Thursday, 21 May 2015

What's In My Gym Bag | General Gym & Swim


After getting some questions from you guys about items I train with, today I've decided to share what I keep in my gym bag. Obviously this can vary depending on what sort of session I'm doing, i.e. if I'm doing yoga or pilates a whole different range will join me, which no doubt I will share with you at some point.  This collection however is my general gym bits. 


I tend to use a classic Head* gym bag for my swimming sessions as unlike a lot of gym bags it has a wet pocket. There is nothing worse than walking into town afterwards with a wet legs from your swimming costume soaking through. Plus it surprisingly holds a lot of stuff and unlike those bog standard ones, this one is super stylish in a blue colour. Isn't it lush?! Head actually have a sports bag design competition to create a Head bag, so if you're creative and fancy a go click the link here to find out more.




Swim Kit

If you know me you'll know I love to swim. I'm a rare breed in the world of triathlon because many triathletes hate the swimming part and love the running, whereas I am a bit back to front... of course! 

Swimming Costume 
I have a Speedo swimming costume (due for an update) which is bright coloured and has built in support. 

Swim Training
I don't just swim for the sake of swimming I go with the intention of training, so to work on my front crawl I use paddles and a pool buoy. I also have Zoggs goggles (these are by far the best I've trained with) and I do use a swim cap but I couldn't find it for the photo... but I use my Blenheim Triathlon one normally.

Towel
You'll notice the black Speedo towel at the top, this is a genius towel because it's quickdry. Instead of havinga general towel this is smaller but dries just as well. 

Watch out in the next few weeks as I'll be giving you some swimming tips. 


Products

This follows on nicely after swimming items as I hate leaving a swim session stinking of chlorine, I also hate smelling in general after a gym session!

Hair Care
I do use a swim cap most of the time but sometimes I don't, if I do I always put conditioner on my hair before I put my cap on. Chlorine is such a bugger for drying your hair out so this just helps it a bit, and obviously I take both shampoo and conditioner.  I also take dry shampoo after my gym sessions alongside my compact hairbrush, to help freshen me up!

Body Care
Back to post swim sessions my skin can feel really really dry, so I've been using some Liz Earle* products which include a facial spray, a body cream and a body wash. All of which are handy travel sizes so they don't take up too much space. 

Feminine Products
I then always take Tampax Compak Pearl with me, small in size again and I'd rather be prepared than not. I read the other day that apparently 1 in 5 girls miss exercise when they're on their period, because they're afraid of leaks! How crazy is that?! I'd never miss anything because I'm on my period. Anyways so these ones I use are compak smooth application ones.These are new as they didn't do the Tampax pearl in compact but they've just launched the compact version of the pearls.  Very handy for the old gym bag! 

Compact products is a big thing for me and I'm currently on the hunt for decent swimming hair products. I'll keep you posted on what I find. 


Gym kit

I love my exercise classes so obviously I have some fun fitness gear to go with it! If my Instagram is anything to go by you'll have see lots of bright prints! 

Gym clothing
These do vary from training session but for today's aerobics class we have my Fabletics capris, my F&F Active neon stretchy vest and my Shock Absorber sportsbra*.  I like colourful socks as I tend to lose them if I can't see them, so we have my Skecher ones from TKmax and little towel from the range at Poundland. 

Trainers 
I am very aware I have a trainer addiction, but these are the two pairs I train in the most at the moment. My New Balance Zante Fresh Foams* and my Vivobarefoot* ones. The New Balance pair have been absolutely amazing since I got them. I always would train in Nike trainers but these have opened up a whole new window in terms of my training. I believe these are specifically for running but I use them for everything! The Vivobarefoot ones I've only just started using but I like to run down to the gym or for a swim in these. These particular ones are their Trail Freaks, the clue is in the title! I'll be fully testing these as I train with my fiance for his ultra marathon. 

Tech Gear
Last but not least my Adidas miCoach watch. It tends to join me everywhere now for helping me get a good training session in. If you're interested in finding out more about this, make sure you check out my recent review.

Always train in what makes you feel comfortable. I like to be bold because it makes me happy... as long as it works probably and doesn't interfere with training I'm all for it! 

There you have it, there is my gym bag kit for my general gym and swim! What do you pack when you're off to the gym?

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Radley AW15 | Press Day

Radley handbags

I had a British branded Radley purse for one of my birthdays when I was younger and I can remember how excited I was to get it. My auntie bought it for me with their signature scotty dog as the zip, and since then that's all I think of the when I hear the word Radley. As I've grown up I felt the brand was a bit old fashioned, slightly dated and aimed at an older generation... that was until I went to see the upcoming collection for Radley AW15, it appeared I was very, very wrong. 

My favourite bag - Was double sided yet so compact!

I couldn't believe what I was seeing. This was bag heaven! What laid before me was a complete bag overhaul to Radley, instead I was seeing playful and modern bags but with subtle hints of it's branding heritage. I was finding it hard to find something I didn't like. There were plenty of fashionable 'off' tones which was a nice surprise for a Autumn/Winter range, normally you tend to see non stop dark shades in any AW collection, but this wasn't the case for Radley's upcoming range. 


Mainly solid colour was seen on most bags but some had extra prints to give quirkiness to the collection. I think the best thing I liked was how this range gradually transitions from SS15 to AW15 with the colours used. I also loved the bright leather backpacks - hello stylish cycling into town!


Lots of classic styles seen in the shopper, shoulder and bowling style bags, but of course in true Radley style they had cheeky additions to them.  On a number of bags they included a spray bottle zip ring, a paint brush and of course an appearance from the classic little scotty dog!


The whole AW15 collection just oozed creativity! The showroom was kitted out to give off  just that vibe with over sized pencils, paint pots and pencil shavings dotted about the place. There was a perfect combination of bold shades to what is best describe as pastels, however they aren't the tones seen in a SS15 collection, they have a slightly darker tint. This made the particular range a perfect companion for a different look and edge for AW15. All of the items spread across the showroom were a mixture of trusty bestselling designs to exciting shapes and creations. 
 

Envelope fronted pockets were seen on some bags which is a nice addition, especially for people who travel a lot like me or need paperwork to hand. The bag above is classic yet modern and to be honest this is the first collection in a long time I've been genuinely surprised by... I wasn't expecting any of it...but I've already noted a few that are on my shopping list. 

Thanks to the Radley team for inviting me along.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Yoga and Brunch with NaturalCycles


I love practising yoga so much, if I could I'd be doing it everyday but I simply don't have the time to squeeze it in with all my other training. I jumped at my invitation to join like minded health and fitness bloggers for yoga and brunch with NaturalCycles



I always seem to be in a major rush to get to events and this one was no exception! The trains from my neck of the woods were all over the shop! I even had the embarrassing experience of coming in late to a room full of relaxing yogis to me falling through the door in a fluster.  I'm so smooth! 

Anyway, as soon as I got myself sorted I joined everyone else for an hour and a half yoga session. I adore practising yoga, I find it makes me feel rest within but challenges my body and my core. The more I do the more addicted I am.


After our wonderful yoga session we enjoyed a spot of brunch catered by Stephanie from Angel's Belly. The room was laid out in perfect post yoga style, with comfy cushions and low tables to allow us to curl up and network. I was really hungry after setting off from home at 6.30am and the food was divine! I wanted to try a bit of everything it looks so tasty...


If I could chose any food to eat this would be the selection. Wholesome and real clean food and I felt cleansed and refreshed ready for our day a head. I couldn't even begin to describe how delicious this all was! We had fresh fruit, homemade yogurt, chia seed porridge (my personal favourite), mouth watering salads, freshly made bread.... it was every food lovers ultimate lust!


Once we'd all eaten and chinwagged for a leisurely two hours and relaxed we had a talk from Gill Day, a naturopathic nutritionist, who gave us an overview of how what we eat effects us in numerous ways. She continued to explain how the female menstrual cycle can also be dictated by this, and the systems that come with it. 


The talk was fascinating and almost comforting to hear that many other girls in the room experienced what I did.  I have PCOS which is a bit a pain because my body is all out of sync constantly, I never know from one month to the next and my systems can be one extreme or the other. 


Once our nutritionist talk was over we were greeted by Eliza from NaturalCycles. I'd not known much about NaturalCycles or heard of them until this event, but basically it's a device that is as good as a contraceptive. If you're questioning how is that so? Then you're right to because I had no idea how it could be, basically it measures your temperature with the use of algorithm.  You measure your temperature at the same time on a daily basis which links up to a mobile phone app, this then lets you know when you're ovulating and when you can expect your period. The app is so clever that it will tell you when you have a green light or a red light day.... beats taking a pill everyday (this is 99.9% effective too) and doesn't interfere with your bodies natural hormones.

It can be used to prevent unwanted pregnancies but also be great to use if you're looking to get pregnant. Ideal for someone like me with PCOS and when I want to start a family in the next few years. But personally I love the idea of using something that doesn't chemically potentially tamper with your body.


A big thank you to NaturalCycles and Angel's Belly for such a wonderful yoga and brunch! I'll be testing the NaturalCycles out and will be letting you know how I get on.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Recovering from a hair disaster


Having a hair disaster can really be confidence denting. I've had two in my lifetime and each time it's been pretty bad. First time was when I was 15 and the hairdresser gave me what can only be described as tiger striped hair colour... Wasn't the look I was aiming for! That put me off colouring for quite a while. 

The last experience in 2012 was quite possibly my worst and has since made me avoid hair salons completely. My sister was getting married so two days before I thought I'd get my hair coloured so I looked super fabulous as her bridesmaid. I'm not sure whether the hairdresser had just become blasé with doing my hair, but they put so much bleach on it that it went peroxide blonde! I can pull off blonde to a certain extent but this was Draco Malfoy style. Utter disaster. I told them I wasn't happy as it had gone too blonde, they then put toner on to try and sort it out but it made it worse and subsequently made my hair like straw! I was in bits as you can imagine. 


I was eventually saved by my current home hairdresser and she managed to sort it out, but all of this has put  me off going to salons completely. To some extent the thought of going to one made me ridiculously anxious... Daft isn't it? Your hair is something you want to be proud of but sometimes when you visit some salons I can't but help think you feel a bit like you're on a conveyor belt. You know, you're in getting sorted and then quickly forgotten about as your hairdresser goes to look after another client.

The main thing I truly do miss about going to the hairdressers is the pampering feeling. At home I can feel flustered if I've not had a chance to tidy, so going in to relax with a coffee (sometimes wine) can be just the ticket. I also really miss getting my hair washed and my head massaged... oh I do love that the most!

Getting back to the point of this post,  I actually faced my fear the other week and went to get my hair done at Hob Salon in Camden. I had the Avengers premiere to go to and kindly one of my PR friends said she could get someone to do my hair beforehand.  A very lovely gesture plus it meant that I'd look fresh after a day missioning around London.

I hadn't had time to really digest what was happening and so my anxiety started to rise as I made my way to the salon. I kid you not, but my heart was truly racing when I went it. Thoughts were rushing around thinking oh no what have I said yes to this for? Plus I was going to be on the red carpet... nothing like pressure!


My hairdresser was wonderful!  He sat me down got me a drink and began chatting to me about options for my hair. Sean Nolan (award winning hairdresser) was colouring my hair as part of the Couture Colour Service that Hob Salons offer, and then hairdresser (part of the creative team) Jake would be cutting my hair. Both had one task each and were purely focused on what I wanted. The hairdresser colouring my hair had worked with numerous celebrities and I won't lie I felt so special he was doing my hair too! The products used throughout were all Wella Professional (which I've used before) all worked very well on my combination hair, but I especially loved the indulgant conditioning treatment!

I won't go into all the detail of my every move but I will say one thing, when I left that salon I felt amazing and that has never happened to me... ever. I went in with a clear image and idea of what I wanted and left with just that something which I haven't actually experienced. Each part of the process was discussed in length before going ahead, but it felt effortless like this was standard practise from such a salon. They used all Wella products which I get on really well with and the boys even gave me some handy tips to care for my hair at home. Maybe I've just been to bad salons but I never had this customer service aspect before.


In conclusion I'd say if I had a salon like this to go to I'd always go. Your hair is something that if it goes wrong you're stuck with it until it grows, which must be a huge amount of pressure for a hairdresser.  Equally so there is a big amount of trust you have to have in who is doing your hair, getting to know them and vice versa is key.

Getting back on the hairdressing horse...
  • Go in and discuss with the salon before you book - make sure they're the right one for you.
  • Meet your hairdressers - do they understand you and what you're looking for?
  • Be realistic - think about what will actually suit you or if you can go from one colour to another
  • Give your hair a break - if you're nervous about hair colouring just start with a hair cut
  • Research hairdressers - ask around or look online
After you have a hairdressing disaster your confidence can be truly knocked, therefore I do believe the more research you do into the place you get your hair done the better. I loved the Hob Salon experience and even though I wanted to take photos and record a video for my YouTube channel, I actually decided I was going to enjoy my first relaxing hair experience without documenting it. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Elegant Resorts | What could be...

Who doesn't love a good old spa day?! A chance to hit the pause button and unwind, now imagine a spa day but so out of normality you're almost floating... Oh and whilst your near a beach and in the sunshine! Hard to imagine when you're stuck riding the daily work train.

I was asked to experience a small taste of what a holiday with Elegant Resorts could be like by enjoying a similar experience here in the UK. Heading to beach in the UK doesn't have the same appeal... Fish and chips and penny falls don't exactly float my boat so I decided to go for a spa day.


A stones throw (sort of) to where I'm from is Ragdale Hall, apparently one of the best in the UK. My Mum only went last week to spend her voucher and friends told me how amazing such a place is, so as you can imagine I was ready for this. With all that has been going on with my life in general I was really looking forward to having some 'me' time with my Refresh and Revive Spa Day (costing £133.00 which included a 3 course lunch and my 50 minute facial and back massage).

I kicked off the day with a complimentary drink and was talked through my timings with a member of staff. You have to wait to be signed in and because it took so long I couldn't make the step class, but instead of letting it stress me out I went straight to the pool for some swimming. I was the only one doing front crawl as everyone else chilled in the jacuzzi and slowly floated along doing breast stroke, I was starting to realise I clearly find it hard to relax...

I got out the pool and made my way to the Hydro Spa, essentially a collection of 12 different rooms with a different purpose. It is really such a relaxing experience going into each of the rooms. I won't give too much away but this was my favourite part! I think my fave room was the candle pool where you could listen to classical music and just sit, it may not sound much but I nearly fell asleep it was so peaceful! Afterwards I made my way to float along in the heated outdoor pool. Bliss.


As I'm an active bunny I wanted to do some classes as Ragdale offer a wide range. I thought a bit of Zumba and yoga both looked like a great options. I won't lie having done Zumba before and one of my friends being an instructor, it wasn't well taught and rather a disappointment. The whole idea of Zumba is to keep your heart rate lifted whereas for each track we had to stop and go through each individual move (of the entire track) before starting it. A bit pointless if you were looking to get a good workout even if people hadn't done it before, plus I'm pretty sure even if you were new you'd pick up doing a simple step touch. Don't get me wrong the other classes I tried were good, I just love Zumba normally and it was a let down.


After Zumba is was onto the main part of why I was here... the spa treatment! I love nothing more than a pamper session with a new face mask but having someone else pamper me so I can switch off is bliss. I was having a 50 minute back massage and facial combined, all my muscles ached from working out the other day and I'd just had a skin breakout... perfect timing it seemed! It was all very relaxing but I did feel a bit put off when the lady doing my facial started pointing out the fact I had lines here and there, dark circles and that I needed to invest in this product and that product. I know they're there to push sales but that really put me off and I walked away feeling rather old! Such a shame because the actual experience was wonderful. 


Once I'd enjoyed my spa treatments I was waiting about for lunch with time to kill, so instead of doing my standard clock watching I made my way into one of the quiet rooms to read my Women's Health magazine. When did I last sit and read a magazine cover to cover? I can't even remember! It was well needed and I even took myself into the little shop on site and explored the other rooms. Lunch was a three course meal and because I hadn't eaten anything since 7.30am and I was s-t-a-r-v-i-n-g. The food was absolutely delicious I just wish I could of eaten more but I would of exploded!

I finished lunch soon to be welcomed by a food coma, the best option (as many will agree) was to grab my book and head into the silent room for a read... and of course an afternoon nap! I finished my day feeling relaxed and ready to tackle the world. I hadn't switched off like this in months.

Even though it was lush I would much rather do this sort of thing away from my day to day life. Being near the beach and somewhere with white sands and blue skies would be top of the list... which I'm sure you'll agree. Even though spa days in the UK serve a purpose you're really looked after abroad at one and have the bonus of the sunshine... my Mum and Dad went to one in St Lucia and loved it so much they went back. 
You can enjoy fabulous similar experiences with Elegant Resorts but for a spa related holiday it seems their Caribbean resorts looks the best! Oh yes... honeymoon maybe?! A big *hint* to my husband to be!

Anyone had a holiday that has spa treatments, if so where do you suggest is best to go? 

p.s I was meaning to take lots of pictures of my experience but for once I decided to turn my phone off for a needed break. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

Adidas miCoach FIT SMART | Fitness Technology | Review

Once you get the fitness ball rolling it can be a quick transition to becoming hooked on exercise. Sometimes just the standard Saturday morning run can get longer, maybe even to twice a week and then maybe onto training for your 5k...then 10k... you see the picture. You get bigger fitness goals and even though we don't need technology to achieve these, they will most certainly help steer you in the right direction. Without dancing about it, I'm talking fitness gadgets... the technology that helps you monitor your process and reach your targets.  

Having watched my Ironman boyfriend love a good gadget for his training I was excited to test out the Adidas MiCoach Fit Smart*. This is essentially a fitness watch that helps provide information about each training session, but also links up to your smart phone to log your results and more importantly your progress. 

Fit Smart Adidas


The main features
  • Sensors: accelerometer, Mio continuous optical heart rate
  • 10 hours of workout data
  • Syncs with miCoach Train and Run app using Bluetooth® 4.0 (Bluetooth® Smart), 2.4GHz
  • A battery with 200 mAh lithium ion (takes 3 hours to charge)
  • Smooth and flexible silicone strap
  • Width 34 mm, height 12.17 mm, length 207 mm
adidas miCoach FIT SMART £110.00

Initial views

Okay so that's a lot of information but you're probably wondering how I got on with it? Firstly it's a great, smooth, silicone adjustable band, (I have it in white) that doesn't irritate regardless of how hot you get during your workout. It tells the time with the LED display and has three buttons to select the current time and the training modes, making it very easy to navigate around. To get it started you need to charge it with the black usb cable, (comes with the gadget) that slots over the sensors on the back of the FIT SMART and it charges up with a standard usb plug. These sensors on the back are what also measure your heart rate.  

What does it do

I've been using this device a lot over the last few months and have found it very easy to get on with (which is a great start!).  Once you switch on Bluetooth it is very easy to sync with the Adidas miCoach Train and Run App, I did initially have trouble getting it to sync with my iPhone but it was fine with my Samsung. 
I loved the fact you can record any workout, so you can record anything from your average run, to your yoga session to even a kayaking outting! As you do! The best part I found is that sometimes if I'll cycle to a gym class, do a class or two then cycle home I won't get a chance to sync straight away... but luckily this little gem stores that information until you can sync it, meaning you don't always need your phone with you. It can store up to 10 hours of data which is great teamed with the decent battery life. 

Get your heart pumping

I must admit my favourite bit is the fact you can measure your heart rate. A lot of these fitness gadgets require an additional chest strap to get your HR, this doesn't which is ace and it finds your heart rate really quickly. One particularly amazing element is that  as it monitors your heart rate whilst training, it flashes up
along the thin LED strip on the side with your heart rate colour zones. It makes it really easy to keep track of how hard your working during your exercising and will vibrate when you are out of your performing zone. I won't lie it happened mid way through pilates after me flying down the hill to the gym on my bike!

Verdict

I will be first to say it's taken me a while to really discover and use all the functions and appreciate what it can do. I can monitor my average pace on runs, find out my average heart rate, see how far I've gone and discover if I've made training progress.
To summarise I'd say if you're after something to really help your training this is a safe bet, if you don't just like to run but do a bit of everything then it's worth it. You don't have to faff with getting add ons and it can monitor so many kinds of workouts not just running.  This isn't for someone who like a casual workout, if you are then there are other options out there for you, this is an active all rounder.  Nothing too extreme but one for the definite active folk out there.  A huge plus is that it's complex with it's abilities but not complicated and that makes it pretty awesome in my book. 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

How to wear the Sports Luxe style | Fashion

I'm loving my fitness gear right now and if I'm honest it's all I'm pretty much living in.  The danger of being self employed and working from home is that instead of sitting in my pyjamas, I'm now sitting in lycra!

I've decided to kind of step away from that, but only slightly by embracing a touch of Sports Luxe! I've spied some amazing pieces out at the moment so I've collated them together for you to get some inspiration with me.


Sports Luxe Lovin'

 I love, love, love Charli Cohen stuff, I remember having an email conversation back in 2013 with Charli about her launching and now she's doing awesome.  I'm all about the Dressed to Kale tshirt, I can't even begin to say how much I want it! She's also got some kickass leggings and teamed together would be a great look. 

Personally I don't feel I suit hightop trainers but I do really like them and the look they provide. Nike, Adidas, DC and Superdry do some great ones, I'd suggest getting a white or black pair purely because they won't go out of style and you won't be restricted with styling. Slip on shoes are still hot but will they last? Not sure... I've spied some floral prints on some but for sports luxe I reckon metallic or neutral is the way forward.

Woman on a mission



As always I've created some looks for various situations, first on the list is those days when you're on a mission. I sometimes just don't have time to get dressed up to pop into town to get my jobs done... noway. I want something quick and comfy to run about in.  Hello to look number 1. Shiny shorts, motif tee and bright trainers? Checkout!


Casual Chill

Above is more the kind of style I'm on about for my days at home working, or if I need to head out to the local paper shop to pick up the newspaper and milk. Love a good sweater and even though I'm a bit over the samey ones, I can't help but like this simple black one. The bag is a lust must and it also softens the look and keeps it feminine.

Rollin' with it

I bloody love a pair of dungarees! I spotted some in New Look earlier today and was mighty tempted. My problem is I'm not a massive fan of me in shorts... in general.  I have chunky thighs so even though I'm a size 10 in everything else I've got big blasted thighs so they can look too snug. Regardless I also spied the Brooklyn baseball style top which I have on my wishlist, I remember having one of these kinds of tops back in the days of Tammy Girl (really showing my age now!) and wore it all the time.  I wanted a new one and this look is ideal for that.  Throw in a splash of Stella McCartney in the form of the palm tree jacket... winner all round I reckon!?

What do you like the most out of what I've chosen? Anyone else liking the sports luxe items out there at the moment?