Monday, 18 July 2016

Breakfast at Riverhill, Glasgow

It's official - my life has descended into wedding chaos. With less than 3 weeks to go, all thing bridal have taken over and between work, weddings and gym sessions I have little time left for anything else - including blogging! I always seem to catch the blogging bug at the most inconvenient times. While the inspiration strikes, I thought I'd grab the chance to write more about our Tough Mudder weekend in Glasgow last month... before the memories disappear into the wedding abyss, along with the rest of my life!

Tough Mudder takes a hell of a lot of energy out of you. We woke up the next day feeling like we'd been hit by a tonne of bricks. Our limbs were stiff and bruises were popping up in places you can only imagine. We were exhausted (even after the 8 hour kip!) and hungry. But then, what's new? I'm always hungry. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day too, so I didn't take much convincing when Gordon suggested a large and lazy brunch to refuel. Plus I needed an energy boost for hitting the Nike store - shopping is my cardio guys!

Perfectly located on West Nile Street, a hop and a skip from Nike, our destination was the Riverhill Café. We strolled along from our hotel in the hope that our aching muscles would loosen off and collapsed into the comfy seats of the compact and cosy diner. The décor at Riverhill has a homely continental feel, with yellow walls, adorned with bric a brac and family pictures smiling down at you. It's how I imagine my grandma's rustic Spanish countryside home would look...  if she had one!

The menu is just as multicultural with everything from bacon naans to French toast, huevos rancheros and classic Scottish porridge available for breakfast. Being as adventurous as always, Gordon devoured the full Scottish. It was the shashuka that did it for me...

Oh the shashuka! Poached eggs cooked just right, with the runny yolk begging to be burst and mixed into the pool of herby tomato sauce and crème fraiche. All mopped up with a delicious monster of a flat bread. I'd go back again and again just for this - the breakfast of Queens!

There are another 2 Riverhill locations in Glasgow and I'd like to visit them all for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
The cocktails sound like a winner and there are vegan options too.
Have you ever eaten at Riverhill? What should I try next time?

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Wedding planning... 1 month to go!

Actually, 28 days... SH*T IS GETTING REAL!

This month we have...

Enjoyed the henny and planned round 2!
I'm hosting a tea party at home, which has worked out quite well as it's much cheaper and means more people can come along, including my Nan! :)

Finally bought shoes
3 pairs actually. Then ended up going back to the first ones I tried!

Had my first dress fitting!
I'm quite lucky that it only needs a small adjustment at the shoulders and a little off the hem. I'm changing the waist band as it sits in the wrong place for my body shape but that's an easy job too!

Bought some gifts for our bridal party.

Dad got his kilt measured
and spotted a few mistakes in our order! I must remember and call them to double check everything...

Booked the generator

Decided on our menu with Eat Beetroot!
We even have a separate menu for our vegan friends, and our tasting is booked!
Absolutely buzzing for this - the food is one of the most important aspects of the day to me!

Received the majority of our RSVP's...
I'm amazed that some people just don't acknowledge the invite in any way, shape or form! Even a quick Facebook message would do. Point blank ignoring it is just rude, right?

E-mailed a bunch of suppliers
To confirm timings, prices, flavours etc.

Booked my nails & even a polish at the dentist!

Finalised our first dance song
Which will be performed by Gordon's cousin!
Our band has also asked us to make a list of 20 of our favourite songs, which turns out to be harder than I expected.

Booked a mini moon!
With thanks to itison, I've booked a couple of nights in an Aberdeen hotel just to get away from home. We plan to visit Spain later in the year and organise a bigger adventure for 2017 :)

There's still a million and one things to do and not enough hours in the day. Bridezilla is still under control though... for now!

Friday, 8 July 2016

How to Prepare for an Obstacle Race

With Tough Mudder over, and the Beast Race looming on the horizon, OCR's have been firmly on my mind lately. I've signed up for my first race of 2017 already. Once my wedding is out of the way, my training and nutrition will be all about the race prep. A few other Aberdeen bloggers have signed up to run the Beast Race with me, and with it being their first time obstacle racing, I've been thinking about what advice I'd give to an OCR newbie. And what I wish I'd known before my first time!


Get training! You'll  need a decent level of cardiovascular fitness to be able to run between the obstacles. At the majority of races the obstacles will be evenly spread so you won't have too far to run before you have to stop again, but not all races are made equally! For example at the Beast Race, a large chunk of the course is uphill on rough terrain, and you run approximately 5k before you reach an obstacle! Of course you can walk it, but for me, the quicker I can get round a course the sooner I get a warm shower, some food and a well earned drink! Practice running off road and up hills, and wear the trainers you'll be racing in.

Look up the kind of obstacles you'll be faced with so you can figure out what your strengths are and what weaknesses you'll need to work on. A good amount of obstacles will require moderate upper body strength to pull yourself up and over them. You don't need to be a pull up pro but I do recommend working on your arms and back strengh. Lat pull downs, tricep dips, even push ups will help. You don't need superhuman strength, and your fellow racers will always lend a helping hand, but the sooner you start your training the better. Don't put it off too long!

The Week Before

Stay hydrated.You don't want to feel dehydrated on the day of the race as you'll end up peeing like a racehorse after downing water too close to your start time. You should be drinking at least 2 litres daily anyway (more for men), but make sure you hit that target every single day leading up to your race.

Rest! Obstacle racing is bloody hard work. Your body goes through a lot during the course. Whether it's plummeting into freezing cold water or throwing yourself over 8 foot walls, it'll take a lot of energy out of you! Reduce your training, or at least the intensity of it, a week before, and rest completely for the last day or two. Don't do anything new that will cause more DOMS than you can handle!

The Night Before

Get organised. Prep your kit so you know you have everything you need, and don't spend the morning stressed out and running around like a headless chicken! I like to look out all my clothes - sturdy trainers, decent underwear, a super supportive sports bra, my oldest but most durable leggings and usually my team Epic tshirt! Don't wear anything you don't want to ruin - it'll end up covered in mud and god knows what, and probably snag on barbed wire at some point! Don't forget a towel and clean, warm clothes to change into!

If you have a GoPro or similar piece of kit, make sure it's fully charged with a memory card inserted and look out any extra equipment you'll need. I tend to use a chest strap as I'm worried the head mount would fall off or get caught on the obstacles.

Carb up and sleep! Like I said, your body burns a hell of a lot of energy during an OCR so make sure you fuel up properly. Plenty pasta, rice or sweet potato with dinner should do the trick. Try your best to get a full nights sleep (7-8 hours) if you're not too excited/terrified of what lies ahead!

On The Day

Enjoy a carb heavy breakfast when you wake up and drink around 500ml water 1-2 hours before racing. Protein oats are ideal as the oats will slowly release energy and your muscles are gonna need that protein to recover from all the strenuous exercise they're about to do. I usually grab a banana about half an hour before my start time. The simple sugars give me a quick energy hit and it means I'm not starting hungry. Or hangry - that would be bad news for everybody!

Arrive at the race location on plenty time. You'll need time to register, check your bag/car keys in and find the toilets, without missing the warm up! Stretch out any problem areas before starting - dynamic stretching is best before a race. Most events will have this organised so make the most of it!

Last but not least, the whole point of the experience... ENJOY IT!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Lunch at KCal Kitchen, Glasgow

Sticking to any diet plan can be difficult at the best of times, but trying to macro track while eating out can be really bloody awkward. I've found the easiest way is to stick to better known chain restaurants, who list the macronutrient breakdown of their menu online! Nandos is probably the best known diet friendly eatery, but Wagamama and Jamie's Italian are also pretty good in my experience! It gets kinda boring eating the same things at the same places all the time though...

Luckily for Glasgow, there's a bunch of healthy eateries popping up locally to make our macro tracking, booty building, cardio hating fitness lives so much better! Last time we headed to Prep Fitness Kitchen but on this visit we decided to give Kcal Kitchen a go, and boy am I glad we did! Kcal kicks Prep's ass in every aspect in my opinion. The décor, the service and the food were all a million times better here.

The white walls, wooden floors, rustic tables and vibrant green accents gives the laidback restaurant a clean and fresh feeling. It's somewhere you could go to chill with your gym mates for a post workout shake or even just to enjoy a tasty lunch and a gossip with the girls. The health concept isn't shoved down your throat in any way! It doesn't matter if you're dieting or into fitness, the food at Kcal is for everybody. None of your typical healthy soup, salad, chicken and veg options - instead you'll find mac & cheese, protein waffles and even a cheesecake on the menu!

Macro values are clearly listed on the menu and already available for you to search on my fitness pal. I'd already chosen and input my lunch the night before after browsing their menu on facebook, but it also allowed me to easily switch my planned protein cookie for a Kcal Guilty Pleasure shake. A mix of chocolate protein, milk, cocoa and peanut butter - everyting my body was craving after a Tough weekend! Gordon went for a tropical twist smoothie which was a fruity mix of pineapple, mango, strawberries, kiwi and orange juice.

He had the Get Lean beef burger, while I enjoyed a meatball mania pizza - you know, just your typical healthy lunch! I love that you can be healthy without feeling deprived. The food really is as good as it looks! My Nana's home cooked chips sprung to mind the minute I tasted those sweet potato fries, and my pizza was full of flavour on a perfectly crispy, thin flatbread style base. We washed it all down with a matcha green tea and a cappuccino, which you can even have with almond, coconut or soya milk for you dairy free folk!

Kcal Kitchen is located in the centre of Glasgow, just a short walk away from Buchanan Street. I'm planning on checking out their breakfast menu when I'm in town for this year's *SFN Expo! Diet or no diet, I'd highly recommend heading to 130 West Regent Street.

Where's your favourite healthy eatery?
Would you like to see nutritional information on restaurant menus more often?

*Get 10% off SFN Expo tickets with my ambassador discount code - SFNAM25

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Tough Mudder Scotland 2016

This time last week I was up bright and early, travelling across Scotland to take part in my first ever Tough Mudder obstacle course. I've done a few OCR's with Team Epic over the last couple of years but this was the longest and most challenging one yet... and I bloody loved every minute of it! I'm still absolutely buzzing from the day - so much so that I've signed up to do it all again next year already!

There's not much I can say that the pictures don't already tell you. I've popped my vlog in at the bottom so you can see us in action! 

Tough Mudder is all about the teamwork and camaraderie rather than competitiveness and we couldn't have asked for a better team. We all have our own individual strengths and weaknesses, but we used them to our advantage and made it round the entire course together - with lots of fun and banter along the way! The race isn't timed and there are signs encouraging everyone to help their fellow mudders, which makes for an awesome atmosphere!  

 Set in the picturesque grounds of Drumlanrig Castle, the 11.5 mile course features 24 gruelling obstacles. Running 11.5 miles alone is tough enough for me. That's basically a half marathon! Electricshock Therapy is probably the most infamous of them all but wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated! When you build something up in your head to be absolutely horrific, it never turns out to be as bad as you imagined. King of the Swingers was the only obstacle I chickened out on. You throw yourself from a 12 foot high platform, grab hold of a set of handlebars and swing towards a bell, before dropping off into a pool of water! I had no fear when I headed for the obstacle but my legs had other ideas and turned to jelly. I just couldn't jump!

Arctic Enema saw us plunging into a bath of ice and ducking under barriers to get out. The noise that came out of me as I hit the freezing cold water was something I've never heard before - I sounded like some sort of wounded animal! All of the obstacles I enjoyed the most seemed to be more team led challenges. Pyramid scheme had us build a human ladder to climb our way to the top of a very slippery slope, Everest 2.0 involved running up a curved 15ft half pipe (and face planting at the bottom in my case) and my absolute favourite by a mile was Block Ness Monster, where we had to push and pull a rotating barrier, submerged in water to get ourselves and our team mates over!

The whole day was well organised, with toilets and water stops dotted along the course, and even the opportunity to refuel with 9 bars and bananas! Marshalls were in full force and we had a safety briefing at the beginning, before we pledged allegiance! I love that there's a system for finding fast medical assistance - something that was lacking in previous races I've taken part in. The race village has plenty food and drink options, mini challenges, a well stocked merchandise shop, lots of toilet facilities, plus showers, changing areas and even hot tubs for some post race relaxation! Spectators have access to quite a few of the obstacles to catch their mates on camera, although you do have to buy a spectators ticket. Your entry fee includes the race (as many times as you like - I know someone who did 3 laps on Saturday!), a finishers t-shirt, the famous head band, free photos (which I've used for this post - thanks TM!) plus an ice cold cider, water and snacks at the finish line!

Tough Mudder is not for the faint hearted - the clue is in the name! If you fancy a challenge, you'll certainly get one but I can guarantee you'll end your day on a high. The buzz I get from every obstacle race I complete is indescribable. Nothing compares to the feeling of accomplishment and comradeship. If you fancy it, get booking ASAP before the price rises!

Start your training now, test your obstacle skills at other events (such as the Banchory Beast Race!) or if you're not ready to commit to the whole hog, give the Tough Mudder Half a try first!

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