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

Thursday, 11 June 2015

25 life lessons in 25 years

Today I have officially been on this planet for 25 years. Two and a half decades. That's a quarter of a century. And yes, I know, that's halfway to 50 (yikes!).

25 is an age where you're not so young that you can get away with acting like a student all the time, but equally you're not quite old enough to warrant being an fully fledged "adult" all the time. It's very much an in-between stage - for most of us by this stage we've left education and have got our feet on the employment ladder, but at the same time we're still figuring out exactly where we want to go - constantly questioning our life choices up until this point and whether we're on the "right" path.

It can be quite a pressured time, the Quarter-Life Crisis seems to be a real thing nowadays, and it can be hard to know exactly what you should be doing with your life at this stage. Luckily I think I've prematurely had my Quarter-Life Crisis - over the last year I have completely transformed my life and changed my path - all that change is a little overwhelming, ridiculously exciting, and has given me the inspiration to be a little reflective. It encourage me to think about what I've learned over the years, and what's important to me now, so I thought I'd put together a little list of life lessons that mean something to me. I hope you enjoy reading them, and that they reassure you that age really is just a number, it's more about who you are as a person, how you feel in yourself, and how you interact with your world. So, without further ado, here are my 25 life lessons:

1. Love wins. This is my most important life lesson and I'm putting it as number one so that if it's the only one you read in my list I'll be happy! Love wins in every situation. It's always better to show love than any other option; whether it's with your family, friends, colleagues, strangers, enemies - if you love then you can't lose and you'll always go to bed feeling content. <3

2. Never stop learning. As geeky as that makes me sound it actually keeps life pretty exciting. Look at every new day as an opportunity to learn new things and you'll never be disappointed. We will never know everything, and that's okay, but I sure want to learn as much as I can in the time that I have.

3. Patience really is a virtue. Sometimes being patient is hard, but in recent years I've done my best to practice being patient when the urge for impatience arrives. I'm waiting for a bus and it's not arrived on time - the younger me would become agitated and annoyed that the bus is going to be late, but now I try to breath and to focus on the positive, such as it means I can stand for a few more minutes out in the fresh air. It's a really small mind-shift but it makes a massive difference to everyday life.

4. If you want to dance, dance. If you want to sing, sing. If you want to cartwheel, cartwheel. Basically if you want to do anything that is an expression of your happiness, of your true being, then do it! The other day I was finishing up a really good workout in the park, and I got a sudden urge to cartwheel down the hill on my way home - the sun was shining, I was feeling super happy, so I just thought f*ck it, did a cartwheel, felt even more happy. #noregrets

5. Surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you. Do not worry about spending time with those who bring you down. Life is too short to spend time with people who drain you - you deserve to have people around you who care, who make you happy, and who are there to help build you as a person. Do not feel bad for ditching the drains.

6. Family and friends first. They are the ones who raised you, who know you inside-out, who will always love you no matter how much of an idiot you can be sometimes. Love them, show them gratitude, and always put them first.

7. Always show compassion. There is always someone in the world who needs your compassion. You never know what people are going through, so be kind, be there, and be compassionate. If you do this for others I can almost guarantee that they will do it for you when you need it most.

8. Look after your body. "You only get one body, you better look after it" - Papa J has often said this to me, and as cheesy as it sounds, he is 100% right on this one. You really do only get one body - one home for your soul to live in - and so to me it's a no-brainer that we care for our bodies as much as we can. My rules are: sweat at least 5 times a week, eat healthily (but don't deny yourself the odd treat), always wear suncream in the sun, drink enough water, get enough sleep, and exercise your smile muscles regularly.

9. Embrace change. Nothing stays the same in life. It is constantly changing. Therefore it is always best to accept that nothing will stay the same, but no matter what happens in life know that you can and will adapt.

10. Travel as much as you can. One of my favourite sayings goes something like this "spending money on travelling is the only spending that will make you richer" (I'm not sure if that's quite right, but you get the gist!). It is so true that travel enriches our lives - it challenges us, it introduces us to new cultures and ideas, it excites us, it inspires us, and ultimately it changes us. I've yet to meet a single soul who has regretted travelling, and that's because it really is one of the most amazing gifts you can give yourself. This is an AMAZING world we live in, go and explore it!

Me, some of my beautiful yoginis & our mate on the phone in Kerala, India, 2015

11. Practice an attitude of gratitude. We all have many things to be grateful for: waking up each morning to a new day, having the capacity to breath, to feel, to live. Anything on top of this is a bonus, and I am so fortunate to have many things on top of this to be grateful for. Always be grateful and appreciate what you have.

12. It's okay to make mistakes. And boy have I made a few in my time! We all make mistakes - it's part of our human nature, and is essential for our growth. But the most important thing is that we learn from our mistakes, and use them as opportunities to improve.

13. Push your boundaries. Get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Only by doing this can we grow and learn that we are capable of much more than we ever could have imagined. Face your fears and beat them - I promise it'll feel damn good when you do!

Falling out of an inversion, Bermuda, 2014

14. Never take yourself too seriously. Life is too short to take yourself seriously, it only ends up causing anxiety and stress - so let it go, relax, and smile! If I mess up or do something totally stupid I used to feel so embarrassed and would close up, but now I've learnt that it's okay to look like a wally sometimes - after all if you can laugh at yourself in these situations, then others will laugh too, and you're bringing some happiness into their day.

15. Always look for the positive. And always be positive whenever possible. Bad things will happen in your life, you will suffer pain, you will feel grief, you will face challenges - but it's how we respond in these circumstances that will help to build us. Something positive can always be found in the negative, you might just have to work that little bit harder to find it. Buddha once said: "Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it." Wise words Big B.

16. Everything is OM. In non-yogi terms this means that everything, everyone, every being is inextricably linked. We are all one. Each and every little thing you do and say will have repercussions  on other beings. Throw a plastic bottle in the bin - you're adding to the waste we create, and ultimately to pollution. Smile at a stranger - you brighten their day and you never know what difference that might make. Give a friend advice - you may well change their course of action. It's the butterfly effect. We are all connected. We are all one. Everything is OM!

17. Be humble. But never undervalue yourself. Too many people in this world are either too proud or under-confident. It's very hard to find the right balance.  Being humble is super important - no one appreciates a boaster - but equally be quietly confident in yourself and your abilities so as not to undervalue yourself. You are important, but so is everyone else - we are all equal.

18. Take time for yourself as regularly as you can. To be the best version of you, you must take time for yourself. I do this through my individual yoga practice - I try to practice outside of the classes I teach at least 5 times a week - of course as a yoga teacher this is essential to help me deepen my own practice and to practice what I preach, but it also provides me with time to just BE. I spend time with myself, check-in with how I'm feeling, and show myself a little love. You are super important, so make sure you're looking after numero uno!

19. Follow your dreams. Do what makes you happy. I have learnt this lesson in the most incredible way - by actually following my dreams, and now I'm living them! If something brings you happiness then chase it, grab it with two hands, and don't let go. If you want to do something, do it. Life really is too short to be doing things that don't bring you happiness, so stop spending time on these things, instead use your energy to follow your dreams, and be happy :)

Dreamcatcher, Varkala, India, 2015

20. Don't compare yourself to others. This is one that I still struggle with, but whoever said that "comparison is the thief of joy" really did hit the nail on the head. There is always going to be someone who seems to be more intelligent than you, happier than you, prettier than you, richer than you, more successful than you - but by comparing yourself it's likely that you'll just make yourself unhappy. Try to be strong in the knowledge that there is only one you, you are totally unique, and no one can do you quite like you can.

21. Going out is great, but so is a night in on the sofa! Also under this life lesson comes: wine is great, but so is a cup of tea. Basically 25 is a great age because I still feel young enough to drink too much and go crazy on the dance floor, but equally I'm very comfortable admitting that I very much enjoy a night in watching Netflix and drinking tea!

22. Never accept anything less than you deserve. This is one I've learnt the hard way. For a long time I did settle for a situation that was less than I deserved, but the older and wiser I've become I've realised that I don't have to do this, and that I deserve something better. Too often people settle for less, and this will only result in unhappiness and bitterness, neither of which are healthy. So be true to yourself and know that you do not have to accept anything less than you deserve.

23. Try not to judge. You never know what a person has been through, so try not to judge them until you've walked a mile in their shoes. This is hard to do. It's our natural human reaction to make judgements on people, but actually who are you to judge them? You don't know what they've been through and therefore you cannot fully understand their actions. Have an open heart and make it your responsibility to love rather than to judge.

24. Let go of expectations. If you don't have expectations then you cannot be let down, but if something amazing does happen then you'll appreciate it even more because you didn't expect it! Again, this is hard to do, and I don't think I'll ever fully master this lesson, but it's something I'm going to work at because ultimately letting go of expectations naturally makes us more flexible, more appreciative, and leads to a more exciting and unexpected life.

25. 25 isn't that old! There is still time to enjoy being young, but also to enjoy being that little bit wiser than I was a few years ago...maybe 25 won't be so bad after all!

So there we have it, my 25 life lessons in 25 years. They're in no particular order and there are so many others I could have included. Life is about learning, evolving and adapting. It is beautiful, terrifying, amazing, challenging, unpredictable - and I plan to live it, to feel it, to absorb every single moment. You never know how long you've got so I'm going to make the most of it whilst I'm here, and I hope you do the same!

Thank you so much to all my beautiful family and friends who have supported me, loved me, and inspired me over my first 25 years on this planet - I love you all millions and am so blessed to have you in my life.

Have a beautiful day everyone!

Love Lucy x

Thursday, 4 June 2015

5 ways to get outside and get exercising this summer

I don't want to speak too soon, but it feels as though summer could finally be here... It's been touch-and-go these last few weeks as to whether we'd ever see some sun this summer, but right now I'm sat outside typing this in a bikini (oh the life of a freelancer!), so fingers crossed that the sun is here to stay...

That being said, come rain or shine I fully intend to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors this summer. There is nothing quite like a jog in the park, a walk on the beach, or a swim in the sea. Nothing can compare to breathing fresh air, feeling the sun on your skin, or hearing the waves crashing into the shore. Being outside is good for you.

Polzeath, Cornwall, 2013

In my yoga class this week my teacher described our outer edges as being like a lake. We live in our bodies, but the outer edges of our being are fluid. Our extremities connect us to the outside world, to each other, to the earth. Before you think I'm sounding all hippy, just think for a moment: how do you feel when you have sand between your toes? How do you feel when the sun connects with your skin? How do you feel when you jump into a freezing cold lake? You feel alive. You feel connected. You feel free. See? Being outside, with nature,  is good for you ;)

So my friends I urge you to get outside this summer! And what better way to get outside than combining it with some exercise? I can guarantee for some of these suggestions you won't even realise you've exercised until afterwards - it'll be that fun - promise! Without further ado here are my 5 ways to get outside and get exercising this summer:

1. Get out of the gym and into the park. Most of the exercises you do in the gym you can do outside, so why not take your next workout to your local park? (Yes, you may have paid for that gym membership, but save it for a rainy day, the most important thing is that you actually do workout). Up until recently I've used my local park for long jogs, walks, and cycle rides; these are all wonderful activities and, God-willing,  I will continue to do them in the park until old age. However since completing the half marathon back in May I decided that I wanted to mix up my training to include some higher intensity sessions in the hope to get more lean for summer. So instead of going on my usual 4-miles run 3-4 times a week, I've started to change 1-2 of these sessions for some sprints and strength building exercises. And guess what? I can do all of it in the park! Yipee! Here's what a typical work out looks like:

5 x 30m upward hill sprints with 5 x squat jumps at the top of each one
10 x 15m acceleration sprints (repeat twice)
2 x 15m hopping (on each leg)
3 x 20 reps of mountain climbers
3 x 10 reps of lunges
2 x 10 reps of burpies (I want to get to 3 sets but boy are they hard!)
3 x 30 reps of step ups onto a big log (make sure it's a stable one!)
3 x 15 reps of tricep dips on the same log
3 x 30 secs of dolphin plank
3 x 20 squats

Be creative. Mix it up. Find an incline outside, find a patch of grass, find a tree, find a log - use what nature can offer you - and I promise you'll be knackered but happy by the end of it!

2. Go wild swimming. There's nothing quite like feeling water on your skin, and when that water doesn't contain chlorine it's even better! Go for a swim in the sea, find your local lido, or find a safe lake to take a dip in. Do check beforehand whether the conditions are safe and whether there are lifeguards nearby. You could even sign up to an event like I did last summer - I swam in the British Heart Foundation Bournemouth Pier-to-Pier charity event with my best friend last year and it was the most amazing day. The atmosphere was fantastic, the event well organised, and most of all afterwards I felt totally invigorated (a little knackered too, but the excitement definitely outweighed this!).

BHF Bournemouth Pier-to-Pier swim, 2014

3. Plan a day at the beach. There's nothing quite like a beach day. You can go for a nice long rambling beach walk, you can take a dip in the sea, and don't forget that game of beach rugby/cricket/bitbat (whichever your preferred sport may be!). Everyone knows the beach is where it's at. Need I say more?

4. Explore your city on foot. If you live in a city it's likely that you're a pretty busy bee. A busy bee who most likely relies on public transport to get around town. But this summer why not plan a few weekend days where you explore your city on foot? Plan a route - maybe a part of town you don't know well - and go for a long walk. Stop at coffee shops, pub gardens, and markets along the way; it's the perfect way to get some gentle exercise whilst discovering new places and seeing your city through fresh eyes. This one isn't just for city dwellers - if you live out in the countryside why not go wild and head into town for day? As beautiful as trees and fields are (and trust me, I LOVE trees and fields), it's always fun to explore urban jungles too.

London, 2013

5. Try something totally random, new, stupid (any or all of the above). Zorbing down a hillside. Paintballing with mates. Surfing down in Cornwall. Zip-lining at Go Ape. Water skiing at your local lake. Pop-up Park yoga (click here to find out about my session in London next week!). Anything that's different, fun and will get you outdoors. Not only will it be great to learn something new, you'll also be outdoors and exercising without even realising it. Whatcha waiting for? Book something fun! Go, go, go!

Surfing, India, 2015

So my friends, I hope that this little post has inspired you to a) get outside and b) get off your ass - I'm kidding about b) as I know many of you are active already, but I do think that lots of us get stuck in exercise routines that are keeping us fit but not necessarily Beautifully Healthy. Being Beautifully Healthy is all about making the most out of life and our health, and if we're just doing the same old gym session 3 times a week then we're missing out on so much! So go on, be that lake - let your extremities connect with the great outdoors and I bet you won't regret it!

Namaste y'all <3

Love Lucy x