Tuesday 21 June 2016

My Favourite Health + Fitness Bloggers in Manchester

There's no doubt that the health and fitness arena is booming but the London scene seems to dominate my timelines so I wanted to highlight the bloggers I follow from Manchester - there are a load of them - in a round up post, so you can add some Northern soul to your social scroll.

I've rounded up some of my favourite health and fitness bloggers in Manchester as I love finding new blogs and people to follow who are on a similar ~vibe~ to me.

Twitter brought Spam & I together and we met "IRL" in early 2015. Since then, we've become good friends and are actually going on holiday together soon, with three other health/foodie friends (Sophie, Sophia and Vicki - who all met because of blogging and who, coincidentally all feature in this post..)

I always head over to Pam's blog if my sweet tooth calls - her recipes are really easy to follow and I'm always really impressed with not only how nice they look, but how nice each creation tastes, too.

BBC Good Food have also named her as one of six health bloggers you should follow in 2016, which is amazing.

Vicki is a qualified PT at The Gym group in Manchester city centre, and she's recently started doing office PT classes, bringing circuits to your desk, so watch this space... I love her weekly newsletters that always include a cheeky recipe and workout for you to add into your training mix. 

Soph has such a refreshing, down to earth approach to gourmet style, easy home cooking and reading her blog is like having a chat with a good mate. Posts like her 'food at the cabin' blog encapsulate everything I love about how food can bring people together - and reminds me of similar posts I've written, such as my weekend away in Dartmouth and an early Christmas in north France with my closest friends. 

Sophia Hall - Nalu Active

Sophia is currently undergoing a major revamp to an amazing new fitness brand, Nalu Active - combining wellness coaching, PT & nutrition packages. Her website isn't live yet but will link to it when it is. In the meantime, feast your eyes on her amazing insta, full of gorgeously glam, strong selfies, easy to recreate recipes and fitness motivation. 

Hannah was one of the first bloggers I started watching on YouTube. She's got such a 'real life' approach to living a healthy lifestyle and keeps coming back to the word balance. I love how motivating and positive she is on social - scrolling through my newsfeed at 6am on a Monday morning is always made so much better when I've seen a "you got this" memo from this beaut.

Towards the end of last year Hannah ran a lush supper club at The Garden, Hale where she helped create the most delicious three course meal.. I couldn't stop thinking about that chocolate cheesecake for weeks on end. Her infectious laugh and positivity are winners with me...

One third of the #GirlGains movement; the blonde beauty that truly embodies the fact that the #girlgains clan is most definitely a national thing. Vic's instagram and snapchat are perfect places to go for fitness motivation and inspiration.

I had the 'pleasure' of letting Vic teach me in a HIIT class once, and let me tell you, it was not pretty... she worked us all damn hard! After the HIIT session at the event, all of us girls had a good old chin wag, and it was really refreshing to sit around and talk about 'gal' things, and get away from filters and hashtags. Fair play to MyProtein for organising such a fab event.

"Run fast, lift heavy, eat hard." Three phrases I more than wholeheartedly agree with, and it just so happens, the tag line of Sarah's blog. One thing I love about Sarah's blogs are the edgy backdrops for photoshoots she always seems to find, and she's got amazing strength - she's a real inspiration. 

I also remember reading about the importance of washing gym kit with sports detergent on Sarah's blog, to keep your activewear in tip top condition... I'm still yet to invest (it's one of those items that's always 'on the list'), but for more practical tips (and great crossfit vids on Insta) head over to her website and social channels pronto.

Sequins is a firm favourite in my eyes; mingled in with her beauty best buys, restaurant reviews + renovation posts, you'll find a taste of fitness as she dips her toe in the world of healthy living. Sarah's one of those girls who could eat chocolate until the cow's came home and still be trim, but maybe staying slim is down to the fact she always seems to be jetting off to the alps to explore (she's off to review what the Austrian alps is like in the summer in a few days, so keep your eyes peeled...)

Rebecca's someone I like for her honest approach to clean eating. She gives truthful appraisals on how she previously struggled with her weight and swears that clean eating changed her life. Her instagram is great for any brides to be looking to get fit for their big day, as she ties the knot in a few months!

These are my fave healthy lifestyle and fitness blogs from Manchester at the moment, there are so many more - I'm tempted to do a follow up post...  if you've got any favourites pleeease send them my way as I love finding new people to follow! x

Sunday 5 June 2016

May Favourites

I haven't done a round up post in a while, and there's quite a lot of stuff I've loved over the past few weeks...

Go Air

So I went here with work a couple of weeks ago, and LOVED every minute of it. Trampolining parks are springing up everywhere at the moment, and if there's one near you I implore you to go! It's absolutely hilarious; you regress back to a state of boisterous childhood, where falling over is fun and throwing yourself into a foam pit seems like the best idea in the world.

Not only is it ab-achingly funny and will 100% put a smile on your face, but it's knackering (...and I burnt 300 kcals in an hour's session.).

Clif Bars

I've been eating my way through these all month; the team at Clif sent me these to showcase some new flavours. Favourites have to be...... coconut chocolate chip + white chocolate and macadamia.

H&M + Newlook Activewear 

I don't know about you but I've noticed some amazing activewear on the highstreet recently. Check out these amazing pieces I got from Newlook & H&M...

These leggings are Newlook, and I'm so impressed. They're totally opaque, which is a necessity when squatting in my books! The waist band is lovely and supporting, offering a really great structure. The pattern is bang on too.

I've been wearing these with *drumroll please*, this lovely top and sports bra below from H&M (as pictured above at Go Air, also..):

How nice is the mesh paneling on the top? (To quote my dad "what's the purpose of that though, Katie?" ~ he clearly doesn't get activewear chic). I'm also a huge fan of the bra, with its TRNG motif and racer back straps.

I know that they're all black, and summer is all about neons and brights but, I just can't resist a bit of timeless black workout wear.

I can't remember the prices off by heart but from memory I believe the leggings to be around £17.99, top around a tenner and sports bra £12.99? (If anyone knows then feel free to correct...)

Science Afternoon Tea

I was invited by Cloud23 to try out their latest Afternoon Tea selection - Science Afternoon Tea + Cocktails. If you know me, you'll know that I'm a fan of alternative afternoon tea, so I was excited to see what Cloud23 would pull out the bag.

Even if you're just up at the bar on the 23rd floor for a drink, bagging a window seat with a cocktail in hand is pretty majestic even on the gloomiest day in Manchester, so; when fashioning a lab coat and goggles, the experience is made all the more special...

As the pictures suggest, it was pretty cool. I'd definitely recommend it. As well as watching a cocktail demonstration we also got to make our own (no knowledge of the periodic table needed), and tuck into one of the nicest afternoon teas I've had. Faves included the pistachio macaroons (and I don't really like macaroons, so this was a revelation), smoked salmon + beetroot brioche and the spinach bresaola wraps.

The science lab has been created for the summer to promote three new science themed cocktails: Daltons Atomic, Old Thom Henry and Up and AT'om, as well as to celebrate Manchester being crowned European City of Science in 2016.

Recipe bookmarking 

How often do you buy cookbooks, drool over their amazing photography + long list of ingredients, and yet never actually use them as inspiration for cooking? For me it's a hell of a lot of the time. Yes, they look beautiful and are perfect for flicking through on the coffee table, but I've made a conscious effort recently to bookmark key recipes and actually make them. It's soo satisfying. Just call me Nigella.


Saturday 4 June 2016

Vanilla + Peanut Butter Post-workout Protein Shake

Got miiiiilk? This little beauty is a firm favourite of mine at the moment; it's so creamy and thick it feels like a pudding, but the macronutrients of the ingredients make this an ideal post-workout shake.

To make this, you'll need:

1 ripe banana
1 scoop vanilla protein (I'm using Sunwarrior's vegan vanilla flavour at the mo)
1 tablespoon runny honey
Handful of ice
200ml unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon peanut butter (Meridian, Pip + Nut and Whole Earth are my preferred brands)

You know the score, chuck everything in a blender and whiz until smooth, then pour into an edgy, instagrammable glass / jar, and enjoy.

Protein and carbs are needed to aid muscle tissue growth and repair, and having protein with carbs after a workout is essential as when you're working hard, your body becomes starved of stored energy (glycogen) and usable energy (glucose). To compensate, with no more energy available for your muscles, your body secreted cortisol (the stress hormone), which essentially converts muscle tissue for protein into glucose - meaning you can actually lose muscle tissue.

More on that topic here, on the Body Building website, althougggh these guys do say that fruit isn't the best source of carbs here, and recommend something called waxy maize but, I love the taste of banana and it seems a little less processed.

Have a good one!


Wednesday 1 June 2016

Creamy, Smokey Vegan Chilli

This smokey little number is perfect for BBQ season + would make a great side dish at a summer event. It's also a main attraction by its own right though, and, given our typically muddled summer season, is also ideal on its own on a cloudy day. Which is exactly what tonight is all about.

I've shared vegan chilli recipes before; the main difference here is the oaky, barbeque flavour from the chipotle paste.

To make this, you'll need:

Serves 4

1 tin kidney beans (drained)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin butter beans (drained)
1 tin black beans (drained)
1 heaped tablespoon tahini
1 table spoon chipotle paste
1 large red onion
1 red pepper
2 gloves garlic
Squeeze of tomato puree
Salt & pepper to season

One serving of this dish provides 17g protein, so perfect if you're looking for plant based protein sources. 

Finely chop your onion + garlic + fry off in some coconut oil until brown. Then add your red pepper and the beans, stirring so that nothing burns. Add in your chipotle paste and coat the beans. Next, pour over the tomatoes and puree, and turn the heat down low. Stir in your tahini and mix thoroughly. Let the chilli simmer for about 10 minutes (until the edges of the pan have started to go crispy (best bits!!)), and serve...

Tonight, I had mine with jalapenos and crumbled feta (not vegan I know), and I've also got it for lunch tomorrow with some chicken I barbequed (again, not vegan..). It would work well with a fresh spinach salad or quinoa, or a thick slice of bread to mop up all the sauce.

If you want any more vegan chilli recipes, I highly recommend Deliciously Ella's cannellini bean stew or her black and kidney bean chilli.
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