2017

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I know I’m late.

But how late is too late?

2017. Wait… 2016.

Let’s talk about 2016.

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2016 was  one of the hardest and best years of my life thus far. Let’s start from the beginning.

January was filled with #yogacamp by the wonderful Adriene Mishler – see my post about it here. I learned self-love, confidence, trusting in myself. It changed me.

February I started to step out of my comfort zone. I went on dates. I kept up the fitness – LWRHIITIN4. My body changed dramatically.

I bought my first car and got insured. I started to drive and tasted that freedom for the first time.

I became closer to female friends, lost some, gained some. I felt I only truly started to understand the beauty of women and all that we are.

I agreed to do my first photo-shoot for a hair salon. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I took the leap, I couldn’t believe I did it. I let the hairstylist do what she wanted to my hair. I felt such empowerment and freedom from this experience (I wasn’t thrilled with the new look … but hey that was part of the process!)

I saw Beyoncé in June. Formation World Tour. BEYONCÉ. What?! B.E.Y.O.N.C.É. That night legit changed my life. So much happiness, so much strength. So. Much. Love.

I passed my driving test first time.

I spent the sunny Irish summer (max. 3 weeks… maybe…) lying in my back garden, mostly naked, listening to music and reading books. All day everyday for those 3 weeks. I enjoyed this time with myself so much and will never forget it.

I got a job. I got the job. I got a job that I always wanted. I cried with happiness, I welcomed the challenge. I still love it.

I stayed vegan all this year. I don’t think I will ever go back. It gives me such gratitude and respect for all living things.

I overcame so many mental issues. So many downfalls, tears, difficulty… within myself. I worked through it. I had the strength and drive to want better for myself. I can’t say I solved everything ….there is always work to be done (Do you ever really ‘get there’?). But I achieved so much and have come so far. I am not even close to the person I was this time last year. I learned to love myself. I learned to give love.

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2017.

This year tho.

This gon’ be my year tho.

Let’s just list out some things/thoughts for 2017, cause that’s what people do, right?

I want to explore my creativity, fully, now that I have recognised how much joy it gives me. And to explore that through many different outlets. Write more on the blog, pull back on the perfectionism … you’re just writing about you and the things that you love.

I want to continuously remind myself to take responsibility for my own happiness.

I want to continue to practise yoga, daily, because I know how good it makes me feel.

I want to get fitter and push the boundaries of that, but with ease and awareness.

I want to continue to challenge myself in my work, and push myself to learn and succeed.

I want to love more. I know that I have the capacity and it is in my nature, but past hurt has made me wary, less giving. I want to let go of that fear, and I want to give love to the people in my life that matter so much to me. *Don’t cry*

I want to laugh more and stop being so god damn serious (if you read my blog you will totally get this!)

I want to travel more and see more of the world, and through this learn more about myself.

Finally, something I’ve really been working on and getting somewhere with, is to apologise less. Stop apologising. You are who you are. You know who you are. You love who you are.

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A lot of negative things happened in 2016. A lot of sad things, scary things. Things I never imagined would happen, and things I am not going to comment on or discuss here. All I will say is, keep your focus on love. Love will conquer, and there is always love to be found if you look hard enough.

Happy New Year.

Feel free to comment… to discuss things you’ve overcome in 2016, goals you have for the new year, or just to have a chat, please do so down below… or tweet me @amylauren_b

Thank you so much to everyone who has read my blog over the past year, it means a lot more to me than you might think! I wish you all the best for the year ahead.

So. Much. Love.

Namaste,

Amy xx

P.s.   First full moon of 2017 last night. I’m relishing in it, and viewing it as the ‘real’ New Year. Celebrate. Be present. Enjoy!

Strength

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I’ve tried to write this post so many times. For a few months now I’ve had overwhelming thought processes on what it means to be a strong woman, and how the word ‘strong’ makes me feel.

Firstly I’d like say that I’ve taken full responsibility for the paths in life I’ve chosen so far, and I have grown to love myself, my mind and my body. That is a feeling I never thought I would have.

Reading my past posts on this blog naturally make me cringe, because I have changed so much. But I respect that I wrote certain things at a time that I felt appropriate, and in a way it documents part of my journey.

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However, looking back, I was still in denial about certain aspects of my life. To be more specific, I was unaware of the damaging effects my last relationship had on my self-esteem, and how it induced a heavy anxiety that I never had before. It scared me to be so honest with myself. Recently I was having a discussion with someone about the different types of abuse in relationships. It’s easy to recognise and quantify physical abuse, as horrible as it is, because it is visible in a physical form. Emotional abuse however, is so difficult to see, and the scars left in the aftermath can last a lifetime for some people. I was afraid to admit to myself that I had experienced years of emotional abuse, but once I did, everything changed. I started recognising that my anxiety, my low self esteem and all that came with it, were the scars that were left over that had to be healed.

All of the above realisations happened a very long time ago. I’ve taken responsibility for my own happiness. I have fallen in love with learning about myself, exploring my body, my sexuality and my mind. I am so grateful for the tough times because without them I wouldn’t be who I am today, I wouldn’t have the confidence and strength I have now.

There truly is beauty in pain, and strength in vulnerability. It is such a good feeling to be 100% yourself with no apologies. I feel constantly inspired by the amazing women in my life, the ability to put on a smile and keep going no matter what is going on underneath. I feel empowered. I feel proud of myself for having the strength to work on my mind and explore the origins of my negative thinking. I feel proud of my mother, my sisters, my beautiful female friends, who can, all in their own way, make something blossom out of something negative.

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In the end, it all comes down to love. Even in the hardest of times, it is love that pulls us out. Love for ourselves, our families, friends and partners. Love your scars. I am constantly surprised that no matter how much you think you have been knocked down, there is always more love to give.

I feel it’s an exciting time to be a woman, something to celebrate. With albums from artists like Beyoncé, Solange, A Tribe Called Quest, and many more touching on the sexualisation of women, the divide between the sexes, and the empowerment of women all over the world. We need to lift each other up. We need to celebrate our strengths and know that it is infinite. You are all amazing and don’t be afraid to accept every part of yourself. Don’t underestimate your strength.

“There is no such thing as a weak woman” – Beyoncé

“I’m a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me” – Maya Angleou

Love to you all,

Namaste,

Amy xx

Getting Fitter with Lucy Wyndham-Read #LWRHIITIN4

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I first discovered Lucy’s videos through the SacconeJolys channel on youtube and was completely inspired by Anna Saccone’s body transformation.  Much like me, she didn’t want to particularly lose weight but wanted to feel stronger and fitter.  Lucy used to be in the Army and is a qualified personal trainer, among many other things, with over 20 years experience in the Health & Fitness industry.  When I was a teenager I used to run a lot …  Then I grew bigger boobs and started drinking, as you do, and just completely lost interest in it all.  When I was in boarding school I used to go for a 15 minute run … purely for my mental health.  Then college happened, more unhealthy living, and here I am a year after graduating.

As some of you may know I went through a tough breakup last October (Read about it here… ‘A Bit More Personal…’, and shortly after this I decided to try some of Lucy’s videos on top of my daily yoga routine. I really enjoyed the choice of workouts on her channel, how quick they were and how motivated she made me feel.  I did one of these every week.  In January, I followed YogaCamp with YogaWithAdriene and felt fitter physically, but most of the change was mental (Read about this here..‘How Yoga Camp with ‘Yoga With Adriene’ Changed Me).

After January I found a new drive and motivation to do things for myself, things that I enjoy. And I decided I wanted to feel stronger physically, to match some changes I had made mentally. I started doing a few targeted workouts each day, arms, abs, thighs…. My legs were my main focus, they completely lacked strength and any muscle at all really. At this point, I probably did 3 workouts a week.  THEN LWRHIITIN4 HAPPENED!

WEEK 1 LWR

So Lucy decided to upload a video every single day in April to her youtube channel consisting of a 4 minute workout.  I was pleasantly surprised that after the first day I felt I could do so much more that just the 4 minutes, which is probably attributed to using her videos in the previous few months.  They got progressively harder, each week, with one rest day per week. Getting into that daily routine helped me so much and after the first few days, I would do the hiit workout, then an arm workout, and either abs or thighs after that. I couldn’t believe how much fitter I got and how I ACTUALLY ENJOYED being worked to the limit! Something I used to hate! But as she always says ‘When it challenges us, is when it changes/tones us.’ So I felt her words going through my head every time something felt difficult. Now I crave that, I feel odd if I don’t work out for one day. I’m so happy with the outcome.  Physically, I look and feel more toned all over! Arms, abs, thighs, calves… even my chest! These days, I do her daily video workout, 2 arm workouts, 180 rep abs (my favourite – 180 Rep Ab Workout – the five best moves for a curvy waistline) and a thigh routine. I think back to the time when 1 arm workout was all I could handle for the day.  So even though you might not believe it, 4 minutes really is all it takes to get fitter. The picture above, and the 3 below are screenshots of each week of the challenge so you can get a taste of what they look like before you start!  Each exercise is only 20 seconds.

WEEK 2 LWR

WEEK 3 LWR

WEEK 4 LWR

I have a serious amount of love and respect for this woman.  She is strong, and beautiful, and so so caring towards her followers.  We can avail of a personal trainer all for free.  Also beware of some serious fitness wear envy…she always has the best outifts! She wants you to be happy and get fit and strong, and that is apparent in her videos and the amount of effort she puts in.  So much so, that she has a new challenge for May, Lucy’s 100 reps a day…. that I’ve already started! A new challenge is so good for motivation.  Her tagline ’Fall in love with fitness’ could not be a more real description for what she does for people…

I’ll leave a link to her lwrhiitin4 here –4 Minute HIIT Workout Challenge – and no matter what month you’re in, the videos will always be there and you can start from Week 1 Day 1. Also, anyone who is doing lucy’s 100 reps a day challenge tweet me so we can all encourage eachother to be the best version’s of ourselves! LUCY’S SQUAD, OUT! *mic drop*

Thanks for taking the time out of your day to read this,

Namaste,

Amy xx