Monday, 11 July 2016

How to make your festival experience healthier, smarter and more amazing

It’s festival season in the UK, which means it’s time to get together with your mates and listen to some great live music as you stand in knee-deep mud, balancing a warm cider to your breast while expertly dodging flying bottles of piss…some experiences may vary!

I am definitely a fan of ‘The festival’. I love the expectation. I love the music. I love that you can seriously get in touch with your inner child, be a bit weird and every one around you is doing the same.

But for the healthy living addict, festivals can be a bit challenging…

Where the hell is the organic fruit? 
Why is every vegan option Mexican-based?  
Wait, I’m drinking ALL day? 

For these questions, I have to give this side of advice: Ease off. 

Personally, I see festivals as a chance to let loose. They’re like mini super-exhausting holidays. I go to around two a year, which equates to about five or six days. There is no other time in the year when I will be drinking as much alcohol, eating so much rubbish or staying up so late. I justify my cutting lose by grabbing onto that beautiful word: balance.

Having said that, I don’t think going to festivals mess up my wannabe-healthy-living too much. On my first day at Download festival this year I walked 50,000 steps (Thank you, Fitbit). That is four times the amount that I normally do in a day. At Secret Garden Party, I dance for hours on end. Well, I call it dancing. It’s probably more flaying limbs, but hey, back to my point about being about to be a weirdo without judgement at festivals. 

So back to balance; it’s not cheating; this is rewarding. A few days of the year living ‘wild’ isn’t going to wipe out all the hard work you’ve already put in. Balance is key.  

Still, it doesn’t hurt to have the following at hand to help you inject a bit of healthy to your festival experience:

Snacks
Yes, most festival organisers are starting to realise that not everyone wants to plant their face in a soggy burger and the selection of eateries is improving (Still waiting for you, Reading Festival…) but I still bring a selection of food with me. Preparation is everything, when I camp I bring the following: 


Vegan Mushroom Rolls: A doddle to make, easy to transport and great snack food. I took them to Download this year and they were the perfect first night dinner. 
- Bliss Balls of all types: You can buy them, yes, but there are so many recipes on the web one of my favourites have to be Raw Caramel Macadamia Balls  Again, easy to make, transport and they don’t need a freezer to carry. 
- Smoothies: This year I bought the packed lunch Innocent Smoothie cartons They were an absolute blessing when I woke each morning to menacing dehydration
- The obvious but I have to mention: Nuts, granola, oatcakes, avocados, bananas, coconut water, just plain water. Chuck some halluomi on the BBQ and have it with some hummus and avocado; it’s a winner. 

Your own penis
What, what? Okay, otherwise known as the Whiz. It’s basically a funnel to help ladies pee like a man. Or as Wikipedia like to call it: The Female Urination Device. I took one to Download and it improved my wellbeing to such an extent, it has to go on the list. Festivals equal queuing. My boyfriend waited for forty five minutes to use the portaloos one morning at Download. My bladder would have had none of that. So what did I do? I zipped up our tent and used the Whizz right into an empty bottle. No mess, no spills, all thrills because I was liberated. It also meant that I didn’t need to walk across a field filled with tents in the middle of the night for a wee. Safety first, people. I cannot express how the Whiz made my festival experience more awesome! 


Protection
It seemed like the moment a guitar finds its way into an open field in the UK, the heavens open and you end up in a lot of mud. But sometimes you get lucky. So bring the suncream to protect your skin as well as bringing your wellies to protect your feet. And don’t forget the socks! After all, Bear Grylls puts dry socks as one of his top ten survival essentials because, and I quote, ‘It's as important emotionally as it is physically’. Because wet feet SUCK.   
If you’re looking to get lucky, and don’t mind that your partner may not have washed their nether-regions in three days, bring condoms. If you would like to hear the ‘Cheese Toastie’ story told to me by one of my festival friends, just ask me on Twitter

The Bum-Bag
I am a portable supermarket at festivals. I hate having a bag when I’m dancing, so the bum bag is another one of my festival staples. The following is a list of what it carries, all of which I always end up using and thinking to myself: ‘You are so smart for having these on you, you smart thing, you!’. I carry loo roll, pain killers, mini hand sanitiser, money, phone, poncho, hip flask, eye drops, plasters, snack bars. I also clip a water bottle to the bumbag, which as well as allowing me to be my own hydration station, provides me with a subtle dance space maker when I swing my hips. Hey, it worked at Secret Garden Party! 

Have fun, people. See you in the mud.

X KB

Monday, 4 April 2016

Seize the day: Why traveling makes your life better



Chances are you’ve had the following conversation:

Mate: “Oh my god, we SO have to go to ‘Random European adventure/reasonably priced short hall destination’
You: -“Absolutely! You know, I saw you can fly there for 12 quid/I have loads of airmiles that I need to use!’
Mate: -*gasp* “Why don’t we go next weekend?”
You: -*gasp* “I will absolutely go with you next weekend!”

Sure, you might both whip your phones out at the same time, letting your thumbs dance in their search for the best cultural experiences in Barcelona, luxurious spas in Dubai or the prettiest Airbnbs in Rome. But when you come to say ‘Tata’ and Monday rolls around, all your travel plans get pushed back, forgotten or you just get that ‘Meh, can’t be bothered’ feeling. It’s not intentional, but like so many things life gets in the way. Time rolls on, and before you know it you’re saying: “How the hell is it April? This year is going SO fast.”

And time does go fast. Maybe that’s the darker lining to having a well oiled weekly routine. 2016 is the year where I promised myself that routine would frequently be broken. And after visiting The Travel Hack and reading about their 12 trips challenge, I made it my goal to visit somewhere I haven’t been before every month.

My travel style is part fake local, part super tourist. I try to find the thin line between following a self-made itinerary to just letting things happen without feeling like I’ve missed out on something important. So an added part of my challenge is to chill the hell out a bit pre, and during,  each holiday. I have to put away the Von Trap whistle and learn to exist in a new place even if the coffee bar around the corner had a much better write up on Trip Advisor.

Three months in, and I’ve been to three places that I’ve never been before - one in England, one in Scotland and another in the Middle East. Where will I go in April? Who the hell knows, but I’m up for it. Think it’s a waste of hard earned cash? Below are just a few reasons of how traveling makes your life better:
  • Get out of your comfort zone- My best travel moments have been when I’ve done something that has scared to kale out of me (Kale? Why not). My first solo excursion in a foreign country happened at a time where doing something by myself would usually break me out in a sweat. It was a point in my life where I really, really needed to start getting to know myself- hell, even LIKE myself.
    To this day I still highlight the very moment where I sat down with the Grand Canyon in front of me as the time when I started to change for the better. Even typing that sounds cliche- but thinking about the memory made me smile. I want that for everyone. By getting out of your comfort zone confidence will be built. Horizons will be expanded. Balls will be grown. I am yet to travel totally solo- I hope to do it in 2016.
     
  • Remind yourself that the world more than your corner of it- the world is fricking big, my friend. Something I am always reminded of when I travel. Honestly, EVERY TIME. We may meet people who we initially feel are so different to us, but with closer inspection (or conversation- hold the magnifying glass) you’re reminded that we ‘peoples’ aren’t actually so different after all. It’s a humbling experience. 
  • Break the routine- Routines are great. They help us stay on top of things. They help us reach goals.  But they can also provide us with mirror days where one day is the same as the next. Not being able to decipher one Tuesday to the next, or just living for weekend is no way to be. Travelling forces us out of that routine- or at least make a new one. This slows us down and can remind us that we don’t need to have a constant to do list. 
  • Education, Education, Education - Is there a better education that one you get while travelling? I love being on tours and listening to commented about history, cultures and art. You know, that moment you tilt your head to the side and start to drool with pleasure as your brain matter is massaged with delightful new information? Amazing. Eating different foods. Meeting new people. Changing your perspectives not just on the world but also yourself. It’s one thing to read about it in a book- it’s quite another to feel it under foot, breathe it in and see with your own eyes. 
  • Experiences vs Things- This video explains the point beautifully.Final note: please do not let the idea of cost stop you from exploring the world. 


Now fly my pretties…fly!! 


KB X 

Monday, 4 January 2016

The Menstrual Cup review: Why the secret cousin of tampons rock

Along with my hashtag healthy living:healthy choices wannahave lifestyle, where I’ve been starting to pay close attention to what I was putting in my mouth, it made sense to start paying attention to anything else I was putting in myself. And in this case, I’m talking my vagina. 

Considering that half the population experience surfing the crimson wave once a month, it’s absolutely something that we should be talking about. And talking proudly, without cringing or using our inside voice. So here we go…

Hopefully, you’re aware that disposable sanitary protection have actually been quietly subjecting the southern region of our bodies to chemical warfare. That and the impact on the environment means that it’s high time to look to other methods. Enter the Menstrual Cup. 
Menstrual cup
The Menstrual Cup. So squidgy. 

Often seen as a petrifying silicone bucket destined to be lost forever up your vagina, the Menstrual Cup is the unpopular, perhaps even secret, cousin of well known tampons and sanitary towels. When I had the ‘period talk’ at school, I don’t remember my teacher ever putting a menstrual cup on the table as one of my options. Go to my local supermarket, I see every brand of tampon under the sun but I am yet to see the cup. In the UK, it seems like the choice of disposable sanitary products are being made for us. (Note: I have seen them in some Boots stores hidden away on the bottom shelf). Conspiracy theory paid for by industry giants? Meh, that’s a different online rant. 

Menstrual cups are flexible containers made of silicone that sit low in your vagina and collect your flow. The variety of cups is overwhelming. Each new cup bringing more questions…such as but not always including: 'Well, how long is my vagina?', 'Do I want a stem or a tail?', 'How do I know if my cervix is high or low?', 'How many holes to I have down there again?!' 

Eww. That sounds so gross. Why would I ever? <- My former thoughts.

But then I tried it out. Mostly out of curiosity and the idea of never having to deal with tampon ‘wee wee string’ was too tempting to pass up. 

So with that, I launched into slightly obsessive research mode in searching for the perfect cup for me. I was met with a lot of options, detailed videos and confusion. But eventually, I picked the right one for me. I’ve tested out this bad boy now for just under a year. The past six periods have been absolutely hassle free. So it’s time to share. 

The first time it went in, I had the same thought as when I first had sex; ‘Oh, is that it?’. Too easy. That little thing just popped in, opened itself up and spent the next few hours quietly collecting bits of my former self. But then it was exit time.

For thirty minutes I was crab walking across my bathroom floor with my bloodied fingers up myself in the most unsexual way imaginable. My hands (and perhaps parts of my arm) were covered in blood. I was making noises only made my the severely constipated and I was clumsily treading between realising how funny the situation was to how long it was going to be until I needed to go to A&E. Yes, I sure as hell got to know myself in that thirty minutes period. 

Anyway, after more bearing down than I thought possible, it came out. And I didn’t swear never again. Instead, I was determined to get this little bastard thing working for me like it had for so many others. After all, if the YouTube menstrual cup guru could use it, why couldn’t I? My next attempt included overthinking it, dropping it on the floor and feeling a bit sick. Back to the tampons till next time it was. 

It was touch and go for the next few periods. There was a small amount of leakage, but that was nothing compared to the ridiculous pain that I experienced. My lower abdomen was screaming at me, even though the cup wasn’t in me. I’m talking horrendous pain, the type where you feel you want to vomit. Hot water bottle later and it subsided, but I was worried that I’d damaged myself. 

I googled the crap out of it but didn’t come up with a definitive answer. Other girls mentioned some pain, but nothing really fit what I experienced. It could have been worse cramps than usual because my body was just changing, it could have been psychosomatic or it could have been the cup itself. Determined not to give up, I ordered another two. But this time, I made two more small holes in the cup after a recommendation that I read on the interwebs. 

This. Was. It. 

Ever since then, there’s been no pain, no leakages, no worries. Almost too easy. I am now the menstrual cup poster girl. I happily bounce about during yoga and wipe from back to front with no fear of stinky string during my period. I don’t want to go back and as long as I’m pain free, I don’t think that I will. 

So now, for your reading pleasure, the best things about a menstrual cup:

  • You are now an Eco warrior- no more will your used tampons and pads be sitting in a landfill for all to see. As the average woman roughly uses 11,000 tampons in her lifetime, there is a pile of disposable chemically cotton somewhere with your DNA all over it. Plus, the time it takes for that tampon or pad to degrade is centuries longer than your lifespan. And remember, its’ not just the sanitary product itself, that little dude is usually wrapped in a plastic wrapper or bag which gets thrown on the trash heap as well. 
  • No stinky string- we’ve all been there; just put in a fresh tampon when suddenly you need to do twosies. You know, the period ones. When you feel like the organs of the lower half of your body are about to fall out of your ass. One wipe it shall not be. With the menstrual cup, there is no string- so there’s nothing there to get stinky or change. Result. 
  • Money saving expert- the cost of sanitary products (Or rather the fast that they are taxed as ‘luxury goods’ in the UK) has been a lot more vocal of recent, suggesting that we spend around £90 a year. Menstrual Cups cost between £11- £22 and they last for years if looked after. Bargain. 
  • No bleach up my minky- If you would like to know the kinds of chemicals your putting up your vagina click here
  • Getting to know ME- A conversation that I have a lot with my fellow vagina-havers is that for the longest time we didn’t know diddly squat about it. Maybe we’d had a quick look with a mirror once or twice, curled our lips at the different crevices, bits of skin and holes, but young ladies aren’t taught a thing about their bits. It's like female masturbation when I was a teen in the 00s: everyone was doing it, but nobody was talking about it. While men publicly rearrange their testicles, we don’t know shit about our vaginas. And that's sad. Very sad. The good thing about the menstrual cup is that you get to know what you’ve got. You have to, in order to understand what’s going on during your period. After all, why should stick with the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality thats been sold to us by giant disposable sanitary product companies for years?  
  • The Lazy girls guide to periods- menstrual cups can be left in for twelve hours. TWELVE fricking hours! I’m telling you, I’ve actually nearly forgotten I was even having my period when I’ve used it because I literally change it after work and then take it out at night. Bonus. 
  • Your vagina will be a moist haven- That word. That word. But be gone the dryness that you feel when you shove a tampon in. Or worse- out. That horrible feeling when you need to take a dry tampon out is no more. Unlike the tampon, the menstrual cup doesn't suck up every ounce of moisture in your vagina so you’ll be wetter than a ducks wet bits (In a good way!)
  • No Toxic Shock Syndrome risk with a menstrual cup: Think that TSS is an 80s myth used to scare us? Think again, again and again.
  • Feel free to get me off- Something that was only brought to my attention by a fellow mooncupper. Suddenly, you can go back to having furtive feel ups without the fear of your partner touching a string that really wants to touch them back. Third base is still on the cards with the menstrual cup. 
  • You are no longer a walking Boots chemist- Every fricking bag I had held several tampons within. I now have one moon cup which I carry with me when I’m due. That’s it. Awesome.
Reasons why menstrual cups can be ‘meh’
  • Oh, so thats was menstrual blood looks like- yes, you do get acquainted with what your releasing. Who knew that it was that goopy? You do get over this. But to be honest, I’m always interested to see how much my cups collected. And I’ve been known to offer a private viewing to friends who want to see how it works. Share and educate, people. 
  • They can leak- Not to the point of the contents of the Thames flowing out of your vagina, but similar to how an overused tampon would. Since I cracked the moon cup code, I haven't had any leaks for over seven months. Having said this, it's rare that I will wear a menstrual cup without a reusable mini pad when I’m out of the house just for my own piece of mind.
  • Maintenance- It’s recommended that you boil your cup for three minutes for at least once per cycle. This can be annoying and cause some raised eyebrows in the kitchen.
  • Get it out of me!! It takes time to get used to removing the cup. Practice really does make perfect, but fully expect some hilarious removal story of your own when you first give it a go.
  • Issues- I’ve read reports that those prone to thrush may enflame a re-occuring condition. There are arguments that they can also cause problems with IUDs.


Conclusion (TLDR): Menstrual cups get the thumbs up because after a lot of testing and fiddling about, it works for me. But I’m not you. Our bodies are different. Still, what have you got to lose? The pros outweigh the cons on this secret little cup that could be a total game changer. 
Friday, 17 April 2015

I want to live like 'Happy People' or a realistic rant on how to become a 'Happier Person'

 So I have my happiness journal. I have my pack of zen tea. I mediate every morning while grasping my malachite stone while my salt lamp is a-lamping. So why the hell are negative things still popping into my brain? 

The majority of people who know me consider me to be to be a ‘Happy’ person. Especially since this whole eating differently, exercising, saying ‘yes’ instead of no to opportunities and basically having a mid-life crisis in my early thirties (Let’s call a spade a spade, yo). So I’ve noticed that when I talk to my friends about how I’m feeling they ask me: Are you happy all the time? Cue extreme pig-snort laughter…

There is a common misconception with happiness, especially with the ‘Healthy Living’ community on platforms like Instagram. Check out these pretty, pastel hued pictures and everyone looks like they are permanently living in a tampon advert (e.g. ‘Life is for living and I’m living it, even if I am bleeding for 3-7 days- woohoo!’). They seem to be perpetually Disneyland happy, living their seemingly perfect lives out in trendy cafes, deserted white sanded beaches and in bathrooms that have the best light for selfies the sun has ever thrown our way. Awesome YouTuber Cassie of Cloudy Apples did a great video about the selected self that people portray online. It’s all about branding, the likes and the like. Don’t ever assume that a selection of pictures paints an honest representation of that persons life- myself included. We all have our shit to shovel. 

Ask my boyfriend if I’m happy all the time and he'll inevitably do that cute but annoying smirk he does. This will be because he's seen me before I've taken that perfect Instagram picture of the dish that I've just been telling to 'fuck off' for the last hour while cooking it. He's heard me whinge about people or situations that have upset me, and he knows that sometimes I'm just a bitch. I am. I accept that. Thumbs up to my bitchy self. 

The idea of being happy all the time scares me. It immediately makes me think of alien invasions, forever increasing doses of prescription drugs and pupils the size of donut holes. It isn’t real. And thank goodness, because without the bad how would be ever appreciate the good? While I don't love feeling moody or miserable, when I do, I take a moment to remember that what I'm feeling is temporary. It's like whenever I'm sick, I take multiple moments to remind myself to pay more attention to how great it feels to feel well.  It’s about connecting to what you’re grateful for and remembering that what goes down will come up even if it’s only for a moment before it goes down again. Such is life.

I fully believe that happiness is an inside job, and one that you have cultivate continuously in order to reap the benefits. Happy people aren't all delusional fairy dust farters who are grinning the moment they bounce out of bed. They make an effort to find the joy in the everyday. But really make an effort, making it a part of their routine. I can vouch for the benefits of exercise in improving happiness (You can’t argue with science). And considering that it only takes 7 minutes to ‘get there’, I won’t hear a word about people not having time to move their bodies. I am also a pusher for expressing gratitude on a daily basis. I did this consistently for a few months before my routine changed and it got left by the wayside. Now in moments when I wake up and think ‘meh’, I remind myself to think about the things I am grateful for whether it be the porridge on my spoon, the fact that I have a job or that I could see when I opened my eyes (Okay, when I put my glasses on). It changes my outlook for the better even if it’s just a fraction. In that moment I can be happy because I can be grateful about what I have, instead of thinking about what I don’t have. 

Still, it doesn’t stop be from feeling sad, mad, frustrated, infuriated or just a little bit sorry for myself at times just like it doesn’t stop bad things from happening in my life. If someone I love gets hurt, I get upset. If I lose something through no fault but my own, I’m angry. I can feel rejected. I will still get negative thoughts even on the most perfect of days. I can feel a particular shade of shit. But I will always, always come back to what I am grateful for once I’ve processed everything that I’m feeling. 

That is what ‘Happy People’ do again and again and again. 


x KB 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

How to manage the post-holiday blues- looking after your body and wellbeing

Doing my best to be the productive blogger-turned traveller, I’m writing this from an over air-conditioned lounge in Kuala Lumpar on the now fourth hour of my wait for my connecting flight to London. It’s my return journey, and I’m being faced with the same thing I and every other holidayer has as their journey comes to an end...my life now absolutely sucks.

Dramatic? Maybe. But I can’t recall a time where I, or anyone I know, has returned from a break from work, college or school without feeling a dash of resentment. 

The truth is, post holiday blues will and do happen. I remember a classic burst into tears mega-jetlag moment when I came back from Oz a few years ago when having my first shower off the plane and I realised that my drab British bathroom had no windows whereas my Australian bathroom looked out onto never ending beautiful bushland. I resigned myself to misery and looked at everything around me with a particular dark shade of ‘I hate everything here’. Being me, and being around me, was not fun. 

What I recognize now is that it’s entirely up to me to how long I let my post holiday grump drag my mood down; I’m the one in control. Accepting that we may feel disheartened after a break is realistic, you can’t just put the mask on an solider through it. It’s important to feel it, but there are steps you can take to make your transition to RL that much more bearable. So here is how I’m planning on avoiding getting stuck in the mindset that anywhere but here is better...

Rest. 

You need not only to catch up on the sleep you lost in travel, but also the possible emotional smack you had if you left relatives behind or, my personal fav, going from summer to winter in a matter of 24hrs. Be kind to yourself. Eat the right food, get the right Z’s and give your body and mind time to re-adjust. If you get back into your work routine exhausted, your emotions will be all over the place and that black dog of post holiday resentment will be going into overdrive. 

Gratitude.
Dancing on the beach at Byron Bay during a full moon.
Absolute gratitude every time I look at this photo!

Dude, you just had a holiday. A holiday that brought you new adventure, experiences and reasons to remember why our world is pretty darn amazing. Whether you visited Byron Bay or Blackpool, you had the means, the time and the ability to change your life up for a time. So many others aren’t so fortunate. So when you’re grumbling about it being -3 instead of 30 take a moment to reflect on this.

Reflection.

Get your holiday photos out and take time to reminisce. Maybe your experiences brought about a few small changes in your life, or maybe you find that your trip changed you for the better in more ways than first or ever thought. Writing your thoughts down, or the changes you feel, is a great way to hold onto the positive on why you went away in the first place.  

See people. 

I mean particular people. The ones who you will always leave feeling the same thing: that was such a positive, good use of my time- man, I love that person! It’s oh so tempting to hide away at home once you return from a trip dripping about on Facebook and going green at other peoples adventures. Instead, throw out a few texts and get some plans in the diary to fill your time with people that make you feel good. 

Plan.

Okay so that holiday is over. What’s the next one? It doesn’t hurt to fantasize about your next destination. I’ve been known to inhabit Kayak and Expedia daily after my return just to shift my post holiday grump. If you do book something, it gives you another thing to look forward to or a countdown to watch! If traveling isn’t on your agenda until the pennies turn to pounds, then start planning activities that you know will bring a smile to your face. Maybe invite some unpredictability into your life. Try something you’ve never tried before, cook something you’ve always been meaning to cook catch up with people you’ve been meaning to see for yonks. The point is to find the wonder in your ordinary so that we’re not always relying on our annual holiday to find our moments of gratitude and happiness. 


Pre-plan. 

Make sure homes your home. It might be a bit late for this, but I know that if I come home to a house that’s messy with laundry piled up, carpets that need vacuuming, and a room that looked like it threw up the contents of my suitcase three times I’m not going to feel great. Coming home to a tidy, clean space will be better for your mind and body. Who needs that instant ‘to do’ list building in your mind as you walk through the door? 

Get outside. 

Get grounded by putting your feet to the earth as soon as possible. This will expose your body to the natural magnetic frequencies that are released by the earth and basically combat all the positive electrons in your body. Sound too wacky? Have a read of this. I read a lot of positive accounts of frequent flyers indulging in some outdoor bare foot yoga once they arrive at their final destination. Even if I decide I don’t want bare toes on some cold, crunchy grass I will make an effort to get outside as soon as possible. This way I can remind myself of how beautiful the UK actually is (Something I can forget when I’m back from Oz) but also let every cell in my body understand where I am.

x KB
Sunday, 14 December 2014

Traveling Healthy Living Style: Top tips for flying the healthy way...

Ho, Ho, Ho, holiday season is nigh, and for a lot of us it means becoming reacquainted with a giant, aluminium flying can for either few hours or what feels like an eternal hell that is the long haul flight. 
I'm literally a week out from starting my own holiday journey, which I like to call the mother of all long hauls: the London to Sydney. It's a flight I’ve done on and off over twenty years (Yes, before they had personal TVs in front of your face. Oh, it was tough). Over that time I have come up with my own tried and tested formula which helps me emerge from said plane feeling less like a dribbling zombie desiring fast food and more like a human ready to holiday it out. So here are my top tips for flying the healthy way: 
Order Ahead: Make sure you contact your airline in advance to choose your meal. There is nothing more annoying that having to stick with the last chicken meal when you actually haven’t eaten meat in years. It should be old news that you can get a huge variety; vegan, veggie, raw. Take your pick and hope for the best. And on the subject of eating, eat light meals in the days leading up to your flight. That way you won’t feel like you’re attempting to digest a lead balloon while sitting on your backside for what can feel like an age. 
Pick your seat prior: This isn’t being control freaky, this is you picking the seat you know that you want. Personally, I go for the aisle seat because it means that I have the freedom to get up and move whenever I want. For others, they like the window seat for the view and the argument that there are less germs (Thanks for the extra paranoia, internet). Make sure you check up on your seat the day before you fly because you could get lucky and change to a seat which neighbours unoccupied ones so you can make your own insta-bed! Who needs First Class?

Be rested: One year I decided to stay up all night before my flight to Australia thinking I’d drop off the moment I found my plane seat. Incorrect. I was irritable, my mind was cloudy and I ended up getting sick a few days after I arrived. Try be as rested as possible before you fly because chances are the Z’s you get on your flight aren’t going to be capital. 
BYO: Food, that is. I'm talking, nuts, oat cakes, dried fruit, protein bars, more oat cakes. Do not depend on your airport to supply you with healthy food. In my experience, there isn’t a lot of choice and you end up panic buying crap that won't help you feel good. I'm still waiting to spot a coconut water past security, but a girl can dream.   
Water: Of course I had to get this in here. Remember that if you do bring a bottle of water with you to the airport it will be taken off you at security. So, it’s best to prepare to buy another once you’re through to duty free. If you can find some coconut water after security then go for it! When on the flight, I recommend getting friendly with the airline hostesses. And I don’t mean swapping life stories, I mean getting up to visit them in their galley to score more water. You may even make friends out of them and get some free perks. 
Beautify: Being locked in an air conditioned tin will play havoc on your skin. In fact, you may emerge looking like the lizard queen. To combat this, I will quite happily slap on an invisible overnight mask (I swear by Origins Drink up Intensive Mask) after take off as well as reapply hand cream and lip balm whenever I feel like it. It gives me something to do, and it really does make a difference to your skin when you’re back on land. So save up those free samples and prepare to self-soothe on your next flight. 
Move: It is so important to keep the blood flowing while you’re sitting down for long periods of time. Plan to take a walk every thirty minutes, stretch and get on with some chair yoga because, let's face it, what else is there to do?
Be Kind: To combat the flying anxieties, have a playlist at hand that you’ve designed specifically to relax to. Make sure you use it back home in the weeks before you fly so that you’re body learns that those tracks mean chill out time. Flying is also a perfect place to try some mindfulness meditation. No one will even know you’re getting your zen on while flying at 30,000 feet. While your at it, bring out some aromatherapy action. Thisworks have a great In Transit Muscle Therapy roll on, which I've used and loved for the past year when I've travelled. Its relaxing Marjoram, Black Pepper and Clove scent beats the classic 'Eau de plane'.
Get the gear: As well as the products listed above my in-flight survival kit also includes: a neck pillow, my own headphones, eye drops, ear plugs, eye mask, anti-DVT socks, a kindle loaded with every book I've ever had an interest in as well as an iPad loaded with my favourite TV shows. This bit is all about the comfort and are noticeably in the category of: 'Pretend I’m anywhere but here'. Something that I think is paramount for ones wellbeing when going the long haul. 
Lastly, enjoy it! Yes, it can be tough, but what a privilege to be able to travel the world. Take on the challenge and remember to always look for the unexpected and the awesome. 

X KB

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Review: The Vitamix Aspire, the must have gadget for Healthy Cooks

The reason why my first review for anything on this blog is for the Vitamix Aspire is because it has literally changed the way I cook and eat. Without it I wouldn't get to try out all the amazing recipes I find on the internets or make a soup in under ten minutes. It’s one of the things I would grab in a fire, replace without question and possibly kiss goodnight.

The Boss
Recently I’ve had a lot of comments on my Instagram about the food that I showcase. This happens particularly with the desserts, of which there are many, because I am on a forever quest to find the perfect healthy dessert for me. In fact, dessert pictures are the ones the get the most attention on IG full stop. Sure, my photography skills are pretty fly, but it clearly has a lot to do with the recipes that I find. When my friends have asked me for these recipes because they're itching to try them at home, I gladly hand them over with a word of caution. This caution comes from my own experience of wasting hours as well as expensive ingredients when I've used equipment that just wasn't up to the task. You see, most of the healthy dessert recipes that I find require the kind of work that only my most favourite kitchen instrument can do. So although I end up sounding like I'm working on commission for Vitamix (I should be so lucky), I advise them to invest in one because I know that, like me, they won't regret it if they do.  

Make no mistake, friends, this isn’t the your run of the mill kitchen purchase. Getting a Vitamix is a wise investment just like buying Mayfair in Monopoly is as long as you’ve got Park Lane. Hold your breath, my Vitamix Aspire was a tidy £400. Again, I point to my cheapo-ness that I referred to in my last post so believe me when I say that purchasing my Vitamix was not a decision that I made without a lot of debate and research. I’m not in a position to drop a couple of hundred quid willy nilly (Probably the most British sentence I’ve ever written) so this bitch had to be worth it. 

But, oh my, it so is. 

At the moment, I’m using my Vitamix about four times a week at least. In the summer, when I have smoothies for breakfast, I use it every day. I’ve made smoothies, ice cream, soups, desserts, nut butters, sauces, and even used it to chop up veg when I can’t be bothered to get the knife and cutting board out (This is really handy when I’m in a rush but still want a juice). I feel like a gangster in the kitchen when I make quick word of almonds for my almond butter or frozen bananas for some quick healthy ice cream. If I was on a desert island experiencing mirages, mine would include a Vitamix along with Ryan Gosling and some coconut oil (I’m sure you’ll appreciate all of the above have multi uses for I am a resourceful girl). 

One of the tasty treats make with the help of my Vitamix
I have the wet container, which was the one that it came. I’ve been meaning to get the dry container but after a year of learning how to get the most out of it, I haven’t seen the need. Yes, I admit that when it first graced my kitchen side with its precence I went straight into processing dry datesand it cut out. After freaking out and having a mini diva strop in the kitchen, I swore that I’d take it back to the store and never again. That is until I actually read the manual and realised that cutting out is all part of the machines design to prevent the motor from blowing up. It’s the machines way of saying: “Back off, bitch!”. Important lesson here: the Vitamix Aspire is not an invincible piece of equipment and you do need to take your time when using it (The same applies to making sure the lids on properly when you start it. Made that mistake once...never again, I tell you!). My Vitamix and I get on just fine now. It hasn’t cut out for ages because I now soak my dates like I probably should do anyway considering I am still using the ‘wet’ container to this day.

If it died tomorrow there is no way I would get a cheaper alternative. Any time I cook at someone else's and use their blender, the quality just isn’t the same. When I return home and use my machine I remember just why I have one. Trust me, I would LOVE to find a cheaper version, but so far no such luck. If you know different, do share. 

It's the bees knees, the dogs bollocks and all that there is in between. All there is left to say is that so far I’m addicted. Vitamix, you complete me. 

x KB

 

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