A Weekend in Paris: Day One

Paris Seine river at sunset

Paris Seine river at sunset

Paris is one of those cities I’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t got around to – despite it being a stone’s throw away from the UK. Last week I finally got to see what all the fuss was about, as myself and my best girl Ellie, spent 3 days in the amazing city.

We caught a mid-morning flight from Manchester airport and arrived in Paris at midday (Paris time). I knew Paris was close, but I didn’t realise the flight was only one hour – it’s quicker for me to fly to Paris than to travel back home to Harrogate!

Even though we were on the 10 am flight, there was a couple next to us who had drank a whole bottle of champagne, and several beers, who were telling people they were going to the Eifel tower tomorrow night– definite proposal on the cards, the smug bastards.

After landing we hopped on the train from the airport and headed into the city. The trains and metros are really easy to navigate and it didn’t take us long to get our bearings. Although admittedly, Ellie took the lead and told me where to go and which trains to get on, but if I hadn’t have chosen such an organised travelling buddy I’m sure I would have been fine. We purchased a 10-day ticket for the metro (which actually came as 10 tiny tickets) as it was the best option for multiple trips and cost us 14.50 euros.

Hannah in paris

What’s the first thing you think of when you imagine Paris? The Eifel Tower! We decided to visit the famous landmark on our first day (after stopping to eat some French bread and meat of course!) All I can say is that the tower is SO much bigger than I expected! When you get up close to it you can’t believe how much space it takes up and it can be seen from almost anywhere in Paris. It looks amazing in the day and even better when it’s lit up at night.

Paris was a scorching 30 degrees the entire trip, and as the hot metro station is no place to be in a heatwave, we decided to catch a ride on one of the river boats. The ‘Batobus’ is a boat shuttle service that travels on the river Seine to different tourist attractions including Notre dame, The Louvre, Champs Elysees and more. The boat was 19 euros for two days of unlimited travel which is very reasonable considering how far it goes. It was so lovely being on a boat on the Seine and watching all the beautiful French architecture going by.  We jumped on at the Eifell Tower and floated down the river to Notre Dame, which is breath-taking medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. The cathedral lies within a square, which due to the weather was buzzing with tourists, performers and Parisians, which was great to watch. However, the queue to get inside Notre Dame went on forever so we chose to admire the view from outside instead of queueing.

Next stop on the Batobus was Jardin des Plantes, which is a huge botanical garden by the river. It was around 7pm by this time and there were loads of people sat along the riverside dangling their legs over the side and enjoying a few beers. There were also groups of people dancing to different styles of music, with young and old folk joining in. Of course, we wanted to get involved too, so we bought some beers and perched nearby overlooking the river. Top tip, the men selling cheap beers by the river are selling them for 1 euro for a reason, because they are watered down beers! We learnt this the hard way, but still had a lovely time.

We returned to the Batobus and watched the sun go down as we sailed along the river Seine with the Eifel Tower lighting up the background. It was a magical way to end our first day in Paris.

Part two will be up soon, so keep checking back 🙂 apologies for my grainy Iphone pics, I took actual photos on my camera but haven’t edited them yet.

Blogosphere Blog Awards 2017: Fitness Blogger of the year

blogosphere blog awards

Good news everyone! I have been shortlisted in the Blogosphere Blog Awards 2017 and nominated in the Fitness Blogger of the Year category!

The Blogosphere Blog Awards has 10 categories which cover a range of blog niche’s such as lifestyle, fashion, beauty and book bloggers and there is also a category for the ‘Blogosphere Blogger of the Year’ as well, which basically means you’re the best blogger evaaaaa. The winner of each category will be featured in issue 14 of the Blogosphere Magazine and have a photo shoot and interview in London!

I have been nominated in the fitness category along the crem de la crem of fitness bloggers – Carly Rowena, Zana Van Djik, The Runner Beans and Imperfect matter. If I’m honest, I’m really not sure how this has happened! I have looked up to these bloggers, Carly and Zana in particular, before I even started my blog. I’m still quite worried I have been added in as a joke candidate. Imposter syndrome, be gone!

If you enjoy reading my blog, or want to do your good deed for the day, you can vote for me as fitness blogger of the year by clicking here and selecting Hannah Gets Hench in the fitness blogger category. Nominations are open now and they close at the end of May so get voting!

Best of luck to all the amazing bloggers who have been nominated (Not dominated spellcheck…) and I am looking forward to meeting you all at the event in June!

VOTE FOR ME HERE

Thanks, Hannah x

How to support someone who has anxiety

girl holding water melon

TW: anxiety, panic attacks.

As it’s mental health awareness month, I wanted to write about a topic that I am very familiar with; my old buddy anxiety.

I’ve suffered from generalised anxiety disorder for most of my teenage and adult life. I take medication to deal with it daily, which generally keeps it at bay, but sometimes it does flare up and cause my to feel very anxious which can even lead to a having a panic attack. Panic attacks are different for everyone but I believe they are universally dreaded by every anxiety suffer, even as I’m writing this I’m worried I am going to trigger one from just thinking about it so I will stop!

Anyway, I digress. The point of this post is not about me, but about being supportive towards others who have anxiety. Many of my friends also have anxiety and there are often times when I need to help them out (just as I’d hope they would do the same for me when I feel anxious) I understand that it can be overwhelming and difficult to discuss anxiety if you don’t suffer from it yourself but the worst thing you can do is to ignore them and pretend it isn’t happening. Anxiety is extremely isolating and scary and you need all the support and help you can get from the people that mean the most to you.

Here are my tips for supporting someone with anxiety, from personal experience and from things my friends have recommended.

Keep communication short and sweet

When I’m anxious I really struggle to reply to things, texts and emails can build up and I’ll feel very overwhelmed. Don’t even get me started on missed calls and voicemails! At the same time, I feel incredibly lonely when I’m at this stage of anxiety, so I need to keep communicating but not allowing it to overwhelm me.

Receiving a short text from a friend saying something simple like “I’m thinking about you” or “You’re going to be ok. Get in touch when you want to” is enough to make me feel loved but not enough to make me fret about replying. I will reply once I get back to myself and my friends know that. Alternatively, if your friend would be more relaxed receiving a phone call then sometimes hearing a loved one’s voice can massively ground you. Find out what works for them.

Don’t search for reasons why

Anxiety doesn’t discriminate, it can affect anyone at any time and there is often no logical reason for feeling that way. If someone feels anxious then you should talk to them about how they feel but don’t ask why they feel like that (unless they want to talk about it). The main thing is not to judge, pressure them to open up, or make them feel guilty for feeling that way.

Learn about anxiety

There is still SO much stigma around talking about mental health conditions, but the more we learn and talk about them, the more helpful we will all be for those who do suffer. When I first told my sister about my anxiety she didn’t really understand it, but she took the time to learn about it and I think that helped her understand what I felt a little bit better. Do as much research as you can about anxiety and read about people’s personal experiences with it. Even though they won’t be the same as your friend’s experiences, it will give you a glimpse of what they might be going through.

Offer to spend time with them 

Groups of people intimidate me, even if its friends I’ve known for years I can still feel anxious about being in a group with them. If your friend is hesitant about social situations like this, offer to meet them before you meet the group and go with them to take some pressure off. If they really don’t want to do anything involving a group, arrange to spend time with them alone so they don’t feel left out.

Don’t pressure people to feel better

While it’s really positive to try and help people take their mind off things, you shouldn’t expect them to instantly feel better. Anxiety can effect people constantly, or only at certain times, it’s totally dependent on the person. Likewise, don’t say things like “Don’t be silly, you shouldn’t be anxious!” or “It will pass soon just forget about it!” because it makes the person feel like their feelings aren’t valid.

Stop mixing up nerves with anxiety

Feeling nervous about things is natural. Situations like going on a date, starting a new job or doing a presentation will generally make most people feel nervous, but this is different from having anxiety. Saying ‘that gives me anxiety’ when you really mean that it makes you feel nervous is so frustrating to someone when their life is controlled by anxiety. Most people don’t mean to offend when they say stuff like this but it’s always something to bear in mind.

Quick list of things friends can do to reduce anxiety

  • Sending/receiving cute letters or cards
  • Providing sweets/chocolates or any delicious food
  • Going on a long walk and talking (sometimes reduced eye contact is good)
  • Having a film night – especially old films you love and find comforting
  • Playing with animals/visiting animals
  • Doing something active together like a run or a swim
  • Doing a project like colouring in, painting, tidying or making something

Hopefully this post helped, as I said this is from my personal experiences with anxiety and things that have helped my friends so they might not be for everyone. Have you got any things that help yourself or a friend when they feel anxious?

What being body positive means to me

neon lighting

The body positive movement aims to end the negative relationship we have with our appearance and accept ourselves for who we are naturally. It is inclusive of everyone, no matter how you look you deserve to be loved and to love yourself.

Body positivity isn’t just about weight, it’s about feeling good in the body you are in. It’s about focusing on yourself as a whole and challenging society’s perceptions of beauty. You are worth more than how you look.

It’s not apologising for having a double chin in a photo. It’s not worrying about how your cellulite looks in natural light. It’s enjoying what your body can do for you, instead of chastising it for not looking a certain way.

Body positivity and me

Body positivity is a relatively new concept for me, having only learned about it over the last 18 months. After years and years of self-hatred and insecurities, the idea of loving my body unconditionally seems like both a breath of fresh air and a rope to hang myself with.

Many of us have been conditioned from an early age to believe that we need to be smaller, symmetrical, perfect versions of ourselves. If we only squeezed into a smaller size our lives would be better. This is not true, and the only reason we are subjected to this kind of thinking is because companies want to make us spend money on products we don’t need and they need to keep feeding our insecure to get us to splash out. As an intelligent woman, I know this is true, but after 25 years of body shaming myself, it’s difficult to kick the habit.

Being body positive can be more challenging than you might think. As with most things, there is a steep learning curve. I have many days where I stare at my reflection in the mirror and tell myself I am fat, ugly or disgusting. Irrational thoughts consume my mind, ‘What if I gain loads of weight and no one likes me anymore?’, ‘I can’t wear that because my legs are too fat’ ‘My nose is so big and ugly’ etc. The fact that I have these thoughts is evidence enough that I need to embrace body positivity and self-love.

Fitness and body positivity?

Some people reading this might be thinking I’m being hypocritical because this is a fitness blog after all.

I hold my hands up and say in the past I was not being body positive, through a lack of education and knowledge. Once you open your eyes to how much body shaming is around it’s quite shocking. Even this year when I decided to embrace the body positive movement I still had a lot of setbacks. In my Grace Fit Guide posts I get carried away with how my body is responding to the guide looks wise and began to feel very critical of myself once again.

I would love to be in a place where I feel 100% happy with my appearance, not because I have achieved unrealistic beauty standards, but because I love and accept myself the way that I am. My goal is to stand naked in front of a mirror and honestly say that I don’t care how my body looks and that I am just so grateful to have it. You can be body positive and into fitness and health, it’s a celebration of what your body can do after all.

Our society is becoming more image obsessed by the day and humans are already hard wired to respond to images. Self-hatred is accelerating; depression and eating disorders are increasing and it’s only going to get worse unless we teach each other to think differently. Nowadays, people are celebrated purely for their looks, while intelligent, funny, kind, courageous and artistic people are valued less.

Thanks for reading this. If you’re interested in more body positive posts my friend Vicky wrote a really interesting guest post for me which you can find here or you can visit her blog which is body positive.

It’s ok to feel overwhelmed

beautiful sunrise

As I get older, I’m adding more responsibilities to my ever-growing to-do list and sometimes this can make me feel very anxious and overwhelmed. Let me give you a little peek into my mindset:

Simple tasks suddenly start to pile up and I become very aware of how much I need to do. This awareness turns to full blown anxiety and my defence mechanism kicks in. Instead of calmly completing my tasks in order of priority, I ignore all of them. I completely stop doing anything (apart from scrolling on my phone which has apparently become part of my subconscious) This is fine for a day, maybe even two, but after that I have well and truly fallen behind and made life very difficult for myself.

Because of this I have piles of work to finish on the same day, my flat is a mess and I have no clean clothes or dishes. I haven’t been to the one place that will de-stress me (the gym). I don’t have time to see my friends; but I also haven’t cancelled on them because I didn’t want to let them down, so they will be annoyed when I do cancel because now its last minute. My bills are overdue and I owe friends money because I can’t bear the thought of logging into online banking and seeing my balance. I have no food in the house because I never do a proper shop, so I just buy biscuits instead and feel ill. My blog hasn’t been updated for a week, and anyway all the content I do produce I dislike because it’s never good enough. I need to go to bed earlier because I constantly feel exhausted but I have too much to do at night.

What else?

As you can see, it’s pretty easy to become overwhelmed. None of the things I worry about are ever that difficult to do and I know a lot of them will sound silly, its not like I have a child to care for or anything. But even the smallest things become huge in an anxious mind. When I’m feeling like this I can’t have my phone near me because the idea of people texting me and then having more texts to reply to fills me with so much anxiety it makes me feel sick and I prefer to just pretend it’s not happening, same with checking emails.

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is to be honest, I don’t have any solutions for overcoming anxiety and feeling less overwhelmed. I just wanted to write something about the subject because it’s having a big effect on my life at the moment. It’s quite ironic that it’s happening because I’ve been really happy lately but I guess that’s anxiety/depression in a nutshell – it doesn’t care who you are or what’s happening it just pops up whenever it chooses to!

I just wanted to say that it’s ok if you feel like this, because it will pass eventually. Make sure you talk to people that you love and trust about how you are feeling and get some help if you can.

Hannah x

One trainer fits all: Nike Zoom Air Structure 2.0 Review

nike air zoom trainers in box

I’m what I like to call a ‘pick n mix’ exerciser; some days I go running and others I’m firmly planted in the weights area.

Did you know that the type of trainers you wear affects your performance in the gym? Different trainers are designed to suit specific types of training. This seems straight forward enough, but when you do a variety of styles of training it can be difficult to find a trainer that will support you for a variety of exercises.

Continue Reading

Fitness clothes that will actually make you want to workout

fitness wishlist

fitness wishlist

The better you feel at the gym, the harder you work…right?

Since I’ve switched to lifting, I’ve had more opportunity to wear nice gym clothes that don’t get ruined by cardio sweat. I’ve said goodbye to my baggy tees and upgraded on the active wear front.

(Read about how I’ve found doing the GraceFit strength training guide here)

I thought I’d show you a few pieces that I’ve been lusting after recently, including a cool new brand that I’ve just discovered.

Ariana Burgundy legging – Peaches Sportswear

peaches sportswear

I found Peaches Sportswear through Instagram and I can’t believe no one has raved about them sooner. These leggings are perfect to show off your booty gains and I love the striped panels.

Nike Pro Classic Skew

nike sports bra

Nike always has the coolest prints on its wear. I like pairing a vibrant pattern like this sports bra with some simple black bottoms.

Nike Dry Miler Top

Nike top

Another amazing print, you can feel like a fitness loving Dalmatian when you wear this top in the gym or out running.

Pink Soda Sports – Brushed Metallic Leggings

pink soda sports leggings

These leggings tick all the boxes for me. I love the grey colour, the mesh panels and a high waistband. I like how all the pieces in the pink soda collections work together despite not being in the same series; I have a black sports bra from last year that would still look good with these leggings.

H&M crop top

h&m top cobalt

I love the colour Cobalt blue but I find it quite difficult to wear in everyday life, mainly because my favourite colours are black, oat and khaki, so this top is the perfect to get my colour fix.

Nike pro hyper classic padded in peach

nike sports bra

How gorgeous is this peach colour? This sports bra would look fabulous with grey bottoms or black ones! Plus it has removable pads, so it gives support and makes all the small boobed girls happy (aka me).

Baylis Grey Ribbed Leggings – Peaches Sportswear

peaches sportswear 2

Another peaches sportswear piece. Incase you couldn’t tell, I’m obsessed with grey leggings at the moment, which is weird because I hate grey jeans with a passion! The high waisted style and thick fabric of these grey leggings makes them look like they’d be really flattering. But the question is are they squat proof?

Adidas Jumper

adidas jumper

Oh my word, I have major feels for this jumper. It looks so soft and cosy and perfect to throw on when you’re walking home from the gym. Or lounging around in. The print is very 90s and makes me want to put my hair in a scrunchy and rave the night away.

Hope you liked my fitness gear picks! I have linked to all the pieces in the text so you can find them easily. These are all my own picks and not sponsored or affiliated either. If you know of any good new brands please share in the comments below 🙂

 

If lady Gaga gets body shamed, what chance do we have?

Lady gaga superbowl half time body shaming
Lady gaga superbowl half time body shaming

Image source: E Online

Does anyone else feel like the world has literally turned upside down? Donald Trump is in the White House and all people can talk about is Lady Gaga having a tiny ounce of fat on her stomach while performing at the Superbowl half time show.

In case you didn’t see it, Lady Gaga KILLED IT. She was as amazing as always. She danced and sang her heart out and dropped from the ROOF of the Superbowl, which is scary as fuck anyway, regardless of the fact she had to start singing to billions of people straight after.

I missed the live half time show (because I live in the UK and I didn’t fancy sleeping at my desk the next day at work) but I caught up with Gaga’s performance the next morning. Before I’d managed to watch the footage, I had already read at least five different bodyshaming headlines about Gaga’s choice of costume. Nothing about her amazing performance, just about her belly.

Ok, so bear in mind these were articles from terrible sites and non-credible news sources, but the thing that annoyed me the most were people’s comments on social media:

The person who tweeted that also retweets a lot of Donald Trump so you get the picture of what he’s like….
I know that people like to trash celebrities because it makes them feel better, and perhaps the comments were blown out of proportion, but what kind of message are we sending to women and young girls?

You are only as good as your body? You can be one of the most successful, talented and hardworking performers on the planet, but until you shift that bit of body fat you aren’t as good as someone with a flat stomach?

I AM SO SICK OF LIVING IN A WORLD OF SUCH HIGH STANDARDS

I AM TIRED OF LIVING IN A WORLD WHERE NO ONE CAN HAVE A TUMMY

I’ve mentioned this one before, but why does the media try and force women to be ashamed about having a tummy? Everyone has a tummy. Maybe some people have less fat on their stomachs than others, but they will still have some form of a tummy. I don’t get it. It’s the kernel of so much anxiety, low self-esteem and self-hatred for most women, but it’s a completely natural part of our bodies and if we all excepted this fact then the world we be a much happier place.

STOP SCRUTINISING WOMEN BASED ON THEIR APPEARANCE

Anyway, my point is that body shaming and sexism is still very prominent in our society (lol as if you didn’t know that already!) If she wasn’t being bodyshamed, she would probably have been slut shamed, or told that she’s being too weird.

However, there ARE loads of positive people out there that don’t believe that your looks are the most important thing. We must champion this thought and make it normal to look like a human as opposed to an airbrushed waxwork model!

Go GAGA!

An ode to women who wear makeup in the gym

Girls who wear makeup in the gym
Girls who wear makeup in the gym

Source: Nicole Mason via Unsplash

It’s safe to say that women who wear makeup to the gym get a lot of abuse. Whether it’s from other women, or men, if you rock up to the gym with a full face of makeup chances are you’ve had some nasty stares.

I have been on the receiving end, and I’m ashamed to say, have also cast judgement on the made-up faces of fellow gym-goers. My question is why do we feel this way? It’s literally none of our business what someone else looks like when they exercise. It doesn’t affect our progress at all. It needs to stop.

It makes your skin bad – NOT YOUR PROBLEM. It’s not good for your pores –Again, NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.  You aren’t working out properly if you still have it on (erm, have you never heard of primer hun?) You are trying to impress men in the gym – Yeah cos I really want to jump that 50-year-old man with the pooch don’t I babes? My fictional argument could go on forever, the point is people need to grow up.

I guess I’ve become more aware of this issue because I’ve started going to the gym during my lunch break at work. I don’t have time to take my makeup off and reapply it in an hour, so it’s easier for me to either not wear it at all, or just leave it on while I work out. So yeah, that means sometimes I do my chest session with a smokey eye, so what? I also have microbladed brows (basically tattooed on) so I always look like I have full brows on and I wear fake tan. I don’t do these things to impress anyone else or ‘show off’ I do it because it makes me feel good.

Continue Reading