30.5.16

{Elle About} Mykonos Town

It's about time I rekindled my love of travel and no better way than to share a little about my recent trip to the Greek island of Mykonos which forms part of the Cyclades.


On day one, we went straight to Mykonos Town to get lost in the narrow winding streets with white washed buildings. The town is dotted with restaurants, cafes, bars and some sights to take in. It's perfect for ambling an afternoon or evening away especially as the entire town has been completely pedestrianised.




The Windmills Of Mykonos Town

Our first stop once we arrived in the town were the windmills. They were kinda hard to miss as they were located just a short walk from the bus station. The windmills are a popular tourist landmark even though they are no longer in use. Overlooking the sea, they look stunning and are the perfect backdrop for holiday snaps. 


Litte Venice

Just along the waters edge from the windmills you will find Little Venice on the western part of Mykonos Town with balconies overhanging the water, restaurants / bars with the perfect view of the evening sunset and ships on the horizon. 



You have to check out Scarpa Bar in the heart of Little venice for fruity cocktails and music. Also, Katerina's Bar for cocktails with stunning views from the balcony overhanging the water.

Then Venture Into The Narrow Streets 

After you've taken in the windmills and Little Venice, you have to venture away from the water into the narrow winding streets. There you will find even more bars, restaurants, cafes alongside plenty of shops where you can pick up all your Mykonos memorabilia (fridge magnets for me; I try to remember to pick one up in every city / town / place I visit!).


You then have to make a stop at Alley Cocktail Bar for an Espresso Martini. We spent the majority of our time at this bar laughing the night away. We've even been promised there will be a cocktail added to the menu which we named 'Flipping' 'El' - you heard it here first ;)

The average price of a cocktail in Mykonos Town seemed to be about €13 - €14 - lucky for me I'm not a huge drinker and especially not of cocktails due to the sugar content.

Places To Eat In Mykonos Town 

D'Angelo - we had dinner here one evening when I really fancied pizza. It has a sizeable menu of Italian, Mediterranean and Greek cuisine. It's located on your walk into town from the bus station so it's a stone's throw away from the hustle and bustle, but also the waterfront views. The staff were awesome and created a Hawaiian (ham and pineapple) pizza for me as it wasn't on the menu (isn't it the staple of a pizza menu, or just in the UK?!). A complimentary shot of limoncello after dinner was a nice touch too!



Nice N Easy - we ate here on our first evening as there was outdoor seating perfectly located on the waters edge to watch the sunset over dinner. I used the opportunity to try the greek dish Pastitsio (greek lasagne - pictured above) which did not disappoint. All the dishes in this restaurant are organic and locally sourced which was a great introduction to the islands cuisine.

Kalita - this restaurant was the most sophisticated of our trip. It came recommended to us by our favourite bartender on the island at Alley Cocktail Bar. We shared two main courses - one was a take on a beef burger and the other was sea bass - they were both delicious and presented immaculately.

I absolutely loved Mykonos Town; it didn't disappoint in that it looked every bit as beautiful when there as it does in the pictures you'll see here, on IG and Pinterest!


Have you been to Mykonos before?! ...I also have a post coming soon about Paraga, which is where we stayed on the island. Let me know what you think of this post too as it's the first time I've really covered my travels on the blog!

Where are you off to next on your travels?!

Elle :)

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26.5.16

Unboxing Spark & Gusto [May 2016]

- Adventure Awaits - 

For what feels like months and months, I've been following the journey of Spark & Gusto on Twiiter and Instagram. The service is a monthly box delivered to your door packed full of health, fitness and adventure inspired products. Stuff you can eat, stuff you can drink and stuff you can accessorise with! 



If you follow KISE on FB, you may have caught my live video unboxing this trove of gifts and sharing my instant thoughts with you! Just in case you missed it, I've embedded it below for you...


What's Still In The Box: 
I thought I would start with sharing what's still left in the box / unused right now. I haven't used the High5 Run Bottle, mostly because I tend not to run with water and just don't need another water bottle! I also haven't used the High5 Energy Gels as I didn't have time to train with them before Hackney Half Marathon and haven't raced since. And last but not least, I've taken the Reaction Ball out of it's packaging and thrown it across the room then picked it up when it flew all the way into the kitchen! 

All The Best Intentions: 
The Ronhill Stretch Arm Pocket got packed in my Hackney Half race bag but then I didn't need it (nor want any more random tan lines than I was gonna get anyway!). I also packed the Sports Beans Energising Jelly Beans and I seriously don't know how I managed to not consume these in one mouthful! These will also get saved for my next race / long ride for sure! The Betteryou Magnesium Flakes are in my bathroom ready for a footsoak - it's one of those things you really wanna do but never get around to! I think if I had a footbath thingy I would do it in the living room while chilling on the sofa with my laptop getting sh*t done! 


All Gone: 
I've been a fan of Nuun Hydration Tablets for as long as I can remember! These were stowed away in my bra during Hackney Half and basically kept me (Bethan and Kiera) alive! The Loveraw Superfood Energy Bar, Tapped Birch Water and Chia Charge Banana Flapjack got consumed so quickly I barely remember they even existed... that's me and food for ya! 



How It Works: 
So you can basically either buy a one off box or sign up for a subscription (both are £25 +P&P and you can receive a discount if you buy 3, 6 or 12 boxes upfront). Your box is then sent via recorded delivery so you know when to expect it! They also produce one off boxes such as the RUN Box (approx £35). 

Now, there you have it! There's a pretty even split of what got used, is unused and gonna be used! Every month will be a surprise so it's hard to put an exact value on it (and I'm not gonna sit here googling and adding up product values!). Would I purchase a Spark & Gusto Box (I was gifted this one) myself?! I think I would, on occasion as a treat or even as a gift for a friend but it isn't something I could justify every single month! 

Have you ever subscribed to a monthly delivery box?! What are your thoughts?! 

Elle :)

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25.5.16

Summer Running Goals [2016]

Back in July of 2012, my third ever post on this here blog was my write up of The British 10km! It was my first ever 10km race, and in actual fact probably around only the second or third tike I had run that far!

I then took on the race again in 2013 (Read: The British 10km #MyMoments) - since then, the race hasn't really been on my radar, because, lets be honest, it's not the cheapest race out there (currently £50 - book here). It's also now under the Vitality umbrella of races (along with Hackney Half Marathon, North London Half Marathon, Brighton Half Marathon and others I've yet to run!) 


After getting carried away last year booking races up to 12 months in advance, I kept my race schedule free for July and August allowing me to really think carefully about what I wanted to do, but also dependant on what shape I am in. I failed massively to commit to any training for my half marathons this year (but would still do it all over again!) so decided that 10km and less would be my distance of choice for the summer! 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not going out there to PB! I'm just aiming to get back into the habit of training a little, enjoying running again and allowing myself the chance to take in the surroundings when I run - we will after all have the a huge bit of central london all to ourselves which doesn't happen often! 

Photo: Stance Run East London Tour
I'm even more excited about everything that goes with running! Firstly, I'm expecting a kit drop from Brooks with items I picked out from their FW16 range. Included in this are some new running shoes which I chose based on their 'Run Signature', a new, more intuitive categorisation of footwear that take into account running experiences and support. When I run, I love the sensation of being on clouds so I chose Launch from the Energise Category.


Next on my to do list is to create myself a little 10km training plan - if it's any good I'll share it on the blog too! I have just about 7 full weeks to get in a little training so I'll be hitting up Best's Bootcamp in Charing Cross, London amongst other places!

I also got my hands on a TomTom Runner 2 Cardio+Music - a GPS watch which also stores music allowing you to have your tunes on your run via bluetooth headphones. As well as being a GPS and storing your music, it also features wrist based heart rate monitoring which I've become even more of a fan of recently!

So keep an eye out on the blog for my training updates as well as the run down on race day itself (which is Sunday 10th July). Maybe even see you on the start line?!

What are your summer running goals?!

Elle :) 

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24.5.16

5 Myths I've Busted About Embracing My Natural Hair

For anyone who doesn't know me, I am Elle. AKA, the girl who relaxed (straightened) her hair for around 20 years and has been 'natural' for the past 3.5 years. 


Some years ago, a friend & colleague told me that "going natural" was like becoming a mother. And she was right. I regularly get all the same questions like - how long (have you been transitioning)? or when (did you have the big chop)? - it's kinda like a club it seems, with appreciative nods, and an opening for conversations started by strangers on the tube who are also natural. I kinda like it though, it's another chance to learn. 

There have been countless articles recently where black women have been deemed as unprofessional if they have their hair natural. Then comes the rebukes; stories of women embracing their natural hair, like this one posted by ASOS. But when I actually read it, it wasn't what I was expecting. It left me a little angry / upset to be honest so I decided to finally write about a topic that's been on my list for years now. My hair. And I'm using the ASOS post as a template. 

1. It Takes A While For Other People To Talk You Into It 
Another friend and colleague used to literally bug me all the time saying "you should go natural", "you'd look awesome with natural hair", "why don't you go natural?". Said friend was not black. After her relentlessness, and me being fed up of the process of relaxing my hair I decided to give it a go. I decided I would stop relaxing my hair to allow the straight bits to grow out. I even donned extensions for the first time in my life while I transitioned. When I did indeed chop the majority of my hair off, it was was so short. The shortest it had ever been in my life. And not for one moment did I consider not leaving the house. 


2. The Wash & Go Is Real 
Weekends were for wash day when my hair was relaxed. Now, 99% of the time is a wash and go for me. After the gym. After swimming. When I want to change up my style. It's an extra ten minutes in the shower. I still detangle (mostly with my fingers), I only use conditioner, and I don't own a hair dryer or any other heated appliance so it's air drying through and through. 

3. It's True, What Works For Someone Else Doesn't Necessarily Work For You, But, I Mean, How Else Will You Find Out What Works For You
This one, I'll give her. Except for the fact that how else do we find out what works for us?! I used youtube and blogs so much to find information and learn about products that I could potentially try. Now I focus on using products which are as natural as possible which will moisturise my hair (as afro hair is typically very very dry). The product I use the most is Coconut Oil so it either comes out of my food shopping (thanks VitaCoco) or I buy a cheaper version from Superdrug to carry with me to the gym / pool / holiday. 

4. Edges, Really?! 
The last time I "tamed my edges" I was 15. And we don't need to go an dig out those photos! I'm also yet to visit Paks in Dalston. I don't think I've ever been to Dalston. Exhausting is not a word I need to use to describe any task related to my hair. What's exhausting is reading negativity about afro hair, from black women. 


4. (Apparently There Are 2 Fours?!) Getting Rained On Doesn't Phase Me 
Don't we all carry an umbrella anyway?! If getting rained on was an issue then swimming would be a no go. My hair has swam through the River Thames. Yes. If you look after your hair  it can handle it. Imagine that I only learnt to swim properly at aged 30 because in the 20 years previous my hair was too much of a headache to get wet. 

Google 'black hair' and 'shrinkage'. And you'll see that black hair likes moisture. The moisture gets all up in it, and the kinks and curls come alive. And yes, your hair gets shorter. But do we need to prove to anyone how long our hair is when it's straight?! 

5. I Don't Own A Headscarf 
Hmmmm. I think I own a headscarf. I even had two, but my mum commandeered one. I own silk pillowcases too. Cos I read I should. The flattened afro is sometimes my thing but I just use a dash and a splash of my friend water to bring it alive again! 

So in the words of our friend Debbie; All in all, I'm nuff glad I stepped out of the comfort of my relaxer - this natural hair life isn't bad after all. And that's 3.5 years in. 

You can ask me anything. 

Elle :) 

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23.5.16

Running In Hot Weather || Hackney Race Weekender [2016]


For the third year in a row, I ran the Hackney Half Marathon. If there is one thing that is evident, it's that this race is cursed with hot weather. Hot weather that hasn't graced us with it's presence for training, so come race day when it's 27 degrees, we can't really cope.


In a bid to keep this post interesting (i.e save me from copy and pasting 2014 and 2015 reviews) I thought I'd share with you my strategies for coping with running in hot weather...


Kit Bag: After running the 5km on the Saturday, I made a last minute kit bag swap for shorts and a sports bra. Last year, I spent half the race faffing about with my top, then decided to take it off so I thought I'd just skip one this year seen as I knew it was gonna be hot. This particular sports bra has pockets on the front which are perfect for stashing my shotbloks, nuun hydration tablets and mobile phone. I also took along a bottle of water with me in this cute Swell Bottle which keeps your water cold for something like 12 hours! Do you know how good a cold sip of water tastes after running for two and half hours in the heat?!

Tip: pack vaseline to rub on areas prone to chaffing! #ouch ...or like I learned (thanks to Bethan), St John's Ambulance staff have a stash on them and they seemed to be located close to all the water stations!


Pre Race: My new morning routine for a short while now has been to drink a glass of water before I do anything else and race morning was no exception. After my water, I had some Pimped Up Overnight Oats for fuel - I mean, I was gonna be running for over 2 hours!

Tip: Don't forget to pop on your suncream before you head out! While you're making or eating your breakfast is a great opportunity!


On The Course: There were 7 water stations situated on the course and I told myself I would just drink at the ones I needed to. This totalled all 7 and even some Lucozade from one of their stations! I have also never been so grateful for people with hoses in their front gardens dousing us (as the ones provided by the race really, really didn't do anything regardless of how good the next photo looks!). There were also some spectators / locals handing out cups of water so in fact that was 8.5 stations for me during the race!

I was lucky enough to run with Bethan (of A Pretty Place To Play) and our friend Kiera. From day dot (well at least on the day! lol), we decided it would be our once regular #PartyPace ... a mix of chatting, laughing, catching up and no GPS.

Read: Bethan's Post - Run Hackney, Run Happy



Post Race: Coming through the finish line, I was so focused on getting my medal, I missed the bananas. But the goody bag had a few treats in it which helped to stave off my hunger for a little while longer. Talking of the medal, can you see how unimpressed I am?! This. This is my bling shot, cos you don't wanna see it too close up, believe me!

Full props to the organisers though. You can never really plan for the weather so they did an awesome job of looking after us all (oh, bar the commentator screaming at us to get in the pens cos the race was about to start then us standing there for 20 minutes in the already hot sun. I wish I could convey my raised eyebrows when typing.)

This race wasn't quite a Personal Worst (PW) for me, that was North London Half Marathon earlier this year! But it is high on the list for Personal Best in terms of the amount of fun I had, the course and the community feel! London can learn a lot from this here half marathon ;)



How do you cope running in hot weather?! 

Elle :) 

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p.s And Thanks to Vitality Run Hackney for my place. All opinions are my own :) some photos though are not, credit to Run Hackney

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