We all know that sometimes the weather can be daunting here in Glasgow, but we do get occasional sunny mornings when everything just seems better. Glasgow’s lively West End and Kelvingrove are famous for their loveliness, and the best way to start your day is to amble around and find a brunch spot to stop for a bite. If you need some inspiration; look no further!
Kember & Jones
Kember & Jones is the perfect location on Byres road for a quick stop after your 9am lecture. Well-earned and well tasty.
We tried the salmon and cream cheese on sourdough toast and it was delicious. The bread is baked fresh in store every day, and the smell of freshly baked bread will put some sparkle into any bleak Monday morning. The place can get busy, so you might have to wait for a table- but believe me it’s worth it. For our sweeter-toothed reader, the macaroons are heavenly (we recommend the blueberry!).
Average spend: £8 each
Finnieston was named 2016’s trendiest Up-and-coming place to live. And hand on heart, all the nosheries of Shoreditch would be given a run for their brunch money by Montgomery’s. A short walk from Kelvingrove park, the location is good for those needing some pep en route to University from the City Centre. The service is warm and friendly, and their huge coffee selection will leave you dumbfounded, and very caffeinated. The menu offers many-a choice- from traditional eggs to some tasty pancakes and waffles. I went for the waffle with blueberry coulis and whipped cream, which was a smorgasboard of sweet, tart and cool. My brunch companion went for a bagel with salmon and cream cheese- and neither of us left disappointed.
Average spend: £8 each
The Hyndland Fox
Although quite a trek from my flat in Woodlands, The Hyndland Fox is definitely worth the walk. Arguably, their brunches are the most Instagram worthy in the West End!! I ordered a hearty vegetarian breakfast, whilst my friend Ellie went for the more traditional brunch option of Hot Smoked Salmon with Poached Eggs. If I had to pick a downside to this place, I would say that was that the vegetarian sausages felt a little too healthy for my liking; I would have preferred grilled halloumi and houmous, as is served in TriBeCa Bar and Grill. The brunch here comes in at quite a reasonable price, considering the quality of the food, atmosphere and service: plates range from £6-£9. Bearing this in mind, I would recommend booking ahead for a weekend brunch, as it can get quite busy.
Average spend: £8 each
PaperCup West End
This edgy coffee shop and brunch destination is just down the hill from the library on Great Western Road, so if you were one of the first bleary-eyed academics into the library at 7am, this is ‘treat yo self’ central. Perhaps the best and most unique thing about PaperCup is the original and varied menu, which ventures past the standard brunch offerings: I had French toast with bacon and caramelised bananas, which was excellent. The shop is small and unpretentious; but it fills up quickly and you’ll be rubbing shoulders, elbows and knees with your pals before you know it. Cosy.
Word on the street, there’s also a very attractive barista who works there, who serves perfectly formed heart-shaped latte art!
A tiny hidden spot on the bottom of Byres road, isn’t exactly a brunch place, but they have an amazing set lunch menu on offer (£14.95 for two courses, and £18.95 for three).
Usually there is a choice between four starters and main courses, which gives you couple of options. I would say it is a great place to go when you are looking for something different, and interesting. We tried the braised ham hock with goat cheese and the Moroccan spiced chickpeas as our starters, both were delicious and my personal favourite was the whipped goat cheese. My friend picked the braised Ramsay’s of Carluke pork belly, which he really enjoyed. I went for the Ox cheek with some cabbage on side, which was also a great choice. Despite the slightly small portions, we couldn’t eat any desserts, so I will definitely go back to try those as well, especially since their pastry chef (Helen Vass) made it through to the final of Bake Ofreme de la Creme.
Featuring Jamie Patterson
What does being healthy mean to you?
I think health has two main components - mental health and physical health and that they're far more closely linked than people believe. Physical health is far more simple to describe; providing your body with the food sources it needs to function optimally (getting good healthy energy sources/vitamins and minerals etc), as well as maintaining a healthy weight and body composition - and of course exercising regularly. It's far easier to tell when your physical health is deteriorating, whether that's seeing a difference in the mirror, or being able to feel that you're less fit than you have been in the past (getting out way too of breath walking up library hill after a few too many nights out - we've all been there!)
Mental health is far harder to quantify, and often far harder even to identify its decline. However, I would describe being healthy mentally as being able to keep a positive outlook and enjoying life for the majority of the time. It's also unhealthy to expect everybody to be happy and smiling 24/7 - you can't be happy without being sad every so often, one can't exist without the other! For me, a large part of maintaining good mental health is making sure I eat well and hit the gym regularly and studies have shown that even as little as 2 mins of exercise can begin the release of endorphins that make us feel good!
Tell us about your new venture, 'The Session Plan'.
The Session Plan was born out of my experience whilst I was at university. I've always been really into fitness and training, but when I came to university that fell by the wayside as partying and going out took over. Although it wasn't the only component, being unable to find the balance of keeping healthy and partying contributed to me feeling pretty unhappy at uni and dropping out after second year. I decided I would instead pursue something I had always enjoyed - fitness and training - and qualified as a personal trainer to be able to share that passion with others. I was, and still am, very close to the friends I had made at university and as a result started making training programmes for them to follow. Word started to spread that my programmes worked and I started getting people I didn't even know messaging me to see if they could get involved. It seemed that there was a pretty big gap in the market for people who want to party but still want to look good and feel good - so as a result, I've created The Session Plan. It's a workout programme that combines my knowledge of the challenges of a party lifestyle, with my knowledge as a personal trainer to counteract these challenges. It's specifically designed for young people who want to go out and party 2-3 times a week, but are still keen to stay fit - and is the first fitness programme of its kind.
Why do you think it's important to factor in someones social life to your plan?
I think where a lot of people really fall down when attempting to follow workout programmes is that the programmes expect you to forget about everything else other than training and eating out of tupperwear. For someone coming from a relatively 'normal' lifestyle, its just too much of a shock to the system and ends up being unsustainable. As well as the that the first thing you're told to cut out is alcohol - which is pretty boring.
Have you found that maintaining regular exercise and having fun has helped with your mental health?
Absolutely - without exercise I can feel my mental health getting far worse and I find myself a lot more unhappy. It always amazes me the extent to which training changes my outlook on my day, and how intrinsically linked the training and my mental health are! I'm no mathematician but this equation definitely applies to me: 'A bad day = a bad day. A bad day + gym = a good day'.
What advice can you give to someone who is struggling to find the balance?
I'd say that knowledge is the key - if you can learn about what it takes to stay fit (diet/training) as well as know what kind of bad effects your lifestyle is having on your body then you're well equipped to start finding that balance. Going in blind and just hoping to wake up hangover free and hit the gym without really knowing what you're going to do when you get there doesn't really cut it.
To find out more about 'The Session Plan', please visit his official site: https://www.thesessionplan.com/ or visit his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SessionPlanJamie/
By Gillian Merriman
Yoga is increasingly becoming a popular way of relaxing and managing stress in both men and women of all ages. Stress can manifest itself in many ways from being unable to sleep, difficulties in concentrating and physical pain such as a stiff neck and back pain. Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can help improve a person’s mental well-being. As we roll into the second semester, deadlines and uni work slowly starts to build up and can cause that dreaded “back to school” feeling. Typically, my new year’s resolution has been to eat better, exercise more and to not go out as much which I usually don’t end up keeping up. Instead I have decided this year I shall join a yoga class with the goal being: To be able to touch my toes whilst standing up. As silly as it sounds it’s a realistic goal I think I can achieve, so why not try a yoga class.
Back in September I attended the free yoga session at The Movement Studio on Ashton Lane by GUCFS. I was both excited and nervous as I had only ever attended one yoga session in my life. To my surprise, it was the most relaxing hour I had since starting back at Uni. I wasn’t left in agony from being over stretched but rather felt stress-free and at ease with myself. The session began with some light stretching and gradually built up to more complex poses. The instructor made sure everyone was comfortable and performing the different poses right. Slowly different poses merged together and everything developed into a rhythmic flow.
Yoga has been shows to have many health benefits such as improved respiration, spike in energy, increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone. With over 100 variations there’s a level and course for everyone. Going into 4th year I have had waves of stress and episodes of panicking. So, as the new year is upon us I want to be able to dedicate an hour a week to yoga. T
The West End has plenty of places to visit and pop along to taster sessions so that you know what you would like to do. Bikram Yoga, The Movement Studio, Yoga Healing Glasgow and My 121 Yoga are just some of the places scattered around the West End and offer different levels and types. If you’re on a budget then just simply browse the web for videos that vary in length which means you can put 15 minutes aside every evening to destress, forget about that dissertation or project and just remind yourself that it will be alright.
So, if you fancy doing some yoga in a steaming room, join Bikram or if you’re like me, and not so brave start at a beginner’s level and see what suits you!
Featuring Bonnie BFit
What does 'healthy' mean to you?
To me, being healthy is a lot more than what you see at surface level. It’s all fine and well having a cracking set of abs or huge biceps, but does that really denote a state of good health? In my opinion, someone who is “healthy” is someone who dedicates themselves to looking after their mind and body. Someone who cares about what they’re eating, who spends time exercising every day, who takes time for themselves to do some yoga or relax. In fact, I’d say that the biggest part of “being healthy” is about what’s going on on the inside, the part that you can’t see. Muscles and a big booty don’t mean anything if you’re not taking care of the inside of your body or of your mental health.
How do you focus on your mental well-being?
Until very recently, I never consciously focussed on my mental well-being. I’ve always been a fairly calm person and rarely get stressed, so I figured it was all just sort of looking after itself. But recently I have been taking the time to ensure that my mind is just as “fit” as my body is. Just because you don’t have a diagnosed mental health “problem”, does not mean that your mental health is in the best condition, and looking after our mind is definitely something we are all guilty of neglecting. Sometimes we don’t feel under pressure or stressed, but it lies sub-consciously in our bodies and our mind. This is why it’s really important to be able to connect with your body and assess how you feel on a day to day basis. Your body will tell you if there is something wrong and it’s crucial that you know yourself well enough to pick up on these signals. Every single day I ensure that I get a good sleep, drink lots of water, go walking outside and do some yoga/stretching or spend just a little time focussing on my breathing and clearing my head. Four things which do not cost you anything and will do wonders for your mental well-being.
Despite having such a busy schedule, do you still find fitting in working out to be a benefit, rather than a burden? For example, is it worth the time during the busy exam period?
First of all, I think the word “busy” gets chucked around a lot, and usually with negative connotations. Being busy is a great thing. It means you’ve got commitments, responsibilities, passions, hobbies and purpose, all of which keep you going and keep you focussed. But no matter how busy I am, I will always find a way to work out because it’s important to me. And it’s not difficult. It might sound tough but anyone who tells me they “don’t have the time” simply aren’t making it a priority. There are people who are in class all day, who have a job in the evenings as well, and yet they manage to find the time to get a workout in. Maybe it means getting up earlier. Maybe it means you don’t spend the evening watching TV. Maybe it means you spend that hour in the gym rather than on your phone. Fitting in my workout isn’t a big deal; it’s just a normal part of my routine now. And at busy or stressful times, that’s when it’s all the more important to be doing it. Who do you think is going to perform better in an exam – someone who rolls out of bed, spends the whole day sitting in the library downing coffee to force their body to keep going, doesn’t really think about what they’re eating, and slumps home after a mentally exhausting day to go sit down some more and watch TV, or someone who gets up early, maybe spends 5-10 minutes doing some yoga, studies for 6-8 hours, heads to the gym, lets off some steam for an hour or two, gets their muscles and body moving, heads home, eats well and gets to bed early? I know that feeling of guilt when it’s exam season and you feel like you shouldn’t be doing anything other than revising, but you’ve got to take the time out. I am 100% confident in saying that it is worth sacrificing an hour or two of studying every day to look after your mental and physical health. And if you don’t trust me, studies have shown that the top students are the ones who do exactly that. So find your little refuge to give your mind the break that it needs. Whether that’s swimming or a dance class or a weights session, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you do will keep your body and mind in a far better condition to perform well in exams and you won’t feel like you’re on the edge of a breakdown every day, which is always a bonus.
As someone who has been exercising for a long time, what advice would you give to those just embarking on their fitness journey?
In the media, a lot of emphasis is put on exercises' aesthetic benefits rather than its health benefits, including mental health benefits. As someone who has built up high levels of fitness, what has motivated you to keep going - what are the main benefits for you?
I think it’s very easy to get caught up in the aesthetic side of things. There are far too many people on social media who take these processed “pre-workouts” to get through their sessions, who promote balance yet can’t eat a pizza without feeling guilty about it for a week, who probably haven’t eaten a vegetable for 20 years but they look fantastic so that’s all that matters right? In my opinion, if you’re doing exercise purely because you wanna look good, that’s not healthy. It comes to a point where you have to ask yourself why you’re really doing this. Sure I lift weights and exercise to look good, but there’s a thousand other reasons why I do it, and it’s absolutely crucial that you set your goals on something bigger than the physical rewards. What motivates me to keep going is myself. I don’t scroll through Instagram looking at fitness models thinking “I wish I could look like that” and running to the gym. I motivate myself by setting goals and smashing them and feeling proud of myself. When you get into it and start to feel good and confident, the motivation will come. And while it’s great to look good, the other benefits are so much more rewarding. I feel happy, I feel confident, I feel strong. I feel like I can protect and look after myself. I feel positive and more capable of dealing with not only my own problems, but those of my friends and family. I have completely transformed as a person in the last few years, and it’s all down to fitness. Just like weight-lifting builds up your muscles, being healthy in your mind and in your body will pick out the best parts of you and make them all stronger. And that feeling is the biggest motivator of them all.
To find out more about Bonnie's work or to get more tips on a healthier lifestyle, follow her on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bonnie_bfit/?hl=en or follow her blog: https://bonniebfitsite.wordpress.com/