Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Weekend Edition | Work It Out

The Weekend Edition is back! And this time it's all about pre-workout fuel.

It's that time again post-Christmas and New Year, where everyone is getting their bum back in gear and into the gym.

Me? I'm revving up my half marathon training (11 weeks to go until I'll be pounding Sheffield's streets!) and hitting streets and the gym for those all important training runs and fat-burning weights sessions.

One thing I used to struggle with was what to have pre-workout to keep me going.
This is what I've been having recently to make sure I'm having the right stuff to keep me on track and fuelling my workouts properly.

Pre-workout #1 - Bulletproof Coffee
This could not be more simple to make, and tastes an absolute dream. One shot of espresso and one tablespoon of coconut oil (utterly obsessed with MyProtein's Coconpure oil), whizzed in a blender until you have a creamy coconut drink. I usually have one of these about 1.5 hours before a morning workout and it always keeps my going through a weights session or run. You can add organic butter to this too, like traditional BP coffee, but I'm yet yo venture into that field.

Pre-workout #2 - Rice cakes with nut butter
This is basically my excuse to eat more almond butter (as if I needed one), but it really is the ideal pre-workout snack with a good mix of carbs and protein.

Pre-workout #3 - BCAAs
BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids) are something I started reading a bit more about when I started weights, to help with increase muscle retention and maximise weight loss. Available in capsule form or powdered (I opted for the latter, for a canny fruity drink), these little guys are easily absorbed into the blood stream and can be used pre or post-workout (or both).

Got any tips for pre-workout eats or drinks? 

Friday, 16 January 2015

NYC | A whistle-stop tour of Brooklyn

We designated our Saturday in NYC solely to Brooklyn. I've visited Brooklyn once before when my big bro and sister-in-law lived out there, but having not been for 7 years, I arrived armed with a new list of places to explore in the borough.

First up? Brooklyn Bridge
I can't recommend walking over BB enough. Travel guides usually say to walk Brooklyn > Manhattan for the mighty fine view, but I loved walking the other way and turning back to soak up the Downtown skyline (and to take the odd selfie of J and me).

Once over the bridge, we found ourselves in the DUMBO area, home to some ace stores and places to eat (hello Grimaldi's Pizza) and well as the view of the Manhattan Bridge.

Sadly for us, it started chucking it down with snow, and although pretty and wintery, it did scupper what we'd planned out, so we taxied it up to Williamsburg to check out the following:

JANE Motorcycles
Something from Joe's list, JANE is a coffee/motorcycle shop in one, with their own branded merch and some stellar motorcycle coffee table publications. Forget leaky exhausts and double leather garb, this is a damn cool place to visit even if you're not into bikes with their merchandising particularly being on point. 
Visit JANE at 161 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211

I can't even tell you how long I've waited to visit the Catbird store. Like, literally, so long. Their delicate jewellery has been high on my wish list for a good couple of years, but rather than buy online, I wanted to visit the store itself.  As we'd been caught in the snow, I pretty much hurled myself in the shop soaking wet (not a good look) but left armed with two of their Memory Rings in rose gold to complement my engagement ring, and their Kitten candle - a new staple scent.
Visit Catbird at 219 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Wythe Hotel
This old factory converted into a 90 bedroom hotel is like the Ace Hotel of Williamsburg. The rooftop bar, The Ides, looks out onto the East River and the Manhattan skyline. Unfortunately for us, the snow clouds hampered our view so we drowned our sorrows with a couple of dark and stormies to a Fleetwood Mac soundtrack. I can't think of a more ideal way to spend a Saturday afternoon. 
Visit the Wythe Hotel at 80 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249

A few other key Brooklyn spots to hit up if you're in the area:

Brooklyn Bowl - an ace bowling alley with a cool food and drinks area. We popped in for a bottle of Brooklyn Beer, but no lanes were free. Booking ahead is recommended.
61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Brooklyn Brewery - right next door to Brooklyn Bowl, visit here for brewery tours, beer (obvs.) and branded merch. Tours are on a first-come, first-served basis, to get in-line early if you're in the area. We didn't fancy waiting in the snow so much so gave it a miss.
79 North 11th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea - the food market and flea market take place outdoors over the summer and move indoors over the colder months. They have more vendors in their two outdoor locations in summer, but it's still definitely worth a visit to the indoor market if you're visiting November to March, even if you're just in the neighbourhood to visit Berg'n (a beer hall founded by Brooklyn Brewery).

- Indoor Market (November to March) | 1000 Dean Street, Crown Heights, NY, 11211
- Outdoor Flea and Smorgasburg (April to October) | various locations in Williamsburg, Fort Green and Brooklyn Heights.

For more information visit

What are your top Brooklyn picks? 

Monday, 12 January 2015

NYC | Where to eat

At the top of the list when we visited NYC, was to eat all of the food (if you can't on holiday, when can you?). For me, it was all about starting the day that bit more indulgently and maybe partaking in a Bloody Mary (or 3) along with a big breakfast or brunch (see ya porridge).

We arrived in New York City armed with a packed Evernote list of eateries, some of which we didn't have time to visit - Jack's Wife Freda, we will meet one day - but of those we did visit, we ended up sampling some of the best scran, like, evah.

Here's the lowdown on some of our favourite spots:


We walked up to the Central Park branch of Sarabeth's, and after only a 10 minute wait for a table (and with a Bloody Mary and Mimosa in hand), we ordered 2 mighty fine dishes; Eggs Benedict and Eggs with kale and almonds (guess whose was who's?). I'd say this is an NY must.

Hu Kitchen

Having first spotted this dreamy paleo/clean eating mecca on the SBC Instagram page, I knew this would literally my idea of food heaven. Clean pancakes, clean full English breakfasts (!) and lots of treats to take out including raw chocolate, housemade almond butter and kale chips.

The Top of the Standard - The Standard, High Line

Ever since reading The Londoner's post all about it last year, I had been dying to visit the famous top floor bar at The Standard (The Boom Boom Room). It was such a fancy start to our Sunday in NYC, and we feasted on a ton of great things; sliders, eggs with spinach and shoestring fries, pain perdu, pastries and quails eggs on the tiniest English muffins I've ever seen, all topped off with a couple of tasty drinks. Even if you can't get in for brunch, just head there for a drink at the bar and marvel at the cream and gold, slightly 60s/70s futuristic, interior. Insert heart-eyed emoji.


My word of advice when visiting Balthazar on a busy day? If they say they've got seats at the bar, take 'em. We did just that and the service was mighty quick (barman at beck and call) and the food was a treat. Much better than if we'd had table service. We had omelettes and avo on toast. A briliant set-up to a jam-packed day ahead. N.B. there also may have been a Bloody Mary...whoops.

Stumptown Coffee

Conveniently located in our hotel (the Ace Hotel. It's ace! Go stay there), this was our first port of call every morning for the best flat whites and lattes we've had in a long while. We bought some of their houseblend coffee beans to use at home, and my oh my, did the suitcases smell awesome when we got them home. Seriously though, this coffee was the best, and a must visit in Midtown.

I'd love to know your recommendations for our next visit. Where are your favourite spots to eat in NYC?

Thursday, 8 January 2015

I heart New York City

Ah, NYC, you beautiful, beautiful place.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see that I've just come back from an unforgettable New Year trip to New York, where J popped the question!

Obviously I couldn't refuse and wow, the ring. What a ring! Joe chose damn well and proposed with the Anna Sheffield Oval Bea - a rose gold band with a rose cut Champagne diamond and two white diamonds. It is an absolute stunner and I just can't stop looking at it.

I'll be posting more about out NYC adventures soon but for now, I have some planning to start.

Friday, 12 December 2014

New York State of Mind.

Long time, no blog.

December is set to be one of the most exciting months, like, ever, though, so something that needs to be documented in detail.

In precisely 18 days (!), I'm off to NYC with J for New Year! Can't. Effing. Wait.

Most of my time recently has been taken up by Christmas shopping and all important NYC research.

I'm obsessed with the Love Taza guides - so well shot and edited, NYC looks a total dream in them. After watching these, basically I plan on swanning around NYC wearing great hats and buying a helluva lot of food.

Any NYC recommendations? 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Being LUSH

I vividly remember my first jaunts to LUSH as a teen - I was like a kid in a sweet shop, only instead of sweets, the counters were piled high with brightly coloured bath bombs. Nothing much has changed since then, and I still feel that kid whenever I step foot in-store. It's all quite Willy Wonka-meets-cosmetics when you think about it - solid shampoo bars, shower jellies and playdough substances which can be used as a shampoo, soap and everything in between.

I have to say, its probably one of my favourites retailers on the high street - all products is freshly handmade, always ethical and the brand is completely against animal testing to boot. That's the kind of brand I can get on board with.

My local LUSH has recently had a bit on an overhaul, and the lovely team kindly invited me down to check out the new fixtures and fittings. First thing I noticed? Lots of driftwood - a nod to LUSH's coastal home in Poole.

The staff, as ever, were terrifically knowledgable about all products and the brand and it's heritage, and their enthusiasm, something I've always loved, was at an only appropriate 110%.

One of the main things I was interested to learn about was their fragrance collection, Gorilla Perfume. There is such a story behind each scent, and I particularly loved the tale of Breath of God, inspired by Buddhist monks and the inhale and exhale patterns they use in prayer; the 'inhale' and 'exhale' notes of the perfume are both slightly different, making it masculine and feminine both at the same time. Deep.

Some of the guys who hand-produce fresh items were on hand to show us how to make Angels with Bare Skin, a fresh cleanser based on a medieval recipe, crammed full of good things for your skin - almonds, lavender and rose. A LUSH lady then demonstrated how when emulsified in water, the clay-like cleanser breaks down, making it much easier to apply to your skin.

As always, I loved just browsing around the shop and feeling like a kid again - who wouldn't want the psychedelic bath bomb, Granny Takes A Dip, livening up their soak in the tub? Go on, head to LUSH and treat yo'self.

LUSH Newcastle, Unit 1B/Chevy Chase, Eldon Square, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

All Over Autumn

(Source: Country Living)

It's safe to say the last four weeks have been pretty disastrous.

Injury, illness and having to go to hospital at the Great North Run start line rather than run the race (yes, that really happened) have made the past month one I'd like to forget swiftly. 

With this fail of a month in mind, I'm setting some Autumn goals to achieve by the end of October, to ensure I get back to full strength to be able to continue improving my fitness and taking part in some exciting events I have planned. I'll be keeping a track on everything throughout September/October and checking in on my progress here.

Run 13.1 miles 
As I had to bow out of the GNR on the day due the manifestation of a nasty infection resulting in a day in hospital a.k.a one of the worst days of my life, I'm still aiming to complete a half marathon. I raised such a lot of money for charity for the GNR and am gutted I was unable to run on the day after all of the training I put in. I don't think I'll quite get a PB for my own half-marathon, but I'm adamant to complete the distance I worked for, even if I do have to spread this across two sessions.

I'm now a member of a strength training gym. This is something I've been wanting to get into properly for a long time now, and having dabbled at a smaller gym, the facilities at The Fitness Rooms really are second to none and I'm so pleased to get stuck in and make some gains. Some lasses who lift who are currently inspiring me? I'm a huge fan of Blonde Health, Wedges and Weights and Carly Rowena.

Complete an obstacle course race
The River Rat Race in August was a great introduction to the world of obstacle races (albeit one I won't be doing again due to the infection I picked up from the River Tees). I am however, signed up for the Newcastle Stampede in six weeks time. A Tough-Mudder-esque course, this takes places at Gosforth Park in the Toon and I fully expect to get very very muddy.

Stress less
August was without a doubt a stress-filled month on all accounts, and I definitely came off badly from it. Bad skin, bad sleeping patterns, a bad, bad time all round. Coming into September, I've learned to not sweat the small stuff. It's really not worth it.

Invest in health, invest in yourself
When it comes to finance, I'm allocating a bit more money on myself from now on. Totally selfish? Non.  I've just bought a new road bike, signed up for a new gym (for that strength training, yo) and am all about buying more organic, nourishing food to keep my wellbeing at a peak over Autumn and into Winter.

Drink more water
I drink gallons of the stuff (always with lemon and cucumber for an added hydration booster) but I really can't sign the praises enough of drinking more of that clear H20. It does wonders. Believe the hype.

How do you track progress to make sure you can reach your goals?

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