Strong Women

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:-


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!


  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!


  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!


  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.


  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.


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.




5 Things I Learned from my Game of Thrones Binge

***Warning – there will be spoilers below***

I don’t tend to watch a lot of television and when I get into a show, it’s usually only once it has finished or when there are a few seasons out at least, so I can start from the beginning and not have to wait weeks for the next episode. With the exception of The Mindy Project, there isn’t actually a show I watch religiously on a regular basis.

And then I started watching Game of Thrones.

I’d tried to watch it when it had first come out after hearing that it was the new big thing, but I didn’t get past the first episode. Although this was probably due to the fact I tried watching the first episode on a red-eye flight from New York back to the UK and I didn’t have a fully functioning brain at the time.

There have been a lot of GoT conversations going on in the office recently, especially when one of my friends became hooked and had her own binge. I was planning on giving it another try and watching it at the end of August in the two weeks I have free after leaving work, before moving to another country. But instead, I ended up being peer pressured into watching it before season five starts, so I can get up to date.

Despite not having watched it before, I actually knew all the big plot spoilers. I knew Ned Stark got his head chopped off, I knew what happened in the Red Wedding and I knew all about Joffrey dying and making everyone very happy. The good thing was, I knew all of this and I still enjoyed it! It seems that GoT is now going to be other show I watch week-in-week-out!

But even knowing most of the big events and who the characters were, here are 5 things I learned from my GoT binge:-

  • Jon Snow knows quite a lot.

I knew of the quote telling Jon Snow that he knew nothing, so I kind of assumed he was supposed to be a little bit dim, maybe completely conceited and thinks he’s smarter than he actually is. Turns out, he knows loads! People need to start listening to him more because he’s the only one who talks some sense and it’s almost down to him that The Wall is still standing.

    • No one is allowed to be happy. 

    Like, no one at all. If they begin to feel even a little happy, something awful happens. It can get more depressing than an EastEnders’ Christmas Special. And much like a soap opera, weddings are not joyous occasions.

      • The women are the ones who are in control.

      The big strength of GoT is that everyone loves the characters and they’re written very well – the female characters especially. In a world where men think they run everything because they have swords and whatnot, it’s actually the women working behind them who are wielding power. There are some very awesome, strong female characters – Daenerys, Cat Stark, Brienne, Olenna Tyrell and especially Arya!


        • There’s A LOT of incest.

        Lots of inappropriate brother-sister touching and then a lot of full-on inappropriate brother-sister action. And if you’re a Lannister, maybe throw a cousin in there if a sibling isn’t handy. Maybe they should avoid the incest because it results in this…


        • You need IMDB at the ready for every episode you watch.

        With most characters having the average lifespan of a gnat, there is a massive turnover each episode and you’ll find yourself watching it, sure you recognise one of the actors and wanting to know what you’ve seen them in before. A quick pause, check IMDB, go “oh, it’s so-and-so!” then you may resume.

        And three things I already knew:-

        • Sean Bean dies.

        Obviously! Were people really that surprised? I’d be more surprised if Sean Bean was in a role that let him survive until the end.

        • Winter is coming.

        Although I now understand the whole importance of it and that winter can actually last a couple of years.


        • Tyrion is the best.

        Every time he rocks up on screen, it instantly gets better.


        So I will now be joining the millions of other people eagerly awaiting the start of Season 5 and it’s going to be interesting now I’m on the same page as everyone else. I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to the surprises or not!


        The Best and Worst Disney Princess Role Models

        I have now seen the latest Cinderella film and have admit that I was a little bit hesitant of watching it. While I like the original, I think Cinderella is one of the more annoying of the Disney princesses. She doesn’t really have that much about her and seems to just cry and languish, while letting others deal with everything. That might have been ok in the fifties, but for more modern-day audiences, she just doesn’t have that much too her.

        And don’t even get me started on her prince! He spends the night dancing with her and then apparently doesn’t remember what she looks like the next day. She was blonde – at least go with that for a start!

        Thankfully the newest Cinderella manages to iron out the kinks from the animation. They give Ella more depth while still retaining the underlying fact that it is her kindness and hope that sees her through. And it’s a nice touch that she and the prince can have a conversation before the ball, making their relationship seem more believable and they initially begin to fall in love because of an intellectual attraction, as well as a physical one.

        This got me thinking about the rest of the Disney princesses. While I’m a massive fan of Disney films, there a few of the princesses that are rather irritating when you think about it. Obviously, some of the problems are due to the time period they we released, when the depiction of women wasn’t quite the priority.


                        So here is my take on the best and worst Disney princess role models:-

        The Best:-

        Mulan – She disguises herself as a man to join the army and save her father, gets a Rocky-style montage and becomes the best soldier in the unit. Even when she gets found out (after saving everyone) she still goes on to save the whole of China.


        Merida – A Disney princess who refuses to marry and is still unmarried at the end of the film. And she’s handier with a bow and arrow than Katniss Everdeen.


        Elsa/Anna – A nice sign of Disney moving into the 21st century. We can have a queen without her having to have a king and both Elsa and Anna have a complete personality. There’s a nice inside joke that the idea of want to marry someone after only having just met them and the central love story is about sisterly love.

        Jasmine – Nicely feisty and stands up for herself. And she’s more than happy to marry for love, even if he is a penniless orphan, instead of just choosing any old prince.


        The Worst:-

        Aurora – Sleeping Beauty meets a stranger in the woods, doesn’t even know his name and then throws a strop when she won’t get the chance to see him when he turns up at her house, even though she’s just discovered she’s a princess. She’d rather entertain a stranger than finally get to meet her real parents after sixteen years. In the whole film, she only sings, dances, throws a hissy fit, sleeps and has awesome hair. That’s it really.


        Cinderella – Original Disney Cinderella doesn’t seem to have that much depth to her. While it follows the idea of being good and believing in magic so everything will work out ok in the end, Cinderella seems to just put up with her station in life, cries a few times, lets other people sort things out for her (a fairy godmother or pet mice) then falls in love with a man who can’t even remember what she looks like after a night of dancing with her.

        Ariel – The Little Mermaid is probably one of my favourite Disney films but Ariel is a complete drip – although she is only sixteen, so maybe she can be forgiven for that. She willing trades her voice for legs, changing everything about her, all for a bloke she’s laid eyes on once and she’s supposed to rely simply on her looks to win him over. Not the greatest message for young girls.


        Obviously there’s a few more princesses who I haven’t included, mainly because I feel they’re kind of down the middle. While Rapunzel and Belle are better role models than some of the older Disney princesses, I don’t find Snow White that bad, if you take all things into consideration.

        What do you think? Who would you include in the best and the worst?