Our running goals

We have been running regularly for over a year, we have got to the point where we can happily run 7.5 miles but have not pushed ourselves to run either further. This year we have decided to challenge and push ourselves to go even further and we have decided to double the distance to 15 miles. If we managed to get to 7.5 miles in one year then what is to say we cannot get to 15 miles this year.

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We absolutely love running. It’s a great time to reflect or to just completely switch off from the world. We love running together; we make so many decisions when running about our blog, jobs, weekend plans and our future aspirations.

We have decided to set ourselves this challenge because we think it’s important to have goals that we can work towards together in 2017. We loving setting ourselves fitness goals to ensure we challenge and push ourselves so we can see continuous progress in our fitness levels.

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We will be running together once a week and as the evenings get lighter we will be making our runs longer. During the winter months we run 5 miles during the week on the road. In the summer however, we like to run in the woods deep into the Hertfordshire countryside watching the sun set. We will also be running on our own maybe at the weekend trying to push ourselves to run further each time we run.

We will also be running shorter runs of 5K as we know it is important to vary your running lengths in order to see progress and to give your body a break.  We both like to run in our lunch breaks as it is the perfect amount of time for a quick 5K.

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We hope to also enter a couple of runs this year to keep us motivated and to have something to work towards. We wanted to take part in the 10 mile London parks run last year so maybe that will be on the cards this year.

We will be documenting our running progress over the next year so watch out for more running posts!

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Refined sugar free banana bread

We really wanted to bake some banana bread one Sunday afternoon when we were browsing the fruit and vegetable isles in the supermarket. Most supermarkets bag up banana that are about to go out of date and sell them for about 20p bargain!

Banana bread is great because you can eat it at any time of the day! Well you can with this banana bread because it is sugar free and still tastes so delicious! The bananas are sweet enough and become even sweeter once cooked so you wont even notice the lack of sugar.

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Ingredients
3 ripe bananas
200G oat flour (we just blend oats that we already have in the cupboard)
30g chopped walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml milk of your choice
1tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
5g Oats

Method
Pre heat your oven to 180oc
Line your loaf tin and grease with some melted coconut oil
Blend the oats until they are fine and resemble flour
Mush 2 of the bananas in a mixing bowl
Slice the remaning banana
In a separate bowl mix your oat flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and walnuts
Once combined add the mashed banana and half of the slices banana and stir
Pour in the milk and stir
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin
Place the remaining sliced on top of the mixutre
Sprinkle the handful (5g) oats and coconut sugar on top
Bake the banana loaf for 30 minutes until cooked throughout
When cooked let cool and enjoy

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Whats in my rucksack

It seemed fitting that as I (Rachel), love going on solo trips around the world; just me, myself and my rucksack, that I would write a post to share what I pack in my trusty rucksack.

This will include all the necessities that you might not initially think of that I would recommend you pack, I haven’t included all the obvious things such as passport, clothes, suncream etc however writing this post has inspired me to write some additional separate posts about clothes to pack and one about toiletries to pack – so watch this space!

  1. Firstly I will start with the actual rucksack. Basically my motto is the smaller the better. The smaller the rucksack means you don’t overpack, and it also means the less you have to lug around. You have to do a lot of walking with your life on your shoulders so you don’t want to have your kitchen sink in there! You may be walking from the train station to your hostel, or the trek from one gate at the airport to another. When I went to Australia I borrowed my brothers  Osprey Talon 33 rucksack. For my trip to SE Asia I decided I needed my own rucksack. After lots of research, I decided I wanted to stick with a 33 litre rucksack so went with this beautiful Lowe Alpine 33 litre. It can expand to 40 litres if need be. I suggest going out only packing to the 33 litres and then using the extra 7 litres to bring bits back!
  2. Earplugs and eye mask are then my first priority I always make sure I have packed. Make sure you find ear plugs that are suitable for you, there are so many different varieties. Amazon have plenty to choose from! Same goes with the eye mask, you need to make sure its a comfy one as you have to sleep with it on. I like this Go Travel one 🙂
  3. Neck pillow is the next essential, especially if you plan on taking long journeys from place to place. The neck pillow is ideal to help you sleep on the long plane journey but also perfect for long bus or train journeys. I opted for a memory foam pillow and it was SO comfy. Again I opted for a Go Travel one.
  4. People tend to overpack when it comes to clothes, the only thing I would say to overpack with is underwear. Of course you can wash your clothes whilst travelling but you need to ensure you have enough underpants. I would recommend buying some 100% cotton underwear, especially if you are going to a hot and humid country.
  5. Comfy shoes are a necessity for sure. Some trips you may be required to bring walking boots with you, in this case you can be the typically traveller and tie them around your rucksack!! I always ensure I have a comfy pair of trainers with me for all the walking you have to. When visiting a new town or city you want to be able to walk around and explore it all.
  6. The long journeys can often be super boring, so make sure you have something to do on the journey. Make sure you have lots of songs on your iPhone or iPod to listen to. I also have an iPad and download some movies and tv shows to watch on long journeys. However my favourite pass time is a colouring book. I have a small pencil case with different colouring pencils in it and usually buy a new colouring book for a trip.
  7. If you are travelling solo, then I would recommend you buy yourself a selfie stick. If there is no one around that you can ask to take your photo then the trusty selfie stick is your new best friend! I think its important to take pictures to remember your amazing trip, gotta have that pic in front of the Opera House or Taj Mahal to show the grand kids!
  8. If I had all the money in the world then my Go Pro would also feature on this list, but I don’t have one (yet!). It seems everyone I meet travelling has a Go Pro except me. However I have a really good Panasonic Lumix camera and also found an underwater digital camera for £5 in a charity shop. One day I will treat myself to a Go Pro!
  9. Security is key when travelling so make sure you have a padlock packed. Many places have lockers for the guests to use that require you to use your own padlock on, then you can ensure all your valuables are safe!
  10. Speaking of security I also ensure I pack a bum bag, I find these super handy to wear when travelling as it means I can keep my valuables close to me. You can often get ones you can put under your clothes so that they cannot be seen!

 

What would your travelling/backpacking necessities be? Where are you planning your next adventure to, we would love to know!!

Brunch Review 1: Muriel’s Kitchen

We are on the hunt for the best places to go for brunch in London and Greater London and couldn’t think of a better topic to blog about. As you can probably already tell we are absolute foodies and we would say breakfast is our favourite meal of the day, you can read our blog post about it hereAt the weekend going for brunch is ideal because it means a later breakfast and you can go all out on a big meal to start the day.

We read about Muriel’s Kitchen on The Culture Trip so when we were in the area before a blogging event we just had to take a visit. We tried to book a table online but it was fully booked (we would recommend booking in advance at the weekend), however decided to risk it and turn up. We had to wait around 15 minutes for a table because the whole place was jam packed but it was worth the wait.

Firstly we ordered drinks with Rachel opting to try a juice and Annie going for the bottomless filter coffee (£2 is a bargain!). The juice was delicious and very refreshing and we like the little touch of the cucumber on the side.

We then ordered the toast to share, this came with butter and a whole jar of jam!! The bread was very tasty and there was certainly enough for us to share whilst we waited for the main event! It was so hard to decide what to order for the main brunch. We had watched all the dishes come out the kitchen whilst waiting for a table and were eying up a couple of dishes. As Rachel doesn’t like eggs it was a bit easier to decide, (most brunch dishes always include some form of egg!), and choosing the pancakes was a clear winner. It was harder for Annie to decide however in the end she also went for the pancakes.

When they arrived, our faces and gasps of ‘wow’ even made the waitress chuckle. The presentation wad impressive and the portion size even better! We do not know how the pancakes were made  but they were so fluffy and a bit cake like and had berries in them too. They were then topped with berry coulis, icing sugar and greek yoghurt. We were then given a very generous jug of maple syrup to pour over. I don’t think we need to write any more about because you can just drool over the pictures instead!

We are advocates of brunch and love trying out new places to go. This was definitely a great place to start our hunt for the best place for brunch in London and Greater London. Where would you recommend we try next?

Oaty Breakfast Muffins

Having suffered from digestive problems for over 2 years the last suggestion from the doctors was to follow the low FODMAP diet. This has been a bit of a shock to the system and my first worry was that I wouldn’t be able to eat anything!! However doing some more research, reading lots of blogs and chatting to others on twitter it’s not as bad as it seems. Okay I need to now buy gluten free products and follow a lactose free diet too and cut out certain fruits. However I can eat Greek yoghurt, which is a firm favourite of mine!

I came across a recipe for breakfast muffins and adapted it to suit my new diet. I omitted the flour, and blended oats instead to make a sort of oat flour. This recipe uses honey instead of sugar and also the blueberries add some sweetness to the muffins too!

 Hope you enjoy these, they are the perfect breakfast treat!

2 large eggs
150ml pot Greek yoghurt
50ml sunflower oil
1 banana, mashed
100g blueberry
4 tsp runny honey
1tsp vanilla extract
200g oats, blended (gluten free if necessary)
1 ½ tsp baking powder (gluten free if necessary) 
1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
Handful oats for the topping

1)      Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with large muffin cases.

2)      In a jug mix the eggs, yoghurt, banana, honey and vanilla. If its lumpy then blitz  using the hand blender

3)      In a large bowl mix together, the blended oats, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and blueberries, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

4)      Mix together, but do not over mix and then divide the mixture between the 12 cases.

5)      Sprinkle on the oats and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, ensuring when a skewer is inserted is comes out clean

6)      Leave to cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

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You could also make these with raspberries or any other type of berries. You could also add a scoop of unflavoured or vanilla protein powder to the muffins for the ideal post workout snack!

Review : Boss Legend Hotel Hanoi

For my last day in Hanoi and once the backpacking trip had ended I had decided to book myself into a nicer hotel to end the trip in style. Unfortunately the hotel I had booked was awful, awful location and the so called gym and swimming pool was a shambles. I sat in my room nearly in tears thinking this is not how I wanted my trip to end, so I got back online and after a bit of googling found the Boss Legend Hotel. The pool looked fab, as did the gym, there was an onsite spa and the location was ideal, right by the lake in the old quarter. I booked it straight away and headed in a taxi to the new hotel (after paying the old hotel a large amount of money for a 30 minute stay!!).

I guess it was bit of a shock when I turned up at the hotel as I had only booked the hotel 10 minutes and after a bit of juggling of rooms everything seemed to be sorted (phew!). The staff were friendly to me, although a little bewildered by this girl with a huge rucksack in gym gear turning up to this luxury hotel (just because I’m dressed like a traveller doesn’t mean I can live the luxury lifestyle too!!)
I was given the key to my room and headed in the lift to floor 6 and along to my room 602. I entered the room and instantly felt at home, the large bed, TV and lovely bathroom, I felt 10 times better!
I headed straight to the gym which was a good size and the views of the city were amazing whilst working out on the cross trainer.
The room had also provided me with a laptop which was pretty sweet, so I spent the rest of the afternoon writing blog posts whilst watching the tennis.

The next day I woke up early for breakfast which was served on the 11th floor again with amazing views of the city, in the summer you can also eat outside on the roof terrace which is a bonus. Breakfast had a large choice and I enjoyed croissants, French bread, pancakes and fruit.
I spent the morning chilling by the pool before checkout at 12. The pool was empty so was nice to have it all to myself and it was a good size.

After checking out I headed to the Legend Spa, which is the spa connected to the hotel in the basement, here I enjoyed my first ever hot stone massage and also got a gel manicure. The afternoon was lovely and I felt truly pampered.

In the evening I took the private shuttle arranged by the hotel to the airport.

Thank you to Boss Legend Hotel for being so accommodating and helpful to me and turning my frown upside down. You sure did make my last day in Hanoi and last day of the trip very memorable.

If I ever return to Hanoi I will sure stay with you again.

February Favourites

Wow, cannot believe we are in March already, time really does fly! The month has gone so quick we cannot even remember what happened! However see out favourites from this month below:

Homemade granola- One evening we randomly decided to make granola and we were surprised at how easy it is, and also how it will save us so much money. It is actually really expensive to buy ready made granola, and to make your own you just need some oats and a choice of coating. Its fun because you can make different flavour granola. Warm honey in pan and stir in the oats, or warm some peanut butter or Biscoff spread – all work equally well and equally delicious.

Matching gym gear- This month we decided to buy matching gym gear, and its the best decision ever. We have had such fun taking photos together and they look pretty cool when we are in matching active wear (well we think so anyway!). There are so many places that sell stylish active wear and we cannot wait to go shopping!

Pancakes-We have well and truly embraced Pancake Day this month and have made an awful lot of pancakes. Some we have already posted to our blog, but we have more to come in the future, because pancakes are for life not just for pancake day! You can definitely eat pancakes all year round, so watch this space.

Mochas- We have been making our own mochas in the evenings when those chocolarte cravings kick in. We have a tsp of decaff coffee and 2tsps of Cadburys Highlight hot chocolate mix it with a bit of milk and the rest hot water. It tastes so delicious and really does satisfy the sweet tooth.

Buffer – We have started using Buffer as we are so busy with work as well as the blog. Buffer is a great tool to schedule posts on social media. So far we have only used it for Twitter where we have been scheduling tweets to promote our blog posts. If you are as busy as us then we would recommend downloading this app and giving it a go!

Holiday booking – It seemed that February was the month to book holidays, we think the cold weather got to us so we just had to book some things to look forward too. We have booked to go to Paris, Palma and Barcelona. If you have any tips or posts for us to read about these destinations then send them our way please, we would love to read them!

Wonder what March will bring, its Annie’s birthday and we have a wedding to go so we are excited already. We also have the #BlogConLDN Event on March 18th, anyone else going?