Sunday, May 22, 2016



For today’s post I’m just leaving you with one of many of my favourite inspirational quotes. Why? Chiefly, because I just haven’t had the time or inclination to think up or create a blog-worthy post, however, being the pedantic and slightly compulsive person that I am, I felt obligated to commit to my Sunday posting ritual. The other reason for this post is, having spent the weekend at the BBC Eat Well Show at London’s Excel supporting my friend with exhibiting and launching her new confectionary product, MazaChocolate, I've felt inspired by all the women (AKA wellness entrepreneurs) I have met at the event who have followed their passion and built a business that they thrive on………… simply because they believed they could! Join me in taking the time to think about what you would like, and believe you can achieve, over the next 7 days!

Later x
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Sunday, May 15, 2016


Whilst basking in the sunshine

Take a tour around my kitchen and you’ll notice some cupboard/fridge/freezer staples that could quite possibly throw me into all sorts of culinary turmoil if I suddenly realised I had run out of them. One of those staple foods is frozen banana; I always ensure that I have a small batch of frozen banana in the freezer ready for those planned or impulse moments when I have an appetite for some banana ice cream, a post-workout protein smoothie or a thick creamy milkshake. Compared to unfrozen banana, the frozen stuff makes for a really creamy and chilled end product, and let’s not forget that freezing makes good use of any near-black/overripe bananas (heaven forbid you throw away your black speckled bananas!), although I tend to just take two from whatever bunch I buy and chop them up into freezer bags straight away.

Apologies in advance to those of you who dislike milk and creamy textures - this is not a recipe post for you. I, on the other hand, love milky/creamy consistencies: pina colada or Baileys would be my alcoholic beverage of choice, ice-cream would be my preferred accompaniment to a dessert and, admittedly, a McDonalds milkshake always hits the spot on the rare occasion I have one!

I thought I’d post this simple milkshake because in the UK we have been fortunate enough to experience a few days of warm sunshine, which has seen me basking in the sunshine under the cherry blossom tree slurping on a variety of chilled and refreshing drinks (trying to dodge the blossoms floating into my drink); one of which is this banana and cashew milkshake, which tastes even better through a stripy coloured straw.

1.5 frozen bananas
150mls milk (I used cows milk but soya milk and nut milks work equally well)
2 Tbsp Plain natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon honey
25mls Orange juice
A handful of cashews

I use one of my other kitchen staples: the NutriBullet and blended all the ingredients together until smooth.

Later x
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Sunday, May 08, 2016


Comfy shoes and DSLR in tow

The mere suggestion of visiting another city, whether it be within your home country or abroad, always conjures up feelings of excitement and adventure. We are always quick to want to explore other destinations but often neglect what is potentially the best place on Earth – home! So, when I received details about a Birmingham Instagram Meetup ( I run a Birmingham WellnessMeetup for health enthusiasts)  - a Meetup organised for the people of Birmingham to spend some time exploring the City and snapping Kodak moments along the way – I decided to sign up and go along;  it’s just nice to be reminded of and appreciate what your own town has to offer sometimes.

Comfy shoes and the DSLR and iPhone in tow, we walked around Brindley Place, a large mixed-use development in the Westside district of Birmingham. It was such a lovely opportunity to meet new people, and to clock up a few extra steps on the fitness monitor.

Later x

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Sunday, May 01, 2016


The home-made way

I’m not sure whether I’d call this a recipe as such, more of a meal idea, maybe? The word ‘recipe’ often conjures up thoughts in my mind of having to annoyingly buy ingredients that you wouldn't typically use on a day to day basis (or ever use again), and study complex and time-consuming instructions on how to create something that will be demolished within minutes.  Perhaps it’s a little senseless for me to think like this since without stumbling on these weird and wonderful recipes I've found on the super-foodie bloggers’ websites over recent years, I’d have probably never experimented with Medjool dates, turmeric, courgetti, almond butter, soaking oats overnight in milk and yoghurt, and heaven forbid, I’d have never thought to smash avocado and feta and spread it on sour-dough toast!

There’s nothing complicated or particularly exceptional with this home-made pizza, but it’s quick, easy, and nutritious, and it can use your favourite everyday ingredients - just how I like home-cooked meals to be; it's also a nice alternative to your traditional sandwich. Once you have a wholemeal pita bread and some tomato puree, let your creative juices run with your choice of toppings: I had pineapple, red onion, feta cheese and spinach, which are kitchen staples in my house!

What I Used
1 wholemeal pita bread
Tomato puree
Feta cheese
Red onion
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What I Did
*I smeared a good dollop of tomato puree on to one side of the pita bread followed by a drizzle of olive oil

*I added the rest of my choice of toppings (cheese, pineapple, spinach, red onion) on to the pita bread and baked in the oven on gas mark 5 for 20 minutes. Bellissimo!

Later x
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Sunday, April 24, 2016


Sana Vita Health Club

I've spoken before about the potential role social media can play in influencing and inspiring our lives. Those days that I passively scroll through my feed, I’ll always come across at least one picture, a quote, a person and/or a story that has a positive impact on me in some way. Imagine when this happens offline, away from the virtual reality of a glass screen: when you actually physically meet a like-minded individual who inspires you and shares a common interest………you just want to find out more about them, right?

Whilst looking for additional consulting space for my nutrition business recently, I came across Aine Gallagher, the lovely founder and trainer of Birmingham-based health club, Sana Vita. As a personal trainer, Aine had skills and interest in health and fitness, and a passion for helping people transform their lives; she used these qualities to admirably set up her own health club business, which, may I add, she won a customer service award for at the Natwest Venus Awards Birmingham. She was kind enough to let me take up some of her time to interview her as part of my Birmingham Wellness Series.

1. When was Sana Vita established, and what fuelled your desire to set up a personal training/health club business in Birmingham?

Sana Vita opened its doors on 30th April 2014, so we are very excited to be celebrating our 2nd birthday in a few weeks!

When I first qualified as a personal trainer I became very aware how much the weighing scales can have a negative impact on people’s lives, on their mental and emotional wellbeing and progress towards their personal health goals. I found that my clients motivation would be at the mercy of the scales and if the number wasn’t quite what they wanted it to be, it  would result in negative self – talk, a drop in motivation or on the other side a very short term lift in mood, a cycle that would continue week after week. This totally fuelled my desire to set up Sana Vita as I wanted to help people understand that they are much more than a number on the weighing scales and that with the right support they can be happy and healthy and allow their body to find its natural weight, which it is striving for everyday.

2. What services does your business offer to its customers, and is there one that is most popular or works best for you and your clients?

At Sana Vita we focus on providing an all-round service to give our clients as much support as possible to help them achieve their personal health and wellness goals.We offer one to one personal training and yoga sessions (which include regular health checks), home/gym programmes, nutrition and life coaching and educational workshops. As a way for members to make friends and build our Sana Vita community we also organise social events such as meals, active days such as tennis/outdoor sessions and team charity events.

The nutritional coaching combined with one to one personal training sessions are the most popular services that we offer. They see our clients achieving their health goals, and more importantly maintaining these results. An additional service that members find very beneficial is our educational workshops delivered to all Sana Vita members. In our latest workshop ‘Rethink Your Body’ we shared how you can allow your body to find its natural weight through having 3 key areas working for you in the right ways… Mindset, Nutrition and Exercise.

3. What is your business’ ethos/values in terms of the services/products you offer?

Caring for our member’s health, happiness and wellbeing is at the forefront of our services and in everything that we do, whether they are with us exercising in the studio or at home planning their evening meal. Our number one value that we follow every day is ensuring that we go the extra mile for our clients and that our services are much more than personal training sessions. 

4. Health is at the top of many peoples’ agenda these days, which is great news; how do you feel Sana Vita fits into the evolving health and wellness scene, particularly in Birmingham?

With the obesity rate in Birmingham being over 25% - the third highest rate in the UK, it is so great to see that health is now becoming a top priority for many people. Although health is capturing our population’s attention, mixed messages being portrayed through the media, advertising, meal deals and latest fad diets make it very confusing and difficult for people to know what to do for the best.

At Sana Vita educating our clients and setting the record straight about what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and also showing them what approach is truly best for them is so important to us. This is why we feel our services are so valuable in helping people lead happy and healthy lifestyles and why we fit in to the ever evolving health and wellness scene. 

5. You’re running your own business - this is most people’s dream. What do you love most about your work and what do you find most challenging?

I absolutely love the variety that running your own business brings, from working with our clients in the studio to tucking myself away in a coffee shop organising home programmes or planning our next networking event. Health and wellness have always been a passion of mine so I feel extremely lucky to have the opportunity to help others along their journey to achieving their health goals and meeting such incredible people along way.

Running your own business certainly doesn’t come without its challenges, I have had to become more comfortable with feelings of uncertainty – that’s for sure! For me, decision making would be one of the most challenging aspects of running a business and the uncertainty as to whether they will be the right decision for the business. Examples of this would be choosing the right trainer to join our team and managing finances to ensure our focus is on the right areas throughout the year.  Having said that overcoming challenges are what help the business to grow, so we can continue to learn and move forward.

6. You’ve recently taken on a new personal trainer. Do you have any exciting business plans/projects in the pipeline that we can be privy to?

Yes! We are super exited to welcome Dave to the Sana Vita team, Dave is a newly qualified Personal Trainer who will be adding lots of new exercise styles to our services including kettlebells and circuit training. Dave has also practiced yoga for 10 years, is a qualified Ashtanga yoga instructor and runs yoga retreats throughout the year. With this in mind we are planning to introduce more yoga classes and yoga and health retreats for our members – so very exciting times ahead!

7. You’re very passionate about your work in this industry. Can you give us a little insight into your personal health and wellness regime?

Sure! So exercise wise I aim to get 4 exercise sessions in per week, although I have learned to be very flexible with this as I may need to adapt depending on how busy my week is - what times sessions are booked in/networking events etc. My sessions would be a complete mixture of running, yoga, gym sessions and dancing.

I am a total foodie too and I absolutely love cooking up healthy dishes, and making sure I have my meals prepared in a tupperware box for the next day – I don’t know what I’d do without my tupperware collection!

Rest is also very important to me too, I make sure I take time out to spend with family and friends - taking a nice walk in the countryside followed by tea and cake – it’s all about balance after all J  

8. What is your outlook on living healthy and do you have any healthy lifestyle tips you can offer my blog readers?

I know this is a popular term used but I genuinely believe that it is all about balance. Your body is always trying to restore balance so if you are doing all of the right things for your body - exercising regularly, eating real food and resting to reduce stress levels then you are giving your body the chance to find its natural weight, where it always wants to be.

Goals can be a great tool to get started and remain motivated, but I always suggest not to get too hung up on goals as this can take you out of enjoying the present moment and enjoying what you have right how. So one of my top tips around setting goals is set your goal but make sure you enjoy the journey J

Thank you Aine
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Sunday, April 17, 2016


What's it all about?

I was first introduced to the concept of ‘gratitude’ by a friend who proclaimed that it had done wonders for her outlook on life. When you delve deeper into what it’s about, you can see why it may have had this effect; gratitude, allegedly, is partly about focusing on the things that make you happy in life instead of concentrating your thoughts on the negative things that make you unhappy. In Wikipedia terms it’s defined as, ‘the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness’, and in the publication Psychology Today, it is described as ‘an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants’.  In recent months, my social media feed has been somewhat inundated with statements about how important gratitude is to your success in life and business.

Why have I taken a bit of interest in this? Well, I will admit, despite my job being predominantly about enlightening and empowering people to make healthy lifestyle changes, I do not feel I focus enough on my own personal development. I know I probably expend too much energy thinking about some of the negative things going on in my life, and a week doesn't go by that I don’t adversely think about what I want and what I don’t have; sometimes this can make me a little dejected and sometimes it’s just a very quick passing thought whilst waiting for the train or a client. Either way, I can see how this type of thinking could potentially be destructive if I allowed it to be, and therefore I’m on a mission to explore and embrace this concept of gratitude a little more not only for me, but also possibly for the benefit of my clients. I've been encouraged to start with a Gratitude Journal. I’d love to hear about any of your journeys or thoughts on the concept of gratitude

Can I be flippant in all of this for a moment and say that I’m very grateful for being the lucky winner of one of my favourite fashion blogger’s (5 Inch and Up) give-away. I received this delightful pair of these bang-on-trend Aldo Rise mules; now I just need to get my toe nails painted and wait for the sunnier climes.

Later x
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Sunday, April 10, 2016


They're a steal

Eeek! I may have transitioned into one of those people; you know, the ones who buy the copy-cat version of a designer piece in hope that no one will notice it’s a cheaper imitation. I've always said, if you can’t afford the real thing, save up for it, don’t substitute it for a fake look-a-like if you can help it. You may recall this used to be a big thing with Burberry and Louis Vuitton who unintentionally inspired a whole host of counterfeit goods to grace market stalls across the world.

Thanks to a 2016 goal to curb my spending so I can prioritise both the development of my business and house purchase, I succumbed to purchasing a pair of look-a-like Stuart Weitzman Highland boots, which were three times cheaper than the real thing. In fact, I had tried on the Weitzman boot in Selfridges a few minutes before, but literally couldn't fit them over my calves! In one respect I was relieved, because had they fit, I can pretty much guarantee my bank balance would have been £665 down last month. It was as I walked towards the Selfridges escalator to go home that I spotted these Carvela boots, ironically a stones throw away from the Weitzman display. They glided on so much easier than the ‘real’ ones and I’m afraid I loved them, copy-cat or not, they were coming home!

Wearing: Bag, Aspinal of London   Boots, Carvela

Later x
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