I feel like last year sparked a huge increase in my fitness, in a few different ways.

In 2018 I...

- Ran my first Parkrun

- Completed my first ever 10K race

- Got actual visible abs for the first time in my life through HIIT

- Went to more hoop classes than ever before

- Tried aerial yoga trapeze

- Tried aerial sling

- Found my abs!

- Practiced yoga on more than an occasional basis

- Ran 6k by myself and didn't hate it

... and the list goes on.

This year I want to be a bigger and better one in terms of keeping fit. I'm not promising the gym every day because frankly, that doesn't float my boat. However I do want to incorporate going to the gym more often in an effort to improve general fitness and the conditioning needed to complete my actual goals.

I've got a few specific targets in mind to complete before the end of the year, so I'll be trying my hardest to ensure they happen.

Be able to hold a handstand

This was on my list for the latter part of 2018 but I'm still struggling to hold a freestanding handstand. The plus side however, is that I now feel much more confident in kicking up into the shape both against and away from the wall.

I have a few conditioning tips I've picked up over the last six months I want to put into practice and continue with the Cloud Aerial Arts #365handstandchallenge on Instagram (check out my efforts on Instagram @leannemariefitness)

Aerial hoop goals

I love hoop more than ever and hope to continue training with Leeds Aerial Arts this year.

There are some things I want to complete including a Russian Mount (this has evaded me for years!), hold a Planche in the hoop, take part in more doubles hoop, take part in an aerial photoshoot so I can have some professional progress photos and finally, Walking Man with pointed toes!


I can definitely practice enough to do the splits, I'm always just too lazy. Hopefully this will coincide with my hoop and handstand goals and I can combine them to make moves super impressive.

Run a half marathon

So as you can see, running became 'a thing' for me last year and I really want to keep it up. I'm doing Parkrun fairly often - not every week, granted - which I think is a great way of reminding me to run by myself at other times in the week too. 

Right now I'll be honest and say that the dark mornings and evenings are really affecting my running and motivation for it at the moment. I'm hoping as the days get longer I'll get the spark for it back again. Any tips would be appreciated!




Ice skating in Amsterdam Museumplein

My best friend has managed to bag himself a fantastic six-month contract in Amsterdam, so naturally, we just had to go visit him and celebrate an early Christmas together.

We landed on Thursday night and left on the Saturday so despite it being a fleeting visit, we managed to cram in various fun-filled activities (including a night out with the 'Dam's number one drag queen) which was everything we could have wished for, to be honest!

Close up of a breakfast burrito

Our first day breakfast began at Coffee & Coconuts, where we had an incredible breakfast burrito (yes, that's an omelette WITHIN a burrito). There seems to be a running theme of 'instagrammable' food places in Amsterdam, as our meal the night before was also in a bar surrounded by foliage aptly named Bar Botanique.

Best friends stood in front of Amsterdam ice rink

Me skating with a wooden chair

We headed to Museumplein to a huge ice rink they have in the city. As you can see, I am not the most professional of skaters and they have chairs you can use to assist you which is rather helpful. By the end of the session I did manage to skate freely by myself and we got to enjoy a pint or two between rounds. Beside the ice rink were also lots of Christmas market huts, selling more beer, bratwurst and pea soup than you could ever need.

At the moment the Moco Museum in this are also has a Banksy exhibition which would be an interesting visit if you're staying long enough. What put me off however, was that the exhibition isn't actually authorised by Banksy himself. Sort of goes against his message, doesn't it? I wouldn't judge you for visiting regardless, I'm sort of tempted to go back and check it out..

Best friends enjoying a beer in Amsterdam

Our 'big night out' consisted of a visit to The Queen's Head which gave us a fantastic night to be completely honest. I'd definitely recommend here if you want to venture to a friendly, gay bar with music to dance to and although we were too late to catch it, they have a regular drag show in the evening too.

We did however, manage to bump into the Queen herself Miss Diva Mayday who joined us for the night which was one of our trip highlights. The place itself is quite small so ideal for couples or small parties, but there are plenty of bars and clubs in the city to choose from if you have a large group.

Group photo before going outHuge Christmas tree in Amsterdam Dam Square

One great thing about Amsterdam is that the flights can be pretty cheap from UK airports, and getting from Schiphol to the city is really easy. A taxi takes around 20 minutes at about €20 euros, or there's a train and metro service to save some pennies. It's an ideal short city break.

I'm hoping to head back to the city in the next few months to revisit my BFF and explore a little more, so I will do my best to take more pictures!

Let me know on Twitter if you have any recommendations on things to do, or places to visit next time.




Curtains closed before a performance at The Grand Theatre

Having seen Casanova and The Little Mermaid of previous years, I was thrilled to be invited by Northern Ballet to see the Christmas performance of The Nutcracker. Even those who have never been to the ballet are likely to have heard of this story being performed worldwide, and it's almost certain you'll have come across the famous music from 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy'

Here's a summarised storyline of 'The Nutcracker' if you have never read/heard/seen it before:

"The Edwards family Christmas party is always wonderful, and as they prepare for this year, the children tease other and get ready for the most magical of nights. As the party comes to life, Uncle Drosselmeyer arrives and with him brings incredible presents, including the nutcracker doll for the youngest daughter of the family - Clara.

After the party, Clara leaves her present beside the Christmas tree. Following further fantastical tricks from Dosselmeyer, the wooden figure grows into a life-sized doll. When Clara awakes during the night, she heads downstairs to find that not only the room and the china cabinet are grown but also the mice! The Nutcracker appears and fights off the Mouse King and his minions, with the help of Clara's distraction.

The Nutcracker is then turned into a handsome prince, thanks to another of Dosselmeyer's magical interventions. Clara and her Prince begin a sparkling adventure on a sleigh, heading towards the man in the moon and a whole host of exciting, dancing characters. Clara is soon dancing herself and only stops to witness the most beautiful of all dances by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier.

Clara suddenly awakes in her father's arms, with no sight of sound of the magical entertainment she had witnessed only that night. She is upset. Surely this was not only a dream? With a wink and a nod, Dosselmeyer and the Prince are spotted as Clara is whisked back to bed to dream of fairies, princesses and ballet dancers..."

Tchaikovsky's score, choreography by David Nixon OBE and the incredibly talented dancers made for a very impressive show. The amazing costumes and set design were appropriately festive and the huge, oversized Christmas tree with gingerbread men decorations was a personal favourite.

Although the whole performance brings a magical atmosphere, Act II in particular brings so many detailed sequences and fascinating characters that it's difficult to not fall in love with the dancing.

I've visited the ballet ever since attending dance classes when I was younger and it's genuinely one of my favourite experiences that Leeds offers. Thanks to us having such a vibrant dance community, it's becoming far easier for everyone to get a chance to either partake in dance classes themselves or be able to experience a professional ballet show.

Northern Ballet have various performances coming up in 2019, including Dracula, The Great Gatsby, and the world premiere of Victoria. If you're interested in getting tickets for any of the performances or for further information, visit their website here.

I'm very excited to see what they bring to these stories, particularly ahead of the company's 50th anniversary next year!



I'm a big believer in putting things out to the universe in the hope they will happen. When making 2019 resolutions, it also means it is more likely to hold me accountable!

I don't have an issue with waiting till the New Year to change things about your life, or self. It's a great motivator and yes although you can change any day of the year, 1st January has a huge 'we're all in this together' feel, yanno? Anyway, here are my goals for this year. I've gone for a generic approach with smaller ultimate goals for each that I know are achievable.

Be the BEST friend

I don't think my friends would say I'm a bad friend but I feel personally I could put in more effort. This year I really want to make an effort to do more of the little, thoughtful things that a lot of my friends have done before for me. Life tends to get in the way A LOT as we all get older but it should never be at the expense of a friendship. Particularly if they're absolute real ones who I love to bits.

Ultimate goal: Get everyone's addresses written down for card-sending and throw someone a surprise party

Adult (a bit more)

This covers a few things including getting out of debt, saving for a house and in general being a bit better at adulting. This past year has been very different for me, as working part time naturally comes with a financial loss and it has meant putting a hold on big, future purchases like a house. That being said, I have loved every minute of it but in 2019 I want to adjust my focus and goals.

Ultimate goal: Save a chunk of money for a house deposit and pay off my credit cards

Focus on design

Although I love design, I never seem to put it to the forefront of my time - aside from as a job. I want to utilise my free time more to involve designing for me and the things I want to create. Not only will this give me another creative outlet but I think it will massively help me broaden my skills and knowledge in my career.

Ultimate goals: Take part in a design competition and open an online design shop

Hobbying along

I am fortunate to have a few hobbies I've found over the years that give me genuine enjoyment. Blogging, aerial arts, music gigs and reading are all things I love but some I don't always put time aside for. This year I really want to make sure I create free time in order to try new things, as well as keep up with with my current hobbies.

Ultimate goal: Move blog over to Wordpress and take part in an aerial photoshoot

Living that ECO life

I feel over the past couple of years I've been much more aware of the importance of living sustainably and having an eco-friendly approach to things. That being said there's a lot more I can do to reduce my impact on our environment, such as eating less meat and dairy, reducing my plastic waste day-to-day and clothes shopping less.

Ultimate goal: Change all makeup and toiletries to cruelty-free and host a clothes swap event

Wishing you all the happiest of years, and best of luck whether you've made some resolutions or not!

leanne x