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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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…..?

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This month we’re…

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Pictures either taken by us or from… amazon.co.uk / idealhome.co.uk / Pinterest

  1. Eating… Our kinda takeaway from The Health Hut in Rawtenstall. It’s a Kings and Greens dream with salad boxes, protein shakes and build-your-own stir fries. I feasted on the halloumi burger and sweet potato fries last weekend. It ain’t so bad not having a kitchen after all! Highly recommended if you’re in the Rossendale area.
  2. Wearing… our faux-fur jackets now the weather has finally got cold enough. If you have enough season matching outfits there ain’t no weather you can’t face (I even don’t mind the rain since I was bought an amazing cloud umbrella a few years ago). I got Ali hers in the Topshop sale last Christmas and my multi-coloured unicorn inspired one is from M&S Kids last year – a good place to look for something slightly cheaper and that not many other people (despite actual kids) will have.
  3. Detoxing… with a shot of apple cider vinegar every morning. I’m not a fan of shots at the best of times but the health benefits of this far outweigh the interesting taste. I bought mine from One Planet in Accrington (other suppliers are available) and I was the third person who’d bought one that day, so it looks like it’s a popular way to kick start that January detox.
  4. Barking… orders at our new Amazon Echo Dot. Alexa got a bit of a beasting at our NYE party with a whole room of people screaming her name and demanding she play certain songs. It’s the perfect way to play music easily and allow party guests to contribute to the playlist, although Alexa won’t be responsible for any arguments that ensue over varying music tastes.
  5. Sipping… English country garden cocktails. This was the main culprit of my New Years Day hangover but it was worth it. It feels quite summery with elderflower cordial, pro pro, gin and strawberries so it’s the perfect antidote to the cold weather. If you’re after something more wintery try a dark and stormy (another NYE tipple of ours). Nice try, dry January.
  6. Dusting… off our dancing shoes and trying our hand (feet?) at ballroom dancing. We’ve been fans of Strictly for years so it was only a matter of time until we gave it a whirl for ourselves. Stay tuned for some awkward/embarrassing attempts (add us on Snapchat for the outtakes – alikingkong and charliequeso).
  7. Punching, lifting and jumping… our way to fitness with the launch of the new Les Mills classes at my gym. We are huge Body Attack and Body Combat fans and I’ve recently started Body Pump. My gym has an open weekend for the launch next weekend so I’m taking Ali along so we can re-live the days when we were Les Mills fangirls. Out of all the types of exercise I’ve ever done a Les Mills class is by far the most fun and leaves me feeling like I’ve worked the hardest. They have low impact options if you’re a newbie but once you know the routines you can’t help but give it your all. Faye and I even got Alexa playing one of the Combat tunes and did a routine on NYE. If that doesn’t make you a gym geek I don’t know what does.
  8. Trying… my hand at a bullet journal. I’m not the most organised of people and I’m still living in the past with my diarising and refusal to put it all on my iPhone (although apparently one of Alexa’s functions is to tell you your daily schej like a PA). I also have loads of funky notebooks I’ve amassed over the years so I’m going to try and start a bullet journal. Let me know if you have any tips for this, it looks quite easy but I do get confused by the simplest of things sometimes…
  9. Lighting… up my life (well, bedroom) with this lamp with marble and copper (both very in RN) from Aldi of all places! I spied this on someone’s Instagram so hot footed it down to my local store and snapped one up. They also do a floor lamp in the same style but Ric has had enough of my copper and marble obsession for the time being. My next purchase will have to be much more subtle so he doesn’t notice.

And now for some 2017 plans….

Dressing… to impress. My wardrobe is full of amazing clothes, yet I seem to throw the same things on all the time. I have good intentions of putting together a great outfit then turn all basic bitch and end up in leggings and Uggs. With living out of a suitcase the past few months after packing my wardrobe up I’ve really missed having a big selection of clothes to choose from so my NY res is to dress fancier and make the most of all the clothes I have bursting out of my wardrobe. Which will also help with…

Decluttering… the clothes I don’t wear. I’ve recently opened a Depop shop (find me here) and have decided that anything I don’t wear on a regular basis needs to be sold or taken to a charity shop.

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Meeting… up more with friends and family. This has got to a great start with a cousin catch up in early Jan, meeting up with a former colleague this weekend and the revival of the original gang being discussed via whatsapp. I make this resolution every year then life gets in the way but it’s something I’m determined to stick to this year.

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Enjoying… a proper sit down family meal (preferably a good ol’ roast) once a week. Ali wants to get Q into good eating habits and get into a routine of chatting together round the table rather than staring at phones or sticking Netflix on. It’s also a good excuse for her to crack open the wine before baby bedtime, so win-win!

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The roastess with the mostess. THE best Sunday lunch I’ve ever had

Blogging… more! The end of 2017 saw blogging take a back seat for us with new houses, busy work schedules and a teething baby but it made me realise how much I actually miss doing it! It made more sense when we were marathon training and had a specific thing to write about so it’s time we got our mojo back and got back in the game. My NY resolution is to blog once a week so let us know if you have any ideas on what to blog about or want to let us know what things you like reading about.

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Happy New Year to all our readers. I love the fact that you take the time to actually read our mumblings and here’s to a blog-tastic 2017!

This month we’re…

 

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  1. Lolling… at My Dad Wrote A Porno. We’ve been recommending this hilarious podcast to everyone since our friend Niamh told us about it.
  2. Watching… Stranger Things on Netflix. I binge watched this in a few days and now can’t wait for season 2.
  3. Eating.. lentils, lentils and more lentils. I’m on a major budget which gives me just £20-£30 a week for food shopping, so I’ve been loving the lentils. Red, green, yellow – post coming soon on recipe ideas.
  4. Reading… Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I’ve had this on my Kindle for yonks and only just started it. Anyone else read it?
  5. Venturing… to the cinema to see The Girl On The Train, one of our fave literary thrillers of recent times.
  6. Sipping… caramel lattes all day errrrrrday after Chaz bought me a Tassimo coffee machine as a new house pressie.
  7. Dining… in style when my new Fjord dining table and benches finally arrive from Made.com
  8. Loving… Mike Colter in Luke Cage (double Netflix love this month, sorry). Loved him as everyone’s favourite drug dealer in The Good Wife, love him even more as Harlem’s hero-in-a-hoodie. Marvel normally isn’t my thing at all but I’ve made an exception for him and the equally cool Jessica Jones.
  9. Listening… to Educating Ali King 3, the latest in a series of CDs made for me by our friend Faye to update my musical tastes as she sees fit (and speaking of fit, any excuse for a Zayn pic hey?).

Making a meal of it: how to use up cupboard lurkers

Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought some obscure ingredient, trotting round Tesco on your lunch with big plans to be the next Gwyneth as you wow your friends and family with your carb/dairy/refined/nightshade/lampshade-free culinary style and generally breezy wellness … only for the weekend to roll around.

Now, you find yourself consciously uncoupling from, in fact downright ALOLing at your pretentious midweek self as you serve up a giant bowl of pasta as a side to your Friday night glass (bottle) of wine.

It can’t just be us.

My friend Marie is as food-obsessed as us, to the point where we send each other daily emails detailing our next three meals and weekend eating plans. She’s more of a wartime warrior when it comes to cooking style (and a meat-eater), but we often share recipes and ideas and there is some overlap as she’s health conscious and likes trying new things.

A recent email chat with her alerted me to the fact most of us have a cupboard full of lurkers and therefore a multitude of potential meals sitting there waiting to be discovered. Most of the time we probably ignore them and dash to the shop thinking we don’t have anything in.

Lately, an economy drive prompted me to use up all of those weird and wonderful lurkers, to the point where I now have depressingly empty cupboards.

(No joke, I am actually so skint I helped myself to a half empty – or half full, depending on your outlook on life – bag of quinoa when I was at Chaz’s the other Sunday).

It was actually an enjoyable challenge and a good way to shake up the standard repertoire.

In my inherent boringness, I got really excited thinking up recipes Marie could try but lurkers’ potential is in the eye of the beholder, so you may suggest something completely different based on the same set of ingredients.

So in a Masterchef Invention Test style exercise, we decided to upload the contents of Marie’s cupboards, show you a few things we would do with the lurkers and invite you to suggest your own.

As I mentioned, Marie does eat meat and fish, so while I haven’t suggested anything non-veggie please feel free to – I’m sure she will prefer your ideas to mine if you do!

Help Marie #makeamealofit (before I nip round and pinch those pine nuts).

 

1. Coconut chia pudding

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This recipe on Popsugar sounds easy and delicious, plus can be made on a Sunday and grabbed on your way to work.

 

2. One-pot olive and pine nut pasta

I am about to try my first ever one-pot pasta on recommendation of our friend Jade, who gets recipes from Pinterest so I’ve suggested one to Marie to try.

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PIC: barefeetinthekitchen.com

This recipe from Barefeet In The Kitchen looks really good.

3. Lazy pepper and tomato soup

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PIC: DeliciouslyElla.com

I haven’t tried this before, but I’m pretty sure throwing the following into the Nutribullet would create a decent soup:

  • Passata carton
  • Jar of roasted peppers with the oil
  • Tin of chickpeas/any type of bean for protein and thickness
  • Italian herbs – basil, oregano, herbs de Provence
  • Salt and pepper

Here are a couple of similar recipes which I think would work with their cupboard rather than fresh alternatives:

Deliciously Ella roasted tomato and pepper soup

Italian Food Forever roasted pepper and chickpea soup

All of these would freeze well for quick lunches.

4. Red pepper hummus

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PIC: BBC.co.uk

Not a meal in itself, but a good thing to have in to jazz up other meals or use as an afternoon snack with carrot sticks and celery. The peppers could definitely be blasted with a tin of chickpeas and some spices and seasoning to make a quick hummus.

This BBC recipe looks like a storecupboard masterpiece and I’m sure you could use jarred instead of fresh peppers.

5. Tropical breakfast smoothie

Whizz up the tinned pineapple with a dash of coconut milk, frozen banana, a tablespoon of chia seeds and your choice of milk for a quick morning smoothie.

6. Chickpea coconut curry

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PIC: jessicainthekitchen.com

I love a chickpea coconut curry combo and try a different variation practically every week. This recipe from Jessica In The Kitchen is now next on my list.

So, over to you. How would you combine Marie’s storecupboard lurkers?

Ideas in the comments please…

Batch boredom: 5 ideas to get out of a recipe rut

Every Sunday we do a big batch cook but lately we’ve developed #batchboredom (not an actual thing, I just checked) so we need inspiration to keep our easy weeknight meals interesting.

The requirements are always the same – healthy, easy, quick and tasty. Easy weeknight assembly is a must because with work, baby bedtime routines and workouts we just can’t be bothered messing around in the kitchen for longer than necessary.

It’s also got to be cheap because at the moment we are both on major budget drives after buying new houses (have we mentioned that? Eye roll emoji).

I’ve written this post to force myself to hunt around for new ideas and to ask everyone to send us their own batch secrets – so here are a few things I’m going to try.

Deliciously Ella’s chickpea, turmeric and quinoa curry

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PIC: Clare Winfield via deliciouslyella.com

I always make some kind of chickpea/lentil/coconut milk-type of curry so this is the latest incarnation I’m going to try.

Jamie Oliver’s best vegan burger

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PIC: jamieoliver.com

Veggie burgers are a staple for us and I am always looking for a new recipe to try.

Long recipes and obscure ingredients are an instant click-off for me – I’ve used this BBC Good Food Mexican Bean Burger recipe nearly every week for years because I can throw it all in the food processor and it’s oven-ready in seconds – so this looks simple enough to pass the test (minus the coriander).

Green lentil risotto

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PIC: womanandhome.com

I’m a big fan of a non-traditional “risotto” and have tried quinoa, millet, buckwheat and brown rice versions, so green lentils are next on the list. As they don’t turn to mush like their little red compadres, they should work well in a risotto scenario.

Budget-friendly too, as I’ve just added a big bag to next week’s Ocado delivery to use in my usual veggie chilli (which I’ve shared so many times I’ve bored myself, so if you have a good alternative to that, please share it in the comments).

Coconut and broccoli soup

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PIC: madeleineshaw.com

Usually any soups I make during the frantic Sunday batch cooking hour/baby naptime are a “throw it all in” affair but occasionally I follow a recipe to stop it tasting the same every week. This looks easy and I love anything with coconut milk (despite loathing anything entitled “detox”).

Quick courgette ratatouille

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PIC: Issy Croker for the Guardian

The first sentence of the Guardian article this Anna Jones recipe came from pretty much sums up my attitude to cooking post-baby and it’s been published online the day I’m writing this so it’s meant to be.

I’ve made a few of Anna Jones’ traybake-style recipes from her two cookbooks and they’ve been a bit of a revelation (as has her use of jars of roasted peppers which I never considered until reading her books). This one looks easy and tasty and could be served alongside potato wedges, pittas, as a sweet potato topping or on its own for work lunches.

So… over to you. Please share your favourite veggie-friendly batch cookable recipes and help us kick #batchboredom (or at least make it a thing).

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

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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.

This month we’re…

PicMonkey Collage

  1. Tossing… these amazingly tasty protein pancakes for breakfast. Made from just three ingredients – eggs, cottage cheese and oats – they are so good and don’t even need to be saved for cheat day!
  2. Watching… season 2 of Grace and Frankie on Netflix. Finally! I binge watched this in a day however so now I’m back to looking for recommendations…
  3. Wearing… this Topshop skirt for wedding season – looks the part and separates are far more breastfeeding-friendly. Bonus!
  4. Planning… new running routes in our respective new neighbourhoods of Great Harwood and Rawtenstall. Any recommendations?
  5. Whipping up… Superbaby chia jam and other delights from my friend’s new Instagram feed @young_gums – all about feeding babies healthy, tasty food full of excellent tips for me and Quincy. Beth and her daughter Bea make weaning look so cool.
  6. Reading… Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield. This modern twist on Pride and Prejudice is the read of the month in Chaz’s book club and I’ve jumped on the bandwagon.
  7. Dining… at Maxwell’s Clitheroe – an old favourite with great healthy breakfast and veggie lunch options on the menu at the moment. Plus the wide doors and spacious layout make it pram-friendly for the mamas and papas out there.
  8. Baking… avocado brownies by Deliciously Ella. I made these last Friday night and they were wolfed down by Jak and his friend without even questioning whether they were “normal” brownies so they’ll definitely be making more appearances for guilt-free snacking.