Sweaty Betty takeover at James Dun’s House with Juice Warrior and Infinity Yoga Glasgow


A few weeks ago, I spied Sweaty Betty Glasgow planning a takeover at James Dun’s House at 4 Hanover Street on Friday 27th February. There was going to be free yoga lead by the lovely Colette from Infinity Yoga, cold-pressed juices by Juice Warrior and the possibility to sample the spa treatments, so naturally I picked up the phone and booked myself in. And was it not worth the commute down! The ladies at the salon made everyone feel welcomed the moment you stepped in. The atmosphere at James Dun’s was calming and relaxing – I would love to spend a day getting pampered in the good care of the girls. We spent a little while waiting for the yoga to begin, having arrived a little early, before pushing ourselves in Colette’s yoga flow. Not sure if it was the pigeon with raised hands, or upper bow in my morning class, but my back has been positively sore all day today! Colette runs the Infinity Yoga studio in the Merchant City, a studio offering everything from your usual non-heated Hatha and Yin classes to hot Ashtanga and Bikram-based classes. I’m dying to become a regular, wish the distance (and the train fares) wouldn’t be such an issue or I’d be down in her care all day every day.

IMG_2029After the yoga, with everyone positively relaxed and feeling all cosy and fuzzy, we were offered to sample the treatments available at James Dun’s, and I went for a shoulder and head massage – almost falling asleep in the chair! Any new customer can get a £30 intro to Spa offer, enabling you to book a full one-hour treatment for half price. The attendees were given a Juice Warrior juice (I think I’ve fallen in love with Blood Pact: how can it be so sweet without any fruit in it?!) and a Sweaty Betty tote with some flyers, a run bottle (I have been drooling over one for months now, can’t believe my luck) and some hair toggles. I have been wanting to try toggles since I read a couple of blogs praising them to be a lot better for your hair than your traditional hair ties. I shall let you know how these endure all the Tough Mudder training in due course. All in all, I had an amazing time and could not have thanked the team enough for throwing such a relaxing event to finish off a Friday that had been full of stress and worry on my part. I also slept like a wee baby, not a worry in the world.

Now I just wish I had the money to enjoy the Sweaty Betty online sale without having to starve for a week or two… Maybe next time around!

Nothing added, only extracted: Juice Warrior

Juicing has been the trend for the last couple of years: drink your OJ and lose those Christmas pounds, get beach ready with carrot juice in just a week – I am surprised if there is anyone left who doesn’t know what I’m talking about. While I remained sceptical for quite some time, the idea of drinking freshly extracted green juices started growing on me. Sure the media’s take on juicing is puzzling: one minute it’s the source of all evil (Independent, Guardian) and the other it’s actually okay (Guardian). The problem, I find, with smoothies and fruit juices especially, is the ridiculously high sugar content. My friend Catherine cut all sugar off her diet for a few weeks last summer, and just following her quest made me realise how much sugar and salt and other additives there are in your normal supermarket goods. While the option, for me at least, would be to stick to vegetable juices, I was worried I would not enjoy the taste whatsoever. I own a blender and a centrifugal juicer. The blender gets used on the odd Sunday when I feel like treating myself to a berry or fruit smoothie. But the juicer seemed to gather dust in my kitchen cupboard. While I loved the idea of having a green vegetable juice as part of my morning routine, it seemed hard to get started. Would I like spinach? What even is kale? How could beetroot taste any good with carrot? I’m used to having my veggies as part of my dinner, not in a glass. But I thought I’d give it a try when I found out about Juice Warrior.

Finally! A local, Glasgow-based company producing and selling raw, cold-pressed juices. Not just your sugary sickly orange and apple juice, but a full range of fruity green juices all the way to hardcore ‘no fruits allowed’ greenies. I tried out the Cleopatra Cleanse, a collection of 5 juices, a nut milk and a shot of chlorella. And I was surprised to find that although most of the juices were made with mostly veggies, they still tasted delish! With their cleanses, Juice Warrior does not expect you to drop it all and go on a juice fast for x amount of time. You can do that, obviously, if you want to ‘reboot’ your body, in the sense of giving your system a little break – they provide loads of information regarding the whole idea of juice fasting on their website. Instead, I took the juices as part of my existing diet. I would have scrambled eggs as usual for breakfast, but instead of toast I’d sip ‘Sweet Beet’ while watching the news, and then enjoy ‘Nothin’ Fancy’, for instance, as a mid-afternoon snack when feeling a little peckish. And as someone who is not a fan watermelon or pineapple, I still managed to drown both ‘Pillar Box’ and ‘Pina Kale Ada’ and have to say that the latter was probably my favourite of all! Funny world eh?

The lovely people at Juice Warrior delivered the juices straight to my front door, in a cool box to optimise freshness. My order included the 5 juices, a nut milk, the chlorella shot mentioned above, a detox and a cleanse Pukka tea, and a lemon to squeeze into my tea and/or water. I spread the juices over three days, having the chlorella shot, ‘Pillar Box’ and ‘Pina Kale Ada’ on day 1, ‘Sweet Beet’ on day 2 (got a bit busy with life that day) and finished with ‘Evergreen’, ‘Nothin’ Fancy’ and the nut milk ‘Coco Cashew’ on day 3. According to Juice Warrior, the Cleopatra Cleanse is very good in order to help your skin to stay hydrated and thus maximises its healthy glow. I know for a fact that my skin is a slave for hormones, but I do feel that after my weekend of juicing my complexion is looking a lot more clearer. Call it the placebo effect if you want – while more research still needs to be done, studies such as this one would indicate that there is a relationship between diet and acne, and possibly other skin conditions. But one thing is for sure, though: the sheer amount of fresh produce helped my body fight off a nasty cold I’d caught from my trip down to London the previous week! I don’t think I’ve ever bounced back to health this quickly in my life!

Nobody ever got hurt eating a little more fruit and veg, so if you’re not a fan of that broccoli on your dinner plate, I would warmly recommend trying out green juices – you might surprise yourself.

The Tough Mudder Diary, Entry #1

Believe it or not, I used to hate PE with all my heart. Sport always felt like something that just wasn’t for me – I wasn’t flexible, I wasn’t fast, I sucked at ball games due to my inexplicable fear of falling balls (this is still true to this day). Always a little chubby, I accepted my life as a non-athlete and went on about my life. Until the nurse told me I’d better shed a couple of pounds, just to be on the safe side – after all, it’s no good being slightly overweight when you’re only 18. So I started running. And got addicted to the endorphin high that hits you after two miles. Not long after, I picked up a yoga book in a local Waterstones, and soon the 10-minute morning sun salutation had grown to a full hour of synchronised breathing and stretching after my morning run. At university, I joined the gym, and since last September, I’ve become addicted to weight lifting. And ladies, it surely does not make you manly and bulky! I have never felt fitter or happier, so when a friend asked if I wanted to do Tough Mudder with her, I didn’t hesitate to sign up for it.

And this is where we start, as nobody will find anyone’s teenage struggles either entertaining or interesting – trust me. Each month, I will share the ups and downs of my training with you: which products I have discovered that have made me able to move my legs the day after a tough training session. How on some winter mornings, the bed just feels like a better place to be than the cold, great outdoors. And how each month I can sprint up the stairs to my flat quicker and with less effort than previously. Hope you enjoy the ride!

So last month, my American friend Courtney talked me into trying such a peculiar phenomenon called indoor cycling classes. As someone who loves cycling, I for some reason never found it appealing sweating in a small room with a bunch of strangers, having an instructor shout at you on the top of their voice. I would much rather take my bike and go for a wee ride around town, maybe stop for a cup of tea before heading back home. Cycling, for me, has always been first and foremost about commuting, moving from A to C via B. But Courtney sounded so enthusiastic, I could hear myself agreeing to do a lunchtime class with her the next day. The studio was tiny, but surprisingly less-daunting than I thought it would be. The instructor was a lovely woman, emphasising to do as much or as little as you felt like you were capable of. And once the bass was booming in the room, I took all my previous prejudice back – I loved it! Bouncing up and down and pushing yourself for 40 minutes made me walk out of the studio with a big, cheesy grin on my face. And after a few weeks of attending, I started noticing my running improving, too. It’s amazing how quickly your body gets accustomed to a new form of exercise. Sure, for the first week or two I was walking around like a penguin, making the kids at work giggle, but now my body has adapted and accepted the extra 60 minutes of exercise a week. I actually have more energy – and a bigger appetite! – and fully embrace our sweaty lunchtime dates.

 

It is funny how cross-training, rather than breaking your body, makes it function better. I would encourage everyone to challenge themselves this month: try out something you’ve always loathed. In my case it was spinning classes, but you might have always found yoga a little weird, the weight machines at the gym daunting or maybe you’ve never been one to take a plunge at the poolside. Whatever it is, let go of the prejudices, maybe ask a friend to come along for mental support. But try open your mind and give it a go – you might find that the sport you always thought you would hate is actually not that bad in the end.

Friday Night Pamper with LUSH Cosmetics

Everybody loves a good pampering session after a long, busy week. So this Friday night, why not put your legs up, close the bathroom door and run yourself a nice hot bath! I’ve gathered together a few tips on how to make the most out of your me-time and how to transform our loo into a luxurious spa, even if just for the night.

All about the atmosphere

It is almost as important to have your surroundings reflecting the serene and relaxing atmosphere as it is to get the bath temperature just right, so light up a few candles. Find that perfect playlist on Spotify – I personally go for the nature noises; there’s nothing better than imagining yourself in a beach spa somewhere far away, watching the exotic sunset. Make yourself a cup of tea or, if the week has been especially tough, pour a nice glass of wine. Dim the lights and let the warm, flickering tealights invite you to let go of the stress.

Getting the bubbles just right

In a spa, you wouldn’t expect to be seated in a plain boring bathtub. So spice it up! Lush offers a range of luxurious bath products, ranging from bubbles to bath bombs to bath melts – whatever your fancy, they will most likely stock it. If you’re looking for a classic Hollywood soak, go for the bubble bars – if you’re feeling more adventurous, try the fizzing bath bombs. ‘Granny Takes A Dip’ is the ultimate mood lifter with ginger, pepper and lemon: the scent alone perks you up, and the rainbow of colours relaxes the mind, too.

Scrub your worries away

A bath is not complete without a good face mask and full body scrub. Firstly, start off  with a good exfoliation – I tried out the ‘Ocean Salt’ -body and face scrub, and by golly is it refreshing! As a two-in-one body product it’s great for both your cheeks as well as your legs: the sea salt removes the dead skin cells, while grapefruit cleanses and tones, and mango butter gives the finishing touches with its skin softening properties. Follow by a face mask of your choice and you will feel as good as new.

 

Last but not least: moisturise

In our cold and damp Scottish weather, it is important to remember your moisturiser as it is the key to good-looking skin. The famous ‘Charity Pot’ body cream not only cares for your skin, but Lush donates 100% of the price of each pot (excluding the taxes for obvious reasons) to a good cause: currently to fight fracking in the Mendip Hills in Somerset. So while the rich and creamy lotion softens every inch of you and restores that healthy glow of your skin, it also supports charity. So one less thing to worry about!

Find out more at www.lush.co.uk.

Skydiving for disabled children

Skydiving for disabled children

Yep, I finally went mental – I’m trying to raise up to £500 in order to do a skydive for the charity PLUS. They are a charity based in Stirling, Scotland, and provide multiple activities, events and playdays for disabled children, wanting everyone to have an ordinary social life. PLUS works with children and young people aged 0 to 35, supporting these young people and their families, giving parents and carers some time for themselves. I am a member of the sessional staff at PLUS and know what a great job they do, making everyone feel safe and included. Nobody is their disability.

Please help me by supporting my Facebook page, it only takes 10 seconds to open the link and like! I will eventually open up an online fundraising page, too. Thanks a lot if you read this far xx

Barrowlands: Clutha – A Celebration

Michael took me with him to the Barrowlands the other day to take photos of the Clutha Benefit gig for Glasgow News. All I can say is that I absolutely loved the venue, and even though the day was long (we got down around 2pm and I took a bus home around 9pm) I enjoyed the bands and eventually fell in love with Frightened Rabbit. So safe to say, my Valentine’s weekend was rather brilliant.

Otherwise, life’s in full swing with uni again. Taking 3 literature modules might be considered suicide but I’m happy enough to tackle the challenge. It’s a lot of work but hey, that’s why I applied to uni! Also, been hitting the gym really hard and can already see a whole new set of muscles I never knew even existed. And there’s a lovely wee dance school in the West End, Dance Glasgow, where I’ve been taking a few classes as well. So life is good, real busy but I enjoy the buzz.

Hope everyone’s having a good year so far xx

PS – The quality’s not the best, the only camera around was my old Pentax with the crappy 18-55mm lens. But it’ll do for now.