Oakley Giveaway Number Two!

Welcome to my Oakley giveaway, part two! Well done to last weeks winner of the rucksack, riding gloves and headbands-this week, I am giving away one pair of ladies Oakley sunglasses in tortoiseshell! These are seriously fab glasses!

How To Enter:

Facebook: Find our page @aBristolStateOfMind, and find the competition post, which will be pinned! All you need to do, is like the post, and comment on it, to be in with a chance of winning!

Twitter: Find our twitter page @BrizStateOfMind, and find the competition post, which will be pinned! All you need to do, is follow us, like and retweet the post!

Terms and Conditions:

When to Enter and Who can Enter

1.  The Competition opens on Monday the 5th of March 2018, and ends Friday the 16th of March, 2018. The winner will be announced on Monday the 19th of March 2018.

2. Entrants can enter at any point between these dates

3. Entrants can only enter the competition once but can like, comment, tweet and retweet as many times as they like

4. The competition is only open to UK residents aged 18 or over, excluding anyone professionally connected with the administration of the Competition.

5. Automated or bulk entries from third parties will be disqualified.

6. We reserve the right to exclude serial competition entrants who have entered more than 4 competitions in the last month.

Prizes

1.  The prize for winning the competition will be the receipt of the item listed above: 1 pair of ladies Oakley sunglasses, in tortoiseshell

2. The Prize is as stated and they cannot be sold or exchanged for cash, goods or services.

3. The winner will be selected at random. All names of entrants will be put into a hat, and one selected at random.

Data Protection and Publicity

1. Any personal data relating to participants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation. By entering the competition, you agree that A Bristol State Of Mind may contact you in relation to the competition.

2. Competition winners will be contacted by A Bristol State Of Mind. You must provide accurate contact details on notification.

3. A Bristol State Of Mind reserve the right to use the image, photograph, name and likeness of the winners for publicity, and in advertising, marketing, or promotional material, without prior notice or additional compensation to the winner. In entering the competition, all participants consent to such use of their image, photograph, name and likeness.

Competition Rules

1. The Competition will be run and Prizes will be awarded at A Bristol State Of Mind’s sole discretion.

2. If entering via Facebook, you must have liked and commented on the competition post, to be in with a chance to win. If entering via Twitter, you must be following A Bristol State Of Mind, and have liked and retweeted the competition post. We reserve the right to refuse entry into the competition, if these rules are not observed.

3. Anyone found to be using multiple accounts for entry, will be disqualified.

4. We reserve the right to change the competition rules and these Terms and Conditions from time to time. If we do so, we will always have the most up to date terms and conditions here on the blog, for each specific competition.

4. All images provided for purposes of the competition, are the property of A Bristol State Of Mind, and must not be used without our express permission.

5. The competition is not affiliated with Facebook or Twitter, in any way.

Liability and Indemnities

1. Except in the case of death or personal injury arising from its negligence, or in respect of fraud, and so far as is permitted by law, A Bristol State Of Mind exclude responsibility and all liabilities, whether direct or indirect, arising from:

1. Any postponement or cancellation of the competition.

2. Any changes to, the supply of or use of the prize.

3. Any act or default of any supplier, which are beyond our reasonable control.

4. A Bristol State Of Mind does not accept responsibility for any liability arising from technical incompatibility, problems relating to the internet, or technical difficulties of any kind

5. A Bristol State Of Mind shall not be liable, whether in tort, contract, misrepresentation or otherwise for loss of profits, loss of anticipated savings, loss of goods, loss of use, loss or corruption of data or information, or any special, indirect, consequential or pure economic loss, costs, damages, charges or expenses.

6.4. You agree to indemnify A Bristol State Of Mind against all liabilities, claims and expenses that may arise from any breach of your agreement with us.

Jurisdiction

1. The competition and these Terms and Conditions are governed by English Law. England & Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim that arises out of or in connection with these Terms and Conditions.

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Oakley Giveaway Time!

Yes, here it is! It’s time for the giveaway of Oakley prize bundle! The giveaway will open on Monday the 19th of February, and end on Sunday the 4th of March. The winner will be announced on Monday the 5th of March! Here’s what you could win:

1 One Oakley rucksack, in ‘blackout.’

2 One pair of Oakley Factory Road gloves, in XS.

3 One set of ladies Oakley headbands (includes 3 headbands, one black, one turquoise, and one turquoise, white, and black stripes.)

 

VERY EXCITING STUFF!!

How To Enter:

Facebook: Find our page @aBristolStateOfMind, and find the competition post, which will be pinned! All you need to do, is like the post, and comment on it, to be in with a chance of winning!

Twitter: Find our twitter page @BrizStateOfMind, and find the competition post, which will be pinned! All you need to do, is follow us, like and retweet the post!

Once this giveaway has ended, I have another exciting Oakley giveaway starting on Monday the 5th of March, so keep your eyes peeled…!

Terms and Conditions:

When to Enter and Who can Enter

1.  The Competition opens on Monday the 19th of February 2018, and ends Sunday the 4th of March, 2018. The winner will be announced on Monday the 5th of March 2018.

2. Entrants can enter at any point between these dates

3. Entrants can only enter the competition once but can like, comment, tweet and retweet as many times as they like

4. The competition is only open to UK residents aged 18 or over, excluding anyone professionally connected with the administration of the Competition.

5. Automated or bulk entries from third parties will be disqualified.

6. We reserve the right to exclude serial competition entrants who have entered more than 4 competitions in the last month.

Prizes

1.  The prize for winning the competition will be the receipt of the items listed above: 1 Oakley rucksack, in ‘blackout,’ one pair of Oakley Factory Road gloves, in XS, one set of ladies Oakley headbands (includes 3 headbands, one black, one turquoise, and one turquoise, white, and black stripes.)

2. The Prizes are as stated and they cannot be sold or exchanged for cash, goods or services.

3. The winner will be selected at random. All names of entrants will be put into a hat, and one selected at random.

Data Protection and Publicity

1. Any personal data relating to participants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation. By entering the competition, you agree that A Bristol State Of Mind may contact you in relation to the competition.

2. Competition winners will be contacted by A Bristol State Of Mind. You must provide accurate contact details on notification.

3. A Bristol State Of Mind reserve the right to use the image, photograph, name and likeness of the winners for publicity, and in advertising, marketing, or promotional material, without prior notice or additional compensation to the winner. In entering the competition, all participants consent to such use of their image, photograph, name and likeness.

Competition Rules

1. The Competition will be run and Prizes will be awarded at A Bristol State Of Mind’s sole discretion.

2. If entering via Facebook, you must have liked and commented on the competition post, to be in with a chance to win. If entering via Twitter, you must be following A Bristol State Of Mind, and have liked and retweeted the competition post. We reserve the right to refuse entry into the competition, if these rules are not observed.

3. Anyone found to be using multiple accounts for entry, will be disqualified.

4. We reserve the right to change the competition rules and these Terms and Conditions from time to time. If we do so, we will always have the most up to date terms and conditions here on the blog, for each specific competition.

4. All images provided for purposes of the competition, are the property of A Bristol State Of Mind, and must not be used without our express permission.

5. The competition is not affiliated with Facebook or Twitter, in any way.

Liability and Indemnities

1. Except in the case of death or personal injury arising from its negligence, or in respect of fraud, and so far as is permitted by law, A Bristol State Of Mind exclude responsibility and all liabilities, whether direct or indirect, arising from:

1. Any postponement or cancellation of the competition.

2. Any changes to, the supply of or use of the prize.

3. Any act or default of any supplier, which are beyond our reasonable control.

4. A Bristol State Of Mind does not accept responsibility for any liability arising from technical incompatibility, problems relating to the internet, or technical difficulties of any kind

5. A Bristol State Of Mind shall not be liable, whether in tort, contract, misrepresentation or otherwise for loss of profits, loss of anticipated savings, loss of goods, loss of use, loss or corruption of data or information, or any special, indirect, consequential or pure economic loss, costs, damages, charges or expenses.

6.4. You agree to indemnify A Bristol State Of Mind against all liabilities, claims and expenses that may arise from any breach of your agreement with us.

Jurisdiction

1. The competition and these Terms and Conditions are governed by English Law. England & Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim that arises out of or in connection with these Terms and Conditions.

With Fitness In Mind Week 4: Tilly From The Arts Fairies!

Hello, and welcome to the fourth instalment of With Fitness In Mind, a weekly series  where women chat about how fitness impacts their mental health, and how keeping their bodies fit, is important to keeping their mental health balanced.

This week, I’m delighted to Have the lovely Tilly, from The Arts Fairies! Tilly is passionate about making the arts accessible to families, and inspiring creativity through lots of different arts mediums, from dancing in your pyjamas with your kids to Bjork, to rediscovering a love of literature post children, to showcasing what’s on locally in Exeter with the arts, for both adults and children!

Here, Tilly shares with us how she needs to Zen right out with yoga, to keep her mental health balanced, while being a parent. Take it away, Tilly…!

What kind of exercise did you do before having children?

Tilly: Walking, swimming, yoga.

Do you do the same forms of exercise now, or has it changed and evolved?

Tilly: Two out of three! I still walk, but in the countryside as opposed in to the town. I also still do yoga; but at home instead of in a class, with the exception of the occasional yoga retreat day if I book it in advance. I don’t swim regularly at the moment.

Did you have any problems postnatally, that made exercise harder for you, or forced you to change the way you exercised?

Tilly: No, I just had to wait the usual 6 weeks. With baby number 1 my stomach muscles did that thing where they split, but pulled back together pretty soon. Luckily the exercises I enjoy are low impact anyway.

Did you feel that you got good support with how and when you could start exercising again postnatally?

Tilly: Yes, I got fairly good guidance with baby 1; the midwife showed me some exercises I could do to bring my tummy muscles back together. I honestly can’t remember with baby 2; maybe they thought I was a pro by then and didn’t need to be told twice – but I had actually forgotten until now…so thinking about it, I didn’t do anything!

Do you exercise more for mental well being, or physical well being?

Tilly: Definitely mental well being comes first – that’s what gets me to do it in the first place. The physical effects are obviously good, but I don’t notice them as much the improvement to my mental well being.

Did you notice a more significant link to fitness and mental health postnatally?

Tilly: I noticed that if I got out for a walk more, I’d feel much better in my mind. With my second baby I had to be out and about more because of taking the first one to nursery and groups and I think that although that in itself was hard work, getting out made the newborn days a much easier mental journey!

Which form of exercise do you find really benefits you with the happy endorphins, and sense of well being and calm?

Tilly: I do get this from a lovely woodland walk and a yoga retreat. However swimming makes me feel amazing every time! A few months ago I swam in the sea pool at Bude, it was very cold but I felt fantastic – so alive!

Do you struggle to find time to exercise  family and other commitments?

Tilly: I walk a lot with my family; they absolutely love being outside and nothing gives them more joy that donning their wellies and splashing in muddy puddles (thanks Peppa Pig). We’ve also started doing yoga together with the YouTube channel Cosmic Kids, it’s great! Of course all of this is at a lower impact than I’d do on my own and it’s nice to have my own space for my exercise. So if I go a walk on my own, it has to be immediately after the school run or it won’t happen. With my yoga practice, I have found the best time is just before I go to bed, but sometimes it’s inevitably too late and I want to just go straight to sleep. With swimming, there isn’t a public pool near to me so I have to factor a drive there and back with changing faff, which takes a big window out of my limited child-free time. I sometimes go with the kids of course, but I do miss having a proper swim myself!

What is the best hack you have for making sure you get some exercise in, no matter how little?

Tilly: To put my walking shoes/wellies in the car with the children’s backpacks and lunchboxes before the school run – then I’ll definitely go for that walk after dropping them off. I’m also guaranteed to get exercise when we are looking after my parent’s dog as he needs a walk every day! With yoga, if I put out my mat or set up the DVD in advance, I’m more likely to do it than falling into bed.

What is your proudest fitness achievement to date?

Tilly: Hmm probably getting to the point with yoga where I could easily hold the ‘downward dog’ for more than 20 seconds and enjoy the stretch!

Who is your fitness inspiration (this can be a celebrity, or someone you know!)

Tilly: I love the yoga teacher Nadia Narain, her strong calm nature is inspirational and her teaching is very clear.

What is your favourite killer track to exercise to, that never fails to make you want to get your pump on?! (Or your Zen on, on this case!)

Tilly: If I’m really pumping, the hits of Girls Aloud!

What are your exercise goals for the future?

Tilly: I’ve got my eye on signing up to a local fitness centre because they have a lovely swimming pool. I’d love to get swimming back into my regular routine and create a bit more “me-time”.

Well, thank you so much Tilly! I do a lot of fast, high impact workouts, but I really want to try and get into yoga, to also help improve my mental well being-now I feel truly inspired!

You can follow Tilly on Twitter, and read some posts from The Arts Fairies here and here!

See you next time, for round five…!

With Fitness In Mind Week 3: Louise, From Pink Pear Bear

Hi, and welcome to week 3 of ‘With Fitness In Mind,’  a weekly series  where women chat about how fitness impacts their mental health, and how keeping their bodies fit, is important to keeping their mental health balanced.

This week, I am ecstatic to have the amazing Louise, from Pink Pear Bear! Now, Louise is a bit of a superstar blogger, and this is no surprise, as her blog is the perfect mixture of beautiful photography, humour, with a real down to earth mental health element. She mixes a love of her family, with honesty about how they can drive her a bit crazy, with a love of cake, and also a love of exercise to keep her balanced.  Go Louise!

 

Random fact: Me and Louise once shared a room, having never met each other in real life…! We ‘knew’ each other online, and were both going to the same event in London Taaaaawn, and decided to save money by sharing a room together. This was handy, because I was super nervous about going, and had already decided that she was going to be my friend for the entire weekend-she didn’t know this, but luckily we got on really well, and up until now, she doesn’t think I’m weird or stalkery at all…!  Here are her answers to my questions…!

What kind of exercise did you do before having children?

Louise: I did a lot of walking. We lived in Wales, and I would climb mountains and walk for miles on the beach. I’ve climbed Snowdon 3 times!

Do you do the same forms of exercise now, or has it changed and evolved?

Louise: Now the children are older and at school, I’m back to walking the dog every day. I also took up running when they were smaller, as it was something I could do in the tiny windows of free time that I had, and it also gave me amazing headspace. I joined a bootcamp style gym, that has very short HIT sessions, that helped me lose loads of weight.

Did you have any problems postnatally, that made exercise harder for you, or forced you to change the way you exercised?

Louise: Where do I start!!!!! After the births, I could barely walk, let alone exercise, and then I had severe postnatal depression and anxiety. I also had medical issues that meant I had to have an operation and stop running for several months. I found it very hard to get back into it, and have only started doing a lot of walking again now, because we got a puppy.

Did you feel that you got good support with how and when you could start exercising again postnatally?

Louise: No, but then I didn’t get much support with anything at all, with my first.

Do you exercise more for mental well being, or physical well being?

Louise: Hmmm, good question. Running is very helpful at controlling my anxiety, but I’ve noticed that when I feel better physically in myself, I am happier.

Did you notice a more significant link to fitness and mental health postnatally?

Louise: Yes, absolutely, but then I hadn’t ever tried it to help before. I think having children meant that I couldn’t escape my mental health issues as much as I had done before. I had to find ways of tackling it that I could do, and still parent. So heavy drinking was out!

Which form of exercise do you find really benefits you with the happy endorphins, and sense of well being and calm?

Louise: Running. Running is my saviour, but also something that I really struggle to do at times too.

Do you struggle to find time to exercise  family and other commitments?

Louise: It’s much easier now that both children are in school, but I still find it hard to squeeze it all in. I usually walk the dog first thing, and then I work and we have dinner quite early, so I’m struggling to fit running in. But when Barney (the dog!) is one in March, I can get him running with me.

What is the best hack you have for making sure you get some exercise in, no matter how little?

Louise: Get a dog! Only partly joking!!

(Yes, do it, definitely get one! Look at him…!!!)

What is your proudest fitness achievement to date?

Louise: Without a doubt, running the Cheltenham Half Marathon about 5 years ago. I really thought I was going to pass out at some points, and my knee almost gave way on me, but I managed to run across the finish line, and I wasn’t last!

Who is your fitness inspiration (this can be a celebrity, or someone you know!)

Louise: Do you know, I don’t really have one! Isn’t that awful! I suppose I was never the type to admire sports personalities when I was younger. I think maybe people like Pink, who has an amazing strong figure, if I had to pick somebody.

What is your favourite killer track to exercise to, that never fails to make you want to get your pump on?!

Louise: Hmmm, anything with a good beat, I think Rag n Bone Man, Skin, but the Wilkinson remix.

What are your exercise goals for the future?

Louise: I want to get back into running. I felt so much better and stronger when I was running regularly, and mentally it helped me a lot too.

Thank you soooo much Louise!! You can read about Lou’s Couch To Half Marathon here, and one of her mental posts here.

You can also follow Lou for brilliant posts, witty shizzle, and a lot of chatting, on twitter, instagram, facebook, and YouTube.

See you next week, for round four…!

 

 

Let’s Capture Some Positive Moments!

It seems just so easy, to get to the end of the day, and feel the searing need to reach for whatever alcohol is in the fridge. Follow this with carb loading, and the words ‘it’s been a TERRIBLE day,’ and absolutely anything positive from the day, has been lost.

It’s not always easy to find the positive, and sometimes you have to really look for it. It can be as small as ‘everybody cried all day, nobody ate anything I made them, but at lunchtime we saw a rainbow out of the window, and it made everyone smile for two minutes while we talked about all the colours.’ Yes, sometimes it has to be as small as that.

I’ve been trying really hard to do this over the last few months-my friend even bought me a book, where you write down one line of something positive from each day, so that at the end of the year, you have a book recounting 365 days of positive!

I’d really like other people to join in this with me, and to start conversations about the small positive moments from our days-the impact on your mental health from focusing on these small moments, instead of the largely negative parts-is huge!

On twitter, tweet me your positive moments (@BrizStateOfMind) it can either be in picture form, or just to tell me that you changed a poonami with one hand, made lunch with the other, all while drinking a hot coffee zero handed! Tag your positive pictures #mypositivecapture. Also tag your positive Instagram pictures with the hashtag, and I’ll repost some of my favourites (I’m @abristolstateofmind  there.) You can also send me pictures, or comment with your positive moments on Facebook too!

In return, this is what I’ll be doing…!

Next week, starting Monday the 22nd of January, I pledge to find 10 minutes for myself each day, doing something I want to do, for 7 days. I will shout it from the rooftops as a #mypositivecapture goal, and want to hear yours!

The following week, starting the week of the 29th, I pledge to do 20 minutes of exercise each day, for 7 days. I’ve found that I’ve been so busy trying to inspire mindfulness and exercise in others, that I haven’t found enough time to exercise myself!

The third week, starting the 5th of February, I pledge to try a different healthy meal, every day, for 7 days. I will share any interesting recipes I find, and do my best to get some good pictures of what I eat!

The following two weeks, I’ll be running a giveaway-more details on that will follow…!

I am sooooooooo excited about #mypositivecapture, and really hope to get some inspiring conversations around it going! I can’t wait to see your pictures, and hear your stories!

With Fitness In Mind Week 2: Dawn From Rhyming With Wine

Hi! Welcome to week 2 of ‘With Fitness In Mind,’ a weekly series  where women chat about how fitness impacts their mental health, and how keeping their bodies fit, is important to keeping their mental health balanced.

Second up is Dawn! Now, Dawn is currently fighting a serious addiction… TO ZUMBA! As well as salsa spinning her way through life, pregnancy, and back to post birth fitness, and mental fitness, Dawn also writes THE most amazing poems, over at Rhyming With Wine. When I say amazing, I really mean, if you don’t have these poems in your life, you are seriously missing out. Not only are they hilarious, but also clever, heart warming, and sometimes very emotional. Sometimes all of those things in one poem! Here is Dawn’s interview, where we get to know more about this Latin beat loving, rhyming aficionado!

What kind of exercise did you do before having children?

Dawn: I’ve always been quite active and enjoyed dancing, ice skating and swimming as a teen.  In my twenties I got to know my local gym and home workout DVDs, then in my thirties found my one true love – Zumba!  I’ve done HIIT training and boot-camps over the years, but Zumba is the one exercise that has kept me going back week after week, even through both of my  pregnancies.

Do you do the same forms of exercise now, or has it changed and evolved?

Dawn: My Zumba addiction is still strong and doesn’t show any signs of fading. I’m lucky that the class
I attend is at around 8pm so I can tuck the kids in, grab my trainers and dash.  Finding time is so hard as a mum though and our childcare is limited to when I’m at work. Gym sessions are a thing of the past.  Now I’ll go out running at 6am before the kids are up, or just grab 15 minutes for myself to jog on the spot or do a few lunges etc.  It sounds strange but that few minutes to myself before the day begins sets me up for the day and it fits around mum-life for me.

Did you have any problems postnatally, that made exercise harder for you, or forced you to change the way you exercised?

Dawn: My first birth was pretty hard-going and it took around 10 weeks for me to fully recover. Luckily
I had kept up with Zumba until around 30 weeks pregnant which I think made it easier to return. That being said my pelvic floor took a serious hit and was permanently damaged so I had to have further surgery last summer which took me off my feet again for a few weeks.  I’m back up to speed again now, but I think that star-jumps will be a thing of my past!

Did you feel that you got good support with how and when you could start exercising again postnatally?

Dawn: If I’m honest I didn’t really get any advice. Exercise wasn’t discussed with my Health Visitor. I
just went with how I was feeling and consulted Google. I had Davina McCall’s pre and post pregnancy DVD though and I found that fantastic to start building up my strength again before hitting a full on cardio class.

Do you exercise more for mental well being, or physical well being?

Dawn: Both. I’m one of those people that puts half a stone on just walking past a chip shop. That along
with my cake obsession means that I have to keep moving to keep my weight in check.  I don’t think that the exercise itself makes the biggest difference with weight loss for me, but I feel that if I’ve exercised I’m far less likely to reach for the biscuit tin. It lifts my mood, puts a spring in my step for the day and gives me a much needed boost of endorphins. Not exercising leaves me feeling sluggish which makes me less motivated to move. It’s a vicious cycle for me.

Did you notice a more significant link to fitness and mental health postnatally?

Dawn: Absolutely. At first the restriction and responsibility that came with motherhood hit me like a brick.
Aside from my Zumba sessions I felt house-bound with a newborn and found myself feeling like the walls were closing in. My life revolved around my sofa and I started to really struggle. I was diagnosed with post natal anxiety and it was so hard to force myself out of the house, but I gradually started walking regularly with the pushchair and the days started to feel easier. For me exercise breeds exercise, but I had to try and find something that I could do to get moving whilst still caring for my newborn.
It was a case of adjusting and accepting that a 1 hour gym class wasn’t necessarily going to fit any more, but it doesn’t have to be high intensity to make you feel better.

Which form of exercise do you find really benefits you with the happy endorphins, and sense of well being and calm?

Dawn: I think I’ve probably already answered this but ZUMBA!  I have never left a Zumba class without a huge grin on my chops! I love the music and the energy. I like to think that I’m shaking it like J-Lo when in fact I’m know I’m shaking like jello but I couldn’t care less. It’s about finding a class you’re comfortable in – and then dancing like nobody is watching!

Do you struggle to find time to exercise  family and other commitments?

Dawn: Absolutely yes!  Our household is always up at 6am every day and my hubby leaves for work just after 7am.  I work two days a week too and our child-care is all used up during my work days.  By the time the kids are in bed on a night I’m frankly exhausted (and usually facing a pile of ironing). I just try to take advantage of whatever little opportunities come my way during the day. We encourage exercise with our little ones and make a point of taking the scooters for the school run rather than the car, or throwing on our trainers after tea and going for a walk around the estate or to the duck pond. Moving is moving and it all helps.

What is the best hack you have for making sure you get some exercise in, no matter how little?

Dawn: I’ve found that the best time for me to exercise is first thing at 6am. The hubby has the kids upstairs
with him while he gets ready for work and I get a quick burst in. In spring once it’s light, I’ll get out for a jog. While it’s dark I tend to just pull on a sports bra and dash downstairs to work up a sweat before my shower. I’ve done short high-intensity workout DVDs or apps and they’ve been great for introducing new exercises.  I find I can get a bit bored though so now I just throw on 15 mins of “Mummy TV”. (You know – that thing that you never get to watch but just sits on keep in your recordings? That!) I’ll jog on the spot, do sit-ups, planks, lunges etc. Anything just to get my heart pumping and my bits aching works for me. It’s a great incentive to get out of bed if you know you’ll get a mini-fix of something YOU want to watch (that isn’t Bing or Paw Patrol.) It helps that I have a fitbit too as I feel better knowing that I’ve made a good start towards my daily step goal before the day has even really begun.

What is your proudest fitness achievement to date?

Dawn: I have never been a runner. I’ve completed Race for Life but always walked most of the track. In
fact, I’m asthmatic and have always struggled to run more than a few metres. Last spring I decided to tackle a couch to 5K programme – just to see if I could! I downloaded a free app and took myself out to run three mornings a week.  I followed the programme to the letter and sure enough, within a couple of months I was able to run 5km non-stop. It was a huge achievement for me and something I never thought I’d manage.

Who is your fitness inspiration (this can be a celebrity, or someone you know!)

Dawn: Davina McCall has always been my go-to fitness celeb. I’ve followed her right from her first fitness
DVD and I’ve always had so much respect for her positivity and down to earth approach. She has gone on to achieve so many incredible and extreme fitness challenges and I think she’s an absolute inspiration. I was lucky enough to see her present a key-note speech at a blogger’s conference a while ago and it took all of my will-power not to leap on the stage and bear-hug her!

What is your favourite killer track to exercise to, that never fails to make you want to get your pump on?!

Dawn: Anything with a Latin beat gets me wiggling instantly. Desposito is right up there on my current wiggle list. But I think my all time bum-shifter would have to be Bob Sinclair – Rock This Party. It’s the very first track that I danced to in my first Zumba class and I cannot help but grin when I hear it now. Every now and then my instructor throws it in as a warm up track just because she knows how much I still love it.

What are your exercise goals for the future?

Dawn: I’m looking forward to getting back out running again in spring once it’s light at 6am. This year
I’d love to actually run a full 5k or maybe even build up to a 10k charity event. It’s my 40th birthday this year and I’m determined to be fit (and a bit wiggly still) at forty!

So there you have it! Dawn has one addiction that doesn’t need any treatment at all! She is a total superhero for all of her hacks and time saving tricks. I’m also taking a lot of inspiration from the couch to 5k, when it was thought it would never be possible…! Some super ways here, of how Dawn keeps her mind and body fit.

If you want to read something wonderful of Dawn’s, you can read Maybe Just A Touch Less Cake? #1 and Maybe Just A Touch Less Cake? #2, which aren’t rhymes, but posts about fitness. Or one of Dawn’s famous rhymes can be found here!

You can also follow the awesomeness of Dawn on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

See you next week for round 3!

 

 

With Fitness In Mind: Week 1

Welcome to this new series! It will be a regular feature every Monday, where women chat about how fitness impacts their mental health, and how keeping their bodies fit, is important to keeping their mental health balanced.

First up is Ali. Local to Bristol (and I’m also proud to call her one of my closest friends,) Ali’s story is so poignant, and inspirational. Last year, over the course of 2017, Ali ran 52 half marathons, in 52 weeks. Oh yes she did! Her inspiration came from the incredible Ben Smith, who after being bullied for much of his school life (even contemplating suicide at one point,) eventually ran 401 marathons in 401 days, raising over £330,000 for the charities Stonewall and Kidscape, raising not only money, but vital awareness surrounding bullying, mental health, and sexuality.

Ali has always felt a strong link to her fitness and mental health, and being inspired by Ben, not only realised an INCREDIBLE achievement, but also raised lots of money for Sport In Mind and St Peters Hospice in the process. Yep, she’s an absolute superstar, hero, inspiration, and all things wonderful and inspirational!

Here’s what she had to say, in this question and answer session!

What kind of exercise did you do before having children?

Ali: I went to the gym most mornings, and did the odd half marathon, maybe 1 every few years. I did my first sprint triathlon just before getting pregnant!

Do you do the same forms of exercise now, or has it changed and evolved?

Ali: I don’t get to the gym as much as I used to! I either run in my lunch hour at work or do an exercise workout in the changing rooms if its raining outside!!

Did you have any problems postnatally, that made exercise harder for you, or forced you to change the way you exercised?

Ali: No, thankfully! I exercised up until the day before I went in to labour both times, so not sure if that helped with recovery?

Did you feel that you got good support with how and when you could start exercising again postnatally?

Ali: Not really. They said not to do anything for 6 weeks. I started exercise before this as felt well and figured my body was used to it.

Do you exercise more for mental well being, or physical well being?

Ali: Definitely mental well being.

Did you notice a more significant link to fitness and mental health postnatally?

Definitely. I struggled massively during pregnancy, with not being able to run and having to limit the amount of exercise I did and was desperate to get back to it after giving birth. I really notice my mood changes on days where I don’t exercise. I just feel more down, irritable, and tired. I’m not sure how much of this is in my mind and how much a reality, but I feel more contented if I’ve exercised first thing in the morning.

Which form of exercise do you find really benefits you with the happy endorphins, and sense of well being and calm?

Ali: Running!

Do you struggle to find time to exercise  family and other commitments?

Ali: Yes! I get up at 6 to run first thing so I’m back before the kids wake up. My husband can sometimes be erm, put out about me doing it, so try to do it when it impacts the family least! Although it always seems to be difficult to find the right time!

What is the best hack you have for making sure you get some exercise in, no matter how little?

Ali: Do it first thing. There are too many excuses as the day goes on. Or involve the kids. They love trying to copy!

What is your proudest fitness achievement to date?

Ali: Definitely running the 52 half marathons in 52 weeks and getting my pb down to 1hr 35mins!

Who is your fitness inspiration (this can be a celebrity, or someone you know!)

Ali: Ben Smith – ran 401 marathons in 401 days. Amazing. I came 2nd in one of the races he organised last year and he presented me with my trophy. Best. Day. Ever!

(Ali with ACTUAL Ben Smith!)

What is your favourite killer track to exercise to, that never fails to make you want to get your pump on?!

Ali: Anything Eminem!

What are your exercise goals for the future?

Ali: I have a half Ironman this year. And I want to get a good for age time at Barcelona marathon in march, so that I get automatic entry to London marathon 2019!

Thanks so much Ali! It definitely proves that superheroes don’t always wear their pants on the outside (unless you want to of course!) I love what Ali is doing to raise awareness for mental health, and particularly mental health in relation to sport. I will also be revising the amount of excuses I make around not being able to exercise with the kids in tow, and will be setting goals like getting up super early, to get some beneficial exercise in, for 2018!

Ali is an almost full time working mum, and lives with her husband and two gorgeous children, in Bristol. It goes without saying that she likes sports and fitness! She doesn’t have any social media, but you can find out more about the charities she, and Ben Smith are supporting, by clicking the links above. You can also find out more about Ben’s 401 Challenge here, and follow on Twitter, and follow on Facebook.

 

Will Mindfulness Prevent Me Being Ill This Christmas?

mindful at christmas

I have been ill for the last three Christmases. Not just a little bit ill either, but full on chest infections for two years running, with frightening shortness of breath, and furnace like temperatures. Tonsillitis stepped in, pulling the hat-trick out of the bag, last year. Each illness ultimately lead to an emergency dash at some point, to find an on call doctor, and all the drugs.

I entered December this year, with the trepidation that I am just doomed. For some reason, the Christmas illness grim reaper, chooses to knock and my door, and bring me to my knees, for reasons out of my control. I started my war against being ill for a fourth time running, on the big day, by downing dissolvable vitamin C tablets, at an alarming rate. I do know however, that this was purely a placebo for my clutching at straws desperate self, because I am ultimately aware of the lack of evidence to support these as a preventative. I just needed to be doing something.

As you will now know, I have been trying to improve my health and fitness over the last year. I can do this by doing actual things, like trying loads of exercises, and seeing which ones yield the best results. I have swapped out so many foods this year, and finally settled on a ‘mostly plant based’ (making all the strict vegan’s frown upon my lack of dedication no doubt,) diet, in which I do just what it says on the tin-eat mainly plants, until I have a special occasion, and something on the menu (my special occasions usually involve eating out,) is nowhere near plant based, but I don’t like the idea of being totally restrictive, so I will then eat what I want! These things have worked, and I know this, because I have actual quantifiable things to measure them by, like the way my muscles look slightly more defined, and the needle on the scales (not that I’m getting bogged down with that one y’all!)

I have also been trying to improve my mental health this year. With recurrent bouts of anxiety and depression, I have been seeing a counsellor, and with that, I started to learn about mindfulness. At first, I was more The Sceptics Guide To Mindfulness. Now I’m more The Converts Guide To Shouting Mindfulness From The Rooftops. With the fear of illness looming over me, I chucked the vitamin C tablets, and started being mindful.

I was being mindful about my diet. There has been a lot of eating out this December, so I changed my ‘anything goes for special occasions,’ to ‘anything goes on Christmas Day only,’ and I have been eating so many vegetables, I’m sure I’m danger of being reincarnated as a piece of broccoli. In previous years, I’ve used December as an excuse to drink my body weight in one of the best comfort foods in a bottle there is around: Baileys. This year, I’ve kept a bottle in the fridge, and had a small tumbler full, on the odd occasion, and savoured each mouthful slowly.

I’ve still been dashing around like a headless chicken this year-having one excitable child’s birthday the week before Christmas, and actual presents to buy, is never going to change. In previous years, I’ve galloped about with a tightness in my chest, trying to get it all done by strict deadlines, and all to perfection. This year, I’ve still had the tightness, but I’ve taken the time to notice it, and manage it not by collapsing in a tearful, burnt out heap (ok, that’s not 100% true, I have felt a bit tearful this week, but instead of curling up under a blanket to watch Denny die in Greys Anatomy for the millionth time, and ball my eyes out, I’ve let the emotion come, and tried to work out what to do with it, or just to feel it if I can’t find a solution.) I’ve left markers around my house to remind myself to think about how I’m feeling (notes on the fridge, coloured dots on the kettle,) instead of letting myself be a tense ball of frustration because I have no idea why I am actually so frustrated.

In a nutshell, some illnesses can’t be prevented. My little one sneezing into my face, sending billions of germs speeding towards me at a million miles an hour, won’t stop me from catching something. But I do believe that being mindful of looking after myself, and noticing what I’m thinking, and how I’m feeling, will help towards my overtired, burnt out body screaming ‘ok, I have permission to be ill now,’ when the big day arrives, and I’m actually sitting down for a few minutes. I also think that if the bugs do strike, that I will have a few tips up my sleeve for managing the illness, through meditation, and much better coping and eating skills.

Let’s hope.

I hope you all have a brilliant Christmas, and I will be back in the new year, with lots of ideas, and regular features, that I’m really excited to get going with!

An Introduction To ‘A Bristol State Of Mind’

 

What To Expect!

Well Hello…! I’m so glad you’ve found your way here! A very mindful, squats and lunges welcome to this campaign, topped with quinoa for good measure! That encompasses what A Bristol State Of Mind is all about! Popcorn (sweet and salty ideally, but for the nature of the campaign, maybe keep it plain,) at the ready: Here is an overview of A Bristol State Of Mind ethos, and an introduction to the voice behind it!

Mindfulness: Within this Bristol based campaign-aimed at mums-new, veteran, or other!-there will be quick and easy mindfulness tips, with the recognition that within our busy lives, we barely have the time to process our thoughts let alone meditate on them. Quick and effective is the focus, because time is short, but mental health and wellbeing is important.

Fitness: There will also be fitness information-from fitness classes for new mums where babies are welcome, to classes where babies and children can be left behind, and mums can have some space to exercise together! Bodies can feel like they’ve been reset after pregnancy, and you need to get to know you’re own body and what works for it/its new limits, while also getting to know your new little person. Separated muscles, pelvic pain, back pain, can all be a problem. Looking in the mirror and not recognising yourself body can be a problem. But there will be no references to the ‘mum bod’ here, just a gentle approach to being kind to our new bodies, who also happen to belong to people who are mums.

Healthy Eating: There will also be a little healthy eating shizzle. Quinoa gets a bad press, for being an overpriced, middle class food, mostly mixed with kale, in deconstructed travesties by hipsters. NOT HERE! I’ll share some easy healthy stuff and thangs, being mindful (see what I did there) that sometimes only carbs have the answer, and we all need a few treats and to be kind to ourselves. (But I’d still like to change minds about quinoa…!)

As for me…

I’m Lucy, the voice behind the campaign! I am a perpetually frazzled, serial lifestyle changing, lover of Bristol. I’ve been on a mission to find my own headspace equilibrium and healthy sustainable lifestyle. I also have a perpetual need to share the amazing city of Bristol with everyone. I am a wife, mother (of two boys,) daydreaming, former nurse, now occasional freelance writer. I love dancing, weight training, The Walking Dead, anything with vampires, anything with Jeffrey Dean Morgan in it, random acts of kindness, and Cloudy Bay. I love Crazy Ex Girlfriend, because I also live my life like Rebecca Bunch-I daydream scenes from life as though they were scenes in a musical. Like her, I don’t admit this to people I know in real life-just on the off chance I could be removed from my family…!

I hope you enjoy what you read!