Now you've probably heard of Giff Gaff, the mobile network run by you, but how'd have thought that a mobile network and fitness would have anything to do with each other? Now they've started the Giff Gaff Game Plan, a way of controlling your spending whilst still heading a healthy and happy life. Well I was invited down to their Money Fit Gym Challenge at Firehouse Fitness Leeds where we were put to our test in order to earn some cash. 

First off, as a gym lover I'd like to point out that if you live in Leeds you should definitely be training at Firehouse Fitness, It's got every piece of equipment you could imagine and isn't just filled with cardio equipment. Over in the free weights area it's a powerlifter's dream. So anyway, we were greeted on the day by the Giff Gaff team and although I knew it was going to be something fitness related, I was not prepared for a morning of cardio....

THE CHALLENGE: Burn 200 calories in 20 minutes on a piece of cardio equipment. Unfortunately for me there were no more treadmills so I was on the dreaded cross trainer (cries inside) but I was reminded that although I don't do much steady state cardio, I'm not as unfit as I thought. Depending on how many calories we burnt meant how much money we earned, with a cap at £40, not bad going for doing a bit of exercise! 

After the sweaty challenge, we were given healthy smoothies created by the team in Firehouse Fitness and had the chance to mingle and chat with other bloggers, something that I've not done for a while. If you know you're a bit crappy with money and need to help sorting out your finances whilst still leading a healthy lifestyle, then head over to https://www.giffgaff.com/gameplan/ and find out more. Plus if you live in Leeds and you're looking for a new gym, then check out https://firehousefitness.co.uk/leeds-gym/


Lemon & Blueberry Loaf

Now i've got a few things coming up that require me to get into better shape, i'm off the naughty treats and making my own healthier desserts to compensate. But that by no means means that i'm holding back on flavour and deliciousness....no i'll still be enjoying my food. So today I made a lemon and blueberry loaf that I can enjoy throughout the week as a sweet treat, it's gluten free and can be made dairy free if preferred.

You will need: 
-3 cups of rice flour 
-3/4 cup of melted coconut oil 
-2/3 cup of milk (or dairy free milk) 
-2 eggs 
-1 tbps of baking powder 
-Pinch of salt 
-1 cup of maple syrup 
-Zest of 1 lemon 
-1 packet of blueberries 

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. 
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, milk, syrup, eggs and lemon zest. 
4. Slowly fold the wet mixture into the dry and mix until there are no lumps left. 
5. Pour the blueberries into the mix and pour into a greased loaf tin. 
6. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown on top and the fork comes through clean. 
7. Enjoy! 


Self Care with Essential Oils

A lot of us should be taking more time out for ourselves, that's right I'm saying that you should be more selfish. It is all about you, you, you because if you can't care for yourself how are you supposed to care of others? This is a quick post to share my top tips of ways I spend me time without breaking the bank...


There is literally nothing better than a bath when you're not feeling 100%. Whenever I'm feeling achey or sorry for myself I instantly head over to the bathroom and stick the hot tap on, why? Because there is just something comforting about sitting and relaxing on your own without any distractions apart from your favourite magazine. If you have trouble sleeping, run a hot bath before bed and add around 8-10 drops of Lavender essential oil to the bath whilst it's running. Not only does the effect of going from a hot bath to a cool room help ease you into sleep, lavender has a calming effect on the body and should send you straight off into a slumber. 

Face care 

I'm the guiltiest person ever when it comes to forgetting to moisturise, I should but I don't and then I end up with Sahara dessert style skin. Rose Hip oil  is full of antioxidants and fatty acids that help to moisturise the skin and reduce the appearance to wrinkles and patchy skin. In a pot, mix some melted coconut oil with a few drops of Rose Hip and massage into the skin. Giving your skin the time it needs is a must if you want to look after yourself properly. 


Everyone loves a good scrub after a sweaty gym session, but instead of putting loads of crap on your skin why not opt to make your own exfoliator. Mix two cups of thick brown sugar with 1/2 a cup of olive or coconut oil and 10-12 drop of your favourite essential oil. Then place this in an air tight container where water won't be able to get in. You'll feel fab, but also bloody brilliant for making it yourself. 

Hair spray 

Now I have a different hair routine from most people, hence the afro, therefore my hair needs a LOT of moisture. However that's not to say that most hair types don't need it too. Grab an empty spray bottle and fill it with filtered water, then add a couple of drops of essential oil. Whenever your hair needs a little refresher then spray it all over, then add your favourite product if necessary. I use this in the mornings to add a bit of moisture after sleep. 

So there you have it! A full me time pamper night planned. Now all you need is your favourite film, some good food and an empty house. And if you want to find your favourite essential oils check out Buff & Butter


The Good Sleep Diet

Researchers are slowly starting to realise that diet and nutrition are pretty much linked to everything that goes on with our bodies, from our digestion to how well our brains works. How many of you can say that you consistently get a good night's sleep? Well your diet may play a vital role in this and certain foods can help you to fall asleep earlier and have a sound night's sleep...


Some studies have found that consuming plenty fibre can lead to more time spent in a deeper sleep, whereas a diet high in saturated fat can cause less sleep and a high sugar diet means more arousal during the night. In a study of 26 adults all at a normal weight with an average age of 35, scientists found that those on a diet planned by nutritionists that was high in fibre, high in protein and low in saturated fat fell asleep quicker. What does this mean? Make sure you're getting the daily recommended intake of fibre each day (30g) through fruit and vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrates and beans and pulses. 


Nuts are just great aren't they? Full of good fats, protein and all the rest, but did you know that they could help balance your sleep pattern? Nuts are full of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycle. Other foods that contain melatonin are bananas, cherries, pineapples and oranges. 

Chamomile Tea 

Although there isn't much scientific evidence to back the statement that chamomile tea helps you to sleep better, it has been used for years as a herbal remedy to help aid better sleep. It is possible chamomile increases glycine, a chemical that relaxes the nerves and muscles which acts as a mild sedative. A study containing 34 adults who consumed 270mg of chamomile extract, twice daily for 28 days fell asleep 15 minutes faster and woke up less in the night. So if you're having problems sleeping there's no harm in giving it a go. 


Again, the idea that milk helps you to sleep is not backed by hard scientific evidence, however studies suggest that the tryptophan in it may help you to sleep better. The biggest factor to this food is psychological, remember being given a glass of milk before bed as a child? Drinking milk will remind you of a simpler time as a child when you wouldn't have the weight of the world on your shoulders and slept sound most nights. 







Carbs are not the enemy

We've all been told by someone or other that carbs are bad, no carbs before Marbs ring any bells? We have the tendency to cut out carbohydrates when we want to lose weight, but is that really necessary? Are carbs the new fats whereby the media portrays them as something bad, when in reality they're actually good for us? 

What is a carbohydrate? 

Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients along with fats and proteins that our body needs, without these foods our body cannot function properly and we get all sorts of deficiencies. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose and used as a source of energy in our day to day lives and when we exercise, they are the main source of energy before fats and proteins. They can be separated into two groups, simple and complex; simple carbohydrates are shorter, easier to break down and consist of sugary foods such as fructose and lactose found in fruit and dairy. Complex carbohydrates are longer, starchier foods such as potatoes, wholegrain foods etc. 

The not so good 

In terms of your health and which ones you should be keeping to a minimum, the simple, sugary carbohydrates can cause harm if consumed in large amounts. High sugar carbohydrates have a high glycemic index, meaning they raise your blood sugar levels quickly, if this happens often and you aren't exercising enough then your body can't balance the sugar levels which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Carbohydrates such as white bread, chocolate, sweets, pastries are all high calorie, low nutrient so they don't provide much for your body, they also don't fill you up, therefore you just end up eating more. Furthermore, these types of foods are normally processed and are full of other sorts of crap that aren't doing you any good. Basically, if it's processed then it's probably not good for you. 

But then what about fruit? Fruits can be high sugar foods so are they bad? Well no, fruit is also full of fibre which means that it helps to slow down the sugar spike and keeps you feeling full. The thing is too, our body needs sugar for energy, when you're about to do a workout it's good to have a piece of fruit to give you that extra boost. The issue arises when you are eating too much sugar and not doing the exercise to burn it off. 

The goodies 

So, which carbohydrates are good for us? The starchy carbs tend to be better as they are full of fibre, don't spike your blood sugar levels and slowly release energy throughout the day. Eating wholegrains like brown rice, wholemeal bread and quinoa are all full of fibre which is great for digestion (helping you poo properly). When you've done an intense workout, your body has used a lot of energy, therefore you need to eat carbohydrates in order to replenish your body, otherwise it will begin to use protein as a source of energy, which you don't want if you're trying to build muscle. Plus, have you ever known anyone on a keto diet ( extremely low carb)? They are moody, get angry very easily and are extremely low in energy, which goes to show the negative way your body reacts when you aren't eating carbohydrates. 

If you've got anymore questions on carbohydrates or nutrition drop me an email or comment.