Thursday, 12 October 2017


I love brunch, in fact I live for it!  There's nothing I like more than hitting the gym for an early morning session and then going for brunch after.  Maybe it's because I love pancakes and coffee or the fact that Edinburgh has an abundance of amazing spots.  Of course, I've tried the majority because I'm a massive foodie but here are some of my favourites.

Montpeliers is a longstanding central feature of Edinburgh's vibey and homely Bruntsfield neighbourhood.  The warm and stylishly decorated brasserie is set in perfect surroundings and offers the "The Full Monty" and "The Monty"; two of the best fry ups in town, especially if you're feeling a little ropey after a night on the tiles.  If you're feeling up to it, there's also the option to sit outside and really soak up the atmosphere of the bustling streets of Bruntsfield; a great people watching spot.
The Ivy on the Square
The Ivy on the Square is the newest kid on the block. Just a stones throw away from Princes St, located in the heart of the city at St. Andrews Square, this modern-day brasserie offers a relaxed yet sophisticated brunch spot.  The buttermilk pancakes topped with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and Greek yogurt are drizzled in warm strawberry sauce and are the most flavoursome I've ever had.  With a bright, art deco decor and floor to ceiling windows, it's a perfect spot for watching the world go by on a lazy Sunday morning.
The Restoration Yard
The Restoration Yard is a new favourite hangout.  Located slightly outside the city centre in the grounds of Dalkeith Country Park, it's worth the drive if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and just switch off.
The stunning courtyard, surrounded by reclaimed and renewed 18th century stables is unbelievably picturesque.  The authentic characteristics are carried through into each part of the Restoration Yard, including the bright cafe which overlooks The Orangery.
Their menu features an array of delicious options, produced from locally sourced ingredients and changes seasonally, so you'll never get bored.
Urban Angel
Wanting a healthy and tasty brunch, then look no further than Urban Angel.  The effortlessly cool cafe on Hanover Street has an ethos of keeping things natural and offers a flexible menu full of locally sourced, organic ingredients.  Their menu consists of fresh juices and smoothies, granola, acai bowls, eggs benedict and French toast.  You'll leave feeling like a healthy god/goddess.

My list of brunch spots could go on forever and below are some more recommendations:

Papii - A must if you're a waffle lover!
The Pantry - A brilliant place to stop for a spot of brunch whilst wandering the streets of Stockbridge.
Piecebox - A vintage style cafe with a tea room-esque feel.  A lovely spot for coffee, breakfast and a slice of cake.


Tuesday, 26 September 2017


So, in the world of social media, strong seems to be the new skinny, with more and more girls stepping into the weights area of gyms.

Five years ago, when I first had a personal trainer I told him one of my goals was to grow my bum, to which his response was "you're the first girl to ever want that.  Usually girls want to make it smaller", but I've always been a girl all about those curves.  Gone are the days of asking "does my bum look big in this?" because having a big booty is a thing all us girls strive for... we're forever chasing those booty gains, aren't we?!

So if you're new to resistance training and you're not sure where to start or what you're doing, then I think my top 5 tips might help a little, so keep on reading.

Yes you heard right!  Doing too much cardiovascular excercise on top/in addition to your weight training will only slow down the muscle building process.  This is because it increases your energy expenditure (burns more calories).  When trying to build muscle you want to be in a calorific surplus (eating more calories than you're burning) and give your body time to recover properly.  Reducing the amount of cardiovascular exercise will help muscles recover and grow quicker in response to your weight training.  So if you're trying to build muscle then step away from the treadmill, unless you're using it to warm up.

You probably won't believe me when I tell you this because girls tend to always watch what they eat, but your body needs energy to grow muscle and you're not going to grow any if you're in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you're consuming).  More food equals more energy and more energy means you're able to train harder, recover faster and grow quicker, so eat up!  If you're looking to add lean muscle and shape increase your calories, however this doesn't mean you can devour a whole tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream on a Saturday night, instead you want to have a balanced diet of protein, carbs and fat. 

If you hadn't noticed when food shopping that just about every item now has the word "protein" written somewhere on the front of the packaging; obviously for marketing purposes.  Protein is key for muscle growth, with the recommended daily intake being 1.5-2 grams per kg of body weight.  You want to be attempting to hit your protein target each day and ideally you want to be consuming this from natural food sources if you can, for example meat, dairy and eggs, rather than taking it in a supplement form.  By no means is there any harm in drinking protein shakes (I do myself), but if you're consuming them without exercising properly then they won't help you build muscle.  

Your muscles will only grow when they're stressed, so if you're lifting weights that are too light then you're unlikely to see much change in your body.  You should be looking to start fatiguing on the last 2-3 reps of each exercise or progressively overload (increasing sets/reps/intensity) in each session.  If you're not then it's time to increase the weights.  You need to challenge and push yourself in each training session for it to be worthwhile, but never compromise your technique over the weight you're lifting. 

Getting enough sleep each night is just as important as training hard and eating well.  Sleep is so valuable in order to restore your energy levels and help with the receovery process.  You should be aiming to get around 8-9 hours per night.  So, at night time give yourself some time to wind down, relax and step away from your phone. 

If you're looking for more advice on any of the above then drop me a line at and I'll be happy to help where I can.  

Happy Lifting!



Sunday, 20 August 2017


As you drive along the off beat track, surrounded by trees that almost create a canopy, you begin to relax as you leave the hustle & bustle of the city behind.

At the end of the road, you're met with the most stunning courtyard, surrounded by reclaimed & renewed 18th century stables, which are home to the Restoration Yard, Restoration Cafe & the Wellbeing Lab.

The Wellbeing Lab is a spacious, loft studio which holds Pilates & Yoga classes, as well as a number of other services and was the reason for my trip to this stunning location, just 20 minutes outside of Edinburgh.  Being someone who is relatively new to Pilates, I was instantly made to feel at ease and found the class a way to relax, reset and switch off from my busy life; something I find extremely hard to do.

After the class, I headed through the courtyard to the Restoration Cafe for breakfast.  The authentic characteristics are carried through into this bright, relaxing space and the food did not disappoint.  I would go as far as saying the pancakes are some of the best I've tried... although I've heard they've taken them off the menu.  Please bring them back!

Once you're full to the brim there's only one thing left to do, shop!!  And OMG what a shop it is.  As soon as you walk through the door, you're presented with some of the most carefully selected and beautiful products that are impeccably merchandised.  From homeware and fashion to health and beauty, there's something for everyone.  In fact, I now have an extensive wish list.  What's more is the products have been so carefully hand picked, they're almost unique and for me that's always a plus!

So if you're looking for somewhere to switch off and relax, try out a class, grab a coffee and cake, or just go for a wander round the grounds, then the Restoration Yard at Dalkeith Country Park is the place to go.  It's definitely my new favourite hang out!


Sunday, 23 July 2017


The words sun, sea and sand only mean one thing... Summer has arrived! With it comes holidays, BBQ's, spending most of our free time in beer gardens, oh and not to mention ice cream covered in ALL the toppings!!

The last thing you want to do is ruin all the hard work you've put in getting summer ready, so to help you stay on top of your fitness regime, I'm sharing my top tips on how to keep in shape during the summer months.  

I'm sure you'll agree with me that when the sun's shining the last place you want to be stuck, is in a hot, sweaty gym.  So instead of ditching your workout completely, put your shorts on, grab your trainers and take it outdoors! Why not check out a boot camp in the local park, go a run/cycle or create a HIIT session in your garden.  Whatever you choose, you can keep active & soak up some Vitamin D at the same time!  A bonus if you ask me.

Yes we all want to strut around the pool, looking amazing in a bikini, whilst not having a care in the world, but going on the "no carbs before Marbs" diet is not the answer!  In fact, if you're training hard your body will need carbs as fuel and they'll also help you recover from your workouts.  Don't over complicate things; eating well & exercising regularly is what really works.
If you're at a BBQ over the summer then allow yourself a burger with some salad, just don't go and eat a whole tub of Ben & Jerry's ice cream afterward  As long as you're burning more calories than you consume you won't gain weight.  Remember balance is key.

Washboard abs is something we all dream of... well at least I do anyway!  I'm sorry if I'm about to burst your bubble, but it's unrealistic that you'll achieve these in two weeks.  Some goals depending on what they are can take months, if not years to achieve and require a lot of hard work & dedication. There's nothing wrong with having a long term goal, but having smaller goals that will help lead to your long term goal is also a good idea.  These will be more achievable in a shorter time frame, you'll see progress and your motivation levels will remain high.

Having a training partner can be a great motivator and will encourage you to keep fit.  Not only are you less likely to cancel, because who wants to be known as the friend that bails?  But it will also make your workouts more fun and you'll work harder if someone's pushing you.  Just make sure you don't spend the whole time gossiping about the hot guy in the gym you fancy or checking Instagram/Facebook every 5 minutes.

I believe you can achieve anything you put your mind to and unfortunately when it comes to fitness and getting in shape, there is no magic pill.  If you're prepared to put the hard work in then you'll reap the rewards, so even when you don't feel like training, drag yourself off the couch and go workout! You'll feel 10 times better after when the endorphins kick in and it will be worth it in the long run! Trust me!

For more motivational tips and workouts, follow me on Instagram @the_luminouslife if you don't already.



Sunday, 11 June 2017



Summer is here which means one thing, everyone is obsessing over their summer body!  It's that time of year again when you've got to get into a bikini for the holiday you booked a year ago and swore to yourself you'd get in shape for. 
I bet you're sitting there wondering how it came round so quickly and I'm sure many of you are feeling anxious about the thought of putting that bikini on because of low self esteem or not being body confident. 
Well that's where the tips I'm about to share with you on how to become more body confident might help, so keep reading...

Exercise is definitely a mood booster and when the endorphins kick in so does the post workout feeling of bliss.  However, staying motivated can be the hard part, so find a workout you love doing! If you enjoy your workout then you'll definitely find it easier to stay focused, become more engaged and maintain consistency, all which will help you get closer to your goal!

Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes and it's about time you embraced your uniqueness. Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone looked the same.  Everyone has flaws/weaknesses, even the people you wish you looked like on social media and so you should start loving your imperfections.

Next time you're standing in front of the mirror naked, look at yourself and instead of thinking about the things you dislike, think about the things you like.  We're all so bad for not looking at our strengths, but it's about time we did.  Being confident and having a high self esteem is often associated with being arrogant but remember there is nothing wrong with loving yourself!

This is a number one must!! Standing on the scales every morning is only going to create a negative mindset.  Don't get me wrong, if you've lost 3lbs then I'm sure you'll walk to work with a spring in your step, however if you've put weight on you'll stand off the scales feeling rubbish and it just sets you up for a bad day.  What you need to know is that your body weight can alter for a number of reasons with the main culprit being water, so if you need to weigh yourself do so once a week and in the meantime hide the scales.... You're much more than a number.

Cast your mind forward twenty years and think about the body you're likely to have then. Unfortunately gravity is not our friend and our metabolisms will most likely slow down.  So embrace the body you have now and own your curves!  Be whatever shape and size you want to be as the only person you need to impress is yourself, you shouldn't care what anyone else thinks.  So if you want to wear that tight dress then wear it!
The problem isn't with your body, it's with the way you look at it and what you think of it, so change the perspective on how you look at yourself.

Lastly I want to remind you that everyone has down days, days when they don't feel great, days when they cry or aren't happy with the way they look... you're not alone!

As demonstrated by the Women's Health #InShapeMyShape campaign, accepting your body's shape and size and loving yourself is the healthiest place to be, and don't forget to remind yourself everyday that you're awesome!!



Monday, 5 June 2017


Who doesn't want glowing, youthful skin right?  With summer here we all want to look like we've just come back from that sunkissed holiday where Vitamin D was our best friend.

Being in my late twenties (OMG I can't believe I just said that), I definitely take skincare a lot more seriously than I did in my late teens/early twenties.  Long gone are the days when I'd come in from a night out and use a face wipe to remove my make up.... or worse fall asleep with my face still in tact.

Working out and living a pretty healthy, balanced lifestyle helps me to achieve that "glowy" look, but there are also some products that help when the tiredness and stress kicks in and so I thought I'd share my favourite products with you.

When it comes to removing my make up after a long day I swear by L'Oreal Extraordinary Cleansing Oil. A few pumps of this product will instantly dissolve your make-up, including stubborn mascara to leave your skin feeling smooth and radiant.

Every other night I like to apply Alpha H Liquid Gold.  This product is a little more expensive at £33.50 but it's amazing!  With a formula of silk protein and licorice, it helps revitalise your skin whilst improving the appearance of your complexion.  However, I would definitely not suggest using it everyday as it's quite an intense product.
Another cleanser which I also love is Super Facialist Rose Hydrate Calming Creamy Cleanser. Not only does this smell lovely, it gently removes impurities and make up without leaving your skin feeling too tight.  The Marshmallow and Allantoin help to soothe and restore the skin's natural ph balance which makes this product great for sensitive skin.

If you're looking for that luminous glow, then this product is a must have!  The Rodial X-Treme Acid Rush Peel works a little like a face mask.  Once applied, leave the product on for 10-15 mins whilst the active azelaic acid, glycolic lactic and fruit acids take effect by gently exfoliating and re-texturing to reveal brighter, more youthful skin.
My go to moisturiser each morning and night has to be another Super Facialist product, this time in the shape of the Vitamin C+ Brighten Skin Defence Daily Moisturiser.  Not only does this moisturiser have UV filters to help protect your skin from the sun, the combination of Hyaluronic Acid, Ferulic Acid and Vitamin C leaves your skin hydrated, smooth and glowing.

The last product on my list which I absolutely LOVE and not only because it smells amazing, is Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse.  I couldn't live without this multi-purpose oil which leaves your skin feeling unbelievably soft and glowy and it's my number one go-to product for my legs.  They're Shimmering Dry Oil is a fantastic touch to give your skin that luminous holiday glow.

There you have it, these are my go-to products to give you that youthful, summer glow.


Monday, 1 May 2017


Maybe it's seeing people achieving their dreams or how it inspires me to follow my own, but there's something I love about supporting local businesses.  With that in mind and the fact I need to get my motivation back, I thought what better way than to hit up a workout with Primal Performance.

So on a sunny, spring evening (they don't happen often in Edinburgh) I strolled along to Lululemon, George Street ready to get my sweat on!  As I walked into the bright, fresh looking store I was instantly distracted by Lululemon's amazing, stylish collection of activewear; I mean I want it ALL. But no I wasn't there to shop I was there for a workout with Matt; the owner of Primal Performance.

As I wandered downstairs to the studio it's safe to say I was a little apprehensive, as although I train 5 times a week my fitness levels aren't the greatest due to my lack of cardio.  As I reached the bottom of the stairs I was instantly greeted by Matt and after a friendly chat my apprehension soon disappeared as he assured me I'd survive.

The 25 minute short and sharp tabata workout, made up of 20 seconds on/10 seconds rest circuits was sure to get my heart rate up and definitely proved my point of how bad my fitness levels were.  By the end of the workout I was a sweaty mess with extremely bad cramp in my calf.... perfect!
Following the workout whilst trying to compose myself, it was time to get my geek on as Matt delivered a seminar on the Principles of Nutrition.  The seminar provided strategies on building better nutrition plans, how to efficiently track your macros, but most importantly how to enjoy food even when dieting/living a healthy lifestyle.  Matt did well to deliver these in a clear and concise manner which made it easy for attendees to understand and apply to their own regimes.

Although I was personally put to the test, this time efficient, high intensity workout definitely left me feeling amazing afterwards!

Training in the same way day in, day out can often get boring, so if like me you're looking to mix up your workouts and have a little fun at the same time, then I 100% recommend you head along to one of Matt's classes at Lululemon George Street, Edinburgh.  They're running from 6pm on 4th May & 6th May and as Lululemon run a "first come, first sweat" service there is no need to sign up.  All experience/ability levels are welcome and the classes are free.... so if that's not a reason to get yourself along, I don't know what is.

Plus if you love a bit of fitness motivation and you don't already, then I suggest you follow Primal Perfomance on Instagram @primal.perfomance & Facebook @primalperformancept


Sunday, 12 February 2017



Valentine's Day is my least favourite time of the year!  No girl needs a giant cuddly teddy bear clutching a heart that says "I love you", however I do love the fabulous lingerie that comes with it.  I mean every girl loves lingerie right?!

I've always been a lover of the stuff, in fact it's probably up there with my love for activewear.  A good matching set has the ability to make you feel confident, sexy and before you know it your alter ego has come alive!
No matter what shop I'm in, I somehow always manage to find myself in the lingerie department and so I see gorgeous lingerie all the time.
With that said, Primark are killing it with their range at the moment.  With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I've put together my top picks so you don't have to splurge on an expensive set only for it to be thrown to the back of the cupboard and never seen again!

Grey Lace Bralet £8 & Grey Lace Pants £3

Pink Lace Bralet & French Pant Set £5

Black Embroidered Rose Bralet £8

Nude & Black Bralet £8, Nude & Black Pants £3

Happy Valentine's Day lovelies!!



Sunday, 5 February 2017



As I sit scrolling through Instagram it's apparent to me that self-love is something a lot of girls are planning to work on in 2017 and all I can say to that is FINALLY!!!

Self-love has often been associated with being vain or arrogant but in actual fact it's so much more than that; it comes down to wanting to look after and care for yourself and in my eyes there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

So I want to ask you one question. If you were in a relationship with yourself how would you describe it? Happy? Loving? Sad? A roller coaster of emotions? Destructive? Or abusive?

Social media is a huge part of our lives now-a-days, but when you see photo after photo of the "perfect" girl who looks as if their abs have been chiseled out of wood because they look unbelievable, it can leave you feeling deflated. But rest assure that not everything is as it seems... The girl on Instagram has probably spent about 45 minutes trying to take THAT photo looking their best with the help of great lighting and knows the best angle to show off their muscles, whilst most probably sporting a wedgie just so their pants sit in the correct place.

I'm sure I can speak for most girls here when I say that there's been at least one point in your life when you've felt like you're not good enough and your confidence/self esteem has been knocked. When that happens sometimes you need to remember it's not you!! We are all so good at focusing on our flaws and weaknesses, but very rarely do we focus on our strengths. What you really need is a change of perspective in how you look at yourself and higher self esteem; not a flatter stomach, softer skin, a prettier face or longer hair.

The majority of girls are obsessed with the number on the scales or the clothes size they fit into, but you are more important than that number. It doesn't matter what shape or size you are someone will always have something to say. I've been told "guys don't like muscly girls" and that's great because guess what I'm not doing it for a guy, my family or my friends, I'm doing it for me! Yes I have flaws and areas of my body I would like to improve but after years of training I can finally say I'm happy with the way I look and I'm not ashamed to say it.

The point I'm trying to make is that you don't need validation from anyone to feel good about yourself. There is nothing wrong in wanting to improve how you look but the number one factor is that you're comfortable in your own skin. This is the only body you will have so fall in love with taking care of yourself. Listen to your body and be kind to it. Eat when you're hungry, relax when you're stressed and sleep when you're tired.

Here are my top questions to ask yourself to encourage self pride and a higher self-esteem:

1. What could you do that would impress yourself?
2. Do you really respect that person enough to let their opinion matter?
3. Do you surround yourself with good influences or bad ones?
4. What kind of girl do you look up to and why?
5. Do you shy away from something you want to do because it's seen as different?

My last piece of advice is to just be yourself and let people see the real, imperfect, flawed, weird, beautiful, magical person that you are!


Sunday, 22 January 2017


Let's talk gymtimidation!  Yes it's a thing and something that prevents many people from exercising which all falls down to one thing... the fear of being judged.

I get it!  When you aren't at your goal watching people smashing it and lifting twice their body weight can be a little scary and demotivating but by no means should it put you off from hitting the gym. Life's not a competition but you never want to feel like the weakest link in the room.  We all have a perception in our heads as to how others see us, am I too skinny, too fat, too strong, too weak, not fast enough?  However, you can't let these fears stop you from trying new things, if we did then life would be pretty boring.  We've all been that person at one point in our lives that feels like the new kid on the block and I like you found the gym an intimidating place to begin with but facing your fears helps diminish them. The super fit are there because they ignore everyone else and are there for themselves.

I for sure have done some pretty embarrassing things in my time.  I think my number one has to be hitting myself in the face with a 10kg weight... yes that happened and would only happen to me but I hope it's made you feel better.

The point I'm trying to make is that embarrassing things can happen to everyone, whether you've been going to the gym for one week or five years but you've just got to laugh it off and act like it never happened.

So to help you feel more comfortable and at home in the gym I thought I'd share with you my top tips.

We live in a society where we all care too much about what other people think of us when really we shouldn't care at all.
Everyone has to start somewhere and everyone is self improving.  Caring about what other people think shouldn't stop you.  I can guarantee that most people in the gym aren't even aware of what's going on around them and are probably concentrating on their own insecurities rather than yours.

If you've never stepped into the gym before and don't know where to start don't be afraid to ask for help.  That's what the gym staff are there for and they will be able to show you how to use the machines and equipment correctly to prevent causing an injury.  Most gyms offer an introductory training program which if new you should snap up.  Having a program to work through each time you visit the gym will prevent you from wandering around aimlessly looking clueless.

Training with a friend will give you that little extra support and means you can discuss the gym talent together.  However, you want to train with someone who is just as motivated as you are and who will give you that little nudge when you need it. Choosing a buddy who's going to distract you by chatting will only hold you back from achieving your goals.

In an ideal world we would all have a personal trainer who would kick our ass into shape! Although they can be expensive, they are worth the investment and with their knowledge and support are a great way at helping you achieve your goals.  Click here to check out my top tips for helping you choose the right one.

Popping in your headphones and listening to a motivating playlist will help you switch off from what's going on around you and will help you relax.  Being in your own little zone will help drown out any distractions going on around you so you can just get on with your workout!

So many people are in the same boat as you and have this fear but once you start going regularly you may even start to enjoy it!  Don't let this small fear stop you from achieving your fitness goals this year and turn your I can't into I can!


Sunday, 8 January 2017


So 2017 has finally arrived and with it comes the whole "New Year, New Me" (God I hate that saying).  January sees gyms bustling as everyone has decided this is the year they will get fit, however by Easter thousands have given up trying to achieve their goals and the gym has gone back to it's quiet self.
So instead of being part of the thousands who give up, I thought I'd share with you my top tips to help you stay motivated not just in January but for the whole year so that 2017 is your best year yet!


The goals you make should be things you want.  You need to want to do it for yourself and not your friends, family or partner.  Do it for you!  If your goals are things you really want to achieve, you'll have more drive to make them happen.


There's no problem making yearly goals, I myself have a few. However, creating over ambitious goals will usually end with you throwing in the towel when not achieved and will leave you feeling unmotivated.  Whether you want to become fitter, stronger, lose weight or run a marathon be realistic and make small monthly goals that will help you achieve your final goal.  Smaller goals will be easier to achieve and will help you stay motivated.


The majority of fitness goals are most likely to involve the gym!  So first things first, create a plan and most importantly create one you enjoy! Work out how many times a week you can realistically go to the gym, what days these will be and what exercises you will do once there.
Remember to update your training program every 6-8 weeks as by this point your body will start to become familiar with the exercises and you'll start getting bored doing the same thing day in, day out.


There is no harm in treating yourself once in a while, so make sure you don't deprive yourself.  By that I don't mean it's acceptable to eat a family size bar of chocolate everyday, but by letting yourself have a small treat every so often it's more likely to stop you from overindulging or giving into your cravings.  The treat you give yourself doesn't have to be food related, it could be a spa day, a manicure etc.  When I reach my own goals I treat myself to new activewear (any excuse) as it motivates and pushes me to the next level.


Your body can be whatever you want it to be if you're prepared to put the work in.  Yes there will be days when you don't feel like training and can't seem to move from the coach, but those tend to be the days you have the best workout.  Reaching your end goal may be a slow process and there is no magic pill but what I can tell you is that it will be worth it in the end.

Nothing worth having comes easy, so instead of being one of the thousands who give up their fitness goals, make 2017 your year to smash them!!

Happy Training!


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