I've had a lot of readers coming over to read my surgery and recovery posts so thank you so much to everyone who's reading and supporting me during my journey to health and fitness. It really boosts my spirits!

Since I'm progressing well I thought I'd take a look back at the past 5 months to remind myself of the challenges and the surprising positives I've experienced during my recovery.


As I always like to get the negatives out of the way we'll do these in reverse:


Cons


Waiting - Oh boy the waiting! There's a lot of it, and it can be so trying. The waiting to see progress, waiting to be able to move again, waiting on people you love to help you... plenty of time to work on patience!


Limited movement - Waiting leads us straight into this one. I had no idea how immobile I was guna be. It probably makes sense to everyone else but I hadn't been told anything about this so it was quite a shock. You definitely get a change in perspective, I could relate to others with a disability like never before.


Needing help - Ah to ask for help! I'm a pretty independent person, I'm comfortable in my own company but suddenly needing so much help was something I'd really not anticipated. I definitely had to learn to laugh at myself and disconnect my independence from my pride and dignity. Having a sibling help you put on underwear as an adult is a seriously weird experience, but you definitely get a good sense of humour!


Things take so much longer - Patience...serious patience...after the first two weeks I finally had enough movement that with some assistance from a nifty little picker and ooh about 10 minutes I could get my socks on! Woohoo. You can imagine how much longer everything took, but on the bright side I had some independence back!


Pain - That's probably the hardest thing. Pain affects all the others, and it was hard to go from being in pain to worse. You have this silly idea that the surgery makes it go away pretty quickly but I'm still working on this one. It's better though!



Pros

Waiting - I've always considered myself a patient person but going through this really tested my limits. I've learnt a lot about letting go, not needing to be in control and letting things run their course. It wasn't easy but I feel like I'm coming out with more than just a fixed hip, I'm coming out with some life skills too.

Maximum reflection - Although waiting has it's harder moments, it also gives you a lot of time to reflect. On what brought you here, on where the future my lead, and what you're really hoping to achieve. Its very rare you have time to sit and reflect without feeling like you should be doing something else. But being immobile well I really had that time, and I'm thankful for it because my goals are now more clear than they ever were.


Asking for help - This really taught me that it was OK to rely on other people more and that no one should feel guilty for expecting reasonable behaviour or kindness from other people. I've always done my best to be in the background and make sure everyone else's needs are taken care of. I've learnt a lot about letting go of that responsibility and guilt. That's been great for me. I think I'll always put other people first, but it doesn't feel so bad to put myself first when I need to.


Things become so much more rewarding - Everything that was once a little achievement is suddenly a massive achievement. Because it takes so much longer to get anything done every little achievement whether it was finally getting my second sock on, showering myself or figuring out just the right angle that I can lean down without bending to get the charger in a socket...all those things when I could do it really boosted my day and brought a smile to my face. Especially as I'm got more movement and needed less help, the milestones really were rewarding to reach and I can't wait for all those still to come.

Pain relief - With pain there comes pain relief! Not one to promote drugs at all, I can't deny those were some impressive pain killers. When they kicked in boy did they kick in haha! but also as the pain subsided with time that was great. I wouldn't want anyone to feel pain but as it reduced over time and I realised it was temporary it was great to feel it leave my body because with every week it meant something was improving.



OK I sort of cheated there, but I wanted to remind myself that in every moment I've found it hard or trying, I've also found some sort of value and reward however small. Being in a situation where you're forced to take time off also enables you to loosen the shackles of responsibility and guilt when you do so.


I've learnt a lot from having time off - that if it doesn't get done today it's ok, if I take time out, even only a little, to read or relax the work-life ratio can really be shifted, and that being self-reliant can be great but knowing people love you and you can rely on them too is even better.


I'm glad to be back on my feet but in a weird way I'm glad life forced me to face myself for a short period, I hope those lessons always stay with me.


Have you ever had to face yourself, or has an experience made you see something from a different perspective and force you to grow a little? I'd love to know about your experiences in the comments.


Until next time, be happy be healthy!

It's been so great getting back to a healthier, fitter me. Since I really upted my game I'm really noticing a huge difference in my pain relief and physical capabilities. I'm walking further every day, lasting longer in my routine and noticing a massive difference in my muscle strength and stamina. The one area that's taking a long time to really improve is in my core stability and activating dormant muscles.

With that in mind I've got some new exercises to add to my fitness routine, so I thought I'd share them and let you know how I've been getting on.


Most of my routine has stayed the same so if you'd like to know what exercise I do everyday you can find that by reading my first Fitness Diaries here. Once your done come on back and you can see what's new in the routine.



EATING

Since I've started to really push myself my appetite has been increasing, so making sure i'm fuelling all my growing muscles is really important. I'm not one to completely hideaway from snack foods as I've always been an everything in moderation sort of girl, but I've definitely been making a conscious effort to increase my intake of protein, vitamins B, C & D, and Iron. I've also been cutting out caffeine although I'm not a regular coffee drinker, I've a weakness for tea! So i've cut it down to just two a day and will often opt for a green tea (which happens to be my favourite anyway!), or a decaffeinated at least once a day. On a slightly similar vein I've also swapped dairy milk for almond or coconut milk to try and reduce how much dairy I consume. On the whole I'm doing really well with it I actually love alternative milks to that's a major bonus, but I really miss dairy I won't lie!

I've also been slacking a little on my water intake so I'm making sure I always carry around my 2L bottle so there's no risk of forgetting now.


CORE STABILITY


So onto the real stuff. The last time I saw my Physiotherapist I was really surprised by how little balance I have. Although my muscles are really responding and getting strong by the day, when she asked me to sit on a balance ball and lift my un-operated leg, I fell over! haha I couldn't believe considering how far I thought I'd come that something so simple would have me sprawled on the floor. After a good laugh I got back up and we tried again. It was pretty apparent that my core is really needing some work so that simple exercise is now a major part of my routine.

Sitting on the exercise ball I have at home, I practice lifting and replacing my feet one after the other for as long as I can without getting bored. I'm also practicing lifting my leg and holding it at 90 degrees and then raising my opposite arm and holding for 5 seconds before repeating on the other leg. I'll tell you, it sounds simple but it's really hard!


Still it's got to be done, and as a clever way to make sure I really work my core I've done as many people do and replaced my computer chair with the exercise ball. Any time I have to sit down - work/tv/food, out comes the ball and at a minimum I'm always engaging my core but whenever I can I add in my exercises. Hopefully before long I'll be back on top of this too and both sides will be equal.


MUSCLE ACTIVATION


So although increasing strength has been a part of my routine for some time now some of my muscles are still pretty stubborn - mainly my inner thighs and glutes. These resistance bands have been amazing in finally getting those muscles to activate.

One of the major changes to my previous routine is upping my squat game. We've finally moved away from the wall to make my glutes work harder, but we've also added in a leg squeeze so the thighs and glutes are all working together. You could use a small exercise ball for this but as I don't have one I'm a big believer in repurposing things around the house so depending on what's handy I now either place a chunky towel or my rolled up yoga mat between my knees so as I squat with my hips rotated back, I really have to squeeze to stop it from falling and I can finally feel my glutes actually responding! To then work the inside of my thighs I use the resistance bands, so it almost works in the opposite way. Squatting as usual but then focusing on keeping the band taught and at the same stretch without stretching too far or letting it go loose.


I can tell it's making a difference too because I'm experiencing a lot less pain when I sit down so that get a massive thumbs up from me.


I'm using the resistance bands to focus on my thighs but especially my inner thighs to get them working. I love that these bands are circular so all I have to do for this second exercise is step through, place the bands around my ankles, or below my knees, and do a size stepping action to create some resistance. Very handy when I'm waiting for the kettle to boil for that tea I'm not meant to be drinking!


I happened to have these long before surgery but I love them. They're such good quality and they are again eco-friendly like my yoga mat so they tick all my boxes. It's great that the set has so many different strengths too because I'm right down at the bottom using the green and blue ones right now so I know there's plenty more to keep pushing me as I get stronger.


If you're interested I'll leave a link to those too. I just picked them up on Amazon a while back and they come with a ton of exercises if you're looking to get fit without joining the gym, there's loads of things you can do to strengthen all of your body.


My resistant bands link


FLEXIBILITY

The last thing I've been really working on is my flexibility. I will celebrate the day I can cross my legs again but at the moment I just need to keep going. I've not got any new exercised for increasing my flexibility but like I mentioned in my last fitness post I continue to work on my 
10 heel stretches lowering from a step,10 second lying knee hugs, and a further 10 seconds with my operated leg stretched over the side of a bed/table. I think this may be the thing that takes the longest to improve because my hip socket it really tight now but I'm remaining positive.

Overall i'm seeing so much progress it's really boosted my optimism and my motivation to keep going. You never know I might be running marathons next year!
So tell me, is there any equipment like my exercise ball, yoga mat or resistance bands that you can't live without? Or is there anything you're really wanting to try out? Let me know in the comments and I'll speak to you soon!
Hi guys!

Yesterday I did a little thank you video to everyone who's gone over to my new YouTube Channel. It's so nice to receive such a warm welcome and already have so many of you over there.

I'm really excited to make it a new permanent part of this community and can't wait to share more videos with you.

To watch the video you can click on the image below or follow this link.


So I'd also like to reach out to you to find out what you'd like to see and make this the most enjoyable place for all of us! I have some ideas of what kind of videos I'd like to bring you - like music videos, lifestyle and home decor, DIYs and crafts, and hopefully some travel vlogs coming very soon!

But I'd also like to hear from you what things you'd really like to see. Is there anything on the blog you'd like to see more of in videos - Personal posts and chats, Hauls, recipes, food and health...?

Head over the the video or leave a comment at the bottom of the page to let me know what your favourite kinds of videos are and I'll do my best to give it to you!

I was also wondering what schedule would work best for you. At the moment my blogs go live at 7:30am (GMT) every Monday and Friday, so it makes sense to me to either post videos mid week or on the weekend, what do you think? I can easily change that if another day works better for you! For now I want to give myself an achievable target and post videos once a week, but with time I want to increase that too.

So that's my little update and thank you. Let me know what you think, oh and if you head over to the video from the blog, let me know with an "I came from TheasThinkings blog" comment so I know, and I promise to get back to you!

I hope you're having a lovely day wherever you are and I'll see you again on Monday with a new post!

xxx

In my last travel diaries we went back to San Francisco from my two month solo travels across America. I've been feeling pretty nostalgic again this week so I've revisited more of my travel photos and wanted to share some more of them with you.

This time we're heading back to Los Angeles. This crazy city has some real lovers and some serious haters, I can see the reasons for both, but for me LA is the place I miss the most. If I could go back tomorrow I would.

During my travels I spent the longest time in LA so I have plenty of photos to share but today we'll focus on just one topic. If you stay tuned and follow me on bloglovin', I'll be sharing the rest of my adventures very soon!

If you love creativity LA is full of it. You can find it almost everywhere - walking down the sidewalk, high up in the hills, surrounding the beaches, of course its many art galleries and museums, and even out among the hustle and bustle.

There was so much to see I certainly didn't see it all, but I wanted to share some of my favourites with you. These come from the many galleries I visited and the unexpected places I stumbled upon while out walking and urban exploring. Walking is definitely not the done thing in LA but if you do you can come across some great things.








Maybe not art, but while I was waiting for a tour it sure tasted like art!


The escalator that took you into the sky!


and the view from the top...

































OK well in this last one you can't see the instalment at all but it was a series of beautiful enormous copper sloping walls but at least there's proof I was really there! One of the few selfies during my trip!

I find Art so exciting and up-lifting. The incredible way it can provoke such an unexpected response, it really draws a lot out of me and lets me contemplate the greatest and simplest things in life.

Are you an art fan? Have you ever visited the galleries in LA, or do you have a favourite somewhere in the world? Let me know in the comments!
xx



This weekend I decided to experiment with some traditional recipe ideas and make something a little different using only the ingredients I already had in the house. I had to switch up some of the things I would have normally used but actually came out with a recipe that's my favourite yet!

This recipe makes 12 delicious muffins just oozing zetsy lemon goodness. Dry lightly flavoured cake be gone, hello lemon drizzle muffins that pack a punch!

These muffins would make perfect gifts for neighbours and friends, and are a great go to for having visitors round. You can whip them up in less than an hour, but your friends would swear you'd spent all morning making them! Being muffins means there's plenty to go round too and they'll last longer without going dry like a whole cake might. They could make a very special addition to a lunch box too if you can resist eating them all!

For this recipe you're going to need:


Cake
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
175g room temperature butter175g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
grated zest of 2 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
30g poppy seeds

Syrup

juice of 2 lemons
grated zest of 1 lemon
50g icing sugar
100g demerara sugar

First, Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 4 / 177° celsius


1. Sifting the flour and baking powder together, add all your cake ingredients into a mixing bowl (except the poppy seeds) and using an electric whisk, mix well for around 2 minutes.

Tip: Because of the lemon juice you might find the butter lumps and doesn't blend. Turn your electric mixer on to a high setting and with persistence they should get smaller and fold in.

2. Once your batter is well mixed and smooth in consistency, add the poppy seeds and do another quick mix to spread them evenly throughout the mix. Spoon your mixture into 12 muffin cases on a baking tray and put in the oven for 40 minutes or until a skewers comes out clean.

3. While your muffins are in the oven mix your syrup ingredients in a clean bowl. You want to mix it well so most of your sugar is dissolved. Don't worry that it won't all dissolve, the left over demerara with leave a crisp sprinkle of sugar on the top of your muffins.

4. When ready and golden on top, remove your muffins and immediately pierce all the way to the bottom of each 3 or 4 times with a skewer. Spoon equal amounts of syrup onto each muffin and allow to soak for at least 15 minutes.

When you come back to them your cakes should have soaked up all the syrup leaving them moist, super delicious and ready to eat all in one go like my family did!

By the time I had my camera handy only 4 were left!

I hope you found this recipe really simple and tasty. Let me know in the comments how you get on, and remember to tag me in your photos on twitter @theasthinkings!
I'm really excited to bring you this weeks DIY. It's been a long time coming I tell you, but I finally got round to it and to say a big thank you to everyone who's followed me and supported me I'm also doing a homeware giveaway, for reaching 500 followers on Twitter so keep reading to find that and make sure you enter!

I've been looking to bring some new style into my bedroom but with the limited space I've been struggling to find something that really makes a difference without taking up too much space. I also wanted something that I could easily change out with my forever changing personality without having to throw anything away.

So I bring to you - my easy DIY headboard WITH changeable covers! I've seen lots of DIY headboards flying around but I've not found anything that was so easily changed so I'm really excited to show you how to make this.

You can find all the details and specification for the one I made at the bottom of the page, but to see how I made it click the image below.



For this DIY you're going to need:

Plywood board 2-3cm bigger than the width of the bed, your desired height

foam measuring same size as your plywood
Wadding at least 20cm wider & longer than the bed head
Inner lining 2ocm wider & longer
Cover 12cm wider and twice the length of your headboard + 30cm for cover fold (and 2cm each side for seams)
6 large buttons of your choice

Optional


Legs 2cm x 5cm x height of your bed (with mattress) plus 2/3 headboard

Bolts to secure to board

My measurements:


Plywood - 140cm x 60cm

2" Memory foam - 140cm x 60cm
Wadding - 160cm x 80cm
Cotton lining - 160cm x 80cm
Covers - 160cm x 154cm
6 x 3cm wooden buttons
90cm legs + 2 bolts per leg

And now for the giveaway!



As a thank you to you guys, I'm giving away a set of these gorgeous Linen House Australia bed sheets. The colours are so perfect for Spring, and the 180 thread count makes them super soft.

These beautiful sheets RRPat £97.50*

If you'd like to get your hand on a set you can enter for a single OR double by following the instructions below!



Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unfortunately this giveaway is only open to UK entrants because of postage costs. Sorry for any disappointment. If you would like to see more international giveaways let me know in the comments sections and I will try to do one soon! A winner will be selected at random on 6th of May and notified on social media. Winners must respond within 48 hours or another entry will be selected.

xxx

*This is not a sponsored giveaway. All giveaway items were purchased by myself.
This weekend I decided to update my wardrobe with some new pieces for the work place. Most of my day-to-day outfits include jeans, or ... jeans, so I wanted to find some clothes that are still stylish but say "hey i'm a professional".

So I took to ASOS and find a ton of things, some I love and some I'm not sure about. Being a pair shape means finding tailored trousers that fit is nigh on impossible so some of these might be heading back to the warehouse but I'm really pleased with all the styles.




If you know of any good brands or designers for pair shaped figures please let me know, and let me know what you liked the most from my latest haul!
Since my surgery I've been desperate to start getting fit and work towards going back to the dance studio, surfing waves and back up the climbing wall.

Getting the motivation to start has been hard. It's amazing how much muscle mass you lose after surgery, being laid up for months doesn't help either! Since beginning to exercise again post surgery, I've quickly found out that things I could do easily before all this are now way to advanced for me, so it's back to basics.

A week ago I met with a new Physiotherapist who I know I'm going to get along with. She's great and really pushing me to get my mobility up.


So with a new plan and set of exercises in place here's my routine that's getting me back in shape, and my movement back to normal.

EATING

I always try to eat a good balanced diet and drink at least 2L of water every day. Sure, I have the occasional snack but most of the time I cook healthy varied meals to keep things interesting. At the moment I'm loving making a smoothie every morning before I get out for a walk. My favourite at the moment is Raspberry and Cranberry. It's really simple to make, just a handful or frozen raspberries, a generous heap of Greek yoghurt, full fat milk, a squeeze of honey and all topped off with Cranberry juice. A great mix of sugars,  carbs, proteins and healthy fats, a great start to the day.

YOGA


I've wanted to take up yoga for so long but with my hip condition yoga it wasn't an option for me before surgery. Now, hunting around online I've found loads of yoga videos for people recovering from hip replacement surgery so I was so happy to be able to incorporate them into my routine. Yoga either makes it into my routine first thing in the morning to wake me up or just before I go to bed to stretch out and calm my mind after a long day. At the moment I can only do very basic exercises but I look forward to building on these as my fitness increases.



STRETCHING

These are all the moves I need to do for my Physiotherapy. I try to do these at least twice a day. Once mid morning, and once in the afternoon to break up my working day. They only take 5-6 minutes so its really easy to add them into my normal daily routine and I can really feel the burn. My muscles are finally responding!

In my Physio routine at the moment, I do:

10 wall support squats
10 front lying leg raises on both legs
10 back lying leg raises on both legs
10 hip raises
10 sitting left thigh muscle tenses with a rolled towel under my knee
2 reps of 5 hip raises with a left leg lift and 5 with a right leg lift
10 heel stretches lowering from a step
10 pull backs with a band around a banister post
10 second lying knee hugs, and a further 10 seconds with my operated leg stretched over the side of a bed/table


WALKING

My daily walk is my favourite part of my routine. Over the weeks I've increased it and can now manage a good 45 minute walk every morning before I start my day. With my headphones in or the sound of the birds, I have loved walking around the parks and the seafront of my coastal home town. When I finally move to the big city, I won't have much more of the seaside but I'm really looking forward to stretching my legs in the many parks around London.

SLEEPING

In order to keep up my energy and motivation I make sure that as often as possible I get a healthy 8 hours sleep every day and have a pint of water first thing in the morning and right before I go to bed. The added exercise in my day really helps to make my sleep more rewarding because my body is actually tired by the end of the day!

I'm pleased to say that for the most part I've done really well to keep up with my routine and I'm really beginning to feel the difference in my muscle strength and support around my hip. My flexibility is still taking a while to improve but with some determination I know I can do it.

Have you picked up any new fitness habits this year?

My boating life is not one of glamour and glitz. You won't find me cruising off shore, sunbathing on the deck or throwing back champagne flutes.


No. When I think of sailing I think of muddy boots, strong waves and the boating tipping so far my heart races, moving my hands through the icy cold water, feeling the spray hit my face and a lot of hard work.

Every Spring as the weather begins to warm we head into the harbour to see what damage the Winter has brought and start to bring the boat up to scratch ready for Summer sailing.



She's not anything fancy but I love her none-the-less and the childhood memories will always bring me happiness..

Especially that one when I straddle two boats...and they decided to move apart (despite my desperate attempts to stop them)...and well you can imagine what happened next! Lets just say I should have been on "You've been framed". Magically I managed to save my upper half from the water, somehow!

Well this Winter was especially vicious. We had storm after storm and although the harbour is a little sheltered she took a real beating. We've got a lot of work to do but I'm enjoying the process.

Last week we started making progress -  we began to clean her up and order in supplies for repairs. It's been really nice to get outdoors and helping my Dad brings me a lot of joy. He wouldn't have the courage to go out on his own anymore, but I'm really glad that while I'm still living nearby I can be there to support him and help him enjoy a fond pastime.


That was also the first day I braved it and tried my hand at vlogging for the first time! It was actually a really fun experience and surprisingly more natural than you would think.

You can find out a little about my first vlog here


Since then I've also done a few more - one has gone live today, and the other will be up next week.

So far this season I've made it out onto the boat 5 times to fix this or clean that but she's nearly ready to sail and I can't wait to get out there. If you'd like to see a vlog next time I'm out let me know in the comments and I'll try t remember to take you with me!

So have you ever been sailing, or would you like to?

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