Outside Lands 2015

Outside Lands OOTDThis year was the first summer I didn’t get to go to Glastonbury Festival for the first time in about eight years. I avoided the coverage like the plague and winced when I heard about amazing performances or saw photos of my friends working at Worthy FM, the festival’s onsite radio station. I know, I know, woe is me, right?

Of course when you move to another country you can’t hop across the pond every time FOMO hits, but it did make me pine for the pleasures and pitfalls of a good music festival. Enter Outside Lands, San Francisco’s three day music festival that takes place deep inside Golden Gate Park each August. We nabbed tickets for the Saturday (there is no camping allowed so the plus is that if you have a full weekend ticket, you get to go home and sleep in your own bed each night) and went along to see how Californian festivals shape up to Somerset ones.

It was a different experience entirely, of course, but we had fun watching Django Django, Tame Impala, Laura Marling and The Black Keys, to name a few. It was actually very pleasant not to have to worry about mud or how long it would get from one stage to another, the only downside was that I was on Whole30, so while everyone else was chowing down on glazed donut cheeseburgers and bourbon chocolate milkshakes, I was dining out on a plain jacket potato. Not cool.

Anywho, for the day-long event I decided to throw caution to the wind and wear white plimsolls (something that would NEVER happen at a UK festival), some slouchy black trousers and two new additions to my wardrobe – this paid shirt from Zara and a black bowler hat from H&M, which has been on my list to buy for ages. I love my bottle green bowler hat and maroon fedora, but a black hat goes with everything so I know I’ll get a lot of use out of it. Here are a few snaps from my Outside Lands experience. Who knows, this post could be coming to you from Coachella…

Red plaid shirt –  Zara / Slouchy black trousers – Matalan / Red leather satchel – c/o Dr Martens / White plimsolls  – c/o Toast

Outside Lands programOUtside Lands Twin Peaks stageZara red plaid shirtOutside Lands grafittiOutside Lands outfitOutside Lands in Golden Gate ParkOutside Lands wilderbeast sculptureZara shirt and HandM hatOutside Lands 2015 posterLaura Marling at Outside LandsBloglovin |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

Whole30 for Beginners: My Experience

My Whole30 experienceIt’s been 10 days since I finished my first Whole30 and as it was such a positive experience I wanted to share it here, in case any of you are thinking of trying it for yourselves. This is going to be a long post so grab a cuppa –hold the milk – and take a seat while I chat about Whole30 for beginners.

If you haven’t heard of Whole30 before, it’s basically a healthy eating program that focuses on eating only whole foods like fruit, veggies, eggs, fish and meat (and forgoing sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes) for, you guessed it, 30 days. It is a very restrictive diet by modern standards (no pasta or bread for a month? Eek!) but I wanted to try it for several reasons.

The first was that I wanted to curb the amount of refined sugar I was eating. I know it’s now fashionable to renounce sugar but with good reason – I was craving the sweet stuff after every meal and didn’t like how reliant I was on it to cheer me up. I also felt like I’d reached a plateau with my body in terms of how it responded to exercise – despite working out up to six times a week for the last six months, I hadn’t seen many physical changes. Finally, I wondered if my diet could be the reason why I often feel bloated after dinner and that my skin hasn’t looked so hot for the last year or so.

Before you read on to find out how my first Whole30 experience went, let me preface this by saying that I have never dieted or made significant dietary changes in my life. Before our wedding I stopped drinking alcohol and went from eating macaroni cheese five nights a week to once a week – that’s about as dramatic as it gets. My willpower, especially when it comes to food, is pretty much non-existent, so these observations really are from a complete Whole30 newbie.

Whole30 meals for beginnersWeek One:

I decided that if I could make it past the seven day mark that I could go the distance. This week was hard but not as hard as I thought it would be – I didn’t suffer headaches or notice any strong sugar cravings, but I did get tired very easily. I checked out It Starts With Food from the library, jumped on the spiralizer bandwagon and realised that cauliflower and I got off on the wrong foot – it’s seriously tasty as a sauce and as an alternative to rice.

The one thing I would say about the Whole30 is that it’s basically impossible to do without eating meat or seafood. I don’t really like meat or eggs and I think my tiredness was a result of not getting enough animal protein.

Week Two:

Having introduced lots more seafood to my diet I felt a lot better this week. I wouldn’t say that I had more energy BUT my energy levels were consistent in the same way that they were pre-Whole30 – minus the constant snacking! By the end of the week I felt like I’d hit my stride with the program. I kept waiting to feel starving or a craving for sugar, but found myself feeling full and satisfied after lunches of sweet potato wedges and guacamole, and dinners of veggie bolognese on a bed of ‘courgetti’.

Whole30 meal photosWeek Three:

Dining out on the Whole30 proved tricky for me as I don’t eat meat or eggs, but I had some success with delicious salads at The Hall on Market Street, Prada 22 in Upper Haight and Blue Barn in the Marina. During this week we went to a music festival for the day and luckily I brought some fruit and nuts with me as the only option I had was a plain baked potato – on the plus side the queue for this food stall was nice and short! This is also the week that I noticed my clothes feeling a little looser. I’m not a fan of scales so this, and waking up with a flatter stomach, were good indicators of how the program was working.

Week Four:

I couldn’t believe I’d made it this far but something about being so close to the end meant that resisting temptation was harder this week. Apparently the last few days are often when participants see the most changes in their body and while my skin looked great and well hydrated, I also came down with a cold – typical!

Cold aside, I noticed so many positives in the final week. Over the 30 days I lost at least seven pounds (no exact figure as we don’t own any scales, so this is based on recent weigh-ins at the gym/doctors office), I dropped a dress size and my face looks a little slimmer. I don’t find myself craving sugar, my skin looks great, my energy levels are consistent, despite going from eating/snacking several times a day to sticking to three meals a day (for the most part), and I don’t feel bloated after every meal.

Whole30 mealsI’m currently in the middle of the reintroduction process, which I can blog about later if you’re interested in a Whole30 update, but for now my advice to anyone thinking about undertaking their own Whole30 would be to just do it! Also, pick up a copy of It Starts With Food by Whole30 founders Melissa and Dallas Hartwig before you start, as there are lots of detailed explanations in there as to how to get the most from the program and why certain foods can make you feel the way they do. If I can, you can, and even if the outcomes aren’t as dramatic as the ones in the book, giving your sugar addiction the boot has got to be a good thing, right?

Would you consider trying the Whole30? Perhaps you’ve already tried one and seen the benefits? Let me know in the comments!

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A Day at the Seaside

Posing by the Cath Kidston beach hutsAren’t those Cath Kidston beach huts gorgeous? This day feels like months ago but it was only six weeks ago that I was on British soil, having the loveliest day by the seaside with my parents.

I grew up in Bournemouth, where these photos were taken, and have many fond memories of summer weekends spent at the seaside, carting cool boxes of sandwiches and inflatable rubber rings from car to beach, jumping waves and eating Calypso ice lollies. Even the time I was chased into the sea by a determined wasp who was after my foot-shaped ice cream (does anyone remember those!?) is now viewed solely through rose-tinted glasses.

Fast-forward twenty years and visit to the UK in summer could only mean one thing – a walk along the seafront. The three of us ate delicious New Forest ice creams, soaked up the sun and marveled at the beautiful colour-coordinated beach huts. For the occasion I wore this pretty jersey dress from Warehouse. I actually picked it up in the sale a few days earlier as I didn’t pack enough clothes for the whole trip, at least that’s the story I’m sticking to…

It was lovely to be able to spend an extra week in the UK and have some quality time with my family – weekly Skype chats are the best but there’s nothing quite like a stroll along the seaside with two of my favourite people to make the perfect day out.

Many thanks to Papa Ship-Shape for taking these photos!

Monochrome Breton dress –  Warehouse / Oak ‘Effie’ bag – Mulberry / Gold sneakers  – Zara

Seaside sunshine in my eyes poseRandom Acts of Kidston beach hutsStripes and sunshine at the beachRainbow beach huts at Bournemouth beachMonochrome stripes and colourful beach hutsNew Forest icecream at the seasideCath Kidston beach hutsBloglovin |Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

The Little Things #15 – Kittens and Whole30 Escapades

The Little ThingsIt’s that time again – a quick stock-check of life to appreciate all the little things that make life sweeter. The last month has been full-on with the notable arrival of kittens to the Ship-Shape household! I’ve also thrown myself back into exercising and a new eating plan with gusto. Here are the little things I’ve been loving in August…

Blogging about: My cheap-as-chips vintage wedding outfit, a round-up of mini feminist book reviews and the British beauty essentials I picked up while I was in the UK last month.
Watching: Matilda at the Orpheum Theatre – we managed to get a pair of cheap tickets for this production and I’m so pleased we did as it was just as good as I hoped it would be, especially the sets and the actors that played Mr and Mrs Wormwood.
Making: So much food! Since starting Whole30, a healthy eating program that I’m undertaking to kick my sugar habit, I’ve tried so many new recipes – my favourites are tuna, salmon and sweet potato fishcakes, plush pan fried salmon with a mango and avocado salsa – delicious!
Buying: Lots of fruit and veg – I swear, I’ve kept half the staff of Whole Foods employed with the amount I’ve spent in there over the last few weeks. Also, I caved and bought a spiralizer – I bloomin’ love it and ‘courgetti’ is now one of my favourite foods.
Reading: It Starts With Food (the Whole30 book by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig) and Kittens for Dummies – never will I mock a ‘for Dummies’ book again – this one has been so useful to us in the last couple of weeks. I’ve also just finished The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi, which this month’s book club choice. It’s set in Afghanistan and follows the lives of two female relatives who experience the tradition of ‘bacha posh’, where young Afghani girls are allowed to dress and behave as boys. It was beautifully written and shed light on to the cultural practices of Afghanistan. If you enjoyed Tale of A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini then you’d love this.
Listening to: All the strange sounds our new kittens, Florence (pictured) and Yoda have been making. We’ve had them just over two weeks and since we introduced them to one another last weekend, they’ve been making all sorts of chirping sounds when playing together.
Wearing: Braids and Breton tops in Bristol.
Eating: Whole30-approved foods (see above). I’ve never dieted or changed my eating habits drastically before, so I’m amazed at how well this eating plan is working for me. I am looking forward to the day macaroni cheese comes back into my life though.
Enjoying: Spending time with our kittens. At two and three months old, they are a handful but a joy to be around. Watching them interact with each other, test their limits (and our furniture!) and being able to come home to them after a stressful day is simply wonderful. Nothing beats reading a book with a sleepy kitten curled up next to me.
Looking forward to: Starting my new job! I’ve been freelancing for British clients but I now have a full time position here in San Francisco – exciting times. I’m also looking forward to Christmas. There, I said it. I’m not wishing the rest of summer and autumn away and I promise there will be no more C-bombs for at least three months, but we’ve decided to come back to the UK for it so I’m already daydreaming about Mama Ship-Shape’s roast potatoes…

What little things have you been loving lately?

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Feminist Bookshelf pt.2 – Mini Feminist Book Reviews

Feminist book reviewsY’all know that I’m proud to call myself a feminist and as a result you may have seen last year’s post on the modern feminist books that I’d read recently. Since then I’ve continued to read up on the subject and the work of authors who align themselves with feminism, so I thought it was about time for another round of mini feminist book reviews.

Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandburg

I found this book in my local library when I was looking for the original Lean In – it’s the same book with a few additional chapters at the end for recent graduates, which actually were quite interesting to read, if not really that applicable to me. I may be late on the bandwagon but I think this book, written by Facebook’s COO, is brilliant and I found so many take-away points from it, particularly when it comes to planning too far into the future and mentoring. Sandburg has had some flack for her middle-class background and aiming the book at a particular type of profession, but I do think that anyone in any career could find parts of this book insightful and inspiring.

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

A collection of essays by writer, blogger and feminist Roxane Gay, this book had me laughing out loud at some points (most notably the essay on competitive Scrabble – yes, seriously) and shaking my head at others. I chose it for the book club I’m part of and although I found myself disagreeing with Gay on several issues, the book generated some fantastic discussions on race, sexuality and how women are portrayed in the media. The collection covers pop culture references, some of which I struggled with because I didn’t grow up in America, but also delves into ‘hard’ topics too.

The Female Eunuch by Germain Greer

Some might call this a seminal text, the feminist manifesto of of the 20th century, but for me it was a tough read, which makes me feel much like the title of Roxanne Gay’s book. It’s very academic, with references to studies, papers and research in every chapter, so I wouldn’t call it a light read, but then I guess it’s not supposed to be. Had I been around to read this when it was published in the 1970s it may have felt more relevant, but at the same time it’s interesting how women are still battling the same issues (discrimination in the work place, sexual ‘promiscuity’ etc) 40 years on.

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

I’m a Lena Dunham fangirl so I was eager to read this collection of autobiographical essays. Dunham goes into a LOT of detail about her sex life and bodily functions and many casual sentences sound like they could have come straight out of her Girls character Hannah’s mouth. This being said, there are some heart-warming chapters, particularly those focused on the joy of female friendships and the importance of helping other women. Also, the lists of what she has learned that are sprinkled sporadically through the book are laugh out loud hilarious.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

This is my current read and although it is similar to The Female Eunuch in that is a heavily academic text, it feels a lot more digestible. It’s so interesting to see the patterns throughout modern history that have bound women to their looks and the wider impact this has on society. I’m only half way through but already enjoying  it and learning a lot – I’m currently half way through the Hunger chapter that looks at the female relationship with food, a particularly pertinent one given that I’m currently doing my first Whole30!

If you’ve read any of these books I’d love to hear what you thought of them, and if there any you think I should read next, please let me know in the comments!

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