health

5 Ways to improve your morning routine

  1. Bye Bye Broken Sleep 

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This may be unpopular among those of you that love a good lie in, and I do admit I am rather partial, but many health experts suggest that as soon as you wake up in the morning you should actually get up rather than turning over for another snooze. You telling your body to go back to sleep after you’ve woken up in the morning, is no different to waking up in the middle of the night. That broken sleep pattern will only make you feel overtired during the day, so as soon as you wake up give yourself a little time in bed, but then get up – go watch some TV or check your emails and see how much more wide awake you’ll feel.

2. Get Your Lemon On 

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Forget grabbing sugary fruit juice or a coffee on your way out the door – water with lemon is the way to go. Hollistic websites suggest that it can improve your mood, boost your immune system, help clear your skin and can aid in weight loss. Plus – if you don’t leave the lemon in for too long – it tastes pretty nice too. Millie Mackitosh has been quoted saying that she drinks this every morning, so why not give it a go?

3. Pick Yourself a nice 8 Tracks Playlist

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I am an 8 tracks obsessive, ever since my flatmate introduced it to me last year I have probably played over 50 playlists. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically the Tumblr of music websites, instead of sharing photos members share playlists with hash tags. So you could search: #folk #indie #nightout #gettingready – whatever you wanted really. My favourite is #morning because it’s full of playlists with exactly the right songs to get me out of bed and in a good mood for the rest of the day. My favourite morning tunes are: On My Way – Rusted Root; Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson; Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds; Put Your Record On – Corrine Bailey Rae; Home – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Sunday Morning – Maroon 5 – among many others!

4. Shovel down a half decent breakfast 

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As I believe I have said before in this post. I LOVE breakfast. It’s easily my favourite meal: toast, cereal, eggs, pancakes, teacakes, yoghurt, porridge – the opportunities are endless and I honestly love nothing more than a long weekend breakfast. Sorry for the cliche, but I’m a big believer that it is indeed “the most important meal of the day”. If I don’t have a good breakfast in the morning, I’m basically a zombie before I have anything to eat that day, and then I crave coffee and bad food. Start your day with egg, they’re a great source of protein and will help keep your energy levels high throughout the day.

5. Splash your face 

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Since I bought my beloved Arbonne Cleanser I have been washing my face a lot more in the mornings, I find there’s nothing like a splash of cold water in the face to really wake me up for a 9am lecture. Washing your face with cold water in the morning helps to reduce any swelling under your eyes from the night before, and it naturally brightens your face by increasing blood circulation. Pick cold water over warm if you can bare the shock in the morning, it might be just what you need to start the day on the right foot.

Thanks for reading. Do you have any tips for getting out of bed, particularly on these chilly mornings? 

Harriette

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Strong Not Skinny

The word “role model” is often banded together with the idea of fame or celebrity in modern media, as the majority of big bloggers might be only too aware. Writing a blog that becomes very popular, or appearing in a reality TV programme can mean that an individual comes to be regarded as a role model, and that of course comes with the heavy burden of responsibility. A role model’s lifestyle, dress code and eating habits can easily be picked up by an eager fan, and this is where debates about good and bad role models arise.

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Made in Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh was criticised at the beginning of last month after sharing a photo of herself on Instagram and Twitter at a photoshoot. The uncaptioned photograph, showed Millie wearing a silver bikini, highlighting her slim, muscular frame. This Instagram picture quickly sparked outrage as Mackintosh’s husband, Professor Green retweeted the photo onto his own Twitter account, adding “#thinspiration”. Experts (according to The Daily Mail) criticised the couple for encouraging young girls to starve themselves. Despite Mackintosh’s prompt reply to her husband’s joke, highlighting that her message was actually one of “fitspiration”, the media soon caught hold, with the uploading of the photo and Millie’s “role model” status even being debated on popular ITV programme Loose Women.

As a young (just about still teenage) girl, who has followed Millie’s Twitter for a good year now, I would have to respectfully disagree that she is in anyway a bad influence to young girls. There are a plethora of horrendous and harmful images available to young people on the internet with the label “thinspiration” – often used by pro-anorexia groups – but this isn’t one of them. Mackintosh’s “strongnotskinny” message, which she promotes heavily both on her Twitter and Instagram pages, encourage healthy, clean, eating and plenty of exercise. Despite her slim frame, it is her strong body which she is promoting, a body far away from the skin and bones look incorporated in most “thinspiration” images.

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It is a sad and indisputable fact that the majority of women and increasingly, younger and younger girls, will at some point, or maybe several points in their lives think about losing weight. However, adding tone to you body, can give the illusion of lost weight without getting to an unhealthy stage. By acting as a role model for young girls, celebrities like Millie Mackintosh – who children should be made aware, are generally slim as part of their job description – are at least sending out a message that strong is the way to be, not skinny, whilst at the same time promoting the empowering idea of improving your body for yourself.

I have never been a girl who’s been desperate to lose weight. Of course I’ve had my moments of “Oh my God, my jeans don’t fit!”, but generally I’m quite lucky that I’m mostly happy with myself. Recently however, I have felt inspired to exercise at least 3/4 times a week, trying to add a bit of tone to my tummy, but also, in the hope it might have other health benefits, such as giving me more energy. Since going to Uni and being able to pick my own food, I’ve always tried to eat well. I’d rather make all of my meals at home from scratch and go for the occasional meal out than eat a ready meal [mostly because they taste vile]. If I can swap a potato for a sweet potato, I will and if I can have slightly more veg and meat on my plate than carbs I will.

Personally I don’t believe in dieting, as I really don’t think it’s sustainable. But making little lifestyle choices, like cutting out bad food and trying to eat more eggs and apples and low-fat yoghurts makes me feel like I’m doing my body a favour. And ofcourse, I’m not good all of the time. I absolutely LOVE bad food. Yesterday I had lunch out, came home and ate 6 profiteroles…. I’m not denying my body food in the slightest, I’m just trying to think more and more about what I’m putting into it.

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In the way of exercise, I am working on strengthening my body through cardio and strength exercises. I’ve been enjoying using Davina McCall’s Body Buff Workout Video, which provides a range of warm ups, workouts and strength exercises allowing you to focus on key parts of the body, as I’m going on holiday soon I’ve been focusing on my “abs”.

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We also at the moment have in our house a spinning bike, which my Dad borrowed from my Uncle in order to train for a cycling race. I was slightly reluctant to give it a go, as  I had previously read a tweet from a female comedian (I’ve forgotten who) that spinning is very much like being punched in the v***** – nice. I have to say the seat is not incredibly comfortable on our old model, but I’ve found once I’ve got all my gear on and found a great workout/pop/r&b playlist on 8tracks I’m pretty good to go AND it helps me mix up my workout if I need a change from Davina.

Personally, I think I’ve been really inspired by Millie’s #strongnotskinny mantra. To me it’s a really important and empowering message to send out to young girls, that if for what ever reason you want to slim down [although I do not believe in doing so if it’s unnecessary] then at least go about it in the right way, with a healthy diet and exercise, to strengthen your body rather than weaken it. Celebrities like this, should be encouraged to spread such a positive message about looking after your body. Hopefully when girls who watch Millie strutting her stuff in her Louis Vitton, look up to her as a role model, and admire her body they will be inspired by the her happy, healthy, balanced lifestyle.

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I hope you liked this post, to read Millie’s reaction to the media attention surrounding her Instagram photo click here.

Harriette

Student Cooking : Pasta + Sausage Meatballs (Jamie Oliver recipe)

This week I am attempting to learn to cook in preparation for University –> baring in mind I’m the type of girl that can burn a fried egg I was rather impressed I managed to pull off this very simple and delicious Jamie Oliver recipe for Pasta + Sausage Meatballs…

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This recipe takes about 30 mins. You will need:

o A packet of sausages [plain/flavoured]

o 1 or 2 tins of chopped tomatoes

o an onion

o a small/ medium frying pan

o a large frying pan

o a medium sized saucepan

o colander/ large sieve

1. To begin take a packet of sausages and decide how many you are going to use. For the two of us I used 3 sausages, separating each into 5 fairly equal sized balls so that I had 15 meatballs.

2. Next heat some oil in a frying pan, only use a tiny bit if the pan is non-stick ( you’ll need a bit more if it’s not) then put your meatballs into the pan and turn the heat right up, if it starts spitting turn it down a bit.

3. Keep turning the sausages with a fork until they are brown on both sides.

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To test if they are cooked: take the biggest meatball and cut it in half – is the middle hot?

4. When the meatballs are nearly done put some oil and some chopped onions in a pan and heat.

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5. Meatballs done? Turn the heat right down to about a 2.

6. The onions will be done when they have turned from the whitish colour until they are almost clear. Now open your tin of chopped tomatoes and pour the contents into the pan with the onions. See the instructions on the back of the tin but chopped tomatoes roughly take 3-4 minutes in a pan and it is important to make sure it doesn’t boil ( when large bubbles appear all over the pan).

7. After the 4 mins are up put the meatballs in the pan with the sauce and the onions and turn the heat down low.

8. Now for the pasta [ we used fresh pasta but dried is usually cheaper and will last much much longer – for best instructions see the back of the pack] but basically you need to boil the kettle with water, pick a big saucepan and put your pasta in and pour the boiling water into the saucepan.

9. Turn the heat up on your saucepan until the water boils [large bubbles appear and a thin layer of foam]. If you put a lid on the saucepan make sure it only covers half of the saucepan as otherwise it might bubble over. Now set your timer for how long the pasta takes to cook ( usually roughly 4 mins)

10. When the pasta is done, take the saucepan and pour the contents into a colander or sieve, over a sink to drain the water. Take the sauce off the heat and serve the pasta and the sauce together for best results.

And there you have it, this recipe is quick simple, healthy and absolutely delicious!

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I would love to know if anyone has tried this recipe. I will be posting more about my student cooking so watch this space! I would also be interesting to read other student cooking blogs so please drop a comment below if you have one.

Harriette xxx