Walking In The Woods

Do you ever just wake up in the morning and all you fancy doing is going for a long walk through the woods? We LOVE walking we think it does wonders for the mind and we always feel so much better for it.

There is something about getting out of bed on a Sunday morning, putting on some trainers, our scruffy clothes and getting outside to enjoy the fresh air in this beautiful world we live in. Sundays are usually our rest days from the gym so instead we slow down the pace and just go for a casual stroll instead, it’s the only time of the week where we actually slow down, no wonder our minds work at 100mph if our bodies are doing exactly the same.

We have both been lucky enough to grow up with the woods just a stone throw away and trust us we don’t take it for granted, we absolutely love it and we make the most of it wherever possible.  Sunday morning are always so peaceful we rarely see another soul, which always surprises us as we always expect to see lots of people, although saying that  most people are probably enjoying a lazy Sunday in bed  as we are known to wake up unusually early.  You will see us out in the woods come rain, snow or shine, we especially love it in the snow it’s like our own little winter wonderland where we can pretend we are in Narnia it’s truly is beautiful.

We have never understood why people HATE walking? Walking is free and one of the easiest ways to get fit and become more active yet so many people hate it. As a society it has become too easy to get from A to B without using your legs, there are so many different types of transport these days it has resulted in us not having to walk.

We are those people that think it’s possible to WALK anywhere and everywhere, we recently saw a meme on Facebook of this and it made us laugh because that is us down to a T! We always try and beat the Google Maps whenever we walk anywhere it’s become a little game we have, because we are so COOL!

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Motivation to get outside & run

Sometimes we all need a little bit of motivation to get outside and run no matter how much we love running. Now the weather is getting colder it can become harder to find the motivation to put on our running gear and get outside (it’s hard enough getting out of bed in the morning let alone getting outside).

We actually much prefer running in the cold, we can run faster and further, but we do occasionally need a little kick up the butt to get us out in the first place.

Make a plan at the beginning of the week- we like to roughly plan the days we go running but we will always be flexible depending on the weather. If it’s a miserable evening then there is no point forcing yourself outside, you won’t enjoy it and it may put you off going out again.

Download a Podcast- If you have downloaded a podcast that you are really looking forward to listening to then this is likely to motivate you to get outside. Set yourself a deal that you can only listen to the Podcast when you are out running that is sure to get your but into gear.

Running gear- make sure you invest in some running clothes and gloves that are warm enough to get you through the colder winter months. Last year we invested in some running gloves and we have never looked back, they are amazing.

Just keep telling yourself how amazing you will feel after- try and remember the feeling you get after every run, we love the feeling after a run we don’t get this feeling after any other workout. You will also find that running takes up less of your time than heading to the gym, you don’t have to wait for anyone to finish with equipment and you also don’t have the journey time to factor in.

Make a date – we always find that arranging to run with someone else is all the motivation you need, you have made a commitment to your friend after all.

Find a local running club- If you haven’t got any friends or colleagues who enjoy running then why not find a running club to join there are so many free running clubs around and it’s a great way to keep you motivated during the colder months.

Sign up to a race- sign up for a spring run that way you will have to get outside and run otherwise. Having a race in the calendar and something to work towards is a great motivator especially if you haven’t run the distance before.

Refined sugar free Apple loaf cake

We love apple cake and decided we wanted to create a refined sugar free apple load because as proven previously in our banana loaf recipe you don’t have to use refined sugar in a cake for it to taste delicious.

We had a few goes experimenting with the recipe but we are finally happy with it and easy to share it with you! Let us know if you decide to make it and we would love to see your creations as always 🙂

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Ingredients
2 Braeburn apple
200g oat flour (we just blend oats that we already have in the cupboard)
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml milk of your choice we used almond milk
3tbsp coconut sugar (optional)
2tsp Cinnamon

Method
Pre heat your oven to 180oc
Line your loaf tin and grease with some melted coconut oil
Blend the oats until they are fine and resemble flour
Chop 1 1/2 apples into medium sized chunks- with the remainder of the apple you will need to cut it into slices that can be placed ontop of the cake (as seen in the photo above)
Mix your oat flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, 2tbsp coconut sugar and diced apples together until combined.
Pour in the milk and stir until mixed well.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin
Place the sliced apple on top of the mixutre
sprinkle with 1tbsp coconut sugar
Bake the apple loaf for 30 minutes until cooked throughout
When cooked let cool and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee!

Fitbit Fans

Two Christmas ago (2015) we both asked for Fitbits, previously we had been tracking our daily step count on the Health app which comes free with the IPhone 6. The health app wasn’t a great way of tracking as it meant you had to have your phone on your 24/7 and it wasn’t able to track any exercise. Before our Fitbits we were using the Nike Running App to track our runs which is another great app.

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We have office jobs so for 8 hours of the day we are mostly sat down, when we started to use the Health app we realised how little steps one would do if not completing any additional exercise during the day. It’s no wonder people start piling on the pounds as soon as they start an office job, we all know how busy our lives become and exercise can sometimes take a back seat.

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It is so true that motivation is what gets you started but habit is what keeps you going. Living a healthy and balanced life has become part of our everyday routine. We love going to the gym and working out and nourishing out body with wholesome foods. Although we also know that moderation is key, don’t deprive yourself of yummy treats every once in a while. We are avid bakers and we certainly like to enjoy the goodies we bake!

Fitbit offers a two year warranty which is brilliant, we have each spoken to different customer service reps for different reasons and they have all offered great customer service. You only have to look at Fitbit on twitter to see that everyone else agrees.

The Fitbit app is also really good, you can sync your Fitbit daily and it will update your activity. You can also sync the Fitbit to other apps such as my fitness pal. See below what we think about our fitbits and the qualities they have!

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HR Charge
The HR Charge is currently £70 on Amazon
Sizes: Small, large and extra large
Colours: there are a range of colours (Black, Blue, Purple)
The HR Charge tracks steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, heart rate, hourly activity and stationary time.

You can also monitor your sleep on the HR Chardge and the Alta (See below). We have only tracked our sleep a couple of times but it tells you the amount of times you woke up in the night and how many times you were restless. It’s a good feature if you don’t think you get much sleep at night.

Battery Life- the battery life is great on the HR charge it last ups to 5 days.

Alta
The Fitbit Alta is currently £80 on Amazon
Sizes: Small, large and extra large
Colours: there are a range of colours (blue, purple, black and there are a coupld of special editions) and you can even change the straps on the Fitbit Alta.
All day activity tracker, which you can tap to the screen to display.
Long battery life- lasts up to 5 days

Go and order a Fitbit, you won’t regret it! 🙂

What’s In Our Gym Bag 

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We really enjoy watching ‘What’s in my bag’ YouTube videos so decided to write a ‘what’s in my gym bag’ blog post. Whether you are popping to the gym or heading to work we always like to carry some essentials with us as you never know when you might need them! Some of the items below we wouldn’t carry to the gym if we didn’t have any plans pre or post workout, instead we would go home and get ready for the day.

At the moment the gym bag Annie is currently using is a black Adidas rucksack and Rachel has a limited edition Cath Kidston Mickey Mouse bag. These rucksacks literally come everywhere with us, they are the perfect size and comfortable to wear.

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Sweat Towel- One of the Boutique gyms we go to actually provides sweat towels which is great as you don’t have to pack your own, if your gym doesn’t provide sweat towels we would suggest bringing your own! There is something worse than using the blue paper towels some gyms provide.

Headphones- When working out alone whether this is running or the gym headphones are essential! Whether you use them to catch up on Youtube when on the treadmill or listen to music when lifting weights. When we work out together we don’t wear headphones as we have each other to talk to.

Water Bottle- It is so important to stay hydrated at the gym. Your ability to perform well will decline if you are dehydrated. Drinking water is essential if you want to get most out of your workout and feel good while you’re doing it. If you don’t drink enough water when working out you may experience dizziness, tiredness and muscle cramps.

Drying Towel- We tend to go to the gym before work and during our lunch break so it’s important we remember to pack a drying towel.

Spare Clothes- Spare clothes are essential if you go to the gym before work or if you have plans post workout.

Wash bag & Make up- Remember to pack make up remover and face wash so you can wash your face pre workout, there is nothing worse than sweating off your make up you have been wearing all day. Other items we like to pack in our wash bag are: Deodorant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower gel, Moisturiser and our makeup bag.

Protein Shaker- We like to carry a protein shaker in our bag so we can refuel. This isn’t something we carry in our bag all the time. We would have a protein shake after the gym if we have a while to wait for our next meal e.g. on the way to work pre breakfast.

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.
waffle-1
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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BLOGMAS Day 5- London Ice Skating Guide

Ice skating has definitely become a Christmas tradition for us in the recent years. There are so many ice rinks to choose from in London we thought we would share some of the ice rinks we have tried and tested!

Most of the ice rinks have 1 hour slots, but make sure you book your spot online quickly as they sell out pretty fast. We love ice skating in the evening when it is dark outside as most of the ice rinks usually have pretty lights that make the rinks much more picturesque.

Don’t forget to wrap up warm and we would suggest wearing some extra thick socks (ski socks) so your toes don’t get cold!

After you have ice skated we would recommend warming up with a nice mulled wine of hot chocolate.

Somerset House- This is the first ice rinks we ever went to at Christmas time in London so of course it is top of our list. The location is stunning and the ice rink is built in the middle of the 18th century courtyard.  There is something about this ice rink that is very magical and always makes you feel super festive. After you have ice skated remember to take a photo in front of the amazing Christmas tree they have every year.

Natural History Museum- This Ice Rink is truly stunning! The trees around the ice rink are draped in fairy lights making it the most enchanting ice rink in London.  There is a large ice rink and also a smaller ice rink suitable for children. Watch out though as this ice rink can occasionally close for private functions.

Hampton Court Palace- Henry VIII’s sixteenth century house makes a pleasant setting for this outdoor ice risk. We would recommend visiting the ice risk in the evening when it really comes alive.

Winter wonder land – The entry to winter wonderland is free but if you want to go ice skating you will need to purchase a ticket online. When we visited winter wonderland previously we thought the ice rink was quite over crowded, even though it is the biggest outdoor rink in the London.

Park Run

On Saturday 5th November we decided to take part in Park Run. If you don’t already know what park run is it is a run that takes places every Saturday morning at 9am in parks all across the UK. Park run is 5KM long it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you run everyone is invited to join in.

Make sure you register beforehand and print out your barcode so you can take part in the run. The bar code will measure your time but that’s not really what the run is all about. The run is only 5KM long as it gives everyone the chance to get involved even if you are walking at the end.

When we turned up on Saturday morning we didn’t really know what to expect. It was a bitter cold morning, but there was no rain in site. 332 people turned up to do the run which is amazing, it’s good to see everyone getting involved first thing on a Saturday.

The route was pretty flat which was great, the only downside was the fact you had to repeat the route twice. We usually prefer to run where you don’t repeat your route as it can become boring, but it was fine for only three miles.

All of the events are run by dedicated groups of volunteers who are amazing at getting everyone organised. They are also great at cheering everyone along and there is even a photographer taking photos on your way round.

It was great to see a variety of ages getting involved in the run! There were adults, kids and even babies being pushed along in there pushchairs (they were having a great time). We even noticed some tourists were taking part in the run and had travelled all the way from Iceland-amazing.

We had a great time and loved every minute of it, we will definitely be going back for more!

After the run we popped to Joe and the juice for a morning coffee. If you have never been  to Joe and the juice before you need to go! Not only do they serve amazing coffee (we had iced coffees) the service is always amazing. The staff always look like they are having a great time and they always have great music playing.

Let us know if you have taken part in the park run before or plan to in the future 🙂

Coconut & Vanilla Protein Pancakes

Saturday morning we were up early and headed to the gym to work out our arms and chest. Commuting into London daily means we don’t have time to prepare and cook pancakes in the week so making pancakes at the weekend is a lovely treat.

These pancakes are so fluffy and delicious we cannot wait to make them again!

Serves 10 Pancakes
Ingredients for Pancakes
150g Oats or Oat flour (we just blended oats)
2 tsp Baking Powder
3 tbsp Desiccated Coconut
2 scoops of Vanilla Whey Protein
2 egg whites
50ml Almond milk (add gradually)

Toppings
Stewed frozen berries (we got ours from Tesco)
Peanut butter

Method
Blend your oats until they form a flour
Add the rest of the dry ingredients and blend.
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until it forms a batter.
Heat your pan (medium/high heat) and melt some coconut oil.
Add a table spoon of mixture to your pan and flip once bubbles appear on the surface.
In a separate pan you will need to stew your frozen berries until they are piping hot.
Stack the pancakes and add the topping.