Live Well With Louise: An Honest Review of the Made In Chelsea star’s new health book

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Photo credit: Live Well with Louise imagery from www.amazon.com

Louise Thompson was initially best known for her role in pseudo-reality TV show, Made in Chelsea, but now arguably she’s equally well known for her abs so impressive you could grate cheese on them! The pocket rocket is also one of the founders of Pocket Sport, a luxe fitness clothing brand.

Louise never looked unhealthy but admits to having all kinds of issues, not least with her relationship with alcohol. Subjected to public scrutiny in the extreme, she ended up suffering with anxiety and having very poor self-image.

Her brand new book Live Well with Louise documents her journey, from struggling with body image and unhealthy habits to transforming her mindset, ditching the booze binges and loving workouts and healthy food.

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It also contains recipes, and workout routines (approved by her PT boyfriend Ryan Libbey (also of MIC fame!), of course!)

So… what’s the low-down? Yet another unqualified celebrity book, or worth a read?

The Verdict

What could have been just another celebrity offering diet advice is actually a relatable, down-to-earth account of an unhealthy relationship with health, to a total transformation which yes, while it’s very aesthetic and ‘abs-y’ also conveys the important message that health, taking care of your body, good nutrition and MOVEMENT can be cool… and that binge-drinking and hangxiety are actually not all they’re cracked up to be.

While your average girl or guy can’t relate to being a celeb, I personally relate SO HARD to Louise’s use of alcohol for confidence, and going a bit too hard in my teens to early twenties.

Louise’s transformation from non-stop ‘ragers’ as she calls them where she’d drink so much she’d black out, to a healthier focus on fitness and health with the occassional social red wine with friends and family at dinner parties or with a cracking Sunday roast is something all of us who went to uni, damaged our livers and need a kick up the butt in terms of healthy living can relate and aspire to!

The recipes

Here I was dubious – on opening the book I thought here we go, another book by a non-nutritionist purporting to give dietary advice… But she doesn’t! She openly states she’s not a nutritionist but openly shares what has worked for her. She goes by what I feel is a very simple and similar philosophy to my Harley Street Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert. Louise advocates filling half your plate with veggies (rainbow, variety, you got this!), quarter with complex carbs (ideally without the beneficial fibre stripped out, so rather than white bread and rice go for wholegrains, legumes, brown rice, sweet potato…) and a quarter with lean protein.

YES PEOPLE, LOUISE THOMPSON EATS CARBS AND STILL HAS A STUNNING, LEAN PHYSIQUE. I am so happy to see celebrities endorsing healthy, balanced meals and helping combat the media myth that carbs are bad. (See my stance on carbsand why they’re essential here!)

Louise’s recipes are surprisingly varied, and there are tonnes of them!

It’s not a slim and flimsy book with a couple of dinner ideas – it’s jam-packed with tasty, balanced meals, and YES it includes desserts and dinner party appropriate dishes!

The recipes are easy to follow, and the photography is gorgeous.

The workouts

I did feel this section could have been more extensive, but the circuits are decent with beginner, intermediate and advanced options, and approved by her PT boyf.

Louise breaks down each move for anyone who’s new to exercising, with clear photographs and descriptions of how to execute the movement, and tips for upping the intensity if it gets too easy.

All in all, while there aren’t loads of options, her 11 minute ab blast is great, and then she offers 3 circuits – easy, medium, and hard – which are enough to get you started, and you can always use her book as  a base to create your own.

Best of all, they’re do-able from home, no gym or super-fancy equipment required!

Overall?

Definitely worth it for Louise’s personal story, and the recipes… and I do love her ab routine, so I’d say it’s worth the (affordable and fairly small!) investment.

Hope that helps!

B xoxo

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LegallyBooked – HEART BERRIES -Bookclub Pick #2

35840657.jpgSorry it’s been a while – I’ve been so busy reading I forgot about sharing exactly what I’m reading!

I’ve read a lot of really awesome stuff recently, but I reeeeeaaaaally had to share this one with you next.

Heart Berries, Terese Marie Mailhot

I’ve taken a summary of the book from Goodreads as it’s a pretty good introduction to jump in with:

“Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar II disorder; Terese Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father―an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist―who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Mailhot trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain, and what we can bring ourselves to accept. Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story, and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people, and to her place in the world.”

This book is an unusual one but it’s absolutely incredible. I don’t know how well you know Sylvia Plath but there’s a line she writes that ‘the blood jet is poetry’. This book brings that to life because my god, the blood jet really is poetry. Heart Berries is incredibly raw, vivid, almost Plath-ian and ‘confessional’, but its also so refined, carefully crafted and wrought, so the intimacy isn’t just dumped on you or exposed, but painstakingly built into art.

The vivacity, brutality and pure honesty of both language and content is refreshing – sometimes hit-you-in-the-face loud, and sometimes so subtle.

It’s not an easy read but the rhythm of her writing and the way she weaves words and disjointed syntax together is something you eventually fall into. Mailhot pushes the emotion via both content AND craft, into your very bones.

I love the way she writes about life, love, motherhood, mental illness, and she takes genres of abuse narrative and Native American writing and makes them hers, simultaneously defying and transcending claddification. This book shatters any box that could try to contain it.

Mailhot rejects white culture’s exoticised conceptions (a la Said’s Orientalism) of Native American mysticism but doesn’t disown those aspects of her culture – she just strips out the whites’ imposition of romanticism and mystical tropes and crafts her own magic with clarity and authenticity and a very personal, sometimes wavering, poignant yet strong voice.

One of my favourite quotes in the book is:

“In white culture, forgiveness is synonymous with letting go. In my culture, I believe we carry pain until we can reconcile with it through ceremony. Pain is not framed like a problem with a solution. I don’t even know that white people see transcendence the way we do. I’m not sure that their dichotomies apply to me.”

I can’t recommend this read enough! If you’re not already sold, I also recommend reading Roxane Gay’s review of it – it’s brilliant!

“Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot is an astounding memoir in essays. Here, is a wound. Here is need, naked and unapologetic. Here is a mountain woman, towering in words great and small. She writes of motherhood, loss, absence, want, suffering, love, mental illness, betrayal, and survival. She does this without blinking but to say she is fearless would be to miss the point. These essays are too intimate, too absorbing, too beautifully written, but never ever too much. What Mailhot has accomplished in this exquisite book is brilliance both raw and refined, testament.”
Roxane Gay, author – Review of Heart Berries 

B xoxo

Where to find the best avocado in London (your pocket AvoCompass!)

pexels-photo-566566.jpegLike many millenials, when it comes to avocado, I’m basic[AF], and I’m not ashamed. I BLOODY LOVE THEM.

This cheeky ‘lil fruit was a game-changer in my recovery from an eating disorder, helping me finally enjoy food by beginning a new lifetime love affair with brunch. I actually don’t even think that’s an exaggeration! Plus it packs an amazing nutritious punch – in roughly 100g of avocado you get approximately 19g of fat (12g of these tend to be monounsaturated fats, with  only 4g of saturated fat).

Rich in minerals such as iron, copper and potassium and a good source of the B vitamin, folate, avocados also have more soluble fibre than any other fruit (or so I’m told!)

Before I break down the best avocado toast and similar avo-based-brunch spots in all corners of London, here are some cool facts about the avocado.

  1. The word Avocado comes from a Nahuatl Indian (Aztec) word “ahuácatl” meaning pexels-photo-849683.jpegtesticle. It is thought that the reference is either due to the avocado’s shape or the fact that it was considered to possess aphrodisiac qualities by the Aztecs
  2. Avocados were initially marketed by M&S as the ‘avocado pear‘ due to their shape. This had to be stopped, however, when some very wrong folk started serving avocado with custard (that’s one way to put me off!)
  3. Avocados are native to Central and South America, only popping up in the UK in the  mid-1900s. Sadly, our British rain and drizzle and cold means we can’t grow them well here… maybe we should all move to Mexico?!

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West

(let’s start here as it’s currently my local, but I’ve lived in North, East and South London too!)

Café Phillies I ama huge fan of their smashed avo, scrambled egg, smoked salmon and sourdough, but for veggies go for the ricotta and avo sourdough toast (and I always sub the poached egg for scrambled… personal preference!) This place is my all time favourite.

Ivy Brasserie – Kensington They have these all over the place, and I adore their brunch menu, lunch menu and dinner menu!

Darcie & May Green – cute little boat venues of the Aussie gem chain ‘Daisy Green’  near Paddington. So instagrammable.

Farm Girl – this Portobello Road beauty is absolutely gorgeous, and they have very instagram friendly frenchie-latte-art going on. Highly recommend, if you don’t mind a wait for a seat.

The Good Life Eatery – the one in Chelsea is always queue-worthy, so don’t be put off by the wait. Really delicious, super fresh food. Great smoothies and fresh juices too!

Central

The Riding House Cafe – This is such a great place to meet for casual coffees or cocktails but as with everything, brunch is my go-to of choice. Always popular and appropriate for literally whoever you’re meeting, not just health w*nkers 😉

Dalloway Terrace – this place features genuinely some of the BEST avocado toast I’ve ever tasted. Not to be missed. Plus the Bloomsbury group theme is great if you’re a nerdy Virginia Woolf fan like me!

AvoBar – Tucked away in Covent Garden, this place isn’t one I’ve tried I must confess but it’s top of my list and super well-reviewed… and not only can you get your avocado toast fix but it features tonnes of avocado inspired recipes (even desserts!) too!

Scarlett Green– one of many of the lovely Aussie Daisy Green cafes, this gem has just surfaced in Soho. Bottomless brunch is a GO.

The Good Life Eatery – As above, but central!

South

No 32 The Old Town – a very chilled but packed at weekends bar and restaurant, you have to try the avocado and tallegio toastie. I went for one of these every single weekend I lived in Clapham. #sorrynotsorry

Brick & Liquor – if you’re Tooting or Clapham based, this one’s for you! They have an impressive array of cocktails too (just saying!)

The Breakfast Club – if you don’t mind a queue, these are around all over London and the breakfast options abound, as you can imagine! Their pancakes are as good as the avo options too!

East

Palm Vaults – this place has cool Miami vibes with pinky-goldy-jungly decor. Anywhere that lets you pick avo toppings which include kale (*blissfulsigh* healthdreams!) and pomegrante among many others… I’m on side. They also have super health tonic-type lattes like beetroot, which you just gotta do for the ‘gram.

The Breakfast Club – see above

The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs – I LOVE THEIR COFFEE (genuinely some of the best in London!) AND NOW THEY DO AVO TOAST TOO! *dances*

Nude Coffee Roasters – ditto department of coffee and social affairsentry above basically. Not an extensive menu but delish avo toast and epic (but strong!) coffee.

Healthy Stuff – this Dalston baby mashes up their avo gooooood. Served simple with chili flakes and sourdough, with a drizzle of olive oil. Hits the spot.

North

Maison D’Etre – they’ve got your avocado, your bee pollen, your coconut chia pudding, it’s a health instagrammer’s delight. Super light, bright and airy conservatory style space tucked away at the back too. They’re on Canonbury Road for any Northernites.

Granger and Co – they have branches at the other compass points too, but I’ve only seen the Kings Cross one so this is tenuously placed in the North category 😉 Great juices as well as great food (I love the immunity shot!) and your avo comes on rye with lime and coriander… yassss. A good choice for non avo fans too.

Greenberry Cafe – a really nice and extensive healthy breakfast/brunch and lunch menu featuring your safe avo staple on Regent’s Park road.

Happy brunching!

Anywhere I’ve missed?! If you stumble across an epic avocado toast spot drop me a line or a comment below, I literally can’t get enough! Where are your fave places to get your fix?

B xoxox

Beauty trend on trial… Jade Rollers

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Photo by Fancycrave on Pexels.com

I mentioned my brand new jade roller in an update to my recent Top 5 Skincare Secrets post here but realised I wanted to do a separate post on it because it seems to be having a moment in magazines everywhere… but does it really work?

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Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

A study showed that there may be ‘subjective benefits’ to facial massage for those who partake but also noted that it may not be great for 1/3 of people who may experience breakouts (read more here).

What’s the deal?

I first came across the concept in Harper’s Bazaar and bought a jade roller last week, because I’m a sucker for marketing and particularly when its in good pieces in beautifully put-together magazines…

I personally don’t believe in the alleged powers of crystals (many people believe they have different healing properties), although I am of course always open to being wrong and hearing new evidence, my mind can always be changed if you show me why  – and I really do enjoy learning about other cultures’ beliefs around them. I totally appreciate that science doesn’t understand everything yet, so it would be crazy to be certain about anything. Jury’s out on if jade rollers have scientific benefits, apparently, but they feel damn good.

Where do they come from?

They were part of the beauty rituals of ancient Chinese Princesses throughout history, some claim [this article states that dermatologist David Lorscher, MD,  consulted a colleague from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, who said she’d found ancient textual references to jade being used to even out a spotty complexion].

What do you do with it?

It’s an aid to facial massage, and you literally roll it across your face! There’s a larger end, and a smaller roller for the harder-to-reach under-eye area.

I’ve recently tried it and it’s changed my facial and massage game.

Top tip: pop it in the fridge and use it for a morning ice-cold massage and it feels amazing and does seem to reduce puffiness (supposed to be from the lymphatic drainage benefits!)

Either way, it feels bloody good. I bought mine from Spitalfields market for just £18. This chalkboardmag post tells you how to use one, or this greencreator article!]

What are the benefits?

In all honesty I think there’s a lack of evidence around benefits, but that’s not to say there aren’t any – just that we don’t know the details yet. However, don’t go and buy one thinking results are scientifically guaranteed.

Personally, as a minimum, I find it super relaxing, a really nice mindful and pampering complement to a facial.

However, JadeRollerBeauty.com describes further benefits it may have (quote below), though for obvious reasons the site may not be entirely impartial!

The action of jade rolling increases circulation and rids your skin of toxins via lymphatic drainage. Increased blood flow means your facial muscles will improve in their tone, effectively carving out the cheekbones and jawline. Wrinkles will be smoothed, increased blood flow will act detoxifying to the skin, and lead to more brightness, clarity, and a glowing complexion. Two rollers can be used in tandem during a facial. During a facial you may cool down the jade by placing the roller in the fridge, then use it to effectively reduce dark under-eye circles, or place the jade stones in warm water and roll over any serum to help it penetrate more deeply into the skin! – JadeRollerBeauty.com

“Jade rolling used to be reserved for the elite in ancient china. When we roll on the right side of our face first, it is said to promote prosperity for the client.” – JadeRollerBeauty.com

 Why jade?

Chinese medicine refers to jade as the “Stone of Heaven”. Purported benefits include relaxing the nervous system, and aiding in the removal of toxins… although please note my evidence based caveats earlier in this post!

Symbolising health and wealth, jade also represents longevity, prosperity and wisdom.

It is said that it has been used by the Mayans and African Egyptians as a massage and meditation tool for over 5000 years. – JadeRollerBeauty.com

So what do you think – will you be trying a jade roller any time soon? While I can’t promise guaranteed magical benefits, I really do love mine… and Roald Dahl does say that those who don’t believe in magic will never find it 😉

xoxo

gym bag dive: post-workout beauty secrets

12321390_10154043329909571_5635629465917082248_nI always used to find lunchtime workouts stressful – having to shower, sort your hair and makeup, and get back to the office looking half presentable after a 40 minute sweat session, and rocking back up to your desk either a few minutes late or still flushed and bare faced? Nightmare!

A lot of you have commented that it really puts you off too, so I thought I’d share what I’ve now perfected as a 5 minute post gym beauty routine… it’s not perfect, but it’s a quick fix, with some great products!

Hair

Mark Hill Get Gorgeous No Knots Detangling Spray – I have crazy thick hair, so this is a must! A few spritzs and brushing my hair is a breeze… but only with my

Best Hair Day Tangle Teaser which I got from Birchbox– if you haven’t tried one, you really must. They’re old news now, but it’s a little grooming miracle.

Leave in conditioner – my hair is naturally very dry so I always have one of these two in my gym bag – Toni & Guy, or Aussie are my favourites.

Styling – From here, my favourite post-gym styles that take seconds are the Balmain high pony (do a real one or use this!), a side braid (or fishtail – see Zoella tutorial here for a quick how-to if you have very quick fingers!) as these disguise you if you still have damp hair but still look tidy and smart enough to return to work (or life outside the gym!)

Makeup

My aim is to be quick, but look like I’ve made an effort. I also like to take advantage of feeling healthy post-workout and fresh post-shower to let my skin breathe!

Grab these for your gym bag, and you’ll get your after-workout face on in literally seconds!

If my under-eye area is a bit dark, I’ll throw on some concealer, but my main gym rush makeup tactic is to focus on the lips.

My two favourite post-gym vibes are:

Rimmel London Kate Moss Lipstick Nude 40 – I love this nude for a natural, chilled look

Max Factor Colour Elixir Bewitching Coral 827 Lipstick – I am really into beachy tones, and this is a bit of a bolder lip, but feels fun, girlie and energetic, and it’s nice for a sassy post-workout glow.

Because I’m always feeling my most ‘sparkly’ after a workout, I like to team both of these with lipgloss. My favourites these days are these Beauty Rush Flavoured Glosses from Victoria’s Secret. Pictured is the Candy Baby  flavour, but I take Sheer Tropical Pineapple and Sheer Sugared Watermelon just as often, and I REALLY want to try the Sheer Mango Blush because I think the name is really evocative haha!

Queen Bee Vaseline – An alternative to lipstick and gloss, especially in Winter, is some nourishment. It gives your lips a subtle sheen too. Go queen bee for power woman lips!

Fragrance

I love scent, and am notorious for collecting perfumes. I picked these three for my gym bag recommendations as they’re my most-used post-workout scents, and they cater for low budget, mid budget, and a little higher.

I think scent is really evocative of mood, so I like to choose ones that prolong my workout high, and feel suitable for whatever’s up next!

Adidas Women Fizzy Energy – Super cheap, I picked this up for a couple of quid in Sports Direct, believe it or not! It’s a very simple scent – lemony, zesty, and energetic – exactly what it says on the bottle. Suitable for going back to work revved up again, or prolonging your endorphin-happy and feeling fresh, clean and light. I think the scent is a bit sporty and androgynous, so if you’re feeling that kind of vibe… do it! It doesn’t last long though, you do need to keep re-applying.

La Vie de Boheme, Anna Sui  – this bottle makes me so happy! Keeping the clean, fresh vibe of the above fragrance, but with fruity and floral tones. It’s very sweet and girlie, and usually that wouldn’t be my kind of perfume (I like them quite heady, spicy, woody) but it really keeps me in a post-gym mood. It’s light and playful, and a little bit magical. And I love the story it tells:

Born of a heart that embraces life to the fullest, the woman who seeks La Vie De Bohème is a poet. She lives half in the past with a nostalgic love for vintage, while firmly in the present with her own definition of style. She prefers authenticity and individuality to society’s norms. She won’t be tamed by convention, or controlled by the world. Self-expression and freedom are important to her, in a live-for-the-moment way. She’s playful and free-spirited, creating her own world one day at a time. La Vie De Bohème opens with a blend of feminine pink florals, rich burgundy berries, and a kiss of electrifying, sensual woods. The juxtaposition of fruity florals plays against mysterious woods to deliver Anna Sui’s signature good girl-bad girl ideal in a captivating, addictive fragrance. Life is beautiful. Life is romantic. Life is La Vie de Bohème. Notes of: Turkish Rose, Pear, Red Berries, Dragon Fruit, Magnolia, Peony, Freesia, White Wood, Skin Musk, Red Raspberries, Vanilla.

– fragrance description, Debenhams

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle – again, keeping it fresh. This can be a little sweet for me (I’m more of a Coco Noir girl!) but after a workout that can be too heavy. Coco Mademoiselle feels feminine, with a little boldness. Still a floral heart, but with a bit more punch. Wear to march back into meetings at work with determination!

 

So go ahead girls, pack your gym bag!

B xoxo