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Why I love Body Combat

Or how I learnt to punch using my elbow!

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with exercise. Running has always been my favourite, but getting started really sucks. Once you’re past the initial stages and you’re pretty good at it, it’s really ace. I like it because it’s free, it’s just you and the pavement, you just pop your trainers (and your sports bra) on and go. No muss, no fuss. Unfortunately I’m carrying a knee injury, which means I need to be lighter to go running without damaging my knee further. I’ve dabbled in the 30 Day Shred, which has its place, but I’m bored of it now. I’m also doing Davina’s Fit in 15, which is pretty good, but I tend to do the cardio section plus one of the others Monday – Wednesday and want something else to make me stronger and help strengthen my core. This is where Body Combat comes in.

Body Combat


I love Body Combat because:

  1. The teachers are always excellent, even though I can never understand them over the music. I like working out at home, but I never push myself as hard as I do in Combat. My current teacher comes round during a track where we have to sprint and lift our knees high. She makes me lift them higher than I think I can.
  2. I’ve never been particularly strong or coordinated. I’m always the one at the back of the class, struggling with doing all the moves at once, poking my tongue out in concentration. It might take me a while to get the move down, but once I’ve got it, I can pretty much do it.
  3. You don’t stop moving for an hour. Track after track, you just keep going. There’s no pausing the DVD to get your breath back. There’s only enough time for me to clean my glasses!
  4. You can unleash your rage. I’ve imagined punching colleagues, friends, family, the works. Most of all, I’m just fighting myself, trying to make myself work harder and not think about how tough it is, how unfit I am, how red I am, how much I want to lie down!
  5. While I resemble nothing like the woman in the video below (and probably never will!) I like to think that I do and that I could hold my own in a fight.

I detest going to the gym. The music sucks, it smells and there’s always someone grunting and dripping sweat everywhere. But in Combat, you’re too exhausted for any of that. So once a week, I get in my car, drive over to the leisure centre for combat and I love it!

What’s your favourite form of exercise? The one thing that gets you moving off the sofa?

Feeling Fabulous

If you have been following my Instagram feed, you will have noticed quite a few images of fruit, veg and healthy snacks. My sister asked if I was on a diet. While the answer to that is no, I am trying to eat better. I’ve written before about not having much energy, and whether it’s down to lack of sunshine, a poor diet or just laziness, I’m trying to change things up a bit. Which is why I signed up to the Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish eCourse, 12 Weeks to Feeling Fabulous. Click on the image below to find out more (and sign up!).

feeling fabulous

My aim throughout the course is to try and get my mojo back. At the start of last year, I was quite restrictive in my diet. I lost a bit of weight, which was ace, but then I fell off the wagon in epic style and put all the weight back. Not great. And this has been happening for years and years… Not a great way to live. So I decided that enough is enough. I need to eat for healthy and energy, exercise because it’s good for me, not because it’s on my to do list and try to improve my self-confidence. It’s not easy, because when it comes to me, I’ll take the easy option thanks! So getting a takeaway, sitting on the sofa, being a couch potato, yep, love that. But I know it’s not good for me and I know it’s not good long term. (Plus, I can’t fit into most of my ‘work clothes’. Not great.) I didn’t want to go on *another* restrictive diet, where I’m ‘good’ while I’m on it, then stuff my face when it’s over. That shit makes me miserable. And life is waaay too short for that! So I decided what I needed was a new perspective. And that’s where Feeling Fabulous came in.

Honey porridge

Some things I get right, day in, day out. Like breakfast. I’m pretty much a creature of habit with this. Here’s my Winter Breakfast: Porridge, banana, flax & sunflower seeds, local honey and cinnamon. I also drink plenty of water throughout the day and don’t drink too much tea or coffee throughout the day. And while I may go on about drinking lots of wine and gin on Twitter, in reality, I’m a real lightweight and can take it or leave it. What I needed to work on are things like making sure I eat more fruit and veg, sort out portion control and reduce my carb intake. I have a slight carb addiction but my tummy is no longer happy with that and doesn’t like too much bread, white flour/rice and processed junk.

Fruit, seeds and yoghurtI’ve started eating more fruit, which is the easy bit, and have gone for more exciting fruits, like watermelon, pineapple and raspberries, rather than just sticking with apples, because, lets face it, apples are pretty dull. I’ve also added more seeds to my diet and have also tried goji berries and pomegranate seeds. I’ve added more veg to my diet, but think there’s still room for improvement on that score so next week, I am going to try making my own green smoothie, with spinach and avocado. This is a big deal for me, as I am super fussy, but what’s the harm? I’ve been trying new things left, right and centre:

Itsu veg juiceI tried both of these from Itsu last week. I really liked the juice, which I did not expect, mainly because it contains broccoli, my pet hate veg. But it was lovely. The coconut water, on the other hand, was vile and I couldn’t drink it. Gross! I’ve also been thinking about the products I use on my skin too. I’ve started using shampoo and conditioner from Lush and, inspired by Laura, who runs the blog and the ecourse, I’m going to be trying out vegan nail polish and organic body cream and makeup.

natural beauty productsI’ve started exercising again too, beyond walking Poppy. I’ve been doing the Davina McCall Fit in 15 DVD, which is really good. It’s not too long and it makes a nice change from the 30 Day Shred. I’m also going to a Body Combat class later on today, which I used to go to all the time and loved it! No idea why I stopped going. I love a good roundhouse kick and uppercut punch ūüėČ

So that’s what’s going on with me right now. This doesn’t mean that I am not eating the odd Thai takeaway or slice of carrot cake, as I am, just in balance with the rest of my diet. After all, a little of what you fancy does you good. Just as long as it’s a little! If you’ve got any tips or suggestions, I’d love to hear them! What exercise are you doing at the moment? Do you find it helps you feel better?

The PaperLove Blog Hop

Hello. My name is Cathryn and I love paper.

The PaperLove Blog Hop

For as long as I can remember, I have loved paper. This developed into quite a serious stationery addiction. For me, going to the newsagents or a stationers still makes me feel calm and happy. After a bad day at work, I like nothing more than going to the stationers and buying a new pen to write with. And is there anything more satisfying, than using a brand new pen, preferably one with orange ink (my favourite), in a brand new notebook? The joy. The hesitation over what to write. Using your best and neatest handwriting. *sigh* That’s pretty much heaven for me. My notebook buying addiction, which extended to post-it notes and highlighters, became overwhelming, so much so that my drawers were full of them and I had to go cold turkey. It was either that or we would drown in paper! This only makes the purchase of a new notebook even more satisfying, as I’ve had to wait sooooo long to buy one.

handmade 40th birthday cardIt’s not just notebooks that feed my love of paper. I also really enjoy working with paper. Whether it’s making cards, cutting and sticking different papers together or just perusing Pinterest for amazing amazing paper creations from like minded paper lovers. I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to ideas about making things from paper, which I makes me breath a sigh of happiness when I’m feeling blue.

The paper garlandI also spend my day, surrounded by paper. I’m either scribbling notes, ideas and to do lists or I’m looking at some of my favourite and inspirational pieces of paper on my notice board above my desk. There’s something very satisfying about working with paper, whether you’re creating something from an old book or reusing a pretty bag to make a butterfly, paper makes me smile. A lot! It’s official, my love affair with paper is going nowhere!

Are you a paperfan? Or maybe you’re a stationery geek and can’t get enough of new notebooks?

The PaperLove Blog Hop is a celebration of all things paper! Follow the links to discover more bloggers who love paper and use it to inspire and delight. And if you want to explore a whole world of paper, and stretch your paper passion further with a host of creative projects, why not join the innovative new online course PaperLove (starts March 31). Led by book artist Rachel Hazell, PaperLove is a five week creative adventure for paper lovers. Find out more here.

Majo Bautista¬†/ Tona Bell / Louise¬†Best / Cathy¬†Bluteau / Jennifer Bomgardner / Giova Brusa / Lindsay Buck / Beka Buckley / Joanna Caskie / Jonathan Chapman (Mr Yen) / Halle Cisco /¬†Sarah Clare / Cathryn Clarke / Dawn Clarkson /¬†Rhiannon¬†Connelly / Jenny¬†D’Fuego / Molly Dhiman / Ian Dudley / Ayisatu Emore / Akmal Farid / Monika Forsberg / Claire Fritz-Domeney / Louise Gale / Chrissy¬†Gaskell / Julie Hamilton / Emma Hawman / Rachel¬†Hazell / Holly Helgeson / Claudine Hellmuth / Kim Henkel / Sarah¬†Hoffman / Joanne Hus / Paula Joerling¬†/ Beth¬†Kempton / Julie Kirk / Eos Koch / Katie LaClair / Kristy Lankford / Michelle Manolov /¬†Doreen Marts¬†/ Rosie¬†Martinez-Dekker / Tori Mears / Maria Mederios / Lise Meijer / Debbie Miller / MaryJane Mitchell / Suzy Naidoo / Grace Noel / Hannah Nunn /¬†Camilla Olsson / Jo Packham / Rachelle Panagarry /¬†Monette¬†Pangan / Melanie Paul / Nicole Piar / Jen Pitta / Liz Plummer / Julie Reed / Michelle¬†Reynolds / Lisa Rivas¬†/ Angee Robertson / Natalie Ryan /¬†Aisling Ryan / Elisabet Sapena / Kyrrha Sevco / Jamie Sprague / Elizabeth Steele / Terri¬†Stephens / Juniper Stokes / Mary Tanana / Maike Thoma / Linda Tieu / Gabrielle Treanor / Tammy Tutterow / Deborah¬†Velasquez / Jordan Vinograd Kim / Cat Whipple / Brooke Witt / Katie¬†Wood / Amelia¬†Woodbridge

Oh, Christmas Tree

It’s finally beginning to look festive at Crafty Chai towers. As our house is snug & compact, we have to get a small tree. For the last few years we’ve bought our tree from Appleton Christmas Barn, which is as awesome as it sounds! It really helps to get me in the Christmas spirit because as soon as you arrive, Christmas is all around you & can’t help but love it!

Festive RibbonAs soon as you enter, you hit with warmth from the wood burning stove by the entrance. Sadly, it wasn’t needed much when we bought our tree last week, but it has been essential in years gone by. They have absolutely everything you could possibly need to get your house ready for Christmas. I love the range of ribbons and stamps that they have, as it’s the little touches that help make Christmas extra special.

Christmas stampsI couldn’t resist buying a holly stamp this time, which has adorned plenty of envelopes, cards & gifts. As we only tend to go when we’re buying our tree, some of the products had already sold out. So we missed out on getting some new festive candles, but they always have plenty of games that are perfect for when the family comes round.

Christmas BaublesOur Christmas tree never really has a theme, as I made the mistake of having a silver & lilac theme one year and it was just horrid. Plus, our decorations are an amalgamation of both mine & my OH’s decorations from when we were single, with a few new ones that we’ve bought since we’ve been together. I prefer a full and colourful tree, with as much clashing of colours & styles as possible!

Appleton Reindeer Sleepy reindeerFor the second year running there were reindeer at Appleton Christmas Barn. It’s so great to see them up close. They were quite sleepy after a busy day of being festive and I was quite impressed with my iPhone photography skills and catching this one mid yawn! Cute or what?! We weren’t sure how Poppy was going to react to the tree, as she gets obsessed with things that move when she pokes them with her nose that ends in her barking at it, poking it really hard & running away. So when we got the tree home, we just put it up and left it for a few days before decorating it. Poppy couldn’t be less bothered with it if she tried! Once again, I worried over nothing. Will I never learn?!

Icelandic SantaWe decided to put our Icelandic Santa in pride of place on top of the tree this year, after Poppy gave his beard a little chew. I love this little guy! Our tree is shorter than ones we’ve bought in previous years, but it’s much bushier, which led to bauble issues! If I spaced them out, it looked bare, but some of the bigger ones kept touching. In the end, I just put on as many as I could get away with.

Cath Kidston SantaObviously my little Cath Kidston Santa decoration took pride of place. I’m still really impressed with those neat little stitches! Does anyone else find that the sap from the tree really makes their hands itch? I always have to stop and wash them so I don’t keep scratching them.

Christmas TreeIt was so sunny today that I really struggled to get a decent picture of the tree, so I’ll add one to Instagram over the weekend. We decided not to use any breakable baubles because of Poppy so we’ve mainly got wooden ones, which are my favourite to be honest. The only problem with a small tree is that you can only use so much tinsel. I am such a sucker for tinsel! Love that stuff!

Be MerryMy OH bought this banner last year and it’s one of my favourite decorations. I love the colour of the print and think it’s such a good way to reuse an old book. Plus, it uses the cute little pegs. I love them! I’ve seen quite a few peg-related tutorials recently so might have attack them with some glitter glue and washi tape!

Almost all the presents are wrapped, almost all the cards are written and posted and we’ll be buying the most important thing tomorrow – the alcohol! Can never have enough in my book! One of the things I love about Christmas is that it’s universally acceptable to drink prosecco with breakfast! Bon apetit!