Self Confidence // What I Learned From Taking a Week Off Exercising

Monday, September 29, 2014

Our Instagram feeds, favourite magazines and society are always telling us how important it is to exercise regularly and work your butt off to achieve 'the perfect figure' and boost your self esteem. I'm not going to lie, of course I buy into it. I know that working out will help me achieve my goals. I know that choosing a rice cake over a cupcake will benefit me in the long run. I know that my confidence levels and self esteem issues are going nowhere without me at least trying to reach my goals.

What I also know is this: taking a week off has done wonders for me. 

My everyday life consists of the following: work, run. lift, shower, eat, sleep.

I'm not going to lie, I like it that way.

Working out has been a way of life for me now for most of the past 6 years (holy sh*t, did I really graduate 6 years ago?! *has minor meltdown that my life is moving way too fast* moving on....) and taking a week off and being 'lazy' causes me to go into a guilt ridden panic. I schedule my workouts weekly and decline invitations to social gatherings worried that I won't be able to fit a workout in that day.

This week, however, I literally said 'f**k it' and decided to focus on other aspects of my life: friends, loved ones, rediscovering past loves that I had forgotten due to my lack of time on a day to day basis.

You know what surprised me? How much I loved it and how much confidence I gained by taking a break.

Here's my theory: while working out makes me feel healthy and awesome knowing that I'm working towards my goals, looking in the mirror everyday and focusing on my flaws (and the fact that losing weight is a seriously slow process) makes me hate what I see. I focus too much on my problems instead of my progress.

What I've realised this week, is that people I love will love me with or without an extra 10 pounds to lose.  As soon as I stopped paying attention to my love handles, I found a way to actually enjoy life again. I've found out that I don't need to lose weight to enjoy a glass of wine and a concert with a friend. I've learned that strolling the streets of Dublin eating some ice cream is way more exciting and memorable than skipping home early to avoid the extra calories.

Memories are what happen when you allow yourself to live life, not when you hide yourself away because you're ashamed of your so-called 'flaws'. 

I'm starting this week with a new attitude. The Nikes are going back on, but the scale has been binned; and if a friend calls to meet for tea when I have a workout scheduled? I'm going to work it out. I will achieve my goals without losing out on the memories that could so quickly pass me by. And, guess what? Now, when I look in the mirror, I see a sexy, curvy, awesome person who shouldn't define herself by a number on a stupid scale.

I hope everyone has an amazing week. x

It's The Small Things // Week 3

Sunday, September 28, 2014

1. A great girly night out on Tuesday. I finally got to go to Carluccio's and it did not disappoint! Afterwards, we went by my absolute favourite ice cream shop, Murphy's (if you're ever in Dublin (or Dingle), you have to go!) followed by 'The Fray' in concert. Oh boy, were they good.

2. Nostalgic moments whilst listening to 'The Fray'. Their music brings me back to my teenage years!

3. Starting my Irish class on Wednesday. One step closer to my future! I've been saying 'Cad ba mhaith leat' (what would you like) to everyone all week!

4. Banana chips. Especially when they're covered in chocolate.

5. The donut tin has been purchased... baked donuts will be made.

6. Planning, planning and more planning. I want to take this blog to great places and it won't get there without a bit of hard work and planing.

7. A Saturday morning hike up The Sugarloaf with G.

8. Avoca Honey and Spelt bread.

9. Crisp mornings making me excited for Fall to finally kick in!

10. My favourite shows coming back. I've missed my weekly dose of McDreamy!

What To Bake This Weekend // Pumpkin Cupcakes

Friday, September 26, 2014

For me, Autumn means one thing; Pumpkin everything.

Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Cookies, Pumpkin Risotto, I can't get enough. This year, I decided to take it one step further: Pumpkin Cupcakes. And what, you may ask, have I decided to top these delicious cupcakes with? Maple Cream Cheese Icing.

Oh dear. I may need to buy bigger jeans after this one, guys!

Here's what you need for the cupcakes: 

1 cup plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (I used canned pumpkin puree)
1/2 granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown, lightly packed sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

Here's what you need for the icing:

254g cream cheese
227g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Here's what you gotta do to make the cupcakes....

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 degrees if using a fan oven and 450 degrees if you're working in Fahrenheit). Line a cupcake tray with 12 liners.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
3. In another bowl, mix together the eggs pumpkin puree, both sugars and the oil.
4. Combine the two and mix well.
5. Spoon the mixture into the lined cupcake tin.
6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean). Leave to cool completely on wire rack.

For the icing... 

7. Mix the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
8. slowly add the icing sugar and mix well so it's not lumpy.
9. Add the vanilla and maple syrup and mix well.
10. Spoon the icing onto the cooled cupcakes

Give this recipe a go and show me your creation on Instagram using the hashtag 

Recipe adapted from this recipe here

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