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, Alp 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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!).

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!).

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.

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.

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. And we got lots of cool goodies to take away with us too.

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?

No parkrun and no race

Although I was looking forward to the weekend gone, I was a bit down that I wouldn’t really get a good lie-inI normally get up four times in the week at 5am to go to the gym and around 6am on the other day so I like to sleep a bit later at the weekend to ‘catch up’ (although I know there’s to much science to catching up on sleep but it feels good!).

My university friends were popping down on Saturday and as always I’d planned to do parkrun. But as I was meant to meet one of my friends at the station at 10.30am it was going to be a bit of a push, what with showering and getting myself sorted. It would also mean, to save time, I’d have breakfast before parkrun and this would mean a 6.30am wake-up. On Sunday I was doing the Stubbington 10k and wanted to run 6 miles beforehand, so again another early morning.

Luckily though I’d got Monday off so I knew I could at least sleep later then. But as I thought more about Saturday I realised it was causing me a lot of stress to make parkrun and meet my friend on time (and being on time is my New Year’s Resolution…). So to make life easier on me I decided to forgo parkrun. Sad times indeed. To be honest though, I probably did need a week off to reignite the parkrun love again.

So Saturday morning I slept in until 8am which was just glorious. Then I got my running kit on, walked Alfie and then got on with my lonely 5k round my block.IMG_7541

It was VERY cold. I’d decided straight off the bat to attempt to be speedy, which was ideal considering how cold it was. I put some music on and just focused on finishing. My hands, despite wearing my Nike gloves, were freezing. My face was numb. I know we’re very lucky to not have any snow but it was very cold!

I’m really pleased with my splits. It was a pretty flat 5k with a few turns and a couple of sharp (but short) inclines at the end) so the fact that I was able to do a negative split is really encouraging. My time was 22:41 and I came FIRST overall (in the race in my head… haha).5k

I was able to then sort myself out and get ready and be on time to pick my friend up without having to stress or rush. Obviously I missed parkrun and everyone there (especially as it was a couple of friend’s 200th parkrun!) but it had to be done.


It was lovely to see my uni friends, as always, and they got to see my new flat. Then it was time to head off for some lunch. So, er, this is embarrassing. We went to Coast to Coast… this was my fourth time in pretty much as many weeks. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you probably notice that when I like something food-related I’ll just keep eating it or keep going there again and again until I’m sick of it. Jamie’s Italian for example… Porridge for breakfast (this has been happening now for over 10 years – no toppings, just plain; yes, I am that boring)… Apples… Cake.

So apparently because I raved a lot about it they wanted to go. What can I say, it was their choice! 😉 And they all loved it and said they wanted to go again. Success! (Also, I’m not the only re-offender, I know several people who have gone back a few times… *cough* Mark).Coast to Coast

This time I went for chicken wings with a BBQ rub for starters, which was simply divine. Then I decided to try the baby back ribs for main with sweet potato fries (last time I had the St Louis’ ribs which were huge) and then finally the carrot cake. The baby back ribs were far more tender than the St Louis ones but smaller (I’m the greediest person alive so for a normal person they’d be just fine). The carrot cake was delicious and on par with the brownie I had last time.

After my friends left I headed to my parents’ house which is just five minutes from the start of the Stubbington 10k, the race I thought I was signed up to. I realised from other people’s posts in my running club’s Facebook group that I was missing a confirmation email and my bib number. After scouring the entry list I realised I had in fact not signed up at all. What an idiot. I’m not quite sure how I had assumed I had!

So my plans of running 6 miles, then running Stubbington 10k were scuppered and I planned a long run instead on my own. I wasn’t too sad as I wasn’t planning on racing anyway and it saved a lot of faff in the morning of getting my bib and getting to the start in the morning. My parents didn’t have to come and support me so they could have a chilled morning – though my mum, bless her, did ask if I wanted them to come and support me somewhere on my long run! Haha, could you imagine?12.6 miles

I did run about 4 miles of the Stubbington 10k route anyway, just about an hour before everyone else did. I saw the 1km markers and the drinks station with the bottles all stacked up neatly and a few marshals. A friend from the club also ran with me a little way as she was warming up before the race which was nice. Then I veered off the route and carried on with my run. I felt really good running. I rarely look at my watch on long runs and just run at a speed I’m comfortable at. This will slow down when the long long runs happen though I’m sure.

Better than last week was how I felt post long run and for the rest of the day. I had no headache and didn’t feel drained. I ate well through the day and actually felt pretty normal.

Though I did have a nice relaxing evening of watching one of my favourite films, You’ve Got Mail. I literally smiled the whole way through it. It’s such a classic and I just love Tom Hanks.

IMG_7582Post run

As I said, I also had Monday off and had another lie-in. It’s quite amusing that on Friday I thought I’d be struggling with no lie-ins and I actually got three solid night sleeps and lie-ins! I went to the gym in the morning and then had a reflexology appointment at midday (more on that in another post – but, spoiler alert, it was amazing). And I got my hair cut, which happens pretty much once a year. My hair was so long it was driving me up the wall with washing it and blow drying it. Now it’s a lot more manageable and a lot neater, but pretty much exactly the same. I’m not one for huge changes to my appearance 😉 So a standard good weekend for me: friends, running, good food and cake!

Do you have restaurants and food you always go back to?

How has the weather been round you? I much prefer it being cold and dry than wet and mild.

Have you ever thought you’d signed up to something to find out you hadn’t?

A good normal weekend

Hello Monday! Hope you all had a lovely weekend, ours felt like old times again. The holiday is a distant memory sadly (one week of work pretty much wipes away all that joy away…).

This weekend started with a delicious meal of ribs. I’d love to say I marinated them myself but I didn’t. I just saw them in Tesco and spontaneously bought them. Though I have ribs on my recipe to do list for definite.

BBQ ribs - Tesco

Both Ben and I agreed that though it said it was for two, you could have easily eaten one pack on your own. The portion size was a bit measly (though I might still be distorted by my holiday…). With the sweet potato fries though it worked OK, it was just slightly disappointing.

Saturday morning both Ben and I got ready for parkrun. I’ll do a post on my running (and Ben’s injury update) soon I promise (if you’re even interested!). As a cliff notes version, my running is going very well. I’m running three times a week while also going to the gym three times a week doing lots of bootcamp/strength and conditioning style routines. I feel less pressure and more love for running than I have in ages. It helps that I’m loving the gym and get a real sweat on there that I don’t feel the need to run as often as I used to as I know I’m getting stronger in other areas that will help my running. I’m still happy with my decision of deferring London as it would immediately panic me and pressure me to hit certain mileage as it’s so soon…but I do have races in the future lined up.

So parkrun. We helped set-up and there was much love for Ben returning which is always nice. I decided to push it as all my other runs have been easy. The course is the hardest one (the winter course) where, because it’s three laps, there are a total of six hills you need to get through (over?). I’m not really in a good running shape but felt like it was a sustained effort and a great workout to help get back to where I used to be. Third lady and 22:35 which I was over the moon with.

I also got my hair cut. This is monumental news as the last time I got it cut was April 2013 (THIS post). I tend to notice when it needs a cut because my arms start severely aching when I’m blow-drying. I was rather apologetic to the hairdresser but she said it actually didn’t look that bad for the length of time I’ve left it. I suppose there’s a compliment there? Anyway instead of being a cheapskate I actually paid for a quality cut rather than the cheaper place I usually go for…hairdressers were called technicians and the power doesn’t cut half way through a blow-dry!!

IMG_9955 That being said, it still looks pretty much the same just a bit shorter! At least my arms will be happy…

Ah yes it was Valentine’s Day as well wasn’t it? Ben and me aren’t romantic and lovey-dovey so this passed us by. It’s also my dad’s birthday so we popped over to see my parent’s and treat them to a nice coffee in a lovely little tea room in Lee-on-Solent called The Tea Party.

IMG_9949We decided to forgo afternoon tea as we’ve all got back from a holiday and Ben and me have said February is a more ‘sensible’ (read: boring) month. I can assure you though, I found it hard to stop staring at the BEAUTIFUL cakes and it’s definitely an afternoon tea location to be trialled soon!

IMG_9946 They serve alcohol as well so my mum had a lovely little glass of Prosecco in a baby sham glass as well as her tea, as you do. I stuck with a latte.

IMG_9948It was a lovely catch up and mourning of our respective holidays!

Sunday I went for a really good six mile run. It was one of those runs that just felt good. I felt strong, in the zone and found myself going faster than I had intended. I let myself off for it as six miles isn’t that far, but for my future Sunday runs I will really ensure to run slow – probably a good 40-50 seconds slower than I ran. I will take no chances this time around! I’m trying not to make the same stupid mistakes I always seem to make. I’m always climbing the mileage v.e.r.y. slowly; next week is seven miles for my long run, for example, while keeping the other runs the same.

I got back, wolfed down breakfast, chilled for a bit and then met up with Nathan for a 17 mile bike ride.

IMG_9952Hideous selfie

Ay, ay, ay! When you haven’t ridden in so long it is tough. We did our usual route and we both slower (as you can expect) than previously. It was a tough ride but I really enjoyed it. I felt shattered when I got in. But a good NON-BROKEN shattered. I won’t be cycling every week but once in a while it’s nice to get out there.

Then obviously we all went to Nando’s…kind of standard I suppose. I forgot how filling a whole chicken is, but I was not defeated!

Then the afternoon involved ironing and watching Belle (very good film) and going to be stupidly early as I was pooped. Good weekend 🙂 All that was missing was cake…

How was your weekend?

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

How do you celebrate family member’s birthdays?

Fruit coconut curry – WIAW

Hello! And to all my fellow Brits, I hope you’re experiencing the lovely sunshine like we are here in the South. Though it’s still fairly crisp and chilly, it’s just lovely to have those rays! However, does anyone else experience static hair in the cold? I’m a girl with quite a bit of hair and seriously, it’s not cool. All I have to do is touch it and it goes crazy. Any advice is much appreciated!

Speaking of hair, I finally got my hair cut over the weekend. After 5 months!! Here’s my before photo:


And my after photo:


Yep a huge amount of difference. Not. Hence why I don’t go for ages…[Also, can I just say that I am rubbish at taking photos of my self in the mirror. Seriously, there is an art to this and I have not mastered it. I feel like a right idiot smiling at myself…]

So it’s WIAW once again, how the time is flying!

Check out Jenn’s blog for more information and food envy.

Let’s get going. These are my eats from Sunday.

Breakfast: Since getting back from skiing, I have been having my good old fashioned oatmeal every single morning. Ahh bliss. No scary looking Bulgarian meats for me!

Porridge 12.12

I’ve been browsing online and found some great looking savoury oat dinners as well that I really want to try. Ones that really appealed to me:

Gluten-Free Savoury Porridge with Bacon, Cheddar, Fresh Tomatoes, and Chives

Curry Oatmeal

Savoury Spinach Oats

I’d never thought of savoury oatmeal! Amazing. Watch this space…

Lunch: Lunch on Saturday was a random concoction. I was going to have an egg scramble with tuna (a very standard meal for me) but I couldn’t be bothered to open a tin of tuna (yep, I was that lazy). So I added a heaped tablespoon of Philadelphia cream cheese to my three eggs instead. And I also added chopped onion, mushrooms, tomatoes and zucchini.


With a small serving of broad beans Winking smile The added cream cheese made the eggs so creamy. Really enjoyed this. Afterwards I had half a small melon (no photo sorry).

Throughout the day I enjoyed black coffee and my current favourite herbal tea:


For dinner I wanted to make curry but I couldn’t make my mind up what kind. I had coconut milk that I wanted to use but I also had some dried apricots I wanted to add…so I just kind of threw it all together.


I vaguely based it on THIS recipe.

Fruity Coconut Curry (serves 2)

  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 small carrot, cut into small chunks
  • 3-4 small mushrooms, sliced
  • Quarter of a zucchini, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 can of coconut milk (light or normal)
  • Generous tbs. yogurt
  • 150ml hot chicken stock
  • 1 tbs. tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbs. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • Sprinkling of dried/fresh coriander

– Fry oil for one minute, then fry onions until golden, add garlic and ginger, fry for another minute or so.

– Add vegetables and chicken and cook until chicken is almost cooked.

– Then add coconut, ketchup, yogurt and the spices.

– Once all is cooked and hot, add coriander and then serve.

Really easy, really yummy. I didn’t have any mango chutney so I substituted with tomato ketchup as I wanted the sweetness and the tomato flavour as I also didn’t have any tomato puree. I added the yogurt to add a bit more creaminess.

We’ve also been enjoying balsamic chicken, tomato and mozzarella salads:


Yum! We ran out of basil which was hugely disappointing as you can’t beat basil with tomato and mozzarella. This was with salad and roasted vegetables.

And Monday night, while Ben was eating leftovers from the party on Saturday (sausage rolls, garlic bread, cocktail sausages and tomato mozzarella bites…*sighs*) I decided to try a recipe I’d seen on Chelsea’s blog that I knew Ben would never want.

Sweet potato cooked in the oven, then mixing the innards with a tablespoon of cream cheese, and mushrooms and haricot beans that I’d fried together in a bit of oil and herbs.


I slightly varied Chelsea’s recipe to fit with what I had available and this honestly rocked my evening. Really enjoyed this and will definitely be having it again!

Snacks: I have been a snacking monster this past few days. My hunger has been through the roof. I’m not sure why – maybe as I’m running more miles? Not sure! Anyway I’m still loving Lindt chocolate:


Kept in the fridge…so good. Such a satisfying noise of biting into it! We went a bit overboard on stocking up…


Seriously, people, you have got to be prepared for shortages or national crises. Chocolate is a necessity. Fact.

Fitness: So far this week is going well in terms of running. I ran a 7 mile tempo run on Monday, a 4 mile interval run on Tuesday and today’s a rest day. I’ve got a 12 mile long run planned for this weekend which I’m strangely looking forward to. I’ve gone from the girl who was really worried and nervous about long runs to the girl who really enjoys them! I guess because I just run and there’s no pressure on speed or time. And the feeling afterwards is just amazing. Like you’ve conquered the world!

Also, on a random note…my mother-in-law has kindly said to Ben and me that she will buy us a camera as our wedding present but we haven’t a clue which one to go for or anything – hence why we still don’t have the camera yet we got married last year! Any tips? We don’t really know the price range we’re looking for so I guess something that’s not really cheap, but fairly decent (but not HUGELY expensive!)

I’d love to take better photos of my meals (as one of my friends kindly directed me to an article online about how to take good food photos – haha lovely hint Winking smile). And it would be nice for when we go on holiday not to just depend on the IPhone.

Hope you have a good Wednesday Smile

Do you have days when your just strangely really hungry?

How often do you go to the hairdressers? Am I an embarrassment to the female race??

Favourite chocolate? Cadburys? Nestle? Milka? Lindt? Hersheys?

Time is flying by

Hello! Was that the weekend? It whizzed by.

I went for a manicure. I decided to go for simple and elegant for my nails. Just a plain French manicure:


I never get my nails done (I’m so clumsy that there really never seems to be any point) so this was a nice treat. And sitting there and talking to a lovely lady while she did my nails was like therapy! It was great.

And I got my hair cut. I tried to sneakily take a photo (I was quite embarrassed about doing this) but I only managed to get this:


But I think it looks rather cool! To be honest, I didn’t have much done to my hair. Just a trim. My hair is so long that I usually just forget about it and then have it cut like twice a year, whoops. And it was long past a cut!

On Friday night, I had my close friend over and she brought over some delicious cupcakes:


And they will be perfect. Delicious and beautiful!


And my little niece, Ellie (who’s going to be my flower girl) enjoyed them too!


So I’m very chuffed that they’re sorted (or at least organised!) And we’ve selected our music for the church as well.

Then Sunday my sister and me were on Mission: Find Bridesmaid Dress. And it was Mission Accomplished. We found a beautiful dress that fits her perfectly. It ticks all the boxes. And we got shoes!! *Breathes sigh of relief* Hurrah!

I did however, have a tough run which ended in me feeling extremely sick. The problem was that I got up later than usual (10.30!! But I had gone to bed at 2am as we were out with friends the night before) and had decided to not have breakfast as it was already fairly late. And because it was mid-morning it was quite warm. So as I got into my stride during my run I started to feel a bit sick. When I finished I felt really sick and very faint. Not good. Very stupid. Lesson definitely learnt. On a plus note…I did run a personal best!

5.08 run

Six miles in less than 50 minutes! Probably the reason I felt so rough after finishing…

And following from a not so good feeling run, I managed to have a porridge-related disaster:

5.08 porridge

It over-flowed!! It looks like something out of a horror film. What a waste Sad smile I got distracted while it was in the microwave. Whoops.

So in all, a very busy weekend! And I thought I’d leave you a picture of my parent’s dog, Lexi:

Sleeping Lexi… and our dog, Alfie, snooderling away. Basically, how I felt Sunday night!

Alfie sleeping

Hope your weekend was good Smile