A pictures paints a thousands words and Instagram has provided me with so much inspiration when it comes to training (I joined the lovely Iron Maidens this year, and it doesn’t involve me rocking out with an air guitar, read all about it here). I struggle when it comes to finding realistic images of how I want my body to look, especially when I’m turning 30 next year (eek!) and magazines are full of unrealistic retouched images.
Rather than looking for thinspiration I now aspire to be super fit #strongisthenewskinny and peruse my favourite Instagram profiles for #fitspiration which includes everything from before & after shots to workouts of the day (WOD) and lots of inspiring quotes that make me want to get my trainers on. Here are some of my faves, (links below the pics) or check out the ones I follow on my profile here.
staysharpbestrong by Nikki Sharp and workouts_daily drop it like a squat
Instafemmefitness Sharing real stories to motivate people to live healthier lifestyles
Finally, last but not least the beautiful Fitness & Beauty Blogger CarlyRowena
My sister in law has been going to boot camp style fitness class called Iron Maidens for well over a year now. When I moved back into the area I was dying to give it a go, but also terrified. I hate exercising and I always thought that I was no good at it. Back in school I would have preferred go to a double maths lesson than P.E. My relationship with fitness has been like a yo yo diet (very bad for you in the long run), I would join the gym, buy new work out clothes and hit a few classes only to lose interest after a couple of weeks. That all changed after Helen was kind enough to put my name down (thanks for that!) and I became an Iron Maiden.
Iron maidens has completely changed my view on fitness. The first class I went to I thought I was going to be sick, I couldn’t walk afterwards and could barely speak, but I felt euphoric. I was hooked after one session and couldn’t wait to feel that high again. I now understand why athletes love what they do.
So what is Iron Maidens?
The short (but very tough) sessions are designed to improve general fitness as quickly as possible and are a little similar to Crossfit. This is done through workouts based around bodyweight exercises, such as squats, burpees, sit ups and press ups, kettlebell exercises and short high intensity runs.
All sessions are customized to ensure that people of varying abilities can work together in the same session, with individuals able to increase or decrease the rate of work or weight they use to suit their needs. Helen Bennett the original Iron Maiden who started the group always pushes us to to our limits (in a safe way) and we all ‘thank’ her for it at the end of a session when we’re a quivering mess.
My advice to anyone who wants to look after their body and health is to seriously consider incorporating some form of exercise into their life, trying lots of different activities until you find the one that’s right for you. Not everyone loves swinging a kettlebell or built to run long distance. Take it from someone who hated the idea of press ups and thought that only men used weights, look around you, take the plunge and try something, you never know, you may find an activity you love!
Iron Maidens sessions take place in South Wales. A new gym is in the making and is due to open in November where more Iron Maidens can join and fall in love with fitness. Google Iron Maidens Ladies Fitness for more information or look on request to join the facebook page.
Earlier in the summer my step sister and I headed off for a day of pampering, gossip and spaaaah. Set in the beautiful surroundings of Monmouthshire, Cwrt Bleddyn is hidden away on an old country road with stunning views as you drive into the grounds.
We’d bought an offer from KGB deals, quite the bargain too at £25 each. I have seen similar offers on KGB but can’t spot anything running at the moment. For this we had access to the pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, small relaxation room, 25 minute treatment and afternoon tea. Here’s the lowdown on our visit:
- The staff are lovely and really attentive.
- My massage was so relaxing and soothing, my spa therapist managed to make 25 minutes feel like well over an hour.
- The champagne room in the hotel was adorable, I’d love to spend a night there drinking copious amounts of bubbles with the Gingerbeard man before retiring to a oldy worldy hotel room.
- The afternoon tea was tasty, just what we needed after having a swim and working up an appetite. We indulged in delectable cucumber finger sandwiches, delicious cakes and traditional welsh cakes, washed down with tea and champagne.
- Unfortunately the outside of the spa is a little tired and it’s a shame that you have to walk through the gym to get to the spa area.
- The chairs in the relaxation room could be a little more comfortable and it is a bit small.
- For me, the area around the pool should be relaxing and very comfortable so you can snuggle up in your robe. Investing in some cosy and inviting, yet pool appropriate seating could be a winner.
- I was really disappointed that we weren’t offered slippers and robes. A snug spa day is what it’s all about.
That said, the good outweighs the bad in this spa and with a few minor changes it could be fabulous.
I think i may have turned my sister into the new spa queen and she’s taking over my reign. Every time I see her on Facebook she’s off for another spa day. Relaxing in your downtime is what it’s all about though. Thanks for an awesome day Lisa, it was such a good chance to catch up and giggle over stories about boys. I’ll never forget us laughing away over champagne after the “who calls” incident! Haha.
I can’t believe I’m writing this post in September, I had an “I’m sorry” post planned for way back in June, so now what do I say, “I’m very very sorry?” I’m talking to myself more than anyone else. I started this blog after remembering how much I love to write, but there appears to be no evidence of that on here. In all honesty this year has been a complete whirlwind, since June I have changed jobs, even moved countries (technically) and moved house twice, I’m also planning on buying and moving in the next six months. Crazy, right? It’s been awesome though, I’m close to my family and nothing is better than having them being able to meet you for lunch when you’re having a bad day.
So, now I have given my blog a bit of a sprucing (after some encouragement from my friend Caroline over on theCEword) I’m going to make every effort to blog as and when I can. I can’t wait to share with you all the blogs I have planned.
So, I’m still catching up on my #12monthsofspa posts with today’s being from April (I can’t believe how behind I am) when I went to Center Parcs for a fantastic family holiday. As part of our holiday the ladies went for a spa session while the men did manly things like clean up after breakfast and check out the ‘Jardin de Sports’.
If you haven’t been to Center Parcs before, the surroundings are unbelievably beautiful with scenic forest views all around you. Aqua Sana is set away from the iconic swimming dome, which I like as it made the spa a relaxing environment and a step away from day to day life (and lots of children). As you can see from the picture the exterior takes its inspiration from the old roman baths, while the interior is more contemporary with every modern spa facility you can imagine.
I was so excited about the experience and spaaahhing with the lovely ladies in my family. We had all opted for the three hour session, each with a treatment.There were so many different types of thermal experiences we didn’t know where to start. I wish there was an opportunity for the staff to talk us through what rooms would be more beneficial for the type of results we wanted.
The waterbed area was amazing and I was in LOVE, although it could do with being more private as the atmosphere got louder as more guests arrived and used the rooms next to it. I spent at least one hour laying on the waterbed reading and relaxing, until a couple decided to get a bit too cosy and cuddled up on the bed next to me! There’s a time and a place people!
One of the bug bears that we all noticed was that the gowns didn’t have pockets, not a biggy but meant that we had to carry our books, hair grips and everything else a lady needs. The other was that the spa held an event for guests to try products and have a DIY mini facial. Great idea, but distracting and loud for the other guests who were trying to switch off.
I opted for a Decleor Madagascan Ritual which used a wooden tool like a mini rolling pin to massage the body after a full body exfoliation. My therapist was lovely and friendly although I didn’t feel that the treatment was particularly personal to me. A couple of us we were disappointed by our experienced and thought that the descriptions could be better for the more unique treatments so as to know what to expect and choose correctly. That said, the treatment carried out was a good standard and the Decleor products smelt incredible.
I’d love to visit the spa again and try the Twilight experience including a meal at the Zilli cafe combining two of my favourite things, yummy food and relaxing spa time. Knowing what I know now I would also choose a different treatment but most definitely head on over to the waterbeds for some serious relaxation. Information and prices for spa treatments, days and breaks can be found on the Aqua Sana website here.