Beauty

5 Women To Inspire a Healthier Summer

You can tell we’re now into the summer months (even if the weather doesn’t quite feel like that) because everyone is now even more obsessed with the shape of their bodies. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people around me say “I’ll lose weight for when I go on holiday.”

The most important thing you need to remember is that if you want to lose weight, you need to do it for yourself and you should be doing it for a reason better than because you’re going on holiday. It should be because you want a healthy lifestyle. And to get a bikini body, just do this:-

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but very few real people actually look like those bikini models you see in all the magazines. Instead of worrying about how much you need to suck your stomach in, just enjoy your holiday instead. And remember, being healthy is so much better than being thin.

So if you’re looking to get healthier this summer, here are five women to help inspire you. It’s much easier to exercise when the sun is out and salads are much nicer when it’s not freezing!

  1. Cassie Ho

Since discovering Blogilates a couple of months ago, I’ve become a big fan of Cassie’s. All her workout videos are up on YouTube and are completely free. And, if you subscribe to her mailing list, you have access to a monthly exercise plan where you just do the workouts listed for that day. It’s probably about as simple as it gets…although you actually have to do the exercises too!

http://www.blogilates.com/

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  1. Krista Stryker 

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t exercise because “you don’t have time” then you need HIIT, which basically means you have no excuses!

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is all about short, sharp bursts of energy and can burn more calories than 1 hour of steady cardio. Krista’s workouts, part of the 12 Minute Athlete, are designed to push you hard in a short space of time. Her website features workouts and exercise demonstrations. And if you download the App, it comes with a very handy interval timer you can use if you’re brave enough to make your own workouts.

Also, check out Krista’s Instagram for some pretty impressive posts that make you want to try your hand at handstands!

http://www.12minuteathlete.com/about/

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  1. Kris Carr

One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that exercise counteracts all the bad things you eat. Trust me, it doesn’t work like that. The fact my diet isn’t as clean as it could be is probably the reason my body is strong enough to run a half-marathon but I don’t have athlete-style abs!

I first came across Kris Carr while watching the Hungry for Change documentary and her story is a truly inspiring one. After being diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer, she reassessed her lifestyle and used nutrition to boost her immune system.

It’s definitely worth doing some research on her and what she promotes these days. It should inspire you to add a few more greens to your plate at least!

http://kriscarr.com/about/about-kris/

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  1. Lucy Bee

Keeping on the topic of a healthy diet, we need to talk about Lucy Bee and her coconut oil. I definitely think coconut oil is now one of my must haves. It’s so versatile – I use it as a daily moisturiser, eye make-up remover, hair mask, to put in smoothies and as a cooking oil! The actual benefits of coconut oil are endless.

Lucy Bee’s coconut oil is ethically source, is organic and Vegan. Her website is full of tips for using the oil, however you want to use it, and if you follow her on social media, she’s always posting recipes for healthy eating, as well as just generally promoting a healthy lifestyle.

https://www.lucybee.co/about/

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  1. Emma Paveley

It’s pretty much a given that all athletes work incredibly hard and what they put their bodies through makes them more-than-human. The reason I picked Emma is because I used to work with her and saw first hand how much effort she put into everything. And along with all the morning gym workouts or using lunch breaks to practice routines, she was able to resist the many, many cakes our office is notorious for bringing in. If willpower was an Olympic sport, she deserved gold!

As well as being the current British Champion and World No 3. for bodybuilding and making the Ninja Warrior course look like a doddle, she’s now part of Team GB and will take part in Baku 2015. Check out her social media to see how she combines strength and flexibility, making it all look so easy and making you want to push yourself just a little harder.

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So there you have it – five women to help make this summer your healthiest yet. And if you are planning on honing your bikini body this year, do it because you want to and do it the right way! Remember, strong is the new skinny.

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xoxo

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The Marrakech Express

I recently took a trip to Marrakech for a long weekend with some female friends and ended up completely falling in love with the crazy city that it is. I’m pretty well travelled, but this was unlike any place I’d been to before. A city of complete contrasts that assaults every one of your senses..and I highly recommend going!

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If you are looking to take a trip there, here are my top five must do’s for Marrakech:-

1. Get a Hamman.

If you like your beauty treatments, it’s definitely worth giving this one a go. A weekly tradition for the locals, it basically involves scrubbing a layer of skin off. This was the first thing I did once I’d checked into my riad to try and relax after the plane journey and queuing in Customs (be warned, this part takes forever!). If you want to go fully local, you need to head to one of the public baths, but I wasn’t quite brave enough and went to the spa around the corner that was affiliated with our riad.

Now, I’ve had my share of strange beauty treatments in the past, but this was something else. As I stood in bikini bottoms in a small, marble room with just candles for lighting, my experience went something like this…

  • Strip down to only bikini bottoms in a darkened room.
  • Lady uses shower to wash you all over.
  • Lady rubs some scented stuff over all visible skin (lots of cupping involved).
  • Lady leaves you to lie down and “relax” for ten minutes. Feels a lot longer and you start to wonder if she’s forgotten about you.
  • Lady finally comes back and proceeds to scrub harshly at all visible skin, actually removing a layer of skin.
  • Rinses the dead skin off you then randomly washes your hair.
  • Leaves you soaking your feet in a tub of water and rose petals. Get the same feeling as Stage 4 after a while.
  • Lady lets you out and you sit down in a comfy chair while drinking mint tea and someone massages your feet.
  • Go for full body massage – relatively normal experience.

But the Hamman and a full body massage ended up costing me about £30 and my skin was super-soft, so I really cannot complain about the process at all!

2. Get lost in the souks.

If you’re going to the souks, be warned that once you’re in, you have to keep going until you get out the other side. And while you’re working your way down the many allies, trying not to get lost, be prepared to get accosted by practically every shop owner on the way…or just random people in the street trying to get you to go to another part of the souk where a member of their family probably has a shop.

But it’s not half as daunting as it sounds. In fact, it’s actually quite a fun experience and you’ll probably come out the other side with a few trinkets you didn’t plan on buying. The best way to go about it is in the traditional Moroccan way – just go with the flow.

When it comes to making a purchase, shopkeepers can be, er, a little enthusiastic in trying to make a sale. Just remain polite and if you don’t want something, be prepared for them not to give up too easily, but it’s all very good natured. If you do want something, be prepared to haggle. To help me with this, I took a conversion sheet I’d thrown together myself, so I didn’t have to do any on-the-spot conversion of currencies. 100 dirham sounds like a lot but then you remember it’s only a couple of quid!

If you’re a tourist, the shopkeepers will probably start at a ridiculous price. Immediately, drop that price by at least a third and work from there. It’s not a concept we’re used to, but it is actually a lot of fun and the shopkeepers quite like getting involved with some tough haggling.

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3. Visit the Jardin de Majorelle

As you’re wandering around the Majorelle Gardens (once owned by Yves Saint Laurent) you actually forget where you are. Away from the dusty roads and frantic driving of Marrakech, the gardens are a source of tranquillity. Inside its walls, you can happily while away an hour or so just looking at the calming pools, mass of blues and yellows or the impressive nature.

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4. Take a Trip to Café Clock

Tucked down a side street and then through some rubble, Café Clock is hidden out the way but is definitely worth trying to find. The food was amazing and they always seem to have something on. Less touristy, it’s popular with the locals – it seemed to be where the Moroccan Hipsters hung out.

Check out their website to see what entertainment they have on or book one of their special experiences – http://marrakech.cafeclock.com/

I also have to recommend trying their chocolate milkshake!

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5. Go on a camel trek

Ok, so this one might not be entirely animal welfare friendly and I still have a little bit of residual guilt for enjoying it so much, but it really was a nice experience. Taken to the outskirts of the city, amongst the palm trees, we were led around on camels for over an hour. What made our trek just that little better were the baby camels that followed us the whole way round. It was officially declared that day that there was nothing more adorable than a baby camel running!

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The Number 1 Anti-Aging Method? (As shown by Katie Hopkins)

Now, I don’t care for this Katie Hopkins woman very much. I try to ignore any of the nonsense she spouts because I genuinely think she doesn’t really believe anything she actually says, she just mouths-off, knowing it will rile the public and give her attention. As a woman with no discernible talent, how else is she going to get people to pay attention to her?

But recently, I was flicking through some magazine where her name and age was mentioned, causing me to take a slight interest. I read the little two digit number and had a chuckle, before shaking my head, thinking they had got it wrong. Turns out they hadn’t. There, in black text, her age was confirmed as thirty-nine.

Not knowing a lot about her, only having seen the odd photo or video snippet, I had automatically categorised her as late forties/early fifties. Thirty-nine came as a bit of a surprise.

Then I gave it some thought and realised why she looks older than her days.

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The big thing about her at the minute (aside from Ebola-gate) is the fact she has somehow landed a TV show to put on weight so she can moan about people who are more than a size 6 (no, I don’t get it either). I’ll admit, I haven’t watched the show, nor do I plan on wasting any time on watching it, so my information has come from other people who have watched it. The thing is, you can change your body through exercise and dieting as much as you want. You’re always going to be stuck with the same face. And for Katie Hopkins, it seems her vile, hateful comments are seeping out of her pores. Combining that with walking around with a scowl like a cat’s bum-hole has not been good for delaying the aging process.

I know a lot of women who are older than Katie Hopkins who could pass for ten years younger than they actually are. Of course it may fall down to genetics and luck, but all of these women are fun-loving and caring, which always shows through their smiles and the light in their eyes (something Katie Hopkins is sorely missing). I honestly believe this has played a major factor in helping to keep them looking younger and happy. In fact, my own father who is sixty-two and has probably spent half of his life outside, yet never wears SPF, could pass for someone in their early fifties. The most prominent wrinkles he has are smile-lines around his eyes.

Below is a quote from a truly wonderful, beautiful and inspirational woman. If you’re going to take beauty advice from somebody, it’s going to have to be from one of the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

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So as you get older, it’s best to remember that along with looking after your skin, being a loving, caring person seems an effective anti-aging method as anything else. Surely it’s worth a try? Being a nicer person isn’t going to cost you anything. Live life, laugh loads and love properly. I, for one, would much rather look like Audrey Hepburn than Katie Hopkins.

To finish off, just because I love her so much, I’ll leave you with some more Audrey wisdom 😉

xoxo

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The Perfect Body Myth

After a very controversial “Perfect Body” campaign, Victoria’s Secrets have now put an end to it. People have had issues with the way they have paraded impossibly beautiful, slim (and probably slightly photo-shopped) models and essentially made a lot of women feel incredibly inferior. My main issue with it was with the proclamation of the “perfect” body. It’s not just Victoria’s Secret at fault here – most advertising these days uses impossibly beautiful women to flog their products, insinuating that you have to be a certain shape to be happy. It’s taken me just over 25 years to realise this, but there is actually no such thing as a perfect body.

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Like a snowflake, no two bodies are the same. People can exercise all day, every day and go through plastic surgery as much as they want, but stick two people side-by-side and there are always going to be differences. Straight away that contradicts this perfect body myth.

My second point is that beauty is subjective. Just because the modern day advertising machine tells us something is the epitome of beauty, is it really? One person’s idea of what they consider beautiful may differ greatly from the person standing next to them. Then there’s the cultural aspect to consider – one culture may consider one thing attractive but this could be the complete opposite to what a country on the other side of the world considers an attractive feature. You only need to take a look at the great Renaissance paintings to see how the concept of female beauty has changed over time. Today where size zero seems synonymous with being attractive, the subjects of these paintings had bodies that would might make them be considered “plus size” but some people (this being the days long before sit-ups and lunges) yet were considered beautiful.

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Besides, does anyone really want to chase this mythical beast that is perfect body?

I recently read an article by a woman who was doing exactly that and she discussed how having a “perfect” body made her incredibly unhappy. Society had made her believe that to be attractive, she had to be skinny so she spent a lot of time working out. However, when she was down to the weight she wanted to be, she realised her lifestyle and obsession was keeping her from having a relationship. She was so strict about what she ate, she couldn’t go out for dinner dates or generally do anything spontaneous, so her love life was non-existent. Trying to maintain this weight, she spent a lot of her free time in the gym, which in turn led to not having a social life as well.

While health is obviously really important, life is too short to become obsessed with body image. Yes, treat your body right, eat well and exercise – but don’t forget to have fun. Chocolate every so often is not going to kill you. The Victoria’s Secret Angels get that gig because they are obscenely attractive. The reason their roles are so coveted is because so few people actually fit the strict criteria. I’ve got nothing against these women. I think they are gorgeous and could happily stare at the likes of Doutzen Kroes or Alessandra Ambrosio for hours. But while they are stunning, just remember, they don’t represent to majority. And don’t forget, even these beautiful women get photo-shopped for their catalogue shoots (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/29/victorias-secret-photoshop-fail-doutzen_n_1840958.htm). If they need digitally altering, what chance to the rest of us have?

Love who you are and rock what you were given – be your own Angel. To repeat a great quote I heard recently, “don’t chase perfect, chase perfectly healthy“.

Hi, I’m Megan and…

Apparently it is never too old to teach an old dog new tricks.

I have never been the most technologically minded person in this modern age, but in the past few weeks I have over come my fear by publishing my first novel on Kindle (*insert cheeky little plug* it’s called For Better or Worse and is available for download on Amazon now) and now I am starting a blog.

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to write. Now I have the book thing down (kind of) I’ve been advised to start my own blog. It’s supposed to be a good way of promoting myself as well as a means of regular writing. I don’t know if anyone out there on the inter-web actually cares about my opinion on anything, but I’m going to post them anyway.

The blog is entitled Working Life Out because I think to an extent that is what we’re all still trying to do. My posts are going to be based on things that interest me but also opinions on the things we women have to put up with in this modern day and age. So expect posts on fashion, beauty, well-being, relationships, sex (apparently the two are not mutually exclusive), pieces on women who I find inspirational and perhaps some occasional rant which is just me trying to get things off my chest. Hopefully you might find something that resonates with your, or at least pick up some handy tips.

This is the first time I’ve done anything like this, so bear with me while I find my cyber-feet, but if there’s anything you’d like me to address or see more of in the coming weeks, then suggestions are more than welcome.

Thank you for your time and hopefully I have peaked your interest, just a little.

Love
Megan
xoxo

P.S. I promise I will start inserting photos…it’s not always going to be this bland.