Long Ride Sunday Lessons || London to Brighton 25.6.17

Let's just start by saying, in Mollies own words... "it wasn't as fun as I thought it'd be". Apparently cycling from London to Brighton (with an added 10 miles because we all live east and started at the Olympic Park rather then Clapham Common) seemed like a wonderful day out in my head. This post is the reality.

It took so bl**dy long to get out of London. The traffic lights were against us and cars were in the way! Haha!

Crossing London Bridge was beautiful especially seeing the memorials for the victims who lost their lives in the recent terrorist attack. Makes you that little bit more grateful for what you have.

Knowing the locations of random toilets is so useful and great. Just great.

I don't like change. When I plan a route, I like to stick to it. I don't wanna be discussing route options as we are about to set off.

I should learn how to use my gps properly. There were moments when I wanted to ride over it in rage but to be honest it was still kinda useful even when it gave up telling me where to turn, showing "end point" for the last 45miles of our route, but at least it still showed the map.

Stopping multiple times adds up. And when your gps informs you that your virtual partner has reached their destination and you're still in the middle of nowhere you wanna fling it in a bush.

Packing a tuna sweet corn bagel was the best thing I've done in a long time. You know when you are just so thankful to the "past you" for being so organised?!

Start eating early on. And don't stop.

Haribo is decent fuel for hills.

This was the first time ever I saw how spin classes could benefit actual cycling. So many times in spin class I'm like "erm, my legs never move this fast when I'm cycling" but today they did. When it comes to short sharp hills I like to stay in a higher gear and power up then recover at the top. For those sneaky steady inclines today I realised that getting in the granny gears and spinning my legs was the way forward.

Some pubs clearly don't like cyclists. We stopped at one a couple miles before turners hill and honestly, it was the most unwelcome reception. Beautiful garden but I wouldn't stop there again in a hurry.

Adding a seatpack wasn't too bad. The biggest difference it made was when I lifted my bike up to carry it up stairs; then it felt a lot heavier than normal. I borrowed an Apidura seatpack from my cycling friend Anneleen and I think I love it. I'll practice packing my entire Paris kit list in the next week to see how it fits and what I might be able to leave behind.

What rhymes with ditch?! ...yeah, that's Ditchling Beacon. The craziest hill I've encountered. So far. I cycled about 30% of it and walked the rest. So next time. I'll just have to cycle a few more meters and I'll get a PR. I'm pretty sure that I couldn't have cycled faster than I walked anyway. The views at the top were spectacular though... still wondering if they were worth it.

It's pretty much downhill to Brighton from Ditchling Beacon. Getting your first glimpse of the sea is both beautiful and quite a relief.

Being in Brighton brought back some great memories from my university days (I went to the University of Brighton, Eastbourne campus).

Seeing the pier was almost magical. Although it wasn't quite the fanfare that riding the official London to Brighton race one week earlier would've been, it was still very special.

Pizza for dinner is a great idea. I couldn't eat it all so I got my leftovers wrapped up and I finished it when I got home, washed down with a can of Gordons gin and slimline tonic which I swear has never tasted so good (thanks for the goodies for National Gin Day!)

I could still talk cycling all the way home in the train. Sorry Sophie. But a lot was made clear re Paris on this ride.

We did it. The end.

Todays Total: 113.7km


All photos taken on GoPro Hero 5

Follow me on Strava here 

Elle :)

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A Little Life Update / Spring '17

So it's been a good few months since I did a little life update and if you've been following along you'd be forgiven for thinking that the only thing going on in my life right now is me on a bike training for my London to Paris ride. Although that is a massive focus of mine, plenty else has been going on...

I started my role as a This Girl Can Ambassador for Essex a short while back. Although I've lived in Essex for the majority of my life I've always been drawn to working in the City (London) so it's meant I've never really gotten to know what's going on in my area. Since ParkRun started back in January on my doorstep it's been a pleasure to roll out of bed, roll down a hill and enjoy being a part of a local group. This role allows me to connect with other ambassadors and women across the whole country as well as providing a bursary to allow me to up-skill in order to delivery physical activity programmes in my surrounding area and beyond.

In my last life update I shared with you that I'd be attending an audition at Bests Bootcamp. Well, I did go and I didn't do too bad. Sadly, the teaching times they were looking to fill were times I already teach so I wasn't able to join the team back then. Since then, they've got themselves a Master Trainer who looks after recruitment and their new academy to train new instructors. I auditioned again just last week and successfully made it though to the next academy starting in mid July. If you're unfamiliar with the studios they offer a Bootcamp class made up of treadmill work and floor work with a wide variety of equipment to use. They also offer indoor cycling (which I hope to audition for when I get Bootcamp out of the way!).

I was lucky enough to have a little feature in Shortlist Magazine talking about my favourite breakfast drinks which included the likes of Califia Farms Cold Brew and Almondmilk.

A couple months ago, I saw on Facebook that Velovixen were searching for women to become Anna's Legs Ambassadors. With cycling being a big focus for me it seemed like the perfect opportunity. A few years back I was lucky enough to win the Velovixen Next Top Model competition so for to be a part of the photo shoot so you can still see my face hanging around their website and promotional materials every now and again. That shoot was also the first time I ever rode a road bike so it makes me smile to think back to it and realise how far I've come... Anyway, myself along with two other fabulous ladies were chosen as Ambassadors and I got to pick myself a pair of crops from the new range. My first choice was initially the black with stars based on versatility but in the end I went for the mountain sunset print which have been perfect in the sunny settings we've had recently. I'll get to meet Anna herself along with the other ladies in person this August and of course, we'll be getting on our bikes!

I'm back at The Running School because running is still on my agenda and will be as long as I physically can do it. I've got The British 10km coming up in just over two weeks so I've been brushing up on my technique to make up for a lack of mileage. I'm hoping that my gains from riding will transfer to running and get me from start to finish on July 9th. I was lucky enough to run this race officially last year but this year I'm doing it for my own enjoyment. I won't be writing a race recap as it'll be my fourth time but if anything spectacular happens that I need to document I'll be sure to share with you!

I ran the Vitality Westminster Mile and it felt good! I had no idea what time I would be able to run this race in as a) I hadn't been running as consistently as before and b) a mile was never a distance I could fare well over. I bumped into some familiar faces at the start line and decide I would stick with them but once we got going I felt comfortable and decided to push a little harder. I've run the course a couple times before so it helps to know what to expect and to know what you have left ahead of you. Running it in 08:11 is now my new PB for this race!

The photos in this post were taken at the launch of The Wellness Collective. They partnered with Aster Restaurant, Victoria to provide a unique wellness experience that connects London's top personal trainers, wellness influencers and the Nordic inspired top restaurant. The aim was to create a destination experience for the restaurant’s weekend brunch menu; The Wellness Collective created a bespoke “pop-up” small group personal training concept which took place in an area of the restaurant followed by a their signature 2 course brunch menu giving us a healthy start to the weekend that’s a cut above your average gym class.

...So I think we're all caught up now! ...what's going on with you?! 

Elle :) 

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Long Ride Sunday Lessons || Saturday 17.6.17

Apparently, two pan au chocolats and a protein shake is a decent breakfast. Today's shake was 250ml almond milk, a scoop of Vega chocolate Clean Protein, 1 tbsp smooth Pip&Nut peanut butter and a tsp of ground cinnamon.

I can't be on time when leaving the house with a bicycle. Malfunctioning sunglasses, drinking my smoothie from the blender jug, fiddling around trying to get my handlebar bag on, having to move my gps mount (with an allen key), forgetting my gloves... the list goes on.

Said handlebar bag is useful for carrying items like portable charger, keys and extra food. I have *this one* from Decathlon (pictured above) and have taken it on two rides so far. It doesn't change the feel of my bike in any way and allows me to carry a little less in my jersey pockets which feels great. It just about sits nicely under my gps mount and GoPro making it easily accessible when I'm on the move and useful for storing everything off the bike when we stop to refuel.

I count every single revolution of my bicycle wheel including the 1.2km ride to the tube station... and it gets "Strava-ed" too otherwise it didn't happen.

Leaving at 11am on a 29 degree day wasn't the smartest idea. Coming home was a killer when my dehydration headache hit. I've honestly never drunk as much water on any given day than I did on this day. Couldn't have done it without nuun ...it's my failsafe way to replace lost electrolytes. I've just had my supplies topped up with nuun active (tri-berry) and nuun boost (cherry limeade, with added caffeine).

We talked a lot about going commando in our bib shorts. I've never looked back since doing this! I road tested the Boardman Womens Cycle Shorts (also in picture above) on this ride and loved the fit. I'm not sure any Lycra related cycle clothing could be described as flattering but relatively speaking these ones weren't too bad. The length was just right so they sat above the knees and didn't cause too much of a sausage leg situation. They stayed where they are meant to (on the waist and on the leg) so they did their job, huh?!

Wear a cute sports bra 'cos when it gets stupid hot you're gonna wanna lower the zip on your jersey (or whip it off and join the sports bra squad).

When you're hot and hungry a warm pineapple SiS Energy Gel is delicious.

Tan lines from cycling are ridiculous. And yes, black people tan too. Check out my Instagram stories after my rides to see what a mess the sun is making of me!

I still crave a hot shower after a hot sweaty ride even though it's the thought of a cold shower that gets me home.

Never order Chinese food when you're hungry from cycling. You end up with enough to feed 2-3 people ...all for yourself. At least that's lunch and dinner sorted for the next day, eh?!

Elle :) 

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The Realities Of Being A UK Cyclist

While out on a ride a couple weeks ago it dawned on me that I'd unwittingly chosen one of the most expensive sports to become involved in. You know how people say running is free... cos technically you dont need much; with need being the operative word. Well, I guess cycling is kinda the same when you're commuting, using your bike for errands or enjoying active family days once you've made the initial outlay for the bike itself and a few key accessories like a helmet and lock.

On this same ride, I also realised how much of my surroundings I miss. I cycled past the Cathedral in St Albans and didn't even notice as I was so focused on the incline heading past it.

I came across this infographic from Cycle Republic which details the results of a survey they conducted of 500 UK cyclists to gauge the nations perception of a bike ride and so I thought I'd share my own thoughts with you here on the blog.


Why I Ride
As a child I rode because I enjoyed it and because it was a great way to stay active while spending time with friends. As an adult not much has changed; I still enjoy cycling and it's a great form of low impact exercise. These days it can also serve as a way to meet like minded people when you attend organised group rides, join a club or just organise to hang out with people that you know ride too.

When I Took Up Cycling 
I originally started cycling back as a child (I wrote about that in this post about my ride to Paris) but I didn't own a bike for around 15 years. I bought my first bike as an adult back in 2013 in order to commute to work when I lived in london.

Gadgets I Depend On 
I detailed a few things in my Summer Essential Kit for sportives so I'll just write a quick list here of the things I never leave home without:

- Helmet
- Quadlock
- Hiplok cafe lock
- Sunglasses
- GoPro Hero 5 (and handlebar / seatpost mount)
- Saddlebag (with spare inner tube and puncture repair kit)
- Clip-in shoes

...and an awesome Lycra outfit!

Currently I'm loving my Threo Shorts, Anna's Legs capris and my Tour de France jersey.

I've got a few new pieces to test out before Paris including the Rapha Core Shorts, an Altura Jersey, Decathlon jacket and the Skins cycling set. I'll be doing a full post on my chosen kit for Paris and rounding up my thoughts on the pieces I've been testing out so keep an eye out for that.

The Future Of Cycling And Safety 
Personally I'd love to see more women involved in cycling. I've put my name down to train as a Breeze Champion in my area so that will be one of my first steps towards doing my bit. As much as I'd love for the uk to be more like the Netherlands for cycling i realise that realistically it's quite a way away, with attitudes to change and right now I guess we have bigger fish to try especially around safety. I've never felt unsafe cycling but I am aware that people make stupid decisions sometimes so I stay alert and cautious. My number one rule for cycle commuting is to never be in a hurry in order to avoid me making any stupid decisions myself.

There are definitely more and more cycle paths being created but honestly, sometimes the state of them means that not using them is a better idea. And there are definitely rare times I would cycle on the pavement, one of them being that last stretch from the tube station to my house as the road is narrow and the cars are impatient. As for pedestrians being accommodating... this does happen but just a few weeks ago on a shared path along the canals a man refused to move when we rang our bells. His wife informed him that we were behind to which responded "I'm walking on the path". In my most polite tone I said "it doesn't harm to share the path" and I cycled past and carried on with my day. Some people just wake up on the wrong side of bed and it's best to just let them get on with it and not let it affect your day.

Bike Storage and Bike Theft 
Apparently 29% of cyclists (38% in london) have experienced bike theft and sadly I'm one of them. I still hold out hope to this day that one day I'll be reunited with my beloved specialized hybrid. Since then, I only have one rule and that's if my bike can't come in with me, I can't come in. So yes, I've taken my bike into Pizza Express just this weekend in St Albans (thanks guys!) and a ton of cafes when I'm out and about in London Town. So you won't be surprised to know my bike lives in my flat; I'm lucky that my corridor was built extra wide... it's like they knew I'd get a bike one day! ...and I clean my bike in the bath... I saw it on twitter...

Why do you ride?!

Elle :)

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Tough Mudder London 2017: Meet Our Tribe

Back in November of 2014 I took on Men's Health Survival Of The Fittest which was my first and so far my only Obstacle Course Race (OCR). Over those 2.5 years OCR has become more and more popular and although I wanted to do another one, the right location, right time, right event just never came up until now...

Tough Mudder is the leading brand in the new world of outdoor obstacles races with more than 120,000 participants in 2016 in the UK alone.  Of the 19 races across the the UK the biggest are the eight in London which top and tail the season.

What sold it to me was the "Half Mudder" distance; five miles of obstacles ...but no ice or electricity. And 5 miles is a decent distance, just short of 10km and with all the obstacles in our way it won't be a walk in the park! ...oh and then, I won't be doing it alone which is a massive bonus for me!

Our team is being supported by For Goodness Shakes who have become big sponsors of Tough Mudder events. They pretty much invented the ready-to-drink protein/recovery drink category and I've only ever heard good things about their products.

Event Details: Tough Mudder Half London South - Saturday, 23 September 2017

Read on to find out why they've put themselves forwards for a 26.2 miler, and how they're preparing (mentally and physically) for race day.

Our Strong Woman: Hannah Lewin
Find her on Instagram: @hannahlewinfitness

I am a qualified personal trainer, working solely with women- I also teach spinning. Getting to work with lots of amazing women every day is a dream come true after a decade of corporate life. My current is real mix of spinning, HIIT training and resistance work outs- I’m currently working on continue to develop my upper body strength further.

My Motivation: As a PT I often struggle for time to fully concentrate on my own workouts, and this is a fantastic opportunity for me to make sure that I am properly structuring my training to work towards a set goal.

My Biggest Fear: Getting muddy!!! Noooo!

I'm most excited about: Working within a team of lovely ladies! I generally train alone, and I’m looking forward to completing the course as part of a team.

Why I'm running an Obstacle Course Race: I love having a challenge or a goal to work towards, and any opportunity I can find to push myself that little bit harder I am always grateful for. (I may not be saying that afterwards..)


So about that team of awesome ladies....


Our OCR KingMichael Adeniran
Find him on Instagram: @theurbanchallenger

I'm Michael from London. By day I'm in the fun world of recruitment and most weekends I am rolling around in mud, climbing over walls or wading through rivers being The Urban Challenger. My blog is about me taking on as many challenges as possible whether it's a Run, OCR or endurance event and helping people get into them. I take part in OCR's on a regular basis so have quite a bit of experience in them, but I've got a lot more to complete. My training includes a lot of running and weight training.

My Motivation: My biggest motivation is testing and pushing myself to my limit. I don't like settling and if it doesn't test you then it isn't going to make you better.

My Biggest Fear: My biggest fear is probably failing. I always believe that no matter what you are doing there is a way to get past it. So failure shouldn't be an option.

I'm most excited about: I'm definitely most excited about trying out a new Race; one that everyone knows and says is great but I haven't tried yet. I can't wait to get there with a team and smash the event.

Why OCR is different: Obstacle course races are different because they work every part of your body and take you to a point where you might want to quit but everyone around you is on the same page and pushes you along. The camaraderie is amazing regardless if your a first timer or a seasoned pro!


And this was all my bright idea having completed just the one OCR....


Team Captain (by default!)Elle Linton
Find me on Instagram: @ellelinton

Photo Credit: The Wellness Collective

Y'all already know me. Blogger, Studio Instructor and everything in between! I'm currently training for a ride to Paris in July but I'm already thinking about my next challenges once that is done. I'm picking carefully though and Tough Mudder is one event I've always had an eye on but never committed to taking part...

My Motivation: The one time I did complete an OCR, I absolutely loved it although I was super slow! I'm keen to give it another go especially getting to share the opportunity with a team.

My Biggest Fear: I've come along leaps and bounds over the years when it comes to being outdoors and getting messy so the only fear I have is getting hurt. I know Tough Mudder have electrocution in their events but our distance doesn't include it so that was a massive plus in my decision to sign up! 

I'm most excited about: I'm planning on laughing my way through the entire event and I know camaraderie is high in OCR anyway but it will be fab to do this with the team I'm introducing you to today! 


Last but not least....


Our Competitive Chick: Tash Thomas
Find her on Instagram: @tasht.uk

I am a professional Singer/Dancer and have had the privilege of performing on stages all over the world. I also work as a Fitness Instructor for The Tracy Anderson Method, a dance based workout originating from the US. This is my only form of training as The Method is trainer led so I do all the workouts with the clients. I previously ran last years Half Mudder and the training seemed to work well. I also run a blog that focuses on lifestyle, fitness and events with a positive and motivational twist.

My Motivation: My motivation for this years Half Mudder is the sense of achievement when you finish. I love pushing my body to see how strong it is.

My Biggest Fear: My main concern with anything like this is injury. My body is literally my livelihood and so any injury is a serious problem. But I'm not one to let fears stop me from having fun.

I'm most excited about: I'm most excited about running this year with fellow athletes. I previously did it for charity with friends and family, who were content enough to know they had finished. So this year it will be exciting to have a slightly more competitive team.

Why I'm running an Obstacle Course Race: I'm not a huge fan of just running, if this was a straight 5 mile run, I wouldn't be interested, but I do love obstacles. They challenge your body in different ways and break up the monotony of running. Also, who doesn't love going back to their childhood and being covered in mud and dirt.


In my head, September is a long way away but we all know that in reality these kinda things juts creep up on us!

Have you done a Tough Mudder before?! Share your experience / tips with me in the comments below!

If you haven't done one before, would you be up for it?! Use the links above to sign up for the event and then join our team! 

Elle :) 

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Elle About Town: SUP Pilates Series at Wake Up Docklands

In the back of my Passion Planner, I have a list for 2017 of things I wanna do, places I wanna go and experiences to have. One of them was SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) / SUP Yoga so when the opportunity to try SUP Pilates came up there was no way I could say no!

This summer will see the launch of brand new SUP Pilates classes at Wake Up Docklands in Royal Victoria Dock, London with Ruth Tongue. Ruth has been teaching Pilates for over 8 years in London and is also a qualified nutritionist who has been working in the health and fitness industry for over ten years. As a SUP Yoga fan, Ruth wanted to share an alternative for those who are less downward dog and more core-centric - SUP Pilates being the result!

I started the afternoon with the 45 minute SUP Pilates session with Ruth. It's been quite a while since I've done Pilates but I am well aware of how good a workout it can be. Pilates already has a major focus on core and controlled movement so having to do this on an unstable board floating in water just increases the intensity. Lucky for us the sun was shining in all its glory for the afternoon but being so early in the season the water was still pretty chilly (especially by my standards). I loved that the class progressed our positions and even included some standing exercises leading to "burpees" on the paddleboard!

We took a much needed break after Pilates and refuelled with smoothies and snacks from C Press London before heading back into the water for a 45 minute intro to SUP technique with Jason Bergin of Urban Recovery.

Now this session was the one that really got me nervous as we were now on the boards moving into the main body of water. It's been a very long time since I've been out on open water and although I'm now a "swimmer" it's still nerve wrecking for me to be doing activities on water. We started off in a kneeling position to learn the basics of how to use the paddle to steer the board in the required direction. We then learnt how to stand up on the board in order to use the paddle fully and get the full experience. And this is where I became stuck. The wind was strong making the water a little choppy which obviously made the board more unstable. Although I did manage to stand up for a couple of short periods I definitely felt more confident in the kneeling position! I'm under the impression that the session last for two hours normally so I'm sure that I'd be much more comfortable the next time I go out on the paddleboard knowing what to expect!

If you saw any of the outtake images on Instagram stories you'll know the different faces of fear and excitement I went through during the afternoon but all in all I thoroughly enjoyed the session and would definitely do it again. Maybe even somewhere even warmer, with blue seas...

A girl can dream, right?!

To take part in the SUP Pilates no previous experience needed at all and all you need to take with you is swimwear to go under a wetsuit (provided) if it's not too warm or some crops / leggings and a top you don't mind getting acquainted with the open water if it's a little warmer along with a towel and flip flops.

The venue is easily accessed via the Emirates cable car (which was worth the trip in itself) from North Greenwich, or via DLR to Royal Victoria. It's like a little oasis in the midst of east london!

For information on times, days and prices of the SUP Pilates classes check out Ruth's website - www.ruthtongue.com

Have you been Stand Up Paddleboarding yet?! ...done yoga or Pilates on a SUP too?! ...would you try it?!

Elle :)

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Photo Credits: (1) (2) (3) @Dave.Barker.5891 || (4) (5) (6) were taken on my GoPro Hero 5


Looking After My Eyes & Updating My Specs with Scrivens

Back in primary school it was literally trendy to wear glasses so when I got diagnosed as short sighted with astigmatism I was over the moon! I clearly remember the Optometrist telling me that I'd just need to wear the glasses for 18months and then everything would be right with my eyes. So I thought this was semipermanent yet here I am, some 25 years later still wearing glasses...

As I entered the world of work I wore my glasses less and less even though I needed them more and more. Then I was told to always wear them for activities like using a computer, watching tv and driving. When I became more active though I ventured into the world of contact lenses however I never like to wear them for more than 3/4 days per week.

One lesson I've learnt with glasses and clothing actually, is that you can't or shouldn't just go for what's fashionable. It's best to choose a pair based on what suits the shape of your face and looks good on you rather than what is the latest trend. So I went along to my consultation at Scrivens Opticians in Enfield with a completely open mind.

Scrivens are currently running a designer frames and sunglasses event (until Saturday 17th June) where they're offering 25% off designer frames (full terms and conditions apply). Alongside this you also get a free consultation to help you pick out a pair that is perfect for you.

I had Jennifer from the store helping me to choose my specs from the large selection available in the store. I tried on some of her suggestions, some classic frames, some way "out-there" styles as well as a few I liked the look of. They also have a nifty little screen / camera set up where you can take pictures of yourself in the frames and then compare the images. I did use this but I also chose to take selfies on my phone and share them on Instagram stories to ask everyone which ones they thought looked best. I shared my favourite two from the selection that I had tried on and was relieved when all the responses I got back on instagram also chose the pair I went with in the end.

I'd forgotten how much there was to consider when choosing glasses including how they sit on the bridge of your nose, whether the arms are the right length to fit behind your ears, if they sit on your cheeks and move too much and a very personal issue of mine, whether they leave enough space for my eyelashes to flutter! ...yes, I'm serious; I have quite long lashes and Maybelline only helps to accentuate them!

I spent around 30 minutes in the consultation and we sat down to take my measurements to ensure my final frames would fit me well and that the lenses would be made to suit where my eyes / pupils are. I get to pick up my new frames in a couple of weeks and I'm genuinely looking forward to rocking them out and about on days I want to rest my eyes from contact lenses.

I guess our eyes might be something we don't consider much when we think about health and wellbeing but having been wearing specs since childhood I definitely consider them an important part of my health!

So please excuse the hat hair in the selfies but, A. or B.?! ...keep an eye out on Instagram stories to find out which ones I chose when I go to pick them up later this month!

Do you go and get your eyes tested regularly?! Do you invest in your glasses?!

Elle :)

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Elle About Town: An Evening at Mango Tree, Belgravia

Thinking about what to title this post, I considered "Dinner at Mango Tree, Belgravia" but I think the word evening captures the time spent in this restaurant perfectly. Three hours to be exact; 7pm till 10pm. With it feeling like only 60 minutes.

Booked in for dinner on a Saturday night, was in hindsight, a really good decision. It basically worked out as carb loading (...I know, I know) but it certainly made sure I slept well (thanks alcohol) and was well fuelled for my Sunday long ride out in Essex.

Now y'all know I love food. So when on the rare occasion, I eat out (I'm not talking about Pret or Leon), I like to enjoy the experience and enjoy my food. The word balance seems to be overused these days especially as it really is a personal thing, what balance means to each of us. But for me, I like to enjoy my food without worrying about macros or calories or how I can "work it off".

If you've not already been to Mango Tree, it's a Thai Restaurant close to Victoria which I was informed do "amazing cocktails" ...and I can confirm this. Say hello to my "Thai Mojito" that kept me occupied while I perused the a la carte menu...

And Marks & Spencers said it so well in their most recent advert...

"Sometimes you just need a knife and fork to travel..."

...onto starters. Between the two of us, we ordered 3 different starters. A mixture of recommendations from the waitress and of what we fancied. Poonim Yum Mamuang (soft shell crab),  Mango Tree Chicken Satay and Por Pia Pak (vegetable spring rolls).

The food came quickly and as you can see from the pictures was immaculately presented. It felt like a  lot of thought had gone into the dishes especially with the dips accompanying them which really brought out the flavours perfectly.

For my main, I had the Pad Ka Pow (stir-fried chicken with fresh chilli, garlic, snake beans and holy basil leaves) with a side of Pad Mee (stir-fried egg noodles with soya sauce, garnished with spring onions).

My main was spicy, but I had been warned and I am a huge fan of spicy food anyway. Alicia, who I dined with, had the Pad Thai Goong Yai (thai rice noodles stir-fried with king prawns, chinese chives, crushed peanuts, bean curd and bean sprouts in a special homemade sauce, topped with our signature egg net) which you can see on the left side of my main course image above. I'm not one to eat prawns when I eat out, but I've genuinely never seen an actual king prawn like this before and the dish certainly did not skimp on the extra prawns stir fried into the noodles.

I ate pretty much all of my main, but I did make sure there was plenty of room left for dessert. We decided to share a few items from the menu and opted for Kow Niew Mamuang (honey mango with sticky rice and coconut milk), Chocolate Sphere With Salted Caramel (chocolate sphere with vanilla-pandan ice cream core served with warm salted caramel sauce) and Ponlamai Ruam Mit (seasonal exotic fruit platter served with mango sauce and chilli-lemongrass sorbet).

The chocolate sphere was chosen based on having seen it being served on another table and deciding I needed it especially for a little Instagram action. When the sauce is poured over the sphere it disintegrates to reveal the ice cream core and all melts into a gooey chocolatey mess! ...you needed to have seen my Instagram stories to check this out in all its glory...

...all washed down with a small glass of plum dessert wine...

I've not been to Thailand yet, but it is firmly on my wishlist. Until I make it, my evening at Mango Tree will hold a special place in my memories... The entire evening was perfect from start to finish; although if I did have to be picky, I'd say the restaurant was in London but the toilets were in Bangkok! ...the service and staff were attentive, and that's a lot coming from me, who is hard to please!

To find out more about Mango Tree, check out their menu or to book a table, visit their website here.

What's your favourite type of cuisine?! Have you been to Mango Tree before?!

Elle :)

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