This month we’re…

🍰

Eating… At vegan and veggie cafe 160 in Burnley. It’s so good (but also quite overwhelming!) to look at a menu and be able to choose anything. I went for the feta salad while Ali had vegan spelt pasta with miso hollandaise and we shared THE best chips ever! We both followed with a huge slice of vegan bubblegum and raspberry cake. I dare you to go there and tell us vegan food is boring! 

🌈
Wearing… This ASOS rainbow striped jumper. The rainbow trend is huge ATM all thanks to the likes of Holly, Fearne, Zoella and my number 1 girl crush Megan Ellaby (who has this actual jumper NBD but we actually wore them on the same day last week) and it shows no sign of slowing down – check my new insta @chic_as_chips for even more ways to wear the rainbow. 

📺
Watching… The Good Place on Netflix. We might be a bit late to the game here but we’re loving this. It starts off similar to one of the shinier versions of Black Mirror but there are so many lols along the away. Anything with Jack from 3 men and a baby, a handful of Friends references and a new hottie to feast our eyes on (hellooooo Manny Jacinto) is a clear winner! 

💪🏽

Exercising… With a baby on board! I’ve been a regular at Tone Zone at Haslingden sports centre recently as it’s an exercise class with a crèche in the corner and staff to look after your kiddies. They have plenty of toys for the toddlers and do a really good job of looking after the little ones while the mums work out to a different exercise each time, including step, circuits, kettle bells and more. 
☕️

Drinking… Costa’s coconut latte. Ali has reached peak “the only vegan in the village” as the woman at Accrington Costa now makes her soya latte as soon as she walks through the door so she’s struggling to get her hands on one but my lack of predictability has meant I’ve managed to have one and it was really good. We’ll have to defect to another branch soon so Ali can taste one! 

🍴

Making… My all time favourite 3 ingredient protein pancakes from hurry the food up for pancake day. These are so tasty they don’t feel like you’re missing out on your usual batter and you can always go naughty with the toppings.

🎉

Celebrating… Ali’s Veganiversary! It’s been a whole year since she decided to take the plunge (read her previous blog posts here and here) and in that year she’s really noticed a difference in how mainstream vegan options now are with most cafes offering alt milks, a vegan cake at Costa and supermarkets starting to increase (and actually label) their vegan products.

🃏

Playing… Some alternative party games when our friends come round for games night. I got ‘Most likely to…’ for Christmas last year. It’s a game where you have to choose one of your friends who you think would be most likely to do certain things (own a sex toy / cheat in an exam / buy likes on Instagram). A perfect way to start some games night fall outs! I also got ‘What do you meme’ for my birthday which is perfectly described as “A millennial card game for millenialls and their millenial friends”, need I say more? Move over Cards against Humanity there’s some more controversial card games in town. 

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Month 2: Walk This Weigh

Calories: 1, 701 per day average 

Steps: 6, 736 per day average 

Lbs lost: 7 

Well it’s been a month since I started my weight loss journey (somebody please give me a better word for it than that, it makes me sound so X factor) and I know all (3) of our readers are desperate for an update so who am I to deprive you of that? (If you missed month 1 catch it here.) 

Haven’t taught Dillon how to tidy her bedroom yet 🙄


I started the month on 2,000 cals on mfp and did a sterling job of meeting my calorie goal each day. After years of 1,200-1,500 it seemed like such a treat to have an extra couple of hundred every day. This worked well with my many mat leave meet ups and coincided with the free flapjack with every coffee after mini massage (they really know how to lure the sleep deprived maternity pay mums in). I did the classic mfp trick of finding the lowest calorie flapjack option and logging it as that which did me no favours come weigh in but we all do that right? 

If you haven’t already you’ve gotta try Costa’s ‘nuts about Christmas’ brownie


The goal of 10,000 steps a day wasn’t always reached but aiming for it made sure I got out the house most days. It gave me chance to listen to some great podcasts (Dirty John and The High Low are definitely worth a listen) and given the abundance of Costas in my town I made sure I included a quick visit in most of my walks. An extra work out came from a Challenge Anneka style ‘how much can I buy from Aldi and fit in the bottom of the pram’ then pushing it up my incredibly steep street. I also managed a snail’s pace run to the park and back with boobs strapped down with 2 sports bras and my pregnancy gym pants on. I managed 2 miles and probably would’ve done 1 more had my phone battery not died. We all know if you can’t log it it didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong though, some days I stayed in and completed some Grey’s Anatomy marathons (I’ve smashed 3 seasons in as many weeks so it’s not all smug step counts round here) but it’s all about balance amirite? 

Hair on fleek

Could I BE more basic bitch?

I’m pretty pleased with the weight loss but three weeks in it was a different story. I did an SP (sneaky peak – we have a lot of weight loss abreevs after years of doing this) 3 weeks in and had lost 4lbs, which I was quite pleased with but I’m calling bullshit on this ‘the weight will fall off with breastfeeding’ rumour. The final week I switched down to 1,500 cals and started carb cycling which gave a whopping 3lb in the final week almost doubling the last 3 weeks. 


So for month 3 the tactics have changed. As well as fewer cals and carb cycling I’ve made my return to the gym (weirdly there were no brass bands or welcome back banners when I crept back in last Friday). Will let you know how effective the new plan is with a Christmas update, before the pounds get piled on again over the festive period. 

A-Z of 2017

A… Apple cider vinegar. I started 2017 in usual detox fashion with a shot of ACV every morning. We did a blog post extolling the virtues of this here. It’s not known for its tasty properties but I found it unusually hard to stomach, but there was actually something else causing the nausea. Which leads us on to… 

Picture from Pinterest


B… Baby weight. I started blogging about my post baby weight loss journey for a guest blog post for instamum Mother Freckle here and have been updating you all monthly with the progress. I’ve lost over a stone so far and got about another to go. Month 1 and 2 can be found here and here and month 3 will be on the blog soon. 

C… Cardio. Although we’ve started to mix things up a lot in recent years with weights we still keep up with the cardio and it’s come in various forms over 2017 including Body Combat, spin, running and walking. Although most of my pregnant cardio was walking upstairs and getting out of bed. 

D… Dillon Piper aka Baby KK aka Dilly Pip. Arriving on 29th September after a loooong labour she’s finally here to give Quincy some light relief from a world of adults now she’s got her own real life doll to play with. 

E… Eating. Our favourite hobby continued throughout 2017 with some amazing food venues. August saw us dining at The Forest Side in Grasmere with a 5 course taster menu (vegan option available) for our stepdad’s birthday. You can even look around the impressive garden where they grow all their own fruit and veg. Definitely worth a visit if you’ve got a special celebration coming up or if you just fancy being fancy. 

F… Foraging. Jak’s foraging has been the basis of many things in 2017 including lots of berry crumbles and more importantly a wide selection of alcohol such as rose hip, blackberry and elderberry gin and nettle beer. Although I didn’t get to taste any in 2017 so I hope that changes this year. 

G… Gyms. I started 2017 with a bumper gym weekend at my gym’s open weekend. Like a super fan I attended most of the classes that weekend and wrote about them here. Although I didn’t go as often when I was pregnant I’ve been back on it since then and Ali has been a regular 6 am gym goer at her local gym since she joined a couple of months back.  

H… Honey. To complete their ‘The Good Life’ transformation Ali and Jak got bees this year to join their mini farmyard. Although there have been a few serious stings here and there we reaped the rewards with jars of raw honey a couple of months ago which has adorned my porridge ever since. 

I… Instagram has continued to be our favourite social media platform this year and we’ve loved keeping up to date with our favourite bloggers and grammers on there. We’ve also found out about new places to eat and things to do via insta posts and insta stories and look forward to even more recommendations in 2018. 

J… Junk food. It’s been a surprise revelation to discover some accidentally vegan junk food and snacks such as Oreos, garlic baguettes and bacon crisps (IKR!). Who says vegans have to be healthy all the time? 

K… Kids’ clothes. Having a pretty serious shopping habit already means it’s just doubled this year now I have a little one to buy for too. With having a girl I just find myself buying things I would wear including some slogan tops and matching outfits which I’m going to keep her wearing until she realises it’s not cool to dress like your mum. 

L… Little Barista in Burnley has become a favourite spot of ours for their range of vegan cakes and milks. It’s not often Ali has been spoilt for choice cake wise throughout 2017 so it’s definitely worth a try if you’re giving Veganuary a go and are worrying about the lack of cakes. 

M… Maternity leave. This started at the beginning of September and I did wonder how I’d fill the time and actually missed work at first but now I genuinely don’t know how I fit work in. As well as the many coffees and lunches (shout out to the mat leave crew) I have tried to keep it healthy with lots of walking, buggy boot camp and not getting a cake every time I get a coffee. 

N… Natural products. After years of healthy eating, 2017 became the year we focused on what went on and around our bodies rather than just in them with cruelty free and natural beauty products (Sukin, Barry M and Superdrug own range both recommended) and cleaning products (Method do a great range) 

Photo from Pinterest

O… Old friends. My resolution every year is to keep in touch with old friends and get back in touch with ones who I haven’t see for a while and I managed to do it this year! I met a friend from uni for afternoon tea and caught up with 2 old school friends for lunch. Here’s hoping 2018 brings some more reunions. 

P… Pregnancy cravings. Like a fraud to the Kings and Greens name I felt sick at the sight of an avocado throughout most of 2017 and the only salad I consumed was reluctantly stuffed into my cheese sandwiches. I feared I’d never want to eat healthily again but luckily I was back on it shortly after giving birth and over a stone lighter for it. 

Q… Quick workouts. Gone are the days we can pound the payments for hours on end and I’m pretty glad about that. We’ve both been fans of Kayla’s BBG workout which lasts around 30 minutes (unless you talk too much between sets) and we’ve recently started a 30-45 minute park workout on Saturday mornings which leaves the rest of the day free. 

R… Running. This is the first year since 2014 that one or both of us hasn’t run a marathon but we haven’t given up running entirely. Our favourite run was probably when we joined our friend Jennifer in her marathon training. She had the brilliant idea of getting people to join her for a couple of miles each during her longest training run to stop the boredom of a 22 miler. Being able to wave goodbye to her after a couple of miles was way better than doing the whole thing. 

S…  Superfood supplements. These got a whole lot more affordable in 2017 when we spotted Aldi had brought out a range. Gone are the days we’d have to get a job lot from Amazon or traipse to our nearest Holland and Barrett now we can just throw them in the trolley with our weekly shop and some random special buys. 

T… Travelling. Although I started the year with a trip to Amsterdam (not as much fun when 8 weeks pregnant FYI) we had a role reversal this year as Ali clocked up 3 holidays (I think she’s only been on 3 holidays in her lifetime prior to this) and managed to keep active during them using the Center Parcs gym, swimming in France and cycling around Madrid with a well deserved G&T afterwards. She also has some great recommendations for  healthy and vegan restaurants in Madrid if anyone is thinking of taking a trip there in 2018! 

U… Unfollowing. After Brexit in 2016 and 2017’s general election the unfollow button was pressed a few times to avoid some online confrontations. In order to keep 2018 as positive as possible there may be more unfollowing ahead to keep my news feed how I want it. 

Picture from Pinterest


V… Veganism. Having missed Veganuary in 2017 Ali decided to be late to the party with F*ck Dairy February (blog post here), which happened to last all year and now she’s a fully fledged vegan. She also blogged about 28 things she learnt since being vegan here if you wanna read more.

 

W… Walking. Since having the baby I’ve tried to walk as much as possible and have realised how difficult it is to get to the holy grail of 10, 000 steps. Attempting to do it has forced me to walk places I would normally drive to (ok I admit it’s usually to Costa but don’t judge me) and has made me get out the house when I really CBA.  

X… Xmas dinner, vegan style. Ali and Jak proved you don’t need to kill a big bird to have a good meal of Christmas Day with artichoke soup (with homegrown artichokes obvs) and homemade bread followed by a mushroom and nut Wellington. Even the meat eaters were impressed! 

Y… Yo Sushi. I have craved this most of 2017 (typically always wanting what I can’t have) so made sure I hotfooted it there as soon as I wasn’t pregnant (well not straight away but I didn’t waste much time). While I was there I noticed they have loads more veggie and vegan options than when I last went so I think we’ll be going more often (plus you can’t beat a Blue Monday offer on mat leave) 

Z… Zzzzz. I’m not getting as much of this I used to but I must admit DP is a great little sleeper so I can’t complain. We use This Works Sleepy Body Wash on her in the bath and Ali swears by the pillow spray so worth checking out if you’re a difficult sleeper or you’ve got a little one keeping you awake! 

This month we’re…


Wearing… These red buckle Missguided boots. My plan is to invest in noticeable footwear to distract from the mum tum for the time being (hence the bright silver boots at a christening last weekend) and these were a bargain at £20. Topshop do a similar version for £50 but my mat leave budget forced me to shop around a bit. 

Revisiting… Mackie Mayor in Manchester. I went after it had only been open a few days with a grumpy baby and an even grumpier boyfriend and it was ridiculously busy which put me off it a bit so I’m giving it another go now it’s been open longer I’m hoping it’s less busy. I had a really tasty cake there last time and have been craving one of their baos ever since. 

Using… This grey side table for my many coffees after the sleepless nights. Another mat leave budget buy, I’d love to say it was from a cool independent furniture shop or upcycled from a charity shop but it’s good old Home Bargains. It went down so well I went to get another one the next day. 

Watching… Divorce on Sky Atlanic thanks to my Now TV box. Anything written by Sharon Horgan is going to be a winner for me and this doesn’t disappoint. It’s weirdly funny in a Catastrophe way and it’s nice to see SJP rocking some amazing outfits once again without having to endure her annoying Carrie-isms.

Listening… To Dirty John. This podcast is about a guy in his 50s who seduces women and isn’t what he seems, it’s the latest Serial-type bingeworthy listen and has been keeping Ali company on her lunchtime walks. 

Investing… In Good American jeans. The jeans are all inclusive so they do sizes 00 to 24 and they have all different sized models wearing them on the website, which you can click through to see how it would suit your shape. More expensive than her usual jean (circa £150) but Ali’s trying to invest in more of a capsule wardrobe now she’s in her late thirties. 

Applying… This Fenty lipgloss from Rhianna’s makeup range. Another all inclusive range with 40 foundation shades, I wanted to get something for Ali’s birthday and while the whole range is cruelty free this was one of the only vegan products which made my decision making much easier. 

Researching… Some artichoke recipies. Jak’s dug a load up from the garden and it’s not something we’ve cooked with much before so hit us up with any recipe suggestions! 

Sipping.. Nettle beer. Finally some of Jak’s foraging that we can really get on board with! This is the latest step in their Good Life transformation and it went down so well we’re already asking him to make some more. Surely this is the closest you can get to healthy boozing? 

Month 1 : It’s The Climb 

Before getting pregnant I was a self confessed kale-smoothie-drinking marathon-running health freak (with the weekend wine and pizza for rewards obv). Then suddenly the sight of an avocado made me want to puke and all I could stomach was beige. I found myself shunning the quinoa salad and sneaking down to the school canteen for a cheese sandwich and chips (once I announced my pregnancy there was a resounding ‘ahhhh that’s why you’ve been at the canteen so much’ from most of my colleagues and a ‘yeah I guessed it when you got white buttered toast at break time’ from the eagle eyed amongst them.) I’d always told myself I would be sooo healthy when I was pregnant because, yano, I’m responsible for growing a human yet I found myself dodging as much veg and salad as my childhood self would be proud of. 


As Ric did the majority of the shopping at first I regularly shouted after him ‘get some biscuits for the guests!’ which I then ploughed my way through completely on my own before they’d even arrived with the excuse that I’m breastfeeding so need the extra calories. 

It’s been great sitting around watching Friends (could I be watching any more episodes) eating entire packs of biscuits to myself and pretending the outside world doesn’t exist but enough’s enough and I’ve decided as my baby turns 4 weeks this Friday it’s time to do something about it. I’d love to say I just want to be healthy and I’m happy for my body to be different now I’ve had a baby and I totally respect new mums who feel that way, but it’s also ok to want to look like your previous self and be back in those nice little skirts and dresses you bought pre-baby. I listened to Giovanna Fletcher’s podcast with Clemmie Hooper and they were discussing Cheryl’s post baby body, and while they were applauding how great she looks they were saying it’s a shame she’s hidden away until she looks that good rather than showing the journey she’s been on. So I unfortunately won’t get the number of followers Chezza has but I will post the journey, or as we prefer to call it from our weight watcher days ‘the climb’ (referring to the awesome Miley Cyrus song, that is now my soundtrack for the next few months. Feel free to listen to it on Spotify while reading future posts from me). 



I haven’t had the go ahead from the doctors to exercise yet and I can’t diet because I’m breastfeeding so it’s going to be slow and steady. I’m recording what I eat on myfitnesspal (follow me and feel free to comment if I go off track please – my username is CharlieQueso) and aiming to get as many pram steps in as I can while I wait to get back in the gym

 

Will report back next month and let you know how it goes! 

Gym Class Heroes: One Big Workout Weekend

My name is Charlotte and I’m a gym addict.

This might sound a bit smug, but if you’d seen me huffing and puffing around the cross country track at school or in line for Weight Watchers in my final year at uni you’ll probably see it’s quite an achievement and these are words I never thought would come out of my mouth (like ‘I’ll drive because I don’t mind not drinking’ or ‘I forgot to have my lunch’ – WTF are those people all about?)

 

So this weekend got me quite excited at the prospect of a full weekend of classes for the new timetable launch at my local gym (not as excited as the pizza and beer I would consume afterwards, I haven’t gone completely mental), Fit4Life in Rising Bridge.

Given that my usual gym PIC was MIA all weekend I managed to pair up with new gym buddies (hi Kate and Amber!), rope Ali into a class and even, brace yourself, go it alone.

Here’s a write-up of the weekend highlights and an insight into what each class has to offer should you want to give one a whirl (please do the pizza thing afterwards though). I managed 5 classes and have written a little about each one (plus a bit about one I had planned to do but I went shopping instead…) I need to give a huge shout out to new gym buddy Paula who did a whopping 6 classes on Saturday!

Metafit

The weekend got off to a very sweaty start with this 9am class.

The instructor informed us it was only 19 minutes of working out which set alarm bells off as I knew we were in for a tough ride. If you’re new to the world of exercise I wouldn’t start with this class as it isn’t for the faint-hearted. There was lots of high knee running, bunny hops (sound cute and fun hey? They’re not), moguls (basically a jump squat with a fancier name) and press ups and it was HARD. The only words I could muster through the whole 19 minutes was a regular ‘Oh. My. God’ to Kate and my other fellow Metafitters, although it was superfluous as I think my face at the end said it all.

Although I managed to somehow pull myself together and do this again on the Sunday. Killer move: Burpees. Every. Time.

after-meta

Pleased to meta you

 

Body Attack

This was probably the class I was most looking forward to for two reasons.

The first one being that we are massive attack fans (not the band) and the second one is that it’s the one that Ali joined me on.

If you’ve ever done Body Attack you’ll know it’s like riding a bike, as soon as the music kicks in you can remember the moves even if it was years ago (which it has been for us).

Every track and move has been choreographed so it’s really easy to pick up and the fun aspect of it makes you not realise how hard it is until you’re gasping for breath at the end of each track.

If you’ve never tried it, you should definitely give it a go. And don’t be put off by the complicated moves perfected by the people on the front row, you’ll pick them up in no time.

The only downside was that the new release has become a bit more HIIT-esque with burpees (my fave) and squats, so I hope there’ll be more classic attacks in the pipeline.

 

attack

Attackers reunited

Body Combat

This is my usual Wednesday night class and the one I look forward to the most (yes, I’m aware I sound like a dick) and Saturday’s taster was no exception.

Plenty of punches, kicks and jumps, but in true Les Mills style the music is so well matched to the move you can’t help but get swept up in it. This takes less co-ordination than attack and the new release has a lot more simpler, repetitive moves that are really easy to pick up, with some hard ones sprinkled in to keep you on your toes.

There were some really challenging tracks in this new release and with it being my 3rd class on Saturday I was really feeling it by the end.

gym

So hot RN.

 

RIG

This was the last class of the weekend for me so I don’t think I fully gave it my all, but it was a good way to round off the weekend and it was great to finish off with my gym buddies by my side.

The gym has an amazing training rig, complete with battle ropes (which totally make you feel like Khloe Kardashian working out, Revenge Body here I come), monkey bars etc.

Using the equipment was a nice change from the rest of the classes and it’s useful doing it in a class setting as I would have no idea WTD on my own with the big scary apparatus. I probably could have squatted deeper, lifted heavier and pushed harder in this class TBF but the beauty of a circuits based class like this is that you can take it at your own pace if you’re not feeling 100% and I certainly did this time.

gym-finishers

Can you tell it was my last class of the weekend?

 

Body Pump

I had planned to do this, but TBH I CBA this weekend (I went shopping instead and got some Topshop boots for £3.60 that Ric hates – double win!) so this is a write up from a class I DID do a few weeks ago…

Body Pump is the perfect class for you if you’ve ever wanted to start lifting weights but haven’t a clue where to start. I previously couldn’t tell my barbell from my babybel but I’m now confident enough to be on the FROW – if that ain’t progress for you I don’t know what is.

Pump is a full body, choreographed, weight-based class that puts the fun into fundamentally f**king hard. The fact that each move you do is in perfect timing to the soundtrack makes it a lot more interesting than staring at yourself in the mirror while doing a million squats (not mentioning any names, guys in the gym downstairs).

You can also start using cool phrases like “I found the clean and press really challenging today but I need to up my weights on the tricep extension”” to sound really knowledgeable/douchey.

 

 

So that was my weekend! It was great to have so much variety in the classes and I enjoyed trying some new things, which has opened my eyes to some new possibilities with the new timetable. Now where’s that pizza…..?

beer

This month we’re…

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  1. Catching… Fleabag. If you haven’t checked it out yet, binge watch all six half hour episodes on BBC iPlayer.
  2. Eating… 23 inch Nino’s pizzas for Chaz’s birthday in our annual tradition (yet again no one managed more than a couple of slices).
  3. Visiting… Dolly’s Tearoom in Darwen and Callooh! Callay in Clitheroe for afternoon tea.
  4. Wearing… dungarees as seen on Chaz’s fashion crush Megan Ellaby (I stalked her Instagram and bought everything I could find for Chaz’s birthday and these were actually half price in the New Look sale… bonus).
  5. Joining… the new Fit4Life gym in Rising Bridge. It’s going to be on the way to work for Chaz once she moves house in a couple of months so the perfect location for an early morning workout (meanwhile, I am working out in my garage due to the new house swallowing up every penny I have).
  6. Savouring… rare Kate Moss audio in Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue.
  7. Listening… to Alec Baldwin’s podcast Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin on my Friday morning pram walks (got to love a four-day working week)
  8. Watching… Bridget Jones’s Baby for old time’s sake (and to compare notes) – anyone else think she made the wrong choice??
  9. Poaching… eggs laid by my very own ex-battery rescue chickens – Kim, Kourtney and Khloe!

HIIT the gym: life after running

trek

For years and years running was pretty much the only exercise we did, with past forays into body attack classes and pathetic attempts on the occasional machine at the gym in between.

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But this year something weird has happened. After dragging ourselves onto the streets day after day for as long as we can remember, we just….. quit. I (Ali) was the first to go – after completing the Ron Hill 10k I started seeing Sy, a PT at my then-local gym The Fitness Bank in Oswaldtwistle who opened my eyes to the world of weights. Our weekly sessions led to 6am workouts most days and the baby weight loss plan really kicked in so much faster than it had running.

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Sy was kind enough to let me bring the baby along to training sessions and workouts which helped massively in getting me down to the gym in the first few months post-baby – no excuses.

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Top fitness tip: switching slippers for trainers is a good start

After just a few months I’d lost almost 2 stones and felt in much better shape than ever before at that weight – I’d been lighter before, but less toned so for once I was happy to stay at that weight and focus more on strength and toning.

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Chaz completed her second marathon in May and after persuading her to do it, Faye uttered the words many a marathon runner has said mid-race “once this is over with I am NEVER doing it again”. Spluttered in the heat of the moment, I know many runners pick themselves back up to run another day, but we’ve never been “natural” runners and we’ve always enjoyed the accomplishment more than the task in hand, so after a few months of secretly running for fear I’d tell her off (true), Chaz decided to quit the pavement pounding too.

So what on earth have we been doing to keep fit since then? Asked no one, but we’ll tell you anyway.

Kayla Itsines

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A few months ago Chaz kicked off the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide plan. I persuaded her to do the workouts at the gym so I could join in and we could chat in between reps about everyone we know. Incredibly, we stuck to the entire 12-week programme (more or less) and noticed real changes.

Australian Instagrammer Kayla is a PT responsible for amazing transformations whose BBG plan is based on three workouts a week – usually one legs, one arms/abs and one full body. There are two circuits of four exercises in each workout, both of which you do twice on a seven-minute timer until you drop. Foolishly, we embarked on it thinking “it’s only 28 minutes, how hard can it be?” The answer is “excruciatingly”. BUT it’s short enough to get it over with and carry on with your life so it appeals to people like us, who can’t be arsed spending long in the gym when there’s Netflix and wine.

After two or three years of marathon and ultra marathon training runs saw us out for up to four hours at a time, it was a real treat to be in and out of the gym in less than an hour, no matter how much we cursed Kayla and her lithe little beach body at the time.

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When it takes a Strictly sandwich for you to notice you actually have arm definition

Kayla’s resistance workouts feature lots of squats and lunges, many incorporating weights and bursts of cardio like skipping and burpees. It’s hard but it really works and we would highly recommend it.

At-home workouts

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Aeroplanes at Buggy Fitness with Jess, Katie and Sarah

Before starting the Kayla programme I did a few workouts at home from the likes of Emily Skye and Joe Wicks, as well as a killer plyometrics workout Sy challenged me to do after almost killing me in the gym.

There are loads of HIIT apps and videos available online and on social media nowadays, many free and most require little to no equipment. I picked up an aerobic step for £10 from Tesco then saw one for £3 in a charity shop the next day, such is life.

After going to Buggy Fitness classes during my maternity leave, I got loads of ideas on how to work out in the park too. Benches, steps and hills are your friend (frenemy?) in the world of exercise.

Classes

On my first day back at work after nine months’ maternity leave I challenged myself to find a gym nearby where I could do Kayla workouts, but what I found on recommendation from my friend Marie was even better.

FLS – which stands for fitter, leaner, stronger – is a personal training and group fitness centre at Time Technology Park in Altham, two minutes’ drive from my office with 30-minute lunchtime abs blast, HIIT and workout of the day classes perfect for a mid workday workout. After just a week of going, I’d already conquered our shared fear of the dreaded box jump so it’s onwards and upwards from here.

Never say never, but it seems like our days of being Kings on the run are well and truly behind us…. for now.

This month we’re…

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  1. Watching… Brief Encounters on ITV. This drama follows the life of a motley crew of Yorkshire women who become Ann Summers reps. Anything with Angela Griffin in gets our approval and it’s worth watching for the 80’s fashion and soundtrack alone.
  2. Breakfasting… at Moose in Manchester. I spied this on Megan Ellaby’s instagram (I’m a little bit obsessed with her at the moment) and saw their amazing breakfast menu so Ric and I are taking a jaunt there for his birthday later in the month.
  3. Shopping… at Pull and Bear’s new store in the Trafford Centre. Faye and I got hooked on this brand on holiday in Lisbon and now the obsession continues as we have a new shop much closer to home. Great for statement jumpers (my fave yes, weekend slogan sweater is from there) and weekend basics.
  4. Lunching… at Freedom Organics in Darwen. We were recommended this from our friend Jade and had a really yummy salad and smoothie there. Get there early to avoid disappointment as when we got there they were all out of cakes (although the good news is Starbucks now do a matcha flapjack which filled a cake craving instead).
  5. Visiting… London for our friends Kate and Mark’s wedding. The wedding isn’t until later in the day so although Ali will be busy with bridesmaids duties I’ll have a few hours to fill with the boys so we’ll get the chance to explore West Hampstead and go for lunch. Any recommendations of where to eat or drink in the area?
  6. Glowing… with Cetaphil moisturiser and facewash. I thought Ali had secretly got a new highlighter without telling me, but her glow was all down to this no frills pharmacy brand range.
  7. Fleeking…our brows with Gimme Brow by Benefit. I got a sample of this with last month’s glamour and this gives great definition and fills them in nicely while I’m waiting for my brow appointment to come round.
  8. Sipping… on an Aperol spritz or several at our parents’ silver wedding bash. As the house moves have meant we won’t be holidaying this year we’re bringing the taste of last year’s holiday to Lake Garda to Baxenden.
  9. Tuning… into Rio 2016. We got slightly obsessed with London 2012 so we’re ready to get hooked yet again this time around. Bad timing for Ali’s maternity leave coming to the end but it should keep me entertained between wallpaper stripping and tile choosing over the summer break. You can even find out what sport you’d compete in based on your age, height and weight here: Ali’s a handball player and I’m a wrestler (WTF) FYI.

All pictures taken by us or from Pinterest

This month we’re…

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  1. Sweating… with Kayla Itsines. I bought the Bikini Body Guide over a year ago then had to stop after a month because training for an ultra took over, so now we’re both going for it at our daily 6am gym meets.
  2. Dining… at Evelyn’s Cafe Bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. I met up with my old friends Nat and Jo here for Saturday burgers and prosecco and it had great veggie options and Pinterest-worthy decor – only teeny downside was no baby change for the hipster mamas and papas out there…
  3. Reading… The Vegetarian by Han Kang. The title caught my eye for obvious reasons – just started it so stay tuned.
  4. Watching…  Chaz’s favourite ever show (apart from Friends), Orange Is The New Black is back! Now that running has taken a back seat the only marathon on the horizon involves the ladies of Litchfield.
  5. Wearing… this khaki boiler suit Claire bought me for my birthday last October when I was heavily pregnant to wear post-baby. It finally fits!
  6. Sipping… cinnamon danish, choc PB and salted caramel protein shakes from MyProtein. If it’s good enough for The Body Coach it’s good enough for us.
  7. Gossiping… about Love Island. We’ve been sucked in and we are hooked!
  8. Visiting… Altrincham Market. As well as some amazing looking food stalls they have a vintage fashion and furniture market the third Sunday of the month so I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for some gems for the new house.
  9. Listening… to Tom Hanks’ Desert Island Discs. Well worth a download if you missed it.