26.7.17

Mocha & Cold Brew Overnight* Oats with Califia Farms

Earlier this month, I, as Borrow My Blender, catered the Pure PR Autumn Winter Press Day on behalf of Califia Farms. Part of my brief was to recreate an overnight oats breakfast bowl recipe and the other part was to bake five of my Coconut Coffee cakes (find the recipe here).

It turned out that when I tried the overnight oats recipe, it didn't really work well in my eyes so I changed up the quantities a little to make sure the consistency was good. In fact, I loved the revamped recipe so much that I've been living off of it for over a week now so thought I would share it with you... and I have two amazing versions...

Mocha Overnight Oats


50g rolled oats
1/4 cup (approx 60ml) Califia Farms Cocoa Noir
1/4 cup (approx 60ml) Califia Farms Almondmilk
Drizzle of agave / honey, to taste
1/2 banana
25g (approx 12) blueberries
2 tsp peanut / almond butter
1/2 tsp chia seeds

Method: 

Measure your oats and pop them in a bowl.

Pour over your coffee mixture and then your almond milk. Give it a stir and leave to soak while you sort out your toppings. Now is a good time to drizzle on your agave or honey if you think you'll need it.

Slice the banana into circles. Wash your blueberries. As best you can, lay your banana slices on the top of your oats to one side. Dollop your nut butter in the centre and pop your blueberries on the other side.

Now simply sprinkle with the chia seeds and you're good to go!


To make the regular Cold Brew overnight* oats:

50g rolled oats
1/4 cup (approx 60ml) Califia Farms Cold Brew
1/4 cup (approx 60ml) Califia Farms Almondmilk
Drizzle of agave / honey, to taste
1/2 banana
25g (approx 12) blueberries
2 tsp peanut / almond butter
1/2 tsp chia seeds

Method: same as above.

The * next to overnight is to denote the fact that you actually don't need to make these the night before. They're super simple and quick to make; I've even thrown it in a Tupperware made for soup and had my oats on the tube when I'm short for time. It kinda kills two birds with one stone in that you get a hearty breakfast and you get your morning caffeine fix... win, win!

The Califia Farms Cocoa Noir drink is literally a dream! I tried it for the first time when I was prepping the breakfast bowls and even spotted them in my tiny local Sainsbury's... I read somewhere that a mocha is the perfect morning beverage to get your brain going due to the mix of caffeine and cacao! They also make a "black and white" version (so no chocolate) if that's more your thing.

Here are some more breakfast recipes ideas for you from the blog:
- Vegan Coconut Blueberry Summer Smoothie
- Chia & Flax SuperPowered (Vegan) Pancakes
- Pip & Nut Toast Bar Recipe
- Chocolate Protein Overnight Oats

Or smoothie recipe ideas from the Borrow My Blender blog:
- Pean-na Colada Smoothie
- So Fresh & So Green Smoothie
- Summer Berry Acai Smoothie Bowl

Elle :)


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24.7.17

Overtraining Is Not Cool


It's Thursday when I'm writing this and so far I've done three lift classes (barbell weights), a 30 minute treadmill / HIIT class, cycled 50km and 90 minutes of the treadmill / HIIT thing in an audition... all since Tuesday.

Now this wasn't my plan at all but it's just how it worked out when I had to shuffle my schedule around to fit everything in to meet deadlines. But I realise from scrolling through Twitter and reading tweets like - "it's only Thursday and I've already done 6 classes!!" - that people wear overtraining as a badge of honour. I, on the other hand, am wandering around in a daze wondering a) where everyone seems to find the energy and b) what's honourable about feeling tired. All. The. Time.

It's been a long time since I graduated from University studying Exercise Science and I am pretty sure that we would've covered overtraining in our studies. But we all know the realities of many things can be substantially different to what a textbook tells us (take driving as an example). So I figured I would just discuss this with all my active friends and share my findings here.


Do It For Endurance

One thing that became glaringly obvious from the responses I got is that doing double workouts is a necessity when it comes to sports like triathlon. A triathlon itself involves the combination of swimming, cycling and running so of course it makes sense to practice those on the same day, if not in back to back sessions.

For the ultra runners too; they pointed out that it was important to train on tired legs as it mimics the setting of their long distance events. The sensible approach is to build up your training load, ensure you fuel efficiently and listen to your body.

Variety Is The Spice Of Training

Those who shared that they enjoyed multiple classes in a day suggested that it was best to mix up what you were doing. So maybe some high intensity training in one session then something more holistic or chilled out like yoga or Pilates. Even training different body parts...

The Difference Sleep Makes

Sleep is a topic I've covered numerous times on the blog and it literally is my favourite thing to do in the world! But realistically, recovery and sleep are vital in order to reap the benefits of all the training that you're doing. At the start of 2017 I regularly attended run club on Wednesday evenings but some months later when I started teaching early on Thursday mornings I had to quit run club. Running in the evening gave me a high that meant I couldn't relax and wind down soon enough to go to bed at a decent time in order to wake up at 5am. So I'd end up with a crap nights sleep and feeling even more crap for the whole of Thursday.

And it seems this is normal; I'm certainly not alone. Not so restful sleep was a symptom shared with me of overtraining and it's worth noting that when you are increasing your training load it's probably wise to increase the amount of sleep you get too...


Recognising The Symptoms

Since coming back from Paris (and finishing this post) I've begun to experience first hand what the symptoms of overtraining are. And considering the fact I'd been writing this post, it didn't even occur to me that it was happening to me. In my head, overtraining was a choice. You choose to do a million classes so therefore you become tired. I certainly didn't choose this and have I even been training that much to constitute overtraining?!

My personal symptoms have included a loss of appetite (no longer attributed to my l-glutamine supplementation as I stopped taking it), waking up feeling like I've not slept (after a solid 8+ hours), feeling an insane level of tiredness all day, and needing to nap more than usual. And these are all symptoms that people shared with me having experienced overtraining themselves. There are plenty more symptoms and we all know that we're all different so everyone will react in different ways...

Double HIIT & Sh*t (lol)

As an Instructor myself, I always think that if you work hard enough in my session (usually 45 minutes) then you really wouldn't need another. I also think that if you book two classes back to back, you consciously or unconsciously hold back in the first class knowing that you need to save some energy for the next class. So why not just put in 100% and be done with it?! ...I'm not about that double HIIT life!

Missed Session Guilt

This is a thing for some people. Its been a while since I've missed a planned session but thats mostly because I've been busy training other people. The only thing I committed to over the past 8 weeks were my weekend long rides and I'm proud to say I made every single one as planned. But so what if you miss a session? ...what good does it do beating yourself up about it?! ...you don't need to make up for it by cramming in your sweat sessions in the time you have left. Just be mindful of what caused you to miss the session... if you chose to hang out with friends instead maybe you need to make sure you schedule in some social activities each week. If you weren't feeling too great, maybe you needed the rest?!


Anyway, thanks for the chat; I think I've gotten everything out that I was thinking... I didn't make this into a post based on SEO so it's not "5 tips to recover from overtraining" but I do hope it's made you a little more aware that this does exist and allows you to potentially recognise the signs. I'm also curious to hear your thoughts on "doing a double" and overtraining... have you ever suffered the symptoms?! Do you struggle to find balance?!

Elle :)

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photo credits: adidas uk 

23.7.17

Part 2 #3PTsToParis || Our London to Paris Ride



Before I get back to business and dive into day three of our ride there are a couple of things I wanted to address. The first being, the unfortunate incident of starting my period at the end of the first day of riding. I mean, I feel like I brought it on through worrying about it because I wasn't due (according to my app) until the Monday / Tuesday, some 3-4 days later. Shit happens. What was I to do?! But basically, riding kept my mind off of it whilst stopping for breaks brought on discomfort and mild cramps. Thankful to myself for having packed some paracetamol.

Secondly, I felt like this trip turned me into some sort of feminist (which surely I was anyway just for being a woman?! I dunno). The fact of the matter is, I grew up without my father around which has meant that I'm more than capable of looking after myself and doing things that are typically seen as a mans "role"... you know, like directions. So although we had Mollies husband James along for our ride, I never for one second expected to rely on him for directions. I personally created all the routes on Strava for our three days from start to hotels to finish and I also purchased a Garmin to make sure I could follow the routes safely. Part of the challenge of this trip was planning the routes and making the smaller, finite decisions ourselves as well as being self sufficient rather than paying for a guided, supported ride from start to finish and I didn't want James to feel obliged to take this role nor did I want to be blindly following someone else for three days. I guess it's all part and parcel of group trips, eh?!


Day three. Wake up dog tired. Go down to check out hotel breakfast. Decide I'd rather not have breakfast than eat what they had. Instead I snacked on some of the mini cakes from breakfast the day before along with some banana soreen and a scoop of Tailwind (a carbohydrate and electrolyte drink that Mollie and Sophie had brought along).

Day three was on paper, our shortest and least challenging day. And of course our last day. Surely that's enough motivation to get to the end?? With no planned stops I think we decided to play it by ear. We set off at 930am (was originally 9am but after minimal sleep we gave ourselves an extra half hour) and started the journey of our final 80km to the Eiffel Tower.

I remember having looked at the route with Sophie and knew that once we got through the first 20km with all the climbing we'd be good. So I kept an eye on the road signs to a town called Mèru which was about 25-30km from the start and knew that once we'd made it there we could power through. Just before the halfway mark (40km) we agreed to find a town to stop in to top up our water and buy some food but being a Sunday afternoon it seemed that most places we passed were either closed or just didn't have shops anyway. Plan B; rest under a willow tree eating whatever snacks we had and hope for the best.

Once we got back on the road we came across a bustling town with shops and a market just a short ride from where we quit looking for all that. Typical, eh?! ...what's also typical is that everytime we stopped, we seemed to start back on a climb. I think it must just have been one of those days when it feels like the entire world is against you! Our next stop was then at McDonalds. I know. I've not been for years. But hot fries and a cold coke light (which actually cost me over £4 ...WTF) seemed like the perfect remedy to make it through the final 20km of what turned out to be a really hot day. Mollie lifted our spirits on this stop with some songs that we just couldn't help but singalong to (lucky you if you witnessed that on my Instagram stories!).

My memory is a little hazy from here on in to be honest. I just know that from McDonalds we were definitely in the suburbs again and it kinda felt like when we arrived in Brighton a couple weeks earlier; looking for signs of nearing our destination. The roads got busier, the sun got hotter and the drivers got less accommodating. But there she was - the Eiffel Tower - over there in the distance somewhere. Somewhere beyond the closed roads on our preplanned route, wrong turns, low energy and difference of directional opinion (lol). By the time we reached the actual tower and battled through the crowds to find a spot to take our photographs somehow I think the novelty had worn off. Like a big anti climax. You want to feel excited and proud and revel in the moment but honestly, you've just ridden hundreds of kilometres to get there, you wanna shower and you wanna eat. Plus knowing that we still needed to drop our bikes off at Gare du Nord in order to make sure they got back to london around the same time we would be returning.



By the time we did get to our hotel, relief had set in and we were ready to pat ourselves on the back in the form of a cold beer before heading to our rooms to freshen up for dinner. Even finishing my story feels like I just can't do it justice. Literally laying in bed, having returned three days ago and honestly, I'm not sure it's really sunk it. Bar the far that I'm tired beyond belief, I feel kinda okay. So okay in fact that I can hear a tiny voice in the back of my head asking "what's next?!"...


Quote of the day: ...sorry peeps but none of us can remember the one we chose we just know that it came from Mollie...

Tips for the day:
- the Eiffel Tower was soooo busy. It's worth speaking to friends who know the area well to figure out the best spot to get that coveted finish photo
- Traffic is Paris is horrendous. Like, worse than London. Making our way from the Eiffel Tower to Gare du Nord station took forever even though it was just 4 miles away. Don't forget to plan this part of your route too!
- Choose a place to head for dinner so you have a plan which reduces time to decide when everyone is tired, hungry and emotional (aka "hanger")
- Drop your bike off asap at Gare du Nord. It cost us €29 to send our bikes back on Eurostar ready to collect at St.Pancras (they'll hold it for up to two weeks). You can book your bike onto your same train but there is limited space and they sell out months in advance.
- Our hotel was recommended to me by my friend Anneleen who stayed there after her own ride to Paris. We didn't have our bikes with us so I can't verify the fact they are bike friendly but they certainly seemed so!

Route on Strava: https://www.strava.com/routes/9003329
Where we stayed: Campanile Paris 19 - La Villette (Book here to £15 off your stay... anywhere)
Location rating: 4/5
Room rating: 4/5

...will finish this post as I started the first half of the story.

DONE. DID IT.


Elle :)

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18.7.17

Our London to Paris Ride || Part 1 #3PTsToParis

DONE. DID IT.


That was all I could fathom to write when I posted the obligatory Instagram photo of me holding my bike above my head in front of the Eiffel Tower on the afternoon of Sunday 16th July 2017.

As I'm starting to write this post (sat on the Eurostar back to London), a part of me can't quite believe it's all done and dusted. The entire trip seemed to have completely crept up on me when it initially seemed like I had forever to train, get prepared and organised. Cycling from London to Paris for me was a challenge; I was part excited and part nervous but that's what made me want to do it.

Our Itinerary
Day One: Olympic Park, Stratford (London) to Newhaven
Ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe
Distance: 111km

Day Two: Dieppe to Beauvais
Distance: 104.8km

Day Three: Beauvais to Eiffel Tower, Paris
Distance: 87.5km

In my mind, day one was gonna be the longest, toughest and least scenic. But we were mentally prepared; that's why we rode London to Brighton just a couple weeks earlier in order to have an idea of what to expect. We met bright and early and were on our way just after 630am. Just under an hour later and we had puncture number one which took 45 minutes to resolve (including the purchase of coffee). After this however, we cruised along towards newhaven past spots that we had stopped at last time being grateful that we were having a better ride this time and didn't need to stop. We knew what hills to expect and we knew we didn't need to climb Ditchling Beacon so we couldn't be happier. With a 530pm Ferry to catch, day one was the only day where time was a pressure. We needed to arrive at Newhaven by 430pm the latest in order to check in and board the ferry so we were more than happy when we arrived around 230pm leaving us enough time to go and have a decent meal in town, avoiding ferry food (I know anything would probably taste decent after 111km but...).



Hopping off the ferry four hours later in Dieppe and having just a 10/15 minute ride to our hotel was perfect. Lights on, final uphill push for the day... shower and bed.

Quote of the day: "...This is much more fun than last time" - Mollie

Lesson of the day: Make sure you build time into your schedule for punctures and other mechanical difficulties.

Tips for the day:
- Have your flip flops handy for the ferry as if your cleats are not recessed you can't wear them on the ferry.
- Don't forget to plan your route from the ferry to the hotel (if you're spending the first night in Dieppe)v - If you've only got two kits for the three days, defo try and find the energy to wash today's kit so it can start drying ready for day three

Route on Strava: https://www.strava.com/routes/9003223
Where we stayed: Touvotel Citotel Hotel Dieppe
Location rating: 5/5
Room rating: 3/5
Bike storage rating: 3/5
Breakfast rating: 3/5


Day two now was actually my best day physically. In my head, our ride started on a Saturday (it was Friday) and I didn't take into account how my teaching schedule on a Thursday (2 lift classes) would make me feel. And that was tired. But I'd pushed through that in day one and luckily was feeling a lot better for our second day.

We met for breakfast in the hotel at 8am and planned to depart at 9am which became 930am once we'd got ourselves together. The first half of our day was along the Avenue Vert which is a disused railway line that was paved over and turned into a dedicated cycle path. It's (kinda) smooth and (kinda) direct straight to Forge les Eaux... our main stop for the day. Avenue Vert isn't exactly full of sights but it is beautiful being in the countryside. It also has a sneaky little incline which makes you think you're kinda shit at cycling but in fact it's because you've been steadily going uphill for 50km.


Which brings us to Forge les Eaux. A little town in the middle of Avenue Vert. There's not much going on there (and I mean it was Saturday) so when it came to food I was a little reserved. The crew picked a restaurant where they could get their ham and cheese toastie fix but I decided to play it safe and pop to the supermarket for some fresh fruit (specifically nectarines as they looked amazing) along with crisps and water to top up my bottles.

From Forge les Eaux you either have the choice to continue along Avenue Vert or take the roads to get to Beauvais, our overnight stop location. The Avenue Vert is a fair bit longer than the road route so obviously we went with the road route, right?! Drivers in rural France seemed to be a lot more considerate of us cyclists with 99% of them overtaking with at least a cars width between us. The roads were so well maintained it was a dream to ride and the rolling hills were very much welcome after 50km of a "flat(ish)" route.

Somewhere along said road, my back brakes started to rub for some unknown reason which caused us to stop a couple of times to fix them. In the end, we just opened them and I rode at the front to make sure I could always stop safely with ample time. To this day, I have no idea what was wrong with them but skipping ahead to day three quickly, I just closed them on the morning and all was well.


The last stretch into Beauvais was along Trans'Oise, another cycle path (maybe also part of Avenue Vert?). By this point we kinda were losing the will to live to be honest. Although it was a good day physically for me, that didn't mean it was for the whole crew. Luckily Sophie came up with the idea of playing Spotify on her phone so I literally did the same on my phone and I cannot explain the difference the music made to me. Well, I guess I can explain. ...I basically reenacted an indoor cycling class on my bicycle in the great outdoors. I rode to the beat (upper body work included) and smashed out the entire ride to Beauvais measuring it in songs. Thank you Spotify discover weekly. Thank you.

We arrived at our hotel around 5pm leaving us plenty of time to relax then head out to dinner and get to bed before 10pm. Yes people, we're rock and roll.

Quote of the day: "...This is not a happy day for my vagina" - Sophie

Lesson of the day: Make sure you pack some antihistamines and painkillers. I got stung on my foot by what we think was a wasp on the evening of day two and in addition to the fact it bloody hurt, I panicked that my foot was going to swell and either not fit in my cycling shoes for the third day or be excruciatingly uncomfortable. Luckily I popped an antihistamine asap and had no adverse reaction. Not sure how I'd write up that I didn't make it to Paris on bike cos of a wasp sting.

Tips for the day:
- Take headphones and have some tunes downloaded to Spotify that you can play while on the cycle paths if you need some extra motivation
- Stock up on snacks at breakfast. We were saved by Nutella spread on baguettes. Oh and the individually wrapped mini Madeleine cakes and chocolate chip cakes. And bottled water.
- Make sure you carry enough locks between the group to secure your bikes overnight. Our hotel only had an outdoor garden type space for us to store our bikes which was at least covered (just about). I'm not one for locking my bike up outdoors so was really uncomfortable with this. I'd definitely recommend researching bike friendly hotels and taking recommendations from cycling friends / cycling blogs to choose where to stay.
- On the subject of hotels, again, research well and take recommendations as our hotel was directly opposite a bar and park which on a Saturday night were filled with people having a good time (yeaaaahhh, I know) which meant we slept very little as the window was open to help keep us cool due to not having air conditioning in the room. Fail. So clearly I'm not recommending the hotel we stayed in. I repeat, I am NOT recommending the hotel named below that we stayed in.

Route on Strava: https://www.strava.com/routes/9003313
Where we stayed: Chenal Hotel Le Chenal, Beauvais
Location rating: 1/5
Room rating: 2/5
Bike storage rating: 1/5
Breakfast rating: 0/5



Elle :) 

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13.7.17

What I'm Packing To Ride From London To Paris - #3PTsToParis

I blinked and I'm just one day away from leaving for Paris on my bike. When I tell people I'm doing this, the first question they ask is "are you doing it for charity?!" ....because it seems people only do mad stuff like this when spurred on to raise money. But no, I'm doing it because I want to have an adventure, enjoy some time away from home / work (sometimes known as a vacation) and to challenge myself.

This week has been one of the biggest challenges (still less so than cycling from London to Brighton though) in that packing my kit has been a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I did read somewhere that you should pack your kit, then remove half of it so currently I'm at the stage where I have my "must take" pile and my "do I really need that" pile. But essentially, I've decided exactly what I will be packing and thought I'd share that with you... (as well as maybe creating a reference point for my next bike packing adventure!):


Bike Outfit 1: Skins Cycle Women's Classic Jersey & DNAmic Half Tights (pictured above, bottom)
Bike Outfit 2: Chapeau Madeleine Jersey & Rapha Core Shorts (pictured above, top)

Every single long ride and some of my midweek rides, I've been testing out kit; the two outfits above are my final picks based on comfort and performance. I also love to have co-ordinating kit so I can't deny that did factor into my decision a little...

Although the jersey of the Skins kit is not compression based, the shorts are. I'll be wearing these on day 1 as it'll be our highest mileage and most difficult (based on elevation) so I'll be trying to start my recovery before we are even done! I'll then be wearing this kit again for day 3; our final day taking us into Paris.

The Chapeau Madeleine Jersey is a firm favourite because it has so many pockets on the back and they are accessible without me feeling like I might dislocate my shoulder trying to get what I need. The Rapha Core Shorts are a favourite as the chamois (the padding) kept me comfortable on previous rides. The shorts are the longest I own but I like that. 

Other Kit: armwarmers, socks (x2), sports bras (x2), sunglasses, helmet, cycling cap, water / wind-proof jacket, gloves, clip in shoes

Bike Stuff & Gadgets: quadlock (for phone), inner tubes (x2), water bottles (x2), hiplok FLX cafe lock, bike lights, GoPro, garmin edge 820

Other Clothing: fitflops, night shirt, dress (for mornings and evenings), day outfit (for Paris)

Nutrition: nuun hydration tablets, SiS energy gels (3 per day), SiS energy bars (2 per day), mini soreen banana loaves (3 per day), vega clean energy pre-workout, nutri advanced megamag muscleze

I have a whole post to finish writing and share about how I've been fuelling for my long rides but these are the items I will actually be taking along with me. I've been using nuun for years now; they literally are the only hydration tablets that I currently trust. I've been training with the SiS energy gels and energy bars for the past couple of months with no real issues. I think I just about can manage to continue eating banana screen for the next week and then I will need a break! Vega Clean Energy is literally the best thing since sliced bread - after it got me through the Urban Triathlon a couple of months ago I've used it on all my long rides. Currently, my plan is to put my servings and the scoop into a small tupperware as the actual tub is too big / heavy for me to cycle with. I've also been trying out MegaMag Muscleze from Nutri Advanced which contains magnesium in addition to other supplements which are useful after hard training days. I've been supplied with single serve sachets of this so I have 8 to pack (2 per day). I think I will also pack some magnesium capsules (also from Nutri Advanced) as I don't think I will be able to carry my magnesium spray which I typically use most nights before bed.

Personal: mascara, concealer, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, body lotion, contact lenses, antihistamines, paracetamol, cash, cards, chargers, adaptors, sun cream, printed tickets, passport


Luggage / Baggage: apidura seatpack, apidura handlebar bag, apidura accessory bag, lululemon go lightly backpack packable

Okay, so this became a state of emergency just a few days before our trip. Once I started putting everything from my packing list into one place I realised how much stuff I potentially needed to take. I did originally purchase a seat pack from Altura however the quality didn't really seem to be that great considering the price (I still need to return this) so I borrowed the Apidura Seatpack from my inspirational cycling buddy Anneleen. I used it for our London to Brighton ride a few weeks ago (pictured above) to test out what it was like to ride with and also to try riding with the extra weight. It literally was a dream; I didn't notice anything until I had to pick my bike up to carry it up the stairs at the tube station. During the ride, movement was minimal and I found it easy to access for the few bits I needed which I had packed close to the opening.

Over the past few weeks I've been using a handlebar bag from Decathlon for my long rides (also pictured above) which has worked a dream. However, when I realised that everything I needed probably wasn't going to fit into the seat pack I popped along to Condor Cycles in London to check out the rest of the Apidura range. Ideally I wanted to purchase the frame bag and the top tube bag but as I wasn't 100% sure they would fit I also purchased the handlebar bag and accessory bag that sits on top of it. Condor Cycles don't accept returns so I had to order online (while in store) and use "click and collect" so that I could return any bits I didn't need and boy am I glad I did that because both the frame bag and the top tube bag don't fit my bike. Because I'm now broke (insert crying emoji here) from these purchases I probably wont purchase the seat pack myself until I have another adventure confirmed; They're not cheap but the quality seems really high and also fit for purpose.

Last but not least, whilst working an event in lululemon Covent Garden I spotted the Go Lightly Backpack Packable which seemed ideal! It means that (should it fit in my stuff) I will have an actual bag for the day we spend in Paris as the bike bags aren't made for being carried around the city by human beings.

***

Anyway, it's about time to hit the road! ...you can follow my journey over on Instagram (esp stories), and twitter via #3PTsToParis.

So many Thank Yous but I'll pop them here: Skins EU, Cycle Republic, Rapha, Altura (c/o Zyro Fisher), Shock Absorber, Ride Skincare, Reimann P20,  Decathlon, Boardman (c/o Halfords), BRITA, Nuun, SiS, Vega and Nutri Advanced.

Any last minute tips for me?! ...or any recommendations for places to eat in Paris?! 


Elle :) 

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12.7.17

Re-fuelling (from my adventures) with Oomi Noodles


Over the past couple of months, since I started cycling so much more in preparation for London to Paris this month (well, actually this week if you're reading this post the same week I hit publish!), I've struggled a little on the nutrition side of things.

Time is limited, my appetite swings between "eating everything in sight" and "not fancying anything at all" (even though I'm hungry) so it's been difficult to plan my meals for the week, order my food shopping and then stick to the plan day in day out. Add to this the fact that since I cut down the amount of meat I consume (red meat especially) I've been a little concerned about making sure I have a high enough protein intake especially when I'm not meal planning / following my favourite vegan recipes which contain a ton of high protein products like beans and tofu.

To cut a long story short, I tried Oomi noodles a few months back (read about that here) and loved how simple and convenient they are. So I actively incorporated them into my diet over the past weeks as I trained for my ride to Paris.


A Little On Oomi Noodles 
The noodles themselves are actually made from sustainably sourced white fish (sorry vege peeps!). Chatting to friends over the past couple of weeks I've been asked if they taste fishy and I'd definitely say they don't; I've never really found white fish to taste of much anyway so it seems they're perfect for making noodles. Oomi Protein noodles look like regular noodles and can be used the same way you would use regular egg noodles. I haven't tried them cold yet (you can eat them straight from the packet) but I love them hot - either microwaved for one minute or thrown in a pan. My favourite way to serve them is tossed in sesame seed oil and soy sauce with a grilled salmon fillet on top.

They come in snap packs with two containers per packet so you don't have to waste any. As they are fresh, they need to be kept refrigerated but at least you know you don't need to waste any (...and I mean, I did eat two packets one time... because y'know!). Each serving of Oomi noodles packs in 12g of protein and owing to being made from a protein source rather than having protein added they naturally have far fewer carbs than other noodles (75% less to be exact). For those of you who may be gluten free these would be good option for including in your meals.

In addition to getting my fill of noodles, I've been working hard on my nutrition for cycling - so everything from pre- long ride, during my rides through to post ride nutrition. I've got a whole separate post to share soon about that as it's actually quite complicated. When I tell you that eating food has become quite a chore over the past couple of months, I'm not sure you would believe me...

Have you tried Oomi noodles yet?! ...you can follow them on Instagram here to keep up to date with their adventures too!

Elle :) 

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p.s This post is sponsored by Oomi noodles but you know me, all opinions (and my love of food) are entirely mine ;) 

3.7.17

Long Ride Sunday Lessons || Sunday 2.7.17



Let's just start with the biggest and most important lesson learnt this weekend; that drinking Prosecco and cider after a day of minimal eating or (water) drinking is not good preparation for long ride Sunday. I know that I slept, but I woke up earlier than I needed to and didn't feel sh*t until I got on my bike. To be fair, I also didn't feel like crap again until I got on the tube to head home. Then I lost my appetite and here I am writing this while considering grabbing some toothpicks to keep my eyelids open...

Saying that though, said drinks were drunk at a BBQ with the #3PTsToParis squad, over at Mollie's house. We literally laughed so much that I don't regret a single minute of the evening... I even got to play my first game of Cards Against Humanity. I'm pretty sure we all bonded on a new level... 

Initially, we were due to ride to Southend as part of a group ride but that didn't happen. Then we decided we would ride to Cambridge. But again, after said BBQ, we settled on riding to Blackmore in Essex as it was the first long ride we did together. In my head, it would be a good confidence boost after last week and after I started drinking I needed a ride where I wouldn't have to think too much and also started / finished close to home. 

As if we didn't all know this already, but you should always take kit for every weather eventuality. When I left the house it was cold.... 45 minutes later it was hot. Remember sunscreen people (I'm looking directly at you Sophie... lol). On the subject of sunscreen I tried out Ride a few weeks ago and wasn't too sure about it as it sat on my skin making me look a purple-ly shade of brown. So I've mostly been using P20 which I tried for the first time last year. It goes on clear and lasts all day... as well as all importantly, being sweat and water -proof. Winning. 

For some reason, the majority of the other riders out today were a moody bunch. So we made it a mission to say "morning!" to everyone we passed! Some riders were ready to say hello anyway, some were almost startled off their bikes and some chose to ignore us (or respond in their head / too late so we could hear or see?!). Doesn't hurt to be nice, eh?! 

I had so much fun making Sophie cringe when I literally say what I think. You know, like when you get to traffic lights and there is a car stopped in the bike box... In. Furiating. 

Both Sophie and I are officially Strava w*nkers. When we set off from Blackmore and both at the same time shout "wait, I haven't started Strava!" ...

I experienced some sort of high today. Or maybe I'll call it euphoria. After leaving Essex, heading back into East London, I just got a huge surge of energy and wanted to max out my efforts on the flat bits. Then I remembered Sophie had the start of a dehydration headache so I asked her to go in front and lead the pace. Calm. Down. Elle. 

I'm hoping there is a limit to how much I can tan because every single time I come back from a ride I am 1-2 shades darker than when I left. More awkwardly, as most cyclists will know, I have tan lines in different locations on my legs and arms due to wearing different shorts and jerseys. A pertinent reminder to wear sinscream. 

My favourite place to recover from long ride Sunday is laying on my living room floor. I literally just kick off my shoes, undo my jersey and splay myself out on the rug next to my sofa. Sometimes I turn on the TV, sometimes I just get straight onto Strava to edit all my activities... 

This route was more fun than I thought it would be. We did it. The end. 


We have less than two weeks until we set off for Paris; I'm struggling to understand how the time has gone so quickly! I'm a little nervous and a little excited... the perfect mix. 

Todays Total: 71. 4km 

***

All photos taken on GoPro Hero 5

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Elle :)

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