Staying Motivated in Winter

It's cold, it's dark and even the simplest task of leaving your bed seems like climbing Mount Everest at the moment. So, how are you supposed to stay motivated to keep up your fitness, regime, go to work, eat well and focus on your goals when bed seems like the most viable option? I don't care whether you're a couch potato or Mr Motivator, this time of year is HARD, so I'm going to try and give you some tips on how to keep your spirits high at this time of year...

1. Make a vision board

Nothing gets you feeling pumped like a vision board. Get your favourite magazines, images from online or wherever you can find them and get creative with making something that will keep you inspired. Make sure you place it somewhere in your house where you will see it everyday, that way when you're having a bad day something as small as this will quickly cheer you up when you see what you're aspiring too.

2. Be around friends & family

Especially at this time of year, it's a time to fit in as many social occasions as possible. A lot of us are self-employed these days or are busy trying to build our careers and often forget about other things that arguably much more important. You'll find no greater joy than spending an afternoon with your family, taking your mum out to dinner or meeting friends for a film night, it's occasions like this that we live for. We aren't meant to be alone and isolated and sometimes we get so caught up in our own problems that we forget this, so send someone a text now and enjoy time with loved ones.

3. Set your goals for 2019

It may seem a little early to be thinking about your 2019 goals, but personally I think you can never be too prepared. It really is tough to stick to any goals when it's so close to Christmas, so just give yourself some time to rest and reset so you're ready to kill it in 2019. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, one of life's key quotes.

4. Plan something big

Holidays are the one thing we can all agree on that make us feel good. The thought of remaining horizontal on a beach for 10 days, or exploring beautiful cities are the perfect excuse to work hard in order to celebrate something at the end. You may be stuck for money with it being so close to Christmas, but why not plan your holiday down to the finest detail so you are dedicated to booking it when the time is right. Once you've got this planned, it gives you a date to set your fitness and nutrition goals for.

5. Don't worry about it

Stop stressing about all the things you need to do, it's Christmas after all!


Blacks - This Is My Way

Last week Blacks held an event at their store on Deansgate, Manchester to welcome the launch of their new campaign 'This Is (My) Way', celebrating ordinary women who do the extraordinary and take full advantage of the beautiful British countryside through outdoor activities. 

The event featured games, a pop up photo-booth and a short video and speech from the team and some of the women who took part in the campaign, telling us about why they are so passionate about the outdoors and how it helps them. The first video campaign featured Katie, an Oxford graduate and doctor who has been battling with depression and uses the outdoors as an escape and a place to give herself headspace. Katie has taken part in marathons and triathlons and wants to encourage people to use outdoor exercise to help strengthen the mind as well as the body. 

We had the pleasure of hearing Olivia Wood talk to us about her experience outdoors. She is outdoors in the mountains every weekend, whether that be hiking, camping, cycling or climbing, and she doesn't stop their, taking her 5 year old daughter with her too. Olivia wants to show us that life isn't all about the 9-5 and instead we should be exploring the beauty around us, and encouraging it from a young age. 

My favourite part about this campaign is that it's real women, not athletes or 'insta famous' girls who are paid to exercise and spend time outdoors. No, this is simply about the everyday strong females that take time our of their normal working lives to pursue the outdoors. This makes the campaign so much more accessible to us than most, it's much more inspiring and frankly gave me a kick up the bum to realise that if I want to make the effort to be outdoors more, I can and so can you. The UK has so much amazing outdoor space that so many of us don't take enough advantage of, and maybe 2019 is the year that we begin to do so, I most certainly will be. If you want to know more about the campaign, click here to see all of the campaigns. 



Literally stop what you're doing, stop answering emails as soon as you open your eyes, stop taking up your lunch hour to get some extra revision done, stop scrolling until your eyes start to burn at night. We've become so obsessed with becoming as productive as possible that it's now seen as a taboo to give yourself some time to do something you enjoy and relax. With such an over-productive society, it is more vital than ever that we take time to do nothing with the ever expanding amount of mental and physical health issues we are causing ourselves due to stress and a lack of sleep. But how do we overcome this feeling of guilt? When all we want to do is sit down with a magazine or watch The Simpsons at 6pm? 

Schedule relaxation into your routine 

If you really struggle to squeeze in 5 minutes to yourself then make it part of your routine and schedule it in like anything else. Setting apart a particular spot in the day for relaxation like you would a meeting or work means that you have an allotted time slot for some me time and anything else you need to do can be arranged around it. 

Leave work at the office 

Now that we all have access to our emails from our phones it has become close to impossible to leave work at the office. A lot of job roles these days are digital and therefore work is accessible anywhere and everywhere, but if you're not being paid anymore why should you be doing extra work? No matter what the workload you shouldn't be working outside of your hours as this causes you to overwork which leads to stress and fatigue, so leave work at the office, no buts. 

Is it really that important? 

Do you really neeeeed to do that task? Or can it wait a few hours? Sometimes when we're so tired we become counterproductive and a task that would really take 20 minutes takes 1 hour because you can't concentrate properly. It's times like this when you need to take a step back and think about what is really more efficient, hammering through the work now or taking a rest and continuing later? I know you may be thinking you're in a rush to get the task done, but once your brain is rested and ready to reset, you might just get it done quicker. 

Have a day off 

Just have the day off, no one should be working 7 days a week whether you're employed, self employed or freelance. Give yourself a day where you completely ban yourself from work which will allow your brain to switch off. Maybe even turn your phone off, that way you can't be distracted by emails or social media and instead you spend the day socialising with friends and family. 

It's really not smart or cool to run yourself into the ground, I'm not only telling you guys this but also telling myself. With social media it is really easy to put yourself down and feel as though you're not accomplishing enough, but what you see on social media isn't always true. It's time we all gave ourselves a little time. 


Mackie Mayor: Taking Social Eating to a New Level

If you've ever decided to eat out in Manchester you'll know that the biggest task is choosing where to go. With a huge up and coming dining scene, we have every kind of cuisine to offer, but it makes it a hell of a lot easier to decide when it's all in one place, and that's where Mackie Mayor comes in...

Located on the border of Northern Quarter and Ancoats, Mackie Mayor hosts a variety of different cuisines all under one roof, from Hearty beef meals through to sourdough pizzas and a wine bar. You could spend your whole day from lunch through to dinner wining and dining and trying out a different restaurant each time. Mackie Mayors was conjured up by the creators of Altrincham market, a similar concept based on the outskirts of Manchester in Cheshire. It's child, dog, everyone friendly and has a whole community feel about it when you step inside. The great thing is, it's a place to make you social, set up with rows of benches, you are forced to sit on a table with strangers (a bit like a hipster school hall) and eat, drink and be merry together. 

I've been a few times and opted for a different place each time, most recently I went for La Cucina (Italian) whilst Simon went for Rotisserie, both equally as delicious and serving home-cooked, fresh food that just filled you with content on a cold Sunday afternoon. 

Pork ragu was my choice of dish that day, the best freshly cooked pasta topped with pulled pork in a spicy tomato based sauce and finely grated parmesan to finish it off in true Italian style. Never having tasted a ragu before I didn't know what to expect, I was worried the pork would be too fatty etc, but it was one of the best pork dishes I have ever tasted, whoever thought to put pulled pork with pasta is a genius in my eyes. Simon stuck to a more traditional meal, slow roast pork with roast potatoes (yes, can you see the theme here). I can't comment on how good the meal was, but i'm guessing pretty fantastic if I wasn't allowed much of a taste... Either way the food did not disappoint, and felt us feeling full and ready to brave the Manchester winter weather. 

Next time you're out with friends and can't decide where to eat you now know where to go, with so many different options you can all eat what you like without having to sacrifice for each other. If you want to know more, check out their website here


LA - The City of Dreams

I don't normally write about travel on my blog, but I thought seeing as though it's a subject I enjoy and I hope to do a lot more of it in 2019 that I should probably give it a go. And seeing as though I've still got holiday blues after visiting Los Angeles (a month ago) it's nice to reflect on the good times there instead of looking out at the miserable weather in Manchester.

So what's the big deal...

At first I thought the same thing, my family and other people had bigged LA up to me and when I arrived I couldn't get past the idea that it reminded me of a larger and more built up Spain. And just to get it out of the way now, Hollywood is a rich man's Blackpool. Of course you have to go, you see the stars, visit the Chinese Theatre and rummage in the $5 shops that are everywhere. It's definitely not the best part of the city and it feels a little sleazy, but Hollywood has a certain charm to it and you can't avoid it on your travels.

However, after a day or too things really started to set in for me, I've always had a negative perspective of America, no idea why but it soon started to fade. The thing about LA is that no two places are the same, you visit Venice Beach and it's full of characters roller-staking and dancing about, Beverly Hills is like another world, hosting the shopping central for the rich and famous, and then a drive away you feel like you're in the desert up in the hills. It's definitely a place to go if you like a change of scenery.

The Beach

Santa Monica beach is something like you'd see in an American film, a beach with a long pier filled with rides, food and a whole lot of people. It's got a real buzz about it and of course not forgetting, Bubba Gump Shrimp (if you know you know). So you can either choose to stay here or take a walk along the boardwalk down the rest of the beaches. You'll pass the Santa Monica muscle beach where there's a load of ripped guys climbing ropes and swinging from things, whilst roller skaters and cyclists wizz past you on the path, your eyes honestly won't know where to look.

From here you'll pass by Ocean Beach which probably feels like the most laid back of the beaches with not too much going on apart from plenty of volleyball. If it's a quieter spot your looking for then park yourself here and enjoy the rays. Or if it's a bit of madness you want then you need to keep going until you get to Venice beach. I felt like I was living in a dream, I cannot describe to you in words how whimsical and insane, but totally amazing the place is. There is a large row of shops offering anything from cheap t-shirts to marijuana, just what you need on a day out to the beach! Plus there are plenty of character for you to see, including the guy with the boombox on roller-skates, be sure not to miss him.

The Hikes

With it being surrounded by canyons and hills, there's an endless amount of walks you can find yourself on and never get bored. I took a family walk on the Fern Dell Dr path from Griffiths Observatory down to the drive, a fairly easy walk and suitable for families and beginners (unless you had whining children like we did). You end the walk at a small park which is a way to entice any young people you have with you. 

Next on the list was Runyon canyon, a favourite of most tourists who wish to get a glimpse of the hiking scene over there. If you get it on a good day (which is most days), you'll have to most spectacular view across LA, from the Griffith Observatory, to the Hollywood sign and downtown LA. It's really not to be missed and so worth the sweaty walking you have to do to get there. 

Finally, just before we went home, I had to try and make a trip to the Hollywood sign, unfortunately I didn't quite make it there but got pretty close. We hiked from the Griffith Observatory to the sign, which is pretty damn far, took a few wrong turns along the way but eventually made it just below the sign. I'll have to admit, after 2-3 hours hiking in the blistering sun we decided to take an Uber back down... cheating I know, but SO worth it. 

Everything In-between  

Obviously there is a lot more to LA than just the beaches and hills, they were just my favourite parts, but there is an immense amount of things for anyone and everyone to do, one being shopping...

Los Angeles is the place to be if you want to splash some cash and if you really do have the cash then take it to Beverley Hills and roll down Rodeo Drive. If not, just take a walk down there, it's a beautiful part of the city and there's more than enough to admire. Hollywood is also a great place for shopping, especially the typical tat that we all buy, but my favourite place has to be Melrose Avenue, if you're from Manchester then you'll know what I mean if I say it's the Afflecks of LA. The avenue is filled with quirky shops where you can find almost anything and everything, varying in price range. 

If shopping isn't your thing, then there are more than enough tourist things to do, such as visit the walk of fame, the Dolby Digital Theatre, the Chinese Theatre, Madame Tussaud, Universal Studios (get to Hogwarts) and the Los Angeles zoo. I'd recommend you take one of the hop on bus tours and just see what all the different parts of the city have to offer, because they're plenty to see! 


Dive, Not Just a Bar

I find no greater joy in life than eating out, why? Because you get to sit and socialise with friends and family, eat good food and most importantly, you don't have to wash up. So when I get invited to go and review a restaurant it's like a Godsend. A few weeks back I was asked to review the food at Dive Bar in the Northern Quarter, Manchester, surprised at first that they actually served food, I was even more taken aback when it tasted so good...

Set back from the main road on Tib Street, Dive bar is located next to Afflecks Palace, hidden downstairs like a seedy 1930s speakeasy. More commonly known to be a late night club on the weekends, Dive are actually open from early afternoon, serving American style diner food, big burgers, burritos and all kinds of fried chicken. If it's a big 'scran' (as we call it in Manchester) you're looking for then they've got everything you need, and I can vouch and say the portion sizes are more than sufficient. Plus they've got the craziest cocktails going, like my favourite parma violet, so you're sure to walk away with happy tastebuds and a full belly. 

Seeing as though I've been holding back on the meat a little recently, I thought it was time to splash out and over indulge. Simon opted for 'The Big Cheese' whilst I went for 'Chicken and Waffles' (chicken, the obvious choice every time). As you can see from above, the burgers were pretty hefty and it was more than a task trying to bite into that. A double cheeseburger patty with salad, cheese and burger sauce, with a side of fries and slaw. Mine was fried chicken and waffles topped with gravy (on the side for me) and maple syrup. 

I can't say I'm the biggest fan of the sweet, savoury combination, however there was minimal syrup on the waffles so it wasn't too sweet. Plus, the waffles complimented the chicken quite well, making it seem no different than having a savoury carb with your meal, definitely something I'll be trying again in the future. 

I feel like you may be a little disappointed in me as I didn't get a dessert, who goes to review a restaurant and doesn't get dessert? Well unfortunately the large meal topped off with a Kopparberg just tipped me over the edge, and at the time with an oncoming holiday I wasn't willing to sacrifice weeks of gym effort and blow it on a 10,000 calorie meal I'm afraid. But, if you want to try them out yourself they offer brownie, banana split, strawberry sundae and chocolate crunch, a vanilla and chocolate ice cream with dulche leche (OMG), crunchie, cream, chocolate sprinkles and brownie.... I needn't say anymore.

If you want to try it out yourself, check out the website and book here


The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin because we mainly recognise it as being a vitamin that we get from the sun. Our body produces this vitamin naturally when we  receive sunlight, however there are also a few foods that can supply us with vitamin D. But why do we need it?

Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and aid bone growth, a lack of it can lead to osteoporosis. As it is a fat soluble vitamin, unlike most, it cannot dissolve in water meaning it is mainly available in high fat foods and it is a lot easier to absorb into the bloodstream when eaten with fat. As well as vitamin D, vitamins A, E and K are also fat soluble. This means the few foods we do get vit D from include, salmon, egg yolks and shrimp, all high fat foods. However many foods are fortified, meaning they have the vitamin added to them such as cereal, yoghurt and orange juice. Although these are all good sources, as long as you're getting a sufficient amount of sunlight, your body can produce enough all by itself. 

If you're fortunate enough to live in a sunny country then that's all well and good, but if in places like the UK where sunshine isn't a regular visitor you many have to consider eating more of these foods or taking vitamin D supplements, which you should consult your doctor about first. But how can you tell that you're suffering from vitamin D deficiency? Well here are some of the symptoms...

-Fatigue, feeling generally not very well often 
-Severe muscle and bone pain or weakness 
-Stress factures 

As stated above, Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, helping build and keep the bones strong. A deficiency in vitamin D in children can cause rickets, where you will find children with 'bow legs' due to soft bones. Weak bones in older adults can be especially dangerous as it increases the risk of falling and breaking bones, which can lead to further problems in later life. 

There have been some studies to suggest that vitamin D may also play a part in the prevention of cancer, as it regulates cell growth and studies have suggested that calcitriol (the hormone form of vit D) can slow down and prevent the growth of new blood vessel tissues cancerous tissue. Other studies have shown that the vitamin may also have a part to play in the prevention in diseases such as Alzheimers, asthma, swine flu and cardiovascular disease, however more studies need to be made. 



How to Beat the Weekend Binge

TFIF right? Crack open the bottle of vino, get Dominoes ordered and get your feet up ready for a movie night, sound like something you might do regularly on a Friday night? Nope i'm no mind reader it's just what most of us do when it get to the weekend after a looooong week working. Sure it's great to sit back and relax over the weekend, but how many weekends has it been now where you've gone on a bit of a 'binge', whether it be food, alcohol or something else and cocked up any healthy progress you've made during the week? 

Why do we do it? 

So, i'm going to place pretty much all of the blame on stress. When you've had a hectic day at work how many times have you lit a cigarette, poured yourself a glass or opened the emergency ice-cream in the freezer? When you're placing a lot of stress on your daily life without any mid week breaks, that tension builds and builds until you get to the weekend and desperately feel like you need to release, a little bit like holding in when you need the toilet, at some point you're going to burst. Stress is quickly becoming one of the world's biggest health problems with it contributing towards anxiety, depression and weight gain, so it's pretty clear to see that if we eliminate the stress then the rest will follow? 

Mid week treat yo'self 

Release the tension before it makes you burst. You don't have to save the cake until the weekend. Instead of splurging and having the whole cake at the weekend, have a slice on a Wednesday and you'll be less inclined to blow out later on in the week. There is no rule to say that you can't enjoy yourself during the week, so why save it all for the weekend? By giving yourself that little bit of enjoyment in the middle of the week you're telling yourself that not everything good has to come at the weekend, spread it out and spread the happiness, just don't make the things you know may not be too good for you a regular habit. 

Stop stressing 

If stress is the reason you're bingeing that it's pretty simple how to solve it right? Reduce your stress levels. Now I know this is much easier said than done. you may have a high stress job, or have family/relationship problems that are the root cause of the problem, but there are things you can do to try and help yourself relax. Make sure you take time out for yourself on a daily basis, it's not selfish and you do have time. Do something you enjoy, whether that's reading a magazine, watching a film or doing a bit of meditation, it can be absolutely anything as long as you enjoy it. 

Stay busy 

I find that I snack on rubbish the most when i'm bored, and I can imagine that it's a similar situation for a lot of people. If you spend all weekend doing very little it becomes very easy to keep getting the drinks in or nibbling on packets of crisp, so it may be useful to stay on your toes to avoid this situation. Make plans for the weekend, go for a walk, go shopping but just stay busy, you don't have to spend money to go out and enjoy yourself, just make sure you aren't cooped up in the house all weekend where it's very easy to pop your head into the fridge. 


A Day in the Life of a PT

I've been a PT for 2 years now and although I love my job, I can definitely say it's been far from easy. At the moment the health and fitness industry is booming, which is obviously great for me, but also means my job role is extremely saturated and you've got to work hard to give yourself a chance to make it. A lot of people think it's an easy job and because they like the gym they will want to be a PT, but it takes a lot more than that. Now I know i'm still pretty much a rookie in the game and they'll be people with far more experience, but this is just a little snippet into how I live my life as a PT... 

5:00am - wake up, do yoga and get ready for work 

6:00am - 11:00am/12:00pm - Train clients 

12:00pm-1:00pm - Train 

1:00pm-1:30pm - Eat lunch 

1:30pm - 4:00pm - session planning & class planning 

4:00pm - 5:00pm - Come Dine With Me (or some other crap television) 

5:00pm-6:00pm - Train 

6:00pm-9:00pm - Train clients 

9:00pm - Eat dinner & try to relax

10:30pm - Bed. (finally)

Now this isn't exactly how everyday goes, obviously it varies and I do more or less work some days but you get the general jist. My point being that even when you're not at the gym with clients you're writing client plans, or finding ways to get new clients or doing general self-employment admin. It's really not as easy as it seems and people who are self-employed deserve more credit than they receive. 

Being a PT isn't all about going to juice bars, posting workout selfies for Instagram and looking good in the latest GymShark gear, no. Personal training is about spending many hours for free in the gym showing your face to members to try and get clients, early mornings, late nights and working crazy hours that mean you don't get to see any of your friends and family, just the other PTs. So, if you want to be a PT then that's great and it's an extremely rewarding job, but don't be blinded by social media and the glamourised version of the job. 


Zouk Tea Bar & Grill

Who doesn't love a curry? If you don't then this post may not be for you. I've had my fair share of good curries, but I'm still yet to truly delve into the curry world of Manchester, and explore the great authentic meals that the city has to offer with such a large Asian community. Last week I got to tick Zouk off my list, a restaurant serving authentic Indian and Pakistani food in Manchester and Bradford.

You'll know you're close when you see the pretty lights and smell the aromatic scent of shisha passing through the street. Zouk is placed just off Oxford road in the city centre and is beautifully decorated with plants & fairy lights, the atmosphere is already buzzing by the time you hit the entrance with people laughing and smoking shisha. At the entrance you'll be greeted with the open front kitchen, so you can see just how incredibly hard the chefs  work. 

Being the launch of the new steak menu (and me not liking steak) it was Simon's turn to indulge in the finer things on the menu. The manager suggested going for the best of the best and recommended the chateaubriand steak served with roast vegetables, chunky fries and a special 'zouk' sauce. Now I know you're probably thinking...Steak in an Indian restaurant? Yep, but that's what makes it such a special restaurant, it offers more than your standard Indian. Being plain ol' me, I opted for a chicken biriyani because I strongly believe that one of the best ways to judge a restaurant is by trying one of their most simple dishes. If they can do these well then you know it's a good place to go. p.s I'm also quite fussy and like to stick to what I know...

The biriyani was served with the sauce on the side of the chicken and rice, giving me the option to add as much sauce needed based on my preferred spice level, plus our naan and still leftover poppadoms, we had a feast fit for a king. 

Considering having a curry today then? Well luckily for you, Zouk serve brunch, lunch and dinner, so no matter what time you're in the mood for some Indian food you can find it here. Check out their website for the full menu. 


3 Books that have changed the way I think

For any of you that don't know me so well, I don't just exercise all of the time (most but not all) and I actually love to read in my spare time, being an English Literature student, you can't keep me away from a good novel, however in the last year or so I've been inclined to choose non-fiction books a lot more. It seems as though we are in a bit of a global stress crisis and with more self-help books than ever on the shelves, and we must question why so many of us are suffering with anxiety and depression when we have all of the bare necessities plus more. Some of these books help to put a different perspective on life and make you think about things a from a more positive perspective.

1. Factfulness

If you thought everything in the world was going wrong then you're wrong, and that's a fact. Hans Rosling studied statistics and medicine and has created a quiz that the smartest people in the world couldn't even get right because we all have such a negative outlook on the world. The book really puts into perspective how people across the world live and that there no longer needs to be the words, 'developed' and 'undeveloped' countries because there isn't such a split between the two. Reading this book will make you want to stop reading/watching/listening to the news because of the negative twist it puts on everything, when in reality, things are improving. Although things may be bad, it doesn't mean that things aren't getting better...

2. The subtle art of not giving a f**k

This book does what it says on the tin, shows you how to stop giving a sh*t about the things that don't really matter in life. How many times have you worried about something small which has snowballed into a huge problem and eventually leads to a complete meltdown and questioning everything you've done so far in life? Yeah it's happened to the majority of us, when in reality it really doesn't contribute to your life in any way. Because we panic over so many small things, this leads to us forgetting about the important things, and this book gives you that slap in the face you need to remind you of this.

3. This is going to hurt

With the ongoing news about the NHS, we are always hearing about how targets aren't being met and the ever longing wait for A&E, but do we truly understand just how hard they doctors, nurses, admin staff work? This is going to hurt is full of funny, embarrassing, but also quite mellow anecdotes from a junior doctor and his time working in different hospitals. The book gives you an insight into just how difficult it is being a junior doctor and the lengths they go to to save us. 

Even if you're not a book boffin, it's always good to take some time out and escape reality in a good book. So next time you go to switch on the TV, when not choose one of these incredible books and learn a little more about the world...


Brunchin' at Gusto

Is there anything the millennial British love more than brunch? I'd struggle to find someone that says no to this. Brunch, that awkward time in-between breakfast and lunch has opened up brand new times and menus for restaurants and has now made eggs benedict one of the nation's favourite meals, but with so many options, where do you go for a lazy Sunday brunch? Well we headed to Gusto in Knutsford a few Sundays ago and indulged in a hearty meal with some other bloggers. 

If you've never been to Knutsford and you live in the North West then you need to get yourself there ASAP. It's a small village in the heart of Cheshire that boasts beautiful architecture, endless restaurants and the amazing Tatton Park, which spans across 1000 acres of gobsmacking grassland. You can literally take a few steps from Tudoresque buildings to this outstanding park, hosting a stately home and deers, sounds like the perfect place to live right? When you'll need a bit of cash to live round there. We strolled down the main road where we got to the pretty lights and green decor at Gusto and stepped into one of the most Instagrammable restaurants I have ever seen. 

With it being a blog event, there were cameras spread across the table and everyone getting shots of the beautiful interior and fancy cocktails, but it was a great way to meet new people and learn about how other bloggers do things. The menu offered a range of brunch meals, from sweet to savoury, but I couldn't help myself and stuck to what I love best, a full english. Whilst we waited for our food, we were offered a host of cocktails, i'll admit it was a little too early for me to drink alcohol but they looked delicious all the same. Once the food came we were blown away with the presentation, so much so that it felt like a shame to ruin it, but it had to be eaten. 

Some of the meals on the menu included my full english, potato rosti with egg, pancakes and toast topped with nutella, banana and cherries, sounds good right? Well it was, and once we had gone round and taken all of the photos it was time to tuck in and enjoy the food. Gusto were able to tend to any needs and changes on the menu, offering whichever type of egg I wanted with the meal and offering alternatives to the tomato on the full english ( which I still don't understand this tradition). The hot drinks were pouring and it couldn't have been a better way to spend a late Sunday morning, if you're looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy the weekend then get down to Gusto Knutsford


Ramble through Buxton with Patagonia

It's been a heavy few weeks, working everyday for the last 2 weeks I was in need of a little time to myself, not writing client training programmes, not being in the gym, just letting my mind have some time on it's own to relax. Simon and I had planned to go on a hike last Sunday but weren't sure where to go, enjoying the outdoors but not being advanced hikers, we often end up going off on a tangent which can be fun, but we never take the path we're supposed to. So, finding out that Patagonia Manchester were going to lead a walk in Buxton, we leapt at the chance of meeting some new people and actually following a set route that we can do again in the future. 

It was 8:00am on Sunday morning, and being nervous that I was going to be the beginner in a group of advanced hikers, I was beginning to doubt whether or not just to do our own thing like normal. However, after a big breakfast (bacon of course) and a shot of courage, I realised that I'm never going to get better if I don't learn from others, so we set off for Piccadilly station, scared but excited. We met up with the team from Patagonia Manchester and others that had joined the walk and got the 8:50am train to Buxton, we knew that these guys really enjoyed the outdoors if they were willing to get up at early doors on a Sunday for a hike. 

The train took around 1 hour and cost £10 for a return ride, we passed through stockport and many other scenic villages along the way, making me question whether a move closer to the countryside could be on the cards in the next few years. Once we reached Buxton, the air was fresh but the summer's sun kept it warm enough to keep jumpers at bay. We walked through the centre and straight through ......park where the early risers were walking their dogs and a group were taking part in a still life painting class....all very English. Once we crossed through the park we came to a small gravelled road and took a right, walking past a few house and then through a golf course.

It was astounding to see how quickly we went from a little town to the rolling hills and countryside, we passed through some farms to reveal the open planes of the beautiful British countryside. Now this is where I get pretty stuck giving you directions as to where we went because I was just too busy chatting to new people and enjoying the landscapes. However, we followed a marked trail and followed signs to Wildmorestone Brook. We arrived at a bunker type building and stopped for a rest (around 1hr into the walk), topping up on water, fruit and other nibbles to push us through until lunch time. Make sure when on a hike you bring PLENTY of water to keep you hydrated, especially with the crazy UK weather at the moment. In terms of snacks, unless you're trying to be super healthy, don't worry too much about having really healthy snacks, you burn a lot of calories on a long walk but fruit, and high carb/protein snacks are great for giving you energy and keeping you full. 

At around 12:15pm we took a short break, overlooking the reservoir below and taking in the outstanding scenery. Sweets, crisps and chorizo were passed about before we headed off up to the right and crossed the road before heading back onto grassland. Here the landscape was flatter and there were more people about. We passed by a small pond and followed the path where we ended up circling round and returning back to the point with the bunker building. From here, we followed the path back from where we came at the start and all we could think about was the ice cold beer (or cider for me) that was awaiting us a Buxton brewery. As it was hitting midday, the sun was beating down on us and our legs were starting to tire, but everyone was still chirpy and we pushed on until the end. Once we reached the park we took the park exit close to the opera house and the Buxton Brewery was just ahead, down a smaller road. 

The mighty journey was finished with a cider, pulled pork nachos and a well deserved nap on the train home. Now we're just waiting for the next event, and hopefully some more of you guys can join too! 


NEON: Healthy Fast Food

Last Saturday after a 6am start and 3 classes taught I headed over to Wilmslow to indulge in some healthy grub which I most definitely needed! Neon Health Kitchen is located in the heart of Wilmslow and offers healthy juices, smoothies and meals that don't leave you feeling like you've taken a step backwards after training.

The cafe/restaurant offers both indoor and al freso dining so you can dine in the sun or stop off for a coffee whilst taking the dogs out for a walk. It's varied menu gives you the option of clean breakfasts to light snacks and burgers, made fresh and with real, healthy ingredients. I opted for the scrambled egg on sourdough with added sausage and bacon, top this off with a peppermint tea and a ginger shot, it set me off to a strong start for the rest of the day.

And although you may be put off at the thought of eating in Wilmslow with the usually overpriced dining, this place is very affordable and no more expensive than other health cafes. Plus, if you're looking for a way to stay clean everyday as well as when you're visiting, Neon offer meal prep, all home cooked and freshly prepared meals that you can grab from your fridge and eat on the go. If you've tried your own meal prepping, you know how much time it takes, eliminate the time and effort and have it brought straight to you, a simple way to stay on track.

So, if you're craving an acai bowl or some good breakfast grub, get down to Neon Health Kitchen and give their menu a go, delicious, healthy food without feeling as though you've had a splurge.