Outdoor Workouts in the Park

*cough, splutter* – excuse me while I unearth myself from a pile of wedding invitations, twine, calligraphy pens and glitter. It’s been a couple of wedding-crazed weeks, as we ticked over into the under-6-months-to-go mark and I had a little freak out that everything wasn’t going to get done in time!

Despite spending ridiculous amounts of hours googling “coral tissue paper” (seriously, it’s hard to find!) I have still been racing (and I have a few race recaps coming for you!) and I have still been fitting in a few workouts.

Girls Run The World Blog

Over the weekend I had the lovely Ainslie from the blog Girls Run The World come and stay with me in London and I asked her to take me for a workout or two “traveller style”. Ainslie and her sister Morgan packed up their backpacks and have been travelling for the last 6 months+ – along the way taking on the Great Wall of China Marathon; half marathons in Las Vegas and Montreal; city runs and parkruns in countries like Russia, Poland, Spain and Italy; and various yoga and fitness classes across Europe.

Girls Run The World Blog

With our upcoming Epic Adventure in mind, I wanted to see what kind of typical workout the girls would do on the road – in the hope that it would give me ideas and get me into the right mindset for our trip next year.

On Saturday morning Ainslie and I headed to the park across the street and set up with our yoga mats, a 5kg medicine ball, and 2 x 2kg handweights. We found a bench in the park that was the right height for step ups and proceeded to work up a HUGE sweat!

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Our legs and cardio focused session included:

Circuit 1 (continue the circuit until your 7min timer goes off)
15 x jump squats
15 x squats
24 x walking lunges with weights
24 x knee ups on the bench

Park Workout

Circuit 2 (continue the circuit until your 7min timer goes off)
16 x X jumps
10 x burpees
24 x weighted step ups on the bench
15 x medicine ball squat and press

Park Workout

We repeated both circuits twice (total of 28mins) – and we were dripping with sweat and seriously shaking by the end of it! I loved being outside in the park, although the bench we used was right next to the children’s playground, and as our workout progressed we ended up with more and more intrigued little spectators coming to say hello!

Park Workout

I woke up on Sunday and could barely walk, my glutes and hamstrings had some wonderful DOMS going on! Regardless, I asked Ainslie to drag me back to the park and show me an arms and abs workout.

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Circuit 1  (continue the circuit until your 7min timer goes off)
15 x push ups
15 x medicine ball squat and press
15 x lay down push ups
15 x tricep dips

Park Workout

Circuit 2  (continue the circuit until your 7min timer goes off)
40 x mountain climbers
40 x ab bikes
30 x v-sit ups with a twist
15 x straight leg sit ups

Repeat twice.

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This workout wasn’t quite as sweaty, but that didn’t mean it hurt any less! My biceps, triceps and pectorals were left quivering and my abs had that great burn afterwards. After two hard workouts in two days, both of us were completely knackered!

Park Workout

I was really impressed with what we achieved in less than 40mins (with warm up, cool down, stretching, water breaks, talking breaks included!) and it convinced me that I will be able to include these kinds of body weight workouts when I am travelling next year. You don’t really need any fancy equipment (most of the exercises can be done without hand weights or medicine balls) – and I am sure I can find some lovely parks or beaches to get my sweat on!

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Thanks Ainslie! Head over and check out her adventures at Girls Run The World. 

Do you like to workout outdoors? Do you match your workout outfit with your friends? (yes, it was intentional!)

A TOPP WEDDING: Asking the Bridesmaids

When we got engaged I already knew exactly who my bridesmaids would be (read about them here) and couldn’t wait to ask them to play a part in our special day. However, I had one bridesmaid in New Zealand, one in Canada, and one travelling through India. While I was ridiculously lucky to catch them ALL on skype (even Natalie who randomly was in wifi in India when I messaged her) to share the news of our engagement, I knew I wanted to do something a little different and special to “ask” them to be my best girls.

I spent hours trawling sites like etsy and pinterest, looking for the perfect gift or card. Everything seemed either too soppy, or too tongue in cheek/ brash for me. I had come across the idea of putting together little boxes with treats and letters which I quite liked – but postage costs and customs restrictions were out to get me (who KNEW, but you can’t send things like nailpolish back to New Zealand due to various security risks!).

Will You Be My Bridesmaid Box

I decided that a nice card would have to do, and I found these gorgeous ones online which I could download for free – and they were just the right colour scheme as well. I started writing a letter introducing the girls to each other – they are all friends from different areas and stages of my life and hadn’t met before!

Will You Be My Bridesmaid Box

I printed some pictures of dress ideas and colour palettes that I liked, to include in the envelope too.

Suddenly Jase had to take a whirlwind trip back to New Zealand, and with two days notice I realised I COULD do my little gift boxes after all! I raced to Boots for nailpolishes and mini treats, hit Paperchase for gift boxes, ribbon and tissue paper, and finally M&S for some sweet goodies. With the time pressure on to get the boxes together and in his suitcase it actually meant I made decisions really fast – rather than spending hours and hours second guessing what to include. The boxes winged their way to New Zealand…and I sat back to wait for the girls to receive them.

Will You Be My Bridesmaid Box

Here’s the items I used and what I included in the “Will you be my maid” boxes:
Black square box from Paperchase
Heart tissue paper to line the box from Paperchase
Ribbon to tie the boxes from Paperchase
Gift tag to label the boxes from Paperchase
Free printables “will you be my bridesmaid” from Love vs Design

Will You Be My Bridesmaid Box

Inside:
Heart chocolates from M&S
Mini bags of Percy Pigs from M&S
Mini heart tissues from Boots
Soap & Glory Handcream mini from Boots
No 7 Nailpolish from Boots

Will You Be My Bridesmaid Box

Letters:
The Girls – a breakdown of who they each were and how our friendship had developed over the years (you can read an abbreviated version here)
The Day – I included the details that I knew about the venue, the date and time, the way I envisaged the day would run, the vibe and theme
The Dress – I outlined my thoughts and expectations around their dresses. I’ve left it in their capable hands to choose their own, within a certain colour palette
Your Role – I wanted to be clear from the get-go about when and where I would need them on hand, and what I would need their help with (especially planning a wedding from overseas)

Will You Be My Bridesmaid Box

While Laura received her box as soon as Jason landed in Wellington (and screamed YES so loudly I could hear her from London!) I had to wait a week for the box to reach Natalie (now in Auckland) via NZ Post. It was another 6 weeks before Aleisha returned from travelling around South America, and I had my fingers crossed she would say yes. After a week of her being home and hearing nothing, I finally asked her if she had received the box (all the time, cursing Jason for not remembering if he had addressed the package correctly!) …and she went on the hunt. Finally a courier package was unearthed from the corner of her parents study, where it had been put for safe keeping and forgotten about. With a final “I can’t wait!” text – my trio of girls were locked and loaded! Hooray!

How did you, or would you, ask your friends to be your bridesmaids? Have you ever been asked to be a bridesmaid yourself?

The Run Down – September

My monthly Run Down showcases new products, studios, classes, races or concepts in health, fitness and nutrition that I have got on my radar. Let me know if there is something specific you would like to see here. Got a product/ class/ race/ concept that you want included? Get in touch.

OKOBAY COCONUT WATER ICE

Okobay Coconut Ice

I’ve blogged before about how nuts I go over anything coconut – and it was no different when I was given the chance to try the Okobay Coconut iceblocks. Made of Whole 30 compliant ingredients, I was pretty happy to have a few of these tucked in the freezer to come home to on the hot sweaty summer days. Delightfully refreshing and not overwhelmingly sweet, the coconut flavour isn’t too strong – instead it’s cooling, hydrating and very more-ish. Unfortunately the iceblocks come in packs of three, which makes sharing them out evenly rather hard (but you can bet on who got the last one!).

Okobay Coconut Water Ice are available from selected stores in the UK including Tesco and Wholefoods. Click here for stockists.  

JUICE ME
Last month I was lucky to attend a very cool bloggers event hosted by Curry’s in associated with Phillips Juicers – where we got to try out making our own juices. I’ve been regularly having coconut milk based smoothies for a while now, but I have never tried juicing so I found the evening really interesting. I liked how Derry Temple, a PT and Nutritionist from Urban Kings Gym presented the the pro’s of juicing – such as getting your 5+ a day, a quick way to ramp up antioxidants and vitamins in your diet; but he ALSO talked about the con’s too – like missing out on the fibre of the fruit and veges, and creating blood sugar spikes from the increase in fructose.

Currys Introjuicing

We were then let loose on the Phillips juicers and given free reign to put whatever we wanted into our juice – I threw in cucumber, pineapple, blueberries, spinach and an apple. It was delish – but a little sludgey looking, so I clearly need to work on my fruit/vege colour combinations!

Currys Introjuicing

We were lucky to receive a juicer from Curry’s and Phillips after the event, so I am really looking forward to adding a regular juice into my diet. I think that especially with winter coming up it will be a great way to add in extra bug-fighting immunity-boosting ingredients – maybe something like carrot, ginger and orange! Yum!

RACE ME UP – EALING HALF MARATHON

Despite already being registered for ALL the races possible in September, there always seems to be room for just one more. Rated as one of the top half marathons in the UK, I couldn’t say no to heading along to the Ealing Half Marathon on Sunday 28th September – plus the bling is pretty epic!

Ealing Half Marathon

If you fancy a last minute half marathon too, then enter using the code TwitEHM2014 and you will go in the draw to win a Ealing Half Marathon T-shirt and hoodie! Already entered? You don’t have to miss out on the prize – just tweet the below for the chance to win too!

On 28 Sep, I’m running the UK’s Best Half Marathon @EalingHalf. Enter today & #RunEalingHalf too http://www.sportsystems.co.uk/ss/event/EalingHalfMarathon2014

RUN OR DYE

Sadly one event that I can’t fit in the diary is the upcoming RUN OR DYE (London, 27 September). I had so much fun at The Color Run earlier in the year (read my top 10 tips here) that I would have relished the opportunity to cover myself in colour bombs again while jogging a fun 5k with friends. These races are so much fun – they should be on everyone’s must-do-list!

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I have TWO FREE entries to give away to YOU though – valid at any of the upcoming Run or Dye races across the UK. There are some great locations still to come including Nottingham, Liverpool, Southampton, Guildford and Oxford. Simply enter below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Run or Dye

You can also use the promo code: SIMPELLE to get £3 off your entry if you can’t wait.

What’s on your Run Down right now?  

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