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