I can’t believe January is already behind us! The days seem to be going really quickly, which is not necessarily a bad thing when you are counting down to Spring. You may have guessed that winter is not my favourite season! Having seen a number of other bloggers do this, I decided to launch a new roundup series on my website whereby I will be showcasing a selection of my favourite things each month. This will include healthy food, helpful products or services to support an active lifestyle, gadgets, fitness/running/blogger friendly events and places, and last, but not least, some inspiration such as books, movies or people.
Without further ado, let’s see what made me ‘rock and roll’ in January 2017!
1. Most Fun Event: Health Bloggers Community Meetup
This is a quarterly event in London for health and fitness bloggers, giving them a platform to meet like-minded people and discover new healthy living brands and tap into collaboration opportunities. This has been my second meetup and I have to say that each time I left with my blogger and brand network extended, falling in love with some new products, and learning some new ‘tricks of the trade’, making it a great investment of my time. At the January event we had Healthy Fit Fran talk to us about Social Media Image and Fab Giovanetti (founder of the Health Bloggers Community) held a Blogging Clinic where she patiently endured being bombarded with questions about all things blogging- and social media-related. I found these new sessions enormously helpful; in a way, it is comforting to know that many other bloggers and social media influencers face the same challenges as I do; and it is good to have some real role-models we can rely on for guidance.
I really can’t wait until the next blogger event, which is going to be the Health Bloggers Summit on the 15th April in Shoreditch, London. Grab your tickets and find more information by clicking here. Don’t delay though – a little bird has told me that the tickets are selling out really fast!
2. ‘Bucket List’ place to eat out: Mae Deli
My friend Hannah who is a lifestyle blogger at She Writes She Fights accompanied me to the above mentioned blogger event. We headed to Central London to have lunch at the newest Mae Deli by Deliciously Ella on Weighhouse Street, before heading to London Fields for the meetup. The only thing we had not anticipated was that we would find ourselves right in the middle of the Anti-President Trump protester crowd which was a worldwide event taking place in various big cities on the same day. After numerous claustrophobia induced attempts to break away from the crowds, we finally got into the deli and were able to relax in the basement, tucking into a heart-warming green curry, away from the noisy crowds.
What can you expect from the Mae Deli? First of all, expect it to be jam-packed any time of the day! It took us about 25 – 30 minutes from getting through the door to our meal landing on our table. I suspect it could have taken us longer, had the protest not been happening at the same time, just going past the deli. The waitress was very apologetic though and got us each a free energy ball as a means of saying ‘thank you’ for our patience. The food and drinks selection was excellent, the staff very helpful, the space quite tiny in relation to the average number of daily guests coming through the door, the prices a bit steep. However, putting that aside, I would definitely recommend a visit to the deli as long as you are happy with a bit of waiting and digging a bit deeper than usual into your pocket.
Check out the deli for opening times and seasonal menu by clicking here.
3. Most Helpful Product: The Green People
At the January blogger event, I met some really attaractive new brands, including some guys from The Green People. They specialise in natural, organic and vegan friendly beauty products, which are also suitable for people with very sensitive skin.
I have always cultivated a very simple ‘beauty regime’ – if you can class that washing my hair, having a shower and occasionally using some hand cream/lip balm in the winter. However, spending lots of time outdoors being exposed to the elements and handling some really heavy duty stuff in the gym, it is getting increasingly important to give my skin a bit more ‘TLC’, especially during winter months.
I have received some samples from The Green People in my goodie bag, so I decided to give them a try. I am happy to report that after using their Beauty Boost & Skin Restore face cream only a couple of times, the skin on my face has become wonderfully silky and smooth! It truly feels like a luxury treatment when I put it on straight after applying a facial scrub. The ingredients are also quite interesting – I mean, when have you ever covered your face with Organic Everlasting Flower, Wakame, Green Marine Macro Algae, Avocado, Tara Bush, Shea butter, Evening Primrose & Mandarin all in one go?!
This cream comes in 50ml format for £19, so not exactly a high street price. However, I feel that the quality is so good, and the results are almost instantly visible so that I have become a convert. Goodbye dry and chapped skin! If this has convinced you to try it, order it here.
4. Most Beautiful Place to Hike and Run: Petworth House and Deer Park
I love exploring the British countryside; my Hubby and I love going out for hikes and occasional runs together, trying to make the most of our annual National Trust membership.
One sunny January Sunday, we headed up to Petworth which lies in the heart of the South Downs National Park in West Sussex. Firstly, we visited the impressive mansion house and admired the Trust’s finest collection of art, including works by famous artists such as Turner, Reynolds, Blake and Van Dyck. We also enjoyed taking a peek around in the Servants’ Quarters, offering us a cheeky glimpse of life ‘below stairs’, just like in Downton Abbey! After a light lunch in the on-site cafe, we headed out for a hike in the beautiful 700 acre deer park. This was landscaped by the famous Capability Brown, whose work we were already familiar with from our visits in Stowe, another stunning (and runner friendly) National Trust location.
The park is also perfect for a trail run, with plenty of beautiful viewing points and deer spotting opportunities. However, let me warn you that the terrain will make it a challenging and occasionally very muddy adventure! After our visit, I could not resist doing a google search about local running races. Unfortunately, I have found out that the Discovery Run Series do not seem to be happening any more, despite it being a sell-out event in 2015…
To plan your visit to Petworth, visit the National Trust website by clicking here.
4. Best Supplement: MissFits Nutrition Vegan Protein Powders
I first found out about this vegan protein supplement at a Freestak outdoors blogger event in December. I have to say that this is the first protein powder that I like the taste of. It is made with pea protein and has an added vitamin and mineral blend, making it the ideal nutritional punch before or after your workout. The flavours come in handy little sachets so you can take them with you. The flavours come in coffee, chocolate, vanilla and mixed berry, without any artificial nasties or added sugar. As an added bonus, the delivery is extremely quick – I ordered the Multitasker bundle from their website (12 sachets) and I received it the next day!
I have used these sachets in smoothies and energy balls so far – their taste is not too overpowering and sickly which is usually a turn off for me, and they blend really well with other ingredients. On the down side, pea protein is not a complete protein source, so if you are on a vegan diet and train a lot, make sure to get your protein from a variety of sources so that you can get all the essential amino-acids for optimum results!
For #fitfood and #highprotein inspiration using MissFits- and various other vegan-friendly products, give me a follow on Instagram.
5. Most Inspirational Person: James Griffiths, founder of the Wild Training Gym
I met James at an open day event this January, to celebrate the launch of his state of the art gym in Loudwater. I think that the principles James has built his venture on are ones which have the potential to transform your life, too:-
- Love – Love people. Love caring. Love what you do in every moment of your life. Then you will love your life.
- Passion – Passion is an unstoppable energy. Find yours, hold on to it, and use it every day. Do that and even when any rational person would give up, you will be able to keep going.
- Courage – Be fearless. Believe in yourself absolutely. Never stop trying. Never, ever let someone else devalue, or try to take your dream away. Remember that the people that judge you for trying harder than they try, will be forgotten about.
- Spark – The most important bit. Without spark, without taking initiative, taking something you think about, or something you talk about and making it something you do, nothing happens. Without spark nothing becomes reality. Being first is the easiest way to win… at anything. Don’t watch other people win, and do things you thought about doing because you lacked spark.
Attack life with Spark every day and make stuff happen. Use courage and passion to see it through, and always use love to make it great. Use your Claws!
Read more about the gym and my experience by clicking here.
6. Favourite Gym Outfit: Fabletics ‘Let’s Get Physical’ Collection
I have been a member of Fabletics for a couple of years which is Kate Hudson’s online shop that sells women’s sportswear and accessories. Each month I’m always looking forward to browsing the new collection which caters for a variety of different tastes – from mumsy to sassy! In January, my favourite outfit was from the ‘Let’s Get Physical’ power-performance collection, designed for high impact, sweaty workouts, just perfect for my HIIT bootcamp classes!
Steal my current favourite gym outfit from this collection by clicking here.
7. Most Helpful Training Advice: The Secret Formula for Running Well
I attended a free workshop at the Drummond Sports Physiotherapy Clinic in January to hear from the experts about the biomechanics of running and how to stay injury free and increase your performance. With no less than 3 half marathons lined up between the time of writing this article and April, I was curious to find out how I could injury-proof my body during training and racing season and optimise my performance. I was not disappointed – Alex Drummond, lead Physiotherapist at the clinic, provided some really handy explanations and equipped us with some ready-to implement tips to take our running to the next level. Just to highlight a couple of things that I will definitely be taking on:-
- Technique – We all have our own unique way of running due to our slightly different anatomical builds and inevitable muscular imbalances impacting our form. However, there are some scientifically proven methods to optimise running performance and safety which all different schools of running promote. One of these is trying to aim for at least 180 steps per minute cadence in order to reduce the impact on the joints and to improve our overall energy efficiency during a run. The bottom line is: don’t expect miracles from buying certain running shoes that you see in glossy adverts – if your technique is not right, you can almost certainly expect an injury somewhere down the line, no matter what you wear on your feet.
- Prevention – A daily regime of maintenance or prehab exercises are essential to keep your running engine in tip-top shape and race-ready, such as stretching, foamrolling, core stability and glute strengthening work. Little and often is the key!
- Recovery – We should never underestimate the power of taking time out from our training to restore and recover. Active rest, plenty of sleep, minimising stress, and good nutrition go a long way!
- Patience – Finally, we must accept that not every run will be a ‘personal best’ time. In fact, always pushing ourselves to the max can result in not only physical but also in psychological exhaustion, leading to underperformance and burnout eventually.
If you are looking to improve your running technique and wave goodbye to repeat injuries, I recommend that you see your local sports clinic for a full running gait assessment – this was a real eye-opener and a total game changer for me when I had mine at the Drummond Clinic. (You can read about my experience here). If you live in the Maidenhead/London area, you can sign up for a free Running Technique Workshop at the Drummond Clinic on Saturday, 25th February, by calling 01628-639-532 to reserve your spot. Hope to see you there!
I hope you have found this roundup of my January favourites interesting and useful!
How has your January been? Do you have any favourites you can recommend me? Let me know in the comments and also feel free to link your blog article!
Photo credits (in order of appearance):
Health Bloggers Community Facebook page; Mae deli website, The Green People website; Hubby; MissFits Nutrition website; James North photographer; Fabletics website; Drummond Clinic.