16 June 2015

Ella's Illustrated London - Anges de sucre

Welcome to my new feature- " Ella's Illustrated London" where I will draw my way through some of my favorite places to visit in my home town.  Each week I will illustrate my favorite places to shop, eat and socialise. It also helps when they're super cute and easy on the eye. 

So my second installment of Ella's Illustrated London has to be with out a doubt Anges de Sucre. Hidden away down a pretty little street off South Kensington (Holland street to be precise details here) you will find Anges de Sucre I first visited this amazing little shop with Jaymie a few weeks ago to hunt down Macaroons and Instagram worthy photos, it did not disappoint. Lets just take a moment to appreciate how Parisian and picturesque this little shop is, covered in painted floral designs and birds inside and out if I owned a coffee shop I could only dream it would look this fab!

Anges de Sucre was created by the lovely Reshmi, who is a babe, bumped into her in the shop and we discussed sporks and how great they are standard conversation. The shop has such a lovely warm and welcoming environment that allows you to wander around and snap photos, they even have a floral selfie mirror - heaven for any snap happy blogger / Instagrammer.

After gawping over the doughnut cake  which can I just say would be my dream wedding cake I managed to tear myself away from wanting to stick my face in it and ordered a big slice of  Red Velvet cake and it was delightful. Since opening Anges de Sucre has won best Coffee shop in  TimeOut Love London Award in 2014 how exciting is that and definitely worth a trip. Me and Jaymie will be back soon to stuff our faces. 

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15 June 2015

My weight loss and well being journey.


Lets talk about well being and keeping in shape, I have had a lot of comments on Instagram and other social Media sites regarding my "sudden" weight loss. I promise its not sudden it has been a goal for the last two years I have been working on. At my biggest I was a size 20 before that the smallest I had ever been was a size 12, it crept up on me after a bad break up, serious illness and a lack of self esteem, yes I know what you're thinking how could it creep up on you just stop stuffing your face, well no not if food is your comfort and you just don't realise. I thought I would talk you through a few of my goals, how I have made them manageable for me, my eating pattern and what well being means to me.

Back in 2013 I became poorly when visiting a friend in Bristol, were I was too poorly to eat, it was a sad time but with a few blood tests and endless doctors appointments we figured out what was up and things thankfully got sorted. this spurred me on to want to only put healthy food in my body, but the hardest thing to figure out was changing my mindset.

"I needed to find my own worth, to be my own best friend"

There was always an underlining issue for a long time I didn't really want to admit I was unhappy and unhealthy, I use to get out of breath walking anywhere it was a constant cycle gaining weight made my asthma bad so I would have to take more inhaler making me gain more weight. It was a tough place to get out of. But I knew how I looked was making me feel really low, I have always had the loveliest of readers and followers who have always been supportive about how I look (thank heavens for those filters) but you have to do things for yourself, I was afraid to admit I wasn't happy and wanted to make big changes rather then being like "I'm big and just to be happy with that" I wanted to push myself and finally be able to look in the mirror without a million negative comments popping into my head, can I just say these negative comments were from me and not influenced by outside things, I needed to find my own worth, to be my own best friend and not to let those negative comments stop me.

Realising the need to make positive choices. 
I realised that healthy eating was only a small portion of making myself feel better, I had to stop telling myself that I wasn't good enough, I needed to learn that my happiness was important and that it was acceptable to want to take pride in how I look and how I felt without feeling selfish, it seemed like one hell of a daunting task. The only way I knew how to do this was to force myself to find good things about me, doing more for myself and making conscious choice that would push me which in turn gave me confidence, things like being filmed for a dulce gusto, traveling alone and joining the gym.

"Push yourself" 

Fast forward two years and 5 stone lighter, I decided the only way I could loose the weight was to just eat healthier I cut out things I knew would be really easy to binge on like, chocolate, biscuits and crisp, I went cold turkey, it was hard the first week but after that I just didn't want it anymore.I have heard that it doesn't always work for everyone but it was what I needed. You could also introduce new healthier food into your diet or follow a diet plan, find what works for you.


"simple goals were great for my mindset"

The above photo was taken on my birthday back in 2013 (awful hair cut) and the one on the right was taken in October time in 2014, I have since lost another stone and half, this was the point I plateaued but managed to keep my weight level. My exercise was pretty limited not for any reason other then I always felt stupid running or exercising. So it wasn't until I realised I wasn't going to properly reach my goal of 9 stone without having to change something. So I started to walk more (I decided to start small and build my confidence) with the introduction of my FitBit that had been sent to me as a gift. It was a good push in the right direction it got me walking 3-5 miles a day helping me monitor my progress. I decided once I knew more about what I was doing i.e. calorie consumption my standard 3 mile run/walk I stopped using the Fitbit as I felt I was checking it to much and it made me feel too guilty if I didn't reach my daily goals.

How to get over the nightmare of clothes shopping
Every girls nightmare when you aren't feeling how you look is going shopping, yep the simplest of tasks like buying a pair of jeans would make me feel depressed, seeing my thighs and waist expand to what it did effect my mood so much. I lived in dresses and anything to hide the fact I was getting bigger and I wasn't happy how I looked. I had to check the sizes. Hiding what you look like no matter what size you are isn't good for your well being. I had to get over the size in the item of clothes I was wearing, its really not that easy, I embraced it knowing that I couldn't feel any worst I bought clothes that would look good on me. I went for tighter fitting dresses to extenuate the good parts of my body I embraced what I could while working on the parts of me I wasn't happy with. 
Also I decided to buy myself an item of clothing that I loved and I wanted to use as a target item to fit into. Mine were a size 10 pair of vintage Levi shorts, it took me 10 months to fit in them but I did it. I surprised myself that this simple goal was great for my mindset.

The next step.

I decided only recently that joining the gym was the next step, after being asked to take part in Race For Life I wanted to prove to myself with mini goals that I could then start working on, then this would make the big goals less scary.

My well being/weight loss mini goals were 
- Run on a tread mill
- Wear a swimming costume/swim
- Complete a 5K race
- Drink more water

My Big Goals. 
- Train for the London Marathon ( I have been selected to run for Asthma Uk)
- Get a full 8 hours sleep 
- Maintain a size 10
- Try and only use my inhaler once a day
- Reintroduce outfit photos to my blog

These goals were pretty simple and doable when written down but following through with them for silly reasons like forgetting to drink more and mentally getting over how you look in a swimming costume can be hard. I realised that only I could pluck up the courage/organisation to do these things and keep going with them, so one day I put that swimming costume on and just did it. It was scary and for about a minute I hated it, but got over myself and once that goal had been squashed it makes the next stages so much easier to accomplish.

"If it doesn't fulfill you walk away."

Recently coming out of a pretty negative relationship (Negative in the way that how I was and what I did was never good enough)  has made me realise a lot about who I am, how I look and what I do is all about doing it for myself for me and not for someone else. It is surprising what such a negative relationship can do for your own well being. Knowing that you should be with someone who loves you for how you are, if they start wanting to change you that's not cool. If it doesn't fulfill you walk away.

What I'm eating. 
Food wise all I have done differently is stick to breakfast, lunch and dinner, more recently I have started eating chocolate as I figured why the hell not as I have been working my bum off in the gym. I will be sharing my meals in an up and coming blog post so keep your eyes peeled. I really enjoy drinking herbal tea and coconut water a hell of a lot more then I use to which helps me so I don't snack. I avoid processed meat, junk food and fizzy drink just because it just makes me feel like crap.I'll share more of what I eat soon.

Confidence is key
For me its not only been a weight loss journey, making positive changes has helped me in all aspects of my life, I have found that I no longer get (so) down about things as I once did. I spot more positives about myself then negatives when I look in the mirror. I don't rely on someone to tell me I look nice or make me feel good about myself. Working on myself as a person has given me that confidence.

Best way I have found to do this. 
- Set yourself reachable goals so you don't feel like you've failed.
- Don't feel too guilty over things that you can work on.
- Do more of the things that make you happy
- Ignore negative comments
- Don't beat yourself up
- Enjoy your alone time

There are still plenty of things I need to adjust, like getting the balance of food right to give me the right amount of energy for running and working out properly, juggling that with my ME is something that I need to work on. I don't profess to be a know it all when it comes to loosing weight and being happy, I just know that these things have helped me get my mind and body to a happier place and that's what I am aiming to do.

Things I am learning on this journey
- To appreciate my body a hell of a lot more
- That its not weak to admit to yourself you need to change
- Not comparing myself to other
- I am a lot stronger then I realise.
- That someone can find how I look attractive.
- Fuck it if I wanna look good who has the right to say other wise. 

How can I start my own journey to feeling more confident about my body, mind and life?

- Set yourself manageable goals
- Be happy with what you already have and work on what you want to change
- love yourself
- Don't be afraid to want to change.
- Do it for yourself and no one else.
- Try and enjoy your food 
- Find positive people and surround yourself with them


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14 June 2015

Life lately according to my iphone.


So I've been traveling a little and snapping some selfies left right and center whilst working on a few new collections for the shop. So I thought I would share some of my favorites with you all from the last two weeks.

Messy hair and no make up selfies, trying my best to let my skin breath when i'm home
Healthy Granola while traveling to Norfolk.
Constantly trying to remind myself to make things happen. 
Late night hot chocolate with my two best mates.
Falling in love with the Norfolk broads
All the patterns my best friends bedroom is perfection!
Having a good hair day before exploring Great Yarmouth
Golden Nugget its a personal joke
Shopping and trying to sweat to death in the heat.

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13 June 2015

Race for Life PT 4 - Why get involved?



So tomorrow marks my first ever 5k, I am a little nervous I'm not going to lie, yes I have been running a few 5ks a week, but I've never been one for doing sport event, but I was asked by the lovely guys at Race For Life to get involved and who could say no to such a good cause. You have already probably heard of Race For Life, its a great event where women run to raise money to fight cancer. I wasn't aware until I signed up that they also do a 10K plus other events like a marathon.

Many of my family members have lost their personal fight with Cancer including both my Grandad, Uncle all my great aunts passed away with Breast cancer including my friends so it is a charity very close to my heart. I think most people have had their lives changed for good by Cancer its a horrible disease, but with people doing things like the 5k Race For Life we can be that little bit closer to finding that much needed cure and supporting the hard work the Cancer Charities do for the people we love. So thats why I am running tomorrow and showing support to my friends Amelia and Jaymie who are also running their own 5k you go girls!!

During my training at the gym I combined the fun training app and training plan that's available on their website. It was so simple and I will be using it to help me with my marathon training (spoilers)

5k is doable for women of all ages and fitness just think walking up and down Southend pier and you've got! There are still plenty of spaces and races going on local to you and all the money raised does go to a fab cause.

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10 June 2015

Ella's Illustrated London - The Biscuiteers

Welcome to my new feature- " Ella's Illustrated London" where I will draw my way through some of my favorite places to visit in my home town.  Each week I will illustrate my favorite places to shop, eat and socialise. It also helps when they're super cute and easy on the eye.

First to be illustrated has to be the coolest shop exterior in Notting Hill The Biscuiteers biscuit boutique and Icing Cafe on Kensington Park Road

The shop itself is filled to the brim with delicately iced biscuits of every imaginable design. I love the London themed biscuits that they create and more recently the Beatrix Potter Biscuits are just every child's dream.  The exterior of the shop has an Old sweet shop feel about it and looks like its come directly out of Alice and Wonderland, I'm always going to be a fan of a shop that has a fun illustrated sign and exterior.

Quite easy to get to from the tube (easiest is either Holland Park or Notting Hill Gate) and just a road over from the famous Portobello Road. Perfect for picking up a few edible souvenirs for loved ones or if like me you just like biscuits and having an excuse to eat.  They also run classes from the shop teaching all levels all you need to know about icing biscuits and being creative.

Up and coming biscuit events include 
Sunday 14th June - Gardening class 
Thursday 18th June - Fathers day big breakfast.

Have any recommendations that I should visit and Illustrate? Let me know your favorite places in London.
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9 June 2015

Vivienne WestWood - Alice and WonderLand


Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore the work of Vivienne Westwood, as a child I dreamed of being a fashion designer, I think  most girls have at some point. So you can imagine when I received an email a few weeks ago asking if I wanted to attend a reading with the Lady herself, so I jumped at the chance. 

It was a small intimate event were Westwood read a few pages from Alice and Wonderland. It was the 150th Anniversary of the books publication in which Vivienne designed a limited edition cover with a foreword. We sipped from bone china cups and ate amazing biscuits whilst Vivienne chatted to children that had been invited from various charities. It was lovely to see her interact and chat openly and question how mad the mad hatter actually was. 



In the past Vivienne has been inspired by Lewis Carroll's writings and 'Alice's Adventures' in her catwalk collections. Westwood chatted to the children about being inspired by the book and the hidden meanings that Carroll tries to convey within the story. She told the children not to be afraid of thinking for themselves and to not always believe what adults say.
As a child I was quite scared of the Disney version of Alice and wonderland, so surreal for a child. The thought of disappearing down a rabbit hole (not many of those hanging about in London haha) and being away from people you love use to weird me out, but I guess the adventures she goes on outweigh that.

If am honest it was a privilege to be asked along on such a wonderful event,  I didn't stay for cocktails afterward but I can only imagine how fun that was. Who wouldn't love a mad hatters tea party with one of your design idols.
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2 June 2015

My Gym wear - Review

Sports Bra - Primark, black leggings with pink waist - H&M, Pink sock - Race for life, white top - Primark, (children's) Nike trainers - JJB sports 

Sports Bra - Primark
Pink Neon Vest - Primark, Grey long leggings - Primark

Lets talk gym clothes for a moment. It only dawned on me last week I really don't own enough gym wear considering I go nearly everyday the battle of washing everything straight away is a bit of a pain, So I decided to head out shopping to see if I could bag myself a bargain. I had been wearing my trusty primark three quarter length running trousers and plain leggings (made a boo boo the other day hello see through leggings eek!) for the last few months whilst I ran outside you can see those here they've lasted me well and the only downside to them is that now have dropped a dress size they're no longer as tight as they once were making it hard to run in. 

H&M

So first up I headed into H&M they had a variety of work out gear, probably for the braver at heart then me cosmic patterns, cobwebs pretty cool stuff, I can't see myself running just yet in shorts. After searching through a lot of smalls I came across a similar pair of three quarter lengths in black and pink, a favored colour combination, I'm not going to lie. At £14.99 a little pricey for a pair of trousers I'm just going to sweat in. But they fit really nicely, I opted for a meduim and they are pretty comfy. I wore them for my gym session yesterday, they didn't fall down once which is rare for me with.

Primark

Primark at the moment have a great and varied range to choose from, So first up one of the most important things for me is the sports bra so I opted for a new attractive umm neon pastel pink one, pretty comfy and they run very true to size. Which makes for a great fit and only at £4 its a steal. I have been doubling up on mine before purchasing this one as my Kelly Brookes Bras weren't cutting it for support. I kinda wish I had brought them in all colours, light blue, black and white - might have to pop back in at some point. They also have a variety of straps and styles of bras which is great.

I also purchased a neon pink vest at £4 and a pair of long grey leggings for £6 the leggings are rather thin and a little long for my tiny 5'2 frame but are easily adjusted. I'm a little in love with the vest its great when you're running and sweating a bit it doesn't feel clingy or tight.

So there are my current picks, I also had a browse around TK Maxx that had some great pieces but a little out of my budget at the moment. What are your favorite shops to buy your gym wear?
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1 June 2015

The Loss


Growing up she was my constant beacon, the happy place that I would go to in my head when I was sad as a kid. Being offered endless rich teas and Nice biscuits with my tea. A year has passed like it was only yesterday I got the phone call.

Moments you skipped over when you lived them now become things you hold onto dearly, things you never thought would be important you knit all my memories of her into one. She meant that absolute world to me. It's been a year, a full year void of anything to do with her, the hallways I use to run down and play hide and seek exists now in someone else house, pink no longer is pink enough, there are no photos, her jewellery, fur coats and high heels are nowhere to be seen. It's sometimes as if she never existed, I have slowly forgotten the sound of her voice, but smells still trigger her memory, I do think you ever truly disappear. 

Coping with loss is a tough one, It effects everyone so differently and this is the first that I have never really opened up about, that's one thing I would always recommend doing if you are a little lost at the moment, talk to someone. Always take time for yourself, it always takes time to adjust. I constantly forget she passed away but I think that's natural when you've had a bit of a shock with no closure.  Don't forget that you aren't alone.

So seeing as today is the hardest to think of her, I'm going to spend a little time thinking about the moments we did have together because at the end of the day that's the most important thing that and being grateful for the time we had. 

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