Posted in Dance, Lifestyle, Vicky's Tips

‘How can dancing improve office teamwork and productivity’ – Vicky Andreanska

“A happy employee is more productive, more energetic and more creative – hence the importance of creating a happy environment within every institution.” – Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

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Dancing is a powerful tool for building up confidence in your employees. It boosts up motivation and fitness levels which increases their productivity and it also teaches your employees how to improve their body language in a work environment.

There is no better way of getting all the members of your team working together, having some fun and interacting with each other in a way that would normally never happen in the office.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. – Maya Angelou

A short dance class once or twice a week will offer employees the option to have fun while mastering something new during the work week. It can be a very nice break for them as well as an opportunity to get the exercise boost they might need in the office. It’s been scientifically proven if we feel good physically, we can perform better intellectually and emotionally.

Here are the most beneficial areas, a dance class can have in work environment:

1. TEAM BUILDING

Dance Class is a great way of getting your employees to work together while developing communication skills and getting to know each other better in a fun and entertaining way. It is what team building through dancing is all about.

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2. HEALTH & FITNESS

Lots of employees spend hours sitting at their desks looking at computer screens and a lot of them even at their lunch breaks. Your health is at risk if you spend too much time sitting down with limited movement throughout the day.

Encouraging fitness activities in the workplace can be very beneficial not just for employees but for employers as well. Dance brings out more positive attitudes when at work, employees are less stressed and most importantly fit employees are much less likely to get sick which will result in much less absentees.

3. ENERGY BOOST

The endorphins released during dancing mean that employees have more energy and a more positive attitude at work. We know that sitting in one place for too long and looking into a screen causes energy levels to drop. A little dance can be a nice refresher and give your employees the energy boost without feeling too tired afterwards.

People Dancing at a Discotheque

4. CONFIDENCE BOOST

Dancing is a major self-confidence boost. As you dance you learn how to be aware of your body movement. It improves the way you carry yourself in team meetings or during presentations which could be a crucial ingredient for workplace success.

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5. IMPROVES CREATIVITY

“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play”. – John Cleese

Exposing your workers to a creative task that might be outside their comfort zone, such as dance will challenge their minds and also give them an opportunity to explore something completely new.

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5. BRINGS FUN AND APPRECIATION

Young happy couple dancing at home and laughing.

Bringing fun activities into the work place shows your employees and colleagues that their health and wellbeing is important to you. Employees are happier and more alert which results in them being more productive. Giving your employees an opportunity to learn a new skill like dancing could be a special and lovely way of saying “Thank you for your hard work” and the bonus is: IT’S FUN!

Whether you decide to bring some ballroom dancing classes or fun modern dance classes into your workplace – you can never go wrong. On top of all that you might get to show off your team’s new moves at the next party or even in a short video.

In the past I have been asked to teach one of the businesses in Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow a simple dance routine. All members of the team gathered in the main room twice a week for 45 minutes of dancing, to learn and practice a dance routine to the song of their choice. It was something new for every one of them. It was challenging, a lot of fun, very uplifting and it brought a lot of entertainment and smiles to their work day. After four weeks of dancing they did a fun video shoot to showcase their daily office tasks and how the company works on day to day basis mixed with the actual dance they have learned. In their case they used the video as part of their customer facing content providing visitors with an idea of who they are as well as the service they provided. It’s a clever and very unique way to showcase your company culture or even a product offering.

You can check out the video we did with this company below:

They brought dancing into their workplace and THEY LOVED IT!

Are you interested in seeing how dance can help your company?

For more information do not hesitate to contact us here:

www.dancegreystones.ie or www.facebook.com/zumbaanddancewithvicky

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZqKVyPLUXsGWt-XJ5FxJlg?view_as=subscriber

Dance classes, choreography, video production & final edit are all provided in the package.

Vicky x

Posted in Dance, Lifestyle, My story, Q & A

‘Q & A with Vicky’ – Vicky Andreanska

I often get asked a lot of questions whether it comes to my personal or professional life, so I have decided to do a Q & A style blog especially after welcoming so many new members to our Dance Fam in January. I have chosen 20 of the questions I was asked and answered them in this blog post.

I hope that thanks to this blog you’ll get to know me a little better.

Vicky x

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1. What age are you?

I am 34. I will be 35 in June.

2. What was your very first job?

My very first job was when I moved to Ireland in July 2006. I moved right after graduating from college and I was a waitress in ‘The Coffee Shop’ in Wicklow Town. I worked there for exactly one year and after that I started working as a Fitness Instructor and Swim Teacher in Coral Leisure Centre. I stayed there for another year before I started working in ShoreLine Leisure Greystones. I was in ShoreLine for eight years until I had my son Nico. After maternity leave I decided to focus on my own thing, which is Dance.

3. How did you get involved with dance in Ireland?

I was a dancer in a dance group in Slovakia since I was a teenager. After moving to Ireland I started teaching Zumba® as part of my job. In 2015 I got involved in Strictly Come Dancing Fundraiser as a choreographer/ organiser and that led me to form a dance group which is now known as ‘Dance Greystones’.

I also got a chance to open a dance studio and build a dance community around Greystones & Bray area and get involved in multiple Dance Fundraisers.

4. How did you get the group together for Dance Greystones?

Dance Greystones is a group that has really formed by itself. It is a group that is open to everyone – complete beginners or intermediate and advanced dancers, any age, any background. Everyone is welcome to join.

We started with about 15 people in the group in May 2016. Some of them have stuck since the very beginning, some joined us along the way and some are still joining us at this stage. Each term is a new beginning for everyone so people are welcome to join at any stage and I’m very happy to see this group still growing.

5. What are your plans for future with Dance Greystones (are you planning any new things)?

My next goal would be to put on a showcase night ‘The Dance Greystones Show’ which would be a night full of creative choreography performed by Dance Greystones members. A fun night, filled with upbeat, energetic dance routines, nice food and positive vibes.

6. Why did you stop doing Zumba®? Do you miss it and do you think you will start the classes again soon?

I got a lot of questions about this. I have to be very honest with you, I absolutely love Zumba® and yes I miss it very much. The reason I stopped teaching Zumba® was simply because I found it very difficult to commit to weekly classes. As much as I enjoyed every second of the actual class, it was before and after the class where I often struggled. I was always running late, it was the process of getting to the class, getting a sitter and stuff around it that was getting too difficult for me. It just simply ended up being so stressful that it took the enjoyment of the class away from me. It got to the point where I felt burned out and my body was also giving me signs that I needed a break.

Despite all of the above I really miss Zumba® and hopefully I will get back to it in the future. Either way, I will keep you posted.

7. What is your goal in life?

Enjoy the moments, take chances, keep working hard, travel, BE HAPPY.

8. What do you consider to be a highlight of your life so far?

I still sometimes can’t believe someone calls me mommy. Being a mom is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me and I wake up every morning feeling so lucky.

9. Would you like Nico to be a dancer one day?

Nico has a natural rhythm and he has definitely got the moves however, I would never force him to do anything. Whatever he decides he’d like to do I will support him 100%. At the moment he is really into tennis, swimming & football and I’m all for that. But don’t take me wrong – every time I’m choreographing at home he joins me and he throws some serious moves – so you never know 🙂

11. Would you like more kids?

Yes. If it’s in the cards for me, I would definitely love more kids one day.

12. It’s very unusual to see ex partners to get on so well and be such good friends as you and Kamal are. What is the secret?

This is another question I get asked very often. There is no secret. I know because we’re not a couple, our situation might not be “normal” to most, but Im so happy and thankful for the relationship we have. No matter what we always stay focused on the fact that we brought a beautiful baby boy into the world and he is all that matters.

It didn’t work out for us as partners but we care about each other very much. We want each other to be happy and we support each other in everything we do. We are best friends and most importantly we are a family and always will be.

In saying that of course we sometimes clash and drive each other crazy, but who doesn’t? That’s life and we all learn as we go.

13. How are you always so full of energy?

It might seem like that but trust me I am far from that. It’s funny but I feel like the more projects I’m working on, the more energy I have. It’s very rarely that I am bored but I think that’s when my energy levels go down. I feel like I get energy from the jobs I’m passionate about.

I’m also a strong believer that we all need to recharge the batteries now and then. For me it is a vacation whether somewhere abroad or even just a weekend away with the girls. Just a time to switch off and do ‘you’.

14. What dance class apart from yours would you recommend for beginners or advanced dancers?

It depends on what kind of dancing you are interested in. I definitely recommend Xquisite Dance School with Nicole Kelly & John Nolan. They cater for beginners and advanced dancers and they’re amazing (they now teach in Bray too). If you’re more interested in the fitness element then I definitely recommend Zumba® with Susan in Enniskerry or Hip Hop with Rachel (UrbanX Bray).

15. Do you recommend yoga and why?

Yes. I’m not a yoga instructor but I absolutely recommend it. Yoga is great for the body and the mind. Sometimes I suffer with anxiety and I find yoga amazing for helping with that. It is also great for core strength and stretching the body out. There are lots of different types of yoga classes to choose from and I’m sure everyone can find something that suits their needs.

16. Do you work on any projects with other dancers?

I had the pleasure of working on different Strictly Come Dancing Fundraising events with some amazing choreographers and dancers like: Kelly Smyth, Rachel Smyth, John Nolan and Nicole Kelly.

Since becoming a Zumba® instructor in 2011 I have also worked on many Zumba® events with some incredible instructors. The Zumba® Instructors Community in Ireland really is amazing. I worked closely with The Move Me Ireland Team which I was a part of (Donna Murphy, Laura Jurgelionyte, Justyna Mikolajczyk, Geoff Lynam & Susana Murphy).

At the moment I’m starting a new venture with a choreographer Victoria Haskins, as we’re taking on another Strictly Come Dancing Fundraiser for Wicklow Educate Together starting in February.

17. Would you take part in a project as a dancer rather than a choreographer/ teacher?

I really love being a choreographer but I have to admit I do miss dancing a lot. I would be absolutely delighted to be involved in a project as a dancer.

18. How do you choose the songs for your classes?

In general I usually either try to go with what’s on or current at the time or I go with the suggestions from the members of the group and what they enjoy the most. It has been proven they like musicals and movies the most so I always try to find the happy medium. Also what plays a big role in the song choice is the actual video and the story in the video as we always strive to re-enact the original.

19. Who are your favourite ‘celebs’ for inspiration?

Depending which area of life we’re talking about. But for lifestyle in general it would definitely be instagrammers who keep it real and who have the similar interests so I can relate to them. I have a good few who I like and get inspired by but my top 5 would be:

1. Alexandra Orviska

2. Ashley Louise James

3. Kamila Sikl

4. The Sikls

5. Kass Martin

20. Do you always eat healthy and exercise much? What are your views on diets?

I’m definitely not a fan of any diets. In my opinion dieting is always temporary and it will end up backfiring on you in the long run. I think making small changes that fit into your lifestyle is the healthiest way to success.

When I’m trying to get or stay in shape I always try and eat healthy foods, consistent meals, regular portion sizes and also have small snacks and drink a lot of water.

I try and be as active as I can and other than my regular classes I strive to fit in some other types of workouts at least 2-3 times a week, obviously depending on how flexible my schedule is. I’ve got to admit, I let myself go in December a little (too many parties and excuses like “sure it’s Christmas”), but January has been quite good and I’d like to continue that way. I also think it’s ok to go out and have a cheat meal now and then, as long as you’re working hard and keeping the commitment.

Thank you all for your questions & I hope you enjoyed the read.

Love, Vicky x

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Posted in Lifestyle, My story

‘My Vegan Story – Sarah Cox’

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals – for food, clothing or any other purpose. It is the fastest growing health movement.
Going vegan is definitely a big life choice and more and more people are starting to become vegan these days including a lot of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce & Jay Z, Olivia Wilde, Ellen Degeneres and many many more.
“Being a vegan is not always easy and accessible. But it’s a way of life and makes me as a person feel really good and physically look better” – Olivia Wilde
I have to be very honest, I used to think I had enough knowledge about veganism, but when I actually had a proper conversation with one of my closest friends Sarah, who is the most passionate vegan I know, about what being vegan is actually like, I realised I used to make a lot of assumptions and my knowledge wasn’t half as good as I thought it was. I know I used to think lots of vegans are vegans because it is a trend these days. I used to think vegans can’t be that healthy, sure how are they getting all their protein? And I’m sure I am not the only person who has ever had these thoughts.
Not so long ago I got into a very deep conversation about it with Sarah and she completely changed my view and opinion on it. I’m so happy to be able to share her knowledge and beliefs with you all.
I’m sitting in a coffee shop with Sarah elaborating on our previous conversation to get an overview of what’s behind it for her personally. She has agreed that it may be a fad for those doing it for health or physical improvements however for most people including her it is a philosophy, a way of living. As I mentioned above, the biggest question in my head always used to be where do vegans get the protein from. Sarah was very quick to educate me. Do I actually really know anyone with protein deficiency? No.
Beans, lentils, nuts, chickpeas, just to name a few are a low fat high source of protein.
As Sarah sips her oat milk latte, she begins to tell me her personal story and strong beliefs on why a vegan diet is so important to her. For anyone who isn’t entirely sure what veganism is and what is behind it all, here is an inspirational story about Sarah’s vegan journey and why she is so passionate about it.
Sarah:
Let me first start by saying not all vegans dislike people as it is often assumed.
This path was started on long before people knew what they know now, long before we could afford compassion, long before the Earth began to crumble under the pressure of our frivolous wants. What has happened has happened and nothing will change the past, the present however is in our hands and what we choose to do now will effect the future for better or worse.
I knew from a very early age that I didn’t feel comfortable with how we treat animals. By the age of eight I stopped eating red meat and by the age of eleven I was vegetarian. As a child I dreamed of a world where all life was respected and love and compassion reigned supreme. The problem with having a dream so huge is that all other achievable dreams seem pointless without it. It took and still takes most of my focus and I tend to feel stranded on a strange and scary planet most of the time.
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Becoming a mother only heightened my sensitivity to others, I stopped being able to brush off images of starving children, of children in Gaza, of children being washed up on beaches trying to escape war. All I could think of was their mothers, that desperate dread they must be consumed by. I also dwelled on the fate of fellow animal mothers. They too (as we do) have that love for their child, that bond, that amazement at who they have brought into the world, but we take that baby from them, their little creation and we sell it, boil it, mutilate it, skin it, eat it, poison it, use it for our entertainment and the list could go on.
It isn’t natural. No matter what argument I am given, I will never accept our treatment of animals or our environment as natural it’s just been normalised . The lions pray is free until the day it dies, ours is locked up from the day it’s born.
“The idea that someone lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world”. – Paul Farmer
In 2010 the UN concerned with Climate Change made a call for people to consider a meat and dairy free diet. Mary Robinson (former president of Ireland and UN high commissioner for human rights) set up a charity – Climate Justice . This was to help people least responsible but most effected by global warming. She too urged for a change in diet to slow the deterioration of the atmosphere. Today alone an ice mass the size of Great Britain crashed into the sea in the Antarctic. This will raise sea levels by one meter. It’s happening as I type and I wouldn’t be buying a seafront property, even if I could afford it.
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So here I am in a world I feel too sensitive for, crying most days feeling useless and alone in my thoughts and when the vegan bandwagon came by I jumped in and held tight, for me it was hope.
This bandwagon came with people who thought like me, who felt how I did, who verbalized my ideas. There were nutritionists dedicating their time for free to ease a healthy transition. There was lots of support and tips and recipes shared, stories and dreams. I became excited about the power of food, about what food did for our bodies and health, how great I could feel – strong and full of energy. I started to value food more then I ever had before. I found it funny to turn my ideas about food upside down learning that oranges and broccoli have calcium and oat milk is rich in beta glucans.
I enjoyed food on a different level instead of it tasting nice, it tasted powerful.
So on a planet where the sea is filling with plastic, the forests are being cut down, the ice is melting, children are starving, animals are suffering and people are searching for another planet to call home, I made the changes I felt necessary to feel OK about myself.
I stopped funding anything that uses animals, I make eco bricks with soft plastic, I read labels and try to avoid palm oil, I carry a bottle of sugar water in summer to hydrate tired bees. Making little changes and taking responsibility for your choices is the best we can do. Find a good path and don’t be afraid to share your ideas. If people want to join you – the more the merrier.
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Sarah x
Posted in Lifestyle, Vicky's Tips

‘My tips on eating out’ – Vicky Andreanska

“You don’t need to eat less, you only need to eat right.”
Lots people have been asking me about tips on eating out while still staying on track with a healthy eating regime, so I decided to share this blog with my main few tips.
I went through times when I felt like I’m avoiding going out for dinner or brunch because of the fear that all my hard work in the gym or other workouts will simply go to waste. The mad part is that I really enjoy eating out, who doesn’t? Which means I was avoiding something I really liked to do. When going to eat out in a restaurant, it is usually considered a treat. But eating out doesn’t always have to be something that isn’t healthy or in sync with your health goals. In fact, many restaurants do meals that are just as healthy as the food you cook at home. They all have their healthy and unhealthy options, you just need to know which ones to go for.
In this blog I put together my main few tips on eating out.
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1. Make sure you’re not starving before you go out for dinner
Many times we let ourselves go hungry all day just to make up for eating out at night. That’s the wrong way of thinking. You should eat during the day the way you always do and even have something small (a snack) about hour or two before your dinner.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
You don’t always have to stick to what’s written on the menu as most places are happy to make adjustments for you. Just don’t be afraid to ask. For example you can ask to have your sauce on the side just as a dip instead of having it all over your meal or get a side of extra virgin olive oil, a few lemons and balsamic vinegar to make your own dressing.
3. Choose the veg instead of fries
When choosing the side to your meal, try and change fries for the veg or try opt for the healthier option – sweet potato.
4. Avoid fried foods and creamy sauces
5. Drink water
Drinking water will slow you down from eating your food too fast, which will also help you enjoy the food more. Maybe ask for a slice of lemon with it and try to get used to drinking water as your main beverage while eating.
6. Try avoid fancy drinks
When you’re out for a dinner it is completely understandable and normal that you would like to order an alcoholic drink. Try to avoid cocktails because they include lots of sugar and tons of calories and flavors. Instead, order a glass of wine, a light beer or some spirit drink with tonic. These options will be better for your healthy eating goals, especially if you choose not to drink that often.
“Enjoy the journey as you strive for wellness.” – Laurette Caugnon Beaulieu
Vicky x
Posted in Lifestyle, Vicky's Tips

‘Getting Back on Track’ – Vicky Andreanska

Every time I’m writing my blog posts I always try to give advice and tips from my own past experiences. However we all know life happens and sometimes it gets a bit hard to practice what we preach.
The main reason why I decided to write this blog is that for the past month or so I’ve been finding it quite difficult to keep fully on track. I’m staying up late – not getting enough sleep, no meditation, eating out a lot more often than I’d like to and just a quick workouts here and there. Except my own dance classes, my workouts aren’t really consistent. As I type this, I’m sitting in The Happy Pear Cafe in Shoreline Gym, eating their yummy porridge and drinking my large latte. I do this at least three times a week for the past month and even though I’m here and the gym is only a few stairs away, I still find it hard to get myself up there and do my workout. I sit here and I work on my business.
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Now and then when the life get’s in the way, when we overload ourselves with lots of work or simply when something in life doesn’t go the way we want it to go, we tend to neglect our lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise. It happens to nearly everyone and it doesn’t make you a failure. If anything, it makes you a human and it’s ok as long as you can recognise it, make positive changes and get back on track again.
I wrote this blog for anyone who would like a little kick in the right direction.
As I mentioned above, I haven’t been living the healthiest lifestyle for about a month. Last week I sat down and I decided to make a plan so I can change it and slowly but surely get back on the wagon. With only five weeks to Christmas, I have decided I’m going to take on a Yoga Challenge (30 days of YOGA) with two amazing teachers Aisling and Casey at Yoga Nest Studio in Kilcoole.
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What does the challenge consist of?
I have to take a yoga class every single day. Yes 30 classes in 30 days. Even though it sounds like a lot, I know myself and how I work. When I sign up and take on a challenge like this, I AM IN. I will always make sure I get to the class no matter what. For me it’s a great motivation that I need right now. And the bonus is, I love yoga and it’s benefits. I’m very excited to share this journey with you all so I will write a whole blog about it when I complete the whole 30 days.
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I only started it on Wednesday (five days ago) so I’m still finding it sometimes mentally challenging to get to the class when it gets dark and I’m comfy at home but once I’m there I just feel so good. I always leave the class feeling great.
It’s the same with everything, once you get into a regular exercise and healthy eating regime, you start to feel better about yourself and that feeling is addictive. Once you feel it, you then chase it – you crave exercising more, making better diet decisions and just taking better care of your body in general. It’s all about that healthy balance though.
I am a strong believer that there shouldn’t be a fad diet, complete detox or total deprivation.
In my opinion it should all be about small everyday healthy changes and choices that are going to help to make you eat better, have more energy and just feel a whole lot healthier.
Health is the result of a number of different factors including our mental, emotional, and social well-being. I don’t think it’s just about our ability to eat perfectly according to plan.
Here are my eight main tips to help you get on track:
1. PLAN, SCHEDULE & PREPARE
Sometimes you can get by without it but it is planning that helps me to stay on track. It helps me use the time much more effectively when I plan my day. I always do it the night before. I write a simple bullet point list of ‘to do’ things for the next day, which makes me feel not just more organised but also more relaxed knowing I’m ready for the day.
2. BE INSPIRED
Find blogs, programmes and other sources of inspiration to help you get back on track. I find inspiration being one of the most helpful things to give me that little kick I sometimes need.
3. SET YOUR GOALS
“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going” – Earl Nightingale
4. BE ACTIVE EVERY DAY
One class a week or even two classes a week are a great way to stay active, but I believe it’s important to be active every day. You don’t have to go to the gym and kill it for over an hour on a daily basis. There are so many more options, you can go for a quick run or swim or to your dance or yoga class. Or even just a walk with your dog. Being active is so much more than just the gym and I think the key is consistency and diversity.
5. CREATE A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD & DRINK A LOT OF WATER
Same as with everything else, food is not just black and white. There is no good and bad food. There are only consistent choices and you don’t have to cut things completely out of your diet and never eat the things you enjoy again. For me it doesn’t make sense. Especially because we wouldn’t be able to keep up with that long term.
In my opinion getting healthy and losing weight is about creating a healthy relationship with food, not the other way around.
And it’s also important to drink at least two litres of water.
“To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life”- William Londen
6. GET SOME ‘YOU TIME’ EVERY DAY
Always make sure you get some time in a day to do just YOU. We sometimes forget how important it is and honestly, it makes such a big difference. Spend that time whatever way you like, whether its meditation, reading your favourite book, listening to music, having a nice quiet cup of tea, go for a walk or a jog or even for a mani pedi. Just make sure those moments are with just you. Without any unnecessary distractions – just you and your thoughts.
“Your body needs rest in order to make progress” – Takacs
7. BE POSITIVE
“If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change your attitude” – Maya Angelou. Try and always choose a positive and cheerful attitude and see how your world changes for the better. People are drawn to those with a sunny positive vibe.
I’m not saying that you can’t feel emotions, but if you try and choose to see the bright side, the hidden blessings, the lessons and the opportunities, then you will not be so easily swayed by things that happen.
8. GO TO BED EARLIER
An hour before bed, turn off your phone and have a book in hand to read till you sleep – to be honest this is where I fail most of the time and it’s something I really need and genuinely want to change. Even when I manage to get to bed early, I always end up being on my phone for hours and go to sleep too late. So I have decided to turn off my phone an hour before I go to bed and see how I get on. It’s a bed habit I need to break.
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise” – Benjamin Franklin
Hope it helps anyone who needs a little push and also if you have any tips that help you getting back on track please make sure you let me know.
Thank you,
Vicky x
Posted in Lifestyle, My story, Vicky's Tips

‘A little break away in Bundoran and Surfing for the first time’

I think I might have found one of my new favourite places in Ireland or at least that I have definitely found the best place for a fun adventurous break in Ireland. I recently discovered a cool little town in Co. Donegal with beautiful beaches, lots of outdoor adventures and activities – Bundoran.
About two months ago two of my friends and I decided to do something different for this years Halloween weekend. We wanted to take a break but we also wanted to do something different. I’m a major snowboarding & wakeboarding lover so I thought it would be great to finally learn how to surf too.
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I’ve been wanting to do it and thinking about it for so long now but for some reason I never got around to it. My sister told me about a meet up group called ‘Surf Trips Ireland’. She has been taking these trips for a good while now, so I felt like it would be a perfect opportunity for us to do something fun and learn how to surf at the same time.
“I just wanna go on more adventures. Be around good energy. Connect with people. Learn new things. Grow” – Kid Cudi (Scott Mescudi).
When I suggested the idea to the girls they responded with a resounding YES and we literally booked our spaces there and then, six weeks in advance but in no time the Halloween weekend was here.
We decided to make it a road trip so we drove from Greystones with the first stop in Dundrum shopping centre for some lunch, then to Dublin to collect my sister and her friend and then to the final destination – Bundoran, Co. Donegal.
We arrived to the hostel at about 10pm that night which was situated right on the main street and my first impression was great. It had this cool and very chilled vibe about it with the surf boards hanging on every wall except for the bedrooms. It had a dining room, a sitting room that had the most comfortable couch where everyone hung out, a kitchen where everyone could go to and make themselves a cup of tea, coffee or grab a bite to eat and there was the outdoor area too.
We arrived about half hour before the rest of the group so we quickly checked in and by the time we unpacked the bus with the whole group was there.
It was a group of about 40 people and although we had never met before it’s safe to say the atmosphere was like none I had experienced. Everybody was so chatty and friendly and welcoming and you could tell that everyone was on the same positive happy vibe and it just felt so comfortable. The first thing I thought to myself was: “How is it possible that it took me so long to take one of these trips”?
I think the main reason why I never learned how to surf, considering that I am so passionate about snowboarding, wakeboarding and pretty much all water sports, was definitely the cold weather and freezing water temperature. In my head I always imagined myself learning how to surf in a lovely hot and sunny place with beautiful beaches so I could wear bikinis and have a cocktail afterwards 🙂 but hey, life would be too easy if it always went the way we imagine it in our head, right?
I’m a strong believer in pushing the boundaries and going out of our comfort zone because when we do, it’s kind of a big deal.
So I decided to give it a go and I wondered if it was going to make me feel anything close to the way snowboarding makes me feel and despite getting into the freezing water, it will be totally worth it.
SURFING
It was the first time surfing for all three of us and about another ten people from the group too. The rest of the guys either had some previous experience or were pretty much like pros so it was a nicely mixed group.
We woke up the next morning, had our breakfast at the hostel and headed to the meeting point to get our gear and to prep for our first surf lesson. With our “luck” the temperature was the lowest we’ve had so far in Ireland this year – a lovely 3 degrees, which meant the water in the ocean was warmer than the actual air. Yay!
But we were all on the same boat and it was all very exciting.

 

Once we were all geared up we got to the mini bus which took us to the beach with ideal conditions for our beginners lesson. It was about a 20 minute drive with the most beautiful views and even though it was freezing outside it was sunny and it all just looked magical.
While we were on the bus the driver/instructor pointed at the mountain ahead of us which was covered in snow. How cool is that? It was snowing on the mountain but yet we’re about to go surfing in the ocean.
We got to the beach, got our surfboards and we started a group warm up. Straight after that we had our group lesson on the shore where we were shown all the basics and after the lesson we headed for the water. I was all excited, full of adrenalin and really wanted to give it a go at that point.
Once I got into the water I completely forgot about the cold that I was feeling before and I enjoyed the whole experience to the fullest. It was a lot of fun experiencing it all with my friends. We were cheering each other on, but we also laughed really hard at our first attempts, wipe-outs and that first duck-dive that clears your head. It took me a couple of fails before I managed to stand up but once I did I could stand up every time and Im not gonna lie – I was absolutely chuffed with myself and was literally screaming from the excitement.
It was such an unbelievable feeling. It almost feels like you have a free ride from nature. I had so much adrenalin rushing through my body every time I was waiting on that wave which was followed by an extreme amount of focus that allowed me to forget about everything else. In that moment it was just the waves and me and it felt AMAZING!
If you ever feel like you would like to give it a shot, but you’re like me and you’re a bit hesitant because of the cold weather, please don’t be.
I promise you, the second you get into the water you’ll forget all about it and as I mentioned above, you forget about everything else in the world and it will be just you and the ocean and that feeling is so worth it.

“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

― Christopher Columbus

 

We stayed in the water for about an hour or so and then we all went back together on the mini bus. Once we got back we stripped off the wetsuits and put our warm clothes on and it had to be one of the greatest feelings. Not because we were warm again, but it was such a great and satisfying feeling that we had actually done it.
We faced the cold and we did something out of our comfort zones and for me it was definitely an amazing experience altogether and something I just want to keep doing.
“You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.”
— Barbara Sher
Also what was making this whole experience so enjoyable was the fact that we were surrounded by these amazing, positive and like-minded people who were always making sure we’re enjoying ourselves.

It’s the very first time I’ve been to Bundoran and whilst I’d heard of it and always wanted to go, I’d never really considered it as a ‘break away’ destination before, but here I am now singing the praises and telling you to put it on your destination list after only experiencing it for three days.

Bundoran is also nick named “Fundoran” due to so many fun activities available. Except that, there are lots of beautiful beaches, views and walks, cute little restaurants and pubs there too and in general this little town just has this amazing vibe to it.
Also as you might have picked up already from my pics above, I always admire the wall art and let me tell you, Bundoran has some amazing walls.
HALLOWEEN PARTY
That night was the Halloween party. We all got our costumes on and got ready for a party. We mingled around the lodge, had fun, drinks, got to know each other a little better and we danced a lot – which as you can imagine I enjoyed very much. The energy that night was just amazing. Everyone was enjoying themselves, the laughs were infectious and I remember I was jumping up and down, smiling ecstatically throughout the whole night just thinking, how amazing life is and how much I am enjoying this trip!
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On Sunday, our final day, we decided to take it easy and go for a long beach walk and explore Bundoran a little more.
It’s hard to believe I have never been here before. I think it is absolutely beautiful little town and it has so much to offer.

It was a great Halloween weekend for all of us. We met some amazing people, made friends and some great connections, surfed, partied, laughed and made some unforgettable memories. And of course I can’t forget – it was amazing to spend some quality time away and have long heart-to-hearts with my friends Sarah and Leah. To me it sounds like a perfect break away.

So what would be my advice to you?
When given the opportunity, step outside your comfort zone, push your own boundaries. You never know what you could learn about yourself and you may find so much fun along the way. It’s amazing how one weekend can bring so much to your life. New friends, new memories, new experience, new energy and also it can show you how easy and natural it actually is to connect with new people.
And I can’t recommend ‘Bundoran Surf Co’ enough! Absolutely amazing!
“Any time you can be with like-minded people, laughing or crying over the same joke or the same scene… For me it’s therapeutic. You just feel a little less alone on the planet” –
Michael De Luca
I’m already excited for the next trip to ‘Fundoran’ which we have already booked. It’s going to be a Christmas Surf Weekend and I can’t wait to continue on my surf journey and to spend another weekend with these lovely people.
What a great way to kick of the festive season!
Do you have any getaway destinations in Ireland you love to go to?
Make sure you let me know 🙂
Vicky x
Posted in Lifestyle, My story, Vicky's Tips

‘My story – Exercise and me’

Most of you reading this post probably know me as this active, non stop moving, energetic girl, who loves exercise and working out. And you are right, I do love exercise and being active since forever. If I go by what my mom tells me then its since before I was even born.
But it certainly doesn’t mean it’s been like that all the time.
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I went through periods of my life when I felt differently about it. I went through the times when I struggled and exercised for wrong reasons. I didn’t enjoy it at all and viewed it as something I had to do, not something I wanted or enjoyed to do at the time.
Everyone is different and everyone deals with their feelings, emotions, whether they’re good or bad their own way. For so many people exercise is something that helps them to get through the hard times, to help them stay focused or away from anxiety or just to get out and for an hour and forget about whatever they are dealing with in their life.
For others, exercise is a part of the day, part of their lifestyle and they can’t even imagine a day going without it because it makes them feel good.
Everyone is different and everyone should always do what makes them feel good – there is so many ways of exercising and what makes one person feel good doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what you will enjoy too.
What is a really strange feeling for me is that only now (while I’m typing this and thinking about it), Im realising when I was a teenager and pretty much up until about 4 years ago, any activities and exercise I used to do in my free time I did simply for the fact that I enjoyed them. I used to workout and move because i wanted to, because i enjoyed it and it made me feel good. It was never a case that I felt I had to do it in order to look “perfect”.
And if you’re thinking “Yea, it’s because you didn’t have to worry about your weight as you were never overweight”, you are right. I wasn’t. But neither am I now.
So why did I start feeling differently about it then? Why did I start feeling I had to go to the gym so I can get in shape, get skinnier or more toned? Why was I happy in my body before and not so much now? When did it change?
When I was pregnant I put on a lot of weight (26kg to be exact, which is a lot) and I didn’t really mind, I was pregnant so I felt ok about it. Then I had my beautiful little boy and I couldn’t be any happier. It didn’t really bother me that I wasn’t straight back in the shape, I genuinely didn’t care because I was enjoying the mommy-hood and didn’t think much about it. I have lost quite a lot of weight but I didn’t go straight back to what I used to be. And I couldn’t help but started to feel this weird pressure which is quite hard to explain. I felt like because of my fitness background, people where almost expecting me to get straight into shape, get ‘my body’ back straight away.
I could have been completely wrong but I subconsciously felt this pressure and only one small comment like “When are you gonna start working out?” or that one ‘look’ could easily make me feel like it’s a hint. So after a few weeks I have decided it was time to get back to the gym and work on my body.
Did I enjoy it? NO. Why didn’t I enjoy it like I used to?
To be honest with you, I was quite happy in my post-baby body. I wasn’t unhealthy, I was still active – walking hours and hours a day with Nico in the buggy, eating healthy food and I was happy. But with those little hints I was getting here and there (which I now believe I sometimes made in my own head myself) and the expectations I felt like I had to meet, even though I didn’t feel like hitting the gym at the time, I decided to just do it. I worked out because I thought people didn’t like the way my body looked and I started to believe it. I stopped liking my body and i was insecure about it. And I stopped enjoying the gym workout. In fact every time I went was a torture.
After a few months I was choreographing and organising a Strictly Come Dancing Fundraiser which took all my free time, so I didn’t get a chance to go to the gym.
That time I have finally decided to stop. Stop chasing this “perfect” body. I was just exhausted and tired of it – emotionally and physically too.
I decided I’m going to enjoy this experience of ‘Strictly’. I was having a great time choreographing, dancing and socialising, while I was eating good food and living a healthy lifestyle. I stopped focusing on the results, stopped stressing about it and simply
enjoyed the process.
And guess what happened?
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By the end of this experience I felt amazing. ‘Strictly’ helped me to forget about the pressure and just enjoy what I like to do. It didn’t just help my body but also my mind.
And to be honest I think I was possibly in the best shape I’ve ever been (pic with Nico).
When I stopped viewing the exercise as this horrible thing I had to do in order to get back into shape and started seeing it as a positive part of my lifestyle to move my body and stay healthy and even away from my anxiety, it all changed.
It was probably the best I’ve felt about myself (confidence-wise) since college.
Blake Lively once said: “The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence”.
And it is so true. There is nothing more attractive then confidence. It doesn’t really matter if you’re in a perfect shape really, once you feel good about yourself it shines through you.
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When you’ll look back at your life, will you wish you had a stricter diet or exercise regime or that you lived your life more? I’m sure nobody is going to say the first option.
But I know it’s so hard to think that way at times as today’s world is constantly promoting something else. And I know how easy it is to feel pressured these days (thanks to social media, photoshop, expectations, comparing and society in general).
I know it because up until few months ago I still used to catch myself wishing my body would look different – better. Telling myself i need to work harder to get to whatever image I created in my head for myself.
But why?
The difference between my body before i was pregnant (when i was perfectly confident and happy with my body) and now isn’t that big, at times when I’m being good and I workout as much as I’d like to, it’s literally minimal if any, so why do I care much more about it now? I’m older, surely i should be more confident knowing my body haven’t really changed? But somehow its the other way.
Somehow i feel judged, compared and not necessarily by others, sometimes by me.
Why do i do it to myself?
I’m not gonna give you the answer to this because i’m not entirely sure why and I’m not the expert, but i’m finally aware of how silly it is and for the past few months I’m trying to look at it differently.
I don’t want to sound preachy about self confidence and self love, as I’m definitely not 100% there yet, but I think I’m definitely getting closer to where I want to be. I feel quite confident and secure and even though at times I feel ‘out of shape’ – because life happens and sometimes I’m too busy, or too lazy, or caught up in a great tv series which is ok too, I also know I will always get back to it.
Exercise should be a part of everyone’s life cause it’s extremely important for not just your physical but also mental health. A lot of times for me personally working out helps me to stay away from anxiety and it also makes me feel good about myself.
I just think we shouldn’t spend hours running on treadmill if we don’t enjoy it, or count calories if it makes us stressed, but we should try doing workouts we truly enjoy and that make us feel good. These days the options are endless.
I know a few months ago I wouldn’t have shared these pictures publicly, as Im clearly not in the ‘best’ shape and you can see my rolls (it’s all about the angle), but I’m ok with it. I guess I’ve slowly learned I don’t always need to have a six-pack to like my body and because the last few months were a bit stressful, I didn’t get to workout as much as I would like to or as I should. But it’s ok. I’m just gonna ‘roll with it’ 🙂
I’m now finally starting to have more time for myself and I can’t wait to get back to the gym and dance more. And I’m also very excited about the winter season as I always go snowboarding, which for me is always super fun. I love to just grab the gear and hit the mountain and enjoy it to the fullest. And the bonus is – it’s also a full body workout.
So what is the moral of this story?
Eat good food, live healthy lifestyle and move for pleasure, not as a chore.
Find a workout that makes you feel good (whether it is gym workout, jogging, dancing, crossfit, boxing, yoga or walking your dog), a workout that you enjoy because only that way you will stick to it. Try and don’t beat yourself, it always takes time to see changes, just be persistent and patient.
And most importantly –
WORKOUT BECAUSE YOU LOVE YOUR BODY AND NOT BECAUSE YOU HATE IT ❤️
“Beauty has so many forms, and I think the most beautiful thing is confidence and loving yourself”. – Kiesza
Hope it helps anyone who do struggle xxx
Vicky x