One of the best things about living in Manchester is having access to unique and wonderful activities on your doorstep. From indoor rock climbing, to axe throwing, there are so many exciting things you can do on a weekend. With so much choice, it’s hard […]
My social anxiety story Let me confess something. Social anxiety is something I have struggled with my entire life. From a young age I always felt anxious in social situations. I didn’t know social anxiety was a thing, I thought I was just weird, so […]
You may have noticed I’ve been AWOL. In fact this is the first blog I’ve posted on Hannah Gets Hench for a really long time. Have you missed me?
In this post I’m going to explain why. And more importantly, why I’ve returned. (Don’t worry reader, I’m as dramatic as ever, or ‘extra’ as the kids would say.)
I dropped off the blogosphere for a number of different reasons, and maybe you’ll be able to relate to some of them:
Working full time and blogging is tough
About the time I stopped writing on my blog was when I took a job at a financial company as a content editor. It’s not like it was the first time I’ve tried to juggle writing, working and blogging, my first job was a copywriter where I’d churn out 5 articles a day, but this job drained every last ounce of creativity I had. I’d get home and loathe the idea of doing anything, let alone writing.
Anyway, blogging began to feel like a chore and I was already so stressed/bored at my job I didn’t want to spend my free time feeling like that too.
The blogosphere is intimidating
I don’t think I’m the only person who feels inadequate to the blogger norm these days. It’s not enough to be good with words now, you have to be a photographer, a model, an SEO expert, or have over 100k followers to get any traction.
I could never find nice but provoking photos, optimise posts for SEO, make it mobile friendly – and all the other things ‘real bloggers’ do. I got the idea in my head that if I couldn’t be bothered to do it properly, then why was I doing it at all?
Where do I fit in?
As I’ve grown older (and hopefully wiser) I’ve changed a lot and I didn’t feel like this blog reflected who I was. The name is childish and not relevant and some of the posts make me cringe. Am I a travel blog? Am I still fitness? Am I a therapists now? Who knows!
Another issue was with the blogging community. I never fully immersed myself with it, partly because I am a little embarrassed to say ‘I’m a blogger’, also because I am quite shy when I’m not behind a screen. I didn’t attend many events, I didn’t accept opportunities, and I didn’t make much effort with other bloggers. After a while people stopped inviting me to things, brands stopped emailing me, and I faded into the background with my tiny violin and woe is me t-shirt.
Asking people to read your blog
Is it just me who finds promoting their blogs on social media awkward? I’ve always been bad at scheduling anyway, but promoting my blog is just not my style. Hats off to bloggers who do it -there’s no shame in hustling your content I know it’s my own issue. I also found it really weird when people I knew in real life found out about my blog – especially reading personal posts.
Don’t worry friend, it’s not all doom and gloom! I briefly started a new blog to coax myself back into blogging. It was a travel blog called Last Stop Lunar and although I am proud of the posts I’ve written, it’s been so hard starting from scratch with a DA of 1.
Why have I written this?
You might be thinking, stop bitching about blogging Hannah. No one’s forcing you to write!
The thing is, I actually really missed blogging. And I missed making content for this particular blog and sharing my thoughts with you. I’ve had a few emails from readers who have seen my mental health posts and said it helped them, or they enjoyed reading about someone who’s had a similar experience, and that meant a lot to me.
I’ve come to realise that this blog will never ever be anything near perfect. It’s a basic blog at the end of the day. I mean have you seen my theme? It’s a hot mess. Links everywhere! For now I’m going to focus on enjoying creating content that I’m passionate about, which is probably going to be mental health, feminism, fitness, restaurant reviews, travel, and maybe some beauty.
If you like that stuff please keep reading. In fact if you’ve read this far, bravo. Bravo and goodnight. Should I get a cool sign off like that? But anyway I really do appreciate anyone who has read all of this – I will be back posting regular content shortly.
Staying hydrated can be a challenge at the best of times, let alone in summer. It’s no secret that drinking water is the key to staying hydrated, but sometimes it’s difficult to keep it interesting. I’ve teamed up with Peak Body to put together four […]
It seems like the NBAs was only last weekend, but I’ve realised it was a few weekends ago now and I still haven’t written about it!
Hosted by We Blog North, the artist formerly known as We Blog MCR, it was a night of glitz, glam and giving Northern bloggers a well-deserved pat on the back.
I was nominated for the Best Fitness & Lifestyle category which was very exciting, but to be honest I would have gone even if I wasn’t nominated because I’d have major case of FOMO if I didn’t.
London is kind of where it all began for blogging and now most of the successful full-time bloggers reside there, only fuelling the ‘everything happens in London’ theory, but the Northern blogging scene has exploded massively over the last few years and I’m delighted that events like these are cropping up.
As much as we love London bloggers, it can feel as though us Northies (can I do that?) are neglected due to our postcodes. The amount of amazing blogging events I’ve been invited to (ok, about 4) that take place in London is ludicrous and it would be nice if brands could foster the same enthusiasm for bloggers up North.
Ok so back to the awards night…
Category is: Red-Carpet-Realness
The dress code was ‘red carpet glamour’ so of course I spent the day watching Ru-Paul’s Drag Race and listening to Lady Gaga to channel my inner diva.
I went with a long navy dress from Boohoo which I’ve had for about 3 years and a beautiful sparky choker I borrowed from my friend. Plus, I rocked a dark red lip.
With my trusty Instagram Boyfriend by my side, we arrived at the most beautiful venue; The Principal Manchester.
There was a red carpet and a photographer, The Vain Photography (who I had previously pestered at a Cocktails in the City event a few months ago with Ellie, i.e. followed around asking for photos) and everyone looked so bloody glam!
The actual awards were in the ballroom and the tables were decorated beautifully, plus there was a giant bed courtesy of the home wear experts The Christie, which I still regret that I didn’t climb into.
It was surreal looking around the room and recognising people but not actually knowing whether it was them, and therefore whether to speak to them, or knowing only their blog names. Or not being able to pronounce their blog names, but recognising their faces.
I was pleased to see that I was sat on a table with a few people I knew. As in, people I followed on twitter and Instagram but have never met.
There was Rihanna, Joe , Anoushka , Faye, who I actually met at the Tampopo event) and Tanesha Jade. I really enjoyed getting to know everyone on my table, although I hope I wasn’t too weird in all my excitement! Plus it was lovely to catch up with other bloggers who I hadn’t seen for a while.
We dined on a delicious 3 course meal, which included this goats cheese and beetroot starter and the best mashed potatoes I have EVER eaten.
I’m afraid there are no photos of the mash, so I give you permission to close your eyes and imagine the little dollop of heaven before reading on.
I was definitely sat on the winning table! Rihanna won the Lifestyle award, and Anoushka won the Beauty Blogger award, however I sadly did not win the Fitness award. Although, my friend Emma did and I couldn’t be happier because I love her blog and she works so hard.
After the awards finished, we mingled and danced and got merry before collecting our goodie bags and calling it a night. The goodie bags were absolutely massive and I still haven’t managed to unpack everything just yet!
Thanks so much to Holly and the rest of the Team at We Blog North for putting on such a fabulous event. Roll on the NBAs18!
Autumn is my favourite season, hands down. The temperature drops and allows you to bring out the knitwear, you can chain drink brews without turning into a sweat monster, and best of all, the Halloween stuff comes out! In addition to the above, I’m a […]
When I first heard about Intuitive Eating I was a little sceptical, doesn’t it just mean eating whatever you want all the time? Why does this need to be a ‘movement’? Surely there are some health implications for this? After some serious sarcastic eye rolls […]
If you’re from Manchester you may have heard of Tampopo, a group of restaurants that celebrates Pan-Asian cuisine and the flavours of South East Asia.
Interestingly, Tampopo is also the name of a 1985 ‘ramen western’ film about the joys of Japanese food, but for today’s blog post I am going to be focusing on the restaurant Tampopo and their new menu (although if you’re curious, you can read about the film here.)
Tampopo is one of my favourites because a) I love the name, it’s impossible to say it without smiling, b) it has an inviting atmosphere that lends itself to quick bites as well as sociable meals with groups, and c) because the menu is affordable and always evolving.
With restaurants in three locations around Manchester; Albert Square, Corn Exchange and the Trafford Centre, Tampopo has captured the hearts of the Mancunians everywhere. As the restaurant are always striving to improve their menu, they regularly change things up and a few weeks ago I was kindly invited to try out the new dishes and review the experience.
We had a sharing platter which contained Fresh Spring Rolls, Sticky Wings, Pork Dumplings, Coconut Prawns, Satay Chicken and Corn Fritters. I enjoyed the pork dumplings so much that I didn’t even realise I had eaten both mine and Liz’s…Ellie had the veggie platter which looked just as appetising so I would love to try that next time I’m there.
For our mains, I had Singaporean Curry which is described as a ‘Creamy yellow curry with coconut milk, turmeric, curry leaves, galangal, sweet potato, tamarind and cherry tomatoes’ with added chicken and Liz had the Pad Krapow which is an ‘Asian Basil in a fiery oyster sauce with fine beans, red chillies and red peppers’ with chicken.
As someone who isn’t very good with spice, the Singaporean Curry was perfect for me. It was packed full of flavour and not bland at all like some mild curries can be. Liz enjoyed her Pad Krapow but it was incredibly spicy and she struggled to eat it all due to the heat. Both dishes also came with a large side of rice or noodles.
For dessert, I had a Roti Pancake and the girls opted for a cocktail each. The pancake was a delicious and drizzled with condensed milk, cinnamon sugar and served with cinnamon ice cream. As a complete cinnamon addict, I loved this dessert!
I was stuffed and content after all the food. Before we left, we had a chat with the Manager Sarah, who told us about how the chefs came to final decisions about the new menu, including dialling down on the spice (I wondered how spicy was must have been before, were they dragons?!) and adding more unique flavours. It was clear that the whole team were passionate about getting the food absolutely right.
Overall Tampopo is a great restaurant if you’re looking for a quick and tasty meal. They do lots of vegetarian and gluten free options, as well as catering for meat lovers. You must try the cocktails or mock-tails too!
Thanks for reading my review, what are your favourite South East Asian dishes?
Think that only bodybuilders need to take amino acids? Think again! Amino acid supplements are a simple way to benefit from amino acids which are usually found in food and drink. Let’s get scientific (puts science goggle on…) There are currently 500 amino acids […]
I’ve heard many things about Boomtown festival, some good some bad, but mainly that it was unlike any other festival. Last week I put this to the test and experienced the madness that was Boomtown Chapter 9: Behind the Mask Located in Winchester, which is basically […]
Photo by Denise Chan on Unsplash
Donating blood might not be on the top of your to-do-list, it might even be on your most feared list, but it’s a selfless act that could actually save someone’s life!
How often can you say you’ve saved a life?
I’ve been wanting to donate blood for years but have never got around to it. A few years ago, my mum became very ill and had 10 life-saving blood transfusions while she was in hospital. After this, my sister and I promised ourselves we would donate 10 pints of blood to say thank you to the amazing people who donated theirs.
My sister stepped up and donated at least four pints of blood since then, but I haven’t played my part. Unfortunately, piercings, tattoos and semi-permanent makeup stood in the way of donating and there was never a good time. However, as my last piercing was back in February, I was finally allowed to give blood so I donated last week. You must wait at least four months after getting a piercing, tattoo or other procedure involving a needle until you can donate blood.
I was already registered to donate so I booked the appointment online by choosing my local centre and selecting an appointment time. You can also walk in anytime but you might be waiting a while until they are free. I chose an after-work appointment as it was my first donation and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel afterwards.
What to expect when you give blood
On the day, I drank plenty of water and ate proper meals. Once you arrive they ask you to drink at least one large glass of water and then they ask you some personal questions to make sure you can donate. They also prick your finger to check your iron levels, as people who are anaemic can’t donate unfortunately. Then they decide which arm is the best to take blood from. Once you’re all checked, you wait until the nurses call you up to sit in the chair.
Once in the chair, they strap a band around your arm and find a good vein. Then the needle goes in, but you can barely even feel it. The needle is quite big so if you are worried about it then just look away. Then they leave you to it!
It took 5:39 seconds to get a pint of blood from me, which is quite fast, or so I’m told. What can I say, I’m a fast drainer! It’s quite surreal seeing a bag full of your blood but also oddly satisfying. Once you’ve filled the bag the machine automatically stops and makes a beeping noise to alert the nurse. After this they remove the needle and apply a bandage to stop the bleeding.
The best part of the process is the free snacks! Once you’ve got your bandage on, you are encouraged to sit down and refuel for at least 15 minutes. That means helping yourself to crisps, chocolate and biscuits – for free! The worst part was having my finger pricked for the anaemia test, the donation didn’t feel uncomfortable at all.
I didn’t feel poorly after my donation, although I did get very tired a few hours afterwards. The next day I felt absolutely exhausted which must be because of the donation but after I had a good night’s sleep I felt fine. Giving blood was really easy and I will definitely do it more often now I know there’s nothing to worry about.
You don’t need a reason to give blood, its just a really kind thing to do. If you can donate, please do.
You can sign up to donate blood here.
Do you have a story about giving blood?
Variety is the spice of life; the world would be so dull if everything was the same. Differences are beautiful and make us unique, so why don’t we celebrate our differences when it comes to our appearance? Photo credit: Alexander Ward I’m a firm believer […]
As I’m sitting here typing away on this rainy day, it seems like visiting Paris last month was a distant dream. Or at least the last blog I wrote about it was….
I mentioned in my last blog that we got a two-day ticket for the Batobus shuttle boat, so we commenced our second day in Paris by heading to the stops we didn’t get to see the previous day which included the Louvre Museum and the Champs Elyse.
Do you have Lorde in your head now? I did the entire time we visited the Louvre ‘But we’re the greatest, they’ll hang us in the Louvre. Down the back, but who cares, still the Louvre’ (it’s a great song, I wasn’t complaining!)
The Louvre is a very famous museum and art gallery, housing all kinds of modern and classic art and treasures from around the world. It’s a beautiful building on its own, crafted from translucent glass that projects different colours as it sparkles in the sun. It was a boiling hot day when we visited and we wanted to make the most of the weather, so we didn’t go inside the Louvre but enjoyed wandering around the courtyard.
Champs Elyse & The Arc de Triomphe
The Champs Elyse is a huge avenue which is famous for its theatres, cafés, luxury shops and is also the finish of the Tour de France cycle race.
Admittedly, I didn’t know much about the Arc de Triomphe before visiting it (although I recognised it from the Olsen Twin’s film Passport to Paris, which is probably the lamest thing I’ve said….) but a quick google informed me that:
“The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.”
We couldn’t get very close to it (due to the insane road) but I was amazed by the size and detail of the monument and was pleased I’d seen one of Paris’ most famous landmarks.
Walking around in 32 degree heat calls for one thing; gelato! We tracked down one of the most highly recommended gelato places, Armino, and the mix of fruity flavours hit the spot. Mango, passionfruit and lemon; we were not disappointed!
Later in the evening we decided to check out the views from one of the tallest buildings in Paris. We went all the way up to the top floor and realised that while the views were amazing, the temperature of the bar was not as there were no open windows or air con, and quickly decided to make our exit.
We had heard about a bar with a rooftop terrace that seemed more suitable in the heat. The terrace was located on top of a hotel and had the most amazing views of Paris. It was so lovely watching the Eiffel tower sparkle while the sun went down, putting the world to rights with my bestie. However, if you decide to go there, make sure you bring cash because they do not take card and it was 8 euros for a glass of white wine!
We didn’t have much time on our last day before we had to catch our flight so we made two stops before heading to the airport.
The first was the Sacré-Cœur, which is also called the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, which is a Roman Catholic church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. How nice is the name sacred heart? It is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city, and provides amazing views across Paris. It was one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen and truly looked like a palace in heaven.
Our last stop was to see the famous Moulin Rouge, which is a musical dance theater and tourist attraction. The original building burnt down in 1915 but the interior consists lots of the original décor. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when seeing it from the outside, I was imagining a huge windmill that took up the entire street, but perhaps it is more spectacular at night (and after a few Aperol spritz!)
Paris was an amazing city and I would love to go back and spend more time getting to know its beautiful streets and culture. As it’s just an hour’s flight away from Manchester, I’m sure I will be returning soon.
Forget City or United, cardio or weights truly divides people.
I will be the first to admit that I turned my back on cardio for a while in favour of weight training, but recently I’m incorporating more cardio into my workouts and I want to explain why…
Lifting weights has become a lot more fashionable, as fitness influencers like Grace Fit and Busy Bee Fitness promote the positive benefits of lifting. Women of all ages are feeling stronger, more empowered in the gym and are proud to show off their muscular figures with pride.
Don’t get me wrong, I am really pleased so many women are discovering the joys of lifting and I think everyone should incorporate some strength training into their workout routines if they can, but cardio is given such a hard time nowadays.
Cardio is good for you, it’s fun and it’s cheap! Here are some of the reasons I’m adding more cardio into my fitness schedule:
After a 5k run I am feeling on top of the world! It’s difficult to rival the happy hormones quite like the ones I get from doing cardio. I find that completing an hour-long run gives me a much better endorphin payoff compared to a 30-minute strength session.
Although weight lifting is amazing for getting my frustrations out, who doesn’t love slamming a heavy weight down on the floor and grunting through your problems, cardio gives me time to think clearly and resolve my problems. Perhaps it’s because I’m participating in activity which lasts for longer than doing weights does, but I always feel calmer after cardio. The time acts as a safety net until I have switched off and calmed down.
Every time I go for a run I can improve on my last run, I either get faster, can run for longer, or stop less. Yet with weights it takes me a few weeks to improve and track progress. If you’re impatient like I am, cardio gives you that confidence boost of achieving your personal best a little bit quicker.
Good for your cardiovascular system
The cardiovascular system includes your heart and blood vessels and is responsible for transporting oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. Unsurprisingly, cardio activity strengthens your cardiovascular system. To improve your cardiovascular fitness, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends increasing your exercise duration, increasing your exercise intensity and incorporating interval training into your workout routine.
You can do it anywhere
I love the freedom of running outdoors, or deciding to do a quick HIIT workout at home when I don’t want to go to the gym. Unless you’ve got a home gym or your own set of weights, cardio is more accessible as you can do it with no equipment from anywhere you want.
Yes, you get so sweaty that people might presume it’s raining outside, you have to wear a heavy-duty sports bra and your session takes longer, but get past these things and you’ll fall in love with cardio again. I think the trick is to mix up the different types of exercise that you do so you don’t become stagnant with your routine. The main thing is to find something you love doing and you keep doing it!
Counselling works wonders for the soul, but there are several factors, such as price, availability and waiting lists, which put people off seeing a face-to-face counsellor. This had led to a surge in online counselling services which connect people to counsellors through voice, video or […]
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!
Thanks, Hannah x
So after a lengthy twitter feud debate, it appears that some people don’t understand how you can be body positive, inclusive and accepting, AND be a fitness blogger. Contrary to popular belief, being body positive and being passionate about fitness are not mutually exclusive. You can love […]
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 […]
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.
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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.
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