Thursday, 29 October 2015

Delicious Autumnal sweet potato & carrot soup

The days are noticeably shorter, the weather is positively Autumnal, and the trees are shedding their gorgeous golden leaves. Autumn is definitely in full swing. And I'm sure you're feeling similar to me: lethargic, a little low on energy, and having to use every tactic possible to keep those Autumn bugs at bay. (They nearly got me earlier this week but I think I've managed to fight them off with good food, lots of ginger and lemon tea, and early nights!).

But fear not! Eating well and listening to your body can do wonders to help you stay fit and healthy during the Autumn and Winter months. One of my greatest weapons in helping me do this is soup! And in particular this gorgeous sweet potato & carrot soup. I can safely say hands-down that this is my favourite soup of all time. It's absolutely delicious, nourishing, full of vitamins, filling, and soup-er easy to make (sorry...terrible pun!).

I first stumbled across it on Madeleine Shaw's website about two years ago, and since then it's been a failsafe recipe that I've come back to time-and-time again.

Ingredients to make 5-6 bowls:

3 sweet potatoes
3 carrots
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 crushed garlic clove
1 chopped onion
500ml veggie stock
Chunk of raw ginger (I added this to the recipe for even more tummy-loving goodness!)
Flaked almonds & pomegranate seeds to sprinkle on top

To see how Madeleine does it click here

My method is pretty much the same:

1. Prep by peeling & chopping your onion, garlic cloves, ginger, sweet potatoes & carrots (I always leave the skin on my carrots for extra goodness!)

2. Pop the chopped onions into a pan with coconut oil & a pinch of salt for 5 minutes

3. Add the sweet potatoes & carrots and sauté for for 3 minutes (keep stirring!)

4. Add the veggie stock & chopped ginger and allow the ingredients to simmer for 30 mins

5. Once the sweet potatoes & carrots are completely softened the pan can be removed from the heat, and whizz the ingredients into a purée using a hand blender.

6. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and pomegranate seeds for extra protein, texture and taste

Serve and enjoy! 

I really cannot recommend this recipe enough, so if you're feeling like Autumn is doing it's best to bring you down then definitely give it a go. 

Also to help you stay Beautifully Healthy this Winter remember to keep exercising (I will be bringing you a special "firing up" yoga practice to help you heat up during the colder this space), drink lots of warm drinks & water, and keep nourishing your body with good quality food - plenty of vegetables and fruit! 

Let me know if you give this recipe a go :)

Love & light! Namaste y'all. 

Lucy x

Saturday, 24 October 2015


Here's a (condensed) list of things I hate about my body:

My wobbly thighs
My bingo wings
My sticky-out tummy
That squishy bit between my armpit and my arms
My skin
My big boobs
My (sometimes double) chin
My unshapely bum
That muscle above my knee

The list could easily go on, but you get the picture. As I'm sat here writing this it's actually making me quite emotional thinking about all the bits I really dislike about my body.

But here is a list of things my body has allowed me to do over the years:

Endless hours of yoga
Running a half marathon
Swimming 1.4 miles in the sea for The British Heart Foundation
10 years of gymnastics
Skiing every year since the age of 2
Netball at county and 1st Team University levels
Representing my school in Athletics, Netball, Hockey, Tennis and Swimming

Again, the list goes on, but you get the picture. My body has been key to helping me do things in life that I love. I run regularly, I have an active job - sometimes teaching yoga 4 or 5 hours a day, I do my own self yoga practice, and I generally eat healthily. I am beyond lucky that my body is fit and healthy - it has allowed me to do so much, and yet I treat it with so much disdain, disappointment and hatred. I know I am far from alone in these feelings and IT MUST STOP.

My body allows me to do the thing I love most 

We must stop doing this to ourselves. We are all beautiful no matter what our body size, shape, skin colour, gender, disabilities, illnesses - there is not one-size-fits-all for beauty, and neither should there be. It is our differences that make us beautiful.

Body image is a hot topic of conversation at the moment even in the "celebrity" world. Everyone from Gigi Hadid to Robyn Lawley to Ashley Graham have all had something to say about it in recent weeks. Gigi defended herself against negative comments on social media, Robyn wanted to highlight her stretch marks just a few months after giving birth, and Ashley is tirelessly campaigning to show women of all shapes and sizes that they are beautiful.

So it seems that even the women who are known for being "beautiful" feel as though they have to fight such negativity. And the worst part? It's our own fault. We do it to ourselves. How many times on a daily basis do you put yourself down for the way you look? If you're anything like me you'll be up in triple figures!

Okay, so it's not all our fault. It has actually been this way for thousands of years. I was mesmerised by a recent YouTube video: Women's Ideal Body Types Throughout History. It shows that even in Ancient Greece there was an ideal body type for women, and although the "Ideal Body" has changed dramatically over the years, the poisonous sentiment that there is an "Ideal Body" sends shivers down my spine. How can we narrow down beauty to such few physical assets? The word shallow most definitely springs to mind.

And although it's something I know less about, this isn't just a problem for women. I know many guys who are tough on themselves for what they look like. They feel the pressure to be strong, tall, muscly. Often taking steroids and pushing themselves to extremes to achieve "The Body".

But please don't misunderstand me - equally, just because someone does fit into the ideal of beauty, does not mean that we should put them down either. No one should be put down. We should all be celebrated exactly as we are - slender, athletic, curvy, disabled - we are all beautiful both inside and out. Our bodies are walking miracles and we should learn to appreciate them as such. You can breath. You can think for yourself. You can do amazing things with your bodies. They allow us to experience pleasure, pain, fatigue, adrenaline, achievements - without them we would not be able to experience this crazy thing we call life.

We need to learn to open our eyes and our minds beyond the preconceived notion of a "beautiful" body. There is not one type of beauty. All types are beautiful. All types are equal. You can appreciate the beauty in all of your friends and loved ones - they don't look the same, do they? So why can't we appreciate the beauty in ourselves? You are beautiful too. I promise.

Image source: Pinterest

I know this hasn't been my cleanest piece of writing, but it's a topic that deeply upsets me, and when you're so passionate about something it can be hard to clearly communicate what you really want to say. You may be thinking "how can someone who sees themselves so negatively write about positive body image", and my response would be: that's exactly why I'm writing about it. I'm fucking sick of being so mean to myself, and something must be done. We must learn to see ourselves positively. Time is too precious to waste on negative emotions, especially when they make no sense.

I'll end by saying this: love yourself. Work on your relationship with yourself. Be kind to yourself. You are BEAUTIFUL.

Love Lucy x

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

A little update...

So I've been a little quiet this month...I had some really great posts planned, but it's been a ridiculous September so I've had to save them all up for October! (Good things come to those who wait ;)). It's been a test of endurance - I'm now on my 25th day straight of teaching! - but I've learnt so much and have taught so many amazing classes, so I'm feeling very humbled and blessed.

Here's a quick little round up of the progress and lessons this month:

1. I have a fuller teaching timetable with lots of exciting new classes added. Check out the Weekly Classes page on my website if you're interested in having a go at any of my new classes.

2. I'm super excited to share with you that I've had my first article published online!!! (At least my first one that isn't published on my own blog!). The piece is all about finding the right yoga style to suit you, in the hope that it will help to untangle the mystery around the huge array of styles on offer. The piece is called: Ashtanga or Hatha? Bikram or Yin? Which yoga style is right for me? And can be found on the VITL website here.

3. Persistence and hard work pays off. Despite this month being pretty exhausting I've absolutely loved every second of teaching and connecting with lots of new students and teaching establishments, and slowly but surely it feels as though everything is beginning to pay keep going, keep working on your dreams, and keep working hard!

4. I've also added a new photo gallery to my website, and am developing plans to make some tutorial videos to create a video gallery and YouTube channel...! Stay tuned!

5. Always be grateful, especially when things get crazy! I'm learning to find those moments of peace in amongst all the craziness and to use them to rejuvenate and too look after myself. I've definitely not perfected this yet, but am aware that it's something I need to stay conscious of.

So...looking ahead to October...what's next? In terms of teaching I'm continuing to build on my new classes and am so lucky to be teaching some amazing students - thank you so much for your energy and support so far - please keep being as amazing as you are! But in terms of my blog I have a couple of articles in the pipeline that are really topical and I'm really excited about...the main one next month will be an article discussing body image and how we MUST change our perception of our bodies. 

Until then I hope you enjoy this beautiful sunshine we're having! Long may the Indian summer continue!

Love & light! Namaste y'all <3

Love Lucy x

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Be fearlessly, authentically and unapologetically You

If you were anything like me in your teenage and young adult life you spent much of your time comparing yourself to others, wishing you were someone else. Someone always had nicer hair, was prettier, was skinnier, was better at sport, had a better singing voice. I wasn't good enough at anything. And not only that, I very often tried to change myself to be like those I thought were better than me. I'd try to copy their hairstyles, I'd try to lose weight to be skinny like them, I'd wear clothes that didn't feel comfortable, I'd adapt the "cool" words they used, I'd agree with opinions I didn't believe in - all because more than anything I wanted to be someone else. I didn't want to be me. And it was an exhausting and miserable time.

As a health and happiness warrior I probably shouldn't admit that sadly, even now in my mid-twenties after various sessions of Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy, countless yoga classes, and completing yoga teacher training, I still compare myself to others more often than I should. I don't have a high flying job, I don't own a house, I'm fatter than my friends, they're prettier than me, I'm generally not as good as other people...but I try to stop myself there. I try to stop the negativity and comparisons, and although this doesn't always work it does help to take control of my thoughts, to step outside of my own mind, and to mentally check in to what I'm doing to myself. Stay with me on this, it's not all doom-and-gloom - there is hope; I no longer change who I am or what I'm doing to fit in with others or to try and make myself feel better. I have learned that changing who I am is not the way forward. It is counterproductive and ultimately fruitless.

So although I still compare myself to others, and although I often wish I was different to how I am, I have learned to accept that I am Me and no matter how hard I try I will never be someone else. Since accepting this I have slowly learned to see that actually our differences can be our greatest assets. Imagine a world where everyone looked the same, thought the same, acted the same - I shudder at the thought. Our differences make this world interesting and varied. Your differences make this world interesting and varied. My differences make this world interesting and varied. Together we make up this crazy, beautiful, fascinating race we call humanity. You are part of that, I am part of that. And we should all learn to accept, love and be kind to ourselves for being exactly who we are.

There will only ever be one You. No one else in the whole entire world - past or present - will be You.  Only You will walk Your journey. Only You can do exactly what You do. Only You can be You. One of my amazing yoga teachers in India - Steph - was the first one to really get this message through to me. She was teaching us a gentle evening vinyasa flow overlooking the Goan ocean, and the intention for her class taught me more about how important it was that I was Me than any therapy session ever has. I don't know if it was the setting, the fact I'd been forced to turn a mirror to my soul during weeks of yoga teacher training, or simply that Steph has an amazing way with words and the world's biggest heart - but her words entered my wounds like none had managed to before and in child's pose I just burst into tears...

Despite having a lot of hurt in my past surprisingly this was the only time I cried on my teacher training (I had expected to cry loads!), and my reasons for crying at this particular message were simple: 1) I couldn't believe that I'd spent so much of my young life hating myself and putting myself down, and 2) I was utterly relieved that I finally understood that it was okay to be Me, and that I didn't have to waste any more time wishing I was someone different. I have been put in this world, exactly as I am, for a reason - and if I run away from that then not only am I doing myself a disservice, but I'm also not taking up my responsibility to the world. Only I can do what I am meant to do. Only you can do what you're meant to do. You just have to be brave enough to stop comparing, stop wishing you were someone else, and to fully embrace yourself exactly as you are.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 

~ Dr Seuss

The world needs you to be You. Not some version of you that is diluted by falsity and polluted by self-hatred. Yes, I am not perfect, you are not perfect, but NO ONE is perfect. And no one ever will be perfect. Why? Because we're human. And that's what makes us beautiful. Our humanity. Our differences. Our uniqueness. 

I'm not going to pretend that since that moment in Steph's yoga class I have completely accepted who I am - I still have my wobbles and moments where I compare myself to others (mainly nowadays it's all about how I look rather than who I am) - but on the whole I am much more accepting of myself, and when I find the negative thoughts creeping in I am much better at putting a stop to them. I remind myself that being horrid to myself brings about more harm than good. It is wasted energy. I'll then think about something positive I've done, or something I like about myself, or just a situation that's bringing me happiness. And following this cognitive pattern helps a lot (something I did learn from all those therapy sessions!). 

Even if you're in a headspace where you just can't be kind to yourself, try to remember that actually it is your ultimate responsibility to be You. If you shy away from that responsibility then you are denying the world of You. You are special. And you were made to be You, and to share your Youness with the world. We all know the phrase "No man is an island" from John Donne's poem. No matter how hard you try, you must and will impact this world in some way on a daily basis. Every action, every word, every moment you are impacting someone or something. So do it as You. Do it as your purest, truest self. This is your responsibility. 

And once you can see this I hope that you can reach a headspace where you can accept yourself, appreciate yourself, and ultimately love yourself exactly as you are. You may not believe me the first time, you may not believe me the second time, you may not believe me the millionth time, but I will make it my mission in life to show as many people as I can - and yes, that's You too - that they (and You) are worthy, are amazing, and are imperfectly perfect. 

So be Fearless. Be Authentic. Be You. 

Love & light. Namaste y'all <3

Lucy x

Thursday, 23 July 2015

My new secret: Matcha Green Tea

About 6 weeks ago I was sitting in a coffee shop with my friend and fellow blogger over at Charlotte's Nest, and she was telling me all about matcha green tea and how she didn't know why everyone wasn't getting on the bandwagon yet. Charlotte said since including it in her morning routine she felt like she had more energy throughout the whole day (I think the words "sustained buzz" may have been used), and she no longer suffered from those post-coffee caffeine slumps, as in fact she felt like she no longer needed the coffee. As someone who couldn't really function without a strong morning black coffee I was intrigued and came home to do some research of my own...

Within a few hours I'd ordered some of my very own match green tea powder from Amazon - I went for the Pure Chimp 50g pot - and eagerly awaited my delivery!

Charlotte had warned me about taste...I'm not going to beat around the bush - it's not the best. My personal description would be that it tastes like you imagine pond water to taste (surprisingly I've never actually drank pond water so I can't correlate this with real-life experience, but you get the picture!). When I first tried it I mixed it in hot water with a squeeze of honey. For me the honey didn't really disguise the taste...

So the next morning I decided to chuck it in with my morning cashew, date and raw cacao smoothie and I couldn't taste any difference to normal. Hallelujah! I'd found a way to include it in my morning routine without actually tasting it. And boy am I glad I did. I can honestly say hand-on-heart that the last 6-weeks I have had more energy than ever, I've given up coffee completely (aside from one black coffee after a two-night hen do, but I don't think that counts!), and I genuinely think the quality of my skin has improved too (I have also begun to take milk thistle tablets during this time to help my skin, but my hunch is that it's a combination of the two that's help it to improve).  

So what is it that makes matcha green tea able to provide that "sustained buzz"? Well, firstly it does contain caffeine as that's a natural ingredient of green tea. It was originally thought that it was the caffeine that was the energy-boosting ingredient, however researchers found that it was actually a combination of it's other natural ingredients too - mainly the amino acid L-theanine - that help to create a sense of relaxed alertness after consuming matcha green tea. The inclusion of L-theanine actually inhibits the negative side affects we get when drinking coffee. Learn more here

And it doesn't stop there. Matcha green tea is absolutely packed with antioxidants (way more than goji berries, blueberries, spinach and broccoli), and antioxidants are known fighters of infections, disease and the ageing process. It also contains a high level of chlorophyll which is great for detoxing the body. 

One thing that I can't report back on just yet is the weight loss claims. Many producers of matcha do state that it can help with weight loss as it supposedly boosts the metabolism and burns fat. Perhaps 6 weeks isn't enough time to see results, but I don't think my weight has changed much just yet...perhaps that will come later down the line! Nonetheless I will most definitely continue to include matcha in my routine every morning as I certainly feel more energised and able to focus than I previously did. And I'm definitely not missing that post-coffee slump! I also maintain that my skin quality has improved and am excited to see if it continues to do so - after all, the Japanese do have fantastic skin and they've been drinking it for thousands of years!

Match is definitely helping me to feel Beautifully Healthy and I love it so much that I've already ordered pot number 2 of the Pure Chimp powder!

Have you previously tried matcha or are you tempted to give it a go? I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

Love Lucy x

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Following your dreams is easy. Living them is much harder.

It's now been almost 6-months since I became a yoga teacher, and 5-months since I got back from my Indian adventure. And what a few months it has been. I've taught some incredible students, I've been humbly supported by amazing family and friends, I've been happier than I've ever been, I've been more terrified and frustrated than I've ever been, I've felt strong, I've felt weak, I've felt confused, I've met some inspirational new people, I've reconnected with old friends, I've been on a crazy emotional roller coaster that I've sometimes wanted to jump right off of but I've hung on tight in the totally mad faith that everything will unfold just as it's supposed to. And it's all been in the name of yoga and finally LIVING my dream.

Dream catcher, Varkala, India, 2015

Don't misunderstand this: I 100% absolutely and completely love teaching yoga. It literally lights up my heart and connects me with my true self. I have found what I love, and for that I am truly grateful. If I could teach yoga to people every day all day then life would be much easier. But when you start out actually living your dreams things don't quite work like that.

Some of my beautiful yoginis & yogis in London, 2015

Although it seemed like a tough decision at the time, following my dreams was actually the easy thing to do - my heart was telling me which way to go, I wasn't living life as I wanted to, and so I followed the direction it was telling me to go. Yes that step took a bit of faith, but who wouldn't want to go to India for a few weeks and learn more about something they love?

And the first few weeks of being back weren't so bad either. Fresh with enthusiasm off the beaches of Goa I was spreading the word about my teaching, happy to gain any experience I could whilst supporting myself with a job in my local tavern. This gave me the chance to settle back into life at home and to bring myself slowly back down to earth whilst keeping the dream very much alive. As I began to get back into the rhythm of life back home I was grateful for my regular tavern job, but equally I realised I needed to be in control of my own time more to allow me to free up potential yoga-teaching hours. Over the months I've slowly cut down my shifts and have picked up some freelance social media jobs to keep me ticking over.

This all sounds pretty straight forward, but there has been one massive black cloud hanging over me this whole time and that is: MONEY. Yes, I now have much less attachment to material things than I did previous to my yoga teacher training, but nonetheless that doesn't change that I do need money to survive. I'm 25 years old and still live at home, depending on parents for more than I should, and this fact often really drags me down. I know I shouldn't let it, but it does. I am incredibly fortunate and grateful that I'm in a position where my parents and willing and able to support me through this phase of living my dream, but most of the time that thought is overclouded by "oh shit, I need to become self-sufficient" - something which I dream of on a daily basis, but that feels so far away.

And that's the other thing about actually living my dream, it seems I didn't really consider before this decision that financially things could be really quite tough for a number of years to come. On this very day over £200 per week of my income has been unexpectedly pulled from under my feet. Nothing I could have done about it, it was just one of those things, but it terrifies me that this is the reality of what it means to be your own boss...

But before you think "oh dear, living your dream sounds terrible, I think I'll stay where I am thanks", let me tell you that I wouldn't change my decision for the world. Yes, this isn't proving to be easy, but I never thought that it would be. When you go against the conventional path then of course things will be tough. I know that I'll face rejections, will have to climb over massive walls, and will be let down time-and-time again, but if I can keep going against all that then I know that it will all work out as it's supposed to. And how am I going to keep going? I'm going to continue doing what I was made to do - to love, to share yoga, to be compassionate - and I'm going to work my freakin' arse off. And as long as I stay true to myself and put the work in, I really do believe that things will come together.


And if they don't? At least I tried. At least I didn't give in to what's expected instead of what's in my heart. At least I actually gave a damn about making the world even a tiny bit better than when I came into it.

And on the same day as having a job unexpectedly pulled, I've also potentially got two new exciting yoga opportunities that I really didn't maybe trusting the process isn't as crazy as it sounds...

Please do message me if you have any questions about yoga or life! And know that you're always welcome to join my classes - more info can be found on my website.

Namaste y'all <3

Love Lucy x

Monday, 29 June 2015

Raw Cacao - food of the Gods! 3 easy ways to use Raw Cacao powder...

Chocolate has always been my downfall. For some people it's crisps, for others it's donuts, for me it's most definitely chocolate. Dark chocolate with salted caramel, white chocolate with freeze-dried strawberries, milk chocolate with fruit and nuts - basically, give me any chocolate and I'll be happy. But over the last few years, as you will know, I have become more and more concerned with giving my body what it needs - the right kind of fuel, so-to-speak - rather than what my taste buds want. However I was also adamant that I wouldn't deprive myself of things I enjoyed, and so it was time to look for alternatives.

I honestly can't quite remember when I first came across raw cacao powder, but my goodness am I glad I did! I now have at least a spoonful of the stuff on a daily basis, satisfying my chocolate cravings, but also feeling smug in the knowledge that it's actually good for me. Yes, that's right, chocolate (in certain forms) is good for you. I'm no nutritionist, but I do know that raw cacao is packed full of antioxidants, magnesium, flavonoids (these promote healthy blood pressure and improve blood flow), essential healthy fats, protein and fibre. (Find out more about the health benefits on - they know much more about them than I do ;)). And did I mention - it's delicious!

Raw cacao powder can be a little pricey, but if you buy it online you can usually get a better offer. I buy mine from Amazon, and this 500g bag lasts at least a month and only costs a tenner - bargain if you ask me ;)

So, if you really need extra persuading to start including it in your diet, here are 3 ways I use it in mine to give you a bit of inspiration:

1. Cashew, date & raw cacao powder power smoothie

I am a little bit obsessed with this at the moment, and do have it for breakfast most mornings, but despite looking (and tasting) like a chocolatey treat it is actually also good for you. Here's what's in it:

Small handful of cashew nuts (ground in my blender - do this before adding anything else)
5/6 dates
3 table spoons of plain soya yogurt (you could use good quality natural yogurt instead, but I can't have dairy!)
Coconut milk
1 table spoon of raw cacao powder

Half a handful of chia seeds
Half a teaspoon of matcha green tea powder

2. Coconut milk hot chocolate

If I get a little chocolate craving in the evening, this is what I make for voila, the craving is satisfied! It's a "healthy" version of a hot chocolate and is dairy free so vegans can enjoy this recipe too :) This one is super simple, but super delicious...

Mug of coconut milk
1 table spoon of raw cacao powder
Squeeze of agave nectar

Small teaspoon of coconut oil
A sprinkling of cinnamon

3. Madeleine Shaw's raw chocolate fudge

This recipe is so incredible that I've actually previously dedicated a whole post to it. I've been a fan of Madeline's recipes for at least year now, and this one is definitely up there with my favourites. It feels like a truly decadent treat, but enjoyed in moderation it's actually good for you and is packed full of goodness - antioxidants, vitamin E, essential healthy-heart fats etc. 

Here's the recipe (you literally just smush all the ingredients together - yes, that's the technical term - pop it in the freezer for half an hour, and then move it to the fridge):

100g of coconut oil
100g of almond butter (I use Meridian)
50g raw cacao powder
100g of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
A pinch of sea salt

So if you're a fellow chocolate lover, firstly - high five!, secondly, buy yourself some raw cacao powder and give these recipes a go. Chocolate nowadays is packed full of sugars and unhealthy ingredients, but raw cacao in its pure form is called the food of the Gods for a reason - it is delicious and has health benefits - what more could you want?

Let me know if you try any of these recipes - I'd love to hear how you get on! 

Love Lucy x