Saturday, 21 May 2016

Adidas. Here To Create

I teamed up with Adidas to take part in their new #HereToCreate campaign. Showcasing what inspires, drives, and pushes us to get up everyday and do what we do! Be it in the gym, on the streets are at home. Adidas want to know what you are here to create?!  For me exercise is my favourite part of everyday, from dragging myself out of bed for that early morning spin class, or ending the day with a sunset run, with nothing but the sound of my feet hitting the pavement...I know I'm creating a stronger, more balanced me. What are you here to create?! I've teamed up with Adidas to give 3 of you the chance to get kitted out head to toe in new training gear! All you need to do upload a photo or video to Instagram using #HereToCreate making sure to tag in @adidasuk and @_lovaine_ and show us how you create! Good luck and let me know if you've entered in the comments below! Photos taken during our #HereToCreate rooftop workout session, overlooking the city in London. Photographer: Jon James. MUA: www.sophiecoxmakeup.com
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Saturday, 23 April 2016

Strippd


On Tuesday I was invited down to Core Gyms in London, for an exclusive press event and morning workout to celebrate the launch of the new protein brand Strippd! I don't know about you, but trying to find a vegan protein that is not only good quality but actually tastes nice is pretty tough...I mean theres nothing worse than when your holding your nose trying to force down your after workout protein smoothie, as the taste is just awful! (we've all been there haha) so I was pretty excited to meet the brand and hear more about their product range...and of course put it to the taste test!

We started the morning with a sculpt workout session, followed by the breakfast spread of dreams! I'm talking the biggest pic'n'mix of healthy breakfast toppings you've ever seen, along with 3 different blends of protein smoothie bowl bases to choose from. I went for the green smoothie base, which was blended bananas, avocado and the Strippd vegan, vanilla protein powder, topped with baked coconut, cacao granola, raspberries and chia seeds. Literally the breakfast dream! There was also a mountain of pre-made protein balls...which were so damn good that we ate them before we had the chance to photograph them haha! So I think it's safe to say the protein definitely passed the taste test!

Strippd comes in 3 different vegan flavours, chocolate, vanilla and berry, and is a pea and hemp based protein, sweetened with Xylitol. Xylitol is a popular little sweetener in health products, being classed as one of the more 'natural' based options,  drived from plants. This little guy is not only 40% lower in fat/calories than normal sugar/sweetner options, it's also has a really low gylcemic index, meaning it won't spike your blood sugar or insulin levels, which is amazing! As theres nothing worse than feeling like your crashing after your session.

Another thing I loved about Strippd was the price! One 490g tube costs just £20! I'm used to shelling out 3 times that for a decent protein powder so I was excited that not only did it taste good, I'd finally found a protein powder more in my budget. They also offer a cool weekly/monthly subscription option too, which is great for someone like me that always run's out of things at the most inconvenient time! There is always the big debate on wether we need extra protein in our diets, but for me living on a mainly plant based diet, I can 100% feel the difference if I haven't had my protein shake after a workout, with the next morning feeling like I've been hit by a bus! Everyone's body is different, but I'd always recommend having a look at your diet, and how much protein your consuming. Your daily recommended intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight or 0.36 grams per pound, with the average sedentary women recommended 46 grams per day.

I'm excited to have been introduce to Stippd! Let me know if you guys manage to get your hands on some and what you think of it, and if you can recommend any other tasty vegan protein brands, leave them in the comments below! x
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Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Sky Gardens


On Wednesday I was invited to a sunrise yoga session, over looking the city with Shake Itfor the launch of their new yoga mats, at the beautiful Sky Garden's in London. As I stepped out of the elevator on the 36th floor, with the beautiful sunrise, city sky line in front of me, I couldn't believe that this was where I was lucky enough be starting my day. I arrived at a hidden tropical paradise, with yoga mats scattered in between the beautiful, green jungle of Sky Gardens. It was hard to believe that a place so beautiful and calm existed above such a busy city life, just 37 floors below.

Our spots weren't hard to miss, with each yoga mat being hand lasers with our own personalised initial's engraved into each of them.  E.L sat delicately in the corner of my beautiful black yoga mat, placed next to one of the editors of Women's Health. I still find it crazy all the opportunities that my blog has led me too, sometimes it's easy to feel a little out of my depth, I mean I just write a blog, yet I find myself sitting next to the editor of one of the worlds biggest health and fitness magazines! It's defiantly something I don't think I'll ever get used to, and I'll never forget just how lucky I am.

The event was filled with 30 of the UK's leading health and fitness press and influencers, as we got ready to test drive Shake It's new yoga mats during an hour sunrise yoga session, led by the beautiful Wood and Lux. For me I have always loved yoga, but I defiantly find it hard to find enough time to fit it into my everyday life, but during that hour, for the first time ever I felt the practice do something for me that I've never felt before. I felt calm,  like all my worries and the noise in my head had vanished. I felt self awareness, self love. Throughout our session we were told "to be kind to ourselves, to only tell ourself kind messages, to show ourselves love and take care of ourselves and only move as fast as our bodies allows us to" Having a healthy relationship with yourself can be hard, it can take a long time to let go and treat yourself how you should be treated, and allow yourself to feel self love and self acceptance, and for me it was as if for the first time I had permission to show myself everything I had be missing. Finishing the session I left with the clearest head and fullest heart I have had for as long as I can remember, and I can't wait to see see where my new Shake It yoga mat takes me.
So what's so special about the new Shake It Yoga Mats?! Every mat has been designed with additional cushioning and support, with a thin polyurethane top layer for an ultra grippy surface without weight, and a natural rubber core for support. Every mat is also Biodegradable! (amazing I know) and also has antibacterial treatment to reduce fungi and bacteria build up! It was defiantly one of the most comfiest and stylish yoga mats I've used, and I was even more excited that I got to leave with my own!

I've teamed up with Shake It, to give you the chance to WIN one of their new yoga mats and shaker! Want to win? just let me know in the comments below what yoga means to you and you could win! Contest closes on March 28th! Good luck x
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My Bucket List

I recently treated myself to the 'My Bucket List' journal, after strolling past Urban Outfitters on my lunch break for the past 2 weeks, I'd always end up drawn to the exact same spot, with this book staring back at me. I've always been a firm believer in setting myself goals and challenges, and if you know me I'm always working on something,  with little time to stop and come up for air before moving onto the next thing, so I thought this journal would be the perfect way to track my goals and ambitions and actually be able to look back and clearly see what I've achieved.

I think it's safe to say I find it very hard to slow down and sit still, my brain is always working on something, and I defiantly fall into the category of one of those people that find it hard to sleep as I feel like I should be doing something more beneficial with my time, so I often miss milestones in my life, as I never allow myself time to take a second and reflect on what is actually happening.

"We only have 960 months to live on this beautiful world - that's if we get to the ripe age of 80! Yes, for some reason many of us never take the steps to do the things we truly desire and are most passionate about or want to experience. We talk a lot about our dreams, but too ofter they're set aside for later. What are you waiting for? Why not start living the life we're imagining right now?

My Bucket List is designed to catch all your dreams, desires and ideas to make sure you live your life to the absolute fullest! Life is too short for regrets and you (only you) are the one in charge of what you decide to fill it with. As Socrates said: "Death isn't sad, the sad this is: most people don't live at all'.

So it's time to think about what you want to do with your one precious life. Take a moment to jot down all those dreams that have been lingering in the back of your mind: whether it's to show in a waterfall, visit the Pyramids, learn to play an instrument or simply try a new profession - no dream is too big, small or silly. It's been said that people who write down their aspirations and a clear idea of what they want to achieve have a much higher success rate in reaching their goals. So it's time to create your list of living - because if you set your mind to do it, you'll make it happen!".

I love everything that the My Bucket List journal stands for..."it's time to decide how you want to spend the rest of your life, it's time to insert your story!" It's crazy how much one book can help you see the world differently, see everything more clearer. I'm so excited to start working through the first few pages of my Bucket List! and I'd love to hear what's on yours? 
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Saturday, 20 February 2016

Grace Loves Lace


You may remember that back in the summer I got engaged, and I'm sure like every girl you secretly have an idea of what your dream wedding dress would be like, and for me that happened to be Grace Loves Lace. I came across their beautiful wedding dresses last year, and as soon as I got engaged I knew one of their dresses was what I wanted to wear on the day I became Mrs. Lovaine James. After researching I shortly realised my dream dress would be a little bit harder to become a reality than I originally thought. With Grace Loves Lace being based out in Australia and with no European stockist, I knew flying out for the dress of my dreams wasn't an option, and I also knew I wouldn't be able to order it online, without being able to try any on first, so my Grace Loves Laces dreams seemed to be out of reach. One morning on Instagram I saw 'London Truckshow this weekend' on my feed! Grace Loves Laces were flying over to the UK for the first time, and bringing their dresses over for UK brides to try on! But I wasn't the only British bride to be who had their heart set on wearing one of their beautiful dresses, as the Trunk Show was fully booked in minutes and I was placed onto a long waiting list.

On Saturday afternoon, with only 1 day left of the trunk show I received an email saying a 20 minute slot had become available, for a dress fitting on Sunday if I wanted it...and of course I jumped at the chance! I arrived into London with 2 of my Bridesmaids and parents, to find a queue of over 30 brides already waiting to get into the gallery for their fitting! I was led into a beautiful dressing room, with my 4 chosen dresses waiting for me on delicate gold hangers, and I knew as soon as I tried on the first dress it was the one! The dress I was going to wear when I married my best friend, and became his wife! I knew everything that had brought me to Grace Loves Lace that day was fate, and just like that I had found my dress, and not just any dress...after purchasing it we were giving it's story, and after reading it, it was honestly as if the dress was always meant to find it's way to me. "The dress for the real life mermaids, for the indefinable bride: the woman with style, who knows fashion but doesn't follow it. A bride who is a Siren from the sea".  I can't wait to share every moment of our special day with you! Above is one of the first look book's that made me fall in love with Grace Loves Lace.

"In a land adorned with the ghost of Australian legends and the vivid, inebriating landscape, we sought to show our proud Australian heritage. It was in the consuming and magical place we breathed life into a redefining collection of impeccable textiles and luxurious silhouettes. Over the four days shooting, we went only where horse would go and where man dares to adventure. Our team became family as we embraced the harsh and magnificent alpine Australian elements together, to manifest this visual repast. We invite you to become enamoured in the days where man and horse were one, where romance hangs inexorably in the air, and where the beauty of the wild dominates. We invite you to be captivated by Untamed Romance".
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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Plenish Cleanse


I recently got sent a 3 day juice cleanse from Plenish to try out. If you follow me on Instagram (@_lovaine_) you will already know I'm a pretty keen juicer! Throughout various areas of my life I have incorporated juicing into my diet, and seen the benefits first hand. When my Endometriosis symptoms would flair up, I would choose to take shots of juiced ginger to help decrease my nausea and also help fight inflammation, and when I suffered with a very painful stomach ulcer (which was brought on by my old medication burning a hole through my stomach lining) rather than opting to have more tablets that also came with their own list of side effects, I decided it was time to look into natural healing methods and take my health into my own hands, and this is where my interest in health and nutrition began. I started researching into the benefits of juiced red cabbage for healing stomach ulcers, I read various medical reports, and doctors notes comparing the results between natural methods against medication, and I decided there would be no harm in trying it, and of course if it didn't work the medication would still be there waiting for me as a last resort.

For 2 weeks I  juiced and drank 4 cups of red cabbage everyday, and I know what your thinking...that can't taste nice?! and your right, it defiantly didn't, but my stomach ulcer was that painful that I knew I would be willing to try anything if it would help heal it, and heal it it did! So knowing how beneficial juicing has been to me in the past, I was pretty excited to take on the Plenish 3 day juice cleanse, and even more so knowing the taste of a red cabbage would be no where in sight! My Plenish Cleanse consisted of 6 juices:

1. Lift // 8am - Pear, Cucumber, Romaine, Spinach, Kale, Basil, Broccoli and Lime
2. Calm // 10am - Pineable, Apple, Mint, Aloe Vera
3. Boost // 12pm - Spinach, Kale, Parsley, Romaine, Cucumber, Pear, Lemon, Ginger
4. Kick // 2pm - Lemon, Red Chilli, Lime, Coconut Nectar, Filtered Water
5. Pump // 4pm - Beetroot, Carrot, Cherry, Lime, Filtered Water
6. Build // 6pm - Cashew, Vanilla, Dates, Cinnamon, Himalayan Salt, Filtered Water

At the start of each morning you are allowed to have hot water with lemon, and one thing I would advise is to make sure you have it! I find on my juice cleanses I tend to get quite cold, so starting the day with your hot water and lemon is a great way at helping you warm up and start the day feeling refreshed. You are also advised to drink water between each juice, and again I also opted for hot water instead of cold also. One thing I noticed was how I didn't actually feel hungry, the juices serving sizes are pretty generous, and having one every 2 hours, along with water breaks in between, you feel pretty satisfied. I really enjoyed my 3 day cleanse, my favorite juices were the Calm, Kick and Build, but they all tasted delicious! And thank's to their heavy vegetable content rather than just fruit, I found myself feeling pretty balanced, thanks to their high complex carb content, giving me a slow energy release throughout the day, in comparison to the sugar crashes you tend to get with the more fruit based juices on the market.

My Plenish Cleanse Tips:
1. If you plan to exercise while on the cleanse, make sure to exercise first thing in the morning
2. Drink hot water between your juices to help you regulate your body temperature, and keep warm.
3. For your last juice of the day, the Build. I chose to have half at 6pm and then save the last half just before I was going to bed. I'd also have it warm, which tasted amazing! and pretty much straight after finishing it, I was ready to go straight to sleep!

I really enjoyed my 3 day Plenish Cleanse and thanks to Wholefood's being just round the corner at my new work, when you hit that 3/4 sluggish hour in the afternoon, the Plenish KICK juice has become my perfect pick me up, to help me get through that afternoon wall! What's your favorite juice combination? and any questions about trying a juice cleanse just let me know in the comments below! Lovaine x
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Sunday, 31 January 2016

A Road Trip To Ireland

Have you ever felt like you belong somewhere, even before you've visited? Just from looking at photos and hearing stories, you somehow feel connected to it, like it's already apart of you.  Last week thanks to Up And Go, Jon and I set off on a road trip to Ireland thanks to their Dawn Breakers Campaign, where we were given a Camper Van and £1000 to go on an adventure.

Growing up to my Grandads stories of his life in Ireland, the beautiful landscapes and cold but famous Irish sea, it had always been somewhere Jon and I had been desperate to go, trace my family history, and explore it's surf breaks, so we picked up Margo, a beautiful 1970's VW Westfalia Camper Van from the Up And Go offices in London, and travelled down to Pembroke in Wales, to catch our Ferry over to Rosslare, Ireland. 10 minutes into our drive, Margo broke down in the middle of Central London, on a busy dual carriage way...It was safe to say we were a little worried that Margo wouldn't even make the 240 mile drive down to the ferry, let alone across to Ireland! The thing about VW camper vans, even though they are beautiful, they are defiantly not the most reliable form of transport you could choose to take on a road trip, and we were told on many occasions "it's all part of the adventure" I mean you can't exspect to take a vintage car on a road trip and not have any car trouble haha! but it was safe to say by end of our trip we loved Margo, and for a Grandma she did pretty well!

After breaking down in London, it turned out Margo's battery was flat! So once we fixed that little issue we carried on down to Wales, to catch our ferry over to Ireland. We travelled with Irish Ferries, and being our first time travelling via water, rather than air, I have to say it was pretty amazing! You may have read perviously that I'm not the greatest of flyers, and travelling with your surfboard when your flying is not only expensive but the chances of your board getting damaged in transit is pretty high! So being able to travel with everything packed up in the van was awesome! We didn't have to worry about our luggage being over the weight limit or having to pay extra, and when you arrive the other side you don't need to worry about hiring a car as you have everything you need with you.

On the ferry we had our own cabin, with beds, shower, wifi and TV (we don't even have a TV at home haha so this felt like a little bit of a luxury) if you had your laptop with you and wanted to get on with some work you could, or even if you wanted to shower and sleep you had the option. They also had a cinema and selection of restaurants on board. I was really impressed with the food options, as normally when it comes to eating out, for me it can sometimes be a bit tricky, but the Irish Ferries menu catered for everyone. I would defiantly recommend the fresh vegetable stir fry and fruit bowl, they even had my favourite brand of Aleo vera juice on board!

Our Ferry ride was over pretty fast, and just like that we were in Ireland. By the time we docked it was already dark, so it was hard to believe we were actually there. We headed to a nearby hotel to get some sleep, ready for our 5 hour drive in the morning, across to Kilcatherine in South East Ireland. We woke up to a cold, but crisp day, and considering we were still in winter the landscape was  beautiful rich and green and full of life! We packed up the van and set off to the coast and our little cabin we had booked on Air B&B on the edge of the Wild Atlantic Way. 3 hours into our drive, while going around a bend, the gear stick snapped clean off in Jon's hand haha! We can defiantly laugh about it now, but at the time we honestly thought we might be stranded in the middle of Ireland! With VW's being so old, part's can be hard to find, so we just had to pray that we could find a car garage on a Saturday that could help us put Margo back together and we could continue on route to Kilcatherine. Luckily we found a garage a few miles down the road, who stayed open late for us, and after some welding, Margo was patched up and we were back on our way.

By the time we finally made it to our cabin night had already set in, but we knew where ever we would be waking up was going to be beautiful from the silhouettes of mountains we passed as drove along the empty, winding roads. At the cabin we were greeted by our Air B&B host Stephen, along with a bowl of freshly made soup and local soda bread he had waiting for us. Our log burner was already lit and as we settled in for our first night in the cabin, accompanied by nothing but the sound of the ocean and the light of our fire, we were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows.

It took us 2 days, 1 ferry ride, 2 break downs, over 20 hours of driving and 597 miles to reach our cabin on the coast of The Wild Atlantic Way, and as we woke the next morning, seeing our surroundings for the first time, we knew it was all worth it. It felt like we had stumbled across our own secret Ireland, which we spent the next few days exploring, finding different routes, hidden paths and the most beautiful views we had ever seen. I found it hard to believe that a place so beautiful could be so uncrowded. It was quite overwhelming to fell like we had the whole of the Beara Peninsula to ourselves. We could park up and not see another soul for hours, it was just the landscape and us. It's honestly one of the most beautiful and peaceful place I've ever been. We'd spend the days covering as much land as we could in Margo, trying to see every inch of the Peninsula before returning to our little cabin when night would fall. We'd wrap ourselves in blankets by the fire, with a cup of tea and the Irish, folk music radio station playing in the background, before we were ready to fall asleep.

After a few days exploring the South East we packed up Margo, said goodbye to our little cabin and headed back North, getting ready for our journey back to the Ferry and to pay a quick visit to the cold water surf spots on the North Coast. We headed down to Tramore Stand, and with our van packed full of our winter wetsuits, hoods, boots, gloves and surfboards, we were ready to brave our first surf in the cold Irish Sea. Sadly for us, when we arrived the wave's weren't in our favour, and the surf was a total wash out, but Jon still managed to jump in, catch some wind chop before heading back in 5 minutes later from the lack of waves and freezing cold conditions haha. Afterwards we found a little cove and set up camp in the back of Margo, with the boot open, we wrapped ourselves up in my aztec beach blanket from sundripped and sat back to watch the beautiful view of Newton Cove. This was defiantly one of my favourite views from our week, and the perfect way to end our Irish Road trip. Afterwards we packed up Margo for one last time and headed back to the Ferry for our journey home.

If you have ever wanted to travel to Ireland, I couldn't recommend it enough! Only a 5 hour ferry ride away it couldn't be easier, and we can't wait to go back in the summer! I would defiantly recommend bringing your car or van with you, that way you can bring everything you need with you, and don't have to worry about hiring a car the other end, and trust me a car is pretty essential if you're planning travelling around Ireland when your there.

Ireland Travel Tips: 
  • If you travel via Irish Ferries all plug sockets on board are european (2 pin sockets) so make sure to bring an adapter or you can purchase one on board. Also they have the option of a fast or a slow ferry. We opted for the slow 4 hour one, or you can get the fast one that gets you there in 2 hours. The fast option is a lot rougher, and we heard lots of sea sickness stories, so bare that in mind!
  • In Ireland everything is in Euros, so make sure to have some ready before you arrive, as there is a few toll bridges when you get into the city which we had no cash for.
  • In Ireland they measure distances in KM instead of miles like we do in the UK, so bare that in mind when reading maps/distances.
  • Make sure you bring a map, as not all Sat Navs will work in Ireland.
  • Lastly if you are driving over, make sure your breakdown coverage covers you for Ireland as it is classed outside of the United Kingdom.

Check out our video diary from our Irish road trip below! I hope you've enjoyed our little trip photo diary, and if you have any questions about Ireland or where we went, free free to comment below! x


FAQ: All Photography & Video shot by Emilie Layla Lovaine and Jon James on a Canon 5d MK II
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