20.02

Cider-with-Rosie-Friday-happy-list

Oh, I’m welcoming this weekend with open arms! All this week I’ve been doing the dreaded ‘switch the alarm off whilst still asleep’ thing, and have been battling the urge to run for the junk food aisle of the supermarket every afternoon for a sugary energy boost. Not sure quite what’s gone on- I guess it’s just one of those weeks! The expression ‘Fri-YAY’ has never been more apt, to be honest! ;) Jason and I are off to London tomorrow morning to meet Tania, Freya, and Sophie (Soph for the first time in person after so long talking online, which makes me SO happy!), and then the two of us are heading out to look at some more wedding suits later on in the day. I hope you’ve a lovely week ahead of you too? :) Here’s what’s made this week beautiful!

1. This week’s weather. The bursts of bright sunshine have done my soul good, as have the long days of rain. Signs of warmer, lusher days ahead.

2. Seeing Jason try on wedding suits last weekend! He look so dapper, I was swooning like a total idiot ;)

3. Using the Duolingo app to brush up on my Italian! It makes learning/re-learning vocabulary so easy, and the app has you speaking and listening to whatever language you’re learning too, as well as simply reading and memorising. It’s awesome!

4. Rosie’s Thai noodle soup recipe (I make it with rice noodles instead of zero calorie ones). So good, I’ve made it twice in the past couple of weeks!

5. Buying mini bridesmaids dresses! The cuteness of them is almost unbearable, you know?

6. Having enough batter left over from Tuesday’s feast for a Nutella & banana pancake topped with Haagen Daaz praline ice-cream on Wednesday evening! Totally indulgent, totally worth it.

7. Bunches of spring flowers in every room of the house.

8. All-change night! You know, the night where you climb into a bed that’s got fresh bed linen on, wearing new PJs…only the best night in existence!

9. Late night girl chat via WhatsApp with Freya & Tania. Sometimes I have to warn Jason not to glance over at my phone when it goes off, to save him from bearing witness to conversations no man ever wants in on! ;)

10. Dancing away to Gregory Porter’s soulful music whilst cooking in the evenings. The album was a recommendation from my Mum, and I’m hooked!

Three posts I’ve loved reading this week :: Jeska’s post featuring her favourite styled images {which are to die for!, FYI!} || Sarah’s recipe for totally vegan & gluten free macaroni & ‘cheese‘! || & Jules’ photos from a beach in Tulum!

What’s on your happy list, this week?

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Posted in 10 THINGS, HAPPINESS

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19.02

CIDER-WITH-ROSIE-EXERCISE-ROUTINE

Hands down, the best decision I’ve made in the past two years is to take up Pilates. Though to be honest, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ll probably have realised how much I love it given how frequently I mention my classes!

I’d first come across Pilates when I was studying contemporary dance at Laban aged 18. It was part of our weekly timetable of classes- hours and hours spent performing one slow sit-up after another, attempting to hold our pelvic floors at a level of 75% strength precisely (the teachers were incredibly tactile, and not at all adverse to giving you a prod here or there to help ensure you were lifting in exactly the right places!), and hoping that the exercises would help our leg muscles stay long and elegant, and not get bunched and tight. When I left the school, I stuck with classes at home for a little while, dabbled in yoga for a bit too (which I found a little too gentle and spiritual at the time) before eventually giving up on it altogether midway through university. My fitness tailed off during those three years, until every ounce of strength and flexibility I’d worked so hard to gain during a decade or so of dance classes had faded away.

By the time summer of 2013 came around, I felt so sluggish and unhealthy and frankly, pretty miserable with the way my body was from the inside out, that I decided that it was maybe time for a change. Jason and I booked in at a local Pilates class that my Mum had heard came highly recommended in our area, and we launched ourselves into it when the new term began in September. Jason lasted about four or five classes before hurting his back and decided Pilates isn’t really for him, and me? Well, 18 months of weekly classes later, and I’ve never looked back!

I’ve had a lot of questions about Pilates and Body Balance (my other true exercise love!), so thought it was about time I put together a post about it all! Truly, ‘do a post about Pilates and exercise and stuff’ has been lingering on my blog-to-do list for MONTHS! So without further ado, here’s the low down on all things bendy…

Cider-with-Rosie-warrior-position-workout-routine

About a year ago Jason shared a quote with me that he’d come across back when his company was doing a rebrand for a Pilates studio, which read:

‘After ten Pilates classes you’ll feel the difference, after twenty you’ll see the difference, and after thirty you’ll have a different body’.

Whilst, of course, the transformation isn’t quite so rigid, for me I’d say that’s pretty true! It’s not the sort of exercise that yields immediate visual results, because the emphasis is upon building a solid foundation of strength from the inside out. Even though most of the exercises look so simple you’d imagine you could do them with no effort at all, they’re deceptively strenuous, and all designed to activate and work your deep core muscles. {I’ve linked to a video at the end of the post that teaches a pretty typical Pilates class, if you’re new to it all and interested in seeing what’s what!}

After about 6 months of weekly classes, my Pilates teacher Sarah suggested I might like to try out Body Balance, since it’s far more dynamic than regular Pilates and I’d loved the elements of it she’d incorporated into our Pilates classes. I’d never heard of it until trying my first class, and now love it so much I can’t imagine ever doing without it! Body Balance is a combination of yoga, Pilates and tai chi, and is set to music. There’s a tai chi warm up, followed by a sun salutation sequence, and then a few sets of Pilates-based exercises each a few minutes long that target, tone and/or stretch a different muscle group in turn. The sequences are so well-linked to the music that the classes really scratch the little ‘I sort of kind of miss dancing’ itch I secretly sometimes harbour, and are so tough and challenging I’ve honestly never been so strong or toned in all my life!

T H E   R O U T I N E ::

Each week, I tend to do one 1 hour Pilates class, one 1 hour Body Balance class at the gym, and then another 1 hour Body Balance workout at home following along from a DVD. My instructor passes her old DVDs along to me once she’s done with them, but unfortunately, I’m pretty certain they’re not available to buy for anyone other than registered Body Balance instructors. I’ve linked to a few other of my favourite at-home workouts below though, as well as a snippet from the most recent Body Balance ‘release’ (as the entire 1 hour workout is called)! The classes are pretty widely available, so I’d really recommend giving them a go if it sounds like your cup of tea!

Aside from Pilates and Body Balance classes, the only other thing I do, exercise-wise, is walk with Ted! I’m usually out with him about 4 days a week on average (Jason takes him the other 3 days), and each walk is anywhere between 2 and 5 miles long. I try to do at least one longer length walk each week (Virginia Water lake is always a good walk, 4.5 miles round!), and try to push myself to complete it in an as close to an hour as I can manage!
 Pilates-Body-Balance-Cider-with-RosieCider-with-Rosie-Pilates-routine-headstand

^^ Just to clarify, my legs are bent in the above photo, and there’s not normally a gap between my thighs! I know people are funny about the ol’ thigh gap thing, so just though I’d better make things crystal clear ;) ^^

M Y   T O P   T I P S! ::

1. Book some taster classes.
If you fancy taking up a class-based exercise but haven’t ever tried one, I’d suggest booking a couple of taster sessions in both yoga and Pilates. Most gyms and independent instructors I’ve come across will let you take your first class for free, and it’s worth giving a few styles of exercise a go to see what suits! Though I’ve grown to enjoy yoga, I’ve always found the emphasis on spirituality a little bit much for me. I prefer Pilates and Body Balance for how straight-talking they are, though do still follow along with yoga classes online sometimes too. In short- try a few things out, and see what makes you tick!

2. Don’t worry about buying a load of gear- mats, expensive clothes etc.
Most gyms supply mats, a towel on the living room carpet does the job just as well, and if you’re working out at home, no-one’s there to judge if you do your Pilates class in a pair of pants and an old T shirt! ;)

3. Stick it out.
Like I said before, Pilates is a slow one to show results. The long-term gains have been absolutely incredible in my experience though, and it’s such a therapeutic form of exercise.

4. Set some goals, and set deadlines for them too.
I decided that my first goal was to be able to manage 10 full press ups after 6 months of classes, and achieving it felt amazing! Now my goal is to be able to do a headstand (with extended legs, eek!) by the end of this year! It’s a tough one, but I’m getting there!

5. Don’t be afraid to sweat it out.
I know this might sound like a silly one, but I know SO many people who feel stupid if they get sweaty in exercise classes, or look like they’re working harder than other people! I’ve always been someone who shows exertion really quickly, and was *always* the girl in ballet class with a halo of sweaty frizz springing out from my nice once-neat bun! I used to feel embarrassed by it, but quickly learnt that actually I’d rather it seem like I was trying than that I wasn’t! In truth, no-one is paying attention to anyone else in class. If there a mirrors, absolutely 100% guaranteed every single person in the room will be studying their own reflection rather than using it to look at anyone else- I mean, what’s what they’re there for, right? :) So, embrace that sweat!

Cider-with-Rosie-workout-routine

T H E   G E A R ::
Linked below are a few of my favourite pieces of sportswear, if you do fancy picking up a few lovely bits to make getting to class that bit easier! Confession- sometimes I put on gym clothes at the beginning of the day, even though class isn’t until 8pm that evening, because they’re just so comfortable ;) What can I say! I’ve become a total cliche!

Sports bras :: I wear these a lot {fun colours, and totally affordable!} but these are also fantastic.
Yoga leggings {and these are next on my ‘to buy’ list!}
Plain T shirts
Layering pieces ::  Zip up, long sleeved top, lightweight gilet.

Cider-with-Rosie-Pilates-routine

W O R K   O U T   A T   H O M E ::

Since I’ve always loved (and still do love!) working out at home, I’ve made a playlist of a few of my favourite online fitness videos via my YouTube account! There are a mixture of Pilates, ballet, yoga, and combination videos there, and all take less than 30 minutes to complete so can be fitted into a day’s routine pretty easily.

- Pilates class 1 :: a 30 minute class, covering the core Pilates movements. It’s clear and easy to follow, but pretty fast paced. The instructors posture is amazing and she gives reminders throughout about correct placement, so I’d say it’s a pretty good one for even someone totally fresh to Pilates to follow along with.

- Yoga with Adrienne :: I love these videos! Adrienne herself seems really sweet and friendly, but not in an over the top or sickly sweet way! She moves through the sequences at a really great pace (not too fast, not too slow), and her classes are nicely varied. This one especially is lovely in the evening, and this one’s good for a slightly unusual balance challenge!

Blogilates :: The ‘Arms/legs/abs/etc. On Fire’ series by Cassey is a great one, and burns like crazy! I haven’t done these workouts for a little while, but remember the abs one especially was really insanely tough. Great for a really intense daily blast of exercise!

Mary Helen Bowers :: I’ve done a few of Mary Helen Bowers’ online classes, and really loved them! They look so effortless and simple to do, but the ‘lean legs and buns‘ one especially is a killer! They’re short (only 15 minutes each) so can be done alongside another video if you fancy. Really gorgeous ballet-based movements!

Les Mills Body Balance :: This is just a video of snippets taken from Release 67, the most recent class programme. It’s not one you can follow along with, but shows a little of what class is like!

Lotus-position-Yoga-Cider-with-Rosie

And that’s a wrap! I’m always so fascinated to learn what other people do to take care for their bodies, so I hope post’s an interesting one to read! :) Are you a gym-bunny? A #yogaeverydamnday-er? Evangelical about Pilates, or Zumba, or spinning? I’m so interested to know!

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Posted in EXERCISE, PILATES

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17.02

Cider-with-Rosie-food-styling

It’s a glorious thing, pancake day. A day dedicated to the world’s simplest, and possibly most gratifying sweet treat? What could be better!

For me, pancake day evokes nostalgia, and brings back memories of childhood. I remember it always seeming to come out of nowhere- my Mum would announce that we were to have pancakes for dinner when I came home from school, and the day would instantly be an exciting one! My Grandma was always in charge of the pancake making, and aside from when she stopped to eat the slightly raggedy first and last pancakes of the batch, would stand at the stove for what felt like hours, turning out a seemingly endless succession of pancakes for my Mum and I. Lemon and sugar were the toppings of choice, of course.

Nowadays, Shrove Tuesday (as we should really call it), is one of the few days of the year you’ll find Jason in the kitchen through choice, and not because I’ve disappeared off to Pilates classes and left him (begrudgingly ;) in charge of dinner! We usually wind up having a competition over who can make the most perfect, thin, and symmetrical pancakes, and because this is my blog and I can say whatever I fancy, I’ll tell you that my pancakes are always the best. Seriously though, they totally are…

pancake-batter-recipe Pancake-day-Rosie-Reynolds-food-photography Traditional-english-pancake-recipe Perfect-pancake-day-recipe Stack-of-pancakes

Simplest Ever and Totally Failsafe Pancake recipe!  {Originally J.O’s, adapted minimally}
Ingredients ::
1 cup {of any size, filled to the top} plain flour
1 cup {filled to the exact same level as with the flour} semi-skimmed milk
1 whole egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 or 3 tbsp melted butter, for greasing the pan

- Measure out the flour, and put into a large bowl. Measure the milk out and whisk it together with the egg and vanilla extract, and then whisk slowly into the flour.

- Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then set aside. Brush a large frying pan with a coating of melted butter, then set over a medium heat.

- When the butter begins to sizzle, spoon in a ladleful of pancake batter into the centre of the pan, tipping and swirling it to get an even coating of batter across the whole of the pan. Cook for a minute or two, then flip and cook for another minute before setting aside and repeating the process to use up the rest of the batter.

- The cooked pancakes can be kept warm in a low oven if needs be, whilst you cook up the batch of pancakes. Bonus points if you manage to flip any successfully- I flipped about a gazillion whilst taking these photos, and learnt (the hard way!) that it’s a thousand times easier to cook a pancake that’s already been cooked on both sides than a partially cooked one! Much easier to rectify, too, if you have a mishap and end up with a folded-in-half pancake!

Cider-with-Rosie-pancake-day-food-photography Best-pancake-recipe-Cider-with-Rosie Nutella-pancakes Nutella-and-raspberry-pancakes-Cider-with-Rosie

Finally, let’s talk toppings! Are you Team Lemon and Sugar, or Team Nutella & Berries/Banana? I’ve got a foot in both camps, if I’m honest…meaning that I’ll be eating at least one of both types of pancakes this evening.

Have fun pancake-flipping, friends!

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Posted in FOOD, FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, RECIPE, SWEET

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16.02

Cider-with-Rosie-on-the-bathroom-shelf

It’s not often that beauty products get any coverage here on Cider with Rosie, mainly because I suppose up until about about two years ago, I’d never really taken all that much interest in the beauty world at all. Beyond buying the odd lipstick on an impulse every once in a while, the only time I ever really dabbled in the world of cosmetics and skincare was picking out whatever crazy-looking cleanser or facemask caught my eye in Lush whenever I stopped by my local store, without paying the slightest bit of notice to whether or not it even would suit my skin type at all. And, if I’m being totally and completely honest with you- it was pretty rare I’d ever actually bother with moisturer at all! A quick once-over with a face wipe or two each evening to remove my makeup, and if I managed to not pull out half my eyelashes scrubbing away at mascara residue, I’d consider it a job well done!

All that began to change a couple of years ago, largely because that was when I first stumbled across the plethora of amazing beauty blogs that exist and suddenly product recommendations became oh so very easy to come by, and also because, strangely, though I’d had almost totally blemish-free skin throughout my teenage years, my skin went on the blink in a big way when I reach my early twenties. Almost overnight I was dealing with regular hormonal breakouts, blocked pores, and crazy combination skin that seemed to flip from oily to dry as the Sahara on an hourly basis. I tried an endless stream of different cleansers and moisturisers, until finally settling upon the holy trinity of products that’ve settled my skin right back down to a happy and (blessedly!) calm state.

I’ve had a few requests recently to talk a little about what my skincare routine looks like, and since I’m newly fascinated by all things beauty, I thought it’d be fun!
 Cider-with-Rosie-No-Makeup-skincare-evening-routine

Cleanse :: L’Oreal Paris Skin Perfection Micellar Solution – £4.99

From everything I’ve heard about Bioderma, L’Oreal’s ‘micellar water’ is about as close as it gets to that most famous of cleansers. It’s totally fragrance-free and for me, strikes that perfect balance between being cleansing enough that it feels satisfyingly purifying (now try saying that ten times fast), and not so strong it’s like taking off your make up with nail varnish remover (looking at you, Clinique). I find it does a great job on eye make up too, and at controlling any T-zone ‘glow’ that might want to make its presence known in the mid-afternoon hours!

Cider-with-Rosie-BeautyCider-with-Rosie-on-the-bathroom-shelf-2Cider-with-Rosie-skincare-routine

Blemish control serum :: La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo – £15.50 {on sale at the moment in Boots, 25% off! I’ll be stocking up!}

This serum was the best product I discovered in 2014, hands down. I’ve used it religiously for months now, and aside from the very occasional spot, it’s cleared up all the problems I had with blocked pores and blemishes, and even scarring left by old blemishes too! It sinks in so quickly and is such a lovely lightweight texture, I never feel like my skin’s being overloaded with product. I use it each evening after cleansing and before moisturising, and seriously can’t recommend it highly enough. Total miracle product, for me!

La-Roche-Posay

Moisturise :: La Roche Posay Rosaliac cream – £16

Both my cleanser and serum leave my skin feeling clean and even a little tight, which balances out the richness of the LRP moisturiser like a total dream. I’ve struggled with redness in my skin for as long as I can remember, and have never, *ever!* found a product that solves the issue in the way the Rosaliac cream does! It’s got the most beautiful soothing feel, and makes my skin feel so balanced and smooth. Major bonus points for the factor 15 SPF too! I always to use it in combination with the serum and cleanser in the evening, but usually just on its own in the morning before applying whatever makeup I happen to be wearing that day.

Oh, and whilst we’re on the subject of evening moisturising and skincare- the final step for me is always a coat of Lush’s Honeytrap lip balm. It’s been my favourite for ever and ever- I’m yet to find another balm that knocks it off its 1st place podium!

Cider-with-Rosie-No-Makeup-Bare-skin

And that’s a wrap! Next thing I’m after is a really lovely- but not too heavy- eyecream! And since I’m almost out of moisturiser and there’s a sale on La Roche Posay in Boots right now, I think the shops might just be calling my name…

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Posted in BEAUTY

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