My Current Fitness Goals

Here is a blog post from my site Kath Not Kat. Soon I won’t be uploading new content onto Binging on Beetroot at all so I’d love it if you joined me over on Kath Not Kat. ❤

fitness goalsI am never more in love with slipping my trainers on than when I’m training for an event. At the end of the month I’ll be running the Edinburgh Half Marathon and the run up (yeah, you heard me) to it has made me more pumped than ever to reach new goals. Training for something is like a mini New Year that leads to a lot of ambitious resolutions. Nothing excites me more than reading about other people’s fitness goals. I re-read Anna’s from The Anna Edit all the time just to get me pumped about my own; reading them is enough to make me feel certain that I’ll reach my goals (even the far-fetched ones*). For this reason I thought I’d write out my own fitness goals so I’m forced to hold myself accountable. At the very least, my mum will read this and surely remind me of my overreaching.

In the last couple of months, my gym membership has suffered. I made a decision to focus on my running for the time being; this decision has meant most of my workouts have been running and I only go to the gym when I needed a little something on the side. I have, however, finally dipped my toe into the weightlifting area of the gym (after a couple of years of claiming I would) and I. Love. It. Don’t get me wrong, one morning, I dropped at 10kg weight on my foot and had to play it cool, in fear a fellow gym-goer saw me. Most of the time, however, I feel pretty fly.

For now, though, I’m working on my arms. As a runner, my legs are my biggest cheerleaders but, as a runner, my arms don’t get trained as frequently. In the last couple of months I’ve been following a little routine with dumbbells, trying to increase my weight whenever and wherever I can. Here’s how I do:

3 sets of 20 reps of:

  • Bicep curl
  • Shoulder press
  • Flys
  • Tricep extension
  • Chest press

(Sometimes) followed by:

  • 100 reps with my resistant bands
  • As many press ups as I can muster (“97, 98, 99…”)
  • 3 sets of 20 reps of tricep dips

Now let me tell you about everything I want to work on in the next few months.

My ten current fitness goals:

  1. Run a half marathon in sub two hours…
  2. … And then continue my weekly big runs once I’ve done the Edinburgh Half Marathon
  3. Work on my 5k time outside of ParkRuns (I only kick 5k butt when feeling competitive with the crowds of sleepy Saturday morning runners)
  4. Train my core after every run
  5. Swim thirty lengths without stopping
  6. Continue weight-lifting, training my arms twice a week
  7. Do ten GOOD press-ups without stopping
  8. Leg press 120kg
  9. Go to one spin class OR
  10. One body pump class a week

What are your current fitness goals?

Love, Kath

*One day I’ll be able to do fifty press ups in a row.

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How to Get Back to Healthy

Here is a blog post from my site Kath Not Kat. Soon I won’t be uploading new content onto Binging on Beetroot at all so I’d love it if you joined me over on Kath Not Kat. ❤

To go from eating somewhere between seven and ten portions of fruit and veg a day to struggling to eat more than three, the end of university found me lose the health geek in me. A few things probably contributed to this. I no longer solely controlled my own food shop; I became a waitress and often accepted the staff food the job offers (in my defence, we waitresses have a tendency to get hangry); I had the money to eat out far more frequently than I ever would have at uni. Despite probably upping my workout game more than ever upon returning home, I no longer dreamt about avocados, sweet potatoes and eating raspberries from the punnet. Recently, alongside longing for my mum’s homebaked goods, I’ve been craving the me who got excited to cook nutritious meals from scratch. Here’s how I’m getting back to being worthy of my “I ❤ Avocados” T-shirt. Yeah, that’s a real t-shirt.

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Snack stash

I’ve created my very own (as in, this exists in my bedroom so no one else steals from it) healthy snack stash. At uni I used to have a whole drawer full of healthy/healthier snacks rather than our sweet tooth’s favourites. This way, even when I was writing up a PROS and CONS list as to whether I should just go and buy a bag of Minstrels or not, I had no excuses. To my snack stash I must go.

My dream snack stash

  • Carrot cake Nakd bars (my new favourite flavour)
  • Cocoa orange Nakd bars (which taste best after being warmed up in the microwave for ten seconds)
  • Chocolate Trek bars
  • Strawberry Urban Fruit packets
  • Bear Super Sour strawberry and apple Yoyos
  • Bear Super Sour blackcurrant and apple Yoyos
  • Lindt 85% dark chocolate

Leftovers Meal prep

Being a waitress, it’s easy to make excuses about what I eat. Unconventional hours, however, don’t have to mean unhealthy meals (that will only make my stomach hurt for an evening shift). For this reason, meal prep is key. My meal prep, however, doesn’t involve bulk making five or so different meals (once I have moved out, I will certainly aspire to be that person) for the week. Instead I make meals that can easily be doubled or tripled in size, leaving me with lunch for the next day or a couple of “heat up in microwave before work” meals. I have been doing this once a week for the last month but I intend on upping my game as of this week.

My favourite leftovers

Cooking from scratch is the best part of eating mindfully. My aim while at uni was to have one portion of fruit and veg in my breakfast, two in my lunch, four in my dinner and then make up the rest in snacks (looking back, that annoyingly healthy student infuriates me too). It is far easier than we make out to chuck in excess fruit and veg into our meals. Even if I succumb to the PROS section of my Minstrel or to not Minstrel list. The easiest way to get back to healthy is to spend some time in the kitchen.

Exercise: just do it

My gym is just a mile run away from me which has meant, while my food choices have been questionable at times (who really NEEDS to eat a whole pack of Oreo Egg ‘N’ Spoons in one hour?), my Strava has seen a lot of action in the last year.

Keeping up with the cardio (and the rest of it)

  • Write a weekly workout plan on your phone. Plan out your every gym trip (what you’re doing there), run or other activity and even any walking you do! Your list will hold you accountable and, once you tick off each activity, you’ll feel more motivated to continue to complete your goals.
  • If you’re waking up early to exercise, put your whole outfit beside your bed so you can get out of bed and straight into your gear. If I feel 100% lethargic upon hearing my first alarm sound, I will fall straight back to sleep if I’ve not got myself prepared the night before.
  • Getting some workout classes in is often a great way to get back to healthy. Test out a few classes with some friends and you’re sure to find one you couldn’t live without, even on a weekly basis. Nothing makes me happier than going to legs, bums and tums with my mum and ticking it off my weekly workout plan.

Now to go and pop my swimming costume next to my bed. A Sunday swim (and an inevitable blocked ear) is my favourite way to wake up (that is if I’m being refused croissants and strawberry jam).

~ Kat ~

 

 

 

Three Products for the Sleep Deprived

A blog post from my new site Kath Not Kat. Soon I won’t be uploading new content onto Binging on Beetroot so I’d love it if you joined me over on Kath Not Kat. ❤

For the last half a year I’ve spent my nights sleep-working. Let me explain. For reasons unknown to me, about four times a week, after I get in from work, I go to sleep and find myself in a weird sleepy trance whereby I am “working” in my bedroom. I have previously “pulled pints,” “set tables” and “greeted customers” from any time between one and three in the morning. I quite literally can waitress in my sleep. (It’s okay… I find it funny too.) Although a good conversation starter, it’s safe to say my weird sleep issues have lead to me feeling pretty tired over the last half a year. While I don’t believe many products magic away sleep problems, there are a few that have made my nights a little less… frustrating.

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Sleepy – Lush

Everyone and their dog has heard of Sleepy. The pot of sleepy potion that has given Lush fans “the best sleeps of their lives.” As of yet I can’t make such a claim BUT it does make me feel very zen; very relaxed. It’s famous for its lavender scent and it is dreamy. Lush’s Sleepy is super creamy and sweet too. It reminds me a little of Lush’s Snow Fairy scent; the kind of smell my nostrils are always looking for. When I get in from work, am in my dachshund pyjamas and ready to read a chapter of a book (I’m essentially my mother- the only difference is she has westie dogs jimjams), I rub a little on the back of my hands. When I wake up the smell of the lavender makes me feel less stressed and more likely to fall straight back asleep.

Night Time – Pukka

Upon researching, I found I probably needed to create myself a steady night time routine. It sounds very lifestyle blogger but I’ve found it works. It’s likely that my mind needs time to calm down after a night at work (hospitality doesn’t exactly provide you with “normal” working hours). So, as often as possible, I try to make myself some kind of warm drink (without caffeine) and wind down without my phone; so very mindful. I’ve found Pukka’s Night Time to be a really good option- thanks Eirlys! If anything tastes like “calm,” it’s this tea. And what with my active mind, this drink tends to do the job.

Lavender oil

Although my lavender oil isn’t sweet like Sleepy (it has a more “medicinal” scent), I dip a little bit of this onto tissue when I’m feeling extra tired. I sleep with the tissue like a child with their blanket… Or, like, me with my blanket. You can find this in pharmacies; my friend, Alissa, got my some after she heard about my sleep-walking adventures. When your doctor laughs at you when you bring up your sleeping concerns (“Lots of peoples’ sleep suffers because of work”), it’s nice to know pharmacies are stocking little gems like this. Again, I don’t believe it’s a complete problem-solver (I can still sleep-walk when I use it) but it does, like the other products put me in the best kind of sleepy mode before and during my sleep.

I’m hoping one of these days my bizarre sleep will be a nightmare from the past. In the mean time, though, you’ll find me lathered in sweet moisturiser, drinking soothing tea and sniffing lavender-infused tissue.

~ Kat ~

Sweet Chilli Chicken Stir Fry

A blog post from my new site Kath Not Kat ❤

When Aaron I cook together, it’s almost guaranteed our finished product will be a carb-based, meaty and mediterranean veg kind of dish. Aaron’s signature dish is no exception. He is a PRO at making any kind of sweet chilli stir fry and we altered his recipe today to make our very own sweet chilli chicken stir fry. It took us about fifteen minutes to make and it was the best Black Mirror watching meal. Here’s how we did it.

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Ingredients | For two

  • 75g (dried) noodles
  • 100ml sweet chilli sauce
  • 25ml soy sauce
  • 5ml fish sauce
  • 1 chicken breast (sliced)
  • 3/4 courgette (thinly sliced)
  • 1 red onion (diced)
  • 2 spring onions (chopped)
  • 10 tomatoes (halved)
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Avocado oil

Method

  1. Prepare all of the ingredients, heat up a pan with avocado oil and cook the chicken.
  2. Boil the kettle and add the red onion and courgette to the pan.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, cook the noodles in salted boiling water for three minutes.
  4. Pop the rest of the veg into the pan and stir often.
  5. Add the noodles, sweet chilli, soy and fish sauce to the pan and stir the noodles in.
  6. Add a few pinches of pepper, stir together for three more minutes and serve!

When all you want to eat all day every day is Wagamamas, this stir fry just about does the job. That doesn’t mean I’m not heading to Wagas tomorrow, though!

I’m now blogging predominantly over on kathnotkat.com and I’d love it if you came and chatted to me over there and followed me so I can follow you right back! Soon, I won’t be updating this blog at all so please do pop by and say hello!

~ Kat ~

Twenty-two | A Story About Kath (not Kat)

She straightened her curly-but-not-that-curly hair and blackened the lids and lashes that hugged her blue-but-not-that-blue eyes. She sipped on yellow fizz and scented her neck. She cringed at her pink cheeks and noted that she should later wish away the seemingly always present pigment upon making her eighteenth birthday wish. This particular ninth day of the second month unravelled quickly and, alas, she forgot to address her wish. With pink cheeks that sat above happy lips, something so trivial drowned in the chitter-chatter of loved ones and good friends. And, I note with nostalgia, brightly coloured drinks that were sipped through straws.

IMG_6435Soon she found herself to be eighteen years and one whole month. As she did at just eighteen, she changed her hair and highlighted her eyes; this time sipping on a bottle of cider and nursing the nerves in her stomach. Eighteen and, naturally, far older than she was one and a bit months before, she looked out of her window and onto the first night that would see her dancing. Momentarily, nostalgia inspired a longing for playgrounds and roller-skates and midnight feasts. She sipped the red bottled liquid and, instead, daydreamed about dance floors, high heels and a post-midnight snack stop on the way home.

It wasn’t long before she was singing with friends and telling them they looked magical. They took pictures to later remind them of the buzz in their giggles; the quickened heartbeat beneath their chests. Soon she was arriving into the night, friends on her arm and laughter in her heart.

She ordered a fizzy liquid and, upon turning around, caught his eyes in hers. His eyes that were coated in thick, long lashes. His eyes that looked away after a second, in fear of overstaying his welcome.

But it was Friday and if something new couldn’t start on a Friday, then when could it? His eyes returned to where her eyes never left.

She told him her name. He smiled at his new friend.

He told her his name. She smiled because she knew.

But the night was calling and so they linked arms, and hopped over cracks until they were safe from the evil breaking up the ground. She bought them both tiny bright blue, pink and green drinks. They said a chin-chin and swallowed the potion; nerves circling their stomachs, not like butterflies but like dragonflies. With big, eager eyes.

She danced and he danced; the dance floor’s music being their soundtrack. And only theirs. She laughed with her friends and he laughed with his; he bought her a coconut liquid and her cheeks gave her away as he held her hand. But it was dark and she hoped he didn’t notice.

But he did notice.

He noticed the pink on her cheeks that matched the nerves dampening his hands.

twenty-two #2She twirled and she twirled and when she stopped twirling, she woke up on the twenty-first birthday of her so far short life. She and her mother and her brother and the boy with the thick lashes were soon arriving in the city of shops, beach and fish and chips. She wanted Time to stop as they ate tiny little dishes of delicious food that felt like magic on her tongue. Oh, how she could stay right here for all of time and be content. She willed Time to at least slow down as they battled the seafront wind with laughter before they drunk warm chocolatey drinks. She felt sorrow in her heart as her mother and her brother waved goodbye; Time always wins. Her sighs were heavy and her eyes felt a little like the sea beneath the pier. Her once chatty lips quietened.

“No fear,” he said with the mischievous grin that only she gets to see. “We’ve still got a whole evening ahead of us.”

The night’s sky was black-blue and stars winked at them; they all wanted to catch her attention to wish her the most charming birthday evening. But how could she notice? For while the stars were magnificent─that she could never deny─

How could she ever see anything when he was all the stars in the sky?

IMG_6427She sported a dress that wore much like the cosy blanket above that protected them from heartbreak and wickedness. Black and twinkly in all the right places. He slipped on his favourite shoes and offered his hand to the girl with the excited cheeks. After a dinner of laughter and food and a yellow-white cool liquid, the night snapped its fingers and they were wandering the streets of love, hope and peace.

“How about in here?” She smiled at his ardent desire to change how Time works and insist to the world that: Tonight doesn’t end when you say it does. It ends once we’re giggling so much that we cry; it ends once our feet are crying so much that they giggle.

He opened the door and she slipped into the room where her birthday would end with the happiest smile. Where Time would call last orders on their most brilliant night-time adventure and she would say, “Okay, Time. I hear you.” She ordered two orange-yellow drinks and they told stories quickly; as if Time would run out before they had the chance to tell each other everything inside of their heads. The music grew better and better as the modest yet show-stopping crowd grew more confident; dance moves got bigger and she couldn’t resist much longer.

A relaxed voice with a guitar filled the room and she just had to dance. She got up; I’m done with being polite. She motioned to him and he grinned, a little unsure. He followed and soon the whole room was in one place. Strangers sung to strangers and minutes before midnight took centre stage, the crowd sung a birthday song to the girl who was pink from the best feeling she had ever felt.

twenty-twoIt’s nine o’clock on the ninth day of the second month. And that means only one thing. She’s woken up one year older and one year wiser and less at war with her rosy cheeks. Instead she sees the excitement smiling all over her face; How lucky was she to be so full of happiness that her whole being wanted to let the world know? She moves her vanity mirror closer and pulls a curl that quickly bounces back with enthusiasm. She squints at her eyes and says a silent thank you to them for being the telescope that show her her most favourite memories; her most favourite people.

She does sparkle up her eyelids and she does change the direction of her hair, but now, at twenty-two, simply because she wants to. She pulls out a small bag and retrieves a little tube of paint. She carefully colours in the smile beneath her nose with a colour that matches her happy pink cheeks.


I’m twenty-two! Happy Birthday to me… la la la la LA LA.

I think it’s about time I start admitting I’m “in” my twenties. But it’s okay because my rosy red cheeks are one of the many things that make people think I’m eighteen at most! I have decided to celebrate turning twenty-two by launching kathnotkat.com. I would love it if you headed over there to check out my new blogging adventure, if you so wish to. Please do say “hello”!

I will be predominantly over on Kath Not Kat now, although, for the time being I won’t be leaving Binging on Beetroot entirely alone. If you do want to keep up with my ramblings, please follow the new blog. I will be posting posts every now and then over here but, in time, all of my blogging will be over on Kath Not Kat. Later today, over on Kath Not Kat, I’ll be posting a birthday cocktail recipe for those who, like me, are feeling twenty-two so if you want to check out that, head to Kath Not Kat at 6pm tonight! But, in the mean time, I’ve got a lot of birthday food to get through!

~ Kat ~

 

A Post-Workout Lunch

Once I’ve taken off my trainers, stretched and recovered (slightly) from a painful workout, I need me some carbs… and I need them quickly. I’ve recently been throwing together this quick dish when a workout has left me ravenous. It’s very much inspired by my favourite Joe Wick’s recipe and a veggie dish my mum concocted. Below is the recipe!

post workout lunch


Ingredients | For one

  • 1 jacket potato
  • 75g chorizo
  • 7 tomatoes
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 mozzarella ball
  • Coconut oil

Method

  1. Spike the jacket potato all over with a fork. Heat it in the microwave for twelve minutes.
  2. Heat a pan with coconut oil and chop the chorizo into small chunks. Add the chorizo to the pan and stir occasionally.
  3. Chop the tomatoes in half and the pepper into small chunks. Once the chorizo is cooked well, add the tomatoes and pepper.
  4. Once the potato is cooked, chop it roughly and add to the pan.
  5. Stir it all together and tear the mozzarella in with it.
  6. Turn off the heat and let the mozzarella warm up for a minute or so.
  7. Serve!

This dish definitely helps the tired body recover. It has carbs, protein and a good old fashioned dosage of fruit and veg. And cheese- because cheese. There’s nothing like finishing a workout, feeling smug and tucking into this with an episode of Riverdale. I totally recommend.

~ Kat ~

A Guide: How I Rate Books on Goodreads

I have recently revived my Goodreads account. This decision came about when I decided to read fifty-two books this year. I have since realised that this little challenge has become an exercise whereby I practice and endeavour to improve my book reviewing. I’m not naturally very good at it but I want to become a better critic as well as a more concise and persuasive fangirl. I have, however, come across a problem upon rating books on Goodreads. Goodreads offer a five-star scale which doesn’t include half stars, much to my despair. For this reason, my ratings mostly never feel sincere or correct. So I have produced a post which helps bring together my thoughts on what makes up my personal ratings. This post essentially sets out my own guidelines that will help me decide whether a book is a three-star read or a four-star read; a four-star read or a five-star read, and so on.

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How I rate books on Goodreads

A one-star read is…

  • A struggle to read, whether it be uncomfortable, confusing, offensive or even boring.
  • A book that probably has little or no clear storyline.
  • A book with a story that features few or no characters of interest.
  • Poorly written.

A two-star read is…

  • Mostly hard to read but has moments of hope.
  • A book with an unclear storyline, but okay in parts.
  • A book with characters who sometimes but rarely show promise (in terms of development).
  • A book with a questionable style of writing.

A three-star read is…

  • A book that is probably exciting to read but maybe not my kind of book or a few of its cons seem a little more overpowering than its pros.
  • A book with a pretty clear storyline.
  • A book with characters who are complete and good but maybe unlikeable or a little boring.
  • Maybe a read that isn’t the style of writing I enjoy the most but enjoyed in this occasion.

A four-star read is…

  • A book that had me gripped, probably from the start, but, if not, most of the way through; I was sad to close the book.
  • A book with an exciting storyline that is mostly clear and succinct.
  • A book with characters I really want to find out more about; characters who develop and are brilliant whether I like their characteristics or not.
  • A read that is either my kind of book or brings me a version of a style of writing I now enjoy because of this book.

A five-star read is…

  • A book I had few conflicts with- if any. I was hooked from the start and felt devastated for hours, if not days, afterwards because I was sad the story was over.
  • A read with a storyline that is always interesting, unique and exciting to follow.
  • A book with characters I don’t want to leave behind once the book is closed for good.
  • A book that becomes an all-time favourite; the kind of book I will always recommend to others.
Sidenote: Most of my five-star ratings are likely to be more like four-point-fives; most of my lower reviews are likely to be a little harshly rated, for fear the higher rating is too high. While I will abide by my guidelines above, I wish I could clarify on Goodreads that my ratings aren’t entirely just, whatever those ratings may be, because I wish the scale provided was a little different.

What do you consider upon rating books?

~ Kat ~

A Sunday in Guildford

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to see my uni friends FAR more often. I didn’t do very well in the last half of last year but 2018 has already seen me reunited with some of my uni favourites twice! Callum and I got the chance to visit Neetu yesterday in her hometown, Guildford. I was particularly excited about this trip as I’ve always heard wonderful things about the hilly and historic town (Who even knew there was a “d” in the town’s name?!). I was, naturally, way more excited to be greeted by Neetu as I hopped off the coach yesterday morning. And, soon enough, the excitement continued as we met Callum (“Cal” from here out… Callum doesn’t quite sit right) at the train station.

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Neetu’s itinerary

  1. Hot chocolate at Surrey Hills Coffee (SO yum)
  2. A venture through Guildford’s extensive and brilliant shopping opportunities
  3. Stroll along the river (while carrying out our very own photo shoot)
  4. Lunch at TGI Fridays
  5. A wander through Guildford’s old high street
  6. Guided tour (the tour guide, of course, being Neetu) through the castle and its unbelievably beautiful grounds
  7. A beverage at one of Guildford’s many pubs

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Why I loved Guildford

  • The many amazing backdrops Guildford provided us with meant my camera became acquainted with so many photos I’ll treasure for ever
  • The shops that sat in old and grand buildings
  • The mixture of the big businesses we all know and then small and independent businesses too
  • The “London” feel of the town but also the cosy vibes it wore as well (and it wore them wonderfully)
  • The pretty riverside
  • The unique castle and grounds
  • The fact every person we interacted with was lovely 
  • The familiar feeling inspired by my deciding it was a little like Winchester and Chichester; two of my favourite local cities

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The best memories from our day in Guildford

  • When “the three pigeons” (what Neetu endearingly named us as we passed a pub named Three Pigeons) were reunited, I expressed over-excitedly that I couldn’t wait to see the barges. Cal looked immediately amused; Neetu looked confused. Soon we laughed, realising I meant canal boats. And you can be certain that my silliness was brought up repeatedly throughout the day.
  • Upon taking a boomerang shot for Neetu, we all discovered that I cannot pout and pretend to blow a kiss. We have video evidence of this that will haunt me for ever. But that laughs (at me… definitely at me) were most certainly worth it.
  • We walked a really chilled walk alongside the river (no barges were seen, unfortunately) and giggled for far too long after Neetu ordered us to “act surprised” (meaning “act candid”, of course) for a video she was taking. “We should actually act surprised, right?” Cal, on the same page as me, uttered “yes” (translation: duh). Once Neetu panned round on us we were the visual representation of “exaggerated” as we gasped, shocked, hands over mouths. It’s a moment that words don’t do justice, but something I’ll remember for ever.
  • One of the final big giggles came from our tour around Guildford Castle. Our guide (I would rate Neetu 5/5 on Tripadvisor if she would just set up a profile, as I’ve asked) informed us of something fascinating (but not fascinating enough as what happened next became such a big part of the day that I can’t remember what she previously said). Cal uttered entirely whole-heartedly, “Gee whiz” in response to the forgotten fact. Neetu and I stopped in our tracks and turned. “Gee whiz?” I asked and regret took over Cal’s features. The rest was history.

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Why you should explore your own country

It’s days like yesterday that make me want to face palm myself. My country has so much to offer and I don’t take advantage of this nearly enough. While I love both destinations, I visit London and Brighton quite a lot throughout the year but give few other places a chance. Through visiting Neetu I got to get to know Guildford; one of England’s wonderful destinations.

I LOVE exploring what towns and cities England has to offer and, far more often than not, I’m pleased with where my adventure has taken me. A late addition to my New Year’s Resolution is most certainly to explore England more. Both Cal and I frequently found ourselves expressing how much we loved Guildford and I can’t wait to find more English treasures this year.

Ultimately I adored Guildford and look forward to visiting Neetu again. I want to shop there, have picnics there and read Alice and Wonderland by all of the Alice-inspired parts of Guildford. The best part of the day was most certainly seeing my two uni pals and, as per usual, it was tough to wave goodbye when my coach arrived in the evening. A crucial part of my self love this year must include seeing friends from afar at least once a month. It’s like therapy. For now, though, I’ll settle with the smile I’m still sporting from having such a glorious day yesterday.

~ Kat ~

How to Sleep Bett-Zzz…

In the last six months my sleep and I have been on quite the journey. After beginning to work at a restaurant in August I was reminded of what I experienced the summer before when I worked at a pub. It was less severe back then but when I would sleep I would wake up, believe I was a work and, as I like to put it, I… slept-worked. I’ve spent the last six months “pulling pints,” “cleaning tables,” “talking to my colleagues” and “welcoming guests into the restaurant (my room)” at anywhere from 12am-4am each night after work. All the while I was totally aware I was doing it.

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As funny as it is (and it IS funny), I remember checking my phone one night and I’d spent an hour “waiting to be told what to do” by a colleague. I would, naturally, wake up feeling far from rested. I’d retell the story to friends amused and entirely frustrated that my sleep was interrupted by something I couldn’t seem to control. Very recently, however, it’s eased. I sleep-work sometimes (last night’s sleep was interrupted by one of these episodes) but it’s relatively rare now. Today I want to share with you a few of the things I did in an attempt to magic my weird sleep habits away, as well as things I do now to make the most of my normally uninterrupted sleep. Here are a few things I do or benefit from when I do do to sleep better.

How to sleep better

  1. Prepare for your next day. If you’re going to the gym in the morning or waking up to go to work, have your workout or work clothes folded neatly by your bed alongside any other morning necessities. When you’re in bed, your mind will feel less clogged up with a mental list of things to do so long as you’re prepared for the day you’re waking up to.
  2. Make your bed. Maybe during the day, like I do, you chucked stuff on your bed. I totally recommend tidying away the things on your bed (not just putting them back on the floor!) and tidying your pillows and sheet. Getting into a made bed is the most exciting feeling after a day of work.
  3. Have a warm drink before bed that is, by no means, tea or coffee. Sleepy tea is always an excellent choice but warm milk or hot chocolate works brilliantly too.
  4. If applicable, mindfully take off your make up. This is a step I’ve not been best friends with for the last half a year, but it used to make such a difference at uni. Sit down with your warm drink, take off your make up and cleanse and moisturise your skin.
  5. Finish off your drink with a chapter or so in bed. Reading or writing or any wonderfully cathartic activity will soothe your mind far more than scrolling through your phone or watching a YouTube video will. Even writing a list for the next day so you don’t feel stressed is something that alleviates anything that will block a 10/10 sleep.

Have you got any sleeping tips and tricks?

~ Kat ~

Dear Stomach: Five Tips

Dear Stomach,

You and I don’t always get along too well. Even when I think I understand you better than anyone else, I’ll get on a train and you’ll complain all the way there. Or I’ll wake up to make myself some eggs and you’ll, pretty soon, tell me off. We have a love-hate relationship but I’ve not yet given up on you. I believe that if I set you and I some guidelines─provide us with some helpful tips and tricks─we could be the best of friends. I’m thinking if I follow the following pointers, you might co-operate. One thing for sure is that I’m certain you’ll let me know.

Dear Stomach

Don’t overeat

Every time I choose to eat one more this or one more that, I learn my lesson… one final more time. In fact, I learnt this lesson again last weekend when I went to eat sushi with a friend. I ate two more dishes than I really wanted to. I’m generally quite good at stopping before I’ve crossed the I HAVE OVEREATEN line, but, often in social situations, I get carried away, enjoying the food and the moment. Ultimately, however, I didn’t enjoy those last two dishes because of the ominous feeling in my stomach; even if I really wanted to try the dishes. I must listen to my body and stop when it tells me to stop. Or, as I experienced last Sunday, my stomach can become really defensive and angry with me; which, on Sunday evening, made me feel particularly uneasy as I tried to sleep.

Stay away from THOSE foods

Learn from what hurts. Although I never want my lifestyle to be restricted by labels such as “good foods” and “bad foods,” over the last few years I’ve learnt what foods put my stomach on edge. For me, it seems to be fried and battered foods, processed and high in unnatural sugary foods, dairy products like cream and, when overeaten, cheese. Small quantities of the above don’t wake up the beast inside my stomach, but as we’ve learnt from the point above, overeating them will only lead to discomfort.

Hydrate and hydrate well

Keeping hydrated is important for everyone; everyone knows this is an important lifestyle trick. My stomach generally feels more settled when I’m drinking lots of water and peppermint or green tea. Whether it’s true or not, sometimes a peppermint tea saves the day when my stomach has a tiny blip.

Oil of Peppermint

Avoid caffeine

While I’m a big fan of tea, my stomach is grateful when I’m wary of caffeine. I never overdo tea enough to regret it, but, while I love coffee, I rarely have it. And when I say “I rarely have it,” I’ll have it once a half year. Whenever I drink coffee my stomach feels like it’s been ripped to shreds. So, despite loving coffee, I must stay far, far away from it.

Keep your friends close, keep your oil of peppermint closer

I don’t often feel like I need to be saved by Holland & Barrett’s oil of peppermint capsules but when I need them, I need them. I can generally sense when they’re the best option and one capsule on that particular day does the job brilliantly. When I visited New York last year I had one a day before we headed out into the Big Apple. One of my biggest fears of visiting New York was my temperamental stomach. Holland & Barrett definitely handed me some respite for my stomach.

Be kind, stomach.

~ Kat ~

P.S. While I have a slightly irritable stomach, I’m lucky it’s just that. I find it very manageable and mostly easy to control. If you think you could be suffering with something that requires medical attention, I urge you to see your doctor immediately.