London Eats!

Hi all,

Remember my recap post on Monday regarding the London Coffee Festival? I loved writing about it but there was one vital part missing that I am sure you are all dying to read about… what did I eat!!!??? (with the exception of bucket loads of dark chocolate of course!)

So today I am linking up with Jenn over @peasandcrayons for What I Ate Wednesday, focussing on my favourite foodie delights from my holidays, the festival and our Road Trip! Prepare to get hungry!

Friday – Road Trip

Trippin’ Lunch – Salad Box – smoked mackerel, lettuce leaf, sweetcorn, peppers, olives, feta, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, mango and melon! Yep quite a feast! (Can you believe this all came from our local supermarket? Who says you cant get a healthy lunch from a supermarket!?).

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Snack – Strawberries – massive and delish!

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Dinner – Nando’s in London – Lemon and herb chicken with ratatouille, sweet potato mash and avocado – very nice and perfect fuel after our road trip!

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Saturday – The fest and the rest

Breakfast – Hotel breakfast – fresh fruit and yoghurt to start (not pictured) then poached eggs with bacon, tomato and mushroom (side of green tea and OJ)

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Lunch – Brick Lane Street Food Cart Caboose – we ordered the pulled pork and the beef brisket and shared. Served with a crunchy beet salad, pickles and siracha! Yum!

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Dinner – CHIPOTLE!!!!!!!!!!! – First time ever! We only have them in London in the UK and David and I were desperate to visit! I had the burrito bowl with barbacoa, lime coriander rice, lettuce, grilled veggies, salsa and loads and loads of guacamole! It totally met our expectations. And yes I may have already tweeted Chipotle to ask them to open a store in Glasgow…!

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Sunday – Rest Day/ Family Day

Breakfast – Hotel Breakfast – Cold meats, melon, pineapple, grapes, raisins and walnuts to start. Poached eggs, bacon, mushrooms, chorizo and tomato with coffee. (Pic of David’s plates but mine were pretty much the same!)

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Lunch – Pinkberry! – Again first time ever, again only stores in the UK are in London, again was incredible! Tart original yoghurt with mango, banana, dark choc chips and crushed almonds. I wanted it again after I had finished #willpower

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Dinner – Gourmet Burger Kitchen – Not pictured 😦 It was dinner with my brother who lives in London and we were catching up soo much that I forgot to snap it! But I had a bunless beef burger with pineapple, grilled mushroom and a crunchy slaw. Nicest burgers ever!

Snacks bought in London (sorry for the bad phone pics!)

Pistachio Halva from the Food Hall at Selfridges

You all know I love tahini. Mix that with honey and pistachios and you have heaven. Amazing

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Also from Selfridges – Beef Biltong – Best jerky I have tasted. Totally hunting for more of this!

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Road Trippin’ back up to Glasgow

Lunch – Tomato Mackerel Salad with avocado and cherry tomatoes – another supermarket find!

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Partnered with another London find – Happy Kale BBQ kale chips – very nice!

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Snack – Love Raw Cacao and Maca Organic Bar – will definitely buy again. Ideal snack and just the right size.

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Oh and to finish the trip off, as the sun was shining – a 100% Orange Juice Ice Lolly – refreshing and fun in the sun!

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Happy Wednesday Everyone!

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London Coffee Festival

Hi all,

A big hello from a very sunny Glasgow! Hope you are well and had a wonderful weekend!

As promised, today is my recap of the London Coffee Festival last weekend – oh how I wish I could do it all over again!

London Coffee Festival – April 5th

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David and I headed down to London last weekend to attend the London Coffee Festival – held in The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane.

Both of us love our coffee and are growing to understand the flavours behind it a bit more. Coffee is like wine, different regions, different beans, different notes and flavours. We wanted and desired to know more! So the festival seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so!

We had tickets for the brunch slot (10am -1pm) and after a short, but pleasant in the sunshine, queue outside, we had our tickets stamped and were ready to go. A goodie bag was given on arrival and it was truly breathtaking when we walked inside the building. The smell of freshly brewed coffee spread throughout the space, the room was buzzing with smiles and chatter. We both knew we were in heaven!

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In order to make my recap easier, I have decided to break the fest down in to 3 areas – the coffee, the food and ‘other’. As you can imagine, there was so much to see and see it all we did, but I will focus on my favourites!

Coffee

So much coffee, so little time! As much as I wanted to try a coffee from every stand there, I just couldn’t! But I sampled quite a lot!

My favourite drink of the event

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Favourite sampler has to be from New Row Coffee – I had an almond milk latte with fresh almond milk – oh my goodness it was perfection! And where can you find freshly made almond milk!?

Right here – http://newrowcoffee.co.uk/

My favourite Coffee of the event

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Out of all the coffees we tried, our favourite was the blend from Urban Roast – lightly floral yet smooth and a lasting richness, it was the perfect all rounder coffee. So naturally we bought a bag to take home and will definitely be checking out their website for more!

http://www.urbanroastcoffee.co.uk/news.html

My favourite ‘new’ Coffee

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Hands down, Goodbeans Cold Brew. So many of the blogs I follow have raved about Cold Brew coffee but I had yet to find it in the UK – and so Goodbeans comes into our lives!

A new social enterprise, they are just getting on to their feet right now but definitely deserve our support and custom! I can’t wait until we can purchase online, I will be their first customer!

http://randrenterpriseblog.wordpress.com/

My favourite ‘Well Known’ Coffee

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Oh Starbucks I love you. When I need a very good coffee, you are there and never disappoint. And you know what else I love, you never act like the ‘big corporate chain’ instead blending in with everyone else at the festival, big or small, embracing what we are all there to talk and smile about – good coffee.

Oh and best tip that I picked up from one of the producers – when making a mojito, also make an espresso. Take a sip of the espresso, swirl it around your mouth, swallow and then drink a sip of your mojito – a taste sensation! Neigh, explosion!

Food

There were quite a few food and snack stands at the festival. There was even a pop up street food area that was fun to walk around! (Good smells!!). From chocolate to cakes, biscuits to ice cream, all were there to show their fantastic pairing with coffee. Again here are some of my favourites.

Lindt Chocolate

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I really didn’t like chocolate until a few months ago, honestly! I think with adopting a paleo lifestyle my taste buds totally changed and from eating real food I found flavour! Now I just love rich dark chocolate. This Lindt stand was heaven. Mostly sampling dark chocolate, you could pick from their entire range. I can’t remember how many types I tried! We also chatted to one of the Lindt Chefs who gave me some great tips on using chocolate in our chilli (which David and I love to do) and also pairing their chilli chocolate with a rich full bodied red wine – can’t wait to try it out!

Yes we did purchase a couple of bars – dark chocolate with chilli, dark chocolate and blueberry and my favourite dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt…amazing!

http://www.lindt.co.uk/swf/eng/home/

Nakd Bars

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I have been a fan of nakd bars for quite a few years now – I often recommend them when I blog posts about snacking. Minimal, clean ingredients and a great snack bar for when on the move or just with a coffee! Even though I have tried the whole range, it didn’t stop me sampling one or two (or more) of my favourites!

http://www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk/nakd-fruit-and-nut-bars/

Green and Blacks Chocolate

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Another favourite chocolate producer! They didn’t have that many dark chocolate options but it was great to sample a few new ones and chat to the staff at the stand about the product. I was surprised but my favourite of theirs was actually the dark chocolate with lemon oil – and I dont really like lemon! Would always recommend the Maya Gold and Ginger though!

http://www.greenandblacks.co.uk/our-range/bars.aspx?c1=1559&c2=1559

Other…

There were so many other factors to the festival – a great art exhibition that centred around coffee…

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Various DJ’s playing some killer tunes throughout the fest…

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We also enjoyed music from a live salsa band – couldn’t help but dance!

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There were also some other drink producers there that we loved.

ColdPress Juices

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A great British company focusing on great tasting juices and smoothies from fab ingredients, with no cooking. Therefore retaining all their nutrients.

http://www.cold-press.co.uk/

Cawston Press

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Cawston are a company that David and I already love – we swear by a glass of their beet juice before we head off to CrossFit. So it was lovely to see them, chat with them and see what new products they are revealing. I am so happy to have found their new product – a fizzy cloudy apple juice with no sugar! Just apple juice and sparkling water! Once I can find them in the shops I know it will be a summer favourite!

http://www.cawstonpress.com/

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And that’s all folks! I hope you like my recap of the festival, showing you some of my highlights! I included the websites in case you wanted to find out more.

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The best highlight of the day though was simply talking – talking to all the friendly faces there that were happy to be celebrating this one very traditional drink that we all love – COFFEE!

Oh and we will be back – hurry up 2015!

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Thinking Out Loud!

Hi all,

I’m back!

Hope you enjoyed my posts while I was away, especially the one from my guest blogger! He really enjoyed writing it, maybe I will ask him to do some more in the future!?

Today, I thought I would link up with Amanda over @runningwithspoons for her ‘Thinking Out Loud’ post –  a good way to do a wee catch up after being away for a few days!

Thinking-Out-Loud

  1. London was awesome!

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–          David and I had such a good time at the London Coffee Festival, the place was alive with amazingly passionate friendly people, all gathered to celebrate something we love, COFFEE! I cant wait to do a recap post for you all – coming early next week!!

  1. Only one flaw…

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–          Unfortunately, every time I go to London and go on the underground, I seem to catch the cold! David calls it the ‘London Lurgy’ (lurgy being a British nickname for the cold/flu). So I am all blocked up with a runny nose, sore throat etc – damn the underground and all those germs! But I do love riding on the underground, it’s always so toasty warm down there!

  1. New Bling!

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–          David and I are celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary this year and we wanted to buy each other a unique piece of jewellery to celebrate. We found these amazing rings from Spitalfields Market in London that were just perfect – made from antique silver spoons! We loved the fact that no one else will have these rings, they are one of a kind and were made before we were born and will exist long after we do. I love the chunky-ness too!

  1. Housework

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–          Problem – you are so busy before your hols you don’t have time to clean. Then you come back from hols and wish you had cleaned beforehand as you now don’t have time to clean – catching up with everything. Does anyone ever have time/ the desire to clean!?

  1. A new podcast!

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–          David has been raving about a CrossFit podcast that he found and on the journey down to London I finally got the chance to listen to an episode – Barbell Shrugged, I love you! A great mix of CrossFit news, tips, laughs and just general chat – can’t wait to catch up with the back catalogue!

  1. Plantain Chips

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–          I finally cracked it with how to make good plantain chips! Finding a plantain was my first issue – then making sure they are cut thin and flavoured enough = a great crunchy chip! I look forward to trying out some more flavour combos and sharing them with you all!

Happy Thursday all!

London Baby!

Hi all,

Well I am super duper excited because as soon as David comes home tonight we are officially on holiday! Yay!

I have scheduled posts all set up for when I am away so please keep stopping by!

I also hope to tweet some of my goings-on while I am away so if you don’t already, why not follow me on Twitter @ChasetheRG

So David and I will be road-trippin’ it down to London tomorrow to attend the ‘London Coffee Festival’ – cannot wait, we adore our coffee and combine that with great music, art and various other cultural aspects makes for a fantastic festival. Check out the website here for more info.

coffee

In honour of our trip, today’s post is all about LONDON!

As my Dad’s side of the family is from London, I have spent many happy times down there and feel super lucky to have done so. The result of this is that I have pretty much seen most of the major sights and sounds of the city – and want to share with you some of my favourites.

So here are my 5 favourite places I have visited in London – for your interest/ if you want to plan a trip/ if you just want to daydream!

1)      Buckingham Palace

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–          I can’t believe I never visited Buckingham Palace until last year! And it is such a shame because our tour there was fantastic! Open only for a few months in the summer, the Palace is just stunning and the audio handset that guides you around tells the most amazing stories.

2)      Spitalfields/ Brick Lane

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–          Spitalfields has the most amazing market (previously the old flower market), especially on a Saturday when the whole place comes alive with up and coming designers, fashionistas, jewellery makers, and antiques collectors etc all selling their wares. It is beside the famous Brick Lane, full of incredible street art. You can walk around for hours, peaking around every nook and corner to see if it reveals a hidden treasure. Brick Lane is host to the Coffee Festival – perfect location!

3)      Covent Garden

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–          Another market but very different. While Spitalfields could be seen to be more ‘boho’ and ‘chic’, Covent Garden is more traditional – with a mix of market stalls and high street shops. There are lovely restaurants, cafes and bars surrounding with the London Transport Museum and Drury Lane Theatre nearby. While you are there you can be entertained by the many street artists – from jugglers and clowns, to magicians and Opera singers, you will see it all at Covent Garden and is a lovely way to spend a beautiful sunny afternoon.

4)      Tower of London

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–          Another fab tour of a grand castle right in the middle of London beside the river and Tower Bridge. It looks beautiful, home to the Queen’s Jewels (which you can view) and is such a good afternoon visit. And yes you can even get your picture taken with a Beefeater!

5)      Victoria and Albert Museum

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–          In my opinion, the best of all the museums and galleries in London. It is so eclectic and has something for everyone – ranging from art and relics to modern sculptures (to simplify on a mass scale!). The building itself is worth a visit – so grand yet so welcoming. Also across the roads from Harrods, which I know is a stop for many on a trip to London (although I prefer Selfridges!).

And a trip to London would never be complete now without a ride on the Emirates Air Line cable car – breathtaking views!

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Have you ever been to London? If so what was your favourite attraction/sight/ sound?

If not where would you like to visit?

Currently…!

Hi all,

Hope you are well and enjoying your day so far.

I thought I would do something new today that I have seen quite a few other bloggers do and looks like good fun, a ‘Currently’ post!

Going to try and make it a monthly occurrence, think it will be good to see what has changed over the previous 4 weeks and what new things are to come!

Currently I’m reading…

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I would love to say I am in the midst of an amazing novel or great story but I cannot tell a lie. Instead I will admit that currently I am mostly reading blogs and cook books! The two cook books I am glued to at the moment are Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam and Ultimate Home Cooking by Gordon Ramsay. Both are insane for amazing recipes and inspiration.

Currently I’m listening to…

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Podcasts! I have such a backlog from over the festive period that I am still trying to catch up on. My two favourites that I am always up to date on though are Balanced Bites with Diane Sanfillippo and Liz Wolfe and The Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness Podcast with Jason Seib and Sarah Fragoso. Please check them out!

Currently I’m watching…

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Since David and I got a digital recording box we have had so much more flexibility with watching TV. Just finished the latest season of Sherlock (OMG!) and now watching Mr Selfridge (new season), The Taste, Location Location Location (property show), Revenge season 2 and Californication season 5.

Currently I’m wearing…

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Got some amazing new workout tights in the Reebok sale that I just adore. Love the yellow stripe. Otherwise basically living in jumpers, zippy hoodies, leggings and boots – and I love it!

Currently I’m eating…

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New things! Well new recipes at least. I love being in the kitchen and trying new recipes, altering older ones and just trying out new combos. However a real favourite at the moment has to be sweet potato hash, with an egg on top and avocado. Nom nom nom!

Currently I’m drinking…

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My two favourite drinks at the moment (not together of course) are Choco Chili tea by Yogi Teas and on the other end of the scale, a good Gin and Tonic! I only discovered how good Gin and Tonics were this summer, I previously thought I didn’t like Gin but it just shows how your tastes change as you age. I look forward to venturing into some other Gin cocktails soon, we tried the Gin version of a Bloody Mary at New Year and it was so nice!

Currently I’m snacking on…

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My favourites are dates and cold roasted root veggies. Just make up a batch on our Saturday cook up and that equals tasty, nutritious and filling snacks/ sides for the rest of the week. Sorted!

Also found these in London and they are sooo good! No nasties in them, just pork and sea salt – and that is so rare to find. Good healthy fats, just need to ration them as they are so moorish!

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Currently I’m planning…

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Another trip to London! David and I love coffee and the annual London Coffee Festival is taking place in Brick Lane in April. We knew we just had to go! will probably do another road trip down, stay in London over the weekend and hopefully see a few exhibitions and meet up with my brother too when we are there. Exciting!

Current changes…

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As you all know (or anyone who as at least glanced at my blog will know) I love CrossFit. I get so much from it that I decided to quit the gym! I think I must be the only one who quits a gym in January rather than joining one! I decided that I would rather up my sessions at CrossFit instead and am so much happier. I am not a cardio bunny anymore and I actually think the exercises I was doing at the gym were affecting my CrossFit goals (i.e. not being able to build strength – lifting = building muscle, cardio =  leaning out). And besides, if I want to do some cardio I can always wrap up, head to my local park and do some sprints – much more fun!

Currently I’m looking forward to…

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Going to Whole Foods this weekend! Can’t wait to see what goodies David and I can stock up on. And when I say goodies, I mostly mean MEAT!

Also really looking forward to the Superbowl next week, as I’m sure a lot of you are. Not massively popular in the UK so I’m very grateful that they show it on TV (with the time changes it’s on quite late at night, approx 11.30pm!). Hopefully the ‘snow bowl’ will be a good game, it certainly will accompany good food, drinks and company in our house!

 

CrossFit – Battle of London 2014!

Hi all!

I’m back and into the swing of things after the most amazing weekend in London watching ‘Battle of London’ 2014 CrossFit competition!

Oh my goodness it was amazing, inspiring, epic and so much fun! Here is my recap of the events and happenings!

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On Friday night (just after midnight) 8 of us left our CrossFit box in Glasgow and drove down to London. It takes about 6 and a half hours, so with breaks and swaps of drivers etc, we arrived at around 7.30 am. Coffee was definitely needed!

The competition began at 8.30am at the Copper Box stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. An amazing venue which reminded me of a glorified CrossFit box so it really was perfect! It was also nice to be back at Olympic Park after attending the Olympics last year. Still looks awesome and great to see it being used for other events.

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The competition is over 2 days and is broken down into 7 WODS – the 7th being the final. All 150 males, 100 females, 30 male masters and 20 female masters compete in the first 4 WODS, then cuts are made until we get to the final. Each competitor has a judge who will watch them compete and make sure each rep counts!

Day 1

Let the battle commence!

WOD 1

For Time:

100 Double unders
——–
3 Round of:
10 Handstand Push Ups
4 x 10m Sled Pull
——–
100 Double Unders

12 minute time cap

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It was a great WOD to start on. It was so good to watch the double unders and try and pick up some tips on technique! The handstand push ups were insane, some naturally were better at it than others and by the 3rd round I think most were struggling. Their arms and shoulders would have been really straining with the combination of the 3 moves. Major respect.

Our coach actually purchased one of the sleds used (eek, watch out for that in a future WOD!).

WOD 2

In 2 parts…

2A

In 6 minutes find a 1RM of the following complex:
1 Clean (squat)
1 Hang Clean (squat)
1 Front Squat
1 Shoulder to Overhead

Rest 2 minutes, then…

2B

For time complete 30 Ground to Overhead @80/55kg (70/47.5kg masters)

6minute time cap

(Ground to Overhead – using clean and press, push press, jerk or snatch)

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Wow. Most knew what their 1RM would be and went straight for it. There was some major weight being lifted here. In fact, the weights were that heavy, the floor was actually broken in 64 places where the barbells were dropped. This had an impact on the rest of the weekends WODS… (and events taking place at the Copper Box this week…oh dear!).

The men went first and we had a break between them finishing and the females beginning. So we broke for lunch which was fab as we were all starving! London’s biggest shopping centre, Westfield, was a 5 minute walk away so the choices for lunch were pretty good. We grabbed some freshly made sushi from a Japanese cafe. It was so yummy I just had to take a picture and post it for you all!

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Watching the women compete in this WOD was amazing. Their technique somehow seemed a bit more honed in compared to the men (just an interpretation) and I was so inspired, it made me want to go and lift there and then!

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WOD 3 – ‘Fat Fran’

3 Round for time:
2 Laps of the Arena
21 American Kettle Bell Swings
12 Chest to Bar Pull ups

This was a fun one to watch as it really felt like a race! That’s the thing about CrossFit, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and you could really tell the ones that were runners and ones that were more into lifting and the ones that excelled on the gymnastic side of things (chest to bars). No one can be perfect at everything with it being such a multi disciplined sport.

Everyone was given a major cheer, whether you were first or last – great thing about CrossFit, the only sport I know where the person who finishes last gets the biggest cheer.

Day one finished about 5.30pm so we all headed back to the shopping centre to grab some food for dinner. We went to a restaurant called Gourmet Burger Kitchen, sounded pretty good and didn’t disappoint! 100% beef in their burgers (no rusk or nasties), an option to have it ‘bunless’ with salad and crunchy slaw instead and an avocado and bacon burger on the menu, what more could a bunch of paleo loving folk want! (It was quite cool as many of the competitors were also dining there (also going ‘bunless’!), I felt quite star struck!). After some good food and banter, we headed to our hotel and fell straight to sleep; it had been a long day!

Day 2

I was pretty pumped for the second day of battle! And after a breakfast of masses of eggs, fruit and almond butter we were fuelled up and ready to rock!

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WOD 4

In 2 parts…

4A

4 minute AMRAP of:
4 Single Arm KB squat Clean each arm @32/24kg
8 Box jumps

4B

4minute AMRAP of:
Ring Muscle Ups

4A seems ok? Nope it was tough! It’s always the ones that look ok that are the most difficult, or so I have found anyway! Squatting with the kettle bell, for some, was just really tricky. With a bar at least you have an even balance of weight, with a kettle bell , the ‘one-sided-ness’ can really alter ability.

I picked up some tips on box jump techniques. Still doing step ups at the moment but a few things to try out for when I do eventually venture into the jump!

The ring muscle ups looked really tough, many only got a couple.

The first cut was then made and it was straight into WOD 5.

WOD 5 – Death By Bar Jumping Burpees

10 stations with increasing reps.
The athlete will start at platform 1 of 10.

At each platform the athlete will have 60seconds to perform the prescribed number of reps

Station 1: 3 reps
Station 2: 6 reps
Station 3: 9 reps
Station 4: 12 reps …
Station 9: 27 reps
Station 10: Max reps

At the end of the 60 seconds the athlete will have 10 seconds to transition to the next station.

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First I have to mention that this was not the original WOD. Remember I said the floor was damaged? Well it was that bad that they couldn’t use barbells and weights again for fear of more damage! Not good! (The planned WOD had been a power clean ladder, shame as it would have been amazing to watch!).

Watching this WOD felt cruel! I hate burpees and I know I am not the only one! Most got to around 18 or 21 reps and then began to struggle. Very few got to the 27 rep station and only a handful were able to attempt the AMRAP at station 10. When they did the crowd went nuts! Again major respect to all that attempted this!

After another cut it was on to the next WOD.

WOD 6 – Met Con Mayhem!

For total reps
3 rounds of the following:
1 minute Assault Bike
1 minute Pistols
1 minute Down Ups
1 minute Goblet squat @32/24kg
1 minute Toes to Bar
1 minute Rest 

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And mayhem it was! I don’t think I need to go into how incredible this would be to watch or how tough it was. It did look like good fun though! I think I would be buzzing after that one!

WOD 7 – Final

Bar Muscle Ups
40 Calorie Row

KB Swings
80 Wall Balls

3 x 10m Handstand Walks 

(Sorry I don’t have the details for how many muscle ups and KB swings there were as the info was only released last minute during the competition and the website hasn’t been updated! And I was too in the ‘CrossFit zone’ to write it down – doh!).

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I do have a feeling that this WOD had to be altered too, because of the floor; however we will never know as the details of this WOD were only released just before it took place. We were all guessing what would be in it!

It was however, an epic final and a real ‘all rounder’ in terms of disciplines. The box was alive with cheers! Those handstand walks I think were the real test for most, I can imagine your arms would just want to give up by this point but they persevered. A real indication of how much CrossFit is mental strength as well as physical strength.

The competition finished around 6.30pm and we got straight on the road to head home, arriving back in Glasgow at 1.30am. David and I talked for ages; we just had such a good time!

What an amazing experience it was, will definitely be back next year! I was just in awe of all the athletes competing, they were incredible. I love the fact that I was able to support my sport and it really did just make me love CrossFit even more. There was such a buzz surrounding the arena, a camaraderie of sorts, and you really felt that sense of ‘community’ that CrossFit brings. I also loved the fact that I was able to spend more time getting to know more of the people from my box, a weekend of us all enjoying and talking about what we love doing. You guys really are my day to day CrossFit inspiration.

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Now, let’s just hope that coach hasn’t taken too many ideas from the above… death by bar jumping burpees….nooooo!

For official pictures, information and videos please click on the links below. Especially recommend checking out some of the videos on YouTube, they are brilliant!

http://battleoflondon.com/

http://instagram.com/battleoflondon

https://www.facebook.com/thebattleoflondon

http://www.youtube.com/user/battleoflondon?feature=watch

My Holiday Workouts!

My holiday workouts

Hi all,

Hope you have all had a fab week and are looking forward to a fun packed weekend!

Today marks the last of my holiday posts, hope you have enjoyed them! This post will focus on the workouts I did while I was on my holiday – I love exercise and even when David and I are away we want to take some time out to get a workout done. You are supposed to do the things you love on holiday, right?!

We fitted in 3 workouts while we were away and did them in the morning before breakfast – nothing like a boost of endorphins in the morning to get you going. The amount of walking we did around London on a daily basis when we were away made up for the rest of our exercise for the week – I wish I had taken a pedometer with me just to see exactly how far we walked! But I love walking so to pound the streets of London was just fantastic!

As a runner, David decided to continue with this for his workouts. We were staying with my Grandma who lives literally on Epsom Downs Racecourse – a beautiful, amazing place with fantastic views over London. David was eager to take the opportunity of an early morning run on the Downs, so peaceful and quiet.

I decided to go with an indoor workout for my first two, going for a high intensity power workout.

My first workout was a 15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible). I didn’t have any workout materials with me (just my kit!), so this workout would be perfect if you were away at a hotel or on holiday somewhere where you didn’t have access to a gym (or didn’t want to leave your room!).  I also warmed up and warmed down before and after this workout.

Holiday Workout One!

15 AMRAP

10 squats

10 crunches

10 lunges

10 triceps dips

30 second plank

My second workout a few days later was quite similar, but I did mix things up a bit. I felt like the 15 AMRAP was working for me and got me pumped up and ready for the day so stuck with that, but went for a different configuration. Note – with a warm up and warm down, in total these workouts lasted approximately half an hour.

Holiday Workout Two!

15 AMRAP

30 second elbow plank

20 mountain climbers

10 lunges

30 second straight arm plank

20 crunches

10 squats

By the time we got to the end of our holiday, I was getting a bit envious of David and his morning views, so I decided to go out and do my workout on the Downs. A few years back, due to lack of muscle on my left knee, my Doctor advised me that running was something I should never do as it would lead to more wastage on my knee. I have however, spend the last 5 years trying to build up this muscle and make my knee strong, so I decided to finally take the plunge and test it out. Now I am not going to start training for a marathon or anything but just ease my knee into running now and again, in short intervals and see how I go. The workout below was tough, mostly because I haven’t ran before but my knee felt fine during and after the workout. So maybe a bit of gentle running, now and again, might be ok – yay!

Holiday Workout Three!

5 min power walk (to warm up)

2 min run

2 min of lunges

2 min run

1 min hold squat then 1 min of squats

2 min run

2 min lunge then twist from side to side

2 min run

Warm down

I really enjoyed that workout and being out in the fresh air – wow running does really clear your head! I also loved mixing up the running with other exercises. Oh and I got to see a few horses too, which is always lovely.

But, by far my favourite ‘workout’ whilst I was on holiday was blackberry picking! An hour and a half, in fresh country air, bending, stretching and reaching for the best berries, what more could you ask for in terms of exercise. Although I did eat my fair share of them too! But hey, nothing wrong with a delicious snack, straight from the bushes!

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Day Three – Back in London Town!

Hi all!

We had one more day left in the city centre of London itself on our holidays (other days to be left seeing family etc). So we decided to see some of the sights that we have never done before. Considering I have been to London on holiday every year since I was born, it is surprising that there are still new things out there for me to see! But that’s the fantastic thing about ever changing London, even the sights you have seen before and the tours you have done before adapt and alter through time. And even a sight or view of a major monument or building changes dependant on the season or weather, a friendly tower bridge in the sunshine becomes menacing and dominant in the dark rain and fog. I love it! One new view for me this year, the Shard in the sun!

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On the cards for us today were 2 new attractions. The first of which was the Emirates Air Line cable car, which leaves from the O2 arena in Greenwich (previously known as the Millennium dome, don’t think I will be able to call it anything different!), to the Royal Dock. Apart from when I went to the dome when I was younger, and a boat trip on the River Thames, I haven’t really explored this side of the city, so I was looking forward to seeing the sights, just from really high up!

Created last year as part of the Olympic regeneration programme, the cable car connects two parts of London that previously would have taken quite some time to get to. Now with transport over the river, it can be used for commuters and tourists alike, opening up more of London to explore. It certainly looked like a lot of regeneration work was still taking place over in the docklands which is fantastic and means the Olympic legacy is still going strong.

Anyway, more on the journey itself! We decided just to go one way, from Greenwich to the Docklands, but you could go either way or a 360 trip if you wished. The trip itself takes less than 5 minutes and the experience up there is so magical and the views breathtaking. One of the cheapest attractions I have been to in London (the cost being so low as it is a mode of public transport) but yet one of the most incredible. I think the photos below just speak for themselves!

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After a coffee stop, we headed to…well I had to… THE FLAGSHIP WHOLE FOODS STORE IN LONDON!! Located in Kensington, it really was quite a sight. You all know how much I love Whole Foods and this one was split on 3 floors, had a restaurant, at least 6 stations for the hot and cold food bars and just everything I could have possibly wished for! Sadly we didn’t have much time to spend here; I could have honestly stayed the whole day! We just needed to grab some lunch but that in itself was quite a dilemma as there was so much to choose from.  Luckily, well in terms of the decision making process, the restaurant didn’t have much that was to our liking (quite a lot of grains) so we were quickly able to count that out. The Kensington branch is also home to the SAF restaurant (Simple Authentic Food) with an ethos on healthy plant based ingredients – David and I have been enjoying their tasty raw crackers for a while now. We looked at their menu and, to be honest, there was so much delicious looking food to choose from that going here would in itself be a problem – it would take me an hour to decide what I wanted! So that left one option, an option I was very pleased with – off to the food bars! We decided to go for a cold food bar box (wanting a light meal rather than a heavier hot meal for walking around London) and I was not disappointed with the options and variety to choose from. It really was foodie heaven for David and I. Our wee Whole Foods in Glasgow only has one cold/hot food bar, cold on one side, hot on the other! Not that I would dismiss it at all, it rocks! But the Kensington bars were just nirvana! My only regret is that I didn’t take any photos, told you we were in a rush!

The speedy lunch however meant that we were just in time for attraction number two, and we didn’t want to be late for this one – Buckingham Palace!

It astounds me that I have never been here before, however this is probably due to it not being open. Buckingham Palace only opens its doors to the public for 2 months each year, while the Queen has her summer holiday at Balmoral in Scotland. So when we were looking into what to do in London, and saw the palace was open, we knew we had to make the most of the opportunity and pay a visit.

Booking our tickets online meant that we were given an allotted time slot, which made things a lot easier. I’m sure you can imagine how busy and popular the palace is to visitors!

The tour consists of an audio guide around the State rooms of the palace, with a particular focus this year on the Queens Coronation. I do love audio tours as I feel like you receive a great amount of information and you don’t miss out on any of the important bits. It was truly fantastic and the 2 hours just flew by! The most amazing part was seeing the Queen’s coronation dress and robes, simply stunning! Even though the palace is very grand it still feels like a home and there was a definite warmth to it. The staff were knowledgeable and oh so friendly, you could tell they just adore working there. The tour ends on a high at the back of the palace, where it opens out on to the gardens. The exit is about ½ a mile from the palace through the gardens and it was lovely to stroll along beside the lake. I can see why the Queen loves her garden.

I don’t have many photos as you couldn’t take any inside the palace but here are a few from the back. A really lovely way to spend the afternoon. If you are ever in London, and the Queen is not home, you really must pay a visit.

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Day Two – Brighton!

Hi all,

Day two of my holidays and we were off to Brighton!

It is the most amazing seaside town and only about an hour away on the train from London. I have such fond memories of Brighton, we went ever year when we were in London visiting family and I remember having the most fantastic times. Brighton actually reminds me a lot of Glasgow, the mix of modern and contemporary, culture and spirit and a lot of buzz! There is something for everyone and everyone is welcome!

When we first arrived, David and I headed to our favourite little coffee shop that we found on a visit last year – Red Roaster. An independent coffee establishment with a variety of their own blends – a heaven for coffee lovers like us! We both got a cafetiere of coffee, each picking a different blend and both were divine. We got some of the organic blend to take home with us too.

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Then it was time for one of the star attractions, the pier! This was where I spent most of my time as a child, basking in the sunshine, going on the penny arcade machines, trying out some of the rides on the funfair and being too scared to look over the edge in case I fell in the water! The views from here over Brighton and beyond are incredible so we had a nice long walk around the rim of the pier. Then we did the kid stuff! – Although are you ever too old for the dolphin derby or the penny arcade machines? I think not!

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Before we left the beach front we headed to a small shop under one of the seafront arches that sells freshly caught seafood. This place is incredible and run by an older married couple who have been running this wee shop with fish straight off the boat for decades. Put aside all thoughts of British ‘fish and chips’ – this is proper seafood. Everything from shellfish to smoked fish and quite a lot of pickled fish. We picked up some smoked mackerel for our dinner the following day and also decided to try some rollmop herrings as a snack. Rollmops are pickled herring fillets which were, in this case, wrapped around a piece of picked gherkin. Oh my goodness – they were divine! I cannot wait to try and make some of these at home, what a great way to preserve fish for the winter. They would be perfect as a snack or as part of a lunch or dinner. I can’t believe I have been missing out on these all my life!

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We then headed further inland to the centre of Brighton for some shopping at what is known as ‘The Laines’. A variety of intertwined streets, alleyways and nooks with shops selling a variety of bits and bobs. Such a fun place to shop. The Laines is also filled with some of the most amazing street art I have ever seen, below are just some of our favourites.

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North of the Laines also happens to be where a fab little organic supermarket lives – great for spotting some new and different healthy treats. We picked up some pear chips, sun dried bananas (so tiny but tasty!), beet juice, raw chocolate, halwa and some raw energy bar bites.

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There was only one more place left to visit, the most incredible, delectable, outstanding, delicious frozen yoghurt shop in the whole world – LICK! Fresh, natural probiotic yoghurt and then frozen. Nothing else added or taken away – tart, refreshing and the most perfect version of fro-yo going. It’s so good; I say a big no to toppings. I want to taste the clean, straight goodness. Can you tell I was one happy Jen?!

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Unfortunately there store is closing, however this is to make room for their expanding and ever so successful break into the tub market – well done guys! And this means I can continue to get my Lick fix in tub form from my local Whole Foods! Yay!

Day One of London!

Hi all!

Hope you are well and have had a good week and weekend. Sorry I was so quiet last week but my week’s holiday just flew by, don’t know where the days went – time sure does fly when you are having fun!

David and I were spending a week down in London, staying with family I have down there and we had lots of activities planned! We drove down from Glasgow last Saturday and had a really fun road trip – lots of tasty healthy snacks packed for the journey and a backload of podcasts to listen to (although David and I often have so much to discuss when listening to a podcast, it takes us twice, even three times as long to listen to them!).

Our first full day in London was to be spent with my brother Paul, who moved down to London earlier on this year – I love this picture of the three of us on the underground, big smiles!

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We headed off to Spitalfields market – a huge market that runs all week but becomes even larger on a Sunday! Wow what a buzz! They had a mix of everything – vintage and new clothing, jewellery of all kinds, food, drink, knick knacks, bags, scarfs etc. My brother got the most amazing ring made from an old teaspoon! Recycling at its best!  It was so nice to see so many people enjoying the market on a Sunday, whether looking around the stalls, having coffee or brunch, just chilling out with friends or family.

paul ring

We also found an African food stand where they had the most delightful food. Paul and David drank the water from freshly cut open coconuts, so refreshing. We also had some of their handmade snacks, we nicknamed them energy bars because of their ingredients. Simply what is listed below. They reminded us of the nakd bars that we have here in the UK, simple ingredients, normally date and almond based with no nasties (I think the American comparison would be a Lara bar). But these were so much better – fresh, nutritious and full of flavour. Oh how I wish we could get them all the time, however we are going to try and make some at home. They really were the perfect sustaining mid morning snack! Oh and yes, we did try all four of them (spread over a few days of course! We had to restrain ourselves!). My favourite was the beetroot one!

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After looking around some more of the market stalls we decided it was time for a spot of lunch. David and I had always wanted to try Leon and my brother was quite happy to go there too. Leon has fab principals and aims with regards to food – fast food that tastes good, is full of goodness with fresh seasonal ingredients. They really focus on low GI foods and so many of the dishes on their menu are gluten free – result! I went for the thai green chicken curry lunchbox and David had the meatball lunchbox. Both came with salad and brown rice and were just delicious! The perfect size portion and kept us going all afternoon. Oh boy do I hope they expand and open branches in Scotland!

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After a look round the rest of the stalls and other quirky shops surrounding the area, we headed to Covent Garden for a look at some of the street theatre. There were mime artists, clowns, jugglers, magicians and all types of singers including an amazing opera singer. When the rain began though we quickly headed for coffee!

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Our day ended with a trip to Whole Foods (of course) in Piccadilly Circus to pick up a cold food box for our dinner on the train – a mix of salad with eggs, salmon, tofu and other veggies – yum!

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More on my holiday escapades tomorrow!