30 January, 2013

Shake it! How do you Spice up Your Life?

They say variety is the spice of life, and 'they' are wise.

Whilst I am an adventurous one, I am also a creature of routine. I like to do things in a certain way, at a certain time, wearing my lucky socks. Call me OCD, but come on, who doesn't have their obsessive habits...? It's humanity's way of staying afloat, of finding some control in a life that who are we kidding? We have no control over. We can barely predict what footwear we'll need later that same day. Ultimately,
 nothing stays the same, every single living body on this earth is unique and just when you think you're getting into the swing of things, something comes along and changes your whole life. For a long time I feared those changes and fought against things if they weren't in my 'plan' or felt difficult at the time. However, having watched my life progress over the past few years, its panning out pretty good as a result of those very things I didn't think should have been happening or didn't enjoy at the time. Difficult times became incredible, hateful experiences taught me where to find love and some of the most challenging events of my life laid the foundations for building up what and who I am today - so am I so thankful for all of it, as I'm pretty alright with Me right now.

This confidence that things pan out as they're supposed to, when you're working hard to be the best person you can be, has taught me to go with the flow a little more. I will always be ambitious and determined, but with maturity I have learnt that actually I'm going to be my version of okay anyway, so I don't need to strive too fiercely and what time I have tea tonight probably won't effect my future too drastically either. While I'm getting better at taking things as they come and remaining fundamentally happy throughout whatever challenges come my way, what I want to get better at is shaking things up a little, a little more often. I want to challenge my inner Monica. I don't refer to shaking up the the 'big things' (jobs, relationships, money) because I am experienced enough to know that when the big things are working we should damn well keep them there, because some things in our life need to be the solid ingredients. I do however refer to those little spices and fine tunings, things we can change daily to keep the recipe fresh and happy. It's a challenge for me, for someone who clings to routine, but it's a challenge I set myself a while back and I'm having some fun experimenting with colours and flavours a little more (no, this is not my baking blog).

So far, 2013 has for me been variety, giving myself more of a break and having more old-fashioned, belly-laughing FUN. I have loads coming up over the next month and I will be blogging about some of the things I have done and am doing of late, but for now here's an account of my recent 'different' weekend and week so far.  Sorry I didn't blog at the time, I was too busy gawping at nipple tassels.

Shaking IT!

This weekend I had one of my oldest bestest friends to stay, and we have really nailed our routine of; chat, food, chat, wine, chat, vodka, chat, dance floor, slur words, pizza, slur more words, bed and a hungover goodbye the next day. However I put my 'new things;' rule to the test and challenged us both to do things differently this time around, as we both needed it. Hard when its so easy to reach for the wine and let the talking do the rest, but we both wanted to do something different and it was like a mini-holiday. What's amazing is, we did it for less than £30 each. It really helped me get outside my own head and it was undiluted fun from start to finish.Needless to say, woman gonna be shakin' up her routine a wee bit more!

Manicures and massages -£15 pp for both treatments, at Body Zone Sheffield

I''ve resolved to get a massage a month this year, because I do a lot of excercise that hurts, I work bloody hard, I no longer spend 90% of my salary on wine, I get tense in my back and I just want to okay! As a treat, I hunted out the best deal in town for me and my friend to get a back, neck and shoulder massage on Saturday and we found an amazing deal - 30 minute massage each, followed by a complimentary nail treatment each. for £15. EACH. Amazing. It was so good to spend 2 hours getting pampered, I'm no WAG but when you work hard, every now and then you just need to treat your body. Spice #1 - winner!

If you know Sheffield, you know that Fancie do the best cakes in the village, but their recently opened restaurant on Eccleshall Road is something else. Massive portions, wholesome food, incredible value and a gorgeous quirky atmosphere - Fancie have excelled themselves. I have wanted to go for a few weeks so took lindsey here for a 'bite' (or 50) after our treatments and we sat in the window for hours setting the world to rights. Going somewhere new for food may sound far too obvious, but it really does add some new spice to ones life. Literally, probably.

Burlesque night - free entry on guestlisy or £13.50 general admission, at Leadmill hosted by Secrets of the Budoir Burleqsue
By chance I found out about the Burlesque night that was coming to Leadmill on Saturday night a few days beforehand, when I was searching for something new to do that was fun and didn't centre around getting hammered. I wasn't sure at first as I have never been to a Burlesque night and what if I needed to WEAR a CORSET?! But a few contacts tapped up later, a text to Lindsey confirming her interest and we were on the guest list and ready to see some booty. As it happens, we went in normal clothes and left the nipple tassles to the girls on stage, who were so funny, talented and entertaining. It was classy, it was fun, it was flirty and it was just what me and my gal needed to kick start our night. We even stayed for a boogy in the club night after as we were so fired up. (I don't have a photo of the semi-naked girls, sorry!)
2,000 Calorie Bootcamp - Eccy Road Bootcamp, £10/£12/£14 pp, 2.5 hours of pure workout!

Again, I saw this by chance on Facebook when Eccy Road Bootcamp advertised it on their page. It looked intense but I was up for it and Lindsey is one of my most hardcore fitness fanatic friends so knew she'd be on for the challenge too, she's training for Tough Mudder so no excuses! First thing Sunday we may have regretted it after a slightly late night, but we were both up and ready. The bootcamp was 2.5 hours of solid exercise, including a warm-up and cool-down. It's £12 per person or £20 for 2 people. We paid a tenner each and out of that we got a warm-up, 1 hour of circuits, a kettle bells session, an intense bootcamp session, some lower impact 'games' and finishing off with an intense half hour of Body Attack (my favourite bit, you get to dance about like crazy to songs like Superman!) followed by a warm down. I loved every second apart from the kettle bells which I wasn't so great at. They are roughly once a month and I will be going again for sure. Trying new stuff is all good, but challenging yourself is even better! 2.5 hours is the longest I have ever worked out for including any Half-Marathons I have done, so I was buzzing for the rest of the day after that.

Sharing platter, good conversation and wine - priceless, anywhere!

This isn't a rare thing for me to do (at all), but last night I did it with someone new and on a SCHOOL NIGHT. Hayley and I have become acquainted through common interests such as work, blogging, baking...and wine as it turns out. We met up last night for a 'mate date' and it was so good to chat to someone new. Not only because she herself is so inspiring, but speaking to people you wouldn't normally or don't have to (ie aren't put with) can be so refreshing. A bit like when you randomly have an awesome conversation with someone on a train. Talking more to different people can really open your mind - sometimes the best advise I have had, including about huge life decisions, has been from people who barely know me. Hayley writes a gorgeous cooking blog and bakes a great cookie! @HayleyToothill

Body Attack - in most up to date gym fitness timetables

My exercise 'routine' usually includes running in the mornings a few times a week but - as much as I love running - at 6am in icy conditions, doing it too often that way can make my favourite thing a chore. So, in the theme of shaking things up and letting go of routine, I've recently been experimenting with different classes at the gym. Body Attack was my favourite section of 2,000 calorie bootcamp on Sunday, so I found an early morning class at my gym and gave it a go this morning. As suspected, an incredible start to the day - the class is okay for most fitness levels as you can work as hard as you want., but i'd recommend building up some stamina first. Body Attack combines core training, strength training, choreography and is basically an intense athletic workout using simple interval training technique. It works well for me as there is a lot of bouncing around to motivating music, including a sideways fist pump that feels like you're flying and/or superwoman! Definitely a good alternative to running, so whole I'll still be pounding the pavements, I now have a really fun and less dangerous alternative.

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