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Monday, 2 May 2016

What I Read and Watched in April

Considering the large part both reading and watching TV play in my life, it seems only natural to start including the things I read and watch on my blog. I love seeing what other bloggers have been reading and watching, as more often than not, it gives me inspiration for what to turn to next. I'm hoping I can start doing the same for my readers!

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that watching The Tudors was an emotional rollercoaster for me. After really enjoying Reign, a historical drama following the rise of Mary Queen of Scots, I was eager for a bit more historical drama in my life. It took me a while to get into The Tudors admittedly, but I'm so glad I watched it now. It moves a bit disjointedly as it crams a lot of years into four seasons and I think there's a lack of character development at times, but I found myself really, really invested in certain people. I wept at Anne Boleyn's execution and had to take a break from watching it to recover! I was also very distressed to learn of what happened to Katherine Howard as naturally, they skipped over her sexual life when I studied this historical period in primary school.

As mentioned above, I took a break from The Tudors after watching Anne's execution and I filled the gap with Shadowhunters. Again, I pretty much lived Tweeted my feelings on this show. I hated it. Yet, despite how much I hated it, I was totally enthralled and watched the whole series in a matter of days. I was really hoping it would stay true to the books and so a lot of my disappointment comes from that, but I also think that had I not read the books, the story line would have been a bit like "eh, what's happening?!" My feelings about the books aside, in the end, I obviously enjoyed this show because I devoured it and am considering a rewatch to tide me over until season 2 arrives next year.

Of course, April brought with it the return of Game of Thrones. I've been on the edge of my seat waiting for this series to return since the end credits of last season. I'm a massive Game of Thrones fan and I'm so happy it's back in my life. If only I had Winds of Winter to read when this season finishes!

Reading wise, April was a month of personal development for me. I started with Danielle LaPorte's The Desire Map after having it recommended a fair few times to me and wow, am I glad I picked this one up. It's a totally new approach to goals to the one I've taken in the past and I can't wait to try it out. I also really loved Danielle's writing style and her approach to life is one I find positive, yet wholly realistic.

I followed The Desire Map up with Light is the New Black, one I've seen floating round on the Instagram's of some pretty successful people I follow. While not quite as practical as The Desire Map, I finished this book feeling so uplifted, inspired and ready to take on the world as myself.

Again, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is another book I've had recommended to me time and time again. I cannot be more pleased I read this one. Elizabeth's voice is one I thoroughly enjoyed having in my head. She is down to earth, very wise and often quite funny in places. I had fun reading this book and it's helped me refresh my approach to creativity.

Honourable Mentions 
OK, so the following two books are ones that I read much earlier than April but I felt I had to mention them in my first round up like this because I loved them and I really think they need to be shared with the world.

I started reading The Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas series in around December 2015 and finished it in January this year. I'd been feeling quite "meh" towards reading for a few months and didn't really want to spend my time doing it. Then, I read this book and BAM my love for reading was kick started again. The Throne of Glass series is jam packed full of amazing female characters and for a young adult book, there's a fair amount of diversity in it too. Not to mention I was so hooked on the story line. I can't wait for the next installment later this year.

My second honourable mention goes to The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. I saw the City of Bones movie in 2013 when it came out and really loved it. I was actually pretty disappointed to find I was the only one who loved it! I kept meaning to read the books but never really got round to it, but after reading Throne of Glass, I knew I needed another great young adult series to sink my teeth into. While I adored the characters in Thrones of Glass, it has been a long time since I've become as emotionally involved with characters in the way I did with Clary and Jace. A truly gripping series with some excellent characters in it that I would highly, highly recommend to anyone into young adult fantasy books.

What have you been reading and watching in the past month? Anything I might like?

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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Operation Supervixen: May Goals

Operation Supervixen is my own personal transformation programme. In July 2014, I decided I was utterly fed up of being miserable, unwell and feeling like I wasn't reaching my full potential in life. To combat this, I decided I was going to radically transform my diet, maintain an exercise routine and centre my leisure activities around personal development. To keep me accountable and help others in the process, I started Operation Supervixen

Hello everyone! It has been such a long time since I sat down to do an Operation Supervixen post. My healthy lifestyle and personal development journey took a backseat in December so I could focus on getting through a very difficult few months, but I have now emerged from the other side of this. Now that I'm settled into my new home in Reading, I can finally turn my attention to improving my health, both mentally and physically. The excuses I had before, such as dealing with the end of a relationship and the five hours travelling each day, are now gone and I feel like I can move forward now.

To kickstart Operation Supervixen 2016, I thought I'd set myself a few goals for the month of May to ease me back into my lifestyle transformation.

Have a homemade smoothie for breakfast five times a week
Being quite the fussy eater, the quickest and easiest way for me to get a good portion of fruit and vegetables is in smoothie form. Last year I treated myself to a blender and it was a seriously great investment because I actually used the damn thing (unlike my juicer). I've decided to go for five times a week as I'm setting myself up to fail if I say every day. It also means I can have my smoothies on work days, and have a "treat" breakfast on weekends.

Take a packed lunch to work everyday 
Now that I don't do a ridiculous long distance commute anymore, I am going to be going to the office Monday-Friday instead of working from home on a regular basis. This makes it absolutely essential for me to start taking packed lunches. One: it will save me money. Two: homemade food is nearly always healthier. Both of these things will improve my life greatly.

Workout three times a week 
While I am feel I am quite active at the moment as I regularly hit my 10,000 steps a day on my FitBit, it's time to start adding some more intense exercise back into my routine. I want to start small so I can realistically gauge where I'm going to fit my workouts into my routine. I haven't touched my weights for months, so I would like to start using those again and I'm thinking of trying out some Yoga with Adriene.

Restart my health diary
Around halfway through 2014, I started keeping a health diary and it was a habit I actually managed to keep up for around a year. I tracked everything - the food I ate, the drinks I drank, how I felt physically each day, how I felt mentally each day, how many toilet visits (sorry for TMI, but it's essential to see how my IBS is doing), whether I'd been smoking cigarettes or not and so on. It became a great way to see patterns and learn what genuinely makes me feel like my best self. I'd like to start doing this again so I can start making the right changes I need to make to feel like my best self.

Complete a Desire Map
I recently read The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte and it blew me away. It's a hugely different approach to goal setting in comparison with the one I take now and I really think this way of thinking is going to change my life. Now that I've read the book, I want to sit down and take the time to really work through the workbook portion of the book and get really clear and where I'm taking the rest of 2016.

Have you set yourself any goals for May? Please share!

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