SOLE Insole Review

We were lucky to be sent the Active Footbeds from SOLE Insoles to trial and test (we were sent them a couple of months back) and ever since we have been testing them out. We wanted to make sure we really believed in the product before posting a review about them.

Last month I visited the country of La Palma, and I knew I would want to go running. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough room in my suitcase to fit both my walking trainers and my running trainers so I decided to pack my walking trainers as they are super comfy and try out my new SOLE insoles.

I absolutely loved them, they made my runs super comfortable and gave me the extra support I needed with my walking trainers. I was worried that it was going to feel weird running with insoles in my trainers but it was the complete opposite it felt amazing.

So what are SOLE insoles we hear you asking? Good question! SOLE have created custom food beds and footwear that are innovative and adaptable products providing you with cushioning and support. They adapt to your body giving you the support you need (amazing huh).

People live with pain every single day and it can restrict every day activities (not always ideal)! Imagine if you didn’t have to live with that pain every single day that would be amazing right? Well that is exactly what SOLE set out to achieve.

SOLE insoles support your feet no matter what you activity levels are you will benefit from the personalised support and cushioning. Not only did I use the my SOLE insoles for running I also used them when we were hiking up the mountains in La Palma as they gave my feet the extra supported they needed. I am incredibly lucky and do not get any pain when I run or walk but that doesn’t mean my feet don’t need all the love and comfort they can get.

SOLE’s award-winning footbeds are the most effective over-the-counter orthotic insoles on the market and we cannot rave about them enough. Since returning from holiday we have been using our SOLE insoles all the time. I have a few other holidays booked in the next few weeks and you guessed it my insoles will be coming with me!

SOLE products are renowned for being long lasting and their customers are very satisfied with the products. SOLE footbeds have a 9- day guarantee, if you don’t love your insoles for any reason all you have to do is contact the customer service team for a full refund.

Lifestyle Choices Which Can Impact Your Fitness

Everyone cares about their body, and if they don’t then they should! How our body is functioning on inside is far more important that what it looks like on the outside! Of course you can work hard at the gym to help improve your overall health, but there might actually be some parts of your lifestyle that are impacting your bodily health and fitness.

SLEEP
Sleep is one of the most important parts for not only your physical health but your mental health as well. Not having enough sleep night after night isn’t a healthy way to live and there is only so much coffee that is gonna help! Digestion, growth, and even weight loss are just a handful of the areas which a lack of sleep can damage. Try putting your phone down before you go to bed to help you get little bit more sleep.

STRESS
No one wants to be stressed and there are some things in life that can cause a little bit of stress, maybe it’s your job or your finances. You might not think it at the time but the cause of stress is something you can have control of! Recognise what is making life hard and make changes where possible!

HYDRATION
Everyone knows how important it is to stay hydrated! Try and drink water throughout the day and only having fizzy drinks and fruit juices in between.

DIET
Your diet is also another important factor to ensuring you live a healthy lifestyle. There are so many tried and tested diets out there which yes some have proven to be successful, but we believe in eating a well balanced diet instead of going on a diet. If you are regularly going to the gym make sure you fuel yourself with the correct type of foods to ensure you have a fabulous workout!

There are a lot of substances which are becoming a normal part of human life, nowadays. Coffee, nicotine, and loads of other chemicals are used to make life feel just a little bit better, and this often isn’t too big of a problem (we love coffee). If you know anyone that has unfortunately moved onto harder substances they remember you can always speak to professions like people at https://www.rehabclinic.org.uk/

It can be very easy to set yourself back when you’re trying to improve your fitness. This part of life can be hard- remember not to deprive yourself of things you like because this will only result in bad habits resurfacing, enjoy things in moderation.

Tips for Getting Fit When You’re Not in the Mood

Everyone knows that exercise is healthy, and that staying physically active and in-shape is a lot better than the alternative of sitting around on the sofa all day and snacking on junk food (although this is great fun as well)!

People debate about the right kind of diet, and the best form of exercise to take, but in reality any form is exercise is good exercise and you should do what you enjoy and not just because it is a new ‘trend’.

Your exercise of choice may involve daily trips to the gym to weight train, or long walks in the countryside maybe even somewhere abroad in the mountains like walking in Andorra.

So, what should you do when you’re just not in the mood for exercising at all? Firstly think about whether or not you have worked out a lot and maybe you just need a rest day! Or maybe the weather is lush outside and you want to spend your time outside having a couple of drinks after work! All of this is okay and you don’t have to be 100% on it the entire time. If this is something that is happening more frequently though then take a read of our tips below to help you get back on track!

Increase your energy levels
If you hate the idea of exercise and you just can’t motivate yourself to train because you are too tired. This may be due to your energy levels make sure you are getting enough sleep and furling your body with the right type of food! This should help you feel more energised and want to exercise, oh and doing the below will allow you to get the most out of a workout.

While everyone has an off day here or there (we are only human), your basic relationship with exercise should be positive. You should want to move your body! .

Begin small and work your way up as you feel ready for it
Sometimes, we feel completely unmotivated to train, because we go too hard and reach out limits and then basically cannot walk for a couple of days LOL we have all been there. Go at your own pace and even adapt certain exercises for your ability.

Exercise will soon become part of your routine and a habit, start with exercises you are comfortable with and then begin to introduce new moves and exercises into your workout.

Focus on workouts that leave you feeling satisfied by the end, not ruined
It’s become fashionable these days to train until our souls want to escape our bodies! We love feeling satisfied with our workout by the end of it but it is also important not too push yourself to the absolute limit where you end up feeling worse than when you started.

When you push yourself too hard in training, you cause your body more stress than is good for it, and you condition yourself to see exercise as a nightmare.

39 Steps Coffee Haus Review

39 Steps Coffee Haus is located in the heart Soho and the second branch is opening soon in Knightsbridge which we will have to visit.

The reason it is called 39 steps is because it takes exactly 39 steps from the bean on the bush to the cup in your hand! We thought this was really cool and have since read up on it, which you can also do if you are interested over on their website.

We visited at lunch time one Saturday and the coffee haus was heaving (in a good way). This sure was a sign that the coffee and food they served was good! You cannot book a table, you just have to walk in and see if there is one available.

It isn’t very big inside and there are two main tables in the middle that sit four and around the edge of the venue there are bar stalls which we opted to sit at. There are also a few smaller tables available as well. We chose the seats by the window so we could watch the world go by!

Upon sitting down as looked at the drinks menu as we had been told the cold press juices where to die for and we can indeed confirm they are DELICIOUS!

We decided to opt for two different juices/smoothies so we could try a couple of the flavours. The first cold press juice we chose was watermelon based and was delightfully refreshing and the perfect drink to enjoy on a warms summers day, which indeed it was.

We also ordered a smoothie which consisted of banana, mint and lots of other flavours it was the perfect consistency and the flavours really complimented each other. The juices come in 250ml bottles so they are perfect to take away or like us you can enjoy them in a glass with some ice.

Rachel ordered an iced latte with almond milk and Annie had an iced americano with a dash of soya milk. The coffee was incredible, it wasn’t to bitter which we loved but still nice and strong. We did also spot the cold coffee freakshake which we are intrigued to try so we will definitely have to visit again!

When we first walked into 39 Steps we noticed the pancakes and knew immediately that we would be ordering a stack. We ordered the peach jam pancakes to share which were served with whipped cream, fairtrade bananas and honey. We are glad we shared the pancakes because they were absolutely HUGE but oh my SO dam delicious! They only cost £9 which we think is a bargain considering the portion size, we will be dreaming about these pancakes for a while!

Upon leaving the manager asked us if we wanted to take away a couple of the cakes or muffins they had on display at the front counter. We opted for the vegan banana bread and a blueberry muffin. The vegan banana bread was really tasty and very moist which we like our banana bread to be! The blueberry muffin was huge and was bursting with fresh blueberries and was texture was light and fluffy so overall a very tasty muffin.

They had lots of sandwiches and cakes on display by the counter which we thought was a great idea especially for customers that are taking away! The juices are also at the counter stores in crushed ice.

39 Steps Coffee Haus gets a massive thumbs up from us! Everything from the service to the food and the drinks were incredible. We couldn’t recommend visiting this little establishment enough it filled us with joy and left us feeling very content.

Morning of the Marathon preparation & Timings

I absolutely loved my marathon experience that I decided it might be helpful to share our morning marathon routine. This routine worked well for us, but remember everyone is different so do what works for you on the morning of a marathon.

The Manchester Marathon started at 9:00AM, so we decided to work backwards when prepping our morning and timings. We were staying in Stockport which was about a 20 minute taxi ride away from the Old Trafford Cricket Club. Training runs work very differently to the schedule below, I usually roll out of bed, put on my running clothes, boil the kettle, pour myself a cup of coffee, drink said cup of coffee whilst scrolling Instagram, brush my teeth and GO.

5:45AM- Wakeup call for some this might be incredibly early but I am an early riser and my alarm usually goes off at 5:30AM on a week day so this time didn’t really affect me too much. If you aren’t an early riser or you don’t do well in the mornings then I would suggest doing this routine a couple of times before your marathon.

6:00AM- Breakfast & coffee, I wanted to makes sure I gave my body enough time to digest my breakfast before the race started, during my training I usually run fasted but I knew this wasn’t going to be possible for a 26.2 mile run. I needed to fuel but at the same time I didn’t want to risk getting a stitch as it was something my body wasn’t used to. I made sure I trailed and tested this before race day so I knew my body would adjust. For breakfast I opted for a big bowl of jumbo oats with blueberries and peanut butter which is my favourite breakfast so I was very happy.

I usually have a large cup of coffee prior to running on a usual training run and I never usually have to stop for the toilet.  I knew the excitement and nerves would get to me which we all know usually results in needing the toilet more frequently so I opted for strong but small coffees- espresso style. To be honest with you I am not sure how affective this was as I still needed the toilet twice before the race.

6:30AM- Shower time, I always like to have a shower on the morning of a race day as it makes me feel refreshed and ready to start the day. For my training runs I usually roll out of bed, throw on my running clothes and brush my teeth but that isn’t the case for race day. Then it was time to pin my running number to my vest eeek!

7:15AM: Taxi arrived, we decided to book the taxi for 7:15AM as we thought this would give us plenty of time to get to the start line especially, we knew there wouldn’t be any traffic that early on a Sunday morning. When we got into the taxi the driver asked us what time the race was starting and when our reply was 9:00AM he said ‘I’ll see what I can do about getting you there for then but there are lots of road closures’. As you can imagine my heart rate went through the ROOF, this is not the kind of stress I need on race day.

7:30AM- Taxi dropped us off, the taxi managed to drop us off about half a mile away from the race start line which we were happy about, we could do with some fresh air anyway to help with our nerves and excitement. This is definitely a lesson learnt through next time we will definitely check with the taxi company about road closures next time.

8:00AM- we arrived at Old Trafford Cricket Ground and went straight to the bag drop, the Manchester Marathon organisers suggested dropping your bags off prior to 8:00AM but they were not as strict as most places. At most races we have been to the bag drop off and bag collection points are at two separate locations, however at the Manchester Marathon the bag drop area did not move so there were not really any time restrictions.

8:15-8:30AM- We made our way to the pens which was about a 15 minute walk away from the bag drop by this point we had already walked about 7000 steps and we hadn’t even started the run. We made our way straight to the loos for one last comfort break before the marathon started.

9:10AM- we crossed the start line and the race was underway!

 

STAXX Protein Bars Review

We had never heard of STAXX Bars before we were very kindly sent them to review as they have recently launched three new flavour- Peanut & Caramel, Cookies & Cream & Dark Chocolate Mint. STAXX previously only had the Chocolate Caramel flavour. We couldn’t wait to try all of the flavours when they arrived as they all sounded delicious.

You can currently purchase STAXX bars on the website or across many other independent and online retailers including Amazon and Muscle food.

We can honestly say that STAXX bars are the nicest protein bars we have EVER tried, and we have tired a lot. We LOVE the fact you cannot taste the protein in the bars which is something we have struggled to find.

When we eat a STAXX Bar it feels like you are eating a chocolate bar, it really hits the spot and doesn’t leave us craving more sugary foods. The sugar content is low with most of them having about 2g of sugar per bar which is also another bonus. They also contain 20g Protein and are also low in net carbs.

We love how chewy the STAXX Bars are as well, they all have a caramel consistency to them which you will also love if you like a chewy protein bar. All the bars have a chocolate rice crispy coating on the outside layer which is something we really enjoyed.

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL
This was the first flavour we tried and immediately fell in love with the brand and the bars they had on offer. Chocolate caramel was also the first STAXX Bar launched and the only one you can currently purchase on their website. I felt like I was eating a toffee crisp which was a massive throw back as I have not had a toffee crisp in SO long, those chocolate bars are so under rated!

PEANUT & CARAMEL
This one was quite similar to the chocolate caramel flavour just with peanuts. We love peanuts and anything nutty  so this bar was right up our street. We loved the caramel in the bar mostly because we are fast eaters and it slowed us down so we could saviour it for longer.

DARK CHOCOLATE MINT
Dark Chocolate Mint was definitely one of my favourites which I was really surprised about but that is just purely down to the fact I always forget how much I actually enjoy mint flavoured chocolate. It reminded me of a mint Aero but with a crispy outer layer.

COOKIES & CREAM
I left this flavour until last as I am not usually a fan of cookies and cream flavoured products but when I did eventually try it I actually really enjoyed it.  It wasn’t my favourite out of the four as it didn’t give me that WOW factor and the flavours were not as intense.

We enjoyed the bars so much we headed straight to the website and ordered a box. There is a taster box available where you can purchase a box of all the flavours for £8.99. We ordered 12 of the Chocolate Caramel Flavour because it was our favourite but we will be ordering some of the Dark Chocolate Mint ones as well.

We hope to see STAXX bars in supermarkets in 2018 because that would be amazing!

Pizza Union Review

We had never heard of Pizza Union before, we know right?! Are we living under a rock! But when we were contacted and asked to write a review we jumped at the chance.

We love Pizza it’s one of our favourite foods, especially when cooked right and something we always opt for when we are eating out or getting a take away.

We visited the Dalston branch of Pizza Union which is a new branch that has recently opened. It is located just a short walk about from Dalston Junction and Dalston Kingsland station.

The staff at Pizza Union were really friendly and explained how the restaurant worked! You order your food and they give you a buzzer that will vibrate when your food is ready to pick up. The service was super fast which we were pleased about as we were so peckish.

The pizza’s are all freshly cooked in a giant pizza oven which took up the majority of the kitchen.

We both ordered a 12inch pizza each and a side salad to share. We loved the fact the pizzas were thin crust (Roman Style) instead of deep pan as it doesn’t feel so heavy and you can actually taste the flavours of the pizza.

Rach went for the Regina which was tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, Ham, mushrooms (which she removed) and black olives. It was really tasty and we loved the addition or Parmesan cheese as it is one of our faves!

Annie went for the Carne which was topped with chicken, beef, pepperoni, onions and rosemary. Basically a bit of a meat feast lol. The rosemary really made the pizza it was so delicious and we would definitely recommend if you are a meat eater.

We ordered a side salad as well which was priced at £3.95. The salad we opted for was the Pizzeria (which was essentially a pizza in a salad minus the dough). It was yummy but definitely only as a side salad as it wouldn’t be filling enough as a main.

For dessert- yes we went all out we ordered the Dolce Classico which was a warm dough ring with Nutella and mascarpone. Seriously it tasted as good as it sounds, Annie was in Nutella heaven as it’s one of her favourite things in the entire world. We would definitely order this again!

We were offered frozen margaritas as well but we both decided to go for soft drinks instead. Although when we return we will definitely go for the raspberry margarita it looked delicious.

The pizzas are SO SO cheap! You can order a margarita for just £3.95, which is just crazy. The most expensive pizza is only £6.50 so again really good value especially for London.

Pizza Union is open 7 days a week from 11am till late, they do not deliver so you will have to visit one of the branches to enjoy the pizza or order a takeaway and collect it yourself. It’s also important to mention they do not take bookings like most fast food restaurants.

Dalloway Terrace Brunch Review

Dalloway terrace has been on our brunch bucket list for as long as we can remember! We tried to visit in December but they were fully booked and we sadly couldn’t get a table.

Dalloway terrace is an Bloggers dream, from the decorations, the crockery and the food everything is a photo opportunity and trust us when we say we took SO many photos.

It was Annie’s birthday and Rachel surprised her with Dalloway Terrace for a birthday brunch and we couldn’t have been more excited.

Prior to visiting Dalloway Terrace Rach booked two weeks before as you cannot book anymore than two weeks before. The reservations on the Dalloway Terrace website had all gone so Rach went on book a table to reserve our 2 hours spot.

We didn’t realise that Dalloway Terrace was part of The Bloomsbury Hotel so we were surprised to see that it was when we arrived.

We were shown to our table and although Dalloway Terrace is outside (well in a Terrace) it was warm as they have several heaters. We were sat by the door and there was a slight draft but nothing that a blanket couldn’t fix.

We ordered our usual coffees, Rach went for a soya latte and Annie had an Americano with a dash of soya milk. We were really surprised with the size of the coffees as we usually find restaurants always serve the smallest coffees but not at Dalloway Terrace we got a mug and of course we fell in love with the mug and wished we had them at home ourselves.

We ordered a basket of pastries to start which included pan au chocolate, pan au raisin and plain croissants. We did ask for them to be served to us before the rest of our food but unfortunately this didn’t happen and all our food came out at once which was a little annoying but never mind.

Rach ordered the pancakes (obv!) which were served with lemon curd, berries and maple syrup. There were 3 fluffy pancakes on the stack which is pretty standard for London brunches. The berries and lemon curd worked really well together and of course it was then smothered in maple syrup. The maple syrup came in a mini jug so you could pour as much or as little you wanted – obviously she used it all!

Annie went for the avocado on toast which normally came with poached eggs but she opted to have scrambled eggs and they were more than happy to accommodate this change. The amount of avocado given was unreal, it was basically a whole avocado on the toast, some of it was smashed and then there were big slices of avo too. There were also a handful of cherry tomatoes on top too which had been roasted in the oven to perfection.

The portions sizes were very generous at Dalloway terrace and this is one of the reasons as to why we loved it so much and why would we return. We do find when going for brunch in London they are very stingy with portion sizes, usually we get a teeny coffee or a pathetic amount of avo or salmon – not at Dalloway though!

We spotted an outside seating area which was also beautiful (everything about this place is) and we will definitely be visiting again the summer and making use of this area. We can imagine taking a lot of pictures in the summer here!

The toilets were located in Bloomsbury hotel and on our way to the toilets (which were clean FYI) we spotted another restaurant which was The Coral Room. We recognised it straight away from Instagram and just had to step inside to have a look. It was beautiful and we noticed they serve the same food so always worth a try it Dalloway Terrace is busy.

We will definitely be returning to Dalloway Terrace we were not disappointed and it was everything we hoped it would be.

Bens Canteen Brunch Review

Bens Canteen has been on our list of places to visit ever since our bus drove past it one afternoon. We are quite observant especially when it comes to food places and as soon as we walk or drive past somewhere that looks cute we head straight to Instagram to see pictures and more importantly check out the menu.

Bens Canteen had also be recommended to us by a number of people so we knew we would enjoy it. However we were warned that sometimes its very busy and you have to wait. We were lucky when we went that we took the last table of two, and people arriving after us were being turned away. That being said, it is definitely worth the wait.

There are two BC currently in London, one at Clapham Junction and one in Earlsfield. However one will be opening in Batteesea Powerstation too!

There is an extensive brunch menu, but you can also enjoy lunch or dinner here too. They also often have deals on during the week as per the picture below:

We quite fancy returning for the bottomless brunch which is £25 per person, which includes any item off the menu and 2 hours bottomless prosecco.

On this visit we sampled the Flatbread Smashed Avo and the Big Ben (basically a full English breakfast). The big breakfast was huge and you got 2 eggs cooked how you want. We opted for poached which were cooked to perfection.

The flatbread smashed avo was simply incredible and we would recommend this to anyone who visits. We chose to add the chorizo which was a good idea too. As Rach doesn’t like eggs this was the perfect option for her.

100% we would return to Bens Canteen and we cannot wait to visit the new one in Battersea.

Another Space Review

Another Space have two studios in London located in Covent Garden and Bank. Both studios offer a choice of three classes which are HIIT, Yoga & Spin.

There is no need to get a membership and there isn’t a joining fee either, instead you can just purchase class as and when you feel like going. Another Space have a challenge where by you can complete 7 classes in just 7 days for £77. You can also purchase a pack of 6 for £105, 9 for £135 or 12 for £160. Each of the classes are valid for one calendar month from the date they are purchased.

They also have an intro offer where you can purchase 2 classes and one buddy pass for £30 which is valid for 2 weeks. They also have credit packages on offer where 1 credit is £20 or 5 credits is £95 (which lasts for 6 months).

The timetable at Another Space is really great as they have classes available from 6:15AM in the morning which is great if you want to get a sweat on before work. They also have lunch time classes if you can’t fit it into your schedule pre-or post-work. They then of course also have evenings classes where the latest class starts at 19:45PM.

We have been to the Covent Garden Another Space twice to try out their Spin class and absolutely loved it. The First spin class we tried was the Tuesday evening class at 19:30 with Olivia, it was incredible. Olivia brings so much energy into the class and we LOVE the fact she takes part in the entire class even if she has taught several classes already that day.

We then returned to the 19:30PM Class on a Monday with Alison and it was just as good, with it being a Monday the class was jam packed and everyone was sweating the weekend away. Alison sure did make us work hard the windows were steaming up and our legs were on fire.

The changing rooms are a good size and there is plenty of space to get changed. We love that they have lots of lockers as we do find some studios in London are lacking lockers or the lockers they do have people leave them locked for when they next return to the studio.

We liked the chalk board in the changing rooms as well so you could write down the locker you had chosen, it can’t just be us that always forgets the locker they have picked!

If you don’t want to go in the changing rooms pre-or post-class then there are also lockers outside the studios you can use, which we will definitely be doing next time if we are dashing off home.

Another Space sell Fresh Fitness Food shakes in their studio which are also delicious, we have in fact just visited for a shake in the past.

The new studio in Bank has recently opened and we would love to get down there and give one of their classes a try. We have tried Spin twice now so we would opt for a HIIT class at the new Bank studio.