Christmas festivities of 2016 have officially come to a close whilst simultaneously the preparations to welcome in 2017 have began. Twitter today has been filled with positive tweets about people getting a head start on… More
Just in case you haven’t heard, it’s December guys – which means the countdown to Christmas is on!
At this crazy busy time of year, when all you really want to do is cuddle up by the fire with a nice glass of wine and watch feelgood Christmas movies, it is no wonder that everything begins to feel a bit like a chore; including the gym.
Instead of caving, slacking on the hardwork you’ve put in all year and cancelling last minute on your trainer, take on one of the challenges below to get you in the spirit of working out and Christmas all at the same time! What a great combination right?! The best part is you can do these challenges with your friends and family. Sure beats the standard scrabble battles and will provide much more entertainment.
Challenge number 1: Christmas
Put on Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas; assume the plank position; and hold. Each time you hear the word ‘Christmas’ do a press up before returning to plank position. The one who makes it to the end of the song without missing a press up or breaking form wins!
I will be taking on this challenge and posting the video to my Instagram:@contourallure if anybody fancies a laugh at my expense!
Challenge number 2: Santa
This one is intended for groups and you will need a ball.
Put on Jackson 5 – Santa Clause is Coming to Town. This game is about speed, a bit like the hot potato game you want to get rid of the ball as quickly as possible. Throw the ball to any member of your group, if you receive the ball when the word ‘Santa‘ comes up in the song, your penalty is 10 tuck jumps! It’s not as easy as it sounds, give it a go!
Challenge number 3: A Christmas Story
This one is aimed at those with young children.
Take on the squat stance then ask your child to tell you a good story about Christmas – hold your position until the story is finished. Kids love to ramble! Mwahaha.
If you want to make it a little harder, every time your child hesitates with an ‘uh or erm’ etc. do a squat before returning to hold the position.
It’s hard to know where to even begin with this one, there are so many gym related gifts that would make perfect Christmas presents!
As I’m sure many of you will find, as soon as December hits so do the “What do you want for Christmas” questions.
Personally, I hate this question and usually tell people to buy themselves something instead but on the odd occasion I’m pushed for an answer the request is something for the gym. The usual response to this is being looked at as though I have 10 heads. It is baffling to me that people struggle with thinking of gym related gifts.
Those of you who have been asked to buy such gifts and are clueless for ideas, fear no more – all you need to know is below.
Those of you who want such gifts, make life easier for the purchasers and send them here for a little guidance and inspiration. I’m sure Santa will be glad of the help!
1) Gym Bag
Especially for the busy girl who has to lug her gym kit around with her. Wait, even if she doesn’t have to lug it around with her, we are girls and most of us love an excuse for a new bag!
2) Athletic WearQuestion: what’s the maximum number of yoga pants a girl can own?
Answer: the limit does not exist!
Gym wear however, much like jewellery, can be very personal so to eer on the side of caution a voucher for a sports shop will do also.
Wrist straps, leg straps – we aren’t fussy. there is a need for all. Even if she already has some we like options!
4) Wireless Headphones
Well if you don’t know now you know.
These will be life changing. Wires getting in the way and finding somewhere comfortable for your phone while squatting is just not necessary more.
5) Workout Diary
Perfect for the gym newbie or the gym junkie. Nothing screams motivation more than seeing workouts ahead of time, tracking progression and seeing PB’S written down on pretty paper.
6) Fitness Tracker
If pen and paper isnt her thing, then a fitness tracker might be a good option. The benefit of many trackers is the ability to assess quality of sleep, distance travelled each day and monitor heart rate without even having to think about it!
7) Water Bottle
These days a plastic evian bottle just isn’t going to cut it. With more option than you would ever think possible in a water bottle, from glass to BPA Free, may aswell make it a cute one.
8) Supplement Bundles
Most girls these days are as mad on supplements as their male counterparts.If you are unsure in this department then a tasty pre-workout is a safe bet.
Unfortunately, I’m not talking the pretty, lacy Victoria’s Secret style lingerie but more the seamless, breathable, really unattractive kind because let’s face it, VPL is just not a good look. Sweaty Betty does a fantastic range to help us ladies keep our dignity while squatting, lunging and the like!
10) Training Program/Personal Trainer
Training under the instruction of a coach is so very different to training alone or with friends. The benefits are tenfold and almost impossible to and achieve alone. Purchasing training sessions or a professional program will propel progress. Search Urban Instinct Personal Training on Facebook and you could even win a fitbit2 with the purchase of a program!
If that doesn’t provide you with a little bit of inspiration then I don’t know what will! Happy shopping…
Welcome to December or as I prefer to call it, the 1st of Christmas. At this most wonderful time of year (clichéd I know but it’s true!) having a cold can really suck all the fun out of the spirit, making everything seems more like a chore. I know because it’s December 1st and I have a horrible cold!
And bah humbug there is no cure for the common cold. At least there are a couple of ways to fight back!
1. Switch to cardio.
When it comes to exercise you definitely don’t want to stop, giving in could mean harbouring a cold for even longer but you do want to put down those weights. Yes, you read that correctly put down those weights and switch to a low impact, quick paced cardio session. Studies have shown that that by increasing the heart rate and keeping active creates a more positive response to dealing with symptoms.
As a strong advocate of listening to your body, it’s difficult for me to suggest exercises and intensity. The only direction I can give is to listen to your body and do not put it under too much stress as risk of injury is heightened when we are a little under the weather.
2. Essential oil – Eucalyptus
The antiviral and decongestant properties of Eucalyptus oil are nothing short of a God sent MIRACLE! If you don’t believe me go put a few drops on your tissue or in a steam facial and you won’t even believe how quickly you feel like you can breathe again!
Hydration is everything. On a good day if we aren’t hydrated enough we definitely see and feel the effects. When we are ill maintaining hydration is that much more difficult but that bit more important to help fight the infections, to maintain temperature and not to mention our poor noses that turn redder than rudolph’s – and that’s even when you’ve been using basalt infused kleenex!
Hot blackcurrant because well if my nan gave it to me it must be beneficial right? Probably the same effect as chicken soup though!
Upping your vitamin intake may help to fight the effects and reduce the duration but if nothing else eating micronutrient rich foods will make you feel good rather than constantly stuffing down the comfort food.
The classic tell tale sign of a cold will remain long after the infection has been banished if you don’t stay on top of your moisturising. The last thing you want is to look like you’re still sick when you’re better. Trust me. Even when it stings because it’s red raw, get the moisturiser on. Your skin will thank you!
I know i said 5 tips but there’s one more that just cannot be ignored: REST! our bodies recover best when we are sleeping, which can be difficult when struggling to breathe so make sure you at least rest and relax when you can.
If you are a lover of Paris you need to visit Milan. Two cities currently fighting for my top spot.
Given that Napoleon built a highway connecting the two, it comes as no surprise that they bear a few similarities.
Both cities have monumental Arch’s and iconic streets and, Milan is like pretty like Paris but on a much grander scale.
I am a sucker for history and this city is just dripping in it. From walking down roads built by Napoleon to passing through old city walls. There is a piece of history standing boldly and beautifully around round every corner.
Beyond the Parisian similarities there are many unique characteristics to Milan including a castle which was used as the city’s protection before providing a home to the Lords of Milan; A palace that housed Napoleon on his stays; a 7ft sculpture of a horse by the Leonardo Da Vinci and, Stefano Boeri’s Vertical Forest, to name a few.
The Vertical Forest was actually one of my favourite sights. So unlike anything you have seen before, a great touch to dress up a skyscraper and the autumnal colours add an extra hint of elegance.
If history and sightseeing isn’t your thing, Milan still has plenty to offer.
Being regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world, Milan provides a stunning collection of luxury designer shops combined with some popular high street shops.
The shopping experience here is beyond our wildest dreams.
Not that we would expect anything to the contrary from the fashion capital of the world!
Having said that, I am a girl who loves to shop but shopping was the last thing on my mind.
Especially when we reached the Cathedral. A landmark which Milan is famous for and after seeing it with my own eyes, I can totally understand why.
It quite literally takes your breath away.
Considering we told our tour guide that we weren’t too bothered about seeing the Cathedral (oops) and stumbled upon it by accident, I’m really glad we did!
There are just no pictures that could do this beautiful building any justice whatsoever, let alone capture the atmosphere.
I got a quick video snippet of the Cathedral surrounded by hundreds of people with musicians playing in the square – I will post it on my Instagram (@contourallure) so you can get and slight feel for the place.
One thing you should be aware of is the sheer volume of people here, even in comparison to London. It is extremely busy. So when lunch time rolls around, queues for food are the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever seen! I mean they were so long it would probably be quicker to go home and cook a meal yourself! The food is delicious though so I can totally understand all the commotion that seemed to be going on in pretty much every eatery.
I truly enjoyed this city and I can’t wait to return. It definitely ranks highly on my list of places to recommend.
Well of course it does. Offering huge amounts of culture, shopping, food, history, unique little quirks and not to mention being totally picturesque – why wouldn’t you want to visit?
After many years of saying I’m going to go to Italy this year, my feet have finally touched down on Italian soil.
We were picked up by private transfer and chauffeured to the Grand Hotel Britannia Excelsior on Lake Como.
If I asked you to think of an Italian cliché what would you come up with? Well, mine would be the phrase Mama Mia so you can imagine the humour on my face when our driver kept shouting out Mama Mia at the traffic. oh we have definitely arrived in Italy!
Even in the absence of the sun, the beauty of this place shines through. The attitude that comes with the low lying clouds is mysterious and endearing.
This was our very first view of the much coveted destination of Lake Como. A place which hosts celebrities such as George Clooney, Richard Branson and, my idol and her husband – Posh and Becks! (Oh the fan-girling that would ensue should I bump into the Victoria Beckham!)
Down the very narrow and winding roads is the town of Como.
It was recommended to us that we visit the Como markets.
I have to say that they were quite disappointing. It may have had something to do with the heavy rain but in all honesty, I won’t be recommending them. There was the odd cute stall but nothing to really shout home about.
We strayed down the cobbled roads to head to the main square. There was so much beauty around, so much detail gone into each architecture, each sculpture and, each window display that we never actually made it to the town square.
A quaint yet luxurious looking chocolate shop called Diamanti played a big role in keeping us from the town centre. The temptation was just too strong to resist.
Now let me tell you, if I could capture any smell and share it with you, this would be the one. The aromas of freshly made chocolate and coffee mixing in the air was just something else.
There are many things Italians are famous for and coffee is right up at the top of the list. On the barrista’s recommendation a round of macchiato con cioccolato was ordered.
The drink was very similar to a mocha except that the chocolate at the bottom was real, rich, thick chocolate and the coffee was so strong that if it wasn’t served in the tiny cups it came in, it would have been dangerous.
If ever you have the pleasure of visiting this town, Diamanti is a must for a coffee stop. I Daren’t try the chocolates for fear of being unable to stop but I have no doubt that they taste as delicious as they look.
There was definitely plenty more that this town had to offer but time flies when you’re having fun. As the sun set over this beautiful city it was time for us to leave.
Our attendance was requested for a black tie gala at Lake Como this evening so back we headed to change into our gowns and bow ties ready to dance the night away.