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Posted on January 18, 2019

How to be more period positive with BeYou patches

How To

A menstrual period can be the defining factor for womanhood in the eyes of many females even though some women absolutely despise theirs. Others, embrace their first bleed and believe it to be a central part of their identity as a woman. I always fell into the second category of women. Well, at least until recently… 

Growing up, I had what I liked to call ‘the perfect period.’ I used to menstruate at the same time of the same day of every month – it was like clockwork! My period lasted about five days and I thankfully did not suffer from any obvious menstrual pain. I did (and still do) get severe back pain and often subjected my loved ones to the occasional emotional outburst.

Fast forward a few years to when ingesting the mini pill became a regular part of my daily routine and my so-called ‘perfect period’ was no longer referred to as such. My flow became the absent father of periods which came and went as it pleased.

Thanks to progestin-only birth control, I now have irrational pregnancy scares at random because I don’t have a consistent reminder from Mother Nature to tell me I’m just being my usual over reacting self – the joys of synthetic hormones!

While both my menstrual cycle and flow now differ to my much-loved period of the past, I’ve managed to maintain the positive attitude that I’ve always had towards my monthly bleed. I think it is important to have open and shame-free conversations about menstruation and embrace the most natural thing a woman’s body can do! 🙂

How can we promote period positivity?

BeYou is a UK brand that I’ve recently teamed up with. The period-positive brand aims to break the stigma attached to periods by encouraging open dialogue around a topic that is still pretty much taboo for some people.

BeYou developed a pain relief product containing two natural ingredients which helps ease the muscular tension that can lead to period cramps. Using BeYou period patches can help women have a more positive experience every month which in turn may promote a positive attitude towards menstruation and the conversations surrounding it.

The two active ingredients of the patch are Eucalyptus oil and Menthol which get absorbed through the skin and help ease the muscular tension which causes period cramps.

3-step guide to using your BeYou period patches

Be You period patch

Note: The patches have a strong menthol scent as this is one of the active ingredients that will help ease your pain!

Be You period patch

Note: You can wear it in work, during a commute or even a night time. You can have it on for about 12 hours before you even contemplate using a new one!

Be You period patch

Note: I found it very helpful to remove my patch in the shower, it is fast and painless!

 

I am currently wearing one as I edit this blog post and I have to say, using a natural product that smells feminine, is easy to use and does what it says on the tin is such an empowering experience.

It makes me more proud to be a woman to see brands like BeYou join in on important conversations. I can’t thank them enough for getting me involved 🙂  

Where can you get yours?

You can purchase your BeYou patches on Beyouonline.co.uk

If you are tempted to give BeYou period patches a try, then you can find out more about how to get a free month supply after you sign up to a monthly subscription (T&C’s apply)

Final thoughts

I’d like to finish up with a confession that will hopefully propel the conversation of period positivity even further. A confession that will remind women of the importance of having a healthy attitude towards periods and to encourage young girls to embrace what Mother Nature gave us. Here it is…

Hello, my name is Filomena and sometimes, I like the smell of my period. Some of you might find that gross, but I said it and I’m not taking it back 🙂

Do you have a period confession? If so, share it on Twitter using #ShameFreeMenstruation and let’s help BeYou keep this conversation going! This year is about breaking whatever is left of this bloody stigma – no pun intended.

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*Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes. But all views remain my own.

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Posted on January 7, 2019

bakerdays letterbox cake

product review

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, some of you might already be thinking about what to get your loved ones this year and the unnecessary burden that is put on both couples and singletons alike during this money driven holiday can often leave some people at a complete loss. But thanks to letterbox cakes delivered by bakerdays*, some of that pressure can be alleviated for you with little effort on your part 🙂

How does it work?

  • Step 1: Pick the occasion
    Decide on whether you want to send someone a cake for their birthday, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day or even a simple thank you cake – it’s entirely up to you!
  • Step 2: Choose your desired size and design
    While there are a number of designs to choose from on the website, you can decide to customise your cake to make it truly personal. You can then choose one that easily fits into your letterbox (as I did) or select a medium – large cake.
  • Step 3: Pick the recipe
    Some of you would be happy to know that bakerdays caters for food intolerances. You can choose a dairy/wheat/gluten free cake of your desired flavour: red velvet, chocolate chip, Victoria sponge or fruit cake.

The Delivery

The delivery for my letterbox cake was fairly quick, I didn’t have any issues with the waiting time at all. But what I will say is that the parcel needs to be signed for.

I know the idea behind it all is that it fits into a letter box. But at the same time, we don’t want all the hard work put into design and decoration to go to waste! So a signature is necessary upon receiving the cake.

The Cake

I ordered a Victoria sponge so it did taste like a classic Victoria cake. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh and fluffy it was though (considering it had to make it’s way all the way from the UK to Ireland).

The cake I chose was covered by a layer of hard icing and the design (which I gave them free reign over for the most part) was fit for purpose – the office!

There was also a greetings card that came with the cake, adding even more of a personal touch to it 🙂

My Final Verdict

bakerdays letterbox cake

While I am a firm believer of giving gifts that are specific to a person, I also think that if there is one thing we can universally agree on, it is that everyone loves cake! The fact that bakerdays caters for people with food intolerances too is just the cherry on top! 🙂

So I think this would be a perfect gift to get your second half or even just a friend! It’s a cute way to show someone that you’re thinking of them!

To order your own letterbox cake and for prices, visit bakerdays.com  🙂

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*Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review. But all views remain my own.

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Posted on January 2, 2019

5 reasons I received a Google alert for my name in 2018

lifestyle

I never in a million years would have thought that my blogging achievements in twenty eighteen could ever amount to half of the accomplishments I had with Enhance What’s Yours in 2017. In fact, I spent the early days of twenty eighteen (excuse the overuse of this millenial slang), crippled with the anxiety that I may had set the bar too high for myself in the previous year.

I mean, when an open letter that took less than fifteen minutes to write makes international headlines, how could I possibly envision myself topping that? Hell if I know how, but I did! And when I reflect upon the year I had with my blog and the opportunities that I’ve been afforded through a brand for which I have taken many sacrifices, I can’t help but look back with a greater sense of gratitude.

The gratitude I feel towards the brand I’ve created far exceed any sentiments I felt towards my blog accomplishments in previous times. That’s not to disqualify any of my past achievements or to say that they are less significant. But it is mainly because I feel that the knowledge that I accrued in my second year of freelancing has helped me recognise that luck can only get you so far.

You also have to be willing to do what others won’t.

So without further ado, here are some of the main reasons why I received Google alerts for my name in 2018 🙂

1. My TV debut for ground-breaking Channel 4 series

As many of you know from the series of blogs I’ve published around this topic, I was part of the diverse cast for a two-part Channel 4 documentary called Genderquake. Filming for this ground-breaking series took in the beautiful city of Brighton in October 2017 and the show finally aired in May of 2018.

Genderquake explored gender and sexuality in today’s world by having ten strangers from all parts of the gender spectrum cohabitate for a full week and have spirited discussions about sexual identity, gender and everything in  between!

Shortly after hitting the screens, Genderquake was nominated in the MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Awards for Representation of LGBTQ, Non-Scripted which is more than any of us could have asked for or anticipated!

Knowing that my voice was part of a show that incited so much public interest both online and in real life is a great source of pride for me, particularly because I was so apprehensive about taking part in the first place.

Looking back now, I am so proud of my contribution on the show – taking the edits out of the equation of course! I met some truly wonderful souls and beautiful people who challenged my ideologies in ways that continue to intrigue me till today.

Twitter was also pretty gentle with me which was more reassuring than I care to admit. I had people from all backgrounds jump to my defense and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive 🙂

If you haven’t seen Genderquake yet, be sure to catch up on Channel 4 here.

2. Live TV appearance on Genderquake: The Debate

Following the release of the two-part documentary, Channel 4 aired a live debate in which myself and a few of the other cast members were invited to attend. The debate was hosted by news presenter Cathy Newman and saw a number of famous faces on the panel such as Caitlyn Jenner, Munroe Bergdorf, Germaine Greer, Ayo Caeser and Sarah Ditum.

While I had already been on television at this point, it was all still very new to me. To say I was hyperventilating at the thought of being on live TV would be be a complete understatement. Thankfully, I managed to answer Cathy Newman’s questions about my experience of being on the show with as much grace and elegance as the merlot I consumed allowed for.

Once again, a very proud moment for my inner nerdy introvert. You can see my response in this Twitter thread here.

3. Brand Ambassador role for Huawei Mobile Ireland

Huawei P20 Lite Review

While I did not receive a Google alert for this, I do think it is worth mentioning. I was given a brand ambassador role for Huawei Mobile Ireland which resulted in me creating exciting content and taking part in a sponsored campaign – not to mention getting a deadly new phone! 🙂

While I have done content placement and other sponsored content in the past, I had never been asked to work on a continuous campaign such as the one I did with Huawei Ireland. To put the cherry on top, the tweet I shared about the Story Sign app created by Huawei, performed incredibly well with an engagement rate of 3.9% and a reach of nearly 10k.

The media views I received in that one tweet even outperformed some of the ads shared by other influencers with twice or trice my Twitter following. I think all too often brands get fooled by influencers who appear to have a large following so knowing this gave me a completely new perspective on how to negotiate future collaborations with brands and it helped me see the value of my brand and what I have to offer.

4. Publication of first byline for thejournal.ie

This might not seem like such a big deal to some people. But for me it is everything.

Throughout my many years of navigating my way within the Irish blogging scene, I have always identified more as a writer than blogger: it’s the one thing I was always sure of. In my eyes, writing for an Irish news site is about more than just massaging my ego. In a weird sense, it validated my work as a writer.

I had never pitched an article before. But after my success, I hope to share more of my thoughts on dating, relationships and female sexuality to a wider audience in the future. Seeing my byline on thejournal.ie really gave me a high. Almost like runners high, but for writers – yes, I’m making it a thing!

If you have yet to read my article about making consent sexy – for the sake of both men and women, be sure to read it here. 

5. Featured in iNews for viral open letter

iNews feature about viral story

Last but not least, I was recently featured in inews.co.uk where I was given the opportunity to share an honest account of how online trolling can affect a person’s well being. While I did write a blog post on how to deal with bad publicity, I had never really delved into the darker side of how I felt after the events that transpired online.

I finally mustered the courage to do exactly that in an interview with former HuffPost UK Editor, Poorna Bell for a feature in iNews. Much like many of my other endeavours and interviews, I was on the fence about this.But the award-winning journalist dealt with my story with great delicacy and care. Poorna was aware of the sensitivity of the topic during the whole interview process – even when she was trying to get to the core of what really happened.

I have so much respect for authentic journalists who strive to uncover accurate accounts of real life stories and I genuinely cannot thank Poorna enough for sharing mine in such a raw way.

To read my feature about the very real impact online trolling can have on a person’s well-being, click here.

A massive thank you to everyone who has been supporting me from day one! I wish each and every single one of you a sparkling New Year! I look forward to re-shaping my brand and blog for 2019 🙂

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Posted on December 3, 2018

Skate and date with Dundrum On Ice

Dating

Whether you’re planning a first date with a new love interest, keeping the spark alive in a comfortable relationship or looking for ways to rekindle an old flame, a prerequisite for any successful date consists of two things: sparkling conversation and good old fashioned fun! 🙂

The Skate and Date initiative with Dundrum On Ice offers exactly that (if not more) by providing a top quality seasonal ice skating experience for ice skating lovers of all levels.

From the amateur skater to the self-proclaimed pro, anyone who is even remotely interested in this winter activity can enjoy this fun experience along with an enticing two-course meal in Cookes restaurant across the way.

How does it work?

Dundrum On Ice  has partnered with Cookes Restaurant to give you the ultimate festive date this Christmas in Dublin’s much-loved Dundrum Town Centre.

The 500 meter square rink is opened until the 13th of January of next year, giving you ample time to organise an adrenaline-fueled date followed by a romantic sit down meal.

Tickets for ice skating cost €16 pp and when you present it to the lovely staff at Cookes, you have the option of enjoying a two-course lunch for €15 pp or a 2-course dinner for €18 pp – an absolute steal!

What if I’m not in a couple?

Lone wolves, worry not! This deal isn’t confined to just couples – we live in a democracy after all! 🙂

Singletons can equally enjoy the benefits of this Skate and Date deal by organising a fun day out with a group of friends.

And if you really want to share the love this festive season, you can give the gift of skating this Christmas with a Dundrum On Ice gift voucher for an amount of your choosing.

Now back to the romance….

One spicy reason to take advantage of this Skate and Date initiative is to increase chemistry in your relationship. According to scientific research, moments of anxiety and adrenaline rushes can lead to heightened sexual attraction – well, that’s one way to make a date memorable!

Other fun facts about ice skating:

  • Ice skating developed from the old school dance, the Waltz.
  • The ‘layback spin,’ a move that requires a great deal of flexibility is one that females tend to have more success doing in comparison to men *cough* women are better than men *cough*
  • Gemma Collins went down one dress size after signing up to Dancing On Ice – now if that isn’t enough of a reason to go, then I don’t know what is!

At the very least, Skate and Date will get you and your other half out of the Netflix-and-chill rut you might be in! 😛

Will you be strutting your stuff on the ice rink this year? I would love to know! Tweet me @FilomenaKaguako and be sure to book your Skate and Date tickets here.

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Posted on November 26, 2018

The truth about going viral

Uncovered

iNews feature about viral story

Having a tweet or funny video go viral is something that most creatives could only dream of. The thought of having hundreds of thousands of people from all parts of the globe repeatedly share something that started off as an idea in a content creator’s mind is the ultimate way to massage one’s ego, right? I’m afraid not.

As many of you know, an open letter I wrote about my experience of being racially sexualised by Irish men received a lot of traction when it was first published. What I thought would open important discourse surrounding interracial dating in a country that I now consider my home, resulted in me being a target for online trolling and abuse.

Receiving hateful messages online after my open letter went viral became such a regular occurrence that it led to me closing my comment section on YouTube and becoming a complete social hermit.

While I did write a blog on how to deal with bad publicity, I never really delved into the darker side of how I felt after the events that transpired. It was just too emotional.

Last week, I finally mustered the strength to do exactly that as I was interviewed by former HuffPost UK Editor Poorna Bell for a feature in iNews.

iNews feature about viral story

The iNews feature highlights the impact of having a story go viral in the wrong and unwanted sense. It was the perfect opportunity for me to share a raw account of how trolling can affect a person’s well-being.

I will admit that I was hesitant at first, but the award-winning journalist dealt with my story with such delicacy and care. Poorna was aware of the sensitivity of the topic throughout the whole interview process – even when she was trying to get to the core of what happened.

I have so much respect for authentic journalists who strive to uncover accurate accounts of real life stories and I genuinely cannot thank Poorna enough for sharing mine in such a raw way.

To read my feature about the very real impact online trolling can have on a person’s well-being, click here.

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Posted on November 18, 2018

INGLOT’S New All Flawless, All Covered Collection

Makeup

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Inglot’s new revolutionary collection. The All Flawless, All Covered Collection offers high quality and innovative products at reasonable prices.

With 10 lightweight yet highly pigmented foundation shades and 8 creamy high-coverage concealer shades, this brand new collection enhances beauty by offering full coverage without giving a cake or mask-like effect.

What you need to know about Inglot’s All Covered foundation | RRP: €38.00

  • Flawless Skin Effect.
  • Buildable Coverage with a Natural, Radiant Finish.
  • Effortlessly Covers Skin Imperfections and Discoloration.
  • Optically Smoothens out Skin Texture.
  • Care Ingredients such as Vitamin E (aka “The Youth Vitamin”) moisturise the skin and improve elasticity whilst HD Pigments ensure an impeccable, stunning finish.

Inglot’s All Flawless, All Covered foundation in shade 19 and 20.

What you need to know about Inglot’s All Covered Under Eye Concealer | RRP: €20.00

  • Effortlessly Covers Dark Circles, Imperfections and Discolouration.
  • Creamy, Water-Resistant and Long-Lasting Formula.
  • Saffron-Extract (aka “Red Gold”) and Vitamin E (aka “The Youth Vitamin”) moisturise the skin and visibly improve its Elasticity).
  • Beautiful for Contouring.

Since there are only two shades available for dark skinned women in this range, I had to combine the two darkest shades to find the right one for my skin tone. Thankfully, the combination of shade 20 and 19 suited me perfectly and I now get to experience the full effect of what the products from this range can do to hyperpigmentation – something I suffer from as a result of having acne.

Although mixing two shades of foundation does require a little more effort in the mornings, it is certainly worth it! These products are giving me a real confidence boost at the moment as they offer serious coverage without feeling heavy at all on the skin! 🙂

Do you have a go-to foundation? I’d love to know what it is! Tweet me @FilomenaKaguako  🙂

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Currently available nationwide or you can purchase online.

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Posted on November 12, 2018

5 podcasts for the empowered woman

Favourites

If I had to choose between watching reruns of Friends and spending an evening catching up on some of my favourite podcasts then I wouldn’t hesitate in picking the latter. Filling my mind with enriching, educational and empowering podcasts, trumps (small t) the overeating and unnecessary sugar consumption that often accompanies my Netflix binges.

After subscribing to a healthy dose of podcasts such as Ted Talks Daily, Girls With Goals – to name just a few – I have found a lot of solace in hearing different stories and lived experiences by women who probably aren’t very different to me.

The hosts of these podcasts speak comfortably and confidently, I don’t get the impression that they are afraid of exercising their right to be heard – something I’ve been struggling with lately.

Each podcast offers open and honest discussions about everything from career to spirituality to…vaginal discharge – you know who you are!

So without further ado, here are my top 5 podcast recommendations for the empowered woman – a label I’ll let you define for yourself 🙂

1. Almost 30 Podcast

Almost 30 Podcast is probably one of the first podcasts I started listening to and now that I am pushing thirty, I think it’s safe to say that it is one of the few that I can resonate the most with. I consider myself to be quite a spiritual person, someone who values self development. Personal growth is one of the main themes running in this podcast, along with wellness and entrepreneurship.

Notable episodes:

  • Ep. 129 – How to become a Rich B*tch: The Language of Money , Dealing with Debt + Negotiating Everything with Nicole Lapin. Listen here.
  • Ep. 142 – What is White Privilege? Waking Up to Our Unconscious Biases with Thais Sky. Listen here.
  • Ep. 154 – The Sacredness of Being Single With Lindsey. Listen here.

 

2. Guys We F*****

Although Guys We F***** is a fairly new addition to my subscription list, I have a lot of appreciation for the few episodes that I have listened to. The anti-slut shaming podcast celebrates female sexuality while not solely focusing on the presumed obvious (sex). But if you are a sexually liberated female who doesn’t believe a woman’s body count is directly linked to whether or not she respects herself, then this one is for you.

Trigger alert: be prepared for a lot of cursing. And I mean, a lot.

Notable episodes:

  • Am I Just F****** Crazy? with Amanda Knox. Listen here.
  • Did Kevin Spacey Touch Your D***? Listen here. 

3. It Galz

It Galz is a one of a kind Irish podcast hosted by two incredible women who never shy away from speaking their truth. The recently renounced feminists have honest discourse around the Irish blogging industry, pop culture and the fickle nature of online dating. The fact that my girl Mai does the soundtrack for this show is just the cherry on top! 😉

Notable episodes:

  • Ep. 53 – The Reality of Online Trolling with Fiona Hamilton. Listen here.
  • Ep. 55 – The Rage Against The Dating Machine. Listen here.
  • Ep. 57 – Bitches With Boundaries. Listen here.
  • Ep. 58 – Female Empowerment…or Exploitation. Listen here.
  • Ep. 63 – F*** Feminism…? Listen here.

4. Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations

Just when we thought queen Oprah gave us everything she possible could she went and launched this podcast for us. This is genuinely one of the most thought provoking podcasts I have ever come across. The conversations are pulled from the Super Soul Sunday show and some interviews are recordered exclusively for the podcast. If you like deep and truly philosophical discussions then this one is for you!

Notable Episodes:

  • Brene Brown: Rising Strong. Listen here.
  • Mitch Landrieu: A White Southerner Confronts History. Listen here.
  • Elie Wiesel: Living with an Open Heart. Listen here.

5. The High Low

The High Low podcast nourishes every single fiber of my being – no exaggeration. Okay, maybe I’m slightly exaggerating. Nonetheless, I think both Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes are the epitome of class and grace in a woman and they embody everything I aspire to be as a writer.

Both women have such an eloquent way of speaking and before you say anything, I should note that I would think the same if we removed their middle class English accents out of the equation #JustSayin

Every time I listen to an episode of The High Low I learn a new word – if you know me personally then you would know that learning new words mean a great deal to me as I’m a bit of a word nut! 🙂

The High Low gals have intellectual conversations around current affairs and pop culture and since I have yet to find a disappointing episode of this mind-stimulating show, I will refrain from narrowing down my suggestions to just one or two episodes.

Each and every single episode has offered me something I wasn’t even aware I needed. Yes, I think Dolly and Pandora are a powerful duo but I also believe they are both inspirational in their own right.

I genuinely cannot recommend this podcast enough!

Listen to The High Low podcast here.

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If you have any podcast recommendations, I would love to know what they are! Feel free to tweet me @FilomenaKaguako 🙂

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Posted on October 30, 2018

4 Reasons To Get It On This Halloween

Dating

Halloween only comes once a year, but all of the sweets tend to last for weeks – unless of course you’re living in my household! But just because the annual holiday is largely driven towards kids, it doesn’t mean that adults can’t reap the benefits too!

Whether you’re in a committed relationship or a casual one, rolling in the hay has some benefits that can make your Halloween just as fun this year!

So without further ado,here are 4 ways you can take advantage of this opportunity to “spook up” your love life 🙂

1. Role Playing

Sexy costumes. They’re one of the biggest clichés surrounding Halloween. But role playing in the bedroom can add spice to your relationship and sex life. It’s a good idea any time of year, but what better occasion than Halloween? Maybe you have a cute couple’s costume. Perhaps you go into the party as a single Cinderella, only to come across a hot Prince Charming. Either way, getting a little creative can make for one unforgettable night.

2. Try some spooky positions

Take role play one step further by introducing new positions (and maybe some candy) into the bedroom. The idea of sleeping with another character may turn you on more than enough, but why not have some extra fun and try a Halloween themed position or two while you’re at it? Using Twizzlers for bondage is a kinky (and tasty) twist. If you’re dressed up as a character from True Blood, maybe try The Vampire’s Kiss? Word to the wise: if you’re gonna be sucking neck all night, make sure you’re cold sore-free.

3. Burn off those candy calories

Everyone indulges in a few sweets on Halloween, but we all know how sugary and chock full of calories our favorite treat may be. According to a study of Montreal couples, on average, sex burns 3.6 calories per minute. Unfortunately for ladies, men tend to burn more calories during each session, with an average of 101 calories, compared to just 69 for women. But if you incorporate candy into the bedroom, like previously suggested, you can kill two birds with one stone!

4. Eat more candy

Maybe you just had sex to burn off the calories from those peanut butter cups you ate. Even better yet, you can use sex as an excuse to eat more candy than you normally would! Use the helpful chart below to figure out just how many Snickers you can eat. For some of the higher calorie treats, try incorporating more foreplay into your routine in order to burn some extra calories.

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Posted on October 1, 2018

5 simple ways to add exercise to your daily schedule

fitness

Committing to exercise isn’t a skill that comes naturally to everyone. Even avid gym goers struggle to stay on track of their health and fitness game during seasonal changes. The many obstacles that life throws at us can undoubtedly place having regular exercise at the bottom of our list of priorities.

However, sporadic workout sessions tend not to amount to anything – at least in my experience. Inconsistent workouts usually result in me dropping my workout schedule for weeks without end. Then I finally remember why having a concrete gym schedule is of the utmost importance to me.

I think making time to work out is a key ingredient for achieving long term goals and staying committed, even if it does mean sneaking it into a 9 – 5 work schedule. That may only seem like tiny efforts to some. But the little consistent things we do really add up. Who knows, the small efforts might even lead to a more strenuous training program!

So without further ado, here some non-committal ways to add exercise to your daily schedule 🙂

1. Yoga stretches in bed

As a morning person, I find that exercising first thing in the a.m keeps me pumped for the rest of the day. A timeless way to get your muscles moving is to do some early morning yoga stretches in bed. As soon as you open your eyes, take a few minutes for yourself to practice some muscle-wakening stretches. About 10 – 15 mins every morning is just about enough time to make you love stretching and want to add more exercise to your daily routine.

2. Get off one stop earlier

If you use the bus to commute to work then a great way to add exercise to your routine is to get off one or two stops earlier. This means you can walk the rest of the distance to get in some light cardio. Drivers could try to park a little bit further than their destination to get that walk in.

3. Cycle instead of walk

If you normally walk to work but you want to increase your cardio activity then cycling to work might be something worth looking into. I haven’t owned a bike in years but I do remember how useful they were for getting from point A to B while getting the heart pumping at the same time. Bikes are a great investment for that reason, even if you don’t use it as your main method of transportation to work!

4. Use a stability ball as a chair

Swapping over your office chair for a stability ball is a sneaky but effective little way to add exercise to your routine – if your office allows for it, of course! It takes little to no effort and it is very uplifting. An hour or two in the morning before lunch will help improve your core muscles and posture for the rest of the day – you might even be able to sneak in a few crunches on it when no one is looking…

5. No Netflix and binge

Apparently, we consume 15% more food when we eat in front of the telly – that’s quite a lot if an evening snack in front of Netflix is a normal part of your day-to-day life.  It might be tempting, but it probably isn’t the best habit to have in the long run. It would probably serve you better to exercise in front of the television instead.

Focus on one part of your body and do a few exercises that target your desired area. You’re not losing anything by exercising in front of your favourite series – if anything, you are killing two birds with one stone and saving valuable time!

Do you have any clever ways to add exercise to your daily schedule? If so, I’d love to hear what they are! Tweet me @FilomenaKaguako  and be sure to have a look at my related posts! 🙂 

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Posted on September 24, 2018

‘Women should support women’ – a flawed feminist concept?

Uncovered

I’ve been in two minds about publishing this piece. I mean, how can I not be? The post-truth era of today is making it increasingly difficult for curious thinkers to have open discourse about important issues. Often times, those who seek out the truth – or at least, their understanding of the truth are branded as ignorant, behind with the times or dare I say, ‘bigots.’

Having been in a position where my own views were misconstrued, I am now very wary about how I express my opinions online. So as a disclaimer, I think it is important to note that this blog is not about discrediting feminism or the efforts of the feminist activists. This blog is about critically looking at some of the standards that are set on women by other women who claim to be members of a movement that is rooted in freedom of choice.

Shall we begin then?

I think mainstream media portrays modern feminism in a way that makes it toxic and full of intellectual inconsistencies. For instance, women who choose to wear the burqa are seen as oppressed, but then women who willingly strut their stuff for a living as grid girls are thought to be in an inappropriate line of work. There seems to be a mixed criteria for who qualifies as a feminist, even within the feminist movement.

I’ve always had a warped impression of the word feminist.  In many ways, I feel that the label has become incredibly tainted overtime. The negative stereotypes attached to the title are even resulting in less and less women identifying as feminist, despite having feminist ideals.

According to a recent poll from Refinery29 and CBS News, about 54% of young women say they do not identify as feminists. Some even believe that there is no need for the current feminist movement at all.

I personally do believe there is a place for feminism today, particularly in Third World countries. However, my growing disillusionment with feminism in Western civilisation is making me increasingly critical of the movement as a whole. Like when I hear the often feminist buzz phrase ‘women should support women,’ I find it incredibly unsettling. There is just something about the word ‘should’ in that sentence that doesn’t sit well with me.

I am someone who champions individuality and thinks there is no shame in embracing the characteristics and attributes that make a person unique. In my thinking, there is an underlying prejudice that exists within the phrase ‘women should support women,’ because it insinuates that being a woman is the only prerequisite for why females should support one another.

I think this immediately disregards important attributes possessed by women that make us valuable candidates for support. It frames women as weak and it fails to acknowledge us as the strong, capable beings that we most definitely are.

I want to be supported based on my merit, not based on my genitalia. I want to know that I am getting a person’s support because they believe in me as a person, not because of my gender. I want your support because your values align with mine.

I believe that women have many wonderful characteristics that make us worthy of support and blindly supporting a  woman just because she is female ignores this.

Women are complex, intelligent creatures that deserve support not for being women but for being exceptional ones.

Granted, supporting anyone in their endeavors is always a positive development. But I can’t help but wonder if the forced nature of ‘women should support women’ goes against feminism, or at least feminism in its true sense.

Riddle me this…

That was funny. But I meant this…

If feminism is about men and women deserving equal rights and separating a person’s gender from their value, worth and place in society because of the idea that men and women are both the same, then isn’t it a bit contradictory to let a person’s sex be the deciding factor for why you support them?

And if feminism is about freedom of choice and women making choices for themselves, then doesn’t the imposing nature of ‘women should support women,’ strip us away of both our choices and ability to think independently? Worth thinking about!

Bottom line, if a person’s decision to support someone centers around gender then I think it diminishes their values, work ethic and merit – all the things that I imagine, would make someone worthy of support.

‘Women should support women’ is reductive and places a woman’s value on gender. My gender is not the whole sum of me and yours shouldn’t be either – see what I just did there? 😉

You are more than your gender, ladies.

Yes, empowered women, empower girls. But it is also true that empowered people, empower everyone.

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A simple green smoothie recipe for beginners

recipes

As you probably know from my recent Instagram story, celebrity chef Rachel Allen has recently teamed up with Herbalife to create some nutritious healthy shakes recipes and as a self-proclaimed foodie and avid smoothie lover, I couldn’t wait to plug in my blender when my luxury Herbalife* hamper arrived last week.

The hamper was filled with two Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal tubs, a blue Herbalife shaker cup, a blue apron, an olive wood serving board and of course, two of Rachel Allen’s delicious recipes.

The recipe I will be sharing today is called the Green Goddess. It is light, fresh and has a lovely zesty flavour to it. Best part? You can enjoy it at any time of the day! So without further ado, here is what you need to make Rachel Allen’s Green Goddess shake 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 26g Herbalife Formula 1 Vanilla flavour
  • 100g raw celery, roughly chopped
  • 100g raw cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 100g raw spinach
  • 3 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 250ml milk
  • 150g ice

Instructions:

  1. Start by putting the milk and formula 1 powder in a blender.
  2. Blend together and then add in remaining ingredients before blending further.
  3. Blend until completely smooth.
  4. Add in some extra lemon or lime juice to suit your taste! (I added a tsp of spirulina powder for added benefits).

This shake is so easy and convenient to make, especially for beginners! It has appx 220 kcal per serving when made per instructions! Are you a fan of smoothies? If so, be sure to give this shake a try! For more recipes with Rachel, check out the Herbalife website here! 🙂

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*The Herbalife products were gifted to me, but all views remain my own. 

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Posted on September 10, 2018

10 resistance band workouts for abs

fitness

Anyone who knows my fitness ethos would tell you that along with being against food replacements meals, I am a firm believer in the saying ‘abs are made in the kitchen.’

Relentlessly doing crunches on a day-to-day basis without my efforts resulting in washboard abs has now taught me that a combination of a good diet and the right amount of resistance training will bring you one step closer to seeing more definition on the tum.

Having a bit of a flabby tum has always been a problem area for me, so I know all too well that it takes true dedication and committment to achieving six-pack abs – never mind having to maintain it!

So don’t beat yourself up over not instantly seeing your desired results. Take it from someone who is half way there, these things take time. As long as you remember to have some fun with it, first and foremost. The rest will follow! ☺️

Without further ado, here are some of my favourite resistance band exercises for toning up my tum:

Be sure to read the disclaimer before attempting any of these workouts!

1. Russian Twist

Starting point

Step 1

Step 2

Starting position: Lie down flat on the floor with the resistance band wrapped around the soles of your feet. Hold  one end of the band in each hand. Now lift your back off the floor at a 45 degree angle, raise your slightly bent  legs a few inches off the ground and clasp hands so that both ends of the band are touching. This is your starting position.

Step 1: Keeping your core tight, slowly rotate your hands and torso to one side of your body. Hold it for a few seconds before returning it to the centre.

Step 2: Repeat movement for the opposite side while maintaining position for a few seconds before returning back to centre.

Tips: Be sure not to put too much pressure on your lower back, slow and steady is the name of the game! To make it easier, keep your feet on the ground, straighten your arms and rotate the torso left to right.

2. Knee Pull

Starting position

Step 1

Starting position: Assume the push-up position  with the centre of the band wrapped around the sole of one foot. Hold one end of the band in each hand, palms flat.

Step 1:  Starting with the foot with the band, pull the knee towards the chest as if to bring the knee to meet the head. Press the heel back to straighten the leg back to starting position. Do 2 sets of 12 to 15 reps and repeat on other leg.

3. Torso Twist

Step 1

Step 2

Starting point: Stand on the center of the resistance band with feet apart. Hold one end of the band in each hand. Slightly bend elbows on each side, bringing hands up to the shoulders.

Step 1: Rotate upper body only to one side. Return to center and then rotate to the other side.  Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps.

4. V Sit

Starting Position

Step 1

Starting point: Lie flat on the floor with your body facing up and the band wrapped around the soles of the feet. Hold one end of the band in each end, keeping arms by sides.

Step 1: Pull on the bands and slowly lift your body up in a V sit position. Do 12 – 15 reps.

5. Plank Hold

Resistance Band Plank Hold

Starting point: Wrap the band around your waist and assume the plank position while holding the ends of the band on each hand. Extend the legs straight and keep your palms flat on the floor.

Step 1: Tighten your core and glutes and hold this position for 30 – 60 seconds.

6. Side Bend

Starting Point

Step 1

Starting point: Stand on the center of the band, holding the ends on each hand. Keep shoulders back and chest up straight.

Step 1: Bend on your left while pulling the right hand up to the side of your chest. Return to center and repeat on other side.

7. Resistance Band Sit-ups

Starting Point

Step 1

Starting position: Lie down flat on your back with the resistance band wrapped around the soles of your feet and hands on each side near your groin.

Step 1: Sit up and lift your hands so that the whole body follows. Lie back down and lower hands back to the starting position for a complete rep.

Tips: for a more advanced version, cross the band by holding the right handle with the left hand and the left handle with the right hand. 

8. Scissor Kicks

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Starting position: Lie flat on the floor and tie the resistance band around your calves. Place your hands under your lower back/bum for support.

Step 1: Keeping the legs straight, lift both legs off the ground while crossing one over the other in a criss-coss motion in an upward direction. Repeat this motion going back down towards the ground and in your starting position.

9. Crunch Tap

Starting Point

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Starting position: Tie the band around lower thighs and lie flat on the floor with hands behind your head. Keep legs extended.

Step 1: Raise the top leg while you crunch up.

Step 2: Raise the lower leg and tap it against the back of your foot.

Step 3: Bring the lower foot down to the ground.

Step 4: Crunch down and then bring the second foot back down to the starting position.

Tips: Be sure to get the movement right before you speed it up. This can seem a bit tricky at the start. Remember this order ‘crunch, tap, down, relax’

10. Side V

Starting Position

Step1

Starting position: Lie down on the floor on the right side of your body , keeping your legs together and the center of the band wrapped around the soles of your feet. Extend right arm on the floor and hold on to both handles of the band with the left hand, keeping it at the side at hip level.

Step 1: Keep abs engaged and bend the left elbow behind the shoulder while lifting upper body and legs as high as you can from the floor. Bring back to starting position to complete a full rep.

And there you have it! 10 simple resistance band workouts for your abs, are you familiar with any of them? If so, be sure to tweet me @FilomenaKaguako 🙂

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Disclaimer: Please note that while I did take an online course in sports nutrition, I am not a qualified PT. I am simply a health enthusiast who has an interest in anything health and fitness related. Be sure to consult a qualified trainer before attempting any of these exercises.

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