Visualising Your 2019

Over the past weekend I had the honour of attending my beautiful friends Richie Bostock (@thebreathguy) and Mariel Witmond’s( @mindfulsonders ) OM&AH Event. Together at the Ministry of Sound (an incredibly atmospheric location for it) we flowed and breathed together for 2 hours! The atmosphere was electric, like nothing else I’ve ever experienced, euphoric like. What really spoke to me was that throughout the event we visualised where we see ourselves in 2019. We also visualised what part of ourselves we wanted to leave behind in 2018. I really encourage you guys to do the same as it was super powerful and helped me clarify things going on in my world. I have big goals for myself and my business in 2019 and know there’s certainly some things that would benefit from staying in 2018 – not thinking I’m good enough being one of my main things!

Another thing I loved was Mariels 18 pieces of advice that she found resonated with her throughout 2018. They really spoke to me too so I thought it nice to share them (thank you so much the beautiful soul that is Mariel for pulling them together for us!)

  1. Release what no longer serves you.
  2. Stop rushing things that need time to grow.
  3. Look for the good in others instead of focussing on the bad.
  4. Be ok with not being ok.
  5. Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination. The best is yet to come.
  6. Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.
  7. Know the difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough. Let enough be enough.
  8. Be more willing to accept that things end. An end is the only way into a new beginning.
  9. Let go of who you think you are so you become who you want to be.
  10. Don’t worry about how your life looks. Instead focus on how it feels.
  11. If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.
  12. You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.
  13. Listen and silent are spelled with the same letters. Think about it.
  14. If it doesn’t open, it’s not your door. Something better will open up for you.
  15. Be kind to everyone you meet – starting with yourself.
  16. Start calling your dreams “plans”.
  17. Stop trying so hard to get to where you think you should be and see you are exactly where you need to be.
  18. Never stop believing because miracles happen every day
So where do you see yourself in 2019? What will you leave behind in 2018? Vocalising it will make it all the more necessary to be accountable to it! So I really encourage you to check in, have a think and talk about it, visualise absolutely everything you want to happen, all the way down to the minor details. What does it look like? What does it feel like? See it happening before you. Then feel proud as you tick off each of those things that you’ve manifested as the year goes on.
I hope you find this tool as useful as I did. A huge big thank you to Mariel and Richie for a wonderfully specially event. I can’t wait for the next one!
Till next time. Happy visualising!
Sending health & happiness,
Kim x
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What are the Benefits of Yoga?

So unless you’ve been living under a large rock for the last few years, you will have noticed that yoga has become quite the “trendy” way to keep fit. But what is the big allure of practicing yoga I hear you ask? The benefits undoubtedly and more profoundly spread far deeper than a trendy way to keep fit. There are SO many benefits of the practice but here’s just a few that I’ve found….

1) Breathe and Destress

The focus on Ujjayi breathing throughout the practice allows for prana (breath) to flow more freely throughout the body. This encourages better circulation of the blood around the body. A strong focus on breath in yoga allows for a transference of better breathing in our day to day lives. By being able to control the breath in challenging situations on our yoga mat we can transfer that into stressful situations outside of yoga and in our lives. By breathing we can remain calm and focused and are in a better position to react to challenges when facing them outside of class.

2) It leaves your body lean and toned

The practice of physical yoga, or asana, works every muscle in your body. It doesn’t just lengthen and strengthen muscles, because of it’s mindful attention to the breath amongst other things it works every single system in your body. So you’re working your body from the inside out. Allowing the body to be in a more relaxed state allows your digestive, immune and recovery systems to work more efficiently. So your body will look and feel better overall.

3) Decreased Risk of Injury

Yoga allows the body to be more supple, decreasing the risk of injury. I can honestly say the less yoga I do, the more injured I get! No coincidence if you ask me. It makes you slow down. By listening to our body we can ascertain what areas feel stiff and tight and in need of some TLC. This can inform our yoga practice and the asanas we use to help relieve this stiffness. We can also choose to back off or go further into our practice by listening to our bodies needs.

The focus on Ujjayi breathing throughout the practice allows for prana (breath) to flow more freely throughout the body. This encourages better circulation of the blood around the body. In our day to day lives the circulation can become restricted in certain areas. The lubrication in our joints also drys up as a result of the ageing process. By breathing and taking the body through its full range of motions it can allow better blood flow throughout the body. With regular practice this will help with the range of motion too. The breath is inherent in the practice to allow us to deepen into our asana (postures), extended into our full range of motion and flexibility. During an exhalation the diaphragm pushes up against the heart, slowing down the heart rate. Blood pressure decreases, as does stress on the rib cage, abdominal walls, and intercostal muscles. Relaxation is present and thereafter your tolerance to stretching is enhanced.

Dynamic range of motion allows enhanced mobility. These are both effected by healthy stimulation of fascia. Yoga allows for this stimulation. Stretching stimulates the production of tissue lubricants, allowing for full range of motion across all of the functional planes. Generally we describe the body as moving in three planes of motion – the Frontal, Saggital and Transverse planes. A lot of modern day workouts have a heavy focus on one or two of these planes of motion (usually the frontal or saggital plane). Yoga focuses on all three (especially Mandala based flows). Succinctly speaking, our bodies need to move through all three planes of motion in training to simulate what we do in our day to day lives. By training the planes of motion we can allow our body to move functionally.

4) Healing the Body

By accessing your Parasympathetic Nervous System, you reap benefits like a reduction in stress levels and tension in the body which will allow it to function in a more efficient way. Yoga allows your body to move through its full ranges of motion. By stimulating blood flow around the body it can help to promote healing in the body as a result of increase blood supply to injured areas.  Check out my excerpt for Womens Health about how the practice of Yin yoga can help to heal  and relax your body.

5) Focus & Time Dedicated to You

Yoga allows us to listen and gaze inwardly towards our mind and body. It allows you to switch off from the distractions, off from the endless to do lists. From the moment you step on your mat you can think of it as a safe space to switch off from lifes distractions and switch on to some self love and attention. You can’t pour from an empty cup – in our society nowadays it can be very likely you’re cup is running low on energy. By factoring yoga into your schedule  you know that no matter what you have dedicated time to listening to your body and stilling my mind. 

Where to Start?

You don’t have to even go to classes – although this can really help when you start up. There’s a whole host of yoga videos available on the internet. Even if you start with just a 10 minute one a couple of times a week it’s something. I always say to newbie’s in class it takes quite a few classes to really start to understand the yoga practice. At first you’ll probably end up copying others in class and that’s absolutely fine. After continued practice you start to link the mind, breath and postures to with the flow. Find out more of what to expect from your first yoga class here. You can also find out more about the ins and outs of the yoga practice in my blog post here: “What is Yoga: In a Cheeky Nutshell”.

Please do let me know if you have any questions about  getting started with your yoga practice or more about the benefits. The benefits of yoga are vast and profound and spread far beyond this blog, but hopefully this is a nice starting point for you!

Till next time…

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

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Saving the Oceans with Reef & Surfriders Europe

You may or may not have seen that a couple of weeks ago I took to the island of Tenerife with Reef and Surfriders Europe. As a team, we embraced all things living “Beach Freely”. Fun, surf and beach clean ups was the name of the game. It was a super fun trip but with a sobering sustainability twist on it. Check out my VLOG below to see what we got up to and how you can help to protect our planet long term.

All the feels

I certainly had ALL the feels post trip. I left in absolute awe of what Surfriders Europe do for the environment. I was also deeply saddened by the ocean pollution we saw. The problem is very real, and very much needs to be addressed now before it’s too late. BUT we absolutely have the ability to make it better. Instead of trying to solve the problems already present we can start with the solution.

What I love about Surfriders Europe is that they are working with the solution rather than just fixing what has already happened. From their beach cleans they quantify results to see what the worst offending waste is. This gives them leverage to use for lobbying against governments for bigger actions, like banning single use plastic.

I was astounded at what our just 1 hour of beach cleaning found:

  • 35 cups
  • 20 cans
  • 201 fag butt
  • 58 papers
  • 7 fag packets
  • 20 plastic bottles
  • 47 lids
  • 73 cotton buds
  • 2 straws

All the team at the Reef x Surfriders Europe beach clean up, Tenerife

Sustainability measures can sometimes seem overwhelming. Often (myself included) we find that we don’t quite know where to start. We’re all on our own sustainability journeys. We live in a society that still has very unsustainable ways of living. But we can absolutely help by pulling together and doing what we can to help. Check out the Surfriders Europe website to see how you can get involved with their ocean initiatives here.

Below I’ve outlined just a few sustainability swaps I’ve learned along the way from beach clean initiatives like what we did with Reef and Surfriders Europe in Tenerife. Remember a small change in habit (even if you just focus on one small difference at a time) will make a huge difference. This is by no means an exhaustive list but ways that can help you reset your habits.

Simple Sustainability Swaps – How can we help?

Plastic Bottles

“One of the biggest problems is plastic bottles. Every year, plastic bottles are found in the top 10 items of marine litter found on beaches and rivers banks. Over a million marine animals die every year because of plastic pollution, impacting around 690 marine species. Putting an end to the consumption of plastic bottles is also an opportunity to preserve biodiversity, ecosystems and your health!” Surfriders Europe, 2018

  • Saying no to single use plastic bottles wherever possible. Just one reusable bottle is enough to replace the 110 bottles of water consumer per person per year in Europe.
  • Use reusable canisters, I like to use my Swell bottle for cold drinks and Keep Cup for hot. I take them wherever I go.
  • Absolutely refuse (particularly) very small plastic bottles – you’re buying predominantly plastic!
  • Where you have no option than to buy a plastic bottle, buy bigger bottles – more water, better use of plastic.
  • If you have to buy bottles buy the ones with the cap attached – so you have less likelihood of loosing the cap or it becoming separated in the waste process.
  • Recycle bottles where possible – but the prevention is always better than the cure. Recycling only goes part of the way to help.
  • When traveling use refillable toiletry bottles – vs buying the small bottles at the airport – you’ll save money and the world!

Cotton Buds

We found SEVENTY THREE cotton buds in one hour of beach cleaning. Can you imagine how many are in the ocean?

  • Do not flush them down the toilet – they end up in our oceans
  • Use cotton buds sparingly – and where possible the paper kind. Better still get a reusable or biodegradable bamboo ones! The same goes for your toothbrush and tooth picks!

Straws & Plastic Bags

Refuse straws in your drinks, you can buy reusable metal ones if you feel like you really want one. and use tote bags instead of plastic bags. Where you can refuse to buy food in packaging and order online from supermarkets where they tend to deliver in crates vs plastic bags.

Plastic cutlery

Carrying your own cutlery around – think about how many times you eat out, and how many of those times you use and dispose of plastic cutlery. Carry around reusable cutlery – usually way nicer to eat with anyway!

Recycling

Of course recycling is better than disposal for the environment, but we need to minimise the use in the first place. Recycling can only go so far. Often a lot of the waste we put into our recycling can’t actually be recycled. Check the packaging and it will detail if it’s recyclable or not. Also something I didn’t know they were so strict on is cleaning your recycling. Dirty recycling is automatically disregarded as waste.

Findings on our clean up

Get Involved

Check out the Surfriders Europe website to see where their next clean ups are taking place and for more information. Do your own 2 minute clean ups around you (doesn’t always have to be at the beach!). Be more mindful in your own sustainability practices, then help educate those around you. Together we can help to save our beautiful world and the wildlife and nature we are privileged enough to live alongside of.

Have you got any more top tips for sustainability swaps? I’d love to hear them! We can do this if we work together. I hope this has gone someway of helping in what is obviously a huge environmental issue for all of us. The time to act is now.

Sending love, peace & happiness for the world!

Kim x

 

 

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Why Greater Fort Lauderdale Should Be Your Next Healthy Hot Spot Destination

So I don’t know about you, but when I think of Florida I immediately think of Disney Land and beaches. Well little did I know, hidden alongside (and far out of sight) of the Disney based chaos is the incredible land of Greater Fort Lauderdale. 

Greater Fort lauderdale (GFL) has fast become one of my favourite winter sun destinations. This owing to my recent trip that I was lucky enough to take alongside my fave travel and fitness bloggers: Cat Meffan, Lottie Murphy, Natalie Glaze, Phoebe Greenacre and Sophie Porley. For 5 nights we witnessed the fun, sun and hidden health spot gems that GFL has to offer.  Little did we know GFL holds the most magical mix of nature, culture, cuisine, year round sunshine and of course the most incredible white sand beaches and turquoise clear warm sea.

We touched down to a balmy 30 degree heat in mid November. The girls and I truly ready for some winter sun with the UK’s colder season setting in. What awaited us with a true heaven on Earth. Here’s my run down on the hot spots you can visit whilst you’re there! Find a full run down in the post below and be sure to check out my vlog to see it all in action….

Where To Stay

The Dream Place to Stay

On arrival we checked into the incredible Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa. We were like the grown up version of kids in our own little Disneyland…a hotel, overlooking THE most incredible perfect white sand beaches. Better still we each had our own room with views of the ocean. From the moment we checked in, we knew we were in for a treat. The hotel is based on the beach and has all the amenities a health conscious traveller could ever dream of. A gym, a coffee shop, a juice bar, watersports, beautifully nutritious food offerings, ocean side pools and a spa. All of this alongside miles of beaches beckoning you for that sunset beach walk, or sunrise run.  

Get up close and personal with the crocs at Sawgrass Recreation Park

What You Can Get Up To

See the Crocs in The Everglades

Hit up Sawgrass Recreation Park for an out of this world crocodile encounter. As you jump aboard the airboat adventure and into the Everglades you’ll feel as though you’ve truly been immersed into natures wonderland. Surrounded by water and saw grass your highly-trained experienced Croc Captain searches out the crocodiles in their natural habitat. Whilst listening to fun facts about the awe inspiring eco system you skim across the glass water, keeping a watchful gaze for the wildlife. We couldn’t believe just how close we managed to get to the crocs, all whilst feeling safe in the hands of our Captain.We were lucky enough to see a number of native crocodiles as well some soft shell turtles and spread eagles. An absolute highlight and magnificent way to see nature at its finest.

See the epic views from Hillsboro Lighthouse

Climb the Lighthouse of the Hillsboro Beaches

Jump aboard a water taxi, goggle at the dreamy waterside mansions and make your way over to Hillsboro Lighthouse. Awaiting you at the Sands Harbor Resort & Marina is the most picturesque lighthouse set amongst the beautifully scenic Pompano beaches and palm trees. Make sure to take a trip to the top of the Hillsboro Lighthouse to spot local wildlife and epic views along the coastline. On a clear day you can see all the way to Miami. A truly stunning viewpoint to set your gaze on. We were lucky enough to catch a day with incredible visibility and can vouch for a breathtaking birds eye view from the top – well worth the stair climb to get there. The light marks the northern limit of the Florida Reef, an underwater coral formation on the lower east coast of the state.

Snorkel the drops offs

Snorkel the Drop Off’s in the Deep Blue

So you’ve seen the phenomenal views of the ocean from land. Now you can really get in the midst of the action by diving down under in the sea! We head out on the big blue with South Florida Diving Headquarters and had a super fun afternoon. The dive masters had amazing energy and were really knowledgeable about the local area! We had music and fun facts, then got up close an personal snorkelling with the fish on the Pompano drop off. There was plenty for scuba diver lovers to get stuck into if we were to delve deeper down too.

 


See the Mural’s of Downtown Hollywood

See the incredible artist murals in Downtown Hollywood

When you think of Hollywood, you think of the bright sights of LA, but this is a new kind of Hollywood. One that I can say I’m certainly a fan of. We head to Downtown Hollywood to visit the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project. There in Florida’s Hollywood is a collection of curated outdoor murals by both local, national and internationally recognised artists. There we saw the sights of the town but through the incredible eyes of artists. We gazed at the gorgeous murals by artists including Tatiana Suarez, Evoca1, Rone, The London Police, Jessy Nite, Ernesto Maranje, Logan Hicks and Kenny Scharf. We also visited the local art studios. What was particularly special was when we met a lovely man called Alex Meiklejohn. Alex was a pottery artist who specialised in miniature pottery. We spoke about his background and he spoke passionately about his love for his art. We left with a kind token of his work as he let each of us choose our favourite miniature piece. He was such a kind hearted and gentle soul. We agreed that the sunshine made everyone in GFL just that extra little bit happier and full of energy! It was so nice to have the opportunity to explore the art and meet the locals up close and personally. 

Take a Water Taxi and Explore the Galleries & Shops of Las Olas Boulevard

The really incredible thing about Fort Lauderdale is that you’re never far away from bodies of water. Whether thats the ocean or the waterways. You feel a true connection to nature. You can take Water Taxi’s all around the city. Described as the “Venice of America”, you can access the best sights, restaurants and beaches including the galleries and shops of Las Olas Boulevard – which is great for the shoppers amongst us!

Book an afternoon of Spa Relaxation at the FL Marriott Harbor Beach Resort

Fort Lauderdale offers a wonderfully slower pace of life. What better way to embrace that than by booking an afternoon of spa relaxation? Our hotel Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa offered wonderful spa amenities, including sumptuous massages, and exclusive pool access. 

How To Keep Fit

Having always been a huge fan of keeping fit in nature Fort Lauderdale offered the perfect way to do this. The girls and I were spoilt for choice on how to stay fit. Here’s just some of the options available to you…

  • Paddleboard and Kayak in the Waterways of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park – We spent an afternoon kayaking in the National State Park with Park & Ocean. It was a wonderful way to explore the waterways. There’s something about being completely intwined in the nature that makes you feel incredible. You completely forget you’re even “working out”. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway you can rent a kayak and paddle along a mile-long freshwater lagoon, it’s so beautiful!
  • Sunrise or Sunset Yoga – GFL’s incredible weather means that you want to jump out of bed first thing in the morning. The girls and I spent a lot of mornings practicing yoga whilst we watched the sun come up. It’s cooler air and (if you’re lucky enough view of the ocean) is second to none for getting your morning (or evening flow on).
  • Run – Whether you want longer or shorter distances, GFL offers the ability to do both. I dabbled between morning runs on the beach to running along the boulevard. It was amazing to people watch on the streets and have the option to dip straight in the ocean when you finished.
  • Swim – Natures very big swimming pool (the ocean!) awaits you any time of day. The temperature is mild, cool enough to cool you down but warm enough to not flinch on the way in! We swam everyday in the crystal clear ocean, the sand soothingly soft beneath our feet.
  • Shoot some hoops or train on the beach – shoot hoops like a local or find training solace in one of the many outdoor gyms along the beach! 

Kayak the incredible waterways

What & Where To Eat in GFL

What is a trip without the food you eat on it? Here’s a run down of my top eateries in Fort Lauderdale, where to find them and what you just need to try!

We were truly spoilt in our options for food in GFL. We knew Americans know how to eat but we didn’t know it was going to be that good! Here’s a selection of the restaurants we were lucky enough to try out. Needless to say, you won’t be stuck for somewhere to eat, any time day or night.

Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

Head to Louis Bossi’s Pizzeria on Las Olas Boulevard. There you’ll have an unbelievable choice of Italian delicacies. We had the Mushroom Truffle pizza’s and a couple of homemade pasta dishes. Everything tasted incredibly authentic and absolutely delicious!

Top tip: the complimentary bread basket and dips are super tasty. Go hungry!

Where to find it: 1032 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 3330

Casa Sensei 

Gondola rides, Asian cuisine, views of the Intracoastal and a prime spot of Las Olas Boulevard. Casa Sensei is a new Asian/Latin restaurant based in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. You can eat delightful delicacies whilst overlooking the waterways. It offered great options for veggies and non veggies alike. We tucked into Tuna Sliders, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Truffle Edamame, Sushi, Soba Noodles and Tofu and Garlicky Prawns.

Top tip: the truffle edamame are to die for – go big, you’ll likely want to order more!

Where to find it: 1200 E Las Olas Blovd #101, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

3030 Ocean

Based in our hotel (Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa) we found dinner at the elegant 3030 ocean.The restaurant offers sophisticated dining alongside the beautiful beach front. At the helm of the kitchen, where her career first began, Executive Chef Adrienne Grenier has developed a fresh menu to match the restaurant’s modern, maritime-inspired design and ambience. Grenier brings her own signature cooking style of inventive farm-to-table fare – which won her the title of champion on Food Network’s Chopped – to the seaside restaurant, with a menu that highlights premium, seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. With a heavy focus on Florida seafood, 3030 Ocean’s new menu puts a spotlight on the best product available in South Florida. I had the whole fried Florida Snapper which was incredible!

Top tip: The restaurant also boasts an expanded bar and lounge area, you can enjoy a more intimate environment in the main dining room or a more relaxed affair in the bar and lounge area. The hotel is situated on one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen so definitely worth the trip!

Where to find it: Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, 3030 Holiday Drive

ETARU Las Olas

Brought to the United States by Rainer Becker, co-founder and creator of Zuma restaurants worldwide and ROKA London we knew we were in for a treat for dinner. The restaurant’s menu has a heavy emphasis on Robata-grilled seafood; the menu also showcases a wide range of sushi, sashimi, raw dishes, salads, tatakis and tempura, as well as cooked Japanese specialties. We dined on delicious and unique variations of vegetables, sensational sushi, truffle mushroom hot pots (bit of a truffle theme going on with our choices hey!?), and sweet potato tempura.

Top tip: Get the Chocolate pot, banana tempura, candied peanuts and sesame poki – pretty sure it came from heaven (insert drool here)!

Where to find it: 500 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, USA

The Chocolate Pot at Etaru is to die for!

Fresh First

Fresh First is South Florida’s first 100% gluten-free eatery and juicery in the heart of Fort Lauderdale’s yachting district.  Serving up internationally inspired healthy fare, chefs combine fresh ingredients and superfoods to put a modern healthy spin on wholesome and delicious food. We were completely blown away by the healthy choices on offer. We ended up having a breakfast and a lunch here because it was too good to not go back. We dined on sweet potato waffle burgers, acai bowls, smoothies, courgetti and breakfast rice bowls.

Top tip: if you’re anything like us you’ll want to go more than once!

Where to find it: 1637 SE 17th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316, USA

GG’s Waterfront Bar & Grill

GG’s is based in the most incredible surroundings by the Hollywood Beach overlooking the Intracoastal waterway. They have an amazing array of locally sourced fish, fresh seafood, lobster and stone crabs, raw bar specialties, salads, sandwiches and superb steaks and chops. Renown Chef Russ Aaron Simon emphasises technique to his team, and it truly shows in the quality of food produced. 

Top tip: try the lobster roll and to quote one of the girls “the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever eaten”

Where to find it: 606 N Ocean Dr, Hollywood, FL 33019

Park & Ocean

Grab a post kayak fuel up from Park & Ocean in Fort Lauderdale’s Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. With a beautiful garden and ocean front seating views its the perfect post paddle pick up. Enjoy Caribbean & Southern influenced menu offers with an eclectic mix of “farm to table” items. 

Top tip: it’s a great place to come and hang out with your friends or family. The space allows for a relaxed and enjoyable social gathering.

Where to find it: 3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Kuro at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Kuro provides a next level array of modern Japanese cuisine. We feasted on a 7 course meal on our final night. What a way to go out on a true bang! Matcha cocktails and seafood aplenty. Picture floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the resort’s pool, a chef’s table, sushi bar and a cocktail lounge area where sakes, Japanese whiskeys and handcrafted cocktails based on the five basic tastes (sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami) are served.

We devoured miso steak, fresh fish, tofu and veggies and topped it all off with chocolately goodness. Filled to the brim and hugely impressed with the quality of the dishes served, this is definitely one to check out!

Top tip: Try the Miso steak, truly melt in the mouth

Where to find it: 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood, FL 33314 (in the Hard Rock Hotel)

Riverside Market South

Riverside Market South is usefully located just north of the Fort Lauderdale International Airport. It’s the perfect post or pre flight pit stop. As you walk in you get a real sense of America. It offers an authentic American bar atmosphere with delicious food to match. Riverside Market South is an independently-owned indoor venue serving delicious hummus platters, veggies burgers and garden salads. They also operate Craft Beer Cartel, South Florida’s first home brew supply and bottle shop across the street from the restaurant!

Top tip: There’s vegan and veggie options aplenty. There’s also a cracking ale and beer collection on offer for the beer enthusiasts!

Where to find it: 3218 SE 6th Avenue, FL 33316

I hope that’s helped to whet your appetite for what I can only describe as one of the best trips of my life! There’s so much more to Florida than Disneyland! Make sure you head down to see it all for yourself – before everyone finds out! Just don’t tell Mickey 😉

Please do let me know any questions, I’d be more than happy to help answer them! Until then, happy traveling! 

Sending health & happiness,

Kim x

The beaches in Florida are second to none!

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How I Became Body Confident in a Model World

Having modelled with some of the worlds top modelling agencies (Storm Models, London and Wilhelmina, New York) I’ve seen first hand how the modelling world works. From being bullied prior to modelling, to body confidence issues through my years as a model. Now still modelling but with a focus on wellbeing as a personal trainer and yoga teacher, I’ve written an emotional and personal piece about finding my confidence in a model world. It’s something I’ve wanted to write forever, and I’m glad to finally be able to share it with you. If this goes even a small way to helping the models (and non models!) I know that are struggling to find their body confidence, then I’ve done my job. Read on to find out more….

Assumed Confidence

It’s funny how we make assumptions about how people feel in their own body confidence and reasons for keeping fit. “This girls a model so she must be super full of herself”, “that girls skinny so she doesn’t need to workout”. Also how quick we are to compliment others on their bodies, but not our own. How we wish away our bodies in favour of another. Self esteem and body confidence aren’t generally something that come about easily in a world where we feel as though we’re forever being judged.

What I found helped me the most was realising that actually most of the judgement was actually through me on myself. We all have a habit of being pretty mean to ourselves. I began to learn that the less I cared about what others thought of me, the more I began to love the skin I was in. As a model and someone in the fitness industry I can happily say (most of the time) I have finally learned to love the body, and do you know what?…life feels a hell of a lot more fun as soon as I started doing that. Was the journey easy? Heck no. From childhood bullying to the scrutiny of the modelling world I had some truly impactful downs, ones that would haunt my confidence levels for years. Quite a fair few years down the line, I’m far from perfect but I can truly say I’m by happiest most confident self. Just as I am.

“Goofy” Bullied Kim

I had braces for 5 years and was hideously bullied for them – my self esteem was at an all time low.

When I was 15 I got scouted for Models1 (one of London’s most established modeling agencies). Whilst shopping in Topshop a booker came up to me to discuss my potential to be a model. I thought they were talking to the friend I was with at first as it ‘surely couldn’t be me’. As a kid I was relentlessly bullied at school for having bad teeth (my teeth were big, gappy and stuck out terribly), my nickname was “goofy” or “goof troop”. My confidence and self esteem was pretty low (thank you 4 years of endless braces). Sure enough I went to the model test shoots (something they make new faces do to test the water with their ability to be in front of the camera), and with zero confidence struggled to make the cut for London’s elite modeling world. When I would have my photos taken I would hide behind whatever I could, slouching timidly, miserably struggling to hide my braces behind my lips, keeping them sealed as much as I could for dear life. With confidence at an all time low this came across in my pictures, and with that I left my modeling attempts to rest for a few more years. I happened to also be a complete tom boy at the time and generally hated the idea of the modeling attention anyway.

Many braces and many visits to the dentists later my teeth finaaaallllly became more “socially acceptable” (a mere 4 years of turmoil later). I went on to study at university and  continued to be scouted by model agents. Eventually I made the realisation that when I finished uni I could go out and get “a real job”, do the 9-5 thing or maybe (just maybe) I could give this modeling thing a go. Sure enough I managed to get sign with Storm models (powerhouses of the modeling world). As my name started with a K I happily sidled up next to Kate Moss on the books. I started to slowly believe that maybe I could get used to the idea of being a model.

“Not Tall Enough, Too Wide in the Hips”

Uni days Kim, eating rubbish and still lacking confidence

In my first week as a model I went into the agency, terrified of the group of bookers ready to analyse my every nook and cranny. I had the infamous “polaroids” taken (just you, no make up, in your underwear and heels posing – in my case trying feebly – to the camera and your booker behind the lens). I felt an enormous sense of judgement. Sure I loved to keep fit but my university days were filled with the usual boozing and junk food for fuel. My body didn’t have any real definition. I hadn’t really needed to answer to anybody about the state of how it looked.

All of a sudden I felt like I was in the firing line. As my booker noted my measurements for my portfolio she made the smallest remark (one of which she probably forgot from the minute she said it. One of which would forever serve to influence my self judgement. “Your hips are 37”, ideally they’ll be 36”.”…I was confused. How could I miraculously shave off an inch from my hips? My hips were my bones. That was my bodies make up. Another off the cuff comment came…”You’re actually pretty short for a model too, so we’re going to say you’re taller than you are to clients”. The self deprecation began. Any confidence I’d reestablished from university and from having my teeth straighten was now being torn to shreds. I got into a vicious cycle of comparison. I looked at other models bodies, meticulously comparing their sizing to mine. How toned they looked. How tall they looked. How “big” I looked, how “short” I felt. I know from an outsiders perspective it can appear crazy but I was more effected than I realised by this. To me, my confidence now in taters I was just a short, dumpy model with hideously large hips. It makes me so sad to think that I let these flippant comments go such a long way to beat me down. I not so lovingly termed my uni days my “Fappy” stage – one where I thought I was “fat” but “happy”. What was true, was that pre modeling I had found some source of contentment. I was happy in my skin. I didn’t feel the need to question my diet choices. I exercised because I loved the feeling of going for a run or hitting the gym. Not because I “had to” or because I hated my body.

The Going Get’s Tough

A year later I had changed my opinion of myself completely. I was in an unhealthy relationship with the gym. I had no real guidance or clue on how to train so I just throw myself into cardio. I still ate a fair amount of junk and blamed the gym for “not really working”. Then surrounded by models at castings I realised that we were all in the same boat. Each of us felt not good enough. Slowly the conversation turned to food. Uneducated, but wanting to do something to try and build our confidence, I along with many other girls restricted what I ate. I went through phases of cutting carbs, eating less, training more.

My first unconfident swimwear shoot – I spent the whole time begging for a one piece as some sort of cover up.

I remember one of my first shoots in Tenerife, I was with another model, we were both shooting swimwear. The other model happened to be much taller and of much slighter build to me. I felt embarrassed. I didn’t want to show my body. I waited as they picked who was going to shoot what outfit and prayed for mine to be the one piece to cover my hips and undefined tum. You can see from the picture, I had zero confidence. I was lost. I knew I had to have a good body but didn’t know how to feel confident with it. I didn’t know how to embrace what I had. Modelling meant that I had to gain confidence and be ok with the skin I was in. Easier said than done in an industry scrutinised for body image.

Not Enough

The life of a model for those fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to do it can be wonderful. You travel the world, meet amazing people, but it’s 100% not as glamorous as people expect it to be at all times. Much of the time is spent casting (auditioning) for shoots, doing test shoots to build your portfolio, and generally waiting for the call from your agent for job bookings. When those don’t come in, boredom strikes, you have way too much time to be with your own self deprecating thoughts. Why am I not getting booked? Is it my body? Should I change my hair? I dreaded going into the agency to have ever more polaroids taken – scared for what they might say next to me about the “state of my body”. 

Finding Me

Although a rough ride, I continued to train at the gym. I continued to learn. I knew I had to have a good body but wanted a sustainable, healthy way to manage it rather than just beating myself up for how I looked. I began to exercise for the results and tone it gave my body, but also gained a new found confidence and happiness that came with that. I kept up my work at the gym. Always keeping athletic but not really knowing how to channel it. Getting the odd personal training session when I could afford it for new ideas for workouts.

 Anyone who’s into fitness knows that you have to have a nutritious diet to complement your exercise regime. You can’t have one without the other. I have always loved food and cooking and loved fitness but didn’t always make the link between the two. A turning point for me was when I found James Duigan (founder of Bodyism) and his ‘Clean and Lean Cookbook‘. It made the food connection that I hadn’t been able to make before. Explaining why certain foods are better than others and how delicious and nutritious healthy food can be. That sparked my love of cooking great tasting food, that is healthy but doesn’t feel like your restricting yourself. I believe for a sustainable diet that’s the key; finding something that works and not feeling like your always prohibiting certain foods. I am a huge foodie, I describe myself as a professional eater! – so this was a way I could see working for me and my body.

The Move to NYC

Making a career out of fitness didn’t really come until later on when my partner and I moved to New York. He had to move for work and I could get a New York based agent for my modelling. Three years of living there later, it was truly a life shaping experience. It came with a lot of crap, read: more scrutiny from the wrong kind of agents (pre Wilhelmina), more competition, more comparison, the rise of social media and a need to build my modeling career from scratch in a notoriously harsh city. However, later came my perfect fit. I changed my New York agent to Wilhelmina. Something which would forever change my future.

I didn’t realise at the time just how incredible the fitness scene was in NY (not to mention the endless healthy food options). I would spend my days at castings, jobs, running around Central Park or down the gym. It was at the gym that I found my mentor Sean Aqareva (a former boxer). I would take his boot camp, resistance and boxing classes. I loved the way he pushed us to our limit and would make the workouts so fun and varied each time. Spending increasing amounts of time at the gym and in class I began to feel the pull of fitness as a career. Fitness had always been a constant in my life and it was time for me to connect the dots. I thought I love doing this, I love the feeling and confidence it brings me and I would love to be able to bring that feeling to other people. This lead me to gain my fitness instructing certification with AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) so I could teach exercise classes.

The Fitness Model

My Nike shoot with Karlie Kloss in NYC

Wilhelmina models have a fitness division within the agency. With my interest in the fitness scene ever increasing, I approached the head booker Topher Des Pris about modeling for the fitness board. I was fortunate enough that he put faith in me as a fitness model. He could see that I already worked hard on my body, I promised him it wasn’t just a passing phase, that I had a genuine interest in fitness as a career. He told me it was going to be a hard nut to crack as a newby in the industry but that he would support me. I made it my mission to make him proud. I am eternally grateful for his support throughout my time in New York. Wilhelmina fitness has some of the greatest fitness models I have ever seen. As I got more settled into life in New York and the fitness scene I realised the very models I went up against in my castings for jobs were my idols and inspiration. Their bodies, their dedication, their passion, their ability to teach and train clients who so loved to train with them. It was then that I really became passionate about my career path. 

I studied hard for my NASM (National Academy of Sport Medicine) Personal Training certification. All the while I was modelling, spending time in Australia, London, as well as a lot of time in our New York home. Wilhelmina bought modelling jobs for big fitness brands like Nike, New Balance and Asics. When I got my first appearance for Women’s Health I was over the moon as its something I had always read and dreamt about modelling for. Jobs for Nike also made me giddy with excitement. Finally, all my hard work at the gym had been noticed and I was doing something I adored. My confidence lifted. Don’t get me wrong New Yorkers are another breed of fit, but I liked the inspiration. It gave me the passion to train consistently and eat well.

My Training

New York was an incredible learning curve. I was undoubtedly addicted to fitness and the results it gave me. I “HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) my body into oblivion (sometimes twice a day),and kindled a love of yoga but was always entirely trying to do too much to compensate for my spare time I had between modeling work. Later rather than sooner, I really learned what it was to listen to my body. Overtraining took its toll on my body. I got injured. My body was stressed. I missed home. I was lonely. The comparison cycle ever worsening. My training week consisted of 6-7 days a week of workouts, little rest. I set up my blog and posted about all the hottest workouts I tried, my life was now fitness.

From fitness obsessed 2015 to balanced mindset 2018

Somewhere along the line (again it took a while), I began to love my body for what it could achieve in the gym or running races. I listened when it told me to rest. I rehabed injuries. I started to find tremendous strength in achieving performance driven results at the gym vs aesthetics. I could deadlift. I could squat. I started to try working on my pull ups, run long distance running races. I realised my body was strong. It could do incredible things. No matter how many inches my hips were. No matter if I had a six pack. Or if I was 5ft 7”. I was 5ft 7” of athleticism. I was 5ft 7” of strength. I began to build my confidence that way. I’d love when men asked me if I wanted help with my suitcase – thinking “I could deadlift you mate, let me help you with YOUR suitcase”. 

My 1st Health & Fitness Cover August 2016

Spreading Confidence to Other Models

I was happier. I was enjoying going to the gym rather than going to punish my body. The confidence showed and I began to pick up more and more fitness modeling work. Model friends began to pick up on my new found body confidence. I was embracing my body for what it was and what it could do. They asked me to train them, to show them what to do at the gym. Many asking “how they could be as skinny as this model”. One day I was walking with my friend Tessa (also a model) and I simply said to her; “It’s not about being someone else, about trying to be skinny, it’s about doing the best with what we’re given.” I inadvertently came out with my Personal Training business and blog name when I told her you just need to “Tone What You Own”. I came up with the name out of a want for people to be happy with the body they are in. To know they don’t have to change anything about themselves but they can tone and tailor what they have. Every body is incredible and I want people to see the power of their wonderful body at its best. That it’s not just about looking great but much more about feeling great.

The Move Home

We ended up leaving New York for my partners work, something that was tough but necessary. I began to cultivate my fitness business back home in England. I continued to model, but soon left Storm in the search for an agent that “got me” as a fitness personality and model. I joined W Model Management (then W Athletic) who brought copious fitness work to the table. I was embracing me for me. What I loved. I began personal training, teaching classes and realised how much I truly loved helping people. People were surprised at how “tiny but mighty” I was in my strength. The “sweet little blonde chick” teaching class wasn’t quite as “easy” and fluffy as they predicted (unfortunately for them!) I found strength and power in embracing my body for what it was, regardless of what anyone else thought.

One summer I booked my favourite job to date my John Frieda campaign, shot by the prestigious Rankin Productions team. It was all about the common misconceptions people have about women (and perhaps blondes) being weak. They filmed me boxing and training to show quite the opposite. They allowed me to voice my training values. I felt on top of the world. I must admit the Colgate job felt pretty darn good too, take that mean bullies 😉

This is Me

Nowadays I spend my time modeling, blogging, teaching and training people all over the world. I have a passion for getting people in the outdoors (climbing or doing yoga if it’s anything to do with me!). I couldn’t be more passionate about getting people to feel incredible in the skin they’re in. The best versions of themselves. I feel (mostly) happy in my skin (we all have our good and bad days). I train with purpose. I’m waaaay kinder to my body. I don’t just smack it around mindlessly at the gym. I train to be strong, but also practice yoga to listen to what my body and mind needs. I listen when it speaks to me. I know that junk food makes me feel like crap – not for how it effects my body in looks, but how lethargic it makes me feel. So when I can I nourish it with what it needs but have found balance. 80% of the time I eat well, 20% I go a little wild, and don’t beat myself up for it. Knowing full well I generally take good care of my body. I fuel my body to be strong. I’m not always great at slowing down, but I acknowledge that I need to and try my best. 

Finding Your You

Do you know what the best thing of all is? I haven’t weighed myself or measured my hip size in years. I love that I have womanly curves. I take pride in my body. I love what I can do with it. Whether that be scaling a rock face rock climbing, surfing an epic wave or nailing that yoga posture I’ve been working towards for so long. There is tremendous strength to be had in loving your body. A life spent picking holes in a body that does the most incredible things for us and that we take for granted is a life wasted. Find your you. Find your happiness. Find a way that works for you. There’s no point forcing yourself to do things you don’t enjoy. Do you love Pilates? Do that? Never tried yoga? Give it a go. You never know what you might end up loving! 

Finally happy in the skin I’m in some 30 years later! – This was taken after I taught for Adidas a couple of weeks ago.

If you’ve made it this far in my post then I am super grateful to you. I know its a long and deep and meaningful one. But it’s something I’m truly passionate about. If this post has made any difference to someone struggling with self esteem, finding their body confidence and finding what makes their body and soul speak then I’m one happy Kim.

I would so love to hear from you. If you have any questions, or can relate at all please do get in touch.

When all else fails I always find belting out “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman helps a lot!

Sending health, happiness and a tonne of love!

Till next time,

Kim x

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