Confessions of a Gym Convert

I’m sitting on the sofa, with a glass of vino and a magazine whilst boyfriend ogles at football.  All of a sudden this crazy thought runs through my head .. ‘I’d rather be at the gym.’  Shocker.  Those of you who know me well, will know that my idea of exercise is my weekly dance class (swiftly followed by a four pack of Red Stripe), busting a move past midnight or walking to and from the kitchen for a cuppa.

Since I’ve moved back to the ole’ hometown, I’ve been greeted by my fitness fanatic besties whose daily chants of ‘Join the gym’ and ‘Oh it will be SO much fun when we can go to the gym together’ got me quite mad.  So mad, I got a lift to the gym, got a tour, induction and handed over my direct debit details quite simply to shut them up.  But by golly did that one backfire.

In first year I joined the gym at University.  I went twice.  TWICE.  And one of those times I got so frightened because I didn’t know where the changing rooms were I spent the whole 45 minutes on a treadmill in a t-shirt and jeans.  Nightmare.  I frolicked by the next two years of Uni dancing thrice weekly, dancing the night away fourice (not a word really, is it?) weekly and hoping that was that in the ‘Health and Fitness’ department.

But something has happened since I’ve come home.  I’ve grown up (gosh, but that’s for a WHOLE other blog) and started taking this whole health thing a bit more seriously.

I find exercising dull.  I do!  Really, really dull.  Dancing, fine, great, y’all know that’s a hefty passion of mine but anything else?  Flipping boring to be honest.  Or so I thought.  The gym I attend has these fabulous machines with a TV on them, a fantastic circuits machine that hiss water pressure at you, these amazing swing things that look like they belong in a bondage bedroom and wait for it .. a climbing wall.  I walked in, and quite literally, excitement overload.  I had no idea what any of these things were and like a kid in a candy shop, felt ever so excited to give it all a go.  And day by day, week by week, that’s exactly what I did.

I always thought people that went to the gym were right idiots.  I mean, if you want to go on a treadmill, go on a flipping run!  If you want to lift weights, I’ve got two cans of baked beans you can borrow.  I thought that if I walked in in frayed tracksuit bottoms and a ‘Graduate 2013’ t-shirt I’d get the ‘you shouldn’t be here’ looks, like when I order a large glass of Pinot at 10.55am (it’s 5.55pm somewhere).  But there isn’t any of that.  If anything, people look at you with respect, silently applauding, ‘well done you’ looks.  It feels good.

For about two months now I’ve been experimenting with all the bits and bobs and every day I find something new.  Today, I even went on a SKIING machine, can you believe that?!  My bum feels fabulous.  From ‘gym’ being a dirty word, it’s become a word of excitement, of enjoyment.  It’s something I look forward to, a break from an essay, an evening out with my friends, or just an hour of Bella time.  I’m not on any crazy mission to lose weight, or even tone up.  I just feel good after exercise.  I feel good after finding a new machine or finding a new muscle in my body I didn’t know existed.  Going to the gym feels good!  So, I’ve somehow transformed from a girl who ate pizza 5 nights a week, to a woman who respects her body and her health, and my good old friend the gym has helped me do that.  My advice?  Find a FUN gym!  One with sex swings, trampolines and climbing walls.  You never know what else will come with it. 

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Still True

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Cyprus Swimwear

Hello from Cyprus!  I do hope the weather is as glorious wherever you are as it is here (35 degrees).  If so, well done.  I’m away with Boyfriend and his family in a beautiful hotel in the Coral Bay area, near Paphos of Southern Cyprus, and it is just gorgeous.  I’ve had a spa treatment, done a Pilates class, eaten caviar and drunk champagne.  Enough said.

I haven’t been on a proper beach holiday in a good couple of years, since Boyfriend and I headed to Turkey in 2011.  I’ve of course, worn swimwear whilst travelling, but I didn’t really care the same way about misshapen swimsuits and mismatching bikinis.  I think there’s just something about travelling and living out of a backpack that means you let yourself go.  But on holiday?  Everyone wants to look and feel their best, and rightly so!    Thus, a couple of weeks ago, it was necessary to pop to Westfield at Shepherd’s Bush to purchase a few key items.  After three hours trawling the shops, and an hour in a Debenhams cubicle I finally found some beautiful pieces, that I feel really suit me and my body shape, and I thought I’d share.  Here’s what I’m wearing this holiday:

Gorgeous Bikini

This bikini is from the ‘Gorgeous’ range at Debenhams.   I showed Boyfriend and he instantly called me Wilma, from the Flintstones, but no matter!  I like it anyway.  I think the leopard print pattern is poolside daring which I love, but is given a ‘glam’ factor by the gold clasps.  I also love that the bikini top gives sufficent boob support and that the bottoms come up a bit higher.  This is a great bikini for swimming lengths or playing volleyball.

Floozie Swimsuit

This bikini is from the ‘Floozie’ by Frost French range at Debenhams – a fast growing favourite brand of mine!  I absolutely love this swimsuit, first and foremost because it’s so comfortable.  It’s also incredibly flattering, for any bodyshape.  The fifties style hipster peplum covers a multitude of sins and the colour and pattern is so eyecatching by the pool.

Floozie Bikini Top

Floozie Bikini Bottoms

The second bikini is again from the ‘Floozie’ by Frost French range at Debenhams.  This is more of a sunbathey bikini as opposed to a watersports bikini.  The strap detaches for even tanlines and the skirt style bottoms add protection for the tops of the legs (where I seem to burn so badly!).  This fifties style bikini is another flattering item for my curvy shape, and another comfy one too!

Are you having any holidays this summer?  What items are you wearing?  Take care!

(N.B. All items can be found on the Debenhams website – this is NOT a sponsored post)

Meet Me Halfway

(I wrote this last night when wordpress was down.  Hence the NOW uploadage.)  So that’s it.  I’m officially halfway!  3 down, 3 to go.  Such an incredible feeling.  Between flitting in and out of college for revision sessions I’ve had a Tesco clothes shopping spree, seen my girls, hung out at the pub and had boozy bbqs galore.  It’s going good.  With an entire subject completed and out the way I revise nonstop, just less of the subjects.  Silly Annabel just thought the revision would let up, apparently not. It’s okay though, the subjects are relatively enjoyable and my ridiculous rainbow of revision notes keeps me going throughout the day.

I’ve also come to rely upon cottage cheese on crackers (thanks Rosie) and copius amounts of salami, combined with standard coffee, jelly beans and poppadoms.  Yes, so whilst my revision diet has been growing profusely, so has my stomach.  Refer to previous post ‘Empowered’ but I’m definitely going to try and eat healthier.  Today I went on a run, an actual run.  It was beyond excruciating but now I feel lovely!    So hope you’ve enjoyed my miniature blog about what I’ve been up to, I’m off to blow my burnt calories on the World Cup and beer.  Laters!

Human Equivalent of Carlsberg

The other day I rang my bestie Rosie in an absolute tiz.  ‘I can’t do this!’, ‘I’m scared!’, ‘I’m so burnt out’, ‘I can’t do this!’ I wailed down the phone to her like an absolute dumbo.  Now screw the Carlsberg pep talk, the Rosie Hall pep talk is the way forward.  Whilst I sat huddled in my pjs surrounded by my standard sea of revision notes, Rosie brought me to calm, totally restoring my aura.  I’ve come to realise that I’m quite a spiritual person, I strive to have peace within my mind, body and soul, and naturally, A Level hell has blown that out the water.  So as I sat with my coffee and jelly beans not really knowing what to do, the Rosie Hall words were all that was really needed.

She made me realise that I’ve worked so hard.  I don’t think I give myself enough credit.  I’ve been revising flat out since February time, my only break being my birthday celebrations.  She said how I’m technically on holiday, how I should chill out and read a magazine, just cause I want to, just cause I can.  She said I should exercise more, release those endorphins, and start to feel good about myself and my body some more.  She said I should treat myself, today I used my most expensive perfume and body butter, why would I save it?  I feel like I’ve got my mojo back a bit.  I’ve forgotten who I am and my happiness in being so stressed.  Yes I will still work hard of course, but Rose made me come to my senses in the fact that I might have been overdoing it.  And also, how each of these A2 modules is in fact worth only about 30% of my overall mark, I didn’t even realise I’ve got most of the hard work behind me!

So I feel much better.  And tomorrow, as I head to the exam hall for my first of the scary A Levels I will hold my head high and ‘Recall, Compose and Respond’ to each question, in the immortal words of my amazing Uncle.  I’ve done all I can do.  I’ve revised all I can revise.  All I can do now is be confident, do my very best and have the knowledge that I worked my hardest.  So I’m not doing it for Bobby, I’m doing it for myself, my incredible family and my awesome friends.  I can do this, and I will do this.  Bottoms up.

<img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-226" title="Rosie Hall –