The Yoga & Raw Chocolate Experience by Secret Urban Escape

So imagine my disappointment when I realised I couldn't make it to this event. I struggled with the fact I need a good stretch but at the same time, I needed the rest and to get myself organised for my Half Marathon the next day. My mind flickered to Christina, bubbly and beautiful...the energy of my Nike Training Classes I taught at Victoria Park; the perfect person to represent for us and share with us how the morning unfolded...

I can comfortably say chocolate is one of my favourite companions; 
‘For some there is therapy for the rest of us there is chocolate’ 
So you can imagine my excitement after getting an invite to a yoga and (raw) chocolate making experience with the gorgeous Laurella Fox-Pitt, in a secret converted archway location organised by ‘Secret Urban Escape’.
I arrived into this fantastic converted archway at Hoxton, bricks, spotlights and lined with lululemon yoga mats  (which I must say are my favourite brand for yoga mats- they have incredible grip and a wide variation of colours). I walked through a space which opened into this cosy seating area where a bunch of us were drinking warm ginger & lemon water and chatting, with the smell of indulgent cocoa saturating the air. 

We sat down snuggled with all the pillows and got some fantastic recipe tips from Laurella. She firstly and most importantly cleared all the myths about how ‘bad’ chocolate is. If prepared correctly chocolate has all our essential B vitamins and contains an incredible amount of antioxidants, making it (officially anti-aging!) and is also a super stimulant treat. So after the demonstration of how to create the ‘base’ of the chocolate we all got our own moulds and made our personal mixtures, adding superfoods to the raw chocolate base: goji berries, hemp seeds, maca, coconut and lacuma powder (which is made from subtropical fruit native to South America; it’s also high in B vitamins and antioxidants as well as adds a great sweet taste to your dishes).

As our chocolate treats set in the fridge we continued on with a 75 min Solar Prana Vinyasa Class, which after a hell of a week was an incredibly relaxing way to start my Saturday morning. Laurella’s class was not only challenging but the class left me feeling at peace and stretched out all the stress of the previous week, while listening to the fantastic background music she had prepared. If you are interested in trying out some of her classes, do check her out at at Yotopia who do fantastic deals for first timers as well as drop in rates. 

After the class we indulged in our yummy chocolate treats with the warm almond chai latte drinks as we mingled, all in the name of yoga and chocolate. Below is Laurella’s raw pure chocolate recipe; give it a go and share some pictures with us☺.

Simple Pure Chocolate

150g Cacao Butter
7 tbsp Cacao Powder
65g Coconut Palm Syrup

  • Melt Cacao butter in a bain marie, add cacao powder and syrup and whisk till smooth.
  • Add superfoods of your choice, goji berries, lucuma powder, maca, coconut, hemp seeds. 
  • Set in small shaped moulds or any container to make a slab and refrigerate or freeze depending on how quickly you need them.

Raw Brownies

1 cup pecans 
1 cup medjool Dates- add another ½ cup if you like them super sticky ☺
5 tbsp. Cacao powder
6 tbsp. desiccated coconut 
½ tsp Vanilla essence 
¼ tsp salt

  • Pulse Pecans till well crushed but not powdered (blending the pecans first releases all the oils 
  • Add remaining ingredients and blend till it begins to come together but isn’t buttery
  • Place in a baking tin or container of choice and freeze for 20 mins before adding icing and then another 20 to set fully or an hour in the fridge.

Chocolate Icing

½ cup Coconut Oil
½ Cup Cacao
¼ Rice Syrup / Coconut Palm Syrup
½ tsp Good Salt 
Vanilla (Optional)

  • Mel oil gently 
  • Add remaining ingredients 
  • Pour over brownie mixture and wait a seeming very long 20 mins before tucking in!

Laurella’s recommendation is to enjoy it with warm almond milk chai latte.
If you want to join us any future ‘secret’ events, join the mailing list for Secret Urban Escape. I was lucky enough to get chatting with the passionate and equally stunning Iris, a co-founder of Secret Urban Escape, who organise intimate events that include a workout session in an unusual location followed by a fun activity with the aim of displacing the usual mundane gym workout with a nice atmosphere and the opportunity to meet some interesting people in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Their next event is a Beats, Bites and BoxingYoga
There are many exciting and fun event that are fitness related; Even if you're hungover from Friday  night, working out on a Saturday morning can really set a good tone to your weekend.

Enjoy the chocolates ☺



Eat Evolve: Optimal Nutrition for the Busy City Lifestyle

Just last month when I quit my third round of whole30, things were a bit hectic. I just couldn't get into the groove of food prep (all explained in my why I quit whole30 post).

For the week following when I was due to finish whole30 I'd arranged for a delivery from Eat Evolve. They specialise in convenient food for those of us who are health conscious. ...sounds just like what I needed, right?!

My delivery arrived on a Tuesday as it was outside the M25 (inside the M25 deliveries arrive on Mondays) in a perfectly sized box that would be easy to carry home if you got it delivered to work. The plan was, I choose 5 sides and 5 mains...

They come packed in plastic pouches meaning you can cook them via sous vide (boil in the bag) or open them up and microwave them. This packaging meant they were easy to carry to work with me even when I was cycling as they took up minimal space and were spill proof! They then only took 3-4 minutes to warm up which is perfect when I only get 30 minutes for a lunch break.

Meal 1 | mango and coconut chicken curry with golden raisin & cauliflower rice 

This was the first time I've ever eaten cauliflower rice; it was an amazing substitute though and I would make it again if it comes out like this! The entire meal was amazing from the time I smelt it heating up in the microwave!

Meal 2 | lemon thyme salmon & roasted turnip carrot and walnut

This was the first time I was trying turnips too! A lot of firsts for me in just two days!

Meal 3 | turkey escalope & sweet potato pesto noodles 

The noodles were one of my favourites mainly because I could hardly believe they were made from sweet potato and not pasta or egg! I felt like they were a guilty pleasure! I googled them and apparently they are Japanese. If I can get my hands on these I would definitely keep a stack in my cupboard!

On the other hand, the turkey was my least favourite of the mains. turkey can be a dry meat as we all know so I'm not a huge fan of it. I would choose it again on my menu but probably only for some variety.

Meal 4 | slow braised beef with chorizo & summer peas with mint

Another yummy meal!

Meal 5 | lamb tagine & ratatouille 

My second time having ratatouille which went pretty well with the lamb tagine.

The Verdict 

Not much else to say really....everything was delicious! This was definitely one of the BEST WEEKS (food wise) in my life! The portion sizes were perfect - I didn't need to snack after or add anything extra and it took the pressure off me. I just had to put together breakfast and another meal (usually dinner).

Their meals are all Paleo, with some even being whole30 compliant. So if you decide to give whole30 a go and think you may struggle you could use this to supplement what you whip up in the kitchen.

They have a variety of packages with meals costing £11 each (based on package of 5 meals).

Go right now and check them out! | www.eatevolve.com 

Have you every used a meal delivery service?! 

Elle :) 

p.s Huge thanks to Eat Evolve for providing me with a 5 meal package - rest assured all opinions are my own (I mean, we're talking about food here!). No write up was requested but I genuinely loved the meals so much I wanted to share :) 


Race Calendar: Back for 2015

My race calendar has been chocoblock from January through to about May so far but I've managed to squeeze a few extras in...mainly because they were ones not to be missed!

I keep an updated list of events I'm taking part in and the write ups on the Train with Elle page!

First up....

Nike Women's 10km, London 

Technically it's back, but with a new name, day and time. What will remain the same is the location, Victoria Park and the experience we expect! The event is billed to be suitable for everyone...from first timers to those looking to PB. What will I be racing for? ...I haven't quite decided but it could be for a PB.

Date: 21st June 2015

You can join my crew! 

2. Select Join Team
3. Search for Team Name: Crew simpElle
4. Enter Team Password: simpelle

Run or Dye, Various UK Locations 

Last year I had a blast at Run or Dye; this wasn't the case across the country though! But, this year they are back and under the wings of Human Race, a brand that we can trust! I'll be involved again this year knowing that things will be even better!

What I love about Run or Dye is that everyone, the entirely family can get involved. The distance is one that can be walked too so it's achievable no matter how much you have or haven't trained! ...Tell your friends and get poised to sign up soon...

Keep an eye out for an exclusive KISE discount code!

...this one is new though...

Red Bull Wings For Life World Run

Don't ask me to explain this one but it sounds epic! Basically, at 12 midday on 3rd May we will start running...and keep running until the finish line catches up with us! At the same time, events all over the world will be taking place.

I'm in and I need a crew! Click and...

Join my crew! 

So...what races have you added to your calendar since the year has started?! 

Will you be joining me for the Nike Women's 10km or the World Run?! 

Elle ;) 


Vitality Brighton Half Marathon #MyMoments

The day finally arrived. The day of my first Half Marathon for 2015. A day I actually trained for.

This is how the event went for me. 

It seems that the key to a PB may be a bacon sandwich, 2 mini apple danishes and a cup of coffee for breakfast. That's what I did on the day I shaved 20 minutes off my Personal Best time from Hackney Half Marathon in June 2014.

In the week before the event I was a little apprehensive. I was excited but at the same time I wasn't sure if the training I did would make a difference. Chatting to Bethan, she asked (very kindly) if I would want her to pace me; I couldn't very well turn that down. We opted for a goal time of approx 2 hours and 10 minutes.

My training started 10 weeks before race day; a plan with just 3 runs per week. I've never trained for a half marathon before so I didn't know if this was enough,. I also couldn't honestly commit to anymore. When I missed a weeks worth in January and got ill, I was pretty sure I'd have to focus my efforts on a potential PB at a later race.

Vitality Brighton Half Marathon - 25th Anniversary 

Start Location: Madeira Drive, Brighton Sea Front

Start Time: 9am

The Start: We were assigned start waves based on predicted times we had given at point of registering. Bibs were colour coded and printed with times to remind us. We (Bethan, Georgina and I) started just ahead of our wave sticking to the left to allow others to take over if necessary. Oh and it rained...confetti :)

The Route: The route in my mind consisted of three sections. The start was a small northbound loop into the town and back to the seafront. We then headed east and back again to the centre point / start before heading west and back again to the finish. The majority of the route was close to or along the seafront. At one point in the final 3 miles where there were less supporters I could actually hear the waves which to me was magical.

I'd convinced myself the route was flat, and as courses go, I guess it wasn't too bad. The few ascents were longer meaning it didn't burn too much! And as Bethan reminded me on route, what goes up...must come down.

Hill Mantra: head down, knees up 

I spotted every single mile marker too which might be a first! They were big, bright and well placed.

The Crowd: The streets were lined with many a supporter. From families, friends, charities to other runners who'd finished (in the later stages of the race). I even spotted a few friendly London faces (Thanks Becca, Nikki, Christine) who seemed to be positioned at the points where I appreciated a wave and a smile most.

The Atmosphere: Everyone seemed friendly enough and I didn't witness or fall victim to anyone doing anything stupid!

The Drinks: There were 3 drink stations on the course, at approx 5km, 10km and then somewhere way after I needed it...past the 15km mark! Both water and Lucozade were on offer; I've only ever trained with water so stuck to that!

The Loo Situation: Plenty were at the start line and some along the course.

The Finish: The crowds were amazing and the MC was encouraging. Once we crossed the finish line, the funnel was wide. Foil wraps were provided along with more drinks. Then there was some congestion for goody bags followed by a little more congestion for medals.

The Medal: The congestion was worth it though...the medal is huge. It is definitely a reflection of the event and the celebrations. It's pink too! ...and states the year...in fact, it has the entire date on it which I love!

The Statistics: They speak for themselves really! I wore my Nike+ GPS watch programmed with current pace and distance on the main screen. I actually didn't check it that much and used Bethan as my guide. Bethan and Georgina both "speak" in miles whereas I speak in KM so I didn't always have a clue of our pace. Bethan informed me we were ahead of pace and I was comfortable so we stuck there.

I've never run such a consistent pace in my life - I couldn't actually believe it when my I saw that my fastest KM was my final one!

My Official Time: 2:01:33

A HUGE THANK YOU to Bethan for even suggesting pacing me today! Thanks also to Georgina for sticking with us!

All in all, this event is definitely up there in my top 5 race days! The organisation was impeccable, the route was just the right amount of flat vs challenging and lucky for us all, the weather man played ball with sunshine, a few clouds and a light cooling breeze!

Have you ever been paced? or considered doing it for someone else?! ...What PB are you currently chasing?!

Elle :) 

p.s And Thanks to Vitality Brighton for my place and for hosting me; it was amazing to be back in Brighton after graduating from the University of Brighton nearly 10 years ago! All opinions are my own :) some photos though are not - credit to Nikki and the BHM FB page 


Behind The Screen: Get to Know Me

In December, I was tagged by Leah of Naturally, Leah for this "get to know me" blog post! So I saved it to share with you for when I'm having some down time! That time is now! ...I'm also using this post to start a new series...Behind The Screen which literally will share what it says on the tin!

Four names that people call me other than my real name: 
Firstly, my real name (or full name) is Danielle. So number one is Elle. Then some people call me Dan (mum, godmother), D (friends) and some colleagues at work work have taken to calling me 'keepitsimpElle' (uh hum, zarabarayoga!)

Four jobs I have had (not counting current jobs): 
I worked in promotions whilst studying...this mostly entailed of standing in store talking to customers about certain products.
I worked as a Tennis Steward once. I'd just graduated and all my friends were doing it too! It was an extra two weeks of summer!
I workedin a Bar too...I wasn't very good at it. I dunno why.
And then I worked as a checkout chick. I transferred from the chilled aisle and all the boys told me I'd get fat from sitting down all day!

Four movies I have watched more than once:
Well, Elf is a favourite at Christmas time. I've probably seen Dirty Dancing, The Sound of Music a fair few times too!
What else?!

Four books I'd recommend: 
Who moved my cheese?
Animal Farm
It Starts With Food
The Fault in Our Stars

Four places I have lived:
Barbados (home)
London / Essex (currently home)

...that actually is it :(

Four places I have been:
I could list quite a few!

South Africa
Toronto, Canada
Paris, France
Ibiza, Spain

Four places I wouldn't mind being right now:
Skiing in Whistler (I've heard amazing things about it)
On the beach in Thailand
At home in Barbados
Shopping in New York

Four things I don't eat: 
Dairy (I'm also lactose intolerant)
Calamari / squid

Four of my favourite foods: 
This is tough :) to just pick four.

Pineapple, almond butter, bacon and popcorn.

Four TV shows I watch: 
All the soaps! Eastenders, Hollyoaks, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. Yup.

Four things I am looking forward to this year (next 12 months): 
Becoming a triathlete. Moving back into my own place. Turning 31. Holidaying somewhere.

Four things I'm always saying: 
Calm down mum. Amazing.

...can't think of, or not noticed anything else! I'm sure someone can fill me in!

Now it's my turn to tag a few people! That'll be Chi-Chi, Dani, Georgina and Carly :) 

Feel free to share your answers even if you haven't been tagged! You can leave them in the comments or blog about it and pop the link in the comments! 

Elle :) 
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