If you have been following me on Instagram, where I post-exercise videos and fitness tips on an almost daily basis, you would know that I am a proper gym rat. So when  #TeamAaptiv approached me to test their fun and convenient programs, I jumped at the chance for a much-needed change-up in my routine.

The training game can be a very lonely game, whilst most gyms offer umpteen number of classes, for me given my crazy schedule, it is not possible to attend those classes. Also, working out in a mirrored room packed with Spandex-clad people all trying to synchronise their moves to Ed Sheeran’s Shape of you, is something I would definitely pass.

Whilst I do not mind being the lone Wolf at the gym, I do admit that occasionally I need the motivation to give it my best, to keep going and just to learn new things. Enter Aaptiv, an audio-based fitness app that gives you a boutique fitness class right in your earbuds. Each “class” has a trainer who will take you through the programme and you can get the work out at a gym, home or outside with the touch of a button.

The Workouts—

Aaptiv Fitness Review

Aaptiv has a range of training programmes that you can try from outside running, strength training, HIIT, yoga to meditation. Each category has plans for beginners, intermediate and advanced level athletes (that’s you gym rat!). Each plan is colour coded for your convenience—green is for beginners, yellow is for intermediates and green is for advanced.

I also liked the fact that they have both 10-15 minute programmes and 30-60 programmes as well. As I said earlier, the app is designed to get you going and having even 15-minute programmes which pump your heart in no time is essential. As a busy mum, this feature is my personal favourite, sometimes despite your best intentions you just do not have time. So, getting even 10-15 minutes of work out can help immensely. I am a big believer that training/exercise is the best stress-buster and therapy hence I make a point to do something even if it is for 15 minutes.

My favourite, however, was their meditation playlist. After a busy and hectic day at work, where I am usually fighting fire and doing other awesome things, my mind (needless to say) goes on an overdrive mode. And most nights, instead of getting a good sleep I end up twisting and turning, with all the thoughts in the world coming at bedtime. And let me tell you from experience: stupid ideas come from a tired, unrested mind.

Meditation is proven to calm oneself down, clear the cobwebs in mind and energise you from within. Problem is…well, it is not easy to keep still and reflect…at least for me. I have been trying to make meditation a regular practice before sleep but always fail hence Aaptiv helped me immensely in achieving this goal.

Aaptiv Fitness Review

Aaptiv: a boon for new mums—

When I had just had my daughter, I found it extremely difficult to get any workout in for days (Getting grips on how to handle a baby, the tiny new person in your life is a challenging exercise in itself and there is no shame in accepting that). Aaptiv has a section designed especially for new mums—stroller workouts. Their stroller workouts are short (20-25 minutes), making it easier to squeeze one into a hectic day, and because they use the pushchair there is no need for a babysitter.

When my daughter was a baby, stroller workouts was something I did very regularly. Getting out, with your baby, even if it is 20 minutes helps both mum and baby immensely. We all know news mums risk getting postnatal anxiety and depression (i have been there) and it is important that new mums can get enough support to get this done in their new-changed lives.

In a nutshell—

Aaptiv, in a nutshell, is a great app to use if you are looking for motivation, new training programmes and new tips for fitness. My only criticism about the app is sometimes it is very difficult to understand a move when it is only told to you. Human beings like visual cues and if you are a beginner some of the instructions get lost in translation. But you can easily overcome this challenge by carefully listening to the instructions few times before fully understanding and executing it.  For £9.99 per month, you can become a member and access all the workouts without any limits. Unsure still about Aaptiv? You can try it for free with Aaptiv’s 7-day trial.

This post is sponsored by Aaptiv but opinions are my own.

Thank you for reading. Hope you liked the post. Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on InstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

I have been MIA for quite a while and to be honest this time around, I really had more than few things on my plate. We moved to our new place (yiee to that) and almost immediately there was series of sickness but all said and done, we are now settling in and enjoying our brand new home. Before moving in, the hubby and I would spend most of our time discussing about interiors, how to do the rooms and other million little things about making a house, home. One of the key things, I wanted was to have little cosy corner by the window, where I can star gaze, read, write and get lost in my little bubble. However, considering I am a world of paradoxes I also wanted this cosy corner to have a vibrant, sassy feel to it. Enter: Modern Map Art. 

 

Modern Map Art was founded in 2016 by Jennifer Beck, designer and world traveller who wanted an avenue to combine her two loves–art and traveling. Jennifer plunged into this idea after returning to LA post her honeymoon across different cities and continents. The traveling not only increased her understanding of different cultures but a deeper appreciation of different cities. At that time, she wanted to turn this understanding and appreciation to art and thus Modern Map Art was born.

 

Oxford Modern Map Art

 

“I’m not an artist by trade, but I love simple design. World History is my background which helps to understand how cities are formed,” says Jennifer, the woman behind Modern Map Art.

Oxford Modern Map Art

Jennifer might not be a technically an artist but her designs definitely scream modern art to me. After a lot of thinking, I realised the cosy creativity corner at my home would be the best place to use Jennifer’s Modern Map Art featuring Oxford–one of my favourite cities in UK. 

 

Oxford Modern Map Art

 

Map Arts have a spirited and chic feeling to it. And if you are a travel lover who want to turn your travel stories into a keepsake, then it is certainly something you should consider to spruce up your room or office. 

Find out more about Modern Map Art or follow them on Instagram

Thank you Modern Map Art for Sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Thank you for reading. Hope you liked the post. Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on InstagramTwitter and Pinterest.

                     

If you have been following me on Instagram, you would know that I have dedicated this month to fitness and all the aspects related to it. After having my daughter, fitness has become even more important to me. Mind you, it is not about fitting into a certain size or thinking (wrongly) that it is all about starving oneself and being thin. For me, fitness means physical, mental and emotional strength. It makes you an overall better person. You can check the below pictures on how far I have come in a span of two years.

And if anyone tells you that you can become a small size overnight or drop 5,10, 15 kilos in a matter of days or weeks, they are clearly lying. There are also no shortcuts, it is determination, hard work and knowing what works for you.

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Four months postpartum (2014)

The Athleisure trend

Present

When we are talking about fitness, how can we forget a very crucial aspect–food. I must also confess that I am a foodie through and through, so if anyone even mentions the word: dieting, I run  in the opposite direction. When I was younger, I rarely thought of things like meal preparation and organising. Today, this is an integral part of my days. My friends always ask me how I manage it all (at least seemingly)–home, toddler, work, blogging, fitness etc. Like many of ordinary women, I also DO NOT have an army of help in terms of nannies, cleaners, nutritionists, regular personal trainers etc. So, how do I do it? Two words: Meal preparation. Plus, I also have the wonderful hubby, the man of the house who goes from board room to kitchen to gym with ease.

Meal preparation tips

When anyone says meal-preparation, sad images of rice and bland chicken comes in mind. But it could not be far from truth. So, without further ado my handy tips are:

  1. Make a plan: I generally list out things/recipes for the whole week on a Friday and note it down. Noting it down is important because otherwise we tend to forget things and from get go things can go haywire. List out things you want to eat in the coming week. List out breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
  2. Grocery shopping: List out the ingredients you want to buy from your meal list. Stick to this whilst grocery shopping. Also, try and go grocery shopping with full stomach, most of the time when I shop in empty stomach, I end up having the snack aisle in the kitchen.
  3. Think Macros: Your macros are carbs, protein and fat. Everything essential. Whilst planning out your recipes, try and get a good mix of these macros. Add condiments and spices to make it delicious.
  4. Snack Simple:When you’re cooking everything for the week at once, it’s important to keep things simple. Save time by choosing snacks that don’t require a lot of time. Think fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and pre-cut veggies with prepared hummus, nut butter with fruits, greek yogurt and smoothies.
  5. Take short cuts: Cut and keep veggies, marinate your protein and use the fridge/ freezer to store these ideas.
  6. Mix things up: No one likes routine, mixing things up is important to keep the momentum on and for your sanity.Plan on making two or three different dishes that you can alternate or mix-and-match throughout the week by adding different marinades/sauces, spices, different combinations/variations of the same thing you have prepared.
  7. Make ahead meals: Certain things can be made ahead and stored for a week. My favourite make ahead breakfast options are: overnight oats, bircher museli, egg muffins whilst favourite snack options are: fruits with greek yogurt/cottage cheese, homemade nut butter with bananas, protein bars and shakes.
  8. Relax: Do not think of meal preparation as a chore. If you feel that way take a break from the cycle, and get back to it when you are ready. It is important to understand that in fitness (and in life) you might fail but important thing is to get back at it without letting failure get onto you.

I hope these handy tips will help you get a better grip on fitness and allow you some time to yourself. Hey, it is not selfish. Often as women, we have been told that if we put ourself, our time and our wishes as a priority then we are being selfish. Let me tell you this: it is not. Heck, it is even important because happiness should be everyone’s right.

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week🙂 Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

“You call it madness, but I call it love”–Don Byes

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“Sometimes, my mind battles with my heart. And often my heart loses the battle. Because what’s winning when we haven’t known a little love or loved back?”

I know you probably came here expecting my weekly fashion post and even assuming that I would have some date-night outfits or other such inane stuff. The truth is I just do not get Valentine’s Day-a day apparently to celebrate love, wear sexy underwear and prance around with fluttering eyes (really, only one day in 365 days???) Do not get me wrong, sometimes I do get sucked into this giant marketing ploy and in my head make elaborate plans for the day.

But when the St. Valentines arrives, knocking mightily on my door, instead of it warming the cockles of my heart the whole thing sends me into a WTF frenzy!! Admit it: Valentine’s Day is one HUMONGOUSLY overrated day in which we are expected to show our love by exchanging a string of undesired gifts (because we are material people living in a material world and all that )and fancy surprises (because love is nothing if does not come with a huge price tag). It’s not reality. It is  another commercialised facade and we are expected to conform. 

And conforming is something that does not come naturally to me.

Hence, this year instead of even pretending to celebrate it, I am going to throw caution to the wind and concentrate on the rest 364 amazing days of love, laughter and friendship because at the end of the day it is the little things that matter. And if you are in mood to celebrate then here are some ways that WILL warm the cockles of your heart no matter what.

Cooking: 

When the husband man without expecting or being told cooks a scrumptious meal. Cooking, is the new candlelight dinner for most parents, add a lit bit of wine and a lot of chatter and you will have a memorable recipe in hand, no matter what is cooking. Any man worth his charm would know that a way to a woman’s heart is definitely through her stomach.

Re-creating the first date: 

Valentines Day unique ideas

Anyone can go to fine dine dating place but why not add an extra zing to it by re-creating your first date atmosphere. This is especially true for those couples who have been together for a while and know everything about each other. This is guaranteed to warm anyone’s heart and give you more than one reason to smile and be thankful for.

Go Outdoor:

Valentines Day unique ideas

No one said Valentine’s Day has to celebrated in an expensive place with expensive shit around. Get out of your comfort zone and go adventurous and pick up an activity you love: be it hiking, a long walk, skydiving or bungee jumping. Outdoor activities take out the pressure of perfection and you would end up having more fun than anticipated and speaking from experience there is nothing more romantic than getting lost up in a mountain or in a woodland.

Get physical:

Valentines Day unique ideas 

And I do not mean the Fifty Shades kind but something more fun (and perhaps less painful) if you and your partner are gym rats or fitness lovers then why not bond on that? Pick a really interesting challenging, head to the gym, compete and see who wins.

Dress Up:

Valentines Day unique ideas

Now this is an activity you can do whether you are single or celebrating the day with your friends. Dressing up is an expression of self-love and self-love is the foundation of any kind of love.

I hope now you realise that it is not about soppy gifts and pricey experiences but little things that go a long way to fill you with love and happiness. I wish, all you people Happy Valentine’s Day.

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week🙂 Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

” It takes balls to be a woman”

Ever since, I can remember I have battled with this idea: can I call myself a feminist despite loving all things fashionable? Do not get me wrong but there are umpteen misconceptions surrounding both these topics. In my case, from being told that I am “too pretty” for serious journalism (or anything serious) to being told that feminists are a bunch of ugly, man-hating, bra-burning women, has created a minefield of confusion. Both notions are, for lack of a better word, wrong!

Today’s International women’s day and I would like to put all doubts to rest. Feminism is about equality in every sphere of life: personal, professional and social. And this might surprise some: feminists come in all forms and like all things awesome cannot be put in a single box. They are big, small, working and home-makers. They are strong, they build each other–women and men and they can love or hate fashion. They can like me have particular affinity for pink and still have a mind of their own:a case I am trying to prove here in this fuchsia prom dress.

I wore this for my birthday (which I celebrated in Tenerife, more on that later). With a deep V-neck and proper A line skirt; it is exactly thing you would want to wear when you are growing older.

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With its spiffy butterfly motifs, velvety touch and jacquard skirt it spells sophistication and old-world charm. Hence, I decided to pair with minimum accessories. A crystal bracelet, swarvoski rings and dangling earrings.

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Dress: Debenhams, Footwear: New Look, Earrings: Wish app, Bracelet+Rings: Swarvoski

Whilst I love heels, here I have opted for lace-up flats because I am a bit of a badass who likes to shake things up (and also running behind a toddler with a mind of her own is aa exercise in itself). It is the kind of look that’s bold, unique and with a dollop of charm (just like most women I know).

And if you have any doubt about the awesomeness of women, here is a humbling thought: even at chromosomal level men need one of our fabulous X chromosome to their Y one just to exist. Hence dear women, whether fashion loving or not, go on be fearless.

We owe it ourselves.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a great week ahead and don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.