until the day I started crying because I was hormonal and desperately wanted some oven chips.

However, I am as guilty as anyone for letting myself think that means I can lose sight of healthier living altogether. I noticed my face becoming increasingly moon like in November and took myself in hand for the 6 weeks prior to Christmas. Here were my smallest changes, but I actually enjoyed the little challenges posed and I got a bit of a spring in my step.

So here are a few suggestions to help you along with a healthier year:

  1. If possible take advantage of your local parkrun. This is a fantastic event run solely by volunteers. Basically its a weekly Saturday morning 5k run. There’s runners of all abilities and its so well run and everyone is really encouraging, even when you’re just starting out. To be honest I am a terrible runner. My gait is like that of Kermit the frog, but the fresh air and actually doing the 5k gives me such a sense of achievement whenever I attend and you can see how you’re improving from your time each week. Its completely free and you can sign up here.
  2. Just try and do more active things at the weekend. Swim, go to a trampoline park, ride your bikes. D and I did a walk around Ripley today and it blew away the cobwebs away and we saw some beautiful countryside.
  3. Stop with the fizzy drinks, especially diet drinks. Full sugar fizzy drinks have so much sugar and you probably don’t really notice you’re drinking empty calories. Diet drinks seem like a sensible alternative but they’re still pretty acidic and the sweeteners can actually contribute towards you putting on weight. I have basically cut put my fizzy drink vice in favour or tea, coffee and water and I think this contributed to weight loss more than anything else and since I stopped having fizzy drinks I noticed I enjoy sweet treats way more.
  4. Identify when you eat the worst. I am a great boredom eater at the weekend and tended to snack after we did our food shop. I also always used to get to lunchtime at work and convince myself I had worked hard enough to justify caramel shortbread from the canteen. Breaking the caramel shortbread habit was straightforward enough as it because something of an ongoing gag between myself and my friends at work but the boredom eating was a challenge. We ended up food shopping at a different time of day to avoid this habit (we also saved money buying fewer sweeties).
  5.  On prepackaged food look at the traffic lights. When you’re out and want a snack this is a great way to grab a snack without it disrupting a basic healthy lifestyle.
  6. Don’t be hard on yourself all the time. Life is to be enjoyed and enjoying good food and wine with family and friends is part of this. Give yourself time to relax and stress less about what you’re eating and just enjoy being with people you care about and have a good time.

Have a happy new year.

Confidence

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As I write this post I have the first line of Parklife going round my head. I’ve just eating a bowl of ice cream and I’m curled up on the sofa with a hot water bottle with cramps. Such is life.

I’m not one of those people who gets inundated with people asking how I get so confident; but I’m also not one of those people who is worried about talking to new people or obsesses and over thinks everything either. However, a few things this week have reminded me of how far I’ve coming in terms of feeling confident and self assured so I was hoping people could relate.

In addition, I think when you are close to rock bottom in terms of confidence one of the worst things you can be told is that “nobody will love you until you learn to love yourself.” The less said about the person that told me that one the better. Anyway; before I start my actual list I will say this is completely not true. You are worthy of love in your darkest hour. You might look in the mirror and see a monster that you aren’t, or be racked with self loathing and you will still be loved. You’ll still be wonderful, worthy of adoration and interesting to talk to. It just might take you a bit of time to like yourself and that’s ok too. Be kinder to yourself and it’ll creep in.

Anyway, here are some things that helped me with confidence in all aspects of my life:

  1. Break out of your comfort zone. Start small, go along with friends to an activity you’d think twice about, talk to someone new at a party (try not to get distracted talking to the host’s cats or dogs like I often do). But keep chipping away at it, keep the momentum of trying new things. The first time I met D in the flesh I was shaking with nerves when I was waiting for him and I often have to force myself to talk in situations where I feel uncomfortable; however in pretty much every scenario where I’ve been dreading something I feel amazing afterwards.
  2. Get moving. Find exercise you like, try new things. One of the most fun Saturday nights I have had recently was going to a trampoline park with my friend and jumping for a good 60 minutes. Anything that puts you moving and puts your heart rate up will give you a nice dose of endorphins.
  3. Give yourself some downtime. Light a few candles, bake, put on comfy clothes or watch films with your significant other (sounds so adult), with friends or on your lonesome. Anything that gives your mind a chance to relax. As I have mentioned before I am a particular fan of sofa nests.
  4. Give other people genuine compliments. This puts me in such a happy mood making people smile and it made me realise when people were saying nice things to me, they genuinely meant it. Just maybe don’t give the same people compliments every hour of every day or you’ll look like a creep (hahaha).
  5. Fake it until you make it. This one actually comes partially from my mother (Happy Mothers Day). Dress in clothes that make you happy and things that suit you, do your hair and make-up how you like, make yourself walk taller and smile. I can’t remember when I stopped doing it because it felt like the most sensible thing and it just became my life.

Obviously if you have major issues with self confidence and self esteem it is always worth talking to somebody about it and taking steps to seeking help. Nobody should have to suffer alone. But hopefully this will help somebody who is having a bad day and my experience might help someone else.

If you’re lucky and I remember I will write a sister post to this one (because I am in fact my brother’s favourite sister) in a few days about body confidence and how I found mine a bit more in my mid 20s. Thank goodness for instagram filters and boyfriends with decent fashion sense.

Anyway, in all seriousness I hope this post has cheered somebody up. I feel I have come a long way since I was the girl with shattered confidence in 2013 and I cannot thank certain people enough for giving me pep talks and encouraging me to like myself again.

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Here’s to a happy, healthy January

Here’s to a happy, healthy January

I think the first few days back to work after Christmas can be more than a little tiring. After time over Christmas basically sleeping, eating biscuits in front of the television and a nice amount of wine getting out of bed has been something of a struggle every morning this week. While I don’t exactly make New Years resolutions (it’s all too tempting to break them) I tend to have yearly goals. However, the main thing I try to do in January is just to be kind to myself. Well, that, and trying not to eat too many biscuits.

So anyway; instead of promising myself I will take things up, go on diets or give up sweet things here are a list of things I think will make January (and the rest of the year) bearable.

  1. Instead of dieting by cutting back on things instead try to eat more healthy meals. Try new healthy recipes, make turkey burgers, stuff a courgette. The world is your multicoloured oyster. I got sent some delicious cold pressed juice in December (its called B fresh) and now I’m a total convert. Who urges you to try this. Anyway, your skin will look better, your blood sugar will spike less and I honestly believe by enjoying healthy living you actually enjoy your food more. If you take away feelings of obligation and guilt and just enjoy your meals, enjoying the odd treat as well your mindset and your relationship with food will improve and you’ll find yourself making healthier food choices more often.

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2. Wear your slippers as much as possible. One colder days I actually wear slipper socks under my boots. Try it. Its deliciously warm and comfortable.

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3. Get outside. I know its cold and rainy yadda yadda yadda, but hear me out. I adore colder crisp days. The light its beautiful and nothing puts me in a better mood than fresh air. Who can blame me with views like this?

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4. Up your breakfast game. When D and I are both off work we tend to have brunch rather than breakfast. Ours over Christmas were particularly decadent (and delicious). However I started making fruity porridge and chia pudding and I have since remembered how delicious healthier alternatives are. So I definitely think a decent breakfast is the key to starting as you mean to go on.

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5. Have a good clearout and do the cleaning you keep putting off. Over the last few weeks D and i have been slowly reorganising our house and sorting our conservatory into a home gym. Its a work in progress but I think its already looking promising. Nothing can describe how happy it made me when our conservatory walls were scrubbed of mildew and sparkling again. To illustrate this point here is a picture of our rabbits who were banished from their usual haunt of the conservatory while we cleaned.

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Don’t they look unimpressed? They also had a fun trip to the vets and were thoroughly spoiled on their return.

I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Latest favourites

Latest favourites

I’m not very good at these favourites posts am I? Sometimes I get so distracted about the thought of food, and recipes and finding time for recipe and ideas for meals I forget to share other things I enjoy in life. (Plus its nice to play around and write different posts to determine what’s most popular and what I most want to write about).

1. Kenco Millicano Whole Bean Dark Roast

So I got sent (a very generous) sample of this coffee about a month ago and its far far superior to the instant coffee I’ve had before. I don’t generally buy the instant stuff (I use my Tassimo or buy it from coffee shops at vast expense). But this stuff tastes really rich and has the slightly cleaner feeling on your tongue of better quality coffee. I took some of this into my work and the more seasoned coffee drinkers rated it highly too. Definitely try this! (In addition Kenco also do a caffeine free version if you can function without caffeine before 10am!)

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In addition, I also used this stuff to make iced coffee with coconut milk which provided me with a lovely pick me up this evening while I was wishfully looking out of the window hoping for warmer May weather. Just make a small mug full of coffee with 2tbsp of the coffee rather than one and freeze in an ice cube tray (one of my friends got me this woodland creature set for Christmas). Add to your coconut milk and let the coffee melt into the milk.

DSC_0618DSC_06212. Asda Extra Special 70% Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs.

DSC_0622D and I are both trying to make healthier eating choices in general. I stuck this into my shopping trolley last week and for once we actually did that thing doctors tell you about “eating 2 squares of chocolate”. This is decadent enough to satisfy a chocolate craving without either of us going overboard. A little of what you fancy does you the world of good.

3. Our new shelves

DSC_0624I feel positively middle ages getting excited about shelves. However, Papa Ferg found us a bit of an oak based bargain last week and then came all the way to Harrogate to build them for us. What a legend. My parents also managed to deliver my record player as well so we have another means of listening to music. (D got my a Belle and Sebastien record for my birthday that he saw me picking up and pondering buying so its lovely to finally be able to play it).

4. Hair accessories from ASOS (gold clips) and Accesorize (spotty bow)

IMG_0352    DSC_0623I’ve already formed a bit of an attachment to the bow. I adore polka dots and spotty things (a good chunk of my clothes are spotty), but these are both really pretty and cheer up outfits, even when it rains.

5. Getting the right bra fit

Cautionary tale of the month. I hadn’t been measured for a bra since I was 13 and buying my first bra. Partially due to laziness and partially due to shyness. However, none of my clothes seemed to be sitting right so I followed a friend’s recommendation and visited Fit to Bust. The lady there was a highly efficient, practical woman who took one look at me and promptly told me I was wearing a bra several cup sizes too small. Then told me I was nicely in proportion (which is always pleasing to hear). So I have since fallen in love with Curvy Kate which provides some lovely things without the ridiculous price tag associated with being a bit more curvy.

Anyway, I feel new levels of comfort and somehow wearing the right size makes me look several pounds lighter.

While I am trying to say, there’s no need to be wary or embarrassed of seeing a bra measuring lady I’m not going to post pictures of my smalls on here (or at least just yet). Instead you can have a picture of my littlest rabbit who looks very much like a chinchilla on this picture.

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2014 – the year I inadvertently got a healthier attitude towards food

I generally don’t delve into my personal life too much on here; despite the slight change of pace and direction on here thebunfight will always primarily be a food blog to me, with various lifestyle, home and craft posts. However, I had a conversation with my mum over the Christmas period and it crept into my mind to write a post dedicated to something important, this being my improved attitude towards food in general (and mostly my increased appreciation of eating carbs with my meals again).

Up until I graduated from university I was slim to average and I was generally perfectly content with how I looked. I’d been brought up eating healthy, home cooked meals by two parents who absolutely doted on me. During my MSc year weight started to creep on and unfortunately during that period of feeling like my career had no direction (that is so common for a lot of us upon graduation) my weight increased to a point in which I was unhappy with how I looked.Fortunately, I ended up moving to a new place for a job related to my degree. Rather more unfortunately I was now cooking for myself and I have a bit of a sweet tooth and a major love for cheese. In addition, an unexpectedly horrible few months led to an unfortunate cycle where I gained even more weight and tried to lose weight eating a low carb diet which I couldn’t maintain and desperately unhappy I ended up comfort eating on sugary, fatty food – exactly what you want to be eating when you’re trying to lose your bingo wings, eh? I still dislike looking at photos of myself from Spring – Autumn 2013 knowing how desperately unhappy I was.

Anyway, I’ve depressed you all enough and this story has a very happy ending. So my life, and self esteem were improved by several things in 2014 which will forever be known as my unexpectedly lovely year. The first one was getting more involved with the right sort of exercise for me – gym classes and running with female friends. If ever there was a lazy woman who needed peer pressure to get off the sofa it was me. I will forever be grateful to my friends from work for barking at me as I ran round various routes in Harrogate (even if i whimpered all the way!) Exercise is so important for your physical and mental health, and although I was going to the gym before I don’t think I really understood the full benefits of fresh air and a more demanding workout.

The other thing that has helped was starting a new relationship and changing living situation. Not for any major reasons to do with looking nice, or obtaining a more positive body image. Have you ever tried to tell a 6ft 3 man with a healthy appetite that his tea that night is a salad? What about fish and vegetables? So, for the ease of cooking for two I started making meals that were a compromise – so things that were relatively healthy but more filling. So starchy carbs such as rice, pasta and bread have all returned to the daily menu and I eat until I feel comfortable.

I no longer snack as much – I get far less hungry between meals generally. I feel more awake and I don’t get as much of a 3pm slump where i feel sluggish. For a number of reasons I feel happier and my general mood has improved. We have dessert as a treat, not a nightly occurrence and neither of us is as bothered about snacking every night. I think when lower carb diets are suggested to people trying to lose weight, we forget that it is difficult to maintain this in the long term. Its not as sustainable for most people. Its far less easy to say no to a chocolate biscuit when your body thinks its missing out by not having porridge for your breakfast. When you’re trying to keep to a lower carb diet, everything outside of this dining experience becomes something of a naughty snack and we start to associate eating things we should be eating less of as a pleasurable experience. I personally have noticed gradual weight loss happening since I unconsciously changed my eating habits.

I still adore cooking and baking and I regularly bake on a Sunday afternoon and I still love blogging and writing about food. However, I don’t feel the same guilt for enjoying treats and I tend to bake more with fruit or make things we can take with our packed lunches or things that will keep during the week. Funnily enough there is a Ferrero Rocher Tart post in the pipeline but this sort of bake has become something I like to make when I have more time, at special occasions.

To summarise, this post feels like an awfully heavy topic for somebody who gets excited by Kinder Egg toys and Moomin pyjamas but diets and body image are partially related to food, right?

Anyway, after a post heavy on feelings rather than cake possibly you’d like to see a few pictures from my year?

D and I at possibly one of the worst restaurants in North Yorkshire
D and I at possibly one of the worst restaurants in North Yorkshire
Hen Do with some of the wonderful people who make me run
Hen Do with some of the wonderful people who make me run
There is so rarely a nice photo of us both
There is so rarely a nice photo of us both – Hallowe’en photobooth fun

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ith female friends