Make Over Your Morning: Green Smoothie Bowl

Make Over Your Morning: Green Smoothie Bowl

I love breakfast but find that I can't eat too much, especially early in the morning so a smoothie bowl seems to be the perfect solution - it's nutritious but doesn't fill me to the point of nausea. You can really get creative with your smoothie bowls and chuck in pretty much anything you like. 

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The Mobile Phone Detox

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The Mobile Phone Detox

I am not even going to pretend that it is a voluntary thing. This detox has more or less been forced on me as I broke my screen (meep) and have to have it replaced. That means that I am without a phone for a vague 'up to five working days.'.. I delayed sending my phone in for a few days because for some reason the idea of life without a phone was making me anxious, which is crazy! I decided that since I am being forced to detox from my phone I will try and make the best of it.

As a blogger I try to maximise my time (there's just not enough hours in the day!) and take any opportunity to catch up on social media, write up a blog post or check out what's going on on my favourite blogs. But the fact that a few days without a phone make me anxious scares me a little (aka a lot). I know I may be showing my age here, but I remember a time when nobody had a mobile phone, and guess what!? The universe did not implode. So here are a 3 things I am implementing to at least attempt to decrease the level of power that little piece of technology has over my life.

Alarm Clock

The first thing for me is to get a proper, old fashioned alarm clock. I've been toying with the idea of getting a Lumi Light for a while now and I feel like this is the perfect time. I hate the abrupt sound of my phone alarm in the morning and  feel much more rested when I wake up to a bit of light in summer anyway, so it seems like the perfect move to make!

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I take the train every day. Unfortunately, the train seems to go through some kind of internet black hole and inevitably I get frustrated trying to load posts on Instagram - not the ideal start to the day. Instead I'm going back to basics. I love reading and I don't get to do do it as much as I would love to anymore. Doesn't morning train ride sound like the perfect time to get a bit of reading in?

One thing at a time

I've noticed recently that I've been reaching for my phone during films, TV-shows or even while eating. I really hate that habit, it seems like I just can't concentrate on one thing and enjoy it fully. So I'm implementing a 'one screen at a time' rule. I feel like this one will be the hardest for me to stick to but I'm determined to make it work.

Have you ever tried to detox from your phone? Any handy tips?

The Mobile Phone Detox

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GIVEAWAY: Holland & Barrett Winter Wellness Box #WWPickMe

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GIVEAWAY: Holland & Barrett Winter Wellness Box #WWPickMe

The lovely people over at Holland & Barrett have sent us over something amazing to give away to one of our readers this Christmas - The Holland & Barrett Winter Wellness Box! The weather has been horrific & lots of us (me included!) are suffering from the sniffles, low energy and drier skin - all side effects of dark & cold days. 

Before I go into detail of what is in the box, here are the rules of the giveaway:

  • tweet us (anything!), our handle is @pinkelephantdub
  • all you need to do is to use the Pink Elephant Blog twitter handle (@pinkelephantdub)  as well as the Holland & Barrett (@holland_barrett) one in the tweet
  • and use the hashtag #WWPickMe

The GIVEAWAY will be open for 2 weeks in Ireland only (don't worry, there is an international giveaway coming soon!)

So... to the fun part. What can you win?

The Winter Wellness Box is packed full of great Holland & Barrett goodies! First up we have a Naturally Nourished Baobab Edition Set from Burts Bees, one of my favourite brands for lip balms! The set includes a moisturising hand cream and two gorgeous lip balms.

Next, still in the body care & pamper department, there is a Dead Sea Spa Magik Bath & Body Heroes Set that includes a gorgeous show /bath gel, body lotion & their famous bath salts!

There is also a Comvita Winter Wellness Manuka Honey & Olive Leaf Hot Drink which is a gorgeous revitalising and soothing hot winter drink that will boost your immune system & tastes delicious!

And finally, there's also a selection of essential vitamins & supplements that will keep you in top shape this winter: Solgar Zinc Picolinate (protects your immune system), Solgar Vitamin D3  & Mushroom Vegan Vitamin D (also known as the "sunshine vitamin", helps absorb calcium for strong bones and teeth).

Good luck!!! :)

Alex Signature

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Beauty Food: 5 Ways to Instantly Eat Healthier

Beauty FoodsEating healthy doesn’t have to be a major life changing overhaul - unless you’re on a first name basis with your local McDonalds cashier. A few small changes can make a big difference. I love my food and calorie counting isn’t a strong point. Everything in moderation with particular attention to a few key foods that pack a punch nutritionally can make a big difference to skin, hair and nails. Personally I try curtail refined carbs, particularly later in the evening with dinner. That said, Saturdays post-run snack can turn into a blueberry muffin free-for-all!

Flaxseed

My breakfast of choice has been porridge and for the past couple of years this has included a spoonful of flaxseeds. These tiny seeds are absolute nutritional dynamite, boasting B-group vitamins they are also loaded with the natural anti-inflammatory properties of Omega 3, high in soluble and non-soluble fiber so good news for lowering cholesterol. Not to get too far into the science bit, but flaxseeds also contain phytochemicals which are great for balancing female hormones. To maximise the nutritive density of these gems, they should be ground first before tossing onto porridge, soups, salads, stir-fries etc. A tiny but brilliant addition to your diet.Flaxseed

Spinach

There is no simpler way to go green than spinach. Not only is this stuff great with pretty much any meal, but by throwing a handful of spinach on your dinner, you’re upping iron levels (perfect for those who don’t do red meat) magnesium and Vitamin K. Spinach falls into the nutritional powerhouse category alongside beets and quinoa. Dark green leafy vegetables are the thing to eat to show skin and hair some love as they’re bursting with anti-oxidants and cancer fighting properties. A handful of spinach contains a mere 27 calories which mostly come from protein. It’s also one of the best sources of potassium beating bananas on a gram by gram comparison. Even on the rare occasion we ring in a pizza, I empty half a bag of spinach on top!

Spinach

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is my new favourite thing! After a particularly stressful period last year my hair was looking a little on the wispy side and even after making some major changes to lower stress levels there was no sign of my mane returning to its former glory. I was recommended Vitamin E by a (former team Ireland!) runner, who advised it to help protect the body from oxidative stress which in my case was long distance road running at the time. I found it to be the only thing that actually made a difference to the thickness of my hair, and my nails and complexion reaped the benefits too. I take 100% natural E d-alpha form, derived from Soya beans, from Holland & Barrett.

Vitamin E

Water

Yeah we’ve heard it all before, drinking water is the secret to supermodel skin…. but seriously it is. Investing in renewing night creams, facial oils and micro-exfoiliants is a complete waste of time and money if you’re not hydrated to begin with. Hydrated skin is plumper, softer and all round looks better. Case in point that grey hangover complexion - that’s the face of dehydration right there. It’s also worth bearing in mind that B group vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble, meaning you require water for your body to absorb and utilise these. Keep a large water bottle on you and sip away throughout the day, its habit forming and before you know it becomes second nature - that water bottle will become an extension of your arm and your skin will be all the better for it; not to mention increased alertness, less headaches and more efficient metabolism. Get sipping!

Water

Berries

I’m not a huge fan of fruit salads or fruit in general (weird, I know) but when it comes to berries I can’t get enough. There’s a dietetic school of thought that any natural food that’s strikingly dark in colour is likely to promote superfood properties (no, chocolate does not count here..!) meaning they’re not only nutrient dense but also rich in age-fighting antioxidants. Buy organic where possible, you want to steer clear of pesticide residue. Throw your berries in the freezer to keep them edible and fresh long past their sell-by date. Frozen berries are also smoothie ready, giving you another opportunity to throw in some flaxseeds!

Raspberries

What are your superfood secrets? Let us know in the comments!

B. xx

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Relax... Take a deep breath..

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I don't need to tell anyone that relaxing, slowing down & taking some alone time are all good for you and important in maintaining your sanity. Lately everything is fast paced and we are bombarded with information more than ever before thanks to the development of the internet, social media and the accessibility of those at arms reach. This non stop activity makes our brains go into overdrive and the results are stress, anxiety and just a general feeling of tension and discomfort.

Personally I am a huge fan of "de-stressing" products - I pretty much own every single item in the This Works Stress Less line. Today I wanted to share a couple of more "techy" discoveries I made last year when I was struggling with a lot of stress. About a year ago I introduced "guided meditation" into my weekly routine. And by that I don't mean attending classes or inviting a yoga guru to live with me, I literally downloaded some apps. If you are able to meditate just by yourself - amazing! I find that whenever I try, my thoughts just intensify and I end up thinking of the things that stress me most, hence the guided form of meditation (which only means that there is someone speaking to you in a lovely soft voice and making sure you can concentrate on your breathing).

Without further ado here are the two apps that have helped me and that I use all the time:

Simply Being (€0.98 from the App Store)Simply Being App This is a very simple app that offers 5, 10, 15 or 20 min meditations sessions that you can listen to with or without music. I like this for night time relaxation and I turn it on before bed, even just for 5 minutes if I know there is something on my mind and I won't be able to go to sleep easily.Simply Being App

Headspace (free from the App Store)Headspace App This one is slightly different. When you download this app you get free access to a 10 day course of unique guided meditation. This app contains bite-sized techniques to help you sleep better, focus more and get some relief from a busy mind. I would say this is a good one for when you actually want to commit to meditation a little bit more and invest more time in tracking your progress and learning new techniques.Headspace AppMeditation takes on a lot of forms - you can do it just sitting down on your couch, the floor, lying down on your bed or even going for a walk. The important thing is to be able to carve out a few minutes a day to have some quiet time only for yourself.

How do you like to de-stress? Let me know, I'd love to hear about it!

A. x

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