Cake by the ocean – the countdown to 21!

In exactly a week today, I will be making my way back up north with only 24 hours to blitz my wardrobe and pack for my birthday vacay…LAS VEGAS. Now as much as I have loved being down in the sunny south, I absolutely cannot contain my excitement for what’s ahead in the next few weeks! And whilst I’m sat here, sipping my coffee and daydreaming of jetting off to somewhere warmer, I can’t help but smile thinking about my year of being 20. Good times!

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Throwback to my delicious 20th birthday cake – my boyfriends mum made this gorgeous dairy free chocolate cake with pink edible glitter, she knows me too well!

My blog was recently featured in a Manchester Tab article (click for link), with a short interview about my food & lifestyle thoughts, it’s a really fun read so be sure to check it out! The writers also interviewed one of my fave foodies – Livia’s Kitchen, along with a few other motivating blogs and instagrams. Thinking about some of the questions they asked really inspired me to blog again, as it’s been quite a while! So here goes – another post: No recipes in this one…no exercise tips…no words of wisdom or advice – just a few things to be grateful for in the lead up to the big two-one celebrations!

One of the most exciting parts of coming back down to Dorset is undoubtedly the coast. The beaches here are somewhere that I have never taken for granted, and although I’m now a self-confessed city girl, I crave the sandy shores of the UK’s version of California.

You can’t beat a beach BBQ, late night sand walk, or cosy hot choc by the sea at shore road’s Jazz Café. FullSizeRender (9)So what better way to kick off the celebrations than with an afternoon tea by the sea. There are two places in Bournemouth that I’m particularly fond of when it comes to cake by the ocean. First up, the Cumberland Hotel (below left) – sat on a hill at the edge of the world where you can see the sea for miles, whilst you’re sipping on tea and catching up with the girls. And secondly, but not second best – the newest member of the club – the Hampton by Hilton (below right). Here’s one to take the parents! And although the views don’t beat my fave spot in the clouds at Manchester’s Hilton Cloud 23, it’s a perfect place to order your signature cocktail, or feast on a stack of perfectly miniature cakes for lunch!IMG_3847 (2) Now before I get totally side-tracked babbling on about cake and coffee’s, don’t let me forget another classic coastal treat – the BBQ! Some of my favourite memories from this year are the times with my best friends, laughing about the weird and wonderful things we’ve experienced in our first year of being twenty-something, whilst our (still raw in the middle) chicken skewers and  chipolatas burn on one side over the cheap disposable grill we bought on a whim! But sometimes we really do get it right and if I say so myself, we’re not bad at rustling up a delish, although rather make-shiftgourmet BBQ.

If I’m honest, I’ve never really been the biggest fan of a burger or hot dog, so when my best friend suggested grilling fish & Mediterranean veggies for our al-fresco feast instead, I was super pleased. It was so simple, we laid on a few salmon skewers and fillets, topped with garden herbs, along side some foil trays of sweet potato wedges and a rainbow medley of chunky veggies with big, juicy king prawns – absolutely delicious and not a pink bit of chicken or charcoaled sausage in sight.

So today my plans are simple, I’m going to head down to my fave beach spot and make the most of a dry day in one of the most beautiful places in my little world. I’m sure there will be plenty of tea, cake and cocktails to come in the near future, as the countdown to 21 begins! Just like they say – start as you mean to go on!

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(Just in time for) Summer Rolls

Quick! Stop everything you are doing and go outside. The summer is officially here in Manchester, and I would bet you my entire £2-coin jar that it won’t stick around for too long! So hopefully you’ve managed to make the most of some of this glorious sunshine between work, lectures and/or whatever other busy & important to-do’s there are on the list this week!

Something about the nicer weather can really help to inspire you to be more active and feel a little healthier. These gorgeous summer rolls are so light and fresh – and absolutely packed with flavour. The best part is that you can recreate them so easily, using either a supermarket bought kit or simply just a combination of your own fave ingredients. I opted for a kit and added in a few of my own preferences, some cucumber and carrot for crunch, some sweet-chilli sauce to dip, and some juicy king prawns. Pack yours with plenty of veggies & protein for  a really tasty, nutritious and light meal – that won’t leave you feeling a million miles away from that summer-body. I’ll be posting a few more sunshine-inspired recipes soon – like my absolute favourite Coronation & Sweetcorn Chicken, the tastiest Tuna Patties, and plenty of others! As the exams are looming ahead it’s important to balance all of that hard work with foods that make you feel great, and allow yourself some me-time out of revision mode too!

Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls: (Makes 2 Servings)

Just below is a pic of the kit that I used to get me started! You can buy this in most big supermarkets – Sainsburys, Tesco, Waitrose etc. The kit includes: rice papers, vermicelli noodles & dipping sauce. Feel free to add in whatever else you fancy – crunchy veggies, herbs/salad leaves, chicken, fish, tofu, egg, peanuts, you could even try a classic combo like roasted peppers & hummus, or tuna & cucumber! Whatever you fill them with, have fun with it, and these can be quite tricky to make at first so remember – practice makes perfect!LN_777626_BP_11

So, assuming you don’t have the kit, you will need:

  • 8 rice-paper wrappers
  • Vermicelli noodles (1 small pack)
  • Iceberg lettuce, around 50g shredded (or another salad leaf!)
  • 12-15 cooked king praws, halved long-ways
  • Dipping sauce of choice
  • Optional additions: coriander, cucumber strips, grated carrot, chilli flakes, peanuts, bean sprouts etc…

To start, place the noodles in a bowl of just boiled water, cover the top and leave to go soft for around 5 mins. Then drain and set aside. Chop and prep your fillings, adding in whatever you fancy! For the rice-wrappers, fill a shallow baking tray with warm water, and for each one place the sheet into the water for no longer than 2/3 seconds until covered. Then carefully take out and place on a dry surface, they will continue to soften. Lay your fillings in a line onto the central part of the paper, leaving room to roll! Carefully roll up as tightly as you can, it can be pretty fiddly work so no stressing if it takes you a few goes to get the hang of it! Now you’re done – serve up and get dipping with some sweet chilli or peanut sauce and maybe even a few fresh sides – a zesty rice/salad side, some sweet potato wedges, or possibly even some yummy grilled prawn/chicken/veggie skewers.

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The rolls are so delicate and pretty, but taste even better than they look! And if you’re like me and love a little something sweet for afters, why not try your fave fresh fruits dipped in dark choc. Another classic dipping-combo. 

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My sugar, spice & everything nice Easter loaf cake!

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First of all, a very happy Easter to you! One of my favourite times of the year, purely because I absolutely love hot crossed buns and anything egg related – especially of the chocolate variety. So this was my first time baking a cake in the style of a loaf! Since then I have been drooling over all of the delicious possibilities – dreaming of turning my favourite cakes/muffins into loaves that can be toasted & topped for a yummy, warming breakfast. And that is exactly the best way to enjoy this particular fruity loaf – I highly recommend serving it warm by either toasting or microwaving your slice, then topping it with whatever you fancy! Whether that’s butter (0r a DF spread), jam, yogurt, honey, nut butter, berries or my personal fave – chopped banana!

So here’s how I made this lovely little loaf. It’s gluten & dairy free, so that it can be enjoyed by more of you, but you could easily substitute in wholegrain flour/butter/milk in place of my alternatives. The sweet currents and dried fruit combined with the spicy, warming cinnamon and nutmeg give this cake its deliciously festive, slice-of-home flavour. Buckwheat flour is a great gluten-free base and has almost 4 times the fiber content of plain flour, per serving. But nutritional’s aside, this scrummy loaf makes enough for around 10 generous slices and can be frozen & toasted to be enjoyed for longer!

Easter Loaf Cake: (Makes around 10 slices)

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  • 100g mix of currents/dried apple (finely chopped)/raisins/cranberries
  • 180g buckwheat flour
  • 1 – 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp ground nutmeg (amount of spice down to personal preference!)
  • 80g dairy-free spread
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 125ml almond milk
  • 120g brown sugar/coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • small handful of GF rolled oats (optional – to top)
  • Optional glaze – 1 tsp warm water + 1 tsp runny honey, mixed

Start off by heating the oven to 180°C fan (nearer to 200°C if not fan oven). If your currents/fruit are a bit hard, soften them for a few minutes in some warm water and then drain before adding to the mix. Combine the sugar, milk, egg and spread until well mixed – if you have a food processor or blender this works best! Add to a large mixing bowl with the dry ingredients – the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Fold in the fruit pieces until everything is nicely mixed. Use some spread/oil/spray to grease the edges of your loaf tin, you could line with baking paper but it’s not totally necessary as the loaf should come out easily if the sides are well greased. Pour in your mix as an even layer, you can then sprinkle over your oats if you’re using them! The cake should take around 25 – 30 minutes to be perfectly golden and cooked through, but be sure to take it out at 25 mins to do the knife test – it should come out clean (or very nearly clean at this point), and you don’t want the loaf to burn so watch it carefully in the last few minutes! Once out of the oven, leave to cool completely and remove from the tin . If you’re glazing the top, combine your honey and water and lightly brush over an even layer, maybe then sprinkle with a few more oats or currents or whatever you fancy!

Since making this gorgeous Easter loaf I have been thinking about all of the ways that I could improve it, something I tend to do a lot, and I think next time I might try sprinkling on a little brown sugar before baking – to give the top a deliciously light, caramelly crunch. Or possibly lay on a few banana slices that will bake with the cake and go irresistibly sweet. But I would really love to hear any of your suggestions/ideas for either this loaf or any other kind of loaf cake/Easter treat, so give this one a go and be sure to make it your own!

Now I can’t sign this one off without mentioning the other yummy dish of the day – the most tender and flavoursome beef-steak fajitas! A simple combination of spicy seasoning, finely sliced peppered steak, roasted rainbow veggies, and a deliciously refreshing (dairy-free) ‘sour cream’ creation, all wrapped up into a tasty wholewheat tortilla. Fajita’s are such a fun way to serve and eat a meal, I love the hands-on approach of preparing your main from a choice of delicious components that all combine into one big party in your mouth! And just look at that steak…drooling!

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The DF ‘sour cream’ is just a mix of plain soy yogurt, finely chopped fresh chives and lemon juice – I’m always searching for creative ways to replace the delicious ingredients that unfortunately used to upset my tummy, and this one is a real success – a perfect way to cool down those spicy seasoned veggies and meat.

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I’m currently snacking on my new favourite combo – celery sticks, hummus & dry roasted peas (a kind of scoop and dip situation) – before carrying on with some well overdue uni work! Have a lovely rest of your week and a wonderful Easter weekend. I’ll try and post some more recipes, maybe even a chocolatey addition or two, over the bank holiday! But meanwhile make sure you look out for my next post, all about my fave omega-3 super food – salmon! (insert heart-eyes emoji here!) 

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Coconut & Cacao Cookies

It’s been an early start (who’s idea was 9am lectures anyway?!) and a very rainy, grey Wednesday. After struggling through my morning lectures, there were only two options in my mind that could improve this dull day: sleeping through and trying again tomorrow, or baking! And there was no better cure for my midweek blues than being back in the warm, after two amazing yoga classes, with the smell of deliciously-chocolatey fresh baked cookies filling the whole house.

These little guys were a true experiment! And I am so pleased with how they turned out, kind of like a bounty combined with a chocolate biscuit – dreamy. I wanted to work on using ratios of things like flour to fat to sweetener etc. Looking into my cupboard is like opening the door of the tardis, who knew so much stuff could fit onto 2 shelves? The gingerbread man cookie cutters had been staring at me for a while now, but I knew that a day like today called for some kind of chocolate-venture rather than the festive gingerbread vibe. That’s when I noticed the cacao powder and coconut flour and the cogs started turning!

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Because I don’t buy dairy produce, my baking includes a lot of alternativeslike soya yogurt and coconut oil – but these can be replaced in my recipes with the dairy equivalents (natural yogurt/butter) if that’s what you’re in to! So here’s the final recipe for my rainy-day coconut & cacao cookies! They are dairy and gluten free and have the natural sweetness courtesy of pure maple syrup rather than the highly processed sugars commonly used in baking. A perfect way to get your comforting sweet-fix, without the guilt of munching through a whole pack of chocolate digestives. Of course feel free to alter any of the ingredients/quantities to experiment with your own taste and preference, but when it comes to the actual preparation stages I would advise following the instructions and not cutting corners. Which reminds me, if you don’t have cookie cutters – get creative and use the rim of a glass or maybe even cut your own shapes with a knife, extra points for effort! I rolled out the scrap edges of the dough and cut into a few straight pieces and Voila chocolate fingers!

Coconut & Cacao Cut-out Cookies: (Makes around 10 little men!)

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  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp coconut flour (plus a sprinkle extra for rolling)
  • 1 medium egg, whisked
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened but not hot (butter would work too!)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (you could also use honey, date syrup, coconut sugar etc)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 heaped tbsp cacao powder (coco would work but you may need to alter the amount!)
  • a few pieces of dark chocolate, roughly chopped (to melt for decoration)

Combine the egg, oil and vanilla and whisk well until smoothly mixed. Add in the syrup and then, to a big bowl, combine the wet and dry ingredients until a batter forms. It will be thinner than a normal cookie dough – so at this point cover the top of the bowl with some cling film and place in the fridge until it hardens (mine took around half an hour). Then roll out the mix between two sheets of baking paper. Once it is flattened and no more than a centimeter thick, pop it in the freezer for 15/30 mins to really set – this makes it so much easier to shape with the cookie cutters! Now you can preheat the oven to 160/150°C (fan). Once you and your dough have had enough chill-out time, carefully cut out your shapes (admittedly this part was a bit tricky because of how quickly it gets sticky again – but bear with it!) and evenly space the little guys on to a lined baking tray. Bake for around 12 mins, keeping an eye on them as this may vary with the size & shape of your cookies! Take out the tray and leave the cookies to cool for quite a while, they will harden up as they lose heat. Then you can decorate, yay!

At this point it’s over to you, I topped mine with melted dark choc, sprinkles and a few marshmallows for buttons! But you could add nuts, dried fruit, desiccated coconut, icing, or anything else you fancy! I really hope you love these cleaner, delicious sweet treats as much as me and my housemates, and I would love to see pictures/ideas of you having a go at this recipe, and any alterations you would make – have fun with it!

Just a quick side note before I sign this one off, I can’t keep my eyes open for much longer! Easter is almost around the corner, and although for some this just means copious amounts of chocolate, for others it can be a stressful time of deadlines and upheaval – whichever it is for you, try and take a few moments of me-time in this busy week of yours. Sleep well, stay active and do something creative. Nourish yourself with foods that will make you stronger and happier, rather than processed junk that will just spike your energy levels for half an hour. After a few hours of staring at my lecture notes, something as simple as fruit & nut butter is all it takes to perk me up and keep me productive.

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Have a lovely rest of the week!

The prawn & the cocktail

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Any guesses as to why I woke up so unnecessarily early this morning?

It’s another fuzzy-head Saturday morning, and although I am in desperate need of tea & toast, I am definitely making the most of this lie in! This week has been pretty non-stop. My parents came to the city and between the coffees & cocktails we managed to catch up on life, the universe and everything! Sometimes a little slice of home is just what you need. But being totally out of routine this week has meant squeezing in yoga & the gym between lectures and having to get a bit creative when it came to meal times – basically trying to use up everything and anything in the fridge! So there was definitely a theme to my make-shift meals.

As long as I have my kitchen basics I can usually come up with something satisfying – spinach, avocado, eggs, bananas, oats, hummus & chili flakes are my absolute essentials when it comes to the weekly shop. After these it’s just a case of choosing extra fresh veg, fruit & meat/fish or stocking up on cupboard essentials like wholegrain rice, quinoa, pasta and bread. At the beginning of this week I had some real cravings for mango and prawns, and not as individual ingredients but the actual combination of the two! Who knows why, foodie’s brains work in mysterious ways. So here’s how I satisfied this Caribbean craving:

Mango-shrimp salad (with homemade tortilla chips & avo-salsa): (Serves 1)

This salad is so fresh and bursting with flavour, it’s dairy free and can easily be made gluten free by substituting the wholewheat tortilla for a GF version. Adding a little fruit to your salads is a really delicious way to pack your meals with antioxidants and also satisfy that sweet-tooth! This is also a really quick and easy weekday meal that can be thrown together whilst the tortilla chips bake, a true bowl of love.

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  • 1 serving of deliciously chunky avo-salsa (recipe link here!)
  • 1 wholewheat tortilla wrap
  • 2 lime wedges
  • 1/2 cup mango, chopped
  • 1 small extra handful of fresh coriander leaves, torn/roughly chopped
  • 1/2 pack of small prawns (I tend to rinse them before adding)
  • 1 big handful of spinach, roughly chopped
  • cucumber, chopped into small quarters
  • 1 tbsp mixed omega-3 boosting seeds – optional (e.g. sunflower, sesame, chia)
  • sprinkle of paprika
  • sprinkle of dried chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp hummus
  • Salt & pepper

For the tortilla chips:

Preheat the oven to 120°C (fan). Slice the tortilla like a pizza into triangles and spray/drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil (or other oil of your choice!). Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil and place the triangles evenly onto the tray with spaces in between. Sprinkle over some paprika, salt & pepper. Leave to bake for around 20 mins until the tortilla crisps up a bit – keep an eye on them for burning!

For the salad: 

This part is super easy – just combine all of your chopped ingredients with the avo-salsa mix, prawns and mango, and season to your liking with a few lime wedges, S&P, chilli flakes and maybe some paprika & hummus. Sprinkle over some superfood seeds and get creative with it – add in whatever you fancy! You might have some extra veg that needs using or maybe some healthy & refreshing homemade tzatziki (link here!). 

With the leftover prawns, mango and salad ingredients, I managed to put together some other nutritious and delicious weeknight treats & lunches. I’m also loving seeds at the moment and finding lots of new ways to incorporate them into whatever i’m making. Healthy meals on a tight time schedule don’t have to be difficult or fancy! These are some of my favourite make-shift meals from this crazy week:

I hope you have a lovely weekend! And if you’re like me this morning, suffering from a post-prosecco hangover, be sure get some fresh air and plenty of water! Here’s a link to a useful post…

Homemade ‘happy hour’: Sparkling Saturday eve’s

Happy hour. Undoubtedly my fave time of day! Those who know me well can always expect our night’s out to involve some sort of cocktail round – whether it’s testing out all of the £2 concoctions at student drinks-heaven The Font in Fallowfield, or sticking to the classic Martini selection at The Alchemist in the city – my absolute favourite. My newest obsession is an espresso martini but I’ll also never say no to anything involving Prosecco, check out these bbc good food easy sparkling cocktails, bakewell fizz sounds amazing! 

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The downside of cocktails, like most of my favourite things, is that they can cost a fortune! And you also run the risk of inducing some kind of sugar coma with all of the syrups involved. So why not recreate your favourites at home – sticking to natural sweeteners and a much more student-friendly budget! I love these really easy blended cocktail-cubes, add them to your preferred drink for a fun way to keep it cool and delicious! All you need is a bunch of your favourite fruit, i’d suggest berries for a strong and sweet flavour (and buying frozen is a good way to save money and keep them fresher for longer!), an ice cube tray and a blender. I recommend making these in the morning so that they have all day to freeze, or even the night before! Here’s mine and the housemate’s Christmas-celebration’s version:

Berry-nice Prosecco coolers:

  • 1 cup mixed frozen/fresh berries (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, cranberry etc…)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice (or lemon if preferred!)
  • 1 small bunch of fresh mint leaves, torn

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Simply add the fruit, lime juice and mint leaves to your blender, keeping some berries aside for decorative use! Blend until smooth and give it a taste-test, adding more berries for sweetness or lime for sharpness. When it’s perfectly to your taste, pour the mix into the tray, it should fill a standard freezer ice-cube tray, and place your extra berries lightly into each juicy-cube so that they poke out at the top of each one. Freeze for the day and then simply add a cube or three to your bubbly! The best part is how the cubes release more and more fruity sweetness as they melt, as well as keeping your Prosecco nice and coolperfect! 

If berries aren’t your thing, why not try something different! Mango, pineapple, kiwi, passion fruit, orange, strawberry… there are plenty of ways to make this your own! And of course, the cubes can be added to another drink if fizz isn’t on your menu – why not try a gin & tonic with some lime/lemon blended cubes! Let me know your ideas and remember – practice makes perfect – so you’re just going to have to have to keep the drinks flowing and trial your creations!

These make a perfect addition to date night/a night in with your faves, and go far too well with a yummy tortilla pizza – as we discovered last night! Check out the egg on this salmon & veggie creation! And here’s a link to my DIY domino’s for the full treat experience.

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I truly believe that weekend’s are a time to treat yourself – especially after a long, hard week of routine. There are lots of ways to enjoy delicious and creative meals/drinks without having to end the night with that over-indulged, food coma feeling. One of my favourite bloggers Madeline Shaw is great at coming up with modern recreations of the old classics, that will leave you feeling satisfied and guilt-free. These healthier cocktails aren’t just for Christmas, and will make an amazing addition to your homemade happy hour!

Have a lovely start to your week, bring on next weekend!

 

‘Yogafy’ your gym workout!

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There’s a sign up in my gym at the moment that says – “There are 1440 minutes in a day, you only need 30 to have a great workout” – I love this! It’s so important to look after our bodies and to stay active throughout our lives. There are plenty of ways to reach that recommended dose of fitness, from weight lifting to simply walking more – yoga is my favourite way to workout and I strive to practice as often as I can. Not only does it relax and calm my mind, it totally energizes my body, leaving me feeling super strong and healthy both during and after practice. I’m often asked about the yoga that I practice at home and outside of the classroom – so I decided to bring yoga to the gym today to share some of my fave moves and flows that can be done wherever you choose to workout! These are just a few fun moves that you could add to your workout, with all the stretching and toning benefits of yoga! Remember to listen to your instincts, and with each pose to only go as far as your body tells you you can. There is a fine line between challenging yourself and pushing yourself too hard – balance – yoga is about progression not perfection.

Each of the positions have a counter pose that will help to stretch you out and ensure that you are protecting your muscles from over straining, it’s really important that you add these counter-poses into your routine! If you’re at the gym don’t be embarrassed to ask for help whenever you need it, whether that’s with choosing weights/equipment, or simply just asking someone to help you in or out of a move, and remember – you don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great! So drop and give me zen!

6 ways to yogafy your workout:

1) Turn your Chair pose into squat rep’s:

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Benefits of Chair pose:

  • Tones the leg muscles
  • Strengthens hip flexors, ankles, calves and back
  • Stretches the chest and shoulders

Add in some weights or a kettle bell to your reps – this will get you warm! The counter pose for this is to bend forward with straight legs, letting your hands fall toward the ground or interlocking your fingers and holding your arms directly above your head as you fold.

2) Get a feel for the Wheel pose:

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Either coming into Bridge, with your hands interlocked underneath you, or full Wheel pose – play around with reps of upside-down push up’s or leg raises.

Benefits of Wheel pose:

  • Increases flexibility in the spine and lengthens vertebrae
  • Strengthens and tones your arms, wrists, abdomen, legs, shoulders and chest
  • Opens the chest and lungs

Remember your counter pose – a seated forward bend, no prize for touching toes, will counteract this stretch and should leave you feeling great!

3) Plank, plank, plank!

There are plenty of variations for the Plank, I like to add weights to mine and alternate bringing the weights to armpit level usually for 20 reps per side, per set.

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Be sure to stretch out into Upward Dog for your counter posture, and why not try the total core-busting yoga equivalent of a press up Chaturanga on your way there!

Benefits of Plank position:

  • Great way to tone your abs!
  • Improves posture and back alignment
  • Builds flexibility in posterior muscle groups

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You could also try some balancing variations – maybe add in the side plank and some leg raises to your flow – have fun with it!

4) Boat pose for a bikini body:

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The day I reach a straight-legged Boat pose will be a fabulous day! It’s all about practice, and i’m sure i’ll get there, but in the meantime I like to incorporate these weighted and non-weighted reps into my gym floor routine.

Benefits of Boat pose:

  • Stimulates internal organs, improving digestion
  • Tones the abs and legs
  • Strengthens the hip flexors and spine

The counter pose for Boat is either a forward fold, holding onto opposite elbows and letting the head hang loose, or simply a Child’s pose (one of my faves!).

5) Be a Warrior not a worrier:

Both warrior 1 and 2 are great lunge positions that will do wonders for your legs and improve your posture. By adding weights you are also toning your arms, and feel free to take a twist in this pose to detoxify your nervous system!

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Benefits of Warrior pose:

  • Strengthens the arms, legs and lower back
  • Improves stamina and balance
  • Releases built-up stress in the shoulders
  • Great stretch for those with desk/sitting down jobs!

Make sure that you are in proper alignment in Warrior, there are plenty of youtube/online tutorials for this (click here) and your best counter posture for this lunge is to take a twist or to come into everyone’s favourite Downward Dog.

6) Take a (Head)stand!

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Don’t be afraid to really take your time getting into a Headstand – the slow and steady balancing movements will really work your core strength! Play around with reps of leg raises, and if you’re brave enough – try a forearm stand, the wall can help you get into this pose but do make sure the area around you is clear in case of crash landings! I love this blog post about doing headstand’s every day – check it out!

Benefits of Headstand:

  • Stimulates brain function
  • Tones the upper body
  • Strengthens the core
  • Great for circulation
  • It’s super fun!

Take a shoulder stand to truly counteract this pose, or come into Child’s pose for some time to let the blood flow return to normal. Headstands get better with practice and really take some time to get the hang of – so don’t give up and don’t be annoyed with yourself if you find a pose difficult to begin with. Yoga is all about using your body and your mind to achieve strength in balance, so be sure to take this frame of mind into your workout!

Here are some of the counter posture stretches that I have mentioned above, and a few other stretchy ideas that will improve your post-workout feeling! There’s no reason why our workout can’t be fun and beneficial, exercise should make us feel happy and healthy!

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Have a lovely rest of the week, please do let me know if you try and love these moves in your next gym session! And be sure to nourish yourself too with nutritious food, lots of water and plenty of rest – Namaste!IMG_2425.JPG