Saturday, 28 March 2015

Getting Started - At Home Yoga Practice


As the title suggests this post is about all things Yoga. More specifically everything you need to know to get you started with home yoga practice. I've been practicing Yoga at home for well over 12 months now and thought I would save you the hours of browsing the internet that I did and pull everything together for you here in one big old blog post.

When you're just starting out with your yoga practice the thought of going along to a class maybe quite daunting, or you may not have a class nearby that you can get to. I love home practice as its just me and my mat. I don't have to worry about what other people are doing and can just focus on what feels good for me. Attending a class also has tons of benefits and its really all about finding what feels good for you.

Clothing and Equipment

The first place to start is finding a space at home where you are going to practice. This can be absolutely anywhere providing there is enough room for you to move around. Clear this space of any clutter and make it your own little place of calm and zen. I practice in my living room mainly, but I will also occasionally practice in my bedroom at the foot of my bed.

Obviously having a Yoga mat is desirable but by no means essential. In terms of equipment when you're getting started you really don't need a great deal. If you don't have a mat you can use a towel or just practise on the floor. To begin with you can just head to TK Maxx who always have a variety of affordable yoga mats for less than £10. Once you get really into your practice maybe you could look at investing in a better mat but to begin with I would recommend keeping it simple and affordable.

Keeping things like a towel or a blanket around is also useful as these can provide extra support on the mat when you're new to the practice. Yoga blocks are also fantastic and help bring the ground closer to you when you maybe can't quite reach but again these are not an essential purchase and you can use a couple of large books as an alternative.

In terms of clothing again wear whatever feels comfortable. This could be your pjs, a loose top and bottoms, or a vest and yoga pants. Primark and H&M both do really good affordable sportswear that is ideal. The only thing I find if I wear a loose top is that it will fall down over your head which can be frustrating. For that reason I would suggest wearing a vest to begin with.

My final suggestion is again by no means an essential purchase but is by far my most used bit of kit that has really enhanced my home yoga practice. A Chromecast is a fancy little gadget that you plug into your TV and it lets you stream your videos from your phone/laptop/computer/tablet straight to your TV. When I first started doing Yoga at home I used my laptop for months. This is ok but many people have said that they can find it difficult following along on a small screen and found that they were straining their head round to look at the screen in certain poses. I found this too to a certain extent but once we got a Chromecast and I could stream the videos to my TV this became a thing of the past.

Websites

For all things Yoga the best place to head is Yoga Journal. This is the ultimate resource and covers everything you could ever want to know about Yoga

YogaGlo is a paid subscription website that offers over 2500 online yoga classes. I am a member and I think it is an incredible resource for when you are ready to progress your practice to the next level.

Do Yoga With Me is much like YogaGlo but is a free website offering tons of free Yoga videos. I haven't used this site much but I have heard lots of great things about it.


Youtube



Youtube is my absolute favourite way of doing Yoga at home. There are so many amazing channels and videos out there - way too many for me to cover in this post but I will share with you some of my favourites and the ones I think are a good place to start. If you have time I would recommend you watch the video through before you actually do it. This way you will have an idea about what poses are coming up and you wont be too thrown half way through the video.

Tara Stiles was the first Youtube Yogi I discovered and she completely inspired me to start doing Yoga. I developed somewhat of an obsession and would spend hours watching her videos. She moves with such ease and makes everything look completely effortless. Some of her videos are quite fast paced but her bedtime yoga routine is my absolute favourite and I do it every single evening in bed.

Erkhart Yoga is another amazing channel with 100s of free yoga videos for all abilities. I haven't done many of Esther's videos but the ones I have done were excellent.

Yoga with Adriene is without a doubt my favourite Youtube Yogi. I could write an entire blogpost about Adriene. Her style of teaching is nothing short of wonderful and the range of videos on her channel is incredible. There really is something for everyone with her Foundations of Yoga videos which take you through each pose step by step, to her 30 Days of Yoga Challenge. If you are brand new to yoga I would highly recommend you start with this channel - particularly with the 30 Days of Yoga challenge. My practice has really developed since I began practicing with Adriene, I even introduced my Mum to her videos and she loves them too!

Music

Its really up to you what kind of music you listen to when you're practicing if you listen to any at all. At first I would suggest you just follow along with the video and listen to the guide and your breath. Once you have established your practice a little bit more then start experimenting with a little yoga playtime to your favourite tunes.

For me personally I listen to different types of music at different times of the day so for bedtime yoga my favourite tracks to unwind with are Coldplay Magic, Ed Sheeran I see Fire, The XX Angels, Massive Attack Teardrop.

During the day I love doing nothing more than a few rounds of Sun Salutations or my favourite morning routine to uplifting songs like OrtoPilot You can Call me Al, Mr Probz Waves, Ben Howard Only Love, Duke Dumont I got You, I also love anything by Haim and Florence and the Machine.

I am working on a Yoga Playlist on Spotify so once I've pulled it together I'll make sure I share the link with you.

Inspiration



I'm always on the look out for new sources of inspiration sometimes on Youtube, sometimes on Tumblr, but my personal favourite place to find inspiration is Instagram. Some of my favourites are Yoga Girl, French Yoga Girl, Yoga Community, Tara Stiles, Beach Yoga Girl, Kino Yoga, My Name is Jessamyn, Laura Skyora and too many more to list here.

Remember Yogi's come in all shapes and sizes, you don't have to look a certain way or act a certain way to enjoy yoga. Do what feels right for you and a little really does go a long way. I can honestly say that my life has changed for the better since I started doing yoga. I'm a lot less stressed and I'm so much more happier and balanced.

I hope this post has been useful and hopefully I've inspired you to start your own yoga practice at home.

Namaste.

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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Trust the timing of your life

Today marks the beginning of a big change for me. If you follow me on Twitter you may already know but if not today I am relocating and saying goodbye to our little cottage in the middle of nowhere and saying hello to our new apartment in Saltaire.

Both Craig and I began working in Leeds back in June which from where we live isn't very easily commutable. This means we face extremely long days leaving the house at 7am and not getting home until 7.15pm. We're constantly tired, with little energy to do the things we want because we're so shattered form the long day. We literally get home, have dinner then go to bed. We knew we wouldn't be able to keep this up long term so began looking for somewhere else to live.

We wanted to move somewhere with good commuter links so we would be able to either get the bus or train into Leeds or only have a short drive. After looking at lots of different locations we finally settled on Saltaire.

If you don't know much about Saltaire it's an amazing little village with a park, woods, river, canal, lots of independent shops and cafes, the famous Salts Mill and is only 12 minutes to Leeds on the train! It's also a World Heritage Site because of the way it's been preserved as an industrial mill village - there's so much on offer there.

We set about looking for a house but we just couldn't find anything that was suitable for us. Everything we looked at just wasn't quite right and involved too many compromises. This went on for months and months. I also kept getting cold feet thinking what if I regret the move and miss our house too much and started talking myself out of it. Next thing I would talk myself back into it. This went on for months and we still couldn't find anywhere.

After over 6 months of searching we almost gave up but for some reason I clicked into an apartment advertised on RightMove. We had always completely written off the idea of an apartment because we thought there wouldn't be enough room but this one seemed to have loads of space and was finished to a really high standard.
We called the agent to view it but it had already been snapped up (typical) but this opened up a whole new wealth of options.

We looked at 3 or 4 more apartments in the complex and eventually decided to go for a gorgeous duplex apartment. Although I was apprehensive at first ( hello red kitchen) as soon as we put in the application I felt so exhilarated and was totally over come with excitement.

I have talked about and thought about nothing else for the last month and I cannot believe that we finally move in tomorrow. Our quality of life is going to be so much better there and it will allow us to save the money we want towards our deposit for our own place.

It's funny how things work out. Now I see why we couldn't find a house in the village - because we weren't meant to find a house we were supposed to find this apartment which ticks all of the boxes with minimal compromises. I'm a firm believer that if its meant to be it will happen and that everything happens for a reason. Moving house even when you're renting is very expensive but it just so happens Craig and I got our bonuses this month which enabled us to be able to pay for the deposit on the new place.

Sometimes you just have to trust the timing of your life and go with it. When we got the keys on Wednesday I had to pinch myself as I couldn't believe that I was going to be living in this gorgeous place. I feel so blessed and lucky to have arrived to this point in my life. I'm beyond excited to see what's around the corner and can't wait to share it with you.


Friday, 30 January 2015

Happy Birthday Kelanjo


Its hard to believe that today marks my blog's 6th Birthday. Six years. Wow. A lot has changed since I sat as a student on my Mum and Dad's sofa and started this little blog. 
As I sit and type this post I have suddenly become overwhelmed with a sense of pride that after 6 whole years I'm still sat (albeit in on my own sofa) typing away on my laptop and writing my blog. What started out as my attempt at having my own little corner of the internet has evolved and grown with me and I am so glad I have kept it going. 
The whole world of blogging and social media has changed so much since those early halcyon days and I for one am glad I was around to experience them. I know in myself that I could have grown this blog to be so much more and taken it down another path but sometimes life chooses a different path for you and you just have to go with the flow. Upon reflection I'm glad I have done just that as I can safely say right at this present moment in time I'm in a really good place and I'm feeling pretty blessed.
I suppose more than anything I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for sticking with me over the years. It means the world to me that theres a few of you out there who have been here since the early days reading my musings on here. As long as I have my laptop and an internet connection I will keep on blogging - here's to the next 6 years! 

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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Tutorial: DIY Marble Tray


I've been wanting to create a marble effect background for some of my photos for so long now but I just didn't know how to do it until now. This is one blogger bandwagon I am most happy to jump on. I noticed a couple of my favourite bloggers and instagrammers had a sweet marble background in their photos. I wondered how they had done this - whether they genuinely had a marble worktop/table/tray or whether they had crafted their own. Well thanks to my old pal Gemsmaquillage I finally know how to make my own and I thought it would be cool to share this little DIY tutorial with you.


You can cover anything you want using this technique and you can also use whichever pattern you fancy, it doesn't have to be marble. The first and most important thing you need to get your hands on is marble contact paper - or as you and I know it as sticky back plastic. Gemma tipped me off that this could be found in Wilkinsons and after searching high and low I finally found it on a stand near the kitchen wares section. 

The next thing you will need is whatever item you want to cover. It may be a tray to use in your backgrounds or to stand your perfumes on, Nicola transformed an old candle pot into a gorgeous holder for cotton buds. The possibilities are endless and the only limit is your imagination.

Depending on what you are covering you will need scissors, maybe a scalpel and a towel or cloth to help you smooth the covering onto the item to ensure you don't get any air bubbles. 

1. Get yourself a clear work space and get your materials together.



2. Cut and measure out enough adhesive paper to  cover the tray - plus an inch or so to go around the back. (You could cover both sides of the tray but I am only covering the top.)




3. Peel back the adhesive paper backing to show the sticky side and begin to apply it to the tray leaving the inch around the edges to seal around the back. Roll the paper across the tray very slowly and carefully ensuring there are absolutely no air bubbles. You can use a cloth at this point to help you make sure there are no air bubbles. 






4. Turn the tray over carefully and fold over the edges. Stick down firmly to make sure the edges are covered nicely.







5. Sit back and admire your handywork! I think this looks really gorgeous and luxe. This simple project transforms plain items into gorgeous homewares and it literally costs a few pounds.  Its the ideal weekend project that will leave you wondering what you can transform next. Marble worktops anyone? I jest I jest..Kind of...    



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Saturday, 24 January 2015

Eggs in Purgatory



I don't know about you but at the weekend I like to go all out for breakfast. Monday to Friday I'm a porridge kinda gal but Saturday and Sunday its a whole different ball game. This weekend I finally got around to making this delicious fiery egg dish - Eggs in Purgatory. I saw this on Nigellissima a while ago and let me tell you this is a real treat - as Nigella herself says "Eggs in purgatory is absolute heaven when you're feeling like hell" Its quick and easy to do and will leave you asking yourself why didn't I try this sooner. 

You will need:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp seasalt flakes
1 or 2 eggs depending on how hungry you are (I say 2) 
2 tsp grated parmesan
Bread for dipping

1. Heat the oil in your frying pan over a medium heat then add in the minced or chopped garlic and chilli flakes - stir for 1 minute

2. Add in your tomatoes and salt then bring it up to a bubble

3. Crack in your eggs and sprinkle the parmesan over the top leaving some of the yellow yolk still exposed. Partially cover with a lid and let it bubble away for around 5 minutes. 

4. Remove from the heat and serve. By this point the egg white should be set and the yolk should still be runny - or as I like to call it "dangerous" Serve with your favourite bread for dipping and if you're feeling fancy another sprinkling of parmesan and a dash of chilli oil. 


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Monday, 19 January 2015

Five Things

1. This week I have reignited my love for Calligraphy. I saw Carrie had taken a Modern Calligraphy class and it instantly inspired me to have a go. I was massively into Calligraphy when I was younger and I remember my Mum and Dad buying me a special Calligraphy set with all of the nibs and inks - I loved it! Sadly I'm not going to London anytime soon so can't attend a class but after a little bit of online research I set about teaching myself. Until I can get some nibs and inks I have set about teaching myself faux calligraphy and I'm absolutely loving it! You can very easily recreate calligraphy with a rollerball or gel pen and a little bit of practice. If you want to have a little go yourself head over to this lovely website I found - The Postmans Knock. Here's a few of my practice scribbles. 





2. A couple of weeks ago I made a big batch of EssieButtons Protein Power Soup and I've just whipped up another batch this evening. Its really easy to make and it is SO delicious. I take this to work with me for lunches and it lasts me all week. I blend it up a little so its more of a smoother soup but I imagine its just as nice if you left it chunky. 


3. This week I finally got my hands on a Lumie Light after wanting one forever! Craig managed to get hold of one for me as one of his friends received one as an unwanted gift so we snapped it up. I used it for the first time yesterday and I love it already. I struggle immensely getting up in a morning. I usually wake up in the pitch black, disorientated and groggy and eventually drag myself out of bed after pressing the snooze button for about half an hour. The Lumie Light wakes you up gradually with increasing natural light that emulates the sunrise. Yesterday morning I woke up naturally at 6am with no alarm and felt alert and wide awake. It was so bizarre I just couldn't believe it!  


4. I mentioned this in my last post but I have been doing 30 Days of Yoga and its honestly the best thing ever. At the start I made a promise to myself that I would complete the daily practice every day no matter what. I wont lie some days it has been a challenge getting myself to the mat but every time I finish I'm glad I did. If you want to get into Yoga but aren't sure where to start this is a great place. I'm currently putting together a mammoth post about home Yoga practice with lots of links and tips so stay tuned for that. 

5. One to follow > Deliciously Ella. I have recently become obsessed with this gorgeous food blog and I can't wait to get my hands on the Deliciously Ella Book when it is released later this month. 

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Thursday, 1 January 2015

01.01.2015.

Its become somewhat of a tradition that I welcome in the New Year on my blog so here I am once again reflecting on all that 2014 brought and looking forward to whats to come in 2015.

Looking back at my post last year I'm really happy that I managed tick off everything that I had hoped to achieve. I wanted to travel, continue my yoga, keep up my creative hobbies and learn to crochet better. I can safely say I well and truly fulfilled all of those things and more! 


2014 for me had its fair share of ups and downs. Its funny how we only tend to share the good stuff online not the bad because lets face it none of us like to shine a spotlight on our personal problems in such a public forum. Last year I faced some of my toughest moments, Craig found himself out of work and we had to survive on my income alone - I didn't share this at the time because the whole experience was absolutely awful for us both but within a couple of months he found another job, a much better job that he really enjoys. Still at the time it all felt pretty hopeless and the pressure at times was just too much. 
Then in September my Grandad passed away very suddenly which hit me hard - much harder than I could ever have imagined. I felt so robbed at the time and still do but I treasure the memories we made together.
Its the age old saying that we need the bad times to appreciate the good and although there were some lows in 2014 there were also some incredible highs. For me the highlight was our holiday to Mexico. This couldn't have come at a better time - we just made an impulse decision and went for it. It was the best thing we could have done because I was in a pretty dark place before we went and I genuinely came back a different person. 


2014 was also the year where I was offered a permanent position at work. After two and a half years of extremely hard work I managed to secure a role as Team Manager of the team that I started in as a Post Sorter. Proof that with enough hard work and dedication you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. There were times I thought it would never ever happen and I cannot tell you how happy I was when I received my contract. 
I also made peace with myself in 2014. Towards the back end of the year I made the decision to stop being so hard on myself, stop stressing so much, lighten up and be kind to myself. I will share more about this as I document my Happiness Project throughout the year but I spent so long berating myself for all the things I wasn't and couldn't do instead of focusing what I was and what I could do. This was quite a moment for me and is something that I intend to do more of in 2015.

So what do I hope to achieve in 2015? This year I want to carry on exactly as I am, enjoying all of the things I pursued this year and more. This year me and Craig are going to begin saving up for a deposit so we can buy our first home. It will probably take us 12 months maybe more of intense saving but its so exciting and theres no one in the world I would rather share the experience with than Craig. 
This year on my blog you can expect to see more recipes, home decor ideas, crafts, yoga and health posts - all things that I'm loving at the moment! I'm 27 in March and I started this blog when I was a student back in 2009. A lot has changed since then - I've changed since then and so have you. Its only fair to expect that the content around here will change and grow as I do. I'm also pretty active on Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram so if you don't already I would love it if you came over and said hello over there. 

I also intend on carrying on my yoga to the next level and enjoying every part of the process. Yoga for me is so much more than exercise, it's crucial for my wellbeing. I am going to be doing the 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene which is an awesome way for you to get involved too and get all of the amazing benefits of Yoga!  

I have also invested in a Daily Greatness Journal. I have been looking for something like this for some time and although its a little on the pricey side it is totally worth it. 


This is an absolutely beautiful journal designed to be completed every day. Its somewhere to record your hopes, dreams and desires and guides you through the process to help you make those dreams a reality! This journal will not leave my side and I hope it will help me to achieve what I really want this year. To be the best version of me. Compassionate, kind, happy, healthy, loving, and generous. Here's to an amazing year. Happy New Year and thanks for sticking with me for all these years! 


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