Brunch Review 2: Sopwell House

Your country home from home- Sopwell House

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One Saturday we ventured out to the Hertfordshire countryside (which actually isn’t that far away from us) to enjoy a delicious breakfast at Sopwell House. Sopwell House is a luxury hotel that is set amongst 12 acres of countryside. They have over 100 rooms, two restaurants, bars and a health and wellbeing centre.

We were not able to book breakfast we were just told to turn up before ten o’clock as that is when it is their busiest time. We arrived a little before 9:30AM and were taken to the breakfast restaurant. We were able to pick the table of our choice and as soon as we were seated the impeccable table service began.

The service at Sopwell House was faultless. The waiters and waitresses were very efficient and incredibly polite they really did make our visit even more enjoyable. We were served tea and coffees and were told to help ourselves to the breakfast that was on display in front of us.

There was so much choice including; Yoghurt, berry compote, selection of cereals, dried fruit and seeds, assortment of pastries, smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers, full English breakfast, freshly baked bread to toast, jams and spreads and also an array of hams and cheeses.

As you can imagine we didn’t know where to start and we basically worked our way through the entire selection, we were one of the lasts ones in the restaurant when it reached 11oclock.

We thought the breakfast was charged fairly at £17.50 per person. The only thing we were slightly confused about was the fact you were allowed to dine in your robes but then again it is a spa hotel and they do want you to feel like you are home from home so we will let them off.

We would love to return to Sopwell House for a Spa weekend as we were blown away by the quality of the breakfast. we can only imagine how relaxed and refreshed we would feel after an entire weekend of pure relaxation.

A weekend in Jersey

Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands which sits between England and France. It is well known for its beaches, walking trails, world war tunnels and of course the delicious food. I have been lucky enough to visit Jersey since I was a baby as I have family who live over there, but if you have never visited then you really should.I would suggest booking an early morning flight from Gatwick, Luton or London city airport. The flight time is only 40-45 minutes so its super convenient and when you arrive either hop on a bus, hire a rental car or get a taxi to your final destination. Jersey is 9X5 which is great as it allows you to really explore the island during your visit and even better you can explore it by foot instead of by car.

We were due to fly out to Jersey at 9oclock on Friday morning but unfortunately we were delayed for several hours due to bad fog on the island. When we eventually did get on the plane at 1oclock we were unable to land as the visibility was still poor, so back we went to Gatwick. We transferred across to a later flight and we had our fingers crossed that we would be able to land. Due to the flight being cancelled earlier on in the day we were given some food vouchers to spend in the airport before boarding the flight at 18:30. It wasn’t quite the Friday evening we had in mind but never mind these things happen and we eventually made it.

We were staying in the parish of St Lawrence on the Victoria Avenue. My grandparents’ house overlooks the beach and the view is truly stunning. We liked to kick start our day at 7 o’clock heading out to the beach for a morning run. We ran along the sea front towards St Hellier where we found 50 rows of steps that we would run down and squat jump back up, it was a killer especially when we had a two mile run back. You truly cannot beat working out on the beach with the sun shining down on you; I wish my workout was like this every morning.

This weekend for us was a super chilled weekend, as we have visited Jersey lots of times so we didn’t visit the tourist attractions. I have however written a summary of places you should visit when visiting Jersey at the bottom of this blog post.

Once we had showered after our early morning run we headed up to the local shop called Benest to collect the daily paper. On our return we had some breakfast and then decided to walk into St Hellier, for a Saturday morning browse. We wondered into lots of little shops (the kind of shops you only ever enter if you are on holiday). the sun was shining and it was such a beautiful day we decided it was time to stop for a coffee. We wanted to visit an independent coffee shop but because I was being fussy and wanted an iced coffee we ended up in a coffee shop called coffee republic, which definitely isn’t an independent coffee shop.

Saturday afternoon was spent walking to St Aubins where we stopped off at The Boat house for a beverage, I opted for a crabbies ginger bear which was delicious. On our walk back the sun was setting and it was truly beautiful.

We finished our Saturday in a restaurant called Café Post in Grouville. The food in the restaurant was amazing and I wanted to eat it all over again. To start I had duck pancakes followed by a vegetarian nut roast served with Mediterranean vegetables and pesto and for dessert I went for the cheese trio. The atmosphere of the restaurant was lovely and the lighting made it feel lovely and cosy.

I had the best night sleep and naturally work up at 6 o’clock, after chilling in bed for a while it was time to get up and and out my running gear back on! The sun was still rising and it was the perfect start to our Sunday morning!

Breakfast today was a small drive away and the food was delicious (more about this on our Jersey breakfast post coming soon!). We had a short walk around the Victoria Park before our taxi came and picked us up for the airport.  Luckily our journey home was a lot smoother than Friday!

Things to do whilst in Jersey

1.) Corbiere Walk to the light house- you can follow the old railway track from St Aubins.
2.) Visit the Elizabeth Castle (opens early April and closes late October)
3.) Visit the Jersey beaches- St Aubins Bay, St Brelades, St Ouen’s Bay, Grouville & Greve de lecq
4). Wildlife park
5).Water sports- surfing etc
6).War Tunnels
7).Island RIB voyage
8). Day trip to Guernsey, Herm, Alderney or Sark

Very berry protein waffles

We got a waffle maker for Christmas this year which we are absolutely loving so we thought it was only right we started creating so yummy recipes and posting them on the blog. First up is berry protein waffles  as berries are always something we reach out to when we want a fruity breakfast.
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Makes 8 waffles 
To make the waffles you will need:
100g oats blended
2 egg whites
1tsp baking powder
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
1 scoops of protein powder we opted for vanilla this time
100ml milk of your choice we used oat milk
Toppings 
150g Frozen berries
3tbsp Chia seeds
Yoghurt we used fags 0%
Flaked almonds
Smooth Peanut butter we used meridian
Maple syrup- optional
Method 
Stew the frozen berries with water on a medium heat
While the fruit is stewing blend the oats and pour into the mixing bowl
Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined
Add the egg whites and stir well
Slowly add the milk and mix
Remove the frozen berries from the heat, pour in the chia seeds and leave on the side to set
Turn your waffle maker on and once hot lightly grease with coconut oil or butter
Pour mixture onto the waffle mounds and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes (waffle makers can differ so make sure you read the instructions supplied).
Once cooked plate up and add all the topping on!
We put any leftover berry jam in a jar and will enjoy on porridge or on toast later on in the week. Remember to keep it refrigerated in an air tight container.
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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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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?

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?

 

Are you lacking fitness motivation?

Scrolling through Instagram is sometimes enough to motivate us to get to the gym. Our Instagram feed is full of fitness fanatics who never seem to lack motivation. This isn’t true though, people only show what they want to show on Instagram so it is important to remember these people do run out of energy and can also lack motivation!

Everyone has those months were they are feeling less motivated. Most of the time motivation and consistency is never a problem for us, we look forward to going to the gym in the morning, but we do notice it takes us a little bit longer to get out of bed during those cold winter months.

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We love the lifestyle we lead and we never desire another routine or lifestyle. When we have a bad day at work working out really helps us regain a positive attitude. It’s our place where we can switch off from the rest of the world and just focus on our work out. 99% of the time we will leave and have a completely different view on the problems we were facing beforehand.
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Below are a few tips to help keep you dedicated and motivated to your fitness regime:

Don’t stress- It’s really important you don’t stress yourself out if you cannot fit a work out in, stress can cause de motivation. Sometimes other things get in the way that you have to prioritise and that’s just life. You aren’t going to throw away all your gains just because you missed a class. On the flip side of you do miss a class don’t let this demotivate you, get back up and go again tomorrow.

Make fitness part of your life but not your life- it’s so important you have the correct balance, that’s not to say that you should feel bad for turning down an event if you have your favourite fitness class that night. If you find yourself constantly doing this you could find yourself falling out of love with fitness.We like to work out in the morning so we can plan to see our friends and family during the evening.

Eat well- when we don’t eat a healthy balanced diet our body tells us off! We wake up feeling sluggish and lethargic with little or no energy. We know our bodies don’t agree with too much sugar and salt so it is important we personally eat this in moderation. Don’t restrict yourself though as you are likely to fall off the wagon, instead eat a balanced diet treating yourself every now and then.

Find a friend- working out with a friend can be so motivating! They are there to motivate you and maybe even get you there in the first place. If you have arranged to meet a friend in the morning you are less likely to stay in bed!

Pack your bag- we always pack our bag for the next day before going to bed! We also like to place our gym clothes by the bed so we just have to pull them on and go!

Set yourself a goal- we like to set ourselves regular goals so we have something to work towards. A few examples would be: run a certain distance, lift a certain weight, do a deadlift, do a pull up etc.

What are your top tips for keeping motivated, we would like to know!

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