Secret London #SecretFitness Session

I’m not usually that keen on going to London because it’s such a faff; I hate trains and I’m a country bum. Buuut when I got invited to the Secret London event that involved getting my hair done, Alpro products and yoga on a stand up paddle board, well I was convinced!

The location of the event was a mystery until 24 hours beforehand (hence the “secret” part), though I was told it would be around Oxford Street so I could at least plan my parkrun into the equation!

It was actually really easy to get to and was set in the lovely location of Merchant Square.IMG_4278

I was greeted straight away by the very friendly people from Secret London and Collective Two (the organisers of the event) and shown the cool set-up they had.

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I got to choose a pair of SuperDry flip flops and sipped on a delicious Alpro Berry and Coconut Smoothie while I waited to get my hair done by the guys from Headmasters.

IMG_4261From Secret London’s Facebook

Charlie (from TheRunnerBeans blog) and Bex (from TwinsInTrainers blog) were already getting their hair done so I went and said hi. IMG_4180

It was a bit like meeting the cool kids from school to be honest as their blogs are a lot more popular and known about than my iddy biddy one. They were lovely, of course.

Headmasters UK[Source]

I can’t tell you how nice it was to have someone do my hair for me. I am the girl who has my hair cut once a year and the most exciting thing I do with it is put it in plaits (braids) or a pony tail because my capability to do anything else is beyond me. We were all having braids done and in cool styles. I literally said to the hair stylist, do as you wish!

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In the end it looked fantastic (if I do say so myself!). It’s definitely not a style I’d be able to recreate at home or that I’d normally choose. While we were all chatting and enjoying ourselves there was a camera crew hovering around and a photographer snapping away. It felt very glam but made me a little insecure…There I was, fresh from parkrun with no make up on. Bex and Charlie looked so effortlessly glamorous in comparison, clearly more used to this sort of thing than me!

And then we headed to the water area to begin our stand up paddle board yoga. We were all fairly nervous because there was a genuine risk of falling in. I’d brought spare clothes and a towel but still! The instructor, Jen, from Pure Yoga Zone was lovely though. And she had the most adorable little dog, Clyde, with her too (yes, he went on the SUP with her too!).

Secret London Session(2)[Source]

We got on board and headed out onto the main bit of the water. It was fairly windy so our SUPs clustered together but this meant we could chatter and giggle together while trying to master the yoga moves.

Stand up paddle board yoga[Source]

The yoga moves weren’t tricky at all in themselves. It was fairly ‘entry level’. But on a paddle board it was a different story. Even moving from your knees to your bum was a dodgy episode that required balance and strategic navigation.

Secret London Session (11)[Source]

And yet as the time went on we all became more and more confident. It required us to think carefully when doing the moves and to use our core to keep us balanced on the board.

Secret London Session (16)[Source]

It was actually quite a tough session! I’ve done yoga before but sometimes you can ‘sleepwalk’ through it. Despite the tranquil surroundings there was no sleeping through this session!

Secret London Session[Source]

At the end we got our boards together in a line (no easy feat in the wind I assure you) and posed together like the yoga buffs we’d become.

Secret London Session(9)[Source]

Then after safely getting back onto dry land we headed for some vital refuelling (I hadn’t eaten breakfast or eaten post parkrun so I was definitely ready for food!).

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We were treated to a smoothie bar that was stocked with the toppings you could imagine (OK, relatively healthy toppings you could imagine) and smoothie flavours.

Secret London Session(3)I love this photo – it’s just so “me” around food [Source]

I went for a berry smoothie with just about everything in it from chia seeds, to fruit, to nuts and almond butter. Delicious. Now I’m not usually a smoothie lover but I was very happy to chomp this down.

Secret London Session(5)[Source]

The three of us then had a little interview to talk about our session and were chuffed to hear that we sounded almost like we’d had media training with the answers we gave and our ease in front of the camera. Dahhhhhling we’re bloggers, don’t you know? This is what we do. (<—Ummm, yeah I’m about the most awkward person in life ever).

It was a fantastic experience and I fully recommend SUP yoga (and now want to go SUP’ing again asap). If you get the chance to go to a Secret London session I’d definitely give it a go. It was a fun experience Smile And we got lots of cool goodies to take away with us too.

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You can buy tickets to these events, it wasn’t purely invite only, so keep your eyes open if this is your thing!

Have you ever been SUP’ing before?

Do you do yoga?

What’s your perfect smoothie creation?

Yoga, food and a buff review

The day after the Hackney Half Marathon my legs felt surprisingly OK. I had a strong sense of tiredness and runger which followed me through the day but it was no different really than how I’ve felt any Monday morning after doing a long run on the Sunday.

This is good news! I still took Monday off as a complete rest day though. Let’s not risk anything. I gave Alfie a lovely walk in our local field in the morning before work and in the evening too.

IMG_0360 It’s lovely to see him racing around while I can just walk around the field and listen to the radio (I feel old because I now listen to BBC5 Live in the morning – I like keeping up to date with the news and opinions). There’re always the regular dog walkers which is nice as well.

That evening I had a really tasty Hello Fresh meal of quinoa, lentils, feta and chorizo. It did take a while to make (about 30 mins) and created a lot of washing up but the results were fantastic.

Quinoa, feta and chorizo

Basically it involved cooking the quinoa separately in vegetable stock while frying onions, chorizo and diced peppers and tomatoes. Add pre-cooked lentils (from a tin) and the quinoa with chopped coriander and crumbled feta. Done! It’s the prep that’s the laborious part really.

The next morning I got up at 5am for my usual strength training at the gym. All, except the press-ups, I use weights for these moves:

I go twice a week now and it’s far more manageable (my second session is more plyometric-based – box jumps, lunge jumps, etc.). I still think it’s important I keep maintaining my strength. To be honest I find it so hard to motivate myself to go (it’s not running is it!) but the fear of injury gets me up in the morning. And strength I’ve found is like most things, you have to consistently do otherwise you’ll lose it.

Tuesday evening I went for an easy run with the running club. I haven’t been to training in ages and it felt good to be back. Though I’m still cautious about it as I want to stick to my (vague) training plan. Otherwise I know I’d happily run silly miles at a silly pace if I went every week and I need to be sensible. After the marathon I’ll be back regularly!

I ran with Mike and Mark and a few others who didn’t want to do the planned hill session that the other guys were doing (hills were not going to happen for me!) and it was lovely. We chatted the whole time and just took things slow – though probably not as slow as we should have but my HR was low and the effort was easy so I was happy. In the end we got 5.5 miles in and I barely felt out of breath.

My running club have started running-focused yoga and Pilates sessions so a few weeks ago I booked myself in for a yoga session after the run as I thought after Hackney it would be ideal. I quickly changed into leggings and got my mat and was good to go. I’ve done yoga before so it was very familiar to me and I felt (for once!) one of the most experience yogis in the room as the majority were all beginners.

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In my other yoga classes I’ve been to I was always one of the newbies so this was a nice change for the books! It felt blissful after running as well.

But it did mean that it was past 9pm when I got home and I hadn’t had dinner yet – no chance of that before running when I get home at 6pm, have to walk Alfie and be ready to run at 6.45pm. I inhaled my dinner and wasn’t in bed until 11pm. This is a seriously late night for me considering I’m normally asleep by 10pm!! Luckily dinner was already cooked as I had made two portions of the quinoa meal the day before. It was just a case of reheating and shovelling in.

I must say that as good as I felt after yoga and my run on Tuesday night, I woke up Wednesday with really aching glutes and hamstrings. I’m pretty certain this is from my gym session and not the run! But luckily I’d planned another rest day and some foam rolling in the evening. Then intervals in the morning (which were tough I must say!).

On to a little review…I was kindly sent two buffs from the kind people at Kitshack.com. One buff for me and one buff for Alfie, my dog. Alfie felt very chuffed to be included in a review for once 😉

High UV Protection BUFF® (find HERE)

KitShack UV BuffMy buff was from the High UV Protection range that they have. It’s interesting because my first thoughts about wearing buffs are that they are just for winter and to keep you warm. But these buffs are more to protect you from the sun, which is fantastic.

It’s made with a wicking fabric which helps suck the moisture away from your skin quickly. It can be worn as a neckerchief, headband, wristband, mask, hair-band, balaclava, scarf, scrunchie, saharaine, pirate cap, beanie or bandana…personally I like the sound of the pirate cap 😉 It’s also treated with Polygiene so will remain fresh as the silver ions prevent the build up of bacteria in the fabric. There are also no seams or hems to irritate your skin. And it has the UV protection obviously.

KitShack Buff

Thoughts? I love the colour! They have a whole range of different patterns and colours which is great if you like matching things, like me. Initially I was confused what to do with it and how to wear it but it was fun to experiment. The video HERE’s is definitely worth a watch as honestly I wouldn’t have had a clue otherwise and there are so many different ways to wear it – it’s very multi-functional. For example…

  • Cycling – use over your mouth if it’s cold or there’s lots of pollution, or under your helmet.
  • Running – use it like a scarf it’s cold or as a sweat band.
  • Long walks – protects my scalp from burning.

It’s very soft and comfy to wear and I quite like wearing it as a headband to keep my hair out of my eyes. I’d probably wear it more often in the winter for running and more as a headband when walking or going to the gym.

IMG_0601Terrible photo but it was the best angle I could do I’m afraid! 

Don’t wear it like this though unless you’re hiding from someone:

IMG_0602 Having fun while trying the different ways to wear it

Dog BUFF® (find HERE)

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I’m sorry but this just tickled me that Alfie could wear one of these too – how cute. They have a range of coloured patterns and are available in two sizes: standard (which fits most medium to larger breeds) and small (for terriers and smaller dogs like Alfie).

Dog buffIt has a handy Scotchlight reflective strip which offers retro-reflective visibility from a distance of 150 metres and is made from the same stretchy material as the, er, human buffs.

Dog Buff As happy as Alfie was to be part of this review, he’s not very good at staying still for a photo!!

Thoughts? Alfie thought he looked cool in it 😉 I quite like that it has the reflective bit so in dark evenings or mornings he’d be easier to spot – and to be honest the colour makes him easier to spot as well when he’s off his lead. I’m not sure how comfortable he’d be with it over his head though like in the picture below.

Dog Buff (2)

All in all I am a fan of the buffs! They look cool, they’re multi-functional and Alfie and me can match 😉

Have you ever worn a buff to run/walk/cycle in?

Do you do yoga or Pilates?

How much effort do you spend on your evening meal? 

**Full Disclosure: I was sent the buffs for free to review. All opinions are Alfie’s and my own.**

OM Yoga Magazine September – Yoga while pregnant and a giveaway

I’m not pregnant. Have to quickly put that one in before any rumours start (or hopes are raised – I’m looking at you, mother). However, the latest issue of the Om Yoga Magazine has a lot of focus on yoga through pregnancy, which I just find fascinating.

OM Yoga August 14 (2)

To be honest, I find the whole pregnancy thing in general fascinating and can’t wait to be pregnant. My dream would be that I could still comfortably (to some extent?) work out, run and also do yoga through my pregnancy. Obviously I know that’s quite a tricky thing and I’ll have no idea if possible until that day arrives – maybe I’m being very naive!

Anyway the latest issue of the OM Yoga magazine focuses on practicing yoga while pregnant and has lots of great articles and tips. I think this is brilliant and I’m so glad the days of pregnant ladies being told to remain as sedentary as possible are long past us. Healthy exercising mums usually means healthy babies!

OM Yoga August 14 I think it’s always safer to have practiced yoga before trying it out when you get pregnant (I could be wrong though!) – which is why I’m quite glad I’ve gotten into it now. Hopefully I can continue when pregnant.

There are some great yoga moves within the magazine for pregnant women which don’t look that daunting but also don’t look too easy. I guess you still need to challenge yourself even when you’re pregnant 😉

OM Yoga August 14 (4)And on a random note, I also love this issue as it has a lot of beetroot recipes (I love beetroot). I always have beetroot in my salad – I just adore it. But I do not love having pink fingers long after I’ve chopped up beetroot. Not a good look.

I also have an exciting giveaway to launch! OM Yoga and Lifestyle magazine are running the annual OM Yoga Show in London at the end of October. They have kindly given me weekend tickets to give away to two lucky lovely readers! The pairs of tickets are worth £54 each, and the winners can come along for all three days of the show, and bring a friend. 

image“The Yoga Show offers the perfect introduction to this ancient Indian practice with workshops and classes on all kinds of yoga, including BoxingYoga, Hot Pod Yoga, and even Hip Hop Yo’ga! For those who are experienced yogis, there is the opportunity to learn new skills, or improve on existing ones. When it’s time to take a break from practicing yoga, visitors can take some time to explore over 250 exhibitors who will be attending the show. They are committed to ensuring that the yogic lifestyle is as fulfilled as possible, with yoga clothing, accessories, complementary therapies, super foods and so much more on offer.”

As well as the classes, workshops and exhibitors at the OM Yoga Show, there’s also the opportunity to enter the Mind Body Soul Experience for free. The two shows are being held at the same time in adjoining Olympia Halls – two shows for the price of one!

The dates are 24th, 25th and 26th October 2014 (Opening Times: Friday 11am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 10am– 5pm) at the Olympia National in London.

TWO lucky readers the chance to win two tickets for all three days of the show!

To enter (each of the below counts as one separate entry, so please leave a separate comment below for each one that you do):

  • Leave a comment below telling me why you’d like to go to the Om Yoga Show
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Follow @OMYogaMagazine on Twitter
  • Tweet: “Want to win two tickets for the Om Yoga Show @yogashow? Take a look at @annatheapple88 blog and giveaway: https://www.annatheapple.com/?p=5460”

Please note: This giveaway is open to everyone and is international, however you’ll need to get to London obviously. The giveaway ends Sunday 12th October 2014.

OM Yoga Magazine

**This post contains affiliated links**

OM Yoga Magazine July/August – my first steps into yoga

I’ve heard so many people talk about the benefits of yoga, both mentally and physically, but never thought to try it myself… Until I was offered the opportunity to review the OmYoga magazine and at the same time coincidentally found out about a local and fairly affordable yoga class with someone I knew.

Considering my past history with just focusing too much on running and getting injured all the time it was probably best I gave it a shot. I actually don’t know much about yoga at all. I’ve done Pilates but never yoga. I know you can follow videos online but for me doing something like that will never work. I’d get distracted and wander off somewhere to fold washing or eat an apple. So reading this magazine and then attending my first ever yoga classes really helped.

The latest OmYoga magazine is a double addition packed full of articles, information, yoga fashion and poses.

imageI’m a big an of running magazines (are you surprised?) so was fairly intrigued about what a yoga magazine would be all about. It’s got lots of interesting articles in which help me understand why yoga is such a craze. The mental (and of course physical) strength people seem to acquire to help them with their lives is incredible.

What really took my eye though was the article “Yoga Meets Physiotherapy”.

OmYoga July August addition

Hello, hello, hello. My kinda thing completely. This is exactly what I’m looking for. Apparently this practice of blending yoga and physiotherapy together is called “physioyoga”. It’s all about using the teachings behind yoga – the poses, the stretches, the breathing – to help overcome pains or issues you might have within your body. Purportedly yoga can help blood flow, digestion, and even hormonal imbalances as well as reducing stress. These can all help towards creating a healthy and injury-free body.

It’s interesting because a lot of the stretches I’ve come to learn through physio or from other people’s advice to help loosen muscles and up my flexibility I’m coming to realise are actually from yoga. Like the pigeon pose to open up your hips, downward dog to lengthen those calves and hamstrings, and loads more. Fascinating stuff!

Another article that caught my eye which is highly interesting to me at the moment is the “Yoga for Cyclists” article.

OmYoga July August addition 2

OK I’d say I’m more a runner than a cyclist but I do enjoy a good cycle and recently have been doing lots of cycling to help refresh my running and get my head into a good space. So these stretches are perfect for me at the moment. And actually perfect for runners too as there is a lot of crossover with muscles used between the sports.

As for me actually doing yoga? Well I’ve been to two classes so far and I’m really enjoying it.

Yoga time

I’m glad I have the class because I get to be told what to do and how to do it, and I’m motivated to do it in a class full of yogis. With the magazine as well it’s really opening my eyes to the fact that not everything I need to do needs to be fast fast fast or that I need to be ‘the best in the class’ (believe me I am quite firmly at the bottom of the class!). Yoga isn’t like that and I love that about it.

Do you do yoga?

Do you have the drive and need to be good at everything you do? 

What’s your favourite yoga pose?

OM Yoga Magazine

**This post includes affiliate links**

Almost the weekend

Wow I’m so glad it’s Friday. This week has been fairly hard-going. I’ve been trying not to stress about the wedding and I’ve been doing some delegating so things are better. But getting up for working out has been really hard. I’m usually wake up a bit tired but after giving Alfie, our dog, a quick walk I can snap myself into focus mode. But I’ve been like a zombie walking him. Which isn’t so great when he suddenly sees a cat and I’m not prepared and he almost rips my arm out of its socket.

So my runs this week haven’t been great in terms of how I feel when I’m running. I’ve just felt so tired. But I managed to do some yoga (albeit an attempt). After some good tips from Maria and Becks, I’m going to check out some podcasts and see what they’re like as trying to do it all on my own didn’t work out the best. Anyway, here’s what my week looked like:

Monday – 5 miles (42.38mins)

Tuesday – yoga

Wednesday – 5.2 miles (43.37mins)

Thursday – weights (5 sets of 15 squats 5kg weight, 2min plank, 3 sets of 15 triceps kick backs 2.5kg per arm, 3 sets of 12 ‘cleavage creator’ and 3 sets of 30 sit-ups 5kg weight)

Friday – today I ran 3 miles as I want to improve on my speed.

3.08Run

Really chuffed with how it went. I woke up today feeling less sleepy and just went as fast as I could. It was really tough, I’m not gonna lie. I couldn’t have maintained my speed for a longer run. It was good though to push myself in a different way as I usually just try and run further. Mentally it went well because I knew it’d be a lot shorter than my usual runs. It just zoomed by. I was surprised by how much it knackered me though at the end. I was pooped!

I won’t do a short and fast run every week as it’s quite tough and doing 5 work-outs during the week days was hard-going, especially as I’ll still do my longer run at the weekend. But I’ll try to do it every other week as it’ll show me any progress and help push myself that bit more.

I’ve been enjoying some good smoothie puddings in the evening as well. I’m calling them smoothie puddings because they’re too thick to be smoothies but not massively indulgent to be a pudding. I don’t have any photos as I was too busy chomping (whoops). But my favourite is low fat yogurt, 1tbs carob powder, 2 tbsp PB2, frozen strawberries and a pinch of xanthan gum. Delicious! PB2 is something I’d come across in blogs but didn’t really know what it was. However, on researching it I found it was powdered peanut butter and 85% less fat and calories than usual peanut butter! Amazing.

PB2

Now, don’t get be wrong. I adore normal peanut butter. You can’t beat it. However, when you just fancy a slightly ‘lighter’ smoothie but still with a yummy PB taste, this is perfect! In an evening I don’t want anything too heavy as I tend to go to bed quite early (yes, I know, I’m like an old lady) so it’s perfect for fullness factor. And with the carob powder it tastes very indulgent but without a heavy feeling on your tummy afterwards.

So addicted to the Olympics right now. I’m currently sneakily streaming the track events at work. I’m just blown away with how amazing they all are. Jessica Ennis is our big British star and I’m just in awe of her. These women (and men, of course) are so inspiring to me to push myself that little extra. I know this sounds cheese, but I just think they’re amazing!

I’m looking forward to this evening as I’m meeting up with my close friend to talk wedding and eat Indian take-away. She’s kindly agreed to make me cupcakes for my wedding and sing during the ceremony, I’m so grateful to her! She’s an amazing singer and an amazing baker, so it’s a win-win situation Smile

Hope you all have a great Friday night and lovely weekend!