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.

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In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different–Coco Chanel 

I must confess that I have been in love with Polka dot style ever since I was a child. My favourite dress as a child was a pink polka dot dress which my grandparents had gifted. Some things remain unchanged no matter how far you go and how grown up you become; my love for polka dots have only grown with age. Whilst on one hand, there is something wistfully nostalgic about polka dots, if done wrong it can look exceptionally juvenile too. 

How to wear Polka dots as an adult

How to wear Polka dots as an adult

So, the question remains: how to wear style polka dots as an adult? My best advice would be to link its playfulness with an edgy element. A tie-in waist belt, cold shoulder or ruffles are little details which will give polka dots style the classic je ne sais quoi quality whilst making it delightfully chic. The second tip would be to go for classic silhouettes like an A-line. And when in doubt: opt for monochromes. 

How to wear Polka dots as an adult

How to wear Polka dots as an adult

I got this black and white polka dots dress few months ago. It has the classic A-line silhouette and the tie-in waist-belt gives it an edge. When it comes to accessorising this style it is best to go less. Here, I have opted for statement earrings, an embroidered bag and wedges in millennial pink. If you have been following me on my blog or instagram you would know that I love adding pops of colour to monochromes.

How to wear Polka dots as an adult

Dress: New Look (also like this one), Bag: India, Shoes: Deichmann (old)

Polka Dots were sashayed down once again the runways of Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Balenciaga (to name a few) this year, which only proves that no matter what, this sartorial favourite is here to stay for few more years. 

Thank you reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a great week. 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.

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Fashion changes, but style endures–Coco Chanel

If you have been wondering why sleeves–one of the most unassuming things in a garment–is becoming longer and longer then it is not just you. Bell Sleeves silhouette has been doing the fashion rounds for almost two years now. And why not? Bell Sleeves are fun, dramatic and makes the right style statement. 

How to style bell sleeves

Yours truly here has been experimenting with dramatic sleeves right from the beginning of this year. You can check out my gingham blouse look. Bell sleeves might look really overwhelming at first. But my top tip to pull this look? Keep everything else simple. 

How to style bell sleeves

 

As said before, bell sleeves are all about drama you need to make sure that it remains the focal point. You can pair a bell sleeve shirt with colourful jeans (like Pink) or ripped jeans for an edgy yet casual look. 

How to style bell sleeves

You can wear it with sleek trousers for a polished office-look. You can even use a bell sleeve top/blouse underneath a slip-like dress. As I always say, possibilities are endless if you just let your imagination run wild. 

How to style bell sleeves

Here, I have kept everything else simple with pink khakis, nude shoes and a simple clutch. This is the kind of look I would go for if I were going out with my girlfriends for a lunch. Although my style changes according to mood, I have an edgy kind of style and bell sleeves allow this without much effort. A win-win, don’t you think?

So tell me, would you be belling the cat on bell sleeves or let this trend pass? 

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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.

black on black

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.