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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Over the weekend, I hit the halfway mark of Veganuary.

That happened so quickly and I can't believe that I've already succeeded in eating vegan for two weeks.

Here's how I got on.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Veganuary | Veganuary 2017 | Vegan | Veganuary Challenge

Today I had a busy day followed by a date (!) so I skipped a big dinner today and instead opted for some avocado on toast for lunch and a large salted popcorn at the cinema. Please note, the popcorn was to share. Today is the first day I also found my appetite reducing. I don't know if it's because I was so busy or just because I've been filling up on more vegetables but I definitely began to eat less.

Today I also had avocado on toast and some butternut squash risotto I'd purchased ready-made from Morrisons. It was rank. I have no idea what possessed me to buy it.

On Tuesday, I had just one big meal. I was busy running errands most of the day and I've been also upping my water intake loads, so I focused on pasta with a garlic cream sauce and mushrooms. It was nice and I actually managed to flavour the sauce for once!

By midweek, I sort of got my appetite back a little. I had vegetable grills and mixed vegetables for lunch, then met my dad for dinner at a Hungry Horse, where I scoffed down a delicious Tandori Veg Malasi. It was lovely, if a little hot for me! I'm always pleasantly surprised at how many veggie and vegan options on offer at Hungry Horse. There was a lot and as it was a tad hot, I couldn't finish it all. By the evening, I was feeling a tad peckish, so I treated myself to a simple home favourite, spaghetti on toast.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Veganuary | Veganuary 2017 | Vegan | Veganuary Challenge

Thursday was another busy day for me, so I stocked up on water and treated myself to a big dinner of Fry's Family Chicken Nuggets, bite sized roast potatoes, garlic breaded mushrooms and some mixed vegetables. I'm loving mini bags of mixed vegetables lately. You just throw them in the microwave and because they go with everything, I've gone easily from barely eating any vegetables to eating them nearly every single day with at least one meal.

This weekend I was away at Centre Parcs with some friends. To make it cheaper, we agreed to all cook for each other and I told myself I would try my best to stay vegan but not beat myself up too much if I couldn't, as obviously most of our group weren't vegan. I said I'd add an extra weekend onto Veganuary, but as it goes, it was pretty easy. One of the girls is a full time vegan and my other friend is doing Veganuary with me so we had no meat all weekend. I did have a couple of sides that I'd picked up thinking were vegan (but turned out not to be) but didn't beat myself too much about it, as I'd already chosen to be a bit more lenient that weekend.

I don't know what it was but Monday I felt horrible. At first I thought I'd just overdone it over the weekend, as I'd had a pretty bad hangover on the Saturday, but my stomach was killing me too so I thought maybe it was where I'd barely eaten with having no appetite. Anyway. I shamelessly gave in. I tried to eat some avocado on toast which I puked up again mere hours later and found nothing would stay down. I couldn't be bothered to cook so had some doritos which weren't vegan at all. I puked these up too, and I think Monday marked the end of Veganuary for me.

Having not been able to keep anything down for the past few days - but not at all blaming Veganuary, cooking and eating vegan has been the last thing on my mind. The result of my sickness could well be the change in diet, but it could also be something as simple as a pro-longed hangover and not eating.

After two weeks/reaching the halfway mark, I came close to giving in for many reasons. I went as far as to end this post stating the reasons why I decided to give up - I'd already given in and eaten some non-vegan items when feeling unwell, and also that my circumstances had changed from last year and I was no longer in a position to splurge/stock up on vegan items every week being that I now only work part time.

But I also wrote about how proud I was for reaching the halfway mark and how good I felt in myself. I have noticed a huge change so far, I've lost weight, I had a lot of energy in the first week (when I was eating properly) and in general felt better in myself.

And then I decided that I'd just admit that those two days of feeling so terrible in myself can be marked down as a write-off and that I'm allowed slip ups now and then. It wasn't that I'd intentionally decided that I didn't want to try anymore and went out to scoff a massive bacon sandwich; anything I ate was not staying down, I turned to home comforts (like soup) to settle my stomach and just had no energy or motivation to cook.

So after a bit of a rough end to my second week, I'm hoping my third week will be a lot better!

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Monday, 16 January 2017

I love sharing new (well, not always new, but perhaps new to you) music on this blog and really enjoyed doing my playlist posts last year. This year I'm going to attempt to do one each month, but we'll see how I get on!

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I bought this ultra bold but cool sticker in Ibiza, I can't help it, it caught my eye! But just to note, I am in no way supporting sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll with this sticker. Wait, who am I kidding, I always support rock 'n' roll...

This month it was easy. I've spent the last month or so trying to clear my Shazam list, so I've found loads of cool new songs that way, but I've also been stumbling across lots of new music by accident this month too - in adverts, on Snapchat etc.

This playlist is a bit mixed - there's some pop punk, there's some dreamy electro (at least that's what I'm calling it!) and there's a fab collaboration between twenty one pilots and MUTEMATH thrown in too. I just had to include this and I love the song as it's so different and out there. And, of course, twenty one pilots' music is hard to explain at the best of times, let alone when they're collaborating with another innovative artist to remix an old song.

Waves by The War on Peace was suggested by a staff writer over at Debut Magazine - where we try to share a new song every day - and Ready Set Go was discovered when I was reviewing Home wrecked's (is that the right plural?!) EP for Invicta Magazine. Finally, I stumbled across the deliciously out there What We Could Have Been by Vesperteen via Josh Dun's snapchat.

The others I think were all from my Shazam list, but who knows at this point. Anyway, enjoy, and do let me know what you think!

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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Just before Christmas, I blogged about my New Year's Eve resolutions, and one of them was to take up Pound Fitness classes.

Pound Fit is a unique fitness class - it combines cardio with simulated drumming - so it's definitely a little bit different! It's inspired by the sweat dripping and infectious fun of drumming - which I think is an absolutely amazing way to sum it up.

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I booked myself into a class last week but before I even booked it I was surprised they ran classes over here in the UK. It's quite popular in the US, so I was really happy that I could attend an actual class over here.

The class that I went to is about a twenty minute drive away from me, only I went to the wrong school so ended up around 15 minutes late for my first class - oops! It's also typical of me.

This meant I missed the warm up and I was recommended to take it easy to begin with, which I had to do anyway as one of the first moves/songs was a sitting one, with our legs outstretched in front of us but raised off the ground.

Of course I couldn't keep my legs raised off the ground the whole time but it was fun *cough* challenging *cough* trying. 

Although there obviously were no drum sets, the idea is that you partake in an aerobic/cardio work out, whilst simultaneously doing drumming motions. So you're given a pair of bright and bold lightly weighted plastic drum sticks, and you drum the ground as you go along or occasionally make other drumming moves (tapping the sticks together etc) in the air, whilst in time to the beat.

It's fun because it really is an all over workout - you're constantly using your arms, and you also improve your rhythm, timing, coordination, speed, agility, endurance and musicality - which is great for me, as you all know I want to take up actual drum lessons too!


You can burn up to 900 calories per session and you really do feel like a total rockstar in the process.

Oh, and did I mention the music you listen to is awesome, too? I got to work out whilst listening to Paramore and Fall Out Boy = that's always a win in my eyes!

I also found it as a great way to get rid of stress - there's the opportunity to really drum hard and let out all that anger if you wish to, which, of course, then benefits you because you're working out harder.

Overall, I found the class super fun but a little bit challenging too which is great. It wasn't too daunting, but enough to make me want to push myself and I definitely felt the ache in my shoulders, stomach and thighs the following day.

I think the best part of the class though is that it's just so 'me'. It's different, it's edgy and it's the chance to rock out - and I'm already an addict!

If there's not a class near you, there is an awesome Rockout Results System kit you can buy - although it is pricey, working out at around £73 pounds - or a DVD, which also includes the Ripstix used in the workout sessions. and there's also some awesome accessories and clothing in the merchandise store. 

Would you try a Pound Fitness class? Let me know!

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Thursday, 12 January 2017

If New Year's Resolutions aren't your thing, why not take on a one or two of these feel good projects this year?

Even if your New Year's Resolution is to just be more happy - as many of us hope to be this year - one of these projects are a fab way to do that. What's even better is that when 2017 comes to an end, you can look back on these projects to remember how the year has gone.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Feel good projects for 2017 | Feel good projects | The Happiness Jar | Plant Nanny | Photo challenges | 52 Lists

I personally tried to start this project a few years ago and failed spectacularly - I didn't even get further than the first week. I think I was too worried about the end result, whether I should print out the lists as squares so I could make a scrapbook out of them etc. Unfortunately, not all of the lists are available online now as the founder has gone on to create a book about the project. So the project can still be completed - and believe me, the book looks so beautiful - but you can no longer go back to basics and print out a list week by week to be more creative with them. Luckily, there are lots of '52 lists' projects floating about online, such as the 52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge. It's sweet, because it's a really nice way to check in and take time to yourself weekly, it doesn't require too much commitment and is nice to look back on at the end of the year.

Scrapbooking is a really nice way to treasure old photographs and memories. If you're someone that enjoys taking a lot of photos but never prints them out, this is the perfect excuse to get those photos seen offline. What's great about scrapbooking is you can be so creative, creating pages upon pages with cut outs, envelopes, stamps etc for a family holiday, or even just one photo across a two page spread for a simple day spent with friends but one that you'll always like to remember. You can also use a scrapbook to display gig tickets, cinema tickets and much more. The opportunities really are endless, and you can even buy scrapbook kits for travelling and things like that.

Okay, this one might be a little different from the other's on the list, but trust me, it's guaranteed to make you feel better. Drinking more water has so many benefits, from clear skin and flushing out toxins, to aiding in weight loss and giving you more energy. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make drinking more water fun. You could start a tally in your bullet journal, or record your water intake via your Fitbit. Buying a cute water bottle to carry around with you helps too, but my personal favourite is the app Plant Nanny! It's slightly similar to having a Tamagotchi, except every time you drink water, you log it on the app and feed your plant in the process. The app reminds you when the plant is hungry or when you're due to drink more water, and the plants are really, really cute which is a nice bonus!

This is another one for those who are a lot more tech savvy, but at the end of it all, you could still choose to print out your photos and display them in an album or a scrapbook. Instagram challenges aren't new and there are so many to choose from, all varying in length and theme. So if taking a photo a day for a whole year seems a bit daunting to you, you could try a monthly project. You can also take on harder challenges, like #mustacheme, which also supports the Movember foundation, or more something more meaningful such as the #365gratefulproject, which encourages you to take a photo of something you are grateful for every single day. There's challenges that require you to take a photo with a certain colour each day - which is a great way to show of your photography skills - or take a photo with a stranger every day, too.

There's a super cute guide on Buzzfeed, even though it's pretty damn easy to do, but this article gives ideas for how to decorate and personalize jars. The idea is that you get an empty jar and throughout the year, jot down on paper every time something makes you happy or makes you smile. You can keep it simple or you can use coloured or patterned paper. At the end of the year, you can open the jar and reminisce about your year. I particularly like this one because day-by-day it can easily feel like life is dragging on and that you may not be getting anywhere, but in the long run, people tend to achieve a lot more than they realize.

So there we have it. Five feel good projects to take on in 2017, ranging from the more challenging photo-a-day, to the relaxed happiness jar project, that can be completed in your own time.

If you're feeling anxious about lots of New Year's Resolutions, why not scrap them and choose one of these instead as a way to just be more happy in 2017?

Will you be taking on any of these projects? Let me know!

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Today I wanted to talk about this amazing new app launched by Yours Clothing.

The app is a fun way to trial a tattoo without actually committing to inking your skin, which I think is a great idea because I for one have a million tattoo ideas in my head that I'm too chicken sh*t to commit to right now.

Just think of so many people that regret their tattoos and how they could have saved themselves so much trouble/regret by using an app like this first.

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Test a Tattoo app was launched in collaboration with renowned tattoo artist Barbara, who works at Parlour Tattoo in Shoreditch. There was a fun breakfast just before Christmas to help launch the app, and Barbara was on hand to help with any designs, answer any questions and just generally have a chit chat.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the event in the end, but I still wanted to write about the app and my thoughts on it because I think it's such a unique collaboration and it's quite refreshing to see a clothing brand feature an app related to tattoo's. 

The app itself is nifty to use with a wide variety of tattoo ideas you can try on your skin. You simply upload a photo, pick a tattoo (or type a text one!) and drag and drop. It looks super realistic and I found it quite eye-opening: for example, I really liked the idea of adding some lyrics to my arm, close to my first tattoo, but after trying it out on the app, I've decided against it as I think the area looks much too crowded.

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In reality, I still do want something similar - lyrics, for sure - but I think perhaps on my other arm instead.

On the other hand, I've been convinced for a while now that I'd love to add to my mum's tattoo somehow, whether that be with a sweet and simple pattern running around my wrist, or something beneath.

I absolutely love the butterfly tattoo that I found on the app (as shown in the main image of this post) and I think that fit's in nicely - especially as my mum loved butterflies.

Likewise, I like the star pattern too, as I've been thinking about a way to incorporate something that resonates with the words in the tattoo - and stars certainly shine bright, after all.

Formidable Joy | Formidable Joy Blog | Test a Tattoo app | Yours Clothing

I think by using this app, I've almost settled on the idea of adding a small butterfly tattoo to my existing one - perhaps a watercolour butterfly would be nice.

Overall, I really love the idea behind this app and how easy it is to use. I'm gutted I wasn't able to attend the event, however I'll no doubt be using the app a lot in future.

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