Fitness · Uncategorized

How To Get Your Dream Abs

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Being part of the fitness community, a phrase that is constantly thrown around is ‘are abs made in the kitchen’, with it constantly being asked I thought I would explore the question and answer it. So are abs made in the kitchen? Speaking from personal experience, yes they are!

I’ve always been very body conscious, always paranoid that my body wasn’t perfect (in society’s eyes), something that I had always wanted were rock hard abs, but for many years struggled to get any definition around my stomach, and constantly wondered why, the answer was my diet.

I regularly took part in exercise, also did a lot of core strengthening exercises, but when I wasn’t seeing any results, I began to question myself why, I thought I was doing everything right. But no, after taking up running last year, and properly getting into fitness, I found out that in order to get these rock hard slab abs that I wanted, I was going to have to change up my diet. I started to train doing cardio religiously 4 times a week, whilst throwing in strengthening exercises at leas 3 times a week also. I started to make healthier choices, cut out unhealthy fats, and unnecessary sugar, eating cleaner, fresh food, then long and behold, I finally started to get that definition I had been craving for so long. Maintaining a healthy balanced diet is key when it comes to toning up and losing weight, notice the word balanced, its okay to indulge sometimes, just as long as the majority of the time you are eating a healthy diet; I’d also like to add cutting out particular food groups will do no good for your figure, no matter the wonders you’ve heard they work. You’re body needs carbs and fats just as much as it needs the healthy stuff, just in smaller quantities, so there is no need to cut food groups out entirely, it’ll do more damage than good.

HERE ARE MY TOP TIPS FOR ROCK HARD ABS:

FOCUS ON YOUR DIET

Abs are 100% made in the kitchen, as is any diet to be honest. You can’t expect to go to the gym 4 times a week, still eat like rubbish and expect to be ripped; unfortunately that’s not how it works. Exercise and dieting go hand in hand together, if you have a healthy diet alongside regular exercise this is when you will notice the biggest difference. You want to have a diet made up of carbohydrates, fruit & veg, protein, healthy fats and a small amount of sugar, its important to get in all of the food groups for optimum results.

MIX UP YOUR TRAINING

This is one of my most important tips. If you’ve been spending hours trying to get abs just through ab workouts and its just not working in your favor, that’s because you aren’t mixing it up with cardio. In order for the strength training aspect to work you need to be throwing in some cardio within your workouts as well; as this is what will help to burn fat, the strength training is what will build the muscle and tone you up.

DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST

Again this goes for any weightloss diet. You’re tired of hearing it, I know, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, its what starts up your metabolism, and sets it up for the day. By not skipping meals, you are forcing your metabolism to be constantly active, essentially making it work a lot faster, and a faster metabolic rate, means that you will be burning off food quicker.

CUT OUT BOOZE & DRINK PLENTY OF WATER

I’m not talking about cutting out booze completely, just cutting back, everything in moderation. Alcohol, especially beer and cocktails aren’t going to do your abs any justice so cutting down on them will work wonders. Also, water should be your best friend. Water is the key to any good diet, keeping hydrated has so many benefits, along with helping food to digest, it also helps reduce bloating.

TRAIN HARD, OR DON’T TRAIN AT ALL

We’ve all heard that term, go hard or go home, right? When it comes to the gym, that’s when this phrase should be put into practice. I know all too many girls that will go along to the gym, spend 10 minutes on the cross trainer, then 20 minutes doing 10 reps of 5kg, then spend more time trying to take the perfect Instagram picture thank they do training. Don’t be that person. Go to the gym to train hard, personally I’m not a massive gym lover, I’m a runner, and I go hard when I train. Believe me you will feel so much better for training harder than you will if you only do the workout half arced.

Abs take time, its not an overnight process, and I’m still miles from where I want to be, but following these tips, and improving your diet, I can assure you will have you well on the way to getting those dream abs.

All my love,

Han xx

Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Choosing Your Perfect University

September is an exceptionally busy time of year for most people, students embarking on their new adventures, whether that be a new academic year at school/college, or for those starting university – an entirely new chapter in their lives. With all these exciting things happening, there is also a new set of students trying to find the perfect university for them; I know how hard this is, and this post is dedicated to those of you, it’s a post that I wish I had seen while I was spending countless hours trying to decide where was perfect for me.

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RESEARCH AS MANY UNIVERSITIES AS YOU CAN

I don’t need to tell you this, but there are thousands and thousands of universities globally. Once you know what course you’re thinking of studying, or even just the area you’re looking of going into, start to research into as many universities as you can. Find out as much information as possible, about the university itself, also the course and your faculty. I found it very helpful to note down all of the key points from each university.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OPEN DAYS

They’re there for a reason, to help you deicide which university is perfect for you, so go along and take full advantage of them. I can’t stress how important open days are. They allow you to see the university in what may be a completely different light, seeing it in the flesh can be very helpful when it comes to narrowing your list down.

SPEAK TO OTHER STUDENTS

When you go to the open days, don’t be afraid to talk to other students and ask them questions about their experience at the university. They will be the best people at answering all of your questions as they have gone through the university experience themselves.

EXPLORE THE LOCATION

By this I mean take a wander around the city/town in which your university is located. This was so helpful for me, as it allowed me to see whether I could genuinely see myself living in the city or not. For example, once going to the Birmingham City open day, I took a wander round the city, and instantly knew I didn’t belong there. You want to attend somewhere that you feel at home (away from home), which is precisely why I chose De Montfort, I knew that as soon as I stepped into the city I could make myself at home, very quickly.

CHAT TO YOUR COLLEGE LECTURERS

Much like the students that you will find at open days, your college lecturers have also been through the university experience too, chances are they’ve all been to different places as well. They will be able to guide you in the right direction, and help you to find the best university suited to your interests.

Choosing your university is a crucial time for new students, after all it is a big decision, you don’t want to spend the next 3 years (sometimes even more) at somewhere that you will be unhappy. Make sure you base you decisions on what feels right for you, and not someone else. Its important to not let people like your parents or friends hinder your decisions, remember its you, going to university, not them!

All my love,

Han xx

Lifestyle · Uncategorized

How I Deal With Anxiety

Like millions of other people worldwide, I suffer with General Anxiety Disorder and Mild Depression. I’ve suffered with my mental health for a while now, if you want to hear more about my mental health story feel free to check out my YouTube video: HERE.

There are many different ways that people deal with anxiety and depression and I thought that I would share with you some of the ways that I do so. Over the past year and a half I have tried many different methods that claim to help these intrusive thoughts, with some being more successful than others. But after much experimentation, here are my top 5 tips for dealing with anxiety and depression.

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EXERCISE

It is proven that people who partake in regular exercise benefit from a positive improvement of mood and their rates of depressive moods are dramatically lowered. This is because when we exercise our bodies release chemicals called endorphins, which are basically feel good chemicals, they trigger a positive feeling in the body. This is precisely why I took up running. Running is a way of me escaping from my own thoughts, and is also a way of me stopping myself getting into a bad state of anxious and depressive thoughts. It doesn’t have to be running, it can literally be any sport, even just getting yourself out of the house for a brisk walk will benefit you, you will feel loads better for it.

A GOOD BOOK

When dealing with my anxiety I try and find, as many different things to do that will take my mind of things, a good book is the perfect way to do this. I am a sucker for murder mystery and crime books, so when I am feeling anxious or depressed reading a good book really helps to take my mind of things and sort of switch off from my surroundings for a short while.

DRAWING

Ironically I find that my best pieces of artwork are created when I am most anxious. One of my favorite ways to think of other things other than my anxiety is to draw, I find it very freeing to just pick up my pencils and create something new.

SOCIALISING

When I first began suffering with my mental health I had a tendency to just shut myself away from people, and even my family. I would just sit in my room feeling sorry for myself, but as soon as I started to force myself to go downstairs and even just sit downstairs with my family instead of on my own, I would start to feel so much less anxious. Also remember not to turn down social opportunities due to your anxieties, I know that this can be incredibly hard, but by challenging your anxieties, this is how you will overcome them, you will also feel a massive sense of achievement from pushing the boundaries.

TIDYING

Okay hear me out on this one, so I find that to sometimes ease my anxiety I like to organize/tidy sections of my room, I think its just another way for me to take my mind of things, but I am also a bit of a neat freak, so I do get some sort of sense of achievement from re-organizing and tidying.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and it is just as important to find things to help improve your mental health, as it is to keep your physical health in shape. If your suffering with anxiety, depression, OCD or any other mental health illnesses, seek help, find ways to combat these thoughts and don’t give up.

All my love,

Han xx

Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Moving Out At 18

Moving out is a scary prospect for anyone, especially for me at such a young age, regardless of how excited I’ve been about beginning my new adventure, moving out and starting university, deep down I am a bit nervous. I’m very much a homebody, so moving 4 hours away from all of my friends and family is slightly daunting, but I have been preparing over the past few months, so that the transition is as smooth as possible.

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Have a Massive Clear Out

My youngest brother is lucky enough to soon be moving into my room once I move out of it, so I have recently been rifling through my draws and storage boxes clearing out everything that I don’t need, which has been very tricky as you never know when something may come in handy. But when moving out, unfortunately you can’t take everything with you, so in the bin goes the stuff that I haven’t looked at in months. I also find this job is perfect for when I’m feeling anxious as it really takes my mind of things!

Shop for the Essentials Early

When it comes to plates, knives, forks, bedding etc. you want to get hold of that way before your moving in date, so that when you rock up at your flat you don’t have a sudden panic about what you’re going to eat off that evening. It’s also a perfect excuse for a trip to IKEA, my favorite place EVER!

Save, Save and Save Some More

Going to university is something that I have wanted to do since I was about 5, so I knew that as soon as I got a job that’s exactly what I would be putting my money towards. I know student loans are a thing, but I’m one of the unlucky ones who gets a very very small student loan, therefore every penny that I have earned over the past year has gone straight into my university funds, so that I can actually survive come September. I find as well that having a goal in mind that you are saving for, makes saving a lot more enjoyable, and less like a chore.

Pre-Oder Any Medication

I’m lucky enough to not have to take too much medication, but I am asthmatic. One of my triggers can be new places, so of course I need to pre order a bulk of various different inhalers, as the last thing that I want to do is rock up in Leicester and not have an inhaler. Also, girls, pre order any contraception, at least then you are covered for the first couple of months at university, while you find a doctor to sign up to.

Have a Moving Out Box

Or if you’re someone with a lot of stuff, like myself, have multiple moving out boxes. I’ve currently taken up the whole of the counter in the garage with stuff that I will be taking with me to university. It’ll be so much easier when I’m packing up if I can have as much as possible all in the same place.

I’ve never been more excited to start a new chapter in my life than I have this one, yet also nervous. It’s a scary prospect, I won’t lie, I’m currently a mix of emotions, but I just can’t wait to get into the city and get myself to freshers. I can’t wait to keep you all updated on my university experience!

All my love,

Han xx

Lifestyle · Uncategorized

How To Beat The Instagram Algorithm

In March 2016, Instagram made the most unpopular change to its app; it changed the beloved chronological ordering, to most popular or relevant appearing at the top of your feed; following in the steps of Facebook. This caused uproar within basically the whole of the Instagram community, particularly the ones who previously used Instagram as a reliant platform to promote their blog or businesses.

I hadn’t noticed a change in my engagement nor had the algorithm that is until recently effected me. I started to see my engagement dropping, when I started making more of an effort with my feed, Instagram where’s the logic in that? So I have tried and tested some different methods in order to get my engagement back up and my posts actually appearing on peoples feed.

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ALGORITHM IS BASED ON 7 DIFFERENT FACTORS

  • The engagement that your posts receive
  • The duration people spend looking at your post
  • Your friends/family/favorite accounts that you engage with most
  • The time frame in which you post
  • The content you choose to post
  • Whether you search for specific accounts frequently
  • Exposing your posts in DMs.

SO HOW CAN WE BEAT THE ALGORITHM?

Good Content

No one is going to engage with your post if it is something they frequently see on their timeline, nor will they engage if it isn’t a high quality photo. Post things that are unique to you, and make you happy, don’t post things for the sake of posting, as people are often able to sense when a post is half assed. Another thing, you don’t need an amazing and expensive camera to get good quality content, your phone and the right lighting will do just fine!

Hashtags

Don’t be afraid to use hashtags, they’re there to help your post get noticed, so take full advantage of them. There is a 30-tag limit on all Instagram posts, and I wont lie, I nearly always use at least 20. Try to use a range of different tags, ones that have a heavy amount of posts to them, but also ones that don’t, as these will help you to get noticed.

Connect With Your Audience

You can’t expect to receive a heap of engagement on your posts, if you don’t make the effort to engage with others. I found the most effective way to connect with my audience and up my engagement was to click on a hashtag relevant to my post, have a flick through the pictures and like and comment on the ones that catch your eye. This is such an effective way to get your posts noticed, as it drives people to check out your account. It has also really helped me to boost my following!

Be Consistent

Be sure to frequently post, the more you post, the more engagement you will receive, leading to your post reaching more people. Also people are always more inclined to follow your account when they know your posting regularly, because if they like your content, they’re going to want to see it popping up on their feed!

Figure Out What’s Successful

Some posts wont be as successful as others, I find that for my feed, personally, photos of myself/outfit photos and food photos are always the most successful posts of mine. Whereas the more miscellaneous posts aren’t as successful, therefore I try to post the more successful things as frequently as possible, as I know they will do well.

Find Your Prime Posting Time

If you have a business profile on Instagram this will be easy for you to find out, my followers are most active between 4-8PM; therefore I always post within this time frame. If you don’t have a business profile, research has shown that posting at either 5PM or 2AM, drives the most engagement to your posts; although this is a factor that differs for everyone.

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Unfortunately it doesn’t look like Instagram will be changing its algorithm anytime soon, so I hope this has given you all a bit of help on how to beat it. These are tips that have worked for me, and I hope they work for you also! I’ve linked my Instagram below, feel free to leave a link to yours so we can all engage with each other!

https://www.instagram.com/_han.armstrong/

All my love,

Han xx

Design · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

My Tattoo Experience

Normally when people turn 18 they are most excited to legally be able to buy alcohol, but nope, not me. I’d been planning my tattoo for at least a year now, and as soon as I turned 18, it is the first thing I got done. Quiet literally, I was being tattooed at 10 am on my 18th birthday!

Designing

We’ll start off with the design, I’ve always been into my drawing and art, so I wanted to get something tattooed on me that I had drawn/designed, something that was meaningful to me. The first thing that I decided was that I wanted a dot work lotus flower, probably on my rib cage. So I spent countless evenings over the past year, drawing and designing and abundance of lotus flowers, until I came up with the one that I thought was perfect. A lot of people often go straight to places like Pinterest and pick a design from there, which theres nothing wrong with, I just wanted to get something done that I knew no one else would have on them.

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Getting the Tattoo

Prior to getting the tattoo, all of my friends had shaken me up about the experience. Being the last of all my friends to turn 18, a lot of them already have tattoos, and they were all keen to tell me how much it was going to hurt, especially because I was getting it on my rib cage. Even one of the tattoo artists in the parlour said that she wasn’t brave enough to get one done on her ribs, and she was covered in them! Despite this I wasn’t nervous about the pain at all, I think where it was something that I had wanted to get done for a long time, the pain was kind of irrelevant.

Walking into the shop on my birthday I wasn’t nervous in the slightest, and this was making me nervous. I was nervous about the fact I was so calm about getting it done! I chose to get my tattoo done at Skinned Alive, located in Brighton as it is where my Mum got her tattoo, so I trust them to do a good job on mine! Walking in they were all incredibly friendly, and made sure to put me at ease.

Lets move onto getting the actual tattoo itself, because I’m sure thats what you all clicked on here for. I’m sure the one thing you all want to know is, did it hurt? And well  if I give you the honest truth, I’d have to say no, it didn’t! After all the hype of being told how much it was going to hurt, I didn’t think it hurt at all. You have to remember when getting a tattoo, that everyones pain threshold is different, so because it didn’t hurt for me, doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t hut for you either. It took about an hour and a half to complete, and towards the end it did start to feel quiet sore, it did start to burn a bit, but aside from that there was no pain. I actually found the sensation of getting my tattoo quiet therapeutic, as I was lying down to get it done, I did nearly drift off to sleep!

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Overall I am SO glad that I spent so much time and effort designing my tattoo, because it is perfect.  My tattoo artist has done the best job of it, I would highly recommend Skinned Alive Brighton. Also SO glad I didn’t listen to my friends when they were telling m how much it was going to hurt, because I took the ‘pain’ like a champ! If your thinking of getting a tattoo, my advice would be to just go for it, don’t let the prospect of pain put you off.

All my love,

Han xx

Lifestyle · monthly favorites · Uncategorized

August Favorites

I love reading through favourites posts as they are always full of products calling my name to try out, but being on a student budget, I don’t often get the chance to try a tonne of new products a month. Despite this I thought I would try my hand at compiling a list of things that I have been loving through the month of August, and who knows, if it goes well this may become a monthly feature.

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Beauty Favourites 

I always struggle to find new make up that I want to test out, but when it comes to skincare theres always plenty for me to experiment with. This month I came across 2 face masks that I absolutely love. The first one being the L’Oreal Detox Clay mask, which is perfect for if your pores are feeling clogged. I always love using this on the days that I have worked a late shift, as thats often when I feel my skin needs to be scrubbed of all the impurities. The second mask is the Garnier Skin Active Moisture Bomb, which is an absolute god send if ever your skin is feeling tight and dehydrated. I had seen masks like this floating around on the internet for a while now, so when I saw that Garnier had bought one out I was itching to get my hands on it. It’s the perfect mask for people with dry skin, not only did I find that my skin felt hydrated, but it also felt incredibly smooth after I had used it. If you have dry and sensitive skin, this mask is for you, plus its also quite comical to walk around the house wearing.

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Reading Favourites 

I’m hoping that this monthly favourites thing becomes a regular occurrence as it will encourage me to read a lot more, if I know I need to have some favourites by the end of the month! If your like me and a complete sucker for murder mystery/crime investigation books, then I highly recommend you give both of these books a go. The Dry by Jane Harper, and Stalker by Lars Kepler are 2 incredibly captivating murder mystery books, that had me so hoocked I could hardly put them down. The Dry has one of the most unexpected turns towards the end, which in a way I loved yet hated, because there were no clues throughout the book of what was to come. Stalker had me hooked within the first 10 pages, its such an easy read, and incredibly hard to put down.

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Food Favourites

Like any British person, I love my tea, I drink countless cups a day, mainly because I’m clod 24/7 (even in summer) and tea does the perfect job at warming me up. Normally, I just go for the classic English breakfast tea, but recently, I have been trying out Green Tea, and I bloomin’ love it. Twinings are my current go to brand, as they have a new range of green teas, which slowly, I’m working my way through. So far I have tried the salted caramel and the cherry bakewell, with my favourite definitely being the salted caramel one. I was always so quick to knock herbal teas, but I’m now officially a convert and can’t start my day off without one.

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 Miscellaneous  Favorites  

This favourite didn’t really have a category, but I’ve recently been stocking up on stationary in preparation for starting university. Sainsburys, surprisingly have been perfect in providing me with stationary that not only helps to keep me organised, but also looks super pretty. I’m a sucker for keeping lists to make sure that I get everything done, so when I came across this baby pink diary, with a day per page, I just knew I had to have it. Absolutely perfect for people like me that keep stupidly organised.

I hope that I’ve somewhat done a half decent favourites post here, I’m sure that with practise I’ll get to grips with them better.

All my love,

Han xx

Lifestyle · Travel · Uncategorized

Victorious Festival 2017

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So as you may have gathered from my Instagram feed or just general social media chitchat, this year, I spent my August bank holiday weekend at Victorious festival in Portsmouth, alongside all my family. This weekend, like any other festival was spent sipping cider, listening to good music, and lots of dancing, I mean what’s a festival if there’s no dancing involved?!

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Victorious is a festival that my family and I have attended for the past 3 years, and every year it never fails to disappoint, there’s a feeling of infectious happiness and excitement as soon as you step foot into the venue. If you’re into bands that aren’t as mainstream and well known, or are looking to find some new music then this is the perfect festival for you.

Situated on the outskirts of Portsmouth, it has the most stunning views that look out onto the coast of the Isle of Wight. I’ve never attended a festival with views quiet as pretty as these, its beautiful to sit and watch the sunset into the sea, whilst enjoying quality music.

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Not only was my weekend full of good music but also alongside the stages, there are rows and rows of boutique pop up shops filled with everything from vintage clothing to steam punk accessories. We began our day spent here, by looking around at these independent boutiques, I love the diverse range of stalls that they host, and there really is something for everyone.

Like I say, this festival is perfect for those out to discover new music, with an array of various different stages, I can assure you that there will be something of interest to you, also something to keep you busy for the whole day. I’m a lover 90’s music, so when I found out that Rhythm of the 90’s were playing I was just a little bit excited to say the least. There’s something so freeing about letting your hair down and enjoying yourself to old school 90’s classics, these were definitely my favorite act of the day.

“Glitter makes you fitter”, I feel like a festival isn’t a proper festival until you’re covered in glitter. Admittedly I’m always reluctant to spend the extortionate amount its costs at festivals to get glitter, but not at Victorious. I came across a stand that was doing exactly what I wanted and all just for a donation of your choice, what was even better was that all the donations went straight to charity; and I’m all for helping a good cause where I can!

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The festival hosts a vast selection of cultural food shacks, ranging from Thai to Carrabin, and Chinese to Spanish, there really is something for everyone’s taste buds, even for the fussy eaters like myself. Of course I went for the Italian option, as whenever there is pizza or pasta involved, I’m never going to turn it down. Right next to the Castle Stage was the Wood Oven Pizza Co., with a queue tailing right through the field. Believe me when I say I’ve eaten a lot of pizza in my mere 18 years of living, and I mean a lot, but this pizza is defiantly up there with one of the best that I have eaten.

Overall Victorious is the perfect festival for those willing to explore new music, not only this but it is the perfect family friendly festival. I’ve attended the festival for 3 years now, each year with the acts getting bigger and bigger, I’m excited to go back and witness the festival grow even more.

If you would like to check out my vlog of the whole day, and get a feel for what the festival is really like, here is a link to my YouTube channel! https://youtu.be/ExSg_2eYp9c

All my love,

Han xx