16 June 2016

It's Cupcake Day! Matcha Cupcake Recipe

Happy Cupcake Day! To help you celebrate a (guilt free) cupcake day, I thought I'd share with you one of my favourite new recipes, from Iron Chef Shellie! They taste delicious, look stunning & they contain all the goodness of a cup of green tea!

150ml milk
4 green tea teabags
2 1/2 tsp matcha (green tea) powder
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g granulated sugar
2 large eggs, free-range or organic
125g self-raising flower
120g plain flower
Buttercream Icing
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g icing sugar
1 tsp matcha (green tea) powder

1. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to boil. Remove from heat & add teabags. Cover with clingfilm & let the mixture simmer for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cases. Remove teabags from the milk, squeezing out excess milk into the pan. Add the green tea matcha powder & stir.
3. In a bowl, with an electric mixer, mix the butter & sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs, mixing them into the mixture. Sift the flours into a separate bowl & stir well. Add one-third of the flour mix  to the creamed butter & sugar & beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk/tea mixture & beat again. Repeat until all the flour & milk has been added.
4. Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cases, so they're about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for a bout 25 minutes, until raised & golden brown.
5. Leave the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack. Meanwhile, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract & half the icing sugar until smooth, for the icing, gradually adding the remainder of the icing sugar & green tea powder.  When the cakes are completely cool, ice them & sprinkle a little green tea powder on top.

14 June 2016

Eat Clean, Shop Cleaner? 6 Steps to Making Your Gym Kit as Clean as Your Diet! With Sundried Apparel.

   These days, we treat our bodies with such care, paying close attention to what we put into it, so we can be the strongest, healthiest versions of ourselves. But have we considered paying as much attention to what we are inhaling on a daily basis? With the levels of air pollution rising dramatically, imagine the damage it is having on our 'clean bodies'! And what would you say if I was to tell you that the fashion industry has the second largest carbon footprint? And here's why...

1. It all starts with the material
Large factories produce cheap, low quality fabrics, using harmful gasses & toxins in the process & using tonnes of water.
2. From cheap fabric to even cheaper labour
Cheap overseas labour sees poor, unsafe working conditions, long hours for minimal pay & child labour, all to boost the profit margins. These factories are also notorious for their pollution, due to cutting costs at every turn & insufficient production.
3. Airmiles
The garments must then be transported from where they are sewn to the company, of which they will be distributed to stores & continuously moved around until sold, wasting high amounts of energy.
4. The fast fashion effect
The garments are sold cheap, are poor quality & last the season, before being discarded.

   BUT there is hope! The fashion industry is responding to your demands for a more ethical, sustainable future, with the active wear market being one of the leaders in this movement, including some of the companies bellow...
"How can you be a fitness & wellbeing brand when you are not promoting a healthy lifestyle throughout the production cycle?" - Sundried.

   Sundried is one of key active wear lines supporting the sustainable movement. Partnered with The Low Carbon Innovation Fund, the premium quality British brand is a benchmark for ethical apparel; handmade in Portugal (to lower the carbon footprint), by happy workers in sustainable production, each item sold then donates a certain percent to the charity Water for Kids. And the cherry on top of the cake, the team all have an active lifestyle, from personal trainers to athletes.
I have teamed up with Sundried to give you our
6 tips to becoming a guilt free, ethical fashion consumer!
1. Pressure apparel brands to reform!
Sign petitions for better working rights, embarrass the companies on social media for poor ethical standards & ask the questions that they may not want you to know. Force the companies to be transparent with their manufacturing process & embarrass them publicly for bad conduct - some high fashion companies have been publicly shamed for their treatment of animals - in order to use their skins/fur, others on their amount of waste, & by publicly disgracing them, it has forced them to change.
2. Expect Longevity
Buy clothes that will last, not just in quality but also aesthetically, not just seasonally. It may cost a little more, but it is an investment, rather than buying ten times more.
3. Only buy if you will wear it at least 30 times
This encourages you to buy less, spend less & waste less.
4. Wash Cool & Sun Dry
Did you know a cotton t-shirt can use up to 2,700 litres of water in it's lifespan (according to the WWF), of which 80% of it's impact occurs after purchase, with water use, energy use & immissions from washing & drying. Plus imagine the money you could save on bills by filling the washing load, using a shorter, cooler wash & air drying...
5. Reuse, Recycle & Resell!
If you don't want something, either sell it on, give it to charity or recycle it! There are recycling banks that will resell wearable clothes with proceeds going to charity & unwearable textiles will be remade into fibres & reused.
6. Rebuy Recycled Garments
Companies have now started marketing their ethical lines & are quite transparent with how they've reused fibres from unwanted textiles. M&S do a high quality line with Oxfam, H&M are known for their ethical collections & even official football shirts have been made out of fibres from recycled plastic! This is called a closed circuit, where the recycled items have successfully found a new use.
I hope you have found this of interest, it is a matter close to my heart & an important issue to be tackled. If you would like to learn more of Sundried, visit them at https://www.sundried.com/

10 June 2016

5 Steps to Bikini Confidence This Summer! With Kendall + Kylie Swimwear

   I don't mean to be repping the Jenner/Kardashian clan, but HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW KENDALL & KYLIE SWIMWEAR AT TOPSHOP?!? I have been searching long & hard for a new bikini for the summer, only to buy 2 within an hour of seeing their collection! And why? Not because of the celebrity connotations, but because of their strong, confident cuts & how complimentary they are to the female form, without trying to hard. Seeing the girls radiate confidence in their new line, made me reflect on just how far I've come, since last year, to achieve true body confidence. And here's how I did it...
1. Find exercise you love & stick to it!
Don't start expecting results too soon, apply yourself, enjoy the feeling of your body getting stronger & the results will follow in a couple of months. Set achievable short term goals & plan how you'll achieve them, to help keep the motivation up.
2. Eat well, not less...
Be aware of your daily macro allowance, eat clean & you will find you can eat a lot more than you'd think. My top tip, allow yourself a treat a day to keep yourself going & a cheat meal a week. Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up for indulging or 'slipping up', just get back to working hard the next day! Honestly, by sticking to this, you'll feel leaner, cleaner & healthier than ever.
3. You are what you drink
Drink fizzy - feel bloated, drink juice - feel sugary, drink Starbucks fancy pants coffee - feel stodgy. One or two a day won't make any difference, but try to stick to drinks that are good for you & not containing lots of sugar. Water & lemon to flush out unwanted toxins & water weight in your system, green tea to encourage debloating or a couple of black coffees to increase the metabolism, for example.
4. Love your body!
Easy enough to say right? Treat yourself to some pampering or buying clothes that suit your body, to help you feel your best. For me I feel my best after shaving, exfoliating, moisturising, putting on my make up & a pretty dress. If I was going out in a bikini, I would probably use a bit of tanning lotion too. Treat your body & you'll immediately feel a boost in confidence.
5. Believe in YOU
If you fall at a hurdle, get back up & try again. If you set yourself a goal, you can achieve it with a little hard work. If you feel good, don't let that silly voice in your head tell you otherwise. If someone pays you a compliment, believe it. Pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, hold your posture tall & walk proud. Just by believing in yourself, you'll find your self confidence grows a great deal. Also everyone is different, so stop comparing or judging yourself & others, as this will forever hold you back.
And just remember, work hard, keep at it & you'll soon feel the benifits...

7 June 2016

Week 5.1 - Clean Eating My Way to Bikini Confidence with Get Fit With Davina

   Despite the fact I was travelling on 6 days last week, from Oxfordshire to Kent to Surrey to Cornwall & back to Surrey, I planned in such detail that I think I was drove everyone around me crazy! HOWEVER, by planning exactly what I would be eating, depending on whether I could cook or was travelling, it was one of my cleanest weeks so far & was far easier than expected. So there's no excuse for me in the future!!! Here's a break down of what I ate last week...
Breakfast: Porridge with Honey, Cinnamon & Coconut Milk 5/5 While I was travelling I had overnight oats (oats & milk left over night & you don't even need to heat it up!) which was just as tasty.
Lunch: Spinach & Feta Frittata with Salad 4/5 Could benefit from a few more ingredients within the frittata instead of a side salad, but tasty otherwise. This became a salad, using the exact same ingredients, other than adding half a can of tuna & raisins instead of tomatoes & eggs.
Dinner: Grilled Lemon Chicken with Potatoes & Salad 4/5 A perfectly clean meal, the chicken was delicious, but would prefer veg instead of salad. This turned into a salad too, using the same ingredients, adding the egg from earlier & half an apple, instead of the potatoes.
Snacks: Banana & Peanut Butter 5/5 Always a good energy boost!
Dessert: Greek Yoghurt with Honey & Cinnamon 5/5 One of my favourites!
Definitely made up for last week & worked even harder this week - I completed 1 set of Davina's 21 minutes & 40 minutes of bodyweight workouts, then a further 4 weight training sessions at the gym, all at least an hour, for core, glutes, arms & legs.
Despite all the travel, I stayed very clean this week - no specific cheat meals. I did enjoy some wedding cake & a couple of drinks to celebrate, as well as an M&S meal deal, but the weekend was more about celebrating with friends & having the occasional treat, rather than one indulgent meal.

WEEK 5.1
Why week 5.1? So Get Fit With Davina recommends a 5 week plan, however last week was so busy & unusual, that I have decided to do a second, more controlled week 5, including the cheat meal!!! Haha. So here goes...
My weekly food shop cost only £20.35 from Lidl, with the addition of a few leftover bits at home.
 With 2 eggs, 2 slices of wholemeal toast & no butter.
With virgin coconut oil spray instead of oil & broccoli & cauliflower instead of beans & nuts.
 With extra chicken for added protein, cooked in virgin coconut oil spray & served with cauliflower & broccoli instead of a salad.
I decided to have cashew nuts instead, just for preference & reduced the amount to 15 nuts, as I felt the suggested portion was too much for me.
Greek yoghurt again!!! Yum, yum, yum!

I plan to workout 5-6 times this week, mainly 21 minutes of Davina's workouts, followed by 40 minutes bodyweight workouts, with hour long weight training sessions instead when I have the opportunity to go to the gym.

Some of you may have already finished your 5 weeks - if that is you congrats on all the hard work! If you're joining me on week 5.1 - it's not long now & hopefully you too are feeling the great effects its having. And for those of you who are thinking about starting Get Fit With Davina? Get 4 WEEKS FREE NOW, to kick start your way to bikini confidence this summer.

2 June 2016

Bank Holiday's, Busy Lifestyle & Keeping on Track - Week 5 on Get Fit With Davina

   The program is really feeling more like a lifestyle now, rather than just a 5 week thing - which was one of Davina's aims, to encourage healthier long term habits. It has become much easier for me to eat mainly clean food throughout the day & I am really enjoying just how much I can eat of the right things, without blowing up my macros. So here's a quick breakdown of my meals from last week:
Breakfast: Banana Pancakes/Crepes 5/5 I decided on pancakes & swapped the orange for some cinnamon & honey. Despite taking a little extra time, this breakfast is one of my all time favourites - it's delicious & filling!
Lunch: Smoked Salmon, Avocado & Soft Cheese on Toast 5/5 I decided to swap in 2 slices of healthy wholemeal plain toast here & use cream cheese & strawberries due to budget instead, but this lunch was simple, filling & beautiful.
Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese 5/5 Wow another 5/5, this weeks menu was definitely delicious. I did swap the veg for kidney beans & added more turkey mince for more protein - this is a classic meal & even better being so healthy.
Snacks: Apple & Peanut Butter 5/5 I actually only needed a snack once this week, as the other meals lasted easily throughout the day.
Dessert: Low Fat Greek Yoghurt, Honey & Cinnamon 5/5 I love this dessert & don't think I will ever bore of it, hence why I'm having it for 3 weeks in a row.
   I did not complete quite as many workouts as I had hoped, but the ones completed where completed with my fullest effort. I did 2 sessions of  21 minute workouts with Davina followed by 40 minutes of intense bodyweight workouts, as well as a 90 minute weight training session at the gym for my glutes, legs & a little bit of abs. Despite not reaching my target of 5/6 workouts, I will not beat myself up over it, as I still worked very hard & sometimes life is too busy to always fit in workouts, so don't stress & let it ruin your progress, just push on harder the following week!
   As it was a bank holiday weekend & I was visiting my boyfriends family, my cheat meal really turned into a cheat weekend. Although we didn't eat too much, we had some beautiful home cooked meals, a couple of desserts & perhaps a couple of drinks... But nothing too gluttonous, just hearty home cooked food!
As I have been travelling a lot this week, my plan for week 5 has had to adapt - sorry that it's late! But here is what I have been eating so far this week...
My weekly food shop for week 5 came to £19.39 - shopping at Lidl & Asda. Due to travelling over bank holiday, my food shop & meal prep was a little jumbled this week, but I picked up the clean eating again on Monday evening.
I decided to swap the berries for cinnamon here, as I was quite high on sugars this week, used honey as it is more natural than maple syrup & swapped milk for coconut milk, mainly because it adds a beautiful sweet taste. I am also having 60g porridge to keep me full!
 As always I swap oil for light coconut oil spray, added 1/4 red pepper & tablespoon sweetcorn to my salad & used Asda's light honey & mustard salad dressing instead of making my own, to avoid all that oil! Do check with light salad dressings though, as sometimes they're very high in sugars & salt!
 Served with a tablespoon of peanut butter naturally!
 Cooked with light coconut oil spray instead, served with 1/4 pepper & tbsp sweetcorn instead of cucumber & tomatoes, with my Asda light honey mustard salad dressing. Here I used 150g chicken breast to increase my protein intake.
My favourite desert once again! 100g low fat greek plain yogurt, 1 tbsp honey & cinnamon.
I plan to complete 5/6 workouts this week, with a mixture of Davina's 21 minutes, followed by 40 minutes bodyweight workouts & gym workouts - hopefully a minimum of 3 weight sessions, so that I can break them down into upper body, lower body & core.
So, with only 1 week to go of the recommended time frame, I am feeling pretty positive. I am feeling stronger & leaner, which were my main objectives. So I will be working harder than ever this week. However, how do you stay on tack when travelling, socialising or celebrating? Well I will be both travelling a lot & attending a wedding this week, so what's my plan? 
1. Stay focused...
...with the meal plan & exercise at every available opportunity.
2. If I don't have a gym available?
I'll work out in my room. 
3. If I don't have time?
I'll eat cleaner that day, do a shorter more intense workout or have a rest day.
4. If I'm going to an event, travelling or socialising?
I'll prepare food for the day, eat clean all day, eat a clean filling meal before hand (if there isn't a meal, only snacks served) & try to limit myself on nibbles when I'm there.
5. If I'm staying at a hotel?
Prepare a couple of meals & healthy snacks to take with me, bearing in mind that there may not be a fridge or microwave. I'll also ask if they have a gym - if they do, I'll take full advantage!
Remember plan ahead to succeed & avoid failure!

As we head into week 5, stay strong & focused, as you've only got a week to go! And if you haven't started your journey yet, what are you waiting for? Head over to Get Fit With Davina now to get 4 WEEKS FREE!

27 May 2016

Fitness Friday: #InShapeMyShape with Women's Health

"Healthy isn't a one size fits all concept!" Women's Health
   With summer approaching, the majority of us women will be panicking over achieving the pinterest perfect '#BikiniBody'. Well this year, I am here with Women's Health to tell you to stop! After a worrying study showed that over 74% of women judge other women's bodies (as well as our own), it is time for a much needed shake up of social perception. It's time for a new age of #SummerHappiness & #BikiniConfidence instead.
   This summer, Women's Health has started a new body loving campaign #InShapeMyShape, to celebrate health & fitness in every form & at every level. They're calling time on body shaming, to focus on what we love about our amazing bodies & to show some appreciation for just what our bodies can achieve! With the help of celebrities & fitness personalities, this campaign aims to reshape our internal narrative, so that we begin to focus on what makes us confident, instead of what doesn't!
That through hard work & dedication, I am now seeing, as well as feeling, my progress. I am no longer aiming for that 'perfect body' that was inside my head, instead with each & every sweaty workout, where I have really worked for it, I feel more confident & happy within my own skin! This is me #InShapeMyShape.
Carly Rowena
@carlyrowena    Health & Fitness Blogger (One of my favourites! haha) & PT
"Social media is incredible, but one negative comment can confirm your worst fear. Mine was that my muscles made me look like a man & people have told me as much. But I've learned to ignore it & be proud of what they say about my strength."
Adrienne Herbet
@Adriennetmm    Fitness & Lifestyle Journalist & PT
"During pregnancy, I watched my belly grow from chiselled abs to the size of a space hopper. It was pretty awesome. In short, I love my body because it carried my son!"
Kim Hartwell
@kimhartwell    PT
"The body part I love is my back! By focussing my training on my back its allowed me to feel so much stronger. My training has (eventually) made me strong enough to be able to do exercises like pull ups. It's such an awesome feeling to know you can lift your own bodyweight. I feel more powerful as a whole & my posture has definitely benefited from it. Baby for back!"
Natalie Goodchild
@theblondeethos    Health & Fitness Blogger & Fitness Enthusiast
"I used to dislike how my tummy looked: messy with scars from life-saving surgery when I was a baby. Now, I love that they're part of me - a sign of something that made me stronger. Through healthy living I've learnt to appreciate the strength under my skin far more than what's on the surface. My tummy now says more about how I train & nourish my body than my illness."
Madeleine Shaw
@madeleine_shaw    Health Coach & Yoga Teacher
"IBS ins't a very sexy topic & people often feel embarrassed, but it's very common. It felt really good when I started to talk about having it & doing activities like yoga & meditation - it changed my body from the inside out."
Binky Felstead
@binkyfelstead    Made In Chelsea star & Fitness Lover
"I'm not ashamed to say I love my legs. I definitely inherited them from my mum & am lucky she had those long-and-lean genes. My tip for loving them even more? Fake tan!"
Hannah England
@hannengland_    Athlete
"I love my strong core that supports me in the toughest of races."
Joslyn Thompson Rule
@joslynthompsonrule    Nike NTC Master Trainer
"I love my shoulders because I've never worked on the specifically, but they are a result of consistent compound strength training!"
My 3 Tips to a Healthier Happier You!
1. Drink More Water
Hydration is one of the key aspects to health & happiness. Water is not only great for hydration, but it can reduce bloating & help flush out unwanted toxins in the body. Add lemon to it for taste & for added health benefits! Plus swapping soda, juice or a Starbucks for water means you're instantly cutting calories & processed sugars!
2. Replace Processed With Fresh
Try swapping flavoured ready made porridge for oats & honey, or ready made bolognese sauce for tinned tomatoes, onions & spices, or ready meals for hand made meal prep meals, or swap your packaged rice/white pasta/white bread for brown bread/rice/pasta... You get the idea! Where it is processed, try swapping it for a more natural source of food & you'll feel less bloated & leaner for doing so. There are tones of clean eating recipes online to inspire you - my favourite being Fit Men Cook.
3. Do Exercise You Actually Enjoy!
Stop forcing yourself to go for a run, to the gym or to that exercise class your friend loves - if you really don't enjoy it, try something new! First you need to find something you enjoy, then you can progress & challenge yourself within that field. For me, cardio alone used to bore me so much, but now that I focus on weight training, I am excited to get started & try new things - this is how you should feel too!
I hope this campaign inspires you as much as it has me, to love & appreciate our bodies more, because they are great! Please feel free to share what you love about your body with the hashtag #InShapeMyShape & help inspire a positive change!

23 May 2016

Clean Eating, Weight Training + Progress - Week 4 on Get Fit with Davina

The Food
   I am over half way through now & have already found that eating cleaner is making me feel fantastic & lean! My energy levels have balanced themselves out & I am no longer craving sugar quite like I was to begin with, so I can really feel the progress. I am finding my eating habits during the weekend - when I'm not following the meal plan - are a lot more concious & am making healthier decisions overall. I find that knowing I will be eating normally (75% healthy 25% treats) over the weekend keeps me on track with the diet plan, as I know I have a little treat to look forward to. So here's a break down of last weeks meal plan...
Breakfast: Scrambled Egg on Toast 5/5 I took out the butter, as I did not need it, swapped the rye bread for wheatgerm bread because of price & served with black pepper - so simple yet delicious!
Lunch: Prawn Pasta 4/5 Served with broccoli, cauliflower & a teaspoon of parmesan, this meal had so many delicious flavours in it, the only complaint was that it didn't hold all it's flavour throughout the week, as I prepare my weeks food on a Sunday.
Dinner: Wholemeal Spaghetti & Pesto with Chicken 4/5 Served with peas, corn on the cob & a tablespoon of parmesan, this meal was tasty, but perhaps could have used a little more seasoning.
Snacks: Apricots & Almonds 5/5 I decreased portion size to 3 apricots & 15 almonds, as I found my body was not particularly hungry to begin with, I was more eating to maintain energy levels & to increase certain macros.
Dessert: Low Fat Greek Yogurt with Honey & Cinnamon 5/5 One of my own choices, simple, easy to make & delicious! A great low fat, low cal, low sugar treat to boost energy & satisfy a sweet tooth.
The Exercise
   During week 3, I did 4 1hr+ weight training sessions at my gym, including a personal training session, instead of Davina's workouts & home bodyweight workouts. It felt refreshing to be back at the gym after a 2 week break from weights & I felt stronger for it too. My workout plans included 1 session for core, 1 for legs, 1 for back & core & another for legs, glutes & core.
My Cheats
   As usual, I had my daily extras - as listed in Week 1's Meal Plan - & had a weekend of eating my usual diet. My cheat meal for week 3 was Simply Grilled Chicken & an eton mess cheesecake from Harvester - oh how I have missed my cheesecakes!

Meal Plan
My weekly food shop for week 4 came to a total of £16.66 shopping mainly at Lidls & using a few leftovers (bread, oil, herbs etc) from my cupboards.
 I have reduced ingredients, only using 1 banana, 2 eggs (instead of 1 for more protein) & a splash of coconut milk for the pancake mix, cooking in low cal coconut oil spray instead of oil & added a tspn honey & cinnamon to serve.
 I am using 2 slices of wholemeal healthy bread instead, due to staying on budget & low fat soft cheese instead of ricotta for preference. I have swapped raspberries for strawberries because of cost, will be using only 40g salmon because of packet size & have chosen not to add butter.
 I will be adding a tbsp (15g) peanut butter to my apple, as I am only have 1 snack & love this combo for an energy boost.
 I always use low cal coconut oil spray instead of oil, as its lower in calories & fat & also coconut oil has great health benefits too! I have swapped courgette & celery for 48g kidney beans per day as they're cheaper, less prep involved when cooking & higher in protein. My chosen meat is 90g (1/5 of the packet) 7% fat turkey mince & served with a handful of salad.
The same as last week - simple & easy. 100g low fat greek yogurt, 1 tspn honey & cinnamon.
My total macros (not including drinks & my additional extras) for the day are as follows:
Calories  1375 (805 leftover)    Carbs  169 (101 left)    Fat  39 (33 left)    Protein  78 (30 left)    Sugars  82 (0 left)

Exercise Plan
   This week I will be combining Davina's 7 minute workouts, bodyweight home workouts & weight training. I hope to do 3 sessions of 21 minutes with Davina & 40 minute bodyweight workouts & 2-3 1hr+ weight training sessions at the gym.

We're almost there - keep up the hard work! And remember you can still get 4 WEEKS FREE on Get Fit With Davina here.