A New Fitness Journey

A week before Christmas I got the flu and the only thing that made me feel even slightly relieved of all of the nasty symptoms was yoga. I don't quite know how this works, maybe it was more of a distraction but if you've ever had the flu you'll know it feels as though you just want putting out of your misery. I had stomach flu as well as the standard so I really did feel like I was dying and all I could stomach was plain Pringles or courgette and pesto wraps. I lost half a stone and started to feel really weak in myself, it wasn't fun at all.

I'd been doing a bit of yoga since last summer, on and off with no real commitment to it, but I started up again in December realising I needed to build some strength. After my hand accident in July 2016 I've lacked confidence in working out through fear of breaking my tendon again as they never fully go back to the strength they once had. Tendons almost knit together and once broken, they're always very fragile especially since I went straight through the extensor tendon in my right hand, which controls my ring and baby finger and it was already a very small tendon. Yoga has been absolutely amazing for teaching me to claw through my finger tips and spread the weight throughout my entire body whilst building up some strength in my wrists and arms and giving me that much needed confidence back. From here I started handling little 1kg weights and built those up to 3kg, 5kg, 8kg and sometimes even 12kg depending on what I'm doing. I have muscles in places that I didn't even know were there and feel so much stronger.

I've always had a fear of working out in public and for this reason never joined a gym. Having a fitness fanatic husband, he was always at the gym and is very into his health and keeping in a tip top condition. When we moved into our house, we were pleasantly surprised to discover some friends of ours were moving in that same week, on the same street just a couple of doors down. They're fortunate enough to have a garage at their place so James and his friend decided to turn it into a gym and each put money towards kitting it out and buying the equipment. This has saved money in the long run from gym memberships but has also opened a door to fitness I've never been confident enough to go through. I've been going over to the garage gym and they've done such a good job in there that you can do everything you'll ever need from the comfort of your own home. I never thought I'd see myself in a gym environment and even though it's pretty much all at home, I'm super proud of this first step.

I also suffer with exercise induced asthma so running for me is always a little tricky especially at this time of year when pollen is high and it contributes to difficulty breathing. I have tried taking a puff or two of my inhaler before a light run and again when I get home but it doesn't seem to help much. I live right next to a country park so the pollen seems to be even stronger around here but what I do try is to do a light jog when I take my dogs out with James and we have lots of breaks in between little stints. The way I see it is it's better than nothing and will hopefully help to build me up to a proper run.

Overall though I'm feeling great and I can't tell you how exciting it is seeing my body transform, slowly but surely. I'm also looking forward to treating myself to some Gym Shark leggings, I feel as though I deserve that treat for coming so far with my mentality towards fitness and creating a healthy lifestyle.

Thanks for reading,

Acrylics: It's A Love Hate Thing

Acrylic paints are without a doubt the type of paint I have the most experience with yet sometimes we're just not friends. Every so often I feel the urge to raid my paint box and create a new piece of art but I always experience the same feelings throughout the process which always stops me from using acrylics as my main art materials for my work.

Number one would have to be the consistency and I'm talking about when it comes to doing the fine details. I can't seem to work the paint comfortably and it's either too thick or I've watered it down too much so that it's gone all transparent and useless. For larger areas though I adore the consistency and blending colours together is one of my favourite things about this type of paint.

Alice in Wonderland

Next up would be surfaces to paint on. I used to enjoy painting on canvas but I much prefer the canvas material when it's not been stretched over a frame. I believe it's called calico but it's a method I picked up on at Sixth Form; it was so much fun and the paint has a wonderful effect on the naked fabric. I've never primed my canvas's however, so next time I get one I'll be doing this and seeing if it makes a difference to my relationship with painting onto them. The other downside to canvas that I don't like is how expensive they can be and also storing them once they're finished. I  much prefer to paint onto a thick paper designed for acrylics so that it can easily slip into my portfolio.

I do however love how acrylic paints layer up and the stunning range of colours. Mixing new shades is endless and I also love that I can save my mixed colours for the next day if I don't manage to finish my work, by sliding my palette into a carrier bag and folding the end over to keep it relatively air tight. The paint is a little more firm the next day but once I'd added just a drop of water and given them a mix they're good to go.

My favourite acrylic paint brand would have to be hands down, Winsor and Newton and I've been using their acrylics since I was around 14. I do need to be careful which colours I get however as a couple from their range (I believe it's a grey and a black) have bone black in them which is charred down animal bones and I'm making a big effort to stay away from art supplies that contain animal ingredients or are tested on animals. Out of everything I've encountered so far in the cruelty free world, it can be a little more tricky finding the information for art supplies than things like makeup and beauty but luckily there are sites like the Vegan Womble who collect information and pop it into one place for ease.

What is your favourite type of paint? I'd love to try gouache!

Thanks for reading,

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