Author Archives: Victoria Cunningham-Downey

Not yet new year but new me anyway??

Well, it’s the last day of 2012 and the big thing I was hinting at has finally happened – Chris and I have moved to Glasgow!Image (Here is the view from our keyhole).

We are living in Glasgow’s Southside and I will be working in Carole Jacob’s Therapeutic Pilates & Yoga Studio, soon to be renamed Stretch Scotland!

I am planning to deliver yoga and Pilates classes just as I did in Northern Ireland but will be building on my online presence and offering classes and courses through the Internet.

I will keep you informed of any progress but, in the meantime, check out my new Facebook page: Stretch Scotland

Victoria

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Presents to me

So it’s December and I’ve started my annual “presents to me” ritual. I’m not sure when this ritual started. Sometime in childhood, I think. I saved money to buy my school friends presents and then we would go out on a cold, dark, wet November or December day to purchase these presents and I would inevitably find something I wanted just for me. This thing would, no doubt, take up the majority of my present-buying savings so it started to get called “presents to me” by my Mum and Sister who were amused by my annual quandary.

Over the years, without my really noticing it, this “presents to me” thing became a habit. Last year I decided to celebrate this habit and call it a ritual instead. I did this by dropping any guilt attached to these presents. My most extravagant “present to me” came along with the re-classification to a ritual when I booked my trip to Mexico for a yoga retreat with Sadie Nardini. However, most of my “presents to me” around this time of year are a lot more achievable and include things like a new nail polish or a box of fancy tea (see below).

I now want to share some of this year’s “presents to me” purchases in case you want to begin your own ritual. Happy Christmas to all!

  • I just got this gorgeous yoga t shirt from Sweaty Betty. I love the colour, the lightweight material and the inspiring writing on it. And, best of all, it was reduced in the sale from £45 to only £22! (Click on the photo to go to Sweaty Betty’s site).

KEM Quote Print Boyfriend Tee

  • I also got myself some of my favourite tea – Apple Loves Mint. You can get this from the Suki Tea stall at the Christmas Market at Belfast City Hall. (Good luck with that, by the way!) If you want to avoid the rioters you can get it right here in Lurgan at Love Coffee in High Street.

  • My BIG present to me was my Kindle HD Fire. The thing with this present is that I keep buying more and more things for it so it really has been fun! You’d be safer clicking on the picture to learn more about it than asking me as I am still not actually sure how to use it properly!

  • Finally in this list I want to mention the ‘Create Your Incredible Year’ workbook from Leonie Dawson. I am in the process of printing this out and putting it into my 2013 diary. I just wrote about it in my monthly mailing because I used it last year for the first time and found it very helpful to focus on what I actually wanted from 2012. I am now looking forward to filling in the 2013 Life AND Business versions to help me with my new life in Glasgow.

Enjoy making your own “presents to me” list!

Victoria

How to cope when life takes over

Oh my goodness! My plans to communicate regularly (even weekly) have rapidly fallen by the wayside as life has taken over. Since I last blogged BIG plans have fallen into place for 2013 for Chris and I. There’ll be more about that in December so keep your eyes peeled!

What I’ve suddenly realized is that it is the last weekend of November and I don’t know where the month went. In fact, I’m not even sure where the year went. We are still grieving for my Uncle but work has been very busy. So, I’ve had to put my professional head on and last weekend I very happily passed all three of my Scottish Pilates Matwork Instructors as Level 3 Professionals. And today, three intrepid new people have joined the last Stretch NI Pilates Matwork Instructor training of 2012. It is great to have them on board, although they have a LOT of work ahead of them.

And so I wanted to put a plan in place for how to cope when life takes over as I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. I think it a common feeling that we get when we realize how close we are to Christmas and the end of the year. I am always making plans so imagine my surprise when one of my favourite writers Danielle LaPorte, said:

a lot of us are making the WRONG plans.

We’re making choices based on should’s, or because it’s what our parents did, or it’s familiar, and not because it lights our hearts on fire.

Now, Danielle is launching a new book and programme called The Desire Map to address this and to help people get 2013 started with business and life goals that resonate with their souls . I, for one, can’t wait to get it.

If you are interested, check out the launch of The Desire Map. I only recommend stuff that I truly believe in and I LOVED her last book – The Firestarter Sessions.

The Desire Map is all about ditching the auto-pilot approach to life. I hope it helps me to cope when life takes over.

Victoria

Sweet Tooth Solution Smoothie by Renee Heigel

Oh, I’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster with my diet recently. I was doing quite well (and even lost a stone since returning from holidays!) but then my Uncle died and I reached for the sugar bowl. Well, not literally, but what else could you call an entire box of Matchmakers/a bag of Thorntons toffee/a couple of bags of fudge/a box of chocolates/and so on/and so on/until I made myself sick/more than once???

So today I found this recipe from Renee Heigel and I’m going to try it. I’m using Green & Black’s cocoa powder instead of cacao and a normal blender instead of a fancy Vitamix. But I’m looking forward to having a smoothie that satisfies my sweet tooth without leaving me with this feeling of self-loathing that I get when I eat too much refined sugar.

Sweet Tooth Solution Smoothie

May 30, 2012 By

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 2 dates (pitted)
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 2 Tbsp of Cacao powder
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients into your vitamix or blender. Blend until smooth.

Quick notes

Use less spinach until you get used to the taste

Variations

I like to add additional almond milk on occasion. Chia or Hemp Seeds go well You may use a maca powder or green powder too

Yum, yum!

Victoria

3 techniques for instant calm

The death of my Uncle and the subsequent grieving process for my parents and the whole family has hit me hard. I have bipolar disorder and at the moment the shock and grief has manifested with anger at the world and extreme irritation at others (apologies if you have been been in the firing line!). So, I have come up with 3 techniques for instant calm:

  1. Time Out – I tried to keep working through the coma, the death, the wake and the funeral and I kept getting angrier and angrier that my clients did not recognize the sacrifice I was making on their behalf. As a self-employed trainer I also had some long-standing commitments that only I could fulfill and this was even harder than keeping my regularly scheduled classes going. So, this morning I decided to take some time out. I am attending training in Manchester this weekend, then visiting Glasgow for a friend’s wedding next Tuesday so I have cancelled my classes for the week. As it is half-term, everyone is getting a break from the classes for a week and I am getting some essential “me time.” I plan to do a little bit of soul-searching while I’m away so that I can come back to classes feeling refreshed and revitalized and ready for the weeks to come. I recommend that everyone take the opportunity for some time out when and where they can get it!
  2. Deep Breath – My Uncle died of lung cancer and this irony was not lost on me this week when I asked my clients to breathe deeply or took a deep breath myself. In fact, since last week, every time I take a conscious deep breath I thank the gods that my lungs are able to do this. Max Strom says that grief is stored in the lungs so I believe that breathing deeply and consciously will allow this grief to release which it has been doing through tears. I will continue to breathe deeply and let the tears flow until the pain of his death becomes less harsh and instead the joy of knowing him becomes part of me. I recommend that everyone take a moment to breathe deeply and feel the nervous system calming instantly.
  3. Dog Stretch – My all time, hands-down (!) favourite yoga posture! This has been my go-to pose for a long time as it stretches the whole body whilst simultaneously calming the nervous system. It is energising and relieves fatigue which is happening to me because of being so busy and yet not able to sleep well. I recommend everyone try downward facing dog wherever they are. If you cannot take your hands to the floor you can place them on the wall or a bench and take a puppy stretch instead.

Please try out these 3 techniques and let me know in the comments if they helped you. And, if you have any other suggestions for dealing with grief I’d love to hear them!

Victoria