The Importance of Loving your Womanhood

If you know me, you will know that I’m a fairly confident person. When it comes to my womanhood, however, I know there was a time where I embraced it much more than I do now.

In the last couple of years I have noticed that while I try to get a grip on my job, my plans for the future, and my life in general, the idea of being sensible began to cast a shadow over my womanhood. Though I have always been encouraging towards other women with what they wish to do with their lives and their bodies, I was unknowingly beginning to cover myself up.

What I want for my womanhood

I have always been surrounded by a wonderful group of friends who share the same values as me when it comes to womanhood. Your body is your own, no one can or should tell you what you can or cannot do with it, no one can decide whether your sexual actions are taboo or otherwise, and you should do whatever you like as long as you’re never intentionally hurting anyone in the process (we also have to remember that people are only human and make mistakes so it would be foolish to shame someone for hurting another unintentionally). So why do I not apply this to my own womanhood?

Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t WANT to do something sexually, there is no reason to argue otherwise, that is your personal stance on your own womanhood. If you want to wear clothes that cover you head to toe, then that’s perfectly okay. If you don’t want to talk to friends about your sex life, that’s okay too. For me, however, I’m one of those people who wish to wear more “risque” clothes and has honest conversations about what goes on in the bedroom, but sometimes I find myself being blocked by my conscience, and I find it to be a knock to my womanhood.

You can’t judge a book by its cover

Though you may have seen photos and other posts on my social media accounts that suggest I’m extremely confident with my womanhood, knowing me on a more personal level would perhaps suggest that I tend to put up a shield without intending to do so. I’ll put an outfit on that I think looks fabulous, then in an hour, I’m in a public place, worrying about the fact that I look “too slutty” or that I appear to be trying too hard.

I will say, however, that pole is something where I don’t even have to think about my womanhood. When in training, I don’t see myself as either being too sexual or too prudish, my body is simply mine and I’m working hard to be proud of it. But despite having a sanctuary where my womanhood doesn’t feel sheltered, I want to bring that out of the studio and into my everyday life.

Baby steps to rediscover my womanhood

So what changes have I chosen to make? Many of you may have heard of Katherine Elizabeth if you are based in Manchester. Though she is a dear friend of mine, she is also an incredible photographer with a knack for making anyone feel comfortable in front of the camera. As part of the plan to rediscover my womanhood, we came up with the idea of a simple photo shoot to help rebuild my confidence.

If I were to go to any other photographer, I fear we would have been there for hours trying to get the right selection of images. We had too many to choose from by the time we were done, and we were surprised that the shooting time took as little as it did. We managed to narrow down the images to a selection of around thirty. I had to ask her to surprise me with the final few as I was so overwhelmed with how happy I was with the photos!

Seeing things clearly

I don’t remember the last time I looked at a photo of myself and thought “Wow, I am hot!” It’s just not the norm to think that way, we’re supposedly not allowed to fully embrace our womanhood. We are told that we should love ourselves more, but the second we start to embrace how we look, our sexiness, our “duck faces” and “smizes”, we are suddenly vain and full of ourselves.

Since the photo shoot, I have felt more confident in my womanhood. I won’t say that I am where I aim to be just yet, but it’s a start and a big one at that. I’m taking more selfies, being more adventurous with my makeup and wardrobe choices, and caring less about what others may think.

What do you want for your womanhood?

As I said, this is journey is my own. I can’t determine what your idea of womanhood is, nor anyone else’s, but if you feel that something is missing then I encourage you to look for it. It’s not up to the rest of the world to decide what we do with our bodies or our life, so it’s important to look in the mirror from time to time and tell yourself that you are amazing, wonderful, spectacular and that no one else can determine otherwise.

However you view your womanhood, it is always going to be yours and it’s up to you to own it!

Though I have said it a so many times in these last few weeks, I am beyond grateful to Katherine Elizabeth for taking the time to do this shoot with me and put a reminder in my brain to love my womanhood for what it is and how I want to carry it with me. You may see some changes in my social media now, but I don’t think my journey to loving my womanhood is complete just yet.

Do you ever find yourself struggling to embrace your womanhood? I would love to know your thoughts.

LaceyFitspo xx

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Easy Vegan Jambalaya Recipe

This weekend I have been very busy, but I found a super easy meal prep for my lunches this week. Jambalaya! I’ve never made jambalaya before, let alone a vegan version, but I needed something quick and easy, and I had a recipe card from some supermarket and thought I’d see if I could do it. I haven’t followed the recipe completely, I’ve made a cheeky cheat version with similar ingredients, but it came out so good!

Continue reading “Easy Vegan Jambalaya Recipe”

Money Free March… How did I do?

This is almost a week later than planned… Oops!

Many of you have been asking me how Money Free March went. I wanted to write halfway through the month, but a lot has been going on and I feel like I have barely stopped! I didn’t have much time to sit down and calculate my savings, but I can happily say that I saw a significant impact by the end of Money Free March.

There were a lot of obstacles during Money Free March

I will be honest. I tried to be as prepared as possible during Money Free March, but there were so many unexpected obstacles that interrupted my plans. As a blogger, I go to a number of events, but there were many where we were expected to eat, only to find that there were mostly a few nibbles that wouldn’t fill a person.

Too many times did I have to buy food afterward to avoid feeling queasy on the bus home. I was sensible, however, and opted for what was cheaper, though I will admit that didn’t always mean healthy.

My habits dropped dramatically

In the first week of Money Free March, all I wanted to do was spend. I felt the need to keep myself indoors as much as I could at the weekend to avoid nipping to Primark for this that and the other. I also had two moments of weakness where I felt the need to buy a coffee on my way to work and I caved. However, two coffees in a month as opposed to my usual… thousand? Definitely an improvement.

The only times I really left the house was if I had plans with people or if I were going away for the weekend. When Money Free March was over, I had a new mindset on shopping. I can now stop and ask myself if I truly need it, and if not then I can walk away without thinking I’m lost without it.

I’m glad I put money aside for certain activities

I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who can’t do nothing. Money Free March came with a lot of prearrangements, and I’m so glad they were, or I would have gone insane. I’m also glad that I put a budget together in order to do these activities. Keeping within budget meant that I wouldn’t go overboard, but I could still enjoy myself.

I don’t think that saving money means you should stay in all the time until you have reached your goal. I also spent days at my friend’s house, sharing a bottle of wine and simply relaxing. I didn’t get as crafty as I had planned, but that’s due to having a busier schedule than expected.

Money Free March certainly paid off

As mentioned, I didn’t get time to calculate as I went on, but I can happily say that there wasn’t a day where I felt worried about how much was in my bank and the only times I checked my balance was to see if any necessary payments had gone through.

By the end of the Money Free March, I had enough saved to finally purchase a new laptop, something I have been needing for two years. I even have some left over, but I have moved it into a savings account for a rainy day.

So, what did I learn by the end of Money Free March?

Saving money is hard, but it’s certainly not impossible. The biggest thing you need to change is your view on what you really need to buy. I also think that to constantly remind yourself of what your savings can or will go towards, then you’re more likely to stick to the plan.

What advice would I give for saving money?

So here’s a breakdown of things to consider

  • Think of what you have planned for the month – put a budget together
  • Avoid hitting the shops at all costs, and uninstall any shopping apps on your phone
  • Have an emergency cash stash for any unexpected bills – you never know what could happen
  • Make time for meal prep – don’t forget to include snacks for potential emergencies

I would love to know if you tried Money Free March, or perhaps you’re going to try Money Free May instead?

LaceyFitspo xx

 

Reasons to Love Zumba!

I dedicate this blog post to everyone who started off their fitness year strong before coming to a crashing halt. You hit the gym hard, drank every smoothie you found on Pinterest, “cleansed” your body from all the naughty snacks you devoured at Christmas and New Year… Then nothing.

Hey, you’re only human! In most cases, it’s not actually because you simple HATE exercise, it normally comes down to what you personally enjoy. You need something to get you pumped up, something that you’re more likely to do consistently because it’s just that fun. You need something that doesn’t make you feel rubbish when you find yourself struggling to keep up. Maybe try Zumba?

If you guys follow me on Twitter, you know how much I love Zumba. That wonderful, dance-tastic fitness craze that came into our world in the early noughties which blasts out tracks by Pitbull, Shakira and much more. Though I know many people who are mad about the latest Kim K butt blaster, I’m more about leaving the studio with legs like jelly and a smile on my face than wondering whether my body is looking amazing yet (not saying I never have those moments, as I said, we’re only human).

You can never do Zumba wrong

As a previous instructor of mine used to say, “if you can’t keep up, just shake it ’til you make it!” The moves aren’t too complicated, but you’re always going to have moments where you slip up and fall out of time with the steps, but you just laugh it off!

No one is judging you

One of my biggest issues with the gym is feeling like I shouldn’t be there. It’s never been enough to stop me, but I guarantee you won’t feel that way at Zumba. Join in on all the “Wooo’s” and “Hey! Hey! Hey’s!” You’ll realise that there is no room for being “too cool” and that going with the flow is what it’s all about.

Zumba doesn’t feel like a workout

I mean, physically it does. You’re obviously aware that your body is being pushed, but it’s so bouncy and exciting that you simply don’t care! You can burn between 400 and 700 calories in one class, but you honestly wouldn’t think so. It just feels like one big party!

The People are Amazing

The best thing about going to Zumba is that everyone is different. We all come in a wonderful rainbow of shapes, sizes, personalities, and we support each other with “woop’s” partner moves and catwalk poses.

There is a Zumba class for everyone

No Zumba classes are ever the same. Some I have loved, others not so much. If you find that you try one class and think it’s not for you, it could actually just come down to that particular class. For me, I need a bit of a challenge, so if a class is too easy then I need to find somewhere else. However, if I also need an instructor who is engaging. Try a few places out before you settle on one class.

It’s more than your average cardio

Yes, you’ll be out of breath and reaching for your water bottle between each song, but it’s much more than a basic cardio class. You will be toning your body as you squat, kick, booty-shake for an hour, loving every single minute of it.
Zumba is something I have been in love with since I was seventeen, and now I’m so excited to say that this Summer I will be doing my Zumba instructor training! I’m so over the moon about this new adventure and I will hopefully be instructing classes in a few places around Manchester, and hope some of you will join my classes!

LaceyFitspo xx

Mexican Style Hotpot

Being frugal is easy when you enjoy one pot wonders. Larry and I are big fans of our slow cooker, and tend to make most dinners that way. Though we both tend to follow recipes, I’m also rather drawn towards making it up as I go along, and this recipe is one of them.

We love Mexican food, but sometimes we can get a little bit bored of chilli and fajitas (okay maybe not fajitas, they are the best). I created this recipe when I was about to write one down from a vegan cookbook, but the list of ingredients was insane, and I got bored. Instead I just followed the idea behind the recipe to come up with this.

I wanted to create something filling, full of flavour and ideal for the weather we have been facing recently (snow in March, really?). All ingredients were bought at Lidl, totalling £5.34, and the entire thing serves eight people. That makes each portion just under 67p!

I also put the recipe in on MyFitnessPal. Each serving is around 260kcal, has 45g of carbs, 1.4g fat and 7.2g protein. Is it too bold to say I think I accidentally created the healthiest comfort food ever?

Though I made the hotpot in a slow cooker, you could use a big pan on a high heat. It will take a couple of hours to cook, so remember to stir regularly.

Ingredients

  • 3 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 packets fajita seasoning mix
  • 2 tins kidney beans
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 2 peppers, chopped (or torn with your hands like I do)
  • 1 tsp basil
  • A pinch of salt
  • 500ml water

Though it’s basically a “throw it in” method, I would always suggest chopping the potatoes an peppers after you have thrown in the other ingredients as it gives the seasonings time to sink into the tomatoes and water.

Did you give it a try? Let me know how it goes and tweet me/tag me in your photos!

LaceyFitspo xx

Money Free March… and Another Day with GiffGaff Game plan

I didn’t think I would be writing another blog post about GiffGaff, but I’m really glad to be doing so. Last weekend I joined them at the Principle in Manchester for a day of all things frugal, followed by an in depth break down of their new Game plan service. Though I learned a fair bit from them before, this taught me more about my own finances and improving my credit score. I decided that it would be a good idea to use this information and take on the challenge of Money Free March, but I will go into more detail on that later.

The day was filled with activities based around being thrifty, from a cooking workshop to finger knitting, it put so many ideas in my head of ways I could be saving money. I already have a natural knack for cooking, but I have so much inspiration for getting crafty this month in order to leave more money in my pocket!

I really did enjoy the finger knitting. We all made what was either worn as headbands or necklaces, and of course I opted for pink. It gave me a great idea for my old bath towels that are falling apart, so I’m gonna have a fair few days of crafting planned.

So I went away from the event with a bit of a plan in place. I wanted to see if I could spend as little as possible throughout March. I first of all decided to sign up with GiffGaff Game Plan to check my credit score, which is apparently not doing to great. Money Free March is going to be my starting point to get some money put aside before I start building up my credit history. I also figured that by doing this in March and giving you guys feedback throughout, it will help any of you who are considering doing this yourselves, perhaps a Money Free May.

The Challenge

If I want to do Money Free March properly, I need to establish some rules. Though I have had a fair bit of experience with surviving days with next to no money, I don’t want to make my month so difficult I can’t enjoy myself. So here’s what I’m working with.

Prior Commitments

The first thing to address is that before I decided to start Monday Free March, I agreed to do a few things this month that involved spending, so I have purposely put a budget aside for those things in February so it doesn’t affect my plan. I’m still going to spend less than I originally wanted, but at least I won’t have to cancel.

Keep it healthy

My blog is based on healthy living, so it wouldn’t be right to buy any food simply because it’s cheap. If anything, this challenge should encourage me to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.

Nights in and Free Days Out

As mentioned, I want to get crafty for Money Free March, so instead of going out for dinner or drinks, I’ll be hosting a few nights in. A lot of this will revolve around crafting and cooking, but I will also host a few movie nights as well. On top of this, I have compiled a list of free days out so Larry and I can go on dates, or I can simply head out with friends.

Exercise

The one thing I will still be paying for is Zumba, because after all, it’s only £1 a week. I’m going to hold off on paying for pole classes, but I’ll continue to train with my friends for free. I will also be trying out YouTube channels and break down my favourites for you guys to try.

Freezer Food

So I’ll be cooking in bulk, but I already have food that I have stored in the freezer. Though I could have made a plan to eat everything before starting this challenge, I realised that’s a lot of food to get through. Instead I’ll take note of freezer food days.

Limit the Food Shop

Finally, the way I shop will be different. I am refusing to buy any more food until the kitchen is pretty much empty. I have more than enough for a few weeks, but it always seems difficult to put something together when you’re getting towards the end. I’m just gonna have to take that challenge if I want to save as much as I can.

Keep a diary

Hallways through Money Free March, I will be posting an update on how I have done with keeping my spends to an absolute minimum, and what I’ve been getting up to to keep myself away from any financial temptation.

I hope you’re all excited to see how well I do. If you’re trying Money Free March as well, let me know how you get on!

LaceyFitspo xx

Getting Financially Fit with GiffGaff Gameplan

There are three key points in my blog tagline; happy, healthy and kinda broke. It’s not just something I say to look quirky and interesting. This blog focuses on living a happy and healthier lifestyle without breaking the bank, so when GiffGaff invited me to to Leeds to take part in their MoneyFit Challenge, there was no way I was going to say no!

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The aim of the event was to encourage young adults to start using a healthy approach to their finances. GiffGaff are launching a new money service to help you get on the right track with your spending, keep an eye on your credit score and bills all in one place. Everything you need to monitor will be there on your phone, broken down and easy to understand. I have spent the past five years struggling to gain control over my financial situation. It wobbles up and down throughout the year, but after talking with some of the GiffGaff team, I felt like this is a great way to keep everything together so I don’t lose track of where I am with my payments and savings.

The Event

So, as the service is to help you get financially fit, it wouldn’t be right to have fitness related activities in celebration. Myself and many other northern bloggers met with the company at FireHouse Fitness where we took part in some fun, motivating, and body pushing activities!

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Fresh berries on ice.

My team were first up in the exercise round. The aim was to run on a treadmill for twenty minutes straight, while burning as many calories as we could. The more we burned, the more money we would earn (up to 200kcal). The highest amount of money we could take home was £40. I burned 168kcal, putting me in third behind two other bloggers, and giving me a total of £33.

Believe it or not, I was the only one who cooled down afterwards. The girls told me how much they regretted it the next day!

After that we moved onto smoothies! The team was split in half, pink or green. Well, you’d think I would be on the pink team, but everyone wanted that, so I offered myself to the green team and made a spinach based energy booster, with apples, cucumber, lemon and a little bit of carrot. It was surprisingly nice!

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Our smoothie gurus showing us what they’re made of

Finally we talked to the GiffGaff team about their new service. One of the girls on my team was actually already with GiffGaff, and gave us a personal perspective of the service. It’s now something I am looking into for my own financial situation, and I encourage you to do the same if you’re in the same money boat as me.

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The GiffGaff team were so friendly and informative!

Final Thoughts

Though money isn’t the most important thing in the world, it’s a good idea to do what you can to keep yourself stable and in control financially. with GiffGaff, you have everything in one place, reducing financial stress, and giving you more freedom to focus on other things in life that are important to you!

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Collecting my earnings at the end of the event!

I had an amazing day, met wonderful people and I would like to thank GiffGaff and Firehouse Fitness for such a wonderful opportunity.

LaceyFitspo xx

Sweet potato burgers

This is actually a recipe which I ended up changing almost completely from Simply Nigella. Hers was a butternut squash and halloumi burger, but I don’t really like butternut squash. Anyway, this is my own spin!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, depending on size and mouths to feed
  • Sainsbury’s Greek style vegan cheese
  • wholemeal pitta bread
  • light mayo
  • pesto
  • spinach
  • tomatoes
  • salt & pepper

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200*C and wash the sweet potato(es)
  • Cut the potato into slices about 1.5cm each, then lay on a baking tray
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper (optional)
  • Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes
  • Mix a dollop of light mayo with a teaspoon of pesto to make a sauce.
  • Cut the pitta in half, then slice open through the middle
  • Spread the sauce and add spinach and chopped tomatoes
  • Remove sweet potato from oven and add one slice per half pitta
  • Crumble cheese on top
  • close the pitta and enjoy!

Winter warmer… Guksu!

Guksu can be made in many different ways, but as I only work with basic ingredients, this is more of an inspiration than a proper guksu recipe. Non the less, it’s a perfect winter warmer and is super easy to make!

Serves 5

Ingredients

  • 2 packs vegan noodles
  • ½ small bowl mixed frozen veg
  • ½ small bowl chopped mushrooms (can buy frozen too)
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp korean seasoning (can buy from Aldi or make own)
  • 2 sheets of nori
  • sriracha/chilli sauce (optional)

Method

Heat the noodles in a pan with hot water. Whilst doing so, slowly heat a large pan with water and add the Korean seasoning, and the noodle flavour packets. Then add the spring onions, frozen veg and mushrooms. Keep stirring every now and then to allow the flavours to mix.

When the noodles are ready, strain the water and add noodles to broth. For the rest of the nori, crush and serve a spoonful with each portion. Add sriracha/chilli sauce.

Serve and enjoy!

LaceyFitspo xx

Easy vegan breakfast bars

I am too lazy for breakfast in the morning and I know I’m not the only one. it’s so easy to forget to eat, but it’s the most important meal of the day! So I decided to throw together this super easy breakfast bar recipe which is not only vegan and healthy, but it’s absolutely delicious!

I know you can find recipes like this anywhere. In fact, chances are you don’t need a recipe to come up with something like this, but I thought it would be fun to write up what I did to make sure I get a healthy start to the day. This is a no bake recipe, only takes around 10 minutes to make and you get enough portions to grab throughout the week.

I don’t know about you guys, but I only ever get the urge to cook in the afternoon or late evening, so this was a good opportunity to prep it while I could be bothered and I know I won’t have to think about making it again for at least another week. I did end up making twice the amount I needed, but that’s because I was halfway through the first batch when I figured out ways to improve it. So off I went to grab a couple more ingredients, and here’s the final outcome.

What I love about these is that they’re perfect for chocaholics, but the chocolate is so well mixed in that you get enough of the taste without consuming more than you should, and the dried cranberries surprise you with a mouth watering, fruity burst. I found that adding banana reduced the crunch factor, which, if you’re anything like me, you will find is perfect for a morning bite. So, let’s get on with the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 150g special flakes/bran flakes/corn flakes/whatever
  • 75g desiccated coconut
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 1 ripe banana

Let’s do this!

The first thing you need is your breakfast flakes. I went for special flakes, but anything that’s healthy will do. Pour them into a bowl and use something to crush them into smaller pieces. If you have a pestle and mortar then use that. I don’t. I used a bottle of one kcal spray… A water bottle might work too actually.

Once you have crushed them to a small enough size, you can add the coconut and cranberries and mix together. Then mash the banana until it’s as smooth as can be and mix into the bowl.

Then it’s time to melt the chocolate. Break into small pieces (unless you have used chocolate chips) and throw it into a mixing bowl. The quickest way to melt them is to obviously microwave them. If you’re worried about the chocolate burning, make sure you leave a gap in the middle as that’s the hottest point. Microwave for about a minute, remove from the microwave and stir. Any lumps should melt as you stir it.

Once this is done you can mix the dry ingredients into the chocolate. Make sure you mix it to get an even coverage. Once you have your mix ready, it’s time to place into moulds. Though you can use cupcake cases, you will get smaller portions and will be wasting paper, so I suggest a silicone mould. Mine is heart shaped, but you can use a deep muffin tray or even a bar shaped mould if you can find one. Leave in the fridge to solidify.

And there you have it, chocolatey goodness at breakfast time with no guilt! Let me know how yours turn out… Maybe you switched yours up?