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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

a canadian adventure

Clearwater Lake - Canada

Mout Falls Canada

Sasquatch Zipwire - Whistler

I went to Canada when I was 15 with my parents, as a moody teenager I was completely unimpressed with all the views we had to stop and look at every 5 minutes, and was resentful about being away for 3 weeks during the summer holidays.  So I never thought I would do pretty much exactly the same holiday 16 years later.  But after watching Victoria and Carly’s vlogs from their trips over there, it jumped to the top of my bucket list (can you call it a bucket list when you’ve done it before?).  For the last few years, all I’ve wanted from a holiday is sun, beautiful beaches and a week chilling out on a sun lounger, and as appealing as that still always is, and always will be, this year I wanted a bit more adventure.

It might sound cheesy, and I’m sure most people would roll their eyes at this, but since becoming fitter and more active, I actually want to spend holidays being more active too.  I’m not rushing to go to the gym every day, or set out on long runs, but just being out and about doing stuff rather than spending 8 hours a day topping up my tan and sipping on cocktails.  Obviously, I always still want to enjoy or drink or two, but it’s even more satisfying after a day’s exploring, and Canada gave us the perfect opportunity to do just that.

So I basically just recreated Victoria and Carly’sTrek America’ trip, only without the camping, because me and tents do not get along.  We copied their route (only the other way round) and booked various accommodation from swanky hotels (we nabbed a good deal) to a tiny little wooden cottage. We hired a car to get us through the rockies, and emptied our bank balances on all the activities.  While we spent a small fortune, it was definitely the holiday of a lifetime, and I would encourage anyone to do the same trip, it was incredible!!

And all that activity meant I could eat all of the great food over there, but more on that later, I’m thinking a whole post dedicated to the pretty epic food I ate, turns out Canadian’s portions are as big as Americans.

We started our trip in Banff, luggage free as Air France had kindly left our cases in Paris, so spent our first morning in GAP buying 'essentials' and discovering their GapBody knickers are the softest underwear I've ever owned.  Feeling much more refreshed after a shower and a set of clean clothes, we headed up the gondola and admired the views, our first real sights of the Canadian rockies.

Banff, Canada

Canoeing Lake Louise

Still fighting jet leg, we were up early day 2 and made it to Lake Louise before the rest of the tourists arrived.  This meant we had the place virtually to ourselves and got out on a canoe with no-one else to ruin our photos.  And a wrong turn on the way back to our hotel took us the 'scenic' route, where we saw two black bears cross the road in front of us, literally 2 feet away from the car, amazing!
From Banff we made our way to Jasper, stopping at the Athabasca Glacier.  One thing I did remember from my trip when I was 15 was that it was cold up there, I remember my dad's pasty white legs as he shivered in shorts, so we wrapped up and still barely managed the full half hour out on the ice.  

With a day of pouring rain, and not much else to do in Jasper other than hike, we hibernated in our log cabin and ate cake for the day before moving on to Clearwater.

Bear Lodge, Jasper
Athabasca Glacier

Clearwater Lake

Whitewater rafting - Clearwater

We stayed in Clearwater because it was close to Wells Gray National Park and a good stop off point between Jasper and Whistler.  While the town isn't worth writing home about, our B&B was.  It was set right on the lake, where you could wander down to the waterfront, go for a swim with the turtles (yes, really!) or take the boats out for a paddle it was truly idyllic.  I could quite happily have stayed here for a week, but we made the most of our time and squeezed in waterfalls, white water rafting and more canoeing. 

From Clearwater we drove to Whistler, oh Whistler! I loved it here, a quaint little town centre which is fully pedestrianised, surrounded by outdoorsy shops, restaurants and art galleries.  Everyone in Whistler looks healthy, all clad in lycra and trainers, ready to go for a run or hire a bike.  The town is set up for activity, there's so much to do.  In Summer mountain biking is hugely popular, and there's the incredible peak to peak gondola, and not forgetting the Sasquatch zipwire, the longest zipwire in Canada and all of the USA, at a mere 2km, where you travel up to 70mph.  Yes I did do it, yes I was shitting myself, and yes I'd do it all over again, it was amazing.  


Peak 2 Peak Gondola Whister

Cake, Whistler

Sasquatch Zipwire - Whistler

From Whistler we then moved to our last stop of the holiday, Vancouver.  With 4 nights here we had plenty of time to explore, shop (at last!) and eat. We cycled round Stanley Park, ate tacos on the waterfront, and walked across the Capilano suspension bridge.  We drooled over all the food at Granville island, went shopping in Gastown and discovered Coffee Crisps, my new favourite chocolate bar.

Capilano Tree Top Trek

Vancouver waterside

Granville Island

Stanley Park, Vancouver

Granville Island

And that was it, our 2 week whirlwind tour was over.  Definitely, the best holiday I've had, I'm pleased to say I appreciated it much more than I did when I was 15, and I've even come home feeling even more inspired to lead a healthy life, the Canadian's know how to do it.

So, now I need to start planning the next holiday, any destination suggestions?

Thursday, 8 June 2017

the perfect fit - hunkemoller sports bra

Hunkemoller sports bra

Hunkemoller sports bra

Exercising and me haven't always been friends, but I'm proud to say I've been regularly working out now for 2 and a half years, I can't really believe it either.  I started because I was getting married, it seems that was the motivation I needed to get my ass (quite literally) into gear.  I headed up to my local outlet village and bought myself a pair of trainers, and two sports bras.  The sports bras were on offer, two for £20 from Sports Direct.  I went for the cheap ones, figuring this flirtation with exercise wouldn't last long, so at least I wouldn't feel like I'd wasted too much money.

Fast forward to today, and those sports bras are still going strong being worn regularly.  Given that they're washed every week, if not twice a week, without fail, they've been put through their paces (yes I am going to fill this post with sporting puns), and they're only just starting to look a little faded and providing not quite as much support as I'd like.  

I've never been one for having much look finding bras that fit, in fact I even wrote a post about it many moons ago, and sports bras are no exception, comfy and supportive are even more essential when your boobs are in for some serious motion (I almost wrote action, but I think that's a very different thing).  

Hunkemoller, a brand I'd never heard of until now, have answered my prayers, they dedicate themselves to making sure you get the right fit. And what's even better is their specific sportswear range, three different levels to choose from to suit your workout. I used the sports bra calculator to help me pick a level 3 (high intensity) bra to make sure these bad boys aren't going anywhere.  Now that I'm running more (ok, currently less as I've got an injury but hopefully not for much longer) and I'm doing more HIIT workouts, I need some serious scaffolding to keep them place.

Hunkemoller sports bra
Sports Bra - *Hunkemoller Leggings - *Lole

Grasmere lake

a prosecco picnic

So with a birthday walk in the sunshine planned, it seemed the perfect excuse to take my new sports bra out for a trial run (geddit?!).  No, I probably didn't need to wear a super supportive bra for a gentle wander round a lake, but when it looks this pretty, and running is on hold for a while, I had to give it it's first outing.  

I might have had to limp my way round, with a well deserved picnic and prosecco break half way, but on first wear, it gets a big thumbs up for me.  And when I've had chance to give it a proper workout, I'll report back, but for now, I'd highly recommend checking out Hunkemoller's range, I might have to treat myself to a level 1 and a level 2 version just so I have all bases covered, and at least now I know, I'll always get the perfect size.

Grasmere lake


So what do you reckon, are you going to be heading to Hunkemoller to find that perfect fit?

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

i run so i can eat cake

lotus biscoff cake

'I run so I can eat cake' - this popped up on my Instagram feed last week (sorry I can't remember whose post it was to credit them!) but it really made me smile,  and it may have struck a chord or two.

If you read my last blog post, you'll know I've set myself a new challenge, to try to run 10 miles, very little to some, a marathon to others. 50% of me is doing it because I actually really want to be able to run 10 miles, the other 50% is doing it because since Christmas my weight has gradually been going up and up and my jeans have been getting tighter and tighter.

It's fair to say, I'd become a little complacent, I will still going to classes 4 or 5 times a week so figured I could eat as much as I want and get away with it.  Turns out that's not true, who knew? And with clothes I was no longer feeling comfortable squeezing my ass into, and a holiday on the horizon I knew it was time to do something about it.

The good news is, running burns lots of calories, I've spoken to a few people who've told me they've never lost weight so quickly as when they started running, so with my 10 mile goal set, some new leggings courtesy of the mr, and a waistline I was hoping to shrink I started my running challenge.

Maccy D's
And here we are, 4 weeks later, the scales haven't moved, the legs are exhausted, my distances are going up, and my hand is reaching for the biscuit tin more than ever.  I promised myself a Maccy D's when I reached 10k, Sunday was that day, and a double cheeseburger and fries were what I ordered, and now I've set the 10 mile bar at a Krispy Kreme or two.  

While I really wish I could start to see those pounds dropping off, it's also really nice to know that for an hour of pain (yes, that's how Sunday felt!) I can enjoy a dirty McDonald's in all it's glory, and maybe I'll see those abs another day.

So, there we go, I run so I can eat cake, and burgers, and chocolate sundae's and pancakes and doughnuts and, and the list will probably never end!

chocolate sundae

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

10k to 10 miles

Top* - John Lewis, Leggings* - John Lewis, Jacket - ASOS, Trainers - Nike

It's been at least a month or two since I wrote a blog post on running, and you'll know by now, that my blog posts are about as sporadic as my actual runs.  However, with the Mr successfully finishing the Paris marathon last month and a recent Sunday morning spent glued to the television watching the London marathon, it was inevitable that I'd be donning my trainers again, convincing myself I might this time find my running feet (pun fully intended).

Well, two and a half weeks later, yes a whole 17 days and I'm still going strong, I've even printed myself out a little plan that I'm currently sticking to.  I'm not aiming to run a marathon, I'm not completely delusional but what I would like to do, is maybe push past that 10k distance and maybe, just maybe, get up to 10 miles, because wouldn't that be awesome to say I can run 10 miles.

So I've got my plan, with a little space to write a comment alongside each run, that's what Vassos does and we know how inspired (read:slightly obsessed) I am by him, and actually it's a genius idea because I always feel good after completing a run, and reminding myself of that when I've got that 'I really can't be arsed feeling' is a good push to get me out that door.

Next on the agenda is a new pair of trainers, now that I'm putting my current pair through their paces (again, pun intended) they're retaliating by giving me blisters, so the hunt is on for the perfect kicks, which of course, buying a new pair means I have to keep going. 

I've also had a bit of a revelation, I've discovered the podcast!  One of the things I find hard about running is the lack of distraction, the mr when he runs just finds he totally chills out, he enjoys the scenery and gets lost in his music.  That doesn't work for me, I'm too busy watching where my feet are stepping to look up, and music usually sets a pace too fast for me to keep up with, but the podcast is working a treat.  I can still focus on my feet, but the chat keeps my mind on something other than how much I want to stop, how heavy my legs are or is this heavy breathing actually an asthma attack.  

So with some help from the Mr (he's coming with me each time I want to up my distance), some Cumbrian sunshine (I've been surprised too) and 'My dad wrote a porno' I'm now up to 5 miles, already at half my goal! And once I've got my new trainers, which I'm sure will make me run faster and further, who knows where I'll be in another 17 days...

Nike trainers

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

a paris marathon

paris marathon

paris marathon

You’ll probably know by now, that I’m not much of a runner, despite having this inner desire to be the next Paula Radcliffe, my actual running ability is non-existent.  The Mr on the other hand, just ran his first marathon.  Yep, all 26.2 miles of it, and is determined to run another, and not just run one “one day”, apparently, he’s going to do another this year.  Now, there’s a part of me that is slightly concerned that it’s just so he can go on long training runs, you know the type that means he’s gone for several hours and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s just a good excuse to get away from me… but I’m sure it’s just that he loves running, right? Right?

Anyway, it turns out that running a marathon requires some serious training, who knew hey? And despite good intentions, and a pretty impressive training plan, which was going very smoothly, Mr B picked up an injury.  Self-diagnosis meant he was convinced it was a pulled muscle in his knee, but after his ‘nagging’ wife persuaded him to go see a sports physio it turned out it was his glute that was the issue, which in turn was having an impact on his knee.  A session of acupuncture, some serious multi-coloured tape, and suggestions to give foam rolling a go, he was good to run again.

Several months before all of this, the lovely people at Herbalife had sent me a fit-kit, complete with massage ball and foam roller along with a variety of other goodies.  Not really knowing what it was or what to do with it, and rarely suffering from the dreaded doms these days, I popped it under my bed and thought little more of it…until the hubby came home from his physio appointment and I spotted him googling ‘foam rollers’, and with a sudden realisation of ‘ohh, that’s what it is’, I ran upstairs and appeared with said foam roller. 

Fast forward a couple of hours and I can hear groans coming from the bedroom, slightly concerned that he’s now having an affair, I wander in to find him rolling around on the floor in a weird contorted position moaning.  So despite that pain, and he assures me that’s expected, foam rolling is really good for you.  It might involve some crazy-ass ‘Twister-style’ moves, and the feeling that someone is burying their knuckles into you, it supposedly works wonders.  So since then (which was a good 8 weeks ago) I’ve had to get used to the moans and groans of my husband as he foam rolls his butt for half an hour every evening.

herbalife foam roller

herbalife foam roller

marathon essentials

With marathon weekend upon us, and Mr B not feeling quite as prepared as he’d liked, I noticed that not only does his case include his running kit, emergency jelly babies and a protein packed porridge pot, his foam roller is in there too, it’s even coming to Paris with us…I’ve officially been replaced! 

And whether it was down to the foam roller not, he completed the marathon in 3 hours 50 minutes, and I couldn’t be a prouder wife, plus we got a rather lovely weekend in Paris out of it, filled with crepes, pastries, and some very stiff legs…marathon watching is hard work you know!

paris marathon

nutella crepe

Thursday, 6 April 2017

live out loud everyday

lole - john lewis

lole - john lewis

lole - john lewis

lole - john lewis

lole - john lewis

So something pretty unusual happened at the weekend, it doesn't happen often in Cumbria, but when it does, you have to make the most of it because you don't know when it might happen again.  Yes, the sun came out, beautiful, glorious sunshine, warm enough to sit outside in short sleeves, and for long enough to actually enjoy it.

And as I get older, I seem more determined to appreciate where I live and my surroundings, and as I've got fitter, I want to spend my days getting out and about, rather than lazing on the sofa all day.  A few years ago, I would genuinely have chosen to spend a sunny Saturday watching TV, then being out in it, or if I was going to have to be out in it, I'd want a cider in hand...although, some of that statement may still stand true.

lole - john lewis
lole - john lewis
lole - john lewis
lole - john lewis
Top* - John Lewis, Leggings* - John Lewis, Jacket - ASOS, Trainers - Nike

In fact, this determination to make the most of the great outdoors has even impacted our choice of holiday this year, after watching Carly's Canadian adventure, the Mr and I found ourselves booking a similar trip.  Trekking, zip lines, rafting and bike rides might not be everyone's idea of a holiday, but I can't wait...although, I'm not a total outdoorsy type yet, I pull the plug at camping, so it's all hotels and quaint little lodges for us.

So what do you need for a Canadian adventure? Well only the best of the local sports brands right? And by sheer coincidence I recently became aware of John Lewis' latest addition to their activewear, 'Lole', a brand created by Evelyn Trempe, meaning 'Live Out Loud Everyday' and designed to make you feel good inside and out, whilst still being a practical piece of clothing.

With sun in the sky, and an urge to get out, I decided to put the clothes to the test.  And while I did a lot of posing, a lot of messing around and a quick pit stop outside a pub, I did also go out for a run, and that is when these leggings really proved themselves.  Up until I owned these, I was yet to find a pair of leggings that didn't fall down while running, and there's nothing more annoying, and less glamorous, than trying to hoick up a pair of lycra leggings while you're jogging alongside a busy road.  I kid you not, these leggings did not need pulled up once, so if I have any fellow runners out there who've been on the lookout for the perfect pair then I have just answered your can thank me later. 

  So with only 12 weeks to go till our holiday, I'm just trying to decide which extra pieces I need to add to my collection because when I'm running along the streets of Vancouver, I want to look the part...

lole at john lewis
lole - john lewis
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