Review: Ivy Park

Let’s be honest… If you haven’t heard of Ivy Park by now, you’ve probably been hiding under a rock. So when the opportunity arose to review some items from the collection (stocked by JD Women), I just couldn’t say no.

The brand, co-founded by none other than Queen Bey (yep, the Beyonce), aims to take you from the street, to the gym and back again – in allllll sorts of style. We’re talking lux activewear, at high street prices. The best part? There’s no scrimping on quality either.

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The Leggings:

Any gym girl knows what she wants when it comes to a pair of leggings:

  • A thick-but-stretchy material, which SURE AS HELL ain’t see-through.
  • The squat-proof guarantee: when we drop it down low, do the leggings stay up? Don’t want to be giving any onlookers a cheeky (pardon the pun) peep at your peach.
  • A chunky waistband, because it’s most flattering, and also contributes to extra stay-uppiness.

Check, check, check – these leggings have got it all. Whilst the waistband doesn’t have a tie adjustment for extra peace of mind, they’re reliable enough at staying up on their own, because of the resilient, almost scuba-like material. SO GOOD.

They’ve even got a pair of built in undies – seamless of course, so no VPL issues. What more could you ask for!? I mean, really…

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The Top:

An oversized fit, teamed with drop armholes and a statement print. It gives off the kind of gym-chic vibe as seen on your Instagram girl crush (you have those too, right?).

This piece (along with most of the collection, when I think about it) is all about the little details. The tape trim gives just the right amount of sass, and a monochrome colour scheme is always a winner in my eyes.

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As a whole, the brand suggests a pairing of ‘technical innovation’ and ‘fashion led design’ throughout their collections; a very fair claim, I’d say!

I’ll definitely be buying some gym clothing from their collection (and you probably should too), stocked both in store and online at JD Women.

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Recipe – Iced Coffee Protein Smoothie

You wake up in the morning ready for your daily caffeine fix, and all you can think about is heading to the local coffee shop to grab yourself a sweet, creamy iced coffee.

A Frappucino doesn’t sound too bad for you, right? Wrong! The traditional recipe is full of refined sugar and artificial flavourings; just not what your body needs to fuel your day.

What you really need is a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats (for more information on this, see How to Fuel Your Body in the Morning). Who knew it’s possible to achieve this combination in a homemade Iced Coffee Protein Smoothie!?

With a little organisation, you can stock your cupboards with fresh and nutritious ingredients and satisfy your cravings the healthy way. So many people say that they ‘don’t have time’ to eat breakfast, but with this recipe, that’s not an excuse – it takes less than 5 minutes to make!

So next time you’re feeling tempted by a shop-bought, ice cold sweet treat and you’re just not ready to surrender your morning caffeine fix, why not try making this simple recipe at home instead? It’s SO much better than the original, and full of goodness that your body will thank you for.

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The Recipe

Vegan

Gluten free

Dairy free

Refined sugar free

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Ingredients (Always use organic products where possible):

  • One small cup of double strength coffee, cooled
  • ½ cup of natural dairy free milk. I use Rude Health almond milk because it’s delicious and free from chemicals
  • Two frozen bananas
  • Two scoops of protein powder. I use unflavoured Pulsin Soya Protein because it’s completely natural, but a vanilla or chocolate protein would work equally well
  • Two heaped teaspoons of nut butter. I use Meridian cashew nut butter
  • Two heaped teaspoons of raw cacao powder. I use Organic Traditions
  • ½ teaspoon ground vanilla seeds or pure vanilla extract (without ethanol)
  • One/two cups of ice, depending on how slushy you like your smoothie
  • If you prefer your smoothie extra sweet, you can add two medjool dates

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Preparation – The Night Before:

  • Brew the coffee and leave to cool, before storing overnight in the fridge
  • Peel the bananas and chop into chunks, before placing in the freezer in a tupperware

Creation – In the Morning:

  • Remove banana chunks from the freezer and place in the blender, along with cooled coffee
  • Add all remaining ingredients to the mixture
  • Blend until smooth
  • Enjoy!

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The great thing about this recipe is that it’s really versatile. Here, I’ve served mine as a smoothie bowl, topped with crushed pistachios, but you can also bottle it and take it on the go – perfect for those busy mornings.

The Danger of Diet Pills

In the modern world, diet pills are becoming an increasing phenomenon. The overwhelming desire to lose weight is leading thousands of individuals to purchase chemical products that they perceive to be a ‘quick fix’ to losing fat, fast. Manufacturers make far-fetched promises, the vast majority of which are not backed up with any evidence.

Diet pills tend to contain stimulants such as caffeine, dextromethorphan or ephedrine. These chemicals have the capacity to suppress your appetite and increase your metabolism for a short period of time. Both of these effects wear off rapidly, with no long-term alterations to your resting metabolic rate or the scale of your appetite.

Many of these products are purchased on the internet, and marketed as ‘natural remedies’ or ‘herbal substances’. However, the reality is that because such products do not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they can be extremely damaging to your health. Although ‘ingredients’ may be listed, you cannot be certain that this information is reliable.

Too often diet pills purchased online contain traces of illegal or extremely harmful chemicals. Recently, health commissioners have issued a warning about the substance 2,4-dinotrophenol (commonly known as DNP), which has been found in weight loss pills bought on the internet. The chemical, regularly used as a raw material to create explosives, has been directly linked to a number of diet pill related deaths.

Most deaths linked to weight loss substances occur as a result of a severely increased internal body temperature and/or an escalated heart rate, which eventually leads to heart failure.

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Both over the counter diet pills and those purchased online come with an array of other potential side effects. These include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver damage
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Disorientation
  • Sleeplessness

Despite these risks, the demand for diet supplements continues to rise. People struggle to come to terms with the idea that there is no ‘wonder pill’. Fat loss is a journey, and it occurs as a result of clean eating and dedication. Anyone can do it.

There are plenty of ways to boost your metabolism naturally, details of which will be included in my next post.