An Honest Post About Recovery

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I love my blog. I love the fact that I once published a really honest post on my experiences of anxiety, and it received over 80 comments of love, support or reassurance that my words had helped other people. I love that I can post a photograph on instagram that leads to comments and DM's from people telling me how I've inspired them in some way, and I love that I can say I am part of a community of people that really respect and care for each other... I am yet to meet a blogger who has been anything other than lovely, and some of my closest friends are people I've met through my blog. But despite how much I truly love this community, and am honestly so amazed and grateful for every single one of my followers, sometimes the "other side" of blogging plays on my mind. The side that shows everything to be so perfect, the side of sitting on an ever growing platform of 14,600 followers that makes you think you can't always say exactly how you feel for fear of letting these people down; people that continually tell you that your journey is an inspiration to them. When your primary aim is to present a healthy, balanced and happy lifestyle, you sometimes feel an overwhelming pressure to always ensure that this is what you portray, even on the days when it is not the case. Sometimes, sitting on this pedestal of positivity that I have created for myself really isn't all it's cracked up to be... everyone has bad days, but very few people would want to publicly admit to nearly fifteen thousand people that they're struggling... sometimes it's easier to stick the ludwig filter on a bowl of porridge and carry on with your day like nothing is wrong. But everything about that ultimately is what is wrong. Sticking a filter on life. Hiding from the truth, for fear that people may actually see that you too, are human, you too have bad days. 

I publish a lot of food posts on instagram, but what I don't publish are the times where I panic about this very food. I don't share the days where I don't track my food, binge on Nakd bars and eat peanut butter straight out the jar, and I don't share the days where I eat less than 1000 calories to counteract the previous. Why? Because I don't want all of these lovely people who say I am an inspiration to know that I am not perfect and that sometimes, I still find food a challenge. My problem is, and always has been my irrational fear of being seen as a failure. It sounds unbelievably cliche but for as long as I can remember, there has never been a time where I have not been completely terrified of letting people, teachers, my parents, friends or myself down. I am incredibly lucky to come from a family who have always supported every decision I have made, they have never pressured me to work harder or pushed me to pursue a particular career path (partially because they know I am probably putting enough pressure on myself already), yet there is some inherent part of me which works myself to the bone to achieve better things than the time before and never let people see the internal struggle that may be happening. 

But this is something that I am determined to change in 2017. I don't want my followers to read my blog or look at my instagram and see recovery as simply black and white, I want them to know that it is (and maybe always will be) an ongoing battle. I am happy to say that the majority of my days are what you see: me eating a healthy and balanced diet, nourishing my body and training hard in the gym... but I also want you to be aware that failures happen, relapses happen, days where you sit in bed feeling sorry for yourself happen... but that's ok.

One of the hardest things about recovery is learning what is a normal relationship with food. For a long time, I assumed everyone who didn't struggle with food ate the same amount everyday, didn't get cravings, only ate when they're hungry and stopped when they're full... but in reality it couldn't be further from the truth. Health and recovery aren't just about smoothie bowls and tracking macros and photographs of eggs and avocados, they're also about balance and mental happiness, and having another spoonful of peanut butter if that's what you want. You are allowed to have days where you eat too much, you're allowed to have days where you don't eat enough - that is normal and everyone does it.

And then I got thinking... if I truly was 100% happy with the way my body looked, would my lifestyle be any different? Would I indulge a bit more and relax my diet, or would I eat more healthily to nourish the body that I loved? Or is there even such thing as ever being 100% happy? I make no secret of the fact that I want to be strong, fit and athletic, but in 2017 I also want to focus on something that I let slip by the wayside in 2016: balance. Something I've recently realised is that it is far easier to reach your goals if you aren't stuck in a constant battle with yourself... how are you ever supposed to feel strong and athletic if you're still restricting your calorie intake some days?

And so, at the end of this post there is only one thing left to say: I'm sorry for not always being completely honest with you, but I promise from now my platforms will speak nothing but the truth: good day or bad day. 

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas, and have a fantastic New Years Eve... lots of love,

My 2017 Fitness, Health, Work and Life Goals

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I've always found the concept of New Years Resolutions an odd one. If there's something you want to achieve, and you want to reach that goal enough, why wait to start? Start the moment you even have that thought because the longer you put something off the harder it is to face... I know that I myself am the sort of person that has to be ready to make a change, and once I decide to make it, I have to start there and then... I've never been one for fresh starts on Mondays, or 'I'll try again next month', in my opinion, the best way to kick a bad habit or get over a bad day is to immediately put plans into action to change those negative influences in your life.

Something however, that I am a fan of, is goal setting. More often than not, people's New Years Resolutions have some sort of negative connotation; 'This year I will lose weight' (read: I will restrict myself and ultimately feel just as crap about my body), or tend to be extremely unrealistic 'This year I will join and gym and go every single day'... goals however, turn those huge daunting changes into manageable tasks that you are far more likely to stick to! So as 2016 draws to a close, I decided to compile a list of my own goals for 2017... some to be achieved on a daily basis, some more long term, but all little milestones that I hope to reach over the next 12 months and I believe will bring me ever closer to my goal of health and happiness.

001. Deadlift 200% bodyweight
002. Master the clean
003. Pullups (!!)
004. Ensure health, balance and functionality remain and the forefront of my training plans

001. 'If it needs a food label, it's not food'
002. Where possible, meal prep in advance
003. Drink at least 2.5 litres of water every day
004. Sleep and rest days are a priority!

001. Try to remember that you can do nothing more than try your best
002. Continue to schedule work/ revision times, but also schedule relaxation time

001. To resume far more frequent posting and aim to publish posts at least twice a week
002. To grow my collective following from 14,000 to 20,000 (ambitious I know!)
003. To meet and connect with as many other likeminded bloggers as possible

001. To continue to use my 'One Line a Day' book, and remember to be grateful for something every single day
002. Spend more time with family and friends
003. To actively look for a house to buy, and hopefully have bought one by next Christmas (!!)
004. To go on another amazing adventure with Ant
005. Remember how truly lucky I am to have so many amazing people in my life

2016: A Year in Review

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2016 is definitely up there as a contender for the best year of my life; It has marked some pretty amazing events and achievements, cemented some of the best friendships, and marked some amazing experiences. That being said, it wasn't without it's imperfections: there were bad days, bereavements, and lots of upsetting or stressful days, but part of what I have learnt this year is that bad things are going to happen, no matter how much you try and stop them or wish they didn't, and the only thing you can do is pick yourself back up and carry on... But enough about the negatives, this post is here to celebrate the positives of 2016.

Looking back to this time even just two years ago I find it hard to believe how much my life has changed, and looking at this time four years ago is practically like looking back at the life of a completely different and unrelated person. I have gone from studying at Art school, hoping to pursue a career in animation, thinking I would live and work in London for the rest of my life, to moving back up North, meeting some of the best friends I have ever had, studying towards a degree in something that I love, reinstating my health, and actually being happy. Some of the choices I have had to make over the past few years were not easy, but now I can confidently sit here and say that it was these struggles, revelations and changes that have come to play a part in making me the person I am today.

1. January - The start of a year is always a difficult one for me, as there is a general consensus that our successes and failures within this month determine the outlook that you approach the rest of the year with... for ten years running, January has been a month riddled with deadlines and exams, but one to view with positivity knowing how many amazing experiences I had lined up for the rest of the year.

2. February - A month of celebration: for pretty much every weekend in February I was partaking in one romantic activity or another with Ant - he treated me to a 'fake valentines' spa day on the 7th, surprised me with 21 (our lucky number) perfect red roses on Valentines, and then celebrated his birthday with a spa day from me.

3. March - The month I turned 22. It was a weird birthday for me... it felt strangely 'grown up', no more teenage years or 'big celebration' birthdays now until I hit 30... However, it was definitely one of my best birthdays to date. In the past, I've experienced a few birthdays that bring back nothing but awful memories, but this year it was amazing to once again be reminded that there are lots of people who truly care about me and made it a very special day.

4. April - The UK Blog Award Finals - I am still in absolute disbelief that my blog was awarded Highly Commended - to me it is still surreal that these posts that I write on my macbook, more often than not whilst sat on my bed, are actually being read and appreciated by so many people out there! The night was, and probably always will be one of the best of my life.

5. May - I took a girly trip away to Majorca with my mum. We did yoga outside and had the most amazing spa day while we were there. This was my first month of 'freedom' after completing my university placement, so it felt really special to finally be able to relax and enjoy some me time.

6. June - This month involved another Majorca trip, and lots more relaxation and me time. It was in June that I finally learnt to relax again, and felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. This was probably the first month where I realised that worrying and stressing will not change what is meant to happen. 

7. July - July marked another trip to Majorca, this time with my whole family and Anthony. We had such an amazing time on our first holiday together, enjoyed yoga classes, spa days, amazing food and lots of sunbathing. This month was special to me, as I was so happy to see both me and Ant fully relaxed for what felt like the first time in months and months.

8. August - You guessed it... another holiday... but this time a girly trip with my mum, her best friend and her daughter. We had another incredible spa day to celebrate Hayley's 21st birthday, had lots of late night girly chats and made so many memories to treasure. Hayley has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, so it was so lovely to be able to celebrate her birthday in such a special way.

9. September - The Maldives. WOW. There isn't much more I can say about how truly amazing this holiday was. Me and Ant made so many memories, enjoyed so many incredible activities and just felt like we were surviving in an absolute paradise. From paddle boarding to snorkelling to dolphin trips to shark feeding to the most amazing sweet potato fries and smoothies you've ever tasted - absolutely everything was perfect.

10. October - Back to reality and well into the swing of things with my final year of university. These months were a bit of a struggle... I found it surprisingly hard to readjust to being back at university after a year working on placement, and found the long commutes incredibly draining. Luckily for me I had the most supportive boyfriend, family (and lots of peanut butter) to help me through.

11. November - In November I got to meet the newest addition to the family - Poppy Florence Smith, and spent a lot of time with family. The beginning of November was quite a difficult time for my family, but it just makes you appreciate even more how important they truly are. (Oh, and I bagged myself my dream graduate job for next year!)

12. December - Breaking up from uni for Christmas, attending lots of Christmas meals and events with great friends and family members put the cherry on the top of another amazing year. As I sit and write this on Christmas Eve (an ominous pile of books and revision looming on the desk behind me), I remember the importance of time off. Christmas only comes round once a year, and it's so very important to spend these days with the people who mean the most to you.

MAGNAxFERA - Trying Something New*

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A few weekends back, me and my boyfriend (@admfitness1 on instagram - go give him a follow, he's new and needs the love), were invited down to Kettlebell Kitchen in Manchester by the lovely team at Magna, as part of their 'NEWVEMBER' campaign... an effort to get people to try something new in the fitness world. The event involved a 45 minute body weight strength and conditioning style workout with Fera (@wearefera), followed by an amazing breakfast (see below for absolute food porn). As well as being a fitness class right up both mine and Ant's street, it was so lovely to meet so many other likeminded fitness bloggers, and when free breakfast is involved it's definitely not an event you're going to decline an invite to!

So incase you are unaware, Magna are a fab new company that provide an online platform you can sign up to, allowing you to access numerous fitness classes. From rock climbing, to yoga, to strength and conditioning, to swimming, the huge plethora of classes on their timetable in various Greater Manchester locations ensures that there will always be a class suited to your needs, at a time most convenient for you! So if you don't want to commit to a gym membership, but still want the option of participating in group exercise classes you can sign up by clicking HERE.

The class itself was absolutely fantastic, and a perfect taster for anyone interested in movement, callisthenics, or more fluid yoga-type exercise, and provided a real chance to get your body moving in ways that you never usually utilise. My boyfriend being a firm believer in movement based training himself, along with teaching it to a large number of his clients, meant him and Fera got on like a house on fire, and the whole event was something throughly enjoyed by both of us (I highly recommend checking Fera's classes out if it's something you may be interested in!) 

After the class came breakfast, an absolute health feast laid on by Kettlebell Kitchen, consisting of primary gluten free and wholly healthy food, providing us with some much needed fuel following our morning workout. Following the breakfast, Ant was still peckish (as per), so treated himself to a huge box full of KBK's healthy fuel - salmon, sweet potato mash, pesto, halloumi and greens, and both of us treated ourselves to a healthy, paleo brownie (I sampled the chocolate orange flavour and my GOD was it wonderful!). Tummies full and muscles sufficiently tired, we headed home, discussing how amazing the whole event had been for the whole 24 mile journey. 

Thank you so much again to the guys at Magna, Kettlebell Kitchen, and Fera for what really was a fantastic event!

P.S. I am up for two UK blog awards and would really appreciate it if you would follow THIS LINK and vote for my blog (please select the first option for food and drink + lifestyle) THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

Soap and Glory Giveaway and UK Blog Awards*

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Wow... what another incredible year it's been for Amy Elizabeth! I had no idea when starting my blog nearly three years ago that it would ever get to the level it has now reached. The fact that I have managed to turn my three biggest passions: fashion, fitness and blogging into a platform which thousands of people are now following and regularly reading is really quite humbling. As a thank you, I want to run a big beauty giveaway with thanks to Soap and Glory*

In just short of three years, Amy Elizabeth has been shortlisted for five national blog awards, including actually being awarded Highly Commended in the UK Blog Awards last year - an achievement that I never expected and something I am still incredibly proud of. I know I have hounded you a few* (*a lot) of times about voting for me for various awards, however I must once again ask for your support! Amy Elizabeth is currently on the long list for two 2017 UK Blog Awards- so please, if you have found comfort in my blog and feel like I am worthy of making it on to the shortlist for these awards then I would once again truly appreciate your votes. You can vote by clicking HERE and selecting the first option on the 'category' drop down menu for 'Food and Drink + Lifestyle' which will allow you to vote for my blog in both the long listed categories!

Thank you once again, and good luck with the giveaway!

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups!

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I'm currently scarily close to 250 days *pretty much* refined sugar free. I use the phrase pretty much, as I do know it can be sneakily hidden in a few every day products, and I do on occasion enjoy a square of 90% Lindt chocolate (the type used in this recipe -but for 0.7g of refined sugar, I think I'll let it slide). When at first you tell people that you don't consume refined sugar, they tend to assume that you're either on a very strict diet or an intense weight loss regime, but in reality, I just try my best to live the healthiest and happiest life that I can realistically maintain 1. when stress kicks in, 2. on a student budget and 3. without completely depriving myself of food I consider to be yummy!

This is now my third attempt at cutting sugar, and by far the longest, but in total over the past 20 or so months I've been sugar free for approximately 15 of them, and as well as knowing that I've well and truly kicked my sugar addiction (coming from a girl who used to consume whole family sized bags of chocolate buttons instead of meals and struggling to get 5 vegetables a week let alone a day), I feel so much healthier and more energetic. But despite my own personal experience with cutting sugar, I'm not going to sit here and preach about why you should do the same: ultimately every one is different, every body reacts differently to food types, and it's up to you to decide how sugar makes your body feel. However, we all know that excess sugar consumption has adverse effects, and therefore, where possible if a usually sugar filled treat can be made so much healthier, why not give it a go?

Reeces Peanut Butter Cups were an absolute favourite of mine, so the other day I decided to improvise and make my own virtually sugar free versions!... Keep reading for the recipe.

Ingredients (Makes approximately 5 large peanut butter cups):

83g Lindt 90% dark chocolate
50g Whole Earth smooth peanut butter

Nutrition (Per cup if made with same ingredients):

Calores: 163
Fat: 14.6g
Carbs: 3.2g
Sugar: 0.6g
Protein: 4.3g


1. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie - break up 83g and place into a bowl over a pan of simmering water, gently stirring the chocolate to ensure it doesn't burn
2. Once the chocolate has melted, turn the heat down on the hob so that the chocolate won't solidify but isn't becoming too hot
3. Distribute half of the melted chocolate across five cup cake cases (I actually measured the weight of the melted chocolate and evenly divided it so I could accurately calculate macros, but if this isn't something that particularly bothers you you can just do it by eye!)
4. Use a teaspoon to spread some of the chocolate up the sides of the cup cake cases (about 2cm)
5. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes - every 5 minutes remove and re-spread the chocolate up the sides to create a thicker layer.
6. Once the base is solid, place 10g of peanut butter in the centre of each case
7. Add the remaining chocolate to the top and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes to set


Benefits of Squats ft. Xercise4less*

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'The myth that women shouldn't lift heavy is only perpetuated by women who fear hard work and men who fear women.'

It's been nearly four years since I first started therapy... nearly two years since I first started training, but really only about 15 months since I 100% committed myself to recovery, to strength and to health. 15 months since I decided not to focus on the weight on the scales going down, but the weight on the bar going up. Sometimes, you need to remind yourself that a scale cannot measure character, talent, beauty, purpose, strength or love. Strength training, especially focusing on heavy compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts and cleans has provided for me what no therapy ever could: full, honest and absolute belief in my own ability to stay strong under pressure.

Unfortunately, so many young women are still too afraid to venture into the free weights section of a gym, partially due to fear of judgement, but primarily due to the 'male dominant' environment that can seem incredibly intimidating to an outsider. But I want to break this misconception that these gym floors are not places for women... that lifting weights will make you bulky... that women can't and shouldn't lift heavy weights... (but if you're still having reservations, all Xercise4less gyms have women's only training areas! Memberships start at £9.99 a month so be sure to check out your local gym here).

Below, I worked with PT Anthony Martin (@admfitness1), to compile a few benefits of squats, along with some tips to help get your started:

001. There is no Better Exercise for Building Overall Strength -
The squat is one of the most functional human movements, it helps to improve both the mobility and stability of the ankle, knee, hip and spine whilst simultaneously toning and strengthening the whole body, with a particular emphasis on legs and glutes.

002. Form is Everything -
Make sure you have correct form and if you are unsure speak to someone! Before piling a lot of weight onto the bar, technique must be perfected. Begin with body weight squats and stretches to ensure your body is flexible enough to cope with the movement, and then slowly work your way up to adding weights. It's taken me 15 months of hard work to get to the weight that I can currently squat, so don't expect to see huge leaps in progress over a few short weeks... (and remember, for lasting results, quick fixes will never work anyway!)

003. More Weight = More Calories Burnt - 
A lot of people fail to realise that a high intensity weight training session can actually burn more calories than a standard mid-intensity cardio session. Lifting heavy combined with plyometric high intensity interval training actually requires a much higher energy output, meaning more calories burnt and more fat lost. Huge compound lifts such as squats will help you to develop shape, muscle and definition.

If you have any enquires for PT sessions with Anthony, or want further information about X4L memberships, please leave a comment below and I will be happy to assist you!  I'm delighted to be working with X4L as a VIP member and affiliate, so expect to see lots more fitness content both on here and my instagram (@amyelizabeth_blog)

The Art of Relaxation ft. Lush Bath Bombs

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Bath time is my favourite time; if I can, I will have a bath every single day, and if you team that bath with a good book, a lovely bath bomb, some candles or a new magazine, there's a good chance I will not surface again for well over an hour... There are usually only two situations that will fully relax me: the gym, or a bath. And when university work piles up, or I'm feeling overwhelmed by everything on my to do list, I love nothing more than taking some time out to really enjoy some 'me time' and practice the art of relaxation. My boyfriend knows how much I cherish my bath times, and equally knows how easily I get stressed out, so look me into Lush in Liverpool the other week and bought me an amazing set of new bath bombs, soaps and powders. My only issue now though is that I adore lush bath bombs so much that I am trying to save them for 'special occasions' or particularly stressful days... a feat that so far is going well but I can't guarantee this willpower will last much longer.

So far I have restrained myself to the use of one bath bomb, the amazing blue intergalactic bath bomb, and it was definitely the most captivating bath bomb I have ever used... (I barely even got any of Harry Potter read because I was so enthralled watching the massive bath bomb fizzle away around me). The only way I can really describe it was by saying I felt like I was sat in the middle of a highly saturated version of Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' painting... the only downside being it took a good few hours to scrub the glitter off my body, but that is a small price to pay.

In a world where we are feeling more and more like we are always on the go, taking time to enjoy some moments in a warm and comforting bath and indulging your body with the luxury of a bath bomb can really go a long way to helping you relax, both physically and mentally...

001. Muscle Ease and Relaxation -
Bathing in warm water, particularly after strenuous exercise or a long day, can really help your muscles to relax, reducing the risk of DOMs (delayed onset of muscle soreness) or aching muscles the next day. Along with this, the removal of excess tension in your muscles will also help to relieve headaches and help you to get a better nights sleep.


002. Set the Scene -
I have two main rules when enjoying a long and relaxing bath: 1. no mobile phones in the room, and 2. the bathroom must be tidy. There is no use trying to relax in a warm bath if you are staring at shampoo bottles or dirty towels thrown on the floor... instead, aim to create a peaceful environment as this will really help your mind to destress.

003. Post Bath Relaxation -
After allowing your mind and body to relax in a lovely warm and soapy bath, the last thing you want is to allow your stress or tension to build back up over the course of the evening before you go to sleep. Instead, try and maintain the calm environment you have created for yourself. For me, this involves putting on some fresh pyjamas with a warm dressing gown and settling into bed with a book or catching up on some TV programmes on my laptop. I will try to avoid really brightly lit rooms, and instead turn on fairy lights or bed side lamps so that my eyes remain as relaxed as possible before bedtime.

Leave me a comment below and let me know how you best relax! Happy bathing!