Wednesday, 28 November 2012

How to blog when you work full time

Wake up to your 6am alarm.
Roll over, turn alarm off, go back to sleep.
Wake up to your 6.15am alarm.
Turn on your lamp.
Spend 15 minutes checking Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and Get Off my Internets.
Realise it's 6.30am and you really should get out of bed.
Get up. Find someone is in the bathroom.
Shower, wash hair, spend far too long doing makeup.
Get distracted by the paper. 
Drag yourself upstairs to begrudgingly dry your hair.
Note that it's 7.30am. Breakfast has not been eaten and packed lunch has not been made.
Get sucked into the paper again while breakfast is eaten.
Realise it's 7.50am and you are not dressed. Realise you have no idea what to wear.
Throw clothes out of wardrobe. Try on several different pencil skirts. Throw aside.
Wear the same pencil skirt and shirt combo as you wore two days ago.
Plan to go take photos of mediocre outfit before work. 
Realise it's 8.10am and time to leave the house.
Work all day. Spill on, crease and ladder various parts of outfit.
Fail to reapply makeup and vow to avoid the mirror after 11am.
Get home at 7pm. It's dark outside.
Kick off heels, put on sweatpants.
Realise it's yet another day when you had really good intentions to blog.
Wonder how you blog when you work full time.
Plan to blog tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Fitness Thursday + Life Update

Hello! Well as I expected blogging has kinda gone out the window this week. With it being my first week we're still fine-tuning my routine-at the moment I get the bus to and from work which takes forever so I'm going to start getting the train next week- so hopefully I'll start figuring out how to manage my time more in future weeks. At the moment I'm up at 6.15am and out the door by 8.15am, with just enough time to make my lunch for the day and get fifteen minutes to read the paper while I eat breakfast, and I get home from work sometime between 7 and 7.30pm. When I get in I literally have my dinner, watch TV for an hour, do the 30 Day Shred, shower and go to bed! When I get into work in the morning and my boss asks me "how was your night?" I always feel a bit silly saying "Well I watched Masterchef and went to bed" but that's all I have time to do!
I am absolutely loving my job though- it's a lot of learning and a lot of hard work, but I love what I'm doing, love the company and love the people. You can read a little bit about my first day on the Frank Design Blog here.

Fitness Update
Anyway, so fitness! I've been really proud that I've done the 30 Day Shred every day after work! I give myself an hour or so for my dinner to go down and then do it right before bed. It can be a little tough to motivated myself to work out at 9pm but it is working really well for me- I'm so exhausted afterwards that going straight to bed is perfect! I also finished Level 2 this week! Yay! As you know, I hated Level 2, but I'd heard Level 3 was much better, and I love it! I'm on my third day now and I do find it a challenge, but I feel much more stretched and pushed than gross and sweaty. I did all modified moves the first day but now I'm actually finding it possible to do nearly all the modified moves. I didn't think I'd made much progress in my endurance until today when I was doing shadow boxing with weights and I realised doing it without weights used to wear me out in level 1! I'm going to buy Ripped in 30 this week as my next challenge! I am still hoping to get some extra cardio in too. I was planning on walking home from the bus stop after work but I've only managed that once this week- it's been so rainy that getting a lift home from my dad is a much better often! Once I started getting the train though I'll be getting about 30-45 minutes walking in along with 30DS.

Foodie Finds 
Regarding food I have been bring a packed lunch into work every day which I've been really enjoying! I'm managing to get it just about right with bringing enough snacks for throughout the day. I did get my blood tests results back this week too, but it turns out they were normal, which is making me wonder what else is making me so tired. I've decided to try upping my calorie intake and seeing if it makes a difference. My goal has been 1200, which is the standard setting for MFP but I often eat around 1100 and then burn off 200-350 which means I get a deficit  Because my weight loss has completed stalled I'm worried that I might be putting my body into starvation mode without realising, so today I set my calories to 1500. The weird thing is, I'm so used to eating 1200 that I'm already finding it hard to eat an extra 400 calories or so! I do want to see if eating a bit more every day is going to make a difference to my weight loss, as I'm growing frustrated with working out every day, eating fewer calories than my goal and still not losing weight so I'm hoping this will work. It will probably help me feel less tired too!

Anyway, that's pretty much all from me this week. This is up today because I'm off to Wolverhampton to see Frank Turner for the sixth (!!) time with my best friend Steph tomorrow and I'm going straight after work and not coming back until Saturday evening. Plus I felt five days without a blog post was long enough!
Thank you to all of you who wished me luck with my job and sent me supportive tweets and messages. I really appreciate it!
Here's hoping I get some kind of regular blogging system working soon!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Week in Photos

1. Quinoa burrito bowl
Yeah so you might know that I love Mexican food. Especially Chipotle. This is a Chipotle-style quinoa bowl with salsa, avocado and Weight Watchers cheese. The recipe is here!
2. Sweet potato bean burgers
I kinda ballsed these up (I didn't drain the beans properly which made the dough too wet and to even it out we had to add so much flour they tasted, well, like flour) but hey, they look good!
3. Saturday night out with the girls
(disclaimer: I am not naked in this picture). I went out with the girls when I was down South last week and I had a really, really good hair-and-makeup night. Standard curls and the Matte look from the UD Smoked Palette (absolute fave). I also just realised these photos are totally not in order. Anyway...
4-5. ZOMG NEW MAC (and fancy email signature!)
So if you follow me on Twitter you might know that I got an email last week from my boss saying he had a brand new MacBook Air for me to come collect from the office. I absolutely love it.
6. Printed Trousers overload
So I had a bit of a bender in Topshop on Wednesday. You can see my floral pants in action here.
7. Super-organised work wardrobe
I spent Thursday morning organising my "work wardrobe." I wanted a clean, organised space so I can just grab things out of my wardrobe and go in the morning. My "work wardrobe" consists of some pencil skirts, a couple of smart dresses, my ever-expanding collection of blazers and a lot of blouses. I also have my printed trousers for casual days.
8. Snack time!
I've mentioned before that I am a little-and-often eater. This was my afternoon snack of rice cakes, cauliflower and peppers with morrocan spiced houmous
9. Messy second-day curls.
When I've made the effort to curl my hair the day before and have a lazy day, I usually just leave my hair. Friday was a messy hair day.
10. Owls and checks
My new go-to outfit-casual checked shirt, owl jumper and jeans.
I had to give a blood sample on Friday at the doctors so I can be tested for an iron deficiency. I'm not the biggest fan of injections and this was hurting me all day. #wusstag
12. More snacks!
A granny smith, babybel light and some cashews.
13. Drinks with the girls
And taking my pants out for their first outing! We went to Fab Cafe in Manchester to celebrate my friend Jenny's amazing Masters results, but a few drinks turned into getting home at nearly 2am because we were just having too much fun to leave!
14. Dinner for the week
As I mentioned last week, I've started to do a big cook-fest on a Sunday so I have homecooked meals to come home to when I get back at 7pm. Today I made a big batch of my favourite chickpea and aubergine tagine for Wednesday and Thursday's dinner. My Mum is on dinner duty tomorrow!
15. A failed attempt
When I live in the States, I love Blue Diamond Salted Almonds, but for some reason you can only get them here in Sainsburys and nowhere else seems to do salted almonds! So today I tried to roast and salt my own. Turned out the oven was on way too high from making some sweet potato falafel so they burned to a crisp. Better luck next time, eh?

Friday, 16 November 2012

Fitness Friday

Weekly Update
After last week I knew I really had to get back on the wagon. So, I gave myself the weekend off (I was down visiting friends all weekend, which meant no time to exercise, alcohol and a 3am trip to the chippie) and got right back on it on Monday. It was nice to have a bit of a break, but man it's been hard getting back into it! I'm back on level 2 of the 30 Day Shred which I really, really hate. I'd been warned that level 2 was tough, but it is intense! I have so little upper body strength and I feel that's all you work in level 2. I also feel that unlike level 1, there is a big difference between the modified and non-modified versions. In level 1 I felt that modifying each more was simply about doing it "less"- lower jumps, lower squats etc. but the modifications in level 2 completely change the move, so when I'm trying to do the unmodified versions (trying!) it's so much tougher than Level 1! Not long left on Level 2 though- I did day 17 today so only 3 days until Level 3! I am noticing a difference though- I'm actually developing biceps! I am enjoying the 30 Day Shred though, as difficult as it is. I calculated that, given a few days when I know I'm working late or doing something after work, I should complete the shred on 2nd December. I've already got my eye on Ripped in 30, which I want to follow with the Jillian Michaels Collection (reeeeeally fancy 6 Week 6 Pack!). I'm also hoping it will fit in quite easily when I start working. As I've mentioned before, I'm going to be working 9.30-6pm every day, and my work is about an hour away, so I'll be leaving the house at 8.15am and getting home around 7pm. I've already discovered that I don't like exercising in the morning, so my plan is to do the 30 Day Shred every night before bed. For extra cardio I plan to walk the 30 minutes home from the bus stop each night too. I know walking isn't a lot, but combined with the 30DS that's an hour of cardio a day, which is still pretty good for working full time. I think my biggest worry is letting go of my exercise routine when I start working, so I'm determined not to let that happen.
Speaking of cardio, you might have noticed that I haven't mentioned my running. The honest truth? I've decided to stop with Couch to 5K. One of the reasons is that, well, I really, really hate running. I'd love to complete a 5K one day, but I feel at the moment having two goals to work on at once is too much. For now, I've been sticking to walking. Walking is much easier to fit into my schedule (as I said, I can fit it in on the way home from work) and I really enjoy it. Plus, it's convenient. To get my cardio in this week I've been walking to places I actually needed to go. I enjoy walking to actually get somewhere. I can walk 30 minutes to the bus stop when I'm heading to work, walk the 40 minutes there and back to the local college, walk into Stockport instead of getting the bus. Sure, it's not intense cardio like running is, but I can do it every day, I enjoy it, it doesn't require special clothes or equipment and it fits easily into my schedule. Plus, I'm incredibly impatient so I walk really, really fast! I've managed to go a good 30+ minute walk nearly every day this week, as well as 30DS.
The only thing I'm struggling with at the moment is actual weight loss. I know it's quite a common thing when you start to work out a lot, but it is frustrating that I'm not actually losing weight. I mean I am losing inches (I've actually just started to measure that), and I can tell that, plus my clothes are back to fitting pretty much as they did before, but it is hard to not notice a difference on the scale. I read somewhere that after a few weeks of working out your muscles adapt and you should notice a difference so maybe soon. And if not then maybe I have to accept that physical weight loss maybe isn't the only result of a diet and exercise routine.

Foodie Finds
Well after a bit of an indulgent Saturday (but not actually as bad as it could have been!) I've been back to my usual healthy diet. And I do enjoy it! I genuinely like eating healthily. So I've been back on my salads, soups and filling vegetable based dinners. This week I discovered Wartbutons Sandwich thins, which are kinda life changing! They are like bread rolls but they're super thin and only have 100 calories! I've been making low-calorie breakfasts with them and Weight Watchers cheese or egg whites. I'm excited to try them with boiled eggs too! I've been putting a list together of things I can take to work for lunch and for snacks this week too so I can stay on track while I'm working. As you know I'm a big snack fan so I'm trying to think of lots of yummy snacks but also filling lunches. Our plan is to do a big day of cooking on a Sunday so we always have home cooked, healthy meals to come home to during the week. I always like a home cooked meal and I'm usually the one who cooks it but it's not going to happen when I get home from work at 7! This week we've had sweet potato and quinoa chilli, salmon with avocado salsa and homemade quorn shepherd's pie.
Also, a few weeks ago I mentioned my worries about a protein or iron deficiency because I'm always, always tired. Well today I went to the doctors and I had a blood test so I should have the results next week.

Things I've Learned
- There is a difference between pushing yourself and punishing yourself. Doing something you hate is not worth it.
- Level 2 is hard!
- I do enjoy the 30 Day Shred. Just not at the time!
- It's actually really easy to eat good, filling and tasty meals and still keep my calories low.
- I really, really enjoy walking and I'd rather do cardio that I enjoy that also gets me from A to B.
- Working out is easy when you have lots of time on your hands
- Planning and organisation is the key to making routines work
- Sometimes you need to take a bit of a break. These kinds of things are lifestyle changes, not short-term fixes, so you have to let life happen and not beat yourself up over it.

Goals for Next Week
- Bring good, healthy lunches and snacks to work that can keep me full until my dinner at 7
- Walk home from the bus stop every day after work, and get extra cardio in at weekends
- Squeeze the 30 day Shred in after work every night before bed.

I am genuinely worried about sticking to my exercise plans while I'm working, but I'm pretty (okay, obsessively) organised so I'm hoping once I have a plan it will work out. At the moment I'm planning on getting home from work at 7 and having dinner, and then relaxing for a few hours until my dinner goes down and doing 30DS between 9.30pm and 10pm. But of course, I'm going to play it by ear. And if I have to start getting up at 5.30am to work out, well, that's what I'll do!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Blame it on the Boogie

girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
Yeah so these pants. They really, really really weren't supposed to happen. So here's the story. A few weeks ago I was in my town centre and I saw a poster saying that Steps, iconic 90s awesome pop band Steps, would be turning on the Christmas lights in a few weeks time. I knew I absolutely had to be there but as time went on, I realised I hadn't clocked the date. So yesterday I was enjoying my last few days of unemployment (aka, spending the whole day browsing the internet) and it crossed my mind that I should probably check when the whole Steps thing was going on. And that was when I saw it, Wednesday 14th November. Crap! I knew I had absolutely nothing going on and I had no excuse to sit at home when I could be watching Steps, so I sent a few texts to see if anyone would accompany me (not gonna lie, I would have gone alone), as I expected, my best friend Eve was completely up for it, so we made plans to meet when she finished work. We went for a coffee but still had some time to kill, so we went to go see our friend Nic who works in Topman. Which naturally led to wandering into Topshop. Where I met these trousers. They were one of those things I prayed to the clothing gods to look bad on me. I prayed they wouldn't fit (does anyone else do this?!) because I knew I would end up buying them. But of course, I loved them. And I bought them. And a maroon polka dot pair too. Anyway, back to Steps. Stockport was crazy busy so we had to go up onto one of the carparks to see them, but they did do Deeper Shade of Blue and Tragedy, WITH DANCE ROUTINE. It was awesome.
girl next door fashion outfit
trousers- Topshop
white shirt- c/o Oasap
maroon jumper- Primark
ballet flats- New Look
necklace- Forever 21
girl next door fashion outfit
Anyway, so the pants. I know I really shouldn't have bought them, but my justification is that for the right casual meeting at work I could dress them up with a smart blazer, white shirt and heels. I'm hoping to kind of sense the vibe with my workwear. I obviously won't be rocking up in floral trousers on my first day. The nature of my job means my dresscode will always be changing. Because I'm working on the business side of a creative industry I have to be aware of the fact that while the designers and developers can wear jeans and trainers, I have to look smart. Plus I need to tailor my outfit to the clients I'm meeting. If the company I'm meeting are casual, then I should reflect that in my outfit, and vice versa with a more formal company. I did get all my working wardrobe organised today though which was really exciting. I found that only some of my clothes are business appropriate so I had to get a few things ready for next week. But I'm feeling pretty set now! 
As you can see, it's very bright, very fun, and well, still me. I didn't want my working wardrobe to be boring! Fortunately I already have lots of blazers, button-up shirts and pencil skirts so I didn't have many other things to get! I am going to try to post some of my work outfits, cause I know a few of you were asking me what I was going to wear for work. Like most graduates, I've never had to dress in a business casual manner before, so I'm hoping to pick it up as I go along and share that learning with you all along the way!
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
I'll be back tomorrow with a Fitness Friday post. I know today was supposed to be a Foodie Thursday post, but a) I had to wear these trousers today and b) I decided while I still had the chance to post outfit posts I would do. Whee not long left now!
Have a lovely day!

Charlotte x

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Decide What to Be and Go Be It

girl next door fashion outfit
dressc/o Lovestruck
bootsNew Look
necklaceForever 21
girl next door fashion outfit
So, long time no blog. Yeah. Life has kinda been getting in the way recently, and plus I've kinda hit a brick wall with outfit inspiration lately. Truth be told, I've been living in sweatpants lately, and if I need to leave the house, a big cosy jumper and jeans. This outfit isn't the most exciting outfit ever, but well, it's what I wore. I've been feeling a little bit disillusioned lately with fashion blogging, has anybody else felt like this? I've just been feeling that so many bloggers, including many of my favourites, have lost their integrity. I see so many bloggers wearing outfits that consist of c/o items that aren't their style at all, waxing lyrical about how wonderful and amazing and exciting their lives are all the time. I guess that's just not me. I like to keep my blog honest, from what I talk about, to how things are going, to what I'm wearing. And so the reason I haven't been posting outfit photos lately is because I haven't had exciting outfits to post, and I know that you guys can totally understand that! Blogging is also going to get difficult next week when I start my job. I'll be leaving the house around 8.15am and getting home from work after 7. Plus I'm going to be wearing more business-casual clothing for work, relegating most of my wardrobe to weekend wear only.But I know I'll figure out a way to make it work, and I know if I can't update all the time, you will understand. Like I've said, I'm always been honest with you and honest on my blog, so I hold my hands up and say, yes, it's going to be difficult but I love to blog and I'm determined to make it work. Anyway, so this outfit is quite simple, but I really love this dress and just wanted to keep it, well, simple. I tried it with raspberry tights but it just felt kind of forced. So I stuck to my old favourite- an old navy cardigan, navy tights and my favourite boots. I do appreciate that this outfit is simple though, and I hope I get my outfit mojo back soon!
girl next door fashion outfit
Anyway! This is my last week of unemployment! I'm enjoying sleeping in and catching up on the million and one things I need to do before I start work. It sounds daft and naive, but working is just going to take up so much time! While I was at university I basically ran my own schedule so if I needed to nip into town to get something, or go food shopping or even go to the doctors, I could just move a few things around and fit it in. It's starting to hit me now that every single Monday to Friday, between 9.30 and 6pm is work time. But I am really, really excited to start my job. As I've said, I love the company and I got a really good vibe from the first day I went in to interview there! The people seem great and I'm just really excited to get started. Obviously I'm super nervous to start a new job and I've been questioning my ability a lot. But I went in yesterday to collect my contract and my new Macbook Air (!!!) and my boss has so much confidence in my ability and seems so excited to work with me that it makes me feel so many better. I know a lot of people interviewed for the position and I did really well to get the job, so I have to believe that I can do the job! On a slightly different note, I signed up to do an evening photography class at my old college today! I feel as though working is going to take a lot out of me, so I don't want that to be an excuse to not do things. My Mum and I have already planned to have a big cook-a-thon on a Sunday so we can still have home cooked meals every day, and I'm planning on keeping up with my workout routine by doing the 30 Day Shred when I get home from work. Like I said, keeping on top of everything is going to be tough, but hey, I got through my degree while also blogging, writing for various publications, dancing five times a week and doing a part-time job!
girl next door fashion outfit
Well I think I've done enough talking to make up for the lack of posting! I'm hoping to get another couple of posts up this week!
Hope your week is going well,

Charlotte x

Friday, 9 November 2012

Fitness Friday

I considered not writing a Fitness Friday post this week, because the honest truth is not very much fitness has been going on. But I figured I've learned a lot this week about listening to your body, and more than anything else, just giving it a bit of a break. And that's just as good a lesson as any in fitness. So here we go.

Weekly Update
As I've mentioned a few times already, I haven't been feeling too hot this week. Now, I've not been that ill. I've not been bedridden or anything, but here lies the problem. When I'm ill, but not so ill I'm forced to stay in bed, I tend to just go on with my life like everything is normal. This tends to result in me pushing myself too hard, not giving my body the time or the care to recover, and generally ended up being ill for a longer time.
It all started on Saturday when I decided to do 30DS within half an hour of getting up, and then going for a 4 mile walk. Big mistake. Despite being a morning person,  working out in the morning doesn't work for me at all. I'm just not awake or energized enough, everything hurts more and the effort I put in is much lower than usual. Plus I end up feeling exhausted for all the rest of the day. So, on Sunday I woke up feeling lousy and I have felt lousy all week. I gave 30DS its first break day on Sunday, but, despite feeling dreadful, got back into it on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, which may have not been my best idea. While I haven't been running this week (C25K would probably have killed me) I was still trying to get my cardio in. When it got to Thursday I decided enough was enough and I just needed a few days to relax and get over whatever this was (I've had flu-like symptoms, but not full-on flu). I absolutely hate not getting any exercise in but I know I have to listen to my body. It's tired, it feels lousy, it just wants to rest. So I know I have to just give it a few days of not working out to fully recover so I can feel better for next week. It's been a hard, but necessary lesson to learn. I absolutely hate taking a break from goals, especially things like 30DS which I really wanted to do every day for the full 30 days, and I'm worried about losing the drive to get back into it, but I know I'd rather do it full pelt and take 40 days, than do it in 30 knowing that 10 of those 30 were not my best efforts. I did start Level 2 this week though and so far I love it! I am all over Anita though, but when I'm feeling better I'm gonna allow myself another 3-4 days of Anita before trying Natalie!

Foodie Finds
Saturday was my first cheat day. I knew I was going to be hanging out with my favourite family friends and we always have a great time and yummy food and I didn't want to sacrifice that. I did a lot of exercise in the morning (see above!) I think I still just about came in inside my calorie goal, but it was nice to relax for one night. 
I've actually relaxed a lot more this week, but most of it has been to do with being ill. I know not eating enough calories is going to slow the process of getting better down, and plus when I'm feeling lousy, a bit of chocolate definitely cheers me up! Without exercising I have been finding it hard to stick to 1200 calories as I had been eating my exercise calories more, which I talked about doing last week. We also went out for dinner on Tuesday to celebrate my new job and I did have a couple of glasses of champagne!
Like with exercise, I'm going to get back to normal next week, but with being ill I've been making sure I well and get what my body needs. I know I'm only going to feel more ill and more exhausted if I don't. Plus eating this way has helped me adapt to the idea of this being more of a lifestyle change. There are going to be days when you want to let go and enjoy yourself and days where you want to celebrate, and those have a place in your life too.

What I've Learned
- You have to listen to what your body needs and act accordingly
- Sometimes you need to have a break
- I have definitely been pushing myself a bit too hard and need to relax a bit with that
- Not managing to achieve my exact work out plan every single day is not the end of the world, so long as you pick it back up again
- Days where you want to celebrate are going to happen, this is part of life and is not worth stressing out about
- Working out in the morning does not work for me
- Also, doing 30DS before my cardio is not a good idea! 
- Walking is a great way to get cardio when you don't want to run
- Weight loss is not always an accurate measure of success. According to the scale my weight hasn't changed in almost 2 weeks, but I definitely look and feel different. I've heard this a lot about Jillian's DVDs so I'm going to try checking measurements as an indicator as well as weight.
- I need to give my body some time before I can get back into my workout routine

Next Week's Goals
- Get back to full health and get back on 30DS and C25K!

Another thing worth touching on, next week is the last week I'm off before I start my new job. This is obviously going to have a huge impact on my free time and my exercise. I work from 9.30 until 6 and it takes me about an hour to get to and from work, so figuring out my new exercise plan is going to be tough. For the first few weeks until I get used to my new routine, I think I will just come home and do 30DS every day after work, and get cardio in on the weekends. After a while I'm thinking of walking the 30 minutes to the bus stop instead of getting the bus, which will make sure I get 30 to 60 minutes of cardio in a day and won't add any extra time to my day, and then doing the DVD when I get home. I'd like to work out in the morning but I always find it really difficult to do, although I don't have a problem getting up early, I just find I can't work out to the full extent of my ability that early in the day. Advice is much appreciated!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Foodie Thursday: Easy Peasy Breakfast Burritos

I apologise for two things- one for being MIA this week. I've been feeling lousy all week so sweatpants have been the order of the day. The second thing apology is for not getting a recipe post up last week. I had a recipe all planned out, photos too, but what I made ended up being, well, a bit gross so I decided it was a bit silly to post a recipe for something I didn't like! 
Anyway, I had another recipe planned for today, but after posting a picture of these breakfast burritos on Instagram I had a request for the recipe. Now I will warn you, this is one of the things that I just kind of make up as I go along so the recipe is a little vague. It's also super-duper easy so I apologise if this seems a little basic. Breakfast burritos aren't really a big thing here in the UK, but I got into making then this summer while I was living in New Jersey. I've actually never had one from a real breakfast place, so I don't know if these are anything like real breakfast burritos! But I will tell you they are delicious, super-easy, and really filling. Seriously, I usually need to eat every 2-3 hours, but these keep me full for ages! I made this ones with low-calorie wraps, light cheese and egg whites for a lower-calorie meal, but this is entirely your choice. Also, just because these are "breakfast" burritos, it doesn't mean you have to eat them for breakfast! I actually had them for lunch today!
So, if you're as obsessed with Mexican food as I am and want to an excuse to it for every meal, here you go!

Ingredients (Serves One)
1 wrap (I used Weight Watchers wraps as they're only 106 calories, but it's up to you!)
2 Eggs or 1/2 cup egg whites
1/4 tin of beans (I used 3 bean salad, but black beans, pinto beans or any other bean mix is fine)
Onion + any other soft veg you have on hand (I usually use peppers, mushrooms, courgettes etc) 
Taco seasoning (I actually didn't have any so I used cajun seasoning which made no difference!)
Grated Cheese
Spray Oil
Optional: Avocado, guacamole, sour cream or any other burrito toppings (I sometimes make some of Hungry Girl's Holy Moly Guacamole)

Like I said, I usually make this up as I go along so feel free to substitute any ingredients!

1. Prepare veg by chopping into small pieces. I used onion and courgette this time, purely because that was what I had on hand.
girl next door fashion outfit
2. Spray a small frying pan with spray oil and heat on a medium heat. Add veggies and seasoning. Cook for about five minutes until they are soft.
girl next door fashion outfit
3. Meanwhile, prepare the eggs. I am currently obsessed with Two Chicks Liquid Egg Whites. I know liquid egg white is pretty freely available in the US, but it's not very easy to find here in the UK. You can get Two Chicks in Sainsburys and Waitrose. Okay it looks a little weird, but it's much lower calorie than whole eggs but still contains a lot of protein. Anyway. Prepare scrambled eggs just as you normally would. I mix the egg whites with skimmed milk and put in a pan on a low heat, constantly stirring until for about 5 minutes until the eggs, well, become scrambled eggs. You can use any scrambled egg method you like though!
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
Yeah, it does look weird doesn't it? Is that just me?
4. While your eggs are cooking, add the beans and salsa to the veg mix. The amount of salsa you add is entirely up to you- I'm a bit salsa fan so I always add quite a lot! Just keep it on a medium heat and keep stirring until the beans and salsa are warmed through.
girl next door fashion outfit
5. Pop your tortilla in the microwave for 30 second until it is warmed through. Put it on a plate to begin assembling your burrito.
6. When your eggs are done, spread them onto the bottom of your tortilla. Add your bean and veg mix, and top with cheese. Add extra salsa if you like or any other toppings.
girl next door fashion outfit
7. Attempt to fold. Fail but enjoy anyway. 
girl next door fashion outfit

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Week In Photos

I apologise that this is super late. I've had a really crazy week because I had family stuff going on all weekend and I've been up and down with being ill the last couple of days, so I apologise for being MIA. I guess when you get to the last photo you'll also know why...

1. Roasted chickpeas with taco seasoning
OHEMGEESOGOOD. If you've never had roasted chickpeas, you are missing out. Just mix a tin of chickpeas up with some salt and seasoning, spread some tin foil on a baking tray, spray with fry light and roast for 10-15 minutes at a time, checking and stirring them around each time. I like mine after about 20 minutes when they're still a bit soft, but for crunchy, crisp-like chickpeas roast for about 30-40 minutes. Then eat!
2. Halloween!
My Mum carved this awesome pumpkin for Halloween and I was on doorbell duty. However, having a pumpkin in your porch results in a fatal problem- every kid in the town comes to your house. We had 38 kids and only 30 bags of Haribo. We had to dole out chocolate fingers in freezer bags! In the end we had to move the pumpkin back inside!
3. Train treats
I headed down to Birmingham on Thursday to see two of my best friends, Steph and Ellen. I travelled down with my kindle, almonds and a cheese string for the train!

4. Best Friend Coffee
Ellen and I always get coffee as soon as we see each other and we always go to the same Starbucks! Lattes all around!
5. Pumpkin Soup
We had a lovely lunch with Steph at the cutest little deli in the Jewellery Quarter. This pumpkin soup was amazing!
6. Quinoa Burrito Bowls
If you've been reading my blog for a while you might know about my love of Chipotle! Mmm Mexican food. I tried out these Chipotle-style burrito bowls for lunch on Friday. So good!
7. First-ever James Bond Film
Confession: until Friday I had never seen a James Bond film, and nor had I ever wanted to. However my Mum really wanted to see Skyfall and I agreed to come along for a night out of the house and a free dinner. I actually really enjoyed it!
8. New watch!
I hate hate hate not wearing a watch, and I broke my old watch while I was in America, and a few weeks ago also broke my Walmart replacement watch. I wanted a new one for Christmas but couldn't wait that long, so I fell in love with this one from Asos. I love it!
9. More travelling snacks!
This was my bag of munchies on the way to Leeds- roasted chickpeas and roasted kale. Nom.
10. Lazy Sunday curls
Who wants to do their hair on a Sunday? I was feeling rubbish all day so I decided to stay with bed hair!
11. Bright pink wellies
My wellies had their annual day out yesterday- for a bonfire of course!
12. Finally getting the hat/hair combo right!
I have never managed to get my hair right while wearing a hat and tend to just give up on hats. But this time I think I nailed it, even if the curls had fallen out by the time I got to the bonfire!
13. Job Interview Outfit
Okay these photos are slightly out of order, but after seeing this dress on Olivia's blog I knew it was the dream big-girl-job dress, and had to get it for my interview yesterday! (I also bought her belt!)
14. Generic bonfire night photos
I had a lovely time at the bonfire yesterday. I love fireworks! The only downside was it was the funfair rides and fireworks made me miss Seaside Heights so much. We always had fireworks on the beach on Sunday and Wednesday nights!
15. Homemade lentil soup
Okay, I'm not one to brag but I really do make amazing lentil soup. Recipe to come soon... (and yes, that is a panda salt shaker. Do you expect anything less?!)
16. Election-ready
Okay, I know I don't get a vote, but after living in America twice I kinda consider myself an honorary American so I dressed accordingly!
Seriously. I've always worn MAC fluidline but it tends to smudge above my eyes and when it powder over it to keep it in place it goes a dull grey. So, after the recommendation from Llymlrs I decided to give this a go, and I love it! The felt tip end is kinda hard to use and it's a bit thin, but my god, it's super black and it lasts ALL DAY. I'm talking 12+ hours. Awesome.

19. Supporting my favourites States
You might remember me getting my Minnesota necklace after my year abroad there, and I recently bought the NJ necklace to commemorate my summer working on the Jersey shore. Of course, with election night tonight there really is no better night to show my support to them!
20. Champagne
So, today I got a job. A really, grown-up, big girl job. After the San Francisco incident a few months ago I decided to keep quiet for the most part about my interviews. It's been a bit of a long process- I was contacted by a recruitment agency a few weeks ago, passed through the assessment centre (where only 6 of us made it through to be represented, out of 20 people) and then went on to real job interviews. From the first time I entered the office, I knew this was the job I wanted, and after three interviews with them, I finally got the call today that they wanted to offer me the job! It has not at all been easy, and I have worked really, really hard to get this position. I am proud of myself though, because they told me they interviewed lots of other graduates and candidates with experience but I really impressed them. So, you are looking at the Business Development Executive for Frank Design Ltd! Wheeee big girl job! I'm so excited!

Now, I'd better go order pencil skirts and get ready for a long night of watching the election results. You know you have an American Studies degree when, right?

Saturday, 3 November 2012

New Jersey

girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
A few people have asked me if the place on the Jersey Shore whereI spent my summer working as a lifeguard was affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Yes. Seaside Heights is a mess. It has been one of the places most affected by the hurricane. 
The lovely little beach town where I spent my summer, with its cute little food places, ice cream stands, pier rides and arcade games has been destroyed.
Thankfully, everyone that I have spoken to is okay, despite a lack of electricity, but a lot of their homes are destroyed. I don't even know where you begin when your house, your home, has been destroyed. Once you've thanked god you're alive, how do you start again?
Looking back on this post makes me heart ache. It's like my summer has been completely destroyed. All the places, all the memories. 
Here are some pictures of what is left of Seaside Heights...
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
girl next door fashion outfit
Of course, these things can be rebuilt. But people can't rebuild their memories. People have to rebuild their houses. Rebuild their lives. These pictures represent a few months of my life, but for some this was their home. Their childhood. A part of them. I was lucky to have called Seaside my home for three wonderful months.
I guess this post is a tribute. A tribute to the place I loved, the place I still love. My home for the best summer of my life. My heart goes out to everyone on the East Coast. You are in my thoughts. 
I will always love you, NJ. Stay strong.
edit: My necklace is from Kris Nations. It's the same as my Minnesota one. Also, the transfer on my shirt didn't come out completely. It says Est 1913, not 1313 (which is still a bloody long time!)

Friday, 2 November 2012

Fitness Friday

So Fitness Friday, week 2, and this week I have a lot to report! I've been keeping track of my fitness successes, failures and troubles throughout the week so I have a much more comprehensive assessment on my fitness over the week. So, how has this week been?

Weekly Update
Overall, this week has been really good. I've managed to fit the 30 Day Shred in every day, and also managed to squeeze in 30+ minutes of cardio every day. Some days this was just walking, but I have managed to do Couch to 5K four times this week, and I started Week 2 this morning. At the start of the week it was raining a lot, and I didn't want to run in the rain, which led me to consider dropping C25K and focus just on 30 Day Shred. This may still happen, but for now I have managed to keep on top of both goals. My ultimate commitment is to the 30 Day Shred for the next 22 days, but I would like to be able to find the time to continue to do both.
On Saturday, my 1.5kg weights arrived and boy do they make the 30 Day Shred much tougher! I started using them on Sunday and it has really made the workout much more challenging, but also much more rewarding. I did find a lot of aching initially, especially on Saturday after having started both the 30 Day Shred and Couch to 5K, but it has subsided. 
Towards the end of the week I was getting frustrated that my endurance levels did not seem to be developing as I progressed through the shred, but on Day 7 I really noticed a difference. I'm finding that my endurance during 30DS is much better on days when my cardio for the day has just been walking, and also when there has been a significant break in the time between each work out. On days when I've been pushed for time, however, I haven't had the luxury of this break, but I definitely notice a difference.
Walking and C25K have been my main sources of cardio this week, especially after finding out on Sunday that rebounding on my mini trampoline burns fewer calories than I had expected. The walking, for the most past, has been in order to get from A to B more than anything else, but on non-C25K days I might start walking instead, if the weather is nice. Of course, if it's horrible outside I will rebound instead of doing nothing.
So far, I haven't had a rest day and I'm a little worried that I might be doing too much, but I'm a bit like a dog with a bone when it comes to goals; I want to stick to them and stay focused. It's not always been easy to fit cardio and the DVD in every day, but I have managed it, even on days when I've been busy. Of course, I am still unemployed so I do have more time to work out, but I do intend to work out a routine for when I do start working.

Foodie Finds
I mentioned last week about trying to avoid eating my exercise calories back, but there seems to be a bit of confusion over whether I should be doing this or not. Like I said, I work out every day and tend to burn 350-500 calories a day from working out. My daily intake of calories is usually around 1200-1400, meaning that most days I only take in around 800 calories. I'm worried this is really bad for my body, especially as I've noticed I haven't lost any weight this week. Of course there could be a number of factors involved (hormones, muscle gain from the 30 Day Shred etc.) but I am wondering if I should be increasing my calories more to make up for the ones burned from working out. I have found, however, that I don't feel I need those extra calories. I always eat when I feel hungry and I've just been trying to eat the best things possible to satisfy that hunger. I have never felt hungry. Advice on this would be much appreciated. Should I be eating those extra calories back or is that counter-productive?
Another issue that came up this week was a worry about lacking protein. I've been pescatarian (I don't eat meat but I eat fish), since I was 11 and while I know I get enough iron (I eat a lot of vegetables), I've been examining My Fitness Pal and wondering if I get enough protein. As a result I've been making a conscious effort to keep my eye on my protein levels and add more beans, peanut butter, yoghurt, cheese etc. into my diet. 
I have also been adding more carbs into my diet. I have been kinda avoiding eating bread and other carbs for the last few weeks, but (and I know this is like Nurtition 101), they really do keep me more full. I've been adding brown rice to my evening meal, quinoa or low-calorie wraps at lunch time and occasionally bread at breakfast. My energy levels have definitely improved, plus I've been avoiding eating anything after dinner which I think is down to this too.
One goal for the future, however, is to stop stealing other people's calories. You know how other people's food has no calories? Yeah. I am definitely guilty of stealing a spoonful of my dad's pudding or a bite of his chocolate bar. Sure, this is much better than eating the whole thing myself, and it helps me feel like I'm not depriving myself, but I rarely track these extra  calories and I know I need to either track them or stop stealing them!
Foodie finds this week? We made Thai Fishcakes on Tuesday which were delicious, and I'm really into 70% Dark Chocolate, roasted chickpeas and Blackcurrant squash (again!) this week. I always drink a lot of water (I always carry a bottle of water with me, even from room to room in the house!) and I like to drink squash throughout the day so I get water and also a sweet treat.

What I've Learned
- If running gets hard, slow your pace down. This sounds blindingly obvious, but my best friend is a heptathlete and she gave me this bit of advice. It's definitely made C25K a lot easier!
- Try to keep my cardio at least an hour away from 30DS for maximum endurance
- It is possible to squeeze an hour long work out in even on a busy day
- Walking burns more calories than rebounding, but rebounding is a good option on a wet day
- I need to stop sneaking extra calories in that I don't track
- Big, satisfying, and calorie-dense meals are often better than small meals with lots of snacks.
- I might need to eat back more calories to lose weight
- It was easy to think of excuses for not going C25K along with 30DS (rain, difficult to stick to two goals, no time etc.), but I am so proud I stuck it out. 

Next Week's Goals
- Hopefully find some weight loss, and if not, change something
- Finish Level 1 of 30 Day Shred (tomorrow is Day 9) and start Level 2 on Sunday
- Continue to fit in an extra 30 minutes of cardio every day
- Stick to Couch to 5K