Thursday, 29 October 2015

Delicious Autumnal sweet potato & carrot soup

The days are noticeably shorter, the weather is positively Autumnal, and the trees are shedding their gorgeous golden leaves. Autumn is definitely in full swing. And I'm sure you're feeling similar to me: lethargic, a little low on energy, and having to use every tactic possible to keep those Autumn bugs at bay. (They nearly got me earlier this week but I think I've managed to fight them off with good food, lots of ginger and lemon tea, and early nights!).

But fear not! Eating well and listening to your body can do wonders to help you stay fit and healthy during the Autumn and Winter months. One of my greatest weapons in helping me do this is soup! And in particular this gorgeous sweet potato & carrot soup. I can safely say hands-down that this is my favourite soup of all time. It's absolutely delicious, nourishing, full of vitamins, filling, and soup-er easy to make (sorry...terrible pun!).

I first stumbled across it on Madeleine Shaw's website about two years ago, and since then it's been a failsafe recipe that I've come back to time-and-time again.

Ingredients to make 5-6 bowls:

3 sweet potatoes
3 carrots
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 crushed garlic clove
1 chopped onion
500ml veggie stock
Chunk of raw ginger (I added this to the recipe for even more tummy-loving goodness!)
Flaked almonds & pomegranate seeds to sprinkle on top


To see how Madeleine does it click here

My method is pretty much the same:

1. Prep by peeling & chopping your onion, garlic cloves, ginger, sweet potatoes & carrots (I always leave the skin on my carrots for extra goodness!)

2. Pop the chopped onions into a pan with coconut oil & a pinch of salt for 5 minutes

3. Add the sweet potatoes & carrots and sauté for for 3 minutes (keep stirring!)

4. Add the veggie stock & chopped ginger and allow the ingredients to simmer for 30 mins

5. Once the sweet potatoes & carrots are completely softened the pan can be removed from the heat, and whizz the ingredients into a purée using a hand blender.

6. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and pomegranate seeds for extra protein, texture and taste

Serve and enjoy! 

I really cannot recommend this recipe enough, so if you're feeling like Autumn is doing it's best to bring you down then definitely give it a go. 

Also to help you stay Beautifully Healthy this Winter remember to keep exercising (I will be bringing you a special "firing up" yoga practice to help you heat up during the colder months...watch this space), drink lots of warm drinks & water, and keep nourishing your body with good quality food - plenty of vegetables and fruit! 

Let me know if you give this recipe a go :)

Love & light! Namaste y'all. 

Lucy x

Saturday, 24 October 2015

You are BEAUTIFUL

Here's a (condensed) list of things I hate about my body:

My wobbly thighs
My bingo wings
My sticky-out tummy
That squishy bit between my armpit and my arms
My skin
My big boobs
My (sometimes double) chin
My unshapely bum
That muscle above my knee

The list could easily go on, but you get the picture. As I'm sat here writing this it's actually making me quite emotional thinking about all the bits I really dislike about my body.

But here is a list of things my body has allowed me to do over the years:

Endless hours of yoga
Running a half marathon
Swimming 1.4 miles in the sea for The British Heart Foundation
10 years of gymnastics
Skiing every year since the age of 2
Netball at county and 1st Team University levels
Representing my school in Athletics, Netball, Hockey, Tennis and Swimming

Again, the list goes on, but you get the picture. My body has been key to helping me do things in life that I love. I run regularly, I have an active job - sometimes teaching yoga 4 or 5 hours a day, I do my own self yoga practice, and I generally eat healthily. I am beyond lucky that my body is fit and healthy - it has allowed me to do so much, and yet I treat it with so much disdain, disappointment and hatred. I know I am far from alone in these feelings and IT MUST STOP.


My body allows me to do the thing I love most 

We must stop doing this to ourselves. We are all beautiful no matter what our body size, shape, skin colour, gender, disabilities, illnesses - there is not one-size-fits-all for beauty, and neither should there be. It is our differences that make us beautiful.

Body image is a hot topic of conversation at the moment even in the "celebrity" world. Everyone from Gigi Hadid to Robyn Lawley to Ashley Graham have all had something to say about it in recent weeks. Gigi defended herself against negative comments on social media, Robyn wanted to highlight her stretch marks just a few months after giving birth, and Ashley is tirelessly campaigning to show women of all shapes and sizes that they are beautiful.

So it seems that even the women who are known for being "beautiful" feel as though they have to fight such negativity. And the worst part? It's our own fault. We do it to ourselves. How many times on a daily basis do you put yourself down for the way you look? If you're anything like me you'll be up in triple figures!

Okay, so it's not all our fault. It has actually been this way for thousands of years. I was mesmerised by a recent YouTube video: Women's Ideal Body Types Throughout History. It shows that even in Ancient Greece there was an ideal body type for women, and although the "Ideal Body" has changed dramatically over the years, the poisonous sentiment that there is an "Ideal Body" sends shivers down my spine. How can we narrow down beauty to such few physical assets? The word shallow most definitely springs to mind.

And although it's something I know less about, this isn't just a problem for women. I know many guys who are tough on themselves for what they look like. They feel the pressure to be strong, tall, muscly. Often taking steroids and pushing themselves to extremes to achieve "The Body".

But please don't misunderstand me - equally, just because someone does fit into the ideal of beauty, does not mean that we should put them down either. No one should be put down. We should all be celebrated exactly as we are - slender, athletic, curvy, disabled - we are all beautiful both inside and out. Our bodies are walking miracles and we should learn to appreciate them as such. You can breath. You can think for yourself. You can do amazing things with your bodies. They allow us to experience pleasure, pain, fatigue, adrenaline, achievements - without them we would not be able to experience this crazy thing we call life.

We need to learn to open our eyes and our minds beyond the preconceived notion of a "beautiful" body. There is not one type of beauty. All types are beautiful. All types are equal. You can appreciate the beauty in all of your friends and loved ones - they don't look the same, do they? So why can't we appreciate the beauty in ourselves? You are beautiful too. I promise.


Image source: Pinterest

I know this hasn't been my cleanest piece of writing, but it's a topic that deeply upsets me, and when you're so passionate about something it can be hard to clearly communicate what you really want to say. You may be thinking "how can someone who sees themselves so negatively write about positive body image", and my response would be: that's exactly why I'm writing about it. I'm fucking sick of being so mean to myself, and something must be done. We must learn to see ourselves positively. Time is too precious to waste on negative emotions, especially when they make no sense.

I'll end by saying this: love yourself. Work on your relationship with yourself. Be kind to yourself. You are BEAUTIFUL.

Love Lucy x

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

A little update...

So I've been a little quiet this month...I had some really great posts planned, but it's been a ridiculous September so I've had to save them all up for October! (Good things come to those who wait ;)). It's been a test of endurance - I'm now on my 25th day straight of teaching! - but I've learnt so much and have taught so many amazing classes, so I'm feeling very humbled and blessed.

Here's a quick little round up of the progress and lessons this month:

1. I have a fuller teaching timetable with lots of exciting new classes added. Check out the Weekly Classes page on my website if you're interested in having a go at any of my new classes.

2. I'm super excited to share with you that I've had my first article published online!!! (At least my first one that isn't published on my own blog!). The piece is all about finding the right yoga style to suit you, in the hope that it will help to untangle the mystery around the huge array of styles on offer. The piece is called: Ashtanga or Hatha? Bikram or Yin? Which yoga style is right for me? And can be found on the VITL website here.


3. Persistence and hard work pays off. Despite this month being pretty exhausting I've absolutely loved every second of teaching and connecting with lots of new students and teaching establishments, and slowly but surely it feels as though everything is beginning to pay off...so keep going, keep working on your dreams, and keep working hard!

4. I've also added a new photo gallery to my website, and am developing plans to make some tutorial videos to create a video gallery and YouTube channel...! Stay tuned!

5. Always be grateful, especially when things get crazy! I'm learning to find those moments of peace in amongst all the craziness and to use them to rejuvenate and too look after myself. I've definitely not perfected this yet, but am aware that it's something I need to stay conscious of.



So...looking ahead to October...what's next? In terms of teaching I'm continuing to build on my new classes and am so lucky to be teaching some amazing students - thank you so much for your energy and support so far - please keep being as amazing as you are! But in terms of my blog I have a couple of articles in the pipeline that are really topical and I'm really excited about...the main one next month will be an article discussing body image and how we MUST change our perception of our bodies. 

Until then I hope you enjoy this beautiful sunshine we're having! Long may the Indian summer continue!

Love & light! Namaste y'all <3

Love Lucy x

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Be fearlessly, authentically and unapologetically You

If you were anything like me in your teenage and young adult life you spent much of your time comparing yourself to others, wishing you were someone else. Someone always had nicer hair, was prettier, was skinnier, was better at sport, had a better singing voice. I wasn't good enough at anything. And not only that, I very often tried to change myself to be like those I thought were better than me. I'd try to copy their hairstyles, I'd try to lose weight to be skinny like them, I'd wear clothes that didn't feel comfortable, I'd adapt the "cool" words they used, I'd agree with opinions I didn't believe in - all because more than anything I wanted to be someone else. I didn't want to be me. And it was an exhausting and miserable time.

As a health and happiness warrior I probably shouldn't admit that sadly, even now in my mid-twenties after various sessions of Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy, countless yoga classes, and completing yoga teacher training, I still compare myself to others more often than I should. I don't have a high flying job, I don't own a house, I'm fatter than my friends, they're prettier than me, I'm generally not as good as other people...but I try to stop myself there. I try to stop the negativity and comparisons, and although this doesn't always work it does help to take control of my thoughts, to step outside of my own mind, and to mentally check in to what I'm doing to myself. Stay with me on this, it's not all doom-and-gloom - there is hope; I no longer change who I am or what I'm doing to fit in with others or to try and make myself feel better. I have learned that changing who I am is not the way forward. It is counterproductive and ultimately fruitless.

So although I still compare myself to others, and although I often wish I was different to how I am, I have learned to accept that I am Me and no matter how hard I try I will never be someone else. Since accepting this I have slowly learned to see that actually our differences can be our greatest assets. Imagine a world where everyone looked the same, thought the same, acted the same - I shudder at the thought. Our differences make this world interesting and varied. Your differences make this world interesting and varied. My differences make this world interesting and varied. Together we make up this crazy, beautiful, fascinating race we call humanity. You are part of that, I am part of that. And we should all learn to accept, love and be kind to ourselves for being exactly who we are.

There will only ever be one You. No one else in the whole entire world - past or present - will be You.  Only You will walk Your journey. Only You can do exactly what You do. Only You can be You. One of my amazing yoga teachers in India - Steph - was the first one to really get this message through to me. She was teaching us a gentle evening vinyasa flow overlooking the Goan ocean, and the intention for her class taught me more about how important it was that I was Me than any therapy session ever has. I don't know if it was the setting, the fact I'd been forced to turn a mirror to my soul during weeks of yoga teacher training, or simply that Steph has an amazing way with words and the world's biggest heart - but her words entered my wounds like none had managed to before and in child's pose I just burst into tears...

Despite having a lot of hurt in my past surprisingly this was the only time I cried on my teacher training (I had expected to cry loads!), and my reasons for crying at this particular message were simple: 1) I couldn't believe that I'd spent so much of my young life hating myself and putting myself down, and 2) I was utterly relieved that I finally understood that it was okay to be Me, and that I didn't have to waste any more time wishing I was someone different. I have been put in this world, exactly as I am, for a reason - and if I run away from that then not only am I doing myself a disservice, but I'm also not taking up my responsibility to the world. Only I can do what I am meant to do. Only you can do what you're meant to do. You just have to be brave enough to stop comparing, stop wishing you were someone else, and to fully embrace yourself exactly as you are.


“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 

~ Dr Seuss

The world needs you to be You. Not some version of you that is diluted by falsity and polluted by self-hatred. Yes, I am not perfect, you are not perfect, but NO ONE is perfect. And no one ever will be perfect. Why? Because we're human. And that's what makes us beautiful. Our humanity. Our differences. Our uniqueness. 

I'm not going to pretend that since that moment in Steph's yoga class I have completely accepted who I am - I still have my wobbles and moments where I compare myself to others (mainly nowadays it's all about how I look rather than who I am) - but on the whole I am much more accepting of myself, and when I find the negative thoughts creeping in I am much better at putting a stop to them. I remind myself that being horrid to myself brings about more harm than good. It is wasted energy. I'll then think about something positive I've done, or something I like about myself, or just a situation that's bringing me happiness. And following this cognitive pattern helps a lot (something I did learn from all those therapy sessions!). 

Even if you're in a headspace where you just can't be kind to yourself, try to remember that actually it is your ultimate responsibility to be You. If you shy away from that responsibility then you are denying the world of You. You are special. And you were made to be You, and to share your Youness with the world. We all know the phrase "No man is an island" from John Donne's poem. No matter how hard you try, you must and will impact this world in some way on a daily basis. Every action, every word, every moment you are impacting someone or something. So do it as You. Do it as your purest, truest self. This is your responsibility. 

And once you can see this I hope that you can reach a headspace where you can accept yourself, appreciate yourself, and ultimately love yourself exactly as you are. You may not believe me the first time, you may not believe me the second time, you may not believe me the millionth time, but I will make it my mission in life to show as many people as I can - and yes, that's You too - that they (and You) are worthy, are amazing, and are imperfectly perfect. 

So be Fearless. Be Authentic. Be You. 

Love & light. Namaste y'all <3

Lucy x

Thursday, 23 July 2015

My new secret: Matcha Green Tea

About 6 weeks ago I was sitting in a coffee shop with my friend and fellow blogger over at Charlotte's Nest, and she was telling me all about matcha green tea and how she didn't know why everyone wasn't getting on the bandwagon yet. Charlotte said since including it in her morning routine she felt like she had more energy throughout the whole day (I think the words "sustained buzz" may have been used), and she no longer suffered from those post-coffee caffeine slumps, as in fact she felt like she no longer needed the coffee. As someone who couldn't really function without a strong morning black coffee I was intrigued and came home to do some research of my own...

Within a few hours I'd ordered some of my very own match green tea powder from Amazon - I went for the Pure Chimp 50g pot - and eagerly awaited my delivery!


Charlotte had warned me about taste...I'm not going to beat around the bush - it's not the best. My personal description would be that it tastes like you imagine pond water to taste (surprisingly I've never actually drank pond water so I can't correlate this with real-life experience, but you get the picture!). When I first tried it I mixed it in hot water with a squeeze of honey. For me the honey didn't really disguise the taste...

So the next morning I decided to chuck it in with my morning cashew, date and raw cacao smoothie and I couldn't taste any difference to normal. Hallelujah! I'd found a way to include it in my morning routine without actually tasting it. And boy am I glad I did. I can honestly say hand-on-heart that the last 6-weeks I have had more energy than ever, I've given up coffee completely (aside from one black coffee after a two-night hen do, but I don't think that counts!), and I genuinely think the quality of my skin has improved too (I have also begun to take milk thistle tablets during this time to help my skin, but my hunch is that it's a combination of the two that's help it to improve).  

So what is it that makes matcha green tea able to provide that "sustained buzz"? Well, firstly it does contain caffeine as that's a natural ingredient of green tea. It was originally thought that it was the caffeine that was the energy-boosting ingredient, however researchers found that it was actually a combination of it's other natural ingredients too - mainly the amino acid L-theanine - that help to create a sense of relaxed alertness after consuming matcha green tea. The inclusion of L-theanine actually inhibits the negative side affects we get when drinking coffee. Learn more here

And it doesn't stop there. Matcha green tea is absolutely packed with antioxidants (way more than goji berries, blueberries, spinach and broccoli), and antioxidants are known fighters of infections, disease and the ageing process. It also contains a high level of chlorophyll which is great for detoxing the body. 

One thing that I can't report back on just yet is the weight loss claims. Many producers of matcha do state that it can help with weight loss as it supposedly boosts the metabolism and burns fat. Perhaps 6 weeks isn't enough time to see results, but I don't think my weight has changed much just yet...perhaps that will come later down the line! Nonetheless I will most definitely continue to include matcha in my routine every morning as I certainly feel more energised and able to focus than I previously did. And I'm definitely not missing that post-coffee slump! I also maintain that my skin quality has improved and am excited to see if it continues to do so - after all, the Japanese do have fantastic skin and they've been drinking it for thousands of years!

Match is definitely helping me to feel Beautifully Healthy and I love it so much that I've already ordered pot number 2 of the Pure Chimp powder!

Have you previously tried matcha or are you tempted to give it a go? I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

Love Lucy x

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Following your dreams is easy. Living them is much harder.

It's now been almost 6-months since I became a yoga teacher, and 5-months since I got back from my Indian adventure. And what a few months it has been. I've taught some incredible students, I've been humbly supported by amazing family and friends, I've been happier than I've ever been, I've been more terrified and frustrated than I've ever been, I've felt strong, I've felt weak, I've felt confused, I've met some inspirational new people, I've reconnected with old friends, I've been on a crazy emotional roller coaster that I've sometimes wanted to jump right off of but I've hung on tight in the totally mad faith that everything will unfold just as it's supposed to. And it's all been in the name of yoga and finally LIVING my dream.


Dream catcher, Varkala, India, 2015

Don't misunderstand this: I 100% absolutely and completely love teaching yoga. It literally lights up my heart and connects me with my true self. I have found what I love, and for that I am truly grateful. If I could teach yoga to people every day all day then life would be much easier. But when you start out actually living your dreams things don't quite work like that.


Some of my beautiful yoginis & yogis in London, 2015

Although it seemed like a tough decision at the time, following my dreams was actually the easy thing to do - my heart was telling me which way to go, I wasn't living life as I wanted to, and so I followed the direction it was telling me to go. Yes that step took a bit of faith, but who wouldn't want to go to India for a few weeks and learn more about something they love?

And the first few weeks of being back weren't so bad either. Fresh with enthusiasm off the beaches of Goa I was spreading the word about my teaching, happy to gain any experience I could whilst supporting myself with a job in my local tavern. This gave me the chance to settle back into life at home and to bring myself slowly back down to earth whilst keeping the dream very much alive. As I began to get back into the rhythm of life back home I was grateful for my regular tavern job, but equally I realised I needed to be in control of my own time more to allow me to free up potential yoga-teaching hours. Over the months I've slowly cut down my shifts and have picked up some freelance social media jobs to keep me ticking over.

This all sounds pretty straight forward, but there has been one massive black cloud hanging over me this whole time and that is: MONEY. Yes, I now have much less attachment to material things than I did previous to my yoga teacher training, but nonetheless that doesn't change that I do need money to survive. I'm 25 years old and still live at home, depending on parents for more than I should, and this fact often really drags me down. I know I shouldn't let it, but it does. I am incredibly fortunate and grateful that I'm in a position where my parents and willing and able to support me through this phase of living my dream, but most of the time that thought is overclouded by "oh shit, I need to become self-sufficient" - something which I dream of on a daily basis, but that feels so far away.

And that's the other thing about actually living my dream, it seems I didn't really consider before this decision that financially things could be really quite tough for a number of years to come. On this very day over £200 per week of my income has been unexpectedly pulled from under my feet. Nothing I could have done about it, it was just one of those things, but it terrifies me that this is the reality of what it means to be your own boss...

But before you think "oh dear, living your dream sounds terrible, I think I'll stay where I am thanks", let me tell you that I wouldn't change my decision for the world. Yes, this isn't proving to be easy, but I never thought that it would be. When you go against the conventional path then of course things will be tough. I know that I'll face rejections, will have to climb over massive walls, and will be let down time-and-time again, but if I can keep going against all that then I know that it will all work out as it's supposed to. And how am I going to keep going? I'm going to continue doing what I was made to do - to love, to share yoga, to be compassionate - and I'm going to work my freakin' arse off. And as long as I stay true to myself and put the work in, I really do believe that things will come together.


#yogaeverydamnday

And if they don't? At least I tried. At least I didn't give in to what's expected instead of what's in my heart. At least I actually gave a damn about making the world even a tiny bit better than when I came into it.

And on the same day as having a job unexpectedly pulled, I've also potentially got two new exciting yoga opportunities that I really didn't expect...so maybe trusting the process isn't as crazy as it sounds...

Please do message me if you have any questions about yoga or life! And know that you're always welcome to join my classes - more info can be found on my website.

Namaste y'all <3

Love Lucy x

Monday, 29 June 2015

Raw Cacao - food of the Gods! 3 easy ways to use Raw Cacao powder...

Chocolate has always been my downfall. For some people it's crisps, for others it's donuts, for me it's most definitely chocolate. Dark chocolate with salted caramel, white chocolate with freeze-dried strawberries, milk chocolate with fruit and nuts - basically, give me any chocolate and I'll be happy. But over the last few years, as you will know, I have become more and more concerned with giving my body what it needs - the right kind of fuel, so-to-speak - rather than what my taste buds want. However I was also adamant that I wouldn't deprive myself of things I enjoyed, and so it was time to look for alternatives.

I honestly can't quite remember when I first came across raw cacao powder, but my goodness am I glad I did! I now have at least a spoonful of the stuff on a daily basis, satisfying my chocolate cravings, but also feeling smug in the knowledge that it's actually good for me. Yes, that's right, chocolate (in certain forms) is good for you. I'm no nutritionist, but I do know that raw cacao is packed full of antioxidants, magnesium, flavonoids (these promote healthy blood pressure and improve blood flow), essential healthy fats, protein and fibre. (Find out more about the health benefits on www.builtlean.com - they know much more about them than I do ;)). And did I mention - it's delicious!

Raw cacao powder can be a little pricey, but if you buy it online you can usually get a better offer. I buy mine from Amazon, and this 500g bag lasts at least a month and only costs a tenner - bargain if you ask me ;)

So, if you really need extra persuading to start including it in your diet, here are 3 ways I use it in mine to give you a bit of inspiration:

1. Cashew, date & raw cacao powder power smoothie


I am a little bit obsessed with this at the moment, and do have it for breakfast most mornings, but despite looking (and tasting) like a chocolatey treat it is actually also good for you. Here's what's in it:

Small handful of cashew nuts (ground in my blender - do this before adding anything else)
5/6 dates
3 table spoons of plain soya yogurt (you could use good quality natural yogurt instead, but I can't have dairy!)
Coconut milk
1 table spoon of raw cacao powder

Optional:
Half a handful of chia seeds
Half a teaspoon of matcha green tea powder

2. Coconut milk hot chocolate

If I get a little chocolate craving in the evening, this is what I make for myself...et voila, the craving is satisfied! It's a "healthy" version of a hot chocolate and is dairy free so vegans can enjoy this recipe too :) This one is super simple, but super delicious...

Mug of coconut milk
1 table spoon of raw cacao powder
Squeeze of agave nectar

Optional:
Small teaspoon of coconut oil
A sprinkling of cinnamon

3. Madeleine Shaw's raw chocolate fudge


This recipe is so incredible that I've actually previously dedicated a whole post to it. I've been a fan of Madeline's recipes for at least year now, and this one is definitely up there with my favourites. It feels like a truly decadent treat, but enjoyed in moderation it's actually good for you and is packed full of goodness - antioxidants, vitamin E, essential healthy-heart fats etc. 

Here's the recipe (you literally just smush all the ingredients together - yes, that's the technical term - pop it in the freezer for half an hour, and then move it to the fridge):

100g of coconut oil
100g of almond butter (I use Meridian)
50g raw cacao powder
100g of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
A pinch of sea salt

So if you're a fellow chocolate lover, firstly - high five!, secondly, buy yourself some raw cacao powder and give these recipes a go. Chocolate nowadays is packed full of sugars and unhealthy ingredients, but raw cacao in its pure form is called the food of the Gods for a reason - it is delicious and has health benefits - what more could you want?

Let me know if you try any of these recipes - I'd love to hear how you get on! 

Love Lucy x

Thursday, 11 June 2015

25 life lessons in 25 years

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Falling out of an inversion, Bermuda, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dreamcatcher, Varkala, India, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a beautiful day everyone!

Love Lucy x

Thursday, 4 June 2015

5 ways to get outside and get exercising this summer

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

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


Polzeath, Cornwall, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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


BHF Bournemouth Pier-to-Pier swim, 2014

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

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


London, 2013

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


Surfing, India, 2015

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

Namaste y'all <3

Love Lucy x

Thursday, 28 May 2015

lucyvictoriajackson.com is now LIVE!!

A short but exciting blog post....

My website is now LIVE! Head over to lucyvictoriajackson.com to check it out!

I have my very own website?! This is crazy! I've been working like mad on it and am so excited to share it with you all so please do head over and take a look. Any feedback at this stage would be very much appreciated so that I can make it even better!

It's full of information on my classes, private lessons, how to get yoga in your workplace, my training, The Beautifully Healthy Project, my social media and blogging freelance work, and lots more! If that doesn't entice you to take a look then here's a cheeky snapshot of the homepage...


Pretty cool right?

I have more plans to include a video page, my live Twitter feed, and a page that this blog will also be on - but if you have more ideas please get in touch and let me know your thoughts!

Thank you so much to everyone for your amazing support - I wouldn't be able to do this without you (you know who you are!).

Namaste y'all!

Love Lucy x

P.S. I made it using wix.com and can thoroughly recommend it for anyone who is scared of technical things such as coding! 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Lucky Number 13 (.1): Run Hackney Half Marathon done!

If you’re friends with me on Facebook or Instagram you may have noticed that over the last 8 weeks I’ve been in training for the Run Hackney half marathon. (Apologies to all my friends for the over-sharing of my sponsorship page, but it’s all for the kids so thank you for putting up with me!).  

Before I signed up to the half marathon I was a casual jogger – yes, I enjoyed jogging 3-5 miles at least 3 times a week and was pretty religious about it, but never did I have the urge to go any further. I’d hit 5 miles and that was more than enough for me! But on returning from India I was visiting my good friends in the Street Child United offices (that’s the NGO that I used to work for in my pre-yoga teacher life), and two of my former colleagues said they were running the Hackney half alongside some of their wonderful supporters and somehow they convinced me to sign up too (thanks guys!). I think it must’ve been down to a combination of being high-on-life and feeling invincible having only just returned from India, and also not being able to say “no” to anything related to raising funds and awareness for Street Child United.  Either way, I’d signed up and there was no turning back! (Especially since my sister swiftly decided to sign up too, there was most definitely no backing out after that!).


Street Child United half marathon team

So my 8-week training plan began! I kept 2-3 shorter runs in my weekly routine, and as advised by many-a half marathon training plan, began to include one longer, slower run each week. The first time I went on my longer, slower run I estimated that I managed about 7 miles, but I'd totally guessed the distance and didn't really track the time so for the next one I decided that it was time to download the Nike+ App. 

Over the weeks I gradually added a mile or two to my longer run and surprised myself at my ability to keep going no matter how much pain I was in! It really is true that these types of events are mind over matter...aside from one week where I was aiming for 11 miles and ended up running 6 and walking 3 before giving up due to major dehydration (oops!). It was lunchtime on the hottest day of the year so far and I'd very cleverly not taken any water with me - big lesson learnt! Despite this minor setback in the penultimate week before the race I ran a steady 13.5 miles, so I felt confident that I could at least finish on the big day!

For 3 weeks before the race I'd been relatively careful with my diet (cutting down on carbs and upping my protein intake) and had pretty much given up alcohol (I had one small glass on wine and one prosecco during that time, so I don't think they really count, right?); so how did I prepare the night before the big race? With a massive calzone and two pints of Peroni of course! I'm not sure how wise this move was, but I was having dinner with some of my fellow half marathoners and we were having too much of a nice time not to. That being said, I didn't manage to get a wink of sleep that night and I'm still not sure if it was the nerves or the dough baby in my tummy!

Nevertheless on the morning of the race I was up and ready to go along with my sister and a fellow Street Child United team members. The start and finish of the Hackney Half was the Hackney Marshes, which was a pretty perfect location as we got to run through part of the Olympic Village (no, it didn't make me feel like an athlete unfortunately as this was mile 11-12 and I was bloody knackered by then!), and it offered a nice grassy area to prepare for the race in. It was all very well organised and the atmosphere was great - my only criticism would be that massive queue for the loos from 45mins before the race; it meant that 3 of us from the team had to wee in the bushes (I'm so sorry Hackney, but needs must!). 

As we were fairly near the back of the race line up we didn't end up starting until 20mins after the official start time, but once we were off it was a great feeling! The first 3 miles we all stuck together and ran pretty quickly (we were averaging about 9mins per mile), but between 3-4 we spread out a bit and began to find our own paces, so before long I was going at it alone. This is where the wonderful people of Hackney come in - they were out in force on Sunday and were incredible sideline supporters; they offered water, jelly babies, oranges, high-fives and lots of cheering, and they really did help to keep us all going. Thank you to everyone who came to support us - we couldn't have done it without you!

The weather on Sunday was hotter and sunnier than I'd anticipated and so the regular water stops were very much appreciated. After mile 5 I decided that I wasn't going to just drink the water but I was going to tip it all over my head too! By this point I looked like a sweaty, wet, hot mess but I just had to keep reminding myself why I was doing it...it's all for the kids! 

I hit 'the wall' somewhere between 9 and 10, but by that point I felt like I was so close to the end and just couldn't stop running. So I powered through and things did get slightly easier as I passed mile 11 - I think it was the thought of the pub lunch we had planned that made me run that little bit faster. I saw a few friendly faces at mile 12 (thank you ladies!) and from then on I just kept pushing on, knowing that the finish line was very much within reach. Coming round the final corner I did my best attempt at a sprint (?!) finish and clocked the time on my Nike+ App as 2 hours 13 mins. 

My first thought was rather embarrassingly that I needed to find the loo asap (there's a bit of a theme going on here!), and I don't think it had really set in just yet that I'd actually finished. After the deed was done I went to find my fellow Street Child United runners and they'd all finished and had done an amazing job. My incredible sister got 2 hours 0 mins 47 seconds for her very first half marathon! What an absolute star! 
YAY! We've done it!

We were all absolutely delighted that we'd finished (and that it was now time for a burger in the pub), but more importantly that together we'd raised over £6,000 for Street Child United. They work tirelessly to spread the message that each and every child deserves the right to dream and the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Street Child United provides a platform for street children to be heard and for their rights to be realised. We couldn't be more honoured to be raising money for such an incredible cause. 

It's been humbling to see so many amazingly generous people donate to our JustGiving page - someone very close to me made an incredible donation of £150, you know who are - thank you! And just the other day we had an anonymous donor give £500!!! I couldn't believe it and we have no idea who you are, but THANK YOU. So far we've raised just over £1,150! There are some wonderful people in this world and together we can help to ensure that no child should have to live on the streets. 

If you haven't yet and you'd still like to make a donation to our JustGiving page then we would be very grateful. 

On the back of our running vests were the words "I am Somebody". It's the message that the children, Street Child United, and their partner projects want the world to hear. One of my amazing fellow runners said "Yes, yes you are. You are Somebody" as they ran past me, and it really spurred me on. Hearing those words said to me made me feel as if I really was Somebody. And that's how each and every child on this planet should feel. Let's continue to ensure that the message spreads. They are Somebody. You are Somebody. I am Somebody. 

At the end of the day it really wasn't about the race, or times, or athletic ability - it was about coming together to support a cause that we all care deeply about, and about showing street children that there are people in the world who care about them. Please head to the Street Child United website if you'd like to find out more.

And the final question: would I do it again? On the day I said definitely not (on the way around the course I was cursing myself for even doing it once!), but finishing was a great feeling...and by Tuesday I'd already recovered enough to go for a run...

So don't forget: You are Somebody, and You can do Something. 

Namaste, 

Love Lucy x

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Connection has been lost. Please try again later.

Who am I? What am I doing? How did I get here? Where am I going?

Sound familiar? If you're like me in anyway, you'll ask these questions of yourself on a frighteningly regular basis. Of course, it is essential for us to ask these questions of ourselves from time-to-time; it keeps us from standing still, encourages us to keep moving forwards, and is a good way of checking in - but if you find that you're asking these questions a little too often then you may have lost connection with yourself.

Sounds silly, doesn't it? How can one lose connection with oneself? Surely we are automatically connected to ourselves? But in my experience that isn't so. Our relationship with ourselves requires as much (if not more) work than any other significant relationship in our lives. Sadly, losing connection with oneself is a common phenomenon - one which is only spreading as the demands of modern day life increase - and I can almost guarantee that you'll have fallen victim to it at some point in your life.


Have you ever been through a whole day and then when you hit the pillow wondered what you've actually done with your time? Have you ever gone to chat to your partner about your week and totally blanked when it came to remembering what you did just yesterday? Have you gone a whole week without exercising or taking time to yourself simply because other things have got in the way? (Beginning to see where I'm going with this?) Well, if the answer to any of these questions is "yes" then you will have experienced that disconnection that I'm trying to explain.

It's very easily done with the delights, stresses, and strains that come with life in the 21st century. There are so many different people, passions and options to distract, entertain and consume us. It's a wonder many of us even find the time to sleep each night (well, most of us don't even get enough of that). And actually it's incredibly easy to lose oneself amongst all the madness of modern day life. But from personal experience when I lose connection with myself and how I'm really doing under all the layers, that's when I begin to shake and to feel unsteady in myself and what I'm doing. Do you know that feeling?

If you do then please don't freak out - you are not lost forever, you simply need to take some time to spend time with yourself, to look after yourself, and to reconnect with your inner being. From experience here are a few tips to rediscovering that connection to yourself:

1. Accept where you are. You are where you are and you can't change it in this exact moment. What you can do is to accept it and to make a decision as to what you're going to do next.

2. Be kind to yourself. Don't be hard on yourself for where you are. You've obviously been busy, there's been a lot going on, and you just haven't made yourself a priority. See this as an admirable quality in yourself: it's good to be busy and to be concerned with others. But now it's time to tag-out for a bit and to give yourself some well-deserved love; so be kind, be gentle and be patient.

3. Schedule time to just "be you". Whether this is going for a walk, sitting quietly to meditate, listening to some calming music, doing some gentle exercise - just be sure to schedule in the time and to stick to it. You need this time to be quiet, to reflect on what's been going on, and to start reconnecting with yourself. For me, I find the most effective way of reconnecting with myself is getting on my mat and doing a really slow, gentle yoga practice, followed by some quiet meditation time. But that's how I do it, and you'll do it differently, and that's just fine - find out what works for you and go with it it.


4. Assess how you lost connection with yourself. By assessing how you lost connection with yourself you can make sure that if it begins to happen again you'll be able to spot the red flags, take some time out, and prevent losing that connection again. 

5. Make small adjustments to your routine. So your reasons for losing connection probably involve being too busy, taking on too much, and not taking time for yourself. Take a step back and re-prioritise what is important in your life and what you can cut down. It's very likely there'll be small changes you can make that will allow you to prioritise "You" again. Be sure to make some time for yourself at least every few days (ideally you'll find at least 10 minutes in each day where you can just be with yourself, but this won't always be possible). Sit quietly with a cup of tea, do some gentle stretching, practice some mindfulness. Just do something that allows you to zone out of the world around you and to point your gaze inwards. 

So if you identified with those questions at the beginning then I hope you can find some time to follow these basic steps, to reconnect with yourself, and to show yourself some love. 

Last Saturday I based my yoga class around connecting with the self and encouraged my students to focus on small things: the pace and depth of their breath, scanning their bodies for any tension, and connecting their thumbs with their sternum to feel the connection to their hearts. These are all really simple physical things that you can do to help connect mind, body and breath. If you want to find out more about how yoga can help you to be connected to yourself then either send me a message, or, if you live near Ascot (Berkshire, UK), then please do come along to my classes on Saturday mornings, 10-11am, in Cheapside Village Hall, £8 per person. This week the class will be based on accepting where you are so that you can build up from there. 

So my message for today is be connected to you. You are important. Know yourself, spend time with yourself, love yourself. If you lose that connection then don't panic, take a breath and take some time. You're in there and you're not going anywhere, just invest in yourself and you'll be calm and confident in who you are and where you are.

Namaste y'all!

Love Lucy x

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Strawberry, Cashew & Coconut Bliss Balls

To me being Beautifully Healthy most definitely involves treating yourself from time-to-time. And it’s even better when those treats are homemade and (dare-I-say-it) good for you… These little Strawberry, Cashew & Coconut babies are the perfect treat for weekends, with a cup of green tea, post-work out, or for no reason at all other than they taste insanely good. Seriously, they are delicious (my boyfriend will confirm that if anyone has any doubts!), and they’re also full of energy, super quick to make, no-bake, and only require 6 ingredients! So whatcha waiting for? Grab the ingredients and get whizzing!



Ingredients:

1 cup of cashew nuts
½ cup of dried strawberries
6-8 sticky dates (preferably medjool as they’re super sticky!)
Vanilla extract
Sea salt
Desiccated coconut

Method:

1. Use a blender to grind up the cashew nuts so that they’re almost like a powder…
2. Add the dates to the cashews and blend some more…
3. Add the vanilla extract, sea salt and dried strawberries and blend again!
4. Once all of the ingredients are properly mixed together roll them into a ball size of your choice and roll in desiccated coconut
5. Pop them in the fridge to harden slightly (or straight into your mouth!)
6. Enjoy the nutty, strawberry, coconut goodness feeling guilt-free and utterly content! 

I found this amazing little recipe on Pinterest via the betterwithcake.com blog, and the original recipe uses freeze dried strawberries instead of normal dried strawberries. I’m sure her way is better, however I’ve not yet been able to find freeze dried strawbs in any supermarkets or health stores near me so went ahead and used the normal ones. As far as I’m concerned the recipe still works with the normal dried ones, although I think they’re a little stickier than they would be with freeze dried ones, hence I decided to roll mine in desiccated coconut to reduce the stickiness and also because I freakin’ love coconut with almost anything!

So this weekend if there’s one treat you whip up in the kitchen why not try these little balls of bliss? I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!

Namaste y’all!

Love Lucy x