Monday, 8 September 2014

Try something new: stand-up paddle boarding

It's always good to try new things; to challenge yourself and to keep learning. I was brought up to be active and to enjoy the outdoors (so grateful to my parents for this) and so I'm always up for trying new outdoor activities. I love water sports like surfing (very badly!), water skiing, swimming, and have wanted to try stand-up paddle boarding (or SUP boarding) for ages - it just looks so serene and relaxing, and if Jennifer Aniston uses it to help her stay in shape then it must be worth a go, right? Last week I was fortunate enough to go on a family holiday to Bermuda, and I was super excited that the hotel we stayed at had a bunch of SUP boards we could take out almost every day.

Courtesy of Charley Jackson & her GoPro

I was surprised at how easy it was to balance the board - I suppose the yoga must help, but the rest of my family don't do much yoga and they all found it pretty easy too. The paddling part was also fairly straightforward, you just had to find your rhythm and go with it. It was a really peaceful and fun activity, made even more incredible by the sea turtles that would playfully pop their heads up for air and then swim away underneath our boards. There's nothing quite like watching wild animals in their natural habitat. 

The physical side to it wasn't as much of a work out as I'd expected, but after an hour you could feel that your arms and back had done some resistance work. I guess we were just too distracted by our beautiful surroundings to notice!

The Jackson 5 on our SUP boards

At the moment I also can't seem to stay the right way up for too long - I just love to be upside-down! So of course I had to give a headstand a go. After two hilarious falls which resulted in successfully nosediving my board I managed to pull off the below headstand for a good 10 seconds. And the day after I did actually do a pretty strong yoga headstand (again after nosediving the board a few times - poor turtles!) - but we didn't take the GoPro out that day so that's a moment that will have to stay between me, my sister and the turtles. It's good to change your perspective of the world from time-to-time because your way of looking at things may not always be the best, and being upside-down reminds me of this. 

Courtesy of Charley Jackson & her GoPro

So I really wanted to share two things in this post: 1) try SUP boarding - it's lots of fun and most people should be able to do it without too much trouble 2) keep trying new things more generally. That really annoying phrase when you were younger - "There's no such thing as can't" - actually becomes pretty cool when you're that bit older and understand what it means. Why can't you give that thing a go that you've been wanting to try but are too scared or too busy to? Life is short, keep learning, keep challenging yourself, keep trying new things - just don't stand still. It'll help you to feel Beautifully Healthy

Love Lucy x

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Healthy mind healthy body

You've probably heard the phrase "healthy mind healthy body" a million and one times. But how often have you stopped to think about what it actually means and what it represents in your daily life? Probably not very often.

The world we live in encourages us to always be busy, to keep up with trends, to go to events, to buy the latest piece of technology, to work hard play hard; and of course these all represent what's remarkable about the 21st century - it's an exciting time to be alive and life is most certainly meant to be full of such experiences. But in amongst all the craziness our minds can often be neglected, resulting in an unhealthy mind, and by extension an unhealthy body.

I'm not about to go all religious on you, but there are three quotes that I like to think about from time to time when I neglect to look after my mind. The first is from Proverbs 14:30 in the Bible and it says: "A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body." The other two are both from the Dalai Lama: "Spend some time alone everyday" and "World peace must develop from inner peace". If we break down these quotes it can give us an insight into what "healthy mind healthy body" actually means.

Taking time out for yoga in the park with my best friend

To me having a healthy mind is a number of different things, but so this post doesn't turn into an essay I'll list the most important five things: knowing that you are in control of your own happiness; having the strength to allow yourself to be happy; knowing that your external circumstances will change but that your mind is strong enough to handle it; being grateful for what you have; and having inner peace. Put like that it seems pretty manageable, but life is never constant - every day is different - and so to have a healthy mind we have to allow ourselves time to process and time to breakaway from the fast-pace of life.

But how does this relate to having a healthy body? Surely there are "healthy" people out there who don't look after their minds but can run a marathon, who eat super healthy food, or can swim across the channel. And this may well be so, but I honestly don't believe that you can have a truly healthy body without having a healthy mind. I'm not claiming to be a psychologist, but surely there is truth in the connection between mind and body. From personal experience, when I am most content in my mind is when I feel most physically strong and truly healthy.

So The Beautifully Healthy Project is here to encourage you to look after your mind as well as your body, and here are my top tips for helping you to do this:

1. Exercise. And after you've exercised take at least 5 minutes to appreciate the energy you've given to your body. Just sit or lie or have a cup of tea and thank yourself for taking the time to do something that's good for you.

2. Be silent and still for 10 minutes (or more) each day. Call it prayer, call it mediation, call it savasana, call it nothing, but just be still, breathe, and think about whatever you need to think about at that specific time. Or think about nothing at all. Just be silent and still.

3. Be grateful. Be grateful for your family, your friends, for the cup of tea someone made you today, for the small things, the big things - but just remember to appreciate what you have in life and not to dwell on what you don't have. Something I've really got into recently is the GratitudeDiary app - each day I try to make a small note of something I'm grateful for that day. You can download it here.

4. Be present. Don't live in the past. Don't live in the future. Live in the moment and appreciate what you have in the moment. Of course it's good to learn from past mistakes and to make future plans, but don't make a habit of letting these thoughts consume you. You are in this moment, right now, so be present.

5. Love. Those people who love the most, and who express love the most, generally come across as the happiest and healthiest people I know. They always have time for others and being around them is genuinely life-giving - to love and to express love is something that is in all of us, just don't be afraid to let that show. Even just a smile to a fellow commuter can make you feel better, and you never know that they might have needed that smile right there and then.

As I said, I am no psychologist, these things are all part of what I'm learning about life on my own journey, but if they can help you in any way at all I will be content. Having a healthy mind is a hugely important part of life, and only when you have a healthy mind can you truly have a fulfilling life and healthy body. Just give yourself some time out from the craziness every now and again and I am certain that you won't regret it.

Love Lucy x

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Top 5 Healthy Food Instagramers to follow

Instagram is the perfect platform for healthy eating inspiration: it's visual, it's creative, and most of all it provides a constant flow of new and exciting foody-ideas. I love scrolling through my Insta-feed in the morning and seeing all the healthy juices, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and (best-of-all) treats that the health Instagramers of the world are sharing. I've always been interested in eating healthily, but it's easy to become stuck in a rut of simple salads and Special K, and healthy eating can be so much more exciting than that! Instagram is a great place to be inspired, and if you follow the right accounts you'll never be short of recipe ideas for all occasions.

So, here are The Beautifully Healthy Project's Top 5 Healthy Food Instagramers:

ONE: @madeleine_shaw_ 

TWO: @deliciouslyella

THREE: @Thewholefooddiary

FOUR: @hemsleyhemsley

FIVE: @mynewroots

All good healthy food Instagramers like these Top 5 don't just share photos, they also share the recipes (or at least the ingredients), so you really can see Instagram as a really accessible and visual cookery book. Many of them also have websites to offer further inspiration and ideas. 

So, get on Instagram, get following, and get making deliciously healthy (and beautifully looking) foods!

Live healthy, be happy. 

Love Lucy x

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Switch it off and tune in

Modern life is saturated with digital technology. The digital world is one that I admit to only having a basic understanding of (email, my iPhone, social media and blogger are about as far as it goes!); but I can of course see the positives of such developments; it allows us to connect with parts of the world that wouldn't have previously been possible, it is supporting doctors in their surgery, and it even enables us to explore other planets to our own. However, I also often consider the negatives to a world where reality and digital are so often blurred; children under-10 posing for selfies, the constant bombardment of advertising, and the unknown long term effects of digital overload are all things that I often ponder. So although this could be considered as deeply ironic as I am indeed writing this from my MacBook Pro (a wonderful piece of modern day technology by the way), I urge you to think about switching off your technology from time-to-time and to tune in to your natural surroundings.

Polzeath, Cornwall - 2013

I'm not about to go all hippy on you, but I really do believe that disconnecting yourself from your smart phone and getting out into your natural surroundings every now and again really is medicine for the soul. Even when we go for a run or walk nowadays most of us can't leave the house without being plugged into our iPhones with BeyoncĂ© telling us that if he liked it he should have put a ring on it. Now as much fun and as motivating as that is, it doesn't allow us to properly zone out from the digital part of our lives and to make the most of our me-time by appreciating the smaller things in life. 

Windsor Great Park, 2014

I've recently taken to leaving all technology at home when going on my runs and I can honestly say that I'm much more aware of everything from the trees, to the sunsets, and even the birds that might fly over head. When I get home I feel more refreshed and positive than I used to, and I genuinely think this is because I've switched off the technology and tuned in to nature.

Bournemouth Beach, 2014

The other week my friend and I swam the Bournemouth Pier to Pier (1.4 miles) for the British Heart Foundation, and I can honestly say that begin in the water for that hour totally disconnected from all technology really did give us both so much energy. Despite the long swim we both came out of the water giggling and energised, of course there will have been some element of adrenaline involved but I really believe it's also because we'd spent the last hour enjoying nature. 

Virginia Water Lake, 2013

There is further irony to this post in that all of these pictures were taken with my iPhone when I could have been "disconnected" and "at one" with nature. However I've made the decision to not edit any of them so that you can see these beautiful, natural places in their full glory. And actually, part of the thought process behind this post is that I need to remind myself to leave the smart phone at home from time-to-time. Reconnect with nature, go out on a walk, leave the phone at home and it will go some way to helping you on your Beautifully Healthy journey. 

So switch it off and tune in - you won't regret it, I promise!

Love Lucy x

Friday, 18 July 2014

Karlie Kloss for Nike

Last week supermodel Karlie Kloss was unveiled as the new face of the Nike Pro Bra Collection. As someone who regularly endorses exercise, healthy eating, and eating cookies (Karlie’s Kookies no less), this is a campaign that The Beautifully Healthy Project is rather excited about.

Vogue Australia has previously reported on Karlie’s relationship with exercise; she says: “Movement is everything. A body in motion stays in motion and I have a lot of body so I like to keep it moving.” 

Yes Karlie is very slender and has previously been caught up in a little controversy for being “too thin”, however if her Instagram feed and pictures of her younger self are to go by then Karlie is simply one of those people who is blessed with the slim gene. Like fellow supermodels Kate Moss and Cara Delevinge she could have chosen to rest on her blessed genes by shunning exercise in favour of constant partying, questionable substance taking and smoking, however Karlie has chosen the Beautifully Healthy path of a life filled with exercise and nutritional food.

It is well reported that Karlie grew up doing ballet and has since thrown herself into the modelFIT exercise regime, and her lean but strong figure is a great fit for the Nike brand. In the campaign she looks strong but slender, powerful but feminine – something that is resonating with many other celebrities such as Millie Mackintosh who regularly uses the hastag #strongnotskinny. And indeed, although I shall never be anywhere near as lean as Karlie or Millie, the strong not skinny ethos is one that I aspire to. It is a healthy message which encourages women to focus on their health and fitness rather than their shape and size.

So here are some shots from Karlie’s Nike Pro Bra Collection campaign:

Karlie looks incredible in these photos (there are others in the campaign in which she looks equally as amazing), and I really do think they portray a woman who is naturally slender but also healthy – there are no protruding bones, but instead lean biceps and abs which represent Karlie’s hard work in the gym but also that she does actually eat.

So I hope this neat little campaign inspires you to be Beautifully Healthy and to embrace exercise and healthy eating as part of your day-to-day life. And of course, don’t forget the Kookies! – they are an essential part of Karlie’s lifestyle as she often takes them to shows and shoots. They are vegan and gluten-free, and I’ve heard they’re absolutely delicious and give you that little bit of extra energy. If you don’t believe me have a little look at what the Voguers have to say about them…

What do you think of Karlie’s new Nike campaign?

Love Lucy x

Monday, 14 July 2014

The perfect summer dress

Summer is jam-packed with one event after another and it can be tricky to know what to wear to each different occasion. There's weddings, BBQs, festivals, picnics, and garden parties galore - but how do you keep up with needing a different outfit for each event? Could there possibly be just ONE dress that could negotiate the minefield of summer events dressing? Well it's time to explore the Beautifully in The Beautifully Healthy Project as I think I may have found THE dress.

A few weeks ago I was given a Topshop voucher for my birthday (how I love birthday Topshop vouchers!), so I simply had to go in to have a look and see what delights they had in store. And then I came across this little number:

Island Animal Print Maxi Dress

Well actually it was my Mum who spotted it first, and I was convinced that the spaghetti straps wouldn't work on me (let's just say that it would be impossible for me to go braless!) - nevertheless Mum was adamant that it would look good on so I took it to the changing rooms and slipped it on. I knew immediately that I had to buy it - it felt gorgeous on and actually you could hardly see any bra strap (nothing that a bit of long hair can't hide!).

It's the perfect dress to dress-up or dress-down; I've already worn it for a BBQ in the park followed by a night out in London, and next weekend I'll wear it to a friend's wedding. I paired it with chunky black heels and a denim jacket for the BBQ, and to smarten it up for the wedding I think I'll wear some strappy heels with a smarter black jacket. I then probably won't wear it again until next summer as although it is gorgeous I don't want everyone to think that I only own one dress! However it'll be comforting to know that if a posh picnic does pop up I'll have just the dress to wear.

Summer is all about having fun and enjoying yourself, and if you have the perfect dress to wear whilst out and about then you'll feel all the more confident and Beautifully Healthy. This particularly dress may not suit everyone, but really my point is to find at least one summer outfit that makes you feel as fabulous as you deserve to.

Do you have a go-to outfit that makes you feel fab on any summer occasion?

Love Lucy x

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Refresh your routine

Feeling stressed? Trying to fit too much in? It might be time to refresh your routine and The Beautifully Healthy Project is here to help!

The term "refresh" is much more friendly than "detox". In fact I find the prospect of a detox rather scary and decidedly un-fun. It threatens deprivation and less-than-chipper moods (whether it's a diet detox, technology detox or closet detox). Of course detoxes can be great for an overhaul, but sometimes depriving ourselves of things we love is really not necessary, and a quick refresh might do us a world of good. A refresh sounds light, friendly and full of promise.

I recently went on a fantastic yoga, beach and healthy eating week in Fuerteventura, Spain and this was the perfect opportunity to refresh. Every morning started with a yoga or Pilates class; followed by a healthy but filling brunch; afternoons of hiking, surfing or cycling; another yoga or Pilates class in the early evening; and a delicious nutritious evening meal (with desserts!). I would thoroughly recommend the week to everyone and anyone (all levels of yoga & Pilates are catered for), so if you want to find out more then head to: It was the perfect refreshing week and challenged me to think about the small changes I could make in my every day routine back home. 

But of course not everyone can afford to take a week off to refresh and recharge so here are my 5 top tips for refreshing your routine to help you feel Beautifully Healthy.

1. Drink hot water and lemon every morning half an hour before you eat breakfast. 

This is the perfect way to start your day as it prepares your body for your digestive requirements of the day. It's a really simple and easy change to make to your routine, and as well as the digestive benefits, lemons are also one of the foods that help to make your blood alkaline; without going into too much detail this is a good thing as for your body to be working at optimal levels your blood must be more alkaline than acidic. 

2. Set aside 10-20 minutes every morning to do a mini yoga practice (or if you don't do yoga some gentle stretching).

Although this might mean waking up slightly earlier than usual it really is the perfect way to start the day and to feel refreshed. If you're a yogi I would suggest sun salutations, a short standing warrior sequence, at least one inverted pose, and some simple floor poses with a focus on opening up your hips. If you've not yet discovered yoga then do some really gently stretches to wake up your body and get your blood flowing. I would suggest stretches such as gently folding forward to touch your toes (this encourages blood flow to your head), some deep lunges to open up your hips and the seated butterfly stretch (put the soles of your feet together and drop your knees to the floor). Most importantly set aside 5 minutes at the end of the session to just sit or lie in silence (savasana) to empty your mind and be still before the craziness of the day begins.

3. Get outside at least once a week.

Reconnect with nature and appreciate its beauty whilst doing some gentle exercise. Try going on a jog or walk in your local park, or if you're lucky enough to live near the sea then get yourself to the beach for a walk or swim. If you love outdoor sports then make sure you plan them into your life over the next few weeks and months: book a horse riding lesson, get yourself to the surf, take some time to go hiking. Try to do something in the beautiful outdoors at least once a week, it'll become something that you look forward to and really will leave you feeling refreshed and Beautifully Healthy

4. Get enough sleep every night. 

This is a really obvious one, but it's one that many people often ignore. Sleep is absolutely essential for helping you to feel refreshed each and every day, and it's the quality of the sleep as well as the length that will help to set you up for the following day. Make an effort this week to get 8-hours of good quality sleep every single night and see how you feel. My tips for getting good sleep are: do some form of exercise every day, drink camomile tea in the evenings, and switch off all screens about an hour before you go to bed. 

5. Replace simple carbohydrates with complex ones

I am a firm believer in the importance of including carbohydrates in your diet. They are a vital source of nutrients and energy, and a diet without carbs is quite simply boring. However many of us eat far too much of the wrong sort and this leaves us feeling sluggish and bloated. Carbs to avoid: white bread, white pasta, white rice, anything overly processed, and too much fruit (of course some fruit is good, but no more than 2-3 pieces a day). Carbs to love: potatoes with the skin on, sweet potatoes, spelt/oat/rye bread, whole grain pasta, oats, and lots of vegetables. These lists are by no means comprehensive, but give you a guidance as to which ones are good and which ones are bad. Basically, if they give you a level and sustained release of energy then they are good and nutritious, whereas if they give you a quick spike in energy but leave you feeling slow then they are bad and should be avoided. 

So I hope that this little list encourages you to refresh your routine. You owe it to yourself to take care of your body - after all, as my Dad says, "You only get one, so you best look after it". 

Love yourself, live healthy, be happy.

Love Lucy x